Portland hosts annual Old Port Festival

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The 42nd Annual Old Port Festival kicked off in the state's largest city.

The annual celebration of Portland, Maine, began at 11 a.m. on Sunday with the Old Port Festival Kick Off Parade and continues all afternoon with amusement rides, music, crafts, activities and food. The event is centered in Portland's downtown district and also includes dancing, a rock climbing wall, children's performance stage and sidewalk chalk drawing.

An event dubbed "Get To Know The Real Portland" preceded the festival on Saturday. The festival wraps up at about 5 p.m. Sunday.


Federal government ready to declare eastern cougars extinct

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it's proposing removing the eastern cougar from the endangered species list because it's likely been extinct for at least 70 years.

Martin Miller, northeast region chief for endangered species, said Tuesday that people have seen cougars - also known as mountain lions - in the eastern U.S.

But he says those aren't the eastern cougar subspecies. Instead, they're believed to be migrating western mountain lions, Florida panthers or captive animals that were released.

The eastern cougar subspecies was listed as endangered in 1973. Most of them disappeared in the 1800s as European settlers killed them and as habitat and prey changed. The last records of eastern cougars are believed to be in Maine in 1938 and in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1932.

Father's day cooking: Duck for Dad

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- We're in the kitchen this morning cooking for Father's day.

Jill Strauss from Jillyanna's Woodfird Cooking School joins NEWS CENTER with some Duck for Dad!

Watch the video above for the full interview. The recipe is also posted below.

Pan Fried Duck Breast With Sweet And Sour Cherry Sauce

Portland approves medical marijuana festival in Deering Oaks

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- According to the Portland Press Herald, the Portland City Council has voted unanimously to approve a medical marijuana festival in Deering Oaks on Aug. 9.

The New England Cannabis Farmers Market Festival will run from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Deering Oaks and will feature live music, the Press Herald reports. The council said in a memo that while the event will connect medical marijuana caregivers to registered patients, no cannabis or alcohol will be sold or consumed during the event.

The event, sponsored by New World Organics, was endorsed by the Friends of Deering Oaks Park. Organizers expect 2,000 people to attend the free event.

Councilors postpone "Motherhouse" rezoning request

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Portland City Council postponed a vote on a controversial zone change at 605 Stevens Avenue. If the council, which was missing one member Monday night, had voted, it would likely have ended in a 4-4 tie.

Councilors heard public comment about a request to rezone 13.5 acres in the Deering Center neighborhood off of Stevens Avenue. The project, which is proposed to sit next to McAuley High School campus, would create several hundred of units of senior housing.

This comes two weeks after the council approved a rezoning construction project along Portland's eastern waterfront.

New advocacy center for abuse victims opens

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A center specifically designed for child victims of sexual assault held an open house Monday.

The Cumberland County Children's Advocacy Center will allow law enforcement, prosecutors and social workers a place to meet and interview alleged victims in a kid-friendly environment. Employees said it will speed up the investigation process into child abuse allegations.

The goal is to reduce trauma to children and families during investigations and to increase prosecution rates.

Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew was the keynote speaker at Monday's event and said the Office of Child and Family Services received more than 19,000 referrals for possible child abuse and about 2,300 cases of child abuse. She said facilities like the new center are an important resource for victims and their families.

A day of Weathering Shame

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Kevin Mannix, beloved and former weatherman for NEWS CENTER, has embarked on a new adventure with his social worker wife, Linda.

Kevin, who has been with NEWS CENTER since 1989, found a passion for talking about everyday struggles and shame when he worked on a segment for TV named 'Kevin's Story,' a series that highlights the shame associated with mental health issues.

After Kevin and Linda saw how well received the segment was and after someone suggested the idea, they knew they wanted to write a book. Now, the two are back on NEWS CENTER to announce "Weathering Shame."

The book discusses their personal journey with mental health issues and the shame and stigma that comes with it. "Weathering Shame" is a story of their personal experiences surrounding growing up in a home with parental mental illness and alcoholism.