Governor LePage appears largely alone in opposing legislation to expanded the availabiliy of Narcan.  Narcan, or naloxone, is a drug that can revive people who've overdosed on opiates.  Democratic State Rep Sara Gideon of Freeport says it must be given within one-to-three hours of an overdose.   If it is, Gideon says the drug can combat the effects of the opitate in a person's bloodstream.  The governor initially opposed expanded availability, then relented and supported allowing one family member  access to the drug.

Bowdoin College President Barry Mills will resign in June, 2015.      Mills is 63.  He's in his 13th year as president of Bowdoin.   Mills said in a statement that he is not retiring from work and will seek another ``professional challenge.''    College officials said the members of a search committee that will find a new president will be named in May.

Members of Maine's congressional delegation say the Maine State Ferry Service is receiving $1 million for upgrades to its boats and facilities.  U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sen. Susan Collins announced yesterday the U.S. Department of Transportation is using the money for improvements that include a layover berth on Vinalhaven that could reduce trip cancellations and delays.  Pingree says funds will also go to repairs on a bridge on Swan's Island and a dock on Matinicus  Island.  The ferries also serve islands including North Haven, Islesboro and Frenchboro.

Cutler Unveils Maine Tax Overhaul Plan

Apr 15, 2014

Independent Eliot Cutler is proposing a tax overhaul that would slash property taxes for many Mainers while raising the sales tax, either permanently or seasonally, to make up the difference. Cutler, who's in a three-way race for governor with Republican incumbent Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud, chose tax day to unveil the plan, which he says would lower property taxes for most Maine homeowners by 20 to 40 percent by boosting tax relief through the homestead exemption.

An effort to establish so-called "virtual" charter schools in Maine hit a major roadblock in Augusta today, as the Maine House approved a moratorium on online public school classes. In states such as Pennsylvania, more than 3,000 students are enrolled in home-based, online classes from kindergarten through the twelvth grade. But Maine lawmakers say they want to study the issue further, before they open the doors.

Maine jails could soon have a new boss, of sorts.  A bill that's received initial approval in the Legislature would give greater authority to the Board of Corrections to track and approve funding and management decisions at Maine's 15 county jails.  Some see it as a possible solution to problems that arose after the county jails were consolidated in 2008.  Not all county officials are happy with the so-called compromise.

More than a third of students enrolled in the University of Maine System are 25 or older. They also make up 60 percent of all part-time students. Paying for tuition, books and other school-related expenses can be a huge challenge for these non-traditional students - many of whom also have full-time jobs and busy family lives. A new scholarship program aims to relieve some of the financial pressures these students face, and, at the same time, help the UMaine system protect a key source of its future enrollment. Jay Field reports.

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 The Maine House and State Senate are due to adjourn for the year on Wednesday.   Before then, the legislature must vote ona 30-million-dollar bill that will balance the state's budget for the fiscal year beginning in July.   There are also dozens of measures that have price tags that the legislature will be asked one final time to fund.  Most, maybe all, will fail.  After Wednesday, legislative leaders say they expect to return later this year to deal with more vetoes from Republican Governor LePage.

Rain and melting snow are keeping rivers running high in northern New England, increasing the chance of flooding.  Almost all of the region, along with northern-most New York State are under flood watches.The National Weather Service said minor flooding occurred Sunday morning along the Barton River in Coventry, Vt., and urged anyone traveling near streams and rivers to seek higher ground at the first sign of rising water.

Tom Porter/MPBN

The dispute goes back nearly 10 years.  But two months ago, the Maine Supreme Court sided with the property owners,  overturning an earlier lower court decision, which found that the public had established an easement to the beach "by custom," - that is, by having used it consistently over the last 100 or more years.

In the latest development, the Supreme Court granted a request by town and state officials to reconsider the motion, and oral arguments were heard on both sides.

The legislature's appropriations committee has found a way to balance next fiscal year's budget, but Governor LePage doesn't like it.It's because the budget document reduces expenditures by 20-million-dollars by extending the medicaid payment schedule for health care providers by two weeks.  LePage said yesterday, "We spent three and a half years to get a plan so we could pay off the hospitals and now they're telling me well you will delay payments to the hospitals, that's unacceptable." The governor's immediate leverage is limited.   The budget bill will need a two-thirds vote to pass.

Spring Cleaning

Apr 10, 2014

  Winter is finally on the way out and it's time to assess what the long, cold weather did to our homes and property. What should be at the top of our to-do lists regarding getting your house ready for the warmer months ahead. Is now the time to paint, plant and purge? Tips and ideas for working around the home.

Host Keith Shortall speaks with:

Helen Watt, licensed as a Professional Engineer in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland and New Jersey

Martin Grohman, Director of Sustainability at GAF Materials Corporation; Host at The Grow Maine Show

Patty Wight / MPBN

  Speaking in Maine takes us next to Orono and the University of Maine for the recent Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs lecture. The speaker is U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who speaks on "Incivility and Hyperpartisanship: Is Washington a Symptom or the Cause?"

        The idea of carving a national park out of Maine's north woods has been very controversial.  Opponents fear it would place large tracts off-limits to activities like hunting and snowmobiling.       Governor LePage suggested state lawmakers have a say by requiring legislative approval before anyone sells or gives more than 40 acres of land to the federal government.        Democratic State Senator Linda Valentino of Saco complained the bill would violate the property rights of Mainers.