Suzanne Thurman / MERR Institute, Inc./via Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine - Government scientists are launching an investigation into an unusually large number of humpback whale deaths from North Carolina to Maine.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries says 41 whales have been stranded in the region in 2016 and so far in 2017.
Officials say 10 of the 20 whales that have been examined so far were killed by collisions with boats. That's far above the average of fewer than two per year, and officials say there's been no spike in boat traffic to explain it.

WEST BATH, Maine - A Maine man accused of crashing into a police car while intoxicated last year has been convicted of drunken driving for the ninth time.
Mark Burson, of Limestone, was sentenced Wednesday. He will serve seven years in prison followed by three years of probation.
Burson's attorney had asked for a four-year sentence, saying Burson struggled with alcoholism, while prosecutors had pushed for 10 years.

WATERVILLE, Maine - Officials at a Maine college say they're planning the school's biggest project ever _ a $200 million athletic center that will bring dramatic upgrades, including what they believe to be the state's first Olympic-sized swimming pool.

The Waterville Morning Sentinel reports that Colby College announced the project on Wednesday. Colby President David Greene said prep work will start this summer and the 350,000-square-foot center should be open by 2020.

In a rare move, a representative of Maine’s judicial branch appeared before a committee in Augusta today to speak against a proposal before state lawmakers.

The bill would grant the Maine Supreme Court the power to block citizen-initiated ballot questions before they even get to the voters. The judiciary believes that the bill, though designed to stop potentially unconstitutional initiatives from reaching the ballot, will result in a serious breach of the separation of powers.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - The federal Northern Border Regional Commission is offering grants to Maine communities for projects that revitalize infrastructure, improve telecommunications and reduce energy costs.
The commission says it also will fund projects that focus on business and entrepreneurial assistance. It has awarded more than 100 grants totaling more than $20 million in its six-year history.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine House of Representatives has decided the fishing day should get longer for the state's lobstermen in the fall.

The House on Tuesday approved a bill to extend the legal hours when lobsters can be harvested in the month of October. The bill now moves to the Senate.

State laws don't allow lobster fishing from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise from June 1 to Oct. 31. The bill would change it so lobsters could be harvested starting at 5 a.m. in the month of October.

Mysterious Drop in Prized Bait Worms Threatens a Way of Life

7 hours ago
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

WOOLWICH, Maine - A mysterious drop in the harvest of two of the most popular worms for sport fishermen is proving expensive for anglers and threatening a way of life in Maine.

Maine harvesters are by far the largest suppliers of bloodworms and sandworms in the U.S. Harvesters called wormers dig the wriggling creatures out of coastal muck so they can be sold to fishermen all over the world.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal to create a new public-private partnership to expand broadband access throughout the state.

The legislation would create the Maine Broadband Initiative, which would be given authority to undertake planning for statewide broadband services and provide funding for needed facilities.

Democratic state Sen. Shenna Bellows of Manchester sponsored the bill.

PORTLAND, Maine - A bill authored by Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King designed to help combat the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as the Zika virus has passed a committee test.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved King's bill on Wednesday. King, an independent, says his bill would give states and communities more tools to control mosquitoes.

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has arrested a Maine man accused of getting off an Amtrak train with 1,200 doses of fentanyl, a highly potent narcotic.
Agents say 32-year-old James Young-Dumont tried to run but was quickly detained Tuesday in Brunswick. He's charged with aggravated trafficking, violation of bail and failure to appear in court.
Agents say he had 120 grams of fentanyl with a street value of $22,000 in his pocket. The drug is a culprit in the growing number of overdose deaths in Maine.

LePage Wants to Out Those Who Film Alleged Animal Cruelty

Apr 26, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor wants to make public the names of those who are hired to film videos of alleged animal cruelty.
In 2014, Gov. Paul LePage received a $1,000 contribution from Contract Farming of Maine LLC, which is associated with a man who owns New England's largest egg-producing farm in Turner. Last summer, the Humane Society of the United States released undercover footage of the facility showing hens in cages so small they couldn't spread their wings, but the state later concluded there was no reason to pursue animal cruelty charges.

Officials in Portland have found a place to put contaminated sediment dredged from the city’s harbor.

The site, near the Coast Guard Station in South Portland, was the only one of several proposed sites that didn’t meet with economic, environmental or other objections.

It has been 70 years since some of the piers have been dredged, and Portland Waterfront Coordinator Bill Needleman says that’s a problem for a working harbor.

Gov. Paul LePage is under fire for his characterization of how a new 3 percent surcharge to fund education will affect wealthy Mainers.

LePage was challenged on his facts by an audience member during his town hall meeting Monday in Fort Kent, his latest stop in a campaign that he hopes will convince state lawmakers to repeal the surcharge approved by voters in November.

Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic state Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook are facing off over the ongoing dispute involving construction of a new mental health facility.

At a news conference earlier this week, the governor was asked the status of the so-called step-down unit he had said would be built in Bangor on state-owned land adjacent to the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center. LePage said he was still waiting for the Legislature to get him the money to move forward on the project.

Federal prosecutors say two Westbrook men face multiple charges for conspiring to turn food stamp and other welfare benefits into cash, in a scheme based at a Portland halal market.

Agents from three federal agencies — the FBI, IRS and the Department of Agriculture, which administers food stamps — were tipped to the alleged criminal enterprise by Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services last year, according to an affidavit for a warrant to raid the Ahram Halal Market on Portland’s Forest Avenue.