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Advocates for disabled send message

WEBSTER - Advocates delivered their message that the disabled need help to the few legislators who attended the 19th annual Legislative Breakfast yesterday, but advocates were urged to call or write all of their legislators.

Linda C. Cournoyer, president of the Southern Worcester County ARC (Center of Hope), and others who spoke yesterday said the disabled and their families have faced the same problems for years, including poor pay for caregivers, not enough money in the state budget for family services, and low state financial support for clients over the age of 22.

Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray, the guest speaker, praised the efforts of the disabled and those who care for them and recognized their needs, but he did not offer much hope that there is more money on the way. He said the new administration took office last fall expecting a $1 billion budget surplus. Instead, it found a $1.3 billion deficit.

"These services are not luxuries, but are necessary for family survival," Ms. Cournoyer said, referring to the needs of the disabled. "Why do we always have to live on the edge of crisis?" she asked.

More than 200 people attended the breakfast at Elks Lodge on Cudworth Road. It was sponsored by Southern Worcester County ARC, the South Valley DMR Advisory Board, Rehabilitative Resources of Sturbridge, Alternatives Unlimited of Whitinsville and Life Skills Inc.

Motor vehicle homicide case in court

WORCESTER - A Leicester man charged with motor vehicle homicide in the death of an elderly Worcester man last summer is to return to court June 12.

Charles G. Onorato Jr., 18, of 264 Pine St., Leicester, was driving a 1994 GMC pickup truck when he allegedly ran a red light at Park Avenue and Grove Street on Aug. 28. The truck smashed into a gray 2002 Pontiac, sending its driver, Joseph J. Wuss, 83, to the hospital. Mr. Wuss died two days later.

Mr. Onorato appeared Thursday before Judge David W. Cunis in Central District Court on charges of motor vehicle homicide by driving under the influence of alcohol or .08 percent and driving negligently. The case was continued to June 12.

Ashburnham town meeting today

ASHBURNHAM - A request to fund a $739,309 Proposition 2-1/2 override for the regional school district is on the warrant of the 40-article annual town meeting today. The meeting is to convene at 10 a.m. at Town Hall, 32 Main St.

Westminster already voted to support the override for the Ashburnham-Westminster Regional School District. Both towns must put the override to a ballot vote. The $12.2 million budget for fiscal 2008 is also up for a vote today.

Spencer wraps up annual meeting

SPENCER - It took a little coaxing from Town Moderator Robert B. McPherson, but voters finished the 25-article at 12:20 a.m. yesterday with a 100-voter quorum still present in the Great Hall of Memorial Town Hall.

Town Clerk Jean M. Mulhall said voters approved by the required two-thirds majority the $3,775,000 debt exclusion that will be on the annual town election ballot. The vote was 78 in favor and 23 against.

The article provides money needed for an aerial/platform firetruck, the rehabilitation of Memorial Town Hall and adjacent former fire station, an economic development and utility plan, the repair or replacement of the Elm Street bridge, the renovation of the Citizen Soldier Monument and Prouty Park, and the reconstruction of Maple Street from Main Street south to Bemis Street.

Voters approved a general fiscal 2008 budget of $7 million, a regional school assessment of $5,888,074, and a vocational school budget of $531,528.

A sum of $390,000 was approved for equipment purchases and capital improvements, including money for the police, fire, and Utilities and Facilities departments.

Mrs. Mulhall said as midnight approached some voters began heading for the door, but the moderator urged them to stay. They finished up with transfers of $27,770 to the Stabilization Operation Reserve, $10,000 to Stabilization Capital Reserve, and $10,000 to Stabilization Land Acquisition accounts.

$100,000 bail set for alleged beating

WESTBORO - A Northboro man was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail for allegedly beating a man for having "ratted on him."

Damon Jett, 30, of 62 Bartlett St., Northboro, was arraigned in Westboro District Court yesterday with aggravated assault and battery, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot), wanton destruction of property, and threatening to commit a crime (assault and battery.)

Judge Paul S. Waickowski cited Mr. Jett's lengthy adult criminal record, which includes 67 adult arraignments, and the seriousness of the victim's injury, which required surgery, as reasons for the bail amount. Mr. Jett is on probation on a disorderly conduct charge out of Clinton District Court. In January, he was incarcerated at the House of Correction on another case, according to court records.

A 30-year-old Northboro man walked into the Northboro police station Wednesday morning to report that he had been assaulted earlier that morning or the previous night at Mr. Jett's house.

ART: PHOTO

PHOTOG: T&G Staff/DAN GOULD

CUTLINE: Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray receives a gold star from Cindy Howard, director of ARC services at the Center of Hope, for listening and learning about the needs of people with disabilities.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 5, 2007
Words:893
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