A political portrait of Maine’s alleged puppy-kicker, Michael Hein

Michael Hein was charged Monday with kicking a puppy on a running trail in Augusta, and it’s not the first time that he’s been in the news for some bizarre stuff.

His lawyer denied the charge, but the news wasn’t surprising to some in the capital area.

It bookends Hein’s past decade on the fringe of conservative politics in Maine: He has protested scantily-clad models, outed a Democrat who practices paganism, run for office and not won despite breaking election law in 2012 and burned many bridges along the way.

In 2006, you could see him holding signs in downtown Augusta in front of a lingerie shop that used live models. His protests gained national attention and prompted many letters to Kennebec Journal editors.

“We don’t want to have our children, or even us, exposed to this indecency,” Hein told the KJ then.

Later that year, he ran for the Maine Legislature, but the Maine Republican Party refused to give him access to its voter database after he criticized a sitting Republican legislator’s “personal and religious stances,” according to the KJ. When a primary opponent got into the race, he hammered her online and lost the primary.

But he parlayed his protest work into a job as office administrator of the Christian Civic League of Maine. Then, the firebrand Michael Heath was the group’s executive director and Hein took an aggressive tack as his lieutenant.

For the group’s newspaper, he started “investigating” a “Pagan shrine” on property in Sidney connected to Rita Moran, chairwoman of the Kennebec County Democratic Committee. He took pictures there and the league wrote that he was warned for trespassing. All of that outed Moran publicly as a pagan, but not many cared. She’s still chairing the committee.

He lost his bully pulpit in 2010, when Carroll Conley, the league’s current executive director, fired Hein because he didn’t share the group’s desire to have a “respectful dialogue” on social issues. Hein complained to the Maine Human Rights Commission about his firing, but the group was cleared of wrongdoing.

And in 2012, he ran for the Legislature again. Again, he lost the primary. But he pleaded guilty to falsifying Clean Election contributions, admitting that he encouraged 15 people to claim they helped him qualify for funding. He got seven days in jail.

Perhaps nothing sums up his career arc quite like a Facebook post from 2013. After Hein was pictured and quoted in the media at a gun rally, he posted links to stories on a public page.

“Mike, you’re so humble,” the administrator said.

“Well, I didn’t have to go to jail to get on the front page this time, so that’s progress, eh?” Hein responded.

On Monday, a snarky reply came: “Kicking a puppy, that will get you on the 6pm news PDQ.” — Michael Shepherd


Advocates, DHHS spar on colon cancer grant

Democrats and health advocates have criticized Gov. Paul LePage’s administration for turning down a $2.5 million, five-year federal grant aimed at doing outreach to improve colon cancer screening rates.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has turned down that and other federal grants — including those around well water testing and drug addiction treatment — lately.

Democrats jumped on that refusal to accept federal money on Monday, with Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, saying, “Maine people pay the federal taxes that support this program, and it is unconscionable that Maine people will not see any of the benefit.”

In a statement on Monday, Kenneth Albert, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control, said spending that money “on patient outreach strategies related to one type of cancer is simply not a good investment of taxpayer dollars.”

But Hillary Schneider, the government relations director for the American Cancer Society in Maine, told MPBN that it’s an “excellent use of taxpayer money” and that “we know that not everybody who is in the target population to get screened is getting screened.” — Michael Shepherd

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Ukraine doesn’t like Fred Durst, either

It was just one of those days for Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst. When we last left him, he was … I don’t know … doing that song with Lil Wayne(Plenty of foul language after the link, of course.)

Durst has expressed an interest in moving to Crimea, where his wife is from. But yesterday, he was reportedly banned from Ukraine for five years “in the interests of guaranteeing the security of our state,” according to the Associated Press.

He may benefit, however, from a geopolitical dispute: The Ukrainian peninsula has been annexed by Russia, and the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom welcomed Durst in an October tweet.

Durst praised Russia in an interview with a radio station there, saying, “How Russia is portrayed in the media is far from reality, and I want to prove to everyone, that it’s really cool!”

Moving to Crimea might seem like a drastic move, but no one knows what it’s like to be mistreated and defeated in one’s home country. Keep rollin’, Fred. — Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.