Former fire chief indicted on sexual assault charges

The former fire chief in New Hampton, N.H., has been indicted on charges of repeatedly sexually assaulting a female.

A grand jury indicted David Clement, 58, on 12 counts of sexual assault. The Merrimack County state’s attorney says the charges are in addition to sexual assault charges filed against Clement in Belknap County.

Clement retired from the New Hampton Fire Department in 2008.

The indictment says the sexual assaults took place between 2002 when the victim was about 8 years old until as late as July 2011.

The Concord Monitor reported that a woman reached by phone who identified herself as Clement’s wife said he didn’t want to comment on the charges. Clement is expected to be arraigned on June 6.


Police doubt remains found are those of missing woman

A Vermont State Police investigator says it’s unlikely that the human remains found at a Northfield construction site are those of a woman who has been missing since 1993.

Audrey Groat was living a short distance from the location where the remains were discovered earlier this month.

She was 41 when she was last seen in August 1993 in Montpelier. Police have classified her disappearance as “extremely suspicious” and they believe she is dead.

State Police Lt. Brian Miller told WCAX-TV that it’s a possibility the remains belong to Groat, but the preliminary estimate is that the remains are more than 50 years old.

The piece of a skull and other bones were first taken to the Office of the Vermont Medical Examiner and will be forwarded to the FBI for further investigation.


Courthouse fire delays plea by suspected drug trafficker

A minor fire in the federal courthouse in Boston has foiled the latest attempt to plead guilty by a man whom authorities say was a leading member of New York’s Colombo crime family.

Ralph DeLeo’s third attempt to plead guilty to running a drug ring was postponed Thursday when the transformer fire forced an evacuation of the courthouse.

DeLeo had spent about 30 minutes answering a judge’s questions when the lights went out briefly before a generator kicked in.

Authorities evacuated the courthouse, and DeLeo’s lawyer said the hearing would have to be rescheduled.

A court official said the fire had filled the courthouse lobby with smoke. There were no reports of injuries.

Prosecutors say DeLeo led a group that sold cocaine and marijuana in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Florida and Arkansas.


Governor backs plan to base noisier F-35 jets at airport

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says he supports a plan to bring F-35 fighter jets to the Air National Guard base at the Burlington International Airport.

Shumlin says Vermont should be honored to host the F-35. He calls it a commentary on the quality of the Vermont National Guard.

The Air Force is considering a proposal to base between 18 and 24 of the planes in South Burlington.

But residents and officials in some of the communities near the airport aren’t as supportive. The F-35 is louder than the F-16s currently based in Burlington.

Vermont Public Radio reports the governor feels the additional noise will be offset by their faster speed, so the noise won’t be audible for as long, and that the F-35s emit less pollution.


Agency hires deputy chief to help probe abuse cases

Vermont’s Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living has hired the deputy police chief in Burlington to help with a backlog of abuse cases.

Walter Decker will join an adult protective services unit. It was sued by advocacy groups last fall, who charged that the state was months behind in investigating hundreds of claims alleging physical abuse and financial exploitation of the elderly and disabled.

The 47-year-old Decker told the Burlington Free Press that the timing just seemed to work out; he was eligible for retirement from the police department, where he’s spent 28 years. He expects to start his new job next month.


University starting program to earn diploma in three years

Wesleyan University President Michael Roth says the private liberal-arts school is launching a program that will help students save money by enabling them to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in three years.

Roth wrote in a Washington Post blog on Wednesday that Wesleyan will help students navigate the three-year route, which is a path he took when he graduated from the school in 1978.

University spokesman David Pesci said Thursday that students would shave more than $50,000 off the cost of an undergraduate degree by completing their studies a year earlier.

Pesci said students will still have to earn 32 credits. By using two Advanced Placement credits and three Wesleyan summer sessions, he said, students would not have to take an overload during any semester.

“It’s not for everybody … and it will take a high level of dedication and discipline,” Pesci said.

The school is launching the three-year program in the fall. Details are not final.


Despite pond-access ruling, no-trespass to be enforced

The city of Montpelier says its police department is going to enforce no trespassing orders around the pond that is the source of its drinking water despite a Vermont Supreme Court ruling that says the city doesn’t have the authority to keep people from the water.

The May 11 Supreme Court decision deals with who has jurisdiction over the water of Berlin Pond. The city owns most of the land surrounding the pond.

Since the decision, the city says there have been “numerous reports of criminal trespass” on city land. A conviction for criminal trespass can carry a three-month jail term and a $500 fine.

Three sportsmen challenged the city’s right to keep people out of the pond. They successfully argued that only the state has jurisdiction over the pond itself.


Outdoor-recreation industry still strong, U.S. official says

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said during a visit to New Hampshire that even during the recession, growth in the outdoor recreation industry has provided a boost to the economy.

Salazar visited the Nashua location of outdoor retailer Eastern Mountain Sports on Thursday to speak to a panel of business leaders and environmentalists.

According to Outdoor Industry Association data from 2006, $4.3 billion was spent on recreation goods annually, with $261 million in New Hampshire. Updated figures are scheduled to be released in June.


Former police officer guilty of mischief involving TV

A former Vermont police officer accused of burglarizing his neighbor’s apartment has been convicted of unlawful trespass, unlawful mischief and resisting arrest.

However, a jury found 35-year-old Zak Winston not guilty of burglary.

Winston resigned last year from the Barre police department. He was arrested on charges he had broken into the apartment and stolen a 42-inch television that was still in its box. He pleaded not guilty.

Court paperwork said the television was thrown into the Winooski River.

Winston faces a sentence of up to five years.


N.H., Mass. police caution drivers on extra enforcement

New Hampshire and Massachusetts state police will have increased patrols over the Memorial Day weekend, looking for aggressive and impaired drivers.

Troopers from both states were planning a news conference to discuss their focus on reducing dangerous speeds and other violations over the holiday weekend.

High-visibility patrols will be along Interstate 93 from Interstate 495 in Massachusetts to the Hooksett Tolls in New Hampshire and Interstate 95 from Danvers, Mass., to the Maine border.

— The Associated Press