The Amazing Kreskin endorses Senate candidate, candidate endorses opponent

The Amazing Kreskin doesn’t live in Maine and has no ties to the state, but he has endorsed Independent candidate Steve Woods, his former business and road manager, to represent Maine in the U.S. Senate. 

And in an unusual twist to that unusual twist, Woods has endorsed opponent Angus King, also an Independent candidate, though Woods said he’s still running against him.

In a news release issued this week by a New York public relations firm, Kreskin, a magician and mentalist, said he had never before publicly supported a political candidate for a state or national office.

“Let’s face it — our government needs a team spirit, the kind that Steve Woods will bring to the table,” he said in the statement. “It was a dream of our founding fathers that a successful American citizen was to give a few years of his time and life back to the country in which his success took place, and Steve Woods, I believe, is the man who will honor this wish.”

A spokeswoman with the public relations firm said Kreskin had no ties to Maine but that Woods had served for years as Kreskin’s business and road manager.

In the release, Kreskin, known for making predictions, makes it clear that he believes Woods will do a good job, but he is not predicting Woods will win.

Around the same time this week, Woods endorsed his opponent, King.

That statement was released by Woods after the two candidates met at King’s campaign headquarters in Brunswick, where Woods proposed that if one of them trailed the other by 10 percent the week before the election, then that candidate would drop out and endorse the other in an effort to prevent a spoiler.

But in the same statement, Woods endorsed King, saying he is “smart, honest, moral, articulate, charismatic, funny, warm, thoughtful.” He described him as “more politically astute than Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan combined” and “a man of the people.”

Woods, a businessman from Yarmouth, said he endorsed King because he admires the former governor, not because he is bowing out of the race now and “not because I think (King) could do a better job than me . . . I don’t.”

— Lindsay Tice

Thank goodness they’re singing

During a special Flag Day naturalization ceremony at the Lewiston Middle School on Friday, keynote speaker Scott Knapp got the audience laughing when he said he was delighted to learn the Androscoggin Chorale was chosen to sing.

With so many of them assembled on the stage,”I was thinking with all these people speaking we’re going to be here until tomorrow.”

— Bonnie Washuk

Helping hands

Norman Hall had always been the kind of guy to offer a helping hand. He coached sports in Lisbon when no one else wanted to. He groomed the Lisbon baseball fields, even when his own children no longer played. He served as a mentor to scores of young people.

But when Hall, 50, died of a heart attack in March, community members realized it was Hall’s family that suddenly needed help.

“When I went to his house right after I found out he passed away, somebody made the comment that he (would have been) attempting to get to the roof. The roof was leaking into his daughter’s room,” said Tony Austin, president of the Lisbon Junior Athletic League board, on which Hall had served for years. “So I just made a few phone calls.”

Those few phone calls produced dozens of volunteers willing to help the family get a new roof, including some from the Lisbon Boosters Club, area Boy Scout and Cub Scout groups and the Lisbon Helping Hands Fellowship. Some of the young players Hall had coached turned up, as did current members of the Lisbon Junior Athletic League, a 42-year-old nonprofit organization that runs baseball and softball games for children ages 4 to 15.

One person, who had asked to remain anonymous, offered to buy all of the roofing materials if someone else could do construction. Austin said the gift amounted to several thousand dollars.

“Every nail, everything. We didn’t have to come up with one penny,” Austin said.

One day in May, Helping Hands Fellowship members worked on the roof while volunteers on the ground handled cleanup. In less than a day, the roof was done.

“They did an awesome job. They did it really fast. It was amazing,” said Pam Hall, Norman Hall’s wife.

She said her husband never realized the impact he had on people. She called the volunteer effort on his behalf “heartwarming.”

“He didn’t know if he really had any effect, especially with the kids,” she said. “It was amazing how many kids showed up. He touched a lot of people.” 

— Lindsay Tice

Microburst

George Reuter, principal of Buckfield Junior-Senior High School, couldn’t imagine that any of the students would have destroyed a rabbit hutch during last Saturday’s high school graduation, but there it was, upside down with three dazed rabbits still in their cages near the school’s acre-sized garden.

A review of the surveillance camera revealed the real story and the rabbits apparently traveled farther than he had first expected.

The video showed a microburst lifting up the sturdy hutch, then depositing it in the former pigpen next to the garden tool shed. The school had offered students a chance to care for and get to know a couple of pigs for six weeks during the late school year.

Then, another microburst arrived, blowing the hutch and scared rabbits a few more feet. The hutch landed upside down with the rabbits still in their cages.

He said the microburst was very site-specific. The garden wasn’t hit, but the tool shed sustained some damage.

The rabbits seemed OK after their unexpected trip.

— Eileen M. Adams

New welfare fraud law

Proposed legislation, which came on the heels of stories about welfare fraud in the Sun Journal earlier this year, passed the Maine Legislature and is expected to take effect in September, Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbin said.

The new law criminalizes unauthorized transfer of an EBT (or Electronic Benefit Card) outside of the cardholder’s household or having another person’s card in one’s possession. It will be a class D misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail, Robbin said.

The backs of the new cards will carry a warning about unauthorized card transfer and an updated brochure will be handed to cardholders explaining the new law.

— Christopher Williams


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