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    A new record low temperature was set in the coldest place in New England this week.

    A new record low temperature was set in the coldest place in New England this week. 

    The Mount Washington Observatory says temperatures on the mountains dropped to -26 degrees on Thanksgiving in the early hours of the day. This broke the daily record low of -11. 

    Temperatures felt significantly colder than -26 degrees on the White Mountains in New Hampshire due to hurricane force winds. Wind chills were in the range of -70 to -75 degrees Thursday. 

    Mount Washington is the highest point in the Northeast at 6,288 feet. 


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    Kemoni Miller died Wednesday morning from injuries suffered when he was dragged for a half mile.

    BOSTON - The 18-year-old man who was critically injured a week ago when dragged from a speeding vehicle has died, and the two men who had been arrested for robbery now face murder charges, according to the Massachusetts State Police.

    Kemoni Miller died Wednesday morning at Boston Medical Center after having been on life support for four days, said state police spokesman David Procopio.

    He was dragged about a half mile and suffered a critical head injury when he finally fell from the car.

    Dejon Barnes, 18, and Kenneth Ford, 23, who had been arrested Sunday night and charged with unarmed robbery in connection with the incident. Procopio said state police and Suffolk County District Attorney John P. Pappas will now seek murder charges against Barnes and Ford.

    The two had pleaded innocent to the unarmed robbery charge at their arraignment earlier this week. They were ordered held on $100,000 bail.
    Arraignments on the new charges have not been scheduled. Each is due in court on Dec. 4

    According to police, Miller had been in communications with Barnes about selling him an iPhone XS smartphone, and the two had agreed to meet Nov. 16. Prosecutors say that instead of buying the phone, Barnes and Ford tried to steal it. They grabbed the phone from Miller and rolled up the car window, in the process trapping him by the arm, and then sped off.

    Miller was found lying unconscious on Gallivan Boulevard in Dorchester that night.

    Procopio said police investigators were able to follow a trail of cell phone records, text messages, witness statements, video footage and other evidence to identify Barnes and Ford as participants. Ford was identified as the driver of the car.

    Each was arrested at a house party on Sunday morning.


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    Pope Francis named the Vatican's top sex abuse investigator and a close U.S. ally to an organizing committee for a February abuse prevention summit that has grown even more high stakes after the Holy See blocked U.S. bishops from taking action to address the scandal.

    Pope Francis named the Vatican's top sex abuse investigator and a close U.S. ally to an organizing committee for a February abuse prevention summit that has grown even more high stakes after the Holy See blocked U.S. bishops from taking action to address the scandal.

    Abuse survivors and women working at the Vatican will also contribute to the preparatory committee. Notably absent from the lineup announced Friday was Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who heads the pope's sex abuse advisory commission, though one of his members, the Rev. Hans Zollner, is the point-person for the group.

    In addition to Zollner, the committee includes Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna, for a decade the Vatican's sex crimes prosecutor, Francis appointee Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich and Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias, a member of Francis' key cardinal adviser group.

    Francis summoned leaders of the world's 130 bishops' conferences to the Vatican Feb. 21-24 after the abuse scandal erupted again in his native South America and the U.S. and he himself botched the case of a Chilean bishop implicated in cover-up.

    The stakes of the meeting grew exponentially after the Vatican told U.S. bishops earlier this month not to vote on proposed new measures to investigate sexual misconduct or cover-up within their ranks.

    The Vatican still hasn't explained why it blocked the vote on a U.S. code of conduct for bishops and a lay-led board to investigate them. The head of the U.S. bishops conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, said the Holy See wanted to delay any vote until after the February global summit.

    However, it is unlikely that such a diverse group of churchmen, some representing national churches that continue to deny or downplay the scandal, will over the course of four days come up with any universal proposals that come close to the accountability norms that U.S. bishops were seeking.

    Cupich has said he was disappointed by the Vatican's decision, but at the time of the U.S. bishops' meeting, he proposed they go ahead and debate the measures and even came up with a revised proposal himself.

    ''Pope Francis is calling for radical reform in the life of the church, for he understands that this crisis is about the abuse of power and a culture of protection and privilege, which have created a climate of secrecy, without accountability for misdeeds,'' he wrote in a blog post Thursday. ''All of that has to end.''

    Zollner, who heads a safeguarding institute of study at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, acknowledged that the expectations were high going into the meeting.

    ''And it's understandable that they are high, given the gravity of the scandal that has shocked and hurt so many people, believers and not, in so many countries,'' he told Vatican Media.

    Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis' decision to host the meeting at all showed he considered protection of minors a ''fundamental priority for the church.''

    The involvement of lay experts in the preparatory work, Burke said, ''can help address especially what needs to be done to ensure transparency and accountability,'' he said.


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    Massachusetts State Police were called to a report of a crash on Old Turnpike Road in Oakham around 5:20 p.m. Thursday.

    A young woman killed in a collision on Thanksgiving has been identified as Annabelle M. Rosemond, a 21-year-old who lived in New Bedford. 

    Massachusetts State Police were called to a report of a crash on Old Turnpike Road in Oakham around 5:20 p.m. Thursday. 

    Troopers at the scene determined a 21-year-old man operating a 2014 Toyota Corolla lost control of his vehicle and struck a 2015 Honda CRV traveling in the opposite direction. 

    A preliminary investigation revealed that speed was a likely factor in the crash. 

    "The collision resulted in fatal injuries of the passenger of the Toyota Corolla, a 21-year-old woman from New Bedford," Massachusetts State Police said. "The driver of the Honda CRV, a 51-year-old woman and a passenger, a 89-year-old man, both of Ware, were transported by ambulance with serious injuries to UMass Worcester. The driver of the Toyota was also transported with serious injuries to UMass Worcester."

     

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    House Republicans have called on former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify behind close doors before Democrats take control of the chamber in January.

    House Republicans have called on former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify behind close doors before Democrats take control of the chamber in January.

    The former Justice Department officials received subpoenas this week to appear before the House Judiciary Committee and Oversight and Government Reform panel for respective closed door testimony on Dec. 3 and Dec. 4.

    The subpoenas came shortly after Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Judiciary Committee's chairman, hinted that he would order Comey and Lynch to testify as part of an investigation into their handling of issues relating to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email server and alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    Comey, who announced his subpoena as part of a Thanksgiving message posted on Twitter, said while he's "still happy to sit in the light and answer all questions," he will resist efforts to have his testimony take place behind closed doors.

    "I will resist a 'closed door' thing because I've seen enough of their selective leaking and distortion," he tweeted. "Let's have a hearing and invite everyone to see."

    Republicans have suggested that Comey and Lynch allowed Clinton to avoid prosecution for her use of a private email server as secretary of state.

    They have also raised questions about the investigation into alleged connections between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russia -- a probe the president has repeatedly cast as a "witch hunt."

    Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a long-awaited report in June that offered sweeping criticisms of Comey's handling of the high-profile investigation into Clinton's private email server. 

    The 500-plus page report took issue with Comey's decision to "deviate" from DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation procedures and norms and instead engage in "his own subjective, ad hoc decision-making."

    DOJ watchdog's report finds James Comey's actions, FBI employees' anti-Donald Trump texts hurt agency

    The DOJ watchdog, however, said investigators believe Comey largely based his decisions on what he thought was in the FBI's institutional interests and what would allow him to continue to effectively lead to agency. 

    Horowitz also took issue with Lynch's decision to meet privately with Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, on an airport tarmac during the email server investigation.

    Despite those concerns, Horowitz's report did not find any evidence of bias or take issue with the Clinton email investigation's outcome.


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    Empire Design and Construction owner Mike Corsetti told MassLive Friday the project is 80 to 90 percent complete, that he battled "unforeseen conditions" on the project and that the city council did not hear all the facts this week.

    The restoration was supposed to be finished Oct. 1, well in time for a dedication ceremony scheduled for Veterans Day on Nov. 11. But a contractor hired to work on the World War I Memorial in Worcester's Green Hill Park missed that October deadline. Then Veterans Day came and went.

    Now Empire Design and Construction Co. of Gloucester is being fired by the city of Worcester after it failed to meet deadlines and a planned dedication ceremony is being moved to Memorial Day.

    Councilor-at-Large Gary Rosen on Tuesday told the council that the city should have known better. 

    "From what I've read about this contractor ... there have been at least two major projects in Massachusetts towns where the contract was ended with him and other contractors were brought in to finish the job," Rosen said. 

    Empire Design and Construction owner Mike Corsetti told MassLive Friday the project is 80 to 90 percent complete, that he battled "unforeseen conditions" on the project and that the city council did not hear all the facts this week. His attorney is in the process of drafting a letter to the city, he said. 

    Robert C. Antonelli Jr., assistant commissioner for Worcester Parks disuputes Corsetti's estimate, saying the project is only about 50 percent complete. 

    "He can't finish this job on this year and this job was supposed to be done on Oct. 1," Antonelli said.  

    But Rosen questioned whether Corsetti was qualified for the project and asked why the city went with the lowest bidder for the project.

    "We do have discretion," Rosen said. "We have to choose among the qualified and responsible bidders the lowest one in that group. I maintain that Empire Design and Construction was not among the group of qualified and responsible bidders."

    Rosen was referring to Massachusetts General Laws, which stipulate that for municipal contracts above $30,000 the city follow a public bidding process that requires "the procurement officer shall award the contract to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder."

    The "responsible" part gives the city some leverage in choosing contractors. 

    "There's a reason this company was the lowest bidder," Rosen said. "And that's the reason we should have avoided this company."

    Corsetti denied he was not qualified for the project. 

    "We're completely qualified," he told MassLive. "There's no qualifications to help change the weather."

    City Manager Ed Augustus Jr. said the city would remove the developer from the project and find someone else to finish it. 

    "Let me assure folks that I was as disappointed as anyone as that was a project we wanted to have delivered on the 100th anniversary," Augustus said. 

    Nov. 11 this year marked 100 years since the armistice that ended World War I.

    Augustus said the city does not always chose the lowest bidder for projects.

    "We are discerning, but we're not perfect," he said. 

    Antonelli said the city is going through the process now of firing Empire Design and Construction and finding a new contractor.

    "We've been giving him weekly notice for the past month and a half that he's late, that he's not fully there, Antonelli said. 

    With winter upon us, weather could further complicate completion, he said. 

    Corsetti said his attorney will be contacting the city after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

    The construction site at the memorial remained uncompleted and fenced off on Friday with some construction equipment left sitting out around the site. 


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    The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has twice denied the expansion request. This time, the school's trustees are asking that the school be allowed to increase maximum enrollment to 952 kindergarten through 12th grade students.

    HADLEY -- The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is taking public comments on the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School's third expansion request. 

    The comment period is open until Dec. 3. 

    The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has twice denied the school's requests to expand. This time, the school's trustees are asking that the school be allowed to increase maximum enrollment to 952 kindergarten through 12th grade students. Last time, the school sought to expand to 1,036.   

    It is one of five expansion requests the board is considering statewide. 

    The board, according to its website, doesn't plan to consider the expansion requests before its Jan. 22, 2019, meeting and anticipates completing the process by its Feb. 12, 2019 meeting. 

    Comments can be set to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, c/o Office of Charter Schools and School Redesign, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148 or by email to charterschools@doe.mass.edu.

    According to the letter sent to the board this summer seeking expansion, the Chinese school's trustees are asking "to make this change to satisfy persistent unmet demand for Kindergarten seats, expand opportunity and choice for urban, suburban and rural students to attend desegregated/integrated public schools, and increase the integration of staffing in public education."

    They would expand from two to four kindergarten classrooms. According to the letter, the school had 69 applications for the 44 additional kindergarten seats requested at that time.

    Local school districts have repeatedly opposed the expansion requests, as has state senator-elect Jo Comerford.

    School officials have said the request would drain funds from local public schools.

    The charter school serves students in more than 30 area communities. 


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    State police are advising southbound traffic to find another way into Connecticut.

    Connecticut State Police have closed Interstate 91 southbound just past the Massachusetts line because of a serious car crash.

    The crash is located in the area of exit 49.

    State police advise southbound traffic to find alternative routes

    No information was provided about the crash itself.

    It is not clear when the highway will be reopened. 

    Traffic on I-91 south as of noon was backing up into Longmeadow.


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    Legalized sports betting starts inside Rhode Island's Twin River Casino in Lincoln on Monday.

    Legalized sports betting starts inside Rhode Island's Twin River Casino in Lincoln on Monday.

    The state, the first in New England, joins New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, West Virginia and Mississippi in offering a legal sports book. 

    Massachusetts lawmakers held off on taking up legal sports betting this year after the US Supreme Court ruled in May that states could allow such wagering.

    Rhode Island kicks off its new era of sports betting with Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio, House Speaker Nicholas Matiello and Twin River Worldwide Holdings Chairman John Taylor Jr. placing the ceremonial first bet at 3 p.m.

    State lawmakers legalized betting on "all manner of athletic contests, except for those happening in the state or involving Rhode Island-based teams," according to the Providence Journal.

    The newspaper reported that betting at the Twin River casino in Tiverton is "at least two weeks off."

    Rhode Island's revenue forecast for sports betting dropped to $11.5 million from an initial $23.5 million projection.

    Legalized sports betting to start in Rhode Island


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    Jerome Corsi, a conservative writer and associate of President Donald Trump and GOP operative Roger Stone, is reportedly in plea negotiations with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sources told news outlets Friday.

    Jerome Corsi, a conservative writer and associate of President Donald Trump and GOP operative Roger Stone, is reportedly in plea negotiations with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sources said Friday.

    A person with knowledge of the alleged talks told The Washington Post that Corsi has been working with Mueller's team, which is investigating alleged collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian officials, on a possible agreement that could lead him to plead guilty in exchange for leniency.

    The newspaper noted that the reported talks could help Mueller determine whether Trump or other campaign advisers had any ties to WikiLeaks' 2016 release of hacked Democratic emails.

    Corsi's attorney David Gray and a spokesman for the special counsel declined to comment on the reported negotiations, as did an attorney for Trump, the newspaper reported.

    Corsi, who provided research to Stone during the 2016 campaign, said on a recent livestream that he expected prosecutors working for Mueller to indict him on a charge of lying to investigators, according to The Washington Post.

    He noted that he had turned over computers, emails and other communications to the special counsel in addition to sitting for several interviews.

    Corsi, the newspaper said, added that Mueller's team had said he would be criminally charged.

    "I'm going to be indicted. That's what we've been told. Everyone should know that," he reportedly said.

    Mueller has also reportedly been looking to whether Stone has possible ties to WikiLeaks. 

    This is a breaking news story and will be updated.


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    The city has advertised for bids for the purchase and redevelopment of three tax-foreclosed properties at Walnut and Union streets in the Old Hill neighborhood.

    SPRINGFIELD -- The city has advertised for bids for the purchase and development of three tax-foreclosed business lots at the corner of Walnut and Union streets in the Old Hill neighborhood.

    The combined lots, totaling 25,603 square feet, are across the street from the Mason Wright Retirement Community. The combined lots have an assessed value of $55,100.

    "We are open to anything that conforms with the zoning, and is compatible with the neighborhood," said Brian Connors, the city's deputy director of economic development. "Over the years, there has been some amount of interest in that property."

    Bids are due by Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at the city's Office of Procurement in City Hall.

    The advertisement for proposals states the city is "most interested in proposals that creatively integrate (the) site with the surrounding area, respecting zoning, and in a manner that creates a viable redevelopment opportunity and enhances the aesthetic appeal of the streetscape."

    The city states it will not consider any automotive uses for the property.

    All proposals will be evaluated by a review committee consisting of city officials and a neighborhood representative.

    Any sale of the land will need approvals from Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and the City Council.

    The city is requiring the chosen developer to get a certificate of occupancy within one year of the property transfer, or the property will revert back to the city. The three lots are zoned Business A, Business B and Business mix.


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    A serious crash on Interstate 195 has resulted in fatal injuries and traffic backups.

    A serious crash on Interstate 195 in Somerset has resulted in fatal injuries and traffic backups. 

    Massachusetts State Police were called to the eastbound lanes near Exit 4 around noon Friday for a two-vehicle crash. 

    Police say one person was fatally injured in the crash and another sustained minor injuries. 

    A multi-mile backup has formed on the interstate following the crash. All lanes have since reopened.

     

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    Hunters discovered what could be human remains in the Rumney Marsh area of Revere, the Suffolk County district attorney's office said Friday.

    Hunters discovered what could be human remains in the Rumney Marsh area of Revere, the Suffolk County district attorney's office said Friday.

    State troopers with the DA's office and detectives with the Revere Police department are investigating the area, which is located north of Boston.

    The hunters found the remains near the view of a North View Terrace residence, Jake Wark, spokesman for the DA's office, said in an email to reporters.

    "They were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, which will attempt to determine whether they are, in fact, human and, if so, the cause and manner of the person's death as investigators undertake identification efforts," he wrote.

    Additional details weren't available as of Friday afternoon. 


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    Black Friday shopping should $23 billion in 2018, up from $21 billion during the same year-ago period, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks all forms of payment, including cash, according to The Associated Press.

    WEST SPRINGFIELD -- Krista Comee, of Agawam, planned what she thinks of as a relaxed shopping day on Black Friday -- starting at about 7 a.m. and wrapping up at about 9 p.m.

    That time accounts for a leisurely lunch, she said while picking up a cart in the parking lot of the Kohl's on Riverdale Street in West Springfield.

    "The sales are good," she said. "It's tradition. It's always a chance to get away from the kids and go out shopping."

    But she acknowledged the same deals are usually also available online, a fact retailers, especially locally owned ones, know they have to counteract.

    The National Retail Federation said retail sales for November and December will total $721 billion. That's not counting cars, gasoline and restaurant meals. It's an increase of 4.8 percent over 2017.

    But online shopping is growing faster. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, shoppers spent $1.75 billion online, according to Adobe Analytics via the AP. That's a nearly 29 percent increase from a year ago. Adobe Analytics expects $38 billion will have been spent online between Nov. 1 through Thursday, a nearly 19 percent increase from a year ago.

    Mark Wineburg, owner of Yes Computers in Northampton, said he conducts his business knowing that computers and electronics are sometimes available cheaper online.

    "If we did nothing but sell 'things,' we would be in trouble," he said. "You kind of want some assisted selling and some advice. You need some help picking out a computer. And you definitely need some help when it comes to moving around your data. So that's what we provide for people."

    Yes Computers gave up the super-early opening hours about three years ago and now opens 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, and extends sale prices through the weekend.

    The weekend after Thanksgiving is the second-busiest time of the year at Yes, Wineburg said, behind only Massachusetts' tax-free weekend in August, which always coincides with back-to-school shopping.

    Highland Hardware & Bike Shop in Holyoke wasn't very busy Friday morning, but saw a mid-afternoon surge with customers coming in for Christmas decorations, bird feeders and other gift items.

    "Everybody is either at the mall or home eating turkey sandwiches (and shopping) on their computer," owner Harry Craven said of the morning lull.

    He said Saturday will be even busier for the annual Small Business Saturday promotion by American Express that encourages folks to shop at local  businesses.

    "I think its starting to catch on," Craven said. "I'm getting more people who come in on that day and say 'I'm glad you're here. I want to support small business.'"

    Highland Hardware will get a lot of neighborhood business as folks complete chores around the house in the next few days, he said. And customers will come in for Christmas decorations and the like.

    "We are going to draw them in for miles around for the bike shop," he said. "As it gets closer to Christmas, we are going to get a little more busy."


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    The White House asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to immediately consider legal challenges that have halted President Donald Trump's efforts to ban transgender individuals from military service.

    The White House asked the U.S. Supreme Court Friday to immediately consider legal challenges that have halted President Donald Trump's efforts to ban transgender individuals from military service. 

    Solicitor General Noel Francisco requested that the court consider whether a lower court "erred" in preliminarily instructing the military against implementing a policy, which the administration argued would have allowed transgender individuals to serve in their biological sex, but barred those with "a history of a medical condition called gender dysphoria ... unless they meet certain conditions."

    Francisco further asked the court to consolidate challenges to the administration's policy and rule on the issue before its term ends. 

    The challenges, which have found success in lower courts, seek to block the administration's push to roll back an Obama-era policy that allowed transgender men and women to openly serve in the military and access funding for sex-reassignment surgery. 

    Francisco, who filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of Trump Friday, raised concerns about the Obama administration's policy, argued that it "posed too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality."

    Without prompt intervention, he offered, "it is unlikely that the military will be able to implement its new policy any time soon."

    "The government is filing this petition and two other petitions for writs of certiorari before judgement to the Ninth and D.C. Circuits, which have before them a total of three injunctions enjoining the military from implementing the Mattis policy nationwide," the solicitor general contended. "The decisions imposing those injunctions are wrong, and they warrant this court's immediate review."

    Francisco asked that the Supreme Court "consolidate the cases for decision and consider this important dispute this term."

    Human Rights Campaign, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, condemned the Trump administration's filing. 

    " It is clear that the Trump-Pence administration's desperate desire to discriminate against transgender service members knows no bounds. The administration is in a rush because they know that every day that transgender people continue to enlist and serve with distinction is another day that the courts and the public see this irrational policy for what it is," the group tweeted. "There is simply no reason to circumvent the traditional judicial process in pursuit of banning qualified, patriotic Americans from serving their country."

    Trump announced in a series of July 2017 Twitter posts that the U.S. government would not accept or allow transgender Americans to serve in the military. 

    "After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," he tweeted at the time. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you." 

    President Donald Trump: US will not allow transgender individuals to serve in military in any capacity

    In March, Trump released a new version of the order, which banned most transgender individuals from military service except in "limited circumstances" -- a policy released after his initial effort was blocked by various legal challenges and three federal court rulings.  

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the new policy would "enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards -- including those regarding the use of medical drugs -- equally to all individuals who want to join and fight for the best military force the world has ever seen." 

    This is a breaking news story and will be updated.


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    The three businesses are Herbology, which hopes to open at 422 Amity St., Mass Alternative Care at 55 University Drive and Rise at 169 Meadow St.

    AMHERST - Three companies seeking to sell recreational marijuana here meet the criteria to begin host community agreement negotiations, according to a quintet of municipal officials charged with vetting applications.

    The three businesses are Herbology, which hopes to open at 422 Amity St., Mass Alternative Care at 55 University Drive and Rise at 169 Meadow St.

    Six companies applied by the September deadline; one withdrew. The other applicants were MassMedicum, for a business at 85 University Drive, and 365 Recreational Cannabis, at 37 Boltwood Walk.

    The Town Review Team announced its recommendations in a memorandum to Town Manager Paul Bockelman on Nov. 2

    Getting to the host community agreement negotiations stage is a key step in the process that eventually could lead to the businesses obtaining permission to open a store for commercial sales.

    If the businesses successfully negotiate agreements with Bockelman, they can take those agreements to the Cannabis Control Commission to seek state approval. If the commission says yes, the marijuana business is then eligible to seek the needed land-use permits from the town.

    On Tuesday, two marijuana stores opened for retail sales in Northampton and the Worcester County town of Leicester. Businesses in Easthampton and Salem gained state approval the same day and plan to open in a matter of weeks.

    Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman said that represents "a major milestone for the commission and, more importantly, for the state."

    "I think you're going to see, every couple of weeks, a couple of new stores and not just stores, but cultivation sites and manufacturing facilities" opening up across the state, he said.

    Amherst town bylaws allow up to eight recreational marijuana sales sites. According to the siting process, Amherst officials will invite prospective businesses to apply about every six months.

    Geoff Kravitz, Amherst's economic development director, said in August that 23 marijuana-related businesses picked the community as a potential location, including seven prospective cultivation firms, two product manufacturers, a testing lab and a micro-business.

    Along with Kravitz, the Town Review Team includes Select Board member Connie Kruger, Police Chief Scott Livingstone, Planning Director Christine Brestrup and Health Director Julie Federman.


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    U.S. stocks closed lower after a shortened session Friday, bumping the benchmark S&P 500 index into a correction, or drop of 10 percent below its most recent all-time high in September.

    U.S. stocks closed lower after a shortened session Friday, bumping the benchmark S&P 500 index into a correction, or drop of 10 percent below its most recent all-time high in September.

    Energy companies led the market slide as the price of U.S. crude oil tumbled to its lowest level in more than a year, reflecting worries among traders that a slowing global economy could hurt demand for oil.

    "Oil is really falling sharply, continuing its downward descent, and that appears to be giving investors a lot of concern that there's slowing global growth," said Jeff Kravetz, regional investment director at U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management. "You have that, and then you have the recent sell-off in tech and in retail, and then throw on there trade tensions and rising rates."

    Losses in technology and internet companies and banks outweighed gains in health care and household goods stocks. Several big retailers declined as investors monitored Black Friday for signs of a strong holiday shopping season.

    Trading volume was lighter than usual with the markets open for only a half day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

    The S&P 500 index fell 17.37 points, or 0.7 percent, to 2,632.56. The index is now down 10.2 percent from its last all-time high set Sept. 20. The last time the index entered a correction was in February.

    The latest correction comes as investors worry that corporate profits, a key driver of stock market gains, could weaken next year.

    "The market is re-pricing and trying to assess where we're going to be in the early part of 2019," said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 178.74 points, or 0.7 percent, to 24,285.95. The Nasdaq composite dropped 33.27 points, or 0.5 percent, to 6,938.98. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 0.40 points, or 0.03 percent, to 1,488.68.

    Crude oil prices fell for the seventh straight week on worries that a slowing global economy could hurt demand even as oil production has been increasing.

    The benchmark U.S. crude contract slid 7.7 percent to settle at $50.42 per barrel in New York. That is the lowest since October 2017. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 6.1 percent to close at $58.80 per barrel in London.

    Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members have recently signaled a willingness to consider production cuts at the oil cartel's meeting next month. The U.S. has been increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia and OPEC to not cut production, however, a move which could push prices down further.

    The slide in oil prices weighed on energy stocks. Concho Resources, a developer and explorer of oil and natural gas properties, slumped 6.3 percent to $126.96.

    Tesla fell 3.7 percent to $325.83 after the electric auto maker said it intends to cut prices for its Model X and Model S cars in China to make them more affordable.

    Traders had their eye on retailers as Black Friday, the traditional start to the crucial holiday shopping season, began. Shares in L Brands, operator of Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, added 2 percent to $29.97. Other retailers put investors in a selling mood. Kohl's fell 3.7 percent to $63.83, while Target lost 2.8 percent to $67.35. Macy's dropped 1.8 percent to $32.01.

    Rockwell Collins climbed 9.2 percent to $141.63 after Chinese regulators conditionally approved the sale of the maker of communications and aviation electronics systems to United Technologies Corp.

    Investors will be watching next week when Presidents Xi Jinping and Trump meet at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina for signs that the two leaders can find common ground to begin unwinding the spiraling trade dispute.

    The trade dispute between the U.S. and China has weighed on the market, stoking traders' worries that billions in escalating tariffs imposed by both countries on each other's goods will hurt corporate earnings at a time when the global economy appears to be slowing.

    "If you can get President Trump and President Xi to even just come closer with their rhetoric and make a bit of progress on the trade front that could be the catalyst for markets to move higher," Kravetz said.

    It may take more than a meeting to work out deep-seated issues between Washington and Beijing, which resumed talks over their spiraling trade dispute earlier this month. According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. has asked its allies to stop using telecommunications equipment from Huawei, which is Chinese-owned. The report cited people familiar with the matter.

    Bond prices fell Friday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 3.05 percent from 3.04 percent late Wednesday.

    The dollar fell to 112.85 yen from 113.06 yen late Wednesday. The euro weakened to $1.1335 from $1.1388. The pound strengthened to $1.2804 from $1.2788.

    Gold declined 0.4 percent to $1,223.20 an ounce. Silver dropped 1.8 percent to $14.24 an ounce. Copper slid 1 percent to $2.77 a pound.

    In other commodities trading, wholesale gasoline plunged 7.9 percent to $1.39 a gallon. Heating oil lost 4.8 percent to $1.88 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3.2 percent to $4.31 per 1,000 cubic feet.

    Major indexes in Europe finished mostly higher after shaking off an early slide.

    Traders were weighing the latest developments in the negotiations for Britain's exit from the European Union. Both sides were finalizing the terms of the divorce Friday and expected to sign off on the deal Sunday, though it's unclear whether the British parliament will pass the deal.

    The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares slipped 0.1 percent. Germany's DAX index rose 0.5 percent, while France's CAC 40 gained 0.2 percent.

    Earlier in Asia, South Korea's Kospi shed 0.6 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.4 percent. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 bucked the trend, gaining 0.4 percent. Shares fell in Taiwan and rose in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. Japanese markets were closed for a holiday.


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    The Massachusetts Animal Coalition awarded $185,000 in grants to 25 animal control centers statewide under its special license plate program..

    SPRINGFIELD -- The Massachusetts Animal Coalition has awarded $185,000 generated by the sale and renewal of special license plates to 25 animal control centers statewide.

    The revenue from the "I'm Animal Friendly" license plate grant is dedicated annually to spay/neuter programs conducted at animal shelters, rescues, and municipal animal control agencies.

    The "I'm Animal Friendly" license plates have been raising funds since 2003.

    "The more people who purchase and renew the the 'I'm Animal Family' plate, the bigger the difference we can make for local animals," said Anne Lindsay, the founder and president of the Massachusetts Animal Coalition.

    In Springfield, Mayor Domenic J. Sarno praised the coalition and the license plate program. The municipally operated Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center, overseen by executive director Pamela Peebles and serving Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke, received a $12,000 grant.

    "Pets are a part of our lives... our families," Sarno said. "Pam, her dedicated staff, and volunteers work so hard to stretch a dollar, so we're appreciative to the MA Animal Coalition's (MAC) generosity and welcome their continued efforts."

    The following awards were announced for 2018:

    • Ahimsa Haven Animal Rescue, Inc. $5,300, Templeton
    • Animal Rescue League of Boston Community Cat Initiative, $2,000, Boston
    • Belchertown Animal Control, $3,700, Belchertown
    • Berkshire Humane Society, $18,000, Pittsfield
    • Charles River Alleycats, $8,000, Cambridge
    • Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, $10,000, North Grafton
    • Dakin Human Society $15,000 Springfield
    • Friends of the Scituate Shelter, Inc., $3,000, Scituate
    • Here Today Adopted Tomorrow Animal Sanctuary, Inc., $3,000, Brimfield
    • House Rabbit Network, $5,000, Woburn
    • HUBCATS/FERAL CAT FUND OF BOSTON, $5,000, Boston
    • Humane Coalition for Animals of Greater New Bedford, $7,000, New Bedford
    • It's All About The Animals, $2,000, Rochester
    • Medfield Animal Shelter, $2,000, Medfield
    • Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society, Inc., $7,000, Salisbury
    • MSPCA -- Pit Pals Program, $10,000, Boston
    • MSPCA-- Boston Adoption Center, $10,000, Boston
    • MSPCA -- Cape Cod, $8,000, Centerville
    • Merrimack Valley Spay/Neuter Initiative, $16,000, Lowell
    • PittieLove Rescue, $3,000, Framingham
    • Second Chance Animal Shelter, $15,000, East Brookfield
    • South Shore Humane Society, $4,000, East Bridgewater
    • Thomas J. O'Connor, $12,000, Springfield
    • Town of Dartmouth Animal Control, $5,000, Dartmouth
    • Town of Westport Animal Control, $6,000, Westport

    The "I'm Animal Friendly" license plates can be ordered for use, and as gifts, by going to the web site, found here. The plates are tax-deductible.


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    It was rescued from the shore and brought to the New England Aquarium for treatment.

     

    A massive, 300-pound loggerhead sea turtle was rescued from Great Island in Wellfleet after it was cold-stunned by frigid ocean temps Wednesday.

    The Mass. Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary posted a photo of the turtle to their Facebook page, saying the turtle has the potential to break size records.

    It was rescued from the shore and brought to the New England Aquarium for treatment.

    The sanctuary says more than 300 cold-stunned turtles have been found on the shores so far this season. Several dozen have died.


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    The outdoor rink at MGM Springfield will be open daily through the beginning of March. Watch video

    SPRINGFIELD -- The outdoor skating rink at MGM Springfield was launched Friday in olympian fashion as famed figure skater Nancy Kerrigan took the first spin before a crowd of adoring fans.

    Kerrigan, the Massachusetts native who rose to fame with an amateur career that earned her a silver medal in the 1994 Olympics and carried her to the figure skating Hall of Fame, was selected by MGM to help break the ice, so to speak, at the new rink.

    It seemed like old times for the now-retired star as she gracefully circled the ice, finishing with an upright spin in the center.

    It was a simple routine, maybe 15 or 20 seconds, but Kerrigan appeared winded as she took to the microphone. 

    "Skating outside,  you get winded pretty quick in this cold," she said. "At least it was warmer than yesterday. Not a lot but a little."

    She would say afterward that she doesn't skate much since she retired. Years of skating, and falling, have taken their toll on her back, she said. 

    "It wasn't the years of skating, it was the falling," she said.

    Kerrigan thanked the crowd for their warm welcome on the coldest of days.

    "Thank you so much. I appreciate all the applause all these years later."

    MGM President Mike Mathis said the opening of the ice rink marks the beginning of the casino's first Christmas in Springfield. For the casino and for the city, he said, it's "a really special time."

    "When we came out from Las Vegas we knew we had something special with all these buildings and beautiful downtown," he said.

    The rink, located at the site of the former South End Community Center, will be open through March 3. Anyone can rent time on the ice for $12 for adults and $8 for children. Skates are available for $5 a pair. Members of the casino's M life rewards program get a discount.

    Mayor Domenic Sarno thanked Mathis for fulfilling his promise to build an outdoor rink in downtown Springfield.

    "I always wanted to have a skating rink in downtown Springfield," Sarno said. "Dreams do come true."

    Sarno ticked off the list of events planned downtown on Friday alone: the Parade of the Big Balloons, the new skating rink, the tree lighting at the Quadrangle, the MGM community tree lighting and the Thunderbirds game.

    "All of that in the city of Springfield," he said. "I deeply appreciate your belief in the city of Springfield and I wish you a joyous holiday season."

    Kerrigan, who skated years ago in the MassMutual Center while touring, and who has been to the city off and on over the years from her native Stoneham, said even she has noticed the change in the downtown.

    "It is a great honor to be a part of something new. We come to Springfield every year (and) you transformed it," she said.

    "This is so nice. I hope all of you come out to enjoy the skating rink this winter because it's so nice to skate outside," she said.

    If Kerrigan was the first to take to the new ice, let the record show that Anastasia Anderlonis of Philadelphia was the first to plant on it.

    Helping her nephew Tyler get his bearings on his skates, Anderlonis lost her's and, to make a long story short, gravity happened.

    "Oh, it felt great!" she said.

    Visiting her family for Thanksgiving, she said the new rink is great way to get people downtown, and to get children outside.


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