The Lewiston City Council has concluded a two-year effort to assess the needs of immigrants and refugees in the city. Among the report’s biggest recommendations is the development of a centralized office to work with them and also to improve language services.

City Council President Kristen Cloutier says language barriers make every aspect of life harder for immigrants and refugees.

“It affects everything from accessing health care services to being able to communicate with your child’s teacher, to filling out a job application,” she says.

SULLIVAN, Maine - A conservation group has acquired about seven acres in Down East Maine as part of a dam removal project.
The Downeast Salmon Federation says it has taken ownership of the parcel in Sullivan that surrounds the head of tide of Smelt Brook, which has been blocked by a stone dam for more than 50 years.
The group says the acquisition is part of a "multi-faceted land conservation and habitat restoration project'' designed to reconnect Smelt Brook to Smelt Cove.

World's Largest Sea Turtle Could Come Off 'Endangered' List

Jan 16, 2018
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region

Federal ocean managers say it might be time to move the East Coast population of the world's largest turtle from the U.S.'s list of endangered animals.
An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received a petition from a fishing group asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean's leatherback sea turtles be listed as "threatened,'' but not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act.

PORTLAND, Maine - Republican lawmakers in Maine are pushing the state's attorney general to resign over her decision to move forward a bill that would expand abortion access.
The Portland Press Herald reports Attorney General Janet Mills' bill would allow nurse practitioners and physician's assistants to perform abortions. Mills says the bill follows a federal lawsuit against a state law that limits abortion procedures to doctors.  

HALLOWELL, Maine - Business owners in Maine's Kennebec County say they weren't adequately warned about flooding over the weekend.
The Kennebec Journal reports the National Weather Service issued a flood warning Friday for the Kennebec River before upgrading it Saturday. Officials say at least a dozen cars in Hallowell were submerged and basements in the city were damaged.
Hallowell business owners say they weren't warned by emergency officials. Police in Augusta warned drivers about parking in the flood plain.

Mainers will soon get an important glimpse at the financial support garnered for over two dozen candidates for governor. Midnight on Tuesday marks the deadline for the candidates to file campaign finance reports that will show who is donating to their campaigns and how much.

The reporting period covers the last half of 2017 and should provide some indication of how the candidates are resonating with individuals, businesses and interest groups.

Local recyclers are facing financial and logistical challenges brought on by a lack of global demand.

On Jan. 1, China banned 24 kinds of recyclables it used to import. That ban affects material sales for organizations like ecomaine.

General manager Kevin Roche says moving waste like residential paper is more costly than it was last year.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

It’s been a rough start to the new year for thousands of customers who rely on home heating fuel and for the companies that provide it.

FairPoint Name Vanishing As Consolidated Begins Rebranding

Jan 16, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine  — The company that bought FairPoint Communications is discarding the old name and making plans to upgrade the service of tens of thousands of customers in northern New England.

Consolidated Communications, which has operations in 24 states, is going to begin rebranding with its own logo for trucks and buildings early in the new year, providing the most visible change for its customers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont since it bought FairPoint last summer.


Anyone active in Maine’s outdoors scene either knows or knows of George Smith.

For 18 years, he served as executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. He also hosted a TV show called Wildfire, and is perhaps best known for his articles, columns, blogs and books about the Maine outdoors, sporting camps and the sights and sounds of the state he loves.

In one of those columns last week, Smith revealed that he has been diagnosed with ALS.

Maine Calling’s Jennifer Rooks spoke with Smith and with Nell Davies from the ALS Foundation on Friday.

Maine Opposing Push To Require All Lobstermen To Report Catch Data

Jan 16, 2018
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

ELLSWORTH, Maine — The state’s top fisheries official says Maine lobstermen should not be subjected to stricter requirements for reporting their catch to federal regulators.

Abukar Adan / Maine Public

Nearly 700 people gathered at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland Monday night to honor the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The annual celebration, now in its 37th year, brought together civil rights and social justice groups, as well as local and state leaders.

Maine U.S. independent Sen. Angus King gave the opening remarks. King urged the audience to err on the side of action, sharing how he took the day off from work at the age of 19 to join the march in Washington.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Gov. Paul LePage is going to deliver his final State of the State address next month.
His office confirmed that he'll address a joint session of the Maine Legislature on Feb. 13. That's the date proposed by Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon and Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau.
This will be LePage's last State of the State since he can't seek re-election because of term limits.
LePage gave his address in person last year after a one-year hiatus from the longstanding tradition.

AUBURN, Maine - People in Maine lined up overnight for a chance at fresh and free doughnuts at the state's newest Krispy Kreme store.
Maine's second Krispy Kreme opened in Auburn Monday, after an enthusiastic response to the state's first store in Saco opening in October. Patrons began lining up at 6 p.m. Sunday night for a shot at free doughnuts.
Some who lined up Sunday night had their patience rewarded with a card that entitles them to free doughnuts every week for a year.

Heavy rain and ice jams that contributed to some headaches in northern New England are in the past, and weather officials are now keeping an eye on a snowstorm.
In  Maine, the Kennebec River spilled its banks in Augusta, flooding several parked cars.One neighborhood in Littleton, New Hampshire, dealt with rising water on Sunday, and homes were evacuated in northern Vermont.