Police sergeant hospitalized after being struck by pickup

Authorities say a Peabody police sergeant who had stopped to help a driver was hit and thrown over the hood of a pickup truck, suffering serious injuries.

State police said Sgt. Eric Zawacki was working a paid construction detail when the accident happened Monday in the southbound lanes of Route 1. He was taken by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital. Police said he is expected to survive.

State police identified the driver of the pickup as 76-year-old Elroy Halfrey of Salem, N.H. Police said a preliminary investigation indicates that Halfrey’s speed and the wet road were contributing factors for the crash.

The right lane and breakdown lane of the highway were closed after the accident, causing a significant traffic backup.


UVM faculty union ratifies new three-year contract

The faculty union at the University of Vermont has ratified a new contract.

United Academics and UVM reached a tentative agreement Nov. 14 after 10 months of negotiations and mediation sessions. The faculty ratified the contract Monday.

The union said the new three-year contract includes modest salary increases and improvement in workload conditions while retaining existing health benefits and premium rates for active faculty.

But the union said it also raises the age of reliability for retirement benefits from 60 to 65 and increases post-retirement premium payments for future retirees.


Father of shooting victim says men were best friends

The father of the victim in a fatal shooting in Hudson, N.H., says the suspect and his son were best friends, and that the shooting may have been an accident.

Christopher Bazar, 27, is facing a manslaughter charge in connection with the death Friday of 29-year-old Donald St. Laurent.

The victim’s father, Don St. Laurent, told WMUR-TV that his son and Bazar had been friends since meeting in Santa Fe, N.M., 10 years ago. He said Bazar came to visit his son a few months ago and ended up staying.

Bazar appeared in a Nashua court by video Monday. Bail was set at $75,000 cash, and he’s due back in court on Dec. 15 for a probable cause hearing.


Kidnapper from Vermont arrested in New Hampshire

A convicted kidnapper suspected of assaulting a woman in Vermont has been arrested in New Hampshire after a five-day search.

Vermont State Police said 42-year-old Harley Breer of Calais was found at the home of an acquaintance in Tilton, N.H. Police said he was arrested Monday without incident.

Police had issued an arrest warrant for Breer on Wednesday for violating the conditions of his parole after his 2009 release from prison for kidnapping his estranged girlfriend’s mother in 1999.

Authorities said Breer is now suspected of assaulting his girlfriend and taking her vehicle without her consent. Police said he’s also been known to threaten law enforcement.

On Monday, he waived his extradition rights in a New Hampshire court and was waiting to be transported back to Vermont.


Governor gets complaints over holiday tree remark

Thousands of people have lodged complaints over independent Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s decision to call a spruce erected at the Statehouse a holiday tree and not a Christmas tree.

Chafee spokeswoman Christine Hunsinger said the office has received 3,600 telephone calls of protest since Fox News included his office number in a piece on the tree squabble last week. All but 700 of the calls were from out of state.

Chafee said the word “holiday” is inclusive and reflects Rhode Island’s origins as a haven for religious diversity. Previous governors also used the term to describe Statehouse trees.

Chafee will host a tree lighting ceremony this evening. A Republican state lawmaker upset with Chafee’s terminology plans to decorate a Christmas tree outside her Statehouse office at the same time.


Chicken restaurant chain fights to protect slogan

The Atlanta-based chicken restaurant chain Chick-fil-A says it’s going to fight to protect its trademarked slogan “eat mor chikin” from what it sees as encroachment by a Vermont folk artist who uses the term “eat more kale” on T-shirts.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday the state will help Montpelier artist Bo Muller-Moore raise money for his legal costs in a trademark fight with Chick-fil-A, the nation’s second largest chicken restaurant chain.

Shumlin and Muller-Moore announced the creation of “Team Kale,” meant to send the message, “Don’t mess with Vermont.”

Shumlin said Muller-Moore’s business represents what he calls the state’s renaissance of local agriculture.

In a statement, Chick-fil-A said it supports the entrepreneurial spirit, but it has to defend its slogan.

Tropical Storm Irene costs not as high as first feared

Cleaning up from Tropical Storm Irene is expected to cost Vermont a bit less than $100 million, considerably less than the $240 million officials earlier worried the state might have to pay.

Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said Monday that Vermont’s cost is expected to be about $88 million under a best-case scenario and about $99 million under a worst-case scenario.

More than half of that money — $50 million — is earmarked for renovating the state office complex and Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury, said Neale Lunderville, the state’s Irene recovery chief. The future of the Waterbury complex, one of the casualties when Irene triggered historic flooding in late August, is still being debated.