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Week in Review: Bank Robbery, Extortion Arrests, Food Trucks, City Budget Passed

A look at some of the top recent stories from Medford.

Two more men now face charges in connection to alleged beatings, threats and extortion attempts at a Medford construction company's office earlier this month. Timothy Hogan, 44 of Saugus was arrested Monday and William Albright, 40, of Medford was arrested Tuesday on charges stemming from the June 19 incident at NEQ Construction's office on Riverside Avenue. James Morando, 52, of Swampscott was previously arrested on charges stemming from the incident. Witnesses who work at NEQ construction's office at 427 Riverside Ave. told police that the men entered the business Tuesday at about 5:30 p.m., shoved a man aside who tried to greet them, then punched and kicked two other men who worked there and demanded $10,000 in "commission fees."

City Council OK's Food Truck Pilot Program in Medford: The Medford City Council voted to approve a pilot program for food trucks to be licensed for the Medford Farmers Market and other community events. The program will be in place through October and then be reviewed again by the council.

Medford High Wins Grant for Science Labs Overhaul: Medford schools have won a partial grant to overhaul its science labs, and the improvements will be drastic, according to Superintendent Roy Belson. "This could be the most significant improvement to Medford High School since its construction in 1970," Belson said to the City Council Tuesday. The grant, called the Science Lab Initiative, was awarded to 10 schools in Massachusetts and will fund up to $60 million worth of projects. The plans in Medford weren't outlined in detail Tuesday, but the improvements would be complete by the start of 2013 school year, Belson said. Medford High School will be reviewed for accreditation in 2013.

City Council Narrowly Approves Medford Budget: The Medford City Council approved a $139.6 million operating budget for fiscal year 2013 by a 4-3 vote. City Councilors Paul Camuso, Fred Dello Russo, Rick Caraviello and Robert Maiocco voted in support of the proposed budget, while Breanna Lungo-Koehn, Michael Marks and Robert Penta voted against the budget. The budget, which is both the school and city operating budgets combined, is a $6.3 million increase over 2012. The city's finance department estimates the budget will bring estimated average tax increases of $110 for single family homes, $85 for condos, $121 for two family homes, $143 for 3 family home and $619 for commercial properties. The official tax rate won't be set until December.

Alleged Bank Robbery Accessory Now Faces Unarmed Robbery Charge of His Own: Already facing a charge of accessory after the fact stemming from a robbery at Eastern Bank on June 15, Shawn Fitzgibbon now faces an unarmed robbery charge of his own from a job at the same bank earlier that week. Fitzgibbon, 30, of 48 Cummings St. is charged with armed robbery for allegedly robbing the Eastern Bank on Locust Street of $2,200 on June 11, according to court records. He was arrested at his home about 4 p.m. Friday, June 22 and arraigned in Somerville District Court Monday morning, where his bail was set at $2,500, according to court records.

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