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Baker signs bill to crack down on fentanyl trafficking

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

BOSTON — A law signed Tuesday by Gov. Charlie Baker makes trafficking of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug sometimes mixed with heroin, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The Legislature approved the bill as one response to an opioid abuse epidemic that claimed an estimated 1,250 deaths in Massachusetts last year, almost triple the number from five years ago. The measure is intended to close a …

Brandeis students occupy administration building for diversity demands

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

WALTHAM (AP) — Hundreds of Brandeis University students have occupied the school’s administration building and say they won’t leave until officials address their demands regarding diversity. A group of students called #ConcernedStudents2015 began occupying the Bernstein-Marcus Administrative Center on Friday after they say interim president Lisa Lynch failed to address 13 concerns about racial equality outlined in a letter sent to her on …

Baker: State will continue to support refugees

Monday, November 23, 2015

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that Massachusetts will continue to support refugee resettlement, even as the debate over the U.S. role in sheltering some refugees fleeing Syria continues to roil political debate in the country. Offering shelter to refugees is part of Massachusetts’ history, Baker told reporters Monday. “I don’t intend …

Court upholds man’s conviction in death of woman set on fire

Monday, November 9, 2015

BOSTON — The highest court in Massachusetts has upheld the murder conviction of a Springfield man who was found guilty of killing his former girlfriend’s mother by dousing her with gasoline and setting her on fire. Lastarandre Bell was convicted in 2008 in the death of Julie Ann …

Regulators consider what to do about collapsed lobster stock

Monday, November 9, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine — Interstate fishing regulators are considering what to do about southern New England’s collapsed lobster population, and fishermen fear new restrictions could land on them as a result. The lobster population has sunk to the lowest levels on record in southern New England waters, affecting once-productive …

New England leaders speak against prescription opioid abuse

Monday, November 9, 2015

BOSTON — Political leaders from across New England met with business leaders Monday to discuss ways to combat New England’s deadly opioid addiction problem, including tightening regulations around prescription painkillers. Also Monday, Massachusetts’ top medical schools said they’ve reached an agreement with the state to better teach their …

Rhode Island joins Conn., New Mexico, in fight against veteran homelessness

Monday, November 9, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For more than two years, Don Perrault lived without a home as the Vietnam veteran struggled with depression and personal setbacks that at one point left him with nothing to do but take a therapeutic …

2 killed after their pickup hits a car, goes into river

Monday, November 9, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts State Police said two Rhode Island residents pulled from a pickup truck that plunged into the Charles River off Route 28 in Boston have died. Police responded about 6:40 p.m. Saturday and found the truck fully submerged in the water near Leverett Circle. The …

Police investigating 2 separate shootings in Springfield

Monday, November 9, 2015

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Police are searching for suspects in two separate shootings that left multiple unidentified victims wounded in western Massachusetts. Springfield Police Lt. Richard LaBelle tells The Republican (http://bit.ly/1MrjTsP ) that police believe the shootings aren’t related. The first incident occurred just after 2 a.m. Saturday in …

Police: high school football player was also heroin pusher

Monday, November 9, 2015

LAWRENCE (AP) — Police say a high school football star led a double life has a heroin dealer. The Eagle-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1lckOn0) Luis Crispin sold heroin to undercover narcotics officers numerous times over the last two months after football practice. Police have issued a warrant accusing the 18-year-old …

Legally blind barber awarded $100k for wrongful termination

Monday, November 9, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — A legally blind barber was awarded $100,000 by a Massachusetts commission against discrimination after it says he was wrongly fired. The Boston Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1ME3w82) Saturday that Joel Nixon had been working for Tony’s Barber Shop in Norton for a year before his boss discovered …

Grad students’ union push gains steam as NLRB reconsiders rule

Thursday, November 5, 2015

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Efforts to unionize graduate students at private universities are gaining momentum as the National Labor Relations Board shows new openness to arguments that they are not just students, but also school employees. A union …

Supporters rally for Boston-area mosque tagged with ‘USA’ graffiti

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

BURLINGTON (AP) — Muslim leaders and clergy from other faiths rallied Thursday during a demonstration themed “We are Americans” to show support for a suburban Boston mosque spray-painted with “USA” graffiti. The morning rally at the Islamic Center of Burlington was meant to counter anti-Muslim sentiment. Supporters wrote …