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21-year-old college student from Massachusetts among 4 killed in fiery wrong-way highway crash

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21-year-old college student from Massachusetts among 4 killed in fiery wrong-way highway crash


A Massachusetts man attending college is among 4 killed in a fiery wrong-way highway crash.

According to Connecticut State Police, on Thursday at approximately 1:45 a.m., Troop G dispatch received 911 calls of a wrong way driver traveling on RT. 15 South, south of exit 53. Troop G dispatch was then notified the vehicle was involved in a head on collision and was engulfed in flames.

Preliminary investigation revealed that a vehicle occupied by Steven Rowland, 65, Thomas Lucian Vitale, 80, and Olga Vitale, 81 (all from Easton), was traveling on Route 15 South, in the right lane. 21-year-old Alexander Dennis of Wayland, MA was traveling northbound in the southbound travel lanes (wrong way), resulting in a head on collision. The vehicle being driven by Dennis became fully engulfed in flames.

All 4 occupants died at the scene. Dennis’ body was so unrecognizable, he wasn’t identified until today.

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According to Fairfield University, Dennis had just completed his junior year on campus and was traveling home to Massachusetts for the summer when the car accident occurred. As a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, Alex was a visual and performing arts major with a special interest in film.

“At a time of year when we are actively engaged in the celebration of our students and their accomplishments, a loss like this seems inconceivable. Those who knew and loved Alex will be especially impacted by his passing, and his loss will be felt across campus. Our Jesuit colleagues are available to our community, as are staff members from Campus Ministry and the Counseling Center. For employees, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) may also be a helpful resource at this time.” -President Mark R. Nemec PhD

C.A.R.S., Stratford Fire Department, Trumbull Fire Department, Stratford E.M.S. and D.O.T. assisted on scene.

Route 15 South was closed for approximately seven hours.

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The case is currently being investigated. Contact Troop G at (203) 696-2500 if you witnessed this collision. 



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Massachusetts

Massachusetts is the smartest state in the nation – Boston Agent Magazine

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Massachusetts is the smartest state in the nation – Boston Agent Magazine


A new report has ranked the smartest states across the country, and Massachusetts came out on top.

Education researchers at UTS Online analyzed each of the 50 states across 10 main factors, including average IQ, high school graduation rates, college graduation rates, SAT & ACT scores, NAEP scores, literacy rates, numeracy rates, share of State Value Added for Arts and Culture Production (ACPSA), and the number of colleges per capita.

The Bay State ranked overall No. 1 with an intelligence score of 81.63 

The report found it had the highest average IQ in the nation, at 104.3, plus its students achieved the highest score for both the SAT and ACT exams and came in second in NAEP. 

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Home to some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, including M.I.T. and Harvard, Massachusetts also had the highest college graduation rate in the country. 

Additionally, the Bay State ranked fifth for ACPGA, 17th for 2024 high school graduation rates and 29th for number of colleges. 

And it wasn’t the only New England state to make the top of the list.

New Hampshire came in second followed by Minnesota, Vermont and Washington state.

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US Marshals nab fugitive in Connecticut, wanted for murder and other crimes in Massachusetts

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US Marshals nab fugitive in Connecticut, wanted for murder and other crimes in Massachusetts


U.S. Marshals apprehended a Puerto Rican man in Willimantic, Connecticut on Thursday, who was wanted for allegedly shooting and killing a man in Massachusetts in December.

The U.S. Marshal’s Service said 28-year-old Lee George-Maldonado faces multiple charges in Fall River, Massachusetts, including murder, carrying a firearm without a license, attempting to commit a crime, kidnapping with a firearm, and two counts of attempted assault with a firearm. He also faces domestic violence charges in Puerto Rico.

Detectives with the Fall River Police Department investigated the shooting of 44-year-old Juan Castro, who was found dead outside his home on Bank Street on Dec. 23, 2023.

UTAH POLICE OFFICER KILLED BY SEMI-TRUCK, SUSPECT ARRESTED AFTER HOURS-LONG MANHUNT

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An image of Lee George-Maldonado, who was wanted in connection to a murder on Dec. 23, 2023, in Massachusetts. (U.S. Marshals Service)

Following the investigation, police obtained a warrant for Maldonado’s arrest on May 17, and requested assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service to locate and take him into custody.

Members of the U.S. Marshals Connecticut Violent Fugitive Task Force tracked Maldonado to a residence in Willimantic, Connecticut, where he was ultimately apprehended with the help of SWAT members from the Willimantic Police Department.

DEADLY FLORIDA CARJACKING: PERSON OF INTEREST ARRESTED, ANOTHER ON THE LOOSE AS PLOT THICKENS

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The U.S. Marshals have recently been involved in several successful fugitive captures in New England. (File )

Maldonado is currently being held, pending extradition to Massachusetts to face charges against him.

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The Connecticut Violent Fugitive Task Force is made up of several agencies, including police departments in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk and Waterbury, as well as U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

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The task force seeks out and arrests violent fugitives and sexual predators, and since the group’s inception in 1999, they have arrested people wanted for being unregistered sex offenders or on charges of murder, assault, probation and parole violations and more.



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Antisemitism education amendment passed in Massachusetts

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Antisemitism education amendment passed in Massachusetts


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – As the Massachusetts Senate continues to debate their budget bill, an amendment to combat antisemitism passed last night.

We spoke with Senator John Velis, and he told us it was an emotional night in State House as many of his Jewish colleagues shared their experiences with antisemitism. He believes requiring the state to come up with a curriculum to educate students and teachers on the vast history of antisemitism is a step in the right direction. Especially as the number of antisemitic instances are on the rise here in the Commonwealth.

Longmeadow parent Shelley Barron told us, “My involvement was really catalyzed by, there was an incident where there was a swastika found on a whiteboard in Longmeadow High School seen by the child of a friend of mine and by our child, so that was very distressing for many of us here in the Longmeadow and kind of the Lower Valley Jewish community.

Shelley Barron is a parent of a 1st grader at Blueberry Hill Elementary School in Longmeadow. As a Jewish mom raising Jewish children, she told us she’s noticed an uptick in antisemitic biases, especially since October 7th when the Israel-Hamas war officially ignited.

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This uptick in hatred here in western Mass is what has led her to become an advocate for educating students and the public on the harm of antisemitism, and now an amendment to the state senate budget introduced by Senator John Velis would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to come up with a curriculum to educate students and teachers on antisemitism both historically and beyond. It passed 40 to 0 on Wednesday night.

Velis explained, “I’ve had a lot of meetings recently. I should say with constituents telling me about their kids, kids eight years old, just young young, young telling me about how their loved one, their child, their grandson, granddaughter is embarrassed to say, sad to say, scared to say that they’re Jewish.”

From vandalism to physical assault and verbal harassment, Senator Velis told us antisemitism in our state has gone up over 100%.

To put that in perspective, only 3 percent of our state’s population is Jewish, meanwhile, that small group of our population is on the receiving end of over  60% of all hate crimes that occur in Massachusetts.

Senator Velis added there are five states with 50% of Jewish hate and antisemitism in the U.S. and Massachusetts is among those five.

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These alarming numbers are why the senate is working to lend a hand to our Jewish residents and find the root cause of this severe hatred.

Barron added, “I think it’s actually really important to integrate age appropriate curriculum to create safer schools for all children.”

CEO of the Jewish Federation of Western Mass told us there is a lack of understanding by many administrations and officials on what truly qualifies as an act of antisemitism, and they are noticing a lot of hatred going unreported. Gorenstein feels this amendment could potentially help to target this issue.

“I hope that it will help our schools and communities better recognize and connect the dots when these small, isolated things actually happen that they are part of a bigger picture unfortunately and a framework that we want to be disrupting.”

The budget is being reviewed in the Senate as we speak, and once passed, it will then go to a conference committee to come up with a compromise bill with the house.  Senator Velis is optimistic that this antisemitism education amendment will be included in the final draft. I did reach out to DESE as well as the Massachusetts Teachers Association for comment but haven’t yet heard back.

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