Maine Things Considered

4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

Weekdays at 4 p.m. join host Nora Flaherty and hear Maine’s only daily statewide radio news program. Maine Public Radio's award-winning news staff brings you the latest news from across Maine and the region, as well as in-depth reports on the most important issues.

Over the weekend, Congressional Senate Republicans revamped a proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in an attempt to win over key voters to their side, including Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

One of the bill’s sponsors, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, told the Washington Post that the new version of his bill would kick more funding to Maine. But health policy analysts question that claim.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Scientists have been closely watching puffin populations in the Gulf of Maine in recent years, in an effort to restore the species on certain islands. This summer, puffins and other seabird populations appear to have rebounded, but are still facing a threat from predation.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Maine Gov. Paul LePage says he may use a provision of the Maine Constitution to remove any sheriff who does not cooperate with federal officials on enforcement of immigration laws. But the two sheriffs LePage is angry with say they are following the law.

Gov. Paul LePage says Maine will get a 44 percent increase in health care funding under a GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a press release issued Friday, LePage touted a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that concluded the bill would give a financial boost to Maine. But consumer advocates disagree with the report’s findings.

Caroline Losneck / Maine Public

While the NBA season doesn’t start for a few weeks and the WNBA season is wrapping up soon, a group of women is hitting jump shots and setting picks on basketball courts in southern Maine. The players range in age from 50 to 74 years old, and as they prepare for the Maine Senior Games this weekend, there is no sign they are slowing down.

Creative Commons

Verizon Wireless says it intends to resolve customer concerns in the wake of recently announced plans to drop more than 200 subscribers Down East. But some affected customers say they still have lots of questions.

Ten years ago, Maine Gov. John Baldacci signed a law changing the structure of education across Maine, forcing districts to consolidate with schools in nearby towns as a way of saving money. But a decade later, the consolidation experiment has led to more conflict than success in many districts.

Pete Webster’s Spanish class at Whittier Middle School in Poland begins quietly enough. Webster introduces a few vocab words to his students, and they repeat them back. But about five minutes in, Webster picks up a guitar and, soon, the classroom becomes a whirlwind of sound.

It’s Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on politics. This week, Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in the Legislature as a Democrat; Dick Woodbury, and economist and former independent lawmaker; and Meredith Strang-Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, who served at the State House as a Republican.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

The American Civil Liberties Union and several abortion providers have filed suit over a Maine law that they say severely restricts access to abortion in a rural, medically underserved state.

Maine Public/file

The Cumberland County Sheriff is no longer complying with requests by federal immigration authorities to detain people who are being released from jail. It’s a move applauded by immigrant and civil rights advocates, but condemned by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Seven physicians — including four in the emergency department — are resigning from Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth.

Hospital officials say the departures are due to changes the hospital is making to improve quality. But other physicians who have left in recent years say the turnover stems from the administration’s increasingly caustic relationship with providers.

Harvard Forest

A new wave of forest loss is underway in New England, at a rate of 65 acres a day. That's the conclusion of a new regionwide study spearheaded by a Harvard University forest research group. And the authors say New England could lose more than a million acres of forest cover over the next half-century.

Legislative leaders are looking toward the end of October for a special session to consider a handful of issues, including the legislation to implement the sale of marijuana.

House Speaker Sara Gideon says leadership is trying to assess whether enough members will be available to convene the special session the week of Oct. 23.

“There have been discussions with the governor and additionally we have been trying to look at members’ availability for different dates. So there are a lot of moving parts to this,” she says.

The Maine Hospital Association is urging U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine to oppose the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The president of the association says the Graham-Cassidy bill is similar to previous efforts that have been rejected.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

The number of people dying from drug overdoses in Maine this year is on pace with last year, when 370 lives were lost. Now, some advocates are calling for stronger local action to address the opioid epidemic.

On Monday morning, advocates, family members and friends of people affected by substance use disorder sang as they placed 38 roses on the step of Lewiston City Hall — one for each city resident who has died from a drug overdose in the past two years.

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