Lawmakers drafting bill on abortion clinic security

Gov. Deval Patrick says he expects to have a bill on his desk by the end of the month to strengthen security around abortion clinics in Massachusetts.

Patrick said the legislation is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous decision last week striking down the state’s 35-foot buffer zone law.

Attorney General Martha Coakley said she’s working with lawmakers to draft legislation that will help protect women entering the clinics while also respecting the free-speech right of protesters.


To reduce costs, small town disbands police department

County sheriffs in southern Vermont are now patrolling a small town after residents voted to disband their police department.

Residents of Vernon, in the southeastern corner of the state, voted at their town meeting in May to abandon the police department as a cost-cutting measure.

The Brattleboro Reformer reported that the town’s contract with the Windham County Sheriff’s department buys the town additional patrol hours at an annual savings of about $65,000.


Man arrested for shoplifting wanted to return to jail

Westfield police have arrested a man they say stole a pack of cigarettes because he wanted to go back to jail.

Officers responded to a convenience store Tuesday night where a clerk told them a man asked for the cigarettes, and then walked out without paying.

The Westfield News reported that when the clerk warned the man he would call police unless he paid, the suspect said “Go ahead.”

Police found 40-year-old John Skowron Kirwan of Springfield at a nearby bus stop and said he told them he was on probation and wanted to go back to jail. He was arrested for shoplifting.


Governor’s husband retiring as private academy principal

Gov. Maggie Hassan’s husband will retire next year from his job as principal of Phillips Exeter Academy.

The Portsmouth Herald reported that Thomas Hassan will retire at the end of the 2014-15 academic year to focus more time on his family and his wife’s political career. In a letter to school trustees, Hassan said he wants to increase his support for his wife’s work as governor, and noted that their 26-year-old son has cerebral palsy.

Hassan has been at Phillips Exeter for 25 years and was appointed principal of the private boarding school in 2008.

Gov. Hassan is seeking re-election in November.


Man claims he was asked to funnel money to inmates

A former driver for an imprisoned hedge-fund founder says he was asked to help funnel money from his former boss to other inmates at a federal prison in Massachusetts.

The Greenwich Time reported that the allegations are contained in a lawsuit filed by the driver, Peter Malaszuk, against Raj Rajaratnam last week in U.S. District Court.

Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, is serving an 11-year sentence for insider trading at a minimum-security facility in Ayer, Massachusetts.

Malaszuk alleges Rajaratnam gave him names and contact information for the family members of inmates who were to receive money. He says the cash was meant to secure special treatment in prison for Rajaratnam.


Officials suspect fisher cat in attack on boy at cookout

A 12-year-old Rehoboth boy is recovering after being attacked by what authorities think was a fisher cat, a member of the weasel family.

Wes Brown was bitten on the leg and hand while throwing a football with his cousin during a family cookout at about 9 p.m. Monday in his backyard.

The Sun Chronicle reported that his mother, Stephanie Brown, threw a hammer at the animal, which ran off.

Animal Control Officer Jane Foster said Wes was taken by ambulance to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island where he received five shots for rabies as a precaution.

Foster says authorities at first thought a fox attacked the boy, but now believe it was fisher cat.


State temporarily bans issuing of vanity plates

The New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles is not issuing new vanity license plates while it reviews the wording of proposed rules governing what those plates can say.

The temporary ban comes in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling in May that the agency’s refusal to issue a plate to a man who wanted to display “CopsLie” on his vehicle violated free-speech rights. The court concluded the agency’s rules on plate messages were too vague.

In light of the ruling, DMV drafted new guidelines to prohibit language that relates to sex, violence, drugs, gangs or bigotry, the Concord Monitor reports.

The DMV has until mid-July to adopt or reject the new rules.

— From news service reports