Willis Ryder Arnold

The Department of Homeland Security has extended Temporary Protected Status (TPS) that is being used by hundreds of Somali immigrants for another 18 months.

In her announcement, Secretary Kirsten Nielsen said the extension was warranted because of the "ongoing armed conflict and extraordinary and temporary conditions that support Somalia's current designation for TPS continue to exist."

Maine Duck Tours is reassuring customers that its operation is different from the Missouri duck tours company linked to 17 confirmed deaths after one of its boats capsized in a storm in Branson.

An official with the Maine company says several factors distinguish its service from the one in Missouri. Kris McClure of Maine Duck Tours says boat styles vary greatly.

The Maine operation, which is not affiliated with the Missouri company, is also inspected by the Coast Guard for stability and safety measures, including life preserver access and fire extinguishers. 

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Sen. Angus King says President Trump's recent comments about Montenegro reflect a misunderstanding of "the whole point of NATO" as a deterrence to Russian aggression.

 

Trump recently said the U.S. "may or may not" respond if the NATO ally becomes involved in a conflict with Russia. 

 

"That flies in the face of 200 years of diplomatic history, diplomatic principal," King said in an interview Thursday morning on CNN. "It should have been dismissed completely out of hand."

 

Courtesy Ben Williamson

The Maine Coast will grace a new stamp thanks to DownEast Magazine's photography editor Ben Williamson.

A 20-stamp series produced by the U.S. Postal Service will conclude with an image of Bailey's Island that Williamson shot.

Williamson says the image that was selected came from a dawn photoshoot on Bailey's Island. "So I took about anywhere from 500 to 800 frames, hoping to capture that perfect moment. Then when I got back to the computer I noticed this one had that nice arch and that kind of poetic movement to it. And that was the one."

Colby College Museum of Art

A significant painting by the renowned 20th Century painter Jackson Pollock now hangs in the Colby College Museum of Art.

Director Sharon Corwin says the painting, “Composition with Masked Forms,” was purchased last month for an undisclosed sum and hung this morning. Some art historians say the painting highlights a master artist working to develop his own style.

Corwin says she hopes the acquisition inspires curiosity in Mainers and tourists alike.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Maine independent U.S. Sen. Angus King had some harsh words for President Trump this morning.  King said on CNN that Trump's rhetoric going into the NATO summit played into the political machinations of Russia's leader Vladimir Putin and could weaken Western alliances.

"He [Putin] views the Western alliance as a threat and he wants to see it undermined," King said. "That's their strategy and that's why they got involved in European politics, they got involved in our politics. This is what they want to do and I'm afraid that we're playing into Putin's hands."

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Dozens of protesters in Portland Tuesday publicly challenged Maine U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to vote against President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

There's been a steady flow of traffic into Maine ahead of the July 4th Holiday, but nothing that's caused traffic jams or overwhelming problems on Maine's turnpike, according to Maine Turnpike Authorities.

Executive Director Peter Mills says traffic was "huge" last Friday and Saturday, but it didn't beat last year's measurement for the same day of the week. He says it's likely people traveling to the state started early.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine's voter-approved Medicaid expansion is scheduled to begin today - but it remains blocked by Gov. Paul LePage.  LePage has vowed to veto a bill funding the state's share of the cost and refused to file paperwork needed to tap into federal funding.

Maine's largest unions are condemning a U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday that's widely regarded as a blow to collective bargaining and union power.

In Janus v. AFSCME, the court ruled that public employees can't be forced to pay fees to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining.

The Maine AFL-CIO and the Maine State Employees Association both issued statements saying they'll continue fighting for workers, despite the ruling. 

Canal 5 Studio of Portland

Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) officials say plans to construct a cold storage facility on the Portland waterfront will continue as most-recent plans crumble.

Americold has dropped plans to build the facility next to the International Marine Terminal in Portland. 

But Deputy DOT Commissioner Jonathan Nass says economic studies of the port show the project is needed and viable, and he says the department is looking at other options.

Lucia Helder / Maine Public

More than one hundred people filled Lobsterman's Park in Portland at noon Monday to protest the Trump administration's migrant family separation policy and demand action from Maine's congressional delegation.

Cellie Reegan showed up to let Congress know that she opposes family separation, indefinite incarceration, restricting legal immigration and abandoning asylum seekers.

“As my sign here says, I’m the proud granddaughter of immigrants," Reegan said. "My grandparents came here with nothing and I empathize with the people who are fleeing their countries.”

NNECAPA Photo Library

Shaw’s grocery store executives are apologizing to an African American man after an incident this week in their Saco store. The man says he was singled out because of his race.

Rory Ferreira’s says his experience at Shaw’s this week has him feeling vulnerable in the state he calls home.

“I'm not new to this community,” Ferreira says. “I'm not someone who rabble-rouses in this community. I love where I live. I love my neighbors. I love Maine.”

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage said he'd “absolutely” send members of Maine's national guard to the U.S.-Mexico Border if asked by President Trump's administration.

After an Eggs and Issues breakfast put on by Portland's Chamber of Commerce, he implied people crossing the border illegally hinder other non-U.S. residents from gaining legal immigration status.

“I'm all for fixing it,” Lepage said. “I'm all for all of them coming in. But lets do it legal. File the application. Stand in line and wait like everybody else.”

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Mainers are heading to their local polling places Tuesday to cast their votes in a primary race that features a broad number of candidates.

Over the past week, negative ads have emerged from different candidates.

Democratic candidate for governor Janet Mills attacked her opponent Adam Cote for his former Republican position, and Cote’s campaign went after Mills for accepting money from outside the state.

Ned Cabot says the ads did affect his vote.

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