News

Jennifer Mitchell /Maine Public

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's maple season seems to be off to a decent start, with no significant problems foreseen, as the state prepares to celebrate its 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday.

FALMOUTH, Maine- Starting tonight at midnight, the speed limit along a busy stretch of I-295, will be going down, three years after it was increased.

The man in charge of running the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has been placed on administrative leave, according to published reports.

Long Creek Superintendent Jeffrey Merrill could not be reached for comment. But his leave comes after a series of incidents that have raised questions about policies and safety for youth at the state-run prison.

The lack of support for the GOP health care bill has Maine consumer advocacy groups and health care providers breathing sighs of relief — for now.

Consumer and provider groups across the U.S., including many in Maine, opposed the Republican bill.

“I’m feeling relief for all of the people who would have lost their health insurance coverage if this bill had moved forward,” says Robyn Merrill, executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners.

Maine’s unemployment rate fell by .3 percentage points between January and February to reach 3.2 percent.

State labor economist Glenn Mills says 13 of the last 16 months surveyed show an unemployment rate below 4 percent.

“So all the indicators of a fairly tight labor market are there. There are certainly pockets of weakness — in much of Northern Maine, the challenges in the forest economy and the like — but certainly from central Maine south it’s a fairly tight labor market,” he says.

Mills says there’s nothing very surprising in the latest numbers.

There’s a sales agreement in place between the Scarborough Downs harness racing track in southern Maine and a prospective buyer.

Scarborough Downs spokesman Mike Sweeney says the prospective buyer, whom he was not authorized to name, is doing due diligence and nothing has been finalized.

Meanwhile, harness racing is set to continue in Scarborough.

“We are opening up our live racing season tomorrow so Saturday, we’re racing Saturday and Sunday with a 1:30 post time,” Sweeney says.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Police and other first responders would be allowed to bill overdose patients for the cost of administering naloxone under a bill that's being considered in Augusta.

Republican Rep. Trey Stewart, of Presque Isle, says while he supports allowing police and others to  administer naloxone, he is worried about the cost of the drug.

"We don’t want to deter law enforcement agencies from carrying this, or being trained to carry this, all of which has a very steep cost. At the same time, we want to make sure the taxpayers' interests are represented in this issue.”

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

BANGOR, Maine - Maine's maple industry seems to be off to a decent start, with no significant problems foreseen, as the state prepares to celebrate its 34th annual Maine Maple Sunday.

"Last year, you know, the season had  675,000 gallons, and that's up from 315,000 gallons in 2010," says Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry spokesman John Bott.

Bott says the trend for the last six years has been one of steadily increasing effort across Maine, with the number of taps increasing by 26 percent over the period.

PORTLAND, Maine - Almost 200 asylum seekers living in Portland may face another hurdle to getting financial aid for food and housing:  New state legislation limits to two years the length of time asylum seekers can receive general assistance benefits.

City officials in Portland say federal law may prevent the city from stepping in to provide that aid.

"The problem is at the federal level, their law says unless the state allows it, the local municipality may not be able to provide that assistance on their own," says Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's two members of the U.S. House are expected to vote today on a controversial bill to repeal key elements of the Affordable Care Act and replace them with provisions that could have wide ranging impacts on Mainers. 

Debate is underway for the American Health Care Act, also dubbed Trumpcare and Ryancare. The proposal is designed to fulfill a seven-year promise by Republicans to unravel President Obama's signature legislative achievement.

Maine's Cod Fishermen Have Worst Year in History

Mar 24, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

ROCKPORT, Maine - The cod isn't so sacred in Maine anymore.
 
The fish-and-chips staple was once a critical piece of the state's fishing industry, but state records show 2016 was historically bad. Fishermen brought less than 170,000 pounds (77,110 kilograms) of the fish to land in Maine last year. That was below the previous record low of 250,000 pounds (113,398 kilograms) a year earlier.
 
Maine's record year for cod was 1991, when fishermen brought more than 21 million pounds (9.5 million kilograms) to the docks.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine - A bill to make Maine comply with federal identification standards is gaining key committee support.
 
Two state senators want Republican President Donald Trump to issue an executive order repealing the standards, which they say jeopardize privacy.
 
The Legislature's Transportation Committee on Friday voted 12-1 in favor of an amended version of the bill.
 
The committee will now work on an amendment to allow Mainers to obtain licenses that don't comply with federal standards.
 

Irwin Gratz / Maine Public

The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram launch a series this Sunday that attempts to put a human face on the opioid crisis.  Maybe too many faces, says Dieter Bradbury, the publication's deputy managing editor for news.  Bradbury spoke about the series with Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host, Irwin Gratz.

Matt Dunham / Associated Press

LONDON - London's top anti-terror officer says two more "significant arrests" have been made in connection with the Westminster attack, in central and northern England. Nine people are currently in custody, while one has been released on bail.
 
Counter-terror chief Mark Rowley on Friday also identified the latest victim, who died in the hospital on Thursday, as 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from Streatham, south London.
 

WATERVILLE, Maine - A Maine bridge is set to get a $1 million overhaul this summer.
 
The Morning Sentinel reports that work on the Thayer Memorial Bridge over Messalonskee Stream in Waterville is scheduled to begin in mid-June and be completed in the fall.
 
Waterville Public Works Director Mark Turner says the work will include taking the bridge down to its lower support beams under the bridge. He says workers are taking the entire deck off and redoing some of the beams underneath.
 

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