Articles on this Page
- 11/14/18--15:50: _Michael Avenatti de...
- 11/14/18--16:00: _Seen@ photos: 2018 ...
- 11/14/18--16:25: _Second man arraigne...
- 11/14/18--20:03: _Powerball numbers: ...
- 11/14/18--22:58: _Northern California...
- 11/15/18--03:01: _Easthampton child c...
- 11/15/18--03:04: _Square One students...
- 11/15/18--03:14: _Up to 8 inches of s...
- 11/15/18--03:31: _State Sen. Eric Les...
- 11/15/18--05:02: _Can cannabis be a s...
- 11/15/18--05:31: _Amid flap over sola...
- 11/15/18--07:17: _Victims at Page Bou...
- 11/15/18--07:37: _Longmeadow School C...
- 11/15/18--07:47: _Chance conversation...
- 11/15/18--07:51: _Hampden DA identifi...
- 11/15/18--10:51: _Holyoke man arreste...
- 11/15/18--11:24: _Hundreds of Longmea...
- 11/15/18--09:28: _Winter storm warnin...
- 11/15/18--10:22: _John Lennon's kille...
- 11/15/18--10:57: _MGM Springfield rep...
- 11/14/18--16:25: Second man arraigned in homicide of Pittsfield barber
- 11/15/18--03:01: Easthampton child care center opposes nearby cannabis dispensary
- 11/15/18--05:02: Can cannabis be a study aid?
- 11/15/18--05:31: Amid flap over solar farm denial, Ware Planning Board member resigns
Los Angeles police responded to an incident involving Michael Avenatti.
Michael Avenatti, attorney for porn star Stormy Daniels and one of President Donald Trump's most vocal critics, was taken into police custody Wednesday following an allegation of domestic violence, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.
NBC News has reported Avenatti was detained after police responded to a call at an exclusive apartment building in the Century City section of Los Angeles.
The woman's face was "swollen and bruised" with "red marks" on both cheeks, TMZ reported, adding Avenatti told security she had hit him first.
Avenatti has been talking up a potential presidential bid in 2020.
He rose to prominence after taking up the case of Daniels, who received $130,000 as part of a 2016 settlement that barred her from discussing an alleged sexual relationship with Trump.
Gilberto "Giba" Godoy Filho of Brazil, Bas van de Goor of the Netherlands, Evgenia Artamonova Estes of Russia, Hugh McCutcheon of New Zealand and Hiroshi Toyoda of Japan were inducted.
HOLYOKE -- The International Volleyball Hall of Fame celebrated its five-member Class of 2018 last weekend with events in the city where the game was invented.
The 33rd induction class included men's indoor volleyball players Gilberto "Giba" Godoy Filho of Brazil and Bas van de Goor of the Netherlands, women's indoor volleyball player Evgenia Artamonova Estes of Russia, coach Hugh McCutcheon of New Zealand and United States and leader Hiroshi Toyoda of Japan.
McCutcheon is the first person from New Zealand to be inducted.
Events included the mayor's reception Friday night at Wistariahurst Museum, a ring and plaque ceremony at the Hall of Fame on Saturday morning and the Induction Gala Dinner & Enshrinement Ceremony at The Log Cabin on Saturday night.
"The 2018 class of inductees has some of the most accomplished performers and contributors that the sport has ever seen," said Doug Beal, co-chair of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame selection committee, in a statement. "The class of 2018 is truly another special and unique group that further enhances the stature and quality of the International Volleyball Hall of Fame and, indeed, the spectacular growth and success of the sport itself."
Anthony O. Boone, 22, entered a not guilty plea and is being held without the right to bail.
PITTSFIELD - A second man charged with murder in the October death of a 34-year-old was ordered held without bail after being arraigned Wednesday in Berkshire Superior Court.
Anthony O. Boone, 22, of 274 Bradford St., entered a not guilty plea to one count of murder in Berkshire Superior Court. Judge Agostini ordered him held at the Berkshire County House of Correction, said Fred Lantz, spokesman for Berkshire District Attorney Paul J. Caccaviello.
He was arrested in the death Oct. 15 death of William Catalano, a local barber, who was found lying on the sidewalk in front of 219 Robbins Ave. around 5:30 p.m. Witnesses told police there had been an altercation involving multiple people shortly before he was found.
He was beaten and died of stab wounds at Berkshire Medical Center about 90 minutes after being found, Lantz said.
Tuesday another man accused in the homicide was arraigned. Jason Sefton, 20, of Pittsfield, entered not guilty pleas and is also being held without bail, he said.
Brian D. Ramono, 22, of 126 Elizabeth St., has also been arrested and charged with murder in the death. He is being held in the Berkshire County House of Correction until his arraignment, he said.
Here are the winning jackpot numbers in Wednesday's Powerball lottery drawing. Watch video
The jackpot climbed over $100 million for the latest Powerball lottery drawing.
Here are Wednesday's winning numbers:
07-42-49-62-69, Powerball: 23, PowerPlay: 5X
The estimated jackpot is $106.4 million. The lump sum payment before taxes would be about $60 million. If there is no jackpot winner, the amount grows larger for the next drawing.
The last time someone won the Powerball jackpot was Oct. 27 when tickets sold in New York and Iowa split a $687.7 million payout.
Powerball is held in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
A $2 ticket gives you a one in 292.2 million chance at joining the hall of Powerball champions.
The drawings are held at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays and Saturdays. Deadline to purchase tickets is 9:45 p.m.
Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.
MAGALIA, Calif. -- As the scope of a deadly Northern California wildfire set in, the sheriff said more than 450 people had now been assigned to comb through the charred remains in search for more bodies. The blaze has killed at least 56 people and authorities say 130 are unaccounted for.
Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.
The one major roadway that runs through the mostly residential town is dotted with gas stations, a pizza shop, a hair salon and Chinese restaurant and convenience stores. There is no Main Street or town center. Resident Johnny Pohmagevich says a Rite Aid on the main road is as much of a center as the town has.
"When I say downtown I mean Paradise," said Pohmagevich, who opted to stay in Magalia even as fire closed in.
Pohmagevich, an 18-year Magalia resident who works at Timber Ridge Real Estate and lives just up the road from many burned homes, said he stayed to protect his employer's property from looters and to prepare some cabins and mobile homes so business tenants can live if they come back.
"If this town does recover, it's going to take many, many years," he said.
A week after the deadly Camp Fire struck, police teams drive around Magalia searching for those still in their homes, checking if they need any food and water. Crews from Pacific Gas & Electric are also in the area. With the death toll at 56, it is the deadliest wildfire in a century. There were also three fatalities from separate blazes in Southern California.
As officials raised the loss of homes to nearly 8,800 Wednesday, Sheriff Kory Honea said the task of recovering remains had become so vast that his office brought in another 287 searchers Wednesday, including National Guard troops, bringing the total number of searchers to 461 plus 22 cadaver dogs. He said a rapid-DNA assessment system was expected to be in place soon to speed up identifications of the dead, though officials have tentatively identified 47 of the 56.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke joined California Gov. Jerry Brown Wednesday on a visit to the nearby leveled town of Paradise, telling reporters it was the worst fire devastation he had ever seen.
"Now is not the time to point fingers," Zinke said. "There are lots of reasons these catastrophic fires are happening." He cited warmer temperatures, dead trees and the poor forest management.
Brown, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump's policies, said he spoke with Trump, who pledged federal assistance.
"This is so devastating that I don't really have the words to describe it," Brown said, saying officials would need to learn how to better prevent fires from becoming so deadly.
It will take years to rebuild, if people decide that's what should be done, said Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"The infrastructure is basically a total rebuild at this point," Long said.
While most of the town of Paradise was wiped out, in Magalia, a sharp dividing line marks those that survived and those that did not.
"Magalia has so many trees. I honestly can't believe it just didn't get leveled," said Sheri Palade, an area real estate agent.
For some, the areas left untouched offered a ray of hope.
Tom Driver, the office manager and elder at Magalia Community Church, said he had heard the church survived the blaze, though he did not know the status of his own home.
"I've been able to account for all of the congregation," said Driver, who is staying with family in Oakland. "They're all over the place but they got out in pretty good time."
Driver said many residents of Magalia work at the university in Chico or out of their homes. When the blaze spread into Paradise, residents there drove down and faced horrendous traffic. Driver said he and some others in Magalia were able to escape north on a winding narrow road that put them ahead of the fire, not behind it.
Kim Bonini heard someone on a bullhorn two blocks over on Thursday urging people to leave. The power in her home had gone out that morning, leaving her only with her car radio to tell her if she needed to leave.
"My cell didn't work, my house phone didn't work, nothing. Nothing except for me crawling into my car," Bonini said from her daughter's home in Chico on Wednesday. "If I wouldn't have heard them two blocks down I wouldn't have known I had to evacuate."
The cause of the fire remained under investigation, but it broke out around the time and place that a utility reported equipment trouble.
--By Kathleen Ronayne
All About Children is a direct neighbor to the proposed Herbology Group marijuana shop
The owner of a child care center at 15 Industrial Parkway opposes plans by Herbology Group, Inc. to build a medical and adult-use marijuana cultivation and retail facility at 195 Northampton Street, the site of the former Cook Builders Supply.
The back of the former building supply store on Rt. 10 is clearly visible from All About Children, a center located at the small industrial park's cul-de-sac.
What separates the child care center and the proposed marijuana center is a back access drive to the U.S. Postal Service building on Rt. 10, with a sign that says "authorized vehicles only."
Karin Peterson, owner of All About Children, said she and some parents want to stop the Herbology Group project, and that a child care center and cannabis store are incompatible uses.
The city's zoning code prohibits marijuana facilities within 350 feet of a "pre-existing public or private school providing education in kindergarten or any of grades 1 through 12."
However, the zoning code for marijuana facilities offers no such buffer protections for child care centers.
Peterson on Wednesday expressed incredulity that the Planning Board and City Council crafted its marijuana zoning that way.
"It's unbelievable," she said. "Children are children. Why should they care more about a child who turns five on September 2 than a child who turns five on August 31?"
City officials in 2017 and 2018 spent seven months hammering out zoning rules to regulate the recreational marijuana industry in town. Impassioned public discussions were held, and the issue of buffer zones inspired lengthy debate.
Asked why representatives from All About Children did not participate in the well-attended cannabis zoning discussions, Peterson, a Westfield resident, she had not heard about the meetings.
Peterson and other opponents did attend an April 16 public hearing concerning the Herbology Group's special permit application before the Planning Board. That hearing will continue on Dec. 4.
Industrial Parkway, home to various light industrial businesses, is also home to the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School. That elementary school is more than 350 feet away from the proposed marijuana facility, and therefore outside of the buffer zone.
"If our location and the charter school's location were reversed, then there is no way they could build there," she said. "It's absurd."
Peterson said parents are concerned about increased vehicular traffic, people driving while impaired, and more foot traffic through the industrial park. She said Industrial Parkway and the post office access road are already a shortcut for people walking from the PVTA bus stop on O'Neill Street to Rt. 10.
She said when the children are taken outside for walks, they shouldn't have to confront impaired pot shop customers, or find marijuana products inadvertently dropped on the ground.
Peterson said she called the offices of Gov. Charlie Baker, Sen. Donald Humason (R-Westfield), and Rep. John Scibak (D-South Hadley), as well as Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and City Councilor At-Large Owen Zaret, but was not satisfied with the response.
"They said 'um, um, um,'" she said.
The Herbology Group, in its special permit application, says it will "conduct an extensive landscaping program to visually shield the property from any parcels on Industrial Way, including the planting of new trees and installation of a contextually appropriate fence."
The applicant has pledged to "work with the surrounding community to find appropriate locations for wayfinding signage to ensure the flow of traffic does not result in negative impacts on the neighborhood."
The Herbology Group also plans to sell cannabis in Amherst at the former Rafters Sports Bar & Restaurant at 422 Amity Street.
The corporation is owned by Jane Hawman of Sandy Hook, Connecticut; Michael Duku of Columbia, Connecticut; and Steve Gotwald of West Palm Beach, Florida.
The Herbology Group will need a license from the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission before it opens its doors.
Peterson said she and others won't give up. "We plan to keep digging," she said.
The pet project was part of Square One's after-school curriculum for school-age children who have been learning to create various products using recycled materials, such as towels, tee shirts and socks, according to Kristine Allard, the agency's chief development and communications officer.
SPRINGFIELD -- It was puppy love at first sight on Monday when 20 Square One students visited Dakin Humane Society's downtown headquarters to deliver handmade pet beds and chew toys for shelter animals.
The pet project was part of Square One's after-school curriculum for school-age children who have been learning to create various products using recycled materials, such as towels, T-shirts and socks, according to Kristine Allard, the agency's chief development and communications officer.
Nora Benbow, site coordinator for Square One and the project leader, said the children love animals and like learning about them.
"A lot of kids have pets at home and they understand what they need," Benbow said.
Children brought old pillows from home and made the pet beds by covering them with brightly colored, patterned fleece with hand-tied fringe.
"No sewing needles needed," she said.
Chew toys were made from T-shirts, socks and tennis balls, Allard said.
Dakin Humane Society Executive Director Carmine DiCenso greeted the children and explained that while dogs and cats make up the majority of the shelter residents, there are many other animals there including ferrets, gerbils, birds, rabbits and even a chinchilla.
The shelter takes in about 35 animals a day and serves about 6,000 a year.
The 50-year-old agency serves three counties -- Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin -- as well as some communities in northern Connecticut.
Before DiCenso led them on a tour of the shelter, the children met the director's 13-year-old dog Sophie, who was eager for the attention of the visitors.
But one of the feline residents, a black cat named Midnight, played hard to get as the children scanned her quarters to discover where she was hiding.
"Where did she go?" 5-year-old Cameron Jeffries asked.
The cat's enclosure included an elaborate playscape and there were plenty of places to disappear.
Before they headed to the dog cages, DiCenso had the children hold up and wiggle their fingers as a reminder to keep their fingers out of cages so as not to frighten the animals. DiCenso explained that a dogs will lift up a paw or stick their tail between their legs when they are scared.
Jeffries dropped off a handmade pillow outside the cage of Gracie, a Chihuahua, and 11-year-old Darius Vizcarrondo delivered a large red, white and blue pillow to Luna, a Great Pyrenees who wasted no time trying it out.
When the visit came to an end, one child asked if he could take a pet home.
The unsurprising answer: "You have to ask your parents."
As the first winter storm of the season approaches New England, the potential snowfall totals have risen.
As the first winter storm of the season approaches New England, the potential snowfall totals have risen.
The National Weather Service released an updated forecast maps Thursday morning, showing communities in the Berkshires and northern Franklin County are expected to see the most snowfall. These communities may see up to eight inches of snow by Friday morning.
Elsewhere in the Berkshires, Franklin County and spreading north to the New Hampshire State line, communities should expect four to six inches.
Further south in the Pioneer Valley, Central Massachusetts and a portion of Eastern Massachusetts, two to four inches are likely. Boston can expect an inch or two of snowfall by Friday morning.
Little to no snow accumulation is expected on the Cape and islands. Wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour are of concern for communities on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, where a wind advisory has been issued.
The storm is expected to first bring snow before transitioning to a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain late Thursday into early Friday morning.
The National Weather Service warns of difficult travel conditions due to potential icing in Central and Western Massachusetts, and a few communities in Eastern Massachusetts.
"Plan on slippery road conditions," the National Weather Service said of the Thursday evening and Friday morning commute.
This will be the first widespread accumulating snowfall of the season for Massachusetts.
With a proposal to connect Boston and Western Massachusetts via rail gaining widespread support and attention from candidates ahead of the 2018 election, state Sen. Eric Lesser committed Wednesday to ensuring the issue remains at the forefront of lawmakers' agendas in the coming months and years.
SPRINGFIELD -- With a proposal to connect Boston and Western Massachusetts via rail gaining widespread support and attention from candidates ahead of the 2018 election, state Sen. Eric Lesser committed Wednesday to ensuring the issue remains at the forefront of lawmakers' agendas in the coming months and years.
The Longmeadow Democrat, who has been the driving force behind the "East-West" rail proposal, told reporters that while he appreciates politicians like Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's focus on the issue in 2018, he's not done pushing for it to become a reality.
"It's not going to fall by the wayside. There's way too many people who care too deeply about this and know how important it is -- from the business community to the advocates, to just everyday people," he said following an event at Western New England University. "We're not going to let it go away."
Arguing that "rail is meeting its moment," Lesser pointed to the state's decision to study the feasibility of increasing rail traffic between Western Massachusetts and Boston.
Beyond that, he offered, federal lawmakers could soon set aside funding for such a project, with both Neal, D-Springfield, and U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Worcester, expected to hold some of the most powerful positions on Capitol Hill come 2019.
"The stars are hopefully aligning for some major forward momentum," he said.
Lesser said it is expected to take the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about 12 to 15 months to conduct its $1 million study on the feasibility of East-West rail, which began this fall.
Following the study's completion, the state senator said he will push lawmakers to "get to work."
"We start to build the political will and the consensus to make it happen," he said. "We've lost our sense of ambition, I think, in this country about what we can do. Much harder projects have been pulled off -- the Erie Canal was built well over 100 years ago without power tools. So, we can make it happen if we build the political will to make it happen."
Stressing that "this is no longer a Western Mass. project," Lesser argued that "the whole state is involved in this, the whole state is excited about it, the whole state is invested in it."
Warren, who initially backed East-West rail in March 2017, reiterated her support for the transportation proposal throughout her 2018 campaign, calling East-West rail "one of (her) priorities" during an October U.S. Senate debate in Springfield.
Neal, who is expected to take over as the next U.S. House Ways and Means Committee chairman, also touted East-West rail during his 2018 re-election bid. He joined Gov. Charlie Baker in announcing the state's feasibility study in June.
State officials said in October that they had retained a consulting firm to study the feasibility of East-West rail from Boston through Worcester to Springfield, and as far west as Pittsfield.
Consultants will look at six options, each with different speeds and a different number of stops along the way, including a 90-minute service from Springfield's Union Station to Boston's South Station.
For years, Beacon Hill legislators have toyed with the idea of east-west rail.
In 2016, a proposal to study the measure made it into the final state budget, but was vetoed. Baker recommended replacing the study with another that would also consider other forms of transit. The House did not override Baker's veto, and the measure died.
A year later, the study was included in the Senate's version of the budget before it was cut in secret budget negotiations with the House prior to reaching Baker's desk.
MassDot's 2018 rail plan included a proposal to study ways to connect Boston and Springfield with passenger rail.
Marijuana use has been ubiquitous on college campuses for decades, but aside from using it for fun, some claim it helps them study. Watch video
Marijuana use has been ubiquitous on college campuses for decades, but aside from using it for fun, some claim it helps them study. Proponents say cannabis can help you relax, and open your mind to new thoughts. It's no worse than a late-night espresso. The other side says just get some coffee, study hard, and play afterward. So, should you hit the books high, or keep it for recreation?
The argument for using marijuana to assist with studying is that it can curb anxiety and facilitate creative thinking. But it's also true that people can get too high to understand a can opener, let alone calculus. As legalization spreads, the desire to understand the varied uses of marijuana increase as well.
University of Michigan's recent Green Wolverine Science Symposium, for example, investigated numerous cannabis-related medical possibilities. As we wait for the science to inform the world even more, the question of whether or not it's best to use it as a study aid or for relaxation remains.
An overview of medical and recreational use.
Even while the medical community remains skeptical of the increased motivation brought on by marijuana, most agree that more research is necessary to find out for sure.
Some people are turning to cannabis to study. Others are sticking with coffee.
Some users report increased creativity.
reading while stoned gives you such a deeper look into the complex world you've built in your mind-- dirty dan (@marquitolay) April 6, 2016
Here's a look at some of the best strains to deal with anxiety.
The relaxation and anti-anxiety properties are important.
Some results of the study: "Over half of the total respondents...60% reported anxiety as a symptom for which they used medical cannabis.#LegitimateMedicine #MedicalCannabis #MedicalMarijuana #harmreduction https://t.co/7wtnfGi1Ne-- Simona Rosenfield (@SimonaRosenfie1) November 12, 2018
Like weed is not just a drug to get high, it's a medicine made for health and relaxation..-- Kayla[?] (@kaylocs) October 6, 2016
The Tylt is focused on debates and conversations around news, current events and pop culture. We provide our community with the opportunity to share their opinions and vote on topics that matter most to them. We actively engage the community and present meaningful data on the debates and conversations as they progress. The Tylt is a place where your opinion counts, literally. The Tylt is an Advance Local Media, LLC property. Join us on Twitter @TheTylt, on Instagram @TheTylt or on Facebook, we'd love to hear what you have to say.
In an interview following the meeting, Chris DiMarzio said that after 22 years, it was time. He said that for the past five years, that has been on his mind, and what transpired at the meeting, that was held Nov. 7, convinced him to call it quits.
WARE -- During a contentious meeting last week involving the denial of a solar farm proposal, a long-serving Planning Board member who supported the project announced he would resign by year's end.
"I'm done. I don't need this aggravation anymore," Chris DiMarzio said at the Nov. 7 meeting.
In an interview following the meeting, DiMarzio said that, after 22 years, it was time. He said he has been considering stepping down for the past five years, and what transpired at the meeting convinced him to call it quits.
Ware Town Manager Stuart Beckley told The Republican he hopes DiMarzio reconsiders and remains on the board.
At issue was last month's 3-2 Planning Board vote on Ecos Energy's special permit application for an 8-megawatt solar facility near Beaver Lake. A supermajority of four votes was required to issue to the permit.
Ecos subsequently asked the board to reconsider, but no action was taken on that request at last week's meeting. The next Planning Board meeting is Dec. 5.
The company said previously that 55 acres of trees would be cut to build the estimated $9 million to $13 million facility.
At a planning board meeting Oct. 17, DiMarzio made a motion to approve the special permit for the project, which Fred Urban seconded. DiMarzio, Urban and Chairman Rick Starodoj voted in favor.
Joe Knight voted no. Meeting minutes indicate he said, prior to the vote: "That that much clear cutting all at once is very impactful; large-scale errors are even more impactful." The minutes say Knight "gave example of poor performance of prior project and permanently affected area farmers' fields."
Ed Murphy was the other no vote. The minutes say Murphy "stated that clear cutting that much acreage just for solar is counterintuitive; he understands the benefits of solar but disagrees with the method."
According to Ware's zoning bylaws, an applicant for a special permit must show that the "proposal ... will not be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the neighborhood or the Town."
Written procedures pertaining to special permit votes stipulate that: "The Planning Department will prepare the Decision and will file it with the Town Clerk within 14 days of the Special Permit Granting Authority's vote."
To date, the paperwork has not been filed with the clerk. According to the town's legal counsel, the board must do that within 90 days of the vote.
Planning Board Clerk Judi Mosso wrote Town Counsel David Wojcik on Oct. 24, saying there is "a strong sense of obligation to file the Decision by the 14-day timeframe -- 10/31 by 4 p.m. -- whether the PB chooses to revisit the matter or not."
During last week's meeting, DiMarzio said he made the motion to approve the permit believing it would pass unanimously. He said he was surprised by the outcome and that he would not have made the motion if he had known there was opposition.
After the result was known, DiMarzio objected to the process, he said last week.
"We had the vote. Procedurally, I knew it wasn't right," he said. "We have the obligation (to tell the) applicant why they are being denied."
According to the town's rules, which cite state law, an applicant must wait two years following a denial to reapply. The rules also say that an appeal can be made within 20 days of the written denial to either state land court or to superior court.
The documents, which include a 13-page list of items logged as evidence, offer the most complete account to date of the grisly scene police found at 1333 Page Blvd.
SPRINGFIELD -- Two of the women whose bodies were found at Stewart Weldon's home were bound with electrical cords and other cables, according to unredacted court papers released Thursday.
The documents, which include a 13-page list of items logged as evidence, offer the most complete account to date of the grisly scene police found at 1333 Page Blvd. after Weldon's mother Constance White, who owns the home, called 911 on May 30 to report "a rancid smell and an unusual amount of flies."
While the documents do not shed any new light on how the women died -- each death certificate said the cause was "homicidal violence" -- the evidence list and a detective's affidavit offer a grim portrait of the brutality the women endured.
"In the north area of the basement, officers observed a human body in a state of decomposition," Detective Joseph E. Brodeur wrote in his application for a search warrant. "The body's hands were tied together as were the body's feet."
Two more discoveries quickly followed. Officers looked through a window of the home's single-car garage and saw a body under a tarp. Outside a tool shed was a shovel and a pile of dirt "possibly concealing more bodies," Brodeur wrote.
Weldon, 41, has since been charged with murder for the deaths of the women found in the basement, in the garage and under the shed: Kayla Escalante, 27, of Ludlow, and Springfield residents Ernestine Ryans, 47, and 34-year-old America Lyden. He was also indicted on four dozen counts including strangulation, rape and kidnapping involving eight living victims. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bail.
The Republican / MassLive and The Boston Globe went to court in June seeking the release of a police report on Weldon's alleged assault on a woman in February. In later motions, the news organizations sought the release of search warrant materials from the weeklong probe at the Page Boulevard property.
The Hampden district attorney's office first released a version of the evidence list with all 196 items blacked out. In late July, the office released information on about 120 items, which included rosary beads, numerous items of clothing and turkey bones recovered when investigators dug up the yard.
But Weldon's attorney, Brian Murphy, joined prosecutors in arguing against the release of the full list. Some of the roughly 75 items remaining were "quite sensational," he told a Springfield District Court judge that
Among those items were "bindings from hands, feet, ankles and face" of one of the victims, according to the documents released Thursday. The description of another victim mentions "bindings (tan cad cable, electric cable with plug, black coaxial cable)."
One of the details blacked out in earlier versions of the list is an acronym that shows up 18 times: "RBS." The police shorthand for "red blood stains" appears in descriptions of items ranging from a bamboo stick to clothing, sheets and towels.
The list released Thursday also offers details about where in and around the home each item was found.
Investigators collected 60 items from the home's basement, including 18 from a cedar closet and 16 from a bathroom -- areas where police sources say they found significant amounts of blood. On the home's first floor, police gathered 57 items, with many coming from a kitchen trash can.
The car Weldon was driving at the time of his May 27 arrest -- which, according to Brodeur's affidavit, his mother retrieved on May 29 -- yielded 10 pieces of evidence, including a knife blade and a blood-stained sheet.
Also on the full list is an item described as "(2) wooden sticks with wire attached." MassLive previously reported on a court motion in which prosecutors said "two sticks wrapped with wire" had been used to assault at least one victim, and that DNA collected from the weapon allegedly matched Weldon's genetic profile.
Weldon's next court date is Jan. 18.
Western Mass News reported the committee voted 4 to 3 not to renew Martin O'Shea's contract which expires at the end of the school year.
LONGMEADOW - The Longmeadow School Committee voted not to renew Superintendent Martin O'Shea's contract Wednesday night.
Western Mass News reported the committee voted 4 to 3 not to renew O'Shea's contract which expires at the end of the school year.
Members reportedly cited a lack of communication between O'Shea and the school committee.
Western Mass News is television partner to The Republican and MassLive.com.
This is a developing story. Additional information will be posted as soon as it is available.
Weldon, 41, is charged with 3 counts of murder and 49 other alleged offenses.
SPRINGFIELD -- A chance conversation between a woman's boyfriend and a man driving him to a medical appointment led the woman to tell police she believed Stewart Weldon kidnapped her in February, newly released documents show.
The Republican / MassLive and The Boston Globe went to court in June seeking the release of a police report on the incident.
In later motions the news organizations also sought the release of search warrant materials from the weeklong investigation at the Page Boulevard home where Weldon lived with his mother, where investigators recovered the remains of three women.
A previously released version of the report, detailing the police interview with the 43-year-old city woman, was heavily redacted. The documents released Thursday include the full text of the narrative written by officer James M. Crogan, including a previously redacted section describing how the woman identified Weldon as a potential suspect.
The woman and her boyfriend went to Springfield police headquarters at 130 Pearl St. at about 11:30 a.m. on May 31.
The woman's interview with police led to Weldon being charged with kidnapping and assault with intent to rape. He was arraigned on those charges on June 4 and pleaded not guilty.
Weldon, 41, was eventually charged with murder in the deaths of of Kayla Escalante, 27, of Ludlow, and Springfield residents Ernestine Ryans, 47, and 34-year-old America Lyden. Their bodies were found in and around the 1333 Page Blvd. property where he lived.
A grand jury indicted Weldon on a total of 52 counts, including kidnapping and aggravated rape. The indictments list a total of 11 victims.
The woman who went to police on May 31, who is one of the 11 listed victims, said Weldon offered her a ride sometime in February as she was walking on Main Street in the South End near Winthrop Street. She thought it was because she was walking with a limp because of recent surgery.
The Globe first published an account of the incident based on an interview with the woman.
According to the report released Thursday, the woman said Weldon locked the car door and would not let her get out. He "told her he wanted to 'f--- her' while complimenting her looks," the police report said. When she tried to exit he raised his hand and threatened to hit her.
Weldon drove her around for a few hours, eventually going to his house on Page Boulevard, where she said he dragged her out of the car and toward the house. She was fighting him and screaming, the report said, and it was only because a neighbor started to walk by that she was able to break free.
The neighbor gave the woman a ride home to School Street, where she told her boyfriend what happened.
"She said she did not report the incident to police because she has prior prostitution arrests and was afraid of not being believed," the police report said.
In the May 31 interview, the boyfriend said a driver who brings him to medical appointments told him about an article about Weldon published on MassLive earlier that morning.
The woman was already at the place where her boyfriend was dropped off, and the boyfriend showed the woman the story.
"She immediately became hysterical and told him that's the same guy that kidnapped her," the police report said.
Crogan spoke with the driver, who confirmed he shared the news story with the boyfriend.
The driver said when the boyfriend told the woman about the story she "immediately started freaking out. He said they asked him to drop them off at Springfield Police Headquarters and he drove them here."
Another section of the report that was previously redacted describes a "a Green Duffel Bag" in the car Weldon was allegedly driving.
The woman said during the ride Weldon noticed her looking at the bag in the back seat and told her not to look at it, because "its contents would get him arrested," Crogan wrote.
When he got to his house, the woman said, Weldon grabbed the duffel bag before pulling her out of the vehicle.
An evidence list released Thursday did not appear to include information about the bag or its contents.
In an interview for a previous story about the case, Elizabeth Dineen, executive director of the Springfield-based YWCA of Western Massachusetts, spoke to the reluctance sex workers often have in reporting sexual assaults.
The women in the often-overlapping scenes of drugs and sex work are a vulnerable population, she said.
"I think it's hard for people to accept that prostitutes can be victims," Dineen said in June.
Authorities said Thursday that it appears that the passenger car crossed into the path of a tractor trailer.
SPRINGFIELD -- Authorities on Thursday identified the woman killed this week following a crash on Page Boulevard as Aida Hernandez, 26, of Springfield.
Hernandez was a passenger in a vehicle that apparently crossed into the path of the tractor trailer, according to Jim Leydon, spokesman for Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni.
There were a total of four occupants in the vehicle, Leydon said. Two of them were young children, ages seven and three. Neither child appeared to have been in a car seat, according to the DA's office.
Previously, firefights said the children were seriously injured.
The crash occurred just before noon Tuesday in the area around 1460 Page Blvd.
Firefighters used hydraulic equipment to extricate the two children from the wreck.
SFD firefighters use hydraulic equipment to extricate two children with life threatening injuries in front of 1460 Page Blv pic.twitter.com/bSFgS4HcBY-- SPRINGFIELD FIRE (@SFD_HQ) November 13, 2018
The crash remains under investigation by the Springfield Police Department's Traffic Bureau and the Motor Vehicle Homicide Unit of Hampden District Attorney's Office. The investigation remains open, according to Leydon, and no arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
Michael Marrero is charged with trafficking heroin, plus possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
HOLYOKE - A 40-year-old Holyoke man is charged with trafficking heroin after a raid Tuesday by local and federal law enforcement led to the seizure of 1,190 bags of heroin, some cocaine, and two firearms, according to the office of Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni.
Michael Marrero is charged with trafficking heroin 18 to 36 grams, possession of cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute, two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
At his arraignment Wednesday in Holyoke District Court, he denied the charges. He was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
According to the DA's office, Marrero was placed in custody after a search warrant was executed at his residence at 22 St. Jerome Ave.
The raid was conducted by the Holyoke Police Vice Unit and investigators with the federal Department of Homeland Security, and the Drug Enforcement Agency task force.The search revealed the individual packets of cocaine ready for street sales, pug 10 grams of cocaine, 3 1/2 pounds of marijuana, some THC-based vaping products, $6,500 in cash, and packaging materials. It also uncovered two handguns, one of which had previously been reported stolen in Alabama.
The Longmeadow School Committee, on Wednesday night, voted 4 to 3 not to renew O'Shea's contract.
LONGMEADOW - Hundreds of Longmeadow High School students walked out of their classes Thursday morning to protest the school committee's decision not to renew Superintendent Martin O'Shea's contract.
The committee, on Wednesday night, voted 4 to 3 not to renew O'Shea's contract
Students, many of them carrying signs of support of for O'Shea, chanted "We want Marty! We want Marty! as they walked out of the high school and onto the edge of the school property along Grassy Gutter Road.
"We are just here because we want to put Marty back in the spot," said a student, one of a number who met with the media during the demonstration. "He is a great guy. He's always out at the school functions.
"As the student body, we have seen what he has done," said another student. "We have seen all his accomplishments and we sincerely believe he is best for the school."
School committee members reportedly cited a lack of communication between O'Shea and the school committee.
The walkout lasted about ten minutes and then the students returned to the building.
As the storm approaches New England, a larger portion of Massachusetts can expect at least a half-foot of snow.
As the storm approaches New England, a larger portion of Massachusetts can expect at least a half-foot of snow.
The National Weather Service issued an updated forecast map around noon Thursday showing a large portion of Central and Western Massachusetts now expected to see six to eight inches of snowfall by Friday morning.
Pockets of Central and Western Massachusetts and much of Eastern Massachusetts should expect between four to six inches.
Little to no snow accumulation is expected on Cape Cod and the islands, where wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour are of concern.
Just north of the Massachusetts state line in New Hampshire, about a foot of snow is expected.
Snow is expected to fall over a three to four hour period Thursday evening with one to two inches of snowfall per hour possible.
Visibility on roadways will be reduced to a half-mile or less during the storm and quickly accumulating snowfall will be of concern on roadways.
It will hit the southwestern corner of Massachusetts first, heading northeast.
Southern Berkshire County should expect snow around 5 p.m. Thursday, with snow expected in Springfield about an hour later. Worcester should expect the storm around 7 p.m. with snow arriving in Boston around 8.
Precipitation is expected to taper off after midnight and transition to light icing and rain.
Icy roads is of concern for Friday morning commuters, especially in Central and Western Massachusetts.
"Plan on slippery road conditions," the National Weather Service said.
This will be the first widespread accumulating snowfall of the season for Massachusetts.
Chapman recalled how Lennon stopped and autographed an album for him hours before he shot him to death.
The man who shot John Lennon to death outside his Manhattan home said he used hollow-point bullets to make sure the former Beatle died, though he did not want him to suffer.
Mark David Chapman called out to Lennon, dropped into a combat stance and fired five shots from a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver at the singer who was 10 feet away on Dec. 8, 1980. Four bullets struck Lennon, who was returning home with his wife, Yoko Ono, after an evening recording session.
"I secured those bullets to make sure he would be dead," Chapman said, according to a transcript released Thursday of his late August parole hearing. "It was immediately after the crime that I was concerned that he did not suffer."
Each bullet hit vital arteries around Lennon's heart, according to the documentary The Day John Lennon Died. His left lung and major blood vessels above his heart were destroyed upon impact and he lost consciousness in a police cruiser on the way to Roosevelt Hospital.
In the parole board hearing transcript obtained by The New York Daily News, Chapman recalled how Lennon stopped and autographed an album for him hours earlier.
"He was incredible," Chapman said. "I think about that every day."
He added, "I do remember having the thought of, 'Hey, you have got the album now, look at this, he signed it, just go home.' But there was no way I was going to go home."
Chapman, now 63, told the parole board he was overcome by the devil in wanting to kill Lennon and flew from Hawaii to New York to murder him.
He was denied parole for the 10th time, despite having a clean prison record since 1994.
"(Chapman's release) would be incompatible with the welfare and safety of society and would so deprecate the serious nature of the crime as to undermine respect for the law," the board stated.
Chapman is next eligible for parole in 2020.
MGM Springfield reported making more than $22 million in gross gaming revenue in October, a number down slightly from the previous month which came on the heels of the Aug. 24 grand opening. Watch video
SPRINGFIELD- MGM Springfield reported making more than $22 million in gross gaming revenue in October, a number down slightly from the previous month which came on the heels of the Aug. 24 grand opening.
According to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, MGM reported $22,242,742.41 in gross gaming revenues for October, which includes over $14 million from slot machines and more than $7 million from table games.
The total was a drop of more than $4 million over September, when MGM reported $26,952,096.39 in gross gaming revenue.
In October, the casino profited from slots gambling at a rate of 8.83 percent for the month, (compared to 9.55 percent in September) as a total of $165,684,708.76 was wagered on slot machines.
The October payout to the state from MGM Springfield was $5.560.685.60 in taxes, the commission said.
So far, the $960 million MGM Springfield resort casino has generated $58,651,815.70 in gross gaming revenues with a total of $14,662,953.93 in taxes paid to the state.
MGM Springfield previously reported to the gaming commission that it expected around $418 million in gross gaming revenue from the first year of operations, with that number normalizing to around $500 million annually by year three.
That projection was given with the assumption that there were two other full-service casinos and a slots parlor operating in the state. But as of October, MGM's resort casino and the Plainridge Park slots parlor are the only operating gaming facilities in Massachusetts. Encore Boston Harbor, which will be owned and operated by Wynn Resorts, is under construction and the gaming commission has so far declined to issue a license for southeastern Massachusetts.
MGM Springfield, as a Category 1 resort casino, is taxed on 25 percent of its gross gaming revenue and those revenues are allocated to several specific state funds as determined by state law.
Under its host community agreement, MGM pays the city of Springfield approximately $17.6 million annually in lieu of taxes. Those payments began this fiscal year.
The Plainridge Park Casino, which opened in 2015 in Plainville, reported $13,525,789.45 in gross gaming revenue in October. Plainridge, a Category 2 slots facility, is taxed on 49 percent of its gross gaming revenue, with 82 percent paid to local aid and 18 percent allocated to the Race Horse Development Fund.
Plainridge, which is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming, paid $6,627,636.83 in taxes to the state in October.
To date, the state has collected approximately $285,489,004 in total taxes and assessments from the Plainridge Park Casino and MGM Springfield since the respective openings of their gaming facilities.