New England in Brief


Vermont nuclear panel to discuss Vermont Yankee closure

BRATTLEBORO (AP) -- The Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel is meeting next week to discuss topics related to the closure of Vermont's only nuclear power plant.

Plant owner Entergy Nuclear announced in August that it will shut down Vermont Yankee at the end of next year.

The panel plans to meet in Brattleboro on Wednesday night to discuss license termination issues and impacts on staff operations, emergency planning and environmental surveillance. It also plans to talk about state oversight during the decommissioning of the plant.

The public is invited to attend.

The meeting takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Brattleboro Union High School.

Vermont town near wind project asking about another

EDEN (AP) -- The Eden select board is asking residents their opinions about possibly hosting a six-turbine wind power installation in their community down the Lowell Mountain ridgeline from an existing project owned by Vermont's Green Mountain Power.

In August, the Eden board was notified that a Connecticut company, BNE Energy Inc., wanted to erect the turbines in an area known as the Bigelow Basin.

The board sent a letter to residents saying officials were seeking information about the project and would pass on the information to the community.

"There are many, many questions yet to be answered as the town takes the first steps in considering how such a project might impact the town," the board said in the introduction to the survey. "The select board's role on this issue is to acquire as much information as possible without prejudice, and pass that information on to the community."

BNE has a wind test tower on the ridgeline.

Among the questions that were asked was if residents had changed their minds about wind projects now that the Lowell wind turbines are up and running.

BNE wants to sell the power the turbines would generate in Connecticut.

The surveys must be returned by Nov. 15.

N.H.lawmakers taking up Medicaid expansion question

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Medicaid coverage for thousands of uninsured New Hampshire adults may get hung up as Democratic and Republican leaders hash out how much to involve private insurers.

A special panel is set to issue a report Tuesday recommending that New Hampshire add an estimated 49,000 poor adults to the state's Medicaid program.

But Senate Republican leaders want expansion to rely on more private insurance coverage options than the panel recommends. They are hopeful a compromise with Democrats can be struck in time to enroll uninsured adults starting Jan. 1.

State Rep. Marjorie Porter was uninsured for four years and sympathizes with people waiting for the state to act. She says it was difficult to get care for her asthma.

N.H.'s U.S. reps sign petition to force vote

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire have signed a petition that would force a vote to end the federal government shutdown.

The two Democrats agree that it's time for a vote to reopen the government nearly two weeks into what Kuster called a damaging shutdown that is hurting Granite State families and businesses.

The discharge petition is a special congressional procedure that would allow a majority of voters to force a vote on a bill to reopen the government.

N.H. panel finishing report on hospital tax

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A special commission charged with recommending whether New Hampshire should change how it taxes hospitals is expected to offer suggestions to lawmakers, rather than recommendations.

The commission meets Wednesday in hopes of wrapping up its report on the tax, which produces $176 million for Medicaid services and other state spending. New Hampshire applies the 5.5 percent tax to two categories: inpatient and outpatient hospital net revenues. The state also taxes two other categories -- nursing homes and intermediate care facilities -- under a different law.

The commission is reviewing more than 30 suggestions ranging from repealing the tax to taking more providers.

In 1991, hospitals began paying the tax so the state could gain matching Medicaid funds to pay for caring for the poor. For many years, they got all their taxes back dollar-for-dollar in a refund from the state. That changed in 2011 when the federal government said states could no longer give hospitals the taxes back dollar-for-dollar and had to apply a formula that distributed the money according to hospitals' Medicaid costs.

Then the Republican Legislature in charge two years ago cut Medicaid funding to the hospitals more than $130 million, but lawmakers maintained the tax. Ten of the state's largest hospitals sued the state over changes in Medicaid policies and reimbursements.

Since then, the state and hospitals have differed on which revenues can be taxed.

2 charged in N.H.
in $75K-$100K jewelry theft

KEENE, N.H. (AP) -- A New Hampshire man and woman are facing charges in connection with the theft of $75,000 to $100,000 of jewelry.

Police say 24-year-old Richard Fortier Jr., of Keene, is being held on $100,000 bail on five counts of receiving stolen property. Twenty-five-year-old Stephanie Vary of Webster was charged with criminal conduct and is being held on $25,000 bail.

Police say they received a report Thursday of cash and jewelry being stolen from a home in Wilmot.

During the investigation, an alert jeweler in Concord called police after he was approached by a man about buying some of the jewelry. The jeweler set up an appointment for the suspect to return the next day, at which time police arrested Fortier and Vary.

It was unclear if Fortier and Vary had attorneys.


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