Friday, March 31, 2006

Homeless Protection Bill Wins Senate Enactment
Legislation sent to Governor Baldacci for consideration
The Maine Senate enacted a bill on March 30th that would crack down on the growing problem of violence against homeless people in Maine. The proposal would update Maine laws to allow judges the ability to increase sentences for criminals found guilty of attacking a homeless person. Current law already offers such added protections for people based on religion, age and sexual orientation.
Senator Michael Brennan of Portland sponsored the bill.

LD 2046 is the product of a new law passed last year that asked Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe to convene a working group to offer suggestions for addressing violence against homeless people. The legislation was based on the recommendations of the working group formed by Rowe.
State Senate Enacts Bill to Divest from Sudan
The Maine Senate voted 33 to zero on March 30th to enact a bill directing the Maine State Retirement System to divest all its holdings from companies doing business in the Darfur region of Sudan. The holdings amount to approximately $50 million of the retirement system’s nine billion dollar portfolio. Maine now becomes the 6th state in the nation to divest its holdings from Sudan. Governor Baldacci has already signaled his intent to sign the legislation.

In the 1980’s, Maine passed similar legislation to divest retirement system holdings from South Africa and Ireland.

Since the conflict in Sudan began, over 400,000 black Sudanese have been killed and over 2 million have been displaced. The attacks routinely involve helicopters and gunships bombing villages and then the Janjaweed [the military] moving in to burn, rape, pillage, and murder.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Greater Portland kids and families are urged to “Put Play in Your Day” at the YMCA Healthy KidsÒ Day on Friday, April 7th, from 5 to7 p.m., at the Greater Portland YMCA. The event is free and open to the public, and is designed for children ages 5-12. Activities will include games, healthy snack making, family fitness challenges and more. Free YMCA brochures for parents with tips on raising safe and healthy kids, as well as information on healthy family activities throughout the area will be available. There will also be an overnight event for kids ages 10-13. For more information, call 874-1111, ext 133 or visit

Springboard Pilates will have its Grand Opening on April 14th from 5-8 pm at 143 Spring Street.
Bethany Tinsley Mateosian, a New York-trained Authentic Pilates™ instructor, aims to bring energy and movement to Portland’s Spring Street historic district. The Pilates method combines movement, core strengthening and body awareness to benefit both the mind and the body.
Mateosian, who grew up in Texas and Holland and graduated from Bowdoin College, chose to get certified through the Authentic Pilates Method™ in New York City and Philadelphia in order to learn from the people who worked directly under Joseph Pilates.
The works of local artist Dennis Fournier, whose landscapes illustrate many locations near the studio, will be featured at the Grand Opening.
You can learn more about Mateosian and Pilates by calling 207-841-0932, or by visiting

A troupe of three actors from Haiti will perform "Three Innocents and a Spirit" in Portland on April 8 and 9, weaving live music, dance, mime and puppetry together in their interpretation of Haiti's history and cultural crises. The stop in Portland by the non-profit N a Sonje Foundation is part of a nationwide tour.

This historical drama portrays the interactions in Haiti of peoples from the Americas, Africa, and Europe since before the time of Christopher Columbus.
One performance is scheduled for Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Church Hall at the corner of Mellen and Sherman Streets in Portland, Saturday, April 8 at 5:30 p.m. The second is at Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church, 524 Allen Avenue in Portland, on Sunday, April 9 at 1:30 p.m.

There is no admission charge. Donations will be welcome to support the building of Memory Village, an interactive museum in Haiti, which will celebrate the Haitian people's history and culture.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

MARCH 23 TO APRIL 2, 2006
76 Congress Street, Portland

THURSDAY, MARCH 30 at 7:30 p.m.
"Heaven," by Lynne Cullen
"Oakfall," by Richard Sewell
"Romance," by Jon Potter
"Trains of Painesville," by Linda Griffith

FRIDAY, MARCH 31 at 8 p.m.
"Bad Case of Loving You," by Jay Lawrence
"Heaven," by Lynne Cullen
"Mrs. White's Little Girls Get Dirty," by Danie Connolly
"Oakfall," by Richard Sewell

SATURDAY, APRIL 1 at 8 p.m.
"Friendly Fred"
"Jill and Jack"
"Paul and His Mom"
"Wolfman and Janice"

SUNDAY, APRIL 2 at 7:30 p.m.
"Romance," by Jon Potter
"'Til the Fat Lady Sings," book and lyrics by Carolyn Gage and music by Andrea Jill Higgins "Trains of Painesville," by Linda Griffith
"Visiting Hour," by Dana Pearson $10 for adults $6 for students/seniorsSpecial three-performance passes available:$25 adults and $15 for students/seniorsCall 766-3386
Greens Launch New Weblog

The Portland Green Independent Committee has launched a new weblog: . The new blog will feature party announcements and news articles featuring members of the Portland Greens.

Green School Committee member Stephen Spring has also launched his own constituent service blog: "We are running strong candidates to win at both the city and state levels," said new party co-chair Kevin Donoghue. "With a bold vision and constituent outreach, the Portland Greens are ready for 2006."

Portland Green Independent CommitteeKevin Donoghue (409-2807) and Rebecca Minnick, Co-Chairs
LaMarche Campaign Races Toward Clean Elections Deadline
With only about two weeks left to the deadline for collecting $5 checks to qualify for Clean Elections funding, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Pat LaMarche and her supporters are focusing all their time and energy on trying to raise the necessary support. Green Party operatives have come to Maine from as far away as Tennessee and South Dakota to help in the effort.

Former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Carter is helping in the cause, urging LaMarche supporters to go to her website at for instructions on how to contribute or join the campaign.
Alert Employee Douses Fire in Local Laundromat
A worker shoveled up burned laundry from in front of Coyne’s Laundromat at Danforth and High Street on Sunday, March 19th.

A fire which started in a dryer in the rear of the Laundromat was quickly extinguished by an employee using a fire extinguisher before she called the Portland Fire Department.

Two dryer units, valued at $12,500 each, were destroyed by the blaze, which filled the laundromat and the adjoining building hallway with smoke. The laundromat was cleaned up and reopened the next day.
March 29, 2006
The Latest Issue of the West End NEWS is on the Street! Volume 6, Number 3 April 1-12, 2006
"Our Spectacular 'Daylight Saving Time' Issue."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

State Senate Enacts Bill to Protect Employment Rights of National Guard Members

AUGUSTA—The Maine Senate on March 28th enacted a bill by Rep. Mark Bryant, D-Windham, and Sen. Bruce Bryant, D-Oxford County, that strengthens state laws protecting the employment rights of National Guard members and military reservists.

By federal law, members of the National Guard attending training exercises or deployed on temporary duty are granted only eight hours rest after release from service lasting 31 days or less. The bill proposed extending the time frame for rest after a federal court ruling allowed employers to require reservists to begin working immediately upon their return home.

The bill adds more protections to Maine’s National Guard members and military reservists. The bill says that members are not required to work:

  • For 24 hours after safe travel time to the member’s home after service of four days or less
  • For 48 hours after safe travel time to the member’s home after service of more than four days but less than 16 days
  • For 72 hours after safe travel time home after service of more than 15 days but less than 31 days

More than 80 percent of Maine’s National Guard has been called to active duty since September 11, 2001.

Further, the bill adds protection for reservists serving at the request of the Governor during state emergencies.

The Bryant brothers brought the issue forward in response to a federal court ruling that gave Guard members fewer employment protections. In 2000, a New Jersey man fell asleep at the wheel following a shift his employer required him to work within that eight hour period. He had commuted from training exercises in Virginia. A U.S. District Court sided with the employer.

LD 1898, An Act to Protect the Employment Rights of Military Reserve and National Guard Personnel, will now be sent to Governor John Baldacci for his consideration.

Second Portland charity fuel fundraiser nets over $250 to heat homes
Adams hosts two fundraisers for heating assistance

State Rep. Herb Adams, who represents Portland’s Bayside and Parkside neighborhoods in the Maine House of Representatives, hosted a spaghetti dinner with the Bayside Neighborhood Association on Saturday, March 25 to raise funds for area families to help heat their homes this winter.

It was the second fundraiser that Adams has coordinated on the peninsula to raise funds for Governor Baldacci’s Keep ME Warm initiative. Baldacci founded “Keep ME Warm” in response to decreased funding from the federal government to Maine for home heating assistance. The diminished funding, coupled with drastic increases in the cost of heating fuel, would mean that fewer Maine families would have access to assistance this year.

The dinner, hosted at the Franklin Towers apartment complex on Congress Street, raised more than $250 to purchase oil for Portland households in need of aid. Adams raised more than $1,000 at the first fundraiser on February 18, which he coordinated with the Parkside Neighborhood Association. He said that he expected a smaller crowd in March, but the need for aid is still there.

In addition to the dinner, the First Parish Church on Congress Street has offered to donate half of their collection plate at this Sunday’s service to the Keep Me Warm initiative. Private donations are still being accepted at the People’s Regional Opportunity Program (PROP). For details on how to donate, contact Rep. Adams at 772-2565.

Tuesday,March 28th
Getting to know your candidates
at 6:30 PM at Reiche, will be the next general forum of the Portland League of Young Voters.

The League is debuting a new series "Getting to know your candidates" with special guest Anne Rand and Ben Meiklejohn from District 120 (Munjoy Hill, Downtown)
Potluck and Pizza will fill our bellies so come and join us!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday, March 27th
City to Hold Final Meeting on Federal Funding
The Portland City Council will hold a special meeting tonight to vote on the allocation of federal money to local social service agencies.
A number of Portland social services agencies appeared before a special meeting of the Council on March 13th to plead their cases in the wake of federal funding cuts. Portland City Manager Joseph Gray and his Policy Advisory Committee are recommending funding cuts to a number of local groups, including the Y.M.C.A., the PROP Child Development Centers, the Somali Peer Support Group, Ingraham, Ripple Effect, Portland West Community Outreach and Youth Building Alternatives, and WMPG Blunt Youth Radio, among others. Some of the funding requests are new and the City is not funding them at all.
Some members of the Advisory Committee are not happy that the City Manager is not following all their recommendations in providing funding to some agencies and not to others.
Several of the City Councilors who were not at the March 13th meeting because they were attending a National League of Cities meeting in Washington, D.C. are expected to be at tonight’s meeting. Part of their mission there was to lobby for restoration of the Federal Community Block Grant funds that have been cut. Tonight’s meeting is at 7PM.

Tuesday, March 28
In Celebration of Women's History MonthERA March Across Maine: An Oral History Stephanie Philbrick will talk about the effort to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in Maine during the 1970's and '80's. She will share oral history recordings of participants in the historic 1981 March Across Maine, a 270-mile march from Cherryfield to Portland which was designed to raise awareness and support for the passage of the ERA. Other voices of the Equal Rights movement in Maine include the Biddeford nun who spoke out in favor of the ERA during state congressional hearings. While the ERA ultimately failed to get enough votes for passage, the campaign had far-reaching and important results bothnationally and locally.This lecture is free and open to the public. Tuesday, March 28, 12:00 noonMaine Historical Society 489 Congress Street,

Tuesday, March 28
Death Penalty to be Discussed
Let's Talk America discusses the death penalty - Portland Public Library Tuesday, March 28, 7:00 PMThe local chapter of Let's Talk America will facilitate an open discussion in the Rines Auditorium at the Portland Public Library on Tuesday, March 28, beginning at 7:00 PM. The question to be explored during the February conversation will be; "Should the Death Penalty be continued to be used in the USA? Why or why not? This event is one in a continuing series of conversations enabling interested individuals from the Portland area to share their thoughts regarding questions of national concern. LTA is a national, nonpartisan, group dedicated to fostering open-minded conversations among concerned citizens of all political persuasions. These conversations are designed to encourage discovery and sincere sharing of ideas rather than partisanship or argumentation. Participants join others in small groups with a trained facilitator to discuss their views. This event is sponsored in part by the Portland Public Library. It is free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 30
Homeland Security Consultant
To Address Republicans

Homeland Security Consultant Joshua D. Filler will be addressing the Portland Republican City Committee on "Federal, state and local relations: can we get them right, and make our homeland secure?" on Thursday, March 30, 2006 at The Portland Club, 156 State Street in Portland. The evening of cocktails and conversation will start at 5:30 pm. Tickets are available for a $25 contribution to the Portland Republican City Committee.

Joshua Filler is Chairman and CEO of Filler Security Strategies, Inc., a homeland security consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. Before starting his own firm, Filler was Director of the Office of State & Local Government Coordination for the United States Department of Homeland Security where he was the primary point of contact between the Department and state and local government leaders.

Filler was one of the founding members of the Department of Homeland Security and a senior advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security. Prior to joining the DHS, Filler was Director of Local Affairs for the White House Office of Homeland Security.

Before working at the White House, Mr. Filer served in the cabinet of New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani as the Director of Legislative Affairs and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Operations. He oversaw the Police Department, Fire Department and Office of Emergency Management. After September 11th, 2001, Mr. Filler handled emergency operations issues and managed contacts between the city and local, state and federal officials.

Filler grew up in Portland, Maine where he attended Deering High School. He is a graduate of Boston University and St. John’s University School of Law.YO LEAGUERS ! A reminder that tomorrow, March 28th at 6:30 PM at Reiche, will be our next general forum. Why are U going to be there?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

State Leaders to Address Underage Drinking Forum

Attorney General Steve Rowe, District Attorney Stephanie Anderson, local youth, and other community leaders will address issues surrounding underage drinking at a forum on March 29th and discuss what is happening to create change in the community. Similar meetings are being held across the state and throughout the nation in March to highlight underage drinking as a priority issue.

Portland’s Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA), will be hosting the city-wide forum entitled Myth vs. Reality: What do you REALLY know about underage drinking? from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 at Merrill Rehearsal Hall. There will be refreshments and informational tables from 5:30-6:00. The meeting is free, open to the public, and accessible. Childcare will be provided.

CMCA is also working with the One Maine/One Portland Coalition (OMOP) to gather information through a community survey to create a Substance Abuse Prevention Plan for Portland. Their goal is to get over a thousand participants representing all sectors of the community (including at least 250 youth). The survey is only 6 questions and is anonymous. People who live or work in the city can participate in the survey by contacting CMCA directly or going online at
The deadline for survey collection is Friday, March 31. The results will be announced at a second city-wide public forum on April 26, 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Merrill Rehearsal Hall.
For more information, please call Portland CMCA at 773-7737 or email

Short Plays at ST. LAWRENCE ARTS AND COMMUNITY CENTER 76 Congress Street. If you want to come for free, we are looking for an extra set of hands every night to run box office or help seat people or whatever.
SUNDAY, MARCH 26 at 7:30 p.m.
"Bad Case of Loving You," by Jay Lawrence
"Heaven," by Lynne Cullen
"Mrs. White's Little Girls Get Dirty," by Danie Connolly
"'Til the Fat Lady Sings," book and lyrics by Carolyn Gage and music by Andrea Jill Higgins

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Committee gives unanimous approval to cell phone record protection bill
Utilities Committee adds clause that would make bill become law immediately

AUGUSTA – A bill introduced by State Rep. John Brautigam, D-Falmouth/North Deering, that would protect cell phone users from having their call records sold over the internet was endorsed by the Utilities and Energy Committee on March23rd. The Committee voted unanimously in favor of passing the bill, and added a clause that would require the bill to go into law immediately after Governor Baldacci signs it, instead of after the traditional 90-day waiting period.

Brautigam was one of the first legislators in the country to work to close the legal loophole that allows unscrupulous companies that acquire private cell phone records to sell them over the internet, usually for a price of about $100 for a month’s worth of the records of virtually any cell phone user. His legislation has become a model for other states, and was recognized by representatives from Sprint/Nextel as one of the better versions of the consumer protection law among all states addressing the loophole.

Representatives from major cell phone providers, private investigators, the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Public Safety all spoke in support of the bill, LD 2038 – An Act to Protect the Privacy of Cellular Telephone Users, at a public hearing on March 16. Nobody spoke in opposition.

“The possibilities of what someone can do with this information are frightening,” said Brautigam. “Jealous spouses or partners, domestic abusers, suspicious employers and even dangerous criminals can use this information - which most people assume is kept private - for nefarious purposes.”

The bill will now go before the entire House for an initial vote. Many bills that earn unanimous committee approval pass through the legislature without debate.

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
Let the BOY SINGERS OF MAINE, with Master of Ceremonies, BRUCE GLASIER, and Special Guests, TAKE YOU OUT TO THE BALLGAME on SATURDAY, MARCH 25 !

“Take Me Out To The Ballgame” A Celebration of our National Pastime, with music, comedy, and baseball lore, an elegant cheese and dessert buffet, and great silent auction and raffles, to benefit The Boy Singers of Maine at The Italian Heritage Center, 40 Westland Ave.,
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. – Performances start at 7 p.m. Tickets $20 Cash bar
Tickets: Starbird Music, 525 Forest Avenue, Portland Books Etc., 240 Route 1, Falmouth or call the Boy Singers: 797-6354

A real Baseball Celebration -- “Who’s On First?”, “Casey At The Bat”, “Damn Yankees”, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown” and more -- an evening of foot-tapping tunes, hilarious comedy and fun baseball facts and lore, along with a delicious cheese and dessert buffet, great Silent Auction values and wonderful Raffle items to make an unforgettable night.
For further information call Robert Jay White at (207) 294-4470.

Saturday, March 25
Please come to a night of Short Plays at ST. LAWRENCE ARTS AND COMMUNITY CENTER 76 Congress Street. If you want to come for free, we are looking for an extra set of hands every night to run box office or help seat people or whatever.
SATURDAY, MARCH 25 at 8 p.m.
"Audrey" "Friendly Fred" "Jill and Jack" "Paul and His Mom" "Wolfman and Janice"

Thursday, March 23, 2006

School Committee Approves New Name for High School
The Portland School Committee has voted unanimously to rename the city’s Expeditionary Learning high school as Casco Bay High School. Students initiated the name change last October.
A naming committee that included students, parents, staff and administrators solicited ideas from the community. Most of the more than 100 proposals fell into three categories: famous or extraordinary people, concepts related to Expeditionary Learning or local geography.

The committee decided that the name should be memorable, recognizable, unique, easy to say and official-sounding. The group also wanted a name that embodies what the school stands for and that cannot be easily ridiculed. Based on those criteria, the committee winnowed the list to a small number of finalists and sought additional input from parents, students and community members. After reviewing the responses, the naming committee chose Casco Bay High School by consensus.
The high school opened in September on the second floor of Portland Arts and Technology High School. More than 80 freshmen currently attend the school. A new grade will be added for each of the next three years.

Tax Check Off Would Fund Low-Income Spay/ Neuter Program
A tax check off on Maine State income tax forms would help fund a program which would help lower Maine’s shelter intakes and euthanasia of unwanted animals.

The program, ‘Help Fix ME’, allows qualified pet owners to have their cats or dogs fixed for a co-pay of $10 for cats, or $20 for dogs. The Maine Veterinary Association supports the program and over 70% of Maine's Veterinary Hospitals accept the program vouchers, including Brackett Street Veterinary Clinic in the West End.

The ‘Help Fix ME’ program is the only proactive solution in Maine’s Animal Welfare Program that not only addresses the pet overpopulation problem, but also will help prevent future cases of animal cruelty and neglect, according to state officials.

In its first year, the spay/neuter tax check off, awkwardly called “The Companion Animal Sterilization Fund,” generated only $13,000, much less than supporters had hoped. Supporters believe it could generate more if more people knew about it, and many people have said they would have contributed if they knew the check off existed.

In its first year, Help Fix ME spayed and neutered 1,100 cats and dogs. However, the demand for the Help Fix ME program far exceeded the funding. This year, the program is still overwhelmed with requests that far exceed funding because Mainers are more aware than people in some parts of the country of the importance of getting their dogs and cats spayed and neutered. The programs success will have much larger implications for animals nationwide, according to supporters.

The "Companion Animal Sterilization Fund" tax check off is found on Line 7 of the Maine State Schedule CP Income Tax Form (VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS and PURCHASE OF PARK PASSES). The form can be downloaded at (select "Forms, Publications & Applications" and then select "Individual Income Tax (1040 ME)" and scroll down to Schedule CP) or call the forms line at (207)624-7894.

For more information, contact Susan Hall at 781-9940, or Sharon Secovich at 499-7196,

Friday, March 24
SpeakOut to Host Reception for Pulitzer Play
Maine SpeakOut Project will host a reception on Friday, March 24, from 5:30pm - 7:00pm, prior to the 7:30 pm performance of “I Am My Own Wife” at the Portland Stage Company on 25A Forest Avenue.

Transgender speakers will tell their stories before the performance, and participants will be able to sample some of the dishes from Maine SpeakOut Project’s recently released cookbook, Out of Our Pantries.

Ticket price for the reception is $25.00, which includes a copy of the Out of Our Pantries cookbook and one complimentary beverage. All reception proceeds will support Maine SpeakOut Project. Tickets are available by calling Nicole Pelletier at 207.874.1030 ext. 336.

Friday, March 24th

Please come to a night of Short Plays at ST. LAWRENCE ARTS AND COMMUNITY CENTER 76 Congress Street. If you want to come for free, we are looking for an extra set of hands every night to run box office or help seat people or whatever.

FRIDAY, MARCH 24 at 8 p.m.

"Oakfall," by Richard Sewell "Romance," by Jon Potter "Trains of Painesville," by Linda Griffith "Visiting Hour," by Dana Pearson

Friday, March 24th:

Friday African Cinema and Discussion Forum
is back at the Museum of African Culture! 122 Spring Spring Street, 207-871-7188. 6:30 PM You are invited to our Fridays Cinema and discussion Forum with new movies from West Africa. “Dwelling in Darkness” A documentary movie about the mysterious power of the female water goddess “mammy-water” and the secret society associated with the cult.

A very handsome young man encounters a water spirit (Mammy-water-Mermaid) but the princess water spirit falls in love to spare his life from her wicked mother, the Queen of the Sea, but the conflict is that the young man needs the princess’s money, but falls in love and marries another girl - the love of his heart. Come and see “trouble” love can be - a very dangerous game if you are not mindful.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Senate Passes First-in-the Nation Mercury Bill
Bill would ban sale or distribution of mercury-added button cell batteries; Plan study on dental amalgams

The Maine Senate on March 22nd unanimously enacted a bill into law that would make it illegal to sell or distribute mercury-added button cell batteries in Maine after June 30, 2011. These types of batteries are often used in novelty products that are often discarded when the battery dies.

The battery industry has announced that it planned to voluntarily eliminate mercury-added button cell batteries by the same date as the proposed Maine law. Maine’s legislative effort will help reduce mercury exposure around the country by the time the law takes effect.

Another bill enacted on March 22nd by the Senate would require the reporting of the amount of mercury amalgams supplied to dentists.

Mercury enters the environment via pollution from power plants, waste incinerators and other sources. Once it enters the environment, it infects the food supply, such as fish. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one in six women of childbearing age in the United States is at risk of having newborns with neurological problems from mercury exposure in the womb. This translates to 630,000 children being born each year at risk for problems from exposure to mercury.

Christian Civic League Crashes Local Awards Banquet
Two members of the Christian Civic League of Maine attended the 22nd Annual Equality Maine Awards Banquet at the Holiday Inn on Spring Street on March 17th and issued a ‘Special Report’ for The Record, the group’s online newspaper.

The article on the group’s website described various fliers, magazines, and brochures available at the event “celebrating the homosexual ‘lifestyle’” and it criticized the mainstream press for not covering the annual event.

The article also listed some of the public officials who attended the event, including Governor Baldacci, Senator Peter Mills, Senator Karl Turner, Senator Ethan Strimling, and Congressman Tom Allen. It also listed many of the sponsors of the event, among them Maine Bank and Trust, Time Warner Cable, and The Maine Democratic Party.

Thursday, March 23
Mayor to Talk About Local Developments

Portland Mayor James Cohen, will speak at the Portland Democratic City Committee monthly meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2006, 7 PM- 9 PM.

Cohen will talk about "Portland: What's Going On" with a particular focus on developments planned for Bayside and the East End.

Markos Miller, Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization President, and Ron Spinella, Bayside Neighborhood Association Chair, and other neighborhood leaders will be there to give the neighborhood perspective on the many changes in the pipeline. The meeting is at King Middle School, 93 Deering Avenue. FMI: Sive Neilan, PDCC Chair (207) 774-4219 or # (207) 838-7719 cell.
West End Pizza Gallery
-Every Day Special-Large Ham Italian,
Chips, 20 oz. Soda - 5.49
-One Topping, 10 inch Pizza,
20 oz. Soda – 6.49
-Terryaki Shrimp,Salmon, Chicken & Beef
With Rice & Salad
129 Spring St. 871-9170
Pizza, Pasta, Salads, Subs, Wraps, Fries, Chicken Fingers
Mon.-Sat. 10:30-9 PM

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

School Task Force Plans Final Meeting
Draft report due Friday

Under pressure from the Portland City Council to finish its work, the Portland School Committee’s Elementary Facilities Task Force (EFTF) will issue a draft report on Friday, March 24th and make final recommendation on the report on March 29th, at what is likely be the group’s last meeting. Copies of the report, which deals with school consolidation in the city, will be available at the School Department’s Central Office.

The report will be presented to the School Committee and a joint committee with the Portland City Council will study the data in the report.

Task Force member (and City Councilor) Ed Suslovic suggested at the task force’s March 15th meeting that the group’s recommendation to the joint task force should be that they hire an independent party to assemble the data. He said the EFTF was never a decision-making body, but he felt that it was premature to consider consolidation.

Task Force member Liz Holton expressed concerns about which School Committee members and City Councilors will serve on the joint task force, and how the members would be selected. Mayor James Cohen and School Committee Chair Ellen Alcorn would make the selections for the joint committee, which will have either six or eight members.

Michelle Hedrick said that the group did not have enough time to fully finish the work, and if they had had time to review all the data, hold public meetings and weigh their input, she believes they would have been able to come up with a “best” recommendation for reconfiguring city schools.

Wednesday, March 22

Historic Preservation Board to Reconsider West End Intersection
On Wednesday, March 22, 2006 at 5:00 p.m., the Portland Historic Preservation Board will meet in Council Chambers of City Hall to review the Request for Reconsideration of Decision; INTERSECTION OF NEAL/BOWDOIN/CLIFFORD STREET.

The board will also hold a Preliminary Review of Proposed New Construction and Exterior and Site Alterations at 1 INDIA STREET; Riverwalk LLC., Applicant.

The board will also consider a Recommendation to City Council Regarding Draft Peninsula Traffic Plan, as it Affects Designated Historic Properties.

It will also hold a workshop on Review of Draft Guidelines for Window Repair and Replacement . Contact the Department of Planning and Development, Planning Division, 874-8726 for further information.

Other Meetings Today at City Hall:
Youth Advisory Committee Planning Department's 4th Floor Conference Room -

Finance Committee Room 209

Appointments/Non-Union Personnel Committee - Room208


Ice Cream, Sandwiches, Burgers, Tacos and More!
FREE DELIVERY! (Ice Cream too!) ($5 minimum)
761- 4444

City Accepts Controversial Sculpture
The Portland City Council voted unanimously on March 20th to accept a controversial sculpture that was offered to the City by the owners of the Portland Sea Dogs. The City’s Public Art Committee had recommended that the City decline the gift because it did not reflect the city’s diversity, it contains the Seadogs’ team logo, and its donors did not follow the public process in presenting it.

The sculpture, which depicts a mother, father, and two children going to a Seadogs baseball game, will be officially accepted at a ceremony at Hadlock Field at 10AM and installed within the next few months.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Starting Thursday, March 23rd
The Maine Short Play Festival
Acorn Productions begins the fifth annual Maine Short Play Festival on Thursday, March 23rd at 7:30 p.m. This event is a showcase for the best new one-act plays by Maine-based playwrights. Be sure not to miss the evenings devoted to the remarkable work of John Manderino, an exciting new voice in theatre. The festival runs through Sunday, April 2nd at the St. LawrenceArts and Community Center in Portland. Call 766-3386 or visit for more information or to order tickets (click on the playwrights logo).

Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 p.m.
"Til the Fat Lady Sings," by Carolyn Gage
"Mrs. White's Little Girls Get Dirty," by Danie Connolly
"Bad Case of Loving You," by Jay Lawrence"Visiting Hour," by Dana Pearson

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Monday, MARCH 20, 2006
The Portland City Council will hold a regular City Council Meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, Hall. The Honorable James I. Cohen, Mayor, will preside.

Among the items on the Agenda:
-Order Authorizing Dog Warrant
-Order Accepting Sculptures for Hadlock Field
-Several Liquor License approvals and zoning issues
Monday, March 20
What I Heard About Iraq
Please join the Portland Stage Company Affiliate Artists for a special worldwide reading event commemorating the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq:
What I Heard About Iraq-A dramatic reading of Simon Levy's adaptation of journalist Eliot Weinberger's 2005 piece chronicling the war in Iraq through the voices of the people involved. 7:00 PM Portland Stage Company 25A Forest Avenue, Portland. Post-Reading Discussion with Reza Jalai, nationally-known human rights & refugee activistwho has written and spoken extensively on Islam and the politics of the Middle East. $5.00 Suggested Donation. All Proceeds to Benefit Military Families Speak Out.
War Protests Mark Anniversary of Iraq War
About 100 local peace activists lined the Casco Bay Bridge on March 19th to demonstrate against the war in Iraq, on the third anniversary of the start of the war. The protestors carried American flags and signs calling for an end to the war and the impeachment of President Bush. The demonstration was the second one on the bridge within a week.

Many of the protestors then marched from the bridge to a rally in Monument Square, where a total crowd of about 200 gathered to hear music, poetry and political speeches. Among the speakers was 1st District Congressional candidate Dexter Kamilewicz, who called for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. His son Ben is currently serving with the National Guard in Iraq.

Former Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Carter called for Bush's impeachment. US Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright also called for an end to the war, and Maine State Senator Michael Brennan spoke about how the war was draining resources away from Maine that would support programs such as health care, care for the elderly, and education.
Governor Leads Procession into West End
Baldacci caps off holiday at Popeye's IceHouse
Governor John Baldacci led a small delegation on a procession through the West End to Harborview Park on York Street for a flag-lowering ceremony to officially end the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on March 18th. The procession began at the John Ford statue in Gorham’s Corner at Center and Danforth Street, at the end of the parade from India Street, down Commercial Street to Gorham’s Corner. Baldacci was the Grand Marshall of the parade.
The procession started with the ringing of the bells at St. Dominic’s (currently the Irish Heritage Center) and the Governor capped off his afternoon in the city with a visit to Popeye’s Ice House, across from the park.
“I’d never think about coming to this parade without stopping at Popeye’s,” Baldacci told owner Bernie Orne, as they celebrated the holiday at the local tavern.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sunday, March 19
Peace Demonstration on Casco Bay Bridge
A peace demonstration is scheduled to take place on the Casco Bay Bridge on Sunday, March 19th, from noon to 2:00 p.m., starting at the South Portland side and stretching across to Portland. The group sponsoring the event has been holding vigils on the bridge since before the Iraq War began. Every year on the anniversary, they have expanded their usual one-hour Sunday vigil to two hours and have been joined by a hundred ormore people in the Portland area and others on bridges across thestate of Maine. For more information, contact Joie Grandbois-Gallup, or 207-671-4292
Bill Would Increase Sentences for Sexual Predators
AUGUSTA—Senator Bill Diamond, D-Cumberland County, has called for support of LD 1717, a bill which would add new mandatory minimum sentences for persons convicted of gross sexual assault against victims under the age of 12. LD 1717, or “Jessica’s Law” as some have dubbed it, will most likely be taken up in the House early next week.

Diamond, who chairs the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, addressed the crowded Portland Police Department on March 17th .

LD 1717 would create a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence of imprisonment, followed by probation for life for a first offense gross sexual assault against a child under 12 years old. None of the 25-year term may be suspended.

More information about LD 1717, An Act to Create Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Persons Convicted of Certain Sex Offenses against Victims under 12 Years of Age, can be found online at:

Friday, March 17, 2006


Saturday, March 18

Commercial & India Streets Street to Gorham's Corner, & Harborview Park 2 PM kick-off Best parade yet! FMI Robert O'Brien (207) 939-7703
The new 2006 Saint Patrick's Parade follows a historic path from the corner of Commercial & India Streets, marches west across Commercial, and turns up Center Street to Gorham’s Corner for a rally and speeches in front of the John Ford Statue. Speakers at the rally will include Gerry Conly Jr. (traditional emcee) Robert O'Brien, on behalf of the Irish American Club & Irish Heritage Center, Gov. John Baldacci. And then…

Saturday, March 18
West End Procession to Harborview Park

After the rally, Saint Dominic's bells will call a procession down Danforth and Tate Street to Harborview Park for the lowering of the Irish flag and a memorial to Eddie Murphy.
And then, let’s make it over and try to find the Irish clover at St. Popeye’s (The IceHouse Tavern) for the coldest green beer and awesome St. Paddy’s Day Jell-O Shots!

Saturday, March 18
Maine Irish Heritage Center (State & Gray) The Irish American Club's
open to the public. 4 PM Doors open immediately after the parade:
"The Club Pub" cash bar with folk singer Joe Markley 6 PM corned beef & cabbage dinner with home-made Irish breads; entertainment includes BOGHAT traditional Irish band
and the Stillson School Step Dancers.
BY RESERVATION ONLY: (207) 780-0119 or
$10 adults, $7 kids (12 & under), Toddlers/infants by donation. Paid at the door.

Governor to Lead Expanded St. Patrick’s Day Parade Maine Governor Baldacci will serve as Parade Marshal for the 2006 St. Patrick's Parade.
Following the Governor (not in order) will be:
-Irish American Club float-Ancient Order of Hibernians color guard
-Emerald Society of Maine Police color guard and rescue vehicles
-Knights of Columbus color guard
-Stillson School of Irish Dance (step dancers)-Girl Scouts
-Portland Police color guard-Portland Fire
-VFW color guard-Dunlap Pipe Band
-99.9 FM The Wolf van-107.5 Frank FM van-Shriners
-Mercy Hospital Bear mascot.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Brautigam introduces bill to prohibit sale of private cell phone records
AUGUSTA – A proposal offered by Rep. John Brautigam could make Maine one of the first states in the nation to halt a practice in which dealers acquire the private records of cell phone consumers and sell them for a fee on the internet. Representatives from major cell phone providers, private investigators, the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Public Safety support a bill before the Legislature’s Utilities and Energy Committee that would make selling the records a crime.

Brautigam, D-Falmouth, was one of the first legislators in the country to work to close the legal loophole that allows companies that acquire private cell phone records to sell them over the internet, usually for a price of about $100 for a month’s worth of the records of virtually any cell phone user.

Brautigam presented his bill, LD 2038 – An Act to Protect the Privacy of Cellular Telephone Users, before the Utilities Committee in a public hearing on March 16, saying consumers expect that their cell phone records are kept private and he was outraged to learn how easily the information can be obtained.

He cited a recent case in Maine where a criminal purchased the records of an accomplice who turned out to be an undercover police officer, effectively blowing the officer’s cover and putting his life, and the lives of his family, in danger.

There are several cell phone record dealers with operations based in Maine. Cell phone providers Verizon Wireless, Cingular and Sprint/Nextel sent representatives to speak in favor of the bill as well, saying that “Data Brokers” are a blight on the industry.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. The Committee will take it up in an upcoming work session, offer amendments and then send it to the entire House for a vote.
Friday,March 17th:
Friday African Cinema and Discussion Forum
is back at the Museum of African Culture! 122 Spring Spring Street, 207-871-7188. 6:30 PM You are invited to our Fridays Cinema and discussion Forum with new movies from West Africa.“Paradise Part 2” See the conclusion of this remarkable tale of love. This is an ancient powerful epic about cultural traditions, but weaved in a love saga, A man loses his freedom as he journeys to a faraway land looking for an elephant ivory to fulfill the wishes and dreams of his wife, but in the end he loses everything. A true story based on an ancient tale.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 17
Harborview Park (York & Clark) 6 AM
Free community event.
Friday, March 17
Celtic Old-time Fusion!
Katie Wegner & Chuck Donnelly ( will be performing with their band on St. Patrick's Day, March 17th starting at 9:00 PM at 128 Free Street. Tip one up to the great St. Pat!! 207.774.1114.
Katie and Chuck record and perform high-energy original and traditional-style music. Their music taps into the traditions of Ireland and Cape Breton, where they have traveled and studied music together. They combine the Celtic music with influences of New England and Appalachia and their own musical sensibilities to form a new tradition that is at once familiar, and yet…. “different!” If you would like more information about Katie and Chuck feel free to call Chuck at 207.288.5196 or visit our web site at

Friday, March 17
Maine Irish Heritage Center (State & Gray) Keynote speaker Governor John Baldacci
7 - 10 AM $15.00 FMI (207) 780-0118

Friday, March 17
KOPTERZ Rock ’n Roll Night
Maine Irish Heritage Center (State & Gray) $10 at the door
cash bar FMI (207) 780-0118

Friday, March 17
Eastland Park Hotel (157 High)
presented by InterActors
Imagine arriving at the elegant Eastland Hotel Ballroom as a guest at Betsy’s wedding… once seated with the other "wedding guests", all sorts of trouble erupts! Guaranteed to be the funniest wedding reception you’ll ever attend!
6:30 PM. All proceeds benefit the Maine Irish Heritage Center. $50 per person, all tips, gratuities and taxes included.
Tickets available at any Bull Moose Music location or by calling the Maine Irish Heritage Center at (207) 780-0118.

Friday, March 17th:
Friday African Cinema and Discussion Forum is back at the Museum of African Culture!

122 Spring Spring Street, 207-871-7188. 6:30 PM You are invited to our Fridays Cinema and discussion Forum with new movies from West Africa.“Paradise Part 2”
See the conclusion of this remarkable tale of love. This is an ancient powerful epic about cultural traditions, but weaved in a love saga, A man loses his freedom as he journeys to a faraway land looking for an elephant ivory to fulfill the wishes and dreams of his wife, but in the end he loses everything. A true story based on an ancient tale.
Thursday, March 16
Maine Issues Forum
The next meeting of Maine Issues Forum, (formerly Phineas Sprague's "Maine Issues," which met at Captain Newick's) will be held at 12:00 noon, Thursday, March 16th, at Dimillo's Floating Restaurant, Commercial St.
Guest speaker will be gubernatorial candidate Peter Mills.
All meals will cost approximately $12.50, including tip.
For more information please contact Jennifer Duddy,
Thursday, March 16

Our Eroding Civil Liberties
@Zero Station, 222 Anderson Street
Please join us for this most pertinent discussion, led by John Paterson, former Assistant Attorney General, Zach Heiden, a Maine Civil Liberties Union lawyer, and Shenna Bellows, MCLU Executive Director. Come and listen to the professionals talk about actions of this administration that demonstrate that our civil liberties are INDEED in jeopardy. Learn from some historical examples and use this opportunity to discover what actions as citizens we can do to slow, if not reverse this disturbing occurrence of recent political undoings.
Two recommended readings are the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution. See also Doors open at 6:00. Discussion begins at 6:30.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What's Happening TODAY:
March 15th - The latest edition of the West End NEWS will be on the street this afternoon!
Available all over downtown Portland, the West End NEWS features the latest local news, in addition to events listings, cartoons, horoscopes, Frenchy and the Pirates, West End People and more! See you on the street!


Monday, March 13, 2006

Local Agencies Fret Over Federal Cuts
A number of Portland social services agencies appeared before a special meeting of the Portland City Council on March 13th to plead their cases in the wake of federal funding cuts. Portland City Manager Joseph Gray and his Policy Advisory Committee are recommending funding cuts to a number of local groups, including the Y.M.C.A., the PROP Child Development Centers, the Somali Peer Support Group, Ingraham, Ripple Effect, Portland West Community Outreach and Youth Building Alternatives, and WMPG Blunt Youth Radio, among others. Some of the funding requests are new and the City is not funding them at all.
The City Manager's Policy Advisory Committee issued a letter explaining the reasoning for its individual funding decisions. The letter was made available to those in attendance at the meeting and will soon be available on the City' website
Several City Councilors were not at the meeting because they were attending a National League of Cities meeting in Washington, DC. Part of their mission there was to lobby for restoration of Federal Community Block Grant funds. Another public hearing will be held on March 27th, before the City Council votes on final appropriations.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

50 Anti-War Protestors on Casco Bay Bridge
Congressional candidate among protestors.
About 50 anti-war demonstrators took part in a protest on the Casco Bay Bridge on Sunday evening, March 12, marking the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq. The event, called Lights in the Darkness, featured participants spanning the bridge holding candles, lanterns and anti-war signs. Paper lanterns were set up on the walkway barricade, from the Portland end of the bridge to about the drawbridge section. Many motorists honked their horns in support of the demonstration, but one motorist headed toward South Portland yelled at the demonstrators in opposition to their actions.

Dexter Kamilewicz, an independent candidate for Congress from Maine’s 1st District, who is calling for an unconditional US troop withdrawal from Iraq, was in attendance at the protest. His son, Benjamin, is currently serving in Iraq with the Vermont National Guard.

The event was organized by West End State Representative John Eder. Another peace demonstration is scheduled to take place on the bridge on Sunday, March 19th, from noon to 2:00 p.m., starting at the South Portland side and stretching across to Portland. The group sponsoring that event has been holding vigils on the bridge since before the war began. Every year on the anniversary, they have expanded their usual one-hour Sunday vigil to two hours and have been joined by about a hundred people in the Portland area, and others on bridges across the state of Maine. For more information, contact Joie Grandbois-Gallup, or 207-671-4292

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Officials Question Two-way Changes on State and High Streets

Members of Portland’s Public Safety Committee are questioning whether it is a good idea to return State and High Streets into two-way streets, as proposed in the City’s developing Peninsula Traffic Study.

City Councilor Cheryl Leeman, who represents the Deering section of the city, thinks that it is the clear intent of City planners to create frustration on two of the city’s main thoroughfares in order to divert traffic to the newly-built Portland Connector.

Portland’s Planning Director Alex Jaegerman said that it was not the policy of City planners to clog up the two streets, and that the recommendation to revert to two–way traffic would not have been made if it were not workable.

City Councilor Ed Suslovic asked if motorists who were backed up on the two streets would start using neighborhood streets to get to their destinations more quickly.

Councilor Will Gorham, who represents the East End of the city, feels that the plan being proposed would divert more traffic to that part of the city.

Friday, March 10, 2006

School Task Force Struggles With Elementary Consolidation
The Portland School Committee’s Elementary School Task Force is struggling with a number of questions and problems as it tries to prepare a report by early next month. The members of the group are still debating about whether school consolidation will save enough money to be worthwhile, the meaning of enrollment trends the group has studied, and even the viability of certain potential building sites.
The Task Force is also trying to figure out exactly what the final report is supposed to look like, and how specific its recommendations should be. School Superintendent Mary Jo O’Connor explained that the EFTF’s job was to use a 2002 Elementary Facilities report as a working document, taking into account financial constraints, enrollment trends and educational factors, to make recommendations as to what the City’s future school system should look like.
It is scheduled to meet again on March 15th.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Momentum swings in favor of homeless protection bill
Committee members absent from previous vote register their support

AUGUSTA – A bill that would offer protection to homeless people from violent attacks gained pivotal support in the Legislature’s Criminal Justice Committee on March 9th, as lawmakers who were absent for the previous committee vote registered votes in support of the bill. The bill will now go to the full Legislature with a recommendation for passage.
The bill would update Maine laws to allow judges the ability to increase sentences for criminals found guilty of attacking a homeless person. Current law already offers such added protections for people based on age, race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, and sexual orientation.
West Enders in MPA’s Lobby Day in Augusta

Augusta, ME — The Maine People’s Alliance (MPA) held its Annual Lobby Day on March 8th at the State House. This year’s event was attended by roughly 60 MPA members from around the state, and was designed to develop the skills of MPA’s citizen lobbyists and provide them the opportunity to share their positions directly with their legislators.
Participants from the West End included Mal Gregory, Todd Ricker, Amy Thompson, and Jenny Rottmann.
Following a lobby training session, MPA members set out in small groups to track down their senators and representatives in order to share their views and gauge their legislator’s positions. During lunch, the group received a visit from Governor Baldacci, who thanked MPA members for their enthusiastic participation in the political process and for the energy they bring each year to the capitol on Lobby Day. The event ended with a discussion of TABOR, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, during which strategies were developed for educating Maine’s citizens about the effects the initiative will have if voted on and passed this November.

Participants discussed four priority bills:

LD 1481 - An Act to Amend the Laws Governing the Enactment Procedures for Ordinances: This bill limits citizens’ ability to have a voice in the planning decisions of their municipalities. It takes power from communities and gives it to developers.

LD 1792 - An Act to Protect Maine Families and the Environment by Improving the Collection and Recycling of Mercury Thermostats: This bill requires manufacturers of thermostats containing mercury to pay a minimum of $5 incentive for each thermostat containing mercury brought to a state-approved collection site.

LD 1845 - An Act to Increase Access to Health Insurance Products: This bill allows the Board of Directors of Dirigo Health to cancel or not renew their contract with Anthem as provider of DirigoChoice, and pursue alternative options to administer the product.

LD 1935 - An Act to Protect Health Insurance Consumers: This bill prohibits insurance carriers from including the costs of the Savings Offset Payment used to support the Dirigo Health Program in health insurance premium rates.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Public Art in the West End
Wednesday, March 8th at 6:30 PM at the Reiche Community Center - Carrie Marsh from the Portland Public Art Program will give a synopsis of public art in the West End and Portland, and will explain how public art projects get chosen and funded. West End City Councilor Karen Geraghty chairs the city's Public Art Committee, which gives our neighborhood a direct voice in that process.Immediately following, we will cover official WENA business, including a plan to allow membership voting in the by-laws, and a jump-start to our neighborhood events planning. Also! One West End announcement: the City's Community Development Committee will address noise on western Commercial Street affecting residents this Wednesday the 8th at *6 PM (*note time change) at City Hall, Room 209, 2ND floor.
Housing Committee Discusses Inclusionary Zoning
The Portland City Council’s Housing Committee wants to hear more about a policy called ‘inclusionary zoning’ which would require developers to include an affordable housing element in any project built in the city, in exchange for being allowed to build more units or having parking requirements eased.
The idea was brought to the Committee by incoming Green Party Chair Kevin Donoghue, who lives in the West End, and Justin Alfond, Director of the League of Young Voters, who lives in the East End.
Alfond told the Committee that there might be a certain ‘fear factor’ on the part of local developers, but that inclusionary zoning was working in other parts of the country. Donoghue called it a ‘bulwark against gentrification’.
Committee Chair Karen Geraghty suggested that the idea be discussed with some local developers to get their input, and some community forums be held to answer questions about the idea.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Greens to Run Candidates in Local Races
City Council, State Senate among races to be joined
A number of Green Independent Party members announced at the party’s March 4th caucus at Portland City Hall that they would run as candidates in several local elections.
Portland Green Party Chair Rebecca Minnick said that she will run for the Portland School Committee from Munjoy Hill, a seat currently held by Otis Thompson.
Ben Weinstein announced that he will run for the West End District 2 City Council seat currently held by City Councilor Karen Geraghty. The City Council and the School Committee are both officially non-partisan.
Party Secretary Ben Meiklejohn, who is also a School Committee member, announced that he would run for the seat in the State House of Representatives currently being held by Ben Dudley, who is being term-limited. Democrat Ann Rand, a former State Senator, is also a declared candidate for that seat. Meiklejohn would be allowed to retain his seat on the School Committee if he were elected to the Legislature.
Karl Rawstron announced that he would join the Maine State Senate race, running against Republican David Babin and incumbent Democrat State Senator Ethan Strimling.
West End School Committee member Stephen Spring also announced that he would seek re-election.
The Greens are also expected to field a candidate in the Parkside-Bayside legislative district which is currently represented by Democratic Representative Herb Adams, and in Portland’s City Council District 1, which is currently represented by Councilor Will Gorham.
West End State Representative John Eder is also expected to run for re-election against Democrat Jon Hinck. Democrat Robert O'Brien recently withdrew from that race.
O’Brien Bows Out of West End Race
Democrat Robert O’Brien has announced that he will not seek his party’s nomination to run against West End State Representative John Eder for the local seat in the Maine State Legislature. O’Brien would have had to face fellow Democrat Jon Hinck in a Democratic primary in June as well.
O’Brien cited that extra layer of campaigning as a factor in his decision not to run. He also said that it would distract from his other community work - O’Brien is President of both the West End Neighborhood Association and Portland’s Irish American Club. He is the organizer of the upcoming expanded St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which will be held on March 18th.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

School Committee Wants to Apply for Venezuelan Oil
The Portland School Committee adopted a motion on March 1 that identifies Portland Public Schools as being receptive to offers of discounted heating oil from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and/or Citgo Petroleum Corporation. The proposal directs the school department’s administrative staff to enter into discussions with the Portland City Council to further the process. The City Council is responsible for purchasing the heating oil for the School Department.
District 2 West End School Committee member Stephen Spring made the motion to the Committee, which passed it by a vote of 7-2. The two student representatives on the board voted with the majority. The motion was presented in English and in Spanish.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Vigil Held to Protest Illegal Wiretapping
About 40 people held a candlelight vigil outside the Reiche Community Center on February 22nd to call for a thorough and independent investigation of President Bush’s illegal domestic wiretapping program.
People gathered at the "Constitution Vigil" reading the Bill of Rights and then went into the school to watch the anti-war film Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War. The film was followed by a discussion led by West End State Representative John Eder and Jack Bussell of Maine Veterans for Peace.

Reiche Community Starts to Organize
Parents, teachers and administrators of the Reiche School Community have started to come together to try to figure out how the school can be made more successful academically and more competitive in a shrinking urban school population. Three hundred-thirty-seven families left the Portland school system last year, according to School Superintendent Mary Jo O’Connor.
About 65 people attended a forum to discuss the future of the Reiche School and Community Center at the school on Thursday, February, 16th. The forum was organized by West End School Committee member Stephen Spring.
Spring convened the forum to clarify the process being followed by the Elementary Facilities Task Force and to address the issue of school consolidation. West End City Councilor Karen Geraghty and Task Force Chair Jason Toothaker were among those in attendance.
Reiche School Principal Marcia Gendron talked about Reiche’s future and the need to start marketing it to parents. Jo Coyne of the West End Neighborhood Association talked about that group’s organizing a Community Design Workshop to design a master plan for the school and community center. That project is currently on hold until the future plans for Reiche are more definite.
Several of those in attendance spoke of Reiche’s origins and thirty-year history in the West End. There was also discussion ‘open design’ which has been brought up as one of the school’s educational shortcomings.
Reiche students, parents, teachers and staff also held a community event on February 28th for West End parents and their children to learn more about the school. Portland Superintendent Mary Jo O'Connor joined a panel of parents, students and staff sharing information and answering questions.
The ‘open design’ of the school was also brought up at this meeting by parents and teachers who praised the design as contributing to the school’s positive educational experience. One parent said that the students at Reiche were actually quieter than students at other schools because of the open layout. Teachers said that the layout helped them work as a team and not in isolation. Gendron said it was one of her goals to have greater parent involvement and it was time to be proactive about marketing the school and stop taking it for granted.

Stolen Guitar Returned to Local Musician
1972 Les Paul Gold Top Was Stolen From Vehicle in Old Port

Matthew Robbins of King Memphis has had his prized 1972 Les Paul Gold Top guitar returned to him after the guitar had been stolen last month. The guitar was taken from Robbins’ vehicle in the Old Port.
According to, a local businessperson who requested anonymity told The Bollard that the guitar was recently exchanged for crack cocaine on the East End, but shortly after the dealer received it, the individual saw an item in The West End News about its theft, and then arranged to have it anonymously returned.

Neighborhood to Discuss Presence of Coyotes
City Councilor Donna Carr will host a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, March 7, 6:30 p.m. at the Breakwater School to discuss the concerns regarding the presence of coyotes in the Brighton neighborhood. Phil Bozenhard, wildlife biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will be present to address questions and concerns. City of Portland staff will also be on hand to listen to resident concerns and explore possible solutions to the issue. Anyone with questions or comments about this meeting or the coyote issue in general, may call or e-mail Tom Fortier with the City of Portland at 874-8689.

Stage Production Needs African-American Men
The director of the musical Ragtime, which is currently in rehearsal at the Lyric Music Theater in South Portland, has put out an urgent request for African-American men to take roles in the play. The show needs 2-4 African American men (or teenagers 15 and over), or else this show is not going to work. Musical ability is not a must, but it would be a plus. If you know of anyone, please contact Michael Donovan, the director, at (332-1222 or 899-1417).
Ragtime is scheduled to be performed April 28, 29, 30, May 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14.

City Announces Openings on Boards and Commissions
The City of Portland has announced a number of volunteer opportunities on municipal boards and commissions in the City. Among the openings available are:
-Friends of the Parks – 2 positions
-Greater Portland Public -Development Commission – 1 position
-Historic Preservation – 1 position
-Police Citizen Review Subcommittee - 1 Position
-Waterfront Economic Development Advisory Committee – 1 Position More information on the openings is available in the City Clerk’s office, on the City’s website at or at 874-8677. Deadline for submission is March 17, 2006. Please send a resume and cover letter to Appointments Committee Chairman, c/o Linda C. Cohen, City Clerk, 389 Congress Street, Portland ME 04101. Applicants will be contacted for interviews.
The 5th Anniversary Issue of the West End NEWS is on the street. News items from the latest issue along with news updates will be regularly posted on this site.

The West End NEWS can be found at the following locations:

Arts District
The Frame Shop
Cunningham Books
Local 188, Café Uffa
Zinnia’s, Blackstones
Portland Coalition
Joe’s Smoke Shop
Bangkok Thai
Coffee By Design
Station A Post Office
638 Congress St.
206 State St.

Congress Square
Paul’s Market
Stir Crazy, The Kitchen
Strange Maine
Eastland Hotel
Congress Square Bldg.
Marcy’s, Herb’s Gully
188 High St.

Monument Square
Portland Public Library
Portland Public Market
Maine Bank & Trust
Time & Temp Bldg.
City Hall
Federal Spice
1 City Center
Longfellow Books
Bagel Works

Portland Pie Co.
Holiday Inn, YWCA
Subway, SPACE
37 Casco St.
11, 15 Shepley St.
98 Oak St.
211, 401 Cumberland

Old Port
Sebago Brewing
Corner Store
The Movies /Exchange
JavaNet, Rosie’s
85 Market St.

West End
Bubble Room Laundry
Good Cause Thrift
Aurora Provisions
Supreme Pizza
Soap Bubble Laundry
Spring St. Market
Vaughn St. Market
Fresh Approach
Maine Med
Mercy Hospital
100 State Street
75 State Street
Coyne’s Laundromat
Acoustic Café
The Danforth
OhNo Café
Ruski’s,Wash Tub Laundry
Vespucci’s Market
The Ice House
Community Policing
West End Grocery
W.E Pizza Gallery
42, 51, 62 State St.
240, 284 Danforth
21 School St., 48 Salem
314 Spring St, 22 Carroll
84 Carleton, Holt Hall, Bowdoin, Bramhall Apts., 20, 30 West St.
72, 77, 197 Pine St.

Casco Bay Ferry
Flatbread Pizza
Casco Variety
Standard Bakery
Port. Coffee Roasters
Becky’s Diner
$3 Dewey’s
Knaughty Hair Salon
Free Range Fish
Union Station

Mellen St. Market
Terroni’s Market
Parkside Laundromat
94, 120, 124, 128 Park Av
12 Weymouth St.
65, 111, 115, 123, 131 Sherman St.
125, 129, 133, 143 Grant
457, 485, 553, 571 Cumberland
231, 286, 288 State St.

Portland Street Diner,
Bleachers, YMCA

St. John Street
Goodwill, Lang’s
Smoker’s Depot
Inn at St. John
Shalom House

Outer Forest
Whole Grocer, Wild Oats

Outer Congress
Transportation Center
Tony’s Donuts
DoubleTree Hotel

East End
Coffee By Design
Village Café, Bazaaro
Professional Bldg.
Colucci’s Market
The Blue Spoon
Lilliana’s Laundromat
Promenade East, Portland House, Bayview Heights, North School

The Udder Place
Punky’s Market

South Portland
Nonesuch Books

160 Total Locations
5,000 Total Distribution
Spring Says Elected Officials’ Should Make Bus Decision
West End School Committee member Stephen Spring says that the decision to put Portland high school students on public buses should be made by the School Committee and the Portland City Council, and not settled by City staff members and school department members.
The busing plan, which was proposed by Spring at a joint School Committee-City Council Finance Committee meeting last fall, was deemed to be unworkable for a variety of reasons at a meeting of City and school staffers and Metro officials in February.