Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street, where we spent part of the day besieged by internet spiders (seriously our site, like many others, was down for most of the day. We apologize.) Here’s the news, as best we can tell:
What we’re talking about
Long Creek can’t treat severely mentally ill youth, report says — From Jake Bleiberg’s report early this morning:
Shortly after a 16-year-old transgender boy hanged himself while on suicide watch at the Long Creek Youth Development Center last October, a girl at the juvenile prison also tried to take her own life, strangling herself before being rushed to the hospital, according to a citizen group that monitors the prison.
Charles Maisie Knowles was the first person in at least 20 years to die while being held at Long Creek, according to the Maine Department of Corrections. But the pair of suicide attempts — one of which resulted in a death — are part of a persistent pattern of self-harm among inmates at Long Creek, according to the South Portland prison’s Board of Visitors, a five-member body appointed by the governor and empowered by law to inspect and review the corrections facility.
Long Creek increasingly is being used to house young people with severe mental illnesses, even though the prison is ill-equipped to treat them and struggles to keep them safe, the group said. …
“These youth need to be moved out of the facility or we are going to have another incident,” Board of Visitors Chairwoman Tonya DiMillo said in testimony before two legislative committees. “I need to be clear: We will have another incident.”
Read the full documents in Jake’s story, here.
There’s a shortage of bilingual EMTs in Maine. Here’s one way to fix that problem. — Troy R. Bennett writes about a program at SMCC that’s addressing two problems in the state: the lack of bilingual emergency medical technicians, and immigrants with medical backgrounds who need training before they can get jobs here.
Former Portland restaurateur opens new Montreal-style bagel cafe — If you’re in North Yarmouth, check this place out. It sounds delicious.
Airbnb agrees to collect taxes in Maine — Darren Fishell reports:
The announcement comes as Gov. Paul LePage’s latest budget proposed requiring online booking sites to collect and remit taxes directly. The budget, which would take effect July 1, also proposes raising the lodging tax to 10 percent from 9 percent. …
LePage’s budget proposal seeks to have all “transient rental platforms,” including Airbnb and VRBO, begin collecting taxes for all listings at the time of booking.
That’s been an issue for licensed hoteliers in the state, who argue it’s only fair and it ensures that the cost of taxes are accurately reflected in prices when a potential guest is shopping around online.
NEW: ‘Trump says he’s open to legal pathway for undocumented immigrants’ — The New York Times reports: “The idea is a sharp break from the broad crackdown on undocumented immigrants that Mr. Trump has taken in his first weeks in office and the hardline positions embraced by his core supporters that helped sweep him into the White House. The president hinted at the reversal just hours before he was to deliver his first address to Congress, although it was not clear whether he would mention it in his speech.”
West End homicide victim identified — Police said Bryan Garcia, 35, of Scarborough was found slumped over in a car on Chadwick Street yesterday.
Tweet of the day
In light of today’s massive internet outage, this tweet from the AV Club feels appropriate:
The Big Idea
‘Donald Trump needs to make a sale’ — President Donald Trump tonight at 9:10 will address Congress, and CNN says he needs to sell his agenda to Republicans:
Trump will step up to the speaker’s rostrum after a tumultuous five weeks in office, in which he has started making good on his election promises but also whipped up controversy and disruption with his quintessential political style.
So far there is little sign that the new president’s legislative agenda, which includes repealing and replacing Obamacare, a big tax overhaul, and a trillion-dollar infrastructure program, is anywhere near coming to fruition.
That could quickly turn out to be a problem for the president because there is only so much he can do by flexing his power through executive orders — his main method to date of showing that he is leading the nation in a new direction.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @dsmacleod.