March 17, 2013

New England Dispatches

CONCORD, N.H.

Bill to increase tobacco tax by 20 cents heads for vote

New Hampshire's House is considering raising the tobacco tax 20 cents -- a dime less than Gov. Maggie Hassan counted on in her budget.

The House is scheduled to vote this week whether to raise the tax to $1.88 per pack of cigarettes. The increase would also apply to other tobacco products.

Each dime raises $10 million a year.

Even with the increase, New Hampshire would have a lower tax than neighboring states. Maine's tax is $2 per pack.

Opponents argue it nevertheless puts New Hampshire at a competitive disadvantage in attracting cross-border business.

Free e-cookbook offered by liquor commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has put together its first e-cookbook, featuring recipes from New Hampshire's restaurants, and wine and spirit pairings.

The free cookbook was inspired by the commission's "In the Mix" kitchen series, weekly food and wine presentations at the Nashua liquor and wine outlet store.

Consumers can follow step-by-step instructions to recreate Martingale Wharf's St. Germain Compressed Melon with goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts paired with a St. Germain cocktail.

The e-cookbook can be downloaded at www.LiquorandWineOutlets.com/mix.

NEW HAVEN, Conn.

Thief faces sentencing in ATM skimming scheme

A man from New York's Long Island is facing sentencing in Connecticut for participating in an ATM skimming scheme that also targeted victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Turkish citizen Mehmet Aydin, whose last address is in Miller Place, N.Y., is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Federal prosecutors said that in 2011, Aydin and others conspired to install "skimming" devices on automated teller machines that captured information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards used by customers at 11 banks and one credit union.

Authorities said the scheme hit more than 250 bank accounts, and financial institutions suffered losses of about $336,000.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Truck crash spills diesel fuel, temporarily closes I-95 lane

A portion of the southbound lane of Interstate 95 in Portsmouth reopened Saturday following a truck crash that caused at least 50 gallons of diesel fuel to spill.

State police say a tanker truck traveling southbound near Exit 5 went out of control a little after 2 a.m. Saturday, slid off the right side of the roadway, broke through a section of guardrail and overturned. As a result, one of the gas tanks was punctured and 50-55 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled.

The driver, 35-year-old Johnson Corrielus of Milton, Mass., was not injured.

The right breakdown lane and travel lane were closed while the diesel fuel spill was cleaned up.

BOSTON

Police hunt for suspect after nun is robbed in basilica

Police are looking for a man who robbed an 85-year-old nun as she was paying for a meal at the historic Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston.

The nun was standing at the window of the rectory office to pay for the meal when the suspect grabbed the money she had placed on the counter and walked out the door.

Police say the nun was at Mass and refused to speak to investigators until the service concluded Friday.

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