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

This Aug. 21, 2016, photo shows the luxury cruise ship Crystal Serenity anchored just outside Nome, Alaska. The ship made a port call as it became the largest cruise ship to ever go through the Northwest Passage, en route to New York City.
File: AP Photo/Mark Thiessen

The western side of Mount Desert Island is closer to becoming a cruise-ship-free zone after more than a hundred Southwest Harbor residents unanimously voted Tuesday night to impose a 180-day moratorium against the use of any town facilities by cruise ships.

More than 100 Southwest Harbor residents turned out in force Tuesday evening to unanimously enact a 180-day moratorium against the use of any town facilities by cruise ships.

Local residents and fishermen fought back against a proposed visit next month by the 210-passenger ship, the Pearl Mist, arguing that the 310-foot vessel would rip up fishing gear.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Maine’s next general election is more than a year away, but state Democratic leaders are already strategizing a way to reverse recent back-to-back losses in several high-profile races.

One top party official and several candidates met Thursday evening with voters in East Orland for a free-range discussion on the party’s strengths and weaknesses.

Courtesy Family of Cassidy Charette

A lawyer representing the family of an Oakland teenager who died in a 2014 hayride crash in Mechanic Falls says they have settled their lawsuit against the farm owner who operated the attraction.

The settlement amount in the wrongful death lawsuit for 17-year-old Cassidy Charette wasn’t disclosed Wednesday. The family’s attorney, Jodi Nofsinger, said the hayride operator failed to ensure that the ride was safe.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Congress has recessed for the summer and hundreds of lawmakers have fled the beltway to reconnect with constituents in their home states. Today Independent Sen. Angus King was in the Millinocket area, which has been economically ravaged by the loss of two paper mills, but is hoping for a rebirth. The region’s fate may depend on decisions that come directly from Washington.

Patty Treworgy inspects some of her high bush blueberries at Treworgy Family Orchards
A. J. Higgins/Maine Public

Maine wild blueberry growers are trying to salvage what they can from this year’s harvest, which experts predict will likely be smaller in just about every way: Smaller berries, smaller total crop harvest and smaller prices than a few years ago. Some wild blueberry growers in Washington County actually decided it was more cost effective not to harvest their blueberries and have mowed their fields in hopes of better conditions next year.

At Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, co-owner Patty Treworgy examines one of her high bush blueberry plants.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Maine lobstermen have long been known as a fiercely independent lot. But some are looking to the power of unity, in the form of a statewide, catch-to-table co-op. The goal is to harvest a larger and more predictable share of the profits.

Newcomers to Bangor from different cultures and countries can expect a smoother transition into the community as the result of Thursday night’s city council vote to establish a local multicultural center.

Bangor Mayor Joseph Baldacci said the city will invest $75,000 in the center this year with the hope of delivering an array of services for new arrivals within the next six months.

A spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in New York City says the extradition of a man and a woman arrested in connection with the death of a New Gloucester nurse’s aid found alongside an eastern Maine road last week could take several months.

Kevin Ryan, director of communications for the Queens prosecutor’s office, said 37-year-old Carine Reeves of New York City and 19-year-old Quaneysha Greeley, formerly of Lewiston, Maine, are being held without bail.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Horses have been racing at Bangor’s Bass Park for nearly 135 years, but the sport’s future venue could be called into question if the Bangor City Council adopts the recommendations of a citizens advisory board.

A new $69 million waste-to-energy plant that will process garbage from more than 115 communities is expected to began accepting trash next April.

Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul says the road construction system for the Coldbrook Road facility in Hampden has been completed, along with all financing arrangements for the 144,000-square-foot biogas plant.

Child care advocates are voicing opposition to proposed changes in regulations governing in-home child care facilities.

The state Department of Health and Human Services says it wants to streamline an assortment of policies in order to increase access to affordable child care, particularly for parents in rural areas of Maine. The proposals are scheduled for a public hearing before a legislative committee Thursday evening.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The view from the top is magnificent, but getting to the summit of Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park has been taking a little longer this year.

A video still showing Joe Howlett in August of 2016 as he rescued an endangered right whale caught up in a mass of fishing gear.
youtube.com

Members of the marine mammal rescue and research community are mourning the loss of a Canadian fisherman who died this week after freeing an entangled right whale off the coast of New Brunswick. Joe Howlett of Campobello Island, founded a Canadian whale rescue team and was considered an expert in whale rescue. Now officials at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are suspending whale disentanglements until it can complete a review its own emergency response protocols.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public/file

Nips, those tiny bottles of booze that Maine Governor Paul LePage wants banned, are here to stay. For now anyway. The Maine Liquor and Lottery Commission voted against the administration’s proposal to outlaw sale of the 50 milliliter bottles, which the governor says were linked to increased incidents of drunken driving and littering.

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