National news

Speaking the morning after the streets of Dallas became a war zone during a sniper attack on police officers, Police Chief David Brown said, "We're hurting."

He continued: "Our profession is hurting. Dallas officers are hurting. We are heartbroken. There are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city. All I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens."

BANGOR, Maine - As millions of Americans embark on holiday travel this weekend, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that road fatalities have surged.

The federal agency says preliminary data show that fatalities were up last year by nearly 8 percent over the the year before, making 2015 the deadliest road year since 2008.

In Maine, the story is similar. Last year, the state experienced 156 fatalities, "and that compared to 131 back in 2014," says Duane Brunell, from the Safety Office of the Maine Department of Transportation.

Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are making another run at getting a gun control measure through the gridlocked U.S. Senate.

On Monday the Senate tried and failed to pass dueling proposals to expand background checks and to bar suspected terrorists from buying firearms. Now the question is whether Senator Collins can rally support to a new proposal.

“Surely the terrorist attacks in San Bernadino and in Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise, a plea for bipartisan action,” Collins says.

In the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on four gun bills this evening. All four are expected to fail amid partisan divisions But Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is working on a fifth bill designed to keep suspected terrorists from obtaining firearms that she hopes will win bipartisan support.

Maine Senator Susan Collins (R), who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, has been successful in getting funding for another DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyer in the defense budget bill. She says a billion dollars was appropriated for the ship last year. This measure would provide the additional $433 million to build the ship.

“If I hadn’t been able to get the funding in the bill, in the appropriations process, than we would have virtually no chance of getting the funding,” Collins says.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The captain of the freighter El Faro that sunk in a hurricane last year refused to take vacation the day before his ill-fated voyage because he wanted to use the time-off to be home for his 25th wedding anniversary.

Head of labor relations for Tote Services Inc., Mick Kondracki, said Wednesday he emailed Michael Davidson about using vacation time on the day before El Faro left port in Jacksonville.

Fighting through tears, he said Davidson, who was from Windham, Maine, was focused on using the time to be home for his anniversary.

BAR HARBOR, Maine - Acadia National Park has become the first national park in the country to sell its entrance passes online.

Acadia spokesman John Kelly says the pilot program allows visitors to purchase annual and seven-day passes in advance at no additional cost. 

"Acadia national park is a little tricky in itself because there isn't any one single entrance that people can go to and get their pass," Kelly says. "So this allows visitors to have their pass no matter where they're going in Acadia, any time day or night."

PORTLAND, Maine - Members of Maine's congressional delegation are reacting to the sudden death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine Sen. Angus King told fellow members of the Senate Armed Services Committee today that the military needs to do more to address the nation's drug crisis.

King said part of the solution is stopping the drugs from coming into the United States in the first place. "The lack of capacity to deal with drug imports, it seems to me, is a real strategic and tactical challenge. We are suffering terribly in my home state of Maine."

WASHINGTON - Federal fisheries regulators have announced proposed rules to combat fraudulent marketing of seafood.   The program seeks to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering U.S. commerce.

By Carolyn Thompson, The Associated Press
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The U.S. Education Department has reminded 13 states - including Maine - that federal funding is still tied to testing students on math and language arts, despite the end of No Child Left Behind.

The department asked states with large numbers of students skipping the tests how they plan to do better.

Seventeen miners at a salt mine in western New York were freed early this morning after they were trapped hundreds of feet underground when the elevator they were in stopped working late Wednesday night.

When your gondola gets stuck in midair at a ski resort with one of the highest vertical drops on the continent, you'd be forgiven for having pangs of fear or even panic. For teenager Kody Lapointe and his dad, it was a chance to take an "insane ride" on a rope suspended from a helicopter — and to videotape the event.

Mary Bonauto

Nov 18, 2015

Speaking in Maine takes us next to Portland and USM for the Frank M. Coffin Lecture on Law and Public Service.

The speaker is Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at GLAD, who has been at the center of the movement toward same-sex marriage in America for more than two decades.

Earlier this year, Bonauto successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the historic case establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide.

For more on Bonauto and the Frank M. Coffin Lecture, click here.

WASHINGTON - In its latest report to Congress, military leaders say sex crimes in the armed forces have gone down. But New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand charged earlier this year that the real numbers are not being reported.