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    Read obituaries from The Republican newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts.


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    In early October, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Music & Dance will be presenting concerts by four of their top musical ensembles with special guests.

    Come early October, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Department of Music and Dance will be presenting a pair of concerts by their top musical ensembles.

    The UMass Wind Ensemble and Symphony Band have collaborated to present At the Bandstand, their opening concert of the fall semester on Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, which will be directed by Matthew Westgate director of Wind Studies.

    "The first concert of the year always has an extra level of excitement," Westgate said. "Many of the players will be performing on the Fine Arts Center stage for the first time, and it's always thrilling to debut the groups to the community every fall. The ensembles are always changing as students graduate, etc."

    On Oct. 11, the UMass Jazz Ensemble I, the University's top jazz group, will perform their fall debut along with the Chapel Jazz Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. in Bowker Auditorium. The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Jeffery W, Holmes, while professor emeritus David Sporny returns this year to conduct Chapel Jazz.

    "The first concert is as it introduces the new team that will create in rehearsal and concert live music for the academic year," Holmes said. "(The audience) will hear a variety of music, they will feel the power and subtleties that big bands can induce, and they will share in the musical collaborative that these type of performances are founded on."

    Thickets are $10 for the general public, $5 for students, seniors and children, and free for UMass Students.

    Anyone interested in purchasing tickets at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at 413-545-2511, or online at fineartscenter.com/musicanddance


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    The 1.5-acre site at Liberty and Chestnut streets is already zoned for business and commercial uses.

    SPRINGFIELD - Davenport Companies, the new owner of the old Registry of Motor Vehicles offices at 165 Liberty St., is marketing the site for commercial redevelopment, having bought it from the state in June.

    "We have received a surprising number of offers," said Charles Irving, principal of Boston-based Davenport. "All are retail/restaurant uses. Some want to tear it down. Some want to reuse the existing building. We are looking at it from all angles right now."

    The 1.5-acre site at Liberty and Chestnut streets is already zoned for business and commercial uses. The intersection sees 22,000 cars and trucks pass through every day, and on workdays there are more than 100,000 people within one mile of the site, according to marketing materials on the Jennings Real Estate Services LLC website.

    The old RMV is about a block east of Union Station and a block south of two Interstate 291 exits.

    The old RMV building is across the street from the Liberty Medical Arts building, Baystate Health's corporate offices and the YMCA of Greater Springfield.

    Irving and Davenport are already big players in the Springfield commercial real estate market. In July, the city council approved a $310,000, 10-year tax incentive for Davenport's plans to redevelop the Willys-Overland Building a few blocks away at 151 Chestnut St., along Winter Street. Davenport bought the building in December 2017 for $450,000.

    In 2014, Davenport Companies and Albany Road Real Estate bought Springfield Plaza for $35 million. They have since put $6 million into improvements at the shopping plaza and hope to fill the vacant Kmart space.

    Davenport also owns a former Square One property on Main Street across from MGM Springfield but has yet to announce redevelopment plans.

    In 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation moved the RMV offices out of the Liberty Street building and into a Davenport-owned building -- once a movie theater -- at Springfield Plaza at 1250 St. James Ave.

    The commonwealth has a 10-year lease agreement with Davenport calling for the state to pay $424,656 in rent for the first year with incremental increases to $494,468 in the 10th year. That rent includes the cost of renovations and ongoing janitorial services, according to previous statements by the state.

    Davenport bought the old RMV property at 165 Liberty St., on June 26 for $200,000, according to documents on file at the Hampden County Registry of Deeds.

    The state bought the spot in 1971 from the Springfield Redevelopment Authority. The existing 65,000-square-foot building dates to 1972. The city has the property assessed at $1.3 million.


    Springfield RMV site redeve... by on Scribd


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    A Massachusetts firefighter and his fiancee found themselves scrambling to find a new wedding location Saturday when the church they were about to be married in burst into flames.

    A Massachusetts firefighter and his fiancee found themselves scrambling to find a new wedding location Saturday when the church they were about to be married in burst into flames.

    Wareham firefighters rushed to the Saint Patrick Church on High Street around 1 a.m. Saturday and discovered smoke pouring from the roof. Fire was discovered inside the church, the Wareham Fire Department said.

    A ladder from the Onset Fire Department was called to the scene.

    WCVB News reports Onset Firefighter Conrad Fernandes also got the call about the fire. He then got a call from his fiancee, DaLiza Fernandes, about the fire as well.

    The couple were getting married in that church later in the day, the television station reports.

    Friends and family were able to find another Catholic church in Dartmouth to perform the ceremony. The couple told WCVB they both attend church at St. Patrick and teach Catechism there.

    Firefighters were able to knock down the blaze inside the Wareham church, but roughly $500,000 in damage was done.

    The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 


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    A brisk wind and cool temperatures, especially at 13,500-feet, didn't appear to affect the 11 sky flyers who helped raise $25,000 for the Western Massachusetts-based anti-bullying nonprofit Unify Against Bullying.

    ORANGE - A brisk wind and cool temperatures, especially at 13,500-feet, didn't appear to affect the 11 sky flyers who helped raise $25,000 for the Western Massachusetts-based anti-bullying nonprofit Unify Against Bullying.

    Werner Maiwald, lead flyer for the group, came up with the idea of Fly for Unify at 2 a.m. one morning. The idea became a reality on Saturday when everyone met at Jumptown Skydiving at the Orange Airport.

    Maiwald, Unify's operations director, said this was the first ever fundraiser of this sort for the organization. The participants came from a wide variety of business backgrounds and flying experience.

    "We had a goal of raising $13,500 (The jump altitude) but that was shattered when the group totaled the final tally of $25,000. Maiwald said that was through the generous contributions of cash, corporate donations and in-kind gifts.

    Also participating in the Saturday fundraiser was Edward Zemba, president of Robert Charles Photography in East Longmeadow and chief executive of Unify Against Bullying, who said his official position Saturday was a proud parent.

    His two adult children, Joseph, 24, and Kyle, 18, joined in on the action, adding that it was his son's 18th birthday and this was how he chose to celebrate.

    Zemba summed up the jump in two words, "incredible and unbelievable." 

    "Our hope is that though doing 'Fly for Unify,' we can send a message to kids that are struggling with having the courage to come out and tell people what's going on in their life," Zemba said. "It takes courage to say something because it's scary. It's worth speaking up and taking that step."

    Basia Belz, owner of Vivid Hair Salon in Westfield, said she can relate to some of the children because, "I was bullied as a kid, now I can be a voice."

    Belz said this was her fourth skydiving experience and she is looking forward to participating if another opportunity arises. Belz said it was amazing and she had the best time, adding, "I was honored, today is a great day."

    For more information, visit the non-profit's official website here.


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    The Big E is well known across New England and beyond as a hot spot for great fun, great food, and interesting drinks.

    WEST SPRINGFIELD - The Big E is well known across New England and beyond as a hot spot for great fun, great food and drink and great entertainment.

    The 2018 season has proven to expand on that reputation with the addition of some exciting new options to "wet your whistle" in your travels throughout the fairgrounds.

    The Big E runs through Sept. 30 with plenty of exciting events still to come. For more information on daily activities, check out our official schedule at the link below.


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    A Massachusetts man is facing charges in California after authorities say they discovered a large commercial marijuana grow operation during aerial surveillance of the location.

    A Massachusetts man is facing charges in California after authorities say they discovered a large commercial marijuana grow operation during aerial surveillance of the location. 

    The Butte County Sheriff's Office released information about the marijuana growing operation Saturday. In the release authorities say a Massachusetts man was busted in the law enforcement sting. 

    As members of the Special Enforcement Unit for the Butte County Sheriff's Office converged on the location in Berry Creek, California on Sept. 17, they spotted 35-year-old Michael Smith driving a truck from the scene, authorities said. 

    Smith, who lives in Massachusetts, followed investigators to the scene once he saw investigators heading to the growing operation. He was then detained as investigators executed a search warrant. Smith's exact hometown was not listed. 

    After their investigation, Smith was arrested for possession of brass knuckles, maintaining a residence for the purpose of drug sales, cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. 

    Authorities say two armed men ran from the site when law enforcement arrived. Police are still searching for the two men. 

    Inside the home was Mark De La Gardie, 59, of Berry Creek, California. Authorities say they found three self-made AR-15 rifles and marijuana packaged for sale inside his vehicle and home. Numerous rounds of ammunition and other firearms were found. 

    De La Gardie was arrested on multiple drug and gun charges. 

    "A search of the marijuana grow site revealed a drug trafficking organization occupied a travel trailer on the property and had rented the property from De La Gardie to cultivate marijuana," authorities said. "A second marijuana grow site was located on property owned by Smith and also being tended to by the DTO (drug trafficking organization)." 

    Water was illegally being drafted from a nearby creek and stored in an above ground swimming pool to be used on the marijuana plants, according to investigators. 

    As law enforcement left the scene, they spotted a vehicle nearby. The driver, Calvin Merrill, 46, of Fair Oaks, California had a suspended driver's license. 

    "An overwhelming odor of fresh marijuana came from Merrill's vehicle and a search of the vehicle revealed three pounds of processed marijuana secured in turkey oven bags," Butte County Sheriff's Office authorities said. 

    Merrill was cited for driving with a suspended license and transporting marijuana for sale.


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    Jason Walsh, 32, of Garvey Drive, has been charged with two counts of armed robbery and armed assault to rob.

    SPRINGFIELD - A city man accused of robbing three stores in two days has been arrested.

    Jason Walsh, 32, of Garvey Drive, has been charged with two counts of armed robbery and armed assault to rob, said Ryan Walsh, police spokesman.

    Jason Walsh allegedly began his mini-crime spree by robbing the Sunoco A-Plus gas station at about 2:30 a.m., Saturday. The clerk was threatened with a knife and a hypodermic needle before turning over cash to the suspect, he said.

    The same store was also robbed early Sunday morning, Ryan Walsh said. The exact time of that robbery was not released.

    In between, Jason Walsh allegedly robbed the Pride gas station at 1225 Parker St. at about 11:35 p.m. on Saturday, he said.

    A knife and syringes used in the crimes were recovered, Ryan Walsh said.

    No one was injured in the robberies, he said.


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    Cites potential risk for seizures for some dogs, cats with products like Bravecto, NexGard, Simparica containing a form of the pesticide isoxazoline.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners and veterinarians that certain FDA-approved pet and flea medications containing the pesticide isoxazoline have been found to carry a potential risk for seizures in dogs and cats.

    The FDA said in its Sept. 20 alert that it is working with the manufacturers of the FDA-approved products that it said "continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals" to include new label information to highlight what it called "neurologic events because these events were seen consistently across the isoxazoline class of products."

    "Since these products have obtained their respective FDA approvals, data received by the agency as part of its routine post-marketing activities indicates that some animals receiving Bravecto, NexGard or Simparica have experienced adverse events such as muscle tremors, ataxia, and seizures," the FDA said.

    "Another product in this class, Credelio, recently received FDA approval. These products are approved for the treatment and prevention of flea infestations, and the treatment and control of tick infestations."

    NexGard (active ingredient afoxolaner) was approved in 2013 and said to be is for dogs and puppies eight weeks of age or older, weighing 4 pounds or more; Bravecto (fluralaner), in 2014 and is available for dogs and cats; and Simparica (sarolaner), in March 2016.

    The manufacturer's website for Simparica says it is for "use only in dogs, 6 months of age and older" and notes it "may cause abnormal neurologic signs."

    The statement from the FDA added that the FDA "is working with manufacturers of isoxazoline products to include new label information to highlight neurologic events because these events were seen consistently across the isoxazoline class of products."

    "The FDA carefully reviewed studies and other data on Bravecto, Credelio, Nexgard and Simparica prior to approval, and these products continue to be safe and effective for the majority of animals," the FDA said.

    "The agency is asking the manufacturers to make the changes to the product labeling in order to provide veterinarians and pet owners with the information they need to make treatment decisions for each pet on an individual basis."

    It has issued a fact sheet for pet owners and veterinarians about the potential adverse effects.

    "Although most dogs and cats haven't had neurologic adverse reactions," the sheet notes, "seizures may occur in animals without a prior history."

    The FDA advises that veterinarians "use their specialized training to review their patients' medical histories and determine, in consultation with pet owners, whether a product in the isoxazoline class is appropriate for the pet."

    The FDA said that while its scientists "carefully evaluate an animal drug prior to approval, there is the potential for new information to emerge after marketing, when the product is used in a much larger population."

    "In the first three years after approval, the FDA pays particularly close attention to adverse event reports, looking for any safety information that may emerge," the FDA said.

    It said it "encourages pet owners and veterinarians to report adverse drug events" to either the FDA or drug manufacturers.

    The given contact numbers for the manufacturers are:

    Merck Animal Health (Bravecto): 800-224-5318
    Elanco Animal Health (Credelio): 888-545-5973
    Merial (NexGard): 888-637-4251
    Zoetis (Simparica): 888-963-8471

    To report directly to the FDA, click on How to Report Animal Drug Side Effects and Product Problems.


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    A 19-year-old Massachusetts woman died in a fatal crash on Interstate 495 in Andover Sunday.

     

    A 19-year-old Massachusetts woman died in a fatal crash on Interstate 495 in Andover Sunday.

    The woman has been identified by Massachusetts State Police as Katie Ramirez of Bradford, Massachusetts.

    Troopers responded to a crash on I-495 northbound in Andover at 12:03 a.m.

    Troopers Andrew Valeri and Kevin Delgado discovered a 2013 Honda Accord, driven by Ramirez, left the roadway and crashed into a wooded median.

    Ramirez was unresponsive. The troopers began CPR on her until the Andover Fire Department arrived on scene.

    Ramirez was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

    The fatal crash remains under investigation. 


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    Phillip Jordan, 58, is considered a wanted fugitive. He is considered armed and dangerous so police are asking anyone who sees him to call the department immediately.

    PITTSFIELD - Police continue to search for a suspect who is accused of setting fire to his own home and three other houses Saturday night.

     

    Phillip Jordan, 58, is considered a wanted fugitive after being accused of setting a series of fires at 112 Appleton Ave., 47 Fort Hill Ave., 85 Ridge Ave. and 42-44 Brown St., Police Lt. Gary Traversa said in writing.

     

    Jordan is a white man who is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, weighs 135 pounds and has long salt and pepper hair. He is believed to be driving a blue 2005 Subaru Legacy with the Massachusetts license plate 7LJA90, Traversa said.

     

    "Jordan is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached," he said.

     

     

    No one was injured in the fires, he said.

     

    He is being accused of setting the first fire at 6:42 p.m., on Saturday, at his own home on Appleton Street. The home was heavily damaged in the fire, he said.

     

    The first fire began in the basement of the home and flames were seen coming through the second floor windows on the house. It took more than two hours to extinguish the fire, Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski told IBerkshires.com.

     

    Fire officials today declined to say how serious the other fires were.

     

    With four fires burning at the same time off-duty Pittsfield firefighters were called in and firefighters in many communities across the area responded under mutual aid.

     

    The fires are believed to have been ignited with the use of incendiary devices, Czerwinski told IBerkshires.com.

     

    At least two of the other homes are owned by Jordan's family members. Police have not released motives in the arsons, he said.


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    The jogger killed after he was struck by a Toyota SUV Friday night in Westford has been identified as a married, father of two.

    The jogger killed after he was struck by a Toyota SUV Friday night in Westford has been identified as a married, father of two. 

    The Middlesex District Attorney's Office and Westford Chief Police Thomas McEnaney identified the victim as Ulhas Kudva, 45, of Westford. 

    Police responded to Route 110 in the area of Technology Park Drive around 9 p.m. Friday for a report of a pedestrian crash. 

    "Upon arrival authorities learned that the operator of a Toyota Highlander had apparently struck a jogger," authorities said. "The jogger was pronounced dead on scene. The driver remained on scene." 

    No charges have been filed as of Sunday. The investigation is ongoing. 

    Kudva went for a jog near his home the night he was killed, according to a GoFundMe page collecting donations for his family. 

    He is survived by his wife Sheela, a 14-year-old son, Tejas, and an 8-year-old daughter, Tanvi.


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    One of the suspects was wearing a distinctive red shirt with "Jordan" written in white across the front.

    EASTHAMPTON - Two people broke into a local business on Northampton Street and took about $2,400 in items Thursday night.

    Police are now asking for help to identify the two people who were caught on video cameras at the time of the theft.

    The photographs are not very clear, but police said one suspect is male and wore a baseball cap and a distinctive red shirt with the name "Jordan" in white across the front of the shirt.

    Police have also identified several vehicles which may have been used in the crime including a tan or brown Hyundai Santa Fe and a dark-colored sedan, possibly a Ford Fusion or something similar, with a missing hubcap on the driver's side.

    Anyone who recognizes the suspects or has any information about the crime is asked to contact Det. Eric Alexander at 413-527-1212 Ext. 1045 or Officer Andrew Beaulieu at ext. 2094. People can also send a private message through the Easthampton Police Department Facebook page.


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    Phillip J. Jordan, 58, is wanted for setting his home and three other houses on fire.

    PITTSFIELD - A 58-year-old man wanted for setting four fires Saturday night has been arrested at the Canadian border.

    Phillip J. Jordan was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents in Highgate Springs, Vermont as he attempted to cross into Canada, Pittsfield Police Lt. Jeffrey Bradford said.

    He first set his own house on 112 Appleton St. on fire around 6:45 p.m. The fire is believed to have started in the basement and spread throughout the house. It took firefighters more than two hours to extinguish the blaze.

    Jordan is accused of having used incendiary devices to set homes at 47 Fort Hill Ave, 85 Ridge Ave. and 42-44 Brown St., he said.

    After the fires Pittsfield Police put out information saying Jordan was wanted by police for arson and was armed and dangerous.

    He was apprehended without injury. The Berkshire County District Attorney's Office will assist to extradite Jordan back to Pittsfield, he said.


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    A Boston Police officer suffered a gunshot wound to the leg Sunday afternoon as he investigating a building. A suspect was located and surrendered to police after a brief standoff.

    BOSTON -- A Boston police officer is said to be recovering from a gunshot wound to the leg, a wound he sustained Sunday afternoon as he investigated a group of men who appeared to be armed in the city's South End.

    The officer was shot in the calf and taken to an area hospital with a non-life threatening injury, Boston Police Officer James Moccia confirmed.

    A suspect was identified, and he and two other men were taken into custody at the scene. No one was injured in the arrest, 

    According to Moccia, a number of officers noticed a group of men near 89 West Springfield St.  just before 2 p.m. The men were holding their waists and officer suspected they were armed.

    One officer approached the building but was prevented from entering by the suspects, and when he forced his way through the front door was shot.

    The suspected shooter barricaded himself into an apartment in that building but surrendered after the department's SWAT team and negotiators arrived at the scene.  

    The incident remains under investigation.