Council strikes compromise on school renovations


Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight: snow storm or not, it’s basically lobster roll season; it was unclear whether a dog would make bail; and the city council might end its deadlock over a vote on funding school renovations. Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day, an annual reminder to be skeptical of everything you read on the internet. Have a great weekend.

What we’re talking about

Council strikes compromise on school renovationsJake Bleiberg reports:

The city council appears to have struck a compromise that would let residents decide between two different bond proposals to renovate aging elementary schools.

The deal announced by Mayor Ethan Strimling and Councilor Nicholas Mavodones Friday afternoon would break weeks of deadlock over paying for renovations at Presumpscot, Longfellow, Reiche and Lyseth elementary schools. If approved by the full council, it would place two separate bond questions on the November ballot — one for $64 million and one for $32 million …

Either ballot question would require more than 50 percent of the vote to pass. Whichever receives more votes above that threshold will be the winner, Strimling said. The larger bond will appear first on the ballot, according to the mayor.

New Sea Dogs hats cover the entire state  — They may officially called the Portland Sea Dogs, but a new game-day cap features Slugger presiding over an whole map of Maine. The new hat logo, along with another new one featuring just the team’s seal mascot, was unveiled today. That gives the team three authorized hat designs to choose from when they play ball. Of course, they’re for sale to regular folks, too. Unless the impending snow changes things, the Dogs will open their season on Thursday, at home, against Reading. — Troy R. Bennett

Fate of pardoned dog in limbo after court hearing delayed — Judy Harrison today reports on the latest news on the dog pardoned from euthanization by Gov. Paul LePage:

The fate of a husky named Dakota, who killed a smaller dog in Winslow last year, remained undecided Friday after a status conference among the various parties and the District Court judge was delayed. … It was unclear whether the canine would be eligible for bail as human detainees are or who would be responsible for the cost of its care at the shelter.

Dogs, ziki flies and bull semen — Gov. Paul LePage “has continually shown a soft spot for dogs, while his relationship with other animals — like the nonexistent ‘ziki fly,’ the buffaloes that don’t live in Maine and more — has been complicated to say the least,” writes Michael Shepherd.

‘To fix Long Creek, start with the DHHS.’ — If the state is to fix the troubles plaguing Maine’s youth prison, the head of the local ACLU chapter writes in the Press Herald, it needs to take a good, hard look at what’s wrong in the Department of Health and Human Services. As of July a majority of committed inmates at Long Creek had three or more mental health diagnoses and nearly 30 percent of them had been sent to the prison from a residential treatment program, the BDN exclusively reported last month. The ACLU’s Alison Beyea places the blame for this and the trend of self-harm among inmates at the youth prison on Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew. “At every step of the way, the department seems unwilling to protect those who need it most – at-risk children,” she wrote.

Lobster shack season is on — Even with a Nor’Easter bearing down on New England, The Lobster Shack at Two Lights is open for the season. The Cape Elizabeth fried clam house opened on March 25 and won’t stop until October 22. “We will be open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” it announced on Facebook. Bundle up and head out Saturday in the snow for a rare chance to grab a lobster roll without standing in line for an hour. — Kathleen Pierce

Tweet of the day

It’s already April Fools day in Australia so we’re not sure whether this is real, but here’s your tweet from Richard Branson:

The Best Thing We Read Today

‘I asked Tony Hawk if he would teach me how to ollie and he said yes’ — A writer asked the most famous skateboarder in the world for a favor: Teach her how to do a simple skateboarding trick. He said yes. “I genuinely cannot believe it happened, and I am stunned at the sort of scams you can sometimes pull as a writer,” writes Kelly Conaboy.

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

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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.