ALL EDITIONS SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 008 LENGTH: 304 words HEADLINE: Mass. Guard fights pension KO law BYLINE: By Dave Wedge BODY:
While lawmakers and veterans groups scramble to improve soldiers' benefits, a little-known Massachusetts law can block state pensions for National Guard members who serve in out-of-state units - even if they've dodged bullets overseas.
Under the law, government employees can have their Guard time credited toward their pensions, unless they served with a non-Massachusetts National Guard unit.
The rule is often overlooked by local retirement boards but was used to deny a pension for Martin Novia, a former New Bedford cop who served overseas with the Rhode Island National Guard's Special Forces unit.
``The law is in place as a recognition that they are serving their country and we choose to give them this pension benefit. (Soldiers) should not be penalized for serving out-of-state, especially given the work the Guard has been doing of late in Afghanistan and Iraq,'' said state Rep. Robert Koczera (D-New Bedford).
Koczera is filing a bill this week to allowany state's National Guard service to be credited toward Massachusetts pensions. A similar proposal by Gov. Mitt Romney never made it through the Legislature.
Novia, who fought crime for 16 years on New Bedford's gritty streets and is now a member of the Vermont National Guard, is currently appealing the New Bedford Retirement Board's decision.
``I think they took my retirement application and looked for every way they could to not give it to me,'' Novia said.
National Guard Lt. Col. Paul G. Smith praised Koczera's bill, noting that many Bay State soldiers join specialized units stationed out-of-state.
``It makes sense to recognize someone's service in another state,'' Smith said. ``If somebody is providing for national security by serving in New Hampshire or Rhode Island, that is certainly as valid as someone performing that function in Massachusetts.'' LOAD-DATE: July 18, 2005
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The Boston Herald July 17, 2005 Sunday
ALL EDITIONS SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 008 LENGTH: 712 words HEADLINE: POLS & POLITICS BODY:
Albertson: Clerk with connections
When the sister of theCity Council president and daughter of a sitting judge is nominated to be clerk of South Boston District Court, you can be sure that tongues will start wagging.
But Margaret (Flaherty) Albertson will be one clerk who really is qualified, said the former prosecutor's boss and ex-Suffolk DA Ralph Martin.
``She defies whatever the stereotype is coming from a family that has the political lineage that her family has,'' Martin said. ``She is a consummate professional.''
After all, she can't help being related to City Council President Mike Flaherty Jr., who declined comment, or Boston Municipal Court Judge Michael F. Flaherty.
But one wag keeping score couldn't help commenting, ``That's pretty good, they have a judge and a clerk. Most families don't get either.''
Albertson's Governor's Council interview is scheduled July 27.
State House blasts:
- Eyebrows were raised at the State House last week when one of Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi's pet projects - tax breaks for filmmakers - met some unusual opposition. Who was one of the four representatives voting no on the bill touted by DiMasi? DiMasi's longtime friend and colleague, Rep. Angelo Scaccia (D-Hyde Park.) File under: That's a wrap.
- The governor's communications director is showcasing his press-spinning skills around the State House. Last week, Eric Fehrnstrom, a former Herald reporter, was center stage at a media training session for House lawmakers and their aides on how to deal with reporters.
Remember, Rep., smile when you say no comment!
Can Irish bookies accurately predict a U.S. Supreme Court nominee?
Chief Justice William Rehnquist's announcement that he will stay on, leaving President Bush to fill only the vacancy created by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement, has online bettors on a Dublin Web site reshuffling the odds.
At $20 bid and $22.50 asked, Judge Emilio Garza of Texas, who sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, is the odds-on favorite. He is followed by Judge Michael Luttig, a Texan by birth who sits on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Va. Luttig comes in at $5.20 bid and $7.40 asked. But a surprise late entry and closing fast is yet another Texan: Judge Edith Hollan Jones of the 5th Circuit Court, at $5 bid and $14.80 asked.
Pundits beware. The latest Internet craze of ``vlogs'' is threatening to do for TV Sunday-morning punditry what blogs did for newspaper columnists. The term comes from ``blogs'' and ``video,'' says Wired News. Conservatives are trying to catch this wave early, and there are already pro-Iraq-war and pro-fast-food vlogs floating around.
Kevin Rothstein, Maggie Mulvihill and the Scripps Howard News Service contributed.
Conservatives gasped when they learned the Arizona senator appeared in an R-rated (and R doesn't stand for Republican) movie, ``Wedding Crashers,'' which has risque language and ahem, adult content. But you've got to love his reasoning for going Hollywood: ``It impresses my kids.''
The California gov was forced to sever his multimillion-dollar relationship with bodybuilding magazines, which rely on fitness supplement ads. Ahhhhnold vetoed proposed government regulations for such supplements. And no, Hollywood special effects won't save him on this one.
CBS4 POLITICAL ANALYST JON KELLER'S SPINOMETER
``If you have a world view that . . . affirms alternative views of sexuality, that can lead to a lot of people taking it the wrong way.'' - Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) ``explaining'' why Boston-area liberalism fueled the Catholic clergy sex scandal
Earth to Rick - it's hard to imagine a much more conservative environment than the Boston archdiocese during the heyday of the clergy child abuse. It was led by two arch-conservative prelates, Cardinals Medeiros and Law. And wasn't Bernie Law a close confidante of George H.W. Bush, that well-known libertine? Even if we give you Paul Shanley, whose hepcat street-preacher scam was somewhat enabled by gullible liberals, you're still shockingly short on actual facts. And if you have a world view that affirms unsubstantiated slander, maybe political power and you aren't a good match. LOAD-DATE: July 17, 2005
Two Bay State men this week were awarded top honors by two branches of the U.S. military.
Sgt. Daniel Cotnoir, 33, of Lawrence was named 2005 Marine of the Year and Gregory Gibbons, 26, of Chelmsford was recognized as 2005 Coast Guardsman of the Year by The Military Times at a ceremony in Washington on Wednesday.
Cotnoir was originally deployed to Iraq as a Reserve small-arms repairman. But shortly after being mobilized, he was assigned as a mortuary affairs specialist, owing to his civilian occupation as the director of the Racicot Funeral Home in Lawrence.
The assignment involved the difficult task of collecting and identifying the remains of fellow Marines killed in action.
``The assignment wasn't exactly what I wanted,'' Cotnoir said. ``But I realized that it would be the best thing for me. It gave me a chance to help the Marines overall.''
Gibbons,an aviation maintenance technician third-class, was honored for saving six people during a frigid storm off the coast of Alaska. The rescue came after a Coast Guard helicopter was swept into the sea while rescuing survivors from a grounded Malayasian freighter.
Gibbons, who is now stationed in San Fransisco, said he was honored and humbled to receive the award but wanted to recognize those overseas in Iraq and those Coast Guardsmen entrusted with homeland security.
``They're my heroes,'' Gibbons said. ``I want to give some of the recognition back to them.'' LOAD-DATE: July 16, 2005
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The Boston Herald July 15, 2005 Friday
ALL EDITIONS SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. 024 LENGTH: 744 words HEADLINE: LETTERS BODY:
The members of the Islamic Center of Boston join their fellow Americans and all people of conscience in the world in unequivocally condemning the senseless acts of violence that were committed in London on July 7 (July 8).
No cause or excuse can be used to justify the taking of innocent lives and causing of wanton destruction and injury. The Holy Koran teaches us that the killing of one innocent human being is as if one has killed the whole of humanity. As followers of the Islamic faith, all of us repudiate this barbarism in the strongest possible terms and ask that every thing possible be done to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.
Congratulations to reporter Jessica Heslam for her timely article on the prescription error that caused injury to 4-year-old Cyira Gillard (``Tot hospitalized after CVS pharmacist flubs prescription,'' July 12). Herald readers should know that these avoidable errors are usually caused by pharmacists who are required by their corporate employers to work 12-hour shifts filling hundreds of prescriptions per day. One could conclude that multimillion-dollar conglomerates value profits more than the safety of the families that they purport to serve.
As a pharmacist, I filled more than 200,000 prescriptions before deciding to change professions.
- Michael T. Lennon, Boston
Buchanan lacks logic
Columnist Pat Buchanan's claim that ``the 9/11 terrorists were over here because we were over there'' is patently absurd (``Occupying foreign land often goads terrorists,'' July 13). The terrorists responsible for 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, neither of which were occupied by the United States. Buchanan should not make excuses for murderers.
As for author Robert Pape, who asserts that Iraq never had a suicide bombing before American intervention, I suggest he review the staggering cases of murder and torture under Saddam Hussein., that may not have been suicide bombings, but were none-the-less the cause of thousands of deaths.
- Ellis Wingett, Norwood
Hazards snuff hookah fun
Reporter Tenley Woodman's story celebrates a tradition of one of the world's most unhealthy habits: smoking (``Pipe dreams: Hookahs are igniting night life in Boston,'' July 11). Hookahs, or water pipes, may be unusual and trendy, but people should know the health risks.
Smoke from hookah pipes contains carbon dioxide, tar and heavy metals, often in higher levels than those found in cigarettes. Lung and bladder cancer rates are higher among water-pipe smokers than among nonsmokers, and they are also at risk for pulmonary disease and other malignancies.
The tobacco industry has a history of using culture to market its deadly products as positive. Africans, Asian-Pacific islanders and Native-Americans are constantly targeted. From hip-hop to hookahs, Mideast or Northeast, tobacco companies want us to keep smoking.
I'm baffled by the Herald's editorial (``Dems in a frenzy over Rove leaks,'' July 15).
You say Karl Rove didn't reveal Valerie Plame's name, but that's quibbling on par with ``It depends on what your definition of `is' is.'' Rove revealed her identity, and that's what counts. If, as the Herald claims, Plame was a desk jockey and the disclosure did no harm to national security, why did the CIA file a criminal referral?
I know we're in a period of bitter partisanship, but political leanings aside, I would think we can all agree that blowing a covert CIA agent's cover for political purposes is unacceptable, deplorable, and if not criminal, it should be.
- Rochelle Sivan, Framingham
No life for death penalty
Gov. Mitt Romney proposes to reinstate the death penalty (``Unjust cause lives on,'' July 13). He claims to have a foolproof bill resting on a gold standard of modern forensic science. But human error, racial disparity, insufficient scientific evidence, emotional trauma and the inaccuracies of eyewitnesses will always deface the perfect death penalty. Even if the courts are correct most of the time, it is impossible to guarantee that an innocent person won't be executed. There is no proof that the death penalty deters crime and it is an absurdly expensive process. Why reinstate it? More killing is not the answer.
- Toby Fisher, Executive Director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Mass. LOAD-DATE: July 15, 2005
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ALL EDITIONS SECTION: THE EDGE; Pg. e08 LENGTH: 487 words HEADLINE: Jazz/World;
You're not going to see wine poured down the sewers, and you can bet your last franc that French fries, not freedom fries, will be on the menu at the 30th annual Bastille Day party tonight on Marlborough Street in Boston.
That's because once again it's the French Library and Cultural Center that will host one of the largest outdoor street dances of the year.
As many as 3,000 people are expected to pack the Back Bay block in front of the library to hear Congolese Afropop star Papa Wemba, Mauritania's Daby Toure and Haitian singer Emeline Michel.
Concertgoers will find a lengthy fenced-in area on Marlborough Street between Berkeley and Clarendon streets, with admission at the Clarendon Street end.
``Come and see us,'' she said with a laugh. ``We're all friendly.''
Not everyone has been friendly to France in recent years, of course, a reaction to the decision by that nation's government not to support the U.S. war in Iraq.
The library actually didn't hold a Bastille Day outdoor street party in 2003 because several corporate sponsors backed away, but Brelsfoard said such hard feelings and uncertainty didn't linger long.
``The (negative) reaction to us was pretty minimal and it was generally from people who did not realize that while we promote France and its culture and language, we are not subsidized by France,'' she said.
``We are a completely independent nonprofit American organization. Our members continue to support us. Our classes are as strong as ever. And our activities continue to grow.''
The French Library, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, is making an extra effort to expand its scope this year with a top-drawer concert lineup programmed by World Music.
Papa Wemba, a superstar in Europe and Africa, combines bouncy soukous rhythms with driving Afro-Cuban rumba and sophisticated contemporary pop influences.
The socially conscious Michel is known as ``the queen of Haitian song'' and keeps the dance floor full with a mixture of traditional and modern Haitian sounds.
Toure, who made an impressive debut last year with a CD on Peter Gabriel's Real World label, is an exceptional singer who mixes traditional African rhythms with modern Western pop.
All this music is geared especially to Boston residents with roots in countries where French is the primary language. But not exclusively.
``This was an opportunity for us to broaden the culture a bit,'' said Brelsfoard. ``We try to share the Francophone culture with the rest of the city whenever possible. And we consider this a big party for Boston.''
Papa Wemba, Emeline Michel and Daby Toure perform at the Bastille Day Street Dance tonight starting at 6 on Marlborough Street between Berkeley and Clarendon streets. Tickets at the door are $30. Call 617-912-0400 or go to www.frenchlib.org