Five College Area News

Before he died, Sinacori known as ‘caretaker’ to friends

AMHERST — Brianne Oliveira learned that her boyfriend, Eric L. Sinacori, had used heroin during her first visit to his home in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. He opened up to her about having had problems with the drug in the past, and using other drugs as fillers, she recalled. In response, she told him she understood. She told him about close friends in her own hometown of Bridgewater who had similar struggles, and encouraged him to talk to someone and get help. “At that moment, 0

UMass student’s 2013 overdose probed by DA

AMHERST — An investigation into the fatal heroin overdose of University of Massachusetts Amherst student informant Eric L. Sinacori one year ago Saturday appears to be again active. The Boston Globe reported Saturday that investigators for Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan interviewed Sinacori’s mother Friday after she had provided them with the name of the dealer believed to have sold her son the heroin on the night he died, Oct. 4, 2013. In a statement provided Saturday to the Gazette, First Assistant Northwestern District 0

DA, UMass at odds over use of student informant

AMHERST — The Northwestern district attorney’s office said Wednesday that it had no knowledge that University of Massachusetts student Eric L. Sinacori had served as a confidential informant and denied that it routinely reviews recommendations by any law enforcement agencies to use individuals as confidential informants. Those assertions seemingly contradict previous statements made by UMass Police. In a statement issued Wednesday, District Attorney David E. Sullivan and Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Bucci said that Sinacori, who died of a heroin overdose death on Oct. 4, 0

UMass suspends informant program

AMHERST — A confidential informant program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that came under fire this week following the report of a student informant’s death from a drug overdose has been suspended indefinitely pending its full review, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy announced in an email to faculty and students Tuesday night. “The review will consider whether the program should be discontinued or revised to include mandatory substance abuse treatment and parental notification,” Subbaswamy wrote. “The department is not currently working with any student confidential informants 0

Leverett man denies injuring 2 Amherst cops

AMHERST — A Leverett man who allegedly injured two police officers in separate incidents Saturday has pleaded innocent to a half dozen charges in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown. Nikolai R. James, 21, of 253 Long Plain Road, Leverett, was arrested at 8:41 p.m. Saturday on Triangle Street on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a shod foot), disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after he was identified as a suspect in an indecent exposure incident earlier in the day, said Detective 0

UMass student who OD’d worked as informant

AMHERST — A University of Massachusetts student recruited as a confidential informant after being caught selling drugs was able to keep his crime a secret from his family and remain in school, only to die last fall of a heroin overdose, according to an investigation by journalism students at the school. The Boston Globe on Sunday published a roughly 3,100-word front-page story by Eric Bosco and Kayla Marchetti detailing the student’s heroin addiction and reluctant career as a UMass police informant under a little-known program 0

Juniper Networks gives $1.5M in networking equipment to UMass

AMHERST — Juniper Networks, an industry leader in network innovation, has donated equipment worth $1.5 million to the University of Massachusetts. UMass will use the donation to build a dedicated high-speed network to support science research and increase the ease of use and speed of large academic data transfers across campus. UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy said, “As our faculty and staff put it to use, there will be significant long-range benefits for our students, the computing industry and the entire economy of Massachusetts.” 0

Businesses happy to have UMass football back at home

AMHERST — University of Massachusetts football plays its first game on campus in more than three years today. For a business community that appreciated the presence of these games each fall, that’s plenty of reason to cheer. “We’re happy to have UMass football back,” said Sarah la Cour, executive director of the Amherst Business Improvement District. “It will be good for downtown because more people are in downtown.” “We’re looking forward to a great weekend,” said John Korpita, owner of Amherst Brewing Co. on University 0

Groundbreaking research in Arctic leads UMass professor Julie Brigham-Grette to head Polar Research Board

AMHERST — Studying glacial geology is a tantalizing mystery that can offer up a treasure trove of information if you know how and where to dig, believes University of Massachusetts Amherst professor Julie Brigham-Grette. “It’s like trying to put together a 1,000-piece puzzle and having only 300 pieces to work with,” Brigham-Grette said during a two-day stop last month in Amherst between a field study trip in Norway and presenting her work at a conference in New Zealand. An expert in climate evolution and sea-level 0

Funeral Home sued again

NORTHAMPTON — More than $342,000 and the cremated remains of a Granby man and his wife are missing four months after the Ryder Funeral Home in South Hadley was shut down by state regulators, according to two lawsuits filed in Hampshire Superior Court. The complaints — filed by the family of a deceased Granby man Tuesday and by state Attorney General Martha Coakley — bring to five the number of lawsuits filed against former funeral director William W. Ryder. The AG’s complaint, filed Friday, for 0