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    The cash option on the prize is now an estimated $565.6 million.

    Want a billion reasons to feel lucky? 

    The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to an estimated $1 billion for Friday night's multi-state drawing. 

    It stands as the second-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.  The cash option on the prize is now an estimated $565.6 million.

    "With the Mega Millions jackpot reaching the $1 billion mark and the Powerball jackpot gaining momentum, this is an exciting time for our customers and our retail partners and we encourage people to keep the experience of playing these and other lottery games fun by playing responsibly," said Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery in a statement.

    All drawings are available via the Lottery's website - masslottery.com, and can also be viewed on the Lottery's official Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

    Friday night's Mega Millions drawing will be the 25th since the jackpot was last hit on July 24, when a $543 million jackpot was won by 11 co-workers on a ticket sold in California.

    The largest jackpot ever won on a single ticket in U.S. lottery history is $758.7 million and awarded to a Chicopee woman on Aug. 23, 2017.

    Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot for the Saturday's drawing is an estimated $470 million. The cash option on the Powerball prize is an estimated $268 million.


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    In her request for a recall city resident, Dawn Saurette writes that Correia is "tainted by federal indictments that cannot be ignored."

    A group of Fall River residents have signed on to an effort to recall embattled and indicted Mayor Jasiel Correia II as he maintains his innocence.

    The Fall River City Clerk's office sent a MassLive a petition with 10 signatures filed Tuesday afternoon. The city charter requires residents to file an affidavit signed by at least 10 voters to officially proceed with the move for a recall of the 26-year-old mayor.  

    Massachusetts state law defines an affidavit as a "written declaration that is made under the penalties of perjury."  The initial recall effort was rejected, according to the city clerk, but residents plan to file additional paperwork by Monday, according to reporting by the Herald News.

    Correia was arrested at a home in Bridgewater on Oct. 11. He pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of wire and tax fraud, stemming from his startup SnoOwl. Federal investigators said he boasted the success of the app to collect votes and money from investors. Instead of spending the money on the business, he used it to fuel a "lavish lifestyle" that included a Mercedes, luxury hotel rooms, and "adult entertainment," the U.S. Attorney's office for the district of Massachusetts alleges.

    Correia has twice publicly declared his innocence, first outside the federal courthouse in Boston following his arraignment and again on Tuesday.

    "This is America. I am presumed innocent until proven otherwise. I will not allow political enemies to remove me from office," Correia said at his press conference in Fall River's Government Center Tuesday.

    In her request for a recall city resident, Dawn Saurette writes that Correia is "tainted by federal indictments that cannot be ignored."

    "By virtue of these indictments there is and should be a degree of distrust, no reasonable person would do business with the office of the mayor or the city of Fall River."

    What we know about Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II

    Saurette, who is retired from working with pre-schoolers, told the newspaper she is an unlikely leader for the recall. But she was one of a dozen residents who spoke for or against the council's removal of Correia during a special meeting Tuesday night, according to the newspaper.

    "I do this with dread, but I can't sit back. I was brought up to do what's right and if you don't, it's wrong," Saurette told the newspaper. "I've lived here all my life and I'm not looking to leave. I want things to get better. It's upsetting, he's fleeced us all."

    If the notarized affidavits by ten registered voters are submitted the recall effort can begin. Organizers will be required to collect signatures of 5 percent of the registered voters in Fall River or about 2,600 people.

    If they are successful, Correia will have five days to resign. If not the council must schedule a recall election within 65 days, according to the city charter.


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    The man was working on the stove while it was running as the incident unfolded, according to a release by the state Fire Marshal's office. The flue pipe was clogged with ash.

     

    WALES - A coal stove with a blocked flue pipe was the cause of a carbon monoxide poisoning at a Brows Beach Road home Wednesday afternoon that took the life of a man and sent his wife to the hospital.

    The man was working on the stove while it was running as the incident unfolded, according to a release by the state Fire Marshal's office.

    The wife called 911 around 2:30 p.m. and stated people were feeling sick at home, located at 4 Brows Beach Road. Before the dispatcher could advise her to get out of the house to fresh air, she appears to have lost consciousness.

    Responding firefighters found her and a pet unconscious and her husband overcome in the basement.

    Investigators determined that the coal stove in the basement was the source of the carbon monoxide in the home, according to the release. The man was working on repairs to the stove with the door open, while it was in full operation.

    The flue pipe was full of coal ash which prevented the stove from venting properly to the outside.

    A carbon monoxide alarm was found on the kitchen counter without batteries. There were four smoke alarms in the home, one with no battery, and three that had expired as they were more than ten years old.

    "On behalf of the Wales Fire Department I offer heartfelt condolences to the family," Wales Fire Chief John Croke said. "I want to ask everyone who lives in Wales to make sure they have working carbon monoxide and smoke alarms before going to sleep tonight."

    James Leydon, spokesman for the Hampden District Attorney's office, said the 57-year-old male victim was taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield where he was pronounced dead.

    Leydon said due to a lack of criminal investigation into the matter, the district attorney's office declines to publicly identify him.

    The incident remains under investigation by the Wales Police and Fire departments, the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal's Office, the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to district attorney's office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,

    Heating is the number one cause of carbon monoxide, also known as CO, in homes, according to the fire marshal's office

    "It is important to have furnaces and chimneys cleaned and inspected by a licensed professional at the start of the heating season," state Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said.

    A working carbon monoxide alarm is the only way to protect people and pets from what is often referred to as the "invisible killer" because it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted, Ostroskey said.

    Exposure to carbon monoxide includes such flu-like symptoms as headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion and fainting.

    "If you have any of these symptoms or your CO alarm is sounding, move immediately to fresh air, call 9-1-1 and seek medical treatment," said Ostroskey. In 2017, Massachusetts Fire Departments reported responded to 15,755 CO calls and that they detected elevated levels of carbon monoxide in 4,688 of those calls.

     For more information on carbon monoxide safety or the requirements for CO alarms in Massachusetts homes, go to: www.mass.gov/dfs and search on Carbon Monoxide Safety.


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    Tyrique Tyndal-Davis has filed a $500,000 excessive force lawsuit against Springfield police and the city after a beating delivered by three officers following a pursuit in 2015, according to a complaint in U.S. District Court.

    SPRINGFIELD -- A 23-year-old city man has filed the latest excessive force lawsuit against the police department and the city, arguing officers stomped on his face, kicked and beat him with batons, and pepper-sprayed him in the face after a vehicle chase in 2015.

    A complaint filed Oct. 10 in U.S. District Court by Tyrique Tyndal-Davis names five patrolmen, Police Commissioner John Barbieri and the city as defendants.

    The lawsuit includes a $500,000 demand.

    Officers cited in the lawsuit are Victor Allder, David Robillard, John Ruyffelaert, Patrick Denault and Daniel Billingsley.

    The complaint concedes Tyndal-Davis was not involved in your average traffic stop, but was the passenger in a car that was "driving erratically" during a police chase. The car nearly hit pursuing members of the police department, the complaint states.

    The driver of the car, who is not identified in the lawsuit, "abandoned the vehicle while it was still in motion," according to the lawsuit.

    Gripped with fear, Tyndal-Davis says he fled the car on foot and hid at the bottom of a nearby stairwell at 124 Northampton Ave.

    Allder and Robillard found him crouched at the bottom of the stairs, the complaint says. Allder pulled his gun while approaching Tyndal-Davis, but quickly holstered it and began to beat the man, according to the complaint.

    "As defendant Victor Allder came within feet of plaintiff Tyrique Tyndal-Davis he put the handgun away and began to accost (Tyndal-Davis)," the lawsuit says.

    Tyndal-Davis argues he complied with officers' commands to sit on the ground with his hands up, but the beating continued. Allder kicked him in the side of the face, the lawsuit says.

    "Tyndal-Davis states Allder then proceeded to stomp on his face approximately six or seven times while he yelled for him to stop," the complaint reads. 

    Robillard and Ruyffelaert began hitting the plaintiff in his legs with their police batons, according to Tyndal-Davis, who also took a shot to the groin, according to the lawsuit.

    Generally, Tyndal-Davis argues he was attempting to comply with officers' commands after he fled -- but officers argue he was resisting arrest, the complaint says.

    After being placed in a police cruiser in handcuffs, Allder pepper-sprayed him in the face, it adds.

    During an internal affairs investigation, Denault said he never saw Tyndal-Davis get sprayed with the chemical during the arrest, the lawsuit says.

    "Billingsley authored a police report that intentionally misrepresented the actions of the police and Tyndal-Davis," it reads.

    The Republican has a request for a copy of that report pending with a spokesman for the police department.

    Tyndal-Davis stood trial in Springfield District Court on charges of driving with a suspended license, failure to stop for police, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon and assault and battery of a police officer.

    At trial, the defense presented evidence of Tyndal-Davis' clothes, which reeked of the smell of the chemical spray, despite Denault's argument that he never saw that happen, the complaint reads.

    Tyndal-Davis was acquitted on all charges, the lawsuit adds.

    Plaintiff's attorney Joe A. Smith III, says none of the officers involved in this set of allegations has been disciplined.

    "Officers knew they would incur no significant risk of discipline or dismissal from employment for participating in or covering up the assault and battery of the plaintiff, because all officers were aware of the policy and practices of the (city and Barbieri), of conducting superficial investigations of allegations of constitutional violations by the officers and not disciplining its police officers for such violations," the lawsuit argues.

    Billingsley is at the center of an ongoing investigation into a 2015 brawl between a group of off-duty police officers and civilians. A dispute over a woman allegedly first erupted at Nathan Bill's bar and restaurant and reconvened after hours in the parking lot of a nearby Rocky's hardware store.

    That incident remains under investigation by a state grand jury. And -- although the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit over that matter resulted in an $885,000 taxpayer-funded payout to multiple civilian plaintiffs -- none of those officers have been disciplined, either.

    The Republican has requests for comment pending with both the police and city law departments.


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    Eric Chin and Paul Cesan, both Massachusetts State Police troopers ensnared in the alleged overtime abuse scandal, are the latest to plead guilty.

    Eric Chin and Paul Cesan, both Massachusetts State Police troopers ensnared in the alleged overtime abuse scandal, are the latest to plead guilty.

    US Attorney Andrew Lelling's office announced that Chin, a 46-year-old Hanover resident, and Cesan, a 50-year-old Southwick man, are agreeing to plead guilty to one count of embezzlement.

    Chin is a suspended trooper, while Cesan retired amid the scandal. Both were assigned to Troop E, which patrolled the Turnpike.

    Mass. State Police overtime scandal: These are the troopers involved

    According to Lelling's office, Chin earned $302,400 in 2016, making $131,653 in overtime. He is pleading guilty to picking up $7,125 in overtime that he put in for but did not work.

    Cesan earned $163,533 in 2016, and that included $50,866 in overtime. He is pleading guilty to taking $29,287 for overtime hours he didn't show up for.

    Under the plea agreements, prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 6 to 12 months of incarceration for Chin and between 10 to 16 months for Cesan.

    The federal investigation, involving dozens of current and retired troopers, is ongoing, according to Lelling's office.

    Attorney General Maura Healey's office is conducting its own investigation that has led to the indictment of three former lieutenants.

    'Culture of corruption': Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, challenger Jay Gonzalez spar over State Police's troubles at debate

    Gov. Charlie Baker and Col. Kerry Gilpin, tapped by the governor to clean up the State Police, disbanded Troop E as the internal probe sent names of troopers to state and federal prosecutors.

    Cesan and Chin join three others who have pleaded guilty: Retired trooper Gregory Raftery of Westwood, suspended Trooper Gary Herman of Chester, and suspended Trooper Kevin Sweeney of Braintree.

    Out of the 46 troopers under investigation, eight have been hit with federal or state charges. One retired trooper, 57-year-old David Wilson of Charlton, is facing both federal and state charges.

    This post has been updated with additional information.


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    A trooper, who has not been identified, and the suspect suffered "serious injuries" after troopers followed a person in Central Massachusetts. The injuries occurred while the person was being arrested, police said.

     

    A pursuit by Massachusetts State Police left a trooper and a suspect seriously injured in New Salem Friday. 

    A trooper, who has not been identified, and the suspect both suffered "serious injuries" after troopers followed a person in Central Massachusetts. The injuries occurred while the person was being arrested, police said. 

    State police tweeted on Friday afternoon: "Pursuit of suspect in Central Mass. has ended in New Salem where, during apprehension, Trooper and suspect suffered serious injuries. Response and investigation ongoing. More info will be released when appropriate."

    Dave Procopio, a spokesman for the state police, declined to comment further. 


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    Pressley said as a congresswoman, she will not accept money from corporate PACs. Watch video

    BOSTON -- U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and Congresswoman-elect Ayanna Pressley, both Massachusetts Democrats, on Friday rallied in support of a state ballot question that would create a commission to advocate for overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

    Citizens United was a 2010 decision that allowed corporations and labor unions to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political activity as long as they do not coordinate directly with a candidate's campaign. Overturning the court ruling, and letting Congress limit corporate contributions, would require a constitutional amendment.

    "We want the green grassroots to determine who wins elections, not the amount of green-backed dollars which you can bring into the process," Markey said at a press conference outside Boston City Hall.

    Pressley said the goal is to give everyone an equal voice in politics. "Everyone deserves to be heard and to have a seat at the table of democracy, and this is how we ensure that we do not create a hierarchy of voice," Pressley said.

    U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, has also endorsed the ballot question.

    The ballot question, Question 2 in the Nov. 6 election, would create a Citizens Commission in Massachusetts to research, report and make recommendations to assist in drafting and promoting a constitutional amendment. If the effort is successful, the group pushing the ballot question -- American Promise -- hopes to conduct similar initiatives nationwide.

    Pressley, who defeated U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano in the Democratic primary and is unopposed in November, pledged that she will not accept campaign contributions from corporate PACs.

    Pressley said she "cannot in good conscience" take money from pharmaceutical companies during an epidemic of opioid addiction or from the gun lobby given ongoing gun violence.

    Markey, asked after the event, would not make a similar pledge. "I'm focused now on this issue of getting all of the big undisclosed money out," he said.

    Asked if he would distinguish between corporate and union money, Markey said his ultimate goal is full public financing of all campaigns.

    Pressley left the event before the question about union money was asked, but said in a statement afterward, "Labor unions have a long history of fighting for the rights of workers; corporations do not. I am proud of the union support we have received and look forward to continuing to work with them on issues like health care, immigration, and education."

    Supporters of the ballot question say overturning Citizens United is a way to stop special interests from having a larger voice in politics than working class citizens. "Campaign finance reform is the core issue of our time," said Ian Kea of MassVote. "The root of the problem is special interests being able to influence and buy our elected representatives."

    Markey said, "Yes on 2 begins the process of taking the power away from those huge corporate barons and giving it back to the people in our country."

    Markey pointed to federal tax reform as one example where he said special interests led to the passage of corporate tax breaks.

    Paul Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which is opposing the ballot question, said he believes the efforts of the commission would be unconstitutional. "It's acknowledging that individuals have rights but stripping everyone else of rights, which includes corporations and unions," Craney said. "To put in the U.S. Constitution that only individual people have rights and every other entity doesn't is laughable."

    Craney said the ballot question would empower political officials - who would appoint the commission members - to "come up with ways to regulate public speech."

    "That's why you have the Constitution's First Amendment, we don't believe government is the best judge," he said.

    The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has not formed a ballot committee to oppose the question. Craney said that it is because the group is not raising or spending money, just doing public interviews.


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    Narcotics investigators arrested a Springfield man and seized 150 packages of "Fire" heroin and more than $900 in cash Thursday afternoon following a month-long investigation.

    WEST SPRINGFIELD - Narcotics investigators arrested a Springfield man and seized 150 packages of "Fire" heroin and more than $900 in cash Thursday afternoon following a month-long investigation.

    Detectives, after receiving information regarding a pending drug transaction at a location on Memorial Avenue, saw the suspect conduct a transaction there, according to a post on the department's Facebook page.

    Santiago Vazquez, seeing detectives move in on him, fled on foot. While fleeing, he threw 100 packages of heroin, stamped "Fire," onto the roof of a nearby business.

    Those drugs were recovered. While fleeing, Vasquez lost his flip-flop shoes and he was soon apprehended by pursuing detective. He was found to be in possession of 50 additional bags of "Fire" heroin and $903 in cash.

    Vazquez, of Tyler Street in Springfield, was charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.

    The investigation was conducted by members of the West Springfield Police Department's narcotics unit and members of the FBI Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force.

    The investigation was conducted by members of the West Springfield Police Department's narcotics unit and members of the FBI Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force.


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    "Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn't block road ways," former Springfield police officer Conrad Lariviere wrote in a Facebook comment on a news article about the crash.

    The Springfield police officer fired last year for social media posts mocking the car crash that killed an anti-racism demonstrator in Charlottesville, Va. has lost a bid to regain his job.

    An arbitrator has upheld Police Commissioner John Barbieri's decision to fire former officer Conrad Lariviere, city and police officials confirmed.

    Lariviere's comments in the wake of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville drew national attention and sparked outrage both from local leaders and members of the public, who flooded the police department with angry calls and emails.

    "This is a very disturbing incident. The correct decision was upheld which reaffirms Commissioner Barbieri's decision," Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said in a statement. "This officer's behavior is not reflective of the vast majority of our bravee and dedicated men and women in blue." 

    Lariviere's attorney Jeremy Powers did not return a request for comment prior to publication.

    Lariviere's Facebook comments about the crash that killed anti-racist demonstrator Heather Heyer in August of last year came as the Springfield police department was already facing scrutiny for other misconduct allegations, including a 2015 beating and an abusive, off-books interrogation of a teenage suspect.

    "Hahahaha love this, maybe people shouldn't block road ways," Lariviere wrote in a Facebook comment on a news article about the crash.

    When other commenters expressed shock at his comment, Laraviere initially doubled down.

    "How do you know [the driver] was a nazi scumbag? Stop being part of the problem," he wrote.

    Screenshots of the comments spread on social media, and complaints poured into the department's leadership. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno quickly condemned the remarks and Police Commissioner John Barbieri opened an internal investigation.

    As the controversy grew, Lariviere expressed regret in Facebook messages to a MassLive reporter.

    "Never would I want someone to get murdered. I am not a racist and don't believe in what any of those protesters are doing," Lariviere told MassLive at the time. "I'm a good man who made a stupid comment and would just like to be left alone."

    And he later told internal investigators he had no political sympathies for the right-wing demonstrators who flooded the streets of Charlottesville, and that he did not know the identity of the driver when he made his comments.

    "My comments were not intended to support either group, the alt-right or counter protesters," Lariviere wrote. "The object of my comment was to condemn whichever group engaged in disorderly or disruptive conduct which blocked public streets from the use of ordinary citizens." 

    James Alex Fields Jr., an alleged white supremacist, is accused of driving the car and has been charged with second degree murder. His Nazi sympathies had not been widely reported at the time Lariviere made his Facebook posts.

    The Springfield Police Department did not have a formal social media policy at the time, though one was created after the uproar. In December of last year, Barbieri fired Lariviere after the city's Community Police Hearing Board reviewed the case and found the officer had violated departmental rules and regulations.

    "It was determined that Officer Lariviere impaired the operation of the Springfield Police Department or its employees and discredited the department," Barbieri said in a statement at the time.

    The department's patrolman's union quickly condemned the firing, saying it was based on "political considerations." Union president Joseph Gentile declined to comment on the arbitration ruling Friday morning.

    Lariviere filed a grievance and asked an arbitrator to overturn his termination. Earlier this month, on October 2, the arbitrator reached a decision and sided with the city.


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    Melissa Mimitz, 36, and Lily B. Bodenlos, 29, both of Naugatuck, Connecticut, were sentenced to four to eight years in state prison.

    SPRINGFIELD -- A Hampden Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced two Connecticut women to state prison in connection with a Springfield home invasion.

    Judge Karen Goodwin sentenced Melissa Mimitz, 36, and Lily B. Bodenlos, 29, both of Naugatuck, to four to eight years in state prison followed by two years probation.

    Assistant District Attorney Mary A. Sandstrom, saying the 71-year-old victim was tortured, asked for a sentence of 20 to 21 years while defense lawyers asked for much less.

    Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said the sentence given by Goodwin is "a sadly low and sadly inadequate sentence."

    He said the victim was terrorized in her own home.

    Mimitz and Bodenlos each pleaded guilty last month to eight charges including home invasion, armed robbery while masked, and assault and battery on a person over 60 causing injury.

    Goodwin said the crime committed by the women was "horrific" and "heinous."

    But, she said, "I don't think that the defendants are beyond rehabilitation."

    Daniel D. Kelly, Mimitz's lawyer, and Marissa Elkins, lawyer for Bodenlos, said drug addiction was the reason for the crime.

    The home invasion happened Aug. 30, 2017.

    Although the two women did not know the victim, Mimitz knew the victim's adult daughter through a mutual acquaintance and expected there would be money in the home, Sandstrom said.

    Bodenlos and Mimitz, after seeing the victim walk her dog, knocked on the door wearing Xfinity T-shirts and saying they were there to offer a cable upgrade. The woman said she was not interested. Bodenlos asked to use the bathroom, where she ended up leaving her resume.

    Bodenlos came out in a mask and put a firearm against the woman's head. Both women wore gloves. They demanded the location of a safe but the woman said she had no safe.

    Mimitz zip-tied the woman's hands and tied her to a chair, and the woman was pepper sprayed in the eyes. Mimitz tipped the chair over with the woman tied to it, and kicked her in the torso with a construction boot.

    Bodenlos had a valid license to carry a firearm, Sandstrom said. The gun was found to be a BB gun, but the victim did not know that during the attack.

    Gulluni said Goodwin should have given the women the 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for home invasion set by the legislature. The law does allow judges to give a defendant probation on home invasion instead of a sentence, and that is what Goodwin did in this case.

    "When we give low sentences for these kinds of crimes what are we saying to society?" Gulluni said.


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    The firing comes after Col. James McGinn, who worked as Gov. Charlie Baker's driver during the 2014 campaign, was suspended without pay in early October.

    The head of Environmental Police, Col. James McGinn, was fired Friday.

    A spokesman for Gov. Charlie Baker's energy and environmental affairs secretariat said in an emailed statement that an investigation into alleged timesheet irregularities is now open, and an unauthorized contract for surveillance has ended.

    The report accuses McGinn of using hidden cameras and hiring a private investigation firm to spy on officers.

    "The Colonel exercised poor judgment and acted irresponsibly in engaging in covert surveillance activity without proper justification or notice to employees, thereby undermining employee morale and the integrity of his own leadership of the environmental police force," the report says.

    McGinn's firing comes after the former State Police sergeant, who worked as Gov. Baker's driver during the 2014 gubernatorial campaign, was suspended without pay amid an internal review in early October.

    Threats, suspensions and indictment: Massachusetts environmental agency is state's other big scandal

    A spokesman for the governor's executive office of energy and environmental affairs, said at the time that the suspension occurred during an ongoing "internal review of operational issues" within the law enforcement agency.

    Baker told reporters the next day that ticket-fixing for friends was "certainly one of the elements of the review."

    McGinn, a retired State Police sergeant who has also worked for FEMA as a disaster recovery specialist, was suspended after preliminary results of the review. McGinn's 2017 pay came to $132,215, state records show.

    An internal report, released Friday alongside the news of McGinn's termination, noted the secretariat's legal office "has concluded its investigation into certain operational and management issues at the Office of Law Enforcement (OLE / Massachusetts Environmental Police). The investigators were unable to obtain a statement from Colonel James McGinn, who declined to be interviewed."

    Ticket-fixing part of probe into Massachusetts Environmental Police

    The agency enforces fish and gaming laws, as well as handles "protection of natural resources, homeland security and law enforcement, safety education, and accident investigation."

    The agency has seen payroll issues, drawing media scrutiny of a practice known as "split-shifts."

    Lt. Col. Anthony Abdal-Khabir took over the Environmental Police after McGinn's suspension.

    Massachusetts State Police issues 'far more serious' than Environmental Police split shifts, Gov. Charlie Baker says

    This post has been updated.


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    The building at 43 West Main Street collapsed and heavy equipment was needed to be able to recover the victim, Jennifer Meith, spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal's office, said.

    ORANGE - One person was killed and another was taken to the hospital after a fire broke out at a home on West Main Street Friday morning.

    The building at 43 West Main St. collapsed and heavy equipment was needed to recover the victim, Jennifer Meith, spokeswoman for the state Fire Marshal's office, said.

    The fire is being jointly investigated by the Orange fire and police departments and state police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.  


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    The Springfield Visitor Center will reopen at a new location in the city's downtown metro area.

    SPRINGFIELD - The Springfield Visitor Center will be at a new location starting Oct. 25. 

    The facility -- which provides travelers with information and direction for the city and region -- has moved several times over the years.

    Having originally been located at 1200 Hall of Fame Ave where the Luxe Burger Bar now sits, it moved in 2009 to inside the Basketball Hall of Fame building at 1000 Hall of Fame Ave, where it remained for the better part of a decade.

    Now the center finds itself moving once again--this time to the heart of the city's downtown metro area. Situated right across the street from the MassMutual Center, the new center at 1319 Main Street will be the only one of its kind in the city. 

    The Springfield Business Improvement District worked together with the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau to make the new center a reality. Officials from both organizations said Friday that the new location would be pivotal in helping visitors take advantage of all the city and region have to offer. 

    "The new Springfield Regional Visitor Center is in a great location to reach out to visitors, disseminate information about area attractions and businesses, and offer assistance," said Chris Russell, the Executive Director of the SBID, in a statement. 

    "It is critically important at this juncture to have a place for visitors to go," Russell said. "They may be here for one reason, but we will make sure to provide them with information to pique their interest so that they stay for other great reasons."

    Mary Kay Wydra, GSCVB President, said that her organization can help make sure visitors enjoy their stay in the Pioneer Valley. 

    "One of the important roles played by the GSCVB is to connect visitors with all there is to do in Western Mass," Wydra said. "We want to encourage longer stays and move visitors around the valley. That's why it makes perfect sense for us to be a collaborator in the Springfield Regional Visitors Center."

    The new center will also include maps and souvenirs for sale, a 24-hour ATM through Westfield Bank, informative displays and exhibits, and a "menu wall" that gives visitors information about local restaurants. Also available will be purchase options for tickets to events at local venues.

    The Visitor Center will officially open on Oct. 25. A ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Domenic Sarno and other dignitaries will be held on that day at 10am.

    The center will be open four days a week -- Tuesday through Saturday -- from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It will be staffed daily by one person from the SBID and another from the GSCVB.


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    Alvin Paige Jr., 49, of Springfield, gets two more years in jail for violating probation from a 2014 domestic violence case.

    SPRINGFIELD -- Convicted earlier this month in a domestic abuse case, a city man will now have his jail sentence extended by two years thanks to a probation violation.

    Alvin Paige Jr., 49, was found guilty by a Hampden Superior Court jury of assault on a household member. Judge David Ricciardone sentenced him Oct. 3 to two and a half years in the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow. That was the maximum sentence for his conviction.

    Paige was back in the same court Friday, this time before Judge John S. Ferrara, to face a violation of probation charge. Paige was on probation from a 2014 domestic violence case at the time he committed the assault for which he was convicted earlier this month. The newer charge constituted the violation of probation.

    Ferrara sentenced Paige to two years in the Hampden County Correctional Center, to be served after the sentence he is already serving. The judge also extended his probationary period to 2023.

    Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Schmidt said the victim of the 2014 case was willing to testify if Paige had not admitted he violated probation. She wrote in an impact statement she did everything she could -- by going through the court system and getting a permanent restraining order -- to see that Paige would not carry out any more violent acts.

    "I'm so sorry another woman was victimized. It breaks my heart," she wrote.

    Schmidt said Paige has had 11 restraining orders taken out against him by nine victims. 

    Jared Olanoff, Paige's lawyer, said Paige has been working very hard to combat the issues that have driven him to commit acts that put him in trouble with the law.

    He asked that Paige not be given any additional jail time on the probation violation.


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    Sources told the Brockton Enterprise that the officers were responding to a behavioral health issue.

    A knife-wielding man was shot by Brockton police on Friday afternoon after advancing toward two officers, the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office said.

    Around 12:19 p.m., two officers in separate cruisers responded to a 911 report of a man with a knife near a Court Street home.

    "They encountered a male with a knife. The man advanced at the officers and shots were fired," the Plymouth DA's Office said.

    The man, who is in his mid-20s, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton where he is still receiving treatment.

    A witness to the shooting to the Brockton Enterprise the man ignored orders to drop the knife and came at one of the officers, who stepped back and fired his weapon.

    Police scanner audio posted by the Enterprise describes a tall white man "flailing a knife in his arms" before officers arrived. A dispatcher can be heard requesting that any officers with a Taser respond to the scene.

    No officers were injured in the incident, the Enterprise reported. Sources told the Enterprise that the officers were responding to a behavioral health issue.

    State Police detectives attached to the Plymouth DA's Office have launched an investigation, which is ongoing.

     

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    James McGinn, who was fired Friday as the head of the Massachusetts Environmental Police, installed cameras to spy on officers at a Westborough facility, according to an internal agency report.

    James McGinn, who was fired Friday as the head of the Massachusetts Environmental Police, installed cameras to spy on officers at a Westborough facility, according to an internal agency report.

    The report, which also delves into allegations of ticket-fixing, notes McGinn refused to be interviewed.

    Before his appointment as head of the Environmental Police, McGinn served as a sergeant in the State Police before retiring and as Gov. Charlie Baker's campaign driver during the 2014 election. 

    The report, and notification to the media of McGinn's firing, came on a Friday afternoon, a timeframe sometimes used by both Democratic and Republican administrations to dump news.

    But the agency's finance director told state investigators that McGinn had asked for four cameras, and the director later discovered they'd been installed in Westborough without any discussion or notice to the employees who report to that location.

    The finance director also told investigators that Col. McGinn hired a private investigation firm to observe and videotape an officer in August and September 2018. The hiring was allegedly to see if the times the officer was reporting for duty lined up with records, and the finance director learned of it through an invoice.

    The head of Environmental Police, Col. James McGinn, was just fired

    The internal agency report notes that any surveillance of an employee would have required legal approval, among other sign-offs.

    "This second incident indicates a pattern of 'covert' surveillance activities conducted by the Colonel without providing notice to EEA leadership or obtaining required approvals," the report says, referring to Gov. Charlie Baker's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA). The office oversees the Environmental Police.

    The cameras have since been removed.

    The total charges for the incidents exceeded $5,000, the report says.

    McGinn "acted unilaterally outside any approved security plan," according to the report.

    McGinn admitted to a lieutenant colonel that "the cameras [were] installed in order to conduct surveillance based on suspicions that employees were improperly reporting work hours," the report says.

    Threats, suspensions and indictment: Massachusetts environmental agency is state's other big scandal

    The report concludes, "The Colonel exercised poor judgment and acted irresponsibly in engaging in covert surveillance activity without proper justification or notice to employees, thereby undermining employee morale and the integrity of his own leadership of the environmental police force."

    McGinn was terminated on Friday, Oct. 19, according to a spokesman for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.


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    An alleged carjacking in New Hampshire led to a multi-state pursuit that ended with a Massachusetts State Trooper stabbed multiple times in New Salem, officials said.

    An alleged carjacking in New Hampshire led to a multi-state pursuit that ended with a Massachusetts State Trooper stabbed multiple times in New Salem, officials said.

    An 18-year-old Manchester, New Hampshire, man was reported as an erratic driver in Hillsborough, New Hampshire earlier Friday, according to Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio.

    Police were not able to stop that driver, Procopio said. Then, the driver allegedly crashed into a silver Toyota Camry in Walpole, New Hampshire. 

    The 18-year-old got out of his car, allegedly pushed the driver of the Camry to the ground, got into the car and drove off, Procopio said.

    The man then cut through Vermont on Interstate 91 south and drove into Massachusetts.

    State Police chased the car on Interstate 91 and the stopped the pursuit when the car exited onto Route 2 east. The chase was picked up by local law enforcement and terminated at the intersection of Fay Road and Route 202 in New Salem somewhere between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m., Gagne said.

    The 18-year-old apparently smashed into a concrete barrier pole and the car came to a stop. Then the suspect got out of the car with a knife, Gagne said. 

    "He proceeded to attack a State Trooper who had become engaged in the pursuit moments before," Gagne said.

    The 47-year-old trooper suffered multiple stab wounds to his head, shoulder and arm. He was flown to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, where he is currently undergoing surgery. The trooper was alert and conscious when he got to the hospital and is expected to survive.

    Authorities did not name the trooper, but said he has been with the State Police for 10 or 12 years and is married with children.

    The suspect was shot in the torso and was also flown to UMass Memorial Medical Center and is undergoing treatment. He is also expected to survive, said Gagne. The suspect was not identified by name.

    It is not yet clear who fired a shot at the suspect, Gagne said, but the shot was in response to the trooper being stabbed.

    Gagne said the suspect will be facing multiple charges, including but not limited to armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene.


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    Police say they found $80,000 in cash, a loaded Glock, and 13,000 bags of heroin at the couple's apartment.

    GREENFIELD -- Two Greenfield residents accused of trafficking heroin while in possession of a large-capacity semi-automatic handgun are scheduled to be back in court Oct. 23.

    Stephen J. Hall II, 28, and Lauren Donovan, 20, were arrested after Greenfield Police on Aug. 21 executed a search of their third-floor apartment. The search followed a lengthy investigation by the Northwestern District Attorney's Anti-Crime Task Force, court records show.

    The search yielded about 13,000 bags of suspected heroin with an estimated worth of $65,000, around $80,000 in cash and a loaded Glock 30S large-capacity, semi-automatic handgun found in plain sight on a small living room table, according to documents filed at Franklin Superior Court.

    Much of the heroin was in a locked closet, and Hall had a key to the closet in a lanyard around his neck when he was arrested, a police affidavit states.

    The pair, described by police as in a "dating relationship," face charges of trafficking in heroin, possession of a firearm while committing a felony, possession of a gun and ammunition without a firearms identification card and improper storage of a firearm.

    Hall and Donovan were indicted by a Franklin County grand jury nearly three weeks ago, but a new drug indictment was entered Oct. 12 after investigators determined that more than 200 grams of opioids were found at the home, according to Mary Carey, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office. An Oct. 23 court date is set for the new arraignment. The upgraded charge carries a mandatory minimum 12-year prison sentence.

    "This was a very substantial seizure of heroin in Franklin County," Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Bucci said at the time of the couple's arrest. "We are proud of the work of the Task Force in this case, and always prioritize prosecution of those who unlawfully possess deadly weapons."

    Hall, whose bail was set at $100,000, remains held at Franklin County House of Correction. Donovan was released on $1,500 bond after her bail was set at $20,000.

    Donovan's attorney, at her initial arraignment, said there was no indication she knew about the gun and that her connection to the case was "minimal, at best," according to the Greenfield Recorder.


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    State officials said this week that work will begin next year on safety upgrades at the crossing. Watch video

    LONGMEADOW -- When Alex Cowles talks about his dad, it's what any father might hope to hear.

    "We used to do everything together," he said, rattling off a list that included metalworking, taekwondo, fishing, Cub Scouts and hockey games. "He would always bend over backwards for me."

    Cowles, 21, spoke Friday morning near the railroad crossing at Birnie Road and Tina Lane. His father -- town DPW foreman Warren P. Cowles -- died in a collision with a train there on March 14, 2017.

    MassDOT officials said this week that, under an agreement with Amtrak, warning lights and gates will be installed at the crossing, with work expected to begin next year. Five people have died in collisions with trains at the crossing since 1975, and generations of town officials have sought safety improvements at the site.

    Alex lived with his father on Dunn Road, less than a mile from the crossing, where a handful of homes sit on the banks of the Connecticut River. The trains are part of life in the neighborhood, slipping through patches of swamp and forest on the other side of a broad farm field.

    On the day of the crash, Alex said, he was watching a movie when there was a knock at the door. He found two town police officers standing on the porch.

    "Your dad's passed in a terrible accident," they told him.

    After his father's death, he battled depression. He gained weight. He cut himself off from the world. "It was really bad," he said.

    While his depression hasn't lifted, and he still thinks about his father all the time, Alex said he feels motivated and inspired by seeing his aunt -- Warren's sister, Cindy J. Cowles, of Springfield -- act as a tireless advocate for the project.

    "I'm just glad that she stood, and she stood firm, and she was there with me the entire time," he said.

    The news that safety upgrades are coming to the crossing is another step toward healing.

    "I feel like he's paved the path for the future in safety," Alex said of his father -- particularly in terms of safer conditions for the town's DPW workers. "I'm just glad because it could be them going across the tracks, and that would just devastate me more," he said.

    Meanwhile, he's also put in a job application with the Longmeadow DPW.

    "I'm just waiting for a reply back," he said. "Hopefully, I'm following in my dad's footsteps."

    Expo preview

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    City records also list plumbing violations found and corrected at the SilverBrick Lofts apartments on Main Street in 2016.

    SPRINGFIELD -- While the city continues to investigate alleged plumbing violations at the SilverBrick Square housing project on Chestnut Street, city records also list plumbing violations found and corrected at the SilverBrick Lofts apartments on Main Street in 2016.

    On Friday, Code Enforcement Commissioner Steven Desilets said that plumbing work at the Silverbrick Square project remains under a city stop order, and the city has issued an initial fine of $300.

    The 99-apartment complex at 122 Chestnut St. is at the former YMCA building owned by Silverbrick Group.

    On Tuesday, city inspectors stopped plumbing work at the site after finding unlicensed plumbers using substandard materials, Desilets said. According to the city, the workers sanded off colors identifying the grade of the pipe being used.

    The $300 fine was issued to the plumbing contractor, Mikhail Shetfan, of West Springfield, for use of unlicensed plumbers, Desilets said. Both the contractor and the owner, 3 Chestnut LLC of Silverbrick Group, were cited for violations of the state plumbing code, he said.

    The city's review will "stay open until all permits and inspections have been completed and signed off," Desilets said.

    Aaron Papowitz, founder and managing partner of SilverBrick Group, promised to immediately correct any substandard work found at the 122 Chestnut St. project.

    He declined further comment Frdiay.

    "It is critical that we give 100 percent accurate information so we can not comment beyond our initial statement until we know all the facts," Papowitz said. "We are in contact with the city and are working diligently to remedy any possible issues."

    Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and city councilors have been critical of the plumbing violations cited this week.

    The City Council's Economic Development Committee plans to meet with representatives of city departments and SilverBrick on Monday at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the issues.

    The council had approved tax incentives in May for the housing project totaling $150,000 over 10 years. The incentives are tax savings on the value SilverBrick plans to add to the property, not the assessed value when it bought the building.

    The city had also found plumbing violations at the SilverBrick Lofts project at Main and Taylor streets in October 2016, that were address and corrected, according to city documents.

    The plumbing violations related to hangers and supports, interceptors, separators, holding tanks, vents and venting, according to the city. Specifics included a grease trap not piped properly, a vent line not pitched properly and missing hangers.

    Sarno and other city officials have praised the SilverBrick Lofts project as providing needed, improved housing in the downtown area.


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