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WSAR NEWS Archives for 2017-04

The House Budget FY 2018 MA


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Calls to Resign


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

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

 

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

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

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Hints and Allegations


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

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

 

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

 

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

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MassDOT Route 24 South Closure This Week


Media Advisory: Thursday, April 27

Overnight road work, Route 24, Fall River

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

 

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

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

Route 24 South to I-195 East detour:

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

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

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

 

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Fall River Opiod Event


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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Red Sox Orioles Aftermath


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Senator Warren on Hearing Aids


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The SouthCoast Rail Comment Period


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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

How to Review and Comment on the NPC:

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

 

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

 

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


or via hand delivery

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

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

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

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MassDOT Taunton Closings


 

For Immediate Release                                                                    

April 21, 2017

Contact

MassDOT Press Office: 857-368-8500

 

Media Advisory: Taunton

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

 

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

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

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

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

For traffic traveling northbound on Route 140:

·         Take Exit 11 to Stevens Street

·         Turn right and head north on Stevens Street

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

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling southbound on Route 140:

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

·         Turn right and head south on Stevens Street

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

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

For traffic traveling northbound on Route 24:

·         Take Exit 12A onto Route 140 southbound

·         Take Exit 11A and head north on Stevens Street

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

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling southbound on Route 24:

·         Take Exit 12 to Route 140 (County Street)

·         Turn right onto Route 140 southbound

·         Take Exit 11A and head north on Stevens Street

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

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling northbound County Street:

·         Continue north to Stevens Street

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

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

For traffic traveling from the Silver City Galleria Mall:

·         Turn left and head north on Stevens Street

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

·         Back onto Route 140 (County Street).

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

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

 

###

 

 

 

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