FRAMINGHAM — Former Marlborough City Councilor and former state legislator Steven Levy was arraigned Monday in Framingham District Court on charges he assaulted his girlfriend outside a Framingham restaurant.
According to a report filed in court by investigating police officer Eduardo Rivera, on May 11 at about 2 a.m. the woman reported that a domestic assault and battery took place at the Chicken Bone Saloon on Waverly Street.
According to police, she said she confronted Levy after observing him after closing hours with her friend. The woman confronted Levy, who she said became "enraged" after she reached for a cellphone and ATM card in Levy's pocket.
The booking report states that Levy "did grab her by her shirt and shook her violently, then he threw her to the ground."
Levy pleaded not guilty Monday to assault and battery, and was released on personal recognizance, according to court records. A pretrial conference is scheduled for June 17.
Levy, 48, served as an at-large city councilor from 2006 to 2011. He represented the 4th Middlesex District after winning the seat in 2010, but lost his 2012 reelection bid.
His 2012 campaign website lists him as being married with two daughters.
The alleged victim, a Framingham woman, told police she had been dating Levy since January.
Levy's lawyer, Daniel J. Cappetta of Natick, declined to comment.
John Swinconeck can be reached at email@example.com.
Marlborough native Tiffanie DiDonato has spent a lot of time in the operating room. Born with a form of dwarfism that DiDonato said would rob her of her independence, she undertook a series of painful, bone-lengthening procedures over several years.
DiDonato will appear Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Marlborough Public Library to discuss her book, "Dwarf: A Memoir," and her personal story.
DiDonato said she lost count of the number of surgeries she's undergone for dwarfism — the first of which occurred when she was 10-months old — and many of which were performed to correct bone deformities and abnormalities.
When she was 8, DiDonato's mother, Robin, decided that, the best way to ensure a good quality of life for her daughter would be a painful and risky surgical procedure to lengthen Tiffanie's limbs and increase her height.
"My mom had me go through it when I was eight and I didn't have a choice," Tiffanie DiDonato said. "A lot of people said 'that's so cruel,' but truth is, it was just another surgery. It was like a walk."
Robin DiDonato, who still lives in Marlborough, explained why she made that decision. "My main goal was for self-care and independence – for a life of her own. That was my focus, that she would have the best life she could have without being dependent on others. … Growing up, she was a very happy kid, but I was worried for her future."
DiDonato said her mother wanted her to have the surgery so that her body would function better, especially her arms. "I couldn't reach the top of my head. I couldn't reach my earlobes. I couldn't reach doorknobs," she said.
DiDonato recalled how she would get locked in the bathroom at school, because she was unable to reach the latch on the door. "There was no independence."
The procedure and recovery for bone-lengthening are "excruciating," she said, and there are risks. The bone can fail to grow into the gap, and there's also a possibility of nerve damage. DiDonato said that it was worth it.
"I feel like risk comes with everything," DiDonato said. "Even when I was 8, I noticed a difference. Can you imagine never reaching a doorknob in your life? All of the sudden, I can go outside the door. It's a whole new world. That's hard for a lot of people to grasp. I can reach light switches–that's huge!"
After her first surgery, DiDonato said she gained 2 inches in length in her shins, 2 inches in her thighs, and 2 inches in her arms. Robin DiDonato said she let her daughter decide whether or not to undergo additional surgeries.
She had her second surgery at age 13. However, when she was 15, she and her orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children's Hospital came to an impasse. DiDonato said she wanted her limbs lengthened further. Her doctor said it was too risky. "I said goodbye, and went to UMass in Worcester," she said adding that she and her former doctor parted on good terms.
Her father also opposed the surgery. "At the time, he hated it," DiDonato said. "He was against it. He struggled to be around it. He never talked about it. My mom was my advocate. She had to be hardcore, or I would break."
DiDonato said she was 17 or 18 when she had her final lengthening surgery. All told, she gained more than a foot in height.
Today, DiDonato stands at 4 feet 10 inches. "However, I just bought a monster pair of sneakers with platforms, so I'm pretty sure I'm five-two," she added, tongue-in-cheek.
DiDonato said her writing started as a journal that hadn't been intended to be public.
"My mom's a nurse and my dad works at Home Depot," she said. "I was going to be home alone. You have to have a function. I hated the pain pills — the uppers, downers made you tired. I swear, I could taste it. I started to write everything I was feeling. I couldn't sleep at night. I literally laid in bed. One night my dad came home and gave me this old computer. I had been writing a journal, and so I put it on my dad's computer, printed it out, and then started another journal. It was an escape. Before I knew it, it was seven in the morning, and I had found a way to deal with the pain."
DiDonato's family has a strong connection to the military – her mother was a lieutenant in the Air Force, her father served in the National Guard, and her grandfather was in the Navy, and DiDonato said she would have joined had she been qualified. While attending UMass Dartmouth, DiDonato joined a penpal program for those serving, and that's how she connected with Gabrielse, a 6-foot tall marine.
"I laid everything out" in her messages, she said. "I told him about my story, about dwarfism. I told him how I wasn't a tall, voluptuous blonde. But, if you need a friend, I'm here."
The two continued to write, and eventually, DiDonato sent Gabrielse a rough draft of her memoir. After his tour in Iraq, they met at Gabrielse's base at Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, North Carolina, where, DiDonato said, it was "love at first sight." The two compared life stories and even scars – hers from bone-lengthening, his from war, including a roadside bomb attack.
Today, the two are married and live in North Carolina. They have a year-old son, whom they've named Titan. DiDonato said she's working on another book, one that would focus on independent living, with being a mother, and having dwarfism.
"I never thought this would be my life i just wanted to drive a car, and do my own laundry. Now I'm happy to share my journey, my struggle, with everybody," she said.
Since her memoir was published by Penguin, DiDonato and her family have appeared on national television, including "Nightline," "Good Morning America," and Anderson Cooper's "Anderson Live."
In an email, DiDonato stated, "My memoir is not just about dwarfism. No. It's so much more. It's about overcoming anything you struggle with and ignoring the phrase, 'you can't.'"
Reading "Dwarf," Robin DiDonato said, brought back memories and "tears to my eyes."
"She never verbalized the significance of the pain or the challenges, but she sure was able to write about it," she said. "She was not a complainer. She never was."
Not everyone would agree with the choices she and her mother have made. The lengthening surgery has been opposed by some in the little people community. The group Little People of America (LPA) opposes limb-lengthening surgery because it addresses height, but no other medical conditions.
LPA states, in part on its website, http://www.lpaonline.org/faq-#Surgery "As a general statement of philosophy, most members of the dwarf community believe that no child should undergo surgery unless it is for a treatable medical condition that will improve her or his health."
"There's this culture, this ideology, that I should have accepted myself the way I was. That I should have embraced having dwarfism, that you can be independent by asking for assistance, which seems like an oxymoron. The notion that i can't accept myself couldn't be further from the truth."
"I don't associate myself with dwarfism," DiDonato said. "I don't like asking for help. That's where we clash. I don't like having to use utensils to reach for things. It was risky, and a lot of bad things could happen. But you only have one shot at life."
"It's your child," Robin DiDonato said. "Don't let someone stop you from doing what you think is right."
DiDonato said she still has bad days and challenges related to dwarfism, but the surgeries has helped make little things – such as reaching a doorknob or turning on a light switch – possible, and that makes life easier. "I still have a lot of living to do," DiDonato said.
John Swinconeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following press release was submitted by DMT Diamond Machining Technology
Marlborough, MA—DMT Diamond Machining Technology, the worldwide leader in diamond sharpening, is proud to be featured in Yankee Magazine’s March/April 2013 issue. The “Made-in-New England Kitchen” piece presents the region’s finest tools and kitchenware. DMT’s DuoSharp Plus whetstone and Diamond Steel honing rod are shown hanging on a kitchen pegboard alongside knives from R. Murphy Co. in Ayer, Mass.; copper cookware from DH&M Co. in Providence, RI; and a “Big Mama” rolling pin from Vermont Farm Table in Burlington, VT.
“We are honored that Yankee Magazine chose to include DMT in its all-New England kitchen feature,” said Mark Brandon, president of DMT. “These products are not only made locally, they are also the finest in their category and demonstrate the quality and workmanship that define DMT. Any kitchen enthusiast knows sharp knives make cooking a pleasure. The DMT DuoSharp Plus and Diamond Steel are the perfect tools to give any chef the edge she needs.”
The DuoSharp Plus offers double-sided diamond sharpening with DMT’s iconic polka-dot pattern interrupted surface that self-cleans to ensure continuous edge contact. This surface, innovated by DMT, is often imitated in appearance, but never equaled in quality or function. DMT’s Diamond Steels are designed for safety with a sanitary plastic handle and a large guard, and they provide the ultimate in honing. By sharpening with the DuoSharp every month or so, and honing with the Diamond Steel every other use, professional chefs and home cooks alike will keep their knives performing like new for years.
“Today’s kitchen knives are made from harder steel and include more chromium to resist stains and rust. Sharpening and honing with diamonds is faster and yields a better edge than conventional abrasives and protects the investment in expensive cutlery,” said Brandon.
Like all DMT products, the DuoSharp Plus and Diamond Steel are proudly Made in the USA and feature the most diamond per square inch in the industry combined with a proprietary process that ensures near-perfect consistency in grit size. The DuoSharp Plus, like all of the company’s whetstones, is engineered to provide unrivaled flatness. Simply put, DMT’s premium products are best-in-class with undeniable long-lasting value.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office has found that a Marlborough police officer was justified in shooting a knife-wielding man after responding to a domestic disturbance in November.
The DA’s office said in a statement that Officer Soren Levenson fatally shot 22-year-old Bryce Coutinho to protect himself after Coutinho refused to put down his weapon.
The District Attorney’s Office, state police assigned to the office and Marlborough police, conducted an investigation into the shooting that occurred on Nov. 12 at 52 Meadow Brook Road in Marlborough.
Based on interviews with witnesses at the scene, interviews of the responding Marlborough police officers, ballistics examination of evidence found at the scene, and analysis of radio transmissions, police reports and statements, officials determined that Levenson was protecting himself and was justified in shooting Coutinho.
“Based upon the results of this investigation, and applying the case law pertaining to the use of deadly force to defend oneself, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has determined that the response of the officer was justifiable under the law to effect lawful objectives, including the need to protect himself from the immediate threat of death or serious bodily injury from the subject who ignored repeated warnings to drop the knife and advanced on the officer with that knife in a small confined space with no reasonable means of escape,’’ the statement said.
According to the district attorney’s office, three Marlborough officers responded to a call from a resident saying that her ex-boyfriend would not leave the house and was trying to hurt himself. After arriving at the scene, Levenson was directed to the second floor bedroom and was told that Coutinho had a history of mental health issues.
The officer proceeded to the second floor bedroom where he found Coutinho lying on a bed with a fresh bloody cut to his forearm. After seeing a knife, the officer backed up and drew his gun.
According to the statement, “As the Officer retreated backwards, the subject simultaneously got up off the bed, grabbed the knife and held it in a menacing fashion while advancing toward the officer. The officer repeatedly, and loudly enough for others downstairs to hear him, demanded that the subject drop the knife, to no avail.’’
The statement from the district attorney’s office said Coutinho came closer to the officer, who had backed up near small landing and did not have much room to maneuver.
“As the subject came within 5-6 feet of the officer, the officer believing his life was in danger and knowing that he had no room to create a safe distance between himself and the subject, discharged his weapon twice, striking the subject,’’ the statement said.
Officers on the scene attempted to revive Coutinho but he died.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has referred the matter back to the Marlborough Police Department.
Arlington Public Schools are inviting parents to meet with four finalists that have been named for the high school principal’s position.
The finalists announced in a press release Wednesday are Debra Heaton, the acting principal of Marblehead High School; Matthew Janger, the principal of Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor, Maine; Shirley Lundberg, the director of academics at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlborough, and Matthew Poska, principal at the Briscoe Middle School in Beverly.
Arlington Public Schools are inviting parents, teachers, and students to meet with the candidates in the Arlington High School media center in four separate sessions next week.
Tuesday, Feb. 12, the school will host Poska from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m., and Lundberg from 7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, the school will host Janger from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. and Heaton from 7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
This is Arlington’s second search effort to fill the principal spot that has been filled by interim principal Mary Villano since Charlie Skidmore retired in 2011.
The Marlborough School Committee has chosen Saugus Superintendent Richard Langlois to lead the city's public schools, officials announced Saturday.
“We believe that Mr. Langlois is the right person at the right time for the job,” said Mayor Arthur Vigeant in a press release from the school district.
Langlois was one of three final candidates for the position. The other finalists were retired Puyallup, Wash., superintendent Tony Apostle and New York education consultant Christopher A. Bogden.
More than 40 candidates were screened and five candidates were initially interviewed, the district said.
The Marlborough School Committee named Langlois to the position Saturday following a three-hour meeting, according to the press release, citing his "proven administrative and instructional leadership track record in Massachusetts."
His appointment will become official once his contract negotiations with the School Committee are finalized, the district said. His official start date is yet to be determined.
Stephen Dlott has been serving as interim superintendent this school year. Anthony Pope resigned as superintendent last July after only two years on the job, following months of drama that featured a no-confidence vote from teachers, an accusation from a guidance counselor that he had shoved her, and assertions from students that they felt disrespected by him.
Pope was preceded by two superintendents who lasted a total of four years in Marlborough.
Local state legislators will visit eighth grade students at the Christa McAuliffe Regional Charter School in Framingham this Friday morning to educate the students about legislation and events happening at the Massachusetts State House.
The event, dubbed State Legislator Day, will also include an opportunity for legislators to meet with parents from the school who live in their communities. Following the meet-and-greet with parents and staff, the legislators will visit with the students to tell them about their work as legislators, and to learn more about the students’ experiences at the McAuliffe School.
Legislators confirmed to attend include Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Tom Sannicandro, Representative Chris Walsh, Representative Thomas Conroy, Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch, and Representative Carolyn Dykema. Additional legislators have been invited but their attendance at this time is not confirmed.
First opened in 2002 as the Framingham Community Charter School, the school was renamed in 2005 to honor teacher, astronaut, and former Framingham resident and student, Christa McAuliffe. The school's curriculum is focused on building leadership in students through an active, hands-on learning to ensure students have the knowledge, skills, and civic mindedness to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom, according to representatives.
With students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, the school primarily serves eight area communities: Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, Marlborough, Natick, Southborough, and Sudbury.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at email@example.com
The Foundation for MetroWest announced last week that it has distributed $85,500 in grants from their MetroWest Hunger Relief Fund to 39 food pantries throughout the region.
The MetroWest Hunger Relief Fund was recently established to provide more resources to local food pantries and food support organizations.
“Twenty percent of all grants requested through our discretionary grant program this year were for food support,” said Judy Salerno, executive director of the foundation. “This was a significant increase from previous years, and it showcases just how prevalent the issue of hunger is in our MetroWest region.”
Organizations that received funds include:
- Acton Community Supper
- Ashland Emergency Fund
- Open Table, Inc., Concord
- Dedham Food Pantry
- Jewish Family Services, Framingham
- United Way of Tri-Co Curtis Family Supper, Framingham
- United Way of Tri-Co Pearl Street Café, Framingham
- St. Bridget’s Food Pantry, Framingham
- Lucy & Joe’s Food Pantry, Framingham
- Hope Worldwide, Framingham
- Holliston Pantry Shelf
- Project Just Because, Hopkinton
- Hudson Community Food Pantry
- Lexington Interfaith Food Pantry
- City of Marlborough Heat & Eat
- Open Table, Inc., Maynard
- Maynard Food Pantry
- Medfield Food Cupboard
- Medway Food Pantry
- Medway Village Food Pantry
- Daily Bread Food Pantry, Milford
- Salvation Army, Milford
- Millis Ecumenical Food Pantry
- Natick Service Council
- A Place to Turn, Natick
- Needham Community Council
- United Perishes of Southborough Food Pantry
- Stow Food Pantry
- Sudbury Community Food Pantry
- Walpole Community Food Pantry
- Salvation Army, Waltham
- Middlesex Human Services Bristol Lodge, Waltham
- Grandma’s Pantry, Waltham
- J.F. & C.S. Family Table, Waltham
- Sacred Heart Church Food Pantry, Waltham
- Celebration International Food Pantry, Wayland
- Wellesley Food Pantry
- Westborough Food Pantry
- Westwood Council on Aging
For more information, please visit the foundation's website.
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The following is a press release from the office of Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone:
FRAMINGHAM – A pediatric dentist with an office in Framingham has been arrested for possession of child pornography following a collaborative and coordinated investigation by local, state and federal authorities, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone informed the public today.
Melvin A. Ehrlich, 52, of Millis, was arrested today in Framingham by Framingham Police and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office. He faces charges of possession of child pornography (three counts) and distribution of child pornography (two counts).
He will be arraigned Thursday in Framingham District Court.
According to authorities, Ehrlich sent his laptop computer to a service provider for maintenance work to remove a reported virus from the computer. While working on Ehrlich’s laptop, the service provider observed downloaded images of child pornography. The service provider called Framingham Police, who immediately launched an investigation.
An extensive forensic investigation was conducted and revealed that Ehrlich used this laptop computer under various user names to download and distribute commercially traded child pornography images. The data recovered was sent to and confirmed to be commercially traded child pornography by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Ehrlich is a pediatric dentist who operates a business called Wee Care for Kids in Framingham. While the case remains under development and investigation, there is currently no evidence that presently leads law enforcement to believe that Ehrlich physically abused any children or manufactured any images of child pornography.
Anyone with information should contact Framingham Police (508) 872-1212 or the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office Child Abuse Unit at (781) 897-8400.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by Framingham Police, State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Snook , working with the Middlesex District Attorney's Office Child Abuse Unit and Cyber Enforcement Unit.
Simon Malls, a retailing company that owns and manages Watertown’s Arsenal mall and several other malls in the region, said the shopping centers will offer customers new amenities this year to help ease the stress bound to come with the holiday season.
One of the amenity programs will have management staff approaching shoppers at the mall and offering them a small, unwarranted holiday treat, called “surprise and delight” by mall representatives.
The prizes in the “surprise and delight” program vary by mall, but can include vouchers for free coffee, a coupon for a free appetizer at a mall restaurant, or some candy to satisfy shoppers with a sweet tooth.
The giving of these small treats began on Black Friday, and will continue for every day during the holiday season, representatives said.
Simon Malls will also help shoppers lighten their load by offering easily identifiable security workers to help carry heavy, bulky purchases from the mall to the customer’s car.
The carry-out service is available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the holiday season, including Christmas Eve, mall officials said.
The above mentioned amenities will be available at the Arsenal Mall, located at 485 Arsenal St. in Watertown, as well as other Simon Malls throughout the region, such as in Burlington, Danvers, Saugus, Peabody, Auburn, Marlborough, and Nashua, N.H., among others.
Another specific service at Arsenal Mall includes gift wrapping by the Watertown Youth Coalition. The coalition will wrap gifts now through Christmas Eve. They will be located on the bridge, and hours will vary. All proceeds will go to the host charity.
For more information, visit the Simon Malls company website at http://www.simon.com/.
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