NEW LONDON, Conn.

Panel reduces lobster limits in southern New England

A fisheries panel has cut the number of lobsters that can be caught in southern New England waters to help rebuild depleted populations.

The Day of New London reports that the reduction will take effect in 2013. It was approved this week by the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commissions’ American Lobster Management Board.

Additional actions could include steeper harvest reductions and cutting the number of traps.

Toni Kerns, senior fisheries management planning coordinator for the commission, said Thursday the panel wants the fishery closed for parts of the year or to increase the size of lobsters that can be harvested.

DOUGLAS, Mass.

Three teens hospitalized after crashing stolen car

Three teenagers are in the hospital after their car stolen in Connecticut crashed in Massachusetts.

Douglas police told The Telegram & Gazette that a 15-year-old boy from Putnam, Conn., driving the car and a 16-year-old male front-seat passenger from Ware, Mass., were ejected when the vehicle crashed at about 1:30 a.m. on Friday. Skyelynn Mathieu, 16, of Ware was in the back seat.

They were taken to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester in critical condition.

Police say the vehicle had been reported stolen earlier in Thompson, Conn., just across the state line.

Connecticut police pursued the vehicle to the Massachusetts line before notifying Douglas police.

A Douglas officer lost sight of the car, but moments later came across the crashed vehicle.

FALMOUTH, Mass.

Mom of soldier killed in Iraq told death was a homicide

The mother of a Massachusetts soldier killed in Iraq during the summer says the Army has ruled her son’s death a homicide.

The Pentagon at first told Cheryl Ruggiero that her son Matthew Gallagher of Falmouth died in combat June 26, a week before his 23rd birthday.

The Department of Defense then called his death non-combat related.

Ruggiero told the Cape Cod Times that the military has shared a report with her that shows Gallagher died of a single gunshot wound to the head and a defendant is facing a court martial in Kuwait.

Gallagher served with the 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas.

WORCESTER, Mass.

Officers denied promotion due to racial bias, panel says

The city of Worcester could be forced to pay two black police officers millions of dollars after the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination ruled they were denied promotion nearly 20 years ago because of what it called racial bias within the department.

Officers Spencer Tatum and Andrew Harris have been officers since 1980 and 1987 respectively. They both passed the sergeant’s exam in the early 1990s. They filed separate complaints in September 1994.

The commission ruled in favor of the officers this week. The city has 30 days to appeal.

City Manager Michael O’Brien told The Telegram & Gazette he will evaluate all options before deciding whether to appeal.

Lawyers for the officers say the men could be owed millions by the time damages, back pay and interest are added up.

BEDFORD, N.H.

Town manager dies of bacterial meningitis

The town manager in Bedford, N.H., has died after losing a fight to bacterial meningitis.

WMUR-TV reported that Russ Marcoux entered the hospital Oct. 31. He died Thursday night in Boston.

Acting Town Manager Crystal Dionne said she would be meeting with Town Council Chairman Bill Dermody on Friday.

CONCORD, N.H.

Nashua man charged with possessing explosives

Police have charged a Nashua, N.H., man with possessing explosives and endangering the lives of others.

Nashua police say 21-year-old Jesse McIlwain mixed chemicals together to make bottle bombs. They say McIlwain detonated most of his home-made explosives in nearby woods, but set off one in a backyard in August.

Nashua Police Lt. Francis Sullivan says the public was not in danger, but several acquaintances who witnessed the detonation were.

Sullivan described the bombs as small but still dangerous and McIlwain’s exploits as a personal science project that went awry.

McIlwain was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H.

Police issue arrest warrant in two robberies of bank

Police in Portsmouth, N.H., have identified a suspect in two robberies of a People’s United Bank branch in Portsmouth.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for 29-year-old Timothy Burke.

He’s charged with two counts of armed robbery. Authorities say he’s accused of robbing the People’s United Bank on Islington Street on Oct. 29 and Nov. 4.

Fosters Daily Democrat reported that authorities do not believe Burke is in Portsmouth.

Police say Burke could be armed and dangerous.

PROVIDENCE, R.I.

Killer’s near-early release spurs review of prison rules

Officials in Rhode Island are reviewing the state’s early prison release rules after a man convicted of killing a boy in 1975 and preserving his bones almost went free.

A criminal justice commission met this week to review the state’s “good time” rules that let inmates shave time off their sentences. The commission is examining at ways to restrict the early release of certain violent inmates.

Rep. Teresa Tanzi requested the review after learning that Michael Woodmansee was eligible for release after serving 28 years of a 40-year sentence for killing 5-year-old Jason Foreman in South Kingstown. Woodmansee agreed to remain in custody at a mental facility.

BROWNINGTON, Vt.

Man killed as he crawls beneath milk truck at farm

A Brownington man has died after being run over by a milk truck as it picked up milk from his family’s farm.

Vermont State Police said 28-year-old Joshua Simons, son of the farmer, was pronounced dead at the hospital on Thursday. Police say the incident appears to have been an accident but are still investigating.

Police said Simons had crawled under the truck while it was picking up milk. When the truck pulled away, according to police, the driver said he noticed going over a bump and saw in a side mirror Simons under the rear tire.

Police said Simons was removed from under the truck and given CPR until rescue crews arrived. He was pronounced dead at North Country Hospital.

PAWLET, Vt.

Three college students safe after night spent in woods

Police say three Vermont college students who spent the night in the woods after they became lost while hiking in Pawlet are safe.

Vermont state police said the Green Mountain College students were reported missing around 3 p.m. Thursday after they became lost while hiking a trail from Waite Hill Road to Haystack Mountain.

Police said Chris Jenkins, Courtney Heverly and Jack Hepburn walked out of the woods around 7:15 a.m. Friday.

The three used paper from their notebooks to start a fire so they could stay warm until daylight when they hiked out of the woods. Police say the three are in good health.

BENNINGTON, Vt.

State biologists predict deer harvest will decline this year

Wildlife biologists in Vermont predict there will be fewer deer harvested in this year’s rifle hunting season because of a hard winter and an abundance of food this fall.

The season starts today and ends Nov. 27.

Biologist John Buck told the Bennington Banner the total size of the herd is estimated at 123,000, about 10 percent fewer deer than last year.

Buck said there are more beech nuts, apples, and other food deer eat in preparation for winter. That means deer have more options when it comes to eating, so some hunters may find fewer or no deer at their usual haunts.