Archives For Massachusetts

Group calls for changes in education system

BOSTON — A Massachusetts business group is calling for changes in the state’s education system in light of a report that shows more than two-thirds of the state’s employers report difficulty hiring appropriately skilled employees.

The report by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education scheduled for release Monday says bolstering the state’s public schools is viewed as a critical step in producing more workers with the right skills to succeed in a technology driven economy.

The Boston Globe reports that the survey, part of which is included in the 120-page report, found that 69 percent of the 334 employers who responded said they experienced difficulty hiring employees with the appropriate skills, while 84 percent said school systems require moderate to major changes.

The survey was conducted by MassINC Polling Group.

Mass., R.I. officials reaching out to customers 

NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. — A warning about possible measles exposure has been issued for a North Attleborough CVS.

Watch Report

A person believed to have measles was seen at the Minute Clinic Friday.

“The patient was diagnosed by our nurse practitioner as having symptoms associated with measles and was referred to Rhode Island Hospital,” CVS said in a statement.

Massachusetts and Rhode Island health officials are in the process of contacting people who were there between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. that day.

If you were there and you’re not contacted by Monday, state health officials ask that you get in touch with them.

“We are following Department of Health protocols in this matter, including notifying customers and patients who may have been exposed as well as verifying that employees who were potentially exposed have received the proper vaccinations,” CVS said.

The patient also visited Rhode Island Hospital on Friday, right after the CVS visit, and Roger Williams Medical Center on Feb. 25.

Those hospitals are also notifying patients who may have been exposed.

Anyone who begins to develop symptoms should call their health care provider before visiting an office or emergency room.

Early symptoms occur 10 days to two weeks after exposure and may resemble a cold with fever, cough, runny nose and red eyes.

There is no indication that the North Attleborough incident is related to two cases of measles in the Framingham area.

Maura Murray went missing 10 years ago

Murray, a nursing student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, left campus on the afternoon of her disappearance after telling her professors and her work supervisor by e-mail that she was taking a week off because of a family emergency.

CONCORD, N.H. — Ten years ago, Maura Murray packed her car, lied to professors about a death in the family and left Massachusetts. That night, on a rural road in the northern part of New Hampshire, the 21-year-old nursing student crashed her car.

Then she vanished, leaving a tormented family, vexed investigators and a case rife with rumor and innuendo. Lead investigators say there hasn’t been a single, credible sighting of her since minutes after her car spun into trees and a snowbank along Route 112 in North Haverhill just before 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2004.

The disappearance of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst student is one of the most intriguing among scores of New Hampshire cold cases.

Photos: Unsolved Mass. Mysteries

“No one knows for sure where Maura is or what happened to her,” said Jeffery Strelzin, senior assistant attorney general.

Fred Murray believes his daughter is dead, the victim of a crime. But he wants to keep her case in the public eye in hopes of finally knowing what really happened that night on the threshold of the White Mountain National Forest.

“There’s no letting go,” said Fred Murray, a medical technician in Bridgeport, Conn. “My daughter wouldn’t want me to quit on her. She’d want me to keep trying to find out who grabbed her.”

Her father and some investigators believe she just wanted to get away for a few days. It had been a rough stretch for the standout student who had attended – and quickly left – the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She had recently resolved a criminal matter involving use of a stolen credit card and caused extensive damage to her father’s car during a late night crash.

Then there was a mysterious and traumatizing call four days before she disappeared. She was working her security job at UMass-Amherst when the phone rang, and she burst into tears. A supervisor ended up walking her home. The caller and the subject of the call remain unknown.

But two days before she vanished, Maura was in good spirits as she and her father shopped for a used car for her and then went out to dinner.

Before she left that Monday, she had already called several lodgings, including one in Bartlett, N.H., that her family regularly visited. In her car were directions to Burlington, Vt., said retired state police Lt. John Healy, who has continued to investigate the disappearance.

Headed east on 112, she lost control of the 1996 Saturn, tagged a tree and spun around so the car was facing west.

A couple who live within sight of the scene called police. Butch Atwood, a school bus driver who lived nearby, told police he stopped by and asked Maura Murray if she wanted him to call police. She said no. Atwood, who has since died, called anyway and appears to be the last person known to have spoken to Maura Murray.

A police report says the windshield was cracked on the driver’s side, both air bags deployed and the car was locked. There was a box of wine on the back seat and a strong odor of alcohol.

Healy, one of many investigators who have volunteered countless hours on the case, thinks Maura Murray was the victim of a “crime of opportunity.”

“She got into the wrong car. She went to the wrong house,” Healy said last week. “One minute she’s there, 10 minutes later she’s not.”

“In Maura’s case, we’re one step away from thinking alien abduction, it happened so fast,” Healy said.

Theories abound that Maura Murray fled, possibly to Canada.

Strelzin said it’s unlikely – but not impossible – that the young woman had gone off to start a new life, but he and Healy agree that kind of disappearing takes careful planning, help and resources.

Her father doesn’t believe it.

“I don’t think she’d put us through this,” he said. “She would have called me. I can’t imagine her not calling. We were close, you know?”

Fred Murray is frustrated and angry, convinced New Hampshire state police didn’t call in the FBI 10 years ago and still won’t for fear of exposing their own foibles.

“She was out there helpless,” her father said. “Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. No one to ask for help. I think some local dirt bag grabbed her.”

He fought in vain all the way to the New Hampshire Supreme Court to get the investigation’s records.

“If I saw the case records, I would know what I have to chase myself,” Fred Murray said. “You get frustrated and it gnaws at you. You can’t get rid of it.”

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

BOSTON (CBS/AP) — State public health officials have selected 20 locations to award the first licenses formedical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts.

The list was posted Friday on the state Department of Public Health’s website. The DPH has been reviewing applications from groups seeking to operate the dispensaries.

Read: List of Approved Applications (.pdf)

Dispensaries were approved for Dennis, Taunton, Fairhaven, Salem, Haverhill, Holyoke, Northampton, Lowell, Ayer, Newton, Cambridge, Brookline, Quincy, Plymouth, and Brockton. Worcester and Boston were each approved for two dispensaries.
A law approved by voters in November 2012 allows marijuana to be used for certain medical conditions, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

The law allows for up to 35 outlets around Massachusetts.

The law requires that each county in the state have at least one medical marijuana dispensary.

Currently, four counties: Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes, and Nantucket have no approved dispensaries.

1.9 magnitude quake reported near New Bedford

BOSTON —If you think you felt the ground rumble a little bit in southeastern Massachusetts Thursday, you weren’t imagining it.

According to the Weston Observatory, a 1.9 magnitude quake about seven miles northeast of New Bedford occurred at 10:52 a.m.

Several WCVB Facebook fans said they felt it.

“In Fairhaven, my whole house shook and a loud boom. Thought someone crashed into my house,” one fan said.

“Thought something blew up in basement at work. Heard boom and felt a shake that lasted a second or two,” another Facebook fan.

“It felt like a truck hit my house … Then like a low rumble … Def didn’t think it was an earthquake…. Prob cuz I’ve never felt one,” another Facebook fan said.

NewsCenter 5 and will have more details as they are available.

Did you feel the quake? Email!

Blizzard warning issued for Massachusetts coast 

BOSTON —The Blizzard of 2014 will be known as a weather event with the most impact on eastern Massachusetts, where one small town north of Boston saw 21 inches of snow by  Thursday evening.


“It’s not impossible that some areas could see 30 inches of snow,” said Storm Team 5 meteorologist Harvey Leonard.

The blizzard that is bringing heavy snow, strong winds, coastal flooding and dangerously cold weather forced Gov. Deval Patrick to close state government Friday, as he urged private employers to do the same.

“Stay off the roads,” Patrick said.

The National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for the entire Massachusetts coastline.  Boxford saw 21 inches by late evening, while 19.5 inches were record in Topsfield.

Hour-by-hour snowfall predictor | Latest weather forecast

Check school/church closings

Emergency officials raised considerable concern about the dangers the extreme cold will bring, with wind chills of 25 to 30 below zero reported in the early morning hours Friday.

“This storm presents a different set of dangers,” said Patrick. “The temperatures will be extreme.”

“It is some of the coldest weather I have ever seen with heavy snow,” said Leonard, noting single-digit temperatures in Boston Friday and predicting record cold temps on Saturday.

Follow real-time Storm Team 5 updates

Here are the major things to know about the storm:

  1. In addition to heavy snow, the storm has brought strong winds, extremely cold temperatures and the potential for coastal flooding.
  2. There is a likelihood of  coastal flooding and erosion along the Massachusetts east coast Friday at noon.
  3. The snow should begin to taper off Friday morning and end around noon.
  4. At Logan Airport, airlines suspended flights at 8:30 p.m. Thursday and said they would try resume at noon Friday.
  5. The worst of the storm was late Thursday and early  Friday with 1 to 2 inch per hour snowfall rates.
  6. There will be a widespread accumulation of 10 to 15 inches in Massachusetts inside Route 495. Areas north and south of Boston could see up to 30 inches.  Central Massachusetts, the Cape & Islands and southern New Hampshire  could see 6 to 10 inches.
  7. Ocean-effect snow dumped snow in Essex County Thursday and was doing the same on the South Shore and Cape Cod Friday.
  8. Bitterly cold and dangerous weather will follow with blowing and drifting.  Saturday morning could see temperatures at or below zero.
  9. Boston and many other communities declared snow emergencies and parking bans.
  10. Acela Express and Northeast Regional service will operate between Boston and Washington.  Passengers should expect reduced frequencies, particularly in New England.
  11.  The “fluff factor” with such cold weather increased the snowfall totals.  Here’s the formula:
  • 1 inch of water at 30 degrees = 10 inches of snow
  • 1 inch of water at 23 degrees = 15 inches of snow
  • 1 inch of water at 17 degrees = 20 inches of snow
Photos Videos

Foot of snow already in Topsfield MA on Thursday 1/2/2014 at 4:30PM!

Posted by Molly Dolan , December 30, 2013 at 02:05 PM

Frank Chin to receive honor at Working Wonders benefit evening on March 26, 2014
Frank Chin to receive honor at Working Wonders benefit evening on March 26, 2014

Tufts Medical Center announced today that longtime resident and advocate of Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood, Frank Chin will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 Working Wonders benefit evening. This award is given to an individual to recognize contributions to the Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children community over his/her entire career.

Frank Chin is the patriarch of Chinese immigrant advocacy work in Boston’s Chinatown. He has had an immeasurable impact on shaping the physical, social, economic and cultural landscape of Chinatown over the years. Known affectionately as “Uncle Frank” within the local and broader community, Mr. Chin was appointed co-chair of a Grievance Task Force established by then Mayor Kevin White in 1969 to highlight community needs. He was instrumental in bringing many issues to the forefront and introducing resources into the community through his activism and outspokenness. The creation of the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, Asian American Civic Association, South Cove Community Health Center, Pagoda Park, and the annual Chinatown August Moon Festival were all made possible by Mr. Chin’s tireless efforts. For nearly five decades, he has advocated for community needs – affordable housing, cleaner and safer streets, small business and economic development, and youth development among others.

For 25 years, Mr. Chin served as purchasing agent for the City of Boston, under the administrations of Mayors Kevin White, Raymond Flynn and Thomas Menino. As the unofficial “Mayor of Chinatown,” Mr. Chin has been a vital partner in uniting the local community with Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children and advancing the needs of the Chinatown community.

“We are thrilled that Frank Chin has accepted our 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award.  The fruits of his labor in Chinatown are evident to the Medical Center on a daily basis – we can’t wait to share his story -  and applaud his successes – with 900 of our closest friends in March,” said Michael Wagner, MD, Interim President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital.

Tufts Medical Center’s annual Working Wonders benefit evening will be held on March 26, 2014, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.  The signature fundraising event will feature awards and a live auction to support compassionate care, leading-edge research and Tufts Medical Center’s commitment to treat all of their patients as if they are a part of their family.

About Working Wonders for Tufts Medical Center:

Working Wonders for Tufts Medical Center is an inspiring benefit evening to recognize and celebrate champions of the Medical Center. Every day Tufts Medical Center is working wonders – providing academically sophisticated care in a warm, collaborative and inviting atmosphere. Proceeds from the event will support compassionate care, leading-edge research and our commitment to treat all our patients as if they are a part of the family. For more information:


Long-duration Nor’easter forecast

BOSTON —A significant winter storm will affect the region Thursday into Friday bringing the potential for heavy snow, strong winds, coastal flooding and possibly even blizzard conditions.
A blizzard warning was posted for eastern Plymouth and Barnstable counties as heavy snow will be accompanied by strong winds into Friday morning resulting in very poor visibilities.

Light snow overspread much of the region early Thursday morning, and dozens of Massachusetts school districts canceled classes.

Hour-by-hour snowfall predictor | Watch latest weather forecast

Check school/church closings

Significant snowfall will be accompanied by bitterly cold temps along with blowing and drifting snow.

There will be an impact for the Thursday evening and Friday morning rush hours, with the greater concern being for the Friday morning commute.

Boston schools will be closed Friday, Mayor Thomas Menino said.  Boston Public schools were not scheduled to be open Thursday.

Follow real-time Storm Team 5 updates

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for the entire state.

Here are 10 things to know about the storm:

  1. If the storm follows the current track prediction, its greatest impacts will be in southern New England and along the immediate coast, including Boston.
  2. There is a likelihood of  coastal flooding and erosion along the Massachusetts east coast Thursday and Friday.
  3. Snow will begin late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, but this will be a long-duration storm.
  4. The snow will continue off-and-on during the day Thursday, with several inches falling during the day.
  5. The storm will ramp up Thursday night and the heaviest snowfall will take place Thursday night and into the early morning hours of Friday. The worst of the storm is expected to come Thursday night into early Friday with 1 to 2 inch per hour snowfall rates.
  6. Near blizzard conditions will be possible for a time along the eastern Massachusetts coast Thursday night into early Friday, resulting in whiteout conditions. Travel may become impossible.
  7. There will be a widespread accumulation of 8 to 15 inches in Massachusetts inside Route 495. Areas south of Boston could see 12 to 18 inches.  Central Massachusetts, the Cape & Islands and southern New Hampshire  could see 6 to 10 inches.
  8. The storm is not expected to stall and should be over by midday Friday.
  9. Bitterly cold weather will follow with blowing and drifting.  Saturday morning could see temperatures at or below zero.
  10.  The “fluff factor” with such cold weather will increase the snowfall totals.  Here’s the formula:
  • 1 inch of water at 30 degrees = 10 inches of snow
  • 1 inch of water at 23 degrees = 15 inches of snow
  • 1 inch of water at 17 degrees = 20 inches of snow


Massachusetts population at nearly 6.7 million

BOSTON —New figures from the Census Bureau shows Massachusetts is continuing to add to its population.

The latest estimate as of July 1 puts the state’s population at nearly 6.7 million, up by more than 47,000 from July, 2012.

While the increase is modest, it helps maintain Massachusetts’ ranking at the 14th most populous state in the country.

A review of the census data by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute said the state’s population growth ranks it as the fastest growing in the Northeast region for the third consecutive year since 2010.

The institute said that according to the latest census estimate, Massachusetts’ annual growth percentage caught up with the U.S. average in the 2012 to 2013 period.

The institute said the last time the state’s growth rate met or exceeded the national average was 1967.

American flag replaced before veteran died

COBLESKILL, N.Y. —Five students at an upstate New York college are being praised for replacing a U.S. flag that disappeared from the home of a World War II combat veteran.

The family of 93-year-old Howard Coger tells The Daily Star of Oneonta that he noticed in November that the American flag he flew outside his home in Cobleskill was missing.

Five young men enrolled at the state college in Cobleskill learned about it and decided to help their neighbor.

Coger’s family says the students — two from upstate New York and three from Massachusetts — bought another American flag of similar dimensions, then used a new mount to affix it to his garage before Coger died Dec. 19.

The Massachusetts students are Ethan Fervan, Jake Woodward and Kevin Hanson.

For their kindness, the college’s Student Veterans Association has made all five men honorary “student veterans.”