Former housing director admits lying about salary

The former director of the Chelsea Housing Authority has pleaded guilty to four federal counts of falsely reporting his salary.

Michael McLaughlin entered the guilty plea Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Sentencing was scheduled for May 14.

He was charged last month with knowingly concealing his salary in annual housing authority budgets from 2008 to 2011 and submitting them to state and federal housing regulators.

Authorities allege that in the 2011 fiscal year, McLaughlin reported his annual salary as $160,415, when his actual salary was at least $283,471 and his total compensation was at least $324,896. He is also accused of falsely reporting his income in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

McLaughlin resigned in 2011.


Turkey vultures blamed for damage to school roof

Taunton officials say turkey vultures are to blame for up to $10,000 in damage to the roof of a city school.

Building Superintendent Wayne Walkden said the vultures roost on the roof of Hopewell Elementary School and peck at the rubber membrane. He told The Taunton Daily Gazette that he counted 60 of the carrion-eating birds on the roof at one point last year.

The vultures have disappeared for the winter, but Walkden fears they will return in the warmer weather and cause more damage.

Getting rid of the birds is complicated. They are federally protected, so can’t simply be killed.

Walkden said the city is consulting with environmental groups to figure out ways of discouraging the birds from roosting on the roof.


Bill sponsors hope casinos will pay for highway work

Sponsors of a bill to legalize casino gambling say they hope gaming tax revenue will pay for planned highway improvements and make it unnecessary to raise the gas tax.

Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan supports the proposal to expand gambling. At a hearing Tuesday, she said New Hampshire can’t pretend gambling isn’t coming to its communities because it’s already here. She said not acting would allow Massachusetts to capture gambling revenue from New Hampshire residents, while New Hampshire pays the social costs.

Opponents say expanded gambling is out of step with New Hampshire’s character and would cannibalize existing businesses and industries. Democratic State Sen. Martha Clark said much of the gambling revenue in Hassan’s proposed budget can be replaced with increased fees and taxes, the way the state traditionally raises revenue.


Governor naming deputy Banking Department head

Gov. Maggie Hassan is nominating Glenn Perlow to head the New Hampshire Banking Department where he currently serves as its deputy.

Perlow will succeed Ron Wilbur whose term was up last month and did not seek reappointment.

Perlow lives in Concord and has been at the department for two years. He previously was a senior assistant attorney general.

The Banking Department is charged with protecting the public interest by ensuring the safety and soundness of banks and credit unions. It also regulates non-bank consumer loan lenders and loan brokers.

Hassan said she’s confident Perlow’s experience in the Banking and Justice departments will enable him to ensure the department protects consumers.


Four candidates competing to become state guard chief

Three of the candidates to become the next leader of the Vermont National Guard have decades of military service. The fourth isn’t a guard member and is running to oppose the possibility that the Air Force could send the F-35 fighter plane to Vermont.

The secret-ballot election is set for Thursday.

The candidates want to succeed Maj. Gen. Thomas Drew, who became interim adjutant general last summer after his predecessor left Vermont.

Air Guard Brig. Gen. Steven Cray of Essex Junction; Col. Darryl Ducharme; retired Col. Michael J. Bullock of Hinesburg; and James Marc Leas are all running for the position. Leas, who isn’t a guard member, is running to oppose the possibility the Air Force could send the F-35 fighter plane to Burlington.

Drew chose not to seek re-election.


Tattoo show raises $20,000 for Station fire memorial

An exhibit that featured photographs of tattoos people got to remember those killed in a 2003 nightclub fire has raised $20,000 for efforts to build a permanent memorial at the site of the fire.

Paula McLaughlin organized the exhibit. Her brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Sandy Hoogasian, were among the 100 people killed in the fire.

She said Tuesday that the exhibit, which was called Station Ink and ran Friday through Sunday, raised $20,000 for the Station Fire Memorial Foundation.

The group is working to build a memorial at the fire site and says it must raise more than $1 million. It’s also planning a comedy show as a major fundraiser March 8.

The 10th anniversary of the fire is Wednesday.