New England in brief

Fire marshal says blaze in home was set


The cause of the four-alarm fire in Fall River that displaced 13 families Friday has been ruled arson, according to State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan. The daytime blaze, spread by the strong winds, destroyed the three-family home at 170 Hood St. and heavily damaged several others. Investigators are seeking assistance from the public, Coan said. A reward of $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the person or persons responsible, he said.


Ex-law school official sentenced in theft

A federal judge sentenced a former controller of the New England School of Law to 1 1/2 years in jail on Friday for stealing more than $173,000 from the school. Douglas Leman, 44, of Malden, pleaded guilty in November to one count of gaining access to a protected computer to defraud and obtain value and one count of making, uttering or possessing a forged document. He also was sentenced to two years of supervised released and ordered to pay more than $216,000 in restitution.

Police investigating fatal shooting

A man in his 20s was shot and killed in Dorchester yesterday afternoon, Boston police said. Police found the man inside 23 Trull St. suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to Boston Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. Police did not have further details last night, and are urging anyone with information to come forward.


Dozens of dolphins found stranded


About 30 dolphins were found stranded on Cape Cod beaches yesterday, and 10 to 12 of them have died, said Kerry Branon of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She said about 35 members of her group and volunteers rescued 11 dolphins, but eight were in areas that rescuers could not reach.


Voters again reject local meals tax

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Plymouth voters yesterday again overturned Town Meeting approval of adding a local meals tax on top of the state’s 6.35 percent tax. But the vote was tighter than on a similar ballot two years ago, when the margin was 4-to-1. According to Town Clerk Laurence Pizer, 2,564 voted against the surcharge of 0.75 percent, while 1,905 supported it. The proceeds would have gone toward preparations for Plymouth’s 400th anniversary in 2020.


Driver, 21, dies after hitting tree

A 21-year-old East Falmouth man died after his car struck a tree at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday near 788 Sandwich Road. Rescue workers extricated the victim from a 1993 Honda Accord sedan, according to police Sergeant Scott R. Hartzler The man died at Falmouth Hospital. There were no passengers the car, Hartzler said.


Massachusetts man dies in car crash

Police said a Massachusetts man was killed in Rhode Island after he drove his speeding car in front of another vehicle, then crashed. Michael Pavoni, 38, of Northbridge, Mass., was partly ejected from his car during the accident, which happened just after 1 a.m. yesterday, police said. The driver of the other car was hurt, police said, but the injuries were not life-threatening. (AP)


Judge backs gun ban on college campus

A New Hampshire judge has upheld a restraining order prohibiting guns on the Plymouth State University campus. Grafton County Superior Court Judge Timothy Vaughn said the University System of New Hampshire’s policy banning weapons was probably valid under federal and state constitutions. The university system was granted a restraining order last month against two organizers of a rally at Plymouth State to protest the system’s policy. (AP)