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.

The coalition includes the Humane Society and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine.

Daryl DeJoy from the Wildlife Alliance says the referendum aims to “bring the concepts of fair chase and ethics back to the time-honored tradition of hunting in Maine.”

Thirty-two states allow bear hunting but referendum supporters say none of them allows all three techniques: dogs, baiting and trapping.


Bail set for two local men facing robbery charges

Two Waterboro men face robbery charges after an attack at a beach at Lake Arrowhead. The York County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for help at 7:30 p.m. Friday and found the victim, who had sought refuge in a nearby house, had been robbed of $140, alcohol and his cellphone, according to Chief Deputy William King. The man said he knew one of his attackers.

Deputies arrested Justin Poretta, 26, and Robert Lord, 20. After an initial hearing Monday, the two are being held in York County Jail on $7,500 and $5,000 bail, respectively, pending a Sept. 3 court date.


Baldwin man missing since July 1 found, returned home

A Baldwin man who was reported missing more than a week ago was found Tuesday in Biddeford.

Cumberland County Sheriff’s Capt. Craig Smith said authorities found David Buckley, 29, and returned him to his home. Smith said Buckley was “in good shape.”

Buckley’s mother reported him missing on July 1. He was last seen on Route 202 near Hollis.

At the time, police said they were concerned because Buckley has a medical condition that could have left him vulnerable to exploitation. Buckley had left home before.


Man’s death being treated as suspected drowning

Law enforcement officials are treating the death of a Maine man whose body was found in a small pond as a suspected drowning.

Police say an autopsy was done Monday on the body of George Francis, 24, of Eastbrook, but further studies were needed to determine the cause of death.

Francis was last seen Friday night and his family reported him missing on Monday. Wardens and a State Police dog found the body Monday night in a pond near his home.


Teenager saved life of boy who fell in river, police say

Police are crediting the quick thinking of a 14-year-old Lewiston youth with saving the life of a 7-year-old boy who had fallen into the Androscoggin River.

Andrew Bilodeau admits he was scared when he waded into the river behind his family’s apartment on July 3 after hearing cries of the boy’s friends. He told the Sun Journal that at first he couldn’t see the boy, but then he spotted bluish lips and a nose poking through the surface. Andrew wrapped his arms around the boy’s midsection and dragged the limp body up the bank, fearing the child was dead.


Changes to guardian ad litem system signed into law

Gov. Paul LePage signed a bill Monday to reform the state’s guardian ad litem system.

L.D. 872 restructures the current program and proposes sweeping changes to the program, including a better definition of the role, a new management structure, a database to track guardians’ work, and increased requirements to qualify as a guardian ad litem.

Most of the state’s 300 guardians ad litem are lawyers; some are mental health workers. They are appointed by judges in probate court cases such as adoptions or to protect the interests of disabled people, cases in which the Department of Health and Human Services intervenes to protect neglected and abused children, and in some divorce or family matter cases.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. David Dutremble, was supported by parents who felt they were wronged by guardians’ actions in their cases, and opposed by some guardians, who said some of the reforms could open up guardians to civil action by unhappy parents.

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