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Every weekday for more than three decades, NPR's Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the country. Irwin Gratz and the Maine Public Radio News team bring you regional updates throughout the morning.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Four years ago, Maine voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana. Yet, there are still no marijuana retailers in the state. The industry's roll-out since since 2016 has been impeded by a number of legislative and regulatory twists and turns, including a gubernatorial veto.  But few, if any, in this emerging sector anticipated the latest obstacle.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

Following months of record low unemployment, the country is now facing unprecedented jobless numbers. It's part of the economic fallout from COVID-19. It's been a rough year for college seniors who, until a couple of months ago, were on track to enter a swift job market.

Colby College in Waterville is taking the rather sizable task of finding each of its graduates a job. Maine Public's Jennifer Mitchell talked about this with Colby College President David Greene. 

School buildings in Maine are closed through at the least the end of the academic year, classes have moved online and families are trying to teach their kids at home — with mixed results. What happens over the summer and even into next fall is also still in question.

State and local governments have been front and center in the U.S. as we face the coronavirus pandemic. That is especially true because of inconsistent messaging from the Trump administration, and the fact that the federal government has not met states' needs for testing and medical equipment. So how has Maine responded since our first case of COVID-19, which was nearly two months ago?

The coronavirus has changed all of our lives, and this month Maine Public is looking at some of the big emerging issues here, including the state’s public health response to the virus, its impact on the economy and education during social distancing.

For more than a month, Maine has confronted the coronavirus, which is affecting all Maine people. Mainers living through this coronavirus economic slowdown are getting a glimpse of what happened in the Great Depression. Unemployment is soaring. Many are having trouble paying bills. Food pantries are seeing spikes in visits.

Wild Oats Bakery and Cafe

Restaurants were some of the first businesses closed due to COVID-19, and the timing couldn't have been worse for Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe in Brunswick. The cafe was in the middle of a building project and trying to move to a new location when the town issued its stay-at-home order.

COVID-19 forced an early end to the annual town meetings held in many smaller communities around Maine. That has complicated life for municipal officials. Kate Dufour is director of the State and Federal Relations Department at the Maine Municipal Association. Dufour tells Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz that the association has been talking with Mills administration officials about these issues, including when cities and towns collect property taxes.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

After more than two decades as a Maine Supreme Court justice, Leigh Saufley is embarking on a new phase of her legal career as the dean of the University of Maine School of Law. Saufley rose to the top of a national search to head the law school that's fought in recent years to maintain healthy enrollment and finances. Saufley spoke with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz about where the law school will be headed under her leadership, and what she got from serving as the state's top jurist for almost 20 years.

Zoe Sahloul and other members of the New England Arab American Organization are helping Muslims in Maine get the supplies they need to observe Ramadan.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

It will likely be at least a week before Mainers who do freelance work, or have already used all their unemployment for the year, will be able to access the new federally-funded unemployment benefits.

Courtesy Amanda Hutter

Families across Maine are facing a brand new challenge right now, with thousands of children being educated at home. And it's especially challenging for families of children with disabilities.

Courtesy Andrew Volk

The Paycheck Protection Program loans overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration are some of the first federal financial efforts aimed at easing the economic burden placed on people by the current pandemic. But some small business owners say the rollout and the loan itself don't quite benefit people as intended. Andrew Volk owns the restaurant, Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. Volk discussed his experience with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Bath Iron Works' President Dirk Lesko says the shipyard will remain open unless the Navy or Defense Department instructs it to close.

Covering big stories is always a challenge for journalists, but covering the COVID-19 outbreak presents an additional obstacle. That's because news organizations, as creatures of the economy, are suffering financially as business has slowed to a crawl. It's a challenge facing Lisa DeSisto, the chief executive of Masthead Maine, which publishes the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Sunday Telegram, the Sun Journal, and other daily and weekly newspapers around Maine. DeSisto spoke recently with Maine Public's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.