Portland to allow homeless shelters in business, industrial zones

Are more, smaller homeless shelters part of the equation for handling Portland’s stubbornly large homeless population? Some in the city want to consider it.

Around the office today, we’re talking about that, as well as the city’s restaurant scene and a touching story of redemption from one of our neighbors.

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What we’re talking about

Portland to allow emergency homeless shelters in more zones — The Portland City Council this week unanimously agreed to allow emergency homeless shelters in business and industrial zones, The Forecaster’s David Harry is reporting. While no concrete plans for an expansion of shelters is in place, the move opens the door for multiple smaller shelters around the city instead of just one large, somewhat centrally located municipal shelter, as the city currently has.

A sneak peak at the new Blyth & Burrows bar — If you follow us on Facebook, you know that the BDN’s Kathleen Pierce gave you a live, real-time video from inside the exclusive sneak peak party at the new Blyth & Burrows bar on Exchange Street. The place opens soon. If you missed the video, you can watch it here.

The Senate took a step toward restoring tipped wages — In a move that restaurants and restaurant workers watched closely, the Maine Senate passed a bill that would allow eateries to pay servers half the minimum wage per hour as long as their tips bring them up to at least the minimum wage, which is currently $9 per hour. The bill – which needs further approvals in both the Senate and House – seeks to overturn an aspect of last year’s statewide referendum which rose the minimum wage for all workers and, some say, inadvertently served as a deterrent to what can be much more lucrative tips for servers.

What it’s like to go from prison bars to handlebars — The BDN’s Troy R. Bennett has this compelling feature about a Portland man who turned his life around after the better part of a decade in federal prison, and whose reward for making good was a motorcycle. Give it a look.

Angus King lays into officials who refuse to answer questions about Trump — U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, was not impressed by the testimony of two of the country’s top intelligence officials, who said their conversations with President Donald Trump regarding investigations into his alleged ties with Russia were “classified” and couldn’t be discussed before the Senate Intelligence Committee. However, there needs to be an identifiable legal basis for that classified status, and when King pressed for it, the intelligence officials struggled to articulate one.

Tweet of the day

From @rscordes:

The Big Idea

Is it unconstitutional for the president to block followers on Twitter? — Speaking of tweets… while there are plenty of people who would be happy to never see anything President Trump tweets, those are official statements of the president, by his press secretary’s own assertion. By extension, they may be considered public records, and it may not be legal for him to block followers, as he’s done on multiple occasions when Twitter users say things he doesn’t find flattering.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at jbleiberg@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @JZBleiberg or @SethKoenig.

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