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In this photo provided by Kevin Moav, fire engulfs the top floors of a three-story apartment and business building Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Lowell, Mass. Officials confirmed that seven people died in the fast-moving pre-dawn fire. (AP Photo/Kevin Moav)

Lowell fire leaves 7 dead

Thursday, July 10, 2014

LOWELL — A fast-moving fire ravaged a three-story apartment building before dawn Thursday, killing four adults and three children, forcing tenants to jump or hand their children to safety, and leading to dramatic rescues from upper floors. Authorities are looking into witness reports that the sound of exploding fireworks preceded the blaze, as well as a man’s claim that a brother who died in the fire kept fireworks in his apartment. The victims in this former mill city about 25 miles northwest of Boston were all found in units on the top floor of the building, which was just down the street from a fire … 0

Director named for UMass’ Springfield center

Thursday, July 10, 2014

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A Springfield native on Thursday was named to lead the new University of Massachusetts downtown Springfield satellite center. William Davila was named director of operations for the UMass Center at Tower Square. Davila is a 1996 graduate of UMass-Amherst who holds advanced degrees from Boston College and the University of Hartford. The 26,000-square-foot facility includes classrooms, specialized nursing classrooms, conference … 0

Mohegan Sun, Boston strike deal

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BOSTON — Mayor Martin Walsh and Mohegan Sun announced a deal Thursday that would provide the city with at least $300 million in investments over 15 years if the casino company wins a state gambling license. The American Indian tribe-owned company proposes a $1.3 billion resort casino at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track in the neighboring city of Revere. The “surrounding community … 0

Massachusetts Senate approves environmental bill

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously approved a $1.9 billion, four-year environmental bond bill. The legislation is intended to help preserve and improve land, parks and renewable energy resources. During Thursday’s debate, senators added $200 million to the bill. Among the dozens of spending projects is … 0

Compounding pharmacy oversight changes signed

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — Two years after a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak linked to a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday signed a law he said would address a “gray area” between state and federal oversight of the pharmacies. The measure includes new licensing and labeling … 0

State reports progress in fixing hobbled health website

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BOSTON — State officials are offering an upbeat assessment of efforts to repair the state’s hobbled health insurance website. Maydad Cohen, special assistant to Gov. Deval Patrick, told the state’s health connector board on Thursday that new software purchased by the state passed initial tests with flying colors. … 0

Speaker denies ‘quid pro quo’ in probation hiring

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BOSTON — Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Wednesday strongly denied assertions by prosecutors at the federal trial of the state’s former probation department commissioner that DeLeo traded jobs for votes or deliberately spared the agency from the … 0

House lawmakers OK tighter gun laws

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BOSTON — Massachusetts House lawmakers approved a sweeping bill Wednesday designed to tighten the state’s gun laws. The bill, which passed on a 112-38 vote, would strengthen local police chiefs’ discretion over issuing firearms identification cards needed for the purchase of rifles or shotguns, much like the discretion … 0

Group forms to oppose casino ballot question

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BOSTON — A new political committee has formed to oppose a ballot question that would repeal Massachusetts’ 2011 casino law. The Committee to Preserve Jobs Associated with Casino Gaming Law filed papers Wednesday with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The committee’s stated goal is to … 0

Geraldine Hines to join state’s highest court as first black justice

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick’s nominee to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was approved on Wednesday, making Geraldine Hines the first black woman to sit on the high court. The Governor’s Council voted 8-0 to approve appeals court judge Hines for a spot on the seven-member court. Patrick … 0

Blackstone boy dies after swim test

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MILFORD (AP) — A 10-year-old Blackstone boy went into cardiac arrest during a swimming test at a Milford pool and later died, police and relatives say. Alexander Cora died Monday night at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Chief Thomas O’Loughlin said. He apparently had an undiagnosed heart … 0

Counselor indicted on child rape charges

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a former North Attleborough Middle School guidance counselor and music teacher on charges that he had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student. The Sun Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1r8caUi) reports that Brian McBride of Attleboro is scheduled to be arraigned in … 0

MIT develops ‘seeing-eye ring’ that reads to the blind

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

CAMBRIDGE — Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words. The … 0