Maine news

PORTLAND, Maine - A landlord sentenced to jail time following a fire that killed six people in Maine has filed an appeal that cites a vague fire safety code as a factor in the blaze.
Gregory Nisbet was handed a short jail sentence for code violations stemming from the 2014 apartment fire, which was the deadliest in Portland in decades. The Portland Press Herald reports Nisbet has filed a brief that argues the fire code in unconstitutionally vague.
Nisbet argues that the code does not put "an ordinary person'' on notice that his actions aren't legal.

SKOWHEGAN, Maine - Police in Maine say a pregnant woman was driving to the hospital to give birth when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed. She died, and the baby is in critical condition.
The Kennebec Journal reports the crash happened Monday morning on Route 2 in Skowhegan. Authorities say the 27-year-old woman was traveling from Canaan to a hospital to have her labor induced. Police say the woman's SUV hit black ice, struck a snowbank and rolled over onto a frozen pond.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine is taking stock of homelessness with an annual count.
The point-in-time count is set for Tuesday night. The number will serve as a benchmark to determine how many homeless there are in the United States.
The Maine State Housing authority says about 6,300 individuals were homeless statewide at some point in 2016.
The numbers have been declining. But the shelter in Maine's largest city remains busy.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine Democratic lawmaker's bill would allow trained police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians to provide life-saving first aid to the canines that also respond to emergencies.

Rep. Jessica Fay says allowing trained professionals to provide emergency veterinary care can drastically improve a dog's chance of survival.

Her bill is scheduled for a Tuesday work session.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

What was once called "vocational education" in Maine is now called "career and technical education," or CTE. More than 8,000 high schoolers are enrolled in classes at CTE centers around Maine, where they learn everything from carpentry and plumbing to biotech and digital media.

Abukar Adan / Maine Public

Thousands of people rallied across Maine Saturday as part of the nationwide Women’s March in protest of the Trump administration’s policies.

PORTLAND, Maine - The Maine Turnpike Authority wants public input on the future of the increasingly busy stretch from Scarborough to Falmouth.

The authority is holding a public advisory committee meeting Wednesday in Portland.  The goal is to complete a report of the growing safety and capacity challenges by June.

MTA spokeswoman Erin Courtney said traffic volumes are at record highs after growing about 3 to 5 percent a year over the last three years.

Legislative Update

Jan 22, 2018

We speak with legislative leaders about the items making news this season. Among the front-burner issues: the effects on the federal government shutdown on state government; extending the moratorium on a comprehensive marijuana law; Medicaid expansion, ranked-choice voting, and, selecting which bond initiatives will come before the voters next election.

Guests:  Erin Herbig, House Majority Leader, D-BelfastGarrett Mason, Senate Majority Leader, R-Lisbon Falls 

That F Will Make You Smarter!

Jan 21, 2018

Since an early age my parents have told me that any grade I get on a test, a project, or a report card is not reflective of my intelligence. They know it will only hold me back and confine my identity to whether or not I can demonstrate my knowledge in a medium that so often devalues the importance of being a learner before a test taker.

I had translated this academic mentality into thinking tests could never be of value to my personal pool of knowledge, and grades could only be useful for the education system to “put me in my place.” That conclusion allowed me to become more aware of our construct of education, thus giving me the desire to be involved in its reformation. 

But I was wrong. There will always be a need to track understanding and the expansion and evaluation of that understanding. So tests will always have value; they are the ability to quantify a piece of academic growth. But it’s not the tests that were my issue, it’s how we treat the answers. How are we to grow when we aren’t allowed to be wrong without penalty? 

The Maine Board of Dental Practice voted Friday to table a request to renew the license of a Lewiston dentist who, last year, faced nearly 200 complaints from 18 patients. 

The board temporarily suspended Dr. Jan Kippax's license last February.  After several hearings last fall that focused on a portion of the complaints, the board ultimately found in Kippax's favor.  

But more than 100 complaints remain, and that was the basis for the board to vote to list Kippax's license as pending. 

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is trying to fast-track a bill that they say could help Mainers who use propane to heat their homes get through the next cold snap or a fuel shortage. The emergency proposal could potentially hit a roadblock over concerns that it could put homeowners on the hook if there’s an accident.

The recent cold snap left many Mainers shivering in their homes, as heating fuel companies struggled to keep up with their desperate calls for a propane refill.

PORTLAND, Maine - The owners of a medical marijuana shop and two medical marijuana users are suing to stop Maine from implementing new medical marijuana regulations next month.
The lawsuit in U.S. District Court targets a new rule that allows the state to provide same-day inspections of medical marijuana providers and to inspect a user's home with a day's notice.
The lawsuit contends such warrantless searches violated the Constitution.
The rules are due to go into effect on Feb. 1.

PORTLAND, Maine - A horde of people dressed in inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur costumes are set to descend on Portland's Monument Square.
A Facebook event set up by Alison Cyr and Valerie Sanborn calls for more than 100 people in T. rex costumes to arrive Saturday around 3 p.m. to dance around. Sanborn tells WGME-TV the idea for the event started when Sanborn bought her own costume for $50 online.
Cyr says she bought one for her brother, and later held a mock photo shoot at Portland City Hall featuring two people in T. rex costumes eloping.

Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland
BA Bartlett /

Echoing the findings shared at a juvenile justice summit in Maine last Fall, the Muskie School of Public Service and the University of Maine School of Law are calling for a shift away from youth prisons like Long Creek in South Portland to non-residential community-based programs and services. And they’ve produced a report that suggests the transition will save money and produce better outcomes for kids.

After losing state funding last July, school-based health centers could see it restored under a bill being considered by the Health and Human Services Committee. Proponents say the health centers are critical to keeping kids healthy and in school. But some are concerned that reinstating the funding would lead to cuts to other state health programs.

Schools are usually associated with academics, as opposed to health care. But according to Calais schools superintendent Ron Jenkins, the two share an important link.