Here’s a song to guilt you into shoveling your sidewalk

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: BDN banjournalist Troy R. Bennett wrote a song to encourage you to shovel your &^%$ sidewalk; the story of a classic Portland eatery; and Portland wants the Patriots to visit.

There’s a parking ban tonight downtown — the area bounded by Cumberland Avenue and Commercial, State and Franklin streets. Here are the details.

What we’re talking about

Just shovel your sidewalk. Do it. — Troy has had enough of snow shovel scofflaws who shirk their civic responsibility of keeping their sidewalks clear of snow. So he wrote a song about it, like he does. Here’s a sample verse:

So scrape your sidewalk clean and throw down a little sand

And not just cause it’s polite, cause it’s the law of the land

Yeah, shovel cause it’s good, shovel cause it’s right

Shovel cause if you don’t, I’ll call the cops on you tonight

INBOX: Maine mayors to Patriots: Please, please visit us — Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, as well as his counterparts in Bangor and Brewer, sent out a press release late Friday afternoon asking the Super Bowl champion Patriots to visit Maine on their victory tour.

“Maine has a proud tradition of supporting the New England Patriots, and our cities have a shared connection with one of the Patriots’ proud supporters, the Cross Insurance Agency,” wrote Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci.

Maine is indeed Pats country — though Gov. Paul LePage recently slammed the team during a talk radio appearance, and said he doesn’t support it.   

How one classic Portland eatery thrives in changing times — Maria’s Restaurant on Cumberland Avenue has been in business — at various addresses — for 57 years. Kathleen Pierce spent some time with the owner to see how they’re doing.

As owners of the 1,200-square-foot restaurant (complete with a parking lot), the brothers inherited gold in a real-estate hungry city. Other restaurateurs fret over rising rents, while Maria’s plans for the next 50 years. No overhead and few excessive costs gives them more security than a positive review on TripAdvisor.

So does their approach to seating guests. Maria’s motto is to only seat as many people as the chef-owner, who largely works solo, can handle. There’s no waiting list, or buzzer, and little chance for a seat at 6:30 p.m. on a weeknight without a reservation.

“If we can’t take [walk-ins] and treat them the way they want to be taken care of, if they can’t get the best service or meal,” they will be turned away, Anthony Napolitano said.

L.L. Bean offering buyouts, might rethink its lenient return policy — Beth Brogan writes:

L.L. Bean announced on Thursday that it would offer voluntary buyouts to eligible employees in 2018, discontinue contributions to the company’s pension plan and expand its parental leave benefit.

The changes “are designed to ensure L.L. Bean continues to be a thriving outdoor company for the next hundred years and beyond,” company Executive Chairman Shawn Gorman said in a statement.

The Associated Press reported company officials also said they’re taking a broad look at the business, including at its policy of offering free shipping on all items and a lenient return policy that lets customers bring back any product with which they are unsatisfied, for store credit.

Maine lawmakers eye new protections for electricity customers — Darren Fishell, who broke the story that led to the new proposals, writes:

A bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to cap the price electricity resellers can charge to residential customers and limit automatic signups, after an investigative series by the Bangor Daily News that found competitive electricity providers have cost Mainers millions.

‘6 Highlights From the Ruling on Trump’s Immigration Order’ — Charlie Savage of the New York Times breaks down exactly what the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling actually means.

MORE: Here’s a link to the actual decision.

Tweet of the day

From Drew Armstrong:

Screenshot 2017-02-10 15.14.04


The Big Idea

‘LePage is finally saying the right things about opiate addiction treatment’ — The BDN’s editorial board is pleasantly surprised by the news that LePage is pushing for more funding for evidence-based treatment of substance use disorders.

The board writes:

There has been frustratingly little action over the past few years to stem a growing epidemic of opiate addiction. The governor’s pledge to work with lawmakers to better tackle Maine’s opiate crisis is a welcome step forward. It’s our hope that it doesn’t turn into more stubborn grandstanding.

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

If someone forwarded you this newsletter, click here to sign up. Or just text PORTLAND to 66866. 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 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.