July 10, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news reports


Motto issue takes back seat, Town Council panel decides

The town will remain motto-free, at least this summer.

Town councilors voted last month to drop “Birthplace of the State of Maine” because it was deemed inaccurate. A claim that the Jameson Tavern was the site of a meeting of Maine’s founders at the time they decided to separate from Massachusetts was debunked by the Daughters of the American Revolution and local experts.

That led some Freeport High School students to suggest new mottos to the council, and the possibility of a wider search for a replacement.

A committee of councilors decided Tuesday to keep the issue of replacing the town’s motto on the back burner until the fall.

“We have some really pressing issues in town,” said Special Projects Committee Chairwoman Kristina Egan. “For me, coming up with a motto is sort of a low priority.”

The town will poll the public on its website through July about the issue’s importance.


Town official charged with criminal threatening

A town official  was arrested Monday after he threatened sheriff’s deputies, the York County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Chief Deputy William King Jr. said officers arrested Donald Ouellette, 51, the town’s assistant rescue chief, and charged him with criminal threatening.

King said Ouellette got into a heated argument with the town’s rescue chief, went to his car and removed an item that may have been a gun – it was wrapped up.

When officers spoke with Ouellette, they gave him a written order to stay away from the fire station. Ouellette then said he planned to attend a meeting of the Rescue Department board Thursday.

Officers said he would not be able to attend the meeting, an order that he said he would not obey, King said. At that point, he made threatening remarks to the officers, who arrested him.

King said that at some point Monday night, Ouellette submitted his letter of resignation to town officials.

Ouellette posted $100 bail and was released from the York County Jail. He is scheduled to appear in Springvale District Court on Sept. 24.


Car, school bus carrying campers collide; one hurt

The driver of a car that collided Tuesday afternoon with a school bus carrying summer campers was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Portsmouth, N.H.

Katie Moore, a paramedic supervisor with the South Berwick Rescue Department, said the male driver, whose name and condition were unavailable, was taken to Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

Fire Chief George Gorham said the bus was carrying 23 children ages 12 to 16 and five counselors when it was hit in the front. He said the bus was on its way back to Camp Yavneh in Northwood, N.H., from York Beach.

Several ambulance crews responded to the crash but none of the campers had to be taken to a hospital, Moore said.

The accident, which was reported around 4:30 p.m., occurred on Route 236 near its intersection with Quarry Drive.


Coalition pursues statewide vote on bear-hunting rules

A coalition that wants another statewide vote aimed at banning the use of bait, traps and dogs to hunt bears says it’s launching a petition drive in Maine.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting announced Tuesday that it plans to gather 80,000 signatures of Maine voters, exceeding the 57,277 needed to qualify for the November 2014 ballot, 10 years after Mainers rejected a similar referendum.

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