By Jason McLure
COLUMBIA Mo. (Reuters) – A small Missouri town repeatedly threatened by a rising Mississippi River is choosing to let residents fend for themselves this year rather than face potential bankruptcy to pay for another municipally organized fight against flooding.
Last year, Clarksville went into debt to fund $400,000 of emergency flood protections, a figure equivalent to the town’s annual budget, building a wall of gravel and sandbags to protect antique shops, a lumber yard and a post office downtown.
By Jason McLure
(Reuters) – For Vermont farmers Cecile and Tom Branon, the decade-long maple syrup boom allowed them to sell their 150 dairy cows and convert a team of working horses to pets while they focused on expanding their lucrative sugaring operation.
Hundreds of nearby farmers in northern New England have experienced similar windfalls, with U.S. producers, aided by favorable weather, increasing this year’s output by 70 percent, to 3.3 million gallons this year. Yet while American farmers cash in, production quotas in the cross-border province of Quebec limit the profits reaped by their Canadian counterparts even as they keep prices high for those unfettered by any restrictions.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – New Hampshire is set to become the final state in New England to allow medical marijuana after negotiators from the Republican-controlled Senate and Democratic-controlled House agreed Tuesday on a bill backed by Governor Maggie Hassan.
The law would allow up to four marijuana dispensaries to open as soon as 2015. Patients with cancer, HIV, glaucoma and other diseases would be eligible to purchase the drug with state-issued identity cards from a physician or nurse practitioner certifying that they need it to soothe pain.
By Jason McLure
(Reuters) – Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill Thursday that made the state the 17th in the United States to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Under the law, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana (28.3 grams) would be treated as a civil penalty with fines akin to a traffic ticket. Previously, possession of up to two ounces (56.6 grams) of pot was a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail for a first offense and up to two years in jail for later offenses.
By Jason McLure
(Reuters) – Vermont on Monday became the fourth U.S. state to end legal penalties for doctors who prescribe medication to terminally ill patients seeking to end their own lives.
The law, which includes a number of safeguards over the next three years as the state adapts, marked the first time a U.S. state has used the legislative process to make assisted suicide legal. Oregon and Washington have similar laws passed through ballot measures and a Montana court authorized the practice in 2009.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – In December James Cleaveland made an unusual New Year’s resolution: to do all he could to keep police in the city of Keene, New Hampshire, from issuing parking tickets.
Cleaveland and a group of friends took to the streets with pocketfuls of change and began shadowing the city’s three parking enforcement officers, stuffing coins in expired meters before they could issue $5 tickets.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A 45-year-old Greek citizen who fled the United States more than two decades ago, the day before he was convicted of murdering his 2-year-old stepson, has been retried in his home country and sentenced to 18 years in a Greek jail, U.S. law enforcement officials said on Friday.
The conviction and sentencing of the man, Steven Kamberidis, was the result of years of negotiation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation — which knew the man was in Greece — and Greek authorities, FBI officials said.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A New Hampshire state representative apologized on Wednesday for using “vagina” as a synonym for “woman” in a mass email to lawmakers as part of a gun-law debate.
Representative Peter Hansen was responding to fellow Republican Representative Steve Vaillancourt, who had urged repeal of the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The 2011 law allows use of deadly force even if people could safely retreat from a threatening situation.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – A New Hampshire jury on Tuesday found Exxon Mobil Corp liable for $236.4 million in a civil lawsuit that charged the oil company had polluted groundwater in the state with a gasoline additive used to reduce smog in the 1970s and 1980s.
Following a three-month trial, jurors deliberated less than two hours before finding that the world’s largest publicly traded oil company acted negligently in contaminating the groundwater with the additive MTBE, said Jessica Grant, a lawyer who represented the state.
LITTLETON, New Hampshire (Reuters) – New Hampshire’s Democrat-controlled House of Representatives narrowly voted on Wednesday to repeal a controversial 2011 law that expanded the rights of citizens to use deadly force rather than retreat when they felt threatened.
The National Rifle Association and gun rights supporters had campaigned to defeat the bill repealing the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law, arguing the change would embolden criminals and lead to greater violence against women.