Come watch the debate and play with kittens at our party next week

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What we’re talking about

This election has been hard. It has tested the conventions of political discourse and decency. It has highlighted and deepened the divisions in our country.

The good news is that it’s almost over, and there is only one debate left between the two major candidates.

As we did for the first showdown between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, BDN Portland is hosting a debate-watching party at Think Tank Coworking on Congress Street on Wednesday, Oct. 19. We’ll stream it live on the projector and offer some free food.

This time, we’ve also decided to add a little extra support to those who need it.

We’re teaming up with Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, which will bring nine therapy kittens to the party for anyone who needs to take a break from the political slugfest. (Kittens tend to make most things better.) If you fall in love with one, the group will have adoption surveys you can fill out.

The party starts at 8 and wraps up at 11. If you’re interested in coming, please reserve a free ticket here.

Oh, and please leave your dog at home, just to be safe.

For information, check out the event on our Facebook page.

In other news

The city would like to apologize if it accidentally threatened to prosecute you — Peter McGuire of the Press Herald reports that the city accidentally sent out 2,000 letters to people it had erroneously listed as landlords who’d failed to register with the housing safety office.

Peter reports:

Because of a mix up in the database used to address the notices, the city’s housing safety office sent notices out to approximately 2,700 addresses, instead of the 700 violators. Most of the people who received the notice don’t own rental properties and weren’t expecting a letter from the city threatening legal action.

City Manager Jon Jennings was pretty contrite.

“It was a monumental mix up on our part. I completely own it and we are working to rectify it,” he told the Press Herald. “We are very upset with ourselves. I take full responsibility.”

How Fiddlin’ Phil from Munjoy Hill came to Portland to stay — The latest in Troy Bennett’s series on “permanent Portlanders” who are buried in the city is a personal tale about a musician and friend who died in 2012.

Phil Swegart was born in Iowa, went to school in Massachusetts and came to Maine to hike the Appalachian Trail south from Mt. Katahdin. He didn’t get far on the trail, though, and decided to settle down in Portland where he became known as Fiddlin’ Phil from Munjoy Hill.

By day, he was a carpenter, hammering away at houses around town. After dark, he played his fiddle for dancers, drinkers and folks trying to forget their daily woes — an unfiltered Lucky Strike dangling from his lip, all the while.

I wish you could have heard him play.

He had a bottomless mind, stuffed full of old movie trivia, fiddle tunes and stories of the old days.

But he was also troubled. He drank too much and died too soon. He was my friend, my bandmate, and I’ll always miss him.

Watch Troy’s video here.

What you need to know about the Noyes Street fire trial — Jake Bleiberg wrote an explainer laying out the major points in the trial, which wrapped up last week. The presiding judge could hand down a decision as early as tomorrow.

Mic Drop Of The Week

Read the New York Times’ letter to Trump’s lawyers David McCraw, the Times’ lawyer, basically says “come at me bro” over Trump’s calls for a retraction of the paper’s story about two women who alleged the Republican presidential candidate touched them inappropriately.

We did what the law allows: We published newsworthy information about a subject of deep public concern. If Mr. Trump disagrees, if he believes that American citizens had no right to hear what these women had to say and that the law of this country forces us and those who would dare to criticize him to stand silent or be punished, we welcome the opportunity to have a court set him straight.

The Big Idea

‘How Evan McMullin Could Win Utah And The Presidency’ — Here’s how Five Thirty Eight sees McMullin pulling this off (it’s a long shot):

Win Utah

Deadlock the Electoral College

Win in the House

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.



Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.