What’s next for the Maine leaders of the women’s marches

Good evening and happy Friday from BDN Portland. It’s been quite the week. Tonight: What’s next for the women’s marchers; LePage is still talking about Portland’s aid of immigrants; and a longtime burrito place is closing.

What we’re talking about

What’s next for the people behind the women’s marches — Kathleen Pierce reports on the next steps for the local leaders of last week’s protests.

“We need to show up and continue to fight for the things we believe in,“ said Maine’s national chapter chair Genevieve Morgan of Portland, who helped shepherd 5,000 people, from teenagers to 87-year-olds, from across the state to the Women’s March on Washington the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Now, Morgan is organizing a new group called Maine March: Rise to harness the energy of the marches — and what’s leftover from the $25,000 the group raised to help take people to Washington, D.C. — to advocate for progressive causes that they feel are endangered by a Trump White House.

Yes, Maine’s latest political showdown may let kids have pot — With recreational marijuana becoming legal on Monday, legislators and the governor are playing a game of chicken with a bill to fix problems created by the ballot measure — including that it might allow minors to have pot.

The Legislature voted unanimously to enact a law to correct this and other issues Thursday, but Gov. Paul LePage hasn’t yet signed them because the package did not include two things he’s looking for: $1.6 million to fund marijuana regulation and a change in which state agency will oversee retail sales.

BDN political reporter Christopher Cousins had this insight:  “Once again in Augusta, politics has gotten in the way of enacting policy that everyone agrees on and both sides are blaming the process.” — Jake Bleiberg

The rally in support of Muslims was canceled — Organizer Hamdi Ahmed writes on the event’s Facebook page: “There have been no threats of violence. The size of the anticipated crowd makes the event unsafe for the way it was planned. We need to find a location that can accommodate everyone, while keeping the organizer and speakers safe.”

The event was scheduled for 4 p.m. today in front of City Hall — in response to President Donald Trump’s proposed immigration executive orders — but has been pushed back to May 3, though Ahmed said that date may change.

LePage wants to audit Portland, revives ‘sanctuary city’ charge — As he begins a series of town hall meetings to rally support for the last budget of his administration, Gov. Paul LePage is also reviving an old fight with Portland over General Assistance. 

This week, following our report last Friday that the budget proposes both amending the long-standing welfare program and eliminating it entirely, LePage went on the radio twice to accuse Portland of breaking the law in how it administers General Assistance. Portland officials denied the charge and the governor hasn’t cited any specific evidence to support the claim. However, his comments effectively injected the terms “Portland,” “General Assistance” and “illegal” into the news just as the Legislature is set to begin likely hard-fought negotiations over the budget. — Jake Bleiberg

Granny’s is closingGranny’s Burritos will close Sunday or Monday, the Press Herald reported, citing a manager who refused to identify herself. That’s sad news for me, since I have been eating its jerk chicken burrito since I was a teenager.

The Press Herald reports:

Granny’s, owned by Christopher Godin, moved around the Old Port and downtown several times before settling into the Public Market House in Monument Square in 2011. Godin could not be reached for comment because, the manager said, he was “feeling under the weather.”

Vehicle hit by train at Portland railroad crossing — Police said the driver, 56-year-old Derso Mekonen, drove his 2008 Nissan Sentra around a line of vehicles stopped for the railroad crossing on Brighton Avenue — and into the path of the Amtrak Downeaster Train 682, WGME reported. There were two children in the car, who are not related to him, police said. Neither one was injured, but the driver was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center with minor injuries, according to police. 

Goodbye, Judy Long — Today is the last day for one of the BDN’s all-time greats, Judy Long. Judy came to the BDN as an intern 18 years ago, and most recently served as the head of the print product. She’s often copy-edits the newsletter for me, and is my go-to person for all manner of style questions. She’s a fierce defender of the sanctity of the written word, and a ruthless enemy of jargon. Most important: She’s been a great colleague and friend. We’ll all miss her.

Tweet of the day

For a little while today, it looked like President Donald Trump might have photoshopped a Getty image to make his hand look bigger. That’s since been debunked. But at least we got this great tweet from Jason O. Gilbert out of it.

The Big Idea

‘The Economy Grew 1.6% Last Year. Can Trump Get It to 4%?’ — The NYT reports:

[A]nalysts say that Mr. Trump’s growth rate target of 4 percent is audacious at best, fanciful at worst, especially given the 2 percent or so growth that has prevailed since the current recovery began in 2009. Last year’s increase in output also represented a drop from the 2.6 percent rate recorded in 2015.


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

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.