City agrees to settle lawsuit over woman’s treatment

A Western Massachusetts city has agreed to settle with a woman who sued police for taping her mouth shut after she was taken into custody at The Big E fair in 2011.

The Republican newspaper reports that West Springfield and a former police captain reached a settlement with Izabella Monticello, who sued in federal court for assault and battery, infliction of emotional distress and other claims. Terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed.

Police say they took Monticello into custody for being drunk and disorderly at the Eastern States Exposition. A photo later surfaced of her at the police station, bound to a chair and with tape over her mouth. Police Capt. Daniel O’Brien was fired over the incident.


Man gets 3 years in jail for bringing pellet gun to school

A 21-year-old New Hampshire man who prompted a lockdown at his former high school when he went there to get a recommendation letter with a pellet gun in his waistband is heading to prison for three years.

Damian Johnson of Manchester was charged with criminal trespassing, disrupting school and falsifying evidence after the lockdown at Manchester High School West in September.

Police said he had gone to the school to ask a teacher for a recommendation letter for college.


University gets unexpected delivery from guard donkey

The University of Rhode Island may have a new guard for its animal herd after a baby donkey was unexpectedly born.

Jenny, one of the university’s two guard donkeys, gave birth to the foal Sunday at the school’s Peckham Farm.

The university uses the donkeys to protect its goats and sheep from coyotes and feral dogs. The animals are part of the university’s animal science and pre-veterinary classes.

URI senior Kathryn Voelkner says she found the foal while feeding the two donkeys and saw it take its first steps. The birth came as a surprise, since both older donkeys are female.

Jenny came to the farm in May. University officials now believe she was already pregnant when they acquired her, since donkeys can be pregnant for about a year.


Apollo 14 backpack strap sells at auction for $41,806

A backpack strap used by an Apollo 14 astronaut as he moved around the surface of the moon in 1971 has sold at auction for nearly $42,000.

Massachusetts-based RR Auction says the strap that Edgar Mitchell brought back as a souvenir of the mission fetched $41,806 this week. The buyer’s identity was not disclosed.

Mitchell spent a total of nearly 9 1/2 hours on the lunar surface, where he left the life support backpack itself before returning to Earth. Astronauts typically left such items on the moon to save weight and offset the moon rocks they needed to bring back with them.

The suit he wore is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Governor files proposal to regulate Uber, Lyft

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has filed a bill to regulate ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, including a requirement that all drivers undergo state criminal background checks.

Baker said Friday his proposal would develop a “modern regulatory framework” for the companies, while also embracing their innovative approach to transportation. In addition to criminal background checks on drivers, the bill would require the ride-hailing services to carry a minimum of $1 million insurance on every ride they offer.

Cab drivers and owners have called the services illegal and argue they should be subject to the same regulations as the taxi industry.

In February, Baker called for a six-month transitional period that allowed Uber, Lyft and other firms to continue operating with private registration and insurance

— From news service reports