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.

Brian Bechard / MPBN

This fall, Maine voters will head to the polls to vote on a new tax that would increase education funding statewide. It’s being proposed as educators and districts across the state continue to wrestle with limited budgets. As they do that, educators are increasingly turning to private money to fund education, and private foundations are now playing a big role in putting money directly in the hands of teachers.

John Drury / Courtesy photo

Editor's note: Since this story was originally published — on Friday, July 29 — Explore.org, in partnership with the National Audubon Society, captured this dramatic slow-motion footage of a bald eagle attacking ospreys on Hog Island, Maine. Watch below, then read our story about what the bald eagles' resurgence means for other bird species.

Call it conservation blowback: Since the 1970s, when the pesticide DDT was banned and the Endangered Species Act took effect, the emblematic American bald eagle’s population has roared back from near-extinction. But more eagles need more food, and for some other struggling bird species — here in Maine and around the country — the eagle’s success story has a menacing side.

PORTLAND, Maine - Portland Police say they've arrested a 28-year-old citizen of Norway in connection with email threats to kill officers using explosives and high powered rifles.  

Portland officers and the FBI took Espen Brungodt into custody today at around 1 p.m. at the Residence Inn in Portland.  

The threats led to the temporary closure of a parking garage near the police station and evacuation of the Cumberland County Courthouse.

Gov. Paul LePage is clarifying his position on state worker layoffs.

Courtesy of the Balduf family

Criticism from Republicans, veterans and their families continues to mount against GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump for his remarks about a Muslim Gold Star mother who appeared at the Democratic convention.

The state’s leading business group has formed a political action committee to oppose a citizen initiative to increase local education funding with a new tax on households earning more than $200,000 a year.

Dana Connors, the president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, says the organization supports strong school funding. And, he says, an educated workforce is key to luring and retaining businesses.

But Connors says Question 2, which adds a 3 percent tax on households earning over $200,000 a year, goes about it the wrong way.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A commission of energy regulators, lawmakers and other stakeholders met today to assess the economic and environmental impacts of the state's ailing biomass industry.

The panel was created earlier this year by the Legislature, which also authorized a controversial $13.5 million, two-year bailout that will benefit a few of the state's six biomass plants and the wood products industry that relies on them.

Looking more like the set of a science fiction movie than a north shore New Brunswick community, the Campbellton-Dalhousie area was invaded by millions of spruce budworm moths over the weekend.

Businesses in both towns were forced to hired vacuum trucks to to clear piles of moths from parking lots and streets after the insects fell to the ground and died.

Forestry officials are hoping the swarms stay out of Maine.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

A year ago this week a Chinese investment company called a news conference to announce big plans to convert a former Auburn shoe factory into a 5-star medical tourism facility.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Workers at the Calais office of the Department of Health and Human Services were told last Friday that the office will be closed and the jobs transferred to the Machias office.

Sen. David Burns, a Republican from Whiting, says he has been told that the move affects more than a dozen workers.

"They are going to close that Calais office down. My understanding is that there will be somebody up there in Calais on a periodic basis, at least once a week," Burns says.

The attorney for Maine Gov. Paul LePage argues that a federal court should deny House Speaker Mark Eves’ appeal of a lawsuit against the governor.

Eves’ lawsuit alleges that the governor acted illegally when he threatened to withhold state funding to a private nonprofit unless the organization fired Eves as its next president.

But in a recent filing with First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, Patrick Strawbridge, the governor’s attorney, says the dispute is inherently political - and should be settled that way.

Ida Mae Astute/ABC News / Flickr/Creative Commons

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump will make his third stop in Maine when he holds a town hall meeting in Portland on Thursday.

The real estate mogul and television personality is continuing to target the Pine Tree State as his campaign attempts to find a favorable path in the Electoral College map. So far, national pundits have predicted a difficult road because his rival Hillary Clinton has shown appeal in voting blocs that traditionally turn out in presidential elections.

The federal government is investing more than $7 million in Maine to help diversify and grow the economy. One of the target areas is the forest industry, in the wake of recent mill closures.

The forest sector will get additional support when a federal inter-agency team deploys to the state later this summer to help develop new economic strategies.

It’s been six months since the residents of Mount Desert Island launched a grassroots initiative to become energy independent in 15 years.

The effort was highlighted in January as part of our ongoing series Beyond 350: Confronting Climate Change. This Sunday residents are getting together again for an update on the project, and they’ve already gotten a clearer picture of how to reach their goal.

Five states have been running a welfare fraud prevention pilot program that supporters say could save taxpayers across the country hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Two members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation say they would like to the system used nationwide.

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