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Thousands send off 181st Infantry to Afghanistan

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Thousands send off 181st Infantry to Afghanistan

Thousands of family members and friends have given a send-off to more than 650 soldiers headed for Afghanistan where they will provide security and help build public works projects.

The soldiers of the Massachusetts National Guard’s 1st Battalion 181st Infantry Regiment left Sunday at a Commerce Bank Field ceremony in Worcester. About 5,000 friends and relatives and Gov. Deval Patrick participated.

The Massachusetts National Guard’s commitment is highest since World War II. More than 1,200 soldiers from Massachusetts serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. This deployment brings the number to nearly 1,900.

In the past decade, soldiers from the regiment have been deployed to Bosnia, Cuba, Iraq and Kosovo. Many soldiers now going to Afghanistan have served in other conflicts, including in Iraq.

Mass. Gov. signs bill targeting school food

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to encourage the state’s elementary and high schools to offer healthier food choices for their students.

The legislation enacted last week requires schools to provide fruit and vegetable snack options.

Supporters say they hope the law will help combat the rise of childhood obesity in the state.

The bill requires schools to adhere to nutritional guidelines for foods and beverages sold to students outside of the federal meal program. The guidelines, which also apply to food and drinks sold in school vending machines, will be developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Exemptions to the law can be granted at extracurricular events.

Top Obama aide to host Patrick event on Vineyard

President Barack Obama’s upcoming vacation on Martha’s Vineyard will give Gov. Deval Patrick a fundraising opportunity.

White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett is hosting an event for the governor on Aug. 21, two days after the president and his family return to the island for their second consecutive summer vacation.

It will be held at the home of developer Richard Friedman, who formerly hosted President Bill Clinton and his family during their Vineyard vacations.

Patrick and Jarrett share Chicago roots, as does the president. The governor also shares the same political adviser as the president, David Plouffe.

Patrick spokesman Alex Goldstein says there’s no plans for the president himself to attend the fundraiser.

Mass. AG: No City Hall crime with deleted e-mails

Attorney General Martha Coakley says she will not bring criminal charges against a Boston City Hall worker accused of deleting e-mails in a way that violated state public records law.

In a statement last week, the Democrat said Mayor Thomas Menino’s top policy aide, Michael Kineavey, had reason to believe the e-mails were being preserved by a backup system.

She referred to a city policy handbook stating that e-mails were preserved at least three years.

Secretary of State William Galvin asked Coakley to determine whether criminal charges were warranted last October, after he determined e-mails were deleted in violation of the public records laws he is supposed to uphold.

Menino was running then for re-election, and some of the Democrat’s political opponents suggested Kineavey may have been deleting e-mails to avoid release of embarrassing administration information.