Planned Parenthood says the fight is far from over

A victory was won last week when the GOP pulled their flawed health care reform bill from the House floor after acknowledging they wouldn’t be able to drum up enough votes. It was a victory particularly for women, who hours before the bill died, saw a room full of men (in that tone-deaf Freedom Caucus photo Mike Pence tweeted out) make decisions on cutting maternity care, hospitalization, and other essential health services.“Friday was good day,”…

A future progressive city leader? Joey Brunelle lays out his vision for Portland's future

Getting people to understand the importance of local government starts by convincing them it isn’t boring or intimidating.   That’s what the local digital communications specialist Joey Brunelle wants to do. Besides designing print ads and podcasting, Brunelle has been engaged in a lot of civic-related activities, and he hopes you will too.   Last year, he was part of the movement to help save the India Street Health Clinic. He was also the Secretary…

A quick Q and A with Zoo Cain

The prolific artist and longtime Portland resident Zoo Cain shared some wisdom with the Phoenix ahead of the local premiere of "Peace, Love, and Zoo," an award-winning film by Reginald Groff that chronicles his road to recovery and shows that when you give to the universe, sometimes it gives back.    What have you been up to lately? Where is your energy focused?   Walking the wilds of Cape Cod with my wife Cindy.  Staying close…

The New Sound of Portland? Prism Analog opens Vintage Recording Studio in Bayside

American life is contradictory. It’s cheaper to consume music more than any time in history, and technology has given listeners access to a truly limitless amount of recordings. Yet vinyl record sales have increased for the ninth consecutive year. It’s as if — just spitballing here — something about the mass digitization and availability of cultural commodities leaves some people with a diminished sense of meaning and connection. According to Nick Johnson, the engineer set…

Measure to put school bond issue on city ballot defeated

Measure to put school bond issue on city ballot defeated   After 8 hours of deliberation and hearing dozens of public comments, three city councilors voted against a proposal to put the $64 million school bond on the city ballot, effectively defeating it (for now).   The borrowing plan asked for $64 million ($92 million in debt after interest) to pay for much-needed upgrades at the Lyseth, Presumpscot, Reiche, and Longfellow elementary schools. These schools…

Trump EPA Budget “declares war on clean air, clean water, and public health”

Last week the Trump administration revealed what some are calling an “anti-environment agenda,” by releasing their proposed federal budget. President Trump wants to increase military spending by $54 billion, a figure that’s not too far away than the entire defense budget of Russia, according to a recent report by Quartz. The budget also directs $2.6 billion to pay for the first stages of Trump’s wall on the Mexican border, $314 million to Homeland Security to…

Stories from the edge: Exploring what unites us with the Maine Jewish Film Festival

When Gabrielle Zilkha arrived in Accra, the capital of Ghana, she didn’t expect to find any fellow Jews there.   She travelled to the West African country to work at a women’s rights NGO for six months — a Canadian Jew awash in a sea of African Christians. Although Zilkha felt welcome, she also felt isolated, like a fish out of water; feelings that were intensified by the fast-approaching Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah…

Letter to the editor

The Trump administration infrastructure package should tackle the $12B National Park repair backlog. During his confirmation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said one of his main goals as Secretary is to tackle one of our national parks’ biggest challenges: more than $12 billion in necessary infrastructure repairs. Zinke said he wants national parks to be part of the Trump Administration’s larger infrastructure package. Including our parks in this package is a natural fit, as parks repair needs include crumbling buildings,…

WHAT IS A CRIMINAL? The intersection of racial justice and policing in Portland

Jean Valjean is hungry so he steals a loaf of bread. He cannot work and his family is starving, so he commits this necessary act. But Javert, the local police official, considers it a threat to society and pursues the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables for hundreds of pages, convinced he is a criminal who will always return to committing crimes. The reader, on the other hand, roots for Valjean. Rodion Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky's protagonist…

News Briefs: Talking trash, fixing schools, paying panhandlers, and resisting the Supreme Court pick

Petition started to urge city council to renovate schools   Most parents in the area are well aware that the four elementary schools Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot, and Reiche, are in desperate need of an infrastructure upgrade. The Reiche School has seen better days...about 30 years ago. Many have pointed out in local news articles and city council meetings that the schools have been falling into dilapidation; leaky roofs, asbestos, heating problems, and a lack of…
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