Latest Massachusetts news, sports, business and entertainment


Man dies in Cambridge fire

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Authorities say a man has died in an overnight fire in Cambridge.

The man died in a two-alarm fire in a three-story house on Columbia Street early Tuesday morning.

The victim was a resident of the third floor believed to be in his 50s. Residents of the first two floors made it out safely.

No names were immediately released.

Assistant Fire Chief Gerry Mahoney said the cause is still under investigation.


Report: Mass. still struggling with drugs, tobacco

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts is continuing to struggle with the health effects of illegal drugs while tobacco remains the state's leading cause of preventable death and disease.

According to a new Massachusetts Health Council report, eastern Massachusetts has been particularly hard hit.

The study points to a federal 2011 report that found the Boston metropolitan area had the highest rate of emergency department visits involving illicit drugs of any of 11 major metropolitan regions in the U.S., topping New York City, Chicago, and Detroit.

The Boston region — which includes Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, and Essex counties, plus two counties in New Hampshire — ranked first among the 11 metropolitan regions for hospital visits specifically involving heroin.

The report also found that nearly 9,000 Massachusetts residents die each year from the effects of smoking.


Wilmington lighting plant to close

(Information in the following story is from: The (Lowell, Mass.) Sun, )

WILMINGTON, Mass. (AP) — Company officials say a Wilmington plant that makes fluorescent light fixtures is scheduled to close within the next six to nine months.

Workers at the Lightolier plant were informed of the closure Friday.

Lightolier is a subsidiary of Philips Electronics.

Philips spokeswoman Silvie Casanova tells The Sun of Lowell that because the fixtures made at the Wilmington plant rely on older technologies, the company decided to phase out that facility.

She says it has not been determined what will happen with the jobs of the nearly 250 employees, many of whom are unionized.


FDA uncovers insects, birds and other contamination issues at second Massachusetts pharmacy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal health inspectors have found more than a dozen sterility problems, including insects, at a drugmaking facility with the same founders as the specialty pharmacy linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak.

The Food and Drug Administration has released the results of a monthlong inspection of Ameridose. The Westborough, Mass.-based company makes a variety of injectable drugs.

Inspectors say they found insects within 10 feet of a supposedly sterile area where drugs are manufactured. In another case, inspectors reported a bird flying into a room where drugs are stored.

Ameridose agreed to shut down for inspection in October after tainted steroids from its sister company, the New England Compounding Center, were linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak.

Ameridose says it will work to address the issues cited by FDA, but stressed it hasn't had any contaminated products over the past six years.


Maynard teacher's aide accused of supplying pot

MAYNARD, Mass. (AP) — A former teacher's aide at Maynard High School has a date in court to face charges that she provided marijuana and alcohol to students, and smoked pot with them on school property.

Jennifer Olsen of Maynard is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Concord District Court on charges including of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and procuring alcohol for a minor.

The 41-year-old Olsen was fired Nov. 5 after she failed to show up for an administrative hearing with school officials.

Authorities allege Olsen drove four students to a secluded parking lot where they all smoked marijuana in her vehicle.

Olsen also allegedly met with the same four students to smoke marijuana on school grounds.

Olsen also allegedly purchased alcohol for the teenagers.

She could not be reached.


Mass. Democratic Party chairman seeks another term

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh is seeking another four-year term.

In a letter to fellow members of the Democratic State Committee, Walsh pointed the party's dominance in Massachusetts.

He acknowledged the gains made by Republicans in Massachusetts in 2010, most notably the election of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown in a special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of longtime Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy.

But Walsh also pointed to what was the party's signature achievement — last week's election of Democratic Sen.-elected Elizabeth Warren, who will replace Brown in January.

Walsh said he's committed to helping encourage a new generation of party leaders and also pointed to upcoming elections, including another possible special Senate election if President Obama taps Sen. John Kerry as Secretary of State.


For Gov. Patrick, after campaign, renewed focus

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick is facing the more mundane tasks of state government after helping campaign for President Barack Obama and Democratic Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren during the past year.

Patrick defended Obama on television news shows and urged Democrats to "grow a backbone" at the Democratic National Convention. Then he celebrated Obama's re-election win with a White House dinner on Friday.

Patrick has also tried to tamp down speculation about what role he might play in a second Obama term, saying he's committed to serving his final two years as governor.

Patrick has no shortage of challenges facing him at home.

There's the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak linked to a steroid distributed by a Framingham-based compounding center and the testing scandal at a former state drug lab that threatens to unravel thousands of criminal cases.


Springfield, Mass., man held after hitting officer

(Information in the following story is from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, )

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A 24-year-old Springfield man has been arrested on drunken driving charges after he hit and slightly injured a police officer directing traffic at a construction site.

Police Capt. Thomas Trites tells the Springfield Republican newspaper that Siloe Perez struck the officer with his pickup truck at about 11 a.m. Monday. Trites said Perez was arrested about a mile away.

Trites said the officer was treated for a knee injury at a hospital and released.

Perez is to be arraigned Tuesday on charges including drunken driving and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, his vehicle. It's not immediately known who is representing him.


BU student riding bicycle, struck, killed by T bus

BOSTON (AP) — Authorities say a Boston University student riding his bicycle has been killed after being struck by an MBTA bus.

Police responded to the intersection of Harvard and Brighton avenues in Allston just before 6:30 p.m. Monday where they found the 21-year-old man seriously injured. He was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The victim's name was not released pending notification of family.

A T spokesman says a driver has been taken out of service pending the outcome of the investigation. Drug and alcohol tests were conducted, per protocol.

The driver's name was not released.


Lawrence police investigate 8 cat deaths

(Information in the following story is from: Eagle Tribune (North Andover, Mass.), )

LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — Police in Lawrence are investigating the suspicious deaths of eight cats in the same neighborhood in the past two weeks.

The cats, all of which were apparently poisoned, were found in the Lowell and Greenwood streets area. A cat found last Wednesday was sent for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Police Chief John Romero tells The Eagle-Tribune that whoever is killing the cats is "deranged" and he's concerned because people who are cruel to animals often go on to commit violent crimes against humans.

Animal Control Officer Ellen Bistany became suspicious because a cat found on a sidewalk last week showed no signs of trauma, such as having been struck by a car.


Crews come to aid of injured hiker in NH

JAFFREY, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire rescue crews have come to the aid of an injured hiker who was descending Mount Monadnock.

Fish and Game officers said 58-year-old Gayle Carroll of North Reading, Mass., was with friends and family on the White Arrow Trail when she injured her lower right leg at about 3 p.m. Monday.

Mountain patrol rangers reached Carroll and provided first aid. A rescue team carried her to a trailhead, where she was taken to a hospital.


Homeland Security chief gives Veterans Day address

BOSTON (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke at Northeastern University as the school added three new names to its Veterans Memorial.

Monday's ceremony took place at the campus memorial that honors students and alumni who died carrying out military duties.

The university's Reserve Officers' Training Corps Alumni Society also held a candlelight remembrance to mark Veterans Day.

Napolitano's appearance in Boston came a day after she visited relief workers in a storm-ravaged borough of New York City.

At Northeastern, she spoke of seeing veterans working in that post-storm recovery effort and helped the university's president place a wreath at the memorial.

Napolitano also told family of veterans who died in action that Americans wouldn't forget their loved ones' sacrifices.


Cape Cod bridge to be named after Yarmouth Marine

DENNIS, Mass. (AP) — A dedication ceremony has been scheduled to name a bridge that passes over Route 6 in Dennis in honor of a Marine from Yarmouth who died in Afghanistan.

The ceremony Tuesday morning will name the overpass between exits 8 and 9 on for Cpl. Nicholas Xiarhos (ex-AHR'-ose).

The 21-year-old Xiarhos was killed by a roadside bomb in July 2009.

He grew up in Yarmouth, was a graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, and was the son of Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief Steven Xiarhos and his wife, Lisa.

Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill in July to name the overpass after Xiarhos.

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


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