BOSTON (AP) - The natural gas explosions and fires in Massachusetts last September have cost Columbia Gas more than $1 billion. NiSource, Columbia's parent company, said in a financial report this week that $757 million of that was for third-party claims against the utility and another $266 million was for other expenses. The explosions in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover killed one person, injured about two dozen, damaged more than 100 structures and left thousands without heat or hot water for weeks.

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts mayor who is facing federal charges and a recall election says prosecutors aren't allowing him to repay investors in his company. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II said Wednesday he has filed a motion for a judge to allow access to lenders to repay them. The motion says there is $306,000 available in escrow to pay the seven lenders, and in return, the lenders would agree not to file lawsuits.

LUDLOW, Mass. (AP) - Two young children died and four other people were injured in a three-vehicle traffic crash in Massachusetts. Police say the crash happened in Ludlow just before 3 p.m. Wednesday. The Hampden district attorney identified the victims as 9-year-old Jadyn Lamas and 7-year-old Natalya Lamas, both of Ludlow. Two other children and two adults were hurt. The cause remains under investigation.

BOSTON (AP) - A settlement is pending in casino mogul Steve Wynn's lawsuit seeking to block the release of Massachusetts' investigation into allegations of sexual assault. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted Wednesday to authorize its legal counsel to finalize an agreement with Wynn. Specific terms weren't disclosed, but the commission said the deal would guarantee access to "important investigative information" as it considers whether Wynn Resorts is still suitable to hold a casino license.

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