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20 medical marijuana dispensary licenses awarded in Mass.

January 31, 2014 12:24 PM

State health officials Friday released the names of companies that will receive the first 20 licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts.

In Middlesex County, licenses will go to facilities slated for Lowell, Ayer, Newton, and Cambridge. In Norfolk County, the locations are in Brookline and Quincy. In Suffolk County, two are slated in Boston.

In Plymouth county, licenses will go to facilities slated for Plymouth and Brockton. And in Worcester County, the locations are in Milford and Worcester. In Essex County, they are slated in Salem and Haverhill.

Here are the others: Mashpee and Dennis in Barnstable County; Taunton and Fairhaven in Bristol County; Holyoke in Hampden County; and Northampton in Hampshire County.

Counties without a selected dispensary include Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes and Nantucket.

Steward Hospitals, workers come to agreement on contract

December 17, 2013 05:05 PM

With 96 percent support, close to 5,000 health care workers who work at eight eastern Massachusetts hospitals ratified a new contract with Steward Health Care, the union SEIU 1199 announced Tuesday.

The agreement between workers and hospitals from Methuen to Taunton is the largest union vote since “tens of thousands of homecare workers voted to join SEIU in 2007,” according to the union, which said the 2007 vote was the biggest in the state’s history.

The vote sets in place a three-year contract for workers at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical
Center in Brighton; Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton; Carney Hospital in Dorchester; Quincy Medical Center; Norwood Hospital; Holy Family Hospital in Methuen; Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill; and Morton Hospital in Taunton.

Steward hospital workers at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer; Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River; and New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton have not organized to join a union, the SEIU stated.

“This agreement is a victory for healthcare workers and includes provisions that will continue to improve and reward the remarkable care that 1199SEIU caregivers at Steward hospitals deliver to our communities,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner in a statement.

The three-year agreement covers clerical, service and technical employees; guarantees union members annual 2 percent pay increases; and requires that the “lower-wage hospital workers covered by the pact” receive at least a living wage. The contract was ratified over recent weeks at various locations.

- A. Metzger/SHNS

MassDevelopment picks firm to build Devens housing

November 14, 2013 04:54 PM

MassDevelopment's Board of Directors voted to negotiate a development agreement with Evergreen Village Collaborative for 120 units of housing in Deven's Grant Road area.

“We look forward to working with Evergreen Village Collaborative on this new Devens neighborhood,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones, in a release. “Demand for nearby housing is likely to grow with 3,600 employees already working at Devens businesses, and these unit types will appeal to many workers.”

MassDevelopment will sell the development sites to Evergreen Village Collaborative, a Lexington-based group, which has proposed a neighborhood style development with a variety of unit types, the release said.

At present, zoning allows for single-family homes, duplexes, town homes, and multifamily buildings to be built on the 35-acre area,

Six developers applied to develop the site, and the Board of Directors reached a decision after hearing recommendations from an internal selection team that reviews the proposals.

Shandana Mufti can be reached at

Middlesex DA launches safe baby sleeping awareness campaign

October 25, 2013 01:49 PM

The Middlesex District Attorney's office is launching a campaign to educate parents on putting their infant to sleep safely, an initiative timed with recognizing October as National Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, Awareness Month.

SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies aged 1 month to 1 year of age, and an average of 41 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in Massachusetts, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan's office. Reviews founds that many of those deaths are because of accidental suffocation, which can happen when infants are put to sleep unsafely, the district attorney's office said.

The office will distribute “Let Your Baby Breathe” fliers to hospitals, birthing centers, pediatricians, and community organizations. The campaign will also include a website with tips and resources for parents.

Partnering medical centers will also train their pediatricians to discuss infant sleeping safety with new parents at initial follow-up visits following the baby's birth.

The Middlesex District Attorney's office will also produce a public safety video about the issue.

In a statement, Ryan said the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a blanket- and pillow-free area that is also devoid of bumpers.

"There are a lot of mixed messages out there about what is a safe sleep environment and we hope this campaign provides clear information for parents and caregivers," Ryan said. "SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants, thus this campaign is one way we can make sure no family has to suffer the loss of a child."

Parents and caregivers can reduce the risk of SIDS and other sleep-related deaths by following these guidelines:

• Always place baby on his or her back to sleep -- for naps and at night
• Keep baby’s sleep area free of pillows, soft or loose bedding, padded bumpers, soft objects, and toys
• Place baby to sleep in a separate sleep area close to where you or others sleep
• Place baby in a safety-approved crib with a firm mattress and a tightly fitted sheet
• Do not smoke during pregnancy, and do not allow smoking around the baby
• Give baby plenty of tummy time when awake and when someone is watching
• Prevent overheating by not over-dressing baby and by keeping the room temperature between 68 and 72 degrees
• Frequently checking on your baby
• Call 911 immediately if the baby is not responding
• Talk to ALL caregivers about the importance of safe sleep practices

Partners in this initiative include Lowell General Hospital, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, Lawrence Memorial Hospital, and Winchester Hospital.

The safe sleep initiative was developed by the district attorney's new task force Safe Babies Safe Kids, which grew out of the Middlesex Shaken Baby Task Force and the Middlesex Child Fatality Review Team by expanding the focus to include all types of preventable death and injury to infants and children.

For more information and sleep safety tips visit,, and

Follow us on Twitter: @yourwellesley, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

Fun ways to celebrate Halloween west of Boston

October 20, 2013 12:27 PM

On the one hand, there is the kitschy Halloween beloved by small children, with silly or clever costumes, jack-o’-lanterns, and mountains of candy. On the other hand, there is the haunted-house fun of a good scare — be it from a gory costume or a spooky noise.

While traditional house-to-house trick-or-treating may still be the best way to spend Halloween itself, there are also any number of ways to explore the other dimensions of the holiday -- whether your preference leans more toward a walk through a graveyard or a craft activity.

Here some of the many ways to celebrate Halloween in communities west of Boston this year.

-- Halloween Walk and Tour of the Old Burying Ground in Lexington takes place Saturday (Oct 26) at 6:30 p.m. and leaves from the Depot Building, 13 Depot Square. Admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children, with discounts for Lexington Historical Society members. For reservations, more information, call 781-862-1703 or go to

-- Frightful Friday at Gore Place, 52 Gore St., Waltham, in its final installment this week, has tours starting at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Admission is $15 adults, $10 for ages 5 through 12 and Gore Place members. Capacity is limited. For tickets, call 781-894-2798 or visit

-- Murder at the Masquerade takes place at Merchants Row in the Colonial Inn, 48 Monument Square, Concord, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:15. The ticket price, which includes a gourmet three-course dinner, is $69. For reservations, e-mail or call 978-371-2908, ext 544.

-- Spookapella, a concert by North Shore Acapella and guests, takes place Saturday Oct 26 cq/ts at the Center for Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick. The show begins at 8 p.m.; tickets are $22, or $20 for TCAN members. For tickets or information, call 508-647-0097 or go to

-- Halloween Open House at Dana Hall School of Music, 103 Grove St. in Wellesley, is next Sunday, (October 27)2-4 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are encouraged; call 781-237-6542 or e-mail

-- Pumpkin Patch, a seasonal party held annually by the Sudbury Valley Trustees at Wolbach Farm on Wolbach Road in Sudbury, is scheduled for Saturday(Oct 26). Admission is free for SVT members; $2 per person for nonmembers, with a family maximum of $10. For more details, call 978-443-5588 or go online to

-- Decorate a Bag at Artbeat, 212A Mass Ave. in Arlington, Saturday (Oct 26)from noon to 7 p.m., and next Sunday (Oct 27) from noon to 5 p.m. Admission and supplies are free. For more information, call 781-646-2200 or go to

-- Halloween Family Day at the Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History, on the Regis College campus at 235 Wellesley St. in Weston, takes place Saturday (Oct 26)from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 781-768-8367 or go to

-- Welcome to Our [Halloween] Home at the Orchard House, 399 Lexington Road, Concord, offers a special after-hours tour Saturday scheduled for Saturday(Oct 26)from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. Admission $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and college students, $8 for ages 6-17, and $4 for ages 2-6. A family rate for two adults and up to four youths for this event will be offered at $30. Space is limited; reservations can be made by calling 978-369-4118, ext. 106; for more information, go to

-- Tales of the Night at Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, 208 South Great Road in Lincoln, takes place Thursday and Friday (Oct 24 and 25)from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $11 before Wednesday, Oct. 23, or after that for $13. Call 781-259-2218 or go to

Weekend service suspension of Fitchburg line postponed to begin on June 1, not May 4

May 2, 2013 02:41 PM

The weekend service suspension of the Fitchburg commuter rail line scheduled for May 4 has been postponed to begin on Saturday June 1, according to the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company.

Due to MBTA improvement projects on the line, service will not be available between the Fitchburg and South Acton stations on Saturdays and Sundays from June 1 to July 28. On Independence Day weekend (July 4 to July 7), weekend train service will be provided.

On Saturday August 3, weekend service will be suspended for the South Acton, West Concord, Concord, Lincoln, and Kendal Green stations until November 17. Weekend train service will be available on Labor Day weekend (August 31 to September 2).

Substitute buses will not be provided throughout the duration of the project.

Trains will terminate and originate at South Acton during the first phase of the project. During Phase 2, trains will terminate and originate at Brandeis/Roberts.

Phase 1: June 1 - July 28 (Fitchburg to/from South Acton)
Trains will terminate and originate at South Acton. During these weekend outages, the following stations will be closed:

  • Fitchburg
  • North Leominster
  • Shirley
  • Ayer
  • Littleton/Route 495

Fitchburg line trains (inbound and outbound) between South Acton and North Station will operate on the normal weekend schedule.

Phase 2: August 3 - November 17 Fitchburg to/from Brandeis/Roberts
Trains will terminate and originate at Brandeis/Roberts. The following stations will be closed:

  • South Acton
  • West Concord
  • Concord
  • Lincoln
  • Kendal Green (Weston)

Fitchburg line trains (inbound and outbound) between Brandeis/Roberts and North Station will operate on the normal weekend schedule.

Weekday service will not be impacted.

For more information, visit

Voters' guide for state legislative districts west of Boston

October 29, 2012 10:00 AM

Want to learn about who's running for state representative and state senator in your district? Here's our voters' guide to the candidates facing off in this year's general election on Nov. 6.


Bristol and Norfolk (Medfield): James E. Timilty (D-Walpole, incumbent), Jeffrey Robert Bailey (R-Attleboro)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Middlesex (Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell): Eileen M. Donoghue (D-Lowell, incumbent), James J. Buba (R-Lowell)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

3rd Middlesex (Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lincoln, Lexington, Sudbury, Waltham, Weston): Michael J. Barrett (D-Lexington), Sandi Martinez (R-Chelmsford)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

4th Middlesex (Arlington, Lexington): Kenneth J. Donnelly (D-Arlington, incumbent), Gerry C. Dembrowski (R-Woburn)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Middlesex and Norfolk (Brookline, Newton, Wellesley): Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton, incumbent)

2nd Middlesex and Norfolk (Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway, Natick): Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland, incumbent)

Middlesex and Worcester (Acton, Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Northborough, Shirley, Southborough, Stow, Sudbury, Westborough): James B. Eldridge (D-Acton, incumbent), Dean J. Cavaretta (R-Stow)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex (Franklin, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Plainville, Sherborn, Wayland, Wellesley, Wrentham): Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham, incumbent)

2nd Suffolk and Middlesex (Belmont, Watertown): William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont, incumbent), Steven W. Aylward (R-Watertown)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

1st Worcester (Boylston, Northborough): Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester, incumbent)

2nd Worcester (Shrewsbury, Upton): Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury, incumbent), Stephen R. Simonian (R-Auburn)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

Worcester and Norfolk (Bellingham, Milford): Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge, incumbent)


1st Middlesex (Ayer, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell): Sheila C. Harrington (R-Groton, incumbent)

2nd Middlesex (Littleton): James Arciero (D-Westford, incumbent), Valerie A. Wormell (R-Westford)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

3rd Middlesex (Bolton, Hudson, Maynard, Stow): Kate Hogan (D-Stow, incumbent), Chuck S. Kuniewich, Jr. (R-Hudson)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

4th Middlesex (Marlborough, Northborough, Westborough): Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Steven L. Levy (R-Marlborough, incumbent)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

5th Middlesex (Millis, Natick, Sherborn): David Paul Linsky (D-Natick, incumbent), William J. Callahan (R-Natick)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

6th Middlesex (Framingham): Chris Walsh (D-Framingham, incumbent)

7th Middlesex (Ashland, Framingham): Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland, incumbent), Jon Andrew Fetherston (R-Ashland)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

8th Middlesex (Holliston, Hopkinton, Southborough, Westborough): Carolyn C. Dykema (D-Holliston, incumbent), Martin A. Lamb (R-Holliston)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

9th Middlesex (Lincoln, Waltham): Thomas M. Stanley (D-Waltham, incumbent)

10th Middlesex (Newton, Waltham, Watertown): John J. Lawn, Jr. (D-Watertown, incumbent), Francis Xavier Stanton, III (R-Waltham)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

11th Middlesex (Newton): Kay S. Kahn (D-Newton, incumbent), Greer Tan Swiston (R-Newton)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

12th Middlesex (Newton): Ruth S. Balser (D-Newton, incumbent)

13th Middlesex (Framingham, Marlborough, Sudbury, Wayland): Thomas P. Conroy (D-Wayland, incumbent)

14th Middlesex (Acton, Carlisle, Concord): Cory Atkins (D-Concord, incumbent), Michael J. Benn (R-Concord)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

15th Middlesex (Lexington): Jay R. Kaufman (D-Lexington, incumbent)

21st Middlesex (Bedford): Ken Gordon (D-Bedford), Walter Zenkin (R-Burlington)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

23rd Middlesex (Arlington): Sean Garballey (D-Arlington, incumbent), Joseph J. Monju (R-Arlington)

24th Middlesex (Arlington, Belmont): David M. Rogers (D-Cambridge), Tommasina Anne Olson (R-Belmont), James F. Gammill (Open Innovative Government-Belmont)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

29th Middlesex (Watertown): Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown, incumbent)

37th Middlesex (Boxborough, Harvard, Shirley): Jennifer E. Benson (D-Lunenberg, incumbent)

9th Norfolk (Medfield, Millis, Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham): Daniel B. Winslow (R-Norfolk, incumbent)

10th Norfolk (Franklin, Medway): Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), Richard A. Eustis (R-Medway)

13th Norfolk (Dover, Needham, Medfield): Denise C. Garlick (D-Needham, incumbent)

14th Norfolk (Wayland, Wellesely, Weston): Alice Hanlon Peisch (D-Wellesley, incumbent)

15th Norfolk (Brookline): Frank Israel Smizik (D-Brookline, incumbent)

10th Suffolk (Brookline): Edward F. Coppinger (D-West Roxbury, incumbent)

15th Suffolk (Brookline): Jeffrey Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain, incumbent)

18th Suffolk (Brookline): Michael J. Moran (D-Brighton, incumbent)

8th Worcester (Bellingham): Robert J. Dubois (D-Blackstone), Kevin J. Kuros (R-Uxbridge, incumbent)
Click here for the Globe's coverage.

9th Worcester (Upton): George N. Peterson, Jr. (R-Grafton, incumbent)

10th Worcester (Medway, Milford): John V. Fernandes (D-Milford, incumbent)

11th Worcester (Shrewsbury, Westborough): Matthew A. Beaton (R-Shrewsbury, incumbent)

12th Worcester (Berlin, Boylston, Northborough): Harold P. Naughton, Jr. (D-Clinton, incumbent)

High School Quiz Show gears up for Nov. 4 qualifying event

October 24, 2012 06:37 PM

The following was submitted by WGBH

Academic teams from 95 public high schools across Massachusetts will gather at WGBH in Brighton on November 4 for a chance to compete on season four of High School Quiz Show. Hosted by Billy Costa, the Emmy Award-winning, fast-paced game show showcases teens from across the Commonwealth and celebrates academic achievement.

See the full list of schools here.

On “Super Sunday,” each academic team of four students will take an identical oral quiz of 100 questions. From the 95 schools, the top 16 teams will advance to appear on the televised show, a single-elimination, bracketed academic tournament that includes eight qualifying matches, quarterfinals, semifinals and a state championship match.

This year the season will culminate with a Bay State vs. Granite State showdown, when WGBH’s High School Quiz Show state champion team meets New Hampshire Public Television’s Granite State Challenge “SuperChallenge” winner for the very first inter-state quiz show play-off.

“It was our hope to create a showcase for academic achievement that would eventually take hold in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Executive Producer Hillary Wells. “By all accounts, it looks like we’re well on our way with a record number of registered schools for this year’s Super Sunday, audience growth year after year, and increasing social media banter and buzz. The real credit, of course, goes to the coaches and to the participating students who continue to impress and amaze us with their enthusiasm, poise under pressure, and depth of knowledge.

All questions on High School Quiz Show are aligned with the Massachusetts high school curriculum standards in subjects including literature, history, science, and math, as well as current events and general knowledge. The weekly series begins taping at WGBH in January in front of a live studio audience.

High School Quiz Show is endorsed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The Princeton Review judges the televised competition and reviews the questions.

Major sponsorship for High School Quiz Show is provided by Safety Insurance and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Additional funding is provided by Massachusetts Teachers Association, XFINITY from Comcast, Harvard Summer School Secondary School Program, Bentley University, Subaru of New England, and Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts.

For more information, visit, become a fan on Facebook and follow the show on Twitter.

Middlesex District Attorney Leone partners with nonprofit Team Impact

September 17, 2012 02:42 PM

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the non-profit organization Team Impact are getting together on an effort to benefit kids facing life-threatening illnesses by partnering them with college athletes, according to the district attorney's office.

Team Impact pairs these children with college athletic teams to provide the child with a team-based support system during their treatment and beyond, according to Leone's office.

The collaboration, which is sponsored by the district attorney's office, will use Leone's existing relationship with the Middlesex College Consortium to recruit schools to participate in Team Impact's program.

The consortium, established in 2007, created bi-annual meetings with Middlesex County college and university safety officials to focus on the unique safety and security issues on their campuses. Representatives from schools’ administrations, as well as campus safety and security staff leaders, partner with the district attorney's office on prevention efforts aimed at keeping campuses safe.

“By focusing on prevention through partnerships like these, we hope to make a positive and lasting impact on young people so that they can make constructive and healthy decisions for their future," said District Attorney Gerry Leone in a prepared statement.

Dan Walsh, executive director of Team Impact, said he is thrilled about the new partnership with Leone's office.

“Initially, this collaboration will boost our family and athletic outreach efforts across Middlesex County communities and the 26 colleges within them," Walsh said in the statement.

In future phases, Team Impact plans to broaden its mission and the population of children they serve, and to work with Leone to identify kids who would benefit most from their program.

The collaboration will eventually include establishing a referral process in which children facing adversity, such as child survivors of crime, children whose family members have been victimized, and at-risk youth, are also partnered with local athletes, according to the statement.

In return, the athletes participating in the program create a positive experience for a youth facing incredible life challenges.

Middlesex County is the largest county in Massachusetts and one of the largest counties in the country with 54 towns and cities and 26 colleges in urban, suburban, and rural areas, comprising over one quarter of the population of Massachusetts.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has offices throughout the county, including communities such as Ayer, Cambridge, Concord, Framingham, Lowell, Malden, Marlborough, Natick, Newton, Somerville, Waltham and Woburn.

Follow us on Twitter: @yourframingham, @jaclynreiss

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at

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