Remember when “talking about the weather” was a euphemism for banal chit chat?
Yeah. Not so much any more.
So here’s something I’m sure you’re happy to see as the calendar still says “August” on it: Parts of Maine are starting to hit freezing temperatures now.
But don’t let the chilly temps get you down. There are plenty of other things to get you down instead.
For instance, a potential tropical storm is twirling its way up the East Coast. If it doesn’t veer off into the North Atlantic first, it’ll drench parts of New England starting on Wednesday.
This is less than a week after the Category 4 Hurricane Harvey caused potentially historic levels of flooding in Houston, untold billions in damages and at least eight deaths.
We’ll get back to the subject of the hurricane in today’s Big Idea at the bottom of tonight’s newsletter. But first…
What we’re talking about
The city of Portland will have to do some remediation work at its closed landfill off Ocean Avenue before it can launch an ambitious solar power project there, the Portland Press Herald’s Randy Billings is reporting. The city wants to install 2,800 solar panels at the site by the end of the year, but first it must fix the landfill cover, which has deteriorated over years of deferred maintenance, and install vents to release methane gas which has collected beneath the surface.
On its first day as owner of Whole Foods, Amazon cut prices at the notoriously expensive grocery store chain by as much as 43 percent. The online retailer announced plans to purchase the upscale grocer for $13.7 billion back in June. Today’s headline-grabbing price cuts are being blamed for falling stocks at competitors like Wal-mart, Costco, Target and Kroger, while Amazon’s shares are up. There’s a popular Whole Foods market in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood.
A Falmouth boy suffering from a seizure disorder spent Sunday fighting crime, WGME, CBS 13, reported. In a heartwarming day organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, 10-year-old Sawyer dressed up as the super hero Sonic Spiderboy, helped Falmouth and Portland police track down an evil mime and rescued baseball mascot Slugger just in time for the Portland Sea Dogs game.
Curious why your street has its name? The BDN’s Troy R. Bennett has quick back stories on more than 40 of Portland’s street names. Congress and Exchange streets used to have different names, and at least two other streets are meant to honor significant people… by misspelling their names.
Payment processing firm Wex is another step closer to moving its corporate headquarters to the Portland waterfront today. The developer behind the project submitted its plans for a four-story, 100,000-square-foot building on Thames Street, where Wex will move about 450 of its employees. The building will also include between 5,000-10,000 square feet of street-level retail space, if approved. The City Council agreed to sell the previously city-owned lot to the developer last week. Wex’ corporate HQ is currently over in South Portland, where the company has claimed it will maintain a presence.
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The Big Idea
While Hurricane Harvey has caused tremendous damage and loss in Houston, another hurricane was at least partly responsible for helping build the city. Indirectly, of course. According to this story in Forbes magazine, Galveston, Texas, was a major commercial hub — considered the “Wall Street of the West” — before the now-infamous hurricane of 1900 destroyed the city. Investors then considered Galveston a risky place to put their money and turned their attention to building in Houston instead. Of course, the discovery of oil near Houston played a role as well.