A.J. Higgins

Statewide News Reporter

A.J. came to Maine Public Radio in August 2007 after a stint as a staff writer for Blethen Maine Newspapers. His news coverage for the Kennebec Journal in Augusta also appeared in the Waterville Morning Sentinel, the Portland Press Herald and the Maine Sunday Telegram. Prior to joining the Kennebec Journal, A.J. served for 13 years as political editor and State House bureau chief for the Bangor Daily News.

He began working for the BDN in 1972 while still a senior at Bangor High School, when his first job was casting the lead plates for the printing presses in the paper’s stereotype department. In the ensuing 34 years, A.J. moved up to the editorial department, where he quickly immersed himself in nearly every facet of news reporting, editing and photography.

In addition to his extensive coverage in the greater Bangor area, he also worked in the paper’s Presque Isle bureau and was named bureau chief of the paper’s Hancock County operations in Ellsworth in 1988. He was assigned to the State House in 1993.

While A.J.’s reporting on Maine Public Radio has largely centered around coverage of events in Augusta, he has turned his reporting chops to issues and topics taking place across the entire state.

A.J. resides in Manchester with his wife, Diane.

Ways to Connect

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

The blue boats owned by Acadian Seaplants, boats that carry fresh-cut rockweed out of Washington County's Cobscook Bay, are not as numerous as they were three years ago. 

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

For more than 40 years, development proposals in Maine's unorganized townships have been handled in a fairly straightforward way: new construction had to be located within one road mile of a similar existing development, such as a group of cabins for rent or a canoe rental shop.

BDN

County administrators who are concerned over state funding for county jails met with key lawmakers in Augusta on Tuesday, during the first day of the special legislative session.

The LePage administration said Monday that it will fight a state judge's order directing the Governor to file paperwork to expand Medicaid services, despite the fact that Medicaid expansion was approved by Maine voters last year.

Jim Cole / AP Photo

Maine deer hunters scored their highest annual harvest in a decade during last year's hunting season, and state wildlife regulators say those numbers support a proposal to increase the number of any-deer permits.

Mark Latti, spokesperson for the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said Thursday that last year's harvest of about 22,200 deer represented a 15 percent increase over 2016.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

A controversial Republican mayor will keep his job on the Waterville City Council after a recall effort failed by a slim margin during Tuesday's balloting.

Nick Isgro, whose social media taunt of a student who survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, triggered the recall effort, did not respond to a request for comment.

But Julian Payne, a Waterville school board member and Isgro supporter, said the GOP mayor's win by a 91-vote margin is very significant in this heavily Democratic community.

This story was originally published at 11 a.m. Friday, June 9.

We walk on it, we drive on it.  We even sleep on it.  But when it's time to dispose of our old carpeting, tires and mattresses, it all becomes "oversized bulky waste" - or OBW.  OBW is literally the fuel that fires trash-to-energy incinerators, including the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington. 

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

Representatives from city and town governments that are part of the 115-member Municipal Review Committee got a chance Monday afternoon to tour the new $70 million Fiberight biofuel recycling center in Hampden.

Although the facility is still under construction and is expected to begin receiving solid waste shipments early next year, Fiberight CEO Craig Stuart-Paul says nearly all of the plant’s key components should be in place within the next 90 days.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

More than 75 fishermen turned out in Brewer Wednesday for the first of two Maine hearings on proposed changes to the American eel fishery management plan.

Airbnb, a San Franciso-based global travel organization, announced Monday that it has remitted $5.3 million in taxes on behalf of Maine’s host community since its tax agreement with the state went into effect a year ago.

Andrew Kalloch, a public policy manager for Airbnb, said the company’s tax collection program offers a seamless process for individuals and families who share their home to make ends meet while providing a valuable source of revenue to the state.

An advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Mainers said Monday’s Supreme Court court decision favoring a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple actually affirms that states can protect LGBT people from discrimination in the marketplace.

Matt Moonen, executive director for Equality Maine, said the court ruling essentially concluded that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not acted impartially when it originally considered the case.

Addiction treatment agencies with state Department of Health and Human Services contracts are weighing the implications of a new payment policy that some say could result in serving fewer clients amid Maine’s opioid crisis.

Bangor’s Wellspring agency operates a 10-bed detox center in Hampden, and executive director Suzanne Farley says she’s not sure whether her organization can continue operating under the state’s new fee-for-services policy that goes becomes effective July 1.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Alewives, or river herring, are making their usual spawning migration to Maine in unusually high numbers this year, thanks in part to restoration efforts and the removal of dams on the Penobscot and Kennebec Rivers.

Michael C. York / Associated Press/file

A pair of conservation groups says it has struck a deal with commercial fishermen in Greenland and the Faroe Islands to protect thousands of vulnerable Atlantic salmon.

Commercial fishing for Atlantic salmon is prohibited in the United States, where the fish's Gulf of Maine population is listed under the Endangered Species Act. 

Wells Warriors Sports Photos

An advisory panel is recommending that the Wells-Ogunquit Consolidated School District abandon the detailed profile of an Indian head as a mascot for the Wells Warriors sports teams.

James Daly, district superintendent, said the change in school policy will be recommended next month to the district's school committee following Wednesday night's vote by the 25 member mascot advisory panel.

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