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BC-MA--Massachusetts News Digest, MA

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News,Science and Technology

Massachusetts at 8:30 p.m.

The breaking news staffer is Sylvia Lee Wingfield. The New England news editor is Cara Rubinsky. To reach the AP bureau in Boston, call 617-357-8100 or 1-800-882-1407. To reach the photo department, call 617-357-8106. AP stories, along with the photos that accompany them, can also be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. Reruns also are available from customer support at 877-836-9477.

Updates MURDER SPREE, WINTER WEATHER, WINTER WEATHER-MASS., PATRICK-STATE OF THE STATE with postponement.

Adds WINTER WEATHER-ENERGY SHORTAGES

TOP STORIES:

MURDER SPREE

BOSTON — A man facing a new federal death penalty sentencing trial in the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men is in "precarious" health and likely has only a few years left to live, his lawyer said Tuesday. Gary Lee Sampson has chronic active Hepatitis C and advanced cirrhosis of the liver, attorney William McDaniels said during a hearing in federal court. He is expected to live a maximum of 10 years, but more likely five years or less, McDaniels said. By AP Legal Affairs Writer Denise Lavoie. SENT: 560 words, photo.

WINTER WEATHER

PHILADELPHIA — A swirling snowstorm clobbered parts of the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday, grounding thousands of flights, closing government offices in the nation's capital and making a mess of the evening commute. The storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts but hit especially hard along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, creating perilous rides home for millions of motorists. By Kathy Matheson and Michael Rubinkam. SENT: 900 words, photos.

With:

WINTER WEATHER-MASS

BOSTON — Heavy snow was forecast and a blizzard warning was posted for portions of Massachusetts on Tuesday, prompting Gov. Deval Patrick to dismiss nonemergency state workers early and postpone his annual State of the State address. SENT: 400 words, photos.

WINTER WEATHER-ENERGY SHORTAGES

NEW YORK — A second fierce blast of winter weather is sapping fuel supplies in many regions and sending prices for propane and natural gas to record highs. Higher natural gas prices are also leading to sharply higher wholesale electricity prices as power utilities snap up gas at almost any price to run power plants to meet higher-than-normal winter demand. By Jonathan Fahey. SENT: 500 words.

GO FOR THE FOOD-SOMERVILLE

SOMERVILLE — It takes a little effort to find backbar, hidden at the end of a dark hallway off a small alley just outside Boston. But once you take a seat in the cozy space and someone sets down a ramekin of spicy caramel popcorn and a craft cocktail, you may never want to leave. Over the past several years, Somerville's once-gritty Union Square neighborhood has become a drinking and dining destination. What's happening there is well-known in the Boston area, but it's still off the beaten path for many out-of-towners. That may change in a few years, when a planned extension of the rail system will include a stop at Union Square. Until then, it's a short cab ride from Harvard Square (under 2 miles or 3.2 kilometers), and well worth the trip. By Cara Rubinsky. SENT: 680 words, photos.

AROUND THE STATE:

STOLEN SCULPTURE

CAMBRIDGE — An 18th-century Chinese incense burner was returned to Harvard on Tuesday, 35 years after it disappeared from a university art museum. Ernest Dane, a businessman and art collector who graduated from Harvard University in 1892, and his wife, Helen Pratt Dane, donated the Qing Dynasty jade censer to the Fogg Museum in 1942. SENT: 300 words.

WPI PRESIDENT

WORCESTER — Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Tuesday named a former top NASA geochemist and space scientist as its 16th president. Laurie Leshin will be WPI's first woman president when she starts July 1. She takes over from Dennis Berkey, who stepped down in May after nine years at the science and engineering school. 260 words.

IN BRIEF:

PATRICK-STATE OF THE STATE

BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick has postponed his annual State of the State address due to the winter storm bearing down on the region. The speech was scheduled at 7 p.m. on Tuesday but the governor said he decided to postpone it in light of the snow emergency and his decision to release non-emergency state workers.

BABY HURT

AUBURN — An 18-year-old Auburn man charged with seriously injuring his 11-month-old cousin has been held for a 20-day psychiatric evaluation.

AMBULANCE FATAL

MILFORD — Police say a 58-year-old patient has died after the ambulance she was in overturned after being struck by a car in Milford.

AP APPOINTMENT-SUTHERLAND

BOSTON — Paige Sutherland, a reporter with experience in Washington, Boston and South Africa, has been hired by The Associated Press to help cover breaking news and generate enterprise in Massachusetts.

LEGISLATOR-HOSPITALS

BOSTON — One of the architects of a state law aimed at bringing down health care costs is leaving the House of Representatives. Rep. Steven Walsh, a Lynn Democrat, was named Tuesday to the post of executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals.

MASS-PENSION FUND

BOSTON — The Massachusetts pension investment fund is reporting strong growth. The Pension Reserves Investment Management Board announced Tuesday that state's Pension Reserves Investment Trust Fund returned 15.2 percent in 2013 — an investment gain of $7.9 billion.

SJC-JUVENILE LIFE SENTENCES

BOSTON — The highest court in Massachusetts has granted a new sentencing hearing to a Lynn man convicted of participating in a murder when he was 16.

FATAL CRASH-VERMONT

HARDWICK, Vt. — Police in Hardwick, Vt., are investigating a two-vehicle crash that resulted in the death of a passenger from Massachusetts.

HOLYOKE GUNFIRE

HOLYOKE — Police are investigating more gunfire in Holyoke. Officers responded to reports of gunfire on East Dwight Street at about 6 p.m. Monday.

TEEN SHOT

LOWELL — Police are investigating after a 16-year-old boy showed up at Lowell General Hospital with gunshot wounds to both legs.

SPORTS:

BKN--CELTICS-HEAT

MIAMI — Dwyane Wade is still ailing and the Miami Heat are struggling on both ends of the floor, losing plenty of ground in the Eastern Conference race. They try to get on track again Tuesday against the Boston Celtics, who've won in Miami already this year. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts at 7:30 p.m.

BKC--GEORGIA TECH-BOSTON COLLEGE

BOSTON — Boston College (5-13, 1-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), losers of six of its last seven games, hosts Georgia Tech (10-8, 1-4), losers of four of five, as ACC play continues for both teams. UPCOMING 700 words, photos. Game starts at 9 p.m.

EX-NFL PLAYER-MORTGAGE SCAM

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. — Former NFL player Irving Fryar and his mother pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that they conspired to steal more than $690,000 through a mortgage scam. State prosecutors allege Fryar's 80-year-old mother, Allene McGhee, of Willingboro, submitted false information to obtain five loans on her home within a six-day period. The two were indicted on counts of conspiracy and theft by deception. By Geoff Mulvihill. SENT: 300 words.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to apboston@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. If you have questions about the Massachusetts AP news report, please contact News Editor Cara Rubinsky at 617-357-8100 or crubinsky@ap.org.

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