New England in Brief

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Some Vermont law enforcement officials are at odds with prosecutors over publicly releasing the blood alcohol content of people arrested on suspicion of drunken driving.

David Cahill, executive director of the Vermont State's Attorneys and Sheriffs, recently wrote to public safety commissioner Keith Flynn on behalf of 14 elected state's attorneys and their appointed deputy prosecutors. The letter urged state police to stop releasing alcohol test results because prosecutors believe making the information available before court appearances could cause unfair prejudice against defendants.

Flynn said he disagrees, and that the information must be public. He said he doesn't want the violent protests that have erupted in other places in response to police action to happen in Vermont.

"We can't get into a position like Baltimore and Ferguson where the police are being questioned about transparency," he said. "We have nothing to hide."

Rob Ide, commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles said state law requires his department to release test results promptly at the time of arrest.

For several years, state police and most other law enforcement agencies released breath test results when making drunken driving arrest. State police stopped the practice for about 15 months but resumed last October after a legal review by Flynn's department.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department says it's gotten a rash of reports about hungry bears getting into garbage, bird feeders, bee hives and chicken houses.

The department is reminding residents to take steps to secure food sources and make them inaccessible to bears.

Vermont's wardens are responding almost daily to events involving bears in search of easy food.

Vermont's bear biologist Forrest Hammond says once bears become used to these food sources and come into frequent human contact, people sometimes call them nuisance bears. But, they are just being bears. He says it's nearly impossible to relocate nuisance bears and they frequently have to be put down.

The department says purposefully feeding bears is not only bad for the bears but is illegal in Vermont.

High school students interested in agricultural science can take part in a weeklong summer camp at the University of New Hampshire.

Students will be learning about their local food system and how the process enables food to arrive on their plates. They also will be able to spend time canoeing on the Great Bay.

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Campers will visit the UNH dairies, research farms and greenhouses operated by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, and learn about healthy eating and nutrition.

The camp offered by the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is scheduled for Aug. 2-8 for students ages 15 to 17, and is open for registration.

The camp fee is $700.

Renovations are nearly complete on a New Hampshire covered bridge that's part of the National Register of Historic Places.

A dedication ceremony is planned June 27 at the Stark Covered Bridge that spans the Upper Ammoonsuc River and connects Stark Village along Route 110 with Northside Road. It's not entirely certain when the bridge was built, as early as 1853 or as late as 1862. It's undergone several renovations.

The total cost of rehabilitating the wooden Paddleford truss-style bridge is nearly $1.4 million. The project was awarded a $904,000 federal grant, with the state and town making up the difference. The grant stipulated that as much of the original timber be used as possible.

"Fortunately, we were able to keep a lot of the old timber, " said resident engineer Roger Caron.

He also said while other bridges often suffer from rust, the Stark bridge had rot and insect damage. There's been some new wood added, and the cement foundations have been replaced and new steel reinforcement beams installed underneath.

"We'll also go to a 15-ton limit," Caron said. "It was set at 10 tons before, so the load limit has been increased by 50 percent."

The bridge has been popular with photographers through the years.

"They used to say the Old Man of the Mountain was the most photographed landmark in New Hampshire, but I think it's that bridge," said Dennis Lunn, director of the Stark Heritage Center.

The bridge will be dedicated in memory of longtime Stark Selectman James Eich, who died in 2013.

– The Associated Press


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