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WSAR Headlines

Fall River Public Safety


The Fall River City Council's Committee on Public Safety will revisit a pair of issues at 5:30pm in the Second Floor Council Chambers. 

Resolutions dealing with procedures and regulations regarding abandoned properties and the condition of the Kilburn Street Mill are on a three item agenda. 

The next regularly scheduled Council Session happens on Tuesday September 9 and could feature a showdown between Council and the Sixth Floor on the issue of fees approved by the Board of Public Health aimed at private waste haulers. 

Council Members call Flanagan ''Disengaged''


Fall River City Council Member Mike Miozza and Council Vice President Ray Mitchell have told WSAR, in Thursday's edition of ''The WSAR Newsroom'' that Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan allegedly has been texting during meetings with Council Members on various topics. 

Mitchell and Miozza are calling for more communication and a partnership between the Sixth Floor and the 9-member council. 

Flanagan has released a 7 minute video on his Facebook page this afternoon, saying he has no issues with citizens who wish to criticize decisions he has made in his nearly five years as mayor, but wants the critical comments directed at policies and not at members of his administration. 

New Bedford Fall River Spraying


For the 3rd time in recent weeks, the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project will be spraying for potential nests that may have been infected with mosquitoes carrying the Triple E or West Nile Virus in New Bedford, beginning Thursday  Morning at 2 a-m.

The areas in New Bedford to be sprayed include Fort Tabor, Brooklawn, Buttonwood, Hazelwood, Riverside, Clasky Common and Ashley Parks, along with Ben Rose Field, the Poor Farm Area and the New Bedford Industrial Park.

The Oak Grove Cemetery area near Kennedy Park in Fall River was sprayed earlier Wednesday morning in advance of  Feast of The Holy Ghost.  

 

 

 

 

Local Unemployment for July


The Massachusetts Division of Labor and Workforce Development says the new unemployment numbers show an uptick in various cities and towns in the Southcoast. 
In Fall River, Unemployment was up from 9.3 to 10.1% from June to July. 
In New Bedford, Unemployment moved up half a percentage point to 10.5%.
Unemployment in Freetown is up a full percentage point to 6.8%.
The Massachusetts Unemployment Average is at 6.2%.
 
 
 
 
 

The Sales Tax Free Weekend


The President and CEO of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry tells WSAR that while the recent Tax Free Weekend helped some big ticket retailers, especially those dealing in Appliances, the results pale when compared to a holiday shopping weekend. 

Rob Mellion tells WSAR that you likely purchased things you needed and had delayed. 

Mellion tells WSAR the Sales Tax Free Weekend needs to be on a consistent date; retailers got around a week to organize any promotions they had planned. 

The Recall Weekend Part One


Amid a series of claims and counterclaims that were a part of Social Media over the weekend, Organizers with a Recall Effort aimed at Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tell WSAR that they will release their first batch of numbers this week, as their 20 day window to gather some 2,500 signatures to place a recall question, likely on a November or December ballot continues this week. 

Organizers of the recall effort have indicated to WSAR that at least 3 incidents involving those gathering signatures, including the alleged defacing of petitions, happened over the weekend. 

Signature efforts were underway at Kennedy Park and the Wal Mart Super Center over the weekend.

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tells WSAR that he has been in contact with Fall River PD Chief Dan Racine as to what happened over the weekend. 

 

 

Jenkins Case in Fall River


ESPN is reporting that the girlfriend of former Patriot Aaron Hernandez is seeking to have a single perjury count against her dismissed. 
Attorneys for Shayanna Jenkins have filed a motion in the Fall River Justice Center stating that Bristol County Prosecutors have so far failed to provide evidence of perjury to a grand jury; the defense's legal memorandum in this instance was filed under seal. 
Jenkins is due in a Fall River Courtroom this coming Friday. 
Bristol County Prosecutors alleged that Jenkins lied to a grand jury nearly 30 times; they've started in court that Hernandez ordered her to dispose of the murder weapon in the Odin Lloyd case; the trial in Fall River will likely happen in the first quarter of 2015. 
 
 
 
 
 

New Bedford Weekend Homicide


A 32-year old New Bedford Man has been ID'd as the city's latest homicide victim after the body of Edson A. Ramos was found at 2:10 Sunday morning in the Weld Square Area. 

New Bedford Police say Ramos' body was found in a grassy area adjacent to Route 18 near the 195 overpass. 

The City's Medical Examiner has ruled the death as a homicide, but the investigation remains active, the cause of death is not being disclosed. 

The Bristol County D-As office and the NBPD are asking for anyone with information to come forward by the calling the NBPD and the D-As tip line. 

 

 

 

 

Triple E in Freetown


The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has confirmed the first case of Triple E in 2014, as a deer in Freetown was found to have contracted the Eastern Equine Encephalitis after a mosquito bite. 
Freetown's risk for Triple E is now moved to High, as the Department of Public Health is now asking that Freetown reschedule evening outdoor community events to avoid the peak mosquito activity hours of dusk and dawn. 
The risk level in Fall River, Swansea, Somerset, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Lakeville, Berkley, Rochester, and Acushnet has been raised to Moderate. 
There have been no human cases of Triple E or the West Nile Virus in 2014 in the Commonwealth, after one in 2013. 
 
 
 
 

Fall and New Bedford J-A-G Grant


The City of Fall River is set to receive a Bureau of Justice Assistance Grant worth a little over $94,000 that will fund the purchase of a new Command Center Vehicle, Equipment for the Command Center and a New Cruiser. 
The New Bedford P-D is also drawing from the same JAG Grant Program, and will receive nearly $100,000, which will fund overtime and purchase new equipment. 
 
 
 

MA Unemployment for July


The Executive Office of the Labor and Workforce Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is reporting that preliminary numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that the Commonwealth added nearly 14-hundred jobs in July while the Unemployment rate for July is listed at 5.6%, up one tenth of a percent compared to June. 
The current unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the August 2008; the National Unemployment Rate is at 6.2%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has also revised its June Job Estimates to a gain of 2500 lower than the 3700 that was first reported. 
 
 
 
 

Freetown Fatal


The Massachusetts State Police have confirmed to WSAR that a fatal accident involving a motorcycle happened earlier this morning. just after 10am at Route 140 North Bound, at exit 8, in Freetown. 
What has been termed a ''serious accident'' closed down the right lane for at least 2 hours while a Mass State Police Accident Reconstruction team investigated what happened. 
 
 
 
 

The Fall River Mayoral Recall Petitions


The next steps in the effort to recall Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan will happen this afternoon, when the first petitions will be handed over to proponents of a recall effort, when then have 20 days, ending on September 1, to gather an estimated 2600 signatures of registered Fall River voters. 

City Clerk Allison Bouchard tells WSAR that each petition page has room for 40 signatures each which can then be turned in to her office for verification. 

If proponents gather the necessary number of signatures, Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan would be given the option of resigning the office of Mayor.

If Flanagan decides to stay and fight, City Council would then be sent the information and would then set a date 60 days out, likely in mid November, as the questions cannot appear on the November balloting for Governor and other offices.

Bouchard tells WSAR that Flanagan could run for his office along with other contenders, if the recall fails, Flanagan would remain in office; he could also remain in office even if the recall succeeded by being voted in on the second half of a two part ballot. 

MA Gas Prices Gas Buddies.com


According to Gas Buddies.com, the average retail gasoline price in the Commonwealth is down nearly 4 cents a gallon, now at an average of $3.55 a gallon after a survey of nearly 3,000 locations in Massachusetts. 

The national average for a gallon of regular self serve unleaded is down nearly two cents at $3.47. 

Prices at the pump for regular self serve unleaded are down nearly 14 cents a gallon compared to one year ago in the Commonwealth. 

 

 

 

 

PAYT--An Illegal Tax?


A Rhode Island Attorney who has worked on various legal issues regarding Native American Casino Gaming issues, and who was approached by Fall River City Council Vice President Ray Mitchell this week, tells WSAR that The Pay As You Throw Concept could be an illegal tax, as it was instituted without a vote of the nine member Fall River City Council. 

Attorney Les Rich tells WSAR that various aspects of PAYT, along with new regulations on private waste haulers by the city's Board of Public Health this week would likely not solve a legal challenge. 

At issue is a section of Massachusetts General Law--Chapter 40 Section 22 F--that outlines legal authority for local taxes and fees. 

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tells WSAR that he expects Corporation Counsel to mount a vigorous defense if one is necessary. 

 

The Pay As You Throw Legal Issues


Discussions of Ten Tax Payer Suits, and City Council Resolutions asking for a moratorium on regulations for Solid Waste Haulers that were agreed to this week by the Fall River Board of Public Health continue to dominate the discussion this week. 

Fall River City Council Member Linda Pereria tells WSAR that it may take a 10 Taxpayer suit to sort through issues regarding private solid waste haulers; Council Vice President Ray Mitchell is asking for a second look at a series of regulations regarding private haulers. 

 

Pay As You Throw Day One and Counting


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tells WSAR that on Day One of the Pay As You Throw Program in the city, compliance of an estimated 65% was noted in South Side Neighborhoods, as trash pick ups will continue this week. 

Some 40 locations in Fall River and Somerset have the Purple Pay As You Throw Bags; CVS and Walgreens have digital displays on their outdoor message boards at locations on Plymouth Avenue in Fall River. 

Waste Zero has promised city administrators monthly updates of bag sales, which the City Council has demanded in the run up to the start of the solid waste removal initiative. 

Fall River Recall


Proponents of a recall effort aimed at Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan indicate on social media  that they drew 100 people in a standing room only gathering at the Fall River Elks Lodge Monday Afternoon, and pledge they will gather the necessary signatures to put a question on a future ballot. 

Organizers plan a protest at Fall River's Government Center on Tuesday.

An earlier effort to recall Flanagan fizzled out a couple of years ago; this time, Pay As You Throw and other issues are fueling this recall effort. 

New Bedford Homicide


New Bedford Homicide Detectives and Massachusetts State Police are investigating a stabbing in which the victim died of his injuries early Saturday Morning in Rhode Island Hospital. 
22 Year Old Alex Silva of the 300 block of Union Street in New Bedford walked into the NBPDs South End Station late Thursday afternoon after being stabbed around 6:30 pm. 
25-year old Marco Shane Ramos of Social Street in New Bedford has been arrested in connection with the incident and faces two counts including armed robbery; he's set to be arraigned in New Bedford District Court on Monday. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

PAYT Its On


With at least 40 stores in Fall River and Somerset supplying Purple Pay As You Throw Trash Bags, Fall River's newest method to deal with Solid Waste will begin on Monday.

Tuesday brings a Fall River Board of Public Health session in Government Center on proposed regulations regarding businesses and residences that have chosen to use private solid waste haulers; four have indicated they will assist residents in essentially avoiding PAYT regulations; city administrators want to add fees to the equation, while also providing separate recycling bins; The director of Community Maintenance for the City of Fall River, Ken Pacheco, tells WSAR that no one in the city will be able to opt out of recycling. 

The Fall River Economic Development Team


The process of selecting an Economic Development Liaison to help existing businesses in Fall River, and the hiring of a consulting firm with ties to Beacon Hill and Washington, to obtain grant dollars and market the city to businesses looking to relocate, continues this summer, as two slots will be created for FY 2015. 

Score sheets and other criteria for future presentations are being considered by a panel that will make the final selections, likely in September. 

The Fall River City Council kept $100,000 in the FY 2015 budget for that purpose, after arguing in favor of the slots when the budget was being developed earlier this Spring. 

The PAYT Free Bag Resolution


Fall River City Council Member Mike Miozza tells WSAR that he will introduce a resolution calling on the Sixth Floor to distribute the new purple Pay As You Throw bags to what Miozza terms ''qualified low income residents'' starting with the 2016 Fiscal Year. 

No one knows at this point how many people might qualify, or what the qualifications might be. 

Miozza tells WSAR that 15 percent of the Fall River population is 65 and over, with 20 percent of the population living under the poverty level, and a median income of $34,500, some may find it difficult to purchase the bags, which are on more than 30 store shelves. 

Pay As You Throw begins in Fall River on Monday August 4. 

All Hail The Purple PAYT Bags


The Director of Community Maintenance for the City of Fall River tells WSAR that the city will know on a regular basis how many bags are being sold once the Pay As You Throw Rollout happens on Monday August 4. 

Free 15 gallon bags, with a small insert on what can and cannot be recycled in the blue bins that remain part of the program, arrived in some Fall River Mailboxes over the weekend. 

Ken Pacheco tells WSAR that personal visits will be part of the overall implementation next week. 

Board of Health regulations for various solid waste haulers are being devised by the law department, as several firms sought to offer a solution for private property owners who wanted to bypass the era of the purple bags. 

 

MA Gas Prices This Week


The average price for a gallon of regular self serve unleaded gasoline this week in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is at $3.58, according to Triple A of Southern New England, which is down four cents from a week ago. 
The current national average is $3.52.
WSAR has noted prices of anywhere from $3.48 to 3.63 in Fall River and Somerset. 
Triple A of Southern Mass has noted a price range in the Commonwealth this week of $3.41 to $3.89.
 
 
 

Fall River Carjacking Arrest


The FRPD has arrested a 37 year old suspect over the weekend after a 66 year old woman suffered an injured arm last week when her 2012 Kia Soul was carjacked.

The FRPD indicated it located the stolen car in the 400 block of Hope Street on Saturday morning, and traced their suspect to the vehicle, which was abandoned, then located in the 100 block of Whipple Street. 

37 year Paul Gagne of the 2-hundred block of Danforth in Fall River faces eight total counts in relation to the incident including Carjacking and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. 

Gagne is also wanted in connection with a Friday Morning robbery of a North Side Convince Store. 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall River Carjacking


The Fall River Police Department is looking for a white male suspect thought to be 35 years of age, 5'11'' tall and bald, who allegedly car jacked a vehicle by climbing into the front seat and putting it in reverse, knocking down a 66-year old woman and running over one of her arms in the process of leaving the scene. 
The incident happened Thursday Morning at 8:45am in the 1-thousand block of North Main in Fall River. 
The injured woman suffered non life threatening injuries and was taken to a local medical facility for treatment. 
The vehicle police are looking for is a 2012 Gray Kia Soul with a Massachusetts Plate of 7-6-6-X-X-4. 
If you see the vehicle, you're advised to call the FRPD. 
 
 
 
 
 

Waste Zero T-11 Fall River


The Director of Municipal Operations for Waste Zero, John Craig, tell WSAR that the firm remains confident that its initial goals of 90% compliance in the first weeks of the rollout of Pay As You Throw starts on Monday August 4. 

Craig tells WSAR that new mailings in Portuguese and Spanish will be available in the days leading up to the rollout of the concept, which involves Purple Trash Bags that can be purchased in more than 30 locations in Fall River and Somerset. 

New Hernandez Fall River Trial Date


The ESPN app and the Boston Herald are reporting that a trial date for former Patriot Aaron Hernandez in the Fall River Justice Center has been moved to January 2015.

Hernandez faces First Degree Murder and Weapons charges in the murder of Boston Semi Pro Football Player Odin Lloyd.

The Boston Herald is reporting that notices for Jury Duty could be in the mail in November.

Hernandez may spend two months on trial in Fall River; his defense team will also be working on charges in Suffolk County that Hernandez allegedly murdered two men after an incident in a Boston Nightclub. 

New Fall River Festival


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan told reporters in Government Center on Monday that a new event, to be named the Spindle City Festival, will happen in Fall River at some point, somewhere, during the Summer of 2015. '

One of the organizers of the former Whaling City Festival in New Bedford, Joe Eugenio, contacted the Sixth Floor and offer his services for a festival that would be free of charge, with various free events, including a car show, a petting zoo, and other attractions. 

While major beer sponsors are active in New Bedford for various feasts, Fall River's event would be alcohol free. 

MA Local Unemployment in June


Fall River's Unemployment rate for June remains at 9.3%, unchanged from May, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Somerset's Unemployment number for June dropped to 6.3%, down three tenths of a percentage point; in Swansea, unemployment went up one tenth of a percentage point to 6.8%.
Unemployment in Taunton was up three tenths of a percentage point from May to June, to 6.3%; in New Bedford, Unemployment moved over half a percentage point from May to June, to 9.9%. 
 
 
 

A New PD Chief in Somerset


Pending the outcome of contract negotiations that could begin as early as this week, the Somerset Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to approve Randolph Police Lieutenant George McNeil during a contentious session at the Somerset Middle School Monday Afternoon. 

McNeil was selected from a field of five finalists. 

McNeil tells WSAR that he hopes to start a K9 unit, and also use the individual talent of officers to create a motorcycle unit, or horse patrol unit. 

McNeil says he helped create a program in Randolph that raised the necessary money to acquire a K9 dog. 

Its possible McNeil will begin his new duties in Mid August; he tells WSAR his wife is looking for a house in Somerset. 

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