Ferry officials winnow choices

The Canadian group that is reviewing proposals for resuming ferry service between Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and New England has narrowed the field from four to two operators.

Dave Whiting, chief executive officer of the Yarmouth Area Industrial Commission, said Wednesday that two proposals have been eliminated. He declined to say whether the remaining two include service to Portland.

Ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth ended last year when the high-speed Cat stopped operating, citing falling ridership and the loss of an operating subsidy from Nova Scotia’s government.

Whiting said he remains optimistic that a ferry operator will be chosen that can resume some form of service next year. His group received the four proposals Friday and is working through details before making an announcement.


Dates set for local flu shot clinics

Portland will provide flu vaccinations at walk-in clinics around the city.

The seasonal flu vaccine will be available for $10, or at no cost for people with Medicare Part B cards. All types of insurance will be accepted.

Vaccinations against bacterial pneumonia will be available for $45, or free for people with MaineCare. The clinics are open to anyone 18 or older.

This year’s flu vaccine provides protection against H1N1 influenza and two other flu viruses. The first clinic was held Wednesday at the Sagamore Community Center. Others will be held:

Sunday, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Cliff Island Community Center.

Oct. 27, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Peaks Island Community Center.

Nov. 8, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the St. Pius X Parish Hall, 492 Ocean Ave.

Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State of Maine Room at City Hall.

Nov. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Allen Avenue U.U. Church, 524 Allen Ave.

Dec. 6, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the St. Pius X Parish Hall.

Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State of Maine Room at City Hall.

For more information, call the city’s flu hotline at 874-8946 or visit the immunization program website, www.portlandmaine.gov/hhs/health.asp.


Rescued woman’s status improves

A Portland woman who was rescued from Portland Harbor on Saturday is in satisfactory condition at Maine Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday. Amanda Mason, 20, who jumped from the Casco Bay Bridge on Saturday afternoon, was taken to the hospital in serious condition with injuries she suffered in the fall, but her condition has improved.


Burned man remains in critical

A Portland man who set himself on fire Sept. 29 remains in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday.

David Parker, 24, who doused himself with gasoline and then set himself on fire in Longfellow Square is being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was taken for burn treatment.

Parker, who had recently moved into an apartment across the street from the square, has suffered from mental illness, family members have said.


Grant will help replace bridge

A deteriorating bridge connecting Maine and New Hampshire will get a multimillion-dollar replacement.

Officials from the two states joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday as he announced a $20 million grant to help pay to replace the aging Memorial Bridge between Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, N.H. The grant will help New Hampshire partner with Maine to replace the bridge.

The two states jointly own three bridges over the Piscataqua River.

In 2009, the metal truss bridge made it to a national list of endangered properties.


Superintendent change expected

The Board of Education is expected to appoint Assistant Superintendent Jo Anne Sizemore as interim superintendent today. 

Superintendent David Doyle had planned to retire at the end of this school year, but he notified the board Oct. 7 that he had decided to begin his retirement earlier. His employment will run through Dec. 31, but his last day in the office will be Friday.

Board Chairman Brian Dell’Olio said he expects board members to confirm Sizemore’s appointment.


City certifies anti-racino petition

The city clerk’s office has certified the petition that racino opponents submitted to force a special meeting between residents and city officials.

Citizens Against a Bad Deal, the political action committee that opposes the proposal for Biddeford Downs, presented its petition to the City Council on Tuesday. Under the city charter, voters can force such a meeting if they gather at least 100 valid signatures.

Opponents collected 128 signatures, according to the city clerk’s office. The meeting is expected to be held Monday, but other details are still being determined.

Opponents say the racino project is moving forward too quickly. Voters will decide Nov. 2 whether Biddeford should host a racetrack-slot machine complex. Scarborough Downs and Ocean Properties Ltd. announced their plan for Biddeford Downs late last month.