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.


5:18 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Portland Public Schools Planning Online Program

The exterior of Portland High School in December 2012.
Tom Porter MPBN

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.

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Birding enthusiast
6:03 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Hooked on Birds: 90-Year-Old Mainer Bands Birds for Scientific Research

June Ficker untangles a cardinal from a net.
Credit Patty Wight / MPBN

WELLS, Maine - Much like the tourists who flock to the state's beaches, forests, and mountains, birds from all over the world inhabit the same special places. And 90-year-old June Ficker eagerly anticipates their arrival. For 25 years, she's been banding birds at the Wells Research Reserve and collecting data for national research projects.

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Marijuana vote
5:59 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Third Maine Community to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana for Recreation

YORK, Maine - As of today, the town of York will put marijuana legalization on the ballot this November. The Marijuana Policy Project submitted more than 900 signatures to town officials this afternoon, more than enough needed to qualify for a citizen initiative. It's the third municipality in Maine to send the issue to voters, which is a growing concern for opponents.


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Mosquito-borne viruses
5:40 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Maine Lab Tracks Progress of Dangerous Mosquito-Borne Viruses

A female mosquito.
Credit Joaquim Alves Gaspar / Wikimedia Commons

SCARBOROUGH, Maine - Lurking in Maine's forests, swamps and even backyards are potentially serious diseases. Deer ticks are a source of at least five diseases in the state. Mosquitoes are the source for two others: West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. Their incidence in humans is rare in Maine, but researchers at Maine Medical Center's Vector-borne Disease Lab know they infect animals around us. As Patty Wight reports in the second part of her two-part series, their job is to find out why, and to detect when the viruses emerge in humans.

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Tick-Borne Diseases
5:47 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Ticked Off: Maine Lab Tracks Growing Impact of Disease-Carrying Pests

A deer tick.
Credit File photo / MPBN

SCARBOROUGH, Maine - Twenty-five years ago, a critter about the size of a poppy seed grabbed the attention of a few researchers at Maine Medical Center. It was the deer tick - a tiny creature that carries a potentially devastating illness: Lyme disease. The researchers formed the Vector-borne Disease Lab to learn more about where deer ticks occur in Maine and about how they spread disease. A quarter of a century later, the lab is as busy as ever. Patty Wight has the first of two stories on the work being done there.

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James Foley
5:33 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Executed New Hampshire Journalist was Steadfast in Face of Danger

James Foley in Aleppo, Syria in September of 2012.
Credit Photo:Manu Brabo /

ROCHESTER, New Hampshire - A New Hampshire photojournalist who was abducted by Islamic militants in Syria has been killed by his captors. James Foley disappeared two years ago while on assignment in Syria for the GlobalPost. Little information about him has surfaced since. On Tuesday, a video released by the Islamic State showed Foley being executed. Patty Wight has more on who James Foley was, and what happened to him.


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Police militarization
5:47 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Are Police Becoming too Militarized? Maine ACLU Raises Concerns

PORTLAND, Maine - War-zone-like images of Ferguson, Missouri - where unarmed black teen Michael Brown was recently shot to death by a white police officer - are raising questions about the militarization of police. As violent protests have erupted, police armed in tactical gear have deployed military style vehicles and weapons to disperse crowds. Police departments across the country, including here in Maine, have obtained excess military vehicles since the 1990s. Now, some members of Congress are calling for an end to the practice.

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Side Trips
4:18 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Side Trips: The Desert of Maine

Fiberglass camels mark the entrance to the Desert of Maine.
Credit Patty Wight / MPBN

FREEPORT, Maine - It was in the late 1800's that a small patch of sand - about the size of a tea cup saucer - appeared on a Freeport farm field. Within a year, that patch of sand had spread to cover 300 acres. The Desert of Maine was born, and ever since visitors have come to see this barren ecological anomaly in the most forested state in the nation.

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4:39 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

LePage Meets with Legislature to Discuss Riverview, Alexander Report

For the first time since January, Gov. LePage met with the top leaders of the Legislature. In a closed door meeting he told them he won't seek a full refund from the consultant who produced a plagiarized report on Maine's Medicaid system. The meeting was described as businesslike — with some heat.

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5:06 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Virtual Doctor Visits Considered Major Step Forward for Maine Patients

Anthem's Rory Sheehan demonstrates a video doc visit.
Patty Wight MPBN

Seeing the doctor is now only a few clicks away, thanks to new apps that allow you to do virtual visits on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced today that it's covering video visits for most of its Maine members when they use the Internet tool LiveHealth Online. Many see the development as a major step forward in convenience and access to health care.

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