The following are excerpts from The South Portlander, a daily blog by Linda Hersey, The Current’s South Portland reporter. Find it at

(Posted Aug. 21)

The new Maine Military Museum already is getting national attention, even though it just opened its doors. John McCain visited the small museum at the Mill Creek park during his first visit to Maine since clinching the GOP presidential nomination. Now director Lee Humiston has booked none other than singer Tony Orlando to visit the museum for its official grand opening Aug. 30.

Orlando – of the pop group, Tony Orlando and Dawn – is best known for his 1973 No. 1 hit, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree.” Orlando also had other ’70s hits that included “Say Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose” and “Knock Three Times on the Ceiling if You Want Me.” Orlando and his backup singers were well-known to many American families of that era because the trio also had a TV variety show that ran after Sonny and Cher ended its run.

Orlando may no longer be the small screen idol he was 35 years ago, but “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” is still popular, especially with military families using the yellow ribbon as a symbol of support and solidarity with American troops overseas. Of course, SoPo was at the center of controversy not too long ago over its ordinance banning materials – including yellow ribbons – from being posted on city property.

Look for details on Orlando’s visit, as they are announced.

(Posted Aug. 22)

Willard Resident Announces House Campaign

Attorney Brian Durham has announced his campaign to serve in House District 122. Durham, who served in the Coast Guard and previously lived in Hawaii, is advocating “back to the center politics.” Durham, a Republican, is a resident in the Willard neighborhood. Here is the announcement:

“Maine faces critical challenges that require the focused attention of State lawmakers. We have to prioritize Maine State government functions, measure the effectiveness of all initiatives and programs, and instill fiscal discipline in spending the People’s money on the most critical functions,” said Durham in his official announcement of candidacy.

“Taxpayers do not have a blank check when making budget decisions and should demand that their government not abuse the blank check authority provided in the ability to tax.”

Durham believes that Maine State government priorities are: Public Safety, Highways and Education, and that crisis issues are health care reform and short and long term energy planning.

For more information, visit

Background and Experience

Service in the U.S. Coast Guard brought Durham to Maine in 1977, assigned to the Marine Safety Office in Portland, followed by law school at the University of Maine. After passing the bar, Brian was transferred to USCG Headquarters in Washington, D.C., assigned to International and Maritime Law, regulations and family law. Then Brian served nine years in Hawaii, completing his service as District Legal Officer and Staff Judge Advocate for the 14th Coast Guard District. In addition, Brian was assigned to the U.S. Navy during the Gulf War, using his extensive experience in Admiralty and Maritime Law, as well as the Law of War and Rules of Engagement. He will use his legislative skills and experience to focus on the issues that impact Maine taxpayers every day. Brian and his wife, Kathy, live in her childhood home in the Willard neighborhood of South Portland.

(Posted Aug. 20)

Coast Guard Issues Report on Barge Collision

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a report this afternoon on the barge filled with fuel that struck the Casco Bay bridge. No one was injured, and no fuel was spilled. Here is the Coast Guard report:

“A tug and barge, with more than 21,000 gallons of fuel aboard, struck the Casco Bay Bridge in Maine around 7 a.m., today. Coast Guard Sector Northern New England contacted the Casco Bay Bridge at 7:09 a.m., following a report that the bridge was stuck in the open position and learned that the Energy barge being towed by the tug Ruby M had (collided) with the bridge.

The 95-foot tug and 328-foot Energy barge were outbound to New York harbor when the barge hit the bridge fender on its right side. The barge was not carrying any cargo when the incident occurred.

A 47-foot boat crew launched from Coast Guard Station South Portland to assess the damage and maintain a 250-yard safety zone around the allision site, while a Falcon jet aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched to do an over flight of the area.

The 47-foot boat crew arrived on scene at 8:30 a.m., and transferred a Coast Guard marine investigator and marine inspector to the Ruby M and barge to begin an investigation. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug from New London, Conn., was on a routine patrol in the area and diverted to the scene to help enforce the safety zone.

A Coast Guard aids to navigation team launched a 26-foot boat crew from South Portland to evaluate the damage to the bridge.”

’70s pop star to mark military museum opening

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