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WSAR News Headlines


FALL RIVER: Today, the Transition Team appointed by Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter released the data they have been compiling throughout the course of their analysis of Fall River’s finances. These statistics were the source material that the Transition Team drew from for their Executive Summary, released Monday, March 16th.

 

Said Sutter: "My Transition Team has released a comprehensive outline of the data that supports Part 1 of their Financial Report. The information provided today is a detailed picture of where Fall River stands financially. I wanted the public to have these numbers so that we can all plainly see where we are at as we begin taking steps towards fiscal sustainability.

 

"I am grateful for all of the hard work the Transition Team put in in pulling this information together and helping to provide the community with the hard data behind the budget,” Sutter continued. “I look forward to opening up a dialogue with the community about what this information means in the immediate future and for our long-term vision for the City."

 

Sutter also announced that the Transition Team will be publishing one more document within the next week that further explains the data released today.

 

The report can be read on the City's website at the following link:

 

 

http://fallriverma.org/images/Transition%20Report%20Data.pdf

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A Westwood Massachusetts man has been arrested and charged with allegedly making a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of the Fall River Justice Center Thursday afternoon.

 

Fifty-six year old Paul Haddad was arrested by the Fall River Police Department’s Special Ops Division after a warrant was obtained for his arrest.

 

Haddad is being held on a five thousand dollars cash bail and is to be arraigned Friday.

        

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A decision on a new Somerset Town Administrator is due at some point this spring, as the race between two contenders comes down to interviews Tuesday, with a potential decision expected Wednesday.

 

Somerset Board of Selectmen Chair Don Setters indicates to WSAR News that former Fall River City Administrator, and current Seekonk Administrator Shawn Cadime and Richard Brown, who has administrative experience in Rhode Island are the two contenders for the post.

           

The contract of former Town Administrator Richard Lutrell was not renewed earlier this year, as selectmen indicated they wanted to go in a different direction. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter delivered his first State of the City Business Address Thursday morning at McGovern’s.

 

The event was hosted by the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

Sutter says the city turning a corner in terms of employment and other opportunities.

 

 

Sutter says economic development is also coming to the waterfront.

 

 

Sutter says the release of a two-part document on the city’s finances, with a second portion due out Friday, should initiate a city wide conversation.

 

 

Sutter says Fall River is a safe compared to other gateway cities.

 

 

Sutter says he wants to see effective management practices in fixing potholes, removing snow and dealing with solid waste,

 

 

Sutter says a task force will also be developed after an April State of the City Address and will operate like others did when he was District Attorney for Bristol County.       

 

Sutter says he will explain more of his immediate policies next week.

 

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Fall River City Councilor Dan Rego has indicated to WSAR News that he thinks the current pay as you throw program will fall short of its $3.5 million dollar revenue target.

            

 

Rego thinks the shortfall could be significant.

                  

 

Rego says the rules involving the program need to be clarified and enforced.

 

 

The program initiated during the first week of August of 2014.

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The first degree murder trial of former Patriot Aaron Hernandez was briefly postponed Thursday after bomb threat was reportedly received at the Fall River Justice Center.

 

ESPN reports the building was evacuated during the noon hour.

 

A subsequent sweep of the building yielded no explosives

 

According to information released by the Fall River Police Department, a special ops division is working on several leads.

 

Anyone with information is asked to call 508-324-2801 or 508 672 8477.

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Fall River City Administrators discussed the future of the current headquarters of Fall River Re-Creation before City Council Tuesday night.

 

This past winter, concerns about possible damage arose due to the weight of snow on the roof of the former Armory.

 

Officials believe is would cost around $68,000 to hire a consultant to determine what needs to be done to preserve the building.

 

Councilors tabled the idea after a discussion was held to determine where money would come from to fund any and all necessary repairs.

 

City Council President Joe Camara argued that the Commonwealth would pay for at least half of the work.

          

Fall River City Administrator Cathy Anne Viveiros told councilors that a commitment for at least half of the funding would have to come from Council.

 

There are concerns that Council may be asked to bond out the money needed to repair building.

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The Somerset Board of Selectmen meets Wednesday at the Somerset Public Library at 6 pm with a 12 item agenda.

 

The agenda includes a prop two and a half under ride, the adoption of a local meals tax, and interview dates for the town administrator position.

 

An update on the possible construction of a destination resort casino is also on the agenda. 

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The Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council has approved a tax incentive financing agreement with Amazon.

 

FROED Executive Vice President Ken Fiola tells WSAR News he remains optimistic and says a second TIF was also approved for the expansion of Blount Fine Foods in the Fall River Industrial Park.

 

 

Fiola says the TIF with Blount is also significant in terms of job retention.

 

 

Tuesday’s Amazon TIF approval is just another step toward the potential construction of a one million square foot distribution center that has the potential to create 500 full time and as many as 1,500 part time jobs.

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The Sutter Administration is preparing the second half of a summary of municipal and school department budgets.

 

The eight person transition team has been examining the city’s fiscal health since Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter took office.

     

City Councilor Dan Rego.

 

 

City Councilor Paul DaSilva says he wants to see everything that is released.

 

 

City Councilor Pat Casey says she has some real concerns.

 

 

The first half of the summary is available on the city’s website. 

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The Fall River City Council Committee on Ordinances and Legislation has agreed to expand water and sewer service to Tiverton, Rhode Island.

 

Fall River Community Utilities Director Terry Sullivan tells WSAR News the agreement is part of a long term strategy to broaden a customer base that uses Fall River services for higher fees than city residents currently pay.

 

 

Sullivan says the drive to add more consumers continues.

 

 

Sullivan says an effort is also underway that would add more consumers in various communities where Fall River provides water and sewer services.

 

 

The agreement was announced Monday evening.

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The City of Fall River has earned around 3-thousand dollars for the first two months of the first degree murder trial of former Patriot Aaron Hernandez, however, City Councilors are asking if current ordinances on parking need to examined, or enforced.

                  

At issue was a CNN satellite truck that has remained in place on a 24 hour a day basis since the trial started.

 

Traffic Director Laura Ferreira says she was following the rules outlines in the current ordinance.

 

Councilor Linda Pereria countered that statement.

 

 

Ordinance and Legislation Committee Chair Jasiel Correia says proper procedure was followed. 

 

Pereria says issues regarding long term media parking for the trial should have come before council.

 

 

Traffic Director Laura Ferreira says she followed the current ordinance and did what she thought was fair for the media involved.

 

 

There remains a possibility that Patriots Majority Owner Bob Kraft and Patriots Head Coach Bill Belicheck could be called to testify.

 

Ferreira says police presence is available for high profile witnesses and jury members. 

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Local, State Officials Discuss CSO Project

 

 

The President and CEO of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry met with senior staff members working for Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts 4th District Congressman Joseph Kennedy Monday in Boston, lobbying for a lower interest rate for the ongoing federally mandated CSO Project.

 

Rob Mellion tells WSAR News

 

 

Mellion says there may be room for discussion on at least one topic.

 

 

Mellion says there appears to be somewhat of an agreement.

 

 

Mellion says he’s trying to work with the congressional delegation to lower the interest rate, which could potentially save Fall River millions of dollars for a project that is modernizing the city’s network of water infrastructure all while keeping the Taunton River protected.

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National Grid says nearly one million basic service electricity consumers can anticipate lower energy bills as rates decline beginning May 1st.

 

Pending Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approval, a typical residential consumer using five hundred kilowatts of electricity will receive a bill 26 percent lower than their previous bill, equating to about $32 a month.

 

National Grid maintains that severe winter increases in electricity bills are due to natural gas interstate pipeline constraints.

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With New Bedford, Somerset and Brockton in contention for a potential region c destination resort casino license, office holders in all locations believe a license needs to be awarded, despite misgivings aired by members of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

 

New Bedford City Councilor Brian Gomes

           

 

Somerset Board of Selectman Chair Don Setters indicates the new business model for resort casinos focuses on nightclubs and entertainment:

 

 

Steve Wynn has indicated he will have many of the same restaurants in his Everett location that are available in Las Vegas. 

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The Fall River City Council Committee on Ordinances and Legislation meets Monday at five thirty with a nine item agenda.

 

Committee members are expected to discuss water rates for municipal water supply customers and resolutions regarding guidelines for physically challenged taxi cab users as well as potential fines for illegally parking in handicapped spaces.

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Somerset has received an extension to put together financial documentation regarding a recent casino proposal.

 

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 3 to 2 to allow the town to have until May 4th to gather necessary financial documentation.that needs to be filed with the commission.

 

Robert Allen Jr., an attorney representing Crossroads Massachusetts, testified on behalf of investors, including WSAR Managing Partner James Karam.

 

Allen told commissioners Somerset deserves the project but says some hurdles need to be overcome.

 

Somerset Board of Selectmen Chair Donald Setters says the town is very unique and says once the City of Fall River exhausted their possibilities it was time for the town to react.

 

The region c license will likely be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2015. 

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New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, in testimony before the Massachusetts Gaming commission Thursday afternoon, says the Whaling City is now in a position to be awarded the region c destination casino license. 
                
New Bedford recently finished its application process with K-G Urban Enterprises.
 
According to the New Bedford Standard Times, Mitchell says a casino on the city’s waterfront is part of a larger economic strategy.
 
 
Massachusetts Gaming Commissioner James McHugh says the status of the region c license is still in question, depending on what happens with the Mashpee Wampanoag’s plan in Taunton.
 
 
The region c license is set to be awarded during the fourth quarter of 2015. 

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The Rhode Island House has approved legislation allowing for the construction of a four-story, 200 room hotel at or near the Twin River Casino
 
The legislation, approved by a unanimous vote, now heads to the Rhode Island Senate.
 
Twin River is estimating construction to cost nearly $35 million and take a year to complete.
                     
Twin River management is indicating that they will not seek any special tax breaks or other concessions.

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The Fiscal Year 2016 budget season is underway in Fall River.

 

Fall River Schools Superintendent Meg Mayo Brown explains to WSAR News how the number has been calculated and how it translates to Fall River public schools.

 

 

 

Mayo Brown says a work session will take place on May 15th.

 

 

Mayo Brown’s latest job evaluation begins this spring and says she has every intention of staying in her current position.

 

 

Mayo Brown is to unveil the initial budget proposal for the school department Thursday afternoon.

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The Baker Administration has launched a new initiative for cities and towns in the Commonwealth to repair road and street damage.

 

Fall River is set to receive $285,375,000 as part of the $30 million dollar Winter Recovery Assistance Program

 

Sutter Administration Chief of Staff Lou Pacheco tells WSAR News that the city is preparing a package for private contractors that will go out to bid to help repair an estimated 4-thousand potholes.

 

 

New Bedford is to receive a little over $318,000, Somerset almost $77,000 and Swansea just over 84,000.

 

The money is being distributed based on the formula for Chapter Ninety dollars, which involves population, roadways and rate of employment, among other factors. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter tells WSAR News that his administration will release an economic development plan this summer.  
 
Sutter says an 8-person transition team that released the first half of a report regarding city finances was not tasked with economic development issues.
 
Sutter says a recent Moody's Investment Report, issued in January, will also be taken seriously.
 
The second half of the transition teams report is to be made available later this spring.

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Fall River Public School Committee Member Melissa Panchley, who also serves as Chair of the Finance Subcommittee, will assist in the construction of the fiscal year 2016 budget as questions persit regarding a$1.3 million dollar miscalculation in health insurance line items.
 
Panchley tells WSAR News the amount of Chapter Seventy state dollars are increasing, as Fall River currently has eighty percent of its school department budget covered by the Commonwealth, with the city contributing the remainder.
 
Panchley says the process of meeting with school building principals continues, in hopes of determing what the needs are in each building. 
 
Panchley says, in many cases, principals are asking for an approximation of what they received in the prior fiscal year.

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The Rhode Island House of Representatives is set to vote Thursday on legislation that would allow for the potential construction of a hotel at or near Twin River Casino in Lincoln.
 
A unanimous vote by the House Committee on Finance this week cleared the way for a full House vote.
 
Current Rhode Island law forbids Twin River from having a hotel on property to protect providence area hotels.
 
Twin River is aiming to construct a four story, 200 room hotel as an answer to ongoing casino development in Massachusetts.
 
Any potential development would also be subject to local zoning ordinances.

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There will be a closure of the Route 24 SB ramp onto 195 EB  in Fall River tonight, Wednesday, March 18th and tomorrow night, Thursday, March 19th from the hours of 8 PM to 5 AM to allow for MassDOT to perform bridge deck repairs.

 

There will be a detour in place leading drivers to Route 24 SB onto 195 WB to follow to Rte. 24 SB to Brayton Ave and travel to 24 NB and then onto 195 EB.  A map of the detour is attached.

 

MassDOT encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays.  Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution while traveling along the detour routes. 

 

The duration of work will also be weather dependent and based on the amount of concrete deterioration.  

 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter tells WSAR News that for now voters will not be asked to approve a two and a half override but will likely be paying higher water and sewer rates.

 

City Councilor Mike Miozza tells WSAR News that it will not be easy to fix Fall River’s finances.

 

Sutter indicates that hitting net school spending targets for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 could be difficult to achieve and says that enterprise funds for water, sewer, e-m-s and sanitation need to be replenished, as over the last four fiscal years, the funds have not kept with expenses, resulting in a shortfall of $25.4 million.  Sutter says rates will need to rise to correct the imbalance:

 

Miozza says he understands why water and sewer rates will likely need to be raised.

 

Full Council is set to debate the municipal side of the fiscal year 2016 budget for this spring.

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While the Massachusetts Gaming Commission is set to further discuss the region c license situation Thursday afternoon additional information regarding the Somerset casino proposal is being disclosed, according to The Herald News.

 

One of two managing general partners of WSAR Radio, James Karam, who developed the crossroads project that brought a Wal-Mart Super Center and Sam’s Club to Fall River and the former CEO of Foxwoods Casino, Scott Butera, will likely appear before the Commission this week, as three projects, including Somerset, New Bedford and Brockton--are looking to secure the region c destination license.

 

Somerset Board of Selectmen Chair Don Setters tells WSAR News discussions are still in the early stages and says there is a time concern due to the fact that a referendum would need to be set for Somerset voters.

 

Setters says he would also like to see a trio of public forums to place prior to a possible referendum.

 

A referendum is set to be place before voters in Brockton in May.

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The Finance Subcommittee of the Fall River Public School Committee will meet on Thursday to take a first look at the proposed fiscal year 2016 budget.

 

A group of elementary principals, representing Greene, Watson, Tansey and Silvia will also address committee members regarding staffing and equipment.

 

In the past, principals have met with Finance Subcommittee members to help construct the school department budget.

 

The meeting is slated to begin at 5:15.

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The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is reporting that while the first phase of the application from ''Mass Gaming and Entertainment'' a Chicago-based group looking at a Brockton location, is ''substantially complete'' for its Brockton effort, K-G Urban Enterprises and the City of New Bedford are asking for a 45-day extension, while Somerset on the Move LLC and Crossroads have jointly asked for an extension in a verbal request with written confirmation to be turned over this week. 

The Commission is set to discuss Region C Issues at its next meeting this coming Thursday, March 19; it will review extension requests while inviting all three entities to testify before the Commission. 
 
A May 26 deadline has been set for the second phase of a two part application. 
 
 
 

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Seekonk Police are looking for suspects in relation to a Saturday Morning Armed Robbery attempt that happened in the parking lot of the Raymore and Flanagan location in the 100 block of Highland Avenue. 

 

A couple attending to a child handed over a diaper bag and a cell phone, after a single suspect displayed a handgun while the couple were in their vehicle. 

 

The prime suspect in the case then went inside the Raymore and Flanagan location, allegedly assaulting 2 customers and a store employee, before leaving the location empty handed. 

 

The suspect was wearing gray hoodie and ''something white'' wrapped around his face, along with dark pants and dark sneakers. 

 

He left in a getaway vehicle that was described as a dark hatchback model. 

 

Police from Seekonk, East Providence, and Mass State Police continue their investigation into the robbery. 

 

 

 

 

                   

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An eight person Sutter administration transition team has released a 14 page summary of numbers as Fall River deals with municipal and school department budget issues.

 

The transition team says putting the City on a sound financial footing cannot be done ''without significant policy changes and a new approach to the budgeting of the city’s funds''.

 

In the report, Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter is being asked to ''prepare the citizens of Fall River and both past and present employees of the city government for the shared sacrifices that gradually will be required to return the city's finances to a healthy state''.

 

Fall River currently has $500,000 in its reserve line items.  The transition team says the city should have between 24 and 48 million dollars in reserves.

 

In conclusion, the transition team writes that the Sutter administration will need to ''revise staffing to affordable, realistic levels'' and is ''reviewing salary and non salary costs within city government''.

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The Rhode Island House Committee on Finance is set to vote on legislation that would advance the cause of a potential hotel at Twin River Casino.

 

Under current Rhode Island statue, Twin River is not permitted to have a hotel on or near its property, as a means of protecting the revenue of Providence area hotels.

 

If approved, residents in the vicinity of Twin River would also be required to approve plans to build a hotel through local zoning procedures. 

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The average retail price of a gallon of regular self-serve unleaded gasoline is down a little over two cents a gallon this week, coming in at an average of $2.43 a gallon, according to GasBuddy.com.

 

Prices for a gallon of regular self-serve unleaded is down $1.13 over the last year, but has jumped nearly 20 cents in the last month.

 

Analysts say a host of refinery repairs are being completed around the country, due to the projected release of summer blend fuel.

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A nine item agenda is before the Fall River School Committee Monday evening at 6:30 at Kuss Middle School. 

 

The agenda consists of an update by the Massachusetts School Building Authority regarding an application for a new BMC Durfee High School and a discussion regarding a recommendation to use 3.38 million dollars, transferred from the municipal side, to deal with net school spending issues.

 

The Committee is also to discuss an overview of fiscal year 2016 budget projections and a host of policy revisions dealing with issues such as domestic violence, bidding requirements and background checks.

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The Fall River School Committee deals with a 9-item agenda Monday Night at Kuss Middle School beginning at 6:30pm.
 
The committee will get an update on a Massachusetts School Building Authority Application for a new BMC Durfee High School, and will also discuss recommendations to use $3.38 million that was transferred this month from the Municipal Side of Government to close out lingering Net School Spending issues. 
 
An overview of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget projections, and a host of policy revisions, covering items from Domestic Violence to bidding requirements and background checks will be part of a first reading. 
 
 
 
 
 
          

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Seekonk Police are looking for suspects in connection with a search warrant that was executed early this morning in the 200 block of Fall River Avenue. 
 
The search warrant was part of a larger investigation initiated by the Providence Police Department; no one was in the residence when the search warrant was executed. 
 
Seekonk Police indicate they found was is being termed ''a considerable amount of controlled substances'', thought to be cocaine and prescription drugs that were seized in the raid, along with items used to package narcotics. 
 
An Arrest warrant is being prepared to allow Seekonk Police to arrest the occupant of the residence in connection with the raid. 
 
 
 
 

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Fall River's Unemployment number for January 2015, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, sits at 10.7% up from December's rate of 8.9%.

 

The Commonwealth indicates the umber of people added to the Unemployment Rolls jumped by 754, from December to January.

 

Unemployment in New Bedford for January was also up, as the January rate of 10.3%, compared to December's number of 8.8%.

 

The number of unemployed in New Bedford increased by 736, according to Commonwealth numbers. 

 

Unemployment was also up in Swansea and Somerset; 6.4% in Swansea, compared to 6.6% in Somerset; both communities saw unemployment increase by nearly a full percentage point. 

 

Unemployment in Taunton moved up to 6.7% in January, compared to 5.9% in December. 

 

 

 

 

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There will be a closure of the Route 24 SB ramp onto 195 EB  in Fall River on Sunday, March 15th and Monday, March 16th from the hours of 8 PM to 5 AM to allow for MassDOT to perform bridge deck repairs.

 

There will be a detour in place leading drivers to Route 24 SB onto 195 WB to follow Rte. 24 SB to Brayton Ave and travel to 24 NB and then onto 195 EB.  A map of the detour is attached.

 

MassDOT encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays.  Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution while traveling along the detour routes. 

 

 

The duration of work will also be weather dependent and based on the amount of concrete deterioration

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Somerset Selectmen Board Chair Don Setters tells WSAR that while he supports legislation sponsered by Bristol Plymouth First District State Senator Mike Rodrigues that seeks to bring the cooling towers down at the Brayton Point Power Plant if the plant closes in June 2017, Setters wants to explore the possibility that the towers could be a tax producing entity for the town if its new owners decide to keep the plant functioning. 

 

Setters also has concerns over smokestacks that he tells WSAR also need to come down; smokestacks remain at the Montouck Power Plant that has been closed for several years. 

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Bristol Plymouth First District MA State Senator Mike Rodrigues tells WSAR, on Tuesday's Edition of ''The WSAR Newsroom'' that he has a pair of bills filed on Beacon Hill concerning the immediate future of the Brayton Point Power Plant, including asking that as part of the aftermath of its planned June 2017 closure, that the twin cooling towers that are only a few years old be torn down. 

Rodrigues tells WSAR that he wants to insure that the Town of Somerset not be on the hook for the aftermath of the plant, and does want to see the towers remain part of the landscape if the plant goes off line. 

The Towers were constructed by Dominon Energy, as the former owners of the plant, to insure that water pumped back into the Taunton River was at a temperature that would not harm fish in the river. 

 

Rodrigues tells WSAR that as of now there is no other source of power that would replace the electricity that is produced by the plant, which is set to close in June 2017. 

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Fall River City Council Member Leo Pellitier tells WSAR on the Tuesday Edition of ''The WSAR Newsroom'' that its time for an Ordinances and Legislation Committee to take up the issue of additional language added to the current Solid Waste Ordinances that would set prices for the Purple Bags used in the Pay As You Throw Program, while also adding additional language regarding recycling. 

 

Pelliter noted that Council voted by a 6-3 margin earlier this month to send the issues to committee; Ordinance and Legislation Committee Chair Jasiel Correia II has yet to schedule a session to deal with the issues involved. 

 

Pelliter says residents are concerned regarding compliance issues regarding Pay As You Throw, as there is confusion over the purchase and use of the bags; others have complained about the construction of the bags issued by North Carolina-based Waste Zero. 

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The Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development is reporting that January 2015 estimates indicate that the current Massachsetts Unemployment rate, as reported by the Commonwealth, dropped to 5.1% from the revised December 2014 rate of 5.3%, down two tenths of a percentage point. 

 

The Commonwealth claims that 2600 jobs were created in January. 

 

Local Area Unemployment Numbers for January 2015 are set to be released this coming Thursday March 12. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Six items of New Business are on the agenda for the Somerset Board of Selectmen Wednesday Afternoon at 6pm at the Somerset Public Library, including the appointment of a new member of the Somerset Fire Department and a New Police Officer.

 

Remote Participation, which has been discussed by selectmen for a couple of years, and would allow for selectmen to take part in meetings via speaker phone hook up when members are on vacation or otherwise not in Somerset, will be discussed and perhaps voted on, if a proper ordinance is ready.

 

An Update on a potential destination resort casino is also part of the agenda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Fall River City Council will hear from CliftonLarsonAllen regarding an Independent Financial Audit when the Finance Committee meets just after six tomorrow night; council also also be asked to transfer $340,000 for FRFD Salaries, and $105,100 for EMS Salaries, after an objection from Council Member Leo Pellitier earlier this month. 

 

Council will also look at a revised TIF Agreement with Amazon, and new Inter municipal agreements with Tiverton and North Tiverton regarding water services. 

 

The complete council packet is available at the City of Fall River Website via a  link on its home page. 

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Bristol 7th District State Rep Alan Sylvia is calling for a special session of the Fall River City Council's Committee on Public Safety, in the wake of issues with overtime line items that total at this point around $75,000, and must last through the end of the current fiscal year. 

 

Sylvia took to his Facebook page over the weekend after hearing from constituents who have concerns over the closure of the Globe Street Fire Station, which is being repaired this Spring. 

 

Sylvia says he spoke to Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter this weekend, and with Bristol Plymouth First District State Senator Mike Rodrigues regarding the FY 2016 level funding request for EPOSS Grants for Police and Fire Staffing.

 

Sylvia says he has also reached out to the chair of the Fall River City Council's Public Safety Commission, Paul DaSilvia, to call a session of the committee to discuss FRFD staffing and overtime issues. 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Rhode Island House Committee on Finance will hear legislation Wednesday afternoon that would allow for a hotel at or near the Twin River Casino in Lincoln on Wednesday. 
 
Current Rhode Island law prohibits the casino from having a hotel on its property, as the original law was designed to help the viabilty of nearby Providence Hotel locations. 
 
With Massachusetts building at least 2 destination resort casinos that could open later in the decade, the community of Lincoln would have to zone an area for a hotel if one were to be considered. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Sixth Floor in Fall River has announced that a SAFER Grant application has been submitted this week, with a deadline for the current round of grants set for today, March 6. 

 

The City's application is worth a little over $2 million which would cover the salaries and benefits of 10 firefighters who were laid off at the start of the 2015 Fiscal year.

 

Fall River had four consecutive years of SAFER grants, at $7 million a year, that covered the salaries and benefits of 69 firefighters in a period that ended in 2014.

 

The City's Grant Writer worked with the Fire Department in putting together the grant application in a process that began in December.  

 

The Department of Homeland Security will begin awarding the next round of SAFER Grants in a process that begins in June.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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According to the President of the IAFF Local representing Fall River Fire Fighters, the overtime line items in the current fiscal year have around $75,000 in them; when that money runs out, at least one apparatus will be closed on the city's South Side, with the number of firefighters responding to serious calls dropping from 34 to 29.

 

Jason Burns tells WSAR, on the Friday edition of the ''WSAR Newsroom'', (available as a podcast in the ''newscast'' designation) that an Action Plan was devised by the FRFD Chief, as the FY 2016 budget is under construction and will be laid out later this month. 

 

Issues with FRFD overtime happened weeks after the FY 2015 budget was in operation; a Commonwealth Public Safety Grant helped replenish overtime line items a few months ago. 
 

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A Democratic House Member from Pawtucket filed a resolution in Providence calling for a feasibility study of McCoy Stadium, which will be empty if the Pawtucket Red Sox move to a new Providence Waterfront Ballpark in 2017.
 
McCoy Stadium lies within Mary Duffy Messier's District in Pawtucket. 
 
The Resolution asks for the Rhode Island Department of Administration's Division of State Wide Planning, and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to conduct a feasibility study as to what sort of Development could happen on the site, along with any improvements to existing roads, streets and highways nearby, with a June 1 Deadline. 
 
 
 
 
 

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Five Fall River Police Officers helped in the arrest of a single suspect in a shooting Thursday afternoon in a Maple Gardens Housing Complex Apartment that happened around 6pm.

 

21 year old Christopher Swindell was taken into custody after what was described as a brief foot pursuit. 

 

A 22 year old suffered a gunshot wound to the stomach; he was taken to the Trauma Unit at Rhode Island Hospital, where he is listed in Critical Condition. 

 

The shooting, according to investigators, happened in Building 27 of the Maple Gardens Complex; the FRPD says the weapon was located the weapon used in the shooting was found in a rear hallway of the building. 

 

Fall River Police were told an argument preceded the shooting, and that Swindell allegedly bit one man on an arm prior to the shooting.

 

Swindell is charged with six counts in relation to the shooting, including armed assault with intent to murder; he was also wanted on four outstanding warrants, including a pair of narcotics warrants. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pilgrim United Church to Open Early for Residents in Need of Shelter

Pilgrim United Church (634 Purchase Street) will open as of 5:30PM for unsheltered residents.  The church will be equipped with staff, food and cots. 

 

 Reminder: Trash Collection Operating on One Day Delay

To allow city crews to properly treat the roadways, city officials in partnership with ABC Disposal announced earlier today that residential trash collection in New Bedford will be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week.  If your trash is normally collected on Thursday (today), it will be collected tomorrow, Friday.  If your trash is normally collected on Friday, it will be collected on Saturday this week.

 

City Garages at Elm Street and the Zeiterion Free and Open to the Public Until 12 Noon Friday

Downtown parking is available at no charge in the Elm Street and the Zeiterion Parking Garages as of 3:30PM today, March 5, 2015 through noon tomorrow, Friday, March 6, 2015.

 

SRTA Services Suspended as of 6PM Tonight

The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority has announced it will suspend service at 6PM this evening. Riders should call (508) 999-5211 for information about the status of SRTA services. For more details visit www.srtabus.com.

 

New Bedford Regional Airport

The New Bedford Regional Airport will remain open to permit scheduled operations to continue.   

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The New Bedford ''Standard Times'' is reporting that Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut has signed a letter of intent with KG Urban Enterprises in New Bedford to potentially operate a casino on New Bedford's Waterfront, if the developer is awarded the Region C Destination Resort Casino License in the fourth quarter of 2015. 
 
KG Urban, along with a partnership formed with Crossroads and Somerset On The Move LLC, have a March 16 deadline to submit initial applications to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. 
 
A Chicago based developer is looking at a Brockton location; their application is already in the hands of the Mass Gaming Commission. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Fall River Superintendent of Public Schools Meg Mayo Brown issued a public apology on the Thursday Edition of the ''WSAR Newsroom'', (available as a podcast in the newscast portion on WSAR.com), saying the final call as to whether or not to go to school on Thursday in the midst of an advancing snowstorm was hers alone to make. 

 

Mayo Brown confirmed to WSAR that one elementary school child was taken to a local medical facility after complaining of neck pain when the van he was in was part of a minor accident on the way to school Thursday morning. 

 

Fall River Public Schools have one day left as far as postponing classes; schedule complications would involve the April Break; Mass General Law closes school on June 30; students are also required to be in classrooms for 180 days. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter and the Executive Vice President of the Fall River Office of Economic Development, Ken Fiola, have indicated to WSAR that Amazon has decided to alter their original plans for their 1 million square foot proposed facility at the Fall River Bio Technology and Life Sciences Park, but that the project continues to move forward towards completion. 

 

Sutter tells WSAR that he has been told that the number of jobs, originally said to be at least 1,000 full time jobs, have been reduced, perhaps to a number approaching 500 full time. 

 

A revised TIF agreement was approved by the Fall River TIF Board this morning, and heads now to the Fall River City Council at its next session this coming Tuesday. 

 

A Commonwealth TIF Board will be the next item to deal with issues related to Amazon.

 

Its possible a ground breaking could happen later this summer, with an opening in the Summer or Fall of 2016. 

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The Fall River City Council's Committee on Ordnances and Legislation will take up the next phase of the ongoing debate over the Pay As You Throw Program at some point this month, as Committee Chair Jasiel Correia II tells WSAR he wants numbers from the prior Administration that he maintains were never sent to Council on five different options that were under consideration in 2014, before Pay As You Throw was selected. 

 

Correia says he has a resolution of his own that he wants considered; his was one of three no votes on Tuesday night on the question of sending the revised Solid Waste Ordinance, with language concerning the Pay As You Throw Program and recycling, along with the price of the bags, to Ordnances and Legislation. 

 

Council Member Dan Rego tells WSAR that there could be a seven figure penalty if the Pay As You Throw Program is rejected in a 90 day window, as the city would be on the hook for the inventory of bags manufactured specifically for Fall River. 

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Fall River has another parking ban starting tonight...this release from the Sutter Administration:
 
 
Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has announced that there will be a parking ban going into effect at 6:00pm tonight (Wednesday, March 4th). The ban will be lifted at midnight Thursday night.
 

 

The Department of Community Maintenance requested the ban because forecasts indicate that this will be a long, slow-moving storm, and the ban will provide plows with adequate room to clear streets for emergency vehicles.

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter and his transition team have selected a date of Monday, March 16, as the date for the release of a report to be entitled ''the State of Fiscal Affairs in The City of Fall River''.

 

A draft is already being authored by former Fall River City Administrator Alan Silva and the Special Assistant to the Mayor, Rob Bentlyewski; Chief of Staff Lou Pacheco says a ''clear comprehensive report'' will be released this month. 

 

Sutter says Part One of the Report will be executive summary of 10 to 15 pages, that can be readily understood. 

 

Sutter says Part Two will supply details and will present data and statistics.

 

Sutter says he hopes the report will generate a city wide discussion. 

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The ''Boston Globe'' is reporting that the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Cape Wind have mutually agreed to end Cape Wind's lease of 28 acres of waterfront industrial space in New Bedford. 

 

The lease, which the ''Globe'' reports was worth $4.5 million was supposed to run through 2016. 

 

National Grid and EverSource Energy pulled out of deals to purchase electricity after a January 1 financing deadline was missed. 

 

The President of Cape Wind told a Boston Common rally over the weekend that negotiations continue with both electric firms. 

 

The Commonwealth spent $100 million to dredge the New Bedford Harbor with the hopes of using it as a staging area to send components to Cape Wind and other Northeast locations. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

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The Fall River City Council will get a first look at two and half pages of amendments covering recycling, the price of purple trash bags, and other items in relation to Solid Waste and Recycling, during a special session of the Council Tuesday at 5:45. 

 

The chair of the Ordinance and Legislation Committee, Jasiel Correia II, tells WSAR that as the 2015 political season continues, any votes taken by council could have ramifications if September produces a primary for the nine seats up for bid, and for the November General Election, when 18 contenders via for the nine seats for a 2016-17 term. 

 

Correia has told WSAR that as he sets meetings of the committee for March and for much of the spring, various aspects of solid waste and recycling will come up for discussion. 

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The price of a gallon of regular self serve unleaded gasoline continues to move upward, as Triple A Northeast is finding that prices are up at the pump by 12 cents in the last week, and 31 cents over the last month. 

 

Regular self serve unleaded is now at an average of $2.37 a gallon in the Commonwealth; the current price is 6 cents lower than the current national average of $2.43. 

 

Mary McGuire is the director of Public and Government Affairs for Triple A Northeast; she says seasonal maintenance at refineries, and a volatile global market regarding crude oil is going to keep prices ticking upward this spring. 

 

The range in prices according to Triple A is 47 cents a gallon from a low of $2.08 to a high of $2.55. 

 

 

 

 

 

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The State of Rhode Island will try for the second time to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana use via legislation that will be introduced in Providence this Spring. 

 

Companion legislation will be introduced in the Rhode Island House and Senate in Providence this week. 

 

Proponents think millions in new tax dollars could be raised, with a portion directed to help combat various forms of substance abuse. 

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts will likely have a vote on the issue on a future 2016 or 2017 ballot. 

 

 

 

 

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The Fall River City Council meets in a Special Session Tuesday afternoon starting at 5:45pm with three items on the agenda, including a pair of orders for a storage permit from Percise Packaging Realty Trust to store 27.500 gallons of LPG pharmaceutical grade in the 300 block of Riggenbach Road; a second order will allow for underground conduit in the 100 block of Columbia Street for a new and rebuilt Sagres Restaurant. 

 

Council will also get a first look at communications from the Acting Corporation Counsel regarding the initial ordnances for the Pay As You Throw Program. 

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The Fall River School Committee meets tonight at 7:30pm at Morton Middle School with an 11 item agenda. 

 

Nine items will be voted on, including the election of a Vice Chair of the School Committee, along with what are described as 3 high priority capital projects.

 

A discussion of Health Insurance and Net School Spending is also part of the overall agenda. 

 

 

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The Fall River City Council will get a look at a first draft from the Acting Corporation Consul regarding ordnances that will govern the likely ongoing Pay As You Throw initiative including the price of bags, and other components. 

 

Council has a special meeting on Tuesday that has the proposed regulations as part of its agenda; a link is available at the City of Fall River's Official Website. 

 

Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter, on the Friday edition of the ''WSAR Newsroom'' (available as a Podcast at WSAR.com) maintains that PAYT is legal and enforceable; Chief of Staff Lou Pacheco indicated to WSAR this week that a ramp up in fines is forthcoming once ordnances are in place. 


 

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The University of Massachusetts Presidential Search Committee has selected the Executive Recruitment Firm Korn Ferry to help locate finalist contenders to succeed the departing UMass System President Robert Caret.  
 
Korn Ferry has assisted more than 100 University Systems in selecting new leadership. 
 
The 21 member search committee is comprised of students, faculty and staff, along with political and business leaders. 
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UMass says its looking for an accomplished leader with a need for an ''entrepreneurial spirit'' to lead through difficult financial times, and to further fundraising efforts.    
 
            

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The Fall River Public School District has been granted a request by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to push back MCAS Testing Days as a result of the extreme winter weather so far in the first two months of 2015. 

 

Superintendent Meg Mayo Brown tells WSAR that doing so will give teachers at least a week of additional instruction time to help prepare students for the testing, that is used as one of several components in deciding the level rating given to various public school buildings in the Commonwealth. 

 

 

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The Chairman of Boston 2024 spoke to the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the organization's annual session at the Venus Di Milo in Swansea, as John Fish told a gathering that South Coast Rail and other transportation issues could benefit from a Boston bid for the Summer Olympic Games in 2024. 

 

Fish told a gathering of business and political leaders that the Olympics represents an effort to think in bold terms and to to begin a discussion on what Massachusetts will look like later in the century. 

 

 

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The Sutter Administration told reporters in Government Center that the city of Fall River will pursue a third SAFER Grant that would fund the salaries and benefits of 10 FRFD members for at least two consecutive fiscal years, bringing the total complement of firefighters to 185. 

 

Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter says that while there would be costs involved for potential pension and unemployment if the city could not sustain the 10 slots in future fiscal years, he felt the decision to pursue a third SAFER grant was the correct one to make. 

 

The FRFD benefited from four consecutive fiscal years of SAFER Grants at $7 million a year, which covered the salaries and benefits of 69 fire fighters; the fourth and final year of the grant ended in FY 2015. 

 

 

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The Brockton Enterprise is reporting that current issues surrounding the MBTA, which include a $3 billion backlog of needed repairs and a $9 million unfunded pension liability, should halt any further discussion of South Coast Rail, which would involve links to New Bedford, Taunton and Fall River.

 

Stoughton Selectmen Robert O'Regan told the Brockton Enterprise that current issues with the T should end the effort to build South Coast Rail. 

 

Raynham Selectman Joe Pacheco says South Coast Rail need not be attempted, given the current mismanagement of the system under the auspices of the MBTA. 

 

Spokespersons for the Baker administration indicate that Governor Baker continues to the support the concept of South Coast Rail, but says it will take several years and more than $2 billion to bring it to fruition. 

 

 

 

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The Fall River School Committee will hold a pair of meetings in March, including a make up session of a meeting that was postponed in February. 

 

A March 2nd meeting will happen at 7:30 at Morton Middle School, and will deal with the 15 item agenda from February 9. 

 

The regular Fall River School Committee Session on March 9 will be moved to March 16 at Kuss Middle School. 

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The Fall River City Council's Committee on Economic Development and Tourism will deal with a five item agenda Wednesday at 6pm in Government Center's second floor Council chambers. 

 

Discussion of using digital video platforms to promote Fall River, and how to market and rehab various mill buildings are on the docket, as are continuing discussions of mooring facilities on the city's waterfront. 

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Fall River City Council Veteran Leo Pellitier tells WSAR that his advice to anyone in Fall River is to purchasing the Purple Bags that have come to symbolize the Pay As You Throw Concept, while the Ordinance and Legislation committee is debating penalties for those who refuse to comply; the issue of the cost of the bags could also be a part of the discussion after a decision Friday to debate the issues in a sub committee. 

 

On Monday's edition of the ''WSAR Newsroom'', Pelliter indicated that the PAYT idea should have vetted by Ordinances and Legislation in the first place; former Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan said that an ordinance was not necessary. 

 

Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has indicated to WSAR that the program is a success, is legal,  and is likely going to raise the money that was first forecast in 2014, when Pay As You Throw was first proposed as a solution to the closing of the Fall River Landfill. 

 

 

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The sale of the Pawtucket Red Sox Triple A franchise to a group of investors led by Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino has been confirmed and approved by MLB and the International League, according to NBC 10 and the Providence Journal. 
 
Providence Attorney James Skeffington and 8 other investors, including the former CEOs of Fleet Banks and CVS Pharmacies, and two partners in the ownership group of the Boston Red Sox, have purchased the franchise from the wife of the late PawSox owner Ben Mondor for $20 million, according to the Providence Journal and the Boston Globe. 
 
Investors are looking into a 10,000 seat stadium along 1-195; the Pawtucket Red Sox have a lease at McCoy Stadium through January 2021; a release issued by Rhode Island Legislative Leaders mentioned a 2017 relocation date to what is being termed a ''destination stadium''.
 
WPRO in Providence is reporting that Pawtucket's Mayor has been told the club is headed to Providence, but no timetable has been established for stadium construction and a potential move. 

 
 
 
 
 

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The Fall River and Police Departments are confirming the death of a male victim after a fire in an apartment in 12 Rolling Green Drive that was first reported during the noon hour on Monday. 

 

The Fall River Fire Department and Massachusetts State Fire Marshal are conducting an investigation into the cause of the blaze; the FRPDs Major Crimes and Arson Unit, and the Bristol County D-As office are also involved in determining what happened. 

 

 

 

 

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MLB.com is reporting tha the Red Sox have signed Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a deal worth $31.5 million.

Moncada plays second, third and shortstop; the size of the contract will prohibit the Red Sox from taking part in any further international signings for at least two years, and the Sox will pay a penalty given the size of the current contract. 

A thawing of relations with Cuba has changed the rules for signing players from the island; Moncada was to be a part of Cuba's roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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