Articles by William Hall

 

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

By William Hall on Dec. 09, 2013, at 7:31 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — 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.
PORTLAND, Maine — 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.
PORTLAND, Maine — 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.
PORTLAND, Maine — 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, Maine — 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.
PORTLAND, Maine — 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 …
John Hinck

Former state legislator Jon Hinck to join Portland City Council; Duson, Suslovic re-elected

By William Hall on Nov. 06, 2013, at 1:44 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Jon Hinck, a former three-term state representative who last year unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, was elected on Tuesday to the Portland City Council in its most closely contested race. In the two other council races, incumbent councilors Jill Duson and Ed Suslovic …
Bar Lola, a popular eatery on Portland's Munjoy Hill for more than seven years, will close Nov. 16.

Popular Portland eatery to close after seven years; owners plan to open new restaurant

By William Hall on Nov. 04, 2013, at 3:45 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Despite what its co-owner called “the best year ever,” Bar Lola, a popular spot for more than seven years in Munjoy Hill’s burgeoning restaurant scene, will close its doors Nov. 16. Stella Hernandez, who owns Bar Lola with her husband, Guy, on Sunday said the couple plan …

Portland hangs on to sister city relationship despite anti-gay laws in Russia

By William Hall on Oct. 30, 2013, at 1:21 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — While the city and Archangel, Russia, are about to celebrate their 25-year connection among 2,000 sister cities throughout the world, a family squabble is brewing. A growing number of cities are severing relationships with their “sisters” in Russia, as the country comes under international criticism for recent …

Westin hotel to reopen in Portland next month

By William Hall on Oct. 30, 2013, at 7:37 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — As debate about a hotel event facility that would be built in Congress Square Plaza has captured public attention, it’s easy to forget that the hotel itself will soon reopen after being closed the past two years for renovation. The Westin Portland Harborview Hotel, at 157 High …
Vespucci's, at 211 Danforth St. in Portland's West End, could become the site of a 45-seat restaurant next year.

New restaurant to replace variety store in Portland’s West End

By William Hall on Oct. 22, 2013, at 12:56 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A 45-seat restaurant serving “New American comfort food” may be coming to 211 Danforth St. in the city’s West End. Keith Hickman, of Portland and New York City, expects to close Nov. 1 on the $440,000 purchase of the one-story building, now the site of Vespucci’s variety …

$400,000 to aid victims of human trafficking in southern Maine

By William Hall on Oct. 22, 2013, at 11:19 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A coalition led by social service agency Preble Street has received a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to provide services for victims of human trafficking in Cumberland and York counties. With the two-year grant, the Preble Street Anti-Trafficking Coalition will provide outreach, health and …
A rendering of the view showing the proposed Midtown project, looking up Cedar Street in Portland. A residents group opposes the project as an example of commercial development that will harm the quality of life for those who live in the city.

Portland residents’ group takes aim at ‘concrete canyon’ as example of unwanted development

By William Hall on Oct. 16, 2013, at 11 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A group of residents has launched a campaign opposing the wave of large-scale commercial development projects in Portland. The group, Keep Portland Livable, is taking aim first at the proposed Midtown project in the Bayside neighborhood. The Midtown project includes four 15-story towers with 675 market-rate apartments …
POLL QUESTION
Pro-choice protesters gather near Planned Parenthood on Congress Street in Portland on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.

Unfazed by lawsuit threat, Portland city councilor expects unanimous approval of protest buffer zone for abortion clinic

By William Hall on Oct. 15, 2013, at 3:32 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — A proposed “buffer zone” banning protesters near a Planned Parenthood clinic that performs abortions is a step closer to being approved, after a City Council committee last week recommended it to the full council. The Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee voted 4-0 on Oct. 8 …
Nancy Callas, assistant site manager for Back Bay Tower in Portland, holds open a pouch containing several syringes and a spoon, discovered by two elementary school students near their bus stop on Cumberland Avenue.

Portland luxury tower residents troubled by neighborhood’s apparent spike in heroin use

By William Hall on Oct. 02, 2013, at 1:14 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Back Bay Tower, a 16-story luxury apartment building at 401 Cumberland Ave., has a waiting list of prospective tenants. But the building seems to be attracting something much less desirable these days. In the past few months, residents and staff have been finding “significantly” more used syringes …
Briana Warner at work in her new pie bakery, Maine Pie Line, at 200 Anderson St., Portland.

After using pies to help warm up foreign negotiations, former US diplomat opens bakery in Portland

By William Hall on Sept. 30, 2013, at 5:15 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — It’s no secret that East Bayside has become a mecca for fad-forward foodies, but the neighborhood’s newest gourmet go-to spot is definitely old-school. Maine Pie Line, Portland’s only bakery dedicated exclusively to pies, is scheduled to open for business Tuesday at 200 Anderson St. The pie bakery …

Meg Perry Center forced to move from Congress Street in Portland

By William Hall on Sept. 24, 2013, at 3:17 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — The Meg Perry Center is leaving 644 Congress St., where the center has hosted art exhibits, movies and music, political meetings and a “free radical lending library” for six years. On its Facebook page and in an email, the organization — which describes itself as a center …
A woman walks on the beach at Pine Point in Scarborough Thursday Oct. 11, 2012.

Emotions high as Scarborough discusses rules on dogs at town beaches

By William Hall on Sept. 19, 2013, at 11:39 a.m.
SCARBOROUGH, Maine — Amid what Chairman Ron Ahlquist called “active negotiations” with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over a fine against the town for the death of a protected bird, the Town Council on Wednesday night delayed a decision on whether to tighten restrictions on unleashed dogs at town …
Alex Marquis, of Coffee By Design, delivers coffee from Arabica to Preble Street's temporary soup kitchen at Sacred Heart Church in Portland on Monday, Sept. 17.

Neighbors step in to feed needy in Portland during temporary soup kitchen closure

By William Hall on Sept. 17, 2013, at 1:20 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — When word got out a few weeks ago that Preble Street would have to temporarily close its soup kitchen, more than two dozen local businesses, churches, schools and other organizations rallied to help. Preble Street was forced to shut down the kitchen for four days to replace …
The Wabanaki, shown here while recently being fitted out in Rhode Island, will be Casco Bay Lines' newest ferry in eight years when it joins the fleet next week.

Casco Bay Lines prepares to launch new ferry

By William Hall on Sept. 17, 2013, at 8:14 a.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — As work gets under way on an eight-month renovation of the Casco Bay Lines ferry terminal, passengers will notice another big change there next week. A new ferry, the 399-passenger Wabanaki, will join the Casco Bay Lines fleet as soon as Tuesday, Sept. 24, according to Hank …
 
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