Donor lifts spirits of Medomak basketball team after theft

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An anonymous donor has given the Medomak High School boys basketball team $1,000 to cover what someone allegedly stole.

"There's a lot of good out there. People kind of dwell on the bad things in society, but there's a lot more good than bad," said Coach Nick DePatsy.

Last Thursday the team was practicing for their state championship game at the Cross Insurance Arena when someone allegedly went into the locker room and took more than $1,000 from the students out of their gym bags and backpacks.

If that wasn't troubling enough, the very next day the team lost the state championship game by just two points to Cape Elizabeth High School.

DePatsy said the team is very disapointed, but the donation is bringing up their spirits.

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Planning Board approves midtown residential project

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Five years after its original proposal, the Portland Planning Board approved the large midtown residential and retail development again on Tuesday, on the condition that the developer redesigns the largest building, improves the rooftop and eliminates specific materials from the ground floor.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the project would be built on the 3.5 acres in midtown along Somerset Street, between Pearl and Elm. It's been home to rail yards, scrap yards and warehouses. The proposal describes the building as three six-story buildings, with 445 apartments total at market rate prices. There would also be an 800-space parking garage and retail space.

Crews start digging out Hadlock Field

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With every storm we've had this year, the snow has piled up at Hadlock Field. With spring and baseball season around the corner, crews started digging out Tuesday.

"When you first show up and you see the snow, it's a little concerning," Assistant Groundskeeper Jason Cooke said. "But when you're here removing snow, you know it's not going to be long before you're playing baseball, which is a good thing."

They are expecting the process to take four or five weeks, putting them right on track to be ready for opening day.

This is the earliest they have ever had to start removing snow. The frigid temperatures in February did not allow for much melting, so the entire field is covered in about three feet of snow, not to mention all the snow in the stands.

Excessive snow crushing gas lines and meters

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- By Tuesday, the Portland Fire Department had responded to six gas leaks in the city within a span of 24 hours, and they're blaming the weather.

Windham firefighters were called to a gas leak at a group of businesses just off of Route 302 Tuesday morning. Deputy Fire Chief John Wescott said they've been chasing these calls for the last few weeks.

The cause for many of the recent gas leaks is too much snow. Plows are pushing snowbanks up against buildings, and gas lines are buckling under all of that pressure; snow and ice is falling from roofs and crushing gas meters.

On Monday, a man was lucky to escape his home in Cape Elizabeth when officials said a propane leak led to an explosion.

These line cracks and leaks have kept gas companies and fire departments busy throughout the state.

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Sea level rise over two year period near Portland alarming

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The waters near Portland were up significantly over the past two years, about five-inches, according to a recent study about rising sea levels.

Portland's number is higher than the rest of the Northeast coast, which is just under four-inches for the rest of the Northeast coast. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Arizona and NOAA.

Rising sea levels can have a significant impact on future development in communities along the coast. City officials in Portland have been watching the levels for several years. A public hearing in Augusta Monday discussed a bill in the Legislature that requires coastal communities to include the impacts of changes in sea level when adopting growth management policies.

Sidewalk Art Festival artist application

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- This year's WCSH 6 Sidewalk Art Festival will be Aug. 22. From 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Downtown Portland will be a sea of artists and art lovers.

This year will mark the 50th year of the Festival. The Festival takes place in Portland's Arts District (on both sides of Congress Street from Congress Square to Monument Square). Streets are closed, providing a safe and truly festive atmosphere for shoppers and artists alike.

The Festival is professionally-judged show with cash prizes. Artists have the option to participate in the judging.

The application will go live at March 1 at 12:01 a.m.

Portland leaders respond to claims of mismanaging General Assistance funds

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – City and state leaders from Portland pushed back Friday against claims by the LePage Administration that the city is in violation of the General Assistance program.

A state audit of the program found that some long time users of the city's shelter had large sums of money in the bank and are not eligible for assistance. However, the city was billing the state for the residents as if they were eligible for general assistance. It's the latest chapter in the Governor's efforts to crack down on welfare abuse. Portland officials call it an attack on their city.

"Is someone really getting away with something by getting this mat to sleep on? How on god's green earth could offering this meager service be considered too generous," said Mark Swan of Preble Street.