EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 3, 2013

New England in Brief

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Mihos’s company files for bankruptcy

BOSTON — A company owned by former Massachusetts candidate for governor and convenience store magnate Christy Mihos (MYE’-hos) has filed for bankruptcy after racking up as much as $10 million in debt.

Mihos has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on behalf of Christy’s of Cape Cod LLC, which means a court-appointed trustee would liquidate its assets to pay off creditors before the company is discharged from most of its debts.

He says in a court filing that the company has debts and assets of between $1 million and $10 million.

Mihos is embroiled in a bitter divorce and charges that he assaulted his wife.

He coulnd’t be reached Saturday and his attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Mihos ran unsuccessfully for governor as an independent in 2006 and again as a Republican in 2010.

NH bill would suspend vehicle registrations

CONCORD — New Hampshire’s House is considering tightening the laws on registering vehicles for people who write a bad check for the registration of one vehicle and then want to register a different vehicle.

The proposal would let the state suspend someone’s ability to register vehicles until they clear the bad check.

Current law allows the state to suspend the specific registration paid for with the bad check, but it does not stop the person from registering a different vehicle. The House Transportation Committee is recommending passing the bill as a way to close the loophole.

The House votes on the bill Wednesday.

Chemist in lab scandal headed to court

SALEM — A former Massachusetts chemist accused of faking test results at a state drug lab faces her sixth arraignment.

Annie Dookhan is scheduled to be arraigned Monday on an obstruction of justice charge in Salem Superior Court. She is accused of falsely claiming she holds a master’s degree in chemistry while testifying as an expert witness. Dookhan has already pleaded not guilty to a string of charges in five other counties.

Dookhan was indicted in December on a total of 27 charges related to her alleged misconduct at a state drug lab. Authorities have said she told state police she sometimes would take 15 to 25 samples, test only five of them, but then list them all as positive for cocaine.

The scandal could jeopardize thousands of criminal cases.

Fire rips through Portsmouth condo

PORTSMOUTH — Fire officials are investigating a five-alarm fire at an upscale waterfront condominium complex in Portsmouth that caused more than $1 million in damages.

A fire that broke out around 6:30 p.m. Friday sent flames through the third floor of the brick condominium building on Bow Street, destroying the center portion of the roof and causing extensive damage throughout. Nobody was injured in the fire.

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Achilles told the Portsmouth Herald (http://bit.ly/11z3g3n ) that because each unit in the complex is valued at more than $600,000, damages in all likelihood will exceed $1 million. He said of the building’s 18 units, at least six were left uninhabitable.

He said the fire started in a chimney and spread from there.

Postmark of White Mt Forest quarter offered

CAMPTON — The U.S. post office in Campton, N.H., will be offering a special pictorial postmark to celebrate the U.S. Mint’s release of a quarter featuring the White Mountains National Forest.

Beginning at noon on Feb. 21, Postmaster Kathryn Adams and her staff will stamp letters and postcards with a unique postmark documenting the occasion. It depicts a moose in the forest with a mountain in the background. The postmark also will be available for 30 days by mail after the event.

The coin depicts Mount Chocorua, the easternmost peak of the Sandwich Range, framed by birch trees. The nearly 3,500-foot peak, surrounded by lakes and forest, is a favorite of hikers.

NH officials holding Brazil Trade Day

MANCHESTER — Brazil is New Hampshire’s 15th largest trading partner, and state economic development officials want businesses to build on that relationship even more.

Officials are hosting a Brazil Trade Day on Feb. 26 at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester.

The daylong event will feature insights into the business culture, best practices when expanding sales to Brazil, logistical and customs considerations and finding success in the market.

Tina Kasim of New Hampshire’s International Trade Resource Center says Brazil has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with trade opportunities across all sectors.

Speakers will include Craig Cassarino, New Hampshire’s commercial consul to Brazil, and representatives of companies doing business in the country.

NH House to vote on raising beer tax

CONCORD — New Hampshire lawmakers are voting whether to raise the beer tax by a dime.

The tax currently is 30 cents per gallon and paid at the wholesale level. The proceeds from the increase would be designated to alcohol abuse and prevention treatment. A state law currently requires a portion of the profits on liquor sales go toward treatment, but lawmakers have been diverting the money to other state spending for years.

A majority of the House Ways and Means Committee is recommending killing the bill when the House votes on Wednesday. And Gov. Maggie Hassan has promised to veto it if it reaches her desk.

But supporters argue the increase is small and would not affect beer sales. They say the state needs to support alcohol treatment and prevention services.

Keene police investigate robbery

KEENE — Police in Keene are looking for four suspects following an early morning armed robbery on a city street.

Police say four masked people approached a group of four young men at about 3 a.m. Saturday as they were walking on a street near downtown.

One of the suspects held a knife to the throat of one of the victims and demanded that everybody give up their possessions. During the confrontation, one of the victims sustained two puncture wounds to the throat area that police said are superficial and not life-threatening.

Police say they searched the area with a tracking dog without success.

Officials say the robbery appears to be random.

Concord cancels Winter Carnival

CONCORD — Wide swings in the weather haven’t been good for the Concord Recreation Department, which postponed and then canceled the city’s annual Winter Carnival.

The carnival was originally scheduled for Jan. 19 at White Park, but it was postponed until Saturday due to poor ice conditions on the park’s skating pond. A cold snap was enough to create enough ice for a pond hockey tournament last weekend, but warmer weather this week put the conditions back to where they were earlier in the month — unsafe.

This time, the city canceled the event rather than reschedule it.

— Associated Press

Breach investigated at northern New England cafes

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — A northern New England cafe chain is working with authorities in an investigation of a possible data breach involving the theft of customers’ debit and credit card information.

The Brattleboro Savings & Loan warns on its website that it’s seen a sharp increase in fraudulent debit card transactions and believes there’s been a breach at The Works Bakery Cafe. The bank says accounts may be compromised if customers have used debit cards at any of The Works’ locations.

According to its website, The Works is based in Keene, N.H., and has eateries in Brattleboro and Manchester, Vt.; Keene, Portsmouth, Durham and Concord, N.H.; and Portland, Maine.

Company President Richard French told the Brattleboro Reformer (http://bit.ly/WM3dBX ) that it’s cooperating with authorities in an investigation.