BOSTON

Bay State backs Vermont in effort to close Yankee

Massachusetts is backing Vermont in its efforts to prevent the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant from operating beyond next March.

Massachusetts intends to file a “friend of the court” brief supporting Vermont in a federal case brought by plant owner, Entergy Corp.

A spokeswoman said Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a motion this week seeking to file the full brief by June 13 in U.S. District Court in Brattleboro.

In its suit, Entergy claims Vermont overstepped its authority by trying to deny the plant in Vernon, on the Massachusetts border, permission to operate beyond next March when its federal license expires. The federal government has extended the license for 20 years and Entergy claims federal law takes precedence.

Agency fires 32 bus drivers in six months for absenteeism

The head of the MBTA said the transit agency has fired 32 bus drivers in the past six months because of chronic absenteeism that has led to delays and cancellations on some routes.

T General Manager Richard Davey told The Boston Globe the drivers cost the agency thousands of dollars in overtime. He said to replace drivers who call in sick or otherwise fail to appear, the T has typically relied on overtime replacements, often at a cost of more than $200,000 a week.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Congressman’s stolen car found with little damage

An aide said Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline’s stolen car has been found in Providence.

Spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw told the Providence Journal that city police found the leased Ford Taurus on South Water Street on Thursday with “very little damage.” Police are looking for suspects.

WORCESTER, Mass.

Little league cancels games after gunfire is heard nearby

A Worcester youth baseball league has canceled games until further notice after gunfire near the field this week sent players, parents and coaches running for cover.

The Tom Ash Little League canceled games scheduled for Thursday and will hold a meeting next week.

League officials said a baseball and a softball game were under way Wednesday evening when five to seven gunshots were heard in the neighborhood. Police did not make any arrests.

CONCORD, N.H.

Four police officers cleared of charges related to brawl

The New Hampshire attorney general has cleared four Manchester police officers of any charges stemming from an off-duty bar brawl last year in which a patron said he was beaten up by them.

Attorney General Michael Delaney said the officers’ conduct was justified in a 92-page report released Friday. He had been asked by Manchester’s mayor and the county attorney to review what happened at the Strange Brew Tavern in March 2010 and decide if criminal charges should be filed.

The officers were suspended without pay, and charges had been dropped against the patron who said he was beaten by the officers when he refused to leave the bar.

Regulators throw a wrench into biomass plant approval

State regulators this week suspended an order giving conditional approval to a 20-year purchase power agreement for a Berlin biomass plant after other wood-power plants filed objections.

Meanwhile, the head of a steel company, a steelworkers union and a group representing construction workers have taken out newspaper ads, telling the plants to withdraw their opposition.

Supporters of the proposed plant say it will create 40 permanent jobs, plus many temporary construction jobs and help the forest industry.

Opponents say the power agreement with Public Service of New Hampshire violates a provision in the state’s renewable energy law.