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FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2007, file photo, former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., announces that he will not seek re-election for a 12th term in Yorkville, Ill. Federal prosecutors have indicted Thursday, May 28, 2015, the former U.S. House Speaker on bank-related charges. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey, File)

Charge: Hastert paid $3.5M in hush money

Thursday, May 28, 2015

CHICAGO — Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million in hush money to keep a person from the town where he was a longtime high school teacher silent about “prior misconduct” by the Illinois Republican who was once second in line to the U.S. presidency, according to a federal grand jury indictment handed down Thursday. The indictment, which doesn’t describe the alleged misconduct by Hastert, charges the 73-year-old with one count of evading bank regulations by withdrawing $952,000 in increments of less than $10,000 to skirt reporting requirements. He is also charged with one count of lying to the FBI about …

Westhampton home destroyed in fire touched off by lightning strike

Thursday, May 28, 2015

WESTHAMPTON — A lightning strike touched off a fire that destroyed a Tipping Rock Road home Wednesday evening as heavy storms moved through the area, Fire Chief Christopher W. Norris said Thursday. Norris — speaking shortly after crews cleared the scene over 12 hours after the fire was reported by the homeowners at …

Area police news

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Amherst ∎ Two of the four occupants of a vehicle on State Street in the area of Puffer’s Pond were arrested at 5:24 p.m. Wednesday. The vehicle was located after a brief search following a report that it was being driven by a person under the influence of marijuana, police said. Christopher R. Hardy, 20, of 986 South East St., was arrested on …

Third trial for Cara Rintala, accused of murdering wife, moves forward after Supreme Judicial Court denies motion

Friday, May 22, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A decision by a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justice has cleared the way for a third trial for Cara Rintala, the Granby woman accused of killing her wife in 2010. No date has been set for …

Suspect in killings of DC family arrested

Friday, May 22, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former Marine and ex-convict accused in the slayings of a wealthy Washington family and their housekeeper was arrested Thursday, a week after authorities said the family was killed in their mansion and it was …

Suspect in slaying of DC family hunted in NY

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police and federal agents searched Thursday for a welder suspected in the slayings of a wealthy construction executive, his wife, their 10-year-old son and a housekeeper inside their Washington mansion last week. D.C. Police Chief …

Couple found dead in Greenfield identified as Dennis and Margaret Pekkala

Thursday, May 21, 2015

GREENFIELD — The Northwestern district attorney’s office has identified the couple found dead Wednesday in their 21 Prospect St. apartment as Dennis Pekkala, 54, and Margaret Pekkala, 53. Investigators released no further details Thursday about the circumstances of their deaths. Greenfield police found the two dead in their …

Six officers indicted in Baltimore death

Thursday, May 21, 2015

BALTIMORE — A grand jury indicted all six officers charged in the case of Freddie Gray, who died of injuries he suffered in police custody, allowing the state’s attorney to press ahead with the most serious charges despite …

Christopher Conley of Northampton charged with attempted murder for allegedly trying to poison seriously ill daughter

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — A city man accused of trying to kill his 7-year-old daughter by poisoning her with Liquid-Plumr allegedly told police Wednesday that he wanted to end her pain because she has a serious illness. Christopher W. Conley, 32, of 73 Barrett St., Apt. 5155, was ordered held …

Malaysia orders sea search-and-rescue for migrants

Thursday, May 21, 2015

YANGON, Myanmar — Four Malaysian navy ships began searching the seas for stranded boat people Thursday in the first official rescue operation since desperate migrants started washing onto Southeast Asia’s shores, and a formerly reluctant Myanmar agreed to …

Trade bill narrowly clears Senate hurdle

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WASHINGTON — In a triumph for President Barack Obama, sweeping legislation to strengthen the administration’s hand in global trade talks advanced toward Senate passage Thursday after a showdown vote that remained in doubt until the final moment. The …

Area police news

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Amherst ∎ Brian James Knox, 38, of 464 Bay Road, was arrested at 1:51 a.m. Thursday on South East Street on charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (second offense), negligent operation of a motor vehicle to endanger, failure to stay within marked …

Chemical reaction at Dickinson Farm in Granby draws response from regional hazardous materials team

Thursday, May 21, 2015

GRANBY — A reaction between two chemicals used to clean irrigation lines in a greenhouse at Dickinson Farms Thursday morning sent one worker to a hospital for observation and drew a response from the regional hazardous materials team. Granby Fire Capt. George Randall said the worker was not …