Maine Public

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Students entering high school this year in Maine will be the first in the country to graduate with a new kind of diploma. Instead of amassing a set number of credits, they’ll need to show that they’re “proficient” and meet certain standards.

It’s a change that’s been nearly a decade in the making. But some educators are still worried about what it will mean for students and teachers.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting were back at the polls on Tuesday, just one day after Maine’s secretary of state approved their petitions for a people’s veto of a law that delays implementation of ranked-choice voting until 2021.

“We have 90 days to collect 61,123 valid signatures. Upon submitting those signatures, we freeze the law in place as it was approved by voters in Nov. 2016,” says Kyle Bailey, manager of the campaign.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Faced with a choice of two proposals, Portland voters came out overwhelmingly in support of a $64 million bond Tuesday night to renovate four of the city’s public elementary schools.

Nearly two-thirds of Portland residents supported the project, which will renovate the city’s Longfellow, Reiche, Presumpscot and Lyseth elementary schools. Currently, the schools have problems such as overcrowding and unmet structural issues.

Portland residents rejected a rent-limit proposal Tuesday night in a lopsided 13,466 to 7,595 vote, according to unofficial results posted by the city.

The referendum’s backers pitched it as a temporary brake on this decade’s rapid rent hikes, which forced many middle- and lower-income Portland residents off the city’s peninsula or even out of the city altogether. But they faced stiff, well-financed opposition from landlords at both ends of the spectrum — those who rent at market rate and affordable housing groups, too.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

Lewiston and Auburn voters rejected a proposal to merge the Twin Cities on Tuesday night.

Since April 2017, the issue has been fiercely debated. Supporters of the idea argued merging would eliminate bureaucratic redundancies and spur economic development. But their arguments failed to convince voters, who were skeptical of the projected savings and feared logistical and political challenges that might arise.

Gene Geiger, who has been working on a consolidation plan for three years, said he’s disappointed by the outcome but that he’ll move on.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Voters overwhelmingly approved Question 2, which will extend Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to more than 70,000 people.

Andrew Catalina / Maine Public

For nearly two years, the York county casino campaign and international casino developer Shawn Scott have been undeterred by neither cost nor controversy. But on Tuesday, Scott, who has been roundly criticized for commercializing Maine’s citizen initiative process, ran into the one thing that could stop him: Maine voters.

Kevin Bennett / For Maine Public

For the first time in about three years, the Land for Maine’s Future board is considering funding for more than two-dozen conservation and water access projects around the state.

The projects range in size from a boat landing in Lubec and a 129-acre farm in Arundel to the 23,000-acre Bix Six Township in remote Somerset County on the Canadian border. But funding is limited, and the competition is fierce.

A key witness whose testimony helped secure bail for Anthony Sanborn as he fights a decades-old murder conviction was back on the stand Tuesday in Cumberland County Superior Court.

Last spring, Hope Cady recanted her testimony from the original trial, that she had witnessed Sanborn murder Jessica Briggs on a Portland pier. Cady still maintains that she didn’t see Sanborn commit the crime.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The next time you buy a pass to drive into Acadia National Park, the price may have nearly tripled. The Trump administration is proposing a substantial increase in fees at Acadia and 16 other national parks, in part to help address an estimated $11 billion in infrastructure needs within the system nationwide.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says that based on what he has seen and heard from local election officials, turnout could reach 30 percent this Election Day.

The House of Representatives has approved Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree’s bill aimed at protecting vets from unfair debt collections by Veterans Affairs.

Pingree, from Maine’s 1st District, says too often veterans only find out that they owe the VA after their credit rating is damaged or they are denied a loan.

Robert F. Bukaty / Maine Public

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine used the confirmation hearing of a Navy official to criticize a proposed immigration system based on points.

King was prompted by the testimony of Thomas Modly, nominated to be under secretary of the Navy, who told the story of how his father fled communist Hungary to come to the United States.

ImmuCell, an animal biotech firm based in Portland, is a big step closer to getting a new kind of treatment for dairy cows to market.

The company has completed a new facility where, pending approval from the FDA, it will manufacture a dairy-based treatment for mastitis, a common infection in dairy cows.

ImmuCell President and CEO Michael Brigham says using Nisin could save farmers a lot of money.  Unlike with traditional antibiotics, farmers can keep selling milk from cows treated with Nisin because if there is any residue from the treatment it's not a problem.

A bipartisan measure that would create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer's disease and preserve brain health has been introduced by Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins. 

In a speech on the Senate floor Monday, Collins said the so-called BOLD act would apply a public health approach to Alzheimer's disease, which she says is one of the greatest, most under-recognized threats.

"Five-and-a-half million Americans are living with the disease," she said, "and that number will soar as our population continues to grow older and lives longer."

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