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June 19, 2014

The week's news in review

Mayor, police chief at odds over best use of D’Alessandro money

Mayor James Fiorentini wants to use funds donated to the city to replace the police station’s deteriorated roof, but police Chief Alan DeNaro and several city councilors say that’s not the best use for the money.

DeNaro said the mayor has changed his mind on spending a private donation to build a police maintenance garage at the Public Works complex on Primrose Street.

In the 2012, the city received $607,000 from the trust of the late Elmo D’Alessandro, a former resident and businessman who died in 2008. The bequest, which can only be used for law enforcement purposes, is being held subject to appropriation by the mayor and council.

DeNaro said the mayor committed to using the money to build the maintenance garage. The chief said $60,000 has already been spent on plans for the facility and that construction was supposed to begin soon.

Police vehicles are maintained at a space the city leases for about $42,000 a year at the private Kazmiera Marina on Coffin Avenue. The marina space is small, expensive and has numerous other problems, DeNaro said.

“Everything is done and ready to go on the garage,” the chief recently told councilors. “But now the mayor has changed his mind. He wants to do a 180 (degree turn) and I don’t know what to do.”

— Shawn Regan

City man gets year sentence for car breaks

A city man was sentenced to a year in jail Friday for breaking into dozens of cars in West Newbury and Merrimac last fall admitted he and his accomplice hired a taxi cab to drive them to their targets, according to police records.

Justice Holmes, 18, pleaded guilty to 41 counts of misdemeanor breaking and entering; four counts of felony nighttime breaking and entering of a vehicle, larceny under $250 and malicious destruction of property more than $250. In all, Holmes was sentenced to a year in jail with 180 days to be served, the balance suspended for two years. He was given credit for 166 days already served and ordered to pay $90 in fines.

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