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Harvard panel seeks ombudsman for police disputes

Harvard panel seeks ombudsman for police disputes

CAMBRIDGE — A panel convened after Harvard campus police were accused of racial profiling has called on the school to create an ombudsman to help review public safety policies and actions.

The panel’s recommendations, released last Friday, also included establishing campus police liaisons to student and faculty groups.

The panel was formed after three incidents over four years.

In 2004, police stopped and questioned a prominent black Harvard professor who matched a robbery suspect’s description.

In 2007, police responding to complaints of excessive noise asked leaders of black student groups holding a field day on campus to show their Harvard IDs.

Last year, a black campus worker who lost his bicycle lock key said an officer drew a gun on him after he tried to cut the lock off.

Mass. treasurer cleared by ethics probe

The State Ethics Commission has closed its investigation into whether Treasurer Timothy Cahill acted improperly by providing business to a scratch ticket maker who was making consulting payments to Cahill’s friend.

In an April 17 letter, Senior Investigator Geeta McGrath wrote, “We have completed that review and we have determined this matter does not warrant further action.”

Though the letter was stamped “Confidential,” Cahill’s office released it last Thursday. The treasurer is considering a run for governor next year, and his office has tried to tamp down suggestions of any impropriety.

In a statement, Cahill said he was “pleased” with the outcome of the review and that his office “conducts business in a fair and equitable way.”

The Massachusetts Lottery, which is overseen by Cahill, awarded a $21 million contract to Georgia-based scratch ticket maker Scientific Games in 2004.

At that time, Cahill’s political supporter and fundraiser, Thomas Kelly, was receiving about $132,000 in consulting fees from Scientific Games.

Cahill, a Democrat from Quincy, said the contract was awarded on its merits and the ethics investigation was initiated by political opponents.

The Massachusetts Republican Party had urged the attorney general and secretary of state to enforce the state’s ethics disclosure law in relation to the case.

 Patrick announces $3.56M in public projects

Four Massachusetts cities are receiving $3.56 million in grants for public infrastructure projects.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced last Thursday that Lawrence, Fitchburg, Hopkinton and Lowell will receive the community development grants as part of a 2008 housing bond bill.

The administration estimates the projects will create 490 new local jobs and 160 affordable housing units.

In Lawrence, $1 million will be used to construct a 55-foot wide bridge over the North Canal.

Hopkinton is using $1 million for a new sewer line and connections, eliminating capacity problems and allowing for residential and business growth.

Lowell plans to build new sidewalks, on-street parking and historic lighting using its $1 million grant, and Fitchburg is spending $566,000 to install a truck entrance into a publicly-owned complex.

Ex-federal prosecutor joins Ashcroft law firm

Former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan has been named to lead a new Boston office for a law firm headed by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Sullivan told The Boston Globe that the office will be called Ashcroft Sullivan LLC and will work on a range of issues including national security, health care and financial services.

Sullivan is one of four former U.S. attorneys named by Ashcroft to head regional offices in the firm.

Sullivan, a Republican, announced his resignation earlier this month. He was appointed U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts by President George W. Bush in 2001.

For the last two years, he did double-duty as both the U.S. attorney and acting director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. He resigned from the ATF job in January.

 Employees hold rally to save Boston Globe

Employees of The Boston Globe last week enlisted public support to save their newspaper, calling it a city institution and demanding that The New York Times Co. share in the cuts.

Workers at the newspaper held a rally last Friday with civic leaders at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall. The Globe is facing the threat of closure by Times Co. unless unions agree to $20 million in concessions.

Boston Newspaper Guild president Daniel Totten said a petition to save the Globe has about 500 signatures. Totten added the union is negotiating in good faith, but criticized Times Co. for threatening the shutdown without making cuts of its own.

The Globe has reported there is a May 1 deadline for the union concessions. The newspaper had an operating loss of $50 million last year and is on track for an $85 million loss in 2009.

Boxer Marciano honored by hometown of Brockton

BROCKTON — It’s been 40 years since he died, but the city of Brockton continues to pay homage to boxing legend Rocky Marciano.

On Sunday, a post office on Commercial Street was formally renamed the Rocky Marciano Post Office. During the same ceremony, Marciano became the first individual to posthumously receive the Brockton Historical Society’s Historic Citizen Award.

Marciano’s brother, Peter Marciano of Plymouth, accepted the award and other members of the boxer’s family attended the ceremony.

Marciano is the only heavyweight champ to retire undefeated, with a 49-0 record.

The effort to rename the post office for the fighter was spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who said Marciano was “the personification of the American dream.”

(Associated Press)