Articles by Will Graff

Chief Operations Officer for the Portland School District Peter Eglinton addresses the Ocean Avenue Elementary School PTO Thursday night, July 19, 2012 about potential overcrowding in the fall that may displace the art and music programs from their rooms.

Portland board approves partial redistricting to solve school crowding problems

By Will Graff on July 01, 2013, at 1:10 p.m.
The School Board has approved a plan to alleviate overcrowding at Ocean Avenue Elementary, directing new students to other schools by partially redistricting neighborhoods. On June 25, the board voted unanimously to partition some of the neighborhoods, allowing new students on Ocean Avenue’s outer boundaries to attend …

Lightning ignites two house fires in Falmouth

By Will Graff on June 24, 2013, at 10:58 a.m.
Separate lightning strikes led to fires at two homes Sunday night as a massive thunderstorm pummeled southern and western Maine. “We were right in the middle of some nasty thunderstorms,” said Fire Chief Howard Rice Jr. “I’m surprised there were only two (strikes).” The first strike set …
Blair Currier, Portland School Department local food specialist, stands in one of the food preparation areas at the old Reed School Central Kitchen, in this December 2012 file photo. A new central kitchen is expected to open this fall at 92 Waldron Way.

Portland schools prepare to open new $3.2 million central kitchen

By Will Graff on June 18, 2013, at 5:46 p.m.
The Portland School Department’s new central kitchen is set to open this fall, in time for the first day of school. Food Service Director Ron Adams said the new kitchen will allow the department to better prepare and build on its already large program to serve locally …
Fred P. Hall Elementary School in Portland.

$70 million Portland school upgrade plan now up to council, voters

By Will Graff on June 17, 2013, at 7:08 p.m.
The City Council and voters must ultimately approve after the School Board last week OK’d a $70 million renovation plan for five elementary schools. The board’s plan highlights the School Department’s facilities needs, with many aging buildings in serious need of repair or replacement. The renovation plan …
Longfellow Elementary School in Portland.

No guarantee of state funding help for Portland school renovation plan

By Will Graff on June 05, 2013, at 12:10 p.m.
While the School Board is betting on $30 million in state funding to help build a new elementary school and renovate another, the state remains hesitant to make any promises. On Tuesday night, the board was expected to hold the first public reading of the final, nearly …

Transfer of former schools to developer costs Falmouth $71,000 more than expected

By Will Graff on June 05, 2013, at 10:50 a.m.
The sale of former public school properties on Lunt Road took longer than expected and incurred additional expenses, leading the Town Council to approve money to pay for the cost overruns. Closing the $3.25 million sale of the Plummer-Motz and Lunt schools property to the OceanView retirement …

Portland School Board revises calendar to avoid Jewish New Year conflict; makes 1st teacher layoffs

By Will Graff on May 29, 2013, at 4:49 p.m.
Public schools will start a day earlier than previously planned in September after the School Board voted Tuesday to move up the first day of school because of a conflict with the Jewish New Year. In an 8-1 vote, the board moved the first day of school …

Shellfish industry pins hope on Freeport research

By Will Graff, The Forecaster on May 21, 2013, at 6:15 a.m.
Following a recent Town Council appropriation, the town’s shellfish community has started what is being called a “historic” effort to address the rapid disappearance of soft-shell clams. The effort is the first comprehensive, large-scale research project in Maine to study the most significant factors believed to be …
Longfellow Elementary School in Portland.

First day of school in Portland falls on Rosh Hashana

By Will Graff on May 08, 2013, at 3:22 p.m.
Jewish students in the city’s public schools will have to choose between attending the first day of school in September and worshipping on the Jewish New Year. Jewish community leaders said they have been playing catch-up since the school board approved the 2013-2014 school calendar in April. …
Joseph Han, an eighth-grader at Falmouth Middle School, on Wednesday morning with his artwork that was selected by Google for its Doodle 4 Google contest.

Falmouth 14-year-old a finalist to have artwork shown on Google home page

By Will Graff on May 02, 2013, at 11:20 a.m.
A Falmouth Middle School student is a finalist to have his artwork displayed on Google’s home page. Eighth-grader Joseph Han learned at a surprise assembly Wednesday morning that he is one of 50 students, one from every state, selected by Google to move to the next round …
Freeport clammer Chad Coffin holds green crabs he caught with traps set in the Harraseeket River tidal area on Friday, April 19. Coffin resigned from the town Shellfish Commission on Tuesday, April 23, after the Town Council postponed appropriating money for a study to determine the impact of the predatory crabs on the clam population.

Head of Freeport shellfish task force resigns after council meeting

By Will Graff on April 26, 2013, at 11:59 a.m.
A comprehensive study of the town’s dwindling shellfish resources has been put on hold for at least another week and may be scaled back significantly or scrapped altogether. On Tuesday, the Town Council balked again at spending money already appropriated for the project. The action came after …
The Cape Elizabeth High School robotics team, Federico Giovine, Anthony Castro and Luke Dvorozniak, outside the Anaheim, Calif., Convention Center for the VEX Robotics World Championship last week.

Cape Elizabeth High School robotics team finishes among the world’s best

By Will Graff on April 25, 2013, at 5:06 p.m.
After earning their way to the robotics world championship for the fourth consecutive year, the Cape Elizabeth High School robotics team came within reach of victory last week. As the only Maine team that qualified for the competition, juniors Anthony Castro and Luke Dvorozniak battled their …

Court: Private cameras at ‘Secret Beach’ in Cape Elizabeth do not violate beachgoers’ privacy rights

By Will Graff on April 25, 2013, at 1:38 p.m.
In the latest, incremental sign of progress in the long-running dispute over access to Maxwell Point Beach, Maine’s highest court has ruled it’s OK for a resident to use surveillance cameras to monitor the easement to the privately owned beach. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled April …
Sarah Girouard, second from right, is surrounded by friends at Tufts Medical Center in Boston on Monday, April 15, after being treated for injuries from the Boston Marathon bombing. The bomb partially damaged her hearing and sent shrapnel into the right leg of the Northeastern University junior and 2010 graduate of Falmouth High School.

Shrapnel, blood and white noise: Falmouth woman injured in attack recalls explosion

By Will Graff on April 19, 2013, at 5:50 p.m.
A Falmouth High School graduate is recovering at her parent’s home after she was injured in the Patriot’s Day terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. The bomb that went off near the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston killed three people and injured more than 170. …
Some 1,500 tiny predatory lady beetles, Sasajiscymnus tsugae, will be released Thursday, May 5, at Vaughan Woods State Park in South Berwick in an effort to control the invasive insect, hemlock woolly adelgid. An infestation has been found at the state park along a feeder stream at the park.

Predator beetles to be released in southern Maine parks to fight other bugs

By Will Graff on April 17, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.
FREEPORT | Wolfe’s Neck State Park has an unwanted visitor. It’s small, white, fluffy and likes trees, specifically hemlocks. So much so that it kills them. The hemlock woolly adelgid is a tiny, cotton-ball-looking insect that is attacking hemlock forests along Maine’s coast. In a move to subvert the …
Rosalie Baker-Brown of Yarmouth prepares to fire the starting gun at the 116th Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15, in Hopkinton, Mass.

Yarmouth woman who fired starting gun at marathon says ‘perfect day’ turned to ‘chaos’

By Will Graff on April 16, 2013, at 12:59 p.m.
Rosalie Baker-Brown fired the starting gun at the Boston Marathon on Monday, something she has done many times since the mid-1990s. Now 85, Baker-Brown has been intimately involved in the race for decades. She grew up in Hopkinton, Mass., where the marathon begins, and married into the …

Mt. Ararat High School grad describes ‘surreal’ scene near where bombs went off

By Will Graff on April 16, 2013, at 9:54 a.m.
BOSTON, Mass. — Two bombs exploded on packed streets Monday near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, something a Mainer who witnessed the explosions described as “surreal” and “like a movie.” Casey Pola, who works on and lives near Boylston Street, where the first bomb went off, said she …

Freeport aims to cut capital spending in half

By Will Graff on April 03, 2013, at 5 p.m.
Facing a potential loss of $850,000 in state aid, the Town Council Tuesday night indicated it remains committed to keeping the new capital improvement budget lean. The proposed capital budget for fiscal 2014 is about $1 million, significantly less than this year’s budget of nearly $2 million. …

North Yarmouth Academy to merge with Freeport school, offer younger grades for first time in near 200-year history

By Will Graff on April 01, 2013, at 1:51 p.m.
North Yarmouth Academy will expand its grade offerings for the first time in its nearly 200-year history to include instruction below fifth grade. The academy announced Thursday that it will merge with Freeport’s Meadowbrook Montessori School to offer primary education for children from 2 1/2 years old …
Letters, drawings, paintings and cards from friends, family and strangers surround Greg and Maggie Bokor at their home in Cape Elizabeth on March 15. Greg was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer last December. The Bokors are hosting a fundraising event on Saturday, April 27, 6:30-11 p.m.

Counting on ‘miracles’: Cape Elizabeth couple hit hard by recession, terminal cancer

By Will Graff on March 28, 2013, at 1:14 p.m.
Greg Bokor walked around his kitchen searching for something in the pantry while quietly listening to his wife, Maggie, describe the past few tumultuous years of their lives — wrecked by the recession, compounded by terminal illness. Maggie said they moved to Maine from Maryland in …