Boston:

Romney appoints new highway chief

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday named veteran transportation planner Luisa Paiewonsky as the new state highway commissioner.

Paiewonsky's appointment is the latest in a series of job changes within the state's transportation network. She replaces John Cogliano, who last month was named secretary of transportation.

Cogliano replaced Daniel Grabauskas, who became head of the MBTA.

Romney cited Paiewonsky's "solid record of achievement" at MassHighway in announcing the appointment. She previously served as assistant secretary of transportation and as MassHighway's director of transportation planning and deputy commissioner.

"As we work to complete projects within our long-range transportation plan, I look forward to Commissioner Paiewonsky's advice on how to keep our citizens moving now and in the future," Romney said in a statement.

As commissioner, Paiewonsky will oversee 1,850 employees, 9,500 lane miles, 2,800 bridges and a budget of nearly $900 million.


Boston:

Gang activity target of proposed bill

BOSTON -- A legislative panel on Friday gave its approval to a bill designed to crack down on gang activity in the Bay State.

The bill, backed by chief sponsor Sen. Jarrett T. Barrios, D-Cambridge, creates a state version of the federal witness protection program and sets aside $11 million in grants for cities and towns to develop youth anti-gang initiatives.

The bill also increases penalties for possession of a loaded gun, among other provisions.

Police and prosecutors have been calling for changes in state that will help them reduce the growing problem of witness intimidation.

The Public Safety Committee yesterday voted to recommend that the bill be passed into law. It will now be referred to the Ways and Means Committee, and eventually scheduled for a floor debate and vote by the full House and Senate.

The Romney administration has expressed support for similar anti-gang initiatives, with Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey filing her own bill earlier this year.

-- Compiled by The Eagle's Boston Bureau