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    WCVB / 01.01.2018 07:55
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    Google News / 19.11.2017 09:25
  • Fake grenade prompts airport concourse evacuation Fake grenade prompts airport concourse evacuation

    A fake explosion caused a scare at Miami International Airport Saturday night, after an airport employee discovered an unattended bag in a concourse restroom.

    WCVB / 16 min. ago
  • Gun Violence In Boston Leaves One Man Dead - CBS Boston / WBZGun Violence In Boston Leaves One Man Dead - CBS Boston / WBZ

    CBS Boston / WBZGun Violence In Boston Leaves One Man DeadCBS Boston / WBZBOSTON (CBS) – Police are probing several incidents of gun violence that left one dead in a span of 24 hours and continued into Saturday evening. The weekend death has added to an increasing toll of gun violence deaths: 48 have been shot and killed in ...Boston Police investigating two shootings in RoslindaleBoston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7Newsall 7 news articles »

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  • Man reunited with woman who helped get him on path to recovery Man reunited with woman who helped get him on path to recovery

    "I know I can make it this time. I got everybody's support, your support, Kaitlyn's support, I got all the people who donated, and I got my family back."

    WCVB / 2 h. 29 min. ago
  • Irving, Brown Help Celtics Rally For 15th Straight WinIrving, Brown Help Celtics Rally For 15th Straight Win

    ATLANTA (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 30 points, Jaylen Brown added a career-high 27 and the Boston Celtics won their 15th straight game with a 110-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. At 15-2, Boston leads the NBA and matched the best start in franchise history through 17 games. The winning streak is the club’s fifth-longest, four behind the 2008-09 team that set the franchise mark. Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics goes to the basket against the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 18, 2017 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) Dennis Schroder had 23 points, and Kent Bazemore added 19 for Atlanta. The Hawks are an Eastern Conference-worst 3-13, but they still had plenty of adrenaline following a 46-point victory over Sacramento — the biggest in franchise history — two nights ago. The Celtics erased a 16-point deficit to take their first lead on Brown’s 3-pointer midway through the third. It marked Boston’s fourth win when trailing by at least 16 during the streak. Irving, playing with a protective mask to protect a minor facial fracture, ended the game with a right-handed finger-roll layup, delighting a few thousand Boston fans who were chanting “MVP! MVP!” in the fourth quarter. In 31 minutes, Irving made 10 of 12 shots, including five 3-pointers, and hit all five of his free throws. Irving, frustrated that the mask was affecting his peripheral vision two nights ago, took it off to help Boston beat defending NBA champion Golden State by four points. He scored 16 points, but was just 4 for 16 from the field. Brown was 10 of 13 from the field. The Celtics lead NBA in scoring defense, but they gave up 35 points in the first quarter and trailed by 15 entering the second. Atlanta used a 16-0 run in the first to take a 15-point lead. But fueled by Marcus Smart and other reserves, Boston pulled within four twice in the second and cut the lead to six in the closing minutes on Brown’s 3. Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum each had 14 points for Boston. TIP-INS Celtics: Tatum was scoreless until he stole the ball and dunked to cut the lead to four in the third. The 19-year-old former Duke standout followed with an acrobatic, one-handed dunk on a fast break to make it 75-72 and had another dunk to put Boston up 78-77 near the end of the period. Tatum had all 14 of his points in the third. Hawks: F Taurean Prince is developing into a solid option on offense, spinning for a layup against Shane Larkin and floating a soft assist on John Collins’ dunk that put Atlanta up 84-82. But Prince has a substandard reputation as a defender, and coach Mike Budenholzer gave him an earful after calling timeout in the third. Prince had just missed an assignment that left Brown open to hit the big 3 from the left corner. UP NEXT Celtics: Visit Dallas, the NBA’s worst team, on Monday night. Hawks: Visit San Antonio on Monday night. (© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    CBSlocal.com / 2 h. 36 min. ago more
  • Amtrak Train Collides With Car In New HampshireAmtrak Train Collides With Car In New Hampshire

    EAST KINGSTON, N.H. — A driver escaped from her car moments before it collided with an Amtrak passenger train. No injuries were reported in the 5 p.m. crash Saturday, which occurred after the car became stuck on the tracks, said East Kingston Fire Department Chief Ed Warren. (Photo credit: East Kingston Fire Department) A preliminary investigation found that the driver of the car had mistakenly turned onto the tracks and left her vehicle to seek help when the collision occurred. The driver also reported that she is not from the area and that her GPS system told her to turn prior to her vehicle becoming stuck. Police and firefighters responded to the area of 1 Depot Road for a report of a collision involving a train and a vehicle. Upon arrival, firefighters quickly saw that an Amtrak train struck the vehicle while it was stopped on the tracks and that the driver of the vehicle had escaped the car prior to the collision. More than 50 passengers were on board the train at the time. “I’m extremely grateful that nobody was hurt as a result of this incident,” Warren said. An Amtrak spokesperson said the train car involved in the crash was not occupied, and that a train analysis is underway at this time.

    CBSlocal.com / 2 h. 48 min. ago more
  • Zoo Hosts Farewell Party For Beloved GorillaZoo Hosts Farewell Party For Beloved Gorilla

    BOSTON (AP) — A Boston zoo held a farewell party for a beloved gorilla that’s heading to another zoo in New Orleans to start his own family. Officials at the Franklin Park Zoo on Saturday celebrated Okpara, a 24-year-old male Western lowland gorilla affectionately called “Okie” the gorilla. (Photo credit: Franklin Park Zoo) He will soon be heading to the Audubon Zoo in Louisiana. The Boston zoo invited patrons to sign a farewell card, enjoy free cake and learn about gorilla conservation. Okie’s move is part of the zoo’s participation in the national Gorilla Species Survival Plan, an inter-zoo program meant to ensure survival of the species. Western lowland gorillas are considered critically endangered in the wild. They’re found in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Central African Republic and Nigeria. (© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    CBSlocal.com / 3 h. 36 min. ago more
  • Ohio candidate O'Neill doesn't regret sexual conquest Facebook postOhio candidate O'Neill doesn't regret sexual conquest Facebook post

    O'Neill wrote another post Saturday afternoon that said he apologized if he offended anyone, "particularly the wonderful women in my life."

    WCVB / 3 h. 41 min. ago
  • Wind driven rain overnight into SundayWind driven rain overnight into Sunday

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    WCVB / 4 h. 11 min. ago
  • Top general says he'd push back against 'illegal' nuclear strike orderTop general says he'd push back against 'illegal' nuclear strike order

    "I provide advice to the President," John Hyten said. "He'll tell me what to do, and if it's illegal, guess what's going to happen? I'm gonna say, 'Mr. President, that's illegal.'

    WCVB / 4 h. 52 min. ago
  • Ann Wedgeworth, known for 'Three's Company' role, dies at 83Ann Wedgeworth, known for 'Three's Company' role, dies at 83

    Wedgeworth won the 1978 Tony award for best featured actress in a play for her performance in Neil Simon's "Chapter Two."

    WCVB / 5 h. 2 min. ago
  • Windy Weekend Weather Hitting New High Sunday - Patch.comWindy Weekend Weather Hitting New High Sunday - Patch.com

    Patch.comWindy Weekend Weather Hitting New High SundayPatch.comA wind advisory is in effect for the vast majority of Massachusetts and Rhode Island until 10 p.m. Sunday. The southeasternmost tip of Massachusetts and the Cape & Islands are under a high wind warning, as is the southern portion of Rhode Island, from ...and more »

    Google News / 5 h. 14 min. ago more
  • Stormy Sunday Morning, Damaging Winds And RainStormy Sunday Morning, Damaging Winds And Rain

    BOSTON (CBS) – A strengthening area of low pressure will bring us warming temps, rain, and two rounds of damaging wind. Conditions deteriorate around midnight as the wind picks up, then the rain and wind will stay strong through Sunday morning. Phase two of the wind on Sunday afternoon will additionally give us crashing temperatures. Here are more details below. (WBZ-TV Graphic) WIND  Pockets of tree damage and isolated power outages will be possible as the wind speeds increase tonight. A warm front lifts north, and our wind direction will first be from the southwest gusting up to 55 mph. The National Weather Service has issued a High wind warning for the south coast, Cape & islands… as well as a wind advisory for southeastern Massachusetts tonight, through 10 a.m. Sunday. (WBZ-TV Graphic) The wind stays strong all day Sunday. Then the wind direction changes as the cold front sweeps through. (WBZ-TV Graphic) By noon Sunday, the wind will be from the west…then from the northwest Sunday evening. That is why the National Weather Service has almost the whole WBZ viewing area under a wind advisory from noon to 10 pm. (WBZ-TV Graphic) RAIN Scattered showers continue overnight, with heavier rain Sunday morning. There could be a few embedded thunderstorms within the steady rain. (WBZ-TV Graphic) Thunder, lightning, heavier rainfall and damaging wind will the the main threats from any storm. (WBZ-TV Graphic) Mostly, the rain will stay steady and off-and-on Sunday morning. By noon the rain ends and the colder air creeps in. Looking at 0.5″ to 1.0″ of total rainfall. (WBZ-TV Graphic) TEMPERATURES We will have the opposite occurring tonight… increasing temperatures thanks to a warm front and a strong southwest wind. Temps will be in the upper 50s to lower 60s as you wake up Sunday. (WBZ-TV Graphic) The rain tapers off by late morning, and the temps slowly fall to the low 50s by 11am. (WBZ-TV Graphic) Then as we get a strong west, northwest wind the numbers crash into the upper 30s & lower 40s by Sunday evening. (WBZ-TV Graphic) EXTENDED FORECAST We have a blustery and cold day in store for Monday with sunshine and a high of 39. Milder air returns for mid-week with a brief chance for rain Wednesday afternoon. Thanksgiving looks dry with highs in the 40s! Follow Pamela Gardner on Twitter @PamelaWBZ4

    CBSlocal.com / 5 h. 41 min. ago more
  • Ex-state Sen. Ralph Shortey to plead guilty to child sex trafficking charge, lawyer saysEx-state Sen. Ralph Shortey to plead guilty to child sex trafficking charge, lawyer says

    Former Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey has agreed to plead guilty to one count of child sex trafficking in exchange for three other charges to be dismissed, Shortey's lawyer confirmed.

    WCVB / 6 h. 2 min. ago
  • Holyoke Man Charged With 17 Counts Of Animal CrueltyHolyoke Man Charged With 17 Counts Of Animal Cruelty

    HOLYOKE (CBS) – A 49-year-old Holyoke man is facing numerous animal cruelty charges after police found a dead dog along with 16 other dogs in his Newton Street apartment. Julio Rivera of Holyoke is charged with 17 counts of animal cruelty – one count for each of the dogs discovered in his apartment on Thursday, police said. Julio Rivera of Holyoke is charged with 17 counts of animal cruelty. (Holyoke Police) Detectives from the Holyoke Police Criminal Investigations Bureau arrested Rivera. One of the dogs rescued in Holyoke animal cruelty case. (Western Mass News/WHSM) The remaining 16 dogs are now being cared for by staff at a Springfield shelter, said Pam Peebles of the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center. “Today they’re doing remarkably well. There’s three (dogs) that we still consider (to be) in guarded condition, but they’ll be getting some blood work. Most of them were anemic from fleas and the level of dehydration was pretty bad,” Peebles said. Rivera is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in Holyoke District Court.

    CBSlocal.com / 7 h. 4 min. ago more
  • 3 Arrested As ‘Free Speech Rally’ Returns To Boston Common3 Arrested As ‘Free Speech Rally’ Returns To Boston Common

    BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Three people were arrested and one police officer suffered minor injuries as free speech advocates whose rally on Boston Common last summer drew boisterous counter-protesters regrouped there on Saturday. The conservative groups Resist Marxism and Boston Free Speech gathered at an event on the Common despite being denied a permit they had sought from the city. With American flags in hand, several chanted “USA! USA!” and “Free speech! Free speech!” Several counter-protest groups also arrived in the area of the rally. The number, however, was significantly smaller than the previous Free Speech Rally. Two people were charged with disorderly conduct and a third for assault and battery on a police officer. Protesters gather near Boston Common during a Free Speech Rally. (Image Credit: Paul Burton/WBZ) Organizers planned the “Rally for the Republic” event after angry counter-protesters overwhelmed a similar rally in August. A heavy Boston Police presence was on hand for the event. Barriers separated protesters and counter-protesters near the Parkman Bandstand, where speakers were located. One “Rally for the Republic” participant said he joined Saturday’s event to promote the right to free speech. “We want to be out here and say that we can say what we want to say. You want to be able to say that you’re pro-Trump without getting maced in the face,” the man said. Meanwhile, Shira Tiffany said she attended the event to stand with Black Lives Matter and with all people who are oppressed. Protesters and counter-protesters exchange words on Boston Common. (WBZ-TV) Participants began to disperse around 2:30 p.m. “From a public safety perspective, today’s event on Boston Common couldn’t have gone much better and I certainly have my officers to thank for that,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said in a statement. “Their constant poise and professionalism never goes unnoticed and I thank them again for a job well done.” Very strong police presence here at Boston Common as a rally begins #wbz pic.twitter.com/xW7XzkjXoV — Paul Burton (@PaulWBZ) November 18, 2017 Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city asked the rally organizers to move the event to Sunday due to a road race in Boston on Saturday, but the group refused. Resist Marxism has denounced white supremacism repeatedly and publicly. But the August rally came shortly after deadly violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, and it drew thousands who said they feared white nationalists might show up anyway. Some clashed with police, and more than 30 were arrested. (© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

    CBSlocal.com / 9 h. 30 min. ago more
  • Thousands celebrate in Plymouth - Wicked LocalThousands celebrate in Plymouth - Wicked Local

    Wicked LocalThousands celebrate in PlymouthWicked LocalPLYMOUTH – An estimated 200,000 came to Plymouth over the weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving where it all began. The town held its annual America's Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration -- a three-day celebration that began with a free concert at ...and more »

    Google News / 10 h. 10 min. ago
  • ‘I Didn’t Mean That Babe’: Tom Brady Backtracks On Perks Of Road Trip Away From Family‘I Didn’t Mean That Babe’: Tom Brady Backtracks On Perks Of Road Trip Away From Family

    BOSTON (CBS) – Tom Brady may have some explaining to do when he returns home from Mexico City. The Patriots quarterback wisely backtracked on Friday after telling reporters that there are less distractions while on a lengthy road trip. Following the team’s game in Denver last Sunday, the Patriots practiced in Colorado for the entire week before heading to Mexico on Saturday. “Naturally when you’re on the road like this, there are less things to do,” Brady explained. “My family’s not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home, now it’s being here and just trying to figure out how to win a game.” "We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one." Watch Brady's presser: https://t.co/PEqFOBZtNI pic.twitter.com/Gbn06CUTZW — New England Patriots (@Patriots) November 17, 2017 But Brady quickly realized he may have gotten himself in some hot water with wife Gisele Bündchen. He quickly recovered before reporters could even ask the next question. “I didn’t mean that babe,” Brady said with a wry smile. “So, I take that back.” Patriots fans hope Brady doesn’t have any slip-ups on Sunday as New England takes on the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City at 4:25 p.m.

    CBSlocal.com / 10 h. 16 min. ago more
  • On The Naughty List: Police Seek Lewd Christmas Decoration ThiefOn The Naughty List: Police Seek Lewd Christmas Decoration Thief

    JOHNSBURY, Vt. (CBS) – Police in Vermont are looking for a suspect who is likely to end up on Santa’s naughty list. Sometime Friday night or early Saturday morning, someone took several items from a holiday display on the lawn of a Concord Ave. home in St. Johnsbury. Initially, the homeowner reported a lighted reindeer, a snowman, and a Santa Claus had been stolen. The resident later found that the reindeer was not missing. It had, however, been placed into a lewd position with another reindeer. Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the Grinch who stole the Christmas display items.

    CBSlocal.com / 13 h. 12 min. ago more
  • Red Sox Will Extend Fenway Park Safety Netting For 2018Red Sox Will Extend Fenway Park Safety Netting For 2018

    BOSTON (CBS) – The Red Sox notified season ticket holders Friday that they plan to expand safety netting at Fenway Park for the 2018 season. The specific dimensions of the new nets have not yet been finalized. The team said it is working with its design and engineering team on the dimensions. New nets are expected to extend from Field Box 79 on the third base side to Canvass Alley on the first base side, which is around Field Box 9. The club previously extended netting at Fenway after several fans were injured in the stands. But further fan injuries around Major League Baseball, including a child at Yankee Stadium, have prompted some to suggest that clubs should do more to protect fans.

    CBSlocal.com / 14 h. 5 min. ago more
  • The New Yorker needs a Boston interventionThe New Yorker needs a Boston intervention

    A few days ago, the New Yorker reviewed SMILF, a new comedy about a single Southie mom, and referred to the neighborhood as: A tough, lower-middle-class Irish-American neighborhood that borders the yuppified South End, to the north, and the working-class and predominately African-American Dorchester, to the south. Today, David Bernstein noticed a New Yorker piece about Cousin Stizz, a rapper from Dorchester, which the New Yorker called a Boston suburb.

    Boston News / 14 h. 39 min. ago more
  • Gun Violence In Boston Leaves One Man DeadGun Violence In Boston Leaves One Man Dead

    BOSTON (CBS) – Police are probing several incidents of gun violence that left one dead in a span of 24 hours and continued into Saturday evening. The weekend death has added to an increasing toll of gun violence deaths: 48 have been shot and killed in the city so far this year; that’s up seven homicides compared to the same time last year. Police on seen several hours after a shooting in Roslindale. (WBZ-TV) “It seemed like a day that was a little bit out of control,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Saturday of the violence that began Friday afternoon in Egleston Square. There, around 3 p.m. on Friday, a person shot at a minivan and then hit a police officer with his car as he fled the scene. Boston police are searching for the suspect. Several hours later, over in Roslindale, one person was shot and another person died from an apparent suicide several blocks away in what police call related incidents. One person was shot on Washington Street in Roslindale just after midnight Saturday. That person is expected to survive. While police responded to the shooting, which injured a man in his 30s, they heard gunshots in the area. “While our officers were at that scene, they heard gunshots off into the distance. They went searching for the whereabouts of the shot,” .” Responding officers on Metropolitan Avenue found a suspect who appeared to have taken his own life. Boston Police said the incident appears to be domestic in nature. The two people involved were known to each other. “It’s troubling,” said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans. Over in Mattapan, about 8:15 p.m. Saturday, police responded after a man was shot in the back in the area of Astoria and Elizabeth streets. Authorities described the man’s injuries as not life-threatening. Despite this gun violence, Evans suggests that the city is still very safe. “Unfortunately, sometimes we have this little burst of activity in the city, but you know, it’s still one of the safest cities in America,” Evans said.

    CBSlocal.com / 15 h. 2 min. ago more
  • ‘Sound Of Music’s’ Von Trapps Competing With Modern Vermont Hotels‘Sound Of Music’s’ Von Trapps Competing With Modern Vermont Hotels

    Text by Katia Hetter; video by Channon Hodge and Joshua Sarlo, CNN (CNN) — When he wants a break from the family business, Sam von Trapp grabs his mountain bike and rides into the woods near the lodge that bears his last name. Those are the same woods that his father Johannes, the youngest child of Georg and Maria von Trapp, spent time exploring when he wanted to get away from a house filled with children. There were seven from his father’s first marriage to Agatha and three with Maria, including Johannes, who is now 78. And it’s where Sam and his sister Kristina explored as children and connected with nature. “My family settled in Vermont because it reminded them of Austria,” says Sam, who was born in Vermont and moved back to help run the family business. “They initially were living outside of Philadelphia and the hot, humid summers there weren’t what they were used to (coming) from Austria.” A concert tour took them to Vermont, and someone let them stay in a house there for the summer. They fell in love with Stowe, “and that was it,” says Sam, 45. ‘The Sound of Music’ Fills The Lodge These days, tourist buses filled with fans of “The Sound of Music,” the 1965 movie loosely based on Maria von Trapp’s autobiography, pull up almost nonstop to visit the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Both guests and day trippers who come because of the movie, a fictionalized version of the family’s escape from Nazi-occupied Austria, are the lodge’s bread and butter. 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Many also dine on Austrian cuisine in the dining room, get treatments at the modern spa and hike or rent skis at the cross-country ski center to explore the 2,500-acre property. Sam, now an executive vice president of the Trapp Family Lodge, and other family members often appear personally after those family history tours to answer questions, sign books and hear stories about how much the movie or the family has meant to people. “A lot of people come because they like the movie, they’re interested in the family story,” says Sam, who is now married with two children of his own. “Then they realize we have 2,500 acres here.” But Sam and his father Johannes, president and CEO of the lodge, know the family can’t count on the movie to bring in guests forever, especially amid increasing competition among Stowe resorts during the fall foliage, ski and summer vacation seasons. Trapp Family Lodge Goes Modern That’s why they’re expanding their offerings, such as Sam’s work designing and building sustainable mountain bike trails eight years ago — and adding mountain bike rentals to the outdoor center. A year ago, they opened the von Trapp Brewing Bierhall, a casual eatery that serves lagers and kombucha on tap, and have started making a bigger deal of the literal farm-to-table food, grown and raised on the property, on menus. The lagers come from the 8-year-old brewery, which was inspired by Johannes von Trapp’s many visits to Austria. Located in the same building as the bierhall, Von Trapp Brewing is already a player in the trendy brewery scene sweeping the state. The bierhall and brewery on site don’t just give guests more choices beyond the formal dining room in the main lodge. They also attract locals via mountain bike or car, sometimes coming to visit longtime Stowe restaurateur Paul “Archie” Archdeacon, who runs the front of the house at the bierhall. Which Von Trapp Story To Tell? The old Austria and the new Vermont — and the very American movie that made this lodge famous — compete for attention on the land that felt like Austria to Maria von Trapp when she moved her family to Vermont in 1942. The outlines of the story are true. “My family really did stand up for what they believed in, took significant risks, made significant sacrifices in order to escape Austria and in order for my grandfather to escape having to serve under Hitler in his Navy,” says Sam. Before there was a movie or an American musical performed on stage, there was a young nun named Maria, who was sent to tutor one sickly child of a widower, the retired navy captain Georg von Trapp, in Salzburg, eventually becoming close to all of the children and marrying their father. That’s where the real story actually gets more interesting than the movie. The movie’s timeline was off: The couple married in 1927 and didn’t immediately escape Austria. They lived there for 11 years and had two more children. Along the way, they lost most of their money when the bank they used failed as part of an economic depression. They started touring in 1936 as the Trapp Family Singers, trained by Catholic Monsignor Franz Wasner, who helped them become a professional group. They left Austria in 1938, after Georg refused a commission in the German Navy; Rupert, the eldest son and a doctor, refused to accept a position at a Vienna hospital; and the entire family refused to sing at Nazi leader Adolph Hitler’s birthday party. “Let’s get out of here soon,” Georg told the family after they decided to refuse the birthday offer, according to Maria’s book. “You can’t say no to Hitler three times — it’s getting dangerous.” When they left, Maria was pregnant with Johannes. Their path to the United States was a rocky one, with the US government not immediately allowing them to stay permanently, according to Maria’s book, “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers: The Story That Inspired the Sound of Music.” In 1939, they came through New York’s Ellis Island and were allowed to stay. The family continued to tour until Johannes was 17, making their off-tour home outside Philadelphia before making Stowe, Vermont, their home base. “We would leave on concert tours, be gone for a month to six months, and I would really look forward to coming back,” says Johannes. “Once I got here, I could run around in the woods and play in the fields and not be stuck in a city or a bus or a plane and not have to perform in the evenings. “It represented a refuge for me, but (it’s also) an incredibly lovely spot with really broad, extensive views going 30 miles south and the same distance north.” They weren’t always so famous. After 20 years on the road, the Trapp Family Singers stopped touring in 1956 and lived in Stowe year-round. But it wasn’t until “The Sound of Music” movie was released in 1965 that the von Trapp name became famous throughout the world. “I remember one time someone came up to me and said, ‘Is it true that the nuns really stole the spark plugs?'” says Sam. “I looked at him and said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I didn’t even know what they were referring to.” That’s the famous scene in the movie where the nuns at Maria’s abbey remove the spark plugs from a car used by the Nazis, buying precious time for the von Trapps to escape. They didn’t escape over the Alps. There was a local train stop behind their home in Salzburg, which they often boarded to go on tour. None of the neighbors batted an eye when they boarded that train to escape the country to Italy. It’s a good thing they didn’t attempt to cross the Alps, as the movie portrayed, since that route would have taken them into Germany. The family didn’t get any movie profits. Maria wrote the story of her life, and a German publisher purchased the rights for $9,000 in the 1950s. The family never made any money directly from the English Rodgers and Hammerstein musical or the 20th Century Fox movie starring Julie Andrews, although the lodge is packed with memorabilia from both. Georg von Trapp was an involved father. Although he could be strict, as both Johannes and Sam say was typical for an Austrian family, the von Trapps were most hurt by the portrayal of their father as distant and hands-off. That just wasn’t true, they say, and it’s probably the most painful misconception of the movie. “My grandmother sort of felt it was her fault because the movie was based upon her book,” says Sam. “She hadn’t portrayed him that way in the book, but it’s understandable that it made for a more dramatic musical if he goes through this transformation driven by my grandmother.” Georg von Trapp was 25 years older than Maria, and he passed away in 1947 when his youngest son, Johannes, was just 8. The movie children were not real. The two eldest children were Rupert and Werner, not Liesl and Friedrich. After arriving in the United States, the boys were drafted and joined the 10th Mountain Division, the US Army’s ski unit. Both young men used their native German while fighting in Germany, Werner once barking out orders to advancing Nazi troops and protecting their division. Like many US veterans, they didn’t talk much about their wartime experiences with family or friends, Johannes says. The oldest seven children have all passed away, and many are buried along with Maria and Georg in the family cemetery at the lodge. Johannes’ older sisters, Rosmarie von Trapp and Eleonore von Trapp Campbell, are both still living. Did Maria sew play clothes out of curtains? That is a subject of some debate. “In the same way that in the musical when she makes the play clothes from the curtains, they actually did have play clothes made from curtains,” says Sam. “But then my dad told me that she wasn’t much of a seamstress. I think she had the curtains made into play clothes.” Not every von Trapp sings. Summer guests can enjoy concerts held in the meadow on the property, but the next generation of von Trapps aren’t one of the acts that will be performing. “I would say we sing better maybe than the average person, but my father and mother both sang professionally,” says Sam. “When we sing with our guests here on Christmas Eve at the hotel, we always stress we’re singing with them. It’s not a performance.” Maria Von Trapp Becomes an Innkeeper Although Maria thought the land could be farmed to support the family when they stopped touring, Vermont’s long winters didn’t allow for it and an informal guesthouse with friends of the 10 children eventually became a paying lodge in 1950. The family kept driving out professional managers, preferring to run things in a haphazard way, Johannes says, remembering the family’s supposed indifference to making money except when they wanted it. “My mother was always busy, always going 100 miles an hour, leaving a trail of confusion behind her as people said, ‘Now, what did she want us to do?’ ” Johannes says. “She had tremendous energy, great vision,” he says. “My mother was not a good day-to-day manager, and she was probably not very good at taking advice from people either, but a remarkable person in so many ways.” Johannes launched a cross country ski center in 1958, calling on his Norwegian roommate from Dartmouth College to help him hire a charismatic and talented ski instructor from Norway to launch the program. The lodge will celebrates its 50th year in operation in January. Although he went to Yale for graduate school and planned to earn a PhD in forest ecology, he stopped after earning his master’s degree, somewhat resigned to running the lodge. One of the joys of his life was helping to create the Stowe Land Trust in 1987, to which he donated 1,500 acres on Trapp Family Lodge property to protect from development. A key decision in his succession plan was training his children to follow in his footsteps. He first hired his children in elementary school to keep the cocoa stocked up in winter, Sam remembers, giving them a raise from 25 to 50 cents an hour after the first day, eventually training them in different aspects of the business. At age 14, Sam was working four days per week as a bellman and switched to dishwasher after hearing how hard it was to find employees to stay in that job. “It was good to grow up in the family business,” says Sam, who studied geography and economics in college in preparation to come back into the business. “You have an extra incentive when it comes to work ethic when it’s your business.” A New Hotel Rises From the Ashes After the original lodge burnt down in December 1980, Johannes led the rebuilding effort, professionalizing the lodge with his mother’s blessing. The new hotel included a suite for his mother, Maria, who lived another four years with a lovely view of the morning fog rising over the nearby hills. “In the old lodge, which was our family home, my mother had an apartment at the back with a balcony, and it looked over at the family cemetery,” says Johannes. “She loved to sit out there in the afternoon. I wanted to recreate that place for her in the new lodge, and so this is the apartment and the balcony and the view of the cemetery.” In the mid-1990s Johannes bought out most of his relatives, and now Johannes, Sam and Kristina are the primary shareholders. Johannes also gave Sam 10 years to have adventures in the rest of the world before insisting he return home. “I went off and worked in the ski industry, taught skiing in Portillo, Chile, during our summers in the Southern Hemisphere, and taught skiing here in Stowe and in Colorado during our winters.” “I grew up always just expecting that I would eventually come back here. It was what I saw my dad doing, and it was our home. I always just expected that I would be back here.” Sam’s sister, Kristina von Trapp Frame, lives nearby, serving as a director of the company, overseeing the history tours and helping out with guest relations and other projects. Her husband, Walter Frame, also serves as a director and executive vice president of the company. Since the new lodge was built, decorated with real family pictures and movie posters in different languages, guests can now stay among the memorabilia — even renting Maria’s renovated suite. Or they can rent or buy timeshares in guest houses a short distance from the main lodge. A Bit of Austria, A Lot of Vermont There is still a lot of authentic Austria scattered throughout the property, from the decor in the main lodge to the carefully approved entrees of bratwurst, knackwurst and bauernwurst and other menu items in the bierhall and the Trapp Family Lodge-raised pork loin (wiener schnitzel schwein) in the main dining room. Those cross-country skis are a bit fancier and more expensive than the ones Johannes and his siblings and friends used during the snowy winters of his childhood, or even than the ones that he first stocked in the lodge’s ski center. But those skis still allow guests to crisscross the land in winter where Maria and Georg von Trapp and their 10 children once lived and skied, and where their first guests explored the Trapp Family Lodge’s grounds. And they can have a beer looking out onto the hills, where Georg and Maria must have longed a little for Austria. These are the Vermont hills that really were alive for the couple and their children — all immigrants except for Johannes — and where their descendants feel right at home. The-CNN-Wire & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

    CBSlocal.com / 16 h. 43 min. ago more
  • Centro: Bringing Fashion To the Runway To Help Victims Of Domestic ViolenceCentro: Bringing Fashion To the Runway To Help Victims Of Domestic Violence

    November 18, 2017 Bringing fashion to the runway and helping victims of domestic violence at the same time! The Empowerment Fashion and Trunk Show for Domestic Violence Awareness took place recently in Boston and it was a unique fashion show because the models themselves were domestic violence survivors, who wanted to take to the runway to show that they are not victims anymore and they are not just survivors… they are over-comers and they are beautiful! Watch Centro in Spanish The event proceeds benefitted the Love Life Now foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of victims and survivors of domestic violence. On this edition of Centro, WBZ’s Yadires Nova-Salcedo talks with fashion show organizer Craig Martin and president of the Love Life Now foundation Lovern Gordon. Tune in! NOTE: You can watch both the English and Spanish versions of Centro anytime, visiting our website http://www.cbsboston.com/centro IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE: Due to a change in programming, Saturday November 11th and Saturday November 18th CENTRO WILL AIR AT 6:50AM. AFTER THAT, CENTRO WILL RESUME TO IT’S REGULAR SCHEDULE SATURDAY’S AT 7:50AM, ON WBZ | CBS Boston. FOR MORE INFORMATION: FASHION SHOW – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Love Life Now Foundation 617-803-8357 http://www.lovelifenow.org info@lovelifenow.org FB: @lovelifenowfound   CONNECT WITH US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! Facebook: WbzCentroYadires Twitter: @YadiresWBZ Instagram: @Yadires Watch CENTRO with Yadires Nova-Salcedo on WBZ TV-4 (CBS Boston) Saturday’s at 7:50am.

    CBSlocal.com / 16 h. 44 min. ago more
  • What To Watch For When Patriots Take On Raiders In Mexico CityWhat To Watch For When Patriots Take On Raiders In Mexico City

    By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots will look to extend their winning streak to six games on an international stage this weekend as they take on the Oakland Raiders in Mexico City. The New England franchise already has a pair of blowout wins outside of the U.S. in their 58-year history, crushing the Buccaneers and Rams (then of St. Louis) across the pond at Wembley Stadium in 2009 and 2012, respectively. They’ve even made a trip to Mexico City before, beating the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason tilt in 1998. These current Patriots have been playing some great football following a 2-2 start to the season and have received solid performances from all phases of the game over the last six weeks. The offense hasn’t been as spectacular as we’ve seen in years past, despite Tom Brady re-writing everything we thought we knew about quarterbacks over the age of 40, but the defense has been dominant and the special teams unit has been one of the best in the business during this win streak. Now they get to face a Raiders team that may not even make the playoffs after their promising campaign in 2016. Here’s what we’ll be watching for when the Patriots take on the Raiders south of the border: A Fiesta For Gronk Gronk has famously made a point to let everyone know that “Yo soy fiesta,” which translates to “I am party.” His Spanish could use a little work, but he’s primed to have a party on the field on Sunday. Oakland has been pretty awful against tight ends this season. Miami’s Julius Thomas torched them with six catches for 84 yards and a touchdown two weeks ago, and that was with Jay Cutler throwing the passes. Travis Kelce was held to just four catches last month, but they couldn’t keep the All-Pro out of the end zone. During Oakland’s four-game losing streak earlier in the season, Washington’s Vernon Davis (five catches for 58 yards and a score) and Denver’s A.J. Derby (four receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown) burned them in back-to-back weeks. Of that group, only Kelce comes close to what Rob Gronkowski brings to the field. The Raiders don’t really have anyone who can match up with the gigantic playmaker, who is eager find the end zone after being robbed of a touchdown last Sunday. The Raiders will probably throw corner David Amerson (6-foot-1, 205 lbs) on Gronk, though safeties Karl Joseph and potentially rookie Obi Melifonwu (a 6-foot-4, 224 lb Grafton native out of UConn) may be called upon to give it a try. But it’s much more likely that no one keeps Gronk from going “Yo Soy Fiesta” on his trip to Mexico. Bounce Back For Butler Malcolm Butler did not have much fun covering Emmanuel Sanders last week in Denver. It’s not that Butler played poorly last Sunday, as he usually found himself in position to make a play, but Sanders is just so darn shifty and crafty that he can bring in those ducks thrown by Brock Osweiler. He’ll look to bounce back against a Raiders passing offense that hasn’t lived up to the hype this season. Butler will find himself on a bigger receiver this Sunday, either Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree. Cooper had a slow start to the season, but has come on as of late. Crabtree is another shifty receiver who tends to wiggle his way into open space and has found the end zone six times this season (granted, three of those scores came way back in Week 3 against the Jets). Butler will have to blanket one of them, and he needs to end his trend of struggling whenever Stephon Gilmore lines up on the other side of the field. It will mostly boil down to which David Carr shows up; the one who broke out last season or the one who has been picked off twice on three different occasions. Butler’s play will go a long way in which one we see on Sunday. Mack Attack? The Patriots offensive line kept Brady’s uniform looking pristine against a tough Denver pass rush last weekend, so they shouldn’t have too many problems with a team that only has 13 sacks on the season (tied for last in the NFL). Though he only has 4.5 sacks this season, and hasn’t brought down a quarterback since Week 7, Khalil Mack is still a guy the Patriots will have to focus on. He can take over a game quickly, and is really the Raiders only hope in this one. With their season on the line, the Raiders may very well send the kitchen sink at Brady on Sunday. Mack is that sink. Crazy Fans There’s always a lot of hubbub when teams go into Denver. There’s the thin air and altitude, a lady on a horse, and of course, that dumb in-com-plete chant. The Patriots had no issues with any of that last Sunday, and they’ll be ready for the altitude of Mexico City after spending a week at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. What they may not be prepared for is the rather unique crowd that awaits them. Pats fans will travel to escape this lovely New England November, but the Raiders are the home team on Sunday night and last year when they “hosted” the Texans at Estadio Azteca, they may as well have been in Oakland. Raiders fans are a passionate bunch, and they’re also kind of nuts. It was quite the sight when they invaded Mexico City in 2016. (Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images) The Raiders also had Darth Vader and Beetlejuice on their side. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images) (Photo by Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images) That’s the power of the force AND the undead. It’s terrifying. There was also laser pointers aimed at Brock Osweiler’s face throughout last year’s contest, bringing most of us back to the seventh grade when that was considered kind of funny. The loonies will be out again on Sunday night, and it’ll be interesting to see what they have up their sleeve — or under their weird, spiked shoulder plates. It won’t really play into anything on the field (laser pointer aside), but it will be interesting nonetheless. Hopefully Oakland’s Super Fan No. 1 is also in that mix. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

    CBSlocal.com / 19 h. 9 min. ago more
  • Predictions For Patriots-Raiders Week 11 Tilt In Mexico CityPredictions For Patriots-Raiders Week 11 Tilt In Mexico City

    BOSTON (CBS) — The Pats remain on the road for the second straight week, but this one figures to be a different. The Patriots are crossing the border for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders, squaring off in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. It will be a home game of sorts for the Raiders, though the Patriots are expected to have many fans in attendance as well. As for what will take place on the field? Here’s what the WBZ-TV experts foresee. Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports From Denver to Mexico City, this was a week for team bonding. And you can see how this Patriots team is starting to come together. On the field, the offense has its swagger back and the defense is playing with attitude. Oh, did we mention special teams? Lately, all they’ve done is make plays. Oakland can score but their defense is suspect — not to mention vulnerable. Patriots 34, Raiders 21 Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports This was a pretty special week for the Patriots. For many, an eye-opening one that they’ll appreciate for years to come. Finding out about life as a Cadet as well as practicing at the Air Force Academy seemed to re-energize them. It also had to help in dealing with the high altitude of Mexico City come Sunday. Oakland hasn’t righted itself yet, despite high expectations and good deal of talent. The Patriots should keep rolling on Sunday. Patriots 31, Raiders 17 Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports Not only do I think the Pats will win big this game, I’m actually wondering what the Raiders are doing. New England is in Colorado Springs getting used to the altitude ahead of Mexico City. I would hope the Raiders would have prepared the same way but that is not the case. Their staff had to be in Vegas for the groundbreaking. As for this game, the Pats seem to be on a mission. They are playing well and offensively have mismatches all over the field. Oakland’s defense is stout but trying to cover the Patriot tight ends and running backs will be an adventure for the Raiders. Oakland was the sexy pick at the beginning of the season but now they look like they are trying to figure out how to win. They are 4-5 and can’t afford to lose another game … but they are going to do that on Sunday afternoon. The Pats continue to win on the road and Tom Brady continues to take apart a Jack Del Rio-coached team. Also, Phillip Dorsett will get a touchdown which means Tom Brady will have thrown touchdown receptions to 69 different players. That’s one shy of a record. Patriots 35, Raiders 17

    CBSlocal.com / 20 h. 24 min. ago more
  • Boston cops grab gun from girl at schoolBoston cops grab gun from girl at school

    Boston Police arrested a 16-year-old female, charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and Unlawfully Carrying a Loaded Firearm, at W. Roxbury High School . A 16-year-old girl is facing weapons charges after showing up to West Roxbury High School with a loaded gun in her backpack, police said.

    Boston News / 23 h. 48 min. ago
  • Police probe bombing of Bellingham principal's car - Wicked LocalPolice probe bombing of Bellingham principal's car - Wicked Local

    Wicked LocalPolice probe bombing of Bellingham principal's carWicked LocalThe Bellingham Police, Woonsocket Police, Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were assisting in the investigation, Atstupenas said. As of Friday afternoon, police had not announced ...Explosion That Damaged Jeep Likely Targeted School PrincipalCBS Boston / WBZPolice investigating explosion that damaged 'targeted' resident's car in BlackstoneBoston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7Newsall 52 news articles »

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    After a months-long investigation, two Brockton residents were taken into custody Friday for a violent North End home invasion in which a victim in a wheelchair was pistol whipped, Boston police said. Neil Tom, 28, and Julie Podier, 25, were charged with armed robbery, home invasion, and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon for the April 18 incident near 185 Fulton St., police said in a statement.

    Boston News / 1 d. 2 h. 2 min. ago more
  • Police Search For Suspects Who Shot At Minivan, Backed Into Police Officer - CBS Boston / WBZPolice Search For Suspects Who Shot At Minivan, Backed Into Police Officer - CBS Boston / WBZ

    Boston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7NewsPolice Search For Suspects Who Shot At Minivan, Backed Into Police OfficerCBS Boston / WBZBOSTON (CBS) – Police are searching for a suspect who fired shots at a minivan and then hit a police officer with his car as he fled the scene. Boston Police first responded to a crash and report of shots fired in Egleston Square around 3 p.m. on Friday.Boston police investigating report of shots fired, car crash in Jamaica PlainBoston News, Weather, Sports | WHDH 7Newsall 12 news articles »

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  • Leonids 2017 Meteor Shower Peak Weekend In Massachusetts - Patch.comLeonids 2017 Meteor Shower Peak Weekend In Massachusetts - Patch.com

    CNETLeonids 2017 Meteor Shower Peak Weekend In MassachusettsPatch.comThe annual Leonids meteor shower peaks this weekend, but skywatchers should look Friday night, and the moon won't interfere. By Mike Carraggi, Patch National Staff | Nov 17, 2017 7:43 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2017 7:44 pm ET ...How to See the 2017 Leonid Meteor ShowerNational GeographicLeonid Meteor Shower Will Streak Through Skies This WeekendSmithsonianNovember's Leonid meteor showerEarthSkySpace.com -AccuWeather.comall 105 news articles »

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  • Christie Brinkley doesn't live in Boston, so cut that out, Delaware NorthChristie Brinkley doesn't live in Boston, so cut that out, Delaware North

    The Herald reports the owner of the Garden has decided to try to re-brand its neighborhood, where it's currently building a mega mixed-use complex, as Uptown. Funked up, no? What's wrong with the West End? Of possible note: The city once tried renaming large swaths of downtown as the Midtown Cultural District.

    Boston News / 1 d. 6 h. 39 min. ago
  • GE faces federal lawsuit over Fukushima nuclear disasterGE faces federal lawsuit over Fukushima nuclear disaster

    General Electric Co., the Boston-based conglomerate, is facing a federal lawsuit over its role in the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011. The $500 million class-action lawsuit against GE was filed Friday in federal court in Boston by a group that includes residents, medical clinics and companies operating in the area affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the largest disaster of its kind in the world. "GE designed and largely constructed the the entire failed Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear…

    Bizjournals.com / 1 d. 9 h. 24 min. ago more
  • Warren opposes Dodd-Frank reprieve for Citizens, SantanderWarren opposes Dodd-Frank reprieve for Citizens, Santander

    A bipartisan proposal would draw the line for “too big to fail” institutions to exclude the two local banks.

    Bizjournals.com / 1 d. 10 h. 10 min. ago
  • Viewpoint: Why does the price of turkeys fall just before Thanksgiving?Viewpoint: Why does the price of turkeys fall just before Thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving is a great U.S. holiday during which people consume huge quantities of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie. One of the stranger things about this holiday, however, is that a few days before everyone starts cooking, whole turkeys are suddenly discounted by supermarkets and grocery stores. And this happens every holiday season: The price falls just before Thanksgiving and stays low until Christmas. For example, in the average year, November’s price per pound for turkey is…

    Bizjournals.com / 1 d. 10 h. 43 min. ago more
  • Police recover 3 guns, arrest 2 in Dorchester traffic stop, Jamaica Plain building searchPolice recover 3 guns, arrest 2 in Dorchester traffic stop, Jamaica Plain building search

    Two people were arrested and one loaded gun was recovered in a Dorchester traffic stop Thursday night, around one hour after a separate incident in which police recovered two guns hidden in a Jamaica Plain building's common area, Boston police said. In Dorchester, officers arrested two teenagers in a traffic stop after they noticed a vehicle commit a red light violation in the area of 580 Blue Hill Avenue around 10 p.m. Thursday.

    Boston News / 1 d. 11 h. 17 min. ago more
  • Southcoast announces layoffs to cut costsSouthcoast announces layoffs to cut costs

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    Bizjournals.com / 1 d. 11 h. 50 min. ago
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    Bizjournals.com / 1 d. 13 h. 29 min. ago
  • Trillium is opening an indoor beer garden in RoslindaleTrillium is opening an indoor beer garden in Roslindale

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    Boston News / 1 d. 13 h. 47 min. ago
  • SMALL TOWN SWAT TEAM: A SPECIAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE ‘MILITARIZATION OF MAYBERRY’ IN MASSSMALL TOWN SWAT TEAM: A SPECIAL INVESTIGATION INTO THE ‘MILITARIZATION OF MAYBERRY’ IN MASS

      For a police department of only 40 officers, the April 23, 2015, raid by Ludlow Special Response Team had to be an all-hands-on-deck affair.   At shortly past five o’clock in the morning, a team of 12 Ludlow officers—amounting to more than a quarter of the town’s entire police force—arrived at the house of a suspected drug dealer.   In the inky darkness of early morning, the SRT disembarked from their vehicles and split into groups. Two K-9 officers working with the team that morning were among those who took perimeter positions, while those on the entry team “stacked” behind the front door with ballistic shields and weapons drawn.   When the SRT knocked and announced they were there to execute a search warrant, Ludlow police records show that officers soon noticed a “male party” inside the house who appeared to be running away from the door. Right on cue, the “breachers” on the SRT team put their training to work, hammering away at front and rear doors of the home until officers could burst through to apprehend the subject.   His crime? Growing marijuana plants in a closet.   Among the damning evidence turned up in the ensuing search of the residence by Ludlow detectives were five issues of High Times magazine.   No weapons were recovered, suggesting that the warrant was low-risk and making it doubtful that a military-style operation was even needed.   Northeast of Springfield, across the Chicopee River, Ludlow is a leafy suburb known for its small-town feel and annual Portuguese festival. While it may have its share of drug problems, there is hardly any violent crime.   But when neighboring Springfield experienced a spike in robberies in the early 2000s, Ludlow Police decided this mill town of 21,000 souls needed another layer of protection. So, it established a Special Response Team, or SRT. Although it doesn’t have an armored vehicle like many SWAT teams, Ludlow SRT has most of the other gear associated with tactical operations. In 2015, a $50,000 grant from the Department of Justice was used to outfit the team with ballistic shields, helmets, and body armor.   Like most SWAT teams in the country, Ludlow’s is part time, with officers splitting their duties between SRT and patrol. Since SRT is rarely used—in over a decade it has been activated an average of just once or twice per year—tactical officers gain most of their experience through training. As recommended by the standards of the National Tactical Officer Association, each Ludlow SRT team member spends roughly 5 percent of their on-duty time, or 16 hours per month, training for tactical operations.   Such professional development can be costly—monthly training for 10 SRT officers on an average patrolman’s salary comes to nearly $2,000 per month out of the city budget. Still, current SRT commander Lt. Michael Brennan believes even officers in such a small, relatively safe community like Ludlow need to be prepared for any eventuality. “You’ll be confronted with things and you better be ready,” he told this reporter. “As a professional, that’s how you should approach it.”   An analysis of hundreds of pages of police records and incident reports, obtained through public records requests, shows that small town police departments like Ludlow are amassing enormous arsenals (often with the help of federal grant programs), use SWAT in ways that go beyond their original mission, and are sometimes unable to properly select and train officers. Some experts feel that this phenomenon highlights a much larger problem: too many SWAT teams in the state, eating up too many municipal budgets, without enough to do.   A GROWING TREND Ludlow represents what some observers see as a disturbing trend in policing—the “militarization of Mayberry,” as Dr. Peter Kraska puts it. Dr. Kraska, a professor of criminal justice at Eastern Kentucky University and an authority on the police use of SWAT teams, has surveyed police departments across the country and estimates that the number of such tactical units in agencies serving populations under 50,000 grew from 20 percent in the 1980s to 80 percent in the mid-2000s.   Ludlow may be the smallest town in the state with its own SWAT team, but it’s hardly alone in the rankings. A number of other small cities and towns have tactical units at the ready. And that sucking sound you hear? It’s the flow of local and federal dollars going to shore up these teams.   If things get out of hand in “America’s Premier Cultural Resort,” authorities are able to call on Berkshire County Special Response Team, composed of officers from Pittsfield, Lee, North Adams, and surrounding towns. Thanks to homeland security grants, since 2012 the team has nabbed night vision goggles, SWAT headsets and helmets, tactical body armor, and the ever-popular BearCat armored vehicle. The total cost to the US taxpayer for all this equipment: $468,364.82.   The police department in Westfield (pop. 41,552) goes a step further to cultivate a military mindset in its SWAT officers. In April 2015, at a time when post-Ferguson America was engaging in a debate over the militarization of police, the city shelled out $4,400 to send its Special Response Team to a conference 200 miles away to attend the “Bulletproof Mind” seminar by controversial “killology” police trainer, Lt. Col. David Grossman.   Based in Greenfield, the newest SWAT team in Massachusetts serves the state’s most rural county. In June 2016, Franklin County Regional Special Response Team was deemed ready to deploy after taking in more than $115,000 in homeland security grants for officers’ training and tactical gear. Since then, it has been used just once—to serve a firearm-related search warrant.   Recent moves by the Trump administration may make it even easier for such agencies to stock up on tactical gear. In May 2015, then-President Obama signed an executive order leading to a ban on transferring certain types of surplus equipment to local police through a Department of Defense program known as 1033. But the changes were mostly cosmetic, cutting off access to equipment that few local police had requested to begin with: .50 caliber guns and weaponized aircraft, for example. Still, in response to pressure from the Fraternal Order of Police—the nation’s largest law enforcement labor organization—in September President Trump announced that he would rescind Obama’s order.   Police Report of 2015 Ludlow Raid by Newspapers of New England on Scribd   MISSION CREEP SWAT originated in the latter part of the 1960s in response to high-profile incidents like the Watts riots and the clock tower shooter at the University of Texas, Austin. The idea was that a specially trained unit needed to be in place to address situations—like hostages, snipers, or armed barricaded suspects—that exceeded the capabilities of patrol officers.   One of the first such units in Massachusetts came together in 1971, when a select group of state troopers formed the Special Tactical Operations (STOP) Team. According to a brief official history, included in a standard operating procedures manual provided by the state police, the STOP Team was formed as a way of heading off “armed confrontations against the establishment” that were part of that era’s “turbulent society.” While such “confrontations” slowed to a trickle as time went on, SWAT teams continued to grow across the state like mushrooms after a downpour. With the increase in SWAT teams comes concern about “mission creep” and suggestions that their paramilitary approach to policing is being overused in non-crisis situations.   According to a review of news reports and police websites, there now appear to be at least 23 police SWAT teams operating in Massachusetts. For a small state, redundancy and overlapping services are a given. There are now seven tactical police units serving the sparsely populated western part of the state—four independent SWAT teams and two regional units, as well as the state police tactical team. Most deploy only three or four times a year, tops. (The state police team, which typically deploys between 180 and 200 times per year across the Commonwealth, is an outlier). Even greater redundancy exists in the Boston area.   More recently, SWAT teams are justified by the threat of terrorist attacks. In a 2011 request for funding to purchase the BearCat, a SWAT officer with the Berkshire County SRT wrote that the unit was being used exclusively for “dangerous and life-threatening” situations and claimed that the rural Berkshires presented a “unique target environment for any terrorist group planning a potential attack.” A redacted half-page portion of the application lists locations that might be particularly enticing to groups like ISIS. The following year, homeland security funding to the tune of $295,000 came in, and the team bought its BearCat.   Even the most ardent critics of police militarization acknowledge that there is a genuine need for tactically trained officers to respond to certain situations—active shooter scenarios, for example. Problem is, the types of incidents SWAT teams are supposedly meant to address hardly ever occur in small towns in the state. According to Tom Nolan, a former SWAT officer and 27-year veteran of the Boston Police Department who now teaches criminology at Merrimack College in North Andover: “If you don’t have situations where the public would endorse use of the SWAT team, the tendency can be for SWAT teams to be deployed for reasons we could see as less than legitimate.”   Records from departments in rural Western Massachusetts show numerous examples of tactical officers deploying on questionable grounds to conduct ordinary police work.   In November 2012, shortly after Berkshire County SRT’s BearCat was first acquired, Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn told a reporter for the Springfield Republican that the vehicle “can be used in a variety of police situations that carry a high degree of danger, such as armed standoffs, drug raids or even to rescue police and civilians pinned down by gunman.” In a region short on danger, however, sometimes you have to create your own. In one of the first deployments of the BearCat, Berkshire County SRT officers simulated a hostage scenario for the benefit of some North Adams elementary school students. In a particularly dramatic part of the performance, an officer emerged from the BearCat’s turret to point an AR-15 at a teacher who was playing the role of “perp.”   In 2015, the Ludlow Special Response Team deployed in response to an individual expressing “suicidal ideation.” In the SWAT world, individuals who are threatening to harm only themselves are often placed in the same category as “barricaded suspect” situations and thus require a SWAT deployment. In this case, family members declined to let the police unit into the home, and the man eventually accepted an ambulance ride to a local hospital.   Twice yearly, in yet more action for the $295,000 armored vehicle, Berkshire Regional SRT deploys to October Mountain State Forest in Lee to police a picnic of the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels. There, SRT officers are joined by a police mobile command vehicle, which conducts video surveillance of the area. Although SRT has routinely been assigned to this event since 2012, the only law enforcement action ever taken has been to issue tickets for moving violations.   In an email, Pittsfield Police Chief and Berkshire County SRT Commander Michael Wynn wrote that while mission creep was a “valid concern,” operations like the State Forest picnic fit within the unit’s broader mission to serve “as an on-call resource for Departments to access additional personnel quickly.”   AN INVESTIGATION LIKE NO OTHER The classic example of SWAT’s mission creep are “dynamic entries” to serve warrants for nonviolent drug crimes. As legal observers have long pointed out, this sort of SWAT deployment is problematic for a number of reasons. Raids to execute a search warrant for sale or possession of drugs are conducted on the basis of suspicion a crime has been committed. As the American Civil Liberties Union commented in its 2014 report on SWAT tactics, with such raids there is “no criminal case, no formal suspects, and often little if any proof that a crime has been committed; it is simply an investigation.”   But they are an investigation like no other: Officers knock down doors, scream and point weapons at people, and generally create “shock and awe” conditions—as one headline in the Berkshire Eagle described a Berkshire County SRT operation.   Usually SWAT teams are used only to serve “high risk” warrants, as when they seek to search for drugs in a residence where guns are known to be present or if police want to recover an illegal firearm that had been recently used in a violent crime.   Of course, so much depends on whether police have done their homework beforehand. Occasionally, SWAT teams raid homes on the flimsiest of evidence.   Typical of the genre is the March 3, 2011, raid by Berkshire County Special Response Team. On that day, they descended on Bruce Johnson’s mobile home in Ashley Falls, a village of Sheffield (pop. 3,257) located about one mile from the Connecticut border. According to an after-action review of the incident obtained using a public records request, the SRT sought to execute a “no-knock” search warrant for what police believed was a case of illegal possession of firearms. On the scene: nearly twenty BCSRT officers, including at least four snipers, as well as the team’s trusty BearCat armored vehicle.   After awakening at six in the morning to the sounds of police urging him to surrender via megaphone, Johnson exited his house to find a small army arrayed on his lawn: “Behind every tree I saw a cop,” he recalled in a 2014 interview for the weekly Berkshire Record, “and they all had their guns pointed at me.”   Upon his arrest, police began to search for the firearms—a part of the operation that local news outlets later reported left the home “in shambles.” Police recovered five pistols from a safe in Johnson’s house. Afterwards, back at the Sheffield Police station, SWAT officers took a moment to pose for a photo that was later posted on the website PoliceOne.com. (A caption tells readers that the image was taken “after we executed a search warrant on an individual illegally stockpiling firearms.”)   But none of it was true. Johnson had a landscaping business in Connecticut, a state where he also registered his motor vehicle and—crucially—his guns. A judge later determined that the search warrant had been improper because there was simply no evidence that the guns were “related to criminal activity.” Two years after the raid, following a court battle that cost Johnson $45,000, prosecutors dropped all charges against him.   The aforementioned ACLU report, based on nearly 4,000 public records obtained from police departments across the country, found that around 80 percent of all SWAT deployments were for the purpose of executing such search warrants—usually for drugs.   Records obtained and reviewed in the course of this investigation also found warrant service to be a commonplace reason for deploying small town SWAT teams in Massachusetts. In 2015, eight of nine call-outs by Berkshire County SRT were to execute “no-knock” search warrants. The same year, Westfield’s team was less busy, deploying on only two occasions—both to serve drug-related search warrants.   “The bread and butter of policing in the United States and Massachusetts is the war on drugs,” according to Kade Crockford, who directs the Technology for Liberty Program at the ACLU of Massachusetts. “If the SWAT team is the hammer, the drug war is the nail.”   The use of SWAT in such scenarios has drawn criticism not only from the ACLU, but from within the ranks of tactical officers themselves. In a 2015 editorial for the NTOA’s quarterly journal, Tactical Edge, Phil Hansen, director emeritus of that organization, warned that “indiscriminate use of SWAT uniforms, weapons and equipment in a one-size-fits-all manner during low-risk warrant service or civil disorder missions can only lead to problems and criticism.”     SHALLOW POOL Smaller police departments face difficulties selecting personnel for their SWAT teams. Tactical operations require disciplined, focused officers, excellent marksmen who are physically fit and psychologically sound. Choosiness is a necessity.   Sid Heal knows how important selection is to a SWAT team. Current president of the California Tactical Officers Association, Heal retired at the rank of commander from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department—the largest sheriff’s department in the country—after spending more than a decade on its special operations team. “When we were doing selection,” Heal said in a phone interview, “we got to pick from one-half of 1 percent of the available applicant pool. Needless to say, the selection process was intense.”   Documents and SWAT policy manuals obtained for this investigation detail training and selection standards for small town teams in Mass. But how selective can you really be when—as is the case in Ludlow—you have to build a SWAT team and have only 40 officers to choose from? In an email, Ludlow’s Lt. Brennan said officers under his command had to meet standards for physical fitness and firearms proficiency, among other qualifications. “Some applicants have trouble with selection process, even if they are in great shape,” he wrote.   Training is another key area where small-town SWAT teams can come up short. Since tactical teams are designed to respond to extremely dangerous situations, it is important that their members are well-prepared. What’s more, because teams may only deploy a handful of times per year, training is how officers gain much of their tactical experience. The NTOA recommends 16 hours per month as the ideal amount of training for a SRT officer. While Ludlow’s team meets that requirement, other small departments often lack the time and resources necessary to provide SWAT officers with the minimum amount of monthly training. Case in point: Whip City.   The Westfield Police Special Response Team was started in 1999 and led for years by Lieutenant Paul Kousch. When Sergeant Jeffrey Baillargeon took over in June 2012 as SRT team leader, he was so concerned about lax training standards for the unit that he sent a memo to the Westfield police chief outlining his concerns. The SRT team “has had at best an intermittent training schedule over the years,” Baillargeon wrote. Years of inadequate training were due to several factors, he added, including “scheduling and money.” Baillargeon concluded his memo with a proposal that each month the chief release SRT officers from their regular patrol duties in order to complete an eight-hour training period.   Although eight hours per officer would represent half of the NTOA’s monthly training recommendation for SWAT officers, such a training regimen, Baillargeon emphasized, would still “set the example for professionalism and increase morale in the department as a whole.”   According to training documents reviewed for this article, Baillargeon’s proposal got off to a good start. Following Sgt. Baillargeon’s memo, in June 2012, records show that the team trained together five times during the remainder of that year. But the initiative would also create an additional burden for a department so strapped for cash that it had previously relied on citizens’ donations and an annual charity golf tournament to shore up its 12-member Special Response Team, and the frequency of their training soon tapered off. In 2013, SRT members completed the eight-hour training goal on only five months of the year; five months of training were also recorded in 2014. By 2015, the available records show the team was able to notch only a single eight-hour training session—in March.   After initially agreeing to answer questions for this story via email, Baillargeon later declined to comment on the training situation for Westfield SRT.   Berkshire County SRT Deployment Documents by Newspapers of New England on Scribd   LIABILITY, RESPONSIBILITY SWAT teams in small cities and towns that are not training to NTOA standards run the risk of “operational failures,” which may then lead to increased liability and exposure, according to attorney Eric Daigle. A former Connecticut state trooper who now runs a law practice specializing in defending police from civil liberties claims, Daigle said, “If you have a team, you need to be running with the standards required by NTOA. If not, you’re going to impose some significant damages on your agency and your officers.”   Stephen M. Clark—chief of police in Newington, Connecticut, and a 24-year veteran of SWAT operations—concurs. For a 2015 research paper, Clark surveyed SWAT officers in the Nutmeg State to get a sense of how frequently their teams deployed and how much training they received. He found a tremendous amount of overlap—there are over two dozen SWAT teams in what is geographically the nation’s third-smallest state—along with a number of small agencies that were not properly training their officers. Clark concluded that when police departments lack the resources to meet “minimum standards for selection, training, and team composition,” then they should consider “either disbanding the team or merging with a regional tactical team.”   Cost savings, as well as gaining an increased edge in the competition for federal grants to law enforcement, may be an inducement for some Commonwealth departments to combine their resources. In much of the state, SWAT teams manned by the numerous “law enforcement councils” are examples of regional, multijurisdictional teams. Given redundancy, tight municipal budgets, and largely inactive units with little to do in low-crime small towns and cities, retired Boston cop Tom Nolan thinks it may be time for some to be disbanded or merged with other teams: “I think it’s fair to question why we have so many SWAT teams in Massachusetts.”   Greater regionalization would reduce redundancy of services across small towns and cities, and decrease liability for departments with SWAT teams that are currently not able to train to NTOA standards. It would also deepen the available pool of applicants for positions on the SWAT team. In an email, Newington’s Chief Clark explained: “A reduction in the number of teams will result in more competition for positions on regional teams. More competition leads to teams having more qualified candidates to choose from.”   Predicted cost savings, as well as gaining an increased edge in the competition for federal grants to law enforcement, has led Ludlow’s Lt. Mike Brennan to consider a future partnership with the SRT team in neighboring Chicopee. In an interview, Lt. Brennan said that he has long wanted to form a regional team out of the two existing units: “Long term, that’s where we want to go, and it has to do with a lot of things: resources, funding, better equipment.” Merger plans are currently only at the discussion stage and may take years to implement. “In the meantime,” Lt. Brennan says, “We have a responsibility to plan for the inevitable.”   But some critics are not convinced that such mergers will be enough. One of them is Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts. Small-town SWAT teams will inevitably lead to law enforcement overreach because, Crockford said, “If law enforcement has a tool it tends to want to use it.” But the bigger issue, they said in an interview, is police militarization, “the degree to which law enforcement thinks it’s appropriate to use these kinds of battlefield tactics in domestic policing.”   As the ACLU continues monitoring the use of police SWAT teams in the state and across the country, Crockford also hopes that someone in the state legislature takes up the issue of SWAT deployments. A short-lived Maryland state law that mandated that police report basic information about how their departments use SWAT teams impresses the civil liberties advocate the most.   “It’s probably more important for law enforcement to be transparent,” Crockford added, “than for any other kind of government agency because we give law enforcement the power to deprive us of our own liberty and to use violence.”   This article was produced in collaboration with the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and is the first installment in a series about SWAT deployment and police militarization in Massachusetts.

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    Boston News / 1 d. 23 h. 23 min. ago
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    Boston News / 2 d. 3 h. 55 min. ago
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    Boston News / 2 d. 8 h. 35 min. ago more
  • Massachusetts bank robber with poor spelling skills pleads guiltyMassachusetts bank robber with poor spelling skills pleads guilty

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    Boston News / 2 d. 10 h. 56 min. ago
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  • Storrow Drive Delays: Truck Hits Footbridge - Patch.comStorrow Drive Delays: Truck Hits Footbridge - Patch.com

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  • A Rising Star:Lydia Edwards Ready to Lead as Charlestown's City CouncilorA Rising Star:Lydia Edwards Ready to Lead as Charlestown's City Councilor

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  • It’s time to end off-year elections
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  • In ‘The Color Purple,’ Carrie Compere finds her dream role
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  • Jackie Davis shines in ‘The Curious Incident …’
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    Bay State Banner / 2 d. 19 h. 25 min. ago
  • STATE WIRE: MASS TAKES STEP TOWARD SINGLE PAYERSTATE WIRE: MASS TAKES STEP TOWARD SINGLE PAYER

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    DigBoston / 3 d. 11 h. 51 min. ago more
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  • FROM DECAY GROUND TO PLAYGROUND (AND BACK AGAIN)FROM DECAY GROUND TO PLAYGROUND (AND BACK AGAIN)

    Photo by Olivia Falcigno   Somerville residents reclaim empty lot, then forced out in latest rift of 10-year saga   On a recent weekend afternoon in Winter Hill, a group of neighbors, forced by a court order, dismantled a community-built park they had raised in an empty lot.   For a decade, 30 Sewall St in Somerville has been a “vacant eyesore” to surrounding residents. The property once served as an employee parking lot for Star Market, but according to neighbors, the space transformed into an area for people to defecate, urinate, litter, and consume drugs and alcohol after the grocery store shuttered in 2007.   In a rapidly changing city where there’s seemingly a battle involving developers, residents, and bureaucrats waging on every block, the Sewall Street struggle stands out as a particular point of contention. In 2010, after they were blocked from an attempt to lease the property to Ocean State Job Lot, the owners of the parcel filed a complaint against Somerville in Middlesex Land Court. Following a ruling that the city’s planning board was indeed able to dictate what kind of building should go there—basically, community leaders want something higher-end and mixed use, rather than a discount store—officials said they hoped that both sides would bury the hatchet. But then there were appeals, and subsequent decisions, and no movement at all. So, since the lot’s still empty, and because it has been frequented by vagrants, residents took another route.     According to Winter Hill resident Ian Adelman, in September Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone, along with candidates for that area’s alderman position, joined residents at the lot to speak about various possibilities. Adelman said the idea of taking the parcel by eminent domain in order to make it a park was considered, but the mayor encouraged the community to pursue a project and solution on its own.   In October, the Winter Hill Neighborhood Association, a group of Somerville residents whose mission is to improve the quality of life on Winter Hill, convened in the lot once again, this time to further discuss plans. Additional meetings with the city followed, but in time association members decided to take matters into their own hands. As Curtatone wrote on Facebook in early September, “Somerville needs community activism around spaces like this to hit SomerVision’s goal of 125 acres of open space.”   Calls for donations yielded, among other things, a swing set, a basketball hoop, a sandbox, and plants. Random contributions helped the neighbors redesign the space, and they recently began hosting events there—a walk-in movie night, a family halloween party. A community garden was in the works, and according to Stephen Moore, a direct abutter, remnants of litter became less and less prominent.   Moore said, “Within weeks, we didn’t see the little brown bags being left on the stairs and less and less the bottles filled with urine… The group that used to gather right over there and defecate and urinate on the transformer in my garage stopped hanging out. They would move over to the fence and then they were gone all together.”   Event planning and donations of park items continued. But on Oct 27, residents witnessed their first signs of opposition when fences went up with signs marking the property as private. On Nov 2, the owner of the lot served a cease and desist order on Moore. In a subsequent exchange with the Winter Hill Neighborhood Association and Stephen Moore, the owning family wrote, “We do not have a problem with the motivation behind your efforts to use the property, but surely you must understand that the owner of the property should have been consulted and a part of any discussion on how the property will be used and by whom.”   According to email exchanges, which were shared on a Sewall Commons Facebook page, the owners were concerned with liability issues and wanted the property returned to its original form. The residents empathized, but still stand behind their morphing the negative space into a positive one for the overall safety of the community.   Erika Tarlin, a longtime resident of Somerville, expressed her aggravation on the day association members were clearing the makeshift park. “It is still cracked concrete and a chain linked fence but kids don’t see that,” Tarlin said. “They just see a chance to play, and what’s wrong with that? Mr. Cohen thinks there is lots wrong with it.”   In his turn, Chad Cohen, the vice president of the owning realty group, blamed the city for the impasse. In a letter to Moore (that Cohen also sent to DigBoston in response to our request for comment), he wrote:   This property has been family-owned since 1948, and since that time the Property has been fully occupied. It was not until Star Market abruptly departed in 2008 that we had an opportunity to make improvements to the property and bring in a new tenant. Unfortunately, the City [of Somerville] had different ideas and wanted the site developed into a large dense mixed use building …   The City created an overlay zoning district to both promote its own vision for development while blocking us from renting to viable tenants that we felt would have been perfect for the Winter Hill neighborhood … In those discussions with the City, the area you are currently using as a playground, was being proposed by the City to be the entrance and egress for an underground parking lot …   Despite our success in the years of litigation that followed our efforts to get a tenant in the building, the City has vowed to fight on, and in doing so has essentially blocked us from putting in grocery stores, national retail tenants, or any other businesses that we felt would add vibrancy to the neighborhood.   In response to that characterization, a Somerville spokesperson wrote in an email to DigBoston, “The City has not ‘blocked’ development on this site, rather it wants nothing more than to see Mr. Cohen come forth with a proposal that will serve the needs of the community. However, for the seven years since his original proposal to slap a big box store into this neighborhood in the form of an Ocean State Job Lot was rejected by Somerville’s independent Planning Board, he has chosen to fight this in court rather than find a solution that would serve both the neighborhood and him well.”   As for the community park effort, the city spokesperson added, “We don’t just support the effort, we applaud them for being creative and taking action to improve their neighborhood. As part of the Somerville by Design neighborhood planning process, the community and this neighborhood have invested a substantial amount of time and effort.”     After a series of exchanges with the landlord, community members agreed to the terms of the cease and desist order, but are not finished scrapping.   “When you don’t [stay engaged],” Moore said, “developers can feel compelled to have an apathetic neighborhood to contribute to, or to contribute their interests to. When you remain quiet, you are left to whatever decisions are made above you or without you.”   As an administrator on the Sewall Commons Facebook page wrote soon after the destruction of the park, “We managed to accomplish in 8 weeks what has not [occurred] in the 10 years previously: get the ownership’s attention and begin a dialogue to forging a new and productive relationship that focuses on a new revitalization plan in partnership with the community and the city.”   “The fight is not over,” said Jesse Clingan, now the alderman-elect for the area. “We will see something up on Winter Hill. We are not going to give up.”   Residents who would like to get involved in Sewall Commons fight can contact the Winter Hill Neighborhood Association at winterhillneighbors@gmail.com

    DigBoston / 4 d. 9 h. 31 min. ago more
  • TARGETED DEPORTATION IN MASS?TARGETED DEPORTATION IN MASS?

      Human rights activist seized by ICE during routine immigration check-in   “Free Siham” signs and “I am Siham” chants filled the night air outside of the JFK Federal Building Immigration Court in Boston, where community members spoke about human rights activist Siham Byah, who was recently detained by US Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) during a regular check-in on Nov 7.   Byah, 40, is a single mother and outspoken political activist from Morocco living in Nahant. She has been involved in large protest movements like Occupy Boston in recent years. On Thursday, more than 100 community members accused ICE of detaining Byah because of her political speech and called on elected leaders to use their influence for her release. They spoke of her hunger strike, which began the same day she was detained.   One woman read a statement sent from Siham’s brother, Nizar Byah, which noted, “Siham loves this country. It is why we have both immigrated here. She has always practiced the First Amendment by voicing her opinion of her political views and practiced the right for assembly by attending peaceful rallies.”   Byah received a call from an ICE officer on Oct 20, asking her to come in for an appointment. DigBoston was provided a recording of the call and confirmed that the meeting was for a regular immigration check-in in which her current address, fingerprints, and work information would be taken.   Byah showed up to the Burlington ICE office on Nov 7 with her partner and her attorney, Matt Cameron. As she was detained, Cameron was told that the decision was not made locally. He said in an interview, “I was told that the decision to detain Siham without warning or opportunity to leave voluntarily came directly from DC, and was not up to the New England Field Office.”   When asked about Byah’s arrest, ICE spokesperson Shawn Neudauer told DigBoston that she was arrested on an outstanding final order of deportation issued by an immigration judge in 2012. “Ms. Byah has a criminal record that includes convictions for misdemeanor offenses,” he said. But Cameron told DigBoston that this statement is “a lie.” According to Byah’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) file, she has a single conviction related to motor vehicle usage.   Byah was taken into custody by authorities with the intention of deporting her back to Morocco. Byah’s 8-year-old son, Naseem, was in a Nahant elementary school in his third-grade class when she was detained. He is currently in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.   Byah has applied for multiple stays of removal from the US since her appeal to the Board of Immigration was denied in 2013, along with a motion to reopen her case. The norm became checking in once a year for multiple stays of removal.   At the time of this writing, Byah was being held at the Bristol County House of Correction, and she began a hunger strike soon after being detained. According to her partner, who did not wish to be named, she was temporarily placed in solitary confinement for refusing to eat and had to eat crackers in order to make a phone call to her attorney. He claimed that she has recently undergone weight loss surgery and was denied the right to see a doctor for dietary and medical problems while in solitary confinement. Her partner, who spoke with her on the phone, said, “Byah was given omeprazole, vomited blood [on Thursday].” ICE has not responded to this claim.   Cameron filed for an emergency hearing to stop the deportation, but is still awaiting a court date.   Byah, a real estate agent, lived in Nahant with her son and moved to the US from Morocco in 1999. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology at Bunker Hill Community College, and as a local advocate has spoken out against US government support of dictatorships in Morocco.   As Byah recounted in a 2012 YouTube video, the Moroccan Secret Service court marshaled her for treason in 2011-2012 and reportedly threatened her for advocating for social and economic justice. Her status as a single outspoken mother has gained disapproval in Morocco, and as a result she is currently applying for political asylum within the US. Byah said in the video, “I was threatened with rape, and that they would rape my two-year-old. This is how low [the Moroccan government is] willing to stoop.”   “She is a fierce activist for human rights in Morocco and has received threats from radical Islamists there,” Byah’s partner told DigBoston. “If she goes back, they will torture her.”   Beyond her advocacy against human rights abuses in Morocco, Byah spoke out in favor of welcoming Syrian refugees and against Israeli violence in Gaza.   Cameron said that Congressman Seth Moulton and the offices of two state senators have been reaching out to DCF to get Naseem placed with a family friend. “They’re hoping it gets expedited,” he told DigBoston.   According to the Boston Herald, ICE said arrangements can be made for Byah’s son to accompany his mother to Morocco, a country he has never been to and where his family is in danger, if she is deported.   —///—   Ed note: The following statement from ICE was received after this article went to print:   ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay. All ICE detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care.    ICE does not retaliate in any way against individuals participating in hunger strikes. Consistent with agency policy, if an individual is observed not to have eaten for more than 72 hours will he or she be considered on “hunger strike” and at that point become subject to the agency’s protocols for handling hunger strikes.   For those individuals, ICE will institute the hunger strike protocols, which includes close medical supervision. All detainees who are engaged in a hunger strike will continue to be offered three meals daily and provided an adequate supply of drinking water or other beverages. 

    DigBoston / 4 d. 10 h. 4 min. ago more
  • Boston Second-Best Fit For Amazon HQ2: Wall Street Journal - Patch.comBoston Second-Best Fit For Amazon HQ2: Wall Street Journal - Patch.com

    Patch.comBoston Second-Best Fit For Amazon HQ2: Wall Street JournalPatch.comBoston is the second-best fit for the e-commerce and tech giant's HQ2, according to the Journal. The only city the Hub trailed was Dallas. Washington D.C., Atlanta, and ineligible Seattle tied to fill out the top 3. What pushed Boston ahead of most any ...WSJ Graphics - Wall Street JournalWall Street Journalall 28 news articles »

    Google News / 4 d. 10 h. 16 min. ago more
  • Wanted: Nude Harpist For Boston Wedding - Patch.comWanted: Nude Harpist For Boston Wedding - Patch.com

    Patch.comWanted: Nude Harpist For Boston WeddingPatch.comBOSTON, MA — A few years ago naked wedding cakes started to be a thing in the Boston area, now if one recent Craigslist post is to be believed it could also be a trend when it comes to the bride and groom. According to the post there's a couple out ...

    Google News / 4 d. 10 h. 41 min. ago
  • Ski jumping champion looks toward 2018 OlympicsSki jumping champion looks toward 2018 Olympics

    Nina Lussi has been training and competing around the world and now has her sights set on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

    WCVB / 5 d. 11 h. 12 min. ago
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    Top ranked cross-country skiers got the chance to race alongside Olympians

    WCVB / 11 d. 13 h. 6 min. ago
  • National champions discuss ski jumping, 2018 Winter OlympicsNational champions discuss ski jumping, 2018 Winter Olympics

    Ski jumping and Nordic Combined national champions discuss the sport and getting ready of the 2018 Olympics.

    WCVB / 11 d. 13 h. 43 min. ago
  • FEDS CONTINUE HOUNDING JOURNO’S DATAFEDS CONTINUE HOUNDING JOURNO’S DATA

      Aaron Cantú is among nearly 200 people to have devices seized during inauguration protests   In documents filed last week, the US attorney’s office noted that “additional efforts are being made to obtain data” from the cell phone of journalist Aaron Cantú, who is being charged with the crimes allegedly committed by people he was covering on Inauguration Day.   “A search of this defendant’s cell phone was attempted, but as this time, no data has been obtained. The government has advised defense counsel that additional efforts are being made to obtain data from this phone and the government will promptly disclose to counsel any and all data obtained if these efforts are successful,” the legal disclosure read.   Like nearly 200 other defendants, Cantú is being charged with eight felonies, including rioting, conspiracy to riot, and inciting riot, plus numerous charges of property damage. He is facing up to 80 years in prison for these crimes. The evidence against him so far consists in the fact that he was wearing black clothing and appeared to have abandoned a backpack.   Cantú was not indicted until May 30, long after most of his co-defendants. Whereas in most districts, the charges he and the other protesters are facing would be state charges, in the District of Columbia they are carried out by the US attorney’s office, which answers directly to the Trump administration’s Department of Justice. Most of the indictment is identical to those charging other defendants. “Individuals participating in the Black Bloc broke the windows of a limousine parked on the north side of K Street NW,” the indictment reads, “as Aaron Cantú and others moved west on K Street NW.”   In Cantú’s case, he is effectively being charged for moving along with a group that was undoubtedly breaking news, whether or not they were breaking laws.   Cantú is a reporter for the Santa Fe Reporter and an editor at the New Inquiry. He has written for the Al Jazeera, the Intercept, and other publications.   In a Baffler piece on police use of social media, Cantú wrote: “Police ambitions on social media are totalitarian, in the sense that departments are looking to establish further control over the production of knowledge in order to secure more power.”     But here, prosecutorial ambitions are also looking pretty totalitarian as they seek to control his social media and other data. The fact that they seem to be seeking additional data from his phone alone (although they have obtained plenty of data already from others) makes it seem like an attack on the press.   Email messages, texts, social media posts, contacts, search histories, a record of all calls, logins, chats, images, videos, downloads, and more have been seized from other, unencrypted phones. This case will likely be instrumental in deciding to what extent the government can take data from our phones in order to gain information and quell dissent. It is particularly dangerous in the case of a reporter who may be in contact with confidential sources.   The notice that the government continued to seek data from Cantú’s phone came only days after the press won a major victory when Judge Lynn Leibovitz ruled that much of the police body cam footage that day was not protected and could be shared. While prosecutors argued that officers could be endangered by releasing the footage, it became clear that the Metropolitan Police Department had provided a list of arrestees to the far-right site Got News.   “We’re all standing up for Aaron, and this affects our industry and our identity as journalists,” Julie Ann Grimm, Cantú’s editor at the Santa Fe Reporter, told me recently. “But the larger sort of corralling, the kettling, the mass-arresting, is also troubling.”   But the “all” in Grimm’s assessment is still startlingly limited. While the mainstream corporate media continues to hyperventilate over every presidential tweet attacking major television networks, they have remained largely silent about Cantú’s plight.   Baynard Woods is the founder of Democracy in Crisis and a reporter at the Real News Network.

    DigBoston / 12 d. 13 h. 35 min. ago more
  • NATIONAL WIRE: HOUSE CHIP RENEWAL UNLIKELY TO PASS SENATENATIONAL WIRE: HOUSE CHIP RENEWAL UNLIKELY TO PASS SENATE

    Photo by Olivia Falcigno   The United States House of Representatives on Friday approved a bill to refinance the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but the funding is still in doubt.   Nationwide, 9 million children, including more than 185,000 in Massachusetts, get their health insurance through CHIP.   Funding for the program expired Oct. 1, putting the program in jeopardy.   The Republican bill that passed the House would balance increased costs by slashing funding for vital public health services and denying healthcare to pregnant women and children while billing issues are resolved.   According to Eliot Fishman, senior policy director at Families USA, it also would cancel the health insurance if a marketplace premium payment were just one month overdue.   “The estimate is, that would cut almost 700,000 people off of insurance every year if they move to that very short grace period before people are cut off,” he states.   In the Senate, at least eight Democrats would have to join with the entire Republican majority to approve the measure, making passage of the bill very unlikely.   But Fishman notes that time is running out. Since the funding expired more than a month ago, states have been scrambling to keep the program going, and some states soon will reach the end of their ability to do that.   “We’ll start to see families getting notices that CHIP enrollment is getting frozen or that kids with existing coverage will start to get cut off,” Fishman states. “Those notices are going to start to go out in the first states later in November.”   CHIP has enjoyed broad, bipartisan support since it was created in 1997, when Bill Clinton was president and the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.   But now House Republicans insist that any new spending for CHIP must be offset by cost reductions. Fishman says that standard is not being applied to the Republican tax cut plan.   “We’re talking about trying to cram down these really problematic pay-fors for the Children’s Health Insurance Program while not even bothering to try and fit these giant tax cuts under a deficit-neutral framework.”   Proposed Republican tax cuts would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the federal budget deficits over 10 years.

    DigBoston / 12 d. 13 h. 42 min. ago more
  • MASS PROSECUTORS GET REFORM SCHOOLEDMASS PROSECUTORS GET REFORM SCHOOLED

    Photo by Dan McCarthy   Late last month, the Massachusetts Senate passed a sweeping criminal justice reform bill aiming to reduce strain on the Commonwealth. The bill, which is now at the mercy of the House of Representatives, targets a range of reform issues and would, among other things, raise the adult criminal responsibility age from 18 to 19 and address the nightmare of mandatory minimum sentences—that preferred weapon of prosecutors looking for shortcuts and a cheap binary approach to American justice.   Not surprisingly, those prosecutors are perturbed at the push for progressive reform. Nine Bay State district attorneys (including Suffolk County DA Dan Conley) even signed a letter opposing—or at the very least, expressing grave concerns about—the Senate’s sizable omnibus crime bill. “We should be especially wary of embracing supposedly ‘new ideas’ that are no more than a return to the old and discredited ways of the past,” the DAs wrote, hardly masking their endorsement of the status quo.   In response to law and order prosecutors, pastors and other criminal justice reformers rallied in Nurses Hall at the State House last week. Organized by the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, they gave pointed responses, one by one, to DA claims that the Senate bill “undermines the cause and pursuit of fair and equal justice for all” and that it would result in law enforcement “ignoring or minimizing criminal activity that is obviously detrimental to victims and communities.”   “I’m tired of the demonization that always occurs when people are trying to fight for reform,” said Rev. Jeffrey Brown of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. “For the DAs to write a letter like that…”   “This bill is trying to do justice with mercy,” added Rev. Willie Bodrick of Twelfth Baptist.   Among the issues that the group took umbrage with was the complexity of wrestling with the disruption and decimation of families in black and brown communities. Andrea James, an organizer with Families for Justice as Healing who started the group while incarcerated, decried “the constant churning and unrelenting aspects of a criminal justice system that we’ve allowed to proliferate in Massachusetts.” The system, said James, “doesn’t give the opportunity to even begin to think about what happens after they get home.”   Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry of Dorchester, who backed the measure, noted that there’s careful language in the Senate bill aimed at rebuilding people “who went off the path, and may be broken, but not done.”   “Whether you’re in for 18 months or five years, with mandatory minimums you can’t even participate in programs to better yourself—whether it’s anger management, learning de-escalation methods, or education,” Sen. Forry said. “Communities of color are over-policed, and with more charged with mandatory minimums, it limits the opportunity to engage in treatment and training opportunities to return home with skills. They’re more likely to fall back into the same behavior.”   While Sen. Forry addresses the lack of resources and funding for incarceration, especially for the treatment and education of those incarcerated, Rahsaan Hall, director of the ACLU of Massachusetts’ racial justice program, applauded the Senate for producing a “far-reaching criminal reform package,” and called attention to the demonization and “offensive rhetoric” coming from prosecutors.   “DAs are some of the most powerful people in the system … but they’re not the sole voice for those in the system,” Hall said. A former prosecutor himself who calls mandatory minimums “one of the greatest tools prosecutors have,” the ACLU attorney framed it thusly: “You have a Commonwealth that is comprised of 22 percent black and Latino people … and 75 percent of those incarcerated are serving mandatory sentences for drug offenses. In the face of data that shows that blacks and Latinos use drugs at relatively the same rates as whites, there is a serious problem and a greater need for criminal reform.”   Hall then explained why DAs are so reluctant to embrace sentencing reform: “It’s a repeal of prosecutorial power … Some of the greatest rises in incarceration rates… stems from the draconian war on drugs … but also from the increased prosecution [rates] by prosecutors who have leveraged these charges to extract guilty pleas from people. If everyone charged with these offenses all went to trial, it would shut the system down. So prosecutors use those [methods] as a tool to narrow the amount of people in the system.”   That’s not hyperbole. In 2013, Mother Jones found that, on average, a year and a half of time would be required to actually handle a year’s worth of average public-defense work. The topic has even gained ground in pop culture consciousness, with John Oliver devoting lengthy segments to highlight the strains on the system, underscoring why prosecutors heart mandatory minimums in spite of the fact that, according to Hall and other experts, “there is no empirical data that shows mandatory minimums serve as a [crime] deterrent.”   For reform advocates, the Senate bill is promising. Prevention and intervention are major goals, as they seemingly must be to get something through the House, to the governor, and past the goal line by the last day of formal sessions on Nov 15. For his part, Baker has already publicly skewered the Senate bill and is especially distasteful of a section that would scrap rigid sentencing for drug traffickers.   While some speakers addressed such specific criticisms, on Beacon Hill last week proponents mostly addressed larger issues, like the greater good of whole communities.   “One of [the Senate bill] amendments that came through was about de-escalation training for law enforcement to talk about cultural issues,” Sen. Forry said. “This bill is about bringing the humanity back to criminal justice reform. Just because people went down a bad path doesn’t mean we should be done with them.”   Calvin Feliciano is an example of that. A former drug dealer who grew up in the South End, he cycled through the system and fought his way to reform. For the last two years, Feliciano has been working with the Jobs Not Jails coalition, and currently serves as political director for SEIU 509. Feliciano feels the Senate bill’s work on mandatory minimums is a good start, but said there’s work still to do if the current bill and its compromises are “chipped away further.”   “The DAs talk about violence a lot [in the letter], [saying] they’re all about safety … to score political points for their next office,” Feliciano said. “They should know today that we are on the front lines actually trying to make our neighborhoods safer, and we don’t do it for political points like they do.”   Andrea James of Families for Justice as Healing also let the DAs have it:   “We just had two major drug lab issues that happened in the Commonwealth,” she said, “and we have to understand that was the result of a systemic failure and result of prosecutors, even when they knew this was happening, refusing to dismiss those tainted drug lab cases. That’s a direct sign of a completely corrupt and broken system that we have to find ways of addressing. Giving more power to prosecutors who didn’t use it properly is not the answer to that.”   Taking questions, Hall noted that in the past 20 years, Bay State DAs have gone uncontested in their bids for re-election more than three-quarters of the time. Horace Small, executive director of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods, which organized the event, reminded reporters that Suffolk DA Conley has “counted on black voters to get re-elected.”   “We need [the DAs opposing the Senate bill] to know we see you,” Feliciano added. “We’re putting you on blast, and we are going to hold you accountable.”

    DigBoston / 13 d. 4 h. 10 min. ago more
  • FRONT AND CENTER: RACE PLAYS INTO THE BOSTON MAYORAL ELECTION IN MORE WAYS THAN YOU REALIZEFRONT AND CENTER: RACE PLAYS INTO THE BOSTON MAYORAL ELECTION IN MORE WAYS THAN YOU REALIZE

    Photo by Olivia Falcigno     This past weekend, community members and activists packed a room in Dorchester to hear Roxbury City Councilor Tito Jackson discuss his vision for Boston at a mayoral forum hosted by the We Decide Coalition, a community organization.   “We had a police officer who made a racist video. One that basically threatened the black community,” Jackson said at the event. “Mayor Walsh, as well as the commissioner, allowed that individual to only be suspended for six months. Under my administration, when something like that happens, that individual will be fired.”   Mayor Marty Walsh, who faces Jackson in the Nov 7 Boston mayoral election, declined the coalition’s invitation to attend the forum. Also during this race, he declined opportunities to face constituents of color by not attending the Matahari Women Workers’ Center mayoral forum and by not initially responding to an ACLU questionnaire on policing.   Walsh and Jackson have clashed on race issues long before Jackson announced his mayoral candidacy: namely, about racial tensions at Boston Latin School, as well as around the formation and composition of the city’s Black and Latino Men’s Commission. Now these issues have been pushed to the forefront—displacement that disproportionately affects communities of color, racial inequity in the education system, escalating tensions between police and people of color, and large racial disparities in life expectancy.   To address these concerns, Walsh released a report titled Resilient Boston in July. “We’ve commissioned a new study to explore expanded possibilities for using city policy to reduce race- and gender-based disparities. We’re expanding our implicit bias training to all city departments,” Walsh told DigBoston. But during the second mayoral debate, hosted by WGBH on Oct 24, Jackson hit back at the mayor for commissioning studies about race but not taking adequate action.   All of which only further suggests that while both candidates have positioned themselves as the best choice for addressing racism in a city that is 53 percent people of color, their outlooks on related issues and strategies regarding how to fix things differ substantially.   ***   Activists who gathered outside of the WGBH studio in Allston for the mayoral debate last week held a banner that read “The next mayor of Boston must end our displacement + affordability crisis.” Mass evictions have hit Dorchester, East Boston, and Roxbury the hardest. According to American Community Survey, 43.5 percent of Dorchester residents are black or African American.   Walsh outlined his administration’s plans to address affordable housing in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030. The report states that 19 percent of Boston’s housing units are reserved for low- and moderate-income residents. In a press release from the Walsh campaign, they note the “record-setting production of middle income housing.”   Not everybody sees the situation through such rosy lenses, though.   Photo by Olivia Deng   The NAACP Boston chapter released a report card on Oct 22 to evaluate how well Walsh is doing with communities of color, and gave the mayor a “D” in affordable housing. Ronel Remy, a community organizer at the housing advocacy organization City Life/Vida Urbana, said that despite Walsh’s stated goals to increase the number of affordable units, Boston is manipulated by big investors that control development.   “The city will be flexible to their [big investors’] needs against the needs of the diverse community,” Remy said.   Kowtowing to corporations is on-brand for Walsh, according to Remy, who said Walsh has directed too much energy to things like landing an Amazon headquarters here.   “What do you think is going to happen with such a big, big corporation coming into the city?” Remy said. “Your city is going to be nicer, bigger, richer, and everything. At what cost? Every single person we lose, every person who lives on the streets or shelter.”   Jackson said that he would take housing equity seriously.   “This issue of gentrification is huge,” the councilor candidate told DigBoston. “There are thousands of luxury condos being built, and people are being gentrified out of their neighborhoods and communities. That is happening around racial lines. The city of Boston is becoming less diverse rather than more diverse.”   In addition to raising the requirement of affordable housing in new developments from 15 percent to 25 percent and creating a city-funded housing voucher program, Jackson said that he would dissolve the Boston Planning and Development Agency in favor of a people-centered planning department.   “We should have a planning board that is independent,” Jackson told DigBoston. “I will dissolve the [BPDA]. We will have those funds roll back over to the community.”   ***   Housing problems affect students in a major way. With an estimated 4,000 homeless students, up from 1,500 four years ago, Jackson said he is invested in an equitable system that ensures all the opportunity to learn in a safe environment.   “At the epicenter of racial inequality are the Boston Public Schools,” Jackson said. “And the inequities in the Boston Public Schools have led to the achievement gap. We really need to deal with those issues. First by fully funding the Boston Public Schools. Stopping suspensions of young students.”   Walsh also said he is committed to the wellbeing of BPS.   “Superintendent Chang and I worked closely together to install a trusted leadership team, and [to] hire Latin’s first headmaster of color in its 382-year history,” Walsh told DigBoston.   Michael Johnson, professor of public policy and public affairs at University of Massachusetts Boston, said that “white Bostonians have largely abandoned the public school system except for Boston Latin School and Boston Latin Academy, which they consider their preserve.”   ***   According to a 2014 study, black students in Massachusetts are almost four times more likely to be suspended from school than their white counterparts. In a similar vein, the ACLU and other groups report that the school-to-prison pipeline is driven by policies that target people of color.   “I have grown up understanding and interacting with the racism in the city,” said Segun Idowu, lead organizer of the Boston Police Camera Action Team. Recalling how police have treated him and his friends, Idowu said that people of color are regularly pulled over, yelled at, and randomly stopped on the street. That behavior is seemingly reflected by a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll, conducted in June, which found that 57 percent of those who call themselves black—and only 37 percent of those who call themselves white—viewed Boston as racist.   Walsh has said that he is working on improving the relationship between cops and residents. For example, he told DigBoston, “BPD has partnered with YWCA Boston to hold youth-police dialogues for over a decade.” Sheriff Steven Tompkins, who endorsed Walsh, said that he is confident in the mayor’s handling of policing issues.   “When an incident happens in a community of color, this mayor calls in the community leaders, clergy, and they talk about what’s going on,” Tompkins said. Piggybacking that sentiment, Jamaica Plain Progressives wrote in their endorsement for Walsh that he has made strides on race issues by hosting conversations and diversifying the BPD. (JP Progressives did not respond to DigBoston’s request for comment for this article.)   Photo by Chris Faraone   Despite these promises, Amanda Bissaro, a volunteer for the Jackson campaign, said that Walsh’s actions contradict his words.   “If [Walsh] was serious about racial equality, he would’ve fired racist cop Joseph DeAngelo Jr. instead of calling his video foolish. Meanwhile, Mayor Walsh did fire a city worker for participating in a Black Lives Matter protest on her own time.”   Jackson himself said that Boston is lagging on policing issues.   “We should have a city that is leading on body cameras instead of following on body cameras,” the councilor told DigBoston. “We should have a city that has a civilian review board where people’s voices are heard that is independent from the police department and actually looks at every case in the city of Boston that is a complaint.”     ***   When it comes to how Walsh and Jackson approach race issues in Boston, Walsh points to his main strategies—Resilient Boston and hosting dialogues—while Jackson says that he wants to fight systemic racism by lifting voices from the outside, from the neighborhoods.   According to Idowu, the Boston Police Camera Action Team organizer, communities of color are being placed under a microscope to be studied and talked about.   “These are not new issues for us,” Idowu said. “There’s always been an achievement gap. There’s always been higher rates of poverty and unemployment in our community. There’s always been police issues. All he [Walsh] wants to do is talk about it, and we’re ready for action. We have been ready for action.”   In response to such calls from community members and advocates, Jackson said his approach to crippling systemic racism would be to weaken the power of the mayor’s office and to empower the community at large.   “I will show up at [public events and forums] and actually listen,” Jackson said. “It is critical that we democratize city government … The mayorship is too strong.”

    DigBoston / 18 d. 2 h. 20 min. ago more
  • DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS: SNOOZING THROUGH FASCISMDEMOCRACY IN CRISIS: SNOOZING THROUGH FASCISM

      A slow-motion academic protest of fascism emerges after conference   The great Russian-American writer Masha Gessen was standing on the stage at Bard College in New York in front of a sign that read “Crises of Democracy.” It was the name of an Oct 12-14 conference sponsored by the Hannah Arendt Center there.   “I think it’s safe to say that all of us are living in a state of low-level dread, always suspecting that we are missing something of enormous impact while chasing something else of enormous impact,” she said from the podium.   With short dark hair, thick glasses, and a stylish sports jacket, Gessen resembled the famous portrait of a young Arendt, a legendary political theorist and Holocaust survivor who examined the nature of power and totalitarianism.   Gessen compared her experience in President Donald Trump’s America over the last year to that of living under Russian President Vladimir Putin when “the only skill I had really honed for more than 10 years was the skill of protecting the views I already held.”   The team behind Democracy in Crisis was invited to provide a breakout session at the conference, and I was hoping to use the event to interview Gessen, who just released The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.   The book follows seven different characters from the 1980s through the present, weaving narratives of their lives together into a vast tapestry that, among other things, presents the brief rise and swift destruction of gay rights in Russia—a development which caused Gessen, who immigrated to the US as a teenager and returned to Russia as a reporter, to go into exile once again.     Among the book’s main characters is Aleksandr Dugin, the far-right ideologue behind Putin’s nationalism—and an influence on former White House Chief Strategist and Breitbart News Chair Steve Bannon and white supremacist Richard Spencer, who is married to Dugin’s primary English translator.   Gessen shows that in 1984, Dugin was in love with Evgenia Dobryanskaya, who later became an activist for LGBT rights. Gessen then follows them, tragically, to the present.   I was so wrapped up in the tales of these distant Russian lives that I didn’t pay that much attention to exactly who else was speaking at the conference, and so, I was taking a quick nap when Marc Jongen, the Dugin of Alternative für Deutschland, the far-right German party, was speaking. AfD got more than 12 percent of the vote in the 2017 election and gave Jongen a seat in parliament.   At the time, as I see on the video now, things were so quiet and respectful, it seems like I was not the only one snoozing through fascism. But last week, a group of 50 professors and academics wrote a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education condemning the Hannah Arendt Center for lending its legitimacy—and the legacy of Arendt—to the extreme and violent positions of Jongen and the AfD.   “The AfD subscribes to a nationalist far-right agenda and is closely allied with the violent street movement ‘Pegida’ (“Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West” ) that attacks refugees, immigrants, and Muslims,” the letter reads. “Jongen is devoted to providing intellectual legitimacy to the AfD’s extreme rhetoric and actions. His philosophical jargon seeks to justify the incitement and violence carried out by Pegida, including the physical blockade of refugee buses, as the expression of a laudable ‘thymos,’ or rage, that has been suppressed by liberalism and multiculturalism.”   But to hear Jongen tell it during his speech at Bard, he is oppressed and his free speech is limited in Europe, where people show up to protest his talks.   “Since I joined the AfD … I made the experience that conferences where I should appear were disturbed, there was a huge protest going on when I should give a talk in Switzerland,” he said, adding, as do his American counterparts, that his opponents were really protesting free speech. He blamed it on the “specter of Hitler” haunting Germany.   The controversy over his appearance at a university may cast Jongen under the specter of Richard Spencer or former Breitbart News Senior Editor Milo Yiannopoulos in the American mind—but instead of states of emergency, and Antifa and alt-right battling in the streets, we now have the polite and archaic battle of academics that is almost reminiscent of the old Partisan Review. There were no chants or signs or attempts to shut him down. And while the questions from the audience expressed a deep sense of disturbance, it was all so quiet that you could sleep through it.   Roger Berkowitz, the founder and director of the Arendt Center, has since argued in a post that it was essential to “include at least one person who represents the idea of an illiberal democracy,” since “[m]ajorities of people in Hungary, Russia, Turkey, and Austria and that large pluralities of people in France, Germany, and the United States (amongst other countries) are embracing ideas of democratic nationalism and democratic authoritarianism.”   Baynard Woods is the founder of Democracy in Crisis and a reporter and editor at the Real News. baynard@democracyincrisis.com. @baynardwoods

    DigBoston / 18 d. 5 h. 33 min. ago more
  • Study considers whether using helmets less would reduce concussionsStudy considers whether using helmets less would reduce concussions

    As concerns grow about the potential long-term effects of concussions, a new study is looking at whether reducing helmet use could help prevent such injuries in football.

    WCVB / 18 d. 10 h. 12 min. ago
  • STATE WIRE: ADVOCATES TELL LAWMAKERS TO GET THE LEAD OUTSTATE WIRE: ADVOCATES TELL LAWMAKERS TO GET THE LEAD OUT

      LENOX, Mass. – Massachusetts needs to get the lead out of drinking water in schools and daycare centers. That’s the message public-health advocates took to a legislative committee hearing on Monday.   The Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture was taking testimony on a bill to require the regular testing of water in schools for lead contamination and corrective action when a problem is found. The American Academy of Pediatrics says concentrations of more than one part per billion pose a significant threat to children.   According to Deidre Cummings, legislative director of MASSPIRG, the potent neurotoxin was present in almost half of school tap water tested last summer.   “Forty-nine percent of the 67,000 taps tested at our schools found some level of lead in the water,” she said. “The vast majority of those lead levels were in concentrations greater than one part per billion.”   The legislation, Senate Bill 456, has 76 legislative co-sponsors and broad bipartisan support.   Lead accumulates in the body over time, but children are especially vulnerable to the health impacts of lead at much lower levels of exposure. As Cummings points out, the consequences can be severe.   “Exposure to lead has been shown to cause a variety of health problems including intellectual problems, behavioral disabilities, stunted growth, hearing loss and anemia,” she explains.   The bill would require the replacement of lead service lines, the largest single source of lead in drinking water, to schools and daycare centers, and installation of filters on taps and fountains.   The dangers of lead have been known for years and it is no longer used in paint or as a gasoline additive. But at Monday’s hearing, Cummings told legislators that much less attention has been paid to the lead pipes that bring it right to our faucets.   “Let’s take the leadership,” she challenges. “Let’s be the state that says no, we’re not going to tolerate an unsafe environment for where our kids go to school or day-care centers.”

    DigBoston / 19 d. 3 h. 59 min. ago more
  • Biracial boy allegedly hanged by group of teens gets big birthday surpriseBiracial boy allegedly hanged by group of teens gets big birthday surprise

    Last month, Quincy's family said a group of teenagers nearly hanged him in what they're calling a racially motivated crime.

    WCVB / 38 d. 5 h. 32 min. ago