Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the governor is suing the attorney general; we look at a simpler time when Portland was Maine’s capital; and the debate over a new homeless shelter is about to heat up.
What we’re talking about
LePage sues the state’s top lawyer — State House bureau chief Chris Cousins reports:
Gov. Paul LePage has sued Attorney General Janet Mills in Kennebec County Superior Court, alleging that Mills has abused her authority by refusing to represent the executive branch in court.
According to a statement from LePage, the Democratic attorney general’s refusal to represent the Republican governor’s administration has cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“It is no secret that Attorney General Mills and I have differing political views, but that is not the issue,” said LePage in the statement. “The problem is she has publicly denounced court cases which the executive branch has requested to join and subsequently refuses to provide legal representation for the state.”
Maine’s original capital — After Maine separated from Massachusetts in 1820, its capital city was briefly Portland, BDN Portland’s Troy R. Bennett reports. But Portland wasn’t even a city at that point. It wasn’t incorporated until April 30, 1832 — 185 years ago this week — and by that time the capital was up in Augusta. Back then Portland had seven aldermen, a 21-person city council and an elected mayor. That puts present city politics in perspective, doesn’t it?
Saco gets a caffeine kick — With the opening of Quiero Cafe, sleepy Saco residents finally have a decent place to connect over java. A husband-and-wife team from Colombia and Chile have put a fresh stamp on a long vacant Pepperell Square storefront and are paring empanadas with strong Colombian coffee. Let’s hope the Brooklynification of Biddeford has finally crossed the bridge. — Kathleen Pierce
Where to put Portland’s new homeless shelter? — The city council is chugging along with its plan for a new homeless shelter and may vote on allowing shelters to exist outside of the downtown as early as June 5, the Press Herald’s Randy Billings reports. There seems to be broad consensus in city government that Portland needs a new emergency shelter, but current zoning only allows such a facility in an oddly shaped portion of downtown that City Manager Jon Jennings once told us “looks to me like the old days of gerrymandering congressional districts.” That zoning has contributed to the concentration of social services and problems in Bayside. The proposal before the council would allow a new shelter to be in a variety of other areas — including industrial stretches on the edge of town.
Paltry produce — If the offerings of fresh fruits and vegetables at your local Hannaford are looking slimmer than usual, it’s likely because of a recent fire in the grocery chain’s South Portland distribution center, BDN’s Dawn Gagnon reports. No one was hurt in the fire but it may disrupt what’s on the shelves for some time. A Hannaford spokesman said that for now the grocery is shipping in produce and other goods from its New York warehouse and that it’s difficult to predict when the supply chain in Maine will be back to normal.
Coffee with Cooks will feature TIQA head chef Bo Byrne on Tuesday. The David’s Restaurant alum is crafting top-notch Mediterranean fare on Commercial Street. Join the conversation at 3:15 p.m. at BDN Portland’s Facebook page. — Kathleen Pierce
City Hall will be Portland’s biggest art gallery — Somewhere around 600 pieces of art are going up on the walls inside City Hall this week in preparation for the Annual Portland Public Schools Student Art Show. The show opens during the art walk on Friday and runs through May 18. — Troy R. Bennett
Still dreaming the ‘Impossible Dream’ — Former Red Sox infielder Rico Petrocelli will toss the first pitch at Hadlock Field on Thursday before the Sea Dogs take on Reading at 6 p.m. Petrocelli’s appearance is part of the Dogs’ “Throwback Thursday Series.” This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox team. — Troy R. Bennett
Go kayaking with Guster — Local alt-rock heroes Guster will be putting on a series of unconventional concerts in Portland this summer, BDN’s Emily Burnham reports. On the weekend of Aug. 11 the band will play three shows: a concert aboard the Casco Bay Ferry on Friday, then a performance at Thompson’s Point on Saturday, and finally a kayak expedition and acoustic jam session on Sunday.
Tweet of the day
From the generally staid account of USA Today:
The Big Idea
No shutdown; no wall — On Sunday night congressional leaders struck a deal that will fund the federal government through September, sparing Republicans the embarrassment of a government shutdown while they control both houses of Congress and the White House.
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