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State/Region Briefs

Report: Vt. wind project meeting sound monitoring

COLCHESTER, Vt. — Green Mountain Power says a new sound monitoring report finds that its Lowell wind project continues to meet strict standards set by Vermont regulators.

Green Mountain Power filed the results with the Vermont Public Service Board on Thursday.

The required testing was conducted by an independently hired sound-monitoring company at four locations near the Kingdom Community Wind project. The report analyzed over 1,300 hours of continuous monitoring between Nov. 13 and Dec. 19.

Mass. to institute food waste ban

BOSTON — Massachusetts has issued final regulations on a statewide commercial food waste ban.

The regulations take effect in October and are intended to divert leftover food and reduce the state’s waste stream.

The ban, which will be regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection, requires businesses that dispose of at least one ton of organic material per week donate or “re-purpose” any useable food.

Any remaining food waste will have to be shipped to an anaerobic digestion facility, where it will be converted to clean energy, or sent to composting and animal-feed operations.

Residential food materials and food waste from small businesses are not included in the ban.

Mo. co-op buys Maine’s prominent Oakhurst Dairy

PORTLAND, Maine — The largest milk processor in northern New England has been sold to a national dairy farmer-owned cooperative.

Operators of Portland-based Oakhurst Dairy said Friday that the agreement with Kansas City, Mo.-based Dairy Farmers of America will allow it to continue to operate independently while providing opportunities for new growth.

Bill Bennett, Oakhurst chairman, said the management team will remain in place and there will be no change for Oakhurst’s 210 employees or the 70 independent dairy farms that supply milk.

Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.

Bennett said part of the reason for the deal is that no one in the family-owned business is in line to take it over. Bennett’s family has owned the Portland dairy operation through three generations.

Ice conditions unsafe on large NH lakes

CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department is warning anglers, snowmobilers, hockey players and others who find fun in the freeze that ice levels are unpredictable and they ought to check for thickness whenever and wherever they head out.

That’s despite a November and December that were almost 3 degrees colder than normal and a couple of wicked snaps where temperatures in the teens were a welcome respite.

“The cold part of this winter definitely sticks in people’s minds but we can’t forget that we had some very warm weather in the middle of January,” said Mary Stampone, state climatologist and an assistant professor of geography at the University of New Hampshire.

When you have that warm-up/refreeze cycle, the ice weakens, Stampone said. Throw in the size of Winnipesaukee, where the wind can push surface ice around, and a lack of sun-reflecting snow cover, and predicting the ice gets tricky.

The U.S. Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory in Hanover offers a “rule of thumb” on ice thickness: There should be a minimum of 6 inches of hard ice before foot travel, and 8 to 10 inches for snow machine or all-terrain vehicles.

Conn. inmate wins $12K verdict over foul mattress

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Connecticut prisoner who said he was forced to sleep on a mattress that smelled of mildew and missing much of its stuffing was awarded $12,000 Friday by a jury that concluded he suffered cruel and unusual punishment.

Harold Bell, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence for first-degree assault, suffered joint pain, headaches and chronic sleep deprivation because of the mattress, said his attorney, Antonio Ponvert III.

“No reasonable person would allow this mattress into their home,” Ponvert said. “No one would let their dog sleep on it.”

Ponvert said it took about seven months for the prison to replace the mattress, which he called “putrid” and “foul smelling.” Bell’s injuries were substantiated by prison medical staff, he said.

Jaclyn Falkowski, a spokeswoman for Attorney General George Jepsen, said she respects the jury’s work and says an appeal is unlikely.

It wasn’t clear why the prison didn’t replace the mattress sooner, Ponvert said.

Mass. aide in racy photos: I’m a good role model

FITCHBURG — A Massachusetts teacher’s aide briefly placed on leave when the school district found out about her second career as a lingerie model says she thinks she’s a good example for her students.

In her first public statements, 23-year-old Kaitlin Pearson said in broadcast interviews that she’s a college graduate who got good grades.

She says she her special needs students at a Fitchburg elementary school didn’t know about her second career, and they wouldn’t care because they are more interested in dinosaurs.

She thanked her family for their support during the ordeal. She was reinstated this week.

She says she loves both careers.

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