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On Friday, a bit of University of Maine-designed technology is scheduled for liftoff. The wireless leak detection system — a safety system that alerts astronauts to potentially dangerous loss of heat and air — was designed by University of Maine scientists. Now, it’s destined for the International Space Station. The leak detector will be part of a payload of supplies expected to launch from Japan on Friday night, just shortly before 8:30 a.m. eastern time. The university plans to celebrate...

The U.S. Senate has passed and sent to President Barack Obama the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, and several provisions will benefit Maine. The measure phases in a requirement that U.S. Sen. Angus King says will benefit New Balance factories in Maine. “It requires that the Defense Department acquire athletic shoes made in America, which is what I believe the law has required for 70 years,” he says. It also includes authorization for two additional destroyers, one of which will be...

LEWISTON, Maine - Poland Spring is proposing to expand its water withdrawal operations to Rumford. The company pitched its plan to the Rumford Water District at a meeting Wednesday night. The plan calls for a long-term contract to withdraw up to 150 million gallons from two well sites in the Ellis River watershed. Mark Dubois is the natural resource manager for the company. "We believe we can sustainably withdraw spring water up there while the district maintains its commitment to serve...

BANGOR, Maine - An expansive plan meant to serve as a way forward for managing the Northeast's ocean resources has been finalized. The National Ocean Council finalized the Northeast Ocean Plan, which has been under development for several years, with input from various stakeholders. "We're still still trying to figure out what the long term ramifications of this plan will be to the fishing community," says Ben Martens, of the Maine Coast Fisherman's Alliance. Martens says increased interest...

SAN DIEGO - The U.S. Navy's most technologically advanced destroyer has arrived at its homeport of San Diego after a nearly four-month transit that included some glitches along the way.

The USS Zumwalt departed Maine shipbuilder Bath Iron Works in September before being commissioned into service in Baltimore in October. It lost propulsion in the Panama Canal in November, necessitating a tow and repairs.

Capt. James Kirk says the crew of 147 officers and sailors had...

LEWISTON, Maine - At a press conference in Portland today, consumers expressed alarm about losing health coverage if President-Elect Donald Trump follows through on his promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Katie McDonald is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine who currently has a marketplace plan. As she prepares to graduate in three semesters, she says she faces many uncertainties. "Will I be able to find a job in Maine? will I be able to buy a new car? Will I be able...

AUGUSTA, Maine - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette told reporters he will push for approval of a new 21-bed psychiatric facility next door to the state’s Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta. The matter is not on today's Legislative Council meeting agenda, but Fredette says he will bring up a motion for the council to approve its construction. “There are real consequences to not moving forward here," he says. "Patients aren’t getting into the proper facility that they need to be put...

LEWISTON, Maine - Most of Maine's students are performing at grade level in science, but far fewer are proficient in Math and English, according to new statewide assessment data. Newly released numbers from the Maine Department of Education show that last year, only about 38 percent of students rated as proficient in math on Maine's statewide assessment test. Fifty-one percent were at or above grade level in English and 61 percent met the state benchmark in science. On the surface, the...

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Water District plans to discuss a bid to ban graffiti on a so-called graffiti wall at the East End Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Portland Press Herald reports the district’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to discuss the issue at a workshop on Monday night. Bayside resident Jay York had asked the board at its Nov. 28 meeting to consider banning graffiti painting on the wall and converting it to a mural. York says he’s speaking for East End property owners...

Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press

Environmental groups in Maine and around the country are condemning the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the past decade Pruitt has sued the EPA multiple times, challenging major environmental protections for clean water to standards that protect Americans from smog, haze and methane. He has also questioned the scientific basis of climate change, sending letters to the EPA written by oil and gas companies and calling the...

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

More than 20 faith leaders joined students, faculty members and others for a rally in solidarity with Maine immigrants at the University of Southern Maine. Organizers said the noontime gathering sends a message that Maine won’t stand for discrimination, intolerance or hate. The rally was planned in response to recent acts of hate reported around the country, including anti-Muslim graffiti found at the USM student government offices. “As a nation, we are at a crossroad,” says Reza Jalali, a...

Newly elected House Speaker Sara Gideon says replacing lost manufacturing jobs and reversing child poverty are her priorities for the new legislative session. Both issues follow an election in which Democrats again lost ground in rural areas of the state. “We can’t let even one of those kids fall through the cracks. So we’re going to be absolutely on the attack about really making sure that we’re raising kids, and their families, out of poverty,” she says. Gideon did not provide details about...

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Senate President Michael Thibodeau says a citizen initiative that raised the minimum wage will need to be amended to reinstate the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers. Thibodeau's statement puts him in early alignment with Gov. Paul LePage, but at odds with newly-elected Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon. "Before we left this building last spring there was no question: I talked to Republicans and Democrats alike. All of them said that the tip credit needed to be...

jariceiii / Flickr/Creative Commons

Ten years ago, Deer Isle-Stonington High School was considered one of the worst schools in the state, as measured by the dozens of students who were dropping out and heading to work on the water. But today, more students in this Down East fishing community are staying in school and graduating.

PORTLAND, Maine - Federal figures indicate that Maine's economy grew just over half a percent between April and June of this year. That's less than New England as a whole, and the U.S. as a whole, both of which grew between 1 and 2 percent. New numbers from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis indicate that growth in the state's economic output was led by real estate, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, transportation and warehousing, and health care and social...

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