PORTLAND — A deadly flu raged when the Catholic Church and its Sisters of Mercy launched an institution on Dec. 12, 1918. One newspaper headline at the time warned, “Well in the Morning and Dead at Night.” It was autumn of 1918 and Maine was in the grip of a vicious flu pandemic more deadly than any that had preceded it. Unlike other strains of the virus before or since, the “Spanish Flu” outbreak spared no age group – not infants, children, seniors or adults in the prime of their lives. It wiped out entire families, eventually claiming about 675,000 people in the United States and at least 50 million people worldwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Maine, more than 5,000 of the state’s roughly 750,000 residents died, according to the Maine Historical Society. It was under these dire circumstances that the Portland health care institution now known as Northern Light Mercy Hospital was opened 100 years … [Read more...] about Mercy Hospital opened 100 years ago during deadly flu epidemic
My friends, I am paralyzed by fear while penning these words. The list of things we are not supposed to say keeps growing and now includes a classic Christmas song that is not to be sung, hummed or otherwise referenced, lest ye be branded a woman-hating scoundrel with bad intentions. This one is a bummer because “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a fun little song that’s impossible to stop singing once you get started. All it takes is some fool on the street remarking on the bitterness of the temperature and BAM! For the remainder of the day, you’re walking around singing this song — Both Doris Day’s and Bing Crosby’s lines — over and over until your office mates take a vote and decide to beat you unconscious with a Yule log. We’ve all been hearing and singing this song five times per day in the weeks leading up to Christmas and nobody I know has been turned into a rampaging fiend because of it. But somebody somewhere has decided … [Read more...] about Mark LaFlamme: What’s that song on your lips?
Portland City Manager Jon Jennings has proposed a six-month moratorium on waterfront development in an effort to forestall a citizen referendum to block non-marine construction on the city’s piers. If the moratorium is adopted by the City Council, it would pause commercial developments on the water side of Commercial Street in the waterfront central zone. The zone between the Casco Bay Bridge and the Ocean Gateway ferry terminal includes the city’s surviving fishermen and marine businesses. Booming development on both sides of Commercial Street has raised fears the working waterfront will be pushed out by expensive office and hotel projects, including a luxury complex proposed on Fisherman’s Wharf. A moratorium will give the city, pier owners and marine businesses time to work out a compromise that preserves the waterfront’s character and economic success, Jennings said in an interview Tuesday. If passed by the city council, it also could … [Read more...] about Portland proposes six-month ban on development along waterfront
The state’s highest court will hear arguments Wednesday in the appeal of the man convicted of killing a 16-year-old girl in East Millinocket in 1980. Philip Scott Fournier, a longtime suspect in the teenager’s death, was charged and arrested in 2016. He was convicted of murder by Superior Court Justice Ann Murray after a bench trial in February in Bangor. Murray sentenced Fournier to 45 years in prison. Joyce McLain went out for a jog on Aug. 8, 1980, and never came home. Her body was found behind the Schenck High School soccer fields in a wooded area near a row of power lines. She was mostly naked and the back of her skull had been crushed with a blunt object. At the time of her death, McLain was a sophomore at Schenck. She was an honor student, a cheerleader, a musician and an athlete. Her disappearance and the attempts by police to solve her murder were complicated by powerful thunderstorms that may have washed away evidence at the crime scene. After … [Read more...] about Maine’s high court hear appeal of conviction in Joyce McLain murder case
AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has rejected a request from Gov.-elect Janet Mills that his administration not approve any new contracts with private vendors before she takes office Jan. 2. “It is inappropriate to request that ongoing work on behalf of the people of Maine be halted for more than three weeks and sit there until you are inaugurated,” LePage wrote Tuesday in a letter to Mills. “A smooth transition implies that the routine work of state government goes on uninterrupted. Contracting is part of that work.” Mills, a Democrat, sent a letter Monday to the Republican governor’s commissioners for the departments of Administration and Financial Services and Health and Human Services asking them to put a freeze on signing any new contracts with private vendors. In her letter to acting DHHS Commissioner Bethany Hamm and DAFS Commissioner Alec Porteous, Mills also requested a list of all current contracts and a list of contracts set to expire. “My … [Read more...] about LePage rejects request from Mills to halt awarding of state contracts