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.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

State wildlife regulators are taking steps they say are designed to manage growing populations of bobcat and beaver.

Bobcats, they say, are showing up in areas of the state where they were once rarely seen, while beavers are working to take over areas claimed by humans. Opponents of the expanded hunting and trapping policy say that people are the real problem in the woods.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Gregory Nisbet’s fate is now in a judge’s hands.

Nisbet faces 6 counts of manslaughter in the deaths of six Portland tenants in a fire at a building he owned in 2014. After a week of testimony, the prosecution and defense made their final arguments Friday, and because Nisbet waived his right to a jury trial, the verdict will be decided by Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

You won’t typically find cracked tomatoes, curved cucumbers or two-legged carrots at the grocery store. Imperfect produce is a tough sell for consumers, so it’s often abandoned in farm fields.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine’s textile industry had its heyday a century ago, but one company in Portland sees a bright future in textile manufacturing and is producing garments stitched from 100 percent American-made materials. As they did a 100 years ago, immigrants are the workforce that’s helping to fuel this new textile industry into the future.

The manslaughter trial of Portland landlord Gregory Nisbet continued Thursday. Prosecutors say he’s responsible for the deaths of six tenants in a house fire two years ago.

Prosecutors say Nisbet’s building was a death trap, with fire hazards, inoperative smoke alarms and a lack of top-floor escape routes as required by code. But Nisbet’s lawyers are trying to sow reasonable doubt about those claims, and arguing that the building did not have to meet the most stringent safety codes.

Susan Sharon

This week, representatives from eight Arctic nations are meeting in Portland to discuss environmental issues and promote sustainable development in the Arctic region. Representatives of indigenous groups are also at the table. But the meetings are being held in private.

Today, a small group of mostly retirees protested what they say is too much emphasis on the economic opportunities of a melting region and not enough on the fundamental issue: addressing climate change.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Across Maine over the past five years, a group of schools has tried out an experimental approach to learning. They call it “self pace,” and the idea is that if students decide how quickly or slowly they learn, they can stay more engaged and become more independent.

Police say they’re still investigating the circumstances leading them to issue Maine’s first Amber Alert in nearly seven years.

Augusta police have provided few details about the safe return of 3-year-old Lenore Wilson after she was reported missing Tuesday morning. It’s also unclear whether any charges will be brought in connection with the incident.

The trial continued Tuesday in Portland for Gregory Nisbet, who is facing manslaughter charges in a Nov. 2014 fire that killed six city residents.

Nisbet was the owner of the building, and if he’s convicted, it would be the first time in the state’s history that a landlord is convicted for manslaughter in a tenant death stemming from negligent building operation. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

Maine Public Radio’s Fred Bever was at the trial, and he spoke with Nora Flaherty.


While the state’s worsening heroin and opioid addiction crisis dominates the headlines, Maine’s drug enforcement community is also chasing a growing methamphetamine problem. They say they’re on track to double the number of meth lab busts this year.

So far this year, authorities have uncovered more than 100 meth labs, or debris from former operations, across the state. That’s twice as many as last year, and a decade ago, it would have been just five or six.

Nearly half a million Maine households paid federal income tax two years ago, according to the most recent IRS statistics. The campaign of presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton hopes that number will resonate with voters as they consider the possibility that rival Donald Trump could have avoided paying any federal income tax for nearly two decades.

Arctic Climate Change
AP Photo/John McConnico

As the sea ice in the Arctic continues to melt, large areas of water are opening up,and the prospect of an “artic passage” is drawing much interest from commercial shipping companies and from the governments and military forces of northern nations.

A group called the Arctic Council — dedicated to shaping a peaceful future for the region, is holding a high level meeting in Portland this week.

A federal appeals court has apparently ended the appeals of Dennis Deschaine, convicted of the 1988 murder and sexual assault of Sarah Cherry, then a 12-year-old from Bowdoin.

Since his first trail and through appeal after appeal, Dennis Deschaine has maintained his innocence. But a jury convicted him of sexually assaulting Sarah Cherry, stabbing her, and dumping her body in the woods near the Bowdoin home where she was babysitting. The State Supreme Court upheld his conviction. Motions for a new trial were denied.

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.