Mass. gov. considered resigning early in 1st term
(Information in the following story is from: The Boston Globe, )
BOSTON (AP) — BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick considered resigning just weeks after he was first elected in 2007 as his wife battled depression.
Patrick writes in his upcoming memoir "A Reason to Believe" that his wife, Diane, weeping and unable to sleep, had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital and the couple was dreading four years in the public eye. In an early proof obtained by The Boston Globe, Patrick also reveals that he failed the bar exam twice, and that he and his wife were rejected by The Country Club in Brookline.
Patrick told reporters Wednesday his wife's illness was "a particularly challenging time," but the family worked through it.
The book also deals with his rise from youthful poverty in Chicago, and his friendship with President Barack Obama.
CRIME FAMILY FEUD
Fugitive member of New England mob found in Idaho
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A member of a New England mob family who was accused of trying to kill the clan's head and wanted by federal agents for more than a decade has resurfaced in Idaho.
Enrico M. Ponzi appeared in federal court on Wednesday, two days after he was arrested on charges from a 1997 indictment accusing him and 14 others of racketeering, attempted murder and conspiracy to kill rivals.
A public defender was appointed for Ponzi.
Ponzi was arrested Monday night at his home in the small, southwestern Idaho town of Marsing where he was living under an assumed name.
Federal prosecutors say he left Boston in 1994 and have charged him in the 1989 attempted murder of Frank Salemme in Saugus, Mass. Salemme is the former head of the Patriarca Family of La Cosa Nostra.
RADAR TOWER COLLAPSE
Obama recognizes tower collapse victims in letter
BOSTON (AP) — President Obama has written a letter honoring the 28 men who died when a massive radar tower collapsed in the North Atlantic 50 years ago.
The hurricane-weakened Cold War radar station, called Texas Tower No. 4, collapsed in January 1951 about 80 miles southeast of New York City during a storm. In the letter dated Feb. 4, Obama calls the collapse a "tragic event."
He says the nation "is grateful for the dedication, pride, and commitment" of all who've risked their lives for their countrymen.
Obama wrote the letter after a request from Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Next week, Kerry's office will deliver it to the son of a victim, Don Abbott of Malden. All the victims' families will receive a personal note from Kerry and copies of Obama's letter.
NUCLEAR CULTURE WAR
GOP senators rip NRC on nukes in Vt. and Mass
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Two Republican senators — one of them from Entergy Corp.'s home state of Louisiana — are sharply criticizing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for taking too long to approve license extensions for the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and the Pilgrim station in Massachusetts.
Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe joined Louisiana's David Vitter this week in accusing the NRC of using a dual standard for granting license extensions.
They said that explains why the relicensing processes for Vermont Yankee and Pilgrim have taken five years so far — more than twice the average length of time for the NRC to grant a license extension.
Raymond Shadis of the New England Coalition says the real difference is that citizens groups in New England are using the NRC hearing process.
Mass. gov. announces trade mission to UK, Israel
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is planning a trade mission to Britain and Israel in March with a focus on growing businesses and jobs in the state's innovation-based economy.
Patrick said Wednesday that a team of leading state business executive and government officials will accompany him on the trip, which begins in Israel on March 7 and ends in Britain on March 17.
Patrick said the mission will highlight the state's innovation-based industries — such as life science, clean energy and technology — and explore possibilities for growth and collaboration.
The governor said last month that a group of local CEOs has encouraged him to travel more to sell the state.
Patrick has traveled to China and California as governor, but curtailed travel as he approached his re-election last fall.
UMass says research spending up nearly 10 percent
BOSTON (AP) — The University of Massachusetts says research spending by the five-campus system topped half a billion dollars for the first time in the school's history.
UMass President Jack Wilson announced on Wednesday that research expenditures in the 2010 fiscal year grew $47 million, or 9.5 percent over the previous year.
In all, the university said it spent $536 million on research in the last fiscal year.
The UMass Medical School in Worcester, with $232 million in expenditures, and the school's flagship Amherst campus, at $169 million, accounted for the bulk of the research activity.
The university says most research funding comes from outside sources, including federal agencies such as the National Institutes for Health. A university spokesman says less than 5 percent of the research was funded by the federal stimulus.
Mass. bishops urge preservation of funds for poor
BOSTON (AP) — The four Roman Catholic bishops in Massachusetts have issued a joint statement calling on elected officials to preserve programs for the poor and unemployed, even amid budget cutbacks.
The statement released Wednesday said public officials face "excruciating choices" due to recent, deep cutbacks, including new cuts to social service agencies' proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick.
But the bishops asked officials "overcome" the "temptation to turn away from the growing social needs confronting our cities and towns." They said a society is more secure when it helps ensure basic needs, such as housing and nutrition.
The bishops, from Boston, Springfield, Worcester and Fall River, said their "plea" to elected officials and citizens was to keep "a special place and regard for the vulnerable" as they debate tough budget cuts.
Mass. trial of NY priest coming to a close
(Information in the following story is from: The Berkshire Eagle, )
PITTSFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The trial of a New York man accused of raping two boys in western Massachusetts decades ago while serving as a Roman Catholic priest is coming to a close.
A Berkshire Superior Court jury is expected to start deliberations on Wednesday following closing statements.
Prosecutors allege the now 62-year-old Gary Mercure raped the boys in Great Barrington and Monterey in 1986, and in New Ashford in 1989.
Mercure was a priest in the Diocese of Albany, N.Y., at the time and the alleged victims are from New York.
The Berkshire Eagle reports that Mercure's lawyers said at trial that the alleged victims had been coached and cajoled into making the abuse claims.
Prosecutors presented testimony from other alleged victims.
Mercure was removed from ministry as a priest in 2008.
HEALTH WORKER SAFETY
Mass. mental health worker safety under review
BOSTON (AP) — The state's mental health commissioner has announced the creation of a task force to study the safety of mental health workers following the slaying of a counselor who worked at a Revere mental health facility.
Commissioner Barbara Leadholm said in a statement Tuesday that the panel will review ways to improve current safety practices and policies, while at the same time maintaining services and support for the mentally ill.
The task force is chaired by retired Judge Paul Healy and psychiatry professor Dr. Kenneth Appelbaum.
Stephanie Moulton was found stabbed in Lynn last month. A resident of the North Suffolk Mental Health Association facility where she worked is charged with her death.
Mass. woman charged with stealing form seniors
GARDNER, Mass. (AP) — A former employee of a Gardner housing complex for the elderly and disabled has been charged with stealing money and jewelry from six residents.
Kerrieanne Mehigan pleaded not guilty this week to six counts of larceny over $250 and two counts of larceny under $250 for allegedly stealing items in November. She was released without bail.
Police say Mehigan was the assistant property manager of the housing complex who allegedly used her keys to enter rooms of residents to steal $5,700 in cash and items including an Australian coin collection, a gold necklace with hearts and a number of wedding rings.
Police think Mehigan sold the jewelry to a cash-for-gold business and they cannot be recovered.
Mehigan told police she had fallen on hard times.
Sen. proposes a Mass. state cowboy
(Information in the following story is from: The Sun, )
BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has a state fish, a state doughnut and a state fossil.
So why not a state cowboy?
Sen. Susan Fargo has filed legislation to name 82-year-old TV personality Rex Trailer as the state's official cowboy.
The Lincoln Democrat tells The Sun of Lowell she doesn't just want to honor Trailer, but also the causes he has supported throughout the years.
Trailer from the 1950s until the mid-1970s dressed up as a cowboy as host of the popular children's television show "Boomtown," which often included children with disabilities in its studio audience.
Trailer, who still owns a television studio and teaches on-camera performance, says he did not ask for the honor but is flattered by the gesture and hopes it will draw attention to the causes he has always supported.