PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Interstate, turnpike getting electronic signs, cameras

Electronic message signs and closed-circuit cameras will be installed along Interstate 95 and the Spaulding Turnpike in New Hampshire.

The goal is improve police response to accidents, increase work zone safety and lessen traffic congestion.

The 8-by-26-foot signs along I-95 will be mounted on overhead sign structures to convey important messages. Twenty-four cameras will be installed along both routes. They will be mounted on steel poles ranging in height from 65 to 90 feet.

Transcore of New York City is the general contractor and designer for the $5.1 million project. The electronic message signs and cameras are expected to be operating early next year.

WORCESTER, Mass.

Three high school athletes are diagnosed with MRSA

Three high school athletes in Worcester have been diagnosed with MRSA, a type of staph infection that is resistant to common antibiotics.

The city has issued a health alert but said there is no major risk to the public.

Two students at South High Community School and one from Worcester Technical High School became ill this week. Officials said they are receiving treatment and continue to attend classes.

All three students play contact sports and apparently developed the infection through cuts on their skin. Doctors said the disease can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

School officials are cleaning and disinfecting locker rooms and other parts of the schools.

NEWTON, Mass.

Black Labrador electrocuted by touching downed wire

A dog has been electrocuted by touching a live wire during a walk in the woods with its owner in Newton.

State police said a woman was walking her two dogs off Hammond Park Parkway on Thursday when both animals came in contact with the downed wire.

One of the dogs, a male black Labrador, was killed. The other dog received a shock as did the woman, who refused medical attention.

NSTAR crews removed the wire, which officials said had been brought down by a branch that fell from a nearby tree.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

First lady will officiate at civil union ceremony

Rhode Island first lady Stephanie Chafee is planning to perform a civil union ceremony for two friends.

Lynn McKinney and Ron Margolin first asked Gov. Lincoln Chafee to officiate at their Nov. 5 ceremony in Newport, but he plans to be in Israel for an economic development trip.

McKinney and Margolin have been partners for 32 years. They are political supporters of Chafee.

McKinney said the Chafees are longtime advocates for the gay and lesbian community. Stephanie Chafee was one of the first nurses in Rhode Island to work with AIDS patients.

Lawmakers routinely authorize people who aren’t judges or members of the clergy to perform marriages. This is the first time lawmakers have approved a civil union ceremony request.

BENNINGTON, Vt.

Rare species of aster found in conservation reserve

Botanists said an aster rare for New England has been found at a Vermont conservation reserve.

The “arrow-leaved aster” is a species from the Midwest and has been seen in New York and parts of Canada. It is usually white, pale pink or bluish.

One World Conservation Center is off of Route 7 in Bennington. Its Greenberg Conservation Reserve, where the flower was found, has 96 acres of trails through meadow, wetlands and woodlands.

Bob Popp, program botanist for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said there are 27 species of asters in Vermont and the arrow-leaved one is by far the rarest.

MONTPELIER Vt.

Officials say carcass likely beloved Pete the Moose

Vermont officials said they believe they’ve found the remains of a beloved captive moose, but the carcass is too decomposed to be tested for disease.

Pete the Moose, who became a cause celebre over the state’s wildlife regulation, died in September during tranquilization for hoof trimming. Until a week ago, state officials insisted he was alive. The owner of the hunting park where Pete lived has taken responsibility for covering up Pete’s death.

Wildlife officials had been offering different answers where Pete’s remains were.

Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry said Thursday that the park owner showed a warden the moose remains. Berry said he can’t guarantee it was Pete but the animal’s hooves had been trimmed.

Pete’s life in captivity helped prompt the state to pass new wildlife laws.

LAWRENCE, Mass.

State orders two elevators closed, putting total at 18

State inspectors have closed two elevators in a Lawrence school, bringing to 18 the number of elevators that have been ordered out of service in public buildings over the last month.

The Eagle Tribune reported that the shutdown of the elevators at the Robert Frost School has left one student who is confined to a wheelchair unable to reach his second-floor classroom.

The state ordered 16 elevators closed last month after the city failed to make repairs within 90 days to problems that had been found by inspectors in July.

Many of the elevators have since been repaired and reopened, but several remain out of service including three at a public library.

BURLINGTON, Vt.

Former bookkeeper indicted on charge of taking $315,000

A former bookkeeper for a Vermont company has been indicted on a charge of embezzling $315,000 from her employer over six years.

Sarah Sanville of Sheffield is accused of writing unauthorized checks from the checking account of Radiantec to herself and then depositing those checks into her own bank account from 2005 to 2011. Her indictment was filed in federal court in Vermont on Wednesday.

The Caledonian Record reported according to an FBI affidavit, Sanville handled accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and other functions. The FBI also said Sanville had access to the signature stamp of the only authorized signer on the checking account, owner Robert Starr.

Radiantec manufactures and installs radiant heat and solar heating systems.

JAFFREY, N.H.

Firefighters extinguish blaze at wood pellet plant

Nearly 100 firefighters from 12 towns have put out a fire a New Hampshire wood pellet plant.

Firefighters say the fire started at New England Wood Pellet Co. in Jaffrey just after 6 p.m. Thursday.

WMUR-TV reported that fire crews heard multiple explosions at the plant, which started in the main building and spread to a couple of silos.

No one was hurt. There’s no immediate word on what caused the fire.

An accidental fire at the plant in 2008 started near a motor of a pellet mill and extended into a conveyor system. 

—From news service reports