New England in brief

Mass. chases stimulus cash for broadband

November 5, 2009

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Hoping to win a new chunk of federal stimulus money, Governor Deval Patrick pitched the Obama administration yesterday on three proposals that would expand broadband access in areas of Massachusetts that lack adequate high-speed connections. Beginning a two-day visit to Washington, Patrick met with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to lobby for projects totaling $154 million that would expand high-speed Internet availability in Western Massachusetts and Boston and on Cape Cod.

State Police detective named US marshal
President Obama nominated Detective Lieutenant John Gibbons of the Massachusetts State Police yesterday to be US marshal for Massachusetts. Gibbons has worked for the State Police for 30 years. Obama also nominated Robert Heun, chief of police in Anchorage, to be US marshal for Alaska.

Doctor sentenced for phony prescriptions
A Virginia doctor who pleaded guilty to tax evasion and writing thousands of prescriptions over the Internet for people he never met was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston, acting US Attorney Michael K. Loucks announced. Dr. Torrino Jennings, of Mechanicsville, Va., was sentenced to a year and a day in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Jennings pleaded guilty in July to issuing between 50,000 and 100,000 prescriptions, Loucks said.

Patrick is steering clear of Senate race
Governor Deval Patrick says he is staying out of the Massachusetts Democratic Senate primary, based on advice from the man the candidates are trying to replace, the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The governor told listeners on WTKK-FM yesterday that he has a lot of friends in a field that includes Attorney General Martha Coakley, US Representative Michael E. Capuano, Boston Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, and City Year cofounder Alan Khazei. Patrick said he also stayed out of Boston’s contested mayoral race for the same reason. (AP)

Police seek suspect in UMass sex assault
Police at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are investigating an alleged sexual assault Tuesday in the main campus library. Police described the suspect as a man in his 20s to early 30s, about 5-foot-6 with brownish blond hair and wearing a gray sweat shirt and blue jeans. (AP)

Bishop, Kennedy to talk about abortion
Rhode Island’s Roman Catholic bishop and US Representative Patrick Kennedy have scheduled a meeting Nov. 12 to discuss their public dispute on abortion and national health care overhaul. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence said yesterday that he wants to discuss Kennedy’s relationship to the church and its teachings. A Kennedy spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Tobin said he wants to reaffirm to Kennedy the church’s overall support for health care reform, but will also stress its opposition to abortion. He says that Kennedy, as a Catholic, must accept the church’s abortion position. (AP)

Pam Smart wins lawsuit over racy photos
A federal judge has approved a settlement ending a prison lawsuit filed by Pamela Smart, who is serving a life sentence for one of New Hampshire’s most notorious murders. Smart complained of unfair treatment by New York prison officials after racy photographs of her in her prison cell appeared in the National Enquirer. She said the pictures were taken by a guard who sexually assaulted her. US District Court Judge Robert Sweet approved a $23,875 payment to Smart Monday from the State of New York, where she is in custody at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Smart, 42, was convicted in 1991 of enlisting her teenage boyfriend, William Flynn, to kill her husband, Gregory. (AP)