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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A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Over the past 14 years, more than a million and a half U.S. service members have passed through the Bangor International Airport on their way to and from their overseas assignments. 

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Vastly different competing versions of Republican tax plans are being rolled out in the U.S. House and Senate that could potentially eliminate current deductions, such as student loan interest, and change the top tax rate and the timing of corporate tax cuts.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine says that the tax overhaul process being utilized by Republican leaders leaves a lot to be desired.

“The process stinks, it’s no hearings, no public input, very little analysis of what it all means, what the impacts are going to be, a lot of closed door meetings,” he says. “This is a huge proposed change and it ought to be an open process.”

Darron Cummings / Associated Press

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap has filed a lawsuit against the Republican-led presidential voter fraud commission, claiming that he and other members of the panel are being shut out of the process. Dunlap, who is a Democrat, says GOP leaders on the commission are excluding him from discussions aimed at shaping the group’s agenda.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The next time you buy a pass to drive into Acadia National Park, the price may have nearly tripled. The Trump administration is proposing a substantial increase in fees at Acadia and 16 other national parks, in part to help address an estimated $11 billion in infrastructure needs within the system nationwide.

Maine's fall wild turkey season ends Monday, as families begin preparing for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner centered around the wild birds' domesticated brethren.

David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, says there are a lot of different recipes for serving the wild birds.

The city of Bangor is lending a helping hand to low-income residents who have had to dispose of spoiled food as the result of this week’s storm-driven power outages.

Rindy Fogler, community services program manager for the city’s health department, said those seeking assistance are encouraged to bring proof of Bangor residency when they apply for the benefit at the department’s headquarters at 103 Texas Ave.

A business group aligned with the progressive Maine People’s Alliance met at a Bangor restaurant Thursday to call upon U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, both Republicans, to reject any Republican efforts to slash Medicare and Medicaid and to cut taxes for the wealthy and large corporations.

A 26-year-old Bucksport man is in custody after a Wednesday evening shooting incident that injured two men.

Bucksport Police Chief Sean Geagan said the incident took place around 8:30 p.m. near an apple orchard parking lot off Route 46 and that Cory Turcotte has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with the incident.

“Two subjects were taken to the Eastern Maine Medical Center with gunshot wounds,” Geagan said. “The case was investigated by the Bucksport Police Department, the Maine State Police and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.”

Erin McDaniel / via Wikimedia Commons

Park advocacy groups say they are surprised by the new proposed fee increases for 17 of the National Park Service’s most popular sites, including Acadia.

The NPS said in a written statement Tuesday that it is accepting public comments on its proposed new “peak season” fee of $70 per private, noncommercial vehicle. Weekly passes at Acadia are currently $25 and $50 for an annual entrance pass.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Maine has lost more 2,400 papermaking jobs over the last six years, but analysts say the state is making some strides in manufacturing that are infusing segments of the wood products industry with new hope and vitality. The goal is to find new products that require more skill to make.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The developers of a new $69 million waste-to-energy plant in Hampden say steel for the 144,000-square-foot building is expected to arrive this week, and that plans are on track for an April 1 opening.

Speaking to members of the Maine Resource Recovery Association in Brewer, Craig Stuart-Paul, CEO of Fiberight LLC, the company that will run the facility, said roadwork and other site preparation targets have been completed ahead of schedule.

The mother of a Micmac Indian football player from Lisbon High School says she will appeal the findings of the Wells-Ogunquit School Board after it concluded that no intentional acts of racism toward Native Americans took place during last week’s football game.

Amelia Tuplin says her family was subjected to taunts and whoops by players and fans as they were leaving the field of the Wells Warriors.

The Wells school superintendent is investigating whether players or fans engaged in racist behavior at a Friday night home football game. The probe was triggered by a complaint by a member of the Micmac Tribe whose son is a quarterback for Lisbon High.

Amelia Tuplin says it wasn’t the Wells High School’s painted logo of a Native American in a feathered headdress displayed on Memorial Field that offended her — the Wells team goes by the nickname “Warriors.” Instead, she says it was the reception her family received from Wells fans in the stands and on the sidelines.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Several hundred Midcoast Maine residents have signed a petition opposing the planned Maine Aqua Ventus wind power project off Monhegan Island.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The Donald Trump presidency was scrutinized Friday by a trio of Washington insiders, including former Secretary of Defense William Cohen of Maine, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman and Andrew Card, who served as chief of staff to President George W. Bush. Cohen said Trump’s sharp remarks about foreign and domestic leaders continue to violate the norm for American presidents.

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