Fire aboard moored fishing trawler challenges marine firefighters

A wooden fishing trawler caught fire Tuesday and firefighters doused the fire, but the boat eventually sank.

The 65-foot Deborah Lee was moored at the Chebeague Island Boat Yard when it caught fire about 11:15 a.m. Coast Guard Chief Rob Childress said the fire appeared to have started in the pilothouse, though the cause remains under investigation.

Nobody was on board and nobody was injured.

Chebeague firefighters responded, but without a fireboat were unable to put out the fire. Crews on Portland’s fireboat and the Long Island fire and rescue boat worked to douse the flames and set up pumps to try to keep the boat from sinking. Despite their efforts, however, the boat sank at 8:30 Tuesday night, the Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard said this morning that so far there are no signs of polluition,.possibly because the estimated 150 gallons fuel on board burned in the fire.


Committee will fine-tune plansfor renovating city’s high school

The Board of Education has formed a committee to finalize the concept for renovating and expanding South Portland High School.

The committee expects to finalize the design specifications by June. The committee, which will also oversee the construction and bid process, hopes to award bids in November.
Voters approved a $41.5 million bond for the project on Nov. 2.

The committee includes representatives of the school board, administration and faculty, students, city councilors and other residents. A subcommittee will study aspects of the project including green/energy efficient construction, library/media center and technology, athletics, interior finishes, kitchen design and communications.

Board President Ralph Baxter Jr. said the panel will work with the community to refine the project’s concept. Baxter will be chairman of the building committee.

Residents who are interested in participating in a subcommittee should contact Maria Sorenson at 871-0555 or [email protected] For more information about the subcommittee’s responsibilities and a calendar of meetings, go to

Collective approaches city leaders about creating community garden

A group that hopes to start a community garden at the former Hamlin School has made its pitch to the City Council.

The Community Garden Collective would like to lease space at the former school on Ocean Street from the city. The plan is to have 35 to 50 gardeners, depending on the size of the plots, said Helen Slocum, the group’s vice president and acting coordinator.

The group outlined its proposal at a City Council workshop Monday night. The council requested additional information, particularly about parking at the site, which is now used by the city’s Planning Department.

Slocum said her group wants to work with a couple of neighbors who expressed opposition to the project.

The collective focused on the former Hamlin School largely because of the sun and access to water on the site.

Slocum said the collective hopes to create additional community gardens elsewhere in the city after the first one is established.


Designer from earliest days of Maine State Music Theatre has died

Theoni V. Aldredge, a Tony- and Oscar-winning designer who helped launch the Maine State Music Theatre in Brunswick, has died.

Aldredge died last week in Connecticut at the age of 88. She is best known as the designer of the feathered transvestites in the original stage version of “La Cage aux Folles” and Little Orphan Annie’s red dress on Broadway.

Aldredge was the original costume designer for Victoria Crandall and her fledgling company,

Brunswick Summer Playhouse, now known as Maine State Music Theatre. Aldredge created clothes for more than 300 stage and film productions. She won an Oscar in 1975 for “The Great Gatsby.”