Latest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont news, sports, business and entertainment at 3:20 a.m. EDT



Democrat Gideon wins primary, will face GOP Sen Collins

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon has beaten two Democrats for the right to challenge U.S. Sen. Susan Collins this fall. Gideon, who’s raised $23 million in her Senate bid, turned back challenges by activist Betsy Sweet and attorney Bre Kidman on Tuesday. Collins, a centrist Republican seeking a fifth term, is a top Democratic target and viewed as vulnerable in a state where a tradition of political independence is clashing with rising polarization and partisanship. Gideon will further boost her fundraising haul with the victory. A $3.7 million crowdsourced fund for Collins’ challenger was established during the Senate fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.


Kennebunk beach swimmers saved by surfer and a boogie board

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — A 14-year-old surfer saved a woman from drowning at Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk by pulling her onto his surfboard. Lucas Drinkwater told WGME-TV that the drama unfolded last weekend when he and another person heard screams, and rescued a mother and daughter in the water. He helped one of the women while someone on a boogie board helped the other. Kennebunk Fire Rescue Division Chief John Brady said that the two women got in trouble at the beach despite being experienced and familiar with it. He blamed storms offshore for creating rough conditions.


Powerful thunderstorms dump hail on Maine’s York County

SANFORD, Maine (AP) — Powerful thunderstorms have pummeled parts of southern Maine, knocking down trees and leaving some people without electricity. The storm also brought copious amounts of hail Tuesday afternoon. The hail was so thick that at least one community brought out a snow plow to clear roads. Two to four inches of of hail fell during the storm in Sanford, which brought out a plow. The number of homes and businesses in the dark numbered about 132 by Tuesday evening.


Man convicted of felony murder must be sentenced again

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A man convicted of felony murder won a second legal victory Tuesday when Maine’s supreme court tossed his 30-year sentence. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled last year that Aubrey Armstrong’s conviction of both felony murder and felony robbery violated the Constitution’s double-jeopardy clause. It ordered a lower court judge to merge the conviction into one charge, but on Tuesday, said the judge didn’t follow guidelines and sent the case back for a second re-sentencing. Armstrong, of Far Rockaway, New York. was convicted in the killing of Joseph Marceau, of Augusta, who was bound and beaten in 2015.


Former state rep leads Maine GOP primary for House seat

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A former Maine state representative is leading in the Republican primary for a competitive House district, but additional voting rounds under ranked-choice voting might be necessary to declare a victor. Dale Crafts had a lead but was shy of the 50% threshold with half of precincts reporting Tuesday evening. The race also included former television reporter Adrienne Bennett and former state Sen. Eric Brakey. If there is no majority winner, the last-place candidate will be eliminated and those voters’ second choices will be reallocated to determine a winner. The process could take several days. The winner will run against Democratic Rep. Jared Golden.


Jackson, Gideon propose special session for Maine lawmakers

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson and House Speaker Sara Gideon are proposing that lawmakers return for a special session next month. The Maine Legislature adjourned March 17 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving much of the decision making during the crisis to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who declared a state of emergency. Jackson said the number of coronavirus cases is decreasing and that it’s now time for lawmakers to return to Augusta “and finish the job.” Under the Maine Constitution, the leaders of both chambers must query lawmakers on their views on returning to Augusta. They would meet at the Augusta Civic Center to ensure adequate social distancing.



Governor: New Hampshire won’t require schools to reopen

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire will not require any schools to reopen this fall, but is offering guidance on how districts can do so safely. Gov. Chris Sununu on Tuesday outlined recommendations for screening, social distancing, hygiene and other safety measures aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus. While President Donald Trump is demanding that schools resume in-person instruction, New Hampshire is leaving it to each school district to decide whether to fully return to the classroom, continue with remote instruction or combine those two options. Schools that do reopen must provide accommodations for students and educators who are not able to return due to underlying health concerns.


Police commission feels crunch, may ask for extension

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A commission examining police accountability in New Hampshire is feeling the time crunch to get its recommendations to the governor. The Commission on Law Enforcement, Accountability, Community and Transparency formed by Gov. Chris Sununu in the wake of the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis began meeting last month. It was given 45 days to submit its recommendations to Sununu, but members on Tuesday discussed that they have a lot more work to do in that time frame. The commission is considering asking Sununu for more time to prepare its report. In the meantime, members approved encouraging written testimony and putting time limits on speakers and commissioners’ questioning.


Forecasters: Flash flooding in North Country, Vermont

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A hospital in northern New Hampshire has reported flooding in and around the building, as the National Weather Service issued warnings of flash flooding in much of New Hampshire’s North Country and areas of northeastern Vermont. WMUR-TV reports the state Emergency Operations Center reported flash flooding in the town of Woodsville early Tuesday and in and around Cottage Hospital. Some surgeries were canceled. The waters have since receded; it wasn’t immediately known if there was any damage to the building. In Vermont, the forecasters said up to 3 inches of rain had already fallen in some areas of Essex and Caledonia counties, and flooding was underway. Heavy thunderstorms are also forecast for western Maine, which also expected hail.


Manchester reaches deal with feds to improve river quality

Two federal agencies have reached a deal with New Hampshire’s largest city to enact measures that will help reduce river pollution. The deal announced Monday between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and Manchester calls for implementing a 20-year plan to control and significantly reduce overflows of its sewer system, which will improve the water quality of the Merrimack River. Officials say the $231 million effort should cut down on the amount of sewage from the city’s wastewater treatment systems that reaches the river. The Merrimack River is the main source of drinking water for more than 500,000 people.


Judge rules against man challenging NH city’s mask rules

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A judge says Nashua’s face-covering ordinance and the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency will stand while they’re being challenged in court. Nashua resident Andrew Cooper had filed a request for a preliminary injunction as part of his lawsuit seeing to end Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency declaration and the city’s rules requiring members of the public to wear face masks when entering any business, work site or government building. He argued that Sununu lacked the authority to make the declaration because “there is no ‘emergency’ in New Hampshire,” a claim that Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn said Monday defied common sense.


Additional charges for jailed white nationalist

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A leading white nationalist has been indicted on additional charges related to a dispute he was having last year with an unidentified person on a messaging app. Christopher Cantwell, a New Hampshire resident who rose to prominence in 2017 after a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has remained in federal custody since he pleaded not guilty to using the Telegram messaging app last year to threaten to rape the wife of the person he was having a dispute with and expose their personal information on the internet. His lawyer, Jeff Levin, had no comment on the additional charges.



Vermont reports 30 possible virus cases in Manchester

The Vermont Health Department is reporting 30 possible cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 in Manchester. Health Department spokesman Ben Truman says that as of 3 p.m. Monday there were 30 positive antigen results from testing done at the Manchester Medical Center. He says antigen tests are faster, but not as accurate as the diagnostic tests relied on by the Health Department and so are not included in the department’s case counts. Health department officials are working to confirm the results. They are also working with people who tested positive as if they were confirmed cases and they are trying to learn if there are any common sources of the suspected infections.


U of Vermont trustees vote to divest from fossil fuels

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The University of Vermont is divesting from fossil fuels. The university’s board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to divest. The university says it will immediately end new direct investment in fossil fuels and will fully divest from public investments in fossil fuels by July 2023. It will allow pre-existing multi-year private investments, which it stopped acquiring in 2017, to lapse. UVM will continue investing in opportunities that focus on sustainability, climate change and mitigation. President Suresh Garimella says divesting from fossil fuels is the right thing to do given the school’s history and longstanding commitment to sustainability.


Vermont governor signs law on police accountability

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott has signed into law a bill designed to increase accountability of the state’s law enforcement officers. In a Monday letter to lawmakers that accompanied a notice that he had signed the bill into law, Scott made several suggestions about how he felt the law could be improved. As signed, the bill bans police in Vermont from using chokeholds, orders state troopers to wear body cameras and requires law enforcement agencies to comply with racial data reporting requirements in order to qualify for state grant funding. Both the House and Senate passed the proposal unanimously last month in the closing hours of the first portion of the Legislature’s 2020 session.


Vermont police department investigates after shots reported

WILLISTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont police department is investigating after receiving reports that gunshots were fired in Williston. There were no reports of injuries. Police received multiple reports of shots being fired in Maple Tree Place in Williston at about 10:20 p.m. Monday. Williston police requested assistance from the Vermont State Police, Richmond police and the Williston Fire Department. Witnesses told police several shots were fired and there was possibly an exchange of gunfire between two people. The witnesses reported said everyone involved fled before police arrived.


Vermont receives 10 times the mail-in ballot requests as ’16

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos says voters across the state have requested more than 10 times as many early ballots as were filed in 2016, the last presidential election year. Speaking ahead of the Aug. 11 primary election, Condos’ office said that as of Monday afternoon, just under 82,000 voters had requested early ballots compared with just under 8,000 in 2016. There is an increased emphasis on voting by mail this year to help make the process safer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Condos says people who receive ballots by mail can return them by mail, drop them off at their town or city clerk’s office or bring them to their polling place on election day.

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