Maine news

WINTHROP, Maine - Officials say a fire swept through the post office in downtown Winthrop, destroying both the building and the pieces of mail that were inside.

Crews say the blaze began around 9 a.m. Tuesday. A clerk saw a ceiling tile fall and smoke began spreading through building.

Everyone safely evacuated, but fire officials say flames consumed the building within minutes.

Town Fire Chief Dan Brooks says faulty heating equipment in the ceiling may have started the fire. The cause remains under investigation.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins

Feb 22, 2017
Nick Woodward

Senator Susan Collins joins us during the Senate’s February break.  Topics are likely to include: her influential role in the new Congress, her votes on President Trump’s cabinet nominees, her views on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, and Senator Collins’ health care proposal, designed as an alternative to the ACA.

Guest: Susan Collins was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996.  She serves on the Special Committee on Aging; the Committee on Appropriations; the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and, the Select Committee on Intelligence.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Portland Police Chief Mike Sauschuck says he does not support calls by Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and other organizations to fast-track a body camera program after an officer’s use of deadly force to stop a man wielding a pellet gun in a Portland parking lot last Saturday.

Ryan Caron King / NENC

Muslim immigrants have become an increasingly large part of the fabric of New England in recent years.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

A new initiative is aiming to boost Maine’s labor force by paying off workers’ student debt.

The Alfond Leaders program is a partnership between the Finance Authority of Maine and the Harold Alfond Foundation. Under the new three-year, $5.5 million program, about 150 Maine employees in the science, technology, engineering and math fields will be eligible to receive up to $60,000 to pay off student loans.

Alfond Foundation Chairman Greg Powell says the idea of the program is to keep Maine’s graduates in the state, and potentially lure workers away from other states as well.

Courtesy University of New England

The University of New England has announced its new president:  Dr. James Herbert, executive vice provost at Drexel University in Philadelphia, will replace outgoing President Danielle Ripich this July. 

Under the tenure of Ripich, UNE opened colleges of pharmacy and dental medicine.  Herbert says he plans to continue to strengthen the university's health sciences programs.

MILLINOCKET, Maine - Officials say a man slid more than 1,000 feet and died while climbing on Mount Katahdin over the weekend.

Officials with Baxter State Park in Millinocket say the 68-year-old Holden man had been camping with a large group and was trying to climb the Abol Trail with a companion Saturday when he lost his footing and fell.

Park rangers responded, but the man was declared dead at the scene. His name hasn't been released.

The Status of Maine Fisheries

Feb 21, 2017

Maine's Department of Marine Resources Commissioner will discuss the health of Maine’s fisheries – from scallops to herring, shrimp to lobster - and measures to protect them.

Student Filmmaker Calls for Gender Equality

Feb 20, 2017

Only one woman has ever won an Oscar for best director in the 87-year history of the Academy Awards. Just think about that for a minute. Why does this happen? Why are women only roughly 17 percent of directors, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors in the film industry? That’s insane!

This issue has bothered me for a long time, especially because my dream is to direct movies one day. I brought up this issue once while I was hanging out with a group of three of my male friends. I was surprised by their response. They told me, “The reason that women don’t work in that industry is just because they’re not good at it.” They went on to compare me to a male friend of mine who also makes movies and hopes to go into the industry as well. And it didn’t stop there. They claimed he was better than me despite the fact that I had even beaten him in our school film festival. These were my friends, yet without even seeing my work they assumed that someone else was more skilled than me, just because of my gender.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in making movies. When I was 12, I had watched nearly every Tim Burton movie and was convinced that one day I could make something like that. I carried a little video camera around all the time - this was before the time of high quality iPhone film footage - and filmed my Barbies or animals I saw outside. When I entered middle school, I got my first school-issued laptop and that’s when I learned how to edit for the first time. I never realized I wanted to direct films until the summer of ninth grade, when I filmed a short video on an iPad one afternoon in my garage with the help of my little sister. 

After a police officer shot and killed a man in Portland this weekend, advocacy groups are calling for the city to speed up its timeline on buying and using police body cameras.

Steven Biel with Progressive Portland, a group joined by the ACLU of Maine in calling for the change, says the City Council has budgeted $400,000 for body cameras starting in fiscal year 2019. But he says the shooting of 22-year-old Chance David Baker by Sgt. Nicholas Goodman illustrates why police need body cameras sooner.

WISCASSET, Maine - A working farm and an environmental group are sponsoring a forum about food security in Lincoln County, Maine.
The event will take place on March 4 and will be hosted by farm and education center The Morris Farm and environmental education organization Chewonki.
The groups say the event is the third annual Forum on Food Security in Lincoln County. They say about 14 percent of the county's population is food insecure, meaning residents don't have the resources for three balanced meals per day.

BETHEL, Maine - A great horned owl is recovering after it was injured by a porcupine and rescued by a Bethel couple.
WGME-TV reports that Maria Boschetti saw the owl outside their antiques store last week. Her husband, Jay, says the owl was behaving unnaturally.
The couple watched the owl and photographed it with a high-powered lens. They realized it had been injured by a porcupine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland police say an officer who fatally shot a man brandishing what turned out to be a pellet gun that looked like a rifle has used deadly force before.
Police say Sgt. Nicholas Goodman shot 22-year-old Chance David Baker. Police say Baker was walking through the parking lot of a strip mall Saturday screaming and pointing what looked like a rifle at cars. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun.

The word “expulsion” probably brings to mind disruptive high-schoolers. But in fact, many children are expelled as early as preschool. New research shows that in Maine, nearly a quarter of childcare centers have expelled a child in the past year.

National Political Update

Feb 20, 2017

The Trump administration turns one month old on February 20th. We’ll hear from The Wall Street Journal’s political editor, and from a former White House insider, on how the Trump administration transition is going, and the reaction from Capitol Hill to the new President.

Guests:  Jeanne Cummings, National Political Editor for The Wall Street Journal