WSAR NEWS

Mike Rodrigues Explains The Democratic Process In Drafting A State Budget

The Massachusetts House continues to work on Beacon Hill this week on amendments to the chamber’s spending plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in fiscal year 2020.

 

The Chair of Massachusetts Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means, Mike Rodrigues, explained to WSAR the democratic process of compiling this budget and briefly walked through the amount of hands the budget will go through before its conclusion this Summer.

 

“It’s a very open and deliberate process,” he said. “ The governor has his turn, then the house has their turn then the senate has our own turn on putting together recommendations on how best to spend the 43 million dollars of taxpayer money into the fiscal year budget.”

 

Rodrigues continued, “The governor then gets another bite at the apple and has full ability and authority to line item veto anything.”

 

But, with the next part of the process Rodrigues explained that the Massachusetts House and Senate can then overturn vetoes if they wish. He told WSAR that this is what makes the democratic process so great.

 

“In the legislature, we have the option and the ability to override a veto if we choose,” the Ways and Means Chair stated. “That’s how the democratic process works. It is what is so comforting about working in Massachusetts - you don’t see any heated, angry partisan rhetoric being spewed by either democrats or republicans, though, the media tries to stir things up once in awhile. We can agree to disagree across the aisle. It’s a great process and works well here in Massachusetts."

 

The conference committee is selected every Spring and spends each Summer locked away producing a final version of the budget that will go to both chambers with no amendments for an up or down vote.

MassDOT Advisory: Brayton Point Towers Implosion--The Bridges

MassDOT Advisory: Somerset, Sunday, March 24

Temporary Brief Closure of Braga Bridge and Veteran’s Memorial Bridge

For safety reasons, local roads will close during Brayton Point Power Plant Chimney Demolition 


SOMERSET – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that it will be implementing temporary brief traffic control operations on major roadways near the Brayton Point Power Plant on Sunday, March 24, beginning at 8:00 a.m.

 

 Travel on the Braga Bridge and Veteran’s Memorial Bridge will be stopped and there will be a rolling roadblock on portions of I-195 westbound and Route 79 southbound due to the scheduled demolition of chimneys on Sunday at the Brayton Point Power Plant.  

 

The traffic control operations will be used to limit the traffic on I-195 on the Braga Bridge, and to open the draw span on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge to help stop traffic in this area.  

 

Drivers traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution. All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted due to an emergency situation.

 

For more information on traffic conditions travelers are encouraged to:

 

•         Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions.


•         Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, 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.


 

Negative School Lunch Balances in Swansea

At a Swansea School Committee session this week, the Superintendent of Public Schools John Robidoux explained to the various members the district’s issue at the moment with a negative balance in the lunch program.

 

“Two weeks ago, we received the negative lunch balances for each school,” Robidoux said. “I’m here to share with the committee that it is not in good shape. At this time, we are roughly $4100 dollars in the negative combined. This number is more than double than at this same time last year. This is odd to me because we put ia solid plan in place to address this issue with parents.”

 

The issue seems to be cause in most part due a lack of transferring of funds into student accounts that are used for school lunches or not getting in the necessary paperwork for free or reduced lunches.

 

Robidoux told the committee those utilizing a free or reduced lunch program need to submit that paperwork annually - it is not carried over from the previous school year.

 

“As the committee knows, we have moved away from shaming kids with the cheese sandwich lunches when parents didn’t pay for lunches,” Swansea’s Superintendent said. “As we look through the numbers and situations, a handful of them were free and reduced lunch participants not handing the paperwork in on time or thinking it rolled over every year. Free and reduced lunch has to be applied for each year.”

 

The district is continuing to promote the “My School Bucks” Initiative where accounts can be replenished digitally and will notify you of waning balances or anything else of note.

 

“My School Bucks is the best way to go,” Robidoux told the committee. “I know there’s a small cost but it sends you email and text notifications for anything you need to know. You can even add balances from those notifications. It’s the best to avoid getting in the hole.”

 

Robidoux planned to meet with the various principals of the district to try and find an equitable solution to this issue as the school year winds down to a close.

A Pair of Public Hearings on Zoning - Fall River City Council Session

A Fall River City Council session began just before 6pm Tuesday night and featured a pair of public hearings at the top of the meeting just before the committee on finance began. The two proposals had to do with dog kennels and wind energy.

 

Fall River Planning Director William Roth explained a new kennel regulation he authored last night during the first hearing in Government Center Council Chambers regarding an update on the policy and tweaking current city ordinances to comply with Commonwealth Law.

 

“I was working with Building Commissioner Glen Hathaway,” Roth said. “We wrote a bylaw amendment making dog kennels in Fall River compliant with state law. Currently our kennel bylaw is set at 3 dogs. Massachusetts law is not 3 - it’s 4.”

 

The planning director said the new language would kill two birds with one stone.

 

“This would look at doing two things,” Roth explained. “First it would modify the definition, changing it from 3 to 4. And then, under the use table modifying kennels, instead of 3 would contain 4 or more. That’s all this would be doing, strictly changing it to comply with state law.”

 

The second public hearing featured a proposal from Roth regarding a wind energy corridor at portions of the Fall River Waterfront.

 

“This bylaw has nothing to do with the placement of windmills across the waterfront,” he said. “We’ve received a lot of questions regarding that. A separate windmill bylaw dictates when and where you can put those. This one being proposed today looks at support services and industries that will support offshore wind.”

 

Roth continued, “They need parcels that predominantly have access to water. That would be in our W.T.O.D (Waterfront and Transit-Oriented Development) District. We would look at adding 3 very specifically detailed uses to the use table.”

 

Fall River has the capability of adding various support services as part of a marine economy, according to the city’s planning director.

 

“A lot of services bring different parts in,” Roth explained. “They put them together then put them on a barge and then to offshore wind. A host of support services that will look for maintenance will require waterfront access.”

 

The Fall River planning board will also have a role to play as well as council as both of these proposals will continue through their process in Spring and the Summer.  

Prospective Swansea Mall Property Buyer

There is a prospective, anonymous buyer who has come forward in hopes of acquiring and creating a new plan for the Swansea Mall property. The buyer is a New England-based regional real estate developer with expertise in repositioning large distressed assets who has access to significant capital and a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the property.

 

The buyer is seeking a public-private partnership through a Swansea Redevelopment Authority in which Swansea Selectmen member Chris Carreiro proposed in a presentation at a meeting in January.

 

“It is critically important that the citizens of Swansea support the creation of a Swansea Redevelopment Authority at the Annual Town Meeting on May 20th so that the Town can be active participants in the redevelopment of the Swansea Mall Property," Carreiro said. "The town must be in the driver's seat to fix this complicated economic development problem."

 

The attorney representing the prospective buyer, Attorney George McLaughlin, III of The McLaughlin, Brothers, P.C., explained at last night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting that his client is “all in” on this acquisition is contingent upon the creation of a Redevelopment Authority. He told the trio of members this is a condition because his client wants assistance in navigating roadblocks and intricacies with the current restrictions set by Walmart.

 

McLaughlin assured the Board of Selectmen, “the Town will not have one dime of financial exposure because his client will indemnify the Town.”

 

The prospective buyer will look to include but not limit the space to a large supermarket, retail establishments, entertainment options, medical facilities, offices, housing and a national state of the art self storage provider.

Brayton Point Towers Saturday Morning Implosion

This upcoming Saturday the Somerset Skyline will have a new look after 8 a.m when the Brayton Point Cooling Towers are imploded.

 

Preparations include road closures and road blocks on the morning leading up to the event and some time following. Owners of Saint Louis Based firm who own the decommissioned site will be in the town this week to help with those preparations.

 

“There’s lots of anticipation,” said Somerset Selectman Holly MacNamara. “There’s been lots of planning and lots of work put into this by CDC. Everything is now in place and ready to go. The managers from St. Louis are flying out. We’re all ready to go.”

 

Several weeks ago a trio of chimneys were imploded in the same fashion but had to be pushed 24 hours ahead from Saturday to Sunday because of weather concerns. It’s hoped wind will not be a factor come Saturday.

 

“The chimneys were delayed until Sunday,” MacNamara said. “The weather was a problem but we hope the wind this week will die down by Saturday because people are excited about this.”

 

Following the implosion portions of the remnants will be repurposed and recycled for future uses. “They’ll reuse the rubble and make great use out of it,” MacNamara told WSAR.

 

Once the dust settles following the implosion, the remaining ashes of the site will be removed in a matter of hours in much the way as the chimney trio last month.  

Red Sox and Tigers Rained Out Tonight

The start of the homestand for the Red Sox tonight has been rained out, as a game with Detroit will be made up as part of a day night doubleheader tomorrow afternoon with a first pitch at 1:05...

Tickets for tonight's game will be good for game one tomorrow...coverage on WSAR at noon and at 6:10pm

Tuesday's Regular City Council Session

The Fall River City Council will being their regular session Tuesday night just before 6:00 p.m.

 

The agenda includes public hearings on zoning regarding kennels and a proposed wind energy corridor. A finance committee session will also discuss an inter municipal agreement with Westport in regards to waste water services.

 

The nine member council will also discuss with the city administrator directors of community maintenance and facilities. Discussions will include the electrical needs at the gates of the city and how it could be made easier for vendors and others to have electricity conveniently available.

 

It’s likely council will also send a loan order for $7.4 million to future finance sessions for repairs to the Watson Elementary School. The MSBA Accelerated Repairs Program will reimburse the city for at least $4.1 million of that number.

Somerset Economic Development "Master Plan" Public Meeting

The town of Somerset is hosting a public meeting on Thursday May 2nd at the Somerset Berkley Regional High School Cafeteria between the hours of 6:00 p.m and 8:00 p.m.

 

Somerset residents and business owners are being asked to join town officials for a meeting to discuss, update and collaborate on the town’s plan for economic development - “a deeper dive into the master plan.”

 

The event is free to attend but it is asked of you to RSVP at this link here for tickets - https://somerseteconomicdevelopmentplan.eventbrite.com

 

Some of the things that will be discussed and debated include:

 

• What is an Economic Development Plan?

• What are Somerset’s greatest economic needs?

• What are Somerset’s key strengths and how can we leverage them to promote sustainable

economic development?

• Which areas within Somerset present the best opportunities?

• How can Somerset take steps to implement its economic development goals?

 

For more information or if you require special accommodations or translation services, contact Nancy Durfee, Somerset Town Planner at ndurfee@town.somerset.ma.us or (508) 646-2809.

Return Of Al Mac's

It’s official - Al Mac’s will remain in Fall River.

 

City Council President Cliff Ponte and his family have purchased the business and are already at work remodeling and reviving the Fall River staple.

 

“It’s an exciting time,” the  Council President said to WSAR News. “We’re hoping for a May opening.”

 

Ponte told WSAR he immediately went down to the diner in person a few weekends ago when he heard the news of the restaurant planning to close their doors for good.

 

“I went down there when I find out and spoke to Ms. Dunse, who was an educator at Durfee High when I attended and someone I have tremendous amounts of respect for,” Ponte said. “She decided it was time for her and her family to pursue other things and focus on themselves.”

 

Ponte will not be running the restaurant, that will be his Dad’s new endeavor who he says has a ton of experience.

 

“I’ll rarely be there, if at all,” he said. “My Dad will be running it. It’s going to be his baby and he's very excited about it. He has a very strong following at the various bars and restaurants he’s worked throughout his career.”

 

The council president said a genuine connection and relationship with the Dunse family made negotiations an easy process.

 

“The connection I have with Ms. Dunse and the entire Dunse family made it easy to have an honest and candid discussion on behalf of my family,” he told WSAR. “My Dad has been in the restaurant and bar business for many, many years and we saw this as a great opportunity to keep a landmark in Fall River and make an investment into the city.”

 

Ponte said he and his family recognized the impact this diner has had on not only the local community but those outside of it who hear word of mouth about the city’s landmark.

 

“People come from all over to see an old-fashioned diner and enjoy the food,” he said. ”It’s cool to sit in a diner. My family looked at this as a great opportunity to build on the great legacy of Al Mac’s. We’re really excited.”

Fall River Construction Delays

Administrators with the Department of Community Maintenance in Fall River's Government Center are indicating that due to the construction required in the intersection of Middle Street and Broadway in Fall River, closures in that area need to be extended for a one week period. 

 

Its now expected that the intersection be re opened by April 26. 

 

 

 

 

 

MA Unemployment For March

The Commonwealth's Bureau of Labor and Workforce Development is reporting that the Massachusetts Unemployment Rate remains unchanged at an even 3%. 

 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that preliminary job estimates have the Commonwealth adding 4,100 jobs in March. 

 

While Unemployment in Massachusetts is at an even 3%, the national rate sits at 3.8%.

 

Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta says key sectors such as health services and professional services continue to add jobs. 

 

 

 

 

                  
               

Fairhaven Police Issue a Warning

Police in Fairhaven have posted on their official Facebook Page that ''there is likely a potent batch of heroin or fentanyl mixed substances in this community right now''.

 

Police in Fairhaven have noted that ''there were several overdoses reported in our neighboring city'', after three people were reported to have died from overdoses on Thursday in New Bedford. 

 

Police in Fairhaven are suggesting that users not be alone and that Narcan is nearby.                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Would You Be In Favor Of A Flavored Vaping Product Ban?

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is preparing to ban flavored vaping products and ask for a tax on all e-cigarettes. This is according to State House News Services.

 

Leadership in the House on Beacon Hill has indicated they need more time to consider measures on taxing electronic smoking or items or curb vaping by teenagers in the Commonwealth.

 

WSAR was able to talk to a couple of state representatives in regards to this topic including Bristol Sixth District State Rep Carole Fiola and Bristol Eighth District State Rep Paul Schmid.

 

“The legislature is very concerned about the amount of vaping going on in our school,” Schmid said. “Just when we thought we were making progress against cigarette smoking among young people we now see this vaping scourge.”

 

Attorney General Healey has began to investigate the company Juul, the largest vaping company in the country. She is curious to see if the company is tracks under-age use of their primary products. The parent company of Marlboro owns a 35% stake in Juul worth nearly $13 billion.

 

“The whole topic of vaping has really grown especially with the juul,” Fiola said. “We’ve raised the age to purchase cigarettes and tobacco products including vaping to 21. It’s a topic we spend a lot of time on.”

 

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is looking to raise $6 million in new revenue by adding a tax to e-cigarettes and applying a 40% excise tax on all wholesale vaping products, thought, the House did not include it in their budget.

 

“While it wasn’t in our house budget, I don’t think that’s a signal to an end of the conversation,” Fiola said. “Just like with sports betting, we’re not rushing into anything.”

 

Fiola continued, “a number of amendments come to mind when talking about this topic. I can think of three of them related to vaping, addiction prevention and taxation.”

 

Representative Schmid’s concerns are with the children, “it looks as though everyone is finding their way around the age limits. We keep hearing that restrooms in schools are the spot where children go to vape.”

 

“You’re getting a lot of nicotine with each breath,” he warned.



 

 

 

     

 

 

The 2019 Patriots Schedule

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The National Football League tonight announced the 2019 regular-season schedule and the New England Patriots will begin the defense of their Super Bowl LIII Championship when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime on Sunday Night Football on Sept. 8.

 

It will be the fourth time the Patriots will open the season against Pittsburgh and the third time they will open against the Steelers as defending Super Bowl champions. The Patriots hosted Pittsburgh in 2002 and 2015 following their Super Bowl XXXVI and Super Bowl XLIX titles. Both games resulted in New England victories.

 

 

The Patriots will play in a total of five nationally-televised games and are scheduled to be featured in the marquee matchup in four games that will air at the end of a double-header with kickoffs scheduled at 4:25 p.m. ET. The Patriots are scheduled to play a stretch of eight consecutive games that will either be played in primetime or at 4:25 p.m. ET.

 

 

Two of the five nationally televised games will be played at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots will play three primetime games in 24 days.

 

After the Sunday Night Football opener against Pittsburgh, the Patriots will have back-to-back primetime games, starting with a Thursday Night game vs. the New York Giants on Oct. 10.

 

The team will then travel to face the New York Jets 11 days later on Monday Night Football on Oct. 21 at MetLife Stadium. It will be the third time in Patriots history that the team will face the New York teams in consecutive weeks. In 1990, the Patriots closed out the season with games at the Jets (12/23/90) and home against the Giants (12/30/90). In 2011, the Patriots hosted the Giants (11/6/11) and then traveled to face the Jets (11/13/11).

 

 

After hosting the Cleveland Browns in a 4:25 p.m. game on Oct. 27, the Patriots will travel to Baltimore on Nov. 3 for a Sunday night matchup against the Ravens. The final scheduled primetime game will be Dec. 1 for a Sunday night game at the Houston Texans and the last scheduled 4:25 p.m. kickoff start will be a rematch of the 2018 AFC Championship Game when the Patriots host the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 8.

 

 

The Patriots and Texans will play for the fifth straight year in the regular season and for the sixth time overall, with New England holding a 5-0 edge in those meetings.

 

In 2016, the teams met in the regular season and playoffs. The Patriots will play against the Chiefs in the regular season for the third straight year. In 2018, the Patriots and Chiefs met twice – a 43-40 victory at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 14 and a 37-31 overtime win at Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game that sent New England to its third straight Super Bowl.

 

 

After opening against Pittsburgh, the Patriots will jump straight into AFC East play when they travel to play the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 15, followed by a home contest against the New York Jets on Sept. 22 and a road game at the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 29. New England is scheduled to play three consecutive division foes within the first four weeks of the season for the third time in the Bill Belichick era, with previous occurrences in 2001 and 2010.

 

 

New England will enjoy the bye week in Week 10 following a Sunday night game in Baltimore against the Ravens. The Patriots will have a November bye week for the seventh time in eight seasons. The Patriots will play two NFC East teams coming out of the bye with a Nov. 17 game at the Philadelphia Eagles followed by a Nov. 24 tilt at home against the Dallas Cowboys.

 

 

For the third straight season, the Patriots will close out the regular season with two home games against AFC East foes, vs. Buffalo and vs. Miami on Dec. 29. The Buffalo game will be played on either Saturday, Dec. 21 or Sunday, Dec. 22. The Patriots own the best divisional record in regular-season play with an 86-24 record since 2001 and have gone 18 straight seasons without being swept by a division opponent, the longest such streak in the NFL since 1970.

 

 

 In addition to playing each AFC East opponent twice, the Patriots will play one game against each of the AFC North and NFC East teams. As the 2018 AFC East division winners, the Patriots will play the first-place team of the AFC West (Kansas City) and AFC South (Houston).

 

 

PRESEASON SCHEDULE

DATE    OPPONENT    TIME    TV / AFFILIATE
Thursday, August 8    @ Detroit Lions    7:30 PM    WBZ / Patriots Preseason Network


Saturday, August 17    @ Tennessee Titans    7:00 PM    WBZ / Patriots Preseason Network


Thursday, August 22    Carolina Panthers    7:30 PM    WBZ / Patriots Preseason Network


Thursday, August 29    New York Giants    7:30 PM    WBZ / Patriots Preseason Network

 


REGULAR SEASON


DATE    OPPONENT    TIME    TV / AFFILIATE
Sunday, September 8    Pittsburgh Steelers    8:20 PM    NBC
Sunday, September 15    at Miami Dolphins    1:00 PM    CBS / WBZ
Sunday, September 22    New York Jets    1:00 PM    CBS / WBZ
Sunday, September 29    at Buffalo Bills    1:00 PM    CBS / WBZ
Sunday, October 6    at Washington Redskins    1:00 PM    CBS / WBZ
Thursday, October 10    New York Giants    8:20 PM    FOX / NFLN / Amazon
Monday, October 21    at New York Jets    8:15 PM    ESPN
Sunday, October 27    Cleveland Browns    4:25 PM    CBS / WBZ
Sunday, November 3    at Baltimore Ravens    8:20 PM    NBC
BYE WEEK            
Sunday, November 17    at Philadelphia Eagles    4:25 PM    CBS / WBZ
Sunday, November 24    Dallas Cowboys    4:25 PM    FOX
Sunday, December 1    at Houston Texans    8:20 PM    NBC
Sunday, December 8    Kansas City Chiefs    4:25 PM    CBS / WBZ
Sunday, December 15    at Cincinnati Bengals    1:00 PM    CBS / WBZ
TBD (December 21 or 22)    Buffalo Bills    TBD    TBD
Sunday, December 29    Miami Dolphins    1:00 PM    CBS / WBZ
 

Fall River Narcotics Bust

On April 16th, 2019 at 6:15 P.M, Detectives of the Fall River Police Departments Vice and Intelligence Unit went to 904 Middle Street to execute a search warrant. The target of the search warrant was 3rd-floor resident Hector F. Marquez Jr. age 35.

 

Lead Detective Joshua Robillard was assisted by Detectives Kwin Silva, Richard Aguiar, Bryan Custadio, Tryce Grant and Sergeant William Falandys.

 

When Detectives knocked and announced their presence, a male responded but did not open the door. Detectives breached the door to gain entry finding Hector F. Marquez Jr. inside the apartment.

 

Prior to the search, Marquez voluntarily produced two baggies of suspected cocaine from his bedroom weighing 2.2 and 2.6 grams respectively.

 

Detectives commenced with their search and located 25 rounds of 9mm ammunition, a plastic storage bag with approximately 172 grams of suspected cocaine and a plastic bag with approximately 15.2 grams of crack cocaine in a storage room. 22 - 12 gauge shotgun rounds were found in the living room.

 

 

In all, approximately 192 grams of suspected cocaine was seized.

 

Hector F. Marquez Jr. age 35 of 904 Middle Street 3rd floor was taken into custody on charges of: 
• Trafficking in Cocaine – over 100 grams
• Possession of Ammunition w/o an FID Card

How many legal cannabis shops is too much in Fall River?

How many cannabis dispensaries are too many for the city of Fall River?

 

City Council member Leo Pelletier said at a recent session of the council, “I just feel eight is enough.”

 

This came following a submitted resolution from Pelletier seeking to cap off the number of legal cannabis dispensaries in Fall River to the number '8.' Mayor Jasiel Correia II and his administration has already agreed to 11 letters of non-opposition. The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission has only awarded a handful of licenses, however, in the state. 

 

“It doesn’t have to go through the voters, it can go through ordinances. I just think eight is enough,” Pelletier explained. The resolution was approved by an 8-1 margin at that same recent city council session and will move on to a future ordinance and legislation committee later on this Spring.

 

The lone no vote from the city council came from member Steve Camara, “This is a legal business. We all promote and say we support capitalism.”

 

He had a word of advice for those in favor of the resolution, “My advice is that we allow the market to decide. We enjoy the free market doing what it can to create jobs and allow people's choices to be made by that free market.”

 

The Fall River Herald News reported the first contributions from a 3% host fee of various cannabis dispensaries are beginning to arrive, just in time for the fiscal year 2020 budget. The sixth floor is hoping to pay for various line items in future municipal budgets from legal cannabis revenue as well as digital billboards and indoor advertising in government center.

 

Northeast Alternatives reported $3 million in sales with Fall River getting nearly $88,000 of it on top of $75,000 already paid in fees. The second licensed dispensary, Hope Heal Health has also paid its fees while four other establishments await the green light from the Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commision.

 

“I see no reason for this,” Council Member Camara said. “It’s not as if we’re voting on an industry that has a history of being destructive or detrimental to peace and tranquility. In fact, some may argue the opposite, that it’s an industry that promotes those things. I don’t see a need for this resolution.”

The Morning of April 27

In coordination with the Massachusetts State Police, The Somerset Police Department, The Somerset Fire Department, The Swansea Fire Department, Massachusetts D.O.T, Northeast Traffic Control Services, Commercial Development Co., and Brayton Point LLC., The Swansea Police Department will be assisting with the traffic modification plan in the morning hours on April 27, 2019 during the implosion of the former Brayton Point Cooling Towers located at Brayton Point in Somerset, MA.

 

To ensure the safety of our residents, several road closures and limits to “local residential traffic” will be enacted at a time to be determined.  The Swansea roads affected are as follows:

 

1.    Route 195 East on ramps will be closed.


2.    Route 103 will be closed at Gardner’s Neck road to east bound traffic and all traffic diverted north to route 6.
3.    New Gardner’s Neck road will be closed to all non residents.


4.    Pinehurst Ave at Anthony Ave will be closed to all non-residents.


5.    Gardner’s Neck road will be closed at Ocean Grove Ave and Sawyer Ave for all non-residents.


6.    Gardner’s Neck Road at Church St will be closed and all residents must show identification to pass after the road closure is enacted.

 

In addition to the above road closures and diversions, Gardner’s Neck road (south of Church St), Randall Shea Dr, Lands End Way, Hetherington Dr, Wilder St, Sycamore St, Norwood St, Lawrence St, Bayside Ave, Shawmut Ave, Riverview Ave and Susan Dr, will all have ONE side of the street posted “NO PARKING.”

 

On street parking in the posted area will not be permitted and any vehicles parked will be tagged and towed if necessary, this is to allow Fire Apparatus and EMS Vehicles that may have to respond  to any emergencies in the neighborhoods, to do so safely and quickly.

 

The road closures are currently planned to take place approximately one and one half hours prior to the implosions. They will last only as long as it takes to restore the normal traffic patterns and ensure public safety after the implosions are complete.  

 

Thank you for your cooperation and assisting us in ensuring your safety.  Please see the Brayton Point LLC.’s FAQ sheet for more information. 

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/7di9qyecin8nhm9/Brayton%20Implosion%20FAQs.pdf?dl=0


 

Drainage Product Thing

Work on the Cress Brook Drainage Project begins in New Boston Road this coming Monday Morning. 

The construction will be on New Boston Road between Phillips Street and North Eastern Avenue, with road closures as construction requires.

Work is expected to be completed by May 10. 

Due to weather and the nature of underground construction schedules could be adjusted and message boards will be in the area if updates are necessary. 

 

 

What is Bus Tiering?

In the ongoing debate over how much funding the city of Fall River will provide to the public school system in terms of school transportation for fiscal year 2020, the idea of bus tiering has been tossed around.

 

Currently, the placeholder number for transportation line items in the Fall River Public School System is 11.9 million - roughly 2 million dollars more than expected.

 

Ken Pacheco, the Chief Operating Officer for Fall River Public Schools explained the concept of tiering buses, “tiering means, for example, ‘bus A’ would go to Spencer Borden School and when finished head to the next school to perform another route.”

 

He continued, “basically that means some buses would serve two schools rather than have two separate buses it would be the same bus one at at time. The bus company would already be paying a mobilized vehicle. They wouldn’t have to pay another drive or monitor.”

 

This is just one concept being discussed in the wake of last weeks mandated joint-session of both the city council and school committee when it was revealed that as of now, the debt exclusion for the new B.M.C Durfee High School will begin in fiscal year 2020, not 2023 as originally proposed. That number is being discussed as a placeholder for now but could become part of the 2020 fiscal budget if the transportation line item number remains.

 

“We’re transporting about half the population of Fall River public school students between our own and the S.R.T.A buses,” Pacheco said. Suggestions have risen in the last week of starting this bidding process over again to negotiate to a better number.

 

Pacheco said there is still time if administrators wish to do it, “It’s not an ideal but we'll do what we have to do. I understand the gripe, it’s a lot of money for a city that has to count it’s pennies.. Fall River knows this is big dollars. We'll make it work with whatever is decided and hope for the best.”

Patriot's Day Rally at Stop & Shop

 

 

Tens of thousands Stop and Shop employees were back on a picket line Monday morning and will continue today into the fifth day of striking against the grocery store company.

 

At a rally yesterday at the Fall River Stop and Shop Location off Mariano Bishop Boulevard, nearly one hundred people and employees gathered with elected officials.

 

One of those was Massachusetts Fourth District Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, “I come here to say thank you - more than anything else. You’re fighting for not only your own families but for every single working middle-class family across this country.”

 

Kennedy continued to remind the people of Fall River this isn’t just a local problem but one being fought everywhere with working people against big corporations.

 

“This fight that you’re fighting here is being played out in community and community across this country and now it’s come to our door.”

 

He went on, “You’re fighting for every single family struggling to meet ends meet - for a family that has to choose between going to work for a very meager raise that goes right out the door on a healthcare cost while a parent-company (Stop and Shop) sits on two-billion in profit!”

 

He told the people of Fall River and the nearly hundred gathered that their elected leaders will support them

 

“Whatever you need - you got it from us, one-hundred percent. Keep fighting.”

 

Congressman Bill Keating also appeared at the Patriot’s Day rally in front of the Stop and Shop entrance off Canning Boulevard. He’s been making the rounds over the last handful of days in his travels to see how the stores have handled business without their employees.

 

The congressman said there was barely any business to handle.

 

“I looked in the windows of the Dartmouth store location. I just looked - didn’t go in. And the aisles we’re empty. The Plymouth location was completely dark. They had a banner up that said, ‘Now Hiring.’ No one was going in.”

 

One of the Stop and Shop workers striking, a leader at the store in Somerset had no shame telling the crowd she made less than $21.00 an hour after nearly twenty-one years of service to the company and scoffed at the offer of a fifty cent raise.

 

“This is coming from a corporation that profited two point one billion dollars last year and a corporation not worried about market-share,” Keating said. “They’re not suffering.”

 

Domenic Pontarelli, the treasurer/secretary of UFCW Local 328 said the two sides are not close to reaching a deal.

 

A Bristol-Norfolk state senator Paul Fenney, with ties to both Fall River and the world of unions drove down from Quincy to make an appearance and fire up the disgruntled union workers.

 

“We need to empower our leaders like the congressmen today to go back to the state house and tell them - we know what’s going on at Stop & Shop and we’re not going to let them run their playbook in Massachusetts!”

 

Stop and Shop management sat on the other side of the locations parking lot watching as their subordinates rallied and fought with their elected leaders

 

“Here in Fall River and at Stop & Shops across the commonwealth of Massachusetts we’re going to stand up and fight back,” Feeney roared. “You’re on ground zero. You’re on the vanguard against corporate greed a that didn’t start here at Stop and Shop but we’ll make damn sure it ends here at Stop and Shop!”

 

He ended his rally cry with a slogan from unions he’s been apart of, “We’re union, we’re proven - hang tough!”

Mayor Jasiel Correia II New Status Conference Date

While re-called and then re-elected Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II and federal prosecutors have yet to face off in a Moakley Federal courtroom in Boston since the October arraignment of Correia on four counts of federal tax fraud and nine of wire fraud, that could change during the first week in June

 

The defense team has yet to make a discovery request following the release of more than 18,000 documents released during the discovery phase in November. Last week, Correia’s defense team and federal prosecutors indicated, in a release, a trial of one happens could possibly last 2-3 weeks. 

 

A final status conference is set for the week of June 3rd following at least three postponements and cancellations. It’s possible a trial date could be set during that conference. 

 

Below is the filing:

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Criminal No. 18-10364-DPW v. JASIEL F. CORREIA, II Defendant 
 

JOINT INTERIM STATUS REPORT PURSUANT TO LOCAL RULE 116.5(b) 


The United States of America, by and through the undersigned Assistant United States
Attorneys, and the defendant, through undersigned counsel, hereby file this Joint Memorandum
Pursuant to Local Rule 116.5(b) as follows:


1. The government produced approximately 18,256 pages of automatic discovery on
November 7, 2018. There are no pending discovery requests.
2. The government does not presently anticipate making another substantial discovery
production prior to 21 days in advance whatever trial date is set.
3. Defendant has not yet made any additional discovery requests.
4. As the Court is aware, a protective order has been entered. See ECF Dkt. No. 27.
5. Defendant will file any motions under Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b) by June 3, 2019.
6. The parties jointly request that any expert witness disclosures be made 60 days in
advance of whatever trial date is set.
7. Defendant has not given notice that he intends to offer a defense of insanity, public
authority, or alibi, but reserves the right to do so at a later date.
8. The Court has excluded time from arraignment, October 11, 2018, through and
including April 23, 2019. See ECF Dkt. Nos. 13, 29, and 32. The parties jointly
request that the Court enter an order of excludable delay from April 23, 2019, until
the date on which the Court schedules the final status conference, to allow
defendant additional time to review the voluminous discovery and prepare any
motions under Fed. R. Crim. P. 12(b).
9. The parties have not had any plea discussions. If this case were to go to trial, the
government expects that the trial would last approximately two to three weeks.
10. The parties agree that, in light of the information contained herein, an interim status
conference on April 23, 2019 is not necessary. The parties jointly request that the
Court cancel the conference scheduled for April 23, 2019, and schedule a final
status conference during the week of June 3, 2019.


Respectfully submitted,
JASIEL F. CORREIA II, ANDREW E. LELLING
Defendant United States Attorney
/s/ Kevin Reddington, Esq. /s/ Zachary R. Hafer
Kevin Reddington, Esq. Zachary R. Hafer
David G. Tobin
Assistant U.S. Attorneys
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
I hereby certify that this document filed through the ECF system will be sent electronically
to the registered participants as identified in the Notice of Electronic Filing.
/s/ Zachary R. Hafer
Zachary R. Hafer
Assistant U.S. Attorney

The Aftermath of The Joint Session

The nine-member Fall River City Council and the seven member Fall River School Committee met Thursday in Council Chambers in Government Center for three hours, learning that the municipal side is prepared if needed to add a debt exclusion for a new BMC Durfee High School to pay for student transportation costs, while school department administrators pledge they are working to reduce the current 11.9 million dollar placeholder number. 

 

Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II argued that the $2.1 million that could be added to tax bills is a place holder, as negotiations continue over bus contracts and what the district and the city can actually afford. 

School Committee Member Paul Coogan argued that he and others helped pass a debt exclusion that was not to be part of the city's tax bills till FY 2023. 

New Durfee Tax Increase May Come Earlier Than Proposed

In a charter-mandated, joint meeting with the Fall River City Council and Fall River School Committee last night, Mayor Jasiel Correia II briefed the gathered on the financial climate of the city of Fall River leading up to the fiscal year 2020 budget.

 

A part of the presentation that garnered attention from many city officials was the administration proposing the debt exclusion for the new B.M.C Durfee High School begin with fiscal year 2020 instead of the original starting point of fiscal year 2023. A major selling point in the campaign to finance a portion of the new high school was the delay of increased taxes.

 

If this debt exclusion does in fact become part of the 2020 fiscal year budget, it would be worth just over 2.1 millions dollars and begin the 30-year life of this bond. Mayor Correia called the number a “placeholder” for now as negotiations continue between the school department and the companies bidding on transportation. It was made known this week transportation costs could possibly be 2 millions dollars more than originally anticipated - roughly the same number as the debt exclusion.

 

Mayor Correia also mentioned that his administration will be looking for alternative revenue in digital billboards, indoor advertising inside of Government Center and tax revenue from cannabis sales with two more recreational licenses being granted in the last week to the Fall River.

 

School committee member and runner-up in last month’s recall election to Mayor Correia Paul Coogan said voters were sold on the idea of the debt exclusion coming in 2023 as he was a proponent for it in its campaign.

Coogan asked the mayor if he would hold a press conference as this is a very important piece of news for taxpayers. Correia reiterated that this is a placeholder and if negotiations are successful with the school department reducing transportation costs the number may not appear in the final budget for fiscal year 2020.

Kennedy on Trans Policy

As the Trump Administration moves forward with the implementation of its ban on transgender servicemembers, Congressman Joe Kennedy III today blasted the policy and called for renewed efforts to reject it. Last month, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed Kennedy’s bipartisan resolution urging the Department of Defense to not reinstate the policy.
 
“Our nation’s past, present and future is built on a fundamental promise that everyone counts. With the implementation of the President’s bigoted ban on transgender servicemembers we have fallen short today. But we know that even if our march towards equality can be slowed by one man, it can never be stopped and trans troops will soon serve proudly and openly once again. To all the trans servicemembers and their families, please know this country sees you, we are grateful for your sacrifice, and we will fight by your side for a country that makes good on her promises.”
 
Kennedy serves as chairman of the Congressional Transgender Equality Task Force. Following the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, he introduced the Do No Harm Act with Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA), which would amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to preserve civil rights. Last year, Kennedy led nearly 100 colleagues demanding the rejection of a proposed policy by the Department of Health and Human Services to redefine “sex” to exclude the transgender community and deny them basic civil rights protections. He has been a proud co-sponsor of major equality legislation, from the Equality Act to the Global Respect Act to the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

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