PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Researchers say dead seals exhibited similar symptoms

Researchers investigating a rash of seal deaths along the New England coast said they have noticed similar symptoms among the dead mammals but still don’t know what is causing the deaths.

Maggie Mooney-Seus, a public affairs official for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Region, said Monday that the seals collected over the last few weeks have all had pneumonia and lesions on their fins and bellies.

But she said it’s unclear what those similarities could mean. Mooney-Seus told the Portsmouth Herald that the results of tests conducted on blood and tissue samples and the contents of the seals’ stomachs may not be available for several more weeks.

At least 94 dead harbor seals have been found on beaches in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts since September.

CONCORD, N.H.

Bachmann’s ex-staffers saynational team was cruel

Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann’s former New Hampshire staffers say they were deceived and treated as second-class citizens before they quit in frustration last week.

In a news release, the five former staffers said they hold no ill will toward the Minnesota congresswoman, but they could not continue working for her given their treatment by members of her national team. They did not get into details, but characterized the national team’s behavior as “rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel,” toward the New Hampshire staff, and “abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive” of the state’s voters.

“These are our neighbors and our friends, and some within the national team treated them more as a nuisance than as potential supporters,” the group wrote.