Former Kansas Senator Bob Dole dies at 98

Former U.S. senator and Republican presidential and vice presidential candidate Bob Dole died on Sunday at 98 years old. The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, named after his wife, announced that Dole died in his sleep early Sunday morning. A cause of death was not immediately revealed, however, Dole announced in February that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and would undergo treatment. The statement from the Elizabeth Dole Foundation read: ““It is with heavy hearts we announce that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died early this morning in his sleep,” adding, “At his death, at age 98, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”

Dole served in the U.S. Army during World War II and survived serious injuries in battle in Italy. He earned two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for valor during his service.  He served in the U.S. House as a representative from Kansas between 1961 and 1969. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1968 and represented Kansas in the Senate for 27 years, the last 11 as the Republican leader.

In 1976, Dole was the vice presidential nominee on the Republican ticket with incumbent President Gerald Ford; they ultimately lost in the general election to Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale. Dole then resigned from the Senate in 1996 to make a bid for President, ultimately losing to incumbent President Bill Clinton. Following his Presidential run, Dole began serving as special counsel with the law firm Alston and Bird in Washington and was appointed by then-President George W. Bush to co-head a bipartisan commission that delivered suggestions on improving the military’s health care system in 2008. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Clinton in 1997 and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2018.

Dole is survived by his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, and daughter Robin Dole.

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Ten aboard Norwegian Cruise Line ship test positive for COIVD-19

The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed that ten passengers and crew members aboard a Norwegian Cruise Line ship tested positive for coronavirus. The Norwegian Breakaway returned to New Orleans on Sunday after a weeklong cruise.

The Louisiana state health department said its agency as well as Gov. John Bel Edwards, the city of New Orleans and the Port of New Orleans “are aware and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to initiate existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line.” The ship had stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico. More than 3,200 people were onboard, and they all were to be tested before leaving the ship. The ship has a passenger capacity of 3,964.

The cruise line said the patients were all fully vaccinated and they were asymptomatic. Those who test positive for the virus will be required to travel home in a personal vehicle or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the cruise line. Passengers were given a test to use in three days.

The CDC requires everyone to have a negative test before boarding cruise ships, and vaccinations for those eligible with limited exemptions.

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Dan + Shay celebrate the holiday season with new music video for “Officially Christmas”

Dan + Shay are celebrating this holiday season by sharing a new music video for their song, “Officially Christmas.”  The duo announced on Instagram: “IT’S ALREADY DECEMBER, the snow’s fallin’ too (well, everywhere but nashville), so we made an officially christmas music video for you.”

Dan + Shay have released a handful of Christmas songs over the past couple of years, including “Pick Out a Christmas Tree” earlier this year. That song is currently the most-streamed holiday number across all genres in the U.S.

Take a look at the video for “Officially Christmas” – here.

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Pistol Annies to air new holiday show “Pistol Annies Hell of a Holiday Special”

Country trio Pistol Annies will stream their first ever holiday special, titled Pistol Annies Hell of a Holiday Special.  The program will be hosted by country radio personality Blair Garner and can be viewed on the group’s Facebook page, starting December 15 at 8 p.m. ET. Pistol Annies members Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe will perform songs from their new album and conduct a sit-down interview. The trio also say it will serve as a fundraiser for the Music Health Alliance, writing on Instagram,“It’s gonna be a hell of a holiday…special!  December 15th, we’re performing songs off the record, sharing some memories and chatting with @blairgarner and it’s all to benefit an organization dear to our hearts, @musichealthalliance”

The trio has also released an official video for “Snow Globe,” capturing a live performance of the track. Hell of a Holiday features 10 original tracks written by the Pistol Annies, plus standards including “Sleigh Ride,” Merle Haggard’s “If We Make it Through December,” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

The Pistol Annies Hell of a Holiday Special will stream on the group’s Facebook page December 15 at 8 p.m. ET.

Pistol Annies Announce ‘Hell Of A Holiday” Christmas Special

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Cate Blanchett and Kevin Kline join Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Disclaimer’ for Apple TV+

Apple TV+ announced it has ordered the series Disclaimer, starring Cate Blanchett and Kevin Kline.  Alfonso Cuarón will write, direct and executive produce all episodes of the series; Blanchett is also an executive producer.  Disclaimer will be the first project in Cuarón’s multi-picture deal with Apple TV+.

Based on the Renee Knight book, Disclaimer casts Blanchett as TV documentary journalist Catherine Ravenscroft. Kevin Kline will play a widower who publishes a book revealing Ravenscroft’s secrets.

According to a synopsis of the show, “Catherine Ravenscroft (Blanchett), a successful and respected television documentary journalist whose work has been built on revealing the concealed transgressions of long-respected institutions. When an intriguing novel written by a widower (Kline) appears on her bedside table, she is horrified to realize she is a key character in a story that she had hoped was long buried in the past. A story that reveals her darkest secret. A secret she thought was hers alone.”

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Trevor Noah to host 2022 Grammy Awards in January

The Recording Academy and CBS announced that The Daily Show host Trevor Noah will host the 2022 Grammy Awards on Jan. 31, 2021 in Los Angeles.  Noah, 37, previously hosted the 63rd Grammy Awards, which took place in March.

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr., said in a statement: “Trevor was amazing as our host for the 63rd Grammy Awards with praise from the music community, music fans and critics. We’re so excited to welcome Trevor back to the Grammys stage and feel fortunate to once again have him hosting what we believe will be an unforgettable evening.”

Jon Batiste leads the field of nominees with 11 nominations, followed by Justin Bieber and Doja Cat with eight nominations each and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo with seven nominations each.

The Grammys will air live Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. EST on CBS. It will also be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

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Belfast Woman Accused of Attacking Teen

Victoria Demmons, 22, of Belfast, has been arrested for assaulting a 14-year-old girl over a social media post.

She is being charged with disorderly conduct and violating conditions of release and criminal operating under the influence.

Maine State Police say Demmons felt challenged by the teens social media activity.

Maine State Police arrested 22-year-old Victoria Demmons of Belfast for assaulting a 14-year-old girl over a social media post.

Posted by Village Soup on Friday, December 3, 2021

PHOTO: Waldo County Jail

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Police in Standoff with Barricaded Subject in Dover-Foxcroft

WABI is reporting that there is a standoff in the area of Route 15 in Dover-Foxcroft. Maine State Police are dealing with a barricaded subject.

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Litchfield Maine Turnpike Authority Facility Destroyed by Fire

A fire last night, Dec. 2, destroyed the Maine Turnpike Authority eight-bay storage facility in Litchfield. Inside were five plow trucks, a loader and a new traffic control vehicle, among other equipment. All destroyed.

There were no injuries.

The Fire Marshal’s Office is processing the scene today in an attempt to determine what caused the fire.

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House approves short-term funding bill to avoid government shutdown

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a short-term spending bill that would keep federal agencies running through Feb. 18, 2022 — just one day before the federal government was scheduled to run out of money. The vote was 221-212, with one Republican joining all Democrats to pass the bill.

The measure now heads to the Senate, where passing the bill remains in doubt.   A small group of conservative Republicans, who oppose vaccine-or-testing requirements for companies with at least 100 employees, have threatened to delay passage of the short-term funding bill, which could in turn lead to a short partial government shutdown. However, top leaders of both parties have stressed that a shutdown will not happen. President Biden needs to sign the legislation before the midnight deadline on Friday to avoid any lapse in funding.