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Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Second Wind: Ailing Millinocket Pins Its Hopes on a Free Marathon

On Saturday morning, runners will line up for the inaugural Millinocket Marathon. Not only is it likely to be one of the coldest races of the fall marathon season, but organizers say it’s also the only Boston Marathon qualifying race — that they know of — that isn’t charging any fee, something that can cost a runner anywhere from $50 to $500.

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One of the giants in Maine’s conservation movement has died. Clinton “Bill” Townsend, an attorney, river advocate, environmental watchdog and lifelong fishermen, passed away at his home in Canaan this week at the age of 89. Bill Townsend was one of the earliest members of the Natural Resources Council of Maine in 1960 and later served as president of the organization and as a board member of the group for nearly three decades. Townsend also served on the boards of many other conservation...

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport and Gov. Paul LePage met Friday to discuss his proposal to build a new 21-bed psychiatric facility next door to the state’s Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. Gideon says progress was made at the meeting, and that they agree there is a need for the facility and that it should be built on the proposed location adjacent to Riverview. “We did not go into really the policy details of this. We talked about the fact we want this facility built,...

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public/file

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett says he's received a steady stream of emails, phone calls and letters urging him not to vote for President-Elect Donald Trump. Bennett is one of Maine's four electors in the Electoral College and he's supposed to cast his ballot for Trump on Dec. 19 at the State House. Bennett's ballot represents Trump's historic victory in Maine's 2nd Congressional District. "I think in yesterday's mail I received six or seven letters," Bennett...

Any pet owner will tell you that their animal companions comfort and sustain them when life gets rough. This may be especially true for people with serious mental illness, a study finds. When people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were asked who or what helped them manage the condition, many said it was pets that helped the most. "When I'm feeling really low they are wonderful because they won't leave my side for two days," one study participant with two dogs and two cats, "They just...

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine state officials say skimming is taking place at gas stations throughout the state.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Division of Quality Assurance says it is alerting the public in the wake of illegal gas station skimmers found by investigators in Brewer this week.

The agency says similar reports have also implicated drive-thru tellers at banks, ATMs and restaurants.

The agency's inspectors who check...

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Ethics Commission has approved a proposal that would require shadowy groups that contribute more than $100,000 to Maine-based political action committees, party committees or ballot campaigns to disclose their top five funders. The commission's unanimous approval means the proposal will go to the full Legislature for consideration. It's not yet clear if lawmakers will be receptive. Members of the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, which typically reviews campaign...

Editor’s note: Off Mic is a blog about things you might have missed in Maine politics . It’s a place for those news tidbits that aren’t quite a story, or that were part of story but were hacked out by a thoughtless editor. Leftovers from the notebook while wondering if Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew will land a job in the Trump administration ... Last week Maine Public published a story about how the LePage administration's efforts to restrict welfare...

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine drought conditions have eased a little, but most of the state is still experiencing severe drought conditions, according to Maine's Drought Task Force. Recent rain and snow events have helped restore stream and river water levels, but groundwater levels remain low. Bruce Fitzgerald directs the Maine Emergency Management Agency and chairs the Drought Task Force. “We don’t have any areas that are in extreme drought anymore, and that is due to the rain we have had over the...

An anti-doping report has found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes were involved in state-sponsored doping, and that the "institutional conspiracy" extended far beyond previous evidence of cheating at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. The findings, published Friday, were accompanied by more than 1,000 individual documents released to the public as evidence (with athletes' names redacted). Russian officials have responded with "predetermined defiance," Charles Maynes reports for NPR from Moscow,...

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The Maine Ethics Commission has approved a fine against a nonprofit group founded by a Republican state legislator for failing to disclose spending on a campaign flier targeting Democratic Rep. Jeff McCabe. The Portland Press Herald reports the commission on Wednesday approved the $672 penalty against the conservative New England Opportunity Project. It had contacted Republican Rep. Lawrence Lockman of Amherst after the Morning Sentinel reported on the fliers, which claimed...

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