Maine Things Considered

4 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Monday - Friday

Weekdays at 4 p.m. hear Maine’s only daily statewide radio news program. MPBN's award-winning news staff brings you the latest news from across Maine and the region, as well as in-depth reports on the most important issues.

There's an outbreak of hepatitis C in the state, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control.

Both acute and chronic cases of the liver infection have surged to an all-time high due in large part to the increase in heroin use.

Health advocates say reducing hepatitis C will take more treatment and prevention programs, as well as more empathy for those affected by the disease.

Hepatitis C is the most common chronic blood-borne infection in the U.S., but it can take years for symptoms — such as nausea, fatigue, and dark colored urine — to surface.

He was known as the "bee man" and the "buccaneer of buzz." But Burt Shavitz, who died over the weekend in Bangor at the age of 80, is most famous for being the face of Burt's Bees, the natural personal care products line he co-founded with Roxanne Quimby back in the 1980s in the back of a pickup truck in Guilford, Maine.

Tom Porter / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine — Low-wage workers and their advocates are converging on City Hall Monday night to urge the City Council to approve a near 35 percent increase in the local minimum wage — a proposal that some in the business community describe as unworkable.

The current statewide minimum wage is $7.50 an hour — the same level it has been for more than five years.

Workers' rights groups say it's not enough, especially for those trying to make a living in Portland.

AUGUSTA, Maine - One of the most controversial budget cuts proposed by the LePage administration this year would have eliminated MaineCare funding for methadone treatment in federally-regulated clinics. Instead, the state suggested that about 4,000 methadone patients be redirected to office-based treatment with the alternative drug Suboxone.

The idea was widely panned by substance abuse treatment providers, and lawmakers have opted to preserve the status quo - but to also look for ways to improve treatment.

It's Thursday, and that means it's time once again to check in on Maine Politics with our "Across the Aisle" regulars: Cynthia Dill, an attorney with the Portland firm of Troubh Heisler and a former Democratic State senator, former Republican lawmaker Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, and Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in the Maine Senate as an independent. They spoke with Keith Shortall about the newly-launched investigation into the facts behind allegations that Gov. Paul LePage abused his power to punish a political adversary.

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