BENTON, Maine - Tests conducted by the Kennebec Water District have found dangerously high levels of lead in water used at a Maine elementary school.
The Morning Sentinel reports that the district tested three sites at Benton Elementary School last week and found results more than 40 times the limit at which action is needed.
The district received the results on Tuesday and notified School Administrative District 49 on Wednesday morning.

YARMOUTH, Maine - Residents in the Maine town of Yarmouth are set to vote next month on a proposed ordinance that would limit where sex offenders can live.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the ordinance would prevent registered sex offenders convicted of felony crimes against anyone younger than 14 from living within 750 feet of elementary, middle or secondary schools.

Offenders who established residency near a school prior to the ordinance would be exempt.

BANGOR, Maine - The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering federal programs to Maine's farmers and livestock producers to help them recover from a drought that has impacted the state.

The USDA's Maine Farm Service Agency is offering disaster assistance and low-interest loans to help food producers. They include the Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, Livestock Forage Disaster Program and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program.

EAST MACHIAS, Maine - A group that seeks to restore the endangered Atlantic salmon will release 200,000 of the fish into the East Machias River this week.

The Atlantic salmon has been declared endangered in 11 Maine rivers, including the East Machias. The Downeast Salmon Federation is among a number of conservation organizations that is focusing on restoring the salmon.

The federation started stocking the salmon on Tuesday and will continue until at least Thursday. The effort could run into next week.

Maine town and city clerks are not happy with all of the talk by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Maine governor Paul LePage about rigged elections.

Clerks spend a lot of time being trained to conduct elections and they take pride in their work. Lisa Goodwin, Bangor City Clerk and President of the more than 700 member Maine Town and City Clerks Association says it’s insulting to local election officials to have their integrity challenged.

Students at Snow Pond Arts Academy spend the morning studying theater, music and dance before using an online curriculum in the afternoon.
Snow Pond Arts Academy

Across the state, about 800 middle and high school students wake up every morning, log on to their computers, and take all of their classes completely online. They’re enrolled in to Maine’s two virtual charter schools. This year, that same, online approach is also being used by brick-and-mortar schools, as well. The track record for online and blended learning is mixed nationally. The question now is if Maine’s schools can buck the trend.

For Tiffany Jones, teaching English only requires a computer and an internet connection.

BANGOR, Maine - A group of small businesses owners launched a campaign Wednesday in support of an increased minimum wage, through a series of television ads.

Audio from television ad: "It was important that we paid a living wage because nobody should work full time and have to live in poverty."

That's from an ad featuring business owners Adam Baril and Tony Giambro, who run an auto repair shop in western Maine. Also featured is Michael Landgarten, who owns a clam shack and two other eateries in southern Maine. 

BANGOR, Maine - The application window for small, rural businesses and agricultural operations to apply for an energy grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has opened, and will close in less than two weeks.

"The demand for solar among Maine's businesses and agricultural producers is just growing by leaps and bounds," says Virginia Manuel, who heads USDA Rural Development in Maine.

AUGUSTA, Maine - State auditor Pola Buckley has notified several state officials, including Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills, that the state Department of Health and Human Services "improperly managed'' more than $13 million in federal funding.

Westbrook Rep. Drew Gattine co-chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, and believes the transfers may be illegal and that lawmakers should consider tighter controls on agency spending and contracting.

PORTLAND, Maine - More than a year after Maine legislators passed a law regulating the use of drones by law enforcement, most police departments in the state still aren't utilizing the technology.

An informal survey conducted by the Portland Press Herald found that many police officials cited those regulations as the reason for not using unmanned aircrafts in the field.

Cost and a lack of manpower was also said to have played a role in law enforcement's limited use of drones.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Governor's Energy Office says heating prices have risen in the state over the last week and will likely continue to rise.

The office says the average price for heating oil rose 4 cents over the past week to $2.01 per gallon. Kerosene prices have also risen 2 cents to $2.51 and propane prices have increased 2 cents to $2.25 per gallon.

The federal Energy Information Administration says Maine and the other New England states are likely to experience an average winter this year. Heating fuel demand will likely increase and prices will go up.

WATERVILLE, Maine - Waterville's downtown revitalization will get $20 million more in funding from the Harold Alfond Foundation and Colby College.

Officials announced last night that the Alfond Foundation will give $10 million to a special fund for revitalization, as will the college.

Kate Carlisle, director of communications at Colby, says in 1929, when Colby wasn't sure of its future, the community raised the money to help buy the college a new site for its campus.

AUGUSTA, Maine - After the first three months of the budget year, state revenues are more than $32 million above estimates.

State Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen says a good summer tourist season is the reason. “All in all, we are seeing good economic activity that is resulting in revenues coming into the state that are, at the end of the first quarter, running over budget.”

BATH, Maine - The future USS Peralta is back at Bath Iron Works after its initial two-day excursion for builder trials.

The guided-missile destroyer departed from the shipyard on Monday and spent one night at sea before returning to Bath on Tuesday.

The Peralta is the first of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to be built at Bath Iron Works since the Navy ended the program, and then restarted it in 2010.

The Peralta is the 65th destroyer in the class. It'll incorporate upgraded radar and missiles for ballistic missile defense.

YORK, Maine - Police say a distracted teenager caused a 10-car pileup last week in Maine.

York police say the 17-year-old driver was using her cellphone when she drove forward through a red light and into the path of a dump truck.

The dump truck swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid the car last Thursday, turning over, crushing several cars and spilling a load of dirt. Several other vehicles crashed.