Church leaders wash feet in ritual outdoors

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Church leaders in Maine will wash the feet of immigrants and homeless individuals as part of a ritual imitating a biblical scene symbolic of humility.

The April 17 ceremony is being held outdoors in Monument Square in Portland. Church leaders will pour water over people's feet and dry them with a towel, mimicking a biblical scene where Jesus Christ washes the feet of his disciples.

Personal stories of some of the participants will be read aloud during the service in several languages including Spanish, French and Arabic.

In 1955, Pope Pius XII restored the practice as a part of a general reform to encourage charity work and raise awareness of struggling individuals.

Robber flees in downtown Portland

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland Police have re-opened a section of Congress Street .

The street was closed between Brown and Casco Streets while police investigated a suspicious device discovered in a trash can. The discovery was made while investigating a robbery at CVS located at 510 Congress Street.

Portland Police have arrested 39-year-old Jason Wayne Campbell of Portland in connection with the robbery at CVS.

Campbell is accused of entering the store at 8:45 Friday morning and displaying what appeared to be an explosive device. He demanded drugs and claimed to be suicidal. After being given an undisclosed amount of prescription drugs, he fled the scene on foot.

Campbell was identified by an employee of CVS who was familiar with him. He was arrested outside of his residence of 40 Alder Street. No one was injured during the robbery.

ME Supreme Court hears arguments on sale of Portland's Congress Square Park

PORTLAND, Maine -- (NEWS CENTER) -- The case over whether voters should be able to decide on the sale of Portland's Congress Square Park to a private developer has gone all the way to the Maine Supreme Court. Wednesday, the state's high court heard oral arguments from the city and from the citizen's group trying to overturn the city council's decision to sell the park.

The Portland Water District is working on a water service line break downtown.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Due to a water service line break, traffic is congested along Forest Ave, between Park and Cumberland Avenues in Portland.

Crews began work on the line around 1 p.m. Wednesday. Work on the line will continue through the evening commute, according to the Portland Water District.

Traffic will be reduced to one, alternating lane in the area, until the line is fixed. The Portland Water District is asking drivers to seek alternate routes and to avoid the area.

The leak occurred on a water line servicing the YMCA. However, the cause of the leak is unknown.

NEWS CENTER will continue to update this story throughout the day.

Ship travels down Commercial Street

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Crews pulled a schooner down Commercial Street Wednesday, adding land mileage to the ship's more than 300,000 sea miles.

The Spirit of Massachusetts is a 30-year-old ship that will undergo restoration at Portland Yacht Services. It is one of three traditional schooners owned by Ocean Classroom Foundation.

Utility workers cleared wires to allow the ship to pass.

Survivor of Rwandan Genocide tells his story

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- This Saturday, Portland's Rwandan community will mark the 20th anniversary of their country's genocide. 800-thousand people, mostly ethnic Tutsis, were murdered by Rwanda's Hutu majority in 100 days, as the international community did little to stop it.

Among the organizers of the Portland event is Emmanuel Mungwarakarama, who now lives in Portland. Mungwarakarama was home with his family on April 7, 1994, when they saw the killing going on outside. They all fled.

As far as he knows, he's the only survivor. He lived for weeks in banana fields and in bushes, relying on help from an ethnic Hutu neighbor to survive.

City sweeps away signs of winter

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The city of Portland is brushing off signs of the winter with spring street cleaning this week. The same trucks used to plow snow swap out their plows for brooms.

On April 7 crews started with the Eastern Promenade. The amount of sand from the winter makes cleaning more difficult than years past, said Eric LaBelle of public works.

"The rains have taken away the snow banks just recently in the last week or so, so we are going to start it now we will be working day and night. We do ask people to be mindful about city service signs, we'll be utilizing working those signs," said LaBelle.

On the public works website, it says "In an area that appears "clean" it is common to pick up several tons of dirt and debris in a 20-block area. This is then transported to an appropriate landfill instead of entering the storm/sewer systems."