New England in brief

Immigration proposals go to Cabinet

November 18, 2009

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A governor’s advisory council outlined a number of measures yesterday to improve the lives of immigrants in Massachusetts. As a result, Governor Deval Patrick gave his Cabinet 90 days to craft a plan for better integrating all foreign-born residents into life in the Bay State. The report included 131 recommendations on ways to assist immigrants, who make up 14 percent of the state’s population. Those recommendations include expanded English classes and job training. The council also urged Patrick to push for extending in-state tuition at public colleges and driver’s licenses for immigrants here illegally.

TSA loses in Logan worker’s bias case
The Transportation Security Administration discriminated against a Rastafarian man who worked as a baggage screener at Logan International Airport when it sent him a warning letter and a reprimand for not cutting his waist-length dreadlocks, according to Erin M. Stilp, an administrative law judge at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Stilp said in an interim decision last week that Josue Brissot had established a prima facie case that he was a victim of religious discrimination. The TSA also failed to show it had made a good faith effort to reasonably accommodate Brissot’s religious beliefs and failed to establish that accommodations suggested by Brissot (including wearing his hair in a bun or under a hat) would cause undue hardship to the agency, the judge said. The decision is not final until a ruling has been made on damages, the judge added.

Man wounded while playing basketball
A man was shot yesterday while playing basketball in the John Marshall Elementary School in Dorchester, police said. The unidentified man, who appeared to be in his early 20s, was shot in the hand and leg around 6:50 p.m. and suffered injuries not believed to be life-threatening, said police spokesman Eddy Chrispin. Police believe the victim was targeted, and they were searching for the shooter. The gymnasium was being used at the time as a community center run by the Boston Center for Youth and Families, Councilor Charles C. Yancey said. On Nov. 3, a 23-year-old man was killed after he was shot 100 yards from the school, sparking a meeting of residents and police.

Passenger on flight to London is arrested
A 49-year-old passenger on a trans-Atlantic flight was arrested after the pilot made an unscheduled landing at Logan International Airport after 11 p.m. Monday, authorities said. The passenger, John Murray of Glasgow, pleaded not guilty yesterday in East Boston Municipal Court to charges of interfering with a flight crew. The judge set bail at $300 and ordered Murray to return to court Dec. 1. The flight was heading from Philadelphia to London when a verbal altercation occurred between Murray and the crew. Murray had an arm or hand injury that required a splint and refused to move the bandaged limb out of the aisle despite several requests from the flight crew, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

Voters approve funds for new high school
Voters in Wayland approved a property tax override ballot question yesterday that may lead to the construction of a $71 million high school. Wayland voters approved the town’s share of the project, $45.1 million. The 2,602-1,115 vote came about a year after neighboring Sudbury proposed absorbing Wayland students into Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. The plan still requires a two-thirds vote tonight at a special Town Meeting.

Councilor rescues wandering toddler
Rita Mercier said she did what any mother would have done when she saw a lost toddler at the side of the road: She stopped and picked up the child. The Lowell city councilor and former mayor told The Sun newspaper that she spotted the crying 2-year-old boy, wearing only a diaper, as he stood in the pouring rain Saturday morning. The mother of four took the child into her car, dried him off, wrapped him in a blanket, and called police. Minutes after police and an ambulance came, the child’s mother arrived. The mother told police that she left the toddler in her apartment in the care of her boyfriend, who had fallen asleep. Police did not charge the mother. (AP)