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Local & Regional Briefs: May 4, 2014

Vt. Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Montpelier (ap) — The Vermont Legislature has passed a bill that allows more residents to obtain medical marijuana and calls for a study to determine how much tax revenue would be generated if recreational marijuana were legalized.

The bill would remove a cap on the number of people who can be registered to receive medical marijuana from four dispensaries, Vermont Public Radio reported. The current cap is 1,000 people.

The bill, which passed Wednesday, is on its way to the governor.

Sen. Jeannette White, D-Windham, said it was important to remove the limit because some people with medical problems were being forced to buy marijuana illegally.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said he supports studying the tax issue.

“Colorado and Washington state, thankfully, have gone before any other state trying to figure out what legalization means,” he said. “I think it does make sense for the Legislature to ask: If we were to go down this route, what would the implications be? What would the revenue impacts be? What would it really mean for Vermont?”

Police ID Victims, Suspect In Nashua Shooting

Nashua, N.H. (ap) — Police say the search for the suspect in a Nashua double shooting has ended in an apparent suicide in Massachusetts.

Police say a man shot a man and a woman on Merrimack Street late Friday afternoon. Authorities say the male victim — Andres Garcia, 35, of Hudson — died of his injuries at a Boston hospital. The woman — Mireily Rodriguez-Torres, 32, of Nashua — is expected to survive.

After the shooting, police found the man believed to be shooter, Carlos Alago-Collazo, 34, in a car parked in Lawrence, Mass. He was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said Alago-Collazo and the female victim had been involved in a long-term relationship and had two children together.

Police Arrest 5 in Bennington Drug Raid

Bennington, Vt. (ap) — Police have arrested five people in a drug raid in Bennington.

Police said a search of a Main Street apartment on Friday turned up 100 small bags of heroin, as well as cash and prescription medication.

Four people from Bennington and one from Brooklyn, N.Y., have been arrested on felony heroin possession and misdemeanor counts of possessing regulated drugs. Police said the arrests followed a drug investigation in the neighborhood.

Historic New Hampshire Bridge to Get a Checkup

Dover, N.H. (ap) — New Hampshire transportation officials are scheduling a detailed inspection of an historic bridge between Dover and Newington with an eye toward rehabilitating it.

The General Sullivan Bridge over Little Bay and the Piscataqua River opened in 1935 and was closed to motor vehicle traffic in 1984, when the second span of the Little Bay Bridge opened.

The bridge will remain open to bicycle and pedestrian traffic during the 12-day inspection period from May 5-16, but access may be restricted on segments on the bridge where the inspection is underway, said Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton.

The span is a deck truss bridge named for Revolutionary War Gen. John Sullivan, a former governor of New Hampshire. The bridge is also a popular fishing spot.

The inspection will include a complete structural investigation.

Historians want to preserve the bridge, saying it’s the only example remaining of a deck truss bridge that also features a through truss to accommodate boat traffic. It’s a smaller version of the Lake Champlain Bridge between Vermont and New York, which has been demolished and replaced.

The Coast Guard has said it wants the bridge removed but transportation officials say it may be eligible for a berth in the National Register of Historic Places.

Senators: Keep Preparedness Zones

Brattleboro, Vt. (ap) — U.S. senators from Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and California are calling on the federal regulators to stop reducing or eliminating emergency preparedness zones around decommissioning nuclear power plants.

Sen. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders of Vermont have signed a letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission along with Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

The senators are concerned that lessons learned from the nuclear disaster at Fukushima in Japan show that offsite emergency planning should continue while nuclear waste is stored in a spent fuel pool.

Vermont Yankee in Vernon is scheduled to be closed at the end of the year. The NRC says it will review the letter and provide a timely response.