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.

U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine is leading an effort to reform a temporary work visa program many Maine inns and restaurants depend on for seasonal help.

Congress has curtailed the number of the so-called H2-B visas to be issued this year compared to last, and businesses in states with a relatively late tourist season, such as Maine, are scrambling to find staffing alternatives.

When Maine author Ron Currie started working on his new novel a few years ago, he couldn’t have known how timely it would be when it came out in the spring of 2017. In an era when absolute truths seem increasingly difficult to grasp, “The One-Eyed Man” concerns K., an average guy who loses his wife to cancer.

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Maine marine resources officials say the state’s elver season is getting off to a slow start, with only small numbers of the tiny eels being netted by harvesters. The quality and quantity of the juvenile eels is expected to improve as temperatures climb in April.

Maine’s elver season opened on March 22, but the fishing has been poor, according to state Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols, who says colder-than-normal temperatures have kept landings down.

A compromise is in the works that could end weeks of pitched battle in Portland over the scope of a school bond to go before voters.

Mayor Ethan Strimling and city councilor Nick Mavodones announced a deal to give voters two choices: pay $64 million to fund renovations to four city elementary schools, or just $32 million to renovate two of them. Strimling says that without a compromise, the council might not have agreed to put any measure before the voters.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, left, and Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., right, listen as Clint Watts, center, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on National Security, testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

During the first of what is expected to be many public hearings over the next several months, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee heard from experts on past Russian efforts to influence elections around the world.

Those efforts have extra significance now, as Congress attempts to get to the bottom of Russian meddling during the last election without drifting into a partisan squabble.

Alaskan husky named Dakota, March 30, 2017, in Waterville, Maine. Gov. Paul LePage said he pardoned the dog from a death sentence levied at a court hearing last week, after it killed a neighbor's small pug in May 2016.
Karen Vance/Waterville Humane Society via AP

Gov. Paul LePage has pardoned a dog.

The unusual move, which is now generating headlines around the country, was taken on behalf of a husky named Dakota with a violent past. Dakota’s owners have been ordered to euthanize her, and it’s unclear whether the governor’s action will spare her life.

Gov. Paul LePage pointed the finger at the Maine Legislature and secretary of state Thursday for Maine’s continued noncompliance with the federal REAL ID law. LePage says it’s preventing veterans in southern Maine from accessing certain VA services.

But the governor plans to veto a bill that would ensure veterans access to health care, while another bill that brings Maine into full compliance with REAL ID could land on his desk as early as next week.

It's Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our roundtable on Maine politics. This week: Mike Cianchette, an attorney who served as former chief counsel to Gov. Paul LePage; Cynthia Dill, an attorney who served in the Legislature as a Democrat; and Dick Woodbury, an economist and a former independent state lawmaker.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Time is running out for nearly three dozen popular garden plants in Maine, and it’s not because another snowstorm is on the way.

The backers of a controversial ballot campaign to build a casino in York County had little to say during at a public hearing being held at the State House Wednesday. However, the hearing did reveal that an offshore investment company with a checkered history is backing the proposal. 

The leading Democrat and Republican on the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee had hoped a public hearing on the York County casino referendum will help answer several questions about the campaign and a gambling developer who has left a trail of litigation in his past.

Staff at the Maine Public Utilities Commission say regulators should reject all bids received to provide new liquefied natural gas, or LNG, storage in the state. At the same time, Gov. Paul LePage is urging the Maine Public Utilities Commission to go ahead and sign a contract.

Murray Carpenter / Maine Public

Imagine opening a restaurant in a far-flung location, but being forbidden to tell anyone it’s there.

It’s a long time until the November 2018 election, but two-term Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn has formed an exploratory committee to run for the U.S. Senate against incumbent independent Sen. Angus King.

Brakey says in order to raise money to travel around the state and to test the political waters, a prospective candidate must file an exploratory committee with federal election officials.

After the death last week of the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan declared that the ACA was the law of the land for the foreseeable future. But that future is murky, with more reform attempts expected.

A biomass company at the center of a dispute over payments to loggers is now asking to change the terms of its state subsidy. The company says it wants to dispel the notion that taxpayers are getting a bad deal.