STEM education task force finds room for improvement

A new report says New Hampshire is falling behind in science, technology, engineering and math education and must take concrete steps to better prepare students for careers in those fields.

A task force created by Gov. Maggie Hassan released its report on this topic Tuesday. The report says New Hampshire ranks 21st and 32nd, respectively, in the percentage of students receiving associate and bachelor’s degrees in the so-called STEM fields. It also says there were only enough qualified teachers to fill half of the open science and math positions in the 2012-13 school year.

The report recommends giving students more career-prep opportunities in high schools, creating an advisory committee to promote STEM education for girls and better preparing teachers to teach STEM classes.


Ex-prosecutor: Wahlberg shouldn’t receive pardon

A former prosecutor in Massachusetts says actor Mark Wahlberg shouldn’t be pardoned for an attack as a youth on two Asian men.

Judith Beals is a former Massachusetts assistant attorney general who argued against a pardon in an opinion piece published this week in The Boston Globe.

She said Tuesday that Wahlberg has not acknowledged the racial element of his crimes and has focused instead on his heavy drug and alcohol use at the time.

Beals secured a civil rights injunction against the young Wahlberg in a case accusing him of hurling rocks and racial epithets at black schoolchildren in Boston.

Wahlberg is seeking a pardon for hitting a Vietnamese man in the head with a wooden stick while trying to steal alcohol and punching another in the face while trying to avoid police in 1988. He served about 45 days in jail.

School gets $4 million grant to develop new technology

Gov. Charlie Baker has announced a $4 million grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative to the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

The grant will aid the development of a printed and flexible electronics industry cluster. Supporters say the emerging field has the potential to become a $76 billion global market in the next decade.

The four-year grant will be matched by $12 million in industry support.


FBI offers $10,000 reward in armed robbery of bank

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the conviction of a masked man who fired a shot from an assault rifle during a Christmas Eve bank robbery in Taunton.

The round struck the wall and no one was hurt in the robbery of the First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union.

The FBI and state and city police announced the reward Monday.

Authorities say the suspect walked into the credit union, said “Merry Christmas” followed by an obscenity, and then ordered the tellers to empty their cash drawers into his black duffel bag.

He fired when an employee made an unexpected move.


Dr. John, others to headline this summer’s jazz festival

Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti, vocalist Cassandra Wilson and Dr. John are among the biggest names playing this year’s Newport Jazz Festival.

Festival producer George Wein announced the lineup Tuesday for the festival, July 31 through Aug. 2. This will be the 61st anniversary of the festival.

Other performers will include Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, the band Snarky Puppy, composer and orchestra leader Maria Schneider and 11-year-old Indonesian piano prodigy Joey Alexander.

Wein is being awarded a special Grammy this year for outstanding contributions to the music industry beyond performance.

He founded the jazz festival in 1954 and later the Newport Folk Festival.

Tickets go on sale Thursday.


School bus driver arrested after her son, 5, crashes bus

Police said a New Hampshire school bus driver allowed her 5-year-old son to sit in the driver’s seat with the bus running and the boy put it in reverse, sideswiping cars and crashing into a carport.

Merrimack police said Tiffanie Brown was doing a safety check outside the bus last week at an apartment complex parking lot. Her 8-year-old son was with her.

Capt. Peter Albert said that Brown instructed the 5-year-old to activate the different lights to check them. But the boy somehow put the bus in reverse. The 8-year-old was hanging onto a door at the time.

No one was hurt, but Brown was arrested Monday and charged with reckless conduct and endangering the welfare of a child.


Panel opposes plan to make foghorn radio-activated

The Stonington Harbor Management Commission is opposing a U.S. Coast Guard proposal to make a foghorn on the Stonington Harbor Outer Breakwater radio-activated rather than automatically sounding around the clock.

Boaters have complained that changing how the fog signal is activated would be unsafe for small boats that don’t carry the radio systems needed to activate the signal.

The Coast Guard is converting Maine and New Hampshire foghorns that are automated to activate in the presence of fog. It says newer technology activated by mariners via marine radios is safer and more cost effective.

Stonington resident Tom Castle was alone in opposition to the foghorn. He said it makes a lot of noise and nine months of the year no one is present.