The West End gets a new general store

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight the West End gets a new, tasteful general store; we look back on Portland’s year in photos; and a seaweed farmer hopes “kelp is the new kale.”

What we’re talking about

Portland Hunt and Alpine Club owners open shop in the West End — It’s the general store for the modern urbanite. Little Giant flung open its doors Wednesday on Clark Street, and a fresh take on the neighborhood bodega was born. From Tandem Coffee to potato chips made in Freeport to distinct sherry from Spain, consider Little Giant the extended, well-curated pantry of friends with good taste. — Kathleen Pierce

Portland’s year in photos — BDN Portland photographer Troy R. Bennett revisits some of his best images of 2016, from baseball and skateboarding to some of the first Syrian refugees to resettle in Maine. Give it a read for a sneak peak at a story we’ll be publishing Friday.  

More seaweed growing in Casco Bay — A company recently leased 4 acres of seabed in Casco Bay to start growing seaweed, the Press Herald’s Edward Murphy reports. As the climate shifts and Maine waters warm, kelp farming is being considered as a new coastal industry. “Kelp is the new kale,” the would-be farmer told the Press Herald.

State of the City — Mayor Ethan Strimling will deliver his State of the City address during a special City Council meeting on Monday, Jan. 9. It will be Strimling’s second such speech and comes after a rocky year for the mayor, during which his efforts to wrest greater power in City Hall sparked a conflict with City Manager Jon Jennings that cost Portland taxpayers $21,000 in legal fees. The speech is slated for 5:30 p.m. in council chambers.

Winter ain’t coming. It’s here. — The first nor’easter of the season is expected to slam into Maine late Thursday, bringing 8 to 18 inches of snow to some parts of the state. Slightly higher temperatures in Portland mean that the precipitation is likely to come as a mix of snow and rain here, according to The Weather Network.    

Tweet of the day

From Kathleen Pierce:

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The Big Idea

Work, identity and how a children’s book explains Trump’s victory  — In Busytown, author Richard Scarry’s fictionalized version of small town America, everyone is, you guessed it, busy. But in America’s real small towns and cities people aren’t as busy as they used to be — fewer people are working. The Washington Post reports that economists are looking at how working shapes one’s identity and how people’s longing to be busy helped Donald Trump carry small cities by 73 percent.  

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

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