Maine Things Considered

4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

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.

Themba Hadebe / AP Photo

Democratic candidates for the Maine State Senate say that their campaigns have received a boost from former President Barack Obama.

Included in Obama’s first wave of endorsements Wednesday, issued via Twitter, were Louis Luchini of Ellsworth; Linda Sanborn of Gorham and Laura Fortman, of Nobleboro. Two of the candidates say they were completely surprised by the endorsement.

Ida Kinner / Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

A Maine-based scientist is leading an international expedition of some 40 researchers to the top of the world, where they will explore the poorly understood dynamics of Arctic weather in an era of rapid warming. The scientists want to test whether processes now underway might serve to slow global warming, at least a bit.

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

It’s one thing to sanction Russia or other nations for attempting to interfere in democratic elections. But how do you educate the American electorate to recognize misinformation spread on social media? 

Lucia Helder / For Maine Public

In recent years, the ukulele has become increasingly popular for would-be musicians of all ages.

The federal government has approved Maine's request to reinstate a program that has previously lowered individual insurance premiums.

Under the program, consumers with expensive medical conditions will be placed into an invisible high risk pool. Their medical costs will be paid through their premiums, as well as a $4 per month surcharge on all policyholders in the state.

Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa says that in a state like Maine with a small population, a few high claims can raise premiums for everyone.

Flickr

Brunswick-area residents are being warned to steer clear of wild animals acting oddly after six separate fox attacks within the past six weeks.

Several foxes have been confirmed rabid. In the meantime, several state agencies are collaborating on a plan to target raccoons by distributing more than 350,000 baits laced with oral rabies vaccine throughout northern and eastern Maine.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP Photo

Four nursing homes in Maine have received the lowest possible score for staffing levels, according to an analysis of federal data by Kaiser Health News.

Friends of Acadia

For years, Maine has been part of a regional effort to reduce ozone pollution in the air that exacerbates asthma and has been linked to other health problems. Now, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection wants to adopt less stringent standards and move most of Maine out of the Ozone Transport Region.

New numbers on the Maine state budget are out. Officials say revenues were above estimates, and state agencies did not spend all that was appropriated to them, yielding a surplus of nearly $176 million for 2018.

Finance Commissioner Alec Porteous says higher-than-projected revenue from the state’s income tax and sales tax and unspent balances in various state accounts of nearly $17 million resulted in the surplus. Budget law allocates the surplus.

“Mainly, it’s 80 percent to the budget stabilization fund, and 20 percent reserved for tax relief,” says Porteous.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

The Peaks to Portland fundraising swim will go on as scheduled Saturday.

On Thursday about one million gallons of partially-treated sewage from the city's wastewater treatment plant spilled into Casco Bay.

Dave Madore of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection says the primary concern is bacteria in the water.

“The cove itself has a high dilution rate, so with one time behind it, a lot of that is going to move out and away. It may take some time for that to actually move out,” says Madore.

Jim Mone / AP Photo

Solar power faces some financial headwinds these days, but the industry is moving forward in Maine. 

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Teacher strikes in Oklahoma and West Virginia this year have put educators in the political spotlight, and some of that energy appears to have spread to Maine. After years of conflict over school funding and educational mandates, more than a dozen current and former teachers are running for office this fall.

With the same energy that she used to bring to her classroom, Jan Dodge is spending a Tuesday afternoon knocking on doors in her hometown of Belfast.

  

The tick-borne disease anaplasmosis continues to be a concern after a spike in the disease last year, says state epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett.

Bennett says nearly 300 cases have been reported so far this year, which is on pace with last year’s total of 663. Anaplasmosis appears to be spreading across Maine the same way Lyme disease did a decade ago.

"As anaplasmosis spreads through the tick population, we're going to see the increase in anaplasmosis cases, and so we're going to be more likely to see coinfection."

Flickr

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has filed suit against the commissioner of the Maine Department of Corrections and the acting Aroostook County Sheriff for denying medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to a prisoner with opioid use disorder.

The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of Zachary Smith of Caribou, who has been in recovery for more than five years.

Steve Cookson / AP - File Photo

Central Maine Power's proposal to bring a massive amount of electricity from Canada through western Maine to Massachusetts will lower electricity costs throughout the region, and ease winter-time price spikes as well; at least, that's the pitch Massachusetts officials are making to regulators there.

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