man what the hell happen to portland nightlife?!?!? grittys!!!??? i just cgetting back in now and the streets of portland were scary as hell tonight. som mahnyu fights and so many police and so many...thugs. what the hell. i was like the smallest guy out tonight and im pretty big. i was kinda intimidated.
re=posting some really old pics i took, except the first one, which came from the net







Haha. My cousin was out Friday night and she said there were more fights and blood than she could count. Didn't go out last night. Decided to watch UFC, but I guess you saved yourself 40 bucks and just watched it in person. Hopefully going out tonight. Tonight should be like a regular weekend night due to the holiday. Nice drunk typing by the way.
grittys457 said:
Haha. My cousin was out Friday night and she said there were more fights and blood than she could count. Didn't go out last night. Decided to watch UFC, but I guess you saved yourself 40 bucks and just watched it in person. Hopefully going out tonight. Tonight should be like a regular weekend night due to the holiday. Nice drunk typing by the way.

you know what it is, i figured it out...since headliners closed, all the regulars there now try to cram into the oasis, and that pisses people off cause everyone is drinking eachother's sweat and people start to act tough. about 60% of the fights last night were between girls who were almost thirty, which i guess would qualify them as women, rather than 'girls.' im staying in tonight cause tomorrow is the holiday and i think if anything it will be busy as hell and holidays always bring out amateurs (myself included) and that only spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e. have fun and fill us in on the details of fights..
Ahhhh, holy crap, I had the whole day off from work today. That really never happens. Got up and ate at Hot Suppa on Congress st. for breakfast. Then walked down to the Sea Dogs game and got my face burnanated. Damn it was hot out today. It will snow tomorrow I'm sure.

Kinda random, but we decided to take the Casco Bay lines out to Peaks Island after. Good decision. The ride was great. A well needed breeze on a perfect day. Ate at the Inn at Peaks after. They brew their own Shipyard beer there. The food was pretty good, we sat outside. You could actually see the roof of my girlfriend's apartment on Munjoy Hill. Sometimes I forgot how short of a boatride can take me away from the nonsense and thuggery of Patland...I mean Portland. Anyone who comes up here this summer should make sure to take a trip out to one of the islands. This is the one thing that the Manch or most other cities cannot compete with us in.

Here's the site for where we ate. Thinking about having my wedding there if it is somewhat under a billion dollars...

patland, hmmm, i could get used to that. nonsense? i dont know about that! i live here not only because i grew up here, but also because compared to every other city i have visited, I like it the best. I think portland, trash residents included, is hands down one of america's best cities. obviously its not NYC, but i would choose it over NYC anyday. r we the most important place on earth? nope. but is there a reason tourists flock here every year to flee their own homes to our south? yep. and that same reason is why this is my home.

went to the beach today in portland, thats right, our city has a beach. it is absolutely gorgeous (grittys zip it about the clientele that litter this area).

then i saw this guy taking a boat out to casco bay holding a beer mug and reading the forecaster, so naturally i tried to pop a cap in him thinking it was grittys but the laser sight fell off my piece and the bahstid escaped. next time. anyways, heres my photos from today:





I walk that trail all the time. Lot of people bring their dogs down to the water. Dogs don't give a shit, they jump in freezing water and swim around. Don't know why more people don't use that beach. Think they could run something through it to make it more beach sandy.

Yes I saw the pics, yes I wanna make some sort of joke, no I won't.

And no way you could shoot me with just a basic gun and laser. Need like heat seeking missile or something.
This is some good news if it happens. I also suggest going to www.thebollard.com to look at pics of the building. Needs a lot of work.

The next Portland Public Market?
Vendors group eyes old Surplus Store

By Chris Busby

Several longtime tenants of the Portland Public Market have banded together to seek a new home, and they may have just found one: the Clapp Building in Monument Square, last occupied by the Surplus Store.

The proprietors of Maine Beer and Beverage, K. Horton's Specialty Foods, and the flower shop A Country Bouquet have teamed with Borealis Breads to look for a new, communal retail space downtown, according to Maine Beer and Beverage co-owner Bill Milliken. The group has explored a number of potential properties over the past few weeks, Milliken said, and is excited about the prospect of setting up shop less than a block from the Public Market.

Discussions with the building's owner, Alex Tessman, are at an early stage, and no lease has yet been signed. But Milliken and specialty foods shop owner Kris Horton toured the property with Tessman and a banker May 30, and provided Tessman with letters stating their interest in pursuing the space.

[Tessman also invited this reporter to tour the historic building ? see photographs taken inside the Clapp Building here.]

Tessman and his wife, Dr. Rowena Tessman, own PROTEA Behavioral Health Services, a for-profit mental health and substance abuse services provider based in Bangor. PROTEA has facilities in over 10 Maine towns and cities, including an office on Forest Avenue.

Alex Tessman said he recently leased the Clapp building, with an option to buy it, from developer Jeffrey Cohen, who bought it in 2004. The Surplus Store closed at the end of that year, after over 50 years on the four-story building's ground floor. It has not been occupied since.

Tessman said he originally intended to open another PROTEA location in the Clapp building, but federal budget cuts in the health and human services sector dissuaded him from pursuing that plan. (Tessman said a city inspections employee also dissuaded him from opening a medical facility in the square, but he had already decided against that when the city employee contacted PROTEA.)

Milliken said the group envisions using the ground floor space for their individual retail operations. A shared kitchen could be built in the basement, and retail businesses could also occupy the second floor. Milliken suggested a pub could occupy the third floor, and Tessman is eying the top story for a residence with a rooftop garden ? though again, these are very preliminary ideas, Tessman and Milliken said.

The Libra Foundation ? the non-profit, philanthropic entity that built and owns the Portland Public Market ? is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to sell the market as part of a mega-package of downtown real estate. [See "Public Market going on the market"]. The interested buyer has not yet been publicly named.

Anticipating that the new owner will not continue to run the Public Market as a market, most vendors have been scrambling to find new locations. Maine's Pantry is heading to Commercial Street, and Portland Spice Company is preparing to move to Vannah Avenue [see past Gossip items here]. A vendor campaign to "save the market" seems to have collapsed.

Milliken said a new mini-market in the Clapp building would be at least six months from opening, given the expected length of financial negotiations and construction. The group may call their collective endeavor "The New Public Market" or simply "The Public Market," he said, and would seek to involve community groups in the enterprise.

Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard. He can be reached at editor@thebollard.com.
The Bollard just has all the freakin scoops today:

Center for Cultural Exchange for sale
Board reverses earlier pledge to keep property

By Chris Busby

Less than four months after the board of the Center for Cultural Exchange announced it was hiring a new executive director and keeping its Longfellow Square building, the board reversed its decision and announced the building is for sale.

In a news release e-mailed today, the non-profit arts and cultural organization said previously scheduled programming will continue through July. Executive director Lisa DiFranza, hired in February, will stay on part-time while the group undertakes a "strategic review" of its structure and programs.

"This was a very difficult but necessary decision for us to make," board chairman Jay Young said in the e-mail. "The sale of the building will enable us to meet outstanding obligations so we can build a new future for the Exchange on solid financial ground?. We hope to pursue this mission in a new incarnation."

DiFranza said in an interview today that past debt accrued under the leadership of founding directors Phyllis O'Neill and Bau Graves contributed to the Center's ongoing financial burden. The cost of maintaining the Longfellow Square property was another stress on the budget. And DiFranza said the size of the 220-seat performance space made it difficult to offer "quality programming for low prices?. The equation doesn't match up, sadly."

Reached by phone today, Young said the organization's cash reserves are too thin to risk booking the kind of high-caliber, international performers the Center has brought to town in years past ? though many established acts reduced their fees to perform at the intimate venue. "Maybe no one's coming to see the Throat Singers of Tuva," he said, using a hypothetical example. "[We] can't take a risk on a big show."

The city sold the then-tax-delinquent Longfellow Square building to the arts organization in 1997 for $65,000. The group spent hundreds of thousands of dollars renovating the long-neglected property into offices and a performance space that opened in 1999. Its tax-assessed value exceeds $600,000. Young said the property will be on the market as early as June. He doesn't expect it will sell for much more than its assessed value.

Portland Mayor Jim Cohen and State Senator Ethan Strimling were among those who applauded the board's decision to keep the building last February. Young said the board hasn't approached city or state officials to seek financial support.
"I think it's impractical," Young said. "When we did the press conference [in February], it was gratifying to see support from the political powers that be, but the resources are not there to provide enough in support to keep us going."

There's been a "pretty energetic [private] fundraising effort" over the past few months, Young noted, "but even with that, it just seems the model isn't viable."

Chris Busby is editor and publisher of The Bollard. He can be reached at editor@thebollard.com.
Buyer found for Libra's properties

An unnamed investment group signed an agreement Wednesday for what is expected to be the most expensive real estate transaction in Portland's history. The out-of-state investors will acquire the Libra Foundation's real estate holdings in downtown Portland. The sale is expected to close within 60 days.

The pending deal seals the fate of the Portland Public Market. Libra opened the market in 1998 in a bold experiment designed to help farmers and small-business people and extend economic development into the city's Bayside neighborhood.

Libra said the new buyers have no interest in operating the market, which the foundation says has been unprofitable.

The pending sale involves seven properties, with a total of 724,812 square feet of space and 1,000 parking spots. The properties are the three Canal Plaza office buildings; the Fore Street parking garage and an adjacent lot; 465 Congress St., home of Maine Bank & Trust; and the Portland Public Market and its skybridge-connected parking garage. The properties are under contract as one package. The asking price was $65 million.

Libra executives declined to name the prospective buyer, citing a confidentiality agreement.

The sale has been widely anticipated since Libra announced in February that it intended to sell its properties. Libra won't divulge the contract price, but it did confirm that it is in a range that would make it the highest ever for a package of buildings in the city.

Since Libra's announcement in February, several Public Market vendors have gone out of business or made plans to leave the building.

By coincidence, four vendors revealed on Wednesday that they will form the nucleus of a new public market later this year in a vacant storefront at 28 Monument Square.

In choosing a buyer, Libra entertained more than a dozen bids, according to Jere Michelson, the foundation's vice president and chief executive officer. Financial ability was an obvious criterion, but the foundation also looked for a buyer that had the profile of a good corporate citizen.

"They needed to be right for the community," Michelson said.

Libra has spent millions of dollars upgrading its buildings over the past 11 years, Michelson said, and it wanted a buyer with the resources to maintain them.

But Michelson said he understands that the prospective buyers won't continue operating the Portland Public Market.

"They don't have any intention of running it as a market," he said of the landmark wood and glass structure. "But I don't know what they will do with it."

The buyers learned of the investment opportunity through marketing by the commercial broker, CB Richard Ellis, The Boulos Co.

Morris Fisher, president of Boulos Property Management, which manages the Libra properties, said the collection of office buildings and parking garages is an attractive package for commercial investors.

Portland is a stable real estate market, he said, and investors can anticipate steady cash flow from the leases.

The investment group, which has put down a non-refundable deposit, has spent a lot of time in Portland reviewing the properties, Fisher said, so the sale is expected to conclude on schedule.

"We feel pretty confident this will be the buyer," he said.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:

What should go in the Public Market space?

Marc of Portland, ME
Jun 1, 2006 9:22 AM
I think it would be the ideal location for a convention center. Portland has a serious lack of quality and convenient convention space. The size, proximity downtown shops and restaurants, proximity to major downtown companies, parking garage next door and the aesthetics of the building make it a prime spot for a convention center. A hotel could be built nearby in Bayside or atop the existing Public Market parking garage to buoy or work in conjunction with the convention center as well.

'Mini' may be better for public market shops

A Monument Square building may emerge as a "mini-public market," even as the Portland Public Market enters its final days, according to the head of Portland's Downtown District.

Jan Beitzer, the district's executive director, said she's been working with the four current and past tenants of the public market who plan to move into the building that was occupied by the Surplus Store until 2004. The storefront has been vacant since then.

Maine's Department of Agriculture has awarded the district a $20,000 planning grant, a step toward relocating the public market concept to Monument Square. The four vendors are Maine Beer & Beverage Co., K. Horton's Specialty Foods, A Country Bouquet and Borealis Breads.

However, officials hope many more businesses selling Maine products will move into the space, possibly occupying carts, Beitzer said.

"If it's done right, it will be just as much a draw for tourists (as the Portland Public Market was)," said Beitzer. "Tourists want authenticity. They want to hear about Smiling Hill ice cream or Beal's ice cream, as opposed to Ben & Jerry's."

Monument Square today is a hot dining area, with a steady stream of business from nearby lawyers, bankers and other businesspeople at lunchtime. And with a number of downtown condos going on the market soon, the area surrounding the "Our Lady of Victories" statue may experience an economic surge that goes beyond a cluster of restaurants and lunch carts.

The spot is perfect for a mini-public market, said Beitzer, not just because of the condos, but also because a farmers' market is held at Monument Square on Wednesdays.

"There's no question it would be a great addition to Monument Square," said Lee Urban, director of Portland's Department of Planning and Development. "The synergy . . . between the farmers' market and the public market can't do anything but be a positive thing."

The Monument Square move became public Wednesday, the same day that an unidentified investment group signed an agreement to acquire the Libra Foundation's real estate holdings in downtown Portland. Libra officials said the new owners have no interest in continuing the Portland Public Market, which is one of the holdings being sold.

The sale is expected to close within 60 days.

Beitzer said she thought the Monument Square building could hold 20 small vendors. The group plans to install a commercial kitchen, which small entrepreneurs could use to support their carts, Beitzer said.

News that at least four shops from the public market planned to move into a vacant store was a "home run" for the Monument Square area, said David Turin, owner of David's Creative Cuisine.

Of course, the "grand slam" would have been if someone had figured out how to make the current market successful, he said.

"I think they'll do better here than there," said Turin. "The public market is just enough out of the way that you don't see it."

David's has been in the square for seven years, and business is good, Turin said. Revenue last year was up 70 percent over the year before, he said.

"I think it's a good idea," said James Mahoney of Yarmouth, as he sat at a table outside Zarra's Monumental Coffee House with Paul Johnson of Falmouth. "There's a lot of new condos going on down here."

Added Johnson, "Any business that survived three or four years in the public market has got to be doing something right."

Having other local businesses - not chains - in the area would benefit the square, said Michael Roylos, owner of two carts there, the Spartan Grill and Harbor Scoops.

Roylos said business has been slow, and he hoped filling the vacant storefront with vendors would help draw traffic through the square. His only concern, Roylos said, was that the presence of the new tenants would affect where he could set up his carts.

Pamela Dodson, a Congress Street resident taking a stroll with her toddler daughter, Hedwig, said she often shopped at the public market and is sad to see it go.

"But we're glad to see the businesses are staying downtown," Dodson said.

There will be challenges to the Monument Square location, said Turin at David's Creative Cuisine. There's not a lot of parking, he said, and there are sometimes issues with panhandlers.

Beitzer said making the mini-public market concept truly work will be another challenge for the four initial businesses, which have organized as Market Vendors LLC.

"There has to be enough of them to make it worth a stop. It's great they have the four, but they have to have a variety, and they have to have more," Beitzer said. "Marketing is huge, because trying to get people to understand that they've relocated there is important and hard."

Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:
this is actually something to be very very proud of, that someone would make it that far coming from where they did. this is the type of somalian that we should be proud to have in portland. the trouble makers etc that we so often hear about dont represent the majority.
Diverse journeys, single goal


Zakaria Mukhtar Yousaf stood in a sea of blue and white gowns, looking like all of his classmates: partly cool and little bit goofy.

A mortarboard atop his head and a cell phone pressed to his ear, he broke into a wide grin as a line of proud teachers and friends shook his hand and patted his back.

"He is going to be the next UN Secretary General," said Linda Hollander, an adviser.

Yousaf, a 17-year-old Somali refugee, was one of 260 Portland High School seniors who were waiting to walk across the Merrill Auditorium stage at their graduation Wednesday.

While Yousaf's journey, from orphan in Pakistan to high school graduate in Maine, was more dramatic than most, he is one of thousands of high school seniors making the annual rite of passage from Maine's public school system this month.

Graduation at Portland High, one of Maine's most ethnically diverse schools and the second oldest public high school in the country, is a carefully choreographed and solemn event that remains virtually unchanged from year to year.

Flip-flops and shorts are banned. White-gowned girls wear matching dresses and carry red roses. Boys in blue gowns wear dress pants and ties. For days, the students practice the march across the street from the school and onto the auditorium stage, by height, from shortest to tallest. Most of the top scholarship recipients sit in the front row.

As they gathered in the school's gymnasium before the ceremony on Wednesday, the students said they could make the march in their sleep. "Practice, practice," said Reanna Pritchard, 18.

Watching the scene of controlled chaos from the bleachers, Hamdi Abdi, 19, said she was ready for the ceremony to start. "It was a lot of work," she said.

Principal Michael Johnson strode around the gym, walkie-talkie in hand, making sure that all of the graduates were present, the teachers assembled, everyone in place.

"I need your attention, especially the faculty," he announced into the microphone.

Several students said they were looking forward to the all-night post-graduation party that would follow at a sports complex in Saco.

"And next I am going camping," said Paul Conley, 18.

For Yousaf, it was a moment to look forward to what lies ahead: A $20,000 Dell scholarship to attend the University of Maine at Orono, where he may study biology to become a doctor or go into political science.

"I don't live in the past," said Yousaf.

Born in Somalia, he was orphaned almost at birth. He was raised by his only sister, Qamar, who is now 27. The two lived in a refugee camp in Pakistan for years before coming to Portland six years ago. He said it took a few years, but he learned to study hard. He volunteers at the city health department and joined a long list of school clubs.

Yousaf said his memory of Somalia is fuzzy at best, but he wants to go back some day, when peace returns to the war-torn country. But for now, he said, he is looking to the future.

"I don't see it ending here. I still have a lot more things to look forward to," he said.

Then Johnson, the principal, gave the word and the students separated into white and blue columns. They marched across the street to Merrill, which was filled with parents, brothers, sisters and grandparents, clutching armloads of flowers and balloons.

Cameras flashed, a few whoops erupted from the balcony and applause thundered from the crowd as the first grads appeared, waiting to make the march on the stage.

As they entered, hands reached out to the entering class, including those of Jane Mack, a speech and language teacher.

"This was an awesome class," she said, hugging the students.
Portland: No new late-night licenses will be issued through Oct. 17
PORTLAND ? No new late-night entertainment licenses will be issued in the city for the next four months.

The City Council approved the license moratorium Monday night while the Old Port Nightlife Task Force reviews liquor-license and public safety issues in the downtown district.

The moratorium runs through Oct. 17.

Bars with late-night licenses may stay open until 3 a.m., though they must stop serving alcoholic beverages at 1 a.m.

The Industry, Asylum, Diggers/Liquid Blue, Platinum Plus, The Station and Styxx have late-night licenses, but not all are in use, city officials said.

Portland: Duson will attend seminar on leadership at Harvard

PORTLAND ? City Councilor Jill Duson was selected to attend Harvard University's Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, which starts Sunday.

The three-week seminar is an intensive program designed to challenge common assumptions about government leadership, said city spokesman Peter DeWitt.

About 65 people from around the world were chosen for this program. Duson received a $10,600 fellowship from the Brooks Foundation to cover the program's tuition, room and board. It is one of the few scholarships offered for the program, DeWitt said.
wanna get robbed? open up a business in portland.

There were 4 armed robberies last night, and one tonight.

As I was flipping through the news stations tonight at 11, i noticed the dunk'n donuts down the street from me at woodfords/forest corner had been robbed. I live like three blocks from there. the place was totally shut down and it was swarming with cops, one of them was even holding a machine gun or automatic rifle or something huge. There is a huge difference in crime rates between my deering neighborhood and that section of town (outer forest ave). the tripple deckers start to increase around the railroad tracks, the diversity picks up tremendously, with indians, somalians, etc, i had my ass kicked there when i was 12, there was a motorcycle gang shooting there last summer, and now this. Also, there were additional robberies in the city this week where vandals went into first floor windows and unlocked doors and stole things from people's houses when they were asleep. the only thing that would be stolen if someone broke into my house would be their good looks as i pounded their pretty face, eh gritty's?....HAS beatdown, g-g-g-G-Unnniiiiit! haha.

Robber sought in four holdups

Police in Portland and Westbrook are looking for a man who held up three convenience-store clerks at knifepoint early Thursday.

A man closely matching the description robbed the Rite Aid at 290 Congress St. in Portland Thursday night. Police are not sure it was the same person.

A man wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and baseball hat threatened an employee at the Cumberland Farms on Pine Street at 1:10 a.m., said Portland Police Lt. Vernon Malloch. He was carrying a box-cutter knife and got into a vehicle on Dow Street after taking a small amount of cash, Malloch said.

A second robbery attempt was reported at the Cumberland Farms on Woodford Street at 3 a.m. A suspect in similar clothing threatened the clerk with a box-cutter. The clerk, a 73-year-old woman, refused to turn over any money and the man left.

A third robbery - at the Exit 48 Mobil in Westbrook - was reported at 3:30 a.m. In that case, the suspect and clerk struggled and the man left the box-cutter behind, getting away with less than $200, police said.

The suspect is described as a brown-haired man between 18 and 22 years old.

In the Thursday night robbery, a man with a knife threatened the clerk and ran off with a small amount of cash, Lt. Gary Rogers said. The man was described as white, thin, in his 20s, with blonde hair and wearing a blue baseball cap, blue Addidas sweatshirt and blue jeans, Rogers said.

haha it is funny that the guy threatened an old woman who showed that she had more balls than him. it is also funny that the robber struggled with the guy in westbrook, because it reminds me of the time the cumbies on outer forest was robbed and the cashier beat the guy or chased him or something with a crow bar. dont be fooled, late nigth cashiers in portland are NFW--not to be fucked with.

the cumbies in the story above is like a foot from my house, even closer than the dunks, i bet i know who did it...once they catch the guy i bet id recognize him, that is.

Papa?s Place owner fights back after robbery

PORTLAND ? Riverton residents have been patronizing Papa?s Place for generations.

Patty and George DiPaolo have owned the corner business at 1700 Forest Ave. for 35 years. The cozy store could pass for the couple?s kitchen, and the DiPaolo?s live upstairs with their two dogs.

So when a young man walked into the store the afternoon of May 3, approached the beer cooler and then turned around to announce he had forgotten his wallet, Patty DiPaolo thought nothing of it and continued to help another customer buy lottery tickets.

About 10 minutes later, the young man re-entered the now empty store and again approached the cooler.

?Then he walked toward the counter and said he had a gun,? DiPaolo, a petite woman in her 50s, recalled. She called his bluff, but the man did not give up.

?He said ?look lady, I?m here to rob you?,? DiPaolo said. Then the man went behind the counter, grabbed her and started shoving her around trying to get her to open the register. DiPaolo said she fought back, and escaped his hold once.

?He got me, dragged me back over and started choking me at the register,? DiPaolo said last week. ?Some of it I don?t remember.?

Her husband was upstairs at the time. But he has diabetes and has had a leg amputated.

The robber eventually gave up on the cash register and took off with a tip jar. When he hopped into a truck he had parked out front, DiPaolo ran out after him and wrote down the plate number.

Back in the store, she attempted to call 911, but she was shaking and lost her glasses during the assault. Fortunately, a mail carrier had seen her run out after the truck and, sensing something was wrong, entered the store and helped DiPaolo dial the police.

Police arrested a 33-year-old Windham man, Brian Keegan, the morning of May 6 after they tracked the license plate and description of a truck belonging to his girlfriend. He was charged him with Class A robbery, and made bail.

DiPaolo ? who was still shaken from the robbery last Thursday, with bruises visible on her neck ? said she would like as many people as possible, and particularly women, to know about the experience because it could happen to them.

?We?ve owned this place since 1972 and have never had anything like this,? she said. She said police told her Keegan was remorseful, but she isn?t ready to forgive him.

?That man scares me,? she said. ?He had five to 10 minutes to think about what he was doing. He should have just left.?

The robbery at Papa?s is the latest in what has become a frequent occurrence in Portland. Convenient stores are now routinely robbed by young men and police believe the increase in robberies and burglaries is directly related to drug use.

?It definitely drives a lot of the stuff we are seeing,? Lt. Vern Malloch of the Portland Police Department said recently. ?We are seeing more and more of this type of crime.?

DiPaolo has met with an advocate from the Police Department since the incident and police have been checking in on her regularly. She said she plans to take out a restraining order against Keegan, because she is scared he may come back. The mace she used to keep under the counter she is now carrying around with her.

?We can?t let them get away with this,? she said. ?This drug problem is getting so bad.?

DiPaolo also said that although police advised her that in the event of a robbery she should comply with the robber?s demands, she has a hard time agreeing.

?Don?t you think you should at least try and save yourself?? she said. ?You should just hand over the money??
City group hopes to recapture a 'jewel,' long lost to a forest
One hundred years ago, it must have felt like stepping into a different world.

Dressed in their Sunday best, crowds would wait for the trolley at Monument Square in Portland. It was advertised as a 10-cent escape, a ride into the country for a nickel each way.

At the end of the tracks, the crowds would walk through the grand entrance to Riverton Trolley Park. There were concerts at the amphitheater, and a casino with a dance hall, dining rooms and an orchestra that would play late into the night.

"It was a jewel," said Janice Carpenter, who lives nearby on Commonwealth Drive, speaking about the park. "The architect thought it was the best in the country."

The buildings are gone now, and a dense forest has reclaimed the parcel, but city leaders and a group called Friends of Riverton Trolley Park are once again calling attention to the corner of Riverside Street and Forest Avenue. They will host a series of events this week to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the park's opening. The events include a free slide show today, memorabilia sharing and guided walks of the park on Thursday.

"Relive the days of trolleys, casinos, bandstands and rustic theaters - as it was in its heyday, 1896 to 1923," says the promotional flier distributed by Portland Parks and Recreation Department.

The 36-acre park opened to the public in 1896 and remained popular until the 1920s, when it was sold and redeveloped as an amusement park. That attraction faded and the city eventually bought the property in 1946. All of the old buildings were demolished. The terraced lawns where people played croquet have been replaced by the forest, crossed by a few hiking trails.

A wide set of concrete stairs, overgrown with moss, is one of the few clues to the history left behind. A stone wall that greets visitors was rebuilt in the 1990s, about 50 feet from the original location.

At the time it opened, Riverton was one of about 450 trolley parks in the country. The two other trolley parks in greater Portland were at Cape Cottage in Cape Elizabeth and on Underhill Road in Falmouth Foreside.

Carpenter, vice president of the Riverton Community Association, learned about the park in the 1980s. She and local historian Ken Thompson led an unsuccessful effort in 1992 to qualify the property for the National Register of Historic Places.

"I see it as being a wonderful piece within Portland, as an open space, with linkage to other green spaces," Carpenter said. The park actually benefited from pollution in the Presumpscot River, she said, because prospective developers kept their distance.

Some of the property could be useful as redeveloped park space, with lawns that could be used again for public concerts or games, she said.

Since 1997, the Friends of Riverton Trolley Park have worked to raise awareness of the property. The group also has helped the city keep up and enhance the trails that have become popular among city dwellers. Denise Macaronas, head of the friends group, could not be reached Sunday.

"I can bike here in 10 minutes and just forget about everything else," said Brody Copp, 21, who lives on Forest Avenue. He was walking by himself on Sunday afternoon.

"I like the solitude," Copp said. "There are not too many places in cities these days where you can get away and think on your own. This is a great place to do that."

Riverton has received more attention in the past few years, as green spaces and trails have climbed the priority list of city officials and the neighborhood and environmental groups who frequent City Hall.

"It was, and still is, a place that is able to accommodate a lot of people," Carpenter said.
Westbrook : Two men with handguns rob pizza delivery man

WESTBROOK ? Police are looking for two men who robbed a pizza delivery man around 1 a.m. Sunday.

A worker for Domino's was making a delivery to West Pleasant Street when the men robbed him, Westbrook police Sgt. Alan Twombley said. The men, brandishing handguns, got away with about $60 in cash and $70 worth of pizza.

"This is our third robbery in a little over a week," Twombley said.

One of the suspects is described as a white male about 26 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, 190 pounds and wearing a hooded sweatshirt and jeans. The other is described as a white male with a beard, also wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

Police in Portland and Westbrook have not arrested anyone involved in three convenience store robberies last Thursday. A Rite-Aid store and Cumberland Farms store in Portland and the Exit 48 Mobil station in Westbrook all were robbed within a span of three hours. Several other robberies have been reported in Portland in the past few weeks.