Ophelia Became a Major Hurricane Where No Storm Had Before

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Eirea…

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The system formerly known as Hurricane Ophelia is moving into Ireland on Monday, bringing “status red” weather throughout the day to the island. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Eireann, has warned that, “Violent and destructive gusts of 120 to 150km/h are forecast countrywide, and in excess of these values in some very exposed and hilly areas. There is a danger to life and property.” Ophelia transitioned from a hurricane to an extra-tropical system on Sunday, but that only marginally diminished its threat to Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday, before it likely dissipates near Norway on Tuesday. The primary threat from the system was high winds, with heavy rains. Forecasters marveled at the intensification of Ophelia on Saturday, as it reached Category 3 status on the Saffir-Simpson scale and became a major hurricane. For a storm in the Atlantic basin, this is the farthest east that a major hurricane has been recorded during the satellite era of observations. Additionally, it was the farthest north, at 35.9 degrees north, that an Atlantic major hurricane has existed this late in the year since 1939.

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Giants finally find a winning formula

Coach Ben McAdoo gives up playcalling duties and New York gets its first win in old-school style.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Ben McAdoo and the New York Giants finally rediscovered the secret to winning a football game.

With all their playmaking receivers lost for the season with injuries, the Giants (1-5) took a page from their past. They played smash-mouth football. They ran the ball. They stopped the run. They didn’t turn it over, and they made the big plays when they needed them in a stunning 23-10 win over the Broncos in Denver.

McAdoo even changed. With his team in turmoil following five straight losses and his defense unhappy with his indefinite suspension of popular cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the second-year coach made sure he was more accessible to his team. He turned over the offensive play calling to coordinator Mike Sullivan for the first time so he could be there for all of his units.

“I felt with the things taking place last week, I needed to delegate play-calling duty to Sully,” McAdoo said Monday. “He did a great job sticking to the plan during the ballgame, sticking with the run and putting us in position to win the ballgame. I felt during the course of the week, better to make sure that I was here for the entire football team and this organization any way that I could be.”

McAdoo said the switch gave him a chance to be around his players on the bench and to encourage them more than he has in the past. In typical McAdoo fashion, he refused to say whether the changes would remain in place, although it would seem hard to change after a win.

“It’s great to get the first one,” McAdoo said. “Now, we have to start stacking them. But this is pro sports. Not everybody gets a ribbon.”

It’s obvious the run game will be relied on more with the receiver corps depleted by the injuries to Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris. New York had 266 yards of offense on 54 plays. However, it ran the ball 32 times for 148 yards, an average of 4.6 yards. Orleans Darkwa had a career-high 117 yards on 21 carries.

Eli Manning completed 11 of 19 passes for 128 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. His 19 attempts were his lowest in a full game since he threw 15 passes at Buffalo on Dec. 23, 2007. His 11 completions were his fewest in a full game since Nov. 4, 2012, when he had 10 (on 24 attempts) against Pittsburgh.

“Each game, each opponent, provides a new challenge and a new week,” McAdoo said. “So, it just depends on how the week goes and what we think we have to do to give us the best chance to win the ballgame.”

The defense did its part. Janoris Jenkins scored on an interception return and Jason-Pierre-Paul had three sacks.

There are issues still be to settled, of course.

McAdoo plans to meet with Rodgers-Cromartie this week to discuss the suspension, but refused to say when it would happen.

Desperate Puerto Ricans get water from well on toxic site

The EPA fixes a fence and restores a ‘danger’ sign – after many unwittingly used a Superfund spigot.

DORADO, Puerto Rico — Every 10 minutes or so, a truck or a van pulled up to the exposed spigot of an overgrown well, known as Maguayo 4, that sits not far from a bustling expressway and around the corner from a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop.

Fencing around the area had been torn open, and a red and white “peligro” sign, warning of danger, lay hidden beneath debris and dense vegetation. One after another, people attached a hose to draw water for bathing, washing dishes and, in some cases, drinking. They filled buckets, jugs, soda bottles.

What many didn’t realize is that the well is one of nearly a dozen that are part of the Dorado Groundwater Contamination Superfund site – designated last year by the Environmental Protection Agency as among the nation’s most toxic sites.

Past testing here has shown the presence of tetrachloroethylene and trichloroethylene, solvents commonly used in industrial processes, which can cause health problems ranging from liver damage to increased risk of cancer. The EPA has yet to identify the cause of groundwater contamination in the wells, and local water systems no longer draw from them.

But the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has brought desperation in many forms. In this corner of the island, many residents still have no reliable source of water and search for access wherever they can.

It’s difficult to know just how many people have sought water from the Superfund site in the weeks since the Category 4 hurricane walloped Puerto Rico and crippled its infrastructure. The central water authority continues to depend on generators and some limited electricity-grid power to keep pumps working at plants across the island. As of Sunday, the government announced it had restored service to nearly 70 percent of customers.

But for the families who live in Dorado, nothing is yet flowing in their homes. In a single hour on Saturday, more than four families arrived at the unsecured Maguayo well to draw water. None was aware of the potential dangers. Several assumed the well was part of the “Supertubo” that carries water to greater San Juan, roughly 20 miles to the east.

In the late morning, EPA officials arrived on the scene just as a man and two children were topping off a 50-gallon container on the back of his pickup. Andres, who declined to give his last name, said he had been using the water for bathing and had no idea it might be contaminated.

The dozen officials, armed with kits, gloves and other materials to conduct tests, hastily reassembled the broken chain-link fence near the spigot and restored the “danger” sign.

Recent local testing showed that contamination levels were below legal thresholds, but EPA spokesman Elias Rodriguez said the agency remains concerned about any residents drinking from wells that are part of the site. Officials said Sunday that data gathered in 2015 showed some wells were contaminated – exceeding standards for volatile organic chemicals – while others met drinking-water standards. The entire area was included in the Superfund site boundaries as a “precautionary measure” because groundwater contamination can move over time, the EPA said.

An agency statement said that the results of the bacteria portion of its testing should be available by midweek and that its chemical analysis should be completed by the end of next week.

The risks posed by water from the Maguayo well may depend on the person, Rodriguez said.

Corinth man identified as pedestrian killed in crash

Brandon Henderson was struck by a pickup truck on Friday.

The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office on Monday identified the pedestrian who was hit and killed Friday night by the driver of a pickup truck.

Chief Deputy William R. Birch issued a statement that said 37-year-old Brandon Henderson, of Corinth, was walking south on Route 15 about 7 p.m. when a pickup truck driven by 51-year-old Robert Webb, of Dover-Foxcroft, struck him. Webb was driving north.

Henderson died at the scene of the crash. Webb is co-operating with police, who are not releasing any additional details pending the outcome of their investigation.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:


Boys’ soccer: Strong finish pushes Portland past Thornton Academy

The Bulldogs rally for two goals in the last six minutes to win their regular-season finale, 2-1.

Portland found its scoring touch at just the right time Monday night to pull out a 2-1 win against Thornton Academy in an SMAA boys’ soccer game at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

Zekariya Shaib and Alex Millones scored in the last six minutes as the Bulldogs won their regular-season finale, snapping a two-game losing streak. Portland (10-3-1) will get a bye in the first round of the Class A South tournament as one of the top four seeds.

“We just needed to find a scoring touch, and that was what I was looking for,” Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli said. “I was pulling my hair out, what little I have left, looking for the right combination. The coaching staff saw something and ran it by me. We moved (sweeper) Quinn (Clarke) up to defensive mid, and it gave us a little bit more energy up top.”

Shaib tied the score in the 74th minute when he redirected a rebound into the goal after Thornton keeper Travis Snyder stopped Millones’ hard shot from just inside the penalty area.

Then, with less than a minute remaining, Millones intercepted a clearing pass and sent a shot from 25 yards on the right side of the field into the upper left corner.

The Bulldogs were coming off a pair of 1-0 losses last week against South Portland and Scarborough.

“I’ve got to give our kids a lot of credit,” Frenzilli said. “They really responded.”

Until the final 15 minutes, it looked like the Trojans (8-5-1) were going to earn their most significant win so far this season, but Coach Andrew Carlson wasn’t surprised to see Portland rally.

“(Portland) had the better of the play for the last 20 or 25 minutes. They’re big, strong and physical, and they’re deeper than us, and they can be more dynamic than us at the end of the match,” said Carlson.

The Trojans opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Zachary Thyng took a feed from Eric McCallum during a two-on-one break and beat keeper Rowan Daligan from 10 yards.

“If you’re going to beat a team like that, you have to play the last 10 minutes of the match like you played the first 10 minutes, and we didn’t do that – physically and mentally,” Carlson said.

Portland held a 19-9 edge in shots, with most of that advantage coming during the second half.

“When you score, you’ve had a string of right things that happened, and when you get scored on, it’s because of a number of things you did, and that’s what happened late in the match,” Carlson said. “We didn’t play a complete game against those guys.”

Still Thornton Academy had chances to add to its lead.

Less than 10 minutes into the second half, Daligan stopped Frantisek Vondrak’s blast from 10 yards. Then he used his foot to deflect a shot by Brogan Searle-Belanger away from the goal.

“He’s been doing that all year, and the defense has been strong,” said Frenzilli, whose team hasn’t allowed more than one goal in any game this season.

“The way this league is now, it’s tough top to bottom. The tournament is going to be interesting. It’s going to be fun.”

Google Photos Now Recognizes Your Pets

Today, Google is introducing an easier way to aggregate your pet photos in its Photos app — by allowing you to group all your pet’s photos in one place, right beside the people Google Photos organized using facial recognition. TechCrunch reports: This…

Today, Google is introducing an easier way to aggregate your pet photos in its Photos app — by allowing you to group all your pet’s photos in one place, right beside the people Google Photos organized using facial recognition. TechCrunch reports: This is an improvement over typing in “dog,” or another generalized term, because the app will now only group together photos of an individual pet together, instead of returning all photos you’ve captured with a “dog” in them. And like the face grouping feature, you can label the pet by name to more easily pull up their photos in the app, or create albums, movies or photo books using their pictures. In addition, Google Photos lets you type in an animal’s breed to search for photos of pets, and it lets you search for photos using the dog and cat emojis. The company also earlier this year introduced a feature that would create a mini-movie starring your pet, but you can opt to make one yourself by manually selecting photos then choosing from a half-dozen tracks to accompany the movie, says Google.

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Maine Milestones

A Maine baseball team takes fifth place in a national tournament.

The Maine Lightning 12U baseball team finished fifth among 104 entrants at the Cooperstown Dreams Park Tournament in Cooperstown, New York. It was the highest finish by a Maine team in the national tournament’s 19-year history.

Maine Lightning, with 12 players from the Portland area, won its first eight games by a combined margin of 107-12 before losing 9-5 to Monmouth, New Jersey in the quarterfinals.

The team hit 37 homers in the tournament, led by 10 from Nic Frink of Scarborough, and five each from Ben Seguin of Scarborough and Ryan Kolben of Cumberland.

David Maloney used a 6-iron to ace the third hole on the North Course at Riverside Golf Course on Oct. 11. Don Feeney, Dale Rand and Joe Rand witnessed the 178-yard shot.

Danny Roderick carded a hole-in-one on the fourth hole at the Brunswick Golf Club on Oct. 13. The 185-yard shot was witnessed by Pat Labbe, Jim Merritt and Greg Page.

Commentary: Kaepernick’s collusion grievance a long shot

The quarterback will have to show that owners worked together to keep him out of the NFL.

Let’s assume that Colin Kaepernick is better than several quarterbacks – backups, and even starters – who have managed to find jobs on NFL rosters this season.

(He is.)

And let’s also say that teams refused to sign Kaepernick not because he isn’t good enough, but because he decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

(That, too.)

It still isn’t enough for the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to win the grievance he filed against the NFL on Sunday. To prove collusion, Kaepernick will need hard evidence that owners worked together – rather than decided individually – to keep him out of the league.

“We come to the distinction between collusion and what each individual team does as a matter of its business interests,” said Alfred Yen, who teaches sports law at Boston College Law School.

“If it turns out that all (32) teams have it in their business interest to do the same thing, so be it,” he said. “After all, all teams have it in their interests not to employ me as their starting quarterback. And that’s OK.”

The grievance claims NFL owners – egged on by President Donald Trump – agreed to blackball Kaepernick from the league “in retaliation for (his) leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

It calls the league’s behavior regarding Kaepernick “suspicious,” “unusual” and “bizarre.” But the seven-page document does not give any examples of how NFL owners worked together to keep him out.

And that’s precisely the challenge of any collusion case.

The league declined to comment on the grievance to the Associated Press on Monday except to refer to previous statements by Commissioner Roger Goodell in which he insisted that “there are 32 different decisions” made by individual teams.

“The things we are always about are meritocracy and opportunity,” he said in September. “I want to see everyone get an opportunity, including Colin. Those are decisions that are made by football people.”

Here are some other questions raised by Kaepernick’s grievance:

Q: How did we get here?

A: Kaepernick took over as the 49ers’ starter midway through the 2012 season and led San Francisco to the Super Bowl that year. The team returned to the NFC championship game the next season, but then sank in the standings. Since Thanksgiving of 2014, it has had four head coaches while going 8-36.

In 2016, Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest the shootings of unarmed black men by police officers. After the season, he opted out of his contract with San Francisco and became a free agent. No other team was willing to sign him, even as Brian Hoyer, Scott Tolzien, Tom Savage, Mike Glennon and DeShone Kizer all found work as starters.

Q: So, does that prove collusion?

A: Not quite. The CBA says specifically that the decision not to sign a player – even if he’s better than an alternative – is not proof of collusion. Instead, there must be evidence of an agreement between one team and “the NFL or any other club” that influences an individual team’s decision making.

What’s more, Kaepernick will need to prove to a neutral arbitrator by a “clear preponderance of the evidence” that collusion occurred. This is a higher standard than in a normal civil case, Yen said, but still short of the criminal burden of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Q: Is there any precedent for what Kaepernick is claiming?

A: Before the practice was prohibited in bargaining agreements, teams routinely worked together to keep player salaries down. A more pernicious form of collusion was the “gentlemen’s agreement” among owners that banned black players from baseball until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.

In the 1980s, baseball owners were found guilty of colluding in three straight seasons to suppress salaries for a group of free agents that included future Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Paul Molitor and Tim Raines. Teams claimed they were allowed to share information as long as they didn’t set artificial prices; an arbitrator disagreed and granted the players $280 million.

Steroid-tainted slugger Barry Bonds was less successful when he claimed that teams blackballed him in 2008, the season after he broke Hank Aaron’s career home run record. Bonds said he would play for the major-league minimum, and he offered statistics that showed he was worth much more. But baseball’s arbitrator said he needed hard evidence of teams working in concert.

Q: What if Kaepernick’s grievance fails?

A: Like Tom Brady before him, Kaepernick could go to federal court to argue that football’s arbitration system was fundamentally unfair. But Kaepernick faces two challenges that Brady didn’t in the drawn-out “Deflategate” scandal that ended with his suspension being upheld.

First, Kaepernick has to deal with the precedent set in “Deflategate,” which declared that the federal courts should not interfere in the NFL’s collectively bargained arbitration process.

Second, Kaepernick’s grievance will be heard by a neutral arbitrator instead of Goodell, which eliminates one of the key grounds for a potential appeal.

Maine-based venture capital fund headed for liquidation

CEI Community Ventures Fund LLC lost more than 70 percent of its value and failed to repay a $7.5 million SBA loan.

A Maine-based investment fund that was designed to help small businesses in rural areas has gone into receivership after operating for 15 years as part of a failed experiment by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

A federal judge has turned over management of the fund, operated by Brunswick-based Coastal Enterprises Inc., to the SBA for the purpose of liquidating it.

The deeply indebted fund, known as CEI Community Ventures Fund LLC, is one of the last remnants of an SBA program launched in 2002 to infuse long-term capital into small businesses in underserved areas through equity investing.

While Community Ventures met its goal of creating rural jobs, it was ultimately hamstrung by factors including a recession in the early 2000s, restrictions on where it was allowed to invest, and a requirement that investment capital provided by the SBA must be repaid with interest, according to those involved.

“It was really a social experiment, so that made it very challenging,” said Tim Agnew, principal of Massachusetts-based Masthead Venture Partners, who did volunteer work for the fund.

Community Ventures was licensed by the SBA in August 2002 as a New Markets Venture Capital Company, according to a complaint filed in September by the SBA in U.S. District Court for the District of Maine. The fund’s purpose was to make equity investments in small businesses in rural New England.

An equity investment is essentially the purchase of a portion of the business. It usually yields a return on investment only when the business is sold or has a public offering of shares.

The New Markets Venture Capital program was entirely different from the Maine New Markets Capital Investment tax credit program, which offers tax breaks to spur investment and was the subject of a Press Herald investigation in 2015.

According to the complaint, the SBA provided $7.5 million of financing to Community Ventures, which was combined with other capital from private investors. The SBA loan was never repaid, it said.

In its complaint, the SBA indicated that the fund had lost more than 70 percent of its original value, thus violating the conditions of its license and prompting the SBA to take action against the fund.

According to SBA spokeswoman Carol Chastang, Community Ventures was not the only New Markets fund to run into problems.

Out of the six funds licensed under the New Markets program, three are in receivership and another one already has been liquidated, she said.

In all, the SBA provided $72 million of financing to the six funds, Chastang said. So far, only $16.4 million of that money has been repaid, she said.

The six funds made equity investments in a total of 71 businesses from 2002 to 2004, according to Chastang. About $54 million was invested, and the rest went toward paying operating costs.

CEI is a business development organization focused on creating jobs and boosting local economies in rural areas. It oversees a suite of organizations that include nonprofit and for-profit financing and investment groups.

It has had success with a number of its other investment funds.

It announced Monday that its most recent venture capital fund, Coastal Ventures IV Limited Partnership, has been certified by the U.S. Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution, a sign of the federal government’s faith in the fund and its mission.

CEI spokeswoman Elizabeth Rogers said the now-troubled Community Ventures fund made equity investments in seven rural businesses. Five of the businesses were sold or went out of business, Rogers said. She would not specify how many were sold and how many went out of business.

The two remaining businesses in which Community Ventures invested will not be affected by the fund’s liquidation, Rogers said.

“CEI worked in partnership with the SBA and other private investors to invest in companies that created hundreds of jobs, new technologies, and brought hope and income to rural areas in northern New England,” she said.

Agnew said the New Markets program that spawned Community Ventures was a noble effort to boost rural economies, and that CEI did everything within its power to make the fund succeed.

But venture capital funds can take years to produce a return on investment, he said, which is incompatible with short-term financial pressures such as having to repay a loan to the SBA.

“The point of venture capital is to be patient capital, but debt is not patient capital,” he said.

Chastang acknowledged that the six New Markets funds faced an uphill battle.

“Although six funds selected over a two-year timeframe are not adequate to judge program outcomes, (the funds) clearly faced hurdles that make it difficult for any venture fund, including the small fund size, high fee structure and geographically confined investments,” she said.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:


Twitter: jcraiganderson

NLCS: Cubs’ Maddon stands by bullpen decisions

The manager has faced criticism for not bringing in closer Wade Davis in Chicago’s Game 2 loss Sunday.

CHICAGO — Cubs Manager Joe Maddon stood by his decision not to use All-Star closer Wade Davis in Chicago’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series and questioned the criticism coming his way.

Maddon insisted Monday that Davis was only available for one inning in a save situation. He dismissed the second guessing, a day after John Lackey gave up a three-run homer to Justin Turner in the ninth to send Los Angeles to a 4-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.

Game 3 is Tuesday at Wrigley Field, with Yu Darvish starting for the Dodgers and Kyle Hendricks pitching for the Cubs.

Maddon said Davis was still limited after a seven-out save in Chicago’s wild Game 5 victory over Washington in their NL Division Series.

“I don’t understand why that’s difficult to understand,” he said. “And furthermore, you have to also understand it wasn’t the last game of the year – or the second-to-the-last game of the year. It was about winning eight more games. All these things are factors. I really hope that you all understand that social media doesn’t count at all. Twitter doesn’t count at all. And really, as sports writers, you should be doing a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly.”

The Cubs are in a tough spot, trailing the team that led the majors with 104 wins. But they’ve come back before, rallying from 3-1 down in the World Series last fall to beat Cleveland. In the Division Series this year, they pulled out a 9-8 win at Washington after they failed to close out the Nationals at Wrigley Field.

The Dodgers know better than to start planning a championship celebration.

“I think up to this point we’ve done everything we can to put ourselves in a good position, but there is a long way to go,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “And this team, the Cubs are not going to quit fighting and competing.”

While the Dodgers have gotten big contributions from Turner and their bullpen, Chicago’s sluggers and relievers are struggling.

“There is nobody in that lineup that I can (go) easy on,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “So it’s going to be a battle.”

The Cubs are counting on Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo to get going with the two a combined 1 for 14 in the series. It wouldn’t hurt, either, if Javier Baez picked it up at the plate. The co-MVP of last year’s NLCS is 0 for 19 in the playoffs.

As for Chicago’s relievers?

A strength during the season, the Cubs bullpen has a 7.03 ERA in the playoffs, and some of Maddon’s moves have backfired in a big way.

The decision to bring in Lackey for Brian Duensing on Sunday with a runner on second turned more than a few heads.

Pitching on consecutive days for the first time in his career, Lackey walked Chris Taylor on six pitches. Turner then ended the game when he drove a 1-0 fastball out to center, setting off a wild celebration and raising more questions about Maddon’s handling of the bullpen.

Lackey gave up an NL-high 36 home runs during the regular season. Davis had been throwing lightly in the bullpen, though Maddon said he was “probably testing his arm” – not getting ready to enter the game.

“He was not coming into that game until we grabbed the lead,” Maddon said. “He was not going to pitch more than three outs. That’s it.”