Articles by Ben McCanna

 
Cory Tracy, left, trades glances with Brother Terry from the Deliverance Center during their daily protests in Portland's Congress Square Park. Tracy, an atheist, has been protesting against proselytizers from the church since May. Brother Terry declined to provide his last name.

Evangelism, atheism on display in regular dueling demonstrations in Portland

By Ben McCanna on July 08, 2014, at 11:29 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Cory Tracy rolls his wheelchair to Congress Square Park and parks at his customary spot against a monolithic black utilities box. It’s an inconspicuous location made conspicuous by Tracy’s presence. Each day since May, weather permitting, Tracy wields his attention-grabbing, hand-painted protest signs: “Atheists don’t need to …

Summit Natural Gas reverses plan to lay pipeline west of I-295 in Falmouth this year

By Ben McCanna on June 11, 2014, at 1:24 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — A spokesman for Summit Natural Gas on Tuesday confirmed that despite its original plans, the company will not lay pipeline west of Interstate 295 in Falmouth this year. But he said the company’s piping plans elsewhere in the region are intact for 2014. Mike Duguay, Summit’s director …
Tom Marjerison (left) and John Veilleux of Casco Bay Hockey Association at the site of a defunct outdoor ice rink on Hat Trick Drive in Falmouth in March. The association will build a new pavilion-style rink.

New $1.3 million hockey rink in Falmouth expected to open in time for fall season

By Ben McCanna on June 05, 2014, at 11:45 a.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — Hat Trick Drive scored its third skating facility on May 28, when the Falmouth Town Council unanimously approved Casco Bay Hockey Association’s plan to build a $1.3 million open-air, pavilion-style hockey rink. The rink will be built on the site of a defunct, town-owned outdoor rink and …

Group of 16 Falmouth residents sue town for giving property assessment oversight to county

By Ben McCanna on June 04, 2014, at 11:04 a.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — A group of 16 residents is suing the town over a Town Council decision in March to outsource the assessing department to Cumberland County. Town Manager Nathan Poore said Monday the town was served in late April, and the town’s attorney has filed a motion to dismiss …
The hand of David Worobec enters from stage left at Tophat Toy Theater –a DIY dinner-theater experience in a townhouse on Portland's West End – during a recent performance of "Les Miserables." Worobec – a 25-year-old one-man theater troupe – sang all the parts while simultaneously manipulating about 45 toy characters, running the lights and music cues, and changing sets that were designed by his mother, Polly Plimpton.

Portland man, mother convert West End home into elaborate ‘toy theater’

By Ben McCanna on May 21, 2014, at 12:57 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The music swells. The background lights soften. Two characters stand alone downstage and profess their love through song. From stage left, a giant hand emerges and presses the characters together in an embrace. The hand belongs to David Worobec, a 25-year-old, classically trained singer and mastermind behind …
EMT volunteers Nate Fitzgerald and Prathusha Yerramilli train on a CPR dummy Wednesday, May 14, at the Falmouth Fire Department, where increases in call volume spurred a $50,000 budget increase to pay salaries for daytime shifts for part-time emergency medical technicians.

Changing demographics, requirements driving up EMS costs, Maine fire chief says

By Ben McCanna on May 21, 2014, at 11:58 a.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — Recent changes in medical protocols, an aging population and a growing tendency to call an ambulance for minor ills are all contributing factors for an 8.5 percent budget increase for public safety in fiscal year 2015. The rising trends prompted Fire-EMS Chief Howard Rice to request an …

Falmouth council OKs expansion plans for Walmart garden center without site plan review

By Ben McCanna on May 14, 2014, at 3:45 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — The Town Council quickly and unanimously approved a $31.7 million school budget Tuesday, setting the stage for a voter referendum on June 10. But little else came easy during a five-hour meeting marked by contentiousness, the absence of Chairwoman Teresa Pierce, and an abrupt ending at 11 …
This University of Southern Maine photograph depicts a greater Portland METRO bus headed for Congress Street.

Portland area bus service seeks expansion of service north and south of city

By Ben McCanna on May 14, 2014, at 2:20 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Major changes could be on the horizon for area bus riders. At four recent meetings in Falmouth, Portland and Westbrook, staff members from the Greater Portland Transit District offered updates on ongoing developments within the organization, including proposals to expand METRO service to three northern communities, consolidate …
Portland Public Schools Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk addresses a modest crowd Thursday, Feb. 5, at King Middle School during the district's first town hall-style budget meeting.

Tiny percentage of Portland voters approve $101.6 million school budget

By Ben McCanna on May 14, 2014, at 9:20 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Voters approved the city’s share of a $101.6 million school budget in a referendum Tuesday, 1,033-459. The city’s portion, $96.3 million, will increase property tax revenue to the school department by 2.5 percent, or about $25 per $100,000 of assessed property value. For a median-value home of …
David Jones and Nancy McInnis-Jones display new signs for their side-by-side businesses on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth. The couple of 30 years recently purchased the name F.O. Bailey, which they've added to their existing real estate and antiques businesses.

‘It’s a Maine tradition’: Falmouth couple buys F.O. Bailey name for their real estate and antiques businesses

By Ben McCanna on May 13, 2014, at 11:25 a.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — What’s in a name? In the case of F.O. Bailey, it’s “an impeccable reputation.” That’s according to Falmouth real estate broker David Jones, who, along with his wife of 30 years, Nancy McInnis-Jones, has purchased the F.O. Bailey name and added it to their existing, side-by-side businesses …
Ted Vail, a member of Falmouth's Veterans Memorial Committee, stands amid a dozen tree stumps at 65 Depot Road, where organizers plan to erect an 8-foot black granite monument honoring the town's military veterans.

‘We need a boost’: World War II veterans’ plan for Falmouth memorial stalled by stumps

By Ben McCanna on May 07, 2014, at 2:35 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — The newest phase in a two-year effort to build a monument for Falmouth veterans has organizers stumped. Literally. A dozen tree stumps line the street on Depot Road where they plan to erect an 8-foot black granite monument honoring the town’s military veterans. The town’s Veterans Memorial …
Nearly a dozen road construction projects are planned for Falmouth this summer and will inevitably affect traffic flow, as shown here at the Martin's Point Bridge project. Nonetheless, planners are optimistic that the simultaneous projects won't affect one another.

If you drive to Falmouth this summer, expect to sit in traffic

By Ben McCanna on May 07, 2014, at 2:10 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — Road construction, an inevitable rite of summer, is set to blossom anew. This year, however, the scope of road construction in Falmouth will be unprecedented. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Jay Reynolds, the town’s director of public works, said. All across town, nearly a dozen projects …
The Rev. Louis Phillips will serve as interim superintendent of schools for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Diocese of Portland picks interim leader for its 10 Catholic schools

By Ben McCanna on May 07, 2014, at 5:26 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has named an interim superintendent of schools to succeed its longtime school chief, who announced her retirement. The Rev. Louis Phillips, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and administrator of the Portland Peninsula and Island Parishes, will become interim …
Brian M. Tuttle

Pownal man charged with stalking girlfriend after police find him hiding in back seat of her car

By Ben McCanna on May 06, 2014, at 11:33 a.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — A Pownal man was arrested for allegedly stalking his girlfriend last month after police discovered him hiding in the back seat of her car. The incident began the afternoon of April 24 when Brian M. Tuttle, 23, of Pownal allegedly assaulted his girlfriend in the parking lot …
Portland Deputy Fire Chief David Jackson and Capt. Mike Kucsma discuss a gas leak at the intersection of Kennebec Street, Marginal Way and Forest Avenue on Monday morning.

Natural gas leak forces evacuations in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood

By Ben McCanna on May 05, 2014, at 12:03 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — An aging pipe was blamed for a natural gas leak in Bayside on Monday morning that caused the evacuation of four buildings. The leak was called in by a passerby who detected a strong smell of natural gas near the intersection of Kennebec Street, Forest Avenue and …

Falmouth council OK’s paying town’s share of $50,000 food pantry expansion

By Ben McCanna on April 30, 2014, at 12:41 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — The Town Council on Monday unanimously approved funding to help expand the Falmouth Food Pantry. The proposed $50,000 project will expand the pantry by 30 percent of its current size. The council anticipates receiving $39,200 from Cumberland County in the form of a community development block grant …
A color-coded map of Falmouth shows where Summit Natural Gas plans to install gas distribution lines over the next four years.

Towns just north of Portland prep for $42 million natural gas ‘backbone’ project

By Ben McCanna on April 23, 2014, at 2:33 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — The first phase of a $42 million natural gas distribution project is imminent, but it’s still unknown when residents will be able to begin using the fuel in their homes. That was the takeaway from an informational meeting held Thursday, April 17, at Town Hall by Summit …
Falmouth Town Councilor Claudia King, right, looks at designs for the Route One Infrastructure Plan in this photo from a public meeting at Falmouth Memorial Library in October 2013. The $12.3 million project is set to begin early next month.

Falmouth business district facelift to begin in early May — at a cost of $12.3 million

By Ben McCanna on April 23, 2014, at 1:07 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — A long-planned, $12.3 million construction project that will change the face of the U.S. Route 1 business district will begin the week of May 5. The Route One Infrastructure Plan was the subject of a short presentation to the Falmouth Town Council on Wednesday, April 16. The …
Connie Koengeter, owner of Cork & Barrel in Falmouth, is closing the Route 1 store after 22 years in business.

Despite vintage sales year, lack of qualified workers leads owner of Falmouth wine shop to close after 22 years

By Ben McCanna on April 21, 2014, at 7:37 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — After 22 years, it’s time to put the cork back in the bottle. Early next month, the long-running wine and gift store Cork & Barrel will close its doors after a final event — a wine tasting on Friday, May 2. Owner Connie Koengeter is calling the …
Christopher Girard

Police seek Falmouth burglary suspect who sped off with victim’s Lexus

By Ben McCanna on March 25, 2014, at 12:22 p.m.
FALMOUTH, Maine — Police are searching for a third suspect in connection with a daytime burglary, car theft and assault last week on Merrill Road. Police said Christopher Girard, 30, is one of three men who were allegedly in the midst of a home burglary when they were interrupted by …
 
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