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Seized animals brought to rescues in Dedham, Methuen

February 11, 2014 09:28 AM

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MSPCA photos

Wendy, a pony seized by MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement and currently in care at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen.

The following was submitted by the MSPCA:

The MSPCA-Angell’s Law Enforcement department announced Monday it has charged Dean Manual of Ludlow with 36 counts of animal cruelty after seizing 35 animals from his property last Friday.

Manual, 43, also faces two counts of assault and battery on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest. His arraignment has been scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 12.

The animals seized include: four donkeys; eight ponies; six pigs (including three piglets); four goats; four alpacas; four ducks; two sheep; one goose; one emu and a rabbit.

The MSPCA combined forces with the Animal Rescue League of Boston to remove the animals. Twelve animals — including donkeys, ponies, goats, and sheep — were taken to the Animal Rescue League’s facility in Dedham. The rest were taken to the MSPCA-Nevins Farm in Methuen.

The majority of the animals are underweight — including a severely emaciated pony who will be placed on a monitored re-feeding program. Some of the ponies have overgrown hooves and all of the animals will undergo further veterinary exams to assess other health issues that must be treated.

One alpaca was so weak that he could not stand on his own and was sent to the Tufts veterinary center in Grafton. The animal remains in the critical care unit while veterinarians determine the full extent of his health issues and how they may be treated.

The MSPCA-Nevins Farm has set up a donation page to enable members of the community to contribute to the care of animals.

The MSPCA previously charged Manual with 10 separate counts of animal cruelty after a Dec. 9 inspection of his property by officer Christine Allenberg found ponies and donkeys living in pens with no food or water, and no protection from the elements. The animals were wet and covered with ice and snow. Officer Allenberg gave Manual until Dec. 17 to build a shelter and charged him when he failed to meet the deadline.

Manual denied the charges at his Dec. 23 arraignment and was scheduled to appear in court on March 5 on those charges.

“Our primary concern now is the health and well-being of these animals — and we’ll do everything we can to help them regain their health,” said Officer Allenberg. “And, simultaneously, we will vigorously pursue justice as we do with every cruelty investigation we take on.”

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Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs seized by MSPCA-Angell Law Enforcement and currently receiving care at the MSPCA at Nevins Farm.

Anything but relaxed at Framingham's Chocolate Therapy

February 10, 2014 05:46 PM
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Chocolate Therapy
Chocolate Therapy's strawberry balsamic truffles are made with dark chocolate, strawberry puree and balsamic vinegar.

Like many couples around Massachusetts, David and Pam Griffin are planning to spend time together this Valentine’s Day. They’ll celebrate with chocolate and maybe even wine. Unlike most other couples, the Griffins will be spending 13 hours together making and selling chocolate in their Framingham store, Chocolate Therapy, come February 14.

“By 9 o’clock we’ll all be ready to sit down or fall down,” Pam said.

The pair plans to sell at least 400 pounds of chocolate by week’s end, so it’s all-hands-on-deck at the shop. Their chocolatier, Rick Gemme, is also working 12 hours a day this week.

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Chocolate Therapy
A chocolatier fills molds with chocolate.

The store can churn out thousands of truffles a day. After Gemme makes the ganache, or truffle filling, the chocolates are coated by hand or by machine. The store’s machine can enrobe 500 truffles an hour and Gemme can coat a couple hundred chocolates himself in the same time.

“We’ve done this enough times, we pretty much know what to expect,” David said.

After Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the second-busiest day of the year for the store, which opened in Framingham a year ago. The original location in Dedham opened in May 2011.

“We see a gradual ramp-up, like this weekend was very busy for us,” David said. “Thursday it’s pretty crazy and then Friday it’s just insane. We literally have lines out the door.”

Most last-minute customers are men, according to David.

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Chocolate Therapy
The store's Pom Balm truffles, made with pomegranate molasses and dark chocolate, are popular gifts.

Chocolate Therapy offers truffles and specialty chocolates with healthy twists and unique flavors. Inside the dark chocolate Aristaeus truffle, you’ll find cold pressed olive oil and sea salt. Other chocolates incorporate sweet potato and ginger.

“It’s a spice rack,” David said. “You’ll see cayenne, cinnamon, bay leaf, pepper [and] a little bit of salt.

“We want to be a little bit different. We like to think of our chocolates as having a European profile. They’re not overly sugary like a lot of American chocolates are, but we want to put an American spin on it so we put a healthy additive to it.”

The store’s regular offerings include its popular pink Himalayan sea salt caramels, chocolate-covered potato chips, and chocolate almond bark. For Valentine’s Day, chocolate-covered strawberries (in milk, dark, and white chocolate), rosé pink champagne truffles, milk chocolate hearts dusted in gold cocoa butter, and a brandy cherry truffle with nutmeg and cinnamon are available.

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Chocolate Therapy
The store has specialty gift boxes in time for Valentine's Day.

The store also offers wine pairings for the truffles.

“We have a very nice red wine that’s fruity and well-balanced,” Pam said. “We’ll pair that with a milk chocolate truffle. We’ll do a rosé with a white chocolate.”

Besides wine pairings, the store also hosts birthday parties, runs corporate team-building events, and has a program to help Girl Scouts earn a chocolate-making badge.

“We’ve got a wide variety of things for everyone,” Pam said.

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Chocolate Therapy
Interested chocoholics can take a class at the store to learn how to make chocolate.

Chocolate Therapy will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday.

Maggie Quick can be reached at margaret.quick@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MaggieQuick.

Nearly a dozen Massachusetts towns raise age for cigarette sales

December 26, 2013 06:43 PM

Nearly a dozen communities across the state within the past year have raised the age for tobacco sales higher than 18 years old, evidence of a slow-spreading movement that activists say will reduce cigarette use among teens.

Most states, including Massachusetts, allow 18-year-olds to buy tobacco products. Alaska, Alabama, Utah and New Jersey are the exceptions, all of which have pushed the legal age to 19.

Until last year, Needham was the only community in the United States that prohibited sales to anyone under 21 years old – a change the town made in 2005, according to D.J. Wilson, the tobacco control director at the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

Since then, a handful of other Bay State communities have followed behind. Brookline, Belmont, Sharon, Watertown, Westwood, Walpole and Sudbury have all outlawed the sale of tobacco to anyone under 21 within the past year, according to Wilson.

Canton, Ashland, Dedham and Arlington also changed their bylaws to prohibit sales of tobacco to anyone under 19, with Arlington planning to push its age restriction up to 21 years old over a three-year phase-in plan.

“In those towns we hope to see it is actually harder for kids to get their hands on tobacco products,” Wilson said, adding it is too soon to gather any data on smoking rates in those towns.

Other cities and towns across Massachusetts and the country are also looking to ban tobacco sales to young adults. This past spring, New York City became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale of tobacco to anyone under 21. In Massachusetts, the board of health in Newburyport is currently debating a measure that would outlaw sales to anyone under 21. The move faces resistance from the city mayor and some retailers.

“It is interesting in that it kind of cascaded pretty quickly,” Wilson said about the age restriction for tobacco sales.

Critics argue local officials are overstepping their authority, and anyone over 18 is an adult capable of making their own decisions about whether to smoke.

Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, called the moves “an overreach” by local governments. Anti-tobacco activists are attempting to take the path of least resistance by pushing age restrictions at the local level rather than face a more difficult battle to do it statewide, Hurst said.

“They try to pick off cities and towns here and there,” he said. “Local officials have to know that they are putting their own consumers and employers at a disadvantage.”

Activists credit Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Lester Hartman, a pediatrician in Westwood, with spearheading the change one community at a time.

Winickoff said a slow, steady approach will have a major public health impact statewide.

“I think community by community is what we are going to do for a while, and that’s the way to have this move forward,” Winickoff told the News Service.

Winickoff said he thinks part of the reason the change is spreading is because local town officials have seen the data from Needham. In the eight years since the age-restriction went into effect, the smoking rate for Needham high school students dropped precipitously, according to Winickoff.

The smoking rate for adults who live in Needham is 8 percent compared to 18.1 percent statewide, according to data collected by the Tobacco Control Program at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Deaths from lung cancer among men from Needham is 24 percent lower than the state average, while women from Needham die from lung cancer at a rate 33 percent lower than the statewide average for women, according to DPH data.

Approximately 90 percent of all smokers begin the habit before they are 21, according to Winickoff and other anti-tobacco activists.

Tami Gouveia, executive director of Tobacco Free Massachusetts, said she is not sure if age-restrictions will continue to catch on in other cities and towns as a way of reducing young people’s access to tobacco. “It is really at the beginning stages of folks starting to take a hard look at this,” she said.

Gouveia compared it to when the legal drinking age was raised from 18 to 21.

Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday said she thinks increasing the legal age to buy tobacco is unnecessary and an inappropriate issue for the board of health to focus on.

“The legal age is 18. It is the age when you are an adult. You can fight in our wars. You have the right to vote. You can marry. And now we are going to tell you, ‘You can’t buy a pack of cigarettes if you want one,’” Holaday said.

Holaday said she will not dedicate any police resources to enforcing an age restriction on tobacco sales in Newburyport, leaving the question of how effective it might be in that city.

Increasing the legal age for cigarette sales will only hurt local retailers and send consumers to convenience stores in neighboring communities, Holaday said.

Hurst, from the Retailers Association, agreed. If cigarette sales are banned to anyone under 21 in one town, but legal in the next town, residents will buy them in the neighboring community, Hurst said. Secondly, he said, different rules on consumer products in the 351 cities and towns around the state will cause problems.

“I think our local officials have to be willing to stand up to these advocates who are pushing these agendas and tell them, ‘Go hop in your car and go to Boston to push a statewide agenda.’ It has no business being considered at the local level,” Hurst said.

Foundation for MetroWest awards $228k in grants to various communities

December 16, 2013 02:03 PM

Representatives from the Foundation for MetroWest announced last week that the foundation has awarded $228,000 in grants to organizations in various communities west of Boston.

The announcement was part of an event held last week at The Center for the Arts in Natick.

The 2013 distributions were focused on three key service areas: arts and culture, environment, and family support. This year's grant recipients will use the money to fund a variety of programs along the lines of these themes, including support for families at-risk of becoming homeless; workforce training and job placement programs; improving access to the arts for underserved populations; the removal of invasive species from local watersheds; and resources to the elderly and victims of domestic abuse.

“During this time of unprecedented financial need, Foundation for MetroWest is proud to support organizations throughout the region,” said Judith Salerno, the foundation's executive director. “By distributing these much needed funds, we are doing our part to ensure that the MetroWest region remains vital and strong.”

A complete list of grant recipients in each category is as follows:

Family Support

  • Advocates, Inc., Framingham
  • Bethany Hill School, FraminghamCOMPASS for Kids, Lexington
  • Cooperative Elder Services, Inc. Lexington
  • Employment Options, Inc., Marlborough
  • Framingham Adult ESL, Natick
  • Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts, Acton
  • Jewish Family and Children’s Service, Waltham
  • Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, Framingham
  • LVM Literacy Unlimited, Framingham
  • MetroWest Legal Services, Inc., Framingham
  • MetroWest Mediation Services, Framingham
  • Minuteman Senior Services, Bedford
  • Natick Service Council, Inc., Natick
  • New Hope, Inc., Attleboro
  • Newton Community Service Center, West Newton
  • REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, Waltham
  • SMOC - Voices Against Violence, Framingham
  • Waltham Partnership for Youth, Waltham
  • WATCH, Inc., Waltham


Arts and Culture

  • Assabet Valley Mastersingers, Inc., Northborough
  • The Center for the Arts in Natick (TCAN), Natick
  • Danforth Art, Museum\School, Framingham
  • Framingham History Center, Framingham
  • Gore Place, Waltham
  • Medway Friends of Elders, Medway
  • Music Access Group, Dedham
  • New Repertory Theatre, Watertown
  • North Hill, Needham
  • Plugged In, Needham


Environment

  • Charles River Watershed Association, Weston
  • Lake Cochituate Watershed Council, Inc., Natick
  • Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, Belmont
  • Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln
  • OARS, Concord
  • Waltham Land Trust, Waltham

The foundation has distributed over $8 million in grants to the local community since its inception in 1995.

For more information, visit the foundation's official website.

Pair denies robbing Westwood Dunkin Donuts

December 3, 2013 04:21 PM

Two 23-year-old friends have pleaded not guilty to twice robbing the same Dunkin Donuts storefront in Westwood - once in March and once in July, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.

Kevin W. Hanafin, age 23 of Wiggins Ave in Dedham and Frank Ingemi, 23, of Wyvern St. in Roslindale, each pled not guilty to two counts of armed robbery for the March 12 and July 7, 2013 holdups. Charges were taken by the Westwood Police Department.

"We requested $50,000 bail on each defendant," District Attorney Morrissey said after the arraignment. "Hanafin was ordered held on $15,000 and Ingemi on $30,000. Both are due back January 3, 2013 for pre-trial conference."

Each man was arrested at his respective residence by detectives executing search warrants obtained as part of an ongoing investigation into a series of armed robberies of Dunkin Donuts locations in and around Boston in recent months.

"These men are charged only with these two robberies and no others at this time," District Attorney Morrissey said. "We understand that the investigation remains active and ongoing."

As with all criminal defendants, Hanafin and Ingemi enjoy the Constitutional presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

TripAdvisor breaks ground on new headquarters in Needham

November 4, 2013 08:08 PM

TripAdvisor Inc., a travel review website currently based in Newton, broke ground on Monday on a new 282,000 square-foot headquarters at Center 128 in Needham.

TripAdvisor tapped into the power of social media right from the company’s start in 2000 by inviting travelers to write online reviews of hotels and attractions.

The company recently launched its first TV ad campaign. The tagline: “Every experience counts.” The company said at that time that there are 260 million unique visitors to TripAdvisor every month.

Among the dignitaries at the ceremony were Governor Deval Patrick, Needham Board of Selectman chairman Dan Matthews, and Justin Krebs, principal of Normandy Real Estate Partners, said TripAdvisor.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.

Norfolk inmate charged with 'Molly' conspiracy

October 24, 2013 01:39 PM

A joint investigation by the Norfolk County Sheriff's Department, the Norfolk DA's State Police Drug Unit and the Quincy Police has uncovered a detainee allegedly orchestrating large sales of "Molly" in an attempt to raise his own bail money.

David G. Courage, age 24, previously of 181 Farrington Street in Quincy, will be arraigned in the Dedham District Court tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 25, at 9 a.m., according to Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti and District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey. He has been charged with Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Law, Chap 94C Sec. 40.

"Sheriff Bellotti has security personnel and apparatus working in the jail to detect ongoing criminal activity, and it was through those efforts that this was first detected," District Attorney Morrissey said. "Massachusetts State Police detectives from my drug unit have been working with the Sheriff's personnel since September, conducting operations both inside the jail and outside. That cooperation led to the charges that are to be arraigned tomorrow."

"Molly" is a variation of MDMA, an illegal drug also known as Ecstasy or X.

"The allegations are that this detainee was orchestrating, over jailhouse phones, the activities of a female he has had a relationship with to buy and sell drugs to raise bail money," District Attorney Morrissey said. "That woman, Cory Lyn Wojcuilewicz, 25, with recent addresses in Ashby and Fitchburg, Mass., was arrested and is now being prosecuted by District Attorney Joseph Earley on charges stemming from our investigation and surveillance."

Courage is currently being held without bail under the Massachusetts Dangerousness Statute, but dangerousness detentions are only for 90 days - after which Courage would have the right to argue for bail.

Morrissey also thanked Massachusetts State Police C-Troop Community Action Team for working with the detectives conducting surveillance on Wojcuilewicz. A Trooper from the CAT team conducted the traffic stop of Wojcuilewicz's green 2007 Volkswagen Passat that resulted in her being taken into custody as she drove south from Fitchburg on Rte. 190.

"Law enforcement works best when we work together, and we had strong and productive partners in this effort. The work of Sheriff Bellotti's team was first rate," District Attorney Morrissey said.

UPDATED: Courage pled not guilty at his arraignment Friday morning. Judge Stephen Ostrach ordered $100,000 cash bail on the new charges (in addition to still being held without bail on the Quincy assault case) and ordered the defendant to return to court on Nov. 22.

Survey seeks opinions on Norfolk County judges

October 21, 2013 10:00 AM

DEDHAM, Mass. (AP) — The state’s highest court is sending questionnaires to attorneys and court employees in Norfolk County, seeking input on 35 judges as part of an ongoing program to evaluate judicial performance.

The Supreme Judicial Court’s survey covers several categories including a judge’s knowledge of the law, fairness and impartiality, temperament on the bench and treatment of litigants, witnesses, jurors and attorneys.

Lawyers who have appeared in court in the county over the last two years will receive questionnaires.

All questionnaires are confidential and do not ask for the names of the respondents. The resulting reports also will be confidential and are given only to the judge being evaluated and to the chief justices of their courts.

Questionnaires will be accepted by the SJC through mid-December.

Snapshot: The cost of safety

September 19, 2013 05:19 AM

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Fire Department spending as a percentage of all expenditure spending, fiscal year, 2012.

Click here to see a larger, interactive version of this chart.
Additional town-by-town snapshots.

US Representative Stephen F. Lynch answers questions on Syria at Quincy town meeting

September 13, 2013 11:29 AM

US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, who opposes US military intervention in Syria, was in good company at town hall in Quincy Thursday.

The South Boston Democrat spent nearly two hours taking questions from a polite crowd, whose inquiries revealed a deep vein of doubt that military action would achieve positive results for the country and thanks that Lynch held that view.

“I really appreciate your commitment to voting against another war in the Middle East,” said Dorchester resident Jeff Klein, 67, echoing the sentiment of the majority of questioners in the Quincy High School auditorium.

The crowd of about 100 people, which was split between men and woman, skewed older and included a number of military veterans. Many asked questions of fact -- how can we know that the chemical weapons were used by Assad’s regime? -- while others just wanted to have their voice heard in opposition to striking Syria.

Lynch gave detailed, often nuanced, answers to every question he was asked, often peppering his responses with anecdotes from his many visits over the years to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region.

He said that the high volume of constituent calls and emails about the potential intervention in Syria -- more than five to one against -- prompted him to hold the event.

On Aug. 31, President Obama said in an address he believed the US should take military action against Syria after the reported use of chemical weapons by the forces of Syrian leader Bashar Assad. But, he said, he would first ask Congress for its green light.

In the subsequent days, public opinion and the opinion of many members of Congress, both Democratic and Republican, appeared to be strongly opposed to authorizing Obama to strike Syria. Many in the all-Democratic Massachusetts congressional delegation, Lynch among them, expressed deep skepticism about military action in the civil war-torn Middle Eastern country.

But after a potential diplomatic settlement in which Syria would give up its chemical weapons began to gain traction, Obama announced Tuesday he had asked Congress postpone a vote on the authorization of force.

Before Lynch took questions Thursday evening, he spoke about what informed his opposition to authorizing the use of force and was repeatedly interrupted by applause from the audience.

He said there were two main reasons he was currently against intervention.

The first, he said, is that there is a “fundamental flaw in the foreign policy of the United States to unilaterally attack Syria without meaningful international support.”

The second was that “the course of military action that has been chosen, as described Secretary [of State John F.] Kerry has I think a pretty unlikely probability of success in terms achieving what we would hope for in Syria.”

Lynch’s position puts him at odds with Obama, an issue he addressed early in the forum.

“I love my President, but, based on my own reading of this -- and this is where democracy with a small d comes into play -- I think that’s the wrong the decision,” Lynch said.

Lynch staffers provided copies of the authorization resolution, which many in the audience flipped through over the course of the event.

Heba Eid, 28, was one of the only questioners who expressed support of US military action in Syria.

“I don’t think Bashar al-Assad is going to agree to any kind of diplomacy unless there is military pressure on him,” Eid said. “I think that the House should vote for military action.” She said that doing nothing in the face of the alleged chemical weapons use would send the wrong message to Assad.

Lynch, engaged in a lengthy but respectful back and forth with her, replied that “There are a lot of options between bombing and doing nothing.”

In the televised primetime address on Tuesday, Obama also said that taking action in Syria did not mean the US would get involved in every humanitarian crisis across the world.

“America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death...I believe we should act,” the President said.

But that message had not resonated among the people in the auditorium Thursday night.

Quincy resident Russell Erikson, 91, served as a pilot in World War II and was the first member of the public to arrive at the town hall. He said he was opposed to a military intervention in Syria, not wanting to see any young American men or women die in that conflict.

“We can’t police the whole world,” he said.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos. A version of this post appeared on the Political Intelligence blog.

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