Fallen Falmouth Soldier Is Laid To Rest

Published July 7, 2011

Hundreds of mourners today attended the funeral of a soldier from North Falmouth who was killed in Iraq.

Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher (Courtesy)

Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher (Courtesy)

Army Sgt. Matthew Gallagher died on June 28 in Iraq’s Wasit province. He was 22.

Following his death, Gallagher’s mother, Cheryl Ruggerio, told the Falmouth Patch that her son “really found his niche in the Army. He loved being a soldier.” A Falmouth High graduate, Gallagher was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed.

Gallagher died of non-combat-related injuries in an incident the Army continues to investigate. At the funeral today, people who knew Gallagher had questions about his death.

“I got a pretty good sense that in general people were kind of puzzled by the fact that the Defense Department is not revealing more about the circumstances of his death,” said WBUR’s Fred Thys, who attended the funeral. (Fred will have a report on the services in tomorrow’s Morning Edition.)

Gallagher was buried at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne. According to USA Today’s ongoing tally, Gallagher is the state’s 77th Iraq War fatality. The last fatality was in 2009.

Thursday Morning: Bulger Case Begins

Published July 7, 2011

Two weeks to the day after his arrest, James “Whitey” Bulger was formally charged yesterday with committing 19 murders and numerous other crimes, many allegedly committed while he was a secret FBI informant.

Former FBI agent Bob Fitzpatrick said that back when he worked in the Boston office it was obvious to him that something about the FBI’s relationship with Bulger wasn’t right. Obviously, Fitzpatrick was.

The man who weaseled his way into Boston’s high society as “Clark Rockefeller,” is set to be arraigned tomorrow on murder charges in California. As you might remember, Christian Gerhartstreiter is a bit of an odd duck.

Hoping to finally close the book on its controversial relationship with Cleve Killingsworth, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts said it will refund to customers the $4.2 million in severance it paid the former CEO. The rebate breakdown is just under $2 per Blue Cross subsciber.

An estimated 35 percent of Boston’s population is between 20- and 34-years-old, the highest percentage among U.S. cities.

A Boston developer wants to build a 16-story complex of retail, office and residential units near Fenway Park. The Abbey Group filed paperwork with the Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday, in a preliminary step toward developing the property on Boylston Street.

What we’re following:
We’ll continue to report on the future of Raynham Park, abuse at Carney Hospital and the state of tornado relief operations.

Wednesday Morning: Police Pledge To Combat Gangs

Published July 6, 2011

After violence marred the July 4th holiday weekend, city officials pledged yesterday to step up patrols in crime-plagued areas in an effort to stem the violence. Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said the city has to combat gang feuds, which are tearing parts of the city apart.

Police allege the murder of a teenager in Wayland was a classic case of teen dating violence and charged Lauren Astley’s ex-boyfriend with her murder. Astley’s death, and the arrest of 18-year-old Nathaniel Fujita, shocked the community.

Reputed mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger is set to enter a plea on 19 counts of murder in federal court in Boston today.

Former Red Sox star Roger Clemens is set to get his day(s) in court, charged with perjury and obstruction of Congress. In 2008, Clemens told a Congressional committee, under oath, that he’d never taken steroids or HGH. His former trainer, however, alleges the pitcher was a steroid-user.

Boston’s Colonial Theatre will shut down this weekend and no one knows when, or if, it will re-open. Jacqueline Liebergott, the president of Emerson College, which owns the Colonial, said the theater is working to find a new tenant.

Authorities say that the Boston mob has lost its power in the city over the last 40 years. Still, Boston’s reputation for mob activity — at least on a film set — is driving some tourists to visit.

Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald gunned down Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion at the plate to preserve a dramatic 3-2 victory at Fenway last night. But the big news is that star starter Jon Lester left the game after pitching four no-hit innings with a strained lat muscle.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on an alleged illegal gambling ring in the Boston-area, the group that launched a campaign to recall Lawrence’s mayor and presidential politics in New Hampshire.

Tuesday Morning: Revelry, And Violence, Mark The 4th Around Boston

Published July 5, 2011

After a long weekend of holiday revelry, Boston is back to work Tuesday.

Yesterday, thousands marked the Fourth on the Esplanade with the annual fireworks show and Boston Pops concert conducted for the 17th year by Keith Lockhart. Boston awoke this morning to additional fire power from the barge that shot off the July Fourth fireworks. A fire was spotted on the barge at about 5 a.m. Boston Fire Department’s harbor unit quickly had the blaze under control within an hour.

For some around Boston the holiday was marked by violence. Overnight 13 people were shot and stabbed, leaving four dead in five neighborhoods around Boston. This afternoon, Radio Boston will take a deeper look at these events.

A Wayland teenager, 18-year-old Nathanial Fujita, has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of 18-year-old Lauren Astley. A bicyclist found Astely’s body in the marshy area of Wayland on Monday.

The death of Roman Catholic priest, Reverend Paul Archambault, in Springfield has been ruled a suicide. His body was found Sunday at the Sacred Heart rectory.

Another company is set to relocate to the Boston waterfront. According to the Globe, Brightcove Inc., maker of digital media products, has signed a deal to move into the new Atlantic Wharf complex, where it will hire 120 more employees to fill out its new space.

WBUR’s Curt Nickish reports that local investors are throwing millions of dollars at the state’s young entrepreneurs. The tried and true advice given to recent graduates used to be to get  some business experience under your belt first. Now, some investors have realized that on-the-job experience may actually teach you bad things.

Lionel Ritchie Out, Martina McBride In For July 4 Pops Concert

Published July 1, 2011

The Boston Pops may perform all night long, but they probably won’t be playing “All Night Long,” after the announcement that Lionel Ritchie has pulled out of his scheduled July 4 performance with the orchestra.

Ritchie has been placed on vocal rest and had to cancel his appearance.

Have no fear, Pops fans, the iconic Fourth of July concert won’t be without fireworks. Country-singer Martina McBride jumped in to replace Ritchie and Boston-native Michael Chiklis (aka that scary guy from “The Shield”) is still scheduled to perform. Also, there will literally be fireworks.

McBride’s most famous song seems to be, fittingly, “Independence Day,” above.

Friday Morning: Bulger Set For Arraignment

Published July 1, 2011

With his defense now set, accused Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger will be formally arraigned in federal court in Boston next week.

In one hearing yesterday, a judge ruled that Bulger is eligible for a public defender (despite the $800,000 and change authorities recovered from his California hideout.) He will be represented by veteran defense lawyer J.W. Carney. In a separate hearing, a judge granted prosecutors’ request to drop one indictment against the reputed mobster in order to focus on murder charges.

Before a woman’s body was pulled from a Fall River pool, city health inspectors found the water “cloudy” but found it safe for public use. The pool’s permit had expired Dec. 31, according to William Flanagan, Fall River’s mayor. It’s still unclear how long the woman’s body was in the pool without lifeguards, health inspectors or the public noticing.

The chancellor of UMass Amherst will step down in one year. Robert Holub’s leadership has been under fire by a university committee.

Hopefully you’re getting excited for a three-day holiday weekend. At least one person hasn’t had the 4th off for the last 25 years, Boston Pops Conductor Keith Lockhart. In big July 4th news: Lionel Ritchie has backed out of playing Monday’s concert with the Pops and has been replaced by country singer Martina McBride.

Just what the Sox doctor ordered: Jon Lester. This time it was the Red Sox’ turn to watch their ace stifle a potential World Series contender, as Lester held the Phillies to just two hits in his seven innings and the Sox won 5-2.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on progress in the state budget negotiations, the Season of Peace meant to reduce gang violence and possible changes in fishing regulations.

Thursday Morning: Bulger Wants Two Cases Merged Into One

Published June 30, 2011

In what is surely merely a preview of the complex court maneuvering to come, James “Whitey” Bulger is expected to face two court hearings today in front of two separate judges debating two distinct legal aspects of the fledgling case against him.

A lawyer for Bulger yesterday argued to consolidate the racketeering and murder cases against his client. Peter Krupp accused the government of “forum shopping” and moved to dismiss the less serious racketeering charges. Bulger will appear in front of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf this afternoon to discuss possibly consolidating the cases. Later, Bulger will appear in front of a magistrate judge to discuss if the public will pay for Bulger’s defense.

A woman’s dead body apparently lay at the bottom of a state-run pool in Fall River for two days without lifeguards or swimmers noticing. The Department of Conversation and Recreation closed all deep-water swimming pools while it grapples to understand the death of 36-year-old Marie Joseph.

The federal government will have to reimburse Massachusetts fishermen for legal fees incurred fighting officials from the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration if Sen. John Kerry has his way. The Commerce Department ruled that NOAA regulators levied excessive penalties in many cases.

Disgraced former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi can continue to collect his pension thanks to a ruling by a Massachusetts Superior Court judge. DiMasi, who is scheduled to be sentenced on corruption charges in September, will have to continue to fight for the pension after he’s put in jail.

A Boston-bound plane was forced to make an emergency landing at an airfield in Nebraska last night after a possible engine fuel leak was discovered. Passengers on the San Francisco to Boston flight boarded a different United plane after a three hour delay and arrived safely in Boston.

First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to visit Boston today as part of a fundraising trip for President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Transportation Security Administration union representatives in Boston claim that radiation from full-body scanners are responsible for a “cancer cluster” among airport security workers. The union representatives claim that the TSA failed to monitor radiation exposure among its employees.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on declining foreclosure numbers, a bill that would legalize fireworks sales and the strike-averting deal between bus drivers and the city of Boston.

Stern, Cooper May Not Represent Bulger After All

Published June 29, 2011

After appearing in court yesterday, many assumed that a pair of high-profile attorneys were poised to form the defense team for reputed mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger. But it’s still unclear if Max Stern and Howard Cooper will actually end up taking the case.

The Globe reported this morning that Stern and Cooper had agreed to take the case if Bulger was granted court-appointed counsel. Since then, however, veteran court observer David Frank reported in a blog post for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly that the duo may actually not end up with the job.

The issue, it seems, may lie in which judge tries the case.

Prosecutors announced yesterday that they dropped a racketeering indictment against Bulger from 1994 in an effort to focus on the 19 murder charges it leveled against the accused mobster in 1999.

The 1999 murder indictments are currently assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns, according to Frank. Bulger has been appearing in front of U.S. District Court Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf.

If Wolf doesn’t end up trying the case, Stern and Cooper may not end up being Bulger’s laywers, Frank wrote in the post:

In the event the Bulger case remains in Wolf’s session, Cooper and Stern will be appointed, the source tells Lawyers Weekly.

However, if it goes to Stearns and U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler, the source says it is unlikely the pair would be assigned to the case.

On Radio Boston yesterday, Frank said that Stern and Cooper were highly respected in the Boston legal community and that both of the layers had in the past been named “Lawyer of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Wednesday Morning: Some Suspected Bulger’s California Hideout

Published June 29, 2011

Most of the world was stunned last week when the FBI announced it had arrested reputed mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger in Santa Monica, Calif. But at least one person wasn’t that surprised.

WBUR’s David Boeri went out to California 11 years ago to follow up on tips he’d received that Bulger was in the area. WBUR even learned that one tip that the FBI received five years ago came from a spot just four blocks from where Bulger was eventually found. Check out this video from Boeri’s 2000 report.

Two prominent Boston lawyers are poised to form Bulger’s defense team. Howard Cooper and Max Stern haven’t yet been officially assigned to the case but have agreed to represent the alleged mobster, according to the Globe.

In other alleged-organized-crime-member-returned-to-Boston-from-the-West news: Enrico Ponzo, allegedly a former Boston mafia member who was captured in Idaho in March, reportedly posed as a white supremacist in order to fit in in the rural area in which he was living.

The Boston City City Council last night urged that the Boston police be granted authority to patrol Massport land. Currently, Massport land — which includes airports and tunnels, but also waterfront areas like Carson Beach in South Boston — falls under State Police jurisdiction. No one from the State Police showed up to the City Council meeting.

A Superior Court judge is considering a request to halt pension payments to former House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, following his corruption conviction.

Westborough-based BJ’s Wholesale Club is set to be sold to a venture capital firm in a $2.8 billion deal. A BJ’s spokesman told the Boston Business Journal that he doesn’t expect layoffs at this point.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee made the Red Sox look like a local Little League team last night, pitching his third-straight complete game shutout in a row. The Sox’ bats were quiet in the 5-0 loss, as the team mustered just two hits.

What we’re following: We’ll continue to report on Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s proposal to ban motorized dirt bikes, the decline in mortgage delinquencies in Greater Boston and a new economic deal between the state and Israel.

Shhh…Commuter Rail ‘Quiet Cars’ Go System-Wide

Published June 28, 2011



If you’re looking for that little moment of peace and quiet in your hectic day, just head over to…the T?

The MBTA opened “quiet cars” on all 13 commuter rail lines this morning. During rush hours on the car closest to the locomotive, passengers will be asked to keep conversations to a minimum or at library volume, according to Richard Davey, MBTA general manager.

The MBTA unveiled the “quiet car” during a pilot program that ran from January to April of this year. Now, it is expanding the program due to popular demand.

“We did a poll of customers on both the Fitchburg and Franklin lines, which is where we did our pilot program earlier this year,” Davey said. “Eighty-five, almost 90 percent came back and said it was a great program and we should seek to roll it out system-wide.”

Like a library, you won’t be able to use your cellphone on the “quiet cars.” No word yet, though, on whether there will be designated shushers or that one guy who insists on eating crunchy potato chips.

If the idea of a quiet car on the T doesn’t freak you out enough, you’ll also have to watch out for mimes.

“MBCR, our commuter rail contractor, came up with that clever marketing idea and they’ll have a couple of mimes out tonight just to let folks know that this, in fact, is being launched throughout the system,” Davey said.

What do you think, is this a great idea? How is it going? Get on the “quiet car” and tweet us your thoughts @WBUR…if you dare.