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.

Gregory Bull / Associated Press file

Enrollment in Maine’s public schools fell by about 4% this fall, leaving many districts worried about how that could affect their state funding levels. Initial projections released from the state this week have eased some of those concerns, but local officials say they’ll still be forced to make some tough budget decisions in the months ahead.

Androscoggin, Oxford and York counties remain a cautionary yellow in the Mills administration’s color-coded health advisory system. They are now joined in that status by Franklin County.

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Groups working to prevent domestic violence in Maine hope that the recent murder-suicide of a couple in the Franklin County town of New Sharon — and two other similar killings that happened in the couple’s family over the last 11 years — will serve as a reminder for residents to look out for signs of abusive behavior, particularly amid a pandemic that has only made it harder for victims to seek help. 

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Since the pandemic began, and job losses have continued to mount, the numbers of those dealing with food insecurity in Maine has risen by 25 percent—and Maine has the highest rate of hunger in New England. We discuss the repercussions of food insecurity, and ways that people are helping to supply food to those who need it, all across the state.   

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

Maine has always been one place with a reliable snowpack, something that’s given rise to four-season tourism and a brisk winter sports scene. But this year, temperatures at both ends of the state are running about nine degrees above normal, and the state has received a lot less snow than it normally has.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

While Maine winters are legendary for their severity, so far, this one has so far been relatively mild.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

President Joe Biden has issued an executive order intended to provide more aid to families experiencing food insecurity, or hunger, during the pandemic.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

Opponents of Central Maine Power’s proposed transmission line through the state’s western woods delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures to the secretary of state on Thursday, in their second bid to give voters a say on the project’s fate.

Jimmy Emerson / Flickr/Creative Commons

Maine is a geographically large state with a widely dispersed population. It’s a challenging place to cover comprehensively.

"Say NO to 145-mile CMP transmission line through Maine" via Facebook

Central Maine Power was planning to start clearing a path through Maine’s western woods for its controversial power line project on Friday, but a federal appeals court put that to a stop with a temporary injunction.

Susan Sharon / Maine Public

An administrative officer has ruled that the state was correct in denying licenses to Sunday River Brewing Co. over continued concerns about its compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

Rebecca Conley / Maine Public

The new coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on several industries around Maine in the past year. But there is at least one company that has stepped up to answer the call for needed products. And as a result, it has won a Best in Business Award from Inc. Magazine.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st District says part of the $900 billion pandemic relief package only begins to address the growing problem of hunger in America.

Pingree says the legislation provides the unemployed help in buying food, but doesn’t solve the larger need.

“It’s a huge issue, the level of hunger and how much it has increased in the pandemic and it certainly is not going away anytime soon. There is an increase in SNAP benefits,” she says.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Maine loggers are cheering the inclusion of $200 million for the industry in the new COVID-19 relief package Congress passed Monday night.

Lincoln Hospital Emerges From Bankruptcy

Dec 18, 2020

Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln says it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and is now much more financially viable.

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