Mayor Paul Coogan Talks Legal Cannabis In Fall River

The cannabis business in Fall River is booming. 


A third dispensary will most likely make its way into the city’s rotation before the end of 2020 and join Northeast Alternatives and Hope Heal Health. 


A major concern for the city and its mayor is the traffic congestion at the Northeast Alternatives location at the border of Rhode Island. Its hoped that the addition of Hope Heal Health and a future shop will alleviate those issues. 


"When you have only one open in a city this big sitting on the Rhode Island border, it's fought with disaster,” Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan said. “Twenty-five percent of the customers at Northeast were from outer state with fifty percent from Fall River.”


Mayor Coogan said he’s mostly concerned with that fifty percent number and how it will dictate the addition of future dispensaries in Fall River. 


“I'm hoping those north of Bedford Street try Hope Heal Health and if they like it then like I said after one or two more dispensaries, I'd like the city to take a pause and see where to go from there,” he said.


The Fall River Mayor said that the city’s second dispensary is making progress since opening in early February. 


"I did speak with Hope Heal Health,” Coogan said. “They just trained 15 more people. They are expanding their dispensary hours to mirror what's going on at Northeast opening an hour earlier once the new people are trained.” 


He continued, “they said the business is on a steady increase. Every day, they are picking up more and more customers."


Rhode Island, currently, has yet to legalize cannabis recreationally.

Meth Lab Explosion In Norton

The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office reported over the weekend that 38-year old Norton man died on Saturday as a result of a small explosion at his apartment Faith Way.


The explosion appears to be a result of a meth lab operating inside of the residence.


Edward Rooney had already fled the scene when police arrived just before 1 am Saturday morning. There was no fire upon arrival on the scene.


Then, shortly after Attleboro Police and fire personnel responded to a residence in Attleboro on Pike Avenue after a 9-1-1 call for a man experiencing medical issues. The residents were awoken by a man screaming for help outside their home. When they let him, he collapsed in the entryway. 


Rooney was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead just after 2:30 am. 


Residents in the Faith Way apartment building in Norton were ordered to evacuate to a community center. The investigation is ongoing as a medical examiner will perform an autopsy on the deceased.

Potential Borden School Demolition

The clock is ticking on the proposed demolition of the former Borden School building in Fall River. 


The City Council’s Committee on Real Estate held a meeting this week and discussed this topic. Representatives from Fall River’s Preservation Society asked them for more time to see if they could find a way to save the building. 


Currently, a search for necessary documents are underway in hopes of saving the property.


The City’s Chief Financial Officer said Corporation Counsel needs to get involved.


"We know that the purchase and sale was being sought after,” Mary Sahady said. “So, I'd like to go meet with Corporation Counsel to make sure it is not available.”


Sahady, who is also the city’s interim administrator, says this needs more research before it can proceed. 


“I’d like to pull the deed to make sure there are no restrictions on it,” she said. “I think we need to do some further investigation in regards to this particular sale.”


Attorney Matt Thomas explained that many city parcels that could be looking to sell are wetlands. The city’s planning departments will be asked what can be sold and what needs to be retained. 


City administrators will also be tasked to investigate the issues on Whitefield Street where flooding and building problems have frustrated residents for several years.

Jason Burns & Early Prevention Of Cancer In Retired Firefighters

Fall River Firefighters have asked, and received, decontamination kits and specially-designed washing machines to remove carcinogens as various forms of cancers continue to take the lives of retired fire professionals.


The Head of the IAFF Local 13-14 representing Fall River Firefighters is Jason Burns and he asked for funding. He said sixty-one percent of firefighters lose their lives to different forms of cancer.


"Early prevention is the key,” Burns said. “That is the other level of what we are doing here. You will save lives if you catch the cancer early.” 


Burns knows this is something that comes with the territory of the job. 


“It's bound to happen in our job,” he said. “It's a part of what it is. I'm not here singing you a sad song. I get it, cancer is part of it. But if we can do anything as  a group here to prevent it, catch it early and keep people alive we have to so I'm asking for your support."


Burns explained what exactly funds will go to including an interesting cancer-screening process involving dogs. 


"The cancer-screening process sounds hoaky because it's a dog screening process but it has a ninety-four percent accuracy rate,” he said. “So, we breathe into masks for fifteen minutes and send it back to them.” 


In some cases, the animals can find early signs before human blood tests


“They have a series of dogs trained to sniff out what could be a sign of cancer,” Burns said. “Sometimes, they hit on precancerous cells before even a doctor with a blood test can tell."

Cannabis Revenue Numbers

In just a few months, the city of Fall River could have an idea of what type of impact the opening of the second recreational cannabis location in Fall River will have on revenue numbers. 


Hope Heal Health opened their doors to recreational cannabis during in the first week of February. 


Mary Sahady, the city’s Chief Financial Officer and Interim CIty Administrator, said the first few months of transactions might be able to predict how revenue will be affected in the long-term between Hope Heal Health’s addition and the business it could potentially take away from Northeast Alternatives. 


"At this particular point, I don't really have any idea on what their revenue stream will be,” she said. “Our budget is due May 15th so hopefully I will have at least one if not two months of cash receipts so I can better estimate what our revenue stream will be from Hope Heal Health as well as if there’s a decline from Northeast.”


Northeast Alternatives who contributed nearly two million dollars to Fall River in its first year is now attempting to expand into Swansea with a new location. Their CFO and CEO told the Swansea Board of Selectmen they could net the town $750,000 in their first year.

Northeast Alternatives Wants To Expand Into Swansea

Northeast Alternatives in Fall River is looking to expand to a new location in Swansea. 


At a recent Board of Selectmen meeting in Swansea, there were frustrations expressed about the process of granting letters of non-opposition and host agreements. 


Selectman Steven Kitchin said that investment groups have bailed and partnerships have ended without administrators in Swansea being notified. 


"I'm in this uncomfortable position of feeling like we have hanging letters of non-opposition letters out there with no response, in terms of activity from previous applicants," he said. 


The CEO and CFO of Northeast attempted to remind the Swansea board of the three percent sales tax could produce an amount of $750,000 in revenue. 


"This applicant has no less right to a letter of non-opposition than the other letters we have written that turned into thin air,” Kitchin said. “That's kind-of where I stand on this topic."


Swansea is on the list of Commonwealth cities and towns that have to go before a grand jury in Boston to explain their process of how they award the proper documentation for a recreational cannabis license.

Council Approves A Pair Of Loan Orders

A pair of loan orders were approved last night at the Fall River CIty Council session.


The first was for $2.1 million for snow removal equipment. 


Community Maintenance Director John Perry talked about the new equipment that should be coming in soon


"The trucks are ordered,” he said. “They are being manufactured as we speak. I confirmed with the vendor today that the first two trucks will be in on Thursday.” 


Perry continued, “and then six will be in shortly thereafter. There are a total of fourteen trucks on the order so hopefully in the next week and half we have the first eight in and ready to go."


Three of the trucks will be used throughout the entire year while the remaining 11 will be used for only snow removal in the Winter months. 


"Some are multi-purposed so I bought three of them,” Perry said. “They have dump bodies so we will remove the salters in the Spring, Fall and Summer and use them for our concrete and asphalt crews. The rest will be serviced and housed for those months and only used in the Winter season."


The second loan order was for street repair which was created when council, last month, rejected the remaining streetscapes. The amount for this loan order is $2.2 million. 


Perry discussed the relationship with Liberty Utilities that the city has had in regards to various street repairs. 


"I know our issues with Liberty are well-documented throughout the year,” he said. “It may be hard to believe but we have made strides with them."


The Community Maintenance Director said everyone has learned a lesson in regards to the Chapter 90 street projects.


"We have learned from our mistakes and going forward those won't be repeated,” he said. “If I have anything to do with it, there will be accountability. We will keep as many eyes as possible on those projects to make sure that proper oversight is being maintained throughout the entire project."


Council also approved a decision by the Committee on Regulations regarding Cumberland Farm Gas Tanks which will hold 48,000 gallons underground. The proposed STevens street location for a new Cumberland Farms will likely operate 24/7.     

Cannabis Control Commission Requests Interview Reports

The U.S District Judge in charge of Correia V. The United States of America agreed to a request by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to review the interview reports of those identified in the second superseding against the former Fall River Mayor handed down last September. 


Five prospective cannabis vendors were interviewed by federal investigators. 


The information contained will now be used by the Commission in terms of its own investigation. They will look at how and why certain cities and towns handed out letters of non-opposition and host agreements for recreational licensure. 


Back in September, United States Attorney Andrew Lelling was unclear about the status of the remaining letters of non-opposition and host agreements in the pipeline when asked by WSAR. 


“The status of those applications are not up to my office,” he said. “As to whether currently the commission considers them valid or not valid or what those vendors should, I honestly don’t know.”


He also told WSAR back in September this wasn’t just an issue for Fall River but one across the state that could be an epidemic. 


“My understanding is that it is not unique,” Lelling said. “Many towns in the Commonwealth give their local head of government, usually mayor, sole discretion in granting letters. We are concerned and we may or may not look into that issue.”


If the Cannabis Control Commission wants to make its information public, it must return to the federal courts for permission.

Mayor Paul Coogan Talks Hope Heal Health Grand Opening

Hope Heal Health on Weaver Street in Fall River officially began selling recreational cannabis on Friday.


In a weekly conversation with WSAR, Mayor Paul Coogan who speaks with WSAR every Friday at 12:30 talked about the city opening up its second recreational cannabis dispensary. 


The major issue that is hoped to be solved is traffic. Northeast Alternatives has been the only dispensary in Fall River thus far selling cannabis recreationally which means it is a monopoly in Fall River. 


There is a weekly congestion of vehicles and complaints of noise at the location which resides near the border of Tiverton. Hopefully, now that there are more places to buy product, business will be divvied up and those concerns will be solved naturally. 


The Fall River Mayor took a tour of the facility on its day of grand opening. 


"It's a beautiful facility,” he said. “They put a ton of money into the building. They hired a ton of people from Fall River. They have somewhere between 125 and 130 employees right now. When the build-out is done on floors 3 and 4 they expect to have up to 225 employees."


If you’re thinking parking might be an issue with the type of demand this product holds, think again. The company’s CEO John Rogue has figured that out, says Coogan. 


"There is a substantial amount of parking,” he said. “He has somewhere around 250 parking spots including some he rented. For the mere fact that some people may not want to go up there with the type of parking at Northeast and all of the traffic.” 


“Weaver Street is a bit quieter and people can get in and out a little quicker,” Coogan said. “There will be a natural market force that will alleviate the pressure at Northeast. Everyone's hope in the city is to spread out that traffic a bit."


Currently, 14 prospective cannabis dispensaries have attained host agreements and non-opposition letters in Fall River with others waiting to get in front of the Cannabis COntrol Commission. But that doesn’t mean all will come to fruition.


"I don't see Fall River supporting a number like 14,” the Fall River Mayor said. “I know Taunton gave out 18. If I was drawing out the rollout, I'd like to see us go to 3 then 4 then 5 and sit around there a little while to look at what traffic looks like and how business is doing. We can determine the upsides and downsides and then go forward from there."


Boston was approved for their first recreational dispensary earlier in the month and expect its opening in a few weeks. 

New Massachusetts Mental Health Reform Bill

The Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman announced to WSAR on Thursday that a new comprehensive reform package regarding mental health has been produced. 


Michael Rodrigues, who also serves as the Bristol-Plymouth 1st District State Senator, began to discuss what type of things we can expect from this piece of legislation. 


He told WSAR, “among other things it would eliminate prior authorizations so that should your mental health provider determine you need intensive outpatient treatment or inpatient treatment, you don’t have to wait for your insurance company to insure that.”  


Rodrigues went on to list the other things that represent what this bill will mean.


“It calls for true parity between mental and physical health,” he said. “It reforms the way we treat those, especially pediatric, that are present in emergency rooms. It insures they get the help they need in a timely manner.”


State House News Services is reporting that the bill will be debated in the Senate next week. Senators will have until Monday to file amendments for a Thursday debate.

Commonwealth Awards Grant Money To Fall River, New Bedford And Fairhaven

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts entered into a third round of funding of M.V.P Action Grants this week.


Fall River, New Bedford and Fairhaven were among the various communities to share in over 10.5 million dollars. The grant money is intended to be used in the funding of projects that build local resilience to climate change.  


Fall River was awarded 115,000 dollars which will be used for the water supply risk and resilience assessment as well as a distribution system. 


New Bedford and Fairhaven will share in a sum of over 58,000 dollars for a New Bedford Harbor Evaluation as well as towards resilience design guideline development.

Joe Kennedy III Reacts To State Of The Union Address

President Trump gave his third and what could be his final State of the Union Address earlier this week. 


Hours prior to the speech, the White House to Massachusetts media sent information touting aspects of the Commonwealth’s economy. It was claimed that the state’s falling poverty rate has lifted 62,000 people out.


Other things praised by the Trump Administration was the wage increase by five percent for Massachusetts workers over the last year.


The COmmonwealth’s 4th District Congressman who is running against Ed Markey for a U.S Senate Seat had much to say about the man in charge and his words earlier in the week. 


Kennedy called Trump  ''a man who has proven himself incapable of practicing the unity he preaches during his State of the Union Address.” 


Kennedy also said in his reactions that this leadership group is only in this for themselves. 


“This administration has never judged its own success by the success of our neighbors,” he said. “It has only sought to consolidate power at the expense of those it silences.”

John Perry Talks Recycling Education In Fall River

In a post Pay-As-You-Throw Era in Fall River, the Director of Community Maintenance indicated the city has begun an education program on the proper ways to recycle. 


John Perry made it clear the goal is to keep recyclings as clean as possible to keep as many toxins out as possible. 


"We're going to start an education pu,” he said..” We started with the schools last year. We gave them some demonstrations to get the kids involved. I think that’s a big piece. Eventually, those children are going to be our recycling producers.”


Perry continued, “they'll be the ones putting it out on the curbside and if they're recycling responsibly our contamination rates will be lower."


The question of shipping internationally out our recycling was brought up. Perry said Fall River has to build-up a stock of recycling to begin that process. If the youth in Fall River are educated on the proper ways of recycling, this can become a main option for the city. 


"Once the market does call for the need for more recycling to be shipped to these countries, the initial recycling that we’re putting out on our curbside as residents won't be what they receive,” he said. “They'll get stockpiles of recycling that have been baled and stored.”


The Director of Community Maintenance said that this will not be something that happens overnight. 


“It will take a while for the consumer recycling to be what’s in demand,” Perry said. “When that happens is when market price turns back."

Hope Heal Health Will Open Door To Recreational Cannabis This Friday

Hope Heal Health will begin selling recreational cannabis this Friday, February 7th. 


They became the second dispensary in the City of Fall River to sell cannabis, recreationally and began selling medicinally in February of 2019.


The store is located at a renovated mill on West Street which will also cultivate the product.


The first store, Northeast Alternatives, is located on the North End of the city near the border of Tiverton. Business has done so well that there have been issues of traffic concerns and noise complaints for those in the surrounding neighborhood.


Mayor Paul Coogan is hopeful with Hope Heal Health beginning to sell recreationally that those issues will be solved. 


"Right now, Northeast Alternatives has a monopoly in the city of Fall River on recreational marijuana,” he said. “If we can open up a few places, I have to believe the traffic will lessen quickly up there.”


Coogan continued, “just for the mere fact that people don't want to wait in line that long. People don't want to be jumping around the block three times to park.” 


The Fall River Mayor believes this is going to benefit everyone. 


“I think if there’s other places they can go, it will be good for the community,” Coogan said. “It will be good for the residents up there. And it's going to help financially in Fall River.”

Swansea's Town Administrator Takes Indefinite Medical Leave

An indefinite medical leave was approved for Swansea’s Town Administrator on Friday and someone who is no stranger to the area was selected in the interim. 


James Purcell will take over for John MacAuliffe as Swansea’s Acting Town Administrator as MacAuliffe will deal with medical concerns. 


Purcell has a storied history in this capacity across various communities in the Commonwealth. 


Steven Kitchin, a Swansea Selectman, listed Purcell’s accomplishments in the field and highlighted his experience.


"For those of you who don't know James Purcell, he served as Town Manager for the town of Norton, Massachusetts between 2003 and 2011,” he said. “He served as Town Administrator in the town of Leicester, Massachusetts between 1995 and 2003.” 


It seems as though Purcell is an expert when it comes to filling in the interim for Massachusetts cities and towns when they are in need. 


“He has conducted interim appointments in such communities as North Andover, Sherborn, Ashland, Carver, Swansea, West Boylston, Douglas, Leicester, Avon and most recently Rockland," Kitchin said.


A second Selectmen member, Chris Carreiro, approved of the selection and praised Purcell in their time working together. 


"I have worked with Mr. Purcell back in 2015 during the transition from our Town Administrator Jim Kearn to John MacAuliffe,” he said. “I thought he did an outstanding job. It's difficult to come in and hit the ground running. But Mr. Purcell seems to be successful at that."


Purcell was incredibly humble in accepting the position and happy to lend a hand. 


"The circumstances are certainly much different than the time I first served here,” he said. “But it is my pleasure to assist John and the Town of Swansea as well as this board. I would be most pleased."


This is the second time Purcell will fill in the interim as Town Administrator in Swansea.

Possible New Fall River Cumberland Farms Location

During a hearing on the installation of a pair of Cumberland Farms 24-thousand gallon tanks at this week’s city council session, a new store location moving to Fall River was discussed.


At the public hearing traffic, deliveries and their operations was discussed. The new location would be near the Wal-Mart.


"This is something I have already spoken to Bill Roth about - our City Planner who is excellent,” Pam Laliberte-Lebeau said. “As far as Cumberland Farms goes, I think I said it at the session that there's certain steps in the process. One of those steps in the citing process is not public input."


The city council vice president talked about how public input was not an official part of this process. 


"This is the fault of the city, certainly not Cumberland Farms, that we don't have this step in the process,” she said. “It is a step in other processes depending on the permit. So, what you have is residents reaching out to councilors, to whatever councilor they feel comfortable talking to in an attempt to get questions answered.” 


Lebeau continued, “like Councilor Cadime said, the public hearing was really just for the gas tanks."

Cost Of Snow Removal This Winter In Fall River

Fall River’s 2020 fiscal year budget has reached its halfway point. 


One thing of note from Tuesday’s council session was the snow removal line item. It remains a six figure sum as January comes to a close. 


"Through December we're at about 331,000,” Mary Sahady told councilors. “We had a few snowstorms in December that required either snow removal or at least brining of the streets.”


The Winter has been mild thus far compared to others. The Chief FInancial Officer and Acting CIty Administrator literally knocked on wood as she talked about the good fortune we’ve had.


“We have been, knock on wood, very lucky in the month of January though we do it monitor it,” she said. “But it is one line item that can be overspent and we would cover that deficit at year end when we cover other deficits."

Fall River City Council Revokes Streetscape Loan Orders

The Fall River City Council decided on Tuesday to rescind loan orders for streetscape projects at North Main and Rock Streets. The two totalled over two million dollars which will now be converted into a street repair loan order. 


As the streetscape conversation continued, completed projects at East Main and Purchase Streets were made highlights. 


Councilor Leo Pelletier demanded that the contractor for the East Main project fix the patched pavement  


"I don't believe that this company should put more patches on that street,” the long-time councilor said. “There's twenty-seven patches and they have to do it right."


The streetscape initiative was a key component to Fall River’s prior administration spearheaded by Jasiel Correia. 


The Council President made it clear during Tuesday’s session among these discussions that downtown revitalization and repair needs to be made a priority. 


Cliff Ponte has always been in favor of bringing new life into the downtown area. "I don't want to speak for this council but I think the consensus for the last council is that we work on infrastructure and road repair in our downtown."


In other council business, a request from the current administration for a $2.1 million loan order for snow removal equipment was approved. The nine members also agreed to the appointment of Luis Gonsalves, John Erickson and Joan Medeiros to the Fall River Redevelopment Authority.


A pair of resolutions were also approved by the council where the first asks the finance committee to start discussions on police details at the Northeast Alternatives Cannabis Dispensary in the city’s north end. The second extends gratitude to the surrounding fire departments who assisted in the Stafford Mill fire earlier in the month.

Carole Fiola Talks Cannabis In Fall River

The Cannabis Control Commission has granted Hope Heal Health the permission to begin selling recreational cannabis at their Fall River location beginning Friday February 7, according to the Fall River Herald News. 


This will hopefully help alleviate the traffic and commotion that has been reported on the north end of the city bordering Tiverton at Northeast Alternatives.


One of the members from the trio of local legislation is pushing for the C.C.C to become more involved on the Southcoast when it comes to this new, booming industry.  


"This industry is rapidly growing,” Carole Fiola said. “There is a lot of details to it. One thing is the meetings they hold where they review applicants and hold different stages of application.”


The State Representative from Bristol’s sixth district said she has put in that request for a meeting held here locally, specifically in the city. 


“I asked and they said they will schedule a meeting here in what I believe will be Fall River,” she claimed. “I asked for Fall River. That date has not been set yet." 


Fiola has her hands in many different aspects of the legal cannabis industry in terms of how the process of obtaining licensure in Massachusetts. 


Locally, Fall River is no stranger to the issue of who has the authority to give out community host agreements non-opposition letters. Former Mayor Jasiel Correia II has been accused of extortion and accepting bribes in exchange for those documents.


So, State Rep Fiola is trying to figure out solutions to this potential massive problem. 


"I have a bill - H4147 - which is intended to prevent one individual and no public input into a host community agreement," she said. 


"I'm just looking for that equity that is very clearly defined so that the community host agreement goes before the city council prior to it being executed,” she continued. “I'm hoping that does in fact come to fruition."

Concerns For The Cannabis Control Commission

The Cannabis Control Commission continues to issue licenses for both medicinal and recreational cannabis dispensaries across the Massachusetts. 


At their most recent session, Averyl Andrade of Between The Rows LLC Cannabis Shop in the Commonwealth, listed off concerns she has had and that the South Coast has had when it comes to how the commission is proceeding. 


She believes established medicinal facilities and economically empowered applicants should be dealt with first in their processes. 


“We need help and we need to be heard," Andrade said. “We are not just numbers on paper, we are real, actual people.”


The other major issue that was addressed is the location of commission meetings and the disparity of travel between communities in the South Coast and those in the Boston-area.


"Please hold these public meetings on the Southcoast,” Andrade pleaded. “Almost twenty percent of the communities deemed disproportionately impacted are south of Brockton.” 


The C.C.C did hold one meeting locally.


“We greatly appreciate that one time the commission came to Dartmouth and held a listening session,” Andrade said. “Many people on the Southcoast and Cape cannot make it out to Boston and Worcester.”


The City of Fall River will host their second recreational cannabis location during the first quarter in 2020.

Deputy Fire Chief Jamison Barros Takes Over As Acting Chief Of Fire In Somerset

Somerset’s Deputy Fire Chief has answered the call to officially fill-in as Acting Fire Chief.


Jamison Barros was approved by the Somerset Board of Selectmen Wednesday evening following an emotional tribute to former Fire Chief Scott Jepson that opened the session.


The selectmen had nothing but praise and warm wishes for the deputy chief that will not take over the ship.


"I just want to compliment Jamison Barros,” Holly McNamara said. “I've told him this before - I can't say enough good things about him. He's so centered and calming. He has great leadership qualities."


"With the unexpected events that have taken at the fire department,” Steven Moniz said. “It is a daunting task to step into someone’s shoes like that and assume a leadership position. "


Jepson died earlier this month. Fundraising efforts continue to provide long-term assistance to both his wife and son. 

Fall River Fire Chief Talks Recent Mill Fire

The Fall River Fire Chief and his team have experienced a busy 2020 thus far in its first month.


To open up the year, just days following the holiday, a Stafford Mill Fire forced the F.R.F.D into action as well as surrounding communities to give mutual aid. At virtually the same time, another fire in the city came to life forcing every resource to be on the table early that morning. 


Chief John Lynch was sure to thank all of those involved for answering the call. 


"I have to give a shout out to a lot of the surrounding communities and mutual aid communities because that was critical for us that night,” he said. “They came in a hurry and helped set up. They went into the building with us.”


The mill fire is still under investigation.


Fall River’s Chief of Fire briefly described how he handles a situation when arriving on scene and how other chiefs specifically helped him out. 


“They had trucks operating and their chiefs came over to help supervise with me. It was a large area so I like to stand in front of the building and assign people to take care of different areas. I like to delegate so I'm not spreading myself too thin.”


In a conversation with WSAR about the recent fire activity in the city, Lynch broke down why station locations are key to the entire operation. 


"There are six stations in Fall River strategically located,” he said. “Eliminating any of the stations would create an empty space where response times would become difficult as well as getting the manpower there to certain locations. So, our stations are strategically located."


The number of firefighters currently is acceptable for the Fall River Fire Chief but there’s always room for more firefighters in any city or town. 


"Our staffing levels are pretty good right now,” he said. “We all want to have more, no matter what. But there has to be a point where you strike a balance between what we can afford and what will give a good product to the citizens of Fall River."


Recently, the Fall River Fire Department has acquired new turnout gear, new washing machines to remove carcinogenic material, as well as a fleet of new trucks and apparatus.

Swansea Selectman Chris Carreiro Brokers Potential Pleasure Island Deal

In a post on his official Facebook page Swansea Attorney Chris Carreiro, in his role as a real estate broker, has announced that he will be assisting a client to acquire and redevelop the Pleasure Island property. 


"The property needs to be rezoned in order to render those commercial structures usable because right now you really can't use them for their intended purpose because for some reason it is now zoned residential,” he said. “It just doesn't make any sense."


In the post, Carreiro said the buyer is a resident and business owner in Swansea who invests in real estate as well. The buyer has made it clear there will be a marketing and rebranding effort will likely result in a renaming of the island. 


The full post can be found on Chris Carreiro’s Facebook page.

Carole Fiola Talks Governor Baker Prior To State Of The Commonwealth Address

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is set to deliver the State of the Commonwealth address this evening on Beacon Hill. 


Bristol’s Sixth District State Representative Carole Fiola spoke with WSAR’s Will Flanagan recently and addressed the Governor’s commitment to the South Coast in the last year. 


"One thing we can say is that Governor Baker and this administration has been very good to us,” she said. “They get it. They know we're here. They want to help us - ever more so now that the dust is settling and we're moving on. The sun is shining now on Fall River."


Fall River was mentioned in the last State of the Commonwealth Address when the Governor talked about funding for now under construction South Coast Rail. Fiola said this administration understands how this area operates. 


"We have an opportunity, all of us, to show that while we will always have differences to remember to not let those get in the way of moving this community forward,” she said.”Governor Baker and particular Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito knows Fall River. She knows Fall River.”

Mayor Coogan Renews Mary Sahady's Contract Two Years

In what will be a weekly interview with Fall River Paul Coogan on WSAR’s Newsroom program at the noontime hour on Friday’s, the leader of the new administration in the city said Mary Sahady will be back for the next two years. 


Sahady, who is the city’s Chief Financial Officer and acting City Administrator, received a contract renewal from the mayor as one of his first acts in office. 


"When I arrived here in January, we gave her a five-day extension to get her to the time I was sworn in on January sixth,” Coogan said. “Then, we renewed her contract.”


Mayor Coogan is happy with his decision. 


“I think Mary is doing a good job for us,” he said. “We obviously followed the ordinance as far as her salary,  and stayed within that framework. We went forward with that."


Initially, there was confusion with Sahady’s contract renewal at a time with an acting mayor in place, but it was cleared up. 


"I heard there was a letter notification that wasn't given and there was a problem with the contract,” the Fall River mayor said. “But, that clause her in contract said you had to notify her 90 days prior to renewing her, but that was in October." 


Corporation Counsel Alan Rumsey was approved by the council last week while a city assessor and purchasing agent were also posted.