New England in Brief

Thursday January 24, 2013

Bill would create immunity for 911 overdose calls

MONTPELIER (AP) -- Vermont lawmakers are considering a bill -- backed by law enforcement -- to make people immune from prosecution on drug charges when they call 911 to report a friend is overdosing and in danger of death.

Chittenden County State’s Attorney T.J. Donovan, Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn and Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen say their hope is not to condone drug use, but to reduce the number of drug overdose deaths, of which there were 73 in Vermont in 2012.

Donovan cited the case of Phat Nguyen, a Minnesota man who was sharing drugs with friends while visiting Vermont in 2007 and ended up convicted of dispensing drugs with death resulting when one of them died.

S. Vt. college pres. back after stint with U.S. education dept.

BENNINGTON (AP) -- The president of Southern Vermont College is back on the Bennington campus after spending a year at the U.S. Department of Education.

During calendar 2012, Karen Gross served as a senior policy adviser for the Department of Education in Washington where she helped develop a transition assistance program for most returning military service personnel.

She also participated in efforts to promote college access, quality, success and affordability.

Gross says she hopes her experience in Washington will help enrich the Southern Vermont College community.

N.H.-Maine lift bridge stuck in open position

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Department of Transportation says it has come up with a plan to fix a lift bridge between New Hampshire and Maine that had gotten stuck and caused traffic problems along the seacoast.

Department spokesman Bill Boynton says authorities were performing a routine test on the bridge around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday when it failed to close all the way, becoming stuck about a foot over the roadbed.

By Wednesday evening, Boyton said crews had come up with a plan to fix the bridge. Work will start early Thursday morning and is expected to take one to two days.

Boyton said officials don’t know whether cold weather contributed to the problem.

Hassan forms panel to estimate N.H. revenues

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Fulfilling a campaign promise, Gov. Maggie Hassan has created a special panel of experts to review and estimate the revenues New Hampshire uses in writing its budget.

Hassan issued an executive order Wednesday establishing the Consensus Revenue Estimating Panel to periodically develop and update estimates. The panel will advise Hassan during and after the budget process.

Hassan’s budget director, Gerard Murphy, will chair the panel. Members are the commissioners of administrative services and revenue or their designees; attorney Richard Samuels, a director of the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association; Dennis Delay, an economist with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy; Jeff McLynch of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute; and Ross Gittell, an economist and chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire.


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