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New health program starts in Boston public housing


New health program starts in Boston public housing

A Boston-based community health center has launched a program aimed at fighting hypertension and depression among Boston public housing residents.

Whittier Street Health Center recently unveiled the “Vibrant Communities in Boston Public Housing” that will target residents in five Boston public housing developments.

Frederica Williams, president and CEO of the center, said 1,800 families will benefit from the program since it will provide preventative health services and offer training on how to lead healthier lifestyles.

Under the program, Whittier will hire five social health coordinators in each public housing developments.

The program comes from a $750,000 Kresge Foundation grant aimed at fighting health care disparities.

Mass. judges want lawmakers to change wiretap law

Two justices for the highest court in Massachusetts have asked state lawmakers to change a tough wiretap law to enable police to investigate and prosecute the hundreds of shootings and killings committed by street gangs.

Supreme Judicial Court Justices Ralph Gants and Judith Cowin made the call last Friday in an opinion supporting a ruling barring secretly-recorded evidence from being used against a man who admitted to a 2007 drive-by killing in Brockton.

The court ruled police were wrong to use a wiretap while investigating Paulo Tavares because he was a member of a street gang, not an organized criminal group.

The current wiretap law only allows electronic surveillance “in connection with organized crime.”

The court says such sophisticated tools should also be available to police probing street gangs committing serious offenses including murder.

Probe finds MCAS ‘irregularities’ at Boston school

Boston’s school superintendent says MCAS math tests taken last spring by students at a troubled elementary school are being thrown out because of “testing irregularities” that apparently falsely inflated some scores.

Last Friday’s announcement says it’s not clear if the tests at Blackstone Elementary School were tampered with. There is no direct effect on the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who took the tests in March 2010 and they aren’t being asked to retake them.

Superintendent Carol Johnson said called the irregularities “troubling” and “unacceptable.” The results were never released or used in evaluations because some were flagged last year as unexpectedly high. Johnson said last September the scores were being reviewed by the state.

Blackstone is one of a dozen Boston “turnaround schools” given more funding and flexibility under new education legislation.

Associated Press