Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Legislative leaders continue to negotiate in private in hopes of reaching an agreement on the state's two-year budget and avoiding a government shutdown.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Police are trying to determine how a rusty bolt-action rifle ended up in the Kennebec River in Maine's capital city.
The rifle was given to Augusta police by a father and his son who reeled up the Remington Model 700 rifle while they were fishing Sunday. Lt. Chris Read tells the Kennebec Journal he's not sure why it would be there, as it is illegal to duck hunt on the river in with that type of rifle.

PORTLAND, Maine - The city of Portland has condemned an apartment building in order to force the landlord to tighten up management of the property.
It is the first time the city has taken such a measure under a disorderly houses ordinance. The property is considered disorderly, meaning police have been called to the property more than three times in a month.
Portland's Neighborhood Prosecutor Richard Bianculli says while other apartment buildings have been deemed disorderly, the vast majority of landlords work with the city to address issues.

LEWISTON, Maine - One of Maine's largest cities will be receiving more than $3 million for lead abatement projects.
Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, says Lewiston will receive $3 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration money and $400,000 in Healthy Homes Supplemental money. She says the city will be able to use the funds to address lead hazards in 220 housing units.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

If Maine lawmakers are unable to negotiate a veto-proof budget deal, advocates for the poor and elderly want to know, what's the plan?  In the event of a state government shutdown on July 1, what services will be deemed "essential" by the governor?

Belle Fall / Maine Public

The state fire marshal’s office says three boys from Sanford have been charged with arson in connection with this weekend’s massive fire that destroyed the abandoned Stenton Trust Mill over the weekend in Sanford.

Investigators said one of the boys is 12 years old and the other two are 13. They were taken to the Long Creek juvenile detention facility in South Portland.

Sanford Fire Chief Steve Benotti said the three boys were lucky to get out of the building. He said children setting fires has been a substantial problem in Maine and across the country.

Brian Talbot / via Creative Commons

If you're planning to travel by car this Fourth of July weekend, you're in luck -- gas prices are down.

In Maine, the price of gas is down 3.5 cents - to $2.23 a gallon. analyst Patrick DeHahn says, in fact, prices this year are they lowest they've been in more than a decade. "Last summer was one of the best since 2005 to fill up and now it looks like this year may overtake that."

PORTLAND, Maine - A Maine museum is playing host this summer to a traveling collection of pirate artifacts discovered by an underwater explorer trying to shake off criticism that cast him as a reckless treasure hunter.
The "Real Pirates'' exhibit brings authentic pirate booty from the ship of Black Sam Bellamy to the Portland Science Center. The wreck of Bellamy's Whydah was discovered by Barry Clifford in 1984.

PORTLAND, Maine - A major health insurance provider in Maine is predicting enrollment in the state's Affordable Care Act insurance market will drop.
The Portland Press Herald reports Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield foresees an 11 percent drop in Maine's ACA marketplace. Anthem attributes the potential decrease to President Donald Trump's health care policies.

SQUARE LAKE, Maine - The Maine Warden Service Dive Team says it has recovered the body of a missing boater whose boat capsized on a lake in northern Maine.
Mark Chambers was the final person missing from a group of four fishermen who capsized on June 13. The warden service says the body of Chambers was found in 48 feet of water about a half mile south of where 43-year-old Eric Sherwood was found on June 23.
Twenty-three-year-old Charles Guimond was found alive at daybreak on June 14. The body of 56-year-old Martin Chambers was recovered later that day.

VINALHAVEN, Maine - Police say a small mail plane crashed on an island off the Maine coast, sending the pilot to a hospital.
The plane crashed in Vinalhaven, on an island in midcoast Maine, on Monday morning. Officials say the plane belongs to Penobscot Island Air and it crashed at the end of a runway.
WMTW-TV reports that pilot Ted Weslake suffered injuries but was alert and conscious. He was taken to a hospital.
The Federation Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Jill Baker / Maine Public

A new retreat for injured military personnel and their families officially opened in Rome, Maine, this weekend.  The Travis Mills Retreat is a 1,000-acre property designed to help veterans overcome physical obstacles and relax with their families for a week at a time.

Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills is a quadruple amputee who came up with the idea while battling to recover.

WELLS, Maine - A reported shark sighting has created some excitement on a Maine beach.
Wells Police Sgt. Adam Shaw says local police cleared swimmers from the water Sunday afternoon as a precaution after the report of a shark near the Wells-Ogunquit town line.
He says swimmers were allowed back in the water at 3:15 p.m. at Wells Beach and Drake's Island.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine utility regulators and FairPoint Communications are in agreement on a $175,000 settlement after the company failed to meet performance benchmarks from 2014 to last year.
The state Public Utilities Commission's staff had recommended $500,000 in fines after FairPoint did not meet performance standards established by the panel.
The settlement calls for FairPoint to fund three infrastructure replacement projects by the end of 2019 in three towns that have seen quality problems with landline service.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's largest city is set to increase parking fees just before the 4th of July next week.
In a special announcement dated June 22, Portland's official Twitter account tweeted the city would have new parking rates starting July 1 - increasing from $1 an hour to $1.25 an hour.
The Portland Press Herald reports there is no additional information provided on why the city is increasing rates or how the additional revenue will be used.