New England in brief

Mass. hiker, 28, hit by boulder, dies

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May 9, 2008

A Massachusetts woman is dead after a boulder fell on her while she was hiking in New Hampshire with her family yesterday. Shu Qin, 28, of Wellesley was hiking Falling Waters Trail in Franconia when the 5-by-3-foot, 20-inch-thick boulder broke off a ledge and fell about 40 feet and struck her, according to Lieutenant Todd Bogardus of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Bogardus said Qin suffered severe head injuries. She was taken to Littleton Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. (AP)

Train derails, spills hazardous material
A freight train derailed in a rail yard yesterday, causing hazardous material to leak and prompting the evacuation of the area. At about 4:45 p.m., a train with 49 freight cars was departing from a rail yard off Andover Street when a broken switch point caused the derailment of the last two cars - one of them filled with sodium chlorate, said Cynthia Scarano, a spokeswoman for Pan Am Railways, which owns the yard. Sodium chlorate is a white, grainy substance used to make paper and fertilizer. The runaway hopper car, which carries bulk materials, struck a freight car on another track, creating an 8-by-10-foot hole in the hopper car, Scarano said. The hopper car continued moving, leaving behind a roughly 2,300-foot trail of sodium chlorate. No one was injured. Hazardous waste specialists cleaned up the material throughout the night. The material can become flammable after it is mixed with water and then dries, Scarano said.

3 charged in shooting that wounded man
Three people have been charged in the shooting of a Middleborough man Tuesday that police say may have been accidental. Angel Reed, 17, the alleged shooter, was charged with assault and battery with a firearm and four counts of illegal possession of a firearm. Siblings Selena Rogers, 20, and Glenn Rogers, 18, were charged with obstruction of justice after they allegedly lied to police to cover up the shooting in Berkley, said Gregg Miliote, spokesman for the Bristol district attorney's office. The victim, Carmelo Cacciatore, is in fair condition at Morton Hospital in Taunton. According to Berkley's police chief, Scott Labonte, the victim told police that Reed was showing him a gun when it accidentally fired. Reed is being held without bail pending a hearing Monday in Taunton District Court.

Gay divorce fight goes to Superior Court
A lawyer for a lesbian married in Massachusetts has asked Rhode Island's Superior Court for a divorce after an earlier attempt to dissolve the marriage failed. A lawyer for Margaret Chambers asked the Superior Court yesterday to dissolve his client's marriage after Rhode Island's top court blocked a divorce court from handling it. The judge did not immediately rule and set another hearing for June 12. Chambers wed Cassandra Ormiston four years ago in Massachusetts, the only state where gay marriage is legal. The state of Rhode Island does not recognize same-sex unions. (AP)

Ticket issued near time of disappearances
A Berlin man now under investigation in three Massachusetts counties as a potential suspect in several unsolved killings of women received a speeding ticket in Freetown in 1988, at about the time victims in the so-called highway killings in the New Bedford area started disappearing, according to Registry of Motor Vehicles records. Prosecutors in Bristol, Worcester, and Middlesex counties said they are investigating Alex F. Scesny, 38, in connection with unsolved killings of women between 1988 and 2004. Scesny has not been charged in any of the killings, but has been linked by DNA to the 1996 homicide of a woman in Fitchburg, according to Worcester County court records. He is being held without bail on rape charges from a West Boylston case.

Large school of rare whales moves on
The unusually large concentration of rare North Atlantic right whales that gathered last month to feed in Cape Cod Bay has moved on, the state reported Wednesday, citing aerial surveys and acoustic buoys. Boaters in the area had been warned to slow down to avoid the animals and stay 500 yards away if they spotted one. About 25 to 50 whales migrate annually to the bay in April, but unusually rich plankton slicks this year drew 75 to 100 animals, scientists said. That is roughly a quarter of their population, thought to be 350 to 400. (AP)

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