New England in brief

Zoo reaches funding accord with state

November 17, 2009

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The Patrick administration, teaming with a task force of zoo officials and supporters, unveiled a plan yesterday aimed at keeping open Greater Boston’s two financially troubled zoos. Under the plan, Zoo New England, which runs the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham, has agreed to $5 million in state funding. It will also reorganize its board and develop a road map by Jan. 15 for long-term self-sufficiency. State funding will allow the zoos to remain open while changes are implemented, but funding is contingent on Zoo New England delivering on its plan, state officials said. “I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a new day,’’ zoo chief John Linehan said in a phone interview last night. “Certainly in many ways it’s long overdue.’’

City cracks down on illegal trash dumpers
Boston officials are proposing a crackdown on people from out of town dumping their household waste in the city to avoid trash fees in their own communities. Michael Mackan, the city’s chief code enforcer, told the Boston Herald that nonresidents leave trash on the curbside, in trash cans, and in large trash containers to take advantage of the city’s generous disposal policy, which allows residents to put out unlimited trash bags for pickup, along with larger items including sofas and appliances. Milton has a system that charges residents $3 per bag, while Braintree charges homeowners $170 a year for pickup and Chelsea $240. Councilor Rob Consalvo plans to propose to the council tomorrow the installation of wireless, motion-activated cameras to catch scofflaws. (AP)

Suspect in MGH assault will stand trial
A Level 3 sex offender accused of trying to rape a woman inside Massachusetts General Hospital was found competent to stand trial yesterday after a 20-day evaluation at a state psychiatric facility. David Flavell, 40, had been sent for evaluation to Bridgewater State Hospital after telling his lawyer he believed he was on a spaceship, not on Earth. Flavell will be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing as early as next week. Flavell is accused of grabbing a 27-year-old female hospital employee inside a restroom Oct. 22, beating her head against the floor, and ripping her pants. The woman, who fought off her attacker, had a bloody face after the incident. She was treated and released.

Two in Dorchester shot, taken to hospital
Two men in their 20s were shot in Dorchester yesterday, police said. Police responded to a call to the intersection of Norton and Bowdoin streets at 5:40 p.m., police spokesman Dave Estrada said. The men, whose identities have not been released, were taken to Boston Medical Center, where one victim was treated for a gunshot wound to the face and remains in critical condition, and the other was treated for gunshot wounds to the chest and arm and is in stable condition, Estrada said.

Ky. chemical firm is sued in blast damage
Lawyers for a group of Danvers residents whose homes, boats, and other property were damaged or destroyed in a chemical explosion at an ink-and-paint factory almost three years ago filed a class action lawsuit in Salem Superior Court yesterday against a Kentucky-based company. The complaint contends that Ashland Inc., which has a local distribution center in Tewksbury, is liable for the blast, which caused more than $30 million in damage. The suit argues that the company was negligent when the day before the explosion it delivered a batch of heptane and other chemicals to a plant not properly licensed to store them, according to the complaint. “As sorry as we feel for the people . . . Ashland played no role in that event,’’ said James Vitak, a spokesman for Ashland.

Brockton man is found shot to death
Police are investigating the shooting death of a 21-year-old Brockton man, said Russ Eonas, a spokesman for the Plymouth district attorney. Anthony Hamilton was shot and killed yesterday afternoon, Eonas said. Hamilton was found face down on the steps of a Brockton residence near North Main Street around 1 p.m., he said, and the matter is being treated as a homicide investigation.