Blue summer: Traffic and tragedy in Maine

If you’re a history nut like me, the news that the Army Corps of Engineers is coming to Fort Gorges and put up a bunch of guardrails and gates and things is bittersweet.

On the one hand, it limits access to some parts of what’s a magnificent, picturesque island fort in Portland Harbor. On the other, it will make the property safer, which could encourage greater tourism and awareness for historic preservation, and even spur neat events at the site, like concerts and other performances.

Our Troy R. Bennett went out to the island today, one day ahead of the Army Corps’ scheduled arrival, to check out the property and report about all these changes.

The day after a holiday — in the case, the Fourth of July — can sometimes be a slow news day, but that hasn’t been the case today. Holiday fireworks were reportedly to blame for a home fire down the road in Scarborough, for instance, but that wasn’t the most tragic news in Maine on this busy Wednesday.

What we’re talking about

News reports came in this morning of a quadruple shooting up in Madison. State police say a gunman shot four people, killing three, before police shot and killed him. Follow the BDN and our media partners at WGME, CBS 13, as more details emerge in this developing story.

Another Boston Red Sox star will be playing in Portland over the next few days. Brock Holt, who can play basically any position other than pitcher or catcher, is scheduled to play for the Sox’ minor league affiliate here in Portland, the Sea Dogs. Holt was a major league all-star in 2015 and is recovering from vertigo. After a couple of quality games in the minors to get comfortable on the field again, he’ll likely make his way back to Boston to compete for playing time at third base, which has been something of a weak spot for the Red Sox all year.

Comings and goings of note in Portland: Stephanie Hatzenbuehler announced today she’ll resign from the school board in September, just a few months shy of one term in office, because she’s moving away. Meanwhile, the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce announced that it’s removing the “interim” tag from Quincy Hentzel’s title, appointing her the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer. Hentzel’s the first woman to hold the position.  

It’s summertime, which means one thing: Road construction. Actually, that’s unfair. Summer means a lot of things. But one of those things is definitely road construction. Construction work near Back Cove, Preble Street and State Streets began today and it will affect more than 12,000 drivers each day. If you’re one of them, plan your commute accordingly.

If you’re a state employee, you might have been surprised to learn you needed to be at work today. Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon reached a deal on a two-year state budget which was approved and signed into law early Tuesday morning to end a three-day government shutdown. LePage demanded that Democrats cut out a proposed lodging tax increase before he’d sign it, and they did.

Tweet of the day

From CBS 13 weatherman Charlie Lopresti:

The Big Idea

Conflict between Portland’s mayor and city manager was the plan all along. The Portland Phoenix has this interesting analysis of the tumult at City Hall, where Mayor Ethan Strimling has publicly clashed with City Manager Jon Jennings, as well as members of the City Council he chairs. The Phoenix’ Zack Barowitz writes that, when the city approved a series of charter changes in 2010 to create a publicly elected mayor position, the new language intentionally clipped the new mayor’s authority, despite creating great expectations for the political power of the post. “With so many limitations to power, and without the necessary tools to enact [a] vision, what the Portland City Charter Commission created was not so much a mayor, but a fall guy,” Barowitz writes.

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