‘Morning Joe’ co-host Joe Scarborough is leaving the Republican Party

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National and international

‘Morning Joe’ co-host Joe Scarborough is leaving the Republican Party

Joe Scarborough, the conservative co-host of MSNBC’s political commentary show “Morning Joe,” is leaving the Republican Party.

He made the announcement Tuesday night during an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” alongside his co-host Mika Brzezinski. A two-minute clip of the segment was teased on the program’s Twitter account earlier Tuesday.

Scarborough tore into what he characterized as a complacent Republican Party unwilling to stand up to President Donald Trump.

“You have to ask yourself, what exactly is the Republican Party willing to do?” Scarborough said to Colbert. “How far are they willing to go? How much of this country and our values are they willing to sell out?”

“Aren’t you a Republican?” Colbert asked.

“I am a Republican, but I’m not going to be a Republican anymore,” Scarborough said to loud applause from the audience. “I’ve got to become an independent.”

Emails indicate Trump Jr. welcomed help from Russia against Clinton

Donald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York City, Jan. 18, 2017.
Stephanie Keith | REUTERS

Donald Trump Jr. agreed to take a meeting during the 2016 presidential campaign with a woman he was told was a “Russian government attorney” who could provide damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of “Russia and its government’s support” for his father’s presidential campaign, according to emails tweeted by the president’s son on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump’s eldest son posted on Twitter what he said was the entire exchange that led to a June 2016 encounter that has inflamed the controversy over potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The email exchange showed clearly that Trump Jr. understood he was taking the meeting as a way of channeling information directly from the government of a nation hostile to the United States to his father’s campaign. It is the most concrete public evidence to date suggesting that top Trump campaign aides were eager for Russia’s assistance in the campaign.

“If it’s what you say I love it,” Trump Jr. responded to an intermediary pitching the meeting.

Giant iceberg breaks off Antarctica

A rift across the Larsen C Ice Shelf that had grown longer and deeper is seen during an airborne surveys of changes in polar ice over the Antarctic Peninsula from NASA.

One of the biggest icebergs on record has broken away from Antarctica, scientists said on Wednesday, creating an extra hazard for ships around the continent as it breaks up.

The one trillion ton iceberg, measuring 2,240 square mile, calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica sometime between July 10 and 12, said scientists at the University of Swansea and the British Antarctic Survey.

The iceberg has been close to breaking off for a few months. Throughout the Antarctic winter, scientists monitored the progress of the rift in the ice shelf using the European Space Agency satellites.

An umbrella-sharing startup lost nearly all of its 300,000 umbrellas

Zhao Shuping quickly learned that not everything that can be shared should be shared. Earlier this week, he announced that nearly all of the 300,000 umbrellas have gone missing.

An editorial in the state-run People’s Daily even declared “sharing umbrellas is a sign of progress in public service, and a show of human care, releasing the warmth of the city.”

But Zhao Shuping, founder of the umbrella-sharing startup, quickly learned that not everything that can be shared should be shared. Earlier this week, he announced that nearly all of the 300,000 umbrellas have gone missing.

Lawsuit: New Mexico jailers let inmate awaiting court date bleed to death

It was close to dawn and the other inmates had tried to help all night.

Hours earlier, when 50-year-old Doug Edmisten started violently writhing on his bottom bunk, they called for help, according to court documents in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by his family, laying out the grim tick-tock. When the burly U.S. Army vet grabbed his stomach and heaved blood onto the floor, the others wiped the red fluid across the unit’s windows and kicked the door, trying to signal how serious it was to the keepers.

When staff continued to ignore the deteriorating man, the men housed in the “Golf Pod” of the Cibola County Detention Center, 70 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, prayed.

Canadian study suggests link between NAFTA, more sugar in nation’s diets

The North American Free Trade Agreement may have dramatically changed the Canadian diet by boosting consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, a new study suggests.
Natalia Sevriukova | Dreamstime | TNS

The North American Free Trade Agreement may have dramatically changed the Canadian diet by boosting consumption of high-fructose corn syrup, a new study suggests.

That boost arrested a years-long decline in total sugar consumption. And it shifted Canadians away from liquid sweeteners such as maltose and molasses toward high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener that has been linked to the obesity epidemic.

Russia sanctions bill stalled in House amid pushback from Trump

President Donald Trump waves as he returns to the White House in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, July 8, 2017.
Olivier Douliery | TNS

Legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia is stalled in the House amid a partisan battle over whether all lawmakers should have the authority to start a process to block a unilateral decision by President Donald Trump to lift penalties.

Both Democrats and Republicans said the new sanctions are a response to Russian aggression in Ukraine and efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election. The measure is a rebuke of Trump by limiting his ability to act unilaterally. The president has said the U.S. may never know for sure whether Russia sought to influence the election.

Catholic Church says no to gluten-free communion

The Rev. Tom Sanford prepares communion during the catholic mass at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hickory, North Carolina.

A new Vatican letter to Catholic bishops worldwide has stirred up questions again over what kinds of bread and wafers should be used during communion in Catholic churches around the world. The letter sparked concerns for those who avoid eating gluten, including people who have celiac disease.

The letter drew attention from media outlets around the globe, but it actually reaffirmed earlier guidelines saying bread and wafers must have at least some gluten in them.

Syrian war monitor reports death of Islamic State leader but US can’t confirm

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would have been his first public appearance, at a mosque in the center of Iraq’s second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video.

A group that monitors the war in Syria said Tuesday it has “confirmed information” about the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, citing information received from the militants in eastern Syria.

Baghdadi’s death has been rumored numerous times in the past, and it was not immediately possible to independently verify the claim. There also were no immediate announcements from the Islamic State’s news channels.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement, “We cannot confirm this report, but hope it is true.”

Teen electrocuted by cellphone while taking bath, family says

It wasn’t abnormal for 14-year-old Madison Coe, a lover of band and basketball, to shut herself in the bathroom for hours and soak in the tub.

That’s what she had been doing late Saturday night at her father’s New Mexico home, according to family, when he knocked on the door and said it was time to get out.

But 20 minutes passed and the teen never emerged, so Logan Coe called out once again. This time, he got no response.

He entered the bathroom and found Madison unresponsive in the water and her Samsung Edge Plus phone plugged into an outlet in the wall, Madison’s mother, Angela O’Guinn-Downs, told People magazine. The cellphone had fallen into the bathtub, family told local news in Lovington, New Mexico, and the girl had a burn mark on her hand.

Coe, an EMT, tried to revive her, as did medical professionals who arrived on scene and transported her to the hospital, where Madison was pronounced dead. The medical examiner has yet to rule on official cause of death, but authorities said in a news release that “initial evidence shows signs consistent with electrocution.”


Complaints over horse manure prompt County officials to discuss issue with Amish

As snow begins to fall, an Amish man in a horse-drawn buggy carrying furniture heads east on Academy Street in Presque Isle in December 2015.
Anthony Brino | BDN

City officials have started a conversation with regional Amish community leaders on ways to address residents’ complaints about horse manure in roadways and public areas.

Over the last several years, a number of residents have called the city to complain about the droppings left by horses hauling Amish buggies to Presque Isle from Easton and Fort Fairfield, City Manager Martin Puckett said during the July 5 City Council meeting.

Councillor Mike Chasse said he heard a number of complaints about horse manure around Riverside Drive and Riverside Park, including under trees to which horses may be tied.

“Parents have found their kids with horse manure on them,” Chasse said.

Portland homeless shelter among buildings FBI seeking to seize

A Chestnut Street building that the city of Portland uses as a shelter for homeless families is among the 30 properties owned by Stephen Mardigan that the federal government is seeking to seize in a civil forfeiture case.
Jake Bleiberg | BDN

A city-run homeless shelter is among the buildings federal agents are trying to seize in what one expert said could be the largest such property grab in Maine’s history.

Four buildings the city rents to use as a shelter complex for homeless families are among 30 properties that the federal government is seeking to seize from a Portland man, using a controversial method that allows law enforcement agencies to take property that they believe to be linked to crime.

Maine veteran who founded retreat for injured vets meets Trump

Retired Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, a Maine soldier who lost part of all four of his limbs in Afghanistan who is now an advocate for injured veterans, met with President Donald Trump in an impromptu meeting on Monday.
Travis Mills

The Maine soldier who lost part of all four of his limbs in Afghanistan, and recently opened a veterans retreat, met with the president and vice president on Monday during a visit to Washington, D.C.

Retired Staff Sgt. Travis Mills met Vice President Mike Pence a couple months ago while he was at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and was invited for a tour of the White House, according to Brandy Cain, lead gift officer for the Travis Mills Foundation, who accompanied the veteran along with two other foundation board members.

LePage rips Janet Mills a day after she launches campaign to succeed him

Gov. Paul LePage

Gov. Paul LePage’s verbal assault on Attorney General Janet Mills continued Tuesday on the heels of Mills announcing she would seek the Democratic nomination to replace LePage as Maine’s next governor.

LePage’s comments Tuesday morning during a radio interview on WVOM were nothing new but illustrated, again, how he has been loaded up against Mills for years and what the campaign against her over the next 15 months will look like.

“She is a Democrat before she’s an attorney,” LePage said.

Living and events

New Giacomo’s offers unusual groceries, creative menu as new owners re-imagine a downtown staple

The redesigned front counter and chalkboards at Giacomo’s in downtown Bangor.

When Giacomo’s abruptly closed just before Christmas 2016, it wasn’t clear what would happen to the popular eatery at the intersection of Hammond, Central and Main streets. Then local restaurateur Matt Haskell and his partner, Evelina Kacprzykowska, bought it from former owner Brett Settle, closing on the deal in mid-January.

It reopened in May as a whole new Giacomo’s — decidedly different than the old one. Part gourmet market, part eatery, it’s open for both grabbing a quick bite and picking up provisions for home.

“With the growth of downtown and all the new apartments, it seemed like we could try to do a grocery store, specialty food kind of place, plus an expanded selection of food,” said Haskell, who also owns Blaze restaurants in both Bangor and Bar Harbor and Finback Alehouse in Bar Harbor. “And we could reimagine the space to utilize it more effectively.”

Coffee and Kimchi: Wicked Brew Coffee Bar to welcome South Korean students visiting Husson University

Kookmin University students from Seoul, South Korea, will be visiting the Wicked Brew Coffee Bar for a Coffee and Kimchi event as part of Husson University’s Summer English Enrichment program.
Husson University

What do organic/fair-trade espresso and spicy pickled cabbage have in common? They’ll both be served to students from Husson University’s Summer English Enrichment program when they visit the Wicked Brew Coffee Bar on Park Street in Bangor at 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 12.

During their visit, the SEE program students from Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea, will have the opportunity to enjoy American coffee along with kimchi, a spicy pickled cabbage that’s considered the national dish of Korea. The kimchi and other Korean dishes will be prepared for the students by the family members who own and work at the Wicked Brew Coffee Bar.

“We try to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all of our customers,” said Kate Proctor, owner of the Wicked Brew Coffee Bar. “I can think of no better way to make visitors from a distant country feel welcome than by offering them a taste of home as they experience America.”

Pirate parley at Fort Knox

Leon Seymour

The Friends of Fort Knox and The Pirates of the Dark Rose crew would like you to join in a Pirate Parlay July 14-16 at Fort Knox on scenic Penobscot Bay on the Maine coast. Because of past years’ fun and skullduggery, this year the pirate festival at the Fort will be a whole weekend. Pirate Crews from up and down the East Coast will be meeting in a Pirate Parlay, and some will be sailing their pirate ships into cannon range of the Fort.

Jazz for Kids at the Blue Hill Public Library

The Blue Hill Public Library invites kids of all ages to a “Jazz for kids” concert by Fuchsia, a local jazz combo made up of recent George Stevens Academy alumni, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

This will be an interactive concert designed to introduce kids to jazz, improvisation, and interpreting jazz standards in a new way.

Film: ‘Something Good Will Come of This: A Maine Man’s Journey through the Opiate Epidemic

College of the Atlantic senior Ursa Beckford will host a screening of his film, “Something Good Will Come of This: A Maine Man’s Journey through the Opiate Epidemic,” at the Blue Hill Public Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Ursa Beckford, and the subject of the film, Mike Bills.

Red Cross and Old Town Fire Rescue partner to install free smoke alarms

The American Red Cross of Maine and the Old Town Fire Rescue Department are teaming up to install free smoke alarms in residents’ homes and teach people how to be prepared for home fires.

Old Town residents can sign up for the free smoke alarm installation by calling Ron Springel of the Red Cross at 874-1192, ext. 113. The Red Cross, the Old Town Fire Rescue Department and community volunteers will follow-up with the installation on July 22.

“Working smoke alarms are key to escaping a home fire safely. That early warning, along with a practiced escape plan to a designated meeting area and early notification to emergency services can greatly reduce death and injuries,” Capt. David Daniels of the Old Town Fire Rescue Department said.

Volunteers needed for 70th Maine Lobster Festival

The Maine Lobster Festival is looking for volunteers to help with this year’s festival to be held Aug. 2-6. It takes more than 1,300 volunteers to run the festival each year.

Volunteer jobs include everything from setting up and taking down tents, to taking tickets, or cooking the lobsters served to guests. Volunteers will receive an exclusive “volunteer” shirt and free admission the day you volunteer.

If you wish to sign up, fill out an Online Volunteer Form from our website, mainelobsterfestival.com/festival-info/volunteer, or print a paper volunteer form and mail it in. Be specific about which job you’d like to sign up for. If you have any questions, email volunteer@mainelobsterfestival.com.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy 2017 Maine Conference coming to Waterville

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Waterville will host the 2017 Appalachian Trail Conservancy Conference. It will be held at Colby College Aug. 4-11.

The week-long event features over 240 hikes, numerous workshops, and excursions to local areas of interest.

Each evening there are exciting adventure presentations and stellar entertainment.

Maine Huts & Trails backwoods duathlon with Baxter Outdoors

Baxter Outdoors and Maine Huts & Trails are bringing back the Maine Huts & Trails Backwoods Duathlon 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 5. This 25 K mountain bike/trail run can be tackled either solo or as a team.

Schooner Fare to kick off Paris Hill Music Festival

The Paris Hill Music Festival will kick off with Schooner Fare at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at First Baptist Church of Paris, 500 Paris Hill Road, South Paris. Tickets are $25 and available at Paris Hill Country Club and Bolster’s Decorating in Market Square and Books-n-Things in Norway or by calling 743-9390.


With new direct connection to Halifax, international flights return to Portland jetport Thursday

After Portland-based Elite Airways postponed its inaugural commercial flight to Halifax on June 30, the flight is rescheduled to takeoff Thursday.
Elite Airways

Portland International Jetport can finally start living up to its name.

On Thursday, a new direct flight from Portland to Halifax takes off, touching down in Nova Scotia’s capital city in around an hour — about the time it might take to board The CAT ferry at Ocean Gateway Pier enroute to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Microsoft highlights Maine as laboratory for expanding rural broadband

A Microsoft store at Roosevelt Field in Garden City, New York.

Microsoft’s president on Tuesday pointed to a partnership with the Machias-based Axiom Technologies as a key to proving that the tech giant can dramatically improve rural broadband service.

The company has deployed internet service to about 18 customers on Passamaquoddy land, sending data across vacant television frequencies, called TV white space.

Microsoft highlighted that effort as one of 12 pilot projects it will use to prove its model for bringing broadband internet service quality in line with urban areas.

Unitil seeks to raise average gas bill 9 percent for households

The southern Maine natural gas provider Unitil has asked regulators to raise its base revenue by $6 million to cover infrastructure investments, in a move that would raise the average residential heating bill by almost $9 a month.

Regulators are now reviewing the request that would raise the heating bill for the utility’s average residential customer by $8.66 per month, or 9.2 percent.

CMP parent company moves 140 employees to downtown Portland

AVANGRID, the parent company for Central Maine Power, Co., is moving 140 employees from the Pineland Farms campus in New Gloucester to One City Center in Portland, according to the business publication MaineBiz.


The latest Russia revelations lay the groundwork for a conspiracy case

Donald Trump Jr. gives a television interview at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016.

The news about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer is a significant development in the investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian nationals.

Of course, a single meeting, by itself, is not a crime. Much more remains to be learned, including what was actually said during this and other meetings and whether any agreements were made. But prosecutors in the office of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III are no doubt extremely interested in what happened that day in June 2016 at Trump Tower.

No reason to open new marine monument to oil drilling when industry doesn’t want it

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is considering allowing oil drilling in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument in the Gulf of Maine.

There will be no increased revenue if oil companies don’t want to drill offshore.

It makes no sense to remove protections from marine national monuments in the name of helping an industry that has no interest in offshore drilling.

This is especially true of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of Massachusetts.

The Senate bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid would be devastating for my family

George Danby | BDN

As parents, we all want what is best for our children — to grow up into healthy, happy and successful adults. For parents of children with disabilities or serious health conditions, programs such as Medicaid can be a financial life saver. It affords our children access to the overly expensive but essential care and services they need without pushing Maine families into complete financial ruin.

The current Senate health bill would make deep cuts to Medicaid, setting a cap on the level of funds states can receive. These severe funding cuts will be devastating to more than 130,000 Maine children and families — including mine.