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    Ten years after Pride owner Robert Bolduc bought the former Aqua Vitae site on the western end of Route 9 in Hadley, the new Pride gas station and convenience store has opened.

    HADLEY - Ten years after Pride owner Robert Bolduc bought the former Aqua Vitae site on the western end of town, the new Pride gas station and convenience store has opened. 

    Company attorney James Channing said the station opened Thursday, but they will have a grand opening after the holidays. 

    On Friday, they were giving out free coffee and donuts to celebrate.  

    The 7,400 square-foot store includes a deli, bakery, and a Subway sandwich shop as well as a separate room with beer and wine.

    The site also includes 12 charging stations for Tesla vehicles.  

    Work began in August of 2017. This is the second Pride in town, the first is on the eastern end near the Hadley Amherst town line.

    The Springfield-based Pride has nearly three dozen stations in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  


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    Daphne Moore, 55, is accused of assisting with the operations of a drug and gun ring allegedly run by her 28-year-old daughter Nia Bush-Moore

    Hampden Superior Court Assistant Clerk Magistrate Daphne Moore will soon find herself on the wrong side of a courtroom, following her arrest Friday on charges of money laundering, narcotics conspiracy and lying to federal authorities. 

    Moore, 55, is accused of assisting with the operations of a drug and gun ring allegedly run by her 28-year-old daughter Nia Bush-Moore, who was indicted in January on allegations of working with her husband to run firearms, heroin and cocaine between Western Massachusetts and Vermont.

    The charges against Moore were unsealed Friday in a superseding indictment that expanded the case to eight co-defendants.

    "Six of the defendants are alleged to have engaged in money laundering offenses, two of the defendants allegedly conspired to engage in the unlicensed dealing of firearms, and a Hampden County Superior Court employee is alleged to have made false statements to federal agents in connection with the investigation," The Office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said in a statement.

    Moore is expected to be arraigned today in U.S. District Court in Worcester. Both Judge Mark Mastroianni and Magistrate Judge Katherine Robertson recused themselves from the case after Moore was indicted.

    The Massachusetts Trial Court did not immediately return a request for information on Moore's current duty status. Moore's defense attorney was not available for comment.

    Moore clerked for Superior Court Judge Tina Page until Page's retirement in June. Since then, Moore has continued to serve as an assistant clerk magistrate in Hampden County. She served on a committee that produced a new strategic plan for the Massachusetts Trial Court in 2013.

    She earned $109,449 last year, according to state payroll records.

    The investigation into Bush-Moore and her husband, 35-year-old Dinelson Dinzey, began when a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives informant told ATF agent Anthony Dipaolo that Bush-Moore was marketing "dirty guns" for sale, Dipaolo said at a January hearing.

    The inquiry soon expanded into an investigation of an alleged narcotics operation that was shipping heroin and cocaine up I-91 from Springfield to Vermont. At the time, Dinzey and Bush-Moore lived with her mother at 120 Hadley St. in Springfield, even as Moore continued to work on the third floor of the Hampden trial court.

    Multiple conversations between Bush-Moore, Dinzey and their co-defendants from Barre, Vermont were captured on wiretaps, according to federal authorities.

    Barre residents Jamieson Gallas, 37, Tracy Parsons, 46 and Amanda Atkins, 25, are all charged in the superseding indictment.

    At a January detention hearing, DiPaolo said that one phone call centered on Gallas ingesting 10 bags of drugs after being pulled over by police.

    "What did he do, swallow all the f---ing crack? He's gonna die," Moore-Bush said on the recorded call.

    Bush-Moore also allegedly threatened to kill a woman who was in the car at the time to pressure her into withholding information from the police.

    While the original indictment only included drug charges, the new superseding indictment includes charges against Bush-Moore and Dinzey of illegal firearms dealing and money laundering.

    Thomas O'Connor, Bush-Moore's attorney, declined to comment for this story.

    Springfield residents Oscar Rosario, 33, and Luis Niko Santos, 24, were also added to the indictment unsealed on Friday.

    While Moore was not initially implicated following her daughter's arrest in January, federal authorities now allege that she actively helped Bush-Moore launder drug and gun money, and then lied about those transactions to investigators.

    Moore allegedly operated a TD Bank account that stored money from her daughter's drug sales. Between January and September of 2017, co-defendants Gallas, Parsons and Amanda Atkins allegedly deposited thousands of dollars of cash into Moore's account as she held It in trust for her daughter.

    Moore and her daughter also allegedly used ATM transactions to withdraw $9,500 from the account between November 2017 and January 2018, while knowing that the money stemmed from narcotics sales, according to the indictment.

    And when questioned by ATF and Internal Revenue Service agents, Moore allegedly lied. She is not facing a federal charge of false statements.

    "Moore allegedly falsely stated that she did not know where Moore-Bush conducted her banking when, in fact, she knew that Moore-Bush used accounts held in Moore's name in trust for Moore-Bush," Lelling's office said in statement. "She also falsely stated that she did not know that individuals from Vermont had been at her house and the whereabouts of a black Audi when, in fact, Moore had met and interacted with individuals from Vermont at her home and knew that Moore-Bush had sold the black Audi."


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    Members of Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni's office are playing Santa Claus this holiday season by providing gifts for 50 children in need.

    SPRINGFIELD- Members of Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni's office are playing Santa Claus this holiday season by providing gifts for 50 children in need.

    In partnership with Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), members of Gulluni's office "adopt" the children, receive a "wish list" from the child, then shop for and wrap gifts from the list.

    This year, members of the office have donated more than $10,000 in gifts, which will help brighten Christmas morning for children who might not otherwise have gifts to open.

    "I am so proud of the many members of my staff who have stepped forward and exhibited such generosity for these children," Gulluni said. "The kids involved in this initiative come from some difficult circumstances and this helps to give them a joyful experience during the holiday season. This is what the season is all about."

    The gifts collected will be picked up by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and distributed by clinicians assigned to the children.


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    The City Council weighed the implications of accepting the gift and also debated delving into a discussion that could further an "anti-police mindset."

    NORTHAMPTON -- City Councilors are debating whether or not to accept a gift to the police department of approximately $13,000 in ammunition from Walmart.

    Some councilors were wary of delving too deeply into a discussion that could turn "philosophical" and could "send the wrong message" about the level of trust in the police.

    A handful of residents came forward during the public comment period at Thursday's council meeting to speak against accepting the donation.

    "This gift is a transaction between two incredibly powerful institutions," said one speaker named Blair. "Please begin having conversations about why NPD needs bullets in the first place."

    "This body has said they only have the power of the purse. But if Walmart wants to supply endless guns and ammunition, the power of the purse is worthless," said attorney Dana Goldblatt. "I don't think these are my values or your values. I would say these are Walmart's values."

    Mayor David Narkewicz told councilors that the Northampton Walmart store is no longer selling ammunition and that it approached the police department about donating its leftover inventory. The ammunition would be used for training purposes at the police department's firing range.

    Narkewicz said the level of discussion during the meeting over a gift to the city was "unprecedented." Other corporations and organizations regularly donate items to city departments without the same scrutiny, he said.

    Ward 7 Councilor Alisa Klein said comparing the donation of ammunition to other gifts that have been made to the city -- like school buses or laser equipment to help the fire department find people in a home -- was like comparing apples to oranges. 

    "It's one thing to get a bus to transport children for educational purposes than with bullets, which are used for purposes that can kill people," Klein said. "And the police do have to come under a particular type of scrutiny because of the power they hold, and the responsibility they have in our community is a particular kind of responsibility."

    According to Klein, the donation would include nearly 70,000 bullets. Not all the various types of bullets are used by police and would have to be passed on to the state police to be destroyed. 

    Klein said she asked Narkewicz if this donation would offset the police department's request for funding in the next year's operating budget. In an email reply, he said her request showed a "lack of trust" in the police and that it was "feeding into an anti-police mindset," she said.

    "I've never heard someone say that now that the school got this money, we need to reduce their budget," Narkewicz said during the meeting.

    He also said he's not aware of any situation where the Northampton police have discharged their weapons in the line of duty since 1978.

    "I do understand how that training is probably a good part of the reason there hasn't been a discharged weapon outside of the firing range in all these years," said Ward 2 Councilor Dennis Bidwell. "I'm comforted that training is required and that the police take training very seriously."

    Klein made a motion to refer the discussion to the City Council's City Services Committee, which handles matters relating to public safety. Bidwell cautioned about delving too deeply into a discussion about the merits and implications of the gift.

    "I don't think this is the time for City Services to tackle the question of ... do we want our police department to be armed," Bidwell said.

    "I'm not having a problem with this (donation)," said Ward 6 Councilor Marianne LaBarge. "What I'm having a problem with is how come only the City of Northampton is having a problem with the police department? Easthampton is not, none of them are."

    If councilors accept the gift, Klein said, she wouldn't want the local police to "act as a liaison" between the corporation and the state police and to take on the responsibility of destroying the unusable ammo.

    Councilor-at-large Bill Dwight added that even though Walmart wouldn't be given a tax break by the city for the donation, Walmart would likely get a write-off from the IRS, and that he wouldn't want the unused ammunition to aid in "padding (Walmart's) pockets."

    Councilors ultimately directed Narkewicz to obtain information about how much of the ammunition could be used by the police department so that the city could accept only what would be used. Then Walmart could destroy the remaining ammunition itself rather than relying on the local police to carry that out.

    In a 6-3 vote, the council decided to send the gift acceptance for further discussion by the City Services Committee at its Jan. 7 meeting. Bidwell and councilors David Murphy and James Nash were the dissenting votes.


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    The 552,830 people that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said are experiencing homelessness is "just the tip of the iceberg.

    SPRINGFIELD - The 552,830 people that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said are experiencing homelessness is "just the tip of the iceberg," said Kelly Turley, associate director for the Boston-based Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

    "The numbers don't begin to reflect the reality," Turley said.

    Every January, HUD does a point-in-time housing count to assess the homeless population across the country. But, Turley said, "the definition is pretty narrow."

    The counts are based on people staying in sheltered locations -- emergency shelters or transitional housing programs -- or in unsheltered locations such as on the street, in abandoned buildings or in other places not suitable for human habitation, according to the report. 

    Turley said the number is based on who counters actually see, not the people hidden from view or those sleeping on friends' or relatives' couches on the night of the count. 

    And the report was missing data from San Francisco, Portland, Oregon, and California's Orange County.

    In Massachusetts, 20,068 people were reported homeless -- a 14.2 percent hike from 2017. That's the largest increase in the country, according to the report, but much of the increase can be attributed to the high number of people displaced by disasters seeking refuge in Massachusetts.

    Still, Turley believes Massachusetts' numbers are low, particularly when it comes to counting those 18 to 24 who are hard to count because they don't want to be found. She said the number is larger than the 465 reported for that age group. With more funding to target homeless youth, she expects a better count in January.

    "We shouldn't make policy based on these numbers," Turley said.

    She said Massachusetts is ranked the sixth least affordable state. "It's pretty discouraging," she said. 

    David Christopolis, of the Hilltown CDC, which has operated a homelessness program in Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire counties for the last six years, agrees policy should not be based on the data from the HUD report, but he said it is. 

    Issues surrounding homelessness are vast and complicated, he said.

    "I think it's an economic problem," Christopolis said. "The symptoms are social and medical, but I do think it's economic. Housing is expensive."

    "(Policymakers) can't figure out how to address it," he said. "There's not enough housing appropriate for people's level of income. I don't know how you can solve that problem."

    Data in a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition show income needs in relationship to housing. In the Springfield area, for example, a person earning the $11 state minimum wage would be able to afford a studio apartment at $572 a month, but fair market rates put that studio at $739 a month.

    According to the report, a worker would have to earn $14.21 an hour to afford that apartment, or just under $30,000 a year.

    "It's not the matter of people working any harder," Turley said. Housing subsidies are crucial "to bridge that gap," she said, yet are hard to obtain.

    She said gentrification is making the housing crisis worse.

    Christopolis cited cities such as Pittsfield that saw the loss of employers such as General Electric, leaving people without good-paying jobs. He said the community is looking at tourism, but the service industry doesn't pay those kinds of wages. 

    "We don't really we seem to have the political will to address it (homelessness) economically. We nibble around the edges," Christopolis said.

    He sees homelessness as "a spiritual crisis."

    "It's hard to believe we wouldn't make it a first priority," he said. Christopolis thinks that more could be done to prevent homelessness. 

    Following the release of the HUD report this week, the Coalition for Homeless Individuals is asking the Baker administration to set aside $55 million in the next state budget for organizations that support the homeless, according to the State House News Service.

    The coalition, made up of 40 organizations around the state, said in its letter to the governor that the budget be fully funded at $48.18 million to preserve existing contracts. But because of an increase in demand for services, the coalition said the line item really ought to be funded at $55 million, according to the news service.


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    Carey will represent the 2nd Hampshire District, a seat held for the past 16 years by John Scibak, who is retiring.

    SOUTH HADLEY -- The Selectboard on Tuesday welcomed state Rep.-elect Daniel Carey, who will represent the 2nd Hampshire District on Beacon Hill.

    Carey, an Easthampton city councilor, will replace John Scibak, D-South Hadley, who announced his retirement in February. Scibak held the seat for 16 years.

    Last month the board met with incoming state Sen. Jo Comerford, who will replace former Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst.

    The board sent Carey and Comerford a list of questions regarding issues germane to South Hadley.

    Selectboard Meeting: 12-18-2018 from SHCTV15 on Vimeo.

    Chairman Ira Brezinsky, who congratulated Carey on his victory, said the board looked forward to working with him.

    Carey, a graduate of Emmanuel College in Boston, earned a law degree at Western New England University. He worked recently as a prosecutor for the Northwestern district attorney's office.

    He will relinquish his city council set Dec. 31 and then devote his full attention preparing for the Statehouse. "I want to give this position 100 percent. I know how important this position is and I know what a great job John Scibak has done over the last 16 years," Carey said.

    Carey said he wants to represent all four towns in his district, Hadley, Granby, Easthampton and South Hadley.

    He plans to focus on public education, particularly on current funding formulas and the "drain" they have on municipal budgets. "We have a good crew of new folks who want to see that get changed and updated," he said.

    Carey plans to tackle the opioid epidemic, which has touched communities across the state and the nation. He worked with the district attorney's drug diversion treatment program, which gave him firsthand experience in how it affects users and their loved ones.

    "I lost friends to the crisis that's going on. We can do more. We've done a lot of good things on the prevention side and prescription side," Carey said. "We need to tackle the treatment and recovery aspect as folks are dealing with these addictions the rest of their lives."

    He supports Medicare for All, an issue Carey regularly hears about from constituents. But such wholesale changes to the state's health care system need widespread support, something currently lacking, according to Carey.

    Carey said constituents want representatives on Beacon Hill willing to "fight for Western Mass.," a region left behind for decades on funding and economic prosperity. He wants funding increased overall for the area, including education and highway dollars.

    Carey added that input from the Selectboard and other municipal boards in his district helps guide him at the state level. He speaks regularly with Comerford, whose district spans 24 communities.

    He plans to hold regular open office hours with constituents around the district. He hired Kelly O'Reilly, a South Hadley resident, for a staff position. "We'll have the district well sorted between the two of us, having grown up in Easthampton and South Hadley," Carey said.

    Brezinsky said "hot topics" are additional funding for the River-to-Range project, a More Walkable South Hadley, potential state highway projects in the area of Newton and Lyman streets, general public education and transportation.

    Brezinsky said South Hadley has yet to participate in the state's Green Community Act program, which sets energy-efficiency goals, awards grants and provides templates for updating municipal codes and ordinances.

    He added design work is underway on the new senior center. He noted that Town Administrator Michael J. Sullivan floated an idea to tap into casino revenue to partly fund the center or ongoing programs.

    Brezinsky wants Carey to look at state funding for renovating or constructing a new Mosher School.

    The board will honor outgoing Police Chief Steve Parentela at a future meeting. Jennifer Gundersen, a veteran officer with the Amherst Police Department, will assume the chief's position Jan. 4.


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    Stephen J. Hall Jr. forfeited $239,706 in cash, including $50,000 dug up from the ground. His father, Stephen Hall Sr., also faces money laundering charges.

    GREENFIELD -- A Greenfield man admitted Friday to being a heroin dealer, and was sentenced to eight years and one day in state prison.

    Stephen J. Hall Jr., 28, appeared in Franklin Superior Court, where he pleaded guilty to money laundering, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm and ammunition without an FID card, and improper storage of a firearm.

    Before Judge John Agostini, Hall agreed to forfeit $239,706 -- including $50,000 in cash found buried in Northfield. Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jeremy Bucci said the cash was associated with the drug trade.

    "Hall represented a major source of supply in Franklin County," Bucci said following the hearing. "This was a very serious crime."

    Bucci said it was "the most significant seizure of heroin in recent memory" in the Greenfield area.

    Hall has been held at the Franklin County House of Correction since Aug. 21 -- the day he and his girlfriend, Lauren P. Donovan, were arrested following an undercover investigation by Greenfield police and the Northwestern District Anti-Crime Task Force.

    At the apartment the two shared, police executed a search warrant and found nearly 13,000 bags of heroin, over $90,000 in cash, and a loaded Glock 30S semi-automatic handgun on a living room table, court records show.

    Hall and Donovan were initially indicted on drug and gun charges on Sept. 7.

    Hall's change of plea followed a separate indictment where he and his father, Stephen Hall Sr., were charged with money laundering.

    That charge hinges upon $200,000 in a Greenfield storage unit. The younger Hall and Donovan, "independently and unaware of each other," tried to gain access to the box of money while incarcerated, and their conversations were recorded, authorities said.

    Donovan, who needed $20,000 to post bail, made jailhouse phone calls to friends, trying to persuade someone to break into the unit, according to an affidavit filed by Greenfield Police Detective Kevin Rowell. 

    Separately, Hall told a jailhouse visitor to get the cash and give it to his father. The elder Hall did come into possession of the box, Rowell's affidavit states.

    Hall Sr. allegedly allocated $20,000 for Donovan's bail, $20,000 for his son's lawyer and cash for family and friends. The rest -- around $146,000 -- he allegedly split with Donovan, who on Aug. 27 was bailed out by a friend. 

    Hall Sr. then allegedly buried $50,000 cash in his mother's back yard in Northfield. Following his Dec. 4 arrest, Hall Sr. dug it back up in the presence of police, Rowell's affidavit states.

    On Dec. 5, Donovan, following a meeting with her lawyer, relinquished $53,000 to investigators in the parking lot of the Franklin County Courthouse.

    She will be back in court Jan. 29 to face drug and gun charges. Hall Sr. is due to be arraigned on the money laundering charge on Jan. 10.

    The total amount of cash seized included $93,756 from Hall Jr.'s apartment, $50,000 dug up from the ground, $22,900 seized from Hall Sr.'s home in Montague, $53,010 from Donovan's car and $20,000 posted for Donovan's bail.

    Bucci said Hall Jr. could have seen a lengthier prison sentence if he had gone to trial and been found guilty.

    Responding to questions from Agostini in the courtroom, Hall said he has a ninth-grade education and is unemployed. Defense attorney David Rountree said that his client would work toward his GED in prison.

    "It's a good step for him to make progress and step forward," Rountree said.

    Bucci, following the court hearing, issued a statement regarding the seized cash.

    "Those ill-gotten gains have been secured by investigators working with the Northwestern District Anti-Crime Task Force pending a Superior Court forfeiture action," Bucci said.

    The prosecutor praised the task force for "protecting our community against those who poison and endanger us with heroin and illegally possessed firearms," and commended Rowell for his police work.

    "Their unrelenting work in this case was impressive and has stopped a major heroin distributor in Franklin County," Bucci said.


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    A 21-year-old Braintree man who was struck by an alleged hit and run driver Saturday died of his injuries, officials said.

    Prosecutors are investigating upgraded charges against a Quincy man after a 21-year-old pedestrian hit by a car in Braintree died earlier this week, the Patriot Ledger reported

    The Norfolk District Attorney's Office announced Friday that Lucas Flint, of Braintree, died of injuries he sustained when he was struck while walking Saturday night on Washington Street in Braintree.

    The driver of the car, 25-year-old Darrell Young, was arraigned Monday in Quincy District Court on charges of drunken driving, causing serious bodily injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, driving with a suspended license, driving an uninsured motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation.

    According to police, Young fled the crash and was later found in Holbrook, the Partriot Ledger reported. 

    Young was released after he posted $25,000 cash bail pending a later court date.

     

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    Massachusetts State Police are investigating a multi-car crash on Interstate 495 Friday afternoon that killed one person and injured at least one other.

    Massachusetts State Police are investigating a multi-car crash on Interstate 495 Friday afternoon that killed one person and injured at least one other.

    According to police, all of the northbound lanes with the exception of the breakdown lane of the highway were closed after four cars collided near Exit 6 around 5 p.m.

    All lanes reopened around 7:15. 

     

     

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    Nine people were indicted after extensive investigations by the State Police and the Attorney General's Office. Prosecutors say the suspects were involved in a large-scale operations in and around Boston.

     

    Nine people have been indicted on charges they organized and operated large-scale sports betting operations in the Great Boston area.

    Attorney General Maura Healey announced the statewide grand jury indictments Friday.

    According to officials, the indictments resulted from extensive investigations by the Massachusetts State Police Special Service Section and the Attorney General's Gaming Enforcement Division. 

    According to prosecutors, 74-year-old Lon Hillson, of Melrose, was indicted on two counts of organizing and promoting gambling, registration of bets, and conspiracy to register bets, and single counts of use of a telephone for gambling and attempted extortion. 

    Hillson's 55-year-old son, Lonnie, Jr., was indicted on single counts of the same charges, while Hillson's wife, Marcia Hillson, 72, was indicted on single counts of registration of bets, use of the telephone for gambling and conspiracy to register bets. 

    According to investigators, the family allegedly ran a betting operation out of their Melrose homes, by taking bets over the phone.  

    Dennis Willcox, 43, of Everett, Anthony DiMare, 57, of Medford, 65-year-old Donald DiMare of Medford, 52-year-old John Whealen , also of Medford, and Rocco Longo, 45 of Revere were all indicted on charges of attempted extortion. 

    According to prosecutors, the five served as collectors extorting money owned the Hillsons by losing bettors.  One of those bettors was an undercover officer, officials said.

    A separate set of indictments was handed up covering another operation.  John Rothfuchs, 62, of Boxborough and 58-year-old Paul Limone, of Medford,  were inidcted on single counts of organizing and promoting gambling, registration of bets, use of the telephone for gambling and money laundering. 

    Rothfuchs is accused of running a large-scale gambling operation by registering bets through an offshore online bookmaking website. 

    All of those indicted will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at a later date. 


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    One woman was killed and one seriously injured when their cars collided on I-495 in Middleboro friday afternoon. The state police said two other cars were also damaged in the incident.

     

    A Brockton woman died of injuries she sustained when her car spun out of control on I-495 in Middleboro and was struck head-on by another vehicle. Two other cars were also damaged in the multi-car crash.

    The Massachusetts State Police said a preliminary investigation indicates that the 47-year-old Brockton woman was entering the northbound lanes of I-495 from Route 44 at about 4:15 p.m., when, for an unknown reason, her Chevy Envoy spun out of control coming to rest pointed southbound. It was struck head-on by a Cadillac CTS operated by a 55-year-old Wareham woman. 

    Police said the Cadillac spun into the left lane of the divided highway, hitting a Kia Optima which then struck a Toyota Sienna. The two men in the Kia and Toyota were not injured.

    The Brockton woman was transported to Morton Hospital in Taunton where she was pronoounced dead.  The driver of the Cadillac was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton where she is being treated for serious injuries. 

    The Collision Analysis and Reconstriction Section, Crime Scene Service and detectives attacched to the Plymouth District Attorney's Office are investigating the incident. 

    The identity of the dead woman is being witheld pending notification of family.  


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    A witness yelled, "Get out of the way, he's drunk" moments before the crash, according to the arrest report.

    CHICOPEE -- A defense lawyer plans to ask a judge to dismiss evidence against a Holyoke man facing his fourth drunken driving charge.

    Daniel J. Robert, 56, was charged in April with drunken driving (fourth offense) and reckless operation of a motor vehicle after allegedly driving across the lawn and stairs at a Chicopee home and slamming into the car of a pizza delivery driver.

    A witness yelled, "Get out of the way, he's drunk" moments before the crash, according to the arrest report, which said Robert preformed poorly on field sobriety tests and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

    Following Robert's arraignment, Assistant District Attorney James Roux recommended that he be held without bail, citing the new arrest and Robert's criminal history, which includes drunken driving convictions in Ware, Holyoke and Northampton district courts.

    Judge Bethzaida Sanabria-Vega ruled that Robert met the legal criteria for dangerousness, but released him with a series of conditions, including surrendering his license and wearing an electronic bracelet that monitors his blood alcohol content.

    During a hearing Friday, defense lawyer Olivia Mercadante said she plans to file a motion to suppress evidence collected by police at the crash scene.

    Robert's eyes were bloodshot, his breath smelled of alcohol and he admitted drinking "a couple of cocktails" before the crash, according to the arrest report.

    A neighbor told police Robert was swaying from side to side in the car before the crash and appeared to be drunk or suffering a heart attack, the report said.

    The delivery driver was not injured, but his car sustained extensive front-end damage.

    Sanabria-Vega set a Jan. 21 date for Mercadante to submit her motion to dismiss and continued the case for a pretrial hearing on Feb. 15.


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    For years, Derby pushed to welcome and properly regulate the medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis industries in Easthampton.

    EASTHAMPTON -- A city councilor who worked for years to welcome and properly regulate the local cannabis industry made the first ceremonial purchase Saturday as INSA, the medical marijuana dispensary at the Keystone Mill, opened Saturday for the first time to adult-use, recreational sales.

    "For me, this is literally a dream come true," said Salem Derby, the Ordinance Subcommittee chairman. Since 2012, Derby spearheaded an effort to establish cannabis zoning rules for medical and recreational use, and at times found himself swimming against the tide.

    "The reason I was able to put myself out on a limb, and be brave to support something that wasn't very popular, necessarily, all the time -- and I had to convince some of my colleagues to come along with me -- is because I knew it was the right thing to do," Derby said.

    The councilor said that years ago, his best friend's mother died of ovarian cancer, and she used medical marijuana, before it was legal, to stop using opioids.

    "And that was really powerful for me," said Derby, who spoke during a brief ceremony. "So I knew I was fighting the good fight."

    He said he also had social justice reasons for supporting the legalization of cannabis.

    "When I looked at the history of the criminalization of marijuana, it was different from the criminalization of alcohol," Derby said. "Prohibition (in the 1920s) was because of the social ills that came with alcohol. Cannabis prohibition was because of the people that used cannabis -- and that, to me, is a glaring lapse in equity."

    Derby referred to the city's work, under three mayors, to revitalize the city's former mills in partnership with private developers. The Pleasant Street mills benefited from three years of MassWorks grants, which helped fund parking, infrastructure, and a new urban design concept.

    "When I first became a city councilor 16 years ago, this spot here looked a lot different," he said, referring to the refurbished mill at 122 Pleasant Street. The once-vacant factory -- and other old mills in Easthampton -- are now buzzing with mixed-use activity.

    Derby told The Republican that the next step is welcoming "social consumption" -- that is, allowing cannabis cafes, yoga studios, and the like.

    He said the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is now discussing  the prospect of issuing social consumption licenses, and that Easthampton, as a "cannabis-forward community," wants to be part any upcoming pilot program.

    "It's less responsible to have cannabis sales without social consumption," Derby said.

    As for his purchase, Derby said he bought "a one-to-one CBD pen and a preroll."

    Also speaking at Saturday's ceremony were INSA CEO Mark Zatryka, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, and City Council President Joseph McCoy.

    LaChapelle said that INSA fits right in with her vision for "sustainable economic development," and has brought jobs back to the mill district.

    "Thirty-five years ago, there were 3,000 workers that filtered through this area," she said. "And at a time when manufacturing and retail face tremendous challenges, Easthampton leads the way in bringing jobs back."

    Zatryka thanked his staff -- including his cultivation, trim and harvest, laboratory, kitchen, sales, and security teams -- and said they are "the best in the game."

    He acknowledged local officials, and said his working relationship with the city has been positive. "We're very thankful and humbled to be where we are today," said Zatryka.

    McCoy thanked his colleagues in city government, thanked the people of Easthampton, and acknowledged Derby's role in pushing things forward.  

    After the ceremony, the doors opened and members of the general public formed a queue to purchase adult-use cannabis in Easthampton. A separate queue allowed medical patients to move forward more quickly.

    Police Chief Robert Alberti told The Republican that he believes the cannabis industry will be good for the city, and said INSA has worked closely with his officers to establish protocols around parking, traffic, and security.

    Asked if he would purchase cannabis himself on opening day, Alberti laughed.

    "That would be a 'no,'" he said.

    INSA built its facility under Easthampton's medical marijuana zoning ordinance, passed in 2015. The company then applied for, and won, a special permit under the city's 2018 adult-use cannabis zoning ordinance.

    When INSA first opened for medical marijuana sales in February, a who's-who of city officials and local business leaders attended the ribbon-cutting.


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    Easthampton police said a 5-year-old girl found unresponsive in her Treehouse Circle home Friday morning died at a local hospital. Chief Robert Alberti said state and local police detectives are investigating.

     
     

    A 5-year-old Easthampton girl, rushed to a local hospital Friday morning, was pronounced dead soon after arrival, Easthampton police said Saturday.

    In a Facebook posting, Easthampton Police Chief Robert Alberti said the little girl was found unresponsive in her Treehouse Circle home shortly after 9:30 a.m. Friday.  

    Officers responding to the scene provided emergency medical care for the girl until she was transported by ambulance to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton.

    Alberti said the girl was pronounced dead at the hospital.

    The incident remains under investigation by Easthampton Police detectives and Massachusetts State Police detectives attached to the Northwest District Attorney's Office.   


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    This is the third year members of the Richard Allen Lodge #30 ran a toy drive to help children in the community. Watch video

    SPRINGFIELD -- When Damion Harper looked around at the headquarters at Richard Allen Lodge Saturday morning he knew he would have to improvise.

    There were so many basketballs, footballs, puzzles, trucks, building blocks, dolls and games that he knew they needed a bigger vehicle to bring them all to Shriners Hospital for Children so he rented a U-Haul truck.

    This is the third year the masonic Richard Allen Lodge #30, a Masonic fraternity of about 50 active members, has run a toy drive to make sure children at the hospital aren't forgotten on Christmas.

    "I was always told kids don't care about how many presents they get as long as they get something for Christmas," said Everett Handford, a member of the lodge. "They know someone in the world cares and that is what it is all about."

    The group worked with a number of other community organizations to collect toys including the YMCA of Springfield and the U.S. Army. Harper said even his dentist's office got involved when he mentioned it to them in passing.

    This year the organization got a little bit of a late start, but it didn't matter. On Saturday members put aside their own holiday preparations and collected the final toys, filling their Berkshire Avenue headquarters. Members then packed the gifts into larger boxes, loaded them into the U-Haul and delivered them.

    As the group of volunteers worked there was a lot of good-natured banter among them about who was carrying the biggest boxes and other things.

    The organization's philosophy is "faith, hope and charity for the community" as the toy drive was part of the group's goal to help whenever they can, Handford said.

    "We have to reach out to the community and be a part of it and do whatever we can to impact and do good for the community," Harper said.

    The group has had some new members over the past few years and with that some new ideas, including the toy drive, Handford said.

    This drive collected a few more toys than they have in the past thanks to a lot of community support, said Charles Merkman, one of the members.

    "We just want to make kids happy," he said.

    The one thing Shriners Hospital staff could not accept was stuffed animals for hypoallergenic reasons. The members boxed up a large Scooby Doo, some teddy bears and other toys that couldn't be sent to ill children in separate cartons and those will be sent to the Department of Youth Services to help children there, Harper said.


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    These are the winning numbers in the Powerball lottery drawing Saturday. Watch video

    Got lottery fever? The latest Powerball drawing offers a very healthy payout for someone holding a ticket with the right numbers.

    powerballlogo.jpg

    Here are Saturday's winning numbers:

    21-28-30-40-59, Powerball: 26, PowerPlay: 3X

    The estimated jackpot is $281 million. The lump sum payment before taxes would be about $166.8 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.


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    A joint raid by local, state and federal investigators scooped up more than 6,000 counterfeit handbags, hats and fashion accessories in a raid on a lawrence flea market. Three New York men were arrested and the merchandise confiscated.

    Investigators from the Massachusetts State Police, Lawrence police and agents from Homeland Security Investigations raided a Lawrence flea market Saturday, and scooped up more than 6,000 counterfeit fashion accessories that three New York men were allegedly selling. More than 1,000 of the items carried a knock-off trademark logo, officials said. 

    David Procopio, spokesman for the State Police said representatives of federally registered trademark holders were also standing at raid to help police and agents determine the validity of the marked items.

    Arrested were Jinwu Wang, 41, of Oakland Gardens, NY, Shend-Fu Weng, 39, of Flushing, NY and Sheng-chao Weng, 37, of Fresh Meadows, NY. All three were released from the Andover State Police barracks after posting cash bail.  They will be arraigned in Lawrence District Court next week.

    Law enforcement officials raided the flea market located at 85 Manchester St., in Lawrence and executed three separate court-ordered warrants, seeking counterfeit products, including items carrying the Gucci and Michael Kors trademarks among others. 

    In all, authorities removed more than 6,000 pieces of merchandize which had they been authenitc would have be valued at more than $1.5 million. 


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    The victim was brought to Holyoke Medical Center in a private vehicle and then transferred to Baystate Medical Center, in Springfield, by ambulance.

    HOLYOKE - A man was shot in the chest and seriously injured Sunday.

    The shooting occurred around noon. Police believe the victim was shot in the area of Appleton and Oak streets but are still investigating to find out the exact location of the crime, Lt. Michael McCoy said.

    The man was shot in the arm and the bullet then went into his chest, he said.

    The victim was driven to Holyoke Medical Center in a private vehicle by a friend or family member. He was later transferred to Baystate Medical Center, in Springfield, by ambulance, he said.

    "Detectives are at Baystate and on the scene canvassing the area where we believe it took place," he said.

    Anyone who witnessed the shooting or has any information about it is urged to call detectives at 413-322-6900, he said.

    This is a breaking story. MassLive will update when more information becomes available.

     

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    State Police investigators identified the woman killed in a four-car crash on I-495 Friday afternoon as 57-year-old Anita Stevens of Brockton. The incident remains under investigation.

     

    The 57-year-old woman killed when her car was struck head-on in a four-car crash on I-495 Friday has been identified as Anita Stevens of Brockton.

    Investigators said Stevens's Chevy Envoy spun out of control as she tried to enter I-495 from Route 44 in Middleboro at about 4:15 p.m., and ended up pointing south in the northbound lane.  Her car was struck head-on by a Cadillac CTS.

    Stevens was transported to Morton Hospital in Taunton where she was pronounced dead. 

    The driver of the Cadillac, a 55-year-old Wareham woman, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton with serious injuries. 

    Police said after the two vehicles collided head-on, the Cadillac was pushed into the left lane of the highway where it collided with a Kia, which then crashed into a Toyota. 

    The drivers of the Kia and Toyota were not injured. 

    The accident is being investigated by the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services and detectives attached to the Plymouth County District Attorney's office.  


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    Read obituaries from The Republican newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts.

    Here are the obituaries published this weekend in The Republican:

    Obituaries from The Republican, Dec. 22-23, 2018

     

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