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

Fred Bever / Maine Public

After almost a decade of red-hot growth, rents in Portland may have reached a plateau. But it’s a high plateau, and one group is trying to put a lid on it with a proposed ballot item to limit rent hikes and create a tenant-dominated oversight board.

Charles Krupa / Associated Press

The company that operates Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Loon Mountain and seven other ski resorts will require its workers to wear safety helmets when using skis or snowboards on snow. The move comes after the death of a Sugarloaf worker last season and a federal fine.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The Atlantic States Fisheries Management Council is asking for public comment on draft rules that would change the way lobstermen report their harvest.

The group’s lobster coordinator, Megan Ware, says data deficiencies have emerged during recent efforts to protect sensitive marine resources. She says right now, harvest data are collected over swaths of ocean so large that it’s hard to measure fishing activities around certain features, such as deep-water coral canyons off Mt. Desert Rock or, farther south, offshore wind turbines.

A recent spate of minor accidents has Emera Maine warning loggers and farmers to steer clear of power lines. Emera spokeswoman Judy Long says no injuries resulted, but there extensive damage to machinery and power outages did result. but the company wants to raise awareness that farm and logging equipment

“Sometimes we have to figure out how to get equipment safely away from power lines. Which is one of the reasons we’re letting people know that if they are going to be doing work near power lines, to work with us so that we can help you do it safely,” says Long.

In less than a month, Maine voters will decide whether to permit a casino to open up at a so-far undecided location in York County. Opinions in the county’s business community vary sharply about whether a casino would help their economic prospects or hurt them.

In the former mill towns of Biddeford and Saco, which straddle the Saco River, there’s a buzz in the air.

New England electricity consumers paid billions of dollars more than necessary over a three-year period. That’s the conclusion of an academic analysis sponsored by a national environmental group that suggests that natural gas suppliers withheld fuel capacity needed for electric generation at key moments on the coldest days — to the benefit of the companies' affiliates.

But some industry players and observers are skeptical at best, while one utility named in the report is calling it an outright fabrication.

A new political action committee has formed in Portland to support the less expensive of two proposed bonds aimed at improvements to the city’s aging schools.

Backers of both items want to rescue four aging elementary schools. One would float a $64 million bond to renovate all four facilities. The other would authorize about half that amount to rehab two of them, and rely on the state’s school improvement program to replace the other two with brand-new facilities.

Portland landlords are digging deep to fight a “fair rent” referendum question on the city’s November ballot.

Backers of the lengthy item describe it as a temporary rent stabilization plan. Landlords are calling it rent control, and campaign finance reports filed at City Hall Thursday show the Say No To Rent Control group has raised more than $146,000.

Dozens of landlords, located in Portland and as far away as San Francisco, contributed as much as $15,000 each compared with a total of just over $3,000 raised by the Fair Rent Portland group that proposed the initiative.

Regional energy interests are making a move to break up an electricity logjam that has stalled wind power development in Maine.

Over the last decade, Maine wind developers have built new turbines at a rapid clip, bringing overall capacity to more than 900 megawatts by last December. Maine now produces some 60 percent of the wind energy in New England — enough to power more than 150,000 homes, and developers want to build more turbines in northern and western Maine.

Supporters of a $64 million bond to renovate four Portland Schools are worried that a competing item could doom the effort. The local ballot in November will also include a proposal for a $32 million bond, which would allow renovation of only two of the schools.

At a press conference Monday, kindergarten teacher Kevin Brewster said a recent poll shows city residents might split their votes between the two items. He said that could give the upper hand to opponents of any new spending.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

State marine officials say an unusual algae bloom in Casco Bay may be retreating, but they say it still poses a toxic threat to fish.

Department of Marine Resources biologist Bryant Lewis sampled water up and down the coast, including at a South Portland dock. He’s measuring oxygen levels and the prevalence of an invasive Asian algae — Karenia mikimotoi — that has turned parts of the bay an unusual brown and unleashed an unpleasant, rotting fruit smell.

He says levels have dropped since last week.

Maine’s hospitals came out in support Friday of a November ballot item that would expand the state’s Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands more state residents.

Maine Hospital Association vice president Jeff Austin says the group is generally wary of using voter referendums to make policy. But now that the question is on the ballot, he says, the association feels obligated to support the goal of helping those without good medical access get care.

And he says it will help the hospitals’ bottom line.

Ever since he took office in 2011, Gov. Paul LePage has been trying to find new ways to get natural gas into the region and drive down electricity prices in Maine. Now he says he’s talking with Canadian authorities about a new project — a crossborder pipeline that could bring gas from western Canada to Maine.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage told reporters Thursday morning that Anthem's decision to drop out of Maine's ACA marketplace next year has nothing to do with anything President Trump has done. Instead, LePage blamed the Affordable Care Act itself.

"They are dying in the individual market - they can't make money," LePage said Thursday, at a conference in Falmouth on natural gas.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is holding fast to his threat to oust sheriffs who don't honor immigration authorities' requests to hold inmates beyond their scheduled release.

In Falmouth Thursday, LePage said that public safety trumped any concerns he might have about the Constitution's bar against unreasonable seizures.