New England briefs

Shumlin appoints 4 new judges

Gov. Peter Shumlin has appointed four new judges, three of them to fill vacancies created by retirement and one to address increasing caseloads related to child protection and opiate abuse.

John Pacht, a Burlington attorney, will fill a judgeship recently funded to help child protection and drug abuse across Vermont.

Chittendon County Deputy State's Attorney Mary Morrissey will succeed Judge Michael Kupersmith; Windsor County State's Attorney Michael Kainen will follow Judge John Wesley; and Burlington attorney Michael Harris will succeed Judge Amy Davenport.

Decline of Maine paper mills behind Vermont's forestry woes

Vermont officials say the state's increasing forestry are due to the decline of the paper mill industry in Maine.

Michael Snyder, commissioner of Vermont's Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation, says that a significant market for the state's wood is in jeopardy.

There are less than half as many paper mills in Maine as there were in 1980. Many Vermont loggers sell their products to Maine mills.

Snyder says the rapid deterioration of Maine's paper mill industry "represents a direct and significant challenge" for loggers in Vermont.

Maine's paper manufacturing industry employed as many as 13,000 workers during the early 2000s. With several mill closures in 2015, the industry's workforce in Maine has dwindled to half that amount.

Gas prices keep dropping in northern New England

Gas prices keep dropping across northern New England.

Among the three states, the price-tracking website says gasoline prices are lowest in New Hampshire, where the average price fell 1.4 cents per gallon last week to $1.97. In Vermont, the average price is $2.14 per gallon, and in Maine, it's $2.07.

The national average is $1.99. The national average has dropped 5 cents per gallon in the last month and is nearly 20 cents per gallon lower than the price a year ago.

Officials prepare for first primary with ID law in place

New Hampshire election officials are preparing for the first presidential primary with the state's new voter ID in effect.

Voters on Feb. 9 will be asked to show identification, like a driver's license or military ID. If they don't have one, they will have to fill out an affidavit, swearing who they are. An election official also will take a photo.

Meredith Town Clerk Kerri Parker said she and her colleagues have been by told by the Secretary of State's Office poll workers should avoid confrontation and not "get into a screaming match" with voters.

Advocates at the American Civil Liberties Union and League of Women Voters say they'll be monitoring the primary to make sure voters know their rights.

Police: 3 arrested in attempt to get evidence from car

New Hampshire State Police say three people have been arrested in connection with an attempted break-in at a New Hampshire State Police barracks.

The incident began after state police say a trooper discovered traces of drug activity inside a car pulled over Jan. 1 on Interstate 93 in Northfield.

The car was seized and towed to the Troop D barracks in Concord. The driver, Erik Parker, was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. Police said they later received a tip that his passenger, Alfred Morin, planned to retrieve evidence from the vehicle. Police say Morin was spotted along the fence line near the barracks early Sunday.

Police arrested Parker and Melinda Hanks, parked nearby.

All were arraigned Monday. Their cases were assigned to the public defender's office.

11-year-old boy falls off chairlift at Danbury ski resort

The father of an 11-year-old boy taken to the hospital after he fell about 25 feet off a chairlift at a ski resort says he is recovering from injuries.

Doug Prangley said his son, Cameron, has some bumps, bruises and a concussion, but he is expected to be fine.

Officials say the fall occurred just before 3:30 p.m. Saturday as he was riding the lift at Ragged Mountain in Danbury with his father and brother.

The family was about halfway up the mountain when he fell off onto the Danbury resort's "Exhibition" slope. It wasn't clear if the lift's safety bar was down at the time of the accident.

Prangley said he tried to hold on to his son, but his lost his grip. "I held on as much as I could with my son and end result, I couldn't get him up. I lost grip and I dropped him," he said.

Ski patrol from the mountain's base and summit responded. General Manager Ryan Schramm says the boy was alert and responsive following the incident.

Ragged Mountain officials are investigating. Staff told WMUR that there were two people operating the lift booth, including the lift operations manager. They said Cameron fell onto a trail that was closed, so ski patrol didn't know what happened until the family reached the top.

A state inspection on Sunday found there were no mechanical issues with the lift and it was cleared to reopen.

– The Associated Press


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