Monday, April 30, 2007

Saturday, May 5th and Sunday May 6th.
We're Having A Yard Sale! Saturday, May 5th and Sunday May 6th. 10am-3pm St. Lawrence Arts & Community Center. 76 Congress Street.***Rain or Shine*** Antiques, Art, Furniture, Clothes, Costumes, Toys, Books, Games, Grab Bags, and Yard Sale knick-knacks up the wazoo! To donate items to our Yard Sale, please call us at 775-5568, ext. 102. Come and see what treasures we've unearthed for you! All proceeds benefit the St. Lawrence.
Adams Intros Two Creative Economy Bills
AUGUSTA – Rep. Herb Adams, D-Portland, has introduced two bills that would help boost the creative economy, a term describing commerce driven by art, music and film.

The first bill would enable educational and cultural institutions to use the bonding authority of the Maine Health and Higher Educational Facilities Authority to borrow for large projects.
Borrowing through the authority assures the nonprofits a lower interest rate. The authority was established in 1971 to assist eligible nonprofit colleges, universities and licensed health care facilities in financing for construction, site acquisition and capital equipment. Adams’ bill would amend the law to include museums or other nonprofit institutions that provide educational programs under those who are eligible for borrowing.

The second bill, LD 1182, would enable the creation of tax increment financing (TIF) districts for art districts. A TIF district is used to redirect increased tax revenues from a development project into community improvement and development projects. The Portland Downtown District and City Council have both endorsed the bill. It was scheduled for a public hearing on April 30th, in front of the Taxation Committee.
The creative economy was the subject of a recent lengthy report by Maine’s Creative Economy Council. To view the report, go to
Protestors Call for End to Iraq War
About 200 anti-war protestors filled Post Office Park in the Old Port on April 28th to call for and end to the war in Iraq, and to call on Maine senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to withdraw their support for the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.

Former Maine congressman Tom Andrews was the main speaker at the rally and called on the Maine senators to have a “Margaret Chase Smith moment” and repudiate the war. Smith was a Maine senator in the 1950’s who stood up to Communist-hunting Wisconsin senator Joseph McCarthy. Andrews called the Iraq war a war of “arrogance, ignorance, and incompetence.”

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Animal Control to the Rescue
Seagulls Keep Animal Control Officers Busy

The Portland Police Department receives a lot of calls about injured seagulls that are sometimes hit by cars when wandering Portland’s streets. These birds have to be euthanized, since they don’t rehab well; it’s hard to heal them and the healing time is very long. The problem is caused by broken bones that poke through the skin and also shatter because they’re hollow.

But many of the seagulls that police are called about have not actually been hurt. They’re baby seagulls that have jumped out of their nests while trying to fly. When Animal Control answers this type of call, the seagull is left alone. The babies are too large to be carried back to the nest by the adult gulls, who watch over and guard the babies until they are able to fly.

Seagull nests are usually on tops of buildings, where they are safe from street predators. Video cameras placed on the roof of Portland police headquarters on Middle Street as a protective measure provided an extra bonus for employees, enabling them to watch the development of baby gulls in two nests that came into the camera’s range.

Garth Russell and Debbie Estrella are the two Animal Control officers working in Portland. Russell has been in his job for two years and Estrella has sixteen years in the animal control business. They are civilians working for the Police Department, and they can cite and summons people for criminal and civil offenses.

The most unusual case Russell came across was when he was flagged down by a man near Deering Oaks Park who led him to a lobster “hanging out in Fitzpatrick Stadium.” He said the lobster’s claws had marks on it, and it looked as though it had been previously banded. The lucky crustacean was returned to Casco Bay. The most unusual call of Estrella’s career came when she had to jump into a pool to rescue a dog that was unable to get out.

The officers get a lot of calls about bats during the summer. Bats living in attics often come into houses when it’s warm. If bats are found in living quarters and the police are called, the animals are tested for rabies. Both officers are vaccinated against rabies. When asked what his greatest fear was, Russell didn’t hesitate to say “being sprayed by a skunk.”
Portland Police Update Sex Offender List

The Portland Police Department has conducted an operation aimed at verifying the physical addresses of all 123 people registered as sex offenders and listing Portland as their home. The Department conducts this operation twice a year. A team of detectives and patrol officers goes to each address claimed by a registrant in an effort to confirm their residency.

While every neighborhood in the city has registrants, the vast majority of registered offenders live on the peninsula, with the highest concentration being west of High Street. The following results were gained through this verification process:
Of 123 registrants:
-82 were found to be living at their claimed address
-10 were not spoken to directly, but are believed to be in compliance
-10 are currently incarcerated in county, state, or federal prisons
-10 are registered as transients, which allows no verification
-11 have whereabouts unknown to the police
There are 21 offenders for whom an accounting cannot be made, due to the lack of an address or their having moved without notice.

In addition to address verification, eleven registrants are in violation of the law for failing to provide either a photograph or the associated fee or both. The Department will be seeking criminal charges against all registrants currently in violation of the registry law.

This operation raises two significant concerns for law enforcement in Portland, according to Deputy Police Chief William Ridge. First, nearly 10% of all registrants in Portland are not currently residing at their declared address. Second, that another 8.5% of registrants claim transient status which cannot be verified.

The Portland Police Department will continue vigorous efforts to locate missing registrants and prosecute those found to be in violation of the law, says Ridge. For more information on sex offender registration, please go to where all registered sex offenders in Portland are listed.

Thieves Take Antique Flagpoles

Two antique flagpoles were stolen from outside the rear of Portland Architectural Salvage, on 131 Preble Street. The first one disappeared between April 5 and 7, and the second one was taken between April 7 and 9. The poles were lying on the ground, but were chained. Each one is twenty feet long, and weighs 1,200 pounds. They are described as nineteenth-century bronze flagpoles and are worth approximately $5,000 apiece. It is thought that they were stolen to be cut up for the value of the scrap metal. -Marge Niblock
The April 20th Issue of the West End NEWS is on the street.
This site has not been updated in the past week because of technical problems on the site, and a two-day power outtage in Portland. We are now back in full operation.
City Gets Soaked by Nor’easter

A rare April Norteaster hit Portland on Sunday, April 15th beginning with snow that gradually changed to rain that soaked the city for three days. Police were asking people to stay away from Commercial Street on Monday because of downed power lines and flooding. At least three boats were reported lost at DeMillo’s Marina. Power outages were widespread throughout the city on Monday and Tuesday, including Munjoy Hill and parts of the West End. A tractor-trailer flipped over on 295 on Tuckey’s Bridge on Monday morning, and the parking lot at newly-opened Whole Food store in Bayside was flooded.

Winds were reported up to 57 miles an hour, and four inches of rain had fallen by Monday night. Governor John Baldacci declared a state of emergency on the 15th . Casco Bay Ferry shut down because of high tides. 44,000 people were reported out of power in the Greater Portland area. Because of ongoing power outages, and the forecast of continued high winds and heavy rain, Portland police urged the public to stay at home on Tuesday as well. Major intersections such as Morrill’s Corner and Allen’s Corner remained without power. Forest Avenue was closed at the Westbrook line due to flooding of the Presumpscot River. Many side streets remain closed due to downed trees and power lines. A large tree was downed on Danforth Street, in front of the West End Community Policing Center. Additional road closures were anticipated at times of high tides, according to police.
The Portland Expo was opened as an emergency shelter for residents who were without power or experiencing flooding. Several State Street residents went there after the chimney on their apartment building collapsed. Police reminded residents that downed lines are never safe to touch. Among the many cancelled events in the city were the Sea Dogs Opening Day game, and the Boys and Girls Club’s 5-mile race, which was cancelled for the first time in 78 years.
Fund Set Up for West End Fire Victims

Officials are still investigating an explosion and fire that destroyed a house on Salem Street on April 5th. No one was injured, but the house at 36 Salem Street was severely damaged and had to be demolished.

The house, which was built in 1870, was owned by West End activist Jo Coyne, who had one tenant living in the house. Coyne was outside shoveling snow at the time of the blast, and the tenant was not at home.

Coyne was warmly greeted by hugs and applause when she showed up at the West End Neighborhood Association on April 11th, just six days after her loss. She is staying with a daughter who lives in Scarborough, and looking to rent an apartment in the West End while she decides whether or not to rebuild a house on the site. She reported to the group that among the things lost in the fire were were the WENA banner, last displayed at the recenr St. Patrick’s Day March.

Coyne was able to salvage a number of items from the ruined building. She said that her daughter found six earrings in the charred ruins - none of them matching.
There has been a fund setup at the Five County Credit Union in PortlandChecks should be made payable to "The Salem Street Fire Fund" and can be mailed to: Five County Credit Union,P.O. Box 598, Bath, ME 04530The Credit Union also belongs to branch-sharing, so if you are a credit union member and your branch belongs to branch-sharing, a deposit can be made at that branch.You can go to to find a branch.
Reps Encourage Residents to Apply for Property Tax Refund
Deadline to apply for state rebate is May 31.

State Representatives Herb Adams and Jon Hinck, both Portland Democrats, are urging constituents who have not yet filed a “Circuit Breaker” property tax and rent refund application for property taxes or rent paid in 2005 to do so before the May 31 deadline.

Benefits are available to homeowners and renters who meet the income requirements that were broadly expanded by the Legislature in 2005. Families earning up to $102,000 are eligible, as well as individuals earning up to $77,000. In order to qualify for a refund, 2005 property taxes must be more than 4 percent of household income, or the yearly rent paid must be more than 20 percent of household income.

More than 200,000 people are eligible for the Circuit Breaker rebate, but many Maine homeowners and renters don’t apply and forfeit their rebates. They could be eligible for up to $2,000 in rebates from the state on their local property taxes. For an application, contact Rep. Adams at 772-2565 or Rep. Hinck at 450-0003.

Earth Day 2007 Festival to Be in Congress Sq.

The Earth Day 2007 Festival will be held on Sunday, April 22nd, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Congress Street, between Forest Avenue and High Street. The street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be used to showcase energy efficient vehicles.

Earth Day activities include musical performances, arts and crafts for children, local artists displaying their wares, Maine agricultural processors and retailer booths, informational and educational exhibits promoting alternative energies and transportation. The Festival is being organized by the Midtown Community Policing Center, MENSK, the Earth Day Committee, and other area organizations and businesses There is no rain date.

Trucker Takes Down St. John Power Lines

A tractor-trailer driver from Quebec was fined $610 by state police after he illegally drove his rig down St. John Street, taking out several power lines along the way. Saint John Street is a posted "no truck" route and was closed between Park Avenue and Brighton Avenue for a short time while Central Maine Power and Verizon crews worked to repair the lines. The truck was towed to Hadlock Field for inspection by the state police.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bill Would Eliminate "Brain Drain"
Representative Herb Adams, D-Portland, has submitted a bill aimed at eliminating the state’s “brain drain” and encouraging young people to stay in Maine. Adams worked with Opportunity Maine organizers to bring the bill to the Legislature.

The bill would establish the Job Creation Through Educational Opportunity program, which would provide education tax credits to students who earn degrees from Maine’s colleges and universities, then stay in the state to live and work.

More than 75,000 people signed petitions circulated by volunteers to send the issue to voters statewide. The bill is the legislative vehicle to bring the referendum to voters.

Tax credits would be limited to how much the student paid to a lender for loan payments or the cost of attending schools in the University of Maine or Maine Community College systems, whichever is less. The bill would also allow Maine employers to claim the tax credit if they make loan payments for their employees.
The Legislature referred the bill, LD 1815 or the Opportunity Maine bill, to the Joint Standing Committee on Taxation where it will have a public hearing in the coming weeks.
More information on the bill is available at

Friday, April 06, 2007

Friends of Reiche Wants to be Uniting Force

A group calling itself the Friends of Reiche has begun the process of trying to enhance and improve the local school and community center. West End City Councilor Dave Marshall and School Committee member Robert O’Brien chaired the inaugural meeting of the group on March 29.

Group members stressed collaboration with the School Department, the City government, neighborhood representatives and the Reiche School administration, bringing together the diverse group of organizations to try to improve maintenance and improvement of the facility.

Lack of communication among the stakeholders involved seems to have been a problem from the beginning. West End Neighborhood Association member Jo Coyne spoke briefly about the early history of Reiche in the early 1970’s. News accounts of the time reported that there was opposition to the school and that nearly fifty homes in the neighborhood were razed to make room for the facility. Neighborhood residents at the time also complained that promises to promote an active community center on the site were never fulfilled. The building houses a swimming pool which is under-utilized and in need of repair.

Ed Bryant, who is a Reiche parent, has agreed to serve as the group’s contact person.
St. Dominic’s, St. Lawrence Get Federal $
The Portland City Council on March 26th voted to give a share of Federal Community Development Block Grant money to two local former churches that have sustained serious structural damage in the past year.

The Irish Heritage Center, formerly St. Dominic’s, on Gray Street in the West End, will receive $62,000 to help with repair of its bell tower, which was damaged last May when the bell became loose and crashed through the structure.

The St. Lawrence Arts and Community Center on Munjoy Hill will receive $100,000 towards the demolition and reconstruction of its sanctuary, which has become structurally unsound and a safety hazard. The St. Lawrence Parish Hall theater remains open and in full operation.
The April 6th Issue of the West End NEWS is on the Street.

Armed Robber Hits Big Apple
Portland police report that a man armed with a gun held up the Big Apple convenience store at 754 Congress Street at about 2:30 AM on March 29th. The suspect is described as a black male in his late 20s, about 6 feet tall and with a thin build. He left the store left with an undisclosed amount of cash and other items.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Two Arrested for Collecting Non-Empty Bottles

On March 28, at around 1:20 AM, Jonathan Doyle, 20, and Michael Turner, 19, were stopped by Portland police in the area of Pleasant and Maple Streets. One of the men was carrying a backpack, and the other had a black garbage bag flung over his shoulder. When questioned about what they had in their possession, they said they were “collecting bottles.”

After asking if he could search the bags, the officer found that the two men had indeed been “collecting bottles”; bottles of liquor and wine. Most of the bottles still had pourers in them.

A subsequent investigation discovered a burglary had occurred at the Port Hole Restaurant in the Old Port, involving the loss of what the two men were carrying. They were arrested for burglary and also charged with possession of alcohol by a minor. - Marge Niblock
Injured Man Found on Sidewalk
On March 30, around 10:25 AM, police received a call stating that a man was lying on the sidewalk in front of 74 Park Avenue. The caller thought it was possible that the man had jumped from one of the buildings.

Police arriving at the scene discovered an unresponsive man in his fifties, bleeding profusely from the facial area, and partially covered with a towel.

He was taken to Maine Medical Center and treated there. The man’s identity and address were ascertained after police canvassed the neighborhood. He had fallen inside his apartment, injured his face, and had then run out to the street.
Woman Battles Cop in Local Arrest

On March 22, a little after 8PM, Portland police were told there was a possible OUI in front of 31 Chestnut Street, involving a vehicle driven by a woman with two small children. The witness stated that the woman fell into a snow bank after exiting the car.

Police went to the area and stopped the woman, who matched the description given. She was walking down Chestnut Street, visibly intoxicated, and had the two children with her.

Police say that when the officer at the scene tried to ask her some questions, the woman replied “It’s none of your business.”

The officer tried to stop her from continuing to walk by touching her forearm, and when he attempted to place her under arrest, she punched him in the chest and arm. The woman, who was out on bail at the time, was subdued and taken to jail, and the Maine Department of Human Services was contacted.