Morning Edition

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Every weekday for more than three decades, NPR's Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the country. Irwin Gratz and the Maine Public Radio News team bring you regional updates throughout the morning.

After the most expensive legislative races in state history, Republicans have maintained control of the State Senate, holding 20 seats to the Democrats’ 15 according to unofficial AP results Wednesday morning.

Senate President Mike Thibodeau was jubilant with other Senate Republicans, friends and family, saying he expects the next session of the Legislature will see both parties working together to improve the state.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public

Riding a Republican wave, incumbent 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has won another two-year term.

Poliquin defeated Democratic challenger Emily Cain in a campaign that broke all state spending records for a U.S. House race. More than $15 million was spent by the candidates and allied outside interests in a nonstop TV ad campaign.

Shortly after midnight, Poliquin stepped to the microphone at Dysart’s Restaurant in Bangor and delivered the message his supporters had been waiting to hear.

Minimum wage workers in Maine are going to get a raise.

By a solid margin, voters supported the ballot measure that will boost the current $7.50 an hour minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020. It will also increase tipped workers’ base wages, which some in the restaurant industry say will increase costs and change the culture of hospitality.

With the passage of Question 4, workers in Maine will finally get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work, says Amy Halsted, the campaign manager for Mainers for Fair Wages.

RANGELEY, Maine — A coalition of local businesses and ski enthusiasts is planning to purchase the Saddleback Mountain ski area is holding a town meeting in Rangeley.

The Saddleback Mountain Foundation plans to make a presentation and then answer questions Wednesday evening at Rangeley High School.

The group wants to buy the ski area from Saddleback’s owners for $6 million, plus future land sale royalties. But first it must raise $4 million. That includes $2.2 million for a down payment and $1.8 million for operating costs.

PORTLAND, Maine — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is coming back to Maine to stump for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The independent senator will rally for the candidate who beat him in the Democratic primary. He is scheduled to appear at Deering High School in Portland on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Sanders appeared in Bangor to urge voters to support Clinton on Oct. 7. He also attracted large crowds to Portland when he was seeking the nomination. Deering High school was one of the sites of the Maine caucus.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public

Bangor is one of the most famous towns in the world, though some may not realize it. Fans of renown horror author Stephen King know Bangor well, but by another name: Derry.

Leigh Stearns via AP

ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine is holding a memorial this week for a professor who plunged into a 100-foot crevasse in Antarctica while conducting climate research for the National Science Foundation.

The private service is being held on Thursday at the Buchanan Alumni House.

A fund in Gordon Hamilton’s name has been established in the University of Maine Foundation, and a video tribute will be released later.

PORTLAND, Maine — Officials in Portland say they plan to pursue looser regulations for short-term rentals in the city.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the City Council’s Housing Committee agreed in principle Wednesday with a framework that would allow people to rent out their private homes and operate short-term rentals in apartment buildings.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine college is partnering with two Icelandic universities to build its reach in the North Atlantic and Arctic.

University of New England announced the partnership with University of Akureyri and Holar University College. It was signed during last week’s 2016 Arctic Circle Assembly.

Officials with the University of New England say the partnership will help grow new undergraduate exchange programs, develop international masters’ degree programs and foster cooperation on marine research.

PORTLAND, Maine - This year’s Maine ballot features five citizen-initiated referenda and a bond issue. Maine Public’s Irwin Gratz talked with longtime political columnist Al Diamon to get his thoughts on the issues and the campaigns being waged around the measures. Al writes the column, “Politics and Other Mistakes,” for several Maine publications.


SKOWHEGAN, Maine — A nonprofit group led by a Republican state legislator is being penalized $672 for failing to disclose spending on a campaign flier targeting Democratic Rep. Jeff McCabe.

The Maine Ethics Commission contacted Republican Rep. Larry Lockman of Amherst after the Morning Sentinel reported on the fliers, which claimed that McCabe supported harboring illegal immigrants and terrorists in Maine.

Portland-based Preble Street, which provides services to people experiencing homelessness, hunger and poverty, is getting two federal grants totaling more than a million dollars.

One is to help homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youths in southern Maine find supportive housing, and the second is for efforts to combat human trafficking.

Preble Street’s Elena Schmidt says almost 40 percent of homeless youth report being LGBTQ. She says $625,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services seeks to address their particular needs.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

HERMON, Maine - Brenda Garrand, Sam Surprise and Irwin Gratz usually gather to talk about political advertising - how it looks and sounds, the strategies that may lie behind it.

PORTLAND, Maine - It rained Sunday - all day if you were along the coast.   And that's news, of course, because of the drought that has been intensifying across the state.

As much as an inch of rain fell along the coast from Portland to Bar Harbor. But Tom Hawley, the hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Gray, says not everyone got wet. 

"The most rain fell right along the coastal plain.  Once you got up into the mountains there was very little.  A tenth of an inch of less.  Some places up in the mountains didn't get anything."

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Public Utilities Commission is extending its deadline for proposals for a liquefied natural gas storage tank.

Utility regulators issued a request for proposals last month following a state law that gave them power to execute a contract to address wintertime shortages of natural gas.

The new law allows the Maine Public Utilities Commission to have ratepayers fund up to $25 million a year to fund liquefied natural gas storage facilities. It’s an expansion on a 2013 energy bill that encouraged an expansion of pipeline capacity.