New England in brief

48 in state stricken with salmonella illness

February 10, 2009
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State public health authorities said yesterday that 48 Massachusetts residents have been stricken with the same strain of salmonella that has sickened almost 600 people nationwide. The germ implicated in those illnesses has been traced to tainted peanuts from a Georgia factory. Patients in Massachusetts have been as young as 1 and as old as 91; all survived their illnesses. The patient with the most-recent bout of salmonella-related symptoms became sick Jan. 25, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Health said. The most cases reported were in Middlesex County, with 13. Elsewhere in the state, Barnstable County reported three cases; Bristol, four; Essex, six; Hampden, nine; Norfolk, four; Plymouth, four; Suffolk, one; and Worcester, four.

Foreign press to get primer on Bulger case
The foreign press corps will get a tutorial on one of Boston's most notorious gangsters, James "Whitey" Bulger, during a briefing in Washington today as the FBI continues its global push to find the fugitive who has been on the run for 14 years and remains on the 10 Most Wanted list. The State Department has invited the foreign press to hear a presentation on 79-year-old gangster, courtesy of an FBI agent assigned to the Boston-based Bulger Task Force. The FBI is offering a $2 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Speaker proposes new House rules
New House Speaker Robert DeLeo yesterday proposed a series of new rules for members, including one that would prohibit them from voting when they are not present in the House chamber. Under the proposed rule, the electronic system that tallies votes would be disabled when a lawmaker does not respond to a roll call. Last year, Representative Charles Murphy, a Burlington Democrat, voted on seven budget measures while on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Also, under the new rules, lawmakers and staffers would be subject to mandatory ethics training. Last week, DeLeo said he will propose an eight-year term limit for the speaker's job.

Mass. residents to vote on quarter symbol
Massachusetts residents are getting the chance to vote on the best symbol to grace the back of another special Bay State quarter. The US Mint wants the state to submit one preferred and three backup sites of national significance. The quarter will join others being issued for all 50 states and the District of Columbia at a rate of five per year starting in 2010. Citizens who want to cast a vote can go to until Feb. 26, when voting ends. (AP)

Police crime lab wins accreditation
The State Police forensic science lab system was accredited last week by a national governing body, said Lieutenant David Wilson a State Police spokesman. The lab system, which analyzes evidence in criminal cases statewide, satisfied more than 150 criteria to achieve accreditation, according to State Police. A representative from the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors Accreditation Board met in Maynard with State Police Colonel Mark F. Delaney and Kevin M. Burke, the secretary of public safety, to announce the credential. The State Police crime laboratory came under fire in 2007 when a state investigation showed that 16,000 DNA crime scene samples, dating from the mid 1980s, had not been tested. Burke said the accreditation now validates a system that was in crisis two years ago.

Gun arrest made during arraignment
A 22-year-old man was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm yesterday outside Brockton District Court during the arraignment of another man charged in Saturday's fatal shooting in Brockton of Keith Leverone, 19, of Taunton, State Police said. Following an altercation inside the courthouse between supporters of the defendant, Joao Teixeira, 20, of Brockton, and Leverone, parties outside alerted police that a man had a gun. After chasing him, police captured Nathan Gomes Dasilva of Brockton with a loaded 9mm handgun, said David Procopio, a State Police spokesman. Teixeira is accused of killing Leverone with a gunshot wound to the head in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven convenience store on Belmont Street early Saturday. Teixeira will appear at a pretrial conference March 5.

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