Brewer softball team adapting nicely to new home in Class B North

Members of the Brewer High School softball team admitted they weren’t sure what to expect after dropping from Class A to Class B this season.

Games against teams such as Lewiston, Edward Little of Auburn, Skowhegan, Cony of Augusta, Mt. Blue of Farmington and Oxford Hills of South Paris have been replaced with trips to much closer venues such as Belfast, Hermon, Old Town, Nokomis of Newport and Winslow.

The Witches’ longest trip, which they have already made, was to Oceanside High of Rockland — 62 miles away. Brewer won 4-2.

Winslow is the next longest trip and that’s 58 miles away.

Lewiston, …read more

Maine transportation chief warns that ferries to Islesboro will stop if threats don’t

Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt has authorized the suspension of ferry service to Islesboro if alleged threats against ferry service employees continue.

The alleged threats come in the wake of a fare hike by the Maine State Ferry Service that would cause a roundtrip ticket for Islesboro residents to nearly double.

Bernhardt sent the warning in an April 19 letter addressed to Islesboro Town Manager Janet Anderson.

The letter alleges that passengers on the ferry, which shuttles Islesboro residents to the Lincolnville terminal, have tried to engage staff and crews with their “displeasure about the new rate structure,” Bernhardt wrote.

Some of this …read more

Southwest drops as fatal plane accident slows ticket sales

Southwest Airlines dropped to a seven-month low after warning that its first passenger fatality has reduced customer bookings.

Revenue from each seat flown a mile, a gauge of pricing power, will decline 1 percent to 3 percent in the current quarter, the discount carrier said in a statement Thursday. Southwest blamed as much as two percentage points of the decline on weak sales after an accident in which an engine exploded in flight this month, piercing the plane and killing a passenger.

The sober outlook contrasted with those of rival airlines, which have predicted increases in the revenue gauge of as much …read more

State seeks 55-year sentence for Joyce McLain’s killer

The Superior Court judge who found an East Millinocket man guilty of murdering 16-year-old Joyce McLain nearly 40 years ago will decide Friday whether to impose the 55-year sentence recommended by the prosecution or one closer to the mandatory minimum sought by defense attorneys.

Justice Ann Murray in February found Philip Scott Fournier, 57, guilty of murder in the death of 16-year-old McLain on Aug. 8, 1980, behind the athletic fields of Schenck High School following a jury-waived trial at the Penobscot Judicial Center. The punishment for murder in Maine is 25 years to life in prison.

In …read more

Senate panel advances bill to protect Mueller from firing, but it’s unlikely to become law

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced legislation Thursday that would protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump after the panel’s Republican chairman backed off changes that threatened bipartisan support for the bill.

A draft released by Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on Wednesday night omitted language that would require the special counsel to notify congressional leaders “if there is any change made to the specific nature or scope” of the investigation. Democrats had feared that would allow Republicans to meddle and potentially tip off Trump and his allies to developments in the probe.

With that change, all …read more

Cause of deadly Bar Harbor fire remains undetermined

The cause of a fire in Bar Harbor on Sunday that killed two people will be logged as undetermined.

Earlene Harding, 79, and her 57-year-old son, Leroy Harding, died as a result of the fire at 99 Russell Farm Road, while Earlene’s husband, Percy Harding, and their son, Raymond Harding, escaped by jumping from a second-story window, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The state medical examiner’s office released the names of the victims after identifying them on Thursday, McCausland said.

[Man, son jumped from window to escape fatal Bar Harbor fire]

Percy Harding remains hospitalized …read more

Judge agrees ‘fraud’ should force Max Linn off GOP Senate primary ballot

A superior court justice on Thursday upheld a recommendation by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap that Max Linn should be disqualified by the Republican primary election in his bid to unseat independent U.S. Sen. Angus King in November.

Superior Court Justice William R. Stokes ruled Thursday that “it is undisputed that there is fraud in” some of Linn’s ballot access petitions and that Dunlap’s recommendation against Linn earlier this week “was not an abuse of discretion.”

“Voting is a fundamental right in our democracy and the public’s trust in the integrity of the election process is a critical concern to the court,” …read more

Bill Cosby convicted of sexually assaulting woman

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby has been convicted of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era.

A jury outside Philadelphia convicted the “Cosby Show” star of three counts of aggravated indecent assault on Thursday. The guilty verdict came less than a year after another jury deadlocked on the charges.

Cosby was charged with violating Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His lawyer called Constand a “con artist” who leveled false accusations against Cosby so she could sue him.

Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each …read more

Why I sued Trump over the travel ban

I’ve always embraced my American identity. At 8 years old, I came home from school crying. I had found out that I could never be president of the United States. Because not only am I an American, I am also an Iranian.

Now, as a fully grown woman, I still sometimes come home crying. My people are under attack, and I had to sue the president. Because not only am I an American, I am also an Iranian.

And I understand what it’s like to lose my home, country and sense of belonging.

I was 2 when my family came to the United …read more

Senate confirms Mike Pompeo as Trump’s next secretary of state

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo as secretary of state on Thursday despite lingering objections from Democrats who’ve questioned his record of hawkish policy positions and past controversial statements about minority groups.

The split vote represents the political scrutiny Pompeo is likely to encounter as he moves from the CIA to the State Department, where he’ll the simultaneous challenges of reinvigorating an agency beset by flagging morale and answering for a president who is prone to impulsiveness.

[Trump’s secretary of state nominee faces rare opposition from Senate panel]

Pompeo, who grew close to President Donald Trump as his CIA …read more