Rotary Club assists veterans

The South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club, with an emphasis on helping Maine’s veterans, has provided assistance in the first half of this Rotary year to Huot House in Saco and Veteran Career House in Biddeford. The club has donated $2,500.

VOA Director Michael Merrill speaks to the South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club about the needs of Maine veterans and the computer Rotary’s donation purchased. Dan Davidson courtesy photo

Operated by Volunteers of America, these Maine facilities provide transitional housing for veterans who are rebuilding their lives and will be looking for employment and eventually permanent housing.

Rotary’s donation has allowed the facilities to purchase a computer the veterans can use for job hunting and housing searches and for maintaining contact with family and friends. The money also purchased four new beds for the facilities.

Veterans there have said, “Support from donors has helped me with bus passes so I can attend daily clinic appointments and maintain my sobriety.” Donations have helped with furniture, items for daily living, clothing, etc. One veteran there has said, “This is the best thing that has happened to me.”

The South Portland/Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club’s donations to assist Maine veterans over the past seven years has thus far exceeded $ 37,000.

Many of Maine’s homeless veterans have difficulty getting to medical appointments, job interviews, and other obligations due to lack of transportation and money. And many, who may be moving to their own transitional or permanent housing may be in need of rental deposits, beds, essential household items and other moving expenses.

The Rotary Club of South Portland/Cape Elizabeth’s president David Lourie said, “We feel privileged to be partnered with these organizations to help Maine’s homeless veterans. This is a significant need, and these men and women who have served our country deserve all the help we can offer.”

For more information, or to donate to Maine veterans through the Rotary Club, contact the Rotary Club’s Maine veterans chair Dan Davidson at [email protected] or 767-4682.

SoPo Republicans schedule caucus

South Portland Republicans will host its biannual caucus 8 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. The session will take place in the Senior Room of the South Portland Community Center. It is open to all South Portland Republicans.

The purpose of the caucus is to elect delegates and alternates to the state convention, elect members to the Cumberland County Republican Committee, and organize for the upcoming elections. All South Portland Republicans are urged to attend the event and encouraged to spread the word.

There will be a representative from the South Portland city clerk’s office to register new Republicans. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Adam Crepeau from Maine Heritage Policy Center will be the featured speaker.

The 2020 Republican State Convention will be held in Augusta on May 1-2, at the Augusta Civic Center. The convention is an opportunity for local Republicans to meet and speak with those who are running for office.

For more information, email [email protected]

Bill to study emissions submitted

On Friday, Jan. 24, Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, introduced LD 1915, “Resolve, Directing the Department of Environmental Protection To Evaluate Emissions from Heated Aboveground Petroleum Storage Tanks,” in the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The bill would direct the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to study the emissions from petroleum storage tanks such as those in South Portland.

“In South Portland and the surrounding communities, residents remain rightfully concerned about the emissions from the petroleum storage facilities throughout our neighborhoods,” said Millett in a written statement. “Folks are worried about their family’s health and the safety of our air. By studying the emissions from the tanks, the community will begin to get answers and recommendations on ways to move forward and address any issues.”

During the first regular session, Millett sponsored a bill, now law, to ensure that an affected municipality is notified when violations of the Clean Air Act occur. LD 1706, “An Act to Ensure Public Notification of Air Quality Violations,” was introduced after South Portland learned of a consent decree filed against Global Partners LP for a violation of the Clean Air Act. The community only learned of the violation because of media reports after the violation had taken place.

LD 1915 would direct the DEP to study methods to measure and control emissions and odor from above ground petroleum storage tanks. It also requires the DEP to submit a report to the appropriate legislative committee by Jan. 1, 2021, detailing its findings and any recommendations.

LD 1915 faces further committee action prior to votes in the Maine House and Senate.