Controversy erupts over what happened after police found a naked Harvard student standing in the middle of Mass Ave.

A Harvard student faces a variety of charges, including indecent exposure and assault and battery on an EMT, for an incident last night in which Cambridge and Transit Police responded to a traffic island on Mass. Ave. at Waterhouse Street to find him standing there naked.

Both the Harvard Black Law Students Association and Cambridge Police agree the black undergraduate was standing on a traffic island on Mass. Ave. last night. But what the association says turned into a case of police brutality against a black man just standing there, if completely undressed, is what police say was an attempt to keep a hostile man on narcotics from harming himself, responding police officers and bystanders - and they charge the 21-year-old student resisted arrest and spit "a mixture of blood and saliva" on an EMT in the ambulance taking him to a local hospital for observation.

Mystery cable leaking oil into the Mystic

Petty Officer 2nd Class Bradley Martin collects sheen samples. Photo by the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard, the state Department of Environmental Protection and a private oil-spill company are cleaning up an oil spill on the Mystic River near the Alford Street bridge even as they try to figure out which underwater cable it's leaking from.

The Coast Guard was scheduled to send divers into the water today to try to find the source of the dielectric oil, used as an insulator in electrical conduits.

Standing in the middle of 95 South at rush hour

It's 5:30 p.m. on a weekday on 95 south - where are all the cars? See it larger.

By now, the story of why I-95 doesn't go straight through Boston is well known: Bands of determined residents helped convinced Gov. Francis Sargent we really didn't need a couple of superhighways rammed through Boston, Brookline, Cambridge and Somerville - I-95 and the I-695 "inner belt."

But before Sargent cancelled plans for the Southwest Expressway for good in 1972, the state had already taken hundreds of acres of land, demolished hundreds of houses and businesses - and actually begun work on the road.

Today, 50 years later, you can still evidence of the roads that never were, from the stub ramp off I-93 in Somerville to empty lots along Columbus Avenue. And you can, if you're out for a hike, even walk on parts of the road.

The other day, I set out for the northern half of the cloverleaf where Rte. 128 and I-95 were going to meet in Canton.

I took what might be the longest way to walk there: Drove over the Neponset at the Hyde Park/Milton line, veered right and pulled into the parking lot for the canoe launch. I followed the path sign to Fowl Meadow and then started walking. And kept walking. And walking. Until I could hear and then see the traffic on 128 (note: There's currently a fallen tree across the path near the end - you'll either need to carefully make through the large bramble or have thought to bring hip waders so you can walk through the swamp on either side of the path).

The path ends in a short paved section; follow that up, and you're at the exit ramp where traffic from 95 south would've gotten onto 128 north:

Where 95 would connect to 128

Turn to your left and you'll see the MassDOT storage shed that sits a bit further north on that ramp:

Storage shed

There's a path around the right of the shed that gets you back onto the ramp, which ends a few hundred feet into the woods with some dumped asphalt and logs:

Ramp from 95 to 128
Where 95 would connect to 128

At the dumped asphalt, you can get onto the main interstate, or what's left of it, heading south. It ends just past a collection of Jersey barriers - and just before 128:

The end of I-95

If you look at a satellite view of the cloverleaf (see below), it looks like it'd be easy to get from the southbound to the northbound side - just walk through a bit of woods. What the view doesn't show, though, is the 15 or 20 foot drop in between. The cloverleaf was built in a large marshland - and had to be raised well above it. In fact, one of the objections to the highway was that it would have destroyed Fowl Meadow, which today is largely a wildlife preserve (on the way back, I saw a couple of deer). But the northbound lanes seemed equally quiet:

I-95 north

The ramp from 128 north to I-95 south:

I-95 north

Oh, look, a sign the state had to take down when it decided Rte. 1 no longer went up along the VFW Parkway (today, the exit towards that road is marked "To 1A"):

I-95 north

If you go, make sure the GPS on your phone is turned on - it's fun to see where you are and figure out which direction you'd be heading if the cloverleaf were actually in operation:

If you want to complete the undone I-95 circuit, head up to Revere for the northern part of the highway that never was.

RMV urges people to stay away next week

It's not that Registry workers don't love the public, it's just that people seem to use vacation week as a time to do their Registry business and, well, with memories of last month's long lines still fresh in mind, the RMV would just rather you do your business the following week if you can.

During an ordinary year, RMV centers on school vacation days see a high number of customers but next week will be especially busy with offices only open four days not five, and with each customer’s transaction taking longer on average than ever before because of the new federal and state requirements for more documents per customer to be validated. If people wish to take care of an RMV transaction between April 17 and April 20 we welcome them but they should go online to get informed and to find out where the shortest waits may be on a particular day.

If you've just been convicted of embezzling from your brother, don't tell a reporter you can put him in prison, court rules

A woman who avoided a prison sentence on her brother's request for embezzling from his Brockton construction company wound up in prison anyway after a judge ruled she violated a "no contact" order via comments in a newspaper article in which she claimed to have enough info about his business to have him sent away.

In a ruling today, the Massachusetts Appellate Court upheld Maria Pereira's sentence of 3 1/2 to 5 years in prison for violating probation on her original no-prison sentence by uttering an apparent threat against her brother. Her brother had initially agreed to a sentence of $1,000 a week restitution and no prison even after prosecutors showed that Pereira, who'd been working as an accountant for her brother, actually stepped up her embezzling after she won $455,000 after taxes on a scratch ticket and learned her brother had cancer.

Her initial sentence was also lenient because her brother agreed to have 15 of 16 counts against her dismissed and agreed to total restitution of just $104,000 of the roughly $1.6 million she allegedly siphoned.

As part of her original sentence, she agreed not to contact her brother. A Superior Court judge ruled she violated that a couple weeks after her sentence by talking to a Brockton Enterprise reporter. And after concluding she stopped making weekly payments after just one week, he sentenced her to prison.

Pereira appealed, arguing in part she has a First Amendment right to talk to a reporter, and that's not the same as contacting her brother.

The appeals court disagreed, saying she used her comments to the Enterprise to send her brother a message, and that the lower-court judge did nothing wrong in concluding that was a form of "contact."

A probation condition forbidding contact with, including threats to, the victim has a clear rational relationship to ... encouraging the defendant's acceptance of responsibility for the crime and protecting the victim, as a member of the public, from further harm, whether emotional, physical, or financial, at the hands of the defendant. The defendant does not argue that these are not valid goals, or that the no-contact condition, as applied here, trenched more broadly on her free speech rights than necessary to achieve these goals. ...

The defendant here makes no argument that the no-contact condition of probation was insufficiently clear to put her on notice that contact made through her directing comments at the victim through a newspaper article was prohibited. See Kendrick, 446 Mass. at 75, quoting from Commonwealth v. Orlando, 371 Mass. 732, 734 (1977) (No-contact probation condition constitutionally sufficient where, although "imprecise," it provided "comprehensible normative standard so that [people] of common intelligence will know its meaning"). The probation officer had warned the defendant that contact through third parties was prohibited. She nevertheless took the initiative to contact the newspaper to make statements about the victim thathe could, and did, reasonably understand as threats. Indeed, the judge found that her statements constituted "issuing [the victim] a threat." As defense counsel conceded before this court at oral argument, the defendant should reasonably have known that her statements to the newspaper about the victim would come to the victim's attention. We thus see no error in the judge’s finding and conclusion that, in these circumstances, the defendant's remarks violated a valid no-contact condition of probation.

Also, the court dismissed her claim that she no longer had any of her lottery winnings with which to repay her brother - agreeing with a lower-court judge that she had failed to account for roughly $81,000 of the money.

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