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What we’re talking about
Citizen snow police crackdown over social media — Someone has taken to social media to try to shame fellow residents into shoveling their sidewalks. The anonymous Twitter account, @Perambulate_ME, has been tweeting photos and addresses of houses that haven’t cleared their sidewalks since Monday’s moderate snowfall.
On Wednesday, @CityPortland tweeted back encouraging the citizen snow police to formally report uncleared sidewalks and moments later several of the icy offenders had been logged on the “Fix It!” portion of the city website.
People who don’t clear their sidewalks can be billed if city contractors have to show up and do it for them. Residential property owners must clear the sidewalks within 24 hours of the last snowfall, while commercial properties have 12 hours. During the winter of 2014-2015, a city spokeswoman told the Press Herald that the bills for city snow removal typically run from $200 to $500.
I originally wrote that city workers clear unshoveled snow, but it’s actually hired help. My bad. — Jake Bleiberg
No state money for Portland elementary renovations — The state denied an 11th-hour plea from city leaders to make an exception to its normal funding procedure and pay to renovate two of Portland’s aging elementary schools, the Press Herald’s Noel Gallagher reported.
Reiche and Longfellow elementary schools were near the top of Maine’s list of needy schools when the state’s most recent round of school funding closed in September. City leaders were hoping the state would pay to renovate the schools despite the late date, but the Maine Board of Education said Wednesday that it couldn’t break the rules for Portland.
The city can re-apply, but it will take the state two years to create the next list of schools up for funding. In the meantime, the city leaders continue to consider borrowing up to $70 million on the bond market to renovate four elementary schools, including Reiche and Longfellow. — Jake Bleiberg
This Maine ‘curmudgeon’ shot LL Bean’s first color catalog, then saw China —17 times — Troy Bennett writes:
I never met photographer Mason Philip Smith. I wish I had, but it’s too late now.
A sudden heart attack took him away on Nov. 25, at the age of 83, at his home in Cape Elizabeth. It was quick. He died in the arms of his wife, Barbara. They were married for 56 years.
For three decades, Smith ran a commercial photography studio on the third floor of Mechanics Hall on Congress Street. He shot countless senior portraits, hundreds of weddings and the first color photographs to appear in the L.L. Bean catalog.
I didn’t know Smith, but I did know of him. You couldn’t be a photographer in this town and not be aware of him. He was everywhere, a photographic chameleon who could shoot anything from architecture to food to street portraits. He adapted his style to fit the job at hand, letting the subject shine for itself rather than muting it under his own vision.
Portland roastery and distillery team up on a coffee that tastes like whiskey — Kathleen Pierce reports that Tandem Coffee Roasters and New England Distilling have teamed up on a coffee that tastes like whiskey — but since there’s no booze in it, you won’t get busted for drinking it at work.
Get well soon, John — BDN Outdoors editor John Holyoke recently suffered a minor stroke. He’s OK, but he’ll be out for a few weeks.
Tweet of the day
The Big Idea
‘Why Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever Anymore’ — On one hand: cool. On the other hand, pretty sure this is the premise of a movie or two.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at email@example.com, or tweet @dsmacleod.