It’s that time of year again, when occasional great white shark sightings off Maine beaches make big headlines.
In this case, a man on a paddle boat reported seeing what he believed to be a 12-foot great white near Wells Beach on Sunday afternoon, and local police cleared the water for about two hours while authorities searched for the creature.
If this was indeed a great white shark — and not a similar-looking, but less dangerous basking shark — we can assume it was searching the North Atlantic for Michael Phelps, as these razor-toothed fish have an insatiable appetite for racing. White sharks truly are the Dominic Torettos of the natural world.
Speeding along, now…
What we’re talking about
Leaders in the local immigrant communities say the U.S. Supreme Court decision to leave part of President Donald Trump’s travel ban from six mostly Muslim countries intact gives the administration a path toward religious discrimination and fuels anti-American rhetoric by religious extremists.
Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez will play in Portland on Thursday for the Sea Dogs as he continues to rehabilitate a sore right knee. As Portland is a Red Sox minor league affiliate, big leaguers often come through town to practice and loosen up when they’re working their way back from injuries. While we’re on the subject of bigger names coming to Hadlock Field, tomorrow night, the Sea Dogs welcome New England Patriots quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who will sign autographs and throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Portland’s majestic Union Station opened 129 years ago this week, and after 73 years standing as a city landmark, was destroyed to make way for a strip mall. That was the flashpoint largely credited with igniting the city’s — if not the state’s — historic preservation movement, and the BDN’s Troy R. Bennett has a look back as part of his weekly series on Portland history.
The city of Portland has condemned an apartment building under the terms of its disorderly houses ordinance, representing the first time City Hall has gone this far to get a troubled property under control, according to a report by the Portland Press Herald’s Randy Billings. The landlord for the multi-unit building at 31 East Oxford St. has a lengthy criminal record, and has been ordered to turn the building over to a property management company, the newspaper reported. Three residents have until a court hearing next month to move out. Neighbors told the Press Herald the place is a “crack station” and the site of a “straight-up gang war.”
The blaze that consumed a cavernous vacant textile mill down the road in Sanford was allegedly started by a 12-year-old and two 13-year-olds, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Eyewitness video of the massive Friday fire was widely circulated by news outlets and social media over the weekend.
Just in case you’re not tired of hearing about state budget gridlock, Republican Gov. Paul LePage has reportedly informed Democratic lawmakers that if they don’t approve his party’s two-year budget proposal, he’ll withhold his signature and let the state government shut down when the new fiscal year begins on July 1. Dems oppose education reforms included in the GOP plan, including a pilot program for a statewide teacher contract.
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The Big Idea
This report about the effect of increasing the minimum wage is turning a lot of heads. The rigorous study, which one Massachusetts economist acknowledged as “very credible,” showed that the average low-wage worker in Seattle lost $125 in earnings a month due to the city’s incremental increase of the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Those average earnings dropped overall because many of the workers lost their jobs outright, as businesses cut staff to save on payroll. Opponents of wage hikes have long argued that job cuts would be a byproduct, but this is the first research to measure that financial negative as outweighing the income increases. Still, debate rages on. A California economist criticized the study, saying, “I think they underestimate hugely the wage gains, and they overestimate hugely the employment loss.” This is relevant in Maine, of course, where voters last fall approved an incremental increase in the minimum wage to $12 per hour by 2020. Portland approved a plan to increase wages locally the previous year.
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