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.

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MPBN

The Raye for Congress campaign is demanding that 2nd District congressional primary rival Bruce Poliquin apologize for encouraging Republicans to vote Sen. Susan Collins out of office. Kevin Raye said Poliquin should be standing up for Collins instead of trying to elect her Democratic opponent, Shenna Bellows.

Maine's Department of Health and Human Services has selected new brokers to run the state's MaineCare ride program starting July 1.  The program was riddled with problems last year under the Connecticut-based broker Coordinated Transportation Solutions.  That company lost its bid for the next contract year, but another out-of-state broker, LogistiCare, won the majority of the new contracts.  As Patty Wight reports, some advocacy groups are concerned problems will continue under LogistiCare.

An artist's rendering of the physical manifestation of a Bitcoin
www.ricardo.ch

For many Americans, money means "worth", in more ways than one. According to one post-recession study by the Pew Research group, lower income and joblessness means not just a smaller bank balance for Americans, but fewer friends, and a loss of self respect. As the effects of the financial crisis linger, more people in Maine and around the world have been exploring so-called cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. Proponents of this, and other, alternative currencies say that today's "too big to fail" market economy is driving some people to seek another way.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
File photo

It was a day of firsts at Bath Iron Works, where members of all four unions opted to give their collective endorsement to a single candidate. And bucking a long-time tradition at the shipbuilding facility, Thursday also marked the first time that the unions chose to support a Republican over a Democrat. A.J. Higgins has more.

Tom Porter

Several thousand Maine residents are watching the international news with increasing concern at the moment, as tragic events unfold in the world's newest country 6,500 miles away. Most of Portland's Sudanese immigrants come from South Sudan, which achieved independence from Sudan nearly three years ago, following decades of civil war. Many traveled down to Boston to vote for secession, optimistic of a peaceful and prosperous future for this oil-rich nation.

Patty Wight

Maine's elver fishing season, already delayed by a few weeks, is off to a slower, less frenzied start, compared with the soaring prices and chaos of the past few years. After a colder-than-normal March, glass eels are finally beginning to make their way into the state's rivers in larger numbers, as the water warms up. But, as Jay Field reports, new state regulations have also limited how many pounds of elvers Maine fishermen can catch.

A prisoner in solitary confinement inside the Maine State Prison.
FRONTLINE/PBS

On any given day in America, an estimated 80,000 prisoners are being held in solitary confinement, to either protect them from harm, or to prevent them from harming others. It's a controversial practice which critics say is counter-productive. Tomorrow night, television viewers across the nation will get a look inside the solitary confinement unit at the Maine State Prison in Warren, where the number of prisoners being held in solitary has been reduced by two-thirds in recent years.

The glass eel/elver fishery
www.maineeels.com / www.maineeels.com

A former Passamaquoddy tribal representative to the Maine Legislature and his two sons are among eight people who have been charged with three counts of felony possession of American eels, and conspiracy to commit a crime in the state of New York. Fred Moore of Perry, a vocal critic of the state of Maine's elver management plan, said the other six are members of the Unkechaug Indian Nation on Long Island. And he said were all arrested while trying to carry out the Unkechaug's own conservation plan for eels.

Maine Legislative Session Comes to An End

Apr 23, 2014
The Maine State House in Augusta, Maine
Albany NY of English Wikipedia

Maine lawmakers have gone home, until May 1, when they return to handle any vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage. A lot of issues this session have been settled, while others wait for the governor's action and votes on May 1. MPBN's Mal Leary and Tom Porter discuss what got accomplished, and what didn't, in this legislative session.

 

[There is no transcript for this story]

Patty Wight/MPBN

At a ceremony in Portland, a Maine soldier who fought in Afghanistan was reunited with a large piece of metal that saved his life. Sgt. Timothy Gilboe of Westbrook, who was decorated for his actions in combat in April of 2011, received the armor plate from the U.S. Army at the Portland Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, and shared his account of the attack that cost the life of a fellow soldier.

Tom Porter/MPBN

Look up the word "operetta" in the dictionary and it said something like, "short opera, usually on a light or humorous theme," not the kind of words you would necessarily associate with a subject like the Nazi Holocaust. Nevertheless, the University of Southern Maine Theatre Department is making that connection in its latest, ground-breaking production, called In The Underworld. It was written in French many years ago. In Gorham, USM is staging the English language world premiere of the work.

The Maine State House in Augusta, Maine
Albany NY of English Wikipedia

The state's failure to require welfare recipients to meet work participation standards has triggered a $7 million fine from the federal Office of Family Assistance. Gov. Paul LePage and Republican leaders blame Democrats, saying that if GOP-backed welfare reform bills had passed, the state would not be in such a predicament. But Democrats say the penalty will be waived by the feds and that LePage's blustering is a campaign ploy.

FAME Scales Down Loan for Great Northern Owner

Apr 22, 2014
The Great Northern Paper mill in East Millinocket, Maine.
http://www.catecapital.com / http://www.greatnorthernpaper.com

There's more uncertainty surrounding the forest products industry in the Katahdin region today, after the Finance Authority of Maine approved a smaller-than-expected loan for a start-up business at the site of the old paper mill in Millinocket. Thermogen Industries wants to develop a wood pellet plant there. And its parent company, Cate Street Capital, originally secured a $25 million loan for the project. But Cate Street's ongoing financial problems prompted FAME's board to reconsider.

Dan Demeritt and Cynthia Dill (r.) Democratic pundit at the MPBN studios in Portland.
Tom Porter/MPBN

Another Thursday is upon us, and thus, another installment of "Across the Aisle," our weekly look at Maine politics with Cynthia Dill, a practicing attorney and former Democratic state senator, and Dan Demeritt, a political consultant and former communications director for Gov. Paul LePage.

Cynthia Dill is a practicing attorney and former Democratic state senator, and Dan Demeritt is a political consultant and former communications director for Gov. Paul LePage.

Courtesy: Maine Department of Forestry /

One of the most damaging native insects of spruce and fir trees is wreaking havoc in Quebec, where it has defoliated eight million acres of forest over the last several years.  Forestry officials are now bracing for an imminent outbreak of spruce budworm in neighboring New Brunswick, one of the most forestry-dependent provinces in Canada.  And here in Maine there are fears that the voracious insect could start destroying forest stands in the next two to four years.  Now, steps are underway to fight back.

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