Maine’s largest city will no longer celebrate Columbus Day as a municipal holiday.

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Monday to designate the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The vote came after nearly an hour of public comment.

Belfast was the first to make the switch in 2015, Bangor did so last month and Orono followed suit last week. Later Monday night, the Brunswick Town Council voted 8-1 to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937 and will continue to be.

While the initiatives in Belfast and Bangor saw no public opposition, Italian-Americans, including representatives of the Italian Heritage Center, opposed the proposal in Portland. They said Columbus Day is less a celebration about one individual and more a celebration of Italian-American heritage.

“This is like a slap in the face to the Italians who reside here,” said Marianne Dalfonso Reali, a past president of the heritage center, which has a statue of Columbus in its lobby in Portland.

Steve Caminiti, who grew up in Portland and now lives in Falmouth, said he didn’t want to argue about whether Columbus was a good man or a bad man. Instead, he highlighted the fact that Portland, and America in general, is a nation of immigrants.

“We look at that as something that celebrates our contribution to the city of Portland and the country overall,” Caminiti said. “We understand all of these things are tainted in history.”

But others see a darker side of history – one that is rarely taught in history books.

Maulian Dana Smith, a member of the Penobscot Nation, said Columbus committed heinous crimes, including genocide. She noted how natives literally had their native language beaten out of them.

“You can’t ask us to gloss over that history just so people can have a day off,” Smith said.

Western Europeans first came to the Portland peninsula back in the 1600s, when it was a part of Falmouth. However, little is known about the Wabanakis who once called this region “Aucocisco.” Historians have estimated 90 percent of them were killed by disease brought by early explorers and by warfare after settlers arrived in full force.

City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau seemed to sum up the view of the council when he said the proposal was about including indigenous people in the historical discussion, rather than excluding Italian-Americans.

“(It’s) more of an opportunity to celebrate this day as one chooses,” Thibodeau said. “That is what I think is most powerful about it.”

Supporters of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, who noted that Columbus never set foot in America, called the council action a first step in correcting history books, but it’s unclear how it will affect students in Portland.

“It is important to note that our teachers teach about the impact of colonization on Native American tribes, including Maine Native Americans, throughout the social studies curriculum in an age-appropriate manner,” he said in an email.

“We also teach about the interplay of enduring themes such as exploration and discovery, economic expansionism, immigration, colonialism, genocide and cultural genocide, among other concepts associated with the arrival of Europeans in the Americas,” he said.

Recognizing indigenous people on Columbus Day is a growing trend across the U.S. A few states – Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota and Vermont – don’t recognize Columbus Day.

A bill to make Indigenous Peoples’ Day a state holiday did not advance in the Legislature this year.

The formerly homeless cat’s activities now are being put to a good cause. All the cash he “steals” is going to help the local animal shelter as well as the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.

Money kept showing up at the front door of an office and the owners couldn’t figure out why. They would arrive in the mornings to find dollars strewn on the floor, with only their office cat as a witness. But the Oklahoma-based ad-agency soon realized the mysterious money was because of their cat, Sir Whines A Lot.

“The strangest thing has been happening at the office on weekends,” they explained on Facebook. “When we show up on Saturday mornings and sometimes even on Sunday afternoons, we find a couple dollars on the floor near the door. Now we knew no one was paying their invoice in singles, but we just couldn’t figure it out. Well at least not until we decided to test a theory on our little #CashnipKitty. Apparently he’s quite the hustler, playing all the late night partiers traveling by foot on 3rd, Friday and Saturday nights.”

The video shows how they tested their theory and realized it was their cat.

Passers-by, it seems, had been slipping dollar bills through the door and dangling it in front of the sociable cat only to have him snatch the money out of their hands. Word spread, and now the cash-grabbing cat has gone viral!

Sir-Whines-A-Lot’s activities have drawn a lot of attention, so much that he now goes by the nickname “CASHnip Kitty”. The formerly homeless cat’s activities now are being put to a good cause. All the cash he “steals” is going to help the local animal shelter as well as the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.

People can’t get enough of the cash-grabbing game, but those that play soon discover Sir Whines-A-Lot plays for keeps.

Stuart McDaniel of GuRuStu Studios explains how his dad first came up with the theory of Sir-Whines-A-Lot’s after-hours activities and how they turned the game into a fund-raising activity for needy charities.

What a great, creative way to help give back. And it’s all because one cat couldn’t keep his paws off the money!


"When we woke up Monday morning, there was Irma, still sitting on her nest, covered in broken tree branches and Spanish moss, but alive and unharmed, all 13 eggs still intact."

When a big storm rolls around, like the recent Hurricane Irma, it’s hard to see the wildlife out there without any real secure shelter.

But you also have to remember that wild animals have been fending for themselves forever. It may not always be the most pleasant thing, but their instincts will kick in and tell them where to go.

One Florida woman named Joy Anne Trent witnessed something truly amazing during Hurricane Irma.

Some Muscovy ducks live near her house, and one of them made a nest underneath one of the trees in her yard. Joy was worried about the feathered mama-to-be, whom she’d named Irma, so she made sure to keep an eye on her during the storm.

Joy was so impressed by Irma the duck’s motherly instincts that she simply had to post about it on Facebook and share the story with the world.

Joy wrote: This is ‘Irma’, she is one of the Muscovy ducks that hangs out in the ponds in front of, and behind our house in Plant City, Florida. About a month ago she laid 13 eggs at the base of the Live Oak tree in the front yard.

She usually gets on and off the nest multiple times a day to eat and drink. When I got up this past Sunday morning Irma was on her nest. The weather was already turning nasty with high winds and rain.


Stunning pictures feature the nomadic Nenets tribe, who drink blood to survive in -45C (-49F) temperatures

A British photographer has captured life at the 'edge of the world'. He joined an 800km migration of reindeer in the Yamal-Nenets region of Siberia

Timothy Allen, best known for his work on BBC's Human Planet, trekked through the freezing Siberian wilderness for 16 days as he joined part of an 800km migration of reindeer in the Yamal-Nenets region, a name that roughly translates to 'edge of the world'.

The stunning pictures feature the nomadic Nenets tribe, who drink blood to survive in -45C (-49F) temperatures.

Timothy's epic journey, which will be revealed in an eight-minute documentary on Animal Planet USA, saw him travel across the bleak terrain of the frozen Ob River with the Nenets people in December last year.

The Nenets, also known as Samoyeds, are an indigenous people in northern arctic Russia.

It is unknown whether the people guide the reindeer or whether the animals lead the people.

Her rescuer later found that the dog may have been fending for herself on the streets for a month.

“While I was out prepping our yard for big Irma badness here in central Florida I saw this sweetie across the street,” she wrote in her post. “I called to her like I would any dog and she cautiously walked over. Even looked both ways before crossing the street. She’s a smart cookie.”

She figured the dog to be roughly a year old and the poor thing was famished, downing three bowls of food and two cups of water, the woman wrote, before seeming to take a breath.

The dog was street worn, as well: scuffed skin, bloody paws, matted fur. She had some tar stuck to her rear end. Despite what seemed like the emotional scars of hostile treatment, the pup walked right into the woman’s house after her filling meal.

“She got pretty snuggly after being fed,” the woman recalls. “As far as even putting her paw on my arm and dragging it back to her chest whenever I paused for a moment.”

The dog endured a bath. And clippers. And slowly but surely, this kind human eased her nerves.

“Once she realized we were helping not hurting she stopped fighting us,” the poster noted. “It must have felt so good to have those mats released from her pulling her skin.”

Her rescuer wondered whether the dog had a family and, per her post, went searching on the Internet, spreading the word on social media and though she might have found the original owners. But it appeared they didn’t want her anymore. It seemed the dog had passed through a strung of families until someone eventually brought her to a new city and dumped her off, road side, one month previously.

And so the woman decided the dog would stay with her. Forever. She was named Amaterasu. Amy for short. They would await Irma and ride it out together.

“So here we sit,” the woman adds. “Waiting out the storm and thanking the doggo gods for bringing us yet another source of happiness.”