Sabathia comes off DL, pitches Yankees past Red Sox

BOSTON — It was less than two weeks ago when CC Sabathia contemplated retirement after injuring his right knee in Toronto. Fortunately for his team, he changed his mind “I know that he was pretty emotional that night because he thought he was heading for surgery,” New York manager Joe …

BOSTON — It was less than two weeks ago when CC Sabathia contemplated retirement after injuring his right knee in Toronto. Fortunately for his team, he changed his mind “I know that he was pretty emotional that night because he thought he was heading for surgery,” New York manager Joe …

Sabathia comes off DL, pitches Yankees past Red Sox

BOSTON — It was less than two weeks ago when CC Sabathia contemplated retirement after injuring his right knee in Toronto. Fortunately for his team, he changed his mind “I know that he was pretty emotional that night because he thought he was heading for surgery,” New York manager Joe …

BOSTON — It was less than two weeks ago when CC Sabathia contemplated retirement after injuring his right knee in Toronto. Fortunately for his team, he changed his mind “I know that he was pretty emotional that night because he thought he was heading for surgery,” New York manager Joe …

Interactive map: Police use of deadly force in Maine

The Attorney General’s office reported 53 officer-involved shootings in Maine from Jan. 1, 2012 to Aug. 18, 2017, resulting in 28 deaths.
The deaths in three cases were determined to be suicide. Fourteen shootings resulted in injury.
The AG’s offic…

The Attorney General’s office reported 53 officer-involved shootings in Maine from Jan. 1, 2012 to Aug. 18, 2017, resulting in 28 deaths.

The deaths in three cases were determined to be suicide. Fourteen shootings resulted in injury.

The AG’s office is responsible for investigating all circumstances in which a law enforcement officer uses deadly force while acting in the performance of the officer’s duties. The investigations determine whether the officer acted in self-defense or in the defense of others. The finding in each of the 53 cases was that the use of deadly force was justified, meaning no officers were prosecuted.

Read the Press Herald’s report on officer-involved shootings prior to 2012: Deadly Force: Police & the mentally ill.

Click on a circle to view details about each incident.

 

 

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INTERACTIVE: Christian MilNeil | @c_milneil

The eclipse is Monday, but will clouds wreck the view?

Clouds can ruin an eclipse party by preventing us from seeing the phenomena, but the weather is likely to cooperate Monday.

The solar eclipse Monday has gotten a lot of attention.  

All of us, no matter where we are in the United States, will have a chance to see at least a partial solar eclipse. And in some areas, people will see the sun become completely covered by the moon’s shadow.

 In Greater Portland the eclipse will begin about 1:30 in the afternoon, peak about about 2:45 p.m. and end a few minutes before 4 p.m.  

Don’t view the eclipse without ISO-approved glasses.  A quick glimpse of the sun won’t do any more harm than any other time of the year when you briefly look up in the middle of the day and your eye briefly catches the sun. It’s staring at it that would likely cause permanent damage.

About 60% of the sun will be covered by the moon’s shadow Monday. The path of totality will cross the United States on Monday morning into the afternoon. (Larry Koehn) NASA

Only one thing could go wrong. … That’s right: Clouds.

Right now there are some areas of the country where they could be an issue.  The image below, based on the GFS supercomputer model, shows some clouds in the western and central part of the United States, as well as parts of the Southeast, all near the path of totality.

Clear skies are forecast for much of New England for the eclipse, which is partial in this part of the country. WeatherBell

 

In the Northeast, high pressure is forecast to build into the region.  The weather associated with high pressure is generally nice and often quite clear.

 

High pressure will dominate the weather Monday, keeping clouds to a minimum. Tropical Tidbits

 

If the GFS model above is correct, the areas from Ohio to Maine and south to parts of Maryland should see generally clear skies.  This would making viewing the eclipse easy and take the weather factor out of the equation.   I took a closer look at other models which also show a forecast of high pressure over the Northeast.

High pressure doesn’t always mean there will be no clouds, though. Sometimes, areas of high pressure do have them.

 I have been reviewing the three possible layers of clouds according to the models.  We could see high, middle or low clouds.  High clouds can dim the sun, but the eclipse would still be visible, while middle and low clouds would be more problematic.

According to the GFS cloud forecast, all three layers should exhibit an absence of cloudiness.  Again, this is great news for eclipse watchers – in that high-pressure area.

The black colors on the cloud forecast indicate a lack of clouds. WeatherBell

The upper left image is a composite of the three layers. Since that quadrant is clear, it stands to reason the other three layers are forecast to be mainly clear as well.

There are still a few days, of course, until the actual eclipse. However, multiple signs are pointing to a great period of weather for viewing this event in the Northeast.  

While this is certainly an event that doesn’t occur often, it’s not that rare.  The next total eclipse for the United States is April 8, 2024, and the path of totality will go right over Mount Katahdin here in Maine.  You can be sure the weather is more likely to be a problem that time of year than the middle of summer.  

You can follow Dave Epstein @growingwisdom on Twitter.

Scarborough council officially sets school budget for a 3rd referendum

Councilors unanimously adopt a reduced spending plan in hopes of passage by voters on Sept. 5.

The Scarborough Town Council gave final approval late Wednesday to a reduced school budget, setting the stage for a third townwide vote on education spending.

Town voters will go back to the polls Sept. 5 to consider the new school spending plan for the 2018 fiscal year. The fiscal year began July 1, but the school department is operating under the previous budget until a new one is ratified by voters.

Voters may start voting by absentee ballot at town hall Thursday.

The latest proposal represents a $47.2 million operating budget for education, which is $1.3 million, or 2.9 percent, higher than last year’s budget. It would mean a property tax rate increase of 2.91 percent.

Town councilors have twice reduced the spending proposal after earlier versions were rejected by voters. They trimmed $50,000 from the school budget after a July 25 referendum ended in 1,930 to 1,847 vote against a revised spending plan, which included a $236,000 reduction from the original school budget proposal and a $71,000 reduction from the municipal budget.

If the revised budget passes, it will be up to the school board to determine how the $50,000 budget reduction would impact school programs.

Under the revised school budget, the overall property tax rate would increase from $15.92 to $16.38 per $1,000 in assessed property value. The annual tax bill on a $300,000 home would increase $138, from $4,776 to $4,914.

Little Leaguers ready to show power at World Series

The Little League World Series begins Thursday in in South Williamsport, Pa.

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Joey Randazzo’s teammates marveled as the Grosse Pointe, Michigan, shortstop lifted pitch after pitch over the left field fence during Little League World Series batting practice on Wednesday.

They were in awe again a batter later as Joseph Wisniewski used his left-handed uppercut swing to shoot line-drive home runs to right-center field.

Fans will likely see much more of that power over the next 11 days as 16 teams battle for the Little League title. The 71st edition of the tournament begins Thursday in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

“It’s the evolution of the game as kids are getting bigger and stronger,” said Jason Hill, coach of the team from just outside Detroit that’s representing the Great Lakes Region. “The game has really progressed. Coaches are getting more informed with teaching mechanics and selection and hitting philosophy.”

Grosse Pointe’s 6.6 runs per game during regional play was actually among the lowest offensive output among the teams taking the field this week. The Mid-Atlantic team from Jackson, New Jersey, averaged 10.8 runs across four regional games, the best mark of any U.S. team.

The international teams averaged more runs during regionals than the United States teams did, though the competition levels of the different regions vary. The Asia-Pacific Region’s representative from Seoul, South Korea, outscored its regional opponents 45-2 in the four-game span. Canada scored more than 20 runs in back-to-back regional games, averaging nearly 14.3 runs across seven contests. Japan won its final regional matchup 17-0 and averaged more than 13 runs per game.

“We’ve got some power in our lineup,” said Coach Chris Swan of Hills Little League from Sydney, Australia, which will face Japan on Friday. “If you look back at our (regional) tournament, we didn’t rely on the home run. We just relied on batting for average, looking to hit the ball in the gaps.”

“We look to hit the ball hard. If the ball goes out, it’s an extra bonus,” Swan said. Australia averaged 12.3 runs per game across seven regional games, third-best among international teams behind Canada and Japan.

Hills is one of two teams returning to the series for a second straight year, along with Emilia Little League from Italy. That could be an advantage because they’ve already experienced the hype.

“They’re so excited to be here,” Swan said. “They’re one team that just likes to relax, and they want to have fun. I think they should be having enough fun so the nerves won’t really take over.”

LOOKING AHEAD
Two key matchups are coming up in the opening days of the tournament.
Fairfield, Connecticut (New England) vs. Jackson, New Jersey (Mid-Atlantic) on Thursday: The highest-scoring offense among United States teams, New Jersey will try to hand Connecticut its first loss this summer as Fairfield won each of its 18 games. New Jersey has a connection with New York Yankees third baseman and 1998 Little League World Series Champion Todd Frazier, who played for Toms River, New Jersey. Both Jackson and Toms River are in the Ocean County and this team’s players have honed their skills in practice with Frazier and his two brothers.
Australia vs. Japan on Friday: This game is expected to showcase the offensive firepower on the international side of regional play. Japan outscored its opponents 53-6 in regionals, showing it can dominate both at the plate and on the mound.

The drought is back and shows no signs of leaving soon

Southern Maine is in the midst of another summer drought and it could become worse.

Much of New England has received adequate rainfall since the middle of the spring. But there are parts of the region, mostly in Maine, where drought is returning – and expanding.

Drought conditions exist across southern Maine. NOAA

After the multi-year dry period we just experienced, any signs that the drought is taking hold again warrant a closer look.

Certainly, after a wet May, a drought seemed improbable. But after several weeks of very dry weather, parts of Maine have abnormally dry conditions or a moderate drought.  

Right now, things are actually worse in many cases than last year.  If you travel along the coast, you’ll quickly notice the difference in the grass from the foothills where there’s been more rain.  And the abnormally dry conditions are expanding.  If we don’t see much rain in the next week, I expect other areas to go into abnormally dry status, the precursor to drought.

Rainfall compared to average has been particularly low around Greater Portland this summer. NOAA

For the past 60 days much of New England has actually been drier than normal. In Maine the driest area is around Greater Portland, where some places have seen only 10 to 25 percent of their typical summer rainfall. Lawns have gone brown. In some cases, there’s actually been less rainfall than a year ago.

The moisture levels were doing quite well up until a few months ago, but since June they have really started to decline.  

Since there was a good deal of rain in May and early June, this is more an agricultural drought than a groundwater one. But I would be cautious about well water usage the rest of the summer if things don’t improve.

We had seen adequate rainfall in the spring, but since June it’s been very dry. NOAA

 

Southern New England is doing quite a bit better.  Boston is still running a surplus of rainfall.  You can see how relatively even the precipitation has been over the past few months. This is why lawns continue to be so green around there.

 

Areas in southern New England have seen more rain this summer. NOAA

Looking ahead over the next 10 days, I expect the overall pattern of dry weather to continue. The forecast is for precipitation to be below average by nearly an inch in parts of the area. We don’t typically receive much more than an inch per week this time of year in the first place, so this would be quite a small amount.

Rainfall is forecast to be below average into the third week of August. WeatherBell

So far this summer, whenever a dry spell has started, we’ve seen a weather system come along to bring much-needed showers.

Whether that happens again in the third week of August is still in question.

Of course, there’s also always the possibility of a tropical system bringing copious rain. This is often how droughts end – and many of us could certainly could use it after another parched summer.

Patriots benefit from joint camp workouts

There are few things that players, coaches, fans and media agree on. But it’s hard to find anyone in those groups with a negative word about training camp practices between NFL teams.

There are few things that players, coaches, fans and media agree on. But it’s hard to find anyone in those groups with a negative word about training camp practices between NFL teams.