Patty Wight

News Producer

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.

Ways to Connect

A Florida-based attorney who advocates on behalf of American workers says the Tennessee-based insurance company Unum, which has about 3,000 workers in Maine, plans to outsource hundreds of jobs. Unum is neither confirming nor denying the claim.

Patty Wight / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - Residents in Freeport and Yarmouth have a new travel option:  The Metro bus is now offering express service between the two communities, and also connects them to Falmouth and Portland. 

At a ribbon cutting ceremony in Freeport this morning, the executive director of Freeport Community Services, Melanie Sachs, said she often hears about the needs of the community.  

"And guess what that number one issue has been for as long as I've been there, which is many, many years? Transportation."

Patty Wight / MPBN

Health advocates are asking grocery store chains Shaw’s and Hannaford to stop carrying food products packaged in containers that contain the hormone-disrupting chemical BPA. They say eliminating it from the linings in canned food would go a long way toward protecting public health.

There’s power in being a part of a large grocery store chain. That’s why Emma Halas O’Connor of the Environmental Health Strategy Center wants Hannaford and Shaw’s to leverage their market power to eliminate BPA from food packaging.

Courtesy Andy Martin

A former pastor from Dresden, Maine, serving time in a Spanish prison after falling prey to an international drug smuggling scam is now free.

Ayumi Horie

Walk down a city street, and any step you take could land you on a spot where something important happened in the past. Not necessarily the stuff of history books, but smaller events in the personal lives of those who walked there before you. In one Portland neighborhood, those moments have been quietly captured and embedded in the sidewalk.

LEWISTON, Maine - The Maine Department of Agriculture says eggs from a facility in Turner pose no immediate threat to human health.

Spokesman John Bott says the department did an immediate assessment following the release of an undercover video Tuesday by the Humane Society of the United States, which showed dead birds in cages with live birds.

"State inspectors are routinely present at the site, constantly monitoring, testing for increased levels of disease pathogens," Bott says, "and, to date, our records indicate there are no abnormal levels."

Humane Society of the United States / Youtube screenshot

The Humane Society of the United States has released an undercover video of what it calls “abusive” practices at the former DeCoster Egg Farm in Turner.

This is not the first time an animal protection organization has made allegations of animal cruelty at the farm, and the Humane Society wants the state to investigate.

The egg farm in Turner, still owned by DeCoster entities, is the largest in New England. Now managed by Hillandale Farms, the facility’s 70 barns currently house about 3 million hens.

Maine’s three largest cities are among others across the U.S. identified in a recent British newspaper for using testing protocols that could hide lead contamination. But water district officials in Portland, Lewiston and Bangor say the newspaper investigation unfairly compares past testing practices to new federal recommendations released just months ago.

Patty Wight / MPBN

Monday will mark the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, the day that more than 160,000 Allied troops invaded the beach in Normandy, France, to fight Nazi Germany. One of the soldiers who landed there was Charles Norman Shay, a Penobscot Indian and medic for the 1st U.S. Infantry Division.

Riverview Psychiatric Center has let go its director of nursing, following the resignation of the hospital’s superintendent and clinical director earlier this year.

But Dan Wathen, the court master who oversees a consent decree that protects the rights of Riverview patients, says the director of nursing was a contract position that was not renewed.

“I would prefer that always the employment situation was stable and happy, but every instability doesn’t mean that the hospital is in serious difficulty,” he says.

Courtesy photo

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug to treat opiate addiction called Probuphine. Its manufacturer calls it a game-changer, because it’s an implant that releases medication over months. But some Maine physicians who treat those with opiate addiction are more skeptical about the drug’s potential promise.

LEWISTON, Maine - Maine is seeing a spike in sexually-transmitted diseases. 

State epidemiologist Dr. Siiri Bennett says when comparing the number of STDs year-to-date to the five year median year-to-date, "syphilis has more than doubled, gonorrhea has more than doubled, and chlamydia is probably about 25 percent higher this year than the median over the last five years." 

Bennett says the spike in Maine mirrors a national trend.  A number of factors are likely the cause, she says, including the fact that many people who have STDs don't show immediate symptoms.

Resuce Underway at Marine Mammals of Maine
Patty Wight/MPBN

If you head to the beach this weekend, and you might come across a razor clam, a crab or two, and maybe even a seal pup. Now’s the time of year when seal moms have babies, and they leave their pups on the beach while searching for food. But sometimes, the moms don’t come back. That’s when staff and volunteers from a new triage center in Harpswell come to the rescue.

The calls about abandoned pups start in April, as a trickle. But come Memorial Day weekend, says Lynda Doughty, the executive director of Marine Mammals of Maine, her triage facility l will kick into high gear.

The smoking rate among American adults is declining, according to a report released this week by the Centers for Disease Control.

In 2015, 15 percent of U.S. adults were smokers, a 2 percent reduction from the previous year. Lance Boucher of the American Lung Association of the Northeast says Maine’s adult smoking rate is also declining, but trends higher than the national average.

“We’ve been stuck in the 19 or 20 percent range for the last couple of years, through 2014 data,” he says.

Maine Governor Paul LePage (R)

Governor Paul LePage has signed onto a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s guidance around bathroom rights for trangender students.