State & Region Briefs

Friday, March 02, 2018
Berkshire County district attorney announces retirement

PITTSFIELD — The top prosecutor in Massachusetts’ westernmost county has announced his retirement.

Berkshire District Attorney David Capeless said Thursday he is stepping down effective March 15.

On the same day, First Assistant District Attorney Paul Caccaviello will be sworn in as Capeless’ successor.

Capeless in a statement said he determined some time ago he would not seek re-election this fall and decided to step down now to give Caccaviello a chance to campaign for the job.

The Democrat was appointed district attorney by former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in 2004 after the unexpected death in office of former district attorney Gerard Downing.

The 65-year-old West Stockbridge resident is married with two grown sons. His father is a former Pittsfield mayor and his grandfather was a state representative.

Man sentenced to up to 15 years for raping 2 young girls

FALL RIVER — A man who pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping two young girls has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn says 41-year-old Carlos Fernandes will be deported after serving the sentence imposed Wednesday.

Authorities say the Fall River resident raped his girlfriend’s daughter and the girl’s cousin over the course of two years. The assaults started when one girl was 8 and the other was 11.

The assaults only came to a stop after one victim confided in a friend.

Quinn said “the mother did not support her own daughter,” which he described as “particularly offensive.”

State tax agency fails to deliver child support payments

BOSTON — A Massachusetts’ tax agency already facing criticism for a data breach that exposed private information from about 39,000 business taxpayers now says it has failed to deliver timely child support payments.

The state Department of Revenue said Thursday it has failed to deliver timely payments to about 1,500 parents since the start of the year.

Department officials say the problem is due to a faulty computer system. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration says the issue should be fixed by the weekend.

However, union officials say the issues are more widespread than reported and disproportionately affect poor parents.

Union officials say parents who get off welfare are not getting child support checks they are owed. Fathers are seeing larger amounts than necessary docked from their unemployment checks.

Calamari on the menu as feds maintain US squid fishing quota

PORTLAND, Maine — Federal fishing regulators are keeping the quota for commercial squid fishermen about the same under new fishing rules that take effect soon.

U.S. fishermen harvest shortfin and longfin squid in the Atlantic Ocean. The squid are used as food, such as calamari.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it’s keeping the quota for shortfin squid the same and increasing the longfin squid quota by 2 percent. The new rules are effective on April 2.

The squid have been brought to shore from Maine to North Carolina over the years, and the fishery is based mostly in Rhode Island. Fishermen harvested more than 14.7 million pounds of shortfin squid and nearly 40 million pounds of longfin squid in 2016.

From Associated Press