New England news briefs

Trooper injured in Turnpike crash dies

A Massachusetts State Police trooper who was injured in a car crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike has died.

Forty-four-year-old Thomas Clardy died Wednesday.

Police say Clardy had stopped a car for a traffic violation when his cruiser was hit by another vehicle around noon in Charlton.

Clardy was taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police say 30-year-old David Njuguna, of Webster, is charged by criminal summons with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation. Njuguna was hospitalized with serious injuries.

Clardy joined the state police in 2005. He was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

He leaves behind a wife and six children.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement he was saddened to learn of Clardy's death.

Family to sue for SWAT raid mistake

A Massachusetts family that says a SWAT team burst into their home looking for a man who didn't live there has filed a lawsuit.

Marianne Diaz says she awoke in August to state police detectives and a SWAT team breaking down the door of her Worcester apartment. She says a female officer frisked her while she was naked. Her fiance says he suffered a minor back injury. The family says it spent nearly $9,000 on medical bills because of the raid.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that city and state police are listed as defendants in the lawsuit. The defendants declined to comment.

The suit lists 10 counts, including civil rights violations, assault and battery, trespassing and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Lawyer: Prep school grad had meetings

Lawyers for a New Hampshire prep school graduate convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old classmate are offering explanations for why he violated curfew.

Owen Labrie's lawyers say he missed his curfew to attend educational meetings, because of a bus-scheduling problem and for approved meetings with his attorneys.

The 20-year-old Labrie has been living with his mother in Tunbridge, Vermont, as he appeals his one-year jail sentence. He's supposed to be home between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. daily, but prosecutors say he's violated curfew at least eight times and his bail should be revoked.

Labrie's lawyer said the spirit and purpose of the bail order has been followed. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Labrie was arrested after graduating from St. Paul's School in 2014, an elite prep school in Concord.

Officer on leave for social media post

A Medford police officer has been placed on administrative leave after a controversial social media post.

Officer Jason Montalbano shared an image on his Facebook page of a mushroom cloud with a caption referencing the atomic bombing of Japan during World War II and saying, "It's time we made peace with Islam."

Montalbano apologized Wednesday and said he thought the image was meant to support action against the Islamic State group. He says he didn't intend to demean Muslims through the post.

Lt. Paul Covino says the department takes the situation seriously and will take whatever action is necessary to correct it.

Mayor Stephanie Burke says police officers should be held to a higher standard when using social media.

Anti-Semitic graffiti reported after game

Three incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti have been reported at Newton North High School since a basketball game at which student fans of the opposing team chanted "You killed Jesus."

Catholic Memorial student fans made their chants last Friday knowing Newton North has many Jewish students. Newton North students had taunted students of the all-boys school with chants that some thought were homophobic.

Newton North's interim principal notified parents of the latest incidents in a letter Wednesday.

Superintendent David Fleishman tells The Boston Globe that police are investigating whether there is a connection between the basketball game and the swastikas found this week, but he said there is no evidence to suggest Catholic Memorial students were involved.

Catholic Memorial officials apologized and the students were reprimanded.

Second man pleads in Girl Scout cookie case

A second man has pleaded guilty to his role in the theft of more than $400 from a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies at a Massachusetts store.

Cassidy Michalski, of Deerfield, was sentenced to three years of probation after pleading guilty Wednesday to theft, assault and battery with a deadly weapon and shoplifting. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that the first charge was downgraded from unarmed robbery in a plea deal.

Authorities say Michalski served as the getaway driver after Nicholas Taverna stole a cash box from the 11- and 12-year-old scouts selling cookies at a Walmart in January 2013.

Prosecutors say the men had planned to steal cellphones from the store to sell for heroin money.

Taverna received the same sentence earlier this week.

Warm weather hurts maple production

Warm weather has negatively impacted one of New Hampshire's traditional agricultural industries by cutting into profits across the board.

Robyn Pearl, spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, tells The Eagle Tribune that this year was the earliest start and possibly the earliest end to the maple sugar production season.

Officials say maple sugaring brings in an estimated $25 million in annual revenue for the state's 800 producers. Pearl says around 150,000 gallons are made each year.

Sugarhouse at Morningstar Farm's Christopher Hicks says sugar maple trees are beginning to bud earlier than usual due to the warm weather. He says when the trees are budding, the season ends.

Hicks says his operation has made about a third of their usual business thanks to the season's early conclusion.

State Senate takes up gambling bill

New Hampshire lawmakers are once again considering allowing casino gambling, but the effort hasn't gained much traction so far.

The Senate is expected to vote Thursday on a bill that would authorize a single casino in the state. A similar bill that would have authorized two casinos passed the Senate last year, but it failed in the House, which has never gone for the idea.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has supported allowing casinos, but the Concord Monitor reports that most of the candidates vying to replace her when her term ends this year are lukewarm on the idea.

Agency approves Sunapee expansion

A key state agency on Thursday recommended approval of a plan to expand the Mount Sunapee ski resort and establish an agreement to ensure protection of year-round hiking on the summit trail, following nearly two years of consideration of public comments and consultation with stakeholders.

Jeffrey Rose, commissioner of the state Department of Resources and Economic Development, said the revised plan represents a balanced and responsible project that brings recreation, conservation and economic promotion together.

Mount Sunapee Resort has been trying to expand for nearly two decades, and the plan calls for a lift and trails. Tim Mueller, manager of the Mont Sunapee Resort, said the plan "balances recreation and conservation, along with economic vitality for our region and Mount Sunapee's competitive future."

Members of a group called the Friends of Mount Sunapee and others have been worried that the park and area face a threat from resort-driven private development. A message was left seeking comment from the group.

The plan has 150 acres granted to the state to become part of Mount Sunapee State Park. Another 260 acres would be donated as conservation land. It protects a section known as the East Bowl, which contains old growth forest.

The plan also establishes safeguards if the nearby town of Goshen were to change its zoning within its Sunapee Recreation District. The plan notes private lands adjacent to the state park are within Goshen's district, which doesn't allow for residential and commercial real estate development.

Parts of the plan would need approval by Gov. Maggie Hassan and the executive council, which could consider it as early as its March 23 meeting. A message was left with Hassan's office seeking comment on the plan.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions