<![CDATA[NECN - ]]>Copyright 2018https://www.necn.com/feature/mainehttp://media.necn.com/designimages/clear.gifNECNhttps://www.necn.comen-usThu, 15 Nov 2018 21:13:04 -0500Thu, 15 Nov 2018 21:13:04 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Man Killed on Cross-Country Trip 'Wanted a Bigger Purpose']]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 18:31:10 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/214*120/Man_Killed_on_Cross-Country_Charity_Bike_Ride.jpg

A cross country cycling trip to raise money for children battling cancer was cut short this week.

The New Hampshire man who started the journey in Dover was hit and killed by a car Tuesday while making his trek through Mississippi.

To meet James Dobson, a Maine native, was to find a positive new perspective. Just ask Chris Cortez, who will never forget their first exchange.

"While I am standing there talking to him, he's like, 'Hey, high five,' as people walk by, I'm like, 'Do you know these people?' and he said, 'No,' and I just thought, that's amazing," said Cortez.

The tragic loss of the man known for his golf course shenanigans and positive vibes is leaving heavy hearts for those who knew him best.

"You could never leave his presence feeling bad," said his friend Amanda Surette.

"If he didn't make you smile, then there is something wrong with you," said another friend, James Richesin.

The 32-year-old on a mission to make a difference came up with an idea to cycle from Dover to San Diego to raise money for kids with cancer.

"He wanted a bigger purpose, he was meant for more," Surette said.

On Oct. 1, he sat back and peddled out of town.

On Tuesday, authorities say while Dobson was cycling along Highway 98 in Lamar County, Mississippi, he was hit and killed by a passing car. His mom spoke with him not long before the crash.

"He said, 'I'm doing great, Mom, don't worry,'" said Cindy Dobson. "He said, 'I'll call you,' and I never got the call."

Dobson set out to raise $10,000 for Children's Hospital at Dartmouth. His GoFundMe page is up over $17,000 as of Thursday evening, and it's still climbing.

"His accomplishments and everything have made a lot of people proud," Richesin said.

Those people are proud to have known him and lucky to have learned his lesson about a life well-lived.

Dobson made that lesson clear at the end of each video he posted about his trip on YouTube.

"As always, stay happy, stay humble, I love you guys, make someone smile," Dobson would say before signing off.

Dobson's friends say they will eventually go to Mississippi, get on some bikes and finish the cross country journey that Dobson started.

<![CDATA[Maine Man Dies on Cross-Country Recumbent Bike Trip]]>Wed, 14 Nov 2018 23:29:23 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/180*120/James+Dobson+GoFundMe.jpg

Authorities say a man making a cross-country trip on a recumbent bicycle to raise money for children with cancer was struck and killed on a Mississippi highway.

James Dobson of Lebanon, Maine, started in New Hampshire on Oct. 1 for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. His goal was to ride 60 miles daily, to San Diego.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol said the 32-year-old Dobson was on Highway 98 west of Hattiesburg on Tuesday afternoon when he was struck from behind by a car. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is under investigation.

Keith Loud, the hospital's physician in chief, said in a statement he was moved not only by Dobson's dedication, but the courage it took to ride across the country in an effort to give back.

Photo Credit: GoFundMe.com]]>
<![CDATA[Cafe Staffed by Adults With Special Needs in Danger of Closing]]>Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:25:15 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Employer_of_Special_Needs_Adults_in_Danger_of_Closing.jpg

A business in South Berwick, Maine, that employs people with developmental and intellectual disabilities is in danger of closing.

Madison's Cafe opened about one year ago, and co-owner Nicole McCoomb fears they can't afford to stay in their current location downtown.

"I had to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with [my employees]," said McCoomb. "It was heartbreaking."

McCoomb opened Madison's about two years ago and named it after her daughter. She wanted to ensure people like Madison had opportunities to find meaningful work.

"My thought ever since she was little was, 'What is going to happen when she graduates? Where will she go? What kind of work is she going to do?'" said McCoomb. "I wanted Madison to have a purpose in life ... to enjoy what she's doing, get a pay check, and, along with her, employ people that have disabilities, as well."

Waiter Dan Patstone got his first job at Madison's about a year and a half ago.

"I was able to make friends here while I worked," he said.

Now, Patstone and the other employees are trying to picture life without Madison's. McCoomb announced on Facebook that the cafe would be closing at the end of November.

"Due to our location, lack of parking etc... We will be closing our doors," a sign on the counter reads.

"I was pretty bummed," said Patstone. "Everyone else kind of took it pretty hard. It was losing a part of themselves, I believe."

Loyal customers were shocked to learn the news and concerned about the staff.

"Where do these employees go if she closed?" said Tiffany Roberts-Lovell. The recently elected State Representative decided to start a GoFundMe page to help McCoomb raise $30,000. They know the goal is lofty — but they're encouraged to have raised nearly $7,000 in a matter of days, as of Tuesday afternoon.

"I think it's very hopeful," she said.

McCoomb has scoped out another possible business location in the area, but has just a few weeks to decide if her business can survive.

"I tear up a lot," she said. "I feel like this is such an important mission. What we're doing and who we're employing — it can't go away."

<![CDATA[Maine GOP Raises Concerns Over Ballot Security]]>Mon, 12 Nov 2018 17:08:09 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/212*120/maine+gop+ballot+question+DONE.png

As election workers continue to process ballots in Augusta, the Maine GOP is raising the red flag about ballot security.

The Republican Party posted images to its Facebook page showing ballot boxes without padlocks. A courier service picked up ballot boxes from every municipality in Maine’s Second Congressional District and transported them to a central location in Augusta where the Secretary of State’s office is using ranked choice tabulation. It is the first time RCV will be used to determine a federal race.

“We want to feel like we can trust the results,” Jason Savage, Executive Director of the Maine GOP, said.

On Monday, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said the absence of padlocks does not mean there was any potential for tampering. He said every box containing ballots had a serialized seal still intact. Each seal has a code that corresponds to its municipality. The device cannot be opened without wire cutters.

“If we had a ballot box show up here that was neither locked nor sealed, I would freak out,” Dunlap said. “This facility is badge protected, we have cameras, so the prospect of something going wrong that no one would find out about is pretty darn narrow.”

The Maine GOP has raised a second concern about election integrity. One of the workers assigned to handling ballots has liked tweets supporting the Democratic candidate and tweets opposing the Republican incumbent. Savage said they would like to see that worker re-assigned.

Dunlap is dismissing the idea that his workers are compromised, and called the Republican Party’s allegations “unfounded, irresponsible and a distraction.”

“I don’t ask people’s political affiliations when we hire them. We have Republicans and Democrats working for us. I’m shocked that anyone working in public policy would have an opinion about anything,” he said sarcastically.

The race between Republican Bruce Poliquin and Democrat Jared Golden is extremely close, separated by about 2,000 votes. Because both candidates received 46 percent of the vote, ranked choice voting will come into play.

Every voter was able to rank Golden, Poliquin and the two independent candidates by preference. Votes cast for the independents will now be reallocated, based on who the voter put down as second choice. Whoever receives a 50 percent majority or more after RCV is calculated will become the winner.

The Maine Democrats issued a statement Monday critical of the Republican complaints.

"The Secretary of State's office is carrying out the Ranked Choice Voting process in a non-partisan manner and in accordance with the law that was twice-approved by Mainers at the ballot box...Not only are Maine Republicans' 'concerns' unfounded, it's clearly part of a national effort by Republicans to delegitimize the voting count in races they fear they could lose."

The Secretary of State’s office hopes to have the ballot processing completed by the end of the week.

<![CDATA[Maine Sen. Collins Talks Mueller, 2020 Election]]>Fri, 09 Nov 2018 19:24:57 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/100918+susan+collins.jpg

Between the midterm elections and the threats to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion, there’s a lot on Sen. Susan Collins’ mind. But one thing the Republican from Maine is not worried about is winning re-election in 2020.

“I’ll worry about 2020 in 2020,” Collins said Friday. “I think it’s a little early for me to make a decision on re-election.”

The morning after nationwide protests to protect Mueller’s investigation, Collins said she supports a bill to protect the special counsel. She plans to join a group of senators, asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to have a debate on the Senate floor.

“I know the president is never going to sign that bill into law and there are some legitimate constitutional issues, but debating it and passing it would send a strong message to the president that the special counsel’s work must be allowed to continue unimpeded,” Collins said.

For activist groups critical of Collins, the concern for Mueller comes late.

“After about a year of asking for that bill to be brought to a floor vote, I am grateful Sen. Collins is willing to take action,” said Marie Follayttar, director of the group Mainers For Accountable Leadership. The group has organized many protests targeting Collins in the last two years, and helped raise millions of dollars to fund her future opponent due to Collins’ vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“We are heartbroken about the loss of the moderate Sen. Collins,” said Follayttar. “She needs to be concerned about her chances for re-election.”

But Collins remains confident she would win re-election if she chooses to run again.

“I'm very proud of the fact that the people of Maine have supported me very strongly,” she said. “I can assure you that I have already started preparing and I certainly will be ready should I decide to run.”

A new challenge she would have to face is ranked choice voting (RCV), a system Mainers approved in 2016, which allows voters to rank their preferences instead of choosing one candidate. While RCV was not implemented for statewide races like the governor’s race, it does apply to federal elections. If no candidate achieves 50 percent of the vote, instant run-offs calculating voters’ second-place choices will be taken into account to determine the winner.

“The issue with ranked choice voting is that it can result in the person who receives the most votes not being selected to represent the people of Maine, so that is an odd outcome to me,” said Collins. She added that she believes she could achieve the 50 percent threshold to win in the first round under RCV.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Investigation into Missing Maine Woman Continues]]>Thu, 08 Nov 2018 17:05:54 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Family_Taking_New_Steps_to_Find_Missing_Maine_Woman.jpg

Two years after her mysterious disappearance, investigators are no closer to knowing what happened to 71-year-old Diana Estey. She was last seen around Oct. 31, 2016, near her home in Medford, Maine, a small town of fewer than 300 people.

“It’s been a nightmare,” said her brother, Paul Estey, at a press conference with Maine State Police Thursday.

Estey said his sister wasn’t in the best health, and couldn’t have wandered far on her own. He said it would be out of character for her to leave without warning. Investigators say they have found no clues in the case, and have not ruled out foul play.

“I feel somebody came and took her,” said Paul Estey.

Police and Game Wardens have searched the area around her home on Medford Center Road as recently as last weekend. Now, they are appealing to the public for more information.

“People might have some information, no matter how small,” said Sgt. Darryl Perry. “Please come forward.”

Estey’s friends and family have pulled their money together to offer a $12,000 reward for information.

Paul Estey said people in the remote town are on edge, as this unsolved case turns cold.

“I know people are nervous,” he said. “It doesn’t feel right.”

<![CDATA[LePage Offers Support to Gubernatorial Candidate Moody]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 17:57:49 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/LePage+and+Moody.jpg

Shortly after announcing he will leave the political arena, Maine Gov. Paul LePage offered his support to Republican candidate Shawn Moody, a businessman who has campaigned on continuing LePage's policies.

"Shawn Moody all the way," said LePage at a Monday news conference. "He's a lot more politically correct than I am, and he will soften down the office."

Moody, who has built a successful collision center business, campaigned alongside LePage's wife in the Bangor area. LePage's daughter, Lauren, is running the Moody campaign.

Recent polls show Democratic candidate Janet Mills with a slight edge over Moody.

"There’s no question that Shawn Moody is running as the chosen successor of Paul LePage," said Chair of the Maine Democrats, Phil Bartlett. "What we're hearing in the field is that people are ready for a change. They want a new direction, and we know Janet can deliver that."

Mills is Maine's first female attorney general and could become Maine's first female Governor. She has emerged as a foil to LePage, clashing with him regularly on policy. LePage attempted to sue her for abuse of power, and she threatened to sue him over funding for the attorney general's office.

Now Maine voters will decide to elect a friend of LePage or one of his biggest political foes to succeed him.

Bartlett believes voters are tired of the gridlock in Washington D.C. and in Augusta, Maine and will support Democratic candidates this midterm election. He thinks voters motivated by health care will come out in large numbers for Mills. LePage stated voters confident in the economy will vote for Moody.

Independent Terry Hayes, Maine’s state treasurer, is running against Mills and Moody. Polling shows her trailing far behind both candidates.

<![CDATA[LePage: I'm Moving to Florida After Term Ends]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 16:32:25 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Paul+LePage+11052018.jpg

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is planning to move to Florida after his term ends and will possibly teach at a college or university, the outgoing state executive announced.

At a campaign event Monday in support of Eric Brakey, the Republican candidate challenging independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, the Republican governor said he is done with politics himself.

According to the Press Herald, LePage, who has a home in Florida, said he will move to the Sunshine State for tax purposes. He said he has been talking with a few colleges and universities about the possibility of teaching from September through April; however, he declined to say which ones.

Republican Shawn Moody, Democrat Janet Mills and independents Terry Hayes and Alan Caron are on Tuesday's ballot to replace LePage, who is in his final two months of his eight-year term.

At Brakey's event Monday, LePage offered some advice to the next governor saying, "Don't trust the legislature. And don't read newspapers."

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[New England Farms Could See New Climate Adaptation Tools]]>Mon, 05 Nov 2018 09:54:19 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-1053163246.jpg

Researchers in New England are working on a project to develop tools for small- and mid-sized farms in the region to address productivity problems related to climate change.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has granted nearly $500,000 over three years to the University of Vermont for the project, and more than $200,000 will go to University of Maine researchers. UMaine officials say the project will seek to help farmers with issues that have a link to a changing climate, such as changes in the growing season, drought risks and new pests.

UMaine says its research team will focus on the importance of developing climate adaptation tools. The university says most farmers in New England own small to medium operations, and many have been farming for less than a decade.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ranked-Choice Voting May Determine Maine House Race]]>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 16:48:27 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Ranked+Choice+Voting+Maine+House+Race.JPG

In a four-way race for Maine’s Second Congressional District, ranked choice voting may determine the outcome of one of the most competitive and expensive House races in the nation.

Recent polls show Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin neck-and-neck with Democratic challenger Jared Golden. If neither candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, Maine’s new system of voting will kick in. Voters who selected Independent Tiffany Bond or Independent Will Hoar as their first choice would have their second choice counted instead – until either Poliquin or Golden got above 50 percent.

“Honestly, it’s made the campaign more fun,” said Bond.

She said ranked-choice voting encourages independents to enter races and try creative methods of the campaign.

In Bond's case, she has refused campaign contributions, and instead directed donors to charities and small businesses. She has not put out campaign signs or taken out political ads.

“Let’s make politics a force for good,” Bond said.

In a race that has brought in millions of dollars in campaign spending, with endless attack ads on television, Bond wants to put energy into exploring the issues.

“We get no gross ads, we help the economy, and we help small businesses,” she said. “I hope it catches on. Isn’t that a better way to do it?”

Golden spent Friday campaigning in Oxford County, where he said voters are most concerned with healthcare.

“[Poliquin] voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” said Golden. “None of us [in the race] agree with Poliquin’s vote to repeal the ACA.”

Golden acknowledges the race is tight but feels confident he can come out on top—whether it’s in the initial round of voting, or in the run-offs with ranked choice voting calculated.

Poliquin was not available for an interview Friday. When asked how ranked choice voting affects his re-election campaign, his office provided the following statement:

“My focus remains on continuing to help the Maine economy grow and provide more good-paying jobs, protecting and preserving Medicare, and working to lower the cost of healthcare. I’ve been meeting with, talking with, and hearing from hundreds of constituents every day. They agree we need to keep our economy growing, lower healthcare costs, and protect our Constitutional Rights. I’m the only candidate with the job creation experience to do that who has a proven record of protecting our Constitutional Rights.”

If instant run-offs need to be tabulated, it could take several days to know the winner.

<![CDATA[Close Maine House Race Injects Medicaid in Health Care Fight]]>Fri, 02 Nov 2018 12:02:11 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Maine_Split.jpg

A lack of health care hits residents especially hard in Maine, with the oldest population in the country, and so the Democratic challenger in the state's Second Congressional District is focused on saddling the incumbent with his vote to kill "Obamacare," following a playbook unfolding across the country.

Rep. Bruce Poliquin, New England's only Republican in the House of Representatives, voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year in the Republicans' most recent attempt to end former President Barack Obama's signature program. Democrat Jared Golden is not letting voters forget.

Asked why he thought the race was so close — the Cook Political Report puts it as a toss-up — Golden singled out Poliquin's vote and the deep cuts in Medicaid it would have brought. Maine residents have voted to expand Medicaid under "Obamacare," a step with bipartisan support that would give an additional 80,000 people health coverage.

"There is no clearer contrast in this election than that and it's not between me and Bruce, it's between Bruce and his own constituents," Golden said.

Not only does Maine have the oldest population in the country, according to the Census, an AARP survey in September found that health care was the top issue for those 50 and older.

The Second District sprawls across Maine, the largest congressional district east of the Mississippi River, a mostly rural expanse covering all but the southern part of the state near Portland and Augusta. It has an equal number of registered Democrats and Republicans, and more voters than either without a party affiliation.

Poliquin has represented it for two terms, but before he won the seat in 2014 it was held for 20 years by Democrats. President Donald Trump took the district in 2016, following Obama four years earlier. The race is one of the most closely contested in the country. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, which labeled the contest a "hot race," Golden outraised Poliquin $4.6 million to $3.7 million and has outspent the incumbent.

Outside money also poured in, putting the election on track to be the most expensive congressional race in Maine history, according to The Associated Press.

This article, part 8 in a series, examines one of the key battleground races for control of the House of Representatives in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Carried by grassroots momentum, Democrats must take 23 seats from Republicans to win the balance of power. They are contending with Republicans' experience and organization, and an outspoken but polarizing president.

Poliquin, 65, is a third-generation Mainer who worked in finance before returning to Maine, according to his House biography. He did not respond to a request for an interview.

In an August 2017 recording leaked to the website Maine Beacon, Poliquin can be heard saying he rarely agrees to interviews, saying, "It would be stupid for me to engage the national media, to give them and everybody else the ammunition they need and we lose this seat."

Golden, 36, is a former Marine who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, enlisting after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He worked on national security issues for the state's Republican U.S. senator, Susan Collins, and is now in his second term in the Maine Legislature, where he is the assistant House majority leader.

Golden is emphasizing two main Democratic issues, health care and the Republican tax cuts, which he ties together to dispute his opponent's assertion that Maine's economy is benefiting from the GOP tax reform bill.

"The two go hand in hand because we've lost a lot of our good middle-class manufacturing and mill jobs," Golden said.

Hospitals are the largest employer in many rural communities, he said. About half of Maine's hospitals are designated critical access hospitals by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, meant to keep essential services in rural communities, and they would have been hard hit under the "Obamacare" repeal bill, Golden said.

Last year, the Maine Hospital Association estimated that the state's hospitals received $200 million a year from insurance subsidized by "Obamacare."

Golden has argued that Medicaid expansion would bring almost $500 million in federal investment into the state's economy and create 3,000 new jobs. At the same time, one in five people in Maine is on Medicaid. He says the country needs to move toward a universal health-care system like Medicare for all.

Medicaid expansion has been a contentious issue in the state. Voters in both of Maine's congressional districts approved the move by referendum after Republican Gov. Paul LePage repeatedly vetoed the Legislature's attempts to do it. LePage argued that there were insufficient funds.

Poliquin first voted against repealing "Obamacare" in 2015, saying that he believed a replacement plan first needed to be in place. He changed his vote last year, approving a move to repeal and replace it with the Republicans' American Health Care Act.

He said afterward that he knew that the House bill needed work — it would have stripped 24 million Americans of health insurance by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office — but had hoped it would be improved by the Senate. Instead, it failed there with Collins' help. 

At a debate in October, Poliquin pointed to his first vote against ending "Obamacare" and said, "Everybody in this country needs to have health care. And everybody needs to be able to afford health insurance in order to get that care."

Poliquin says he would protect residents with pre-existing conditions, but the plan he voted for would have driven up their premiums.

"Health care is a huge issue in this election, as much as any one issue is, and Poliquin has votes to explain away, which he has not done yet," said L. Sandy Maisel, a political science professor at Colby College.

The district is blue-collar and socially conservative, said Maisel, the co-author of "Parties and Elections in America: The Electoral Process." Poliquin, though socially conservative, "does not really support the working class nature of the district."

"Enter Jared Golden — of the district, the opposite of Wall Street, a veteran who can field dress a rifle, plain talking, close to his roots," he said. "While progressive on some issues, he can sell himself to the district. In fact, I would argue he is the perfect Democrat for this district — if he cannot beat Poliquin, no one can."

Poliquin touts a career creating jobs. He's a member of the House Financial Services Committee who served as Maine's treasurer and who says the district is benefiting from his efforts to bring about less red tape, lower taxes and fairer trade deals. He's also called Golden a young radical with a socialist agenda.

Golden counters that his record shows anything but a socialist. He described himself as a labor Democrat, who supported tariffs on softwood lumber, for example. He said he would work with Trump when he could, as he has with Maine's governor on allowing returning military members with a medic background to get licensed as a nurse.

Golden said that to improve the economy, he would emphasize investing in infrastructure — revamping utilities, focusing on renewable energy to bring down Maine's high energy costs, rebuilding roads and bridges and improving rail lines. Low employment does not equal a successful economy, he said.

Poliquin has attacked Golden on his gun record, too, comparing his A rating from the National Rifle Association to Golden's D rating. Poliquin says on his website that he supports the state's "long outdoor traditions including firearms ownership," and that he defends the Second Amendment.

Golden supported legislation allowing courts to confiscate weapons from domestic abusers, opposes a ban on semiautomatic rifles but would back a debate about whether to limit high-capacity magazines.

James Melcher, a professor of political science at the University of Maine at Farmington, said Poliquin was helped in past election years by ballot measures connected with firearms — on restrictions on bear hunting in 2014 and on more stringent background checks in 2016. There is no similar ballot initiative this year.

On Tuesday, Maine will use what is called ranked-choice voting for the first time in a federal race, a system in which voters pick candidates in order of preference. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote — and there are two independent candidates, Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar — the one with the fewest number of first-ranked votes is eliminated and those ballots are assigned to each voter's second choice. The process continues until there is a winner.

"Because the race is close, even a few voters could flip over," Melcher said.

Democrats have tried to portray Poliquin as someone who does not really fit the district, he said, and cited an ad in 2016 in which a suit-clad actor meant to be Poliquin struggles with a kayak. 

"Mainers are very, very willing to split their ticket for somebody with whom they feel personally comfortable, especially at the local level, so that sense of fit I think is important," Melcher said.

But, he added, "Democrats have underestimated Poliquin again and again and again and they underestimate him at their peril."

Calista Cross, 76, is voting for Golden. She likes his military background — she said she has helped to erect two memorials to veterans — and his position on health care. The governor and Poliquin have not done much to ensure affordable health care for residents, she said.

Cross, who lives in Cornish, dismisses accusations that Golden would not be a supporter of Second Amendment gun rights, but others among his supporters fear the issue might hurt his chances.

Maryanne Forbes, a 62-year-old retired nurse who lives in Hanover and who has been making telephone calls on Golden's behalf, said he needed to make a clearer statement about his positions. Voters she has spoken to believe he will try to take away their rifles and their ability to hunt, she said.

"They're not going to vote for him," she said. "They like him, they think he's a good candidate — but the guns."

Sharon Sibley, the vice chair of the Lincoln Town Council and the office manager of her family-owned logging company, Hanington Bros. Inc., backs Poliquin, citing his support for legislation that has benefited the logging industry.

Poliquin opposed the creation of a national monument in Maine's North Woods under Obama and agreed with a recommendation from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to allow trees to be cut there. He also has introduced legislation that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work in logging operations under parental supervision.

"I think experience plays a huge role, his experience as a business owner," said Sibley, 53.

She said she would support Medicaid expansion provided funding was available. The company's group insurance premium for 32 employees rose 34 percent this year and 29.4 percent last year, she said, and employers cannot absorb those kinds of increases plus a tax increase to support others' insurance.

"It's going to take more than one man and one president to fix health care," she said.

Professors Maisel and Melcher agreed that Trump did not seem to be much of a presence in the race, but Cross was quick to accuse the president of stirring hate by repeatedly attacking people.

"Trump is a bad influence," she said.

Golden, who said he was not running a campaign against Trump, argued that voters were fed up with the country's extreme partisanship. He has been endorsed by nonpartisan PAC With Honor, which backs veterans of both parties with the goal of moving away from the political divide.

"We are trying to push a message that we've got to get beyond this deep partisanship and get back to the kind of environment where we're all thinking about things as Americans and not as some member of a political party," he said.

—Nathalie Sczublewski and Sam Hart contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA['Crazy': Maine Trick-or-Treater Finds Pot in Halloween Haul]]>Thu, 01 Nov 2018 17:39:01 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Dq62qjSXgAAcFlW.jpg

Instead of tricks or treats, a teen in Maine said she received a bag of marijuana Wednesday night while trick-or-treating near a middle school.

Steve Gagne, the fiance of the teen's mother, said he turned it in to Auburn police Thursday morning and filed a report.

"I'm just dismayed," the Lewiston resident said. "The world is a crazy place these days."

Gagne said it was the first year the girl, who is 13 years old, was allowed to trick-or-treat with friends. She said she stayed on side streets near the school, but can't be sure where the pot came from.

She said she didn't notice it until she got home, and was sorting through her candy with her parents.

"While we were going through the bag, she kind of pulled it out like, 'Oh, I got this,'" said Gagne. "We are very proud of her for doing the right thing and turning it into us. We're glad it was one of our older kids and not younger kids that got it."

Auburn Interim Police Chief Jason Moen confirmed the bag contained marijuana, and a report was filed. He said it appears to be an isolated incident, but is asking anyone with information to contact police.

"Any parent should be looking through their kid's trick-or-treat bag, making sure all the candy is intact and does not have any safety issues," said Moen.

At the same time, police in Newport, Maine, are investigating after a pin was found sticking out of a peanut butter cup. In a post on the department Facebook page, police say a parent was stabbed by the pin while reaching into a child's treat bag.

Photo Credit: Steve Gagne]]>
<![CDATA[City Wins Preservation Grant to Restore Clock Tower]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 16:34:50 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Biddeford+clock+tower.JPG

The city of Biddeford, Maine, has won a major historic preservation grant to help restore the clock tower atop City Hall.

"It's the iconic piece of the Biddeford landscape," said Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant.

The clock tower dates back to the 1890s when its big bell served as an alarm for mill workers starting and ending their shifts. But over the course of time, the tower began to crumble and the clock mechanics corroded causing the clock to no longer work.

"Nobody bothered to repair it," said Casavant.

City leaders decided it was time to get the clock ticking again.

The Heart of Biddeford, a downtown revitalization group, entered a nationwide contest to win grant money. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected 20 projects and opened it up for voting online. Biddeford was one of the smaller communities in the contest, up against big cities like Los Angeles, Boston, and Nashville.

"I thought, 'Gee, Biddeford is really small can we do that?' But as the weeks went by we were maintaining second or third place, and I was enthusiastically optimistic," said Casavant.

The Heart of Biddeford commissioned a slick promotional video and put out a push on social media to get votes. The effort to preserve Biddeford's past helped city government get into modern day communications — inspiring them to launch a Facebook page and promote the voting contest.

Delilah Poupore, Director for the Heart of Biddeford, said they found out Monday that their clock restoration campaign received more than 85,000 and finished in third place. Their prize is $150,000.

"I think there was a lot of local love," said Poupore. "What was more iconic then our City Hall Clock tower? It says to everybody here’s were the downtown is, here’s where we are welcome."

The money will help the city pay for the first phase of repairs — getting the hands on the clock operating again. The deadline to use the grant money is June 2020.

Casavant said completely updating the entire tower is a project that could cost millions of dollars. He hopes the grant money will be a catalyst to get more fundraising underway.

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Hundreds Gather at Vigil for Synagogue Shooting Victims]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 10:03:30 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/212*120/pittsburgh4.jpg

Hundreds gathered for a vigil at a South Portland, Maine, synagogue to commemorate the victims of a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Rabbi Jared Saks led about 1,500 at Congregation Bet Ha'am synagogue Tuesday night. Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King joined Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling and city councilors.

Authorities say Robert Gregory Bowers opened fire during a service at Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh Saturday morning, killing 11 and wounding six.

Jewish Community Alliance Executive Director Molly Curren Rowles called the community's response "remarkable."

Speakers alluded to President Donald Trump's rhetoric and the need for action. Saks called on guests to "elect leaders who actually care about people's lives." Portland City Councilor Pious Ali said the Trump administration is presiding over "one of the darkest periods" in U.S. history.

Photo Credit: Matt Rourke]]>
<![CDATA[Boston-Based New Balance Scores Dept. of Defense Contract]]>Wed, 31 Oct 2018 07:09:16 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/New+Balance+sneakers.JPG

Soon, new United States military recruits will be wearing shoes made in New England. Boston-based New Balance has been awarded a $17 million Department of Defense contract to make their athletic shoes.

"We're super proud to be putting them on the feet of our military," said New Balance supervisor Deanna Tillson, who has worked at the Norridgewock, Maine plant for 19 years.

The new contract will keep workers in Massachusetts and Maine busy. According to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), New Balance will be shipping hundreds of thousands of shoes, starting this month.

Previously, the Department of Defense gave new recruits a voucher for shoes, giving them the ability to buy foreign-made athletic shoes despite a law calling for the purchase of American-made gear.

It took several years of negotiations, but the New Balance contract was a battle won with bipartisanship, according to Rep. Bruce Poliquin, the Republican representing Maine's second district.

"Congratulations on a job well done," Collins said to hundreds of workers at the Norridgewock facility Tuesday.

Members of Maine's Congressional Delegation took a tour, and a bit of victory lap around the plant, getting a look at the 950v2 model shoe.

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said the quality of the New England company made the contract possible.

"We could sort of open the door, but you had to step through it," he said.

All the materials of the 950v2 are from the U.S. For example, the boxtoe is from Newburyport, Massachusetts, the lining is from Haverhill, Massachusetts, the midsole is from Brighton, Massachusetts, and the counter is from Hampton, New Hampshire.

"I think we put our heart and soul into it," said Tillson.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Boston/necn]]>
<![CDATA[Several Red Sox Stars Once Suited Up For The Sea Dogs]]>Mon, 29 Oct 2018 18:07:54 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Portland+Sea+Dogs.JPG

Before they played for the World Series-champion Boston Red Sox, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. were among several Red Sox players to play for the Portland Sea Dogs in Portland, Maine.

Eleven former Sea Dogs players were on the Red Sox World Series roster this year, and throughout the entire season, 27 former Sea Dogs contributed to the team.

“It’s really neat to see the tie from here to Fenway, and it’s great for our fans, too,” said Geoff Iacuessa, General Manager of the Sea Dogs.

The Double-A affiliate is a farm team for the Red Sox. It gives baseball fans in Maine the opportunity to see some of the best compete at Hadlock Field before they get called up to the big leagues.

“We are one of the smaller markets in the league, but we’re one of the top three or four for attendance,” said Iacuessa. “That says a lot about our community.”

Sea Dogs Assistant General Manager Chris Cameron said he is proud to see the quality of players who come out of Portland – and even more proud to witness their character and commitment to the community.

“For me, the most memorable moment of the World Series didn’t happen on the field. It was what Mookie Betts did off the field, by delivering food to the homeless after Game 2,” said Cameron. “It just speaks to the character of the people playing for the Sea Dogs and Red Sox. Truly a special person.”

Both Cameron and Iacuessa said enthusiasm for the Red Sox translates to excitement for its minor league teams.

The World Series win comes at the perfect time for Portland baseball fans. Tickets for the Sea Dogs' upcoming season go on sale this Saturday.

<![CDATA[DA Candidate in Maine Facing Abuse Allegations]]>Wed, 24 Oct 2018 17:32:39 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/Maine+DA+candidate+Seth+Carey.JPG

A candidate for district attorney in Maine is in some legal trouble of his own after two women took out protection from abuse orders against him.

The law license of Seth Carey is now under suspension and he could be removed from the Maine bar.

The Maine Republican Party has urged Carey to drop out of his race but Carey remains confident he can beat incumbent Democrat Andrew Robinson and become the next district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin, and Oxford Counties.

“There’s no bad publicity,” Carey said after his ex-girlfriend took out a protection from abuse order against him last week.

In the Oct. 19 filing, Carey’s former girlfriend says she is “scared for [her] safety” after “he followed me, harassed me, and even sat parked in my driveway.”

The accuser, who has asked necn to protect her privacy and not use her name, told a judge that she was so scared of Carey that “I hugged my family before I left to confront him, and texted my friend asking them to call the police if they hadn’t heard from me.”

Carey called the woman a liar and has made prosecuting false allegations part of his platform.

“It’s totally ridiculous,” he said. “I would caution people that my case is an example of it going too far, where false accusers can come out and ride the wave of the Me Too movement.”

When reached by phone Wednesday, Carey’s ex-girlfriend said she stood by her testimony in the PFA filing.

“I wouldn’t lie about this,” she said. “The fact that another woman has accused Carey of similar behavior gives her story credibility.”

Last spring, a former client filed a PFA against Carey alleging sexual abuse and misconduct. His law license was temporarily suspended. Those allegations became public before the June primary election but Carey still defeated Republican challenger Alex Willette, an assistant district attorney in Sagadahoc County.

Carey believes he won the primary because his messages about illegal immigration, government corruption, and false accusers are resonating with voters.

“I’m an outsider,” Carey said. “I’m doing what’s right for the people, and I answer to no one.”

The allegations from his former client triggered a disbarment hearing in front of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court last summer. In a Sept. 21 decision, Justice Thomas Warren found the allegations to be credible. A Nov. 14 hearing will determine disciplinary measures, which could include disbarment.

Carey believes he could still serve as District Attorney even if he is removed from the Maine bar.

“I could still do my job, no problem,” he said. “I’m going to manage the [assistant district attorneys] from an office. I’m not going to be the one in court arguing before a jury.”

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said Carey qualified for the ballot at the time he filed. Now it’s up to the voters to decide if his legal issues are disqualifying for public office. If he does win and then loses his law license, it could be up the Justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to decide on the removal of a district attorney.

His ex-girlfriend hopes Robinson wins on Nov. 6.

“I would not trust [Carey] in that position,” she said. “Do people really think he can be a good district attorney if he can’t even practice law right now?”

Robinson did not respond to a request for comment.

Before his run for district attorney, Carey was best-known for filing a lawsuit against the NFL, attempting to recover the draft picks the Patriots lost as part of the Deflategate controversy.

<![CDATA[Here's How Much Snow Has Fallen in Northern New England]]>Wed, 24 Oct 2018 10:04:17 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/160*120/DqRUGf2VYAAvzd3.jpg

Oh, the weather outside is frightful for parts of northern New England -- and it's not even Halloween.

A storm system is bringing snow across Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, with Mount Washington in Coos County, New Hampshire getting 15 inches of snow so far.

Here are some other snow totals around the region:


Randolph - 11 inches

Milan - 3 inches


Rangeley - 5 inches

Gilead - 2 inches

Miford - 0.5 inches

Stay with us as this story is updated.

Photo Credit: Twitter: @ajfroggie]]>
<![CDATA[Report: NY Man Targeted Collins With Threatening Voicemails]]>Mon, 22 Oct 2018 08:50:46 -0500https://media.necn.com/images/213*120/100918+susan+collins.jpg

Maine's U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was reportedly one of two senators allegedly threatened by a New York man.

The New York Post reports Ronald DiRisi, 74, of Smithtown left voicemails on Collins and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's office phones following their support of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his controversial confirmation process.

"I'm gonna get you," DiRisi reportedly said in a voicemail to Collins. "You better pray this guy don't get in."

The Maine Republican was deluged with thousands of angry calls and messages regarding Kavanaugh, who was accused of sexual misconduct during the confirmation process.

A letter that claimed to contain ricin was also sent to Collins' home in Bangor last week, but that claim was later refuted.

DiRisi's attorney told NBC New York his client has dementia, calling him "an angry, sick old man," but added DiRisi isn't dangerous.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>