Tuesday July 23, 2013

Heat propels
New England power use to new record

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) -- New England’s electric grid operator says last week’s stretch of excessive heat and humidity pushed weekend power use to an eight-year high.

ISO-New England said Monday that preliminary data show that 24,653 megawatts were used on Saturday, a record for a weekend day. The previous record was 24,065 megawatts on Aug. 13, 2005.

On Friday, demand was fourth-highest, with demand for 27,377 megawatts.

The record for electricity use was 28,130 megawatts on Aug. 2, 2006.

Spokeswoman Marcia Blomberg said ISO-New England asked businesses on Friday to reduce power to help cut demand. Businesses that agree in advance to cut electricity do so when requested by the Holyoke-based power grid operator.

The call for power reduction is rare. Blomberg said companies were asked in January, but were never called on last year.

Unlucky in moose lottery? Here’s a pricier chance

MONTPELIER (AP) -- If you’re unlucky in the Vermont moose permit lottery drawing Aug. 1, here’s another chance with better odds, but it will cost you.

Hunters wanting a chance in the lottery had to buy a ticket by July 5 for the chance to purchase one of 355 moose hunting permits being made available this year.

That drawing is Aug. 1, but anyone who’s unlucky there has another opportunity to enter an auction for one of five additional moose permits being distributed by that method.

The minimum auction bid is $1,500, and winners usually enter bids topping $4,000. The auction deadline is Aug. 21.

Those interested can call 802-828-1190 or log on to www.vtfishandwildlife.com .

Sens. Warren, Markey fault ‘stand your ground’ law

BOSTON (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is questioning the wisdom of so-called "stand your ground" laws following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Asked if Zimmerman should face federal civil rights charges in the death of Martin, who was black, Warren said the Justice Department is considering the question, but the jury has spoken.

The Massachusetts Democrat said the goal should be to create a country "not just where some of us are safe, but where all of our children are safe."

Fellow Democratic Sen. Edward Markey questioned whether the laws might embolden someone who is armed to pursue an unarmed individual and then fire if that person turns to confront them.

He said it’s time to start "paring back" the laws.

Massachusetts doesn’t have a stand your ground law.

Vermont brothers charged in burglary and assault

BARRE (AP) -- Two brothers, including one who is at large and is considered armed and dangerous, are facing charges they threatened to kill a Vermont man and his dog while stealing $1,185 from the victim’s Barre apartment.

Barre police say 33-year-old David Garneau, of Barre, and 30-year-old Jonathan Garneau, of Williamstown, were charged following the early morning July 13 incident in which a 21-year-old Barre man was assaulted and robbed with a silver and brass pistol.

Police say the Garneaus were last seen speeding away. Arrest warrants were obtained for both brothers on charges of burglary, aggravated assault and grand larceny.

David Garneau has since been arrested. He’s being held on $50,000 bail. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

Jonathan Garneau has not been apprehended.

Gov. Shaheen outlines measures against sexual assault

DURHAM, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says using the expertise of the University of New Hampshire’s National Criminal Justice Center to train military officers and first responders will have an impact in the fight against sexual assaults in the military.

Shaheen joined law enforcement officials and military personnel Monday at UNH for a roundtable discussion on efforts to improve sexual assault prevention. She outlined provisions she included in the National Defense Authorization Act to address sexual abuse prevention, including a measure to use resources at law centers like UNH’s training center.

The provision introduced by Shaheen, a member of the Armed Services Committee, requests a comprehensive review from the Department of Defense for the coordination and incorporation of civilian law enforcement best practices in sexual assault prevention and response.

"We have a responsibility to act," said Shaheen, who was joined by members of the New Hampshire National Guard and the Dover Police Department. "The Department of Defense has had a zero tolerance policy on sexual assault for over two decades. Yet, we’re still having this discussion instead of implementing reforms. If we continue to avoid the fundamental issues, 20 years from now we will find ourselves in the exact same place. We can’t let that happen."

10 new state troopers in N.H. budget

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire State Police are working to fill 10 new positions authorized under the recently passed state budget.

The new troopers are expected to be on the road early next year.

The budget provides for a total of 343 troopers.

The troopers’ union had advocated for more positions during the legislative session.

State Police are engaged in data analysis to determine how best to deploy the troopers, according to reports. Maj. Russell Conte said the new troopers will go where they will best serve the agency.

Bride on honeymoon killed in N.H. crash

DOVER, N.H. (AP) -- A man charged with drunk driving is being held on $250,000 bail after police said he crashed into a car driven by a Minnesota couple on their honeymoon in New England, killing the bride and seriously injuring the groom.

Killed Saturday on Route 4 in Rollinsford, N.H., was 30-year-old Leah Fonda of St. Paul. Her husband, 30-year-old Brian Preiss of St. Paul, was hospitalized in fair condition Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Police said the driver, 43-year-old Matthew Tsopas of Somersworth, fled and was found in Dover, where he was hospitalized. He was arraigned at the hospital on charges of negligent homicide, felony driving under the influence of alcohol and felony conduct after an accident, according to reports.

Preiss’s uncle, Chuck Czech of St. Joseph, Minn., said the couple worked at the theme park at the Mall of America. They were friends for a long time and recently became engaged. They got married on July 12 in Bloomington, a few blocks from the mall, and took off for their road trip shortly after that.

"Brian, he’s kind of famous for road trips," Czech said Monday. "As a child he would study maps of the United States, and when he got his license, he and his brother would just hop in the car and go to these places.

And so Leah became part of that, and so that’s how they fashioned their honeymoon."

The couple had planned to go to Boston and then on to Niagara Falls, Czech said.

Vermont state workers’ union reverses chief’s firing

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Vermont State Employees’ Associated has reinstated its executive director more than a month after he was fired, and two top lawyers with the union have resigned.

The VSEA Board of Directors voted Monday to reinstate Mark Mitchell as executive director after reviewing an independent investigator’s findings. The union says it was determined that charges raised against Mitchell earlier did not warrant his dismissal.

The union said Mitchell had been invited to return immediately to his role as executive director.

Meanwhile, two lawyers at the union, General Counsel Michael Casey and Associate General Counsel Abigail Winters, have resigned. No reason for their departures was given.