Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: College Commencements

Bo$ton is a big college town, but let's start off down the road with a loudmouth:

"Mother wants justice after son’s fatal overdose; Says messages show who dealer was" by Eric Bosco Globe Correspondent  May 16, 2015

AMHERST — Eric Sinacori’s cellphone still contained text messages from his apparent heroin dealer promising to deliver the University of Massachusetts Amherst student to the “comforting arms of Miss H” just hours before he died in October 2013 of an overdose.

Yet, more than a year and a half later, prosecutors have not charged the fellow UMass student suspected of delivering the drug to Sinacori — or anyone else connected to his death. And Eric’s mother, Francesca Sinacori, is growing seriously impatient.

Already feeling betrayed by a university that didn’t tell the family that Eric was involved with drugs — using him as a police informant instead — Francesca Sinacori is now turning her frustration on the Northwestern district attorney’s office in Northampton.

See: UMass Now Uninformed

Except they are still using.

“I know who the dealer was, and they should, too. They had the phone records. What are they even doing? It’s just so frustrating,” said Francesca Sinacori, who sent a text message to the cellphone of the suspected dealer saying bluntly, “You killed my son.”

The Northwestern district attorney’s office declined to comment on the investigation, but the prosecutor leading the investigation has told Francesca Sinacori that he hopes to finish by the end of June.

“We have been continuing to investigate the matter and build what I believe will be a solid case once the investigation is completed,” Assistant District Attorney Stephen Gagne wrote to Francesca Sinacori. “I cannot disclose the specifics of what we have been doing, or who we have been interviewing.”

But Francesca Sinacori said her family deserves more information about the ongoing investigation and why it’s taking so long.

“I just feel like I’m being patronized,” she said in an interview while she was in Amherst to present a scholarship in her son’s memory.

Government here doesn't so that.

The circumstances surrounding Eric Sinacori’s death made national headlines last September when the Globe reported that Sinacori, initially identified by the pseudonym Logan, had served as a campus police informant in the year before his overdose.

Police had investigated Eric Sinacori for selling LSD and the club drug Molly in his dorm in 2012 but agreed not to press charges if he helped them catch another drug dealer, which he did. As a result, university officials never told Eric Sinacori’s parents about his involvement with drugs, raising questions about whether they did enough to get Eric Sinacori the help he needed.

Ultimately, the university ended its confidential informant program in January.

Sort of. Other law enforcement can still use them.

After originally requesting anonymity for the family, Francesca Sinacori has spoken out on ABC’s “20/20” about what she believes was a missed opportunity to save her son, noting that police found a hypodermic needle in his dorm room during a drug raid a year before his death. Does make you wonder

Francesca Sinacori said the family had no idea that he was using heroin or dealing drugs, and she would have gotten immediate help for her son had she known. Instead, Eric’s father discovered their son’s body in his apartment when they visited on parents’ weekend in 2013.

That is a horrifying discovery, and how would they know? Kid is away at college, tells them things are fine.

Francesca Sinacori’s frustration with Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan stems from the fact that his office obtained Eric Sinacori’s cellphone shortly after his death, and it held a chilling exchange of text messages with his apparent dealer, who said he was stuck in traffic on the way to Sinacori’s apartment.

“My veins are crying . . . is the traffic gonna be bad?” Eric Sinacori texted late on Oct. 3, 2013.

“I know you’re hurting but you will very soon be in the loving comforting arms of Miss H,” the suspected dealer replied. Within hours, Eric Sinacori died of an overdose.

Despite the evidence, the investigation went cold until the Globe began reporting on Eric Sinacori’s case almost a year later, and Francesca Sinacori told UMass officials the name of the person she believes was her son’s heroin dealer.

Last October, Sullivan’s office announced it was reopening the investigation after UMass officials forwarded the name to them.

“How could they not have a name? It was right on the phone,” Francesca Sinacori said at the time. “It just says to me somebody didn’t do their job.”

What it says to me is the dealer is related to an important or influential person, possibly in law enforcement, and those needed to testify against him matt very well be part of a government-controlled pipeline.

UMass officials report that the suspected heroin dealer is no longer affiliated with the university.

Well, where is he? At least out him.

Francesca Sinacori’s decision to publicly pressure the district attorney’s office goes directly against staff member Gagne’s strong suggestion to keep the matter private.

“Clearly, the amount of time it has taken to investigate this matter has frustrated you, and you have repeatedly threatened to ‘go public’ unless something is done immediately,” Gagne wrote on April 15. “I can’t control what you do or don’t do, but in my opinion as a prosecutor who has directed and overseen numerous criminal investigations, I am deeply concerned that whatever you might say or allege in ‘going public’ would only be to the detriment of what we are trying to do on this end.”

A former Massachusetts prosecutor, Robert Griffin, said he understood the difficulties that the DA’s office faces in trying to investigate Eric Sinacori’s death.

Drug investigations in which the user is dead and the dealer is at large are very hard to prosecute, Griffin explained.

“Something like a manslaughter charge almost never happens in cases like this. You almost need a witness that saw the heroin being sold and saw the heroin kill the person to get a conviction,” Griffin said.

Yes, they often result in hung juries followed by acquittal. One thing you do need to know is to avoid the school bus. Get a ride from your parents instead.

The investigation does appear to be going forward. Sinacori’s girlfriend was subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury in March but said she was told the proceedings were postponed. She met with investigators in April but said she is unaware of a date being set for the convening of a grand jury.

Gagne gave Francesca Sinacori an expected timeline.

“What I can tell you, however, is that my best estimate (at this time) is that the investigation should be concluded by the end of June, but please keep in mind that that is only [an] estimate, and subject to change,” Gagne wrote to her.

They are trying to bury it in hopes you will forget.

Meanwhile, Francesca Sinacori has become committed to helping young people, something she was unable to do with her own son. She said she spends one night every week counseling a drug-abusing former friend of her son’s.

“I help him with his homework, help him plan his life, get things together, and show him how to start to live life without drugs,” she said.

He's blogging now?

But that doesn’t ease her impatience with the slow pace of justice for her son. She said the detective who returned her son’s cellphone told her “they had enough on the phone to arrest a dozen people.”

It leaves her wondering, she said, “Why haven’t they done anything?”

I think I know why.


Related: Mother's Day Heroins

"Governor Andrew Cuomo said he will create a task force to investigate nail salons and crack down on abuse of workers following a report of widespread exploitation and health problems of manicurists. The panel will recover unpaid wages and shut down unlicensed businesses, Cuomo said. New regulations will be implemented to require protective gear where warranted and increase ventilation in salons that often reek of chemicals. A two-part investigative series in The New York Times said that salon workers were forced to toil long hours for low wages amid toxic chemicals."

Pretty good nail job, huh?

"Heroin exacts an especially savage toll in Plymouth" by Brian MacQuarrie Globe Staff  May 17, 2015

PLYMOUTH — Plymouth’s response: A task force has been formed, a new squad of plainclothes police has made more than 200 drug arrests in the last six months, and the local hospital is making drug-abuse prevention and treatment a critical priority.

Plymouth officials cannot yet document that the effort is bearing fruit, in terms of fewer overdoses and deaths, but officials say progress has begun. Leaders from all levels of government — and residents, too — are talking with each other about the drug crisis in ways they never had before.

Information is shared, and strategies are taking shape. The hospital is bringing social workers and behavioral health specialists into the emergency room to help addicts in crisis find a path to treatment and sobriety....

Where is it coming from (Afghanistan mostly), whose bringing it in (CIA for the most part), and why isn't it being stopped (bank deposits and laundering)?

At home, the battle received a resounding boost when Town Meeting voted last year to hire seven police officers to focus on drug and street crimes. Police Sergeant Chris Butler, an Army veteran of the 82d Airborne Division, volunteered for the group.

“It was a real opportunity to give this a try and make a difference,” Butler said.

The plainclothes unit was an easy sell, said Town Manager Melissa Arrighi. Every time Plymouth’s department heads meet, the latest overdose numbers are a jolting reminder of the need for action, she said.

They are attacking the symptom and not the cau$e.


Some townspeople blame drug dealers from Boston and Providence for the heroin epidemic; others suspect the influence of addicted transients.

Bob and Bonnie Sullivan, who live near the Cape Cod Canal, have devastating firsthand knowledge of the crisis, which affected all four of their sons, now ranging in age from 23 to 29. They went from alcohol to marijuana, and then painkillers to heroin; opioid addiction has ravaged their household.

When their sons were in the drug’s grip, they stole thousands of dollars from the home. Jewelry and tools, too. One son overdosed in the room above the kitchen, Bob Sullivan recalled while fingering the kind of Narcan syringe he used to save him.

Little bit of an addiction there? 

Gee, with all the money to be made on both sides of this thing..... hmmmmm.

The owner of a used-car dealership, Sullivan estimated that he and his wife have spent more than $100,000 on treatment for the boys. Three of them are clean now, and the fourth is navigating his way through the court system....

WTF????? Why are all your kids hooked on heroin?


It's going to take an Olympian effort to beat this thing.

"In Massachusetts, 51 percent of those who know someone who abused prescription drugs said they believe the painkillers led to heroin or other illegal drugs. White House drug czar Michael Botticelli said the poll affirms the need for a comprehensive response. The Obama administration, he said, is working “with federal, state, and local partners to increase access to effective treatment, reduce overdoses with naloxone, and prevent the spread of infectious disease” through needle-exchange programs. Governor Charlie Baker reacted to the polls by emphasizing that he also is committed to fighting the epidemic. The poll results come at a time of rapidly increasing concern in Massachusetts about the abuse of heroin and prescription painkillers. More than 1,000 people in the state are believed to have died from opioid overdoses last year, a 33 percent increase over 2012."

Deval Patrick's watch, but he did give good rhetorical when it came to the graduation spew. It's a new team now, though.

"Police, in an undercover operation, arrested a man on charges of selling drugs near a school, officials said. Michael J. Bowler, 48, of Arlington, was arrested Wednesday afternoon after officers set up a drug buy, police said in a statement. The drug transaction occurred on Burton Street, which is within the Ottoson Middle School drug-free school zone, Arlington police said. Bowler was charged with distribution of a Class A drug, drug violation near a school, and possession of a Class A drug. After Bowler’s arrest, police searched his home on Burton Street and said they found heroin, cash, plastic bags, and a digital scale."

Too bad he didn't know someone: 

"A former Pittsfield city councilor was sentenced to two years’ probation for tipping off a drug dealer about a police raid. The Berkshire Eagle reported that Paul Capitanio was also ordered Wednesday to avoid drugs after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact in distribution of oxycodone and to conspiracy to violate drug laws. Prosecutors said Capitanio was purchasing up to 10 oxycodone tablets per day from a drug dealer in 2013 while he was on the council. The dealer was caught on tape during a wiretap investigation telling another alleged dealer that a ‘‘councilman friend’’ had tipped him off about upcoming drug raids (AP)."

You know what that gateways drug leads to?

"Two men were arrested after police seized 50 grams of heroin, a .32-caliber handgun, and $40,000 in cash from a suspect’s home in Medford, according to police statement. Police executed a search warrant on the Mayberry Avenue home of Michael Puntonio, 45, after officers saw him making a drug transaction with Alexis Delvalle, 46, near Main and Wareham streets, according to a Medford police statement. Puntonio is being charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin, possession of a firearm without a license, unlawful possession of ammunition, and conspiracy to violate drug laws. Delvalle is being charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws. Both men will be arraigned in Somerville District Court on Monday."

Where they will be kicked around some more. At least they are using protection this time.

"Sandro Corbelli, 38, broke into a home day-care on Dartmouth Street and attempted to kidnap a 1-year-old girl, telling workers he was a terrorist who needed a child and money to pay for a return trip to Brazil. “Calm down. I’m a terrorist. I just want a child,” Corbelli said, according to a police report filed in Somerville District Court."

Yeah, that would calm me down. 

See what heroin does to a person?

What could be wor$e?

"In 2013, the death of 19-year-old Brittany Flannigan, who overdosed on Molly, a potent form of the drug ecstasy."

I would't go clubbing because you don't know what they may be dealing. Don't know why they keep arresting the wrong guys. I suppose shutting down the club will at least keep the kids from drinking or smoking:

State overhauls rules for medical marijuana outlets

Marijuana company executives had complained about a lack of communication by state officials during the Patrick administration for patients without any dispensaries 2½ years after voters approved marijuana for medical use. “Kudos to the Baker administration for changing things around that make a lot more sense.”

I wouldn't be writing prescriptions any time soon -- although you kids may need a toke when you open the letter:

"For class of 2015, more loan debt than ever" by Lynn Asinof Globe Correspondent  May 15, 2015

With the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” still fresh in their ears, many new graduates are hearing a loud “ka-ching.” It’s the sound of their student loan repayments about to kick in.

The average class of 2015 borrower will graduate college with just over $35,000 in debt, according to an analysis by Edvisors, a publisher of free websites about planning and paying for college. That makes the class of 2015 the most indebted class in history, graduating with a whopping $56 billion in student loan debt.

And Wall Street bundled it all up and sold it!

Equally significant: 71 percent of this year’s college graduates borrowed money to pay for their undergraduate education. Just 20 years ago, most students didn’t borrow at all.

“We now have a debt-based system of access to higher education,” said Heather Jarvis, a North Carolina attorney who provides educational resources and training for student loan borrowers. “And the system we have often allows people to borrow more than they can afford.”

Who benefits?

These student loans can take decades to pay off. While the traditional repayment schedule is calculated over 10 years, options can stretch that debt over 30 years. That means some of this year’s graduates may still be making student loan payments when their own kids head for college.

If your indebtedness doesn’t exceed your first year’s salary, paying off your school loans will be far easier, said Mark Kantrowitz, senior vice president and publisher at Edvisors, who says budgeting, prioritizing, and belt-tightening are often enough to retire such loans in 10 years.

Why? I was told Millennials are making money.

If your debt-to-salary ratio is out of whack, though, it may take significant lifestyle changes to get that loan repayment under control.

Whatever the amount owed, student-loan debt management requires planning, homework, calculations, and strategy.

And you thought cla$$es were over.

So here’s a brief primer about what new graduates should know about college debt....

Yup, Globe gonna help you pay it off, no bankruptcy, no bailout, etc, etc.


Just above that article was this:

Amazon’s Mass. challenge: How hard is it to pick up a box of crayons?

Did you $ee who is going to be getting the job?

I guess that's why the good kids are protesting and why the ba$tion of corporate liberali$m is picking it up:

"Protesting Tufts janitors, students rally support; Vow to protest job cuts Sunday at graduation" by Jack Newsham Globe Correspondent  May 16, 2015

More than 100 Tufts University janitors and their supporters marched through part of the school’s campus in Somerville on Saturday, and students were planning more action on graduation day.

The protesters banged drums and chanted in English and Spanish as they marched from Powder House Square down Professors Row the day before the university’s commencement ceremonies. A woman and a man dressed as a cockroach and a rat passed out fliers to onlookers, including the families of students who will be graduating Sunday.

It’s the latest action by the unionized custodians and their student supporters, who have previously blocked traffic and held a six-day hunger strike to oppose a Tufts plan to cut 20 janitor jobs. With most students leaving for the summer, the cleaners, who work for a university contractor named DTZ, said they are worried the university will go ahead with the cuts.

“We are concerned, obviously, because the students are strong,” said Paula Castillo, a custodian who said through a translator that she has been cleaning at Tufts for 18 years. “We have been flexible . . . we have no answer from the administration.”

Kim Thurler, a Tufts spokeswoman, said the university was focused on commencement activities and she did not expect any developments over the weekend.

Yeah, and you guys are ruining it.

Tufts administrators had met with student protesters, Thurler said, but the school “is not part of any discussions between DTZ and SEIU,” the union that represents the janitors.

On Satuday, Somerville police blocked streets for the protesters, who held banners and passed out fliers to people who stopped to watch as the group passed the long stretch of university buildings and fraternities on Professors Row.

Tells you all you need to know.

Guadalupe Chavez, a part-time cleaner who said she has worked at Tufts for four years, said the cutbacks would be a financial blow to her family.

“We want Tufts to listen to us,” said Chavez.

David Ferrándiz, a sophomore member of the Tufts Labor Coalition, said students plan to protest at commencement events Sunday. The university asked students to conduct their protests in a designated area, but Ferrándiz said student activists have refused.

A free speech zone?

“We will exercise our free speech,” he said, declining to specify how. He called the proposal to limit the protest to a certain part of campus a “dangerous precedent.” The university said it has made similar requests before.


I'd like to join you, but gotta get to work:

"For new college grads, job market is best in a decade; Openings widen, competition down" by Megan Woolhouse Globe Staff  May 11, 2015

Just ignore the fact that "the labor participation rate has been stuck for years near multidecade lows." It's the best job market ever!

The class of 2015 will enter what economists say is the best job market for new college graduates in nearly a decade, as the improving US economy and accelerating retirements of baby boomers create job openings across many fields.

Are you tired of the same old di$ingenuou$ne$$ yet, kids?

College and university career offices say their graduates are having a far easier time landing positions, and far more employers are coming to campuses to recruit. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, for example, 104 companies were on campus at a fall job fair to recruit engineering and technology majors, up from 89 last year and 65 in 2010.

Perhaps more significantly, the demand for workers of all kinds was so great that the university held its biggest spring job fair in four years, attracting more than 130 employers in fields ranging from communications to consulting to sales.

“Years ago, people thought, ‘What are you going to do with a history major?’ ” said Todd Butynski, an assistant director in UMass Amherst’s Career Services office. “Now, with a little networking and initiative, even that liberal arts major is going to find something.”


Ethan Forauer, a senior at Clark University in Worcester, faced the classic conundrum of soon-to-be college graduates with little job experience: For most positions — even at entry level — candidates with experience were being sought.

But Forauer forged ahead, feeling more than a little anxiety as he networked and sent out scores of resumes in early April. A month later, the 22-year-old environmental science major accepted a $45,000-a-year job at a North Andover consulting firm. “It was very exciting, and just a huge, huge relief,” said Forauer, who begins working June 1. “I’m starting my life in the real world.”

Look, they found one of you that actually got a job.

Both the state and national unemployment rates, 4.8 and 5.4 percent, respectively, have fallen to their lowest levels since the early days of the last recession, according to the US Labor Department.

Every week it is the $ame damn thing.

Joblessness among to 20- to 24-year-olds with college degrees has declined to about 7 percent, from just over 9 percent in 2010. That’s the lowest since 2008, the first full year of the recession, when unemployment among twentysomething college graduates averaged 6 percent.

Meanwhile, the competition for jobs has diminished.

Because there are no jobs, or dare I say they are being filled by illegals (you know, the jobs Americans do not want??).

Demand is strong for business, finance, and health-care-related majors, Harrington said, but nationally, for those with bachelor’s degrees, petroleum engineering majors commanded a median annual salary of $136,000. Pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences majors earned a median $113,000, and mathematics grads had median earnings of $73,000.

Social work was among the lowest-paying bachelor’s degrees, with median earnings of $42,000 a year, followed by early childhood education, at $39,000, according to the Georgetown study.

In general, wages for new college graduates, as for US workers, have stagnated since the recession. On average, entry-level wages for graduates are expected to be no better than 15 years ago, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank in Washington.

At least the 1%, .1%, .01%, are doing well.

But if the economy continues to expand, unemployment falls more, and labor markets tighten further, economists expect wages and salaries to rise.

That is a lot of ifs, and we have been hearing the same f***ing thing for years now -- with follow-up excuses as for why it hasn't happened in the midst of such recovery.

In Greater Boston, with one of the nation’s strongest recoveries because of its technology, health care, and higher education sectors, employee compensation recently jumped at the fastest rate since 2007. Pay and benefits rose 3.6 percent in March from a year earlier, versus 2.8 percent nationally, the Labor Department reported.

Such news is giving hope even to liberal arts majors.

How do you like your insult, kids?

John Choi of Medford said he’s been looking for work since he stopped volunteering in November for Charlie Baker’s campaign for governor. Choi received a master’s degree from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education in June after majoring in international relations at Boston College. After a frustrating winter sending as many as five resumes a day without responses, he recently fielded five interview offers in one week.

“I’m hopeful,” said Choi, 28. “People are still contacting me — there’s not just silence.”

Oh, that's far cry from the theme at start of this article, ouch!


Yes, progress is being made, and I'm sure you (and I) are wondering if this post will never end?

Incoming BU professor defends racially tinged Twitter posts

It's okay to hate if you are not white, and maybe for good reason; however, the issue I would like to discuss openly and honestly is 9/11 and the subculture of Jewish supremacism found in my paper. A real Solomon_Grundy she.

It's Asians that they don't like at Harvard.

Ex-Harvard endowment chief earned nearly $10 million in 2013 

For a lousy job!

Some think she stole the money, but the kids are still making a different kind of stink.

At least MIT is sensitive:

MIT celebrates stamp honoring its first black graduate

Then there is their pitch to fight poverty. It's all in the $cience!

Northeastern program connects corporations with NGOs
Northeastern University taps James Bean as new provost
Moore to step down as Lesley University president next year
Suffolk University taps Margaret McKenna as new president

She swam across the river to take the job, while this kid was sent across the pond

At least Stephen Ziska has been found unharmed, even though I had to look for him. Thanks for all the help

Thankfully, no shots were fired:

"2 arrested after students shot near California university" Associated Press  May 13, 2015

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Authorities said Tuesday that two men were arrested in the shooting of two students near the University of California Santa Barbara in the same community where a stabbing and shooting rampage left six students dead a year ago.

The attack on Monday night left two students hospitalized with injuries that were not life-threatening.

The attack occurred during a fight that began after two men came to the victims’ apartment a few blocks from campus, authorities said.`

Neither of the suspects are students, and the shooting had nothing to do with last year’s killings in Isla Vista, authorities said.

Investigators have not determined a motive for the shooting on Monday. A handgun was recovered at the scene.


So what will you be wearing under your gown?

Time to archive this post.


Construction hiring goals not met in Boston

All the jobs are going to (illegal) immigrants. Weren't you listening?

Maybe you kids could go work for a nonprofit instead.

Martin Meehan will remain a director of troubled Sage Bank

Yeah, he'll fix UMa$$, too.

City, Northeastern University team up to transform a rundown park

UConn to break ground on new downtown campus

Obama to be keynote speaker at Coast Guard Academy

Time to let sail this post.