Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: fewer people overdosed this week than originally thought (and they were all saved by Narcan); give Peeps a chance; and there’s another case of anti-Muslim graffiti at USM.
What we’re talking about
More anti-Muslim graffiti found at USM — Police at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus are looking for a person who wrote “Kill the Muslin” [sic] on a poster instructing people on what to do in case there is an active shooter. The phrase was written around an image of someone hitting a gunman with a chair and clearly implied that the hypothetical shooter was Muslim, according to a university official. It’s the second time anti-Muslim graffiti has been scrawled on campus in recent months. Last November, a Latin phrase that the alt-right uses to insult Muslims was written in a student government office. USM’s president said the recent incident was “disgraceful” and a Muslim student leader called it disgusting. — Jake Bleiberg
Happening tonight: City Manager Jon Jennings is presenting his $240 million budget to the city council tonight. The Press Herald’s Randy Billings reports the budget would raise property taxes 2.5 percent and “increase staffing but leave unanswered the question about whether the city will provide public assistance to asylum-seeking immigrants who may be cut from the state’s welfare program.”
Police say Narcan saved five lives this week — Portland police don’t know what caused the brief spike in overdoses between Sunday and Monday, but they do know what kept the five opiate users alive: Narcan. In September of last year, city police joined the many Maine forces who were already carrying the overdose-reversing drug, and Assistant Chief Vernon Malloch says it’s making a difference. “We know that the availability of Narcan resulted in saving these lives,” said Malloch. Two of the people who overdosed were given the life-saving nasal spray by police, two more by friends or family at the scene, and one by a Cumberland County Jail official, according to the assistant chief. — Jake Bleiberg
Maine is poised to weaken its minimum wage law. What will Democrats allow? — BDN politics reporters Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd write:
Well-organized factions on either side of Maine’s voter-approved minimum wage increase sent hundreds to the State House on Wednesday to lobby lawmakers about proposed changes to roll back the new law.
The most heat is around what is known as the “tip credit” — or the customer subsidy allowing restaurant owners to pay servers a base wage lower than Maine’s minimum wage as long as their tips get them up to the regular minimum wage threshold. …
The tip credit changes could be most likely to go, but Democrats are holding firm against challenges to the rest of the law. The next question is whether some of them will coalesce around a proposed “training wage” aimed at keeping younger people in the workforce.
Easter Peeps get dressed up like Trump protesters and even Jesus Christ — Kathleen Pierce reports that Black Cat Cafe on Stevens Avenue is hosting its fourth annual “Peep Show,” where contestants build dioramas with Easter Peeps. A past highlight included something called “The Passion of the Peep.”
No Yooooouk for yooooooooou — Due to the uncertain weather forecast for the Sea Dogs’ opening day on Thursday, former Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis’ appearance at Hadlock Field has been cancelled for now. But Thursday’s 6 p.m. game against the Reading Fightin Phils is on as scheduled, for now. — Troy R. Bennett
Tweet of the day
From McKay Coppins:
The Big Idea
‘Here’s what it’s like to get thrown into a volcano’ — No part of this seems like any fun.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @JZBleiberg.