SoPo K-9 to receive protective vest

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A South Portland Police K-9 named Zak is receiving a bullet and stab protective vest from the nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. provides vests for law enforcement dogs all around the U.S. Each vest is worth $950 and has a five year warranty. The vest for Zak comes from a donation from Maine resident Madeline Hamersley.

The South Portland Police Department and Zak's handler Shane Stephenson said they are thankful for the donation.

Developer submits plan for former South Portland armory

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The developer that owns the former National Guard Armory in South Portland is planning to put $4.5 million into the building.

It sits at the foot of the Casco Bay Bridge and has been vacant for years.

Topsham developer Priority Real Estate Group is looking for permission from the city to build a convenience store and gas station on the property. Priority also wants to have a coffee shop or deli, office space, a conference room and a city information center at the site, all while maintaining the building's recognizable façade at the city's request.

The city and Priority both said they are working well together.

The Labrador Retriever could become state dog

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The state of Maine has an official animal, bird and even cat. This legislative session, however, could provide us with a state dog. State lawmakers will vote on LD 107 which would make the Labrador Retriever Maine's state dog.

Stacy Gile has owned labs most of her life and now spends her time with her two black labs Jack and Amos.

"We realized really quickly that everywhere you went you saw labs," said Gile.

Last summer, Gile decided to contact her local lawmakers to find out how to make labs the official state dog.

Woman flips car on I-295

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A Yarmouth woman flipped her car Thursday morning on I-295 south with her baby in the backseat.

Danielle Niles, 30, said she lost control when she reached to turn on the car's heater. The car flipped and State Police said it came to a rest on its roof. Her seven-month-old remained in the car seat. The snow helped soften the vehicle's impact.

Medical officials took Niles and her child to Maine Medical Center for observation. Neither was seriously injured.

Plow operators log some long hours

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Tuesday was a busy day for crews trying to keep roadways clear across the state.

The constantly falling snow is making it tough keeping up with the task. Some road crew workers were on the job Monday night and most likely won't be done until sometime Tuesday.

"It's a nonstop storm you're continually going round and round," said Howie Leighton,a plow operator with South Portland Public Services.

When a winter storm hits Leighton is part of the South Portland crew that's first to show up and the last to leave. He came in at 9 p.m. Monday to catch some sleep on a cot, before starting salting operations at 2 a.m. A few hours later, it was on to a long day of plowing.

Crash sends four to hospital in South Portland

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A three car accident sent four people to the hospital Saturday morning.

The accident occurred at Broadway and Daytona St. approximately 9a.m. Saturday Morning.

Police have not commented on the severity of the injuries.

South Portland Police had to close Broadway for almost 90 minutes to remove the vehicles from the roadway. Broadway has been reopened.

NEWS CENTER will update when information becomes available.

Bat experts gather to discuss population decline

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Bat experts from along the East Coast are gathering in South Portland to discuss bat populations from state to state.

Many of the bat populations have been rapidly declining in recent years because of a disease called "white nose syndrome," which can cause wing scarring, and in some cases, force bats to use up stored fat during hibernation until they become emaciated and die.

"The most noticeable sign is a white fungal growth on the snout, and in the caves that's usually a sign of a bat on the way out," said Charlie Todd, endangered species coordinator for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Experts still do not know what causes it or how to treat white nose syndrome.