State and region briefs

Funeral director’s license suspended

SOUTH HADLEY — State authorities have suspended the license of a South Hadley funeral director after an investigation found health code violations, including five decomposed bodies not properly embalmed and a sixth improperly stored.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that the order by the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers shuts the William W. Ryder Funeral Home.

The state licensure division has set a June 6 hearing when officials are expected to determine if Ryder’s license should remain suspended. Ryder can argue to have his license restored.

Firefighter resigns

HOLYOKE — A top aide to Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse says a firefighter has resigned as police investigate an allegation of drug possession by at least one member.

Rory Casey, Morse’s chief of staff, told The Republican that a firefighter he did not identify resigned Friday.

Casey said internal investigations in the fire and police departments have been launched in response to a drug investigation by the Massachusetts State Police. He says the nature and direction of the investigation are developing.

Donations made to defend Vermont’s GMO labeling law

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont has collected nearly $14,000 in donations to help the state battle expected legal challenges from the food industry over its law requiring the labelling of genetically modified foods.

Vermont is on the path to be the first state to require labeling of genetically modified foods when the law takes effect in 2016.

The Vermont Food Fight Fund was created by the legislature as part of the law.

Attorney General William Sorrell says he expects legal costs if the law is challenged to be about $1 million if the state wins, and up to $8 million if the state loses.

Springfield notes tornado anniversary

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield is reflecting on the third anniversary of a tornado that left a major scar on the city.

Mayor Domenic Sarno has asked residents to pause for a moment of remembrance, and for churches to chime their bells at 4:38 p.m. on Sunday. That was the exact time the EF-3 tornado touched down on June 1, 2011. It went on to cut a 6.2 mile swath of damage in Springfield, including a portion of the downtown area that is now the proposed site of an $800 million resort casino.

Sarno says the recovery process has been “long and arduous,” but that the city has made great progress.

The tornado was one of several that struck western Massachusetts that day. Three people died and about 1,400 homes were damaged or destroyed.

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