New England Wrap-up

Massachusetts helps hard-hit towns With the view that older industries are as important as high-technology ones, Massachusetts has provided $4.5 million for its communities with unemployment rates higher than the national average of 9.2 percent. The funds are concentrated in western and southeastern Massachusetts and northern Worcester County. Nonsmoking law extended

In Connecticut, new state laws call for restaurants to post notices that they have nonsmoking sections, for employers to have written policies on smoking, and for hospitals to offer patients the right to a nonsmoking room. Smoking already was banned in theaters, many stores, and specified areas in government buildings , health care facilities, schools, and colleges. Massachusetts enacts auto 'lemon law'

Massachusetts now has a ''lemon law'' to protect owners of new cars, trucks, or motorcycles for one year or 15,000 miles. Owners can get compensensation for chronically defective vehicles - or even a replacement car - from the manufacturer. Maine, New Hampshire, and Connecticut have similar laws. Home heating may cost less this winter

Home heating-oil prices, currently averaging $1.11 a gallon in the Bay State, will be fairly stable this winter, and natural-gas prices will fall, perhaps by as much as 10 percent, the Massachusetts Energy Resources Office predicts. But the 9 percent of homes with electric heat will probably see their bills rise by 17 percent. Connecticut's energy office predicts heating oil, used by most homes there, will be 10 cents a gallon cheaper than last year. Jobless rate drops

Unemployment in New Hampshire is down to 4.1 percent, helped by a strong tourist season and improvements in manufacturing. It's the lowest figure in more than three years, less than half the national rate. Connecticut's 5.3 percent jobless rate for August, the lowest in more than two years, was attributed partly to a state-funded industrial expansion program. US funds new science centers

The University of New Hampshire has received a $15 million US grant to build a space science and marine research center. And a $7.7 million federal grant has gone to Harvard University for a technology center to improve science, math, and computer education. US education secretary T. H. Bell says the center will help lift America's education ''out of the abyss of mediocrity.'' NLRB rules on longest US strike

The National Labor Relations Board, ruling in favor of the workers on strike at Brown & Sharpe in North Kingstown, R.I., said that the company's pre-strike bargaining was not ''in good faith.'' The NLRB decision on the longest-running strike in the nation means that, after settlement, the company must rehire the 1 ,600 union members who walked off their jobs Oct. 19, 1981. Both sides say settlement is not likely soon. Maine potatoes: better, but fewer

Maine's potatoes look better than ever, but fewer will be available this year , says Dorothy Kelley, executive vice-president of the Maine Potato Council. For the first time since 1904, Maine farmers planted fewer than 100,000 acres of potatoes. A wet planting season and a dry summer mean the yield may be down as much as 16 percent from last year. Boston's Hynes Auditorium to expand

Boston's John B. Hynes Auditorium will be closed for expansion from 1985 to 1987. Of the 42 conventions that have already booked at the Hynes, 39 will stay in Boston and use other auditoriums, predicts a report by area businesses. The conventions are expected to spend $50.2 million in town, according to the report presented to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which approved the Hynes construction. Airline leaves Vermont

Precision Airlines, headquartered in North Springfield, Vt., will move to Albany, N.Y., at the end of this month. The airline flies to New York City seven times a week from Pittsfield, Vt., Municipal Airport. Airport officials hope to schedule an airline to replace Precision. USS Portsmouth commissioned

The USS Portsmouth, a $600 million nuclear-powered attack submarine, has been commissioned at the Portsmouth, N.H., Naval Shipyard. At the ceremonies, US Sen. Gordon Humphrey (R) of New Hampshire said that, through President Reagan's military spending program, ''our military is recovering from neglect.'' The sub was built at General Dynamics in Groton, Conn.

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