Do you have a 60-foot-tall spruce tree on your property? If so, City Hall wants to talk

It’s not even Halloween — or even Indigenous People’s Day — and the city of Portland is asking about finding the perfect Christmas tree.

In fairness, the annual Monument Square tree lighting event is held the day after Thanksgiving, so the city can’t wait until mid-November to start looking. But still — it’s like 80 degrees out today.

And some of us still haven’t gotten around to taking down all of our decorations from last December… or so I’ve been told…

Anyway, if you have an evergreen, spruce or fir, standing between 45 feet and 60 feet tall, on your property, and you want to let the city of Portland come cut it down to put in Monument Square, fill out this form. If your tree is chosen, you’ll be given a place of honor during the tree lighting and free tickets to the city’s Merry Madness event, a holiday shopping party of sorts in early December.

What we’re talking about

Maine high school athletes have joined professional football players in taking a knee during the national anthem. Members of the Traip Academy girls’ soccer team in Kittery took a knee before their Monday afternoon game, the Portsmouth Herald reported. National Football League players have been kneeling during the anthem to protest racial inequality in the country, and President Donald Trump has been harshly criticizing them for doing so.

Going through local professional sports withdrawal, now that the Portland Sea Dogs’ season is over? The Maine Red Claws basketball team announced a trade that sends a draft pick and the rights to three players to the Canton Charge for another draft pick and the rights to Jonathan Holmes and Daniel Coursey. At first glance, Holmes is the gem in the deal. At 6 feet, 9 inches tall, the forward started 20 games for the Charge last year, averaging nearly 13 points and 7 rebounds per game. The Red Claws are a minor league affiliate of the Boston Celtics, and their season begins in early November.

BDN Outdoors reporter Aislinn Sarnacki’s latest 1-minute hike video covers Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth. Check that out here.

Bridgton police are on the lookout for whoever burned down three portable toilets there, WGME, CBS 13, is reporting. I wonder what that guy ate! No, seriously, though, the police are treating it as a case of arson. Also burned was a Highland Lake lifeguard shed, where all the equipment for swimming lessons was stored.

Neighbors the Cumberland Fairgrounds, where the annual fair is taking place this week, are worried about a town proposal to move its public works facility to a part of the property previously reserved for overflow camping or temporary housing for carnival workers. The Forecaster’s Alex Lear is reporting that the town department has outgrown its current facility on Drowne Road.

Gov. Paul LePage has doubled down on his threat to remove county sheriffs who won’t detain inmates beyond their scheduled release dates if federal immigration agents ask them to. The governor sent a letter to sheriffs explicitly ordering them to comply with federal detainer requests by immigration agents. LePage threatened the move while speaking on a conservative talk radio show Monday, a few days after Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce said he wouldn’t hold any inmates past their scheduled release dates without a warrant to do so.

If you’re following the ongoing drama surrounding GOP efforts to repeal former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, you’ll know current Republican Vice President Mike Pence went on Maine talk radio today to express his disappointment with fellow Republican, Maine’s U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, for announcing she’ll vote against the latest repeal plan, despite last-minute efforts to sweeten the pot and include more federal funding for Maine.

Tweet of the day

From comedian and late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, who has been an outspoken opponent of the aforementioned Obamacare repeal efforts:

The Big Idea

Heck, since we’re talking about politics, Democrats are seeing encouraging voting trends in one of the most unlikely places in the country: Texas. Left-leaning publication Mother Jones is reporting that the long die-hard GOP stronghold is getting younger and voting more with the donkey party all the time. Is it enough to end a two-decades-long losing streak in statewide elections by the Democrats? Congressman Beto O’Rourke wants to find out, challenging incumbent Republican Ted Cruz for his Senate seat. Political operators will be watching the race for any signs that Trump could be vulnerable there in the next presidential election.

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

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