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NEW ENGLAND IN BRIEF

Healey seeks 1-on-1 debate with Patrick

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey yesterday sought to narrow the gubernatorial contest to her and Deval L. Patrick, saying she would welcome a head-to-head debate while also criticizing the ``noise" from her harshest critic, independent candidate Christy Mihos. Healey, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, said that she did not consider Mihos a spoiler in the race, but that his impassioned attacks on her Monday during the first general election debate clouded her efforts to contrast herself with Patrick, the Democratic nominee. ``I think it's pretty clear that either Deval Patrick or I am going to be the next governor of this state, and when people go to the polls, they deserve to know where we stand," Healey said during a news conference in Worcester. Mihos rejected Healey's criticism and said he planned to participate in all of the debates. There are at least three more slated before Election Day, Nov. 7. Each includes Mihos and Grace Ross, the Green-Rainbow nominee, who will also appear on the ballot. (AP)

BOSTON

Ceremonies planned for war heroes
More than 60 recipients of the Medal of Honor, the country's highest award for valor in military action, will be feted in ceremonies around Boston today through Saturday during the annual convention of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The veterans who attend the convention will visit schools in the city and suburbs this morning, Chelsea Soldiers' Home, and the State House, among other locations.

Poutre's mother seeks to resume visits
The biological mother of 12-year-old Haleigh Poutre, the girl authorities allege was beaten into a coma by her adoptive mother and stepfather, asked a judge yesterday to order the state Department of Social Services to allow her to resume hospital visits with her daughter. Allison Avrett sued the agency two weeks ago after it stopped the visits she had been having with Haleigh, who is at Franciscan Children's Hospital in Boston with a severe brain injury. The lawsuit also seeks documentation regarding Haleigh's current care and her adoption. Sarah Joss, a lawyer for DSS, said the effort to restore visitation should be denied. The judge did not immediately rule. (AP)

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Mattapan man arrested in shooting death
A 34-year-old man from Boston's Mattapan section was arrested in Alabama yesterday for allegedly shooting and killing Michael Etheridge, 40, a father of nine from Dorchester, police said. Robert Lee Jones was captured in Tuscaloosa on charges that he fatally shot Etheridge on Seaver Street in Roxbury in October, police said. Relatives of both men could not be reached last night. Police said they expect Jones to be returned to Boston soon.

QUINCY

11 rescued quickly after canoes capsize
Four canoes carrying two adults and nine middle-schoolers participating in the Thompson Island Outward Bound program overturned yesterday , prompting a call to the Coast Guard and large doses of hot chocolate for the rescued. The canoeists were off the eastern shore of the island, between Squantum and Long Island, at about 11:30 a.m. when unexpectedly strong winds caused several canoes to capsize, according to the Coast Guard. A boat sent out with the program, the Boston Fire Department, a BFI Waste Systems employee, and school-affiliated on-shore observers called for help on their cellphones. All the participants were wearing life jackets and were plucked from the water by the school's instructors and the Boston Fire Department as a Coast Guard helicopter hovered overhead, school officials said. The Coast Guard said the instructors did the right thing by having a safety boat along for the canoe trip, as well as on-shore observers.

SANDWICH

Plan to curb illegal immigration fails
Town Meeting voters in Sandwich on Monday night turned aside a proposal by an almost 3-to-1 ratio that would have increased penalties against residents and businesses that employ illegal immigrants. By a count of 582 to 201, residents voted to ``indefinitely postpone" the measure, according to Town Clerk Barbara Walling. The measure, proposed by Selectman Douglas Dexter in June, would have imposed a $1,000 fine on businesses that employ illegal immigrants. The Board of Selectmen had approved the proposal in July, but the chairman, Randy Hunt, said after Monday night's defeat that the measure was dead. ``I don't think we're going to spend more time on this," Hunt said in phone interview. ``We have a lot of other things to do."

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