New England in brief
BOSTONThe Massachusetts House is expected to debate a bill today designed to provide financial relief to cities and towns, but which critics say could end up raising property taxes. Republicans and antitax activists say the bill would provide communities with an end run around Proposition 2 1/2, which limits property tax increases. The measure would let cities and towns raise property taxes above that limit to pay property tax abatements when owners appeal their tax bills. House leaders say the bill leaves Proposition 2 1/2 intact. Governor Deval Patrick said he will not sign the bill if the abatement measure is included.
Charter school renamed for Sen. KennedyA Boston public charter school that specializes in training students for health careers will now carry the name of the late US Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Kennedy’s widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, and dozens of other people participated in a ceremony yesterday to rename the Health Careers Academy as the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers. The school last year had the highest four-year graduation rate of all Boston public high schools and the third-lowest dropout rate. Menino said the school represents much of what Kennedy, who died last summer, stood for in promoting quality education and trying to improve health care nationwide.
Jurists to discuss budget’s effect on courtsSuffolk University Law School plans to host a round-table discussion this morning on the effect of state budget cuts on the Massachusetts court system. Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall will be among the panelists at 7:30 a.m. at the law school. Other participants include Robert Mulligan, who is chief justice of the administrative office of the trial court; and William Leahy, chief counsel for the Committee for Public Counsel Services. The round-table discussion is sponsored by the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service, the New England Legal Foundation, and the Boston Bar Association.
Son hopes to honor slain crime figureThe son of Adolfo “Big Al’’ Bruno, the slain reputed Springfield crime boss, is planning a very public tribute: an Italian restaurant bearing his father’s name. Victor C. Bruno has applied for city licenses to open Adolfo’s Restaurant in the Worthington Street building where he previously ran Caffeine’s Downtown eatery. Springfield’s licensing board chairman told The Republican newspaper that people “could have heard a pin drop’’ when Victor Bruno told them the proposed name of the restaurant recently. Adolfo Bruno was gunned down in 2003 outside a social club during a power struggle in the so-called Springfield Crew. A low-level mob member has admitted he pulled the trigger and agreed to testify against others facing trial.
Church group vows to maintain sheltersA coalition of Cape Cod church volunteers intends to keep helping homeless people at its shelters and will fight new state rules on the practice. The regulations require upgrades at churches that offer refuge to the homeless, because public safety officials say the facilities are not designed to be shelters. The rules include limiting overnight stays to 35 a year and banning overnight shelters altogether from June 15 to Sept. 15. Nearly 100 volunteers from several Cape Cod churches said at a weekend meeting that their program, Overnights of Hospitality, has run for years without problems.
Officials investigating fire at gas facilityMassachusetts utility regulators are investigating an explosion and fire at a natural gas storage plant in Ludlow, though authorities say no one was injured. Fire officials say the explosion Saturday morning was triggered by a malfunction in a heater used to liquefy natural gas at the Bay State LNG Plant. Authorities say damage was limited to the heater involved in the explosion, though it was loud enough that neighbors reported hearing the blast. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities was still investigating yesterday. A spokeswoman for Bay State Gas said the fire was under control within 30 minutes and was never a danger to workers or neighbors.
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