State moves closer to giving residents another tax holiday

Shoppers looking for a deal are one step closer to seeing another sales tax holiday in Massachusetts.

The House voted 123-23 on Wednesday to approve a bill suspending the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax on just about anything sold for less than $2,500 during the weekend of Aug. 13-14.

Retailers say the holiday boosts sales during a slow time of year, and helps families make much-needed purchases.

Critics of the holiday say it costs the state an estimated $20 million in tax revenue that could be used to fund services already facing cuts.

This would be the state’s seventh tax holiday in the past eight years.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

A spokesman for Gov. Deval Patrick said the governor will sign the bill if it reaches his desk. 

Longtime Bulger friend said to be protecting assets

James “Whitey” Bulger’s longtime companion has reportedly moved to protect some of her assets as she awaits trial for allegedly helping the former Boston crime boss evade capture during his 16 years as a fugitive.

The Boston Globe reported on Wednesday that a document filed on Catherine Greig’s behalf in the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds hands over any share she might own of her family’s South Boston home to her sister, Margaret McCusker, for $1.

The home is assessed at $588,100.

The Globe also reported that Greig is seeking to protect her $343,700 home in Quincy against potential creditors by claiming it’s covered under the state’s Homestead Act.

Greig is charged with harboring and concealing a fugitive. She’s currently being held without bail but has asked to be released to the custody of her sister.


Moose lottery losers to get chance to bid on five permits

New Hampshire moose lottery losers have a second chance to bag a moose, but only if they are willing to bid on five moose hunting permits that will go to the highest bidder.

The permits will be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. Bids must be received by Aug. 3. Proceeds help support critical Fish and Game Department fish and wildlife conservation and education programs, such as K-9 search and rescue.

Last year, 24 bidders from 11 states submitted bids. The highest bid was $8,600. Hunters lucky enough to win a permit during the moose lottery are not eligible to bid.

Moose hunting season runs from Oct. 15-23.


Police chief swims to rescue kayaker who overturned

A New Hampshire police chief is being credited with pulling a Vermont man from the Connecticut River after the kayak he had been fishing from overturned.

At about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday Walpole police received a 911 call from a companion of 30-year-old Jason Pratt of Rockingham, Vt., to say that Pratt was out of his kayak just below the Walpole dam, in the river and in distress.

When Chief Michael Paquette arrived Pratt was more than 100 yards from shore and his kayak was half submerged.

Paquette swam to Pratt and pulled him to shore.

Walpole police Sgt. Justin Sanctuary told the Eagle Times newspaper Paquette has pulled several people from the river over the years.


Man sentence to life in 2009 death of live-in girlfriend

A 43-year-old Pittsfield man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his live-in girlfriend.

David Vincent was convicted on Tuesday by a Berkshire Superior Court jury after six days of testimony.

Vincent was charged in the fatal June 2009 beating of 27-year-old Rebecca Moulton in the apartment the couple shared in Pittsfield.

Prosecutors said Vincent stayed with the unconscious woman for several hours after the attack, but never called 911.

Vincent’s lawyer said his client was under the influence of alcohol and drugs and did not intend to kill the woman.


Solar installation uses GPS to keep 382 trackers in line

A signal sent from an iPhone brought the last of 382 solar trackers into position perpendicular with the sun and marked the commissioning of what developers say is the largest solar installation in Vermont and the largest installation of its kind in North America.

The project, unveiled Wednesday uses 382 AllSun Trackers produced by Williston-based AllEarth Renewables. The pole-mounted trackers use global positioning systems and wireless technology to follow the sun throughout the day, producing more than 40 percent more energy than fixed solar.

Company officials say that with inverters on each solar tracker to boost energy performance, the project is the largest solar installation to use such a configuration in North America.


Woman apparently killed when run over by her car

Police in Mashpee are investigating after a 74-year-old woman who was run over and killed by her own vehicle in the parking lot of a condominium complex.

Paula Blum, of Ossining, N.Y., was pronounced dead on Tuesday after being taken to Cape Cod Hospital.

Investigators said Blum appeared to be trying to park her SUV, but it was not clear how or why she ended up outside the vehicle.

— From news service reports