Boston to require hybrid taxis by 2015
Boston is joining some other cities in requiring taxis to switch to low-emission vehicles.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced last Friday that Boston taxi owners will need to make the change by 2015. He called it “an essential step” in improving air quality.
New York and San Francisco are requiring taxis to convert to hybrids and other low-emission vehicles by 2012.
The president of the Boston’s Independent Taxi Operators Association, Marckinson Charles, told The Boston Globe that his group of about 360 taxi owners isn’t ready to move to hybrids. Aside from the cost, he said, drivers feel hybrids such as the Toyota Camry don’t have enough trunk space.
Boston officials also approved a taxi rate increase to offset rising fuel costs.
Five teenagers arrested and searched by Nantucket police have filed a federal lawsuit alleging their civil rights were violated.
The teenagers claim police used too much force and illegally searched them, among other charges. They want a jury trial and are seeking damages.
The plaintiffs say Nantucket police officers forced them to the ground and searched them after an argument last August. According to the complaint, one officer said he wasn’t afraid of the black teens because they were “from the ’hood.”
Attorney Stephen Hrones said the shoulder of one boy was dislocated and his collarbone cracked.
Hrones said Nantucket police investigated the incident and concluded the officers used excessive force. The police chief apologized.
Feds say Mass. banks healthy
Massachusetts banks have fewer assets and are dealing with more delinquent loans, but are generally in better shape than institutions in other states.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said last Tuesday that of the 148 state-chartered banks it insures, the percentage of delinquent loans and leases rose to 0.67 percent as of June 30, up from 0.57 percent as of March 31.
Nationally, the percentage was 1.94 as of June 30 and 1.64 at the end of March.
Total assets in Massachusetts banks fell to $223 billion from $234 billion a year ago.
Massachusetts banking commissioner Steven Antonakes said the figures show that state institutions are healthy and the decline in assets was not surprising given the weak economy.
The state’s SAT scores rose in all three sections of the college entrance test this year and beat the national averages.
Massachusetts high school graduates scored an average of 525 out of 800 on the math section, a three-point increase from last year.
The 514 score on the critical reading section was a one-point climb, and the 513 average on the writing section was up two points.
Nationally, the average scores were 515 in math, 502 in reading and 494 in writing.
In Massachusetts, male students scored an average of 43 points higher than female students on the combined reading and math score.
Among ethnic groups, the average combined math and reading score for Asians was 1,099, compared to 1,066 for whites, 892 for Hispanics and Latinos and 859 for blacks.
Harvard to review campus police after complaints
CAMBRIDGE — Harvard University is reviewing its campus police department amid concerns officers have unfairly stopped black people because of their race.
Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust announced the review last Tuesday in a letter to administrators and faculty that also was posted on the university’s Web site.
Faust said a special six-member committee will be headed by Boston attorney Ralph Martin, an African American and former Suffolk County district attorney. It will study police diversity training, community outreach and recruitment.
“I am confident that this group’s efforts will help the University address this important set of issues in a constructive spirit and forthright manner,” Faust said.
Faust cited an incident last month when campus police confronted a person using tools to remove a lock from a bicycle. She said the person was a summer employee who owned the bike and was trying to cut the lock because the key had broken. The Boston Globe reported that the person, whom Faust did not identify, was a black high school student from Boston.
The Globe said black students and faculty protested last year after police interrupted a campus field day sponsored by two black student groups, asking if they had a right to be there. The newspaper said that in 2004, police stopped a prominent black Harvard professor as he was walking to his office because they mistook him for a robbery suspect.