Sign up for emergency alerts

The city of South Portland has partnered with the Cumberland County Emergency Management System to institute a new rapid emergency notification service called CodeRED.

The new system will distribute emergency messages via telephone and the service can be used in case of fires, chemical spills, evacuations, lock downs, downed power lines, lost individuals, natural disasters, abductions, water system problems and bomb threats, along other emergencies.

South Portland residents and businesses are welcome to register with CodeRED. Registration is confidential, free, and easy. Go online to to register or contact Lt. Frank Clark, of the South Portland Police Department, at [email protected] or 799-5511, ext. 7242, for more information.

Fest to feature local school chorale

The Choral Masterworks Festival, featuring local high school students, will take place at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 11, at the First Congregational Church in South Portland.

The festival, which is being hosted by the South Portland High School choral program, will consist of selections from “The Armed Man-A Mass for Peace.” Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students and $15 for families.

Since 1997, the Choral Masterworks Festival has brought together students from area high schools to perform challenging choral works. Singers from nine southern Maine schools will take part in this year’s festival, which features a pipe organ.

The festival’s guest conductor is Dr. Robert Russell, a professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, who conducts the university’s Chamber Singers and Chorale and teaches choral conducting and music history.

Library taking food for fines

The South Portland Public Library is holding a Food for Fines drive now through Saturday, April 4, at both locations to benefit the South Portland Food Cupboard.

For anyone with a late fee on their account, the library will waive it for a donation of nonperishable food items, including chicken noodle soup, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, canned fruits and vegetables, macaroni and cheese or canned milk, among other items.

In addition to food items, the food cupboard could also use shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, baby wipes, baby powder, bath soap and deodorant. For a complete list of needed items, see

Beatles favorites on tap at library concert

On Saturday, April 11, at 7 p.m., the South Portland Public Library will hold a concert by duquette, which will play all your favorite Beatles tunes like you’ve never heard them before.

Duquette features Rob Duquette on drums and vocals, John Kumnick on bass, and Jake Sturtevant on keys.

This event is free. Call 767-7660 or see for more information. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and will close once the library reaches capacity.

Rotary donates to youth literacy programs

The Rotary Club of South Portland/Cape Elizabeth has donated $800 to youth literacy programs for the Thomas Memorial Library and South Portland Public Library. The club began the ongoing program in 2007.

The money will be used to enhance literacy programs through the purchase of books and materials to promote literacy, reading, and interest in education among young people. Some of the materials will also assist those for whom English is a second language.

The additional books, chosen by the librarians, will provide materials they otherwise would not be able to purchase through normal funding.

The Rotary club also uses this program to recognize its weekly speakers by having them sign a bookplate that goes into one of the selected books and symbolizes a donation of that book by the speaker.

“We have been making this donation for nine years with a view toward increasing the interest in reading and education among our local students,” Rotary Club president Kathy Cotter said. “It is representative of our Rotary club’s service to our communities’ youth and commitment to literacy initiatives.”

Teen driving expo at the mall

The Maine Mall in South Portland will host the Maine Teen Driving Expo on Saturday, April 11, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Join the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety to learn about the dangers specific to teen drivers.

The event, which is free and open to the public, includes distracted and impaired driving demonstrations, driving quizzes, guest vendors and more. See the bureau’s Facebook page for more information.

Register for DIY hummingbird feeder program

Get ready to be visited by some beautiful and amazing hummingbirds by building a handcrafted feeder made from recycled materials.

This Artsy Afternoon program will be held 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, at the South Portland Public Library. The program is free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required.

Call 767-7660 or go online to to register or for more information. Due to the popularity of this crafts series, first dibs on registration goes to South Portland Public Library cardholders.

Bring your own glass or plastic bottle or use one provided by the library, create a beautiful and handy feeder and sit back and watch these majestic creatures from your window.

Easter service

Thornton Heights United Methodist Church in South Portland will hold its Easter Sunday Service at 9:30 a.m. All are invited. The church is located at 100 Westbrook St. For more information, contact 874-0487.

SMCC to hold open house

Southern Maine Community College is holding an open house at its South Portland campus, 9 a.m.-noon, on Saturday, April 11. The event is designed for prospective and accepted students and their families or anyone with an interest in the college.

Come learn about academic programs and financial aid, meet faculty and tour the ocean-side campus. See to register for the event or for more information.

New program graduates hospitality ‘stars’

The first group of students to participate in Southern Maine Community College’s new Hospitality and Customer Service Rising Stars Academy has graduated with skills that are in high demand by the hospitality trade in Maine.

The academy, based on the South Portland campus, provided 96 hours of entry-level hospitality training to the unemployed and underemployed participants. Since completing the program all 10 students have been interviewed and several have been hired or offered paid internships.

“SMCC’s workforce training gives Mainers bright futures and provides Maine businesses with the skilled employees they need to remain competitive,” said Ron Cantor, president of Southern Maine Community College.

The Rising Stars Academy was funded by a grant from the Maine Quality Centers program and was designed to support the efforts of the Portland Jobs Alliance. Academy training partners included the Maine Innkeepers Association, Portland Adult and Community Education, Coastal Enterprises Inc. and Preble Street Resource Center.

The academy introduced participants to the skills needed in the hospitality industry, with a particular emphasis on customer service from front desk to housekeeping and banquet and event operations to laundry services. Each student earned a Gold Class Customer Service Professional certification,

ServSafe Food Handler certification and CPR & First Aid certification.

Several Portland-area hotels participated in the training, including providing guest speakers, giving tours of their properties and attending a candidate expo following the academy’s graduation ceremony.

– Kate Irish Collins

Alzheimer’s support group to meet

The monthly meeting of the Alzheimer’s Support Group sponsored by the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association will be held on Monday, April 13, at the First Congregational Church at 301 Cottage Road in South Portland, Maine from 7-8:30 p.m.

The meeting is held on the second Monday of each month and provides support to those families, friends and individuals dealing with Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia.

Rob Duquette and his band, duquette, will perform at the South Portland Public Library on April 11.Courtesy photoYouth librarians Rachel Davis, left, of Cape Elizabeth’s Thomas Memorial Library and Kim Campbell from the South Portland Public Library hold checks for $400 from the Rotary Club of South Portland/Cape Elizabeth to enhance youth literacy.Courtesy photoJulie Chase, left, dean of Community and Business Partnerships at Southern Maine Community College, with recent Hospitality and Customer Service Rising Stars graduates Zainab Miguel, Armand Turinyungo, Tam Thai, Gina Nzanza Kiese, Roger Kabata, Ruth Andrades, Jules Cesar Ntsinzi, Christophe Uwizeyimana, Christian Muhunde and Sandrine Umuhoza. Courtesy photo

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