New England briefs

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Thin ice hampers Free Ice Fishing Day in Vermont

Vermont's third annual Free Ice Fishing Day over the weekend was hampered by thin ice.

The January thaw started in December, keeping the lakes from being able to freeze to a sufficient thickness to allow fishermen to haul their heavy equipment onto the ice. The ice in the area was about a foot, but varied over different sections of several lakes.

The ice fishing population was reduced to those who could walk with their fishing gear or those equipped with a light snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle. Most vehicles were kept on the shore because of the thin ice.

The event is sanctioned by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and allows anyone to fish on the ice. That includes those without licenses.

Shelburne's battle with Vermont Railway headed to court

The northwest Vermont town of Shelburne is taking its battle with Vermont Railway to court over a planned intermodal railway facility off U.S. Route 7.

The town filed a lawsuit last week in state Environmental Court in an attempt to halt the project until it receives a local zoning permit.

Vermont Railways responded with its own federal suit that says the railroad is regulated by the federal Surface Transportation Board and doesn't need local or state permits.

The railroad purchased a 32-acre lot near Shelburne Village last month. About 19 acres of the property will be dedicated to the project, which will replace a similar depot in Burlington.

Town officials claim they have been left in the dark and know very little about the project.

Panel to release plan to make jobs while helping climate

A group of Vermont's legal, business and state officials is going to be outlining its suggestions on the way to increase jobs in Vermont while fighting climate change.

The economic development plan by the Vermont Climate Change Economy Council is scheduled to be released Tuesday at the Statehouse in Montpelier.

The plan highlights ways to create jobs linked to adapting, mitigating, and reversing the effects of climate change.

The panel that developed the proposal is led by U.S. District Court Judge William Sessions and includes representatives of Vermont utilities, private enterprise and state government.

Gas prices still dropping across northern New England

Gas prices are still falling across northern New England.

Among the three states, the price-tracking website GasBuddy.com says gasoline prices are lowest in New Hampshire, where the average price fell 5 cents per gallon last week to $1.80. The average price per gallon in Maine was $1.88, down 3.3 cents from last week. In Vermont, the average price was $1.97, down 2.3 cents from the week before.

The national average is $1.80, dropping 2.5 cents in the last week. The national average has dropped nearly 20 cents per gallon in the last month and is 25.3 cents per gallon lower than one year ago.

Experts: Lack of snow means easy time for wildlife

Higher temperatures and lower snowfall totals means an easier time for wildlife in New Hampshire.

Winter is typically difficult for the state's deer population, but this year has been easy on them so far.

Dan Bergeron, Deer Project leader and wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game, says snow can make it difficult for them to find food and escape predators. He says they normally move to special habitats called deer yards, but movement to those areas has been sporadic because of the warm winter.

Bergeron says owls could be helped by the low snowfall totals, since their prey can hide under snow blankets.

But the lack of snow can hurt moose, which rely on snow to limit the tick population.

Telemarketer to pay $87K fine in settlement with state

A telemarketer has agreed to pay $87,500 in a settlement with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation after an investigation showed his firm placed numerous calls to residents on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Under terms of the settlement, James Ignatowich, who had been based in Greenwich, Connecticut, is permanently barred from telemarketing in New Hampshire.

The bureau started its investigation based on a complaint from a Manchester attorney who received several unwanted phone solicitations from Ignatowich's form.

– The Associated Press


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