Fred Bever

News Reporter and Producer

A Columbia University graduate, Fred began his journalism career as a print reporter in Vermont, then came to Maine Public in 2001 as its political reporter, as well as serving as a host for a variety of Maine Public Radio and Maine Public Television programs. Fred later went on to become news director for New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts and worked as a freelancer for National Public Radio and a number of regional public radio stations, including WBUR in Boston and NHPR in New Hampshire.

Fred formerly was Maine Public Radio’s chief political correspondent from 2001 to 2007 and returned to Maine Public Radio in early 2016 as a news reporter and producer, covering a wide variety of topics across Maine and the region.

Ways to Connect

Bubblecuffer / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in decades, the length of the U.S. ski season is shrinking. And as climate change curtails winter’s length, an industry transformation is under way: one expert says most ski mountains in southern New England could be out of business in 25 years unless they diversify their offerings. But ski areas in northern New England could benefit.

State regulators are asking a biomass electricity company to explain why it’s not paying loggers for fuel, even though it received a state subsidy for that purpose.

Last year Maine lawmakers and Gov. Paul LePage authorized state utility regulators to award biomass electricity companies more than $13 million to boost payments for power generated in Maine. The goal was to assist Maine’s beleaguered forest products industry in the wake of multiple mill closures.

But loggers say one company that won a bid for the subsidy isn’t paying its debts.

A broad coalition of solar power businesses, environmental advocates and industrial energy users want state regulators to reconsider new rules for solar power adopted earlier this year. But the move may just be a prelude to litigation — or legislative action.

In January Maine’s Public Utilities Commission ordered a 15-year ramp-down of credits rooftop solar users can earn when they put excess electricity on the power grid, often called “net metering.”

Pat Wellenbach / Associated Press

Summer resorts around the nation are bracing for a tough season — not because the tourists won’t come, but because the workers might not. The reinstatement of a cap on visas for temporary workers has some in the hospitality industry predicting catastrophe.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

PORTLAND, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage apologized to an African-American Mainer Wednesday night for past remarks that identified people of color with drug-dealing in Maine, and suggesting that a civil rights leader should thank white people for advancing the cause.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine Sen. Angus King is stepping up his criticism of the House Republicans' proposed health care reform bill.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, King said the House was moving the bill too quickly, without adequate review. King, an independent, says the measure would cost Maine's aging population more money and reduce benefits for many, while providing a tax break for the rich.

"The pattern is shift and shaft - shift the cost and shaft the people who need the coverage," King said.

Maine Port Authority

President Donald Trump told Congress this week that he wants to see a trillion dollars spent on the nation’s infrastructure through an unspecified public-private partnership.

Now states, including Maine, are putting down markers for where they see the biggest needs. Maine’s to-do list includes a plan for new barge service between here and New York.

N. Omata / Refugee Studies Centre | Flickr/Creative Commons

The number of refugees, asylum seekers and other foreign-born people who settled in Maine last year was the largest in recent years.

Short-term rental company Airbnb announced Tuesday that it will start collecting sales taxes from customers in April. That puts the company — and its hosts in Maine — on the same page as Gov. Paul LePage.

LePage says he wants to update the tax code to better account for the burgeoning short-term rental market. The company now says it’s voluntarily agreeing to automatically collect sales taxes on Maine rentals, starting April 1.

Central Maine Power’s customers will see some significant savings on their bills starting this summer, thanks to the end of expensive, long-term power contracts.

The contracts originated under a federal law that aimed to hedge against price surges seen in the 1970s energy crisis. Maine Public Utilities Commission spokesman Harry Lanphear says decades-long contracts Maine utilities signed with Maine-based biomass generators ultimately locked them into rates that were far above market rates.

Ryan Caron King / NENC

Muslim immigrants have become an increasingly large part of the fabric of New England in recent years.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Parts of Portland’s Munjoy Hill are under a boil-water order after a water main break left a car-size hole in Portland’s Preble Street, one of three breaks the Portland Water District was handling Friday.

People on the portion of Munjoy Hill northeast of Sheridan Street are being told to boil their water for a minute before drinking, making ice cubes, washing food or brushing their teeth.

ERIC KILBY / Flickr/Creative Commons

A federal judge in Bangor has thrown out a lawsuit claiming that state and federal wildlife officials were failing to protect the threatened Canada Lynx as required by the Endangered Species Act.

Canada Lynx are abundant north of the border, but fewer than 1,000 are estimated to survive in Maine. Over the last several years state and federal wildlife regulators have set and adjusted new rules that permit a limited number of lynx to be accidentally killed or injured in traps set for other animals, such as fox or bobcats.

Ed Morin / Maine Public

Maine’s Department of Transportation has seen a flurry of applications for new snowplow drivers in recent weeks, following wide publicity about several dozen vacancies this winter. But the DOT will still have to contend with pay scales in southern Maine that are lower than what the competition offers.

DOT spokesman Ted Talbot says the news is good.

“We’ve received hundreds of applications statewide and that’s very encouraging. One of the challenges is that not everybody has the CDL license, and that takes a while, so we’ll get them to that CDL experience,” he says.

Maine’s top judges are weighing the fate of one of their own. The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments on Friday on whether former York County Probate Judge Robert Nadeau should be barred from the bench for judicial misconduct.