• Future of License-free Saltwater Fishing Up in the Air

    AUGUSTA — The fate of license-free saltwater fishing in Maine will likely be determined by one of two bills competing for passage in the Legislature. The purpose of either bill would be to conform with new federal requirements that states collect information about who is fishing in salt water and what they are fishing for.

  • Public Input Called for on Expansion of State’s Laptop Program

    AUGUSTA — The proposed expansion of the state’s laptop computer program into the high school grades deserves to be scrutinized by the public, some lawmakers contend. The expansion would provide an Apple MacBook computer to every high school student and teacher in Maine’s public schools. Baldacci and Education Commissioner Susan Gendron propose rerouting technology money

  • Bills Would Delay Penalties for Rejecting School Consolidation

    AUGUSTA — A move to soften penalties against towns that have rejected school consolidation may be afoot in the form of two bills that have been set aside for more consideration by the Legislature’s Education Committee. Of the 17 bills heard by the committee recently that have to do with school consolidation, four escaped without

  • Mobilize Maine Initiative Hopes to Fuel Job Growth

    AUGUSTA — Governor John Baldacci and officials from FairPoint Communications joined economic development experts Monday to unveil a new tool to assist with bringing new jobs to Maine. With the launch of the Mobilize Maine Initiative, FairPoint will commission economic consulting firm VITAL Economy Inc. to create and maintain for five years computer modeling software.

  • Officials Push for Self-sustaining Dirigo Health Program

    AUGUSTA — The Dirigo Health insurance program, which is running about $15 million in the red on any given day, has until the end of December to prove that it can float without constant loans from the state’s cash pool. Trish Riley, director of Governor John Baldacci’s office of Health Policy and Finance, one of

  • State Economic Forecast Not a Bright One

    AUGUSTA — Maine is about halfway through the economic recession but is not expected to sink quite as low as the national average, according to new predictions about the state’s economic future. Still, the economic situation in Maine will deteriorate until the summer or fall of 2010, according to the latest estimates by the Consensus

  • Level of Opposition Debatable on New Tax Reform Effort

    AUGUSTA — Legislative backers of a new tax reform effort say they’ve heard limited opposition to their proposal, despite the fact that the bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday. But those who do oppose the measure — including Republicans and various business groups whose customers would be affected — are protesting just

  • Scarborough-based PAC Hit With $12,250 Fine by Ethics Commission

    AUGUSTA — A political action committee in Scarborough has been hit with a $12,250 fine by the state Ethics Commission, though the commission’s real target was Penn National Gaming, a national casino chain that funded the PAC in a failed bid to put slot machines at Scarborough Downs. The fine, which Ethics Commission Executive Director

  • Gun Ban Upheld

    WASHINGTON, DC — A federal judge issued an injunction last week blocking a Bush administration rule allowing visitors to take loaded concealed weapons into national parks and wildlife refugees. The rule was announced in the Federal Register on Dec. 9 and went into effect on Jan. 11. The decision by U.S. District Court Judge Colleen