Friday December 14, 2012

Vermont Senate
leader resigns for health reasons

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The majority leader in the Vermont Senate is resigning from the Legislature due to health reasons.

Sixty-eight-year-old Sen. Bill Carris, a Democrat representing Rutland County, says he’s decided back and foot problems will prevent him from fully doing his job at the Statehouse during the session set to start next month.

Carris had surgery this fall, but says it did not alleviate his problems to the degree he hoped it would. He says he’s loved his time in Montpelier and is sorry that he needs to step down.

Gov. Peter Shumlin, who will appoint someone to serve out the term until the next election in 2014, says Carris’ departure is a loss to Rutland County and the state at large.

Mass. mayor reverses casino stand, again

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) -- Holyoke’s mayor has reversed course again and is now halting all casino development plans in the western Massachusetts city.

Alex Morse said in a statement on Thursday that he regrets his earlier decision to consider negotiations with developers interested in bringing a casino to Holyoke.

The 23-year-old mayor also said he would return $25,000 "grants" paid to the city by two potential developers who sought to have their proposals reviewed.

Morse defeated an incumbent mayor in 2011 after running on a strong anti-casino platform. But he stunned backers last month when he announced a new "strategy" to entertain casino proposals. He cited the possible impact on Holyoke of a casino in nearby Springfield.

Morse said in his statement that while a casino might be coming to the region, "it will not be coming here."

Mass. could be looking at another Senate race

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts voters could be looking at yet another special Senate election now that Sen. John Kerry is seen as a lead contender for Secretary of State.

Kerry had long been considered a possible nominee to the post but the decision of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to withdraw her name from consideration has propelled Kerry to the top of the list as President Obama fills out his cabinet for his second term.

If he is nominated by Obama and confirmed by his fellow senators, Kerry would resign from the seat he’s held for nearly three decades, triggering a special election -- the state’s third Senate contest since 2010.

Under current law, Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint an interim senator to serve until a special election could be held.

There’s no shortage of speculation of possible candidates.

Staten Island storm victims see Conn. housing

NEW MILFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Robert Rassi of Staten Island New York nearly drowned when Superstorm Sandy flooded his bungalow. He survived by clinging to his door until firefighters rescued him.

Rassi and his wife Deborah have been living in evacuation centers and a homeless shelter, but on Thursday they saw the temporary housing they have been offered in Connecticut. The couple says they’re overjoyed they will finally have a place to stay in time for Christmas.

The housing for displaced Staten Islanders is being offered through an initiative involving local leaders with close ties to the hard-hit New York City borough.

Organizers plan to provide about 20 homes on property owned by Faith Church in New Milford.