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State/region briefs

Conn. town officials call cops to remove reporters

BETHLEHEM, Conn. — Two newspaper reporters say officials in a Connecticut town called state police to have them removed from a town hall after refusing a public records request.

Register Citizen reporters Isaac Avilucea and Gayla Cawley say officials asked them to leave Bethlehem Town Hall on Thursday. State police showed up and took statements, but didn’t arrest anyone.

The Register Citizen reports that town officials refused to immediately respond to the reporters’ request under state law for information about the Public Works Department and missing supplies. So the reporters decided to stay in Town Hall until someone responded to the request.

Bethlehem First Selectman Lenny Assard says he didn’t think officials were required to immediately produce the documents and asked the reporters to put the request in writing, which they did.

Citizens help nab carjacking suspect

BOSTON — A Boston carjacking suspect police say was apprehended with the help of alert citizens has been ordered held on $50,000 bail.

Joel Cartagena of Woburn pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday to charges including kidnapping and carjacking.

Authorities say the 36-year-old Cartagena grabbed the woman’s hair on a street in the South End at about 3:20 p.m. Thursday and threw her into the passenger seat. He drove off but crashed a couple of blocks away.

A civilian witnessed the crash and told nearby utility workers, who alerted an officer working a detail. The civilian followed Cartagena until police caught up.

His lawyer sought lower bail, saying his client is in a drug treatment program.

The woman was treated at a hospital for minor injuries including a bloody nose and bruises.

Vt. trail group acquires long-awaited land

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — A Vermont trail group has closed on a long-awaited deal on a 23-acre parcel to help build a public and accessible trail along the West River in Brattleboro.

The Friends of the West River Trail has acquired the Riverstone Preserve, a half mile north of the Interstate 91 bridge in Brattleboro. It’s the only public piece of land between the river and the trail, which is along the historic former West River Railroad.

“It’s so great to see this reach fruition,” said Alex Wilson, a member of The Friends of the West River Trail who has been interesting in setting up the trail for years. “It’s a beautiful and important parcel and we think there is a lot of potential there to develop that we would not otherwise have.”

The Brattleboro Reformer reports the group acquired the parcel by working with the Vermont Land Trust. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board awarded a $65,050 grant for the purchase. About $32,000 was raised through donations.

The group has been working on a trail system that starts at the Marina Restaurant and runs along the river to an old quarry in Dummerston.

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