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Lightning strike damages farmhouse

STERLING - Residents of a Princeton Road farmhouse heard a thunderclap close by yesterday afternoon, but they didn't realize their house was on fire until a passing motorist ran up to their door to tell them, authorities said.

"Lightning struck a tree next to the house and then traveled across and caught the eaves and part of the attic on fire," Fire Chief David Hurlbut said.

Firefighters had the attic blaze at 309 Princeton St. under control in about 10 minutes, he said. The lightning strike that touched off the fire occurred about 1:30 p.m.

Nobody was injured. The 2-1/2-story house is habitable, but Chief Hurlbut estimates the attic fire caused about $10,000 in damage.


Bear gets his fill at feeder, departs

ATHOL - A hungry bear ate his fill of bird food in Riverbend Woods manufactured home park before being chased into the woods by Athol and Environmental Police yesterday morning and evening.

Athol Police Officer Todd Neale said a black bear was sighted early yesterday morning raiding bird feeders in the 55-and-older housing area. It then disappeared during the day but reappeared at about 5 p.m. He said at that point local police became involved and contacted the Environmental Police to assess the situation.

"They told us to just try to move it along in the hope it will keep on going," he said. "So we ushered him into the woods."


Police monitor marijuana operations

ASHBURNHAM - A combined drug investigation by local and state police with help from the Massachusetts National Guard found and destroyed more than $30,000 worth of marijuana plants this past week, authorities said.

A Guard helicopter flying low over wooded areas of Ashburnham and surrounding towns on Wednesday discovered several small crops of marijuana growing among the natural vegetation, said Ashburnham Police Detective Robert Siano, a member of the North Worcester Country Drug Task Force.

The Massachusetts State Police React Task Force also was involved in the operation. The helicopter pilot radioed the coordinates of the drug crops to ground crews, who destroyed the plants, Detective Siano said.

In Ashburnham, police found and destroyed 74 marijuana plants spread over three sites. Smaller sites with fewer plants also were found in surrounding towns, Detective Siano said.

No arrests had been made as of yesterday afternoon.

Such aerial drug-spotting operations typically are carried out once a year.

"I would say this year was a little bit more productive than most years," Detective Siano said.


Candidate unable to withdraw from ballot

ORANGE - Independent candidate Genevieve C. Fraser of Orange, who announced last week she was withdrawing from the race for state representative in the 2nd Franklin District, has learned that won't be possible.

Ms. Fraser said she was withdrawing from the race because of a health issue: She had developed photosensitivity, requiring that she avoid direct sunlight, but she has since learned she is unable to be removed from the election ballot.

In announcing she was withdrawing from the race, Ms. Fraser said she was endorsing Democrat Roxann Wedegartner of Greenfield, one of five Democrats vying for the nomination. After learning she will still be on the ballot, Ms. Fraser said she will wait and see if Ms. Wedegartner wins the Democratic nomination.

"If she wins the nomination, I will continue to support her," she said. "If she doesn't, I will have to re-evaluate the situation."

Ms. Fraser said her health problem may be related to medication she is taking for another ailment. She said if the problem with photosensitivity is under control before the November election and Ms. Wedegartner does not win the nomination, she may get back into the race.


Tea parties leave messages for Brown

BOSTON - Members of area tea parties delivered a letter today asking U.S. Sen. Scott Brown to vote against the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill.

Northboro Tea Party co-founder John O'Mara delivered the letter, which was signed by more than 400 tea party members and endorsed by tea parties from across the state, to Mr. Brown's Boston office. A vote on the legislation is expected early next week.

The letter included a reminder to Mr. Brown that tea party members supported and campaigned for him in his election win over Attorney General Martha Coakley because of his views on fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and constitutional principles. In the letter he was urged to vote against the bill.


Sink hole swallows barriers on Lincoln St.

WORCESTER - A brief, but heavy rainfall yesterday afternoon caused the temporary closing of a section of Lincoln Street just east of Beverly Road. The rain flooded through a construction area in the center of Lincoln Street, causing a sink hole that swallowed two cement construction barriers. Westbound traffic detoured onto Goldthwaite Road, then to Varney Road and then back along Beverly Road to Lincoln Street. The same route is used to bypass construction during the week. A single lane was open for traffic heading east bound on Lincoln Street.



CUTLINE: (1) WORCESTER - Firefighters check out the large hole that swallowed two 10-foot Jersey barriers in front of 446 Lincoln St. yesterday. The hole, about 20 feet long, 3 feet wide, and 15 feet deep, formed alongside a road construction project. (2) ONE INJURED IN ROLLOVER CRASH: In Oxford yesterday, workers of Arnie's Towing Co. of Charlton connect the cables from a heavy-duty wrecker at the scene of a rollover crash on Sutton Avenue. There were no serious injuries to the driver of the vehicle, which came to rest nose-down in a deep ravine at the side of the road. A person in another vehicle involved in the 3 p.m. crash was taken to a local hospital.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 11, 2010
Previous Article:MILITARY NOTES.
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