New England news in brief

With road deaths up, Vermont State Police cracking down

MONTPELIER >> Vermont State Police are launching a summer-long campaign to crack down on speeding and aggressive driving. The effort comes as traffic fatalities year-to-date have more than doubled over last year.

State police say Vermont had seen 30 traffic accident deaths through the end of May. Meanwhile, a chart on the state police website shows the first five months of 2015 saw fewer than 15 traffic fatalities.

Lt. John Flannigan, the agency's traffic operations commander, says many of the collisions state police are seeing involve drivers creating hazards through speeding, lack of seat belt use, distracted or impaired driving.

Col. Matthew Birmingham, the state police director, says public safety is the responsibility both of police and of individual drivers. He says most if not all crashes are preventable.

Police: Beating victim told police he was being threatened

BURLINGTON >> Police say the victim of a fatal beating at a Vermont homeless encampment told police the night before the assault that a man had been threatening to assault him.

Thirty-eight-year-old Amos Beede was beaten May 22 as part of a dispute between two Burlington homeless encampments. Beede died of his injuries May 28.

Four suspects were arrested in California last week, and police say they are not going to fight efforts to be brought back to Vermont to face murder charges.

The suspects, all in their 20s, are Erik Averill, Myia Barber, Allison Gee and Jordan Paul. It wasn't immediately known if they had lawyers.

Court records obtained by the Burlington Free Press say Beede yelled at his attackers to stop, but one of them told him to shut up.

2 Vermont supervisory unions OK merger plans

SHELBURNE >> Vermont residents in two supervisory unions have supported a plan to merge school districts under Act 46.

Voters took to the polls Tuesday to decide whether to merge the districts into a unified school board with a proportional representation and one budget.

Chittenden South and Washington West supervisory union voters overwhelmingly supported their merger plans.

Voters in the Orleans Central and Franklin Northeast supervisory unions rejected their merger proposals.

Act 46 is a state law that encourages school districts to consider merging with their neighbors for greater efficiency.

Investigation: School district was victim of data breach

CONCORD, N.H. >> School officials in Concord, New Hampshire, say the school district was the victim of a cyberattack that compromised the personal information of all employees with 2015 W-2 tax forms on file.

The superintendent's office says the discovery was made on June 1; the data breach itself happened on April 7.

Investigators said employees' personal information was obtained, including their addresses and Social Security numbers, as well as additional tax and contribution funds information. Network and email systems were not compromised.

Superintendent Terri Forsten on Tuesday recommended that employees contact their banks and other asset institutions and register for fraud alerts. School officials also offered free credit monitoring services.

Republican Sununu's comments on opioid crisis spark rebuke

CONCORD, N.H. >> Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu is taking heat for saying there's been "no leadership" statewide or locally on New Hampshire's heroin and opioid crisis that's killed hundreds of people.

Manchester's police department called Sununu's Wednesday comments "insulting" on social media, and Sununu's GOP rivals are chiming in. Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas is demanding a retraction, saying the city's public safety officials and citizens are working hard to curb drug abuse. State Sen. Jeanie Forrester is questioning Sununu's own leadership.

A spokesman for Sununu says his comments weren't directed at fire and police officials, but rather elected leaders.

In the U.S. Senate race, meanwhile, allies of Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte are running an ad insinuating Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan isn't doing enough to stop drug deaths. Hassan's backers call the ad "disgusting."

Regulators revisit chance of reopening Maine shrimp fishery

PORTLAND, MAINE >> Interstate fishing regulators are revisiting the possibility of reopening Maine's shuttered shrimp fishery, which has been closed due to factors stemming from warming oceans.

Maine shrimp were once a popular seafood item in New England, but regulators shut the fishery down in 2013 when catch cratered.

Scientists say warming ocean temperatures are inhospitable for the shrimp, and make it difficult for their populations to recover.

Fishery managers with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are opening up the possibility of new regulations to manage the fishery. Fishery Management Plan Coordinator Max Appelman says new regulations would address issues such as overcapacity in the fishery.

Fishermen sought the shrimp in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire when the fishery was open. They are small, pinkish, and sweet, and also live in Canada.

– The Associated Press


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