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Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

Maine Ag Department Moves To Acquire Conservation Easement for State's Largest Sugarbush

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is moving to acquire a $1.2 million conservation easement to protect a remote plantation of sugar maples — meaning it could soon become a stakeholder in Maine’s maple syrup industry.

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It’s Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on politics. This week, Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in the Legislature as a Democrat; Dick Woodbury, and economist and former independent lawmaker; and Meredith Strang-Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, who served at the State House as a Republican.

Back-to-back natural disasters in Mexico and across the Caribbean have left millions of people reeling.

The debate over who’s responsible for abandoned and discontinued roads continued before the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee Thursday.

“We’ve decided to have MMA (Maine Municipal Association), a group of managers and other parties and our legal staff come up with something they can reach consensus on,” says Rep. Danny Martin, a Democrat from Sinclair who co-chairs the committee.

The issue has been around for years. Homeowners on roads that have been abandoned or discontinued by the town or county are facing lawsuits over who should maintain those roads.

MYSTIC, Conn. - Three seal pups that were apparently abandoned by their parents after birth have been released into the waters off Rhode Island.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Thursday that she has many reservations about the Cassidy-Graham bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but she hasn't yet decided whether to support or reject the legislation.

Collins said first she wants to see the Congressional Budget Office's analysis, due out early next week. “I‘ve been reluctant to take a final position on this bill because I have been given numbers that are widely divergent,” Collins said Thursday morning, at an event in Augusta.

Bedecked in fondant and flowers, modern wedding cakes are the centerpiece of the marriage feast — an edible form of art. But are they also an expression of free speech?

That is the question the Supreme Court will consider this fall when it hears the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple because he said it would violate his religious beliefs.

"You'd think cake would be apolitical, and yet here we are," muses baker Catherine George of Catherine George Cakes.

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Barcelona, protesting the Spanish government and expressing support for a planned Oct. 1 vote on Catalan independence.

Spain considers the referendum to be illegal. On Wednesday, Spanish police with court-ordered search warrants seized millions of ballots and detained more than a dozen Catalan politicians. A top treasury official is being held on sedition charges, the BBC reports.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine state police say they have uncovered no evidence that a missing toddler is alive after receiving more than a thousand leads about her 2011 disappearance.
 
The toddler's mother, at a Thursday court hearing in Portland, asked that Ayla Reynolds be declared dead.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

A strong earthquake that hit Mexico City and other central areas has killed at least 273 people, officials say. Search teams are working feverishly to find any survivors who were trapped.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

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Suicide Prevention

Friday- How do we offer the support and help needed for those at risk for suicide?