News | Boston Herald Boston news, sports, politics, opinion, entertainment, weather and obituaries Wed, 03 Apr 2024 03:30:01 +0000 en-US hourly 30 News | Boston Herald 32 32 153476095 Linus Ullmark posts 32-save shutout to lift Bruins over Nashville, 3-0 Wed, 03 Apr 2024 02:42:34 +0000 Playoff-style hockey agreed with the Bruins on Tuesday in Nashville.

Locked in a scoreless game late in the third period, the B’s got three late goals to beat the Predators, 3-0, on the strength of Linus Ullmark’s 32-save shutout.

The win allowed the B’s to open a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for the Atlantic Division race.

Ullmark was excellent, but he didn’t steal the game. The B’s played a strong 200-foot game from start to finish and earned the win. There was little with which to quibble in this one.

“It was a great job,”  Ullmark told NESN. “We battled all 60 minutes. We knew it was going to be a hard game. They came in with a lot of confidence but we really went to work.”

The back-and-forth competition to be the Game 1 starter for the playoffs continued. Last week Jeremy Swayman beat the Panthers and then was huge in overtime to beat the Capitals in a shootout. But since the trade deadline, Ullmark is 4-2 with a .950 save percentage.

“Every game is a new challenge,” said Ullmark. “It doesn’t matter what you did last game or the game prior. It’s all about looking forward and keep performing and focus on the process and not get too carried away with results-based thinking. It’s been working well lately in that department. I’ve got a lot of confidence with the fellas and we feed off each other.”

On Saturday in Washington, the B’s came up with a huge four-minute penalty kill to survive overtime and get it to the shootout. On Tuesday, the PK (4-for-4) actually broke the deadlock.

Charlie Coyle broke the scoreless tie with 6:42 left in regulation with a beauty of a shorthanded goal that started with the B’s most important player in the game. With Mason Lohrei in the box for hooking, Ullmark jumped on a loose puck behind the net and wrapped it up the glass for Brad Marchand to chase down. Marchand held the puck at the left point to draw a Nashville checker to him and then fed Coyle for the clean break-in. Coyle picked his spot over the Juuse Saros’ glove and beat the netminder for his 24th of the year.

Then, after playing some dogged defense in their own zone, the B’s got an insurance goal with 2:42 left. David Pastrnak bulled the puck out of the defensive zone, took it in deep and fed Danton Heine at the side of the net. Heinen in turn hit a wide open Pavel Zacha for an open net goal.

The Preds then pulled Saros, but there was no panic in the Bruins and Pastrnak ended it with an empty netter.

“What a great play by Brad Marchand, our captain. Great goal by Charlie. After that, I thought we played with a lot of poise. I thought we were real clean coming out of our own end. I liked our second and third effort and obviously I liked the way we put the game away,” said coach Jim Montgomery.

The first period was an entertaining, up-and-down 20 minutes of scoreless hockey in which the B’s outshot the Preds, 11-6. Despite he back-and-forth nature of the action, it was also a well-checked contest.

Both teams had one power play apiece and both teams had glittering chances to take the lead in the first. The B’s best one came on an excellent penalty kill when Charlie McAvoy stood up at the blue line and created a breakaway for himself. Juuse Saros made the blocker save on him, but the breakaway would be a harbinger of things to come. Pastrnak also landed four shots on net in the first (seven in the game).

Ullmark also had to make a couple of big saves of his own. The first one was a nice skate on Luke Evangelista, who cut through the slot to get a good shooting angle. An even better stop came later in the period when Gus Nyquist connected with Ryan O’Reilly for a one-touch shot from the low slot that Ullmark kicked out.

The B’s suffered a big loss late in the period when Justin Brazeau had to leave the game when he was caught in an open ice hit by Luke Schenn, for which the Nashville defenseman was called for roughing. Brazeau, who’d been a revelation as a big puck-protecting winger with some scoring touch since being called up from Providence, left the ice holding his right arm close to his body and immediately went to the dressing room. There was no immediate word on his prognosis, but he did not return.

The game remained scoreless through two periods – miraculously so, from a Bruins perspective.

The Preds were given a power play at 14:19 when Jake DeBrusk nudged Kiefer Sherwood on a puck pursuit and was called for interference.

The B’s did a solid job of penalty killing again until late in the man advantage when it looked like Nashville had the sure 1-0 lead. As Ullmark got tangled up with Hampus Lindholm and a Predator at the right side of the net, Evangelista hit Norris Trophy candidate Roman Josi with a pass at the inside of the left circle and, with a wide open net staring at him, the Nashville captain clanged the near post.

Nashville put the B’s back on the power play at 17:22 when Cole Smith high-sticked Kevin Shattenkirk, but the B’s did nothing with the opportunity and the game went to the third deadlocked at 0-0.

The Preds (16-2-2 in their previous 20) seemingly had some semblance of momentum after outshooting the B’s, 12-6, in the second period. But, on this night, the Bruins made the plays down the stretch for the hard-earned win.


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Gov. Healey tightening hiring procedures for state jobs after months-long revenue slide Wed, 03 Apr 2024 02:09:52 +0000 Gov. Maura Healey plans to tighten hiring procedures for some state jobs as revenues continue to remain in a tough spot eight months into the fiscal year, according to a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.

The move means all new hires, with some exceptions, will be subject to individual approval starting Wednesday by the state’s budget office based on time-sensitivity and importance of positions, according to the Healey administration.

Tax collections in Massachusetts have consistently come in below expectations more than half way through fiscal year 2024, putting a strain on Beacon Hill budget writers who are also contending with a nearly $1 billion a year tab for emergency shelters that has prompted top Democrats to warn of further challenges.

Administration and Finance Secretary Matthew Gorzkowicz said officials are not putting in place a “hiring freeze” but rather implementing “hiring controls within the executive branch for the remainder of the fiscal year as one tool at our disposal to responsibly manage spending over the next three months.”

“These hiring controls, while temporary, will help ensure that the administration can balance the budget at the end of the year and preserve critical funding for core programs and services,” Gorzkowicz said in a statement Tuesday night.

The Boston Globe first reported the move, though it described it as a freeze.

It was not immediately clear how far-reaching the administration planned to go with their more stringent hiring protocols. But the state’s budget office said certain positions like direct care and public safety personnel will be exempt.

Seasonal positions, those that have to be filed due to a court order or settlement, returns from leave, and offers of employment made before April 3 “will also proceed,” according to the Executive Office of Administration and Finance.

Months of below benchmark revenues led Healey in January to lower tax expectations by $1 billion for this fiscal year and slash $375 million from the state budget. The decision to tighten up hiring in state government signals another escalation in the cost saving mindset that has taken hold on Beacon Hill this year.

Revenue figures for March are scheduled to be released Wednesday and could offer more insight into why Healey made the decision to pause hiring. Fourth quarter revenues carry “significant risk” to budgeted revenues, state budget officials said.

Healey is not considering further unilateral cuts to the fiscal year 2024 budget, according to the state’s budget office.

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Trump sues two Trump Media co-founders, seeking to void their stock in the company Wed, 03 Apr 2024 01:01:44 +0000 SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Donald Trump is suing two co-founders of Trump Media & Technology Group, the newly public parent company of his Truth Social platform, arguing that they should forfeit their stock in the company because they set it up improperly.

The former U.S. president’s lawsuit, which was filed on March 24 in Florida state court, follows a complaint filed in February by those co-founders, Andy Litinsky and Wes Moss. Their lawsuit sought to prevent Trump from taking steps the two said would sharply reduce their combined 8.6% stake in Trump Media. The pair filed their lawsuit in the Delaware Court of Chancery.

Trump’s lawsuit claims that Litinsky and Moss, who were both contestants on Trump’s reality-TV show “The Apprentice,” mishandled an attempt to take Trump Media public several years ago, allegedly putting the whole project “on ice” for more than a year and a half.

But it also targets the pair over their Delaware suit against Trump, saying that it was one of several attempts they made to block Trump Media’s ultimately successful plan to go public. Trump Media accomplished that goal by merging with a publicly traded shell company called Digital World Acquisition in March.

Trump Media shares have fluctuated wildly since its stock market debut. On Tuesday, the stock closed at $51.60, up 6%, valuing the entire company at $5.9 billion.

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Mayor Wu signs ordinance creating first city-run planning department in 70 years Wed, 03 Apr 2024 00:37:26 +0000 Mayor Michelle Wu signed off on an ordinance Wednesday reinstating a planning department run by the city for the first time in 70 years during a ceremony in the West End on Tuesday, a big step for her plans to reshape development in the city.

“Today we mark a long-overdue new chapter in Boston’s growth — grounded in affordability, resiliency, and equity,” said Wu. “This ordinance is the biggest step Boston has taken in 70 years to finally begin untangling a system of development rooted in an outdated ideology that left scars in our communities.”

The ordinance, which was filed by the mayor in January and passed by the City Council last Wednesday, would create a Planning Department, operational as of July 1.

Under the ordinance, the department will “will house planning, zoning, development review, urban design, and real estate staff” and is included in the city budget, the city said in a release. It also includes the transfer of support staff from the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA).

The purpose of the department, the city said, is codified as planning for development, use of public land, predictable zoning codes, development processes and urban design standards.

The measure was contentious during debate in the City Council, which will have budgetary oversight of the department. Critics have noted it falls short of the Wu’s initial plans to abolish the BPDA. Department staff will support the BPDA, which will remain the city’s Planning Board, on development and public land projects and planning and zoning initiatives, according to the city.

The city release cited other ongoing proposals to transform Boston’s planning and development, including a home rule petition to end urban renewal and citywide zoning reform.

The new department will be led by Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison, who said the move is a step to “truly transform planning and development in Boston and ensure we are speaking to residents with one voice as the City of Boston.”

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Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in nearly 25 years damages buildings and causes a small tsunami Wed, 03 Apr 2024 00:23:56 +0000 By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN (Associated Press)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in a quarter century rocked the island during the morning rush Wednesday, damaging buildings and creating a tsunami that washed ashore on southern Japanese islands. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, and the tsunami threat largely passed about two hours later.

A five-story building in the lightly populated southeastern coastal city of Hualien near the epicenter appeared heavily damaged, collapsing its first floor and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In the capital, tiles fell from older buildings and within some newer office complexes, while debris fell from some building sites. Schools evacuated their students to sports fields, equipping them with yellow safety helmets. Some also covered themselves with textbooks to guard against falling objects as aftershocks continued.

Train service was suspended across the island of 23 million people, as was subway service in Taipei, where a newly constructed above-ground line partially separated. The national legislature, a converted school built before World War II, also had damage to walls and ceilings.

Traffic along the east coast was at a virtual standstill, with landslides and falling debris hitting tunnels and highways in the mountainous region. Those caused damage to vehicles, though it wasn’t clear if anyone was hurt.

Despite the quake striking at the height of the morning rush hour just before 8 a.m., the initial panic faded quickly on the island that is regularly rocked by temblors and prepares for them with drills at schools and notices issued via public media and mobile phone.

Still, the earthquake was strong enough to scare people who are used to such shaking.

“Earthquakes are a common occurrence, and I’ve grown accustomed to them. But today was the first time I was scared to tears by an earthquake,” Taipei resident Hsien-hsuen Keng said. ”I was awakened by the earthquake. I had never felt such intense shaking before.”

She said her fifth-floor apartment shook so hard that “apart from earthquake drills in elementary school, this was the first time I had experienced such a situation.”

There was still no word on casualties from the epicenter near the city of Hualien, where a deadly quake in 2018 collapsed a historic hotel and other buildings. Taiwan’s worst quake in recent years struck on Sept. 21, 1999, with a magnitude of 7.7, causing 2,400 deaths, injuring around 100,000 and destroying thousands of buildings.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said a tsunami wave of 30 centimeters (about 1 feet) was detected on the coast of Yonaguni island about 15 minutes after the quake struck. Smaller waves were measured in Ishigaki and Miyako islands. Japan sent military aircraft to gather information about the impact around the Okinawa region.

Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the U.S. Geological Survey put it at 7.4. It struck about 18 kilometers south-southwest of Hualien and was about 35 kilometers (21 miles) deep. Multiple aftershocks followed, and the USGS said one of the subsequent quakes was 6.5 magnitude and 11.8 kilometers (7 miles) deep. Shallower quakes tend to cause more surface damage.

The earthquake was felt in Shanghai and several provinces along China’s southeastern coast, according to Chinese media. China and Taiwan are about 160 kilometers (100 miles) apart. China issued no tsunami warnings for the Chinese mainland.

Residents of China’s Fujian province reported violent shaking, according to Jimu News, an online outlet. One man told Jimu that the shaking awakened him and lasted about a minute.

In the Philippines, residents along the northern coast were told to evacuate to higher ground, but no major tsunami was reported about three hours after the quake.

Villagers in the provinces of Batanes, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte and Isabela were asked not to return to their homes until the tsunami alert was lifted, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Teresito Bacolcol said.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said there has been no report of injury or damage in Japan. He urged the residents in the Okinawa region to stay on high ground until all tsunami advisories are lifted. He cautioned the people against disinformation and urged to stay calm and assist others.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam. About three hours after the earthquake, it said the threat had largely passed for all areas with waves being reported only in Taiwan and southern Japan.

Taiwan lies along the Pacific ”“Ring of Fire,” the line of seismic faults encircling the Pacific Ocean where most of the world’s earthquake’s occur.


Associated Press journalists Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo, Ken Moritsugu in Beijing, Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, Lorian Belanger in Bangkok. Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu, and Simina Mistreanu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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Massachusetts man accused of threatening to blow up Tufts Medical Center, reportedly made racist remarks Wed, 03 Apr 2024 00:13:04 +0000 A 34-year-old man is accused of threatening to blow up Tufts Medical Center, along with making racist remarks toward hospital staff, police said.

Hanover man Graham Abraham has been arrested and charged in connection with calling up the Boston hospital and making a bomb threat.

A Tufts Medical staff member on Feb. 2 reported to Tufts public safety officers that a former patient, later identified as Abraham, called the hospital and made racist remarks along with complaints regarding his experience.

Then about 30 minutes later, another staff member took a call from Abraham and reported that Abraham said, “Everybody is going to die.”

Officers reportedly reviewed the audio from the recorded phone line, and heard Abraham make threats and racist slurs such as: “All (expletive) in your (expletive) vomit hospital must die. (Inaudible) ready to bomb and blow up your hospital. Got guns and knives kill all (expletive). All (expletive) must die. (Expletive) roaches and scum of the earth. All (expletive) must be slaughtered and killed.”

Abraham reportedly made numerous calls to Tufts between Jan. 15 and Feb. 2, all with similar threats.

Police departments, including Transit and Amtrak police, are familiar with Abraham and his frequent calls. Amtrak received 78 calls from Abraham in January, including disturbing statements and bomb threats. Amtrak police has issued a trespass order and banned Abraham from all Amtrak facilities.

Abraham has also been flagged by the ATF and cannot legally purchase a firearm.

“We must take all forms of threats seriously,” Suffolk DA Kevin Hayden said in a statement. “The challenge to law enforcement is finding a balance between a person’s mental health needs and the public’s right to be safe and secure in all settings.

“This defendant has made numerous threats and disturbing statements to individuals and institutions that have helped or tried to help him in some way,” Hayden added. “We’re moving forward with criminal action here because it is clearly necessary to prevent potential public harm.”

Abraham has been charged with bomb/hijack threat with serious public alarm.

Judge Mark Summerville ordered Abraham held on $5,000 bail, and to stay away from Tufts Medical Center. Mental health services for Abraham were recommended after an evaluation by a court clinician.

Abraham is also facing charges of threat to commit a crime, and assault and disorderly conduct in BMC Central in relation to two separate incidents. He’s due back in court for all three cases on April 3.

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Biden hammers Trump on abortion in new ad, Trump fires back on immigration Wed, 03 Apr 2024 00:09:30 +0000 Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden’s re-election campaigns both kicked out new ads, each taking up wedge issues and pointing to the other candidate as the problem.

The Biden-Harris campaign released their 30-second ad — titled “Hope” — early Tuesday morning, slamming the former president over his stance on abortion and his role in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“In 2016, Donald Trump ran to overturn Roe v. Wade. Now, in 2024, he’s running to pass a national ban on a woman’s right to choose. I’m running to make Roe v. Wade the law of the land again. So women have a federal guarantee to the right to choose. Donald Trump doesn’t trust women. I do,” Biden says in his short ad, following a clip of Trump saying he is “proud” to have ended the nearly 50-year-old law.

Trump’s Make America Great Again campaign, meanwhile turned its attention to immigration, taking a full minute to showcase a series of violent crime victims allegedly harmed by a so-called illegal immigrant.

“Stop Biden’s border bloodbath,” the ad reads before a series of news clips, each describing a crime allegedly committed by a migrant. “Stop Biden’s border bloodbath,” it reads again.

Both campaigns hammered home their points with later statements.

Trump’s team shared a lengthy list of crime victims along with a short statement from the former president. Biden, the campaign said, “has launched an invasion of our country — resettling dangerous illegal aliens from all over the world into American communities to prey on our people and endanger our citizens.”

“Under Biden, we now have a new category of crime, it’s called Migrant Crime,” Trump said.

Biden’s campaign held a press call Tuesday afternoon to highlight a court ruling out of Florida which will allow a six-week abortion ban to go into effect next month. Trump, the Biden campaign said, is of the same mind.

“Make no mistake, Donald Trump will do everything in his power to try and enact a national abortion ban if he’s reelected. In the last few months alone, Trump has doubled down on his support for a national abortion ban – and his allies have plans for him to do it with or without the help of Congress,” Biden-Harris 2024 Campaign Manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said.

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Trump and Biden rematch ‘too close to call’ according to recent polls Tue, 02 Apr 2024 23:56:17 +0000 President Joe Biden may be scratching back from the trailing position he held in polling through most of 2023, according to recent surveys, but with less than six months to go before the earliest voters are eligible to cast ballots, the polls show the 2024 race is neck and neck.

Biden leads former President Donald Trump by just two points — 44% to 42% — according to a Morning Consult poll of more than 6,000 registered voters released Tuesday, but only if they’re the only candidates on the ballot.

“The presumptive Republican nominee has rarely led Biden since the Super Tuesday primary contests, compared with consistent advantages he enjoyed throughout January and February. However, the race remains incredibly close, with 8% of voters threatening to vote third party and 5% undecided,” pollsters wrote.

Biden, according to the poll, is more popular than Trump for the first time since the start of the year, with the 46th President’s net favorability 6 points into the negative and the 45th President 8 points under water.

“This edge comes as Biden’s advantage over Trump on net buzz — the share of voters who heard something positive about each candidate minus the share who heard something negative — ticked up to 21 points, which is the largest margin since mid-November,” pollsters wrote.

The survey also shows that Republicans, as a whole, do better among those surveyed when it comes to the economy, national security, and immigration, while Democrats outperform regarding health care, entitlement programs, climate change, reproductive rights and abortion. The economy is top of mind among surveyed voters, according to pollsters.

“The economy remains voters’ top issue for the 2024 elections. And though the share who said it’s ‘very important’ in deciding their vote dropped during much of 2023, the economy’s salience has ticked back up in recent months,” they wrote.

The slight edge shown for the incumbent president in Tuesday’s poll matches a Quinnipiac University survey of 1,407 registered voters released last week, which shows Biden up by 3 points. That’s in line with polls put out by the university in February.

However, the same Quinnipiac poll once again showed that if voters are offered the chance to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or independents Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West, they pull enough of the vote to potentially give Trump the edge.

“Way too close to call on the head-to-head and even closer when third party candidates are counted. The backstretch is months away and this is about as close as it can get,” Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said with the release of that poll.

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George Carlin estate settles with podcasters over fake comedy special purportedly generated by AI Tue, 02 Apr 2024 23:55:15 +0000 By ANDREW DALTON (AP Entertainment Writer)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The estate of George Carlin has agreed to a settlement with the media company it sued over a fake hourlong comedy special that purportedly used artificial intelligence to recreate the late standup comic’s style and material.

In the settlement agreement filed with a federal court Monday, and a proposed order from both sides that awaits approval from a judge, the podcast outlet Dudesy agrees to permanently take down the special and to refrain from using Carlin’s image voice or likeness in the future without the express written approval of the estate.

The settlement meets the central demands laid out by the Carlin estate in the lawsuit filed on Jan. 25.

“I am grateful that the defendants acted responsibly by swiftly removing the video they made,” Carlin’s daughter Kelly Carlin said in a statement. “While it is a shame that this happened at all, I hope this case serves as a warning about the dangers posed by AI technologies and the need for appropriate safeguards not just for artists and creatives, but every human on earth.”

George Carlin, among the most influential standup comedians of the 20th century, died in 2008.

In the audio special, titled “George Carlin: I’m Glad I’m Dead,” a synthesis of the comic delivers commentary on current events. A companion Dudesy podcast episode with hosts Will Sasso and Chad Kultgen —- the company and the two men are the defendants in the lawsuit — was released with the men playing clips and commenting on them.

Messages seeking comment from Kultgen and Sasso were not immediately returned.

At the beginning of the special posted on YouTube on Jan. 9, a voiceover identifying itself as the AI engine used by Dudesy says it listened to the comic’s 50 years of material and “did my best to imitate his voice, cadence and attitude as well as the subject matter I think would have interested him today.”

The plaintiffs say if that was in fact how it was created — and some listeners have doubted its stated origins — it meant Carlin’s copyright was violated.

The lawsuit was among the first in what is likely to be an increasing number of major legal moves made to fight the regenerated use of celebrity images and likenesses.

Carlin estate lawyer Joshua Schiller of the firm Boies Schiller Flexner LLP in a statement calls the settlement “a blueprint for resolving similar disputes going forward where an artist or public figure has their rights infringed by AI technology. Our goal was to resolve this case expeditiously and have the offending videos removed from the internet so that we could preserve Mr. Carlin’s legacy and shine a light on the reputational and intellectual property threat caused by this emerging technology.”

The AI issue was a major sticking point in the resolution of last year’s Hollywood writers and actors strikes.

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$4B housing bill worries some local officials, is a ‘necessity’ others say Tue, 02 Apr 2024 23:46:46 +0000 The state’s housing secretary says Gov. Maura Healey’s $4B bond bill will help the state get out of its, “housing crisis,” but critics blasted provisions in the legislation to boost multifamily housing and allow local taxes on homes sold over at $1 million and over.

The massive bond bill, according to testimony heard by the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets on Tuesday, would allow for the creation of 40,000 new homes and the rehabilitation of 12,000 more.

Secretary of Housing Ed Augustus told the committee that solving the state’s 200,000-residence shortfall will require a “Herculean” level of effort, but that the governor’s bond bill takes huge stride in that direction.

“The Affordable Homes Act will have a significant impact on the future of housing across the Commonwealth,” Augustus said. “Every dollar in this bill supports families, seniors and renters struggling to access affordable housing. Every dollar prioritizes our state’s climate and decarbonization goals. Every dollar will help lift us out of our housing crisis.”

First offered by Gov. Maura Healey last October, the bill was previously heard by the Joint Committee on Housing and reported out favorably.

According to the governor’s office, the bonding bill is a “big, bold comprehensive package of spending and policy actions aimed at striking at the root causes of housing unaffordability while making progress on the state’s climate goals.”

The bill offers $1.6 billion to support repairs, rehabs, and modernization at the state’s 43,000 public housing units, including $150 million to decarbonize the public housing stock.

It would send $800 million into an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, $425 million into a Housing Stabilization and Investment Fund, $200 million into a Housing Innovations Fund, $100 million into a Mixed-Income Housing Fund, $70 million toward a Facilities Consolidation Fund, and a further $50 million to a Momentum Fund.

An additional $275 million would be invested in Sustainable and Green Housing Initiatives, and $200 million in the HousingWorks Infrastructure Program.

The bill also comes with “28 substantive policy changes or initiatives, three executive orders and two targeted tax credits,” according to Healey’s office.

“This legislation is an economic winner for our state. It’s an economic necessity for our residents, our communities, and our businesses. The bottom line is: we can’t wait, we have to act with urgency and at scale. Our residents, our communities and our employers are depending on it,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll told the committee.

Speaking at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce event in February, the governor said the state is short of housing stock by about 200,000 units. Healey has said that shortfall is “the biggest challenge we face” and that solving it is “our highest priority as an administration.”

UMass Donahue Institute economic analysis of the bill estimates it will generate nearly 30,000 jobs, $25 billion in economic impact, and $800 million in tax revenue over the next 5 years.

Despite the undisputed need for more houses in the Bay State, not everyone is completely on board with the plan as written.

Gerard Frechette, vice-chair for the City of Lowell’s Planning Board, told the committee that communities like his would suffer under some of the changes proposed.

“The overall goals are admirable and worthy of consideration,” he said, but a plan to lower the square footage requirement to turn a single-family home into a multi-family dwelling would “have a detrimental effect on various areas” of Lowell.

“I ask that you reconsider the language,” of the relevant section, Frechette told the committee.

“This wording will most likely encourage the conversion of some of the most affordable single-family homes for homeownership into investor owned two-family homes in many of the neighborhoods in the city,” he said. “Already, 58% of our housing stock is rental stock.”

Virginia Crocker Timmins, vice chair of the Chelmsford Select Board, expressed similar concerns for her town if that rule stands.

“It not only obliviates single-family housing zoning throughout the state, but it completely usurps the rights of each municipality to set criteria for this type of usage that’s tailored to that municipality,” she said.

The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance called the bill “counterproductive” and questioned a provision allowing cities and towns to set local option real estate tax rates between 0.5% and 2% for homes sold at or more than $1 million.

“Governor Healey is 100% off the mark on this proposal. This bill will not bring down the cost of housing in our state and will only exacerbate the decline in economic competitiveness we’ve seen in the last several years which is causing a massive flood of people and wealth out of our state,” the group’s spokesman said in a statement.

The committee took no action on the bill on Tuesday.

Gov. Maura Healey
Gov. Maura Healey (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald, File)
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Soccer stadium in Everett could bring foot traffic, congestion to Boston, officials say Tue, 02 Apr 2024 23:20:06 +0000 A soccer stadium proposal in Everett backed by Robert Kraft could bring congestion and heavy foot traffic to areas of Boston directly across the Mystic River from the potential site, a Boston city councilor and a city planner told lawmakers on Beacon Hill Tuesday afternoon.

A plan to free up about 43 acres of land along the river to build an arena and park has prompted pushback from officials in Boston, including Mayor Michelle Wu’s administration, who say they have been left out of conversations around a stadium that could draw thousands to games or large events.

The proposal has been cast as potential boon for Everett, with Mayor Carlo DeMaria arguing the city could see millions returned to its coffers if a private development group revamps an outdated powerplant that sits on the site now.

As state lawmakers take another shot at reviewing a bill from Sen. Sal DiDomenico that would open up a pathway to developing the soccer stadium, Boston Chief of Planning Arthur Jemison said the plan does not include “significant parking” at the stadium.

Jemison said there is not enough information for the City of Boston to take a stance on the proposal but suggested Charlestown and surrounding neighborhoods “will bear the brunt” of the transportation impacts as the MBTA’s Sullivan Square stop is the nearest public transit option.

“The project would also rely on the Alford Street Bridge as a pedestrian connection to Sullivan Square, which is currently not safe as a major pedestrian thoroughfare. Last December, a pedestrian was killed at the intersection of Dexter and Alford (Streets),” Jemison said at a hearing before the Legislature’s Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee.

DeDomenico’s bill would remove the land at 173 Alford Street from a designation that restricts its use to commercial fishing, shipping, or other vessel-related activities and allow a developer to convert it into a “professional soccer stadium and a waterfront park.”

The measure has the backing of the Kraft Group and the New England Revolution, a professional soccer team owned by Kraft that could move to the future stadium from its spot at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

The location the Kraft Group is eyeing currently features a rundown power plant that DeMaria said can only be cleaned up with the financial and political power of a private development firm.

“They can get it done. They (can) get it cleaned up and build something that’s going to be beautiful,” he said. “There’s no parking spaces. I told them, if we go forward, there’ll be no parking there. We’re going to rely on public transit. We’re going to build out the transportation system.”

Everett is expected to lose out on $55 million in tax revenue between fiscal year 2021 and 2026 “due to the loss of value from this parcel,” DeMaria said. The city has already lost $28 million since fiscal year 2020, he said.

“We need this legislation to help pull Everett back from the harm this loss of revenue is causing our community,” he said.

Traffic concerns and the ability for elected officials and the public from Boston to participate in public meetings on the matter were top of mind for some.

Boston City Councilor Sharon Durkan, who represents the West End Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway, and Mission Hill, said it would “be a nightmare for traffic” if TD Garden and the proposed stadium had events at the same time.

“Because I represent Fenway Park and because I represent TD Garden. I know that people are often willing to take the ticket and take resident parking if … the ticket is less than parking cost,” Durkan said.

New England Revolution President Brian Bilello said he expects the majority of fans would use public transportation “as they do with most urban stadiums, including new options for getting to a destination via water transit.”

“We’re trying to get the stadium and our club to public transportation, and what we hear from most of our fans is they want to have public access to the stadium. They want to have public transportation. So for us, public transportation is the entire reason why we want to be up in Everett and Greater Boston,” he said.

DiDomenico, a Democrat from Everett, successfully added language to a multi-billion spending bill in the fall that would have cleared the land for development. But it was ultimately cut from the final version after House Democrats said they had many unanswered questions.

Rep. Jerry Perisella, who co-chairs the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee, said he believes the proposal has a chance to move forward this time around.

“I do think that there is some compelling arguments about what would happen to this site otherwise if we don’t allow a stadium to be built,” he said. “There are a lot of environmental issues related to that site.”

A rendering provided by the Kraft Group shows one possible design for a professional soccer stadium in Everett should lawmakers greenlight a bill that creates a pathway for construction. (Courtesy of the Kraft Group)
A rendering provided by the Kraft Group shows one possible design for a professional soccer stadium in Everett should lawmakers greenlight a bill that creates a pathway for construction. (Courtesy of the Kraft Group)


4667881 2024-04-02T19:20:06+00:00 2024-04-02T21:14:20+00:00
NASA wants to come up with a new clock for the moon, where seconds tick away faster Tue, 02 Apr 2024 21:59:44 +0000 By SETH BORENSTEIN (AP Science Writer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA wants to come up with an out-of-this-world way to keep track of time, putting the moon on its own souped-up clock.

It’s not quite a time zone like those on Earth, but an entire frame of time reference for the moon. Because there’s less gravity on the moon, time there moves a tad quicker — 58.7 microseconds every day — compared to Earth. So the White House Tuesday instructed NASA and other U.S agencies to work with international agencies to come up with a new moon-centric time reference system.

“An atomic clock on the moon will tick at a different rate than a clock on Earth,” said Kevin Coggins, NASA’s top communications and navigation official. “It makes sense that when you go to another body, like the moon or Mars that each one gets its own heartbeat.”

So everything on the moon will operate on the speeded-up moon time, Coggins said.

The last time NASA sent astronauts to the moon they wore watches, but timing wasn’t as precise and critical as it now with GPS, satellites and intricate computer and communications systems, he said. Those microseconds matter when high tech systems interact, he said.

Last year, the European Space Agency said Earth needs to come up with a unified time for the moon, where a day lasts 29.5 Earth days.

The International Space Station, being in low Earth orbit, will continue to use coordinated universal time or UTC. But just where the new space time kicks in is something that NASA has to figure out. Even Earth’s time speeds up and slows down, requiring leap seconds.

Unlike on Earth, the moon will not have daylight saving time, Coggins said.

The White House wants NASA to come up with a preliminary idea by the end of the year and have a final plan by the end of 2026.

NASA is aiming to send astronauts around the moon in September 2025 and land people there a year later.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

4670353 2024-04-02T17:59:44+00:00 2024-04-02T23:23:59+00:00
Trump accuses Biden of causing a border ‘bloodbath’ as he escalates his immigration rhetoric Tue, 02 Apr 2024 21:46:58 +0000 By JOEY CAPPELLETTI, ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON and JILL COLVIN (Associated Press)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Donald Trump accused President Joe Biden of unleashing a “bloodbath” at the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday, escalating his inflammatory rhetoric as he campaigned in two midwestern swing states likely to be critical to the outcome of the 2024 election.

Trump, who has accused migrants of “poisoning the blood of the country” and vowed to launch the largest domestic deportation operation in the nation’s history if he wins a second term, accused Biden of allowing a “bloodbath” that was “destroying the country.” In Michigan, he referred to immigrants in the U.S. illegally suspected of committing crimes as “animals,” using dehumanizing language that those who study extremism have warned increases the risk of violence.

“Under Crooked Joe Biden, every state is now a border state. Every town is now a border town because Joe Biden has brought the carnage and chaos and killing from all over world and dumped it straight into our backyards,” Trump said in Grand Rapids, where he stood flanked by law enforcement officers in uniform before a line of flags.

While violent crime is down, Trump and other Republicans have seized on several high-profile crimes alleged to have been committed by immigrants in the U.S. illegally to attack Biden as border crossings have hit record highs. Polls suggest Trump has an advantage over Biden on issues as many prospective voters say they’re concerned about the impact of the crossings.

Trump continued to hammer the theme at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Tuesday evening as the state was holding its presidential primaries. Trump accused rogue nations of “pumping migrants across our wide open border,” and “sending prisoners, murders, drug dealers, mental patients, terrorists” — though there is no evidence any country is engaged in that kind of coordinated effort.

He also claimed that migrants would cost the country trillions of dollars in public benefits and cause Social Security and Medicare to “buckle and collapse.”

“If you want to help Joe Biden wheel granny off the cliff to fund government benefits for illegals, then vote for Crooked Joe Biden,” he said. “But when I am president, instead of throwing granny overboard, I will send Joe Biden’s illegal aliens back home.”

On Tuesday, the White House emphasized that immigration is a positive for the U.S. economy. They argued that recent gains in immigration have helped to boost employment and sustained growth as the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates to bring down inflation.

“We know immigrants strengthen our country and also strengthen our economy,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Tuesday’s briefing, noting that immigrants were the ones doing the “critical work” on the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore when it collapsed after being struck by a ship.

Trump on Tuesday focused on the killing of Ruby Garcia, a Michigan woman who was found dead on the side of a Grand Rapids highway on March 22. Police say she was in a romantic relationship with the suspect, Brandon Ortiz-Vite. He told police he shot her multiple times during an argument before dropping her body on the side of the road and driving off in her red Mazda.

Trump incorrectly referred to the 25-year-old Garcia as a 17-year-old.

Authorities say Ortiz-Vite is a citizen of Mexico and had previously been deported following a drunken driving arrest. He does not have an attorney listed in court records.

Trump in his remarks said that he had spoken to some of her family. Garcia’s sister, Mavi, however, disputed his account, telling FOX 17 that they had not. “No, he did not speak with us,” the outlet said she told them in a text message, declining to comment further.

She also pleaded on Facebook last week for reporters to stop politicizing her sister’s story, and on Tuesday asked for privacy, saying she only wanted “justice to be served” and to “be left alone.”

Trump also again mentioned the killing of Laken Riley, a nursing student in Georgia. A Venezuelan man whom officials say entered the U.S. illegally has been charged. Riley’s family attended Trump’s rally in Georgia last month and met with him backstage.

Trump referred to the suspect in Riley’s death as an “illegal alien animal.”

“The Democrats say, ‘Please don’t call them animals. They’re humans.’ I said, ‘No, they’re not humans, they’re not humans, they’re animals,’” he said.

FBI statistics show overall violent crime dropped again in the U.S. last year, continuing a downward trend after a pandemic-era spike. In Michigan, violent crime hit a three-year low in 2022, according to the most recent available data. Crime in Michigan’s largest city, Detroit, is also down, with the fewest homicides last year since 1966.

Top Republicans from across Michigan had packed into a conference room in downtown Grand Rapids to hear Trump speak in a county he won in 2016 but lost to Biden in 2020. Outside the event center, over 100 supporters stood in the cold rain to line the street where Trump’s motorcade was expected to pass.

At a nearby park, a small group advocating for immigration reform gathered to hold a moment of silence for Garcia while holding signs that read “No human being is illegal” and “Michigan welcomes immigrants.”

In Green Bay, some supporters braved snowfall for three hours outside to enter the venue.

Biden’s campaign, which has been hammering Trump for his role in killing a bipartisan border deal that would have added more than 1,500 new Customs and Border Protection personnel, in addition to other restrictions, preempted the speech by accusing Trump of politicizing the death.

“Tomorrow, Donald Trump is coming to Grand Rapids where he is expected to once again try to politicize a tragedy and sow hate and division to hide from his own record of failing Michiganders,” said Alyssa Bradley, the Biden campaign’s Michigan communications director.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said Monday that there is “a real problem on our southern border” and that it’s “really critical that Congress and the president solve the problem.”

“There was a solution on the table. It was actually the former president that encouraged Republicans to walk away from getting it done,” Whitmer said. “I don’t have a lot of tolerance for political points when it continues to endanger our economy and, to some extent, our people as we saw play out in Grand Rapids recently.”

Trump has been leaning into inflammatory rhetoric about the surge of migrants at the southern border. He has portrayed migrants as “poisoning the blood of the country,” questioned whether some should even be considered people, and claimed, without evidence, that countries have been emptying their prisons and mental asylums into the U.S.

He has also accused Biden and the Democrats of trying to “collapse the American system, nullify the will of the actual American voters and establish a new base of power that gives them control for generations.”

In Green Bay, Trump spoke beside an empty podium that read, “Anytime. Anywhere. Anyplace.” Trump said it was meant for Biden, whose campaign has not committed to participating in debates.

Gomez Licon reported from Green Bay, Wis. Colvin reported from New York. Associated Press writers Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin and Josh Boak in Washington contributed to this report.

4668609 2024-04-02T17:46:58+00:00 2024-04-02T21:26:34+00:00
NY inmates sue to see eclipse Tue, 02 Apr 2024 21:37:42 +0000 NEW YORK — Inmates in New York are suing the state corrections department over the decision to lock down prisons during next Monday’s total solar eclipse.

The suit filed Friday in federal court in upstate New York argues that the April 8 lockdown violates inmates’ constitutional rights to practice their faiths by preventing them from taking part in a religiously significant event.

The plaintiffs are six men with varying religious backgrounds who are incarcerated at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Woodbourne. They include a Baptist, a Muslim, a Seventh-Day Adventist and two practitioners of Santeria, as well as an atheist.

“A solar eclipse is a rare, natural phenomenon with great religious significance to many,” the complaint reads, noting that Bible passages describe an eclipse-like phenomenon during Jesus’ crucifixion while sacred Islamic works describes a similar event when the Prophet Muhammad’s son died.

The celestial event, which was last visible in the U.S. in 2017 and won’t be seen in the country again until 2044, “warrant gathering, celebration, worship, and prayer,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit states that one of the named plaintiffs, an atheist, received special permission last month to view the eclipse using glasses that would be provided by the state, but that was before the system-wide lockdown was issued.

Four of the other plaintiffs subsequently sought permission but were denied by officials who ruled the solar eclipse is not listed as a holy day for their religions, the lawsuit states. The sixth inmate said he never received a response.

Thomas Mailey, a corrections department spokesperson, said the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation, but takes all requests for religious accommodations under consideration. He said those related to viewing the eclipse are currently under review.

Daniel Martuscello III, the department’s acting commissioner, issued a memo March 11 announcing that all state correctional facilities will operate on a holiday schedule next Monday.

That means incarcerated individuals will remain in their housing units except for emergency situations from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., which are generally the normal hours for outdoor recreation in prisons, according to the lawsuit.

There will also be no visitation at nearly two dozen prisons in the path of totality next Monday, while visitation at other correctional facilities will end at 2 p.m.

Martuscello said the department will distribute solar eclipse safety glasses for staff and incarcerated individuals at prisons in the path of totality so they can view the eclipse from their assigned work location or housing units.

Communities in western and northern reaches of the state are expected to have the best viewing of the total eclipse, including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Lake Placid and Plattsburgh.

The total eclipse is expected to be seen in those parts of New York around 3:15 p.m. and last mere minutes as the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, temporarily blocking the sun and turning day into night.

4668252 2024-04-02T17:37:42+00:00 2024-04-02T17:37:42+00:00
Sharks scavenge carcass of another North Atlantic right whale found dead off East Coast Tue, 02 Apr 2024 21:17:59 +0000 A North Atlantic right whale that recently gave birth to her sixth calf has been found dead off the East Coast, while sharks have been spotted scavenging the whale’s carcass.

This marks the fourth documented North Atlantic right whale death in U.S. waters this year, and the whale’s calf will likely not survive without its mother, officials said.

The New England Aquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute identified the whale as Catalog #1950, a female that was at least 35 years old. Her carcass was found 50 miles off the coast of Virginia on Saturday. Her calf was not seen in the vicinity of the carcass.

“NOAA Fisheries and our partners have towed the whale to shore for a necropsy,” NOAA Fisheries wrote in its North Atlantic right whale update.

“The whale carcass was scavenged by sharks; wind, weather, and distance from shore presented additional logistical challenges for the tow,” NOAA Fisheries added.

The whale was last seen healthy and with her calf on Feb. 16 off Amelia Island, Florida.

“The situation so far in 2024 for right whales highlights the fact that much more needs to be done to prevent the extinction of this species,” said Amy Knowlton, senior scientist in the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, who helped identify the whale.

“It is frustrating that solutions that could address these threats are not being implemented more immediately,” Knowlton added.

Scientists will conduct a thorough internal and external exam, and collect tissue samples to learn more about the whale’s death.

Catalog #1950 suffered three entanglements during her life, yet managed to breed and successfully raise five prior calves — which have all been seen in recent years.

“If she can avoid the double threats of vessel strikes and entanglements, a female right whale can calve throughout her long life, producing ten or more calves,” said Philip Hamilton, senior scientist in the Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center.

“With the loss of Catalog #1950, her female lineage now rests with her three daughters, none of which have calved yet,” Hamilton added.

Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the two leading causes of serious injury and mortality to North Atlantic right whales, a critically endangered species with an estimated population of less than 360.

In January, a three-year-old female right whale entangled in fishing gear washed ashore dead on Martha’s Vineyard. Just a few weeks later, NOAA announced that a one-year-old female yearling found off Savannah, Georgia died of blunt force trauma, as evidenced by skull fractures consistent with a vessel strike. Then in early March, the eighth calf of 38-year-old right whale mother “Juno” washed up dead in Georgia after being seen with severe propeller wounds.

To reduce the risk of vessel strikes, NOAA has proposed changes to the existing vessel speed rule.

4663986 2024-04-02T17:17:59+00:00 2024-04-02T17:17:59+00:00
Nor’easter to blast Massachusetts with snow, rain, strong winds, coastal flooding: ‘Power outages are possible’ Tue, 02 Apr 2024 20:52:42 +0000 A strong nor’easter with a gross combo of snow, rain, strong winds and coastal flooding is expected to pummel the region over the next couple of days.

Meteorologists were warning that the powerful storm could spark power outages in parts of Massachusetts, as utility companies gear up for the early April nor’easter.

For the parts of Massachusetts where snow is predicted, the best chance for accumulating snowfall will be Wednesday night. The snow will be wet and dense, potentially leading to downed trees and power outages.

“The snow concerns will be for the higher elevations,” Bryce Williams, meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Boston office, told the Herald.

“The Worcester Hills and northern Massachusetts could see some plowable snow,” he added. “The highest elevations could get 6 to 8 inches of snow.”

The National Weather Service issued a “Winter Storm Watch” for northern Worcester and northern Middlesex counties, along with western Franklin and western Hampshire counties.

Heavy wet snow and sleet will be possible.

“Total snow and sleet accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with up to 8 inches near the state border with New Hampshire,” NWS warned. “Winds could gust as high as 55 mph.

“Plan on slippery road conditions,” NWS added. “The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.”

Elsewhere in the Bay State, meteorologists are forecasting significant rainfall of 1.5 to 3 inches.

“Some rivers could see some minor flooding,” Williams said.

The strongest wind gusts are expected to occur from midday Wednesday to midday Thursday. Gusts in the 50 mph range are likely.

“Power outages are possible, especially where wet snow accumulates on power lines and trees,” Williams said.

National Grid and Eversource said they were preparing for the storm.

“National Grid is closely monitoring the weather forecast, and we have crews and personnel in place across Massachusetts ready to respond to any impacts this storm may bring,” said Tim Moore, VP of Electric Operations for New England. “We’ll be ready to restore service as quickly and safely as possible. If outages occur, our crews will work to restore the power systems as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Eversource also said the utility company was pre-positioning hundreds of crews and materials to respond to any storm damage.

Another threat from the nor’easter will be coastal flooding, especially around the time of the Thursday morning high tide on the eastern Massachusetts coast.

“There will be some nasty conditions, with 15 to 20 foot waves,” Williams said.

A “Coastal Flood Watch” will be in effect for the eastern Massachusetts coast, including Morrissey Boulevard in Boston.

4666025 2024-04-02T16:52:42+00:00 2024-04-02T16:56:45+00:00
OBF: A legendary run for Larry Lucchino Tue, 02 Apr 2024 20:32:39 +0000 Larry Lucchino died Tuesday.

And with him, so did an integral part of Red Sox history.

John Henry famously told the listeners of “Felger and Mazz” back in 2011 that “Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox.”

During the time Lucchino “ran the Red Sox,” the team won the World Series three times. In 2004, 2007 and 2013. They also lost Game 7 of the ALCS twice  – on the road – by a combined score of 9-6.

They were “The Other Dynasty.”

Lucchino became Red Sox president and CEO on Nov. 15, 2001. In the 14 seasons that followed under his administration, the Red Sox finished over .500 11 times and made the postseason in 7 seasons.

The Red Sox were 1,247-1,021 (.549) on Lucchino’s watch. Lucchino’s Red Sox won 95 or more games six times. They also finished last three times. Swing big. Miss big. The current Red Sox have finished last in 3 of the past 4 seasons playing the smallest ball possible.

More importantly, Lucchino’s Red Sox tried to win every inning. Every game. Every series. Every season.

Lucchino saw the cash-cow potential in Fenway Park and realized how its milk and honey could be used to finance the most successful MLB franchise during the first two decades of the 21st century.

Not soccer teams. NASCAR teams. Hockey teams. Or the PGA Tour.

And fans rewarded that passion with five seasons of more than 3 million in attendance during Lucchino’s time with the Red Sox, in addition to monstrous ratings on NESN and WEEI. Lucchino was raised in Pittsburgh and attended Yale Law School. But he got it when it came to the Red Sox and the once-unbreakable emotional relationship the team shared with its fan base.

Now that passion, too, has died on both sides of the equation.

Lucchino more so than any other person in the front office changed the historic trajectory of the Red Sox. Dan Duquette came close. But he never got the chance to finish the job.

There was never any concern about salary limitations, luxury taxes, or balancing the books for the Fenway Sports Group.

Lucchino was an OG Jedi Master. He gave us the “Evil Empire” and then oversaw the Red Sox team that blew up the Death Star 20 years ago. Nothing in the Bronx has been the same since. It got so bad they tore the place down four years later.

“The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America,” Lucchino quipped after the Yankees outbid the Red Sox and others for Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras in December 2002.

That non-deal, much like the non-deal that almost brought Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox, turned out to be a blessing.

Still, the Red Sox never quit trying to get better under Lucchino.

Lucchino was a “killer” in the most non-violent sense of the word. His impact on baseball was clear before he arrived in Boston as part of John Henry’s ownership cabal. While the aloof Henry and his squishy Hollywood pal Tom Werner had the cash, Lucchino delivered the brains and guts of the operation.

Henry said as much in a statement issued by the team above his name Tuesday.

Lucchino “engineered the ideal conditions for championships wherever his path led him, and especially in Boston,” Henry said.

“Yet, perhaps his most enduring legacy lies in the remarkable people he helped assemble at the Red Sox, all of whom are a testament to his training, wisdom, and mentorship. Many of them continue to shape the organization today, carrying forward the same vigor, vitality, and cherished sayings that were hallmarks of Larry’s personality. Larry was a formidable opponent in any arena,” Henry added. “I was lucky enough to have had him in my corner for 14 years and to have called him a close friend for even longer. He was truly irreplaceable.”

Lucchino was president of the Baltimore Orioles when that team built Camden Yards, the first of its kind inner-city ballpark that has been the template of nearly every new MLB park since. He brought Theo Epstein with him to San Diego from Baltimore, and then to Boston.

Lucchino knew that spending and winning went hand-in-hand. And Lucchino knew enough to know what he didn’t know. It was Lucchino who saw enough potential in Epstein to make him Red Sox general manager at age 28.

Theo tried to warn the masses that 2010 was going to be a “bridge year.” Soon he felt enough heat from his boss and lifetime mentor to walk it back. The 2010 Red Sox fell short of the postseason and finished 89-73.

2011 was also a “bridge year” given how many Red Sox fans wanted to leap off the Tobin into an endless metaphorical bucket of chicken and beer after it was over.

The wreckage of baseball’s “Greatest Team Ever” in 2011 wrought the Bobby Valentine Error in 2012.

And just when it seemed the Red Sox franchise had ended its “Dynasty,” the 2013 season delivered a poignant triumph that no one who experienced it will ever forget.

The Red Sox begin their celebration of 2004 before Fenway Park Opening Day on Tuesday. Given the team’s solid start on the West Coast, the game should be sold out by the time fans will be asked to find their seats ahead of the pre-game ceremonies.

Raffy Devers and the Men of Mystery had baseball’s lowest team ERA (1.26) after their first five games. They only walked one opposing batter, granted the Oakland A’s are no longer an official MLB team. The Red Sox also opened 5-0 against the baseball run line (think point spread).

The team will honor the late Tim and Stacy Wakefield before Tuesday’s opener.

And now, Lucchino, sadly, will also be remembered posthumously for his success with the Red Sox.

The end of an era, indeed. In so many ways.

Bill Speros (@RealOBF and @BillSperos) can be reached at

Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino talks to the media on Truck Day outside Fenway Park in 2012.
Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino talks to the media on Truck Day outside Fenway Park in 2012. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald, File)
4665098 2024-04-02T16:32:39+00:00 2024-04-02T16:32:59+00:00
Ticker: Legal Sea Foods lands new spot at Logan; US job openings rise modestly to 8.8 million in February in strong labor market Tue, 02 Apr 2024 20:30:49 +0000 Waiting for a flight at Terminal E just got a little easier.

Legal Sea Foods opened its sixth restaurant at Logan Airport Tuesday as it attempts to corner the market on chowder lovers just landing in Boston. The spot accommodates nearly 200, has a 24-seat bar, and a flight board monitor inside the restaurant.

US job openings rise modestly to 8.8 million in February

U.S. job openings barely changed in February, staying at historically high levels in a sign that the American job market remains strong.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that employers posted 8.76 million job vacancies in February, up modestly from 8.75 million in January and about what economists had forecast.

But the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, showed that layoffs ticked up to 1.7 million in February from 1.6 million in January, highest since March 2023.

Tesla sales tumble nearly 9%, most in 4 years

Tesla sales fell sharply last quarter as competition increased worldwide, electric vehicle sales growth slowed, and price cuts failed to lure more buyers.

The Austin, Texas, company said Tuesday that it delivered 386,810 vehicles worldwide from January through March, almost 9% below the 423,000 it sold in the same quarter of last year. It was the first year-over-year quarterly sales decline in nearly four years.

Despite the sales decline, Tesla was able to retake its global EV sales crown from China’s BYD.


4666903 2024-04-02T16:30:49+00:00 2024-04-02T16:31:31+00:00
Sticker Shock: College will cost up to $95,000 this fall Tue, 02 Apr 2024 20:23:53 +0000 As more than 2 million graduating high school students from across the United States finalize their decisions on what college to attend this fall, many are facing jaw-dropping costs — in some cases, as much as $95,000.

A number of private colleges — some considered elite and others middle-of-the-pack — have exceeded the $90,000 threshold for the first time this year as they set their annual costs for tuition, board, meals and other expenses. That means a wealthy family with three children could expect to shell out more than $1 million by the time their youngest child completes a four-year degree.

But the sticker price tells only part of the story. Many colleges with large endowments have become more focused in recent years on making college affordable for students who aren’t wealthy. Lower-income families may be required to pay just 10% of the advertised rate and, for some, attending a selective private college can turn out to be cheaper than a state institution.

“Ninety thousand dollars clearly is a lot of money, and it catches people’s attention, for sure,” said Phillip Levine, a professor of economics at Wellesley College. “But for most people, that is not how much they’re going to pay. The existence of a very generous financial aid system lowers that cost substantially.”

Wellesley is among the colleges where the costs for wealthy students will exceed $90,000 for the first time this fall, with an estimated price tag of $92,000. But the institution points out that nearly 60% of its students will receive financial aid, and the average amount of that aid is more than $62,000, reducing their costs by two-thirds.

But many prospective students this year are facing significant delays and anxiety in finding out how much aid they will be offered by colleges due to major problems with the rollout of a new U.S. Department of Education online form that was supposed to make applying for federal aid easier. Many colleges rely on information from the form for determining their own aid offers to students.

“The rollout has been pure chaos and an absolute disaster,” said Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert.

Kantrowitz said that if the significant drop in people applying for aid under the new system persists, it could result in lower enrollments and even force some institutions to close.

Some of the other colleges with sticker prices of more than $90,000 this year include the University of Southern California at $95,000, Harvey Mudd College in California at $93,000, the University of Pennsylvania at $92,000, Brown University in Rhode Island at $92,000, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire at $91,000, and Boston University at $90,000.

Harvard University in Cambridge, puts its cost of attendance this fall at up to $91,000.

4667259 2024-04-02T16:23:53+00:00 2024-04-02T16:43:34+00:00
Biden and Trump win Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin primaries Tue, 02 Apr 2024 19:53:14 +0000 By JONATHAN J. COOPER and TERESA CRAWFORD (Associated Press)

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Voters in four states weighed in Tuesday on their parties’ presidential nominees, a largely symbolic vote now that both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have locked up the Democratic and Republican nominations.

Biden and Trump easily won primaries in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Wisconsin, adding to their delegate hauls for their party conventions this summer.

Their victories, while hardly surprising, nevertheless offer clues about enthusiasm among base voters for the upcoming 2020 rematch that has left a majority of Americans underwhelmed. Biden has faced opposition from activists encouraging Democrats to vote against him to send a message of disapproval for his handling of the war between Israel and Hamas, and some Republican Trump critics are still voting for rivals who have dropped out.

“Uncommitted” in Rhode Island and Connecticut was getting a similar share of the Democratic vote as protest campaigns in Minnesota and Michigan, which got 19% and 13% respectively.

In particular, the tallies in Wisconsin, a pivotal November battleground, will give hints about the share of Republicans who still aren’t on board with Trump and how many Democrats are disillusioned with Biden. Trump campaigned Tuesday in Wisconsin and Michigan, two Midwest battlegrounds.

“Donald Trump is the first person I can remember who actually tried to keep all of the promises that he made during the campaign,” said Scott Lindemann, a 62-year-old contractor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who voted for the former president in the GOP primary. “I was very impressed with that.”

In New York, 70-year-old Steve Wheatley, a registered Republican, said he wishes there were more candidates to choose from. He said he voted for Nikki Haley even though “she has no shot” because of the lack of options.

“We need younger candidates with fresh ideas to run for president,” said Wheatley, a resident of Athens, a small town in the Hudson Valley. “I prefer a Democrat but our choices are thin. Look at what Biden has done so far with the economy.”

Theresa Laabs, a 55-year-old cashier in Kenosha, said her family is feeling the squeeze from higher food and gasoline prices, but she voted for Biden in the Democratic primary because she feels like he’s working to alleviate inflation.

“I understand it’s the economy now, and I’m hoping that Joe will keep working even harder in the next four years to try and bring these things down and make it easier for the working family,” Laabs said.

Trump and Biden turned their attention to the general election weeks ago after Haley dropped out of the GOP contest. Biden visited all the top battlegrounds last month after his State of the Union speech.

Biden and the Democratic National Committee have outpaced Trump and the Republicans in fundraising. Biden claimed the largest single-event fundraising record last week when he took in $26 million at a star-studded New York event last week with big names from the entertainment world teamed up with the president and his Democratic predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Trump is looking to one-up his rival with a fundraiser in Palm Beach, Florida, this weekend that he hopes will bring in $33 million.

With the presidential candidates locking up their parties’ nominations, turnout was slow in Rhode Island, where only 4% of eligible voters had cast ballots by 5 p.m., a figure that included Tuesday’s in-person votes as well as mail-in and early votes.

It was slow across the border in Connecticut as well, where early voting was held for the first time in state history. Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas said turnout was only 1% to 2% in some communities by 11 a.m., while it was 4% in Stamford, one of the state’s larger cities. “What we have been hearing on the ground from people over the last few weeks is that this isn’t a competitive primary,” she said about the low numbers.

Cooper reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writer Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut, and Maysoon Khan in Athens, New York contributed.

4666849 2024-04-02T15:53:14+00:00 2024-04-02T21:36:31+00:00
Powerball jackpot hits $1B, ninth largest in lottery history Tue, 02 Apr 2024 19:50:15 +0000 The Powerball jackpot has officially crossed the monumental $1 billion mark ahead of the Wednesday drawing.

An estimated $1.09 billion prize is now on the line for Wednesday’s drawing, which can be paid out in an annuity over 30 years or as a $527.3 million cash payment. Both are subject to state and federal taxes.

“As this jackpot climbs toward a record level, we remind people to keep the experience of playing the Lottery enjoyable by playing responsibly and within their means,” said Mark William Bracken, Executive Director of the Massachusetts State Lottery.

Wednesday will mark the 40th drawing since a Michigan ticketholder last hit the Powerball jackpot on New Year’s, winning $842.4 million.

If won, the $1.09 billion prize would be the fourth largest in the game’s history and the ninth largest in U.S. lottery history. The last record topping jackpot was a $1.765 billion prize won in California on Oct. 11, 2023.

The odds of winning the Powerball’s grand prize are 1 in 292.2 million. The odds of winning any Powerball prize, starting at $4, are about 1 in 38.

In the Powerball drawing on Monday, players won $50,000 Quick Pick prizes from a 7-Eleven in North Reading and a Stop & Shop in Saugus.

Just one week ago, a player in New Jersey won a $1.13 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the 8th largest in U.S. lottery history.

Powerball drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $2 at Massachusetts lotter retailers until 9:50 p.m. ahead of the drawing on Wednesday.

4665020 2024-04-02T15:50:15+00:00 2024-04-02T19:07:20+00:00
Judge sides with conservative group in its push to access, publish voter rolls online Tue, 02 Apr 2024 19:35:21 +0000 By MORGAN LEE (Associated Press)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico election officials violated public disclosure provisions of the National Voter Registration Act by refusing to provide voter rolls to a conservative group and its public online database, a federal judge has ruled.

The opinion and order Friday from Albuquerque-based U.S. District Court Judge James Browning mostly sided with the Voter Reference Foundation and its efforts to expand a free database of registered voters so that groups and individuals can take it upon themselves to try to find potential irregularities or fraud.

Election officials in several states and privacy advocates have raised alarms about a push by several conservative groups to gain access to state voter rolls, saying the lists could find their way into the hands of malicious actors and that voters could be disenfranchised through intimidation, possibly by canceling their registrations to avoid public disclosure of their home addresses and party affiliation.

New Mexico election law bans the publication of voter registration data. It restricts the use of the data to political campaigning and noncommercial government purposes. But Browning ruled that system “severely burdens the circulation of voter data among the public” and violates federal disclosure requirements.

“The data sharing ban largely deprives individuals and entities of the ability to engage with disclosed records in such a way that facilitates identification of voter registration-related irregularities,” Browning wrote.

His ruling builds on a federal appeals court ruling in February that Maine must release its voter list to another conservative-backed group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, that’s conducting independent audits by comparing voter rolls in one state against those in another.

The Voter Reference Foundation’s database so far includes information from 32 states and the District of Columbia. It is run by Gina Swoboda, an organizer of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in Arizona who was chosen in January as chair of the Arizona Republican Party.

“We are very gratified that the court has upheld the right of the public to have meaningful access to vote rolls,” Swoboda said in a statement by email. “The intent of the public disclosure provision of the National Voter Registration Act is clear: namely, to allow the public to view the voter lists and associated list maintenance records to ensure proper voter list maintenance is being conducted. With this opinion the citizens of New Mexico can be assured of transparency in this key part of our elections process.”

Swoboda did not say how soon New Mexico voter list might be posted online. The foundation obtained New Mexico voter rolls through a vendor and first posted the records online in 2021, leading to a referral for potential prosecution. The foundation took the information offline and sued.

The New Mexico secretary of state’s office will appeal the order, said agency spokesman Alex Curtas.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, “will continue to do everything in her power to advocate for the protection of voters’ personal information and ultimately encourage voter participation,” Curtas said in an email.

Curtas praised portions of the judge’s order that dismissed the foundation’s allegations that New Mexico engaged in free speech violations under its restrictions on the use of voter information.

Baseless claims of widespread voter fraud largely fueled by Trump’s insistence the 2020 presidential election was stolen are part of what’s driving conservative groups’ efforts to obtain the voter rolls, leading to lawsuits seeking voter registration data in several states, including Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records has refused to hand over voter information to the Voter Reference Foundation, saying that publishing it would put every registered voter at greater risk of identity theft or misuse of their information.

Pennsylvania officials prevailed in state court, and the foundation in February sued in federal court to obtain the voter rolls, citing provisions of the National Voter Registration Act.

John Davisson, director of litigation at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the federal rulings in New Mexico and Maine preserve state voter confidentiality programs for assault and stalking victims that conceal home addresses but otherwise would “essentially eliminate” state discretion on the release of voter lists.

“States have until now adopted confidentiality safeguards around voter data that vary in their details,” he said. “This is really cutting that all away and saying you can’t place those kinds of restricts on data disclosure.”

4666740 2024-04-02T15:35:21+00:00 2024-04-02T23:29:25+00:00
Young voters are more concerned with the economy. That’s bad for Biden Tue, 02 Apr 2024 19:10:20 +0000 Jarrell Dillard | Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — They’re weighed down by student debt. They’re shut out of the housing market. They’re hit by higher costs of living. And they want President Joe Biden to listen.

At a time when Donald Trump is cutting into Biden’s 2020 advantage with young adults, the growing list of grievances among those between the ages of 18 to 29 is a worrying sign for Biden as he seeks a second term.

People in that age cohort are more than twice as likely to cite the economy as their top concern compared with older adults in recent Gallup data. And while all voters are more worried about the economy now than they were heading into the 2020 presidential election, the pessimism has spiked the most among those under 30.

That concern is being reflected in polls. Trump is currently leading the president 47% to 40% with voters aged 18 to 34 in swing states, according to a March Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll. By contrast, Biden won 61% of voters under 30 last cycle.

Though the November election is months off and attitudes can shift, there’s no doubt Biden will need support from Generation Z and Millennial voters to win.

Incumbents get the blame when voters are dissatisfied with the economy. The challenge for Biden is that even though economic growth has been solid in the past year, the job market is robust and the inflation rate is cooling, polls after polls show many people don’t feel like it.

Younger Americans have a long list of headwinds: stunted action on student-loan forgiveness, the highest interest rates since they’ve been in diapers and expensive rents.

Older Americans, who are more likely to live in houses they own with low mortgage rates and who have benefited from years of housing and stock market appreciation, are less pessimistic about the economy. The contrasting way generations emerged financially from the coronavirus pandemic may provide a playbook for Biden on how to hone his political message to young adults.

Christian Martin, a 22-year-old college senior from Atlanta, said he hasn’t yet felt the impact of Biden’s economic policies. He’s worried about making student-loan payments after he graduates while keeping up with the elevated costs of living.

“If Biden can address the issues that the youth are feeling, then the turnout can be stronger than what it’s projected to be,” he said in an interview. “This is Biden’s chance to hear what we have to say, because that’s essentially all it is, you know, unfulfilled promises.”

Biden’s plan to forgive billions of dollars in student debt was struck down last year by the Supreme Court, which rejected one of his signature initiatives as exceeding his power.

“The President is fighting to lower costs for young Americans — forgiving student debt, lowering health and eliminating junk fees,” Seth Schuster, a Biden campaign spokesperson, said by email. “Meanwhile, Donald Trump appointed the Supreme Court Justices who denied student-debt relief and ensured that young people now have less rights than the generations before them.”

In a statement, Trump campaign spokesperson Karoline Leavitt said that “President Trump will create a safe, prosperous, and free nation that helps all young people achieve their American Dream.”

The pandemic upended the economy when young voters were just entering adulthood, endangering their job prospects as businesses locked down and complicating their housing options as rents skyrocketed.

“They had a more severe impact of COVID itself in a direct economic way,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Newhouse director of Tufts University’s Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement. “Whether it’s gas, or housing, or rent or health care, they’re having a really hard time having affordability for that because of the lack of stored wealth.”

Inflation has eased significantly in the past year, including for necessities such as food, but prices remain considerably higher than they were before the 2020 election. And while wages have grown for all age groups in recent years, young adults have the lowest earnings in addition to having fewer assets.

Much of those wage increases have also been eaten up by higher rent costs, which rose about 18% between October 2020 and January 2024, according to Redfin. Buying a property is increasingly out of reach for many young adults, with home prices up 21% over the same period, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Swing-state voters ages 18 to 34 are more likely than any other age cohort to list housing costs as important for their vote in 2024, according to the Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll.

Debt is also souring some younger Americans’ views about the economy, according to EY Chief Economist Gregory Daco. Adults in their twenties and thirties have higher rates of credit-card debt that have deepened into serious delinquency, meaning the debt is 90 days or more past due, according to data from the New York Fed.

Many young adults are making payments on federal student debt that they had hoped would be forgiven by Biden’s plan. The White House has used more narrow methods to approve nearly $144 billion in forgiveness, targeting specific groups, including those with disabilities, some former for-profit college students and public servants who have been paying their loans for years.

Student loans and rent prices weigh on Ariela Lara, an 18-year-old high school senior from San Leandro, California, as she debates which college to attend. Lara said her family cannot afford to take on debt, so she will attend the school that offers her the most in aid.

“As I’ve been getting into this world of adulthood, it’s hard to achieve financial stability in our country,” she said, adding that climate change and the economy are her top issues as she considers her first vote in a presidential election. “We’re telling Biden to wake up and to start saying that he needs the youth vote. He needs us immensely.”

(Christian Hall contributed to this story.)

©2024 Bloomberg L.P. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

4666031 2024-04-02T15:10:20+00:00 2024-04-02T15:11:28+00:00
Expect to see AI ‘weaponized to deceive voters’ in this year’s presidential election Tue, 02 Apr 2024 18:56:07 +0000 Alfred Lubrano | (TNS) The Philadelphia Inquirer

As the presidential campaign slowly progresses, artificial intelligence continues to accelerate at a breathless pace — capable of creating an infinite number of fraudulent images that are hard to detect and easy to believe.

Experts warn that by November voters will have witnessed counterfeit photos and videos of candidates enacting one scenario after another, with reality wrecked and the truth nearly unknowable.

“This is the first presidential campaign of the AI era,” said Matthew Stamm, a Drexel University electrical and computer engineering professor who leads a team that detects false or manipulated political images. “I believe things are only going to get worse.”

Last year, Stamm’s group debunked a political ad for then-presidential candidate Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis ad that appeared on Twitter. It showed former President Donald Trump embracing and kissing Anthony Fauci, long a target of the right for his response to COVID-19.

That spot was a “watershed moment” in U.S. politics, said Stamm, director of his school’s Multimedia and Information Security Lab. “Using AI-created media in a misleading manner had never been seen before in an ad for a major presidential candidate,” he said.

“This showed us how there’s so much potential for AI to create voting misinformation. It could get crazy.”

Election experts speak with dread of AI’s potential to wreak havoc on the election: false “evidence” of candidate misconduct; sham videos of election workers destroying ballots or preventing people from voting; phony emails that direct voters to go to the wrong polling locations; ginned-up texts sending bogus instructions to election officials that create mass confusion.

Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt is leading a newly formed Election Threats Task Force, intended in part to combat misinformation about voting. In a brief interview, Schmidt noted that in recent years we’ve seen “how easily misinformation has been spread using far more primitive methods than AI — tweets and Facebook posts with no video or audio.

“So AI presents a far greater challenge if it’s weaponized to deceive voters or harm candidates.”

Sham Biden call

Like the internet itself, AI can be a powerful tool to both advance and hinder society.

And while bad actors have long possessed the ability to generate fraudulent content in the digital age, the contouring of text and imagery to shame or denigrate a political opponent was once “slow and painful,” said computer science professor David Doermann from the University of Buffalo, State University of New York.

“It took work to use Photoshop and video tools,” Doermann said. “You needed experts. But now, your average high school student can generate deepfakes.”

Deepfakes are synthetic media in which a person in a photo or video is swapped with another person’s likeness, or a person appears to be doing or saying something they didn’t do or say.

A recent example occurred before the January New Hampshire primary. An AI-generated robocall simulated President Joe Biden’s voice, urging voters not to participate, and “save” their votes for the November election.

Average voters could have easily believed Biden recorded the message and become disenfranchised as a result, noted the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan government watchdog group in Washington, D.C.

“This is the first year to feature AI’s widespread influence before, during and after voters cast ballots,” said CLC executive director Adav Noti. “AI provides easy access to new tools to harm our democracy more effectively.”

Malicious intent

AI allows people with malicious intent to work with great speed and sophistication at low cost, according to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

That swiftness was on display in June 2018. Doermann’s University of Buffalo colleague, Siwei Lyu, presented a paper that demonstrated how AI-generated deepfake videos could be detected because no one was blinking their eyes; the faces had been transferred from still photos.

Within three weeks, AI-equipped fraudsters stopped creating deepfakes based on photos and began culling from videos in which people blinked naturally, Doermann said, adding, “Every time we publish a solution for detecting AI, somebody gets around it quickly.”

Six years later, with AI that much more developed, “it’s gained remarkable capacities that improve daily,” said political communications expert Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. “Anything we can say now about AI will change in two weeks. Increasingly, that means deepfakes won’t be easily detected.

“We should be suspicious of everything we see.”

‘Democracy can wither’

Misinformation has gushed like a “fire hose of falsehoods,” some of it from Russia, said Matt Jordan, director of the Pennsylvania State University News Literacy Initiative, which helps students and citizens distinguish “reliable journalism” from “the noise that often overwhelms and divides us,” according to its website.

Democracy, Jordan said, “depends on a capacity to share reality,” which misinformation shatters. In such an atmosphere, he warned, “democracy can wither.”

Politicians aren’t the only ones at risk in that atmosphere.

Security specialists recommend election workers keep personal social media accounts private so that pernicious individuals armed with AI have less access to their images and voices. To avoid online intimidation on Election Day, experts also suggest election workers use multistep log-ins, ever-changing pass phrases, and fingerprint scanning.

“In 2020, we encountered a lot of ugliness related to threats, and have had to scramble to make sure our people feel safe,” said Schmidt, Pennsylvania’s top election official.

AI-generated misinformation helps exacerbate already entrenched political polarization throughout America, said Cristina Bicchieri, Penn professor of philosophy and psychology.

“When we see something in social media that aligns with our point of view, even if it’s fake, we tend to want to believe it,” she said.

To battle fabrications, Stamm of Drexel said, the smart consumer could delay reposting emotionally charged material from social media until checking its veracity.

But that’s a lot to ask.

Human overreaction to a false report, he acknowledged, “is harder to resolve than any anti-AI stuff I develop in my lab.

“And that’s another reason why we’re in uncharted waters.”


(c)2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

4665784 2024-04-02T14:56:07+00:00 2024-04-02T14:56:26+00:00
Why are Black people more likely to develop glaucoma? Scientists discover new clues Tue, 02 Apr 2024 18:53:49 +0000 Tom Avril | The Philadelphia Inquirer (TNS)

A team led by University of Pennsylvania scientists has discovered three genetic variants that offer the first strong clues as to why glaucoma disproportionately affects Black people.

The variants are common in people with African ancestry and are associated with a significantly higher risk of developing the sight-robbing disease, the researchers found in their study of more than 11,000 volunteers, including 6,300 from the Philadelphia area.

More research is needed to determine if these variants — each consisting of just a single “letter” among the 3 billion pairs of letters that spell out the human genome — play a direct role in causing glaucoma. But if they stand up to scrutiny, the findings someday could be used to develop better treatments and identify people who could benefit from them, said Shefali Setia Verma, one of the lead study authors and an assistant professor at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

“The idea is that this can help identify individuals who are at higher risk before any symptoms occur,” she said.

Previous studies have found more than 170 other genetic variants that are involved in glaucoma, a condition in which the optic nerve becomes damaged, often as a result of increased pressure inside the eye. But most of those studies were conducted among white or Asian populations — despite the fact that glaucoma is more common in Black people and, when it occurs, is more likely to lead to blindness.

And most of the genetic variants discovered in those previous studies turned out to play little or no role in the disease for Black people, illustrating the need for diversity in study populations, said Penn physician-scientist Joan M. O’Brien.

“It was a hugely unmet need,” she said.

Gaining trust from Black patients

That’s what prompted O’Brien, Verma, and their colleagues to launch the new study, which is among the first — and by far the largest — conducted among Black people.

O’Brien blamed the shortage of studies partly on the justifiable misgivings that many Black people hold about medical research, citing examples of misconduct such as the Tuskegee experiment in which Black men were not treated for syphilis.

Ongoing bias in medicine continues to contribute to mistrust. For instance, Black patients are less likely than white patients to receive pain medication, and less likely to be admitted to the hospital from the emergency room. Until recently, they had to wait longer than white patients for a kidney transplant.

“Clearly there are reasons for individuals of African ancestry to distrust studies and distrust medicine and distrust many things related to science,” she said. “That doesn’t excuse us from trying to involve people of African ancestry.”

So she and her coauthors then embarked on an unusual campaign to enroll volunteers, spreading the word as they conducted vision screenings at predominantly Black churches, community centers, and health fairs. Eydie Miller-Ellis, a Penn ophthalmologist and study author who is Black, also promoted the study on Black-owned radio station WURD.

They ended up with 11,275 study participants, including the 6,300 that Penn physicians enrolled from the Philly area. The rest came from elsewhere in the United States, as well as Ghana and Nigeria, recruited by collaborators at other institutions.

The scientists started by comparing the genomes of study participants who had glaucoma with the genomes of participants who did not, identifying dozens of genetic variants that differed between the two groups.

Then winnowed down that list to the final three by conducting a series of laboratory studies in human cells. They also validated their findings by checking them against other genetic databases, including Penn Medicine’s own BioBank, a repository of blood and genetic samples of which 17% were contributed by Black people.

Glaucoma risk increase

All three variants were found in noncoding regions of the genome — what used to be erroneously referred to as “junk DNA,” or stretches of DNA that lie outside the genes. But as scientists have found in many other instances, these three variants, despite not being part of any gene, appear to play a role in the activity of nearby genes.

One of the variants was associated with a 75% increase in the risk of glaucoma. The other two each were linked to a 25% increase in risk of the disease.

The three variants appear to play some sort of causal role in the disease, but more work is needed to be sure what that is. O’Brien, director of the Penn Center for Genetics of Complex Disease, hopes that someday the findings could be incorporated into a rapid test, suitable for use in a primary-care office.

Such a test would allow physicians to identify and counsel at-risk patients before they are aware of any symptoms. People with the disease often are unaware they have it, as it typically starts with declining peripheral vision, which patients may not notice at first.

The genetic findings also could guide the development of better drugs, O’Brien said. Currently, physicians treat the disease by trying to lower the pressure inside patients’ eyes, first with medication and later, if needed, surgery.

But those tactics don’t work for everyone in whom the disease is caused by elevated eye pressure, O’Brien said. And in some cases, the disease can occur in people whose eye pressure is normal.

“We know it’s not just the pressure,” she said. “But that’s the only treatment we have to give.”

©2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

4665754 2024-04-02T14:53:49+00:00 2024-04-02T15:00:17+00:00
Some Medicaid providers borrow or go into debt amid ‘unwinding’ payment disruptions Tue, 02 Apr 2024 18:41:50 +0000 Katheryn Houghton | KFF Health News (TNS)

Jason George began noticing in September that Medicaid payments had stalled for some of his assisted living facility residents, people who need help with daily living.

Guardian Group Montana, which owns three small facilities in rural Montana, relies on the government health insurance to cover its care of low-income residents. George, who manages the facilities, said residents’ Medicaid delays have lasted from a few weeks to more than six months and that at one point the total amounted to roughly $150,000.

George said the company didn’t have enough money to pay its employees. When he called state health and public assistance officials for help, he said, they told him they were swamped processing a high load of Medicaid cases, and that his residents would have to wait their turn.

“I’ve mentioned to some of them, ‘Well what do we do if we’re not being paid for four or five months? Do we have to evict the resident?’” he asked.

Instead, the company took out bank loans at 8% interest, George said.

Montana officials finished their initial checks of who qualifies for Medicaid in January, less than a year after the federal government lifted a freeze on disenrollments during the height of the covid-19 pandemic. More than 127,200 people in Montana lost Medicaid with tens of thousands of cases still processing, according to the latest state data, from mid-February.

Providers who take Medicaid have said their state payments have been disrupted, leaving them financially struggling amid the unwinding. They’re providing care without pay, and sometimes going into debt. It’s affecting small long-term care facilities, substance use disorder clinics, and federally funded health centers that rely on Medicaid to offer treatment based on need, not what people can pay.

State health officials have defended their Medicaid redetermination process and said they have worked to address public assistance backlogs.

Financial pinches were expected as people who legitimately no longer qualify were removed from coverage. But the businesses have said an overburdened state workforce is creating a different set of problems. In some cases, it has taken months for people to reapply for Medicaid after getting dropped, or to access the coverage for the first time. Part of the problem, providers said, are long waits on hold for the state’s call center and limited in-person help.

The problem is ongoing: George said two Guardian residents were booted from Medicaid in mid-March, with the state citing a lack of information as the cause.

“I have proof we submitted the needed information weeks ago,” he said.

Providers said they’ve also experienced cases of inconsistent Medicaid payments for people who haven’t lost coverage. It can be hard to disentangle why payments suddenly stop. Patients and providers are working within the same overstretched system.

Jon Forte is the head of the Yellowstone County health department in Billings, which runs health centers that provide care regardless of patients’ ability to pay. He said that at one point some of the clinics’ routine Medicaid claims went unpaid for up to six months. Their doctors are struggling to refer patients out for specialty care as some providers scale back on clientele, he said.

“Some have honestly had to stop seeing Medicaid patients so that they can meet their needs and keep the lights on,” Forte said. “It is just adding to the access crisis we have in the state.”

Payment shortfalls especially hurt clinics that base fees on patient income.

David Mark, a doctor and the CEO of One Health, which has rural clinics dotted across eastern Montana and Wyoming, said the company anticipated making about $500,000 in profit through its budget year so far. Instead, it’s $1.5 million in the red.

In Yellowstone County, Forte said, the health department, known as RiverStone Health, is down $2.2 million from its anticipated Medicaid revenue. Forte said that while state officials have nearly caught up on RiverStone Health’s direct Medicaid payments, smaller providers are still seeing delays, which contributes to problems referring patients for care.

Jon Ebelt, a spokesperson for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, said Medicaid can retroactively pay for services for people who have lost coverage but are then found eligible within 90 days. He said the state’s average redetermination processing time is 34 days, the average processing time for applications is 48 days, and, when processing times are longer, it’s often due to ongoing communication with a client.

Ebelt didn’t acknowledge broader Medicaid payment delays, but instead said a provider may be submitting claims for Medicaid enrollees who aren’t eligible. He rejected the idea that individual examples of disruptions amount to a systemic problem.

“We would caution you against using broad brush strokes to paint a picture of our overall eligibility system and processes based on a handful of anecdotal stories,” Ebelt said in an emailed response to a KFF Health News query.

Ebelt didn’t directly answer questions about continued long waits for people seeking help but instead said continued coverage depends on individual beneficiaries submitting information on time.

Federal data shows Montana’s average call center wait time is 30 minutes — putting it among states with the highest average wait times. Mike White, co-owner of Caslen Living Centers, which has six small assisted living facilities across central and southwestern Montana, said some family members allowed the company to manage residents’ Medicaid accounts to help avoid missing deadlines or paperwork. Even so, he said, the company is waiting for about $30,000 in Medicaid payments, and it’s hard to reach the state when problems arise.

When they do get through to the state’s call center, the person on the other end can’t always resolve their issue or will answer questions for only one case at a time.

“You don’t know how long it’s going to take — it could be two months, it could be six months — and there’s nobody to talk to,” White said.

Ebelt said long-term care facilities were provided information on how to prepare for the unwinding process. He said new Medicaid cases for long-term care facilities are complicated and can take time.

Stan Klaumann lives in Ennis and has power of attorney for his 94-year-old mom, who resides in one of Guardian’s assisted living homes. Klaumann said that while she never lost coverage, the state didn’t make Medicaid payments toward her long-term care for more than four months and he still doesn’t know why.

He said that since last fall the state hasn’t consistently mailed him routine paperwork he needs to fill out and return in exchange for Medicaid payments to continue. He tried the state’s call center, he said, but each time he waited on hold for more than two hours. He made four two-hour round trips to his closest office of public assistance to try to get answers.

Sometimes the workers told him that there was a state error, he said, and other times that he was missing paperwork he’d already submitted, such as where money from selling his mom’s car went.

“Each time I went, they gave me a different answer as to why my mother’s bills weren’t being paid,” Klaumann said.

Across the nation, people have reported system errors and outdated contact information that led states to drop people who qualify. At least 28 states paused procedural disenrollments to boost outreach to people who qualify, according to federal data. Montana stuck to its original time frame and has a higher procedural disenrollment rate than most other states, according to KFF.

Stephen Ferguson, executive director of Crosswinds Recovery in Missoula, said the substance use disorder program doesn’t have a full-time person focused on billing and sometimes doesn’t realize clients lost Medicaid coverage until the state rejects thousands of dollars in services that Crosswinds submits for reimbursement. After that, it can take months for clients to either get reenrolled or learn they truly no longer qualify.

Ferguson said he’s writing grant proposals to continue to treat people despite their inability to pay.

“We’re riding by the seat of our pants right now,” he said. “We are unsure what next month or the next quarter looks like.”

(KFF Health News is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues and is one of the core operating programs of KFF — the independent source for health policy research, polling and journalism.)

©2024 KFF Health News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

4665527 2024-04-02T14:41:50+00:00 2024-04-02T14:42:18+00:00
What is World Central Kitchen and how has it helped people in Gaza? Tue, 02 Apr 2024 18:07:58 +0000 By Tia Goldenberg, Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) — World Central Kitchen, the food charity founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, called a halt to its work in the Gaza Strip after an Israeli strike killed seven of its workers, mostly foreigners.

The group, which said it will make decisions about longer-term plans in the region soon, has been bringing desperately needed food to Gazans facing widespread hunger and pioneered the recently launched effort to deliver aid by sea from Cyprus. Its absence, even if temporary, is likely to deepen the war-torn territory’s misery as the United Nations warns that famine is imminent.

Here’s a look at the charity’s work in Gaza and what its absence could mean:


Founded in 2010, World Central Kitchen delivers freshly prepared meals to people in need following natural disasters, like hurricanes or earthquakes, or to those enduring conflict. The group has also provided meals to migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border, as well as to hospital staff who worked relentlessly during the coronavirus pandemic.

The aid group sends in teams who can cook meals that appeal to the local palate on a large scale and fast.

“When you talk about food and water, people don’t want a solution one week from now, one month from now. The solution has to be now,” Andrés is quoted as saying on the group’s website.

World Central Kitchen has worked in dozens of affected areas and currently has teams in Haiti, addressing the needs of Ukrainians displaced by Russia’s invasion, as well as providing meals to people affected by the war in Gaza.


Teams from the charity have fanned out across the region since Hamas-led militants attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7 and throughout the war that it sparked. It has fed Israelis displaced by the attack as well as former hostages, according to its website, and people in Lebanon displaced by fighting with Israel. But its work in Gaza has been the most demanding.

In Gaza, the group says it has provided more than 43 million meals to Palestinians.

The group has set up two main kitchens, in the southern city of Rafah and the central town of Deir al-Balah. It lends support to 68 community kitchens throughout the territory, serving more than 170,000 hot meals a day. The group ramped up its work during Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims traditionally fast from sunrise to sundown and then eat a lavish meal, distributing 92,000 food boxes or about 4.7 million meals.

The group has also provided meals through airdrops and has led two shipments by sea carrying hundreds of tons of food for northern Gaza, where the food emergency is most acute.

In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Andrés credited the charity’s sea deliveries with prompting the U.S. to declare that it would build a floating pier for aid delivered to Gaza by sea.

“I think this has been our achievement,” he said.


With World Central Kitchen immediately suspending its work, tens of thousands of meals a day won’t be handed out.

Following the deadly strike, Cyprus’ foreign ministry spokesperson said aid ships that arrived in Gaza this week will return to the Mediterranean island nation with some 240 tons of undelivered aid. Roughly 100 tons have already been offloaded, the spokesperson said.

Other aid organizations are still on the ground providing assistance to Palestinians, including the U.N. But aid groups say supplies are not coming in quickly enough and once they have entered Gaza, delivery is hobbled by logistical problems as well as the constant fighting. Israel denies there is a food shortage in Gaza and blames the U.N. and other aid groups for failing to scale up deliveries inside the territory.

World Central Kitchen was at the vanguard of the two sea shipments that have arrived in Gaza so far. It was not clear in what capacity the sea corridor would continue without the group, but the president of Cyprus said Tuesday that more aid could be shipped to Gaza from Cyprus “before the end of the month,” as the U.S. completes construction of a floating pier off the Palestinian territory’s coastline.

President Nikos Christodoulides said the Cyprus-Gaza aid shipments “will continue as humanitarian needs are there.”

4665164 2024-04-02T14:07:58+00:00 2024-04-02T14:11:21+00:00
One week later, clearer picture of Key Bridge victims emerges Tue, 02 Apr 2024 17:11:10 +0000 When Baltimore and the world woke up last week to the news that the Francis Scott Key Bridge had disappeared, the families of half a dozen men experienced a much more personal loss.

Six construction workers are thought to have perished after the Dali, a Singapore-flagged container ship, smashed into a key support column and sent the bridge and the roadway workers on it into the Patapsco River.

The night shift crew began working in the evening March 25, filling potholes on Interstate 695. After a mayday from the ship early the next morning, police officers successfully halted car traffic onto the bridge moments before it fell, but warnings didn’t make it to most of the workers in time.

A seventh member of the Brawner Builders crew was rescued and treated at a hospital. A bridge inspector also survived.

Baltimore’s Latino community is grieving the six lives lost as it rallies around the families. For some, the men’s deaths symbolize the sacrifices many Latin American immigrants make when they work dangerous jobs in the United States to improve their families’ futures.

The men who died came from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The youngest were in their 20s, while the eldest was a 49-year-old grandfather.

Miguel Luna, 49

Luna, who was from the town of California in El Salvador, immigrated to the United States about 19 years ago, according to CASA, a nonprofit supporting immigrants of which Luna was a member.

He became a welder and lived in Glen Burnie. When he wasn’t working construction, he often cooked alongside his wife, who operates a food truck called Pupuseria Y Antojitos Carmencita Luna, based in Glen Burnie. Friends described Luna as a hardworking “family man,” who had three children, and also was a grandfather. One friend reminisced about their time playing professional soccer together in El Salvador as young men, adding that Luna was a skilled defender.

Miguel Luna, victim of Key Bridge collapse, was a kindhearted family man from El Salvador

Alejandro “Alex” Hernandez Fuentes, 35

Hernandez was the foreman of the crew working on the bridge that night. Former coworkers described him as a “fireball” who took his job seriously, and climbed the ranks at Brawner Builders, going from a laborer to driving a company truck.

Hernandez was a devout Christian, who often encouraged his coworkers to turn on religious radio stations as they drove from job to job. Hernandez, who was born in Mexico and lived in Essex, left behind a wife and four children. His body was found last week submerged in the Patapsco, in a red pickup truck. Hernandez’s brother-in-law Julio was part of the crew working on the bridge March 26 but survived the collapse, a former coworker said.

Alejandro Hernandez Fuentes, foreman of crew killed in Key Bridge collapse, was devout father of four

Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, 38

The youngest of eight siblings, Suazo Sandoval grew up in Azacualpa, Honduras. He immigrated to the United States more than 17 years ago, and often sent money back to his hometown, even sponsoring a soccer league. He had a wife and two children and lived in Owings Mills.

Skilled with machinery, he dreamed of starting his own business one day, according to CASA, of which Suazo Sandoval was a member. In his spare time, Suazo Sandoval loved visiting parks and beaches with his wife and young daughter, said his brother Carlos, who took to the Patapsco River Friday to observe the wreckage and sent videos to his family members.

Awaiting closure, Maynor Suazo Sandoval’s family remembers him as a happy provider

Dorlian Ronial Castillo Cabrera, 26

Born in Guatemala, Castillo Cabrera lived in the Baltimore area. Relatives living at a Dundalk address listed for him said they were not ready to speak to reporters. A friend named Melvin Ruiz, of Baltimore, told The Baltimore Sun that Castillo Cabrera was a kind person with a joyous sense of humor.

Castillo Cabrera routinely volunteered to drive fellow crew members to work and other members of Baltimore’s Latino community to the store or to various appointments as needed, Ruiz said.

“He was a genuinely selfless person,” Ruiz said.

Elba Yanez, who cut his hair at a Patapsco Avenue barber shop, described him as sweet. Castillo’s body was recovered last week in the submerged truck, alongside Alex Hernandez. He was originally from San Luis, Petén, according to the Consulate General of Guatemala in Maryland.

Jose Mynor Lopez, in his 30s

Lopez, described as a loving family man and an attentive father, emigrated to the United States 19 years ago from Guatemala in order to create better opportunities for his family.

He had four children, including a young daughter, his uncle Wilmer Raul Orellana said. His wife worked at Owls Corner Cafe in Dundalk, according to his friend and former coworker Melvin Ruiz. A co-owner of the cafe set up a GoFundMe to raise money for his family.

For much of his time in the U.S., Lopez worked in Virginia for Marksmen, a Baltimore bridge repair and marine construction company. Lopez had taken a job with Brawner and moved to the Baltimore about a year ago. He lived in Dundalk.

Carlos Hernandez

Other news outlets have identified Carlos Hernandez as one of the victims who died on the bridge. The Mexican embassy told The Sun that three Mexicans were working on the bridge when it collapsed, including the man who survived. The Mexican state of Michoacán told CNN that the three Mexican men — Carlos Hernandez, Alejandro Hernandez, and Julio — were related to one another.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jonathan M. Pitts contributed to this article.

4664308 2024-04-02T13:11:10+00:00 2024-04-02T13:27:17+00:00
Amazon is removing Just Walk Out technology from its Fresh grocery stores in the US Tue, 02 Apr 2024 17:09:12 +0000 By HALELUYA HADERO (Associated Press)

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is removing Just Walk Out technology from its Amazon Fresh stores as part of an effort to revamp the grocery chain.

The company’s well-known technology lets customers pay for items without standing in line and sends them receipts afterwards. Amazon says it will now be replaced by smart carts that allow customers to skip the checkout line but also see their spending in real time.

While redesigning Fresh stores in the past year, Amazon spokesperson Carly Golden said the company heard from customers who enjoy skipping the checkout line but also wanted to view their receipts and savings as they shopped. Golden said the smart carts will give customers these benefits as well as the convenience of skipping the checkout line.

Amazon’s decision was first reported by The Information.

Seattle-based Amazon operates dozens of Fresh grocery stores across the country, most of which are in California, Illinois, Virginia and Washington state. The company also operates cashier-free convenience stores under the Amazon Go brand and owns Whole Foods, which it purchased in 2017 for $13.7 billion.

Despite predictions Amazon’s entry into the grocery sector would disrupt the market, the company has struggled to find what works.

In 2023, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy wrote in his annual letter to shareholders that Amazon was working to find the right formula that will allow it to have a larger impact on physical grocery. The company has shut down some Amazon Fresh and Go stores that weren’t living up to their promise and said early last year that it was pausing expansion on Fresh stores.

In November, the company reopened three Fresh stores in Los Angeles, California. Golden, the Amazon spokesperson, said the company is now focused on “selectively” opening new Fresh stores and remodeling the majority of its existing stores.

Just Walk Out technology will continue to be offered in Amazon Go stores and some smaller Amazon Fresh stores in the U.K., the company said. It will also continue offering the technology to third-party retailers.

4665320 2024-04-02T13:09:12+00:00 2024-04-02T23:18:23+00:00
Brockton murder suicide: Woman shot, killed before man turns gun on himself, Plymouth DA says Tue, 02 Apr 2024 17:01:31 +0000 Authorities are investigating the deaths of a 56-year-old woman and 61-year-old man at a home in Brockton in what they are describing as an apparent murder-suicide.

Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz identified the woman as Sheron Trowers, who was arriving home from a trip to Jamaica when she was shot and killed early Tuesday morning.

Trowers was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center where she was pronounced dead of her injuries.

Authorities found the man, identified as Carlos Brown, dead inside the living room at the Ash Street home, with “an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” Cruz later told reporters near the property.

“It appears that Ms. Trowers was just arriving home from a trip to Jamaica, her luggage was still in the driveway. It appears she was ambushed,” Cruz said.

“There is a past domestic violence history,” he added. “I would just say to anyone who potentially is in a life-threatening relationship, they should know there is help.”

Cruz did not disclose the extent of Trowers and Brown’s relationship, whether they were married or not, if there were any children present at the time of the early morning shooting and what the “past domestic violence history” entailed.

Brockton Police received two calls reporting the shooting at 524 Ash St., near Brockton High School, Brockton Fairgrounds and Campanelli Stadium, around 1 a.m. One came from inside the home of a report of an unresponsive male, and the second from a neighbor reporting gunshots, according to the DA’s office.

Cruz highlighted SafeLink, a statewide domestic violence hotline and resource for anyone affected by domestic or dating violence that can be accessed 24/7 at 877-785-2020.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Cruz said. “Domestic violence doesn’t have a zip code. It’s everywhere unfortunately, and hopefully, if people need help, they can get help and get out of struggling relationships if they exist.”

4664056 2024-04-02T13:01:31+00:00 2024-04-02T20:43:29+00:00