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SANFORD, Maine (AP) _ Firefighters are mopping up following a dramatic blaze that swept through an abandoned mill in Sanford, Maine, lighting up the night sky.

A commission set up to advise the U.S. secretary of the interior on matters related to management and development of Acadia National Park will be able to meet again in September after being suspended in May. In May, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suspended all 220 federal advisory boards across the country.

The city of Lewiston has been awarded $3.4 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, most of which will be used to help the city continue its efforts to make homes lead safe.

Lincoln Jeffers, Lewiston’s director of economic and community development, says the city has just under 6,000 units in the heart of downtown that he describes as classic tenement housing from the early 1900’s. The units were built as the mills were being developed.

A proposed constitutional amendment to correct concerns with ranked-choice voting has fallen well short of the two-thirds vote needed in the House to send it to the voters. Supporters fear that may mean repeal of the original voter-approved initiative passed last fall.

The initiative would implement ranked-choice voting for all Maine elections, but the State Supreme Court advised the legislature that part of it was unconstitutional.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine health providers from across the state spoke in Lewiston Friday to denounce the Senate health care bill and urge Sen. Susan Collins to oppose it.

Troy R. Bennett / BDN

PORTLAND — City police are increasing security around Muslim gathering places during the final days of Ramadan after The Islamic Society of Portland received a threatening letter this week.

Portland police Lt. Robert Martin issued a news release Friday morning saying the department is working with the U.S. Postal Inspectors and Maine Attorney General’s Office on the case and added that the letter “may have originated overseas.”

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Democratic senator's bill to give preference to Maine and U.S. companies in state contracts is receiving support in the Senate.

Lawmakers voted Thursday to approve Sen. Troy Jackson's bill that would give preference among similar bids to in-state contractors.

Republican Sen. Tom Saviello's amendment would allow businesses to qualify as in-state companies if at least 60 percent of their workforce is located within Maine borders.

House Republicans have submitted their proposal for a two-year state budget to the conference committee trying to draft a compromise measure, and Democrats found it lacking.

“There’s lots in this for people to like, and there are a lot for people not to like. But at the end of the day, this is fair and this is the budget the chief executive will sign,” says Republican Rep. Jeff Timberlake of Turner, presenting the House GOP proposal.

Northern Neighbors / Transboundary Exploration of Deepwater Communities

Federal regulators decided Thursday to recommend barring most fishing around two deep-sea coral canyons off the coast of Maine — although they gave lobstermen an exemption.

The coral canyons of Outer Schoodic Ridge and Mt. Desert Rock lie about 25 miles off Hancock County. Scientists and fishermen recognize their ecological value, and fisheries regulators want to protect them from damage.

At a Portland meeting, the New England Fisheries Management Council voted to bar most fishing in those areas, but made an exception for lobstering.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

When former Gov. Angus King began an effort to give every 7th- and 8th-grader a laptop in 2001, one of the goals was equity, a way to ensure that students have access to the same kind of technology whether they live in Cumberland, Washington or Oxford County.

MILBRIDGE, Maine — The Coast Guard says a kayaker who was knocked out of his boat by a wave in the ocean south of Milbridge Wednesday morning was found safe on Thursday after a search for him had been suspended.

Adrian Cerezo told the Coast Guard that, because his water resistant radio was not in a waterproof case, he wasn't sure anyone had heard his mayday call.

Turns out the Coast Guard heard the distress call, and posted it. Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll said someone who heard the distress call on a news report recognized the kayaker's voice.

Jennifer Capriola / East Shore Photography

It was less expensive to live in Maine, on average, than in the U.S. as a whole, in 2015.

In the Portland-South Portland area — one of Maine's three metropolitan areas — the cost of goods and services was just above the national average, however. Rent in this area was also almost 10 percent above the national average.

Comparatively, rents in Lewiston-Auburn were only about 80 percent of the national average and about 90 percent in Bangor.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he "did not make" and doesn't have any recordings of his private conversations with James Comey, his fired FBI director.

Trump also tweets that he has "no idea" whether other "tapes" or recordings exist.

Trump has disputed Comey's assertion that Trump asked Comey for a pledge of loyalty during a dinner meeting they had.

When news of Comey's account broke, Trump tweeted that Comey "better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press."

Maine health care advocates say the Senate health care bill released Thursday would be disastrous for Maine. They say it would limit access, increase costs and make deep cuts to Medicaid — a program that, among other things, pays the bulk of Maine’s nursing home resident’s bills.

It’s called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but Steve Butterfield of Consumers for Affordable Health Care says he can’t figure out who gets better care under this proposal.

Mark Lennihan / AP

The state Senate has supported legislation on a 31-4 vote, phasing in an increase in the legal age to buy and use tobacco to 21.

Sen. Paul Davis, a Republican from Sangerville, sponsored the bill.

“It's peer pressure that controls people smoking. I believe that, especially when they are young. When they are in high school they want to be like the other boys, the other girls. They pick it up. It’s peer pressure," said Davis.

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