Saturday, March 31, 2007

Man Arrested for Threatening at Mercy Hospital

Alfonso Hinostroza, 37, of Portland, entered Mercy Hospital’s emergency room on March 16th at 2:30 AM and fell asleep. A male staff member approached him and was verbally threatened when he asked him to leave. Hinostroza complied with the request, but returned to the hospital 15 minutes later, this time pushing the employee, when he was once again asked to leave.

He then entered the waiting area and sat down, at which time police were contacted and told that an intoxicated male was threatening the staff. Hinostroza was arrested and charged with assault and criminal threatening. -Marge Niblock

Cops Check 911 Hang-up Calls

When 911 is called, police know the phone number of where the call originated. If the caller hangs up, police call back to make sure that there’s no problem at the location. If no one answers the phone, an officer is sent to check and make sure that the call wasn’t made by someone who became incapacitated or had a problem of any type. –Marge Niblock
Police Arrest Motorist After 4-Mile ‘Slow Chase’
Polite driver was ‘just trying to get out of the way’

On March 19, at 4:30 AM, police were sent to 100 State Street to investigate a call for a male threatening a female with a knife. While en route to the location, they were advised that the subject was fleeing in a car.

The officer arriving at the scene saw a vehicle leaving the area in a hurried fashion, going the wrong way on Park Street. At this point the blue lights and siren were activated.

The car being pursued didn’t stop; however, the driver continued using his turn signals and stopped for all red lights. The chase went onto High Street, Forest Avenue, then I-295 heading south, where the car got off at the Congress Street exit. The legal speed limit was maintained during this entire event. The car then continued from Congress Street to Stevens Avenue, and onto Brighton Avenue, where it stopped at Brighton and Montrose.

The operator of the vehicle, Timothy John Dennison, 25, of Scarborough, was arrested for failure to stop for a police officer, but did not incur any traffic violations.

Sgt. Chuck Libby, the arresting officer, said: “I asked what his reasons were, and he said he was just trying to get out of my way.” It took approximately four-and-a-half miles for this to be accomplished.

Timothy Dennison’s brother Stanley, whose earlier conduct was responsible for the initial call to the police, was a passenger in the vehicle. He had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and was also charged with domestic violence, terrorizing, and violation of conditions of bail.
–Marge Niblock
Motorcycle-Police Cruiser Collide
The Portland Police Department traffic unit is investigating a motor vehicle collision between an unmarked Portland police car and a motorcycle that occurred March 27 at about 5:30 P.M. in the vicinity of 880 Forest Avenue

The unmarked police car was a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria operated by police process server Toni Doucette, a civilian employee of the department. The motorcycle was a 2002 Suzuki operated by 22-year-old Troy Soucy of Mount Vernon, Maine.

Preliminary investigation indicates that Ms. Doucette was exiting the parking lot of 880 Forest Avenue onto Forest Avenue in a northerly direction and Mr. Soucy was driving inbound on Forest Avenue in a southerly direction when the collision occurred.

Mr. Soucy was transported by ambulance to Maine Medical Center with serious injuries. He remains hospitalized. Ms. Doucette was not injured. There were no other occupants of either vehicle. Multiple witnesses have been interviewed and efforts to reconstruct the collision are ongoing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Hinck’s Bill Would License General Contractors

A bill submitted by Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, would require the licensing of general contractors.

The bill, LD 1038, would create the Maine Home Contractor Licensing Board, which would oversee the licensing and collection of fees. Any contractors and people who perform framing, roofing, siding, insulating, window work or chimney work – if the work concerns residential dwellings – would require licenses. The bill would also require the adoption of a model building code.

The Legislature referred the bill to the Joint Standing Committee on Business, Research and Economic Development. The committee is expected to hold a public hearing in the coming weeks.

More information on Hinck and LD 1038 is available online at
Longfellow Stamp Nationwide First Day Event

The Maine Historical Society celebrated the national first day of issue of the new Henry Wadsworth Longfellow stamp on March 15. The event commemorated the release of the U.S. Postal Service stamp honoring Longfellow, the 23rd honoree in theLiterary Arts series. A ceremony marking the issue, including presentations, readings, and music was held at the Historical Society.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) is one of America's most recognized and best-loved poets. He had a major impact on American culture andliterature, and his words, characters, images, and ideas fill our languageand cultural landscape to this day.
This year, 2007, marks the 200thanniversary of Longfellow's birth. Maine Historical Society is celebrating the life and achievements of the boy from Maine who became America's most beloved poet. Throughout 2007, Maine Historical Society and organizations around Maine will be hosting exhibits, lectures, trips, programs, and other events that explore Longfellow's poetry and legacy. For a full calendar ofevents and details, visit:

Monday, March 26, 2007

Driver Rolls Down Munjoy Hill

At around 6:30 PM on March 8, a 2003 Ford pickup turned over while traveling south heading toward Washington Avenue from the Eastern Promenade.
The driver, William McIntosh, 34, of Auburn, had lost control of the vehicle after making a turn, and was charged with operating under the influence, after being tested at the hospital.

A female passenger was ejected into the bushes, and McIntosh was unable to get out of the truck. MEDCU transported both people to Maine Medical Center to be treated for injuries that were not serious.
–Marge Niblock


The Friends of the Eastern Promenade announced that it has formed and held its first organizational meeting. The group is a community organization committed to preserving the significant historic public landscape, protecting its environmental integrity and enhancing recreational use. The 2004 Eastern Promenade Master Plan will guide the organization’s activities.

Two committees have been formed: one to work on establishing by-laws and 501-c-3 status, and the other to prioritize a project list to support and manage the implementation priorities planning and improvements throughout the Park.

On two separate occasions the group has participated in walking tours of the Promenade with Parks and Recreation staff Tom Civiello, Jeff Tarling and Phil Labbe. Group members have attended monthly meetings of the Friends of the Parks Commission since September and have met with Deb Andrews, Historic Preservation Manager.

Initial members of Friends of the Eastern Promenade include: Ann Archino-Howe, Berry Manter, Colleen Bedard, Hilary Bassett, Joan Dennis, Diane Davison, T. Scott Teas and R. John Wuesthoff.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Public Market Insanity

To the Editor:

Are the people of Portland foolish enough to fall for this real estate deal shrouded in a library scheme? Let's hope not, because there is no question in my mind that we will end up paying through the nose when the true costs are revealed for the renovations required for the former Public Market.

What if the new owner of the library won't rent the basement back for $1.00 per year? Then what? I wonder who the buyer is that they have obviously already lined up for the current library without telling us? They won't reveal the appraised value, but they already know that the new buyer will rent the basement back for $1.00/year? If you sold your house to someone, would they rent the basement or garage back to you for $1.00/year? Obviously not. Why should we bail Guggenheim out of the ownership of this dog building, and put it on the backs of the taxpayers? Let them sell it on their own, or demolish it and put up something appropriate.

When did the Public Market become such a vaulted example of public architecture? When I told someone how unattractive I thought the building was, they told that because the building had been designed by Frank Lloyd Wrong.

Imagine the heating bills for a building that is substantially glass, especially in an age of rapidly rising energy costs. Where will the additional money come from? Right out of the school budget, the same place that funds all of the screw-ups made by the City. The over $500,000 dollars spent on the Scotia Prince lawsuits? Right out of the school budget. Every other departmental overrun? Right out of the school budget. There is no money to renovate our elementary schools, but there is always money for every half-wit project proposed by City Transportation Director Jeff Monroe.

I can only hope that the people of Portland come to their senses by June 12th and vote NO on this insane proposal. Let's not make any more BIW drydock mistakes!

Mark Usinger

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The March 22, 2007 Issue of the West End NEWS is on the Street.

Friends of Reiche Group Being Formed
Community members and others interested in the future of Reiche School and Community Center are invited to an organizational meeting for a Friends of Reiche (FOR) advocacy group on Thursday, March 29, 6:30 – 8 p.m., at Reiche. The meeting is sponsored by City Councilor David Marshall and School Committee Representative Robert O’Brien.

Both District 2 representatives anticipate that FOR will provide a place for the various voices that support Reiche to come together—whether their focus be on the school, the branch library, the pool and locker rooms, the gymnasium, the meeting space or other aspects of facility.
Passenger Didn’t Outrun Police

On March 14, at 1:30 AM, police on routine patrol noticed a vehicle whose owner was being sought on a warrant for theft. When the car was stopped on Oxford Street, Brian C. Witham, 39, of Westbrook, jumped out of the passenger side and fled. When the officer caught up to him, a struggle ensued, causing him to be charged with refusing to submit to arrest.
During a search of the vehicle, drugs were discovered in the car, adding another charge of unlawful possession of schedule drugs. Witham was a passenger in the car that was registered to him, which someone else was driving. His chauffeur wasn’t charged with anything.
-Marge Niblock

Monday, March 19, 2007

West End March Held Despite Big Snowstorm
About 30 people, mostly members of the Irish American Club and the West End Neighborhood Association, held the traditional St. Patrick’s Day march on March17th from St. Dominic’s Church on Gray Street to Harborview Park, despite a late winter storm that brought as much as a foot of snow to the city. Governor John Baldacci, who is usually in attendance at the event, was prevented from coming by the weather.

The march kicked off just after 12 noon from the steps of the historic church which now serves as the Maine Irish Heritage Center. The marchers, complete with flags and banners, went down State Street, west on Danforth, and down Tate Street to the park, where they held a flag-raising and a ceremony honoring the late neighborhood activist Eddie Murphy. Many of the marchers then went across York Street to Popeye’s Ice House, where they continued to celebrate.

City Councilors David Marshall and Kevin Donoghue attended the event, as well as West End School Committee member Robert O’Brien, who helped organize it. A parade that was scheduled to go along Commercial Street to the Maine State Pier was cancelled because of the weather.
That’s My Purse!

At 11:40 PM on March 4, police were called to the Iguana, in the Old Port, after a purse was reported stolen from a customer.
Maria Bryce, 21, was arrested for theft and violation of bail conditions. Her companion Michael Mitchell, 24, was arrested for disorderly conduct, refusal to submit to arrest, and probation violation. The victim’s purse was recovered. -Marge Niblock

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stabbing in Police Station
At 2:40 AM on March 4, a 45-year-old man entered police headquarters at 109 Middle Street with a multi-blade knife, threatening to harm himself. He ultimately stabbed himself while police officers were trying to defuse the situation, and was transported by MEDCU to a local hospital.
-Marge Niblock

How could you forget me?
Police received a call from J’s Oyster Bar at 5 Portland Pier, 12:30 A.M. on March 2. A customer forgot to take a white dog named Sam, when leaving the premises. Police brought the dog to an emergency shelter; hopefully a reunion occurred sometime thereafter.
-Marge Niblock

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Maine May Get Nation’s First Art Doctors

The Maine Legislature has passed a new law, sponsored by Speaker of the House Glenn Cummings, to grant authority to the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts to be the first institution in America to confer a doctorate in the visual arts.

Cummings sponsored the legislation because he hopes that the first in the nation status of IDSVA will contribute to Maine’s reputation as a destination for artists and help to grow Maine’s creative economy.

Headquartered in Portland, the IDSVA will offer the first PhD designed especially for holders of the MFA in studio art, conferring a doctorate in philosophy, aesthetics, and theory. Study includes intensive residencies in Tuscany, Venice, and NYC, plus online instruction and interrogative travel to art sites worldwide.
Adams’ Bill Would Help Consumers Recover Money from Canceled Events

A bill submitted by Rep. Herb Adams, D-Portland, would make it easier for people to get refunds on tickets purchased for big-attraction events held in the state’s largest halls.

.As proposed, the bill, LD 831, would require that a toll-free phone number be printed on each ticket to enable purchasers to call for refund information for canceled entertainment events in venues seating over 1,000 people.

“The bill covers mostly the famous performances and big-name bands that can fill Maine’s largest halls and arenas. There are only about a dozen such venues from Portland to Presque Isle,” said Adams.

Adams submitted the bill in response to complaints from constituents who found it difficult to get any information about refunds for tickets to canceled concert events after the promoter left town.

Most Maine town halls, community theaters and school stadiums seat under 1,000 people and would not be affected. In the Portland area, the bill would affect tickets purchased for events at venues including the Cumberland County Civic Center, The State Theatre, Merrill Auditorium, Hadlock Field and the Expo.

The Portland Republican City Committee elected a new chairman on February 26. Nick McGee will replace Halsey Frank as leader of the city’s Republican constituency.

McGee grew up in Wells, Maine, and moved to Portland three and a half years ago. A graduate of Providence College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History, he first became actively involved in politics in the 2000 elections in Rhode Island. More recently, he was the campaign manager for House District 113 candidate David Elowitch. He is currently the manager of Susan J. Szwed, P.A., a creditors’ rights law firm located in Portland.

McGee, a self-described moderate Republican, says his top priorities are to increase enrollment and participation in the party. Former Chairman Halsey Frank leaves the position after 6 years at the helm. He will continue to be active in local and state politics and is still a committeeman of Maine State Republican Party.

Also elected were Steven Palmer as Vice Chairman, Steven Scharf as Secretary and Vance Wheelock, II as Treasurer.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The 6th Anniversary Issue of the West End NEWS is on the street. Vol. 7, Number 1, March 9-21, 2007

City Appoints Task Force to Guide Federal $

The City of Portland has established a Housing and Community Development Task Force to provide recommendations to the City Council regarding the HCD Program, which distributes federal funding in the city. The Task Force will solicit public input into the process.
Members of the City Manager’s Policy Advisory Committee (CMPAC) and some City Councilors have been talking about revamping the process since the City Council was criticized last year for ignoring CMPAC’s recommendations and disbursing the funds in what some thought was an unfair manner.

The Task Force members are as follows:
Ed Suslovic
At-Large Councilor, Chair
Tae Chong
Wendy Harmon
CMPAC Representative
Markos Miller
District 1 Representative
Kirk Goodhue
District 1 Representative
Wendy Cherubini
District 2 Representative, Former HCD Program Manager
Aaron Shapiro
District 2 Representative, CMPAC Member
Lee Urban
City Representative, Director of Planning and Development
T. J. Martzial
Current Director Housing & Neighbor Services
Mark Adelson
Former Director Housing & Neighbor Services
John Shoos
United Way Representative
Grant Lee
Public Services Representative, PROP
Staff: Amy Grommes Pulaski, HCD Program Manager

Monday, March 05, 2007

Local Sting Snags Liquor Violators

On February 24 and March 3, 2007 an investigation was initiated by the Portland Police Department into the sale of liquor to underage persons at various bars, convenience stores and other establishments licensed for the sale of liquor.

Volunteers ranging in age from eighteen to twenty years old visited thirty-five various stores and bars throughout the city and attempted to purchase liquor.

In twenty of the businesses, the underage volunteers were able to purchase liquor without showing any form of identification.

The following establishments were issued summonses for administrative liquor license violations:

Howie’s Pub 501 Washington Avenue
Ernie’s Pool and Darts 815 Forest Avenue
Morrill’s Corner Pub 1171 Forest Avenue
Awful Anni’s Irish Saloon 189 Congress Street
The Snug 225 Congress Street
Three Dollar Dewey’s 241 Commercial Street
Silver House Tavern 123 Commercial Street
Ri Ra Irish Pub 72 Commercial Street
Big Apple 16 Washington Avenue
Big Apple 1585 Forest Avenue
Clippermart 55 Riverside Street
Rite Aid 936 Brighton Avenue
Xtra Mart 865 Brighton Avenue
The Station 272 St John Street
Dyer’s Variety 45 Portland Street
Moran’s Market 1576 Forest Avenue
Global Gas 1569 Forest Avenue
Austin’s Boot and Buckle 188 Warren Avenue
Liquid Blue 440 Fore Street
City Beverage 1 Exchange Street

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Bomb Threat Being Investigated

The Portland Police Department took a report of a bomb threat, which was received by the Portland Regency Hotel via an e-mail around 9:30 A.M. on February 22nd. The hotel was not evacuated, since that decision is made by those in charge of the property. Police are conducting an investigation regarding the incident.
-Marge Niblock

Friday, March 02, 2007

West End Irish Take Back Their Parade

A group of Irish West End residents is planning to march from St. Dominic’s Church to Harbor View Park on St. Patrick’s Day, after they were told that parade organizers were “too overwhelmed” to organize the traditional West End event. The Maine Irish Heritage Center and the Irish American Club of Maine is planning to hold a parade down Commercial Street to the East End.

Robert O’Brien, Vice President of the Irish American Club, said that the group would organize the procession - after learning that it was going to take place anyway. O’Brien, who was recently elected to represent the West End on the Portland School Committee, and who previously served as President of the West End Neighborhood Association, was the parade organizer last year – the first year that it was not held in the West End.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tired of waiting

Sergeant Joseph Ezepek was in his police uniform next to a marked police car while he was directing traffic after an accident at Congress and Westbrook on February 18th, a little before 10:00 P.M.

James Exchange, 46, of Westbrook, disregarded the officer’s direction to remain where he was, and continued to proceed.

When he was stopped further down the street by Ezepek, he gave this reason for his action: He was waiting long enough and decided to go. His decision added considerable delay to his getting home because he was arrested and charged with failure to stop for a police officer.

-Marge Niblock