Metro

New England news in brief

Chatham

Shark attack on seal closes beaches

A shark was spotted off the coast of Chatham after it bit a seal around 3:15 p.m. Thursday, town officials said. Beaches between Lighthouse Beach and Andrew Hardings Lane were cleared of all swimmers, said Dan Tobin, director of parks and recreation in Chatham. The beaches were closed for at least two hours, Tobin said, while officials from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy tracked and tagged the shark. When a shark is spotted, protocol is to close the beaches in the area for an hour, but Tobin predicted this incident would take longer to clear because the shark attacked another animal and did not immediately leave the scene. “It didn’t simply just pass by, it had attacked a seal,” Tobin said. “We’re just making sure it’s not looking for an additional snack.”

Concord, N.H.

Northern Pass power project clears hurdle

The US Department of Energy on Thursday recommended approval of a key permit in the Northern Pass power project. The EverSource Energy project seeks to run a 192-mile transmission line from Pittsburg to Deerfield, carrying enough hydropower to southern New England markets to power about a million homes. After issuing a draft environmental impact study two years ago, the Energy Department reevaluated the project when EverSource changed its proposal to call for burying 60 miles of lines instead of 8 miles. The new report concludes the project wouldn’t have a significant impact on the environment and proposes that the department issue one of three necessary federal permits. (AP)

Augusta

Ethics panel seeks casino funding source

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Ethics commissioners trying to figure out the source of a $4.2 million campaign to build a southern Maine casino say the women behind the campaign can only withhold certain documents. Bruce Merrill, the lawyer for Lisa Scott, a Miami woman listed as the casino campaign leader, asked Thursday to withhold any financial documents that she thought was confidential or unrelated to the casino. But the Maine ethics commission declined her request. Commissioners instead said Thursday she could withhold or retract certain documents, like communications with her attorney, and provide a log of such documents. Scott has until Sept. 1 to respond to the commission’s June subpoena. (AP)

Hartford

UConn bus service extended to downtown

The state Department of Transportation is providing new bus service to link UConn’s main campus in Storrs with downtown Hartford and the school’s health center in Farmington. Governor Dannel P. Malloy said that beginning Sunday the state is expanding its eastern Connecticut routes to provide hourly service between Storrs and UConn’s new Hartford campus, which will open later this month. The buses will continue on to UConn Health in Farmington. UConn students will be provided a card to ride the bus, paid for through a new $20 per semester transportation fee. (AP)

West Rutland, Vt.

Beaver activity helps delay woods trail plan

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A plan to create more trails in Vermont woodland has been temporarily delayed. Town Manager Mary Ann Goulette said the town was unsuccessful in obtaining a state grant that would develop trails connecting areas of woodland to a recreation area. The Rutland Herald reported efforts to create bridges in the woodlands have been countered by local beavers. Goulette said the beavers just dammed up the bridges right after they were built by a conservation group. (AP)

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