Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight Justice Joyce Wheeler ain’t going anywhere; Billy Brown finally gets a headstone; and a bar is rebranding itself “Opium.”
What we’re talking about
Judge in Sanborn case stays on — Justice Joyce Wheeler has denied the state’s request that she recuse herself and will continue to preside over the review of Anthony Sanborn’s 1992 murder conviction. Last Friday, the Maine Attorney General’s Office requested that Wheeler move off the case because of comments she made during Sanborn’s earlier bail hearing that created the “perception by the public, including the victim and petitioner’s families, that Justice Wheeler had already decided in favor of Anthony Sanborn,” according to spokesman Attorney General Timothy Feeley. But Wheeler rejected the request Tuesday morning. The hearing, that might see Sanborn cleared of the 1989 murder of Jessica Brigg, will resume on July 24.
Billy Brown finally gets his headstone — William “Billy” Brown was a child soldier who went to sea in 1798. Maimed in battle in a now-forgotten war, Brown was then cast aside by his country. The African-American man never got medals or the pension he was due. Instead, his reward was a life of pain and poverty. When he died, he ended up a forgotten man in an unmarked grave in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery. Until now. Historians Herb Adams and Larry Glatz will dedicate a new headstone for Brown on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The public is invited to help honor him. — Troy R. Bennett
“Opium” — In the throes of a statewide opioid epidemic that saw 378 Mainers die of drug overdoses last year, a Portland bar has decided to rebrand itself “Opium.” The bar in the Danforth Inn’s restaurant will reopen under the new name on June 14, the Press Herald reports. It will now “look more like a Shanghai opium den of the ’20s – dark, very sexy and somewhat secretive,” according to co-owner Raymond Brunyanszki. The bar’s Facebook page states that the new name is a “metaphor for relaxing and having a happy time. Not in any way do we promote drugs use or drugs addiction.” But BDN blogger Alex Steed took issue.
Meanwhile in Augusta — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price will be visiting Wednesday to discuss opiate addiction with Gov. Paul LePage amid the White House’s parallel push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, BDN’s Michael Shepherd reports. The visit of President Donald Trump’s health chief comes as the U.S. Senate is beginning to take up American Health Care Act, which includes provisions based on Maine’s 2011 health care reform law.
Fifteen counts of gross sexual assault — That is what a Cumberland County Superior Court grand jury charged a Portland man has been charged with recently. Kevin Carey, 47, was arrested on March 19 after the Portland police investigated allegations that he sexually assaulted a child multiple times over a period of nine years, a police spokesperson said Tuesday. Carey also faces two counts of unlawful sexual contact, one count of visual sexual aggression against a child, and one count of sexual misconduct with a child. Many of the sexual assault charges were against a child younger than 12.
No letup in the gray weather. Enjoy these tulips instead — It feels like it’s been raining every day since the snow melted in Portland. Truthfully, I’m going a little crazy, waiting for the warm weather to finally kick in. At least the city is awash in tulips. That takes a little of the the sting out of it. — Troy R. Bennett
Tweet of the day
From Matt, in case the French election still has you confused:
The Big Idea
“The Passion Of Ivanka Trump” — Buzzfeed politics editor Katherine Miller reviews Ivanka Trump’s new book, “Women Who Work.”
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @JZBleiberg.