Paul Tuthill

Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief

Paul Tuthill is WAMCâââ

The funeral for the Springfield, Massachusetts native, who was among the Marines killed last week by a gunman in Tennessee, will be private.

A spokesman for the family of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan said Monday’s funeral will be for family, friends and invited dignitaries only.  

Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will be the main celebrant and homilist for the service at Holy Cross Church in the East Forest Park neighborhood where Sullivan grew up.  Burial will be at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. 

A new report says delays in building the two licensed resort casinos in Massachusetts could cost the state $ 1 billion in lost revenue. 

Authorities in Massachusetts’ third largest city are using innovation, technology, and more police on patrol to combat violent crime.

Total crime is down about 8 percent in Springfield so far this year, according to the Springfield Police Department.  It is in keeping with a national trend of steadily declining crime rates. But, the crime that makes the headlines – homicides – stands at 13, just one shy of the total number of murders Springfield recorded for all of last year.

A native of Springfield, Massachusetts was reportedly one of the four Marines killed Thursday in an attack by a lone gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee.   Flags across the city and state were lowered to half-staff, messages of condolence flooded social media, and the fallen Marine’s family asked for privacy to grieve. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno expressed “ heartfelt condolences and sympathy” to the family of Thomas Sullivan,40, a Springfield native who was one of the four Marines shot dead by a lone gunman at a reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Jane Flavell Collins

David Hoose, of Northampton, who is terror suspect Alexander Ciccolo's attorney spoke with reporters outside Federal court in Springfield Tuesday shortly after a U.S. Magistrate ordered Ciccolo held without bail.

David Hoose, of Northampton, who is terror suspect Alexander Ciccolo's attorney spoke with reporters outside Federal court in Springfield Tuesday shortly after a U.S. Magistrate ordered Ciccolo held without bail.

Ciccolo is being held at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls Rhode Island.

Ciccolo, is alleged to have stabbed a nurse in the head with a pen shortly after he was brought to the Franklin County Jail in Greenfield after his arrest July 4th.  Hoose said Ciccolo regrets assaulting the nurse.

Hoose would not comment on reports Ciccolo has a history of mental illness.  He would not discuss defense strategy in the case.

So far, Ciccolo is charged with being a felon in possession of weapons.  But government papers filed with the court said he was plotting a terrorist attack on a university. 

During the 40 minute hearing Tuesday the prosecution played what Asst. U.S. Atty Kevin O'Regan said was a nine minute excerpt of a 90 minute interview the FBI conducted with Ciccolo after his arrest.  During the portion played in court,  a soft-spoken Ciccolo said the Islamic state known as ISIL " is doing a good thing"  He said the U.S. is " unjust."

Hoose, in arguing to release Ciccolo into the custody of his mother and stepfather, who were in court, said no threats of violence were made by the defendent during the portion of the interview played in court.

He said the mother and stepfather live a remote part of the Berkshires.  He would not reveal the exact location.

Update: Alexander Ciccolo is being kept in custody until his trial. Saying the risks are great if Ciccolo is released, U.S. Magistrate Katherine Robertson ordered detention without bail around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A detention hearing is scheduled this afternoon for an Adams, Massachusetts man federal authorities say was planning an attack in support of the Islamic State group. The 23-year-old son of a Boston Police captain was arrested July 4th outside his apartment in the small Berkshire County town.

Massachusetts Lottery officials say they are prepared for the new competition from the casino industry.

State lottery officials say they are using zip code analysis to detect any shift in sales patterns in the convenience stores, gas stations, and bars located near Plainridge Park, the state’s first casino that opened to capacity crowds on June 24. 

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who oversees the lottery, vows the agency will compete with the casinos.

Martin Meehan began his tenure as president of the University of Massachusetts Wednesday by a holding a roundtable discussion with students at UMass Boston.

Meehan said he intends to build UMass into “the best public university system in the nation.”  During an interview in May he talked about ways to elevate the university’s stature.

"It is looking at how to improve, achieve more excellence. You can always increase your research and continue to improve," he said.

The first casino in Massachusetts opens to the public Wednesday.

Plainridge Park Casino, located at a harness race track near the Rhode Island border, has 1,200 slot machines, but no table games.  

The more upscale resort casinos planned in Springfield and greater Boston won’t open for at least two years. 

Casino industry expert Clyde Barrow said Massachusetts should do well with its first casino.

The University of Massachusetts is forging stronger ties with Springfield.  A new partnership in education based in Springfield is aimed at improving health care in urban and rural areas of western Massachusetts.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester will open a campus in 2017 at Baystate Health’s flagship medical center in Springfield.  This will be the first regional campus for the state’s only public medical school. By placing it in western Massachusetts, officials hope to begin to address a severe shortage of physicians in the region.

What officials said is the final piece of funding for a major transportation project in western Massachusetts was announced today in Springfield.

Massachusetts is committing the remaining funds needed to complete the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield into an intermodal regional transportation hub. It brings the total amount of federal, state, and local funds for the project to $88.5 million.

The opening date for the MGM Springfield casino may be pushed back by as much as a year

Springfield city officials Tuesday disclosed that MGM is seeking to coordinate the opening of the casino with the completion of the reconstruction of I-91.  The highway project is not expected to wrap up until 2018, a year after the projected opening date for what would be the state’s first resort casino.

An MGM spokesperson said the company planned to discuss the project timetable with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at a June 25th meeting.

The chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission confirms he is under investigation by state ethics officials.

Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby told the Boston Globe he is cooperating with the investigation and has done nothing wrong.

The newspaper said the state ethics commission received a sworn statement alleging Crosby participated in the process to award a casino license in the greater Boston area despite publicly recusing himself because of personal ties with a casino landowner.

The location for a new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts has been narrowed down.

A review committee for the Springfield Diocese recommends the new school be built either at the former location of Cathedral High School on Surrey Road in Springfield, or adjacent to a Catholic cemetery in Chicopee. 

A spokesman said Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will announce a final decision in a few weeks.

Cathedral was destroyed by a tornado four years ago. Mayor Domenic Sarno said it is vital to rebuild on the site.

Baystate Health, the largest employer in western Massachusetts, has announced a round of job cuts.

Twenty-four employees are being laid off, hours cut for 17 workers, and 45 vacant positions will go unfilled.  Baystate spokesman Ben Craft said the cuts are across the board and almost all at the flagship hospital in Springfield.

"Largely support and administrative positions in both the clinical and business areas of Baystate Health. There are  no physicians or bedside nurses affected. Ten management positions are included," he said.

A veteran educator with a track record of turning around struggling urban schools will be put in charge of a troubled western Massachusetts school system. The state’s education commissioner has appointed the current superintendent of schools in Wakefield as receiver for the Holyoke public schools.

Stephen Zrike, who was a principal at three Boston schools and led a network of elementary schools in Chicago, will now be in charge of the effort to improve student achievement at one of the worst school districts in the state.

Federal and local officials Monday highlighted the rebuilding and recovery that occurred since a powerful tornado tore into western Massachusetts four years ago.

   Top officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development got a first- hand look at the new homes built, businesses re-opened, public parks renovated, and trees planted along the 6.2 mile path the tornado carved through several neighborhoods in Springfield.  

Wage theft is rampant in the booming residential construction industry in Massachusetts, according to research from UMass Amherst.

     It has become standard practice in the home building industry in Massachusetts for subcontractors to illegally misclassify workers -- particularly immigrants — as independent contractors. The workers sometimes go weeks without pay, get no compensation for overtime, and are often paid less than they were promised. 

   Tom Juravich, a Umass Amherst labor professor detailed the abuses in a new paper.

A growing number of cities and towns in Massachusetts are being recognized for the support provided to wounded military veterans and their families.

Springfield was named a Purple Heart City during a ceremony Tuesday attended by about a dozen veterans, including several Purple Heart recipients, which culminated with the raising of a Purple Heart flag over the esplanade at City Hall.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said he was proud to accept the designation on behalf of all the city’s veterans.

"This is in honor of our veterans," he said.

A substance abuse treatment program for jail inmates from throughout western Massachusetts has moved out of its longtime home in Springfield to make way for construction of the MGM casino.

The Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center has vacated the building in Springfield where it opened 30 years ago, adhering to a May 8th deadline to turn the  property over to MGM.   But, it will be another two weeks before the rehab program is operating in its new, albeit temporary, location in a former nursing home in Holyoke.

The owners of apartment buildings in Holyoke that are deemed to be “hot spots” for criminal activity will receive letters warning they must develop a security plan in collaboration with the local police or risk losing the building to receivership and possibly face criminal charges.

At a Holyoke City Hall press conference Monday, Mayor Alex Morse and Police Chief James Neiswanger held up a letter printed on red paper stock that was sent to the owner of a 40-unit apartment building where police were called more than 250 times in a six- month period last year. 

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester, is in Holyoke today.  It is his first visit since a state education board voted earlier this week to put the city’s public schools under state control.

       Two finalists have been announced in the search for the next president of the University of Massachusetts.

       Martin Meehan, the chancellor of UMass Lowell and John Quelch, a Harvard Business School professor are the finalists to be the next leader of the five campus UMass system.  

      University spokesman Robert Connolly said the two were recommended by a search committee at a meeting Thursday in Boston.

Former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts Attorney General that accused him of spending taxpayer money for personal travel and purchases.

      Dobelle has agreed to pay the state $185,000.  He would also withdraw a lawsuit he filed against the university claiming breach of contract and demanding payment of his legal bills. 

        In the settlement, which is still subject to approval by a state judge, Dobelle would admit no wrongdoing.  

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for a major highway project in western Massachusetts.

JF White-Schiavone of Framingham submitted the lowest bid this week to rebuild the two-mile long elevated portion of Interstate 91 through downtown Springfield. 

The project is expected to cost $183 million and take three years.  There will be detours and ramp closings during the work, which is expected to start this summer.

A blighted tornado-damaged building on Main Street in Springfield, Massachusetts will soon come under the wrecker’s ball. 

Springfield city officials will formally announce Monday the demolition of a former auto parts store, that was the scene of a recent natural gas leak that forced a temporary closure of several streets and precautionary evacuations.  The city seized the building for non-payment of taxes, but could not find an interested buyer for redevelopment.  Mayor Domenic Sarno is pursuing a blight reduction strategy.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office is investigating missing cash from the evidence room of the Springfield Police Department.

    Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri said a preliminary investigation began last month when the department was unable to locate U.S. currency that had been seized in now closed criminal cases. He did not say how much cash is unaccounted for. 

The investigation so far has not turned up any other missing evidence or property such as narcotics or guns. 

The group that is actively opposing a bid to bring the Olympics to Boston won’t identify its donors.

The group No Boston Olympics is not legally required to make public financial disclosures. Co-chair Chris Dempsey contends to do so would discourage people from donating.

" We have true grassroots support with people all around the state writing us a $25 check, writing us a $100 check," he said.

Multiple sites are being considered for the location of a new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts.  The new school will result from the merger of 130-year-old Cathedral High School and Holyoke Catholic High School.

      Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski said in the two weeks since he announced the proposed merger he has met separately with the student bodies of both schools and started to assemble a group of advisors to work out the merger details. 

  " We are moving along quickly on that," said Rozanski.

A neighborhood market that would be in the shadow of the MGM Springfield casino is closing after 73 years.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno who has been coming to Albano’s Market since he was a boy brought the Key to The City and a proclamation Wednesday to honor its owners as pillars of the South End Italian-American community.  Filomena Bruschi and her sister Theresa D’Angelantonio took over the small business from their parents in 1942 and are now retiring after accepting an offer to sell to a developer.

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