EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 21, 2012

In Brief

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — 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.

Participants were set to discuss the implications of the scandal, redress for those affected and fears of mass releases of prisoners returning to the city.

NH policeman resigns after car crash

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Days after a car crash in which he was involved, a member of the Manchester Police Department has resigned.

WMUR-TV says David Connare of Manchester, who also headed the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association, resigned from the police department on Friday through his attorney. Chief David Mara said Connare had been on the department for about 20 years.

Connare, of Manchester, faces charges in connection with a car crash on Interstate 93 in Manchester on Tuesday night.

State police say Connare was driving a Mazda car that struck a vehicle driven by a Hudson woman. The impact caused her car to veer off the right side of the road into a bridge abutment. The other driver’s injuries aren’t considered life threatening.

— Associated Press

Mass. casino application process begins

BOSTON — What promises to be a lengthy vetting process for would-be Massachusetts casino developers has officially begun.

The state’s gaming commission planned on Friday to make available on its web site Phase 1 applications for developers seeking one of the three licenses for destination resort casinos permitted under the nearly one-year-old gambling law.

The applications are due back within 90 days and must be accompanied by a $400,000 fee.

The commission will review the submissions from developers to determine if they are qualified financially and have no outstanding legal or ethical issues that would disqualify them from bidding for a license.

Applicants that pass the first test will be allowed to move on to the Phase 2 application process and bid competitively for one of the regional casino licenses.

Vt. school district considers cameras on buses

POWNAL, Vt. — A southern Vermont school district is considering putting cameras inside and outside of school buses to deter bullying and identify vehicles that fail to stop for the buses.

The Pownal School District board has included $10,000 in the current budget to buy cameras to be mounted inside its four regular buses.

Soon-to-be-released technology would allow surveillance outside the buses, too.

The Bennington Banner reports that in past years the school district has dealt with significant bullying and harassment problems on its buses. The problem prompted the board to pay adults to ride the buses with the children about six years ago.

“They showed some stop arm cameras where some cars were actually going on through and you can catch their license plates and work with the local police department to look into those types of situations,” Principal Todd Phillips told the board this week.

The board supported the addition of the exterior cameras.

The decision was made in January to add the cameras in part to reduce a $25,750 expense to pay paraprofessionals to ride every bus in the morning and afternoon.

Phillips said he favors both the cameras and adults on every bus.

Brown, Warren campaign with McCain, Cleland

BOSTON — Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren are campaigning with some well-known figures, focusing in part on veterans’ issues.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona appeared with Brown at a rally yesterday in Melrose at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial building. They were joined by 6th Congressional District candidate Richard Tisei, who’s in a heated race with Rep. John Tierney.

Warren campaigned with former Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, who, like McCain, is a decorated Vietnam veteran. Cleland lost his legs and an arm in that war. McCain has lingering physical effects from more than five years as a prisoner of war. Warren and Cleland were to attend a midday rally in Beverly, joined by Congressman John Tierney.

Later, Warren and Cleland attended a labor rally in Hopkinton with 4th Congressional District candidate Joe Kennedy III.

—Associated Press