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LePage Proposes Creation of New Public Defender System in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine - If you commit a crime in Maine and don't have money to pay for an attorney the state will cover the cost. But unlike many other states, which use public defenders, Maine assigns indigent cases to private practice attorneys and pays them an hourly rate.
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Tom Porter / MPBN

Scientists Battle to Save Maine's Eelgrass from Destructive Invasive Crab

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The ubiquitous, invasive European green crab is blamed for wreaking havoc on Maine's shellfish populations in recent years, and now it's also suspected of having another negative impact on Maine's marine ecosystem: Researchers suspect that the crabs are responsible for a decline in eelgrass, and they're trying to do something about it.
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AUGUSTA, Maine - The state has started its new budget year with July revenues coming in $13.2 million above projections.

Both the income tax and the sales tax are showing strength, says Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen. He says 5 percent growth in sales tax revenue over a year ago is good news.

"Five percent is significant," Rosen says. "When you look back over pre-Great Recession, we are back to indicating real strength from the consumer when we are seeing growth in the 5 percent range."

FARMINGTON, Maine - The University of Maine at Farmington ranks number 14 in Washington Monthly's "Best Bang for the Buck" Northeast college ranking.

Washington Monthly editor Paul Glastris says the ranking of 400 public and private colleges measures graduation rates, graduation performance, and the net cost for students of modest means.

ROCKLAND, Maine - Police in Maine say an intruder has been shot by a home owner during a break-in and is facing burglary charges.

Rockland officers followed a trail of blood to find 45-year-old Christopher Wildhaber early Tuesday. Police say Wildhaber was treated at Maine Medical Center before being taken to the Cumberland County Jail. He is being held for violating probation in Portland.

Sgt. Don Finnegan says Wildhaber will be returned to Rockland to face burglary charges.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Charter schools in Maine are in high demand as the school year gets underway.

The Portland Press Herald reports that fall enrollment figures show that most schools are operating at or near capacity.

The state's second virtual charter, Maine Virtual Academy, launches Tuesday with 296 students logging in, one shy of its 297-student cap. The year-old Maine Connections Academy, the state's first virtual charter school, is at capacity with 396 students and a waiting list of 140.

Conservation groups this week will officially call for the Cashes Ledge Closed Area in the Gulf of Maine to be designated a national monument.

At an event in Boston Wednesday, the Conservation Law Foundation and others will urge the White House to extend protections to the undersea mountain range about 80 miles east of Cape Ann, Massachusetts.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage objects, complaining that such a move would negatively affect many of the state's fishermen.

This has been the Summer of Trump on the campaign trail. Donald Trump has flown high in the polls, with seemingly nothing emerging to slow his rise.

But as heading into September, here are three hurdles the reigning Republican front-runner might have to contend with that run counter to his success so far:

MILLINOCKET, Maine - A 78-year-old hiker from Virginia who went missing in Maine's Baxter State Park says he survived on granola bars, water and his backwoods skills for three days until he was rescued.

John Lyon told the Portland Press Herald from his hospital room Monday that he was scratched and bruised, but still confident during the first two days he was lost in the park.

But on the third day, the veteran outdoorsman says it started to get cold and he began to pray.

BIDDEFORD, Maine — A police chief in Maine says he is sorry the state's attorney general declined to charge a former police officer with sexually abusing a teenager.

The Portland Press Herald reports Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre issued a statement through his attorney Monday in which he also criticized the alleged victim for what he says are baseless charges of misconduct against him and others.

Saying that he wants to emphasize mercy, Pope Francis announced that during the church's upcoming holy year, he will allow all priests to forgive women who have had abortions.

In a letter published Tuesday, Francis said he understands that some people approach abortions with "superficial awareness." But for others, it's a struggle that deserves deep reflection. The pontiff concludes:

FREEPORT, Maine — Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul is returning to the Maine location where his father drew a big crowd in 2012, the year Ron Paul's supporters took over the state convention.

Rand Paul is holding a campaign rally and fundraiser at a restaurant owned by Linda Bean across the street from the family-owned retailer, L.L.Bean, in Freeport, Maine.

In January 2012, his father drew a crowd more than 1,000 people in the dead of winter, underscoring his support before a strong showing in Maine's presidential caucuses.

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