For my final submission of From the Margins, here's a story inspired by my old pal Skip, who taught me that the best way to get through a long day on rough seas is to put one foot in front of the other and find something to smile about.

Writing this column on a Monday — knowing that this paper goes to print on Tuesdays, with the most divisive presidential campaign in our nation’s history coming to a conclusion just hours after the ink dries on the pages in your hands — feels a bit daunting.

I never really knew Darien Richardson very well — just met her a few times in the various social settings that young people hang out in — but I still remember vividly the shock and pain that swept through town following the news of her death.

About four years ago I became acquainted with a guy who lives up in the western foothill region of the state, about an hour north of Lewiston. This guy, who shall remain nameless, is a medicinal marijuana caregiver who grows his plants legally and provides for others who are either sick or in pain.

I have known San Pao since our days at Deering High School around the turn of the century. We were never close but we played sports together, had classes together, and ran in the same social circles.

“Guys!” yelled one of the teenage boys sitting in his football gear stretching out before practice, “when the freshman cheerleaders walk by I’ll count to three, and then we all yell ‘punani!’”

I had spent the previous few days reaching out to as many currently and formerly homeless people that I could, asking them for advice on how best to achieve my goal of giving a firsthand glimpse at what it’s really like to stay at a homeless shelter in Portland.

For this week’s column, I’ve turned to one of my favorite Portlanders (and favorite people in general) to share his story of recovery from substance abuse and homelessness.

For as long as I’ve known Roger Goodoak of the Maine Homeless Veteran's Alliance, I’ve been inspired by his generosity and dedication to helping those less fortunate in the greater Portland area.

I was a senior in high school, standing in the hallway at Deering High in Portland with several of my close buddies, trying to absorb the realities and expounding our raw interpretations of the attacks.

This past week, one of Portland's longest standing and most populated homeless encampments was vacated per order of the Portland Police Department.

There's a running joke among media types and pundits around Maine that — as regrettable and embarrassing as Gov. LePage's tenure in the Blaine House has been — his near constant stream of inflammatory and ill-informed rhetoric makes our lives easier, because there's always something to write…

It can be easy to cast judgment on the panhandler on the corner, or the people in line outside the shelter, or those who sleep on the sidewalks or in the woods at night.

In an interview with the Press Herald last week, Bernie Saulnier of Saulnier Development said it right in his list of reasons for why his firm's proposed development on Munjoy Hill would be a good thing for the city and for the neighborhood.

Last month, Portland City Manager Jon Jennings announced an initiative called "Operation Bayside," which is aimed at cleaning up and restoring order to Portland's most troubled and neglected neighborhood, which lies directly in the shadow of City Hall.

Anyone who reads this column regularly is aware of my past employment at a non-profit organization in downtown Portland called Amistad Peer Support and Recovery Center.

If Donald Trump wins the race for the White House next November, Democrats will point fingers in all directions.

For all the people that I met in my time working in social services in Portland, one of the strongest connections that I made was with a guy who barely speaks English.

My group of friends in my teenage years was relatively diverse — at least by Maine standards — but we were still almost entirely white kids from working class families.

When I first began looking for work as a stern man several years ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I started by getting a job down on the waterfront building lobster traps in hopes of making a few connections and finding a captain in need of a "helper," which is the more comm…

In Portland we get to celebrate two historical occasions on Independence Day. Of course, we celebrate the anniversary of America's Declaration of Independence, but we also celebrate a much more local, personal, community-oriented triumph.

Last summer, I moved temporarily down to Charleston, South Carolina to start a business. I am currently splitting time between Portland and Charleston, and the business is going well, but that's not what I want to talk about this week.

One of the most interesting and genuine people I've ever known describes himself as "a drunk," "a bad egg," and "an ass kicker."

I first met Carol a few years back when I was working part-time at a local hotel to supplement the slow winter months on the lobster boat.

No three words exemplify our misunderstanding of homelessness and the struggle to right one's own life then the obnoxious phrase, "get a job!"Immediately, the mind is drawn to images of staggering addicts begging for money on medians, long lines outside the soup kitchen, or faceless piles hi…

I suspect Bruce Poliquin has hired one of my dogs as a political consultant.

“Screw it,” I thought to myself, “you’ve made it this far. No sense in turning back now.”

Back in the spring of 1994, there was a palpable feeling of pride around Portland.

For over a decade, prior to becoming homeless in the spring of 2015, Carl lived in the same humble apartment in Portland's Bayside neighborhood.

About a year ago, I was invited by a group of people living in a tent community on the outskirts of Portland to come into their world and get a first-hand glimpse at their way of life.

"Aw, jeez, why do ya need so many layers? Can't ya handle the cold yet?"

It has been both a great pleasure and a poignant reminder of the friendships that I made while working at the Amistad agency in Portland collaborating with my friend Cordeila Stone for this week's column.

I've never been able to understand the hysteria behind Gov. LePage's crusade against the impoverished people of Maine, or the close-minded claims that welfare fraud is the culprit to all of our state's problems.

When I used to work on the lobster boat, my captain and I stood at complete opposite ends of the spectrum on just about every issue under the sun, but as we got to know each other better, we started realizing that we're actually a lot alike in many respects.

With two presidential candidates visiting, along with a historic turnout at the state presidential caucuses, this past week was a whirlwind for Maine politics.

This past Monday, the Press Herald reported that Portland has "essentially achieved full employment," and it was a balanced, fair telling of the current job market in Maine and the state's largest city.

With respect to The Phoenix's focus on food this month, I figured it'd be a good time to paint part of the real picture behind the process and effort that goes into catching lobsters in Maine.

I'll never forget the first time I went to a Turkey Game on Thanksgiving Day at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

When refugees from war-torn countries flee their homes and everything they know, they do so because they're usually left with just two other options — join the bad guys or die.

Serving as Portland's first elected mayor in nearly a century, Mike Brennan worked his tail off and led our city admirably against a constant onslaught from an unhinged governor bent on shifting blame for Maine's failings onto the liberal bastion that is the state's largest city.