The State of Maine v. Parole

Maine was the first state to eliminate the possibility of parole. Now, a hard-nosed state legislator and a once-incarcerated PhD student are making the case that parole deserves a second chance:

Talk of bringing back parole has intermittently stirred up in Augusta. In the early ’90s, with the corrections department facing overcrowded prisons, the head of the parole board and the warden of the state prison both publicly lobbied for it. In 1999, a parole bill was introduced into the legislature but failed to gain traction. In 2016, a group of inmates tried to initiate a voter referendum on a parole-like system. Now, just three Maine offenders remain under the parole board’s jurisdiction, on account of committing their crimes so long ago. The only one still in prison is a murderer who has been locked back up after violating terms of early release in the past. So when a push for parole got underway a couple of years ago at the statehouse — the most serious such effort to date — someone who seemed more deserving of a second chance, Brandon Brown, found himself the de facto face of the movement, and his story, for the second time in his life, started making headlines.

Source: Down East
Published: Jun 13, 2022
Length: 20 minutes (5,000 words)

Shark Attacks in Maine Were Unthinkable — Until Last Summer

“Last year’s first-ever fatal shark attack jolted Mainers into acknowledging that great whites regularly swim off the state’s shores — and that there’s plenty about them we don’t know.”

Source: Down East
Published: May 3, 2021
Length: 15 minutes (3,931 words)

The COVID Cruise Ship and the Maine Fishing Town

“Eastport tried for years to lure mega cruise ships. Then, amid a global pandemic, it got one, along with a skeleton crew of coronavirus exiles.”

Source: Down East
Published: Oct 1, 2020
Length: 15 minutes (3,964 words)

The Maine Farmer Saving the World’s Rarest Heirloom Seeds

Will Bonsall has spent a lifetime scattering seeds across the country. But will his efforts fall among the thorns?

Source: Down East
Published: Apr 1, 2020
Length: 11 minutes (2,902 words)

This Fish House in Maine Is an Icon

But of what, exactly? On beauty, authenticity, and community in the Instagram age.

Source: Down East
Published: Dec 9, 2019
Length: 17 minutes (4,300 words)

Homeward Bound

Make a new canine friend in Maine and chances are good she’s from down south, as the dog-crazy Pine Tree State is among the most common destinations for southern rescue dogs. To understand why—and how they arrive—Kathryn Miles joined 37 very good dogs on a 1,600-mile road trip.

Source: Down East
Published: Jun 26, 2019
Length: 20 minutes (5,100 words)

Marathon Man

Who wants to run 26.2 miles in Maine in the middle of December? And who really believes that doing so will make a difference for a mill town on the ropes? This guy.

Source: Down East
Published: Dec 14, 2016
Length: 16 minutes (4,079 words)

The Belfast Operation

A vividly reported chronicle of a loose cartel of freewheeling, twenty-something drug dealers who built a cocaine empire in rural Maine in the mid 1980’s, along with the undercover operation that brought them down.

Source: Down East
Published: Jan 7, 2015
Length: 26 minutes (6,600 words)