April 12, 2013

New England Dispatches

DURHAM, N.,H.

UNH president calls for inquiry into faulty pipe

The president of the University of New Hampshire is calling for an inquiry into a broken hot water pipe that caused burns to three students at a dorm last weekend.

President Mark Huddleston says the university needs to do everything it can to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.

The inquiry will be led by Paul Dean, executive director of public safety.

Officials found the pipe that delivered hot water to Hunter Hall for the heating system was under a pipe that delivers hot water for sinks and showers. Huddleston said that pipe, which is several decades old, had been slowly leaking for some time. It was continuously spraying hot water on the second larger and newer pipe. That corroded the exterior and caused premature failure.

GILFORD, N.H.

Burglary suspects call AAA after getaway car gets stuck

Police say two people accused of burglarizing a New Hampshire home needed an emergency tow when their getaway car got stuck in the mud.

Police said the car got caught in a ditch in Gilford last month. Officers called the local AAA affiliate to help tow it.

Sometime after that, Belmont police located and searched the vehicle. They recovered some of the jewelry missing from the home that was burglarized.

Police arrested 33-year-old Gordon Potter, who is currently incarcerated at the state prison on an unrelated parole violation, and 26-year-old Kerry Duggan, who was held at the Belknap County jail.

CONCORD, N.H.

Navy naming new combat ship after city of Manchester

The U.S. Navy is naming a new combat ship the USS Manchester in recognition of Manchester, N.H.

The surface combat vessel is designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet capable of open-ocean operation. They are designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who announced the news Thursday, said the naming is a tremendous honor for the city of Manchester and a testament to the incredible work carried out by New Hampshire’s men and women who serve in uniform.

The ship is expected to be completed in August 2016.

SCITUATE, R.I.

Lawmaker’s husband faces charges of credit card fraud

The husband of a Rhode Island lawmaker is facing a new charge of fraudulently using a credit card and has been ordered held at the Adult Correctional Institutions.

State Police Maj. Michael Winquist says Henry Fellela was arrested Wednesday evening in Cranston on a warrant issued last week out of Concord, Mass., on a charge of credit card fraud. He is the husband of Democratic state Rep. Deborah Fellela of Johnston.

Winquist says he’ll be held until Concord police take custody of him, which is expected Friday.

Winquist says the 55-year-old was a passenger in a parked car in Cranston when he was arrested. He was charged last month with stealing a credit card to rack up $720 in charges.

Deborah Fellela said Thursday she had no comment on the arrest.

MONTPELIER, Vt.

Official: State revenue in March ‘disappointing’

A top Vermont official is calling the state’s revenue for March “disappointing.”
Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding says state revenue figures for the general fund, transportation and education funds were all below expectations in April.

Spaulding says that despite last month’s lower-than-expected revenue, for the fiscal year that began in July, the state has taken in almost 6 percent more than last year.

In figures released Thursday, Spaulding said the general fund revenues were 3.2 percent less than expected. The transportation fund was off 7.4 percent and the education fund was short 3.3 percent.

Spaulding says the general fund shortage could be made up with a strong April, but it’s unlikely the state will be able to make up the shortfalls in the transportation fund.

CONCORD, N.H.

Medical marijuana backers propose clinical study

Sensing greater support from lawmakers to legalize marijuana for people with serious illnesses or chronic pain, medical marijuana opponents are suggesting allowing it in the context of a clinical study.

Dr. Seddon Savage of the New Hampshire Medical Society said at a Senate hearing Thursday that collecting patient data could improve the treatment. The state could potentially get approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration for such a study, removing the any conflict with the federal prohibition on marijuana.

Her proposal was met with skepticism by medical marijuana proponents, including Republican Sen. John Reagan, who said he believes the study is being offered as a way to delay the law’s implementation should it be passed. It would add significant costs and others said it could violate patient privacy.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Quonset Air Show, Navy Week closed due to cuts

The Quonset Air Show and the Navy Week festivities planned to coincide with it have both been canceled because of federal budget cuts.

The Rhode Island National Guard said Thursday the air show and open house scheduled for June 29 and June 30 at Quonset Air National Guard Base will not be held because of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.

National Guard officials said they regretted that the show will not go on. Maj. Gen. Kevin McBride, the state’s adjutant general, says the Guard plans to prepare for a show in 2014.

The Navy said earlier Thursday it had canceled Navy Week in all 18 locations, including Rhode Island. The Navy Blue Angels earlier this week canceled their air show appearances nationwide, including at the Quonset Air Show.

BOSTON

Bulger lawyers get second chance for immunity claim

Lawyers for reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger will get a second chance to persuade a judge to allow Bulger to use his claim of immunity as a defense at his trial.

U.S. District Judge Denise Casper, who was assigned to the case last month, has scheduled a hearing for April 19 on Bulger’s request to reconsider another judge’s ruling barring him from using the immunity claim.

Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is awaiting trial in June, charged with participating in 19 murders.

U.S. District Judge Denise Casper was assigned to the trial last month after an appeals court granted Bulger’s request to remove Judge Richard Stearns for a potential conflict of interest.

Bulger claims federal prosecutor Jeremiah O’Sullivan gave him immunity for his crimes in the 1980s.

Stearns ruled that Bulger could not present evidence to a jury about his claim that the immunity deal applied to crimes committed in the future. He found that an immunity agreement “cannot as a matter of public policy license future criminal conduct.” Stearns did not rule on Bulger’s claim that he received immunity for past crimes.

– From news service reports

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