GROTON, Mass.

Death of man, 20, pinned under car ruled accident

Authorities say the death of a Georgia man who became trapped under a friend’s vehicle in the snow was an accident.

Police responded to a Groton home at about 3:15 a.m. Thursday where they found 20-year-old Vincent McCullough of Port Wentworth, Ga., pinned under a car.

After he was extricated, he was taken to Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, where he died of his injuries. The Middlesex district attorney’s office told The Sun of Lowell that the death has been ruled an accident. Authorities said McCullough was visiting his friend in Groton and the two were trying to get a car that was stuck in the snow out of the driveway.

BOSTON

Labs near the one in scandal also have issues, report says

An outside review of 17 labs in the same state building that housed the lab at the center of a drug-testing scandal found that they, too, had problems.

The Association of Public Health Laboratories report, obtained by the Boston Herald makes 18 recommendations for the Hinton State Laboratory, where labs test for mosquito-borne illnesses, rabies and other things.

The report found the facility generally maintains “good laboratory practice” but notes the labs face “threats,” including a top-heavy leadership structure; a “perceived lack” of communication between lower-level workers and management; and an inconsistent employee performance review system.

The interim director said the recommendations are being taken seriously.

A former worker at the drug lab is facing charges for allegedly tampering with test results that put hundreds of criminal drug cases at risk.

SALEM, Mass.

Ditch digging will be done by hand at historic house

Turns out a routine ditch digging in Salem isn’t routine at all.

The job at the Peabody Essex Museum involves laying underground utility cables near Yin Yu Tang, a 200-year-old house that was transported piece-by-piece from rural China and rebuilt at the Salem museum. The 16-room house was home to eight generations of a Chinese family.

Visitors enter the house from inside the museum, but its exterior sits beside a narrow Salem street. The Salem News reported that to protect the delicate exterior, the museum is putting a barrier of plywood, backed by insulation, between the work and the house. The museum has also asked the contractor to forego heavy machinery and dig the ditch by hand.

The painstaking project is expected to be completed by March

QUINCY, Mass.

Mother accused of selling heroin with kids inside car

Quincy police have arrested a woman they say was selling heroin out of her vehicle with her children inside.

Angela Tantillo of Fall River was held on $50,000 bail after pleading not guilty to drug trafficking and child endangerment at her arraignment on Thursday.

The Patriot Ledger reported that the children — a 10-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy — were taken into state custody and will likely be placed with relatives.

Police allege the 26-year-old Tantillo was seen in a restaurant parking lot selling heroin to two men, who were also charged. Investigators say she had 10 bags of heroin tucked in her bra and two bags in her purse. She also allegedly had several needles and more than $2,200 in cash.

ATTLEBORO, Mass.

Student, 17, who threatened to ‘shoot up’ school released

A North Attleborough High School student who spent Christmas in jail after being accused of threatening to “shoot up” his school has been released on $10,000 bail.

The teen was released Thursday after a dangerousness hearing in Attleboro District Court. A judge also ordered him to obey a curfew and report weekly to a probation officer, among other conditions.

The 17-year-old had been held since his arrest on Dec. 21.

He told police he was joking. The Sun Chronicle reported that his lawyer argued in court that the junior had no access to guns, no history of discipline problems and no criminal record.

Prosecutors argued that all threats need to be taken seriously given the shootings in Newtown, Conn.

AMHERST, Mass.

Residents invited to donate Christmas trees to goat farm

Residents of the Amherst area have a new option this year to get rid of their Christmas trees — give them to goats.

Hope Crolius owns a business that offers her seven goats to eat cleared brush.

Now she’s inviting residents to drop off their Christmas trees at her farm to feed the animals.

Crolius told The Daily Hampshire Gazette the goats enjoy pine, balsam fir, hemlock, spruce and other evergreens, which contain vitamin C and other nutrients. The needles on the trees can act as dewormers.

She said it’s also a way to keep the trees out of a landfill.

Of course, residents can still bring their discarded Christmas trees to the transfer station at no charge.

BRENTWOOD, N.H.

Woman gets 35 years to life for killing former boyfriend

A Londonderry woman has been sentenced to 35 years to life in prison for killing her former boyfriend.

Thirty-nine-year-old Nicole LeBlanc pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday as part of a plea deal.

The Eagle Tribune reported that LeBlanc was originally charged with first-degree murder for shooting 43-year-old Richard Mannion Jr. of Sandown at his home on Jan. 14.

LeBlanc had been charged with assaulting Mannion on Aug. 18. She pleaded not guilty to the charge in November. She had been ordered to stay away from Mannion for 90 days.

RUTLAND, Vt.

ACLU questions ordinance that restricts panhandlers

The Rutland Town Select Board is moving to restrict panhandlers, but the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is raising questions about the move.

An ordinance that takes effect in February if no one petitions against it places several restrictions on people asking for money.

The Rutland Herald said the ordinance prohibits soliciting anyone waiting in line, in a parking lot or within 15 feet of a building entrance, public toilet, ATM, bus stop, handicapped parking space, pay phone, public information booth, financial institution or check cashing business.

Town officials said they modeled it on an ordinance on the books in Burlington.

But ACLU lawyer Dan Barrett said the ordinance may not be a good idea. He said it might not withstand a court challenge.