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WSAR NEWS

From The Bristol County Chamber of Commerce Regarding Electricity


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.

 

Respectfully,

 

Robert A. Mellion, Esq.

President & CEO

Bristol County Chamber of Commerce

 

 

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Fall River City Council Special Meeting


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.

 

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The Statement on Durfee


We are in receipt of the air quality report performed by Rhode Island Analytical.
 
The report shows no findings, signifying that the air is clean. Therefore, we will have a normal school day at B.M.C. Durfee High School tomorrow, Friday, January 12, 2018.
 
The school has a contingency classroom plan in place and has begun their communication plan with the school community. Also, the school’s West Main Entrance will be closed until further notice.
 
Clean-up and recovery efforts will be ongoing for the foreseeable future and although it will not be a perfect educational setting, we are confident we will be successful.
 
We are grateful for the efforts of our maintenance teams, faculty, staff, leadership, and community partners.
 
We appreciate the outpouring of concern and support as well as the patience provided as we get back to school.
 
Matthew H. Malone, Ph.D., Superintendent

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School at Durfee Friday


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.

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More Durfee Information


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.
-
Matthew H. Malone, Ph.D., Superintendent

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Patricia To NY Football Giants?


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. 

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The Durfee Pipes Situation


The water break at BMC Durfee High School which closed school today spilled more than 50,000 gallons of water into 15 classrooms in the science wing of the school.

 

The flooding caused massive damage to the roofs, computers, school supplies and poured through the halls.

 

School officials were conducting a damage survey this morning, And while they may be able to get the floors dry, the issue will also be one of ceiling tiles and mold.

 

We will have a full update on the flooding during the ''WSAR Newsroom''.

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Tansey Situation


In a tweet this morning on the Tansey Twitter Page, administrators are indicating that a smell associated with natural gas has forced the closure of Tansey for remainder of the school day.

Students at Tansey are now in the BMC Durfee auditorium and can be picked up now through 3pm.

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Gasoline This Week in The Commonwealth


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.

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The Unfunded Election Mandate


Auditor Bump Certifies More Than $1 Million in Unfunded Mandated Early Voting Costs on Municipalities for 2016 Election

 

BOSTON, MAIn 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.

 

In February 2017, Bump determined that parts of the early voting law constituted an unfunded mandate under the Local Mandates Law. In the determination, Bump cited the requirements that municipalities establish an early voting polling location that has sufficient staffing and privacy for votes as the factors driving the conclusion.

 

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.

 

Bump’s certification letter is available here.

 

A spreadsheet of the reported costs from municipalities is available here.

 

 

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Fall River Larceny Arrest


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.

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Keating Off Shore Drilling


KEATING STATEMENT ON ADMINISTRATION’S

OFFSHORE DRILLING PROPOSAL

 

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.”

 

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FR Stabbing


On January 5th 2018 at approximately 9:00 A.M. Officers of the Fall River Police Departments Uniform Division responded to 57 Bates Street Fall 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 Island Hospital 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.

 

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The DACA Letter


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.”

 

UMass President Marty Meehan

UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy

UMass Boston Interim Chancellor Barry Mills

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson

UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney

UMass Medical School Chancellor Michael Collins

 

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The December MA Revenue


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  

 

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The Ban In Rhode Island


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.

 

  

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Storm Update via MEMA


MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT #5

DATE: January 4, 2018
TIME: 9:00 AM
SUBJECT: Coastal Flooding Concerns

 

SITUATION

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.

 

STATE SUPPORT/ASSETS

 

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:

·        Marshfield

·        Scituate

·        Hull

·        Braintree

·        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. 

 

SEOC OPERATIONS

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

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The New FR Council Assignments


 
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

 

 

Liaisons:

Arts & Entertainment:  S.Camara, S.Long

Council on Aging: L.Pelletier,J.Camara

School Committee:  S.Cadime, S.Camara

Senior Senate: B.Kilby, D.Viveiros

Veterans: P.Lebeau, Steve Long

Library: J.Camara, D.Viverios

Neighborhood: D. Viveiros, S. Long

 

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FR Library Happenings


Try Out a Plio-Barre Class @the Library!

 

 

Is a healthier, more energetic you one of your goals this year? Come to the Friends of the Fall River Public Library’s Plio-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.

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The Latest from MEMA on This Week's Snowstorm


MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT

DATE:              January 2, 2018
TIME:               4:30 PM
SUBJECT:         Winter Storm Thursday; Dangerously Cold Weather This Weekend

 

Situation

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:

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:

  • Potentially life-threatening wind chill temperatures
  • Frostbite and hypothermia possible for those without proper protection from the cold. Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes for unprotected skin.
  • Possible increase in fires from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches or similar devices
  • Possible increase in incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources
  • Possible vehicle failure
  • Possible water main breaks and pipe bursts

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The Fall River Parking Ban


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

 

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BCC MLK


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. 

            For more information about the course, or to register, please visit http://webapp.bristolcc.edu/coursesearch/?term=201801&camp=1&type=CR&subj=HST
. Select “HST 162 – Readings of Martin Luther King” from the “course” selection box. Here, you will also find registration instructions.

            For more information about the
18th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast, please visit http://www.bristolcc.edu/mlk/.

 

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On Snow Removal


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.

 

A full list of winter storm hazards and safeguards is available at http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/index.html  or http://www.osha.gov.

 

 

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

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Fall River Polar Plunge Postponed


Due to the New Year's Day Forecast, the City of Fall River has postponed the Polar Plunge Event till another day in January when the cold is not a significant factor. 

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Potholes In The Commonwealth


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.

 

 

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Winter Car Prep Tips


STILL TIME TO PREP CAR FOR WINTER, SAYS AAA

 

            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.

 

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The Latest on The Cold Snap


MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT

DATE: December 27, 2017
TIME: 10:00 AM
SUBJECT: Extended Period of Bitter Cold

 

Situation

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.

 

Impacts:

  • Potentially life-threatening wind chill temperatures
  • Frostbite and hypothermia possible for those without proper protection from the cold. Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes for unprotected skin.
  • Possible increase in fires from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches or similar devices
  • Possible increase in incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources
  • Possible vehicle failure
  • Possible water main breaks and pipe bursts

 

Watches and Warnings

Wind Chill Advisory 
Issued: December 27 at 4:06AM EST 
Expiring: December 28 at 12:00PM EST

 

Areas affected: Central Middlesex County; Eastern Essex; Eastern Franklin; Eastern Hampden; Eastern Hampshire; Eastern Norfolk; Northern Worcester; Northwest Middlesex County; Southeast Middlesex; Southern Worcester; Suffolk; Western Essex; Western Norfolk

Wind Chill Warning 
Issued: December 27 at 4:06AM EST 
Expiring: December 28 at 12:00PM EST

 

Areas affected: Western Franklin; Western Hampden; Western Hampshire

Wind Chill Warning 
Issued: December 27 at 4:02AM EST 
Expiring: December 28 at 1:00PM EST

 

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. 

 

Preparedness and Safety Information

 

Stay Informed:

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

Utilize MEMA’s live weather radar and forecasting tools, including the live snowfall forecast map: http://memamaps.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=0da6e4d888b74317b52b7a5064aa3dc2

Follow MEMA on Facebook (@MassachusettsEMA), Twitter (@MassEMA), and Nextdoor (www.Nextdoor.com)


Online Resources:
For additional information and resources, visit:
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency at
www.mass.gov/mema
MEMA's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MassachusettsEMA
MEMA Twitter: @MassEMA
Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov
National Weather Service/Taunton at www.weather.gov/boston
National Weather Service/Albany, NY at www.weather.gov/albany
National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center: http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov
National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center:  http://www.spc.noaa.gov/
Mass211 at www.mass211.org

 

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The Shield Says No NYE Game


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)

 

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Gasoline Prices in MA This Week


GAS PRICES DOWN THREE MORE CENTS, SAYS AAA

 

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:

Self Serve                                           Grade                        

$2.43 ($2.27-$2.59)                            Regular Unleaded                  

$2.70 ($2.58-$2.99)                            Midgrade Unleaded               

$2.87 ($2.67-$3.05)                            Premium Unleaded                

$2.81 ($2.69-$3.03)                            Diesel                          

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The AGs Versus the EPA


Attorney General Kilmartin Sues EPA to Protect Rhode Island from Out-of-State Air Pollution

 

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.

 

 

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Its the almost White Christmas


MASSACHUSETTS EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT
December 24, 2017


Re:  Winter Storm With Snow and Strong Winds

 

Situation

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.

Winter Weather Advisory
Issued: December 24 at 5:59AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 4:00PM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Northern Berkshire; Southern Berkshire

Special Weather Statement
Issued: December 24 at 5:38AM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Northern Berkshire; Southern Berkshire

Winter Storm Warning
Issued: December 24 at 4:36AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 1:00PM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Eastern Franklin; Northern Worcester; Northwest Middlesex County; Western Franklin

Winter Weather Advisory
Issued: December 24 at 4:36AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 1:00PM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Central Middlesex County; Eastern Essex; Eastern Hampden; Eastern Hampshire; Southern Worcester; Western Essex; Western Hampden; Western Hampshire

High Wind Warning
Issued: December 24 at 2:58AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 4:00PM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Barnstable; Dukes; Nantucket

Wind Advisory
Issued: December 24 at 2:58AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 7:00PM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

Areas affected: Eastern Plymouth; Southern Bristol; Southern Plymouth

Wind Advisory
Issued: December 24 at 2:58AM EST
Expiring: December 25 at 7:00PM EST

Urgency: Expected
Status: Actual

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

 

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The Tuesday Court Date


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.

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NYE Fireworks


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.”  

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The Patriots on the Road to U-S Bank Stadium


With Jacksonville losing to the 49ers Sunday Night, the Patriots have clinched a First Round Bye in the AFC Playoffs, as the Jets provide the final opposition this Sunday. 

The Patriots must win Sunday to secure home field advantage throughout the AFC Super Bowl Tournament. 

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Attleboro Murder Charge


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. 

 

This remains an active and ongoing investigation.

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The Clean Air Lawsuit


Attorney General Kilmartin Joins 15 AGs in New Lawsuit Against Trump EPA for Flouting Clear Air Requirements

 

 

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 .

 

 

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New Bedford Electricty Costs


City of New Bedford has renewed its program

to continue to cut electricity costs

 

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 customercare@ppandu.com.

·         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 customercare@ppandu.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 customercare@ppandu.com.

 

Visit www.masscea.com for additional information about the Community Electricity Aggregation program.

 

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The DCF Audit


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.”

A recent audit from Bump’s office found a similar pattern of poor data-sharing at the Sex Offender Registry Board.

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

·       Recording child-on-child injuries in case files.

Bump’s office has previously found management deficiencies related to DCF’s foster care program.

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.

A copy of the audit can be found online here.

###

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.

 

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BCC Looks at Water


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.
 

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Christmas At Fenway


RED SOX TO HOST 15TH ANNUAL

“CHRISTMAS AT FENWAY” EVENT DECEMBER 16

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.  

 

 

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FR Public Library Book Sale


Save Big on Books at the Library!

 

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.

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The Piers Have New Owners


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.

 

 

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Warren Wants an Investigation


Warren Calls for Investigation into Treasury's Economic Analysis of GOP Tax Plan

As Senate Prepares to Vote, Treasury Fails to Produce Any Formal Analysis Supporting Mnuchin's Claim that Tax Plan Will Pay for Itself

Text of the letter available here (PDF)

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.

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Stanley Street Station Has Mold Issues


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. 

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Patriots Missing at Practice


ESPN Boston.com is reporting that Quarterback Tom Brady and Tight End Rob Gronkowski were missing at Wednesday Practice, as the Patriots worked out in the rain in Foxboro on Thanksgiving Eve. 

 

The Patriots are 16 point home favorites at Gillette Stadium Sunday, with coverage on WSAR starting Sunday Morning at 10am with the kickoff at 1. 

Its possible the Patriots simply wanted to hold out offensive and defensive starters given the wet conditions with a heavy band of rain throughout New England on Wednesday. 

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Its Green Friday


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. 

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FR Craft Fair


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.

 

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Fall River Armed Robbery


 Armed Robbery Pleasant at Harrison Streets
 
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
· Gray sweatpants
 
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
 

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MA Gasoline Heading Into Thanksgiving


GAS PRICES HOLD STEADY FOR THANKSGIVING, SAYS AAA

 

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:

Self Serve                                           Grade                        

$2.53 ($2.37-$2.79)                            Regular Unleaded                  

$2.75 ($2.55-$2.99)                            Midgrade Unleaded               

$2.82 ($2.75-$2.99)                            Premium Unleaded                

 

$2.70 ($2.45-$2.94)                            Diesel              

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Thanksgiving Travel according to Triple A


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

Metro Area

Worst Day

for Travel

Worst Time

for Travel

Delay Multiplier

Chicago, IL

Tuesday

5:00 - 6:00 PM

3x

San Francisco, CA

Tuesday

4:00 - 5:45 PM

2.5X

Los Angeles, CA

Tuesday

3:15 - 6:00 PM

2.5x

Boston, MA

Tuesday

5:15 - 7:15 PM

2.5x

New York, NY

Tuesday

5:30 - 6:30 PM

2x

Washington, DC

Tuesday

4:45 - 6:00 PM

2x

Seattle, WA

Tuesday

3:45 - 5:30 PM

2x

Atlanta, GA

Wednesday

3:00 - 5:15 PM

2x

Houston, TX

Wednesday

5:45 - 7:00 PM

1x

Detroit, MI

Tuesday

3:00 - 5:30 PM

1x

 

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

Rank

City

Location

1

Los Angeles, CA

I-5 S at Valley View Ave

2

New York, NY

I-495 E at NY-106/NY-107

3

San Francisco, CA

I-80 E at Pinole Valley Rd

4

Atlanta, GA

I-75 N at Chastain Rd

5

Miami, FL

I-95 N at Congress Ave

6

Washington, DC

I-95 S at US-17/US-1

7

Dallas, TX

US-75 S at I-45/I-3

8

Boston, MA

I-90 W at I-84/US-20

9

Chicago, IL

I-90 W at I-190

10

Seattle, WA

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.

Worst Travel Times to America’s Busiest Airports

Metro Area

Airport Route

Worst Time

for Travel

Travel Time

at Peak

New York, NY

Downtown to JFK via Long Island Expressway East

Tuesday,
5:30 - 7:30 PM

1 hr 54 min

Chicago, IL

Downtown to ORD via Kennedy Expressway West

Tuesday,
4:30 - 5:30 PM

1 hr 14 min

Denver, CO

Downtown to DIA via I-70 E and Pena Blvd

Wednesday,
4:30 - 6:30 PM

52 min

Los Angeles, CA

Downtown to LAX via I-110 S

Tuesday,
4:30 - 6:30 PM

46 min

Dallas, TX

Downtown to DFW via TX-183 W

Wednesday,
8:00 - 9:00 AM

46 min

Las Vegas, NV

Downtown to LAS via I-15 S

Wednesday,
8:00 - 9:00 AM

45 min

San Francisco, CA

Downtown to SFO via US-101 S

Tuesday,
5:00 - 7:00 PM

29 min

Seattle, WA

Downtown to SEA via I-5 S

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MA Unemployment October


Massachusetts Adds 4,800 Jobs in October - Unemployment Rate at 3.7 Percent?

 

BOSTON, MA – The state’s total unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in October, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced Thursday.

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts added 4,800 jobs in October. Over the month, the private sector added 4,100 jobs as gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Other Services; Financial Activities; Manufacturing; Construction; and Information. The September estimate was revised to a gain of 10,300 jobs.

 

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.

 

NOTES:

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.

 

Detailed labor market information is available at www.mass.gov/lmi.

 

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The Macy Decision


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''.

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Warren Statement


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

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Rhode Island ID's State Police


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
12-year veteran
Assigned to the Uniform Bureau

The four troopers who fired their weapons in the officer-involved shooting are identified as:

Detective Lieutenant Cynthia Trahan
20-year veteran
Assigned to the Detective Bureau

Corporal Scott R. Carlsten
20-year veteran
Assigned to the Uniform Bureau

Detective Corporal Herbert D. Tilson
12-year veteran
Assigned to the Detective Bureau

Trooper Garrett S. Hassett
6-year veteran
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.

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Veterans Memorial Bridge This Weekend


Media Advisory: Fall River and Somerset

 

Veteran’s Memorial Bridge Westbound Detour Scheduled for Saturday, November 18 

  

 

FALL RIVERThe 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.

 

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Update on Sunday Night Shooting


Bristol County District Attorney’s Office

Thomas M. Quinn III

District Attorney

 

Press Release

November 13, 2017

 

 

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.

 

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Gasoline This Week


Gasoline prices in Massachusetts are up six cents this week, according to AAA Northeast.

AAA’s November 13 survey of prices in Massachusetts finds self-serve, regular unleaded averaging $2.53 per gallon. The Massachusetts price is three cents below the national average for regular unleaded of $2.56. A year ago at this time, the average price in Massachusetts was 41 cents lower at $2.12.

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:

Self Serve                                           Grade                        

$2.53 ($2.37-$2.79)                            Regular Unleaded                  

$2.75 ($2.42-$2.99)                            Midgrade Unleaded               

$2.91 ($2.50-$3.25)                            Premium Unleaded                

$2.70 ($2.45-$2.94)                            Diesel                                     

Find the most up-to-date local gas prices with the AAA Fuel Finder by logging onto AAA.com and clicking on Gas Saving Tips & Tools.

 

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Fall River PD Activity


On Sunday November 12th, 2017 at approximately 11:45pm there was an ‘Officer Involved Shooting’ at the intersection of Riggenbach and Airport Road in the City of Fall River

 

Officers of the Fall River Police Department responded to a disturbance call at the intersection of Riggenbach and Airport Road. The complainant reported that there was a “car smoking” and they heard “2 loud bangs sounded like gunshots”. The complainant also reported they were unsure if people are fighting or if it was a crash. Further information was given describing “several cars in the area” and a “green hatchback with stickers all over it smoking”.  Shortly after arrival, Officers reported shots fired at which time multiple units responded and secured the scene.

 

 At this time the incident is still under investigation by the Bristol County District Attorneys’ Office, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the Bristol County District Attorneys’ Office, State Police Crime Scene Unit, Fall River Police Department Major Crimes Division and the Fall River Police Crime Scene Unit. A concurrent investigation is being performed by the Office of Professional Standards.

 

At Charlton Memorial Hospital, five people were arrested after a disturbance related to this incident. They are to be arraigned in Second District Court today.

 

 

All further information will be provided by the Bristol County District Attorney.

 

 

 

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SouthCoast Lung Screening


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Southcoast Health announced today that it has discovered seven individuals with lung cancer through the Southcoast Lung Screening Program which launched in March of 2016.

 

Of those seven cases, six were caught in the early stages and have been treated with good results. To date, more than 250 patients are currently being monitored in the Lung Screening Program. The age of those in the program has been as young as 55 and as old as 73.

 

In addition to cancer, the screenings have found other abnormalities that have required further testing, including thyroid nodules, thoracic aortic aneurysms, emphysema and liver nodules.

 

The Southcoast Lung Screening Program offers low-dose CT scans to people who are at high risk for developing lung cancer. The goal of the program is to find signs of lung cancer before symptoms appear.

 

According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Yet, of the four most common cancers — lung, prostate, breast and colon — it is the only without a widely adopted preventive screening test.

 

To qualify for Southcoast Health’s Lung Screening Program, a patient must meet the following criteria:

 

·         Age 55 to 77

·         Smoking history of greater than 30 pack years (number of packs of cigarettes smoked per day multiplied by the number of years smoked)

·         If ex-smoker, quit within the last 15 years

·         No personal history of previous lung cancer

 

In addition to Medicare and Medicaid, this screening is covered by most insurances. Prospective patients should call the program or insurance company to confirm coverage.

 

 

For more information, contact the Lung Screening Program by calling 855-259-LUNG(5864) or visit southcoast.org/lungscreening.

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Gasoline This Week in MA


The price of a gallon of regular gasoline is up two cents this week according to Triple A Northeast. 
 
Triple A's latest survey finds self-serve regular gasoline at an average of $2.47, six cents below the current National Average. 
 
Mary Maguire is the Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for Triple A Northeast; she says ''high demand and falling supply levels are keeping prices from dropping quickly following the post hurricane spikes''.
 
Maguire says Crude Oil Prices are at 2017 highs, and that has a short term impact. 
 
The range in prices in the latest Triple A Survey is 35 cents from a low of $2.29 to a high of $2.64.

 
 
 
 

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The Final Hours of Election Day


Fall River Voters have a decision to make on Tuesday, Election Day, but unless an after-work surge hits the polls before 8pm tonight, turnout may be almost half of what it was two years ago, according to the Digital Edition of The Fall River Herald News. 

 

Some 18% of registered voters have cast ballots thus far this afternoon, compared to a 35% turnout in 2015. 

Two ballot questions--a package of charter revisions, and a $123 million bond order for work on water, sewer, and CSO issues are to be decided, along with the Mayor's Sweepstakes, 9 City Council and 6 School Committee slots. 

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Baker On Drug Addiction Commission Final Report


Governor Baker Issues Statement on the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis Final Report
 
 
BOSTON— Today, Governor Charlie Baker released the following statement on the White House’s release of the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis unanimously approved final report:
 
“Over the past several months, this bipartisan commission has worked diligently to produce a strong set of recommendations to the White House and Congress on ways to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic at the federal level.
 
I am pleased that several recommendations originated from effective state policies in the Commonwealth, such as revamping the Prescription Monitoring Program to reduce opioid prescriptions and developing core competencies for medical students on pain management and addiction prevention, that now have the opportunity to be implemented nationwide. 
 
“This report contains an extensive list of recommendations, including federal funding increases, prevention education for schools, increased access to treatment and stricter drug enforcement policies, that can start making a difference in every state if acted upon by the White House and Congress.
 
The opioid and heroin epidemic knows no boundaries and is tragically claiming the lives of our loved ones every day, and our administration urges Washington to act quickly on our bipartisan recommendations, many of which have already yielded positive results at the state level, to break the cycle of addiction.
 
I’d like to thank Governor Chris Christie for serving as chairman to this important commission and the White House for making the opioid epidemic a top priority for the Administration, as this public health crisis deserves attention at all levels of government to make a difference in our communities.” 
 
The bipartisan commission is chaired by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and consists of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Professor Bertha Madras, Ph.D.
 

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The Ecumenical Service Monday


ECUMENICAL SERVICE WILL MARK 5OOth ANNIVERSARY OF THE REFORMATION

    

FALL RIVER — A special ecumenical worship service to mark the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 5, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River. All are invited to attend. The cathedral is located at 327 Second Street.

 

The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fall River, will preside at the service and Reverend James Hazelwood, Bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will preach.

 

A committee of representatives of Catholic, Lutheran and other Christian denominations is planning the worship service. Father Edward J. Healey, who is Ecumenical Officer for the Fall River Diocese and its representative on the committee, pointed out that the prayer service will at the same time both mark history and make history.

 

“As we mark this significant anniversary of this pivotal moment in the history of Western Christianity, we will also be making history as this 5th centenary observance is taking place in the context of 50 years of ecumenical dialogue and cooperation,” he said.

 

“Protestants and Catholics can now gather in prayer together not only to remember the origins of their divisions but most especially to celebrate their ongoing progress along the path toward greater unity over the past five decades.”

 

An invitation has been extended to clergy from Catholic and Protestant faith communities to participate in the ecumenical service along with members of their congregations and members of their music ministries, who will join together to form one unified choir to lead music for the service.

 

Reverend Hazelwood became Bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2012; Bishop da Cunha has led the Fall River Diocese since 2014.

 

On behalf of the planning committee, Father Healey encourages all to join Christians from throughout southeastern Massachusetts, both Protestant and Catholic, for the service, which he prays “will not only be historic but also healing.”

 

The beginning of the Reformation is generally dated from the publication of certain theses by Martin Luther in Germany on October 31, 1517.

 

-end-

 

 

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The New Fall River Website


The City of Fall River's new Municipal Website is live this week, with nearly 80% of its functionality complete, as Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II explained Thursday Morning with the official rollout of the new web page. 
 
A new app connected to the new website will be available for Apple and Android phones soon.  
 
Google Analytics will help push information forward as users indicate what they want to find on the website. 
 
The event in Government Center is available on WSAR's Facebook Page. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
[
 
 
 

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Keating on Iran Nuke Deal


Below is a statement from Congressman Bill Keating, Ranking Member of the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade Subcommittee, on President Trump’s threat to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) addressing Iran’s nuclear capabilities.  The President is expected to speak on the issue this afternoon.

 

“The President’s expected actions are opening the door to probably the greatest threat to U.S. and global nuclear safety in my time in Congress.

 

“The JCPOA has halted the Iranian effort to obtain nuclear weapons, a capability they were a mere two months away from at the time of the deal.  President Trump may plan on only sending a political message to supporters.  But his decision not to certify will have both immediate and lasting consequences and directly pose a danger to our security.

 

“Failure to certify creates a roadblock to China’s intervention to halt North Korea’s nuclearization and it splits the coalition we created with our strongest allies in the West.  It also creates a dangerous 60-day period where a single malign incident in the Middle East – whether by happenstance or orchestration – can provoke some in Congress to totally unravel the entire deal.

 

“Perhaps the most long-term consequence will be to call into question any other negotiation we have around the world. Turning our back on the JCPOA signals to other countries that they cannot place their confidence in current and future American deals. 

 

“In the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act, America tried to address the threats posed by Iran unilaterally and it didn’t work. The success of the JCPOA negotiations was the result of collaborating with our international partners to apply the necessary pressure on Iran to bring them to the negotiating table.  Now, we may find ourselves isolated with a nuclear Iran. This action will take us not back to the place where we were before the deal, but somewhere far worse.”

 

 

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Gronk Ready for Jets Sunday


Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski told reporters in Foxbourough that he will play Sunday after sitting out with a thigh injury last Thursday versus Tampa Bay 

 

 

 

The New England Patriots (3-2) and the New York Jets (3-2) announce the following player injuries and practice participation.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13Read

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

OUT
CB Eric Rowe - Groin (DNP)

DOUBTFUL
No Players Listed

 

QUESTIONABLE
RB Rex Burkhead - Ribs (LP)Read

NEW YORK JETS

OUT
No Players Listed

DOUBTFUL
No Players Listed

QUESTIONABLE
DL Muhammad Wilkerson - Shoulder/Toe (DNP)
RB Bilal Powell - Calf (DNP)

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Governor Baker in Las Vegas


Governor Baker Pays Respect to Victims of Las Vegas Tragedy

 

LAS VEGAS – Governor Charlie Baker today visited the Las Vegas Tragedy Memorial site with Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval to pay his respects to the 58 victims who tragically lost their lives in last week’s mass shooting, including Tewksbury resident Rhonda LeRocque.

 

“The horrific and utterly senseless tragedy that occurred here two weeks ago shocked Massachusetts and our country,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “It is an honor to be here with Governor Sandoval to pay our respects on behalf of the Commonwealth for the innocent lives lost, including our own Rhonda LeRocque of Tewksbury. We appreciate the incredible work of first responders and medical professionals who saved many lives that night, and our state stands ready to support Las Vegas by any means possible during this difficult time.”

 

 

Governor Baker is in Nevada today for a speaking engagement on the Gubernatorial Panel at the National Clean Energy Summit called “States Leading the Charge.”

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King Phillip Mill Will Still Stand


According to the Digital Edition of The Fall River Herald News, the feuding financers and a Boston based developer that had hoped to transform Building 2 of the King Phillip Mill Complex into 90 two and three bedroom apartments, after acquiring the property in an auction this summer, will not be getting additional time to cut a deal. 

 

The King Phillip Mill Complex has been standing empty for several years. 

Fall River City Administrator Cathy Ann Viveiros indicated to the City Council duing a Finance Committee Session this week that the City was prepared for whatever transpired on final day of October, while Council President Shawn Cadime was left wondering who in fact the city was dealing with. 

 

Video of the discussion is available on WSAR's Facebook page. 

 

 

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R-I A-G on LGBTQ Issues


Attorney General Kilmartin Files Brief to Protect LGBTQ Workers from Discrimination

 

Kilmartin Argues That Sexual Orientation Discrimination Violates Title VII

 

Amicus Brief Filed in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital Seeks Uniform Application of Title VII

 

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined an amicus brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by 18 Attorneys General, arguing that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

 

The Attorneys General argue that their States have strong interests in protecting their citizens against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The lack of nationwide recognition that Title VII bars such discrimination blocks the full protection of LGBTQ workers – particularly given divisions between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which takes the position that Title VII protects workers from sexual orientation) and the federal Department of Justice (which has taken the opposite position).

 

The brief was filed late yesterday, on National Coming Out Day.

 

“While Rhode Island is a leading state in offering protections to the LGBTQ community, there are still other states that have laws that discriminate against these individuals.  It is important that we stand up for what is right and stand with those who are discriminated against based on their sexual orientation,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.

 

Click here to read the amicus brief, which was filed by the Attorneys General of NY, CA, CT, DE, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, MN, NM, OR, PA, RI, VA, VT, WA, and DC.

 

“Employment discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers not only deprives them of important economic opportunities—it also stigmatizes their most intimate relationships and thus ‘diminish[es] their person-hood,’” the Attorneys General write.

 

Even in States like Rhode Island that have laws barring sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace, “Title VII plays a crucial complementary role by covering individuals not subject to the State’s laws—for instance, federal employees or residents who work in another State—and by making available both the federal courts and a federal enforcer, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to police invidious discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

 

The case, Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, involves Jameka Evans, a security guard at a Savannah hospital who was harassed at work and forced out of her job because she is a lesbian. Evans’ petition seeks a nationwide ruling that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates Title VII.

 

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The CEA Group That Brought You The South Coast Market Place


As part of the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo this week at White's of Westport, one of the principals of the Cambridge Based Developers that have helped to create the South Coast Market Place says that as he researched Fall River and its surrounding suburbs, he was surprised at what he found. 
 
Steve Choen is one of the Managing General Partners at the CEA Group; he told a gathering at the Business Expo that Fall River residents wanted to go somewhere and feel a sense of pride in what they were seeing. 
 
Choen says the opening of Market Basket this month became something of a celebration as a result. 
 
 
 
 

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Senator Warren Statement on the Opioid Situation


Warren, Murkowski Urge Trump to Officially Declare Opioid Epidemic a National Emergency and Take Action to Help States Combat Crisis

In Bipartisan Letter, Senators Highlight Actions in Massachusetts, Alaska, Echo Trump Commission Recommendations

Text of the letter (PDF)

Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) today sent a letter to President Donald Trump to express concern that he has not declared the nation's opioid epidemic a national emergency or taken meaningful actions, like those of Massachusetts and Alaska after declaring their own state-level emergencies, to address the crisis. The senators encouraged the President to heed the recommendation of the President's own Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis that the President "declare a national emergency under either the Public Health Service Act or the Stafford Act."

The senators praised the President's stated commitment to addressing opioid addiction, but expressed, "we are extremely concerned that 63 days after your statement, you have yet to take the necessary steps to declare a national emergency on opioids, nor have you made any proposals to significantly increase funding to combat the epidemic. Emergency declarations can help combat epidemics by freeing up funds, promoting innovative programs, and making treatments more accessible to vulnerable populations."

The senators also highlighted steps that Massachusetts and Alaskan officials took after declaring their own states of emergency, including, "Alaska's swift steps to expand access to naloxone and Massachusetts' efforts to enhance our prescription drug monitoring program." They called on the President to use the states' actions as a model to combat the crisis nationwide, and follow through on implementing recommendations from his opioid commission.

"Massachusetts and Alaska have been on the forefront of the opioid crisis that is sweeping our nation, and we are proud to represent states that have tackled the epidemic head on," the senators continued. "We hope that you will back up your verbal commitment to fighting the 'serious problem' of opioid addiction with action."

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John We Hardly Knew Ye


The Boston Red Sox are in the market for a new manager, according to ESPN, MLB.com and various Boston media sources, as John Farrell was released from his duties earlier this morning. 

Director of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski made the call and the ballclub issued a release just after 9:30am EDT this morning. 

Its thought in many baseabll circles that former Red Sox Captain Jason Variteck and former Red Sox and current Houston Astros Bench Coach Alex Cora will each recieve an interview. 

Farrell is the first Red Sox Manager to win back to back AL East titles since divisional play was introduced in 1969; in his five years, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2013, and had last place finishes in 2014 and 2015. 

 

 

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New Durfee Forum


A School Building Committee that is working on the design of a proposed new BMC Durfee High School will host its 3rd Public Forum this coming Thursday; the 90 minute event starts at 6:30pm in the school's auditorium. 
 
Administrators for the Fall River Public School Department, the Architectural Firm A-1 Three and Project Manager Left Field will discuss costs and update the schedule for the proposed new High School. 
 
Proposed schematics and designs for the building, which were part of a report for the Fall River School Committee earlier this fall, will be discussed and displayed. 
 
The presentation will include drawings of the interior and exterior and explain how the design will incorporate school culture and the current curriculum. 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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New Bedford Double Homicide


Homicide detectives in New Bedford are investigating a double homicide after a shooting incident that happened in the overnight hours of Tuesday. 
 
New Bedford Police were alerted through a 911 call around 1:30am Tuesday Morning that shots had been fired at a car in the 200 block of Central Avenue in New Bedford; the caller told a dispatcher that popping sounds were heard prior to an auto accident that resulted in the vehicle that was fired on to wind up next to a parked vehicle. 
 
 
27-year-old Stephen Bodden, with addresses in Taunton and New Bedford, was pronounced dead at the scene, while a 28 year old New Bedford man died Tuesday Morning at Saint Luke's Hospital. 

A motive and suspects are still being sought. 
 
 
 
 

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Gasoline This Week


Gasoline prices in the Commonwealth are down nearly five cents this week according to the latest survey from Triple A Northeast. 
 
The latest Triple A Northeast Survey finds a gallon of regular gasoline at an average of 2-55 a gallon, at six cents above the national average of $2.49. 
 
The range in prices in the latest Triple A survey is 55 cents, from a low of $2.39 to a high of $2.79.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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