Top Stories

DOT: Maine Falling Behind on Bridge Upkeep

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to maintaining the condition of its bridges.
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A.J. Higgins / MPBN

Opponents Pack Hearing on LePage's Plan to Cut General Assistance

AUGUSTA, Maine - Crowds packed the State House today in opposition to what the LePage administration is touting as a major reform of the system designed to help Maine's poorest residents.
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MAINE CALLING

The Sandwich Generation

How are Americans coping with caring for their kids - and their parents?

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine is making it more difficult to fish for smelts in an effort to help the wriggling fish rebuild populations that have plummeted in the state and elsewhere in New England.

A Maine advisory committee unanimously decided Tuesday the state will enact the new regulations to protect the declining populations of the fish. Smelts are popular in Maine among winter ice fishermen and as a batter fried treat.

PORTLAND, Maine - A federal judge says a former Brunswick, Maine, man will spend nearly 17 years in prison for his role as part of a group that packaged crack cocaine at a Portland hotel.

Judge D. Brock Hornby sentenced 46-year-old Garry Collins to serve 200 months in prison followed by eight years of supervised release on Feb. 26. Collins and a woman were recorded by a surveillance camera in June 2013 as they left the Clarion Hotel in Portland. Police arrested him as he sat in his car hours later.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Dozens of immigrants, business and faith leaders, and advocates lined up in front of a legislative committee Tuesday afternoon to decry the LePage administration's plan to eliminate certain assistance programs, including General Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (or TANF) and State Supplemental Security Income for asylum seekers and other new Mainers.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a Class C felony to use fake receipts or swap UPC codes.

Sponsored by Scarborough state Sen. Amy Volk, the bill is an attempt to address a unique fraud scam that she says is costing Maine businesses millions each year. Volk explained how the crime is committed. 

By Alanna Durkin, The Associated Press
AUGUSTA, Maine -Maine's transportation officials say the state must double the amount of money it spends on bridges to ensure their safety and prevent significant long-term costs.

The Maine Department of Transportation currently dedicates about $70 million a year for bridge replacement and maintenance projects. But a recent report by the department says it needs at least $140 million to slow deterioration and improve Maine's bridges.

Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Several veterans, and representatives of veterans' organizations, joined Gov. Paul LePage today at a State House news conference to support the governor's proposal to exempt military pensions from the state income tax.

Retired Navy Cmdr. David Patch said retired veterans have a lot to offer the state.

"Retired military personnel have pensions that allow them to be more entrepreneurial," Patch said. "Retired military typically have older children that don't have a significant impact on the educational system."

AUGUSTA, Maine - The chancellor of the University of Maine System is calling on lawmakers to support increased funding for its schools in Gov. Paul LePage's budget.

Chancellor James Page addressed a joint session of the Legislature on Tuesday. He says that LePage is proposing the biggest new investment that the system has seen in years. The system would see a 3.6 percent, or $14.2 million, increase over two years.

Page also addressed the system's economic challenges, including a potential $75 million structural gap between now and 2019.

PORTLAND, Maine - The future of Maine smelt fishing is up for a key vote that could restrict the harvesting of the wriggling fish.

A Maine advisory committee was set to decide Tuesday if the state will enact new regulations to protect the declining populations of the fish. Smelts are popular in Maine among winter ice fishermen and as a batter fried treat.

The new rules would divide the state into three smelt management "zones,'' with the strictest rules on the southern coast. The rules would mean no smelt fishing in the southern part of Maine from March 15 to June 30.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin may have a familiar opponent when he runs for re-election next year.

Just four months after her loss to Poliquin, Democrat Emily Cain says she's running again to represent Maine's 2nd District.

Poliquin defeated Cain by roughly 5 percentage points in November.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine lawmaker wants to extinguish a growing trend of local marijuana legalization laws.

A bill submitted by Rep. James Campbell, a Newfield independent, says that petitions seeking to legalize recreational marijuana use in a municipality "may not be approved for inclusion on the ballot or considered at any town meeting.''

Portland and South Portland voters have passed such laws in recent years. Some marijuana legalization activists say the passage of the local laws is a precursor to a statewide 2016 legalization drive.

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