WORKERS COMP FRAUD
Maine man convicted of workers' comp fraud
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - An Aroostook County jury has convicted a northern Maine man of theft of more than $10,000 in workers' compensation benefits.
Prosecutors said Friday that 63-year-old Stephen Tucker Sr. received more than $45,000 in benefits after injuring his hand awhile working at a gas station, yet later opened a small engine repair business. Evidence suggested Tucker was able to perform tasks that were inconsistent with his testimony before the Workers' Compensation Board.
Tucker couldn't be reached for comment. No sentencing date was set.
Class B theft is punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Attorney General Janet Mills said her office will go after "those who would cheat and steal, no matter who or where they are or what they do for work."
Maine soldier receives plate that saved his life
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A U.S. Army Sergeant from Maine who was shot in combat in Afghanistan has received the body-armor plate that saved his life.
The Army presented 26-year-old Timothy Gilboe, of Westbrook, with the plate on Friday at a ceremony at the Portland Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.
Gilboe was awarded the Silver Star AND lost a friend in the fighting three years ago after his unit came under mortar attack. Staff Sgt. Matthew Hermanson, the squad leader, insisted on going in front of him. Hermanson was shot and killed.
Gilboe attended to the wounded and faced a Taliban fighter in hand-to-hand combat. The enemy's round hit the body-armor plate that covered his chest.
Gilboe is now a member of the National Guard and is studying construction at Southern Maine Community College.
MAINE MARIJUANA SHOW
Medical marijuana supporters flock to Maine show
BANGOR, Maine (AP) - Medical marijuana supporters flocked to Bangor, Maine, for the industry's largest trade show.
The one-day Homegrown Maine 2014 event took place Saturday at the Spectacular Events Center in the city. Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine organizes the event, which is in its third year. A spokeswoman for the organization said the event is geared at caregivers, patients and growers.
MOOSE CHARGES SNOWMOBILERS
Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot
JACKMAN, Maine (AP) - A New Hampshire couple got a scare while snowmobiling in Maine: They were charged by a moose.
Janis and Bob Powell, of Belmont, say they were just outside of Jackman on Friday when they came across a moose. They say the animal stopped and charged at them.
No one was injured.
Janis Powell tells WMTW-TV that they have seen moose on the trails over the 20 years that they've been snowmobiling, but the animals usually run off.
The moose took off after the couple fired a warning shot into the air.
COLLEGE CAMPUS ELECTROCUTION
Man electrocuted on New Hampshire college campus
KEENE, N.H. (AP) - Fire officials say a man has been electrocuted by a downed power line on property next to Keene State College Athletic Complex.
Fire Chief Mark Howard says firefighters and police responded to a Saturday afternoon call to the scene.
He says that out of safety concerns, crews couldn't immediately approach the man because of the high voltage line. The man's name was not immediately released, and the fire chief provided no further details surrounding his death.
He says the downed line also sparked a brush fire that covered about a quarter-acre before firefighters were able to bring it under control.
Colleges: Transfer students are out-of-staters
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - As college students prepare to leave New Hampshire and Vermont for summer break, a recent national study raises questions about how many will return in the fall.
The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center says both states rank very high in terms of the percentage of students who graduate within six years of starting at four-year public campuses. But they also rank high in terms of students who finish in another state.
The statistics cover students who started college in the fall of 2006, and education officials in both Vermont and New Hampshire say they likely reflect the high number of out-of-state students. Those students pay considerably higher tuition, and as the recession has wound down, many may have transferred to less expensive schools back in their home states.
NH House voting on 4 cent gas, diesel tax hike
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire's tax on gasoline and diesel would rise for the first time since 1991 under a bill being voted on by the House next week.
Supporters say the proposed 4 cent increase would provide much-needed money to fix deteriorating roads and help finish the expansion of Interstate 93. Opponents say the hike would cost consumers and truckers at the pump and lead to higher prices on goods and services.
The bill would increase funding for highway improvements for two years, then earmark about half the proceeds to pay off $200 million in borrowing to finish the Interstate 93 expansion.
Once the debt is paid off in roughly 20 years, the tax increase would expire. The bill also would eliminate the Exit 12 ramp toll booths in Merrimack.
GARLIC MUSTARD CHALLENGE
Volunteers sought for garlic mustard 'pull'
DURHAM, N.H. (AP) - Up for the garlic mustard "pull" challenge?
Conservation groups in New Hampshire are seeking volunteers to help pull out the invasive plant in Newmarket, Lee, Durham, and Kittery, Maine.
Garlic mustard is a non-native plant that crowds out native plants.
Ellen Snyder, partnership coordinator of The Stewardship Network: New England, says garlic mustard can be pulled by hand with relative ease.
Pulls are scheduled for Saturday at The Nature Conservancy's Lubberland Creek in Newmarket, from 9 a.m. to noon and at Fort Foster in Kittery from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Other events take place May 3 at the Lee Safety Complex from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and May 6 at the Oyster River Dam in Durham's College Woods from 10 a.m. to noon.
Finance Fair to connect businesses, lenders
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire Finance Fair has been organized to connect business owners, entrepreneurs and startup companies with lenders and financial services providers.
The event is scheduled for May 28 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University's Hospitality Center.
More than 30 representatives of banks, credit unions and financial services agencies will be available to talk about loan programs, financing options and other ways to help businesses grow and expand.
The fair includes seminars on creative financing options and on securing investments from potential lenders and investors. Participants can also receive free technical assistance for developing their business plans and loan proposals, as well as accounting and legal guidance.
Police: 4 charged after vandalism, fight at party
IRASBURG, Vt. (AP) - Vermont State Police say four people are facing charges after a window was smashed and a fight broke out at a party in Irasburg.
A neighbor called police Friday night to report that her window had been smashed by a rock by someone at a large party next door.
When police arrived, a large fight broke out inside the home where the party was being held.
Police say they had to enter the home by force and restrain numerous people. State police requested help from the U.S. Border Patrol.
The 25-year-old homeowner was cited for unlawful mischief and enabling the consumption of alcohol by a minor. Two others were charged with disorderly conduct and under age consumption of alcohol and a third was charged with providing false information to police.
Stepfather charged in 2-year-old's death released
POULTNEY, Vt. (AP) - A Poultney man charged in the death of his 2-year-old stepdaughter has been released on bail.
WCAX-TV reports that 31-year-old Dennis Duby was released on Friday. He's charged in the death of Dezirae Sheldon, who died in February after suffering severe head trauma.
Duby has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
In response to the toddler's death, the state has set up an independent panel to investigate the state's role leading up to the death. Vermont lawmakers also have been reviewing child protection issues.
UN ambassador, swimmer among Vermont speakers
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A long-distance swimmer, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and an oceanographer are among this spring's commencement speakers at Vermont colleges and universities.
Diana Nyad, who last year at age 64 swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida, will speak at Middlebury College's graduation May 25.
University of Vermont graduates will hear from Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, on May 18.
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle will speak at St. Michael's College on May 11.
Sen. Patrick Leahy will deliver the commencement address at Green Mountain College in Poultney on May 17. Gen. Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency, will speak at Norwich University on May 10.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS GRANTS
37 Vermont buildings to receive preservation money
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Thirty-seven Vermont buildings in 11 counties are going to be sharing $540,000 in state preservation grants.
The structures include historic meeting houses, churches, barns and libraries.
Officials say the historic architecture provides a visual record of life in Vermont over the past 200 years and represents the state's heritage to current and future generations.
The preservation of the buildings also generates jobs, supports independent businesses, increases civic participation and contributes to a community's sense of place.
Gov. Peter Shumlin announced the grants earlier this month.
5 Vermont ski areas still open
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Ski Areas Association says five ski resorts will remain open this weekend, with three planning to offer skiing and riding into May.
The association said this week that Sugarbush is hoping to be open until May 4, Jay Peak until May 11 and Killington has not set a closing date yet.
Smugglers Notch and Stowe Mountain Resort plan to close on Sunday.
Other bigger resorts closed last weekend.
18 colleges ranked 'green' in northern New England
Northern New England is making a strong showing in the Princeton Review's 2014 guide to "green colleges."
Vermont has six colleges that get the green ranking, including two, Middlebury College and Green Mountain College, which got the highest possible score. Maine has seven green colleges, including one, College of the Atlantic, which received a top score. New Hampshire has five green colleges.
The Princeton Review survey says what's good for the environment is also good for recruitment.
The survey said 61 percent of high school students surveyed said information about an institution's green commitment would influence their decision whether to attend.
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