2016-09-02 / Community

In the Know

Notes, quotes and news briefs of concern to South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, compiled by staff writer Wm. Duke Harrington.

HELPING HAND — Forced into finding a new town manager for the first time in more than three decades, following Michael McGovern’s Aug. 22 announcement that he plans to retire at year’s end, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council is soliciting a helping hand. At an Aug. 29 workshop, the council agreed to issue a request for proposal from firms capable of conducting a nationwide executive search.

“It is our intent to have the council serve as the search committee supported by a professional recruitment firm,” said council Chairman Molly MacAuslan.

All proposals are due to the town by 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9. The council plans to review the applications on Sept. 12, with a possible spillover session on Sept. 13, depending on the number of resumes received.

FOND REMEMBERANCE — What was intended to be a low-key remembrance of the line-of-duty death 20 years ago of

South Portland Fire Department Captain Robert “Bobby” Wallingford, on Saturday, Aug. 27, became a sizable commemoration when more than 50 friends and family members showed up.

“It was very impressive that that many people would show of for a remembrance like that,” said Fire Captain Robb Couture, who was pressed into making in impromptu speech for the crowd, following the laying of a wreath.

“Remembering fallen brothers is an important philosophy within the fire service,” Couture said. “Forgetting those who made the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect is simply not something we can do.”

The ceremony took place on at the street sign for Wallingford Drive off Madison Street, near Bug Light Park. Named in Wallingford’s honor, the road is the cross street immediately behind the Portland Welding Company building, where he lost his life.

Wallingford was a call company Captain at Engine One in Ferry Village at the time of his death, and all three of his children (also call company firefighters) were on the scene at Portland Welding when their father collapsed from a heart attack. He was transported to Maine Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. “Captain Wallingford was a mentor, a teacher, a husband, and a father, as well as a firefighter,” Couture said. “I had been on the department just over a year and I was at that fire. I remember the call of ‘firefighter down’ and the fear that I felt in my heart.”

NOMINATIONS NEAR — With just over a week before the final deadline for the submission of nomination papers to run for office, South Portland is looking at a crowded council field, while Cape Elizabeth may not have enough candidates to go around.

Both at-large seats on the South Portland City Council are up for election this year and, as of Aug. 29, incumbent Maxine Beecher, former councilor Michael Pock, and E Street resident Susan Henderson had qualified for the ballot. Meanwhile, eight others – including Richard Carter, James Gilboy, Katherine Lewis, Ian Lucas, Ernest MacVane III, Louis Maietta Jr., Isaac Misiuk and Kristen Dorsay Smith – were in the process of collecting signatures. Meanwhile, Otis Thompson qualified and Michael Faulkingham was circulating forms to run for the District 2 seat on the board of education. The District 1 school board seat, however, was still awaiting its first candidate.

Such was also the case in Cape Elizabeth, where according to the most recent update posted online by Town Clerk Debra Lane, only one candidate, each, had thus far taken out forms to run for two open seats on both the town council and the school board. Those candidates, Caitlin Jordan and Susana Measelle Hubbs, incumbents on the council and school board, respectively, had not returned forms at that time. The deadline to submit papers run for office is Sept. 9 in Cape Elizabeth and Sept. 12 in South Portland.

SUNDAY SERVICE — South Portland Bus Service will begin offering Sunday bus service beginning Sept. 11 on two different runs, operating from 6:40 a.m. until 6:53 p.m. Route 21 will operate between Ferry Village and downtown Portland through Mill Creek, while Route 24-A will hit Mill Creek, downtown Portland, and the Maine Mall.

“The city council and I are pleased to see the reinstituting of Sunday service on our two main bus routes,” said Mayor Tom Blake. “This will afford our residents opportunities to ride the bus to get to work, attend religious services, go shopping, and enjoy activities in the Portland region.”

Other minor changes to the public bus schedule also go into effect Sept. 11 on all three weekday routes. Complete schedules are available on all buses, posted at bus shelters and on the city’s web site at www.southportland.org by clicking “Departments” and then “Bus Service.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new service will take place at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Mill Creek Transit Center.

NEW ON THE ‘NET — South Portland has launched a pilot program offering free wifi internet service from within Mill Creek Park. According to city I.T. Director Chris Dumais, use of the service, offered in partnership with Machias-based Axiom Technologies, could lead to the creation of additional “hot spots” throughout the city.

“My goal is to bring the public wifi to all of the places in the city that our tourists visit and to attract broadband providers, such as Axiom, to want to bring their services to our city for our residents and businesses,” Dumais said. “My hope is that this pilot program will show us that it is an achievable goal.”

According to Dumais, the Mill Creek Park connections will offer up to symmetrical 5mbps of bandwidth for 30 minutes at a time. After each half-hour, users will be required to reconnect.

“We’d like to work with the city to help us understand what customers are looking for in order to help us make smart deployment choices to expand our wireless service South Portland,” said Axiom President Mark Ouellette. “The recent instillation of a fiber (optic) infrastructure in the city gives us plenty of options.”

The results of the public wifi pilot program will be evaluated over the winter, with the next deployment expected to take place in the Knightville area.

EASY ENTRY — With a number of current and potential openings at hand within the South Portland Police Department, the city’s civil service commission has agreed to temporarily waive their separate written examination, instead accepting the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s ALERT test in its place. No training or experience is necessary to be a police officer in South Portland, but hiring preference is generally given to those who have graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy or equivalent programs, or who are already certified police officers with other states.

Applicants must be at least 20 years old, possess a high school diploma or G.E.D., and must hold a valid operator’s license, and must be a high school graduate or equivalent. In order to be considered under the condensed hiring process, applications should be received by October 16. According to police department spokesman Lt. Frank Clark, the civil service commission is reviewing recommendations from the department for further streamlining the hiring process.

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