News

"Business Friendly" title stripped from SoPo


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland leaders responded Monday to the removal of the city's "business friendly" designation by the LePage Administration.

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development took the title away in February because it said the LePage administration was disappointed that the city passed an ordinance last year that blocks the export of tar sands oil. The ordinance caused strong debate in the community, with a few hundred people attending every public meeting before the final vote.

South Portland City Councilor Claude Morgan said he stands by that ordinance and disagrees with the governor's decision.

SoPo schools see more homeless students


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland schools have seen a large increase in the number of homeless students. Meanwhile, there's been a decrease in Portland city schools.

The Portland Press Herald reports Portland's family shelter regularly used the Maine Motel on Route 1 in South Portland for temporary housing is one of the causes. That produced a total of 61 additional students for several weeks until families were placed in apartments.

Since July 1, South Portland schools have enrolled 107 students who were considered homeless under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, said Assistant Superintendent Kathryn Germani. That's a 74 student increase from 2013-14.

SoPo High School adopts new pledge rules


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Faculty at South Portland High School officially approved a procedure for saying the Pledge of Allegiance after students sparked a controversy over leading the pledge.

The new proposal makes clear that students are being invited not ordered to say the Pledge of Allegiance, said senior class President Lily SanGiovanni. Principal Ryan Caron said that SanGiovanni will begin the pledge with, "I now invite you to rise and join me for the Pledge of Allegiance."

SanGiovanni, Gaby Ferrell and Morrigan Turner began adding "if you'd like to" while leading the pledge over the school's intercom earlier this school year. SanGiovanni, Ferrell and Turner said they wanted to make clear that the pledge is optional under law.

The controversy gained national attention. Caron told the Portland Press Herald he heard from people in 30 states.

In South Portland, students teach adults about social media


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Most parents understand Facebook, but what about Yik Yak, Kik, or What's App? They're all popular social media apps among teens.

It can be hard for parents to stay on top of all the technology at their children's fingertips, and that's why teachers in South Portland held a forum on "Digital Citizenship" Monday night.

Parents were invited to come to a panel discussion about social media. Students of different ages answered questions candidly about social media use.

The students explained which apps are popular and why. They gave them advice for monitoring social media use, and on a few occasions, reassured them that students are learning how to use social media responsibly. In South Portland, it's a regular topic in the classroom.

Teens face charges in stabbing shooting case


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Two teenagers went before a judge Friday to face charges for a South Portland shooting and stabbing.

Essa Sayed of Portland and Zachary Swain of Cape Elizabeth, who are both 18, face numerous charges, including attempted murder and aggravated assault. Police said the Wednesday night attack was the result of a botched drug deal.

Swain and Sayed were each charged with robbery, two counts of attempted murder, one count of assault and elevated assault.

Police said the two victims and two suspects met at Wainwright Recreation Complex around 11 p.m. Wednesday night to exchange what police called a small amount of marijuana. Police are expected to make more arrests as the investigation continues.

South Portland Police investigate shooting, stabbing






























SoPo High School students criticized for pledge


SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- At South Portland High School, three students are facing criticism for giving students the option not to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

"Ever since I was in kindergarten, you just say the pledge and that is that. No one ever asks any question," said senior Morrigan Turner.

Across the country schools begin their morning reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Turner, Student Body President Lily SanGiovanni and fellow senior Gaby Ferrell discovered under Maine law it is optional if a student wants to recite the pledge. SanGiovanni began adding "if you'd like to" before she led the school's pledge.