Local Updates from ABC News Radio for New Bedford.


Secret Santa Anonymously Gifts $100 Bills to Fast Food Employees in Hyannis

(HYANNIS, Mass.) -- The holiday season at its heart is about giving, something fast food employees in Hyannis, Mass. were reminded of recently.

Employees from area chain food stores such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King, and Hess received an unexpected gift of one crisp $100 bill each.

“We were all shocked and flabbergasted,” Dunkin’ Donuts manager Karen Sanguedolce told ABC News.

Especially because no one knows who the gifter is.

“He was in his late 70s, early 80s,” Sanguedolce said. “This was the first time I’ve met him.”

The man, dressed as Santa, came into Dunkin’ Donuts and asked Sanguedolce how many people worked at that store, to which she replied 19.

“He gave me 19 envelopes with $100 bills in them for all my employees,” she said. “I was shocked. He was so nice about it, so pleasant. He counted out 19 envelopes and said, ‘I hope you all have a nice holiday.’”

This isn’t the first time the same man has given such generous gifts. For at least the past two years, he’s been giving $50, but this year he upped the ante.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Boston Marathon Suspect to Make Court Appearance Thursday 

(BOSTON) -- Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is expected to appear in federal court for a final status conference hearing Thursday before his trial is slated to begin on murder and terrorism charges next month -- making it the first time he has been seen in more than a year and a half.

Tsarnaev, 21, has not been in court since his arraignment on July 10, 2013 on charges that he and his brother Tamerlan detonated two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the historic race in April 2013, killing three and wounding more than 260 others, with 16 of those victims losing limbs.

Four days later, federal prosecutors said, the Tsarnaev brothers murdered MIT Police Officer Sean Collier, carjacked a Mercedes SUV driver, and led police on a high-speed chase in Watertown where a bomb and bullet battle erupted in the street. Tamerlan was killed in the firefight. Dzhokhar fled the scene and hid for more than 16 hours until his capture on a dry-docked boat, where he appeared to explain his motive for the crime with a note written inside, according to prosecutors.

“We Muslims are one body. You hurt one of us you hurt us all,’’ read part of a note allegedly written by Tsarnaev on the wall of the boat amid bullet holes. “Know you are fighting men who look into the barrel your gun and see heaven.” ABC News obtained a photo of the bloodstained bullet-pocked note.

Among the issues expected to be discussed Thursday is the jury selection process, which is slated to being Jan. 5. Tsarnaev’s trial is expected to run for two to three months.

Based on court filings, defense attorneys want the judge to include a question for potential jurors that would “identify those jurors who are especially likely to believe that the death penalty should be automatic for terrorism-murders, or for murderers of children or police officers.”

Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted. He has pleaded not guilty.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Second-Graders' Ferguson Protest Sparks Controversy

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) -- A protest put on by a group of second-graders in Massachusetts has sparked controversy, but the school says it was just teaching the kids a lesson in civics.

Second-graders gathered on the sidewalk outside of the school with signs, some that said "Honk for Justice," after learning about the deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, both killed by police officers. The peaceful demonstration happened on Friday, a spokesman for the Alma del Mar Charter School in New Bedford told ABC News Tuesday.

"A group of scholars played on the playground while other scholars held their demonstration without incident," Will Garner, the school's executive director, said in a statement Tuesday.

But the protest went awry when a friend of a police officer, whose daughter attends the school, saw the students and alerted him that his 7-year-old daughter was taking part, the spokesman said.

That father, George Borden, told The Boston Globe he believed the event was anti-police and shouldn't be condoned by the school.

While Alma del Mar says the protest was the students' idea, Borden disagrees. "I don't think 7-year-olds can come up with the idea to go out and protest on the street," he told the newspaper.

The school says it sent students home with a note before the lesson about Garner and Brown, to give parents the chance to opt out. The protest, which was not mentioned in the note, was an idea the students came up with in class, the school spokesman said.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Woman Rescued After Car Plunges into Mill River

(TAUNTON, Mass.) -- A dramatic 911 call shows the fear of a Massachusetts woman who was close to being swept away after her car crashed down an embankment into a river.

“Oh my God, the water’s coming in. It’s getting higher,” Debora Wrigley Dooley can be heard saying in the 911 call. "It’s too deep for me to get out and it’s rapid. It’s moving real fast."

Authorities say Dooley was driving down a street in Taunton, Mass., Monday when she swerved to avoid another car, according to ABC News affiliate WCVB-TV.

Dooley’s car was sent careening down an embankment into the Mill River.

As water filled her car, Dooley described to the 911 dispatcher how her car was moving down the river.

"It’s stopped right now,” she said. “Every once in a while it moves a little but it stops.”

Rescuers used the car’s OnStar navigation system to track Dooley’s vehicle as it moved down the river.

Around four minutes after Dooley dialed 911, rescuers arrived and pulled her to safety.

“By the time we arrived…the current had taken her car 150 yards down the river,” said Taunton Fire Department Captain Steven Lavigne.

Dooley was taken to a local hospital. Her specific injuries are not known.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Couple Arrested on Weapons, Drug Charges

New Bedford Police Department(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) -- A couple was arrested Friday on drugs and weapons charges.

New Bedford police say Mark Richard, 21, and his girlfriend, Chyna Johnson, 22, were arrested after officers executed a search warrant for heroin at a home on the 300 block of Maxfield Street.

Detectives found 113 grams of heroin, 12 grams of cocaine, and over $1,800 in cash.

Authorities also found a Keltec .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun located with six rounds of ammunition and a Ruger 44 caliber revolver in Richard’s bedroom.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio