Articles by William Hall


Landmark Scarborough restaurant to be converted into high-end market

By William Hall on Nov. 26, 2014, at 2:37 p.m.
The Dunstan School Restaurant, which served buffet-style, modestly priced meals for nearly 30 years in its namesake former schoolhouse, is being sold to an out-of-state grocer that plans to convert the building into a high-end food store. The sale is expected to be complete by Dec. 12, …
Scarborough Town Councilor Jessica Holbrook.

After voters throw out two incumbents, Scarborough council picks new chairwoman

By William Hall on Nov. 20, 2014, at 10:27 a.m.
Three newly elected town councilors on Wednesday were sworn into office, while Councilor Jessica Holbrook, previously vice chairwoman of the council, was unanimously elected its chairwoman. Taking seats for a 2015-2017 term were incumbent Councilor Katherine St. Clair, who joined the council two years ago; Shawn Babine, …
The former Cumberland County Civic Center, know known as the Cross Insurance Arena, in Portland.

Proposed Cumberland County budget would increase taxes, driven up by civic center costs and ‘draggy’ revenues

By William Hall on Nov. 11, 2014, at 2:24 p.m.
PORTLAND | The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners on Monday unanimously green-lit a preliminary budget for 2015 operations that would increase the county property tax rate by 5.2 percent. County spending would increase by $1.3 million to a total of $26.7 million under the proposed budget. The spending plan …
State Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, serves as board chairwoman for Maine Connections Academy, the state's first virtual charter school. Volk was elected Nov. 4 to serve in the Maine Senate.

Republican Volk to move from House to Senate in battleground southern Maine district

By William Hall on Nov. 07, 2014, at 1:55 p.m.
SCARBOROUGH | Two-term Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, unseated incumbent first-term Sen. Jim Boyle, D-Gorham, in the Nov. 4 election to represent state Senate District 30. Volk out-polled Boyle 10,089 to 9,128, a margin of 6 percent, in the district that covers most of Scarborough, Gorham and part of Buxton. …
Portland Mayor-elect Michael Brennan speaks to a reporter in front of City Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011, in Portland.

Portland mayor won’t push for higher minimum wage for tipped workers; council could see proposal next month

By William Hall on Sept. 16, 2014, at 11:04 a.m.
Mayor Michael Brennan last week said a proposed ordinance to raise the minimum wage in the city might be vetted next week by a City Council committee, and could go before the full council for consideration next month. Brennan advocates hiking the minimum wage to $9.50 an …
The former Cumberland County Civic Center, now known as the Cross Insurance Arena, in Portland.

Private firms — including group that runs Cross Center — in talks to manage Portland civic center

By William Hall on Sept. 10, 2014, at 8:37 a.m.
Officials of the former Cumberland County Civic Center, who in June sold its naming rights to Bangor-based Cross Insurance, may soon be outsourcing the arena’s management. Discussions are underway with two Philadelphia-area companies, according to Cross Insurance Arena trustee Brian Dudley: privately owned SMG, and Global Spectrum, …
The Olympic flame is reflected in the window at the Olympics Park during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics Games in February 2014.

Will Maine sites be included in regional Boston 2024 Olympics bid?

By William Hall on July 22, 2014, at 8:46 p.m.
PORTLAND | The cities and the years are almost synonymous. Sochi 2014. London 2012. Atlanta 1996. Can you say, “Portland 2024”? The region could be a site of international Olympic competition 10 years from now, after Boston last month advanced to the short list of U.S. cities that may …
A recent aerial view of Fort Allen Park, on the southern tip of Portland's Eastern Promenade, shows the roadway and pedestrian paths that have been restored to their original dimensions.

‘This is a sacred landscape’: $1.4 million restoration of Portland’s Fort Allen Park nears completion

By William Hall on July 01, 2014, at 1:59 p.m.
Three years after plans were proposed for a sweeping, $1.4 million restoration of Fort Allen Park, and nine months since ground was broken, one of the city’s most beloved and historic open spaces will soon be open again. But for now, visitors won’t see several of its …
In Portland, Corey Saenz rents her three-bedroom Munjoy Hill apartment to short-stay visitors for up to $380 per night.

Maine hotels say under-the-radar room rentals are ‘illegal,’ undercut business

By William Hall on May 27, 2014, at 5:29 p.m.
PORTLAND | With summer tourism season unofficially kicking off this week, visitors to southern Maine have more lodging options than ever — including online apartment sharing services some consider illegal. It’s no secret Portland’s hotel business is booming. In May, two new hotels opened their doors: the 131-room Courtyard …
Brunswick Superintendent of Schools Paul Perzanoski

Brunswick School Board nixes deeper cuts, approves $36.2 million budget that would hike tax rate by 4.4%

By William Hall on May 01, 2014, at 10:50 a.m.
BRUNSWICK, Maine— The Brunswick School Board on Wednesday approved a $36.2 million education budget for the 2015 fiscal year after rejecting several cuts that were proposed over the past two weeks. The result is a budget virtually unchanged from one recommended at an April 16 workshop. It could result in …

Brunswick board approves plan for Goodwill, other stores at Cook’s Corner

By William Hall on April 30, 2014, at 3:11 p.m.
The Brunswick Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposal to redevelop the site of a former Cook’s Corner motel into space that would include a Goodwill store and, potentially, several other businesses. The board voted 3-0 to approve the application of Just Because LLC to convert …

Brunswick officials chip away at proposed budget, aiming to limit tax rate hike to 6 percent

By William Hall on April 24, 2014, at 2:13 p.m.
Like stubborn patches of snow that are slowly receding, a projected increase in Brunswick’s 2015 property tax rate may also be shrinking. Or so town officials hope. Interim Town Manager John Eldridge has been working to whittle down budget requests from town departments that, if granted, could …
Brad Choyt, center, at an Oct. 5, 2011, ceremony marking his installation as head of school at North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth.

Head of North Yarmouth Academy to leave private school at end of June

By William Hall on April 22, 2014, at 2:53 p.m.
North Yarmouth Academy’s top administrator, Brad Choyt, will resign at the end of the school year. Choyt, who has served as NYA head of school since 2011, will step down June 30. In an interview Tuesday he would not disclose the reason for his resignation. The NYA …

Portland offers ‘rewards’ for people who weigh in on street redesign plan

By William Hall on Jan. 28, 2014, at 4:53 p.m.
The proposed redesign of Franklin Street, the 3/4-mile artery between Marginal Way and Commercial Street, is going public. The second phase of a design study, which the city launched last June, is looking for input from residents in a forum at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, in …
A plastic shopping bag, one of thousands littering the landscape at the Bath municipal landfill, flaps in the breeze in this April 19, 2013 file photo.

Paper or plastic? Both would cost a dime under Portland plan that opponents say will spawn ‘bag police’

By William Hall on Jan. 28, 2014, at 1:11 p.m.
In what may be a case of history repeating itself, a Portland City Council task force on Monday narrowly recommended a proposed fee that many city merchants would charge customers to package goods in disposable bags. The council’s Green Packaging Working Group, which last year proposed a …
Greg Shinberg, a Portland-based consultant for The Federated Cos., surveys an industrial lot along Somerset Street that may become part of the developer's proposed Midtown housing and retail complex.

Developers, opponents eye next moves after Portland planners OK major project

By William Hall on Jan. 22, 2014, at 5:43 p.m.
Opponents of Midtown, the much-debated housing and retail complex developers hope to build in the Bayside neighborhood, are gathering this week to strategize. Meanwhile, the developers are preparing to break ground on the first phase of Midtown as soon as March. On Jan. 14, the Planning Board …
Ed Suslovic

Portland eyes new fees on plastic, paper bags in check-out lines

By William Hall on Jan. 14, 2014, at 10:50 a.m.
A City Council task force on Monday began drafting an ordinance that would charge grocery and convenience-store shoppers a 10-cent “waste reduction fee” for each disposable bag used to package their purchases. Councilor Ed Suslovic, chairman of the Green Packaging Working Group, said the council could consider …
A city worker in a sidewalk snow plow drops salt on pedestrian surfaces on Dec. 9, 2013 in Portland.

Portland already more than halfway through winter snow-clearing budget

By William Hall on Jan. 07, 2014, at 1:59 p.m.
Less than three weeks into winter — but after dealing with five winter storms — the city has already spent more than half of its annual budget for snow clearing and other seasonal work. Director of Public Services Mike Bobinsky on Monday told city councilors that his …
 Peaks Island resident Daniel Sonenberg is almost finished composing "The Summer King," an opera based on the life of Negro Leagues baseball great Josh Gibson.

Portland composer writes opera about Negro Leagues baseball star

By William Hall on Jan. 07, 2014, at 11:16 a.m.
While recent weather may suggest otherwise, it’s only a few months before the drama of professional baseball once again thrills Portland spectators. But this spring, some of that drama will take place not at Hadlock Field, but in Merrill Auditorium. “The Summer King,” an opera based on …
Portland planners are proposing two designs for rerouting traffic around the intersection of Falmouth Street and Deering and Brighton avenues, seen here from the University of Maine School of Law.

Portland eyes funding to fix two dangerous intersections

By William Hall on Jan. 02, 2014, at 3:53 p.m.
A City Council committee is backing a request for federal and state funds that could bring changes to two key Portland intersections. The Transportation, Sustainability and Energy Committee on Dec. 18 endorsed an application for funds to overhaul the six-way intersection of Brighton and Deering avenues and …
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