Monday, August 28, 2006

Top Stories - August 28, 2006

Historian’s home destroyed by fire: Nancy and Joseph Bertrand, kids OK

Left: A four-alarm fire caused extensive damage to the home of Joseph and Nancy Bertrand at 7 Shumway Circle. (Photo by Robert Branch)

A four-alarm fire that started at 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 24, and burned for nearly two hours caused extensive damage to the home of Joseph and Nancy Bertrand at 7 Shumway Circle.

Only the smoke alarm saved Joseph, Nancy and two of their four children. The Bertrands have two other college-age children who were not in the home at the time of the fire. Two of the family’s cats perished in the blaze, although several others were rescued.

Tenants sought for Harvard Mill space

Peter Carbone would like to fill the vacant space in the Harvard Mills buildings on Albion Street sometime soon.

Right now, over 136,228 square feet of space is available. The buildings are located on the corner of Albion, Foundry and Lake streets. Edgewater Technologies, Inc. and Vedior North America currently occupy parts of the property, but Carbone, the property owner and property manager Mark R. Reardon of CBRE New England would like to bring more business to Wakefield as soon as possible.

In the east wing of the building, Vedior occupies 31,228 square feet on the second floor and Edgewater occupies 30,000 square feet on the first floor, but the third floor — 31,228 square feet — is unoccupied.

Rev. Rivers defends response to rape allegation against staffer

A defiant Rev. Eugene Rivers III today defended his handling of an alleged rape at the Ella J. Baker House and challenged city and state leaders to join him in re-evaluating the organization’s efforts to serve the city’s poorest children.

“When we heard that a young person may have been violated in any way, we were devastated and attempted to take every measure possible to address the issues raised by the allegations,” Rivers said of the alleged Jan. 5 rape of a 17-year-old girl by a Baker House staffer.

Rivers said he and senior administrators took quick action to help the girl, but he said he did not immediately contact police, opting instead to reach out to the girl’s family.

“Our first response was to the parent, and we reached out immediately to pray with the mother and begin the process of doing whatever needed to be done to make sure that this young person was dealt with in a fair and compassionate way,” Rivers said.

Prosecutors drop case in Ramsey slaying

BOULDER, Colo. --Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case Monday against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at the crime scene despite his insistence he sexually assaulted and strangled the 6-year-old beauty queen.

Just a week and a half after Karr's arrest in Thailand was seen as a remarkable break in the sensational, decade-old case, prosecutors suggested in court papers that he was just a man with a twisted fascination with JonBenet who confessed to a crime he didn't commit.

"The people would not be able to establish that Mr. Karr committed this crime despite his repeated insistence that he did," District Attorney Mary Lacy said in court papers.

(Sources: Wakefield Item, Wakefield Observer, Boston Globe, Boston Herald)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Top Stories - August 23, 2006

News on the Graveside murder

Left: Robert Turner, 19, was arraigned yesterday as an accessory in the murder of the Dorchester rap group Graveside.

There were a couple stories about the December shooting today. This first one's from the AP.

BOSTON (AP) — A man charged as an accomplice in the murders of four young men in one of Boston’s bloodiest crimes in a decade told police his lifelong friend was the shooter, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

Calvin Carnes Jr., 19, pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder during his arraignment Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court as more than 30 friends and relatives of the victims listened.

But prosecutors say they have physical evidence, including blood and fingerprints, and the statement by Carnes’ friend that point to Carnes as the triggerman in the bloodbath Dec. 13 in the basement of a home where four friends, all Wakefield High School graduates, had gathered to listen to music.

Assistant District Attorney David Meier said the carnage began when Carnes allegedly grabbed a handgun being shown off by one of the victims, Christopher Vieira, 19.

“Carnes then intentionally and in cold blood essentially executed each of those four young men,” Meier said.

This one's from the Boston Herald.

The young man charged with slaughtering a Dorchester rap group learned yesterday that his lifelong friend has fingered him as the killer, claiming he was relieving himself when Calvin Carnes Jr. turned executioner.

Robert Turner, 19, was “going to the bathroom” outside when he heard the 15 gunshots that wiped out three members of Graveside and their friend in a basement recording studio days before Christmas, prosecutor David Meier said during Carnes’ arraignment on four grand jury indictments of first-degree murder.

Turner, arraigned as an accessory for having helped cover up the infamous crime, “provided a tape-recorded statement to homicide detectives” upon his arrest in May on which he not only admits to being “at the scene” of the mass murder, but “directly, specifically and unequivocally implicates (Carnes) as the individual who fired the fatal shots,” Meier told Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson.

Meier also disclosed for the first time that police have recovered the murder weapon - a 9 mm semiautomatic Glock that tragically belonged to one of the victims, and which has been matched with ballistics to the bloodbath. However, Meier did not say whether Carnes’ fingerprints were on it.

Scholars, Spike Lee discuss Katrina on Martha's Vineyard

EDGARTOWN, Mass. --Prominent black scholars at a screening of Spike Lee's new documentary on Hurricane Katrina called Wednesday for a national discussion of the inequality and poverty exposed by the storm that devastated New Orleans and nearby areas one year ago.

"What Hurricane Katrina did was sweep into our consciousness those people we have tried to force into oblivion," said University of Pennsylvania professor Michael Eric Dyson, one of four panel members at a forum on the resort island of Martha's Vineyard.

Harvard law professor Lani Guinier said society needs to connect rather than move away from its poor and underprivileged.

"When are we going to link our fate to the fate of the people who were dispossesed in New Orleans?"

They viewed the third episode of Lee's four-hour Katrina documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," which first aired this week on HBO after a premiere in New Orleans last month. The film will be shown in its entirety on HBO on Aug. 29.

Menino has brush with gun violence

Mayor Thomas M. Menino came within feet of an armed thug and heard cops yell the chilling words “He’s got a gun!” during a walking tour of Dorchester Monday evening, learning firsthand the fright many of his constituents suffer in a city plagued daily by gunplay.

“I saw this guy running past me in a black shirt. All the sudden, the police who were with me were running and chasing this individual,” Menino said yesterday.

“This guy was brazen as hell,” a calm and cool Menino told the Herald. “I don’t know that this individual knew that the mayor was in the area, that there would be so many cops chasing him, but how brazen can you be?”

Polls show Dem rivals lead Reilly: Gabrieli, Patrick top AG

Chris Gabrieli’s pricey TV ads are apparently paying off as the millionaire philanthropist moves up in the gubernatorial polls while Attorney General Tom Reilly continues to lag in the tightening Democratic primary race.

Gabrieli is in command of the race in a new Suffolk University/WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) poll, topping the field with 32 percent support. Former U.S. attorney Deval Patrick was second with 24 percent, followed by Reilly with 20 percent. Some 24 percent of the 600 registered voters polled were undecided.

Which of the Dems do like the most? Or hate the least? Or are you undecided? Vote here!

(Sources: Wakefield Daily Item, Boston Herald, Boston Globe)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Election 2006

Gubernatorial Candidates

Kerry Healey (R)-

Christy Mihos (independent)-

Deval Patrick (D)-

Grace Ross (Green-Rainbow Party)-

The photos are from the candidates' campaign sites.


Welcome to the Étudiant's collection of Election 2006 news. This page will be updated up until the election, so stay tuned.


I posted this story. Source: Boston Herald

Polls show Dem rivals lead Reilly: Gabrieli, Patrick top AG

Chris Gabrieli’s pricey TV ads are apparently paying off as the millionaire philanthropist moves up in the gubernatorial polls while Attorney General Tom Reilly continues to lag in the tightening Democratic primary race.

Gabrieli is in command of the race in a new Suffolk University/WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) poll, topping the field with 32 percent support. Former U.S. attorney Deval Patrick was second with 24 percent, followed by Reilly with 20 percent. Some 24 percent of the 600 registered voters polled were undecided.

I also put together this poll.


I added pictures of the candidates.


Some campaign news from the Boston Globe:

Healey ad opens new front in primary

The battle for governor erupted across party lines yesterday, as Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey labeled Democrat Christopher Gabrieli a tycoon in a television ad that says he would enrich himself through his proposal to provide $1 billion in public funds for stem cell and other life science research.

Without waiting for the outcome of Tuesday's Democratic primary, Healey, the GOP's choice for governor, singled out Gabrieli, delighting Gabrieli's aides who saw her strategy as evidence that he is the strongest Democrat in the race. Healey's aides insisted that the ad was a response to television attack ads aimed at her this week by a Democrat-connected union group.
The GOP foray into the Democratic primary battle came out of the blue and triggered a new round of television ads in the closing days before Tuesday's primary. Gabrieli launched a response ad that described the claims as petty politics.


Some interesting info from the Boston Herald.

‘I take out the trash’... but not the Thursday before the primary

A testy Chris Gabrieli, who touts himself in a campaign TV ad as a regular Joe taking out the trash, now says he’s too busy stumping for office to do the chore in real life.

“Look, I take out the trash sometimes. I don’t take out the trash on the Thursday before the primary,” the millionaire Democrat insisted yesterday.

A Herald photographer snapped a picture Thursday of a young woman in an apron carrying a bin of recyclables from Gabrieli’s $2 million Beacon Hill brownstone - an apparent contradiction of his homebody campaign spot.

Gabrieli noted, for the record, that the aide shown in a Herald photo was carrying recyclables, not trash, to the curb. She placed the bin next to trash bags.

“But more to the point,” he said. “Yes, I take it out a lot of times. I don’t think it’s any surprise I’m not home at trash time these days.”


Three of Boston's local news channels have special sections for the election.

Channel 4:
Channel 5:
Channel 7:

Later tonight, we'll find out which Democrats will continue running for governor and lt. governor. Deval Patrick is favored by the polls...

9/19, 9:55 PM

According to the AP, Deval Patrick has won the Democrats' nomination.

9/19, 10:05 PM

Early voter turnout is fairly strong

Poll workers around Wakefield were happy about the healthy amount of voters who turned out for today’s primary election so far this morning.

At 9:15 a.m., 109 votes were cast in Precinct 5 and 121 were cast in Precinct 6. Voters from both precincts voted at the West Side Social Club on Harrington Court.

Meanwhile, at the Masonic Temple on Salem Street, 143 votes were cast from Precinct 7 at 9:45 a.m., while 132 were cast from Precinct 1 at the same time.

A complete count of town votes will appear in tomorrow’s Item.

Among the voters at the West Side Social Club was School Committee member Anthony Guardia, who stressed the importance of voting while he was there. Guardia has been an open supporter of Sean Grant, a Saugus Democrat who is running for State Representative in the Ninth Essex District, which includes Precincts 1, 2 and 7 in Wakefield.

At the Masonic Temple, Vin Falzone, the father of Mark Falzone, the current State Representative of the Ninth Essex District, was on hand to support his son. Vin Falzone says he holds signs for his favorite candidates at the Masonic Temple during every election.

“I guess it’s tradition,” Falzone said.

Source: Wakefield Daily Item

9/19, 10:15 PM

Developing story:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Christopher Gabrieli is giving a concession speech in which he said that he told Deval Patrick he will work diligently on his behalf in the general election. But he scolded GOP nominee Kerry Healey for running negative ads against him in the waning days of the campaign that criticized his support of stem cell research. "Tonight, this campaign ends, but its spirit lives on," he said. Attorney General Thomas Reilly, a candidate in the same race, conceded earlier. Timothy P. Murray, 38, the three-term mayor of Worcester, has been nominated as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.

Source: Boston Globe


Big Dig firms put money into Healey’s ads

While Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey has talked tough on the Big Dig, a new political ad supporting her bid for governor was bankrolled by a Republican special interest group funded by major contractors on the scandal-plagued project.

The Republican Governors Association, which is chaired by Gov. Mitt Romney, raked in $25,000 from Big Dig contractor Bechtel since 2005 and another $10,000 this year from Dig firm Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade and Douglas.

The nonprofit RGA has so far kicked in $890,000 for a new TV ad trumpeting Healey’s accomplishments on Beacon Hill as part of a nationwide campaign to support GOP candidates for governor.

Source: Boston Herald


Want some coverage of today's debate? You got it.


Glen Maganzini criticizes the candidates and defines the true conservative in this editorial.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Top Stories - August 17, 2006

Former Comverse executives charged

Two of the three former top executives at Comverse Technology in Wakefield charged with manipulating stock options and pocketing millions of dollars were arraigned in a Brooklyn court Aug. 9.

According to the charges, the former executives, CEO Kobi Alexander, 54, CFO David Kreinberg, 41, and senior general counsel William Sorin, 56, conspired to manipulate stock options by falsifying the dates on which they were granted. Kreinberg and Sorin surrendered to authorities and will enter pleas later. The conspiracy charges - to commit securities fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud - are punishable by up to five years in prison. The company wasn’t charged.

But Alexander, who has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, has not surrendered, his whereabouts are unknown and an arrest warrant has been issued for him. He wired "nearly $60 million" to Israel last month, the government said, and authorities have seized $45 million from two U.S. investment accounts in Alexander’s name.

Town counsel critical of schools' new food policy

In the wake of last week’s School Committee vote to institute a strict food allergy policy regarding all food served on school property, the Board of Selectmen this week heard from Town Counsel Thomas Mullen regarding the town’s liability when it comes to food sold by youth sports organizations at concession stands on town playing fields.
Mullen also cast doubt on the need for the stringent new food allergy policy recently adopted by the School Committee.

The School Committee voted unanimously last week to implement a strict food allergy policy in order to decrease liability if a child were to become sick or, worse, die due to an allergic reaction to food served on school property.

The school policy effectively bans all homemade foods including cookies, brownies, cakes, pies and other items from being sold or served on school property. The new policy states that all food served publicly on school property in Wakefield, including at sporting events, must be through Chartwells, a contracted food vendor deemed safe by the School Committee. Chartwells runs the school lunch program.

The Committee was concerned about liability should an allergic student come into even incidental contact with peanut products or other allergy-triggering foods served or sold on school property.

Selectman Stephen P. Maio initiated the discussion at the board’s meeting this week. Maio pointed out that there are a number of concession stands on town-owned athletic fields, including Fernald, Nasella and Moulton fields, where booster clubs sell food items to raise money for their particular youth sports programs.

What are your thoughts on the new allergy policy?

Fire destroys Hyde Park church

A five-alarm fire destroyed a wood-framed church in Hyde Park Thursday night, sending two people to the hospital for treatment and causing an estimated $1 million in a "total loss" of the property, fire officials said.

Paramedics took a man to Brigham and Women’s Hospital who suffered non-life-threatening burns to his head and shoulders, said Kevin MacCurtain, acting commissioner of the Boston Fire Department.

He said the man was in the process of moving into one of several apartments attached to the church on Hyde Park Avenue, which he said was named the Hyde Park Christian Church. A website listing the church and its address said it was an evangelical church linked to the Grace Christian Fellowship.

“It’s everything -- we’ve lost everything,” said Oscar Mendez, 61, who has been a member of the church for seven years. “It’s a sad sight.”

Smile! You’re on Matt Amorello’s candid camera

The Romney administration is investigating six hidden cameras found in Turnpike Authority headquarters that gave ousted chairman Matthew Amorello the ability to monitor workers from a storage room next to his office, officials said yesterday.

The cameras, concealed behind smoke detectors, were discovered during a review of Turnpike Authority operations following Amorello’s resignation. The deposed Big Dig boss left office Tuesday amid allegations of mismanagement and secrecy following the July 10 tunnel collapse that killed Milena Del Valle.

(Sources: Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield Observer, Boston Herald, Boston Globe)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Top Stories - August 14, 2006

The Jill Carroll Story
Chapter One

Left: Jill Carroll

Park upgarde, reuse bylaw face TM Thursday

There will be three articles on the warrant when Town Moderator William Carroll calls to order the Special Town Meeting set for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Galvin School auditorium. But with a motion for indefinite postponement expected on Article 3, the remaining two articles will be the only business taken up by voters.
Twice-deported man pleads guilty to re-entering U.S.

CONCORD, N.H. --A man pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to re-entering the United States after twice being deported to his home country of Mexico.

Hector Horta-Arriaga, 32, also known as "Alberto Mendoza," was first deported in 1998 and then again in 2000. He had lived in Nashua.

This past May, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent encountered Horta-Arriaga at the Nashua District Court. The agent arrested Horta-Arriaga on a charge of illegally being present in the United States. A federal grand jury indicted him in June.

Triple-E virus found in mosquito pool in Manchester

CONCORD, N.H. --A mosquito pool in Manchester has tested positive for Eastern equine encephalitis in New Hampshire, the second pool to test positive for the disease this year, the state Department of Health and Human Services said Monday.

"This positive test of a mammal-biting mosquito reinforces the need to take preventive measures," said John Stephen, department commissioner. "The last thing we want to see are any human cases of EEE in New Hampshire."

(Sources: Wakefield Daily Item, Boston Globe, Boston Herald)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Top Stories - August 10, 2006

Walking 3 days for a cause

Left: Cheryl DelRossi and her team.

Alarmingly, it is estimated that every 3 minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. It is a sad statistic that Wakefield resident Cheryl DelRossi knows all too well. DelRossi’s mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor, whose diagnoses occurred 10 years apart from one another - and, DelRossi herself has undergone three lumpectomies.

From Friday, Aug. 4 to Sunday, Aug. 6, DelRossi and her team - consisting of daughter, AnnMarie, and a family friend - partook in the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk. The 3-Day is a weekend for the participants to celebrate breast cancer survivors, honor the lives lost and promote further breast cancer research. DelRossi has participated in years past and remembers the walk to be challenging yet uplifting.

"It is enduring," said DelRossi regarding the walk. "However, there is so much camaraderie amongst all of the teams."

Bake sales banned in all local schools

Consider homemade cookies, brownies, cakes and pies a thing of the past in Wakefield Public Schools. Bake sales and other activities involving food on school property have been officially banned by the School Committee.

The School Committee voted unanimously at last night’s meeting to implement a stricter food allergy policy. Most members of the committee felt it was necessary to update the rules in order to decrease liability if a child were to get ill or, worse, die due to an allergic reaction on the school system’s watch.

The new policy states that all food served publicly on the Wakefield school system’s property is through Chartwells, a contracted food vendor that the School Committee deems safe for students. Chartwells runs the food service for the school department. Chartwells has assured Committee members their products’ ingredients will be available to parents.

What are your thoughts on this banning? Leave comments!

Commuter Rail concerns

After weeks of delays, "hot cars" and explanations, the Commuter Rail may be getting back on track. But with another month of summer ahead and a 25 percent fare increase expected to take affect in January, Wakefield commuters and those who ride the rail everyday are hoping the summer of ’06 will not be repeated. More than 14,000 people north of Boston and 140,000 statewide take one of the rail’s 13 lines everyday, and over 1000 complaints were filed during the month of July.

"My train was 20 minutes late last Monday and half and hour late on Tuesday," a Wakefield woman said. "That’s not really good. With the wait and the air quality in the cars there’s a substantial amount of quality of service that isn’t that great. My pass now costs $118 and it’s supposed to go up to $151. It’s not enough to say there’s problems. It’s not supposed to be like this."

According to Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail spokesman Scott Farmelant, "There’s nothing more frustrating or unacceptable than receiving less than superior service. We take very seriously the effort to try and turn this thing around. It’s been a challenge with the weather, but we know what the problems are and doing everything we can to address them."

Wakefield resident Jim McBain was more forgiving, saying there’s been a few delays and the AC is out once in a while, but that’s to be expected.

Romney activates National Guard for Logan Airport

Members of the Massachusetts National Guard were sworn in as deputy sheriffs Thursday to help ease congestion at Logan International Airport, where news of a foiled terror plot in Britain targeting U.S.-bound flights prompted heightened security measures.

Gov. Mitt Romney spoke to about 50 members of the 972nd Military Police Company who were deployed to the airport to man new Logan security checkpoints -- at each departure gate -- where passengers will be screened again, after going through terminal security.

"I appreciate your honor and integrity," he said, "your willingness to respond so quickly to the emergency that we face."

(Sources: Wakefield Observer, Wakefield Daily Item, Boston Globe)

Monday, August 7, 2006

Bottom Stories - August 7, 2006

And now, a recurring feature here at the Étudiant: Bottom Stories. Just because these events aren't given as much attention as stories about tunnel collapses and women getting stabbed with carrots, doesn't mean we won't recap them here.

WCAT youth group wins national award

A few weeks ago, at the 2006 ACM Hometown Video Festival, eight members of the WCAT Kids Video Adventure Workshop led by the former Executive Director Ron Cox were awarded first place in the "Educational Class Project" category for their video, "Summer Brainstorm."

The program, which was produced last summer as part of the annual Kids Video Adventure Workshop, was entirely written, crewed, acted, directed and produced by the young participants whose ages ranged from 9 to 12 years old.

This annual video festival that is sponsored by the Alliance for Community Media is the country's largest- and longest-running media competition. This year the event was held at Faneuil Hall in Boston as part of the 30th ACM International Conference and Trade Show, which took place at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Two children from the the WCAT Kids Video Adventure Workshop, Joe Tringale and Rebecca Spivak, were on hand to accompany the workshop coordinator, Ron Cox, to the podium to receive the plaque.

Berry good at Bay States

Justin Berry recently captured a silver medal in track and field during the 25th annual Bay State Games at Harvard University, July 14.

A Salem State College student, Berry, 22, secured the silver medal in the Men's Shot Put Open with a winning toss of 42-02.25. Berry finished second to Daniel Martin, 19, of Ludlow who took the gold (44-08). One of three Wakefield track stars to compete in this summer's games, Berry also finished eighth overall in the Men's Javelin Open at 140-08.

Governors, still wrestling with Medicaid costs

A sense of experiment, even optimism, marked the nation's governors' discussions on health care this weekend, a long way from the dire predictions that have dogged their work over the past few years.

Exploding costs and soaring populations remain a challenge, but governors who gathered Sunday for their annual summer meeting talked more about the possibilities for change, as many states embark on unprecedented experiments to revamp the health care program for the poor and health care overall.

"In all of our states, we're wrestling with these challenges, trying to find ways to improve the quality of care, to reduce the costs," said Republican Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont. "There are a lot of creative approaches on the way."

Massachusetts has captured the spotlight with a universal health insurance plan that demands everyone in the state get insurance, and gives them help to get it. In different shapes and sizes, other states have begun experiments, from West Virginia to Idaho, Florida to Maine.

Boston-bound flight returns after passenger found on no-fly list

A London-to-Boston flight was called back to Heathrow Airport on Monday after U.S. authorities discovered a passenger’s name was on their “no-fly” list, officials said. Four passengers were being questioned by border control officers.

American Airlines Flight 109, a Boeing 777, left London at 10:55 a.m. (0955 GMT) headed for Boston, said Tim Wagner, a spokesman for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline.

"The flight returned to Heathrow due to a security issue that needed to be resolved in London,” he said. “It was not a security threat to the aircraft. The flight was in no danger.”

(Sources: Wakefield Observer, Boston Herald, Boston Globe)

Top Stories - August 7, 2006

Hero moms save tot at Milton pond when lifeguards wouldn’t

Left: La’Nay Johnson of Randolph explains how she helped save a young boy yesterday at Houghton’s Pond in Milton.

Beachgoers at a Milton pond are being hailed as heroes for doing CPR on a little boy who nearly drowned yesterday. Witnesses said lifeguards refused to do the life-saving mouth-to-mouth procedure.

The 3-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, is expected to survive after a day at the beach turned into a nightmare.

The beach at Houghton’s Pond was packed with people yesterday at 4 p.m. when the horrifying scene unfolded.

Anthony Graham, 35, who was swimming with his daughter, noticed the boy floating in the water about 20 feet out and carried his lifeless body to the beach.

“I brought him in where the lifeguard was sitting. I laid him down,” said Graham, of Hyde Park.

But several witnesses said lifeguards said they wouldn’t do CPR without a mouthpiece to protect themselves, so two young moms trained in CPR took control.

“I would want any mother to do what we did,” said Valerie Johnson, 25, of Randolph, who gave the boy mouth-to-mouth while her friend did chest compressions.

Town prepares for avian flu threat

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is asking communities across the state to develop an emergency response plan for the avian flu, just in case the virus takes flight, and Wakefield officials are doing just that.

Town officials developed an emergency response plan in 2002, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Wakefield's original emergency response plan was developed due to concerns about bio-terrorism. Officials wanted to develop a plan flexible enough to handle other potential hazards, from anthrax attacks to flu outbreaks. The avian flu outbreak in Southeast Asia poses unique concerns because the virus has yet to be spread from person to person. Humans can only get the avian flu virus from direct contact with birds. However, local officials are preparing just in case the virus finds a new way to spread.

Peter Gray, who serves as the health director of Wakefield's Department of Health, said the plan is "easily adapted for anything that comes our way."

Grant focuses on school funding

Saugus resident Sean Grant says the current state representative in Massachusetts’ Ninth Essex District has gotten out of touch with community issues, which is one reason why he has announced his candidacy to run against him.

Currently, another Saugus resident, Democrat Mark Falzone, holds the seat that includes precincts 1, 2 and 7 in Wakefield; precincts 1 and 2 and 4 through 9 in Saugus; precinct 2 in Lynnfield; and precincts 1 and 2 and ward 1 in Lynn.

Falzone is up for reelection this fall, but Grant, a 36-year-old Democrat, says the district’s clear need for change has drawn him into the race.

FBI: Video shows Boston PD celebrating after smuggling drugs

Carlos Pizarro sat on a plush leather couch in a black-and-white surveillance video played today in court, sipping from a Champagne flute in what federal agents described as a celebration in North Miami Beach by two Boston police officers charged with protecting cocaine shipments in Massachusetts.

Pizarro dunked what looked like shrimp into cocktail sauce while a voice off camera identified by FBI agents as Roberto Pulido, 41, discussed plans for more smuggling.

“What can be brought down?” Pulido asked, according to a transcript of the video released by prosecutors.

“We can do 500 keys of coke,” an undercover officer said, who moments before had referred to the officers as “family.”

“That’s want I wanna see,” Pulido said in the transcript.

(Sources: Wakefield Observer, Wakefield Daily Item, Boston Globe, Boston Herald)

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Top Stories - August 3, 2006

Riding for a cure

New Hampshire’s Mount Washington stands at an intimidating 6,288 feet. On Aug. 19 - mixed with feelings of honor and horror - Wakefield resident Richard Cohen will bicycle up the mountain in memory of his father and on behalf of the Myelodysplastic Syndromes Foundation.

Cohen will participate in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb. The climb, widely regarded by many professional cyclists as the most challenging uphill race in the world, ascends 7.6 miles on the Auto Road’s severely steep grade. With an average incline gradient of 12 percent - sections of which span as high as 18 percent and the final 100 yards which steeply rises to a 22 percent gradient - the Auto Road’s cycling terrain is tumultuous and often unpredictable.

While Cohen has participated in triathlon events - consisting of swimming, cycling and running - in the past, he has not partaken in a cycling-exclusive event. For training, Cohen has spent the majority of the past five to eight months riding up and down Prospect Street and taking cycling trips to Mount Wachusett and Mount Ascutney in Vermont, and averages 150-200 miles on his bike per week.

It's official: Special Town Meeting items are set

The official warrant for the Special Town Meeting is ready for voters to debate on Aug. 17.
The meeting was called by town officials and will be held Thursday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Galvin Middle School's auditorium, at 525 Main St. Officials called the meeting to deal with three timely issues. They tried to keep the warrant short, and hopefully uncontroversial, since many residents are on vacation during the summer and won't be around to vote.

The full warrant can be viewed at Town Hall on Lafayette Street.

First Big Dig reopening in sight

In a telling sign that the first major Big Dig sections will soon reopen, construction crews today began moving concrete traffic barriers into a key tunnel that helps link South Boston to Logan International Airport and the North Shore.

The barriers, part of the final safety work, will keep vehicles away from a troubled section of the route, which goes from a ramp off D Street in South Boston on to a short section of the Interstate 90 connector and into the eastbound Ted Williams Tunnel. Crews today also finished installing new ceiling panel fixtures in the eastbound Ted Williams Tunnel, and neared completion of shoring up two massive jet fans in the South Boston ramp with cable supports.

With approval from federal highway officials, the sections -- closed for nearly a month -- can reopen to traffic.

Contractor rips ‘fabricated’ tunnel memo in Globe report

An explosive memo warning of a potential tunnel-ceiling collapse was “fabricated,” says a key Big Dig contractor, casting a long shadow over the Boston Globe, which first published it last week.

Officials at Modern Continental say virtually every claim made by safety inspector John Keaveney in the Globe’s July 26 story and in the alleged May 17, 1999, memo is refuted by the company’s internal documents. The alleged 1999 memo warned of a collapse in the Interstate 90 Seaport connector tunnel, the same tunnel where a Jamaica Plain woman was killed July 10 when a section of the concrete ceiling fell and crushed the car in which she was a passenger.

(Sources: Wakefield Observer, Boston Herald, Boston Globe)

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Top Stories - August 1, 2006

Source: Bruschi may have broken wrist

Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi suffered a possible wrist fracture at practice Monday and will be sidelined for at least a week while the team determines the severity of the injury.

According to a source, Bruschi will be put in a cast or splint for a week before a more definitive prognosis is reached.
He apparently hurt himself during Monday’s morning practice. He did not participate in drills that afternoon and missed both sessions yesterday.

Albion Street home to world’s hottest women’s shoes

Did you know that Wakefield supplies fashionable women’s shoes to some of Hollywood’s hottest stars?

Most residents probably don’t know that, which makes shoe designer Michael Ciccia happy. His warehouse on Albion Street holds some of the world’s hottest women’s shoes, but you would never know it if you walked by his business.

Ciccia’s small storefront certainly doesn’t appear to be the front of a warehouse holding pairs of shoes used in a popular network television show. And he hopes to keep it that way.

It’s no secret that Ciccia opened the warehouse eight years ago with his wife, Allyson. Their company, “Cordani” makes high-end women’s shoes that grace the likes of Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer. They’re designed right here in Wakefield by Ciccia, an Andover resident, who sells the swank shoes exclusively to high-end clientele.

Romney: Some Big Dig ramps may open by Labor Day

Governor Mitt Romney said this afternoon that engineers hope to have two access tunnels opened by Labor Day that were closed after a section of the Big Dig partially collapsed last month and killed a motorist.

The opening of the tunnels would ease traffic from the Big Dig closures by 40 percent, allowing northbound motorists to access Logan International Airport, Route 1, and the North Shore.

(Sources: Wakefield Daily Item, Boston Herald, Boston Globe)