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.

Stung by the effects of a Supreme Court decision and the failure of the state Legislature to offer a remedy, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections is advancing a new proposal it says will give outspent candidates the money they need to compete in state races.  Under the plan, state funding to the program would increase by $1 million a year, and candidates would be allowed to access more money by collecting additional contributions. A.J. Higgins has more.

Creative Commons

Officials in Scarborough are due to vote tomorrow night on a key ordinance regarding the contentious matter of canine activity on its beaches.  And you can bet that the results of that vote will be scrutinized by the federal government. The issue goes back 10 months to last summer when the town incurred the wrath of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after an unleashed dog killed a piping plover - a federally-protecting diminutive shorebird that makes its summer home on the sandy beaches of southern Maine, from Ogunquit up as far as Georgetown. Tom Porter has more.

Emily Cain, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress
Ramona du Houx/Maine Insights

The two Democrats vying for their party's nomination in Maine's 2nd Congressional district held their first primary debate last night at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston campus. State Senators Troy Jackson and Emily Cain agree on most of the major issues. But when it comes to talking about their ideas and positions, the personal styles of the two candidates couldn't be more different.

The U.S. Navy's first DDG-1000 destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, tied up at BIW
Mark Vogelzang/MPBN

A couple of weeks ago, the world's most advanced warship, the USS Zumwalt, formally hit the water at a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works. The midcoast shipyard is due to build two more of the DDG-1000 destroyers for the U.S. Navy over the next several years. The program, however, has ended up being much more costly than originally intended, in part because it was drastically cut back a few years ago from 32 ships to just three.

Maine House of Representatives

As incumbent Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud departs his 2nd District seat to run for governor, he's opened the door for a host of candidates from both parties who are hoping to be sent to Washington. One of them is former state Senate President Kevin Raye, who is making his third bid for Congress. 

Dan Demeritt and Cynthia Dill in the MPBN studios in Portland.
Tom Porter/MPBN

The union endorsement of Sen. Susan Collins is the subject of this week's Across the Aisle, with Dan Demeritt, political consultant and former communications director for Republican Gov. Paul LePage, and Cynthia Dill, a practicing attorney and former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate.

[A transcript is not available]

Susan Sharon

Residents of a Richmond trailer park were ordered to vacate their homes by 5:00 P.M. today because of a sewage overflow problem that required water to be shut off.  But most of the residents are low income and on disability or public assistance.  Some say they will be forced to sleep in their vehicles.  Others don't know where they'll go.  And as Susan Sharon reports, they blame the park's owner, who says he's been duped by the man he hired to fix the mess.

Your Vote 2014 logo
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.

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