May 5, 2013

New England Dispatches

NORTHWOOD, N.H.

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Gerbils like this one belonging to Diane Nott, of Elyria, Ohio, are judged on body type and agility during the American Gerbil Society’s pageant.

The Associated Press

Hooksett man faces charge in fatal boating accident

A New Hampshire man is facing a negligent homicide charge for allegedly operating a boat while intoxicated during an accident last July that led to another man's death.

Prosecutors say 33-year-old Eric Cable of Hooksett was driving a powerboat on Northwood Lake when a passenger, 28-year-old Brendan Yerry of Manchester, N.H., fell out.

Foster's Daily Democrat cites court documents saying Yerry was either riding on the boat's gunwales or straddling the bow when he fell overboard.

Cable is charged with executing a turn that put the powerboat into the path of another vessel's wake, resulting in Yerry falling overboard and being struck by the boat, drive and spinning propeller.

BEDFORD, Mass.

Gerbils scurry to squeak out victory in annual pageant

Ever think your gerbil could do more in life than its cage in your living room will allow?

Dozens of gerbils are scurrying to New England this weekend in the hopes of squeaking out a victory in an annual pageant held by the American Gerbil Society.

The competition in Bedford, Mass., will feature agility demonstrations where the gerbils must overcome various obstacles and race to the end of a course.

The small rodents vie for coveted ribbons based on body type and agility.

The show draws gerbil enthusiasts from around the country.

Sarah Kaden, 14. from Bordentown, N.J., thinks gerbils have great personalities.

"Even though they are so little, they are very different from each other and they smell a lot less than my brother's hamsters," she said.

CONCORD, N.H.

Joint House committee to discuss legalizing a casino

A special joint House committee is meeting Thursday to discuss its research into whether New Hampshire should legalize a casino.

The joint House Finance and Ways and Means committees have been working on a Senate bill that would legalize one casino with up to 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games.

Gov. Maggie Hassan included $80 million in her budget from a license fee for a casino but the House did not count on the revenue in building the budget it passed last month.

The joint panel created subcommittees to examine revenues, regulations and the impact on the state and community if a casino is approved.

The House will vote on the bill later this month.

NORTH HAVEN, Conn.

Exam-cramming students cut stress with therapy dog

Quinnipiac University students stressed out about final exams can turn to a therapy dog.

Donna Latella, an occupational therapy professor, is bringing Aubry, a three-year-old male golden retriever, to the North Haven campus Monday and Tuesday to help students prepare themselves to take their final exams.

Latella and Aubry are certified through Pet Partners, a nationally recognized organization dedicated to animal-assisted activities and therapy.

Four of Latella's students will check the blood pressures, heart rates, respiratory rates and stress levels of those students who visit Aubry.

A survey sent to students showed that about 160 would be interested in interacting with the dog before taking their tests.

– From news service reports

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