New England news in brief


DA launches drug treatment program

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced Thursday the launch of “Road to Recovery,” a pilot program designed to provide treatment for nonviolent drug offenders as opposed to prosecution and incarceration. The program will start on Jan. 2 in Dorchester. “Beginning next month, if members of the Boston police find someone in simple possession of a controlled substance who presents no other apparent risk to public safety, they won’t make an arrest,” Conley said at a press conference at the Devine Recovery Center in South Boston. Instead, they’ll be issued a summons to appear in court the next day and offered access to treatment, he said. Conley’s office is partnering with the Boston Police Department and the Gavin Foundation, a nonprofit that provides substance abuse treatment.


Rough seas interrupt search for sunken boat

The State Police dive team’s search for the Misty Blue, the 69-foot clam boat that sunk off Nantucket, was put on hold again Thursday due to rough water conditions. Divers plan to return to the water on Saturday when conditions are expected to be safer, said David Procopio, a department spokesman. Earlier this week, the dive team located a large object about 80 to 90 feet below the surface of the water that they believe to be the New Bedford-based vessel. The boat was harvesting surf clams when it ran into trouble Monday night. The captain, Eric Arabian, 44, and another crewman, Colby McMullen, 22, were both rescued from the water by a nearby fishing vessel. The other two members of the crew — Michael Roberts, 49, and Jonathan Saraiva, 32 — have not been seen since. The incident is under investigation.


More offensive graffiti found at high school

Needham High School officials have discovered “repulsive anti-gay language and a gay slur” written in bathrooms in the building, the principal disclosed to parents and students Thursday. The announcement from principal Aaron Sicotte came two days after he told parents in a letter that the “N word” was found scrawled on a wall in two boys’ bathrooms during the past month. His follow-up message, which was obtained by the Globe, to students and parents about the anti-gay graffiti did not specify which bathrooms the hate speech was found in or when school officials discovered the messages. “This incident is an offensive illustration of the reality that racism is not the only issue we are dealing with at NHS,” Sicotte wrote in his strongly worded letter. “Our LGBTQ staff and students routinely face homophobia and a lack of the comfort and acceptance that heterosexuals feel in our building.”


Hawthorne Hotel saves Children’s Charity fete


The Hawthorne Hotel has stepped forward to host a Christmas party for a children’s charity after the restaurant that long held the event abruptly closed Wednesday. The 24th annual Salem Children’s Charity fund-raiser will go on as planned, on Dec. 12. The event, which features a live and silent auction, raises tens of thousands of dollars, which the charity distributes year-round for children in need. Victoria Station on Pickering Wharf had hosted the party for the last 23 years. But the restaurant closed Wednesday in an apparent dispute over its lease. The nonprofit charity feared it would have to cancel this year’s party. But the Hawthorne stepped forward, offering its historic ballroom and food free of charge, general manager Claire Kallelis said.

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(Jacob Carozza)