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.



5:04 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Portland Kurds Closely Monitoring Clash with Islamic State

Mustafa Rostampour (from left), Reza Jalali and Ghomri Rostampour.
Tom Porter MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine — A small group of Kurdish immigrants in Maine is closely monitoring violence and upheaval happening more than 5,000 miles away.

Fighters from the Kurdish Peshmerga are playing a frontline role in the fight against militants from the armed group Islamic State. Ethnic Kurds can be found mostly in four countries: Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, and it's in Iraq where they have the closest thing to their own country in the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, in northern Iraq.

And it's the KRG that's at the forefront of the war against the Islamic State.

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Arts and Culture
4:47 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

The Telling Room: 'In A Tiny Place'

Annick Umutoniwase

On this last Friday of August we conclude our summer series highlighting the work of young writers in partnership with the Telling Room in Portland. This essay, by Annick Umutoniwase of Casco Bay High School in Portland, was inspired by a memory she had as a small child in Rwanda.

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3:34 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

It's Not Just This Weekend — Summer Traffic on Maine Highways is Getting Worse

Traffic on Interstate 95 in Augusta in June.
Credit Maine Department of Transportation

PORTLAND, Maine — Congestion on Maine's most heavily traveled highways has been in remission for most of the last decade. Blame the biggest declines in driving on the Great Recession. But now, it is beginning to make a comeback on Maine highways. And the ways officials are planning to deal with it are different than in the past.

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3:12 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Skowhegan Among School Districts in Federal Program Offering Free Meals to All Students

Jean Dickey (left) and Iva Godin serve pizza to students at Skowhegan Area High School, where this year the school is providing all student meals, free of charge, as part of a new USDA program designed to fight childhood hunger in the nation's poorest com
Jennifer Mitchell MPBN

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — In Maine this week, tens of thousands of school children are headed back to class. And many of those kids may be getting on the morning bus with an empty stomach. By some estimates, nearly one in four Maine children live in homes where the food supply is uncertain, and educators in some of Maine's poorest communities are looking to a new federal program that offers free lunch and free breakfast to all students, regardless of income.

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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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Formaldehyde Rule
6:01 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Maine Lawmakers Criticize Foot Dragging on Formaldehyde Rule

AUGUSTA, Maine - Lawmakers in both parties are renewing their criticism of the LePage administration's refusal to identify formaldehyde as a harmful chemical under the Kids Safe Products Act.  A proposed rule, dropped by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in April, would require manufacturers to identify the chemical in any products marketed to children. The department says it delayed action to give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency more time to complete a review of the risks proposed by formaldehyde.


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Environmental scorecard
5:58 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Maine Conservation Group Releases Annual 'Grades' for State Lawmakers

AUGUSTA, Maine - Nearly two-thirds of the Maine Legislature received a grade of 75 percent or higher from one of the state's leading conservation advocacy groups. Maine Conservation Voters released its environmental scorecard today, which highlights bipartisan efforts to protect Maine's water quality and invest in clean energy technology. Of the 13 bills cited by the group, lawmakers enacted a dozen, only to lose six to vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage.

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Side Trips
6:01 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Maine Museum Preserves Relics from Golden Age of Public Transport

One of the cars at the Seashore Trolley Museum.
Credit Tom Porter / MPBN

KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine - Now we look back to what many describe as a golden age of public transport in America. I'm talking about an era when trolleys, streetcars, trams and electric cable cars ruled the road. Think Judy Garland in the classic film "Meet Me in St. Louis." As Americans increasingly relocated to cities and towns in  the early 20th century, street trolleys became the dominant way for ordinary Americans to get from A to B - at least until about 75 years ago.  And that, incidentally, is when the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport was established.

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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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Racism concerns
5:56 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Michael Brown Killing Stirs Debate about Racism in Portland

Portland residents, left to right, Howa Mohammed, Hamdi Hassan and Hani Ali.
Credit Susan Sharon / MPBN

Nearly 200 people turned out in Portland Tuesday night to discuss the racial implications of Ferguson, Missouri, in one of the whitest states in the nation:  Maine.  Many say the killing of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer has raised the curtain on institutional racism in the U.S.  And blacks and whites at the meeting say they're committed to rooting it out.


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