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TORNADO-A YEAR LATER
MONSON, Mass. — Pia Rogers still goes home every day. When it rains, treasures pop up in the dirt where her house was. That's where someone found the 39-year-old's wedding and engagement rings after a tornado cut a swath through this rural Massachusetts town of 8,500 last June. All that stands of Rogers' two-story farmhouse at 14 Bethany Road are two granite front steps. But she and her husband, Harry, still have a mortgage on this land, and she comes to collect letters from their new mailbox. It's is the only repair they've made since the June 1, 2011, storm decimated nine houses on Bethany Road and 40 town-wide .Three people died across Massachusetts after four tornadoes touched down that day, the state's first tornado deaths in 16 years. The storms destroyed or damaged 1,400 houses and 78 businesses in the state's western and central parts. Damage to insured property surpassed $200 million in claims. By Bridget Murphy.
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WRENTHAM, Mass. — Norwood Police Lt. Martin Baker begins his training session with a startling new government statistic: 1 in 88 U.S. kids have autism or a related disorder. Then Baker, whose own son has autism, tells the collection of 25 police officers, firefighters and other emergency response workers gathered at the Wrentham police station what they can do when they encounter someone with autism. "Use calm, simple language," he says. "Avoid touching or standing behind the person." But Baker knows it's not as simple as that. His training session is one of hundreds held around Massachusetts over the last eight years. Since 2004, the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition, known as ALEC, has trained thousands of first responders in how to respond appropriately when they encounter someone with autism, a broad spectrum disorder that affects normal development of social and communication skills. By Denise Lavoie.
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WARM WINTER-NEW ENGLAND
HARTFORD, Conn. — A summer drought in New England is unlikely despite a warm winter and little snow that sent far less water than usual tumbling into streams and rivers, U.S. scientists said in a recent study. Summer rains have more to do with feeding waterways than winter snowpack, the study by the U.S. Geological Survey said. By Stephen Singer.
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BOSTON — She has little campaign cash and no paid staff, and at least one recent poll suggests a majority of Massachusetts residents have never heard of her. Yet Marisa DeFranco, an immigration attorney from Middleton, still hopes to deny Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren the Democratic nod for the U.S. Senate to run against incumbent Republican Scott Brown. While other Democratic hopefuls have abandoned the race and bowed to the seeming inevitability of Warren's nomination, DeFranco has soldiered on and stands on the verge of forcing a contested Democratic primary in September, something many in her party had hoped to avoid. By Bob Salsberg.
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