Pre-Weekend Roundup

There are a few things you should know before the weekend begins, in addition to the impending return of Granny's Burritos, which we told you about earlier today:

News: The unionized employees of the Blethen Maine Newspapers had previously said they were considering trying to buy the papers (the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Augusta-based Kennebec Journal, and the Waterville-based Morning Sentinel). They have officially launched their effort, including a Web site where they are seeking financial backers to support the union's efforts.

Art: It must be video-contest month. Both the AFL-CIO and the Maine Association of Realtors have announced cash prizes for creating good videos. To win the AFL-CIO's top prize of $1000, make a video on the theme "Turn Around America," trying to build grassroots momentum for elected leaders whose policies focus on workers. To win the Realtors' top prize - $20,000 (now we're talking!) - make a video about why you want to own a "piece of Maine" - by which they mean buy a house. (If you own a house, tell 'em why you love it - and don't be shy about admitting it can no longer be because of the great resale value!)

Event: Maine's Green Party is hosting a showing of American Blackout, a documentary about Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's efforts to figure out what went wrong with the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. (We're assuming the movie is short.) McKinney is seeking the Green Party's nomination for president. It's at 7 pm at the Meg Perry Center, 644 Congress St, Portland, and costs $5. We're not sure if McKinney ever came to Maine, but also-seeking-the-Green-nomination Jesse Johnson from West Virginia did, a couple months back, and stopped by the Portland Phoenix office for a brief chat. He was very nice, fairly predictable in terms of issues, and energetic. (And he became the only candidate I've ever met, in more than a decade of interviewing candidates, who ever sent me a thank-you note after a sit-down interview.)

Other brief tidbits:

-Portland-based Shipyard Brewing Company was named the 15th-largest craft brewing beer by 2007 sales volume by the national Brewers Association. When the list expands to include all US brewing companies, Shipyard moves down a little (gotta make room for the big guys, like Anheuser-Busch) to be the 27-largest US brewing company by 2007 sales volume. It's the only Maine brewer on either list.

-Portland Stage Company just got a $25,000 federal grant (from the National Endowment for the Arts) to perform Julius Caesar for students who have previously had little exposure to professional theater.


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