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State & Region Briefs


Friday, March 17, 2017
Amherst College has its mascot finalists

AMHERST — Amherst College has whittled its list of possible new athletic mascots to five and, sorry, rodent fans, the Hamsters didn’t make the cut.

Hamsters was on the list of 30 semifinalists selected out of about 600 initial suggestions by a committee put together to come up with a new mascot for the Massachusetts school.

The five finalists announced this month are the Fighting Poets, the Mammoths, Purple and White, the Valley Hawks, and the Wolves. The committee said all five have connections to the school or region. The winner will be announced this spring.

Firefighter dies while fighting house fire

WATERTOWN — Authorities say the firefighter who collapsed and died after responding to a house fire was a 21-year veteran who leaves behind a wife and five children.

Town officials in Watertown say 54-year-old Joseph Toscano, of Randolph, suffered a medical emergency as he helped battle the morning blaze in the Boston suburb.

The cause of death is still under investigation, but officials say it might have been a heart attack.

10 arrested in opioid ring

BOSTON — Federal authorities say 10 men have been arrested in an interstate opioid trafficking ring in Massachusetts, Maine and Florida. The men face charges including conspiracy to distribute and possess heroin, fentanyl and oxycodone and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

Prosecutors say that beginning in 2014, the men transported large quantities of opioids from Florida to Massachusetts and Maine for distribution. They say profits from the sale of the drugs were transferred back to Florida to be laundered.

Man gets 17 years in child porn case

BOSTON — A Worcester man convicted of distributing child pornography over the internet has been sentenced to 17 years in prison. Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Neil Sweeney, of Worcester, was also sentenced this week to 10 years of probation upon completion of his prison term. He was convicted in October of possessing and distributing child pornography.

Authorities say April 2015, Sweeney used an internet file sharing program to distribute dozens of videos and images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct to an undercover federal agent.

Man pleads not guilty in fatal shooting

SPRINGFIELD — One of two men charged in the shooting death of a man inside a camper last year has pleaded not guilty to murder. Eric Carattini, 24, was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Thursday in Hampden Superior Court in the death of 55-year-old Anthony Sirakowski.

Authorities say Sirakowski was shot inside the camper Dec. 23 in Holyoke. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

From Associated Press