Mayhew’s exit

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew is out; the Black Lives Matter protester won’t face charges; and a red tide has rolled in.

What we’re talking about

Mayhew is out — Mary Mayhew, who has served as Maine commissioner of Health and Human Services since the early days of Gov. Paul LePage’s tenure, will be leaving that post Friday, BDN’s Chris Cousins reports. The long-time DHHS head has helped the LePage administration archive major agenda items including revamping public assistance programs at the state and federal levels and reducing the number of Mainers who qualify for Medicaid by the thousands. But Mayhew has also been at the center of controversies including the loss of federal certification for the state-run Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta and the unlawful diversion of more than $13 million in federal welfare funding. Mayhew did not say what she plans to do next but her name has been mentioned as a potential gubernatorial candidate.     

Read the BDN’s extensive coverage of Mayhew here.

Black Lives Matter —  A judge has blocked state prosecutors’ efforts to reinstate criminal charges against 17 Black Lives Matter protesters who were arrested in last summer and ordered the protesters and Portland police to try again at talking through their differences in a so-called “restorative justice” session. Cumberland County Superior Court Justice Lance Walker’s Tuesday ruling orders protesters and prosecutors to try to fulfill the conditions of a plea deal that broke down earlier this year.

Red tide — A long stretch of the Maine coast between between Old Orchard Beach and Harpswell has been shut for clamming, the Press Herald’s Dennis Hoey reports. The Maine Department of Marine Resources and its Bureau of Public Health implemented the ban on Monday, warning of the the threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning caused by red tide.

How Joshua Chamberlain’s ghost struck down ranked-choice voting — BDN reporter Darren Fishell fills us in on how the ghost of election chaos past, quelled by the former governor,  civil war hero, and Portland resident figured prominently into the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s unanimous opinion that ranked-choice voting conflicts with the state constitution this week. — Troy R. Bennett

If you want it fixed right, learn to fix it yourself — The Gear Hub is offering a five-week bike-fixing course that tackles all aspects of your bike from the brakes to headsets and bottom brackets. Courses start June 1. The Gear Hub is non profit bike and outdoor gear shop where all proceeds support more youth getting outside. — Troy R. Bennett

Foraging for a home in Portland —  Lewiston bagel maker Forage Market is looking to find a home in Portland by next year, Mainebiz’s Lori Valigra reports. Saveur magazine named the store’s bagels some of the best in America and owner Allen Smith is hoping to bring them to a shop on the peninsula soon.

Tweet of the day

From sensitive t-rex:

The Big Idea

A whale of a story— The New York Times Nicholas St. Fleur reports on how whales became the largest animals on earth.

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

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