News

FairPoint workers head back to work after 4-month strike


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A FairPoint official said things are running smoothly with workers back on the job in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

More than 1,700 workers returned Wednesday following a four-month strike. Mike Reed, FairPoint's Maine president, called it a "great day first day back to work" in the region.

Supporters held signs saying "Thank You" for returning workers various locations.

The agreement ending the strike contained concessions from both the unions and company.

Under the pact, current employees keep their defined benefit pensions with reduced contributions, and they'll pay less for insurance than was originally proposed. The pact allows the company to hire contractors, but there are restrictions.

Both parties are pleased with the outcome and Reed said the company is eager to build its business.


Portland Police arrest alleged burglar


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland Police arrested a man who allegedly burglarized a business on Riverside Street.

The business reported that between Feb. 19 and 20, someone had allegedly entered the business and taken numerous tools, including a laptop. The total value of the stolen items was $9,000, including a $3,000 air wrench.

During the investigation, detectives recovered all of the stolen property from a Portland pawn shop. Police went to Shane Cook's workplace in Westbrook Tuesday and arrested him

Police took Cook, 23 of Scarborough, to the Cumberland County Jail and discovered that Cook was allegedly in possession of a small amount of heroin.

Cook was charged with burglary, theft and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs. He is currently being held on a $25,000 bail.


City council sells land for Bayside Bowl expansion


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland City Council voted 8-1 Monday to sell a small plot of land in the Bayside neighborhood to Justin Alfond, a state senator who owns Bayside Bowl.

The Portland Press Herald reports that Alfond will pay the city $340,018 for the less than half-acre 71 Hanover St. The city currently uses the plot to store road sand and salt. Alfond plans to expand Bayside Bowl with more bowling lanes, a rooftop lounge and event space. The total expected costs are $2.4 million.

City officials will move the sand and salt to a temporary new location.

A rendering shows the planned addition to Bayside Bowl, with the existing red-brick building at left. The addition would include more bowling lanes, a rooftop lounge, event space and a DJ platform.

DHHS commissioner calls for welfare reform in Portland


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In an audit of Portland's General Assistance program, the Department of Health and Human Services found the city isn't following the law for determining eligibility for general assistance, specifically when it comes to the city's homeless shelters. One example the audit gave was that a "top stayer" at the Oxford Street shelter had more than $90,00 in his bank account as of November 2013.

DHHS takes issue with what's known as Portland's presumed eligibility approach to providing general assistance, meaning that when someone seeks shelter, they are granted it. Then the person goes through the process to determine if they are eligible.

The report states that shelter applications are not being completed on a regular basis. It also states that the city seeks reimbursement for its shelters' operating costs, rather than the cost of each eligible individual.

Falling ice causes major damage to parked car


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A man in Portland parked his car downtown Sunday, and when he came back to it a few hours later, it was nearly demolished.

The damage was not from another car or truck, but from falling ice.

"I've come out here three times today, just cause it still really doesn't make that much sense," Adam Sousa said, looking at his car parked in his driveway.

Just one day before, huge blocks of ice fell from the roof of a Portland building, smashing through Sousa's windshield and destroying his car.

Sousa had parked his car at the corner of Exchange and Fore streets before taking the bus to Freeport. When he came back in the afternoon, he returned to the damaged car.

He said he and everyone who passes by the building are lucky because it could have been worse.

Timothy Nangle with the Portland Fire Department shares that concern.

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.

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

Snow storms keeping customers away from Downtown Portland


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The recent string of snow storms has left a number of merchants in Portland's downtown district out in the cold when it comes to revenue. Restaurants, shops, and visitor attractions including the Portland Museum of Art have seen a big drop in business.

"We've seen a drop off in traffic drop off in customers a drop off in business we are working on ways to try to increase that right now," said Steve Hewins, executive director of Portland's Downtown District.

Above-average snowfall, the bone-chilling temperatures and more than a dozen parking bans are to blame. Local business owners believe the snow has kept folks from driving in from the suburbs.