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Kansas guard Graham apologizes after traffic warrant arrest

Donald Trump mounted an aggressive defense of his presidency Thursday, lambasting reports that his campaign advisers had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and vowing to crack down on the leaking of classified information

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Donald Trump mounted an aggressive defense of his presidency Thursday, lambasting reports that his campaign advisers had inappropriate contact with Russian officials and vowing to crack down on the leaking of classified information

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Concord CAP has ‘new’ commander

CONCORD Lt. Col. Darin Ninness of Concord assumed command of the Civil Air Patrol s Concord Composite Squadron at the New Hampshire Army National Guard Armory on Feb. 2.

Ninness, who serves as the recruiting and personnel director for New Hampshire Wing CAP and as the national recruiting and retention manager, replaces Maj. Anna Hullinger, who has relocated to Hawaii with her family. Ninness has been the commander of the Concord Squadron twice before, from 1999 to 2004 and from 2006 to 2009. The Concord Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol was formed in 1997, a year after the deactivation of the long-time Concord Corsairs Squadron, and it is part of the all-civilian, all-volunteer U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.

The squadron recently received a rating of Outstanding during a recent unit inspection conducted by New Hampshire Wing CAP headquarters, and it has been consistently rated as one of the top units in New Hampshire and the Civil Air Patrol s 9-state Northeast Region. Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 56,000 members nationwide. It has been performing missions for America for 75 years. CAP performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, and was credited by the AFRCC with saving more than 70 lives in fiscal year 2016.

Operating 530 single engine aircraft and 63 sailplanes, the Civil Air Patrol utilizes aircraft and ground teams and an extensive radio communications network. CAP members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 22,000 young people participating in cadet programs. CAP s volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counterdrug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies.

For more information on the Concord Civil Air Patrol, visit


RI native’s documentary focuses on Cape Cod’s stranded turtles

By Rich Eldred [email protected]

Just like Norma Desmond (in Sunset Boulevard) the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle is ready for its close up. It won’t be Cecil B. DeMille behind the camera but Michele Gomes and Jennifer Ting, two Seattle-based filmmakers who together are Interchange Media, and were on Cape Cod two years ago when 1,200 cold stunned sea turtles washed ashore in late November/December. The vast numbers nearly overwhelmed the staff at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and their volunteers who’ve been patrolling the frozen beaches for decades, usually collecting a few dozen turtles over a season.

“They were in crisis mode,” recalled Gomes, who grew up in Pawtucket and graduated from Shea High School before attending Husson University in Bangor, Maine, and moving away from Rhode Island for good at age 24. “It touched me deeply to find out these conservation efforts were going on.

“Seeing the passion and determination and selfless efforts that blew me away. People were going out at any time of day facing what they needed to face. It’s not easy seeing a lifeless animal but at the same time there was a lot of hope. It’s heartbreaking work. But coming out of that and knowing that (the turtle) is alive. That inspires you.”

That work is the subject of “Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction,” which will kick off the New England Aquarium’s lecture series at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 22) on an IMAX screen. The aquarium requests that those planning to attend register in advance at this website. The turtle rescuing happened over a couple of weeks in 2014. The documentary was two years in the making. Gomes and Ting are self-distributing the film.

“I grew up in Rhode Island and traveled to Wellfleet but I never visited the Wildlife Sanctuary,’ Gomes recalled. “A friend said you should visit. So Jennifer and I visited and signed up for a nature walk with Dennis Murley. I was expecting the hear about birds and animals but he kept bringing up sea turtles.

“I’d never heard of sea turtles in New England. He said yes, they come and strand every year. Jennifer said, lets go next year while they’re stranding and see what it is.

“I was really curious, because I’d never heard about sea turtles in our waters. Jennifer was more interested in Dennis and following him. We didn’t know what it was going to be.”

Initially their sojourn was like an off-season vacation.

“We were there a couple of weeks and kept asking where are the turtles and they’d say it wasn’t cold enough,” Gomes explained. “So we were filming around and checking out stuff and learning about the Cape.

“We were staying near Cold Storage Beach (in Dennis) waiting for a call and then a school field trip happened. Somehow we missed the class and went to Rock Harbor and found our first turtle.

“Starting after that, there were five days of heavy winds and all these sea turtles came in. It was overwhelming at times. They were everywhere. It was nonstop. We had to hold our cameras but sometimes there was a need for help and we went on our own turtle patrols and found over 40 sea turtles.”

One fellow volunteer was Krill Carson of the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance. She monitors the giant ocean sunfish that wash up around the Cape and Plymouth shores. She and Bob Prescott, director of Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, exchange information and help each other out and so it was that Carson pitched in with the turtles.

“Ann Boucher and I were assigned to walk a section of beach in Truro, a mile to a mile and a half,” Carson recalled. “Usually you leave one car in one area and the other car in another lot so you don’t have to back track. We were walking at two or three in the morning (at high tide) and were exhausted. We knew there was a team north of us and one to the south. As we got to the lot there was another car there. We peeked inside and there were like 20 turtles in there.”

That’s an extraordinary number for one night.

“We walked our stretch of beach and it was windy, 20 to 30 knots and we had headlights and a flashlight and up ahead there were headlights coming towards us. As we got closer it was Jenny and Michele,” Carson said. “Michele had three turtles stacked up and Jenny had two and they had big smiles.”

Carson and the two adjacent teams rescued over 60 turtles that night.

“What I love about Jenny and Michele is even though they were making a documentary and we focused on that they were so caring they put the cameras down and helped out, walking the beach at two in the morning,” Carson said. “I bet the documentary is going to be something special because they actually got involved with it. They weren’t bystanders, they were participants.”

“Our mission as a company is to put the eye of the camera on life saving values,” Gomes said. “The integrity of the story is important. That’s why we’re taking this to the end. What you see is what the patrollers experienced hour after hour day after day. This was a passion project.”

Gomes and Ting marveled at all the totality of the effort.

“In the movie industry film-making is a story. It has to be centered around an individual,” Gomes explained. “But this is not all about one person. This is about community and community effort. There’s the public, government agencies, international government agencies, the military. There are so many pieces. All these collaborated about saving these turtles. That’s the beauty of it.”

They filmed the Coast Guard airlifting 193 turtles south.

“That’s the largest air lift in history of an endangered species. Who knew that’s what we were filming. We had no idea what to expect. This was total run and gun. That’s part of the documentary. You can’t stage it. It’s raw film in a way,” Gomes said. “The crisis happened and we went from there. That took us to an additional three other states and Mexico to get the whole story.”

It wasn’t necessarily the movie they set out to make but it’s what happened. And they were amazed at the non-professional dedication of the volunteers who walked beaches, ferried turtles to Quincy in unheated cars, marked, measured and put them in banana boxes.

“That’s why we refer t them as all heroes,” Gomes said. “This was a huge part of their lives. They gave up football and fun things. We talked with people who worked for corporations, NSA [National Security Agency], were school teachers and they said this work was one of the most meaningful acts they’d done.”

“It was incredibly time consuming, two years of work. Even now at the last minute. There was an incredible amount of detail and a lot of pressure,” Gomes said from Seattle. “What I love about what is happening is everyone is benefiting, the turtles, the staff, the volunteers, It’s fun, amazing compassionate work. It’s an awesome situation. There couldn’t be a better of community of people around. Everyone is in the right place.”

As were Ting and Gomes two years ago. CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect a new title for the movie and the correct number of turtles who were airlifted.

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