Maine communities join national broadband speed effort

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Leaders from two Maine communities, Rockport and South Portland, were in California on Monday, as part of a national effort to speed up Internet service. The Maine communities are founding members of a new group called Next century Cities.

Both Rockport and South Portland have invested their own money to build local fiber optic networks that will dramatically increase in portions of the communities. They say the new service speed will be as much as one gigabit per second. That compares to common DSL Internet speeds of 3 to 6 megabits per second, which would make the new service more than a hundred times faster. The gigabit service is also called "symmetrical", meaning it has the same speed downloading from or uploading to the Internet.

Flags lowered in honor of late Senate secretary

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the state flag lowered to half-staff in Augusta and Portland to honor the longest-serving Maine Senate secretary in state history.

The governor's office says 60-year-old Joy O'Brien of Portland died Wednesday of cancer. She served as secretary of the Maine Senate for 25 years.

The state of Maine flag will be lowered for the day of her funeral on Monday. The governor's order does not apply to the U.S. flag, which remains at full staff.

Music Festival may come to Portland next year

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An all-day music festival could be heading to the Eastern Promenade in Portland next summer. Although, it's unknown who the headlining acts would be.

According to our media partners at Portland Press Herald, Townsquare Media Portland will ask the city council to approve the festival for sometime in Portland.

The proposal said the artists will be selected soon after the city council approves closing off part of the Eastern Prom and the date will be one Townsquare Media and the city agree on.

There was a music festival that Mumford and Sons headlined back in 2012 with about 15-thousand people.

Townsquare Media Portland said it expects about 8-thousand people at this music festival.

About two-thirds of the hillside area would be fenced and gated. That's less than the area that was blocked off in 2012.

Portland honors doctor from Haitian sister city

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Portland is honoring a Haitian pediatrician from its sister city in the Caribbean nation.

The city recognized the arrival to Portland of Dr. Rony Saint Fleur on Wednesday. Saint Fleur is a pediatrician who has worked as director of pediatric training at the Justinian University Hospital in Cap-Haitien. Cap-Haitien and Portland became sister cities in 2003.

Saint Fleur is in Portland as a guest of Konbit Sante volunteer Dr. Ann Lemire and Maine Medical Center. Konbit Sante is a Portland nonprofit that works in northern Haiti to improve health care.

Maine Med releases patient after observation

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After holding a patient as a precautionary measure, Maine Medical Center released the person Tuesday. The CDC asked Maine Med to hold the patient Monday for observation.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services said the patient's health improved within the 24 hours. Officials said this step was taken due to the patient's symptoms and recent travel from a "region of concern." The patient never tested positive for Ebola and multiple tests proved negative.

The CDC said the patient was classified as "low-risk," but officials wanted to monitor the case further.

Maine Medical Center said it was following World Health Organization guidelines in the case.


Maine gets $600K for crops, including hops

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Maine will get more than $600,000 from the federal government in support of the state's specialty crop producers, including producers of hops.

The USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant will give the state $602,679 to invest in ten specialty crop initiatives. The state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry says the initiatives will help strengthen food products including potatoes, wild blueberries and maple syrup. The department says it will also investigate the health of honey bees and further development of a hops industry that will aid Maine's craft beer industry.

Firefighters put out fire on Commercial Street

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland Firefighters were able to put out a Commercial Street fire on the wharf Monday night.

The Fire Chief said that a boater saw flames in a building under renovation and called emergency officials. Firefighters responded to the fire, which was near 74 Commercial St. out on the wharf. They were quickly able to knock it down.

There were no injuries. The cause hasn't been determined.