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.

South Portland to make final tar sands vote

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After much controversy and discussion, the South Portland City Council will take a final vote on the proposal to ban tar sands oil Monday night.

More than two years ago, environmental groups started speaking out against the potential plans to move tar sands oils via a pipeline that would run from South Portland to Canada. Members of the Natural Resources Council of Maine said because President Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline, Canadian oil companies were looking for other ways to export tar sands oil -- an oil the NRC of Maine said is "more acidic and corrosive...and is piped at higher temperatures and higher pressures, which only increases the risk of oil spills."

Volunteers collect more than enough signatures needed to get legalized marijuana on the South Portland ballot in November.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The push to legalize marijuana in more Maine communities continues. Volunteers have collected more than enough signatures to put marijuana legalization on the November ballot in South Portland.

The group dropped off those signatures at City Hall on Monday.

The signatures are part of a petition that Citizens for a Safer Maine and the Marijuana Policy Project hope will get the city of South Portland talking once more about the legalization of marijuana.

Portland recently legalized marijuana in the city, now these two groups are hoping voters in York, South Portland, and Lewiston can decide on the issue in November. The amount of marijuana allowed in adult possession in these three votes would be 1 ounce, a smaller portion than is allowed currently in Portland.