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State & Region Briefs


Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Free-speech group asks college to run Lenny Bruce play

BOSTON — Free-speech advocates are urging Brandeis University to reconsider its cancellation of stage play about the late comedian Lenny Bruce.

The Boston-area school says it will no longer stage a premiere of the play “Buyer Beware” after some students and alumni alleged that the play contains racist language and themes.

But the nonprofit group Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says the decision should be reversed and wants an explanation from the school.

An open letter from the Philadelphia-based group says Brandeis should defend the free-speech principles that Bruce fought for. It was also signed by Bruce’s daughter, Kitty.

Bruce was known for his profanity-laced routines that sparked several arrests for obscenity in the 1960s. An archive of his work is housed at Brandeis.

Husband denies brutally killing elementary school teacher

BOSTON — The husband of a elementary school teacher found strangled and stabbed in the face and neck with a trash bag over her head has pleaded not guilty to murder.

Andrew MacCormack was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court. He was indicted last month in the death of Vanessa MacCormack, a Lynn teacher found dead in September in the couple’s Revere home.

Prosecutors say a cocaine dealer told them Andrew MacCormack spent $400 to $500 a week on drugs.

They say MacCormack’s wife threatened to consult a divorce lawyer in August. They say MacCormack left the house with their 1-year-old daughter after the killing and went to buy cocaine. The home had been cleaned with bleach.

Defrocked priest now faces 31 counts of sex abuse in Maine

YORK, Maine — A former Roman Catholic priest who spent more than a decade in prison for raping an altar boy has been re-indicted on sexual abuse charges in Maine.

Officials say Ronald Paquin now faces 31 counts of sexual abuse in York County after being initially indicted on 29 counts in February. The 74-year-old Paquin has been held at the York County Jail since he was arrested in February.

His court-appointed lawyer, Heather Gonzales, says the two additional charges apparently came about after prosecutors met an accuser to try to provide more specific dates on alleged offenses in Maine, resulting in two more counts being added.

Paquin was defrocked in 2004.

Fatal fire blamed on smoking in presence of medical oxygen

WEST SPRINGFIELD — Authorities say an elderly man injured in a fire at his apartment caused by smoking in the presence of medical oxygen has died.

Massachusetts Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey announced the death Monday. The victim was injured in his West Springfield apartment on Friday.

Investigators say the fire was caused by smoking while medical oxygen was in use. Ostroskey says the man’s clothing ignited, so he ran to the sink to try to douse the flames.

Ostroskey says in the past decade 20 people have died in Massachusetts in fires where home oxygen was involved in the start or the rapid spread of the fire.

Police stop driver for pizza box license plate

HOPKINTON — Police officers in Hopkinton jokingly recommend drivers get a little more creative if they make their own illegal license plates.

The Hopkinton Police Department says in a Facebook post Sunday a driver was stopped with a license plate made from a pizza box.

The department discourages people from making their own plates. But if he or she does, the department says not to use a cardboard box and felt tip pens.

Hopkinton police say the driver is facing charges that include operating an uninsured and unregistered vehicle and attaching “fake home made” plates.

From Associated Press