This 60-year-old Portland rabbi is a powerlifter. Her name is Braun. Of course.

The Times of Israel published a profile this week of a 4-foot-9-inch-tall, 60-year-old Portland rabbi who is making a name for herself on the competitive weightlifting circuit. That name? Braun. Carolyn Braun.

Because Carolyn Biceps would’ve been bragging.

According to the Times, Braun was “the first female in Maine to receive Conservative ordination, [and] she was a member of the first class at the Jewish Theological Seminary in which women were admitted.”

In Maine’s first-ever all-women’s sanctioned powerlifting competition earlier this year in Westbrook, she lifted a combined total of almost 600 pounds over three events, the Times reported.

So when we say she can break down barriers, we mean both figuratively and literally.

Let’s take a look at a few other stories you might get pumped about.

(Get it? Pumped up? Because, like, she lifts weights. And it can also mean to get excited.)

What we’re talking about

The FBI is trying to seize 30 buildings from a Portland landlord. A block of four of them happen to make up the city’s family homeless shelter complex. This is the latest in the winding legal case surrounding landlord Stephen Mardigan, who doesn’t appear to have been charged with any crime, but whose money and property is being targeted by federal agents under a somewhat obscure authority based on the suspicion of criminal activity, in this case, illegal gambling.

A company is moving 140 of its employees to Portland. They’re only coming from New Gloucester, so it’s not like the state of Maine will see a net gain in this case. AVANGRID, the parent company of Central Maine Power Co., is moving 140 of its 250 total Maine workers from the Pineland campus to One City Center in downtown Portland, according to MaineBiz.

Starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to get OTTO pizza on Peaks Island. On Wednesdays, anyway. The gourmet local pizza company, famous for its mashed-potato-and-bacon pie and other quirky flavors, will start delivering to the island every Wednesday through the end of August.

Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland has rehired the teachers it previously laid off. The BDN’s Jake Bleiberg had reported that the correctional facility had to lay off nearly half its faculty, putting its educational program for incarcerated and detained youths at risk, when the governor and Legislature were grappling over whether to fund the jobs in the new state budget. Now, with a budget approved that includes money for the positions, the teachers are being brought back.

Unitil is asking regulators to raise your gas bill. Residential bills could go up by nearly $9 a month for the average residential customer if regulators allow the company to raise its distribution rates. The company sought to up the price July 1, but regulators didn’t have enough time to scrutinize the request. They’ve delayed a decision until at least Oct. 1. The bulk of the company’s customers are in the Portland area, but they also serve parts of York and Androscoggin counties.

The hot peninsula restaurant scene is spilling out into Portland’s other neighborhoods. The Portland Press Herald has this report about how high rent and a densely packed restaurant scene on the city’s bustling downtown peninsula is causing some restaurateurs to take their game out to Woodfords Corner and other inland neighborhoods.

Tweet of the day

From Abandoned Pictures:

The Big Idea

Maybe Amelia Earhart didn’t crash land on the Marshall Islands after all. Last week, we were all atwitter about the discovery of a long-lost photograph that seemed to place the famously missing aviator Amelia Earhart on the Marshall Islands. You can see that photo and read more about the theories surrounding it in a previous newsletter here. Now it seems the release of this photo did not put to rest the debate about her disappearance after all, if you can imagine that. The Daily Beast found a Japanese journalist who actually researched her country’s search for Earhart decades ago. She looked at the logs for the Japanese military ship seen in the righthand side of the photo, crucial to the theory that her country’s soldiers took her into custody, and not only found that there was no record of the famous captive ever being on it, but also that it was 1,500 miles away from the Marshall Islands around the time Earhart went missing.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email us at or, or tweet @JZBleiberg or @SethKoenig.

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