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News Minute: Here is the latest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont news from The Associated Press - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

News Minute: Here is the latest Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont news from The Associated Press

Posted: Updated:

MAINE:

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The battle for control of the Maine House and Senate is shaping up as the parties put the final touches on their slate of candidates. Parties have until tomorrow to submit replacements for candidates who have dropped out since the June 10th primary. But dozens of contests are already being closely watched as Democrats hope to fend off Republicans who are eager to return to power in both chambers.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The ex-husband of Maine's Republican party vice chairwoman is due in court on charges that he threatened her, her boyfriend and one of her children with a loaded gun. Wilfred Morissette is expected to appear in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta on Tuesday. Police say he was intoxicated when he pulled a weapon on Susan Morissette, who is also a former state representative. The couple divorced in 2012.

PITTSFIELD, Vt. (AP) - Seven New England companies that store oil have developed oil spill prevention plans after reaching settlements and paying fines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The reduced fines range from $3,000 paid by CV Oil of Pittsfield, Vermont, to $9,500 paid by Superior Plus Energy Service of Seymour, Connecticut. The other firms were VIP Tour and Charter Bus Co. of Portland, Maine, Brewer Pilots Point Marine in Westbrook, Maine, and three in Massachusetts: LS Starrett of Athol, Lakeside Oil Co. of Marlborough and Richards Oil Co. of Northborough.

STRONG, Maine (AP) - Two Franklin County, Maine, fire departments will receive more than $119,000 in federal grants to help buy new gear. The town of Rangeley is set to receive $99,743 to buy 16 new sets of breathing apparatus for firefighters. Strong's fire department will get $18,456 for new protective gear.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire officials recently told retailers they can accept Washington, D.C., driver's licenses to determine the age of alcohol customers from the nation's capital, although state law doesn't explicitly include them. The law instead says a license from "another state" or Canada can be used to show proof of age, without mentioning Washington or U.S. territories. State Senator David Watters says he's willing to sponsor a bill to fix the problem.

ALTON, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire authorities say charges are likely against the operator of a powerboat that crashed into a canoe on Lake Winnipesaukee. State police say an Idaho man had to jump into the water to avoid being hit by the powerboat that crashed into his canoe Friday in Alton. Authorities say the operator, a 74-year-old man from Massachusetts, was going about 30 mph when his 20-foot Centurian hit the canoe. Fifty-year-old Robert Cavallaro of Driggs, Idaho, suffered minor injuries.

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - State police are seeking the public's help in finding a group of motorcyclists clocked at speeds of more than 120 mph in Manchester. Police say a trooper noticed several motorcycles speeding on Interstate 293 around 10 p.m. yesterday. One of the motorcycles was stopped near the Mall of New Hampshire. Twenty-one-year-old Kyle Goff of Pembroke was charged with reckless driving and hindering apprehension.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Four New Hampshire hospitals have been honored by the National Rural Health Association. They are Huggins Hospital in Wolfeboro, Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, The Memorial Hospital in North Conway and Cottage Hospital in Haverhill. The first three were named top "critical access" hospitals and the last was recognized for "best practice in quality."

VERMONT:

PITTSFIELD, Vt. (AP) - Seven New England companies that store oil have developed oil spill prevention plans after reaching settlements and paying fines issued by the Environmental Protection Agency. The reduced fines range from $3,000 paid by CV Oil of Pittsfield, Vermont, to $9,500 paid by Superior Plus Energy Service of Seymour, Connecticut. The other firms were VIP Tour and Charter Bus Co. of Portland, Maine, Brewer Pilots Point Marine in Westbrook, Maine, and three in Massachusetts: LS Starrett of Athol, Lakeside Oil Co. of Marlborough and Richards Oil Co. of Northborough.

HARTFORD, Vt. (AP) - The town of Hartford is reviewing applications for its re-established police chief position. The town received applications from 28 candidates by Monday's deadline. Officials say most of them are from outside of New England. The town had expected to get up to 50 applications. But the town manager told the select board this week that 28 is a good number of applicants.

BERLIN, Vt. (AP) - Scientists seeking to restore the American chestnut tree that dominated the forests of the Eastern U.S. until an invasive fungus set in could get help from a rare stand in Vermont. Most of the 500 or so chestnut trees in the stand in Berlin are tiny, but a healthy 80-year-old tree is dropping chestnuts that are sprouting into young trees. The American Chestnut Foundation has helped develop a blight-resistant species by crossing American chestnuts with a resistant Chinese variety. It's not ready yet for widespread distribution.

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Scientists and public health officials are studying a Vermont whooping cough epidemic to determine if the current vaccine is less effective against a new strain sweeping the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Vermont Health Department are examining the records of 854 people, ages 4 to 19, who likely contracted whooping cough from late 2011 to early 2013.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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