State & Region Briefs

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Norman Rockwell Museum explores possible expansion

STOCKBRIDGE — The Norman Rockwell Museum is exploring the purchase of another building in which to establish a first-of-its-kind national center for illustration education and research.

The Stockbridge museum announced Tuesday it is exploring the feasibility of purchasing the old Stockbridge Town Hall, which has been vacant for a decade since the town offices moved. The century-old building is owned by the First Congregational Church.

The museum’s campus about a mile way is cramped because of an expanded mission that includes the collection, study and exhibition of works of other illustrators. This has led to growth in educational programming, collections, exhibitions, scholarship and outreach.

The old town hall was depicted in the Rockwell work, “Springtime in Stockbridge.”

Museum officials say it would cost about $10 million to renovate the building.

Woman, 5 children found unharmed in alleged kidnap

DANBURY, Conn. — Connecticut officials say they have arrested a woman and found five children unharmed after she allegedly kidnapped them in Massachusetts and threatened to harm them and herself.

Pittsfield police notified regional law enforcement Tuesday to be on the lookout for 40-year-old Shareen Tanna, her three children and possibly two other children in an SUV.

Authorities say Tanna took the children without permission and was believed to be headed to her new home in Rochester, New York.

A Connecticut trooper found Tanna and the children at a convenience store in Danbury. Tanna was taken into custody and faces charges of kidnapping minors by a relative in Pittsfield.

The children were returned to their families.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Tanna has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.

Man gets 9 years in prison for sex assault on disabled child

SPRINGFIELD — A Springfield man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for raping his friend’s disabled 13-year-old stepson.

Christopher Hemmings was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty to a single count of child rape. Prosecutors say the boy is non-verbal and legally blind.

Prosecutors say Hemmings often stayed at the victim’s family’s home and was allowed to smoke and drink on the porch. The boy’s stepfather last July 1 noticed Hemmings wasn’t on the porch late at night and found him in the boy’s room. The stepfather called police who arrested Hemmings after he left the house.

Defense lawyer Sean Smith said his client apologized to the family and acknowledged that his actions were “heinous.”

Digital First Media top bidder in auction for Boston Herald

BOSTON — A Denver-based company has emerged as the winning bidder for a Boston newspaper that filed for bankruptcy in December.

Digital First Media’s $11.9 million bid beat two other bidders for the Boston Herald in a five-hour bankruptcy auction held Tuesday.

The bid needs approval from a bankruptcy court judge, and a hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Digital First owns hundreds of publications, including the Lowell Sun and Sentinel & Enterprise of Fitchburg.

Job cuts are expected. The Herald has around 240 employees, and previous bidders agreed to keep at least 175.

Herald publisher Patrick Purcell previously cited declining revenue, digital media and growing competition in the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Students train for jobs at new casino school

SPRINGFIELD — Instead of the usual pencil and notebook, students at one school will learn using a deck of cards and poker chips.

MGM Springfield has partnered with two community colleges to train students for work at the new casino scheduled to open this fall.

Students at the Massachusetts Casino Career Training Institute will learn blackjack, craps, poker derivative games and more. Those who complete two classes at the school will be considered for an audition for a job at the casino.

MGM Springfield announced Tuesday it will reimburse tuition for students if they pass the audition and work at the casino for at least a year.

About 60 people have signed up for classes so far. Classes are scheduled to begin Feb. 26.

From Associated Press