Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine - The day started out pretty well for Gov. LePage. He greeted nearly 100 supporters at the State House during an impromptu rally praising his budget priorities and "get tough" approach with legislators.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Welfare reform is front and center at the State House this week, as lawmakers consider several proposals that supporters say are designed to help those who can get off welfare reach that goal.

Seven people have been injured in a chairlift accident at a Maine ski area, though none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

Sugarloaf Mountain Resort spokesman Ethan Austin says four of the injured were taken to a hospital for treatment.

About 200 people were riding the King Pine quad lift Saturday morning when the lift stopped, then went backward. The lift was stopped and evacuated.

The resort says the injured were treated by ski patrol and taken off the mountain to emergency medical responders at the scene.

Jim Bowen / Flickr/CC

  Earlier this month, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage presented his $6.3 billion, two-year budget. Along with some sweeping changes to the tax structure, LePage has proposed eliminating local aid to towns and cities.

Christopher Cousins, statehouse reporter for the Bangor Daily News joined Morning Edition.

Shawn Rutkowski via Flickr CC

Early figures from the Maine Gambling Control Board show slot machine revenue at the state's two casinos remained nearly flat last year when compared to the previous year.

Slot players gambled $459.6 million last year at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, an almost 2 percent decline from the $468.9 million bet in 2013.

Exact year-end figures for Oxford Casino won't be available for a few months, but casino managers have told the state that it will pocket $31.5 million after taxes, just $7,600 more than in 2013 when players gambled $677 million on slots there.

Patrick via Flickr CC

L.L. Bean will soon be making its iconic boots around the clock to try to meet demand this holiday season.

The Maine-based company says some styles are on back order until February. The company is in the process of hiring 100 workers and purchasing new equipment to double its capacity for making the boots' traditional rubber soles.

Sales have grown from fewer than 100,000 a decade ago to about 450,000 this year.

AUGUSTA, Maine - On the Maine Legislature's opening day, partisan lines were drawn in the Republican-led Senate, which rejected a demand from Democrats that would have effectively left the voters of southern Maine's District 25 without a state senator.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage says he wants to promote more nutritious foods for all Mainers, including those who receive benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. 

The discovery of 21 so-called "phantom ballots" in Maine's state Senate District 25 has Democrats crying foul. All 21 ballots were cast in Long Island for Republican Cathleen Manchester. Some Democratic officials are calling on Maine's Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to intervene. But Dunlap says the outcome of the disputed election is up to the Maine Senate.

This story appears courtesy MPBN News.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is defending his support of legislation that could make it easier for private businesses to use eminent domain to seize property for natural gas pipeline expansion. The governor says the legislation is necessary to alleviate what he calls the New England energy crisis. But the governor's two opponents oppose the move.

At issue is federal legislation known as H.R.1900, The Natural Gas Permitting Reform Act, which aims to streamline the permitting process for the development of natural gas pipeline projects.

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.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn-vmO63PhQ&feature=youtu.be

Scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland are trying to better understand how the ecosystem of Casco Bay is changing. This summer, they launched a comprehensive survey of marine life in the bay that will unfold over the next 10 years. MPBN's Jennifer Rooks caught up with some of the researchers.

 

Michael Webber via Flickr CC

Supporters of a referendum to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps in Maine's annual bear hunt began canvassing neighborhoods in Portland over the weekend. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting say they don't oppose hunting in general, just the use of what they consider cruel and inhumane practices. They plan to contact tens of thousands of voters across the state over the next few weeks to make their case. Opponents are also gearing up.  And both sides are feeling confident as the election draws closer.

Via US Department of Defense

Pentagon officials are coming to western Maine this week to gather public input regarding a possible missile defense site in Redington Township.

The Franklin County site - which already operates as a survival training facility for the Navy - is one of four locations being considered in the eastern half of the United States. The others are Camp Ravenna in Ohio, Fort Custer in Michigan and Fort Drum in New York state.

The Department of Public Safety has launched a multipronged effort to beef up enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws and increase public awareness about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel. In Maine, over the last three years, 41 highway deaths have been attributed to distracted driving. And state troopers are seeing widespread violations of distracted driving laws.

When South Portland Mayor Jerry Jalbert announced the 6-1 vote to approve a measure that will block the loading of raw crude, including Canadian tar sands oil, onto tanker ships in the southern Maine city, residents and supporters, who had filled the community center, rose to their feet and gave the City Council a standing ovation.

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.

This summer, we're taking a road tour, looking at some of the museums, attractions, and hidden gems around the state.  Today we travel to Ellsworth, where an historic house stands virtually untouched since its last occupant passed away in the 1920s. 

George Nixon Black left no descendants, but he worked all his life to preserve his family's Woodlawn Estate - the gardens, the home and its top-notch furnishings. Here, you can see a nearly 200-year-old home frozen in time through three generations of an Ellsworth lumber family. 

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.

Emre Kanik via Flickr CC

Say the word "formaldehyde" and you can practically smell it. The pungent preservative is associated with everything from nail polish and hair straightener to embalming fluid and fetal pigs. But it's also an ingredient found in a wide array of household items, such as glue, floor finish, paper and baby care products. 

"The whole point of the Kid Safe Products Act is to give Maine parents the right to know which toxic chemicals or cancer-causing chemicals are in everyday products," says Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center.

Maine Highway Signs Bill Draws Wide Opposition

Apr 2, 2014

Lawmakers in Maine are joining business owners and local officials in speaking out against a bill they say will hurt tourism in towns across the state.

The measure would remove nearly a third of the signs on Maine highways that direct motorists to secondary locations.

Officials with the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority, which support the bill, say the law needs to be changed for Maine's interstates to comply with federal highway sign standards.

The ancient sport of arm-wrestling is enjoying a surge in popularity.

A record number of people from across the Northeast - most, but not all of them, bulky males - turned out over the weekend for the Maine State Arm Wrestling Championships at a sports bar in South Portland.

With nearly 150 pumped-up competitors - some of them world champions, some of them beginners - there was no shortage of adrenalin.

An exhibition of controversial images and objects associated with Uncle Tom's Cabin is on display at Bowdoin College in Brunswick - the town where Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote much of the groundbreaking mid-19th century novel. With its anti-slavery message, the book is often credited as one of the factors that helped bring about the Civil War. The novel also spawned a wealth of spinoff musical shows, stage productions and images portraying African-Americans in what could be considered a racist light.

Maine Considers A State-Run Virtual School

Feb 5, 2014

Lawmakers in Maine have been looking recently at virtual learning. For-profit charter school operators have proposed two virtual learning charters.

But a bill this year would create a state-run online school first, before allowing for-profit charters to set up shop.

Visit MPBN's website to read or hear Jay Field's report.

B.C. Angell via Flickr Creative Commons

Leather shoes and accessories manufacturer Cole Haan is moving its headquarters from Maine to New Hampshire.

Officials said on Friday that the headquarters will relocate from Scarborough, Maine to Greenland, N.H., where its customer service and distribution center is located.

Karen Martin, executive director of the Scarborough Economic Development Corp., tells the Portland Press Herald that about 110 people work at headquarters.

The company didn't disclose when it plans to relocate or how many employees would be affected.

The Vault DFW via Flickr Creative Commons

As the summer winds down, so will demand for lobster and its market price. Maine lobstermen are bemoaning low wholesale prices, but far from shore, say New York City’s Lobster Joint, market price today for a roll is $19…a boiled lobster will cost your $34. Today, the crustaceans are coveted, and symbolic of wealth, class, and extravagant living. Not so long ago, lobster was considered lower than the ocean floor on which it dwells. Here to trace its climb up the social ladder from grub for the poor to high-class delicacy is Daniel Luzer, Web Editor at the Washington Monthly. We found his article, “Low Lobster Got Fancy,” in Pacific Standard.

Meagan Racey, USFWS via flickr

On July 22nd, bulldozers breached the Veazie dam in Eddington, Maine – an 830 foot strip of concrete that had separated the Atlantic Ocean and the Penobscot River for a century.  It was an effort undertaken by an unlikely coalition of conservationists, fishermen, power companies and others, who came together to help restore 1000 miles of endangered Atlantic salmon habitat. Brian Graber is director of the river restoration program at American rivers, one of the partners behind the project.

The Burgess Boys

Apr 8, 2013
via indiebound.com

Shirley Falls, Maine is one of those New England towns with a strong memory of the way things used to be…before the mills closed, before the mall went up across the river…before so many residents moved away. It’s the fictional town left behind by a pair of brothers in The Burgess Boys, a new novel by Elizabeth Strout, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for Olive Kitteridge. The story centers on Jim and Bob Burgess, brothers whose lives are imprinted by a childhood tragedy in very different ways. Both pull up their stakes and secret miseries and move to New York City….and both are pulled back to their hometown by another family crisis. Elizabeth talks to Virginia about the book and it's connection to Maine.

A Sudsy CSA

Oct 25, 2012
David Clow via Flickr Creative Commons

In Maine, consumers can buy dairy products, meat, fish, eggs and organic produce via a growing array of subscription-based, community supported agriculture programs. CSAs encourage customers to pay a farmer or fisherman up front in exchange for weekly shares of, say, shrimp or mixed vegetables. As Jay Field reports, microbrew lovers on the Blue Hill Peninsula will soon be able to buy their beer the same way.

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