Articles by Alex Lear

 
The tropical paintings of Cumberland artist David Clough will appear on a segment of TV drama "Criminal Minds" Wednesday, April 8.

Cumberland man’s painting to appear on CBS show ‘Criminal Minds’

By Alex Lear on March 31, 2015, at 12:09 p.m.
David Clough‘s watercolors can transport you from a frigid winter night to a warm and beautiful morning in the tropics. And thanks to the TV drama ” Criminal Minds,” his works will soon be seen in millions of homes around the world, in an episode to air …

Topsham-area school district’s budget would hike local taxes by 10.1 percent

By Alex Lear on March 25, 2015, at 1:34 p.m.
The latest draft of the School Administrative District 75 budget for fiscal year 2016 would raise taxes 10.1 percent. The $38.5 million spending plan, which goes to two public votes in May and June, is being presented in three hearings. The first two were held in Harpswell …

North Yarmouth residents blast town development plans

By Alex Lear on March 24, 2015, at 3:06 p.m.
A proposal by the Board of Selectmen to redevelop North Yarmouth Memorial School as a municipal and community campus drew criticism and questions at the third in a series of public meetings. The March 18 meeting, held at the now-closed school, allowed opponents to air their …

Cumberland-North Yarmouth schools eye 3.6 percent budget increase

By Alex Lear on March 24, 2015, at 1:39 p.m.
School Administrative District 51 Superintendent Jeff Porter last week unveiled a proposed $33.7 million budget for fiscal 2016, an increase of 3.6 percent over current spending. Meanwhile, Gov. Paul LePage’s state budget proposal includes an approximately $642,000 reduction in state funding for the Cumberland-North Yarmouth district. That …
An Amtrak Downeaster train idles near the proposed location of the train layover facility between Church Road and Stanwood Street in Brunswick. The Brunswick West Neighborhood Association has opposed the location since 2011.

Brunswick’s marathon Amtrak depot controversy now focuses on stormwater permit

By Alex Lear on March 19, 2015, at 1:23 p.m.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection next week will hold a public meeting on a stormwater permit needed for a proposed Amtrak train layover facility that for more than three years has stirred controversy in Brunswick. The hearing – to be held at the Brunswick Country Club, …

North Yarmouth officials eye budget decrease

By Alex Lear on March 18, 2015, at 12:01 p.m.
While the current draft of next year’s municipal budget shows a decrease of 0.72 percent, funds toward development of the village center could result in a significant increase. The preliminary $2.8 million town budget — which includes a Cumberland County tax, and which will be voted …
Residents may decide at Town Meeting Saturday, April 11, to redevelop North Yarmouth Memorial School as a municipal and community campus.

North Yarmouth may turn former school into community center

By Alex Lear on March 17, 2015, at 4:15 p.m.
Residents may decide at Town Meeting Saturday, April 11, to redevelop North Yarmouth Memorial School as a municipal and community campus. The proposal, recommended by the Board of Selectmen, has been the focus of a series of public informational meetings, the final two of which have …

Debate continues over North Yarmouth selectmen transparency

By Alex Lear on March 04, 2015, at 10:29 a.m.
Two weeks after the audio portion of the cable TV feed of a Board of Selectmen’s meeting was intentionally cut, residents on Tuesday urged the board to be more transparent. Continued criticism of the town’s December 2014 firing of one of its Fire-Rescue Department paramedics, and …
The Frank J. Wood Bridge connects Brunswick and Topsham.

Residents weigh in on future of Brunswick-Topsham bridge

By Alex Lear on Feb. 26, 2015, at 6:10 p.m.
Depending on availability of funding, improvements to the Frank J. Wood Bridge could go out to bid in 2018. On Wednesday, the Maine Department of Transportation hosted a preliminary public meeting — which filled a community room at the Topsham Public Library — to discuss future work …
VIDEO

North Yarmouth selectmen cut TV feed, call sheriff as complaints escalate

By Alex Lear on Feb. 20, 2015, at 8:52 a.m.
Continuing criticism of the town’s December 2014 firing of one of its Fire-Rescue Department paramedics led the Board of Selectmen to cut the audio portion of the cable TV feed of its Tuesday meeting and call in a sheriff’s deputy in case the discussion became too …

Cumberland to spend $300,000 for land acquisition, preservation

By Alex Lear on Feb. 10, 2015, at 5:45 p.m.
Town Council on Monday unanimously approved contributing $300,000 for the $1.13 million acquisition of a 215-acre parcel of undeveloped land in Cumberland and North Yarmouth. The panel also heard a report from engineering firm Gorrill-Palmer of Gray about the planned reconstruction of Blackstrap Road this year. Trust …
POLL QUESTION
Morse High School student Balt von Huene, right, with teacher Eric Varney, achieved the only perfect score in the world last spring on the Advanced Placement Environmental Science exam.

Maine high school student earns only perfect score in world on AP test

By Alex Lear on Feb. 04, 2015, at 2:17 p.m.
BATH | Getting the top score on an Advanced Placement exam is cool enough. But even better? Being told you’re the only high school student in the world to have done so on that particular test. Balt von Huene of Arrowsic, a senior at Morse High School, did just …
Linda Polkey, shown here with her nephew, Andrew, died suddenly last month from breast cancer. Her relatives are trying to raise $165,000 to keep her North Yarmouth business and Falmouth home.

Family of Falmouth woman who died of cancer raising funds to save her home, North Yarmouth business

By Alex Lear on Feb. 04, 2015, at 5:57 a.m.
The family of a woman who died last month from breast cancer is raising money to buy her former business and keep her ancestral Falmouth home in the family. Linda Polkey died Jan. 12 from undiagnosed and untreated cancer. The disease struck quickly, shocking family and …
The board of the Bath-Tsugaru Sister City Exchange Program elected Andy Bailes of Bowdoinham as its new president Jan. 21.

Bath-Tsugaru sister city group replaces longtime president

By Alex Lear on Jan. 28, 2015, at 3:04 p.m.
The board of the Bath-Tsugaru Sister City Exchange Program recently elected Andy Bailes as its new president. Bailes replaces Dr. Deborah Patten, who led the program for 15 years. When Patten took over in 1999, “it was really just me doing everything,” she recalled in an email. …

Topsham-area schools face dropping enrollments, increasing payroll costs

By Alex Lear on Jan. 28, 2015, at 2:12 p.m.
Contractual salary increases, a potential rise in health insurance costs and the effect of charter schools are among factors that could influence the next School Administrative District 75 budget. The district’s spending plan, including adult education, decreased from $34.8 million in fiscal 2011 to $33.4 million two …

Cumberland council OKs land sale, contract zone for Route 1 development

By Alex Lear on Jan. 27, 2015, at 11:17 a.m.
The Town Council on Monday approved a contract zone agreement and land sale for a proposed housing development along U.S. Route 1. Developer David Chase — who has had difficulty selling the property for commercial use and now wants to carve the land into smaller pieces suitable …
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 …