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Thomas Menino, Boston’s Longest-Serving Mayor, Dies at 71

Thomas Menino, whose folksy manner and verbal gaffes belied his shrewd political tactics to govern as Boston’s longest-serving mayor and one of its most beloved, died Thursday. He was 71.

Spokeswoman Dot Joyce said in a statement that Menino died in the company of his family and friends. He was diagnosed with advanced cancer in February 2014, shortly after leaving office, and announced Oct. 23 he was suspending treatment and a book tour so he could spend more time with family and friends.

Menino was first elected in 1993 and built a formidable political machine that ended decades of Irish domination of city politics, at least temporarily. He won re-election four times. He was the city’s first Italian-American mayor and served in the office for more than 20 years before a series of health problems forced him, reluctantly, to eschew a bid for a sixth term.

“I can run, I can win and I can lead, but not in the neighborhoods all the time as I like,” Menino, a Democrat, told an overflow crowd at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall on March 28, 2013.

Less than three weeks after that announcement, two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring more than 260. Menino, who had undergone surgery on a broken leg just two days earlier, checked himself out of a hospital to help lead his shaken city through the crisis.

At an interfaith service three days after the bombings, Menino, in a symbolic act of personal defiance, painfully pulled himself to his feet from his wheelchair to declare that no act of violence could break Boston’s spirit.

He was in an SUV in nearby Watertown, Massachusetts, at the end of a daylong manhunt when Police Commissioner Edward Davis informed him that the surviving bombing suspect had been captured. Menino’s Tweet: “We got him.”

President Barack Obama hailed Menino as “bold, big-hearted, and Boston strong.” Reaction poured in from leaders around the country, including Secretary of State John Kerry, a longtime U.S. senator from Massachusetts, who said: “Tom Menino was Boston.”

Gov. Deval Patrick ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the Statehouse and all other state buildings in Boston until further notice.

Menino was anything but a smooth public speaker and was prone to verbal gaffes. He was widely quoted describing Boston’s notorious parking shortage as “an Alcatraz” around his neck, rather than an albatross.

He often mangled or mixed up the names of Boston sports heroes – once famously confusing former New England Patriots kicker and Super Bowl hero Adam Vinatieri with ex-Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. But while such mistakes might sink other politicians in a sports-crazed city, they only seemed to reinforce his affable personality and ability to connect with the residents he served.

“I’m Tom Menino. I’m not a fancy talker, but I get things done,” he said in his first TV ad.

In an interview with The Associated Press in March, Menino said he “loved every minute” of being mayor, even during the city’s darkest days. He credited his staff and others, downplaying his own role.

“I just did my job – nothing special,” he said.

Thomas Michael Menino was born on Dec. 27, 1942, in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood. A former insurance salesman, he caught the political bug while working as a legislative aide to state Sen. Joseph Timilty. He first earned elective office as a district city councilor in 1984.

Menino became the council’s president in 1993 and was automatically elevated to mayor when then-Mayor Raymond Flynn was named U.S. ambassador to the Vatican. While that prompted some to initially chide Menino as an “accidental mayor,” he quickly proved his own political mettle, winning a four-year term later that year.

He never sought nor showed interest in running for higher office. Mayor, it seemed, was the only political job to which he aspired.

His tireless public schedule amazed and exhausted many of his closest aides. In his new memoir, Mayor For A New America, he made clear that was his greatest legacy.

“I paid attention to the fundamentals of urban life – clean streets, public safety, good schools, neighborhood commerce,” Menino wrote in the memoir, released in October 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “Call my City Hall and you never got an answering machine. People trusted government because it heard them. Because they could talk to it. Because it kept its word.”

Menino’s health was often a concern, and he was admitted to the hospital several times while in office.

In 2003, he underwent surgery to remove a rare sarcoma on his back. The following year, his doctors confirmed he has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.

He spent six weeks in the hospital in 2012 for a series of ailments, including a respiratory infection. While he was in the hospital, he suffered a compression fracture in his spine and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

In May 2013, he was back in the hospital for surgery for an enlarged prostate.

Menino left City Hall on his final day in office Jan. 6 to thunderous applause from city workers. Later, he Tweeted: “Thank you Boston. It has been the honor and thrill of a lifetime to be your Mayor. Be as good to each other as you have been to me.”

In March 2014, Menino revealed in an interview with The Boston Globe he was battling an advanced form of cancer that had spread to his liver and lymph nodes. Doctors said they were unable to pinpoint where the cancer originated.

In a statement announcing he was stopping treatment to devote himself to his loved ones, Menino said he was “hopeful and optimistic that one day the talented researchers, doctors and medical professionals in this city will find a cure for this awful disease.”

Menino leaves behind his wife Angela, his children Susan and Thomas Jr., a Boston police officer, and six grandchildren.

See how his fellow politicians and Boston-born celebrities (like the men of New Kids on the Block) are remembering the iconic mayor on Twitter:

Thomas Menino, Bostons Longest Serving Mayor, Dies at 71
Source: Thomas Menino, Boston’s Longest-Serving Mayor, Dies at 71

Anchor Addresses Beauty Double Standard After Reporter Calls Him Fat on Live TV

10/30/2014 AT 04:10 PM EDT

Sam Rubin has started a conversation about the “F” word – fat – by acknowledging the double standard that exists regarding weight and gender.

The entertainment journalist penned an open letter for Medium titled “Do I Look Fat in This Airbrushed Picture?” after a traffic reporter on KTLA 5 Morning News made a comment about Rubin’s weight on-air.

On live TV, Rubin recounted how his wife had jokingly asked, “Since when did you become the fat guy on that show?” when reporter Ginger Chan chimed in, “He’s always been,” not realizing her microphone was still on.

Rubin, who infamously mixed up actors Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne earlier this year, laughed off the snafu on his Facebook page, calling it a “very funny moment.”

Sadly, the anchor also acknowledged that though he is able to joke his way around his waistline, his female colleagues aren’t as lucky.

“The entire 20-plus years I have worked on the air, none of my bosses have ever said anything to me about my weight,” he wrote on Medium. “I know that virtually every woman I have worked with has not been able to avoid those same conversations.”

In a statement given exclusively to PEOPLE, Rubin clarified that in his piece, “I was talking about the TV News business in general, I was not trying to specifically state that only KTLA-TV tells women to watch their weight.”

But with all the attention on his figure, Rubin admitted he should actually be more mindful of his size.

“Maybe I will grab one less Chips Ahoy! the next time the plate is passed,” he says. “And if all of this continues to open up a discussion about more open acceptance of various shapes and sizes on the air, so much the better.”

A rep for KTLA could not immediately be reached for comment.

Anchor Addresses Beauty Double Standard After Reporter Calls Him Fat on Live TV
Source: Anchor Addresses Beauty Double Standard After Reporter Calls Him Fat on Live TV

Miley Cyrus Shells Out $300,000 for Nude Print at amFAR Gala – and Outbids Tom Ford

10/30/2014 AT 04:10 PM EDT

“Money ain’t nothing but money / When you get to the money, it ain’t nothing but money,” Miley Cyrus rapped on Bangerz – and the singer continued that cost-is-no-object sentiment at Wednesday’s amFAR Inspiration Gala in Los Angeles.

Decked out in a skin-baring, S&M-style dress, Cyrus won a bidding war against the night’s honoree – designer Tom Ford.

The prize: a print of a nude woman by photographer Ryan McGinley. The price: a casual $300,000.

Upon the singer’s winning bid, host Gwyneth Paltrow took the stage, quipping: “Okay, I’m drunk now, so this isn’t fair … And Miley Cyrus has much more money than I do! What the f—?!”

Cyrus, who attended the gala with her mom, Tish, didn’t stop the spending with the auction, though: Later in the evening, she donated another $200,000 to the organization, which funds research to eradicate HIV and AIDS.

“If I’m going to have a voice, I would like to start an open dialogue about prevention and awareness and how people in the world have been affected by HIV and AIDS,” Cyrus said at the event. “Hopefully I could break down people’s walls that have been built up around sexuality. I’m obviously not too embarrassed to talk about these things, especially with young people.”


Miley Cyrus Shells Out $300,000 for Nude Print at amFAR Gala   and Outbids Tom Ford
Source: Miley Cyrus Shells Out $300,000 for Nude Print at amFAR Gala – and Outbids Tom Ford

Hogs Run Wild in Florida Community

10/30/2014 AT 03:30 PM EDT

It could be a scary Halloween for a Florida community – but not because of ghosts and goblins.

Feral hogs have run amok throughout the community of Suntree, a group of upscale homes near a wildlife area in Central Florida.

The porcine intruders, as large as 350 lbs. each, leave a trail of destruction in their wake – uprooting the manicured lawns, damaging fences and causing other messes (just use your imagination). 

Although wild hogs generally attack humans only when cornered, law enforcement, concerned about how the animals could affect Halloween festivities, has hired licensed trapper James Dean to capture the hogs.

So far, he has caught 11 of them.

“They multiply like rabbits,” Dean tells ABC News. “It’s just totally impossible to keep them under control.”

Although rumors have circulated that the county is planning to ban trick-or-treating, authorities tell PEOPLE that will never happen.  

“It’s a vicious rumor,” Don Walker, communications director for Brevard County, says with a laugh. “It’s taken on a life of its own. People just need to be cautious, but there’s no reason to cancel anything.”

The next step: Dean has a plan to chase the pigs back into the woods.

“I want to bring in the dogs,” he says, “so the kids can have their Halloween.”

Hogs Run Wild in Florida Community
Source: Hogs Run Wild in Florida Community