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.

The Maine Center for Disease Control is reporting a case of acute hepatitis A in a food service worker at the Birches Resort Restaurant in Rockwood.

U.S. Geological Survey

2020 has been a very dry year. You might have noticed that your garden needs watering more than usual this summer — we've even been hearing of people watering their grass. And that's not something you see a lot of in Maine.

Oxford County Middle School / via Facebook

Oxford County has joined York County in its yellow designation under the Maine Department of Education's COVID-19 color-coded risk system. That means schools are advised to take additional precautions to prevent transmission of the virus.

Fred Bever / Maine Public

After years of fitful efforts to strengthen its status as a year-round recreation destination, rural, western Maine is having a moment.

The police chief of Dover-Foxcroft has been arrested for allegedly attempting to strangle a woman and then threatening her with a gun.

An employee at the ND Paper mill in Rumford with COVID-19 has died.

U.S. Drought Monitor

Almost 60% of Maine is in a "severe drought" stage now.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

Opponents of a 145-mile proposed transmission line through Western Maine are launching a second effort to let voters have a say on the project.

Flickr Creative Commons

On Thursday, the Maine Principals' Association released new COVID-19 prevention guidelines regarding fall sports in Maine high schools.

But some districts cancelled fall sports programs well before they got guidance from the Maine Principals Association. Among them was Deer Isle-Stonington, where Principal Dennis Duquette said boys and girls soccer have been cancelled, but golf and cross country will go forward. Duquette said it is just not possible to maintain social distancing in close contact sports such as soccer.

Courtesy RSU 29

As part of our continuing Deep Dive Coronavirus series, we're looking at how schools are preparing to re-open. To get a better sense of this we're talking this week with two school superintendents in very different parts of the state to understand similar challenges and different approaches as they tackle a complex situation.

Chris Bennett / via The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land says it has permanently protected Maine's Bald Mountain Pond and land around it.

In recent decades, farms have faced difficulties in finding enough people to work. This year, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry decided to try and do something about it with an initiative called FarmingForME, including a social media blitz, an awareness and education campaign and a new jobs web link dedicated to open farming positions.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

One of Maine's truly iconic crops is the wild blueberry. It's been something of a wild ride for the berries over the last decade, with some bumper crops, some not so bumper crops, tariffs, competition and, of course, always the weather.

JONESBORO, Maine - A new national cemetery will be dedicated Saturday in the Down East town of Jonesboro.

GREENVILLE, Maine- Maine State Police investigators say the death of a couple,  discovered at their home in Greenville on Thursday, appears to be the result of a murder-suicide.

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