New England in Brief
IBM said to be shedding jobs in Vt.
ESSEX (AP) -- IBM says it won’t comment on reports of layoffs at its facilities in Vermont and elsewhere.
State officials said Wednesday that IBM had notified them that a national reorganization would result in job losses in Vermont.
IBM spokesman Jeff Couture says the company does not publicly discuss the details of staffing plans.
The labor organization Alliance (at) IBM said on its website that 121 jobs were expected to be cut from the company’s storage systems development division. The website contained individual reports of layoffs in Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina.
Vermont Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan says the company had slightly more than 4,000 workers in Vermont as of Wednesday morning. She did not know how many were being laid off.
Vt. Health Dept. issues swimming hole warning
BURLINGTON (AP) -- With high water levels from recent rains, Vermont officials are warning about dangerous conditions in rivers, streams and swimming holes.
Officials say swimming holes will have high water flows and dangerous currents and should be avoided or closely monitored.
Kayakers and canoeists are advised to stay off the water if it looks "threatening or questionable."
The rivers also have carried debris, which can be dangerous to both boaters and swimmers.
Officials said the level of Lake Champlain is expected to rise to more 99 feet this weekend, which could affect docks and the clearance of boats under bridges.
Medicaid fight clouds future of N.H. budget
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- New Hampshire’s Senate has agreed to try to negotiate compromise legislation with the House on issues ranging from state spending to medical marijuana, but rejected a $5 million federal health care overhaul law grant.
Senate and House leaders named lawmakers Wednesday to serve as negotiators over the next week as the June 20 deadline nears to resolve differences over bills.
Budget talks are scheduled to start Friday and discussions on whether to legalize marijuana use and possession for people with serious illnesses will be held Tuesday.
On a party line vote, the Senate voted 13-11 Wednesday to kill a bill that authorized the state to accept $5 million in federal funding to help consumers understand the law. Republicans said the federal government should be in charge of public outreach.
Maine town opposes tar sands oil in pipeline
HARRISON, Maine (AP) -- Residents in a Maine town have passed a resolution opposing the pumping of Canadian tar sands oil through a pipeline for shipment overseas.
Residents in Harrison voted 156-59 for the resolution Tuesday, one of at least six towns to do so.
The pipeline is used to carry foreign crude oil from Maine to Montreal. Five miles stretch through Harrison.
Some environmentalists warn the flow could be reversed to carry tar sands oil through the pipeline that runs through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine for export.
Environmentalists say the threat from tar sands oil is greater than from lighter forms of crude because of the dangers of spills and that tar sands oil produces more greenhouses gases.
There’s no active proposal to pump tar-sands oil through the pipeline.
Gomez: Markey running scared in Mass. Senate race
CHELSEA, Mass. (AP) -- Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez says President Barack Obama’s visit to Massachusetts and an upcoming appearance by former President Bill Clinton show his Democratic opponent is running scared.
While the president was rallying thousands of supporters of U.S. Rep. Edward Markey in Boston, Gomez, a former Navy SEAL, met with about two dozen veterans at the Chelsea Soldiers Home.
Gomez said he’s "closing the gap rapidly" on Markey and is honored that Obama was worried enough to make the trip.
Arizona Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have campaigned for Gomez.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.