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    The Westford-based 110 Grill will be coming to Hampshire County to join myriad new business scheduled to open in new buildings at the Mountain Farms Mall.

    HADLEY -- Westford-based 110 Grill will be coming to town next year, joining L.L. Bean and a Five Guys burger restaurant scheduled to open in new buildings at the Mountain Farms Mall.

    "The addition of 110 Grill will provide great energy to our front door and be a complimentary addition to our current lineup of retailers and restaurants," Dan Hester, development manager at Mountain Farms Mall, said in an email.

    The restaurant, known for its modern American cuisine in a trendy, casual atmosphere, is set to open at the Holyoke Mall in December, making Hadley the second Western Massachusetts location, Hester wrote.

    The restaurant, which first opened in Chelmsford in 2014 and now has 16 locations, caters to people with food allergies and intolerances, which includes offering a gluten-free version of the entire core lunch and dinner menu. 

    "We have been growing rapidly in central Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire and New York, and have been interested in bringing additional locations to the western part of the state for quite some time," said Ryan Dion, 110 Grill's chief operating officer, in a press release. 

    The restaurant will join Five Guys Burger and Fries, which will open in one of two new buildings being built by the Chestnut Hill-based WS Development, owner of the mall.

    The other building will be the home of a 15,000-square-foot L.L. Bean store also slated to open in 2019.


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    Thousands filled the soaring nave of the Washington National Cathedral for the interment service of Matthew Shepard, the young man whose murder 20 years ago horrified the nation and became a milestone in the fight for gay rights. Watch video

    WASHINGTON - Bells chimed softly, a flute slowly played "Morning Has Broken" and thousands filled the soaring nave of the Washington National Cathedral for the interment service of Matthew Shepard, the young man whose murder 20 years ago horrified the nation and became a milestone in the fight for gay rights.

    The poignant service was at once a funeral and a celebration of life, a moment of closure for Shepard's loved ones and of remembrance for all those moved by the murder of Shepard, who was pistol-whipped and left for dead on a remote Wyoming prairie.

    Presiding over the worship service at the second-largest cathedral in the country, in front of a crowd of about 2,000 people, was Bishop Gene Robinson, whose elevation in the early 2000s as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church marked another huge - and controversial - landmark in the push for LGBT equality.

    In his homily, Robinson shared an anecdote from the first police officer who arrived at the site of Shepard's attack, a remote fence to which his battered body was lashed and left out in cold night. The policewoman recalled encountering a deer lying beside Shepard's body. When she approached, Robinson said, the animal looked straight into her eyes before bounding up and running away.

    "What she said was: 'That was the good Lord, no doubt in my mind.' And there's no doubt in my mind either. God has always loved Matt," Robinson said.

    Rippling through the Cathedral at times was the crackling energy of a political rally, with Robinson urging the crowd not to simply commemorate Shepard but to train their eyes on continued discrimination against sexual minorities, especially transgender people, who he called a "target" right now.

    Just this week reports surfaced that the Trump administration is "seriously" considering changing the way it treats transgender people under the law - a fresh and direct aim at transgender rights.

    "There are forces who would erase them from America," Robinson said. Twice he urged attendees to "go vote."

    The crowd gave Robinson a long standing ovation as he closed his homily, choking back tears.

    "There are three things I'd say to Matt: 'Gently rest in this place. You are safe now. And Matt, welcome home.' Amen."

    Earlier in the service, Matthew Shepard's father, Dennis Shepard, thanked those in Cathedral, and the scores of others watching the live-streamed service online, for "helping us take Matt home."

    "It is so important we now have a home for Matt," Shepard, 69, said. "A home that others can visit. A home that is safe from haters."

    The father recalled his son's love for the Episcopal church, growing up in Sunday school and as an acolyte in their church at home in Wyoming.

    "Matt was blind, just like this beautiful house of worship," Dennis Shepard said. "He did not see skin color. He did not see religion. He did not see sex orientation. All he saw was a chance to have another friend."

    After the service, only the clergy and family descended to the Cathedral crypt, where dozens of other prominent people's ashes are kept, for a small interment ceremony. In that area is a public chapel, which is outside of the columbarium where Matthew Wayne Shepard's remains will rest.

    For Shepard's family and friends, the service was a celebration of his life that wasn't possible at the tumultuous time of his 1998 murder, when anti-gay protesters screamed at funeral-goers. Tensions were so fierce at his funeral that his father wore a bulletproof vest under his blue suit.

    In the years since Shepard's death, alternative narratives have gained more steam, in a 20/20 segment and later, a book, disputing the prevailing view that Shepard was targeted in part because he was gay. Investigators who worked on the case have rejected the theory that his sexuality wasn't a factor.

    For two decades, Shepard's parents kept their son's ashes near their home in Casper, Wyoming. They feared laying him to rest in a public place, fearing it would draw attention from "people who hated what Matt represented," his mother, Judy Shepard recalled in an interview earlier this week. When a representative from the Smithsonian suggested the Cathedral earlier this year, it struck the couple as the perfect fit, Judy Shepard said.

    "We were waiting to find the right solution, and the right solution appeared," she said.

    Those who attended Friday's service were mostly older adults, members of a generation that can still recall Shepard's brutal killing, and the days of front-page headlines and candlelight vigils that followed. But even for those in attendance too young to remember Shepard's death, his story has resonated years later.

    Abigail Mocettini, a 24-year-old who grew up in Boise, said Shepard's death loomed "in the background" for young people coming out -"especially in the West."

    "As we were coming out, this affected our parents and informed their fears," Mocettini, now a District of Columbia resident, said as she prepared to enter the Cathedral. "Acknowledging queer history is a thing that needs to be respected. Once the old guard gets older, people forget how we got to rainbow flags,"

    Before the start of the service at 10 a.m., the line of people bundled in heavy coats snaked across the grounds of the massive church, at the U.S. capital's highest spot.

    One woman waiting to enter the Cathedral, Rebecca York, 22, works with LGBT youth at a District-based group called Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, known as SMYAL. Most young people the group sees are African American men, York said. A city survey found 43 percent of homeless youth in the District identify as LGBTQ.

    "Threat of physical violence is not new to them," York said. "It's scary to be a young gay man."

    Some close to Shepard say even with his fame - his killing is the subject of many books, shows and one of the most-produced plays in the country, "The Laramie Project" - the idea of his interment in the prominent cathedral feels momentous. Also this week, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History received a donation from the family of some of his belongings.

    "This was a grace note for us," said Jason Marsden, executive director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and a friend of Shepard's at the time of the killing.

    Even as advocates hope Shepard's interment will be a catalyst for Americans to focus on civil rights, the service was for those who knew him a grand, final goodbye.

    It included a song called "Ordinary Boy" compiled with snippets from journal entries written by someone who barely made it out of childhood. The service noted his supportive, loving family and church. Shepard also struggled with drugs and clinical depression after being raped in Morocco a few years before he was killed.

    "I want my life to be happy and I want to clearer about things. I want to feel good. I love Wyoming very much. I love theatre. I love good friends. I love succeeding," go the song's lyrics, which were sung by a series of singers at the service's close as the cavernous sanctuary began to empty into the workday. "Such an ordinary boy living ordinary days, in an ordinary life so worth living."

    Among those singing at the service were members of the Gay Men's Chorus of the District. For one of them, Marcus Brown, 42, the moment brought back vivid memories of Shepard's death and what it meant to him at the time, as a gay college student not unlike the young man from Wyoming.

    At the time, Brown had not yet come out as gay. He was studying at Howard University, hoping to escape the rural South Carolina hometown he grew up in. He remembers thinking how closely his own life paralleled Shepard's, "being from places that were not accepting and finding the best ways to cope with how to exist."

    As Brown prepared to sing at Friday's interment service, he reflected on the uncertainty and fear he felt two decades ago, but also on the confidence and freedom he has gained in the 15 years since coming out - in part thanks to Shepard.

    (c) 2018, The Washington Post. Written by Michelle Boorstein, Samantha Schmidt


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    Wilbraham police executed a search warrant at an unidentified address Oct. 26, 2018, and seized some 650 bags of fentanyl as well as other prescription narcotics. Police say the bust is part of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking in Wilbraham.

    WILBRAHAM -- Police are continuing to investigate a drug trafficking operation in the town after they raided an unidentified address and seized more than 650 bags of fentanyl as well as prescription narcotics.

    Wilbraham Police Sgt. Jeffrey Rudinski said officers executed a search warrant during the early morning hours Friday as part of an "ongoing and lengthy investigation" into drug sales in the town.

    One individual was arrested and has been charged with trafficking in fentanyl as well as other narcotics offenses. The suspect's name is being withheld as the investigation continues.

    Rudinski said officers found not only the fentanyl and narcotics but a what they called "a large sum of cash."


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    Here are the obituaries published Thursday in The Republican: Obituaries from The Republican, Oct. 26, 2018

    Here are the obituaries published Thursday in The Republican:

    Obituaries from The Republican, Oct. 26, 2018

     

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    The Dr. Seuss museum has announced it has purchased and will convert a nearby liquor store into a bakery. Watch video

    SPRINGFIELD -- Following a large donation from Dr. Seuss's stepdaughter, the Springfield Museums has purchased a neighboring property with plans to turn it into something "the city can be proud of."

    Leagrey Dimond, the younger daughter of Theodor Geisel's second wife, previously donated many of the famous author's personal items currently on exhibit at the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum in Springfield.

    After she became aware that the Springfield Museums were considering purchasing the space, Dimond stepped in with "a generous offer to help the museums financially," said Kay Simpson, president of the museums, in an interview Friday.

    The property, at 95-97 Chestnut St., next door to the museums at the Quadrangle, is currently home to a package store and a convenience store.

    The purchase price and donation amount were not disclosed. No records of any recent transaction involving the property were available on the Hampden County Registry of Deeds website.

    Announcement of the purchase was made Friday at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.

    Simpson said that while the museums board of trustees does not yet know what the property will be used for, the hope is to convert it into something inspiring and healthy for the surrounding community.

    "We have no specific plans at this point," Simpson said. "We can make this property into something where, if you are downtown and you look up the hill, you will see something that's inviting, something that will attract tourists and be something that the whole neighborhood and the city can be proud of," she said.

    Simpson said the space could be transformed into a bakery, or perhaps a marketplace.

    "These are all ideas that are being explored," she said. "We don't have definite plans." 

    The next step will be the formation of a task force consisting of a combination of trustees and community representatives that will explore what will become of the property.

    Dimond was in town earlier this week for the announcement that her stepfather's boyhood home at 74 Fairfield St., purchased by the museums in 2015, will become the Geisel Innovation Center.

    She was also present at Friday's announcement and gave brief remarks about her role in the purchase of the Chestnut Street property. 

    "Since my first visit to Springfield its been in mind and in my heart," Dimond said. 

    "Change can be tricky," she said. "This change will be nothing but happiness."

    Kathleen Kane, chairwoman of the museums trustees, thanked Dimond for her generosity. 

    "Leagrey, I just want to let you know on behalf of the whole entire board of trustees how much this means to us," Kane said.

    Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno thanked Dimond and said the purchase was a "strategic move" that would assist with the ongoing process to "reinvent and reinvigorate" the city's neighborhoods.


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    The charges carry a potential sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $2 million and supervised release for the rest of their lives.

    Two men were indicted Friday on federal charges of distributing heroin in Northampton. 

    Quincy Wilmington, 58, and Eugene Bond, 64, were separately indicted in U.S.  District Court, according to a Department of Justice press release that did not include the men's hometowns. Both are being charged with distribution of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute heroin. 

    According to prosecutors, Wilmington is accused of distributing the drug between May 21 and June 13, while Bond is accused of distributing heroin on May 15, May 30 and Aug. 2. 

    The charges carry a potential sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $2 million and supervised release for the rest of their lives.

     

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    Here are the winning numbers in Friday's Mega Millions lottery drawing.

    After Tuesday's winner of $1.6 billion in the Mega Millions lottery, the jackpot has reset to begin another upward climb.

    megamillions.jpg

    Here are the winning numbers in Friday's drawing:

    01-28-61-62-63; Mega Ball: 05; Megaplier: 4X

    The estimated jackpot for the drawing is $40 million. The cash option is about $22 million. If no one wins, the Mega Millions jackpot will get even bigger for the next drawing.

    According to the game's official website, the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

    Players pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers -- five different numbers from 1 to 70 and one number from 1 to 25 -- or select Easy Pick. A player wins the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.

    Jackpot winners choose whether to receive 30 annual payments, each five percent higher than the last, or a lump-sum payment.

    Mega Millions drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays and are offered in 44 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets cost $2 each.

    Mega Millions and Powerball winners should do these 5 things


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    Fire in the attic of an East Main Street home forced one person out. Fire officials said an investigator has been called in to determine the exact cause of the fire.

    Fire officials said flames were visible on the third floor of an East Main Street home Friday night when they responded to a call for a structure fire at about 9:40 p.m.

    Chicopee Deputy Fire Chief Matthew Cross said one person was found on the first floor the burning three-story home when firefighters arrived at 330 East Main St., but that occupant was led uninjured from the building.

    Firefighters battled the fire that heavily damaged the third-floor attic area of the home.  Some of that fight had to take place on ladders to exterior windows on the wood-framed structure's top floor, making the work that much harder.

    The attic was heavily involved and other floors were not damaged.  Cross said a fire investigator was called into to determine the exact cause of the fire.

    The lone occupant of the home is being assisted by the American Red Cross.

    Holyoke firefighters assisted in battling the blaze.


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    Springfield District Court Judge Robert Murphy, in his ruling delivered orally from the bench in an animal cruelty case, said, "The proper treatment of domesticated animals is important to maintaining a civilized society."

    SPRINGFIELD -- A Springfield District Court judge has acquitted a city woman of animal cruelty, saying the prosecution lacked crucial evidence.

    Mirna Gomez-Davis, 42, was charged for allegedly failing to provide medical care for Athena, a Neapolitan mastiff she owned with her husband. The dog developed an unknown illness in 2017.

    Assistant Attorney General Colleen Murphy argued Gomez-Davis' failure to get adequate medical care for Athena constituted animal cruelty.

    Defense lawyer Terrence Dunphy argued Gomez-Davis did attempt to get adequate medical care for Athena. He said the prosecution failed to show what was wrong with the dog.

    Dunphy said most cases of animal cruelty prosecuted in the state involve direct infliction of pain and suffering.

    Judge Robert Murphy found Gomez-Davis not guilty Oct. 4.

    In his ruling, delivered orally from the bench, the judge said, "The proper treatment of domesticated animals is important to maintaining a civilized society. This court recognizes that."

    But he went on to say the prosecution failed to produce proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the animal cruelty law had been violated in this case.

    "The Government's case is most notable for what it lacks -- things that would be common and expected in investigation and prosecution of serious felonies like cruelty to animals," he said. "The Commonwealth failed to perform a necropsy on Athena. Failed to even obtain the weight of the dog."

    Expert witnesses called by the prosecution presented conflicting opinions, and the prosecution failed to present the records of Dr. Gerald Cutting -- a veterinarian to whom Gomez-Davis took Athena -- "or his testimony here before this court," the judge said.

    In Aug. 2017, Gomez-Davis' husband and co-defendant in the animal cruelty case accepted a plea agreement without admitting to animal cruelty or any other offense. Stefan Davis, 48, was placed on pretrial probation for one year.

    Colleen Murphy said Gomez-Davis admitted she didn't act for several weeks despite Athena showing symptoms in early January 2017.

    Gomez-Davis noticed Athena's appetite decrease around Jan. 8, Dunphy said. She brought the dog to Cutting on Jan. 24, Colleen Murphy said. That amount of time alone is enough to show animal cruelty, the prosecutor argued.

    Dunphy said Gomez-Davis' niece was one of four young people killed in a car crash Jan. 17 in Springfield, and that she had multiple responsibilities in connection with that.

    Gomez-Davis subsequently brought Athena to the Boston Road Animal Hospital Feb. 2, where the veterinarian said the dog was in critical condition. Athena was euthanized there.

    According to a complaint filed by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Athena was emaciated and suffering from multiple medical problems before being euthanized.

    Another Neapolitan mastiff owned by the couple was euthanized around the same time. Dunphy said Gomez-Davis brought the other dog into the Boston Road Animal Hospital because she was concerned the dog might have the same problem as Athena.

    The MSPCA complaint said the other dog was also emaciated, but no charges were filed against Gomez-Davis in connection with that claim.


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    Advocates for "yes" on Question 1 are headed up by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The MNA is a union representing 23,000 members working in 85 health care facilities, including 51 acute care hospitals, across the state.

    SPRINGFIELD -- The debate over Massachusetts ballot Question 1 and the nurse-to-patient ratios it could impose has made public the decades-long struggle of nurses who say they are stretched too thin to give they care they feel is necessary, said Julie Pinkham, executive director of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

    "I'm not sure that's a bad thing," she said Friday during an hour-long meeting with editors and reporters at The Republican. "It's been going on inside the (hospital) walls for a long time."

    Donna Kelly-Williams, president of MNA, said the "Yes on 1" case she and the MNA are making is very simple: "Do you want to be one of four patients that a nurse is caring for?" she said. "Or do you want to be one of eight patients."

    Hospital managers say the question is much more complex. Executives say complying with Question 1 would force them to cut back on other programs and on non-nursing staffers in order to pay for the new required nurses. Hospitals say they would also have to limit the number of patients in order to meet the new rules and would have trouble finding enough registered nurses.

    The MNA is a union representing 23,000 members working in 85 health care facilities, including 51 acute care hospitals, across the state.

    The union has tired to get more nurses on the floor and fewer patients assigned to its members via contract negotiations and legislation, only to be rebuffed. The ballot question was the next option available, Pinkham said.

    Kelly-Williams, a nurse who works in pediatrics and with newborns in a maternity ward, said the patient limits called for by Question 1 are not the one-size fits all scenario opponents paint them to be.

    The ballot question, if it passes in the general election Nov. 6, would set ratios of between one nurse to one patient in complicated or high-risk situations to one nurse to six patients in less acute cases.

    "Every hospital would have to use an acuity tool" to gauge patient need, she said.

    She said the state's nursing schools graduate 3,500 nurses a year, more than enough to meet the need created by Question 1. Many of the new graduates go out of state for jobs, she said. And many new graduates are stuck working part time or on temporary per diem assignments.

    If the patient limits were in place, it would be possible for new nurses to get assigned easier patients, Pinkham said. That's hard to do when there aren't enough nurses to go around.

    Hospital patients are in general sicker now than they once were, Pinkham said. That's because many procedures and illnesses are handled on an outpatient basis and hospitalization is necessary only for more serious cases.

    "The reason you are in the hospital is because you need 24-hour-a-day monitoring," she said.

    Adding to the confusion for voters faced with making policy on thorny health care issues is that there are wildly disparate estimates as to how much it would cost to implement Question 1.

    Hospitals say implementation would cost $1.31 billion in the first year, and $900 million in subsequent years.

    The MNA has a different set of estimates, pegging the cost of compliance much lower: $35 million to $47 million statewide.

    The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission estimates the statewide cost to all hospitals at $676 million to $949 million a year once Question 1 is fully implemented. There would be another $57.9 million in one-time costs for implementation, according to the Health Policy Commission.

    Baystate Health says it would spend $40 million in the first year to hire more nurses and implement an acuity tool in all units to chart patient need and comply with the law. The estimate is based on a hospital-funded study by Mass Insight Global Partnerships. The cost would be $27.5 million a year at Baystate Medical Center alone, the consultant concluded.

    Mercy Medical Center and Providence Behavioral Health would need to pay an additional $13.8 million a year. Cooley Dickinson would have to pay an additional $6.5 million. Holyoke Medical Center would have to pay an additional $5.8 million a year, according to the same source.

    Pinkham said the hospitals and the Health Commission assumed that demand would raise the salaries of registered nurses by about 4 percent. She said that's unrealistic, and she knows because the MNA negotiates contracts in 75 percent of the hospitals that would be covered under the law.


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    The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

     

    Update: State Police have identified the victim.

    --------

    A 55-year-old Burlington woman was killed Friday night when a pickup truck crossed over the median of Interstate 95, striking the woman's car, State Police said.

    The victim was driving a 2006 Toyota Sienna southbound on I-95 in Boxford, between Exits 53 and 52, around 10:15 p.m. 

    For reasons still under investigation, a 35-year-old Georgetown man driving a 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck on I-95 northbound crossed the center median and crashed into the victim's Toyota, State Police said.

    The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Her name is being withheld pending notification of her family.

    State Police said the driver of the pickup truck was taken to Beverly Hospital and then flown by medical helicopter to a Boston-area hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

    The crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time, State Police said. 


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    Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal charges in connection with a mail bomb plot. Watch video

    WASHINGTON -- A Florida man with a criminal history and a fervor for President Donald Trump sent at least 13 mail bombs to prominent Democrats, Justice Department officials said, crediting DNA, a fingerprint match and misspellings for the key break in a case that spread fear of election-season violence with little precedent in the U.S.

    Cesar Sayoc, 56, of Aventura, Florida, faces five federal charges in connection with a mail bomb plot that spurred a weeklong, coast-to-coast investigation that continued even after he was taken into custody Friday as investigators scrutinized additional suspicious packages intended for Democrats.

    Sayoc will make his first court appearance next week, where additional details may be revealed about a motive. In the meantime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested that politics may have played a role and noted that Sayoc appeared to be a "partisan." Those who saw him in the Florida neighborhood, unmistakable in a white van plastered with Trump's image and political stickers, described him as unsettling and troubled.

    Sayoc's social media profiles portray a deeply disaffected conservative who trafficked in online conspiracy theories, parody accounts and name-calling. He called a Florida school shooting survivor a "fake phony," peddled theories about George Soros, the billionaire political donor targeted this week by a package bomb, and denigrated other Democrats who were later the intended recipients of explosive packages.

    An amateur body builder and former stripper who once spent time on probation for a bomb threat charge, Sayoc first registered as a Republican voter just ahead of the March 2016 Republican primary and quickly identified himself as a proud Trump supporter, tweeting and posting on Facebook videos that appear to show him at Trump rallies.

    He appeared to be living in his van, showering on the beach or at a local fitness center.

    Sayoc's arrest Friday was a major breakthrough in the nationwide manhunt following the discovery of the explosive devices -- none of which detonated -- addressed to prominent Democrats and other frequent targets of conservative ire, including former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and the cable network CNN. On Friday, new packages addressed to New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and former National Intelligence Director James Clapper were intercepted -- both similar to those containing pipe bombs discovered earlier in the week. Investigators in California scrutinized a package sent to Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, her office said, and one sent to Tom Steyer, a billionaire businessman who has campaigned for months for Trump's impeachment.

    The mail bombs, coming shortly before major midterm elections, sparked a heated national conversation about the hard-edged political climate and Trump's role in fanning the flames. The president has branded the media the "enemy of the people" and hurled harsh, personal insults at others targeted in the plot.

    Shortly after Sayoc was detained, Trump declared that "we must never allow political violence to take root in America" and that Americans "must unify."

    Speaking later to reporters Friday evening before leaving for a political rally in North Carolina, Trump said he knows Sayoc supported him but that he himself "bears no blame." Hours earlier Trump had complained via tweet that "this 'bomb' stuff" was taking attention away from the upcoming election and that critics were wrongly blaming him.

    FBI and police officials worked swiftly to untangle clues this week as the packages mounted, sometimes several in the same day.

    The big break came when a fingerprint found on one of the packages, intended for California Rep. Maxine Waters, matched a fingerprint of Sayoc's on file with Florida authorities. A DNA sample from a device intended for Obama similarly matched the suspect's DNA, the FBI said.

    An additional clue: Misspellings from his online posts matched mistakes found on the packages, according to an 11-page criminal complaint that included the formal charges of threatening former presidents and transporting explosives across state lines.

    Some packages included photographs of the intended recipients marked with a red "x," the FBI said. The packages contained timers and batteries, but were not rigged to explode upon opening. Officials were uncertain whether the devices were poorly designed or never intended to cause physical harm.

    Authorities noted that they included "energetic material." A footnote to the charging document said such explosive material "gives off heat and energy through a rapid exothermic reaction when initiated by heat, shock or friction."

    "These are not hoax devices," FBI Director Chris Wray said.

    Sayoc was arrested near an auto parts store in Plantation, Florida, north of Miami. Across the street, Thomas Fiori, a former federal law enforcement officer, said he saw about 50 armed officers swarm a man standing outside a white van. They ordered him to the ground, Fiori said, and he did not resist.

    "He had that look of, 'I'm done, I surrender,'" Fiori said.

    Sayoc appears to have been living on the margins, regularly running into trouble with the law and struggling to make ends meet. He was repeatedly arrested for theft in the 1990s, faced felony charges of possession of anabolic steroids in 2004 and was convicted of grand theft in 2014. In 2002, he served a year of probation for a felony charge of threatening to throw or place a bomb.

    His lawyer in that case said the charge stemmed from a heated conversation with a Florida utility representative.

    Ronald Lowy, a Miami attorney, said Sayoc showed no ability at the time to back up his threat with any bomb-making expertise.

    Sayoc had $4,175 in personal property and more than $21,000 in debts when filed for bankruptcy in 2012. "Debtor lives with mother, owns no furniture," his lawyer indicated in a property list.

    He had been an amateur body builder. More recently he was seen at an LA Fitness in Aventura, regularly showering at the gym but not working out, said Edgar Lopez, 48, a therapist who works out at the gym.

    Marc Weiss saw Sayoc nearly every morning at 6 a.m. for the last four or five months.

    "I've seen the guy maybe 80 times and I never said a word to him because I had a feeling he was a little off," said Weiss, a 56-year-old building superintendent who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years. "This guy had an air about him that was unsettling."

    Sayoc's political awakening appears to have coincided with Trump's rise. He registered to vote in Florida in March 2016 and has voted early since, records show.

    Documents released Friday by the Broward County Sheriff's Office show Sayoc reported in May 2015 that more than $40,000 in goods were stolen from his van and an attached trailer, including 11 pieces of Donald Trump-brand clothing valued at $7,150. Specifics are not included, but Trump has a line of suits, shirts, ties and accessories.  

    The report shows detectives were never able to confirm whether the theft actually happened, and no arrests were made.

    Most of those targeted this week were past or present U.S. officials, but packages also were sent to actor Robert De Niro and Soros. The bombs have been sent across the country -- from New York, Delaware and Washington, D.C., to Florida and California, where Waters was targeted. They bore the return address of Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

    By Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Colleen Long, Associated Press. Laurie Kellman, Ken Thomas, Jill Colvin, Michael Biesecker, Stephen Braun, Chad Day, Terry Spencer, Kelli Kennedy, Curt Anderson, Jim Mustian, Deepti Hajela, Tom Hays, Michael R. Sisak and Raphael Satter contributed to this report


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    The open house seminars will also feature question and answer sessions with Columbia Gas officials.

    Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is hosting community open house meetings in the Merrimack Valley today to offer information to residents affected by the September disaster that killed one and left thousands without gas.

    The open house seminars will also feature question and answer sessions with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant, Chief Recovery Officer Joe Albanese, Chief Restoration Officer Pablo Vegas and Columbia parent company NiSource, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Joe Hamrock.

    Meeting times vary for each community:

    • North Andover: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the North Andover Senior Center, 120 R Main St. The Q&A is from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. 
    • Lawrence: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Lawrence High School, 70-71 N Parish Road. The Q&A is from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
    • Andover: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Doherty Middle School, 50 Bartlet St. The Q&A is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

    On Sept. 13, an over-pressurized gas line led to upwards of 80 fires and explosions across the three Merrimack Valley communities. Leonel Rondon, 18, was killed and about 25 others were injured. 

    Thousands remain without gas.

    The company has placed nearly 2,000 families in alternative housing, including hotels, trailers and apartments.

    On Friday, Columbia Gas officials announced that the goal restoration date, which originally was Nov. 19, has been pushed back to sometime between Dec. 2 and Dec. 16.


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    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has announced what he called the "You are at home" plan, offering shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans in Chiapas and Oaxaca states Watch video

    ARRIAGA, Mexico -- Hundreds of Mexican federal officers carrying plastic shields blocked a Central American caravan from advancing toward the United States on Saturday, after a group of several thousand migrants turned down the chance to apply for refugee status and obtain a Mexican offer of benefits.

    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has announced what he called the "You are at home" plan, offering shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans in Chiapas and Oaxaca states if migrants apply, calling it a first step toward permanent refugee status. Authorities said more than 1,700 had already applied for refugee status.

    But a standoff unfolded as federal police officers blocked the highway, saying there was an operation underway to stop the caravan. Thousands of migrants waited to advance, vowing to continue their long trek toward the U.S. border.

    At a meeting brokered by Mexico's National Human Rights Commission, police said they would reopen the highway and only wanted an opportunity for federal authorities to explain the proposal to migrants who had rejected it the previous evening. Migrants countered that the middle of a highway was no place to negotiate and said they wanted to at least arrive safely to Mexico City to discuss the topic with authorities and Mexican lawmakers.

    They agreed to relay information back to their respective sides and said they would reconvene.

    Orbelina Orellana, a migrant from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, said she and her husband left three children behind and had decided to continue north one way or another.

    "Our destiny is to get to the border," Orellana said.

    She was suspicious of the government's proposal and said that some Hondurans who had applied for legal status had already been sent back. Her claims could not be verified, but migrants' representatives in the talks asked the Mexican government to provide a list of anyone who had been forced to return.

    The standoff comes after one of the caravan's longest days of walking and hanging from passing trucks on a 60-mile (100 kilometer) journey to the city of Arriaga.

    The bulk of the migrants were boisterous Friday evening in their refusal to accept anything less than safe passage to the U.S. border.

    "Thank you!" they yelled as they voted to reject the offer in a show of hands. They then added: "No, we're heading north!"

    Sitting at the edge of the edge of the town square, 58-year-old Oscar Sosa of San Pedro Sula, Honduras concurred.

    "Our goal is not to remain in Mexico," Sosa said. "Our goal is to make it to the (U.S). We want passage, that's all."

    Still 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from the nearest U.S. border crossing at McAllen, Texas, the journey could be twice as long if the group of some 4,000 migrants heads for the Tijuana-San Diego frontier, as another caravan did earlier this year. Only about 200 in that group made it to the border.

    While such migrant caravans have taken place regularly over the years, passing largely unnoticed, they have received widespread attention this year after fierce opposition from U.S. President Donald Trump.

    On Friday, the Pentagon approved a request for additional troops at the southern border, likely to total several hundred, to help the U.S. Border Patrol as Trump seeks to transform concerns about immigration and the caravan into electoral gains in the Nov. 6 midterms.

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis signed off on the request for help from the Department of Homeland Security and authorized the military staff to work out details such as the size, composition and estimated cost of the deployments, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss planning that has not yet been publicly announced.

    Stoking fears about the caravan and illegal immigration to rally his Republican base, the president insinuated that gang members and "Middle Easterners" are mixed in with the group, though he later acknowledged there was no proof of that.

    At a church in Arriaga that opened its grounds to women and children Friday, Ana Griselda Hernandez, 44, of Mapala, Honduras, said she and two friends traveling with children had decided to pay for a bus ride from Pijijiapan, because the 4-year-old and 5-year-old would have never covered the 60-mile distance.

    "It's difficult because they walk very slowly," she said. She pointed out scabbed-over blisters on her feet, a testament to the fact they had walked or hitched rides since leaving their country.

    The caravan is now trying to strike out for Tapanatepec, about 29 miles (46 kilometers) away.

    Up until now, Mexico's government has allowed the migrants to make their way on foot, but has not provided them with food, shelter or bathrooms, reserving any aid for those who turn themselves in.

    Police have also been ejecting paid migrant passengers off buses, enforcing an obscure road insurance regulation to make it tougher for them to travel that way.

    On Friday, authorities were cracking down on smaller groups trying to catch up with the main caravan, detaining about 300 Hondurans and Guatemalans who crossed the Mexico border illegally, said an official with the national immigration authority.

    Migrants, who enter Mexico illegally every day, usually ride in smugglers' trucks or buses, or walk at night to avoid detection. The fact that the group of about 300 stragglers was walking in broad daylight suggests they were adopting the tactics of the main caravan, which is large enough to be out in the open without fear of mass detention.

    However, it now appears such smaller groups will be picked off by immigration authorities, keeping them from swelling the caravan's ranks.

    On Friday evening, Irineo Mujica, whose organization People without Borders is supporting the caravan, accused Mexican immigration agents of harassment and urged migrants to travel closely together.

    "They are terrorizing us," he said.

    By Christopher Sherman, Associated Press. Mark Stevenson and Peter Orsi contributed to this report.


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    O'Connell, 55, of Burlington, was driving on I-95 in Boxford, between Exits 53 and 52, around 10:15 p.m. Friday, State Police said.

     

    State Police have identified the Burlington woman killed in a crash on Interstate 95 in Boxford as Barbara O'Connell.

    O'Connell, 55, of Burlington, was driving a 2006 Toyota Sienna southbound on I-95 in Boxford, between Exits 53 and 52, around 10:15 p.m. Friday, State Police said.

    A 35-year-old Georgetown man driving a 2017 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck on I-95 northbound crossed the center median and crashed into the victim's Toyota, State Police said.

    Why the pickup truck crossed the median remains under investigation.

    O'Connell was pronounced dead at the scene. 

    State Police said the driver of the pickup truck was taken to Beverly Hospital and then flown by medical helicopter to a Boston-area hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

    The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed at this time, State Police said. 


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    Henriquez was recently hired to work for Walsh as a special assistant for community engagement, The Globe reported Saturday.

    Carlos Henriquez, a former state representative who was convicted of assaulting a woman in 2014, has been hired as a special assistant to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

    Henriquez was recently hired to work for Walsh as a special assistant for community engagement, officials said.

    The Boston Globe first reported Henriquez's hiring. Henriquez will make $89,000 a year, according to the newspaper.

    Additionally, Henriquez has been working for several months as a consultant for the city, The Globe reported.

    Henriquez in 2014 was convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend. He was sentenced to six months in jail on two assault charges. 

    "Mayor Walsh firmly believes in second chances and that's exactly why he created the Office of Returning Citizens, to support people looking to get their life back on track," Walsh spokeswoman Samantha Ormsby wrote in a statement.

    "Carlos Henriquez served his time and, after spending his career supporting youth, helping reduce violence, assisting those in recovery and providing trauma supports for families in need, he is eager to continue this work," the statement continued.

    In the special assistant position, Henriquez will collaborate with city departments, including the Offices of Public Safety, Diversity and Resiliency, officials said. He will work at a community-level, the position tasking him with identifying and implementing strategies to support safety and address neighborhood trauma issues. 

    After he was convicted, Henriquez became the first member of the House in nearly a century to be expelled from the chamber by his colleagues.

    Henriquez proclaimed his innocence despite the conviction.

    The Dorchester Democrat ran for a seat on the Boston City Council last year.


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    Pittsfield police are searching for a missing 17-year-old girl.

    PITTSFIELD - Police in Pittsfield are asking for the public's help in locating a missing 17-year-old girl. 

    Police say Mariana Miranda was reported missing in Pittsfield but believe she may be somewhere in eastern Massachusetts, specifically the communities of Fall River, New Bedford, or Milford. She has no known connections in Pittsfield. 

    Miranda is Hispanic, around 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs around 130 lbs. She has brown hair and eyes. 

    Anyone who believes they may have information on the whereabouts of Miranda has been asked to contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9723. 


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    A shooter opened fire during a baby naming ceremony at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, killing several people and wounding six others including four police officers who dashed to the scene, authorities said.

    PITTSBURGH -- A shooter opened fire during a baby naming ceremony at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday, killing an unknown number of people and wounding six others including four police officers who dashed to the scene, authorities said.

    Police said a suspect was in custody after the attack at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood. A law enforcement official identified the suspect as Robert Bowers and said he is in his 40s. The official wasn't authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    City officials said the shooting was being investigated as a federal hate crime. It comes amid a rash of high-profile attacks in an increasingly divided country, including the series of pipe bombs mailed over the past week to prominent Democrats and former officials.

    It was unclear how many people were killed Saturday.

    President Donald Trump told reporters at the airport in Indianapolis that there were "a lot of people killed" and "a lot of people very badly wounded."

    Police earlier said "several" died. Six were wounded, including the four police officers, said a visibly moved Wendell Hissrich, the Pittsburgh public safety director.

    "It is a very horrific crime scene. It's one of the worst that I've seen and I've been on some plane crashes," Hissrich said.

    The attack took place during a baby naming ceremony, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. It was unknown whether the baby was harmed.

    The synagogue is located at the intersection of Wilkins and Shady avenues. The tree-lined residential neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, about 10 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, is the hub of Pittsburgh's Jewish community.

    Until the suspect was taken into custody, the neighborhood and all synagogues in the city were in a lockdown, with people ordered to remain indoors.

    Trump called the shooting "far more devastating than anyone thought," saying "it's a terrible thing what's going on with hate in our country."

    Trump also said the outcome might have been different if the synagogue "had some kind of protection" from an armed guard and suggested that might be a good idea for all churches and synagogues.

    Offering a different take, Pennsylvania Democrat Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, called the shooting an "absolute tragedy" in a statement that made reference to calls for tighter gun control laws.

    "We must all pray and hope for no more loss of life," Wolf said. "But we have been saying "this one is too many" for far too long. Dangerous weapons are putting our citizens in harm's way."

    World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder called the shooting "an attack not just on the Jewish community, but on America as a whole."

    In 2010, Tree of Life Congregation -- founded more than 150 years ago -- merged with Or L'Simcha to form Tree of Life (asterisk) Or L'Simcha.

    The synagogue is a fortress-like concrete building, its facade punctuated by rows of swirling, modernistic stained-glass windows illustrating the story of creation, the acceptance of God's law, the "life cycle" and "how human-beings should care for the earth and one another," according to its website. Among its treasures is a "Holocaust Torah," rescued from Czechoslovakia.

    Its sanctuary can hold up to 1,250 guests.

    Michael Eisenberg, the immediate past president of the Tree of Life Synagogue, lives about a block from the building.

    He was getting ready for services when he received a phone call from a member who works with Pittsburgh's Emergency Services, saying he had been notified through scanner and other communications that there was an active shooter at their synagogue.

    "I ran out of the house without changing and I saw the street blocked with police cars. It was a surreal scene. And someone yelled, 'Get out of here.' I realized it was a police officer along the side of the house. ... I am sure I know all of the people, all of the fatalities. I am just waiting to see," Eisenberg said.

    He said officials at the synagogue had not gotten any threats that he knew of prior to the shooting. The synagogue maintenance employees had recently checked all of the emergency exits and doors to make sure they were cleared and working.

    "I spoke to a maintenance person who was in the building and heard the shots. He was able to escape through one of the side exit doors we had made sure was functioning," Eisenberg said.

    Jeff Finkelstein of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh said local synagogues have done "lots of training on things like active shooters, and we've looked at hardening facilities as much as possible."

    "This should not be happening, period," he told reporters at the scene. "This should not be happening in a synagogue."

    Just three days before the shooting, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers posted a column on the congregation's website, noting that people make time to attend funerals, but not for life's happy occasions.

    "There is a story told in the Talmud of a wedding procession and a funeral procession heading along parallel roads, with the roads intersecting," Myers wrote on Wednesday. "The question asked is: when they meet at the fork, which procession goes first, funeral or wedding? The correct answer is wedding, as the joy of the couple takes precedence. In fact, the funeral procession is to move out of sight so that their joy is not lessened."

    Myers ended his column with words that now seem all too prescient.

    "We value joy so much in Judaism that upon taking our leave from a funeral or a shiva house, the customary statement one makes (in Yiddish) is 'nor oyf simches' - only for s'machot," Myers wrote. "While death is inevitable and a part of life, we still take our leave with the best possible blessing, to meet at joyous events. And so I say to you: nor oyf simches!"

    By Gene Puskar, Associated Press. Michael Balsamo, Claudia Lauer and Allen G. Breed contributed to this report.


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    Bowers allegedly entered the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, fatally shooting eight people and injuring others, including police officers.

    The suspect accused of opening fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing multiple people, has been identified as Robert Bowers.

    A law enforcement official confirmed Bowers was the suspect to The Associated Press.

    Bowers allegedly entered the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood, fatally shooting several people and injuring others, including police officers.

    When he entered the synagogue, which is located at the hub of Pittsburgh's Jewish community, Bowers reportedly screamed anti-Semitic slogans as fired shots, including "all Jews must die," according to PennLive.

    Bowers was taken to the hospital with injuries, officials said during a press conference.

    Officials say the FBI will investigate the incident as a hate crime.

    Newsweek reported that Bowers had posts on social media with anti-Semitic messages.


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    The driver would ride "recklessly and dangerously" down Route 28, police said, taunting police officers and allegedly stopping to kick town-owned vehicles.

    The reckless rides started in August, Middleborough police say, as a motorcyclist continuously drove on Route 28 at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour.

    The driver would ride "recklessly and dangerously" down Route 28, police said, taunting police officers and allegedly stopping to kick town-owned vehicles.

    But that driver will face a judge Monday, as police were able to identify and arrest him on Friday, according to a news release from Middleborough Police Chief Joseph Perkins.

    In the two months that the motorcyclist sped on Route 28, police were not immediately able to stop him.

    So, instead, detectives sent a photo of the motorcyclist to other law enforcement in the region.

    It was on Wednesday that a motorcycle rider sped by two marked State Police cruisers on Route 28, again going more than 100 miles per hour, police said.

    State Police tried to stop the motorcyclist, but he continued down the road.

    However, State Police were able to identify the driver using the photo distributed by Middleborough police.

    Corey Fisher, a 21-year-old from Middleborough, was identified as the reckless rider.

    On Friday afternoon, Fisher allegedly drove by a Middleborough police officer who was conducting a motor vehicle stop on South Main Street near the intersection of Route 28, police said. 

    "Fisher allegedly sped by the officer twice while he was conducting his traffic stop and made obscene gestures toward the officer," the statement read. "At one point Fisher stopped in the road and did a burnout before speeding off again."

    A short time later, Middleborough police with an arrest warrant in hand placed Fisher into custody as he parked his Suzuki 1000 motorcycle in the driveway of his France Street home, the statement said.

    Fisher is slated to be arraigned Monday in Wareham District Court on charges of operating to endanger, failure to stop for a police officer and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

    As of Friday, the charges Fisher will be arraigned on are just in connection with the incidents on Wednesday and Friday, police said.

    Police say Fisher could face additional charges.

    "We confidently believe that this is the individual that has been riding dangerously down Route 28 for the past two months," Perkins said. "We have been actively investigating these incidents and do not take them lightly. For safety reasons our officers did not engage in pursuits with Mr. Fisher. Instead we worked diligently to positively identify him and placed him under arrest [Friday]. I would like to thank our residents for their patience while this case was ongoing and for their numerous tips and calls throughout this process."


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