---- — Researchers sound alarm on culverts
BOSTON — An exhaustive review of culverts, bridges and dams in Massachusetts has found that many cause major problems for fish and other aquatic wildlife.
The “critical linkages” survey took years to complete and the data is now being made public. The state Department of Transportation, University of Massachusetts and The Nature Conservancy collaborated on the project.
Researchers who analyzed thousands of road-stream crossings found that outdated or poorly-designed culverts and other structures can impede the normal movement of animals.
The structures can also pose dangers for humans by increasing the risk of flooding, or by forcing large animals on to roadways where they might collide with motorists.
But the researchers said improvements to just 10 percent of the crossings would have a significant positive impact on wildlife.
10th Episcopal bishop of NH takes over
CONCORD— New Hampshire will soon have a new Episcopal bishop with the investiture of A. Robert Hirschfeld to succeed Gene Robinson.
Hirschfeld was invested Saturday at 11 a.m. in an elaborate ceremony at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Concord.
Hirschfeld was Rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst, Mass., when he was elected in May to be New Hampshire’s 10th Episcopal bishop.
Robinson’s election in 2003 as the first openly-gay Episcopal bishop created a tempest in the Anglican Church worldwide.
After handing his pastoral staff over to Hirschfeld, Robinson will become a part-time senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, D.C.
The 51-year-old Hirschfeld will lead a congregation founded in 1802.
The investiture ceremony is open to the public but closed to the media.
Mass. law requires chemotherapy pill coverage
BOSTON (AP) — Insurance companies that provide coverage for chemotherapy treatments will be required to provide the same level of coverage for chemotherapy pills under a bill signed by Gov. Deval Patrick.
Chemotherapy treatment that is infused at a clinic is paid as a medical benefit while pills have been covered under prescription drug plans.
The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Stephen Brewer said the new law ends that practice which he said allows insurance companies to transfer treatment costs to the patient.
The Barre Democrat said oral cancer therapies are the future of cancer treatment and the new law will provide an additional level of comfort for patients.
Business groups had opposed the change, calling it a mandate that would add to insurance costs. Brewer said new law is a matter of keeping up with technology.
Princess Di photo to be auctioned in NH
AMHERST— A photo marked “not to be published” that shows a teenage Diana Spencer before she became Princess of Wales, with a young friend seated beside her, will be featured in an auction this month in New Hampshire.
The photograph might never have been seen publicly until now, RR Auction said.
Stamped February 1981 on the back, the photo was taken around the time Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer ended months of speculation and announced they were to be married.
The photo came from the Caren Archive, a major private collection of rare newspapers and other publications, and was purchased seven years ago from the Daily Mirror newspaper.
In 1981, Diana first told news of her engagement to her friends, then moved out of her apartment Feb. 23 and into Buckingham Palace. What was widely labeled the wedding of the century took place on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1996, and Diana died in a Paris car crash in 1997.
Another Diana photo to be included in the auction is an original 1988 news photo of the princess observing a marriage conflict resolution seminar.
The auction is scheduled for Jan. 17-24 in Amherst.
Harvard to host discussion on guns
BOSTON — Harvard University is hosting a discussion on gun violence as a public health crisis after a gunman killed his mother at the home they shared before he gunned down 20 children and six educators at a Connecticut elementary school.
The Harvard School of Public Health forum comes after the Dec. 14 killings in Newtown, Conn., that ended when the assailant committed suicide as police arrived.
The rampage prompted President Barack Obama form a team tasked with coming up with “concrete proposals” to curb gun violence.
Organizers of the Harvard discussion say the United States witnessed an alarming string of mass shootings last year.
Tuesday’s discussion will investigate the legal, political and public health factors that could influence future efforts to prevent such massacres.
Participants at the forum include constitutional law, health policy, child psychiatry and public policy experts.
US Magistrate Judge Sorokin reappointed
BOSTON — U.S. Magistrate Judge Leo Sorokin has been reappointed to a second eight-year term.
Sorokin was first appointed as a magistrate judge in April 2005. The judges of the United States District Court of Massachusetts reappointed him to another term to begin after his current term expires on April 10.
Since last February, Sorokin has served as chief magistrate judge. Sorokin also presides over the Court Assisted Recovery Effort, a program that promotes the development and maintenance of sober, employed and law-abiding lives by felons under the supervision of the court.
Sorokin previously worked as a private attorney, an assistant state attorney general and an assistant federal defender.
Judge to serve on war crimes tribunal
BOSTON — A Massachusetts judge has been appointed as the international reserve judge for the Supreme Court Chamber of a United Nations-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia.
As a reserve judge, Massachusetts Appeals Court Chief Justice Phillip Rapoza may be asked to attend appellate arguments and to assist if a sitting judge on the chamber is temporarily unable to perform his or her functions.
The tribunal is conducting trials related to serious crimes and human rights violations that occurred in Cambodia during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
Rapoza’s appointment as a reserve judge will not affect his tenure on the Appeals Court, where he will continue to serve as chief justice.
Pat’s Peak celebrating 50 years
HENNIKER — The Pat’s Peak Ski Area is celebrating 50 years of operation and family ownership this weekend.
The Henniker ski area is holding a birthday celebration on Saturday.
The bash gets under way at 2 p.m. in the main lodge, with a 50-foot-long cake.
Contests are being held for the oldest Pats Peak Season Pass and the most season passes.
There will be live music and other entertainment.
New gov.’s inaugural ball draws 1,000
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Nearly 1,000 supporters danced the night away to celebrate New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan’s inauguration at the first of two celebrations the Democrat planned.
The first of Hassan’s inaugural balls was held at the Radisson in Manchester on Friday night. The Concord Monitor says nearly 1,000 supporters were there.
The second will take place next Saturday at the Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods.
Hassan was sworn in as the 81st governor of New Hampshire on Thursday.
— Associated Press