WSAR NEWS Archives for 2021-02

Millions for Vaccine Equity

$4.7 Million for Vaccine Equity:



The Administration today announced a $4.7 million effort to support its vaccine equity initiative announced last week, which focuses on reducing barriers to vaccination in the 20 hardest-hit communities in the Commonwealth. The Administration will work with Archipelago Strategies Group (ASG) and Health Care for All (HCFA) to best leverage these funds.


The initiative will support and coordinate with local leaders and community- and faith-based organizations to strengthen existing efforts in these cities and towns.


These efforts will specifically focus on communities of color, homebound seniors, disabled individuals and other hard-to-reach populations. ASG and HCFA will provide hyperlocal, population-specific communication resources as well as hiring local residents and working with local organizations with cultural and linguistic competencies to reach disparately impacted populations in each priority municipality.


ASG specializes in grassroots mobilization, partnering with local leaders, community organizations, and media partners to develop community-based solutions.


As a subcontractor, HCFA will provide high-touch support for priority communities, including direct service support, community organizing, education, and outreach.


This work will complement the Commonwealth’s $2.5 million public awareness campaign, “Trust the Facts, Get the Vax,” adapting the campaign’s messaging for specific communities. The initiative will focus on the 20 municipalities with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on people of color. These communities are Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield and Worcester. This work will be coordinated with targeted opportunities for increased vaccine access through existing and new locations, including pop up sites and mobile clinics.

Auchincloss on kids back in school

Please see below from Congressman Auchincloss on the report that Governor Charlie Baker and top education officials have unveiled a proposal calling for full-time in-person learning to begin in April for elementary schools: 


Rep. Jake Auchincloss @RepAuchincloss: I'm in support. Getting elementary students back to school in April - and everyone back to school soon after - is a matter of education, of the economy, and of equity.


Rep. Jake Auchincloss @RepAuchincloss: To make it happen, we must drop the 6-feet requirement, and we must ensure that all teachers have the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Coogan on the New Durfee

Issues raised in a social media post regarding the new
Durfee High School have been known for some time and have been promptly addressed.

Residents should trust that our Building Oversight Committee and the team at the construction
site have kept a watchful eye on the project.


Taxpayer money is not being wasted. At the end of
the year, our students will have a safe, well-constructed school that will last for decades.


author of the post referred to the team from the City of Fall River as being "diligent"
and thorough in enforcing building codes needed for a successful project.


Please know the City
has an excellent working relationship with Suffolk Construction and all of the sub-contractors on
the job. We will continue our daily monitoring at the site.

Trump Rejection at SUPCO

The Supreme Court has formally rejected several appeals from Republicans and former President Donald Trump over contested 2020 voting rules in key battleground states.


The court declined to take up a challenge to Pennsylvania's mail ballot deadline extension that became the fixation of Republican attempts to overturn results in that state. The justices also turned away a case out of Georgia, brought by Trump ally Lin Wood, over mail-in ballot requirements.

Justice Clarence Thomas, also dissenting from the decision in the Pennsylvania cases, wrote, the "decision to rewrite the rules seems to have affected too few ballots to change the outcome of any federal election. But that may not be the case in the future."


"These cases provide us with an ideal opportunity to address just what authority nonlegislative officials have to set election rules, and to do so well before the next election cycle. The refusal to do so is inexplicable," Thomas wrote.

Vets Building Dedication

Veterans Service Building Dedicated as Kenneth J. Boyer Veterans

(Fall River, MA- 2020)- The City of Fall River, in cooperation with The Honorable Mayor Paul
Coogan, the City of Fall River Veterans’ Service Office and the Fall River War Veterans Council
is proud to announce the naming of their Veterans Service Building located at 755 Pine Street as
the Kenneth J. Boyer Veterans Building.


This building presently houses the Fall River War
Veterans Council, the William S. Greene Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 9, all of the
City’s Veterans organizations and the Bristol County Veterans Assn.


This action was requested
by the Fall River War Veterans’ Council spearheaded by Veterans Service Officer Raymond
Hague and City Councilor Linda Pereira. The official dedication of the building in his honor will
be at 12:00 noon on February 20, 2021.


The public is invited but are reminded that all attendees
must adhere to Covid 19 Massachusetts State Health Protocols. The ceremony will also be
broadcast via FRCMedia and FRGTV public access channel.

Kenneth Boyer was a Veteran of the United States Navy; a member of the Fraternity of Honor,
designating “The Chosin Few”. He was a member of the Tin Can Sailors, the Veterans of
Foreign War Post 486, the Colonial Navy of Massachusetts, Fall River War Veterans’ Council
and the American Legion post 314 and The Fall River War Veterans Council as overall
Veterans’ Chaplain. He officiated over 500 graveside and memorial services honoring the
sacrifices of Fall River’s Veterans.

Gasoline Prices Up Again This Week

Southern Storms Impacting National, Local Gas Prices
Gulf Coast Refineries Offline Due to Storm, Gas Prices Climbing


Since Monday, the national gas price average has increased ten cents to $2.60. This quick 4-day jump is a direct result of all major Gulf Coast refineries being impacted by the recent storm, which has caused gas supplies to tighten and pump prices to increase, according to AAA Northeast.


The pump price increases have also been felt locally. Since Monday, Rhode Island’s average price for unleaded has jumped six cents to $2.52 per gallon, while in Massachusetts, prices have gone up seven cents this week, to $2.54.


“The situation is very similar to a Gulf Coast hurricane’s impact. Refineries come offline, and until damage (if any) is assessed and operations are back up and running, supply is tight, especially with road conditions and power outages (mostly in Texas) reducing fuel deliveries – if stations even have power to accept them,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs. “Until things thaw out and Gulf Coast refineries are running again (likely early next week), we do expect more expensive pump prices across the country.” 

65 and Over in Mass-You're Next for The Vac

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Vaccine Appointment Booking for Individuals Ages 65+, Individuals with 2+ Certain Medical Conditions to Begin on February 18th
BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced individuals ages 65 and over and those with 2+ certain medical conditions, including Asthma, can visit to start booking an appointment for vaccine beginning tomorrow, February 18th. 
With this announcement, almost 1 million individuals are newly eligible for vaccine.
Due to extremely high demand for appointments and limited vaccine supply, it could take more than a month for all eligible individuals to secure an available appointment, unless federal supply significantly increases. Recently, Massachusetts has been receiving approximately 110,000 first doses per week from the federal government. Residents are encouraged to keep checking the website as appointments are added on a rolling basis.  
Individuals 65 and over:
Individuals 65 and over, including residents and staff of low income and affordable public and private senior housing are eligible to receive vaccine effective tomorrow, February 18th. 
Residents and staff of low income and affordable public and private senior housing can learn more about vaccination options here. 
Individuals with 2+ Certain Medical Conditions:
Individuals 16 and older with two or more of certain medical conditions (defined below) are eligible for vaccine, effective tomorrow. 
In concert with CDC guidelines, the Commonwealth has adopted the list of conditions that cause individuals to be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Massachusetts has also identified moderate to severe asthma as an eligible medical condition.
Phase 2 eligible conditions:
•    Asthma (moderate-to-severe)
•    Cancer
•    Chronic kidney disease
•    COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
•    Down Syndrome
•    Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
•    Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
•    Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher)
•    Pregnancy
•    Sickle cell disease
•    Smoking
•    Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Learn more from CDC: COVID-19: People with Certain Medical Conditions
Mass Vaccination Appointments:
Tomorrow morning, over 70,000 appointments are scheduled to be posted at mass vaccination sites (Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Double Tree Hotel in Danvers, Fenway Park in Boston and Gillette Stadium in Foxboro). 
Details for booking can be found via the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, which enables residents to search for a vaccination location and view appointment availability before scheduling. The tool can be accessed via the state’s vaccination website at or directly at
Individuals that are unable to access appointments via the internet can call 211 and follow the prompts for vaccine appointments. 
There are currently over 170 vaccination locations across the Commonwealth. Currently, almost 95% of our population lives within a 45-minute drive of a mass vaccination site or within 30 minutes of a regional (high volume site) - not counting the pharmacies, provider and community health center vaccination sites.
Local Boards of Health:
Today, Local Boards of Health were informed of the Commonwealth’s streamlined vaccination distribution plan that prioritizes equity and high-capacity throughput vaccination, particularly as vaccine supply from the federal government remains extremely constrained. 
This streamlined distribution plan will increase vaccine access at high throughput vaccination locations such as mass vaccination sites or regional sites and at pharmacy sites. In addition to increasing efficiency in administering the vaccine, the Commonwealth will ensure that the program is equitable and meets the needs of communities that have been the most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  
Utilizing the social vulnerability index as a starting point, the Department of Public Health has identified 20 municipalities that have had the greatest COVID burden and have the greatest per centage of non- white residents. These municipalities are: Boston; Brockton; Chelsea; Everett; Fall River; Fitchburg; Framingham; Haverhill; Holyoke; Lawrence; Leominster; Lowell; Lynn; Malden; Methuen; New Bedford; Randolph; Revere; Springfield; and Worcester.  
These municipalities will continue to distribute vaccine at the local level, are prioritized for the retail pharmacy program, and are served by community health centers and other health care providers administering vaccine.  
Local Boards of Health will continue to play a crucial role in our collective plan to curb COVID-19. The Administration is asking Local Boards of Health to support these critical objectives:
•    Planning to vaccinate homebound individuals in their community and older adults in private and public low income and affordable housing.
•    Encourage residents to get vaccinated at mass vaccination sites, retail pharmacies and other locations that are open to all residents.
•    Increase vaccine awareness of safety and efficacy so that when the Commonwealth does have more incoming vaccine from the Federal Government, and as more groups become eligible, communities are ready and willing to accept vaccine.

BCC Award Winning Chef

Bristol Community College Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Gloria M. Cabral receives Joseph Amendola Award from the American Academy of Chefs 
Bristol Community College Culinary Arts Program Coordinator Gloria M. Cabral, CCE, AAC, is the recent recipient of the 2021 Joseph Amendola Award presented by the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), the honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF).


The prestigious Joseph Amendola Award is presented to a pastry chef or master baker devoted to their career, their profession and to the mentoring of young individuals who will be future pastry chefs.


The award will be presented at the annual American Academy of Chefs Fellows Meeting on August 1, 2021, during the ACF National Convention, Orlando, Fla.


As Bristol’s Culinary Arts Program Coordinator, Chef Cabral provides leadership for the college’s innovative Culinary and Baking program, including curriculum development, advising students and assisting the professional development of her peer faculty.


In addition to her work in the classroom, she serves as an ACF Certification Evaluator, which has included her participation in the Adopt-A-Ship Program, instructing culinary arts at naval bases and on aircraft carriers traveling from the United States to France and Italy. 


Chef Cabral earned her Associate in Applied Science and Bachelor of Science in baking and pastry arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., as well as her Master of Science in management and a Master of Education


from Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy. Throughout her vocational career, she has continued her education from top chefs, in addition to the Massachusetts Department of Education, where she earned her Professional Teacher’s Licensure in Commercial Baking. 


Chef Cabral is also a proud Bristol Community College alumnus, where she earned her Associate in Applied Science in general studies and a Certificate in culinary arts.
The award was established in memory of Joseph Amendola, who touched the lives of students in countless ways with his dedication to teaching, his amazing talent as an ice sculptor, his engaging personality and his infectious passion for baking.  
The American Academy of Chefs (AAC), the honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), represents the highest standards of professionalism in the organization, society and industry. The academy’s primary mission is to promote the education of all culinarians by mentoring culinarians, awarding scholarships to students seeking a future in the culinary industry and by providing grants to professional working chefs looking to further their careers. 
For more information about the 2021 Joseph Amendola Award, presented by the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), please click here

Fall River Dog Licenses Next Month



Dog licenses for the 2021 licensing period of April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 will be available at the Fall River City Clerk’s Office beginning on Monday, March 15, 2021. 


Due to Covid-19, walk-in service will be available on the first day from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in the Government Center Lobby.


After such time, an appointment with the City Clerk’s Office will be required to purchase the licenses in person. To schedule an appointment, please call the office at 508-324-2220.


Licenses may also be purchased by sending a request by mail to City Clerk, One Government Center, Fall River, MA 02722 or on the city’s website by searching “Dog Licenses”.


Owners are required to obtain a dog license for all dogs four months or older.


 Dog owners cannot be issued a license unless they first produce a veterinarian’s certificate indicating that their dog has been vaccinated against rabies and that the vaccination has not expired.


To avoid unnecessary inconvenience, when applying for a dog license, please bring a valid veterinarian’s certificate with current Fall River address.


License fees are $15.00 for male or female dogs and $10.00 for neutered males or spayed females. To obtain a neutered male or spayed female license, owners must present a veterinarian’s certificate stating that the dog has been neutered or spayed.


A $5.00 mail processing fee for the total order is required for mailed and online requests. 


All forms of payment are accepted. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the City of Fall River.

Under Massachusetts General Laws, any dog owner 70 years of age or older is entitled to a free license with proof of age.

Owners of unlicensed dogs shall be subject to all fines and penalties as set forth in Section 6-12 of the Code of the City of Fall River.

Cold Case Rapes Lead To a Guilty Plea

A 63-year-old former Bridgewater man who fled the state 18 years ago to avoid being tied to at least four brutal rapes dating back to the 1990s will spend the next 44 to 50 years in prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.
Ivan Keith was convicted in Fall River Superior Court Tuesday afternoon of indictments charging him with five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of threats, and one count each of breaking and entering, failure to register as a sex offender, failure to provide DNA and perjury.


The defendant pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced by Judge Sharon Donatelle to serve 25 to 30 years in prison.


 This sentence will run consecutively to a 19 to 20 year state prison sentence the defendant began serving last year after being convicted of similar cold case rape from the 1990s in Plymouth and Norfolk counties.


In total, the defendant will serve 44 to 50 years in prison, a sentence that, due to his age, amounts to life in prison. 

The charges in Bristol County relate to sexual assaults that occurred in Taunton and Easton in the late 1990s.


"These were outrageous acts of violence against two innocent victims, who were just going about their everyday lives.  The crimes committed by the defendant are some of the most brutal and chilling cases I have ever seen.   I am pleased that Judge Donatelle imposed consecutive sentences for each sexual assault committed against the victims. The sentences imposed by the court will keep the defendant in custody for the remainder of his life, which he rightly deserves," District Attorney Quinn said. "I commend the victims for moving forward with their lives despite the terrible trauma inflicted upon them by the defendant. I have nothing but respect and admiration for their courage and perseverance.  I want to thank the members of our cold case unit and all the investigators for their efforts in solving these cases.  These cases highlights the importance of using YSTR and familial DNA testing to assist us in solving some of the most heinous crimes imaginable.  Without the use of this type of testing, these cases would never have been solved."



After an extensive investigation by prosecutors from District Attorney Quinn's office and Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to this office, Ivan Keith was identified as the person who committed two previously unsolved rapes which occurred in Bristol County more than two decades ago.  The first rape occurred on July 27, 1997 outside the Bristol-Plymouth Regional High School in Taunton. In that case, a 36-year-old woman was exercising on the track outside the school when a masked man jumped out in front of her, forcibly led her to a wooded area, tied her up and raped her.  The second rape occurred on November 22, 1998 as a 47-year-old woman was working late cleaning offices at the Steve Porter Appraisal Services in Easton.  While she was cleaning, a masked man entered the building and attacked her as she opened the door of an office to take out the trash.  He then forcibly raped her before binding her hands and fleeing. 
Investigators from this office began reviewing this “cold case” early in 2019. Through their efforts, investigators were able to identify this defendant as the person responsible for these crimes and also linked him to two other previously unsolved rape cases (one in Norfolk County and one in Plymouth County), both of which occurred in 1996.  Our office shared all our evidence with prosecutors in Norfolk and Plymouth counties, which led to his indictment and conviction in those jurisdictions.


In early 2019, the Bristol County District Attorney’s Unsolved Unit reviewed this case in an attempt to develop new leads that might lead to the identification of the person responsible for these heinous crimes.  Recognizing that no identification had been made in the more than 20 years since the crimes occurred, investigators explored new technologies that combined the available DNA evidence with genetic genealogy.


In February of 2019, investigators from this office provided DNA evidence collected from the unsolved Bristol County cases to a private lab for genealogical testing. The report revealed that there was a genetic geneology link between the suspect and a particular family.  Armed with this new information, investigators were then able to investigate immediate and extended members of this family.  At the end of the investigation, police and prosecutors were able to pinpoint Ivan Keith as the chief suspect. 
Despite the fact that this defendant was convicted of several sex-related crimes in Plymouth County in the 1980s and 1990s, along with a sex crime conviction in Maine in 2000, the defendant failed to register with the sex offender registry, and failed to provide a DNA sample to the state.   On October 29, 2003, the defendant was set to appear in Brockton District Court for a jury trial on an Open and Gross Lewdness charge.  The defendant intentionally defaulted and never appeared for that trial date.
In July of 2019, our office applied for and was granted arrest warrants for failure to register as a sex offender and making false statements.  These new arrest warrants were then entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).  With the assistance of the State Police Crime Lab, Massachusetts State Police detectives, led by Sergeant Ann Marie Robertson, along with the Maine State Police, the Bar Harbor Police Department and the FBI, investigators were able to locate the defendant, who was living under a new name in Seal Cove, Maine and took him into custody on August 2nd. 


During his arrest, the defendant was observed to be smoking from a vape pen, which he placed into his front shirt pocket. After being placed into custody, the vape pen was seized and further DNA testing was conducted upon it.  That testing confirmed the DNA on the vape pen matched the DNA profile from the four previously unsolved rapes.

At yesterday's sentencing hearing, both Bristol County victims provided victim impact statements to the judge. The victim of the 1998 sexual assault in Easton told the court that the attack she suffered stuck with her for her entire life.  "(Ivan Keith) took away my joy, my laughter and my peace of mind," she said.  She explained that she lived in a state of constant fear for several years and stopped doing the ordinary things she enjoyed like taking walks outside, exercising and socializing with friends.  She said she even neglected her health because she did not want to be touched by a doctor.  "The day we got news of (Keith's) arrest was the happiest days myself and my family ever had," the victim said.  


The Taunton sexual assault victim recounted how her life changed forever on what she described as a beautiful July afternoon.  The victim said she felt disconnected from her body for a long time after being victimized by a hooded stranger. She went on to say she had to quit her job, felt isolated from loved ones, felt feelings of shame and even considered suicide.  "I longed for the internal pain to stop. I still carry the scars of what happened to me.  What I experienced was nothing short of pure evil," she said. 


The cases were prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney William McCauley and Assistant District Attorney Caleb Weiner.

Fall River Gets MA Vac Help

Baker-Polito Administration Launches Targeted Outreach Initiative in 20 Hardest Hit Communities to
Increase Equity in COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness and Access;

$1M to Support Vaccination in Historically Underserved Communities

BOSTON (February 16, 2021) – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced a targeted outreach initiative in 20 cities and towns most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and  $1M to the MA League of Community Health Centers to support vaccination in historically underserved communities. 


Targeted Outreach Initiative


The Department of Public Health (DPH) will invest resources directly in the 20 cities and towns most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 to increase awareness of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy and to reduce barriers to vaccination. DPH will assist each city or town by working with local leaders,  and community- and faith-based groups to strengthen existing efforts focused on awareness and overcoming barriers so that residents will get vaccinated when it’s their turn.


The initiative will focus on 20 cities and towns with the greatest COVID-19 case burden, taking into account social determinants of health and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on BIPOC.  These communities are Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Framingham, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, and Worcester.


Massachusetts now ranks in the Top 10 for vaccinations per capita according to the CDC and last week administered more doses per week than it received from the federal government. 


How Cities/Towns were Identified:


This list of 20 is a subset of the cities and towns that met the Massachusetts COVID Advisory Group recommendation to prioritize communities using the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and COVID-19 case rates since the start of the pandemic.


Those communities were then ranked by average daily COVID-19 case rates in each city and town (excluding cases in long-term care and correctional facilities and communities with under 30,000 residents).


From this ranked list by case rate, the top 17 cities and towns with the highest percentage of people of color were identified. The list of 20 cities

and towns includes three additional communities to capture the top 15 communities with the highest daily COVID case rates.


“We recognize the deep knowledge and expertise that exists in every community and our aim is to listen, respond, and work in concert to develop a customized approach for reaching as many residents as we can to increase vaccination,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “This approach is centered on equity, a core pillar of our vaccine distribution. Our goal is to work in collaboration with our local communities, to meet people where they are, and to reduce barriers – both physical and otherwise – to getting the COVID vaccine.”


The new DPH initiative will support a tailored community-based approach around the individual needs identified by each municipality. As part of the outreach, a DPH Community Liaison will work to leverage and coordinate state resources and customize a menu of options to be offered to each community, which may include: 


·     Identifying gaps and mapping available resources to reduce barriers to vaccination 

·     Coordinating and supporting key stakeholders including Local Boards of Health, local Community and Faith-Based Organizations, Community Health Centers, and Community Health Workers who can support grassroots outreach 

·     Deploying DPH Vaccine Ambassadors to provide support for town halls and other local forums to share information and materials, including a DPH forum guide and toolkit 

·     Disseminating culturally appropriate translations of communications campaign materials, including Trust the Facts. Get the Vax. campaign materials and vaccine FAQs in multiple languages 


·     Hiring local residents to provide “boots on the ground” for neighborhood and local business outreach, which may include a door-knocking campaign to provide information and answer questions about vaccine efficacy and safety 

$1 Million to Support Vaccination in Historically Underserved Communities


The Administration has invested $1M in the MA League of Community Health Centers to support community health center efforts to increase vaccine safety awareness in communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, with the goal of addressing vaccine hesitancy and increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates for individuals and communities disproportionately impacted.


The program has three main objectives:
·      Increase vaccine confidence and knowledge among community engagement staff at health centers
·      Implement dissemination of culturally relevant and linguistically diverse patient education materials
·     Identify and partner with local community-based organizations to provide information and tips to engage people in vaccination conversations


This grant initiative is a critical piece of the MA League of Community Health Center’s COVID-19 Vaccine Community Engagement Campaign and recognizes that Community Health Centers, community health workers and other community-facing outreach workers are critical and widely trusted individuals to address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among the most at-risk communities.  

Under the initiative, qualified health centers may apply for $25,000 grants via the MA League of Community Health Centers to assist Community Health Workers (CHW) to engage patients and community members in vaccination discussions to increase vaccine uptake in the Commonwealth’s hardest-hit communities.


The funding helps health centers in several critical ways, including supporting providers and staff in having one-to-one conversations with patients to answer their questions and concerns, bringing these individualized dialogues to the broader community, and using online and other communication channels and resources. 
#     #     #

Red Sox look to Japan for Starting Pitching

Red Sox agree to two-year contract With right-handed pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura


BOSTON, MA—The Boston Red Sox today signed right-handed pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura to a two-year contract through the 2022 season, with a dual club/player option for the 2023 season


. To make room for Sawamura on the 40-man roster, the club designated left-handed pitcher Jeffrey Springs for assignment.


Red Sox Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom made the announcement.


Sawamura, 32, spent the last 10 years pitching in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball for the Yomiuri Giants (2011-20) and Chiba Lotte Marines (2020). The right-hander went 48-52 with 75 saves, four shutouts, a 2.77 ERA (267 ER/868.1 IP), 790 strikeouts, and only 66 home runs allowed (0.68 HR/9.0 IP) in 352 appearances (88 starts). 

The 2011 Central League Rookie of the Year was a member of Japan’s 2013 World Baseball Classic team, appearing in four games and allowing one run in 3.1 innings.


Sawamura began his career as a starting pitcher but transitioned to a full-time reliever in 2015, recording 36 saves that season before leading the Central League with 37 in 2016. After making 13 appearances with Yomiuri in 2020, his final 22 outings came with Chiba Lotte, for whom he posted a 1.71 ERA (4 ER/21.0 IP) with 29 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP.


Born on April 3, 1988 in Tochigi, Japan, Sawamura would become the ninth player born in Japan to play for the Red Sox, joining outfielder Dave Roberts (2004) and pitchers Tomo Ohka (1999-2001), Hideo Nomo (2001), Daisuke Matsuzaka (2007-12), Hideki Okajima (2007-11), Takashi Saito (2009), Junichi Tazawa (2009, ’11-16), and Koji Uehara (2013-16).


Springs, 28, made his Red Sox debut last season after being acquired from the Texas Rangers on January 15, 2020, in exchange for first baseman Sam Travis. In 16 relief appearances, the left-hander went 0-2 with a 7.08 ERA (16 ER/20.1 IP).



PITCHERS (23): Matt Andriese, Matt Barnes, Eduard Bazardo, Ryan Brasier, Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Nathan Eovaldi, Jay Groome, Darwinzon Hernandez, Tanner Houck, Bryan Mata, Adam Ottavino, Martín Pérez, Nick Pivetta, Garrett Richards, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Hirokazu Sawamura, Connor Seabold, Josh Taylor, Phillips Valdez, Marcus Walden, Garrett Whitlock


CATCHERS (3): Kevin Plawecki, Christian Vázquez, Connor Wong


INFIELDERS (8): Jonathan Araúz, Christian Arroyo, Xander Bogaerts, Michael Chavis, Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers, Kiké Hernández, Hudson Potts


OUTFIELDERS (6): Franchy Cordero, J.D. Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, Jeisson Rosario, Alex Verdugo, Marcus Wilson

Brayton Point LLC v Somerset

This is a two page document, obtained by WSAR,  composed by Brayton Point LLC and addressed to ''Somerset Taxpayers''

A new federal administration is moving swiftly to unlock the vast potential of offshore wind energy. Massachusetts is also passing signature climate legislation that includes solicitation of new bids for promising wind projects.


Meanwhile, local tax revenue from the coal plant and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) of nearly $3,500,000 per year have phased out with severe impacts to Somerset’s coffers that will challenge the Town’s ability to provide vital municipal services.


How do Somerset’s leaders, facing hard choices about raising taxes, laying off employees, and cutting vital services respond to a comprehensive plan to redevelop the former Brayton Point Power Plant? On January 29, the Somerset Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) rejected those redevelopment plans after eight months of consideration.


Brayton Point is part of the “Mount Hope Bay Designated Port Area,” created by a state law designed to preserve and encourage development of water-dependent industrial uses. For nearly 60 years the power plant provided great jobs and taxes to Somerset, ending when the power plant closed in 2017.


Brayton Point LLC bought the plant in January 2018 and soon began the demolition process necessary to prepare the 306 acre site for redevelopment. Redevelopment work began with demolition of 1.8 million square feet of buildings including removal of three massive oil tanks, four smoke stacks up to 500’ tall, and two 500’ cooling towers, perhaps the biggest eyesores on the South Coast. Neighbors can once again enjoy sunrise and sunset!


Major demolition is complete leaving only foundation removal required to re-grade the site. It is important to note that 99.5% of all construction debris was recycled. Now that these disruptive times are nearly behind us, we had hoped the community would support and reap the rewards from productive reuse of the site.


But the ZBA decision leaves Brayton Point Commerce Center (BPCC) handcuffed to its current two tenants, generating far fewer jobs and just $50,000 per month in tax revenue -- compared to more than $ $6,000,000 per year in local taxes when the power plant was operating.


Further, most of the 306-acre property remains vacant. But rather than welcome the Brayton Point Redevelopment Plan, ZBA members ridiculed it for being too detailed before deep-sixing it.


BPCC’s virtues are undeniable. It’s among the largest deep water ports on the eastern seaboard with easy access to interstate highways and outstanding development potential. Furthermore, its location near offshore wind farms south of Cape Cod offer redevelopment investment potential of up to one billion dollars! BPCC has the potential to generate in excess of $6,000,000 per year in taxes to support local services.


Tragically, that development potential including jobs and tax revenue remain out of reach because BPCC cannot entertain high-value tenants without local approval.


The January ZBA denial not only limits BPCC’s ability to market to new tenants, but local opposition may discourage future tenants from investing in the site.


In excess of $25 million dollars has already been spent to purchase, remediate, demolish, and grade Brayton Point for redevelopment -- without use of public funds.


Transforming the southern 45 acres into a laydown yard for the components used by the wind industry is itself proof that wind industry tenants are a primary focus for BPCC. We also saved the turbine building with two 100-ton cranes for re-use by wind component manufacturers.

BPCC has and continues to work rigorously with local, state, and federal agencies to address the reasonable concerns raised by those agencies regarding the existing tenants and redevelopment activities and plans. BPCC aims to bring needed tax revenues and jobs from the renewable energy and other industries. Yet ZBA members seem unable to envision BPCC’s long-term potential.


The ZBA denial of the planned development application forces BPCC to appeal to the Massachusetts Land Court to overturn it. Regrettably, this legal appeal is the only path left available to realize Brayton Point’s full potential.

The time and expense the town will incur defending the ZBA’s decision is unfortunate. BPCC would much rather focus its energy and funds on turning Brayton Point into a strong job-creating, revenue-producing asset for the community.


BPCC is optimistic the Town and its residents will ultimately recognize the great promise of renewable energy and the important role BPCC can play in this transformative industry.

BPCC is ready, willing, and able to work cooperatively with the Town to shepherd in a new era of economic prosperity for Somerset and the South Coast region.

Encore Boston Harbor Gets a Designation

Encore Boston Harbor Achieves Health Security Verification from Sharecare and 
Forbes Travel Guide


EVERETT, MA (February 16, 2021) – Encore Boston Harbor is proud to announce that it is among the first hotels in the world to become Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide.


This comprehensive facility verification helps ensure guests can book with confidence at a resort that has consistent and robust health safety procedures in place.


“We enlisted a team of top-rated medical and health professionals from Georgetown and John Hopkins Universities to help us develop our health and safety programs; now considered the gold standard in our industry,” said Brian Gullbrants, president of Encore Boston Harbor. 


“Being Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide is a testament to our continued effort to offer our guests the latest health safety advancements in addition to our five-star resort experience.” 


The Sharecare Health Security verification comes with an easily identifiable "seal of approval" – the Sharecare VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide badge – based on a hotel's compliance with expert-validated best practices that minimize the risk and impact of COVID-19 and potential future public health events. 


Developed by Forbes Travel Guide, the global authority on hospitality excellence, and digital health industry leader Sharecare, the comprehensive verification covers more than 360 standards across health and hygiene protocols, cleaning products and procedures, ventilation, physical distancing, the guest experience, and health safety communication with guests and employees. Hotels are required to verify their health protocols on an ongoing basis to ensure continued compliance with the most up-to-date global health standards.


“The pandemic has made it clear that hotels and resorts must, first and foremost, assure guests of their safety,” said Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. "By becoming VERIFIED®, Encore Boston Harbor has demonstrated its commitment to creating a culture of accountability and following global best practices to heighten health security, certified by a third party.”


Encore Boston Harbor’s full Health & Safety Plan is available at:


For a complete list of hotels and resorts that currently are Sharecare Health Security VERIFIED™ with Forbes Travel Guide, please visit

Another JCII Postponement

Citing concerns regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic, Judge Douglas Woodlock has set a May 4 trial date for Recalled and Twice Indicated former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II. 


The jury selection for the trial will begin at 9am EDT in Courtroom One. 











SouthCoast Health on COVID-19 Vaccine Supplies

During the past several days, Southcoast Health has proudly provided the first dose of the COVID vaccine to nearly 3,000 residents of our region. In a matter of days, an amazing team at Southcoast quickly mobilized three public vaccination clinics in the greater Fall River, New Bedford and Wareham regions.


A scheduling process was developed that focused on simplicity and convenience for you, as you sought to make an appointment that fit your schedule and geographic location.


Patients have overwhelmingly reported positive experiences with our vaccine clinics, expressing gratitude to Southcoast clinical staff and leaving the vaccination clinics – second-dose appointment in hand – with a sense of lifesaving relief. What an amazing feeling for all of us.

Helping inspire this sense of hope is what Southcoast set out to do when we established these regional vaccination centers. We know that the community looks to our hospital and health care system during times of crisis, and we stepped up to get shots in the arms of as many people as possible, as quickly and fairly as possible.

Unfortunately, our efforts to vaccinate patients and other residents depend entirely on supply allocation from the state.

And though we communicated – and demonstrated – that our three successful Southcoast Health vaccine clinics combined are prepared to scale up to tens of thousands of vaccinations per week to serve our region, regrettably we learned yesterday that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) will not be sending additional first-dose vaccines to hospitals and health systems for the foreseeable future.

The state is prioritizing distributing their vaccine supply to their state-controlled mass vaccination sites and other entities administering the vaccine.

To say we are disappointed would be a significant understatement. Without vaccine supply from the state for at least the next few weeks, and with no commitment of future allocations, we are unfortunately unable to schedule any further first-dose appointments at this time.

As you can imagine we are devastated to have to inform you of this recent development. And, we anticipate that many of you will be just as disappointed. As your local healthcare provider, we maintain a responsibility to proudly serve our community as a leader and advocate for your health and wellness. We will continue to strongly advocate for the sufficient vaccine supply our region deserves, with a scheduling process that is convenient and simple, and from locations that are local and accessible to you.

In the meantime, we fully expect the state to honor its commitment to provide us with enough doses for individuals with existing appointments for both first and second doses. We will stay in close contact with those patients directly.

Regardless of the current circumstances, we strongly encourage everyone, when eligible, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While we hope and advocate for additional first-dose supply, we will continue to serve you as a trusted resource for COVID health, wellness and vaccine information. Please stay connected with us for additional information and updates at, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and through text updates (

For more information from the Commonwealth and to find other locations administering vaccine, please call 2-1-1 or visit For answers to questions about the state’s vaccination program, you can contact MDPH via

We will continue to work with the Commonwealth, municipalities, and community partners to ensure everyone has access to this safe and effective vaccine.

As always, we are here for you. Then. Now. Always.

Southcoast Vaccination Info Center

Proposal for Shutoffs in RI in Future Emergencies

Morales bill would prohibit utility shutoffs 
during declared emergencies


STATE HOUSE – Rep. David Morales has introduced legislation to prohibit electric, gas and water utilities from terminating service to Rhode Islanders for nonpayment during and after the COVID-19 emergency declaration or any future declared emergency.


The legislation (2021-H 5442) would institute a moratorium on service shutoffs for failure to pay during all declared emergencies. 


During public health emergencies, it would also require the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to issue orders suspending payment requirements during the emergency and for 90 days afterward, and canceling all late fees accrued during that time.


 The order would also prohibit utilities from allowing any nonpayment during that time to affect any customer’s credit rating, and would require utilities to restore service to anyone whose services they terminated from the start of the declared emergency.


“Rhode Islanders are facing tremendous challenges as this pandemic nears the year mark. Some have been unable to work for months due to illness, job loss or lack of child care. Many people who were already living on the edge of poverty have been pushed over, and they don’t have options in the middle of the pandemic,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence).


 “Shutting off their essential utilities would add a second public health crisis to the first, leaving families in dangerous, unhealthy living situations. For the sake of both human rights and public health, no one should lose their electricity, water or heat during an emergency like the pandemic we are experiencing now.”


Currently, qualified low-income customers are protected from termination of electric and gas utilities for nonpayment due to the annual winter moratorium, which runs from Nov. 1 through April 15. While the PUC had instituted wider emergency protections before the winter moratorium began, nothing is currently in place past April 15.

More on The MA Vac Effort

Massachusetts Passes More Than One Million Vaccine Doses Administered, 20,000 Appointments Available at Mass Vax Sites, & COVID-19 Vaccination Call Center Extends Hours to Assist Residents 75 and Older


BOSTON – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration is announcing that Massachusetts has exceeded one million doses of vaccines administered, over 20,000 vaccine appointments are available at mass vaccination sites and extended hours for the call center to support 75+ residents seeking assistance to schedule an appointment for a vaccine. 

Massachusetts Passes One Million Doses Administered to Residents 


The Commonwealth has hit a vaccine milestone of more than one million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to residents. As of Thursday night, 1,034,018 doses have been administered across the state. 


The Administration has surpassed the first benchmark set for Phase 2 vaccinations, 242,000 per week capacity, and administered 242,000 doses administered since Sunday.


Available Vaccine Appointments at Mass Vaccination Sites 


As of Friday morning, over 20,000 appointments for the coming days are still available across four mass vaccination sites in Danvers, Springfield, Foxboro and Boston.

Eligible residents can book an appointment online here.

75+ Residents may be accompanied by a companion with a scheduled appointment for mass vax sites only.

Over the course of this week, more than 70,000 new vaccination appointments were made available at mass vaccination sites and pharmacies.


MA Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line


Starting Saturday, February 13, the Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line will extend its hours of operation to include weekends and weekday evenings. 


These extended hours will further support people 75 and older to schedule a COVID-19 appointment if they are unable to use or have difficulty accessing the internet. 


The new call center hours of operation:
•    Monday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
•    Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 


For assistance scheduling, dial 2-1-1 and follow the prompts for vaccine appointments. The Massachusetts Scheduling Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and has translators available to support residents in approximately 100 additional languages.


The most efficient scheduling option is still on the Commonwealth’s website:

RI ACLU wins a License Plate Case of Note

U.S. District Court Judge Mary McElroy today signed a consent judgment declaring unconstitutional a state law that gave the Administrator of the Division of Motor Vehicles blanket authority to deny vanity license plates based on whether they “might carry connotations offensive to good taste and decency.”  

The judgment was entered in a suit filed last March by ACLU of RI cooperating attorneys Thomas W. Lyons and Rhiannon Huffman on behalf of Sean Carroll, an environmentally conscious Tesla owner who had been ordered by the DMV to turn in his license plate “FKGAS” or else have his car registration cancelled. In October, Judge McElroy issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the statute, concluding that it likely violated the First Amendment. The consent judgment entered today, formally striking down the statute, was agreed to by all the parties in the case. 
Under the judgment, the Court declared that the statutory language at issue “unconstitutional on its face and as applied to” Carroll and “of no force and effect,” and barred the state from relying on that provision in the future in issuing vanity plates. The judgment also allows Carroll to keep his FKGAS license plate, and includes an award of attorneys’ fees.   
In filing the suit, the ACLU attorneys argued that the statute was unduly vague and violated the First Amendment by giving the DMV unbridled discretion to ban speech based on the viewpoint of the message. In her October ruling, Judge McElroy expressed preliminary agreement with those arguments and held that “the revocation of the license plate, which would prohibit Mr. Carroll from expressing his views on fossil fuel propulsion of motor vehicles, would stifle him in an irreparable way.”  
The DMV has approved over 41,000 vanity license plates, denied dozens of others, and maintains a list of more than 1,000 prohibited license plate combinations. The suit pointed out the completely arbitrary nature of the list – banning CHUBBY and DRUNK, for example, while allowing FATTY and TIPSY – and Judge McElroy’s ruling did as well. 
The lawsuit noted that Carroll obtained the “FKGAS” license plate last year “because he wished to convey, through the license plate, a personal philosophical and political message concerning his views about gasoline-powered automobiles and the environment.” When Carroll purchased the electrically powered car, he explained to his daughter that they could charge the car with energy from their home-installed solar panels, and she said it was like “fake gas.” Carroll acknowledged that the plate could also be perceived as conveying the message “fuck gas,” and that he supported that meaning as well.  
            ACLU of RI cooperating attorney Lyons said today: “We’re very happy we were able to obtain a complete victory for Mr. Carroll and for freedom of speech.”   
More information about the case can be found here. 

The MA Vaccine Portal

Baker-Polito Administration Launches New Vaccine Location Finder & Appointment Finder for Some Sites


BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today launched a new tool to help residents more easily find COVID-19 vaccination locations available to all residents and view appointment availability for some sites. The tool, called the COVID-19 Vaccine Finder, enables residents to search for a vaccination location and view appointment availability before scheduling. The tool can be accessed via the state’s vaccination website at or directly at 
The tool enables users to search for locations near them by entering their ZIP code, city/town name, or the name of a vaccination location. It also allows residents to filter results by site type, such as mass vaccination locations, locations run by local health departments, retail pharmacies or health care locations. 

The COVID-19 Vaccine Finder displays all vaccination locations open to all residents across the Commonwealth, but only includes appointment availability details for mass vaccination locations and some sites operated by local health departments at this time.


Visibility for additional sites will be built up over time.
Once a user selects a vaccination location, residents can view:
•    Available appointments (currently select sites only)
•    Vaccines offered (Pfizer/Moderna)
•    Directions via Google Maps and MBTA Trip Planner information
•    Specific site instructions and whether the site is indoors or outdoors
•    Disability access information
The tool updates appointment availability every 5 minutes for participating vaccination locations. In the coming weeks, availability for additional locations will be added. Appointment availability is based on supply from the federal government and remains limited. The tool is available in a wide range of languages. The COVID-19 Vaccine Finder was built as part of an ongoing partnership between Project Beacon and the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Response Command Center. 
Massachusetts will continue to add vaccine appointments and locations as the distribution process continues, and the Administration will continue to make improvements to the process that make it easier for residents to find and schedule an appointment. Residents can use to check if they are eligible, find and schedule an appointment and prepare for their appointment. Residents 75 and older who do not have internet or cannot use the website can call 2-1-1 to access the Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line, to schedule an appointment over the phone.


BCC Has Your Dose of Vaccine

The Division of Health and Human Services for the City of Fall River has opened parking lots  2 and 3 at Bristol Community College in Fall River as a general vaccination site for COVID-19. 


Health and Human Services Director Tess Curran tells WSAR  that the BCC site could provide 400 vaccinations a day, while a Mass Vac Site at the former Circuit City location in Dartmouth will open on February 24 with appointments taken starting Thursday, February 18 at 2-1-1 or Mass Dot Gov. 
























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Lelling Exits

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling Announces Departure


BOSTON – United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling announced today that, effective February 28, 2021, he will step down as United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts.  Mr. Lelling tendered his resignation to the President of the United States earlier this week.


Today’s announcement marks the end of Mr. Lelling’s 20-year career in the Department of Justice, starting in 2001 as a senior official in the Civil Rights Division, followed by positions as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern District of Virginia and, since 2005, for the District of Massachusetts.  In September 2017, with the support of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, President Donald J. Trump nominated Mr. Lelling for the position of United States Attorney.


In December 2017, the United States Senate voted unanimously to confirm him.


“It has been an honor to lead this office,” said Lelling. “Over the last 15 years, I have had the privilege of working not only with the best federal prosecutors in the country, but with the federal, state and local law enforcement officers who put themselves at risk to keep Massachusetts safe.  My goal as U.S. Attorney has been to do this job without fear or outside influence, and to make clear that everyone – regardless of wealth, status, or position of authority – will be treated the same under the law.  Massachusetts deserves nothing less.”


Under Mr. Lelling’s leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office brought successful, high impact cases in a number of areas. 

The office launched the most significant federal enforcement action in U.S. history targeting corruption in college admissions, an effort that sparked a national conversation on fairness and equality in the admissions process.  Fifty-six people were charged in the college admissions case, 42 of whom have been convicted to date.

In the first federal racketeering case targeting senior corporate executives for their role in exacerbating the opioid epidemic, in 2019, seven senior executives of Insys Therapeutics, Inc., including its CEO, John Kapoor, were convicted at trial.

Lelling spearheaded a nationally recognized anti-opioid media campaign focused on preventing first time use, especially among teens. The campaign used social media and nontraditional platforms with targeted messaging developed using focus groups of teens and others. It was first of its kind in the country and reached millions of people in the Commonwealth and beyond. 

In a push to tackle public corruption in the Commonwealth, since late 2017, under Lelling’s leadership the office has charged: 11 current and former members of the Massachusetts State Police and 10 current and former members of the Boston Police Department for fraudulent overtime practices and other corruption; State Representative David Nangle for alleged fraud; and a state district court judge for alleged obstruction of justice.

Continuing the office’s longstanding role as a leader in national healthcare enforcement, since late 2017 the office’s civil prosecutors have recovered nearly $1 billion from major pharmaceutical companies for violations of civil anti-kickback laws.

Leading a coordinated group of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office prioritized rooting out drug trafficking and violent offenders in Lawrence, Mass., a city in which crime has dropped 46% in the last two years.

Since late 2017, Lelling’s gang and organized crime prosecutors have convicted dozens of members of the violent transnational gang MS-13, and indicted more than 70 members of the Latin Kings gang, substantially dismantling both gangs in Massachusetts.


Under Lelling’s leadership, the U.S. Attorney’s Office was also a national leader in federal civil rights enforcement:

The Office’s “pattern and practice” investigation of the Springfield Police Department was the only such investigation opened in the country under the Trump administration. 

During Lelling’s tenure, the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office was the only one to use the Americans with Disabilities Act to require nursing facilities and county jails to provide medically assisted treatment to recovering addicts. 
Lelling’s office continues to pursue a federal civil rights investigation of allegations of mismanagement and neglect at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home during the pandemic, a situation that resulted in the deaths of over 75 elderly veterans.
Lelling’s office continues to negotiate with the Massachusetts Department of Correction to improve treatment of inmates requiring mental health treatment and reduce the use of restrictive housing.

Mr. Lelling added, “This is a unique and powerful job – there is no flesh-and-blood client, but only an unshakable obligation to be fair and to work in the public interest.  I know that my colleagues, in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and in the law enforcement agencies we work with, share my belief that this is a calling.  I look forward to new challenges in the years ahead, but I will miss the sense of mission that comes with working for the U.S. Department of Justice.”


Following Lelling’s departure, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell will assume the role of Acting U.S. Attorney.

Rhode Island Legislation on Plastic Bags

Ruggerio, McEntee introduce Plastic Waste Reduction Act


STATE HOUSE – Senate President Dominick Ruggerio and Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee have introduced legislation to reduce the use of plastic bags by retail establishments by offering recyclable bag options and providing penalties for violations.


The Plastic Waste Reduction Act (2021-S 0037, 2021-H 5358) would prohibit retail sales establishments from making available any single-use plastic checkout bag, and would require that any paper bags made available be recyclable, with an exception for paper carryout bags at restaurants.


“The dangers plastic pollution poses to oceans and marine wildlife is well-documented, and plastic use overall contributes to the degradation of our environment,” said Senate President Ruggerio (D-Dist. 4, North Providence, Providence). “We must take action to reduce plastic consumption and pollution. 


Support for efforts to promote reusable bags is growing, as is evidenced by the many communities in our state that have already adopted similar policies. A consistent statewide policy would be appropriate and much more effective at addressing this source of pollution.”


Plastics that enter the marine environment break down through wave action and sunlight into smaller pieces called microplastics, which can be ingested by marine life, putting Rhode Island’s fishing industries and aquatic ecosystems at risks.


 The legislation also acknowledges that plastic bags and thin plastic films are the predominant contaminant of recycling loads in Rhode Island, and that single-use plastic bags have severe environmental impacts on a local and global scale.


“I am the representative from two coastal communities and we have seen firsthand the damage that plastic bags do to our oceans and environment for many years now. In Rhode Island, we throw away approximately 26,000 tons of plastic bags and plastic film every year. When you think about how little plastic bags weigh, this is a staggering amount of waste that needs to be eliminated in our state. Plastics litter our parks, clog our rivers and oceans, and choke our wildlife. These particles end up in our soil, in our drinking water, in the food we eat and in the air we breathe. Now is the time to end this environmental and public health destruction and finally pass a statewide ban on plastic bags,” said Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett).

The legislation is supported by environmental advocates, including the Conservation Law Foundation.
“It’s time to ban plastic bags in Rhode Island once and for all,” said Amy Moses, Vice President and Rhode Island Director of the Conservation Law Foundation. “Plastics pollute at every stage of their lives — from extracting and refining fossil fuels to contaminating our recycling and choking wildlife. This bill is a solid compromise and it will keep Rhode Island’s lands and waters free from this toxic litter.”


The legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Senators V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), Sen. Meghan Kallman (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence) and Senate Majority Leader Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick), and has been referred to the Environment and Agriculture Committee.


House cosponsors include Representatives Terri Cortvriend (D-Dist. 72, Portsmouth, Middletown), David A. Bennett (D-Dist. 20, Warwick, Cranston), Jason Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), Lauren H. Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), House Majority Leader Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-Dist. 2, Providence), June S. Speakman (D-Dist. 68, Warren, Bristol), Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland), Susan R. Donovan (D-Dist. 69, Bristol, Portsmouth) and Robert E. Craven (D-Dist. 32, North Kingstown). The bill has been referred to the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Winterbridge in Fall River

 Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition, an initiative supported by the Bristol County Chamber Foundation – a division of One SouthCoast Chamber, is proud to launch Winterbridge, an initiative and a venue.


This exciting new program partners arts and culture and the business community to reinvigorate winter activities in downtown Fall River. 


One goal of Winterbridge to create a warm gathering space to pause and enjoy the crisp winter weather before or after taking in all downtown Fall River has to offer.


For six consecutive weeks, on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings, residents and visitors are invited to a curated, safe, seasonal experience featuring outdoor activities, vendors, and community giveaways.


This new outdoor community event destination located at Gromada Plaza across from City Hall. With artist installations and planned activities, the community is encouraged to come warm up by the fire pits, and relax, and listen to music.  Social distancing and appropriate COVID protocols will be observed. 



Winterbridge will formally launch on February 12th with a Valentine's Day themed event from 3:00 - 6:00pm. The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River will be present for family fun. Coastal Foodshed Mobile Pop-Up Market will offer a new semi-permanent location at Winterbridge, selling locally grown fruits and vegetables and other artisanal food items every Friday evening. In the events of inclement weather, programming will be postponed to Saturday February 13th. 



Each week new and exciting programs will take place as a part of Winterbridge. Programming will posted on the Winterbridge Facebook event page Fall River Winterbridge: A Place to Warm Up & Chill Out ( and released to the media.



Winterbridge will also feature a We Love Fall River – downtown window display competition.  The contest is kicking off with a call for artists and businesses to partner together and celebrate the city. The Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition (FRACC) is seeking 10 to 15 local artists to participate in the competition.


A volunteer committee of community members will review and select the artists who will then be paired with a local business to create a “We Love Fall River” window display.


Selected artists will receive a stipend of $500 and have two weeks to install their creations. Once instillation is complete, the community will spend two weeks voting online for their favorite display.


The goal of the competition is to build a new bond between the arts and culture and business community, while offering artists space to showcase their creative work.


For more information email


Winterbridge was created under the partnership of The Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition, The City of Fall River/Mayor Coogan’s Office, TDI Mass Development/Viva Fall River, We Love Fall River, One SouthCoast Chamber, and Baycoast Bank.

Council Has A Lawyer

The Fall River City Council has voted unanimously to select Lauren Goldberg of KP Law to become the attorney for the nine member body after a two hour interview process. 


Local Attorney Arthur Frank was the only other attorney who showed an interest in the post. 


Goldberg represented Council when the nine members were trying to use a gambit in the current City Charter to oust former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II from office. 

A new Econ law for MA

A new Massachusetts law signed by Governor Baker on Tuesday provides a 5 year window backed by more than $600 million in capital authorization to support economic growth and improve housing stability across the Commonwealth. 


The plan seeks to respond to what is perceived as a housing crisis, attempting to build vibrant communities, supporting business competitiveness and training a skilled workforce. 


The new law directs capital dollars to support advanced manufacturing and targets new and emerging opportunities to further strengthen the foundation of the Commonwealth's Economy. 


The new law also targets zoning reforms that allow municipalities to adopt the zoning needed to meet housing needs in Massachusetts. 


Housing choice and housing production measures can now be adopted by a simple majority by city councils and selectmen. 

Auchencloss asks for Specific Relief for the MA 4th

Massachusetts 4th District Congressman Jake Auchincloss has authored a letter to House and Senate Leadership in Washington ahead of committee mark-ups of the Biden Administration' American Rescue Plan, in an attempt to request District Specific Relief. 


Auchincloss calls for funding a National Vaccine Program along with funding to scale up testing in order to reopen schools and child care centers. 


The Congressman also calls for rental and home owners assistance to prevent evictions and foreclosures, as well as relief for public transit agencies such as SRTA and the MBTA. 


Auchencloss says its vital to ''go Big and Bold'' with a relief package. 

A Trio Of Three School Committees

Public School Committees for Fall River, Somerset and Swansea will meet on Monday Night, with Somerset and Swansea coming to order at 6pm and Fall River at 5:30pm.


The Somerset School Committee will have a joint session with a Middle School Building Committee and the Somerset Board of Selectmen, with a presentation by Ai3 Architects on a proposed new Middle School. 


Swansea's School Committee will be asked to approve a Fiscal Year 2022 Budget. 

Fall River's School Committee will be asked to appoint an Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services and hear Turn Around plans at four different buildings. 

FRPD COVID-19 Testing

Due to a decreased demand for testing, the Fall River
Fire Department has announced changes to the hours of operation for their test site on Commerce


The new schedule will go into on effect Monday, February 8th and is as follows:

? Monday 8am to 1pm
? Thursday 8am to 1pm

Residents may book an appointment at


The FRPD test site has also
transitioned to a new telephone number, which is now 508-324-2745.

The FRFD EMS division has run the test site since October 2020 and will continue to
monitor Fall River’s need for testing.

Dial 2-1-1

After an outcry that many Massachusetts Seniors did not have a computer or access to the internet, the Baker Administration outlined a plan for a call center that feature capability for 100 languages for those 75 and over to schedule an appointment for a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 


Dialing 2-1-1 will be available Monday through Friday from 8:30 till five pm.


Its estimated that as many as one million people in the Commonwealth are 75 and over. 


The Federal Government is working to get vaccine to communities that request it. 

Fall River Narcotics Bust

On Friday 01/29/2021, members of the Fall River Police Department Vice and Gang Unit, members from the Metro Boston Gang Task Force, and representatives from the FBI executed a search warrant at 12A Maple Gardens Housing Complex in the city of Fall River.


Targets of the investigation were identified as Jason VILLALONA (Age 32) and Timothy MORRISON (Age 33). This search warrant was a result of a narcotic distribution investigation involving VILLALONA and MORRISON. During the execution of the search warrant three males jumped out of a window from apartment A.



All three were taken into custody by FBI SWAT Team members and identified as Jason VILLALONA (Age 32), Timothy MORRISON (Age 33) and Justin VILLALONA (Age 25).

A search of the apartment was conducted and the following items were located and seized:
? 70 grams of suspected crack cocaine
? $3,778.35 Seized U.S. Currency

Timothy Morrison with a listed address of “homeless”
? Trafficking in Cocaine in excess of 36 grams
? Conspiracy to violate the controlled substance law
? 14 Unassociated arrest warrants

Justin Villalona with a listed address of 6200 Franklin Ave, Apt.105, Los Angeles CA 90028
? Possession to distribute a Class B drug
? Conspiracy to violate the controlled substance law

Jason Villalona with a listed address of 64 Bower St, Boston,MA
? Trafficking in Cocaine in excess of 36 grams
? Conspiracy to violate the controlled substance law

“The Fall River Police Department will continue to collaborate with our Federal and State partners to identify those distributing drugs in our neighborhood.”, said Police Chief Jeffrey Cardoza. “Today’s arrests are a direct result of the hard work and dedication of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies working together to combat violent criminals who distribute dangerous drugs like crack cocaine in our communities,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division. “Peddling poison out of a public housing complex, as alleged is this case, is a threat and affront to the law abiding citizens

who live there, and the FBI’s Metro Boston Gang Task Force will continue to use all of the tools at its disposal to go after those who have furthered the scourge of illegal narcotics in our neighborhoods.”
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MA Gasoline This Week

Massachusetts’s average gas price is up three cents from last week ($2.36), averaging $2.39 per gallon.


Today’s price is 18 cents higher than a month ago ($2.21), and 15 cents cheaper than February 1, 2020 ($2.54).


Massachusetts’s average gas price is 3 cents lower than the national average.

“For nearly a year, motorists have been saving, compared to the previous year, when filling up their gas tanks. While prices locally are still cheaper than this time in 2020, that extra pocket change is quickly going to dwindle thanks to rising crude oil prices that have made for more expensive pump prices,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Government Affairs. 

AAA Northeast’s February 1 survey of fuel prices found the current national average to be 2 cents higher than last week ($2.40), averaging $2.42 a gallon. Today’s national average price is 17 cents higher than a month ago ($2.25), and 5 cents cheaper than this day last year ($2.47).

Parking Bans Lifted

Parking Bans in Fall River and New Bedford have been lifted as of this morning, while a ban on large trucks in Rhode Island has been lifted as well. 

Seekonk will lift their Parking Ban at 1pm this afternoon.