FCC called upon to assess FairPoint’s ability to run 911

Members of Congress from Vermont and New Hampshire have called on the Federal Communications Commission to assess the ability of FairPoint Communications to operate emergency communications networks in both states following outages last year.

There was a six-hour outage of Vermont’s 911 system in November and a four-hour outage of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 911 services in December.

With about 1,800 FairPoint workers on strike in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont since October, the lawmakers said in their letter Wednesday that FairPoint’s networks and equipment have failed with increasing frequency and customer complaints have soared.

A FairPoint spokeswoman says the utility is making progress daily to reduce load trouble caused by the strike and “incredibly bad” weather over the past three months.

Vermont Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch; and New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster sent the letter.

SALEM, Mass.

‘One-man crime wave’ gets 9 years in smash-and-grabs

A Massachusetts man dubbed a “one-man crime wave” by police has been sentenced to up to nine years in prison for using a dumbbell in three smash-and-grab burglaries at jewelry stores.

James Jay Radler was sentenced Tuesday for two break-ins at Desjardins Jewelers in Beverly and one at Long’s Jewelers in Peabody. The burglaries occurred in late 2012 and early 2013.

Authorities say the 52-year-old Beverly man used a dumbbell from a set of weights to smash his way into the stores and grab jewelry from display cases.

The Salem News reports he was tracked by the DNA in the blood he left behind at one burglary. He also pawned stolen items using his own name.


Man fatally shot by police was friend of actor Wahlberg

A man fatally shot in an armed domestic confrontation with police was a hometown friend of actor Mark Wahlberg, who helped him get small movie roles.

Wahlberg and Paul Campbell, whose mother was found dead, had been friends in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, The Boston Globe reported. Campbell had a scene in “The Fighter” as a crack addict acting out a legendary boxer’s moves in the ring. He had bit roles in “Ted” and “American Hustle.”

Police said they were called Monday to the Weymouth house Campbell shared with his mother and fired shots when they found him in an agitated state, holding at least one knife. They found his mother’s body on the steps, apparently stabbed.

Neighbor Peter DeLuca told the Globe that Campbell said last week he was going to California to get into acting but needed to get the money to go.

The Globe said court records showed that Campbell, 49, had a history of arrests for drug possession, drunken driving and assault and that his defense attorney said in a 1997 filing he had a heroin addiction.

Wahlberg, 43, is seeking a state pardon for a 1988 assault on two Vietnamese men for which he served a brief jail sentence.

Campbell had a relationship with Mayor Martin Walsh’s girlfriend two decades ago and was her daughter’s father. Walsh issued a statement requesting privacy for the family.


Officer fatally shoots man who fired gun from truck

New Hampshire’s attorney general says a police officer fatally shot a man in Derry after he fired on the officer from his pick-up truck.

Attorney General Joseph Foster says police were responding to a call from a woman just after 8 a.m. who said her husband had just left their home distraught, suicidal and armed with a shotgun.

Police located his truck at a nearby intersection and the officer approached.

The officer returned fire and the man suffered a single, fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Authorities are withholding the names of those involved at this time. They say the officer involved did not sustain any serious injuries.


Traffic stop leads to arrest of six on cock fighting charges

State police say a weekend traffic stop in Worcester has uncovered evidence of illegal cock fighting.

A state trooper stopped a minivan with six occupants on Interstate 290 at about 5 a.m. Sunday. The driver said they were returning to Lawrence from New York City.

After the trooper spotted a large pile of cash under the seats, he searched the vehicle and found several dead and skinned chickens, four live chickens that had injuries consistent with cock fighting, and assorted paraphernalia associated with cock fighting, including razor blades, imitation spurs and tape.

All six men face charges including animal cruelty.

Four are from Lawrence, one from Boston and one from Nashua, New Hampshire.


Hospital to pay $1.8 million to settle kickback scheme

An administrative arm of South Shore Hospital will pay nearly $1.8 million to settle allegations that it was running an illegal kickback scheme by paying doctors to refer patients to services within the hospital’s health care network.

The state attorney general’s office says the kickbacks included 103 payouts to 33 physician groups over nine years ending in 2010. They continued despite attorneys within the organization raising concerns.

South Shore Physician Hospital Organization, which does contracting and administrative work for South Shore Hospital and affiliated doctors, denied wrongdoing in settling the case. The nonprofit said it self-reported the scheme.

Authorities said the arrangement deceived patients and limited their choices, raising costs for patients and insurers.


South Korean firm sues MBTA over bidding award

A South Korean manufacturer has filed a federal lawsuit against the MBTA, accusing the transit agency of conducting a “flawed and unlawful” bidding process when it recommended awarding a $566.6 million contract for new subway cars to a Chinese company.

Hyundai Rotem said in the suit filed Tuesday that CNR MA’s bid was “unreasonably low,” and asks the court to block the contract with CNR MA and force the state to instead award it to Hyundai Rotem.

Hyundai Rotem was among the four companies that made it to the final round of the bidding.

– From news service reports