Bennington School, town join on shelter rehabilitation

BENNINGTON (AP) -- A private school for emotionally challenged kids in Bennington has joined with the town on a project to rehabilitate a local park pavilion.

Students from the Bennington School spent some of last week tearing old shingles of the roof of the Willow Park Pavilion and replacing them with new, providing a needed upgrade to the more-than 40-year-old structure.

The private school in Bennington serves students from 10 to 18 years old who have had emotional and social difficulties. Its director of operations, Ralph Bennett, says it's hoped such projects teach practical skills, build accountability and encourage community engagement.

Sanders holds essay contest for Vermont high school students

BURLINGTON (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders is holding his fourth annual State of Union essay-writing contest for Vermont high school students.

Sanders is asking students to write an essay of 250 to 500 words about their view of the state of the union as the president prepares for his State of the Union address to Congress in January.

The deadline for submissions is noon on Jan. 10, 2014.

Sanders will visit the winner's school to hold a student town meeting to discuss the state of the union and the future of the country. The finalists' essays will be entered in the Congressional Record and posted on Sanders' website.

Online: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/stateoftheunion/.

New Hampshire union members ratify contract with state

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- State workers have ratified a tentative contract agreement with New Hampshire that requires workers to pay a deductible for the first time, but shares health plan savings with the workers in exchange.

The agreement gives workers their first raise in five years, but also implements a $500 deductible for singles and $750 per family.

The contract was the second attempt at an agreement with the 7,800 workers represented by the State Employees' Association. SEA leaders rejected a tentative agreement in June largely over health care costs.

A wellness incentive program shares plan savings with workers, giving them up to $300 in 2014 and again in 2015 to use toward the deductible.

New Hampshire gas prices rise slightly

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The average price of gas in New Hampshire has risen 1.2 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.25.

The website Gasbuddy.com says that's 4 cents more than the national average.

New Hampshire prices on Sunday were nearly 25.3 cents per gallon lower than the same day a year ago and 12.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The price is based on a daily survey of 875 gas outlets in New Hampshire.

The national average has decreased 16.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 22.5 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.