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POSTED January 13, 2014 10:16 p.m.

VERMONT SETTLES WITH MAKER OF MISLABELED VERMINTS: BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont reached a settlement with VerMints, a company that mislabeled its tins of mints as Vermont products.

The state attorney general's office sued the Braintree, Mass.-based mints-maker in 2012, saying that from 2006 to 2011 its metal tins were labeled as "Vermont's All Natural Mints." The attorney general's office said they actually were manufactured in Canada from mostly non-Vermont ingredients, thus violating consumer protection rules.

As part of the settlement announced Monday, VerMints agreed to donate $35,000 to the Vermont Foodbank, pay the state $30,000 and add corrective labeling to its products.

"Use of the term 'Vermont' has great economic value," said Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, "and many businesses go to the expense of sourcing their ingredients and processing within the state in order to market their products as Vermont products. We need to maintain a level playing field when it comes to claims of geographic origin, and to ensure that consumers who care about where their food comes from get accurate information in the marketplace."

 

NC SHERIFF SEEKS TRADE: OLD TOMMY GUNS FOR RIFLES: WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A sheriff's department in North Carolina is seeking permission to trade a pair of vintage Tommy guns for dozens of new rifles for his deputies.

Commisioners in Forsyth County planned to vote late Monday whether the fully automatic Thompson machine guns could be traded for 88 modern Bushmaster rifles valued at $60,000. Sheriff's officials say a trade would further their goal of equipping every deputy with a rifle, noting they can't use the machine guns seen in gangster movies.

The sheriff's office sought bids from 23 federal firearms dealers before settling on an offer from Craig's Firearm Supply Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn.

Experts note law enforcement agencies have been selling or trading antique firearms for decades.

 

 

CROSSWORD CREATOR MARKS 100TH BIRTHDAY WITH PUZZLE: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — What's a nine-letter word for a significant event? Try MILESTONE.

Longtime crossword constructor Bernice Gordon is marking two big ones: She turned 100 on Saturday, and The New York Times will publish another one of her puzzles on Wednesday — making her the first centenarian to have a grid printed in the newspaper.

Gordon has created crosswords for decades for the Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer and others, including puzzle syndicates and brain-teaser books from Dell and Simon & Schuster. She still constructs a new grid every day.

Gordon is nearly as old as the crossword puzzle itself. The first "word-cross" appeared in the New York Sunday World on Dec. 21, 1913; it was diamond shaped and didn't even separate clues into "Across" and "Down."

The grids have evolved a lot since then, thanks in part to Gordon. She's credited with pioneering the "rebus" puzzle, which requires solvers to occasionally fill in symbols instead of letters. Her first rebus in the Times used an ampersand to represent the letters AND, so an answer like SANDWICH ISLANDS was entered as S&WICH ISL&S.

Though now considered standard fare, such a trick was unheard of when it first appeared decades ago. Letters poured into then-crossword editor Margaret Farrar, who forwarded some to Gordon.

 

 

US SUPREME COURT WON'T HEAR NEVADA BALLOT CASE: CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's unique "none of the above" voting option for statewide races will remain an election spoiler for the foreseeable future after the U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to consider an appeal by national Republicans.

The decision came after Republicans sued in 2012 to get the option, appearing as "none of these candidates," stricken from the ballot, fearing it could siphon votes from a disgruntled electorate and sway the outcome of close presidential races and Nevada U.S. Senate contests.

The option has been on the ballot since 1976. It applies only to statewide races and was enacted by the Legislature to try to curb voter apathy in the wake of the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon.

The intent was to give voters a way to voice their displeasure with candidates and elected officials at the ballot box.

The lawsuit argued that voters were disenfranchised because "none" is a perpetual ballot loser that cannot actually win an election. To give it constitutional credence, GOP lawyers said Nevada's election law needs to give "none" more weight by allowing it to win and setting up a process for voters to then decide on another actual candidate, such as a follow-up election.

 

2 DOGS FOUND IN MINIVAN BROKEN DOWN IN OHIO: HEBRON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say an Indiana dog breeder whose minivan broke down in central Ohio was transporting 62 dogs, some four or five to a crate.

Licking County Humane Society Executive Director Lori Carlson says the animals were stacked "bottom to top" in the van when it was discovered in the parking lot of a hotel in Hebron, east of Columbus, on Saturday afternoon.

Carlson said the dogs, some just a few weeks old, had coats covered with feces and urine.

The driver reported being hired by the breeder to take the 50 adult dogs and 12 puppies to an animal rescue in New Jersey. They now are in Ohio animal shelters.

 

WIDOW OF ACCUSED JEWELRY STORE KILLER FILES SUIT: WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — The widow of a man found hanged in a Spanish prison cell after being arrested in a fatal Connecticut jewelry heist is suing a Delaware company over her inability to collect life insurance.

Alicia Alban claims Diamond State Financial Group failed to correct inaccuracies in insurance policies on Andrew Robert Levene worth $5 million. Alban claims the inaccuracies resulted in Minnesota Life Insurance Co. refusing to pay.

A telephone message seeking comment from the Delaware firm was not immediately returned Monday.

Forty-one-year-old Levene was arrested in Spain and faced federal murder, robbery and firearm charges in the December 2011 shooting of Yekutiel Zeevi, owner of YZ Manufacturers LLC in Westport, Conn.

Authorities said Levene stole about $300,000 in diamonds and traveled from Philadelphia to Amsterdam three days after the killing.

 

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