Maine: Augusta police officer Sabastian Guptill involved in shooting

Officer Sabastian Guptill is on leave after nonfatally shooting a man in an altercation Sunday morning.

BY ROB WOLFE, STAFF WRITER, Portland Press Herald

An Augusta police officer on Sunday morning shot and nonfatally injured a man police say was wanted on charges from the Fairfield Police Department.

Sabastian Guptill and other officers visited a house on South Belfast Avenue in Augusta, where they found 27-year-old Robert Farrington, of Augusta.

An altercation followed in which Guptill shot Farrington, who police say was wanted on charges of domestic violence and cruelty to animals.

Guptill was not injured, and Farrington was taken to the hospital, where he is in stable condition.

“Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this heartbreaking incident,” the Augusta Police Department said in a news release Sunday.

Police did not describe what led to the shooting, saying only that “an incident involving deadly force occurred.”

The department called the incident an “armed altercation,” but did not specify whether or not Farrington was armed.

Guptill is on paid administrative leave while the Maine Attorney General’s Office investigates the shooting, as is standard for use of deadly force by police.

In the past three decades, the attorney general has looked into about 150 police shootings and determined that all were justified.

A new independent panel was created this summer to investigate incidents where police use deadly force and make policy recommendations.

 

Maine Police Shooting Reports Archive: Deadly Force

Legislative Update from Maine State Senator Brownie Carson

brownie at veterans event

Dear friends, neighbors and constituents,

On Monday, I was back at the State House with legislative colleagues. As you know, we voted on four important bond issues, all of which I supported. Endorsing all of these bonds would have allowed us to send a package of critical investments to voters this November: $20 million for Land for Maine’s Future (LMF); $105 million for road and bridge maintenance; $23 million for broadband, technical education and upgrading National Guard facilities; and $15 million for environmental infrastructure and energy efficiency. Unfortunately, we approved only one — the transportation bond.

In advance of the special session, I made calls to Senate colleagues who appeared to be “on the fence” about whether to vote for the LMF bond. I reminded them that voters have strongly endorsed every one of the six LMF bonds that have appeared on ballots since 1987. There is absolutely no question about both the value of, and popular support for, protecting farmland, working forests, wildlife habitat, high-value recreational land, access to working waterfronts, and more. I spoke in favor of this bond on the senate floor. To approve this bond, we needed one Republican vote to meet the two-thirds requirement; we did not get a single one. Putting it mildly, I was very disappointed at the end of the day.

We must re-start the LMF program, and funds from this bond would have done that. I also believe that we must invest in maintenance and upgrades to our state parks. There was significant controversy at the end of session in June about any borrowing (except the transportation bond). As a compromise, the governor reduced the overall size of this bond package and spit it into four separate bonds. When the legislature reconvenes in January, we will revisit the bonds that failed on Monday. Our rural residents need reliable high-speed internet; our technical schools deserve our support; all of Maine’s infrastructure, including water and sewer as well as roads and bridges, needs to be kept up.

In addition, we took up the question of whether to use ranked-choice voting for the 2020 presidential primary in Maine. This was a “hold-over” bill. Thanks to so many who wrote emails in the past week — most in support, some in opposition. I have carefully considered this issue since it first surfaced several years ago. I believe that RCV strengthens our electoral system, making every vote count when there is a particularly close election. Having voters engaged and evaluating all candidates, not just our top choice in a crowded field, is a very good thing. So, I voted “yes” on LD 1083, and it was enacted in the Senate. It’s now in the hands of Governor Mills, for her to approve, veto or hold.

One final thought: As we spend time with family and friends on Labor Day, it’s important to remember that before Labor Day was a national holiday, before the labor movement took root, workers across our country faced unbearably long hours, often in unsafe conditions. Many factories used child labor. Now, our laws protect workers, and we expanded those protections this year. More workers will have access to paid family leave and loggers now have the same right to organize that farmers and lobstermen already had. I will always support policies that value hardworking people throughout Maine.

I hope you’re enjoying these final days of summer. It has been wonderful to spend so much time outdoors in Harpswell!

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: www.facebook.com/BrownieForMaine/. Thank you for the honor of serving you in the Maine Senate.

Best regards,

Brownie

Maine: Police investigating human remains found in Augusta

Augusta Police Deputy Chief Kevin Lully says a person walking on the north end of Washington Street on Sunday afternoon saw the bones.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Human remains have been found in a wooded area in Maine.

Augusta Police Deputy Chief Kevin Lully says a person walking on the north end of Washington Street on Sunday afternoon saw the bones. The area is just north of Mill Park.

The Kennebec Journal reports that officers stayed at the scene until about 8 p.m.

Lully says that identifying the remains could take time.

Augusta city police have contacted Gardiner police and the state police Major Crimes Unit regarding the case.

Officials from Gardiner Police Department were not immediately available for comment.

Maine: Legislative Update from Senator Brownie Carson

055f8802-f9b5-4c09-aeef-4b7bf95f5b54.jpgDear friends and constituents,

The legislative session is well underway, with approximately 700 of the anticipated 2,000 bills now printed and ready for committee review. Just as bills began arriving at my two committees, we paused to hold confirmation hearings for the governor’s nominees to lead the Department of Education (Pender Makin, former assistant superintendent of the Brunswick School Department) and Department of Environmental Protection (Jerry Reid, director of the natural resources section of the attorney general’s office).

Before the hearings, I met with both nominees, discussed their work histories and reasons for wanting to serve in these cabinet posts, and spoke with colleagues who had worked with them. Both came highly recommended, with extensive experience in their respective fields. Ms. Makin’s hearing was short and without controversy; she was quickly confirmed. Mr. Reid’s was long and, at times, difficult, because of his participation in litigation on water quality and Native American sustenance fishing rights. These issues have decades of history in Maine legislation and courts and more than two hundred years of history in federal legislation, treaties, and the federal courts. After dozens of citizens testified, and Mr. Reid stated his commitment to working directly with the tribes to resolve these issues, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee voted unanimously to confirm his appointment.

Both of these nominees received my full support. Ms. Makin has dedicated her professional life to working in and advocating for quality public education. She has taught students who are “hard to reach,” and she came to Brunswick after her tenure as principal of The Real School in Falmouth. She was honored as Principal of the Year several years ago. She is equally committed to special education, gifted and talented programs, and technical education. She will also invest in and improve early childhood education.

Mr. Reid has served in the attorney general’s office since finishing law school nearly 25 years ago. In the natural resources section, he enforced Maine’s clean air and clean water laws; he fought to clean up the mercury contamination at the former Holtrachem site on the Penobscot River at Orrington; he advised the Board of Environmental Protection on the terms of environmental licenses for large scale developments; and he helped coordinate multi-state defense of both national and state environmental standards against efforts to weaken protection by the Trump administration.  He knows the issues and problems that DEP will need to address in the years ahead and is prepared to take on the environmental challenges Maine will face.

Both of the committees on which I serve will have substantial workloads. In ENR, we just reviewed a proposed new rule that would allow replacement and expansion of oil and gasoline storage facilities (including gas stations) over drinking water aquifers. In my view, we must protect these aquifers – no question. But, with outdated technology and older tanks, ought we consider allowing new, larger tanks with the best, most updated technology? We will work this bill very carefully.

In the Education Committee, we recently heard extensive testimony about the need for increased state investment in the cost of health insurance for retired teachers. Retirement benefits are often modest, and the cost of health insurance continues to rise. Teacher retirement pays a much smaller share of this cost than does the Maine State Retirement System. If we are going to attract and retain talented teachers for our schools, I believe we must increase this investment. We will also see bills on expanding early childhood education, improving science/technology curricula, mental health education, and more – and even a proposal to ban certain books.

One final note on a legislative issue that goes back to 2017: you may remember that I was lead sponsor of LD 1108, An Act to Restore Public Health Nursing Services. This law was enacted over then Gov. LePage’s veto, and it became effective in October 2017. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), under the previous administration, continued to resist rebuilding Maine’s public health nursing service. Last July, I sued DHHS, simply asking that the court order the department to follow the law. While that litigation is still pending, I have started talks with the Mills Administration and envision resolving this dispute with an agreement that we will fully restore this vital public service. More very soon, I hope!

If you would like to comment on these or any other issues, I can be reached at Brownie.Carson@legislature.maine.gov and my office phone is (207) 287-1515. Please allow some time for a response, as our agenda is packed.

Thank you for the honor of representing you.

Political Brew: Thousands of bills; and the 2020 race is on and Susan Collins relys on out-of-State funding.

As the legislative session ramps up, some surprising proposals bubble up. But should they all be taken seriously? And Sen. Susan Collins’ fundraising shows the campaign season never ends.

Phil Harriman and John Richardson are skeptical about a bill proposed last week that would force a consumer takeover of Central Maine Power and Emera Maine, two companies with a combined worth estimated at $4 billion.

Former Speaker of the House John Richardson acknowledges that “CMP has some serious customer relations problems, and that in my opinion is what’s driving this bill. Does this bill have a reasonable chance of getting through? Of course not.”

Phil Harriman, a former state senator, feels “This is not this is not the direction the Maine Legislature should be going, which says to private business, ‘we don’t like the way you’re  doing business, so we are going to take over your business.’ I don’t think that’s going to work.”

They also discuss a proposal that was floated and quickly withdrawn that would have required Mainers to buy snow tires for their vehicles. Our analysts believe this sort of bill points out a chronic problem for the Maine Legislature. A couple of thousand bills are introduced at the start of each session.

Says Harriman, “Every legislator has the right during ‘open season’ to put in any bill of any type that they want. And this is why you see bills like this being introduced. They’re not going anywhere, and it makes fodder for those who want to criticize the way government operates.”

And Richardson says “When these kinds of bills come forward it makes a mockery of the legislature. What happens unfortunately, is that everybody is tainted with ‘what are you trying to do? Force us to buy snow tires?'”

Campaign finance reports this past week revealed that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)  brought in $1.8 million in the last quarter of 2018, following her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

John Richardson says that controversial vote was good politics for Collins, at least outside of Maine. “I think that’s where she’s gaining and will gain most of the money she raises for the next election. She could raise more than $10 million for the 2020 race.”

Harriman says this is a sign that “This is what politics has become today. Campaigns never end. We don’t put our party affiliation aside and operate as Americans or Mainers anymore, it’s all about the election.”

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report

Maine gets a ‘D’ on sex trafficking report card! (What the hell?!)

A national organization says Maine needs to do more to protect children who are victims.
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When it comes to the issue of sex trafficking, the organization ‘Shared Hope International’ has given the state of Maine a ‘D’ on it’s report card of all 50 states and the laws currently in place.

Maine is one of 25 states in the nation where children can be arrested for the crime of prostitution.

“I think the big issue with Maine and 5 other states is they haven’t moved any of the laws… In Maine we have worked with law changes, but there seems to be not any hurry, they don’t believe their constituents care” said Linda Smith, the President and founder of Shared Hope International.

While there is a lot of work to be done to get Maine’s report card to improve, Smith thinks the place to start is clear.

“If your law considers her a victim of a crime and takes them out of the prostitution law and says those types of laws are for adults making choices, not for children… that’s your number one and then your demand falls right behind it because if she’s a victim of a crime, your law enforcement call fall back to it’s training, which it really needs, that she should not be arrested but they should go after the buyers….. they go after the traffickers, they go after the facilitators, but most often the buyer walks away without penalty”

To learn more, go here: www.sharedhope.org

Author: Lee Goldberg, News Center Maine

Maine: 51 year-old Joseph Webber found dead in Alton home

Police have identified the man as 51-year-old Joseph Webber. Police responded to 4592 Bennoch Road in Alton following a 911 call where the caller said there was an altercation taking place.

ALTON, Maine — Maine State Police are investigating the death of a man that occurred in a home in Alton on Saturday night.

Police have identified the man as 51-year-old Joseph Webber. Police responded to 4592 Bennoch Road in Alton following a 911 call where the caller said there was an altercation taking place.

When police arrived, Webber needed medical attention, but died before being transported to a hospital.

An autopsy began Sunday at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta where the results are pending further testing.