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    A pedestrian is suffering from life-threading injuries after being struck by a vehicle in Rowley Monday night.

     

    A pedestrian is suffering from life-threading injuries after being struck by a vehicle in Rowley Monday night.

    Massachusetts State Police said Monday night that its Collision Reconstruction and Crime Scene units responded to Haverhill Street in Rowley to assist the town's police department with the investigation of a vehicle-pedestrian crash.

    The victim has potentially life-threatening injuries, according to State Police.

    This is a breaking news story and will be updated as further information becomes available.


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    Almost 8,000 low-income students in Massachusetts are on a waiting list for after-school and summer learning.

    Almost 8,000 low-income students in Massachusetts are on a waiting list for after-school and summer learning, according to a new report that recommends tapping the anticipated revenue from marijuana sales to fund such programs.

    The Legislature's Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Coordinating Council, in a report slated for release Tuesday, said children who attend high quality after-school programs get better grades, have fewer behavioral issues and have higher graduation rates, but for every child in such a program, two are waiting to get in.

    The council, established in 2013 and chaired by Rep. Jennifer Benson and Sen. Brendan Crighton, recommended greater investment to address waitlists, programming gaps and workforce needs; the creation of tax incentives to encourage businesses to invest in the programming; and stronger stateoversight, including a new post in the Executive Office of Education to coordinate informal learning.

    "It's definitely a big issue around equity, where we have thousands of young kids that want access to after-school and out-of-school programs but are simply unable to attend, and with all the evidence outlined in our report, we certainly see this as a worthy investment that will have huge impacts on not only the students' lives, but also the families," Crighton, a Lynn Democrat, said.

    There are 196,562 Massachusetts students enrolled in after-school programs, 213,966 who are unsupervised during school hours, and 362,312 -- or 44 percent of all students -- would sign up for a program if they had the option, the report said. Citing the Department of Early Education and Care, the council said 7,900 low-income kids over age 5 are eligible for expanded learning services and currently waiting for care.

    Crighton said after-school programs are an "economic empowerment" issue as well as an education one, because parents who don't have family and friends who can watch their kids at the end of the day may end up limiting their work hours and career opportunities. He said he worked at an after-school program in Lynn while in high school and college, and waitlists were "huge" then.

    "The way the system is currently laid out, they simply can't serve the kids," Crighton said. "There's a real need, particularly in cities like Lynn, but also in more rural areas where transportation is a real issue."

    The council recommends that state and local taxes on non-medical marijuana sales "should form the basis of a new funding stream," and makes the case that after-school programs can "act as prevention programs," with students who participate having lower rates of drug misuse than their peers.

    Alaska and California are linking revenue from legalized marijuana sales to after-school and out-of-school programming, according to the report, which recommended Massachusetts follow suit and "specifically funnel the revenue to programs that focus on promoting social and emotional competencies and learning."

    Benson said she came up with the idea of turning to marijuana revenue, and that she was "pretty adamant" about including it in the report.

    "One of the goals of this council was to ensure that every child in the commonwealth of Massachusetts would have access to a high quality after-school program," she said. "The only way we're going to be able to do that is if we put more money behind that."

    The council also recommends that the state match federal dollars, implement flexible criteria to allow money under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act to be used for expanded learning time programs, create new funding streams for rural and underserved areas, raise reimbursement rates for state-funded after-school programs to allow for staff salary hikes, and invest in loan forgiveness and scholarship programs for staff.

    The panel calls on the state to increase its Afterschool and Out-of-School Quality Grant funding from $4.29 million in this year's budget to $5.5 million.

    "Raising the funding to $5.5 million would ensure that these programs that benefit children are adequately supported," the report said. "The state has too long depended almost exclusively on federal funding to support these proven programs that improve student outcomes."

    This year's funding for the quality grant line item represents a 22 percent increase over last year, Benson said. She said lawmakers have "prioritized this," but "to make the big investments we needed to make, I felt we needed to find a revenue source."

    Regulators eyed July 1 as a target date to begin marijuana sales in Massachusetts, but retail sales have not yet begun. Advocates behind the ballot law said this month that the state had missed out on $16 million in marijuana taxes. This year's state budget anticipated $63 million in marijuana tax revenue.

    Benson said that while she believes cannabis taxes could provide "a great head start" on funding after-school and summer programs, she knows she's not the only one who will be eyeing that money when it does come in.

    "Any new form of revenue always has many people at the table looking to get a piece of it," she said. "I am not naive enough to think that 100 percent of this revenue will go to after-school."

    The Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Council plans to release its findings at a 10 a.m. StateHouse event. Representatives of the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, which supported the council's work, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley are slated to participate, along with Benson and Crighton.


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    Asked why he fled, Bruce J. Charpentier said he drank an 18-pack of Bud Light before the crash and had 36 months of jail time "hanging over my head," the report said.

    CHICOPEE - A Chicopee motorist was on probation in one case and out on bail in three others when he nearly crashed head-on into a police cruiser last week, according to court records.

    Bruce J. Charpentier III, 29, came within inches of slamming his Jeep into a cruiser on Oct. 14 on Grattan Street before skidding off the road and onto a neighbor's lawn, according to the arrest report.

    He was arrested nearby after jumping from the vehicle and running toward Holly Street, the report said. Asked why he fled, Charpentier said he drank an 18-pack of Bud Light before the crash and had 36 months of jail time "hanging over my head," the report said.

    On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty in Chicopee District Court to operating under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license, misleading police and a marked lanes violation.

    At a prosecutor's request, Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega revoked the defendant's bail in three open cases, effectively jailing him for 90 days. In addition to facing pending cases in Holyoke and Chicopee, Charpentier is on probation in another case, court records show.

    Charpentier suffered a head injury during the accident and was taken to Baystate Medical Center following his arrest. A passenger who remained in the vehicle after the accident also complained of head pain, but refused treatment, according to the arrest report.

    She told police that Charpentier picked her up after work and took her to Anthony's Dance Club in South Hadley, where they both drank one beer before leaving. The woman told police she had no idea why he fled the scene, the report said.

    For his part, Charpentier denied he was driving and told police the Jeep belonged to his grandmother. He also refused to take a blood alcohol test, the report said.

    A Springfield native and construction worker, Charpentier is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on Nov. 20.


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    The honey-flavored puffed wheat cereal will return with a new recipe, Kellogg's announced this week.

    Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal is returning to store shelves in limited quantities next month after a salmonella outbreak linked to the product resulted in a massive nationwide recall this summer.

    The honey-flavored puffed wheat cereal will return with a new recipe, Kellogg's announced this week.

    Honey Smacks cereal production was moved to a Kellogg's facility that the company said has been reliably producing the cereal for decades. 

    All Kellogg's Honey Smacks cereal was recalled in June 2018 after a salmonella outbreak. The product was linked to 130 lab-confirmed cases of salmonella infections in 34 states, including Massachusetts. 

    Thirty-four people were hospitalized, but no deaths were reported.


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    "Pretty potent storm system will traverse our region today," the National Weather Service said Tuesday morning. Watch video

    Showers are likely in Massachusetts Tuesday as the Boston Red Sox gear up to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series at Fenway Park. 

    "Pretty potent storm system will traverse our region today," the National Weather Service said Tuesday morning.

    Meteorologists cautioned for those in New England to not be surprised to see "numerous showers" some heavy with rumbles of thunder and even graupel possible. Graupel is a form of soft hail or snow pellets. 

    Storms are expected to sweep through Boston before the start of Game 1, with the strongest likely to hit in the afternoon. 

    Temperatures will reach the low-to-mid 50s during the day and dropping into the 30s and low 40s Tuesday evening in Massachusetts. 


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    The state-owned New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal was designed to handle the needs of the offshore wind industry.

    NEW BEDFORD -- A heavy-lift pier in this South Coast fishing port will see plenty of use as a staging area for the nation's first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.

    Vineyard Wind on Monday signed a $6 million annual lease to use the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal for at least 18 months. The total comes to $9 million unless the lease is extended. 

    The 29-acre marine terminal, owned and operated by the quasi-public Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, was custom-built to support the construction, assembly, and transport of offshore wind components. It is equipped with mobile crane and load features "that rival the highest capacity ports in the world," and also handles other large marine cargo, according to the agency.

    Vineyard Wind in May won a state contest to provide Massachusetts utilities with 800 megawatts of clean power. It has leased a 160,000 acre federal area 14 miles south of Martha's Vineyard. The company plans an underwater transmission cable that will land on Cape Cod.

    Massachusetts seeks 3,200 MW of offshore wind power by 2035. Two other wind stations are already planned, and the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans to open other lease areas still.

    Meanwhile, Monday's announcement was lauded as a shot in the arm for New Bedford.

    The lease agreement "will continue to establish New Bedford as a national epicenter for offshore wind development, and move the Commonwealth closer to our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets," said state energy and environment secretary Matthew Beaton.

    The terminal in New Bedford "provides Massachusetts with an important piece of infrastructure that will be critical in helping the offshore wind industry establish operations in this new American marketplace," said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike.

    MassCEC says the deployment of 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind would support between 6,870 and 9,850 job years over the next ten years and generate  economic impact in Massachusetts between $1.4 billion to $2.1 billion.

    The $113 million state pier, with its genesis under former Gov. Deval Patrick, has seen little business since it opened in 2015, reports Commonwealth Magazine. However, Pike said the facility's future prospects look good, with neighboring states proposing similar offshore wind development.

    Vineyard Wind is a joint venture of Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.


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    The Social Security Administration office on Bond Street in Springfield was evacuated on Tuesday following a report of a suspicious package.

    SPRINGFIELD- The Social Security Administration office on Bond Street in Springfield was evacuated on Tuesday following a report of a suspicious package. 

    Just before 10:30 a.m., the city fire department was called to investigate after someone opened a suspicious package and an unidentified white powder was discovered. 

    According to Dennis Leger, aide to Commissioner Bernard J. Calvi, three employees were potentially exposed to the powder. They didn't appear to be injured, he said, but they were being kept from the public until the regional hazmat team conducted an on-site test of the sustenance. 

    Firefighters and police were on the scene within minutes and the regional hazmat team arrived a short time later. 

    Social Security Administration employees were sent home for the day just before 11 a.m. Minutes later, Department of Homeland Security officials showed up in a marked SUV. 

    Springfield resident David Bello said he's turning 66, and was at the office to fill out paperwork. His name had just been called when a security officer announced that everyone had to leave the building. 

    "If they get a suspicious package, and they ask us to leave, we should leave accordingly," he said.  

    The officer did not mention a package when announcing the evacuation, Bello said. 

    The incident is under investigation. 

    This is a developing story which will be updated. 


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    A fatal house fire this past Friday in Orange was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials, according to state fire officials.

    ORANGE- A fatal house fire this past Friday in Orange was caused by the improper disposal of smoking materials, according to state fire officials. 

    The fire at 43 Main St., which claimed the life of an adult woman, started in the living room of the single-family home, according to a joint press release issued on behalf of State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, Orange Fire Chief James Young and Orange Police Chief Craig Lundgren.

    Officials said the disabled woman who was killed was found near her recliner where she smoked. She was known to be a heavy smoker of Newport Non-Menthol Gold 100s, according to the fire marshal's office, and there was abundant evidence of smoking materials surrounding the area.

    Additionally complicating things was the fact that there were no working smoke or carbon monoxide alarms inside the home.

    "On behalf of the Orange Fire Department, I offer our deepest condolences to the family. This is a sad way to lose a loved one." Young said. "Orange has experienced too many fatal fires in the past few years and in nearly every incident, the lack of working smoke alarms meant there was no early warning of the danger. I ask everyone to make sure they have working smoke alarms before going to bed tonight." 

    The fire was jointly investigated by members of the Orange Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Office of the Northwestern District Attorney. Assistance was received from State Police Crime Scene Services and the Code Compliance Unit of the Department of Fire Services.

    "As we get our homes ready for winter, making sure we have working smoke alarms, with fresh batteries if they need them, and replacing any alarms over ten years old, is crucial to protecting ourselves and our families from fire." Ostroskey added. "With all the plastics and foams in today's homes, we have only 1-3 minutes to escape a fire once the smoke alarm warns of danger, unlike the 12-15 minutes we had thirty or forty years ago."

    Any Orange resident who needs assistance getting a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm can contact the Orange Fire Department at 978-544-3145. 


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    He added: "The Red Sox catchphrase this seasons is 'do damage.' That's for the players on the field not the fans in the streets. I want to be very clear about that."

    For a man who says he is superstitious, Mayor Marty Walsh had many bold predictions for the Boston Red Sox as the team heads into the World Series at Fenway Park Tuesday night.

    "I have great respect for Los Angeles," Walsh said. "But we don't lose to L.A."

    During a press conference about public safety ahead of the games, Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross addressed fans directly. The Boston Red Sox, who will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the series, have an intense rivalry, the mayor said.

    "Just because it's a celebration doesn't mean anything goes. We're not going to tolerate public drinking, disorderly conduct, climbing on cars, buildings or infrastructure," Walsh said.

    He added: "The Red Sox catchphrase this seasons is 'do damage.' That's for the players on the field not the fans in the streets. I want to be very clear about that."

    Walsh said he spoke to Red Sox President Sam Kennedy by phone last week.

    "He said 'I look forward to coming back for Game 6 and I said or just Game 1 and 2," Walsh said. Kennedy, who was also at the City Hall press conference said, "that's true" and laughed.

    Kennedy, who wore a Red Sox lapel pin, crossed his fingers as Gross and Walsh predicted a four-game sweep for the team.

    "We've been here before. All we're asking folks to do is act like we've been here before," Gross said. He said that Boston police, state police, federal agents, and transit police will work together to monitor the areas around the stadium on game nights.

    Uniformed officers, as well as agents dresses in plain clothes, will be around the city's Fenway neighborhood, Gross said. He said there have been no credible threats to the World Series games.

    Kennedy asked fans to follow "basic kindergarten rules." That is, "treat others as you would want to be treated," he said.


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    Although U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, holds a large edge over GOP challenger Geoff Diehl in both fundraising and in recent polls, the Whitman state representative said he remains confident about his chances in the November election.

    SPRINGFIELD -- Although U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, holds a large edge over GOP challenger Geoff Diehl in both fundraising and in recent polls, the Whitman state representative said he remains confident about his chances in November.

    Diehl, who will face Warren and independent U.S. Senate candidate Shiva Ayyadurai on the Nov. 6 ballot, questioned the accuracy of surveys placing him far behind the Democratic incumbent with just weeks left before the election.

    The GOP hopeful further argued that his campaign's message, as well as support he has garnered from both Trump administration officials and Massachusetts Republican leaders should also help him at the ballot box. 

    "Two weeks and a day until the election and we feel like we spent the last 17 months now executing a plan that we feel is going to be successful. With two out of three debates done, we really feel like we've been able to highlight the differences between myself and my opponent," he said in a Monday interview. 

    US Senate race: Elizabeth Warren, Geoff Diehl spar over Puerto Rico hurricane response, public discourse at Springfield debate

    Diehl, who has repeatedly accused Warren of being more focused on a potential 2020 White House run than her 2018 re-election, argued that one of those differences is his commitment to representing Massachusetts in Washington.

    That, he contended, should matter to voters as they cast their ballots this fall.

    "I think ultimately, at the end of the day, voters realize that what they're doing is sending someone down there to provide that seat at the table that is going to make sure we have the resources we need from Washington to tackle, whether it's the opioid crisis, whether it's transportation, infrastructure or whether it's supporting our law enforcement," he said. "I think they're expecting their legislators to have a reasonable discussion across the aisle to deliver for that state."

    The Republican U.S. Senate hopeful stressed that he plans on putting the citizens of Massachusetts "first for the next six years."

    Warren, who leads Diehl by nearly $15 million in campaign cash, has also touted her focus on Massachusetts, but noted that she'll "take a hard look" at a 2020 White House run after the November midterms.

    Elizabeth Warren: 'I will take a hard look at running for President' after midterm elections

    Diehl added that while Democrats have taken issue with his support for President Donald Trump, he believes his willingness to work with the White House will help, not hinder his campaign.

    "I think a lot of people see it as a positive that me being able to serve in what I know is going to be a Republican-controlled Senate, which means I'll be in the majority party and be able to have a relationship with the administration, gives Massachusetts a huge leg up when it comes to getting things done for the state that are certainly needed," he said, noting that Vice President Mike Pence has endorsed his campaign.

    Poll: Elizabeth Warren holds double-digit lead over challengers Geoff Diehl, Shiva Ayyadurai

    The Whitman state representative dismissed polls that have placed him far behind Warren, noting that the same pollsters had him largely neck-and-neck with other Republicans ahead of the state's September primary -- a race he easily won with 55 percent of the vote

    He further pointed to polling in the 2016 presidential race which gave Democrat Hillary Clinton a large edge over Trump. 

    "Whether it's the methodology or whether it's an attempt to shape public opinion, I don't think people right now look at polls as the absolute standard for which a campaign should be based," he said. 


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    A Chicopee man was sentenced to three years in state prison Tuesday for his involvement in a dangerous car chase last year.

    NORTHAMPTON - A Chicopee man was sentenced to three years in state prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to charges related to a violent and dangerous car chase that took place last summer. 

    Darryl Whitaker, 55, pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to two counts of wanton destruction of property, one count of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and one count of reckless assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

    The sentencing was jointly recommended by both prosecution and defense. Judge Richard Carey accepted the recommendation. 

    Whitaker caused a crash on I-91 on July 12 of last year, after deciding to flee a motor vehicle stop by Massachusetts State Police, who were pulling him over for prior warrants.

    During the chase Whitaker drove at speeds around 100 mph, continuing to flee even after he ran over a tire deflation device near the Connecticut River Oxbow.

    The chase ended when Whitaker struck a construction pickup truck, injuring the driver of the vehicle. He then hit a construction sign, causing the sign to fly into the air and strike a pursuing police cruiser's windshield. The crash knocked Whitaker unconscious. 

    State Troopers apparently saved Whitaker, proceeding to pull him out of his car before it burst into flames. 

    "The Massachusetts State Police are to be commended for yet another example of heroism and professionalism in the line of duty," said prosecutor First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne. 

    "Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured or killed by the defendant's exceptionally reckless conduct," Gagne said. 

     

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    Baker said he would oppose efforts by Trump's administration to redefine gender in a way that would eliminate protections for transgender people.

    Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that he would oppose efforts by President Donald J. Trump's administration to redefine gender in a way that would eliminate protections for transgender people.

    "I've said before that I'm opposed to the administration's positions on a variety of issues associated with the LGBTQ community," Baker said.

    Baker said if the Trump administration promulgates new rules related to the definition of gender, "We're obviously going to comment against it and say why."

    Baker said he would also reach out to other governors and elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, with similar viewpoints "and work hard to get that idea overturned."

    Baker is a Republican who generally supports gay rights. He signed a state law prohibiting discrimination against transgender people in public places.

    The New York Times reported that in an internal memo, Trump administration officials floated the idea of updating the federal definition of gender to define it as a biological, immutable condition defined by genitalia at birth. 

    The Obama administration had loosened the definition of gender in federal regulations to allow someone who is transgender to be recognized by the gender they identify with, rather than their gender at birth.

    The definition affects things like federal anti-discrimination laws in schools and the availability of federal funding for health programs.


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    Another lawsuit has been filed against Columbia Gas of Massachusetts on behalf of the victims of the Merrimack Valley explosions.

    Another lawsuit has been filed against Columbia Gas of Massachusetts on behalf of the victims of the Merrimack Valley explosions.

    Attorney Michael Burg of the Denver-based law firm Burg, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine, filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court Monday on behalf of residents of Andover and Lawrence whom were directly impacted by the explosions. 

    In the suit, Burg accuses Columbia of operating with a "comprised" distribution method, relying on cast iron piping installed as far back as the mid-1800s which is "highly susceptible to cracking and joint separation. 

    "The Columbia Gas distribution system is comprised, to a large degree, of antiquated materials highly susceptible to corrosion and leaking, such as cast iron, wrought iron, and non-cathodically protected steel," the lawsuit states. "Despite the known risks associated with cast and wrought iron piping, these materials continue to comprise a large portion of the Columbia Gas distribution system."

    Cast iron and wrought iron mains are employed in just over 471 miles of Columbia Gas' distribution system, as of the end of 2017. 

    Crews were working to replace a cast iron main with a new plastic distribution main line on the day of the explosions. 

    Explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover caused upwards of 70 fires, injured more than two dozen people and resulted in the death of an 18-year-old from Lawrence, who died after a chimney fell on his vehicle. 

    Preliminary investigative reports show over-pressurized gas lines as the believed cause of the disaster, that the work crews "did not account for the location of the sensing lines or require their relocation to ensure the regulators were sensing actual system pressure," according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

    Valves controlling the flow of gas were not shut off for more than three hours after issues were detected at a monitoring center in Ohio. The company did not have a way to remotely modify the flow of gas, NTSB said. 

    Homes in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover were evacuated last month. Thousands of residences were left with damaged gas lines. Columbia says its has repaired just over half of the damaged lines and expects to have all 6,1000 lines back to "gas ready" by its deadline in mid-November. 

    Temperatures have already dropped into the 30s with the weather getting colder by the day. 

    As of Friday there were still 1,881 families, 6,646 individual people, in alternative housing like trailers and hotel rooms.

    The company says it has received more than 21,000 claims and has paid $23 million as of this weekend. 

    This lawsuit is one of several filed against the gas company. 


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    Carrasquillo's lawyer said his client has no criminal record and paid the alleged victim for construction work that was never completed,

    CHICOPEE -- A city man is facing felony assault charges after allegedly stabbing a contractor who failed to finish work on his house. 

    Roberto Carrasquillo, 60, is due back in Chicopee District Court next week to face five assault charges, including two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

    The charges were filed in June after Carrasquillo and his son went to the victim's home on Alden Street to confront him over unfinished construction work, according to the arrest report. A fight ensued in the front yard and Carrasquillo stabbed the victim in the foot, the report said.

    The victim ran inside to get a pellet gun while his wife, grabbing a kitchen knife, ran outside to confront Carrasquillo and his son. She was quickly knocked to the ground by the elder Carrasquillo, who then cut himself trying to pick up the knife she dropped, the report said.

    The father and son fled, and Carrasquillo was arrested later after Chicopee police reviewed video from the victim's home.

    He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released $250 cash bail, with orders to stay away from the victim and his family.

    During the bail hearing, Carrasquillo's lawyer said his client has no criminal record and paid the alleged victim for construction work that was never completed, according to court records.

    When Carrasquillo went to the contractor's home to complain, he was assaulted, the lawyer said.

    Carrasquillo is due back in court for a pretrial hearing on Oct. 31.    


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    Hampden County DA Anthony Gulluni has been appointed to Governor Charlie Baker's MOVA board.

    SPRINGFIELD - Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has appointed Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni to the Victim and Witness Assistance Board, the DA's office announced Tuesday.

    The five member board is the governing body of the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA), which funds numerous organizations throughout that state that offer services to victims of crimes.  

    "Thank you Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for this opportunity to serve in a state-wide capacity for all those victimized and affected by crime," Gulluni said in a statement. "Giving a voice to victims of crime is one of the most solemn and important duties of a prosecutor."

    "It is an honor to extend my work to this board and continue to promote the rights of victims and their families and to ensure that they have access to the best practices and services available," Gulluni said. 

    Much of MOVA's focus revolves around providing services to people who have been victims of crimes of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and other violent crimes.  

    In Hampden County, MOVA funds a number of services for local organizations, including Baystate Medical Center, the YWCA, the Womanshelter/Companeras, and the Hampden District Attorney's Office.


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    "The Ethics Commission needs to rule on that," Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters after an unrelated event in downtown Boston.

    It's up to the State Ethics Commission to determine whether Col. James McGinn, who last week was fired as head of the Environmental Police, keeps his pension, according to Gov. Charlie Baker.

    "The Ethics Commission needs to rule on that," Baker told reporters Tuesday after an unrelated event in downtown Boston.

    McGinn, who served as Baker's gubernatorial campaign driver in 2014, was fired Friday. The governor's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, led by Secretary Matt Beaton, released an internal report saying McGinn had tax-payer funded cameras installed and an investigation firm hired to spy on his employees.

    The results of the internal investigation were forwarded to the State Ethics Commission.

    "Colonel McGinn exercised some really bad decision-making and was fired," Baker said. "And I believe that was the appropriate decision made by Secretary Beaton."

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

    Earlier this year, Baker said if investigations into Massachusetts State Police troopers show they broke the law, their pensions should be revoked. "If it was up to me, I'd take it away. Period."

    Since then, the number of troopers under overtime abuse investigation has come to a total of 46, with five troopers either pleading guilty or agreeing to plead guilty. Indictments and guilty pleas followed Col. Kerry Gilpin, tapped by Baker to clean up the State Police, forwarding information from an internal investigation to state and federal prosecutors.

    Asked if there was a similarity between the scandals at the Environmental Police and the State Police, Baker said, "In the case of the State Police, you're talking about people who stole money, forged documents and engaged in a whole series of criminal activities that go way beyond what we're talking about with respect to Colonel McGinn."

    Hidden cameras, private eyes, and ticket-fixing: Read the report that led to the firing of Environmental Police head

    In a separate scrum with reporters on Monday, according to WGBH News, Baker referred to the issues at the Environmental Police as "some anomalies, procedurally... under the leadership of then-Colonel McGinn."

    McGinn is a retired State Police sergeant who also worked for FEMA.

    After McGinn's firing, a spokesman for the state environmental agencies said Beaton has started a review of internal controls and policies "in an effort to restore accountability and public trust" in the Environmental Police.

    There is an investigation into timesheet irregularities underway, according to the spokesman.

    "Obviously when the results of that are done they'll be shared as well," Baker said.


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    U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Brookline, called on the Trump administration Tuesday to stop the Office of Refugee Resettlement from sharing unaccompanied minors' fingerprints and other information with immigration enforcement agencies -- a policy which he argued has scared away potential sponsors who could care for these kids outside of government facilities.

    U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Brookline, called on the Trump administration Tuesday to stop the Office of Refugee Resettlement from sharing unaccompanied minors' fingerprints and other information with immigration enforcement agencies -- a policy which he argued has scared away potential sponsors who could care for these kids outside of government facilities. 

    Kennedy, who recently visited the Tornillo detention facility that houses immigrant children, urged U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to immediately rescind or modify a May 2018 Memorandum of Agreement that mandates continuous information sharing on unaccompanied minors in ORR care with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. 

    Instead, he contended, the office should "return to the previous background check process in use prior to the May 2018 MOA, which allowed the Department of Homeland Security agencies, including CBP and ICE to request information, if needed, but otherwise prioritize the safety of the children."

    Arguing that the Office of Refugee Resettlement "is not and should not be a federal enforcement agency," the congressman raised concerns that the memorandum "abused the scope of ORR's mandate" and has had a chilling effect on potential sponsors.

    He pointed to ICE officials's recent confirmation that dozens of individuals accused of violating immigration laws had been arrested when they came forward to care for loved ones in ORR custody.

    "By scaring away potential sponsors who could provide a child a safe home outside of a government-run facility, this administration has created significant delays in the reunification process for unaccompanied children and their families," he wrote in a letter to Azar. "ORR has specifically failed to meet the standard of acting in the best interest of the children. ... Over 13,000 children are now in ORR care, overwhelming an unprepared system, costing taxpayers significant resources, and creating untold trauma for impacted children and families."

    The Brookline Democrat further noted migrant children are now staying an average of about 60 days in government facilities -- well above the maximum allowed under the Flores settlement.

    Kennedy added that many children told him during his recent visit that they had been transferred between government-run facilities for several months -- time which he argued could have been spent in the care of relatives. 

    "No matter the level of care provided at these facilities, they are no substitute for the home of a family member or loved one," he said. "If potential sponsors are discouraged from stepping forward out of fear that a loved one might be deported, ORR cannot fulfill its mission of placing unaccompanied minors in a safe home."

    The Trump administration, however, has argued that information collected under the May 2018 agreement will allow officials "to conduct suitability assessments to vet potential sponsors of unaccompanied alien children."

    Kennedy, who is up for re-election in November and a rumored 2020 White House contender, toured the Trump administration's "tent city" for migrant children in Tornillo, Texas earlier this month. 

    The congressman said the visit "reinforced what the past few months have made abundantly clear: That the surging number of migrant children detained for months on end in threadbare facilities is a crisis of the Trump Administration's making."


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    Influenza activity low in Massachusetts, but one flu-related death reported in Connecticut.

    BOSTON - According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, influenza-like illness activity remains low in the commonwealth and normal for this time of year though above baseline in some regions for related outpatient visits.

    Connecticut announced its first flu-related death of the season last week in an individual over the age of 65. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it received a report of the first influenza-related pediatric death of the season during the week of Oct. 13.  

    During the week ending Oct. 5, Florida did reported one new influenza-associated pediatric death in an unvaccinated child with no known underlying medical conditions.

    Surveillance generally begins in October by federal and state agencies involved in monitoring seasonal flu viruses and related illnesses.

    Many people infected with flu viruses experience mild symptoms and never seek medical attention, but children younger than 5, adults over 65 and pregnant women are considered at high risk for developing flu-related complications.

    The Massachusetts DPH report shows 11 laboratory-confirmed cases in the Boston area for the week ending Oct. 13 with a total of 19 to date for the 2018-2019 flu season. This includes six laboratory-confirmed for influenza type A for the week and five for influenza type B.

    Figures at this time last year for the 2017-1018 season were eight laboratory confirmed for the week with a year-to-date total of 15.

    Influenza-like illness activity was elevated slightly above baselines for the West, Southeast and Northeast regions of the commonwealth during the week of Oct. 13. This refers to visits to outpatient facilities for influenza-related symptoms.

    Last year's flu season in the U.S. was one of the most severe in recent years. There were a record breaking estimated 900,000 hospitalizations for flu-related illnesses and more than 80,000 deaths, according to government statistics.

    Some 183 influenza-related deaths in children were reported to the CDC, a number said to exceed a previously recorded high of 171 for a regular, that is, non-pandemic, influenza season. One such pediatric death was reported in Massachusetts.

    The CDC recommends that anyone six months or older be vaccinated annually against the flu.

    It is said that 80 percent of reported influenza-related pediatric deaths occur in children who have not been fully vaccinated against. Some children require two doses of the flu vaccine.

    In Massachusetts, the number of cumulative laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza for the 2017-2018 season that continued to be widespread in the state into late spring topped 20,000.

    Individuals are urged to get their flu vaccination by the end of October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against flu.

    Last year's flu vaccine was only about 25 percent effective against the A(H3N2) viruses which were the strain that predominated. According to the CDC, H3N2 viruses change more frequently between the time the annual vaccine is composed and when it is delivered.

    This year's vaccines have been modified with an updated A (H3N2) virus as well as a change in a B virus.

    Flu viruses are detected throughout the year in the U.S. but influenza activity usual begins to increase in October, peak December through February but can continue into late spring, according to the CDC.

    The CDC said influenza activity in the United States currently remains low. It said Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, influenza A(H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate, with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses reported most commonly by public health laboratories during the most recent three weeks.


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    Gov. Charlie Baker pledged to spend $10 million to $12 million in the fiscal 2020 budget implementing the recommendations.

    BOSTON -- A state commission focused on Latino affairs is recommending policy changes and investments related to immigration, education and business.

    Gov. Charlie Baker pledged to spend $10 million to $12 million in the fiscal 2020 budget implementing the recommendations, if he is re-elected. 

    "We think it has the potential to create some really different ways of pursuing opportunities on an intentional basis for people in these communities in the commonwealth," Baker said Tuesday at an event releasing the report of the Governor's Latino Advisory Commission.

    Massachusetts' Latino community has grown from 287,000 in 1990 to more than 815,000 today. 

    Latino commission chairwoman Josie Martinez, who is partner and general counsel at Employee Benefit Solutions, called the community "one of the pillars of strength that adds competitiveness to this commonwealth."

    The Latino Advisory Commission was created by executive order in July of 2017, alongside a similar commission focused on the black community. 

    The black commission released its recommendations earlier this month.

    The two commissions made similar proposals related to improving education and helping minority-owned businesses. 

    Martinez said there are "synergies" between the two communities, and the commissions worked together.

    The one major difference is the Latino commission also focused on immigration as a top priority.

    The recommendations on immigration include:

    • Expanding programs that teach English for speakers of other languages and strengthening incentives for teachers of adult basic education.
    • Providing grants for employers to offer English classes to their employees.
    • Increasing money for English language programs for foreign professionals seeking licensure.
    • Making it easier for foreign professionals to apply for professional licenses in Massachusetts, including through reciprocity agreements.
    • Doing outreach to eligible Latinos to help them apply for citizenship.
    • Offering financial literacy training to Latino immigrants.

    Some Latino activists were upset earlier this year when the Legislature did not pass legislation that would have limited the ability of local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials. 

    Baker said he would have vetoed any measure that prevents state and local law enforcement from cooperating at all with federal immigration authorities. He proposed allowing cooperation related to criminals convicted of serious crimes. The advisory commission did not make any suggestions related to immigrants without legal status.

    Asked after the event if he thinks Massachusetts should do more to protect immigrants without legal status, Baker said, "One of the things we've done as a commonwealth pretty effectively is giving people at a local level a lot of latitude to make decisions about how they want to handle those issues." 

    "Our view on this is local folks are best positioned to do the things they think make the most sense for the people in their community," Baker said.

    In addition to immigration, the report made a number of suggestions related to education and workforce development, many of which were similar to proposals made by the Black Advisory Commission.

    On education, recommendations include recruiting and training Latino teachers, improving early literacy programs in low-income communities, recruiting Latino high school students for college preparatory programs, and strengthening career planning in urban schools.

    On workforce issues, recommendations include expanding internship and apprenticeship programs for Latinos, developing workforce training programs, recruiting Latino candidates for state boards and commissions, investing in senior-level training programs, and helping Latino businesses apply for state contracts and expand their business networks. 

    State Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, said the Latino community needs the investment.

    "In the past, many broken promises have led to the creation of no wealth in the black and Latino community," Gonzalez said. "False promises in urban renewal. False promises in studies that have been shelved." 

    Gonzalez thanked Baker for his "willingness to understand the Latino community and its needs."


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    The unlicensed minister who married a Massachusetts couple on Cape Cod in September is now facing charges of impersonating a justice of the peace and larceny.

    The unlicensed minister who married a Massachusetts couple on Cape Cod in September is now facing charges of impersonating a justice of the peace and larceny. 

    Yarmouth police obtained an arrest warrant for 39-year-old James Stern of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, on Tuesday. 

    Stern, who is currently facing theft charges in Rhode Island, was never licensed in Massachusetts to marry Ashley Veilleux and David Mellen during their ceremony on Sept. 15 at the Red Jacket Inn in South on Cape Cod. 

    The couple learned Stern was never licensed in Massachusetts and their marriage is not official because no marriage license was submitted to the town by Stern. 

    Stern was recently voted top officiant in Newport County, Rhode Island, by a local magazine.

    Veilleux, in an interview with MassLive, said she also discovered Stern was charged in Rhode Island on accusations he stole a woman's credit card during a wedding where he served as the officiant. 

    He is also facing theft charges after police in Rhode Island say he stole gift cards, identifications and other items at the Newport County YMCA and the Westerly YMCA. 

    "I feel like we are making headway in terms of getting justice for some of the things he has done," Veilleux told MassLive. "I feel like he will be held accountable for his actions." 

    Yarmouth police obtained arrest warrants for Stern on charges of larceny of $1,200 by false pretense and impersonating a public official. 

    Veilleux, who spoke to Yarmouth police investigators, said Stern stole the credit card information for some of her bridesmaids. He accessed the bridal suite at the venue, she said. 

    "During the ceremony, her bridal party had been provided with a locked room to store their belongings. Later that same evening, several bridesmaids reported the misuse of their credit cards," Yarmouth police said.

    Police discovered Stern has 51 entries on his criminal record in Massachusetts for similar crimes such as identity fraud, fraudulent use of a credit card, and related larceny charges dating back to June 1994.

    Authorities also discovered Stern has an active warrant in New Jersey for burglary and a lengthy criminal history in Rhode Island and Connecticut. 

    Yarmouth Police Detective Michael Wells learned Stern was never licensed in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Secretary of State's office told MassLive there is no record of Stern being licensed in Massachusetts.

    "Stern was required to submit the license to the state within 10 days of the marriage and he had not," police said. "The Town of Yarmouth Clerks Office contacted the Secretary of State's office to determine whether the officiant had been properly commissioned and was informed that he had not obtained a commission to perform the wedding."

    Police said other charges may be filed in the case.

    At one point Stern was held in Rhode Island on charges there. It is unclear when he will be brought to court in Cape Cod. 

    Authorities are asking anyone with information on Stern to contact Yarmouth Police Detective Michael Wells at 508-775-0445 extension 2358.

     

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