Saco company could be building world’s largest kegerator

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: flying axes; a box of beer; and the governor releases a hound.

What we’re talking about

Box o’ beer — “Laura Zajac has a deadline at beer o’clock,” BDN’s Darren Fishell writes. By June the Zajac’s Saco company “has to make what could be the world’s largest kegerator, equipped to serve Maine beer through 50 taps to festival-goers in Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik.” The “Maine Beer Box” is an initiative by the Maine Brewers’ Guild and the Icelandic shipping company Eimskip, which has its U.S. headquarters on Portland’s waterfront. The idea is to encourage an exchange between brewers in Maine and Iceland and, eventually, cultivate a taste for the likes of Allagash, Rising Tide and Marshall Wharf beers across Europe.

Axe throwing is like mini golf, bowling, or pool, he said — Now, you can heave a hatchet, twirl a tomahawk, or aim an ax Maine Warrior Gym in Westbrook. It’s considered a sport by some, a stress reliever by others. Gym owner Tim Johnson said it’s more a social activity than a fitness program. He likens it to mini golf, bowling or billiards. “It’s as easy and safe as playing darts, but far more satisfying,” according to its website. — Troy R. Bennett

Drinking and thinking about cops — You can tip back a few pints while pondering society’s definitions of criminal behavior and simultaneously discussing just what you want from your local police force at Space Gallery on April 5. The event, Think & Drink Portland: Policing, is a panel discussion featuring Sarah Walton, executive director of Policing Education & Active Civic Engagement. Walton is also a former Maine Assistant Attorney General. Joining her is Jamie Rooney of the York Police Department and moderator Samaa Abdurraqib. — Troy R. Bennett

Crepes come to Public Market House —  BDN Portland’s Kathleen Pierce reports:

The newest food offering at Portland Public Market House is one week old and going like Parisian hot cakes. Lauren Brinkmann, owner of [Cafe Crepe] the food-truck-turned bricks and mortar business, is keeping things simple, savory, sweet and fast. With four crepe makers raging at a time, her crepe emporium, last home to K. Horton Specialty Foods, which closed in January, is a high-output gourmet go-to for hungry Portlanders.

LePage pardons a dog that was sentenced to die — Dakota has a violent past, but Gov. Paul LePage thinks that the husky deserves a second chance, BDN’s Michael Shepherd reports. The governor issued a pardon on Thursday that could spare the newly adopted dog for a death sentence. Dakota was set to be euthanization after killing another dog last year, but LePage’s intervention may stop that. It was not clear Thursday whether a Maine governor has ever pardoned an animal before, but Mike writes that “the state Constitution gives chief executives wide latitude to ‘grant reprieves, commutations and pardons’ and species isn’t specified.

Liberal annoyed by progressives — The recently formed political group Progressive Portland has made a splash in local politics by aggressively pushing for its prefered causes, like school renovations and police body cameras. But in its frequent email blasts, self-described liberal Sean Kerwin sees the approach of of Gov. Paul LePage turned to “what is presumed to be a more noble end.” Kerwin has expressed frustration with what  see as Progressive Portland’s overly divisive politicking, but the group has led more generally amenable initiatives, like raising money for a Jewish community group following a bomb threat.

Legislatures suggest more mental health workers at Long Creek — A legislative committee is opposing job cuts that might endanger the accreditation of a school at Maine’s youth prison. The Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee earlier this week unanimously recommended against eliminating 11 positions at Long Creek Youth Development Center’s school, the committee’s clerk said. The committee also recommended reshuffling some existing positions to add three mental health professionals to the prison, which has struggled to treat and keep safe the severely mentally ill population it is increasingly required to house.

Tweet of the day

From the National Weather Service, because in Maine it snows in the spring too:   

The Big Idea

Weed has Colorado’s restaurants at “Defcon 5” As in Portland, the restaurant scene in Denver is booming. But the Colorado city also has a problem: In Denver, “young workers who once saw employment opportunities in the restaurant business are flocking to grow facilities and dispensaries,” Bloomberg’s Kate Krader reports in a story that has parallels to Portland.

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

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