New England briefs

Officials want work camp to house prisoners

State officials have issued a proposal to St. Johnsbury that would alter the Vermont town's work camp's mission to include the incarceration of regular prisoners on-site.

St. Johnsbury selectmen were given five days to respond after receiving notice of the proposal in written form last Friday.

Board members have previously opposed expanding the prison population of the work farm, which town officials say can host fewer than 50 inmates. The facility consists of two wings of 56 beds each, with one currently vacant.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced his intentions to close the camp in January. But the Vermont Department of Corrections intends to keep it open and use the empty wing as transitional housing for 50 male prisoners who served their minimum sentences.

Vermont Supreme Court to hear arguments on Quechee Highlands

Opponents of a travel company executive's proposed development off Interstate 89 in Vermont have taken their grievance to the state's Supreme Court.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Natural Resources Council filed an amicus brief Friday requesting that the high court overrule a February court order granting Quechee Highlands a permit.

For 10 years, Scott Milne has tried to build office, retail and residential spaces on 168 acres off U.S. Route 4 near the interstate interchange.

Quechee Highlands has been opposed by the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, among other groups, which say the project violates clauses prohibiting "principal retail establishments" from being constructed outside designated growth centers.

Milne says arguments will likely go before the Supreme Court this summer.

Officials approve plan to build solar facility

Officials in Bennington have approved a solar project that's projected to save the town $750,000 in electrical costs over a 25-year period.

The Select Board voted unanimously Monday to enter into a net-metering agreement with Encore Renewable Energy to build a 500-kilowatt solar facility off Route 7.

The agreement will allow the town to receive a 15 percent discount on the net metering credits produced by the project over the 25-year contract.

The Burlington company will have to file for a certificate of public good with the Vermont Public Service Board, which oversees energy generation projects.

Group awards grants to 9 Vermont and New Hampshire schools

Nine schools in Vermont and New Hampshire will each be receiving $25,000 literacy grants for the upcoming academic year.

The Vermont-based Children's Literacy Foundation will provide the grants for literacy programs, events, support, professional development, and new books to each school over the course of one school year.

The grants aim to inspire a love of reading and writing in children.

The New Hampshire recipients are the Belmont and Maple Avenue elementary schools in Claremont, the Bethlehem Elementary School and Russel Elementary School in Rumney.

The Vermont schools that will be receiving the grants are the Marlboro School, Bennington Elementary School, Waits River Valley School in East Corinth, Richford Elementary School, and Williamstown Elementary School.

State to investigate pediatric cancer cluster further

New Hampshire officials say the state is planning to investigate a troubling pediatric cancer cluster "in more detail" after more parents have come forward with additional cases.

A 14-year-old North Hampton boy's death from rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, led to the state Department of Health and Human Service's acknowledgement of the pediatric cancer cluster in the Seacoast area.

The department has looked into RMS cancer cases in Rye, New Castle, Greenland, North Hampton and Portsmouth. The state's report found that the number of cases among the five towns was higher in comparison to other Rockingham County municipalities.

DHHS officials also identified "a small excess of pediatric lung cancer cases," which they determined wasn't caused by "environmental or behavioral risk factors."

Red Cross salutes 'Everyday Heroes' in New Hampshire

The graduating class at a New Hampshire high school that gave money raised for a trip to their principal after she was diagnosed with cancer is among those being honored by the American Red Cross and Unitil as "everyday people" doing heroic acts.

The Everyday Heroes awards are being honored Wednesday in Manchester.

The Profile Junior-Senior High School Class of 2015 of Bethlehem is being honored for donating $8,000 to Principal Courtney Vashaw. In December, she learned she was cancer-free.

Others include Raji Gupta of Manchester, who helped a police officer evacuate people from a burning building; Nicholas Tolentino of Exeter for dedication to his support of veterans; Brighid and Douglas Smith of Manchester for giving of themselves to save the life of another; and Bruce Moran of Hollis for dedication to blood donation.

– The Associated Press


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