New England in brief

McDermott to run Brown’s Boston office

May 19, 2010

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US Senator Scott Brown will announce today the hiring of former Boston city councilor Jerry McDermott as the new state director of his Boston office. “I’m pleased to have a dedicated public servant like Jerry on board as my new state director,’’ Brown said in a press release. McDermott, a lifelong Massachusetts resident who represented the Allston-Brighton area as councilor from 2002-2008, most recently served as executive director of the South Shore Habitat for Humanity. “I am deeply honored to have an opportunity to work for Senator Brown,’’ McDermott said in a statement. McDermott graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1992 and lives in Westwood with his family.

State’s 4th graders score well in reading
Massachusetts fourth-graders outscored their peers in other states on a national reading test last fall, but too many of the Bay State students lack understanding of what they are reading, says a report released yesterday by a national charitable organization devoted to children’s issues. Some 53 percent of Massachusetts fourth-graders did not meet a national standard of proficiency, defined as the ability to gain meaning while reading. Nationally, 68 percent of fourth-graders fell below the proficiency standard on the National Assessment of Educational Program’s reading test, according to the “Kids Count’’ report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. National and state policymakers have set a goal of having all students enter fourth grade with the ability to comprehend what they are reading.

Restaurant names burger after Kagan
A Cambridge burger joint known for naming its burgers after politicians has a new one on the menu, “The Elena Kagan.’’ The sandwich, named after the former Harvard Law dean who is President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, is offered at Mr. Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers, just off the Harvard University campus. The menu describes the $9.99 burger as “smothered with a liberal amount of salsa and grilled pineapple served with onion rings.’’ (AP)

Distribution of fire funds is now in sight
Hundreds of people affected by one of the nation’s deadliest nightclub fires will soon receive money awarded in lawsuits over the blaze. A federal judge signed an order yesterday requiring roughly $176 million in settlement funds to be deposited into a trust account within 90 days. The money will then be distributed to survivors of The Station nightclub and relatives of the 100 people killed in the Feb. 20, 2003, fire. More than 200 others were injured. (AP)

Wife of RFK Jr. charged in drunk driving
Police in New York say the wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been charged with drunken driving. Bedford police Sergeant Matt Dunn said yesterday that Mary Richardson Kennedy, 50, was arrested Saturday after an officer saw her drive over a curb outside a school. Police said her alcohol-blood level was 0.11 percent; the legal limit is 0.08 percent. Police said Kennedy told them she was at the school to pick up some people from a carnival. Robert Kennedy, son of former Senator Robert Kennedy and nephew of President Kennedy, did not return a call to his White Plains office. (AP)

Father faces child endangerment charge
A Northampton man is facing a child endangerment charge, police say, after he attempted to exchange his baby for two 40-ounce beers at a Chicopee truck stop Monday. Chicopee police responded about 1 p.m. to the Pride gas station and convenience store on Burnett Road. Matthew Brace, 24, of Northampton was pushing his 3-month-old daughter in a stroller when he approached a man who was repairing an air compressor, said Chicopee Deputy Police Chief William Jebb. “Mr. Brace picked up the stroller and put it inside the [man’s] truck along with the baby and asked for two 40s,’’ Jebb said. The repairman went inside and had someone call police, Jebb said. Brace was not arrested, the Associated Press reported. The child is in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families.

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