New England immigration arrests up 85 percent from same time last year


Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight we got ahold of ICE’s recent arrest numbers; Maine has the small business woman of the year; and Portlanders are prepping for the first legal 4/20.

What we’re talking about

Immigration arrests up in New England — BDN Portland got Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s arrest numbers from the first few weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency. In New England, immigration arrests rose 85 percent and arrests of undocumented immigrants without criminal records tripled compared with the same time last year. Even with the president’s promise to expand ICE staff and capabilities as yet unrealized, the New England arrest rate is already approaching that seen during the the peak of former President Barack Obama’s historic deportation push. “I’m afraid for other people and I’m afraid for myself even though I’m legal here,” a Mexican immigrant and activist said. “[Immigrants] were already scared, but now it’s worse.”

Portland-based foodie tours maven receives national award — What started as a gustatory pipedream has turned into a top business in the state. Maine Foodie Tours, run by Portland resident Pamela Laskey, was named U.S. Small Business Administration’s Woman Owned Small Business of the Year for Maine. “She’s had phenomenal growth. She’s opened up in multiple towns and cities and is very creative in how she’s invented the business,” said Diane Sturgeon, the SBA’s Maine deputy district director. “From classic Old Port spots to a tour in Kennebunk that you can bring you pets on, she continues to innovate.” — Kathleen Pierce

Portland man says he hit 80 mph before landing in a pond —A golf cart was apparently too slow for Brian M. Mills. Last Friday, Brunswick police found Mills’ Volkswagen R32 partly sunk into a pond at the Mere Creek Golf Club, BDN’s Beth Brogan reports. The driver was nowhere to be found, but a tow truck operator reportedly told police that Mills had called to have his car pulled out. Police later found Mills and charged the 34-year-old with driving to endanger and failure to report the crash. Mills, who told police he was doing about 80 mph, explained the crash by saying that he was passing a slow moving car, an officer said.

Free books and dope under the statue — Ganja legalization activist Crash Barry plans to hand out free copies of his book “Marijuana Valley” in Monument Square on Thursday (It’s 4/20, get it?) at high noon. Word on the street is that he’ll also give you a free sample from his personal stash of hippy cabbage if you say the not-so-secret password: cannabis liberation. Just don’t smoke it on the spot, he said, and be over 21 years old. — Troy R. Bennett

City to break ground on new Hall School — The city is clearing land to begin construction of a $29.7 million school building to replace the Fred P. Hall Elementary School off Brighton Avenue, the Press Herald’s Randy Billings reports. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2018, but before it begins logging crews must clear three acres of trees near Capisic Brook. Last April, Portland voters approved the $29.7 million rebuild the six-decade old facility that needed upgrades even before it was badly damaged by a 2012 fire.

Tweet of the day

From Buzzfeed’s United Kingdom editor Alan White:

The Big Idea

Want to know what the government is doing with your taxes? — Where exactly your tax money goes is a question that has long vexed politicians and the public, the New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin writes. A former Microsoft CEO has built a database that might finally provide the answers.

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

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