Two music festivals mean $5.1 million for economy

The Newport folk and jazz festivals contributed nearly $5.1 million to the Rhode Island economy last year, according to a new analysis commissioned by the nonprofit group behind the summer musical events held at Fort Adams State Park.

The Newport Festivals Foundation announced the results of the economic impact study Friday. The total impact includes money spent on food, shopping, entertainment and lodging.

The report says that while the Folk Festival attracted a bigger audience, Jazz Festival attendees spent significantly more money.

Tickets for the main two days of this summer’s Folk Festival are sold out. Ten thousand people a day are expected to attend the July 27-28 concerts.

Now in its 59th year, the Jazz Festival runs Aug. 2 to Aug. 4.


Bill banning wild boar wins House approval

House lawmakers in Vermont have approved a ban on wild boar, after state Fish and Wildlife officials said they are concerned the boar could escape from captive hunting facilities and attack other animals.

Vermont Public Radio reported that Williston Democrat Jim McCullough said wild hogs are an invasive species, reproduce rapidly and are known to cause significant damage.

He said the bill, which was approved Thursday, targets all varieties of wild boar and their genetic cousins.

The department had asked the Legislature to ban possession and importation of the animals.


Police investigating theft of $20,000 in equipment

Vermont State Police are investigating the theft of $20,000 worth of donated equipment to the Mad River Flood Recovery group.

Police said the equipment had been taken from a barn on Route 100 in Warren. They said the burglary happened in the last couple of weeks.


Energy chief urged to OK wind-farm loan guarantee

The 11-member Massachusetts congressional delegation has sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Energy urging him to approve a loan guarantee for the Cape Wind offshore wind project.

The Department of Energy is currently considering a loan guarantee for the 130-turbine project planned for Nantucket Sound.

The letter written by Rep. Bill Keating says the project will create jobs and help establish Massachusetts as a hub of new-energy technology.

Cape Wind aims to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm. Developers of the $2.6 billion project say it will create 600 to 1,000 jobs during construction and 50 permanent jobs. Critics say the project will ruin the sound and that its power is too expensive.

The guarantee would cover just a portion of the project, which is currently seeking financing.


High court: Sharing a joint is legal, growing pot is not

Massachusetts’ highest court has ruled that sharing a marijuana cigarette isn’t a crime, but growing even small amounts of the drug is still illegal.

The Supreme Judicial Court on Friday released decisions in four cases, all involving arrests after voters in 2008 approved a law decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

In one case, a man was arrested at the annual Hempfest on Boston Common sharing marijuana. The state argued the man was distributing the drug, but the court said social sharing of small amounts can’t be considered distribution.

In a separate case, a man was arrested for growing less than an ounce’s worth of marijuana plants. The court said the new law decriminalized marijuana possession, not cultivation.