New England in brief

Vermont police: Death of Rutland inmate was apparent suicide

Vermont State Police say the death of an inmate in his Rutland prison cell was an apparent suicide.

The initial police investigation indicates that 52-year-old Victor Bora, of Brandon, hanged himself at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility.

Police were called to the facility at about 8 a.m. Sunday. Bora was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

An official cause and manner of death won't be announced until an autopsy is completed, but there is no evidence of foul play.

Department of Corrections Facilities Manager Mike Touchette says Bora was taken into custody on Dec. 11 on a variety of charges, including violation of an abuse prevention order and domestic assault.

Touchette says the department will conduct its own investigation once the police investigation has been finished.

New England, N.Y. grid operators coordinate energy trades

Power grid operators in New York and New England have launched a system to streamline the exchange of electric energy over transmission lines and improve the flow of power between the two markets.

The New York Independent System Operator and ISO New England introduced last Wednesday the Coordinated Transaction Scheduling system.

The two grid operators say the system will make more efficient use of transmission lines by allowing utilities, generators and others in the wholesale energy market to get access to the lowest-cost source of power.

Improvements include increasing the frequency of scheduling energy sales and purchases over the transmission network between regions, software changes to allow the two grid operators to better coordinate selection of the most economic transactions and eliminating fees that impede efficient trading between New York and New England.

New Hampshire fire chiefs seek money to hire drug counselors

Seeing an increase in drug overdoses by the same people on multiple occasions, a coalition of fire chiefs is seeking state money to hire drug counselors who can train first responders in how to better direct victims toward treatment and recovery services.

Emergency responders have administered nearly 3,000 doses this year of the opioid antidote naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan. It reflects a spike of more than 300 percent since 2012, before the state's current opioid crisis hit its height.

The chiefs are seeking $1.1 million to hire four licensed drug and alcohol counselors — one developing training programs for officers statewide and three more stationed at fire departments in Nashua, Rochester and Manchester.

Lawmakers will take up the proposal in the upcoming session.

Gas prices continue falling across region

Gas prices continue to drop 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 2.4 cents per gallon last week to $2.01. In Vermont, the average price is $2.13 per gallon, and in Maine, it's $2.11.

All three are still higher than the national average, which is $1.99. The national average has dropped 8.4 cents per gallon in the last month and is nearly 40 cents per gallon lower than the price a year ago.

Ball bearing company to pay $150,000 after explosion

New Hampshire Ball Bearings has agreed to pay a $150,000 penalty for a factory explosion in Peterborough that blew out windows and injured 15 people last year.

The attorney general's office and Department of Environmental Services announced the settlement Monday. They said $5,000 will be used to help local first responders to continue a program the company voluntarily undertook shortly after the February 2014 accident. The remaining $145,000 will go to a dedicated hazardous waste fund.

According to the state, a tank containing acid used to treat ball bearings was emptied into a drum that may have held an incompatible substance such as isopropyl alcohol. The ensuing reaction caused pressure to build up inside the sealed drum, leading to an explosion.

Officials say the company promptly resolved all compliance issues.

Thermometer, smartphone app provide 24-7 monitoring of fever

A Maine company is using a crowdfunding campaign to launch a high-tech thermometer.

Brunswick-based Check-My-Temp is marketing a thermometer that's worn like an armband and monitors temperature, body position and movement. The information is sent to a smartphone app that allows users to receive detailed history including fever spikes.

Jeeva Healthcare CEO Anthony Jaccarino says the initial marketing targets parents of babies. But he says the device can be useful in elder care, post-op care, and fertility monitoring.

The thermometer was designed and engineered in Brunswick. It's currently the subject of an "indiegogo" campaign to raise money to begin production by this spring.

– The Associated Press


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