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Maine voters will decide on an initiative that would provide elderly and disabled people help with daily activities, like bathing and medication management. The Maine Senate Friday voted to hold a public hearing on the measure first, but the House chose to send the issue directly to the public.

Most Senators argued that a public hearing would help to educate the public about the issue they will vote on, but others argued that a campaign before the election would serve that same purpose, and that voters will be educated by the campaign in the fall.

A superior court judge says he will not remove state prosecutors from the case of Sharon Carillo who, along with her husband Julio Carillo, is charged with depraved indifference murder in the death of her 10-year-old daughter.

Sharon Carillo's defense attorney, Chris MacLean, had asked for the prosecutors to be removed after a judge ruled they had failed to follow proper procedure in getting Carillo’s school and employment records from New York state.

Maine Arts Commission

A student at Portland's Deering High School has filed a lawsuit against the National Endowment for the Arts over its decision to ban him from competing in a national poetry competition because of his status as an asylum seeker.

Deering High School Junior Allan Monga recited three poems in last month's state Poetry Out Loud competition. This one, "The Song of the Smoke" first published by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1907, is an affirmation of black pride.

Westbrook police have made an arrest following a spate of armed robberies across southern Maine.

Police said 38-year-old Travis Card was arrested Friday and his vehicle was seized. Police also searched his Westbrook home.

Police said the operation was a joint effort between the Westbrook, Portland and South Portland police departments, along with the FBI. Westbrook Police Capt. Sean Lally said they are investigating the possibility of a connection to other robberies.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

This story is part of Maine Public's Rural Maine Reporting Project, a year-long series of news reports that highlight the benefits, challenges and opportunities of life in today’s rural and western Maine.

Central Maine Power

This story was originally published at 4:56 p.m. Thursday, April 12, 2018.

As part of a deal to win a state permit for a major transmission project eight years ago, Central Maine Power (CMP) agreed to transfer the scenic Kennebec River Gorge to the state. But that never happened. Environmentalists say that raises troubling questions about a new CMP project that would cross the same gorge.

SANFORD, Maine — Maine school officials say six students in Sanford have been diagnosed with whooping cough.

WMTW-TV reports there were four reported cases at Margaret Chase Smith School and two cases at Sanford Junior High School. Parents have been notified.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is spread through sneezing or coughing. Symptoms include sore throat, uncontrollable coughing and fever.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Republican Gov. Paul LePage is backing two new judicial nominations.

The governor this week said he is re-nominating Hampden resident Gregory Campbell as District Court Judge in Bangor. Campbell previously worked in both the Penobscot and Piscataquis County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Bangor.

LePage also nominated Judge Christine Foster of Portland to serve as Active Retired Judge for the District Court.

Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

Three of Maine's most prestigious private colleges are among several elite educational institutions across the nation that have been caught up in a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court held oral arguments Thursday in a rare case that could determine whether Maine's ranked-choice voting system will be used in the June primary. The expedited hearing was in response to a request by Maine Senate Republicans that the court halt state implementation of the new voting system. But during a 35-minute hearing, nearly all seven justices appeared skeptical of the Republicans' arguments, and some wondered why the court was asked to solve a problem that Legislature wouldn't, or couldn't.

After an emotionally-charged debate, the Maine House passed legislation Thursday that would ban what is called “conversion therapy” for minors. Conversion therapy involves treatments by state licensed professionals intended to change an individual's sexual orientation.

Supporters of the ban argued that the controversial therapy is not supported by science, and that national professional counseling groups have said it is unethical and can be harmful. Portland democrat Rep. Matt Moonen, an openly gay lawmaker, supported the bill.

Mainers can expect to see petitions circulating in the coming weeks asking if they'd like to see an initiative for physician-assisted suicide on the fall ballot next year.

Valerie Lovelace from the Wiscasset-based Maine Death With Dignity is one of those spearheading the petition drive, to be launched next week. She volunteers for hospice.

"I've sat at the bedside of individuals who have died, and that have not gone well," says Lovelace.

Kateryna Kon / AP Photo

The Sanford school department is warning parents that there have been several cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, at the school.

District Superintendent David Theoharides says there have been four confirmed cases at Margaret Chase Smith primary school, and two at Sanford Junior High.

There is a vaccination for pertussis, and it's most common in school-aged kids. Theoharides says in most cases it's not severe for those kids. He says a bigger concern is when they bring it home to younger family members.

Maine Is Returning To A Familiar Approach To Lower Health Insurance Costs

Apr 12, 2018
Karen Roach / AP Photo

With health insurance premiums for individuals slated to rise nationwide by as much as 20 percent or more in 2019, Maine is looking to revive a mothballed mechanism to help hold those costs at bay.

Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he believes Maine residents will be "very happy" with a revised proposal on offshore drilling, which notes there are few reserves off the coast of Maine.

The secretary's comments on Wednesday in Washington suggest that the Maine coastline may be excluded from the next version of the Interior Department's plan for offshore drilling.

The Portland Press Herald reports Zinke was responding to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, noting there was strong opposition to drilling off the Maine coast.

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