New England in brief

Harvard investigated coffee that injured 6

October 26, 2009

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Harvard University police and health officials are investigating tainted coffee that hospitalized six people in late August, according to a recently released internal memo. A single-serve coffeemaker tested positive for sodium azide, a common preservative in labs, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can be potentially deadly. Six people from the eighth floor of the New Research Building were back to work a day or two after the Aug. 26 incident, David Cameron, Harvard Medical School spokesman, said yesterday. Cameron said investigators had not determined whether the coffee was intentionally or accidentally tainted. Security measures are being bolstered at medical school buildings, according to the memo.

Ex-governors gather for GOP fund-raiser
The four Republicans who held the Massachusetts governor’s office for 16 years are getting together to talk about issues facing the country. William Weld, Paul Cellucci, Jane Swift, and Mitt Romney will meet tomorrow for a Massachusetts Republican Party fund-raiser at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Admission is $5,000 for their roundtable discussion and $500 for a follow-up reception. Romney ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008. Weld supported him, but Cellucci backed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. And Swift went with the eventual GOP nominee, Senator John McCain. The party surrendered the governor’s office to the Democrats when Deval Patrick beat former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey in 2006.

Mass. casino foes stand pat with views
Casino opponents in Massachusetts say they are not folding their cards, even as pressure mounts on lawmakers to legalize new forms of gambling. Kathleen Norbut, president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, says that despite growing momentum, expanded gambling is still a bad bet, and she hopes to drive home that point at a public hearing with other opponents Thursday at the State House. Lawmakers plan to hear testimony on more than a dozen bills on everything from resort casinos to slot parlors. (AP)

Body found under harbor pier next to ICA
A body was found under a pier in Boston Harbor around midday yesterday after a visitor at the Institute of Contemporary Art spotted it and called police, museum security guards said. Under a pier next to the ICA, where Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant is located, Boston Police and Fire Department divers recovered the remains. The person appeared to be a white male and had no identification, said Boston Police Department spokesman James Kenneally.

Veterans group to honor Admiral Mullen
Soldier On, a Northampton nonprofit group, is honoring the nation’s top military official for his support of efforts to end homelessness among US veterans. The organization, which offers housing, counseling, job training, education, and access to health services to veterans, will recognize Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an invitation-only dinner Thursday in Holyoke. Among those expected to attend is ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff. Woodruff has supported injured soldiers and their families since he was injured while working in Iraq in January 2006.

Man charged with murder in shooting
An 18-year-old Fall River man was charged with murder in the shooting early yesterday of two Fall River men, one of whom died, according to the Bristol district attorney’s office. Juan Valazquez is to be arraigned today in Fall River District Court on charges of murder, armed assault with intent to murder, and carrying an illegal firearm. Earlier, Yaneisy Heredia, 23, and Allison Helger, 19, were charged with obstructing justice in the case. Fall River police responded to East Main Street at 4:08 a.m. and found the two shooting victims outside. Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the district attorney, said the two men had been at a get-together in the building before the shooting. Ervin Millsap, 40, was dead at the scene, while Alfred Coursey, 39, was taken to Rhode Island Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. The women, who live at the East Main Street address, are also to be arraigned today at Fall River District Court.