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    UMass Robert Feldman studied college students meeting for the 1st time and found emails contain 3 times as many lies and exaggerations as face-to-face conversations.

    teen young man at computer.JPGUMass researches found that as people grow psychologically and physically further from the person they are in communication with, there is a higher likelihood of lying.

    Can you look me in the eye and say that?

    Apparently many people can’t – if they intend to tell a lie.

    A new study by researchers at University of Massachusetts at Amherst finds that email and instant messages are more likely to contain lies than face-to-face conversations, and that emails are the most likely to include them.

    The research paper, “Liar, Liar, Hard Drive on Fire: How Media Context Affects Lying Behavior,” by Robert S. Feldman, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Mattityahu Zimbler, a graduate student, was published in the October issue of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology.

    “I think when you’re online, you feel less constrained in terms of what you’re saying. Your facial cues and verbal behaviors can’t give you away, so it’s easier to be deceptive,” Feldman said.

    The researchers studied 110 same-sex pairs of college students who engaged in 15-minute conversations either face to face, using email or via instant messaging. They were meeting for the first time and were told to get to know each other. Afterward, they were shown transcripts of what they said or wrote and asked to identify the inaccurate statements.

    The researchers found that for a given number of words in the communication, emails contained three times as many lies and exaggerations as face-to-face conversations.

    In most cases, people told lies “to make themselves look better,” Feldman said.

    Feldman and Zimbler found that as people grow psychologically and physically further from the person they are in communication with, there is a higher likelihood of lying. And, because emails had still another separation of being sent and answered at different times, they were the most likely of the three forms of communication to contain lies.

    “This follows quite a few studies that have found that most of the time, people don’t think they lie at all. Then, when they are asked to watch themselves, they are surprised to hear themselves say things that aren’t entirely true,” Feldman said.

    A certain amount of “white lies” are probably necessary in everyday life, he said.

    “To get along with other people, we sometimes need to say things that aren’t completely true. For instance, no one wants to hear that they look terrible,” he said.

    Feldman, who has been the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UMass-Amherst since 2009, is an expert on lying and author of the book “The Liar in Your Life,” published in 2009.

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    Firefighters were called back to a Harriet Street apartment building, the scene of an earlier fire that forced tenants to be evicted. Watch video

    Springfield fire severely damages North End apartment building at 34 Harriet St.Springfield Fire Department at the scene of an apartment fire on Harriet Street in Springfield's North End.

    SPRINGFIELD — City firefighters were called back to the scene of Friday's North End apartment building fire to extinguish a minor flare-up on Sunday morning.

    At about 8:10 a.m., firefighters returned to 34-36 Harriet St. to douse a small fire, according to Springfield Fire Department Public Information Officer Dennis G. Leger.

    Leger described the fire to abc40, media partner of The Republican and MassLive, as a "reignite" that caused "very minor" additional damage to the already compromised structure.

    On Friday, Leger told The Republican that the brick apartment building near the corner of Harriet and Dwight streets was likely a total loss.

    The building recently was renovated and was poised to accept several new tenants when the fire broke out. Property manager Sheryl Chase said three new tenants were scheduled to move in on Saturday, bringing the 16-unit building's occupancy rate to around half a dozen people.

    Most of the building's tenants were evicted when the property underwent foreclosure in January. Since then, however, money was spent on necessary repairs and improvements, Chase said.

    The initial fire was reported just after 4 p.m. Friday. It started in a third-floor bedroom before spreading to the fourth floor, then to the roof.

    After battling the blaze for about half an hour, firefighters were ordered to abandon the building because it was in danger of collapsing, officials said.

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    The first incident involved a vehicle that crashed into a historic South Street building used by the Daughters of the American Revolution, while the second happened at a Maple Street building in Florence.

    NORTHAMPTON — City police are investigating the second car-versus-building incident in less than 24 hours.

    A car crashed into 56 Maple St. around 8:42 p.m. Sunday, marking the second such incident since 1:47 a.m. Sunday, when a car crashed into a historic building building at 148 South St.

    Northampton Police Lt. Jody Kasper said the driver in the evening crash was uninjured and is not facing charges in connection with the incident, which damaged a Maple Street building in the city's Florence section.

    "It did punch a hole" in the structure, Kasper said.

    The building is located a couple of blocks from Florence center and local landmarks such as the Miss Florence Diner.

    Meanwhile, the earlier crash remains under investigation. Kasper said Monday that charges had not yet been filed in connection with that incident, which left a gaping hole in the side of an 18th-century structure dating back to 1753.

    The Daily Hampshire Gazette, citing law enforcement sources, reports that the vehicle's driver and a passenger who was carrying a loaded handgun are expected to be charged.

    The driver was identified as 21-year-old Easthampton resident John Diemand, who was treated for minor injuries at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and later released.

    Diemand was not arrested but likely will face charges after a toxicology report is completed, Northampton Police Detective Corey Robinson told the Gazette. The passenger with the loaded handgun, whom police did not identify, also is expected to face criminal charges, Robinson said.

    Authorities believe speed was a factor in the crash, which created a large hole in the side of the house at the corner of South (Route 10) and Munroe streets house. The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned by the Betty Allen Chapter of the Massachusetts Daughters of the American Revolution.

    Jennifer Higgins, who lives on the second floor of the South Street building, told the Gazette that the crash "felt like an earthquake."

    "I came downstairs, looked in the sitting room, and there was a car and two people standing there," she said. "They didn't even ask me if I was all right."

    Higgins said one of the people lit a cigarette while smoke was coming from the car's engine.

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    This marks the 89th season for Toy for Joy.

    toycoup11.JPGView full size

    SPRINGFIELD – Ludlow resident Claire Bachand honors her family every holiday season with a donation to Toy for Joy.

    Bachand’s $100 contribution is made in memory of her late mother, father and brother, Rene Bachand.

    “Christmas was always special to us,” Bachand said. “Now that I am alone, I of course miss them very much, but, I want to help others....I do it from my heart.”

    This marks the 89th annual Toy for Joy campaign; jointly sponsored by the Salvation Army and The Republican, the campaign is working to raise $150,000 by Christmas eve to bring toys and gifts to children in need this holiday season.

    Hasbro, Inc. is joining Toy for Joy as a partner, providing some of the toys which will be distributed. Hasbro has a long history of helping families in Western Massachusetts during the holidays and this year is no different.

    By teaming with the Toy for Joy campaign, Hasbro, The Republican and the Salvation Army bring over 100 combined years of experience managing programs that help families in need give their children a toy or game to unwrap on their holiday. Hasbro employees will also be among the volunteers who aid the Salvation Army with registration of families and with distribution of the toys and gifts.

    Toy for Joy registrations formally ended last week in Springfield, Westfield, Northampton, Greenfield. They will continue weekdays through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Salvation Army’s Holyoke Citadel, 271 Appleton St.

    The Greater Springfield Citadel on Pearl Street will hold a make-up registration session on Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    Bachand’s $100 check is part of a batch of contributions that tallies to $810. The total raised to date so far is $8,994, leaving $141,006 to be raised.

    For more information, call 733-1518. To make a contribution to the Toy for Joy fund, write: Toy for Joy, P.O. Box 3007, Springfield 01102. Contributions may also be dropped off with the coupon to The Republican, 1860 Main St., Springfield, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Dec. 23.
    Here’s a list of the latest contributors: Â
    In loving memory of Timothy P. Martin by his family, $25
    In memory of our dogs Bingo and Kerry, $30
    In thanksgiving and remembrance, Merry Christmas from Terry, $20
    In loving memory of Robert and Shirley Pummell and Joe Desrosiers, $15
    In loving memory of Richard Petzold from Marilyn, $25
    In loving memory of Nonnie from Richard and Lee Anne, $25
    Philip and Marjorie, $35
    God bless the children, $35
    In loving memory of Charles, Jessie, Ellen and Mark Dinnie, love Liz, $25
    In memory of Nicholas and Victoria DiVirgilio and Robert Quink, $25
    In memory of my Mom, Dad and brother Rene, love Claire, $100
    Judith, $25
    In memory of Gary Lockwood, $15
    In loving memory of Albert Bailey IV, from Mom and Dad, $25
    Memory of Bill Burke, miss you, Friday morning bowling league, $25
    Loving memory Tim and DJ from the Bassett family, $25
    In memory of Joey Pike from Aunty Dee and Uncle Wade, $50
    For Chuck, $25
    Hoping to make Christmas a little brighter, $25
    In memory of Rose Malo, our aunt from Michigan, $25
    Peace and good will to all, Rudy, $10
    In loving memory of Steve Pacholec, love Jeanine, $25
    In memory of my friend Barb, $25
    Sunny, $50
    From Kenn and Kathy, $100

    RECEIVED, $810
    TOTAL TO DATE, $8,994
    STILL NEEDED, $141,006

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    Bredenbeck, a 1977 graduate of the former Springfield Technical High School, was honored Saturday during a ceremony at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

    Sikorsky Aircraft Chief Pilot Kevin Bredenbeck in this file photosits in the cockpit of the X2 experamental aircraft the company's Schweizer Aircraft facility in Horseheads, N.Y.

    SPRINGFIELD - Kevin Bredenbeck, the Springfield native who last year shattered the world-speed record for helicopters with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation’s experimental X2 helicopter, has been named the Aviator of the Year by Flightglobal Magazine.

    Bredenbeck, 52, a 1977 graduate of the former Springfield Technical High School, was honored Saturday during a ceremony at the Dubai Air Show in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, according to a Sikorsky press release.

    The Flightglobal Achievement Awards celebrate the accomplishments of individuals, groups and companies and innovations in the areas of aviation and aerospace industries.

    Bredenbeck, the director of flight operations and chief test pilot for Sikorsky, was at the controls Aug. 6, 2010 when the X2 achieved an airspeed of 235 knots, or 270 mph, besting the previous record for a helicopter by about 30 mph. The record is about twice the top speed of conventional helicopters.

    Bredenbeck, in a prepared statement, said “What an incredible experience this program has given me, the X2 team, and the entire Sikorsky workforce. Today the future of rotorcraft looks different because of what Sikorsky has accomplished on the X2 Technology demonstrator.”

    He said “I am honored to be recognized but make no mistake, the achievement of the X2 was a total effort by a dedicated team, backed by the full support of 18,000 Sikorsky employees.”

    x2helicopter2.jpgKevin Brederbeck set the world speed record for helicopters in this Sikorsky X2 experimental helicopter

    The X2 helicopter, the result of 6 years of research and design, differs from conventional helicopters in that it has twin overhead rotor blades that spin in opposite directions. The twin-rotor design, plus computerized vibration controls allow it to fly faster than other helicopters without vibrations.

    It was named recipient of the Robert J. Collier Trophy in 2010 for greatest achievement in aerospace.

    It has also been named one of the top ten technologies to watch by Aviation Week, the 2009 Breakthrough Award in Innovation by Popular Mechanics, and one of the Best Inventions by Time magazine.

    The X2 was recently on display at the Connecticut Air Museum. It is due to be presented to the Smithsonian Institution. Sikorsky, based in Stratford, Conn., last year launched a project to construct two prototype light tactical fighter helicopters based on the X2 technology.

    Bredenbeck’s father, Lloyd Bredenbeck of Springfield said he was thrilled when his son told him about the award.

    “I’ve very, very pleased. I’m proud of him for all he has accomplished,” he said. “My little bit of a contribution was to encourage him to fly.”

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    The 5K run, 2-mile walk was expected to raise more than $135,000 for Safe Passage, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating domestic violence.

    hot choco main street.jpgRunners make their way up Main Street in Sunday's Hot Chocolate Run in Northampton.

    NORTHAMPTON — Thousands of runners, walkers and watchers packed Northampton on Sunday for the Eighth Annual Hot Chocolate Run for Safe Passage, a community event to combat domestic violence.

    With more than 5,500 runners and walkers, and perhaps nearly as many spectators, the Hampshire County city was hopping as sunny-but-cool weather provided an ideal backdrop for the 5K run and 2-mile walk.

    The road race was established in 2004 and first was named the Mayor Higgins’ Hot Chocolate Run to benefit Safe Passage, the Hampshire County organization providing shelter, counseling and advocacy services to women and children who have experienced domestic violence.

    The Hot Chocolate Run is Safe Passage’s largest annual fundraising event, and Sunday's affair was expected to collect more than $135,000 for the Northampton-based nonprofit organization.

    hot chocolate run logo.jpg

    Runner Mike Currie, of Greenfield, said the weather was ideal for the event. "It's perfect," he said.

    The event drew luminaries, such as Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, who took part in the walk and called the event "inspirational." When McGovern seeks reelection next fall, his new district will include portions of Franklin and Hampshire counties, including Amherst and Northampton.

    This year's top finishers in the 5K race were 22-year-old Frank "the banana" May, of Amherst, a member of the UMass triathlon team who wore a banana costume during the race, and 28-year-old Jenn McKechnie, of Norfolk.

    May, whose time was 16:18, finished first out of a field of 3,209 runners. McKechnie, the top woman finisher and 27th overall, had a time of 18:10.

    When the race first began back in 2004, less than 500 people participated and only around $6,000 was raised for Safe Passage. Each year since then, however, the buzz around the event has grown, and the race itself has become an annual tradition for many local families.

    hot choco brass band.jpgThe Expandable Brass Band kicked off Northampton's Hot Chocolate Run on Sunday with a spirited parade up Old South Street.

    Last year's event attracted around 5,000 participants and raised more than $130,000 for Safe Passage. This year's Hot Chocolate Run drew more participants and was expected to surpass fundraising goals, according to race organizers.

    Music filled the streets before, during and after the event, as thousands packed the area around the starting line at the intersection of Old South Street and Hampton Avenue. Residents and tourists alike cheered runners along sections of Main, South and Elm streets and local food-and-drink establishments did brisk business throughout the day.

    The line of customers at the Main Street Dunkin' Donuts shop extended all the way to the door of the store, while other downtown coffee shops and breakfast joints were equally busy.

    Because a portion of the course routes overlapped, the walk began at 9:30 a.m. and the run started a half-hour later.

    The Pioneer Valley's own Expandable Brass Band kicked off the event with a spirited parade up Old South Street, playing their blend of New Orleans-inflected jazz and funk before thousands of enthusiastic spectators.

    hot choco banner.jpg

    When the Hot Chocolate Run was first held several years ago, husband-and-wife event founders Jen Dieringer and John Frey brewed about 40 gallons of hot chocolate in their kitchen. Now, the hot chocolate for the event is made at the Northampton Brewery, which whips up a few hundred gallons of the warm beverage.

    Well before dawn on Sunday, the brewers gathered to mix the hot chocolate in a huge brewing kettle. Volunteers then transported the hot chocolate to the nearby event in big Thermoses.

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    A report of a disturbance and stabbing at a Beech Street home led to assault-and-battery charges against four residents, police said.

    HOLYOKE — Police arrested four city residents after responding to a Sunday afternoon report of a disturbance and stabbing at 95 Beech St.

    Information about the nature of the disturbance was not immediately available. Sgt. David O'Connell, reached Monday morning, had no details about the case, including information about whether anyone was injured in the incident.

    Holyoke Police Department records indicate four people, all of whom reside at the Beech Street address, were charged with assault and battery in connection with the 4:38 p.m. incident.

    Natalie Rivera, 18, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and domestic assault and battery, and Joshua Rivera, 20, was charged with domestic assault and battery. Rivera also had three warrants at the time of his arrest, according to police records.

    Carmen Montijo, 22, and Christy Pacheco, 18, each were charged with single counts of assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

    Police did not indicate the aggressor or the cause of the disturbance. More details will be posted on MassLive as they become available.

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    Heavy rain will likely slow commuters Tuesday morning.

    Crows in Springfield12.05.2011 | SPRINGFIELD - Crows on Main Street in the city's North End Monday morning.

    SPRINGFIELD – Monday morning’s heavy fog will give way to a partly sunny afternoon with highs in the middle to upper 50s, abc40 / Fox 6 meteorologist Mike Masco said.

    Heavy rain coming in overnight, however, will slow the Tuesday morning commute. “Tomorrow morning’s commute is not going to be good looking,” Masco said.

    Temperatures, which have been running about 15 degrees above average, will give way to sharply cooler weather starting Thursday and running into the weekend, Masco said.

    “It’s going to be a dramatic cool-down,” he said, adding that some computer models call for a mix of snow and rain on Thursday.

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    Police arrested the suspects at Walgreen's after they allegedly attempted to use a stolen credit card.

    2004 east longmeadow police car

    An update to this story was posted at 2:26 p.m. Monday.

    EAST LONGMEADOW – A woman, reporting a break-in to her vehicle Sunday afternoon while she was working out at North Main Street health club, was told by her bank that somebody had just attempted to use one of her credit cards at Walgreen’s pharmacy.

    The attempted purchase of $600 worth of gift cards at the store at 54 Center Square was denied and Police Officer Scott Scala arrested a man and two women there - all from Connecticut- a short time later.

    Sgt. Steven Manning said another stolen credit card had been used to successfully obtain gift cards from the CVS pharmacy at 219 North Main Street a short time before.

    Manning said the suspects entered the women’s locker room at Century Fitness, 491 North Main St., and stole several vehicle keys from unlocked lockers. They then used the key fobs to find and break in to vehicles.

    Manning said the scenario is quite common in Western Massachusetts and that gift cards are a favored purchase because they are relatively untraceable.

    Arrested were: Brenden Browne, 22, of 6A Spring Court, East Windsor; Stephanie Maura, 25, of 263 Rye St., East Windsor, Conn.; and Tomiese Mason, 25, of 857 Foster St., South Windsor.

    All three were charged with breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, breaking into a depository (lockers), receiving stolen property under $250 and larceny under $250, Manning said.

    Browne was also charged with possession of pharmaceuticals (Class B) and operating with a suspended license, Manning said.

    The suspects are slated to be arraigned Monday in Palmer District Court. Manning said police are seeking a search warrant for vehicle involved in the incident.

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    Find links to The Republican's photos from the weekend's events.

    December 2, 2011 Holyoke, MA - Christmas Tree Lighting FestivitiesChristmas Tree Lighting Festivities in Holyoke, December 2, 2011.

    It was a busy weekend in communities across Western Massachusetts as many people gathered to celebrate their town's Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and other holiday festivities.

    Below, you can find links to The Republican's photos from the weekend's events:

    • Amherst: Photo gallery from annual Amherst Merry Maple Festival

    • Chicopee: Photo gallery from Chicopee Christmas party and tree lighting

    • Easthampton: Photo gallery from annual Holiday Stroll to Pulaski Park

    • Hampden: Photo gallery from annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony

    • Holyoke: Photo gallery from Christmas Tree Lighting festivities.

    • Holyoke: Photo gallery from Wistariahurst Museum Winter Soiree

    • South Hadley: Photo gallery from Holiday Stroll on the Town Common

    • Springfield: Photo gallery from Springfield Museums Holiday Gala 2011

    • West Springfield: Photo gallery from Tree Lighting and Carol Sing on the green

    • Wilbraham: Photo gallery from the annual Christmas tree lighting

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    DeLeo called Democratic leaders back amid rumors that he might reshuffle his leadership team.

    Robert DeLeo, Joseph WagnerMassachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo faces reporters in a hallway at the Statehouse in Boston last month. Behind him is Chicopee state Rep. Joseph Wagner.(Photo by Steven Senne)


    BOSTON — During the winter recess lull, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo on Monday summoned his Democratic members back to Beacon Hill for a caucus on Tuesday amidst speculation that he intends to reshuffle his leadership team and demote House Majority Whip Charley Murphy.

    DeLeo informed the Democratic members of the House through an email that there would be a caucus meeting held at the Statehouse. The message from one of DeLeo’s top aides did not specify to members the reason for calling them back to Beacon Hill, where the lawmaking schedule is light.

    After DeLeo swapped Murphy, a Burlington Democrat, out of his Ways and Means chairmanship and into the position of House majority whip last January, Murphy has met recently with members of the House and let them know he aspires to be speaker someday, according to members of the House.

    DeLeo declined to comment late last month when asked whether he intended to demote Murphy, suggesting the leadership quarrels were a distraction to the House and its focus on job creation.

    A spokesman for DeLeo on Monday morning declined to comment when asked if DeLeo intend to recommend Murphy’s demotion to the full caucus on Tuesday, or whether he had other leadership changes in mind before the House returns to formal sessions in January.

    Murphy has been meeting with House members outside the Statehouse to discuss his vision for the House and put his name out there as a potential successor to DeLeo, though he said he has not asked a single lawmaker to commit their vote to him, and members who have met with Murphy attest to that account.

    The Burlington Democrat also denies fostering rumors that state and federal investigations into patronage at the state Probation Department could land close to home in the House, and undermine DeLeo’s leadership.

    Murphy, in a letter to House members following the publication of reports that DeLeo might seek his ouster, called it DeLeo’s “prerogative" if he chooses to take steps to remove him from House leadership, and said if that happens he looks forward to making his case in front of the Democratic caucus to remain.

    Murphy could not immediately be reached for comment.

    Before rising to his post, DeLeo and former House Majority Leader John Rogers engaged in a months-long battle behind the scenes to succeed former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi.

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    After reaching a peak in 2006, first-class mail volume is now at 78 million.

    Postal Problems_Desk.jpgIn this Sept. 15, 2011, file photo Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe speaks at a news conference on changes to the Postal Service that could potentially save as much as $3 billion in Washington. The estimated $3 billion in reductions, to be announced in broader detail on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011, are part of a wide-ranging effort by the Postal Service to quickly trim costs and avert bankruptcy. While providing short-term relief, the changes could ultimately prove counterproductive, pushing more of America's business onto the Internet.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service says it wants to move quickly to close 252 mail processing centers and slow first-class delivery next spring, citing steadily declining mail volume.

    At a news briefing Monday, postal vice president David Williams said the agency wants to virtually eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day to help avert possible bankruptcy next year.

    Williams says the postal service is not "writing off first class mail" but that it must respond to new market realities in which people are turning more to the Internet for email communications and bill payment.

    After reaching a peak in 2006, first-class mail volume is now at 78 million. It is projected to drop by roughly half by 2020.

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    Start the week informed with Business Monday from The Republican.

    120511massecon.JPGCompany officials hold MassEcon Awards for job growth, facility expansion and community involvement. From left, are bronze winner Michael Tweed-Kent, Vice President and General Manager, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, Pittsfield; silver winner Dennis Williams, North America General Manager, Coca-Cola, Northampton; gold winner James Debney, President & CEO, Smith & Wesson, Springfield

    Start the week informed with Business Monday from The Republican:

    Massachusetts middle class fears it's on the brink, according to a MassInc study
    MassInc created the first-of-its kind Middle Class Index as a means of tracking how most Americans are doing at achieving the traditional elements of the American Dream.
    Read more »

    Consultant: Bradley International Airport needs to take steps to lure European flights
    One major challenge will be to persuade area passengers to use Bradley instead of the New York and Boston airports to fly to Europe and to attract more European travelers to Bradley. Read more »

    Boston Business Journal Commentary: Barney Frank embodies what's wrong with national political dialogue
    Some in Massachusetts will miss Barney Frank, but we hope his new district elects someone with a better touch with people, a spirit of compromise and, more urgently from our perspective, someone who will work harder to bring jobs to the district. Read more »

    73 State St. in Springfield Celebrates Century Mark
    The building’s current owners, Century Investment Co., celebrated the 100th anniversary of 73 State St. with a reception last week. Read more »

    More Business Monday:

    Voices of the Valley: Terence Bresnahan, president, Bresnahan Insurance Agency, Holyoke

    Commentary: With home prices headed down, 3 ideas to soften the fall

    Job tip: Social media help prove you're not a jerk

    North End Springfield McDonald's getting 'Forever Young' style

    Commentary: Small-business owners lead in battle over health-care reform

    Small business owners should put 2012 planning on December calendar

    Report ranks Boston top life science hub in U.S.

    Ana Frasco receives Freedom Credit Union President's Award

    Connecticut aerospace firms seek more Canada sales

    MassEcon salutes companies for contributions, commitment


    Business Etc.: Berkshire Hills Bancorp announces commercial team; Smith & Wesson to supply Belgian police; and more

    Business Bits: Scott Brown, John Kerry trumpet Massachusetts for patent office; Zipcar takes aim at U-Haul with 'Zipvan'; and more

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    AAA found an average gas price of $3.28 per gallon for self-serve regular in the Bay State.

    BOSTON – The average price of gasoline has dropped another three cents in the past week in Massachusetts.

    The American Automobile Association of Southern New England reported Monday that motorists were paying an average of $3.28 per gallon for self-serve regular in the Bay State.

    It was the third straight weekly drop in gas prices.

    AAA says the Massachusetts average is one cent higher than the current national average of $3.27 per gallon.

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    The Berkshire District Attorney’s office says police found 23-year-old Nikolas Carnute lying in the middle of Wellington Avenue in Pittsfield late Sunday night.

    PITTSFIELD – Police are investigating an apparent homicide in Pittsfield.

    The Berkshire District Attorney’s office says police found 23-year-old Nikolas Carnute lying in the middle of Wellington Avenue late Sunday night after witnesses reported hearing gunshots.

    Carnute was later pronounced dead at a hospital. An autopsy will be performed on Tuesday.

    The Berkshire Eagle reported that Carnute had a criminal record with convictions related to cocaine trafficking and his admitted involvement in a 2006 stabbing.

    Police are looking for a white sedan with a rear spoiler, possibly a Pontiac, that was seen leaving the area after the shooting. Anyone with information is asked to call the Pittsfield Police Department at (413) 448-9700.

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    Charles Crawford, and another man who said he was also assaulted, are seeking $5 million in settlements.

    FITZPATRICKLate Boston Red Sox spring training clubhouse manager Donald Fitzpatrick is seen during a court hearing at the Polk County Courthouse in Bartow, Fla., in 2002. Two more men are accusing a now-dead former Red Sox clubhouse manager of sexually abusing them. In 2003, the team settled a lawsuit with seven Florida men who said Fitzpatrick molested them during spring training beginning in the 1970s. (Photo by Greg Fight, Pool)

    BOSTON – A man who had his “dream job” working in the Red Sox clubhouse as a teenager says that ended abruptly when the clubhouse manager sexually assaulted him.

    Charles Crawford is one of two Massachusetts men accusing Donald Fitzpatrick of abusing them in the early 1990s.

    Crawford said at a news conference Monday that Fitzpatrick assaulted him twice in the clubhouse at Fenway Park.

    The statute of limitations has expired for filing a lawsuit or seeking criminal charges against Fitzpatrick, who died in 2005. Both men are asking for $5 million settlements.

    In 2002, Fitzpatrick pleaded guilty in Florida to attempted sexual battery on a child under 12. The following year, the team settled a lawsuit with seven Florida men who said Fitzpatrick molested them during spring training beginning in the 1970s.

    Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said he sent the Red Sox a letter last month informing them of the new allegations against Donald Fitzpatrick.

    Both men, now in their 30s, were teenage clubhouse attendants in 1991 when they say Fitzpatrick molested them in the Fenway Park clubhouse. Fitzpatrick died in 2005. The statute of limitations has expired to file a lawsuit or seek criminal charges.

    Garabedian, a prominent victims’ attorney in the Catholic priest-abuse scandal, said both men decided to come forward after sexual abuse allegations were made against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and after U.S. Sen. Scott P. Brown’s revelation that he was molested by a counselor at a summer camp when he was 10.

    “I’m asking the Red Sox to do the correct moral thing,” said Garabedian, who represented hundreds of victims during the clergy sexual abuse scandal in Boston.

    Garabedian said team lawyers have asked to meet with his clients. Red Sox attorney Daniel Goldberg did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

    In a statement given to The Boston Globe, which first reported the new allegations, Goldberg said the Red Sox “have always viewed the actions of Mr. Fitzpatrick to be abhorrent.”

    “When the team, then under a previous ownership group, became aware of the allegations against Mr. Fitzpatrick in 1991, he was promptly relieved of his duties,” Goldberg said. He said the club does not have any specifics regarding the two recent allegations.

    The allegations are believed to be the first time that Fitzpatrick has been accused of molesting boys in the Red Sox clubhouse at Fenway, Garabedian said.

    One of the men, Charles Crawford, has agreed to go public with his name “as part of the healing process,” Garabedian said. Crawford was expected to speak to reporters at a Monday morning news conference.

    Garabedian said Crawford alleges that Fitzpatrick raped him twice in the team’s clubhouse when he was 16.

    He said Crawford’s life went downhill after the abuse. He has had trouble holding jobs and has fathered five children with five women, Garabedian said.

    “What he thought was the best of all worlds by working with the Red Sox was eclipsed by the worst of all worlds when he was sexually molested by Donald Fitzpatrick,” Garabedian said. “In his mind, he’s always been running. He’s always been not good enough, he’s always had problems with trust and self-esteem.”

    The second man, who does not wish to be named, is an educator and now is married with children, Garabedian said.

    He was traveling with the Red Sox in Anaheim, Calif., when another clubhouse attendant held a sign during a televised game that said, “Donald Fitzpatrick sexually assaulted me.”

    Team officials said then that Fitzpatrick decided to take an indefinite leave of absence. He did not return to work for the team.

    The second alleged victim told the Globe that after the Anaheim incident, he waited for team officials to ask him and other teenage attendants if Fitzpatrick had ever behaved inappropriately with them.

    “No one from the team pulled us aside afterward and said, ‘I just want to make sure you’re OK,’” he said.

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    With 103 registered voters in attendance, the town just barely had a quorum for Thursday's special Town Meeting.

    Ware town seal.jpg

    WARE - Skateboarding is no longer permitted on Pulaski Street, the selectmen will be paid more, solar energy facilities will be allowed, and the town will not rejoin the Hampshire Council of Governments at this time, according to votes taken at the special Town Meeting last week at Ware High School.

    A total of 103 registered voters turned out for the special Town Meeting, allowing it to go forward after it had to be canceled due to a lack of a quorum two days before.

    Town Clerk Nancy J. Talbot, also chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said 100 registered voters were needed for a quorum. There are approximately 6,300 registered voters in town.

    Eighteen articles were on the warrant, and voters approved adding Pulaski Street to the Skateboard Control Bylaw, which bans skateboarding on streets in the downtown area, including Main, Church, South, West Main and parts of North Street.

    Police Chief Dennis M. Healey said there have been complaints about skateboarding on the sidewalks on Pulaski Street, and skateboarders weaving in and out of traffic.

    "There have been complaints and they intensified over the past year," Healey said.

    Skateboarders in violation can be fined $25 for a first offense, and $50 for subsequent offenses, Healey said.

    Voters also approved petitioning the Legislature for a special act of legislation to exempt police officer applicant Jeanine Bonnayer from the age limit of 32. Healey said if this approved by the Legislature, Bonnayer can be added to the civil service list as a potential candidate for the police force.

    A majority of the voters approved restoring the selectmen salaries to the levels set for fiscal 2009, a 35 percent increase. The board chairman will now make $3,100 a year instead of $2,015 and the members will make $2,600 instead of $1,690, according to town accountant Tracy L. Meehan, who is acting as town manager.

    Voters unanimously approved amending the zoning bylaws to allow for ground-mounted solar energy facilities in town. Large ground-mounted solar facilities will be permitted by right in the highway commercial district, and by special permit everywhere else. Site plan approval will be required, and the Planning Board will review all applications.

    An article asking the town to rejoin the Hampshire Council of Governments was dismissed so that the further information could be obtained, according to Talbot. The town already uses some of the council of governments' services, such as cooperative purchasing of items like milk and food for the schools, and electricity.

    Voters approved buying a new police cruiser, spending $34,600 for repairs to school district boilers and $63,216 for two additional vans for in-district special education transportation.

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    Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said the New Haven-Springfield, train hit the unidentified pedestrian Monday morning near the Meriden town line.

    WALLINGFORD, Connecticut — A pedestrian was killed Monday by an Amtrak train in Wallingford headed to Springfield.

    Amtrak spokesman Cliff Cole said the New Haven-Springfield, Mass., train hit the unidentified pedestrian Monday morning near the Meriden town line. He said service resumed at 1 p.m. after a delay of about two hours.

    Cole said the 36 passengers and several crew members were not injured.

    The pedestrian, who was considered a trespasser by Amtrak, was not identified. Other details were not available.

    Wallingford police did not immediately return a call seeking information.

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    The temporary move involves 60,000 books, cd's and other items.

    libe rendering.JPGRendering of new Holyoke Public Library set for 2013 by Finegold Alexander & Associates, of Boston

    HOLYOKE – The last day the Holyoke Public Library will be open at its 335 Maple St. home is Dec. 10 before a temporary relocation to City Hall.

    The library will reopen Jan. 3 in its makeshift headquarters in the City Hall auditorium at High and Dwight streets, Director Maria P. Pagan said Wednesday.

    The move is because the 109-year-old library is undergoing a $14.5 million reconstruction. It will reopen in 2013, officials said.

    Relocating the library is a task that involves deciding which of the 60,000 books, cd’s, dvd’s, newspapers, magazines and other items will be chosen for the auditorium space, which is limited, Pagan said.

    “Imagine having this accumulation for 109 years? How do you decide what you do with these items?” Pagan said.

    Only about 20,000 of the library’s items can fit into the auditorium. Most of the remaining 40,000 will be stored in other parts of City Hall, accessible to the public in the form of requesting retrievals by staffers, she said.

    Other storage space also is being sought for library items and some items might be sold, she said.

    The move will take at least a week and is scheduled to begin Dec. 12. Movers who specialize in handling books will do that part of the job, she said.

    Volunteers interested in helping with the move can call the library at (413) 322-5640, she said.

    Upon opening at City Hall, library hours will be Monday to Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., she said.

    Patrons who have taken out items that they are unable to return by Dec. 10 should hold them until the temporary library opens at City Hall. Those items will be automatically renewed without fines and patrons will have until Jan. 9 to return them. This policy will apply to items with due dates of Dec. 12 or later, she said.

    For items requested on reserve or through interlibrary loan, patrons after Dec. 10 are asked to call the library, she said.

    All regular programs and activities offered by the library, such as children’s story hours and game programs, will be suspended from Dec. 12 to Jan. 2, she said.

    The reconstruction will address cracks in the library’s limestone exterior and extensive mold and water-related problems inside. The addition will attach 15,000 square feet to the rear of the existing 25,000-square-foot library.

    The job’s general contractor is the local Fontaine Brothers Inc. and the architect is Finegold Alexander & Associates, of Boston.

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    The 3 are suspects in break-ins in East Longmeadow and Springfield.

    2004 east longmeadow police car

    This updates a story originally postedat 10:21 a.m.

    EAST LONGMEADOW – Police believe three suspects from Connecticut - two women and a man - are responsible for at least three break-ins to lockers and vehicles at two fitness clubs here and a third in Springfield on Sunday.

    The spree is believed to have begun early in the afternoon when the three allegedly entered the Answer is Fitness health club on at 1739 Allen Street in Springfield, took a set of keys from a jacket hanging in an unlocked locker and used the fob to steal a wallet containing credit cards from a car parked outside.

    The victim of that theft, Ashlee Starzec of East Longmeadow, told The Republican that she saw the two female suspects in the locker room when she arrived to exercise. “I noticed them and I didn’t really pay any attention to them,” she said.

    Starzec said that she realized that there was a problem when she returned to the locker room about 2 or 2:15 p.m. and found that all the lockers, including her own, had been left open and that her keys were missing.

    Starzec said she found the keys hanging in the ignition of her vehicle outside the club and that she later learned from East Longmeadow police, who ultimately recovered her belongings, that the suspects had unsuccessfully attempted to use her credit card to purchase gift cards at Walgreens and CVS stores in Springfield.

    East Longmeadow police got involved in the case at just about the time that Starzec discovered that her keys were missing from her Answer is Fitness locker when the suspects were spotted at Century Fitness at 491 North Main St.

    A woman, reporting a break-in to her vehicle outside Century Fitness, was told by her bank that somebody had just attempted to use one of her credit cards at Walgreen’s pharmacy.

    An attempted purchase of $600 worth of gift cards at the store at 54 Center Square was denied and Police Officer Scott Scala arrested a man and two women there - all from Connecticut- a short time later.

    Sgt. Steven Manning said another stolen credit card had been used to successfully obtain gift cards from the CVS pharmacy at 219 North Main Street a short time before.

    Manning said the suspects entered the women’s locker room at Century Fitness and stole several vehicle keys from unlocked lockers. They then used the key fobs to find and break in to vehicles.

    Manning said the scenario is quite common in Western Massachusetts and that gift cards are a favored purchase because they are untraceable.

    Arrested were: Brenden Browne, 22, of 6A Spring Court, East Windsor; Stephanie Maura, 25, of 263 Rye St., East Windsor, Conn.; and Tomiese Mason, 25, of 857 Foster St., South Windsor.

    All three were charged with breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, breaking into a depository (lockers), receiving stolen property under $250 and larceny under $250, Manning said.

    Browne was also charged with possession of pharmaceuticals (Oxycontin - a Class B drug) and operating with a suspended license, Manning said.

    East Longmeadow Police Sgt. Patrick Manley said the Oxycontin, still in its original prescription container, had been recently stolen from a Plainville woman who had been working out at a gym in Southington.

    Manley said the three are also suspected of stealing two wallets from purses left in unlocked lockers Sunday at the Health Trax club at 45 Crane Avenue in East Longmeadow.

    Manley said police are seeking to obtain a search warrant for the suspects’ vehicle and that he anticipates that additional charges will be pending.

    All three suspects denied the charges in Palmer District Court on Monday and were ordered to return to court for pre-trial hearings on Dec. 30.

    Brown was ordered held in lieu of !,000 cash bail, Mason was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail or $100,000 surety and Maura was ordered held in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $25,000 personal surety.

    Springfield police said they believe that a forcible break-in to a vehicle outside the Answer is Fitness Club about 4:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon is unrelated.

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