June 26, 2013

Local & State Dispatches

From staff and news services


LePage vetoes two gun bills aimed at identifying owners

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill Tuesday aimed at increasing background checks before private gun sales, virtually ensuring it won't become law.

The governor also vetoed a bill to require those who carry guns in the open to give police identifying information if police deem them a threat.

The background-check bill, sponsored by Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, would create a civil violation for selling a gun to a person prohibited from owning a gun, such as a convicted felon. A seller would get partial or complete defense from prosecution by having a background check done on the buyer.

In his veto message, LePage called the bill "well-meaning," but focused "on those who would choose to obey the law, and for that reason I believe it misses the target."

The second veto was aimed at L.D. 380, sponsored by Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook. It would prohibit anyone who carries a gun openly from withholding identifying information from police if police deem "protection of the public requires identification."

Gattine's bill was motivated by an incident in Portland in which a man prompted calls to police when he carried an assault rifle through the city.

His action was legal, but police didn't know his name because he wasn't obligated to give it.

In his veto message, LePage said lawmakers must "be careful when we take rights away from law-abiding individuals."

LePage also signed a bill aimed at promoting awareness of Lyme disease.

The bill requires the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention to include certain information on its website about Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.

Among other things, the website must say that a negative result for a Lyme disease test doesn't necessarily mean Lyme disease isn't present. The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society Physicians says false-negatives for Lyme disease occur 54 percent of the time.

The bill also mandates that patients get full results when tested.


Kingfield man dies in crash of all-terrain vehicle

A 29-year-old Kingfield man was killed in an all-terrain vehicle crash early Tuesday in the Somerset County town of New Portland.

Raymond Gerrish, formerly of Springvale, took the 2009 Honda Rubicon 550 without the owner's permission, according to Dale Lancaster, chief deputy of the Somerset County Sheriff's Department.

Gerrish, who was riding alone at the time of the crash, was not wearing a helmet and was not a licensed driver, Lancaster said.

He said it appeared the accident happened early Tuesday morning. A motorist driving to work reported the crash just before 6 a.m. on Middle Road.

Lancaster said Gerrish was traveling at a high rate of speed when he lost control of the four-wheeler and struck a tree. He suffered head and shoulder injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Lancaster said Gerrish lived on Kingsridge Road in Kingfield and the ATV was taken from a neighbor's residence, about 10 miles from the accident scene.

The vehicle was properly registered, but Lancaster would not say to whom.

The ATV was destroyed.

New Portland Fire Department and North Star Rescue aided at the scene.

Lancaster said the investigation into the accident will include standard testing for the presence of alcohol.


Windjammer Festival celebrates the fleet

Maine's historic windjammer fleet and rich maritime heritage are being celebrated in the 51st annual Windjammer Days festival.

The two-day festival got under way Tuesday in Boothbay Harbor. It will end Wednesday night with a fireworks show over the harbor.

A total of 11 windjammers will be under sail in the harbor for the windjammer parade on Wednesday.

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