Behind closed doors, Congress is holding a briefing on the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, and there’s a hearing scheduled for Thursday.Former CIA Director David Petraeus was set to testify at that hearing, but he resigned his post last week when admitting to an extra-maritial affair.Some members of Congress say they still need to hear from Petraeus, including Republican Senator Susan Collins.”I will say that I think it is absolutely imperative that General Petraeus come and testify. He was CIA Director at the time of the attack. He visited Libya after the attack. He has a great deal of information that we need in order to understand what went wrong, how this attack occurred, why four Americans lost their lives and most of all what we can do to lessen the chances of this kind of attack on American citizens happening in the future,” Collins commented.For now, the CIA’s acting director, Mike Morell, is scheduled to testify in Petraeus’ place.Lawmakers could still subpoena Patraeus at a later date.
Workers on the new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine have installed a concrete deck on the Portsmouth side and plan to have the sidewalks ready before Thanksgiving. The contractor working on the bridge says the approach will serve as the entryway to a new span to the south to be put in place in January. On the Kittery, Maine, side, four new concrete piers have been completed and some beams have been installed for four out of five spans of a new approach. The new bridge is expected to be completed by July 2013. The old Memorial Bridge connected the two communities for nearly 90 years.
A trial involving murder, drugs and sex is resuming in Auburn. Testimony resumes Tuesday for the fifth day in the trial of Buddy Robinson, of Lewiston. Robinson has pleaded not guilty to murder in the killing of 22-year-old Christiana Fesmire, who disappeared in July 2011. Prosecutors say the 31-year-old Robinson beat and drowned Fesmire in her bathroom, then dumped her body in a swampy area in the woods. Her body has not been found. Robinson’s attorney has said there’s no direct evidence linking Robinson to Fesmire’s death, and has pointed to an alternate suspect – Robinson’s twin sister, Brandi. Court documents portray Fesmire as part of an online prostitution ring led by Robinson’s sister, who told police that her brother confessed to the killing.
An 8-year-old Caribou girl had to be flown all the way to a Portland hospital after she suffered severe burns when her clothing caught fire. State Fire Marshal’s office investigator Tim Lowell says the girl was injured at her home sometime between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Lowell tells the Bangor Daily News, the girl was taken to Cary Medical Center in Caribou before being flown to the Maine Medical Center burns unit in Portland. He did not specify the exact nature of her injuries or her name. His office and Caribou police are trying to determine exactly what happened.
Industry officials say new home construction in southern Maine has jumped 35 percent in 2012, but warn that the rest of the state remains stagnant. Larry Duell, president of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Maine, tells The Portland Press Herald, there is growth in coastal areas of York County but new home permitting in the rest of the state remains weak. Construction Data New England says from January through September, builders took out 802 permits in 37 communities from Lewiston to Kittery. That compared with 594 permits for the same period last year. Builders say while the market in southern Maine is stronger, it still faces challenges, including tight financing by banks. Also, values of existing homes have fallen, making it cheaper to buy than to build.
Drivers who spot a house in the middle of Route 1 in Wells won’t be seeing things. The road is scheduled to be closed for a couple hours Friday as the historic Storer Garrison House is moved just a couple hundred feet. The Portland Press Herald, reports that a section of Route 1 will be closed from 9 a.m. until at least 11 a.m. Central Maine Power Co., FairPoint, Time Warner and Maine Fiber will lower lines during the move, which may cause brief interruptions in service. The Storer Garrison House was built in 1816 with timbers from the garrison that protected residents during a three-day attack in 1692. The house is being moved to the new owners property.
Angus King will go to Washington as the second independent senator, joining Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.He entered the race when Republican Senator Olympia Snowe decided not to seek re-election, blaming Washington’s partisan atmosphere as the reason why.The race for Maine’s coveted and pivotal Senate seat was called earlier than many predicted. Angus King is the winner.With Van Halen playing in the background and chants of Angus, he addressed his supporters for the first time as their Senator-Elect. “Maine is leading by saying that we are tired of the political divisions that are keeping us from solving real problems. We’re tired of politicians whose main purpose is to divide us instead of unite us.”King then spoke about the direction he hopes Maine is heading, “people don’t care who gets the credit. They don’t care who’s winning and losing from year to year. What they want is a strong economy, a fair settlement to our debt crisis, strong defense, care for our veterans, schools that work, and they’re tired of the false choice that always seems to confront them.”A big focus of the night from King and his supporters was the barrage of negative ads that flooded Maine airwaves, many of them paid for with out of state money. “The state of Maine, the voters of the state of Maine, have said to all those millions of dollars that were spent trying to persuade us that he was someone else, we know him, we like him, we trust him and we want him to be our senator.”King says those ads energized his campaign and he thinks they backfired on those responsible, but the message on election night, ending the partisan gridlock and bickering in Washington, and King says Maine can lead the way. “I am deeply humbled. I am firmly resolved. I am fervently thankful to all of you and to the people of Maine. God bless the state of Maine and the United States of America.”
Voter turnout has been high in Waterville so far today.From the time the polls opened folks were waiting in line to cast their ballots.It’s been a busy day so far in Waterville where in-person voting is up from 4 years ago.Voters have a lot of choices to make.There’s a State Representative seat and a State Senate seat up for grabs.In the race for the house seat, Democratic incumbent Henry Beck is being challenged by Republican challenger Mark Andre.Meanwhile Republican State Senator Tom Martin, the incumbent is being challenged by Demcorat Colleen Lashowicz.Folks in Somerset and Kennebec county are also choosing a new district attorney to replace Evert Fowle.Democrat Meaghan Maloney and Republican Darrick Banda are vying for that job.”It’s been very busy today. It was extremely busy this morning it leveled off a little at lunch time. I would expect another push around 5:00.”You can keep track of results on our website www.wabi.tv.
Retiring US Senator Olympia Snowe was in Maine to cast her ballot today, the final time as a member of Congress.She voted this morning at Falmouth High School.Snowe has endorsed Kevin Raye in the race for US House from Maine’s second district. Raye worked as an aide to Snowe for many years.Snowe announced in February she would not run for re-election after 34 years in congress, 18 of them as a senator. “I’ve loved public service, I always have. I love people and I love the institution of the Senate and Congress overall. I just regret not doing the job that’s necessary for these consequential times and that’s my deepest and most abiding concern, and I feel I can best contribute outside the system right now and move it in a different direction.”Snowe using her three-million dollars in campaign funds to start a leadership institute for high school girls.She’s also going to create a political action committee to support consensus-building candidates for the future.
Congressman Mike Michaud will be casting his ballot tonight in East Millinocket. He spent the day talking with voters throughout the second district, making stops in Lewiston, Gardner, Brewer and Bangor. He said he’s excited that election day is finally here. It hasn’t been all campaigning for him though, he’s also been keeping up with his congressional duties. “I’ve been doing my congressional work as well. There’s still a lot of work we have to do there and tomorrow morning I’ll be back on the road again meeting with constituents and getting ready to meet with the Undersecretary of the Veterans Administration, which will be coming to visit Togus this Thursday. We still have a lot of work that we have to do on the congressional side.”Michaud will be in East Millinocket tonight , waiting for the results with a group of family, friends, and supporters.
Officials in Lewiston are telling residents to be prepared for reduced and slowed city services on Election Day. City Clerk Kathy Montejo says the city uses many city employees to help work at the seven polling places to assist voters with election services on Tuesday. Those workers staff the polls from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. and as a result, services in various city departments will be slower due to limited remaining staff coverage. She suggests that people needing to do business with the city wait until Wednesday when city departments are fully staffed again. For those who just can’t wait. All city operations will be functioning, just with a smaller staff than usual. Residents with questions can call City Hall at 513-3000.
The Maine Ethics Commission has ruled that a Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives and his campaign treasurer violated state election law when the treasurer spent money on the candidate’s behalf through an outside group. The commission on Monday held off on assessing penalties pending further investigation. The commission met in a special session Monday after the Maine Democratic Party filed a complaint alleging illegal coordination between the campaign for Mike Nadeau of Fort Kent and an outside group that spent nearly $1,500 on his behalf. Nadeau’s campaign treasurer, Philip Soucy, is also treasurer for that group, Citizens for Effective Government. The Bangor Daily News, reports that Soucy denied any coordination. Nadeau is challenging Democratic Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake for an Aroostook County seat.
A standoff in the parking lot of a Shaw’s grocery store in Auburn ended safely Monday afternoon.State police officials say 45 year-old Randolph Nutter surrendered just before four.According to police, the standoff was actually started by an incident in a Walmart parking lot where a man grabbed a woman’s purse.She gave police a description of the car he took off in and that led them to the Shaw’s lot.Stores and two nearby streets that were forced to close down during the standoff were in the process of being reopened once it ended.
Independent Steve Woods was running for Senate but he dropped out Saturday night, throwing his support behind Angus King, saying “my commitment is to make sure that we have the best possible representation in Washington. I still believe I can provide that leadership, but I know that in an election, sometimes, for the good of the nation and the people of Maine, a candidate must bow out gracefully.”Woods is the Chairman of the Yarmouth Town Council and the CEO of Tide Smart Global.
Democrat Cynthia Dill was in a debate in Lewiston Saturday.Prior to that she said she’s continuing to spread the message that she’s offer a new perspective in Washington, “we Mainers need to stick together. We need to send new leadership. We don’t need the status quo. We don’t need extreme politics, we don’t need extreme wealth. What we need is a middle class, working mother, fighting for Maine families and that’s what I offer. We need more women in the Senate, we need younger people, we need a new generation of leadership.”All of the candidates for the seat being vacated by Senator Olympia Snowe spent their Saturday night debating, Dill, Summers, King and independents Andrew Ian Dodge and Danny Dalton.
Republican Charlie Summers was out and about meeting and greeting voters Saturday.The Secretary of State was at the Portland Expo, outside of the Maine Brewers’ Festival.Summers says he understands the fight of real people and will represent their needs if elected. “I understand the issues that they face every single day. Paying the mortgage, paying their taxes, sending their kids to school and as you look at that in comparison to the federal debt and what that can mean to the middle class and working people – farmers, truck divers nurses, those are the people that we’ve been reaching out to across the state to let them know that my life is just like theirs and I want to go to Washington and represent their interests.”Summers spent most of Saturday campaigning in the Portland area.
All three leading US Senate candidates from Maine could be seen on the campaign trail this weekendAs part of his bus tour, former governor Angus King visited USM’s Gorham campus Saturday.He met with students, had breakfast there and shared this food for thought, “it’s just a matter of trying to be civil, to listen and find common ground and I don’t have any illusions that I can do it all by myself, but you gotta start somewhere and that’s really what this campaign is all about. This could be some history here sending a genuine independent to the US Senate, who’s agenda is trying to get something done.”King’s bus tour ends in Brunswick tonight.
The Maine Forest Ranger Incident Management Team is helping with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.Wednesday, the team traveled to a coastal area of Queens, New York that was devastated by the storm surge and still without power.They’re using their expertise in managing large-scale incidents to help organize and distribute supplies such as food, water and blankets. Right now, the Maine Ranger Team is working out of its mobile command vehicle, which is set up in Brooklyn.
Police are investigating what appears to be an armed robbery of $5 that took place in the parking lot at the Maine Mall. Police say a woman who works near the mall was standing beside her car Sunday evening when a red Ford Mustang, with four young men inside, pulled up and asked for 70 cents to pay a Maine Turnpike toll. The woman says one of the car’s occupants was holding a handgun. The youth, who seemed to be playing with the gun, never pointed the gun at her. Police tell The Portland Press Herald, the woman felt scared and intimidated, so she gave the car’s occupants $5. Police contacted turnpike authorities to see if they had seen the car. They are also planning to review video footage.
The city of Portland and a local brewer have agreed to bring in a third party to settle a dispute over an estimated $1.5 million in sewer bills the brewery says were never received. City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg tells The Portland Press Herald an independent arbitrator is expected to hear arguments from the city and Shipyard Brewing Co. and render a binding decision, likely by the end of March. Fred Forsley, president and co-owner of Shipyard, refused comment. The city is seeking back payments for a 6-inch water line installed in 1996, for which the brewery was never billed. The brewery was only making payments on about 9 percent of its water usage. The sewer billing error was discovered in 2011.