Articles by Alex Lear

Cumberland's proposed purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would include about 11 acres of public beach access.

Cumberland officials ask judge to throw out lawsuit over beach property

By Alex Lear on Jan. 21, 2015, at 12:02 p.m.
Cumberland officials are seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the town and a local land trust by the heirs to a Foreside Road beach property. The complaint, filed Dec. 18, 2014, in Cumberland County Superior Court against the town and the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, …

North Yarmouth residents continue to question firing of EMS deputy chief

By Alex Lear on Jan. 21, 2015, at 11:39 a.m.
The North Yarmouth Town Hall meeting room was packed for Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, largely by residents critical of the circumstances behind — and lack of action since — the abrupt departure last month of the town’s two fire-rescue department paramedics. Jeff Toorish, a …
The Bath City Council voted Wednesday, April 23, 2014, to sell the John E.L. Huse Memorial School, formerly occupied by the Regional School Unit 1 central office, to developers proposing to renovate the 63-year-old building for senior assisted living.

Portland developer considers converting former Bath school to mostly low-cost rental housing

By Alex Lear on Jan. 14, 2015, at 12:06 p.m.
The next use of the John E.L. Huse Memorial School — which was occupied by the Regional School Unit 1 central office until 2010 — could be mixed-income rental housing. While the City Council voted last April to sell the 39 Andrews Road building for senior assisted …

West Bath overwhelmingly approves exit from RSU 1

By Alex Lear on Jan. 14, 2015, at 8:16 a.m.
By a margin of nearly 5-1 Tuesday, West Bath voters approved withdrawal from Regional School Unit 1, which the town helped form in 2008. Residents voted 468-97 in favor of leaving the district, the town reported. Not only was a majority needed for the vote to …

Cumberland-North Yarmouth school district to consider new artificial turf field, performing arts center

By Alex Lear on Dec. 29, 2014, at 11:45 a.m.
An artificial turf field and performing arts center will be subjects of a School Administrative District 51 board of directors workshop on Jan. 5. “There’s been a lot of interest, I think, in the community” around both projects, and committees have been tasked with looking into them, …
Cumberland's proposed purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would include about 11 acres of public beach access.

Family that sold 100 shorefront acres to Cumberland sues over plan to create public beach

By Alex Lear on Dec. 22, 2014, at 12:10 p.m.
The heirs to a Foreside Road beach property filed a lawsuit Dec. 18 against the town and a local land trust, one day before the town and a developer completed the purchases of their portions of the approximately 100-acre parcel. Cumberland voters on Nov. 4 narrowly supported …

Dispute over washing personal vehicles at North Yarmouth fire station leads to deputy chief’s firing

By Alex Lear on Dec. 19, 2014, at 10:12 a.m.
Two former North Yarmouth Fire and Rescue Department paramedics claim town officials have violated their civil rights. Jeff Toorish, a lieutenant medic with the department, resigned Dec. 11. Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services Bill Young was fired the same day. Toorish said Tuesday their departures …
Cumberland voters narrowly supported the town's $3 million purchase of the Payson property at 179 Foreside Road.

As Cumberland beach purchase nears completion, opponents keep fighting its legality

By Alex Lear on Dec. 14, 2014, at 9:35 a.m.
With a developer and the town just days away from consummating a beach property acquisition endorsed by voters on Election Day, opponents continue to claim the deal is illegal. On Nov. 4, Cumberland voters narrowly supported the town’s $3 million purchase of the Payson property at 179 …

Burglary, budget woes spur Bath youth center to ask for community help

By Alex Lear on Dec. 11, 2014, at 1:07 p.m.
The Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark is relying on the community to help it cope with some recent setbacks. Thieves broke into the 4 Old Brunswick Road building last month, damaging cameras and vending machines, and stealing cash. A 17-year-old boy from Woolwich and a 16-year-old boy …
Naomi Beal (left) chairwoman of the Friends School of Portland building committee, and Head of School Jenny Rowe stand at the school's future location on Monday in Cumberland.

Friends School of Portland eyes fundraising goal for new building

By Alex Lear on Dec. 09, 2014, at 1:04 p.m.
Friends School of Portland, which plans to open a new building next fall near the Falmouth town line, is striving to raise $52,000 toward the project by the end of the year. “That will bring us to the $2.47 million that we set out to raise,” Head …
RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel.

Bath-area school district weighs rebuilding or renovating 85-year-old Morse High School

By Alex Lear on Dec. 09, 2014, at 11:28 a.m.
A new building committee will consider whether Regional School Unit 1 will renovate or replace Morse High School. The 85-year-old high school ranks 11th on the latest state funding list, four slots down from Mount Ararat High School in nearby Topsham, and both schools have been approved …
Although Claudette Gamache has been ready for more than a year to open an art gallery in Bath, she has been delayed by a statewide code requiring a sprinkler system for the home-based business.

Gallery owner, 13 other home-based businesses in Bath can’t open because of Maine sprinkler system mandate

By Alex Lear on Dec. 05, 2014, at 9:02 a.m.
Claudette Gamache has been ready for more than a year to open an art gallery at 411 Front St. But the lack of a sprinkler system in the building, which she says is cost-prohibitive and unnecessary, has been holding her back. “I’m seeing all these little signs …
RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel.

State OKs West Bath’s withdrawal from regional school district; Bath agrees to $1.2 million settlement

By Alex Lear on Dec. 04, 2014, at 10:55 a.m.
West Bath has received final approval from the Maine Department of Education to withdraw from Regional School Unit 1. The news comes against the backdrop of what had been a two-year dispute over the way costs were split among the RSU member communities. West Bath had …

Natural gas utility pledges to help Falmouth-area customers failed by defunct contractor

By Alex Lear on Nov. 26, 2014, at 4:16 p.m.
CUMBERLAND | The utility bringing natural gas service to Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth on Wednesday said it will reimburse customers for deposits they paid for work that remains incomplete because a contractor went out of business. Contractor David Ireland of David Ireland Builders also issued a press release Wednesday, …
Jim Wellehan talks about how shoes have changed over the 100 years since Lamey-Wellehan opened in Lewiston. "Boat shoes used to be boat shoes. Now they come in colors like blue," said Wellehan.

‘Cinema pub,’ shoe store and jeweler to move into Topsham mall

By Alex Lear on Nov. 25, 2014, at 10:49 a.m.
The Topsham Fair Mall will be home to three new businesses in the coming months. Smitty’s Cinema, Lamey-Wellehan shoes and Day’s Jewelers are all coming to the regional shopping center off Route 196. Smitty’s and Lamey-Wellehan will occupy part of an approximately 73,000-square-foot building formerly leased by …
A color-coded map of Falmouth shows where Summit Natural Gas plans to install gas distribution lines over the next four years.

Hundreds of Falmouth-area natural gas customers scrambling to regain deposits after contractor closes abruptly

By Alex Lear on Nov. 24, 2014, at 2:28 p.m.
CUMBERLAND | The abrupt closing of a Howland contractor handling natural gas connections in Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth could cost many would-be customers the deposits they paid for the service. Town Manager Bill Shane is among officials urging people who have paid Dave Ireland Builders the deposits – which …

North Yarmouth furniture shop fined $16,000 for hazardous waste violations

By Alex Lear on Nov. 24, 2014, at 10:17 a.m.
A Sligo Road furniture restoration business has been fined $16,000 by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for violating hazardous waste standards. Marc Carlson, owner and operator of Finely Restored — which according to its website has been refinishing, restoring and repairing furniture for three decades …
This map, delivered to the town of North Yarmouth as part of a September report by Planning Decisions Inc., shows the locations of three possible development sites in town: the former Wescustogo Hall, the now-closed North Yarmouth Memorial School and the overall town center

North Yarmouth to decide redevelopment for two key parcels, town center

By Alex Lear on Nov. 19, 2014, at 1:56 p.m.
Next year could be pivotal for residents, as they decide which of two town-owned parcels to develop as a municipal campus: the existing Town Hall or the recently closed North Yarmouth Memorial School. Representatives of Planning Decisions, a Portland firm hired by the town to consult …
North Yarmouth Town Clerk Debbie Grover, left, stands with Dick Baston and Clark Baston, descendants of Revolutionary War soldier Winthrop Baston, whose new tombstone was dedicated on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11, in Walnut Hill Cemetery.

North Yarmouth woman secures new headstone for Revolutionary War vet, turns attention to Civil War vets’ markers

By Alex Lear on Nov. 11, 2014, at 2:04 p.m.
Nearly 200 years after it was erected, the tombstone of Winthrop Baston — a captain in the American Revolution — was in pieces, sunken under the ground, and seemingly forgotten. But because there were those who never forgot, Baston now has a new stone at his …
Gregory Payson

North Yarmouth hires West Bath chief to lead fire-rescue department

By Alex Lear on Nov. 10, 2014, at 3:38 p.m.
Gregory Payson of Topsham will start work as North Yarmouth’s new fire-rescue chief on Nov. 24. Currently chief of the West Bath Fire-Rescue Department, Payson replaces Ricky Plummer, who left North Yarmouth in September to become fire chief in Old Orchard Beach. Since then, Michael Robitaille …
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