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Murtha nephew got contract

A company owned by a nephew of Rep. John Murtha received $4 million from the Defense Department last year for engineering and warehouse services, the Washington Post reported today.

Murtha, D-Pa., is chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

Murtech Inc., based on Glen Burnie, Md., is owned by the congressman’s nephew Robert C. Murtha Jr., who told the Post the company provides “necessary logistical support” to Pentagon testing programs, “and that’s about as far as I feel comfortable going.”

The Post reported that the Pentagon rewarded contracts to Murtech without competition.

Robert Murtha denied using his family ties to land defense contracts. In fact, he told the Post, “I’ve been critiqued all my life, having the last name of Murtha.”

Rep. Murtha has been known for his skill at steering government money to defense contractors in his home state. But the Post said there was no evidence the lawmaker had earmarked funds for Murtech.


Son escapes dad’s fatal shooting spree

A 34-year-old father who shot and killed his wife and two young sons fell over a bicycle and missed another son before killing himself on the front lawn of their house, authorities said Monday.

Nathan Bellar, 13, escaped through the garage as his father fired at him, the Polk County Sheriff’s Department said.

Investigators said Troy Ryan Bellar fatally shot his wife, Wendy Bellar, 31, and their 5-month-old and 8-year-old sons before killing himself late Sunday in Lakeland, between Tampa and Orlando. They said they had not found a suicide note, and a motive remained unclear.

Sheriff’s Department spokesman Scott Wilder said Wendy Bellar tried to leave the home with two of the children after a fight with her husband.

Nathan fled safely to the house of a neighbor, who called 911.

The teen was staying with his grandparents Monday.


Globe, union talks stalled over cuts

Negotiations between the Boston Globe and its largest union reached an impasse Monday, largely over lifetime job guarantees that the 137-year-old newspaper says it has to end to survive.

The newspaper’s owner, the New York Times Co., struck agreements with six of seven unions at the Globe in an effort to cut $20 million in annual costs. But talks stalled with the largest union, the Boston Newspaper Guild, which represents about 700 editorial, advertising and business employees.

Globe management backed off – at least temporarily – on a threat to file a notice required by federal law to begin the process of shutting down the newspaper. Both sides said they would resume talks in coming days, but did not specify when.

From wire reports