Ragnhild Brosvik / Flickr/Creative Commons

By Michael Casey, The Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — The drought conditions that have gripped much of the Northeastern U.S. this summer appear to have a silver lining — fewer ticks.

From Maine to Rhode Island, researchers say they expect tick numbers to be down from previous years especially for the blacklegged ticks, known as deer ticks, which transmit Lyme disease.

It’s too early to say, however, whether fewer ticks could mean a decline in Lyme disease cases.

The Sarah Mildred Long Bridge won’t be reopened to vehicle traffic. A gear failed over the weekend, preventing the bridge from lowering into its proper position.

State Transportation Department spokesman Ted Talbot says the fix is just too expensive.

“Extensive repairs, upward of $1 million worth of repairs, would have been needed to get this back operable,” he says. “And, even then, it wouldn’t be necessarily guaranteed to operate smoothly and efficiently, like we need to have it.”

A view of some of the land donated by Roxanne Quimby to the Federal Government.
C. Schmitt

It appears that philanthropist and entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby is finally getting her wish. Nearly 90,000 acres of land she owns east of Baxter State Park have been transferred to the federal government as of Tuesday morning. Quimby has been hoping to create a national park, and more recently a national monument in Maine’s North Woods, for nearly 20 years.

An adult Puffin on Eastern Egg Rock, with a haul of young  Acadian Redfish in its beak.
Jean Hall

The biggest Atlantic Puffin colony in the Gulf of Maine is having a tough year. Scientists studying puffin on Machias Seal Island say almost 90% of chicks born there this summer have died - and they expect the rest won’t live out the year.

The island - where both the U.S. and Canada claim sovereignty - is home to some 5,500 nesting pairs of puffins, the colorful seabirds which have made a comeback since their near extirpation in the Gulf of Maine a century ago.

In the fourth and final installment of our series of profiles of Muslims who have made Maine their home, we neet Mohammad Khan, a first generation immigrant who has become active in his local community and his university. To read the first, about author and educator Reza Jalali, click here. To read the second, about Lewiston businesswoman Shukri Abasheikh, click here.

Four Maine teachers will receive a presidential award for excellence in teaching science and math to kids in grades K-12.

One of the teachers is Marielle Edgecomb, who teaches math to older kids at Peninsula School in Winter Harbor, a town of 500 in Down East Maine.

Edgecomb says the award will bring some much-appreciated attention.

Gov. Paul LePage has called for taxes on electric cars to help maintain the state’s roads and bridges.

“I know everybody wants more gas taxes, but the gas tax is giving them a bigger free ride. I think the Legislature is going to have to address, how do they share in paying for our roads?” LePage said on his weekly appearance on WVOM.

The governor says he has suggested they could be taxed through the sales or excise tax, and called on the Legislature to address the problem.

Some alert pre-teens who found a loaded gun near a South Portland playground are being credited for averting a dangerous situation.

South Portland patrol sergeant Todd Barlow says three young girls were playing in a local playground Sunday morning when they discovered what they at first thought was a toy.

The grandmother of one of the girl called police, who retrieved the weapon. Later that day, police received a report of a gun that had been stolen from a car in the same area, and they identified it as the same weapon.

Frenchboro island off of MDI

For years, residents of Swans Island and Frenchboro have depended on a mail carrier who not only brought them letters and packages, but other necessities from the mainland, like food and medicine. But as of this spring, that mail carrier’s contract with the postal service ended over a dispute about how he carried the mail with other freight items. Some residents fear the loss of the contract to their longtime carrier now jeopardizes other essential island deliveries and members of Maine’s congressional delegation have gotten involved.

Maine DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew at a State House event on February 26, 2014.
MPBN File Photo

The LePage administration says it's scouring its welfare rolls to ferret out fraud and abuse by immigrants, and to ensure taxpayer money isn't flowing to would-be terrorists.

The number of drug overdose deaths in Maine continued to rise in the first six months of this year.

Records from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner identified 189 drug deaths, up from 126 in the first six months of 2015.

“That increase is largely due to fentanyl, fentanyl analogues as well as heroin,” says Marcella Sorg, a forensic anthropologist at the University of Maine who analyzes death records for the attorney general’s office.

Maine’s agriculture, conservation and forestry commissioner will serve on Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s agricultural advisory committee.

Walt Whitcomb will be one of 64 advisors, many heavy hitters in the farm policy world, and many from large agricultural states.

Whitcomb, who also owns a small dairy and meat farm in Waldo, says his presence on the committee means a voice for small, family farmers. And he says Trump seems open to listening to what he and others have to say.

A federal judge in Texas has sided with Maine Gov. Paul LePage and several other states over their opposition to transgender students’ use of bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.

In May the federal government told public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. But Judge Reed O’Connor is blocking the federal directive, at least for now.

Zach Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine, says O’Connor’s decision is unlikely to affect transgender students in Maine.

One of the bridges that connects Maine and New Hampshire is stuck in the up position and closed to all motor vehicle traffic at least through tomorrow because of a mechanical problem.

New Hampshire Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton says the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which carries the U.S. Route 1 bypass over the Piscataqua River between Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was raised into its default position early this morning to allow for river traffic.

BANGOR, Maine — The federal government has agreed to pay Maine about $413,000 to clean up decades-old hazardous pollution at oil storage facilities.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills alleged two weeks ago in U.S. District Court that Maine faces $10.8 million in total cleanup costs for pollution at former Portland-Bangor Waste Oil Co. sites in Casco and Ellsworth.

The lawsuit claimed the Department of Defense had used the sites, which stored waste in tanks that leaked contaminants like lead into the ground.