Maine Things Considered

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

Weekdays at 4 p.m. join host Nora Flaherty and hear Maine’s only daily statewide radio news program. Maine Public Radio'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.

E.R. Gundlach /

It was 20 years ago Tuesday that the tanker Julie N crashed int the bridge connecting Portland and South Portland, spilling 180,000 gallons of oil into the Fore River in the worst oil spill in Maine’s history.

Voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District are likely feeling a sense of deja vu this election season. In a redux of the same race two years ago, former Democratic state lawmaker Emily Cain is challenging former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who beat her in 2014 after winning 45 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

Campaign ads for both candidates seem to be trying to convince voters that neither is who they appear to be.

Courtesy Campobello Whale Rescue / Maine Public/file

The recent death of two right whales in the Gulf of Maine and the discovery of another entangled in fishing gear is bringing renewed attention to the plight of the endangered species.

Last Thursday, a right whale was spotted off Provincetown, Mass., swimming, but entangled in gear. Friday, a dead female whale was seen off Boothbay and towed to shore, where its death was determined to be from stress caused by entanglement. Saturday a dead whale was spotted off Mount Desert Rock, but could not be recovered.

A South Paris man has been found not guilty of reckless conduct in connection with a fatal hayride accident that killed an Oakland teenager in 2014.

Prosecutors tried to show that David Brown was criminally reckless in driving a jeep pulling the hay wagon at a farm in Mechanic Falls. Investigators found that mechanical failure caused the hayride to plunge down an embankment and crash into a tree.

bradlee9119 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Paul LePage last week said he was putting a halt to a $19 million bus rehab contract between Maine and the operators of the Massachusetts “T” because Maine had underbid the project.

But workers at the former Loring Air Force base are still on the job this week, and the state’s adjutant general says he’s hopeful that Maine and the Boston-area transit system can find a way to complete the project.

billy3001 / Flickr/Creative Commons

It’s predicted that tonight’s presidential debate could set a ratings record, with more than 80 million viewers — possibly as many as a 100 million.

That would rival the size of the Super Bowl audience, and would seem like a ripe opportunity for advertisers, including the two campaigns. But you won’t see any ads during the 90-minute event, unless you are watching or interacting online.

Mal Leary / Maine Public

Gov. Paul LePage Monday released the contents of a three-ring binder that he has said backs his claims that most drug traffickers in Maine are black or Hispanic. But the information inside, which was issued in response to Freedom of Access Act requests, doesn’t seem to support those claims.

The binder, or scrapbook, that LePage has been compiling first came to light at one of his town hall meetings in North Berwick last month, as he was talking about Maine’s heroin problem.

Chuck Grimmett / Flickr/Creative Commons

Over the past week, we’ve been reporting on Question 1, the ballot initiative that would establish a framework to distribute, tax and regulate marijuana sales across Maine. Today, in our final installment of “High Stakes,” we head to college, where students could play a critical role in determine whether the new initiative will pass.

bradlee9119 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is putting the brakes on a multimillion-dollar contract to refurbish public transit vehicles for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

In 2014, the Maine Military Authority won a $19 million contract to rehab 32 articulated commuter buses for the Boston-area transit system, known as the MBTA. The goal was to stem job losses at the Loring Development Authority.

Susan Faloon, a spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, says it recently became apparent that the deal was a money-loser for Maine.

The cremated remains of Pvt. Jewett Williams will be interred Saturday at the Hodgdon Cemetery, 151 years after he mustered out of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and 94 years after his death.

It has been a long journey for the Civil War veteran, but his descendants in Aroostook County say they are glad to finally welcome him home.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

One of the big questions raised by the ballot initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Maine is what effect it will have on the state’s medical marijuana program and the mom-and-pop economy it has created.

State wildlife officials say the deaths of three dozen juvenile herring gulls in Portland’s Deering Oaks Park over the past 3 weeks is not a cause for alarm.

Judy Camuso with the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says die-offs like this are relatively common in wild birds, but most of the time occur in places away from the public. She says this type of mortality is typically seen in birds that nest in colonies, such as herring gulls.

Camuso says whatever is affecting the birds travels through the group.

A new report warns that Maine’s economy will need an infusion of new workers, including immigrants, in order to achieve any future growth.

The report issued by the Maine Development Foundation and the Maine State Chamber is blunt. It says Maine faces a projected shortage of workers as more people age and retire.

Patty Wight / MPBN

For some, the debate over whether to legalize recreational marijuana in Maine hangs on concerns related to criminal justice or economics. But for others, the central issue is public health.

Coast Guard News / Flickr/Creative Commons

States that have legalized marijuana are contending with a new criminal tactic — smugglers who grow and process it for export to states where it’s illegal and worth a lot more.