Massachusetts GOP briefed on immigration crisis
BOSTON (AP) - A state official says it remains unclear how many unaccompanied children crossing the nation's southern border illegally will be temporarily detained in Massachusetts and how many could stay in the state longer.
Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz was among officials who briefed Republican legislators Thursday during a meeting hosted by House GOP leader Brad Jones.
Several dozen immigration activists attempted to gain access to the closed-door meeting, but were turned away. The activists said officials did not fully understand the plight of the children leaving their homes in central America.
The state has offered to house up to 1,000 children at two secure facilities for up to four months. Polanowicz said he expected about 80 percent of those children would eventually be placed with sponsors in Massachusetts or elsewhere in the U.S.
US jury convicts O'Brien in probation hiring case
BOSTON (AP) - Former state probation commissioner John O'Brien was convicted of federal racketeering and mail fraud in a case that accused him of rigging the department's hiring process to favor politically-connected applicants over more qualified ones.
The verdict came Thursday after seven days of deliberations in a case that focused attention on the patronage culture in state government.
The jury also convicted one of O'Brien's former deputies, Elizabeth Tavares, of racketeering and mail fraud. Another former official, William Burke, was convicted of a racketeering conspiracy charge and acquitted of other charges.
Federal prosecutors said the defendants created a "sham" system to make it appear candidates were being hired for jobs in the probation department on merit, when in fact they were getting jobs because they had been sponsored by powerful state lawmakers.
Defense attorneys said they plan to appeal.
Patrick receives resignation of state prison chief
BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick has received the resignation of state prison chief Luis Spencer.
The Boston Globe reported Thursday that Patrick had asked for the resignation after Spencer delayed an internal investigation into the alleged physical abuse of a mental health patient at Bridgewater State Hospital.
The prison was already under fire for lapses while investigating another patient's death.
According to the Globe, Public Safety Secretary Andrea Cabral said that the decision to seek Spencer's resignation was based in part because he slowed down the internal affairs probe.
Cabral said that underscored questions about Spencer's "critical thinking and judgment" during his three-year tenure.
Earlier this year, Patrick reprimanded Spencer for inaction in the wake of the 2009 death of another Bridgewater patient, Joshua Messier, which was ruled a homicide.
CONSTRUCTION WORKER DEATH
Worker injured at Framingham State dies
(Information in the following story is from: MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.), http://www.metrowestdailynews.com)
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) - A construction worker injured in a fall at Framingham State University has died.
The school said in a statement that the worker injured Wednesday in a 20-foot fall while working at the Hemenway Hall construction site on campus died after he was flown to a Boston hospital.
The man's name was not disclosed by the school.
The MetroWest Daily News reports that the school said in a statement that it was deeply saddened even though he was not a university employee.
State police, the state's public safety department, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.
DRUG CONSPIRACY SENTENCE
Man gets 6 years for crystal meth conspiracy
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to six years in prison for his part in a conspiracy to traffic crystal methamphetamine that was orchestrated from the Bristol County House of Corrections.
Fifty-three-year-old Doneri Aguilar Sandoval, of Attleboro, Massachusetts, was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in Rhode Island. He pleaded guilty in May for the scheme to traffic drugs from California to New England.
Forty-two-year-old Juan Carlos Espejo Sanchez of Providence was being held in jail in Massachusetts in 2012 when he orchestrated the shipment and delivery of the drugs.
Sandoval delivered the drugs to the parking lot of Twin River casino in Lincoln, where he was arrested.
Sanchez earlier pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in prison.
Family feud sparks revolt at grocery store chain
WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. (AP) - A family feud at a New England grocery store chain has sparked a workers' revolt.
For the past week, about 300 warehouse workers at Market Basket stores have refused to make deliveries, leaving fruit, vegetable, meat and seafood shelves bare at many of the company's 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.
The protesting workers aren't asking for higher pay or better benefits. Instead, they are asking for the reinstatement of their old boss, who workers say kept prices low, treated them well and guided the company's success. Former chief executive Arthur T. Demoulas (duh-MOO'-lahs) was fired last month by the company's board, controlled by his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas. Both men are grandsons of the company's founder.
Another protest by employees is planned on Friday.
Whole Foods recalls items made with recalled fruit
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Whole Foods Market is recalling tarts and squares made with stone fruit that could be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
The Rhode Island Department of Health on Thursday says the items were made in Whole Foods stores in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
They include tarts and squares made with peaches, nectarines, and plums from Wawona Packing Co. Wawona Packing recalled the fruit this week.
The items were sold between June 1 and July 21.
The grocery chain says it has pulled all the recalled fruit from its stores. It was labeled with a "Sweet 2 Eat" sticker.
Customers who purchased the items are advised to throw it away, and bring in their receipt to the store for a refund.
New Massachusetts law bars shark finning
BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill outlawing the possession or distribution of shark fins in Massachusetts.
Supporters of the ban say shark fins are often removed for use in soup while the rest of the shark is thrown back in the sea, still alive. They call the practice inhumane.
Patrick signed the bill Thursday at the New England Aquarium.
The governor credited conservationists and animal welfare activists who pushed for the bill, including 9-year-old Sean Lesniak of Lowell, who took an interest in the subject and visited the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to approve the ban.
Patrick said the law will primarily affect distributors and retailers of imported shark fins, with little impact on commercial fishing.
Violators could face up to 60 days in jail or fines of up to $1,000 per fin.
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