Birthday balloon landing in Scarborough

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – What looked to some as a near miss, was actually an on target landing.

Some passersby looked to the sky Saturday morning on the Broadturn Road in Scarborough and though a balloon was coming close to homes. Joe Shevenell, owner of Hot Fun Balloons Flights, said a woman had purchased the balloon ride for her mother's 90th birthday party and got the ride of her life.

Shevenell said the landing in the front yard was planned as part of the birthday celebration.

Shevenell said it was a beautiful morning for this sort of ride and was exactly what the customer wanted.

30th anniversary: Joan Benoit Samuelson wins gold medal

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Thirty years ago Joan Benoit Samuelson won a gold medal for the first women's Olympic marathon on this day August 5, 1984.

A year later, she made history by winning the 1985 Chicago Marathon in an American-record time of 2 hours, 21 minutes, 21 seconds.

Joan Benoit Samuelson is founder and chair of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K. The 6.2-mile run, starting at Crescent Beach and ending at Portland Head Light, the nation's first commissioned lighthouse is the largest road race ever in Maine. This race in Cape Elizabeth draws runners from all parts of the U.S. and elite athletes from around the world.

Electric car enthusiasts amped about new chargers

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Electric car enthusiasts joined community leaders to unveil a new charging station that not only cuts down on time, but will get motorists back on the road at no charge at all.

The DC Quick Charge station now sits along side another two chargers at the South Portland Community Center, and as of today, is open and free to the public to pull up and plug-in. The quick charger takes about half an hour to fully charge a car instead of about four hours in a home or at a business.

Barry Woods director of the Maine Electric Vehicle Alliance says while the majority of charging happens in the home public charging stations provide piece of mind.

Marijuana advocates await vote in South Portland

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Marijuana advocates say they've collected enough signatures to send the measure to voters in South Portland.

The South Portland City Council will consider whether to enact the measure on Aug. 4. If they reject the measure, then it'll automatically go to voters on the November ballot.

Marijuana advocates submitted more than 1,500 signatures - far more than the necessary 959 valid signatures of registered city voters.

David Boyer of the Maine Marijuana Project says the measure would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. It would remain illegal to consume or display marijuana in public. Under state law, possessing 2 1/2 ounces or less of marijuana is a civil offense, where violators are issued a ticket and fined.

Financial gift to help Maine farmers flourish

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the oldest and largest organic organization in the country, announced a million dollar gift from the Partridge Foundation to launch an Educational Programs Endowment.

"Today, we are committed to building on our success by bringing even more farmers, more jobs and more economic expansion to Maine," stated MOFGA's executive director, Ted Quaday.

The gift could grow substantially if MOFGA is able to raise another one million dollars over the next 18 months, as the Partridge Foundation has pledged to match those donations with another million dollar donation, bringing the endowment to $3 million by the end of next year.

"It is the single largest gift in the history of the organization," said Quaday.

Environmentalists celebrate Clear Skies Ordinance

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine environmentalists are celebrating a big win in their battle to prevent tar sands oil from being loaded onto tankers in South Portland.

On Monday night, the South Portland city council voted in a 6-1 decision in favor of the so-called "Clear Skies Ordinance."

"A community working together can do amazing things!" said Mary Jane Ferrier with Protect South Portland.

The group led a vocal campaign to warn the community about the possibility of tar sands coming down the Portland Pipeline from Canada, and the environmental hazards that might follow.

"Tar sands is this emerging dirty oil that lots of communities are facing threats from, and the oil industry is committed to getting it out of the ground and into as many world markets as possible," said Dylan Voorhes, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

South Portland passes ordinance to block tar sands

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- With a 6-1 vote, South Portland City Councilors have made history by passing an ordinance to block the loading of crude oil, including tar sands oil.

According to the Natural Resources Council of Maine, South Portland is the first community to pass such an ordinance.

A crowd of about 300 people turned out to hear the vote on the Clear Skies Ordinance Monday night.

The council held the meeting at the South Portland Community Center to accommodate the large crowd.

Environmentalists have supported the ordinance, saying tar sands oil is dangerous and harmful to air and water quality.

Opponents of the ordinance, including members of the oil industry, say the action will limit future development in South Portland's waterfront.