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New England in brief

9 beaches declared off-limits to swimmers

June 26, 2010

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Nantucket
Nine beaches on Nantucket have been closed to swimming after testing found high levels of bacteria. The island’s health director suspects that a sampling error may be responsible for the results and additional testing will be conducted on Monday. The nine beaches are Miacomet Pond; Dionis Beach; Washing Pond Beach; Jetties Beach; Children’s Beach; Washington Street Beach; 40th Pole; Wauwinet Harbor Side Beach; and Wauwinet Ocean Side Beach. The beaches are not scheduled to officially open for summer until next week. There are more than 20 public beaches on the island. (AP)

METHUEN
Contractor accused of cheating on bids
An Essex County grand jury indicted a Methuen contractor yesterday on 12 counts of manufacturing false bids and 12 counts of presenting false claims in order to win work from the city, according to a statement released by the Essex district attorney’s office. Christopher D. Medugno, 50, received $95,545 for jobs with the School Department, the Housing Authority, and the Department of Public Works from 2004 to 2009 after manufacturing bids from competitors who were not bidding on the job and then submitting a lower bid of his own, the DA’s office said. Each count carries up to five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.

BOSTON
Governor reviewing driver-texting ban
The Patrick administration said yesterday it is studying legislation that would make it illegal to text while driving and ban the youngest drivers from using cellphones behind the wheel. The state Senate yesterday unanimously passed the bill, the last legislative action needed before Patrick can sign or veto the measure. The House gave its approval earlier this week on a 150-1 vote. According to the office of Senate President Therese Murray, the ban on texting applies to all drivers. Drivers under 18 would be banned from the use of cellphones, including the hands-free version. The measure would also require anyone 75 or older to renew their licenses in person and to take an eye exam every five years.

Residents safely flee early-morning fire
A two-alarm fire caused $500,000 in damage to a home in Mission Hill yesterday morning, but the occupants escaped unharmed, the Boston Fire Department said. The fire was reported at 18 Eldora St. at 5:05 a.m. Five people live at the single-family home on the corner of Sunset Street, three of whom were home at the time of the blaze. They got out safely from the back of the house. Fire officials said the cause was a cigarette on a couch on the front porch.

Long-closed Logan road reopening today
The Terminal B lower roadway at Logan International Airport is set to reopen five days ahead of schedule, Massachusetts Port Authority officials said. By 7 a.m. today, crews will have finished installing 125 11-ton precast concrete roadway support beams. Although the lower level of the Terminal B parking garage will remain closed until Monday, all buses will return to their normal routes and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Silver Line will be able to reach Terminal B again. Construction to the roadway began three days ago, as part of Massport’s $55 million rehabilitation project to the 36-year-old Terminal B garage and roadway system.

Philip Morris to appeal decision on scans
Philip Morris USA Inc. said it plans to appeal a decision by a federal judge in Boston to grant class-action status in a lawsuit that demands the company pay for chest scans to see if heavy smokers of Marlboros have early signs of lung cancer. “The overwhelming majority of federal and state courts have rejected class certification of smokers’ claims, including those seeking medical monitoring, because the claims raise issues unique to each individual smoker,’’ said Murray Garnick, a spokesman for the company. US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner granted the class certification Thursday and said she would let the case go to trial on claims that the cigarette manufacturer designed a product that delivered excessive levels of carcinogens.

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