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.
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.
After receiving an offer to relocate to Westwood, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. decided to keep its roots in Canton for another 16 years.
“We’re happy with our nine years here and we’re looking forward to the next 16,” Jason Maceda, vice-president of Dunkin’ Brands, announced at the selectmen’s meeting Tuesday.
The Dunkin’ Brands headquarters employs about 500 people, 10 percent of them Canton residents, officials say. The company has more than 17,000 Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins franchises worldwide.
Seated beside state Representative William C. Galvin and Canton Economic Development chairman Gene Manning, Maceda said there were obstacles in reaching a deal, but the company, town, and landlord were able to work through them.
One of those obstacles was an offer for the company to move to the new University Station development project in Westwood, according to Galvin.
“Westwood’s offer was better than what we were able to offer, but [Dunkin’ Brands has] become a part of Canton,” said Galvin, who did not provide details of the offer. “They really wanted to stay but made sure it made fiscal sense.”
In a telephone interview Thursday, Westwood Town Administrator Michael Jaillet said Dunkin’ Brands had approached the town to see whether it would make sense for them to relocate. Jaillet said he had spoken with company representatives, but declined to say what the town had offered.
Jaillet said he was disappointed to learn that Dunkin’ Brands would not move to Westwood, but was happy that the company will remain in the region.
The company’s lease for 130 Royall St. was set to expire next year, but Canton selectmen recommended to extend a 20 percent tax break to the landlord, Boston-based real estate corporation H.N. Gorin, for 10 years. The break comes in the form of a tax-increment financing district for the building.
H.N. Gorin will then pass on savings to Dunkin’ Brands.
Town Meeting has yet to ratify the recommendation, but Dunkin’ Brands is proceeding with the lease extension, according to Maceda.
In July, Manning had suggested extending the tax break for five years, but selectmen voted to recommend a 10-year extension based on the competitive bids Dunkin’ Brands received and their desire to keep the company in town, said Selectman Robert Burr.
The 175,000-square-foot Royall Street building is valued at $16.5 million and produces about $350,000 annually in taxes for Canton, Manning said.
Maceda added that Dunkin’ Brands would give the town $25,000 for the senior center to be opened at 500 Pleasant St., provide two $2,500 scholarships to Canton High seniors, and set up an internship for a Canton High School student, Maceda said.
The company already contributes to youth sports and is a member of the Canton Association of Business and Industry, Manning said.
Manning said the town also receives good media exposure through press releases sent out by Dunkin’ Brands.
“Every time, Canton, Mass., is at the top of the story,” Manning said.
Selectmen chairman Gerald Salvatori complimented Maceda and his company.
“You’ve always been extremely accommodating, easy to work with, and generous with organizations in town,” Salvatori said.
Concord Town Manager Christopher Whelan said former Westwood Police Chief William Chase has been named the town’s interim chief of police.
Chase’s appointment takes effect Monday, Oct. 21. Lt. Tom Mulcahy will continue serving as acting chief until Chase takes over next week.
Chase retired from the Westwood Police Department in January after 10 years as chief. He served as police chief in the town of Harvard, from 1995 to 2003. He has also worked for the Framingham and Watertown police departments and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Whelan said Chase will serve for five to seven months while the town searches for a permanent chief to replace Barry Neal, who announced his retirement effective Sept. 29. Chase will not be a candidate for the permanent job.
“I am very pleased to have been able to locate an interim chief with great depth and breadth of experience in law enforcement in Massachusetts with a strong commitment to professionalism,’’ Whelan said. “I think he will continue to proud tradition of the Concord Police Department.’’
Sgt. Jack Kennedy served as acting chief immediately after Neal’s resignation but Mulcahy took over that role on Oct. 10 when Kennedy had plans to be out of state, Whelan said.
Facing a two-touchdown deficit after Holliston rattled off 29-straight points, Bo Berluti knew Westwood had a comeback in them; the Wolverines just had to play within themselves. Thats when the versatile senior quarterback pulled out all the stops. Aided by senior running back Danny Roache, the Wolverines tied the game in the final 20 seconds of regulation before emerging with a 43-41 win in double overtime. Berluti finished with 89 passing yards and two scores while rushing for 165 yards and another touchdown. On the night, Berluti converted three of four 2-point conversions, including a quarterback follow to the left that sent the Wolverines to victory. Westwood (3-1; 2-0 Tri-Valley League) now sits in first place in the TVL with two league games to go vs. Medway on Oct. 18 and on the road at Hopkinton on Oct. 25.
In this weeks edition of First & 10, the 5-foot-9 senior talks about the win over Holliston, his brother -- former Globe All-Scholastic Alex Berluti -- and his favorite place to relax.
After the game Friday I asked you if you could possibly describe what you and your team just went through. Your response was, not tonight, maybe tomorrow. So Ive given you a few days. What do you have for me?
Honestly [it was] just incredible. Not believable. It really is just a huge victory. It was an amazing game. So many people just coming up to me and saying that was the best game Ive watched in I dont know how long. Adults telling me it was the greatest football game theyve watched. It was certainly the greatest football game Ive ever been apart of. Just amazing. Incredible.
Youve been on the varsity team for three years, starting with the year that Coach Ed Mantie came to Westwood. What kind of relationship do the two of you have?
Weve had a great relationship ever since my sophomore year. I played wide receiver my sophomore and junior year and he was a wide receiver in college [Boston University, 1991-1995], so that had an immediate factor in our relationship. Since then its just kind of grown. Im always talking to him, trying to watch film with him. Hes a great guy, really a figure that can be looked up to and stuff. Hes a great coach and hes always trying to make me better.
You called the last play of the game, which we talked a little bit about on Friday. How often do you do that?
I never do anything that major that often that really changes the play in a serious situation. Sometimes Ill just ad-lib a couple of things and offer some suggestions, just new little wrinkles. But yeah, that was the first time Id ever done that.
You guys beat Division 2 power Needham to start the season, a game where a lot of people didnt have you coming out on top. People started taking notice of Westwood after that game. Has the team felt any pressure because of it?
No. We have a good group of guys and good coaches that make sure that were always hungry and ready to go. Yeah, its just funny. People have started talking about us. Were starting to get ranked kind of high, which we think we should have been for a while.
But weve still been picked to lose. People still arent giving us that much credit. We really werent picked to win against Holliston. A bunch of polls had us rated below them. We like being the underdog. We dont mind it. Were always ready to prove some people wrong and stay hungry, so we dont mind people not believing in us because we know what we have here. We believe in our system and what we do here at Westwood. So yeah, were not really feeling any pressure. Were just trying to come out and play our game.
You played quarterback on Friday, where you both ran the ball and passed it. You occasionally line up at wide receiver. Youre a defensive back when on defense and youve been the teams punter recently as well. What would you say is your favorite position?
You know, I dont really know if I have a favorite position. I love quarterback. I love having the ball in my hands every single play. But honestly, I came into Coach Manties office first day of the season and I just said what do you need from me? What can I do? Whats best for the team? Whatever you think gives us the best chance to win Ill do it. Whatever he needs me to do, Im just going to line up and try to do the best that I can at it. I wouldnt necessarily say I favor a position. Whatever gives us the best chance to win, Im going to do it.
It seems like you guys are really clicking on both sides of the ball. Is the team pretty driven, especially considering how last season ended? [Westwood lost to Wayland in the EMass finals.]
Absolutely. Weve always believed in just staying hungry. We have a new motto this year - Always be prepared. It just means always be prepared to play football. We have another motto No excuses. Obviously dont make excuses for anything thats happened.
We were very upset [at how last year ended]. We felt like we had a state championship-caliber team and we lost a game short. We played a good Wayland team and they beat us up that night, so we changed things up in the offseason, the way we lifted and everything. We were driven, and were still driven just to beat more high-quality teams and just continue to play well.
Who would you say your favorite athlete is?
My favorite athlete right now I mean, how can you not love him is Johnny Manziel. I like the way he plays the game obviously we both play the same position. I like the passion with which he plays and he does some things you just cant teach. I love the way he competes. He doesnt take any grief from any other players on any other teams. He just goes out there and gives 100-percent. I just kind of look to do the same, and that comes from my coaches as much as anything.
Is there any reason why you wear No. 4?
Ive worn it since Pop Warner. I think I was No. 11 for Drew Bledsoe my first year, and ever since then, I wore No. 4. I won the Super Bowl one year in Pop Warner, and Ive just tried to get that number. Ive been fortunate enough to get it everywhere Ive been.
You seem to really like football. What do you like to do outside of football?
Honestly, Im an easy-going guy. I just like to hang out with my friends. I watch more football on Saturdays after practice and stuff. I basically just ice down and watch football. Ill be doing basketball [for Westwood] in the winter and baseball in the spring. I just like to always compete and play sports. I obviously do a lot of school work, try to keep my grades up, and I like to hang out with my friends and do what kids do, I guess.
What would you say your favorite getaway spot is? Wheres the one place you can go and relax?
Its either just my third floor or my friends basement. I mean, we can go there, were all just hanging out. Its just some of the moments that you dont really think are too much, but when you think back on it, those are the moments that Im going to miss most about high school. Usually me and my friends are really sore after games, so we just relax, have stupid conversations about stuff, and just watch football. Those are honestly the times you realize are special.
Whats your favorite TV show?
Honestly I would say Sportscenter, if that counts as a TV show. I really like that. I always try to stay caught up. I really like Two and a Half Men. I think thats hysterical. For action shows I really like NCIS. I like Mark Harmon as an actor. Hes a good guy.
Wheres the best place to eat in Westwood and what do you get when you go there?
Best place to eat in Westwood? Thats debatable among my friends. Sometimes we go to Chipotle in Dedham. We love to do that. We dont like to do that during game week, though. I love Italian food, so I go to Victorias in Westwood and I really like that. I like chicken parmesan and the pizza.
The last couple of years you were able to play with your brother Alex [who now plays football at Amherst College]. What kind of relationship do the two of you have?
You know a lot of people ask if its any different [to play with your brother]. Were just so competitive with each other. We both just win a lot and we wanted to win [the Super Bowl] together last year. Scotty McManus does a funny impression of me and my brother going at it sometimes, just about quarterback and wide receiver things. I always just thought of my brother as another teammate because I played a bunch of different sports with him throughout my high school career.
If I were to set up a football-like combine, who is coming out on top between the two of you?
Thats a tough question. We actually compete with that a lot. I started getting on him, creeping up on him with some things. Our 40-times are pretty similar. Hes playing at Amherst so the lifting program there is a little bit more rigorous than the ones in high school. He has some height on me, he weighs 15 pounds more than me and hes probably lifting more than me right now, so I would have to say him.
Are you looking to play football in college?
Ive gone to a bunch of camps with a bunch of other guys on this team. We have great players: Dan Roache, Scott McManus, Connor DiVincenzo. We all went to camps this summer and last summer, just trying to get better and obviously trying to find places to play.
Have you given any thought to what youd like to major in? Or what youd like to do after college?
Thats the one thing I havent given much thought to. Id like to keep sports apart of my life someway, somehow. If that doesnt work out, my dad is a lawyer, so thats always an interesting profession. But like I said, I havent really given much thought to that. I should obviously get on that soon, but I havent really thought about it.
Whats the ultimate goal for this team? At the end of the day, when the season wraps up, what do you guys want to hang your hat on?
Being Super Bowl Champions for 2013. Thats what were shooting for, but it only happens one game at a time. We still have two games to go. We have that ultimate goal of being state champions, but weve got to start with another one. Weve been fortunate enough to win three, but weve just got to start with Week 5 and go from there.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos. A version of this post appeared on the Political Intelligence blog.
A little known accomplice in the murder of Abraham Lincoln will form the subject of the kickoff lecture at the Dedham Historical Society later this month.
Kate Clifford Larson, an author, Harriet Tubman scholar, and adjunct faculty member at Simmons College, will discuss her 2008 book “The Assassin’s Accomplice: Mary Surrat and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln.”
Larson will discuss the innocence of potential guilt of Surrat, who was hanged less than three months after her arrest at a boarding house on H Street in Washington D.C.
The lecture is presented in conjunction with a Civil War exhibit opening at the society later in the fall.
The lecture will be on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Historical Society at 612 High St. It is free for society members and $5 for non-members.
Further lectures in the series include:
Thursday, Oct. 17: “Preserving Family Treasures” with Jessica Bitely, preservation specialist with the New England Documnt Conservation Center in North Andover
Thursday, Nov. 21: “History of Forest Hills Cemetery” with Anthony Sammarco
Thursday, Jan. 30: “Dedham’s Historic Districts” with Andrea Gilmore, director of Building Conservation Associates Inc.
Thursday, Mar. 27: “The World of Oriental Rugs: A Primer” with Michael Grogan, president and chief auctioneer of Grogan and Company
Thursday, Apr. 24: “Dedham Historical Society Civil War Collection” with Vicky L. Kruckeberg, executive director of the Dedham Historical Society
For more information on the lecture series, contact the Dedham Historical Society and Museum at 781 326 1385 or email@example.com.
In recognition of September being World Alzheimer’s Month, Canton-based Dunkin' Donuts will help raise awareness through purple sprinkles.
During the week of Sept. 15 to 21, customers can buy the “Purple with a Purpose” Donut, a vanilla-frosted yeast donut topped with purple sprinkles throughout eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.
From each sale, 33 cents will be donated to The Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter.
Since 2009, eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire Dunkin’ Donuts have raised more than $70,000 for the campaign.
Brochures providing information about the disease will also be available during the entire month of September.
Customers are also invited to attend the “Purple with a Purpose” community awareness event on Thursday, Sept. 12, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant at 360 Turnpike St. in Canton.
The event will feature donuts, coffee, giveaways, music, and the opportunity to sign up for 11 upcoming Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s events in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Canton police along with Dunkin' Brands based in Canton have increased a reward for information leading to the capture of a serial Dunkin' Donuts thief to $10,000.
The suspect, described as a white, Hispanic male, often wears a hooded sweatshirt, a black mask and carries a black handgun.
Last month, Dunkin Donuts and Canton police offered $2,500 as a reward, but the robber remains at large.
“Our hope is that someone with information will come forward before another shop is robbed or someone gets hurt,” said Canton police chief Kenneth Berkowitz.
Robberies have taken place in Canton, Dedham, Easton, Newton, North Attleborough, Norton, Norwood, Plainville, Raynham, Walpole, West Roxbury, and Westwood.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Canton Police Department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations at 781-828-1214, extension 300 or 303.
Information may also be left at the Canton Police Department’s website at cantonpolice.com under the contact information tab.