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Romney shows gain in poll vs. Reilly

BOSTON

Weeks before Governor Mitt Romney announces whether he will seek reelection, a new poll shows his numbers improving versus Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly. It also shows Reilly, a Democrat, leading Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, who, like Romney, is a Republican and who hopes to replace her boss should he forgo a run for a second term. The survey, conducted for the business group Mass Insight Corp. by the Cambridge-based market research firm Opinion Dynamics, showed Romney ahead of Reilly 41 percent to 37 percent, a statistical tie because it was within the poll's margin of error. The survey of 410 registered voters was conducted the last week of October and obtained by the Associated Press. Twenty-two percent were undecided. In a similar survey in July, Reilly held a 40 percent to 34 percent lead over Romney, with 26 percent undecided. (AP)

Governor gets heating aid, energy bills
The Legislature sent several bills to Governor Mitt Romney yesterday, including legislation providing increased heating assistance and tax incentives for energy-efficient home heating improvements; a measure giving senior citizens property tax relief; reimbursing cities and towns for additional educational costs associated with so-called smart growth; and allowing consumers to purchase wine from out-of-state vineyards. The bills were given initial approval in formal sessions the day before. (State House News Service)

Chemical spill empties building at UMass
A minor chemical spill in a University of Massachusetts at Boston chemistry lab yesterday afternoon sent two students to the hospital and caused emergency officials to briefly shut down the school's science building. Ed Hayward, a university spokesman, said the students spilled acetic acid -- essentially highly concentrated vinegar -- on themselves while doing lab work. The students suffered minor burns and were treated and released from Boston Medical Center, Hayward said. The chemical quickly evaporated, and the building was reopened.

Woman seeks help finding daughter, 16
The mother of a 16-year-old Boston girl missing since August pleaded for her safe return yesterday during a press conference held in conjunction with the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Andrea Magaw has not been seen since Aug. 18. She reportedly missed her birthday and a job she was scheduled to start and is considered an endangered runaway, according to the website for Missing and Exploited Children. Magaw has been without her medication since she disappeared, her mother said. She is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, approximately 175 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She has a pierced nose and a chipped front tooth. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Boston Police Missing Persons Unit, 617-343-4687.

CAMBRIDGE

Teens accused of stealing sports apparel
Police arrested two teenagers yesterday in the attempted theft of more than $15,000 in clothes from a Cambridge sporting goods store. Korey Tredwell of Medford and Dale R. Harding of Somerville, both 18, were arraigned yesterday in East Cambridge District Court. Police say that at around 4 a.m. yesterday, a police officer patrolling near the Heavy's Caps and Accessories store found a stolen car with several bags of sporting apparel, with a total value of $15,000 to $25,000. Bail was set at $2,000.

Man convicted of raping girl, 16
A 34-year-old Boston man was convicted Wednesday of two counts of rape in connection with the assault of a 16-year-old girl he knew , authorities said. The Middlesex district attorney said on Sept. 27, 2002, the victim accepted a ride home from Robert Raper, who drove to Cambridge and parked along Memorial Drive. When a police car passed by, Raper told the victim to hide in the back seat of the car with him and then assaulted her, authorities said. Raper is to be sentenced Dec. 5.

Harvard janitors begin vote on contract
Harvard University's 650 janitors began voting yesterday on a labor contract that would eventually increase their starting wages to $18.50 per hour. Voting was expected to stretch into the night, and ballots were to be counted today. The university and negotiators for Service Employees International Union Local 615 agreed on the contract on Tuesday, just before the expiration of a contract reached in February 2002. The current starting wage is $13.50 per hour. The agreement grants all Harvard janitors pay increases of $5 per hour over six years. (AP)

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