Articles by Alex Lear

Boden Gould, left, and Hannah Gates stock a freezer at the Bath Food Pantry on Aug. 24. The pantry must find a new home because of the possible sale of the Neighborhood United Church of Christ.

Church move means Bath Food Pantry needs a new home

By Alex Lear on Aug. 28, 2014, at 8:39 a.m.
The planned sale of a more than 40-year-old church is also forcing the Bath Food Pantry to look for a new home. The Neighborhood United Church of Christ at 150 Congress Ave. is listed for sale for $695,000. It has been the UCC’s home since the merger …
Reconstruction by Maine's First Ship of the Virginia, a pinnace built more than 400 years ago at the short-lived Popham Colony, is taking longer than had been hoped. It is now expected to be complete in 2016 or 2017.

Construction of 1608 Popham Colony ship replica stalled by sluggish fundraising

By Alex Lear on Aug. 27, 2014, at 12:04 p.m.
BATH | The pinnace Virginia has faced challenges both times it’s been built. First was the harsh winter of 1607-1608, when the vessel — the first European ship built in New England — was constructed at the short-lived Popham Colony on the shores of the Kennebec River. Second is …

Hopes for state construction funding spurs planning on whether to remodel or replace Mt. Ararat High School

By Alex Lear on Aug. 13, 2014, at 12:21 p.m.
TOPSHAM | With Mt. Ararat High School ranked seventh this spring on a state construction funding list, School Administrative District 75 goes back to school this year with some planning to do. A district building committee will soon choose an architect, who will determine whether the existing structure should …
Cumberland's proposed purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would include about 11 acres of public beach access.

Cumberland voters to decide whether to borrow $3 million for beach purchase

By Alex Lear on July 30, 2014, at 2:33 p.m.
After a lengthy and at times heated discussion Monday, the Town Council unanimously voted to send a proposed $3 million purchase of beach property to voters in November. But public opinion was much more divided and often critical. Several residents criticized the speed of the process and …
Pictured is an illustration of a new playground and parking area proposed by a Main Street Bath committee. If approved, they would be built on Summer Street where the former YMCA once stood.

Bath officials consider proposal for new playground at vacant downtown property

By Alex Lear on July 22, 2014, at 11:51 a.m.
A proposal for a playground and parking area at the vacant former YMCA property on Summer Street is going to the city’s economic development committee. The panel will determine to what degree the land can be developed and how that may affect the plan as presented July …
Jennifer Geiger, former director and longtime board member of the downtown organization Main Street Bath, is seen in a 2012 file photo from The Forecaster.

Head of Bath downtown organization steps down to take state tourism job

By Alex Lear on July 21, 2014, at 1:25 p.m.
After five years as director of the Main Street Bath organization, and many more as a board member, Jennifer Geiger has resigned to work in public relations and communications at the Maine Office of Tourism. The job change “was professional development for me, an opportunity to grow …
Cumberland's proposed purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would include about 11 acres of public beach access.

Cumberland to discuss $3 million plan to create public beach

By Alex Lear on July 16, 2014, at 12:41 p.m.
A potential $3 million purchase by the town of about 11 acres of shoreline property and nearly 9 acres of forest will be discussed Monday, July 28, at a Cumberland Town Council public hearing. The purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would satisfy …
Topsham Democratic House candidate Denise Tepler.

Topsham Democrats pick Tepler to replace incumbent Mason in House race

By Alex Lear on July 09, 2014, at 12:39 p.m.
Denise Tepler, who has twice run unsuccessfully to represent Topsham in the state House of Representatives, was picked to run again Tuesday in a local Democratic caucus. Tepler will replace first-term state Rep. Andrew Mason, D-Topsham, on the November ballot in House District 54. Mason, who was …

Competition from other July events spurs Topsham to delay 250th anniversary bash

By Alex Lear on July 01, 2014, at 2:10 p.m.
The town’s 250th anniversary weekend bash, originally planned for the middle of July, has been postponed to Columbus Day weekend. In part because of competing events, “We couldn’t generate the activities, and the people to get the activities off the ground,” Steve Edmondson, who co-chairs the 250th …
Andrew Mason

‘The Legislature can be maddeningly inefficient’: First-term lawmaker from Topsham drops re-election bid

By Alex Lear on July 01, 2014, at 11:23 a.m.
First-term state Rep. Andrew Mason, D-Topsham, has decided not to seek re-election to the House of Representatives. A local Democratic caucus to nominate a replacement candidate in the November election is scheduled for July 8. Denise Tepler, who has run twice for the seat, plans to submit …
Rosemary Roy

North Yarmouth passes over interim town manager to hire candidate whose contract was not renewed in Poland

By Alex Lear on June 25, 2014, at 12:35 p.m.
In a meeting that lasted only three minutes Tuesday, the North Yarmouth Board of Selectmen unanimously hired Rosemary Roy of Poland as the town’s first manager. Roy worked for the town of Poland from 1991 through this February. She served the last seven years as an …
North Yarmouth Memorial School fourth-graders Tiger DiMillo and Quincy Segal promote a documentary they made about the school's upcoming closure.

With closure, North Yarmouth to be without public school for first time since 1700s

By Alex Lear on June 17, 2014, at 4:37 p.m.
Students, staff and other members of the School Administrative District 51 community gathered at North Yarmouth Memorial School on June 12 to celebrate the 65-year legacy of a longtime school about to close, and the expansion of another about to open. As stated in a new …
Lawrence Renaud

Bath picks veteran firefighter to serve as chief

By Alex Lear on June 12, 2014, at 2:43 p.m.
Lawrence Renaud, Bath’s acting fire chief since the April retirement of Steve Hinds, will now serve in that role in a permanent capacity. The City Council on Wednesday unanimously supported City Manager Bill Giroux’s recommendation of Renaud. The West Bath resident served with that town’s fire department …

Cumberland residents argue against call to leash dogs on public lands

By Alex Lear on June 04, 2014, at 3:16 p.m.
Residents packed Cumberland Town Hall Monday evening to oppose a proposed town code amendment requiring dogs to be leashed on public lands. After nearly two hours of discussion, the Town Council unanimously tabled the proposal a second time, for another look by the ordinance committee. The amendment …
Bath City Manager Bill Giroux is seen in his office in this file photo from The Forecaster.

Bath’s $15.3 million budget would trigger tax increase of almost 3 percent

By Alex Lear on May 22, 2014, at 12:14 p.m.
The Bath City Council will vote June 4 on a $15.3 million budget for fiscal year 2015. The proposed spending plan, discussed at a brief public hearing Wednesday, is up about $770,000 from this year, and would cause a municipal tax hike of 1.4 percent, to $7.9 …

Soldier’s son seeks answers about treatment of Maine’s World War II ‘colored’ battalion

By Alex Lear on May 15, 2014, at 4:43 p.m.
NORTH YARMOUTH | Although the talk he gives Saturday should prove educational, Dr. James Pratt is also hoping to learn quite a bit himself about the days when his father’s World War II battalion was stationed in New England. The Germans had sent an operative to Vanceboro during World …

Topsham town meeting voters approve budget, grants to spur reuse of former Navy commissary

By Alex Lear on May 15, 2014, at 10:33 a.m.
In a town meeting Wednesday that took less than 90 minutes, voters approved components of an $8.5 million budget for next year, along with a handful of other items. Eighty-six voters attended, representing 1.3 percent of those registered. The fiscal year 2015 municipal spending plan is due …

Repair of viaduct that carries Route 1 over Bath to cost $14 million, detour traffic through city

By Alex Lear on April 25, 2014, at 10:45 a.m.
Reconstruction of the viaduct that carries Route 1 traffic over the heart of Bath will cost $14 million, could take about four months and will be complete early in 2016, according to the Maine Department of Transportation. DOT is looking to advertise for a contractor in the …
The Bath City Council voted Wednesday, April 23, 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.

Bath sells former school for $145,000 to developers with plans for assisted living center

By Alex Lear on April 24, 2014, at 12:58 p.m.
A longtime city-owned property is likely going back on Bath’s tax rolls. In a meeting Wednesday that ran about 10 minutes, the City Council unanimously approved the $145,000 sale of the John E.L. Huse Memorial School, which the Regional School Unit 1 central office occupied until 2010. …
 North Yarmouth Memorial School, shown here in a file photo from The Forecaster, could be closed if voters in the towns of School Administrative District 51 agree with a school board proposal.

From school to ‘community septic system’? North Yarmouth considers options for building that will close in June

By Alex Lear on April 22, 2014, at 2:25 p.m.
With the fate of the soon-to-be-closed North Yarmouth Memorial School still far from certain, one proposal is to convert its septic system to handle community waste water. The Board of Selectmen will hold a workshop on the idea in the town office meeting room at 7 …
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