MONEY real estate

Why This Incredible Maine Mansion is Selling for $125

The Center Lovell Inns owner, Janice Sagan, is selling the inn, the same way she bought it 22 years ago, with an essay contest.
Carl D. Walsh—Portland Press Herald via Getty The Center Lovell Inns owner, Janice Sagan, is selling the inn, the same way she bought it 22 years ago, with an essay contest.

It’s gorgeous—and there’s nothing wrong with it.

The owner of a bed & breakfast in Maine is handing off her property to whoever who writes the best 200-word essay and submits a check for $125.

Janice Sage first came into possession of the Center Lovell Inn in 1993 when she won an essay contest set up by the owners at the time, Mental Floss reports. But now, Sage is ready to retire—and pass on the property much the same way she came about it.

Sage told the Press Herald: “There’s a lot of very talented people in the restaurant business who would like to have their own place but can’t afford it. This is a way for them to have the opportunity to try.”

The business-savvy Sage is not doing this without cashing out. She hopes to get over 7,500 contest entries, which would mean she would collect $900,000— the price at which real estate agents in the area say she could expect to sell the property, according to Mental Floss.

Entries must be postmarked by May 7. The winner is expected to be announced on May 21st. There’s more information on the contest’s website here.

The Professional Association of Innkeepers International says that the bed & breakfast industry is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion, with as many as 17,000 inns in the U.S. The average daily rate for a room is $150, according to the association’s website.

TIME animals

Official ‘State Dog’ Designations Divide Utah and Maine

Image Source—Getty Images

Dog breed favoritism divides two state legislatures

Lawmakers in Utah and Maine are waging the battle of the dog breeds, trying to get a favored variety recognized as their states’ official man’s best friend.

Supporters in Utah have had uneasy success making the golden retriever the “state domestic animal.” According to the the Salt Lake Tribune, the move came at the suggestion of a fourth-grade class. Those in favor cited the breed’s popularity across the state, as well as the golden retriever’s gentle temperament as a therapy animal.

But there were many on Monday who dissented out of loyalty to the german shepherd or the cocker spaniel, and the measure barely passed. It goes to a final vote later in the week.

Meanwhile, a bill to declare the labrador retriever Maine’s state dog suffered a resounding defeat in committee. State representatives, according to the Associated Press, wanted to avoid playing favorites, while one committee member called the whole affair a “waste of time.” (Notably, Maine already has an official state cat: the Maine coon cat.)

If Utah’s representatives vote to make the golden retriever as the official state pet, they’ll join five others that have singled out a dog or a cat. The Alaskan Malamute is, predictably, that state’s dog. Wisconsin has the American water spaniel, Louisiana has the Catahoula leopard dog and Maryland has bestowed the honor on the Chesapeake Bay retriever. Maryland is also the only state other than Maine with an official cat—the calico.

TIME Drugs

Maine to Test Some Welfare Recipients for Drugs

TIME.com stock photos Health Syringe Needle
Elizabeth Renstrom—TIME

New law requires testing for those with prior drug convictions within the past 20 years who indicate potential for drug dependency

Maine will soon begin to drug-test some welfare recipients with prior drug convictions as a condition to receive government aid, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced Wednesday.

The new rule calls for testing of recipients with a drug conviction from the past 20 years who also indicate potential drug dependency on a separate self-assessment. People who test positive for drugs, or refuse to take the test, will be required to enter a rehabilitation program to continue receiving aid.

“[Governor Paul LePage] is respecting the wishes of hardworking taxpayers who want to know that the hand up they provide is being used appropriately,” said Maine DHHS commissioner Mary Mayhew in a statement. “The goal of these benefits is not to subsidize poor lifestyle choices, but to help Mainers transition from a life of poverty to a life of prosperity.”

The new drug-testing rule, which applies to federal funding provided through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, will go into force within weeks, and has been years in the making. The legislature approved it overwhelmingly in 2011, but implementation was delayed as the state’s attorney general considered how to implement it while minimizing litigation. Attorney General Janet Mills approved a modified version of the rule last week.

The state is one 18 across the country that has enacted some form of legislation calling for drug testing for welfare recipients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Such policies, while politically popular in some areas, have been criticized as bad regulations that are potentially unconstitutional.

DHHS spokesman David Sorensen maintains that Maine’s law is a “middle ground” when compared to the policies elsewhere. “The whole goal is an overall effort to ensure that welfare is getting people from welfare to work,” Sorensen said. “We’re not interested in helping people to maintain a lifestyle of welfare dependency.”

TIME justice

Transgender Teen Awarded $75,000 in School Restroom Lawsuit

Jonas Maines,  Nicole Maines, Wayne Maines
Robert F. Bukaty — AP In this file photo, transgender student Nicole Maines, center, speaks to reporters as her father Wayne Maines, left, and brother Jonas, look on outside the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor, Maine.

Case was brought when a Maine school district forced the student to use a staff restroom

A court in Maine awarded the family of a transgender teenager $75,000 in a discrimination lawsuit against a school district that forced the student to use a staff restroom rather than a facility reserved for pupils, reports the Associated Press.

Nicole Maines, 17, had won her lawsuit against the Orono school district earlier this year in front of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that the school district had violated the state’s Human Rights Act.

The case marked the first time a state’s highest court ruled that a transgender person has the right to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.

In the wake of the court’s decision, a lower court awarded the financial settlement to the Maines family and the activist organization, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defender, on Nov. 25. In accordance with the order, the Orono school district is prohibited from refusing transgender students access “to school restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity.”

The case stemmed from an incident in 2007 when the grandfather of a fellow fifth grade classmate complained to school administrators that Maines was allowed to use the girls’ restroom. In the wake of the protest, the Orono school district began forcing Maines to use a staff facility — a decision that her parents argued was discriminatory.

[AP]

TIME ebola

Ebola Nurse Set to Leave Maine Town After Quarantine Fight

Kaci Hickox Ebola Nurse
Joel Page—Reuters Nurse Kaci Hickox (L) joined by her boyfriend Ted Wilbur, speaks with the media outside of their home in Fort Kent, Maine on Oct. 31, 2014.

“We’re going to try to get our lives back on track”

The nurse who clashed with Maine authorities over an Ebola quarantine said she plans to leave the town where she lives soon after the virus’ 21-day incubation period ends on Monday.

“We are going to southern Maine and will decide what’s next from there,” Kaci Hickox told CNN on Sunday.

Hickox tested negative for Ebola after traveling to West Africa to treat those battling the deadly virus, but officials in both Maine and New Jersey responding to public fear of the virus still wanted to place in quarantine. Hickcox eventually won a legal fight against Maine over the quarantine.

“We’re going to try to get our lives back on track,” her boyfriend Ted Wilbur told the Portland Press Herald.

[CNN]

TIME Google

Google Barge Project Scrapped Over Fire Safety Concerns

Google Mystery Barge
Jeff Chiu—AP In this Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, file photo, two men fish in the water in front of a Google barge on Treasure Island in San Francisco. The barge portion of the Google barge mystery is only half the story.

The Coast Guard expressed concern over lack of oversight in the secretive project

Concerns over fire-safety led Google Inc. to halt construction of its “Google barges,” a secretive project that had attracted significant public curiosity.

“These vessels will have over 5,000 gallons of fuel on the main deck and a substantial amount of combustible material on board,” wrote Robert Gauvin, the Coast Guard’s acting chief of commercial vessel compliance, in a March 2013 email to Google’s contractor on the project, Foss Maritime Co. The Wall Street Journal broke the story using documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Google had previously said the barges, located of the Maine coast and in San Francisco Bay, were to be “an interactive space where people can learn about technology.” The West Coast barge was eventually moved out to storage 80 miles away, while the Maine barge was dismantled and scrapped.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

TIME ebola

Nurse Explains Why She Fought Ebola Quarantine

'I felt like I had no choice but to fight back'

The nurse who publicly fought two states over a controversial quarantine policy for health workers returning to the U.S. from Ebola-affected countries said Monday that she felt compelled to act after seeing a lack of leadership on the issue.

“The more I thought about the fact that these policies are being made by politicians, really not the experts in the field, the more I felt like I had no choice but to fight back,” Kaci Hickox told CNN, adding that the U.S. would be better served by “evidence-based policies,” not “knee-jerk reactions.”

Hickox was temporarily quarantined against her wishes in Newark, New Jersey, last month after returning from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She showed no symptoms and tested negative for the disease. In a media blitz during her quarantine, which aimed to limit her interaction with the public during the virus’ 21-day incubation period, she decried her detainment as political and unnecessary.

She returned to her home state of Maine after being let go and quickly received media attention as she moved freely. Officials in Maine similarly tried to quarantine her, but a court ruled Hickox didn’t need to abide by the state’s wish. Still, Hickcox and the state reached a voluntary agreement Monday to stay out of public and “respect their wishes.”

“The truth is I completely understand that this town has been through a lot and there’s still a lot of fears and misinformation out there,” she said. “I think we need to start addressing those issues.”

Read next: Nurse, Maine Reach Ebola Quarantine Settlement

TIME ebola

Nurse, Maine Reach Ebola Quarantine Settlement

Maine Nurse Challenges Mandatory Quarantine Order
Spencer Platt—Getty Images FORT KENT, ME - OCTOBER 31: Kaci Hickox gives a statement to the media in front of her home on October 31, 2014 in Fort Kent, Maine. After returning from Sierra Leone where she worked with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, nurse Hickox publicly challenged a quarantine order by the state of Maine. She has twice tested negative for Ebola and says she will lead a normal life unless she feels ill. Hickox and her boyfriend, both staying in Fort Kent, headed out for a bike ride yesterday morning followed by the media and State Police. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Nurse has publicly railed against a forced quarantine

A nurse who was briefly quarantined after returning form treating Ebola patients in West Africa reached a settlement on Monday with Maine regarding precautions as she finishes out her 21-day incubation period.

Kaci Hickox, who was forcibly quarantined in New Jersey last month after returning from Sierra Leone, despite showing no symptoms and a negative Ebola test, is allowed to freely travel but must closely monitor her health and report any symptoms, Reuters reports. The agreement, which stays in effect through Nov. 10, requires monitoring that other returnees have already been doing.

Hickox had recently gotten into a legal battle with Maine over a forced quarantine, even going on a bike ride in a show of protest. On Oct. 31, a judge ruled she should be allowed to travel as she wishes, and that restricting her to her home was unnecessary.

[Reuters]

TIME ebola

Judge Rejects Maine’s Attempt to Forcibly Quarantine Ebola Nurse

A victory for Kaci Hickox

A judge in Maine rejected the state’s attempt to forcibly quarantine a nurse who has been clashing with officials over her defiance of a voluntary Ebola quarantine on Friday, reversing a court order that briefly mandated she avoid public places and transportation. The nurse still must continue daily temperature monitoring and approve travel with state officials, the judge ordered.

The order came Friday following a temporary order Thursday. The state has been pushing the nurse, Kaci Hickox, to follow quarantine guidelines laid out by federal officials for people at “some risk” of Ebola.

“I’m humbled today by the judge’s decision and even more humbled by the support that we have received from the town, the state of Maine, across the U.S. and even across the globe,” Hickox told reporters. “I know that Ebola is a scary disease. I have seen it face to face. I know that we are nowhere near winning this battle. We’ll only win this battle as we continue this discussion, as we gain a better collective understanding about Ebola and public health, as we overcome the fear and most importantly as we end the outbreak that is still ongoing in West Africa today.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage described the decision as “unfortunate,” but promised to enforce it.

MORE: The CDC has less power than you think and likes it that way

Hickox, who recently returned from West Africa to Ebola patients suffering from the outbreak that has killed almost 5,000 people, went for a bike ride with her boyfriend Thursday in defiance of Maine’s voluntary quarantine guidelines. District Court Chief Judge Charles LaVerdiere cared for Ebola patients “generously, kindly and with compassion,” CNN reports. “We owe her and all professionals who give of themselves in this way a debt of gratitude,” he wrote in his decision.

Hickox has not shown any symptoms and has tested negative for the disease, which has a 21-day incubation period. She was fiercely critical of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie when she was first quarantined on a state order there before being allowed to return home to Maine, calling it a violation of her human rights. Health advocates have criticized quarantine measures put in place as putting fear over science and potentially hampering efforts to contain the outbreak in West Africa by making it harder for health workers to travel to and from the region.

“I’m fighting for something much more than myself,” Hickox said this week. “There are so many aid workers coming back. It scares me to think how they’re going to be treated and how they’re going to feel.”

TIME 2014 Election

Obama Campaigns in Maine, Away From the Spotlight

President Obama at Portland Expo
Portland Press Herald/Getty Images President Barack Obama and Democratic Representative Mike Michaud raise their hands at the Democratic candidate's gubernatorial-election campaign rally in Portland, Maine, on Oct. 30, 2014

Rally for gubernatorial candidate is a far cry from campaign moments of yesteryear

Five days before voters go to the polls to determine the outcome of the Senate, President Barack Obama was in the 41st most populated state wading into a contentious three-way race for governor. But even before he left, the modest nature of the trip on behalf of Democrats was readily apparent.

The airport was small, so Obama was relegated to a comparatively teeny modified Boeing-757 serving as Air Force One.

If any campaign swing captured the sorry state of the President before next week’s election, it was his five-hour exile to Maine on Thursday afternoon.

Obama’s first event was a private fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at a remote mansion accessible only by a 10-minute drive down a one-lane gravel road. Inside 25 donors paid at least $16,200 to meet with Obama away from the scrutiny of the media. It was a familiar scene for the President who has devoted most of the year to raising money in private.

He followed it with a rally in a stuffy Portland gymnasium for Democratic Representative Mike Michaud, who is neck and neck in his challenge of Republican Governor Paul LePage.

Obama told the crowd he was “a little wistful” because “this is the last election cycle in which I’m involved as President, because I do like campaigning. It’s fun.”

The event was a far cry from the Obama campaigns of yesteryear, in which his soaring rhetoric and voter enthusiasm combined to cinematic effect. There were no stops for ice cream or coffee with candidates, or impromptu visits to local landmarks. Instead he delivered a rote speech highlighting his economic record and lambasting Republicans for failing to compromise. The message clashed with that of Michaud, who devoted his remarks introducing Obama to criticizing the state’s economy under LePage.

It was just Obama’s fourth rally for Democrats this cycle, with only a handful more planned before polls close on Tuesday.

“He has done everything we’ve asked,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee executive director Guy Cecil said of the President on Thursday. They just haven’t asked for much other than to get out of the way.

From delaying promised executive action on immigration reform under pressure from vulnerable Senate Democrats to holding off on nominating a replacement to Attorney General Eric Holder, Obama has spent much of the past several months trying to avoid saddling members of his party with more baggage.

Earlier in October Obama unwittingly did just that, declaring, “I am not on the ballot this fall. Michelle’s pretty happy about that. But make no mistake: these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.” The line, uttered about Democrats’ policy proposals, not specifically his, quickly became campaign fodder for Republicans.

Obama has been essentially sidelined to a dual role of brining in donations and turning out a less-than-enthusiastic Democratic base, as his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden have vigorously stumped for candidates.

His only event on behalf of a Democratic Senate candidate this cycle will be this weekend in Michigan for front-runner Representative Gary Peters.

— With reporting by Alex Altman / Washington, D.C.

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