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.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

A nor’easter bringing more than a foot of snow, high winds and even colder temperatures to many parts of Maine is posing serious challenges for community agencies trying to connect fuel suppliers with low-income clients.

Police plan to charge a 17-year-old Lewiston High School student with terrorizing following an alleged shooting threat on social media Tuesday night.

Lewiston administrators began hearing from parents and community members about an alleged threat on social media by a student at Lewiston High School on Tuesday night. A screenshot of the message provided by Lewiston school officials suggested that the student’s friend was planning on “shooting up the school.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a conference of New England's governors and eastern Canada's premiers to discuss closer regional collaboration, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Boston.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

A federal judge has ordered Gov. Paul LePage to release about $3 million in federal job training funds to one of Maine’s three regional workforce boards.

The decision comes four months after the governor refused to release about $8 million in federal funds that are intended to go to the regional boards, including about $3 million for Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc., based in Brunswick.

LePage has repeatedly tried to consolidate the boards into one to reduce administrative costs, but those efforts have been rejected by federal officials.

The Maine Board of Dental Practice last week decided against taking disciplinary action against a Lewiston dentist who faced dozens of complaints from patients. At the State House on Wednesday, lawmakers questioned the board’s executive director about the case.

Courtesy Of Maine Development Foundation

Maine’s economy is likely to continue on a track of slow growth in 2018, according to several experienced observers.

Maine State Economist Amanda Rector and Yellow Light Breen of the Maine Development Foundation both see the economy limited by a chronic shortage of skilled labor and an aging workforce. They told Maine Public Radio’s Jennifer Rooks that it’s a problem that affects key indicators including, Rector says, personal income growth.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

Maine’s Legislature returns to work Wednesday to kick of its second regular session, and the debate on key issues is expected to get off to a fast start.

Lawmakers reconvene in the morning to open the session, but the real action begins in the afternoon. The Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee has set up overflow hearing rooms to handle the expected crowd opposing Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s bill that would place restrictions on people gathering petition signatures near polling places on Election Day.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

It’s been two years since the Maine Legislature appropriated money for a 10-bed detox center in the Bangor area. On Wednesday, Wellspring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services will open the doors to its new facility in Hampden.

It only has 10 beds, but the new center could care for as many as 100 clients per month, according to Suzanne Farley, Wellspring’s executive director in Bangor. Farley says the facility will offer a residential social setting for people who are trying to make opiates, alcohol and anti-anxiety drugs part of their past.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press File

The recent cold spell has spurred oil-fired power plants throughout New England into action. But the operator of the regional electricity grid says pollution control regulations could throttle supplies from those sources.

Over the last decade, relatively low-polluting natural gas has been New England’s dominant fuel for electricity generation. But in winter, demand for gas can skyrocket from consumers who need it to heat their homes, and that can limit supplies for electricity generation.

Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press File

Flu season is underway in Maine, and state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett says the dominant strain this year — influenza A — is particularly virulent.

“We’re seeing a lot more influenza hospitalizations this year than we did last year at this time. So, that’s a bit of concern,” she says. "Over 80 percent are influenza A, and that's going on throughout the U.S. It's not just Maine."

Through Dec. 23, 99 people were hospitalized with the flu. At the same time last year, 12 people were hospitalized.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

As the year ends, we look back on the lives of some memorable Mainers. They defended people in court and on the battlefield, created great art and moving music, shaped public policy and gave us an official state soft drink.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

The Maine Board of Dental Practice has found in favor of a Lewiston dentist accused of putting the health and safety of his patients in immediate jeopardy.

Dr. Jan Kippax had his license temporarily suspended about a year ago after 18 patients filed nearly 200 complaints against him. But on Friday, the same board that suspended Kippax decided not to take further action.

Tom Porter / Maine Public File

At first glance, a new bill from Maine’s secretary of state contains mostly a list of minor housekeeping changes to state election laws. But tucked inside is a big change that could make it much harder for groups pushing citizen initiatives onto the state ballot.

Kathy Heseltine / Via Natural Resources Council Of Maine

Frigid temperatures forecast this weekend are proving too much even for rugged Mainers. A pair of popular polar dips planned for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are being canceled or rescheduled due to organizers’ concerns for participants’ safety.

Courtesy Mount Washington Observatory

If you think it's cold outside where you are, consider the top of New Hampshire's Mount Washington, described as the "home of the world's worst weather." 

At the 6,200-foot summit, the mountain's weather observatory recorded a record low temperature for Dec. 28.  

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