Back when the poor were stuck eating lobster, only the rich could afford ice cream

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National and international headlines

How ice cream went from elitist indulgence to America’s favorite frozen treat

Our Founding Fathers helped create a nation of ice cream addicts. Going back to George Washington, they spared no expense or hardship in making and serving frozen treats. While many 18th-century foods have fallen into obscurity (eel pie, anyone?), ice cream remains a dominant force.

Even in times of political strife, Americans are united in their ice cream fixation. The average American devours 45 pints per year, which equates to about $10 billion.

We can thank Washington for America’s early interest in the treat. Renowned for his sweet tooth, Washington was hooked when he got his first taste of ice cream in the late 18th century.

It’s so hot in England, schoolboys are wearing skirts

Amid an intense heat wave, dozens of British schoolboys went to class wearing girls’ uniform skirts when the head teacher would not relax a dress code banning the more suitable option: shorts.

The teenage boys at Isca Academy in Exeter argued it was too hot for pants as temperatures approached 90 degrees Wednesday. Dozens of boys, who borrowed uniform skirts from female friends and sisters, planned to go to class Thursday sporting a new look in protest of the school’s ‘no shorts’ policy, according to the English news site,, though, the temperatures Thursday had dropped into the upper 60s, according to the Associated Press.

“We’re not allowed to wear shorts, and I’m not sitting in trousers all day – it’s a bit hot,” one of the boys told BBC News.

Four GOP senators oppose Senate health care measure in its current form

WASHINGTON — Four Republican senators from the conservative wing of their party say they oppose the Senate health care bill as it was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday, which places the effort to overhaul the American health care system in jeopardy as it heads for an anticipated vote in the Senate next week.


Those senators — Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Mike Lee of Utah — released a statement stating that while they cannot support the bill as it’s currently written, they are open to negotiating changes that could ultimately win their support.

President Trump says he has no ‘tapes’ of Comey conversations

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Thursday that he does not have “tapes” of his private conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey, finally ending a mystery of his own creation that began last month when he suggested that he had privately recorded their talks.


Trump on May 12 floated the idea he had an audio record of their conversations, apparently as a way to intimidate Comey. For five and a half weeks, the president and senior White House officials refused to tell the public whether such tapes exist.

But after an inquiry from congressional investigators about the tapes, Trump tweeted Thursday, “I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”

Obama on the GOP health care plan: ‘This bill will do you harm’

WASHINGTON – Former president Barack Obama posted a nearly 1,000-word critique of the Senate health care bill Thursday on Facebook, warning, “This bill will do you harm.”


While Obama has repeatedly defended the Affordable Care Act, which represents perhaps his most significant domestic legislative achievement, Thursday’s statement was even more pointed than his previous comments. Calling the GOP leadership’s bill “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America,” he called on Americans to push back against congressional Republicans.

Bill Cosby plans motivational speaking tour on sex assault

Bill Cosby plans to conduct a series of free public seminars about sexual assault this summer, his spokesman said days after a Pennsylvania judge declared a mistrial in the entertainer’s sex assault trial.


The 79-year-old comedian was best known for his role as the father in the hit 1980s TV comedy “The Cosby Show” before dozens of women came forward over the past few years to accuse him of sex assault, with one of the allegations leading to this month’s criminal trial outside Philadelphia.

“I received hundreds of calls from civic organizations and churches requesting for Mr. Cosby to speak to young men and women about the judicial system,” Andrew Wyatt, Cosby’s spokesman, said in an email on Thursday.

North Korea says Trump is a ‘psychopath’ who may launch a preemptive strike

A commentary published in a North Korean state newspaper Thursday calls President Donald Trump a “psychopath” and suggests he would launch a preemptive strike on North Korea to distract from domestic political problems.


The accusations, published in government mouthpiece Rodong Sinmum, come at an especially fraught time. Just two days earlier, Trump had condemned the “brutality of the North Korean regime” after the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was detained in North Korea for nearly a year and a half.

The death of Warmbier has considerably strained tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, who have long been at loggerheads over North Korea’s nuclear missile program and the installation of a controversial American missile defense system in South Korea.

Whipped cream dispenser explodes, killing French Instagram fitness model

A popular fitness blogger and Instagram model in France died after a pressurized canister used for dispensing whipped cream exploded, hitting her in the chest.

Rebecca Burger’s death from the June 17 incident was announced on social media Wednesday by her family, who warned of the potential risks of defective whip cream dispensers.

Coal industry titan files defamation lawsuit against John Oliver

“Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver knew he was inviting a legal battle when he used his show Sunday to lambaste one of the country’s largest coal mining companies and mock its chief executive. But it had to be done, he said.


In a 24-minute segment on the decline of the coal industry and President Donald Trump’s tenuous promises to bring it back, Oliver railed against the mining giant Murray Energy Corporation and chief executive Robert E. Murray, who has blamed the industry’s troubles on an “evil agenda” by former President Barack Obama.

Local headlines

Alleged NH puppy mill operator was investigated for unlicensed kennel in Maine

AUBURN, Maine — A woman facing multiple charges in connection with operating an alleged puppy mill in New Hampshire once operated an unlicensed kennel in southern Maine but left the state when authorities stepped in to investigate.

Christina Fay, 60, was arrested last week on two misdemeanor charges of neglect after multiple agencies raided her Wolfeboro, NH, home and rescued 84 Great Danes inside the three-story mansion. More charges may be forthcoming.

Maine authorities were looking at Fay in April 2015 when, according to Auburn Deputy Chief Jason Moen, his department received reports that Fay was operating an unlicensed dog breeding kennel out of her home on Summer Street.

To break budget stalemate, holdout House GOP offers $125 million in education funding

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republicans aligned with Gov. Paul LePage in the Maine House of Representatives inched stalled two-year budget negotiations forward on Thursday, offering $125 million in education funding over the previous fiscal cycle.


It represents the first major movement in negotiations from the group that has been holding out in budget negotiations, with LePage issuing a statement calling it “a reasonable proposal” that he’d sign if Democrats immediately agreed to it.

That isn’t going to happen: While House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, called it “a big move to get closer together” in a Thursday hearing, she issued a statement afterward saying the offer “falls short” of Democratic goals to bolster education funding and provide property tax relief.

Maine bill would hike age to buy tobacco to 21, but still allow smoking at 18

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would raise the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products to 21 received a strong endorsement Thursday morning in the Maine Senate.


The bill, sponsored by Sen. Paul Davis, R-Sangerville, was initially supported 31-4 and then amended so that anyone who is at least 18 years old as of July 1, 2018, can buy tobacco products, with the practical effect being that the law wouldn’t be fully in effect until those people turn 21 in 2021. In addition to tobacco products, the bill would apply to electronic smoking devices.

Old Orchard Beach woman says she found black widow spider in grapes

AUGUSTA, Maine — An Old Orchard Beach woman says she found a black widow spider in her grapes.

On Wednesday, Sandi Partee was helping her friend make fruit cups at an Old Orchard Beach convenience store. While picking out rotten grapes from the bottom of a container, she noticed something that ruined her appetite.

“That’s not a Maine spider, I knew that,” Partee said.

It was a black widow spider.

The arachnid is not native to Maine, and one bite can prove deadly.

Husson student hit by wrong way driver is on the mend and returning to school

The Husson freshman critically injured in a head-on crash with a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 95 three months ago is already back on the road and plans to return to school in the fall.

“I’m driving again,” Tristan Kaldenberg, 19, said Thursday by phone from his hometown of Littleton, Massachusetts. “There is no slowing me down.”

He spent nearly a month recovering in hospitals after breaking his nose, jaw, ribs, pelvis and femur in the crash — and he still needs more surgeries to fix his jaw and teeth, his mother, Jennifer, said.

The first year Health Science student at Husson University, who is studying to become a physical therapist or radiologist, plans to resume classes in the fall.

“I’ve ditched the crutches and I’m almost walking without a limp,” Kaldenberg said. “I’m almost back to normal.”

Bangor and Portland can weather a state government shutdown, at least for a while

If the state government shuts down on July 1, city services will not be compromised, so long as the impasse doesn’t drag on for months, a Bangor official said Wednesday.

State functions handled by City Hall — such as birth certificates or vehicle registrations — might temporarily halt in a shutdown, but city services won’t likely suffer much, if at all, if a shutdown occurs, City Manager Cathy Conlow said.

The city has a rainy day fund of approximately $10 million — enough to maintain services for about two months, in the unlikely event that a shutdown lasts that long, she said.

Living and events
Digging into tradition with bean-hole beans

EDDINGTON, Maine — In the grey pre-dawn light, throwing armfuls of wood on the fire he kindled in a hole just outside the Eddington-Clifton Civic Center, Josh Parda had one thing on his mind: baked beans.

But not any old kind of baked bean. Parda, 35, was on a mission last Friday morning to make gallons of sweet, savory bean-hole beans the old-fashioned way — by baking them for hours in cast-iron pots buried in the ground.

“Fire, coals and cast iron or earthenware pots. It’s a pretty easy way to cook a whole bunch of food for a whole bunch of people,” he said. “And relative to a can of beans, they taste very much better.”

Bangor computer program helps seniors surf the web safely and stay connected

Ruth Frost spent 30 years working in the family business, handling inventory, payroll and other office functions for Frost’s Garage, her husband’s automotive repair shop in Hampden. For many of those years, she used a desktop computer fitted with the specific programs she needed to do her job.

“I did what I was trained to do, but I never used the computer for home,” she said. “I don’t know how to do what a lot of people do.”

Now 64 and retired, she’d like to set up a Facebook account so she can stay in touch with her children, grandchildren and other family members. She wants to use her new Lenovo laptop to download photos from her camera and organize them by year and topic. And she knows access to the Internet can make it easier and more convenient to search for businesses, services and other information — a big attraction, especially since her elderly mother recently moved in with her and the transition is claiming a lot of her time and energy.

Drifting down the river, fly fishing in style

BIG MOOSE TOWNSHIP, Maine — For the better part of an hour, Brandon Prescott peered toward shore, watched a sporadically feeding trout sip at a passing caddis fly, and tried to make the perfect cast.

“You’ve got to get it right in there,” guide Dan Legere said. “Six inches off the shore. That’s where he lives.”

It was. But getting the imitation caddis fly to the right spot wasn’t easy. First, a brisk upstream breeze that threatened to blow his casts into the cedar tree that leaned over the East Outlet of the Kennebec River. And second, when the fly did end up in the right place, the finicky trout paid little attention.

Legere smiled, switched flies, and kept offering guidance and praise.

And finally, after dozens of nice casts and a few perfect ones, Prescott gave his guide reason to celebrate, setting the hook on a gentle strike and bringing the 14-inch fish to net.