A moratorium that temporarily shields the private information of concealed firearm permit holders expires next month.On Tuesday in Augusta, the public got to weigh in on a bill that would make the information permanently private.A request by the Bangor Daily News for the names, addresses and birthdays of all concealed firearm permit holders in Maine sparked a public outrage. Tuesday, a large crowd packed the State House committee room, most of them to support Augusta Republican Corey Wilson’s proposal to keep that information private.”Well, the whole point of having concealed carry is so no one knows I have a gun right?” Waldoboro resident Duncan Morrell says he doesn’t want his private information to be part of a shopping list for potential thieves. The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine was among the large contingent here supporting the measure.”Really for us this is a public safety issue,” said Executive Director of the alliance, David Trahan. “A lot of people have their permits to protect themselves. Some have been assaulted. In my case, I had my concealed permit because I had death threats made against me.”While most of those who turned out here are in favor of the bill, there are those who say shielding information is a bad idea.”This really isn’t a gun control or a gun rights bill,” said Shenna Bellows of ACLU of Maine. “It’s a government secrecy bill. Secrecy breeds mistrust.”Opponents have argued the bill sets a dangerous precedent of secrecy, but the bill’s sponsor points out this bill is far from the first exemption to the Freedom of Access Act.”We’ve exempted a number of documents,” said Republican Representative Corey Wilson. “483 documents currently are exempted from FOAA in the state of Maine. This is no different than any of those other exemptions except that we have a sincere public safety interest here.”Wilson says the measure protects victims of domestic abuse who get a concealed firearms permit for protection, but opponents of the bill say that protection is a two-way street.”There may be certain circumstances where it makes perfect sense to conceal some of the permit information, for example if a woman has a protection of abuse order, but when you make those records confidential it means she can’t find out if her abuser has a concealed weapons permit so it slices both ways,” said Suzanne Goucher of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.The committee will decide next week whether to pass the measure out of committee. If they do it faces further votes in the House and the Senate.
Workers at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are bracing for pay cuts as the Department of Defense works to trim its budget. In order to meet required budget cuts, the Department of Defense is telling civilian workers they must take 22 furlough days over the next six months. Paul O’Connor of the Shipyard Metal Trades Council tells WMUR-TV the cuts have meant a surge in applications for retirement. He said a month less of productivity means a costly backup of overhaul work on nuclear submarines. Administrators are working with unions to figure out how to schedule the furlough time. More than 5,000 people worked at the Kittery, Maine, shipyard last year. Nearly 2,000 of them live in New Hampshire.
A Swedish medical device maker is moving into space at the old Brunswick Naval Air Station, bringing about 50 jobs with the potential for more. Molnlycke Health Care is locating a manufacturing facility in a 79,000 square foot building to make what essentially are high-tech bandages for wound care. Company officials said Monday they chose Brunswick over spots in Europe and Asia because it already owns a smaller, more specialized plant in nearby Wiscasset. The company plans to spend $50 million to make over a former military warehouse. A company official tells WMTW-TV (http://bit.ly/15JKmdW ) if the company continues to grow, the Brunswick facility could eventually employ even more people. With the addition of Molnlycke, Brunswick Landing now leases space to 22 businesses that employ about 175 people.
BYRON, Maine (AP) – Residents of a small western Maine town have rejected a proposal that would have required a gun in every home. About 50 registered voters in Byron on Monday voted against an article that read: “Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunitions to protect the citizens?” Even Anne Simmons-Edmunds, head of the select board, who initially said she supported the measure, voted it down. The measure was proposed by her father, Bruce Simmons. He voted it down too, saying the wording was wrong. He said it should have said “recommend’ rather than “require.” Some of the town’s roughly 140 residents said the proposal made the town a laughingstock. Randy Richards said he’s a gun owner, but resented the proposal because it was government overreach.
Maine gets a D from a nonpartisan, nonproft group on how the state makes legislative information available.The Sunlight Foundation rated legislative websites on factors like completeness of information on bills, votes and events and how quickly the information was updated.New Hampshire received an A. Massachusetts and Rhode Island both got F’s.
Gas prices in Maine are down nearly two cents per gallon. Www.mainegasprices.com shows gas is averaging $3.80 a gallon in our state.The national average is $3.66.
Federal prosecutors want a former Portsmouth Naval Shipyard worker who pleaded guilty to setting fire to a nuclear submarine to be given the maximum sentence for the crime.Casey Fury struck a deal with prosecutors and admitted last year to setting the fire that caused more than $400 million in damage to the USS Miami. 19-and-a-half years is the maximum jail time he can get. He’ll be sentenced Friday.
A week full of activities celebrating all things Irish is kicking off in Bath. The fifth annual Bath Blarney Days begins Monday and runs through Sunday. During the week, events include music, poetry and film, an Irish soda bread baking contest, a tug-of-war competition, a 5K race and a celebration of the city’s pubs and restaurants. On Saturday, the city will host what’s billed as the state’s largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. For more information, log onto wwww.visitbath.comYour text to link…
HARRISON, Maine (AP) – A Harrison home has been destroyed by fire, but no one was inside at the time and there were no reported injuries. The blaze at the home on Front Street was reported by a passer-by who noticed smoke just before 7 p.m. Sunday. The residents had just left to go shopping. Deputy Chief Nate Sessions says when crews arrived there was already extensive fire throughout the two-story building and the kitchen was fully involved. The cause of the blaze is under investigation, but Sessions thinks it started in the kitchen. Firefighters from four surrounding communities helped battle the blaze, which knocked out power to about 1,000 customers for a short time.
F. Lee Bailey has gone before Maine’s highest court in effort to get a license to practice law in the state. The celebrity lawyer, whose high-profile clients have included O.J. Simpson and Patty Hearst, asked a Supreme Judicial Court judge Thursday to overturn the state Board of Bar Examiners decision denying him a license. The 79-year-old Bailey passed the Maine bar last winter. He was previously licensed in Massachusetts and Florida but was disbarred in those states for mishandling $6 million worth of stock for a client. Bailey, who has lived in Yarmouth since 2010, says he was disillusioned about the profession until he moved to Maine. He says he has plenty to offer and is in good physical and mental shape. The judge did not immediately rule.
A Windham man authorities say set fire to an apartment building he owns and claimed it was the work of organized crime is facing criminal charges. Police and the state Fire Marshal’s office on Thursday arrested 67-year-old Donato Corsetti and charged him with two counts of arson in connection with the Dec. 7 fire. Investigators say Corsetti, who also owns a market next door, told investigators he was showing an apartment to two men who jumped him, tied him up and set the fire. Corsetti told police the mob from Rhode Island was trying to scare him and asked police not to investigate. Authorities tell The Portland Press Herald, the building had been foreclosed on and was insured. Corsetti was held on $50,000 bail.
The chancellor of the University of Maine System says education must be affordable, and the first step is to “break the back of year-to-year tuition increases.”Chancellor James Page is addressing a joint convention of the Legislature on Thursday. Maine Community College System President John Fitzsimmons and Maine Maritime academy President William Brennan are also presenting reports to the House-Senate convention.In a text of his speech, Page says the UMaine system faces challenges much like those of the state as a whole – slipping median incomes, an aging population and young people leaving the state.Fitzsimmons says community colleges can’t accommodate all the students who qualify for admission, and that prevents the schools from filling the so-called skills gap. He fears a “great divide of educational haves and have-nots.”
The north span of the new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine is in place. Work is now expected to start on the center lift span of the bridge connecting Portsmouth, N.H., to Kittery, Maine. The north span on the Kittery side was successfully moved into place early Wednesday. The south span was put into place in January. Denis Switzer of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation says the goal is to complete the project by July 6. He tells the Portsmouth Herald (http://bit.ly/WWllwe) the center span is the most difficult part of the job because it is a moving part. Operating the span includes hooking up counterweight cables and installing electrical wiring.
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. The 55-year-old Beaucage 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. His lawyer tells The Times Record, that Beaucage “looks forward to his day in court.”
A Mechanic Falls woman has pleaded guilty to stealing from the nonprofit group home for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities where she worked, and for stealing from one client. Prosecutors say 41-year-old Terri Arsenault misused a John F. Murphy group homes credit card. Arsenault also took money from a trust account of a resident at one of the three homes, where she served as administrator. Investigators say she used the nonprofit’s credit card to buy gas, groceries and other household goods, often at night, on weekends and during vacations when she wasn’t working. The thefts dated to 2007 and 2008. The Sun Journal, reports that in a deal with prosecutors, Arsenault agreed to a maximum of nine months in jail at sentencing. She also agreed to pay $15,000 in restitution.
A Bath husband and wife ordered out of their home because city officials judged that it was dangerous are being allowed to stay because of the generosity of others. The city ordered Alan and Yvonne Orchard to vacate their home in December because of a hole in the roof and a structurally unsound foundation. The city even found them an apartment. Russell DuPree of Freeport heard about the Orchards predicament and set about fixing the house. He patched the hole and shored up the foundation. An engineer determined the building was safe. The order to vacate was rescinded in Sagadahoc County court last month. The city council is expected to do the same Wednesday. Yvonne Orchard tells The Times Record, that she and her husband are “happy and relieved.”
The north span of the new Memorial Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Maine is getting ready for its big entrance. The span is expected to be floated in at about 1 a.m. Wednesday. Stephen DelGrosso of contractor Archer Western tells the Portsmouth Herald, the tide and currents dictate that the float-in start early. The move toward the Kittery side of the bridge would be completed by 8 a.m. The barge Cape Cod – on which the north span is being built at the Port of New Hampshire -is expected to be moved through the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge on Tuesday afternoon, then be tied up on the downriver side awaiting the float-in. The new Memorial Bridge connecting Portsmouth and Kittery is scheduled to open to traffic this summer.
Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Wayne man accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy because of “insufficient evidence.” The Franklin County prosecutor’s office last month filed a dismissal of the charge against 61-year-old Mark Kimball. Kimball’s attorney tells the Kennebec Journal, that the allegation of sexual assault was part of an effort by the boy’s mother to extort money from Kimball. The attorney says the boy’s mother attacked Kimball, cutting his hand. When Kimball reported that attack to police, the woman made up the assault. The boy’s mother told police Kimball assaulted the boy in February 2012 in a hotel room in Carrabassett Valley that he shared with the boy and the mother.
Lawyers for a Maine man accused of helping a Zumba instructor run a prostitution business are getting one more shot at convincing a judge to dismiss most of the remaining counts. The defense on Tuesday will argue in favor of a motion to toss 12 promotion-of-prostitution counts against Mark Strong based on “broadness and vagueness” of the original indictment. Strong also faces a 13th count, which is conspiracy to promote prostitution. The 57-year-old Strong from Thomaston stands accused of helping Zumba instructor Alexis Wright use her Kennebunk fitness studio as a front for prostitution. The insurance agent has acknowledged having an affair with Wright and helping her launch the studio but contends he never profited from her activities.
Maine residents are getting some relief at the gas pump. Price-monitoring website MaineGasPrices.com reports Monday that the average retail cost of a gallon of gas in the state has fallen more than two cents in the past week and now averages $3.82. The price in Maine, however, remains 12 cents per gallon higher than the national average. Gas prices in Maine are now two cents lower than the same time last year but a dime higher than they were a month ago. The prices are based on a survey of more than 1,200 Maine gas stations.