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WSAR NEWS

The House Budget FY 2018 MA


Fall River State Representatives Carole Fiola, Paul Schmid and Alan Silvia joined their colleagues from the Massachusetts House of Representatives this week in passing a $40.4 billion FY18 budget which represents a commitment to fiscal responsibility. The spending bill protects vulnerable residents through investments in early education and care (EEC), local aid, substance addiction initiatives, homelessness programs, and funding to help individuals with developmental disabilities.

 

The FY18 budget makes unprecedented investments to improve Massachusetts’ early education and care system, with a focus on supporting the EEC workforce and providing access to high-quality learning opportunities to ensure children are better prepared for academic success. Fall River was apportioned $112,435,190 for Chapter 70 education funding along with $1,859,851.86 for Chapter 90 transportation funding for capital improvement projects for highway construction, preservation and improvement projects that create or extend the life of capital facilities.

 

“I am proud to have voted with my colleagues for an increase in Chapter 70 funds, this being one of the largest increases in the past several years and once again will provide significant funding for schools and students,” said State Representative Carole Fiola. “As the lead sponsor to increase funding for Family Planning for the Commonwealth, $5,751,509 will be allotted for comprehensive family planning services, including HIV counseling and testing, community-based health education and outreach services provided by agencies certified as comprehensive family planning agencies.

 

The local amendments I sponsored will allocate $50,000 to be used for a public safety opioid overdose follow-up program in the city of Fall River, $50,000 to be expended for the restoration of the Fall River Veterans Center, and $50,000 for AHA! Art, History & Architecture in the city of Fall River to establish and enhance outreach and educational programs to benefit financially disadvantaged children in the greater Fall River area. To have the support of the House leadership on these projects is significant and I want to thank them and all my colleagues.”

 

“Crafting a balanced budget certainly has its challenges and I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to create a budget plan that prioritizes our communities with increases in local aid and education funding,” said Representative Paul Schmid. “Our budget reflects that investing in our public safety and environment remain to a priority in the eyes of the Legislature.  I was proud to sponsor an amendment that will allocate $37M to help care for our state parks and recreation, including our favorite properties right here in Fall River and Westport.   I thank my colleagues in the Fall River and South Coast delegation for their coordination and commitment to working together to put Fall River first and ensure the City’s priorities are well represented.”

 

Representative Alan Silvia filed Amendment #309 to H3600 Veterans Educational Service Center and Bristol Community College requested $100,000 to be made available for the operation of the Veteran Educational Service Center located at BCC.We were able to secure, increased local aid and Chapter 70 monies, “said State Representative Alan Silvia.” Also as part of these amendments $100,000 was secured for the BCC. The Veterans Educational Center will assist veterans in navigating the process of beginning school, while providing enormous educational and campus benefits.  This will be a place where veterans can speak to other veterans. I would like to thank the Fall River delegation and those who cosponsored and supported this important amendment. Because of our collective hard work, veterans will be able to come home to a community that supports them in their return from service and advances their educational goals.

 

The budget will now go to the Senate for its consideration.

 

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Calls to Resign


In a text to WSAR, Fall River City Council President Shawn Cadime has become the first of the nine council members to call for the resignation of first term Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II.

Correia is under fire after FROED's Executive Board alleged that Correia was under investigation by HUD and the FBI for dealings in the creation of the SnoOwl Smart Phone application in a firm that Correia was the CEO of before he ran for Mayor, and for dealing with a pair of Rhode Island PR Firms in the creation of a branding campaign that was introduced in the first quarter of 2017.

 

Correia says the allegations that he is being investigated are unfounded; Correia has indicated that he thinks that FROED Executive Director Ken Fiola is under investigation. 

There has been no confirmation from anyone that any investigations are ongoing. 

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Hints and Allegations


In a five page statement issued Thursday morning during a FROED Board Meeting, FROED Chairman Frank Marciano alleged that Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II and his Administration were under investigation by HUD and the FBI over issues involving SnoOwl, a Smart Phone app that was created by a company that Correia was involved in before he became Mayor and for the use of funds in the creation of a city branding campaign earlier this winter. 

Correia then answered the allegations on the Thursday Edition of the ''WSAR Newsroom'', calling FROED Executive Director Ken Fiola ''a bully'' and ''an intimidator'', saying he was a ''crybaby'' because portions of FROED's funding were being reallocated as part of a plan to create an Economic Development and Tourism Office.

 

A compromise plan, in a letter dated April 6, 2017, was distributed at the FROED Session, and outlines how some $300,000 will be distributed. 

 

That plan will be discussed by the City's Redevelopment Authority on May 2nd. 

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MassDOT Route 24 South Closure This Week


Media Advisory: Thursday, April 27

Overnight road work, Route 24, Fall River

MassDOT will close the Route 24 South to I-195 East ramp at 8 p.m. on April 27

 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division District 5 has announced the temporary closing of the Route 24 South to I-195 East ramp in Fall River beginning at 8 p.m., on Thursday, April 27, 2017, for overnight work involving bridge deck repairs.  The ramp is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 4:30 a.m., Friday, April 28. 

A temporary detour will be in place for all motor vehicle traffic as follows:

Route 24 South to I-195 East detour:

  • Take Route 24 South to I-195 West
  • On I-195 West, take Exit 8A to Route 24 South/Tiverton R.I./ Newport R.I.
  • On Route 24 South, take Exit 2 to Brayton Ave/Eastern Ave
  • At the bottom of the ramp, turn right and head east on Brayton Ave
  • Take the next right onto the Route 24 North on-ramp
  • On Route 24 North, bear right to I-195 East/New Bedford/Boston

Drivers who are traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution.

All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted should any sort of emergency situation occur.  MassDOT appreciates the patience of the traveling public as this necessary work is undertaken.

 

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Fall River Opiod Event


On Thursday, April 27, from 4:30 to 6:30 pm, the City of Fall River and Recover Fall River will co-sponsor a special event in the lobby of Government Center. Local and regional groups will come together to provide immediate assistance to anyone who struggles with opioid abuse or addiction or their family members.

 

The goal of the event is to provide opportunities to access treatment and to work toward recovery.

 

Participants include Adcare, Gone Too Soon, Southbay Mental Health, SSTAR, Seven Hills Behavioral Health, Fall River EMS, HealthFirst, New England Addiction Treatment Center, Peer 2 Peer Recovery Center, Veterans Services, High Point Treatment Center, Learn 2 Cope, Community Counseling of Bristol County, Solid Ground Psychotherapy and Hearts of Hope, among others.

 

Providers will be able to assist individuals and family members who are at any point along the treatment continuum, from acute detox to overdose prevention to recovery coaching to certified sober living. Specialized services, as for veterans, the elderly or adolescents, will also be available.

 

The providers at the event will be able to immediately engage those seeking assistance and can initiate services quickly, as needed.

 

 

The event is coordinated by Recover Fall River, an independent community coalition. For more information, please contact Laurie at 508-415-8841 or email to recoverfallriver@gmail.com

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Red Sox Orioles Aftermath


BOSTON -- Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes has received a four-game suspension for throwing a pitch in the head area of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, but the right-hander has elected to appeal and will be eligible for Tuesday's opener of a three-game series against the Yankees.

The discipline, which also included an undisclosed fine, was announced on Monday -- an off-day for the Red Sox.

It has been speculated that Barnes threw the pitch high and tight to Machado as retaliation for the third baseman making a hard slide into Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia on Friday night.

However, Pedroia told reporters multiple times over the weekend that he didn't feel Machado was trying to injure him. Pedroia suffered left knee and ankle soreness from the play and missed the final two games of a weekend series in Baltimore, and he remains day to day.

Immediately after Barnes threw the high, inside offering to Machado, Pedroia was captured clearly by television cameras telling the O's star that he played no part in the perceived "purpose pitch."

The Red Sox and Orioles will start a four-game series at Fenway Park on May 1.

Barnes has emerged into a key setup man for Boston, so his loss would hurt the Red Sox.

 

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Senator Warren on Hearing Aids


Support for Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Grows Among Consumer Advocates and Hearing Health Professionals

Washington, D.C. - In a signal of growing support for the bipartisan Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017, Consumers Union, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, and the Academy of Doctors of Audiology have released letters endorsing the legislation. These three groups joined a number of other leading organizations representing seniors, consumers and hearing health professionals in expressing support for the bill's potential to lower the costs of hearing aids and increase the number of choices available to patients.

Consumers Union commended the bill by saying it would "preserve and reinforce important consumer safety protections," citing how it maintains state laws holding manufacturers responsible for harm caused by unsafe and defective products, while also expanding the options available to consumers by allowing consumers "to make their own choices" and "to shop around for medical services and hearing aids that best suit their needs and their budget."

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare noted that while hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults, "70 percent of Americans between age 65 and 84 with hearing loss are not using hearing aids because Medicare does not cover them, and paying for the devices out-of-pocket is expensive." The organization added that, the cost of traditional hearing aids "is high because a small group of companies control the hearing aid market" and noted that "better access to more affordable over-the-counter devices could be helpful to individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss."

The Academy of Doctors of Audiology referred to how the bill directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue regulations containing safety and labeling requirements for this new category of over-the-counter hearing aids and to update FDA draft guidance on Personal Sound Amplification Products," which would "expand access to quality hearing health products and services." The organization also stated that "the creation of a regulated OTC class will not increase existing risks to the public" but would "expand access to quality hearing health products and services, reduce duplicative costs, and remove unnecessary, non-beneficial barriers to care."

The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter to Americans with mild to moderate hearing impairment, and would require the FDA to write regulations ensuring that this new category of over-the-counter hearing aids meets the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protections as other medical devices, providing consumers the option of an FDA-regulated device at lower cost. The three organizations join AARP, the Gerontological Society of America, the Hearing Loss Association of America, and the Consumer Technology Association in endorsing this legislation.

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) recently reintroduced The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 in the Senate. A companion bill led by Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was also introduced in the House.

The bill text is available here. A fact sheet about the bill is available here.

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The SouthCoast Rail Comment Period


The deadline for comments on the South Coast Rail (SCR) Notice of Project Change (NPC) has been extended to May 19, 2017. Read below about how to comment on the NPC.

 

MassDOT filed the NPC on March 15, 2017, to adopt a phased approach to provide early service, years before revenue service is currently considered to be possible.

 

Phase 1 will provide service from New Bedford, Fall River and Taunton to Boston by building the Southern Triangle, and using the Middleborough Secondary line and the existing Middleborough/Lakeville Commuter Rail line.

 

For Phase 2, MassDOT will continue to advance the full Stoughton Electric Alternative design.

A public meeting was held in Dartmouth on Thursday, April 13, 2017.

 

A copy of the public meeting presentation is now available. Please read more about the project, and download the NPC document and Fact Sheet (in English, Spanish and Portuguese) on the project website: www.mass.gov/southcoastrail

 

How to Review and Comment on the NPC:

Download the NPC from the Documents page of the project website. You can also review a copy at many South Coast libraries (please see the website for a complete list). To request a hard copy of the document, please contact Jean Fox by email (jean.fox@state.ma.us).

 

To comment on the NPC, please send a letter, postcard or email to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office by May 19, 2017, the last day comments are accepted:

 

Secretary Matthew A. Beaton, EOEEA
Attn.: MEPA Office (Purvi Patel)
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
fax: 617-626-1181
email: purvi.patel@state.ma.us


or via hand delivery

MassDOT would like to receive a copy of your letter, which you can email or mail to:

Jean Fox (jean.fox@state.ma.us)
MassDOT
Ten Park Plaza, Room 4150
Boston, MA 02116

Please contact the project team with any questions at SouthCoastRail@dot.state.ma.us.

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MassDOT Taunton Closings


 

For Immediate Release                                                                    

April 21, 2017

Contact

MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500

 

Media Advisory: Taunton

MassDOT will close a section of Route 140 (County Street) for three nights beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday, May 5

 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division District 5 will temporarily close a section of Route 140 (County Street) in Taunton for three nights beginning at 9:00 p.m., on Friday, May 5, 2017. 

Route 140 (County Street), between the Route 24 interchange and Mozzone Boulevard, will be closed from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. each night on May 5, May 6 and May 7, to allow for the reconstruction of the railroad tracks. 

The section of Route 140 (County Street) impacted by construction activities is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 5:00 a.m., on May 6, May 7 and May 8. 

A temporary detour will be in place each night for all motor vehicle traffic as follows:

For traffic traveling northbound on Route 140:

·         Take Exit 11 to Stevens Street

·         Turn right and head north on Stevens Street

·         Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue/ Hart Street

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling southbound on Route 140:

·         Turn left and head east on Hart Street / Middleboro Avenue

·         Turn right and head south on Stevens Street

·         At the first set of traffic signals take a left onto Route 140 northbound

·         Or continue to the second set of traffic signals and take a left onto Route 140 southbound.

For traffic traveling northbound on Route 24:

·         Take Exit 12A onto Route 140 southbound

·         Take Exit 11A and head north on Stevens Street

·         Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling southbound on Route 24:

·         Take Exit 12 to Route 140 (County Street)

·         Turn right onto Route 140 southbound

·         Take Exit 11A and head north on Stevens Street

·         Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling northbound County Street:

·         Continue north to Stevens Street

·         Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling from the Silver City Galleria Mall:

·         Turn left and head north on Stevens Street

·         Turn left and head west on Middleboro Avenue / Hart Street

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

Drivers who are traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution.

All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted should any sort of emergency situation occur.

 

###

 

 

 

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Tom Gets A Bonus Check


It’s been a good offseason for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is coming off the fifth Super Bowl championship of his illustrious career and had a pair of stolen Super Bowl jerseys recovered after a month-plus search. The Patriots also acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with the Saints, adding a dynamic 23-year-old playmaker to an offense that finished third in points per game last season.

Friday, the 39-year-old quarterback is due a $14 million deferred signing bonus stemming from a contract extension he signed with the team last offseason.

As part of that deal, Brady received a signing bonus of $28 million in total, paid out in two installments, one at the time of signing plus the $14 million due today.

It’s not uncommon for teams to pay out large signing or roster bonuses in multiple payments, as it’s a method of cash-flow management. Deferred payments have no impact on a team’s salary cap. Brady’s deferred payment of $14 million mirrors that due to Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who signed an extension last June that included a $32 million signing bonus, paid out in two installments.

The good times continue to roll for Brady.

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The Westport Indictments


WESTPORT FARM OWNER, 26 TENANTS INDICTED IN NEW ENGLAND’S LARGEST ANIMAL CRUELTY CASE

Authorities Found More Than 1,400 Animals in Varying Levels of Distress; Defendants Indicted on 151 Counts

 

BOSTON — The owner of a Westport Farm and 26 tenants that rent out space on the property have been indicted on multiple charges of animal cruelty, making it the largest investigation of its kind in New England, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

 

The 151-count animal cruelty indictment returned by a Statewide Grand Jury on Thursday is the result of an investigation by Westport Police, Massachusetts Environmental Police assigned to the AG’s Office, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Rescue League of Boston. The investigation began in July 2016 when Westport Police were called about allegations of animal cruelty at a 70-acre farm in Westport owned by Richard Medeiros and rented out to multiple tenants.

 

“Hundreds of animals on this farm were kept in deplorable and dangerous conditions, with inadequate food, water, or shelter, many of them suffering from severe health ailments that required them to be euthanized,” said AG Healey. “As a result of our investigation, the owner of this farm and its tenants will be held responsible for the inhumane treatment of these animals.”

 

“The ASPCA is pleased to see these indictments handed down after providing months of care to get these animals on the road to recovery,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “The conditions in Westport were among the worst we have ever encountered and we commend Attorney General Healey for pursuing justice for these animals and hope the community will continue to make the welfare of animals a priority.”

 

“This situation is unparalleled to anything I’ve seen in my 37 years as an animal law enforcement officer. The sheer number of animals in dire need of care, and the cruel and unsanitary conditions we found were deplorable. It took an all-out effort of state and local officials along with multiple humane organizations to get all of those animals out of that horrible situation,” said Lt. Alan Borgal, Animal Rescue League of Boston.

 

“The alleged treatment and living conditions of these animals is unacceptable and inhumane, and the Department of Agricultural Resources greatly appreciates the unified team effort made by all the investigating agencies and organizations to ensure justice in this matter,” said Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner John Lebeaux. “Through inspections, licensing, awareness and education, the Department of Agricultural Resources remains committed to protecting the health and safety of domestic animals across the Commonwealth.”

 

            In July 2016, Westport Police received a 911call directing them to Medeiros’ property at 465 American Legion Highway. Police discovered that two starved Rottweilers from one of the lots had escaped and broken into another lot where they had attacked and consumed a number of goats.

 

            Authorities allege that approximately 1,400 animals were found in overcrowded, overheated and dangerous living conditions at the farm. In some cases, they were living in such deep manure waste that their hooves had rotted off and they were suffering from painful eye, intestinal and skin ailments. Among those animals were a variety of species found on separate lots, including dogs, cats, cows, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and rabbits. It is alleged that animals did not have proper water sources or adequate food, were improperly sheltered, and housed among dangerous debris and other dead animals. Authorities also allege that many animals were suffering from a number of contagious diseases. 

 

The following individuals were indicted Thursday by a Statewide Grand Jury on the animal cruelty charges:

 

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Richard Medeiros, 83, of Westport (21 counts)

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Eduardo Caetano, 51 of Fall River (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Messias P. Farias, 74 of Fall River (1 count),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Luis Machado, 56 of New Bedford (8 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Eddy DeAguiar, 37 of Fall River (10 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Joao Aguiar, 73 of Fall River (10 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Octavio Botelho, 51 of Fall River (6 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Luis Pacheco, 57 of Fall River (3 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Emmanuel DeSousa, 47 of Fall River (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Diana Magalhaes, 46 of Fall River, (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Bruno Magalhaes, 32 of Fall River (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Jose Botelho, 64 of Fall River (11 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Joseph Rego, 40 of Fall River (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Jeffrey Brilhante, 36 of Fall River (9 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Jose Aguiar, 66 of Fall River (9 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Antonio Dias, 64 of Fall River (5 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Eduardo Vultao, 51 of Dighton (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->John Melo, 45 of Fall River (5 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Arthur Arruda, 53 of New Bedford (5 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Rhonda Gadomski, 50 of Fall River (3 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Kenneth Bellevance Jr., 44 of Westport (3 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Scottie Medeiros, 31 of Fall River (1 count),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Timothy Cabral, 32 of Fall River (4 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Jose Reis, 58 of Fall River (3 counts),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Antonio Medeiros, 42 of Tiverton (1 count),

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Donald Rapoza, 61 of New Bedford (8 counts), and

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Emanuel Gaspar, 55 of Fall River (1 count).

 

The defendants are expected to be arraigned in Bristol Superior Court at a future date.

 

These charges are allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Tasnin Chowdhury, Chief of AG Healey’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, Assistant Attorney General Patrick Hanley, Assistant Attorney General Kristyn Dusel, and Assistant Attorney General Jessica Frattaroli, with assistance from Victim Witness Advocate Amber Anderson, Financial Investigator Kathrine Metoyer, and Administrative Assistant Andrea Leone.

 

This case was investigated by Detective Jeff Majewski and the Westport Police Department, with assistance from Detectives from the Massachusetts Environmental Police, the AG’s Digital Evidence Lab, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

 

#######

 

 

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The New Fenway Stuff


Red Sox announce 2017 Fenway Park improvements

 

Mayor Martin J. Walsh will today preview the offseason improvements to Fenway Park during an annual pre-Opening Day tour of the ballpark led by Red Sox President Sam Kennedy, Red Sox Executive Vice President Jonathan Gilula, and with Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry and Red Sox Foundation Board Member Linda Henry. The visit will highlight the expansion of both the Home and Visitor's dugouts, the addition of new seats between and outside the dugouts, a new bar and terraced seating area in Right Field, new day-of-game suites, an expanded virtual reality station that includes a batting cage experience, and a number of new concession offerings managed by Aramark, Fenway Park's concessionaire.
 
Gilbane Inc., with offices in Boston, was the general contractor for the 2017 improvements. DAIQ Architects, based in Somerville, provided the architectural work. To date, over $300 million has been invested in the improvement of Fenway Park since 2002.
 
Dugout Expansion
The depth of both the Home and Visitor's dugouts has been increased by moving the front rail of the dugouts forward 3 feet, providing for better circulation, improved sight lines from bench seating areas, and additional space for storage of bats and helmets. The field wall between the dugouts has been moved forward the same 3 feet to align with the dugout expansion, allowing for the addition of a new row of seats in the area from home plate to each dugout, and additional rows of seating behind the camera pits on the first and third base side, which also moved forward. A total of 124 new seats have been added as part of this project. The new, relocated field wall houses new TV's and a built-in antennae systems for cellular service and the ballpark's Wi-Fi network.
 
As part of the dugout expansion project, the Red Sox batting cage area behind the Red Sox dugout has been refreshed and equipped with enhanced lighting, televisions, a training area, and an improved netting system.  
 
"Tully Tavern"
Several rows in the back of the Right Field Grandstand were removed this offseason to accommodate the construction of a new bar area - the "Tully Tavern" in partnership with Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey. Terraces with swivel stools and tables and standing room spaces feature charging stations and 64 inch televisions. The full-service bar also offers Fenway Franks and other concession items to an area that was previously far removed from convenient food and beverage options. Seats in the new gathering space range from $35 dollars for Tier 5 games, to $75 for Tier 1 games.
 
New Day-of-Game Suites 
Four new day-of-game suites have been constructed on the State Street Pavilion level of the ballpark - two on the first base side adjacent to the existing "B Suites," and two on the third base side adjacent to the existing "K Suites." The new party suites, which offer great views of both the playing field and the Boston sky line, can be used as individual spaces for 12 people or combined to create single, expanded suites accommodating 24. Each space includes indoor and outdoor televisions and premium food service.
 
Right Field Terrace Video Board
A new video board in right field, installed by ANC, has replaced the Cumberland Farms sign that previously occupied that space. The new 16mm Mitsubishi Diamond Vision LED display measures 14' high by 46' wide and will provide improved access to game information, replays, and video content, particularly for those seated on the Green Monster and in Bleacher sections where viewing the main video board is challenging.  
 
Removable Field Wall in Front of Bullpens
A new removable field wall system has been installed in front of the bullpens, in the same location and with the same dimensions, to better accommodate non-baseball events that continue to be popular at Fenway Park.
 
Virtual Reality Batting Cage
The club will expand the virtual reality station in the Kids Concourse by introducing a VR batting cage experience where fans can feel what it's like to take swings against Major League players at Fenway Park. The club first introduced VR during the 2016 season with the Virtual Dugout station that shows behind-the-scenes, 360 videos with players. The VR Dugout will return in 2017 with new content.  
 
Expanded Rooftop Space
A rooftop area adjacent to "Fenway Farms," the club's rooftop garden that debuted in 2013, has been developed as the private "Strega Deck" event space, in partnership with the popular North End Restaurant. The Strega Deck offers 5,600 square feet of roof space, outfitted with more than 600 square feet of urban garden planters that help supply vegetables and herbs to Fenway Park restaurants and concession stands. The new open-air deck features outdoor televisions and a state-of-the-art sound system, and can accommodate groups of up to 200 people for pre-game functions and non-game events. Menu offerings for this party area will feature meatballs, spinach arancini, and other creative bites inspired by the Strega restaurant group.
 
Pesky Pole Refurbished
The Right Field Foul Pole, "Pesky Pole," underwent extensive structural repairs this offseason to reinforce areas that were impacted by general wear and tear over the years.  
 
Dell EMC Club
To reflect the recent merger of the two companies, the premium club space located on the third floor of the ballpark will now be called the Dell EMC Club (formerly EMC Club), and the entire level has been renamed the Dell Technologies Level (formerly EMC Level).
 
New Concession Offerings
Aramark, Fenway Park's concessionaire, will introduce new and locally inspired items to the Fenway Park concession menu in 2017. Regina Pizzeria is now the official pizzeria of the Boston Red Sox and will be serving their renowned pizza at the ballpark, and Strega's new creation, a baseball-inspired meatball-in-a-bread-cone will be available at pizza stands throughout the concourses.
 
Yankee Lobster, the popular seafood restaurant in the Seaport neighborhood of Boston, will showcase their signature New England lobster rolls and other new lobster-themed offerings at the Fish Shack on Yawkey Way, and at seasonal locations throughout the ballpark. Fans can also try new signature items on Yawkey Way from Savenor's Market, Fenway Park's official butcher and meat supplier. The Cambridge-based company will offer a short-rib grilled cheese sandwich and will also feature turkey and steak tip sandwiches at other Savenor's locations throughout the ballpark.
 
Fenway Park's Big Concourse will feature several new items this season. The area now includes a new build-your-own-salad and fruit bar in the lower level featuring select produce from Fenway Farms, and new kids meals will be served in the Kids Concourse area in Wally and Tessie commemorative brown lunch bags. The kids meals offer a choice of a mini kids hot dog, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a grilled cheese, and are served with Lay's chips and a mini Poland Spring water.
 
Aramark will continue its test kitchen concept by introducing monthly rotating items at a stand in the Big Concourse located across from the Champions Club. Featured items for the month of April include lobster melts with steamed lobster, melted Muenster cheese, and sliced tomatoes; or surf & turf kebabs with skewered shrimp and/or marinated steak tips. 
 
Fans with a sweet tooth will have more dessert options to choose from in 2017. In addition to the popular Hood soft serve ice cream locations throughout the ballpark, the newly added "Cookies n' Creamery" stands will be located at gates A and C offering ice cream sundaes, creamsicles, ice cream sandwiches, hard ice cream, and freshly baked warm cookies.
 
The popular Tasty Burger restaurant added a third location at Fenway Park in the Right Field Concourse to complement existing stands at the 3rd Base Deck and at Gate C. And to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Impossible Dream team, Aramark will feature five different souvenir cups throughout the season celebrating memorable moments from that special year for fans to collect throughout 2017.

 

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Fall River Ten Most Wanted March 2017


Tri-Rell Jones  

 

LKA.           217 Doyle St. Apt.#2W, Fall River, MA.

Age:           26                      

Sex:            M                       

Race:          B

Ethnicity: Non- Hispanic

Height:      5’8”-5’10”

Weight:    165-170

Eyes:         Brown

Hair:          Black

Offense(s)

1)   Intimidating a Witness

2)   Vandalize Property

3)   A&B on Family / Household Member

4)   Aggravated A&B

5)   A&B on Family / Household Member

C:UserspsantosDesktopJeffrey Heaberlin Jr..PNG  

 

Jeffrey Lynn Heaberlin Jr.

 

LKA.           Homeless

Age:           32                     

Sex:            M                       

Race:         W

Ethnicity: Non- Hispanic

Height:      6’1”

Weight:     140

Eyes:          Brown

Hair:           Brown

Offense(s)

1)   Sex Offender Fail to Register, Subsequent Offense

2)   Strangulation or Suffocation

3)   A&B on Family / Household Member

4)   Assault and Battery

5)   Sex Offender Fail to Register

6)   Vandalize Property

7)   Resist Arrest

8)   Trespass

C:UserspsantosDesktopThai Boun.PNG  

 

Thai Boun

 

LKA.           108 Grant St. Apt. #2N, Fall River, Ma

Age:           36                      

Sex:            M                       

Race:          A

Ethnicity: Non- Hispanic

Height:      5’10”

Weight:     215

Eyes:          Brown

Hair:          Black

Offense(s)

1)   Firearm, Carry without License

2)   Firearm without License, Carry Loaded

3)   Firearm, Discharge within 500 Ft. of Building

 

C:UserspsantosDesktopElijah Sapp.PNG  

 

Elijah Alexander Sapp

 

LKA.           159 Fourth St. Apt. #1, Fall River, MA

Age:           18                      

Sex:            M                        

Race:          B

Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic

Height:      5’6”-5’9”

Weight:    155-160

Eyes:         Brown

Hair:          Black

Offense(s)

1)   Drug, Possess to Distribute Class B

 

C:UserspsantosDesktopMelvin Gualdarrama.PNG  

 

Melvin Roberto Gualdarrama

 

LKA.           82 Lapham St. Apt. #2, Fall River, MA

Age:           29                      

Sex:            M                       

Race:         W

Ethnicity: Hispanic

Height:      5’10”

Weight:     170

Eyes:          Brown

Hair:           Black

Offense(s)

1)   Drug, Possess to Distribute Class A

2)   Drug, Possess to Distribute Class B

3)   Drug, Possess Class B

4)   Operating a Motor Vehicle with License Suspended, Subsequent Offense

5)   Fail to Stop/Yield

C:UserspsantosDesktopAaron Affonso.PNG  

 

Aaron M. Affonso

 

LKA.           227 Lawrence St. Fall River, MA.

Age:           22                      

Sex:            M                       

Race:         W

Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic

Height:      5’9”

Weight:    150

Eyes:         Brown

Hair:          Brown

Offense(s)

1)   Breaking and Entering Building Nighttime for Felony

2)   Vandalize Property

3)   Larceny over $250

4)   Larceny from a building

C:UserspsantosDesktopJunior Boston.PNG  

 

Junior C. Boston

 

LKA.           130 Canal St. Apt. #303, Fall River, MA.

Age:           44                      

Sex:            M                       

Race:          B

Ethnicity:  Non-Hispanic

Height:       6’

Weight:     280

Eyes:          Brown

Hair:          Black

Offense(s)

1)   Drug, Possess to Distribute Class A, Subsequent Offense

2)   Drug Possess to Distribute Class B, Subsequent Offense

3)   Assault and Battery Dangerous Weapon

4)   Assault and Battery on Family / Household Member

C:UserspsantosDesktopChelsea B. Cote.PNG  

 

Chelsea B. Cote

 

LKA.           129 County St. Apt. #3, Fall River, MA.

Age:           24                      

Sex:            F                       

Race:         W

Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic

Height:      5’1”

Weight:    110

Eyes:         Green

Hair:          Brown

Offense(s)

1)   Robbery, Unarmed

2)   Robbery, Unarmed

C:UserspsantosDesktopJohnny Jackson.PNG  

 

Johnny Jackson

 

LKA.           500 Birch St. Apt#2, Fall River, MA

Age:           28                     

Sex:            M                       

Race:          B

Ethnicity: Non-Hispanic

Height:      5’9”

Weight:    240

Eyes:         Brown

Hair:          Black

Offense(s)

1)   Drug, Possess Class E

2)   Drug, Possess Class E

3)   Operating a Motor Vehicle with License Suspended, Subsequent Offense

 

 

C:UserspsantosDesktopLuis A. Resto-Torres.PNG  

 

Luis A. Resto-Torres

 

LKA.           228 Bradford Ave. Apt.#1, Fall River, MA.

Age:           34                      

Sex:            M                       

Race:          W

Ethnicity: Hispanic

Height:      5’5”-5’6”

Weight:    140-145

Eyes:         Green

Hair:          Brown

Offense(s)

1)   Larceny over $250

2)   Larceny under $250 by False Pretense

3)   Assault

4)   Breaking and Entering for Misdemeanor

5)   Threat to Commit Crime

6)   Leave the Scene Personal Injury

7)   Operating a Motor Vehicle with License Suspended

8)   Larceny over $250

 

______________________________________________End of Release___________________________________________________

 

 

  

 

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Immigrant Awareness in Fall River


Office of the Mayor

City of Fall River

Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release

 

March 20, 2017

 

Fall River – Mayor Jasiel F. Correia has proclaimed March 21, 2017 Fall River’s Immigration Day of Action. Mayor Correia, in conjunction with the U. S. Conference of Mayors, joins mayors from across the country in an initiative to bring attention to immigration policy as implemented on the national level. Mayor Correia stated, “As the child of immigrants as well as the mayor of Fall River, this is a vital issue for me, as it is for all residents of the city.”

 

The full text of the proclamation is as follows:

 

Whereas:  The United States of America is a nation of immigrants and has always been a haven for people of the world in their struggle for freedom and a better life; and

 

Whereas:  Our national immigration policy has long been in need of meaningful reform; and

 

Whereas:  Fall River has always been a welcoming and safe community for immigrants of many countries; and

 

Whereas:  Immigrants have proven to be vital contributors to the spirit, life, culture and economy of Fall River; and

 

Whereas:  The immigrant population of our great country is facing unprecedented threats to their safety and well-being; and

 

Whereas: The U. S. Conference of Mayors has resolved to host a national Immigration Day of Action on Tuesday, March 21, 2017

 

 

Now therefore: I, Mayor Jasiel F. Correia II, in joining with hundreds of my fellow mayors and millions of Americans, do hereby proclaim March 21, 2017 Fall River’s Immigration Day of Action

 

 

Jasiel F. Correia, II

Mayor of Fall River

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Tom Has Jerseys Back


In a story originally reported by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, Game Jerseys worn by Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady in Super Bowl 49 and Super Bowl LI were recovered in Mexico, after Houston Police got a tip from an informant. 

Brady noticed the Super Bowl LI Jersey missing from his equipment bag in the Patriots locker room at NRG Stadium in Houston following the Overtime Win over Atlanta. 

The Associated Press says a helmet used by Denver Linebacker Von Miller in Super Bowl 50 was recovered as well. 

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The Brayton Point Ticking Clock


With the closure of the Brayton Point Power Plant in Somerset set for the final day of May, attention now turns to those who will lose their jobs when Electricty Generation ceases this Spring. 


Bristol Plymouth First District State Senator Mike Rodrigues tells WSAR that federal employment administrators have indicated that workers at Brayton Point will recieve extended benefits while employees look for new jobs or seek re training. 

Somerset Selectman Holly MacNamara has indicated to WSAR that the full decommissioning of the plant will take at least a year to complete. 

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Price on The DL


MLB.com and ESPN.com are reporting that Red Sox Pitcher David Price will begin the 2017 Regular Season on the disabled list, after issues with his pitching elbow cropped up in Spring Training earlier this month. 

 

Price went to Indianapolis and spoke to Dr James Andrews, and was told that he would not need surgery; Price is undergoing a program of rest and rehab and could be back in the rotation by May. 

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The Storm Issues


As the Commonwealth digs out from what could be the final major Winter Storm Event, Governor Charlie Baker is concentrating on getting shelters open, and also looking at the situation in Western Massachusetts, in terms of snowfall. 

Baker also wants to ensure what he terms a normal commute on Wednesday.

 

Locally, the mix of rain and snow is happening during the noon hour...

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New UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Selected


The UMass Dartmouth Campus will have a new Chancellor effective July 1, after Dr Robert E Johnson was selected by the UMass Board of Trustees at the recomendation of System President Marty Meehan earlier Tuesday Morning. 

Johnson tells WSAR he wants to be part of transformative process, and said there are ''good people'' on campus, after meeting faculty, staff and students during an earlier listening session prior to his selection. 

WSAR will air a complete interview with the new Chancellor during the Wednesday Edition of the WSAR Newsroom.

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The Highlands Session


The Greater Highlands Neighberhood Association will be holding a meeting at Spencer Borden Middle School Wednesday, March 8, at 6:30pm to discuss a proposed clinic and treament center to be built at the site of a former Weaver Street Mill that burned down in the first quarter of 2016.

STARR announced this week that it had purchased the 3 acre parcel; a 60 bed facility, at a cost of $12 million is planned for that site. 

 

The original announcement was made on the organization's Facebook page Tuesday Morning. 

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Patriots Tickets Stable in 2017


ESPN Boston.com is reporting that Ticket Prices for the 2017 NFL Season at Gillette Stadium will remain where they are, the same as in the Super Bowl LI winning season of 2016, according to ESPN Boston.com

Single Game Tickets will go on sale later this summer.

The Patriots open their regular season in prime time on Thursday Night September 7; the NFL will announce the schedule for each of its 32 teams next month. 

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The Search for Tom's Super LI Jersey


Houston Police are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever is responsible for taking the Patriots White Road Jersey from Tom Brady's equipment bag that was in his locker at NRG Stadium following the conclusion of the Super Bowl Sunday Night. 

According to the Boston Globe and the New York Post, the jersey may have a value of anywhere from $500,000 to as much as $1 million, assuming it can be sold and authenticated on an underground memorabilia market. 

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Baker SJC Nomination


Governor Baker Nominates Justice Elspeth Cypher to Supreme Judicial Court

 

BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito today announced the nomination of Massachusetts Appeals Court Senior Associate Justice Elspeth “Ellie” B. Cypher to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). The nomination is Governor Baker’s fourth to the Commonwealth’s highest court. If confirmed by the Governor’s Council, Justice Cypher will replace retiring Justice Margo Botsford.

 

“Justice Cypher will bring nearly three decades of broad civil and criminal, trial and appellate experience, including the last sixteen years on the Appeals Court, to the Supreme Judicial Court,” said Governor Baker. “We thank Justice Botsford for her service, wish her well in her retirement and also appreciate the work of the Supreme Judicial Court Nominating Commission, my Chief Legal Counsel Lon Povich and Judicial Nominating Commission Executive Director Sharon Casey, in recommending diverse and experienced candidates. I am confident that, if confirmed, Justice Cypher’s temperament and understanding of the law will continue to advance the strong tradition of the Commonwealth’s highest court.”

 

Justice Cypher was joined by family, friends and colleagues for the formal announcement today at the State House with the Governor and Lt. Governor. 

 

“The Supreme Judicial Court and the citizens of the Commonwealth will be well served with the addition of Justice Cypher’s sense of justice and civil and knowledge of the law,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “We are, on behalf of the Commonwealth, grateful for the service of Justice Botsford, and look forward to the Governor’s Council’s consideration of Justice Cypher who has demonstrated her ability to work closely with her colleagues and consider matters fairly and impartially in service to the court and all those who appear before it.”

 

"Justice Cypher is one of the Appeals Court’s finest judges,” said Chief Justice Scott Kafker. “She is fair, experienced and wise and would be an admirable addition to the Supreme Judicial Court."

 

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court, consisting of the Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The seven Justices hear appeals on a broad range of criminal and civil cases from September through May and issue written opinions that are posted online.

 

For more information about the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, visit http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/sjc/. 

 

In February of 2016, Governor Baker named a statewide 12-member Supreme Judicial Nominating Commission (SJC-NC) to recruit, screen and recommend applicants to fill an unprecedented number of upcoming vacancies on the Commonwealth’s highest court.

 

Associate Justices Kimberly Budd, Frank Gaziano and David Lowy joined the SJC last summer following their nomination by Governor Baker and unanimous approvals by the Governor’s Council. The process was re-opened last October with the expected retirements of Justice Botsford and Justice Geraldine Hines later this year. All judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council.

 

About Justice Elspeth “Ellie” B. Cypher:

 

The Honorable Elspeth “Ellie” B. Cypher was appointed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court in 2000 by Governor Paul Cellucci and now serves as the Senior Associate Justice. In addition to fulfilling the courts role of hearing and deciding criminal and civil appellate cases, Justice Cypher’s role includes chairing the personnel committee and assisting the Chief Justice, Scott L. Kafker, with management of cases and court staff, and fulfilling the duties of the Chief Justice in the event of illness or absence.

 

Prior to her appointment to the Appeals Court, Justice Cypher served for twelve years with the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney (1988-1993), and later, Chief of Appeals (1993-2000). There she supervised attorneys and support staff in the District Attorney’s Office and wrote and edited appellate briefs and argued cases before the Appeals and Supreme Judicial Courts. From 1994-2006, Justice Cypher also served as a Senior Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Massachusetts School of Law, formerly the Southern New England School of Law. Before joining public service and upon obtaining her law degree, Justice Cypher represented clients in employment law, personal injury, consumer protection and criminal matters for Grayer, Brown and Dilday, a small general practice law firm in Boston.

 

Justice Cypher earned her Bachelor of Arts from Emerson College in 1980 and obtained her juris doctorate degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1986 where she was also a Literary Editor of the Law Review. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Justice Cypher and her wife, Sharon Levesque, reside in Assonet and have one son.

 

 

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Council Vote Challenged


WSAR has confirmed with the Fall River City Clerk's office in Government Center that an Open Meeting Law Complaint filed after last night's 5-3 vote on the transfer of $20,000 renders the vote null and void, and that the matter will have to be voted a second time on February 17, when Council meets again, and the matter added to the agenda. 

 

Swansea based Patrick Higgins and Associates claims that in their complaint, filed with the Attorney General's Office

 

'' At last night’s City Council meeting, a motion was made and seconded to lift the Mayor’s transfer request from the table.  The financial order was discussed and subsequently adopted, as amended. 

 

The violation alleges that the item was “illegally” deliberated, as this was not an agenda item, and the complainant requests that the vote be re-taken at a future meeting.''

 

The item was seeking a transfer between line items in the Mayor's Office 

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Democrats Regrouping


Massachusetts Fourth District Congressman Joseph Kennedy III will be in Newton Tuesday Night at 7pm as the Massachusetts Democratic Party tries to pick up the pieces with a Grassroots Meeting among party members. 

Massachusetts Democrats are looking at Attorney General Maura Healy, former Newton Mayor Setti Warren, and former Patrick Administration members as a potential nominee to match up against Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who won the office by 40,000 in the 2014 election cycle. 

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The AFC Title Week


Las Vegas Oddsmakers have the Patriots as a 5.5 point home favorite versus Pittsburgh on Sunday; Patriots and Steelers will kick off at 6:40 at Gillette. 

Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniel has pulled his name from consideration for the Forty Niners Coaching slot, electing to stay in New England. 

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The NFL Schedule Change


The NFL has moved the Steelers/Chiefs game in Kansas City to a Sunday Night Kickoff at 8:20 EST, after forecast ice storms are going to cause issues in the Midwest this weekend. 

 

The game will be the second game on WSAR and the Westwood One Radio Network on Sunday; Dallas and Green Bay will also be in prime time with a 4:40pm EST kickoff. 

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Correia v Council


On the Friday Edition of ''The Sixth Floor'', Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II alleged that three Fall River City Council Members--Rich Cabeceiras, Pam Lailiberte Lebeau and Cliff Ponte--were ''obstructionists'' who were attempting to block aspects of the Sixth Floor's Agenda. 

 

Cabeceiras told WSAR that he was pleased the issue came to light, alleging that Correia used name calling and other tactics during private sessions with council members.

Lailberte-Lebeau expressed disappointment in what she heard, saying her request to table a request to transfer $30,000 from one line item to another in the mayor's office was simply away to obtain more information about how the money would be utilized. 

Correia told WSAR that he felt that changes needed to be made to the nine member lineup of council during the current municipal election cycle. 

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The Case For a New BMC Durfee Building


Fall River Mayor and School Committee Chair Jasiel Correia II is hopeful that a debt exclusion vote may not be needed in terms of the city's financial share of a proposed new BMC Durfee High School, which could begin construction, if everything is approved regarding local and MSBA Financing, in late 2018. 
 
A current Fall River City Ordinance regarding a public vote on any bonding over five million dollars is a potential roadblock that Correia wants adjusted, saying that the city could afford its share of a new Durfee building, and could use bonding rather than a debt exclusion vote as has been proposed. 
 
Correia made the comments during a Monday Night School Committee Meeting at Morton Middle School; the discussion is part of the video on WSAR's Facebook page. 

Correia also says that prior discussions of Fall River perhaps being headed toward receivership were incorrect, according to information he has gathered from Commonwealth Financial Administrators. 
 
COO of the School Department, Ken Pacheco, indicated that the MSBA might consider other Fall River sites, while looking at how to incorporate the current auditorium, pool and fieldhouse into the design. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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FR City Council Tonight


The nine member Fall River City Council meets tonight for the first time in 2017 to elect a President and Vice President; WSAR has learned that current Council President Shawn Cadime and Vice President Linda Pereria will likely be returned to their respective posts.

Council will also hear about an issue in the Buildings and Grounds Department that began with an internal email, obtained by WSAR, alleging that Interim Director Peter Gallagher directed employees to submit overtime for a pair of School Department Projects, instead of the municipal items that were being worked on. 

Local Architect Jo Ann Bentley will also appear before Council tonight in order to explain her role in the Pine Street Veterans Building issue, after her name came up during discussions in December on the issue of rehabbing the building. 

Council will also get a summary of the current municipal budget as it enters the second half of fiscal year 2018. 

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Gasoline Prices This Week Per Triple A


Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are up two cents this week, according to AAA Northeast. 
 
AAA’s January 9 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.29 per gallon. The Massachusetts price is eight cents below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.37. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 34 cents lower at $1.95. 
 
The range in prices in the latest AAA survey for unleaded regular is 25 cents, from a low of $2.19 to a high of $2.44
 

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Fall River School Committee Tonight


The Fall River School Committee meets at 5:30pm tonight in its first session of 2017 at Morton Middle School. 
 
Superintendent Dr. Matthew Malone will address the situation regarding Fonseca, and a five year technology plan, along with the start of the development of the Fiscal Year 2018 School Department Budget. 

A six item agenda includes a discussion on the latest regarding potential funding for a new BMC Durfee High School from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. 
 
A five item executive session includes a discussion on ''strategies relative to the deployment of security personnel and devices''.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Warren Signs on to Legislation Aimed at The President Elect


Democratic members of Congress introduced the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 in the United States Senate and House that would require the President and Vice President to disclose and divest any potential financial conflicts of interest. It also would require presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any specific matters involving the President's financial conflicts of interest that come before members of the executive branch of government. Members of the House and Senate  have consistently asked for more transparency and accountability from President-elect Trump. 
 
Massachusetts Senior Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is one of several co sponsors of the legislation in the Senate. 
 
In November, Democratic senators filed a Resolution stating the Senate's expectation that President-elect Trump needs to decisively and transparently divest all of his business interests and holdings and completely sever his affiliation with the Trump Organization to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from accepting gifts or benefits from foreign governmental actors.
 

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Bump on Public Benefits


Auditor Bump Focuses Efforts to Strengthen Public Benefits Programs
Announces that Her Office Identified a Record $15.4M in Public Benefits Fraud in FY16

 

Boston, MA – State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today announced an initiative to build on her office’s efforts to strengthen the Massachusetts social safety net.  

The expanded efforts will concentrate on three areas:

1.      Continuing to identify and crack down on fraud in public benefits programs;

2.       Expanding information sharing with our partners and increasing our use of data analytics to identify fraud and concentrate on the areas most susceptible to fraud; and

 

3.      Conducting an audit in the coming year to identify barriers eligible Bay State residents face when seeking access to public benefits.

To kick off this effort, Bump today released an annual report on her office’s efforts to identify fraud in these programs.

From food assistance to medical care, public benefits play an important role in our state, the lives of its residents, and our economy,” Bump said. “It is essential that these programs operate with integrity. That means fighting abuse and fraud, but it also requires that we work to identify the barriers that prohibit Massachusetts residents from accessing benefits for which they are eligible. This is why, in the coming year, we will undertake an audit to understand how effectively government is identifying those eligible persons who are not being served.

The report released today notes that in fiscal year 2016, the Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) identified a record $15.4 million in public benefits fraud, marking a 12 percent increase over the previous year, and a sixth straight year of record-setting findings. In addition, the report highlights that for every dollar invested into BSI, it found $7.06 in fraud, a 14 percent increase over the previous year. Finally, the report notes that for investigations with findings of fraud, the average finding was $14,783, a 21 percent increase over the previous year.

“Since 2011, my office has increased the amount of fraud it has identified every year,” Bump said of the report. “This is not an indication of more fraud, but that we are getting better at identifying it. We have accomplished this by focusing our efforts on the areas of greatest risk for substantial fraud such as food stamp trafficking, and fraudulent provider billing.”

BSI examiners work with state and federal agencies, including the Department of Transitional Assistance, MassHealth, the Department of Early Education and Care, the US Department of Agriculture, both the US and Massachusetts Attorneys General, and other government agencies to document fraudulent activity. Investigations focus both on tips related to individual recipient fraud, as well as provider fraud. The work leads to both prosecution and recovery of funds.

The report also underscores notable achievements and case highlights of BSI. One case highlighted in the report describes a Rhode Island resident who was charged with fraudulently receiving benefits in excess of $60,000 from 2012 to 2015 from the state of Massachusetts. He falsely claimed to be a resident of the Commonwealth, and improperly reported his earned income.

While the majority of investigations of public assistance fraud come from referrals from MassHealth, the Department of Transitional Assistance, or the use of data analytics, the public can also file a complaint through the BSI fraud hotline at (617) 727-6771 or by sending an email to infoline@sao.state.ma.us. All complaints are confidential.

More information about Bump’s office’s expanded efforts related to public benefits, and her annual report on public benefits fraud are attached.

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Plainridge Numbers for October 2016


The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Releases October 2016

Gross Gaming Revenue for Plainridge Park Casino

 

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) reported today that the month of October 2016 at Plainridge Park Casino generated $12,576,794.69 in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR).  The category 2 slots-parlor is taxed on 49% of gross gaming revenue, of that total taxed amount 82% is paid to Local Aid and 18% goes to the Race Horse Development Fund. To date, the state has collected $107,026,794.20 in total state taxes and race horse assessments from Plainridge Park Casino since its June 24, 2015 opening. 

 

MONTH

Slot GGR

Coin in

Hold %

Payout %

Total collected state taxes and race horse assessments

October

2016

$12,576,794.69

$174,655,386.21

7.20%

92.80%

$6,162,629.40

 

To view the complete report, please click here. MGC will continue to make monthly revenue reports available on approximately the 15th of each month.

 

 

 

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The Final Somerset Balloting Numbers


Somerset Town Clerk Dolores Berge has released the final certified balloting numbers for the November 8 General Election. 

 

Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Clinton took Somerset by securing 4,886 votes, compared to Republican Presidential Elect Donald Trump's 4,561.

 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders earned 54 write in votes, while 208 Somerset voters left their Presidential ballots blank. 

 

Ballot Questions 1, 3 and 4 passed in Somerset while Question 2 failed. 

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A Final Report


After a year-and-a-half of research and study, the Fall River Diocese Task Force on Catholic Education has issued its Final Report, delineating its findings and recommendations for diocesan schools and the diocesan school system as a whole. Its public release will be this Friday afternoon, November 4.

A News Conference will take place on that day, Friday, November 4, at 1:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity School in Fall River during which Bishop Edgar A. da Cunha, S.D.V., will present and discuss the Final Report. He will also announce a significant gift that has been received to help fund its implementation.

The Bishop will be joined by the Fall River Diocesan Superintendent of Schools, the co-chair of the Task Force, and the co-chair of the newly appointed Implementation Team.

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If Not PAYT, Then What?


Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II tells WSAR that if some members of the City Council want to put an end to the current Pay As You Throw program for the removal of trash, and as a means to encourage recycling, then someone needs to devise a method to replace the three million in revenue from the program that is currently part of the FY 2017 Fall River Municipal Budget. 

 

Correia tells the ''WSAR Newsroom'' that the program cannot end on a whim, as the DOR would not likely allow a revenue producing enterprise to simply end; the contract with the North Carolina based Waste Zero has a 90 day out clause should the city decide to exercise it. 

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The Early Balloting Countdown


Early Balloting in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will end on Friday at 5pm, as the Secretary of State has asked that each polling place remain open till the 5pm mark.

 

If you do vote early, you'll place your ballot in a secured envelope, which you will sign and place in a ballot box; your ballot will be counted on Tuesday Night. 

In Fall River, your ballot is secured in a safe in Government Center. 

 

The Polls will be open throughout the Commonwealth on Tuesday starting at 7am.

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Swansea Motorcycle Fatal


Sunday at approximately 3:30 p.m. Swansea Police received multiple 911 calls reporting a motor vehicle crash involving a motorcycle on Maple Avenue, south of Route 6.  The operator of the motorcycle has been identified as Jamie Tavares, 44, of Swansea.
 
Mr. Tavares was transported by Swansea Ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.  An initial investigation of the scene indicates Tavares was travelling south on Maple Avenue when he collided with a Volkswagen Jetta travelling north on Maple Avenue being operated by a 52-year-old Swansea woman. The driver of the Jetta was uninjured in the crash.
 
The crash is being investigated by the Swansea Police Accident Reconstruction Unit with assistance from the Swansea Police Detective Division and State Police Detectives assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. No foul play is suspected in this matter at this time.
 

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UMass Dartmouth Investigation


 

 

This is a release from administrators at UMass Dartmouth about a shots fired incident over the weekend 

10/16/2016

Late this afternoon, the Department of Public Safety confirmed that multiple gunshots were fired in the area of Cedar Dell. The DPS had received an initial report at approximately 3 a.m., and responded immediately, but found no evidence of gunshots at that time and the reports were attributed to fireworks. A preliminary investigation at that time failed to confirm either fireworks or gunshots being discharged. No witnesses were available to provide further information.

Later this afternoon witnesses came forward with evidence indicating that gunshots were fired, causing damage to three motor vehicles at a Cedar Dell parking lot. There is no indication that anybody was injured. The case is under an active investigation and the campus is secure at this time.

Anyone who may have information concerning this crime or any suspicious behavior should contact DPS immediately at508-999-9191, use the silent witness line at 508.999.8477, or fill out the confidential form at http://www.umassd.edu/publicsafety/silentwitnesstipline/.

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The Beaches in Swansea


Proponents of a Swansea Beach Revitalization Project are vowing to try again by perhaps shrinking a proposal from its current $3.9 million dollar price tag, while warning that some redesign may be needed to rethink a proposal that failed to get the needed two thirds of more than 1100 Swansea voters who attended a single article special town meeting earlier this week. 

 

Opponents argued that spending millions on a beach on the New England Coastline was not a wise expenditure of public dollars, as it could be only be used for a small portion of the year. 

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The StreetScape Order


As the Fall River City Council prepares to debate and perhaps vote on a Streetscape and Municipal Department Equipment proposal that will be debated first in Finance Committee Tuesday Night, a pair of Fall River City Councilors are asking the other seven members to halt the proceedings so the streetscape proposal, submitted by Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II this summer, will be voted on at a General or Special Election in 2017. 

Council Members Ray Mitchell and Richard Cabeceiras submitted the order as part of a 135 page Council Packet available on the city's website; the order asks that the streetscape proposals be combined into a single loan order, with no contracts be executed until voters have a chance to decide the issues. 

 

 

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Dartmouth Perfection


One hundred percent, A+ grades all around, a perfect score.

 

The Dartmouth Correctional Complex received a 100 percent score from the American Correctional Association on its recent national accreditation audit. Meeting or exceeding each one of approximately 400 standards set forth by the ACA impressed Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson, but what made him most proud was what the auditors said about the staff.

 

“One of the auditors who had worked in corrections his whole life said if he was ever to go back into it, he would apply right here in Dartmouth because of the morale, attitude and professionalism of the staff,” Sheriff Hodgson said. “That really stuck with me.”

 

Three ACA auditors from Georgia, Florida and New Jersey spent three days combing over operations at the Dartmouth correctional facilities (Bristol County House of Correction, the Women’s Center and the ICE Detention Center). Their audit included tours of each facility, conducting interviews with staff and inmates, and scrutinizing hundreds of pages of policy and documents to verify compliance with national standards.

 

As a result, The Dartmouth Correctional Complex earned a perfect score on all aspects of facility operations, including security, health services, life safety, food services, inmate discipline, programs and services, staff training and administrative operations. The Dartmouth Correctional Complex is now only one of about 500 correctional organizations nationwide to earn ACA accreditation. Few received a perfect score.

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More Braga Paving


 

 

MassDOT will continue overnight lane closures on I-195 East and West on the Braga Bridge and at the approaches to it during the week of October 2.

 

The overnight closures will take place Sunday through Friday from 7:00 PM each night to 6:00 AM the following morning.

 

One travel lane will be maintained in each direction at all times.

 

The closures are necessary for paving, lane striping, and barrier removal. 

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Victims ID'd Regarding Triple Fatal


The deceased victims from yesterday’s crash on Route 195 in Westport are identified as follows.

 

The operator of the Dodge Caravan livery van is identified as John Oliveria, 68, of Dartmouth. Mr. Oliveria was transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, where he was pronounced deceased. The livery was owned by Regal Transit of New Bedford.

 

The front-seat passenger of the livery is identified as Josephine Mazzocca, 55, of New Bedford. Ms. Mazzocca was determined to be deceased at the scene.

 

The front-seat passenger of the BMW 328i is identified as Karonlyne Camile Lima, 23, of New Bedford. Ms. Lima was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, where she was pronounced deceased.

 

As noted yesterday, the crash occurred when the livery crossed from the westbound side of Route 195, drove through grass median, and entered the eastbound side, where it struck the BMW head-on.

 

What caused Mr. Oliveria to lose control of the vehicle remains under active investigation.

 

Among the possible contributing factors that State Police are investigating are whether he suffered a medical incident just prior to the crash.

 

As noted yesterday, the remaining victims in the livery and BMW were as follows.

 

The rear-seat passenger of the livery, a 56-year-old New Bedford man, was transported to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence.

 

The operator of the BMW, a 25-year-old Fall River man, was also transported to Rhode Island Hospital.

 

The rear-seat passenger of the BMW, a three-year-old boy, was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.

 

As noted yesterday, three other vehicles were involved in secondary crashes after the initial crash.

 

After the livery van careened off the BMW, it struck an Audi A4 that was traveling eastbound. The operator of the Audi, a 34-year-old Fall River man, was not injured (yesterday’s release erroneously stated that he was injured).

 

Also after the initial impact, the BMW was struck by a second vehicle, a Subaru Outback that was also traveling eastbound. That impact caused the Subaru to become fully engulfed in flames.

 

The operator of the Subaru, a 27-year-old Waterbury, Vermont, man, was transported to Rhode Island Hospital.

 

A fifth vehicle, a Chevrolet Suburban was also traveling eastbound; it avoided colliding with the other vehicles but struck a sign post on the grassy median.

 

The operator, a 73-year-old man from Barrington, R.I., was not injured.

 

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by State Police from the Dartmouth Barracks and the State Police Detective Unit for Bristol County, with the assistance of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section and the State Police Crime Scene Services Section.

 

Please note that State Police do not release names of surviving crash victims, nor do we disclose specific familial relationships.

 

No further information is being released at this time.

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A Bridge for Big Papi


 Massachusetts took the first official step toward naming a bridge in honor of legendary Red Sox player David Ortiz tonight.

 

As part of a joint-plan between the House, Senate and Governor’s office, the House Committee on Ways & Means Committee put language out to poll as part of a supplemental budget that would rename the Brookline Avenue bridge, between Lansdowne Street and Newbury Street, and spanning the Massachusetts Turnpike, the “David Ortiz (‘Big Papi’) Bridge.”

 

The legislation states the honor is “in recognition of his athletic accomplishments during fourteen seasons as a member of the Boston Red Sox, and his personal contributions to the Commonwealth, notably, his charitable commitment to children in New England and the Dominican Republic who do not have access to the critical pediatric services they need, and in helping our city heal in the face of the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy.”

 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will place a “suitable marker on the bridge bearing the designation in compliance with the standards of the department.”

 

“David Ortiz’s accomplishments and heroics on and off the baseball field have made him a living legend, and his heartfelt contributions to the communities here and in his native Dominican Republic have made him an icon,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I am thrilled to be able to help our Commonwealth create a lasting ‘Thank You’ to Big Papi through the renaming of this bridge.”

 

 “I’m so excited to be part of this process of giving David Ortiz, one of the greatest Red Sox of all time, his proper due by naming a bridge in his honor,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said. “David has not only been an extraordinary baseball player, he has been an exemplary and inspirational member of our community, most notably after the Boston Marathon bombings. As a fan, I will miss his stride up to the plate followed by a clutch hit and the ballpark exploding into applause.”

 

“David Ortiz has been a big part of our community both on and off the field,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).  “Whether is it leading the Red Sox to multiple World Series Championships or all of his charitable work, he has truly been the pride of Boston.  I am proud that we can honor him by naming this bridge after him so his legacy can live on after his playing days have ended.”

 

 “David Ortiz has meant so much to the City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and all of Red Sox Nation,” said Representative Brian S. Dempsey, House Chair of the Committee on Ways & Means (D-Haverhill).  “Whether it be his clutch curse breaking hits on the diamond, his now legendary speech to rally the spirits of this city in the aftermath of the Marathon Bombing, or his prodigious charity work, ‘Papi’ has left a lasting impact.  I am proud that we can recognize his efforts and wish him well as he ends his career with what we hope is another memorable playoff run.”

 

 “As a Red Sox fan, I’m proud that the Commonwealth is taking this step to recognize one of our athletic legends,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka, Senate Chair of the Committee on Ways & Means (D-Ashland). “David Ortiz is a major force in baseball, and he has also made significant contributions to our community over the course of his long career.”

 

Once the House Ways & Means Committee poll is completed, the House will act on the measure tomorrow. The legislation will then go to the Senate.

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The latest on Wednesday's Westport Fatal Accident


Yesterday at about 8:12 a.m., troopers from the State Police Barracks in Dartmouth responded to a multi-vehicle crash on Route 195 eastbound between Exits 10 and 11 in Westport that resulted in three fatalities.

 

Preliminary investigation by troopers indicates that a 2005 Dodge Caravan livery vehicle traveling westbound crossed the median and struck a 2007 BMW 328i that was traveling in the left lane on the eastbound side head-on.

 

Two occupants of the livery vehicle that crossed the median suffered fatal injuries, as did one occupant of the BMW that was struck head-on, a 23-year-old New Bedford woman.

 

Two passengers in the BMW, a 25-year-old man from Fall River and a male toddler from New Bedford, survived the crash but were transported to hospitals with injuries. The toddler was taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the adult male to Rhode Island Hospital.

 

A third occupant of the livery vehicle survived the crash and was transported to Rhode Island Hospital.

 

Victim identities are not being released at this time. The ages and genders of the victims from the livery vehicle, as well as the name of the company that owns the livery, are not being released because the family notification process is still underway.

 

The livery vehicle rolled over after the initial impact with the BMW. After the initial head-on impact, preliminary investigation indicates that a 2008 Subaru Outback traveling eastbound struck the BMW; the Subaru then caught on fire.

 

The Subaru driver, a 27-year-old Vermont man, was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with minor injuries.

Two other eastbound vehicles also suffered minor damage from impacts after the initial crash.

 

A 2001 Audi A4 operated by a 34-year-old Fall River man was struck by the livery Caravan. A Chevrolet Suburban operated by a 73-year-old Rhode Island man also suffered damage when it impacted one of the other vehicles. The A4 driver suffered minor injuries and was transported to Charlton Hospital.

 

The facts and circumstances of the crash, including why the livery crossed the median strip, remains under investigation by Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police with assistance from the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, State Police Crime Scene Services Section, and State Police Detective Unit for Bristol County. Troopers were assisted on-scene by Wesport Fire and EMS and MassDOT.

 

Updated information will be released at an appropriate time.

–30–

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