Articles by William Hall

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | 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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 | 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 …

Portland revives plans to redesign high-traffic Franklin Street

By William Hall on Sept. 03, 2013, at 10:59 a.m.
After a lull of four years, the city is once again looking at plans to revamp Franklin Street, the 3/4-mile thoroughfare that runs between Interstate 295 and Commercial Street. The second phase of a design study kicked off in June with the meeting of a 19-member public …

Portland council and school board races take shape

By William Hall on Aug. 27, 2013, at 2:12 p.m.
Six candidates have qualified to appear on the Nov. 5 election ballot for three City Council seats. Another six candidates have qualified to be on the ballot for three School Board seats, city election administrator Bud Philbrick said Tuesday morning. Candidates had until 4:30 p.m. Monday to …
Douglas Gardner, director of the Portland Department of Health and Human Services

Portland working hard to combat homelessness, but changes to MaineCare could make problem worse anyway

By William Hall on Aug. 27, 2013, at 11:56 a.m.
The city has been touting its recent efforts to combat homelessness, but some say the problem remains serious and is about to get worse. In November, the City Council adopted the recommendations of a task force it appointed to come up with ideas for reducing and preventing …
The stamp bearing the likeness of Portland native and Hollywood legend John Ford was released in 2012. The Ford stamp was the first in a series honoring movie directors.

Portland to celebrate life of legendary Hollywood director, city native John Ford

By William Hall on Aug. 27, 2013, at 9:09 a.m.
John Ford, the legendary Hollywood film director and Portland High School alumnus, will return to the spotlight this weekend. The city has proclaimed Saturday, Aug. 31, as John Ford Day, the 40th anniversary of his death. And the Maine Irish Heritage Center is hosting a celebration of …
A 1929 restroom sign, one of the items from the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine, at the University of Southern Maine in Portland.

Portland diversity center’s message: ‘We’re not all the same’

By William Hall on Aug. 22, 2013, at 11:25 a.m.
The city and its surrounding communities are one of the least diverse metro areas in the nation, according to a study last fall by Brown University researchers. The Portland-South Portland-Biddeford area ranked No. 11 on the list of the least diverse areas. Bangor ranked No. 5; Lewiston-Auburn …
 Angela Davis stopped by DiPietro's Italian Sandwiches on Cumberland Avenue in Portland for a final purchase on Sunday, the 69-year-old sandwich shop's last day.

‘The passing of an era’: Landmark Portland Italian sandwich shop closes after 69 years

By William Hall on Aug. 20, 2013, at 1:03 p.m.
On Sunday, the last day of operation after 69 years at DiPietro’s Italian Sandwiches, Michele Grondin unlocked the door at 9 a.m. to find a line of customers already waiting. At 2 p.m., customers were still coming from as far away as Connecticut to enjoy a last …