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    The latest deal is smaller than a $6.5 billion bid that prominent investor Elliott Management Corp. made in May

    Athenahealth shares soared Monday after the struggling medical billing software maker received a $5.7 billion cash buyout offer.

    Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital plan to give athenahealth shareholders $135 per share in a deal that will take the company private. That represents a roughly 12 percent premium over the closing price of athenahealth shares on Friday.

    But the latest deal is smaller than a $6.5 billion bid that prominent investor Elliott Management Corp. made in May.

    Elliott Management made its offer for $160 per share in cash after saying it had grown frustrated with athenahealth's struggles, which included missed guidance targets and churning through five chief financial officers in the last four years.

    A month after Elliott made its offer, co-founder and CEO Jonathan Bush said he was stepping down.

    Athenahealth said Monday that Elliott Management supported the latest deal offer. Evergreen Coast Capital is an Elliott affiliate that invests in technology.

    Athenahealth, based in Watertown, Massachusetts, makes medical record, revenue cycle and care coordination products and delivers most of it through the cloud. On Friday, it reported third-quarter earnings that topped analyst expectations, but its revenue fell short of the average forecast on Wall Street.

    The latest athenahelath bid offers "a decent valuation for what has increasingly appeared to be a struggling business," Leerink analyst David Larsen said in a research note.

    "We believe that following the long and tumultuous sales process it is unlikely another bidder will emerge," he wrote.

    Evergreen and Veritas plan to pair athenahealth with Virence Health, which Veritas bought earlier this year. The combination will operate under the athenahealth brand and stay headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts. Virence Chairman and CEO Bob Segert will lead it.

    Athenahealth's board of directors unanimously approved the deal, which the company expects to close in the first quarter. Shareholders still have to vote on it.

    Athenahealth stock jumped about 9.5 percent, to $131.73 while broader indexes slipped Monday morning.

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    One of the suspects, who is licensed to carry a firearm, was found to be in possession of a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 cal. pistol. It is, however, unlawful to carry a firearm while committing a felony, state police said.

    FITCHBURG - Two Western Massachusetts residents face trafficking heroin and other charges following a traffic stop Sunday night.

    Robert Ortiz, 28, of Erving, and Kishania Vega-Martine, 28, of Turners Falls, were taken into custody after troopers found 48 grams of heroin, 8 grams of cocaine, two pills and a bag with green vegetable matter during the stop, according to a release by Massachusetts State Police.

    During the investigation, Ortiz was also found to be in possession of a loaded Smith & Wesson .40 cal. pistol. Although Ortiz is licensed to carry a firearm, it is unlawful to carry a firearm while committing a felony, which includes trafficking narcotics.

    Both were charged with trafficking in heroin, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug law. Ortiz was also charged with possession of a firearm in felony and speeding.

    Vega-Martinez was also charged with possession of a Class E drug.

    Ortiz was held in lieu of $20,000 bail and Vega-Martinez was held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail, pending their arraignments in District Court.

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    Richard Penney, who has worked on the town's finance committee, and Kara Nyman, a former member of the Hanover Planning Board, won a five-month and a 17-month term respectively.

    The Rockland Board of Selectman is full for the first time since July and can act on whether to reinstate Town Administrator Allan Chiocca.

    Richard Penney, who has worked on the town's finance committee, and former Hanover Planning Board member Kara Nyman won a five-month and a 17-month term, respectively.

    Neither candidate would comment specifically on whether or not they would bring Chiocca back to town hall, saying they need more information. But both have said town needs fresh perspectives.

    Read more: What's going on in Rockland?

    "As your Selectman, I will always strive to be someone you are proud of, someone who demonstrates the level of commitment, integrity, and character you deserve in your elected leaders. I promise to bring a level of respect to our discourse, truly listen to all points of view and work collaboratively with fellow board members to find common sense solutions for our town. You deserve no less," Nyman wrote in a Facebook post, thanking voters.

    Penney, in an interview with MassLive, also said he is focused on integrity and listening to the needs of the people who voted for him.  

    Chiocca has been on paid leave since May, when former Deidre Hall, a former board member, accused him behaving inappropriately with her during an after-hours sexual encounter at town hall. The town hired an outside firm, which centered on security footage from a late-night rendezvous between Chiocca and Hall at Rockland Town Hall.

    But, investigators determined that Chiocca did nothing wrong. Hall resigned and when it was revealed she was having an affair with Edward Kimball, the former chairman of the board of selectman, he stepped down as well.

    Chiocca, first appointed in 2008, is asking for more than $5 million to leave the job he says he does not want and is unable to be fired from, according to his lawyer Adam Shafran. Chiocca sent a request for settlement to the town July 13 and obtained by MassLive in October.

    If he doesn't receive the payout, he says he'll sue the town, Hall, and Kimball.

    Meanwhile, the board of selectman - which can fire Chiocca according to the town charter - has been short two voting members. With Penney and Nyman now on the board after the Nov. 6 special election, they can vote.

    The selectman did not take a vote on Chiocca's future at their Nov. 8 meeting, and an agenda is not yet available for the December meeting.  

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    Employees of the Northampton-based newspapers already have petition signatures from 70 percent of the workers across all facets of the operation from news gathering to printing and distribution, union organizers said.

    NORTHAMPTON -- Employees at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, Valley Advocate  and Amherst Bulletin newspapers are forming a union affiliated with NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

    They already have petition signatures from 70 percent of the workers across all facets of the operation from news gathering to printing and distribution, union organizers said Monday.

    "We are in an industry that is being challenged in a number of fronts," Dave Eisenstadter, an editor at the paper, said.

    Eisenstadter and other union organizers said management decisions have been counterproductive and are not taking workers into account.

    Conversations about unionizing picked up urgency over the last year when pay inequities between men and women at the company became public, said Dusty Christensen, a staff writer at the Gazette. That gender wage gap story became national news, and Jeffrey Good said he was fired as executive editor over it.

    "We have been speaking to everyone in the workplace about their issues, their concerns and about their hopes and dreams for our company," Christensen said.

    Michael Rifanburg, publisher of the newspapers, had no comment when contacted by The Republican on Monday.

    Workers met with management Monday from the papers' parent company, Newspapers of New England, asking that management voluntarily recognize the new union.

    "We know best how things work and we know best how to solve any of the challenges that lay ahead of us," Christensen said.

    On Tuesday, Monday being a federal holiday, the union will also file with the National Labor Relations Board for a binding election.

    "We are hoping for voluntary recognition," Christensen said. "But if we have a vote, we will win."

    At this point, the union drive doesn't include employees at The Recorder of Greenfield and the Athol Daily News, also owned by Newspapers of New England and printed at the Gazette plant in Northampton.

    Eisenstadter said union organizers are not in it just to help themselves.

    "Many people have felt that is not fair. We are trying to get a voice," he said. "We want to be partners in keeping the company strong and keeping the publications strong."

    "The decision of Gazette workers to form a union is part of an inspiring national trend," said NewsGuild-CWA President Bernie Lunzer in a statement. "Employees of more than a dozen news organizations - from the Los Angeles Times to the Casper (Wyoming) Star-Tribune - have organized with the Guild so far this year. Journalists are taking a stand across the country, and succeeding in the fight for the future of powerful community journalism."

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    A spokesperson for the network did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The official Fox News Twitter account has refrained from tweeting since Thursday in what is seen as a silent protest of the social media company's responsiveness to a protest outside the home of host Tucker Carlson.

    Protesters associated with Antifa gathered outside the Washington, D.C., home of the conservative television personality last Wednesday night and chanted "Racist scumbag, leave town!" and warning on social media that Carlson and his family "were not safe." They tweeted videos of the protest and revealed Carlson's address.

    The incident is under investigation by police.

    Business Insider obtained a Fox News email ordering the Twitter blackout. It was sent to the news channel's entire digital team, which consists of about 140 people.

    Fox News was apparently concerned about the tweets that included Carlson's home address, according to The Hill.

    A spokesperson for the network declined to comment Monday afternoon on why its has ceased tweeting.

    Smash Racism D.C. claimed responsibility for the protest on social media. The group previously targeted U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and other conservatives.

    The group's Twitter account shared Carlson's address, which is a violation of Twitter rules. It has since been suspended.

    Smash Racism D.C. continues to maintain a presence on social media via its Facebook page. It uses the Facebook handle @AntifaDC.

    In since deleted videos uploaded to Twitter by the group, participants were heard saying "Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!" They called him a "racist scumbag" and hurled epithets.

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    Stan Lee, the at times larger-than-life comic book creator, has died. He was 95 years old.

    Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic book and helped make billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, died Monday. He was 95.

    Lee was declared dead at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to Kirk Schenck, an attorney for Lee's daughter, J.C. Lee.

    As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book. He revived the industry in the 1960s by offering the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, even philosophy.

    Millions responded to the unlikely mix of realistic fantasy, and many of his characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men went on to become stars of blockbuster films. Recent projects he helped make possible range from the films "Black Panther" and "Doctor Strange" to such TV series as "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

    "I think everybody loves things that are bigger than life. ... I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups," he told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. "We all grew up with giants and ogres and witches. Well, you get a little bit older and you're too old to read fairy tales. But I don't think you ever outgrow your love for those kind of things, things that are bigger than life and magical and very imaginative."

    Lee considered the comic-book medium an art form and he was prolific: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years.

    "I wrote so many I don't even know. I wrote either hundreds or thousands of them," he told the AP in 2006.

    He hit his stride in the 1960s when he brought the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and numerous others to life.

    Gallery preview 

    "It was like there was something in the air. I couldn't do anything wrong," he recalled.

    His heroes, meanwhile, were a far cry from virtuous do-gooders such as rival DC Comics' Superman.

    The Fantastic Four fought with each other. Spider-Man was goaded into superhero work by his alter ego, Peter Parker, who suffered from unrequited crushes, money problems and dandruff. The Silver Surfer, an alien doomed to wander Earth's atmosphere, waxed about the woeful nature of man. The Hulk was marked by self-loathing. Daredevil was blind and Iron Man had a weak heart.

    "The beauty of Stan Lee's characters is that they were characters first and superheroes next," Jeff Kline, executive producer of the "Men in Black" animated television series, told The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, in 1998.

    Some of Lee's creations became symbols of social change -- the inner turmoil of Spider-Man represented '60s America, for example, while The Black Panther and The Savage She-Hulk mirrored the travails of minorities and women.

    Lee scripted most of Marvel's superhero comics himself during the '60s, including the Avengers and the X-Men, two of the most enduring. In 1972, he became Marvel's publisher and editorial director; four years later, 72 million copies of Spider-Man were sold.

    "He's become our Mickey Mouse," he once said of the masked, web-crawling crusader.

    Lee also published several books, including "The Superhero Women" in 1977 and "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" the following year, when he was named publisher of the year by the Periodical and Book Association of America.

    CBS turned the Hulk into a successful TV series, with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno portraying the doomed scientist from 1978-82. A Spider-Man series ran briefly in 1978. Both characters were featured in animated TV series as well.

    The first big-budget movie based on Lee's characters, "X-Men," was a smash in 2000, earning more than $130 million at North American theaters. "Spider-Man" did even better, taking in more than $400 million in 2002.

    Stanley Martin Lieber was born Dec. 28, 1922, in New York. He grew up a fan of "Hardy Boys" adventure books and Errol Flynn movies, and got a job at Timely Comics after graduating from high school.

    Within a few months, the editor and art director quit, leaving the 17-year-old Lee with creative control over the company, which grew and was renamed Atlas Comics and, finally, Marvel. Lieber changed his name, thinking Lee would be used for "silly little comics" and his real name would be reserved for novels.

    His early work largely reflected popular movies -- westerns, crime dramas, romance, whatever was the rage at the time. He worked for about 50 cents per page.

    After a stint in the Army during World War II, writing for training films, he was back at Marvel to begin a long and admittedly boring run of assembly line comic book production.

    Comics in the 1950s were the subject of Senate hearings pushed by the Comics Code Authority, which frowned on gore and characters that questioned authority. Major comic book companies adopted the code as a form of self-regulation to avoid sanctions.

    Lee said he was also working for a publisher who considered comics as fare only for children.

    "One day I said, 'This is insane,'" Lee told the Guardian in 1979. "I'm just doing the same type of stories as everybody else. I wasn't taking pride in my work and I wanted to quit. But my wife said, 'Look, why don't you do the kind of comics you want for a change?'"

    The result was the first issue of "The Fantastic Four," in 1960, with the characters, plot and text from Lee and the illustrations by famed Marvel artist Jack Kirby.

    The characters were normal people changed into reluctant superheroes through no fault of their own.

    Writing in "Origins of Marvel Comics," Lee described the quartet this way: "The characters would be the kind of characters I could personally relate to; they'd be flesh and blood, they'd have their faults and foibles, they'd be fallible and feisty and -- most important of all -- inside their colorful, costumed booties they'd still have feet of clay."

    "The Amazing Spider-Man" followed in 1962 and before long, Marvel Comics was an industry behemoth.

    Lee knew his work was different, proudly noting that stories were drawn out over several issues not to make money but to better develop characters, situations and themes. He didn't neglect his villains, either. One, the Moleman, went bad when he was ostracized because of his appearance, Lee wrote, adding it was "almost unheard of in a comic book" to explain why a character was what he was.

    Lee's direct influence faded in the 1970s as he gave up some of his editorial duties at Marvel. But with his trademark white mustache and tinted sunglasses, he was the industry's most recognizable figure. He lectured widely on popular culture.

    Lee moved to Los Angeles in 1981 to head Marvel Productions, an animation studio that was later purchased, along with Marvel Comics, for $50 million by New World Entertainment.

    As sales of comics declined, Marvel was forced into bankruptcy proceedings that meant it had to void a lifetime contract prohibiting Lee from working for anyone else. Lee later sued Marvel for $10 million, saying the company cheated him out of millions in profits from movies based on his characters.

    In 2000, Lee agreed to write stories for DC Comics, reinventing Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other signature characters for Marvel's one-time rival. DC Vice President and Publisher Paul Levitz had nothing but praise when the agreement was made.

    "With his artistic collaborators at Marvel, Stan co-created the richest imaginary universe a single comics writer has ever built," he said.

    The dapper, friendly comic book genius continued to work into his 90s on numerous projects, including comics, films and DVDs.

    In the late 1990s, he looked to capitalize on the Internet craze, offering animated "Webisodes" of comic-like action. Stan Lee Media also sought to reach out to Web-savvy youth through deals with pop artists the Backstreet Boys and Mary J. Blige.

    The company went bankrupt, and three men were indicted for allegedly defrauding the business in a check kiting scam. Lee wasn't implicated.

    After that initial failure, Lee formed the successful Pow! Entertainment company to launch animated Internet-based projects.

    Lee is survived by his wife of 70 years, Joan Clayton Boocock, and a daughter, Joanie.

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    Westfield's veterans service director brought to tears by ceremony

    WESTFIELD - The community marked Veterans Day with a parade and ceremony at Parker Memorial Park Sunday.

    Representatives from all military branches placed a wreath in front of the American flag in the park and the Westfield High School Band performed.

    For the city's new veterans services director, Julie Barnes, it was an emotional event.

    "It brings tears to my eyes," said Barnes, a veteran who served with the U.S. Air National Guard for 11 years before raising her children. "It's overwhelming to look out and see so many people here supporting veterans."

    Barnes said she is excited to once again serve her country in her new position.

    "It's an honor to, after 20 years, once again be helping people. It means a lot to me to be serving our veterans."

    Ryan Dietert, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 872, participated in the ceremony and brought his son Jaylan, 5, to the event. For Dietert, who served in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, having his son beside him was why he made sacrifices.

    "This is what we fought for," he said. "I came home and started a family and I'm proud."

    Robert J. Rangone of American Legion Post 454 was emcee of the ceremony and noted that Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

    "On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, armistice was signed," said Rangone. "Armistice Day was celebrated Nov. 11 when in 1938 the United States made it an official holiday."

    Rangone said in 1954 the United States changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.

    Rangone thanked numerous people for supporting the city's veterans, including Mayor Brian P. Sullivan who, in turn, thanked veterans for their service.

    "On behalf of the city council, I want to thank the veterans and this community for supporting events like this," Sullivan said, calling it a "lucky day" to be mayor.

    State Sen. Donald F. Humason sent his regards but was elsewhere in the district Sunday, and state Rep. John Velis, who is deployed in Afghanistan, sent a message via his aide Emily Swanson.

    "Thank all of my comrades in arms, past, present and future," Velis said. "Being in a place like Afghanistan really gives you perspective."

    Richard J. Trusty of American Legion Post 454 gave the keynote address and spoke about his time serving in the U.S. Navy's Lighter Than Air special program, where he worked on zeppelins.

    The Westfield Kiwanis Club provided 100 American flags for its annual Avenue of Flags on the lawn of Westfield Middle School across from the ceremony.

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    Iris Larrequi, 20, is charged with arson for a Nov. 20, 2017, fire in Springfield in which Waleska Torrres died.

    SPRINGFIELD -- A Hampden Superior Court judge has ruled statements a woman made to firefighters on the day of a fatal blaze were not voluntary because she was high on PCP. 

    Judge Karen L. Goodwin ruled Nov. 8 that statements made by 20-year-old Iris Larregui, of Hartford, cannot be used in her arson trial. 

    The fire at 99-101 Quincy St. shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2017 left 32-year-old Waleska Torres dead and displaced as many as eight residents.

    In her ruling, Goodwin writes that police and firefighters responded to the house fire and saw a woman, completely naked, running out of the burning house. The woman, later identified as Larregui, appeared to have burns on various areas of her body.

    "While being treated by emergency medical technicians, the woman, who was later identified as Iris Larregui, confessed to starting the blaze," according to Goodwin's ruling.

    At a hearing Oct. 19 Goodwin heard testimony from Sean Walker of the Fire Department and Dr. Andrew Bourke, a forensic pathologist with the state Department of Mental Health.

    Goodwin's decision said Larregui was running down the street saying, "I'm burning down the world. I'm God."

    When an ambulance arrived Larregui climbed in the back and sat on the stretcher, telling the EMT she had used PCP.

    As EMT's were evaluating Larregui, Walker asked her what happened.

    "Larregui said she had set the fire following an argument with her sister. When asked how the fire started, Larregui referenced a toaster and a lighter. Other than those references, Walker could not understand what she was trying to explain," Goodwin wrote. Walker testified the toaster wasn't the cause of the fire.

    Walker said Larregui was calm, made eye contact, listened to his questions, answered appropriately and didn't seem to be intoxicated.

    But Goodwin wrote she didn't credit Walker's testimony Larregui gave appropriate answers. 

    Larregui was admitted to Baystate Medical Center where clinicians said she exhibited confusion in the emergency department and her pupils were sluggishly reactive to light.

    "Her behavior was labile; at times she was singing while other times she was yelling or crying," Goodwin said. "She seemed to be having delusions of delivering a baby. During the night, she intermittently ripped off her dressings and remained in a clinically altered state."

    She tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and PCP.

    In the morning she was alert and oriented. She remembered being in a fire but did not know what happened, Goodwin said.

    Bourke testified at the hearing Larregui's behavior was consistent with PCP intoxication. He said people under the influence of PCP display a wide range of behaviors and symptoms including hallucinations, confusion, and an altered experience of reality. 

    Goodwin suppressed the statements because PCP intoxication "interfered with her ability to make a rational choice to talk."

    At the hearing on the motion to suppress the statements, Assistant District Attorney James M. Forsyth said there was no measure or number to show the level of PCP intoxication.

    He questioned Bourke on whether or not Larregui's answers to Walker's questions could be truthful.

    Bourke said it is hard to be certain if Larregui could give reliable answers.

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    The more than 500 visitors arrived to find thousands of strands of lights and hundreds of yards of drape material hanging from the elegantly decorated chandeliers in the Aria Ballroom.

    SPRINGFIELD - The holiday season has officially kicked off, according to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, who was one of several guest speakers at the City of Bright Nights Ball hosted by the Spirit of Springfield and sponsored by MGM Springfield.

    The six-hour black-tie celebration with the 'Putting on the Ritz' theme, featured a gourmet dinner by MGM Springfield Executive Chef Nate Waugaman under the supervision of Chef Anthony Piedra as an elite pastry selection was created by MGM Springfield Pastry Chef Sean Ambrose and his team.

    Michael Mathis, MGM Springfield president and chief executive officer, served as the evening's chairman and said, "It has been a pleasure to work with the Spirit of Springfield as the organization has done so much to enhance the City of Springfield and make it a family destination.

    "They have been really wonderful to MGM and our team as we come to the city to learn about the region," said Mathis. "We've been hoping to get this event at our resort and it's our biggest event of the year. It continues to be an honor for us to partner with Spirit of Springfield to help strengthen programs and opportunities for all Springfield residents."

    The more than 500 visitors arrived to find thousands of strands of lights and hundreds of yards of drape material hanging from the elegantly decorated chandeliers in the Aria Ballroom, where tables were topped with freshly cut white roses, calla lilies and orchids.

    The perfectly choreographed arrangements of the Pioneer Valley Ballet team wooed the crowd as dozens of cellphone cameras could be seen following the groups every move to the music of Times Square, of Hartford, Connecticut.

    Sarno said, "We're here at the Bright Nights Ball at the wonderful MGM which I call Mike Mathis' living room," Sarno said. "You can't put a price tag on the twinkle in the eyes of the people who go through Forest Park."

    Springfield is on the map and Bright Nights is one of the top 10 attractions for travel and bus companies, he said.

    Judy Matt, president of Spirit of Springfield, said this is the 24th annual Bright Nights presentation in Forest Park and the group expects to greet their 5-millionth visitor this season.

    The night also included a silent auction for nearly 100 donated items. A live auction featured tickets for Bruno Mars and Boys II Men on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas, and a catered dinner for 10 in the winner's home.

    Other live auction items included tickets to Pretty Woman: The Musical on Broadway and a hotel room in New York. Sports packages included 2019 Boston Red Sox tickets and 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement invitation and for the ladies, a diamond cocktail ring.

    Other Spirit of Springfield events include the World's Largest Pancake Breakfast, Star Spangled Springfield, Parade of the Big Balloons and Bright Nights at Forest Park. The City of Bright Nights Ball is the organizations largest annual fundraiser.

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    A proposal in Springfield that would ban retail stores from providing customers with single-use, non-degradable plastic bags has been resurrected for discussion and debate before a City Council committee.

    SPRINGFIELD -- A proposal that would ban retail stores from providing customers with single-use, non-degradable plastic bags has been resurrected for discussion and debate before a City Council committee this week.

    The council's Health and Humans Services Committee will bring the issue up for discussion at a public meeting on Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. at City Hall, and welcomes public comment, said committee Chairman Jesse Lederman. The meeting is in Room 200.

    The ban was also discussed in 2016, but never came out for a vote by the City Council.

    The new draft ordinance states that if any retail establishment provides a checkout bag to customers, the bag must be "either a recyclable paper bag, a compostable and marine-degradable plastic bag, or a reusable checkout bag."

    "We will be moving forward with hopefully robust input from the public and the business community," Lederman said. "It's the first committee meeting to begin discussing the ordinance and is certainly open to the public."

    The ban on plastic bags was discussed by councilors and the public in 2016, but then apparently died in committee, Lederman said. It was suggested again in April, but did not proceed at that time.

    Lederman brought the ordinance proposal to the council in October, and it was sent to committee for further review.

    It was forwarded to the council by the council's ad-hoc Green Committee, chaired by Lederman.

    Supporters of the ban on single-use bags say its benefits include a reduction in the amount of waste that goes to landfills and incinerators and a reduction in litter and pollution.

    Opponents, including representatives of the plastic bag industry, have argued that the majority of so-called single-use bags are used more than once and are not a major source of littler, as alleged by proponents. The American Progressive Bag Alliance has opposed such bans.

    Groups that have pushed for the ban have included the Sierra Club of Massachusetts, the Mass Green Network, the Springfield Climate Justice Coalition and Arise for Social Justice.

    The "Plastic Bag Reduction" ordinance, drafted for council consideration, proposes that any store providing a permitted checkout bag should sell them for no less than 10 cents, with that money kept by the store.

    In addition, the ordinance establishes proposed penalties for violations starting with a "warning notice" for the initial violation, followed by a $50 fine for the subsequent offense within one year after the warning. Any subsequent offense within a year would result in a $100 fine, under the proposal.

    Lederman said the ordinance is just in draft form and is open for amendments before any vote by the full council.

    On Oct. 16, voters at a special Town Meeting in Longmeadow approved a bylaw that will ban single-used plastic bags in that town's stores. The bylaw was approved by majority vote and will take effect in six months from that date.

    The Longmeadow ban allows exceptions for dry cleaning, newspapers, meat, produce and other project bags selected by the consumer to deliver items to the point of sale, according to the bylaw.

    As of October, 87 communities in Massachusetts regulate single-use plastic shopping bags including Boston, according to the Massachusetts chapter of the Sierra Club.

    The Sierra Club listed the following communities as having regulations pertaining to plastic bags: Adams, Amherst, Andover, Aquinnah, Arlington, Ashland, Athol, Barnstable, Bedford, Belmont, Beverly, Boston, Bourne, Bridgewater, Brookline, Cambridge, Chatham, Chilmark, Cohasset, Concord, Dalton, Danvers, Dartmouth, Dennis, Duxbury, Edgartown, Falmouth, Framingham, Gloucester, Grafton, Great Barrington, Hamilton, Harwich, Haverhill, Hopkinton, Ipswich, Lee, Lenox, Lexington, Lincoln, Longmeadow, Lowell, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mansfield, Marblehead, Marshfield, Mashpee, Melrose, Milton, Nantucket, Natick, Newburyport, Newton, Northampton, Oak Bluffs, Pembroke, Plymouth, Provincetown, Reading, Rockport, Salem, Sandwich, Shrewsbury, Somerville, South Hadley, Stockbridge, Sudbury, Swampscott, Tewksbury, Tisbury, Topsfield, Truro, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Wellfleet, West Tisbury, Westborough, Westford, Weston, Williamstown, Wilmington, Winchester, Yarmouth.

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    Springfield's Pope Francis Preparatory School dedicated their Alumni Memorial Plaza to Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan. Watch video

    Springfield-  The bricks and mortar may be new and the landscaping has been redone. But it's the same land where Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan went to school. And now that spot at the new Pope Francis Preparatory School bears his name on the Alumni Memorial Plaza. 

    Sullivan lost his life on Thursday, July 16, 2015 during an attack on a Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, TN. where he was stationed.

    Sullivan was a Cathedral High School Class of 1994 graduate and now, all who come and go from the new school will see his name and remember his sacrifice. 

    During a ceremony Monday morning to honor Veterans Day and dedicate the Plaza, Sullivan's brother, Joseph, talked about how important the school was to his brother.

    "This is the same spot where he came back to year after year when he was home on leave, in uniform, to come visit the school because it was important to him," Joseph Sullivan said. "The school was important to him, his religion was important to him....he just took it so seriously. He came back year after year. The students were important to him. He liked talking to them and engaging them."

    Speaking to the crowd of Sullivan family members, friends, and Pope Francis students, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno remarked that, "Today we honor a hero. Someone who made the ultimate sacrifice. He really represents the heart and soul, the goodness of the City of Springfield."

    The dedication ceremony was part of a day-long schedule of events at the school centered around Veterans Day that included student projects researching local WWI veterans and a guest panel of speakers including local veterans and Scott Gausen from the Springfield Armory.

    Many students stood at the ceremony holding handmade poppies as a show of support for all those who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces. 

    "This is a very fitting tribute," said Joseph Sullivan. "It's hard to put into words how much this would mean to him, being at his former school and being honored in this way. This is the ultimate honor for him I believe. This is a big one for him."

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    The police station, located in the basement of the municipal building, is plagued by a mold infestation along with exposed asbestos, according to a grievance the department filed with the town.

    HARDWICK - The police station, located in the basement of the municipal building, is plagued by a mold infestation along with exposed asbestos, according to a grievance the department filed with the town.

    Selectmen are scheduled to discuss the issue with police Wednesday night at 6:30.

    Because Hardwick police also patrol New Braintree via an inter-municipal agreement, that town's board of selectmen will attend the grievance hearing.

    Also in attendance will be Hardwick's Board of Health, building inspector and municipal office personnel.

    The brick town office building at 307 Main St. in the Gilbertville village was formerly the town's high school.

    Most town offices are on the main floor of the structure that is also referred to as the Myron E. Richardson Building. Upstairs is a gymnasium.

    The Nov. 14 meeting agenda states: "To Address the Grievance Filed by the Police Department Regarding Asbestos and Mold in the Building, Primarily in the Police Department Offices and Rooms; Provide an Update on Measures Taken to Date; Discuss Relocation of the Police Department."

    The meeting, however, will not convene at the Richardson building, where selectmen normally hold their meetings, but at Hardwick Elementary School, 76 School House Drive. 

    Also that night, the Hardwick Planning Board will convene a public hearing on the application of Dunroamin Solar LLC for a 5-megawatt solar energy facility that if approved would be built at 260 Lower Road.

    The planning board hearing begins at 6:45 p.m. and will take place at the Richardson municipal building.

    Mold problems plagued another public building in Worcester County, Quaboag Regional Middle High School, over the summer and delayed the school's opening for the academic year until Sept. 17. The district so far has spent more than a quarter million dollars on clean-up.

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    They expect 48.5 million people will travel by automobile, a jump of five percent over last year.

    AAA predicts that more than 54 million Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year, the highest number since 2005, with Boston as one of the busiest areas of travel.

    They teamed up with INRIX, a global mobility analytics company, to predict travel times for the holiday period, which is defined as Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25.

    They expect 48.5 million people will travel by automobile, a jump of five percent over last year.

    Planes are expected to have the largest growth in travel, with an increase of 5.4 percent for a total of 4.27 million traveling by plane.

    The worst anticipated time for travel in the Boston area is Tuesday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the area of I-495 S from exit 41 to exit 33.

    An anticipated delay of 3.5 times the normal commute is expected to hamper the drive. This comes just short of San Francisco, which is expected to have four times the traffic delay.

    In addition, motorists can expect a much higher average gas price compared to last year.

    AAA says to expect a national average of $2.79 as of November 1, which is 31 cents more than a year ago.

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    It took six volunteers to take it off the beach. Watch video

    EASTHAM, Mass. (AP) -- Volunteers have rescued a massive leatherback turtle off a Massachusetts beach.

    The Cape Cod Times reports that the turtle was spotted on First Encounter Beach in Eastham at around 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

    Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Director Robert Prescott says the juvenile turtle weighed between 400 and 500 pounds (181 and 227 kilograms). It took six volunteers to take it off the beach.

    Prescott says leatherbacks are the largest of all sea turtles, and can weigh up to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms).

    He says the turtle looked to be in great shape.

    Prescott says the turtle has been transported to the New England Aquarium where it will be examined.

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    Town officials got an earful from many Station Road area homeowners during a recent public forum the town convened to explain why the 14-foot bridge over Hop Brook was closed.

    AMHERST - Town officials got an earful from many Station Road area homeowners during a recent public forum the town convened to explain why the 14-foot bridge over Hop Brook was closed.

    Residents asked dozens of questions and made numerous comments.

    "I don't understand why a tiny bridge takes so long" to be replaced, resident Amy Vickers said.

    Officials said it is possible a temporary bridge could be installed by springtime at the earliest, and a permanent replacement could be in place within two years.

    Many in attendance said that was not good enough, with one man twice asserting that responses to the problem are "a joke."

    But Kent W. Faerber, of 481 Station Road, disagreed. He said Amherst officials would do the right thing and urged patience.

    "I have confidence in the town efforts," he said during the meeting. "For us to be put out of commission six months (until a replacement bridge is installed) is a small price to pay -- otherwise you look like children of white privilege."

    The tiny span was closed in September after the Massachusetts Department of Transportation advised the Amherst Department of Public Works it was no longer safe for vehicular traffic and recommended its closure. It remains open for pedestrians.

    Hop Brook carries water between Fort River and Lawrence Swamp.

    Amherst Town Manager Paul Bockelman, Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek and public works superintendent Guilford Mooring told the 70 attending the public forum that while they would like a quick fix, state and local wetlands rules and laws must be followed.

    They said the permitting process cannot be short-circuited and told residents they will continue to expedite the project.

    The officials said they hope the state and federal governments would pay the costs to replace Station Road bridge, but the town paying for it is also on the table.

    "We want it open as soon as possible," Bockelman said during the Oct. 30 meeting at Fort River Elementary School's cafeteria. "The issue is about the permitting process."

    He said it is the administration's position that an appropriation to fund replacement for the bridge would not be an obstacle, saying if state and federal funds do not come through, "we would go to the" town council seeking permission to borrow money.

    "We hope for and anticipate working with the state to secure state funding" for the bridge replacement, Bockelman said in an interview following the meeting.

    During the meeting, he estimated that the cost for "unmet needs on our roadways" currently stands at $12 million.

    Station Road Bridge FAQ FINAL by The Republican/ on Scribd

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    The tech stock tumble came followed an analyst report that suggested Apple significantly cut back orders from one of its suppliers.

    A broad sell-off in technology companies pulled U.S. stocks sharply lower Monday, knocking more than 600 points off the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

    The wave of selling snared big names, including Apple, Amazon and Goldman Sachs. Banks, consumer-focused companies, and media and communications stocks all took heavy losses. Crude oil prices fell, erasing early gains and extending a losing streak to 11 days.

    The tech stock tumble came followed an analyst report that suggested Apple significantly cut back orders from one of its suppliers. That, in turn, weighed on chipmakers.

    "With the news out of the Apple supplier this morning, you have the market overall questioning the growth trajectory as we look out to 2019," said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA. "We continue to like tech going into next year, but we think it could be a little bit of a rocky period for the group as we continue through the last two months of the year."

    The market's slide came after a two-week winning streak.

    The S&P 500 index dropped 54.79 points, or 2 percent, to 2,726.22. The Dow fell 602.12 points, or 2.3 percent, to 25,387.18. It was down briefly by 648 points.

    The Nasdaq composite slid 206.03 points, or 2.8 percent, to 7,200.87. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies gave up 30.70 points, or 2 percent, to 1,518.79.

    Bond trading was closed for Veterans Day. Stocks in Europe also suffered losses.

    Apple tumbled 5 percent to $194.17 after Wells Fargo analysts said the iPhone maker is the unnamed customer that optical communications company Lumentum Holdings said was significantly reducing orders. Shares in Lumentum plunged 33 percent to $37.50.

    Several chipmakers also fell. Advanced Micro Devices gave up 9.5 percent to $19.03, while Nvidia lost 7.8 percent to $189.54. Micron Technology gave up 4.3 percent to $37.44.

    Amazon slid 4.4 percent to $1,636.85.

    Banks and other financial companies also took heavy losses Tuesday. Goldman Sachs slid 7.5 percent to $206.05.

    "Expectations are really that the deregulation process that has benefited banks up to this point is going to be slowed down with the Democrats in charge," Bell said.

    Stocks appeared to have regained their footing after a skid in October snapped a six-month string of gains for the S&P 500. Stocks rallied last week after the U.S. midterm elections turned out largely as investors expected, with a divided Congress promising legislative gridlock in Washington the next couple of years.

    While the market has typically thrived in periods of divided government, investors continue to grapple with uncertainty over the U.S.-China trade dispute and the potential impact of increased oversight of Corporate America by Democrats, who will be taking over leadership in the House of Representatives in January.

    In addition, some companies have recently reported third-quarter earnings and outlooks that have stoked investors' worries about the future growth of corporate profits.

    While companies got a boost this year from the lower tax rates put in place by President Donald Trump and the GOP last December, several companies have recently warned about the impact of higher costs related to tariffs and rising interest rates.

    "The bull market is not over, the economic expansion is not over, but things are starting to wind down," said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading & derivatives at Charles Schwab. "We're clearly getting into the late innings of the ball game."

    British American Tobacco, which makes Newport cigarettes, plunged 8.8 percent to $38.08 on reports that regulators were considering a ban on menthol cigarettes.

    PG&E tumbled 17.4 percent to $32.98 after the electric utility told regulators that a high-voltage line experienced a problem near the origin of one of the major California wildfires before the blaze started.

    Investors bid up shares in Athenahealth after the struggling medical billing software maker said it received a $5.7 billion cash buyout offer. The stock jumped 9.7 percent to $131.97.

    About 90 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported third-quarter results so far, with some 51 percent of those posting earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street's forecasts, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Several big retailers are due to deliver results this week, including Walmart, Home Depot, Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom and J.C. Penney.

    "That could actually probably boost the market," Bell said. "Retailers are going to have a better third quarter than most people expect. A lot of them ordered goods ahead of the tariffs going into place, so they're not going to have to pass on higher prices on to the consumer this holiday season."

    Benchmark U.S. crude gave up an early gain, sliding 0.4 percent to settle at $59.93 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, dipped 0.1 percent to close at $70.12 per barrel in London. Oil futures rose earlier on news that Saudi Arabia and other major producers planned to reduce output.

    The dollar strengthened to 113.86 yen from 113.80 yen on Friday. The euro fell to $1.1240 from $1.1336. The British pound weakened to $1.2853 from $1.2975 amid concerns that Britain's government is struggling to find unity on a Brexit deal.

    Gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,203.50 an ounce. Silver lost 0.9 percent to $14.01 an ounce. Copper slid 0.3 percent to $2.68 a pound.

    In other energy trading, heating oil fell 0.8 percent to $2.16 a gallon and wholesale gasoline gained 0.9 percent to $1.64 a gallon. Natural gas rose 1.9 percent to $3.79 per 1,000 cubic feet.

    Major stock indexes in Europe also ended lower Monday. Germany's DAX lost 1.8 percent and France's CAC 40 fell 0.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 shed 0.7 percent.

    In Asia, markets finished mixed. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.1 percent. Australia's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.3 percent. The Kospi in South Korea dipped 0.3 percent.

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    The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Fire Department Arson and Bomb Squad.

    SPRINGFIELD - A house fire displaced five residents Monday night.

    The fire was reported at 5:12 p.m. at 317 Peekskill Ave. When firefighters arrived, they found flames on the first floor of the home, said Dennis Leger, assistant to Fire Commissioner Bernard J. Calvi.

    The fire was quickly extinguished and caused about $10,000 in damage. No one was injured in the blaze, he said.

    The Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting residents.

    The cause of the fire is under investigation by the department's Arson and Bomb Squad, Leger said.

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    At the Vatican's insistence, U.S. Catholic bishops abruptly postponed plans Monday to vote on proposed new steps to address the clergy sex abuse crisis roiling the church.

    BALTIMORE (AP) -- At the Vatican's insistence, U.S. Catholic bishops abruptly postponed plans Monday to vote on proposed new steps to address the clergy sex abuse crisis roiling the church.

    Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said he was told on the eve of the bishop's national meeting to delay action until after a Vatican-convened global meeting on sex abuse in February.

    "We are not ourselves happy about this," DiNardo told reporters in an unusual public display of frustration at a Vatican pronouncement.

    "We are working very hard to move to action -- and we'll do it," he said. "I think people in the church have a right to be skeptical. I think they also have a right to be hopeful."

    The bishops are meeting through Wednesday in Baltimore and had been expected to consider several steps to combat abuse, including a new code of conduct for themselves and the creation of a special commission, including lay experts, to review complaints against the bishops.

    The bishops plan to proceed with discussing these proposals, which were drafted in September by the bishops' Administrative Committee. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, of Chicago, suggested the bishops could hold a non-binding vote on the proposals while in Baltimore and then convene a special assembly for a formal vote after considering the results of the global meeting in February.

    "I realize that another meeting will create logistical challenges for the conference staff and the bishops' schedules, but there is a grave urgency to this matter and we cannot delay," Cupich said.

    Abuse scandals have roiled the Roman Catholic Church worldwide for decades, but there have been major developments this year in the U.S.

    In July, Pope Francis removed U.S. church leader Theodore McCarrick as a cardinal after church investigators said an allegation that he groped a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible. Subsequently, several former seminarians and priests reported they too had been abused or harassed by McCarrick as adults, triggering debate over who might have known and covered up McCarrick's misconduct.

    In August, a grand jury report in Pennsylvania detailed decades of abuse and cover-up in six dioceses, alleging more than 1,000 children had been abused over the years by about 300 priests. Since then, a federal prosecutor in Philadelphia has begun working on a federal criminal case centered on child exploitation, and attorneys general in several other states have launched investigations.

    DiNardo, in his address opening the bishops' assembly, told survivors of clergy abuse he was "deeply sorry."

    "Some would say this is entirely a crisis of the past. It is not," DiNardo said. "We must never victimize survivors over again by demanding they heal on our timeline."

    After DiNardo's address, the bishops adjourned to a chapel for a daylong session of prayer that includes remarks by two survivors of clergy abuse who have worked to promote healing and reconciliation among other victims.

    "Please understand the heart of the church is broken and you need to fix this now,'" Luis A. Torres Jr. told the bishops.  "You were not called to be CEOs... You were not called to be princes. Be the priests that you were called to be. Please act now. Be better. Be good."

    Outside the conference hall, news of the delay in voting angered some protesters who were demanding the bishops take strong action against abuse.

    "I know that they answer to the Holy See, but there's a bigger imperative here, which is that children and victims need them to step forward," said Anne Barrett Doyle, who works at the abuse database "By complying so meekly with what the pope has demanded of them today, they are surrendering their responsibility."

    Liz McCloskey, part of a coalition of concerned Catholics called the 5 Theses movement that has posted its proposals for reform on church doors in Baltimore and other cities, said the stakes couldn't be higher. She said Catholics were "leaving in droves" in the absence of significant reforms and full transparency.

    "Delaying taking any action in response to the sex abuse scandal is not only a public relations nightmare but a moral failing," McCloskey told The Associated Press.

    Her group's proposals for the bishops include cooperating fully with investigations and releasing names of credibly accused clergy, committing to shedding regalia and living simply, and asking Pope Francis to put women in leadership posts.

    DiNardo said the bishops didn't complete a final draft of their proposed anti-abuse actions until Oct. 30 and the Vatican, with relatively short notice, sought to delay voting because of potential legal complications.

    Nonetheless, John Gehring, the Catholic program director at a Washington-based clergy network called Faith in Public Life, said the Vatican "just made a big mistake."

    "The optics are terrible, and it sends a message, intended or not, that Rome doesn't recognize the urgency of the moment," Gehring tweeted .

    By DAVID McFADDEN and DAVID CRARY, Associated Press

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    Shavar A. Bellamy, 32, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm without a permit.

    LEOMINSTER - State Police confiscated an unlawful gun and arrested a 32-year-old Fitchburg resident during a routine traffic stop Monday morning.

    Trooper Joseph Hall initially pulled over a 2001 Toyota Yaris shortly before 9 a.m. as it entered Route 2 because it had a canceled vehicle registration. After speaking to the driver, he realized he was operating with a suspended license, police said.

    The trooper then spoke to the passenger, Shavar A. Bellamy, and realized he was carrying a gun and did not have a firearms license, police said.

    Bellamy, 32, was then arrested and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a permit, and possession of a firearm without a license, police said.

    The driver, Michael L. Magee, 65, of Maynard, was also arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license and driving an unregistered and unregistered motor vehicle, police said.

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    Democrat Kyrsten Sinema won Arizona's open U.S. Senate seat Monday in a race that was among the most closely watched in the nation, beating Republican Rep. Martha McSally in the battle to replace GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.

    PHOENIX (AP) -- Democrat Kyrsten Sinema won Arizona's open U.S. Senate seat Monday in a race that was among the most closely watched in the nation, beating Republican Rep. Martha McSally in the battle to replace GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.

    The three-term congresswoman won after a slow vote count that dragged on for nearly a week after voters went to the polls on Nov. 6. She becomes Arizona's first Democratic U.S. senator since 1994. Her win cemented Arizona as a swing state after years of Republican dominance.

    Sinema portrayed herself as a moderate who works across the aisle to get things done.

    McSally, a former Air Force pilot who embraced President Donald Trump after opposing him during the 2016 elections, had claimed that Sinema's anti-war protests 15 years ago disqualified her and said one protest amounted to what she called "treason."

    But during her six years in Congress, Sinema built one of most centrist records in the Democratic caucus, and she voted for bills backed by Trump more than 60 percent of the time. She backed legislation increasing penalties against people in the country illegally who commit crimes.

    McSally's attacks on Sinema reached back more than 15 years, when Sinema was a Green Party spokeswoman and liberal activist.

    McSally backed Trump's tax cut, border security and the Affordable Care Act repeal agenda as she survived a three-way GOP primary in August, defeating two conservative challengers who claimed her support for Trump was fake. McSally also campaigned on her military record and support for the Armed Forces.

    Sinema attacked McSally's leadership of last year's failed Affordable Care Act repeal effort as a sign that she would not protect Arizona residents with preexisting medical conditions. McSally argued that she would protect patients, despite her vote on the bill that would have removed many of those protections.

    The contest drew more than $90 million in spending, including more than $58 million by outside groups, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Attack ads by both sides clogged the airwaves for months.

    Sinema, 42, has a law degree, worked as a social worker and was a political activist in her 20s, running as an independent Green Party candidate for the Arizona House. She then became a Democrat and served several terms in the state Legislature. Sinema started as an overt liberal but developed a reputation for compromise among her Republican peers, laying the groundwork to tack to the center.

    When the 9th Congressional District was created after the 2010 Census, Sinema ran for the Phoenix-area seat as a centrist and won the 2012 election.

    McSally, 52, was the first female Air Force pilot to fly in combat, flying A-10 attack jets. She also was the first woman to command a fighter squadron, again in A-10s.

    McSally lost her first race in Arizona's 2nd congressional district in 2012, when she was narrowly defeated by Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, who replaced Rep. Gabby Giffords after she was wounded in a 2011 assassination attempt. But McSally came back to win the 2014 election, beating Barber by a narrow margin. She was re-elected in 2016.

    Flake was an outspoken critic of Trump and announced in 2017 that he would not seek re-election, acknowledging he could not win a GOP primary in the current political climate. His support of the president's initiatives, however, was mixed. He strongly backed last year's tax cut bill but criticized Trump's positions on free trade.

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