New England in brief

Gas service fully restored after main break

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May 3, 2008

National Grid has restored natural gas connections to all of the 410 customers who lost service after a weekend water main break that snapped a gas line and sent torrents of water streaming into the company's distribution network. The remaining customers were connected by 7:30 a.m. yesterday after an almost weeklong outage in sections of the Financial District and the North End. Pockets of water remain in National Grid's distribution system and could continue to cause "brief, isolated disruptions in the future," the company said. A customer claim center at Boston City Hall will remain open until 5 p.m. today and may open again next week. Customers can also call National Grid at 800-732-3400.

100,000 get utility shutoff notices
About 100,000 low-income households in Massachusetts have received gas and electric shutoff notices because of unpaid bills, an antipoverty agency said yesterday, as it urged those affected to apply for federal and state fuel assistance before a May 16 deadline. The situation is a "human disaster," Robert Coard, president and chief executive of Action for Boston Community Development Inc., said in a statement. Gas and electric companies are barred from sending out the shutoff notices during the winter months. The moratorium expires May 1.

Man is shot to death in Mattapan
A man was shot to death early yesterday on a Mattapan street, police said. The victim, who was not identified but was in his 20s, was found face down shortly after 7 a.m. in front of a fence on Oakcrest Road, a Boston police spokesman said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have not reported making any arrests. It was the 20th homicide in Boston this year, which is one more than there was on this date in 2007, the spokesman said.

BC is fined for environmental violations
Boston College has been fined almost $12,000 for failing to meet air quality and hazardous waste regulations at their gasoline dispensing facility. The Chestnut Hill college had been operating a 1,000-gallon underground gasoline storage tank without vapor-recovery equipment since 1994, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, who conducted the inspection last June. The inspection also revealed improperly designed exhaust ventilation stacks on the college's emergency generators and improperly marked hazardous waste areas. In addition to a $11,860 fine, the college has terminated its use of the gasoline tank, which will be removed by September and has fixed its ventilation stacks and waste signs to meet regulations.

House votes to upgrade its voting system
The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted unanimously yesterday to update its roll call voting system, Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi announced. The vote created a bipartisan commission to recommend changes this July. The order will completely upgrade the voting system, which is more than 20 years old, according to the statement. DiMasi urged the commission to recommend a secure system at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. The move comes after the Boston Herald reported that Representative Charles A. Murphy, Democrat of Burlington, was in the Virgin Islands in April when he was recorded as casting seven votes.

Fisherman who drowned was intoxicated
Authorities say that a fisherman who drowned after falling into New Bedford Harbor in January was "significantly intoxicated" and that his condition contributed to his death. The Bristol district attorney's office said yesterday that the death of Robert Glover, 36, of New Castle, Maine, was accidental. Glover slipped trying to board a fishing vessel on Jan. 22 and fell into the freezing water. The captain, Kenneth Thuestad, 48, of Mattapoisett, tried to save Glover, but was incapacitated by the cold water. Thuestad's death was also ruled an accidental drowning. (AP)

Episcopal bishop to be consecrated
Maine's 17,000 Episcopalians will have a new leader Saturday. The Rev. Canon Stephen Lane will be consecrated as the ninth Episcopal bishop of Maine. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will lead the service at the Cathedral of St. Luke in Portland. Lane, 58, calls his new spiritual calling the "grand adventure" of his life. Lane was elected Oct. 26 and will work with Maine's current bishop, the Right Rev. Chilton Knudsen, as bishop coadjutor until she retires in September. Lane served the church in roles ranging from pastor in the Rochester, N.Y., area to being on the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church for six years. (AP)

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