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.

Linda Coan O'Kresik / Bangor Daily News

State officials said Thursday they had suspended the license for the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, the site of an Aug. 7 wedding and reception now linked to an outbreak of 87 cases of COVID-19 in Maine.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

When a Maine lobsterman spoke to support President Donald Trump’s re-nomination at Tuesday’s Republican National Convention, it capped a monthslong courtship of the industry by the president.

Updated at 4:06 p.m. ET

Sixth-grader Charlie Pierce says the hardest part of going back to school wasn't the masks or the temperature checks. It was not being able to hug the friends she hadn't seen in months.

"My friends kind of really wanted to hug me," Charlie says.

"We had talked about keeping our distance," her mom, Ami Pierce, adds, "because we are huggers by nature."

A patient with COVID-19 linked to the outbreak at a wedding in the Millinocket area has died.

Nearly half of the 65 people who attended an early August wedding in the Millinocket area have tested positive for COVID-19.

David J. Phillip / AP Images

One person linked to the COVID-19 outbreak at a Millinocket-area wedding has been admitted to Millinocket Regional Hospital.

Maine Public file

The Maine Center for Disease Control is trying to pinpoint the origins of an outbreak of COVID-19 associated with a Millinocket-area wedding.

Rick Bowmer / Associated Press file

There was a time when the daily routine of a school nurse involved dispensing medications, disinfecting scrapes and cuts and calling parents to come and pick up a sick child.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

While most schools in Maine are still putting the finishing touches on reopening plans for September, a few communities in northern Maine that have to schedule a break for the potato harvest have already reopened this week.

Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN File

Puritan Medical Products in Guilford is receiving $51 million in federal funding from the CARES Act to boost production of swabs used for COVID-19 testing.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Images

In a devastating blow to opponents of Central Maine Power's controversial powerline proposal, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled Thursday that a ballot initiative designed to scuttle the $1 billion project is unconstitutional. The ruling all but ensures that the referendum will not appear on the November ballot, leaving the project's many detractors to continue the fight on the permitting and legislative front.

Gabor Degre / BDN File

A proposed mining project in Northern Penobscot County has cleared its first steps with the state's Land Use Planning Commission.

Lisa Dulac

With about a month until the school year begins in most of Maine, districts across the state are planning to reopen their classrooms, at least partially. But with COVID-19 still spreading, many parents are opting to keep their kids home or to withdraw them from public schools entirely.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

As schools in Maine make plans for how to safely return students to the classroom amid the coronavirus pandemic, some are thinking outside the box — literally.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP File

The Maine Center for Disease Control is investigating a second outbreak of COVID-19 within Maine's wild blueberry industry.