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.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is now blocking public benefits cards from being used at ATMs in liquor stores, casinos, and strip clubs. A law banning public benefit cards in these locations was signed two years ago by Gov. Paul LePage, with bipartisan support. But some Democrats and policy advocates say the LePage administration dug in its heels in implementing the law. And as Patty Wight reports, they suggest that future efforts should focus on combating poverty.

Emily Corwin / New Hampshire Public Radio

If you've ever driven into Portsmouth, New Hampshire from Newington, you've likely seen the large piles of scrap metal looming along the waterfront. The scrap company's lease at the port is up for renewal in December, and opponents in town are upset about the view and the environment. They're now pushing the state for some changes. From New Hampshire Public Radio, Emily Corwin reports.

In Lewiston-Auburn, Dollar Stores a Dime a Dozen

May 13, 2014
Tom Porter / MPBN

The Lewiston-Auburn area is poised for a mini retail boom - of sorts. Two major discount "dollar store" chains are targeting the Twin Cities for major development in the near future - a move that some industry observers find interesting, given that hundreds of dollar stores are closing elsewhere in the country.

Heavy equipment prepares the ground for the construction of an 8,300-square-foot Family Dollar store on Sabbatus Street, about two-and-a-half miles from downtown Lewiston. 

Remembering the Labors of Mothers

May 12, 2014

This Sunday, families everywhere will be celebrating the special mothers in their lives. Young and old, living and dead, mothers' roles evolve over a lifetime.  Essayist Kirk Read remembers the labors of the mothers in his life.

  Kirk Read is a professor of French at Bates College.

(A transcript of this essay is not available.)

Nick Woodward / MPBN

Most people probably know that the giant panda, the Siberian tiger, and the Northern right whale are in danger of dying out. But what about the Leicester Longwool, the Suffolk Punch, or the Mulefoot Hog? Those are farm animals that appear on a list of critically endangered domestic breeds. Biodiversity in the world's farmyards is shrinking, say experts, and that's not a good thing. But efforts are underway to - pardon the pun - take stock of these critters. And Maine's small farms might serve as an ark for them.

Wikimedia Commns

The House Armed Services Committee is considering a proposal to hold another round of base closings under the so-called BRAC process: That's the use of a Base Realignment and Closure Commission to recommend changes in current bases and the closure of others. Members of Maine's congressional delegation are no fans of the process, which previously included the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on the hit list. And they're recommending that bases overseas be considered first.

Your Vote 2014 Profile: Troy Jackson

May 10, 2014

Lots of politicians, in both parties, talk about lifting more Maine families out of poverty and into lives filled with steady work and reliable health care coverage. Many though, don't have Troy Jackson's intimate experience with what it means for families when those things are out of reach.

Your Vote 2014 Profile: Emily Cain

May 9, 2014
Maine Senate Democrats Office

Maine has a reputation for sending trailblazing female politicians to Washington. Two of those women, Republican  Senators Margaret Chase Smith and Olympia Snowe, first entered national politics by winning election to Maine's 2nd Congressional District.  This fall, another promising female politician from Maine hopes to take this same route.

Gov. Paul LePage used an address at a Portland Chamber of Commerce breakfast to blame Democrats for what he calls pervasive gridlock in state government.  But the governor, who's campaigning for a second term, also used the occasion to propose two new policy initiatives. 

Patty Wight

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is calling on Republican Sen. Susan Collins to support a student loan bill before Congress.  At a press conference at Bowdoin College today, Bellows said the bill would allow students to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate.  But it would also impose higher taxes on millionaires, which some say makes the idea little more than a political stunt.  

Campaign photo

It's Thursday, and on this week's edition of "Across the Aisle," we look at some of the top stories in Maine politics, including a deal independent Eliot Cutler says he's making with voters in this year's governor's race. Keith Shortall spoke with Cynthia Dill, a practicing attorney and former Democratic state senator; Dan Demeritt, a political consultant and former communications director for Republican Gov. Paul LePage; and independent state Sen. Dick Woodbury, economist and tax policy consultant for the Cutler campaign.

(A transcript of this story is not available.)

 

File photo / MPBN

President Obama is pushing hard to to formalize the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. He hopes to conclude talks on creating the 12-nation trading bloc by the end of the year. If approved, the TPP would represent 40 percent of the global economy and create a trading bloc that spreads from Asia to Latin America. But not everyone is excited by the idea, or at least by the way negotiations are proceeding. Democratic Maine Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud addressed a crowd of several hundred labor advocates at a rally in Washington D.C.

Jay Field / MPBN

Some disappointing news came today for the deep water wind project known as Aqua Ventus. That's the pilot project led by a University of Maine development team. Aqua Ventus was competing for federal development money. But, as Jennifer Mitchell reports, the project was not selected for full funding. So now, its fate is less certain. Meanwhile, environmental advocates are still lamenting a decision they say chased away another wind developer.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The Maine Manufactured Housing Board has revoked the license of a Richmond trailer park owner and ordered him to pay the maximum fine possible for raw sewage and two other violations that resulted in the temporary eviction of his tenants. It's the first time the board has taken such an action. Russ Edwards is now negotiating to sell the beleagured park to a potential buyer. But as Susan Sharon reports, the tenants are still hoping to take it over themselves.

First, Gov. Paul LePage threatened to bring the Maine Legislature back into an emergency session. Now minority Republicans are urging Democrats to reconvene over nursing homes. Specifically, Republicans want to reconsider an 11th-hour bill from the governor that would provide $5 million to nursing homes from a tobacco settlement fund.

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