PORTLAND, Maine - Maine is getting some much-needed rain today and tomorrow - but it's not going to make a big difference in the drought.

Almost 70 percent of Maine is now in a drought that's affecting about 1.2 million people. Of those, many who use shallow dug wells for their water supply are finding those wells drying up.  That's especially true in southern Maine where the drought is worst.

PORTLAND, Maine - A survey done for Colby College and the Boston Globe shows a growing, bi-partisan desire for compromise on political issues.  

Dan Shea, a professor of government at Colby's Goldfarb Center, says the most recent poll results show a shift in attitudes over the last six years:

"Spring of 2010, very few strong conservatives and Republicans wanted to compromise," Shea says. "I think that they thought they were going to win the mid-term election - which, of course, they did.  And they sort of stuck with that for a while.  Now that's changed."

Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conference.
Mal Leary / MPBN/file

Editor’s note: Off Mic is a blog about things you might have missed in Maine politics. It’s a place for those news tidbits that aren’t quite a story, or that were part of story but were hacked out by a thoughtless editor.

Leftovers from the notebook while assailing the rigged hiring process that landed me this job ...

BANGOR, Maine - A Maine group that promotes bicycling says it's noticed an uptick in the number of fatal crashes between automobiles and bicyclists and pedestrians in recent weeks. Three people have been killed in separate incidents since Oct. 10, bringing the total of fatalities so far this year to 11 - on pace with last year. The Maine Bicycle Coalition's James Tasse says dangerous road design, distracted driving, and bikers and walkers not paying attention all play a role. "There are a lot of factors at play," he says.

BANGOR, Maine - As autumn produce starts hitting the shelves, Maine's cranberry harvest appears to be strong, despite fears over drought conditions.

"Might even prove to be a little bit above average size yield this year," says Charles Armstrong, a cranberry expert with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's capital city is spending $300,000 to help restore and reopen a historic theater that closed decades ago.

The Kennebec Journal reports that Augusta officials see opening the Colonial Theater as a key to revitalizing the downtown area. The theater closed in 1969.

The nonprofit group working on the restoration won't get the public money until the project is substantially completed. The project is estimated to cost up to $6 million.

BELFAST, Maine - Students in Maine are planning to send a small unmanned sailboat equipped with a GPS to Europe.

Members of the University of Maine's Marine Sciences Club are partnering with local schoolchildren on the project. The sailboat will be a little less than five feet long and it'll be entered into the 2016 Atlantic Miniboat Regatta.

The university says the sailboat will be tracked on its European voyage by way of the ocean currents.

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority will unveil a new layover facility in Brunswick this weekend that will service Amtrak Downeaster trains overnight.

The authority is planning to hold a public open house at the layover shed on Saturday. A spokeswoman says this may be the public's last opportunity to see the building's interior.

OXFORD, Maine - The Oxford Police Department is experiencing a nearly 80 percent increase in calls from the Oxford Casino so far this year.

Police Chief Jon Tibbetts tells the Sun Journal that the department has answered 198 calls between January and October. Police were called for intoxication, drugs and trespassing, along with child abuse and removal of unwanted people.

PORTLAND, Maine - Mainers are going to get the first big dose of rain in a long time.

The National Weather Service says a tropical disturbance and a low pressure system will combine to create moderate to heavy rain across the entire state.

Meteorologist Tom Hawley says the heaviest rain will run from Friday night into Saturday morning. He says the entire state should see 1 to 2.5 inches of rain before it ends early Sunday.

Former Maine Sen. George Mitchell speaks at a symposium in Waterville Thursday on civility in politics.
Mal Leary/maine public

WATERVILLE, Maine - At a statewide symposium on civility in politics held by the Maine Council of Churches, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell denounced the incivility of this year’s campaigns and called for a return to principled discourse.

For the last month, about 60 workers at the Maine Military Authority in Limestone have been mentally preparing to enter the ranks of the unemployed while the state attempts to renegotiate a bus refurbishment contract with Massachusetts. Tomorrow was supposed to be the last day on the job for two-thirds of the workforce, but the employees have received a temporary reprieve.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The cost-of-living increase in benefits for Social Security recipients will go up just three-tenths of one percent come January - or about $5 a month.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins says that is not enough, particularly for those who will see an increase in their Medicare premiums.

“We are not sure exactly how much they are going to be, but the initial projections are for double-digit increases," Collins says, "and that greatly concerns me.”

PORTLAND, Maine - More than 1.2 million Maine residents are now living in drought-affected areas. That's an estimate from the U.S. Drought Monitor.  New numbers today show that almost 70 percent of the state is now in a drought.

The drought has been more severe in parts of southern Maine, but conditions haven't worsened there in the last few weeks. But National Weather Service hydrologist Tom Hawley says the continuing dry weather means the drought is getting worse in the north and eastern parts of the state.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine GOP is alleging a Democratic candidate's Facebook "like" suggests illegal collusion with an out-of-state super PAC.

But the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices on Wednesday declined to investigate a progressive group that wants candidate Jonathan Fulford to beat Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau.

The California-based group's Progressive Maine PAC reported plans to spend $50,000 to hire organizers to train volunteers in Fulford's district.