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This Hour: Latest Massachusetts news, sports, business and entertainment

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BOSTON BROWNSTONE FIRE

Lawyer: client says Boston fire 'tragic accident'

BOSTON (AP) - A lawyer for the owner of a welding company accused in a lawsuit of sparking a brownstone fire that killed two Boston firefighters says his client doesn't accept responsibility for what he calls "a tragic accident."

Richard C. Bardi said Tuesday the owner of D & J Iron Works in Malden, Guiseppe Falcone, wasn't on scene last month when the welding of a railing allegedly started the fire next door at 298 Beacon St. Bardi says his client feels great remorse, but doesn't accept responsibility.

The burned property's owner has filed a lawsuit against a property management company, the welding company and its owner. The lawsuit says there was no city permit for the job at 296 Beacon Street, and no fire extinguisher or fire resistant shield on site.

Bardi asks that people refrain from speculating until the investigation is complete.

MISSING BOY-MASS

State social workers demand easing of caseload

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) - Employees of the state's child welfare agency are stepping up demands for state officials to take action to reduce social worker caseload.

Members of the union representing social workers and other employees of the Department of Children and Families held an informational picket on Tuesday outside the agency's regional office in Lowell. A similar demonstration is planned Wednesday in Boston.

The agency has been under scrutiny since 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver of Fitchburg went missing last year. His body was discovered last week by the side of a highway in Sterling.

Union spokesman Jason Stephany tells the Lowell Sun that cases have risen by about 5,000 in the past 12 months while the number of social workers has remained the same.

Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday again voiced his support for DCF Commissioner Olga Roche.

WEYMOUTH DEATHS

DA: 2 dead in apparent murder-suicide in Weymouth

WEYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) - The Norfolk district attorney's office says police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide of a Weymouth husband and wife.

The prosecutor's office said the bodies of 81-year-old Elizabeth Coyne and 83-year-old Donald Coyne were found at their home Tuesday morning by a family member who regularly checked on them.

The district attorney said both appeared to have gunshot wounds and a .25-caliber pistol was found at the man's side.

Police said they had no known history of domestic violence.

Autopsies are planned as part of the investigation.

COLD CASE ARREST

Man to face Massachusetts charge in 1974 slaying

(Information in the following story is from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), http://www.telegram.com )

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - Authorities say a Georgia man will be returned to Massachusetts to face a murder charge in a 40-year-old slaying.

Massachusetts prosecutors allege 69-year-old Lonzo Guthrie of Austell fatally stabbed 21-year-old Eileen Ferro of Shrewsbury in 1974 after delivering furniture to her home.

The Telegram & Gazette reports Tuesday that Brian Fortner, chief assistant district attorney in Douglas County, Georgia, says a judge has approved Guthrie's extradition. The Worcester district attorney's office confirms plans are being made to return Guthrie.

Guthrie was arrested in February. At a fugitive hearing, he denied killing anyone.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early said Guthrie, a former Worcester resident, was questioned during the original investigation. Guthrie was recently linked to the slaying when evidence from the scene matched a DNA sample he submitted after a California conviction.

SMALL PLANE CRASH-WINNIPESAUKEE

Small plane sinks in Winnipesaukee; pilot rescued

ALTON, N.H. (AP) - Officials say a pilot has been rescued after a small plane crashed and sank in New Hampshire's Lake Winnipesaukee.

New Hampshire State Police say the pilot, who was found submerged in water and clinging to the plane, was the only occupant.

Fifty-nine-year-old Vadim Gayshan of Sudbury, Mass., was rescued by boat and transported to the hospital. Police say he was suffering from cold water immersion.

He radioed for help just after noon Tuesday.

He told investigators that he had taken off in Fitchburg, Mass., and was looking at ice conditions on the lake and doing touch-and-go landings when he misjudged his elevation. The plane's pontoon caught on the water and caused the plane to crash nose-first.

Police say the plane is submerged in about 105 feet of water.

NEW PAINKILLER RULES

State issues restrictions for painkiller Zohydro

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick has laid out new restrictions for the use of Zohydro, a powerful new painkiller, after a federal judge ruled earlier this month that his attempt at an outright ban was unconstitutional.

The governor's office said Tuesday that the state will now require doctors to complete a risk assessment and pain management treatment agreement before prescribing any extended-release medication that contains only hydrocodone and is "not in abuse-deterrent form."

The announcement comes after a federal judge prevented the state from enforcing Patrick's outright ban of Zohydro. In her decision last week, U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel said federal law pre-empted the governor's executive order because the Food and Drug Administration had already approved the drug's use.

Tuesday was the deadline for the state to appeal Zobel's decision.

POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE VIOLATION

Republican official cited for excess contributions

BOSTON (AP) - Three political action committees under the direction of a top Massachusetts Republican official have agreed to pay $17,500 for excess campaign contributions.

The Office of Campaign and Political Finance said Tuesday that Chanel Prunier, elected Republican National Committeewoman for Massachusetts last year, effectively controlled the three PACs.

The office found 25 instances where a candidate received 2012 contributions from two or three of the PACs over the $500 limit. In total, the PACs made about $24,000 in excess contributions.

Prunier said she didn't agree all three PACs were under her direction, but decided it was better to pay the fine and move on.

Prunier agreed to have no future involvement in any PAC other than her Massachusetts Republican Municipal Coalition PAC, which agreed to make no contributions before 2017 to candidates who received 2012 contributions from the three PACs.

FISHING CRISIS-DISASTER RELIEF

Lawmakers urge speedy aid for struggling fishermen

BOSTON (AP) - Members of the Massachusetts' all-Democratic congressional delegation are urging the federal Department of Commerce to immediately begin the process of allocating $75 million in fishery disaster funding.

The funding was included in a government spending bill that passed in January.

In the letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey and six U.S. House members argue that the impact of the fishing crisis on Massachusetts fishermen accounts for 90 percent of the economic disaster in the Northeast region.

They also argue the money should be distributed directly to the state so it can be more efficiently delivered to fishermen, an approach suggested by Gov. Deval Patrick.

In January 2014, a federal law passed providing $75 million in disaster assistance to struggling fishermen and fishing-related businesses.

RWANDA PRESIDENT

Rwanda's Kagame: Lessons learned from genocide

MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - Rwanda President Paul Kagame tells a U.S. audience that the horrific slaughter of more than 800,000 people in his country two decades ago has taught people in the small East African nation that they "must ultimately be responsible for their own fate."

Kagame spoke Tuesday to students, faculty and others at Tufts University outside Boston, as Rwanda marks 20 years since the atrocity. He said if a persecuted people wait for help to come, they will perish.

Kagame's Rwanda Patriotic Front ended the genocide by overthrowing the Hutu government that orchestrated the slaughter of ethnic Tutsis and Hutu moderates.

Kagame expressed hope that his country's young demographic may help Rwanda move past its recent history. He said young Rwandans are unencumbered by the country's bloody past.

PEOPLE-LENO-EMERSON

Jay Leno to give commencement address at Emerson

BOSTON (AP) - Jay Leno is returning to his alma mater, Emerson College, to deliver the commencement address this spring.

The small liberal arts college in Boston announced Tuesday the 1973 graduate will speak at the 134th commencement ceremony on May 11. NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday" host Scott Simon will address the graduate students.

Leno hosted NBC's late-night talk show "The Tonight Show" for more than two decades before retiring in February. He was replaced by former "Saturday Night Live" star Jimmy Fallon.

The 63-year-old grew up in Andover and is known for his clean, observational humor and his caricature-like facial features, which he references in his 1996 autobiography, "Leading With My Chin."

The graduation will be streamed live at the Agganis Arena at Boston University.

OBAMA-BOSTON MARATHON

Obama congratulates US winner of Boston Marathon

OSO, Wash. (AP) - President Barack Obama has congratulated Meb Keflezighi (kehf-LEHZH'-gee) on becoming the first American man in 31 years to win the Boston Marathon.

The White House says Obama telephoned Keflezighi on Tuesday as Air Force One flew Obama to Washington state to survey damage from a massive mudslide last month that killed more than three dozen people.

Keflezighi won Monday's 26.2-mile race in 2:08:37, one year after a pair of bombings near the finish line killed three people and wounded hundreds more.

Keflezighi took to Twitter after Obama's call to tell his followers, quote, "I have received many congratulatory calls, but I just received THE call from President @ barackobama."

MEB'S SHOES

Keflezighi's Boston win a boost for shoe sponsor

(AP) - Meb Keflezighi's Boston Marathon victory is a marketing opportunity for sponsor Skechers.

A top company executive calls the title "a major accomplishment both for Meb and the brand."

Skechers signed Keflezighi three years ago hoping he could help legitimize its foray into selling running shoes. The company considered Keflezighi's endorsement a success long before he won Boston on Monday.

His title is another boost to a small but growing venture. He became the feel-good story of the marathon's return a year after the bombings - the first American man to win the race in more than three decades.

David Weinberg, Skechers' chief operating officer and chief financial officer, congratulated Keflezighi on Tuesday's earnings call. The company plans to honor his accomplishment in future commercials.

CELEBRATING FLUFF

Fluffernutter gets boost for state sandwich

BOSTON (AP) - A bill that would make the fluffernutter Massachusetts' official sandwich has been given initial approval by state lawmakers.

The measure was advanced Tuesday on a voice vote during an informal session of the House of Representatives.

The fluffernutter - peanut butter and Marshmallow Fluff on bread - has remained a popular treat in New England for generations.

Marshmallow Fluff was invented in 1917 in Somerville and is made with just four ingredients - corn syrup, sugar syrup, dried egg whites and artificial vanilla flavoring. It's still made in a small manufacturing plant in Lynn.

The bill still needs another vote of the House before going to the Senate. It was filed by former state Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein of Revere.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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