The pilot of a jet carrying passengers to Logan International Airport reported yesterday that a model rocket appeared to have been fired toward his craft, a Federal Aviation Administration official said. The pilot of AirWisconsin flight 180A saw what appeared to be a spark or firework in front of the plane around 12:26 p.m., after the jet had descended to 500 feet and was preparing to land, said FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker. The model rocket did not hit the aircraft, Baker said, and the 40-passenger plane, which had three crew members, landed safely. A State Police spokesman said the plane was flying over the Winthrop-Revere area at the time and the rocket was believed to have been fired from the vicinity of the Belle Isle Marsh Reservation. The state reservation is about a half-mile northeast of two of the airport's runways. State Police are investigating the incident, Benson said.
DSS chief defends agency after baby death
The state's Department of Social Services commissioner is defending his agency's handling of the case of a 9-month-old girl who allegedly was killed by her mother. Jennifer Ward of Peabody is charged with murder in the November death of Jocelyn Ward Anderson. DSS took the baby in March after a report of neglect, but Ward regained custody in July after completing drug treatment and parenting programs. DSS commissioner Angelo McClain said there was consistent follow-up, and no evidence of abuse. He said the family was "making progress." McClain wouldn't discuss why Ward was allowed to take the child home from the hospital after both tested positive for cocaine after delivery. (AP)
Lit cigarette blamed in BU dumpster fire
A lit cigarette thrown into a trash dumpster apparently caused a small fire on the fifth floor of a Boston University biomedical laboratory building under construction on Albany Street, fire officials said. Firefighters received a report of a fire at 3:41 p.m., and used two fire extinguishers to put out the blaze in about 10 minutes, said Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald. No chemicals or any other hazardous materials were found at the scene, where construction crews were working most of the day, he said. The fire caused no damage to the building, but damage to the dumpster was estimated at $5,000, MacDonald said.
Pike fires longtime Republican insider
Longtime Republican insider David Balfour Jr. has been fired from his job at the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, five years after he was ousted as head of the Metropolitan District Commission. The authority's new executive director, Alan LeBovidge, fired Balfour and legislative affairs director Kevin Coen as part of a wider cost-cutting plan, according to a Patrick administration source. Balfour received $93,000 per year as the Turnpike Authority's director of commuter services, overseeing the agency's roadside assistance program, a $1 million per year program that LeBovidge is considering eliminating. There was no answer at Balfour's home yesterday. Coen received $100,000 per year. He did not return a call to his home yesterday.
Stop & Shop removes cheese from shelves
Quincy-based Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. has removed a grated Italian cheese found to contain cellulose, a complex carbohydrate, following a voluntary recall by its distributor, a Stop & Shop spokesman said yesterday. Robert Keane, the spokesman, said customers who still have the product - 4C Parmesan Grated Cheese - should discard it or return it for a full refund.
Firefighter injured in 4-alarm house fire
A firefighter broke his leg battling a four-alarm fire in a vacant house on Leyfred Terrace in Springfield last night. Dennis Leger, a spokesman for the Springfield Fire Department, said the firefighter was taken to Baystate Medical Center, where he was in stable condition. He did not identify the firefighter. No other injuries were reported. Leger said the fire started in the basement about 8:30 p.m. Arson investigators were called because neighbors reported vagrancy and drug use in the single-family Colonial, he said.
Fire drives Clinton volunteers from hotel
One firefighter was injured, and dozens of Hillary Clinton volunteers were forced to relocate, after a three-alarm fire at a hotel and restaurant in Nashua. The blaze broke out around 10 a.m. yesterday at the 99 Restaurant and the adjacent Best Western Granite Inn on Saint Laurent Street, said police Sergeant Brooke Lemoine. Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Cronin said firefighters contained the fire to three rooms of the hotel, but there was extensive smoke and water damage to nearly three dozen other rooms. Lemoine said the fire apparently started in a lower-level supply room at the hotel. The cause was being investigated, but it did not appear to be suspicious, Lemoine said. (AP and staff reports)Correction: Because of a reporting error, a New England News in Brief item on Sunday about the recall of Parmesan cheese by Stop & Shop failed to include information about the specific packages that were being recalled. The cheese being recalled comes in 8.8-ounce packages of 4C Parmesan Grated Cheese and has the UPC code #41387-61190 and a product code of Oct. 18, 2009. Customers who have the product should discard it or return it to any Stop & Shop for a full refund.
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