Community Newsletter

Issue #328

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In this Issue:
Photo by Russ Lunt

Upcoming City Council Meetings

Tuesday, February 14 at 6:30 PM - City Council Workshop (hybrid)
Tuesday, February 21 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting (hybrid)

See the City Calendar for all scheduled City Council and board meetings + locations/links to participate. All agendas and packet material can be found on BoardDocs. This material will be posted by 4:30 PM on Friday the week prior to the scheduled meeting. See summaries of Council meetings here.

City Offices Closed Mon. Feb. 20

City offices and facilities will be closed on Monday, February 20 in observance of Presidents Day. South Portland Bus Service will run on a regular weekday schedule.

Willard Beach Dunes News

The City is planning to restore the vast majority of dunes on Willard Beach that were washed out during the December 23, 2022 storm that brought exceptionally high tides. The restoration plan was developed by South Portland Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront staff in consultation with the Cumberland County Emergency Management Association, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and the Maine Geological Survey.

Pending DEP approval, discarded Christmas trees will be placed into the dunes to help trap blowing sand and rebuild the dunes vertically--an approach used successfully in other parts of the country. Dune grass will be replanted on the stretch of beach between Willard Street and Myrtle Ave this spring.

The City anticipates placing Christmas trees in dunes at Willard Beach as early as this month, or as soon as the permitting process is complete. Only the City may place trees in the dunes, and asks residents and visitors to remember that no dumping of any kind is allowed on the beach or in other public areas.

Upcoming Events

Please join us on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 to celebrate the South Portland business community at the 2022 South Portland Business Awards! The Economic Development Committee welcomes you to join us in celebrating our business community in recognizing the 2022 award recipients:
  • South Portland Small Business of the Year Award: Nelson Metal Fabrication Inc.
  • SoPo Sustainability Award: High Tide Organic LLC
  • South Portland New Business of the Year Award: Lincoln & Main Electric Bike Café & Winery
  • Santo “Sam” DiPietro Community Impact Award: The Waterfront Alliance
  • South Portland Business Leader of the Year Award: Southern Maine Community College (SMCC)
  • South Portland Business of the Year Award: ShipRight
  • Heart of South Portland Award: Judith Borelli, Director of Public Affairs at Texas Instruments
The event will take place at South Portland High School from 5-7:30 PM. Doors open at 5 PM for hors d'oeuvres and in-person networking (for the first time in a few years). The awards ceremony will start promptly at 6:00. We are coordinating tours of the high school to start at 4:30. Please reach out to bizsupport@southportland.org if you’d like to join the tour.
South Portland Food Cupboard kicks off its annual Battle of the Neighborhoods on Valentine's Day, February 14! The ‘battle’ challenges neighborhoods to see who can donate the most non-perishables. Each and every donation makes a big difference in supporting our neighbors in need. Please take part in this friendly and impactful competition!

Non-perishables can be dropped off any morning at the Food Cupboard (130 Thadeus St.) between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day and should be clearly labeled with the neighborhood they come from.  Donations can be canned goods, dried beans, pasta, peanut butter, etc.  Donations can not include soft drinks, bottled water, food that is expired or large containers (ex: gallon jars of mayonnaise).
Join South Portland Land Trust and Forest Playgroup for a morning of family fun and adventure at Willard Beach! A story about the Maine coast kicks things off, then families make their way to the shore to search for beautiful stones, sea glass, and other treasures on the beach. Make sure to bring a bucket!

Registration is free, but required. Meet at the main entrance of Willard Beach off of Beach Street at 9:30 AM. Forest Playgroup is geared towards children ages 2-5. All children must be accompanied by an adult.
The South Portland Middle School hockey program is joining for South Portland Professional Fire Fighters Local 1476's Checking For Charity event March 19 at Troubh Ice Arena! Checking for Charity is the group's biggest fundraising event of the year. All of the money raised is donated to charity, and this year's beneficiary is the Maine Cancer Foundation. Go see South Portland middle schoolers show off their skills and watch some exciting hockey all while supporting a great cause.

SPPD Seeks Public Comment

The South Portland Police Department (SPPD) invites the public to submit comments related to its candidacy for reaccreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).

CALEA is an accreditation known as the “Gold Standard in Public Safety.” First awarded this accreditation in 2018, SPPD is one of only five Maine agencies with CALEA certification. Just 5% of police departments in the U.S. hold this elite designation. CALEA accreditation ensures that the Department’s policies, procedures, equipment, and training are the most contemporary and follow best practices. Members of the public are encouraged to comment at: https://cimrs2.calea.org/807

Employment Opportunities

Join our team! The City of South Portland offers competitive pay and a robust selection of employee benefits, including an excellent health plan with affordable family coverage, matched retirement options, dental, vision, life, income protection, long term disability, flexible spending accounts and more. The City of South Portland is proud of its talented and dedicated workforce and provides employees with inspiring leadership; stability; a positive, family friendly workplace where work/life needs are valued and supported; and the support, encouragement and tools for successful careers. The City of South Portland values diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and embraces sustainable operations. Come join our team dedicated to service excellence!

Board of Health Vacancy

Are you a physician who'd like to volunteer to make an impact in your community? Apply to join the City's Board of Health! The Board serves in an advisory capacity to the City's appointed Health Officer on issues within his/her purview pursuant to City Charter and State Law. It also provides advice on health issues that are referred to it by City Council.

Membership of this 3 member Board, by State law, must include one physician and one woman. By ordinance, all members must have experience and knowledge in areas of public health. The Board of Health meets at minimum on a quarterly basis.

Habitat for Humanity Home Ownership Opportunity

Staff News

Congratulations to Chief James Wilson, who led the South Portland Fire Department since 2016. He retired this month after 26 years of service to the City. Thanks, Chief, for all you did for South Portland. We wish you continued success in this next chapter! Deputy Fire Chief Philip Selberg has been appointed Acting Fire Chief while the search for the new leader of SPFD is underway.

More congratulations go to Field Inspector David Kasik, who worked for the City of South Portland for an incredible 36 years! Today the Planning and Development Team celebrated him (white hard hat, center photo) on his last day. We're grateful for his many years with the City and wish him all the best in his retirement.

A recent article in the Sentry introduces Shara Dee, the City's first ever Communications Officer. Read the article here.

Featured Article

Knowing sewers are a critical need in any city that are often taken for granted, Kathryn Onos DiPhilippo got curious about what they're like under the streets of South Portland and how the system works with our sewage treatment plant. She met with our Water Resource Protection Department to learn more, and shares what she learned in her Press Herald article, A Window on the Past -- Sewers and sewage collection in South Portland. (Photo: South Portland Historical Society)

Coming Up at the Library

  • Fri., Feb. 17 at 10:30 AM: Storytime with Maire Pelletier of FAME, the Finance Authority of Maine - Enjoy a fun storytime with Maire Pelletier who will be available to answer any questions about becoming more financially capable and being able to afford higher education.
  • Weds., Feb. 22 at 6:30 PM: (New date!) An Evening with Author Meghan Gilliss - Local author Meghan Gillis will be visiting the SPPL to discuss her new book Lungfish.
  • Thurs., Feb. 23 at 3 PM: Teen Advisory Board - Join the teen advisory board! Help plan events, make flyers and displays, and create a fun and welcoming environment for other teens.

    Visit the Library website for more information.
Some events are subject to change. Check spsd.org for up-to-date information.

Conservation Corner

Submitted by Barbara Dee, Chair of the Conservation Commission
Hello, my name is Shara Dee and I'm very happy to serve as the City of South Portland's Communications Officer!

I'd love to hear your feedback on our newsletter and other City communications, so feel free to send me a note any time at news@southportland.org.
This City of South Portland Community E-Newsletter includes information about City sponsored events, projects and special announcements from South Portland's non-profit community.
The City of South Portland Community Newsletter is published by the City of South Portland.  It is a compilation of the best available information at the time of publication.  Events may be subject to change without notice in the time between publication of this e-newsletter and the actual event.  To send information to be considered for inclusion into this newsletter, send to news@southportland.org.
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