Maine Things Considered

Monday - Friday 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Weekdays at 5:30 pm 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.



Paper mill devaluation
5:33 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Mill's Steep Devaluation Leaves Madison Residents With No Good Options

A sign on a building at Madison Paper Industries.
Credit Jay Field / MPBN

MADISON, Maine - The adverse business climate facing the paper industry is increasingly putting the finances of Maine's rural mill towns, and the economic fortunes of homeowners, at risk. In towns like Jay, Skowhegan and Madison, local assessors have had to drop the tax valuation of paper mills and raise property tax rates to make up the difference. In Madison last night, local officials held an emergency meeting, where residents voted to allow the town to seek a $2.5 million line of credit to ease the burden of a projected 30 percent tax increase.

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LePage Vacation Policy
4:54 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Rivals Blast LePage Decision to Grant More Vacation Time to Political Appointees

Gov. Paul LePage.
Credit File photo: Mal Leary / MPBN

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. Paul LePage is defending a little-known unilateral decision he made earlier this year to grant more paid vacation time to about 55 of his political appointees. The workers, hired by the executive branch, hold positions ranging from secretary to department commissioner. LePage says the policy is needed to retain good employees who take pay cuts to work in state government. But state workers and other critics say the governor's action smacks of elitism.  


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Scotland independence vote
4:25 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

USM Professor in Scotland to Witness Historic Independence Vote

USM English Professor Nancy Gish.
Credit Courtesy University of Southern Maine

Tomorrow is an historic today for Great Britain, as the Scots vote on whether to become completely independent from the United Kingdom, ending a union that goes back more than 300 years. It's a debate which ought to be of particular interest to Mainers, says University of Southern Maine English Professor Nancy Gish, because as compared to other states, Maine has the highest percentage of inhabitants who claim Scottish ancestry. Gish is a devotee of Scottish literature, and has gone to Scotland to witness events.

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6:04 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Maine Maritime Academy: Not Your Typical Four-Year College

Maine Maritime Academy vessels dot the harbor in Castine.
Credit Courtesy Maine Maritime Academy

CASTINE, Maine - For most students, going back to school typically involves lectures, study halls, lab work - and, if you're enrolled at one particular college in Downeast Maine, jumping into the ocean.

(Splashing sounds) That's the sound of students at Maine Maritime Academy participating in the annual "ship jump," a 40-foot plunge into the ocean from their training ship, The State of Maine. It's a long-standing tradition - particularly for freshmen - that heralds the beginning of the academic year.

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Police recording arrest
5:53 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Maine Couple Sues Portland Police after Arrest for Cell Phone Recording

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Bar Harbor couple arrested in Portland last May after using a cell phone to record a police stop involving several officers. In their lawsuit against Sgt. Benjamin Noyes, Jr., the couple allege that the arrest violated their right to free speech, which includes the right to observe, photograph and record the police performing their work in public.  


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Natural gas expansion
5:49 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Maine Officials Cheer Plans for $3 Billion Natural Gas Expansion

Two of the region's largest energy firms have announced plans to expand natural gas in Maine and New England as a way to eliminate shortages during the winter months. Spectra Energy Corp. and Northeast Utilities will partner for the $3 billion project that is expected begin operation in November 2018.  


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Health insurance figures
5:47 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

U.S. Census: Percentage of Uninsured in Maine on the Rise

Consumer health advocate Jake Grindle, of Western Maine Community Action.
Credit Patty Wight / MPBN

Maine is one of just two states in the nation where the number of people without health insurance increased in 2013. U.S. Census Bureau data released today indicates that, in one year, the percentage the state's uninsured grew from 10.2 percent to 11.2 percent - an addition of 12,000 people. The figures provide a backdrop as the next enrollment period approaches for the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace.

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Endangered species
11:03 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Maine Close on Endangered Species Proposal

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine environmental officials expect to craft legislation to add several new species to the state's threatened and endangered animals list within a month.

State officials are considering adding the little brown bat and northern long-eared bat to the endangered list after white nose syndrome hurt populations. The eastern small-footed bat also faces threatened status.

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UMaine board nomination
5:59 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

UMaine Board Nominee in Spotlight for 'Feminizing Schools' Comments

Susan Dench, who has been nominated to serve on the UMaine board of trustees.
Credit Courtesy Informed Women's Network

AUGUSTA, Maine - At a confirmation hearing next week, state lawmakers are likely to spend time probing the views of one of Gov. Paul LePage's recent appointments to the University of Maine board of trustees. Susan Dench heads the Informed Women's Network, a Falmouth-based group that encourages women to join together and advocate for conservative ideals. Dench is also a former blogger for the Bangor Daily News, and it's a column she wrote on the influence of feminism in schools that's generating controversy.


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Medical marijuana
5:54 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Caribou Doctor Reprimanded Over Dispensing of Medical Marijuana Certificates

ORONO, Maine - A doctor who operated a medical marijuana clinic out of an Orono inn last year has been reprimanded and fined by the Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine. The doctor saw nearly 60 patients over the course of two days to issue medical marijuana certificates, regulators say. State officials say that as Maine's young medical marijuana program evolves, the challenge is to ensure that physicians don't use it solely as a revenue-generating opportunity.  


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