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Interior approves Haaland, making him the first Native American Cabinet member.

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Interior approves Haaland, making him the first Native American Cabinet member.
Interior approves Haaland, making him the first Native American Cabinet member.

Interior approves Haaland, making him the first Native American Cabinet member.

 

The Senate on Monday confirmed New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary, making her the first Native American to lead a Cabinet department and the first to lead the federal agency that has wielded influence over the nation’s tribes for nearly two centuries.

Haaland was confirmed by a 51-40 vote, the narrowest margin yet for a Cabinet nomination by President Joe Biden. Four Republicans voted yes: Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Democrats and tribal groups hailed Haaland’s confirmation as historic, saying her selection means that Indigenous people — who lived in North America before the United States was created — will for the first time see a Native American lead the powerful department where decisions on relations with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes are made. Interior also oversees a host of other issues, including energy development on public lands and waters, national parks and endangered species.

“Rep. Haaland’s confirmation represents a gigantic step forward in creating a government that represents the full richness and diversity of this country,″ said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Native Americans for far too long have been neglected at the Cabinet level and in so many other places,″ Schumer said.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo and a 35th-generation resident of New Mexico, thanked hundreds of supporters at a virtual party hosted by Native American organizations.

Her confirmation shows that tribal members are “visible” and being taken seriously, Haaland said after the vote. “And no, it should not have taken more than 200 years for a Native person to take the helm at Interior, or even be a Cabinet secretary for that matter.”

Haaland said she was “ready to roll up my sleeves” so Interior can play its part in Biden’s plan to “build back better” and “responsibly manage our natural resources to protect them for future generations.″

Haaland’s nomination has been closely watched by tribal communities across the country, with some virtual parties drawing hundreds of people to watch her two-day confirmation hearing last month.

Supporters projected a photo of Haaland, a two-term congresswoman who represents greater Albuquerque, on the side of the Interior building in downtown Washington with text that read “Our Ancestors’ Dreams Come True.”

Many Native Americans see Haaland, 60, as someone who will elevate their voices and protect the environment and tribes’ rights. Her selection break a two-century pattern of non-Native officials, mostly male, serving as the top federal official over American Indian affairs. The federal government often worked to dispossess tribes of their land and, until recently, to assimilate them into white culture.

“It is long past time that an American Indian serve as the secretary of the Interior,” said Fawn Sharp, president of the National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s oldest and largest tribal organization.

“The nation needs her leadership and vision to help lead our response to climate change, to steward our lands and cultural resources and to ensure that across the federal government, the United States lives up to its trust and treaty obligations to tribal nations and our citizens,″ Sharp said.

Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, called Haaland’s confirmation “an unprecedented and monumental day for all first people of this country. Words cannot express how overjoyed and proud we are to see one of our own confirmed to serve in this high-level position.″

Haaland’s confirmation “sets us on a better path to righting the wrongs of the past with the federal government and inspires hope in our people, especially our young people,″ Nez added.

Not everyone was celebrating. Some Republican senators have criticized Haaland’s views on oil drilling and other energy development as “radical” and extreme, citing her opposition to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and her support for the Green New Deal, a sweeping, if mostly aspirational, policy to address climate change and income inequality.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Haaland’s “extreme views” and support of “catastrophic legislation” such as the Green New Deal would make her confirmation as interior secretary disastrous, harming America’s energy supply and economy.

“American jobs are being sacrificed in the name of the Biden agenda, and Rep. Haaland couldn’t defend it,″ Barrasso said last week, referring to decisions by Biden to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and impose a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Barrasso also faulted Haaland’s support for continued protection for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region of the Rocky Mountains, despite a recommendation by the Fish and Wildlife Service that about 700 bears in parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho no longer need protections.

“Rep. Haaland has chosen to ignore the science and the scientists of the very department that she is now nominated to lead,″ Barrasso said, calling on Interior to remove protections for the grizzly under the Endangered Species Act.

Barrasso and several other Western senators missed the vote, citing a severe winter storm that dumped 3 feet of snow on parts of Colorado and Wyoming, causing multiple flight cancellations. Fellow Wyoming Republican Cynthia Lummis and Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper of Colorado also missed the vote.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said she appreciates Haaland’s leadership in the House on a range of issues, adding that Haaland’s status as a Native American “will give us an extra advantage on (tribal) issues that are so important to Indian Country overall.″

Murkowski said she had “some real misgivings” about Haaland because of her views on oil drilling and other energy issues, but said Native Alaskans, an important constituency in her rural state, had urged her to back Haaland.

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Watertown field hockey coach Donahue notches 700th career win

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Watertown field hockey coach Donahue notches 700th career win

WAKEFIELD — The prerogative against Wakefield on Thursday night was no different than any other game for Hall of Fame Watertown head coach Eileen Donahue. The result was something only six other coaches have accomplished in United States field hockey history.

Despite a strong start and a stingy defensive effort from the host Warriors, Donahue’s No. 4 Raiders used three goals off corner penalties to help secure a 6-0 Middlesex League win — the 700th win of Donahue’s illustrious career. Now with a 700-34-36 record running through her 36th year of coaching, Donahue is the first in state history to reach the mark as Watertown moves to 12-0 on the season for a 20th straight win.

She’s accomplished a lot of first-evers as a coach since she took over the program before it even had a home field, but to reach the height that legendary figures like UConn’s Nancy Stevens and Emmaus High School’s Sue Butz-Stavin (Penn.) have before her as 700-plus winners is something the longtime coach takes great honor in.

“I’m very proud to be up there with other people with 700 wins … to know I’m one of seven is just crazy to think about that, and to know Watertown is a part of that is awesome,” Donahue said. “I’m very humbled, but I’m very proud from when I’ve started — to know that all the coaches that have worked with me and clearly all the players that I’ve been able to coach, and the community and the families, and especially my own family. … Thanks to all those wonderful players and coaches that I’ve had because this win is for them.”

A three-sport athlete in high school, Donahue took over the Raiders in 1986 with the lessons she learned from her father, Jack Donahue, a longtime coach as well. Through 36 years, the accolades are well-documented.

By winning 18 Div. 2 state championships, Donahue is averaging a title every other year. A string of 184 straight games unbeaten is a national record, helping her earn National Field Hockey Coaches Association Coach of the Year honors in 2013, as well as USFHC’s Top of the Circle award in 2014. She has 26 Div. 2 North titles, 31 Middlesex League titles and was inducted into the NFHCA Hall of Fame in 2020.

For Donahue, all of that is a credit to the love and support of everyone around her, and she takes great pride in being able to share this accomplishment with 36 different teams under her leadership.

“I’m humbled, proud, happy for all the people this involves,” she said. “It involves so many players that I’ve had, so many families that continually come to games — which means a lot. … To know that these players are willing to put the time in, all the players and coaches in the past that have been willing to do what it takes to do their best to be successful, that makes me feel a lot. It’s like an extended family.”

That absolutely includes the team that helped her get to 700, which had to overcome a charged effort from Wakefield in trying to prevent Donahue from reaching the mark against it.

Junior Boston University-commit Maggie Driscoll got the scoring started midway through the second quarter from the top of the circle on a corner penalty. Allie Fijux made it 2-0 before the break off an assist from Lizzie Loftus. The group caught fire in the second half despite Wakefield goalie Abby Boudreau’s 18 saves, as Molly Driscoll, Loftus, Aislin Devaney and Caroline Fleming all scored to seal the win as Watertown racked up 16 corner plays.

Unsurprisingly, Donahue said the team still has a lot to work on as the final leg of the regular season approaches — something she’s said for 36 years. That strive for improvement and overcoming challenges is something she carries over from lessons she learned from her father, and is a sentiment she’d pass to the younger generation of coaches.

“You’ve got to put the time in,” she said. “You’re not going to have instant success. You have to start somewhere. My high school quote was, ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’ Every season, you have to start somewhere. If you’re starting off great, that’s great, continue that. But if you’re not, don’t give up on those people. You have to stay with them. … If you have barriers, find a way to go through those barriers.”

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Teen gets 9 years in murder of Barnard College student Tessa Majors

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Teen gets 9 years in murder of Barnard College student Tessa Majors

NEW YORK — A teenage boy was sentenced Thursday to nine years to life in prison for his role in the botched robbery that ended in the deadly stabbing of Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors.

Luchiano Lewis, 16, pleaded guilty to murder and robbery on Sept. 21 for the December 2019 stabbing inside Morningside Park.

During his guilty plea, Lewis told Judge Robert Mandelbaum that he and two school friends had planned to mug someone inside the upper Manhattan park that night. When their first attempt failed, Lewis said the group targeted Majors, 18, as she was jogging down a set of steps on W. 116th St. near Morningside Drive.

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance charged Lewis as an adult. Rashaun Weaver, who allegedly stabbed Majors, has pleaded not guilty and is also charged as an adult. The third boy present for Majors’ killing pleaded guilty to robbery in June 2020 and got the max for a minor —18 months behind bars.

Lewis has said he didn’t know Majors had “been stabbed let alone killed” until reading it online the day after the stabbing. During his guilty plea he said Weaver stabbed the young student.

Majors’ parents, Inman and Christy Majors, are expected to read victim impact statements at the sentencing. They have traveled from Charlottesville, Va., to attend the majority of hearings in the case.

Lewis said earlier in court Majors “just walked up the long set of stairs and was walking toward us, but she was looking down at her phone. We were walking on the right side with the rails. When she passed us on our left, I saw Rashaun whisper something to (the 13-year-old), but I couldn’t hear what he said.”

He added: “Rashaun turned around, ran up behind Tessa Majors and kicked her hard in the back. I watched her stumble. Rashaun started screaming, ‘Give me your money, run your pockets, I’m not playing.’”

The teen said Weaver, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, “tussled” on the steps with Majors for some time before Lewis became spooked by an onlooker. They all fled the scene.

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Some families of homicide victims say parole is OK after 25 years

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Some families of homicide victims say parole is OK after 25 years

Rep. Liz Miranda lost her brother to homicide outside a nightclub four years ago, yet still hopes that inmates serving life sentences for non-first degree offenses, or who were minors when they committed the act, can be eligible for parole after 25 years.

“As I’m talking about why I’m doing this work in the State House, just know that I am a survivor of homicide who’s also a legislator of the most policed, the most incarcerated corridor of the entire state,” she said in a roundtable discussion, referring to her district that stretches through Dorchester and Roxbury.

Miranda noted as she did in a hearing on the subject last week that legislation she filed would not be a “get out of jail free card,” she said, but that allowing parole review for almost all incarcerated people, especially those who were juveniles when they committed their crimes, is “the cornerstone of a just society.”

Shanita Jefferson had also experienced both sides of the issue as a young girl, first with the murder of her father when she was 4, and the sentencing of her mother to life without parole when Shanita Jefferson was a young girl.

Jefferson’s mother, Angie Jefferson, has been an “outstanding mother,” Shanita Jefferson said, and also earned an associate’s degree, became a certified cosmetologist, and a dog trainer while imprisoned. Given her mother’s troubled past, Shanita Jefferson argued, “she never got a first chance,” she said, let alone a second one in the form of parole.

When Shanita Jefferson’s father’s murderer was sentenced, “my family was told that this sentence would serve as closure and justice,” she said. “Thirty-one years later, that was not true at all. The sentence took away our opportunity to see change and forgiveness.”

A mother who lost her son in a juvenile murder case made a similar argument. Janet Connors, whose son was murdered by four young men, said society had failed all five of them.

“Even if each of the four young men involved in Joel’s killing had gotten 100 years, 400 years of incarceration would not bring my son back to me, not bring that sweet guy back,” she said.

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As opioid crisis worsens, Ed Markey pitches 2 bills to help inmates get treatment

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As opioid crisis worsens, Ed Markey pitches 2 bills to help inmates get treatment

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is proposing two pieces of legislation that he says would help inmates who are suffering from drug abuse while they’re behind bars and when they’re released back into society.

Citing a record high number of drug overdose deaths in 2020, Markey on Thursday said he’s reintroducing a bill to ensure people in the justice system have access to opioid-use disorder treatment.

Another bill would let people in custody awaiting trial to keep their federal health benefits.

“We need to do better. We can do better,” Markey said outside Billerica’s Middlesex Jail and House of Correction.

While the majority of attention has been on the coronavirus pandemic during the last 19 months, it’s critical that people don’t forget about the opioid epidemic, the senator said.

“The opioid crisis did not go away during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact it got worse, much worse than it had been before the pandemic,” Markey said.

Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. reached an all-time high last year as about 93,000 Americans died, a major jump from 72,000 deaths in 2019.

The surge in fatalities was driven by opioids as about 69,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were recorded in 2020, a spike from about 20,000 in 2019.

“The numbers are absolutely staggering,” Markey said.

The need for opioid-use disorder treatment is especially important for those behind bars, he said, noting that about 85% of inmates either have a substance-use disorder or committed a crime related to substance use.

When these inmates leave jail and return to society, they’re more likely to start using drugs again and then find themselves back in jail.

“We see a vicious cycle,” Markey said, adding, “The front doors of our jails and prisons should not be revolving doors where individuals are released and because we know they still are in recovery, just do a U-turn and come right back.”

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Moderna or Pfizer booster might be best for J&J recipients, new study finds

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Moderna or Pfizer booster might be best for J&J recipients, new study finds

A Moderna or Pfizer coronavirus booster shot might work best for people who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new study shows.

The National Institutes of Health preliminary report released Wednesday, which has not yet been peer reviewed, says mixing and matching vaccines could offer better immune protection.

The authors wrote, “The use of heterologous booster vaccines, if similarly tolerable and immunogenic, could also simplify the logistics of administering booster vaccines.”

The study of 458 adults across ten different cities compared the safety and immune response of participants who were boosted with the same type of shot they had been given originally with those who received a different type of shot as a booster.

Out of the group of volunteers, 154 had initially received a Moderna shot, 150 got Johnson & Johnson and 154 had received a Pfizer vaccine.

The study used a total of nine different combinations of primary shots and booster shots.

Data showed that using different boosters produced a comparable or higher antibody response than using the same one.

People who got the J&J vaccine as a first shot showed a stronger immune response when boosted with Pfizer or Moderna, according to the research.

The issue of mixing vaccines, and whether it is safe and effective, has been largely unknown, but a Food and Drug Administration panel is set to discuss the topic tomorrow as it will also decide whether to recommend authorization for a J&J booster.

The new findings could complicate the decision for the panel.

Johnson & Johnson has said its booster, given 56 days after the first shot, provided 100% protection against severe coronavirus and 94% protection against symptomatic coronavirus in the U.S.

When the booster was given two months after the first shot, antibody levels rose four to six times higher. When a booster was given six months after the first shot, antibodies increased ninefold after one week and twelvefold after four weeks.

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Rats, roosters and sick Boston employees latest Methadone Mile misery

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Rats, roosters and sick Boston employees latest Methadone Mile misery

Multiple city workers on Mass and Cass have ended up in the hospital in recent weeks with a nasty stomach bug as sanitary conditions on Methadone Mile reach an all-time low, the workers’ union says as reports from the Mile include sick rats and live roosters.

One worker at the Boston Public Health Commission’s “engagement center” who wished to remain anonymous told the Herald he’d caught a brutal illness that laid him out for the entirety of last week. It wasn’t the coronavirus, as he tested negative — and the symptoms were those of a stomach bug rather than respiratory disease, anyway.

“This place is not the cleanest place in the world, fruit flies everywhere. You got rats running around everywhere,” the worker said, adding that in his mind it doesn’t make sense that there would be a cluster of illness among his compatriots that came from anywhere but there. “This is what we’re dealing with right now.”

He said at least two of his coworkers, like him, ended up in the hospital on an IV with stomach issues. Another two gutted it out at home with similar but slightly less severe symptoms, he said.

The Boston Public Health Commission declined to comment on any illnesses, saying it doesn’t release information about employees’ health. The BPHC didn’t comment further on any diseases down on the Mile other than to stress that they’re taking COVID precautions for their workers.

The BPHC’s engagement center is effectively a large tent out behind a homeless shelter in the heart of the open-air drug market in the South End known as Mass and Cass or Methadone Mile. The center is meant to provide a controlled space away from the surrounding chaos, a place where the people living on the streets in the dangerous and dirty area can come for some peace and safety. The workers, like the one who got sick, are largely responsible for making sure people behave — no weapons, no violence, no shooting up.

The worker stressed the rat problem there — “big as dogs” — and said he’d recently seen a clearly diseased rat with sores walking over people on the ground, while rats usually run away from humans.

The bosses of the worker’s union, SEIU 888, backed him up, saying the same about the workers hospitalized and the conditions there.

“We’re in a situation where the place is so unhealthy that even the rodents are getting sick,” business manager Neal O’Brien told the Herald. “That’s an indicator of what’s going on down there.”

And SEIU 888 President Tom McKeever seconded that, saying, “For our members, it’s hell on earth. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the folks on the street.”

The BPHC said in a statement that “we take the health and safety of our staff seriously.” They said masks and gloves are available, and that the commission has created a new “Employee Safety Officer” position. They also said they have “integrated pest management services” to do battle against the rats.

Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Business Association, who puts together an ad-hoc cleaning crew every couple of days, said she pays a handful of the people living on the street to pick up trash and otherwise spruce up the area — and she said that some of them are in consideration for cleaning jobs because of it.

She noted the “huge proliferation of rodents,” especially following the boom in tents, and said, “It is amazing that more people haven’t become sick.”

There’s the obviously unsanitary occurrences, like people pooping in public and food rotting on the sidewalks after being dropped off by the armies of do-gooders who show up periodically. And then there’s the just plain weird, like the rooster that had to be taken out of someone’s tent the other day.

“I thought I had seen everything,” she said, “but I hadn’t.”

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Tompkins: Honor legacy of Melnea Cass by helping those at core of crisis

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Tompkins: Honor legacy of Melnea Cass by helping those at core of crisis

William Monroe Trotter, Louisa May Alcott, W.E.B. Du Bois, Phillis Wheatley, Malcolm X, Lucy Stone, Prince Hall … there is a seemingly endless list of extraordinary people who share in Boston’s rich history of activism and advocacy, displaying the kind of passion, faith and dedication to the tenets of equality that leave their mark on society long after their mortal lives have ended.

For all of the collective legacy left by those mentioned above, and so many others before and after them, and their shared love of and responsibility for humanity, particularly those who are chronically underserved, frequently undervalued and often unseen, few surpass the sheer volume of service given by Dr. Melnea Agnes Jones Cass.

As a Black woman born in 1896, Melnea Cass was informed and instigated into service by her and her family’s struggles against the oppression of racism and sexism. Her grandmother was born into slavery and her mother’s only option for employment was limited to work as a domestic servant. Earning the honorary title “The First Lady of Roxbury,” Cass helped breathe life into nearly all of the human rights movements of the time, with enough service and activism to fill at least two lifetimes.

An abbreviated listing of her vast body of work shows Cass as a prolific champion of the people.

To name but a few of her leadership efforts, Cass organized Black women to register and cast their first votes following the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920; helped to found the Boston chapter of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; led the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; founded the Freedom House with Muriel and Otto Snowden; organized Women In Community Service  during World War II, which later became the Job Core; she founded the Kindergarten Mothers to encourage early education; and was appointed by Boston Mayor John Hynes to be the only woman charter member of Action for Boston Community Development, the anti-poverty agency that also gave assistance to people who lost their homes to urban renewal.

Honoring the many efforts that etched indelible marks on the world that she lived in, with echoes heard today, Cass earned several dedications, including the Melnea Cass Metropolitan District Commission Swimming and Skating Rink, the Melnea Cass YWCA in Boston’s Back Bay and her namesake Melnea Cass Boulevard in Roxbury.

As we remember and celebrate this dynamic, powerful record of service and caring for those most in need, perhaps we should lean more heavily upon the legacy left by Cass to help guide us through the mortal struggle unfolding on and around the boulevard bearing her name.

In the environs of Newmarket Square, a long-simmering humanitarian crisis now boils over daily, as far too many men and women lose their battle against the devastating onslaught of addiction, mental illness and homelessness in full public view, with frequent drug deals, needle use, sex trafficking, violence and even murder overtaking the area.

Boston, MA. – May 18: A man sitting on the sidewalk in front of a tent on the corner of Melnea Cass Boulevard and Massachusetts Avenue fills a needle while a woman with a needle in on her ear goes through her belongings on May 18, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

While, sadly, none of this is new to Newmarket, over the past few years it is receiving a renewed focus by media outlets across the city and throughout the commonwealth due in equal parts to the rising tide of violence and two serious mayoral candidates jockeying for attention over the issue.

But, diagnosing a problem is only part of the solution. A full understanding of the myriad complex causes of the crisis must be followed by an equally thoughtful and humanistic response with plans that address the issues in their totality with the kind of persistence and commitment befitting the great Melnea Cass.

We know that the crisis of addiction, particularly the opioid epidemic, is being further fueled by an inadequate mental health infrastructure, lack of affordable housing and persistent racial disparities.

We are advocating for the creation of a centralized leadership structure in City Hall to work transparently with all communities. Additionally, Boston must lead a taskforce of regional municipal leaders to press our state and federal partners for additional funding to realize a decentralized recovery infrastructure.

Chronic homelessness and housing instability are additional root causes of this crisis. We must identify the gaps in our housing framework and then streamline our overly complicated zoning procedures to realize deeply affordable housing that is tied into an integrated transportation network in the city.

Many unhoused Bostonians who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders are at a disadvantage trying to navigate the many programs and benefits available to them. Along with decentralizing the physical location of services, we must ensure superior funding for professional case coordinators to assist these individuals with accessing all services they are entitled to receive.

While services are available during the day, the unhoused population is left without resources at night, which then often precipitates a law enforcement response that does not effectively service this population. In order to break this cycle of criminalization, we must lead with public health solutions and expand access to social service networks, and we must also work to strengthen collaboration between all city departments, ensuring dedicated resources for impacted families and targeted support for businesses, neighbors and community members.

In this battle for the very lives of the people living on the streets of “Mass and Cass,” and across Suffolk County, we must also have all options on the table, recognizing that even if all of the aforementioned resources were made available, there are some who are incapable or unable to avail themselves of these lifesaving services without more robust assistance. This includes, but is not limited to, my proposal to join forces with the local law enforcement and city and state agencies to provide treatment services in a separate, dedicated stand-alone unit within Department facilities for those individuals meeting these criteria.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to house and treat a population desperately crying out for basic human dignity. The road to completion requires realistic, short and medium-term goals under a centralized authority in the city.

While the work ahead is both daunting and difficult, it is by no means impossible. If we commit our hearts, our minds and most importantly our wills to the work of it, we can solve this crisis.

Ultimately, there is no excuse not to act, for in the words of Melnea Cass herself, “If we cannot do great things, we can do small things in a great way.”


Steven W. Tompkins is the sheriff of Suffolk County.

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Hot Property: Sudbury home wows with style

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Hot Property: Sudbury home wows with style

Suppose you were mysteriously airlifted from your current location and dropped in front of 249 Dutton Road; you might think you’ve arrived at an ultra-luxurious mountain resort in Vail.

And while you’re actually in Sudbury — surprise! — you’re surrounded by thousands of acres of conservation land to explore by foot, bike or horse.

Emerging from the rolling, 12-acre lot with a rustic but unmistakably high-end exterior, the 2006 home was designed by California architect Ron Ritner. With an emphasis on bringing the tranquility of the pastoral setting in, natural elements are woven into the interior construction and design — think Canadian cedar beams, wide pine plank flooring, and fieldstone elements. Similarly, there are just as many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors without straying too far via extensive patios and decking.

At a whopping 9,164 square feet, the five-bedroom home includes plenty of extras — like a state-of-the-art home gym with a steam room, a study with custom built-ins and a game room on the lower level. For quiet nights at home or for hosting a bona fide crowd, the home’s family room and great room flow naturally to one another and easily into the elevated country-chic gourmet kitchen with oversized picture windows overlooking the grounds.

The second floor houses five restful bedrooms, uniquely appointed for each family member to find their favorite space.

In the primary suite, a true room with a view — you can watch the sunrise over the tree line — a soaring, vaulted ceiling with wood beams stretched across and a gas fireplace set into a rich wood mantel lend character and warmth. Its adjoining spa-like bath is finished with a custom double vanity and a step-up tub tucked into a window nook with a stunning three-sided view.

To learn more about the property, on the market for $5,460,000, contact Deborah Smith with Compass, 978-758-2693.

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Correctional officers union has day in court over vaccine mandate

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Correctional officers union has day in court over vaccine mandate

Correctional officers, following the lead of State Police who unsuccessfully sued the Baker administration over his vaccine mandate, made their own case by seeking a preliminary injunction.

The judge took the matter under advisement.

The lawyer representing the Correction Officers Federated Union, James Lamond, argued in the U.S. District Court in Worcester that “there are available, more moderate courses of action that the government can take to address the problem” than vaccination, including a test option that’s being used in other states.

In response, Judge Timothy Hillman said that correctional officers are confronted with a congregate living situation daily, a point he repeated throughout the hearing. He also asked Lamond how many correctional officers and inmates were vaccinated. Lamond couldn’t immediately answer the question. He estimated, though, that both inmates’ and correctional officers’ vaccination rates hovered around 75%.

He said officers should have the right to “decline unwanted medical treatment” and that the vaccination mandate, which is slated to kick in Sunday for about 42,000 Executive Branch employees, goes against the agreement the union employees and their employer made in the first place.

“An order which effectively names a new condition of employment, which names a behavior, which is per se, just cause for termination, our view is that that does bring about a substantial change in the rights and responsibilities that the parties have themselves worked out over time,” Lamond said.

When Lamond tried to use one 1906 case as evidence to support his case, Hillman shot back.

“It sounds to me like you’re conflating the rights that the government has, its role as an employer, with its obligations to the citizenry at large,” he said. “We’re talking about governmental employees. I mean it’s a big, big difference.”

Jennifer Greaney argued on behalf of the commonwealth that preliminary injunctions, which the correctional officers are seeking here to stop the mandate from taking effect, need to prove “irreparable harm,” a bar she said the union had not met.

She added that “the consideration of the public interest, and the equities and the balancing of the interests of the two parties, here clearly resulted in a scale that is tipped heavily toward allowing the executive order to proceed,” she said.

She noted that corrections is a “heavily regulated industry,” with stipulations including a ban on smoking, for example, as well as TB testing requirements and personal grooming requirements. Greaney said it would be “foreseeable” that, in the event of a contagious disease, employees could expect additional regulations.

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Appreciation: Former Herald editor, writer and Mousejunkies founder Bill Burke

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Appreciation: Former Herald editor, writer and Mousejunkies founder Bill Burke

Former Boston Herald travel writer and web pioneer Bill Burke died unexpectedly in his Sandown, N.H., home Monday. He was 54.

Burke was instrumental in the team that created bostonherald.com in the nascent days of internet journalism. He went on to serve as online managing editor at the Herald for six of the 11 years he worked at the newspaper.

For many years after, he would continue to freelance for the Herald and other publications, writing travel, food and music features.

“People talk about a writer’s writer or an editor’s writer — but Bill was a reader’s writer,” said the Herald’s opinion page and features editor Sandra Kent.  “He took the readers somewhere. He took them to Disney.  He made them taste the food he was trying, ride the ride, and feel the same joy that he did.”

Burke would go on to establish the Mousejunkies community, a network of thousands across the United States and around the globe linked by a common love of the Magic Kingdom and the particulars of enjoying the resort to its fullest.

Burke wrote three Mousejunkies travel books that chronicled his love for the park.

“He sort of embodied the phrase, do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” Kent said.

At Parenting New Hampshire, he wrote his Dad on Board column for 12 years, sharing the joys and challenges of raising his daughter Katie and his efforts to impart the importance of Bruins hockey, Iron Maiden and the bass guitar on her.

He won seven gold and two silver awards from the Parenting Media Association for his column, which recognized his unique perspective and unconventional sense of humor. Burke also served as managing editor for custom publications at McLean Communications.

Born in Charlestown, he was the son of William and Karen (Gammon) Burke.

He was a devoted husband and father and will be missed by his wife of almost 26 years, Amy (Morancie) Burke; daughter, Katherine Burke; brother, Rick Burke and his wife, Janna, of Manchester, N.H.; sister Susan Payne and her husband, Shawn, of Maricopa, Ariz.; sister Christine Kane and her husband, Barry of Manchester, N.H.; as well as many nephews and nieces.

Relatives and friends are invited to call from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Brookside Chapel & Funeral Home, 116 Main St., Plaistow, N.H. His funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Atkinson Congregational Church, 101 Main St., Atkinson, N.H.

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