Portland looks for violators after falling ice damages cars

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With temperatures fluctuating, the risk for snow and ice falling from roofs increase and the city of Portland is once again warning property owners about their responsibility to remove snow and ice from their buildings.

Within the last week, falling ice on Exchange Street has damaged two different cars. The City of Portland said that according the city ordinance, property owners are responsible to remove snow and ice. This includes commercial and residential landlords.

A city inspector canvassed the street Thursday looking for buildings where owners have not removed snow and ice. The city has issued 15 violations to property owners so far. Once they receive the violation notice, they have four hours to comply, or risk being fined. The city will take action against anyone who has received three violations.

Police respond to a Brighton Ave robbery

Portland, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland Police officers responded to a robbery at the Xtra-Mart at 865 Brighton Ave. on Wednesday.

The suspect is described as a white male, between 25 and 30 years old. Police report he was wearing a dark colored mask, dark long-sleeved jacket and light blue jeans.

They said he walked into the store carrying a large knife, threatened the clerk and demanded cash.

The suspect fled in a white Chevy pickup with an undisclosed amount of cash, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to Portland Police at 207-874-8584.

Portland schools will likely team up with Metro

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland School District superintendent will start developing a cost-sharing agreement with Portland Metro, the public bus service, to get its high school students get to and from class next year.

If everything goes according to plan, the school system will no longer use its own buses, but instead issue students a metro pass for daily transportation.

Officials with both the school system and the metro see this as a win-win, saying it will save the school district money and get more people on the city bus system in the short and long term.

"It's going to give high school students a key to the city," Portland School Board member John Eder said.

Another car damaged in same area in Old Port due to ice

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- For the second time in the last two weeks, falling ice damaged a car parked on Exchange Street Wednesday.

The car was parked in almost the exact same place where the first car was damaged. Tuesday's incident happened around 4 p.m. and completely shattered the windshield of the car.

"It's an act of ignorance for not clearing off the ice that's clearly been a problem," said the car owner.

The city has an ordinance requiring commercial property owners to remove ice that poses the threat of falling onto streets or sidewalks, punishable by a fine of $250. The city said the landlord, Joseph Soley, wouldn't face criminal charges after the first incident. NEWS CENTER does not know if the city plans to take action after Wednesday's ice fall.

Flower show offers taste of spring

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Temperatures were high enough Wednesday to melt some of the fresh snow, but a real taste of spring can be found at the Portland Flower Show.

Exhibitors are showcasing spring this year through trees, flowers and some creative landscaping. They began working on the displays Saturday morning. Wednesday, they put the finishing touches on their gardens before the noon deadline. Judges will announce the winners at a gala and award ceremony Wednesday evening.

Many of the landscapers have spent the winter plowing driveways. They said they are ready for spring, and so are their customers.

"It's been a little bit of a long drawn out winter," Matt Shaw of Picture Perfect Landscapes in Bowdoinham said. "So everybody's ready for getting back into doing the backyard barbecues and everything like that."

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.

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.