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State & Region Briefs

Published: 5/7/2019 10:57:33 PM
Town approves renaming school after W.E.B. Du Bois

GREAT BARRINGTON — The hometown of scholar and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois has voted to rename the local middle school in his honor, despite the objections of some people who pointed out that he joined the Communist Party late in life.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that Great Barrington town meeting on Monday approved renaming Monument Valley Regional Middle School in honor of the black author after a heated debate.

One man said naming the school after a veteran “who died for democracy” would be more appropriate. Some objected to naming the school after anyone.

One supporter of the renaming suggested racism was at play.

Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, the other towns in the school district, must also approve the name change. The final decision rests with the district School Committee.

Police: Men came to Holyoke to trade guns for drugs

HOLYOKE — Police have arrested men from Vermont and New Hampshire they say came to Massachusetts to trade guns for drugs and cash.

A spokesman for state police in a statement says 32-year-old Timothy Keith, of White River Junction, Vermont, and 33-year-old Phillip Damone, of Grantham, New Hampshire, were arrested at about 8:30 p.m. Monday when they arrived in the parking lot of a Holyoke hotel.

Police say they found four rifles and two shotguns in their SUV as well as 10 large-capacity feeding devices and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Police also found small amounts of what they believe is heroin.

Keith and Damone each face several firearms and drug charges. They are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. It wasn’t known if they have lawyers.

Officer whose gun was stolen during stripper tryst fired

BOSTON — A Boston police officer whose service weapon was stolen during a rendezvous with two strippers at a Rhode Island hotel has been fired.

Sgt. John Boyle says Emanuel Brandao was fired March 28 due to conduct considered unsatisfactory.

The 37-year-old Brandao had been placed on leave after the gun was stolen from the glove box of his car in early February.

Brandao told authorities he and the women were “hanging out” at a Pawtucket hotel, and he discovered his gun missing after they left.

The gun was found in the mail slot at a Providence fire station.

The women told authorities Brandao paid them $2,500 for sex.

A man who answered the phone Tuesday at a listed number for Brandao said it was the wrong number. Another number rang unanswered.

School integration program changes selection method

BOSTON — A Massachusetts voluntary school integration program that sends Boston children to suburban schools is changing the way it selects participants.

The Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity program, more often called Metco, has for years assigned students on a first-come, first-served basis, prompting many parents to put their children on the waiting list when they are infants or toddlers.

Under the change announced Monday, students will be selected through a lottery. Parents will be able to submit applications only in the fall for the following school year.

Metco officials say it will bring more fairness and diversity to the system.

Metco enrolls 3,300 Boston students in 33 suburban districts. Studies have shown those students have higher high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates than their peers in city schools.

Mistrial in sexual assault case involving doctor

PEABODY — A mistrial has been declared in a case against a Massachusetts addiction treatment doctor who prosecutors say sexually assaulted a patient.

The Salem News reports that 86-year-old Dr. Walter Levitsky testified Friday that he touched a patient’s bare breasts, commented on them and called her “sexy.”

The patient said Levitsky told her he was doing a pinch test to check her weight when he later said, “show me your boobs.”

A jury of four women and two men told the judge Monday they were “hopelessly deadlocked.”

Prosecutors say they will re-try the case.

Levitsky has surrendered his medical license.

In 1990, Levitsky pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of assault and battery involving a patient. The patient was one of five women at the time to report such behavior.

Man charged with killing 3 faces April 2020 trial

SPRINGFIELD — A Massachusetts man charged will killing three women whose bodies were found on his property will go to trial next year.

The prosecution and defense told a judge Monday they have selected April 16, 2020, for the start of 41-year-old Stewart Weldon’s trial. He didn’t attend the Hampden Superior Court hearing.

Weldon has pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder in connection with the bodies found at the Springfield home in May 2018. He faces 49 other charges including rape in connection with 11 alleged victims.

Weldon’s home was searched after he was pulled over and a woman in his car said Weldon had kidnapped, sexually assaulted and beat her.

His attorneys haven’t commented other than to say their client is “looking forward to defending himself.”

Antiques, paintings of poet Donald Hall up for auction

PLAINFIELD, N.H. — Antiques, paintings, rare books and other items that belonged to former poet laureate Donald Hall are about to go up for auction.

Hall died last June at home in Wilmot, New Hampshire. He was the nation’s poet laureate from 2006-2007.

William A. Smith Auctions in Plainfield is hosting an auction Wednesday of some of Hall’s jewelry, silver, and fine China. New Hampshire Public Radio reports a Dock Ellis baseball card along with Hall’s book about Ellis are also up for sale.

A Skinner Auctioneers event in Boston on Friday is including 10 paintings and fine prints, including works by Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol, from Hall’s estate.

Hall’s estate will also be holding a sale at Eagle Pond Farm this weekend.

Hall published more than 50 books, from poetry and drama to biography and memoirs.

From Associated Press

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