Articles by William Hall

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 …
Maine Army National Guard Sgt. Nathaniel Grace, center, and other military veterans recount their personal experiences at a recent "story exchange" at the University of New England in Portland, under the guidance of Art At Work director Marty Pottenger.

Portland program seeks funding for project involving veterans recounting military experiences in public forums

By William Hall on Jan. 02, 2014, at 1:50 p.m.
Art At Work, a national program started in Portland that engages government employees in art-making, is preparing to launch two major projects in 2014. The program is relying on a crowd-funding campaign to raise $25,000, which will support “All the Way Home,” a planned series of “story …
A rendering of the first phase of the proposed Midtown complex in Portland's Bayside neighborhood, showing the first of four apartment towers, right, along Somerset Street.

Portland residents sharply divided on plan for four new 15-story buildings

By William Hall on Jan. 01, 2014, at 10:05 a.m.
Two weeks before the Planning Board is scheduled to continue hearing public testimony – and, perhaps, to vote – on a proposed high-rise housing and retail complex in Bayside, opinion remains sharply divided about the Midtown project. The board on Jan. 14 will reconvene a hearing that …
An artist's rendering of the latest design for the proposed addition, right, to the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland. The Historic Preservation Board will discuss the revised design at a workshop on Wednesday at City Hall.

Controversial plan to expand historic Portland church-turned-theater is revived

By William Hall on Dec. 23, 2013, at 10:55 a.m.
After a six-month hiatus, a much-debated proposal to add a 400-seat performance hall to the St. Lawrence Arts Center on Munjoy Hill may once again be in the public spotlight. The Friends of the St. Lawrence Church, the nonprofit group that owns and operates the center, wants …
Pedestrians navigate a portion of Congress Street in Portland, between Forest Avenue and Oak Street, where federally funded improvements to storefronts have hurt business.

Portland storefront upgrades good for some businesses, bad for others

By William Hall on Dec. 23, 2013, at 10:15 a.m.
Congress Street businesses are sprucing up their appearance, thanks to a city initiative that will result in nearly $600,000 of storefront improvements. But not everyone is happy with the work being done on building facades, signs and awnings between Forest Avenue and Oak Street. The city’s Facade …
The Portland Community Free Clinic, housed in city offices at 103 India St., nearly closed last year. Now clinic officials estimate it can remain open for another six months.

Free Portland clinic staves off closure, for now

By William Hall on Dec. 17, 2013, at 1:23 p.m.
One year after nearly being forced to close, the Portland Community Free Clinic is no longer on life support, but remains in serious condition. The clinic, at 103 India St., provides no-cost medical care to more than 500 Cumberland County residents who can’t afford health insurance, but …
Portland Pirate Petteri Wirtanen (26) maintains possession of the puck as Manchester Monarch Matt Ryan (21) tries to keep up during the second period of action at the Alfond Arena in Orono in 2007.

Portland Pirates could move out of state if lease dispute isn’t resolved soon, new majority owner says

By William Hall on Dec. 17, 2013, at 12:41 p.m.
Unless an agreement is reached soon, the Portland Pirates hockey team could be moving to Saco, or leaving Maine entirely. With attempts to reopen lease negotiations between the Cumberland County Civic Center and its anchor tenant — and to bring new blood to the arena’s board of …

Portland’s Meg Perry Center plans to expand, move to East Bayside

By William Hall on Dec. 09, 2013, at 7:31 p.m.
The Meg Perry Center, which in October was forced to vacate space at 644 Congress St., may be just days away from a new home in East Bayside. The center is negotiating to lease about 2,000 square feet and hopes to make final an agreement by the …
One of three protesters kneels before the audience, back to the City Council, during the Sept. 16 meeting. Two of the demonstrators wore tape over their mouths in part to protest the lack of public input they felt was included in a city deal to sell part of Congress Square park to private developers.

Portland uses $50,000 grant to promote civility, stem tide of public ‘nastiness’

By William Hall on Dec. 03, 2013, at 1:35 p.m.
From City Hall to the State House to the White House, elected representatives and the people they represent are engaging in an escalating war of words. But a Portland campaign is trying to turn down the noisy rhetoric, while dialing up the level of “civility” in public …
Brick walls and chimneys are all that remain after a fire destroyed a hotel under development on Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay.

Massive island blaze prompts changes for Portland fire department

By William Hall on Dec. 03, 2013, at 11:21 a.m.
Two weeks after a massive fire destroyed much of a historic fort on Great Diamond Island, the city and the state fire marshal’s office are still investigating the cause of the blaze. The Nov. 23 fire caused damage estimated at $5 million to $9 million to the …
Portland City Councilor Ed Suslovic exits the federal courthouse in Portland on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Portland, Russia sister city spar over anti-gay laws

By William Hall on Nov. 25, 2013, at 11:12 a.m.
Siblings can agree to disagree, Portland City Councilor Ed Suslovic believes. Even if they don’t speak the same language. Officials from Portland’s sister city, Archangel, Russia, met Nov. 21 for a frank discussion with Suslovic, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck and several other community leaders. Reporters were initially …
Portland's Bayside neighborhood, including the intersection of Chestnut and Somerset streets, is an area that is especially flood-prone. New government maps will determine the gravity of the flood risk for property owners.

New FEMA flood maps could reshape coastal development in York, Cumberland counties

By William Hall on Nov. 19, 2013, at 3:01 p.m.
PORTLAND | Three years after it withdrew a set of high-tech maps showing flood hazards in Cumberland and York counties, the federal government has released new maps. The Federal Emergency Management Agency released preliminary flood insurance rate maps, or FIRMs, for the two counties on Nov. 5. The FIRMs …
Greg Shinberg of Shinberg Consulting goes over a proposed master plan for the Midtown development project in Portland's East Bayside at a neighborhood meeting in June.

Decision looms on whether to allow high-rise project in Bayside section of Portland

By William Hall on Nov. 19, 2013, at 2:40 p.m.
After a sixth workshop last week on a much-debated proposal for a high-rise housing and retail complex in Bayside, the Portland Planning Board appears ready to decide the project’s fate. The board is tentatively scheduled to conduct a final public hearing on the Midtown complex plans on …