Rural Maine Reporting Project

The Rural Maine Reporting Project is made possible through the generous support of the Betterment Fund.

As a part of its strategic efforts in local journalism, Maine Public presents a year-long series of news reports on Maine Public Radio and digitally that highlight the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of life in today’s rural and western Maine.

Reporting on rural and western Maine is decreasing. Most local media outlets have diminished in size, capacity, and reach, to only cover the higher profile stories from Augusta, Portland, Lewiston and Bangor. This shrinking level of coverage widens the gap in what listeners, viewers, and readers know about their fellow Mainers. And the need to connect with our neighbors and understand people everywhere in our state is entirely evident now, more than ever.

This series will showcase the best that rural Maine has to offer, while also featuring the stories that show how these communities have challenges unique to each.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

Opponents of Central Maine Power’s proposed power line through Maine’s western woods are trying to halt initial construction scheduled to start next month.

Calais Regional Hospital says it has reached a tentative agreement with the Maine State Nurses Union, averting a strike that was promised later this month if the hospital didn’t shift from its stance on two issues.

A week after 37 members of the nurses union at Calais Regional Hospital signed a petition of no-confidence demanding that the hospital’s CEO be terminated, the union has voted to authorize a two-day strike.

Michael Runtz / Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in almost a quarter century, there is new evidence that a wild wolf was in Maine as recently as last summer.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded Central Maine Power a permit for the controversial transmission line the company wants to build through Maine’s western woods.

The 145-mile line would carry hydro-electricity from Canadian dams through western Maine and into the regional power grid, to serve a contract with Massachusetts utilities. The corps permit requires mitigation for wetland and other ecological impacts, and it is one of the last approvals the project needs.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Union officials at Rumford's ND Paper Mill are concerned about a new restructuring plan that they say could lead to hundreds of layoffs.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press file

The Penobscot Nation is celebrating the historic return of 735 acres by the Elliotsville Foundation.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

A new effort to give state voters a say over Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line through Maine’s western woods is now formally launched.

As COVID-19 numbers surge in Maine, a number of employees at Calais Regional Hospital are demanding the termination of hospital CEO Rod Boula.

Jay Field / Maine Public file

The New Balance factory in Skowhegan has been evacuated due to a hazardous materials incident.

Charles Krupa / Associated Press

When public schools in Maine opened this fall, many gave students options for remote learning or hybrid classes, which mix both virtual and in-person instruction. But that’s been a challenge for many teachers, who say meeting the demands of this new system has left them exhausted after only a month of classes.

Brian Bechard / Maine Public file

Larry Lord, the maintenance worker who was severely injured in an explosion at the LEAP building in Farmington last fall, has filed a lawsuit in Franklin County Superior Court against CN Brown and Techno Metal Post.

Michael Dwyer / Associated Press file

For the first time in four decades, marine scientists were unable to find any North Atlantic right whales in the Bay of Fundy this year.

School officials in Skowhegan have chosen a new high school mascot — the River Hawks — after years of controversy over its former name.

The Maine CDC is investigating an outbreak of 13 cases of COVID-19 at a Skowhegan area charter school. Most of the cases are among staff, and the school’s executive director says the situation underscores how quickly — and almost unknowingly — the virus can spread.