March 6, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services

(Continued from page 1)


Bill would allow businesses to operate football pools

Those sports pools that patrons play in Maine bars are illegal. A bill before the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee could change that.

Rep. Sharri MacDonald's bill would authorize the state police to issue licenses to places that sell alcoholic beverages so they could operate football score pools. The licenses would cost $50.

MacDonald told the committee Wednesday that she would welcome an amendment to broaden the bill to include any kind of pool. The Old Orchard beach Republican said some restaurants are looking for ways to bring people to their businesses, and her bill could help. She said the bill also could generate more than $110,000 for the state.

The Maine Restaurant Association supports the bill. No one spoke against MacDonald's proposal during Wednesday's public hearing.


Department of Labor warns Mainers about phone scam

The Maine Department of Labor is warning people about a telephone scam in which the caller offers help finding a job.

The department said the caller tries to get personal information from individuals by posing as an employee of the department. People who get calls should not give personal information.

The scam was reported by a woman who has been employed as a nurse at the same facility for 13 years and is not looking for work.

Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette said the department does not call people unless they are already engaged with one of its programs, and state workers always identify themselves with their name, title and purpose of the call.

Individuals who think they might have been targeted should contact police and call the Department of Labor at 623-7900.


LePage, agriculture leader join ceremonial tree tapping

Gov. Paul LePage touted the state's maple syrup industry by tapping a maple tree on the lawn of the governor's mansion.

LePage was joined Wednesday by Agriculture Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, maple syrup producers and legislators for the annual Blaine House ceremonial tree tapping.

The event serves as a prelude to Maine Maple Sunday, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary on March 24. On that day, scores of sugarhouses open their doors to allow the public to view the syrup-making process and taste a few samples.

Maine last year produced 360,000 gallons of syrup, tying it with New York as the No. 2 syrup-producing state. Vermont is the top U.S. syrup producer.


Stephen Longley dies at 56, ferried AT hikers across river

Stephen Longley, known by Appalachian Trail hikers as "The Ferryman," and son of a former Maine governor, died Saturday at his home in Solon. He was 56.

From 1987 to 2007, Longley operated the Appalachian Trail Conference's Kennebec River Ferry Service in Caratunk. During that time, Longley, known for his red canoe, transported more than 19,000 hikers across the river and was featured in articles and documentaries.

A registered Maine Guide and Wilderness First Responder, Longley often said he was inspired by his father, James Longley, Maine's independent governor from 1974-78.



Massage therapist pleads not guilty to sex charges

A massage therapist from Topsham charged with inappropriately touching a client at the fitness center where he works has been arraigned.

Lionel Beaucage pleaded not guilty Monday in Sagadahoc County Superior Court to one count of felony unlawful sexual contact and two misdemeanor counts of unlawful sexual touching.

Beaucage, 55, was arrested Sept. 18 after the woman told police that on Sept. 8 he inappropriately touched her at a Topsham fitness center where he works as a professional fitness trainer and licensed massage therapist.


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