Hate incident reports up in Mass.
BOSTON — The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic incidents have increased in Massachusetts and Connecticut, but decreased in other New England areas and nationwide.
The organization’s annual audit shows hate incidents aimed at Jewish people in Massachusetts increased from 64 in 2010 to 72 in 2011.
In Connecticut, incidents increased from 38 to 43.
ADL Regional Director Derrek Shulman says the Internet “has breathed new life” into destructive stereotypes about Jews.
Nationally, many reported incidents involved bullying at schools.
But ADL found hate incidents dropped in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, also posting a 9.5 percent national decline.
The organization uses crime statistics, and information from victims, law-enforcement officials and community leaders for the audit.
It identifies acts of harassment and intimidation, including threats, slurs and hate propaganda distribution.
Final service to be held at New Bedford parish
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The first Portuguese Catholic parish in North America will hold its final Mass this weekend, though some parishioners are vowing to fight the closure.
The last Mass at St. John the Baptist Church in New Bedford is set for this morning.
The parish was established for local Portuguese immigrants in 1871. But that base either moved away or stopped attending as debt mounted and the church building aged. It now needs $1.5 million in repairs.
Diocese of Fall River Bishop George Coleman said a three-year effort to boost attendance and raise money failed, and he issued a decree Oct. 20 that officially closed the parish.
Several parishioners, though, say the parish remains vibrant and are fighting to keep it open. They’ve filed a formal appeal with Coleman and say they’ll petition the Vatican if necessary.
Ohio company settles with MBTA
BOSTON — The Massachusetts attorney general’s office says a transportation company that allegedly backed out of a contract to run “The Ride” service for disabled customers will pay a $7.3 million settlement.
The AG said Friday that the deal with Cincinnati, Ohio-based First Transit Inc. will settle breach of contract allegations by the MBTA.
Authorities said in 2009, First Transit was awarded a five-year deal to run “The Ride” after submitting a $97 million bid. But officials said First Transit backed out after learning its bid was much lower than competing bidders.
First Transit said it received inaccurate information when the state solicited the bids, a charge the state denied.
In a statement, First Transit said it never had a contract with the MBTA. The company said it settled to avoid the costs and uncertainty of litigation.
Gorillas get dental work at Boston zoo
BOSTON — Kiki needs a molar removed. Gigi had a broken tooth. But dental care can be tricky when it comes to patients who also are gorillas at Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo.
Zoo officials say anesthesia is necessary for experts to perform dental work on the primates.
Kiki, who is 31, was to have the dental work yesterday.
Gigi, a 40-year-old gorilla, had a dental appointment on Friday and zoo officials say everything went smoothly.
Both apes are western lowland gorillas.
Zookeepers say the animals hadn’t been showing signs of pain, and the dental problems came up during regular health checks.
A dentist from University of Rochester Medical Center is working with zoo veterinary staff for the procedures.
Zoo officials say both Kiki and Gigi also will get full checkups.
MaineHousing units to go smoke-free
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine State Housing Authority is imposing a new smoke-free policy in all future units, making Maine the first state to require protection of tenants from secondhand smoke in new units
The agency, also known as MaineHousing, says all future units built and financed by the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit will be required to be 100 percent smoke-free.
MaineHousing says that allowing smoking inside of buildings can cause tenants to suffer illness and poor health, and that the cost of rehabilitating a unit where there’s been smoking is a waste of money because the damage is preventable.
For the past five years, MaineHousing has offered incentives to applicants who chose to create a 100 percent smoke-free building.
Body found in burned Maine house
BREMEN, Maine — The Maine Fire Marshal’s Office says a body’s been recovered from a burned house in the coastal town of Bremen.
Authorities were notified before dawn yesterday of the fire and found the fire had flattened the small house by the time they arrived.
A body that was found in the rubble has been taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Augusta for autopsy and identification.
Authorities say the owner of the burned home is 56-year-old Steven Sidelinger, who lives alone and has not been located. Fire investigators suspect the body may be his.
The house was once a seasonal camp and has been converted into a year-round residence.
Investigators say it’s unlikely that the cause of the fire will be determined because the home was completely destroyed.