Wednesday January 2, 2013

Fight over VY in 2 courts this month

BRATTLEBORO (AP) -- Lawyers involved in the fight over the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant will be busy in the coming weeks.

A federal appeals court in New York has set Jan. 14 as the date for oral arguments in an appeal of a Vermont federal judge’s order last January saying the state could not force Vermont Yankee to shut down.

Two days later, the Vermont Supreme Court will hear a claim by the anti-nuclear group New England Coalition.

That group says that by continuing to operate the plant past its initial license expiration date of this past March 21, Entergy Corp. is violating the terms of the state permit it got when it bought Vermont Yankee in 2002.

Vermont minimum wage goes to $8.60

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont’s minimum wage went up 14 cents an hour, effective New Year’s Day, to $8.60 per hour.

That’s according to a state law that says the wage will go up each year by either 5 percent or an amount that matches the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less.

The minimum wage for workers in places like hotels and restaurants, who rely on tips for a significant part of their income, goes from $4.10 to $4.17.

Such increases often trigger raises for workers making just above the minimum wage, as well.

N.H. Gov-elect Hassan inauguration Thursday

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan is being inaugurated Thursday afternoon and plans an open house at the New Hampshire Statehouse to greet the public.

The 54-year-old Democrat from Exeter is a former Senate majority leader and business attorney. She lost her re-election bid to the Senate in a Republican sweep in 2010. She beat Republican Ovide Lamontagne in November to win the governor’s office.

Hassan’s inauguration will be at noon Thursday and will feature poetry, prayer and music.

Hassan has asked New Hampshire Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Charlie Morgan to lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Morgan, who has terminal breast cancer, is fighting to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act that bars her wife from receiving federal benefits.

New Hampshire traffic updates available via real-time video

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire motorists can now get a real-time view of traffic conditions thanks to a new public-private partnership.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation is working with a Virginia Company called TrafficLand to allow the public to view video from cameras positioned in 10 locations around the state.

Through the website www.Trafficland.com , the public can view traffic and road conditions via Google maps that display travel speeds as color-coded lines -- green for normal speeds, yellow for slowdowns and red for slowed or stopped traffic. Viewers can then bring up real-time video from nearby cameras to confirm travel conditions.

Airline discount helps N.H. airport reach goal

LEBANON, N.H. (AP) -- A small airline’s discounted ticket promotion has helped a New Hampshire airport reach a benchmark passenger count for 2012, making it eligible for $1 million in federal funding.

Cape Air offered $12 tickets for flights from the Lebanon Municipal Airport to Boston or White Plains, N.Y., the last week of the year to entice more people to use the airport.

The airport reached the mark of 10,000 departing passengers for the year around noon on Sunday.

By reaching the threshold, the airport’s federal funding for airfield improvements jumps from about $150,000 to $1 million.

Ayotte: Congress doesn’t deserve pay raise

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she plans to introduce legislation to block Congress and other high-ranking federal officials from getting a salary increase.

Under an executive order signed last week, senators and House members are set to receive a 0.5 percent pay hike in late March. But Ayotte says given the dysfunction in Washington during negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff, the last thing members of Congress and top officials should get is a bigger paycheck.

Last year, Ayotte co-sponsored a bill that would dock pay for members of Congress for failing to pass a budget resolution before the start of the fiscal year.