New England in brief

Nail polish helps nab robbery suspect

March 26, 2009
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A woman suspected of robbing a bank in Chelsea yesterday eluded police for a half-hour before being identified by her flashy orange fingernails, police said. The woman entered Sovereign Bank on Everett Avenue at 9:45 a.m. and handed a note to the teller demanding money, according to police. The teller complied and the suspect fled with a reported $450, police said. A construction worker working nearby saw the suspect, wrote down her license plate number, and gave it to Chelsea police. Witnesses inside the bank told police that the suspect was wearing bright burnt orange fingernail polish. Within minutes of talking to witnesses, police located the vehicle and arrested Margaret Christie, 53.

Brandeis to get $10.8m for new institute
A charitable group has pledged up to $10.8 million to Brandeis University to fund dozens of scholarships and create an institute dedicated to Russian-speaking Jews. The donation, from the Genesis Philanthropy Group, will provide scholarships for as many as 60 undergraduates and 20 graduate students and for 132 high school students to attend Brandeis summer programs over the next five years. The Brandeis Genesis Institute will work to support Russian-speaking students and to preserve Jewish culture among Russian-speaking Jews.

Ex-Brewster officer faces assault charge
A former Brewster police officer is scheduled to be arraigned April 8 in Boston Municipal Court on two counts of assault and battery and one count of open and gross lewdness stemming from a Jan. 18 incident at TD Banknorth Garden. During a Metallica concert at the Garden, Joseph Houston, 29, allegedly exposed himself and urinated on a young couple from Connecticut, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office. He was ejected from the concert, and then refused to leave North Station despite repeated orders to do so by Transit Police, the DA's office said in a statement. Houston was escorted out, only to return, the DA said. He was arrested and charged with trespassing. Brewster Police Chief Richard J. Koch said Houston has been discharged for cause from the department.

Congress approves national heritage area
Senators John F. Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy and US Representatives Edward J. Markey, James P. McGovern, Niki Tsongas, and John W. Olver announced yesterday that their legislation establishing the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area, which includes 37 communities in Massachusetts and eight in New Hampshire, passed in the House of Representatives. The Senate passed the bill earlier this month. It now heads to the president for his signature. The Heritage Area highlights the history of New England, including Colonial life, the American Revolution, and early social justice, religious, abolitionist, and conservationist movements.

Coakley vows to monitor stimulus funds
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is vowing to keep a close eye on the billions in federal stimulus funds pouring into the state to help avoid any potential waste, fraud, and abuse. Coakley told a State House panel yesterday that those charged with overseeing the process - including the inspector general, auditor, comptroller, and her own office - may need extra resources to make sure the money is distributed fairly and legally. She said skimping on oversight as the money is coming into the state could lead to more expensive prosecution later. She also said lawmakers should resist any temptation to make changes to public bidding and procurement laws that might make it easier for the money to be misused. (AP)

IRS says it will add 200 jobs at facility
The Internal Revenue Service will add approximately 200 jobs at its Andover tax-processing center in spite of plans to lay off 1,400 employees at the facility. In February, a letter from 15 US senators and representatives led by Niki Tsongas protested the IRS's long-term plans to partially close the Andover facility. The 200 new workers will be employed to track taxpayers who underreport their income.

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