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Brian Bechard / Maine Public

Bring Your Own Device: State Now Letting Schools Decide Hardware To Buy Under Laptop Program

After 15 years, Maine's program to provide technology to every 7th- and 8th-grader is changing. A new structure puts more responsibility and control in the hands of local districts.

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SANFORD, Maine (AP) _ Firefighters are mopping up following a dramatic blaze that swept through an abandoned mill in Sanford, Maine, lighting up the night sky.

A commission set up to advise the U.S. secretary of the interior on matters related to management and development of Acadia National Park will be able to meet again in September after being suspended in May. In May, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suspended all 220 federal advisory boards across the country.

The city of Lewiston has been awarded $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, most of which will be used to help the city continue its efforts to make homes lead safe.

Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston’s director of economic and community development, says the city has just under 6,000 units in the heart of downtown that he describes as classic tenement housing from the early 1900’s. The units were built as the mills were being developed.

A proposed constitutional amendment to correct concerns with ranked-choice voting has fallen well short of the two-thirds vote needed in the House to send it to the voters. Supporters fear that may mean repeal of the original voter-approved initiative passed last fall.

The initiative would implement ranked-choice voting for all Maine elections, but the State Supreme Court advised the legislature that part of it was unconstitutional.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine health providers from across the state spoke in Lewiston Friday to denounce the Senate health care bill and urge Sen. Susan Collins to oppose it.

Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND — City police are increasing security around Muslim gathering places during the final days of Ramadan after The Islamic Society of Portland received a threatening letter this week.

Portland police Lt. Robert Martin issued a news release Friday morning saying the department is working with the U.S. Postal Inspectors and Maine Attorney General’s Office on the case and added that the letter “may have originated overseas.”

Police have charged Darren Osborne with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder over an attack in which investigators say Osborne drove a van into a crowd of people leaving a mosque in north London early Monday.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

President Trump kept one of his campaign promises, signing a bill Friday to make it easier for the secretary of veterans affairs to fire and discipline employees. It came in response to the 2014 VA scandal in which employees covered up long wait times while collecting bonuses.

The bill, which passed earlier this month with strong bipartisan support, also gives the secretary authority to revoke bonuses and protects whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

The fire that devastated a 24-story apartment building last week began by accident — and the source was a refrigerator, London police say. Investigators have also found that materials used on Grenfell Tower's exterior failed safety tests.

"We now have expert evidence that the fire was not started deliberately — the fire started in a fridge-freezer — the make and model is a Hotpoint FF175BP," Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said Friday. She added that the refrigerator, which has a freezer on the bottom and refrigerator on top, has not been recalled.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Democratic senator's bill to give preference to Maine and U.S. companies in state contracts is receiving support in the Senate.

Lawmakers voted Thursday to approve Sen. Troy Jackson's bill that would give preference among similar bids to in-state contractors.

Republican Sen. Tom Saviello's amendment would allow businesses to qualify as in-state companies if at least 60 percent of their workforce is located within Maine borders.

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See the encore presentation of the 2017 season of High School Quiz Show: Maine: Championship this Sunday @ 5:30 pm on Maine Public Television!