New England in brief

Woman accused of in-flight assault

March 27, 2010

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A 76-year-old Chestnut Hill woman was arrested last night for allegedly assaulting a flight attendant during a flight from West Palm Beach, Fla. Renee Rapaporte was charged with assault and battery and interfering with a flight crew shortly after her JetBlue flight landed at Logan International Airport about 5:05 p.m., said State Police Sergeant Michael Popovics. He said Rapaporte allegedly shoved a flight attendant and raised her hand in a threatening manner to a passenger when she was returning from the bathroom. She allegedly began shoving the attendant after the staffer, who was serving beverages in the aisle, asked her to wait a moment before passing by, Popovics said.

MBTA suspends 3 for cellphone violation
Three MBTA bus drivers who were caught using their cellphones have been suspended without pay, the MBTA said yesterday. One of the drivers, a 22-year veteran of the agency, was talking on the cellphone while driving the bus; the other two were between trips. None had passengers on board, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said. “I’m extraordinarily disappointed,’’ said Richard A. Davey Jr., the new general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The drivers were on Routes 214, 24, and 92. “Thankfully, there were no passengers on the three vehicles at the time. But the policy is still very clear. Regardless of whether a passenger is on a revenue vehicle, it is prohibited for an employee to have a cellphone,’’ Davey said.

Suspect sought in shooting of man, 26
Police are investigating the shooting of a 26-year-old man in Jamaica Plain yesterday afternoon that caused service disruptions on the Orange Line. The shooting happened at Amory and Williams streets at about 12:46 p.m. The man was taken to Boston Medical Center and is expected to survive, said Officer Joe Zanoli, a police spokesman.

13-year-old’s pocketknife leads to charges
Needham police are charging a 13-year-old Pollard Middle School student with possession of a dangerous weapon, after the boy allegedly brought a pocketknife to school, according to Chief Thomas Leary. Police were contacted March 19 by school officials about a report that a student was selling knives at Pollard, Leary said. After investigating, police determined that was probably not the case. The student found with the pocketknife is being charged in Dedham Juvenile Court, he said. Police can’t comment on the details of a juvenile case, but generally in such cases, they file a complaint application and then a clerk magistrate holds a hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence for the charges, said Leary. “In this day and age we have to take these reports seriously,’’ he said.

Interim school chief accepts full-time offer
Reversing an earlier decision to pull her name from consideration, Kathleen Bodie has agreed to serve as Arlington’s superintendent of schools after serving as the interim superintendent for more than two years. Bodie, who has been with the district for about a decade, accepted the job after a divided School Committee asked her to reconsider withdrawing her candidacy. Appointed as the interim superintendent after Nate Levenson stepped down in 2008 amid controversy around two firings, Bodie said she had withdrawn her name because of political reasons. Some School Committee members questioned her experience and desire to be in Arlington, but a majority of the committee voted to offer her the job Tuesday.

School department faces dozens of cuts
Superintendent Stephen Hiersche told the School Committee this week that trimming the school’s fiscal 2011 budget by about $5 million to reach $89.9 million could require the elimination of 54 positions. Hiersche said cuts would hit every part of the district: 17 jobs would come from the administration level, 10 from elementary schools, 11 from middle schools, and six from the high school. Cutting the budget to $85.6 million as recommended by the town’s chief financial officer could require eliminating another 60 jobs and doing away with the athletic department budget, according to Hiersche.