Newsworthy Wrap-Up: Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MASSACHUSETTS – The war on Christmas comes to Saugus, housing improves, and debits at the lottery counter. These stories in more in today’s Newsworthy Wrap-Up for Wednesday, December 21, 2011. Have a great evening!

1. The Saugus Santa Ban became a national story when it was fodder for Bill O’Reilly on his program last night. Supt. Langlois Richard Langlois was called a “pinhead” and “idiot” after receiving backlash for banning a forty-nine year tradition in the town when a firefighter dressed as Santa Claus visits the public school. Langlois reversed his decision just later in the day. Watch the video here.

2. According to the Warren Group, a Boston company that tracks real estate, the market in Massachusetts saw a slight bump in November once again, however, year-to-date sales are down nearly 7%. November marked the fifth consecutive month of improved housing sales, with 3,253 single-family homes sold. This is a 13% increase compared to the November sales last year. To see how the market is changing in your town or city, click here to download figures for home sales or click here to download figures for condo sales.

3. According to a press release from the State Ethics Commission, a senior deputy sheriff in the Middlesex Sheriff’s office has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine for violating the state’s conflict of interest law. Michael Jackson hosted a campaign fundraiser in October 2009 for then-Sheriff James DiPaola, who committed suicide last year in Maine after learning he would face an investigation into his use of campaign money. Jackson broke the conflict of interest law by soliciting donations from other department employees during work hours. Three officers at the Billerica House of Correction have already paid $5,000 fines each for organizing a DiPaola fundraiser as well.

4. The Massachusetts State Lottery will begin to allow participants to purchase tickets using their debit cards, following the lead of 33 other states nationwide. The policy will be put into effect in 2012, possibly as soon as January 1st according to a report. Lottery agents, however, would not be allowed to accept credit cards or welfare cards to play.



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