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Foxboro forever: Patriots honor retired wide receiver Julian Edelman



Foxboro forever: Patriots honor retired wide receiver Julian Edelman

Some 60,000 New England Patriots fans rose to their feet during halftime of the game Sunday as team owner Robert Kraft exalted the legacy of Julian Edelman, the retired wide receiver known for being “tough as nails.”

“Playing pro football is hard, but the great ones always make it look easy. For more than a decade Julian Edelman was one of the greatest. He had a knack for making improbable catches possible, creating space where there was none, and constantly moving the chains,” Kraft said.

Edelman played his final down in Foxboro last October against the 49ers, but as Kraft noted, no fans were present for home games in the 2020 season. He announced his retirement in April, but the Kraft family couldn’t let him walk away without a final farewell from fans.

“Today, in from of a capacity crowd, we give our fans the opportunity to show their appreciation one more time,” Kraft said.

Gillette Stadium was a flood of No. 11 jerseys. The undersized slot receiver became a fan favorite quickly after the team drafted him as a quarterback in 2009. Edelman had never played receiver, but now holds the second-most receptions among players in Patriots history. He also has the second-most receptions and yards receiving during playoff games in the NFL’s 102-year history. Jerry Rice has that top spot in league history.

Edelman first ingratiated himself to Foxboro as a punt receiver. When he graduated to receiver, as Kraft told the crowd, Edelman was “fearless across the middle” and played an integral role in three Patriots Super Bowl championships. He earned Most Valuable Player in Super Bowl LIII.

Sunday, he made his trademark entrance onto the field at Foxboro as if it was any other Patriots game, running from end zone to end zone and pumping up the crowd. He scooped up his young daughter, walked to the 10-yard line, and greeted fans.

“You guys have taken me and my family, and you brought us into your homes and you welcomed us. We lived you guys, we breathed you guys,” he said, above the raucous cheers of “Jules.”

“I remember my first training camp here I thought those were boos, I guess they’re just ‘Jules,’ huh,” he said.

Edelman thanked head coach Bill Belichick and “all his teammates,” and said that he misses “them to death.” Before the game he embraced All-Pro Patriots punt returner Gunner Olszewski, said hello to running back Damien Harris and linebacker Dont’a Hightower, and hugged Belichick.

Before putting his arms around Kraft and his family, Edelman gave one more battle cry to the crowd:

“Foxboro forever.”


Rats, roosters and sick Boston employees latest Methadone Mile misery



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



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



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



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



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 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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Patriots TE Hunter Henry predicts Jonnu Smith will break out soon



Patriots TE Hunter Henry predicts Jonnu Smith will break out soon

Over the past two weeks, Mac Jones’ connection with star tight end Hunter Henry has come alive.

Henry caught six passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Texans last week, all season highs.

Now, it’s Jonnu Smith’s turn.

Henry believes it won’t be long before the other half of Patriots’ vaunted tight end duo also finds his chemistry with Jones. In fact, Henry predicts Smith, who also signed a lucrative free agent deal to join the Pats, will have a breakout soon.

“He’s going to come on,” Henry said Thursday. “I’m excited to see him break out.”

And this could very well be the week. The Cowboys are the second-worst in the league defending tight ends, according to Football Outsiders’ popular efficiency metric, DVOA. So it’s reasonable to assume both of them should be targeted heavily by the rookie quarterback.

Smith had two catches for 27 yards against the Texans. Overall, he’s pulled in 15 receptions on 23 targets during the season. He’s also caught one touchdown pass.

The expectation was for Smith to be a game-changer. Thus far, it hasn’t happened.

Asked how Smith has handled his slow start, Henry couldn’t have been more complimentary.

“He’s been fantastic. He’s a stud, man. He’s fun to be around, works his tail off,” said Henry. “There’s a lot of competition in the room, always trying to compete with each other, and against our guys, and on the field. I think it’s a healthy room where we’re always trying to better ourselves, communicate better, so those things are continuing to improve.”

Henry says he’s been supportive, but believes Smith does a good job handling the adversity on his own.

“Man, he’s been doing this for awhile. Obviously, I’m going to be there and encourage him through some of those tough times. But the man, he’s done it for a while,” said Henry. “He knows what he’s doing.”

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Howie Carr: Charlie Baker blowin’ in the wind



Charlie Baker proposes ‘game-changing’ offshore wind investment

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows – you just need Gov. Charlie Baker.

In case you missed it, the failed politician Dementia Joe Biden calls “Charlie Parker” is hanging up the rented white lab coat and stethoscope that served him so well in the late Panic to go into meteorology.

All you local TV weathermen whose names nobody knows anymore — move over, because Tall Deval is muscling in on your racket.

Here he was on Wednesday, explaining his recent fascinating discoveries about weather in New England.

All dialogue guaranteed verbatim.

“This previous summer we experienced four significant heat waves, more than 25 days of over 90 degrees, three tropical storms, a record amount of precipitation and significant flooding across the state.”

Heat waves? In the summer? Imagine that. And the temperature rose above 90 degrees?

Hot enough for ya, Charlie? You know what I always say? It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

To sum it up, if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait 5 minutes. Mark Twain said that, and he died in 1910. But Charlie Parker has just realized what’s going on forever — and he’s decided it’s going to be the end of the world.

“We’ve already experienced many of the impacts associated with climate change.”

He’s right, you know. I can remember, in late June, it stayed light outside until almost 9 o’clock. Now the sun goes before my radio show is over. Scary, man.

And governor, I don’t want to alarm you, but have you noticed that most of the leaves on the hardwood trees have changed color? What’s up with that? Some of the leaves are starting to … fall off the trees!

“We certainly anticipate this will only intensify over time.”

So what’s the forecast, Governor? I know, you and the other chicken littles shy away from those seven-day forecasts offered by your rivals on local TV news – after all, you can be called out on those prognostications when you get ’em wrong.

Charlie Parker, as well as Al Gore and John Kerry and AOC — they only do the macro-forecasts, because you can’t fact-check predicted apocalyptic events that won’t occur for decades, or maybe even centuries.

Remember, Charlie has only the vaguest idea what the weather will be for the third ALCS game at Fenway next Monday, but he’s damn certain what will be happening by 2050 …

“The Northeast is projected to experience some of the most drastic impacts from climate change, from extreme temperature to drought impacting crop yields … to significant inland flooding.”

Now that could be a problem — droughts and flooding occurring simultaneously. Is there anything climate change can’t do?

I haven’t been this frightened since Charlie Parker told us last year that we could die of COVID if we only ordered an appetizer at a restaurant, but we had nothing to worry about if we sprung for an entree.

Thank God he dispatched his hack turkey inspectors to the supermarkets last Thanksgiving to make sure shoppers weren’t buying Butterballs or Oven Stuffers of more than 12 pounds.

Those were Charlie Parker’s glory days. He was the pope of panic porn. Under his stewardship, Massachusetts last year managed to combine both the nation’s third-highest COVID death rate as well as the highest unemployment rate (for two months).

But the COVID grift is coming to an end. It’s now making the Democrats look bad, so it’s going to disappear.

He needs a new scam, which is why he’s become the weatherman. Because unlike FDR, who said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, the only thing Charlie has to offer is fear itself.

Gov. Chicken Little has been test-marketing his new hysteria for a while now. Remember a couple of months ago, when the hurricane was headed to Boston? (It didn’t make it.) He went on TV and grimly warned against the threat of “giant puddles?”

Of course there’s only one way out. Higher taxes! Thank goodness, Charlie Parker is all in on that solution. That’s where his Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) comes in — if only he can jack up the state tax on a gallon of gasoline from 24 to 62 cents a gallon, we may be able to survive the scourge of giant puddles.

Scaring the rubes by pointing up at the sky is one of the oldest cons in the book. Back in 1504, Christopher Columbus had beached his ships in Jamaica, and after six months the natives were getting restless — they’d stopped the daily food deliveries.

Columbus consulted an astronomy book, and discovered that a lunar eclipse was imminent. He called the natives’ chief and told him that God was angry the free eats to the Spanish had stopped, and that He would soon show Elizabeth Warren’s ancestors just how disturbed He was.

That night, the natives saw the moon disappear, as predicted, and as Columbus’ son later wrote: “With great howling and lamentation they came running from every direction to the ships, laden with provisions …”

Charlie’s hoping for the same results. Only he doesn’t want provisions, just that 62-cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline.

Climate change, it’s not just for summer anymore. Remember the winter of 2015? Weatherman Charlie surely does.

“It started to snow and it snowed for 28 days in a row and um that was my introduction to some of the issues associated with climate …”

I guess he wasn’t alive in, say, the winter of 1978.

By the way, weatherman Charlie wanted me to leave you with just one warning for the weekend. Watch out for the giant puddles.

Listen to Howie from 3-7 p.m. on WRKO-AM 680.

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Haverhill man wins $1 million Powerball prize, another winning ticket still unclaimed



Haverhill man wins $1 million Powerball prize, another winning ticket still unclaimed

A Haverhill man won a small slice of a giant pie as he claimed $1 million of an almost $700 million jackpot — the seventh largest in U.S. history and fifth-largest Powerball prize.

Victor Van, the winner, purchased his ticket at Bradford Mobil Mart in Haverhill and successfully matched the first five numbers on his Quic Pic ticket.

He said he plans to put his prize money toward his education and helping his family pay off their mortgage, according to a Lottery press release. The store will also receive a $10,000 bonus for selling the ticket.

Another $1 million remains unclaimed. The winning ticket was sold at Downtown Convenience on Boylston Street in Boston. Luckily, winners have a year to claim their prizes.

Raymond Carey, of Seekonk, also won $1 million from that pot on Oct. 5, which was drawn on Oct. 4. Carey bought his ticket at Quality Gas & Mart in his hometown.

The winner of the record-breaking Powerball drawing hails from California.

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Massachusetts reports 1,560 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths



Massachusetts reports 1,560 new coronavirus cases, 14 deaths

Massachusetts health officials on Thursday reported 1,560 new coronavirus cases, as 14 more people died of COVID-19 and hospitalizations ticked up.

Infections have been higher amid the more highly contagious delta variant, but daily case tallies have been lower in the past two weeks. The 1,560 new virus cases now bring the daily average of infections to 968. The daily average was 1,896 a month ago.

The daily average percent positivity has been down in recent weeks. The percent positivity is now 2.03%, compared to 2.98% last month.

The positive test average was 1.45% for Thursday’s report.

State health officials reported 14 new COVID deaths, bringing the state’s total recorded death toll to 18,816.

The daily average of deaths has been climbing. The average is now 11.7, up from the record-low death count of 1.3 in mid-July.

COVID hospitalizations went up by 11 patients, bringing the total to 567 patients.

There are now 142 patients in intensive care units, and 83 patients are currently intubated.

Of the 567 total patients, 207 patients are fully vaccinated — or about 36%. Those who are unvaccinated are at a much higher risk for a severe case.

Overall in the Bay State, almost 4.7 million people are fully vaccinated, and more than 5.1 million people have gotten at least one shot. The state reported that 226,667 people have received a booster dose.

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SF Giants’ season ends with ninth-inning heart-breaker, Dodgers win NLDS instant classic



SF Giants’ season ends with ninth-inning heart-breaker, Dodgers win NLDS instant classic

SAN FRANCISCO — The first-ever modern era playoff matchup between the rivals. A 107-win division champion and a 106-win wild card juggernaut. A winner-take-all Game 5 decided in the final moments.

From Opening Day to the final act at Oracle Park on Thursday night, the Giants and Dodgers pushed each other in a way never before seen in the storied history of a rivalry whose roots were grown more than 3,000 miles away.

And after the Giants narrowly edged out the Dodgers in a historic division race, it was the Dodgers who beat the Giants with a ninth-inning rally that left San Francisco and rookie closer Camilo Doval heartbroken following a 2-1 loss.

The Giants spent the ninth-inning hoping that one of their hitters could deliver the type of closing salvo Bobby Thomson did in 1951 when his Shot Heard ‘Round the World lifted the New York Giants past the Brooklyn Dodgers to secure a National League pennant, but Los Angeles turned to Game 3 starter Max Scherzer to close the door on the Giants’ dream season.

A Giants team that felt the bats were taken out of its hands throughout the series by poor umpiring had its season end when Wilmer Flores appeared to successfully check his swing on a pitch in the dirt and was called out anyway by first base umpire Gabe Morales.

The hero from the 24th and final matchup between the teams this year happened to be the worst player throughout the Giants and Dodgers head-to-head regular season matchups. With two on and one out in the ninth, Cody Bellinger, who went 2-for-50 against the Giants during the regular season, saw four consecutive sliders from Doval before drilling one into right center field for a go-ahead base hit.

Doval routinely touches triple digits on the radar gun with his fastball, but he appeared to lose confidence in his fastball after hitting Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner with a 100-mile per hour four-seamer with one-out in the ninth. After Doval threw center fielder Gavin Lux five straight sliders, he fed the left-handed hitter a fastball that found a hole on the left side of the infield to advance Turner into scoring position.

That’s when Bellinger came through with a hit that will define his legacy and be the lasting memory from a year that brought unparalleled drama to the rivalry.

Before 24-year-old Logan Webb delivered the first pitch to Dodgers leadoff man Mookie Betts, Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts had already lobbed the game’s first curveball. Seven hours before first pitch, the Dodgers announced reliever Corey Knebel, not 20-game winner Julio Urías, would start Thursday’s game.

One of baseball’s best starters needed an opener? To have a chance to take down the National League West champions, Roberts said it gave the Dodgers their best chance to win.

Truth be told, it didn’t hurt.

Knebel and reliever Brusdar Graterol each had a Giants baserunner reach scoring position in the first two innings, but when Urías finally took the mound in the bottom of the third, the game was still scoreless.

While the Giants’ offense missed early opportunities, it was never out of the game thanks to a dominant starter who tamed the National League’s highest-scoring offense for the second time in a week.

After leading the Giants to a division-clinching win on the final day of the regular season against the Padres and a victory in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, Webb returned to the mound at Oracle Park on Thursday with an opportunity to rewrite the top line of his big-game résumé for the third consecutive start.

Of the five hits Webb allowed in his Game 1 start against the Dodgers, two were singles from Betts, who is at his best on the game’s biggest stage. Betts was practically a one-man show against Webb again on Thursday, as he recorded three singles in three at-bats including a line drive hit with one out in the top of the sixth.

After being stranded on the basepaths following each of his first two hits, Betts stole second in the sixth and jogged home for the game’s first run on a softly-hit double into shallow left field from Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager. Seager became the first Dodgers’ player aside from Betts to reach base against Webb, but it gave Los Angeles a 1-0 lead that appeared significant in a series in which the team that had scored first won each of the first four games.

The Giants, however, answered immediately in the bottom of the inning as Ruf came to the plate determined to hit a ball where no Dodgers outfielder could track it down. After lacing a 377-foot flyout in his first at-bat and a 378-foot flyout his next time up, Ruf launched a towering 452-foot solo home run to straightaway center field that drew the loudest cheer of the season to date from the Oracle Park crowd.

Ruf entered his sixth inning plate appearance 0-for-9 in the series, but majestic homer reset the game and reinvigorated the Giants dugout.

With the game tied at 1-1, the Giants sent Webb back to the mound and all he did was wrap up a sensational outing with a 1-2-3 inning punctuated by an eight-pitch strikeout that again brought the crowd to its feet.

The crowd ended the game there, too. At the final out, however, they were staring in disbelief.

An unforgettable journey is over.

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