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Portland Landlord Found Not Guilty on Six Manslaughter Counts

Portland landlord Gregory Nisbet has been acquitted of manslaughter in the deaths of six people who died in a fire at his Noyes Street property two years ago.
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A species of moth infamous for an itchy, painful rash caused by the hairs of its larvae increased in population and territory in Maine this year and will likely spread even more in 2017.

The browntail moth is an invasive insect that came to New England from Europe just before the turn of the 19th century. The moths begin their lives as caterpillars with poisonous hairs that can cause skin irritation resembling a poison ivy rash.


Parts of Maine are poised to get their first taste of snow this season.

The National Weather Service says the plummeting temperature will cause rain to turn to snow late Saturday and into Sunday in northwestern Maine. Meteorologist Chris Kimball says higher terrain could see 3 to 4 inches, while lower elevations will see only an inch or so of snow.

The rest of the state will see more rain after downpours Friday night into Saturday _ between 1 and 2.5 inches before it ends.

The rain is needed. The federal government says more than 1.2 million residents -nearly all of Maine's population -is dealing with moderate to extreme drought conditions.

State government is auctioning off over 150 rifles, shot guns and hand guns this weekend. The auction is expected to generate thousands of dollars for the state.

“We actually contract out the auction in this case where the firearms are actually up for auction to the highest bidder and it is done through a federally licensed firearms dealer,” says David Heidrich, spokesman for the Department of Finance and Administration that oversees the sale of surplus state property.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about a road study that would create a traffic nightmare — and used the advance notice to ask about his office's relationship with the local mayor, former top aide Bridget Kelly testified in court Friday. Kelly also said that Christie had cursed and thrown a water bottle at her.

Hackers have attacked a major Internet infrastructure company, causing intermittent disruptions Friday to websites and services including Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and Airbnb.

The victim of the attack is a New Hampshire-based company called Dyn (pronounced "dine"). It might not be a household name, but Dyn is one of the companies that sit between you and some of the biggest websites and services — and help make sure that when you type in a Web address, your traffic is properly routed.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine is getting some much-needed rain today and tomorrow - but it's not going to make a big difference in the drought.

Almost 70 percent of Maine is now in a drought that's affecting about 1.2 million people. Of those, many who use shallow dug wells for their water supply are finding those wells drying up.  That's especially true in southern Maine where the drought is worst.

PORTLAND, Maine - A survey done for Colby College and the Boston Globe shows a growing, bi-partisan desire for compromise on political issues.  

Dan Shea, a professor of government at Colby's Goldfarb Center, says the most recent poll results show a shift in attitudes over the last six years:

"Spring of 2010, very few strong conservatives and Republicans wanted to compromise," Shea says. "I think that they thought they were going to win the mid-term election - which, of course, they did.  And they sort of stuck with that for a while.  Now that's changed."

Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conference.
Mal Leary / MPBN/file

Editor’s note: Off Mic is a blog about things you might have missed in Maine politics. It’s a place for those news tidbits that aren’t quite a story, or that were part of story but were hacked out by a thoughtless editor.

Leftovers from the notebook while assailing the rigged hiring process that landed me this job ...

BANGOR, Maine - A Maine group that promotes bicycling says it's noticed an uptick in the number of fatal crashes between automobiles and bicyclists and pedestrians in recent weeks. Three people have been killed in separate incidents since Oct. 10, bringing the total of fatalities so far this year to 11 - on pace with last year. The Maine Bicycle Coalition's James Tasse says dangerous road design, distracted driving, and bikers and walkers not paying attention all play a role. "There are a lot of factors at play," he says.

BANGOR, Maine - As autumn produce starts hitting the shelves, Maine's cranberry harvest appears to be strong, despite fears over drought conditions.

"Might even prove to be a little bit above average size yield this year," says Charles Armstrong, a cranberry expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service.


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