Failing farmers

According to South Portland City Councilor Rosemarie De Angelis, who also chairs the Farmers Market Advisory Committee, the Thursday afternoon market is “struggling incredibly” since moving to Hinckley Drive May 24. Already, she said, three farmers have quit, citing lack of sales. “We’re losing them quickly. Many come from a long distance and people are just not showing up,” she said, making a plea for public support at the July 16 council meeting.

Parking poo-poo’d

South Portland City Councilor Alan Livingston, absent form the July 2 council meeting at which Knightville business owners again decried a planned change to parallel parking on Ocean Street, took his peers to task when they met July 16. “We’re supposed to support buy local,” he said. “I’m very disappointed with the decision we made.” Livingston urged the council to retain the current parking configuration, but got no response.

Building permits

South Portland issued 71 building permits in May for $40.3 million in new construction. By far, the largest project, at $39.3 million, was South Portland High School. Of the remaining $1.07 million, the three largest projects, all “tenant fitups,” rang in at: $425,000 (Custom Disability Solutions at 600 Sable Oaks Drive), $80,000 (Lush at the Maine Mall) and $76,500 (Intermed Urgent Care at 100 Foden Road).

Permit payments

In May, South Portland collected $16,870 in building permit fees, which, even with the high school project, is off $32,415 from May 2011. Combined, permit fee collections for the first five months of 2012 are down $33,235 from the same period last year. Discounting the high school project, new construction costs were off $2.1 million vs. May 2011 and $2.4 million vs. 2011 year-to-date.

Local aid

South Portland processed 92 General Assistance applications in June, including 15 first-time requests. Of those, the city paid $18,870 on 50 applications, helping 96 individuals. The majority ($16,948) has given to cover mortgage or rent. Other significant payouts went for electric service ($586), household items ($402) and baby supplies ($330). The GA report shows two people worked for their welfare, logging 149.25 hours, worth $1,119 at minimum wage.

Appointments

The City Council has appointed Cottage Road resident Laura Smith to a seat on the conservation commission though Nov. 2014. An L.L. Bean supervisor and three-year resident of the city, Smith holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Michigan. The council also gave a term on the civil service commission, through March 2017, to 28-year Winding Way resident Elaine Lundgren, a South Portland High School ed tech with a degree from University of Maine.

Open seats

With the most recent City Council appointments, South Portland now has just two committee vacancies, one on the conservation commission with a term running through November 2013 and one on the energy and recycling committee to May 2015. Interested residents can apply online at www.southportland.org.

Donations, part 1

Shelby Lane resident Ann Lemire has given $1,000 to the Portland Public Library. A frequent patron known for making annual donations, Lemire asked that this year’s gift go to enhance the city’s DVD collection. Library Director Kevin Davis says such large, “greatly appreciated,” gifts are rare from a single person, the library more often the recipient of smaller donations, although, he noted, “They all add up.”

Donations, part 2

Portland-based nonprofit the People’s Regional Opportunity Program has given $1,200 to the South Portland Police Department to help fund its “Smokeless Saturday” tobacco cessation program for first-time juvenile offenders. PROP also gave $800 to be divided between police outreach programs for at-risk youth, including its recreational basketball team ($500), a kickball league ($150) and the “Cooking is Cool” class ($150).

Donations, part 3

Donations in memory of Albert E. “Buddy” Young to maintain the South Portland Service Monument in Mill Creek Park have been made by Maine Auto Credit of Westbrook ($50), Thelma and Leonard Greenlaw of Hall Street ($15) and Barbara LaPrino of Scarborough ($25). A Korean War veteran who logged 22 years in the National Guard, Young died July 1 at age 79. He worked 29 years for Portland Metro and Cape Elizabeth Public Works.

Kudos calling

Wright Express, a provider of business payment processing services based in South Portland, has been recognized as having one of the top 20 medium-sized call centers (100-249 agents) in the U.S. and Canada in an annual study issued by BenchmarkPortal and The Center for Customer-Driven Quality. The company also placed in the top 20 last year, albeit in the small center (less than 100 agents) category.


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