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Remember when GateHouse Media officials sent out memos cutting back on buying things like coffee and office supplies like, oh, paper, and the company's stock went from an initial offering of about $20 a share to dropping like a rock to a penny and being delisted on the New York Stock Exchange? Apparently, they don't either.

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Don't even think about prying cigarettes from their cold, dead hands. The right to smoke, or more properly, the right to consume legal products has roiled Westminster for weeks. The Worcester County town of 7,000 gained national notoriety in October for proposing a first in the country ban on the sale of tobacco products.

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Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voted to uphold the state's casino gambling law earlier this month. By a margin of 20 percentage points, voters rejected a ballot question that would have repealed the 2011 law that legalized casinos in Massachusetts. The victory was a huge win for the casino industry, which has been buffeted by a regional slump; casino interests spent nearly $14 million fighting the repeal question. But now that the repeal question has been buried, it's unclear what sort of prize the casino industry, and its backers on Beacon Hill, have won.

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The light sentences handed down on Thursday in the Probation Department patronage scandal sent a clear signal to Beacon Hill that federal prosecutors proved only half their case.

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Since 2010, Massachusetts voters statewide have marched to the polling booth eight times for primary, general, and special elections and there have been at least 13 other special elections with accompanying primaries to fill state House and Senate seats as well as a Congressional seat, not to mention the myriad of biennial local elections.

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