The Fall River Housing Authority Board has decided to restart its process to hire a new Executive Director, after refusing to hire Jeffery Driscoll, a Somerset Based Attorney who was the only finalist left from a search that began earlier this year.
A 45 minutes executive session led to the decision during an FRHA session at their Morgan Street Headquarters.
The current chair of the FRHA Board, Roger Tasche, indicated it would be next month before the topic is revisited.
Armed Robbery - Stop & Save Convenience 345 Robeson Street
DATE: Wednesday February 21, 2018 @ Approximately 8:00PM
On Wednesday February 21, 2018 at approximately 8:00PM, The Fall River Police responded to Stop & Save Convenience located at 345 Robeson Street in regard to an Armed Robbery. Upon arrival responding Officer Thomas DeMello spoke with the victim who stated that he was just "pepper" sprayed by a suspect and explained that cigarettes were stolen.
No money was obtained during the commission of the crime.
After interviewing the victim, Officer DeMello identified that the store was equipped with video surveillance. .
The Fall River Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in identifying the suspects pictured in these screen captures.
Suspect #1: black male, 19-21 years of age, 5'7-5'9 thin build, small amount of facial hair on chin, wearing black pants, black jacket, grey Patriots hoodie, red and blue flat brim cap, black Nike Jordan style sneakers with white soles and red laces.
This suspect pepper sprayed the clerk and stole Newport cigarettes.
Suspect#2: black male, thin build 19-21 years of age, 6'- 6'1, black hoodie, grey sweatpantss, black sneakers. This suspect appears to be the lookout.
Anyone with information regarding this incident please contact Detective Larry Ferreira of the FRPD Major Crimes Division at 508-324-2796. Anonymous TIPS are also accepted through our TIP line @ 508-672-TIPS and also Facebook Messenger.
On Thursday, February 15, 2018 at approximately 6pm, we received an email from a student alerting us to an anonymous social media posting regarding a threat of violence at B.M.C. Durfee High School.
We immediately began an investigation, working closely with the Fall River Police Department, to ascertain the validity of the threat and make a determination of threat level assessment.
Based on the facts as we knew them, we determined the threat was not credible; however, out of an abundance of caution, we increased our level of security at B.M.C. Durfee High School today, Friday, February 16, 2018.
As such, we employed the use of metal detectors and bag checks. We also had additional police presence, working in partnership with the Fall River Police Department. Attendance was down today, as to be expected, but school was safe and learning and teaching was happening in our classrooms.
The Fall River Police Department is investigating all leads regarding the origin of the anonymous social media post. The FBI is presently assisting the Fall River Police Department in this effort.
No other information can be released at this time so as not to jeopardize the investigation. We encourage anyone who may have any information regarding the origin of the anonymous social media post to please contact the Fall River Police Department.
Further, we ask that parents help us by monitoring their child’s social media activity as well as ensure that their backpacks and belongings are always safe.
Honest, open communication is always the first line of defense in the prevention of school violence. We will always keep these lines of communication open.
B.M.C. Durfee High School is a safe and secure high school. The school leadership team, the faculty and staff, the school resource officers, the security officers, and our counseling professionals maintain rigorous safety and security protocols and procedures on a daily basis.
UMass Dartmouth to strengthen its partnership with the Portuguese-American community and the Lusophone world
Chancellor Robert E. Johnson to visit Catholic University and the Camões Institute in Lisbon, and bring the university’s Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture under his supervision
UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson has launched a coordinated effort to strengthen the university’s partnership with the region’s Portuguese-American community and the global Lusophone diaspora. The university is located in a region with the largest percentage of Portuguese-Americans in the United States.
“To know the Portuguese-American community is to know the SouthCoast,” Chancellor Johnson said. “In my first six months as chancellor, I have enjoyed learning about the extraordinary contributions of Portuguese-Americans to the business, cultural and civic life of this region, the Commonwealth, and nation. Now, I am looking forward to reaffirming our commitment to the Portuguese-American community and the Portuguese-speaking world.”
As part of the initiative, Chancellor Johnson will move the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, the university’s primary conduit to the Portuguese-American community, from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Office of the Chancellor. The governance structure of the Center, with a faculty-led executive board and community-based advisory board, will continue.
Next week, Chancellor Johnson will visit the Catholic University of Portugal as well as the Camões Institute, a Lisbon-based national center that promotes international cooperation and education. The Institute has been a major supporter of UMass Dartmouth’s Portuguese-related education, research, and outreach programs.
“My goal is for our university to fully embrace its historic connection to Portugal, the Azores, and the rest of the Portuguese diaspora in new and innovative ways,’’ Chancellor Johnson said. “To accomplish that goal, we need to coordinate and align the many critical inter-disciplinary initiatives connected to the Center. I believe there is great potential for new innovative partnerships and outreach both close to home and abroad.”
The university is home to the nationally renowned Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, Department of Portuguese, Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture, and the Tagus Press, the latter of which publishes Portuguese literary works. The university has also established multiple academic and economic development partnerships, including:
-- The School for Marine Science and Technology has formed a doctoral education partnership with Brazil’s University of São Paulo Institute of Oceanography.
-- The College of Nursing partners with the University of the Azores on the “Bridging the Atlantic” community nursing student exchange program.
-- The Charlton College of Business and Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship bring students to a “Startup Weekend” entrepreneurship forum at the Nonagon Science and Technology Park in the Azores.
-- The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is advising the Azores business and government community on the development of a technology incubator.
During the evening of Thursday February 15, 2018, The Fall River Police received several reports of a threatening message being circulated via the social media application "SnapChat".
Specifically mentioned in that message was a threat of Durfee being "Florida pt 2".
This message was posted on an account that appeared to be anonymous. Further details of this investigation cannot be released at this time.
The Fall River Police Department takes any threat to our community and especially the safety of our students with the utmost concern.
Due to the threat, increased security measures were taken by the Fall River Police to ensure the safety of our students at B.M.C. Durfee High School as well as all other campuses within our school district.
The Fall River Police Department and Fall River School District worked collaboratively to devise a security plan.
The Fall River Special Operations Division, Fall River Police School Resource Unit and Fall River Public Schools Security Team implemented elevated security protocols and increased police presence both uniformed and undercover to ensure the safety of our students.
The investigation is ongoing as it relates to the source of the circulated threat on SnapChat.
The Fall River Police Department encourages all individuals that if you "see something say something". All threats will be considered serious and investigated diligently.
The safety and security of the children within our community is paramount and we ask for the community's assistance in ensuring we continue to foster this safe and secure environment.
The lone remaining question mark heading into Super Bowl LII has been answered: Rob Gronkowskihas been cleared from concussion protocol and will play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Gronkowski will meet with the media on Thursday afternoon, a sign that the New England Patriots tight end has cleared the protocol after spending a week and a half under wraps following the AFC Championship Game.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is encouraging safe driving behavior for Super Bowl weekend and helping to spread team spirit in recognition of the New England Patriots participation of the 52nd Super Bowl this Sunday, February 4th, 2018, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“We certainly want the home team to do well and share everyone’s excitement about the big game, which is why we are lighting some infrastructure with red and blue,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “In addition, as people make plans to get together or perhaps travel to watch the game, we will use some message boards to remind the public to think about safety. Let’s all do our part to get ourselves and others home safe, designate a driver who has not been drinking and follow the rules of the road.”
The following MassDOT and MBTA infrastructure will be lit in the team colors of the Patriots:
·The Burns Bridge in Worcester will be lit in red, white and blue on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night.
·The Zakim Bridge in Boston will be lit in red, white, and blue on Friday and Saturday night. (The bridge will be lit orange for World Cancer Day on Sunday as a result of a previous lighting request.)
·The Government Center MBTA Station and South Station will be lit in red, white and blue on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night.
There will also be special text on portable message boards controlled by MassDOT which will encourage safe and sober driving during Super Bowl celebrations. The text will read: “Don’t Get Sacked, Drive Sober Sunday,” “Do Your Job, Don’t Drink & Drive,” and “No Days Off, Always Wear Seatbelt.” These messages will appear on select roadway message boards beginning at 7 a.m., Friday, February 2 and through the end of the day on Sunday, February 4.
In addition, the Registry for Motor Vehicles (RMV) reminds the public that it announced last September that a re-designed special New England Patriots license plate was available. The plate is a specialty plate which highlights the team’s five Super Bowl championships with the specific emblem of “5X Champions.” Below the emblem are the numerals of each Super Bowl that the Patriots have won and a star to celebrate each championship. Registry customers can continue to purchase the license plate at state-wide RMV Service Centers or online at http://www.massrmv.com. After paying a registration fee, a license plate holder will then pay a special plate renewal fee of $40 every two years. Proceeds from this plate benefit the New England Patriots Foundation
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has appointed Frank Baptista, founder and host of Radio Voz do Emigrante/WHTB-1400AM, as a member of the Bristol Community College Board of Trustees.
Prior to founding and hosting Radio Voz do Emigrante, Mr. Baptista was the founder and host ofImpacto, WJAR-TV 10, a bi-weekly television program serving the Portuguese-speaking community in Southern New England. He previously contributed the column, A Nossa Voz,inthe Fall River Herald News, about Portuguese history, national issues, and events, in the United States, and had formerly served as a personnel director at the Shelburne Shirt Company in Fall River.
Baptista serves as a board member of LusoCentro at Bristol Community College, SER Jobs for Progress, and the Massachusetts Health Association Quality Partners. He is a member of the Prince Henry Society of Fall River, Fall River Day of Portugal, Sociadade Cultural Acoreana, Portuguese-American Leadership Council of the United States, and the Advisory Board of Rhode Island Public Radio. He is an advisor to the National Organization of Portuguese-Americans (NAPO).
Baptista has studied at Rhode Island College, Brown University, and the University of Lisbon, Portugal, and speaks Portuguese, English, Creole, and Spanish.
Bristol Community College’s Board of Trustees works tirelessly to ensure the college’s institutional activities remain at the highest level of quality, and BCC’s success is attributed to their dedication and the dedication of our exemplary employees.
Written Testimony of the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce
Submitted to The Joint Committee onLabor and Workforce Development for the Hearing Record on regarding HB4111 - Initiative Petition -
An Act for a law raising the minimum wage
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The Bristol County Chamber of Commerce wishes to voice opposition to HB4111 - Initiative Petition - An Act for a law raising the minimum wage. What greatly troubles the more than eight hundred member businesses of the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce is that the drive to increase the minimum wage comes on the heels of the health care assessment on employers and an increase to the EMAC fees. This action also follows the mandating of employer paid sick leave, and increases to employer paid health care, unemployment and workers compensation insurance. Where is does it stop?
In 2016, the Massachusetts minimum wage rose to $11 per hour. That was a 9% increase, which small businesses also had to absorb. Massachusetts is now one of the highest minimum wage states in the United States. Three-quarters of Massachusetts employers will face another substantial increase if the initiative petition for the $15 per hour minimum wage is passed. It is also important to reflect that a $15 minimum wage is actually over $20 per hour when employer withholdings, and other mandated contributions are added. Time and a half on Sundays within the retail sector will also shift to an outrageous $22.50. Impacts from the initiative petition for employer paid family and medical is another fear.
Competiveness within the retail sector is a serious issue in Massachusetts that needs more attention. Look at the statewide closings of Walmart, Best Buy, J.C. Penny and Benny’s as evidence. In an e-commerce environment where consumers shop for the cheapest price via the internet there is little room for brick and mortar businesses to remain competitive. The establishment of a $15 minimum wage will certainly impact to the remaining retailers in Massachusetts.
Another genuine concern is that Massachusetts is one of the few states without a teen wage. Rhode Island and New Hampshire are competitor states that offer a competitive minimum wage and an introductory teen wage. The Rhode Island minimum wage is $10.50 an hour. Their teen wage is $9.09 per hour for workers under 19 and 7.58 an hour for 14 – 15 year olds. New Hampshire has a $7.25 minimum wage and a teen wage of $5.46. At $22.50, who is going to hire a teen?
The bottom line is that small businesses in Massachusetts are getting beaten down by the onslaught of fees and initiative driven mandates. In addition to raising the minimum wage there are initiatives and bills in play that if passed will mandate employer paid family and medical leave, enact strict scheduling and establish a millionaire’s tax on small businesses. According to “Forbes’s Magazine,” Massachusetts is the highest cost of doing business state in the nation. The initiative petition for a $15 minimum wage increase unfairly punishes mom and pop businesses as if they are Wall Street brokerages. Keep in mind that large employers will adjust through automation but your constituent café on Main Street, or the hardware store in your district are less resilient.
In the days ahead it is hoped that members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will take the time to contemplate the impacts of what a $15 minimum wage will do to their constituents who own and run small businesses. Please also balance the totality of the impacts when considering additional anti-business burdens such as strict scheduling and employer paid family and medical leave. Thank you in advance for the opportunity to submit testimony on this important issue.
Robert A. Mellion, Esq.
Chief Executive Officer/ President
Bristol County Chamber of Commerce
Written Testimony of the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce
Submitted to The Joint Committee onLabor and Workforce Development for the Hearing Record on HB4110 - Initiative Petition -
An Act establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
The Bristol County Chamber of Commerce wishes to voice its opposition to HB4110 - Initiative Petition - An Act establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program, that if enacted would mandate an Employer Paid Family & Medical Leave benefit at the expense of Massachusetts businesses. Of great concern is that the threat of an Employer Paid Family and Medical Leave law comes on the heels of the health care assessment on employers and an increase to the EMAC fees. This action also follows the mandating of employer paid sick leave, and increases to employer paid health care, unemployment and workers compensation insurance. Where is does it stop?
Employer paid family and medical leave will be a great burden to small business businesses by mandating their workers 26 weeks paid time off to care for themselves and 16 weeks for family members. Both benefits would allow for intermittent and extended periods of time with pay. The paid benefits will be employer financed and could cost small businesses as much as $1000 per week, per employee. This is in addition to the expense of finding and paying for alternative workers that will be needed to make up for the individuals taking employer paid time off.
While a handful of states, such as Rhode Island and New Jersey, have enacted medical and family leave provisions, their programs are mostly funded by employee payroll deductions. Massachusetts would be an exception by placing such a burden on businesses. For the Massachusetts program to work, $1 billion in new taxes must be raised. 50% of the new tax will be from employers and 50% on employees. Approximately $70 million of that $1 billion will be to fund a new state agency. In addition to the $1 billion needed, it will also cost the state an estimated $55 million to provide the new benefit.
Please also keep in mind that Massachusetts is already identified as the highest cost state in the nation to do business within. It is additionally important to recognize that the current Legislative Session includes bills and initiative petitions that if enacted would mandate 3 weeks in advance employer scheduling, establish a $15 minimum wage, establish a millionaire’s tax that is a another tax on limited liability companies and S corporations and further increase the cost of energy in the state that already has the highest cost for electricity in the United States. The newly enacted employer paid health care assessment is just now hitting businesses. Another hit is Unemployment Insurance. All of these hardships are coming at Massachusetts companies at once. It is too much for many small businesses to endure.
In the days ahead it is hoped that members of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will take the time to contemplate the impacts of what employer paid family and medical leave can do to their constituent businesses. Please try to balance the totality of the impacts when considering additional burdens such as “HB4110 - Initiative Petition - An Act establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program.” Hopefully it will be recognized that all of these employer paid mandates are too much for Massachusetts businesses to absorb in one legislative session.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony on this important issue.
With the backing of working Rhode Islanders and a coalition of community organizations, Sen. Gayle L. Goldin, Sen. Jeanine Calkin, Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell and Rep. Susan R. Donovan today announced their campaign for a $15 minimum wage by 2023 and equal pay for women and minorities.
The legislators held a State House event with a coalition of community organizations to announce their introduction of bills to enact the minimum wage raises and provide protections and transparency in the workplace to help women and people of color demand equal pay for equal work.
The minimum wage legislation would gradually increase the hourly minimum wage from $10.10 to $15 by 2023, and would also gradually increase the hourly minimum wage for employees receiving gratuities, currently $3.89, until it is equal to the non-tipped minimum wage by 2028. From 2024 onward, the minimum wage would be linked to the cost of living or the consumer price index.
The sponsors said the minimum wage effort — known as the “Fight for $15” — is focused on ensuring that people who work full time are not living in poverty.
Representative Ranglin-Vassell (D-Dist. 5, Providence), who works as a Providence school teacher, related reading a student’s essay in which he talked about having completely empty cupboards, despite his mother’s working double shifts.
“We can help families in Rhode Island by passing a $15 living wage so that children whose parents work up to 80 hours per week do not have to go to bed hungry. Some will say, ‘let them pull themselves up by their own boot straps.’ People who care about justice say ‘You can’t pull yourself up by your boot straps if you can’t even afford boots.’ That’s why we are fighting day in and day out to make sure that if you work full time or even double time as my student’s mom does, you should never live in poverty.”
According to the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, 165,000 Rhode Islanders would be affected by the increase. Approximately 65,000 children in the state have at least one parent who would be affected. Rhode Island’s Economic Progress Institute estimates that a single adult needs $20,500 per year to meet basic needs. A single-parent family needs $52,932 and a two-parent family requires $58,054 to raise a toddler and a school-aged child.
While the sponsors acknowledge that $15 still falls short of the wage it takes to support a family in Rhode Island, they said it would be a step toward greater fairness for working people.
“We continue to live in a period of tremendous income inequality. At a time where CEOs earn about 335 times that of the average worker and corporations make huge profits, their employees struggle to make ends meet. We need to stand by working families and fight for a living wage of $15 an hour, which our legislation would implement over the next 5 years. Not only would we be supporting the hard-working people of our state, but raising the minimum wage would stimulate the economy by increasing consumer spending,” said Senator Calkin (D-Dist. 30, Warwick).
Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, New York, Washington, Oregon and the District of Columbia and many cities have already enacted increases that will eventually reach $12 to $15 an hour.
The Fair Pay Act, sponsored by Senator Goldin and Representative Donovan, would make it illegal to pay workers less than their white, male colleagues without a clearly documented difference in skills. It clarifies “comparable work,” making it clear that workers need to be paid equally for “substantially similar” work even if every detail is not the same. It bans policies that prevent workers from discussing their pay with each other and removes past salary history as a consideration since discrimination is perpetuated over time by employers relying on past salaries, rather than skills and value, to determine current pay. It also requires the employer to disclose the salary range for the position. Last year, Massachusetts passed a similar Fair Pay Act, joining cities and companies across the country that are enacting these policies.
In Rhode Island, a woman working full-time still makes only 86 cents to the dollar that her male counterpart makes. Women of color are even more deeply affected. Black women in Rhode Island make 58 percent of what their white male counterparts make; for Latinas, the number is even lower—51 percent. On average, Rhode Island working women lose more than $7,000 per year to the wage gap—money desperately needed by working families.
“Despite the existing Equal Pay Act, wage discrimination laws are poorly enforced and cases are extremely difficult to prove and win. Stronger legislation such as the Fair Pay Act is needed to ease the burden of filing claims and clarify the right to pay equity,” said Rep. Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth). “Women work just as hard as our counterparts to advance our careers and support our families. If we are serious about economic equality for women and people of color and supporting working families, we need to address the practices that continue to allow employers to discriminate against employees and perpetuate the wage gap.”
The sponsors linked this effort to address inequities to nationwide efforts to address power dynamics in the workplace.
“In recent months, the imbalance of power in our culture and our workplaces has been given some of the long-overdue public discussion it deserves. The fair pay bill we are introducing directly addresses the imbalance of power that, too often, holds women back. This is about recognizing that every woman deserves to be paid what a man is paid. Period. That equal rights mean exactly that: equality. This isn’t a zero sum game; When we pay women equally, we all prosper,” said Senator Goldin (D-Dist. 3, Providence).
The bills are supported by a coalition that includes the Center for Justice, the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the Economic Progress Institute, Jobs with Justice, Planned Parenthood, RI NOW, the Rhode Island Food Bank, SEIU 1199, SEIU 32BJ, Teamsters Local 251, the Women’s Fund of RI and Working Families.
Congressman Joe Kennedy’s Democratic Response to President Trump’s State of the Union
As Prepared for Delivery
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusettstoday delivered the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union. Below is a full transcript of his remarks:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is a privilege to join you tonight.
We are here in Fall River, Massachusetts – a proud American city, built by immigrants.
From textiles to robots, this is a place that knows how to make great things.
The students with us this evening in the autoshop at Diman Regional Technical School carry on that rich legacy.
Like many American hometowns, Fall River has faced its share of storms. But people here are tough. They fight for each other. They pull for their city.
It is a fitting place to gather as our nation reflects on the state of our union.
This is a difficult task. Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fault lines of a fractured country. We hear the voices of Americans who feel forgotten and forsaken.
We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward.
A government that struggles to keep itself open.
Russia knee-deep in our democracy.
An all-out war on environmental protection.
A Justice Department rolling back civil rights by the day.
Hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets.
Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts, and congregations. Targeting our safest, sacred places.
And that nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are.
It would be easy to dismiss the past year as chaos. Partisanship. Politics.
But it’s far bigger than that. This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.
For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure.
By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size.
Not to mention, the gender of your spouse. The country of your birth. The color of your skin. The God of your prayers.
Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count. In the eyes of our law and our leaders, our God and our government.
That is the American promise.
But today that promise is being broken. By an Administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.
They are turning American life into a zero-sum game.
Where, in order for one to win, another must lose.
Where we can guarantee America’s safety if we slash our safety net.
We can extend healthcare to Mississippi if we gut it in Massachusetts.
We can cut taxes for corporations today if we raise them for families tomorrow.
We can take care of sick kids if we sacrifice Dreamers.
We are bombarded with one false choice after another:
Coal miners or single moms. Rural communities or inner cities. The coast or the heartland.
As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh and the teacher in Tulsa and the daycare worker in Birmingham are somehow bitter rivals, rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged for those at the top.
As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than the parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of opioid addiction.
So here is the answer Democrats offer tonight: we choose both. We fight for both. Because the strongest, richest, greatest nation in the world shouldn’t leave any one behind.
We choose a better deal for all who call this country home.
We choose the living wage, paid leave and affordable child care your family needs to survive.
We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, and good education you can afford.
We choose a health care system that offers mercy, whether you suffer from cancer or depression or addiction.
We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices AND brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times the average worker is not right.
We choose Fall River.
We choose the thousands of American communities whose roads aren’t paved with power or privilege, but with honest effort, good faith, and the resolve to build something better for their kids.
That is our story. It began the day our Founding Fathers and Mothers set sail for a New World, fleeing oppression and intolerance.
It continued with every word of our Independence – the audacity to declare that all men are created equal. An imperfect promise for a nation struggling to become a more perfect union.
It grew with every suffragette’s step, every Freedom Riders voice, every weary soul we welcomed to our shores.
And to all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar.
You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.
America, we carry that story on our shoulders.
You swarmed Washington last year to ensure no parent has to worry if they can afford to save their child’s life.
You proudly marched together last weekend – thousands deep -- in the streets of Las Vegas and Philadelphia and Nashville.
You sat high atop your mom’s shoulders and held a sign that read: “Build a wall and my generation will tear it down.”
You bravely say, me too. You steadfastly say, black lives matter.
You wade through flood waters, battle hurricanes, and brave wildfires and mudslides to save a stranger.
You fight your own, quiet battles every single day.
You drag your weary bodies to that extra shift so your families won’t feel the sting of scarcity.
You leave loved ones at home to defend our country overseas, or patrol our neighborhoods overnight.
You serve. You rescue. You help. You heal.
That – more than any law or leader, any debate or disagreement – that is what drives us toward progress.
Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark. But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future.
Politicians can be cheered for the promises they make. Our country will be judged by the promises we keep.
That is the measure of our character. That’s who we are.
Out of many. One.
Ladies and gentlemen, have faith: The state of our union is hopeful, resilient, enduring.
Thank you, God Bless you and your families, and God Bless the United States of America.
MassDOT Releases Draft State Rail Plan for Public Comment
Plan outlines proposed 20-year vision for the statewide rail system
BOSTON- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is seeking public comment on its newly released draft Massachusetts State Rail Plan, which articulates the Commonwealth’s priorities and proposed plans for passenger and freight rail investment over the next 20 years.
Highlights from the draft plan include:
·A commitment to study east-west passenger rail service between Springfield and Boston;
·Designation of Springfield to Greenfield pilot service as a priority for implementation;
·Continued commitment to both South Coast Rail Phase I in the near term and the project’s full build in the long term.
The Draft State Rail Plan documents the current state of the intercity passenger and freight rail system. It identifies planned improvements and describes the Commonwealth’s near term priorities, based on MassDOT’s Capital Investment Plan and outlines a long-term proposed plan for rail investment in the Commonwealth. While state of good repair investment remains at the forefront of MassDOT’s long-term investment strategy, the plan identifies modernization and expansion projects that are priorities for implementation, those that warrant further study, and those where no action is recommended at this time.
“The finalized State Rail Plan will help guide the Commonwealth’s investments in both passenger and freight rail services for years to come and ensure project coordination between local, state, and federal partners, as well as with other key stakeholders,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The 20-year plan will support the development of regional transportation corridors. Investments in these critical assets are designed to improve the rail system, add capacity where needed in order to meet the needs of rail customers and foster the goals of the communities we serve.”
The Draft State Rail Plan fulfills Federal Railroad Administration requirements to regularly update a comprehensive rail plan for the state and is currently available online at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/rail-plan/. The plan’s commitment to further study and analyze the costs and impacts of various proposed service models for service from Boston to western Massachusetts reflects requests for such a review. Over the next few months, MassDOT plans to develop a Request for Proposals for a thorough and robust study and analysis of such possible service.
"This is encouraging news and should give the people of Western Massachusetts hope that the Commonwealth will conduct the study of east-west rail that they have long asked for,” said State Senator Eric Lesser, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies (D-Longmeadow). “I thank MassDOT for addressing this need and look forward to working with them and the Administration on a thorough feasibility study that adequately addresses the realities and opportunities of establishing Boston to Springfield rail service. With the facts in front of us, we can begin to address the transportation needs of Western Massachusetts."
“Today’s release of the updated statewide rail plan continues the state’s commitment to maintaining and expanding a critical part of the transportation system in Massachusetts,” said House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, Bill Straus (D-Mattapoisett). “The combined values of transportation access, public safety and environmental protection are all parts of the new plan. Early start service for South Coast Rail is a key part of the new plan and I appreciate the Administration’s demonstrated commitment to this expanded service.”
On South Coast Rail, MassDOT is preparing a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) on Phase 1 for filing in early 2018.
The Draft State Rail Plan also designates Springfield to Greenfield pilot service as a priority for implementation. MassDOT seeks to build off Connecticut DOT’s CT Rail Service that is set to begin this year from New Haven to Springfield, adding through service to Greenfield as a pilot.
“This new state rail plan underscores that having a connected rail network, which can efficiently move people and freight, has rapidly become the new normal and a powerful engine for achieving enhanced mobility, economic progress, improved air quality and a sustainable future,” said Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. “Now that the Commonwealth has its new, modern rail plan in place, the focus must now shift to its implementation.”
“The Governor’s draft rail plan outlines steps towards a better connected Commonwealth,” said State Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop). “These priorities and investments in our rail lines will improve access to goods, jobs and housing for the whole of the state, further strengthening the Commonwealth’s economy.”
The Draft State Rail Plan does not include policy decisions regarding specific MBTA commuter rail investments, which are the subject of other ongoing studies by the MBTA, including Focus40, the long range investment plan for the MBTA, and the MBTA Commuter Rail Vision, an 18- month effort that has just begun to study different approaches to delivering commuter rail service.
The public comment period on the Draft State Rail Plan will be open through February 16. Comments can be sent to Planning@dot.state.ma.us to the attention of Jen Slesinger.
MassDOT is also holding a public meeting tonight to present a summary of the draft plan and receive public comment. The details of the public meeting are as follows:
Monday, January 29, at 6 p.m.
Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA Hub)
60 Foster Street
The WRTA Hub is located across the street from Worcester’s Union Station.
The meeting location is accessible to people with disabilities. Persons who would like to request any language (non-English) interpretation assistance, American Sign Language interpreters, assistive listening devices, handouts in alternative formats, or information on the meeting should contact Jessica Ortiz by email email@example.com or by phone (917) 933-7440.
Public Transit: All WRTA buses arrive and depart from the WRTA Hub. The MBTA Commuter Rail train arrives in Union Station and riders will exit Union Station via the Greyhound Bus terminal area on the lower floor to the WRTA Hub.
Driving: Use the Union Station Garage: 225 Franklin Street, Worcester, for parking. After parking, walk across Harding Street to the WRTA Hub.
Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are down one cent this week but are still seven cents higher than at the beginning of January, according to AAA Northeast.
AAA’s January 29 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.50 per gallon. The Massachusetts price is eight cents below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.58. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 30 cents lower at $2.20.
“Compared to the first few weeks of January last year, consumer gasoline demand is noticeably higher, which is surprising given the frigid winter much of the country has experienced this month,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “But demand isn’t the only factor driving prices up. Crude oil has been selling at expensive rates the past few months. Those higher market prices are now trickling over to consumers at the pump.”
The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 38 cents, from a low of $2.41 to a high of $2.79
Congressman Joe Kennedy III today announced that he will invite Staff Sergeant Patricia King, a transgender infantry solider and Massachusetts native, to the State of the Union tomorrow night. After being selected to provide the Democratic response to the State of the Union, Congressman Kennedy won’t be able to accompany Staff Sergeant King but is deeply honored that she will attend the address in his place.
“Staff Sergeant Patricia King represents the best and bravest our nation has to offer. For nearly two decades, she has valiantly served our country and defended not only our safety, but our values at home and abroad. Although I won’t be able to join her Tuesday night, I know that she will make our Commonwealth and our country proud at the State of the Union.”
Staff Sergeant Patricia King is an infantry soldier and has served for 18 years. SSG King is originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She attended Cape Cod Tech and graduated in 1999. Patricia has been stationed in Italy, where she participated in the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team reactivation jump. From there she went to Fort Drum. During her time at Fort Drum, she deployed to Afghanistan twice. SSG King participated in operations Glock, Harpoon and Anaconda and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge. SSG King has served as an observer controller at Joint Readiness Training Center and a Military Transition Team instructor at Fort Polk.
From 2013 to 2014, SSG King served as a Platoon Sergeant and then Platoon Leader for the Regional Command South PSD under Major General LaCamera. She was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service after a year with no casualties in her care. SSG King began gender transition in January of 2015. Since that time SSG King has served as a platoon sergeant in A Co, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division.
From there, she went to Fort Lewis, WA where she serves as an infantry squad leader in B Co, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment (Patriots). Patricia is the daughter of Kenneth and Veronica King. Patricia has two sons; Peyton 11, and Isaiah 10.
for utility, real estate, personal property, excise taxes
23 Elm Street in New Bedford (drive-through and walk-up)
714 Dartmouth Street in Dartmouth (walk-up)
New Bedford, Massachusetts- Effective immediately, New Bedford residents can now utilize two BayCoast Bank Interactive Teller Machine (ITM) locations for certain payments. Residents who are unable to come to City Hall during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) can take advantage of this option to make payments at BayCoast’s ITM locations at 23 Elm Street in New Bedford, 714 Dartmouth Street in Dartmouth, or at any of its other ITM locations in Fall River, Seekonk, Attleboro, and Little Compton, RI. Visit www.baycoastbank.com or call 508-678-7641 or 888-806-2872 for more information.
The ITMs accept cash or checks; the ITMs combine the convenience of a traditional ATM with the personal service of banking for customers, allowing the customer to see and talk to a real person through a video monitor.
“We’re happy to help make tax payments easier for New Bedford residents, by accepting payments at our Interactive Teller Machines,” said Ann Ramos-Desrosiers, Chief Community Banking Officer at BayCoast. “Now residents can make their payments as early as 7 a.m. and as late as 7 p.m. on weekdays, and on Saturdays between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at our Elm Street branch – or any of our ITMs throughout the Southcoast.”
“BayCoast Bank has served as an alternate payment center for the residents of the City of New Bedford for many years,” said Renee Fernandes, Treasurer-Collector for the City. “The ability to utilize the new ITM technology for City payments, especially when city offices are closed, provides our customers with greater flexibility.”
Governor Baker Releases Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal
$40.9 billion budget invests in mental health services, substance misuse, local aid, education, workforce development and deposits money into the Stabilization Fund
BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration filed its Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) budget proposal, a $40.9 billion spending plan that invests historic funding levels for local communities, provides tax relief to working families, and increases funding for education, substance misuse, and mental health services.
“This fiscally responsible budget continues to support every community in the Commonwealth—without raising taxes on the people of Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through tax credits, new programs and increased investments, our proposal will support working families as well as small businesses and enhance programs to make college more affordable, fight the opioid epidemic and get workers the skills they need to compete for better jobs. We look forward to working with the Legislature in the coming months to pass a sustainable and balanced state budget.”
“The local aid and Community Compact investments in our budget proposal reaffirm our commitment to serving as a reliable partner to cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Our proposal will also fund a new State Police class, important public safety grants for municipalities, as well as youth and domestic violence prevention programs, further strengthening safety in our cities and towns.”
“Our Fiscal Year 2019 proposal maintains structural balance, protects and rebuilds the Rainy Day Fund, keeps spending in line with recurring revenue and manages the growth of MassHealth spending,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan. “This budget continues to make progress on improving the Commonwealth’s long-term fiscal health.”
The FY19 budget proposal, known as House 2, relies on a consensus revenue tax estimate of $27.594 billion, which is 3.5% growth over the revised FY18 tax revenue projection. House 2 increases overall spending by 2.6% and keeps MassHealth growth to 0.5% over FY18 estimated spending.
House 2 relies on less than $100 million in non-recurring revenue, and anticipates a deposit of $96 million into the Stabilization Fund, which would bring total reserves to $1.463 billion, an increase of 30% since the Baker-Polito administration took office.
The fiscally responsible plan makes investments across key areas without raising taxes or fees to balance the budget.
Support for Working Families
The administration proposes to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 23% of the federal credit to 30%, which would provide about 450,000 individuals with relief in Fiscal Year 2020, the first year this change would go into effect. In 2015, the administration worked with the Legislature to raise the EITC from 15% of the federal credit to 23%.
Reducing Burden for Small Business Owners
The administration proposes to cut the filing fee for forming a limited liability company (LLC) in Massachusetts in half to $250. The Commonwealth’s LLC filing fee is one of the highest in the country.
House 2 also supports the new veteran tax credit for smaller businesses, which was first proposed by the Baker-Polito administration and enacted by the Legislature in FY18. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees are eligible for a two-year $2,000 annual tax credit when they hire and retain an unemployed veteran.
Local Education Aid to Historic Level
House 2 includes $4.865 billion in local education aid, an all-time high. FY19 funding includes $15 million for schools districts that have experienced significant levels of enrollment of students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that were displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The budget also proposes $24.3 million in Chapter 70 aid for districts as a down payment on the rising cost of healthcare, which was the biggest recommendation from the Foundation Budget Review Commission.
The administration’s proposal includes over $100 million in scholarship assistance for students pursuing post-secondary education at campuses across the Commonwealth, including $7.1 million to double the MassGrant program for community college students. This new MassGrant funding is the largest increase in scholarship assistance in over a decade and will help close any remaining gap in financial aid for tuition and fees for all full and part-time students at the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges.
House 2 also proposes $3 million in new support for an early college program that will focus on engaging student populations who are currently underrepresented in college and encouraging students to enter STEM fields.
Strengthened Behavioral Health Services
House 2 recommends an increase of $93.2 million for the Department of Mental Health (DMH), which includes a significant investment in funding for DMH’s Adult Community Clinical Services, DMH’s redesigned community-based service model for adults with serious mental illness. The new model will integrate behavioral and physical health to provide active and assertive outreach and engagement, continuous clinical coverage, and include peer and recovery coaches as part of the treatment plan.
New Substance Misuse Recovery Program at MASAC
To strengthen overall treatment and aftercare services provided to civilly committed individuals, the administration recommends $12.8 million, including a $3 million increase, for the Massachusetts Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center (MASAC) in Plymouth. This new funding will support the hiring of new substance abuse counselors and implementation of a new Medication Assisted Treatment Reentry Initiative tailored to meet the needs of the civilly committed population at MASAC.
Children and Families
Since taking office, the administration has led reforms at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and has increased funding by $132.8 million to support the hiring of approximately 600 new employees to address the critical infrastructure needed to run the agency, including over 300 social workers. House 2 recommends nearly $1 billion for DCF, a $20 million increase over FY18 spending, which will support the continued hiring of new staff dedicated to serving the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children.
The administration recently announced the Housing Choice initiative to encourage municipalities to plan for and build the diverse housing stock the Commonwealth needs to address affordable housing challenges. House 2 has nearly $3 million in new funding to provide this program incentives, grant funding, and technical assistance.
Good Government Reforms
To bring the Commonwealth in line with other states and private sector employers, the Baker-Polito administration proposes to cap accrued sick time for executive branch and higher education employees to 1,000 hours.
In order to level the playing field between hotels, motels, and transient accommodations, the Baker-Polito administration proposes to require operators who rent rooms for 150 or more days per year to collect and remit room occupancy tax. The proposal also permits the Commissioner of the Department of Revenue (DOR) to enter into voluntary agreements with intermediaries who facilitate short-term rentals for the collection of room occupancy tax.
THE BAKER-POLITO ADMINISTRATION’S FY19 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS BY NUMBERS
·Nearly eliminates the inherited structural deficit by reducing the budgeted use of one-time revenues to under $100 million, down from $1.2 billion in FY15.
·Anticipates a deposit of $96 million into the Stabilization Fund.
Supporting the Commonwealth’s Communities
·$1.099 billion in unrestricted general government aid (UGGA), a 3.5% or $37 million increase over FY18, equal to the consensus revenue tax revenue growth rate.
·$6.8 million in Community Compact-related programming.
·Holds the line on no new tax rate increases.
Addressing College Affordability
·$7.1 million in new funding to double the MassGrant program for community college students. This funding will close any remaining gap in financial aid for tuition and fees for all students at the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges.
·$3 million in new support for an early college program that will focus on engaging student populations who are currently underrepresented in college and encouraging students to enter STEM fields.
·$250,000 increase for the recently expanded Commonwealth Commitment program, which allows students to begin their post-secondary education as a community college and transfer to a state university and save on the cost of a traditional bachelor’s degree.
Health and Human Services
·$25 million to continue fully-funding the Turning 22 class at the Department of Developmental Services.
·$16.5 million, including $2.3 million increase, to support a $12 per elder formula grant, to provide additional funding for local Councils on Aging.
·The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) renewed efforts to support economic mobility and employment for individuals and their families will be aided in this budget by $4 million to build on efforts to get people back to work in sustainable jobs and on a path to long-term self-sufficiency.
Substance Misuse and the Opioid Epidemic
·$149.2 million in funding at the Department of Public Health (DPH) to support efforts to fight the opioid epidemic including:
o$63 million in residential services;
o$21 million in continued investment in step-down and transitional beds;
o$4 million in youth step-down, transitional, and residential services;
o$4 million in Section 35 step-down beds for civilly committed individuals.
·$13.2 million to continue investment in Section 35 beds for civilly committed women at Taunton State Hospital.
·$5 million to a new Substance Use Prevention, Education, and Screening Trust Fund, which will help identify and implement effective, comprehensive prevention and intervention programs and tools for students.
·$2.5 million for the Commonwealth’s five recovery high schools, which will be transferred from DPH to DESE to better serve the educational needs of students who are in recovery from alcohol and drug misuse.
·Over the past three years, the administration has worked hard to continue to bring the MassHealth growth rate to a sustainable level -- 1.3% growth in today’s proposal, down from an unsustainable 14.9% in 2015.
·Included in today’s proposal is an innovative approach to drug purchasing that will allow MassHealth to maximize value for the Commonwealth and maintain robust access to prescription drugs for its members, including implementing new negotiation and price transparency levers.
·$59 million to fully-fund the new clinical contract at Bridgewater State Hospital to continue supporting the significant improvements to patient care.
·$15.9 million, including $3.8 million in new funding, for the recently created State Police Division of Homeland Security and Preparedness to support consolidated counter-terrorism, opioid interdiction and criminal intelligence operations that were previously spread across other divisions.
·$10.7 million for a new class of 200 officers and instructors at the Department of Correction.
·$7.7 million for a new State Police class of 100 recruits, the third new State Police class funded since the Baker-Polito administration took office.
·$250,000 to support doubling the daily pay rate for National Guard soldiers and airmen performing active state duty, consistent with legislation Governor Baker filed in December.
·$584.8 million investment in the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, including the MBTA and Regional Transit Authorities, an 8% increase over FY18 spending.
·A nearly $1.032 billion sales tax transfer this year, an increase of $25.1 million over FY18. This funding is in addition to $127 million in operating budget support, in combination with $60 million in capital funding that will be included in the FY19 capital budget.
·Since the FMCB was formed in 2015, the MBTA has made significant progress on reducing its annual operating deficit, including reducing the projected FY18 operating budget deficit from $335 million to a projected $50 million.
Workforce Development and Economic Development
·$4 million increase to support approximately 20 additional grants for training and certification programs to bridge the skills gap.
·$2 million for the Small Business Technical Assistance Program, to provide technical assistance, education, and access to capital for small businesses.
·$1.7 million in new support at the Executive Office for Housing Economic Development to provide grants to regional workforce organizations to train unemployed and underemployed individuals in advanced manufacturing.
·$1.5 million in new funding to support the development of accelerated certificate programs at community colleges in information technology, healthcare, and manufacturing, and $700,000 to fund over 400 new apprenticeships in these fields.
·$1 million increase, $3.9 million total, for the Connecting Activities program at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), which provides paid internships for 10,000 high school students, prioritizing participation in STEM fields.
·$1 million in new funding to support the development of post-secondary Vocational Institutes in manufacturing and other high-demand sectors, through collaborations among voc-tech high schools, community colleges, universities, and employers.
·$500,000 increase, for total support of $2 million, for the STEM Pipeline Fund at EOE to support planning and implementation grants for high schools to establish Innovation Pathways in partnership with local employers.
Energy and Environmental Affairs
·$2 million in new funding for municipal technical support, climate science, and targeted investments in environmental justice.
·$17.7 million in FY19 funding will support nearly 20 million healthy and nutritious meals through the Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program.
·$625,000 to support a new environmental police class of ten officers who will oversee protection of the Commonwealth’s natural resources, marine recreation, and hunting and fishing industries.
·Allow for $20 million in retained revenue at the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to protect over 450,000 acres of parks, forests, beaches, bike trails, and watersheds
·$450,000 for the School of Marine Science and Technology at UMass Dartmouth, as well as full support for the Commercial Fisheries Industry Based Survey at $400,000 to continue enhancing the science behind the management and regulations of the Commonwealth’s fisheries.
To access the Governor’s filing letter, budget message, and specific account information click here.
Today, we had a very productive meeting with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA).
As a result of said meeting, we have a draft agreement - pending final MSBA Board of Directors approval - for a total new B.M.C. Durfee High School building project cost of $263,496 million.
The city’s tentative share of the total cost, pending MSBA board approval, is $98.5 million. This represents a MSBA grant of 62.5% of the total cost with the City of Fall River providing 37.5% of the total project cost.
The final date for MSBA approval is Wednesday, February 14, 2018. We look forward to our next City Council meeting when we will provide details regarding the full project scope and estimated cost to our taxpayers.
Cathy Ann Viveiros, City Administrator
Mary L. Sahady, CPA, Esq., Director of Financial Services
Kenneth Pacheco, Co-Chair Durfee Building Committee and FRPS Chief Operating Officer
Matthew H. Malone, PhD., Superintendent of Schools
The outrageously high cost of energy in Massachusetts is reaching a tipping point for many businesses and residents.
Contrary to arguments put forward by advocates with an unmistakable agenda these legitimate concerns have little to do with mid-winter price spikes. The simple fact is that cheap electricity is available throughout much of the United States, but it has not been the case in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has the distinction of historically having the highest costs for energy in the continental United States.
It is one of the factors identified by “Forbes Magazine” that distinguishes Massachusetts as the most expensive state in the United States to conduct business.
In 2014, the cost of electricity in Massachusetts spiked to more than double the cost during the past decade. In 2016 the Energy Information Administration reported that electricity costs in Massachusetts were 63% higher than the national average for residents, 58% higher for commercial users, and 108% higher for industry.
In late December, 2017, “Bloomberg News” announced that the “spot-market price for natural gas hit $35.35 in New England.” The cost is now 13 times more expensive than at the central US price-setting location. To white wash these cost inequalities is insulting to the people paying their utility bills.
Why are costs for energy so high in Massachusetts? The straight forward answer is that Massachusetts does not have sufficient infrastructure to meet increasing consumer demand. Massachusetts electricity usage comprises more than 46 percent of New England’s overall demand. The problem became acute due to the decommissioning with no immediate replacement of approximately 10,000 megawatts of energy production.
The shift away from coal, oil and nuclear energy production during the past decade has been significant. Electricity produced from oil has dropped from 22 percent of the total generation ten years ago to a less than 1 percent level today. Coal production of electricity was formally at 18 percent and is now below 5 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of power produced by natural gas has nearly tripled.
Brayton Point Station, a now closed coal fired power plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, is a good illustration of policy without concern for the immediate consequences. While the cessation of Brayton Point has been heralded as a great victory for environmentalists, the 1,530-megawatt power plant was the primary producer of electricity in southeastern Massachusetts.
There is no replacement for the energy production gap created by loss of Brayton Point station, or the previously closed Montaup power plant in Somerset.
These two power plants equated to a 2000 megawatts net loss of electricity production in southeastern Massachusetts. The policy advocates have moved on to other priorities, but residents and businesses in southeastern Massachusetts must now import their electricity from somewhere else at a far higher cost.
The people of Somerset must also reconcile two empty power plants that no longer generate tax dollars. The situation in Somerset is a mess.
After years of advocacy from chambers and business associations, lawmakers in 2015 approved legislation to build new infrastructure. Business groups and many ratepayers had hoped for a pragmatic solution that reduced or stabilized costs, while also looking ahead to sustainability. Sustainability ended up superseding cost concerns as the new law required utilities to contract for both hydroelectricity and offshore wind. Meanwhile, a sensible effort to simultaneously expand natural gas pipeline infrastructure was thwarted.
Trending away from “dirty” fossil fuels is essential, but the cost of conversion to alternative options must be a factor.
Keep in mind that the introduction of alternative power generation as a primary source of energy production in Massachusetts is still many years away. Importation of hydroelectricity from Canada and power from off-shore windfarms will require the securing of significant tracts of land and water, must overcome permitting obstacles and have upfront infrastructure investment costs to be paid by consumers.
This is why natural gas, as a gap bridging cost stabilizer should no longer be put aside for political convenience. Leveraging gas in combination with the expansion of green alternatives is a reasonable strategy that can help contain the high cost of energy while also meeting environmental aspirations. There is no reason why Massachusetts cannot be practical and forward thinking simultaneously. Not addressing the cost of energy is already impacting the Massachusetts economy. Now is the time for action.
In a text to WSAR, Fall River City Council President Cliff Ponte has announced a Special Meeting of the Fall River City Council set for 5:30pm Tuesday Night, with a single item on the agenda.
The Fall River City Council will be asked to vote to place a single question on a March 6 Special Election Ballot regarding the Yes or No Question on the city's share for a proposed new BMC Durfee High School.
If approved, the school would likely open in 2022.
Its estimated the local share would be somewhere between 95 and 99 million dollars.
In a tweet this afternoon, Fall River Public Schools have announced that school will back in session for Friday, January 12, as an Air Quality Report showed no issues inside the damaged portion of the building.
Administrators, according to the tweet, have a contingency classroom plan in place for Durfee students and teachers for Friday and beyond.
This morning at approximately 3:00am, the Fall River Fire Department received an alarm call from our box at B.M.C. Durfee High School.
At 3:40am, FRFD discovered a six inch fire stand-pipe on the fourth floor stairway of the science wing located at the West Main Entrance.
Said stand-pipe suffered a catastrophic failure at its zenith.
The FRPD and our maintenance team were able to locate the shut off valve (approximately 4:00am), stopping the flow of water.
The FRPD and our maintenance team opened the building’s doors to the outside, draining an accumulated 3 feet of water from the stairwell and the 4 inches of water that dispersed throughout the building.
We estimate roughly 40k gallons of water entered the building, affecting a total of four floors of classroom and office space. Note: This was not a cold weather malfunction but the result of a 40-year-old pipe that ruptured. Due to building’s design deficiencies and the confinement’s of the building systems, time was added to our inability to shut the flow of water as the valves are in a compartment under the stairwell.
At 4:10am, we determined that we would not be able to open Durfee for students and faculty.
As such, we began our communication chain at that time. Concurrent with this, our maintenance team began the clean-up and recovery efforts with the assistance of an outside contractor. This work is ongoing and will be for the foreseeable future.
We are presently conducting a full damage assessment to account for the totality of this catastrophic failure of our plumbing system.
As you may imagine, we lost computers, equipment, materials, supplies, files, other assorted instructional technology, and the personal and professional possessions of faculty, staff, and students.
As we continue to assess damage, organize a classroom schedule contingency, and ensure the full safety of our school facility, B.M.C. Durfee High School will be closed for students, faculty and staff tomorrow, Thursday, January 11, 2018 as a result of today's flood.
Tomorrow, we will assess our ability to open on Friday and will communicate using social media and our call system when we are able to make a fully informed decision tomorrow afternoon.
The New York Daily News and Boston Globe are reporting that the New York Giants are likely to hire Patriots Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia as their new Head Coach once the Patriots have completed the NFL Post Season.
Patricia has interviewed with four different NFL Franchises during the week the Patriots had a bye in the AFC Super Bowl Tournament.
The Patriots are 13.5 point favorities when they host Tennessee Saturday Night on WSAR; coverage starts at 5pm with an 8:15 kickoff.
Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are up five cents this week, according to AAA Northeast.
AAA’s January 8 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.48 per gallon. The Massachusetts price is one cent below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.49. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 19 cents lower at $2.29.
“Crude oil prices at the end of 2017 were the highest at the end of the year since 2013, helping to keep pump prices from their traditional January dip,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “The cold weather has also played a role, with more crude being needed for production of home heating oil.”
The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 48 cents, from a low of $2.31 to a high of $2.79.
Auditor Bump Certifies More Than $1 Million in Unfunded Mandated Early Voting Costs on Municipalities for 2016 Election
BOSTON, MA — In a letter to members of the Massachusetts Legislature today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump certified that municipalities spent $1,063,978.14 in unfunded, mandated costs to provide early voting in the 2016 general election. In the Final Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Year 2017, the Legislature directed Bump’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM) to provide a formal certification of these costs by January 10, 2018.
Additionally, in her letter, Bump called on the legislature to provide funding for these 2016 costs in an upcoming supplemental budget. She also encouraged the body to develop a process for funding these costs in future elections, and noted that her office has provided suggestions to legislative committees.
“Early voting is an important addition to our democratic processes and funding the expenses incurred by our municipalities will make it that much stronger,” Bump said in her certification letter.
To compile and certify these costs, Bump sent an electronic survey to the 351 city and town clerks seeking information about the expenditures they incurred to meet the requirements of the early voting law.
The early voting law, which was passed in 2014, requires that municipalities allow any qualified voter during biennial state elections (and other elections taking place at that time) to vote during a twelve-day early voting period. The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office reports that more than one million voters cast their ballots during this period in 2016, representing more than 22 percent of registered voters in the state.
DLM was established in 1980 as part of Proposition 2 ½, an initiative that limits the abilities of cities and towns to increase property taxes. Under the state’s Local Mandate Law, the Legislature and state agencies are prohibited from passing costs along to municipalities to implement state programs. DLM was established to respond to municipal request to determine whether an unfunded mandate has been passed on to local governments, and make a cost determination of the state funding necessary to sustain a mandate. Since its creation, DLM has received 675 petitions from municipalities and members of the Legislature asking the Division to review whether legislative or regulatory action imposes an impermissible unfunded mandate on a municipality. In response, DLM has issued 436 unfunded mandate determinations, finding in favor of municipalities 79 times. As a result of these efforts, approximately $343 million in state funding or other remediation has been provided to local communities.
On Janaury 7th 2018 Officers of the Fall River Police Departments Uniform Division were dispatched to SRTA Bus Terminal in regards to a robbery complaint. The 60 year old female victim stated she was lying on her bed counting rent money when the suspect (Daniel A. Garrison - age 52) entered, took the money and refused to return it. When told by the victim that she was calling the police, Mr. Garrison took the victims cell phone and broke it.
Lead Officer Jason Fournier with assistance from Officers Raul Camara, Adam Talbot, Timothy Magan and Joseph Kubicek began a canvass of the area after learning the suspect was dropped off in the area of Hall Street.
Officers Fournier, Magan and Sergeants’ Bryan Nadeau and Brett Kimball were able located the suspect on Hall Street. Mr. Garrison as taken into custody without incident on charges of Larceny from a Person as well as Assault and Battery on a Person over 60, and Witness Intimidation.
Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced its proposed plan to increase leasing for offshore drilling across the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, and Arctic Coasts. Below is Congressman Keating’s statement in response to this proposal.
“Reckless does not begin to describe the Trump Administration's decision to expand offshore oil and gas drilling coast-to-coast. This unprecedented move ignores concerns expressed by military leaders and the deep and widespread bipartisan opposition voiced by municipal and state representatives.
“Allowing this drilling threatens the safety of our waterfront communities, the health of our oceans, and the future of our climate – not to mention the havoc it could wreak on the local economies of coastal communities, like those across New England, who count on fresh fish and clean beaches for their seafood and tourism industries. The economic hit that Gulf communities took after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was devastating. Have we learned nothing?
“This is not the type of action the American people want or are demanding. I will work with my colleagues from both coasts and both sides of the aisle to oppose this extreme measure and to block further offshore drilling. There is no reward that could justify these risks.”
On January 5th 2018 at approximately 9:00 A.M. Officers of the Fall River Police Departments Uniform Division responded to 57 Bates StreetFall River in regards to a stabbing complaint. On the Officers arrival they located a 69 year old female who was suffering from multiple stab wounds. The victim, who was found conscious and alert, was transported to Rhode IslandHospital for treatment. Her condition is listed as ‘serious’ at this time.
A 74 year old male was detained for questioning. This incident is currently under investigation by the Fall River Police Departments Major Crimes Division. It is not considered to be a random act.
University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan and the chancellors of the five UMass campuses today issued a statement calling on Congress to find a permanent legislation solution to the protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
The statement followed a letter sent by the six UMass leaders to the Massachusetts congressional delegation this week outlining how the termination of DACA affects UMass and its students.
UMass leadership statement:
“On behalf of the five-campus, 75,000-student University of Massachusetts system, we call on Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that protects the ‘Dreamers’ so that they may remain in the United States without fear of deportation. DACA has allowed ‘Dreamers’ to emerge from the shadows to achieve their life goals, including the pursuit of higher education. These hardworking young people have made wide-ranging contributions to our campuses. Without a permanent legislative solution, roughly 800,000 DACA recipients are threatened with a return to the shadows, loss of access to legal employment and education, and the dread of possible deportation. We urge Congress to quickly act on bipartisan legislation to protect the ‘Dreamers’ and their contributions to academic institutions and to society as a whole.”
Massachusetts Department of Revenue Commissioner Christopher C. Harding today announced that preliminary revenue collections for December totaled $3.006 billion, which is $527 million or 21.2% above the monthly benchmark, and $517 million or 20.8% more than the actual collections in December 2016.
“December and January are important collection months, especially for individual estimated payments, which are by their nature volatile collections,” said Commissioner Harding. “Estimated payments are 153.3% above their projected December benchmark, and thus it is likely that a portion of those payments are borrowed from January and future months within the fiscal year (*). ”
For the fiscal year-to-date through December, revenue collections totaled $12.924 billion, $728 million or 6.0% more than the year-to-date benchmark and $966 million or 8.1% more than the same fiscal year-to-date period in 2016.
“Withholding payments in December also performed better than expected, which may reflect increased bonus-related activities. Regular sales tax collections, which reflect actual sales activity from November, likely include better-than-expected seasonal shopping such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” continued Harding. “While the revenue numbers appear strong halfway through the fiscal year, we caution against using these results to project full year revenue growth given that some tax categories may have been affected by timing factors. We will closely monitor revenues in January and during the filing season.”
·December 2017 revenues of $3.006 billion were $527 million above benchmark
·Income tax collections were $479 million above benchmark
·Withholding collections (a subcategory of income tax) were $67 million above the monthly benchmark
·Sales and use tax collections were $25 million above the monthly benchmark
·Corporate and business taxes were $11 million above the monthly benchmark
·For the fiscal year-to-date period, revenues of $12.924 billion are $728 million or 6.0% above benchmark and $966 million or 8.1% above the prior year figure
ADVISORY: Rhode Island Bans Tractor Trailer Travel on State Roadways
Effective until 9 p.m. tonight
Trucks should seek alternate routes or safe place to park until snow subsides
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is reminding the public that the State of Rhode Island has announced a ban on tractor trailer trucks on all Rhode Island state roadways effective now and through 9 o’clock tonight.
“Tractor trailer trucks in Massachusetts that are seeking to travel through Rhode Island should find alternate routes or a safe place to park and wait out the storm,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “Our MassDOT Highway Division crews will be focusing on clearing rest areas and locations near the Rhode Island border where trucks can safely stop and wait until the snow subsides and they are again able to travel. In the interest of safety, trucks and other vehicles should not stop on the side of the highway in breakdown lanes due to the decreased visibility and inclement weather. We are continuing to collaborate with our state and local partners and key stakeholders in the trucking industry regarding this development and encourage everyone to avoid traveling during this significant winter storm if possible.”
Major travel routes from Massachusetts into the Rhode Island area include I-95, I-195, I-495 and Route 146. For more information on conditions travelers are encouraged to:
Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions
Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
DATE:January 4, 2018
TIME: 9:00 AM
SUBJECT: Coastal Flooding Concerns
Coastal Flooding Concerns
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting moderate coastal flooding with a pockets of major coastal flooding along east and north facing shorelines south of Boston and on Nantucket. As of 9 AM, the surge had increased to around 1.9 feet in Boston and 1.8 feet in Nantucket. Waves height may build to around 15 feet off Cape Ann and Mass Bay by the time of the high tide (mid-day). Wind direction at the time of the high tide looks to be about 020 degrees or NNE along most of the eastern MA shoreline.
In addition, NWS is anticipating rather extensive inundation and some damage to very vulnerable structures and infrastructure along the immediate shore, such as decks, stairs, docks, parking lots, and the like. Some neighborhoods may become isolated and many shore roads may become impassable for a while and remain impassable long after the high tide due to slow drainage. The Plymouth County coast, and Cape Cod Bay shoreline from Sandwich to Dennis and perhaps even further east to Eastham, are areas of particular concern. Due to such high water levels and strong onshore winds, there is a potential for serious impacts to route 6A in Sandwich among other locations.
ESF 16 (Military Support): National Guard
The National Guard has staged High Water Vehicles in the following communities/areas in anticipation of moderate to major coastal flooding with the mid-day high tide:
·Hingham National Guard Armory
ESF 10 (Hazardous Materials and Environmental Protection): Coastal Zone Management (CZM)
CZM has activated portions of the Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team to conduct assessments of damage after the mid-day high tide in 23 coastal communities where moderate to major coastal flooding is predicted.
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is operating at Level 2 (Partial Activation). In addition, MEMA’s Regional Emergency Operations Centers in Tewksbury (Region 1) and Bridgewater (Region 2) are activated.
Representatives of the following agencies/organizations are present in the State EOC:
ESF-1 (Transportation): MassDOT
ESF-3 (Public Works): DCR, OPSI
ESF-4 (Firefighting): DFS
ESF-5 (Business and Industry): NEDRIX
ESF-6 (Mass Care): ARC
ESF-8 (Health and Medical): MDPH
ESF-9 (Search and Rescue): MEP, USCG
ESF-10 (Environmental Protection): DEP, CZM
ESF-12 (Energy): DPU, National Grid, Eversource, Unitil
ESF-13 (Public Safety): MSP
ESF-16 (Military Support): MANG
The SEOC will continue to monitor the forecast and will disseminate Situational Awareness Statements as necessary
You will note that the Committee titled - Budget, Prep, Revenue and Audit has not been assigned as of yet as I've sent in an order to the City Clerks office to abolish the committee and refer all items to Finance.
As Council President, I've had the opportunity to sit down with Vice President Lebeau and speak with all my colleagues regarding their requests for chairmanships and committees they want to serve on. I have had the opportunity to speak with all councilors regarding committee assignments. They are all excited to start a new term with some new committee assignments. I feel that after speaking with each councilor, each councilor is ready to get the ground running.
Over the next two years, my goal is to see that more work is done in sub-committee before a specific item/resolution item reaches full council. I feel extremely confident that each committee chair has the ability and work ethic to make this goal a common goal.
WE are all looking forward to a successful 2018 year!
City Council President: Cliff Ponte
City Council Vice President: Pam Lebeau
2018 City Council Committee Assignments:
Economic Development & Tourism: Chair: Pam Lebeau Members: Stephen Long, Shawn Cadime
Health & Environmental Affairs: Chair: Steven Camara Members: Derek Viveiros, Stephen Long
Human Services, Housing, Youth and Elder Affairs: Chair: Joseph Camara Members: Leo Pelletier, Stephen Long
Ordinance & Legislation: Chair: Stephen Long Members: Pam Lebeau, Shawn Cadime, Derek Viveiros, Brad Kilby
Public Safety: Chair: Brad Kilby Members: Derek Viveiros, Joseph Camara
Public Works and Transportation Chair: Derek Viveiros Members: Steve Camara, Joseph Camara
Real Estate Chair: Leo Pelletier Members: Steven Camara, Brad Kilby
Regulations Chair: Shawn Cadime Members: Leo Pelletier, Pam Lebeau
Is a healthier, more energetic you one of your goals this year? Come to the Friends of the Fall River Public Library’sPlio-Barre Class series at 104 North Main Street, Fall River, MA. Every Thursday at 5:30 p.m., starting January 11, 2018, you can exercise your body with this low-impact mix of Pilates and strength training exercises. Have fun and get stronger while challenging yourself!
Instructor Leslie Rego has numerous years’ experience in wellness and fitness. She will help you sculpt, slim, and stretch your entire body. Wear comfortable clothing and bring your yoga mat if you have one. No registration is required. Drop-in fee is just $5 per class.
For further information contact Liane Verville, Library Administrator, at 508-324-2700, ext. 112, or visit the Library’s website at fallriverlibrary.org.
DATE: January 2, 2018
TIME: 4:30 PM
SUBJECT: Winter Storm Thursday; Dangerously Cold Weather This Weekend
The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting a strong coastal storm on Thursday that will bring accumulating snow across the entire state, with the eastern half of the state seeing the greatest amounts. Strong and possibly damaging winds are also expected, with the greatest threat along the coast, including the Cape and Islands. Starting on Friday, bitterly cold weather will return and persist into the weekend.
Forecast for Thursday:
Snow will overspread the region starting early Thursday morning (between 4 AM and 8 AM) and last through the day before ending sometime Thursday evening (between 5 PM and 10 PM). Snowfall rates could be as much as 1-2” per hour.
In southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape and Islands, precipitation may start as rain but will transition to snow by Thursday afternoon as temperatures drop. A flash freeze is possible in this area. The precise location of the rain/snow line is still uncertain; it likely will fall somewhere south of the Boston to Providence line, and north of the Cape Cod Canal. There likely will be an area of heavy wet snow just to the north of the rain/snow line. The potential for power outages is higher in areas that receive heavy wet snow.
All of the state will see accumulating snow, with the greatest amounts in eastern and central Massachusetts, which could receive 8-12” of snow. The Cape and Islands is expected to receive 4-8” of snow, while western Massachusetts could see 3-6” of snow.
Wind gusts will increase Thursday morning and last into the evening. Interior Massachusetts could see 40-50 MPH gusts, with 50-65 MPH gusts near the coast and up to 70 MPH gusts on the Cape and Islands.
Thursday’s midday high tide is an astronomical high tide. Combined with the 1.5 to 2 feet of storm surge forecast, this tide could result in minor to moderate coastal flooding, especially on north and east facing beaches.
The major areas of uncertainty in the forecast at this point are (i) how far west the heaviest snowfall totals occur (if the storm tracks further west than currently forecast, central and western MA could also see up to 12” of snow), and (ii) the exact location of the rain/snow line in southeastern Massachusetts.
Forecast for Friday/Saturday:
Bitterly cold weather will return Friday and Saturday. Daytime highs will hover around 0 degrees, while overnight lows could reach 10-20 degrees below zero.
Wind chills could be as low as 15-35 degrees below zero, particularly on Friday night when wind gusts are expected to be 35-40 mph over much of Massachusetts.
Impacts associated with Thursday’s storm:
Snowfall combined with strong winds will result in poor visibility and difficult travel conditions throughout Massachusetts on Thursday. Both morning and evening commutes are forecast to be impacted. Near-blizzard conditions are possible in eastern Massachusetts and travel in this area could become difficult to impossible.
A flash freeze is possible Thursday afternoon or evening to the south of the rain/snow line as rain transitions to snow in southeastern Massachusetts, resulting in icy conditions on roads and sidewalks.
Strong wind gusts could cause tree damage and scattered power outages, especially on the Cape and Islands.
Minor to moderate coastal impacts are forecast from Boston northward and generally moderate coastal impacts for much of the coastline south of Boston. This may translate to fairly widespread flooding of vulnerable shore roads and basements. A few low spots might receive a little over 3 feet of inundation. Waves on top of the high water level may cause scattered damage to access stairs, docks, beach parking lots, decks/porches near the surf zone, and the like. Chunks of sea ice could also exacerbate scattered shoreline damage.
Impacts associated with cold weather Friday/Saturday:
Fall River, MA – Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II announces a citywide parking ban, which will go into effect beginning Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at 6:00pm until further notice.
Motorists are reminded that when a parking ban is in effect, parking is allowed on the north side of all city streets that run east and west and that parking is allowed on the west side of all streets that run north and south. In most cases this means no parking on the fire hydrant side.
Motorist are asked to participate in the parking ban to allow emergency vehicles, including police, fire and medical, clear access to all streets while allowing better access to snow plows for cleaner and safer streets.
Parking is not allowed within 20 feet of a corner to allow access for snow removing vehicles. Parking allowed, unless posted, on both sides of any street that is divided by a traffic median, but parking against the median is prohibited.
If any vehicle is in violation of the parking ban and must be towed to clear streets for plows or emergency vehicles, the owner must call the Fall River Police Department at (508) 324-2801, for the location of the towed vehicle. All towing fees must be paid to the respective tow company prior to release of the stored vehicle.
Parking is available at the following locations until the ban is no longer in effect:
FLINT MUNICIPAL PARKING LOT ON PLEASANT STREET, MUNICIPAL LOT ON COLUMBI
Bristol Community College to offer FREE ONE-Credit Course honoring the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. beginning march 26, 2018
Bristol Community College will offer a FREE, one-credit course, The Readings of Martin Luther King, Jr, (HST 162 16 CRN 10361) on Mondays, from 6:30-9 p.m., beginning March 26, 2018, until May 17, 2018, at the BCC Fall River campus, 777 Elsbree Street. This course is FREE and open to the public.
In this course participants will read and hear some of Dr. King’s works in order to gain a better understanding of both the man, and his effect on this country, and world history.
During the little more than ten years when Dr. King was in the center of the struggle for equal rights in this country, he gave numerous speeches and sermons many of which have been preserved both in written form, as well as in recordings. In addition, he penned five books and gave many transcribed interviews. A review of such works provides a glimpse into the thinking of this great man, and helps us to better understand what motivated him to devote his life to the movement for positive change. The works also reflect the evolution of King’s thinking and actions as he drew upon his prior learning, as well as his experiences.
This engaging course offering coincides with the college’s free annual breakfast to honor the life and ideals of Dr. King on January 15, 2018, at 8:30 a.m., at the BCC Fall River campus. The event will feature Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Dr. Robert E. Johnson as the keynote speaker, the awarding of the 2018 African American Alumnus of the year, and the presentation of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Poster and Essay contest winners chosen from participants at area schools.
U.S. Department of Labor Urges Employees and Employers Engaged
In Snow Removal and Cleanup to Be Aware of Potential Hazards
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - With record snowfalls in Pennsylvania and Western New York, along with frigid temperatures in the Northeast and Midwest, the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is urging all those involved in snow removal and cleanup to take precautions and focus on safety.
Workers performing snow removal operations may be exposed to serious hazards, including slips and falls while walking on snow and ice, falls from roofs and roof edges, through skylights, or from aerial ladders and lifts. Workers may also be injured by a roof collapse. Other storm recovery work hazards include being struck by vehicles, carbon monoxide, hypothermia, and being injured by powered equipment.
Those working outdoors may also be at risk of cold stress, including first responders who are on duty for long periods of time. Anyone working outside for prolonged periods may experience cold stress with mild symptoms, such as shivering while remaining alert. Moderate to severe symptoms include shivering stops, confusion, slurred speech, heart rate/breathing slowness, and loss of consciousness. When the body is unable to warm itself, serious cold-related injuries may occur, such as frostbite.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is continuing to upgrade its innovative, online pothole dashboard that provides information to the public regarding pothole locations and size, the number of potholes filled, the type of material used, and the total approximate cost. The pothole dashboard can be found online at this link: https://goo.gl/3YiwTA
In 2017, MassDOT upgraded the pothole dashboard to indicate if the repair was made as a result of public feedback (indicated by a check-mark). MassDOT appreciates reports from members of the public regarding potholes on roadways and 10% of the approximately 900 pothole repairs made since October 2017 have been in response to public feedback.
“This innovative online resource provides clear information to members of the public on our repairs and investments and allows us to make better decisions on using resources to improve our roadways,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We are committed to excellent customer service and the pothole tracking program is a useful tool that enables us to engage the public, better monitor roadway conditions, plan upcoming maintenance and road repairs, and ensure safer and more reliable travel.”
While it is not possible to track all repairs and activity, data collected shows that MassDOT has made at least 8,500 pothole repairs in 2017 using approximately 412 tons of material. The pothole repair dashboard provides transparency to the public on the use of state resources, creates efficiency by introducing technology to front line workers, and adds to the data available for maintenance and capital planning.
MassDOT can use this data when making capital investment decisions to focus resources on roads and areas that require consistent pothole repair and manage our assets in a cost-effective manner that prevents emergency pothole repairs.
During calendar year 2017, MassDOT expanded the program so that it includes information regarding potholes in all six highway districts after it was previously piloted in areas of Central and Western Massachusetts. A new online viewer is currently under development and will combine pothole repair locations, pavement condition data and planned or underway paving projects to provide a more complete picture of MassDOT pavement management practices.
The pothole repair program also includes a field application through which MassDOT road crews can input data outlining the date, time, cost and materials used to repair potholes. The data collection structure uses MassDOT’s GIS systems to establish an interactive webpage. Once entered, that information then becomes viewable in real-time to the public via the online dashboard.
Potholes can also be reported to MassDOT by calling 857-DOT-INFO (857-368-4636) or 877-MA-DOT-GOV (877-623-6846) or by contacting MassDOT online. Potholes can also be reported to the State or local police who will contact MassDOT with the report.
Cold weather may be on our doorstep, but there is still time to make sure your car is ready to start and run in the coldest and harshest conditions we may face over the winter months, according to AAA Northeast.
“Preventive maintenance is essential for safe driving and greatly decreases the chances of being stranded in the cold,” said John Paul, AAA Northeast Senior Manager of Traffic Safety and the AAA Car Doctor.
Motorists can be prepared for adverse winter weather conditions with these tips from AAA:
Battery and charging system: Have the battery and charging system tested if your vehicle's battery is more than three years old. Your vehicle will need a fully charged battery to start up during a cold snap. Even a good battery can lose up to 50 percent of its capacity when the temperatures drop to zero. At 32 degrees it can take up to 30 percent more power to start a cold engine. If your vehicle started with a jumpstart you have only fixed the symptom but not the problem. A well maintained vehicle should start in nearly any weather condition.
Coolant: Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water will protect your car’s engine to -34 degrees. You can test the antifreeze protection level with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store. Check the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps, too. Any hoses that feel brittle or spongy when squeezed should be replaced.
Ignition: Today we don’t think about tune-ups like we once did with older cars but ignition systems can fail. Damaged ignition wires, a cracked distributor cap or worn spark plugs can make starting difficult. If the check engine light is flashing this indicates an engine misfire that could be a result of a malfunctioning ignition system. Driving with a flashing check engine light will permanently damage the engine catalytic convertor-a very expensive repair.
Oil: This is a year-round recommendation, but certainly worth taking care of with the rest of your winter prep. Always have your oil changed per manufacturer recommendations. You should have your vehicle's transmission fluid level checked at the same time. Synthetic oil is a benefit in every vehicle and will allow for quicker starts in very cold weather.
Tires: In areas with heavy winter weather, installing winter tires on all four wheels will provide the best traction. Winter tires are also formulated to work better in very cold weather conditions due to the stickier rubber compounds. All-season tires work well in light-to-moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage.
Washer fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components. Some window washer solution is rated to just 20 degrees, but in cold weather this solution can freeze and damage the washer system. Look for washer fluid that protects well below freezing temperatures.
Wipers: Wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. Consider installing wiper blades that have a one-piece plastic beam frame or winter blades that wrap the metal frame in a rubber boot. Both designs help prevent snow and ice buildup that can interfere with blade-to-glass contact.
Engine Warm up: Extensive engine warm ups are not necessary even in very cold weather. A more fuel efficient technique is once the car is running and you are settled in with your favorite radio station and your seat belt fastened, drive reasonably until the engine comes up to operating temperature.
AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 62 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing more than 5.2 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.
DATE: December 27, 2017
TIME: 10:00 AM
SUBJECT: Extended Period of Bitter Cold
Very cold temperatures are expected for the rest of this week, potentially lasting into the middle of next week. Daytime high temperatures will likely not rise above the teens from Thursday through the weekend. High temperatures in some interior locations may not rise above the single digits. Overnight low temperatures will drop to 0 to -10 degrees north of the Mass Pike and to the single digits over southeast Massachusetts. Wind chills during this period could be as low as 15 to 25 degrees below zero, particularly in western Massachusetts. The coldest periods are forecast to be Wednesday night into Thursday morning and Thursday night into Friday morning. Another bout of especially low wind chills is possible Saturday night into Sunday morning and Sunday night into Monday morning.
Areas affected: Northern Berkshire; Southern Berkshire
SEOC Activation Level
The State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is operating at Level 1 (Steady State Monitoring). MEMA will continue to monitor the forecast and will disseminate additional Situational Awareness Statements as necessary.
Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service. Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: www.mass.gov/mema/mobileapp.
Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times: http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html
The National Football League confirmed the Week 17 schedule on Sunday night, flexing multiple games with playoff implications into the 4:25 p.m. ET slot. While there are now nine games in the late window, there will be no Sunday Night Football game.
Below are the changes to the schedule:
The Cincinnati-Baltimore, Buffalo-Miami and Jacksonville-Tennessee games will all move from 1 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET and remain on CBS.
The Carolina-Atlanta and New Orleans-Tampa Bay games will both move from 1 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET and remain on FOX.
In order to ensure that all games with playoff implications that impact each other are played at the same time, there will be no Sunday night game in Week 17.
"We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET windows," said NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting Howard Katz. "This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football on New Year's Eve that because of earlier results has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams."
Following is the Week 17 NFL schedule (all times are ET):
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31
Green Bay at Detroit (1 p.m., FOX)
Houston at Indianapolis (1 p.m., CBS)
Chicago at Minnesota (1 p.m., FOX) New York Jets at New England (1 p.m., CBS)
Washington at New York Giants (1 p.m., FOX)
Dallas at Philadelphia (1 p.m., FOX)
Cleveland at Pittsburgh (1 p.m., CBS)
Carolina at Atlanta (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Cincinnati at Baltimore (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Kansas City at Denver (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers (4:25 p.m., CBS)
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Buffalo at Miami (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Arizona at Seattle (4:25 p.m., FOX)
New Orleans at Tampa Bay (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Jacksonville at Tennessee (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are down another three cents this week, and have fallen an average of 10 cents over the last five weeks, according to AAA Northeast.
AAA Northeast’s December 26 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.43 per gallon. Massachusetts’s price is one cent below the national average of $2.44. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was twenty-one cents lower at $2.22 per gallon.
The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 32 cents, from a low of $2.27 to a high of $2.59. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every time.
Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:
8 AGs File Suit, Challenging EPA’s Refusal to Require Upwind States to Control Smog Pollution that Blows into Northeast States
Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, joining a coalition of eight attorneys general, filed a lawsuit today against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to force action under the Clean Air Act to ensure upwind states adequately control the pollution that blows into Rhode Island and other downwind states. The EPA’s own studies demonstrate that pollution from states upwind of Rhode Island contributes substantially to the state’s harmful levels of smog.
“It’s been long established that Rhode Island and the other Northeast states are negatively impacted by pollution from upwind states, and this latest decision by the EPA flouts sound environmental science and puts many Rhode Islanders – especially young children and older people – at serious risk of health issues,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.
Specifically, the suit challenges the EPA’s denial of a petition that a number of states filed in late 2013 for the Agency to add nine additional states to the “Ozone Transport Region,” a group of states established under the federal Clean Air Act that must act in concert to reduce smog pollution within the region.
Click here to read the lawsuit, which was filed by the attorneys general of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Reducing smog levels is vital to protecting the health of residents in Rhode Island. Elevated levels of smog can cause a host of significant health effects, including coughing, throat irritation, lung tissue damage, and the aggravation of existing medical conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis, heart disease, and emphysema. According to the American Lung Association’s “2017 State of the Air Report,” more than 10 percent of all Rhode Islanders are at risk for pediatric or adult asthma due to smog and particle pollution in the air.
Congress created the Ozone Transport Region to help states address pervasive smog problems in the northeastern United States. By statute, the Region consists of 11 states – Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont – and the District of Columbia metropolitan area.
In December 2013, a number of northeastern states submitted a petition under the Clean Air Act asking EPA to add nine additional states shown or projected through modelling and analysis to contribute to violations of federal smog standards in the Ozone Transport Region.
These nine states are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. When EPA took no any action on that petition, a coalition of states filed suit against the EPA to compel it to act. The coalition of states subsequently negotiated a consent decree that required EPA to approve or disapprove the petition no later than October 27, 2017. On that date, Trump EPA Administrator Pruitt denied the states’ Ozone Transport Region petition.
Today’s suit, which was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asks the court to review Administrator Pruitt’s denial of the petition. The coalition will ask the court to determine that the denial is unlawful and to vacate it.
Ozone Transport Region
Each state within the Ozone Transport Region must develop and implement plans that achieve controls on pollutants that contribute to the formation of smog. However, despite enacting stringent in-state controls on sources of these pollutants, many states within the Region – including Rhode Island – are not able to meet federal health-based air quality standards for smog, significantly due to upwind smog pollution.
Modeling and analysis performed by EPA, as well as by states, has shown that interstate transport of air pollution from upwind states outside of the Ozone Transport Region –including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia – contributes significantly to violations of the 2008 federal smog standard within the Ozone Transport Region. In addition, preliminary modeling demonstrates that emissions in these states, as well as North Carolina, are projected to contribute to violations of the recently updated, 2015 federal smog standard in the Region.
States outside and upwind of the Region are not required to – and generally do not – impose controls as stringent as those required of those within the Region. However, the federal Clean Air Act provides for states to petition EPA to add states to the Ozone Transport Region, and for EPA to add states when the Agency has reason to believe that the interstate transport of air pollution from them significantly contributes to exceedances of the federal standards for smog in the Region.
MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT
December 24, 2017
Re: Winter Storm With Snow and Strong Winds
A winter storm will impact the state this evening and Monday. There is still some uncertainty in the track of the storm, but the forecast calls for snow to overspread most of the state late tonight and last into mid-day tomorrow. More particularly, precipitation will fall as snow except in the southeast (south and east of the I-95 corridor) where it will remain as rain to the south of the I-95 corridor and there may be a mixture of rain, sleet and snow along the I-95 corridor. Snowfall totals will be greatest in northern Massachusetts, with the northern areas of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Worcester and Middlesex Counties receiving 6” t 8” of snow. 3” to 6” of accumulation is forecast for other areas to the north and west of the I-95 corridor. See the Snowfall Total Graphic below.
Strong and potentially damaging winds through Monday also are forecast for this storm. Gusts of 40 MPH to 50 MPH are forecast for much of the state, with gusts up to 65 MPH over areas of the Cape and Islands.
During the storm, travel may be hazardous, particularly to the north and west of the I-95 corridor, due to the snow, sleet and freezing rain. Additionally, the strong winds may result in downed limbs, trees, and utility wires. Power outages are expected with this storm, particularly over the Cape and Islands.
Watches, Warnings, Advisories
Winter Storm Warnings have been issued for the northern areas of the state that are expected to receive up to 8” of snow. A High Wind Warning has been issued for the Cape and Islands. Winter Weather and Wind Advisories have been issued for other areas of the state. The current Warnings, Watches and Advisories are detailed below.
Areas affected: Central Middlesex County; Eastern Essex; Eastern Franklin; Eastern Hampden; Eastern Hampshire; Eastern Norfolk; Northern Bristol; Northern Worcester; Northwest Middlesex County; Southeast Middlesex; Southern Worcester; Suffolk; Western Essex; Western Franklin; Western Hampden; Western Hampshire; Western Norfolk; Western Plymouth
Carmelo Kercado Jr. was transported back to Massachusetts this evening and will be arraigned Tuesday morning in New Bedford District Court for the October 10th slaying of Stephen Bodden and Fabio Tavares in New Bedford.
Kercado, 35, of New Bedford was arrested in Concord, N.C., early Tuesday afternoon. Task force officers had set up surveillance on an address there after Troopers from the Massachusetts State Police's Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and members of the US Marshals Service in Boston developed intelligence that he may have been there. The United States Marshals Service North Carolina Joint Fugitive Task Force took KERCADO into custody at approximately 1:25 p.m.
Mr. Kercado is accused of shooting and killing Stephen Bodden, 27, of New Bedford and Taunton, and Fabio Tavares, 28, of New Bedford, while the three of them drove in a vehicle along Central Avenue on the morning of October 10 at around 1:30 a.m.
New Bedford Police received a 911 call around 1:30 a.m. in regards to shots being fired at a motor vehicle at 200 Central Avenue. The caller stated that popping sounds were heard on the street just prior to the sound of a car crash. When police arrived, they found the 2001 Honda Accord angled up against a parked car on the south side of the streets.
First responders determined the Stephen Bodden, who was sitting in the driver's seat of the vehicle was already deceased. A second victim, Fabio Tavares, was sitting in the passenger seat and was found to still be breathing. He was rushed to St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, where he later died.
Mr. Kercado waived rendition in a North Carolina courthouse Thursday and was transported back to Massachusetts earlier this evening by Massachusetts State Troopers assigned to Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn's office. He will be held in custody through the weekend before being arraigned Tuesday morning.
The defendant is charged with two counts of murder, carrying an illegal firearm and carrying a loaded illegal firearm.
The investigation and prosecution is being coordinated by Assistant District Attorney Robert Digiantomaso.
Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II is pleased to announce that Fall River will welcome the new year with a fireworks display on New Years Eve, Sunday, December 31 at 9:00 pm. The pyrotechnics will be launched from City Pier, off Davol St near Heritage State Park. Best viewing areas will be the state park and Veterans Memorial Bicentennial Park.
Mayor Correia stated, “Fall River has a lot to look forward to in the new year. I invite the whole city to come together on New Years Eve this year to celebrate as a community. And I pledge to do all I can to make 2018 Fall River’s best year yet.”
In connection with the homicide investigation into the death of Thomas Pomare, the Attleboro Police and State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s Office have arrested Archie Charles, 25, of Malden, MA. He is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Attleboro District Court.
Charles faces a single count of murder in connection with the case.
Attorneys General Sue EPA for Failing to Designate Areas with Unhealthy Levels of Smog
The Clean Air Act’s “Trigger” for Required Reductions in this Dangerous Air Pollution Attaining
National Smog Standards Would Prevent up to 660 Premature Deaths, 230,000 Asthma Attacks in Kids
Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, joining a coalition of 15 state Attorneys General, filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for failing to meet the Clean Air Act’s statutory deadline for designating areas of the country impacted by unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone (commonly referred to as smog).
In addition to Rhode Island, the lawsuit was filed by attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (by and through its Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
With this suit, the coalition makes good on its pledge to sue the EPA if it failed to meet this key statutory and public health requirement. In August, a coalition of Attorneys General sued the EPA for illegally delaying the designations; the next day, the EPA reversed course and withdrew the delay. However, the EPA missed the statutory deadline of October 1st for designation and, four days later, the coalition filed a notice of intent to sue the Agency for failing to issue the required designations.
“We gave Director Pruitt and the EPA the benefit of the doubt that they would do the right thing and follow the law, but once again, they have failed to do so,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “Clearly their promise to make good on implementing the smog designations as required under the Clean Air Act was a politically-calculated delay tactic. We cannot and will not sit idly by as the EPA’s inaction continues to threaten the health and safety of our citizens.”
Reducing smog levels is vital to protecting public health, as smog significantly exacerbates certain health conditions, such as heart disease, bronchitis, and asthma, especially in children and the elderly.
The EPA’s own studies demonstrate that pollution from states upwind of Rhode Island contributes substantially to the state’s dangerous smog problem. The designation of areas with unhealthy smog levels plays a key role under the Clean Air Act in addressing the pollutant’s severe harms to public health, triggering requirements for state-specific plans and deadlines to reduce pollution in the designated areas.
In October 2015, the EPA revised and strengthened the national air quality standards for smog. The Clean Air Act requires the Agency, within two years after issuance of new or revised standards, to designate areas of the county that are in “attainment” or “non-attainment” with these public health and welfare standards. In the case of the 2015 smog standards, EPA was required to issue attainment or non-attainment designations by October 1, 2017.
However, on June 28, 2017, EPA Administrator Pruitt published a notice stalling the deadline for the smog designations for all areas in the country for one year. Shortly thereafter, on August 1st, a coalition of 16 Attorneys General which included Attorney General Kilmartin sued the EPA for illegally delaying the designations. The next day, EPA abruptly reversed course and announced it was withdrawing the designations delay, although it remained equivocal on whether it would meet the October 1st deadline.
The October 1, 2017 deadline then passed without EPA making any of the required designations, in violation of the Clean Air Act. A few days later, the coalition notified EPA of its intention to sue if the agency failed to correct the violation within 60 days. On November 6, 2017, EPA issued designations for some areas of the county, but failed to make any “non-attainment” area designations, which are the designations that trigger smog reduction measures to improve air quality and comply with the standards.
The areas EPA failed to designate include many densely populated areas – such as Washington and Kent counties in Rhode Island, and all of Connecticut. In fact, more than half of the U.S. population lives in the undesignated areas. The 60-day notice period expired December 5th without the EPA issuing all of the statutorily-required designations.
The designation of areas for national air quality standards is a key statutory obligation under the Clean Air Act – and vital to protecting the public’s health. For areas designated as in non-attainment for the standards, states must adopt “implementation plans” – a collection of actions that the state will undertake to reduce pollution in order to ensure standards will be met in those areas. The deadlines for submitting implementation plans – and for ensuring that air quality standards are met within designated areas – are both directly keyed to the date of EPA designations. EPA’s failure to timely designate nonattainment areas delays the Clean Air Act’s requirements for measures to reduce pollution in these areas, thus resulting in further harm to public health.
According to EPA, the 2015 updated smog standards will improve public health protection – particularly for at-risk groups such as children, older adults, people of all ages who have lung diseases like asthma, and people who are active outdoors, especially outdoor workers. In fact, the EPA conservatively estimated that meeting the new smog standards would result in net annual public health benefits of up to $4.5 billion starting in 2025 (not including California), while also preventing approximately:
• 316 to 660 premature deaths;
• 230,000 asthma attacks in children;
• 160,000 missed school days;
• 28,000 missed work days;
• 630 asthma-related emergency room visits; and
• 340 cases of acute bronchitis in children.
Smog forms when nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and carbon monoxide emitted from power plants, motor vehicles, factories, refineries, and other sources react under suitable conditions. Because these reactions occur in the atmosphere, smog can form far from where its precursor gases are emitted and, once formed, smog can travel far distances. That is why, despite enacting stringent in-state controls on sources of these pollutants, many states are not, alone, able to meet federal health-based air quality standards for smog.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, December 5th in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and can be read here: Case 3:17-cv-06936 .
Program brought in more than $1 million in electric bill
savings to New Bedford residents and small businesses
New Bedford, Massachusetts – The City of New Bedford will continue its electricity aggregation program under a new three-year supply contract set to start in January 2018.
New Bedford is part of a buying group of 23 communities stretching from the South Coast to northern Middlesex County that originally launched their Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA) programs in January 2016. By purchasing together, these communities have collectively saved over $8 million for their residents to date and have now renewed their supply contracts for another three years. New Bedford’s savings for homeowners and businesses was $1,076,863.
New Bedford’s partners include two dozen cities and towns across the region: Acushnet, Attleboro, Carver, Dartmouth, Dedham, Dighton, Douglas, Dracut, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Northbridge, Norton, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Westford, and Westport. This Community Electricity Aggregation buying group is the largest in Massachusetts and the third largest of its kind in the country.
In addition to savings, in an environment of continuing rate volatility, these aggregation programs have successfully provided safe harbor for rate payers with one fixed rate while maintaining the freedom to leave the program at any time without penalty. The goals of the program are to provide ratepayers with reduced electric rates, price stability and a responsible alternative to utility rates.
The new electric rate is fixed at $0.10122 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from January 2018 to January 2021. This compares favorably with the Basic Service rate for Eversource from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 which will be $0.13157 per kWh.
The electricity supply will be provided by Public Power, LLC. Public Power won a highly competitive bid conducted by consultant Good Energy in April 2017, beating out two of the nation’s largest power companies. The supplier name will change from Constellation to Public Power and this will be reflected along with the new rate of $0.10122 per kilowatt hour on your January 2018 bill which you will receive in February 2018.
While the aggregation rate compares favorably with the winter rate of Eversource, there is no guarantee of future savings under the aggregation program. The Eversource Basic Service supply rate changes every six months.
·If you are currently in the program, no action is required to continue participation.
·If you have opted out of the original program, you may still join the program by contacting Public Power, LLC at 800- 830-2944, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
·If you are on the Basic Service with Eversource and have not previously opted out, you will be sent a letter that details the program.
·Residents who wish to join the program (including residents who previously opted out or who are currently with a third-party supplier) may still join the program by contacting Public Power, LLC at 800-830-2944, or by email at email@example.com. Please note that residents currently on with a third-party supplier should check for any early termination fees associated with their existing supply contract prior to joining the new program.
Residents are advised that no one affiliated with the program will call, email or knock on residents’ doors asking them to enroll or re-enroll. As before, there is no penalty or termination fee for leaving the program at any time.
About Community Electricity Aggregation (CEA):
As communities across the country have sought to take more control over their energy costs and usage, Community Electricity Aggregation has become increasingly popular. In Massachusetts, CEA is also known as “municipal aggregation” and was made possible by utility deregulation in the late 1990s. CEA is a process whereby a municipality or, in this case, multiple municipalities, aggregate the electrical load of residents and businesses within their jurisdictional boundaries to purchase electricity in bulk in the competitive market.
The CEA program does not affect the delivery of electric service. Any problems with electric service, including outages, should continue to be reported to Eversource at 800-592-2000.
For questions or concerns about the CEA program, or if you would like to opt out of or leave the program, please contact Public Power, LLC at (800) 830-2944, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.masscea.com for additional information about the Community Electricity Aggregation program.
Bump Calls on DCF to Take Proactive Approach to Protecting Children Despite Reforms, Audit Finds Gunshot Wounds, Serious Burns, and Head Contusions Undetected by DCF
NOTE: Auditor Bump will host a media availability in her State House Office (Room 230) at 1:00 p.m. today to discuss this audit’s findings and recommendations.
BOSTON, MA — An audit of the Department of Children and Families released today by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump found reforms to date have not enabled the agency to take a proactive approach to protecting the children in its care. The audit found that DCF:
·Is not using all of the tools at its disposal to detect all serious bodily injury to children already in its custody,
·Is not reporting all of these injuries to its oversight agency, the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA), and
·Is not ensuring that all potentially criminal actions are referred to the District Attorney’s offices for investigation or prosecution.
In addition to these findings, Auditor Bump is also calling on DCF to consider sexual abuse a critical incident, a designation which triggers immediate investigative action. “How can the agency not consider sexual abuse a serious injury to a child? It defies logic,” Bump stated.
Bump found that during the two year audit period, DCF was unaware of 260 incidents of what appeared to be serious bodily injury to children in its care. These incidents include: a 15-year-old with brain damage from a firearm injury, a 1-year-old with first- and second-degree burns on multiple body parts, and a 12-year-old with multiple head contusions that a physician determined were a result of an assault. The audit notes that this deficiency was a result of DCF relying on others to report occurrences of serious bodily injury to children rather than utilizing data sources that they have at their fingertips.
In order to establish a more proactive approach, Bump called on DCF to use MassHealth data to proactively identify incidents of serious bodily injury to children in its care. This data provides records of all medical treatments provided to an enrolled member that are billed to the program. Children in DCF care that have been removed from their home are enrolled in MassHealth, and DCF currently has access to claims data for these children but is not using it as a tool to identify serious medical incidents. In its response, DCF indicated it has not yet taken action to implement this recommendation because it did not believe this data was timely. Bump noted that despite DCF assertions, her office’s analysis shows that MassHealth claims data is timely and an effective tool to identify medical incidents involving children in DCF care.
“The children entrusted into DCF care are among the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. This audit found that despite reforms, victimization of children in DCF’s care continues to occur unnoticed by the agency,” Bump said. “The work of DCF is incredibly difficult and extremely important. This is why it is so critical that the agency uses all of the tools at its disposal, such as MassHealth claims data, to identify and investigate physical harm to children in its care.”
Bump’s audit also noted that DCF does not consider sexual abuse a critical incident, and therefore does not report it to the Office of the Child Advocate (OCA), which is tasked with ensuring children involved in state care receive timely, safe, humane, and effective services. Defined by state law, critical incidents are those events that result in a fatality, near fatality, or serious bodily injury of a child. Bump’s office found 118 incidents of sexual abuse of a child in DCF care that were not reported to OCA. These incidents included two male employees at different DCF-contracted residential facilities who sexually abused three girls each; a 10-year-old who was raped by his father; a 4-year-old who was sexually abused by her mother; and a 17-year-old who was gang-raped by five assailants. In one case, a male who had sexually abused one child, abused the child’s sibling less than one year later. While officials indicated these incidents were investigated by DCF staff in collaboration with law enforcement, they told Bump’s staff that these occurrences did not meet the definition of a critical incident, and therefore were not reported to OCA. As a result of the audit, DCF indicated it is collaborating with OCA to address this issue.
“Clearly, we as a society must do more to confront and address sexual abuse. To say, as DCF has asserted, that sexual abuse should not be considered a critical incident, defies logic,” Bump said. “Again, by not reporting incidents of sexual abuse to the Office of the Child Advocate, the Department is hindering this important voice for children.”
Bump noted that DCF is taking other steps in response to the audit to enhance its work, including:
·Centralizing its reporting of critical incidents in which children in its care are involved;
·Updating its procedures for referring incidents of abuse, neglect, and/or sexual abuse of children to district attorneys’ offices for investigation; and
DCF provides services to children 0 through 21 years of age who are at risk or have been victims of abuse or neglect, as well as their families. It provides services such as adoption/guardianship, foster care, housing stabilization, family support and stabilization, adolescent services, protective services, and other in-home supports to reduce risks to children. In Fiscal Year 2017, it served an average of 51,882 children each month and had an annual appropriation of $908 million.
About the Office of the State Auditor The Office of the State Auditor conducts performance audits of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency. The OSA has identified approximately $1.3 billion in unallowable, questionable, or potentially fraudulent spending and saving opportunities for the Commonwealth since 2011. Last year, auditees report implementation of 92 percent of the OSA’s audit recommendations. The office received the Einhorn-Gary Award for its success furthering government accountability.
Bristol Community College opens Blue Center for water technologies IN RESPONSE TO GROWING NEED FOR DRINKING WATER AND WASTEWATER INDUSTRY TECHNICIANS
The Bristol Community College Blue Center for Water Technologies has been established in response to the growing need for drinking water and wastewater industry technicians. Serving as an innovative model training center, the Blue Center features a functioning model conventional water treatment plant, a functioning wastewater treatment plant providing clean water for our aquaculture system, and a pond and groundwater monitoring well.
The training facility’s other capabilities include surface water and groundwater sampling, PH testing, groundwater simulators, pump operation and maintenance training, renewable energy training, and chlorine residual analysis, and more.
A lending laboratory at the Blue Center was also created to lend the facilities’ equipment to area high schools and colleges to expand the reach of the mission of the center. Institutions may borrow equipment for a semester or more to help begin their programs and become familiar with the specialized equipment.
The Blue Center was established during a Bristol Community College Presidential Fellowship when a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant proposal was developed and submitted in the fall of 2015. In the spring of 2016, NSF ATE awarded the college $602,0001 for the New England Water Treatment Training (NEWTT) project. The project is designed to develop and/or enhance drinking water and wastewater education programs in community colleges throughout New England. Funding from this grant was used to enhance the Blue Center’s laboratory capabilities.
The NEWTT grant, together with the Blue Center, are working with representatives from the water industry, as well as academia and local and state governments to develop curricula to meet the needs of the water industry. The center’s programs train students to be ready for employment in municipal and privately operated facilities, and include an active internship program for students to participate in tours of these facilities.
For more information about BCC’s Blue Center for Water Technologies, please contact Professor Robert Rak, Environmental Science and Technology Coordinator, by calling 774.357.2771 or email Robert.Rak@bristolcc.edu.
Registration Open Now Through December 11 for the Chance to Attend;
Tickets for the 2018 Season go on Sale December 16 at 10 a.m.
BOSTON, MA – The Red Sox will once again host a family-friendly winter event at Fenway Park for fans to enjoy some holiday cheer and for the guaranteed opportunity to purchase Red Sox tickets for the 2018 season. The 15th annual Christmas at Fenway event will take place Saturday, December 16, at Fenway Park. Registration for the chance to attend is open now through Monday, December 11, at noon on redsox.com.
Christmas at Fenway will include photo opportunities with Wally, Tessie, Santa, and Red Sox alumni. The event starts at 8 a.m. and will conclude at 4 p.m. The festivities will be located in the Gate B area of Fenway Park with Wally and Tessie’s Winter Wonderland, a holiday bouncy house for kids, rides through the concourse on a trackless train, a yard sale, Frosty the Snowman, and photos with Santa in his workshop. Mastercard cardholders will have a special “fast pass” line for photos with Santa.
Fans not attending the December 16 Christmas at Fenway event can still purchase select 2018 single-game tickets for April, May, and September games, as well as the popular “Sox Pax.” Starting at 10 a.m., tickets will be available on redsox.com and by phone at 877-REDSOX9. Fans who require ADA accessible seating may call 877-REDSOX9. Hearing impaired fans may call the Red Sox TTY line at (617) 226-6644. Mastercard is the preferred payment of the Boston Red Sox.
“Sox Pax,” presented by Mastercard, are packs of three or four games with a variety of date and seat options, including Interleague games, summer weekend games, and matchups against the Yankees. A list of the 9 Sox Pax available for the 2018 season is attached.
Single-game tickets will include select April, May, and September home games, including matchups versus the Rays, April 7-8; Yankees, April 10-12; Orioles, April 13-15; Rays, April 27-29; Royals, April 30-May 2; Athletics, May 14-16; Orioles, May 18-20; Braves, May 25-27; Blue Jays, September 11-13; Mets, September 14-16; and the Orioles, September 24-26.
There will be a limit of three Sox Pax (up to four tickets each) per person, and 12 single game tickets per transaction.
The Red Sox will also reveal promotional giveaways taking place in 2018 on the Red Sox’ Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts starting Monday, December 11. Games with giveaways will be available for purchase starting December 16.
The Friends of the Fall River Public Library Bookstore invite you to their Holiday Book Sale, December 4th through 9th, at the Fall River Public Library, 104 North Main Street. The Friends Bookstore will be open on Monday, December 4th, for a special preview day for Friends of the Library members only. (Anyone interested in joining the Friends of the Library can sign up during the sale; annual membership fees are only $10.)
The Holiday Book Sale will continue throughout the first week of December, with special bargains and discounts available on gently used hardcovers, paperbacks, cookbooks, holiday books, gift books, children’s books, audio books, music CDs, and movies. You can also pick up fun stocking stuffer items such as book bags, pens, and flashlights.
It’s a book lover’s dream—and best of all, every penny earned from the sale goes toward the Friends of the Library mission of supporting the Fall River Public Library and helping it serve the community.
For further information contact Liane Verville, Library Administrator, at 508-324-2700, ext. 112, or visit the Library’s website at fallriverlibrary.org.
BAKER-POLITO ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES MASSDEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT OF NEW BEDFORD AND FALL RIVER STATE PIERS
Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced an operations and management agreement transferring management of the Fall River and New Bedford State Piers from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to MassDevelopment. Under the agreement, DCR will retain ownership of the piers and MassDevelopment will oversee daily operations, implement improvements, and develop a five-year capital plan for the piers.
“The Commonwealth’s state piers are economic hubs, supporting local jobs and maritime industries like commercial fishing, shipping, and tourism,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This new management approach for Fall River and New Bedford’s piers maximizes both MassDevelopment’s real estate expertise and DCR’s knowledge of the state’s natural and recreational resources, helping these vital sites reach their full potential.”
“This long-term strategy for the Fall River and New Bedford State Piers places the Commonwealth in a better position to invest in their future,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “These piers are critical assets to the state’s maritime economy, and the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to take this step toward securing a sustainable plan for stewardship of the piers.”
“The New Bedford and Fall River State Piers serve as important economic engines that directly benefit the local communities, the Southeastern region, and the entire Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “With the recent investments made and the finalization of a new management plan, the Baker-Polito Administration continues to ensure these piers remain viable now and well into the future.”
The Baker-Polito Administration announced it had selected MassDevelopment to manage the Fall River and New Bedford State Piers in April 2017 after extensive study and local outreach, including an August 2016 report from the Commonwealth’s Seaport Economic Council that evaluated the operations of all four state piers. That report, by Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services and Urban Focus LLC, recommended that the Commonwealth strengthen governance at the piers, overhaul lease management, and improve asset management strategies.
The Baker-Polito Administration has been addressing critical early action items that surfaced during the comprehensive state piers review process. Earlier this month, New Bedford hosted a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the completion of a $3.5 million refrigeration installation, a project financed by the administration. In July 2016, the administration announced $1.1 million in capital funding to address critical deferred maintenance needs at Gloucester’s Jodrey State Pier.
MassDevelopment currently manages Jodrey State Pier in Gloucester, on behalf of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. DCR will retain ownership of all four state piers, and will continue to manage the state pier in Plymouth, which has predominantly recreational use.
“Since its inception, MassDevelopment has helped transform state properties into economic engines in communities across the Commonwealth, and we look forward to continuing that work at the Fall River and New Bedford State Piers,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss. “We remain grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and our partners in the South Coast region for their vision and guidance on this important undertaking.”
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2017, MassDevelopment financed or managed 377 projects generating investment of more than $4.3 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 9,488 jobs and build or rehabilitate 1,863 residential units.
Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) today called for an investigation into the Department of Treasury's alleged economic analysis of the Republican tax plan.
Senator Warren cited economic experts who contradict Secretary Steven Mnuchin's claims that the tax plan will "not only ... pay for itself, but it will pay down debt."
She also expressed concern that on the eve of the Senate's vote to support the plan, the Treasury Department has yet to produce any support for Secretary Mnuchin's statements, despite his previous promise that the Department would release an analysis of the tax plan. According to recent reports, Secretary Mnuchin has claimed that over 100 people are "working around the clock on running scenarios for us" to show that the corporate tax cuts will pay for themselves.
"Either the Treasury Department has used extensive taxpayer funds to conduct economic analyses that it refuses to release because those analyses would contradict the Treasury Secretary's claims, or Secretary Mnuchin has grossly misled the public about the extent of the Treasury Department's analysis. I am deeply concerned about either possibility," wrote Senator Warren to the Treasury Department's Inspector General.
Senator Warren requested that the Inspector General conduct a review of the Treasury Department's use of taxpayer dollars to conduct economic analysis of the tax plan, including whether there was any political interference in the Department's analyses, and why they were not publicly released.
Fall River Fire Chief John Lynch and the President of the IAFF Local representing Fall River Firefighters, Jason Burns, have confirmed to WSAR that the Stanley Street Fire Station will be closed beginning Friday, likely reopening Monday, to deal with mold remediation in the basement of the building.
The Union Local and the Chief met in the last several days to develop a strategy as to where equipment would be placed while the work to remove mold in the basement of the building was ongoing.
Burns tells WSAR that its hoped that funds will be included in the FY 2019 Municipal Budget to repair various fire station locations.
BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration has declared Friday, November 24, 2017 as “Green Friday” to encourage people across the Commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.
To celebrate “Green Friday,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux will participate in a Christmas tree cutting ceremony at Riverwind Tree Farm in Lancaster, which grows both native and exotic fir tree varieties.
“After Massachusetts residents enjoy their Thanksgiving and begin preparing for the winter holiday season, we encourage everyone to support the hundreds of family-operated Christmas tree farms and nurseries that contribute to our economy every year,” said Governor Charlie Baker.
Thirty five craftsmen from Fall River will be among the two hundred crafters who will participate in the Forty First Annual Christmas Crafts Fair at Durfee High School in Fall River on December 2 and 3.
Sponsored by the Fall River Scholarship Foundation the Fair is open to the public from 10 am until 4 pm on both Saturday and Sunday. There is free admission and parking adjacent to the field house which is handicap accessible.
James Rogers, founder and chairman, noted that the Fair has become a traditional holiday event which continues to maintain its original purpose of providing a showcase setting where area craftsmen may display and sell their work.
The Christmas Craft Fair has grown into the largest event of its kind in southern New England. The two day event attracts more than 10,000 people from throughout the area.
There will be over 200 craftsmen from throughout New England showing their work. More than twenty categories of crafts including ceramics, pottery, painting, photography and floral design will be featured. All items on display are handmade.
Proceeds from the Fair will go to the Fall River Scholarship Foundation, a non-profit organization that awards scholarships to deserving Fall River students in their pursuit of a higher education.
On Friday November 17th 2017 at approximately 10:30 am Fall River Police Department Officer John Aquiar spoke with a 24 year old female who stated she had been robbed on Pleasant Street. The female victim stated she was walking on Pleasant Street toward the SRTA Terminal on Fourth Street. As she was about to cross Harrison Street she felt someone grab her left elbow and a sharp object protruding in her lower back. She heard a male voice with a Hispanic accent tell her to give him all the money or she’ll be stabbed. The victim turned slightly toward the male and observed
·Male approximately 40 years old
·5’8” to 5’10” in height
·Medium build- skinny but not fat
·Salt and pepper hair
·Wearing a checkered shirt
The victim stated she opened her purse; the male reached in, took her cash and swatted her purse to the ground before he took off running on Quequechan Street.
Anyone with information regarding this investigation can contact Fall River Police Officer John Aquiar at 508-324-2802 or call anonymously on the TIPS line at 508-672-8477
Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are unchanged this week, according to AAA Northeast.
AAA’s November 20 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.53 per gallon.
The Massachusetts price is one cent below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.54. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 45 cents lower at $2.08.
"As gas prices stabilize, this spells good news for Thanksgiving travelers. This year as in years past the majority of travelers will take to the roads—with nearly 9 of every 10 going by car," said John Paul Senior Manager of Public Affairs for AAA Northeast.
The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 42 cents, from a low of $2.37 to a high of $2.79. AAA advises motorists to shop around for the best prices in their area, and to make sure they and their passengers buckle up — every time.
Today’s local gas prices and their ranges are as follows:
Nearly 51 Million Americans to Travel This Thanksgiving,
Highest Volume in a Dozen Years
Travel times could be more than three times longer over the holiday week
AAA projects 50.9 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving, a 3.3 percent increase over last year. The 2017 holiday weekend will see the highest Thanksgiving travel volume since 2005 with 1.6 million more people taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways compared with last year.
“Thanksgiving kicks off the start of a busy holiday season, and more thankful Americans will travel to spend time with friends and family this year,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs. “A strong economy and labor market are generating rising incomes and higher consumer confidence, fueling a strong year for the travel industry, which will continue into the holiday season.”
The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday to Sunday, November 22-26.
By the Numbers: 2017 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast
Road trip ready: 89 percent of all travelers – 45.5 million – are planning a Thanksgiving road trip, an increase of 3.2 percent over last year.
Cheaper airfare: Consumers will pay the cheapest average airfare since 2013.
Fuller skies: The largest growth in holiday travel is by air travel, at five percent, with 3.95 million travelers.
Alternate travel: Travel by trains and other modes (including buses and cruises) is expected to increase 1.1 percent to 1.48 million travelers.
Locally busy: More than 1.1 million Massachusetts residents are among those traveling, over 975,000 of them by car.
Travelers Beware and Advised: Traffic Hotspots and Best and Worst Times to Hit the Road
Based on historical and recent travel trends for the holiday week, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the greatest amount of congestion during the early evening – as early as Tuesday of Thanksgiving week - as commuters mix with holiday travelers.
“Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest holidays for road trips, and this year we could see record-level travel delays,” says Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”
Worst Time to Travel
5:00 - 6:00 PM
San Francisco, CA
4:00 - 5:45 PM
Los Angeles, CA
3:15 - 6:00 PM
5:15 - 7:15 PM
New York, NY
5:30 - 6:30 PM
4:45 - 6:00 PM
3:45 - 5:30 PM
3:00 - 5:15 PM
5:45 - 7:00 PM
3:00 - 5:30 PM
The worst traffic hotspot during Thanksgiving week in each of the 10 most congested cities in the U.S. are:
Top Traffic Hotspot in America’s Most Congested Cities
Los Angeles, CA
I-5 S at Valley View Ave
New York, NY
I-495 E at NY-106/NY-107
San Francisco, CA
I-80 E at Pinole Valley Rd
I-75 N at Chastain Rd
I-95 N at Congress Ave
I-95 S at US-17/US-1
US-75 S at I-45/I-3
I-90 W at I-84/US-20
I-90 W at I-190
I-405 S at WA-167
Across the country, travelers that take to the sky must account for long security lines, but also increased drive times to the airport. AAA and INRIX expect delays getting to the nation’s busiest airports could be as long as an hour.
From October 2016 to October 2017, BLS estimates Massachusetts has added 69,000 jobs.
The October unemployment rate was four-tenths of a percentage point lower than the national rate of 4.1 percent reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The low unemployment rate and job gains are indicators of the ongoing strength of the economy in Massachusetts. But not all communities and regions are feeling the benefits of this economy equally. Our workforce development programs continue to prioritize closing skills gaps and connecting all citizens of the Commonwealth to prosperous career pathways,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said.
The labor force decreased by 13,400 from 3,669,500 in September, as 5,600 fewer residents were employed and 7,700 fewer residents were unemployed over the month.
Over the year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased five-tenths of a percentage point from 3.2 percent in October 2016. There were 19,600 more unemployed residents over the year compared to October 2016.
The state’s labor force participation rate – the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks – decreased three-tenths of a percentage point to 65.5 percent over the month. The labor force participation rate over the year has increased by 0.8 percentage point compared to October 2016.
The largest private sector percentage job gains over the year were in Other Services; Construction; Professional, Scientific and Business Services; Financial Activities; and Education and Health Services.
October 2017 Employment Overview
Leisure and Hospitality added 5,400 jobs (+1.5%) over the month. Over the year, Leisure and Hospitality gained 5,700 (+1.6%) jobs.
Professional, Scientific and Business Services gained 4,800 (+0.8%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Professional, Scientific and Business Services added 20,500 (+3.7%) jobs.
Other Services added 1,500 (+1.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Other Services are up 6,900 (+5.0%) jobs.
Financial Activities gained 600 (+0.3%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Financial Activities added 5,500 (+2.5%) jobs.
Manufacturing added 500 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Manufacturing added 1,000 (+0.4%) jobs.
Construction gained 200 (+0.1%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Construction has added 6,900 (+4.7%) jobs.
Information added 200 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Information lost 200 (-0.2%) jobs.
Education and Health Services lost 7,900 (-1.0%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 16,800 (+2.1%) jobs.
Trade, Transportation and Utilities lost 1,200 (-0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Trade, Transportation and Utilities gained 5,400 (+0.9%) jobs.
Government added 700 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Over the year, Government gained 400 (+0.1%) jobs.
Labor Force Overview
The October estimates show 3,521,300 Massachusetts residents were employed and 134,800 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,656,100. The unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent over the month. The October labor force decreased by 13,400 from 3,669,500 in September, as 5,600 fewer residents were employed and 7,700 fewer residents were unemployed over the month. The labor force participation rate, the share of working age population employed and unemployed, was 65.5 percent. The labor force was up 70,700 from the 3,585,400 October 2016 estimate, with 51,200 more residents employed and 19,600 more residents unemployed.
The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households. The job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two statistics may exhibit different monthly trends.
The labor force is the sum of the numbers of employed residents and those unemployed, that is residents not working but actively seeking work in the last four weeks. Estimates may not add up to the total labor force due to rounding.
Local area unemployment statistics for October 2017 will be released on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. The preliminary November 2017 and revised October 2017 unemployment rate, labor force and job estimates for Massachusetts will be released on Thursday, December 21, 2017. See the 2017 Revised Media Advisory annual schedule for a complete list of release dates.
Fall River Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy has ruled that Fall River Firefighter Josuha Hetzler can serve at least one term on the Fall River School Committee, after questions were raised following the passage of package of revisions to the Fall River City Charter by voters last week.
Unless a successful court challenge is mounted before January 2, 2018, Hetlzer can serve at least one term in office as one of 6 School Committee Members after being elected earlier this month.
Macy has also ruled that the provisions of Section 4-3 of the current Fall River Charter will then go into effect during the 2019 municipal election cycle that forbid Fall River City Employees from running for public office.
An interview with Macy on the issues involved and how he arrived at the ruling is available in the Audio on Demand portion on the Thursday Edition of ''The WSAR Newsroom''.
Statement from Senator Elizabeth Warren on Banking Committee Deal to Deregulate Big Banks
Washington, DC - United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) issued the following statement today, in response to the announcement of an agreement among members of the Senate Banking Committee, including Democrats, to loosen regulations on the financial industry:
"Instead of providing any real help to consumers hurt by the Equifax breach or the Wells Fargo fake accounts scam, this bill weakens consumer protections, helps out the country's biggest banks and encourages them to swallow up even more community banks. This bill shows once again how Washington values short-term profits for big banks ahead of the interests of consumers or the safety of the financial system
Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police and Director of the Department of Public Safety, today announced that the agency is in the process of completing its investigation into two events that occurred last Thursday, November 9, 2017: the theft of a State Police cruiser as well as an officer-involved shooting. As a result, Colonel Assumpico is releasing the name of the Trooper whose cruiser was stolen, as well as those of the four Troopers involved in the shooting.
The Trooper whose cruiser was stolen is identified as:
Trooper Michael J. Doherty
Assigned to the Uniform Bureau
The four troopers who fired their weapons in the officer-involved shooting are identified as:
Detective Lieutenant Cynthia Trahan
Assigned to the Detective Bureau
Corporal Scott R. Carlsten
Assigned to the Uniform Bureau
Detective Corporal Herbert D. Tilson
Assigned to the Detective Bureau
Trooper Garrett S. Hassett
Assigned to the Uniform Bureau
The investigation showed that the four Troopers fired a total of 23 shots during the incident. The four Troopers remain on administrative leave.
Colonel Assumpico stressed that the investigation into both incidents is continuing. When completed, the Rhode Island State Police will turn over the results of the investigation to the Office of the Attorney General as part of the ongoing investigation.
The Colonel also noted that, as part of the investigation, the Rhode Island State Police is reviewing its internal policies and protocols with regards to both incidents. She noted that the agency recently underwent an intensive review of all policies and procedures by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement (CALEA) as part of a "gold-standard assessment," in which the agency received the highest level of accreditation. However, she said, the agency routinely reviews its policies and protocols after any incident such as those that occurred last week.
In addition, Colonel Assumpico has taken the immediate step of ordering that partitions be installed between the front and back seats of all marked Rhode Island State Police cruisers as soon as possible to provide further protection for all Troopers and the general public.
Veteran’s Memorial Bridge Westbound Detour Scheduled for Saturday, November 18
FALL RIVER – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced today that the Route 6 westbound roadway on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge (over the Taunton River) between Fall River and Somerset will be temporarily closed to vehicular traffic on Saturday, November 18, 2017.
The closure will begin at 5:00 AM and last until approximately 11:00 AM. The closure is necessary to replace the damaged traffic barrier gate.
A detour, with full signage, will be in place to aid vehicles in traveling from Fall River into Somerset via I-195 and the Braga Bridge. Traffic traveling on Route 6 eastbound will not be affected.
The temporary detour will be in place for all motor vehicle traffic as follows:
Traveling North on North Davol Street:
Travel north on North Davol Street to Route 79/138 South (Tiverton RI)
Continue south on Route 79/138 South (Tiverton RI)
Follow Route 6 Detour signage to I-195 Westbound, traveling over the Braga Bridge
Take Exit 4B – Route 103 East/ Somerset
Take a right at the end of the ramp onto Wilbur Avenue
Follow Wilbur Avenue (Route 103) to Brayton Avenue
Follow Brayton Avenue to Route 6
Traveling North on Route 79:
Travel north on Route 79 North
Bear right to Route 6 East/North Davol Street
Travel north on North Davol Street to Route 79/138 South (Tiverton RI)
Continue south on Route 79/138 South (Tiverton RI)
Follow Route 6 detour signage to I-195 Westbound, traveling over the Braga Bridge
Take Exit 4B – Route 103 East/ Somerset
Take a right at the end of the ramp onto Wilbur Avenue
Follow Wilbur Avenue (Route 103) to Brayton Avenue
Follow Brayton Avenue to Route 6
Traveling South on South Davol Street:
Travel south on South Davol Street
Follow Route 6 detour signage to I-195 Westbound, traveling over the Braga Bridge
Take Exit 4B – Route 103 East/ Somerset
Take a right at the end of the ramp onto Wilbur Avenue
Follow Wilbur Avenue (Route 103) to Brayton Avenue
Follow Brayton Avenue to Route 6
Traveling South on Route 79 South:
Travel south on Route 79
Follow Route 6 Detour signage to I-195 Westbound, traveling over the Braga Bridge
Take Exit 4B – Route 103 East/ Somerset
Take a right at the end of the ramp onto Wilbur Avenue
Follow Wilbur Avenue (Route 103) to Brayton Avenue
Follow Brayton Avenue to Route 6
MassDOT advises motorists to seek alternate routes between Fall River and Somerset during these times.
The schedule for this work is weather and emergency dependent and subject to change without notice.
Last night at approximately 11:37 PM, the Fall River Police Department received a 911 call reporting possible gun shots in the area of Airport Road and Riggenbach Road in Fall River.
Police responded to this location, and upon approach, observed a number of vehicles leaving the area.
The first responding officer attempted to stop a vehicle from leaving the scene. During this encounter, the police officer fired shots into the vehicle, striking the operator.
The operator (later identified as Larry Ruiz-Barreto, 19, of New Bedford) was transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
The matter is currently under investigation by Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.
Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation into all facts and circumstances surrounding the shooting, we will be unable to comment further on this case until the investigation has been completed. At that time, our office will publicly release a full report on the matter.