News

Parade through Portland celebrates Veterans


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The annual Veterans Day parade rolled down Congress Street Tuesday morning.

"These people do selfless acts and they're here and they keep us safe and they protect our country. I think its important to show that to my children," said parade attendant Ellen Benson.

The route stretched from Longfelow Square to City Hall, with police and fire leading the parade. Ernest Shorey from American Legion Andrews Post 17 was the master of ceremonies for the festivities.

The parade finished with a wreath laying ceremony at City Hall Plaza.


Veteran helps fellow vets fight homelessness


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- On Tuesday, there will be parades and ceremonies across Maine to honor our veterans. There will also be some sleeping in homeless shelters, suffering from mental illness, looking for help.

Veteran Roger Goodoak sees it firsthand, several nights a week.

He is the founder of the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, and spends countless hours driving around Portland, looking for homeless on the streets, making frequent stops at the city's shelters.

Goodoak receives no funding -- but he does receive a decent amount of donated coats, blankets, and bottles of water -- enough to donate 48 coats to the Oxford Street Shelter Monday night.

"You just want to get them through the night," said Goodoak.

Cumberland Club raises flags for Veterans Day


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- On the Marine Corps' 239 birthday, the Cumberland Club in Portland raised a flag in their honor, and started Veterans Day festivities a day early.

The club raises a new American flag every Veterans Day, but CEO James Buchanan decided to make a ceremony around the occasion this year. Portland Firefighters helped to exchange the American flag, and fly the Marine Corps flag beside it. A bagpiper played Amazing Grace, and a bugler played taps. A small canon was set off in the yard.

John Ripley, Lt. Commander of the US Navy Reserve, spoke to a small crowd about the importance of caring for our veterans every day, not just on the holiday.


City of Portland establishes task force in wake of fire


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The City of Portland said it is establishing a task force begin review of its city codes and local ordinances in wake of the fatal Noyes St. fire. City officials continue to assist in the investigation to determine a cause as well as assist with remembrances of the victims.

"This is a very emotional and raw time for everyone in Portland, and it's important to note that no one should be placing blame. When something like this happens, everyone – including landlords, tenants and the City – should use this incident to educate themselves about best practices and learn from it as we move forward," said Mayor Michael Brennan.

Portland men with Boston bombing ties sentenced for drug ring


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Men with links to the Boston bombing suspects were sentenced Friday. Hamadi Hassan will serve 30 years in prison for leading a crack cocaine trafficking ring and his co-conspirator Biniam Tsegai to 8 years.

Court records show that between November 2010 and February 2012, Hassan, 32, and Tsegai, 28, were part of a trafficking conspiracy that took cocaine from Boston and distributed it in the greater Portland area. The U.S. Attorney's office said that Hassan was the leader and took orders for crack cocaine from customers and co-conspirators. Tesgai prepared the drug for sale and distribution after it was in Maine. He also took orders and delivered user-level quantities of crack cocaine to customers.

Portland fatal fire investigation may take awhile


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- State fire investigators said it may be awhile before they determine what caused the deadly fire in Portland that claimed six lives.

"You've got a huge debris pile there that used to be a building and now we're going to try to pick it apart and determine what caused the fire," said State Fire Marshal Joe Thomas.

Heavy damage to the building is making it difficult for investigators to pinpoint a cause. When the first crews arrived on the scene Saturday, flames had already caused extensive damage. The home at 20-24 Noyes Street is now just a charred shell of a building.

"Under these types of circumstances we really rely on technology to help us out, which is the involvement of ATF with us because they have great resources available," said Thomas.

Medical examiner identifies body in Portland fire


PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- The Maine medical examiner's office is identifying the final person killed in a Portland house fire that claimed six lives.

Office administrator Mark Belserene said Wednesday that the fire killed 26-year-old Nicole Finlay of Portland.

The blaze also killed Portland residents David Bragdon Jr., Ashley Thomas and Christopher Conlee, and Maelisha Jackson of Topsham, who were previously identified. A Massachusetts General Hospital spokeswoman said 29-year-old Steven Summers of Rockland died Tuesday afternoon after suffering burn injuries in the fire.