Patty Wight

Patty Wight joined MPBN after working as a freelance radio reporter. She has produced pieces for National Public Radio programs such as All Things Considered and Morning Edition. She produced a 5-part documentary series on Maine’s gubernatorial campaign for Maine Things Considered in 2010. Patty also taught at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, where she first got hooked on radio as a student herself in 2000. After graduating, she immediately sought an internship with MPBN. She’s very happy to return as a reporter.

The problem of opiate addiction in Maine is one that state Rep. Barry Hobbins knows something about. "One of my family members has been struggling with this dreaded addiction of opiates for six years," he says.

So when pharmaceutical company Pfizer — which makes opioids that have abuse-deterrent properties — asked Hobbins to sponsor a bill that would require insurance companies to cover these more expensive drugs at the same level as other opioids, he agreed.

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Transcript

Patty Wright, MPBN

It's being billed as the first-ever public-private sponsorship of a race car. Today Gov. Paul LePage announced that the state of Maine will use Fort Kent NASCAR driver Austin Theriault's car as a billboard for the slogan, "Maine is open for business." The sponsorship cost the state $50,000. Some are celebrating the move, while others question whether it will drive business to the state.

The Portland Public School Department plans to launch an online program this year. The district is trying to get a slice of the virtual school pie as it faces competition for students — and funding. But some educators remain skeptical of yet another online option. Portland officials say it's an important — and innovative — option for students.

The first day of school is a busy one for Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. He rides his bike to district schools to personally welcome students back.

Arsons accounted for more than 150 fires last year in Maine. They killed three people, injured more than a dozen and caused more than $4 million worth of property damage. The state Fire Marshal's Office investigates thousands of fires a year to determine which are crimes, and increasingly relies on arson dogs to help with the investigations.

At 7:00 tonight, five seals will emerge from kennels and flop across a Biddeford beach into the ocean. It will be the final release of rehabilitated seals from the University of New England's Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation Center. UNE announced last month the center would close due to financial constraints and a shift in programming. Those who rescue stranded marine animals say they're scrambling to figure out how to continue helping animals in distress.