David Jackson to be named Portland's new Fire Chief

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- City Manager Jon Jennings is recommending David Jackson to be the next Portland Fire Chief.

Jackson has served as the Acting Chief of the department since October 20, 2015. The City Council will vote on the appointment at its February 1, 2016 meeting. Chief Jackson has been with the Portland Fire Department for more than 25 years and has more than 40 years in fire service.

“Chief Jackson’s impressive and long career with the Portland Fire Department, combined with his guidance as Acting Chief, made us realize that we had already found our next leader of the department,” said Jon Jennings, City Manager. “I’m glad that he has accepted, and I look forward to working with him as we look at innovative ways to modernize the department.”

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Portland City Council Housing Committee holds first meeting

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The City Council's Housing Committee held its first meeting Wednesday.

The five-member group was formed to tackle the growing gap between what Portland citizens can afford to rent and what apartments are actually available.

This first meeting is the start of what will likely be a long process, working to make Portland affordable for the middle class. 

According to the Portland Housing Authority, the rental vacancy rate is between zero and two percent. PHA says a "healthy" rate for a city is between five and 10 percent.

The Portland Housing Authority has 1,000 apartments that it owns and manages in the city, with a waiting list of about 1,500 people.

Portland man arrested for firing gun into neighbors home

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Portland police say 21-year-old Matthew Morris of Portland was arrested on Glenridge Road Wednesday morning after officers investigated a report that a bullet hole was discovered in a condominium on Glenridge Road.

After a quick investigation police determined that one round had been fired from a neighboring unit sometime Tuesday night. According to police,the bullet penetrated a living room wall where an adult was sleeping and damaged items inside the residence. No one was injured. 

Initial investigation indicates the round may have been fired negligently sometime late Monday or early Tuesday morning. 

Morris was arrested and charged with reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. 

Windham man charged with murder for shooting wife makes initial court appearance

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Noah Gaston made his first court appearance in connection with the shooting death of his wife Alicia. Gaston admits shooting her inside their Windham home on the morning of January 14th. He says he mistook her for an intruder. He was not required to enter a plea Today.

In the police affidavit investigators cited inconsistencies in Noah Gaston’s statements. He changed his story about his wife’s location on the stairs when she was shot. He also said he and his wife did  not argue that morning. But his 8- year old daughter told police she heard her parents arguing in their scared voices. The case will be presented to a grand jury which will decide if there is enough evidence to warrant the murder charge.

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Woman crashes car into AAA building in Portland

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A woman has crashed her car into a AAA of Northern New England building on Marginal Way in Portland Tuesday morning. 

The incident happened shortly after 10am. Lt. Craig Messinger of the Portland FD says the driver was not injured as a result of the crash. At this time crews are working to determine if the building is structurally safe. Employees said the man in the office at the time of the crash is also uninjured but shaken up. He recounts his experience.

"My desk flew across. Because I heard the rev, it actually allowed me a split second to move and the desk hit the inside of my leg- the outside of my left side," AAA employee, Robin Tucker, said. "Glass everywhere and dust and we were both staring at each other through the window. I'm just glad she's alright and I'm okay."

Casco Bay bridge operator positions open


Bridge operator positions on the Casco Bay Bridge are now open through the Florida-based company which will take over operation of the bridge on March 1.

A Craigslist posting by Florida Drawbridges, Inc. says "no experience required." The part-time position pays $12 an hour. 

The Maine Department of Transportation's press secretary Ted Talbot said Monday that operators will go through two separate trainings: one through the state, involving three weeks of training and a written test; and another through FDI, involving another three weeks of training and another written test.

Concern Grows for Homeless Population as Temperatures Drop

As the temperature falls, the concern is growing for the homeless population in Portland, Maine.

Mark Swann, Director of the Preble Street shelter, worries the number of people sleeping outside in the cold is growing. In October, Preble Street staff counted 88 people sleeping in camps or on the streets in Portland. Swann said that number is double what they counted last year.

“That’s more people sleeping outside than we’ve ever seen, in many, many, many years,” said Swann.