Brett Kavanaugh’s affirmation, controversial immigration insurance policies, the rise of the alt-right motion and Stormy Daniels have been a number of the largest stories of 2018 all through the nation — and every one performed a task in shaping Maine all through the previous yr, too.
However 2018 was additionally a yr of tragedy. A sheriff’s deputy was killed in the road of obligation. A Bar Harbor teen was killed and a UMaine soccer participant collapsed and died in the center of apply.
Fortunately, there have been some moments to rejoice, too. Keep in mind the Mainer who fought off a black bear to save lots of his pet? And whereas Stephen King could also be a horror author by commerce, his ardour for Maine is something however scary.
Right here’s a glance again on the most-read BDN stories of 2018.
1. Susan Collins votes sure on Kavanaugh affirmation
Alex Brandon | AP
Brett Kavanaugh’s affirmation to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom was one of many prime political stories of 2018 nationwide — and Maine’s personal Republican Sen. Susan Collins performed a key position in making it occur.
Within the days following Kavanaugh’s October testimony in entrance of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Collins’ telephone strains have been flooded with calls from constituents hoping to affect her choice. Her web site crashed and 200 protesters gathered outdoors the senator’s Portland workplace. A number of the calls have been threatening in nature, which Collins referred to as a “new low.”
Finally, Collins forged a key vote to verify Kavanaugh, 51-49. The subsequent week, a letter that claimed to be contaminated with poison was despatched to Collins’ Bangor house, prompting an adjoining street to be shut down as a Hazmat staff investigated the residence.
Collins’ approval score amongst Democrats has suffered sinc e the vote and hypothesis about who will run towards her in 2020. Home Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and Susan Rice, the previous U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, are among the many well-known Democrats publicly contemplating runs up to now, and a fundraising account for Collins’ eventual opponent has to date raised $three.7 million.
2. Border patrol brokers query drivers on I-95 in Maine
A random checkpoint stopped visitors in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 between the Penobscot County cities of Howland and Lincoln in late June, and led to the arrest of a fugitive Haitian immigrant who beforehand was ordered to be deported.
The routine checkpoints have been happening for years, however the apply turned a nationwide story in the context of President Donald Trump’s efforts to crack down on immigration.
Border Patrol brokers additionally boarded a bus in Bangor in January, and a Harmony Coach Strains worker in Might informed a bus passenger on the Bangor Transportation Middle that solely U.S. residents have been allowed to experience the bus.
three. Cpl. Eugene Cole is killed in Norridgewock, kicking off a four-day manhunt
Somerset County sheriff’s Deputy Cpl. Eugene Cole, 61, was discovered shot lifeless in Norridgewock on April 25. He was the primary regulation enforcement officer shot and killed in the road of obligation since 1989, and the entire state adopted because the city of Norridgewock become the location of a four-day manhunt that ended when authorities discovered John D. Williams outdoors a camp close to Misplaced Brook.
After his arrest, Williams informed police he “eliminated” Cole as a result of he was mad on the deputy for arresting his fiancee a number of days earlier, in response to an affidavit filed by state prosecutors.
In June, Williams, 29, pleaded not responsible to a cost of homicide. In August, Williams’ lawyer requested that his shopper’s confession not be allowed as proof in his homicide trial on account of claims that Williams was crushed by police and that he was affected by opioid withdrawal.
Williams’ trial is scheduled for Might 2019 in Portland.
Four. Native teen Mikaela Conley is killed in Bar Harbor
Invoice Trotter | BDN
The physique of 19-year-old Mikaela Conley was discovered in June behind an elementary faculty, surprising Bar Harbor residents. Conley’s former classmate, Jalique Keene, was arrested two days later and charged together with her homicide.
A safety digital camera recorded Keene dragging Conley’s lifeless physique throughout a faculty playground towards a wooded space the place the physique was later discovered, in line with a police affidavit. Conley died of blunt pressure trauma to her head and by strangulation.
In September, Keene pleaded not responsible. His trial will possible happen in Might 2019.
5. Stephen King reveals why he selected to stay in Bangor
Carroll Corridor | BDN
It was a superb yr for Stephen King. He revealed two books, considered one of which has already been picked up by HBO as a TV collection; “Castle Rock” debuted on Hulu; and a King-themed haunted home in Prospect held up visitors on Route 1 for hours.
However the most common King article of the yr got here from his personal hand: a resurfaced essay titled “A Novelist’s Perspective on Bangor” that he wrote for a 1983 Bangor Historic Society occasion. Lastly, some perception into why Bangor’s most well-known resident picked the Queen Metropolis.
6. Ranked-choice voting sends Maine’s 2nd District into mayhem
The nation’s eyes have been on Maine on Election Day, because the races for Senate and Home have been the primary in the nation to make use of ranked-choice voting in a federal race.
Within the first spherical of voting, with 96.three % of districts reporting, Rep. Bruce Poliquin edged out Jared Golden with 46.three % of the votes, in contrast with Golden’s 45.6 %. With no candidate profitable a majority of the votes, the rely went to ranked-choice voting, and Golden was finally declared the victor.
Within the weeks that adopted, Poliquin sued Maine’s secretary of state to cease the ranked-choice poll rely and declare him the winner, claiming that the state’s ranked-choice voting system — enshrined by voters in 2016 — violates the U.S. Structure and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He additionally referred to as for a recount, demanded a brand new election totally, and argued in a quick that the voting course of creates a “faux majority.”
By Dec. 28, Poliquin had withdrawn his last lawsuit and Gov. Paul LePage begrudgingly licensed the outcomes of the 2nd Congressional District race. Golden might be sworn in with the brand new Congress Jan. three.
7. UMaine freshman Darius Minor dies throughout a preseason soccer exercise
Courtesy of Brandon Martin
Defensive again Darius Minor from Locust Grove, Virginia, collapsed and died throughout a preseason exercise in July on the Orono campus. An post-mortem the next month decided that Minor died of a coronary heart situation. It’s believed to be the primary time a UMaine soccer participant has died throughout exercises because the program started in 1896.
Following Minor’s dying, the UMaine soccer workforce devoted the season to his reminiscence and introduced his No. 39 jersey with them on street video games. The group turned tragedy into triumph, posting a 10-Four report and advancing to the Soccer Championship Subdivision nationwide semifinals for the primary time in faculty historical past.
eight. Maine man says he fought off a black bear that attacked his pet
Courtesy Dustin Grey | BDN
Lastly, a narrative with a cheerful ending. In February, Dustin Grey, 29, of Orrington informed the BDN that he fought off a black bear that attacked his pet off Route 1A in Dedham.
Grey had pulled to the aspect of the street and wandered about 50 ft into the woods to let Clover, his 11-month-old lab combine, pee, when he stated the black bear attacked the pet. Grey stated he punched and kicked the bear till it stopped biting her, which prompted the animal to knock him over because it ran off. “I stuck my finger right in its eye,” he stated.
9. Maine city supervisor promotes racial segregation
Jake Bleiberg | BDN
Again in January, the city supervisor of Jackman was revealed because the founding father of a gaggle that calls Islam “the scourge of Western civilization” and that means that the USA can be higher off if individuals of various races “voluntarily separate” on its web site.
Tom Kawczynski’s outing got here at a time when the alt-right was gaining extra visibility in the U.S., bolstered by a white nationalist motion that arose in the wake of the election of President Donald Trump.
Kawczynski advised the BDN that he needed to protect the area’s white majority and hold out Muslims, however rejected the concept his views are racist.
He was fired days later by the Jackman Choose Board.
10. Stormy Daniels storms into Portland
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Daniels, the grownup movie actress who claimed to have a one-night affair with Trump and who was paid by the president’s former private lawyer, Michael Cohen, to stay silent about it forward of the election, got here to Maine in September to carry out a two-night present at a Portland strip membership.
She took the stage to The Guess Who’s “American Woman” flanked by bodyguards. They escorted her again off 22 minutes later to Tom Petty’s “American Girl.” Afterward, Daniels — whose actual identify is Stephanie Clifford — spent an hour signing autographs and taking photographs for $20 a pop.
PT’s Showclub estimated having between 150 and 300 clients throughout Daniels’ first night time, and Mainers from each side of the political aisle flocked to Portland to catch the present.