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.

Rockin' T Equine Sanctuary and Rescue Facebook page

A 19-year-old emu known as “The Bird” who bolted from his animal sanctuary home in Lisbon two days ago is back where he belongs.

Janet Tuttle of the Rockin’ T Equine Sanctuary and Rescue says he was discovered behind her neighbor’s house Friday afternoon, but not before he’d led friends and neighbors on a chase that went back and forth across a river and through the woods.

Addiction treatment agencies with state Department of Health and Human Services contracts are weighing the implications of a new payment policy that some say could result in serving fewer clients amid Maine’s opioid crisis.

Bangor’s Wellspring agency operates a 10-bed detox center in Hampden, and executive director Suzanne Farley says she’s not sure whether her organization can continue operating under the state’s new fee-for-services policy that goes becomes effective July 1.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine Gov. Paul LePage joined children’s advocates Thursday in calling for stronger state laws and policies to protect children in cases of abuse and neglect.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has reported out a "mini-budget" bill that would pay direct care workers at current levels for another year, starting July 1. It would also provide some money for county jails.

Independent Maine gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes wants her campaign volunteers to be able to show up at polling places on primary election day to distribute and display campaign literature and materials, speak with voters and collect $5 contributions for Hayes’ clean election effort.

Newell Augur, legal counsel for the Hayes for Maine campaign, says they have been told several times they can’t do that because of a statute that places restrictions on activities at polling places by a candidate whose name appears on the ballot on that election day.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee was scheduled to work on bills for a potential special session of the Legislature, but Wednesday, when the leaders of the committee met, it was clear that they are at something of an impasse.

Mal Leary sat in on the meeting of the chairs and party heads of the committee, and he spoke with Maine Things Considered Host Nora Flaherty about the proceedings.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Alewives, or river herring, are making their usual spawning migration to Maine in unusually high numbers this year, thanks in part to restoration efforts and the removal of dams on the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Maine’s medical examiner’s office has been named one of the best in the country. The pronouncement from the National Association of Medical Examiners came earlier this month in the form of full accreditation — a major accomplishment for an agency that was struggling with a backlog of cases just a few years ago.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is in a small brick building in Augusta, tucked back from the street. This is where the staff conducts about 300 autopsies a year.

A federal judge has denied a request by the Maine Republican Party to block the use of ranked-choice voting in its June 12 primary election.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Jon Levy means that all voters registered with one of the state-recognized political parties will use the new ranked-choice system in June.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says election officials are not shocked by Levy’s decision.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

The attorney behind a political action committee backing President Donald Trump is accusing the Maine Democratic Party and its counterparts in 32 other states of engaging in an elaborate money laundering scheme to benefit Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Maine Public

Officials from Portland Public Schools are telling the community that they will not report students to immigration enforcement officials, and say their schools are a "safe haven" for children and families.

In a written message to families last week, Portland Supt. Xavier Botana said, "We want your children in our schools. We don't care what their immigration status is. And we believe that that's not just the right thing to do, but that's also the law."

Catalyst Paper Corp. is selling its U.S. operations, including its paper mill in Rumford, Maine.

A spokesperson for Nine Dragons Paper says it is not planning any layoffs in Rumford, which has a workforce of more than 600 employees.

Friday Nine Dragons announced that it would purchase the Rumford operation, along with facilities in Wisconsin and Ohio, from the Canada-based Catalyst Paper for $175 million.

Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

A growing number of parents in Maine are opting against having their school-aged children vaccinated against disease.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The state agency charged with government oversight, OPEGA, released a report Thursday about the state's handling of two child abuse cases that resulted in death.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The legislature’s watchdog agency is recommending that lawmakers do a comprehensive review of the state’s bottle deposit law, passed first by voters at referendum in 1976.

The office of Program Evaluation And Government Accountability reviewed the history and operations of the bottle deposit law, and it concluded that lawmakers need to consider several changes to make the law work more efficiently. The report suggests several improvements in data collection and recommends changing language in the current law that it found to be confusing.