1. President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas on Wednesday to visit hospital bedsides and offer his condolences to the victims of Sunday night’s shooting massacre. “America is truly a nation in mourning,” he declared. “Our souls are stricken with grief for every American who lost a husband or a wife, a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. We know that your sorrow feels endless. We stand together to help you carry your pain.” Trump also spoke of the courage displayed by people who risked or lost their lives saving others. (APN)
2. In the wake of Sunday night’s Las Vegas shooting and multiple hurricanes across the United States and its territories, several countries are warning its citizens to avoid traveling to the U.S. unless it’s absolutely necessary. The United Kingdom’s foreign travel advice page says that terrorists are “very likely to try to carry out attacks in the USA” and urges people to avoid Las Vegas. Ireland echoes those sentiments. Meanwhile, Germany lists “frequent political demonstrations” and “politically motivated violence” as reasons to be vigilant while traveling in America. It also points out that “in the U.S. it is comparatively easy to get possessions of weapons.” Canada cautions its people to “avoid non-essential travel to the Florida Keys and Naples due to damage caused by Hurricane Irma.” Australia cites both Hurricanes Maria and Irma, as well as the fact that “mass shootings continue to occur in public places.” (NYDN)
3. A Kennebunk High School teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student has been indicted by a York County grand jury on 14 counts stemming from an investigation into the relationship. Jill Lamontagne, 29, turned herself in to the Kennebunk Police on Wednesday after she was indicted Tuesday on six counts of gross sexual assault, two counts of unlawful sexual contact and six counts of abuse of a minor, police said. The boy was under the age of 18 when the alleged sexual contact occurred. He had at one point been a student in Lamontagne’s health class. Scott Gardner, Lamontagne’s attorney, said “The charges are completely untrue, period… These allegations arise from a high school rumor which consisted of the fantasies of an emotionally troubled 18-year-old.” (PH)
4. The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is helping save hundreds of dogs and cats from Puerto Rico. On Sunday, the Westbrook organization will be helping its partner “All Sato Rescue,” in Puerto Rico, which will be bringing 200 dogs and 12 cats to New England. The foster-based group currently has 500 pets in their care after the hurricanes. It’s “foster network,” is without power, clean water or resources. The animals will be flown from the island to Massachusetts, and then will be brought to shelters in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. They need more money to complete the mission.
All Sato Rescue is looking to raise $80,000. Click here to help https://www.crowdrise.com/our-most-important-transport. (WGME)
5. The NBA announced today that it will do away with its East-West format starting with this season’s February 18 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, instead letting the top vote-getters from each conference pick teams, playground-style. Twelve players from each conference will be selected as usual by fans, players and coaches. But instead of establishing squads by conference, the top vote-getters—which last year were LeBron James in the East and Steph Curry in the West—will get to draft players regardless of geography, with the 10 preordained starters getting divvied up first. (ESPN)
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