Maine: Depraved fisherman found guilty in dog’s death that angered Down East community

The dog’s body floated ashore in Hancock in the summer of 2018.

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Justin Chipman, 24 and Nathan Burke, 39. Two very evil men.

ELLSWORTH — A Steuben man was found guilty of aggravated animal cruelty Thursday for the August 2018 death of a Boston terrier-pug named Franky that belonged to the defendant’s former boss, a Winter Harbor lobsterman.

The dog was missing for days when its body, wrapped in plastic, washed up across Frenchman Bay onto a private beach at the coastal home of Hancock County District Attorney Matt Foster. Franky’s death mystified and angered the Down East community of Winter Harbor, which lies on the Schoodic Peninsula east of Bar Harbor.

Franky died of a gunshot wound to the throat, according to a report submitted into evidence, Deputy District Attorney Toff Toffolon said.

Justin Chipman, 24, was found guilty of aggravated cruelty to animals, burglary, theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and unauthorized use of property in the daylong trial. A sentencing date was not known Thursday.

Defense attorney Robert Van Horn motioned for acquittal before closing statements.

Ultimately, Justice Robert Murray denied acquittal for four of the charges but granted the acquittal for the charge of aggravated criminal mischief.

The criminal mischief complaint was connected with damage done to the Hummer of Phil Torrey, Franky’s owner. The state did not introduce evidence that the vehicle had sustained $2,000 worth of damage.

Van Horn cited a lack of “direct evidence” tying his client to any of the crimes.

Toffolon advised the judge that circumstantial evidence could be considered and that the amount of circumstantial evidence in this case was “substantial.”

Toffolon cited Chipman’s departure from the area within a day of authorities discovering the dead dog.

“Where is Mr. Chipman? He’s fled to Bangor and secured a hotel room, where he stays until Sept. 2,” Toffolon said.

Toffolon said Chipman had motive to kill Franky because Chipman’s dog and Franky had an altercation two weeks earlier.

Chipman and co-defendant Nathan Burke, 39, were aware that Torrey and his family would be out of town because Torrey had invited them along and they declined, the prosecutor said.

Burke’s case is still pending.

Maine: Trial begins for Justin T. Chipman, accused of kidnapping and killing Franky, a terrier-pug

Franky, a 6-year-old mix, belonged to Phillip Torrey of Winter Harbor. The dog’s body floated ashore in Hancock in the summer of 2018.

 

ELLSWORTH — The trial of one of the men accused of aggravated cruelty to animals in the death of Boston terrier-pug Franky, whose body washed up at the shorefront home of the district attorney last year is scheduled to start Thursday, Nov. 14.

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Justin T. Chipman, 24 and Nathan Burke, 39. Two very evil men.

Justin T. Chipman, 24, of Steuben also has been indicted on charges of aggravated criminal mischief, burglary and theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and unauthorized use of property.

As of this week, no information was available on the case status of Chipman’s co-defendant Nathan Burke, 39, of Hancock.

In arrest warrant affidavits for Burke and Chipman, Winter Harbor Police Officer Eli Brown said Burke and Chipman burglarized Phil Torrey’s home on Aug. 24, 2018 and kidnapped his dog Franky, which was later found dead.

The dog’s body, which had been wrapped in plastic, floated to Hancock County District Attorney Matt Foster’s shorefront property in Hancock on Aug. 30, 2018. Brown stated in the affidavit that Franky had been shot in the throat.

Officer Brown said Burke, who was Torrey’s former sternman, and Chipman entered Torrey’s home, kidnapped Franky and took Torrey’s Hummer for a ride to a gravel pit, according to the affidavit.

Maine: Legislative Update from Senator Brownie Carson

Banning disposable Styrofoam dishware 

This week in Augusta, the Maine House and Senate voted unanimously to ban disposable cups, plates, and other products made of polystyrene, otherwise known as Styrofoam. On the Senate floor on Tuesday, I spoke in favor of the bill, LD 289 “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers,” sponsored by Rep. Stanley Zeigler:

“I think we all know the perils of polystyrene, how it stays in the environment if not forever, for hundreds of years; how it can’t be recycled; and the other problems that it has. I want to report that I had a brief conversation with the plant manager of Huhtamaki, the former Keyes Fibre plant in Waterville yesterday. That plant has been in business putting Maine people to work since 1903. Huhtamaki makes recycled and recyclable paper products including single use food containers.

They buy newsprint on the open market, bring it to Maine, make pulp out of it, and make trays for multiple cups of coffee or other beverages. They make food trays that are both from recycled material and compostable, and importantly they make some, but not all, of the single use food containers such as paper plates. They are safe, they are made from recyclable material, they are recyclable themselves, and Huhtamaki in Waterville, Maine puts 500 men and women to work with good paying jobs. I urge you please to follow my light and vote ought to pass.” The bill faces a final vote in the Senate before it is sent to Governor Mills.

Expanding mental health education in Maine schools 

One of my top priorities this session is to ensure that health education in Maine schools includes lessons about mental health. A bill I sponsored, LD 1024 “An Act To Include Mental Health Education in Maine Schools,” was approved by the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee on April 8.

It is rare that we pick up a report on children’s health today that does not reference mental health.

Teaching our kids how to be more conversant about mental health will surely bring this subject out of the shadows. It will help kids who are experiencing mental health problems to recognize them and seek counseling or peer support more often. LD 1024 would require health education instruction in elementary, middle, junior high and high schools to include lessons in mental health and the relationship between physical and mental health. The bill now faces votes before the Maine House and Senate.

Lowering the cost of prescription drugs 

This week I also testified before the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee in support of legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Maine. Getting prescription drug prices under control is critically important because prescription costs drive up overall health care costs. In order to provide relief to Maine people, we must properly regulate pharmacy benefit managers — companies that are taking advantage of Maine people by manipulating the prices of drugs to their own benefit.

The cost of prescription drugs is one of the biggest drivers of rising health care costs in the country. In the U.S., one in four Americans struggles to pay for their prescription medication while one in ten Americansdoes not take their medicine as prescribed to stay afloat. According to the National Academy for State Health Policy, about 200 bills have been filed in 42 state legislatures to address the cost of prescription drugs. Of those bills, 88 have to do with pharmacy benefit managers, 25 are related to wholesale importation, and 13 are related to drug affordability review or rate setting.

Studying the proposed CMP Corridor 

On Wednesday, the Environment Committee voted in favor of my bill to require a study of the CMP Corridor’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The bill, LD 640, was approved by a 10-3 vote. It now heads to the House and Senate. I feel that this study is absolutely crucial as legislators, regulators, and the public consider whether this project should move forward or not.

Creating a paid family and medical leave program 

Finally, I testified as a cosponsor this morning on Speaker Sara Gideon’s paid family and medical leave legislation, LD 1410. I believe this legislation is important for many reasons. This program will provide employers with a higher likelihood of experienced employees returning after time off because of illness or family leave-making for a more stable and seasoned work force for that employer. Maine workers will also feel more valued and respected: paid family and medical leave will allow them to tend to important responsibilities without having to leave, or be fired from, a job because they need to care for a new child or an aging parent.

Some Maine workers have paid family and medical leave now through employer-designed programs or collective bargaining agreements. But many do not. All Maine workers should have this benefit.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me at Brownie.Carson@legislature.maine.gov or (207) 287-1515. You can also follow me on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/BrownieForMaine/. I look forward to serving you in the coming year.

Best regards,

“A Message from the Future with AOC”: New Film Imagines World Transformed by the Green New Deal

APRIL 18, 2019

As the push for the Green New Deal builds momentum in the United States, The Intercept has released a short illustrated video imagining a future shaped by the progressive environmental movement. It’s titled “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.” The New York congressmember narrates the film to envision an America that has been transformed by the Green New Deal policies, including a just transition of jobs, Medicare for all, and a total overhaul of the country’s energy system. The result is a vision of radical hope and transformation. The film features stunning artwork by award-winning illustrator Molly Crabapple. It is presented by The Intercept and Naomi Klein, co-written by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis, and co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt.

Maine: Bill to ban foam food containers in Maine passes Legislature, heads to Gov. Mills

If a proposed bill is signed into law by Governor Janet Mills, Maine would become one of the first states in the country to ban the use of disposable foam food containers.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would ban the sale or use of disposable foam food containers in Maine is advancing in Legislature, despite divided opinions among various state organizations.

Rep. Stanley Zeigler (D-Montville) is sponsoring LD 289, “An Act To Prohibit the Use of Certain Disposable Food Service Containers”.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, this bill would prohibit stores from selling or distributing any disposable food containers that are made entirely or partially of polystyrene foam, or styrofoam.

The bill would also require the Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules that would implement these provisions.

“With the threats posed by plastic pollution becoming more apparent, costly, and even deadly to wildlife, we need to be doing everything possible to limit our use and better manage our single-use, disposable plastics — starting with eliminating the use of unnecessary forms like plastic foam,” said Sarah Lakeman, Director of Sustainable Maine. “There are affordable alternatives to foam that are less wasteful and less harmful to the environment we can be pursuing.”

On Tuesday, April 16, the bill was approved by the Senate. It faces a series of procedural votes and will then head to Gov. Janet Mills for review.

If signed into law, Maine would become one of the first states in the country to ban the use of disposable foam food containers.

RELATED: Maine house advances bill on statewide foam ban

The support behind this bill, however, is largely divided. In the 87-51 House vote earlier this month, the Portland Press Herald reported that all Republicans opposed the bill, while all Democrats and Independents supported it.

“The Maine Chamber of Commerce is skeptical about legislation that bans products in the market on a state by state basis,” said Ben Gilman, Senior Government Relations Specialist at the MCC. “We prefer market decisions to be based on consumers driving decisions.”

Gilman added that the impact of a state by state ban could create an unbalanced playing field for business in Maine, as compared to other states.

Other groups, like the Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association and the Maine Tourism Association, also oppose the proposed ban, saying it would hike up prices for Mainers.

“We continue to express concerns as this bill moves through the Maine legislature,” said Christine Cummings, Executive Director of MGFPA. “If the bill passes, it would make Maine an outlier as the first in the nation to pass such as a ban on polystyrene for food service containers. Increased product costs will occur, and our Maine residents, the customers, will inevitably incur the price of banning polystyrene and sourcing alternatives.”

Still, those in favor of the bill say that styrofoam can’t be recycled in the state and is costly to towns and cities. They also say there are affordable alternatives to styrofoam, which could help prevent pollution.

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, more than 150 municipalities or regions have already banned disposable foam food containers, including 14 towns in Maine. They have also been banned in state facilities and functions since 1990.

Chimpanzees go into retirement as US relaxes animal testing

From laboratory to sanctuary, we meet the chimpanzees getting a new lease on life.

The United States was the last major nation to perform invasive testing on chimpanzees, infecting them with HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases.

It stopped in 2015 because of animal cruelty concerns. Now, instead of living out their days in a lab, the chimps have gone into retirement in a new home.

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren reports from Keithville in Louisiana.

Pot smoker finds tiger in abandoned house in Texas

Tiger

Police say the tiger, not pictured, was found in a ‘rinky-dink’ cage

A person who went into an abandoned house so they could smoke cannabis found a neglected tiger inside.

Police in Houston, Texas, said that when the person called to report what they had seen on Monday, they thought the caller was hallucinating.

But when they arrived there was indeed a large tiger, locked inside a cramped cage in the garage.

A few packages of meat had been kept nearby, but there was otherwise no sign that anyone lived in the house.

Officers told local news networks that they will now investigate how it ended up there.

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They said the “concerned citizen” who first saw the tiger didn’t live in the house, and was just trying to get in so they could “smoke marijuana”.

“We questioned them as to whether they were under the effects of the drugs or [whether] they actually saw a tiger,” Jason Alderete, from Houston Police Department, told ABC-affiliate KTRK.

Police also described the cage as “rinky-dink”, according to CBS, and said it had been secured with a screwdriver and a nylon strap.

Despite being relatively calm for a tiger in its situation, it had to be tranquilised so animal rescue officers could get it out of the house safely.

It is now being transferred to a sanctuary elsewhere in Texas – although the exact location has not been publicly disclosed.

Tigers are native to South and South East Asia, and to the far-east of Russia. They are endangered – the WWF estimates there are fewer than 4,000 left in the wild.