2011-12-09 / Maine


Snowe criticized for voting ‘present’

PORTLAND ( AP) — Two Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine are critical of her for failing to support President Barack Obama’s choice to lead a financial watchdog office.

Senate Republicans have stopped a former Ohio attorney general, Richard Cordray, from becoming director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A vote to overcome a GOP filibuster failed Thursday.

Snowe voted “ present.” Snowe recused herself from the vote because her husband is involved in student loans, something the agency will help to oversee.

Two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination attacked Snowe for failing to stop the filibuster. Matt Dunlap said Snowe is helping to kill an agency she helped to create. John Hinck accused Snowe of siding with the interests of “ Wall Street bankers and not the hard working Mainers.”

Unity College shows off its root cellar

UNITY (AP) — Few college campuses, if any, have root cellars to store their fruits and vegetables.

But Unity College is going back to the time-tested method of keeping produce fresh. The environmental school in central Maine today will hold a ceremony and tour to mark the completion of a root cellar.

A root cellar is a traditional underground structure used to store vegetables and fruits. Because it’s buried, the temperature and humidity are regulated. Unity’s root cellar combines old-fashioned earth tempering with state-of-theart control systems that automatically draw in cool nighttime air.

Unity’s root cellar was built with student volunteer labor under the guidance of the college’s sustainability staff and instructor Jim Merkel of Belfast, who teaches an environmental citizen course.

Court rules against Portland attorneys

PORTLAND (AP) — Maine’s highest court has ruled that a Portland law firm should have had better internal policies in place when it discovered one of the firm’s partners was stealing from clients.

In a 3-1 decision, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that six Verrill Dana attorneys violated Maine ethics rules by failing to have policies ensuring their lawyers follow Maine’s bar rules. The justices also ruled that the attorneys did not violate their duty to report John Duncan when they discovered the thefts.

Duncan was disbarred and served two years in federal prison for stealing about $300,000 from clients.

The decision overturns supreme court Justice Donald Alexander’s ruling following disciplinary hearings last December.

The supreme court ordered the case sent back to Alexander and directed that appropriate sanctions be levied.

No charges in Maine logging truck fatality

JACKMAN (AP) — Officials say charges will not be filed against the driver of a logging truck that crashed into a house in western Maine, killing a 5-year-old boy.

Fifty-seven-year-old Christian Cloutier, of Quebec, told police he fell asleep before his truck hit two utility poles and flipped onto its side against a house in Jackman in July, sending logs rolling into the house and killing a boy who was sleeping on a downstairs couch.

Assistant Somerset County District Attorney Brent Davis told the Bangor Daily News that the accident did not warrant criminal charges.

He said an investigation concluded that speed was not a factor. He said the accident was caused by the driver falling asleep, possibly because of a medical condition.

Couple sues over loss of parental rights

BANGOR (AP) — A Maine couple has filed a lawsuit claiming their civil rights were violated when their parental rights to an adopted son were terminated.

The Morning Sentinel reports that Russ and Ellie Handler, of Northport, are suing officials of the state Department of Health and Human Services and the Waldo County Sheriff ’s office.

The Handlers adopted a son, David, in 1999, but their parental rights were terminated eight years later. The lawsuit claims they were subject to harassment and that officials manufactured false evidence against them.

Court documents show state officials were concerned about domestic violence in the home.

Russ Handler was charged with assaulting his wife in 2005, but the charge was later dismissed.

Feds discuss offshore wind proposal

SOUTH PORTLAND (AP) — A task force is weighing a pilot project that would place four wind turbines about 12 miles off the Maine coast, a first step in creating the nation’s first deepwater wind farm.

The task force formed by the federal Bureau of Energy Management met Thursday to discuss whether to grant a commercial lease to a Norwegian company, Statoil North America Inc., for the HyWind test project.

The head of the Maine Wind Energy Initiative, Paul Williamson, told the Portland Press Herald that if the project were approved the turbines could be built within five years and generate enough power to serve the needs of about 18,000 homes.

The bureau says it will take a couple of years to make a decision.

Return to top