Here’s what you need to know today, in Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland.

Polls are open: According to South Portland City Clerk Susan Mooney, all four District 1 residents who took out papers to fill the City Council seat vacated by Tom Coward, who resigned Jan. 1 to become a county commissioner, will appear on the ballot. All four met the Friday deadline for returning the minimum number of qualified signatures.

The candidates for the March 12 special election are: Richard “Rick” L. Carter of Thompson Street, Robert A. Foster III of Front Street, Michael R. Pock of Grand Street and Rob W. Schreiber of Stanford Street.

Three of the candidates hold other positions with the city, which they would have to relinquish, if elected. Carter is the chairman of the school board while Schreiber sits on the city’s Planning Board. Foster sits on the energy and recycling committee. Pock is a self-employed carpenter. The winning candidates will serve out Coward’s term, to November 2014.

District 1 represents South Portland’s east end, including the Willard Square and Ferry Village neighborhoods. However, voting is open to all city residents. Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the South Portland Community Center, 21 Nelson Road. Residents may obtain absentee ballots at city hall, or request that one be mailed by calling 767-7601. Residents may vote in person via absentee ballot at city hall until March 7, the Thursday before the election.

According to Mooney, a grand total of one person had voted by the end of the Monday, the first day of absentee voting. So, unless he happened to vote for someone else, Schreiber is leading in the polls.

Beach budget: Folks concerned for the future of Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth may be able to breath a little easier. For the past year, the state has been locked in lease negotiations with The Sprague Corp., which owns most of the 187-acre site, including the parking lot and access from Route 77. The state’s lease to the property runs out in April and the state Bureau of Parks and Land last fall floated the idea of building its own 870-lot parking area on public land adjacent to the Inn by the Sea. However, on Monday, Bureau Director Will Harris said, Part J of Gov. Paul LePage’s supplemental budget, which relates to state parks, passed though committee last week with a unanimous “ought to pass” recommendation. The bill (LD 250) contains what Harris called “new enabling language” dictating that user fees for state parks may be first dedicated to lease payments before rolling into the state’s general fund. Although details remain to be ironed out, such as the length of a new lease and how much Sprague will get of the $200,000 the park takes in each year, a funding mechanism is now in place, assuming the supplemental budget passes through the full Legislature.

Economic valve open: On Monday, Allagash International, a maker of industrial valves and controls, began churning out parts at its new facility at 1 Madison Street in South Portland, a 55,000-square-foot factory vacated by Portland Valve LLC in June 2011. According to Allagash founder and CEO Terry Ingram, it was a rapid turnaround for company workers, who completed the move from Riverside Drive in Portland on Friday. Allagash needed the extra space to meet growing demand, said Ingram, noting that he intends to expand his 30-member workforce with 10 new employees by year’s end.

Walk this way: The Cape Elizabeth Planning Board has two items on its docket for tonight’s workshop session. One is its ongoing overhaul of local subdivision rules. The other involves a meeting with officials from the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, which isn’t wasting time making good on its promises for the “Robinson Woods II” property. In November, the trust finalized a $1.1 million buy of the 63-acre lot, which, with its original Robinson Woods purchase puts 145 contiguous acres in permanent conservation, while also protecting nearly a mile of the 7.5-mile cross-town trail that connects Fort Williams to Kettle Cove. Trust representatives will lay out plans for trail improvements in the newly acquired tract along Shore Road, and apply for a resource protection permit, required in Cape Elizabeth to disturb more than an acre of wetlands.

Fire fete: Five South Portland firefighters were honored at Monday’s City Council meeting under a new awards program launched by the Fire Department. Honored at the event were: Call Company Officer of the Year Capt. Phil Viola, Call Company Firefighter of the Year Lou Leary, Fire Chief Kevin Guimond, Deputy Fire Chief Stephen Fox, Fire Officer of the Year Lt. Phil Selberg and EMS Provider of the Year Brian Cousino. Firefighter of the Year Phil Rumery could not be at the ceremony.

Today’s public meetings:

• Cape Elizabeth Planning Board workshop, 7 p.m. at Town Hall (Jordan Conference Room).

Tomorrow’s public meetings:

• South Portland Board of Assessment Review, 8 a.m. at City Hall.

• Cape Elizabeth School Board Strategic Planning Committee, noon at Town Hall (Jordan Conference Room).

• Cape Elizabeth Planning Board site walk, 3 p.m. at 10 Clinton Road.

• South Portland Economic Development Committee, 6 p.m. at City Hall.

• Scarborough Appointments Committee, 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall (manager’s conference room).

• Scarborough Town Council, 7 p.m. at Town Hall.


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