After ruling, Massachusetts bans 'upskirt' photos
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill prohibiting "upskirt" photos of women.
Patrick's office said the governor signed the measure Friday, two days after the state's highest court ruled that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female subway passengers in Boston wasn't violating state law as it's written.
The House and Senate responded by quickly passing legislation to make it illegal to take photographs of the "sexual or other intimate parts" of women or children in public.
The law, which takes effect immediately, would punish "upskirting" with a maximum penalty of two-and-a-half years in jail and a $5,000 fine.
The maximum penalties would increase to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine if the victim is a child.
CHILD CARE-SEX ABUSE
Mass. child sex abuse suspect dies at hospital
BOSTON (AP) - The attorney for a Wakefield man charged with sexually abusing 13 children in a child care business said his client died after an apparent suicide attempt in jail.
Defense attorney William Barabino said Friday night that John Burbine apparently tried to hang himself in his cell, during a 20-minute period between his guards' regular checks Friday morning.
He said a guard found Burdine with no pulse at about 7:50 a.m., but he was revived by emergency medical workers. Barabino said efforts to stabilize Burbine continued for hours at the hospital. The attorney said Burbine died naturally at 6:26 p.m. without regaining consciousness.
Prosecutors allege that between August 2010 and August 2012, Burbine molested children ranging from 8 days to 3 1/2 years old. He pleaded not guilty and was being held on $1 million bail.
Mass. eyes states with functioning health websites
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts health care officials struggling to repair the state's hobbled website are looking at the possibility of leasing or buying technology from states with functioning insurance sites.
Massachusetts Health Connector officials said Friday that looking for solutions from other states is just one of four options being weighed.
Others include forging ahead with the current website contractor CGI Group, looking for a new vendor, or scrapping the website and starting over.
Despite the website troubles, officials say they are making progress whittling down the backlog of people looking to sign up for health insurance.
Officials warn that March could be a busy month.
The deadline to sign up or risk fees for those seeking non-subsidized insurance plans is March 31. Those seeking subsidized plans in Massachusetts have until June 30.
Springfield launches $20M tower restoration plan
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Springfield has launched a $20 million fundraising campaign to help cover new cost estimates to restore its historic downtown bell tower.
The effort announced Friday will allow the city to do extensive repairs to the century-old Campanile tower in Court Square. The landmark sits between Springfield's City Hall and Symphony Hall.
Officials say the 275-foot-tall tower needs repairs to its corroded structural supports and limestone exterior. Its 12 bronze bells also will be restored and it belfry waterproofed and repaired. Also on the renovation list are its four-sided clock and an elevator.
The tower has been closed until the restoration can be carried out.
The fundraising is expected to take three years, and the repairs two years.
Mayor Domenic Sarno said the Campanile "reflects the aspirations and confidence that are now starting to permeate our city."
CAR STRIKES POLE
Woman dies in North Adams crash
(Information in the following story is from: The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle, http://www.berkshireeagle.com )
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (AP) - Police say a North Adams woman has died after her van crashed into a utility pole in the city.
Police Director Michael Cozzaglio says 56-year-old Deborah Pierce was ejected from the vehicle van after she struck the pole near the Hillside Cemetery on West Main Street shortly after 6:30 a.m. Friday.
Cozzaglio tells The Berkshire Eagle she died on impact.
He says speed appears to be a factor.
SA section of the street was closed during the investigation and to fix the pole.
Boston tunnel expected to reopen 2 days early
BOSTON (AP) - State transportation officials say they expect the Callahan Tunnel to reopen a couple of days ahead of schedule.
Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey said Friday that the 52-year-old Boston Harbor tunnel is on track to be ready for the Monday morning rush hour. It was closed for a $19 million renovation project on Dec. 27.
The original schedule called for the tunnel to reopen on Wednesday. The lead contractor, McCourt Construction, will be eligible for more than $140,000 in bonuses if the new Monday timetable is achieved.
The tunnel carried a weekday average of 30,000 vehicles to East Boston and Logan International Airport. Motorists were urged to use other routes, including the Ted Williams Tunnel and the Tobin Bridge, during the renovation, which included replacement of the deck, curbing and wall panels.
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