New England in brief

Mass. ranks fourth in stimulus spending

August 14, 2009

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Massachusetts is ranked fourth in the nation when it comes to spending federal stimulus money. State officials overseeing the stimulus program said Massachusetts has been awarded $3.3 billion in federal funds and has spent about $1.5 billion on transportation, clean energy, health and human services, and education. The money also has been used to stave off even deeper cuts in the state budget, although lawmakers, including Senate President Therese Murray, have warned that next year’s budget deliberations could be even tougher as stimulus funding dries up. Also yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick announced that 75 communities will receive $40 million in federal community development grants, including $9 million in stimulus funds. (AP)

Mosquitoes with West Nile virus detected
For the first time this summer, West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Boston, city health authorities said yesterday. The infected insects were discovered in Jamaica Plain. No human cases of the disease have been reported in Boston or elsewhere in Massachusetts this summer.

Thieves target Newbury Street store
Two men broke a glass window at Valentino, a Newbury Street store that sells high-end formal wear for men and women, early yesterday morning, and a witness told police the duo stole several bags of goods before fleeing in a beige car, police spokesman James Kenneally said. Police responded to the store at the intersection of Newbury and Berkeley streets at 3:23 a.m. after a commercial alarm sounded, Kenneally said. No employees were inside the store at the time.

Board upholds unpopular parking rules
The city’s traffic board voted unanimously to uphold a series of controversial parking measures yesterday, despite calls from residents for their repeal. In May the city’s traffic commission, which the board oversees, approved several changes, including increasing the hourly meter fee from 50 cents to $1; running meters for an extra two hours until 8 p.m. in most areas; and launching a citywide permit parking program. Vehicles now need a $15 residential permit to park on two-thirds of all city streets. Residents had petitioned the board to repeal the changes, asserting that they would harm area businesses. The city plans to keep about 20 streets open to nonresident parking daily until 2:30 a.m., under revised terms of the program. The commission will take up the permit plan at its next meeting next Thursday. A city financial advisory board estimates the rule changes will bring in an additional $1.75 million in annual revenue.

Teenager pleads not guilty in killing
A Holyoke teenager has pleaded not guilty to charges of fatally shooting another man while trying to rob him of gambling winnings. Carlos DeJesus, 17, was arraigned in Holyoke District Court yesterday, one day after he was arrested on charges including murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police are seeking Jose Anibal Bonilla-Torres, 21, in the early Sunday slaying. Chief Anthony Scott said Joseph Hernandez, 23, was shot on Suffolk Street and made it two blocks to City Hall before collapsing, leaving a trail of blood. It was the city’s second homicide of the year. DeJesus’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (AP)

Baby left alone in day-care center
A 9-month-old baby was left alone at a locked Rhode Island day-care center for nearly an hour after workers shut the place down for the night, apparently forgetting the child was there. The baby’s mother, Julia Castillo, said she came to pick up her son Monday at the My Special Place Early Learning Center in Johnston and found the center locked. A neighbor heard Castillo yelling and banging on the door and helped her get inside, where she found her son crying in a crib. The day-care center’s owner, Jessica Faiola, said Castillo did not sign the baby in when she dropped him off. She called the incident a “crazy mistake.’’ The state has put the center on probation. (AP)