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LePage Administration's Plan to Expand Gambling Meets Legislative Resistance

AUGUSTA, Maine - The state Lottery Commission has plans to allow the lottery-style game "Keno" in as many as 150 locations around Maine.
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Tom Porter / MPBN

Portland Officials Defend Handling of General Assistance Funds

PORTLAND, Maine - Elected officials and homeless advocates held a news conference in Portland this morning to defend the city's administration of General Assistance funds.
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Climate Change Solutions

What can citizens do to combat climate change?

AUGUSTA, Maine - Conservationists in Maine are expressing concern about a LePage administration proposal to move oversight of public lands from the Conservation Department to the Maine Forest Service.

Gov. Paul LePage has included the plan in his two-year budget proposal. He also wants to refocus the mission of Maine's forest rangers toward forest health rather than law enforcement.

Rep. Craig Hickman, the House chair of the Legislature's Forestry Committee, says he's never been comfortable with the ongoing merger between the state agriculture and forestry departments.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Rep. Joel Stetkis says Maine's criminal law dealing with certain knives is preventing the use of many tools that are useful for sportsmen and those in the trades.

At a hearing on the measure, Stetkis held up a knife he had purchased at a local hardware store that he says is illegal under current law.

"When I push the button on the handle, just like the law says, when I do this, it opens," Stetkis said. "It's illegal in the state of Maine under that law."

AUGUSTA, Maine - Advocates and health care providers say Gov. Paul LePage's plan to divert money from a fund that supports community anti-smoking programs is the wrong approach.

LePage wants to take $20 million a year from the Fund for a Healthy Maine, which is made up of tobacco settlement dollars, to maintain higher Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care physicians. The proposal is part of his $6.3 billion budget proposal.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Members of the Legislature's Education Committee have voted unanimously to recommend an emergency bill to give local school districts another option in making up lost time - a longer school day.

"The emergency measure is because of this winter," says Rep. Victoria Kornfield, a Bangor Democrat. "I mean, if anybody needs to use it, it's going to be for this winter. And I think it passed because it is permissive."

HOULTON, Maine - Police in Maine are investigating the discovery of a man's body inside a home in Houlton that they say is "suspicious.''

Police say they are working to confirm the man's identity; the body was found late Sunday night.

State and Houlton police are both investigating the man's death. Police say they received a report about a mile away on the same street of a pickup truck that had gone off the road into a snowbank. They say the truck is registered to the man who lives in the home where the body was found.

BANGOR, Maine — The ex-girlfriend of a Maine man accused of using Facebook to lure a teenager to her death says he confessed he committed the killing.

Twenty-one-year-old Kyle Dube, of Orono, is accused of using a phony Facebook account to kidnap 15-year-old Nichole Cable, of Glenburn, and kill her in May 2013.

WZON-AM reports that Dube's ex-girlfriend Sarah Mersinger testified Monday that he told her he killed Nichole. Mersinger says Dube covered up Nichole's body with leaves and sticks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that while the U.S. and Israel agree that Iran should not get nuclear weapons, they disagree about how to stop the Islamic republic. But, he tells the 2015 American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference in Washington, reports of a decline in U.S.-Israeli relations are "not only premature, they're just wrong."

Netanyahu says his planned speech to Congress on Tuesday is not intended to be a slight to President Obama. "I have great respect for both" Obama and the office that he holds," he says.

PORTLAND, Maine - Gas prices have gone up 9.1 cents a gallon in the last week in Maine.

Gasoline price-monitoring website GasBuddycom reports Monday that the average cost of a gallon of gas in Maine is up to $2.40, nearly 30 cents per gallon higher than in the past month, but still nearly $1.18 lower per gallon than at this time last year.

The price per gallon in Maine is 2 cents below the national average.

The Maine price is based on a survey of more than 1,200 gas stations.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Board of Environmental Protection is scheduled to meet this week to consider an appeal of the Bingham Wind Project by the anti-wind group Friends of Maine's Mountains.

The group alleges that Blue Sky West, the company proposing to build the 56-turbine commercial wind farm, has not met required state standards for proving financial capacity or decommissioning plans. Their appeal also criticizes the Department of Environmental Protection for not properly evaluating the scenic impact of the wind farm or its impact on wildlife.

It's Financial Aid Week here at the NPR Ed Team (not really, but it sure feels like it). And we're kicking things off with a nostalgia nugget for all you children of the '80s.

The old G.I. Joe animated series famously ended with the phrase, "Now I know! And knowing is half the battle."

It's a catchy line and, it turns out, eerily relevant when it comes to high school seniors debating their college options.