Thursday January 17, 2013

Report: Vt. could see big savings on heating

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont has been a leader in electrical efficiency for more than a decade. Now a new report says it should turn its attention in a big way to improving the efficiency of the way it heats homes and other buildings.

Lawmakers called in 2008 for the state to weatherize a quarter of its buildings -- about 80,000 of them -- by 2020. With the state not on track to meet that goal, the Department of Public Service last year convened a special Thermal Efficiency Task Force to recommend ways to improve progress.

Its report said a typical household could save $1,000 a year on heat through efficiency measures. It also said another benefit would be big reductions in carbon emissions, and a better ability to withstand future fuel price shocks.

Walmart plans store in Northeast Kingdom

DERBY (AP) -- Retail giant Walmart is coming to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

Walmart Corporation has signed a lease to build a Walmart Supercenter in Derby.

Alexandra Serra, public relations manager for Walmart in northern New England, said the store would create 300 new jobs in Derby. Construction is expected to start next year.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said during Tuesday’s announcement that he is "so enthusiastic" about Walmart coming to Derby because it will bring jobs to an area where unemployment has been higher than in the rest of the state.

Vt. creates visitor center on I-89

RANDOLPH (AP) -- A new public-private visitor center in the works for Interstate 89 would showcase Vermont-made products.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and others have signed off on construction of the center, which would serve both north- and south-bound travelers in Randolph.

The center is part of developer Sam Sammis’ 172-acre plan that includes residential units, manufacturing space, a hotel and a fitness center.

The site would be open year-round and would offer rest rooms, complimentary coffee, Vermont tourism information, and Vermont-made products from across the state, which it also will showcase.

Hassan would veto bill to raise N.H. beer tax

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Gov. Maggie Hassan is pledging to veto a bill to raise New Hampshire’s beer tax a dime if it reaches her desk.

Hassan told reporters Wednesday the discussion should be about jobs and the economy and now is not the time to raise the tax.

The tax currently is 30 cents per gallon and paid at the wholesale level. State Rep. Charles Weed, a Keene Democrat, proposes designating receipts from the increase to alcohol abuse and prevention treatment.

A state law currently requires a portion of the profits on liquor sales go toward treatment, but lawmakers have been diverting the money to other state spending for years. Hassan would not say if her budget will divert the money.

New Hampshire flu deaths increase to 16

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- State health officials say the number of flu-related deaths in New Hampshire has increased to 16.

Beth Daly, chief of infectious disease surveillance for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said two more deaths were reported since Friday, when the number of adult influenza-related deaths reported to the state stood at 14.

Daly said the fact that two more deaths were reported doesn’t necessarily mean they occurred in the past several days. She said the state learns about flu-related deaths through electronically filed death certificates.

So far, all of the deaths reported have only involved adults.

The state saw a total of 19 deaths reported in 2012.

Donation adds to Museum of the
White Mountains

PLYMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- As it prepares to open next month, a museum dedicated to New Hampshire’s White Mountains has received a 6,000-volume collection of books, maps and historical material.

The donation to the Museum of the White Mountains at Plymouth State University comes from Jack and Anne Newton of South Natick, Mass., who said they want the public to enjoy and understand the region’s rich history. 

The couple started collecting White Mountain material in the 1960s, when they acquired an old farmhouse property in Lancaster, which Anne Newton’s ancestors helped settle in 1816. Jack Newton, who served in leadership positions with the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Mount Washington Observatory, says he used to visit antiquarian book dealers on the lookout for obscure, undiscovered items.

2 youths injured in N.H. ski lift fall

GILFORD, N.H. (AP) -- Police say two juveniles were taken to a hospital after falling from a chairlift at the Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford.

The two fell 6 to 8 feet at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Police described the injuries as "non-life threatening."

Deputy Fire Chief Richard Andrews said the prompt response of Gunstock Safety Services and Fire-Rescue personnel helped to reduce exposure to the elements.

Flip-flop leads to conviction in Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Authorities in Maine say a flip-flop left behind at a doughnut shop burglary in Waterville has led to a conviction.

Jessica Savage was sentenced Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court to serve nine months of a five-year prison term, after pleading guilty to breaking into a Dunkin’ Donuts and stealing $150.

Prosecutors say she smashed a window, hopped over a counter and passed a cash box out the window. But she left behind her footwear and prosecutors say DNA from the flip-flop was matched to the 31-year-old Winslow woman. She was already serving a jail term for participating in a break-in at a state legislator’s home eight days after the doughnut shop burglary.

Savage was also ordered to pay for the cost of replacing the window.

Dog rescued from ice floe on Maine river

BATH, Maine (AP) -- A poodle that found itself in a pickle is safe and sound after floating down Maine’s Kennebec River on a small ice floe before being rescued.

A black standard poodle named Hoku jumped on the ice chunk while exploring the shoreline in Bath with her owner Saturday morning.

As Hoku floated swiftly downriver, two members of the Bath Iron Works security team took a boat out into the river in a rescue attempt.

Sgt. Paul White said that he and Cpl. Harland Stanley let their boat come to a standstill and waited for the ice chunk to drift by. When that happened, Stanley grabbed the leash and called the dog by name. She then jumped from the ice onto the boat -- dry and unscathed.