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Snow adorns tree branches and the State House dome in Augusta in a 2006 file photo.

Naming a state dog, splitting into two states among 1,514 Maine bill proposals

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 15, 2015, at 5:08 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Just a guess, but creating in law an official state sweetener (maple syrup, of course) will probably go easier than naming Maine’s official dog (Labrador retriever?). Among the 1,514 bills proposed by lawmakers this year, there’s an attempt to make maple syrup the state sweetener, courtesy of …
Governor Paul LePage

Public health group slams LePage budget cuts to tobacco program, Maine CDC staffing

By Jackie Farwell on Jan. 15, 2015, at 12:14 p.m.
Health advocates are decrying proposed funding cuts in Gov. Paul LePage’s two-year budget that would “decimate Maine’s public health system,” including programs aimed at reducing smoking and staffing at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. LePage’s budget “drastically” reduces funding for the state’s tobacco program and “all but …
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

With AG’s approval, LePage administration to start drug testing some welfare applicants

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 14, 2015, at 12:24 p.m.
AUGUSTA | After changes were made to protect the state from potential lawsuits, Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is moving forward with a plan to drug test some welfare applicants as a condition of eligibility. The new rule, approved recently by Attorney General Janet Mills, requires applicants convicted of a …

Summit to pay $100,000 fine for drilling through sewer lines in central Maine

By Darren Fishell on Jan. 13, 2015, at 4:15 p.m.
PORTLAND | Summit Natural Gas of Maine has agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to state regulators and change several of its training practices for employees and contractors after it caused damage to sewer mains during installations in the Kennebec Valley. The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved the fine …
Steel pipe used as part of a natural gas pipeline connecting Lincoln Paper and Tissue's mill and Bangor Natural Gas Co. is stacked near Access Road in Lincoln in this February 2014 file photo.

Maine needs increased natural gas supply to keep up with competition, panel says

By Nick McCrea on Jan. 13, 2015, at 1:18 p.m.
BANGOR | If Maine’s largest employers and companies are going to thrive, the state needs to increase its supply of natural gas, according to utility and business officials who attended a Tuesday event focusing on how energy issues are holding back Maine’s economy. The Action Committee of 50 hosted …
A tree loaded on a semi-truck at the Atlantic Landscape Construction company in Ellsworth.

Relocation of large tree from Ellsworth to MDI delayed

By Bill Trotter on Jan. 13, 2015, at 11:44 a.m.
Snow that fell Monday night has resulted in a change of plans for moving a large tree to a waterfront estate on Mount Desert Island, according to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. Transportation workers had been expected to depart at 6 a.m. Tuesday from Atlantic Landscape Construction …
Tim Francis (center), owner of Atlantic Landscaping, works with his crew to move a 20-foot apple tree from a flatbed truck in Northeast Harbor. The process of moving the tree from Ellsworth took 10 hours and snarled traffic in the region for miles.

Planned transport of 16 trees from Ellsworth to MDI evokes memories of 2003 traffic standstill

By Bill Trotter on Jan. 12, 2015, at 12:28 p.m.
This time, there should be no need for publishing apologies in newspapers, according to officials. Motorists in Hancock County, especially those who regularly commute between Ellsworth and Mount Desert Island, could be forgiven for any apprehension they may feel given what happened the last time a large …
This public art installation will be anchored in the Kenduskeag Stream in downtown Bangor this summer as part of an exhibition by artist Anna Hepler of Eastport. The artist is considering changing the design of the floating sculpture.

Artist may consider design changes to proposed Kenduskeag Stream floating sculpture

By Nick McCrea on Jan. 11, 2015, at 7:08 a.m.
BANGOR | Bangor city councilors will decide Monday night whether to provide a new grant to help fund a proposed floating piece of art in the Kenduskeag Stream that has generated some visceral — and vulgar — reactions. “It’s just a proposal, so it’s very likely that the final …
This August 2011 file photo shows heroin and needles obtained by the Maine Department of Public Safety.

‘One try is all it takes': Survivors, family members and drug experts weigh in on Maine heroin problem

By Shelley Wigglesworth, York County Coast Star on Jan. 09, 2015, at 12:51 p.m.
According to the Maine Drug Enforcement Administration, there are two major paths that lead to heroin addiction. One is the user who tries the drug and becomes hooked, and the other is the person who becomes addicted to prescription opiate pain killers as a result of legally prescribed medication for …
Holly Twining (center), twists her body while using the aerial yoga hammock while  Christine Mihan (left) and Terry Lacy stretch at Om Land Yoga in Brewer Tuesday. Om Land Yoga is the only place in Maine to offer aerial yoga on a regular basis.

Om Land Yoga opens studio in Brewer, offers aerial yoga

By Emily Burnham on Jan. 08, 2015, at 6 a.m.
Yoga instructor Christine Mihan says she feels 3 inches taller when she’s completed a session of aerial yoga. “Your spine just decompresses,” said Mihan, who has taught yoga at the Om Land Yoga studios in the Bangor area for three years. “Everything feels longer. It feels amazing. …
Gov. Paul LePage celebrates while taking the stage at his second inaugural in Augusta on Wednesday. Speaker of the House Mark Eves applauds.

LePage outlines vision for smaller government, lower taxes in inaugural address

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 07, 2015, at 1:49 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Tax cuts, welfare reform and continued job creation were among the themes of Gov. Paul LePage’s second inaugural address, delivered Wednesday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center. After taking the oath of office, LePage gave remarks in front of about 3,200 state officials, lawmakers, dignitaries and supporters. …
Gov. Paul LePage

With tax cuts, LePage owes voters fiscal responsibility

By The BDN Editorial Board on Jan. 07, 2015, at 1:07 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage left no doubt Wednesday that his proposal for a new two-year budget, scheduled for Friday, will have major changes in store for the state income tax. “When the budget goes up on Friday,” he said in his inaugural address, “I will give you a hint, we’re going …
Commissioner Mary Mayhew speaks at the opening of the new regional home for state Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor offices in South Portland on Monday afternoon.

Food aid to 249,000 Mainers at risk in DHHS fight with feds over photo IDs

By Mario Moretto on Jan. 06, 2015, at 2:35 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Roughly 249,000 Mainers who receive federal food assistance could see that aid vanish if a dispute between state and federal agencies over a new program that urges recipients to put their photos on their benefit cards is not resolved. Food and Nutrition Service — the U.S. Department …
Fuel price at a gas station in Bangor on Dec. 29, 2014.

Maine gas prices continue drop, but why do stations charge different prices?

By Darren Fishell on Jan. 05, 2015, at 11:41 a.m.
PORTLAND | The average gallon of regular gas in Maine is about $1.18 cheaper than one year ago, dropping about 12 cents in the last week to $2.35 per gallon, compared with a national average that dropped about 8 cents, to $2.19 in the last week. That follows a …
 Volunteer search-and-rescue personnel from across the state brushed up on their skills at the University of Maine in Orono during a two-day convention in this May 2014 file photo.

Lost and negligent: Should Maine charge for search and rescue?

By The BDN Editorial Board on Jan. 04, 2015, at 9:32 a.m.
In early December, Baxter State Park launched a rescue effort when a Canadian man didn’t return from a hike on Mount Katahdin. Because he had violated park policy, the park is passing the cost of the search and rescue — $10,000 — on to the man. This is likely to …
John Martin, D-Eagle Lake, sits at his desk in the State House. He was first elected to the Maine Legislature in 1964.

John Martin ready to resume 50-year career as force in Maine Legislature

By Julia Bayly on Jan. 02, 2015, at 4:23 p.m.
FORT KENT | John Martin’s office at the University of Maine at Fort Kent is crammed with books, files and photographs. On one side table, there is a thick stack of papers listing thousands of pieces of legislation he has sponsored or co-sponsored over his half-century in Maine politics. …
Gov. Paul LePage

Emboldened LePage, return of John Martin portend tense legislative session

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 02, 2015, at 4:11 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Pledges among lawmakers to work with their colleagues from the other party — which swirl around the beginning of legislative sessions in January like snowflakes — are on borrowed time. Tick, tick, tick. The alarm goes off next week. Or is it a time bomb? On Wednesday, …
A new Tradewinds convenience store expected to open this spring on Route 1A in Ellsworth also will house the first Tim Hortons in Hancock County and the first Fuddruckers hamburger restaurant in northern New England.

Ellsworth project to include Tim Hortons, Fuddruckers franchises

By Bill Trotter on Jan. 01, 2015, at 12:59 p.m.
With 31 states and seven international locations already on its list, a Texas-based hamburger restaurant is expected to open its first franchise in northern New England when a local construction project is completed this spring. Fuddruckers, which lays claim to having the “world’s greatest hamburgers,” will be …
Men, women and children brave the water at the Natural Resources Council of Maine's annual Dip and Dash to raise money for climate change issues on Wednesday at the East End Beach in Portland. The event also featured a 5k run.

Dip and Dash participants take plunge into Portland Harbor

By Troy R. Bennett on Dec. 31, 2014, at 3:13 p.m.
Screams, whoops and primal hollers rang out over Portland Harbor on Wednesday as unseasonably-dressed swimmers hoofed it into the sea to raise money for the Natural Resources Council of Maine. The seventh annual Dip and Dash drew nearly 200 participants. Runners capped a 5k road race from …

36,000 Mainers pick Obamacare insurance plans

By Lindsay Tice on Dec. 30, 2014, at 1:50 p.m.
During the first month of open enrollment, more than 36,000 Mainers signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. According to a report released Tuesday by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, 61 percent of those people re-enrolled in a marketplace plan, while 39 percent …
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