New England in brief

$3.56m in infrastructure grants awarded

April 24, 2009
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Four Massachusetts cities are receiving $3.56 million in grants for infrastructure projects. Governor Deval Patrick announced yesterday that Lawrence, Fitchburg, Hopkinton, and Lowell will receive the community development grants as part of a 2008 housing bond bill. The administration estimates that the projects will create 490 jobs and 160 affordable-housing units. In Lawrence, $1 million will be used to construct a 55-foot wide bridge over North Canal. Hopkinton is using $1 million for new sewer lines and connections, eliminating capacity problems and allowing for residential and business growth. Lowell plans to add sidewalks, on-street parking, and historic lighting using its $1 million grant, and Fitchburg is spending $566,000 to install a truck entrance at a publicly-owned complex. (AP)

3 new suspected cases of mumps reported
Three more suspected cases of mumps were reported yesterday to Boston health authorities, who said one of the patients had no obvious connection to Northeastern University, epicenter of a cluster of illness that surfaced last week. So far, one case of the viral disease has been confirmed by laboratory tests while results are pending for 10 more patients whose symptoms suggest they have mumps, according to the Boston Public Health Commission. Telltale signs of the disease are facial swelling, fever, headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, and loss of appetite. The one patient without an established link to Northeastern was diagnosed at a community health center in Boston, said Ann Scales, chief spokeswoman for the health commission.

City worker accused of embezzlement
A Malden employee and nine others were indicted yesterday in the alleged embezzlement of more than $518,000 in property tax receipts from the city treasury, according to the Middlesex district attorney's office. Gia Marie DeSantis, 27, of Georgetown, a Malden treasury employee, was indicted on one count of larceny over $250 and a separate count of conspiracy to commit larceny. Beginning in 2006, DeSantis oversaw residents' recovery of their property tax overpayments, the DA said. Prosecutors allege that DeSantis arranged for checks to be issued to people not entitled to refunds. DeSantis and Alan V. Valdes, 32, of Malden, were arrested in November after she allegedly handed him one of the checks. The DA said he cashed it. Eight other defendants allegedly received and cashed bogus checks.

Pedroia's brother pleads guilty in sex case
The older brother of 2008 American League MVP Dustin Pedroia has pleaded guilty to engaging in sex acts with a minor. Brett Pedroia, 30, admitted yesterday that he had oral copulation four years ago with a boy between the ages of 10 and 14, the clerk's office of the Yolo County court said. Another charge of oral copulation and two counts of lewd acts were dropped. Sentencing was scheduled for June 30. The Yolo County district attorney's office said it was under a court-imposed gag order and could not discuss the potential penalty. Dustin Pedroia is the starting second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. (AP)

3 teens ordered to take cybersafety class
Prosecutors say three Billerica teens involved in the cellphone distribution of an explicit photo of a middle school girl won't face criminal charges, but will have to take a cybersafety class. A spokesman for the Middlesex district attorney's office said the 14-year-old girl who sent the photo, and two boys, ages 13 and 14, who forwarded it, will also have their cellphone use restricted for up to six months. The boys were ordered to perform 50 hours of community service. (AP)

Officer shot on robbery call returns home
A Framingham police officer shot in the face and hands by a robbery suspect has returned home and is expected to recover. Officer Phillip Hurton was shot April 14 as he investigated a report of a taxicab robbery. Lieutenant Paul Shastany said Hurton, 32, had extensive surgery to his jaw and both hands. Three men have been arrested in connection with the robbery and Hurton's shooting, including Sahr Josiah, 22, of Framingham, who police say pulled the trigger. (AP)