Thursday, August 30, 2007

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TheWest End

For the latest local news, please visit our new website When completed, the site will feature local news (with photos!) and all the features currently available in the bi-weekly print issue, including The Dumpster, Liz Looks at the Stars, West End People, Classifieds, and the West End Crossword Puzzle. Thank you!

The West End NEWS
PO Box 5234, Portland, ME 04101-0934
(207) 828-1403

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

PAC Forms to Oppose Term Limits Extension

Former Senate President Rick Bennett has organized a political action committee to oppose the November ballot question that would extend legislative terms limits from four to six consecutive terms.

The ‘No More Than Four’ committee was registered with the state’s ethics and elections commission in July. Bennett, whose supporters had tried to push into the Republican campaign for governor last year, said it was “scandalous” that the Legislature put the question on the ballot.

A citizen’s initiative referendum was adopted by voters in 1993 limiting legislators to four consecutive, two-year terms in either the House or Senate.

Legislators approved the question for the November ballot in a bipartisan, 26-9 vote in the Senate and a 78-65 vote in the House. The proposal is being backed by the state’s League of Women Voters, which would like to see the full repeal of term limits.

Opponents of term limits say it puts too much power in the hands of the executive branch, partisan staff and outside lobbyists, who have more institutional memory than new legislators. They also say it is more democratic to let voters decide if they want to keep incumbents in office, regardless of how long they have served.

The proposal on the ballot would allow a legislator to serve six terms or 12 consecutive years in either the House or Senate before being forced out of office or running for the other body. The extension would apply to incumbent legislators except those now in their fourth term.

League Launches Rent G.R.E.E.N. Campaign

The League of Young Voters Launches New Energy Efficiency Campaign for Renters

The Portland League of Young Voters has announced its newest campaign: Rent G.R.E.E.N. (Green Renewable and Energy Efficient Now!). The multi-year Rent G.R.E.E.N. campaign looks to increase the energy efficiency of Portland's rental stock by providing information for renters, incentives for landlords, and by encouraging individual action. The campaign was developed by the League's thirteen-member Steering Committee.

The campaign's first goal is to raise awareness about the Energy Efficiency Disclosure Form law that the League helped create. With the form, renters can make informed decisions about housing choices – based on how much rental units will cost to heat and will cost to the environment.

The League will be organizing renters by knocking on doors every Saturday, talking about the form, and asking renters to talk to their landlords about it. The League will also be emphasizing individual actions that can be taken to make rental units greener.

West End Representative Jon Hinck joined League members during the Alive at Five concert in Monument Square in an effort to promote the campaign, handing out energy-efficient light bulbs that will save users an estimated $60 per year in energy costs., and educating people about the Carbon Free Homes project, which helps Mainers to completely erase the "carbon footprint" created by energy use in their homes.

Local Cop to be Honored by Channel 6

A Portland police officer is among a group of outstanding volunteers who will be honored at the 8th Annual 6 Who Care Awards, a celebration of outstanding volunteers in the community, sponsored by WCSH Channel 6.

Sergeant Robin Gauvin has been with the Portland Police Department for 24 years. He is working with law enforcement and National Alliance on Mental Illness of Maine (NAMI Maine) to establish Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) statewide in police departments, jails, hospital emergency rooms, and with social service providers.

He has worked to create 40 specialized teams of law enforcement officers, and organizes their annual trainings to learn how to de-escalate a person in psychiatric crisis.

Gauvin received the NAMI Maine CIT officer of the year award in 2005. He has been volunteering his services to NAMI Maine since 2001. In 2003, he was instrumental in establishing the first in-jail CIT team in the nation. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 17th.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Drug Robbery Suspect Arrested

Lee Allan McLaskey, 26, of Portland, was arrested and charged on August 14th with the July 11th robbery of a Rite Aid on Forest Avenue. During the investigation of that robbery, McLaskey had been developed as a suspect.

McLaskey was arrested and brought to the Cumberland County Jail. At that time police also recovered the weapon believed to have been used in the crime. The nature of the weapon has not been divulged. McLaskey is now out on bail.
-Marge Niblock

Residents Claim More Than $33G in Unclaimed Property

State Representatives from Portland have returned a grand total of $33,877 in unclaimed property to people in their districts.

Every year the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division releases a list of unclaimed property being held by the Treasurer’s office for the rightful owners to claim. Typically these unclaimed assets are savings and checking accounts, contents of safe deposit boxes, life insurance policies, utility deposits and undistributed dividends.

Representatives obtained the list of constituents in their districts who were owed money from the state and began working to track them down. The rightful owners of the property are often hard to find because they no longer reside at the last known address provided to the state.

Parkside/Bayside Representative Herb Adams returned more than $15,800 to his constituents. West End Representative Jon Hinck returned $2,317, and Munjoy Hill Representative Anne Rand returned $3,174 to people in her district.

Last year the state received more than $25 million in unclaimed property, and only about $10.4 million was claimed – leaving more than half of the funds still waiting for Mainers to collect. The Treasurer will hold the funds, typically for three years. The 2007 Unclaimed Property list is available online at State Treasurer Dave Lemoine’s Web site. To check the list, visit
Task Force to Look at Civic Center Future

The Portland City Council has established a Joint Task Force to plan for the future of the Cumberland County Civic Center on Free Street.

At its August 20th meeting, the Council authorized an agreement between Cumberland County, the Civic Center, the Portland Pirates and the City. Each party will contribute $44,000 to a planning study to be done by Janet Marie Smith of Struever Bros, Eccles & Rouse. She and her firm are responsible for the renovations of Fenway Park in Boston and Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Smith will conduct Phase I of a comprehensive Study and Report, at a cost of approximately $175,000, on the future of the Civic Center, A separate contract for the study will be executed by the firm and the Civic Center, and the four-party Task Force will oversee the progress of the work. Each party will have two representatives on the Task Force, which will be chaired by the Chair of the Board of the Civic Center.

A public forum on the future of the Civic Center will be held on September 25th.

City Manager Appoints Island-Neighborhood Administrator

Portland City Manager Joseph Gray has selected Mike Murray of Gorham as the City’s Island/Neighborhood Administrator.

Murray, who was one of more than 170 applicants, is a former member of the City’s Parks & Recreation Department and was the Downtown District Manager from 1999-2002. The Island/Neighborhood Administrator is the primary point of contact for island and neighborhood associations, and works with City Councilors to address citizen requests for services.

Murray, who has a B.A. in Public Administration form the University of Maine, succeeds Tom Fortier who left Portland to become the Town Manager of Richmond, Maine. Murray officially begins his duties on August 27th, although he will be joining Mayor, Councilors and City staff on their annual visit to the islands to meet with the residents and discuss issues of interest and concern to them. He is currently the General Manager of Conroy-Tulley Crawford Funeral Homes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The West End NEWS Volume 7, Number 13

Portland, ME Aug.10-22, 2007

Fire Destroys Brackett Street Apartment

There were no injuries in a Saturday morning fire that heavily damaged a third floor apartment at 165 Brackett Street on August 18th.

Portland firefighters were called at about 9AM and were able to prevent the fire from spreading to other units in the building, which did sustain smoke and water damage.

The fire was caused by faulty wiring a window fan. Brackett Street was closed to traffic for most of the day.

Please note our new e-mail address!

PO Box 5234,Portland, ME 04101-0934

City Council Rejects Impeachment Resolution

An impeachment resolution sponsored by Portland City Councilor Jill C. Duson and co-sponsored by West End Councilor David A. Marshall was rejected by the City Council on August 20th by a vote of 5-4.

The resolution would have supported the Council petitioning the U.S. House of Representatives to commence the investigation of and impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney.

The order failed to pass on a 4-2 vote at the Council’s August 6th meeting because five affirmative votes are required for passage. Councilors James Cohen and Donna Carr were absent from that meeting, and both voted against the resolution on their return. Councilor Cheryl Leeman, who did not vote on August 6th, also cast a ‘no’ vote.

Duson, who is running for re-election to her at-large Council seat, is also expected to run in the Democratic primary in 2008 to replace Congressman Tom Allen in the US Congress. Allen will be running for the US Senate against Senator Susan Collins.

East End Councilor Kevin Donoghue, who also voted against the resolution, along with Councilor Ed Suslovic, agrees with Duson that impeachment should take place, but doesn’t think that the City Council is the place for the issue to be addressed. Donoghue once again proposed an advisory referendum on petitioning for impeachment proceedings - to be held on Election Day, November 6th – but that proposal failed to garner enough support from fellow Councilors. Councilor Marshall also proposed an amendment that would have the issue go to the voters after the Council had petitioned Congress, but that too gathered little support. Donoghue was prepared to vote in favor of the resolution if Marshall’s compromise amendment had passed – a vote which would have changed the final result.

A group of impeachment supporters met after the vote to plan what their next steps would be.

City Bans Skateboarding on Downtown Sidewalks

The Portland City Council on August 20th unanimously agreed that skateboarding will be prohibited on all sidewalks within the downtown yellow zone, which is defined as an area bounded by Cumberland Avenue, Franklin Arterial, Commercial and State Streets. The Public Safety Committee, by a vote of 3-0 on July 10th, recommended the ordinance change. Skateboarders may still ride in the street, but must follow all traffic regulations.

The City Code authorizes the Council to prohibit the riding of bicycles, skateboards, or roller skates on city streets, sidewalks, or ways when such prohibition is necessary.

The City Code contained two conflicting ordinances regarding skateboarding on city streets and sidewalks. One prohibits any person from skating, skateboarding, roller skating or sliding on any city streets, ways and public places, unless otherwise provided by Council order. Another law provides that everyone riding a bicycle or skateboard on city streets be granted all of the rights and be subjected to all of the duties of a driver of a motor vehicle. The Council’s August 20th action reconciles the conflict in the laws.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

School Board Member to Call for Hiring Freeze

Benjamin Meiklejohn, At-large Portland School Committee member, has submitted a motion to declare a hiring freeze for all non-mandated, non-instructional positions. The motion will be considered at the committee's next business meeting, August 22nd.

"In light of the school deficit, we need to reassess the need for all unfilled positions." says Meiklejohn.

Currently, the district has over twenty unfilled positions, according to a report given to the committee on August 15th.

"At the least, we need to be clear with prospective employees who are applying and being interviewed, that not all positions will likely be filled."

The committee could make exceptions on a case by case basis, to hire a person for a particular position, but the default status for seeking new hires would be that the schools are in a hiring freeze.

"The public should know that I am actively pursuing all means to reach financial solvency. This is something we can do immediately," says Meiklejohn, who is the senior-serving member of the Portland School Committee, in his sixth year and second term, and who is currently chair of the
schools' finance committee. He is running for re-election.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Photo by Marge Niblock
Woody the Munjoy Woodchuck

Marie Galland one of many fabulous local artists at the annual St. Luke’s art show and sale… Former Portlander Ben Dinglassen has entered the Franciscan monastery in San Francisco…Too many stars to count at the latest unbelievable Saturday Show at the St. Lawrence… Well, OK, we’ll do it anyway – the hilarious Sheila Jackson, Liz the Dancing Clown, Bobby Lipps- the Extension Cord King of Munjoy Hill, Puppeteer Kerry Elson, the Over A Cardboard Sea Band Vaudeville Band, Mime Jeremiah McDonald, Actor Peter Paton and MC Ed ‘Chicken Lips’ King…West End gun aficionado says he could get a job in NYC shooting rats… Several cruise ship tourists walked down the runway and got right on the Congress Street bus to the Maine MallJoe from The Kopterz swapped their latest CD for the latest copy of the WEN (Good deal for us!)…City Councilor at the Festival of Nations in Deering Oaks collecting campaign signatures got an opponent’s campaign manager to sign her petition-but declined to return the favor…Couple of West End correspondents got thundersoaked covering that event… Portland street artist Jeanette Ross covering every event in the city this summer…Peaks Islander Obie O’Brien looking forward to the 1st Congressional District primary…Lots of going away parties planned for Isabelle Weyl’s departure to Boston at the end of the month… Two inches of rain reported in two hours on August 6th… Finch’s Restaurant’s Johnny Robinson (formerly of Hugo’s) seen strolling with his pooch on Morning Street… WEN Newsies looking to hit a home run at the annual WMPG Softball Tournament on August 11th… City Councilor accused of mumbling at recent committee meeting…
When we last left DeliveryMan and PaperBoy, they were sitting in the WestEndNewsMobile in a 15 Minute Parking Zone in front of the Fresh Approach Market on Brackett Street wondering why their trusty chariot wasn’t performing up to its usual standards. In fact, it wasn’t performing at all. It was just sitting there motionless waiting for the Parking Division to show up and start marking tires and writing tickets. PaperBoy, who’s no trained mechanic, thought the problem might be in the wheelbase, whereas DeliveryMan, who’s no mechanical genius either, was certain that it was the conveyor belt that was malfunctioning. Luckily, the guys from the Parking Division took pity on the boys, who were obviously helpless in this situation…

Correspondence From
Ouagadougou Burkina-Faso

From: MR LARRY KUMAR,The Manager, Audit/Account SectionAfrican Development BankOuagadougou Burkina-Faso.

Dear Comrade,

How are you today? Hope all is well. Please be informed that I have decided to contact you for a fund transfer transaction worth the sum of US$22,300,000.00 into your reliable bank account as the sole NEXT-OF-KIN to the foreign deceased customer of our bank (an International Billionaire French Businessman) who was killed with his entire family by PLANE-CRASH in Central England atmost 3 years ago. Since his death occured, no body have show up as his next of kin for the claim because the account is untraceable. Upon the investigation I carried out from his records, I found out that his foreign business consultant who would have trace the account died earlier before the deceased. Therefore, this is a confidential and sealed deal…
The West End NEWS
Volume 7, Number 12 Portland, ME Aug.10-22, 2007

Please note our new e-mail address!

PO Box 5234,
Portland, ME 04101-0934
(207) 828-1403

Two Local Businesses Victimized Again

Two in-town businesses that were burglarized on July 23rd were once again victims of criminal activity less than two weeks later.

On Friday, August 3, Bleachers, the sports pub on Preble Street in Bayside, had a window broken sometime between closing time and 8 AM, when the weekend janitor came in to clean. The window was on the side of the building facing its parking lot, and three bottles of liquor were taken.

On Saturday, August 4, Percy Cycles in Bramhall Square had its front window broken at some time around 9PM.

Both places of business had been the objects of criminal intent on July 23. Bleachers was burglarized during the early morning hours, and an arrest was made at Percy Cycles later that morning for an attempted burglary. Craig Miller was charged with both of those crimes. He remains in custody at the Cumberland County Jail.

City High Schools Get Music Scholarship

The current orchestra director for Portland and Deering High Schools, Julianne Eberl, has made donations totaling $1,000 to establish a music scholarship in honor of her teacher, Alexander Kouguell, Professor Emeritus of Queens College, City University of New York.

The scholarships will be awarded to a PHS or DHS student who intends to pursue music in post-secondary education. Professor Kouguell was one of the founders and later Director of the Bachelor of Music program at Queens College, which became the current conservatory, the Aaron Copeland School of Music. He has been a performer and teacher for 60 years.

August 9 - 22
*** Patronization***

ARIES (March 21 - April 19)
The Leo New Moon on August 12th is showy, and may make you feel that your big chance is on the horizon. You may need to draw upon your reserve of patience in order to make it happen. On August 10th, help our Catholic friends celebrate St. Lawrence Day with a feast! The story behind St. Lawrence is, as a deacon in Rome, Lawrence was told to bring his wealth to Caesar. Instead, he gave it all away to the poor folks in town. When the prefect of Rome heard of this, he said “you must render to Caesar what is his. Bring these treasures—the emperor needs them to maintain his forces.”
Lawrence replied that the Church was indeed rich. “…but give me time to set everything in order and make an inventory.” He then gathered the blind, lame, maimed, leprous, orphaned and widowed people and sat them in the pews. When the prefect arrived, Lawrence simply said, “These are the treasure of the Church.” The prefect was so pissed-off he had a gridiron prepared, with coals beneath it, and had Lawrence’s body placed on it. After the martyr had suffered for a long time, the legend concludes, he made his last bombastic remark, “It is well done. Turn it over and eat it!”
Go to: Longfellow Trail 11 a.m. on August 17. Begin at The Maine Historical Society, 489 Congress St., for walking tours. Tickets are $2- $4.

TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)
A little bit of friction in your domestic sphere has the potential to turn into a skirmish of operatic proportions. The Leo New Moon on the 12th may inspire drama in you, just make sure it’s positive excitement, not the thrill seeking kind that ends with black eyes and 911 calls.

Go to: Portland Dances! At the John Ford Theater, on Cumberland Ave, Friday and Saturday August 17 and 18 at 8pm. Portland Dances!, presented by Portland Ballet, includes new works ranging from classical ballet to humorous modern dance. This annual show provides an opportunity to showcase newly emerging talent as well as the works of established choreographers. Tickets $10-$15

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)
You gotta make a decision, mates, and stick with it! The back-and-forth is what’s causing you grief. Pick something and then stand by your choice wholeheartedly.

Go to: The St. Lawrence Arts & Community Center presents Sorcha & Zeile on August 10th at 8:00 pm. Munjoy Hill resident and singer songwriter Zeile August was inspired by early 70's folk rock, traveling through America. Now working only with her voice and an acoustic guitar, she is presenting a personal hybrid of folk, jazz, blues, and the American ballad. She's joined by Sorcha, whose voice packs a luscious punch from wails to whispers, her folk roots infused with blues, jazz and funk. Tickets are $12.

CANCER (June 21 - July 22)
Cancerian Ingmar Bergman died on July 30th. He was a Swedish film, stage, and opera director, finding despair as well as comedy and hope in exploring the human condition. Often starring Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow, most of Bergman’s films were set in his native Sweden. The themes were often bleak, dealing with illness and insanity.
In your own life, you may feel as though people are talking about you. It’s really your ego talking to you, and take what it says with a grain of salt. Be aware of the line we all must walk between self-confidence and vanity.

Go to: The Brown Bag Lecture series at the Portland Public Library on August 15 at noon. The author will be Masha Hamilton of The Camel Bookmobile. It sounds like an awesome book; it’s about a woman who goes to Kenya to operate a mobile library powered by a camel! Hamilton also wrote The Distance Between Us, and Staircase of a Thousand Steps.

LEO (July 23 - August 22)
Happy 80th birthday on August 18th to First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Thank you for your work on mental illness advocacy. Leos, your literary assignment is to read Christine Montross’ Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab. “A hauntingly moving memoir of the relationship between a cadaver named Eve and the first-year medical student who cut her open.” I am hoping that this theme will inspire those Cowardly Lions amongst us to face their fear and conquer it.

Go to: George Hamm's Showcase 8:30 p.m. on August 19, at the Comedy Connection, 6 Custom House Wharf Portland Tix $6

VIRGO (August 23 - September 22)
Mid-August may find you in a dreamy, drug-like state of mind. Don’t worry about it. You may not get everything in your In Box moved to your Out Box, but you will tap into some deep emotions, memories, and long-buried desires.

Go to: With your love of history, you’ll be psyched about A Six- Hour Living History Cruise on August 18, from 10-4 aboard The Project Liberty Ship. The S.S. JOHN W. BROWN, America's oldest surviving World War II Liberty ship, will visit the Maine State Pier 8/16 through 8/22.

LIBRA (September 23 - October 22)
Be flexible enough to welcome change. Resistance is futile! Seriously, though, the change in store could turn out to be a positive one. Libran film director Michelangelo Antonioni died on July 30, 2007. His films are widely considered as some of the most influential in film aesthetics. From L'avventura (The Adventure, 1960) ,Blowup (1966) to The Passenger (1975), Antonioni's spare style and purposeless characters have not been admired by all critics. Ingmar Bergman once said that he “admired some of Antonioni's films for their detached and sometimes dreamlike quality.” However, while he considered Blowup and La notte masterpieces, he called Antonioni’s other films boring. Everyone’s a critic!

Go to: Space Gallery on August 22 at 7:30 for the movie The Host. “a stunning, sleek and visually arresting monster film from Korean director, Bong Joon-ho. When their youngest is snatched from the riverbank where they operate a foodstand, it’s up to a dysfunctional family (think a Korean Royal Tennenbaums) to try and organize and bring her back home. Equal parts comedy, poignant human drama and terrifying monster movie, The Host is a smart, thrilling way to cap off the summer and a great chance to check out SPACE’s brand new projection system.”

SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21)
I heard that 40 percent of all job résumés contain exaggerations if not outright lies. A study conducted by University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert S. Feldman and published in the Journal of Basic and Applied Social Psychology says that 60 percent of people lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation and told an average of two to three lies. Sigh. Deception is a normal part of life. In the coming weeks, Scorpio, you need to be the exception. Play by the rules. Be meticulously scrupulous. Hear me now and believe me later, it will pay off!

Go to: The Post Card Show August 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Holiday Inn West, 81 Riverside St. Tickets $3. I don’t know much about it, but it appears to be a show of post cards. You thrive on a good mystery, so go check it out.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)
Jupiter in your sign carries some protection for you, like a guardian angel, ensuring that what’s happening now has your future growth enmeshed in it, even the harsh things. Travel is also a powerful force with this Jupiter influence. Mid-August gives you the intuition needed to look beyond the surface of things. You won’t feel like making small talk right now.
Go to: Home and Away Gallery, 4 Elm St. Kennebunkport on August 10 for an opening of sculpture by Palaya Qiatsuq. The reception is 4 to 10 pm, and the show goes through Aug.12.

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)
Don’t let sympathy overcome your common sense. Value your own self-worth as much as you do others, so that if a situation arises where it’s your loss or someone else’s loss, you’ll be able to be objective about who can afford the loss more. No feeling guilty if you’re forced to say no to someone who asks you for something!
Go to: One Longfellow Square on Friday, August 17 8 pm for The April Verch Band Canadian Fiddler Extraordinaire!! Tix $12 Advance at Bullmoose $15 at Door

AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18)
Ahhh, peaceful summer laziness. Pleasant dreams to crickets buzzing. August 9th - 11th has the Sun in Leo and the Moon in Cancer, which will put everyone in the mood to give in to their natural instincts. People may call in sick to work just to go to the beach. Complaining about basic stuff may be at an all time high (“I’m hot. My feet itch. I want ice cream!”) Just take a deep breath, and look forward to your own time off when you can indulge yourself in some comfort activities.

Go to: Geno’s for The Stoner Music Fest! August 23, 24, 25, featuring: Doomstone, Citadel, The Humanoids, Village of Dead Roads, Confier, Eldemur Krimm, A thousand Knives of Fire, RoadSaw, Solace, Cough, Bloody Panda, Ocean, and more!

PISCES (February 19 - March 20)
You may receive some long-due recognition. If it doesn’t come in the form you were expecting, accept it as one of those karmic gestures. A “what goes around comes around” type of thing.
Go to: Native American Pow-Wow - Honor the Animals 8/11 through 8/12, from 9:30am-4:30pm Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. Representatives of several tribes will be at the park for two full days with dancers, drummers, craft vendors, singers and traditional food booths.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Suspect Caught in Gas Theft After West End Chase

The 7-Eleven at 704 Congress Street reported a theft of gas on July 30th at 9:15 PM, and gave police the name of Daniel Knight as the person responsible. Police arriving at the scene saw Knight in his truck on Congress Street shortly after the call came in. Knight turned onto State Street, then onto Pine Street and into an alleyway, where he stopped.

According to police, Knight exited his vehicle and began to run. He was not compliant when police ordered him to stop. He was caught, arrested, and tallied up a number of charges including theft, failure to stop for a police officer, refusing to submit to arrest, operating after suspension, illegal attachment of plates (the plates of the truck belonged on a different vehicle), and violation of bail conditions.