PORTLAND, Maine - This year’s Maine ballot features five citizen-initiated referenda and a bond issue. Maine Public’s Irwin Gratz talked with longtime political columnist Al Diamon to get his thoughts on the issues and the campaigns being waged around the measures. Al writes the column, “Politics and Other Mistakes,” for several Maine publications.


SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A nonprofit group led by a Republican state legislator is being penalized $672 for failing to disclose spending on a campaign flier targeting Democratic Rep. Jeff McCabe.

The Maine Ethics Commission contacted Republican Rep. Larry Lockman of Amherst after the Morning Sentinel reported on the fliers, which claimed that McCabe supported harboring illegal immigrants and terrorists in Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Preble Street homeless resource center in Portland will receive more than $1 million from the federal government to help find people homes and combat human trafficking.

More than $600,000 of the money will pay for transitional services that offer rapid re-housing and supported housing for homeless and at-risk lesbian, gay and transgender youths. The rest of the money will go toward services for victims of human trafficking.

PORTLAND, Maine — Police say they’ve arrested a man dressed as a tree in Portland for blocking traffic.

The man did not respond to officers when they warned him against obstructing traffic in a busy intersection in the city’s downtown.

WCSH-TV posted video of the man being arrested after he blocked traffic again.

A friend of the man says he was attempting to study the city’s traffic patterns.

The man appeared to be dressed as a pine tree or other type of evergreen.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Sunday River resort will be without one of its ski lifts this winter.

The Spruce Peak Triple failed - and ultimately fell down - this summer. The resort investigated and found that the lift needed to be replaced. But the resort's communications director, Darcy Lambert, says it didn't make sense to do it right now. She says construction would mean closing a lot of otherwise open terrain during the resort's busiest season.

BANGOR, Maine - Democratic 2nd Congressional District candidate Emily Cain said today that Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin let firefighters down when he refused to co-sponsor a healthcare bill for 9/11 first responders.

Poliquin says that he voted for the legislation last December.  But during a Bangor press event, John Martell, president of the Professional Firefighters of Maine and a Cain supporter, said that doesn't matter.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has updated its recommendations to protect against sleep-related infant deaths — babies should sleep in the same room as their parents for the first six months to one year of life, but on a separate surface.

Putting babies to bed in the same room as their parents can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, by as much as 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Interstate fishing regulators who want to get a firmer handle on how many horseshoe crabs die as part of their harvest for biomedical use are meeting this week to discuss the issue.

The crabs are harvested for their blue blood, which is used to make sure medical products aren't contaminated. Their blood contains a chemical that can be used to detect bacteria.

PORTLAND, Maine - Several municipalities across Maine have moved to enact moratoriums on marijuana social clubs and retailers in anticipation of the passage of referendum Question 1 on the November ballot.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the ballot measure would legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 if it's ultimately approved.

LEWISTON, Ma - Officials say Donald Trump Jr. will be in Maine to campaign for his father at events in Lewiston, Auburn and Gray in the near future.

Trump Jr., the executive vice president of The Trump Organization, is the oldest child of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Attempts made by the Portland Press Herald to confirm details of the events and the exact timing of Trump Jr.'s visit to Maine were unsuccessful.

The candidate has visited the state four times during his campaign, the latest of which was a rally held in Bangor on Oct. 15.

AUGUSTA, Maine - House Republican leader Kenneth Fredette is calling on a GOP legislative candidate to drop out after he was arrested Sunday for alleged domestic assault in Saco.

The candidate, Mark Bedell, is being held without bail at the York County Jail, according to the Saco Police Department.

Police say they arrested Bedell Sunday night after a 42-year-old woman reported he had assaulted her earlier that day.

Bedell, age 50, was charged with aggravated assault, a Class B crime. Bedell is expected to be arraigned this afternoon.

PORTLAND, Maine - Several southern Maine water utilities now have plans for how they might share water resources in the future.

Norm Labbe, of the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells Water district, says the plan isn't a direct response to the recent drought.

ELLSWORTH, Maine - Schools in Ellsworth are closed while police search for a suspect in a nearby shooting.

Police said officers responded to a report of a person shooting at a vehicle with several people inside. No one was hurt but the rear window was shattered.

Police were searching Monday for 41-year-old Aaron Wagner of Ellsworth, who's facing charges of reckless conduct with a firearm and aggravated criminal mischief.

By Wayne Parry, The Associated Press
FAIR HAVEN, N.J. - Some specially trained dogs are helping humans curb themselves.

A company that has trained dogs to recognize the smell of human fecal bacteria has been sniffing out sources of water pollution nationwide. The dogs have discovered broken sewer pipes, leaking septic tanks and illegal sewage discharges.

The dogs give an instant yes-or-no indication as to whether a particular location is contaminated with human fecal bacteria. That's much faster than lab testing.

NEWRY, Maine — Sunday River will be without one of its ski lifts this winter.

The ski resort has notified season pass holders that the Spruce Peak Triple that failed over the summer won’t be replaced in time for the upcoming season.

An investigation cited grout failure for allowing the foundation of the top terminal to separate from the mountaintop, causing the structure to topple over. No one was hurt because it happened during the summer when the lift was not in operation.