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BC-MA--Massachusetts News Digest 6 pm, MA

January 23, 2019

Good evening. Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up in Massachusetts.

Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP Boston bureau at 617-357-8100 or 800-882-1407.

New England News Editor Bill Kole can be reached at 617-357-8100 or bkole@ap.org. New England Photo Editor Bill Sikes is reachable at 617-357-8106 or bsikes@ap.org.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

A reminder that this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Eastern.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES:

MASSACHUSETTS BUDGET

Gov. Charlie Baker rolled out a $42.7 billion state budget Wednesday, accompanied by a plan to overhaul the state’s 25-year-old education funding formula that critics contend shortchanges many students with special needs and those from low-income, minority or immigrant families. SENT: 580 words, photos.

MISSING WOMAN

A man charged with kidnapping a 23-year-old woman in Boston sobbed in court Wednesday as he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. Victor Pena is accused of holding Olivia Ambrose against her will in his apartment, where police found her on Tuesday. Ambrose had been missing since Saturday, and police said she appeared to be in good health. SENT: 350 words, photos.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-WHALES

Rescuers who respond to distressed whales and other marine animals say the federal government shutdown is making it more difficult to do their work. A network of rescue groups in the U.S. works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to respond to marine mammals such as whales and seals when the animals are in trouble, such as when they are stranded on land or entangled in fishing gear. But the federal shutdown, which is entering its 33rd day on Wednesday, includes a shuttering of the NOAA operations the rescuers rely upon. SENT: 600 words.

PUERTO RICO-ELECTION 2020-ELIZABETH WARREN

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren promised to help rebuild Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria and support laws to give the U.S. territory equal treatment and debt relief as she condemned President Donald Trump during a visit Tuesday to the island, which has become an obligatory stop for potential and presidential candidates. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

MEEK MILL-CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

A coalition of big names in sports and entertainment is taking on criminal justice reform. Rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z and the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots came together in New York City on Wednesday to announce the launch of an organization that will lobby for changes to state probation and parole laws. SENT: 320 words.

SMALL TALK-INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

It hasn’t been lost on small business owners that Uber and other ride-sharing services are enormously successful without having employees doing the work. It’s one of the reasons why small companies are forgoing employees in favor of independent contractors. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

With:

INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS-TIPS

Small business owners who want to use independent contractors need to be sure these workers really aren’t employees. SENT: 450 words.

IN BRIEF:

_ MASSACHUSETTS CONGRESS: The two newest Democratic members of Congress from Massachusetts have received their first committee assignments. SENT.

_ LEGAL MARIJUANA-MASSACHUSETTS: Pot shops in Massachusetts have racked up nearly $24 million in sales since the first ones opened two months ago. SENT.

_ RIGHT WHALE PROTECTION: The developer of an offshore wind energy project is partnering with environmental groups on a plan to try to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. SENT.

_ TENT DEATHS: Authorities in Massachusetts say two people have been found dead in a tent in an area known as a camp site for homeless people. SENT.

_ WRONG MAN-KIDNEY REMOVED: A Massachusetts doctor who erroneously removed a kidney from the wrong patient has received a reprimand from the state. SENT.

_ GIRL DIES: Authorities say an 11-year-old Massachusetts girl who died days after going into medical distress at her great uncle’s house had fentanyl in her system. SENT.

_ STORM RESPONSE FINE: Massachusetts has penalized National Grid $750,000 for what the state calls the utility’s inadequate preparation and response to a destructive 2017 wind storm. SENT.

_ TEEN FATALLY SHOT: The victim of a weekend shooting in Pittsfield has been publicly identified as an 18-year-old man from Dalton. SENT.

_ COMPUTER SEX CHARGE: A Massachusetts man has been accused in New Hampshire of using a computer to arrange a sexual encounter with a person whom he believed to be a child. SENT.

SPORTS

CAVALIERS-CELTICS

The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Boston Celtics. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.

PATRIOTS-STEADY DEFENSE

It hasn’t been perfect, but after a slow start the Patriots have stabilized a defense that gave up 25 or more points four times in its first eight games and looked lost at times following the departure of former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. But it came together down the stretch under de facto coordinator Brian Flores, the All-Pro season of cornerback Stephon Gilmore and improved play up front. By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 700 words by 6 p.m., photos.

RAMS-BETTING BIG

The Los Angeles Rams made a big bet on themselves last spring, and it’s paying off with a Super Bowl run. After the Rams lost their first playoff game in 13 years last season, general manager Les Snead decided they needed to leap through this championship window by acquiring high-priced defensive veterans and giving huge contracts to their two best players. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 9 p.m. EST.

SUPER BOWL SECURITY

When Super Bowl 53 kicks off less than two weeks from now, legions of police and federal agents will be positioned to protect fans inside and outside the Atlanta stadium where the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams face off. The game will bring international attention, which makes it a potential target for terrorism, said Brian Levin, a former New York City police officer who is director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. SENT: 750 words.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

American U. at Boston U., 5 p.m. UPCOMING: 150 words, more on merits.

UMass-Lowell at Binghamton, 7 p.m. UPCOMING: 150 words, more on merits.

Holy Cross at Army, 7 p.m. UPCOMING: 150 words, more on merits.

St. Bonaventure at UMass, 7 p.m. UPCOMING: 150 words, more on merits.

____

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