March 20, 2013

New England Dispatches

From news service reports


Total for training workers in new skills tops $302,000

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan says grants totaling more than $151,000 will be used to train 246 workers in new skills.

Hassan announced the new job-training grants on Wednesday.

She said six companies matched the awards bringing the total funds to more than $302,000.

The money will be used to train workers at six companies: Altronics Manufacturing, of Hudson; Substructure Inc. and PixelMEDIA Inc., both of Portsmouth; Hutchinson Sealing Systems Inc., of Newfields; Alene Candles LLC, of Milford, and Associated Grocers of New England Inc., of Pembroke.

The fund has awarded more than $5 million in grants since 2007, with employers contributing more than $8 million for the training of more than 16,800 New Hampshire workers.


Medical marijuana bill wins veto-proof House approval

New Hampshire residents hoping to use marijuana to treat symptoms of serious illnesses are getting support from the House, which has passed a proposal sanctioning five dispensaries and allowing patients or caregivers to grow up to three adult marijuana plants.

The House voted 286-64 on Wednesday passing a medical marijuana bill with a veto-proof majority. It's the fourth time in six years such a bill has passed the House.

Former Gov. John Lynch vetoed two previous bills and a third was killed in the Senate. Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she would sign a tightly regulated medical marijuana bill.

Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley has said there's support in the Senate for a medical marijuana bill, but added the House's version will likely be sent back with significant changes.


Parents and school district avoid trial in teen tattooing

A settlement is being worked on between the parents of a New Hampshire teenager who was tattooed against his will and the Concord School District.

Michael and Tammy Austin sued the district in 2011, saying officials didn't do their jobs and could have prevented what happened to their son. The district denied the allegations.

Their son was a 14-year-old high school freshman in 2010. Police said four people were accused of tattooing a lewd image and words on his backside. They pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the incident and served between several days and six months in jail. Three were high school students; they were expelled.

The Concord Monitor reported that Stephen Duggan, a lawyer for the Austins, said settlement negotiations are ongoing and there won't be a trial.


Storms force state to spend more than it had expected

New Hampshire's Transportation Department is running over budget on its winter maintenance funds after the latest snowstorm.

Spokesman Bill Boynton said the department had anticipated spending $39 million. It now estimates spending about $45 million.

Last, year, $32 million was spent.

Boynton said this is the time of year where the department tries to stockpile salt supplies for next year. It's now starting to dip into that. The department has already spent $3 million more on salt than anticipated.

The state is also running short on overtime and rental equipment funds, so it may need to dip into the highway fund, which goes toward bridge and road maintenance.


Driver who hit sign blamed husband at first, police say

Police say a woman who crashed her car in Bennington, Vt., while texting tried to blame the accident on her estranged husband.

Thirty-year-old Tanya Taylor pleaded not guilty to a felony count of impeding a public office and misdemeanor counts of false information to a police officer. She also pleaded not guilty to careless or negligent operation of a vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

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