The city of South Portland introduced a newly-formed Public Arts Committee. The Public Arts Committee consists of seven volunteers from throughout the city.

According to a June 6 news release, “The committee’s focus will be on bringing all facets of the arts into the community; from murals and public sculptures, to dance and music. The committee hopes to engage the public and create excitement around creating art and engaging with art. The PAC members all share the belief that a great city should embrace a thriving arts community, and that a healthy arts community strengthens a great city.

“With that goal in mind, the PAC will work to promote and develop cultural initiatives that will advance the quality of life and celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of South Portland.”

Public Arts Committee members come from all over South Portland. All members share an interest in the arts. Their professional backgrounds are diverse, with experience in law, social work, studio art, and art education. The varying backgrounds should provide a rich and vigorous foundation on which to build.

Committee members are: Rachel Guthrie and Jim Flahaven (co-chairs), Anne Sedlack, Jessie Kessler, James LaPlante and Robert McKeagney. All members are working closely with Isabelle Oechslie, the South Portland Community Planner.

According to the news release, “The committee is committed to bringing art to all areas of the community and is open to working with stakeholders and supporters. The PAC is always interested in hearing ideas for public arts projects anywhere within South Portland. The committee invites stakeholders to attend their meetings at the Planning and Development Department (496 Ocean St.) on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

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Attorneys receive leading lawyer distinction

South Portland resident Sharon G. Newman, and Scarborough resident, Elizabeth A. Campbell, of the law firm Preti Flaherty, were recently recognized by the legal directory Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Newman was recognized in the field of Environment. Campbell was recognized in the field of Litigation: Medical Malpractice & Insurance Defense.

A total of sixteen attorneys from Preti Flaherty were recognized in the directory of notable lawyers and law firms.

Library begins summer reading

It is once again time for the Summer Reading Program at the South Portland Public Library. Starting Saturday, June 11, South Portland Public Library card holders of all ages can sign up to participate in summer reading. There will be separate children, teen, and adult reading programs, each with their own challenges and prizes.

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The program will run from June 11 to Aug. 6.

Children and teens will be challenged to spend 15 hours reading and to complete eight activities by Aug. 6 to earn a prize book and entry into a grand prize drawing for a chance to win a $50 Bull Moose gift card. Participants will also be able to enter weekly drawings for Sea Dogs tickets, Mariners tickets, a free ride on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, gift cards to local businesses,
and more.

Adults who track their reading this summer will be entered into weekly drawings for a chance to win a weekly $10 Bull Moose gift card, as well as a chance to win a one of the grand prizes: a $50, $75, or $100 Bull Moose gift card, at the end of the program.

Participants can sign up for the 2022 Summer Reading Program at the Main Library starting June 11, or at the Branch Library starting June 12.

For more information about the program, call 767-7660. For ongoing information about summer events and activities, visit www.SouthPortlandLibrary.com or follow the Library on social media.

The Summer Reading Program is sponsored by the Friends of the South Portland Public Library with prizes donated by the Maine Mariners, Portland Sea Dogs, Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, Smitty’s Cinema, and Red’s Dairy Freeze.

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Brenner named co-chair of committee that will oversee new fund to address PFAS contamination

Sen. Stacy Brenner, D-Scarborough, has been appointed by Senate President Troy Jackson to serve as co-chair of the advisory committee that will oversee the Fund to Address PFAS Contamination. The primary mission of the advisory committee will be to make recommendations on the use of the fund.

Stacy Brenner

“Over the last two years, my colleagues and I in Augusta have made strong progress in addressing PFAS contamination and preventing further proliferation throughout our state,” said Sen. Brenner in a June 8 news release. “One of the most important actions we took was to set aside $60 million for a new PFAS trust fund – money that will be absolutely critical as we support affected Mainers, expand our testing capacity and work to remediate contamination. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help decide how this money is used and ensure we’re doing all we can in order to protect public health for future generations.”

The committee will consist of 15 members, and its primary mission will be to make recommendations on use of the Fund to Address PFAS Contamination. To that end, they will research and consult with stakeholders, including holding at least two public hearings annually and taking public comment. Additionally, they will develop methods for determining parameters of the fund’s components, including:

Determining financial assistance offerings, evaluating agricultural land valuation.
Establishing research priorities and assessing research proposals and establishing the need for and scope of long-term health monitoring and land monitoring, and offer recommendations to alter the fund components.
Developing processes and criteria to be used to determine funding awards.
Creating a time frame for the implementation of the fund and for the consideration of applications for fund programs and issuance of payments, including, but not limited to, land appraisals and income tax statements.
Recommending changes to the administration of the fund and corresponding programs to the Legislature.
Ensuring that applicants for fund programs are able to participate in the process.
Assessing where and how the fund would be best housed and operated within the State Government in the future. Take into consideration recommendations, including suggested legislation, of the advisory committee.

The advisory committee will be required to submit an annual report back to the Legislature’s committees that oversee agricultural matters and environmental matters, beginning March 1, 2023. The legislative committees are authorized to report out legislation based on the findings of the report.

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Lahie Fund commits funds to Rines Memorial Scholarship for SMCC

The Lahaie Fund announced a commitment of $15,000 to the Peter L. Rines Memorial Scholarship for Southern Maine Community College Maine Fire Service Institute training. The scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to those looking to attend the institute’s Fire Instructor Program or Fire Officer Program/Academy, held at SMCC’s Midcoast Campus.

Rines, who the scholarship was created in memory of, started as an on-call firefighter for the town of Wiscasset and began training Maine’s firefighters as a state fire instructor in 1998. While at the the institute, he served as a training, certification and curriculum manager and developed nationally recognized certification programs.

Upon Rines’s passing in September 2021, the scholarship was established by the Lahaie Fund to continue his legacy of commitment to the training and education of Maine firefighters. The donated funds allow for scholarships to be awarded on a rolling basis to those who are interested in and qualify for training.

Jim Graves, director of the institute, said Rines was a true Mainer through and through and he cared deeply for the Maine fire service. “Peter will forever be remembered as a person who was dedicated to improving the lives of countless individual fire service members through training. This scholarship will keep his memory alive,” he said in a news release.

The Lahaie Fund’s $15,000 donation was given with the goal of a challenge match, said Sherm Lahaie from the Lahaie Foundation.

“We hope that creating this scholarship, particularly the challenge match, will inspire the thousands of Maine firefighters who have benefited from the certification training to pay it forward to help us reach our goal of raising $30,000 to endow the scholarship permanently,” Sherm Lahaie said. “This will provide future fire service leaders the opportunity to be prepared for many years to come.”

The scholarship is available to students in good standing with a Maine fire department who have the necessary prerequisites and demonstrate personal financial need.

Students interested in applying can contact Jim Graves at [email protected] or 207-844-2078. Those who would like to donate to the scholarship can visit www.smccME.edu/donate and indicate their donation in memory of Peter L. Rines.

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