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Local & Regional News Briefs: Friday, March 28

S. Royalton Principal Leaves For Massachusetts Job

Royalton — The South Royalton School principal who was slated to leave her job later this spring at the end of her second school year in Royalton departed last Friday, school officials said this week.

Gail Trotin left her position on March 21 “due to unforeseen circumstances” that required an accelerated timetable, school officials said in a letter to parents. They described the measure as an "administrative decision" by the School Board.

Trotin in January had cited a combination of family issues — her husband remained in Massachusets, where he continues to teach — and the challenge of running a K-12 school as reasons for her departure.

Trotin is now listed as a “head of school” for the K-8 Seven Hills Charter Public School in Worcester, Mass. She declined comment Thursday via an email.

N.H. Senate Sends House Revised Casino Plan

Concord — New Hampshire’s Senate has passed a revised casino gambling bill that supporters hope will capture enough votes to win support from a House reluctant to expand gambling.

The Senate voted 15-9 Thursday to send the House the revised bill that would legalize two casinos sharing a total of 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games.

Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, the bill’s prime sponsor, added key features from a bill the House defeated in hopes of winning votes for passage. D’Allesandro also included a provision to share the state’s profits with communities. Casino supporters had hoped to put that provision before the House but the House killed a bill two weeks ago without considering it.

N.H. AG: 2 Killed in Manchester Fire Are Homicides Victims

Concord — The New Hampshire attorney general says two people killed in a Manchester fire are the victims of homicide.

Authorities Thursday identified the couple as 71-year-old Robert Dion and 67-year-old Constance Dion. Officials confirm they were the homeowners. The cause of death has not been released.

Police are also seeking the public’s assistance in finding 38-year-old Matthew Dion, who is possibly driving a white 2009 Nissan Altima.

He resided at the home, but his relationship to the couple is unknown.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Janice Rundles says the investigation is ongoing.

The fire erupted in a split-level house on Mooresville Road at about 2:30 Monday.

N.H. Senate Votes to Lift Ban On Billboard Liquor Ads

Concord — The Senate has voted for a bill that lifts a ban on advertising alcoholic beverages on New Hampshire billboards.

The Senate voted 13-11 Thursday to send the House the bill, which also prohibits placing the ads within 500 feet of a school. The bill also prohibits listing retail prices in the billboard ads.

Supporters argued the ban unconstitutionally limited commercial free speech. They pointed out that the Liquor Commission advertises on billboards in Massachusetts.

Opponents argued more youth might be enticed to drink as a result of the ads.

N.H. Senate Votes To Save $15M Surplus

Concord — New Hampshire’s Senate has voted to put the state’s $15 million surplus into savings.

Thursday’s 22-2 vote comes a week after the House voted to give the Department of Health and Human Services $7 million of the money.

Senate Republicans argued the $9 million in state savings is woefully inadequate. Republicans argued agencies should live within their budgets.

Democrats tried unsuccessfully to get the Senate to set aside $9 million of the surplus to go toward the settlement of a lawsuit over the state’s failure to provide adequate services to the mentally ill.

— Staff and Wire Reports

CORRECTION

Gail Trotin became principal of the South Royalton School in the summer of 2012. An earlier version of this story misstated the length of her tenure in Royalton.