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.

Mark Vogelzang / Maine Public

Three of Maine's most prestigious private colleges are among several elite educational institutions across the nation that have been caught up in a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust investigation.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court held oral arguments Thursday in a rare case that could determine whether Maine's ranked-choice voting system will be used in the June primary. The expedited hearing was in response to a request by Maine Senate Republicans that the court halt state implementation of the new voting system. But during a 35-minute hearing, nearly all seven justices appeared skeptical of the Republicans' arguments, and some wondered why the court was asked to solve a problem that Legislature wouldn't, or couldn't.

Mainers can expect to see petitions circulating in the coming weeks asking if they'd like to see an initiative for physician-assisted suicide on the fall ballot next year.

Valerie Lovelace from the Wiscasset-based Maine Death With Dignity is one of those spearheading the petition drive, to be launched next week. She volunteers for hospice.

"I've sat at the bedside of individuals who have died, and that have not gone well," says Lovelace.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

What is believed to be Maine's first tiny homes subdivision moved closer to reality Tuesday night after the Swanville Planning Board gave its final approval to a proposal to build a half-dozen of the 440-square foot structures on a 50-acre parcel on Oak Hill Road.

Derek Davis, of Thorndike, and Chad Tozier, of Unity, have formed a partnership to market the homes which are being constructed by the Amish-owned Backyard Buildings of Unity. Davis says the next challenge for the project will be connecting the tiny homes with renters or buyers.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro made his first public appearance at a city council budget workshop Tuesday night, one day after several residents began a recall effort against him and after he resigned, under pressure, from his position as a vice president at Skowhegan Savings Bank.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, a former mayor of Waterville, weighed in Tuesday on his behalf.

Isgro has been under fire for a recent tweet mocking Parkland School shooting survivor David Hogg. He also has a history of making anti-immigrant and other inflammatory social media posts.

Getty Images

The legal sale of recreational marijuana is one step closer to reality. The Maine Senate is backing a bill to allow retail marijuana sales approved by voters in 2016.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

There’s a new development in the saga over Maine’s landmark ranked-choice voting law: Superior Court Judge Michaela Murphy is recommending that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court review whether state election officials have the authority to implement the voting system for the June primary elections.

Gareth Patterson / Associated Press

The Maine House has given approval to a measure that would ask the voters to change provisions of the the state constitution governing the collection of signatures to initiate referendums. Supporters want to raise the bar for getting questions on the statewide ballot.

The current language in the constitution is over a century old. It requires the valid signatures of 10 percent of the voters in the previous election to initiate legislation that lawmakers must either pass as proposed or send to the voters.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The chief operating officer for the National Science Foundation has been tapped to lead the University of Maine’s flagship campus in Orono. Joan Ferrini-Mundy will become UMaine’s next president on July 1, when current President Susan Hunter steps down from the post she has held for the last four years.

Ferrini-Mundy made her public debut before an audience of students, faculty and the UMaine board of trustees, who gathered at a morning press conference in Orono.

“I can barely wait for July when I will join you full time and when presumably it will be warmer,” she said.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

The Legislature’s second attempt to setup the market and regulatory system for the retail sale of recreational marijuana is already faring better than its first.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

A petition drive has been launched to recall Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro after calls for his resignation over the past week.

Parents, teachers and students packed the seats of a legislative hearing Monday to voice their opinions about two bills that would drastically change — or even repeal — Maine’s move toward proficiency-based diplomas.

Six years ago, legislators passed a law saying that for students to receive a diploma in Maine, they must reach proficiency in up to eight content areas ranging from English and math to health and art. This year’s freshmen are expected to be the first to graduate with the diplomas.

A Superior Court judge has sided with the town of Kennebunkport in its almost decadelong dispute with a number of property owners who filed suit to halt public access to Goose Rocks Beach.

Attorney Amy Tchao is representing the town. She says the property owners claim they have exclusive ownership to the beach areas in front of their homes.

Health groups and providers were out in force to urge lawmakers to fund the expansion of Medicaid in Maine as approved by state voters last year.

There are currently about a quarter of a million Mainers covered by Medicaid, and voters approved an expansion to cover about 80,000 more. At a hearing on the bill to implement the expansion, health care providers joined some uninsured Mainers in urging lawmakers to support funding for the measure.

Maria Pineo of South Portland says she needs expensive medications every day and Medicaid has been a lifesaver for her.

Regina Asmutis-Silvia/WDC

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is awarding more than $700,000 to Maine’s Department of Marine Resources to study whether lobstermen’s gear poses a mortal threat to the endangered right whale.

There are about 450 right whales left on the planet, and some scientists say entanglement in lobster-trapping gear is making their extinction more likely. But many Maine lobstermen are skeptical and are pushing back against calls for new regulations on their ropes and buoys.