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Entries in Massachusetts (49)

Tuesday
Jan152013

WATCH: Massachusetts Principal Under Fire for "Terminator" Video

ABC News(EVERETT, Mass.) -- The new principal at a high school in Everett, Mass., has come under fire for showing a video in which he stalks the school dressed as Arnold Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator 2, which some parents and faculty say belittles school violence.

"It's definitely inappropriate, especially with the question of security in schools around the country," Everett superintendent Frederick Foresteire said.

Erik Naumann, who has been an educator for more than 10 years, recently became the principal at Everett High School.  In a video he produced himself, Naumann imagined himself as the futuristic killing machine from the sci-fi blockbuster, stalking the hallways of the school.

In the video, which includes footage from the 1991 movie, he calls himself "The Naumannator."

The clip, which also shows images of burning playgrounds and empty classrooms, was perceived as funny by many when it was played for his new students during morning announcements on Jan. 7.

But critics don't see the humor, particularly in the wake of the Dec. 14 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, which left 26 dead.

A student soon posted the video to YouTube, and when parents saw it, some were shocked to see such ominous images.  In the clip, when asked where the students are, Naumann says, "they've been Naumannated."

"If this was a child, they would be suspended or reprimanded," one parent told ABC News.

Despite the frightening images, opinions among students are still mixed, with some saying that it was just a joke, and others saying it "wasn't the right thing to show."

Attempts to reach Naumann by ABC News were unsuccessful.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Nov242012

Investigators Seek Cause of Gas Explosion That Leveled Strip Club

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SPRINGFIELD, Mass.) -- Hector Inspectors on Saturday began picking over the rubble left when a natural gas explosion rocked Springfield, Mass., leveling a strip club and blowing out windows in a three-block radius, leaving several businesses damaged beyond repair.

Firefighters, police officers and gas company workers were already on the scene Friday investigating a report of a gas leak at a multi-story building housing a Scores Gentleman’s Club when the explosion ripped through the area. They were among the 18 people injured in the blast, authorities said. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

“Really, this is a miracle on Worthington Street that no one was killed,” Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said Friday.

The explosion happened in an area of downtown Springfield where there are businesses and residences.

Tenants in the area have been evacuated and are staying in shelters until officials deem the area safe.

“My back bedroom and kitchen windows were blown completely out and it blew me across the room. I got up off the floor and we ran out of the house,” said Tricia Burns, a Springfield resident.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov142012

'Doctor of the Year' Arrested on DUI Charges After Crash

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WELLESLEY, Mass.) -- A prominent emergency room doctor is facing driving under the influence charges after police say she sped through a Whole Foods parking lot and slammed into another car, sending one man to the Wellesley, Mass., emergency room where she works.

Police say Dr. Kristin Howard, 56, was behind the wheel Friday morning when they found class C and E controlled substances in her possession -- prescriptions that she allegedly wrote herself.  On Tuesday, Howard pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including driving under the influence and drug violations.

The man who was hit, 78-year-old Paul McDonald, was taken to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where Howard works. McDonald suffered two cracked ribs and a hematoma on his leg.

Howard was named Doctor of the Year in 2009, according to her lawyer. 

"I got hammered, and I thought it was the end of the world.  I thought a bomb went off inside the car," McDonald told ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV.  "The next day I thought I was in a street fight."

Video from a traffic light shows Howard's Subaru Outback barrel out of the Whole Foods grocery store parking lot shortly after 8:45 a.m.  The car traveled over the median, going airborne before crashing into the road striking McDonald's Mercury Marquis, which then slammed into a truck in the other lane.

Police say that when they stopped Howard she was still wearing scrubs and told them she was on her way to the hospital.  She then changed her story and told police she was heading home.  That's when police found the prescription drugs.

"Prescribed from Dr. Howard to Kristin Howard, which certainly raises some flags, your honor," prosecutor Matt Friedel said in court.

Massachusetts law forbids doctors from self-prescribing medication.  Howard's attorney told a judge that his client has been struggling with personal issues.

"She has a reputation for trying to save lives.  And was given the award of Doctor of the Year at Newton-Wellesley in 2009," defense attorney Katherine Hatch said.

Howard was released on her own recognizance Tuesday, but has been relieved of hospital duties.  She's been ordered to stay sober and will return to court Jan. 7.

As for McDonald, he's healing from his injuries and holds no grudge against Howard.

"Poor woman's probably got more problems than I'll ever have, so let it go with that," McDonald said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Massachusetts Man Dumped by Girlfriend Wins $30.5M Jackpot

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News(BOSTON) -- A 22-year-old man from Hyannis, Mass., had been down in the dumps since his girlfriend dumped him, but winning a $30.5 million Mega Millions jackpot is certainly perking up his spirits.

Sandeep Singh showed up at state lottery headquarters in Braintree Wednesday with his mother, sister and niece to claim his prize, which after taxes works out to be around $23 million, reports the Boston Globe.

At a lottery press conference, the lucky winner, who has worked two jobs to try to support his family ever since his father died, said of his love life, "I was heartbroken at first, but now I'm getting over it."

With some of the money, Singh says he'll pay off his mother's house and look into getting a degree from the University of Massachusetts -- which he previously couldn't afford.  He split a $61 million prize with another winner from Fresno, California.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep142012

Mass. Voters Sent to Bogus Website Warning of Pot-Induced ‘Twinkie Addiction’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Organizers of the committee opposing a Massachusetts state initiative to legalize medical marijuana were munching crow this week after mistakenly directing voters to a satirical website that warns a “Yes” vote could lead to a run on Twinkies, forcing residents to “eat Snowballs and other undesirable snacks that are left behind on store shelves.

“Do you really want your children growing up in a world without Twinkies?” the site warns.

If voters come out in favor of "Question 3" in November, Massachusetts would wipe out criminal and civil penalties for the use of marijuana, provided it’s prescribed by a qualified medical practitioner. The latest survey, taken by Public Policy Polling late last month, shows the measure passing by a 31 point margin, 58-27 percent.

When asked to provide information for the state voters’ guide, the opposition “Vote No On Question 3″ group submitted a link to votenoonquestion3.org, a Web address they had not yet registered. When Bostonian Scott Gacek noticed, he grabbed the domain name and built the site. It went live Tuesday, Brian McNiff, spokesman for the Massachusetts secretary of state, confirmed earlier Friday.

“The whole thing is pretty funny and tragic at the same time,” Kevin A. Sabet, a spokesman for the “No on Question 3″ committee, said in an email Friday evening. “The campaign was beaten to the punch by a satirist. Sadly, some voters may be uninformed of the ramifications of Question 3.”

Among the headlines on the fake “Vote No” homepage Friday: “Local Drug Dealers’ Union Says ‘Vote No On Question 3′” and “FACT: Medical Marijuana Will Hurt Opiate Based Medication Sales,” which makes a more serious accusation against the pharmaceutical industry:

“If medical marijuana is legalized in Massachusetts, thousands of patients will stop using opiate-based medications, like morphine and Oxycontin, which will hurt the shareholders of some of today’s largest pharmaceutical companies.

This could have potentially adverse effects on other industries, such as luxury car and yacht sales, as shareholders will have less disposable income to indulge on such luxuries.”


“Vote No On Question 3″ has since purchased another site -- mavotenoonquestion3.com -- which has replaced Gacek’s on the Massachusetts online voters’ guide. But for the millions of state voters who take their cue from the paper edition, it’s too late, they’ll be stuck contending with the “Fact” the "Red Sox are in Last Place Because of Question 3.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep042012

Sex Change Approved for Convicted Murderer

Kevin Horan/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A federal judge ordered Massachusetts prison officials Tuesday to provide sexual reassignment surgery for a convicted murderer, calling it the only way to correct the "prolonged violation" of the inmate's Constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment.

Michelle Kosilek, who was born Robert, had filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections seeking an injunction that would require prison officials to grant her the sexual reassignment surgery that was recommended by prison doctors as treatment for her gender identity disorder. Robert Kosilek was convicted in the strangulation death of his wife, Cheryl, in 1990.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf ruled that Michelle Kosilek, who lives as a woman in a male prison facility, had experienced "intense mental anguish," and said there was a "serious medical need" for her to have the procedure.

"It has long been well-established that it is cruel for prison officials to permit an inmate to suffer unnecessarily from a serious medical need," the judge wrote in his 128-page decision.

He called it "unusual" to treat a prisoner with gender identity disorder differently "than the numerous inmates suffering from more familiar forms of mental illness."

Kosilek has tried to castrate herself and has attempted suicide twice, Wolf noted in his ruling.

Prison officials have said if Kosilek had the surgery she could be a target for sexual assaults, among other security risks, according to court documents.

Wolf said those concerns were "either pretextual or can be dealt with."

The court left the decision of where to house Kosilek after her surgery to the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections offered no immediate comment but said it planned to explore its appellate options.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug312012

Shark Sightings Close Beaches Along Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Hemera/Thinkstock(CAPE COD, Mass.) -- Some beaches in Cape Cod, Mass., could be closed for the big Labor Day weekend after fishermen reported shark sightings hundreds of feet from the shoreline.

Beaches from the Orleans-Chatham town line south along Nauset Beach to Monomoy were closed Wednesday with no date for when they will reopen.

A family enjoying the day off the coast of Chatham last week came across a great white shark feasting on a gray seal, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV in Boston.

Swimmers were warned to stay at least 300 feet away from seals.

Sharks have been more visible along Cape Cod this summer with numerous sightings.  Experts blame a drastic increase in the area’s seal population on which sharks feed.

“The elbow of the cape has these large, dense concentrations of gray seals now, and these white sharks go to the area to feed,” said Greg Skomal, a senior biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.  “Because the seals are so abundant, now the white sharks are paying more attention.”

A man was attacked in July by what is believed to be a great white shark in the waters off Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass.  Police said Chris Myers was bit in both legs below the knees in possibly one single, crushing blow.

“I’ve been swimming at that beach since I was a little kid, and no one in recent memory has ever had a shark attack, let alone by a great white, which they are saying they think it was,” Myers told ABC's Good Morning America after the suspected shark attack. “Maybe people need to be a little more careful.”

Three weeks before that incident, a great white shark was spotted trailing a kayaker at Nauset Beach, about 25 miles south of Ballston Beach.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug012012

911 Calls of Cape Cod Shark Attack Victim Released

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The man who barely survived what is believed to be a great white shark attack in the waters off Cape Cod, Mass., said he worried about blood loss during the ordeal and that he's in no hurry to return to the water that he loves.

"It will take some gentle effort to get back in the water, but I hope one day," Chris Myers said on ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday from the Boston hospital where he is recovering.

Myers was swimming with his teenage son J.J. off the coast of Ballston Beach in Truro, Mass., around 3:30 p.m. Monday when he was apparently pulled under the water by a shark.  Police say Myers was bit in both legs below the knees in possibly one single, crushing blow.

The harrowing moments after the father of two emerged from the water can now be heard on the 911 calls received after the attack.

"A shark attack, he's bleeding, he's wounded.  His whole ankle's been bit, we need 911!" according to screams recorded during the calls.

Beachgoers had just watched helplessly as Myers was pulled under the water while he and his teenage son were bodysurfing.  Myers soon surfaced and screamed for help.

His son J.J. told GMA the attack seemed unreal.

"I heard him scream and turned around, and saw the back and the fin of the shark up out of water," he said.  "At that point it hit me when it was happening.  But at the same time, I thought that none of it was real.  It really seemed like a movie.  None of it seemed real until I was on the beach."

After the shark attacked, the father and son attempted to get back to land as quickly as possible.

"We really didn't have a lot of options," Chris Myers said.  "We were motivated, so we swam, hard.  I was thinking as I was swimming, my lungs were fine, my kick was fine, I was starting to feel kind of dizzy and wondering if I was losing blood.  My concern was that I wouldn't make it back to shore, but we were able to do it."

J.J. stayed by his side as emergency medical personnel raced his dad to the hospital.

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Dr. Greg Skomal, Massachusetts' top shark scientist, says the attack most likely involved a great white.

"Given what we now about the other species in the area ... it's not likely to be a Blue or a Mako, or any of those other coastal sharks.  All this add up to the white shark being a candidate," he said.

A great white shark was also spotted trailing a kayaker three weeks ago at Nauset Beach, about 25 miles south of Monday's attack.  That's a total of four shark sightings this summer off the coast of Cape Cod.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul312012

Massachusetts Man Hospitalized After Shark Attack Near Cape Cod

Comstock/Thinkstock(CAPE COD, Mass.) -- A man bitten by a shark Monday as he body-surfed with his teenage son off the coast of Ballston Beach near Cape Cod, Mass., is expected to live, officials said.

The attack happened around 3:30 p.m. when Chris Myers, a father of two, was pulled under the water by a shark.  Police say the shark bit Myers in both legs below the knees in possibly one single, crushing bite.

“They dragged him out and they had to carry him up here and they had to wrap it around his legs and he was bleeding through the gauzes,” a witness said.  “It was bad.  Both his legs were pretty bad.”

Myers was conscious and alert when authorities loaded him into an ambulance.

“It was pretty deep.  You could see muscle and bone,” Truro police officer Scott Holway said.  “It was like his flesh had been ripped.”

Several witnesses say they saw a shark fin appear before the attack.  They watched helplessly from the beach as Myers was pulled under the water by the shark.  Myers soon surfaced and screamed for help.

Witnesses were able to reach Myers after the attack and bring him safely to shore.  After Myers was raced to the hospital, authorities posted notices to swimmers but did not close the beach.  

Sharks have been more visible along Cape Cod this summer.  Experts say that’s because of a drastic increase of seals in the area.

“The elbow of the cape has these large, dense concentrations of gray seals now, and these white sharks go to the area to feed,” said Greg Skomal, a senior biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.  “Because the seals are so abundant, now the white sharks are paying more attention.”

A great white shark was spotted trailing a kayaker three weeks ago at Nauset Beach, about 25 miles south of Monday’s attack.  That’s a total of four shark sightings this summer off the coast of Cape Cod.

“It’s a little alarming, I have to say,” a beachgoer said.  “With kids and boys that are pretty brave to go far out deep in the water, it’s a little alarming especially with the seals coming so close.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Beachgoers Beware: Shark Sightings on Both US Coasts

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As you head to the beach this week along with hoards of other Americans, you have more to be cautious of than the heat. There have been shark sightings on both coasts, leading to panic in some areas.

Just like a scene out of the movie Jaws, California beach-goers spotted a 14-foot Great White shark off the coast of San Diego on Monday, prompting the immediate closure of the beach.  The La Jolla Shores beach re-opened in time for the Fourth of July holiday after there was no sign of the shark overnight.

Area lifeguards told ABC News that while shark sightings are fairly common there, they should be taken seriously.

Another shark was caught just north of La Jolla Shores the same day.  A fisherman reeled in what is believed to be a shortfin mako shark 15 miles off the coast of Marina Del Rey.

“It’s been at least a couple of years since I’ve seen anything that big,” Tony Velardez, an assistant manager at Del Rey Landing, told ABC News' Los Angeles affiliate KTLA.

The fisherman said he believed the shark was around 800 pounds -- their scales only go up to 750.

Meanwhile, the next day, all the way on the other side of the country, fishermen in Massachusetts spotted two more Great Whites off Cape Cod.

And this wasn’t the first sighting in that area -- a 12- to 15-foot shark was seen over the weekend in Chatham, the state’s first of the season.

Authorities issued an advisory telling beach-goers to stay away from seals -- one of sharks’ favorite snacks.

Back over on the West Coast, Lt. Andy Lerum reiterated the advice from Cape Cod authorities.

“Humans are not normal prey for sharks and so every time there is an attack it’s assumed it’s a mistaken identity, so it’s better not to look like a seal if you can avoid it,” Lerum told ABC News' San Diego affiliate 10News.

So enjoy the beach weather, but stay alert if you’re planning to cool off in the water this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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