Thursday, April 19, 2007

The April 20th Issue of the West End NEWS is on the street.
This site has not been updated in the past week because of technical problems on the site, and a two-day power outtage in Portland. We are now back in full operation.
City Gets Soaked by Nor’easter

A rare April Norteaster hit Portland on Sunday, April 15th beginning with snow that gradually changed to rain that soaked the city for three days. Police were asking people to stay away from Commercial Street on Monday because of downed power lines and flooding. At least three boats were reported lost at DeMillo’s Marina. Power outages were widespread throughout the city on Monday and Tuesday, including Munjoy Hill and parts of the West End. A tractor-trailer flipped over on 295 on Tuckey’s Bridge on Monday morning, and the parking lot at newly-opened Whole Food store in Bayside was flooded.

Winds were reported up to 57 miles an hour, and four inches of rain had fallen by Monday night. Governor John Baldacci declared a state of emergency on the 15th . Casco Bay Ferry shut down because of high tides. 44,000 people were reported out of power in the Greater Portland area. Because of ongoing power outages, and the forecast of continued high winds and heavy rain, Portland police urged the public to stay at home on Tuesday as well. Major intersections such as Morrill’s Corner and Allen’s Corner remained without power. Forest Avenue was closed at the Westbrook line due to flooding of the Presumpscot River. Many side streets remain closed due to downed trees and power lines. A large tree was downed on Danforth Street, in front of the West End Community Policing Center. Additional road closures were anticipated at times of high tides, according to police.
The Portland Expo was opened as an emergency shelter for residents who were without power or experiencing flooding. Several State Street residents went there after the chimney on their apartment building collapsed. Police reminded residents that downed lines are never safe to touch. Among the many cancelled events in the city were the Sea Dogs Opening Day game, and the Boys and Girls Club’s 5-mile race, which was cancelled for the first time in 78 years.
Fund Set Up for West End Fire Victims

Officials are still investigating an explosion and fire that destroyed a house on Salem Street on April 5th. No one was injured, but the house at 36 Salem Street was severely damaged and had to be demolished.

The house, which was built in 1870, was owned by West End activist Jo Coyne, who had one tenant living in the house. Coyne was outside shoveling snow at the time of the blast, and the tenant was not at home.

Coyne was warmly greeted by hugs and applause when she showed up at the West End Neighborhood Association on April 11th, just six days after her loss. She is staying with a daughter who lives in Scarborough, and looking to rent an apartment in the West End while she decides whether or not to rebuild a house on the site. She reported to the group that among the things lost in the fire were were the WENA banner, last displayed at the recenr St. Patrick’s Day March.

Coyne was able to salvage a number of items from the ruined building. She said that her daughter found six earrings in the charred ruins - none of them matching.
There has been a fund setup at the Five County Credit Union in PortlandChecks should be made payable to "The Salem Street Fire Fund" and can be mailed to: Five County Credit Union,P.O. Box 598, Bath, ME 04530The Credit Union also belongs to branch-sharing, so if you are a credit union member and your branch belongs to branch-sharing, a deposit can be made at that branch.You can go to to find a branch.
Reps Encourage Residents to Apply for Property Tax Refund
Deadline to apply for state rebate is May 31.

State Representatives Herb Adams and Jon Hinck, both Portland Democrats, are urging constituents who have not yet filed a “Circuit Breaker” property tax and rent refund application for property taxes or rent paid in 2005 to do so before the May 31 deadline.

Benefits are available to homeowners and renters who meet the income requirements that were broadly expanded by the Legislature in 2005. Families earning up to $102,000 are eligible, as well as individuals earning up to $77,000. In order to qualify for a refund, 2005 property taxes must be more than 4 percent of household income, or the yearly rent paid must be more than 20 percent of household income.

More than 200,000 people are eligible for the Circuit Breaker rebate, but many Maine homeowners and renters don’t apply and forfeit their rebates. They could be eligible for up to $2,000 in rebates from the state on their local property taxes. For an application, contact Rep. Adams at 772-2565 or Rep. Hinck at 450-0003.

Earth Day 2007 Festival to Be in Congress Sq.

The Earth Day 2007 Festival will be held on Sunday, April 22nd, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Congress Street, between Forest Avenue and High Street. The street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will be used to showcase energy efficient vehicles.

Earth Day activities include musical performances, arts and crafts for children, local artists displaying their wares, Maine agricultural processors and retailer booths, informational and educational exhibits promoting alternative energies and transportation. The Festival is being organized by the Midtown Community Policing Center, MENSK, the Earth Day Committee, and other area organizations and businesses There is no rain date.

Trucker Takes Down St. John Power Lines

A tractor-trailer driver from Quebec was fined $610 by state police after he illegally drove his rig down St. John Street, taking out several power lines along the way. Saint John Street is a posted "no truck" route and was closed between Park Avenue and Brighton Avenue for a short time while Central Maine Power and Verizon crews worked to repair the lines. The truck was towed to Hadlock Field for inspection by the state police.


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