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Is Lynn overreacting?

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City and school officials in Lynn say they plan to prosecute two freshman girls who fought each other at Cook Street Park and discipline at least 27 other children who watched and did nothing.

The fight became a media sensation and a major embarrassment for Lynn when an eight-and-half-minute video of the incident was posted on a website devoted to girl-on-girl fights and later on YouTube. The video received heavy coverage on local TV stations, with most news outlets blurring the faces of the participants so they wouldn’t be recognized.

Now the question is whether city officials are overreacting by meting out punishments, including criminal charges. The Lynn Item reports students will be disciplined on Monday when they return to English High School after February vacation. The two girls who fought each other are expected to be charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct.

Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy told Emily Rooney on Greater Boston that the fight started when one girl called the other a name. Rooney noted playground fights are not that unusual and said it’s not even unusual for onlookers to gather round to watch. “That’s the way it happens in hockey games,” she said.

Kennedy agreed, but said what bothered her about this fight was how long it went on and how the onlookers encouraged the participants and even acted as referees. She also was concerned that no one called the police. “They did nothing about it,” she said. “I want them to learn about the consequences of apathy.”

                                                                                                                                            --BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick is considering using unspent snow removal money to help close the deficit at the MBTA. A guaranteed way to make it snow. A Boston Herald editorial slams what it calls Patrick’s “sanctimony” on MBTA finances.

CommonWealth obtains Attorney General Martha Coakley’s statement of her case against “Friend of Sal” Richard Vitale, which exposes the underbelly of Beacon Hill.

A judge has vacated 11 promotions handed down under former state probation commissioner John O’Brien, the first legal move to undo personnel decisions under his patronage-fueled reign.

The state retirement board has suspended jailed Beacon Hill lobbyist Richard McDonough’s $31,000 a year pension for a no-show job with a special needs education collaborative.

CASINOS

Greater Boston takes the pulse of East Boston residents on whether they want a casino in their midst. While most think it’s a fait accompli, there’s a small pocket of resistance building.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

The Globe reports on a letter sent last week by the state inspector general to Boston officials telling them to seek more compensation from the Boston Red Sox for the team’s use of streets adjacent to Fenway Park on game days and for air rights they were granted to construct the “Monster Seats” above the left field wall along Lansdowne Street. News of the letter from IG Greg Sullivan was first reported on Tuesday by CommonWealth.

Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina wants to ban satellite dishes from building facades.

The Brockton Water Department, which has had billing problems and other issues, is shutting off service to four or five houses and businesses a day because the occupants are failing to register for new meter installations.

The Cambridge Chronicle calls out everyone involved in the city’s inability to pick a ceremonial mayor. (Councilors finally did select a mayor this week.)

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

US Rep. William Keating is introducing legislation requiring drug manufacturers to make prescription narcotic pills crush-resistant to reduce abuse by addicts who snort or inject them.

ELECTION 2012

In the National Review, Steve Baldwin and Deroy Murdock pick apart Mitt Romney’s anti-immigration stances. The Herald previews Gov. Deval Patrick’s role as an anti-Romney attack dog. The New York Times looks at the political lessons stemming from Romney’s mother’s failed Senate run.

Financial author Rick Newman, writing in U.S. News & World Report says there are three problems with Romney’s tax plan: It would worsen the national debt; trigger larger spending cuts; and it favors the rich. Other than that... The Atlantic calls Romney’s plan “a mathematical disaster.” Paul Krugman accuses Romney of being a closet Keynesian.

The Devil, you say, Rick Santorum. Meanwhile, Karen Santorum says her husband’s candidacy is “God’s will.” The Daily Beast’s David Frum on why the birth control debate stings.

A new Obama campaign ad swipes at the entire GOP field in Michigan.

Democrats are crying foul over Sen. Scott Brown’s claim to be following in Ted Kennedy’s footsteps in the battle over mandated insurance coverage for birth control. Warren and Brown trade barbs over whether Hollywood or Palm Beach campaign donors most closely share middle-class Bay State values.

Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas argues that Joe Kennedy III’s run for the US House will suck up all the attention this election year, making it difficult for Elizabeth Warren to make inroads in her Senate race against incumbent Scott Brown.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The mail processing facility in Wareham will close and its operations will move to Providence. It is one of more than 200 facilities that will be closed or consolidated around the country, according to the Postal Service.

More Americans have college degrees than ever before.

Governing asks why the nation’s infrastructure resembles a Third World country’s.

Fannie Mae wants Bank of America to buy back bad mortgages, so the bank is retaliating by not selling anything to Fannie.

EDUCATION

Boston University will form a task force to examine the culture of the school’s hockey team after a second player was arrested on sexual assault charges. “These charges have raised a flag that there’s something here that’s not acceptable in a university,’’ BU president Robert Brown told the Globe.  Yesterday’s Download suggested that, as with previous cases of Boston area athletes exhibiting abusive behavior toward women, it may have been the sharp words of a female newspaper columnist that raised a flag and prompted action.

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is withdrawing his proposal to build a 400-foot wind turbine on Moon Island, which the city owns but is located in Quincy, because of opposition from residents in the Squantum neighborhood.

Warming waves: Even the right whales have come back to Cape waters earlier than normal this year. They usually start appearing in the spring.

The Wall Street Journal says energy firms drastically over-reported stimulus-related job creation figures.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

New statistics indicate the nation’s prison population fell in 2010 for the first time in nearly four decades. The cause was a decline in state prison admissions, Governing reports. For a broader look at what’s happening, see CommonWealth’s report.

Representatives of the Mayan community in New Bedford met with police to talk about increasing attacks at night targeted against Mayans, many of which go unreported for fear of deportation.

A rash of drunk driving incidents in the Berkshires prompts The Berkshire Eagle to call for prosecuting those drivers to the full extent of the law.

An argument over some Red Sox tickets prompted a Salem Hospital psychiatrist and his estranged wife to get into a fight. The psychiatrist is facing charges of rape and assault and battery, the Lynn Item reports.

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