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Immigrant Kitchens: After the gala, seeking out Burundian spicy rice

The young man at the front desk of my office building had an accent. He was from Rwanda. I asked him if he’d teach me how to cook a dish for Immigrant Kitchens. He shook his head, but he knew an African friend who liked to cook, and he’d ask her. In the meantime, he suggested I go that Friday to the African Gala, a festival of African food and entertainment. There would be a…

Ranked-choice voting: This year, for mayor; next year, who knows?

In 2011, when 15 candidates jockeyed for the post of Portland mayor, the city took a dry run at ranked-choice voting."In 2011, it took us four hours to scan the ballots — six hours to upload the data but four hours to scan — so 10 hours to complete the process," recalled Portland City Clerk Katherine Jones.
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New landlord safety rules apply to Airbnb, roommates

If you are an Airbnb host — or just have a roommate — prepare to register as a landlord as of Jan. 1, or be subject to $100 a day in fines.As of that date, Portland's Airbnb hosts and people with roommates are subject to the same new safety regulations as traditional landlords.According to its website, Airbnb was founded in August 2008 and based in San Francisco, Calif., created as a “community marketplace for people…

What we are thankful for

Tim Schoolcraft is a day laborer. He has broad shoulders, a slow and easy way with his words, and a voice that calls to mind cinder and slag. I found him at The Porthole, in the Old Port, at the edge of the bar, in solitary communion with a single pint of beer. “What are you thankful for?” I asked. His answer hardly needed summoning. “I'm thankful for the friends you meet in this town,”…

General assistance in 2016: Legislator talks about future of immigrant aid, welfare reform

In January, when the Maine Legislature returns to session, the contentious question of how to allocate general assistance money to immigrants likely will re-emerge."Obviously the legislation which allows asylum seekers to receive general assistance benefits, it's one of the series of bills that the governor didn't veto in time," said Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Androscoggin, who serves as the chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services for the 127th Maine Legislature.
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