Land Use: Coming to a Ballot Near You

You can’t fight City Hall, but you can make up a ballot referendum to throw a wrench into its works. That is the past, present and likely future history of how citizens deal with land use policies that that they do not like. Residents might remember public votes on ordinances concerning Congress Square Park and the views from Munjoy Hill. This time around, residents will be voting on a contentious rent-regulation amendment (Question #1) and…

What's taking so long? Mainers are anxious to start buying and selling recreational marijuana

Hundreds gathered at last week’s 3rd Annual New England Cannabis Convention amidst stalls displaying everything from the latest lighting and trimming technology, cultivation products, and an array of the latest strains, vaporizers, edibles, and CBD topicals, to talk shop about marijuana. But underlying the industry chatter among vendors and attendees was an overwhelming sense of frustration with the delayed implementation of the measure voters approved of in November 2016 and the uncertainty surrounding its rewrite currently…

Ignore the sound bites — People are just trying to survive

Roles of Engagement is a column concerning the actions and dimensions of allyship, looking at cultural events both locally and nationally. Sultana Khan (@YesAsInGenghis) is a Portland-based writer and has written for Gawker, Jalopnik, and Dispatch magazine. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..    It seems as if the last year has been one filled with emotionally devastating events, each tragedy failing to achieve any sense of closure before the next surge crashes over our heads. To…

To Skate or Watch Them Skate: That Is the Question

National Book award-nominated American poet Gail Mazur wrote these words about ice skating, describing a girl on a frozen river with her father: “... they glide arm in arm onto the blurred surface together, braced like dancers. She thinks she’ll never be so happy, for who else will find her graceful, find her perfect, skate with her in circles outside the emptied rink forever?” In the poem, “Ice,” the girl and her dad are the…

Under the Sea, or Beside It?

It can be quite a production to get your kid(s) all geared up, in the car, into your chosen venue, and on their butts in their seats, all to show them a bit of theater, film, or dance that you are sure will open up a whole new area in their brains, specifically the appreciation-that-leads-to-cultured-adulthood part. But then, as you’re watching their reactions to the art on stage out of the corner of your eye,…

How to Know When It’s Time to Move to Canada

Here’s this week’s episode of The Port City Chronicle, the continuing serial novel of Gretchen, a 46-year-old criminal defense lawyer, and her family and friends, seeking love and happiness in Portland the hard way: “Portland, Oregon has everything, but we can’t live there because of the North Korean nukes,” Adam said. As usual, he was running through a list of places we were moving to, even though I’m never leaving Portland, Maine. “How long before…

Do you know your rights? — Public workshop on October 10 to help citizens navigate the legal system

Above The Law is a column featuring news and analysis on incarceration, policing, and the criminal justice system in Maine. The name evokes the extrajudicial actions and impunity of law enforcement that will be covered here, while also imploring citizens to think "above" and beyond the status quo to envision better ways of dealing with harm. Here, we will question and critique not only the conduct of law enforcement but the roles played by various…

You Are What You Smoke (or Eat, or Vape, or Dab)

A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise." - Aldo Leopold It’s just about harvest time for outdoor cannabis growers in Maine, and by the end of the month, 14 marijuana farming operations are set to be accredited by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) Certified Clean Cannabis program, otherwise known as MC3.   Now in its…

Exercise your awareness with PAC's mother/daughter self-defense class

It’s hard to process events like what happened in Las Vegas a few days ago. Words like ‘atrocity’ and ‘travesty’ have lost their power. The religious might use the word ‘aberration.’ But how can aberrations be happening so frequently? It’s enough to make you wonder, is the cosmic balance shifting, jarringly, to the wrong side?   An athlete’s solution is to move, hard and fast, to let the body tell the mind to take a…

How I kept the Bandaloop dancers safe

All of Portland saw Bandaloop. People packed Monument Square, and from there the city watched dancers swing, suspended from the roof of One City Center. Hung by ropes, they bounded across glass and brick in flowy costumes, pink and green streaks linking arms, tossing one another and jumping in unison. They danced like birds, cutting through the air in great swoops, the music leading each movement, the blue of the sky serving as their backdrop,…
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