New England in brief

Child abuse by Roslindale priest alleged

Associated Press / August 15, 2011

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The Archdiocese of Boston has placed a Roslindale priest on administrative leave following an allegation of sexual abuse of a child. Both church officials and law enforcement are investigating the allegation against the Rev. John M. Mendicoa of Sacred Heart Parish, the archdiocese said in a statement released yesterday. The abuse is reported to have happened in the 1980s. “My prayers and concern are with all people who are impacted by this matter,’’ Cardinal Sean O’Malley said in a prepared statement. “I remain committed to doing everything possible to protect our children, while at the same time furthering the healing process and rebuilding trust.’’

Health plan enrollment deadline today Massachusetts residents who buy private health care plans through the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector have until today to participate in an open enrollment period. Connector executive director Glen Shor said the enrollment period will be the only chance this year for many Massachusetts residents to obtain insurance through the connector authority. A recent state law restricts when many individuals and families buying health insurance outside of an employer’s plan or a government-subsidized program can purchase or change plans. The next open enrollment period for customers to purchase or switch plans will not occur until July 2012.

N.E. expects drop in home-heating funds It may be hot now, but the frigid days of the winter ahead are on the minds of officials in New England, who are concerned about President Obama’s proposal to chop the budget of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program nearly in half. Latest figures show about 350,000 households in the region have received support from the program. Maine’s funding could drop from $58 million for this year to about $26 million; New Hampshire’s could be cut from $36 million to $15 million; and Vermont’s from $25.6 million to $11.6 million. Cuts are also proposed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

N.H. may curtail overnight plowing New Hampshire’s Transportation Department is looking at reduced snow plowing next winter due to highway budget cuts. The Portsmouth Herald reported yesterday that overnight plowing of roads that have low usage are being considered, but no final decisions have been made. Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said the department’s highway maintenance bureau faces an 11.5 percent cut for 2012 and a 13 percent cut for 2013. State highway maintenance engineer Caleb Dobbins said one way to save would be to not plow low-volume roads between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Dobbins said there would be exceptions, such as roads leading to hospitals.

Out-of-state foster care questioned Rhode Island spends millions of dollars each year to send foster children to out-of-state placements. According to the Associated Press, the state spent $130 million on out-of-state programs between 2002 and 2010. In some cases, children went to facilities with troubling records of abuse and child death. The cost, and child welfare concerns, prompted some lawmakers to propose prohibiting the practice. State officials say they only send children outside the state when their specific mental or physical conditions require treatment not available in-state.

Man to be sentenced in daughter’s death A former Greenwich man faces a potential 40-year sentence in the death of his 20-year-old daughter at the luxury estate where he worked as a landscaper. Adam Dobrzanski, 56, is scheduled to return Wednesday to Stamford Superior Court for sentencing. He pleaded guilty in May to first-degree manslaughter and home invasion. Prosecutors say he slashed Amanda Dobrzanski’s throat in December 2009.