Articles by Alex Lear

 
The Frank J. Wood Bridge connects Brunswick and Topsham.

Residents weigh in on future of Brunswick-Topsham bridge

By Alex Lear on Feb. 26, 2015, at 6:10 p.m.
Depending on availability of funding, improvements to the Frank J. Wood Bridge could go out to bid in 2018. On Wednesday, the Maine Department of Transportation hosted a preliminary public meeting — which filled a community room at the Topsham Public Library — to discuss future work …

North Yarmouth selectmen cut TV feed, call sheriff as complaints escalate

By Alex Lear on Feb. 20, 2015, at 8:52 a.m.
Continuing criticism of the town’s December 2014 firing of one of its Fire-Rescue Department paramedics led the Board of Selectmen to cut the audio portion of the cable TV feed of its Tuesday meeting and call in a sheriff’s deputy in case the discussion became too …

Cumberland to spend $300,000 for land acquisition, preservation

By Alex Lear on Feb. 10, 2015, at 5:45 p.m.
Town Council on Monday unanimously approved contributing $300,000 for the $1.13 million acquisition of a 215-acre parcel of undeveloped land in Cumberland and North Yarmouth. The panel also heard a report from engineering firm Gorrill-Palmer of Gray about the planned reconstruction of Blackstrap Road this year. Trust …
Morse High School student Balt von Huene, right, with teacher Eric Varney, achieved the only perfect score in the world last spring on the Advanced Placement Environmental Science exam.

Maine high school student earns only perfect score in world on AP test

By Alex Lear on Feb. 04, 2015, at 2:17 p.m.
BATH | Getting the top score on an Advanced Placement exam is cool enough. But even better? Being told you’re the only high school student in the world to have done so on that particular test. Balt von Huene of Arrowsic, a senior at Morse High School, did just …
Linda Polkey, shown here with her nephew, Andrew, died suddenly last month from breast cancer. Her relatives are trying to raise $165,000 to keep her North Yarmouth business and Falmouth home.

Family of Falmouth woman who died of cancer raising funds to save her home, North Yarmouth business

By Alex Lear on Feb. 04, 2015, at 5:57 a.m.
The family of a woman who died last month from breast cancer is raising money to buy her former business and keep her ancestral Falmouth home in the family. Linda Polkey died Jan. 12 from undiagnosed and untreated cancer. The disease struck quickly, shocking family and …
The board of the Bath-Tsugaru Sister City Exchange Program elected Andy Bailes of Bowdoinham as its new president Jan. 21.

Bath-Tsugaru sister city group replaces longtime president

By Alex Lear on Jan. 28, 2015, at 3:04 p.m.
The board of the Bath-Tsugaru Sister City Exchange Program recently elected Andy Bailes as its new president. Bailes replaces Dr. Deborah Patten, who led the program for 15 years. When Patten took over in 1999, “it was really just me doing everything,” she recalled in an email. …

Topsham-area schools face dropping enrollments, increasing payroll costs

By Alex Lear on Jan. 28, 2015, at 2:12 p.m.
Contractual salary increases, a potential rise in health insurance costs and the effect of charter schools are among factors that could influence the next School Administrative District 75 budget. The district’s spending plan, including adult education, decreased from $34.8 million in fiscal 2011 to $33.4 million two …

Cumberland council OKs land sale, contract zone for Route 1 development

By Alex Lear on Jan. 27, 2015, at 11:17 a.m.
The Town Council on Monday approved a contract zone agreement and land sale for a proposed housing development along U.S. Route 1. Developer David Chase — who has had difficulty selling the property for commercial use and now wants to carve the land into smaller pieces suitable …
Cumberland's proposed purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would include about 11 acres of public beach access.

Cumberland officials ask judge to throw out lawsuit over beach property

By Alex Lear on Jan. 21, 2015, at 12:02 p.m.
Cumberland officials are seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the town and a local land trust by the heirs to a Foreside Road beach property. The complaint, filed Dec. 18, 2014, in Cumberland County Superior Court against the town and the Chebeague and Cumberland Land Trust, …

North Yarmouth residents continue to question firing of EMS deputy chief

By Alex Lear on Jan. 21, 2015, at 11:39 a.m.
The North Yarmouth Town Hall meeting room was packed for Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, largely by residents critical of the circumstances behind — and lack of action since — the abrupt departure last month of the town’s two fire-rescue department paramedics. Jeff Toorish, a …
The Bath City Council voted Wednesday, April 23, 2014, to sell the John E.L. Huse Memorial School, formerly occupied by the Regional School Unit 1 central office, to developers proposing to renovate the 63-year-old building for senior assisted living.

Portland developer considers converting former Bath school to mostly low-cost rental housing

By Alex Lear on Jan. 14, 2015, at 12:06 p.m.
The next use of the John E.L. Huse Memorial School — which was occupied by the Regional School Unit 1 central office until 2010 — could be mixed-income rental housing. While the City Council voted last April to sell the 39 Andrews Road building for senior assisted …

West Bath overwhelmingly approves exit from RSU 1

By Alex Lear on Jan. 14, 2015, at 8:16 a.m.
By a margin of nearly 5-1 Tuesday, West Bath voters approved withdrawal from Regional School Unit 1, which the town helped form in 2008. Residents voted 468-97 in favor of leaving the district, the town reported. Not only was a majority needed for the vote to …

Cumberland-North Yarmouth school district to consider new artificial turf field, performing arts center

By Alex Lear on Dec. 29, 2014, at 11:45 a.m.
An artificial turf field and performing arts center will be subjects of a School Administrative District 51 board of directors workshop on Jan. 5. “There’s been a lot of interest, I think, in the community” around both projects, and committees have been tasked with looking into them, …
Cumberland's proposed purchase of part of the Payson property off Foreside Road would include about 11 acres of public beach access.

Family that sold 100 shorefront acres to Cumberland sues over plan to create public beach

By Alex Lear on Dec. 22, 2014, at 12:10 p.m.
The heirs to a Foreside Road beach property filed a lawsuit Dec. 18 against the town and a local land trust, one day before the town and a developer completed the purchases of their portions of the approximately 100-acre parcel. Cumberland voters on Nov. 4 narrowly supported …

Dispute over washing personal vehicles at North Yarmouth fire station leads to deputy chief’s firing

By Alex Lear on Dec. 19, 2014, at 10:12 a.m.
Two former North Yarmouth Fire and Rescue Department paramedics claim town officials have violated their civil rights. Jeff Toorish, a lieutenant medic with the department, resigned Dec. 11. Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services Bill Young was fired the same day. Toorish said Tuesday their departures …
Cumberland voters narrowly supported the town's $3 million purchase of the Payson property at 179 Foreside Road.

As Cumberland beach purchase nears completion, opponents keep fighting its legality

By Alex Lear on Dec. 14, 2014, at 9:35 a.m.
With a developer and the town just days away from consummating a beach property acquisition endorsed by voters on Election Day, opponents continue to claim the deal is illegal. On Nov. 4, Cumberland voters narrowly supported the town’s $3 million purchase of the Payson property at 179 …

Burglary, budget woes spur Bath youth center to ask for community help

By Alex Lear on Dec. 11, 2014, at 1:07 p.m.
The Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark is relying on the community to help it cope with some recent setbacks. Thieves broke into the 4 Old Brunswick Road building last month, damaging cameras and vending machines, and stealing cash. A 17-year-old boy from Woolwich and a 16-year-old boy …
Naomi Beal (left) chairwoman of the Friends School of Portland building committee, and Head of School Jenny Rowe stand at the school's future location on Monday in Cumberland.

Friends School of Portland eyes fundraising goal for new building

By Alex Lear on Dec. 09, 2014, at 1:04 p.m.
Friends School of Portland, which plans to open a new building next fall near the Falmouth town line, is striving to raise $52,000 toward the project by the end of the year. “That will bring us to the $2.47 million that we set out to raise,” Head …
RSU 1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel.

Bath-area school district weighs rebuilding or renovating 85-year-old Morse High School

By Alex Lear on Dec. 09, 2014, at 11:28 a.m.
A new building committee will consider whether Regional School Unit 1 will renovate or replace Morse High School. The 85-year-old high school ranks 11th on the latest state funding list, four slots down from Mount Ararat High School in nearby Topsham, and both schools have been approved …
Although Claudette Gamache has been ready for more than a year to open an art gallery in Bath, she has been delayed by a statewide code requiring a sprinkler system for the home-based business.

Gallery owner, 13 other home-based businesses in Bath can’t open because of Maine sprinkler system mandate

By Alex Lear on Dec. 05, 2014, at 9:02 a.m.
Claudette Gamache has been ready for more than a year to open an art gallery at 411 Front St. But the lack of a sprinkler system in the building, which she says is cost-prohibitive and unnecessary, has been holding her back. “I’m seeing all these little signs …
 
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