More than half of the current workforce at the Maine Military Authority in Limestone has been laid off after state officials and the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority failed to reach agreement on a compromise that would allow MMA employees to continue refurbishing 21 remaining buses.

MMA authorities continue to refuse to discuss the details of the proposed compromise, which union officials say is unlikely to encourage state workers to remain the in the area for possible recall.

The LePage administration’s plan to build a new facility for mentally ill patients next to the Riverview Psychiatric Center has hit another roadblock.

The proposed 21-bed secure rehabilitation center has been approved by Augusta city officials and the Capitol Planning Commission. But LePage administration officials told legislative leaders they have found a provision of state law that requires a facility proposed in the capitol area to also get the approval of the Legislative Council, made up of ten elected legislative leaders.

PORTLAND, Maine - A scientific committee says Maine's shuttered cold water shrimp fishery should stay shut down for at least another year.

The shrimp fishery has been shuttered since the end of 2013 because of low populations. Scientists say warming ocean temperatures off New England are inhospitable for the shrimp.

PORTLAND, Maine - Recent data shows that students in Maine have continued to score above the national average in science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress test.

The Portland Press Herald reports Maine students ranked in the top 10 nationally when comparing average scores on the test, which measures knowledge in physical science, life science and Earth and space sciences.

BAR HARBOR, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators have decided to raise the amount of menhaden that fishermen can catch along the coast by to use as bait more than 6 percent.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission made the decision on Wednesday. Fishermen will be allowed to catch 200,000 metric tons of the little fish during the 2017 fishing year.

Menhaden are an important source of bait for commercial fishermen and they are also a critical piece of the ocean's food web. They are also used to make dietary supplements.

PORTLAND, Maine - Poor roads and bridges are costing Mainers more than $1 billion a year.  That's the  estimate from a national research group called "TRIP."

A $100 million bond issue on next month's ballot is a "step in the right direction," according to spokesman Rocky Moretti, but he says it won't solve all problems.

Central Maine Power company customers could save some $56 million over the next three years, thanks to the retirement of some long-term expenses.

They’re called stranded costs and assets, items such as long-term power contracts that cost more than current market rates or costs associated with the mothballing of the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant. And there are some benefits too, from a long-term, low-cost Hydro-Quebec energy contract that CMP can resell, on customers’ behalf, for a profit.

PORTLAND, Maine — Officials in Portland say they plan to pursue looser regulations for short-term rentals in the city.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the City Council’s Housing Committee agreed in principle Wednesday with a framework that would allow people to rent out their private homes and operate short-term rentals in apartment buildings.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Across Maine, public schools can’t find enough qualified foreign language teachers. Already, schools are cutting programs and pondering lower standards because of the shortage.

In the first of a three-part series, Robbie Feinberg looks at the cause of the problem, and how it’s already affecting education in Maine.

The commercial value of farmed Maine mollusks could quadruple over the next 15 years. That’s the conclusion of a market survey sponsored by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

Last year, sales of Maine shellfish grown by aquaculture were worth around $6 million. The new report puts that in national perspective: Despite its dominance in the American market for wild-caught lobster, the state supplies only about 1 percent of the nation’s farmed shellfish.

It says that with some investment and marketing, sales of Maine-grown shellfish should reach $30 million.

Providers, veterans groups and state and local officials met this week to discuss ways to eliminate veterans homelessness by the end of next year.

After several years of increasing numbers, the number of homeless veterans decreased by 46 percent between 2014 and 2015. Maine Bureau of Veterans Services Director Adria Horn says it will take greater coordination and cooperation, but she thinks the goal of ending veterans homelessness in Maine in 2017 is achievable.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will hold his fifth rally in Maine when he visits Lisbon on Friday.

Trump's visit to the Open Door Christian Academy Gymnasium will follow a stop early that day in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Trump, who is attempting to swipe at least one of Maine's four electoral votes, made a similar swing to northern New England when he held rallies in Portsmouth and Bangor on the same day earlier this month.

PORTLAND, Maine - Some Mainers will be able to ride the bus free to the polls on Election Day. In Portland, METRO marketing director Denise Beck says the agency read about other bus services offering the free rides, and it seemed like a good idea.

"It takes away a barrier for some people," Beck says. "There's going to be a lot of traffic, it may be hard some people to get to the polls. We have frequent service throughout the area, it'll be pretty easy because we have routes all over the place."

The campaign attempting to strengthen background checks on Maine gun sales says the new law will help curb domestic violence murders committed with a firearm.

During a press conference at the State House Wednesday, supporters of Question 3 said 22 percent of the people who attempted to buy a gun over the last five years but failed their background check at license gun dealers did so because of a history of domestic violence.

But campaign manager David Farmer says those same people could easily buy a gun elsewhere because of a loophole in Maine’s law.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s school children have spoken, and they have chosen Donald Trump and said no to marijuana.

Students from more than 150 Maine schools chose the Republican businessman over Democrat Hillary Clinton in a mock election. They also cast a vote of disapproval about an upcoming statewide referendum that could legalize recreational use of marijuana for people 21 years of age and older.

The results were tallied Wednesday in the state capital of Augusta.