Maine: Cianbro chairman Pete Vigue indicted in connection with cannon blast that hurt referee

Image result for Man shot with cannonballOne of Maine’s most prominent businessmen has been indicted on criminal charges in connection with the firing of a small cannon that injured a referee at a Maine Maritime Academy football game in September.

Peter Vigue, 72, has been charged with Class B aggravated assault, Class C reckless conduct with a firearm, both felonies, and Class E discharging a firearm on school property, a misdemeanor, according to the indictment a Hancock County grand jury handed down Thursday.
Vigue, the former CEO of Cianbro Corp. and chairman of the Pittsfield-based construction company’s board of directors, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the aggravated assault charge.
Founded in 1949 by the Cianchette Brothers, Cianbro is one of the United States’ largest employee-owned construction companies.
Vigue began working for Cianbro as a laborer in 1970, gradually working his way up through the ranks until he was named CEO of Pittsfield-based company in 2000. He held the position until 2018, when he stepped down and was replaced by his son. Vigue remains chairman of Cianbro’s board of directors, a post he has held since 2008.
Vigue, who lives in Pittsfield, did not return a phone call Thursday evening, and could not be reached for comment. It could not be determined whether he will be represented by an attorney in the pending criminal matter.
Image result for Maine + Peter vigue cannon firing cartoonA Maine Maritime alumnus, Vigue fired a small cannon during a football game at the academy in Castine on Sept. 21, authorities said. The blast from outside an end zone fence after the home team scored a touchdown discharged material that struck a referee in the face, News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ) reported.
In a video that captured the incident, the referee can be seen walking along the back of the end zone when he is engulfed by a small cloud of smoke. The referee collapsed as several onlookers and referees rush to his aide. The referee was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
The severity of his injuries are unknown.
The cannon had been loaded with black powder and a substance that had been made into a wad, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
It was tradition for a cannon to be fired after MMA scored a touchdown. but the firing of cannons and other similar devices was banned by the academy’s president following the accident.

Native Americans host ‘National Day of Mourning’ on Thanksgiving

United American Indians of New England has held the solemn remembrance on every Thanksgiving Day since 1970.

A solemn remembrance has been held every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 in Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed [Lisa Poole/AP]
A solemn remembrance has been held every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 in Plymouth where the Pilgrims landed [Lisa Poole/AP]

“Happy Thanksgiving to you in the land your forefathers stole.”

That’s the in-your-feast message Native Americans are preparing to send as they convene their 50th annual National Day of Mourning in the seaside town where the Pilgrims settled.

United American Indians of New England has held the solemn remembrance on every Thanksgiving Day since 1970 to recall what organisers describe as “the genocide of millions of native people, the theft of native lands, and the relentless assault on native culture”.

But Thursday’s gathering will have particular resonance – and, indigenous people say, a fresh sense of urgency.

Plymouth is putting the final touches on next year’s 400th-anniversary commemorations of the Pilgrims’ landing in 1620.

And as the 2020 events approach, descendants of the Wampanoag tribe that helped the newcomers survive are determined to ensure the world doesn’t forget the disease, racism and oppression the European settlers brought.

“We talk about the history because we must,” said Mahtowin Munro, a co-leader of the group.

“The focus is always on the Pilgrims. We’re just going to keep telling the truth,” she said. “More and more non-native people have been listening to us. They’re trying to adjust their prism.”

‘The border crossed us’

As they have on every Thanksgiving for the past half-century, participants will assemble at noon on Cole’s Hill, a windswept mound overlooking Plymouth Rock, a memorial to the colonists’ arrival.

Beneath a giant bronze statue of Massasoit, the Wampanoag leader in 1620, Native Americans from tribes around New England will beat drums, offer prayers, and read speeches before marching through Plymouth’s historic district, joined by dozens of sympathetic supporters.

Organisers say they’ll also call attention to the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women, as well as government crackdowns on migrants from Latin America, and the detentions of children. Promotional posters proclaim: “We didn’t cross the border – the border crossed us!”

Past gatherings have mourned lives lost to the nationwide opioid addiction crisis, shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and condemned environmental degradation.

The tradition was born of Plymouth’s last big birthday bash in 1970 – a 350th-anniversary commemoration that triggered angry demonstrations by native people excluded from a decidedly Pilgrim-focused observance.

Since then, the National Day of Mourning has become a louder, prouder and increasingly multi-ethnic affair in the community nicknamed “America’s Hometown”.

‘Come a long way’

Although mostly peaceful, there has been tension. In 1997, 25 protesters were arrested after their march through town erupted into a melee with police.

There have also been colourful moments. Over the decades, activists have ceremonially buried Plymouth Rock in sand, boarded the Mayflower II – a replica of the ship that carried the English settlers to the New World – and draped Ku Klux Klan garb on a statue of William Bradford, a Pilgrim father who eventually became governor of the Plymouth Bay Colony.

In a like-minded tradition dating to 1975, tribes in the San Francisco area hold a similar ceremony called “Unthanksgiving Day”, gathering at sunrise on Alcatraz Island to recall how Native Americans occupied the island in protest for 19 months starting in November 1969.

Francis Bremer, a Pilgrim scholar and professor emeritus of history at Pennsylvania’s Millersville University, said the nation is becoming more receptive “to a side of the story that’s too often been ignored”.

“Fifty years ago, for non-native people, these were uncomfortable truths they didn’t want to hear. Now, they’re necessary truths,” he said.

To help right old wrongs, Munro’s coalition is pushing what it calls the Massachusetts Indigenous Legislative Agenda. Among other things, the campaign includes a proposal to redesign the state flag, which critics say is repressive. It depicts a muscular arm wielding a sword over a Native American holding a bow.

Paula Peters, a Wampanoag writer and activist who is not a member of the group that organises the public mourning, sees progress in getting Americans to look past the Thanksgiving myth of Pilgrims and natives co-existing peacefully.

“We have come a long way,” she said. “We continue to honour our ancestors by taking our history out of the margins and into the forefront.”

With no one in Maine capable enough, South Portland picks new police chief from Massachusetts

‘Idiots!’ Larch shouted, and took the train. In Cornville (where the train didn’t stop), Wilbur Larch screamed out the window at a couple of potato farmers who were waving at the train. ‘Maine is full of morons!’ he yelled, riding on.
– John Irving, Ciderhouse Rules

SOUTH PORTLAND — Timothy Sheehan, police chief of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, for 10 years, will replace longtime South Portland Police Chief Ed Googins when he retires in January, City Manager Scott Morelli announced Friday.

Sheehan is an FBI-trained officer who has been with the Tewskbury Police Department for 32 years and has received numerous commendations, most notably for providing tactical support to the Boston Police Department following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Morelli said.

Sheehan will start his duties here on Jan. 13, and Googins has agreed to stay on for a week to help with the transition, Morelli said. Googins has been South Portland’s chief for 25 years, a job he took after retiring from the Portland Police Department in 1994 with 23 years of service.

Sheehan said he’s grateful to be Morelli’s top choice among 14 applicants, five of whom were interviewed.

“I plan to work tirelessly to earn the respect of the members of the department and community and I recognize I have some really big shoes to fill,” Sheehan said in a written statement. “I look forward to rolling up my sleeves  … to build on the service the police department provides to the community and the trust-filled relationships that have been established.”

Morelli said a nine-member interview panel made up of municipal department heads and the city’s Civil Service Commission unanimously recommended skipping a planned second round of interviews and urged Morelli to offer the job to Sheehan immediately.

“(Googins) has helped make the South Portland Police Department the best in the state, in my opinion,” Morelli said. “The selection team was confident that Tim was the right person to succeed Chief Googins and I’m looking forward to both the stability and new ideas that he can bring to the table.”

In August, Sheehan was a finalist for a chief’s position in Palm Bay City, Florida, the Lowell Sun reported. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Springfield College and a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Western New England College. He is a graduate of numerous leadership and management programs, including the FBI National Academy.

Last year, Sheehan served as incident commander of the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council for the four-day statewide mutual aid response to the Columbia Gas explosions and fires that shut down parts of Andover, North Andover and Lawrence after the governor declared a state of emergency.

In June, Sheehan received the Law Enforcement Exemplary Leadership Award from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health in recognition of his involvement and collaborative efforts in addressing the opioid crisis, an issue that Googins also took steps to address in South Portland.

“I would like to thank and congratulate Chief Googins for his incredible dedication to the South Portland Police Department and community,” Sheehan said. “His forward thinking and commitment to the profession has resulted in developing a police department that is guided by the best available police principles, practices, and training that all revolve around improving the quality of life of the populations he has been entrusted to serve.”

Located near Lowell, Massachusetts, Tewksbury’s population and police department are slightly larger than South Portland’s.

Tewksbury, with more than 31,000 residents, has 79 full-time police personnel, including 62 sworn officers, nine civilian dispatchers and eight 8 civilian support staff, Morelli said. South Portland has more than 25,000 residents and 60 full-time police personnel, including 56 sworn officers, one mechanic, one animal control officer and four civilian support staff.

Morelli said he sent nine applicants to be assessed by Badgequest, the same firm that assessed candidates for Portland’s police chief search earlier this year. Five finalists were selected from that group.

“We had an excellent pool of candidates from which to choose,” Morelli said. “Despite that, Chief Sheehan still rose to the top.”

Like Googins, Sheehan’s annual salary will be $101,982, Morelli said. Sheehan and his wife are currently looking for a home to rent in South Portland.

A date for Sheehan’s swearing-in ceremony will be announced soon.

New England lawmakers question border patrol checkpoints far from the border

Federal law allows Customs and Border Protection to conduct the checkpoints within 100 miles of the international border.

MONTPELIER, Vt.  —Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, joined members of Congress from Vermont and New Hampshire in questioning Customs and Border Protection about temporary highway checkpoints that are set up away from the Canadian border.

In a letter to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan dated Wednesday, the lawmakers including both senators from New Hampshire and Vermont asked whether the lack of arrests from the random stops justifies what they called the harmful economic impact.

The lawmakers specifically cited a June checkpoint on Interstate 93 near Woodstock, New Hampshire, that resulted in no arrests, but caused severe traffic congestion.

They also asked about four checkpoints in South Hero, Vermont, that stopped 4,200 vehicles and resulted in one arrest for a visa overstay.

Federal law allows CBP to conduct the checkpoints within 100 miles of the international border.

CBP spokesman Michael McCarthy said the agency would respond directly to the members of Congress.

Vermont man gets probation, fine for buying Maine pot

Charles Caliri, 71, of Woodstock, told the judge he had “no excuses” for his actions.

2019-11-01

PORTLAND — A federal judge sentenced a Vermont man Wednesday to three years of probation and fined him $10,000 for buying a kilo of marijuana in Lewiston to distribute to friends in Vermont.

Charles Caliri, 71, of Woodstock, Vermont, told U.S. District Court Judge George Z. Singal he was “ashamed” and “humiliated” and that he had “no excuses” for his actions.

“I broke the law and I’m guilty of that,” he said.

Caliri had been charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. He pleaded guilty in July.

He said he suffers from anxiety and hasn’t slept well over the past year since he was charged with the Class D felony.

Rather than buying his pot in Vermont legally, he said he’d hoped to save some money by coming to Maine.

“I will never, ever do it again,” he told the judge. “It’s been a rude awakening.”

Judge Singal told the time-share salesman that just because he was aware that others had done something similar, didn’t make it right.

“Everybody does it” and “It’s a stupid rule” are childish sayings, Singal said. “We have to set an example for younger people,” he said, noting the defendant was around his age.

Singal said Caliri had been “dumb” by making a deal “with a bunch of criminals” and that by giving them money, he was assisting them to “do worse things.”

His attorney, Peter Rodway, told the judge that marijuana has become widely accepted in society and increasingly legalized throughout the country.

“I guess that’s what bootleggers were saying when they were prosecuted under federal law” during Prohibition, Singal said, adding most states have not decriminalized the drug.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Joyce wrote in court papers that a car with Vermont plates was spotted leaving the Sabattus Street home of Richard “Stitch” Daniels in February 2018. A Maine State Police trooper stopped the car in New Gloucester. Police found a “distributable amount” of marijuana and $18,000 in the car.

Daniels, who was charged after a Feb. 27, 2018, raid in the Twin Cities area by drug agents and police that ensnared more than a dozen suspects, including businesses, is expected to plead guilty to drug charges next week in federal court.

Joyce wrote that a drug trafficking organization cultivated marijuana at numerous locations in Androscoggin County under the guise of Maine’s medical marijuana program, including sales to out-of-state customers. The organization also grew marijuana for making butane hash oil illegally. Daniels was a member of the group that was distributing marijuana illegally, Joyce wrote.

Maine: Reports of unleashed dogs biting visitors cause concern in Acadia

On Tuesday, August 13, Acadia National Park officials said there were three instances of dogs running off leash and biting visitors this week alone.

After multiple reports of visitors getting bitten by dogs, rangers at Acadia National Park are reminding the public about certain regulations that accompany bringing a furry friend to the area.

RELATED: What to do before and during a dog attack, according to trainers

According to a tweet sent out by the park on Tuesday, August 13, there were three instances of dogs running off leash and biting visitors this week alone.

Acadia National Park

@AcadiaNPS

Rangers report there were three instances of visitors being bitten by dogs running off leash in Acadia this week alone. Regulations require all pets to be restrained on a leash no longer than 6 feet (2 m). More at http://go.nps.gov/AcadiaPets 

View image on Twitter
As a result, rangers are reminding visitors that all pets that come to the park must be on a leash no longer than six feet. They also should not be left unattended, since hot summer sun can threaten the safety of animals — especially in cars. 

RELATED: 3 dogs found dead inside hot car in Jamestown, Rhode Island

As is typical with most public spots, pet owners must remove any waste from campground and picnic areas, parking lots, roads, and other developed places.

Acadia has designated pet-friendly areas, which include:

  • 100 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads
  • Blackwoods, Seawall, and Schoodic Woods campgrounds
  • Isle au Haut (for day hiking)

Officials say most lakes in the park are public water supplies, so pets and people may not swim in them.

Also off-limits are:

  • Sand Beach and Echo Lake
  • public buildings
  • ranger-led programs
  • Wild Gardens of Acadia
  • Duck Harbor Campground

Service Animals are allowed to accompany their owners to all park locations.

To read a complete list of park trails that are closed to pets or that are not recommended for pets, click here.

Maine: Fatal accident on I-95 in Howland; 30-year old Ted MacArthur of Fort Fairfield, rest in peace.

State Police say the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt when he was ejected from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.

HOWLAND, Maine — The Maine State Police say 30-year-old Ted MacArthur of Fort Fairfield died in a single-vehicle accident on I-95 south near exit 217 in Howland. The accident happened on Saturday at about 7:30 p.m.

Troopers say the driver, 30-year-old Leslie Greenlaw of Linneus, left the roadway and down the embankment hitting a culvert and rolled over.

MacArthur was not wearing a seatbelt was ejected from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Greenlaw was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.

State Police Reconstruction team was called to the scene to assist and troopers continue to investigate the cause of the crash.