These Catholic nuns built a chapel to block the path of a gas pipeline

Good morning, Maine. Here is your morning briefing.


The high today will be in the high-60s, with a rain throughout the day. Check your local forecast here.

National and international

These Catholic nuns built a chapel to block the path of a gas pipeline

Sister George Ann Biskan leads a group of nuns and supporters during a prayer service at a chapel in a cornfield. The chapel was built there as part of a protest against a pipeline.
Michael S. Williamson | The Washington Post

The end of the road, where the street suddenly stops and the towering wall of corn begins, always called out to Linda Fischer. She would pedal her bike there slowly as a child, back before they built any houses on the road, when it was just the cornstalks growing thick toward the sky. It was the silence she found there, the holiness she felt in that stillness, that led her to dedicate her life to God.

Fischer has always known this land as sacred.

Now the 74-year-old nun and her sisters in their Catholic order suddenly find themselves fighting to protect the land from an energy company that wants to put a natural gas pipeline on it.

“This just goes totally against everything we believe in — we believe in sustenance of all creation,” she said.

The pipeline company first sought without success to negotiate with the nuns. Now as Williams Cos. tries to seize the land by eminent domain, the order is gearing up for a fight in the courtroom — and a possible fight in the field, as well.

There, smack in the path of the planned pipeline, the nuns have dedicated a new outdoor chapel.

Woman called 911 for help, was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer

A yoga and meditation teacher living in Minneapolis was fatally shot by city police Saturday night after she called 911 to report a possible assault in the alley behind her home.

The woman was identified by family in local and Australian news reports as 40-year-old Justine Damond, a native Australian who studied to be a veterinarian in Sydney before moving to Minneapolis to be with her fiance. The couple planned to marry next month.

Damond’s call for help came in just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Two Minneapolis Police Department officers went to an alley near her home in the Fulton neighborhood, a popular area on the city’s southwest side.

“At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” the statement said.

But the BCA offered few other details on what precipitated the shooting and, it said, neither responding officer had turned on their body cameras before the shooting. The squad car camera did not capture the incident either. Investigators are looking into whether other video of the shooting exists, the statement said.

Doctor finds 27 contact lenses lost in woman’s eye

A brief write-up in the British Medical Journal claims doctors found 27 contact lenses in a 67-year-old patient’s eye when she was being prepped for surgery at England’s Solihull Hospital.

The piece was authored by Rupal Morjaria, a specialist trainee ophthalmologist, Richard Crombie, a consultant anesthesiologist and Amit Patel, a consultant ophthalmologist.

The lenses were clumped together in a “blueish mass” and were “bound together by mucus,” according to the journal.

“She was quite shocked,” Morjaria, who worked on the patient, told Optometry Today. “When she was seen two weeks after I removed the lenses she said her eyes felt a lot more comfortable.”

9 dead as Arizona flash flood sweeps away family relaxing in swimming hole

It began as yet another scorching Saturday in central Arizona as scores of families flocked to the cool waters of a popular swimming hole, seeking relief from the 100-degree temperatures in the cities.

Among them was an extended family of 14 from Phoenix. They gathered at the Cold Springs swimming hole in the Tonto National Forest, near Payson, to celebrate Maria Raya’s 26th birthday, their relatives told local media.

At about 3 p.m, it was barely drizzling as the Raya family and others waded in the water and hiked along the narrow canyon, its scenic waterfall and granite rock formations in the backdrop.

Suddenly, with no warning, the adults and children swimming in the canyon heard a roar. As they turned to look upstream, they saw a massive wall of dark muddy water rushing toward them, carrying tree trunks and logs the sizes of vehicles.

Researchers find new early clues pointing to onset of Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers have identified hearing loss, verbal fluency and hospitalization as new factors that can provide clues about cognitive health and aid in early detection of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Spotting signs of cognitive decline is especially important, experts say, because drug treatments and prevention strategies are most effective at the earliest stages of dementia.


Newburgh fire department back at operational level after mass resignations

All 11 members of Newburgh’s volunteer fire department quit their jobs during Monday’s selectmen’s meeting.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

Two months after the entire Newburgh Volunteer Fire Department resigned over a dispute with the town’s selectmen, the crew’s membership level is back to a level that allows the department to respond to fire, medical and other emergency calls.

“It’s a work in progress, I guess. We’re moving forward. The department is moving in a positive direction,” said Ralph Shaw, who became Newburgh’s fire chief in May after town selectmen rejected a list of demands from 11 former firefighters — including the rehiring of former Chief Glen Williamson.

Shaw said Sunday that the department currently has eight members, three of whom were among the 11 who quit in May.

Undocumented Mainers eligible for in-state tuition at UMaine schools

Fernando Martinez, 19, recently renewed his status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, allowing him to continue working in the United States and studying at the University of Southern Maine.
Jake Bleiberg | BDN

This week, a spokesman said that every school in the University of Maine System offers in-state tuition to qualified Maine residents who have received temporary protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The school system’s policies on in-state tuition eligibility do not specifically address DACA because the federal program was very new when the policies were last revised, according to to spokesman Dan Demeritt. But the schools evaluate whether immigrants, including people with DACA status, qualify for in-state tuition based on the same residency criteria and circumstances used for citizens, he said.

The practice may give a reason for people who were brought to the country illegally as children to register for DACA, even as President Donald Trump’s deportation push and waffling on whether to do away with the program has made undocumented immigrants wary of signing up.

Wade man pulls seriously injured teen from fiery car wreckage

Speed was a factor in a crash Saturday morning in Wade in which a 16-year-old driver from Washburn was seriously injured, according to state police.

The crash happened about 8:15 a.m. when the teen, who was traveling east on New Dunntown Road at a high speed, lost control of the 1998 Buick Regal he was driving, left the roadway and struck a large tree head on, Cpl. Chuck Michaud said Saturday afternoon.

The car then burst into flames, Michaud said, adding that the impact was so severe the vehicle was nearly split in half.

The crash happened a short distance from the home of Damian Languell, who heard the crash and ran out to help.

Living and events

Next Doctor Who will be a woman

Actress Jodie Whittaker arrives for the World Premiere of “St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold” at Leicester Square in London, Dec. 9, 2009.
Luke MacGregor | REUTERS

BBC and BBC America announced Sunday that the 13th Doctor Who will be Jodie Whittaker, the first woman in the role.

“It’s more than an honor to play the Doctor,” Whittaker said. “It means remembering everyone I used to be, while stepping forward to embrace everything the Doctor stands for: hope. I can’t wait.”

Whittaker will replace Peter Capaldi as the Time Lord when he leaves the science fiction show at Christmas.

Despite slow start to the season, summer vegetables are just around the corner

Salad turnips for sale on a recent Sunday at the Bangor Farmers’ Market.
Sarah Walker Caron | BDN

The cool and wet start to the growing season put some farms across the state weeks behind in terms of crop maturation, allowing bright greens and other spring crops to dominate the summer farmers’ market scene in Maine.

But staple summer vegetables are about to hit market stands after June’s warm and sunny weather helped to put the growing season back on track.

“It was a little bit of a slow start to the season for a lot of farms since it was quite cold and wet early on. But since some time in June people have kind of caught up so the variety of vegetables has kind of gone back up to normal,” Brittnay Hopkins of Kenduskeag-based Wise Acres Farm said.

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,, 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

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.


Americans feel good about the economy, not so good about Trump

President Donald Trump

Almost six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, Americans are feeling fairly optimistic about their jobs, the strength of the U.S. economy, and their own fortunes. That should be welcome news for the president, except for one thing: The public’s confidence largely appears to be in spite of Trump, not because of him.

The latest Bloomberg National Poll shows 58 percent of Americans believe they’re moving closer to realizing their own career and financial aspirations, tied for the highest recorded in the poll since the question was first asked in February 2013.

A majority expect the U.S. stock market to be higher by the end of this year, while 30 percent anticipate a decline. Yet they don’t necessarily think Trump deserves credit for rising markets and falling unemployment.

Former Lincoln mill manager will lead early cleanup of hazardous, radioactive waste

The Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC mill as seen on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013.
Nick Sambides Jr.

The former manager of the bankrupt Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill will lead early cleanup work at the contaminated industrial site under a settlement with federal regulators.

A federal bankruptcy judge approved the arrangement Thursday as part of a compromise negotiated between the mill, state and federal environmental regulators and the mill’s creditors.

The agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lays out plans for mill CEO Keith Van Scotter to oversee contractors removing radioactive materials, asbestos and other hazardous waste from the site.

Honda recalls 2.1 million vehicles worldwide over fire risk

The Honda logo is seen during the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, Jan. 10, 2017.
Brendan McDermid | REUTERS

Honda Motor Co. said Friday it would recall about 2.1 million vehicles worldwide to replace battery sensors because of the risk of fire.

Chris Martin, a spokesman for the Japanese automaker said the recall would include 1.15 million Honda Accord vehicles from the 2013-2016 model years in the United States, and nearly 1 million elsewhere, to replace a 12-volt battery sensor.

The company said it had received four reports of engine compartment fires in the United States and at least one in Canada, in areas that use significant amounts of road salt during the winter. There have been no reported injuries.

The automaker has received 3,972 U.S. warranty claims relating to the issue.


2 ways Republicans, Democrats could work together on health care

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rushing a health insurance overhaul bill through the Senate.
Alex Edelman | TNS

In a year when congressional Republicans have been all too eager to roll back coverage gains made under the Affordable Care Act and sabotage the law as long as it remains on the books, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this month offered a glimmer of hope for a sensible path forward.

In a speech in his home state of Kentucky, the majority leader suggested that Senate Republicans might have to work with their Democratic colleagues on making sure the Affordable Care Act works if the health care bill he and other Senate Republicans have been working on behind closed doors doesn’t muster the 50 votes needed.

McConnell’s comment was a small bit of good news in a year when Republicans have put health coverage in doubt for millions of Americans.

Bungled collusion is still collusion

Protesters against U.S. President Donald Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr., who agreed last year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer, gather to speak out in front of the White House in Washington, July 11, 2017.

Once you’ve said “I’m in,” it makes no difference that the meeting was a bust, that the intermediary brought no such goods. What matters is what Donald Jr. thought going into the meeting, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, who were copied on the correspondence, invited to the meeting and attended.

“It was literally just a wasted 20 minutes, which was a shame,” Donald Jr. told Sean Hannity. A shame? On the contrary, a stroke of luck. Had the lawyer real stuff to deliver, Donald Jr. and the others would be in far deeper legal trouble. It turned out to be incompetent collusion, amateur collusion, comically failed collusion. That does not erase the fact that three top Trump campaign officials were ready to play.

We all expect better than these 2 Trump judicial nominations

Mary L. Bonauto is a Portland resident and civil rights project director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
Courtesy of MacArthur Foundation

Federal judges, once confirmed, serve for life, potentially impacting society for decades. That’s why it’s critical to have judges who are not only supremely qualified legally, but are also fair-minded, and able to apply the tenets of our Constitution to life as we live it in 21st century America — for all Americans.

In the coming days, the U.S. Senate will vote on whether to confirm John K. Bush and Damien Schiff to the federal bench. Neither man comes close to these standards, and through speeches, blogging and past legal activities, both have demonstrated hostility toward entire groups of people. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should lead the votes against their confirmation and send the message that we all expect better in judicial nominations.