Matthew Stone

Matthew Stone

Opinion Page Editor

Maine Focus
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services used federal funds in 2015 to pay for services for seniors and residents with disabilities even though federal law restricted the use of those funds to services for children and their families.

After denying it misused millions in welfare funds, Maine changed its spending to follow the law

By Matthew Stone on Sept. 19, 2016, at 6:13 a.m.
“The BDN has their facts wrong,” DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew said in June. Then, her department retroactively changed its spending to line up with the law.
For more than a year, a half-dozen organizations have relied on federal money to provide coaching and care coordination, psychiatric treatment and peer-to-peer mentoring to young adults.  On Aug. 23, those organizations received a letter from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services announcing all funding will cease Sept. 30.

With no explanation, Maine rejects scarce funds for young people with mental illness

By Matthew Stone on Sept. 08, 2016, at 11:02 a.m.
“To refuse these dollars makes no sense, especially because other states are using these dollars and using them well,” said Arabella Perez who previously led one of the organizations involved in the federally funded initiative. “We just don’t understand the decision behind this.”
Research has shown home visits reduce the likelihood of pregnancy complications, infant deaths, family violence and child maltreatment. They also contribute to improved parenting practices and school readiness. But the state hasn't followed through on its commitment to increase access to home visiting and improve collaboration between home visiting agencies.

Maine got millions to help moms and babies, but has little to show for it

By Matthew Stone on Aug. 15, 2016, at 6:18 a.m.
DHHS said it would reach more families and collaborate with other home visiting programs. But competition between the groups has only gotten worse.
Over the last several years, the number of public health nurses has been cut in half.

Maine has sliced the ranks of nurses who prevent outbreaks, help drug-affected babies

By Matthew Stone on Aug. 09, 2016, at 6:28 a.m.
The LePage administration, which has not publicized the cuts, had the money to fill the positions.
Maine Focus
Even as the economy has begun to recover, statewide poverty rates haven’t improved.

How Maine redirected millions meant to help poor families with kids

By Matthew Stone on June 23, 2016, at 6:16 a.m.
Documents obtained by the BDN show the state has spent at least $7.8 million in federal welfare funds in ways that run afoul of the law.

We annotated Gov. Paul LePage’s State of the State — again

By Matthew Stone on Feb. 09, 2016, at 10:13 a.m.
In what’s become an annual tradition, we annotated it.

Making Maine the safest again

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 26, 2016, at 9:06 p.m.
In saying he favors the death penalty for drug traffickers, LePage said he wants Maine to return to being the safest state in America. Census data indeed show that in 2007, Maine had the lowest violent crime rate in the nation, at 118 violent crimes per 100,000 population. In 2014, …

Costly film tax credits

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 26, 2016, at 8:54 p.m.
Gov. LePage spoke of efforts to expand tax incentives for film productions in Maine. What he didn’t mention is that a number of states have evaluated their generous film production tax incentives, and they’ve concluded they’re not worth it. In Massachusetts, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has continued to propose cutting …

LePage on Medicaid

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 26, 2016, at 8:45 p.m.
Gov. LePage revisited some familiar arguments concerning an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. He’s right that the federal government doesn’t fully fund the expansion through 2020. The 100 percent funding for those considered newly eligible (in Maine, that would be about 50,000 adults without children) runs out …

LePage breaks down the Legislature

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 26, 2016, at 8:34 p.m.
Gov. LePage hit a familiar them in describing an uncooperative Legislature. He said there are three types: Those who “go there and work night and day.” He cited his education commissioner, Bill Beardsley, not a legislator, as an example. The second third are those who will negotiate. The last third, …

Two companies are headed for a showdown over your trash

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 16, 2016, at 8:10 a.m.
One facility wants it so it can stay in business. Another wants it so it can get off the ground.

Where your Bangor-area trash could go in 2018

By Matthew Stone on Jan. 16, 2016, at 8:09 a.m.
The Bangor area’s solid waste landscape will change in 2018. And this year, 187 towns and cities in northern and central Maine are deciding where they’ll send their trash. Will they choose to continue sending their solid waste to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington, which incinerates the trash …

Here’s the story of a Syrian who came to Maine to escape war

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 20, 2015, at 7:12 a.m.
“It’s not easy to be uprooted,” he said.
Burundian refugees Audrey Iradukunda, 20, (left) and Chanelle Irakoze, 19, talk with friends in Portland on June 20. Both hope to be doctors. Iradukunda just graduated from Portland High School and Irakoze is working three summer jobs after finishing her first year of college.

How refugees make their way to Maine

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 19, 2015, at 2:32 p.m.
Here’s how they got here.

More on the GOP’s House pickups

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 03, 2015, at 11:17 p.m.
BDN political reporter Chris Cousins has more on the Republicans’ two pickups tonight in the Maine House. Read it here.

No legal marijuana in Ohio, a GOP governor in Kentucky

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 03, 2015, at 11 p.m.
Looking outside of Maine for a moment, here’s a taste of what’s happening with noteworthy contests elsewhere in the country: In Ohio, voters have rejected marijuana legalization. Another measure on the Ohio ballot that could have nullified the legalization — a constitutional amendment barring the creation of other amendments for …

Question 1 owes a lot to Maine cities

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 03, 2015, at 10:47 p.m.
Results on Question 1 ran close for much of the night, but most of the state’s largest population centers approved the ballot measure by some of the largest margins, helping the “yes” camp claim about 55 percent of the vote. Here’s a taste of unofficial Question 1 results in some of …

BDN’s projection: Yes on Question 1

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 03, 2015, at 10:08 p.m.
The BDN has called Question 1 for the “yes” camp with about three-quarters of precincts reporting. Story to follow soon.

Strimling’s victory speech

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 03, 2015, at 10:07 p.m.
WCSH6 will carry a livestream of Portland Mayor-elect Ethan Strimling’s victory speech. NEWS CENTER will stream Ethan Strimling's speech after being elected Portland's new mayor. — WCSH 6 (@WCSH6) November 4, 2015 Story continues below advertisement.

Victory call for mayor-elect

By Matthew Stone on Nov. 03, 2015, at 9:51 p.m.
.@ethan6_2 on phone thanking @mayorbrennan for running a positive campaign. #mepolitics — Paul Merrill (@PaulMerrillWMTW) November 4, 2015 Story continues below advertisement.