Maine Things Considered

By Maine Public

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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.

Episode Date
Blossoming Bacteria Force Beach Closures During Hot Summer Stretch
299
It has been a hot, dry summer, and around southern Maine conditions have been just right for something unpleasant and unhealthy: bacterial contamination. About a half a dozen freshwater beaches in Maine have been forced to close as a result.
Aug 13, 2018
Advocates Weigh In On Solutions To Maine's Eviction Crisis
379
All this week we’ve been reporting on how evictions are financially and emotionally costly for landlords and tenants. Both parties generally want the same thing: the rent to be paid in full and on time. But as housing costs and rents continue to rise faster than wages, low income advocates say policy changes are necessary to support thousands of at-risk Mainers. This is the fifth in our series, "Eviction: Life Unpacked." (To read the text version of this story, click here)
Aug 10, 2018
West Paris Nursing Home To Shut Down, Blames Low Medicaid Reimbursement Rates
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A nursing home in West Paris that cares for 72 residents has announced it will close in 60 days. The business manager of Ledgeview Living Center, Roger Wilday, says insufficient Medicaid reimbursement rates are the driving factor.
Aug 10, 2018
Maine Fishermen Celebrate The Best Catch Of 'Finicky' Pogies In Decades
81
Fishermen in Maine are on course for the best catch of menhaden in decades, the baitfish commonly known as pogies.
Aug 10, 2018
Across the Aisle: New Poll On The Governor's Race & Dillon Bates
485
It’s Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our foray into Maine Politics. This week: Cynthia Dill, an attorney and columnist for the Portland Press Herald who served in the legislature as a Democrat, Former Republican lawmaker Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, and Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in Augusta as an independent. They spoke with Keith Shortall.
Aug 10, 2018
Oversight Committee Will Subpeona Another Maine DHHS Official
170
For the second time in less than two months, the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee has voted to subpoena a high ranking official at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Aug 09, 2018
‘They May Be Gouging Us’: Commission Will Investigate Possible Excessive Profits By CMP
193
State regulators are taking a new look at just how much money Central Maine Power's (CMP) shareholders earn from the company's customers and whether the amount may be excessive — or too low. In a notice published this week, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) says that it will investigate whether CMP's profits from delivering electricity are "just and reasonable." The inquiry was prompted by a request from a group of ratepayers who noted that in 2016 CMP shareholders earned a return-on-equity of more than 11 percent — and earned 13 percent last year. "Not to put too fine a point on it, they may be gouging us," says former Portland Representative Herb Adams, who led the push for a new examination of CMP profits. But the petition was joined by other political figures, including former Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and former Democratic Portland Senator Anne Haskell. Adams says that in 2014, the PUC approved a rate plan for CMP based partly on an expectation that the utility's overall
Aug 08, 2018
King Worries Trump Administration’s New Immigration Proposal Could Hurt Maine’s Economy
147
The Trump administration is considering proposing new rules that critics say will punish legal immigrants in the United States who are seeking permanent residency.
Aug 08, 2018
Collins, Pingree React To Trump Imposing Sanctions On Iran
43
President Donald Trump has unilaterally imposed sanctions on Iran, ostensibly to get the Iranians to the table to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement. Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine questions whether the sanctions will work. “It’s difficult to predict, but I would suggest that if we are doing unilateral sanctions, it would make them less likely to come back to the negotiating table,” she says. Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree says the sanctions won’t work and the president was wrong to pull out of the agreement in the first place. “In my mind there is no question that the president has made a huge mistake. It took a very long time to negotiate the agreement that we had. Other countries are still sticking to that agreement,” she says. “I think the president makes these decisions based on how he feels when he wakes up in the morning, instead of sound diplomatic advice. And I don’t think he knows where it is going to go and I certainly think it was a very bad decision
Aug 07, 2018
Invasive Milfoil Found In Winthrop Lake
57
State environmental officials say they have confirmed the presence of Eurasian watermilfoil in the north end of Cobbosseecontee Lake in Winthrop. The aggressive aquatic plant is found throughout the U.S., but right now is known to be in only one other water body in Maine, a 28-acre pond in Scarborough. Maine Department of Environmental Protection biologist John McPhedran says the milfoil was discovered in July by plant surveyors from a local group. He says the aquatic invasive grows very densely at the expense of native plants. “And can impact our use of the pond and lakes by animals and other organisms in the ponds and lakes and potentially affect property values of our lakes and ponds,” he says. McPhedran says the milfoil most likely was brought to Cobbosseecontee Lake on a boat from another area. DEP officials say they’re optimistic the early discovery and rapid response will reduce the risk of the milfoil from spreading.
Aug 07, 2018
After Court Battle, Maine's Clean Elections Candidates To Get $1 Million In Campaign Funds
147
Maine's publicly-financed candidates will finally be getting $1 million in campaign funds despite Republican Gov. Paul LePage's attempt to unilaterally block the funding and a last-minute move by his administration that threatened to delay payments to 120 legislative candidates and a gubernatorial hopeful.
Aug 07, 2018
Who Is Will Hoar? A Look At An Unconventional Congressional Candidate
147
Will Hoar is one of two independents seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat held by Republican Bruce Poliquin. The 35-year-old special education teacher from Southwest Harbor plans a somewhat unconventional campaign. Hoar says he is just starting to do some of the things he needs to do as a candidate — such as being interviewed by reporters. He says a couple of related issues drove him to run for Congress. Hoar says health care is a major issue for Mainers, as it is in his family. His wife has a chronic health condition. When incumbent U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin voted against the Affordable Care Act, it galvanized Hoar’s thinking that Poliquin is out of touch. “Beyond that, I believe that a representative should have open doors, open ears and be willing to hear and speak to constituents,” he says. Hoar says the top issue in his mind is the opioid crisis — part of the broken health care system, and also one intensely personal to him. “I am, myself, a recovering alcoholic and addict.
Aug 07, 2018
Consolidated Communications Announces Agreement With Employees Unions
45
Consolidated Communications — the company that acquired FairPoint a year ago — has reached a tentative contract agreement with employees’ unions in Northern New England. The CEO of Consolidated Communications says the agreement reflects improved relations between unions and the company. The president of the Communications Workers of America Local 1400, Don Trementozzi, says negotiations were respectful. “We did have a viable conversation back and forth, and they did negotiate, although their initial goals were much different,” he says. Trementozzi says Consolidated Communications initially proposed sweeping layoffs, but the tentative agreement would preserve nearly half of union members’ jobs and offer good exit packages. Union members will vote on the proposal this week. This story was originally published Aug. 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm ET.
Aug 07, 2018
Report: Maine Will Net Just 94 Jobs From 2016 To 2026
63
Maine may have record low unemployment, but a new report says the state will create fewer than 100 jobs by the year 2026. The report by the Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Research and Information is further evidence that the state is in an extended rut in terms of economic growth. Overall, it predicts a net growth of just 94 jobs in Maine between 2016 to 2026. That’s about nine new jobs each year. The report says the state will add jobs in health care and food service fields, but experience an equal loss in office administration and production. The report also predicts significant workforce losses among people who are ages 45-54 — more than 22 percent. And it shows a big jump in people ages 65 and older who will be working by 2026 — but that it will lose residents in nearly every other age demographic. The projections are expected to become a key issue in the upcoming gubernatorial election.
Aug 06, 2018
Worried About Rabies? Good News — The Treatment Is Really Effective
174
Brunswick has been a hotbed of activity for rabies in Maine this summer. Foxes have attacked a half-dozen people in the area. The most recent attacks occurred last week, when three adults and a child were scratched or bitten by a rabid fox. The state of Maine doesn't track the number of people treated for rabies exposure each year, but nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates it's about 30,000 to 60,000. Both the disease and treatment for rabies has changed over the years. First the good news about treatment for rabies exposure: "Thus far, it's been 100 percent effective.” That’s according to Dr. Justin Bennett, the assistant director of the Mid Coast Hospital emergency department in Brunswick, where patients have been showing up with rabies exposures this year. The treatment for rabies entails a number of shots. First, with an antibody that can sometimes take several injections, depending on a patient's size. Next, it's a series of vaccinations. "Four shots,
Aug 03, 2018
Voting Integrity Commission Did Not Find Widespread Voter Fraud
97
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap says his review of documents released from the now-disbanded Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity show the Republican-dominated panel was determined to endorse claims of widespread voter fraud without any supporting evidence.
Aug 03, 2018
House Speaker Calls On Lawmaker To Resign Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations
100
Maine Democratic leaders are calling on Westbrook Representative Dillon Bates to resign, following allegations that he sought inappropriate relations with a student at an all-girls school in Portland where he taught. But Bates says he is staying put. An unnamed former student from the now-closed Maine Girls Academy told The Bollard , a monthly newspaper in Portland, that Bates manipulated her into sexual contact that she was not comfortable with. It was unclear whether the alleged contact took place before or after she graduated or what her age was at the time. House Speaker Sarah Gideon and state Democratic Party leader Phil Bartlett both issued statements calling on Bates to resign. Gideon called the allegations "deeply troubling." Bates, who resigned his post as a drama teacher and coach at the school last fall, did not respond to requests for comment. But his lawyer, Walter McKee, says Bates will serve the rest of his term. "Representative Bates certainly appreciates that Speaker
Aug 03, 2018
Maine Department Of Marine Resources Implements Rules To Avert Gear and Territory Conflicts
194
The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) is imposing a new five-trap limit for lobster trawlers in a restricted area around Mt. Desert Rock — about 6 miles off Frenchboro. Gear conflicts are growing common in the area, as smaller and larger boats compete for access to fertile lobster habitat.
Aug 02, 2018
Judge: State Must Release Over $1 Million In Campaign Funds
164
A Superior Court judge has ruled that the Maine Ethics Commission can distribute public campaign funds to Clean Elections candidates, even without the approval of Gov. Paul LePage, who will likely appeal the decision. The outcome of the case could have broad political ramifications. In his decision, Justice William Stokes focused on the unique nature of the Clean Elections system and how it is funded. The usual state financial procedures, he ruled, do not apply, and the state Ethics Commission has authority over public financing of elections. Maine Citizens for Clean Elections lawyer John Brautigam says it’s a clear win. “This is an order that within three business days the funds have to be released,” says Brautigam. “They cannot any longer be blocked by the administration, and we can get back to an orderly campaign and the will of the voters, you know, will be honored and respected going forward.” The court decision applies specifically to about $1.4 million that the Ethics Commission
Aug 02, 2018
Largest Conservation Effort In Maine History Aims To Save The State’s Coast — And Its Culture
235
Less than one percent of Maine's coastline offers guaranteed public access. It's a near-historic low that the Maine Coast Heritage Trust wants to reverse.
Aug 01, 2018