EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 19, 2013

Around the region

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — NH man sentenced for raping foster brother, 7

GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A New Hampshire man convicted of sexually assaulting his 7-year-old foster brother while they lived in Massachusetts was sentenced Monday to up to 10 years in prison.

Joshua Matthews, 24, was also sentenced in Greenfield Superior Court to 10 years of probation upon release.

Matthews was convicted in April of two counts of forcible rape of a child, but acquitted of charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Matthews committed the crimes in 2007 while he was 17 or 18 and the victim was living as a foster child in Matthews’ home in Athol. Matthews most recently lived in Keene, N.H.

Assistant District Attorney Carrie Russell asked for a sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison, according to The Recorder. There were three aggravating factors in the case, including that the offenses were committed on a child at a vulnerable age, the assaults were repeated, and Matthews was a person in a position of trust as the victim’s older brother in the foster family, Russell said.

Matthews’ lawyer, Timothy Flynn, said his client maintains his innocence and said the victim was confusing the rapes with the incident that led to his placement in foster care in the first place. Flynn argued for a much lighter sentence.

Ski NH recognizes owners of Pat’s Peak Ski Area

HENNIKER, N.H. (AP) — The longtime owners of Pat’s Peak Ski Area are being recognized for their contributions to New Hampshire’s skiing and snowboarding industry.

Wayne and Sally Patenaude started Pat’s Peak 50 years ago — making it the longest continuously operated ski area run by the same owners.

The Henniker ski area was the first in the state to have snowmaking in the early 1960s and added night skiing in 1967.

Pat’s Peak is expanding this summer, with the installation of a new triple chairlift and addition of four new trails and a glade.

Ski NH is giving the Patenaudes the award named for the late H.H. “Bill” Whitney, who owned Black Mountain Ski Area in Jackson.

Whitney is credited with creating one of the first overhead ski lifts in the East.

NH House offers new Medicaid expansion plan

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Democratic-led House budget negotiating team is proposing a new plan to expand Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul law that would commit the state for three years only.

The House team would establish a commission sought by the Republican-led Senate, but the commission must present a plan to the August meeting of a joint legislative committee for approval. If the joint committee fails to approve a plan by Sept. 1, the state will expand Medicaid for three years — the time the federal government has promised to pay 100 percent of the costs.

The commission would be tasked with developing a plan to assign people eligible for Medicaid either to subsidized private employer insurance or Medicaid.

Either way, Medicaid would be expanded Jan. 1.

Shaheen, Ayotte introduce export bill

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte are teaming up to help small businesses make the most of their export opportunities.

The senators on Tuesday reintroduced the bipartisan Small Business Export Growth Act, which is aimed at cutting down on bureaucratic hurdles and giving businesses more exporting assistance.

The senators say the bill builds on the feedback they received from New Hampshire businesses during a field hearing two years ago, and includes provisions that will improve coordination between state and federal resources and will require the Small Business Administration to hold outreach events in each state.

They estimate that only 1 percent of small businesses sell their products into foreign markets.

NH unemployment rate decreases for May

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire’s monthly unemployment rate for May is 5.3 percent, a slight decrease from April.

The state Employment Security bureau says the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April was 5.5 percent.

The May 2012 seasonally adjusted rate for New Hampshire was 5.5 percent.

The national rate for the month was 7.6 percent, an increase of 0.1 percentage points from the April rate.

The number of employed residents in New Hampshire this past May was 704,960, an increase of 1,800 from the previous month and an increase of 3,660 from May 2012.

The number of unemployed residents decreased by 1,350 over the month, to 39,680. This was 950 fewer unemployed than in May 2012.

Records sought in fungal meningitis outbreak

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Three Tennessee clinics have received subpoenas for documents related to drugs from a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak last year.

The subpoenas were sent to St. Thomas Outpatient Neurological Center in Nashville, Specialty Surgery Center in Crossville and the PCA Pain Care Center in Oak Ridge. They were issued by attorneys representing patients in a consolidated federal lawsuit against New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. in Framingham, Mass.

The attorneys are asking the clinics to produce records between the clinics and the pharmacy, including purchases, quantities, pricing and dates, involving methylprednisolone acetate, as well as other compounded medicines produced by the pharmacy.

The fungal meningitis outbreak killed 58 people and sickened more than 740 others.

NH woman sentenced to 5 to 10 years in son’s death

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire woman has been sentenced to five to 10 years in prison for negligent homicide in the drowning death of her 8-month-old son in a bathtub.

Prosecutors said 28-year-old Melissa Gutierrez of Merrimack left her two children in the tub with the water running in 2011. The other child was 2 years old.

They said she stepped away long enough for the tub to overflow and water to drip to the floor below. Her son, Christian, drowned.

Gutierrez testified Monday she was had unplugged the drain and gave the boys some toys. She then went to do some cleaning and look for some food for them. Her older son asked for a towel, and eventually she noticed the water dripping through the floor.

“JJ was in the back of the tub and Christian was floating in the water,” The Telegraph of Nashua reported Gutierrez said.

She said her life was filled with drugs, death and hardship and that she is angry with herself for what happened.

“If I hadn’t walked away, my son would still be alive and that’s something I have to face,” she said. “I personally can’t help feeling like God wanted him, maybe more than I did. Maybe God needed him. Maybe it was to save my life. Maybe Christian had to die to save my life.”

Gutierrez can petition the court to suspend the final year of the minimum five years if she completes parenting, life skills and mental health courses.

Amtrak: Subsidy cuts would jeopardize service

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amtrak’s president says long-distance trains and some short-haul routes would be jeopardized and service in the busy Northeast corridor might have to be slowed if federal subsidy cuts proposed by a House subcommittee are realized.

Iowa Republican Rep. Tom Latham is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s transportation subcommittee. He proposed a fiscal 2014 transportation budget Tuesday that includes $950 million in operating and capital subsidies for Amtrak, nearly a third less than the railroad received last year.

Amtrak’s Joseph Boardman says the House has decided the nation should be connected by train service but doesn’t want to pay for the money-losing routes to needed to achieve that.

He says Amtrak lost $558 million on long-distance service last year but profited from its high-speed Acela service in the Northeast.