Vermont PBS to pay $15,000 for open-meeting violations

Vermont’s public television station says it’s paying a $15,000 fine to settle a complaint about its open-meeting practices.

The station, Vermont PBS, announced Friday it would pay the fine imposed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, but that it was disappointed with the Thursday decision.

But CPB did not impose any penalty that would affect the station’s eligibility for federal grant programs and it doesn’t jeopardize the approximately $1 million in grants the station receives from the organization each year.

An internal investigation found the station’s board of directors properly closed some meetings but violated federal requirements by failing to notify the public that private meetings had been held.

Vermont PBS says the fine will not be paid with donations from viewers, but from commercial licensing agreements.


Accused of Obama threats, man arrested for weapons

A Massachusetts man has been arrested on gun charges in connection with an investigation into alleged threats against President Obama.

Stephen Perroti of Lawrence pleaded not guilty to nine firearms charges Friday during his arraignment in Lawrence District Court. A judge ordered him held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing Aug. 8.

A prosecutor told the judge that the U.S. Secret Service contacted Lawrence police about alleged threats made against the president. She said that during a search of Perroti’s home Thursday, authorities found an AR-15 assault rifle, three scopes and four high-capacity magazines and ammunition.

Perrotti, 28, allegedly made threats to kill Obama “even if it takes a lifetime,” according to a police report obtained by The Eagle-Tribune newspaper.


Scientist tags great white with tracking device

A shark researcher attached an electronic tracking device to a great white shark this week, the first time this year that one of the predators had been tagged in the waters off Cape Cod.

Greg Skomal, a state scientist, was able to tag the 12-foot shark Thursday as it moved quickly past a research vessel a few hundred yards off Chatham, according to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.

Skomal has tagged a number of great whites off Cape Cod in recent years. The device allows scientists to learn more about the creatures by studying their movements and behavior.

Cynthia Wigren, a spokeswoman for the conservancy, told the Cape Cod Times that Skomal and his crew were surveying the great white population when a spotter pilot saw the shark near the boat.

The gender of the shark had not yet been determined. The crew of Skomal’s vessel spotted a female shark off Nauset Beach in Orleans on June 28, but that shark was not tagged.

Shark sightings off Massachusetts have increased in recent years as they move closer to the coast to feed on a growing seal population. It’s been estimated that about 30 great whites prowl the Cape Cod waters on any given day.


Minor earthquake reported on New Hampshire border

A minor earthquake was reported in Vermont early Friday, just across the New Hampshire line.

The U.S. Geological Service said the 1.7-magnitude quake was reported at 6:18 a.m. near the town of Thetford.

There were no reports of any injuries.


New law bans fuel dealers from soliciting before May

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a measure that changes when fuel dealers can contract with customers to buy fuel in advance.

The bill was in response to disruptions in home heating oil deliveries last winter by one of New Hampshire’s largest fuel companies. It prohibits dealers from advertising or soliciting earlier than May 1 for consumers to enter into contracts for the upcoming fuel season.

Consumers could ask to sign contracts before May 1.

Last winter, hundreds of customers complained about delivery problems with Fred Fuller Oil Co. The company blamed the problems on extreme weather conditions, a huge increase in demand and its phone system.

The bill included money for 22 towns toward flood control.

—From news service reports