Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: a tiny home court battle; a sneak peek at a new burger bar; and pretty soon you’ll be able to track street sweepers like Ubers.
What we’re talking about
Who wants a boozy milkshake? — Kathleen Pierce got an early look at BRGR Bar, the new burger/milkshake spot that’s opening on Monday in the former home of the downtown Margaritas:
Gone are the brick arches and ceramic Mexican tiles. In its place is an open, industrial room with a stainless steel center bar. It is here that decadent shakes (all made with vanilla soft serve ice cream) are whirred to order. Shakes cost $6, or $11 if you add booze.
The Thin Mint — brownie bits, chocolate syrup, rum and peppermint schnapps — should leave you swooning. The Original, made with bourbon and maple syrup, or the the Oreo Lift, featuring crushed Oreos and espresso vodka, will take the sting out of a bad work day. There are also virgin milkshakes, like the sea salt and caramel and pretzels for rainy days and Mondays.
Coffee with (and on) cooks — Today we grabbed a cafe au lait with Fred Eliot, co-chef at Scales for our new weekly livestreaming series Coffee with Cooks. Despite an unfortunate coffee spill toward the end of our half hour convo at Arabica, we learned that the French chef, formerly of Petite Jacqueline, didn’t start to cook until he was 30. He’s got a great grasp of Instagram and likes to cook clean. That means no music in the kitchen so he can “hear the food.” Scales opens for lunch in mid-May and outdoor seating comes next. Join us next Tuesday on Facebook for a live talk and hot cup with Cara Stadler of Bao Bao Dumpling House. — Kathleen Pierce
The city takes its tiny home battle to court — The city is asking a District Court judge to force a would-be tiny house landlord to remove the structures from an otherwise vacant Bayside lot, Randy Billings of the Press Herald reports. The city is also seeking fines and wants Brent Adler to cover its costs. He says the tiny homes are on wheels and aren’t subject to the housing codes, while the city insists they should be considered houses.
Older Mainers on Obamacare likely to see big changes from GOP health plan — Jackie Farwell reports:
Both the ACA and the new Republican proposal, called the American Health Care Act, provide consumers with tax credits to buy a health plan. But each calculates the assistance amounts differently.
According to one early estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation, that means older, poorer residents would generally receive less assistance from the federal government under the GOP plan than under the ACA. Conversely, younger and wealthier people would get more under the GOP proposal.
It’s 2 a.m. Do you know where your street sweeper is? — New this year, Portland is using GPS technology on all street sweepers. Citizens can watch the sand-sucking machinery’s progress in real time HERE. Last year, the city collected a total of 2,901 tons of roadside nastiness. This winter, the city has already spread 3500 tons of sand and 7500 tons of salt. If it doesn’t get swept up, it’ll find it’s way to Casco Bay. And nobody wants that. — Troy R. Bennett
Tweet of the day
From Anthony Oliveira:
The Big Idea
‘How Much Progress Have We Made Since Women Went On Strike In 1970?’ — The U.S. is still the seventh least equitable nation among the world’s wealthiest countries, according to FiveThirtyEight:
American women have similarly made significant but incomplete progress on narrowing the wage gap. In 1970, the typical woman with a full-time, year-round job earned 59 percent of what a typical man made, according to Census data. In 2015, women earned 80 percent as much as a typical man.
In recent years, however, progress has stalled, and the U.S. still lags behind several other countries in closing the gender pay gap. According to the most recent data available, the U.S. ranks 31st in pay equity among 37 countries who are either members or partners of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international coalition of mostly wealthy countries. Belgium ranks the highest, with women making 3.3 percent less than men.
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