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.

Maine Audubon

There’s an unusual conservation effort underway involving loons from Maine called Restore the Call.

Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there are still some 44,000 adults and 16,000 children in Maine without any sort of insurance coverage. They were the focus of discussion for about 150 health care expansion advocates at the Augusta Civic Center Friday.

When a person without insurance gets sick, they can get treated at their local hospital emergency department regardless of their ability to pay. But advocates point out that it’s far less expensive to prevent a disease or illness than to treat it in a hospital.

Members of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee are raising questions about the LePage administration’s plan, announced earlier this year, to build a 21-bed forensic facility near the existing Riverview Psychiatric Center. Lawmakers want answers the administration is not providing.

Ever since the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was seeking bids to build and operate a facility to house forensic patients who don’t require hospitalization, the proposal has been met with skepticism.

Immigrant and refugee groups from around Maine are banding together to form a coalition that aims to get out the community’s vote, and to lobby at the local and state level.

Somali, Iraqi, Congolese and several other community organizations are part of the New Mainers Alliance, which was announced at Portland’s City Hall Thursday.

Alliance Chairman Abdifatah Ahmed, a pharmacist who emigrated from Somalia 25 years ago, spoke about how the alliance will achieve its goals.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

With a workforce that once peaked at more than 500, the Maine Military Authority at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone was nationally known for its ability to retrofit thousands of Humvee vehicles for the National Guard.

It’s Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on politics.

This week: Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in the Legislature as an independent; Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, who was a Republican lawmaker; and attorney Cynthia Dill, who served in Augusta as a Democrat.

A panel created by an executive order fro Gov. Paul LePage has rejected his assertion that the Maine Human Rights Commission has been biased in the way it treats complaints, with a particular bias against businesses.

Amy Sneirson, executive director of the independent agency, says the report is helpful in recommending more staff and new equipment.

“I think it is very helpful to see what an objective group of folks found when they looked at us, and I think our commissioners will find it very interesting,” she says.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

Ranked-choice voting sounds simple: Grab a ballot, rank the candidates in order of preference and, when someone gets a majority, they win.

PORTLAND, Maine - As Portland's City Council considers new policies aimed at relieving the city's housing crunch, one set of ideas proposed by Mayor Ethan Strimling may be falling off the table, including rent control.

A month ago, Strimling proposed restrictions on rent increases and no-cause evictions, one-year lease requirements, and a bar on discriminating against tenants who rely on housing vouchers.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The Maine Heritage Policy Center released a report Wednesday that says a ballot measure that would raise the minimum wage in Maine would eliminate jobs and drive up the cost of goods and services.

The Policy Center is joined in its opposition by some Maine businesses that don’t support a statewide mandate, despite the fact that they already pay above the minimum wage.

E.R. Gundlach / oil-spill-info.com

It was 20 years ago Tuesday that the tanker Julie N crashed int the bridge connecting Portland and South Portland, spilling 180,000 gallons of oil into the Fore River in the worst oil spill in Maine’s history.

Voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District are likely feeling a sense of deja vu this election season. In a redux of the same race two years ago, former Democratic state lawmaker Emily Cain is challenging former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who beat her in 2014 after winning 45 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Campaign ads for both candidates seem to be trying to convince voters that neither is who they appear to be.

Courtesy Campobello Whale Rescue / Maine Public/file

The recent death of two right whales in the Gulf of Maine and the discovery of another entangled in fishing gear is bringing renewed attention to the plight of the endangered species.

Last Thursday, a right whale was spotted off Provincetown, Mass., swimming, but entangled in gear. Friday, a dead female whale was seen off Boothbay and towed to shore, where its death was determined to be from stress caused by entanglement. Saturday a dead whale was spotted off Mount Desert Rock, but could not be recovered.

A South Paris man has been found not guilty of reckless conduct in connection with a fatal hayride accident that killed an Oakland teenager in 2014.

Prosecutors tried to show that David Brown was criminally reckless in driving a jeep pulling the hay wagon at a farm in Mechanic Falls. Investigators found that mechanical failure caused the hayride to plunge down an embankment and crash into a tree.

bradlee9119 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Paul LePage last week said he was putting a halt to a $19 million bus rehab contract between Maine and the operators of the Massachusetts “T” because Maine had underbid the project.

But workers at the former Loring Air Force base are still on the job this week, and the state’s adjutant general says he’s hopeful that Maine and the Boston-area transit system can find a way to complete the project.

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