Winter power seen as sufficient in New England

HOLYOKE, Mass. (AP) -- New England's electric grid operator says consumers can expect to have enough electricity to run their heating systems this winter.

But ISO-New England said Wednesday that the region's increased reliance on natural gas is making the region vulnerable to delivery problems during periods of extreme cold.

ISO says most natural gas-fired generators do not hold long-term fuel-delivery contracts but instead rely on local gas companies that may not have gas available when demand is high. The ISO then dispatches oil- and coal-fired power plants, which are more costly and run infrequently.

For this winter, ISO has secured nearly 2 million megawatt-hours of energy from oil-fired generators, oil- and natural gas-fired generators and energy-saving agreements with companies to reduce power if asked. ISO calls it an insurance policy for New England.

Group takes dim view of Entergy, Vermont talks

MONTPELIER (AP) -- A nuclear watchdog group is expressing concern that its allies could be cut out of a deal between Entergy and Vermont on the future of the state's lone nuclear plant.

Top state officials and Entergy have been in talks toward an agreement on decommissioning Vermont Yankee after the plant closes late next year. They've asked the Public Service Board to hold off on ruling on decommissioning until those talks are complete next week.

But the New England Coalition is urging the board to cast a wary eye toward any agreement between the state and Entergy.

The group says those talks as of now involve only two of the eight parties that have been involved in board hearings over the future of the Vernon reactor.

Vermont F-35 opponents say will continue fight

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Opponents of a plan to bring the F-35 fighter plane to the Burlington International Airport say they're undeterred by the Air Force's decision to base 18 of the planes with the Vermont Air National Guard.

South Burlington lawyer James Marc Leas says they're planning to use a combination of continued public pressure and legal actions to keep the planes from being based in Vermont, scheduled for 2020.

The Air Force announced Tuesday that the Air Guard station at the South Burlington airport would be the first Air National Guard unit to get the planes.

Opponents worry about increased noise from the planes and the danger of a crash posed by the new airplanes.

The guard says they can fly the planes to minimize noise and the planes are safe.

New Hampshire hospital wants network decision documents

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A Rochester, N.H., hospital excluded from the Affordable Care Act's provider network for individuals says it also is being denied access to information about why it's being left out, but the Insurance Department says it's still sorting out what it can release.

Frisbie Memorial Hospital President Al Felgar is fighting Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's decision to exclude his hospital from the network for individual policy holders. He wants to know how the decision was made, but under state law, such information is confidential unless the insurance department finds that releasing it would be in the public interest. The department says it's still reviewing the matter.

New Hampshire tax collections slightly below plan

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire's tax collections are $23 million above estimates so far this fiscal year despite falling slightly below projections in November.

The state took in almost $149 million in November, which is $1.6 million less than anticipated. Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon attributed some of the shortfall to a higher amount in refunds paid to businesses. Business tax receipts were almost $4 million less than estimated as a result.

The state took in more than expected from the taxes on restaurant meals, hotel room rentals and real estate sales.

So far this year, the state has collected $689 million.

Man arrested following New Hampshire parking dispute

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) -- Police in Manchester, N.H., say a parking dispute between two men has led to an arrest.

Police said 53-year-old Richard Sinotte of Manchester tried to park his pickup at a Hannaford supermarket Tuesday. He started yelling at a man sitting in an SUV next to him, apparently upset that the man's vehicle was encroaching on his space. The men started arguing, and eventually Sinotte raised a gun and made a threatening comment.

The other man, who had dropped his mother off at the store to pick up groceries and had his 2-year-old daughter in the back seat, called police.

Sinotte was charged with criminal threatening. Police seized a 12-gauge Remington shotgun and 10 shells from his pickup.