State / Region

Ruth Sterling, left, and Laconia Mayor Ed Engler, unravel a poster after it was announced Friday April 24, 2015 in Laconia, N.H., that the city will be the new host for the annual Pumpkin Festival next October.  Held in Keene since 1991, the pumpkin festival tries each year to set a record for the number of carved and lighted pumpkins. Last year's event turned violent, with alcohol-fueled parties nearby leading to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests. The Keene City Council rejected a permit for 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Laconia to Host 2015 Pumpkin Fest

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Laconia, n.h. — The annual New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival has a new home in the city of Laconia after its longtime host city declined to issue a permit following violence that led to more than 100 arrests near last year’s event. At an official announcement in the city’s historic train station Friday, Mayor Ed Engler said Laconia’s experience hosting an …

Vt. Senate Committee Mulls Tax

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Montpelier — The Senate Finance Committee is considering an extension of the sales tax that would go into effect over the next two years. Sen. Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, says the proposal would extend the sales tax to soda, candy and bottled water starting July 1. The tax would generate about $12 million for fiscal year 2016. In all, Senate Finance is looking to …

N.H. Insurance Department Exploring Health Payment Reforms

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Concord — Health care spending is high and rising in New Hampshire, and the state should consider holding both providers and insurers accountable for improving quality and containing costs, consultants hired by the insurance department said Friday. The department hired Compass Health Analytics and University of Massachusetts Medical School researchers as part of a larger project to explore health care payment reform. According …

N.H. Firm’s Tech Glitch Delays Tests

Friday, April 17, 2015

Las Vegas — Federal funding could be at stake as Common Core testing problems continued in Nevada, Montana and North Dakota, state and U.S. officials said. The three states contract with New Hampshire-based Measured Progress to administer the tests that are linked to hotly disputed, federally backed education …

N.H.’s Shaheen Backs Push To Put Woman on $20 Bill

Friday, April 17, 2015

Concord — The first woman to serve as both governor and U.S. senator is backing a campaign to put a female face on the $20 bill. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen filed legislation this week that would create a citizens panel to recommend an appropriate choice to the treasury secretary. …

Vt. House Passes Gun Bill

Friday, April 17, 2015

Montpelier — The Vermont House on Friday passed a bill designed to keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons and people who are dangerously mentally ill. The measure approved by an 80-62 vote is similar to a version already approved by the Senate. One difference is …

State Approves Mt. Sunapee Expansion

Friday, April 17, 2015

Newbury, n.h. — The state gave preliminary and conditional approval Thursday to a long-contentious expansion on Mount Sunapee. At a meeting in Newbury, Department of Resources and Economic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose said the west bowl expansion could …

Auditor: Exchange Future Uncertain

Friday, April 17, 2015

Montpelier — Despite massive and costly efforts to improve Vermont Health Connect, State Auditor Doug Hoffer says it remains an “open question” whether the state can successfully implement a fully functioning health insurance exchange. In a report released Thursday morning, Hoffer highlights the state’s improved supervision of contractors …

Vt. House Advances New Gun Restriction Bill

Friday, April 17, 2015

Montpelier — The Vermont House gave preliminary approval Thursday to a bill to allow the state prosecution of some convicted criminals for possession of firearms and to require the reporting of individuals deemed dangerously mentally ill to a federal background check system. The House voted, 79-60, and is …

Harsh Winter No Issue for Ticks

Friday, April 17, 2015

Albany, n.y. — Think you’re safe from ticks because the harsh winter froze them or because you haven’t been trekking through the woods? Think again. Researchers focused on ticks and the debilitating diseases they spread say the heavy snow that blanketed the Northeast this winter was like a …

Ex-Patriots Player Hernandez Sentenced to Life for Murder

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fall River, Mass. — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the downfall of an athlete who once had a …

Gun Rights Groups Cry Foul on Bill Changes

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Montpelier — The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill on Tuesday that puts new limits on gun ownership. The 7-4 vote broke along party lines with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. The bill would make it a crime for people convicted of certain violent or drug-related offenses …

Marijuana Advocates Propose Ban on Alcohol in Vermont

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Montpelier — Frustrated by a lack of action on marijuana legalization, two Vermont lawmakers are trying a new tack: No pot, no booze. Progressive Rep. Chris Pearson and Democratic Rep. Jean O’Sullivan, both from Burlington, held a news conference Wednesday to announce they had filed legislation to ban …