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  • March 30, 2006
    By webteam

    The Maine Senate voted unanimously today to enact a bill requiring the Maine State Retirement System to divest its holdings from the Darfur region in Sudan. The retirement system has invested about $50 million of its $9 billion portfolio in Sudan. The bill only needs to be signed by the Governor to become law. The Gov has already announced his intention to sign the bill.

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  • March 29, 2006
    By webteam

    A company of child actors will perform a play about the Iraq War at the Alumni Theater at the University of Maine at Farmington from April 13 through April 15. The play, "Songbird," was written by Farmington playwright Jayne Decker. It is about a soldier in the Iraq War and the impact the war has on his family in the US.

    The kid cast will play adult American soldiers in Iraq and Iraqi children.

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  • March 27, 2006
    By webteam
    Stephen Lanzalotta, owner of Sophia's Restaurant on Market Street, is open this week, in the middle of taking some time off from his business, according to the large sign in his window, to market his new book, The Diet Code, based on his "DaVinci Diet," developed in response to the low-carb craze that cost his bakery a lot of business.

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  • March 27, 2006
    By webteam

    A hastily called rally in Monument Square today protested a political tactic in Washington DC that has senators racing against the clock to finalize a proposal for "comprehensive immigration reform," lest a draconian and simplistic solution be enacted in its stead.

    Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee) has said he will open debate on the Senate floor as early as tomorrow, whether or not the Senate Judiciary Committee completes its work.

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  • March 24, 2006
    By webteam

    LD 1758, the bill which would require Maine's retirement system to give up its holdings in war-torn Sudan, is well on its way to becoming a law. The bill passed both the House and Senate earlier this week and is awaiting enactment and a signature from the governor, who has already pledged his support. The east African country Sudan has been crippled by a twenty year civil war and three years of genocide in the Darfur region.

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  • March 23, 2006
    By webteam

    Governor John Baldacci scored points with Maine international labor advocates this week when he withdrew Maine from the procurement sections of two US trade agreements, the Panama free trade agreement and the Andean free trade agreement (which involves Columbia, Peru, and Equador). The withdrawal means Maine will not benefit from purchasing deals established under the agreements, but will also not be bound by the rules of the agreements, which could force states to purchase from companies with poor labor standards.

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  • March 22, 2006
    By webteam

    Bar Lola, a new restaurant which will take over the space at 100 Congress on Munjoy Hill, is the brainchild of people involved with One Fifty Ate, the bread/sandwich/natural foods eatery in South Portland which has generated a loyal following since it opened in 2002.

    Bar Lola is owned by Stella and Guy Hernandez. Stella is a waitress at One Fifty, Guy is a partner there, and Josh Potoki, a co-founder of One Fifty Ate and a former chef at Street & Co.

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  • March 21, 2006
    By webteam
    Despite reports suggesting the contrary in the local daily newspaper, the Village Cafe, long a fixture restaurant on the east side of Portland's Old Port, is still open, and plans to stay open into the foreseeable future.

    The property, owned by John Reali - the third generation of his family to own and operate the restaurant - is under contract to a developer who is seeking to build condominiums on the site.

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  • March 20, 2006
    By webteam
    South Portland residents told their city council to buy the armory property at the base of the Casco Bay Bridge, leading councilors to decide to bid on the building, in what one local newspaper alleges was a secret meeting that might have violated the state's open-meeting law. And during Sunshine Week, at that!

    Mayor Maxine Beecher apparently told the Forecaster that the city would bid on the armory March 22, during a hearing before a federal bankruptcy judge.

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  • March 20, 2006
    By webteam

    Greg Young, owner of Youngo's, has closed down the tiny coffeeshop which defied economic odds for two years. Opened in 2004, Youngo's Cafe was located in Bramhall Square, on the end of Congress Street where the commercial properties meld into a row of apartment buildings. The location was in some ways dubious - parking was practically nonexistent - and it's always tough to make a go of a business based on hawking $2 cups of coffee.

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  • March 16, 2006
    By webteam
    The Alehouse has sued Eric Cianchette's company, ELC Inc., alleging that Cianchette, the Portland bar's landlord, is trying to force them out of their space by failing to perform structural improvements required by the state fire marshal.

    One of Cianchette's properties, the Portland Regency Hotel, sued the Alehouse and its owners, Russ and AJ Riseman, in late 2005, alleging that noise from the Alehouse was disturbing hotel guests and costing the hotel money.

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  • March 14, 2006
    By webteam
    WMGX, the '70s and '80s rock station at 93.1 on your FM dial, is no more. Of course, there's still something there, but it's now called "The Coast" and has dumped its '70s tunes in favor of newer, younger pop stuff, like, the station suggests, "Kelly Clarkson, Green Day, and Fall Out Boy."

    The station's promo explaining itself, also posted online, lists all the names the station has gone by in the past 30 years, and describes the station's commitment to "serving the Portland community."

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  • March 13, 2006
    By webteam
    "Tina's Law" has been voted "ought to pass" by legislators intent on cracking down on bad driving on Maine roads. But in their zeal to lock up folks whose driver's licenses have been suspended many times, they have also devised a plan in which the innocent could go to jail.

    Try this on for size: You're walking your dog and it takes a dump on a city sidewalk or greenspace.

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  • March 13, 2006
    By webteam

    The Portland Friends Meeting, a Quaker group, is sponsoring an eight-week film series on nonviolence to help local activists learn what worked and what didn't in past peace movements. The Phoenix caught up with this festival a little late (there have already been two screenings) but, don't worry, there are still six more full length documentaries to enjoy and learn from.

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  • March 10, 2006
    By webteam

    A baby born January 22 at Mercy Hospital was, sadly, not named for the Phoenix newspaper, though his name is Phoenix.

    "My husband picked the name," said mother Tara Burke. Her husband's favorite car is a Pontiac Firebird, and the mythical creature was also an inspiration.

    As noted on the family's Web site, "The Phoenix is made of all the most desirable parts of earth's creatures: the snake's neck, the crane's forehead, the dragon's stripes, the fish's tail, the tortoise's shell, the swallow's throat, and the fowl's bill.

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