Company’s struggles stall methane conversion plan

City officials say a plan to turn landfill methane into electricity has stalled because the Vermont energy company involved in the project is having financial troubles.

The Valley News reports that Carbon Harvest Energy of Burlington recently furloughed six of its 11 workers. Lebanon Solid Waste Manger George Murray says that means the landfill project is in “wait and see” mode and that the city would consider other companies if current plans fall through.

The project would have turned methane gas produced by decomposition into electricity to be sold back into the city grid, potentially saving the city up to $60,000 per year.


$10,000 lottery ticket to expire, no winner in sight

Check your old lottery tickets: One worth $10,000 is about to expire.

Rhode Island Lottery officials say a winning ticket for a Mega Millions drawing held last Dec. 30 expires on Sunday. The ticket holder must contact lottery headquarters by Friday to make arrangements for claiming the prize money.

The money will be turned over to the state’s general fund if it is not claimed.

The ticket was purchased at a Stop & Shop on Quaker Lane in Warwick.

Lottery officials say there is more than $177,000 worth of unclaimed prizes of $10,000 or more on tickets sold in Rhode Island.


Police identify man killed in tree-cutting accident

Massachusetts authorities have identified the New Hampshire resident who died in a tree-cutting accident in Haverhill on Christmas Eve.

The Essex district attorney’s office on Wednesday identified the victim of Monday’s accident as 32-year-old Merle Wilbur IV of Hampton, N.H.

Wilbur was performing commercial tree work at a private residence when a tree limb gave way causing him to fall about 15 feet to the ground, where the limb landed on him. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy is scheduled.

Witnesses told The Eagle Tribune the large tree had been damaged in a recent storm and was being removed.


Subway ridership increases despite higher fares

The overall number of riders on the MBTA rose in November, continuing a recent trend despite a fare hike that took effect in July.

General Manager Beverly Scott announced Wednesday that November ridership increased 1.3 percent compared to the same month a year ago.

Weekday ridership on the Red, Orange and Blue Lines climbed an average of 5.6 percent, though the Green Line saw a decrease of 1.5 percent.

Bus ridership also dropped slightly in November, while there was a modest increase on the commuter rail.

The MBTA had projected an overall ridership decline of about 5 percent after the average 23 percent fare hike.

Scott says she’s confident the solid ridership trends will continue through the winter.


Peace Abbey sold; holdings to UMass-Boston archives

The financially-struggling Peace Abbey in Sherborn has been sold to a local man for $300,000.

Founder and director Lewis Randa says the Peace Abbey’s furnishings, materials and other holdings will be moved to UMass-Boston’s Center and Archives for Peace, Social Action, Public Policy, and the Arts.

Randa tells The MetroWest Daily News he’s “thrilled” with the sale and an association with UMass will allow the abbey to have a “much greater impact.” The sale will help the abbey pay its mortgage and repay shareholders.

Randa said the buyer, Bob Murchison, has agreed to keep the Peace Abbey’s two memorials in perpetuity and restore existing buildings

The multifaith abbey, founded in 1988, promotes pacifism and social justice. It has hosted distinguished visitors including Mother Teresa, Maya Angelou and Muhammad Ali.


Unique reward for finding famed author’s lost dog

Author Dennis Lehane is offering an unusual reward for the person who finds his family’s beloved missing beagle.

Lehane says he’ll name a character in his next book after whoever finds Tessa, who disappeared from the family’s home in Brookline, Mass., this week.

He says on his Facebook page that Tessa jumped a fence at the home, and even though she has been micro-chipped, she was not wearing her tags.

Lehane says Tessa is “smart, fast, and immeasurably sweet.”

Lehane wrote “Mystic River,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Shutter Island” and other books.


N.H. man caught with stolen firefighter gear

A Peabody police officer thought there was something suspicious when he spotted a man walking down a city street in full firefighter gear.

Sgt. Timothy Maroney didn’t recognize the man as either a current or former city firefighter. When he asked the man he spotted at about 4:40 a.m. Sunday where he got the gear, the man said he found it in a park.

Police tell The Daily Item of Lynn that Deputy Fire Chief Eric Harrison arrived on the scene and said the gear was brand new, had never been issued, and was missing from a fire station basement storage area where a bulkhead door had been found open.

Kasey Donovan, of Goffstown, N.H., was charged with breaking and entering and other offenses. He was freed on $1,000 bail.