Maine news

Nick Schroeder / Bangor Daily News

The legal organization that represents the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford says Pastor Todd Bell and his family have received death threats. 

The man who started the Church of Safe Injection has died of a possible drug overdose.

via Gerry French

The return to the classroom this fall has been a major focus not only for parents, administrators and teachers, but also for the people who get up very early to deliver kids to and from school every day. As part of Maine Public’s Deep Dive: Coronavirus project, we spoke with one driver in the Belfast district who has spent a lot of time thinking about the challenges of keeping kids healthy, safe and in school:

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

When COVID-19 first hit Maine last March, school buildings quickly shut down - first for two weeks, then for the rest of the school year - as a way to slow the spread of the virus. Learning continued online, but many students faced a lot of challenges, from limited internet access to the loss of school-based services. Now, as the virus continues to spread, the vast majority of schools are still preparing to open their doors once again.

Courtesy South Portland Schools

South Portland Schools Superintendent Ken Kunin, like many educators, got an unexpected lesson last spring in remote teaching, "It's very different when you're standing in front of your class and you can help them navigate their way through a lesson, through material," he says.

Most small businesses in Maine have been struggling due to the pandemic. Governor Mills has announced a $200 million grant program offering financial relief to small businesses and nonprofits, with grant applications due Sept 9th. We'll learn about how small businesses are faring, especially during the summer tourist season, and how they can access relief funds and other aid during these difficult times.

Members of labor organizations are holding a caravan in Portland this morning led by a hearse as they demand stronger pandemic response.

This is a rebroadcast of an earlier show (original air date August 17, 2020); no calls will be taken.

The solvency of Social Security is certain to be a major topic in the upcoming election.  We’ll discuss how and why Social Security was implemented 85 years ago (When FDR signed legislation enacting Social Security, on 8/14/1935, he said, “We have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.”) We’ll learn how the social welfare program is funded, and how the recession/unemployment/the pandemic is impacting current (and future) beneficiaries of the program.

Troy R. Bennett / Bangor Daily News

A Black Lives Matter rally planned for Portland Saturday was canceled, although a number of people turned out for an independent demonstration anyway.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Portland Police Chief Frank Clark and other city leaders are asking those expected to take part in a planned protest Saturday to do so peacefully.

Maine Historical Society

As part of our ongoing coverage of topics related to Maine’s bicentennial, we explore the history of women in Maine. Our state has had a wealth of notable female leaders in diverse fields, from politics to the arts. We discuss some of these women and their legacies, and we look at how movements, such as suffrage, played out in Maine. 

Paul Sancya / AP Images

Maine agriculture officials announced Wednesday that the state has been given a green light by the USDA to continue managing its own fledgling hemp industry beyond an original sunset date of October 31.

Some believe the U.S. Postal Service is under threat. Maine’s Attorney General joined a coalition of states filing suit against the major changes made to the U.S. Postal Service in recent weeks. Customers are feeling the effects of cost-cutting measures: mail is delayed and affecting commerce—recently, dead baby chicks arrived at farms in Maine. Citizens groups are worried that delayed ballots could sow confusion and threaten the integrity of the November election. We’ll discuss the latest news regarding mail-in ballots, delayed deliveries, staffing and funding challenges, and the outlook for this beleaguered government institution.

Loons are a beloved symbol of Maine— Maine has more loons than any other state in the east. We’ll learn about the recent work done by local conservationists to bolster the loon population. They will also discuss ways in which individuals can help with efforts to protect—and appreciate—this iconic species. 

Lewiston Public Schools

After hours of debate Monday night, the Lewiston School Committee has voted to eliminate one of four school resource officers in the district.