Maine Things Considered

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

Weekdays at 4 p.m. 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.

Ida Mae Astute/ABC News / Flickr/Creative Commons

Thursday night, Hillary Clinton accepts the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Much has been said already about the speeches, the Sanders supporters walking out, the musical acts, but not much has been said about climate change — one of the many issues in the 51-page Democratic Party platform. Some say it is the No. 1 priority for the next president of the United States.

Earlier this month at a Democratic delegate committee meeting in Orlando, a proposed amendment to the party platform called Global Climate Leadership was read aloud.

The state ended the budget year with a surplus of about $93 million, but Gov. Paul LePage complains it was all spent as soon as it was counted.

The state surplus is made up of revenues in excess of estimates, unspent balances and unallocated funds carried forward. It totals about $93 million for the budget year that just ended.

At his town meeting in South Paris Wednesday, the governor expressed his frustration that the surplus is now gone.

Friday is the deadline for the Maine Public Utilities Commission to receive bids for a controversial contract to bail out the state’s ailing biomass energy plants.

The contract could tap over $13 million in taxpayer funds to assist an industry that some worry can no longer compete on a level playing field. And the potential beneficiaries of the bailout continue to reward the legislators who backed it.

It's Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly look at Maine politics.

This week, Democratic state Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake, UMaine political science professor Amy Fried and Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, a former Republican lawmaker.

Tom Porter / MPBN file

Maine’s two largest hospitals have received two out of five stars under Medicare’s new rating system for quality.

Shannon Dooling / WBUR

The lineup this week at the Democratic National Convention is a star-studded cast, complete with sitting and former presidents, U.S. senators and lifelong political heavyweights.

While Trevor Doiron of Jay, Maine, isn’t among the most well-known delegates in Philadelphia, he his one of the youngest.

Doiron, 17, seems to know his way around the convention hall arena, navigating with the poise and confidence of a party chairman.

Paul VanDerWerf / Flickr/Creative Commons

It has been a dry summer — parts of York County are in the grips of what weather experts are describing as a severe drought. But, so far, it all pales in comparison to what took place 200 years ago.

MPBN file

It’s been six years since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has inspected the former DeCoster Egg Farm in Turner, one of the largest producers of brown eggs in the United States. It’s a farm with a long legacy of health, safety and labor violations.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Environmental groups in Maine, Canada and around the country are sounding the alarm about a massive pipeline project they say would threaten East Coast fisheries, imperil marine mammals and exacerbate climate change.

In a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the groups warn that TransCanada’s proposed 2,800-mile Energy East pipeline poses a greater threat than its Keystone XL project, rejected by President Barack Obama last year.

Wikimedia Commons

    

Each year, thousands of deer are killed on Connecticut roads and highways. Those collisions can lead to costly insurance claims, injuries, and deaths – which made scientists wonder what would happen to deer, and to us, if an elusive carnivore came back to the northeast: the mountain lion.

Gov. Paul LePage has told his commissioners he wants to cut the number of state workers and reduce overall state spending below current levels to fund a significant income tax cut in next year’s budget package.

A memo that was sent to commissioners earlier this month and obtained by Maine Public Radio reveals that the governor has set three goals for the budget-writing process that is already underway.

An environmental group is taking Maine regulators to the Maine Supreme Court over a three-year spending plan for efficiency measures in the state.

The Conservation Law Foundation says the Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a budget that was lower than state law requires.

Patty Wight / MPBN

In an emergency situation, first responders and doctors are typically the ones to provide immediate, life-saving help. But for survivors and witnesses of an accident or other crisis there can also be emotional trauma. And for 12 years, volunteers in Cumberland County have been stepping in to provide emotional first aid to family members and others who share the ordeal.

Just minutes after Carmen Charlton walked through the door of her Gorham home on March 22, her husband collapsed in their kitchen.

Gov. Paul LePage is proposing a three-year “grandfather” period to allow Maine residents who have installed solar panels to recover some of their upfront investment through a practice called net metering. After that, he wants to end the program. The governor’s new proposal is drawing swift criticism from the solar industry.

Under net metering, residential solar generators can get a credit on their electric bill for excess electricity that they put back into the power grid. Over time, those credits can help cover the cost of the original investment, for, say, solar panels.

Jim Hutchison / Flickr/Creative Commons

National nominating conventions are always a bit chaotic, but Democrats appear to be joining Republicans in ratcheting up the chaos more than usual during the first day of the Democratic convention, which got off to a rocky start in Philadelphia.

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