WSAR NEWS

Solar Therapeutics Starts Selling Medicinal Cannabis

The Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission had their latest meeting yesterday afternoon and settled some business for us here, locally. 

 

The commission, unanimously, gave the go-ahead to Solar Therapeutics in Somerset to begin selling medicinal cannabis. They’ve been a recreational retailer solely since their opening in September of 2019. 

 

Questions still persist, however, as to how a pipeline will be maintained of product. A lot of issues are popping up across the legalized states of America in terms of supply as this budding industry is not short on demand.

 

"The challenge becomes opening up enough cultivation facilities to meet that demand,” Jim Borghesani said. “One of the issues is that cultivation takes three to four months for each crop. Until you get up to scale, it’s difficult to keep that pipeline of product coming to legal sale locations."

 

Borghesani acted as the spokesperson for Yes on 4, a movement that helped push for cannabis legalization in the Commonwealth. He said this issue is creating other problems, like purchase limits in some locations. 

 

"We've seen this in Massachusetts - a limit on how much cannabis you can purchase,” he said. “If they let everyone purchase as much as they want or as allowed, they simply don't have enough supply.” 

 

The recreational cannabis advocate said there is a silver lining in all of this, the message is clear to the masses:

 

“This tells everybody that there is tremendous demand for legal cannabis," Borghesani said. 

 

This isn’t just affecting the Commonwealth. States everywhere have an incredibly high demand for the once demonized substance known as the Devil’s Lettuce.

 

"The difficulty is that we simply don't have enough supply as we're seeing in Illinois,” Borghesani said. “We saw the same thing in Nevada. They opened dispensaries for adult-use there and they ran out of product in a matter of weeks. It was the same situation.” 

 

Nevada seems to have additional issues that Massachusetts haven’t dealt with yet.

 

Now, in Nevada, there was a delivery problem too because they have a licensed delivery system that not enough people qualify for," Borghesani claimed.

 

The Commission in Massachusetts have 27 remaining provisional licenses left on the docket.

Tiverton Town Councilor John Edwards Talks Recycling and Recalls

The Tiverton Town Council held their first meeting of the month and the new year this past Monday. 

 

WSAR News spoke with one of the town councilors in the wake of the meeting to gauge what is topical in the next-door Rhode Island community. 

 

Councilor John Edwards V told the newsroom that one of the key topics for the initial 2020 session was the approaching decision on where trash and recyclables will go once the town landfill closes - which could be as early as this year. 

 

"We had our engineer come in and talk to us,” he said. “From a timeline perspective, if we don't make a decision on a recycling center by next meeting, as far as where we're going to site this thing, we're going to have nowhere to bring recycling to because the landfill will be closed.”

 

“We're out of time," the town councilor told WSAR.

 

A recall made headlines in Tiverton as did Fall River in 2019. Edwards noted that members of that recall in the Rhody town had opportunities to fix the issue. 

 

"They should have addressed this,” he said. “They were in office for a year or so and it's one of the top things that should have been taken care of. The ball was already moving when I was on the council prior. They just didn't do anything with it."

 

The talks and whispers of a second recall would make it that in a matter of just months. Edwards does not seem all that concerned with that as a potential issue for him or any of his colleagues in 2020. 

 

"If there's a handful of people who are just a perpetual stick in the mud and all they want to do is raise chaos - it's the same group that goes after the budget every year, the slash-and-burn budget people - if there's a handful of them who don't like what I'm doing then so be it,” he said.

 

The town councilor isn’t putting energy into that potential problem. 

 

“I don't really care and I don't have time for them," Edwards said.

The New Durfee Building Still On For Fall 2021 Opening

The work continues on the brand new B.M.C High School building and is still slated to open their doors in the Fall of 2021.

 

The Superintendent of Fall River Public Schools said during a recent report that steel work has largely been completed. 

 

"When you drive by, you'll see that all the steel has been erected,”  Dr. Matthew Malone said. “There's no more steel to be put up at this building. It has its full structural skeleton in place.”

 

Malone went on to acknowledge various groups and people involved in the initial process.

 

"We're in a very good place with the overall construction of the building,” he said. “The team is working exceptionally well from project managers to our architects to the members of the community who currently serve on the building committee as well as all the sub-contractors involved in the project."

 

The work within the exterior and interior continue as the steel phase wraps up and construction heads in side of the building.

 

“At some point, in the next few months they'll begin working inside,” Malone said. “And then as the Spring comes they'll be doing the outside vinyl brick-detail masonry."

 

The Fall River Superintendent continued to cover other various aspects that are getting addressed currently within this phase of the building’s development. 

 

“The fireproofing is being completed now,” Malone said. “The metals studs of the walls and sheathing around is being put up. Weatherproofing is getting done and currently our roof is being put on.”

 

Malone told the Fall River School Committee as many as 300 construction workers will be on site this Summer working towards the goal of a Fall 2021 opening. 

Sox Fire Cora

MLB.com and the Red Sox are confirming that after a meeting today, the Sox ownership group decided to relive Alex Cora of his duties as the manager of the Sox, one day after a 9 page report on Cora's actions as Houston Astros Bench Coach in a 2017 Electronic Sign Stealing caper was released by MLB. 

Cora was alleged to have replaced monitors taken out by former Houston Manager A-J Hinch, who was also fired for his role in what happened. 

There are indications that batters had advance knowledge of what pitches were being called by the L-A Dodgers, who lost consecutive World Series to L-A and Boston. 

The Red Sox remain under investigation by MLB for a 2018 sign stealing enterprise, in which the Red Sox Video Room at Fenway Park was the alleged nerve center using video feeds that were viewed by players, with information being reviewed by players, and information being relayed from the dugout to the field. 

First Fall River City Council Session Of 2020

The new-look Fall River City Council kicks off their first session as a group this evening. There are four new members with five individuals returning from the last team. 

 

Linda Pereira is the only one of the four that has served on the council. She ran for mayor back in 2017. Christopher Peckham, Trott Lee and Michelle Dionne, who gave up her spot on the RDA to join council, round out the new members.

 

Council Vice President Pam Laliberte-Lebeau told WSAR that a variety of issues will be tackled in the first month of meetings.

 

“We have a streetscape item that’s tabled,” she said. “We have marijuana licenses tabled and we have to talk about the billboards."

 

Laliberte-Lebeau said it made the most sense to hold off until the new group was assembled.  

 

“There are a few agenda items, specifically in finance, that I chose to wait to put on the agenda until January,” she said. “With four councilors leaving and four councilors coming on, it seemed to me to make the most sense to put it on with new members. Otherwise, we would just have to repeat ourselves again."

 

Ultimately, a few things will be up to the incoming administration and how they would like to deal with various finance issues.

 

"While (City Council President) Cliff (Ponte) has done a great job as Acting Mayor, it's really going to be up to the incoming administration on the direction they want to go on some of these items,” Laliberte-Lebeau said. “Those things will be discussed at the January meetings, sooner rather than later.”

The First Fall River School Committee Session Yields Changes

The first Fall River School Committee session of the new year with a brand new set of freshly elected members produced a first of their own in terms of committee precedents.

 

In the past, the school committee in Fall River would have a finance sub-committee to deal with financial issues. As opposed to the city council which hosts every member of council as one real committee. 

 

"I think the committee as a whole should weighing in on financial decisions,” Vice Chair of the School Committee Mark Costa said to the gathered. “We've had a standing finance sub-committee made up of three members for many, many years.”

 

Last night, the new group of six with some returning faces and some fresh faces along with Chairman of the Committee and Mayor Paul Coogan, decided to adopt the city council format and have all seven be apart of a finance committee so a full spectrum of contributions can be made to the budget process. 

 

”I think that oftentimes what happens is that questions that may have been asked and answers that may have been given, often times, don't make it to members who don’t serve on that committee,” Costa said. “Quite frankly, in the interest of being fair to every member whose responsibility it is to make financial decisions by way of votes, I strongly support the fact that this will not be done as a committee as a whole."

 

Costa, a returning member of the school committee, was voted in as Vice Chairman of the committee once again as he's held post for several years, now. 

 

He said this is something that can be changed later on if needed, "hopefully each member will have an opportunity to participate and ask questions. If we need to tweak it, we can revisit it.”

 

The Vice Chairman asked his colleagues to join him in supporting the change-of-format. 

 

“I think it's a great opportunity for each member to watch the process unfold, ask the questions and be a part of the discussions, as a group, as opposed to a small subcommittee,” he said. “So, I certainly support and ask my colleagues tonight to support it, as well."

Did Julian Jump on A Car?

The digital edition of the ''Boston Globe'' is reporting that Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman was arrested Saturday Night in Beverly Hills, CA after he allegedly damaged a vehicle after jumping on it. 

 

Edelman will be in court in April for a  hearing on a count of misdemeanor vandalism; TMZ.com first reported the story early Sunday Morning. 

 

Edelman was part of an Instagram photo earlier in the evening with former Patriots WR Danny Amandola and former Boston Celtic Paul Pierce. 

 

Edelman will likely need knee and shoulder surgeries at some point in the off season. 

A Statement on Carter and SUPCO

With the 9 SUPCO Justices deciding Monday not to hear Michelle Carter's case on appeal in the death of Conrad Roy III, 

Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III released this Statement:

 

“I am very pleased that the US Supreme Court has denied Michelle Carter’s petition for further review of her conviction. This, once again, justifies the decision to charge the defendant with manslaughter based on existing Massachusetts law, which is well-established.  The validity of charging her has been vindicated by numerous judges at every step of the criminal justice process---including twice by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which voted unanimously to uphold the conviction. The US Supreme Court’s decision today brings closure to the family of Conrad Roy for his tragic death.  I hope that the finality of this decision brings some solace to them.   I thank the prosecution team of Maryclare Flynn and Katie Rayburn for their tireless efforts on behalf of our office and the Roy family. I would like to also thank all the investigators, including Fairhaven Police, for their significant efforts in bringing about justice for Conrad Roy and his family.  I am very pleased that the legal chapter of this tragic case is finally closed.”


-Thomas M. Quinn III, Bristol County District Attorney

Will the 2020 Census Cost Massachusetts Any Congressional Seats?

It’s 2020 and it’s a census year in the United States. The last census, a decade ago, led the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to lose a congressional seat.

 

WSAR News had a chance to ask Bristol 7th District State Representative Alan Silvia if there was a fear of that being the case his time around, as well. 

 

He claimed that new numbers suggested otherwise. 

 

“Obviously, there are a number of states losing population numbers to California and New York,” Silvia said. “Boston has lots of job creation, though. So, I don't think those numbers will affect a congressional district.”

 

The state representative did say there is a chance that could happen in the future, however.

 

“I think eventually, we'll have a move of lines here,” he said. “I'm not sure when that will take place. I don't see a huge reduction of population of our community. But it is interesting to look at those numbers."

 

At one time, Massachusetts held 16 congressional seats and by the time of the 2010 census, that number stood at 10. After the census concluded that number dropped to 9. Silvia expects that number to stay the same after this year’s survey.

142 Durfee Seniors Awarded With John & Abigail Adams Scholarships

Over 140 students from the B.M.C. Durfee High School Senior Class were honored and awarded with the John and Abigail Adams Scholarships last week.

 

The award will cover the cost of tuition at any Massachusetts State College or University for the 142 members of the 2020 graduating class. 

 

"I'm proud of you guys,” Superintendent Dr. Matthew Malone said to those gathered. “You worked hard and did a hell of a job. 142 of our students won the John and Abagail dams Scholarship.”

 

Malone called the group role models to the younger generation.

 

“The Commonwealth has said you deserve a reward for your effort and your excellence,” he said. “You're the role models of all the other kids we have lined up in the school system behind you."

 

The Superintendent of Fall River PublicSchools said college can open up roads to opportunities of all sorts of things.

 

"You have trajectory that these kids now can see that there’s a path forward to success,” Malone said. “But it’s not just success its happiness. College opens doors to a good life.” 

 

Malone did make sure to add that college is not the only option to build a better life.

 

“Now, college is not for anyone,” he said. “I don't want everyone to think college is for all. We have many other opportunities.” 

 

He told the crowd some graduating seniors will get to work on the new school building instead of heading to college when they graduate.

 

“I'm putting kids from Durfee right into the Laborer's Union so when they graduate they can come work on the new Durfee building,” Malone said. “Those are the other kinds of pathways."

The New City Council In Fall River Is Gearing Up

The new-look Fall River City Council have been given their committee assignments for 2020 by President Cliff Ponte and Vice President Pam Laliberte-Lebeau.

 

The first City Council session of the new year with the new group will take place this coming Tuesday.

 

President Ponte will chair the Finance COmmittee while the eight remaining members will serve as its members.Vice President Laliberte-Lebeau will chair the Committee on Ordinances and Legislation while Shawn Cadime, Michelle Dionne, Trott Lee and Linda Pereira will serve at its members.

 

Linda Periera, who is returning to the group of nine after giving up her seat to run for mayor, will chair the Committee on Economic Development and Tourism. She told WSAR she is already working on various issues including lighting in various neighborhoods.

 

"I was told that they can't dim the lights,” Pereira said. “That's not true. Some of the lights have been dimmed because some people complained they were too bright. They are working on it."

 

The members of Economic Development and Tourism will be Vice President Laliberte-Lebeau and Michelle Dionne. 

 

The returning Pereira is prepared to make her comeback.

 

"I have 17 resolutions,” she said. “I cannot put in 17 resolutions during our first meeting. My phone has not stopped the last two years while I was home. People will still call who need help with different issues. Whatever I can help them with, I do."

 

Michelle Dionne will chair the Committee on Human Services, Housing and Elder Affairs after giving up her spot on the Redevelopment Authority to become a city councilor.

 

"I've said since the beginning that I was interested in human services, housing, youth and elder affairs,” Dionne said to WSAR. “I think it’s been an underutilized committee. I think it can do so much more. I think we're in a time in our city where people need more help. They need people to pay attention and be there for them."

 

The remaining members of the committee will be Vice President Laliberte-Lebeau and Trott Lee.

 

Lee will chair the Committee on Health and Environmental Affairs and not try to step on any toes as a newcomer.

 

"I have to show respect and see where they're going with what they want to do,” he said. “I'm not going to be a bull in a china shop. We're not just going to do what I want to do and everyone has to listen because I got second on the list - that doesn't work for me."

 

The members of that committee besides Lee will be Leo Pelletier and Christopher Peckham.

 

Peckham will chair the Committee on Public Safety with Shawn Cadime and Vice President Laliberte-Labeau as its members while Pelletier will chair the Committee on Real Estate with Trott Lee and Brad Kilby as his generals.  

 

Brad Kilby will chair the Committee on Regulations with Linda Pereira and Christopher Peckham.   

F-R City Engineer Says Liberty Is Clean

In a memo obtained by WSAR, Fall River City Engineer J-R Frey maintains that as part of an investigation into a water main breach on New Year's Day on Locust and Rock Streets in Fall River, the fault lay in a pipe that was well over a century old and was due to be replaced as part of the ongoing CSO Project.

 

Frey writes in the memo that the most recent activity via Liberty Utilities happened in 2009, when a natural gas main on Rock Street was replaced, while a Locust Street Natural Gas Main was replaced in 1994. 

 

Frey concludes by saying there was no need for a forensic investigation into what happened regarding the water main on the first day of 2020. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
                   
                

The Fall River City Council Committee Assignments

The nine Fall River City Council members have their committee assignments, one day after each took the oath of office for a two year term. 

 

Council Vice President Pam Laliberte-Lebeau has been assigned the chairmanship of Ordinances and Legislation, with 

Shawn Cadime, Michelle Dionne, Trott Lee and Linda Pereria as sub committee members. 

 

Dionne will chair a Human Services, Housing and Elder Affairs Committee, while Lee will chair Health and Environmental Affairs. 

 

Christopher Peckham will chair a Public Safety Committee, while Leo Pellitier will again chair the Real Estate Sub Committee.

 

 

Patriots Lose An Assistant

The New England Patriots have lost an assistant coach to the New York Giants, as Joe Judge will become the new Giants head coach, after being the Patriots Special Teams and Wide Reciever Coach. 

 

Its possible that as head coaching jobs are filled, as they have been in Washington, Dallas, Carolina and New York, that Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels may remain with the team. 

Mc Daniels was a head coach in Denver, and also accepted the same job in Indianapolis before deciding to return to New England, where he may be the heir apparent to Bill Bellichick. 

Did MLB Bust the Red Sox?

Yahoo Sports is reporting that the Boston Red Sox are alleged to have used their video replay room at Fenway Park to steal the various signs of opponents during the 2018 Major League Season, as first reported by the pay site The Athletic. 

 

Red Sox Players were alleged to have been sent to the replay room to study signs and relay information to other players who would then use it during various at bats and while on the bases. 

JKIII on Iran

Newton, MA – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today released the following statement in response to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani. 

 

"Congress's continued failure to meet its constitutional authority over matters of war and peace is a hallmark of this generation, which has spent nearly its entire life in endless and ever-evolving conflicts overseas.

 

From the profound miscalculation of our mission in Afghanistan to the catastrophic decision to invade Iraq in 2002, we have spent 18 years putting our men and women in uniform at the center of conflicts with no clear mission, parameters or exit strategy in place.

 

"The assassination of Qassem Soleimani last night laid bare the consequences of war powers increasingly coopted by the executive branch alone. Regardless of intent, President Trump's actions brought us closer to war, without the consent of the American people or their elected representatives.

 

"This is unacceptable.

 

In the coming days it is critical we not only understand the justification for the strike, but that we make clear that no President can go to war without the authority from Congress to do so. If President Trump wants to escalate our engagement in Iran, his allies in the House and Senate must be willing to publicly debate and defend that decision, and those of us adamantly opposed to another military conflict in the Middle East must stand united."

SRTA Sunday Service

The Southeastern Regional Transit Authority, better known as SRTA, has secured a grant from MassDOT worth a little over $318,000 for what is described as a Sunday Service Pilot. 

 

Sunday Service has likely the most requested element that SRTA riders have asked for over the last several years. 

 

SRTA currently has an ongoing partnership with RIDOT for service from Providence to Fall River in the early morning and late afternoon since the summer of 2019. 

 

SRTA will now be required to enter a MOU with MassDOT in order address project goals; there is no current timeline as to when Sunday Service might begin and what sort of ridership might be available. 

 

 

 

Keating on Iran

Below is statement from Congressman Bill Keating on the recent airstrike in Iraq. Congressman Keating is Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment as well as a senior member of the Armed Services Committee:

 

“No American is going to mourn the loss of Qassim Suleimani, who was responsible for the killing of Americans as well as innocent civilians.  The Administration must brief Congress of the legal basis for this action, our coordination with Iraq and our other allies, and most importantly their plan to keep every American service member, diplomat, and civilian oversees - as well as our citizens at home - are safe from retaliation.” 
 

Markey on Iran Situation

Massachusetts Junior Democratic Senator Ed Markey released this statement reqarding the attack on an Iranian General via Twitter:

 

 

"Trump’s apparent assassination of Soleimani is a massive, deliberate, and dangerous escalation of conflict with Iran. The President just put the lives of every person in the region - U.S. service members and civilians - at immediate risk. 

 

We need de-escalation now."
 

A Letter To New Bedford Mayor Requesting The Dismissal Of Police Captain Joseph Cordeiro

The President of the Union Local representing New Bedford Police is asking New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell to remove the current Police Chief.

 

A majority of officers have indicated they would take another position in a neighboring department if it was offered to them. It has been made clear rank and file officers have lost confidence Captain Joseph Cordeiro. 

 

WSAR News has obtained a copy of the letter authored by President of the New Bedford Police Union Hank Turgeon, asking the city’s mayor to review department policies and replace officers who have already left.

 

The letter also made a point on the recent raids related to the Latin Kings Gang, which claimed the F.B.I had to step in when the N.B.P.D could not do, in the end, what it needed due to a lack of manpower and resources. 

 

In the closing paragraph, it wrapped up the letter by saying, “It is perfectly clear to the members of the New Bedford Police Union that Chief Joseph Cordeiro’s incompetence, inefficiency (as well as his selfish actions as demonstrated by his international and domestic travel and new vehicles paid for with both local and federal taxpayer’s funds), his lack of priorities in Officer’s safety should all, without a doubt, give you just cause to remove Chief Joseph Cordeiro.”

JKIII on Impeachment

Massachusetts Fourth District Congressman Joseph Kennedy III tells CNN over the weekend on ''State Of The Union''  that delays in the trial of President Trump in the Senate are not a significant issue, and that Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to help create a fair and informative process in calling for witnesses and documents to be part of the case against the President. 

 

Kennedy indicated over the weekend that the entire process as outlined in the Constitution needed to move forward. 

 

Kennedy is in the midst of a Senate Preliminary Campaign versus incumbent Ed Markey. 

Patriots in The AFC WildCard Round

The New England Patriots will meet the Tennessee Titans with an 8:15 pm EST kickoff Saturday Night, as the Patriots are five and a half point home favorites, with an Over/Under of 38. 

 

WSAR will have Patriots Network Coverage starting at 5pm Saturday Night on 95.9 FM and 1480.

 

The Patriots have never advanced to the Super Bowl as a Wild Card Entry in the Brady/Bellichick era. 

 

The Patriots failed to cover a -16 spread and could not beat Miami, slipping to the #3 seed in the AFC Post Season.

A Letter To Amazon

Both Massachusetts Senators and MA Fourth District Congressman Joseph Kennedy III are asking questions of Amazon about new numbers that indicate that the rate of serious injury at a Fall River Amazon Fulfillment Center are nearly three times higher than industry averages, while looking for information on  how the company is insuring the safety of its employees. 

 

A letter to Amazon C-E-O Jeff Bezos was released before Christmas. 

 

As first reported in the digital edition of the Fall River Herald News, The Center For Investigative Reporting analyzed numbers from OSHA regarding Amazon Fulfillment Centers across the United States. 

 

The rate of serious injury at Amazon Facilities was more than double the industry average, while the rate at the Fall River Location is nearly 3 times the national average. 

 

The letter also cites Amazon's plans to open distribution centers in Holyoke, North Andover and Quincy. 

 

Massachusetts Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, and Congressman Kennedy, are asking for answers by the 6th Day of January. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


              

F-R Christmas Eve Murder

A 23-year-old Fall River Man has been arraigned and held without bail after he was taken into custody on Christmas Eve for the murder of a 39-year old Fall River man, who was stabbed to death allegedly after the two men had an argument over a woman, according to Bristol County Prosecutors and first reported by CBS 12 in Providence. 

 

Fall River Homicide Detectives were informed of a deceased male in a wooded area behind the Gold Medal Bakery on Bay Street in Fall River around 5:30 Tuesday Night. 

 

Police found the body of the victim, 39-year old Gary Werra of Fall River. 

 

Investigating FRPD Officers canvassed the area and interviewed witnesses, which lead to the arrest of 23 year old Jose Amador. 

 

Amador will be back in court in late January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


              
             

The Cold Is Coming: Tips From AAA Northeast

COLD IS COMING – BE SURE YOUR CAR WILL START

 

            Overnight temperatures will be dipping into the mid-teens the next three nights, and while most cars should be able to start, the chill in the air is a reminder to motorists to make sure their vehicles are ready when below freezing temperatures arrive for the winter, says AAA Northeast.

 

            “Preventive maintenance is essential for safe driving and greatly decreases the chances of being stranded in the cold,” said John Paul, the AAA Northeast Car Doctor.

 

            Start with the battery and charging system. Have them tested if the vehicle’s battery is more than three years old. Your vehicle will need a fully charged battery to start up during a cold snap. Even a good battery can lose up to 50 percent of its capacity when the temperatures drop to zero. At 32 degrees it can take up to 35 percent more power to start a cold engine. If your vehicle started with a jump start you have only fixed the symptom but not the problem. A well-maintained vehicle should start in nearly any weather condition.

 

            Don’t forget engine oil and coolant. The proper weight and grade of engine oil will help with cold weather starting. And as a general rule, engine coolant should protect an engine to minus 30 degrees to prevent engine damage.

 

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