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.

Ways to Connect

A $5 million outdoor education facility and trail system near Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument could be open by fall, pending the approval of state permits.

The money for the Maine Waterside Trails project has been donated by millionaire philanthropist Gilbert Butler, founder of the New York-based Butler Conservation Fund.

Susan Sharon

A little bottle is getting some big attention from the Maine Legislature.

“Nips” liquor bottles have moved from hotel minibars and airline service carts into convenience stores across Maine, and the discarded empties are piling up along the roadways. Lawmakers have proposed placing a deposit on the little containers.

Courtesy National Park Service

BANGOR, Maine - Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King and 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin met in Ellsworth Monday to announce they will introduce companion legislation in the Senate and House to revise boundary policies at Acadia National Park.

Recent disputes between Downeast wormers, clammers and seaweed harvesters with the National Park Service over inter-tidal boundary rights prompted the legislation.

BANGOR, Maine - Further efforts by President Donald Trump to reorganize the National Security Council continues to generate criticism after Trump removed the country's most senior intelligence and military officials as regular members of the Principals Committee and installed a top political adviser on the committee.

Sen. Angus King says he has serious concerns over the changes, as well as the appointment of Steve Bannon, Trump's chief strategist.

The business of financing terrorist activities will be probed by a congressional panel determined to identify and frustrate efforts to harm Americans at home and abroad.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District has been named to the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance on the House Financial Services Committee, a role he says will allow him to continue his efforts in investigating and thwarting terrorism financing.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

A temporary U.S. ban on immigrants from seven Islamic countries continues to trigger protests and outrage at home and abroad against President Donald Trump.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District says confusion over the president’s executive order will subside when people realize that the restrictions are not directed at any particular religion.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public/file

BANGOR, Maine - Former Democratic 2nd Congressional District candidate Emily Cain has joined the leadership team of HistoryIT in Portland, a firm that specializes in preserving historical collections.

The firm preserves collections of all types and sizes by making them digitally accessible to audiences ranging from scholars to the general public.

BANGOR, Maine - A national food chain has purchased the Pineland Farms Potato Company in Mars Hill for $115 million.

The Ohio-based national chain has sold its Bob Evans Restaurants division for $565 million and will now concentrate on processed food production.

Mike Townsley, CEO at Bob Evans Foods, says the Maine acquisition will give the brand a new source for its line of mashed and pre-cooked potatoes.

A Newcastle businessman who says Mainers must hold elected officials accountable is organizing a new activist effort called Let’s Make Maine Great Again.

Norman Hunt says the grassroots group will meet Wednesday evening in Damariscotta to discuss concerns over the new legislative session. Hunt, a former Lincoln County Republican chair, says lawmakers need to let Gov. Paul LePage lead.

A powerful nor’easter blew into Maine after midnight Monday, and by this morning, layers of ice, sleet and snow created treacherous driving conditions that prompted hundreds of cancellations across the state.

At the National Weather Service in Gray, meteorologist Tom Hawley said that the storm’s effect ranged from rain to freezing rain along the coast to snow in Aroostook County. Hawley says travel conditions may not improve until Wednesday.

Members of the Bangor City Council are weighing whether the city should formally oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Councilors are discussing whether a letter to Maine’s Congressional Delegation is needed to put the city’s position on record. Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci says President Donald Trump’s plan to shelve the national health insurance program is actually a local issue.

The Downeast Institute in Beals, a fully equipped marine research laboratory, will more than double its size with the help of $5 million in investment funding.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

A $2-million-a-year investment by the state into a targeted lobster promotion effort paid off big for the industry last year, according to the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, which launched an aggressive campaign to boost soft-shell lobster sales.

Matt Jacobson, executive director at the collaborative, says a new report on the marketing campaign revealed that the initiative was responsible for 1 billion earned social media impressions — and some surprising new takes on serving lobsters.

Maine Public file

The former holdings of the Great Northern Paper Co. in Millinocket have been sold to a local nonprofit for the princely sum of $1.

The Penobscot Indian Nation has obtained federal permits to process, bottle and ship its own line of vodka that it plans to market to tribal casinos nationwide.