HAMPTON (AP) — After a successful test run, highway speed E-ZPass lanes are reopening tomorrow at New Hampshire's Hampton tolls.
Two lanes on each side of the toll plaza have been designated for "open road tolling," allowing vehicles to continue at the normal speed on Interstate 95. The idea is avoid traffic backups.
Bill Boynton of the state Transportation Department said the average speed for the test run over Memorial Day weekend was about 62 mph.
Foster's Daily Democrat reported over that holiday weekend, the tolls recorded 320,000 cars, half of those used the new open road tolling lanes. The new lanes processed an average of 3,000 cars an hour, while manned booths only processed about 400 an hour.
State unemployment rate drops in May
CONCORD (AP) — New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch said a drop in the state's unemployment rate last month is good news, but he cautioned there are still thousands of men and women looking for work.
On Monday, the New Hampshire Employment Security office released statistics that showed the state's unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent in May to 6.4 percent.
The figure for May 2009 was 6.3 percent.
The statistics found that 140 more people had work last month than they did in April and 1,200 more than in May 2009.
Lynch said economists predict New Hampshire will lead the region as the state recovers from the recession.
Brown pine needles found in Northeast
DURHAM (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service officials said a warm spring appears to be responsible for turning brown the needles of some pine trees across the Northeast.
The Forest Service said minor damage to white pine trees has been reported across New York, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire, and parts of western Massachusetts and Maine.
New Hampshire Forest Health Program Coordinator Kyle Lombard said he's gotten more calls on the discoloration of the white pine trees than any other forest-damaging event in recent years, including the 1998 ice storm.
Vermont State Forest Health Coordinator Barbara Burns said the browning of the needles began to show up following the unusually hot spring.
The trees are expected to recover in the next few weeks.
Hospital execs said to welcome pay scrutiny
MANCHESTER (AP) — New Hampshire hospital executives say they welcome a state review of their salaries by the state attorney general's office.
New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney launched the review after singling out the $1.36 million pay and benefit package given to Catholic Medical Center President Alyson Pitman Giles.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reported if the review determines that some pay levels are excessive, the attorney general could issue a cease-and-desist order or ask a judge to determine proper compensation.
Jeff Kipperman, the chairman of the compensation committee at Concord Hospital, said he hopes what comes out of the review is a "best practice" for how to set salaries.