Bill to increase tobacco tax by 20 cents heads for vote

New Hampshire’s House is considering raising the tobacco tax 20 cents — a dime less than Gov. Maggie Hassan counted on in her budget.

The House is scheduled to vote this week whether to raise the tax to $1.88 per pack of cigarettes. The increase would also apply to other tobacco products.

Each dime raises $10 million a year.

Even with the increase, New Hampshire would have a lower tax than neighboring states. Maine’s tax is $2 per pack.

Opponents argue it nevertheless puts New Hampshire at a competitive disadvantage in attracting cross-border business.

Free e-cookbook offered by liquor commission

The New Hampshire Liquor Commission has put together its first e-cookbook, featuring recipes from New Hampshire’s restaurants, and wine and spirit pairings.

The free cookbook was inspired by the commission’s “In the Mix” kitchen series, weekly food and wine presentations at the Nashua liquor and wine outlet store.

Consumers can follow step-by-step instructions to recreate Martingale Wharf’s St. Germain Compressed Melon with goat cheese and toasted hazelnuts paired with a St. Germain cocktail.

The e-cookbook can be downloaded at


Thief faces sentencing in ATM skimming scheme

A man from New York’s Long Island is facing sentencing in Connecticut for participating in an ATM skimming scheme that also targeted victims in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Turkish citizen Mehmet Aydin, whose last address is in Miller Place, N.Y., is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in New Haven.

He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Federal prosecutors said that in 2011, Aydin and others conspired to install “skimming” devices on automated teller machines that captured information encoded on the magnetic strips of bank cards used by customers at 11 banks and one credit union.

Authorities said the scheme hit more than 250 bank accounts, and financial institutions suffered losses of about $336,000.


Truck crash spills diesel fuel, temporarily closes I-95 lane

A portion of the southbound lane of Interstate 95 in Portsmouth reopened Saturday following a truck crash that caused at least 50 gallons of diesel fuel to spill.

State police say a tanker truck traveling southbound near Exit 5 went out of control a little after 2 a.m. Saturday, slid off the right side of the roadway, broke through a section of guardrail and overturned. As a result, one of the gas tanks was punctured and 50-55 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled.

The driver, 35-year-old Johnson Corrielus of Milton, Mass., was not injured.

The right breakdown lane and travel lane were closed while the diesel fuel spill was cleaned up.


Police hunt for suspect after nun is robbed in basilica

Police are looking for a man who robbed an 85-year-old nun as she was paying for a meal at the historic Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston.

The nun was standing at the window of the rectory office to pay for the meal when the suspect grabbed the money she had placed on the counter and walked out the door.

Police say the nun was at Mass and refused to speak to investigators until the service concluded Friday.

Officers who canvassed the area could not find the suspect they described as Hispanic, in his late 30s, with a slim build, a receding hairline and wearing a black leather jacket.

The imposing basilica, also known as the Mission Church, is one of the largest churches in the Boston Archdiocese.

Archdiocese pays executives more than most others do

A study performed at the request of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston indicates nearly one-third of its top executives rank among the highest paid in their field.

The Boston Herald reported that the study has prompted church officials to withhold some merit-based raises.

The study looked at how Boston’s pay compares to nine similar archdioceses. It found that five of the 16 lay executives making more than $150,000 are paid above the 75th percentile.

Among the highest pay was $360,000 in 2011 for the secretary of education and $340,000 for the general counsel.

Church officials said the goal is to eventually have most top-earners paid around the 50th percentile.

Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes, which opposes church closings, said the salaries are “appalling,” especially considering low attendance and the archdiocese’s ongoing downsizing.

Marijuana trade group offers input on new law

A national marijuana trade association held a symposium in downtown Boston as the state gears up to begin allowing the sale of marijuana for medical purposes.

The National Cannabis Industry Association billed the Saturday event as a chance to give investors and entrepreneurs a chance to meet and talk with professionals and experts in the field of medicinal marijuana.

Massachusetts voters passed a ballot question in November allowing for the use of medicinal marijuana for patients with certain medical conditions, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease and AIDS.

The new law allows for as many as 35 dispensaries to open around the state where patients can receive up to a 60-day supply of marijuana.

The National Cannabis Industry Association says it works to advance the interests of cannabis-related businesses.


Connecticut man killed after snowmobile hits tree

New Hampshire fish and game officials say a Connecticut man has died in a snowmobile accident in the woods in Errol.

Rescuers were called at 2 a.m. Saturday to the scene on 13 Mile Woods trail about two miles north of Millsfield Pond Road.

The victim was identified as 56-year-old Louis Voegeli Jr. of Woodbury, Conn. Voegeli was last in line in a group of four snowmobilers traveling south. He failed to negotiate a left turn and hit a tree.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but officials say alcohol does not appear to be a factor.


Two injured when bus collides with SUV on I-89

Vermont State Police say a bus carrying 26 passengers rear-ended an SUV on a slippery road, injuring two people.

Police said the crash between the Greyhound bus and Mercedes SUV happened Friday night on Interstate 89 near mile marker 89 during a heavy snowstorm.

Authorities said they learned that the SUV had slowed because of the weather when it was rear-ended by the bus.

Thomas Tarlow, 21, of Medfield, Mass., was behind the wheel of the SUV, which received major rear-end damage. Two people in his vehicle were injured.

Roger Curfman, 59, of Springfield, Vt., was driving the bus, which received minor front-end damage. No one on the bus was injured.

The bus was able to leave the scene, but passengers boarded another bus to continue their trip.


Barista and bystanders help catch suspect in robbery

Police say a fast-acting barista helped catch a robber in downtown Rutland.

Authorities said a man walked behind the counter at the Coffee Exchange on Friday, snatched an employee’s purse and a bag full of cash that was intended for the bank, and left the store.

Employee Kate Barcellos followed him down the sidewalk, through a building and into a bus terminal, while shouting for help and for the man to stop.

Three bystanders then tackled the man and held him until police could take him into custody.

The cash and purse were recovered.

The Rutland Herald reported that police say Nicholas Young, 22, of Rutland was charged with felony grand larceny and two misdemeanor counts of simple assault for allegedly biting two of the bystanders who tackled him.


Suspect charged in theft from elderly victims

State police say a Rhode Island man is in jail on charges that he stole nearly $400,000 from two elderly victims whose finances he was managing.

Police say Domenic Ferrante of Johnson convinced an elderly woman to appoint him as the trustee of her estate and refinance her home, saying he would re-invest the money to generate extra income for her. But the 62-year-old suspect allegedly used more than $65,000 of the money from the refinancing for his personal gain.

Investigators later discovered Ferrante had allegedly stolen more than $330,000 from an elderly man and his late wife’s life insurance policy. Police claim he convinced the victim to give him legal powers to manage his affairs after the death of his wife.

Ferrante was in jail Saturday and unavailable for comment.

— From news service reports