BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING-FLORIDA
Muslim group: 3 Russians unlawfully kept out of US
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A Muslim rights organization is asking Secretary of State John Kerry to intervene and allow three permanent residents of Florida to return to the United States from Russia.
The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter to Kerry on Monday accusing the United States of unlawfully preventing three Russians - Umar Taramov (Ooo-Mahr Tahr-uh-mawv), Khusen Taramov (Coo-sihn Tahr-uh-mawv), and Khasan Taramov (Kuh-sahn Tahr-uh-mawv) - from boarding a flight in Moscow.
Khusen Taramov was one of the last people to see Chechen immigrant Ibragim Todashev (IH'-bruh-heem TOH'-duh-shehv) alive before he was shot to death in May during an interview with the FBI and others in central Florida.
Officials say Todashev turned violent while being questioned about his ties to one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects. The state attorney is continuing to investigate the incident.
Grossman faults Coakley on immigrant licenses
BOSTON (AP) - State Treasurer Steve Grossman is faulting Attorney General Martha Coakley for not supporting efforts to allow immigrants in the country illegally to obtain drivers licenses.
Grossman is challenging Coakley for the Democratic nomination for governor. He said Tuesday that he was disappointed to learn of Coakley's "long-standing opposition to issuing licenses to certain drivers because of their immigration status."
Grossman says he supports a bill that would grant the licenses.
A spokesman for Coakley's campaign said she has long opposed efforts to allow the licenses because she hoped the federal government would approve "comprehensive immigration reform to address many of these underlying issues."
The aide said that since the government has failed to act, Coakley is now open to working with law enforcement, lawmakers and the immigrant communities to take steps toward allowing the licenses.
Lowell man seeks new trial in 1982 fatal fire
(Information in the following story is from: The (Lowell, Mass.) Sun, http://www.lowellsun.com )
LOWELL, Mass. (AP) - A Lowell man convicted of setting a fire in 1982 that killed eight people, including five children, wants a new trial.
Lawyers for Victor Rosario told a judge Middlesex Superior Court on Monday that there were serious flaws during the investigation and at his 1983 trial.
During a weeklong hearing, Rosario's attorneys argued that the now 57-year-old Rosario, who became an ordained Baptist minister while serving a life sentence for murder, is the victim of a "perfect storm of injustice."
The Sun of Lowell reports that prosecutors told the judge that in order for a new trial, Rosario must either show that he had ineffective lawyers at his first trial or show that there is new evidence in the case, and he did neither.
The judge did not immediately rule.
State defends medical marijuana licensing process
BOSTON (AP) - The state is defending its heavily criticized process for selecting companies to run medical marijuana dispensaries.
In an 18-page letter to a state lawmaker investigating the licensing process, the head of the state's medical marijuana program insisted that the Public Health Department "rigorously verifies" information in the applications and "investigates any allegations that information provided is not accurate."
There have been several media reports questioning the qualifications of key staff of several dispensaries and documented misstatements made by applicants.
Twenty dispensaries have been given preliminary approval.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo asked state Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez last month to examine how the state selected the companies.
Sanchez tells The Boston Globe his investigation is ongoing and he has many more questions for the head pf the program.
199 neglected animals found in Lynnfield home
LYNNFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Animal welfare officials say they have rescued 199 dogs, cats, birds and other animals from a Lynnfield home where they were living in squalor.
Officials called it one of the worst cases of animal hoarding they had scene.
The animals were discovered late last month when police went to the home for a medical emergency and found a 69-year-old woman dead. Her death was not considered suspicious. The discovery was announced Monday.
Authorities say the animals, many of the sick and malnourished, were in cages and crates stacked to the ceiling. Animal waste covered the floors and the smell was overpowering.
Some animals had to be euthanized, and the rest have been sent to area shelters for rehabilitation and adoption.
The husband of the woman who died could face charges.
CHICKEN RESTAURANT SHOOTING
Lawrence police release video of restaurant fight
(Information in the following story is from: Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Mass.), http://www.eagletribune.com )
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - Police have released a 29 second video of a fight inside a Lawrence chicken restaurant that led to a double shooting.
Police are hoping that the video leads to arrests in the March 2 shooting inside Pollo Tipico.
A 30-year-old security guard was shot in the shin and another man got hit in the buttocks.
Acting Police Chief James Fitzpatrick tells The Eagle-Tribune that both victims are doing fine.
The video shows several men brawling inside the crowded restaurant before a bearded man wearing a U.S. soccer jersey with the No. 10 on the back pulls a gun.
Police are searching for the both the shooter and another man involved in the brawl.
Fitzpatrick is asking anyone who recognizes the suspects in the video to call police.
Pros, cons of online gaming weighed by Mass. Panel
BOSTON (AP) - The panel overseeing the state's casino law is exploring the potential impacts should Internet gambling come to Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is holding a daylong forum Tuesday on Internet gambling, which is currently legal in New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware.
Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby suggested that the Legislature not make any decisions on the legalization of online gambling until the panel completes the process of awarding casino licenses in Massachusetts.
State Senate Majority Leader Stanley Rosenberg said he didn't want to see Internet gambling have a negative impact on revenues from the state lottery or future resort casinos.
The Amherst Democrat, one of the chief legislative architects of the 2011 casino law, said lawmakers are looking for guidance from the commission on how to approach Internet gambling.
Mass. court upholds convictions in double slaying
BOSTON (AP) - The highest court in Massachusetts has upheld the first-degree murder convictions of a Greenfield man who confessed to fatally stabbing two people staying in his apartment.
Robin Anthony Hoose is serving life in prison after being convicted in the 2007 killings of Irene Pierce of Turners Falls and Frank Blanchard of Springfield.
Prosecutors said Hoose told police he killed the couple because he was angry when he discovered his watch and a ring were missing.
Hoose argued in his appeal that the trial judge should not have denied his motion to suppress his statements and should have denied a request from prosecutors to exclude the testimony of a defense expert on the phenomenon of false confessions.
The Supreme Judicial Court rejected his arguments and declined to overturn or reduce his convictions.
Report: Most charged at UMass were not students
(Information in the following story is from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, http://www.masslive.com/news/ )
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - About half of those charged in connection with a series of pre-St. Patrick's Day parties at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst last weekend were not students at the school.
The Republican newspaper of Springfield cross-referenced the list of those either arrested or issued a court summons against the student directory, and less than half attend UMass. One UMass employee was also charged.
A UMass spokesman says the campus has received a breakdown of student to non-student arrests. Campus officials have previously said students arrested are subject to school discipline, including possible expulsion.
The drunken, rowdy parties drew thousands of revelers and received national attention. Four police officers received minor injuries from bottles and snowballs thrown by partiers.
UMass' chancellor says the attention "brought shame" to the school.
BERKSHIRE BANK ROBBERY
Suspect in Mass. Bank robbery caught in NY
STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) - Authorities in New York have apprehended a man police say robbed a bank in Stockbridge.
Witnesses told police the man who robbed a Lee Bank branch at about 4 p.m. Monday drove away in a late model blue Chevrolet pickup truck with orange New York plates.
New York State Police spotted the truck later Monday and arrested 34-year-old Christopher Blair of Hillsdale, N.Y., which is right across the state line.
WRGB-TV reports that Blair was arraigned Tuesday as a fugitive from justice and held without bail.
Stockbridge Police Chief Robert Eaton Jr. tells The Berkshire Eagle that Blair will face robbery, assault and battery, and larceny charges in Massachusetts.
New York authorities say Blair was motivated by drug addiction. It was not clear if he had a lawyer.
FITCHBURG POLICE CHIEF
Fitchburg selects new police chief
(Information in the following story is from: Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, Mass.), http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com )
FITCHBURG, Mass. (AP) - Fitchburg's mayor has selected a candidate with federal law enforcement experience to be the city's new police chief.
Mayor Lisa Wong announced Monday that Scott Heagney will succeed outgoing Chief Robert DeMoura, pending city council approval.
Heagney is currently resident agent-in-charge of the Rochester, N.Y., office for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The Sentinel & Enterprise reports that Heagney grew up in Attleboro and began his career in Franklin. His brother is the chief of police in his home town.
He has an extensive background in intelligence, counterterrorism and public safety.
The council is scheduled to meet March 18. Wong says the city will start contract negotiations with Heagney in the hopes that he can start early next month.
CITY HALL DRESS CODE
Lawrence mayor institutes city hall dress code
LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) - The new mayor of Lawrence has instituted a dress code at city hall, but it isn't sitting well with some workers.
Mayor Daniel Rivera issued a memo last week banning casual clothing including T-shirts, jeans, sweats, bib overalls, Bermuda shorts, spandex and pajamas. He says he may consider casual Fridays in the future.
Rivera also directed "all males working in an office environment" to wear ties.
He says he's trying to change the city's image.
The union representing about a dozen code enforcement officers has filed a grievance over the dress code. Inspector Jorge De Jesus tells The Eagle-Tribune he and his colleagues often have to inspect filthy places.
Rivera suggests they change before heading out, then change back to professional attire when they get back.
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