Patty Wight

News Producer

Patty is a graduate of the University of Vermont and a multiple award-winning reporter for Maine Public Radio. Her specialty is health coverage: from policy stories to patient stories, physical health to mental health and anything in between. Patty joined Maine Public Radio in 2012 after producing stories as a freelancer for NPR programs such as Morning Edition and All Things Considered. She got hooked on radio at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

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Patty Wight / MPBN

Mainers like buying local. And it's not just a slogan, it's now a documented fact, according to a local food initiative called the Maine Food Strategy, which today released its first ever Consumer Survey Report. The group hopes that the findings will accelerate even more local food purchasing -- and beyond fresh fruits and veggies.

Running a business wasn't a completely foreign idea to ten-year-old Maiya Koloski. She has the kind of entrepreneurial aspirations a lot of kids don't realize they have.

This weekend hundreds of kids across Maine will launch businesses they've created themselves. Sunday is Build-A-Biz Day, and from downtowns to variety stores to front yards, kids will offer products for the public to peruse and purchase. It's part of a program to teach kids to become entrepreneurs, and even pint-size kids can turn adult-sized ideas into reality.

Patty Wight / MPBN

The Portland Water District wants you to think before you flush - that is, if you plan on throwing something other than toilet paper down the toilet. Flushed baby wipes are clogging pipes and pumps across the state and the country, creating a mess and costing cities and towns tens of thousands of dollars to fix.

  What gets flushed down the toilet eventually makes its way to a pumping station like this one in Westbrook. It's a small, cylindrical brick building.

Neal Fowler

The number of child care investigators in Maine will more than double beginning next week. The Department of Health and Human Services today announced the addition of 16 field investigators to ensure high quality and safety at day cares.  That brings the total number to 28. DHHS has come under fire recently for failing to follow through with investigations into alleged physical abuse at certain day cares.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is now blocking public benefits cards from being used at ATMs in liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs. A law banning public benefit cards in these locations was signed two years ago by Gov. Paul LePage, with bipartisan support. But some Democrats and policy advocates say the LePage administration dug in its heels in implementing the law. And as Patty Wight reports, they suggest that future efforts should focus on combating poverty.

Patty Wight

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is calling on Republican Sen. Susan Collins to support a student loan bill before Congress.  At a press conference at Bowdoin College today, Bellows said the bill would allow students to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate.  But it would also impose higher taxes on millionaires, which some say makes the idea little more than a political stunt.  

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is calling on Republican Sen. Susan Collins to support a student loan bill before Congress. At a press conference at Bowdoin College today, Bellows said the bill would allow students to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate. But it would also impose higher taxes on millionaires, which some say makes the idea little more than a political stunt. Patty Wight reports.

According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects about 100 million U.S. adults - more than the total affected by heart disease, cancer, and diabetes combined.  Opioids are a commonly-prescribed treatment, but addiction and abuse of these narcotics is skyrocketing.  A new pilot program in Maine aims to help primary care practices better help their patients manage chronic pain and safely prescribe opioids in what some call the "wild west of chronic disease."  Patty Wight reports.

Tonight, city councilors in Saco will consider adopting a plan that would let seniors defer property tax payments.  The idea is to help long-time residents stay in their homes as they struggle to keep up with climbing taxes.  But as Patty Wight reports, critics say the plan merely moves the financial burden to the next generation.

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Acclaimed Camden, Maine-based author Tess Gerritsen has filed a lawsuit against Warner Brothers, claiming the film company used her 1999 novel "Gravity" as the basis for the recent film by the same name.  As Patty Wight reports, Gerritsen says Warner Brothers owes her at least $10 million.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has refused to clear an emergency room physician of a woman's claim that he violated her civil rights.  The case dates back to 2007, when the patient, who has mental health issues, was detained against her will at MaineGeneral Medical Center.  As Patty Wight reports, the lawsuit raises questions about physician liability.

Patty Wight/MPBN

At a ceremony in Portland, a Maine soldier who fought in Afghanistan was reunited with a large piece of metal that saved his life. Sgt. Timothy Gilboe of Westbrook, who was decorated for his actions in combat in April of 2011, received the armor plate from the U.S. Army at the Portland Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, and shared his account of the attack that cost the life of a fellow soldier.

Calais Regional Hospital is cutting hours for 90 employees and eliminating two special care rooms. The hospital faces a funding loss of more than half a million so far this year.

Chief Financial Officer Nancy Glidden said Calais Regional Hospital has seen a big drop in outpatient services in recent months, due to bad weather, a short flu season, and changes in reimbursement.

Rebecca Wyke, U-Maine Vice Chancellor and Treasurer
http://www.polarbearandco.com

The chancellor of the University of Maine System today is defending the decision to approve a $40,000 raise for a top administrator in the midst of a budget crisis. But a recent nationwide report on the economic status of university professors calls administrators' salaries into question.

The $40,000 raise for Vice Chancellor and Treasurer Rebecca Wyke brings her salary to $205,000. It comes at a time when the University of Maine System has to cut $36 million to balance its books for the 2015 fiscal year.

Maine jails could soon have a new boss, of sorts.  A bill that's received initial approval in the Legislature would give greater authority to the Board of Corrections to track and approve funding and management decisions at Maine's 15 county jails.  Some see it as a possible solution to problems that arose after the county jails were consolidated in 2008.  Not all county officials are happy with the so-called compromise.

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