News

AUGUSTA, Maine — The University of Maine at Augusta is set to offer the state’s first university-level course in operating unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.

The Kennebec Journal reports the seven-week program begins Oct. 27 and will provide students a path to earn a Federal Aviation Administration remote pilot’s license.

A South Paris man has been found not guilty of reckless conduct in connection with a fatal hayride accident that killed an Oakland teenager in 2014.

Prosecutors tried to show that David Brown was criminally reckless in driving a jeep pulling the hay wagon at a farm in Mechanic Falls. Investigators found that mechanical failure caused the hayride to plunge down an embankment and crash into a tree.

AUGUSTA, Maine - At a rare open meeting of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, Maine Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern over the impact of the potential federal government shutdown on the nation’s intelligence operations.
 ”We are desperately trying to insure that the government keep functioning, and that we do not have any kind of government shutdown," Collins said.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The commissioner of Maine's Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, General Douglas Farnham, says he plans to meet with Massachusetts Transit Authority officials next week over contract costs at the Maine Military Authority.

General Farnham says he has been in contact with officials at the MBTA to set up a meeting next week to discuss the costs the authority is incurring in refurbishing the dual power buses.

Maine is one of 18 states that defended the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., Tuesday. Supporters of the plan say it’s a landmark move to impose limits on carbon pollution and help address climate change.

If the Clean Power Plan holds up in court, it would require power plants to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels. Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says upholding that standard is critical.

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Gov. Paul LePage last week said he was putting a halt to a $19 million bus rehab contract between Maine and the operators of the Massachusetts “T” because Maine had underbid the project.

But workers at the former Loring Air Force base are still on the job this week, and the state’s adjutant general says he’s hopeful that Maine and the Boston-area transit system can find a way to complete the project.

LEWISTON, Maine - Crime in Maine has decreased for the fourth consecutive year, according to the state Department of Public Safety. 

Overall, crime dropped by 7 percent in 2015, though some categories of crime increased, such as rape, which jumped by nearly 5 percent. 

But Cara Courchesne of the Maine Coalition on Sexual Assault says that jump is likely due to better reporting. "We definitely, in terms of people calling our crisis support line, see jumps when there are high-profile cases."

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine State police are still trying to untangle what happened last night that led to the shooting death of a Biddeford man.  

Maine Public Safety Department spokesman Steve McCausland says there were several people at the apartment building at the time of the shooting.

"The shooting occurred about 1 o'clock this morning," McCausland says. "There were a number of people there, and our task now is to determine the circumstances of this shooting, which means interviewing a number of people."

The dead man is identified as Jonathan Methot, 30.  

billy3001 / Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s predicted that tonight’s presidential debate could set a ratings record, with more than 80 million viewers — possibly as many as a 100 million.

That would rival the size of the Super Bowl audience, and would seem like a ripe opportunity for advertisers, including the two campaigns. But you won’t see any ads during the 90-minute event, unless you are watching or interacting online.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's moose hunt begins today, but with several hundred fewer permits issued. Nearly 49,000 hunters entered the lottery for 2,140 moose permits, 675 fewer than last year.

State moose biologist Lee Kantar says the state issued fewer permits this year because certain targets for the number of moose - such as three moose per square mile -- and the number of moose that can be killed to reach those targets, changes from year to year.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage Monday released the contents of a three-ring binder that he has said backs his claims that most drug traffickers in Maine are black or Hispanic. But the information inside, which was issued in response to Freedom of Access Act requests, doesn’t seem to support those claims.

The binder, or scrapbook, that LePage has been compiling first came to light at one of his town hall meetings in North Berwick last month, as he was talking about Maine’s heroin problem.

GORHAM, Maine — Federal investigators are looking into the death of a 43-foot-long endangered right whale that was found off the coast of Maine with fishing gear wrapped around her body.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the adult female whale was found Friday near Boothbay with fishing gear ropes wrapped around her head, mouth, flippers and tail. She weighed about 45 tons.

The whale was towed to a Gorham farm. A necropsy was performed Sunday.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s Congressional delegation has declined to release copies of its members’ 2015 tax records to a newspaper.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Congress issued a joint statement saying the members’ federally required financial disclosures provide enough transparency.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Independent Sen. Angus King aren’t up for re-election, while Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree and Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin face opponents this fall.

BANGOR, Maine — Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he can’t be wrong 100 percent of the time but that’s how he’s portrayed in the media.

LePage used a Constitution Week Forum at his alma mater, Husson University, to take a shot at the news coverage of his administration last week.

He says news reporters are more interested in a catching him in "seven-second sound bite" than issues like fighting poverty and taking care of the elderly.

Chuck Grimmett / Flickr/Creative Commons

Over the past week, we’ve been reporting on Question 1, the ballot initiative that would establish a framework to distribute, tax and regulate marijuana sales across Maine. Today, in our final installment of “High Stakes,” we head to college, where students could play a critical role in determine whether the new initiative will pass.

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