Regional News in Brief


GateHouse Media parent to buy Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The parent company of Gatehouse Media has announced an agreement to buy The Providence Journal and related print and digital assets from A.H. Belo Corp. for $46 million.

New York-based New Media Investment Group Inc. said Tuesday it expects to complete the deal in the third quarter.

New Media President and CEO Michael Reed said "we are very excited to welcome the paper, its employees and the community into the growing New Media family."

Jim Moroney, chairman, president and CEO of A.H. Belo, said "we are confident that New Media will continue the great journalistic tradition" of the Journal, which it has owned for 17 years. Dallas-based Belo said in December it was for sale.

The announcement said the Journal, first published in 1829, has a daily circulation of about 72,000 and 96,000 on Sunday.

Mass. health officials reviewing court rulings

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts health officials say a pair of seemingly contradictory federal appeals court rulings on a key element of President Barack Obama's health care law is reinforcing their commitment to remain a state-based marketplace.

One ruling questioned subsidies that help millions of low- and middle-income people afford their premiums, concluding financial aid can be provided only in states that have their own insurance markets, or exchanges.

The second ruling found the Internal Revenue Service correctly issued regulations allowing health insurance tax credits for consumers in all 50 states.

A Massachusetts Health Connector spokesman said the agency is reviewing the decisions announced Tuesday, but will continue a dual-track approach that calls for buying software to help overhaul its troubled website while laying the groundwork for a switch to the federal health insurance market if necessary.

New arrest linked to gun used after Boston attacks

BOSTON (AP) -- A friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is believed to have provided the handgun used to kill a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer during the manhunt, people with knowledge of the investigation said Tuesday.

Stephen Silva made an initial appearance in federal court on charges related to heroin trafficking and possession of a handgun with an obliterated serial number. An attorney for Silva, Jonathan Shapiro, said Tuesday evening that he received the case only a few hours earlier and was not in a position to comment.

The 9 mm Ruger pistol described in the indictment is the same handgun that was used to kill MIT police officer Sean Collier during the manhunt for the bombing suspects, according to the two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the investigation.

Collier's slaying is not mentioned in the grand jury indictment, filed July 15.

According to the indictment, Silva knowingly had possession of the gun, "which had the importer's and manufacturer's serial number removed, obliterated, and altered and had previously been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce."

Silva is a friend of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He said in court Tuesday that he graduated from Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2011, the same year as Tsarnaev. Silva was ordered to remain in custody ahead of a bail hearing scheduled for Aug. 6.

Dzhokhar's brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police several days after the bombings. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped but was soon found, wounded and hiding in a boat dry-docked in a backyard in suburban Watertown.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for trial in November. He faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

Collier, a 26-year-old MIT campus police officer, was shot multiple times in his car.

Administration review of DCF delayed

MONTPELIER -- An administration report on ways to improve and reorganize the Department for Children and Families has been pushed back.

In May Gov. Peter Shumlin ordered the Agency of Human Services to develop a plan to reorganize DCF, following the deaths of two toddlers involved with the department.

Doug Racine, the secretary of the agency, was required to release a report by Aug. 1, but that deadline has been pushed back to October to allow input from advocates and stakeholders.

The governor's Council on Pathways from Poverty asked for the delay, according to Christopher Curtis, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid and a co-chair of the council.

The report is to examine whether it makes sense to pare back DCF to focus on its core mission of protecting children and strengthening families, officials said.

Over the past decade, the department has taken on eligibility determinations and oversight of an array of safety net services for more than 200,000 Vermonters.

The delay shouldn't be cause for concern, Curtis said, because a legislative committee is still investigating child protection practices, and the agency could benefit from that committee's recommendations, too.

"Rather than commit to an early deadline, why not take advantage of legislative and stakeholder perspectives?" Curtis added.

Racine said he has not discussed with council members what form the public input might take, but will determine that in the coming weeks.

Michaud raises $350K, has more than $1M on hand

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Democratic governor hopeful Mike Michaud raised about $355,000 in the latest filing period.

Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show that Michaud's campaign has more than $1 million left in its war chest as it seeks to unseat Republican Gov. Paul LePage in November. Michaud has raised nearly $2 million to date.

On Tuesday evening, LePage and independent candidate Eliot Cutler had not yet filed reports detailing contributions and expenditures between May 28 and July 15.

They are due at midnight.

In the short period before the June 10 primary, LePage outpaced his opponents by raising more than $180,000.

At the end of that filing period in May, Michaud had the most cash left at $860,000.

LePage's campaign had a cash balance of $758,000 and Cutler had roughly $39,000 in May.


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