Passenger service returns to Worcester airport
WORCESTER — Passenger air service has returned to Worcester Regional Airport after a two-year absence.
The first Direct Air flight to Worcester landed at about 9:50 a.m. last Saturday morning from Florida, bringing passenger service to the airport for the first time since September 2006.
The airport, which is run by the Massachusetts Port Authority, has historically struggled to hold on to passenger carriers.
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air was the last passenger airline in Worcester, but said its route to Florida lost money. U.S. Airways Express preceded Allegient before leaving in February 2003.
Direct Air president Ed Warneck said he’s been encouraged by local response to the airline, which is promising low fares and favorable flight schedules to Orlando and Punta Gorda.
The Massachusetts unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent in October as the state shed 7,000 jobs.
Preliminary estimates released last Thursday by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development show the rate rose from 5.3 percent in September. But it remained a percentage point below the national unemployment rate of 6.5 percent.
The state’s unemployment rate averaged 4.9 percent through the first 10 months of the year, up from 4.5 percent in 2007.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector was the hardest hit in October, losing 2,700 jobs. Construction jobs were down 2,300.
The professional, scientific and business services sector gained 1,100 jobs, due to higher-than-expected gains in temporary help.
State officials: Internships can cut city violence
Massachusetts law enforcement officials think the state can reduce urban violence with comprehensive prevention programs and summer and school-year job internships.
Both recommendations were included in a report released last Thursday by Attorney General Martha Coakley and Essex County District Attorney John Blodgett.
They led a task force that spent the past 14 months looking at the subject and possible solutions.
Their other recommendations include establishing mechanisms to identify, respond to and treat children who witness violence and expanding community policing initiatives and extended school days programs.
The famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry is making a comeback.
The all-black unit that won praise during the Civil War for its doomed charge on Battery Wagner in South Carolina in 1863, is being reorganized and re-designated as the Massachusetts National Guard’s ceremonial unit.
Gov. Deval Patrick and Maj. Gen. Joseph Carter, the adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard, held a State House ceremony last Friday to reactivate the unit.
As a ceremonial unit, the 54th will conduct proper military honors at state functions and at funeral services for veterans.
The unit’s charge on Battery Wagner outside Charleston was commemorated in the 1989 movie “Glory.” For his bravery in that battle, Sgt. William Carney became the first black to win the Medal of Honor.
State GOP tries sizzle to boost party interest
The Massachusetts Republican Party has tried recruiting, financial support and just about everything else it can to win office. After losing even more seats earlier this month, it may be taking a more provocative approach.
A mass e-mail circulated last week had the subject line, “Lyndsay Wants You.” Those who opened it found it came from finance director Lyndsay Jones, who was seeking helpers for party mailings.
Another e-mail came last Friday from an intern named Eva. She said the party had enough people to help with the mailing, so she wanted supporters to save the date for a Dec. 10 GOP Christmas party.
“I’m 22 years old and already I’ve had enough of Massachusetts liberalism,” “Eva” wrote before signing off, “Conservatively yours.”
A party spokesman denied using sizzle for its sales pitch. Barney Keller said the GOP was simply trying to recruit volunteers. On Nov. 4, the party fell to 16 members in the 200-person House. It remained at five in the 40-member Senate, too few in either chamber to override a gubernatorial veto.
“Any insinuation for any other reason behind it is completely ridiculous,” said Keller.