WNPR

New England

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The number of deaths from heroin and synthetic opioids continues to rise in New England, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bird lovers may see a lot less of the piping plover on the region’s beaches this summer. The little black-and-white shorebirds’ winter habitat in the Bahamas was hit hard by Hurricane Matthew last year, taking a heavy toll on the birds.

There aren't many Shakers left.

Sister Frances Carr, one of three remaining members of the religious group commonly known as the Shakers, died Monday at the age of 89.

According to the group's website, Carr died due to cancer at the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, "surrounded by the community and her nieces."

Officials at the Burlington Electric Department discovered malware on a Burlington Electric laptop Friday that was identified as part of the Russian hacking offensive, utility officials confirmed Friday evening.

Jason Forbes / Creative Commons

Massachusetts has agreed to a $640,000 settlement from Kinder Morgan to allow the company to run a pipeline through conservation land in Berkshire County on its way from New York to Connecticut. 

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The minimum wage next month is increasing in four of the six New England states.

Massachusetts’s 2017 rate of $11.00 an hour puts it in a tie for top statewide rate in the country, along with Washington state. Not far behind are Connecticut, with a new rate of $10.10 an hour, and Vermont, at $10.00.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

With holiday travel expected to reach its highest levels this year, the state Department of Consumer Protection is warning drivers to watch for a type of fraud at the gas pump called “skimming.” 

In 2014, the Obama administration issued a federal memo aiming to put an end to random deportations of people living illegally in the U.S. who aren't criminals. But a closer look finds that there are still cases where immigration authorities are ignoring these policies, including in Vermont.

Next month, a mix of Syrian and Iraqi refugees will begin arriving in Rutland, Vermont. They’ll be the first of 100 that will be resettled there over the next year. Though there's been loud opposition to the plan in the aging, blue-collar city of 16,000, proponents remain optimistic — and many have been volunteering long hours to ensure the plan succeeds.

It’s hard to avoid the hand-wringing about aging demographics in New England these days. The region's six states have the six lowest birth rates in the country. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have the oldest populations in the country, and Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts aren't far behind.

(Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

New England is an old region, and not just by historical standards.

The population here is aging faster than almost any other place in the country. Fewer people are having children, and many of the states struggle to keep younger generations living and working here.

And as New England's baby boomers grow older, and live longer, the need for health care workers also grows.

Some fishermen are pinning their hopes on a new kind of trawl net at use in the Gulf of Maine, designed to scoop up abundant flatfish such as flounder and sole while avoiding species such as cod, which regulators say are in severe decline.

Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

It will be legal Thursday to possess small amounts of marijuana, or to grow it for recreational purposes, in Massachusetts. But that isn’t the the case in neighboring states, where pot possession remains illegal. And law enforcement in some of these places are getting ready.

There’s some good news for sushi lovers. A new report finds that over an 8-year period, mercury levels in Gulf of Maine tuna declined 2 percent a year — a decline that parallels reductions in mercury pollution from Midwest coal-fired power plants.

Two years ago, Dr. Nicholas Fisher, a professor of marine sciences at Stony Brook University in New York, had a bit of luck — he found out that a colleague had established a collection of 1,300 western Atlantic bluefin taken from the Gulf of Maine between 2004 and 2012.

Emmanuel Huybrechts / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s declining jobs numbers in recent months have made the contrast with its New England neighbors even more stark. While the Nutmeg State has yet to regain all the jobs it lost in the great recession, Massachusetts is seemingly booming. 

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