Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: Sears says it’s in bad shape; Portland’s superintendent chopped more than a million of his proposed budget; and a human rights activist in Maine says Trump and Muslim extremists have something in common.
What we’re talking about
Inmate in critical condition after trying to kill himself at Cumberland County Jail — Officials said that Dante Majeroni of Standish was found unresponsive with a sheet around his neck at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was listed in critical condition this afternoon, Beth reports.
Majeroni — who was charged with assault and domestic violence and brought to the jail on Feb. 15 — had tried to kill himself “a few weeks back, but was not on a suicide watch Tuesday night,” WGME reported, citing officials. His family said he suffers from PTSD and told them on the phone from the jail that he was unhappy. They told WGME that he’s not expected to survive.
“The sheriff’s office says they only have four mental health workers for more than 400 inmates, but Majeroni’s family says there needs to be more done,” the station reported.
The news marks the third known suicide attempt in recent months at local jail. Charles Maisie Knowles killed himself on Nov. 1, 2016 at Long Creek Youth Development Center, which is managed by the state, and another inmate tried to kill herself soon after, BDN Portland’s Jake Bleiberg reported recently. Those cases highlighted “a trend in recent decades when Maine prisons and jails increasingly house mentally ill inmates who cannot find care in the state’s scarce and limited psychiatric facilities,” Jake reported.
Global rights activist in Maine: Trump, Muslim extremists use same strategy — “It’s the language of exclusion and the language of fear and threats,” said human rights advocate Zainah Anwar, who met with high school students in Portland and Lewiston today. Beth Brogan reports that Anwar will deliver Maine Law’s sixth annual Justice for Women Lecture, “What Islam, Whose Islam? The Struggle for Women’s Right to Equality and Justice in Muslim Contexts,” on Thursday evening in the Abromson Community Education Center at USM.
Sears says it might not be able to stay in business — From Bloomberg:
Sears Holdings Corp. plunged as much as 20 percent in early trading after acknowledging “substantial doubt” about its ability to keep operating, raising fresh concerns about a company that has lost more than $10 billion in recent years. …
On Jan. 4, Sears announced it would close its store on Whitten Road in Augusta by April as well as 41 other stores nationwide. According to its website, Sears has stores in Bangor, Brunswick and South Portland and nine smaller independently owned “hometown stores” in Belfast, Biddeford, Caribou, Ellsworth, Fort Kent, Farmington, Houlton, Newport and Windham.
Portland schools chief cuts $1.1 million out of proposed budget — Noel Gallagher of the Press Herald reports that the cuts would be administrative and not directly affect academics:
The [Board of Education’s education] committee requested a reduced budget because his initial $107 million budget would have increased the education portion of property taxes by 6.5 percent. The revised $105.6 million budget lowers the tax impact to 4.74 percent.
American hero/headline of the day — “This man has spent a decade trying to overturn Liberty’s Jet Ski ban”
Tweet of the day
From John Moe:
The Big Idea
‘Repealing Obamacare could cost the average poor family benefits worth a third of its income’ — The Washington Post reports:
The law, also known as Obamacare, expanded health insurance to millions of Americans, in part, by reducing income inequality — levying taxes on the richest Americans to help the poorest gain coverage.
Through changes to taxes and health benefits, the GOP bill would reverse that: In 2022, an average family making less than $50,000 a year would stand to lose federal benefits, while those that made more would gain — with the biggest winners and the biggest losers at the extremes, according to the report by the Urban Institute and the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The average family making less than $10,000 a year could expect to lose $1,420 under the plan; the average family making more than $200,000 could gain $5,640.
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