AUGUSTA, Maine - The state’s Economic Forecasting Commission heard testimony for hours, and poured over spreadsheets and reports, and concludes that the state’s economy is continuing slow growth.

The state’s unemployment rate is low and state revenues are growing - just two of the indicators the commission reviews in setting its projection.

PORTLAND, Maine - The severe-to-extreme drought that last week was affecting more than a quarter of Maine, has receded somewhat, thanks to the heavy rain we've been seeing over the last day or so.

That's according to National Weather Service hydrologist Tom Hawley; he says the U.S. Drought Monitor this week is looking very different than a week ago.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

Leftovers from the notebook while wondering if rallies are a good substitute for a ground game ... 

You may have heard: Donald Trump is expected to visit Maine for the fifth time Friday when he holds a rally at the Open Door Christian Academy in Lisbon. That's Lisbon, population 9,009, according to the U.S. Census -- the same Lisbon nestled on the southern edge of the 2nd Congressional District. The gymnasium holds 1,500 people, according to school officials. 

BAR HARBOR, Maine — Fishing managers will reach out to the industry before a proposal that seeks to rebuild the southern New England lobster population is sent out for public comment.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission decided Thursday that it was best to take the additional step before potentially releasing the plan to the public in February. The commission has been working on fishing management measures to preserve the lobsters.

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.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Maine’s public schools can’t find enough foreign language teachers, and they’re having a hard time keeping those that they do hire.

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.

The Maine Senate Ethics Committee held an unprecedented hearing Thursday to review complaints that two GOP senators engaged in a double-dipping scheme to rip off taxpayers.

When it was over, Sen. Ron Collins was exonerated of any wrongdoing, while Sen. Andre Cushing awaits a future ruling. Election-year politics and heated words dominated the entire proceeding.

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.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A coalition of nonprofits, business owners and ski lovers is pushing to create a community cooperative to buy and reopen the shuttered Saddleback ski area. But there may be some other potential buyers on the horizon.

The energized coalition turned out for a Portland press conference announcing that after months of mystery about the resort’s future, a verbal deal had been struck that could get it back on track. The president of the newly minted Saddleback Mountain Foundation, Peter Stein, says the group will pay a total of $6 million, plus royalties, for the shuttered resort.

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.