Getting ready for noon

The Berkshire Eagle reports:

LEE - Because they couldn't find a dump open in Great Barrington, two youths threw a load of refuse down a Stockbridge hillside on Thanksgiving Day.

Saturday, Richard J. Robbins, 19, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Arlo Guthrie, 18, of Howard Beach N.Y., each paid a fine of $25 in Lee District Court after pleading guilty of illegally disposing of rubbish. ...

Medford's contribution to Thanksgiving

The first page of the song, from 1845.

If you really want to recreate the famous song, you'll have to cross over the Mystic River in Medford and head for the house that still stands at 114 South St. When Lydia Maria Child wrote the song, as part of the book, Flowers for Children, in 1845, she was recalling her childhood visits to her grandfather's house there.

Today, Child, herself born in Medford in 1802, is recalled, if at all, just for the song. But that was hardly the sum of her life. Child was an abolitionist and women's rights activist (she thought the two were linked - white men kept both blacks and women subjugated) ; her Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans was one of the first abolitionist books published in the US, and she later became editor of an anti-slaver newspaper.

She also fought for the rights of native Americans. And she was a novelist and poet who also found time to run a school in Watertown.

Book image from the Library of Congress. The rest of the song.

That didn't take long: News director out at WBZ Newsradio

Peter Casey, who had been news and program director at WBZ-AM for 21 years, is out of a job today, less than a week after iHeartMedia took over the news station from CBS.

Dylan Sprague, iHeart's senior vice president for programming for the Boston region, announced the shakeup to staff in a memo today:

This past weekend marked the beginning of the transition of WBZ-AM to iHeartMedia, and I want to let you know how excited we all are to have the WBZ-AM team join the iHeart family. WBZ is a Boston institution, and we have enormous respect and admiration for what you have accomplished to date - and what we know you will continue to accomplish.

I also wanted to update you on a change in programming leadership as we continue this transition. Bill Flaherty, WBZ-AM’s Assistant Program Director, will now serve as interim Program Director for WBZ-AM. I am impressed with Bill’s operational knowledge, strategic thinking and can-do attitude, and believe he will be the perfect leader to guide us through the transition. I also know that change can be hard, but when we embrace change we often discover fresh opportunities for growth and innovation. I am excited for what the future will bring for you, for us and for this great brand, and I’m committed to working with you to ensure that WBZ continues on its path as Boston's most respected news and information leader.

I also want to say a few words about Peter Casey. There is no doubt that under his leadership this brand has excelled and established its leadership in the market. We deeply respect Peter and the contributions he has made to WBZ-AM over the years, and the impact he has left on WBZ and Boston radio will be felt for years to come. I also know that the WBZ-AM brand is strong and will continue to be powered by a team of expert, skilled professionals performing at the highest level, and I look forward to partnering with you to help WBZ reach its full potential.

Casey started at WBZ as assistant program director in 1993, after four years at WHDH-AM.

How the Perkins School for the Blind helped victims of the Halifax explosion

As we all know, Bostonians rushed to Halifax, NS in 1917 after a massive explosion. Among them: Edward Allen, director of the Perkins School for the Blind. A number of the survivors were blinded.

The Perkins School has set up an online exhibit about the work by Allen and others to help newly blinded Haligonians. First, he had to overcome opposition from local eye specialists who resented "outsiders."

Smoker starts North End fire that kills two

Firefighters going up. Photo by BFD.

The Boston Fire Department reports "careless disposal of smoking material" started a three-alarm fire at 282 Hanover St. that killed two men - one after he jumped from the building to escape the flames.

The second man was found dead inside the building.

They are the first fire deaths in Boston this year, the department reports. Boston Police homicide detectives joined the investigation, standard for all fire deaths.

Firefighters responded at 1 a.m. for a fire on the third floor of the five-floor building. The smoker was in a second-floor bedroom, the department reports.

Two other adults and an infant were taken to to the hospital with injuries.

The fire caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage, the department says, adding 12 people were made homeless.

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 01:00

Guy who organized Chelsea MS-13 gang convicted at trial; faces 20 years in federal prison

A federal jury today convicted Rafael "Tremendo" Leoner Aguirre, 22, on a variety of racketeering charges that could land him in prison for 20 years, the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.

Among the acts for which he was convicted: Two attempted murders, one in which he went after two rivals with a machete in Chelsea on April 6, 2014, the other in which he and other MS-13 members opened fire on two other men with guns, hitting one.

Prosecutors say that when Leoner Aguirre, then 19, moved to Chelsea a year after entering the US illegally from El Salvador, he organized a number of leaderless MS-13 members and wannabes into a full-fledged "clique" or gang, called Enfermos Criminal Salvatrucha, and promptly set them to attacking, fatally, if possible, members of rival gangs, such as the 18th Street Gang:

Even before arriving in Chelsea, Leoner Aguirre began recruiting and planning MS-13 activities. Among other things, Leoner Aguirre created recruitment videos for MS-13 and posted them on YouTube. This enabled younger members to view these videos, including one witness who testified that he first saw these videos while at a local high school. ...

More junior members of the Enfermos clique also committed a number of racketeering acts after Leoner Aguirre arrived in Massachusetts, including a shooting that resulted in the death of an innocent bystander.

Some 61 alleged MS-13 members were arrested in federal and local sweeps in 2016. Officials blame them for at least five murders, including those of several teenagers in East Boston.

Braintree man charged with beating, stabbing Dorchester man to death during home invasion

Sun, 11/05/2017 - 15:00

Thomas Frank Isaac Jr., 21, of Braintree was arraignnetd on a murder charge today for the death of Nelson Torres-Santa, 55, who was found dead and partially decomposed in his 330 Bowdon Str. apartment on the afternoon of Nov. 13. Read more.

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