New England in brief

Boy, 5, dies after falling from window in Lowell

September 3, 2009

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A 5-year-old boy who fell from a third-story window in his home on Dane Street in Lowell died last night, according to police. The boy was taken to Children’s Hospital Boston by medical helicopter around 3:30 p.m. yesterday. Police said the child’s mother was in their apartment when the child fell. The boy’s identity has not been released. State and Lowell police are investigating.

Raft of initiatives clear first ballot hurdle
Proposals to eliminate tolls in Massachusetts, repeal the sales tax on alcohol, and slash the 6.25 percent sales tax rate won certification yesterday from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office. The designation means proponents are free to begin collecting thousands of signatures needed to put the initiatives on the ballot. Other certified petitions would expand the number of charter schools in Massachusetts, make health care a constitutional right, and implement instant runoff elections. Coakley’s office declined to certify as ballot-eligible proposals to protect local aid, modify mortgages, and establish and tax Internet poker in Massachusetts. Most of the petitions that survive the signature-gathering and verification process, which takes months, are marked for the 2010 ballot. (State House News Service)

Green Line derailment mess cleared
Regular service was expected to resume at 5 a.m. today on the Green Line between Government Center and North Station after a train derailed yesterday, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said. The interruption happened yesterday afternoon when a Riverside train derailed while making a loop to go outbound at Government Center. Service was halted at about 5:45 p.m. and did not resume last night. No passengers were aboard the train and no one was injured, Pesaturo said. The derailment occurred at the switch where the trolley was about to reenter the station. “It was traveling at a very low rate of speed,’’ he said.

Ax aims at 11 Bay State post offices
The US Postal Service identified 11 Massachusetts post offices as candidates for closure yesterday, including four Boston locations. In the face of a potential $7 billion deficit, the agency released a list of 413 post offices that are in danger of closing. The state’s 11 endangered post offices are: Babson Park in Wellesley, Mount Pleasant in New Bedford, Tufts University in Medford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge; the Colonial and Brightwood offices in Springfield; and the Boston University, Boston College, Soldiers Field, and Logan Airport offices in Boston. No closures are expected before Sept. 30.

Fire destroys vet facility at Wonderland
A small fire destroyed a wooden building, described as a veterinarian facility detached from the racetrack, on Tuesday night at Wonderland Greyhound Park. No people or animals were inside the building when firefighters responded to the call at 9:12 p.m. “By the time we arrived, the fire spread significantly and it was a total loss,’’ said Revere Fire Chief Gene Doherty. The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage. The cause is under investigation, but a preliminary investigation found the blaze may have started in the ceiling. It does not appear to be suspicious, Doherty said.

New US immigration center to open
A Citizenship and Immigration Services center is set to open in Lawrence. The $15 million building’s grand opening is scheduled Sept. 15 during a citizenship swearing-in ceremony to be taped by the History Channel for a video installment at New York’s Ellis Island. Six hundred visitors are expected daily at the new federal facility, where immigrants can petition for residency and citizenship and receive information and support. Citizenship and Immigration Services planned the Lawrence office to help ease traffic at the Boston office, often plagued by long waits. Lawrence has historically had a large immigrant population. About 70 percent of Lawrence residents are Latino. (AP)