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DA to give seized drug money to nonprofit groups

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DA to give seized drug money to nonprofit groups

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley is asking nonprofit organizations to apply for a program that takes money seized from drug dealers and reinvests it in groups that help young people avoid drugs, gangs and other risky activity.

Award recipients are selected each year by an independent panel of county residents appointed by Conley. The program will award a total of $50,000 this year.

State law allows up to 10 percent of money from the auctions of drug dealers’ property and confiscated funds to be returned to the community. Conley’s program has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in seized drug money to dozens of youth groups, community centers and social service agencies.

The deadline for applications is Aug. 19.

Mass. set to approve tough school food regulations

Massachusetts health officials are set to approve what could be some of the toughest school nutrition standards in the country.

The Public Health Council is scheduled to meet this week to consider the changes that would apply to all food sold or provided at school a la carte lines, vending machines, school stores, events and fundraisers during the school day.

Health officials said the regulations will meet or exceed the strongest standards in the nation, and could improve the eating habits of a million Massachusetts public school students.

The changes were prompted by a 2010 state law designed to encourage the state’s elementary and high schools to offer healthier food choices.

Supporters say they hope the new regulations will help combat the rise of childhood obesity in Massachusetts.

Mass. insurer to rebate cost of CEO severance

The state’s largest insurer plans to rebate $4.2 million to its ratepayers to offset the cost of a controversial severance package to former chief executive Cleve Killingsworth.

Attorney General Martha Coakley disclosed the decision by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts on Wednesday following an investigation by her office.

Coakley said the probe determined that Killingsworth was entitled to the hefty severance package under his contract with the insurer, but that such contracts were “costly both in dollars and public perceptions.”

Killingsworth resigned in March 2010 after five years on the job.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, a not-for-profit company, moved separately earlier this year to suspend pay for its board members, a practice that had also been sharply criticized by the attorney general.

Sen. Brown adds nearly $2M to campaign coffers

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has raised nearly $2 million for his upcoming re-election campaign over the past three months as several Democrats line up to challenge the Massachusetts Republican.

Brown’s campaign said last week that it ended the second quarter of 2011 with $9.6 million in total cash on hand.

The senator’s campaign finance director, John Cook, said in a statement that donors are responding to the Republican’s “pro-jobs message” and his work to control federal spending and debt.

Several Democrats have announced plans to challenge Brown in the November 2012 election.

Brown’s second-quarter fundraising total of $1.98 million was more than twice that of the nearest Democratic challenger, City Year co-founder Alan Khazei, who reported raising more than $920,000 in the three-month period.

Massachusetts to get $2M in bank settlement

Massachusetts is to receive about $2 million of a $211 million settlement that JPMorgan Chase and Co. has agreed to pay after admitting one of its divisions rigged dozens of bidding competitions to win business from state and local governments.

The state Attorney General’s office says widespread price-fixing and bid-rigging deals allowed the bank to see competitors’ offers to municipalities and nonprofits investing money raised from bond offerings.

Banks compete for municipalities’ business by submitting the best yield they can offer.

Authorities allege the bid-rigging deprived governments of a true competitive process that would produce the best returns on their investments.

JPMorgan Chase agreed to pay $92 million to local governments and nonprofits in 24 states to repay for the artificially low rates of return or high rates of interest the investors paid.

Associated Press