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.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The parents of a Lewiston Middle School student who died by suicide this week say their daughter’s story reveals a complete breakdown in Maine’s mental health system. Anie Graham’s parents say there should be distinct protocols to help kids at risk of suicide, and properly trained providers who are available to help.

Gulf of Maine Deep Sea Coral Science Team

The fragile deep-sea corals that populate the canyon walls and basins in the Gulf of Maine provide habitat for many species of fish as well as baby lobster, crabs and squid. But the New England Fisheries Management Council has concluded that the northeast coral beds are threatened when they are disturbed by commercial fishing operations and is weighing new restrictions that could affect Maine.

Gov. Paul LePage has allowed the early release of 17 prisoners through conditional commutation orders, according to his office.

The governor’s action follows the recent announcement that he has been reviewing the release of an unknown number of prisoners deemed to be lower-risk offenders.

According to the administration, the commutation orders are based on recommendations by the Department of Corrections. The LePage administration billed the orders as an effort to modernize the prison system and bolster the workforce.

Parents, students and community members from across Lewiston shared their grief in an emotional meeting Thursday night following the suicide of a 13-year-old student.

The mood was somber inside Lewiston’s Green Ladle, where about 200 residents gathered to talk about the death of 13-year-old Anie Graham earlier in the week.

Some students said they wanted everyone to remember Graham for who she was — bright and accomplished — while others said the community needs to do a better job supporting students who might be at risk.

A Washington, D.C.-based progressive think tank estimates that more than 117,000 Mainers would lose health insurance under the House GOP bill to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The Center for American Progress estimates that over the next decade, 57,000 people on Medicaid in Maine would lose coverage, as well as 47,000 people in the individual market. About 12,000 people are estimated to lose employer-based coverage.

A last-minute proposal by Gov. Paul LePage to phase out the Maine Turnpike Authority was taken up by the Legislature’s Transportation Committee Thursday and then swiftly and unanimously defeated.

It's Thursday and time for the 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, a former Republican lawmaker; and Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in Augusta as a Democrat.

Thomas College

This month, college seniors from across Maine will walk across the stage to accept their diplomas — most after four or more years of classes. For more and more students, however, graduation day will come much sooner, a trend designed to make college more appealing and affordable.

Some new hope surfaced Wednesday for the embattled Downeast Correctional Facility. The Maine Senate voted 30-3 to preserve funding for the Bucks Harbor prison for the next two years. Union officials representing the guards at the facility say 55 layoff notices had been sent out by the governor, who wants to save about $5 million annually by closing the facility.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

After a decade of rapid growth, wind energy in Maine has hit the doldrums. No big new wind projects are likely to go live anytime soon, and it could cost billions to unlock enough of the state’s wind resource — the best in the region — to serve southern New England’s thirst for renewable energy.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

State Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew resigned from office Wednesday, effective Friday. Mayhew has served in that position since the first weeks of the LePage administration. The announcement is spurring speculation about her political future.

A bill that would have allowed terminally ill patients to end their lives has failed to pass in the Maine Legislature. Though the Death with Dignity legislation narrowly succeeded the Senate last week, the House voted against it Tuesday with a margin wide enough to end its chances. But supporters say they’ll try again, and may bypass the Legislature.

In her work as a neurologist, Democratic state Rep. Patty Hymanson has seen patients face tough, terminal diagnoses. She told her House colleagues Tuesday that she hears a common question.

State prison officials are preparing to release an unspecified number of prisoners at several facilities in Maine after an announcement Tuesday by Gov. Paul LePage that he is commuting some sentences.

Without specifying a number, LePage says he will commute some sentences as part of an effort to “modernize” the state Corrections Department and promote fiscal responsibility. The action arrives just weeks before the governor’s closure of the Downeast Correctional Facility in Bucks Harbor.

Ed Morin / Maine Public/file

Advocates for the poor, environmental groups and members of Congress were quick to attack President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, which was released in more detail on Tuesday.

FILE: Maine Gov. Paul LePage pauses during a meeting to discuss the state's efforts to fight the opioid epidemic, Wednesday, May 10, 2017, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

Last week the Maine Department of Corrections sent pink slips to all of the workers at the Downeast Correctional facility in Machiasport, because under the budget plan proposed by Gov. Paul LePage, the facility would be closed. That budget has not been approved by the Legislature, however, and so the dispute has found its way to the Appropriations Committee.