Maine news

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The LePage administration has suffered a major setback in its effort to exclude asylum seekers and certain immigrants from General Assistance. The Maine Attorney General's office has reviewed the request, and after "extensive research," has concluded that it is unconstitutional, represents an unfunded mandate and exceeds statutory authority.

University of Maine

After three years on the job, University of Maine President Paul Ferguson is heading west - to Indiana. The board of trustees at Ball State University selected Ferguson at a meeting this afternoon, bringing to an end what's been described as an "exhaustive" five-month search for a new president.

Ferguson has been the president of the University of Maine since 2011. Before that, he was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a professor of pharmacology and toxicology.

Taffy Field: The Power of Language Hits Home

May 22, 2014

The public debate over language has been getting louder in recent months.

  I returned to the high school English classroom where I teach after a week's leave recently, and my highly-hip, young, male co-teacher hailed me with a hearty, "Hiya, Grandma!" Our students looked up, aghast. I'll let my co-teacher off the hook in a minute, but first, let's focus on the students' shock.

Safe Driving

May 22, 2014

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, experts discuss how to be a better driver, and ask our listeners questions about the rules of the road. Learn about the most dangerous things people do on Maine roads, the rules most people ignore, and ways to drive more safely as we age.

  We've all heard the saying Driving is a privilege, not a right. But everyday some drivers from all walks of life treat their car, and the road, as their own personal space with little regard for the safety of those traveling the same highways and byways. Some just forget the rules of the roadl.

Responding to issues raised in a series of articles recently published in the Portland Press Herald, the head of Maine's National Guard today attempted to set the record straight in an email to soldiers and their families.  Brig. Gen. James Campbell said he would not address the specific allegations in the published reports except for one:  the possible relocation of the 133rd Engineer Battalion from Maine.  Susan Sharon reports.

UMaine System Trustees Fail to Patch Hole in Budget

May 20, 2014

They relied on a patchwork fix of deep cuts, layoffs and savings, but the trustees for the University of Maine System were still unable to develop a plan that will completely close a $36 million-dollar structural gap in next year's $529 million operating budget. Instead, the board voted to use one-time money from reserve accounts to buy the administration a little more time to develop a budget fix that addresses declining enrollments and higher operating costs at the system's seven university campuses.

  A discussion about the just released Maine Food Strategy Report. It details the food choices and buying habits of Mainers, including where they shop, how they define "local" and what influences purchasing decisions. What is the potential for Maine's farmers and fishermen?

Jay Field

Walker School in Liberty made impressive gains over the past year. The school's grade on it's 2014 state report card jumped from a D to a B. Thanks to budget cuts, Walker now shares its principal with another elementary school in the district, Regional School Unit 3. Troy Central School moved from an F to a D this year. According to the state, it's still struggling. But a visit to Troy revealed the same kind of energy and programs in place that eventually allowed Walker School to become more successful.

The latest round of school report cards, released today by the Maine Department of Education, show a majority of schools still struggling to meet the LePage administration's standards for improvement. More than 150 Maine schools received lower grades from the state this year versus last, while nearly 100 schools boosted their scores at least one letter grade.

Overall this year, there were fewer As and Bs and more Ds and Fs, while the majority of schools got a C.

When last year's grades came out, educators across the state railed at Gov. Paul LePage. The governor, they complained, was labeling schools as failing - without offering enough context on the challenges, socio-economic and otherwise, that can get in the way of learning and contribute to low test scores.

Events in Africa

May 15, 2014

An update on some of the recent events in Africa. The latest news on the search for the abducted school girls in Nigeria, the civil war in South Sudan and the crisis in the Central African Republic.

Host Jennifer Rooks speaks with:

Confronting the 'Boogie Man' of Ocean Point

May 14, 2014

Every community in America seems to have its own legends, its own eccentric personalities - the outcasts, the weirdos. Sometimes we integrate these people into our communities. Sometimes, we isolate them. But what happens when the outcast is considered dangerous? Even the well-to-do seaside community of Ocean Point, near Boothbay, has its own boogie man. His name is Bobby Moore. Galen Koch produced this profile for the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland.

Wikimedia Commns

One-hundred-fifty years ago this week, soldiers from Maine were among those taking part in one of the bloodiest clashes of the Civil War: the battle of Spotsylvania Court House. For one Vermont resident, it's an historical event bought to life by a recently-discovered cache of letters written by her great-great-grandfather who was there - and captured an enemy flag before being wounded. Tom Porter has more.

Tasha Wallis says her interest in this historic event began a few months ago when a family gathering took an unexpected turn.

There was a time when the Maine State Police would see thousands of applicants for state trooper openings. These days, they might see a hundred. Those close to the ranks of the state police say pay might be one reason for the change. But they also point to societal factors, and to the stricter screens used to weed out the applicant pool.

Earlier this year, Jon Brown, a trooper from Piscataquis County, told members of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee that he sometimes takes road kill home to feed his family.

Tom Porter / MPBN

A published news report is linking a Maine street gang to the gun that was used last year by one of the Boston Marathon bombers. According to the L.A. Times, the 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol used to kill a Massachusetts Institute of Technology security officer, and seriously wound another officer, was purchased at Cabela's in Scarborough, and passed along to a Portland drug dealer, who is believed to have given it to the alleged bomber.