A.J. Higgins

Statewide News Reporter

A.J. came to Maine Public Radio in August 2007 after a stint as a staff writer for Blethen Maine Newspapers. His news coverage for the Kennebec Journal in Augusta also appeared in the Waterville Morning Sentinel, the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram. Prior to joining the Kennebec Journal, A.J. served for 13 years as political editor and State House bureau chief for the Bangor Daily News.

He began working for the BDN in 1972 while still a senior at Bangor High School, when his first job was casting the lead plates for the printing presses in the paper’s stereotype department. In the ensuing 34 years, A.J. moved up to the editorial department, where he quickly immersed himself in nearly every facet of news reporting, editing and photography.

In addition to his extensive coverage in the greater Bangor area, he also worked in the paper’s Presque Isle bureau and was named bureau chief of the paper’s Hancock County operations in Ellsworth in 1988. He was assigned to the State House in 1993.

While A.J.’s reporting on Maine Public Radio has largely centered around coverage of events in Augusta, he has turned his reporting chops to issues and topics taking place across the entire state.

A.J. resides in Manchester with his wife, Diane.

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Thirty-eight years have passed since Joyce McLain’s body was discovered in East Millinocket. On Monday, state prosecutors told a jury that there is no doubt that it was Philip Scott Fournier who killed the 16-year-old Schenck High School student.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press/file

Maine is one of 39 states that permit the dispensing of the anti-overdose drug naloxone to opioid addicts without a doctor's prescription. But while state regulators issued rules last August to provide guidance to pharmacists selling the drug, they have yet to be approved by Gov. Paul LePage.

The Board of Pharmacy says it will wait for a response from LePage before instructing pharmacists on the new policy  - even though it's not legally obligated to do so. 

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

To get more than 260,000-plus followers on Facebook is no small feat — especially when you’re in a small Maine city with a population of just over 30,000, and you are the police department.

Ajay Higgins

EASTPORT, Maine -- If you've been wondering how democracy is faring in today's highly-charged partisan political environment, the mayor of New York City says, in his opinion,  activism and public protests are a sure sign that the system is working well.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

For the first time in 20 years, the Bangor city council has voted to launch an ethics investigation against one if its own, for failing to disclose that his public relations firm was doing business with an agency that received money from the city.

Bangor City Councilor Cary Weston said he was simply unaware of the arrangement, but that response didn’t satisfy the majority of his colleagues.

It was, according to one city hall watcher, one of the most contentious Bangor City Council meetings in years.

Concerns over the viability of the Bangor Mall heightened after Sears Holdings announced Thursday that it will close its store there as the company continues to respond to dynamic changes within the national retail industry.

Sears Holdings says it is continuing its strategic assessment of the productivity of its Kmart and Sears store base.

While residents of Maine's three major service center communities awoke to significant new snowfalls Friday, Bangor's 18.3 inches of new flakes surpassed levels in either Portland or Lewiston.

Bangor City Manager Cathy Conlow says the recent cold temperatures have done little to melt snow accumulations from the last storm. Like other communities, Bangor uses a deicing agent to clear its streets and sidewalks, but Conlow says it’s only effective to about five degrees above zero.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Activities across Maine nearly ground to a halt Thursday in the face of an intense nor’easter.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

A nor’easter bringing more than a foot of snow, high winds and even colder temperatures to many parts of Maine is posing serious challenges for community agencies trying to connect fuel suppliers with low-income clients.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

It’s been two years since the Maine Legislature appropriated money for a 10-bed detox center in the Bangor area. On Wednesday, Wellspring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services will open the doors to its new facility in Hampden.

It only has 10 beds, but the new center could care for as many as 100 clients per month, according to Suzanne Farley, Wellspring’s executive director in Bangor. Farley says the facility will offer a residential social setting for people who are trying to make opiates, alcohol and anti-anxiety drugs part of their past.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Like most people, Jensen Bissell arrives for work each day hoping he can keep his boss happy. That’s not always easy, given that his boss has been dead for almost 50 years.

Bissell plans to retire this week as director of Baxter State Park, named for the former Maine governor who was the moving force behind it and who ordered that it be kept “forever wild.” He says there are fewer and fewer people who actually knew Percival Baxter, one of the state’s greatest benefactors.

Cianbro workers
cianbro.com

PITTSFIELD, Maine – The Cianbro Corp. is actively seeking 300 new workers for assignments at all levels of its operations. Peter Vigue, Cianbro’s chief executive office, said today that in addition to major construction projects underway in Bangor for the Bangor Savings Bank and at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, there are a number of other projects that will be announced soon.

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – Skiers at the Sugarloaf Ski Resort were left hanging for a few minutes when a power outage halted the ski lifts at the state’s premier and left more than 4,000 Franklin County residents without electricity. Ethan Austin, director of marketing for the resort, said the skiers on the lift were forced to wait several minutes until auxiliary power units got the lifts moving again shortly after 3:00 pm.

The Maine Association of Realtors says sales of single-family existing homes increased 11.5 percent in November 2017 compared to a year earlier. 

According to an association report, 1,576 homes were sold in Maine in November. The median home sales price also increased in Maine over the past year by 4.2 percent, to $200,000.

In Bangor, Jon Dawson, designated broker for ERA Dawson-Bradford Company Realtors, says the numbers are pointing to a banner year for Maine home sales. 

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Maine State Police say an attack on two people in Millinocket that caused life-threatening injuries preceded a lockdown at the local hospital.

Lt. Troy Gardner said Wednesday that both assault victims, a man and a woman, were taken Tuesday night to Millinocket Regional Hospital before being taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

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