Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lowell Ref Attack Earns Fan Inaugural "Horse's Ass" Award

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Exactly what happened at a youth basketball tournament at UMass Lowell is why refereeing SUCKS!!
For those who haven’t heard, UMass Lowell Police Officer Peter Morelli confirmed an angry spectator attacked a basketball referee after being ejected from a game between Lowell and Portsmouth, N.H., Tuesday afternoon during a tournament that featured 193 teams from across the region.
Players’ ages ranged from 5th grade to 8th grade—roughly boys and girls ages 11 to 15.
Players on the court for the game were 7th graders.
“We don’t know if it was a parent or relative of a parent, but it was an adult,” Morelli said.
He said the about 6-feet, 3 to 4-inch, 220 pound black man threw water at the referee as he was being escorted out of the gym after being ejected.
"He didn't make an obscene gesture," Morelli said. "He was waving his arms and being verbally abusive--overly verbally abusive," he said.
Tossed from the gym near the end of the game, the man waited for the ref to come through a corridor and then punched him in the chest, a blow that was hard enough to knock down the referee, a man he described as just about as tall as the assailant.
"He looked like a basketball type--almost as big as the alleged suspect," Morelli said.
Morelli said the man took off afterward and initially people in the auditorium balked at telling police who the man was. Morelli said very few tried to help the ref after the attack.
"A few took the lead, but no one did much to help," Morelli said.
Since the game, Morelli said calls have come in and police may question a suspect and possibly press charges.
Morelli said he was concerned about the punch because a hard blow to the chest could have triggered a heart attack.
“That was my concern,” Morelli said. “I told him if he had complications later he should go to the hospital,” Morelli said, noting the referee was probably in his mid-40s.
Luckily, an actual physical attack on a referee is pretty rare and in this case injuries are said to be minor and the referee did not go to the hospital—at least right away.
There have been times when refs have taken their lives into their own hands, most memorably when a referee was gunned down after a World Cup soccer match in 1989, a player in 1994, and in Kenya in 2002.
But that’s pro sports, right? Youth sports aren’t hostile and dangerous. Most of the time they’re not, and Tuesday, the suspect was lucky. His attack thus far has not caused injury, but what if it had?
Just ask Thomas Junta, the hockey dad who killed another parent after losing control over play between their sons. He spent 8 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
As a rookie soccer referee, I still remember the immortal words of advice from long-time soccer referee Dennis LaVersa--namesake of the Dennis LaVersa Massachusetts Tournament of Champions Referee of the Year award--telling would-be refs in my first certification class back in the mid-1980s that one of the best things you can do as a referee is park your car so you can drive away as fast as possible.
“In case you have to make a fast get-away,” LaVersa said then and his words of wisdom still hold true nearly 30 years later.
Yeah, being involved in youth sports most of the time is fun and rewarding, but when it isn’t, it’s the worst of nightmares.
"You want to volunteer, you want to, but things like this make it very difficult," Officer Morelli said.
I’ve got an idea.
Whoever the culprit is should be forced--either by the courts or his own shame--to community service, as a referee.
Give him 4 years and make him be a basketball ref AND a referee in a sport he knows nothing about, since most spectators haven’t got a clue what the rules of the game—any game--are.
Four years. That’s about right--enough time to take the courses—and he should pay for them—and then hit the court or field in the black and white stripes and see what it’s like.
Maybe after that he’ll punch himself in the face.
It ain’t easy being the ref.
People shouting at you all the time. Telling you you’re an idiot and you need glasses. Mostly it’s small stuff. Most of the time everything is fine. The comments toughen you up, and the more experience you get the more confidence you build. You realize most of the time the fans are clueless and should be ignored.
Becoming a ref is a great way to grow a thick skin and prepare for life’s road ahead. It can also be good extra money.
Some refs relish the abuse. Some tune it out. A huge percentage quit.
Luckily, the kids are great. I understand their passion. The coaches’ too, but an overheated schmuck sitting in the stands?
To the spectator: What game am I watching? Which one are YOU watching?
Do YOU know the rules?
From your comments, doesn’t sound like it.
Oh, you do know the rules?
Then get off your keister and become a ref and see what it’s like.
Sitting in the stands is sooooooooo much easier!!
How comfortable it is to just sit there on your rump, yell, scream and point fingers at the ref.
We can take stuff like, “are you blind,” or “you’re an idiot,” or “what game are you watching,” or “is your kid on the team.”
Even “you suck” is easily deflected.
I’ve seen some games that have been so badly officiated I’m not sure they should even count. Sometimes the comments are deserved.
OK fine.
But to chase down a ref after the game and confront him, punch him, throw water on him, and knock him down is completely ridiculous.
You go do it.
Yeah, maybe there’s a bad call—we’ve seen a few around the state lately, most recently a football referee who called a penalty on a Cathedral High School player for taunting when he momentarily put a #1 in the air with his hand while he was on his way to scoring what would have been a Super Bowl winning touch down.
Instead, the referee threw a flag, called the touch down back and Blue Hills Regional Vocational Technical High School went on to win the championship.
Bad call?
From the news clips, I thought so, but that ref—I’m sure—has taken his lumps for the call.
Don’t think he needs to be assaulted.
Maybe he thinks it was the right call. League officials supported it, the public disagrees.
So be it.
We all live with the results.
Sadly, this man in Lowell lost his cool.
From all accounts, both teams and their supporters vocally let the ref know they thought he sucked.
Guess being pelted with insults wasn’t enough to show the ref how terrible he may have been.
Maybe the ref had the worst game of his life.
Maybe it was quite the opposite and he called a great game under intense play and extreme pressure.
Officer Morelli said the game was very intense and hard-fought. He said he felt uncomfortable around the parents and spectators even after the game when police sought the identity of the suspect.
Sounds like emotions were waaaay high...maybe the ref did a better job than fans gave him credit for.
Plus, basketball refereeing is so technical, no way on this planet would I officiate the sport.
Whether it was a badly called game or well done under the conditions, either way, Mr. attack-the-ref, you are’s first-ever “Horse’s Ass Award” winner.
You think you can do a better job?
Go do it—I dare you.

Inauguration, Swearing-In Ceremony, Monday

BROCKTON--Although City Hall will be closed in observance of the New Year's holiday, Brockton's first female mayor, Linda Balzotti will be sworn in for her second term.
Also, returning and new members of the City Council and School Committee will be sworn in.
The ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. at City Hall. The event is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New League, New Chance For Rox?

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—The Rox are not done for the 2012 season, yet.
According to Brockton’s Finance Director John Condon, plans are in the works to continue the Rox at Campanelli Stadium for the 2012 season and beyond.
“I’m pretty confident there will be baseball at Campanelli Stadium next season,” Condon said.
He said discussions are ongoing, but the ball is in the hands of the Brockton 21st Century Corp., a public-private entity that oversees the Rox, Campanelli Stadium and the Shaw’s Center.
Condon said because of a complicated lease arrangement with the Rox, the City of Brockton and Shaw’s Center it is up to the Brockton 21st Century to give the go-ahead to a new league that would play at Campanelli Stadium.
“It’s hanging on a lease agreement,” Condon said. “I’m involved but I don’t have the power to say ‘yea’ or ‘nay,” Condon said.
Maura Russell, with Brockton 21st Century Corp., pointed all questions about the matter to Condon, who would only say discussions are close to completion.
Sources close to the Rox have said plans are in the works for a lease agreement for the Rox to leave the Can-Am League and move to the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, a move that requires the Brockton 21st Century change its requirement that professional baseball be played at Campanelli Stadium.
The Futures Collegiate League is a one-year-old league that showcases elite college ball players from the New England area, many of whom are expected to make the prestigious Cape Cod League and possibly earn their way into a Major League Baseball team.
Chris Carminucci, general manager for the Rox, said he could not comment about any plans to move the Rox to the Futures league, however, Carminucci is a director of the Futures league, and the Rox logo has already been posted under the Lowell Spinners on the Futures League website.
Another director of the Futures League is Drew Weber, owner operator of the Lowell Spinners, a Red Sox minor league affiliate.
Sources said they hoped an announcement would be made today, however, with the holidays sources said negotiations are still taking place.
The Futures League includes a handful of teams from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut. Recently a group from Pittsfield and Wachusett announced it would join the Futures league as has another from Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chief Conlon Pushes Retirement To Feb.

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti said it is very likely that she will name an interim chief after current chief William Conlon retires—a step she will take once Conlon leaves office, which was expected at the end of this month, but has been postponed until February.
“Right now what I want to do is maintain consistency and I will more than likely put someone in as an interim acting chief,” Balzotti said.
In June, Conlon announced he would retire at the end of the year, however, Conlon said he has extended his retirement to about the middle of February.
Conlon’s contract ends April 30, 2012, and he can stay until then, although he said he doubts he will stay longer than about mid-February when he plans to take a couple weeks vacation before heading into the next phase of his life.
“When I take my vacation I’ll be done,” Conlon said in a telephone interview Friday. (Conlon pictured above during Memorial Day Parade)
Conlon said he does not plan to stay until the April 30th end of his contract and is waiting until the middle of February to retire because the weather at the end of December and through January doesn’t offer a lot of activities for someone just embarking on the end of a career.
“I figured I’d wait until the middle, or end of February, but it looks like the middle of February,” Conlon said.
He said he doesn’t expect to extend his extension to April 30.
Until Conlon officially submits his retirement in writing, Personnel Director Maureen Cruise said Mayor Balzotti can’t take any action to fill his shoes.
“He hasn’t given the mayor a retirement date and until he does the mayor can’t take any action because there is a contract in place,” Cruise said.
Cruise said Balzotti also must wait to make any appointment, police chief or otherwise, until her re-inauguration Monday, Jan. 2 because city ordinance prevents the mayor from making any appointments during the 90 days leading to the end of a term—even if reelected.
Balzotti said Conlon’s retirement extension isn’t a problem because she plans to take her time with a permanent replacement and expects to name a temporary department head.
“There’s nothing that says the minute the chief steps down I have to name a successor,” Balzotti said.
Because the city voted to move the police chief’s position out of Civil Service about 10 years ago, the mayor is responsible for Conlon’s replacement.
According to Cruise, Balzotti does not have to have a wide search, publicly advertise the position or form a search committee--as some have called for.
Conlon said it is Balzotti’s appointment to make and although he has extended his retirement more than a month, there is nothing stopping Balzotti from moving toward filling his position.
Conlon said he believes it is important for Balzotti to choose a new chief who is willing to work with a host of local, state and federal organizations, not only law enforcement types like the State Police, Drug Enforcement Agency, DA’s Office, and FBI, but also local groups like the Rotary Club, school officials, parent organizations and the media.
“The position really needs someone who is willing to cooperate with numerous committees, organizations and groups,” Conlon said.
Balzotti echoed Conlon’s words, noting she is in agreement that the next chief must be someone who can continue the cooperation between Brockton’s Police Department and other law enforcement agencies operating in the city.
“We can’t afford to have an individual who can’t or won’t—because there are those who won’t—work with those other agencies,” Balzotti said.
She also said the next chief has to be someone she is comfortable having in the job and who she is comfortable working with, who she is certain can run day-to-day operations, communicate with other city departments and the public.
Although there is not a specific process of accepting resumes and applications, Balzotti said through her tenure as a public official she has a good grasp on who might be interested in the acting or permanent chief’s position, and those who may not want any part of being temporary or permanent chief.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Constable Will Not Face Gun, Endangerment Charges

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—A clerk magistrate has decided a South Shore constable will not face charges after pulling a gun during an arrest of a dead-beat dad in the student-filled parking lot of Trinity Catholic Academy’s Upper Campus.
William Sullivan, the lawyer for Adam Loomis, one of two well-known South Shore constables who arrested parent George Haikal at the school in October, said he has received a letter from Clerk Magistrate Philip McCue that rejects charges of endangerment of the dead-beat dad’s children and assault with a dangerous weapon issued by Brockton Police and the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office.
“I think this was the right decision under the law,” Sullivan said in a telephone interview.
While he would not release a copy of the letter—which court officials said was not a public document—Sullivan said in McCue’s decision, McCue writes that Loomis, 27, pulled the gun after witnesses said Haikal’s car jumped forward toward Loomis during the early morning arrest and put him in danger of being run down.
A probable cause hearing was held Dec. 1 at Brockton District Court for McCue to decide if the complaint should continue and an arraignment beheld on the felony charges.
McCue, a Plymouth District Court magistrate, heard testimony from four witnesses from the school, including teacher Annette Bailey and Ward 5 City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli.
“I think the evidence was very clear when (the constables) went to effectuate the arrest the intention was not to use force,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said he believed it was Annette Bailey’s testimony that made the difference.
During testimony Bailey said she believed Adam Loomis would have been knocked over by Haikal’s car and it was not until then did he pull his gun.
Dennis DeNapoli, who was standing near the vehicle said in news accounts and in court he did not believe Loomis was in danger when the car rolled forward. He also said he believed the car moved forward because Haikal was being grabbed by the neck by Loomis’ father Jerold Loomis, and his foot came off the accelerator.
DeNapoli, who has said he believes the pair should lose their constable licenses, did not return calls for comment.
Sullivan said he does not believe Adam or Jerold Loomis intended to use force that day and it was Haikal who did not exit the vehicle when ordered to do so that escalated the situation.
Sullivan would not say if the pair of constables made a bad decision to try and arrest Haikal on the school’s grounds.
“I think the lesson to a lot of (constables) is not to anticipate the person they are arresting will go peacefully,” Sullivan said.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brockton Postal Plant Part Of Closure Study

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Seven regional postal facilities, including Brockton are being looked at for possible closing next year, however a spokesman for United States Postal Service said no decisions have been made and reports that the facilities in the state will close are not accurate.
“We haven’t made a decision one way or another,” said USPS spokesman Dennis P. Tarmey. “We are still studying these plants for possible consolidation and no decision has been made to close the Brockton plant at this time,” he said.
The USPS announced Monday it was continuing a process to look at closing or consolidating seven plants around the state, including Brockton’s facility at 225 Liberty St. that employs nearly 400 people.
The other facilities are in Boston, Waltham, North Reading, Shrewsbury, Wareham, and Lowell.
Tarmey said the announcement was misconstrued and disseminated by news outlets that the plants were in fact closing.
He said the news reports prompted calls of concern from employees and customers throughout the state.
Tarmey said what the USPS is doing is continuing to look at these plants for consolidation, a plan that began in September and will continue into next year.
He said before any decision is made public meetings will be held, in or near the seven communities, including Brockton.
Those meetings have not been scheduled yet and are expected early next year.
No decisions would be made until those meetings are held, and no decisions would be made until the USPS receives an advisory opinion from the Postal Regulatory Commission.
He said in each plant’s case, there is a possibility that one or more could close or be consolidated into another, such as Boston moving to North Reading, or North Reading moving to Boston.
“It depends on a lot of issues—transportation, space…we have to see what makes the most sense,” Tarmey said.
He said one idea is possibly to consolidate Brockton's plant with one in Providence, Rhode Island.
The USPS is looking at closing or consolidating 252 processing facilities across the country and could potentially layoff about 30,000 employees to save $3 billion and avoid potential bankruptcy.
According to the USPS, annual mail volume has decreased by more than 43 million pieces over the last 5 years and total first class mail volume has dropped 25 percent and single-piece first class mail—letters bearing postage stamps—has declined by 36 percent during the last 5 years.
The closings and consolidation's would be a change in the postal service's 40-year-old standard of delivering first-class mail the next day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Celebratory Send Off For Matriach Cruise Kennedy

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Family and friends of Mary Cruise Kennedy, the matriarch of Brockton’s Cruise-Kennedy clan, gathered Saturday to not only mourn the loss of the 101-year-old former head nurse, but also celebrate the life of a woman who was ahead of her time.
“She had such a great life,” said Ward 1 City Councilor Timothy Cruise, Mary Kennedy’s nephew. “She was blessed,” he said.
Cruise said in a recent interview that while family members were saddened by the news Mary died peacefully of pneumonia Saturday, Nov. 26 at Brockton Hospital where she graduated from the hospital’s nursing school in 1931.
Mary Cruise Kennedy was the eldest of 9 children who led the family when the children's parents died young.
During a brief time when she worked at the former Lakeville State Hospital, she met her husband Bob, and had four children of her own, including State Senator Thomas Kennedy.
Tim Cruise said while Mary’s passing is sad, he said hundreds of family members were expected to converge on Russell & Pica Funeral Home last Thursday and Friday for calling hours, followed by services at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Brockton.
“It’s a celebration, a celebration of a great lady,” Cruise said. “She had a great run. She was the glue that kept things together. We’ll miss her,” he said.
Tim Cruise said the 40 or so first cousins who were expected to attend last week’s services held a lot of respect for his aunt, and many children in the family didn’t dare cause trouble while Mary Cruise Kennedy was around.
“Just a look was enough,” Tim Cruise said.
Cruise Kennedy was also a woman ahead of her time in the medical field.
Graduating from Brockton Hospital’s Nursing School in 1931, she soon became the head nurse, a position she held for decades.
Tim Cruise said he always took for granted his aunt’s position as a nurse and only realized how hard she struggled and fought to be taken seriously and not let male chauvinism stop her from helping her patients.
“I never realized until I was older how difficult it was for her, and other women back then,” Cruise said. “If she thought a doctor was wrong, she would let them know, she wasn’t going to back down,” he said.
Cruise Kennedy volunteered in many capacities, and helped found first of its kind programs the Edwina Martin Recovery House for Women and the Ann Ward Congregate Assisted Living Home at the former St. Edward's Convent.
Active and sharp, Cruise Kennedy's endeavors decreased in her 90s when she voluntarily gave up her driver's license.
She is also the namesake of the Council on Aging's Mary Cruise Kennedy Senior Center where she made a surprise and welcome visit with one of her two sons State Senator Thomas Kennedy for the Council on Aging's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration.
For a full background on Mary Cruise Kennedy’s life, please click here to visit Mary Cruise Kennedy’s obituary.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Constable Gun Draw Charges Rest With Magistrate

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—All a South Shore constable, his constable father, school officials, witnesses and a dead-beat dad the two well-known constables arrested in the parking lot of Brockton's Trinity Catholic Academy can do is wait for a clerk magistrate’s decision on whether or not pulling out a gun during the arrest should be a criminal offense.
During a probable cause hearing in Brockton District Court Thursday afternoon, Philip McCue, a Plymouth District Court magistrate, after about 90 minutes of testimony from Trinity Catholic School officials—including Principal Cynthia Dunn-McNally and Ward 5 City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli—said his decision would be based on whether the gun draw by constable Adam Loomis was an assault with a dangerous weapon and endangered the two children of the arrested father.
The two charges are felonies and could jeopardize Loomis’ right to carry a firearm and possibly result in the loss of his constable’s license in the communities he operates.
“It’s clear what happened that day is really inexcusable, but whether it rose to criminality,” McCue said at the close of the hearing.
Loomis’ defense hinges on whether he was justified in drawing his gun against George Haikal, a former restaurant owner and father of two boys who had been arrested by the Loomis’ in 2008 and 2009, and April, 2011 for nonpayment of child support for his two sons.
Another arrest warrant was issued for Haikal in October for non-payment of $45,000 in child support.
Loomis, standing in front of Haikal’s station wagon, pulled his gun when the car driven by Haikal lunged forward when the constables attempted to make the arrest.
What’s not disputed is that Loomis pulled the gun.
What is in dispute is why, and if brandishing the weapon endangered Haikal’s two young sons, who were in the car and in the process of getting out of the car, when the weapon was pointed over the hood at the windshield toward Haikal.
The arrest warrant allowed Loomis and his father Jerold—best known for his participation in pop star Bobby Brown’s 1997 arrest--the authority to arrest Haikal anywhere in the state, and after spotting Haikal heading to Trinity Catholic in a brown station wagon on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at about 7:15 a.m., the two constables followed Haikal to the school’s busy parking lot.
Loomis, who lives in Rockland and is a licensed constable in Scituate and Quincy, in a statement read by Quincy attorney William Sullivan and submitted into evidence, said Haikal appeared to know he was being followed because Haikal took evasive and erratic steps to “lose” the constables by taking sharp quick turns without signaling and turning up and down different streets until the trio of vehicles arrived at Trinity Catholic’s Upper Campus at 35 Erie Ave.
Loomis, said Haikal’s car moved forward and that was when Loomis pulled the gun because he feared for his life.
In the statement, Loomis said he had his badge displayed and identified himself.
Witnesses disagreed, the Loomis’ made it clear who they were and what they were doing.
City councilor Dennis DeNapoli, who testified he has known Haikal for 10 to 12 years, said the car lunge- forward was not life threatening and may have jumped because the other constable was grabbing Haikal by the neck and Haikal’s foot came off the brake.
The car, DeNapoli said, had not been placed into park.
Four witnesses testified, including Principal Dunn-McNally, DeNapoli, and Trinity Catholic teachers John Ballard and Annette Bailey.
Loomis did not testify and neither did Haikal, who attended the hearing with his lawyer David Asack.
All of the witnesses except Ballard, who is hard of hearing, said the constables shouted at Haikal to get out of the car, and the shouting drew attention to the scene in the parking lot.
DeNapoli said he heard the shouting and recognized Haikal’s car and headed over to see what was going on. He said he did not know Haikal was wanted for arrest.
DeNapoli said the constables did not identify themselves and only about ¾ quarters of the way through the event--that all witnesses said happened in less than 1 or 2 minutes—that he heard the constables were there on an arrest warrant.
Loomis’s lawyer Sullivan questioned DeNapoli’s memory and observations when he presented a written statement by DeNapoli about the event in which DeNapoli says it is Jerold Loomis at the front of the car pulling the gun and not his son Adam—a description DeNapoli first gave to
In another article, DeNapoli told he had the men “mixed up” and not knowing which was which or who was who until after the event, came to learn it was Adam Loomis who pulled the gun and that he was initially mistaken.
Sullivan continued to question DeNapoli about the letter and DeNapoli tried to explain the mistake, but became agitated at Sullivan’s questions, and began to move in a herky-jerky way--moving from one foot to the other, side to side, and putting his hands in his pockets, and making hand gestures. .
Eventually DeNapoli’s right hand went up in the air in an unusual manner.
Magistrate McCue interrupted DeNapoli’s explanation and told him attorney Sullivan was just doing his job and until that point DeNapoli had “comported himself as a gentleman” and should continue doing so.
DeNapoli said he understood and his testimony ended with him saying Haikal’s two sons were exiting the car when Loomis pulled the gun.
DeNapoli, unlike the other three witnesses, said the Loomis’ came in one vehicle and not two.
The witness after DeNapoli, sixth grade teacher Annette Bailey, testified she saw two cars pull up—one behind, and the other to the right side of Haikal’s wagon—said she heard a commotion and yelling and then saw Haikal’s car lurch forward in a lurch-and-stop, lurch-and-stop action.
She said Loomis had to back up from the car’s movement.
“Yes, I thought he was going to be hit. I thought he was going to go down,” Bailey said.
Another witness, Trinity Catholic computer science teacher John Ballard said he saw Adam Loomis put his hand on or very close to the hood of the car.
“It was clear that the intention was for him to say to the guy stop,” Ballard said.
All of the witnesses said Haikal’s children were in the car when the gun was drawn.
Principal Dunn-McNally said she was standing about 20 to 30 feet away from the car when she saw the gun drawn.
She said not knowing who the Loomis’ were and did not hear anything about an arrest warrant, she thought there had been a road rage incident and once seeing the gun she ordered teachers and students for a building lock-down.
Dunn-McNally said Haikal’s children were in the car when she began rounding up students and staff, and it was not until after Haikal had been pulled out of the car and handcuffed did she see the children again.
“I was at the top of the (school) steps when the two Haikal children ran to me,” Dunn-McNally said. “They were very frightened and I brought them to my office,” she said.
Assistant District Attorney Matthew Libby said Loomis’ actions showed poor judgment because they could have made the arrest somewhere other than the grounds of Trinity Catholic and the gun draw placed children in the parking lot in danger.
Libby said Loomis’ actions exceeded the arrest warrant and the charges should proceed to an arraignment.
Loomis’ lawyer Sullivan disagreed and said Haikal was “hiding behind his kids,” and he was the one who put his children in danger by not getting out of the car and not paying the child support demanded by Brockton District Court rulings.
“Maybe the arrest would have been better somewhere else, but it’s not enough to meet the standard,” Sullivan said.
Yesterday's probable cause hearing was expected to be closed to the public, however when Magistrate McCue learned members of the press were in attendance he allowed arguments from and WXBR to allow the media to cover the hearing--which McCue did.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brockton Health Center Awarded $40,000

BOSTON--Brockton Neighborhood Health Center was among 24 community organizations in Massachusetts who were awarded more than $1.2 million in grants from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
These grants, announced Nov. 8 in a prepared statement, include $40,000 to Brockton Neighborhood Health Center which will use the money to provide outreach and individual assistance with applications, referrals to primary care providers, education on health plans, and assistance with annual renewals.
The program will focus particularly on assistance to those attending local food pantries and being released from the Plymouth House of Corrections.
“Our grantees’ efforts have ensured health care access and improved the system for thousands of Massachusetts residents,” said Sarah Iselin, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. “We look forward to their new approaches to addressing coverage and affordability in their communities.”
The foundation made the grants to organizations whose missions are dedicated to promoting the health care needs of uninsured and low-income residents.
The grants range from $40,000 to $75,000 per year, and represent the first of two years of funding.
The grants were made in two grant program areas, Connecting Consumers with Care and Strengthening the Voice for Access, both of which were created in 2001 when the Foundation first began its grantmaking efforts.
Connecting Consumers with Care provides programmatic support to organizations that will provide comprehensive outreach and enrollment services, an enhanced approach to educating consumers on effective navigation of the health care system, and strategic collaboration with the advocacy community to identify and address barriers that prevent consumers from easily accessing coverage and care.
Strengthening the Voice for Access provides core operating support to organizations that will strengthen community-based policy activities, increase citizen participation in public policy development, and promote collaboration among statewide policy and advocacy organizations on coverage and affordability.
The complete list of grant awards is as follows:
Connecting Consumers with Care


1. Boston Public Health Commission $40,000

The Boston Public Health Commission will use funds to train staff of city agencies and consumers on how to navigate the health care system and a newly launched web-centric resource database will be developed to help locate referral organizations. Customized 'My Health Portfolios' will educate consumers on facts to consider when obtaining health
care and topics.

2. Whittier Street Health Center $40,000

Whittier Street Health Center will use funds to provide enrollment and redetermination assistance through 'Virtual Enrollment Sites' and make referrals to services at Whittier and partner organizations. A yearly redetermination education campaign will include educational workshops and fliers/brochures based on MassHealth's guidelines.


3. Brockton Neighborhood Health Center $40,000

Brockton Neighborhood Health Center will use funds to provide traditional outreach and individual assistance with applications, referrals to primary care providers, education on health plans, and assistance with annual renewals. The program will focus on local food pantries and the Plymouth House of Corrections.


4. Joint Committee for Children's Health Care in Everett $40,000

The Joint Committee for Children's Health Care in Everett will use funds to provide outreach, interpretation, application assistance, and scheduling support. The program will target children and their parents, particularly Latino and Haitian immigrant populations.


5. Community Health Connections $40,000

Community Health Connections will use funds to provide street outreach, and one-on-one application and enrollment assistance to children and adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as members of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities.


6. Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands $40,000

Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands will use the funds to provide residents of Cape Cod and the Islands with enrollment in public health insurance programs. The program will focus on recently unemployed residents or those whose employers have eliminated health benefits or raised employee contributions beyond their ability to pay.


7. Lynn Community Health Center $40,000

Lynn Community Health Center will use funds for their Keep Your Care Project an innovative, exciting, and urgently needed project with the ultimate goal of helping low income people in Lynn access and maintain their health care through insurance coverage, consumer education, and advocacy.

North Adams:

8. Ecu-Health Care $40,000

Ecu-Health Care will use funds to provide public health outreach, application assistance, and support accessing primary care providers. One-on-one training will educate clients on the individual mandate, minimum creditable coverage policies, and affordability regulations.


9. Caring Health Center $40,000

Caring Health Center's program will use funds to target refugees, immigrants, and other linguistic and cultural minority groups who face barriers to enrollment and health care navigation. The health center provides comprehensive primary medical care and dental services to residents in the medically underserved city of Springfield and its surrounding areas.

Turner Falls:

10. Community Health Center of Franklin County $40,000

Community Health Center of Franklin County will use funds to provide a comprehensive continuum of services including community outreach, enrollment and eligibility assistance, transportation assistance, Spanish interpretation, case management, and care coordination. The health center will target residents affected by significant social and geographic barriers to care, as well as new immigrants, migrant workers, and non-English speakers.

West Tisbury:

11. County of Dukes County $40,000

County of Dukes County will use funds to provide culturally and linguistically competent enrollment assistance, referrals, and retention services for public insurance and safety net programs, with a focus on the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities.


12. Family Health Center of Worcester $40,000

Family Health Center of Worcester will use funds for their Consumer Self-Sufficiency Program to improve access to health care and insurance coverage for low-income individuals and families, and increase patient self-sufficiency in navigating the health care system and obtaining the appropriate level of preventive and acute health care.


13. Hilltown Community Health Centers $40,000

Hilltown Community Health Centers will use funds to assist clients to access and maintain health insurance coverage, aiding them in learning how to stay enrolled in the public programs for which they are eligible. The program will also connect clients with a primary care physician and address prescription costs.

Strengthening the Voice for Access


1. Boston Center for Independent Living $35,000

The Boston Center for Independent Living will use funds to support advocacy on behalf of those living with disabilities. BCIL is a frontline civil rights organization led by people with disabilities that advocates for supports and services that enhance the independence of people with disabilities.

2. Disability Policy Consortium $35,000

The Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) will use funds to unify the voice of disability groups as a leader in the Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR) coalition, and in particular will focus the work of that coalition on the “dual eligibles” initiative, an effort to improve services for those dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. DPC will also address barriers to access such as underinsurance and advocate for the needs of those with disabilities who do not meet the federal definition of disabled.

3. Greater Boston Interfaith Organization $75,000

The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will use funds to develop and implement a strategic advocacy agenda focused on health care cost containment. The goals of this effort will be to slow the growth of health care costs and to engage consumer participation in all levels of the cost and quality debate.

4. Health Care For All $75,000

Health Care For All (HCFA) will use funds to build a movement of empowered people and organizations to create a health care system that is responsive to the needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable. HCFA will continue its advocacy in pursuit of three key objectives: ensuring maximum enrollment in existing coverage programs, preserving and strengthening public program eligibility, and identifying and representing consumer needs within delivery system reforms.

5. Health Law Advocates $60,000

Health Law Advocates will use funds to provide legal representation to low-income residents experiencing difficulty accessing or paying for needed medical services.

6. Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers $60,000

The Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) will use funds to strengthen the professional identity, foster leadership, and promote the integration of community health workers (CHWs) into the healthcare, public health, and human services workforce. MACHW will continue to organize and empower CHWs to participate in policy and advocacy, conduct direct advocacy to ensure that CHWs are integrated into guidelines for medical homes and accountable care organizations, and will participate in advocacy coalitions and campaigns focused on health care access and payment reform.

7. Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition $75,000

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition will use funds to develop its organizing framework by engaging a statewide coalition to monitor the continued implementation of health reform and its effect on immigrant communities. The program will promote positive policy change for greater immigrant access to affordable health care and educate communities to advocate for access to health care coverage including defense of the Health Safety Net.

8. Massachusetts Law Reform Institute $75,000

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute will use funds to advocate on six key issues: ensuring affordable and accessible health care for vulnerable populations, improving the administration of public coverage programs, ensuring Affordable Care Act implementation benefits low-income and vulnerable populations, protecting the rights and enhancing services for those dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. The program will ensure elders have access to services to prevent or delay institutionalization and that consumers have a voice in health care reform.

9. Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers $60,000

The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers will use funds to serve as a key resource to its membership as cost containment and payment reform continue to reshape the health care environment. The League will conduct a multi-tiered advocacy strategy on a statewide level, including analyzing and disseminating policy information, engaging its members on key issues, and collaborating with other organizations and coalitions that share community health and primary health care goals.

10. Massachusetts Public Health Association $75,000

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) will use funds to support collaborative efforts to integrate public health and prevention into health care payment reform discussions. MPHA is a statewide membership organization that undertakes advocacy, education, coalition-building and organized action to improve the public's health.

11. Massachusetts Senior Action Council $60,000

The Massachusetts Senior Action Council will use funds to enable the voice of seniors in pursuit of two key objectives. First, to defend current health coverage which is essential for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities to obtain needed services. Second, for the development of a robust advocacy strategy for improving existing health care systems, restraining health care cost growth, and redressing current inequities caused by coverage gaps and variations in quality.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thousands Enjoy 25th Annual Brockton Parade

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—It may sound unbelievable, but Brockton Garden Club member Judy Burnett stunned those around her when she said Saturday’s 25th annual Greater Brockton Holiday Parade was the first parade she had ever attended or been a part of—at least that she can remember in 61 years.
“I’ve never been to a parade,” Burnett said matter-of-factly before she and members of the Garden Club walked the parade route dressed in vintage 1930s and 1940s style hats, raccoon and fur coats and leading a trailer depicting a homey Christmas scene, including a decorated Christmas tree, fireplace with stockings, and a rocking chair.
Burnett, 61, said when she was too young to remember she may have been brought to a parade by her parents, but she cannot recall from memory ever attending a parade, and was pleasantly surprised by the thousands of spectators who lined the parade route as well as the thousands of students, parents, coaches, businesses, and a host of local organizations who marched through the streets from Legion Parkway around the Main Street area and ending at City Hall.
“I’m impressed,” Burnett said. (Pictured at right) “This was a really good parade, and what a crowd,” she said.
For its 25th holiday parade celebration, organizers highlighted those who began the parade 25 years ago.
Leading the parade as grand marshals were Ugo Paparo, and family members of John Dreystadt, who died in March at age 77.
Also leading the numerous marching bands, cheerleaders and antique cars was the only Latino heavyweight boxing champion John "the Quietman" Ruiz.
Paparo and Dreystadt met as members of the Rotary Club more than 25 years ago, and in 1986 held the first parade in the downtown area to spark more customers in the city center.
Dreystadt’s wife Sondra, better known as “Sonnie,” said she was nominated by Paparo and the other Dreystadt family members to speak for all of them during closing ceremonies at City Hall, which included the lighting of the city’s holiday tree and the announcement of the 2nd annual James Edgar Service Award.
Sonnie Dreystadt said her husband John would have been proud of Saturday’s parade—many believing it was a record breaker for attendance--and believed he was with everyone in spirit even if not in body.
“He's here with us. I can feel it," Dreystadt said.(Pictured above, right with James Edgar Award winner Kristina Lutz. Inset, John Dreystadt)
Kevin Brower, business service officer at HarborOne Credit Union, one of the parade’s sponsors said the 60 degree temperature Saturday likely helped bring the crowd to record-breaking numbers, and pointed out a little history.
“The parade started out being held on Friday nights,” Brower said.
Brower unexpectedly had to take on Master of Ceremonies duties Saturday because usual parade leaders John and Paul Merian, co-owners of Tuxedos by Merian, had to miss the parade after Paul took a terrible spill from a ladder cleaning his gutters Friday.
The Merian brothers also provide narration and commentary on Brockton Community Access, the city’s local cable station.
Brower said once word of Merian’s fall spread, everyone involved came together to help and make sure the parade would go on Saturday as planned.
“They would have wanted it to go on without a hitch,” Brower said.
Merian is listed in stable condition at Boston Medical Center.
One of the highlights of the ceremony after the parade was the acceptance of the James Edgar Service Award by Kristina Lutz, who helped spearhead reconstruction and fundraising efforts to bring new playgrounds to the Brookfield and Howard Elementary Schools.
Lutz is also a mother, wife, paraprofessional at Brookfield School and is a volunteer basketball coach.
Lutz said she was proud of the award, but pointed to many others who helped bring the new playgrounds to the schools.
“This wasn’t just me,” Lutz said. “Many, many, many people went into this,” she said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weymouth Murder Victim Alleged To Have Stolen Pills

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Had 24-year-old Caylin Rudolph not been allegedly murdered by her brother Donald in Weymouth, she would have been scheduled to appear in Brockton Superior Court to face one count of larceny of a drug.
According to a Brockton Police report, Rudolph was to receive a summons for the alleged theft of 29 Clonazepam pills, a charge made by Wenonah Bowen, who periodically stayed at a Brockton rooming house at 220 N. Main St. (Rudolph pictured at top)
Bowen’s complaint was filed with Brockton Police on Oct. 6, at 6:41 a.m. (Bowen pictured second from top)
No other charges are listed against Rudolph in Quincy or Brockton courts.
“Had she not been killed she would have been in court,” said Brockton Police Capt. Manuel Gomes, who noted Rudolph’s death in the gruesome Weymouth triple homicide was a sad situation.
In the report, Bowen states she worked with Caylin Rudolph at the Aria Day Spa in Brockton, which was raided Oct. 22 by police units assigned to the Attorney General’s Office.
The state Division of Professional Licensure shows Rudolph was a registered aesthetician and Bowen a licensed massage therapist. The state agency does not list places of occupation.
Aria Day Spa owner, Terry Mussari, 45, of Stoughton, has been charged with deriving support from prostitution for activities at the Aria Day Spa in Brockton and two others in Canton and Norwood.
The AG’s office also alleges employees at the day spas were selling drugs to customers and among themselves.
Caylin Rudolph was issued an aesthetician's license in May 2005 from Weymouth Vocational High School.
The license expired on Oct. 21, the day of her 24th birthday.
Authorities believe Caylin Rudolph was murdered, along with her mother Paula, and her mother's boyfriend Frederick Medina, by brother Donald Rudolph in Weymouth on the night of Nov. 10.
Gomes said it often takes several weeks to several months before complaints are scheduled for hearings and in Rudolph’s case a hearing had not been scheduled prior to Rudolph’s murder.
In light of Rudolph’s death, Gomes said the charge against Rudolph, which is a felony, likely will not proceed through the courts.
It is unclear what would have happened to the charges against Rudolph had the summons for a court date been processed completely before her murder.
Bowen, 39, who in court documents lists 220 North Main St., Brockton and 937 Plymouth St. in Abington as her addresses, faces four cases of her own--including two sex for a fee charges--in Brockton Superior Court.
In Bowen’s complaint against Rudolph, documents show Bowen states when she awoke on the morning of Oct. 6, 2011 she noticed the cap was loose on her bottle of Clonazepam, a much prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-seizure drug, which she filled the day before.
Bowen told police she should have had 90 pills in the bottle.
Bowen told police she was missing 29 pills and Bowen suspected Rudolph, who Bowen said was at the rooming house the day before.
The summons report continues:
“The victim states her boyfriend is the only other one who would have had access and he did not take them. The suspect was in her room last night with the victim’s pocketbook where the pills were kept. The suspect was aware that the victim filled the prescription yesterday. The victim stated the suspect is not answering her cell phone this morning. Ms. Bowen states she works with Ms. Rudolph at Aria Day Spa and is aware that she has a drug habit.”
Rudolph's remaining family members could not be reached for comment.
Bowen faces a number of legal matters, and from court documents and interviews it is unclear what may have happened to Bowen's pills.
One charge against Bowen dates from April, 6, 2011 when Bowen was charged with subsequent offense operating a motor vehicle with registration suspended and uninsured motor vehicle.
Two months later, on June 5, Bowen was arrested by Abington Police after several residents in Abington contacted police about a woman going door-to-door claiming she was collecting money for charity, including for victims of recent natural disasters.
Abington Police have charged Bowen with larceny under $250 by single scheme.
In Brockton on Oct. 7—the day after she lodged the complaint against Rudolph--Bowen was arrested for assault and battery after a fight she had with her then-boyfriend James Bernard Green, who lives at 220 N. Main St. (Rooming house pictured above)
Bowen left 220 N. Main after the fight and headed to a nearby Hess gas station where she called police at about 9:41 a.m.
When police investigated the situation, it was Bowen who was arrested and charged with assault and battery.
Herbert Matta, cousin of Ron Matta, who unsuccessfully ran against Linda Balzotti for mayor earlier this month, said Bowen had some type of relationship with James Bernard Green, known as “Tex,” and would stay at the rooming house Matta owns and was born in at 220 N. Main St.
Matta is the second prominent Brockton family to have a possible connection to the Aria Day Spa.
Philip Nessralla Jr., the city’s head attorney, helped Mussari incorporate her business in 2004 as a part of his private practice, and as a member of Rock Meadow LLC, owns Michael’s Plaza where Aria Day Spa operated until the raid.
Nessralla has said he had no idea what was taking place at Aria Day Spa and his filing of Mussari’s incorporation papers was routine.
Matta said he had no knowledge that Bowen or Rudolph may have worked at Aria Day Spa. Matta said he has never met Rudolph, but knows Bowen.
Matta said he did not know where either woman may have worked.
James Bernard Green, who declined comment, states in court documents Bowen is a recovering heroin addict and was doing well until she was prescribed Clonazepam, which she began abusing.
Matta, who is a witness in the assault and battery case, said Bowen was in “Never, Never Land,” at the time of the charge against Rudolph and the assault and battery against Green.
Matta said he suspects Bowen does not recall taking her own pills and would doubt any accusations she made against Green or Rudolph.
Matta said police charged Bowen because she went crazy on Green, who is a quasi-manager at the rooming house, including scratching him and biting his chest—injuries that were visible to police.
In an unusual step, Bowen’s court-appointed attorney, Daniel Kallenberg Jr., who has an office in Brockton at 1265 Belmont St., has asked the court to release Green’s and Matta’s probation records, and requests $500 for an investigator in Bowen’s defense on the simple, misdemeanor assault charge.
Kallenberg did not return repeated calls for comment.
Matta said about 7 to 10 years ago he was arrested and charged with assault and battery and breaking and entering when a woman at the 220 N. Main St. rooming house accused him of entering her room without permission.
He said the woman was causing problems and he had to take care of the situation.
"She said I didn't have permission to go into my own house," Matta said.
Matta said the charges were eventually dismissed.
Bowen’s legal matters increased on Oct. 25 and Nov. 3 when she was charged by Brockton Police for sexual conduct for a fee.
Court documents state in the Oct. 25 arrest, a Brockton Police detective working a prostitution sting, while driving in an unmarked vehicle, made eye contact with Bowen near Spring and Walnut streets.
He asked Bowen if she was working.
Police reports state Bowen said she was working and the detective asked her how much it would cost for fellatio—although the officer used the street term for the sex act.
Allegedly Bowen, who documents show has several tattoos, including one on her buttocks that reads, “guys ass,” said he should ask for “adult entertainment,” and her prices start at $40.
The officer asked if he could get fellatio for $50 and Bowen agreed.
The officer said he had to go to an ATM to get money. The officer then contacted another police officer who moved in and arrested Bowen.
In most court documents Bowen lists that she is unemployed.
However, in documents associated with the Oct. 25 arrest, she states she is self-employed and works at a place called Healing Hands.
Bowen is due back in Brockton court Dec. 2, the same day Caylin Rudolph's brother is due back in Quincy court for a pretrial hearing on the Weymouth murder charges.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Santa Hat Wearers Shatter Record

BROCKTON--Nearly 1,800 people gathered in Brockton's downtown to celebrate the holiday season and once again break the city's own record for the most people in one place wearing Santa hats.
John Merian, owner of Tuxedos by Merian, who is trying to turn the city's downtown into "Christmas Town," said organizers tallied 1,792 tickets and exceeded expectations during Sunday's holiday primer.
"It was a great day," Merian said.
Thousands turned out on an unusually warm day and enjoyed music, raffles and a celebratory atmosphere.
The 1,792 people who wore Santa hats blew away Brockton's record of 872 set last year.
On Friday, more than 2,500 Brockton High students donned red felt hats and more than 14,000 were given to Brockton's school children before Sunday's tally, but that didn't stop thousands from joining in the fun.
"We're wearing our Santa hats," said Deanna Greenstein, who joined the third annual Santa Hat Day for the first time with her 20-month-old daughter Sadie, 5-year-old son Damon and 4-year-old son Ashton.
Numerous organizations hosted games and information about their groups, and hundreds followed Santa, a costumed reindeer and snowman courtesy of radio station WROR.
Merian--who launched the Santa Hat Challenge three years ago as a way to spark downtown business and awareness of Brockton's James Edgar, considered the first department store Santa--is a featured interview in a new docummentary, "Becoming Santa," which is expected to be aired on the Oprah Network next month.
Click here to visit the documentary's website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rooney Meeting Lasts Minute--Lifetime

By Lisa E. Crowley
If Andy Rooney wasn’t late for his presentation during a journalism conference in Hartford, and I wasn’t late for Andy Rooney’s presentation during that conference in Hartford, we never would have met in a cramped elevator.
Of course I was late…I often am.
During one of those late-Lisa moments I nearly backed into Andy Rooney in a hotel elevator.
Along with doing whatever else to be late for his program, I ran back to my hotel room to get Rooney’s book, “Not That You Asked,” printed way back in 1989. The conference Rooney was speaking at was sometime between 2000 and 2002. I can’t remember exactly.
Anyway, late as usual, I squeezed myself into an elevator packed with people heading down to the lobby about 8 floors away.
I didn’t look at any of the people as I got in. I just wedged myself in, trying not to run over the people who were already in the sardine can. I faced the closing metal doors--we were so tightly packed my nose practically touched the doors--and wondered how much of Rooney's presentation I might have already missed.
As I was thinking to myself, it dawned on me the whole car was silent.
I thought that was odd since it was full of people. At least 20, maybe more. We were packed in row after row, back to front.
But no sound. No talk. Usually somebody says something to somebody, even if it’s “excuse me,” for stepping on feet or bumping each other as the car moved.
Nothing but silence.
While thinking this, I got a nudge in my side from one of my fellow reporters. I looked at her and she cocked her head and eyes to the small, older man in the gray suit directly behind me.
I swiveled my head and immediately recognized Andy Rooney.
My eyes opened wide and so did my mouth.
I bellowed: “Hi Andy Rooney! Guess I’m not late for your talk,” and nearly elbowed him in the gut as I maneuvered in the small space to face him.
That would be my luck--break Rooney's rib with an elbow trying to say "Hi."
He cracked a smile and said, “No, guess not, but I am.”
God knows what I said after that, something like it didn’t matter if he was late, or sorry, didn't mean to almost put you in the hospital.
For the ride down to the lobby, Andy Rooney and I were best buddies.
He asked me where I was from and I told him outside of Boston.
Rooney said he loved visiting Boston, and that his daughter Emily worked in the city.
I was happy to tell him I knew of his daughter Emily Rooney from WGBH, Boston’s public broadcasting station.
He was obviously proud of Emily and happy to know I knew her work.
He knew the Patriot Ledger, where I was working at the time, and we had a grand conversation in that 45-to-60 second time frame as the elevator headed to the lobby.
Rooney’s crusty, grumpy TV personality was nowhere to be found.
Curmudgeon my eye—try cream puff!
On the ground floor, Rooney pointed to the book under my arm, which of course I had forgotten about, and he asked me if I’d like him to sign it for me.
“You won’t have to waste time in line later,” Rooney said, knowing hundreds would be lined up after his talk for autographs—the only time I got a hint of his cynical side.
When I passed the book to him, his famous bushy brows rose up in surprise, when he saw it was more than 10 years old.
"That's an old one--everyone's got the new one," he said, adding I must have dug into the attic for that old relic.
I said no--it's on my bookshelf next to the AP stylebook and Molly Ivins' "Molly Ivins Can't Say That--Can She?"
He smiled and said, "that's good company."
As he opened the cover to sign it, Rooney asked what I wanted him to write. I said I didn't know, but whatever he wrote to make it out to my then-boyfriend,(now husband) Tom, who was the one who bought, read, enjoyed and kept the book since 1989--seven years before we started dating.
I was just an emissary on this one.
Rooney chuckled and said something like I picked a smart man with good taste.
He signed the book: “To Tom, not Lisa from Andy Rooney.”
We shook hands, exchanged farewells and he went to give his talk, and I found a seat in the conference room to listen.
Because I was late there were only seats in the back and except for a few shoulder movements and some gray hair, I couldn't see a thing.
And, yes, I did not have to wait in line for more than an hour to have him sign Tom’s book.
I pretty much got way more than I bargained for that day. Thanks Andy Rooney for that moment and so many others—funny, sad, insightful, and all of the other adjectives used to describe your one-of-a-kind commentaries on 60 Minutes.
Farewell Andy Rooney. The Crowley household will miss you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hallucinatory Teen Heads For Psych Exam In Weymouth Triple Murder

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Accused triple-murderer Donald Rudolph, an 18-year-old with a history of paranoid schizophrenia was placed on probation Sept. 14 by Quincy District Court officials after shooting two women with a BB gun from the yard of his father’s rooming house in Quincy.
Today, two months later, Rudolph has been held without bail and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital after prosecutors and court documents shaped a story of mental illness, violence, robbery and drug use leading up to last Thursday night’s grisly murders of Rudolph’s 50-year-old mother Paula, his 24-year-old sister Caylin and Paula Rudolph’s 52-year-old boyfriend Frederick Medina.
A plea of not guilty was entered on Rudolph’s behalf by attorney John Darrell, who told reporters outside the court house his client does not remember the killings and had to be told why he was appearing in court.
Darrell said the case could not proceed until Rudolph understood what had happened and what he was being accused of.
“He suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations and he’s having them now,” Darrell said.
Assistant District Attorney Craig Kowalski told a courtroom filled with anguished and audibly horrified family and friends of the Rudolphs and Medina,that Medina and sister Caylin suffered from multiple stab wounds.
Kowalski said Medina’s throat was cut and his body was covered with several dozen Beanie Bag stuffed animals—one which was crammed into Medina’s mouth.
While Rudolph’s lawyer told reporters Rudolph does not remember anything of last Thursday night, Nov. 10, reports from police who arrived at the scene and found the bodies tell a different story and indicate Rudolph attempted to clean-up the crimes.
“I’m f*****d, I’m f****d, “ Rudolph allegedly told Weymouth Police at about 8 p.m. when police found him trying to crawl out of a basement window after a neighbor reported suspicious activity at the house at 10 Upland Road.
Police spotted a silhouette moving through the house in a “tiptoe” fashion and while they called for the person inside to come to the door, Rudolph was caught up to his “torso” in a basement window trying to escape.
Rudolph was asked by police to come out of the house.
When Rudolph did, police found his hands were covered in blood.
Officers and detectives did not yet know the hollow and dark-eyed young man they were placing in handcuffs had brutally murdered his mother, her live-in boyfriend and his sister.
Rudolph was asked what he meant by his swear-filled comments.
Rudolph allegedly said, “you’ll see when you go in there.”
Weymouth officers and detectives began to search the two-story bungalow, which is tucked into a close knit Weymouth neighborhood near Whitman’s Pond.
An officer entered the kitchen and found a hammer and knife covered in blood on the kitchen table.
The instruments of death were partially covered with a place mat wrapped around them.
The officer then went to a doorway leading from the kitchen to the living room and while shining a flashlight in the dark house, abruptly stopped at what he saw.
Frederick Medina was found lying on his back with a slice wound across his neck and multiple stab wounds to his body.
On the floor to the left of Medina’s head, covered in a pool of blood, were several silver knives.
A Beanie Bag stuffed animal was in Medina’s mouth and his body was covered with several dozen of the toys.
It was then the officer warned other police they were in a crime scene.
A search ensued for Paula Rudolph who the neighbor had told police was likely in the house.
Officers found two rooms upstairs that had been locked.
Police kicked in the doors, but found only a burning candle in one of the rooms—both described as female’s bedrooms.
Police found other rooms with locked doors on the main floor, but no Paula Rudolph.
In the basement, where Rudolph had tried to escape through a window, Paula Rudolph still was not found, but police noted the stairs to the basement were extremely slippery and were covered with a liquid substance described as smelling like Pledge furniture polish.
With the house searched and still no Paula Rudolph, officers headed to a one-car garage at the rear of the house.
Officers saw one door to the garage. It had blood on the threshold.
Police tried to open the door, but it would only move a few inches because something was leaning against it.
An officer pushed his head in through the crack and realized a body was blocking the door.
Police entered the garage through a window to avoid harming evidence at the door.
They found Paula Rudolph dead against the door. She had been bludgeoned to death.
Not far away was Paula Rudolph’s daughter and Donald Rudolph’s sister Caylin, stabbed and beaten to death.
It is unclear where Paula and Caylin Rudolph may have been killed, although Kowalski said mother and daughter were killed before Medina.
Police reports note blood and a spray bottle of what appeared to be cleaning fluid were found on the outside of a bulkhead.
There was blood on the ground outside the bulkhead door and drag marks leading through the grass and dirt from the bulkhead to the garage door.
While family, friends and neighbors have said Donald Rudolph’s decline has been taking place for years-- including a stint living with former New England Patriots player Ronnie Lippett, whose jaw Rudolph reportedly broke when Rudolph was living with Lippett as part of a Lutheran social service program—Rudolph’s troubles with the law took a turn in April 2011, when he was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon when a Quincy woman contacted police reporting she had been shot in the thigh by a BB while walking near a rooming house on Washington Street where Rudolph was living with his father, Donald.
Officers searched the porch where Rudolph lived and found a BB, or pellet rifle with a scope on the porch.
The next day, April 7, a day after interviewing two BB-gun shot victims, witnesses, and Rudolph, Rudolph was asked to Quincy Police headquarters for an interview, where police reports indicate after being read his Miranda rights and signing a waiver, Rudolph admitted to intentionally shooting the two women after more than 2 hours of questioning.
During the interrogation, Rudolph stated he was not on any drugs or alcohol.
Rudolph told police he bought the BB gun at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Brockton and used a gift card.
The two assault charges, felonies, carry a sentence of up to 2 ½ years in Plymouth County House of Correction.
He was arraigned in May and released on his personal recognizance.
Rudolph received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation beginning Sept. 14. The conditions of Rudolph’s probation included enrolling in a mental health program and complying with recommendations from that program. He was also ordered to take prescribed medications, not possess any weapons and have no contact with the victims.
However, Rudolph’s freedom on bail for the BB gun incidents and his probation were threatened on October 13, 2011 when a complaint was filed by Weymouth Police after a neighbor--Beverly McDermott, the same neighbor who called Thursday night to alert police to what turned out to be the triple murder--reported on Sept. 3 her house had been burglarized and jewelry, foreign currency, cash, cuff links and a pain-itch medication had been stolen from the house.
Witnesses pointed to Donald Rudolph as one of a ring of culprits from the Weymouth neighborhood. Over the next few weeks, police contacted Paula Rudolph who told police her son suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is not taking his medications.
Paula Rudolph told police Donald was living with his father, her ex-husband, in Quincy and a backpack Donald left at her house at 10 Upland Road was not hers and she did not want it on her property. The backpack contained a BB-firing pistol and a container of BBs. Police confiscated the backpack as evidence.
Also, Paula Rudolph, according to court documents, had talked with her ex-husband about their son and the ex-husband affirmed Rudolph had arrived at the rooming house with coins, foreign currency and other items.
The father also told Paula Rudolph Donald “took” 23 klonopin (sic) pills.
Eventually police met with Rudolph’s father Donald Sr., at his rooming house in Quincy. The father said the teenager sometimes stays with him and was there when police arrived. The father let police in and through his efforts was able to talk his reluctant son into letting police look in a closet in the room.
Police reports show the jewelry, coins, foreign currency and cuff links McDermott reported stolen were found in the closet.
Also found was a baseball autographed by Red Sox players, and in a container a small marijuana cigarette and 23 klonopins (sic).
Rudolph was charged with receiving, buying or aiding in the concealment of stolen property not exceeding $250—a felony with a sentence of up to 2 ½ years in Plymouth House of Correction, a $250 fine or both.
The complaint was issued October 23 and court documents show court officials filed motions to charge Rudolph with probation violation and possible revocation of his bail.
Rudolph was scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment Tuesday, Nov. 29 on the stolen property charges.
Instead, Rudolph is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and faces life in prison for the murders of his mother, his mother’s boyfriend and his sister.
He returns to court on the murder charges Dec. 2.
(Photos from top: Rudolph booking photo; Paula Rudolph's house at 10 Upland Road; Caylin Rudolph's photo from her Facebook page; Family photo from surviving sister Brittany's Facebook page; garage where Paula and Caylin Rudolph were found by police)

Gun Wielding Constable Due In Court

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—A South Shore constable who is accused of pulling a gun on a dead-beat dad at Trinity Catholic Academy is expected in Brockton District Court next month for a clerk's hearing to face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and reckless endangerment of a minor.
According to court filings, Adam Loomis, 27, a constable in Scituate and Quincy, is scheduled to appear Thursday Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. before a clerk magistrate to address the two felony charges in connection with an arrest Loomis made with his father Jerold on the private Catholic school’s property.
Brockton Police Capt. Emanuel Gomes said it was the first he heard of the hearing and expects a summons to arrive soon.
However, he was surprised the matter has been scheduled for a clerk’s hearing and not an arraignment.
“That’s unusual for felony charges,” Gomes said. “Both are felony charges,” he added.
Court officials said the Dec. 1 hearing is not open to the public.
If a clerk decides the matter should move forward, documents and hearings in the case will then be open to the public.
Loomis is accused of endangering the children of George Haikal, who was dropping off his two sons at the school Oct. 11, when Loomis and his father Jerold moved toward Haikal’s car to arrest Haikal for back payment of more than $45,000 in child support payments.
Witnesses, including Brockton City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli who works at the school, have said Haikal’s vehicle jumped forward and Adam Loomis drew a gun from a holster on his hip in response to the movement and pointed the weapon at the windshield of the car Haikal was driving.
There were more than 100 students in the playground at the time and school officials immediately hustled the children into the building and locked-down the facility for about 10 minutes.
Brockton Police brought the two charges forward Oct. 21 after an investigation into the matter.
Gomes has said police concluded the vehicle’s lunge forward was not willful and there was no indication Haikal accelerated the car forward.
Following the incident, DeNapoli told Haikal was being grabbed by the neck and dragged out of the car by Jerold Loomis, while the son Adam was at the front of the vehicle.
Loomis’ lawyer, Glenn Hannington, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The December hearing is not the only issue Loomis faces in connection to the school incident.
Gomes said Quincy and Scituate have contacted Brockton for reports about the incident and may consider revoking Loomis’ constable license in both those towns.
Also, Gomes said, Rockland has inquired about the matter.
Adam Loomis lives in Rockland and his permit to carry a firearm is approved through that community.
Gomes said it is unclear what those communities will do, but he has forwarded officials whatever information has been asked for.
“They could revoke his constable license, or his firearms license in Rockland, or they could wait and see what happens in court,” Gomes said.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Council Seat Run An Education, Newcomer Says

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Councilor-at-large candidate Kate Archard said she met with Brockton Election Commission officials this morning and is satisfied that all of the votes in Tuesday’s election have been calculated properly and she will not seek a recount.
“There were something between 150 and 180 absentee ballots—we were hoping there would be more,” Archard said.
Archard, with the support of Stop The Power forces, fell short of unseating any of the four incumbents who sought election to their councilor-at-large seats.
She was 248 votes behind Todd Petti, the only councilor who has been in favor of a proposed 350-megawatt natural gas power plant planned for the Brockton-West Bridgewater border.
Archard said Tuesday night she might seek a recount because of the woeful electronic data management associated with the city’s water billing debacle.
However, after meeting with commissioners this morning she is satisfied every ballot has been counted and the absentee ballots were not enough to force the city to spend $5,000 to hold a recount.
“I’m disappointed, but I learned a lot,” Archard said.
She said it is unclear if a mailing from Stop The Power’s financier Eddie Beyers that notably left off Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart’s name as a staunch opponent of the power plant hurt her cause, but noted many observers believed it was a misstep.
However, she said the mailing was something Beyers did on his own and felt strongly about.
She said as a newcomer she had many obstacles to overcome, including the several years head-start each of her opponents have had building committees and voter support during past elections.
Archard said she will remain involved in city politics as well as her numerous volunteer endeavors.

Alleged Spa Madam Faces More Legal Issues

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton’s Aria Day Spa and two others in Canton and Norwood involved in a recent prostitution and drug raid will not be allowed to offer customers massages after state officials realized none of the three spas have a required license to operate a massage therapy business.
Jason Lefferts, a spokesman for the state Division of Professional Licensure, said last Thursday cease and desist orders were sent to Terry Mussari, a 45-year-old Stoughton resident, who faces prostitution charges after a raid by the law enforcement officials working with the state Attorney General’s Office Oct. 22.
“She had a message therapist license for herself, but not for the establishments,” Lefferts said. “Each of the spas needs an establishment license and none of them had one,” he said.
Lefferts said he couldn’t answer why state officials did not catch the glitch, even after several inspections of Mussari’s spas in Brockton and Norwood.
“I can’t answer that,” Lefferts said.
He said the matter is an ongoing investigation and the Board of Cosmetology will issue a show cause order to Mussari who will have the opportunity with her lawyer, Kevin Reddington, to submit information about the matter and then the board will hold a hearing to decide if an establishment license should be issued for one or all of Mussari’s spas.
The AG’s office also alleges employees at the spa were selling drugs to customers and to themselves.
Mussari has pleaded not guilty and has hired Brockton lawyer Kevin Reddington to fight the allegations. Another woman, Terri Burgess, 31, was also arrested in the raid for outstanding warrants.
Since Mussari's arrest, the spas have shown few signs of operations, and telephone calls to each have gone unanswered.
State Sen. Thomas Kennedy, who represents Brockton, said he wants Mussari’s charges to be investigated by the Division of Professional Licensure even as Mussari’s case works its way through the courts.
Kennedy said when the division investigated Mussari she passed a Criminal Offenders Record Inquiry which did not take into account a prior investigation into illegal activities at her spas.
Kennedy noted thus far Mussari has not been convicted of the charges against her, which the states regulations ostensibly would prevent the issuance of a massage therapy license.
However, Kennedy said, the regulations have a so-called morals clause, that the licensee should be of good moral character.
Kennedy declined to answer if Mussari is a person of good moral character, and that decision would be left to the board.
“This will be a good test of the regulation,” Kennedy said.
Mussari’s licenses are not the only avenue investigators are following in connection with her arrest.
Fox 25 has reported an employee of the spas has accused police officers of paying for legitimate massages then tipping cash for sex in a back room.
Also, State Police trooper David Lemar has been suspended without pay as a part of the ongoing investigation into the day spas.
Lemar has denied any wrongdoing.
According to court documents, an undercover state trooper had several conversations with Mussari about sexual services her employees could provide, including an alleged private party at the Aria Day Spa scheduled for Oct. 22 when Mussari agreed to provide 12 different girls to a group of men who would come to the party.
Documents state the cost for the girls would be $1,720.
The day of the party, which turned out to be the day of Mussari’s arrest, court records state the undercover state police officer paid the money owed to Mussari and it was discussed between him and Mussari that he would “go first” and the other 11 girls would be at Aria Day Spa later that night for the rest of the men.
Records state once the balance was paid, the undercover state trooper was taken to a private room where two different female employees came into the room separately and offered to provide the officer with sex acts, as was arranged with Mussari.
After the second female offered to perform a sexual act, the trooper gave a prearranged signal to surveillance officers who executed search warrants at all three spas.