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Maine readies for medical worker who worked with Ebola patients

A healthcare worker traveling from West Africa may arrive in Maine, prompting a statement from the governor about the state's Ebola guidelines.

CNBC News reported Monday that "the medical worker at the center of a political firestorm over her involuntary quarantining in New Jersey after working with Ebola patients will be allowed to leave that state and travel to Maine, officials said Monday."

In reaction, Gov. Paul LePage issued a statement Monday, saying the healthcare worker "who may be returning to Maine after traveling from West Africa" will be subject to federal health guidelines.

"We commend all healthcare workers for their humanitarian work in West Africa and other regions of the world, and we are proud that they are always ready to help others," LePage said. "Upon the healthcare workers' return home, we will follow the guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control for medical workers who have been in contact with Ebola patients. Additionally, we will work with the healthcare worker to establish an in-home quarantine protocol to ensure there is no direct contact with other Mainers until the period for potential infection has passed. We will help make sure the healthcare worker has everything to make this time as comfortable as possible."

Maine has established protocols for the monitoring of any individual who returns to Maine after traveling from West African regions that have been impacted by Ebola, LePage said. These protocols include monitoring the individual for 21 days after the last possible exposure to Ebola. Twenty-one days is the longest time it can take from the time a person is infected with Ebola until that person has symptoms of Ebola.

"We certainly understand healthcare workers' desire to get home after doing good work in West Africa," said LePage. "But we must be vigilant in our duty to protect the health and safety of all Mainers, as well as anyone who may come in contact with someone who has been exposed to Ebola."

According to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "Maine continues to be in close contact with our federal partners and is actively monitoring travelers from this region of the world with Maine as their final destination."

On Saturday, the Maine CDC reported, "We are currently monitoring one traveler who has returned to Maine. The individual has no symptoms of the disease and had no contact with an Ebola patient."

The Maine CDC noted, "Ebola is transmitted only if an individual has direct contact with blood or bodily fluids from a person who is showing symptoms. It is not an airborne disease, nor can a person get Ebola when they have contact with a person who is not showing symptoms."

The University of Maine reported Monday that officials at the University of Maine at Fort Kent have been working closely with state and local public health officials "to ensure the campus is prepared to safely support students or anyone from the community potentially impacted by the Ebola outbreak."

Campus officials have received updates on safety protocols and they have been in direct discussions with Maine Emergency Management officials and staff at Northern Maine Medical Center, the university reported. UMFK has also established a response team to track developments, coordinate among local and public health officials, and to share information with members of the campus and throughout the St. John Valley.

For the latest information regarding Ebola and responses in Maine, the public can visit http://www.maine.gov/ebola.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2014 22:38

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Cutler urges Michaud to release supporters ... and explains that high-five at the debate

In the race to unseat Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage, Independent candidate Eliot Cutler said that a continued three-way contest "may mean that Mr. LePage gets re-elected," reminiscent of 2010.10-28-14-cutler-2

Cutler has urged Democratic candidate Michael Michaud to "release his voters" and clear them to vote for Cutler in the statewide election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

During a campaign stop in Bath Saturday, Cutler spoke with The Sun about his campaign; the three-way race against Michaud and LePage; and Cutler's call late last week for Michaud to release his voters, a request that was rebuffed by the Michaud campaign, which calls Cutler unelectable and a potential spoiler.

Cutler said the recent gubernatorial debates "damaged" Michaud.

"I've been all over the state of Maine in the last 48 hours, and there's clearly a lot of movement, and people desperately want to get rid of LePage, a lot of people do," Cutler said. "What I'm saying is, 'Look, Mr. Michaud, if what you really want to do is get rid of LePage, if that's really important to you, then give your voters permission to vote for someone else if they think you can't win on Election Day because it's pretty clear that you can't win.' I'm the one candidate in this race who can put together a coalition of Democrats and Republicans and Independents and prevail. And I hope that Mr. Michaud sees the light. If he doesn't, I'm going to try and win this race, and I assume he will try, and it may mean that Mr. LePage gets re-elected."

Democrats fear that Cutler will pull votes away from Michaud, who is seeking to unseat the Republican incumbent, LePage. Polls seem to reflect a tight race between LePage and Michaud, with Cutler in a more distant third place.

On Oct. 9, the Pan Atlantic SMS Group Omnibus poll was released showing LePage with 39.3 percent of the "votes" of respondents, Michaud with 33.6 percent and Cutler with 19.5 percent. The poll was conducted with a randomly selected stratified sample of 400 "likely" Maine voters between Sept. 23 and Sept. 29, the polling organization reported.

On Saturday, Steve Mistler of the Portland Press Herald reported, "Republican Gov. Paul LePage has opened a lead over Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the closing weeks of the gubernatorial campaign, according to a Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald poll. The findings mark a significant shift from previous polls showing both candidates running in a virtual dead heat. LePage leads Michaud 45 percent to 35 percent, with Independent Eliot Cutler at 16 percent and 4 percent undecided, according to the poll of 639 likely voters conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The landline and cellphone poll has a 3.8 percent margin of error and was conducted from Oct. 15 to 21, a period that coincided with three televised debates, leaving questions about whether the forums affected the results."

The Michaud campaign reacted to the PPH poll with a press release, which read, in part, "Despite being out of line with every poll of the governor's race, which all show a tight battle between U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and Governor Paul LePage, a new survey from the Portland Press Herald confirms that Michaud is the only candidate who can defeat the unpopular Republican governor. A more recent poll of the race, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows Michaud and LePage deadlocked at 40."

"This is a tight race between Mike and the governor, with the third-place candidate far behind," said David Farmer, a senior adviser to the Michaud campaign, as quoted in the press release. "While the Press Herald poll is out of line with all polling between LePage and Michaud, it does confirm that the third-place candidate simply cannot win. Because of his record of working across the aisle to deliver results for the middle class, Mike is the only candidate who can defeat LePage and end the embarrassment and divisiveness of the LePage years that is holding Maine back."

On Sunday, Cutler's campaign issued a press release in which Cutler stated that the latest poll commissioned by the Portland Press Herald and new attack ads against him by the Democrats "both confirm that the campaign of Michaud is collapsing in the final days of the race for governor and that only Cutler can assemble the coalition of Democrats, Independents and Republican voters that is needed to defeat Governor LePage."

The Press Herald poll, Cutler noted, shows that even when Cutler is factored out, Michaud still loses to LePage by seven points, a 14-point drop since the question was first asked in June.

Cutler said in a recent press release, "Maine voters have increasingly come to realize that Mike Michaud can't close the deal with voters – he can't win, whether I'm in the race or not."

And Cutler referred to an Oct. 23 statewide "debate" on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network – which his two opponents declined to attend – in which Cutler issued a challenge to Michaud.

On Saturday, Cutler explained that he wasn't urging Michaud to bow out but rather to give his supporters permission to vote for someone else.

"I suggested he do what I did, which is say to your supporters, 'If you don't think I can win on Election Day, then you have my blessing to vote for someone else.' I said that to my supporters several months ago. Now after months and months and months of more money than Croesus, from out-of-state special interest groups; more first ladies and presidents and everybody else than I've ever seen come to the state of Maine and try to shore up a candidacy, after all of these advantages, he can't win. He can't win a two-way race, he can't win a three-way race."

Cutler also commented on possible déjà vu from 2010, when Cutler narrowly lost to LePage in a three-way race in which the results were split with Democrat Libby Mitchell.

"What's remarkable to me is the similarities between 2010 and now," Cutler said. "The conventional wisdom for months has been that Mike Michaud is a stronger candidate than Libby was. I think Libby would have been a better governor than Mike would be."

And Cutler disputed "conventional wisdom," saying Michaud compared to Mitchell is "not a stronger candidate, and as he loses altitude in this race, as Libby did in 2010, the Democrats are now going negative on me as they did in 2010, and I think Maine voters see through all this."

Cutler's reference to "first ladies and presidents" was a poke at Michaud, who has brought in President Bill Clinton and prospective presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in recent weeks to campaign with him. President Barack Obama will be joining Michaud on the campaign trail on Thursday, Oct. 30, when they will appear at the Portland Expo.

President Obama's visit this week will not necessarily help Michaud, Cutler said.

"I'm not sure whose popularity in Maine is plunging faster, Michaud's or Obama's," Cutler said.

Then, there was an image that galvanized debate about Cutler's relationship with LePage. A high-five that Cutler and LePage shared at a debate sparked a brief controversy and allegations of collaboration (speculation buoyed in recent days by advertising for Cutler allegedly sponsored by Republicans).

"There's nothing there," Cutler said, about the debate high-five with LePage.

"I'm standing next to LePage, LePage yields me, as I recall, 10 seconds of his time because he had taken up some of mine, and I hit it right on the mark, I hit the 10 seconds, and he turns to me, he goes like this," Cutler recalled, making a high-five gesture by lifting a hand, palm out, "and says, 'You hit it right on the mark.' Well, when someone turns to you and goes like this," Cutler said, repeating the gesture, "you don't turn your back on them, that's not who I am."

On Friday, Cutler released a press release stating that his campaign had raised a total of $2,863,184 in contributions, loans and in-kind contributions for the campaign to date. For the period Sept. 16 to Oct. 24, the campaign raised $183,088 in direct contributions and has a cash balance of $136,353, according to the campaign finance report filed with the Maine Ethics Commission.

"That includes the money I've put into it, but yeah, we have. And we've raised three times as much money as we did in 2010," Cutler said Saturday.

"We're being outspent 12-to-1, and we're still going to win, and that in itself is a testament to Maine voters," Cutler said.

As for those polls showing him locked in third place ...

"Polls in three-way races are terribly unpredictive," Cutler said.

As of this Tuesday, the election is a week away.

On Tuesday, Governor LePage is having a 5:30 p.m. rally and fundraiser at the Bangor Banquet & Conference Center. For details on LePage events, visit http://lepage2014.com.

According to his website, Michaud has several scheduled public events Tuesday, including
greeting workers at Bath Iron Works Tuesday morning; and an event to accept the Maine Small Business Coalition endorsement at Arabica Coffee House on Commercial Street, Portland. He also is preparing for President Obama's visit on Thursday, with doors opening at 4 p.m. at the Portland Expo. For details, visit http://www.michaud2014.com.

Cutler did not have any listed events for Tuesday but his schedule is available at http://www.cutlerformaine.com/events.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 00:24

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'The Vikings in Ireland' author delves into Norse influence

Maine author James L. Nelson returns to the Maine Irish Heritage Center this Sunday, Oct. 26, with "Dubh-linn," the second book in his trilogy "The Norsemen Saga."10-24-14-TG-vikings-pic-by-Zachary-Hollen

Nelson's talk will focus on how the Vikings became integrated into Irish society and the significant influence the Norsemen had on Irish art, culture, and trade. It begins at 2 p.m.

Dubh-linn is the Gaelic place name that means "Black Pool" and is the origins of modern-day Dublin. "Dubh gall" was the word the Irish used for the Danes, and they called the Norwegians "Fin gall," which means "White Strangers" in Irish Gaelic, and is the name of Nelson's first book in this series. Nelson is looking forward to continuing a discussion be began a year ago, about the Norse invasion of Ireland and how they spread out, started plundering, and then began settling there.

"On Sunday, I'll talk more about how Viking and Irish societies melded," said Nelson, a Harpswell resident of Norse ancestry who used to sail professionally on traditional ships.
He will discuss "loan words, where one language adopts the words of another," and offered the example of Wicklow, the county town of County Wicklow in Ireland. The word comes from the Old Norse word "Vikinglo" or "Vik-lo," which means "Viking meadow," and the Irish phrase "Cill Mhantáin," which means "church of the toothless one." (Nelson is working on the third book in "The Norsemen Saga" and plans to call it "Vik-Lo." For this next book, he has been reading a lot about Irish leather boats called "curraghs.")

On Sunday, he will also address other Scandinavian influences on the Emerald Isle, including the exchanges that took place in artwork.

"The Celtic knot design and the elaborate interwoven characters were originally a Norse style adopted by the Irish, and it became a style shared by both cultures," he said. "Irish maritime history was also influenced by the Vikings. The Irish now have a reputation for being great seafarers, but they didn't go to sea that much before the Viking arrival, so most words used in boatbuilding are Scandinavian loan words."

Until recently, Nelson had been the education coordinator at the Maine Maritime Museum, but is now back to writing full-time. He has written 18 books, 13 of them fiction. Whether he's creating an imagined realm of Vikings in Ireland or pirates in Colonial America, or chronicling the history of battling ironclad ships, Nelson said "the overarching theme has always been maritime history. I love the American Revolutionary period the most, and most of my writing is focused on that."

His earlier work making up stories and developing characters helped to inform his later historical writing.

"It was an advantage for me to begin my writing career by writing fiction," he said. "You develop certain story-telling techniques that can be applied to non-fiction."

Nelson is most pleased when a reader of his non-fiction tells him it reads like a novel. Although his published work tends toward longer narratives, both real and imagined, the author does dip into the shorter form at least once a year.

"I usually write a sonnet for my wife, Lisa, on Valentine's Day," he said. "I give it to her with the understanding that she not show it to anyone."

They have been married for 21 years, and he has written almost as many sonnets for her, but in busy years, he said he's resorted to limericks.


Event Details:
The Vikings in Ireland: A Meeting and Melding
with author James L. Nelson
Sunday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m.
Maine Irish Heritage Center
Corner of State and Gray streets, Portland
Admission $5/Free for MIHC members
For more information, visit www.maineirish.com or call 780-0118

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 00:36

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With tally ongoing, Windham's Octoberfest expected to raise more than $17,000

The Octoberfest Family Fun Day Celebration held in Windham Saturday, Oct. 18, drew three times the usual crowd and raised thousands of dollars for regional food pantries, organizers reported.10-24-14-windham-october-free-2
"The money is still coming in — but I believe we are going to make a bit over $17,000. We are extremely pleased with this," wrote Aimee Senatore, executive director of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, in an email message to The Sun.
The event itself raised more than $4,000 on that day alone, and "in addition to these funds, the Sebago Lakes Rotary Club held a food packaging event in partnership for the same cause — and packaged enough meals to feed over 30,000 people," Senatore reported. "That food was boxed up and is being dispersed to our local food pantries as well."10-24-14-windham-october-free
The Community Coin Challenge and other events on the day raised money for area food pantries. Songo Locks School donated 96,000 pennies for $960 toward the benefit — or the equivalent of 6,000 pounds of food, organizers said.
A highlight that offered a bird's-eye view of the region: Windham Weaponry, maker of high-quality rifles, provided a helicopter, which offered rides over Sebago Lake. A variety of booths were set up in front of Buck's Naked BBQ, with the Kora Shriners Log Rollers and a host of businesses and groups welcoming the public.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 00:37

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Consul General of Ireland pays a visit to Portland

The Maine Irish Heritage Center and the Irish American Club of Maine welcomed the Consul General of Ireland Brendan O'Caollai and the Vice Consul Jillian O'Keeffe to the heritage center Tuesday night. During this historic visit to Maine, O'Caollai also met with Portland Mayor Michael Brennan at City Hall earlier in the day, and then later chatted with members of the Portland Hurling Club, Mike Delahanty and Conor Boyle.10-24-14-TG-irish-main-Consul-General-of-Ireland-Brendan-OCaollai

During his talk at the Maine Irish Heritage Center, O'Caollai said he was "16th man on his hurling team," in a sport that features 15-man squads, adding that it was great that a sport so steeped in Irish history could make its way to the United States.

"Thirty-seven million Americans claim Irish ancestry," O'Caollai said, "second only to the Germans," and he emphasized that America continues to show "a willingness to welcome, if not to welcome then to adapt to, immigrants."10-24-14-TG-irish-Mike-Delahanty-left-and-Conor-Boyle-members-of-the-Portland-Hurling-Club-1

Consul General O'Caollai (pronounced O'Qualley) was appointed to his position in October of 2013. He gave an overview of consular services giving special attention to the role of his office in applications for citizenship and passport applications.

Born in Cabra, northwest of Dublin, the son of a train yard worker, O'Caollai has five siblings, living in Ireland and the U.S. He and his wife, Carmel (Callan) have three adult children: Eoin, Fiona and Siobhan.

The two representatives of the local hurling team both discovered the game while visiting Ireland. Delahanty, a fullback, and Boyle, a midfielder, practice at Wainwright fields in South Portland. They are part of a pub league featuring teams like Brian Boru in Portland and the Griffin Club in South Portland that play against each other. Then, the better players from the pub teams assemble to represent Maine at nationals.

"I've been to nationals a number of times," Delahanty said. "We won the Shield trophy in San Francisco in 2011 and in Philadelphia in 2012."

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2014 00:36

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