News

Munjoy Hill performance center moves forward


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The proposal for a performance center on Munjoy Hill moved forward Monday night when Portland City Council approved a conditional zoning agreement.

The Portland Press Herald reports the nonprofit Friends of the St. Lawrence Arts have designed a 54-foot-tall modern looking building at 76 Congress St. As of now, the building will not have parking and will seat 400 people.

Not only has the contemporary design met controversy, but the lack of parking has been a sticking point. However, only 10 people addressed the council before the vote, most saying that it would make parking very difficult for residents.

Evaluation ordered for man charged with killing mom


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A judge ordered a man accused of murdering his mother to undergo an emergency mental health evaluation. Andrew Leighton was scheduled to change his plea to guilty Tuesday, but before the hearing began, the judge ordered the evaluation.

Leighton, 48, had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder in May 2013 for the death of his mother, Shirley Leighton of Falmouth.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Leighton's attorneys met with Leighton in private Tuesday, then returned to the courtroom to speak with with Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea, who is prosecuting the case. The lawyers then left the courtroom again to speak with Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren behind closed doors.

Former attorney sentenced for 2 years for money laundering


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A successful former criminal defense attorney from Saco shed tears when he was sentenced to two years in prison Tuesday for laundering $177,500 for a marijuana smuggling ring.

Gary Prolman practiced law in the greater Portland area for more than two decades. The bar suspended his law license in June. At the sentencing hearing, he said he is still embarrassed by his actions.

Inmate found dead at Cumberland County Jail


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland Police are investigating the death of an inmate at the Cumberland County Jail late Sunday night.

Miles Hartford, 33, from Leeds, was found dead in his cell during a security check. Corrections officers and jail medical staff responded to assist and performed CPR, but were unable to revive Hartford. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Cumberland County Jail was holding Hartford for the Androscoggin County Jail for various charges to include operating after suspension, violation of condition of release, operating under the influence and failure to submit to arrest.


At-risk youth get a second chance to succeed


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Imagine being 15-years-old, having no family, and being out on the street with everyone telling you that you will never make it. It is the harsh reality for some teens. One program in Portland helps these types of kids prove people wrong.

"I wanted to get through school. I knew that was the one thing you really had to have. I wanted to get through school, but not go to a regular high school," said Brian Tisdale.

Youth Building Alternatives, or YBA, and provides at-risk students with the education and skills they need to be successful. A group of students graduatred from the program Friday morning, including Tisdale.

Police shut down Franklin Street for "suspicious object"


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Police reopened streets in Portland Thursday after a three hour investigation into a suspicious package outside of the police station. Officials dismantled the object around 5:50 p.m. and police collapsed the perimeter shortly after, saying there was no longer any danger.

According to the police chief, a contractor found something suspicious while working in a Portland building and drove it to the police department for assistance. Construction workers left the object in the van while they alerted police. After a brief investigation, police conducted "low level" evacuations in neighboring buildings and streets.

"We had our hazardous devices unit come in to interview the workers. That has led us to provide the perimeter that we have...(and) to include some low-level evacuations in the general area," said Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.

Portland to discuss raising minimum wage


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland city officials, business owners and a public interest groups spoke at a public hearing Thursday night about a proposed raise in Portland's minimum wage.

The City Council's Finance Committee is considering an ordinance that would raise the minimum wage incrementally in Maine's largest city. The first year, the minimum wage would be $9.50, the second year would increase it to $10.50 and the following year it would be $10.60.

"I think that there is broad support in the public for increasing minimum wage. I think people are frustrated that federal and state governments have not addressed this issue and I think that's why it's important to bring it before Portland City Council," said Michael Brennan.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and Maine's is $7.50 an hour. The city of Portland is considering a two dollar raise to $9.50.