Articles by William Hall

Cars traverse on Tuesday on Congress Street in Portland, where the City Council on Monday voted to increase the minimum wage for Portland workers to $10.10 per hour starting Jan. 1, 2016.

Portland’s minimum hourly wage to rise to $10.10

By William Hall on July 07, 2015, at 12:09 p.m.
Despite a more modest recommendation from its Finance Committee, the City Council on Monday voted 6-3 to create a minimum wage for Portland workers of $10.10 per hour. The minimum will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016, will increase to $10.68 in 2017, and will be pegged …
Dressed in blue T-shirts, more than 200 supporters of banning tar sands from South Portland applauded the work of the special draft ordinance committee at Mahoney Middle School in this June 2014 file photo.

South Portland sets aside almost $500,000 to defend tar sands oil ban

By William Hall on June 17, 2015, at 3:50 p.m.
The South Portland City Council on Monday earmarked nearly $500,000 to defend a law it passed last year preventing the on-boarding of crude oil along the city’s waterfront. The “Clear Skies” ordinance effectively prohibits pumping tar sands oil through the Portland-Montreal Pipeline to South Portland, where …
A close-up picture shows "love locks" that are attached to an iron grill on the Pont de Arts over the River Seine in Paris, France, in this May 31, 2015, file photo.

Keys to the heart: Love locks fall in France, remain in Portland

By William Hall on June 09, 2015, at 10:54 a.m.
Lovers, rejoice. While the end of a famed French monument to l’amour last week made international headlines, Portland’s “love locks” fence seems secure. At least for now. On June 1, workers in Paris began to dismantle hundreds of thousands of padlocks, inscribed with lovers’ names and initials, …
Caleb Johnson, a subcontractor of Northeast Turf of South Portland, smoothes freshly laid artificial turf at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland on Thursday, May 7.

Turf wars: Cancer debate accompanies Portland-area artificial fields

By William Hall on May 12, 2015, at 2:06 p.m.
Walking by the shuttered stands of Fitzpatrick Stadium, where final touches are now being made on a new artificial turf field, you might believe the adage: The grass really does grow greener on the other side of the fence. But some critics think recent alleged health concerns …
First Baptist Church of Yarmouth, founded more than two centuries ago, has been at 346 Main St. since 1889. Church members have been surprised to learn of a new Baptist church opening next week less than a mile away.

Is there room in Yarmouth for a new church congregation?

By William Hall on April 23, 2015, at 8:45 a.m.
Whether its genesis is divine, driven by demographics, or the result of religious sibling rivalry, a new church is opening its doors next week – the first area congregation founded in more than a decade, and the first in Yarmouth since 1973. The Royal River Baptist Church …

Yarmouth councilors question use of school budget windfall

By William Hall on April 22, 2015, at 10:51 a.m.
The Town Council heard unexpected good news about proposed school spending for fiscal year 2016, but not everyone was happy with the surprise. A reduction in health insurance rates will save the School Department about $175,000 next year, School Finance Committee Chairman Tim Wheaton told councilors at …
A recent aerial photo of the former site of the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

Price tag for recreation area at former Navy base spooks Brunswick councilors

By William Hall on March 19, 2015, at 12:30 p.m.
The Brunswick Town Council on Monday tabled a plan for managing 66 acres of wildlife habitat and open space in East Brunswick that could cost nearly $2 million to fully implement. The Capt. William A. Fitzgerald USN Recreation and Conservation Area, off Old Bath Road, comprises part …
A water main break on Pearl Street in Portland caused the federal courthouse to shut down for the day in this June 2013 file photo.

Portland-area water rates rising as pipes break, infrastructure costs mount

By William Hall on Dec. 09, 2014, at 12:53 p.m.
Driven by the need to replace aging mains and other infrastructure, the quasi-municipal authority that pumps water to the city and 10 surrounding communities may nearly double capital spending in 2015 and increase water prices by 3.8 percent. The rate increase factors into the Portland Water District’s …

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 …