Wednesday December 12, 2012

Bennington sees rise
in new businesses

BENNINGTON (AP) -- At least 11 new businesses have set up shop in Bennington this year.

The majority of the new businesses are small, family-owned operations that include consignment shops, artisan bagel shops, financial planners, and spas. Some of them are looked at as resurrected versions of businesses that had gone out.

Officials say there are currently 26 businesses involved in the town’s Revolving Loan Fund. Nearly 763,000 has been loaned. Businesses in the loan program added about 10 jobs to the area and retained five to seven others.

Officials also say more tenants are occupying Bennington’s larger buildings, which have been vacant for some time.

New association forms for Vt. innkeepers

WAITSFIELD (AP) -- Participants at the first meeting of a new Vermont innkeeper association are hoping for a bigger voice in state policy.

Don Huber of the Sinclair Inn in Jericho says without such an organization, the inns haven’t been able to lobby effectively. He said they’ve had no input into the state lodging tax or tourism operations.

The Vermont Inn and Bed and Breakfast Association currently has about 75 members.

The first meeting was held recently at the Inn At the Round Barn in Waitsfield.

N.H. man guilty of trying to kill Manchester officer

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- A jury has convicted New Hampshire man of attempted murder and other felonies in the near-fatal shooting of a Manchester police officer in March.

The jury found 23-year-old Myles Webster of Litchfield guilty of all five felonies charges brought against him in the March 21 shooting of Officer Dan Doherty.

The jury deliberated two hours before signaling they had reached their verdicts on Tuesday.

Webster showed no reaction as the verdicts were read.

Webster’s lawyers argued that it was a case of mistaken identity. Webster did not testify.

The verdicts came after six days of testimony, during which multiple prosecution witnesses identified Webster as the man Doherty was chasing and the man who wheeled and fired multiple shots into Doherty’s legs and lower torso.

N.H. F&G offering
ice fishing classes

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department is offering ice fishing classes early next year.

The department is providing the classes in partnership with other groups as part of its Let’s Go Fishing Program.

Classes will be held at the Lebanon Recreation Department starting Jan. 15 and continuing Jan. 22 and Jan. 26; Greenland Recreation Department on Jan. 20; and Riley Brothers Lumber in Milford over three days starting Jan. 26. Classes will also be held at the Haverhill Recreation Department over three days starting Jan. 30; Laconia Recreation Department on Feb. 2; and the Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester over two days starting Feb. 16.

Amazon to collect sales tax from Mass. residents

BOSTON (AP) -- Online retailer Amazon.com has reached a deal with Massachusetts to start collecting the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax from Bay State residents.

The deal that kicks in next Nov. 1 was announced by Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday.

Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez is telling lawmakers that he expected the agreement to bring increased revenue to the state in "the lower tens of millions of dollars."

Gonzalez says the deal will help level the playing field for traditional "brick and mortar" stores in Massachusetts that are competing with Internet retailers.

The announcement says the state and Amazon will work together toward enactment of federal legislation to resolve the issue of taxes for online sales, and added that Amazon plans to add hundreds of jobs in Massachusetts.

Mass. 8th-graders among smartest in
the world

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts eighth-graders are among the smartest in the world when it comes to math and science, according to a new study of academic performance.

The Trends in Mathematics and Science Study’s latest assessment ranked Bay State students tied for second in the world behind only Singapore on the science portion.

When it comes to math, Massachusetts eighth-graders tied for sixth behind South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan.

Massachusetts students made a 14-point gain in mathematics and an 11-point gain in science since the last time the test was administered in 2007.

Massachusetts students performed the best among several states that participated as individual entities. The U.S. as a whole was ninth overall in math and 10th overall in science.

State education commissioner Mitchell Chester called the results "remarkable."

Feds approve Connecticut insurance exchange plan

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Connecticut is one of the first states to receive approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of its plan to set up a new health insurance exchange.

A total of six states won approval Monday for plans developed under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.

The exchange is expected to be set up by next year for individuals and businesses to find affordable coverage.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman says the approval shows Connecticut has made important progress while most states are still grappling with how to move forward with health reform.

The state has received $116 million in federal money to design and create the exchange.

In Connecticut, about 377,000 of the state’s 3.5 million residents are uninsured, or nearly 11 percent.