A new candidate, a new hurricane… a lot of news to catch up on

After a long Labor Day weekend, I have a lot of catching up to do on headlines. Seriously, there’s a ton of interesting news to get through tonight. (Realizing that tons are not the proper units of measure for news.)

So let’s get straight to it.

What we’re talking about

Our own Troy R. Bennett stirred up a long-simmering debate in the city about whether that semi-regular body of water should be called Back Cove or Back Bay. It’s Back Cove on all the official maps and signs, and Troy comes down very solidly on that side of the argument. But there are some local businesses and residents who insist Back Bay is correct. Watch the video for Troy’s song on the subject here. Troy also profiled the Portland carver behind the granite firefighter monument in a separate piece, which you can see here.

Seasonal businesses are worried President Donald Trump will cut or even eliminate short-term J1 visas, which bring international workers to Maine for three-month stints filling hard-to-fill jobs at restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. Sarah Diment, of the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, told the York County Coast Star that without the visa workers this summer, “we would have been in a bad place — we would have been cancelling rooms.” In other news, the BDN’s Jake Bleiberg has this report on Trump’s plan to end an Obama-era program meant to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, including who it will effect in Maine.

A celebrity Maine chef is facing multiple lawsuits over unpaid bills, the Portland Press Herald’s Edward D. Murphy is reporting. Shannon Bard, who has appeared on nationally televised cooking shows “Kitchen Inferno” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” closed her Portland restaurant Zapoteca in June. Now she and her husband are facing more than a dozen lawsuits alleging in total tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills, the Press Herald reports.

Advocates and workers gathered in the downtown on Labor Day to show support of a measure being proposed by Mayor Ethan Strimling and others which would require employers in Portland to provide employees paid sick time. Portland would be the first municipality in Maine to do so if the ordinance is ultimately put into place. The City Council is first expected to discuss it on Sept. 18.

Also over the Labor Day weekend, there was a shooting at the ScrubaDub car wash on Forest Avenue. Portland police arrested a 23-year-old Virginia man and charged him with attempted murder and reckless conduct with a firearm. The victim, a 22-year-old Westbrook man, reportedly did not require medical attention for his injuries. Like, not even a Band-Aid?

Want to live in a jail? I mean, without first committing a crime. This 19th-century York County jail in Alfred is for sale for $250,000, CBS 13’s Katie Sampson is reporting. Current owner Michael Kaplan told Sampson he believes the property could be converted to a modern office space or to a brewery or restaurant with an unusual backstory. He just wants it to be put to good use, he said.

Residents from Florida all the way up through Maine are being urged to keep an eye on Hurricane Irma, which has wind speeds up to 175 miles per hour and is among the strongest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s too early to tell exactly where it will make landfall in the U.S., but forecasters say people in south Florida will start to see storm conditions as early as late Friday afternoon.

Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, a Lisbon Falls Republican, will be the next to jump into the 2018 gubernatorial race when he officially declares his candidacy Wednesday, the BDN’s Michael Shepherd is reporting. Mason has deep ties to the evangelical right, which is credited with delivering then-presidential candidate Ted Cruz the state caucus victory last year, and helping carry Bruce Poliquin to victory in the 2nd Congressional District. Mason joins former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew in the field of GOP gubernatorial candidates. There are at least nine Democrats in the race already.

Tweet of the day

From History In Moments:

The Big Idea

Fox News may be turning people into Republican voters just by virtue of what its channel number is, new research indicates. A new study finds that many people searching for news on the television will stop at whatever news channel they hit first. An excerpt from the Washington Post: “[Researchers] found that if Fox News is, say, channel number 500 in your cable lineup, instead of 517, you will watch an extra 2.5 minutes of Fox News in a week, simply because you will encounter Fox News at an earlier point in your channel surfing. If 1,000 people watch an average of 2.5 minutes per week of additional Fox News coverage for this reason, three of them will be persuaded to vote Republican.” Rivals like MSNBC and CNN didn’t show similar sway over voters.

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

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