Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight a prominent concert promoter has been charged with domestic violence; Portlanders may get to vote on multiple proposals to repair city elementary schools; and the Cumberland County Sheriff throws a “hail Mary” the lawmakers.
What we’re talking about
Concert promoter charged with domestic violence — Alexander Gray, the head of Waterfront Concerts and driving force behind the shows at the Maine State Pier, was arrested and charged for domestic violence earlier this week. Following an argument, Gray allegedly attacked his girlfriend of five years by kicking her legs out from underneath her, grabbing her by the throat and slamming her head into the hardwood floor five to 10 times, according to court documents. Waterfront Concerts contracts with Portland and Bangor to put on shows in the cities as well as at other locations around Maine.
Voters might see multiple school bond — City councilors are considering putting multiple questions about borrowing money to renovate some elementary schools on the ballot later this year, the Press Herald’s Randy Billings reports. The question of how to fund renovations to four aging elementary schools has been the pivotal political question over the last year, as counselors, school board members and the public have debated borrowing $64 million to pay for the work. The city council will vote Monday on whether to put the question to voters on the ballot and Councillor Belinda Ray, one of the councilors set against the measure, intends to float another plan to borrow $24 million to renovate one school. Councilor Jill Duson and Nicholas Mavodones have proposed a third option of borrowing $32 million to renovate two schools. “There’s no reason to limit the voters’ options,” Ray reportedly said.
“Hail Mary pass’ to reduce jail overcrowding — “Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce called his proposed initiative to charge law enforcement agencies $50 a day to house people accused of non-violent misdemeanor crimes a ‘hail Mary’ pass designed to reduce the population at the Portland jail,” BDN’s Judy Harrison reports. Joyce presented the long-shot initiative to members of the legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee Wednesday, saying the measure would be as an “incentive” for police to issue summonses for low level crimes.
Great, green glory — Replete with pictures of bagpipes, kilts, a leprechaun and Gov. Paul LePage in a festive green hat, the Press Herald has shots of how Portland has celebrated St. Patrick’s Day over the years. Our hands-down favorite is a 1961 photo of Portland Evening Express reporter Waldo E. Pray in a shamrock hat and tie.
39 years — That’s the sentence a man convicted of a fatal shooting on Brighton Ave. got yesterday, the Press Herald’s Edward Murphy reports. Abdirahman Haji-Hassan was facing 25 years to life for killing Richard Lobor. There is no probation for murder in Maine, so Hassan has no chance of getting out early.
Tweet of the day
The Big Idea
Who is watching the government? — It’s you. According to this analysis of Freedom of Information Act requests filed with the federal government, journalists send in less than 8 percent of all requests. Other people, like lawyers and lobbyists, might ask for government documents for work but many requests are filed by private citizens. Keep up the good work people.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @JZBleiberg.