Articles by Amber Cronin


Youth Court in southern Maine aims to keep juvenile offenders from falling ‘deeper in trouble’

By Amber Cronin on April 30, 2013, at 3:52 p.m.
YARMOUTH | A program in Maine is helping first-time juvenile offenders avoid the traditional justice system and repair any harm they’ve done to the community. The program, called Youth Court, is appearing around the country in an effort to provide what is known as “restorative” justice. In Maine’s system, …
Emmanuel Caulk

Portland schools chief proposes 50 job cuts, seeks concessions from teachers union

By Amber Cronin on April 17, 2013, at 6:16 a.m.
Although the referendum on the fiscal year 2014 school budget is less than a month away, the superintendent of schools said there could still be some reductions if the teachers union cooperates. Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said the $97.9 million budget presented to the finance committee represents the …
Paula and Barry Spencer are interviewed at The Forecaster office on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013. Charges they hosted an underage drinking party at their home in Falmouth were settled in court in Portland on Feb. 7.

Falmouth parents searching for ‘silver lining’ after underage drinking party trial

By Amber Cronin on Feb. 23, 2013, at 12:55 p.m.
FALMOUTH — The parents accused of allowing minors to possess or consume alcohol in a party at their home last year said they hope to resume normal lives after settling the charges against them. “We’ve been through a horror, a nightmare, since last June,” Paula Spencer said in an interview …

Developer eyes Gray Road in Falmouth for McDonald’s

By Amber Cronin on Feb. 20, 2013, at 7:51 p.m.
The number of restaurants in town is growing, with plans to open another McDonald’s and the recent opening of Bueno Loco. According to Ethan Croce, senior town planner, developer Joe Cooper appeared before the Planning Board on Feb. 5 for a pre-application sketch plan review for a …
Barry and Paula Spencer of Falmouth talk with attorney Walter McKee Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 at the Cumberland County Courthouse. The Spencers reached a settlement on charges stemming from a 2012 party involving underage drinking by Falmouth High School students at the Spencers' home.

Falmouth couple accused of hosting drinking party for high school athletes agrees to pay, do service after jury deadlocks

By Amber Cronin on Feb. 07, 2013, at 4:08 p.m.
PORTLAND | The Falmouth parents on trial for allegedly allowing an underage drinking party at their home last June 16 reached an agreement with prosecutors Thursday after jurors said they were “hopelessly deadlocked” after nearly two days of deliberation. Under the agreement, Barry and Paula Spencer must pay $6,000 …
Falmouth students and members of the "Tiger Team," a group of retired men who work with Habitat for Humanity on a regular basis, strip shingles to prepare for replacing the roof on David McCulloch's Mississippi home.

Eight years later, Falmouth students still helping rebuild from Hurricane Katrina

By Amber Cronin on Feb. 06, 2013, at 10:57 a.m.
After a week of working long days rebuilding a home in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, 10 Falmouth students are getting used to being back in the swing of things at school. They are the fifth generation of Falmouth students to make the 1,700-mile trip south …
State Rep. Mary Nelson, D-Falmouth

Proposed Maine law would reduce access to public information, increase charges

By Amber Cronin on Feb. 05, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.
FALMOUTH | A bill introduced by state Rep. Mary Nelson, D-Falmouth, would limit public access to information that is currently part of the public record and allow municipalities to charge more for information they do provide. If approved by the Legislature, LD 104 would add a stipulation to the …
After receiving a liver transplant at 15 months, Tigerlily White, now 12, lives the life of a regular kid. She enjoys rock climbing and attends Falmouth Middle School.

Falmouth girl, 12, outlasts life-threatening condition, named a ‘face’ of liver disease

By Amber Cronin on Jan. 31, 2013, at 11:38 a.m.
Looking at 12-year-old Tigerlily White, you’d never know this active and vibrant young girl was born with a life-threatening liver disease. White was born with biliary atresia, a disease that causes a blockage in the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder. She received …
The debate is ending over the TideSmart Global sign at 380 U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth.

Town of Falmouth, former U.S. Senate candidate resolve controversial dispute over business sign

By Amber Cronin on Jan. 29, 2013, at 4:11 p.m.
It took six months of negotiations and sometimes acrimonious debate, but the Town Council on Monday unanimously approved an agreement that allows a Route 1 business sign to stay put without any changes. Councilors voted 6-0 for the consent agreement with TideSmart Global. Councilor Tony Payne recused …
The debate may be ending over the TideSmart Global sign at 380 U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth.

Town of Falmouth, former U.S. Senate candidate near resolution of controversial dispute over letter height on sign

By Amber Cronin on Jan. 09, 2013, at 12:53 p.m.
A resolution of the acrimonious dispute over a Route 1 business sign could be before the Town Council by the end of January. Town Manager Nathan Poore on Friday confirmed that a deal is in the works between the town and Tidesmart Global CEO Steve Woods. But …
Betsy Foster uses marijuana Saturday, Nov. 12, 2012, at the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine trade show. Foster has a prescription for the drug.

Lawmaker, ACLU want expansion of Maine’s medical marijuana law

By Amber Cronin on Dec. 11, 2012, at 12:52 p.m.
FALMOUTH | Maine’s medical marijuana law does not cover individuals who hope to use the drug for mental health or psychological disorders, but a bill to be introduced in the state Legislature by Rep. Mark Dion could change that. In a press conference Monday, Dion, a Portland Democrat who …
Author Paul Tough, shown here in a publicity image produced by Mary McIlvaine Photography and distributed by publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is scheduled to give a talk at The Telling Room in Portland on Nov. 7.

Portland schools install innovative character education models in advance of top author’s visit

By Amber Cronin on Oct. 30, 2012, at 4:04 p.m.
A new style of learning, championed by author Paul Tough, is being applied in Portland’s public schools and in the creative writing programs offered at The Telling Room. The Telling Room, in connection with the schools, University of Southern Maine’s Teacher Education Department and several other education …
The Falmouth Shopping Center, whose potential buyer is opposing attempts to limit the size of commercial development along U.S. Route 1, is seen here earlier this year.

Falmouth business leaders, developers pressure council not to block big retailers

By Amber Cronin on Oct. 17, 2012, at 12:10 p.m.
The Town Council is meeting resistance from the business community on a proposed tenant footprint ordinance for the Route 1 business district. Three heavy-hitters in the local business world — the Falmouth Cumberland Community Chamber, the Falmouth Economic Development Commission and Ben Devine, a potential buyer of …

Freeport reaches deal to buy land near train stop; eminent domain takeover avoided

By Amber Cronin on Oct. 03, 2012, at 3:18 p.m.
The town avoided the use of eminent domain to take property necessary for creating access to Freeport’s new Amtrak train station. Instead, the town council on Tuesday unanimously approved a purchase-and-sale agreement with Timm Holdings LLC, using $125,000 from the sale of tax-acquired property to make the …
Hall Elementary School's 435 students headed back to school Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, but not at their home campus. Until further notice students will continue their classes at the old Cathedral School on Locust Street in Portland.

Hall Elementary School parents question whether students should be sent back to damaged building

By Amber Cronin on Sept. 25, 2012, at 2:28 p.m.
PORTLAND | It was standing room only Monday night at a meeting to discuss the future of Hall Elementary School, with some parents expressing doubt about whether students should ever be sent back to the school. The building at 23 Orono Road, which was damaged by an electrical fire …
Maine businessman and independent candidate for U.S. Senate Steve Woods

Senate candidate submits FOAA request to Falmouth in escalating dispute over business sign

By Amber Cronin on Sept. 11, 2012, at 12:03 p.m.
Town officials say there are no immediate plans for legal action against Yarmouth resident Steve Woods in the continuing disagreement over his company’s compliance with the town sign ordinance. But they also remain determined to have TideSmart Global comply with the law. Woods, meanwhile, has delivered Freedom …
Maine businessman and independent candidate for U.S. Senate Steve Woods

Senate candidate drops plans for $3M office building after Falmouth council complains about business sign

By Amber Cronin on Sept. 05, 2012, at 10:59 a.m.
The owner of TideSmart Global said Tuesday that he will not proceed with plans for a $3 million office building because of the Falmouth Town Council’s recent discussion about his existing business sign. “If I can’t do business with a sign, how can I try to work …
Steve Woods

Senate candidate says Falmouth council attacked him over sign lettering

By Amber Cronin and Will Graff on Aug. 31, 2012, at 11:17 a.m.
The councilors’ issue with the TideSmart sign is that size of the accent lettering for the word “Global,” which is underneath the TideSmart logo on the sign, is one inch too small.

Homeless students getting younger in Portland and Brunswick

By Amber Cronin on Aug. 15, 2012, at 6:38 a.m.
The numbers of youth taking advantage of the Merrymeeting Project have remained stable over the past several years, but the age of homeless students taking advantage has dropped in recent years. “For my project, we serve school-age students, predominantly high school students that are couch surfing,” said …

Property taxes going down in Harpswell

By Amber Cronin on Aug. 02, 2012, at 7:14 a.m.
Property taxes are going down. At their July 26 meeting, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved dropping the mil rate to $5.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, from the current rate of $5.80. The change, which is retroactive for fiscal 2012 tax bills, is designed to provide …