New England briefs

US breaks record for hottest winter

Federal meteorologists say the winter that has just ended was the hottest in U.S. records, thanks to the combination of El Nino and man-made global warming.

The average temperature for the Lower 48 from December through February — known as meteorological winter — was 36.8 degrees, 4.6 degrees above normal. It breaks the record set in 1999-2000.

Last month was the seventh warmest February. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate scientist Jake Crouch said a super-hot December pushed the winter to record territory. The fall of 2015 also was a U.S. record.

All six New England states had their warmest winters. Every state in the Lower 48 had winters at least 1.7 degrees warmer than normal. Alaska was 10.6 degrees warmer than normal.

Records go back to 1895.

Secretary of State certifies primary results

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos says the certified results of last week's presidential primary confirm the results reported election night.

The official certification of the vote that took place March 1 confirmed that favorite son Sen. Bernie Sanders trounced former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary.

Sanders received more than 85.7 percent of the votes cast while Clinton received almost 13.6 percent.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump won 32.3 percent of the vote, defeating Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who received 30 percent of the GOP vote.

The top two GOP vote getters were followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Condos says just over 197,000 Vermonters cast ballots in the primary, a turnout of 44.5 percent.

Lawmaker accused of trying to lure teen is released on bail

A state representative charged with trying to lure a 14-year-old girl into a sexual encounter has been released on $50,000 cash bail.

A Rockingham County Department of Corrections official said Rep. Kyle Tasker was released from jail Monday.

Tasker, a 30-year-old Republican from Nottingham, was arraigned last week on three drug charges and one count of using a computer to lure the girl. Police say he tried to meet her but instead was greeted by law enforcement.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper removed Tasker from the House Children and Family Law Committee. He and other Republicans have suggested that Tasker resign. A House spokesman said representatives will talk about the issue Wednesday.

Messages seeking comment were left with Tasker and his lawyer.

Police say Tasker sent the girl — an acquaintance — inappropriate messages online before police took control of her social media account and agreed to the meeting. He was arrested at a secluded beach last week.

After his arrest, police searched his home and said they found marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and other drugs.

Tasker, who is serving his third term, made headlines in 2012 when he dropped his gun on the floor of a state building as he prepared to attend a committee hearing. It wasn't known if the gun was loaded. Carrying a firearm in the Statehouse complex is not illegal.

– The Associated Press


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