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  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- The digital divide is wider than ever between diners who talk, tweet and snap pictures mid-meal and those who wish they'd just shut up, shut down and be present. "There's no place to get away from the chatter," said Julie Liberty of Miami, who started the Facebook page "Ban Cell Phones From Restaurants" earlier this year. "

  • JACKSON, Miss.-- A federal appeals court has upheld the more than 14- year sentence George Coe Jr. received for his role in a telemarketing scam case in Mississippi. Prosecutors said the scam netted tens of thousands of dollars from victims in California, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Vermont.

  • MONTPELIER, Vt.-- Maple syrup producers will get a chance to weigh in on whether Vermont should do away with the term fancy for its maple syrup. The proposed changes to the maple grading system would unify the classification system across the United States and Canada.

  • TARRYTOWN, N.Y.-- A federal hearing that could decide the future of an Entergy Corp. nuclear plant in the New York City suburbs began Monday on a less-than-dramatic note. The hearing was dominated by a highly technical discussion about how to predict where corrosion might occur in the miles of piping at the Indian Point nuclear plant.

  • MONTPELIER, Vt.-- Don't let the bright eyes and bushy tails fool you. In southern Vermont, Clarence Boston said he hasn't seen such an infestation of pests in the 33 years he has been an orchardist on 60 farms in five states. This year's squirrel boom in parts of Vermont followed two seasons of bountiful acorn and beechnut crops and last year's mild winter.

  • MONTPELIER, Vt.-- Public meetings are planned this week in Vermont on a sticky issue _ a proposed change to the state's grading system for maple syrup. The change would unify the classification system across the United States and Canada. Vermont's syrup would go from Grade A Fancy to "Golden Delicate."

  • TARRYTOWN, N.Y.-- For the people who want to shut down Entergy Corp.' s nuclear plant in the New York City suburbs, where 17 million people live within 50 miles, this day has been a long time coming. Andrew Cuomo _ who have campaigned against the plant, on the Hudson River in Buchanan, 35 miles north of Manhattan.

  • OLYMPIA, Wash.-- The group fighting to overturn Washington's gay marriage law started running its first TV ads in the state on Thursday. Referendum 74 asks voters to either approve or reject the state's gay marriage law that was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 11- Does an office perk count as a benefit if you pay for it yourself? Apparently so, because an increasing number of companies are using so-called voluntary benefits to bulk up workplace offerings.

  • PORTLAND, Maine-- Amtrak as well as its Downeaster passenger service between Maine and Boston have set new ridership records. Records were also set in other regions of the country, including New England.

  • WASHINGTON-- A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found that the economy grew modestly in the late summer, bolstered by solid gains in housing. The report is based on anecdotal information from the regional districts and covers the period from mid-August to Sept. 28. The region's economy expanded modestly.

  • MONTPELIER, Vt.-- Fans of Vermont singer Grace Potter will be able to watch her give an online concert where she is going to be promoting fair trade coffee. She's going to be singing at Joe's Pub in New York live Tuesday on the Facebook page of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc..

  • They include the reconstruction of the Brooks House in Brattleboro, which was damaged by fire last year and encouraging investment in the Blanchard Block in downtown Barre and Catamount High School in Bennington.

  • SEATTLE-- Residents of Washington, Oregon and Colorado won't just be considering whether to let adults buy pot at state-sanctioned shops when they vote next month on legalizing and taxing marijuana. "Farmers are already engaged in a high-risk endeavor," said Roy Kaufmann, a spokesman for Oregon's pot initiative. "

  • MADAWASKA, Maine-- Communities in the St. John Valley region of far northern Maine are getting $250,000 in grant funding to expand development and tourism opportunities. The Northern Border Regional Commission grant will be used to expand recreational facilities in Madawaska, St. Agatha and Frenchville.

  • MONTPELIER, Vt.-- In a state that has a long history of maple syrup production and fiercely protects the purity of its brand, Vermont producers are proud of their "fancy," "grade A dark amber" and "grade B" syrup.

  • Peter Shumlin said Thursday that cell telephone and data service in parts of rural Caledonia and Orange counties will improve, thanks to a $2 million federal grant to the telecommunications company VTel.

  • Oct 4- The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's battle to impose position limits intended to keep speculators from manipulating prices could drag on until at least 2014, after it lost a lawsuit last week.

  • Peter Shumlin has set up an independent commission to review the siting of electric power generating projects including wind farms in Vermont.