New England in brief

Voters back $1.9m override, oust official

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April 9, 2008

Voters in Wayland last night approved a $1.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 tax override and voted out a selectman who had been vocal against the tax increase. Nearly $1.3 million of the increased taxes will directly benefit Wayland K-12 public schools and serve to avoid about 10 teacher layoffs in the western suburb. The jobs of two police officers and a firefighter will also be saved. Selectman Alan J. Reiss, a vocal opponent of the tax increase, lost his reelection bid to override proponent Steven J. Correia. Selectman Joseph F. Nolan, an incumbent in favor of the override, easily won reelection.

Town budget passes; 30 teaching jobs lost
Sudbury will be losing 30 teachers along with other school staff after Town Meeting approved a $75 million budget. The spending plan was up to $2.8 million less that what would have been available had two Proposition 2 1/2 overrides not failed. The budget, which was passed Monday, also means two vacant Police Department positions will not be filled. Last night, Town Meeting approved spending about $10 million in Community Preservation Act funds to preserve land, commemorate town history, and create affordable housing.

Girl, 15, injured after being hit by truck
A 15-year-old Kingston girl was seriously injured after being hit by a pickup truck yesterday morning, police said. Kingston police and fire departments responded around 7 a.m. to the accident in the area near Wilder Road, Sergeant Zachary Potrykus said. The girl was still underneath the 2000 Dodge Dakota pickup truck, driven by Ryan Lynch, 17, also of Kingston, when first responders arrived, he said. Lynch is facing charges, but they have not been determined yet, according to Potrykus. The victim was taken by helicopter to Boston Medical Center, according to the Fire Department, but her condition was not available last night. Witnesses said the girl was struck while trying cross a street.

Brandeis graduate gives university $15m
A Brandeis University alumnus has pledged $15 million to the university, the largest gift from a graduate in the school's history, the university announced yesterday. Donald Soffer, a real estate developer and founder of Turnberry Associates in Florida, gave the gift, which officials said would help fund the continuing construction of the Carl J. Shapiro Science Center at the university's Waltham campus. The school will name the atrium of the 175,000-square-foot science center, the centerpiece of The Campaign for Brandeis's science initiative, for Soffer, officials said.

3 firms to form political consulting group
Three politically connected firms are joining forces to open a Boston-based public affairs consulting firm specializing in government relations, communications, and community relations. Capitol Consulting Group LLC will be made up of Philip W. Johnston Associates; Donoghue, Barrett & Singal; and Creative Strategies and Communications, LLC. Johnston, a former state cabinet secretary, was the chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party until last year. Donoghue, Barrett & Singal is a major lobbying firm on Beacon Hill and Creative Strategies was run by Kevin O'Reilly, who served as chief of staff to Senate President Therese Murray when she chaired the Committee on Ways and Means.

Opposition grows on convict's sex change
More than 20 state lawmakers have sent a letter to the state's prisons chief expressing their opposition to a state-funded sex-change operation for a convicted murderer. Michelle Kosilek is suing the state Department of Correction, claiming its refusal to allow the surgery violates her Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment. Kosilek was known as Robert when convicted in the killing of his wife in 1990. State Representative Jeffrey Davis Perry, of Sandwich, and 21 other lawmakers said in their letter that the surgery is far beyond the services the DOC is required to provide to inmates. (AP)

SJC rejects worker's compensation claim
A Big Dig foreman has lost his workers' compensation after the state's highest court ruled he was not entitled to benefits for injuries he received in a car crash after working 27 hours. Michael Haslam supervised a crew of carpenters on the Big Dig project. Haslam said he fell asleep driving home on Aug. 4, 2001, because he was exhausted. (AP)

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