New England in brief

Services set for girl, 7, killed in flash flood

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August 13, 2008

A funeral is planned for a 7-year-old Rhode Island girl who was killed by a flash flood at a New Hampshire campground last week. Kaitlyn Ferra of North Smithfield died Thursday when two brooks merged into a raging torrent and swept her family's sport utility vehicle downstream in Ashland, N.H. The Rev. Maurice Brindamour identified Kaitlyn as the victim yesterday. He said a funeral Mass will be said tomorrow at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church, the family's parish in Woonsocket. The accident happened after a severe downpour. Witnesses say the girl's father jumped into the water, trying to save his family. His wife and 5-year-old son survived by clinging to a tree. (AP)

Federal disaster aid falls short of request
President Bush has granted Governor John Lynch's request to declare parts of New Hampshire a disaster area after last month's tornado, but his order fell short of what the governor requested. Bush's declaration is for three of the five counties damaged by the tornado and does not include help for residents, only for damage to community and state property such as roads and bridges. It also includes aid for emergency operations and debris removal. The disaster declaration will help communities in Belknap, Carroll, and Rockingham counties. Aid for Merrimack and Strafford counties was denied. (AP)

Pool company executive denies charge
A swimming pool company president charged in connection with a Greenwich boy's drowning death has pleaded not guilty to a second-degree manslaughter charge. Attorney Richard Meehan Jr. said that his client, David Lionetti, 53, president of Shoreline Pools, entered the plea yesterday in Stamford Superior Court. State prosecutors allege that Lionetti recklessly caused the death of 6-year-old Zachary Cohn last year, because the company failed to install a required safety device that would have prevented the boy's arm from getting stuck in a powerful pump drain. Lionetti is free on $25,000 bail. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Meehan says Lionetti was unaware of the 2004 law that requires the safety device. (AP)

Community college applications on rise
Maine's community colleges say that applications are up 9 percent. John Fitzsimmons, president of the Maine Community College System, said the number of applications tends to grow when the economy softens, when people who want to upgrade their skills are "knocking on our doors." Applications were up by more than 900, to 12,200, by early August. That number is expected to grow over the next few weeks. (AP)

Wildlife groups sue to protect lynx
Two organizations are suing to force Maine officials to take additional steps to prevent trappers from capturing Canada lynx. Last year, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife settled a federal lawsuit by agreeing to ban larger foothold traps in northern Maine, but the number of Canada lynx caught by trappers increased despite the new regulations. On Monday, representatives of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine and the Animal Welfare Institute said they had no choice but to file another lawsuit. Daryl DeJoy, executive director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, said the state is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. "They continue to allow the incidental take of Canada lynx by state-sanctioned trappers and will not do what the federal government has asked and requires of them and what the citizens of Maine want from them," DeJoy said. Maine is home to the only self-sustaining population of Canada lynx in the Eastern United States. Lynx are similar to bobcats, but have longer legs and large, fur-covered feet that allow them to pursue prey in deep snow. (AP)

A very rainy season threatens potato crop
Maine potato farmers fear that they will lose some of their crop because of higher-than-normal rainfall this summer. Don Flannery of the Maine Potato Board says there will be some areas, especially low-lying areas in the St. John Valley, that cannot be harvested. The National Weather Service in Caribou says precipitation has accumulated over the past 10 months at a greater rate than at any time since records have been kept. Flannery says the rain has prevented farmers from spraying their crops, and that is allowing late blight to attack potatoes. Late blight is most damaging in wet and humid weather, causing lesions on the leaves of potato plants. It can wipe out entire fields. (AP)

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