New rules for catching smelt, bass announced

New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department says changes have been made to rules for catching smelt, striped bass, white perch, haddock and cod for 2015.

Daily limits have been reduced for smelt to accommodate a decline and striped bass to comply with a fishery management plan.

The daily limit of 25 white perch for coastal waters now matches the limit for inland waters.

To reflect changes in federal law, there’s now a daily limit of three haddock, and a closed season for harvesting haddock from March 1 to April 30 and from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30.

For cod, the size limit has increased from 19 to 21 inches, and the closed season in state waters is now Sept. 1 through April 14.

For more than 3 miles from shore, all cod caught must be immediately returned to the water.


Suit alleging ex-police chief sought nude photos settled

The former police chief in New London and a college student who accused him of asking her to pose for nude pictures have settled a lawsuit filed by the student.

Court documents say the town’s insurance provider is paying $70,000 to the woman on behalf of the town and David Seastrand.

David Seastrand resigned as the New London police chief in April 2013, a month after Janelle Westfall, a Colby-Sawyer student, said Seastrand offered to drop an underage drinking charge if she posed for him.

The attorney general’s office said the allegations were disturbing, but didn’t rise to the level of criminal conduct.

The Valley News reports that the Seastrand did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.


State’s official sailing ship to be restored in Maine

The state’s official sailing vessel is getting a sprucing up.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation says a combination of private and public money will be used to rehabilitate and restore the Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey, currently berthed in New Bedford.

The vessel was launched in 1894 in Essex. It was purchased in 1926 by Arctic explorer Robert Bartlett, and once reached within 600 miles of the North Pole.

It later carried immigrants from the Cape Verde Islands to the United States. In 1990, it was designated a national historic landmark and became an educational vessel.

The $6 million restoration – including $2.5 million from an environmental bond bill – will be done in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Officials say the vessel will return to New Bedford after the work is completed.


Vigil remembers victims of Pakistani school attack

About 200 people gathered in Providence to honor those who died in a militant attack on a school in Pakistan that killed 148 people.

The Providence Journal reports that Friday’s vigil in front of the Brown University bookstore included many participants from Rhode Island’s Pakistani community who displayed signs and held candles.

Some wrote messages on a white tablecloth and others wrote condolence cards to send to families of the victims.

One of the organizers, Dr. Arshad Iqbal, says the event was held to express solidarity and to educate people about Tuesday’s massacre in Peshawar.

Militants strapped with explosives broke into a military-run school in Peshawar and killed 148 people. Nearly all of the victims were young students.


Supportive housing effort gets $15 million boost

Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration says it is directing $15 million toward the development of supportive housing for veterans, the homeless and some low-income families in the state.

With the addition of 235 new supportive housing units, officials say they have now funded more than 3,000 units, tripling a goal set by the governor in 2012.

Supportive housing, operated in conjunction with nonprofit agencies around the state, aims to help individuals or families that are homeless or could become homeless, or are at risk of being institutionalized.

The housing can include services such as child care, mental health care or job training.

JFK’s letter reassuring child about Santa’s safety reissued

The Kennedy Presidential Library wants to remind the world that not even the threat of thermonuclear conflict can stop Santa Claus from making his rounds.

The library has republished the text of a 1961 letter from President John F. Kennedy reassuring a little girl who was worried about possible Soviet nuclear tests at the North Pole.

Kennedy’s letter to 8-year-old Michelle Rochon says he shares her concerns, not just for the fate of Santa but all people. The president added that he had talked to Santa just a day earlier and all is well.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum reissued the letter Friday as a holiday greeting.


State investing $5 million in undersea robotics research

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is getting $5 million from the state to build new facilities to test robotic vehicles for undersea research.

Officials say the five-year grant will help speed the development and deployment of new and existing maritime robotic technology to explore the world’s oceans.

They say the use of so-called autonomous underwater vehicles is projected to grow by more than 40 percent over the next four years.

Woods Hole is partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other organizations on the research and broader use of undersea robots.

James Bellingham, director of Woods Hole’s Center for Marine Robotics, said Friday the goal is to “apply new robotic technologies to great science challenges of our age.”

The institution recently built a robot to dive beneath polar ice.

– From news service reports