New England Briefs
Patrick: No one contacted on Kerry seat
BOSTON (AP) -- Gov. Deval Patrick says he hasn’t reached out to anyone about temporarily filling Sen. John Kerry’s seat if President Obama taps Kerry to serve as secretary of state.
Patrick also said Friday he hasn’t decided whether he would seek a commitment from whomever he appoints not to run in a special election to fill Kerry’s seat permanently. Patrick exacted that promise when he appointed former Democratic Party chairman Paul Kirk to temporarily fill the Senate seat left vacant by Edward Kennedy’s death in 2009. Under state law, Patrick is required to name an interim appointee when a Senate seat becomes vacant. The appointee services until a special election is held. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s decision to withdraw her name from consideration as secretary of state Thursday helped propelled Kerry to the top of the list.
Casino firm submits Mass. application fees
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) -- A company that hopes to develop a casino in Springfield says it has paid $650,000 in application fees to the city and state.
Penn National Gaming said in a statement Friday it had submitted a non-refundable, $400,000 application fee to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that was required by Jan. 15 for the company to be considered for a casino license. The Pennsylvania-based company said it also submitted a $250,000 fee required by the city of Springfield, which is conducting its own casino review process.
Penn and MGM Resorts International have both proposed resort casinos in Springfield. MGM previously announced it had submitted the $400,000 state fee. The state commission will make the final decision on awarding of the sole western Massachusetts license.
Mohegan Sun has proposed a casino in the town of Palmer.
Copper theft from N.H. home causes gas leak
LACONIA, N.H. (AP) -- Firefighters in Laconia, N.H., say an unoccupied house was very close to exploding from a natural gas leak caused by thieves who stole copper piping in the basement.
Fire Chief Ken Erickson said when firefighters arrived at the home Thursday afternoon, they could smell the gas. Erickson said it appeared that the copper pipes were cut with either a bolt cutter or pruning shears. He said whoever stole the copper crimped the pipe, but not enough to stop gas from leaking. Authorities were able to shut off the gas and power to the home.
Robberies prompt drug chain to post guards
BANGOR, Maine (AP) -- With more than one drug store robbery per week occurring in Maine, a drug store chain is posting security guards at its Bangor-area stores. Security guards are working a revolving schedule at Rite Aid pharmacies in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Bucksport. Bangor’s most recent pharmacy robbery was Dec. 4 at a Walgreens, but four of the six pharmacy robberies in the city this year have occurred at a Rite Aid store. Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower said while security guards are on patrol, the company is working with police on ways to deter robbers in search of drugs. Maine’s had 54 pharmacy robberies so far this year. The total is 30 more than occurred all of last year.
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