Educators oppose proposal to arm school employees

Teacher groups urged New Hampshire lawmakers Thursday to keep guns out of schools by opposing a bill that would allow school employees to carry them with the blessing of local voters.

Union leaders for the American Federation of Teachers and NEA New Hampshire objected to the bill at a hearing by the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, saying the measure was potentially dangerous to children as well as teachers.

“As the rest of the country debates how to keep guns out of schools. In New Hampshire, we are actually proposing bringing more guns in. Guns have no place in our schools,” said NEA-NH President Scott McGilvray.

Dean Michener of the New Hampshire School Boards Association agreed and cited a study showing that police in New York City in a gunfight hit their target only 18 percent of the time.


State wraps up MTBE case, awaits ExxonMobil rebuttal

Lawyers for New Hampshire have wrapped up their gasoline additive groundwater contamination case against ExxonMobil, in what is shaping up to be the most lengthy and complex trial in state history.

The state’s case against ExxonMobil and Citgo began Jan. 14, but two days later Citgo agreed to settle, leaving ExxonMobil as the sole defendant. Citgo agreed to pay the state $16 million to detect and clean up groundwater contamination by MTBE.

ExxonMobil lawyers will begin presenting their case March 4, after a scheduled week off.

The state claims gasoline containing MTBE was a defective product and that the oil companies had a duty to warn state officials about its special properties.


Wood quarantine ordered to contain invasive beetle

Massachusetts officials said Thursday that they’ve ordered a quarantine on certain wood in the state’s westernmost county to help contain an invasive beetle that’s killed millions of ash trees nationwide.

Beginning March 1, no hardwood firewood, ash nursery stock or untreated ash lumber will be allowed outside Berkshire County, where the emerald ash borer was found last summer.

Under the quarantine order, proper wood treatments would include removing the bark plus a half inch of wood, fumigation and dry kiln sterilization.


Same-sex marriage gets blessing of business group

The debate over gay marriage in Rhode Island is moving from the Statehouse to the boardroom as supporters argue the state is at an economic disadvantage with its five New England neighbors, which already allow same-sex nuptials.

A coalition of 60 business leaders, including former Hasbro CEO Alan Hassenfeld, this week endorsed same-sex marriage legislation pending in the General Assembly, saying it would attract workers and employers that might otherwise head to Connecticut, Massachusetts or elsewhere. Executives from companies including Deepwater Wind, Betaspring, The Providence Journal and CVS Caremark also signed on to the coalition.

Opponents of gay marriage, however, have said that they believe most Rhode Islanders oppose gay marriage and that it would do little to help the state’s economy.