Vermont News in Brief


Group wants pipeline permit change

MONTPELIER (AP) -- The Conservation Law Foundation wants the state to halt construction on the Vermont Gas Pipeline until regulators approve additional costs.

CLF is petitioning the Vermont Public Service Board to require Vermont Gas to receive an amended permit and to stop pipeline construction until the modified permit is obtained.

Its petition, filed Monday, calls the 40 percent cost increase a substantial change to the project.

Vermont Gas announced a $35.6 million increase in costs on July 2 for the first phase of their Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project.

The utilities company blamed rising national construction costs, engineering and route changes to accommodate residents and enhanced oversight for the cost increase.

Vermont Gas officials say stopping work on their pipeline, amid concerns from environmental advocates, will only increase costs further.

Yankee Quill honors 5 New England journalists

BOSTON (AP) -- Five veteran journalists have been chosen to receive the Yankee Quill Award this year for their contributions to journalism in New England.

The Yankee Quill Award is presented annually by the Academy of New England Journalists through the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. Selection is based on a journalist’s influence over the course of a career.

The 2014 honorees are Joe Bergantino, director of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting; Karen Bordeleau, executive editor of The Providence Journal in Rhode Island; John Christie, editor of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting; Richard Lodge, editor of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham; and Alan White, editor of The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover.

Bergantino was cited for contributions to investigative journalism as a reporter and editor for 23 years at WBZ-TV, and for the co-founding of the investigative reporting center at Boston University five years ago.

Bordeleau last year became the first woman to work as executive editor at The Providence Journal. She was cited by the Quill committee for her role in training and mentoring journalists and dedication to press freedom.

John Christie, who was a reporter and editor at several papers in Massachusetts and Maine, was cited for commitment to the principles of a free press and his role with the public interest reporting center in Maine.

Richard Lodge has edited papers in Lowell, New Bedford, Southbridge and Newton, all in Massachusetts, in addition to Portland, Maine. He was honored for his commitment to the development of community journalism and his record of honing the skills of young journalists.

White has worked at the Eagle-Tribune as a reporter, city editor, assistant managing editor, managing editor and editor. The selection committee cited his role in watchdog community journalism and training of young journalists.

The awards will be presented at a conference Oct. 9 in Natick.

NH tackling paperwork on 2,000 vanity plates

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- The New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles hopes to start processing more than 2,000 backlogged vanity plate applications in the next 60 days, the agency said Monday.

The DMV put vanity plates on hold after the state’s highest court said the rules governing the tags were too vague. An interim rule that became effective Monday prohibits language that relates to sex, violence, drugs, gangs or bigotry.

In a unanimous decision, the state Supreme Court in May agreed with the arguments of David Montenegro, who wanted the vanity plate reading "COPSLIE" to protest what he calls government corruption.

At the time, state law prohibited vanity plates that "a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste."

The New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union argued that the law was unconstitutionally vague and gave too much discretion to a person behind a DMV counter. New Hampshire had argued that state workers were right to deny the plate because the phrase disparages an entire class of people -- police officers.

The justices said that state law does not define the phrase "offensive to good taste."

Division of Motor Vehicles Director Richard Bailey said his office usually gets 300 to 400 vanity plate applications every month. There’s been a small increase in the applications lately.

Bailey said currently there are about 1.5 million automobiles registered in New Hampshire, 162,000 of which have vanity plates.

Vanity plate applications generate approximately $6.6 million in revenue for the state each year.

The interim rules are expected to be final within six months.

Judge denies bid to suppress Hernandez evidence

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) -- A Massachusetts judge on Monday rejected a bid by lawyers for former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez to suppress evidence from a cellphone and video surveillance footage taken from his home during an investigation into the killing of a friend.

The former Patriots tight end has pleaded not guilty to murder in the death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Lloyd’s body was found in June 2013 in an industrial park about a half-mile from Hernandez’s home in North Attleborough.

In denying the request, Judge E. Susan Garsh said in a written ruling that police had a reasonable basis to infer that Hernandez’s home surveillance system "likely captured the images of whoever entered, left and returned to Hernandez’s house in the hours immediately before and after the shooting" of Lloyd.

"Thus, the (search warrant) affidavit created probably cause for the magistrate to believe that a search of Hernandez’s residence for the home surveillance video would produce evidence that would aid in the apprehension or conviction of Lloyd’s killer," the judge wrote.

Hernandez’s lawyers argued that the search warrant was overly broad because it allowed police to seize video footage of the inside of Hernandez’s home. But the judge found there had been "no showing that the scope of the warrant was impermissibly broadened."

Garsh has not yet ruled on a request to suppress evidence from other cellphones and three iPads seized from the house.

Two associates of Hernandez are also charged in Lloyd’s death.

Hernandez has also pleaded not guilty in the 2012 killings of two Boston men.


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