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Boston and Beyond

October 21, 2012

In Brief

Keen competition for jack-o-lantern record

KEENE, N.H. — The competition for great pumpkins is keen in Keene, N.H.

A children’s costume parade, pumpkin basketball — and a 45-foot tower filled with thousands of lit jack-o-lanterns — are the highlights of the 22nd annual Keene Pumpkin Festival this weekend.

The prospect of a new world record for most lit pumpkins is on the line. The festival’s event is being featured in an HGTV “Property Brothers” cable television special, “Pumpkin Wars,” to be broadcast on Halloween. It’s competing against Highwood, Ill., for the record.

Highwood set the record at 30,919 last year. Crews are filming in both places.

This year’s goal is to top 32,000 jack-o-lanterns in Keene. The final tally wasn’t expected until late yesterday.

But the message was clear: Organizers told people not to come empty-handed. The Keene festival has set a world record for the most lit pumpkins at least seven times. The last time was in 2003, with 28,952 jack-o-lanterns. The event has grown through the years. When Keene set its first world record in 1993, it did so with 4,817 lit pumpkins.

Residents to discuss lab scandal fallout

BOSTON — Dozens of people are set to gather for a town hall meeting in Boston to hear civil rights activists, criminal justice advocates and attorneys discuss the impact of the state drug lab scandal that could lead to the release of hundreds of prisoners.

Chemist Annie Dookhan is accused of falsifying results at the now-closed state drug testing facility. Officials say she may have compromised 34,000 cases — including 27,000 in Suffolk County which includes Boston’s neighborhood of Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan. As many as 600 inmates in Suffolk County could be released.

Organizer Jamarhl Crawford says hundreds of people were expected to attend a town hall meeting yesterday afternoon in Roxbury.

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