From the Margins (86)

Seven cents for Skip

For my final submission of From the Margins, here's a story inspired by my old pal Skip, who taught me that the best way to get through a long day on rough seas is to put one foot in front of the other and find something to smile about. I’m sad to see my run of nearly three years of submitting weekly columns to the readers of Portland come to an end, but also looking…

As gentrification takes over, true Portlanders remember what once was

With our white-hot real estate market, world-class restaurant scene, and worldwide notoriety for all things cultural, one could make the argument that Portland has never been doing better than it is today. Anyone who remembers what Portland looked and felt like just as recently as a couple of decades ago, though, must wonder what our little city by the sea would be like today if all those million dollar condos, boutique hotels and retail spaces, and…

So, I'm a White Boy Now?

I’ll never forget my first day working at Barber Foods. I showed up outside the massive, intimidating factory at 5:15 on a cold March morning in 2008. I had finished studying at the University of Southern Maine the previous fall and in the wake of our economy’s colossal implosion had found it nearly impossible to find work. Working at a meat processing plant certainly wasn’t my first choice for employment, but at the time it felt like…

Trooper's Tale: From underground dog fighting to rehabilitation

A few years back, a friend of mine named Jon made the decision to adopt a rescue dog named Trooper. As a dog owner myself, I was excited to meet Jon's new best friend, but when I heard about Trooper's past I became hesitant to meet him.See, Trooper's story is both horrific and harrowing, even for a rescue dog. A beautiful golden brown, purebred American Staffordshire Terrier, Trooper was born into an underground dog fighting…

Remembering Portland's Ice Man

Two winters ago I met a man who introduced himself to me as the "Ice Man," or "Ice" for short.He was a soft-spoken man in his late 50s. He hobbled on a cane, and he was afraid for his life.He wasn't running from anyone. In fact, I never saw anyone express ill will toward him, but every day and every night of that cold, brutal winter could have been his last.Ice was a homeless man…

Portland has changed, but the Turkey Game rivalry lives on

I'll never forget the first time I went to a Turkey Game on Thanksgiving Day at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland. I was probably about 10 years old, watching with wide eyes as enormous teenagers went at it with unmatched intensity on the muddy field. Deering High won that year, and although I can't recall the score, I can remember clearly the Portland Bulldog cheerleaders crying over the loss as they walked across the I-295 overpass…

A Breath Of Fresh Air In A Poisonous Election Season

History was made in Portland last week, as Pious Ali became the first African-born Muslim to win a seat on the city council, unseating incumbent Jon Hinck in a landslide victory. Ali, 47, is no stranger to political trail blazing after winning a seat on the Portland Board of Education in 2013, which earned him the distinctions of being the first African immigrant and first Muslim to win any elected seat whatsoever in the state…

After the dust settles

Writing this column on a Monday — knowing that this paper goes to print on Tuesdays, with the most divisive presidential campaign in our nation’s history coming to a conclusion just hours after the ink dries on the pages in your hands — feels a bit daunting. After all, as you read this you will already know the results of the race, but as I write it I still have no idea who will win.…

Remember Darien

I never really knew Darien Richardson very well — just met her a few times in the various social settings that young people hang out in — but I still remember vividly the shock and pain that swept through town following the news of her death. Darien was a bright, beautiful, accomplished young woman. A 2002 graduate of South Portland High School and 2006 graduate of Bowdoin College with a degree in sociology, she dreamed…

High priorities

About four years ago I became acquainted with a guy who lives up in the western foothill region of the state, about an hour north of Lewiston. This guy, who shall remain nameless, is a medicinal marijuana caregiver who grows his plants legally and provides for others who are either sick or in pain. His place is like a scene from a dream, nestled along a mountainside with chickens and pigs running around, a large…
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