This Just In (135)

Rural vs. urban in the fight for 'free' money

Politicians, especially those seeking statewide office, often discount the idea of “the two Maines,” a reference to the contrast between left-leaning Southern Maine and the right-leaning Northern Maine.The geography is handy, but the real difference isn’t north-south, but rather urban-rural — and few issues underscore the Two Maines Gap more than the difference between how Gov. Paul LePage seems to feel about federal tax dollars.
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City delays decision on minimum wage hike

Those on both sides of the debate to raise Portland’s minimum wage agree that it would make Portland an outlier. They just don’t agree as to whether that’s a good or bad thing.Last week the city’s council finance committee collected public comment on the proposal to raise the minimum wage within Portland to $9.50 an hour, with incremental increases in coming years. After two hours of testimony, the committee postponed a vote until an economic…
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City streamlines outdoor concert approval

The long-awaited, oft-predicted new era of major outdoor music for the Portland area has taken another step forward: City staff, not elected officials, will be agreeing to Maine Pier events organized by the Waterfront Concerts promotion company next summer, a move the city hopes will allow the group to “more actively market the Maine State Pier as a viable option for artists looking for summer outdoor concerts in Maine.”

Portland's mayor wants the state to kick in more for USM

With no end to budget cuts in sight over at USM, Portland’s mayor has taken it upon himself to triage the ailing local institution.Mayor Michael Brennan is showing his support for the financially beleaguered University of Southern Maine with a proposal that would appropriate $2 million to help curbs falling enrollment and retain current students.

Some USM students are looking for a way out

As Portland’s “metropolitan” university continues to address its budget crisis with another round of cuts, some students are looking to distance themselves from the beleaguered institution.Allie Athearn enrolled at Husson University as a freshman but transferred to USM in her second year for what she thought would be a better, more widely-respected school.
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Leaning tower across from Congress Square could have a new tenant

With the city leading another meeting this week on the future of Portland’s Congress Square — which has become a symbol for the tensions between development and preservation — it turns out that the oft-critiqued building across the corner is negotiating a deal for its first tenant in years. We’re talking about the Swartz Building, of course, that long-vacant, plywood-fronted brick structure that features a clock tower tilting back several degrees from center. The attorney…

Who’s missing from the city’s new task force?

When the city last week announced it was addressing the terrible Noyes Street fire by putting together a panel to examine how officials inspect buildings, there was one group noticeably absent from the task force: anyone that resembled the mostly young victims who died in the blaze.Appointed by acting City Manager Sheila Hill-Christian, the task force includes representatives from local and out-of-state fire departments, code enforcement officers, zoning officials and landlords. It will review fire,…
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