Articles by Will Graff

Passengers disembark from the Chebeague Island Ferry on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, on Yarmouth's Cousins Island.

Yarmouth opposition kills island ferry legislation

By Will Graff on March 27, 2013, at 10:47 a.m.
After strong opposition from the community, a bill that would have allowed the Chebeague Island ferry system to form a public transit district is dead. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Moriarty, D-Cumberland, said he withdrew the bill after hearing neighbors of the ferry dock on Cousins Island …

Administrators forced to take furlough days in proposed Freeport-area school budget

By Will Graff on March 27, 2013, at 10:45 a.m.
Higher costs and state curtailments frame the Regional School Unit 5 budget laid out by administrators Tuesday night. The fiscal 2014 budget proposal calls for a 2.58 percent increase to $25.6 million, or about $645,000 more than this year, with Pownal and Durham seeing significant tax increases …
Workmen clear snow from a private parking lot on Myrtle Street on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, in Portland, making way for cars carrying people coming to the Portland Symphony Orchestra's "A Night at the Movies" pops concert.

Federal aid little relief for southern Maine budgets buried by snow costs

By Will Graff on March 27, 2013, at 9:39 a.m.
PORTLAND | Federal aid is on the way to municipalities in four Maine counties hit by a February blizzard. The immensity of the Feb. 8 storm stretched public works winter operations budgets thin, with many towns now operating on reserves. A survey of cities and towns in southern Maine …
Freeport Town Councilor Sarah Tracy

Tracy wins Freeport council seat in special election

By Will Graff on March 21, 2013, at 4:07 p.m.
Sarah Tracy won Wednesday’s special election for the Town Council District 2 seat by a more than 2-1 margin. Tracy defeated Joyce Clarkson-Veilleux, 304-133, in the contest between political neophytes. Her election fills a vacancy created by the resignation in January of former Councilor Kate Arno. Tracy …

Fort Williams Park fails to attract food vendors

By Will Graff on March 14, 2013, at 4:55 p.m.
CAPE ELIZABETH | No one applied for the only available Fort Williams Park food vendor license before the deadline passed last week. The town hopes to find another ice cream vendor to replace Gorgeous Gelato, whose owners decided not to return after last year, leaving a vacancy in the …

Cape Elizabeth bans ‘filthy, vile habit’ of chew tobacco for town employees at work

By Will Graff on March 14, 2013, at 12:33 p.m.
Chewing tobacco is now outlawed for town employees during work, after complaints it is a “filthy, vile habit.” Under the ban, town employees can no longer chew tobacco in town-owned vehicles or buildings. Visitors are also barred from chewing in town buildings. The ban, unanimously approved …
Passengers disembark from the Chebeague Island Ferry on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, on Yarmouth's Cousins Island. Draft legislation would allow the Chebeague Transportation Co. to create a nonprofit public transit district.

Island residents worry that ferry service will be empowered to take private land, subvert town rules

By Will Graff on March 13, 2013, at 12:04 p.m.
YARMOUTH | The private Chebeague Transportation Co. is moving closer to becoming a public transit district, despite meeting resistance from neighbors on Cousins Island. Some Cousins residents fear a bill to create a public transit district, which would replace Chebeague Island’s current for-profit ferry system, could give the district …

State to pay $100,000 per year to keep access to Cape Elizabeth park

By Will Graff on March 09, 2013, at 7:42 a.m.
The state has signed a five-year, $100,000 per-year lease agreement with the corporation that owns most of Crescent Beach State Park, allowing the popular recreation area to remain open to the public. Sprague Corp. announced Friday it has signed a lease extension for 100 acres of …
A dock on the Royal River sits in the mud during a low tide last year. Yarmouth is in line for money to dredge its harbor, although it's unclear if the funding will come through.

Sandy relief funds could help Yarmouth dredge its diminishing harbor

By Will Graff on March 08, 2013, at 1:46 p.m.
In the warmer months, low tides leave docks and boats sitting cockeyed in what looks like a giant mud pit, not a marina. The harbor’s mooring field is supposed to be 6 feet deep at low tide, according to federal navigation standards, while the navigation channel should …

Freeport Town Council endorses $17M high school renovation, opposes state budget cuts

By Will Graff on March 06, 2013, at 9:41 a.m.
Add the Town Council as another proponent of the $16.9 million Freeport High School renovation project headed to voters in Freeport, Pownal and Durham in June. The council decided unanimously Tuesday night to put their support behind the overhaul, which includes building a new entrance, adding nine …
Jameson Tavern, the downtown Freeport pub that first opened in 1801, suddenly closed "until further notice" on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013.

Freeport restaurant owner blames bad economy for closing Jameson Tavern

By Will Graff on Feb. 25, 2013, at 9:22 a.m.
The owner of the historic Jameson Tavern blames his decision to shut its doors last week on hard economic times. “The recession hit us hard. We’ve been struggling for a couple years now,” John “Jack” Stiles said Tuesday. “I thought by leasing out the front to [textile …
Bob Lyman, executive director of Freeport Community Services, shows some of the overflow stock of food and other goods Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at the organization's Depot Street office. FCS has seen demand for its services spike in recent years, with more than 200 families a month served by a food pantry, about a 20 percent increase from 2009.

More and more, Freeport residents falling into poverty — and getting pushed out by town’s high cost of living

By Will Graff on Feb. 12, 2013, at 12:39 p.m.
Behind Freeport’s image as an affluent coastal town, an increasing number of residents are turning to community social services for help with basic needs. And as the gulf between rich and poor grows, fewer people who work in town are able to afford living there. Freeport Community …
An example of the ranked-choice ballot Portland voters saw when they went to the polls for the city's 2011 mayoral race.

Lawmakers team up in support of bringing ranked-choice voting to statewide races

By Will Graff on Feb. 12, 2013, at 11 a.m.
YARMOUTH | Two legislators have joined forces to support a single bill to establish ranked-choice voting in Maine. The election-law bill submitted by Sen. Dick Woodbury, I-Yarmouth, is now co-sponsored by Rep. Janice Cooper, D-Yarmouth, who submitted similar draft legislation at the beginning of the year. Woodbury said the …
Rail upgrades for the expanded Downeaster train service left chunks of concrete debris and railroad ties along the tracks near the Upper Mast landing crossing in Freeport.

Downeaster construction debris may remain scattered along rail corridor until summer

By Will Graff on Feb. 07, 2013, at 1:34 p.m.
FREEPORT | Although the majority of the track upgrades for Amtrak’s expanded Downeaster passenger service were completed at the end of last summer, the 30-mile rail corridor is still littered with thousands of unused ties, twisted pieces of metal and chunks of broken concrete. And the mess likely won’t …

Dilemma continues over high environmental costs of Freeport athletic fields

By Will Graff on Feb. 06, 2013, at 10:52 a.m.
New cost estimates from engineers put the environmental permitting process for the Hunter and Pownal roads fields as high as $120,000. Facing a dilemma to pay for improvements or divest the property to avoid paying, the Town Council pushed back the decision Tuesday night to solicit more …
Kate Arno

Freeport council turnover continues with Arno’s unexpected resignation

By Will Graff on Jan. 22, 2013, at 11:17 a.m.
Freshmen town councilors will outnumber veterans after Councilor Kate Arno announced her resignation last week. Arno will attend her final meeting Tuesday. She is taking a job at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, D.C. “This was an unexpected job opportunity; I didn’t see it on …
Passengers disembark from the Chebeague Island Ferry, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, on Yarmouth's Cousins Island. Draft legislation would allow the Chebeague Transportation Co. to create a nonprofit public transit district.

Yarmouth-Chebeague Island ferry service eyes public transit district status

By Will Graff on Jan. 16, 2013, at 3:05 p.m.
The private Chebeague Transportation Co. wants the state to give it the option to convert to a public transit district. Legislation drafted by state Rep. Steve Moriarty, D-Cumberland, would create a law specific to Chebeague Island that could lead to establishment of the district for the ferry …
Plans for a proposed $16.9 million expansion of Freeport High School include a 31,000-square-foot addition. The Regional School Unit 5 board will vote Jan. 23 on whether to move the proposal to a June referendum.

$17M Freeport High School expansion plan could be ‘hard sell’ in other district towns

By Will Graff on Jan. 16, 2013, at 1:54 p.m.
After planners presented a nearly $16.9 million expansion proposal for Freeport High School last week, officials in Regional School Unit 5 are hopeful about support for the project. But they could have their work cut out for them with voters in Pownal and Durham. The School Board …
Workers topple a tree to make way for the Shore Road path on July 5, 2012. The town spent about $165,000 more than expected on the project, which was dedicated in October 2012.

Cape Elizabeth walking path project runs $165,000 over budget, with flaggers costing most

By Will Graff on Jan. 10, 2013, at 12:09 p.m.
The town spent about $165,000 more than expected for construction of the Shore Road path. The largest cost overrun was for traffic flaggers. Public Works Director Bob Malley said the project went over its $1 million budget in several areas. He said there was a need …
Eliott Thomas stands in front of his lobster boat, Tiffany, at his Yarmouth home on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. A new regulation requiring commercial fishing boats to be inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard was loosened in the latest Coast Guard Reauthorization Act.

Maine advocates criticize quiet rollback of commercial fishing boat safety rules

By Will Graff on Jan. 08, 2013, at 3:53 p.m.
PORTLAND | Advocates said they were baffled when one of the first serious attempts at improving fishing industry safety was stripped down in an annual act passed quietly last month. The U.S. Coast Guard Reauthorization Act of 2010 provision requiring all commercial fishing vessels operating more than three miles …