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

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MAINE:

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Maine officials say the state's unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent in March. The state Department of Labor reports today that the unemployment figure fell from 6.1 percent last month and 6.8 percent a year ago.

VASSALBORO, Maine (AP) - Police are investigating two fatal crashes in Vassalboro and Waldoboro that have killed three people. Waldoboro police are investigating a crash on U.S. 1 that killed two people in the commercial section of the town today. State Police also say a woman died in a one-car crash in Vassalboro after her vehicle went off the road on a curve and hit a tree this afternoon.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - New York Department of Environmental Conservation officers have arrested a former Passamaquoddy tribal representative to Maine's Legislature and seven other people on charges of illegally harvesting baby eels from a creek on Long Island's east end. Frederick J. Moore III, of Perry, and others surrendered April 8th. Authorities charged them with lacking a foodfish permit, over the limit possession of American eels, and over the limit possession of undersized eels, all felonies.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Governor Paul LePage's administration will begin putting photo identification on welfare benefit cards this month in Bangor. The details about the administration's efforts were laid out in a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Access Act request. The process to begin adding the electronic benefit transfer cards photos will begin April 28th.

NEW HAMPSHIRE:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The opposing votes cast by Manchester's two Democratic senators reflect the deep divide of lawmakers and citizens on the topic of repealing New Hampshire's centuries-old death penalty. This year's death penalty debate revolved in large part around slain Manchester police officer Michael Briggs and his killer, Michael Addison, the state's only death-row convict. That debate was punctuated by a 12-12 vote yesterday. The tie vote means capital punishment remains on the books.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - After six terms in the state Senate, Bob Odell says he will not seek another term. The New London Republican was first elected to the Senate in 2002 and before that had served one term in the state House. Odell was among the lawmakers voting yesterday to repeal the death penalty, saying he would have trouble explaining a vote against repeal to his grandchildren. The measure failed in yesterday's vote.

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) - A World War I veteran from New Hampshire is being remembered with a Purple Heart. Senator Kelly Ayotte presented the honor yesterday to Kathryn Fernald, the granddaughter of the late Chris Wick. Wick earned the Purple Heart for injuries suffered while serving in the U.S. Army in France during the war.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - At least four ski areas will be open this weekend in New Hampshire and one expects to open again next weekend. Wildcat Mountain, Loon Mountain Resort, Cannon Mountain and Bretton Woods plan to operate this weekend. A spokesman for Wildcat says it will be open on Monday and expects to open again next weekend.

VERMONT:

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Governor Peter Shumlin says the latest unemployment statistics show Vermont now has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country. The Vermont Department of Labor announced today the state's unemployment rate dropped three-tenths of a percent last month to 3.4 percent. Shumlin says it's the lowest unemployment rate the state has seen since June 2005.

HIGHGATE, Vt. (AP) - Vermont State Police say the pilot of a small plane that crashed next to Interstate 89 in Highgate suffered minor injuries after parachuting out of the plane to safety. One lane of Interstate 89 north in Highgate has reopened after the crash today. Police say preliminary reports were that the single-seat plane was on fire. The crash was reported just north of Interstate exit 21 in Swanton.

VERNON, Vt. (AP) - As the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant along the Vermont-New Hampshire border prepares to cease operation, plant owner Entergy is asking to do away with the plant's 10-mile emergency planning zone. The company says radiation from the spent fuel pool will have decayed by 2016 to the point the zone is no longer needed. Skeptics of the move suggest Entergy's request is strictly a cost-saving move.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (AP) - A judge has ordered a mental evaluation for a Leicester man accused of shooting and wounding two state police troopers along with a disabled neighbor. The Rutland Herald reports Timothy Foley yesterday pleaded not guilty in his case. None of the three victims were seriously hurt in the incident earlier this month.

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

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