New England in brief

Victoria Kennedy to address UMass grads

April 16, 2010

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Victoria Reggie Kennedy, widow of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will be the principal speaker at commencement ceremonies for the University of Massachusetts Boston on June 4, university officials said. A lawyer specializing in banking law, she will be given an honorary doctor of laws degree, school officials said. In a statement, Chancellor J. Keith Motley praised Kennedy for doing “so much work in ensuring her husband’s legacy of public service and education lives on through the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.” In addition to her work with the institute, which is still in the planning stage, Kennedy is president and cofounder of Common Sense about Kids and Guns, a nonprofit organization.

Court upholds conviction in art theft
A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a retired Massachusetts lawyer who was sentenced to seven years in prison for possessing stolen paintings worth millions from a 1978 burglary. Robert Mardirosian of Falmouth was convicted in 2008 of possessing art works authorities said were stolen from a Stockbridge home by one of his former clients. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld his conviction and sentence Wednesday. Authorities said Mardirosian held the paintings until 1988, then moved them to a Swiss bank and later tried to ship them to London for sale. (AP)

Three convicted in ransom scheme
A Suffolk County jury found three people guilty of kidnapping and other charges for their role in a 2008 ransom scheme, authorities said. Joseph Caldwell, 27, of Mattapan, and Domonic Campbell, 22, of Cambridge, were convicted of kidnapping with intent to commit extortion, aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and attempted murder, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement yesterday. Jillian Jacques, 25, of Allston was also convicted of kidnapping and assault charges, but was acquitted of attempted murder.

Antitax crusader gets behind Baker
Antitax crusader Barbara Anderson is supporting Republican Charles Baker for Massachusetts governor. The cofounder of Citizens for Limited Taxation announced yesterday that she was endorsing Baker and his running mate, state Senator Richard Tisei. The announcement coincided with the state and federal tax-filing deadlines. Anderson said she is confident Baker and Tisei will fight for the taxpayers of Massachusetts, working to cut taxes and restore fiscal responsibility to Beacon Hill. Baker is running against convenience store magnate Christy Mihos for the GOP nomination. The Republican State Convention is this weekend in Worcester. (AP)

Tufts president endorses Dream Act
Tufts University president Lawrence S. Bacow has endorsed proposed federal legislation that would allow unauthorized immigrant students to apply for legal residency in the United States. In a letter to US Senators John F. Kerry and Scott Brown this week, Bacow said he backed the so-called Dream Act because thousands of worthy students are facing limited prospects after high school, because they are ineligible to work and apply for government financial aid. “The results are psychologically and emotionally devastating for over 65,000 students every year,’’ he wrote, citing national estimates.

Ammunition found again at Milton High
Ammunition was found yesterday for the second time this week at Milton High School, and Rockland High School was locked down for about an hour after a pellet hit a student walking outside the school, officials said. Milton High principal John Drottar said in a letter to parents that police were sent to the school yesterday after ammunition was found. Chief Richard G. Wells Jr. of the Milton police said that one handgun round was recovered at the school. The building was not locked down, Drottar said, as it was Tuesday when ammunition was found. Rockland High School was locked down yesterday morning after a pellet struck a male student in the shoulder as he walked between classes behind the building, Superintendent John Retchless said. The student was not injured.

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