New England in brief

Charter school rally set for State House

April 27, 2009
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Parents who want to lift the cap on charter schools in Massachusetts are taking their case to the State House. More than 500 people are expected at a rally Wednesday to urge Governor Deval Patrick and state lawmakers to allow more charter schools. The state has 61 charter schools. Advocates say the schools do a better job of teaching children and engaging parents, and offer a necessary alternative to failing schools. Teacher unions oppose the schools. Patrick has long opposed lifting a cap on the number of charter schools, though this year, he has proposed lifting the cap in underperforming districts. (AP)

Menino to dedicate square in Poe's honor
Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston, the city's poet laureate, Sam Cornish, and fans of the "master of the macabre" plan to dedicate a square near Boston Common in honor of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was born in Boston on Jan. 19, 1809. But the author of "The Raven" and "The Cask of Amontillado" had an often-bitter relationship with his hometown. He sometimes lied about his birthplace and voiced his distaste for the city's literary elite. Boston, though, has tried recently to show more love for Poe. Menino declared January "Edgar Allan Poe Appreciation Month." The square to be dedicated today is at Boylston and Charles streets. The site of Poe's birth is near the site of the State Transportation Building. (AP)

Police seek suspects in tire-slashing spree
Police are looking for suspects in a spree of tire slashing on Jenkins and Dorchester streets in Dorchester in recent days, said Eddy Chrispin, spokesman for Boston police. About 12 cars had at least one tire slashed since Friday. The first incident occurred on Friday at 11 p.m. on Jenkins Street and was reported by neighbors. About three cars had one flat tire each, and witnesses reported four to five males fled toward Dorchester Street. On Saturday, authorities received another call regarding vandalism at midnight at Dorchester Street and Dorchester Avenue. The caller reported that four males and one female ran into the Andrew MBTA Station after slashing tires. Eight cars had one flat tire each. Chrispin said another person reported all the tires on her car slashed between Thursday and Saturday on Jenkins Street.

Water main break floods part of square
A water main break in East Boston last night flooded part of Central Square with 4 or 5 inches of water, said Tom Bagley, spokesman for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The break, which occurred about 10:50 p.m. near the corner of Bennington and Porter streets, caused some damage to Porter Street but did not appear to cause property damage or disrupt water flow, Bagley said. Crews planned to work through the night to have the area cleared for this morning's commute.

Death penalty to be discussed in mob case
Prosecutors and lawyers for a West Springfield man accused of orchestrating a mob-related killing will meet today to discuss whether he should face the death penalty if convicted. Fotios "Freddy" Geas has pleaded not guilty in US District Court in Springfield to murder in aid of racketeering in the 2003 death of Adolfo "Big Al" Bruno. Prosecutors allege that Geas, 41, a onetime mob enforcer, paid another man $8,000 to kill Bruno in the midst of power struggles within the "Springfield Crew" mob. Frankie Roche, the triggerman, cooperated with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to murder under a deal that saves him from the death penalty. (AP)

Dozens held during UConn spring event
State troopers and University of Connecticut police say they made dozens of arrests during the busiest part of UConn's annual Spring Weekend festivities. State Police spokesman Lieutenant J. Paul Vance said the majority of the 44 people arrested by state troopers through yesterday morning were not UConn students. UConn police say they made 90 additional arrests, bringing the total well over 100 people charged with offenses ranging from interfering with police to criminal trespass. Vance said 49 other people were treated by medical squads and 18 others were sent to area hospitals, mostly for treatment of the effects of severe intoxication. (AP)