Finally, a place to chuck axes inside


Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: Portland isn’t on the list of cities not cooperating with ICE; the City Council is deadlocked over the school bond; and a Westbrook gym is encouraging people to throw sharp objects.

What we’re talking about

Not, not cooperating — In an apparent vindication of the city’s position that it is not a “sanctuary city,” Portland is not included on a Department of Homeland Security list of localities that have enacted policies to limit cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The list is part of the Trump administration’s plan to name and shame places that give haven to undocumented immigrants and is the first hint at how the Department of Homeland Security will define “sanctuary cities” since the president promised to defund them. The list is based in part on media reports and is not meant to be comprehensive, but it does not include Portland despite the flurry of public statements from Gov. Paul LePage saying Maine’s largest city is a “sanctuary.” Portland has a policy of cooperating with federal law enforcement but also an ordinance that broadly blocks city staff — including police — from asking about people’s immigration status. No other Maine cities or towns were named in the Homeland Security document. The department has not responded to repeated request for a definition of “sanctuary city.” — Jake Bleiberg

Council deadlocked over school bond — The Portland City Council ended its more than seven-hour Monday meeting in a deadlock over whether to let voters decide on a bond to fund renovations at four aging elementary schools. The $64 million bond proposal needed a supermajority to pass and was voted down three to six, with Councilors Nicholas Mavodones, Jill Duson and Belinda Ray voting against it. A council rule now creates a recurring cycle in which the $64 million bond will keep coming back up for a vote until it passes or is abandoned. The repetition may let the three councilors who oppose the measure put an alternative bond proposal on the ballot in addition to the $64 million one. Councilors will try the same vote next Monday, but were uncertain if it would yield different results. A rally in support of the bond was planned for 6 pm at City Hall. — Jake Bleiberg    

Hatchet job — The owners of a Westbrook gym are offering Mainers the unusual opportunity to sink axes deep into wood — indoors, WGME reports. Maine Warrior Gym says it is opening New England’s first “ax-throwing range” in the town that has had paper and sawmills for more than 200 years. Co-owner Tim Johnson said that he was inspired to open the range after watching an ax-throwing competitions in Montreal, where, WGME reports, “the sport is very popular.” (During my nearly eight years living in Canada’s second largest city, I somehow missed all the flying axes.) — Jake Bleiberg    

A Portland man won a gold medal in the Special Olympics — Dennis Hoey of the Portland Press Herald reports that Lucas Houk won the 5K men’s freestyle race on his first try yesterday in Austria.

Tweet of the day

From arguably the best celebrity/dead philosopher Twitter account, Kim Kierkegaardashian:

The Big Idea

‘How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps’ — The New York Times breaks down a new study from Yale researchers:

Most people know climate change is happening, and a majority agree it is harming people in the United States. But they don’t believe it will harm them.

Part of this is the problem of risk perception.

Global warming is precisely the kind of threat humans are awful at dealing with: a problem with enormous consequences over the long term, but little that is sharply visible on a personal level in the short term. Humans are hard-wired for quick fight-or-flight reactions in the face of an imminent threat, but not highly motivated to act against slow-moving and somewhat abstract problems, even if the challenges that they pose are ultimately dire.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

If someone forwarded you this newsletter, click here to sign up. Or just text PORTLAND to 66866. As always, like BDN Portland on Facebook for more local coverage.

Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.