South Portland fire quickly contained, no one hurt

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There was a two acre fire in South Portland Monday afternoon.

Some grass behind the ball field on Pine Street caught fire around 3:30 P.M. The smoke shot up right away and the wind blew the fire dangerously close to nearby houses.

Neighbors pitched in until the South Portland Fire Department arrived. Firefights were able to put the fire out within 20 minutes.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Fire chief Kevin Guimond told NEWS CENTER police are talking to some children in the area who may have been playing with matches.

No one was injured in the incident.

Pro-marijuana groups seek to grow support in Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's been just over six months since voters in Maine's largest city approved an ordinance which legalizes the possession of up to two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana by adults 21 and over. Now supporters of legalization have their sights set even higher as the seek to gather signatures on petitions in three more communities.

"We don't want adults to be punished for using marijuana, and right now they are," stated David Boyer, Political Director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "We want to give adults a safer alternative and make them feel comfortable using marijuana."

Boyer says volunteers will begin collecting signatures in Lewiston, South Portland and York in the coming weeks. He says this is just another step toward a statewide referendum which his group is gearing up for in 2016.

Uncle Andy's Diner will receive a Food Network makeover as a part of a reality show.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Uncle Andy's Diner in South Portland will be receive a makeover as a part of a Food Network show.

The restaurant will be featured on Food Network's show "Restaurant: Impossible," which aims to give new life to older restaurants.

Crews will take over the diner for two days in June to refurbish it. The restaurant will close on June 9 for the big makeover and will re-open June 11 with the new look.

So. Portland Wild Willy's closes without warning

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The South Portland Wild Willy's Burgers closed Monday without any warning to employees.

"Last night I closed up, shook my boss's hand and said 'see you tomorrow,'" said Kitchen Supervisor Paul Jordan.

On Monday morning he got a call from another employee telling him to pick up his check because Wild Willy's was closed. When he showed up, "closed for remodeling signs" hung in the windows. He and other workers waited in the parking lot for their checks.

The President of Wild Willy's Jim Williams said that he informed local owners of the restaurant that Sunday would be their last day of work. He said they did not inform the employees, that is on them. He said the restaurants wasn't up to standards and getting negative reviews from customers.

College students are helping save lives by filling the gaps in fire department rosters.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Ninety percent of Maine fire departments rely on volunteers to respond to most, if not all of their calls for service, but the number of volunteers willing to answer the call for help have dwindled as call volumes continue to increase.

To help fill their gaps in manpower, many departments have had to hire full-time members, or piece schedules together using per diem staff, adding expenses that few town budgets can absorb.

In southern Maine, a growing number of fire departments have turned to students, inviting them to live in their fire houses rent free in exchange for providing coverage.

City uses dogs to seek out the source of sewage in storm water runoff.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- For years, Willard Beach has battled water quality issues. High levels of harmful bacteria have been found during water tests, forcing officials to post warnings about swimming or coming into contact with the water at the beach. Now the city is employing a unique tool to fight back.

"Everybody knows that dogs have great noses, that's a given, but what is really important with that is that they have the ability to scent discriminate, which means that they can filter out all other background scents," explained Scott Reynolds, who with his wife Karen owns Environmental Canine Services. "These dogs are specifically trained to detect and source-track human fecal contamination in storm water."

The dogs worked their way up from the beach in to the surrounding neighborhood, pausing to sniff out any scent of sewage in the storm water system.

South Portland considers sex offender residency restrictions

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- South Portland could be the next community to restrict where registered sex offenders can live.

The South Portland City Council will vote on an ordinance Monday night that would prohibit sex offenders from living within 750 feet of a school or park.

According to Police Chief Edward Googins, six of the ten registered sex offenders living in the city live within 750 feet of a school or park.

The proposed ordinance would apply to new people coming in to the community. If a sex offender lived too close to a park or school, the city would give him or her 30 days notice to find a new place to live, or else be subject to a fine up to $500 per day.