Total for training workers in new skills tops $302,000

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan says grants totaling more than $151,000 will be used to train 246 workers in new skills.

Hassan announced the new job-training grants on Wednesday.

She said six companies matched the awards bringing the total funds to more than $302,000.

The money will be used to train workers at six companies: Altronics Manufacturing, of Hudson; Substructure Inc. and PixelMEDIA Inc., both of Portsmouth; Hutchinson Sealing Systems Inc., of Newfields; Alene Candles LLC, of Milford, and Associated Grocers of New England Inc., of Pembroke.

The fund has awarded more than $5 million in grants since 2007, with employers contributing more than $8 million for the training of more than 16,800 New Hampshire workers.


Medical marijuana bill wins veto-proof House approval

New Hampshire residents hoping to use marijuana to treat symptoms of serious illnesses are getting support from the House, which has passed a proposal sanctioning five dispensaries and allowing patients or caregivers to grow up to three adult marijuana plants.

The House voted 286-64 on Wednesday passing a medical marijuana bill with a veto-proof majority. It’s the fourth time in six years such a bill has passed the House.

Former Gov. John Lynch vetoed two previous bills and a third was killed in the Senate. Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she would sign a tightly regulated medical marijuana bill.

Senate Republican Leader Jeb Bradley has said there’s support in the Senate for a medical marijuana bill, but added the House’s version will likely be sent back with significant changes.


Parents and school district avoid trial in teen tattooing

A settlement is being worked on between the parents of a New Hampshire teenager who was tattooed against his will and the Concord School District.

Michael and Tammy Austin sued the district in 2011, saying officials didn’t do their jobs and could have prevented what happened to their son. The district denied the allegations.

Their son was a 14-year-old high school freshman in 2010. Police said four people were accused of tattooing a lewd image and words on his backside. They pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the incident and served between several days and six months in jail. Three were high school students; they were expelled.

The Concord Monitor reported that Stephen Duggan, a lawyer for the Austins, said settlement negotiations are ongoing and there won’t be a trial.


Storms force state to spend more than it had expected

New Hampshire’s Transportation Department is running over budget on its winter maintenance funds after the latest snowstorm.

Spokesman Bill Boynton said the department had anticipated spending $39 million. It now estimates spending about $45 million.

Last, year, $32 million was spent.

Boynton said this is the time of year where the department tries to stockpile salt supplies for next year. It’s now starting to dip into that. The department has already spent $3 million more on salt than anticipated.

The state is also running short on overtime and rental equipment funds, so it may need to dip into the highway fund, which goes toward bridge and road maintenance.


Driver who hit sign blamed husband at first, police say

Police say a woman who crashed her car in Bennington, Vt., while texting tried to blame the accident on her estranged husband.

Thirty-year-old Tanya Taylor pleaded not guilty to a felony count of impeding a public office and misdemeanor counts of false information to a police officer. She also pleaded not guilty to careless or negligent operation of a vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.

The Bennington Banner reported that police responded to a crash Feb. 25. The car had a shattered windshield, tire damage and the shape of what appeared to be a yellow highway sign on the hood. Taylor said her estranged husband had vandalized her car after the two argued.

She eventually said she crashed the car into a sign.


Student group: NECAP test too difficult, even for adults

A Providence student group says the results of a mock test last weekend show problems with a standardized test that Rhode Island high school students will have to pass to graduate starting next year.

The Providence Student Union said 60 percent of 50 adults failed the math portion of the New England Common Assessment Program test.

The group called the test unfair and asked prominent adults in the community to take a sample version to see how hard it is.

The latest test scores show that many members of the class of 2014 are at risk of not graduating next year. Forty percent of 11th-graders scored in the lowest-performing category in math on the NECAP test.


Stomach illness sickens Brown University students

Brown University has reported an outbreak of stomach illness to Rhode Island’s health department.

The university said Wednesday that 67 students have reported a gastrointestinal illness that generally comes on quickly and subsides in a day or two. A spokeswoman said 18 students went to the emergency room, and one was admitted.

She said another 49 have called University Health Services or were seen there since Sunday.

In an email to students, the health services director said the illness is consistent with a virus, possibly norovirus. Dr. Edward Wheeler said antibiotics aren’t effective and most students are recovering with hydration treatment.

He said tests are being conducted to find a cause.


Plastic toy grenade leads to evacuation of residents

Police say a plastic toy grenade uncovered by workers digging at a garage foundation in Manchester, N.H., set off concern and some evacuations.

Police responded to the home about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and saw what appeared to be a grenade partially uncovered in a few feet of dirt.

As a precaution, nearby residents were evacuated and the state police explosives unit was called to investigate the device.

A bomb technician did an X-ray of the item and determined it was safe. Police determined it was a plastic toy grenade.


State suspends teacher over hunting incident

A teacher who allowed a student to leave class to go deer hunting in 2011 has been disciplined by the Vermont Education Agency.

Steven Wunsch, a building trades instructor at Northwest Technical Center in St. Albans, was sanctioned with an 11-day licensing suspension that started Feb. 23 and coincided with the winter break.

That’s after a six-week unpaid suspension by the school system in 2012.

Students at the technical center had left to study at a building job site. While there, they spotted a deer. Wunsch gave a 17-year-old student permission to go home, get his gun and shoot it. The teacher and students then posed for a photo next to the deer.


Grandmother also facing charges for starving boy

The mother of a New Hampshire woman convicted of assault for starving a boy is now facing charges in the case.

Prosecutors said Peggy Starr also deprived the boy of food, when he lived in her daughter’s home from 2006 to 2010.

Starr’s daughter, 34-year-old Christina Thomas of New Durham, was convicted last month of first-degree assault for failing to provide proper nutrition to the developmentally disabled boy, now 9.

Prosecutors said the then-6-year-old boy weighed 23 pounds when the state intervened.

WMUR-TV reported that Starr is scheduled to be arraigned next week on first-degree assault charge.