New England in brief

200 pack meeting on immigration

October 21, 2008
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More than 200 people turned out last night at Chelsea High School for the state's first town-hall-style meeting on how to better integrate immigrants into Massachusetts cities and towns. About two dozen people testified during the two-hour session, calling for more jobs, interpreters, and English and citizenship classes. Others had more personal appeals, including a Somali Muslim who said she wanted a place to pray and a Honduran woman whose son won two college scholarships but cannot use them because he is here illegally. The meeting was the first of six planned throughout the state, as part of an executive order Governor Deval Patrick issued over the summer.

Man, 19, arrested on drug charge
A man, 19, was arrested on marijuana possession charges Saturday night by Boston police officers investigating the triple shooting of a 12-year-old and two 11-year-olds, according to Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney's office. Dominique Finch had a gunshot wound when police arrested him blocks from the crime scene at the Academy Homes I apartment complex in Roxbury. Boston police said separately that they were questioning a man, 19, who suffered a gunshot wound and was charged with possession of marijuana Saturday night in relation to the shooting on Academy Terrace, police spokesman Eddy Crispin said. He would not say if it was Finch.

State colleges won't raise student fees yet
The nine state colleges announced yesterday that they will not raise student fees this academic year, despite a budget crunch brought on by last week's 5 percent cuts in state subsidies. The colleges also said they would boost financial aid in anticipation of more families seeking assistance with tuition costs during the economic downturn. Governor Deval Patrick said last week that he would reduce the state budget by more than $1 billion, forcing public colleges and universities to scale back their spending. But administrators said they would be able to handle the lost revenue without passing the cost on to students.

Auditor says council should return funds
State Auditor Joseph DeNucci is faulting the Massachusetts Cultural Council, saying it should return more than $826,000 in state funds. DeNucci said the council received $1.5 million to provide loans and grants to nonprofit cultural organizations, but spent nearly $500,000 for other uses, including improving software and creating an online cultural marketplace. He said the group should return the remaining money. Greg Likos, a spokesman for the group, said the council used the money appropriately and is consulting with the state comptroller and treasurer to determine what to do with the $826,000. (AP)

Judge will get international justice award
Justice Richard Goldstone, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, has been chosen to receive the MacArthur Award for International Justice. Goldstone was chief prosecutor of the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. He also is a board member of the Cambridge-based Physicians for Human Rights.

Mass. ballot ad could confuse R.I. voters
Could television ads blasting a Massachusetts ballot question derail a Rhode Island proposal with the same name? That's what some Ocean State transportation officials are asking after ads started airing in Rhode Island against Massachusetts' Question 1. In Rhode Island, Question 1 asks voters to approve $87 million in transportation bonds to fund projects. In Massachusetts, Question 1 is much more controversial. It asks voters to eliminate the state's income tax. The ad airing against Massachusetts' Question 1 does not distinguish which state it is targeting. A spokesman for the group that paid for the ad told the Providence Journal the ad would be edited to clear up confusion. (AP)

Judge gives Connolly jurors the day off
A judge gave jurors the day off yesterday in the state murder trial of retired FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr. so a juror could attend the funeral of a relative. The trial, in its 22d day of testimony, will resume today. The defense is slated to call to the stand several former FBI agents who worked with Connolly. Connolly, 68, who retired in 1990, is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the 1982 slaying in Florida of Boston businessman John B. Callahan.

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