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FILE - This file June 23, 2011 booking photo provided by the U.S. Marshals Service shows James "Whitey" Bulger, captured in Santa Monica, Calif., after 16 years on the run. Bulger was convicted in a Boston federal court in August 2013 on a broad indictment that included racketeering charges in a string of murders in the 1970s and '80s, as well as extortion, money-laundering and weapons charges. A federal appeals court in Boston heard arguments Monday, July 27, 2015 on his bid to overturn his racketeering conviction. Bulger was not present for the proceedings.  (AP Photo/U.S. Marshals Service, File)

Bulger asks for new trial

Monday, July 27, 2015

BOSTON — Lawyers for convicted gangster James “Whitey” Bulger asked a federal appeals court Monday to grant him a new trial, arguing that his defense was eviscerated when he was barred from testifying about his claim that he received immunity for his crimes. Attorney Hank Brennan said a ruling by Judge Denise Casper prohibiting Bulger from telling the jury that a now-deceased federal prosecutor granted him immunity violated his right to a fair trial. “The defendant has that right to testify. There is no shaking that right,” Brennan said. But Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Kromm told the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court …

Drumstick maker Firth dies at 85

Monday, July 27, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — Everett “Vic” Firth, a longtime timpanist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra who launched a successful drumstick company bearing his name, has died at 85. Firth, who died Sunday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Boston, joined the Boston Symphony in 1952 and served for five decades as timpanist, performing for legendary conductors including Leonard Bernstein. He also led the …

Hometown holds wake for Marine killed in Tenn.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

SPRINGFIELD — People in his hometown paid their respects on Sunday to a Massachusetts Marine killed by a gunman who attacked a military facility in Tennessee two weeks ago. Thousands attended a public wake for Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan at T.P. Sampson Chapel of The Acres on a street lined with flags, the …


Thursday, July 23, 2015

AG: Stop suspending licenses for drug offenses BOSTON (AP) — Attorney General Maura Healey said she supports repealing a Massachusetts law that automatically suspends the driver’s license of anyone convicted of a drug offense. Healey said her office has seen no evidence that license suspensions are an effective …

Scientists probe cause of beach blast

Thursday, July 23, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Scientists trying to figure out the reason why a mysterious beach blast that sent a woman flying into a jetty are now pursuing a specific cause, Rhode Island’s top environmental official says, but she isn’t disclosing their theory until testing is finished. Department of …

State study: School snack ban working

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BOSTON — Rules aimed at banning sugary sodas, sweet snacks, potato chips and other standard school vending machine fare appear to be working in Massachusetts, according to a study released Wednesday. The study of 74 middle and high schools in three dozen districts showed big increases in the …

Man charged after son, 7, is hospitalized weighing 38 pounds

Thursday, July 23, 2015

EAST BROOKFIELD, Mass. — The father of a 7-year-old boy who is suffering from starvation and dehydration was held without bail Wednesday after the child was brought to the hospital unconscious. A hearing is scheduled Friday for Randall …

Man dies in Westfield house fire blamed on smoking

Thursday, July 23, 2015

WESTFIELD (AP) — Fire officials say a 64-year-old man has died after a house fire in Westfield. State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan and Westfield Fire Chief Mary Regan said Wednesday that the fire early Wednesday appears to have been caused by improper disposal of smoking materials. The officials …

Eligibility review knocks thousands off Mass. Medicaid

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

BOSTON — Tens of thousands of people have been removed from the state’s Medicaid program during the first phase of an eligibility review, according to figures from Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration obtained by The Associated Press. The eligibility checks, required annually under federal law but not performed in …

Campaign donations pour in for top state lawmakers

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

BOSTON — Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo collected more than $415,000 in campaign donations during the first half of the year — more than during any previous six-month period for the powerful Democrat. The total is close to the $465,000 DeLeo raised during all of 2014, an election …

Boston Olympics organizers step up outreach

Monday, July 20, 2015

SOMERVILLE — Organizers of Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics are in a sprint to the finish, scrambling to improve lackluster poll numbers ahead of a September deadline to formally throw the city’s name into the mix …

State Probation Department promotion exams shredded

Monday, July 20, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — Efforts to overhaul the state Probation Department’s hiring and promotion system after years of political favoritism have suffered another setback after trial court officials admitted they accidentally shredded promotional exams before they could be graded. The shredding incident comes after 55 percent of probation employees …

Website offers civilized solutions to wildlife woes

Monday, July 20, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Looking for a civilized solution to a wildlife problem? Residents of 13 eastern states and the District of Columbia have a new online resource. The site — wildlifehelp.org — was created by the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Northeast Wildlife …