Community Newsletter

Issue #343

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In this Issue:

Upcoming City Council Meetings and Update

Tuesday, September 19 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting (IN PERSON)
Tuesday, October 10 at 6:30 PM - City Council Meeting (IN PERSON)
Note: There is no City Council Meeting September 26 or October 3.

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. 

Update on City Council Meetings: Effective September 12, the public may make comments during City Council meetings in person only. There will be no regular hybrid/Zoom option to comment, but occasional hybrid meetings may be scheduled. City Council made this change in response to recent “Zoom bombings” that South Portland and other communities have experienced, where individuals outside of the community using fake names repeatedly disrupted a Council meeting using hateful speech.
We invite South Portland community members to participate in Council meetings Tuesday evenings at 6:30 PM at City Hall (25 Cottage Rd.) If you cannot make a meeting but would like to express your thoughts on an agenda item, you may
contact your City Councilors.
If you would like to watch a meeting live (no commenting option), you can tune to SPC-TV (Spectrum Channel 2 or 3) or watch the livestream online at: https://bit.ly/SPCTV_Live

If you cannot watch live, a recording of every Council meeting is available starting a few days after the meeting at: https://bit.ly/SPCTV_Videos

Preparing for Hurricane Lee

The City of South Portland is closely monitoring Hurricane Lee. Recent updates from the Nation Weather Service suggest we should expect winds to increase late Friday night into Saturday with the most impacts during the day Saturday. Concern is high for power outages due to the saturated ground and leaves still on trees. The track of the storm has shifted slightly east from original projections, but Greater Portland is still in the area forecasted for winds into the 50mph range.

Please dial 911 for any storm-related or other emergencies. Reports of power outages must be made to CMP at 1-800-696-1000 or online at: https://www.cmpco.com/outages 

The City will be posting information related to the storm on our Facebook page, including emergency and shelter information if/when needed. Please keep an eye on Facebook for updates and helpful resources, like this American Red Cross Hurricane Prep checklist.

Due to the storm, the Swap Shop and Electric Tool library will be CLOSED Saturday, September 16. A decision will be made tomorrow (Saturday) about whether the Transfer Station will close. Please check Facebook for updates.

The Community Center and Library are currently planning to maintain their regular hours this weekend. If there are any changes, these will also be announced on our Facebook page.

Age Friendly Resource Fair

The Age Friendly Resource Fair will be held on Friday, September 22 from 9 AM to 12 PM at the South Portland Community Center. Age Friendly South Portland and the South Portland Senior Center invite seniors, families, and the community to attend this free event.
Over 40 service providers will attend and offer information and resources on:
  • Healthy aging, wellness, and community activities
  • Vaccine clinic
  • Balance and foot assessments
  • Blood pressure checks
  • Safeguarding tips from the South Portland Police Department
  • Home modification, legal services, senior programs, and more!
The event also includes Hannaford gift card raffles, refreshments, and the opportunity to socialize.

For more information, email Jill Vaughn at chipperfieldjill@gmail.com or Kathy Adams at kadamsot@maine.rr.com.

November Election Updates

 Candidate Forums - The City is aware of the following upcoming candidate forums that the public may be interested in attending to learn more about candidates running for City Council and School Board seats in the November election. The City does not organize or sponsor these forums, nor does it take a position on the support of specific candidates, but shares this information in the interest of public information and voter education. For more information, visit the website of the hosting organization. 
School Board Candidate Forum
Hosted by the League of Women Voters of Maine
25 Cottage Road, City Hall (Council Chambers)
September 25, 2023 | 6-7:30 PM
For more information: https://www.lwvme.org/civicrm-event/1694 
City Council Candidate Forum
Hosted by the League of Women Voters of Maine
25 Cottage Road, City Hall (Council Chambers)
October 2, 2023 | 6-7:30 PM
For more information: https://www.lwvme.org/civicrm-event/1695 
City Council Candidate Forum
Hosted by South Portland Land Trust
25 Cottage Road, City Hall (Council Chambers)
October 16, 2023 | 6-8 PM
For more information: https://www.southportlandlandtrust.org/upcoming-events/2023/10/16/city-council-candidate-forum 
 Absentee Ballots - The City Clerk would also like to remind residents that absentee ballots may now be requested for the November 7, 2023 election. You may request your absentee ballot online here: https://apps.web.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/AbsenteeBallot/index.pl  Ballots will be mailed when they arrive (around October 7). At that time, in-person absentee voting will be available at City Hall during normal hours of operation. The last day to request an absentee ballot without special circumstances is Thursday, November 2.

Sample ballots will be available soon, and a copy will be posted on the City's website. Reminder: for this election, all voters will receive the same ballot style, and all district races appearing on your ballot may be voted on, as all City Council and School Board members are voted at-large and not by district.

Take Our Communications Survey!

Complete our 5-minute survey! Your input will help shape how the City communicates and the material we share! Tell us what information you're most interested in, what you're looking for in the City's new website (currently in development), and more.

Finance Department Update

Our Finance Department staff would love to see you! But if you want to skip the line, did you know there are many things you can do ONLINE? Renew your car registration (even if your registration has been expired for up to 7 months), look up and pay taxes, pay parking tickets, and more at: https://www.southportland.org/online-services2/ 

Finance staff would also like to thank you for your patience with wait times as they’ve been training new staff and had increased work volume due to property tax processing. Remember, you can now visit the Finance office during extended hours Monday through Thursday. Finance is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:30 AM to 5 PM, and Tuesday 9 AM to 6 PM.

Comp Plan: Upcoming Engagement Opportunities

Mark your calendar for two upcoming Comprehensive Plan engagement opportunities: 
  • October 4, 2023: Public Forum on Cash Corner and Fore River Waterfront Planning - The Comprehensive Plan Committee will host two public forums to gather input on infrastructure and redevelopment issues and opportunities within the two Brownfield Grant target areas of Cash Corner and the Fore River Waterfront as a part of the Comprehensive Plan update. Attendees may join Session I from 3:30-5:30 PM or Session II from 6:30-8:30 PM. Both sessions take place at the Cash Corner Fire Station, 360 Main Street. Please park in the rear lot or on Skilling Street if lot is full and use conference room entrance in the rear of the building.
  • October 18, 2023: Comp Plan Open House - Learn more about what a Comprehensive Plan is, how it is made, and provide feedback on the communities draft Vision & Goals. This drop-in style event will be open from 6-8:30 PM in the High School Cafeteria, 637 Highland Ave. 
Learn more at southportland2040.com.


October Featured Events

Wednesday, October 4 - Public Forum on Cash Corner and Fore River Waterfront Planning. 3:30-5:30 PM and 6:30-8:30 PM at the Cash Corner Fire Station, 360 Main St. Learn more.

Sunday, October 8 - Fire Prevention Week / Fire Department Open House. 10 AM - 1 PM at the Cash Corner Fire Station, 360 Main St. Learn more.

Monday, October 9 - South Portland Human Rights Commission hosts the City's Indigenous Peoples Day event. 3-5 PM at the Redbank Community Center, 95 Macarthur Cir W. Learn more.

Friday, October 13 - Coffee & Climate: How to Talk About Sustainability. 9-10 AM (Virtual). Learn more.

Wednesday, October 18 - Comp Plan Open House. Drop-in event from 6-8:30 PM in the High School Cafeteria, 637 Highland Ave. Learn more.

Saturday, October 28 - Halloween Trunk or Treat. 11 AM - 3 PM at the South Portland Community Center. More info coming soon here.

Willard Beach Update

Concerned about the water quality advisories at Willard Beach this summer? The City hears and shares your concern. The context of why the beach is seeing bacterial exceedances is helpful to understand what’s happening. Read this recent Press Herald piece by Stormwater Coordinator Fred Dillon and Communications Officer Shara Dee to learn about the Willard Beach Watershed and how the City is investing in protecting our water.

Planning a Willard Beach trip? If you're thinking about swimming, remember: When it rains; it's poor™ Heavy rain events can affect water quality. Here are some things you should do before you get in the water:
  1. Check the current beach status on the Maine Healthy Beaches website. The City has extended its water testing with Maine Healthy Beaches through the end of the September.
  2. Or, if you're at the beach, look for the water quality flag at the main entrance.
  3. If the flag is YELLOW or ORANGE, contact with the water is not advised. If the flag is GREEN, it’s safe for swimming.
  4. Please avoid swimming or playing near the stormwater outfall, since it sometimes contains elevated bacteria levels. The City has added new signage discouraging contact with pipe discharge.
™Upper Merrimack Watershed Association

South Portland Farmer's Market

Have you visited the South Portland Farmers' Market lately? The market offers locally grown fruit, vegetables, beef/dairy products and baked goods. Visit the Farmers' Market on Sundays from 10 AM to 2 PM in the parking lot behind the Municipal Building and Transit Center in Knightville. From Nov 5-April 28, the market is held at the Planning and Development Building at 829 Sawyer St. (on the corner of Ocean St.). 

Work With Us!

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, a condensed workweek for many positions, and more!

The City is proud of its talented and dedicated workforce and provides employees with a strong team environment; 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 values diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and embraces sustainable operations. Consider a job with the City of South Portland!

Coming Up at the Library

The South Portland Library regularly holds fun and engaging events for all ages. Check out books...and all the library has to offer!
Get connected with South Portland Schools! Stay up-to-date with SPSD news, School Board meetings, sporting events and more at: https://www.spsd.org/

Calling all SPHS Red Riots Alumni!
SPHS Alumni are welcome to join the new SPHS Alumni Network! This will allow alumni to reconnect with our schools, be invited to more events on campus, and be able to share life experiences with current students through career exploration activities.  SPHS Alumni can sign up here, or reach out to Gretchen McCloy (mccloygr@spsdme.org) or Bryna Latham (lathambr@spsdme.org) for more info.  

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.
The City of South Portland Community E-Newsletter includes information about City sponsored events, projects, and special announcements from South Portland's non-profit community. It is a compilation of the best available information at the time of publication. Events are 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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