State & Region Briefs

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Police charge 9-year-old for bringing pellet gun to school

METHUEN — A 9-year-old boy is facing a criminal charge after police say he brought a pellet gun to his school in Massachusetts.

Police say officials at the Comprehensive Grammar School in Methuen found the gun in the student’s backpack along with a bag of pellets Friday. Chief Joseph Solomon said that school officials were searching for something else “non-criminal” when the student mentioned the gun.

Authorities say the school’s resource officer was notified, as well as the boy’s mother. The boy has been charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on a campus, and he received a juvenile court summons.

The boy’s charge comes weeks after a 10-year-old Methuen boy was arrested for shooting a BB gun at two school buses. No one was injured.

Report: Massachusetts is the healthiest state

Massachusetts vaulted past Hawaii to lay claim to being the healthiest state in the nation, according to annual rankings released on Tuesday.

In 2016, Massachusetts placed second in America’s Health Rankings, produced by the United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association. The report is based on 35 metrics and Massachusetts scored especially high in its percentage of uninsured people, low obesity rate, high vaccination rate and the health of its women and children.

In addition to ranking number one for the number of dentists and mental health providers per 100,000 people, the Bay State also reduced its smoking rate by 25 percent over the past five years, reduced cancer deaths by 4 percent over the last five years, and reduced air pollution by 41 percent over the past ten years.

Jury selection begins in reputed mobster’s extortion trial

SPRINGFIELD — Jury selection has begun in the trial of a reputed mobster charged with strong-arming a Massachusetts towing company.

Richard Valentini and three other men are accused of extorting $20,000 from the owner of a Springfield tow company in 2013. The other defendants accepted plea deals and will be sentenced next year. A fifth man has pleaded guilty to loansharking. Prosecutors say they all have ties to the New York-based Genovese crime family.

Jury empanelment began Monday in federal court in Springfield

The Springfield Republican reports that Valentini’s lawyer has argued that his client never made any threats and was not a key part of the shakedown. He says Valentini’s voice appears on only one of 16 recordings that the tow company owner made for police.

From Associated Press