Two honored for efforts in black Catholic community
RANDOLPH, Mass. — Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is honoring two people for their service in the region’s black Roman Catholic community.
O’Malley is scheduled to present the Bishop James Augustine Healy award to the Rev. Russell Best during a ceremony in Randolph on Saturday night. Sister Mary Hart is scheduled to receive the Robert Ruffin Award.
Hart is being honored for her work with the youth in Boston’s Roxbury section.
Best is the former pastor of St. John-St. Hugh Church in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood and the former youth services chaplain at Matignon and Cathedral high schools.
He’s being honored for his caring and compassion for parishioners and his youth mentoring.
Prison assaults rise at Shirley, drop at Walpole
BOSTON — Massachusetts officials say assaults at the Walpole prison have dropped just as they’ve spiked at the maximum-security facility in Shirley, which now houses some of Walpole’s former inmates.
A prison system spokeswoman says they think it shows the violence is connected to the tendencies of the inmates themselves _ not the Patrick administration’s controversial decision to double-bunk inmates in some cells starting in January.
That recommendation has been criticized by guards and advocates for prisoners.
The Boston Globe reports that assaults by inmates on guards at the Souza-Baranowski facility in Shirley rose about 60 percent in the first 10 months of 2009 than over the same time last year.
Assaults at Walpole’s Cedar Junction dropped by 56 percent in the same timeframes.
Critics of double-bunking question the data. They say it didn’t include some records on inmates involved in fights in which there wasn’t a clear assailant and victim.
Massachusetts elderly driver bill stalls on Beacon Hill
BOSTON — A bill that would require Massachusetts drivers age 75 or older to pass cognitive and physical exams every time they renew their licenses has stalled on Beacon Hill.
The legislation gained momentum this summer after a spate of car accidents involving elderly drivers.
But when lawmakers closed their formal legislative session Wednesday, the bill was stuck in committee.
House Transportation Chairman Rep. Joseph Wagner, who voted to recommend the bill, now says the bill should delete any age-based testing requirement.
The Chicopee Democrat said the state should focus on weeding out unfit drivers regardless of age.
But other supporters of the bill say there’s evidence the ability to drive safely decreases with age. They say it’s unrealistic to have legislation that doesn’t require some kind of age-based testing.
BOSTON — Massachusetts’ largest hospitals say a combination of new techniques is helping them significantly cut avoidable infections in their patients.
The state’s health department plans to start publicly releasing certain hospital infection rates in March. The initial data — covering a yearlong period that ended in July — is expected to provide a baseline for comparison.
National studies estimate 90,000 patients a year die from infections they contract while in hospitals or other medical facilities.
Several Massachusetts hospitals say they’ve found better ways to clean certain equipment or take other measures, such as giving germ-killing baths to high-risk patients, to limit potential for infections.