February 8, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports


Officials oppose extending tax on power generation

The attorneys general of Massachusetts and Rhode Island say a proposal by Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to continue a tax on generating electricity will add to the burden of New England ratepayers. They've asked that it be scrapped.

Martha Coakley in Massachusetts and Rhode Island's Peter Kilmartin told Connecticut officials in a letter on Thursday that a 2011 study found that generators reaped a windfall as a result of higher prices caused by the tax. They say New England ratepayers were likely to pay about $58 million more to purchase electricity.

Coakley and Kilmartin say the region's relatively high electricity costs are a drag on the economy.

Malloy has proposed extending the tax another two years, raising about $70 million. A spokesman says energy rates are down 12 percent in Connecticut since the tax was established.


Lawmakers seek to hold nuke plant owner to pledge

Vermont lawmakers are looking to firm up a promise made by the owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant that it would take extra steps to clean up the plant's Vernon site after it shuts down.

Entergy Corp. promised when it bought Vermont Yankee in 2002 that it would take steps beyond the minimum required by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to restore the Vermont Yankee site to a green field after electricity is no longer being made there.

The move comes against the backdrop of what the state says are a series of broken promises by Entergy relating to Vermont Yankee.


Doctor settles gender bias lawsuit against hospital

A Harvard Medical School doctor has settled a gender discrimination lawsuit against Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for $7 million.

Dr. Carol Warfield, who became chief of anesthesia at Beth Israel in 2000, said former surgery chief Dr. Josef Fischer discriminated against her because she is a woman, openly ignoring her in meetings and lobbying for her removal. When she complained to former chief executive Paul Levy, she alleged both men retaliated and forced her out.

As part of the settlement announced Wednesday, the Harvard-affiliated hospital will name its pain clinic after Warfield.

Warfield tells The Boston Globe she's "delighted."

The hospital and the defendants did not admit any wrongdoing, but the hospital agreed to "reaffirm and clarify its policies and procedures" for employees reporting discrimination and retaliation.

Acting principal of school suspected of credit fraud

The acting principal of a Boston high school has been placed on administrative leave after school officials found he's under investigation for his alleged role in a multi-state credit fraud ring.

A spokesman for Boston public schools tells The Boston Globe that Queon Jackson was placed on leave from his position at Madison Park Vocational Technical High School on Wednesday.

School officials placed the 39-year-old Jackson on leave as soon as they learned he has been under investigation by the U.S. Secret Service in allegedly fraudulently obtaining credit and then not paying the bills.

Jackson could not be reached for comment.


Fourteen arrested on charges involving variety of drugs

Police have arrested 14 people in New Hampshire's Lakes Region on a variety of drug charges.

Those arrested range in age from their teens to the 60s. They are accused of illegally possessing and/or distributing drugs such as painkillers, marijuana, heroin and crack-cocaine.

Two of the arrests came within 1,000 feet of Laconia High School, which meant more serious charges.

All of those arrested were booked at Laconia Police headquarters and released on personal-recognizance bond. They are scheduled to appear for arraignment in April in Laconia district court.

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