LePage is coming to Portland to throw a hotel key into the bay

In tonight’s newsletter, let’s wish a happy 90th birthday to the former Eastland Park hotel, now the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel. It’s a downtown Portland landmark. The BDN’s Kathleen Pierce captured some of that history in this piece she wrote about the reopening a few years ago.

As anyone would expect, the hotel is celebrating by having Gov. Paul LePage throw a hotel key made out of fish food into Casco Bay tomorrow morning.

(Most people know that the 25th anniversary is marked by silver and the 50th by gold, for instance, but the fish-food key anniversary at 90 is often forgotten.)

In all seriousness, this whole thing ties into an old practice of hotel representatives ceremonially throwing away keys to symbolize that they’ll forever be open and welcoming to guests. Then-Gov. Richard Brewster threw an Eastland Park key into the bay back in 1927, and LePage is going to chuck a more environmentally friendly version off the Maine State Pier tomorrow.

Great grandchildren of Eastland Park founder Henry P. Rines are expected to be there. It’ll be a hoot.

But there are other things happening, too. Read on.

What we’re talking about

It’s a dark day in Portland’s normally sunny restaurant scene — The BDN’s Pierce reports that famous chef Shannon Bard is closing her acclaimed Fore Street eatery Zapoteca, while the Press Herald is reporting that the popular Outliers restaurant on York Street is now out of business.

The U.S. Attorney General wants to prosecute medical marijuana growers even in states which long ago legalized marijuana use for medical purposes, like Maine. This breaks with a longstanding practice at the Justice Department of respecting state-level marijuana laws, and naturally, those in the industry in Maine are concerned. The Portland Press Herald’s Gillian Graham has the reaction here.

Tuesday was election day — And all across Maine, voters voted on stuff. A few highlights:

  • In Portland, 78 percent approved a $105 million fiscal year 2018 school budget
  • In Scarborough, 57 percent voted against a roughly $40 million school budget
  • In Wells, 67 percent approved a $14 million proposal to build a new public safety complex for the local police and fire departments
  • In Brunswick, 53 percent approved a $28 million proposal to build a new elementary school
  • In Maine’s three largest cities, 78 percent approved a $50 million statewide bond for research and development projects, leading to the proposal’s likely passage overall
  • And in Lincolnville, up the coast a ways, they elected the drummer from the jam band Phish and the filmmaker son of novelist Tess Gerritsen to the Board of Selectmen.

If you haven’t seen ‘The Night Kitchen’ at Portland Stage Company yet reviewer Judy Harrison thinks you should make the time to do so. It’s a zany musical in which kitchen utensils and food come alive and sing in the middle of the night when nobody’s watching. The writer/director is none other than 1980s healthy living guru Slim Goodbody, who now lives in Lincolnville (but is, perhaps surprisingly, not on the Board of Selectmen there).

Mayor Ethan Strimling has a plan to help older residents afford housing — Under his new proposal, the city would match, dollar-for-dollar, the rebates received by city seniors under the State of Maine Property Tax Fairness Program. Portland renters and homeowners between 62 and 65 could receive up to $600 a year in rebates from the city, and those older than 65 could receive up to $900 annually.

Tweet of the day

From comedian Jake Flores:

The Big Idea

Earth was about 30 seconds away from never having humans on it. That asteroid that smashed into the planet about 65 million years ago and is blamed for the extinction of dinosaurs by many scientists would have landed in a much less destructive location had 30 more seconds passed before the collision, giving the Earth a chance to spin just a little bit longer. Had dinosaurs not been wiped out, scientists theorize they would have continued to occupy such a massive ecological niche that the mammals who would ultimately evolve into humans would likely have been crowded out.

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

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