WSAR NEWS Archives for 2023-02

Winter Storm Brings Crash Threat to Region

With several inches of snow forecast for Massachusetts tonight and tomorrow, drivers may face snowy and icy road conditions at a moment’s notice.


Dangerous winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths in an average winter, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.


Close to half of all crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter. AAA encourages drivers to be vigilant when hitting the road today and to always stay prepared by carrying an emergency roadside kit in their vehicles. 


“We urge drivers to watch for slippery conditions today,” said Mary Maguire, Vice President of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Northeast. “Snow and sleet can cause significant safety problems by reducing visibility and making it difficult to safely maneuver or stop.  And if you’re headed to the airport, check with your airline before you leave home.”


AAA recommends the following tips while driving in snowy and icy conditions:


•    Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.

•    Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.

•    Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: it takes longer to slow down on icy roads.

•    Increase your following distance. Allow five to six seconds of following distance between your vehicle and any vehicle in front of you. This space allows you time to stop safely if the other driver brakes suddenly.

•    Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Don’t pump the brakes.

•    Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.

•    Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.

•    Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.


“More than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle,” said Ms. Maguire. “Drivers attempting to brave bad weather should remain cautious and always be prepared by packing an emergency roadside kit.”


AAA recommends always keeping the following items in your “emergency kit” for winter driving:
•    Mobile phone and car charger 
•    First-aid kit 
•    Blankets 
•    Drinking water/snacks for everyone in the car including pets 
•    Flashlight with extra batteries
•    Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
•    Basic toolkit including duct tape and warning devices such as flares or reflectors 
•    Ice scraper/snow brush
•    Jumper cables/jump pack
•    Traction aid such as sand, salt or non-clumping cat litter
•    Tarp, raincoat and gloves
•    Shovel

Tanzi proposes universal, free school breakfast and lunch

STATE HOUSE – The debate over free school meals may have been on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that students are again paying for breakfast and lunch at school, Representative Teresa Tanzi wants the state to step in.

“We know children cannot learn when they’re hungry,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). “Before the pandemic we saw dystopian headlines where children were in debt because their parents couldn’t afford to feed them. We can’t go back to those days.”

Representative Tanzi is sponsoring legislation that expands upon a bill introduced by former Representative Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, who for years had championed a free lunch bill. Representative Tanzi’s bill would provide all students free, nutritious breakfast and lunch, encourage schools to purchase food from local farms, ask schools to engage with the community to cook culturally relevant meals and allow parents with means to pay for meals if they choose.

“When we talk about educational outcomes, we focus on testing, teacher recruitment, and school buildings,” said Kate Brewster of the Jonnycake Center for Hope. “All of that is important, but none of it matters if kids are hungry. Kids who don’t get regular nutritious meals can’t concentrate as well and just aren’t on a level playing field. This has lifetime consequences for their education and earnings.”

In May of 2019, the Warwick School Department made national headlines when it announced it would give students SunButter and jam sandwiches if they were behind on their lunch debt. Donations poured in and the district reversed course, but not before drawing attention to the fact that thousands of Rhode Island children are in debt for the simple act of eating.

When COVID hit, federal assistance brought free breakfast and lunch to schools around the country. Now that money has dried up, and many students are again paying to eat at school. 
Most Rhode Island districts began charging students again at the start of the current school year. Providence and Central Falls, as well as seven schools in Pawtucket and one in North Kingstown, continue to provide universal free school lunch because they qualify for federal funding based on income communitywide.

In the remaining Rhode Island school districts, public school lunch is offered for free only to families whose incomes fall below 130% of the poverty level, and at a reduced price for those whose family income falls between 130% and 185% of the poverty level. But caregivers must apply for this benefit and many do not, even when they are eligible. Some may be unaware they qualify and others may fear stigmatization.

While Rhode Island schools are again charging for breakfast and lunch, other states are maintaining universal free meals. Maine and California have permanent universal free school meal programs. Colorado will join them next fall after voters there approved a similar program by referendum. Vermont, Massachusetts and Nevada have free school meal programs this year and are debating making them permanent. Pennsylvania has free school breakfast this year and is debating making it permanent.

An additional COVID relief program, an additional $95 per month for households that qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will end March 1. That leaves struggling families with even fewer resources to feed their children at a time of rising prices. That, Representative Tanzi says, adds urgency to this effort.

“As a society, we take care of our children,” Representative Tanzi said. “Ensuring they have nutritious, hot meals is the right thing to do, for them, our teachers and our future.”

Department of Public Utilities Approves Further Reductions to Winter Gas Supply Rates Approval will Result in Lower Gas Utility Bills for Eversource Gas of Massachusetts and National Grid Customers

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) today announced it has approved additional reductions in gas supply rates for Eversource Gas of Massachusetts and Boston Gas Company d/b/a National Grid gas customers. On average, the decreases will result in a monthly bill decrease of about 10 percent for a typical residential heating customer. Eversource serves approximately 300,000 customers, and National Grid serves approximately 950,000 customers. 
Beginning on March 1, 2023, customers served by the companies can expect lower gas supply rates, which last until May 1. National Grid and Eversource Gas of Massachusetts previously lowered their gas supply rates effective February 1, 2023, and December 1, 2022, respectively. The further decrease in rates is attributable to updated forecasts in customer usage and the market-based price of natural gas over the course of the winter period.  

New Bedford Moves to Build New North End School The proposed new building would consolidate Ashley and Swift Schools

New Bedford, Massachusetts– The New Bedford School Committee voted unanimously to submit Statements of Interests (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) relative to the Charles S. Ashley and Jireh Swift Elementary Schools during its February 13 school committee meeting

. Mayor Jon Mitchell subsequently filed the SOI with the City Council and the Council approved the measure at its meeting earlier this week. Local approval of an SOI is the first step in serving MSBA support for a local school construction property.
“The quality of the learning environment is an important factor in student academic achievement, and that is why we have made the modernization of New Bedford school facilities a high priority,” said Mayor Mitchell. “Built at the turn of the 20th Century, the Ashley and Swift Elementary schools served generations of students well, but they are nearing the end of their useful lives. We want to make sure future generations of students have a school that meets their needs.”
Ashley Elementary School is 100 years old and the Swift Elementary School is 114 years old.
Superintendent Thomas Anderson noted Ashley and Swift Schools are closely situated, about 1.4 miles apart. “Their combined enrollments for the 2019-20 school year was 433 students. A consolidation makes sense educationally and is part of our master plan to replace all the century-old buildings while also upgrading schools built in the 1960s and 1970s. We must continue elevating the working conditions for both students and adults as we continue on a positive trajectory in New Bedford Public Schools.”
Similar to the ongoing work of the MSBA DeValles/Congdon School Building Subcommittee, chaired by School Committee member Bruce J. Oliveira, the Ashley/Swift SOIs are for one new school to be built in compliance with MSBA requirements that two SOIs be submitted, one for each school.


Andrew O’Leary, Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations noted to the committee, “Our intent is to submit two SOIs – one for the Ashley Elementary School and one for Swift Elementary School to replace both of these 100-year-old schools with a new facility to house both student populations. This resubmission incurs no financial obligation on the part of the City. However, if the MSBA Board votes to allow this project to proceed, a request will be needed for an appropriation during the first half of FY2025 to fund a feasibility study.”

A Vote in Attleboro Despite the Snow

According to CBS 12 in Providence, Attleboro voters will head to the polls in the midst of a snowstorm today. The Attleboro Board of Election Commissioners said the special election for mayor will be held as scheduled with polls open at 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Former Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux left office in January after being elected as the new county sheriff, prompting the special election OF Four candidates that are vying to lead the city: John Davis, Cathleen DeSimone, James DiLisio, and Timothy Barone.


Over 33,000 voters are eligible to cast a ballot in the election, with over 700 voters who have already voted by mail as of Monday morning.

NBPD Officer Shortage

According to CBS 12 in Providence, the New Bedford Police Department is offering $5,000 sign-on bonuses in an attempt to attract new recruits.New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira said the department has been short-staffed for a while and has been struggling to recruit new officers. The department currently employs 214 officers, though it budgets for 259 annually meaning the department needs to hire 45 more officers to be considered fully staffed. Oliveira said the bonuses will be offered until the department “sees a substantial recovery in its staffing levels.” Officers who are hired and receive the bonus must remain on the job for five years in order to retain it.


A record number of New Bedford officers retired in January.

Governor Healey to Sign Executive Order Creating the Governor's Advisory Council on Black Empowerment

BOSTON – Governor Maura T. Healey today announced that she will sign an Executive Order establishing the Governor’s Advisory Council on Black Empowerment and appoint more than 30 Black leaders from across the state to serve on it.


This Council will advise Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll on issues related to the economic prosperity and wellbeing of Massachusetts’ Black community, including education, health care, housing and workforce development. The Governor will sign the Executive Order and appoint the members at the first meeting of the Council on Monday, February 27, 2023. 

“Massachusetts’ Black residents make tremendous contributions to our state, but far too often they face systemic barriers that hold them back from opportunity. Our administration is committed to bringing people together and centering equity in all that we do, and that requires ensuring that those who are most impacted by our policy have a seat at the decision-making table,” said Governor Healey. "We look forward to working closely with our Advisory Council on Black Empowerment to explore how we can best support our Black community, reduce inequities and expand opportunity for all.” 
“Centuries of systemic racism in this country have fueled lasting inequities across all realms of society, but our Black community is resilient,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “Governor Healey and I are committed to not only listening to leaders in the Black community about the work that needs to be done to increase opportunity, but also acting on their recommendations to create real change.” 
“Systemic racism must be addressed through structural change,” said Chief Secretary April English. “The creation of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Black Empowerment and the appointments of proven leaders in the Black community are critical steps toward advancing our administration’s equity goals and making the progress necessary to strengthen our state and our communities.” 
Member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Black Empowerment will include: 
•    Co-Chair: Tanisha Sullivan, President, NAACP Boston 
•    Co-Chair: Anthony (Tony) Richards, II, VP, Equitable Business Development, Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency 
•    Alfred Enchill, President, Berkshire Black Economic Counci 
•    Sheena Collier, Founder/CEO, Boston While Black 
•    Nicole Obi, President, BECMA 
•    Trina Martin, Vice President of Community Engagement & External Affairs, Boston Medical Center 
•    Rep. Bud Williams, Chair, Black & Latino Caucus 
•    Michael Bobbitt, Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council 
•    Rev. Willie Bodrick II, Senior Pastor, Historic Twelfth Baptist Church 
•    Pamela Everhart , Senior Vice President, Head of Regional Public Affairs & Community Relations, Fidelity 
•    Beth Chandler, President/CEO, YW Boston 
•    Sharra Gaston, Co-Founder/Co-Executive Director, Boston HBCU Alumni Network, Inc.; Deputy Chief Equity & Strategy Officer, Boston Public Schools 
•    Pratt Wiley, President/CEO, The Partnership, Inc. 
•    Denise Jordan, Executive Director, Springfield Housing Authority 
•    Makeeba McCreary, President, New Commonwealth Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund 
•    Filaine Julce-Deronnette, Vice President, Health Systems 1199 SEIU 
•    Che Anderson, Vice Chancellor for City & Community Relations of UMass Medical School 
•    Karilyn Crockett, Professor of Urban History, Public Policy & Planning, MIT 
•    Dr. Aisha Miller, Vice President, Related Beal 
•    Isa Woldeguiorguis, Executive Director, Center for Hope and Healing, Lowell 
•    Jha D Amazi, Principal, MASS Design Group 
•    Fred Taylor, Business Agent, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Worcester 
•    Dr. Moses Dixon, President/CEO, Central MA Agency on Aging, Inc. 
•    Sophia Hall, Deputy Litigation Director, LCL 
•    Dr. Thea James, MD, Vice President of Mission, Associate CMO BMC, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine 
•    Rev. Clyde Talley, Senior Pastor, Belmont AME Zion Church Worcester 
•    Marcelina Pina-Christian, Executive Director, New Bedford Human Relations Commission 
•    Monalisa Smith, Executive Director, Mothers for Justice & Equity 
•    John Borders IV, Director of Tourism, Sports & Entertainment, City of Boston 
•    Shanique Spalding, Executive Director, MA Voter Roundtable 
•    Rev. Dr. Gregory G. Groover, President, Black Ministerial Alliance 
•    Deborah Enos, Senior Leader & Advisor on Healthcare 
•    Bithiah Carter, President, New England Blacks in Philanthropy 

Rhode Island Legislators to commemorate first anniversary of Ukrainian Invasion on Feb. 28

  STATE HOUSE – Legislators with Ukrainian churches within their districts will be commemorating the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 5 p.m. in the State Library of the State House.

            Organized by Sens. Melissa Murray (D-Dist. 24, Woonsocket, North Smithfield) and Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, West Greenwich), the event will feature a brief speaking program by members of Rhode Island’s Ukrainian community, as well as remarks from Rhode Island elected officials.  

            Joining Senators Murray and Raptakis in holding the event are Sen. Roger A. Picard (D-Dist. 20, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Reps. Jon D. Brien (I-Dist. 49, Woonsocket, North Smithfield), Robert D. Phillips (D-Dist. 51, Woonsocket, Cumberland) and Stephen M. Casey (D-Dist. 50, Woonsocket).

            “We all felt it was important to recognize Rhode Island’s Ukrainian community as this terrible and illegal invasion rages on and reaches a troubling milestone.  This event will demonstrate Rhode Island’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people and our pledge to support their efforts to liberate themselves from the tyranny and aggression they currently face from Putin and Russia,” said Senator Murray.

            “It is unfortunate that this war has entered its second year without any resolution in sight.  The tragic and horrific loss of life is completely unacceptable and the Russian government and Vladimir Putin are solely to blame for this unprovoked attack on the brave Ukrainian people and their way of life as a sovereign nation.  This event will highlight the Ukrainian community we have in Rhode Island while also showing our commitment to support and help the Ukrainian people in their time of need,” said Senator Raptakis.

            Resolutions in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people faced with the illegal invasion by Russia will be introduced in both the House and Senate prior to the event.  Father Barisal Kroner of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church will offer an opening prayer to the Senate session and Father Mykhaylo Dosyak of the St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church will deliver the opening prayer for the House session.  

Father Dosyak and Ms. Inna Walker, a Ukrainian Rhode Islander, will address the event with brief remarks.   

AAA Urges All Drivers to Check for Open Vehicle Recalls

Finding open recalls at is quick and easy.

With the recent “Do Not Drive” warning issued by Honda for thousands of vehicles equipped with extremely dangerous and unrepaired Takata Alpha air bag inflators, AAA is urging all drivers to immediately check the recall status of every vehicle they drive. 

Earlier this month, Honda issued a warning for more than 8,200 Honda and Acura vehicles

manufactured between 2001 and 2003 that are still on the road with defective Takata airbag inflators that have a 50 percent failure rate. If the inflators rupture, metal fragments can be propelled toward the driver’s face, causing devastating injuries or death.

Although Honda has replaced or accounted for nearly 99 percent of the recalled inflators, the remaining 8,200 vehicles subject to the warning remain unrepaired and unaccounted for. Models with the defective air bags include:

•    2001-2002 Honda Accord 
•    2001-2002 Honda Civic 
•    2002 Honda CR-V 
•    2002 Honda Odyssey 
•    2003 Honda Pilot 
•    2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL 
•    2003 Acura 3.2CL

"Operation Lunch Break" Strikes Again

According to CBS 12 in Providence, A New Bedford man previously arrested in connection with a multi-year narcotics investigation will spend at least three years behind bars for dealing fentanyl while out on bail. The 31 year old Jesus Santiago, was one of roughly a dozen people arrested in June 2021 as part of “Operation Lunch Break,” which dismantled the Geraldo Rivera Drug Trafficking Organization THAT was responsible for distributing large amounts of fentanyl, cocaine, marijuana, and opioid pills throughout the New Bedford area. Santiago was charged with conspiracy and released on bail. Santiago was caught in July 2022 dealing fentanyl out of his Malden Street home. While searching his home, Quinn said officers found nearly 28 grams of fentanyl, 62 grams of marijuana packaged for sale, digital scales and other drug paraphernalia.


Santiago pleaded guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and conspiracy and has been sentenced to serve three to four years in prison.

NB Man Receives 10 Years

According to CBS 12 in Providence, a New Bedford man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a slew of drugs was found inside his home. The 44 year old Ramon Serrano, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, cocaine and heroin. Police searched Serrano’s home in February 2019 and found an open backpack that contained a “large quantity of brown and white powder.” that totaled 544 grams of fentanyl and heroin were seized, along with 206 grams of cocaine separated into bags for distribution. Police also found $27,000  in cash, digital scales, multiple cell phones and a money counter.


Serrano was on probation for a heroin tracking violation at the time of his arrest.

Concerns in RIPTA

According to ABC 6 in Providence, Rhode Island Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has asked Rhode Island Public Transit Authority CEO Scott Avedisian to resign immediately because of “unacceptable” mistakes in management. Ruggerio stated that numerous “unacceptable management gaffes” have been made. In his statement, he addressed driver shortages and a no-bid lobbying contract while also bringing forth the issue that RIPTA canceled some of their routes, leaving students to look for an alternative ride to school. Shortly after this announcement, a RIPTA statement on behalf of Avedisian was released. The statement began by noting that challenges at RIPTA “stretch back many years.”


A Major Road Rage

A Cranston man charged in connection with a road rage incident in Massachusetts last week faced a judge yesterday. According to CBS 12 in Providence, 43 year old, Michael Sylvester, was apprehended Monday following an extensive investigation into the incident. Police said the incident happened Friday afternoon in Franklin, when the 23-year-old victim reported being shot at by another driver. The victim told officers he had made an abrupt turn in front of the suspect’s vehicle prior to the incident then sped up behind the victim’s car and fired several rounds from his driver’s side window. Sylvester faced a judge in Rhode Island Tuesday as a fugitive from justice and has been charged with two counts of possessing a large-capacity feeding device and cultivating marijuana. The judge set Sylvester’s bail at $200,000 with double surety on the fugitive from justice charge, and $10,000 with surety on the other charges.


Sylvester is scheduled to return to court for a special review next week.

New Bedford Fentanyl Trafficker

A 23- year-old New Bedford Fentanyl Trafficker was sentenced to serve up to seven years in state prison last week, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.


Rory Barrows, Jr. pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court on Feb. 16th to an indictment charging him with Trafficking in Fentanyl.


After an extensive investigation, New Bedford Police’s Narcotics Unit executed a search warrant at the defendant’s Campbell Street address on January 12, 2022. Inside his bedroom, detectives found 226.8 grams of fentanyl split into 20 separate bags, other drug distribution paraphernalia and $1,070 in cash. 


The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Steve Butts and the four-and-a-half to seven year state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Sharon Donatelle.

“The defendant was trafficking large amounts of fentanyl, which is clearly contributing to the drug epidemic in our communities,” District Attorney Quinn said. 

Mayor Mitchell asks Council to Repeal "10% Pay Penalty" For Employees Living Outside City

New Bedford, Massachusetts– Mayor Jon Mitchell has filed a proposed ordinance with the City Council which would abolish the City’s “10% pay penalty” for non-resident employees in management positions. 

In November 2020, the Mayor vetoed a Council-initiated ordinance that established the 10% pay reduction for non-resident management employees; the Council overrode the Mayor’s veto and the City has experienced significant difficulties in hiring and retention due, in part, to the “10% pay penalty.”


At the time of his veto, the Mayor expressed serious concern that the sweeping residency ordinance passed by the Council would make it more difficult for the City to attract talent. His concern has been validated in the period since, and the negative impact of the salary penalty has only increased as competition for municipal employees has grown fierce and the labor market has tightened.  Successful recruiting and hiring have become even more challenging for historically hard-to-fill positions. The City currently has roughly 200 vacant positions out of an estimated non-school workforce of 1,300.


The Mayor again noted in his submission to the Council, the “10% pay penalty” devised by the Council was not based on any research regarding the potential effect it would have if enacted.  “Such a radical policy departure should have been grounded in an analysis of the experience of other cities with a similar policy, or perhaps a survey of current City employees about how a pay reduction might affect their residency preferences,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. “The Council never offered up such evidence – or even pointed to another city that had adopted a similar measure. Some Councilors have expressed their concerns about the barrier to hiring the penalty poses, and now they’ll have an opportunity to do something about it.”


In support of his veto, the Mayor also took issue with the provision established by the Council which lifts the ten percent pay reduction once an employee reaches ten years of service, posing the rhetorical question: “How does this serve the City’s interests?


 Is it conceivable that a job candidate would be more willing to take the job if the pay cut ended some ten years later? The provision seems rather like a reward for longevity.  I fully support incentivizing employee retention, but not if the “reward” is to permit employees to leave the city, not out of necessity, but by choice.  Regrettably, the existing ordinance has the pernicious effect of undermining the notion that New Bedford is a great place to live—which I, along with the entire Council—would vociferously reject.”


The Mayor added “There can be no doubt that the “10% pay penalty” for non-residents has made it more difficult for us to attract talented candidates, so I ask the members of the City Council to give this repeal measure their full consideration.”

MassDOT Advisory: Somerset Daytime Stormwater Drainage Improvement Operations along a Section of Interstate 195

Work will begin on Wednesday, March 1, and then take place weekdays, Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through June 30

SOMERSET - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing it will be performing stormwater drainage improvements along a section of Interstate 195 eastbound and westbound between the Braga Bridge and the interchange with Route 103 in Somerset.  


The work will begin on Wednesday, March 1, and then take place weekdays, Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  The work is anticipated to continue through June 30. 


The work will require lane takings during non-peak travel hours.  At least one lane on I-195 will be open in each direction at all times.

Massachusetts Gas Prices Down 4 Cents

Westwood, MA, February 20, 2023 — The average gas price in Massachusetts is down 4 cents from last week ($3.38), averaging $3.34 per gallon. Today’s price is the same as a month ago ($3.34), and 20 cents lower than February 20, 2022 ($3.54). Massachusetts’ average gas price is 7 cents lower than the national average.

“The U.S. is awash in crude oil with inventories building by 16 million barrels last week. This will put downward pressure on prices overall. Even as refineries are shutting down for planned and unplanned maintenance, it has not contributed to a tighter market so far,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Vice President of Public and Government Affairs.

AAA Northeast’s February 20 survey of fuel prices found the current national average to be the same as last week, averaging $3.41 a gallon. Today’s national average price is 2 cents higher than a month ago ($3.39), and is 12 cents lower than this day last year ($3.53).

Need A GED in MA? The Commonwealth will pay for it

MALDEN — The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is pleased to announce that the state is now covering the cost of Massachusetts residents’ initial GED® and HiSET® tests in each subject, plus two retakes. The free HiSET testing began this week, while free GED testing began September 12, 2022.
By covering the cost of testing, the Department is ensuring test fees will no longer be a barrier to candidates who were unable to attain their high school credential through traditional means. The fees for high school equivalency exams can be steep for students, costing as much as $143 per test depending on the setting and test mode. Almost 9,000 Massachusetts adult learners took high school equivalency tests in 2021.
“By removing testing fees, we are making an investment in Massachusetts residents and their futures,” said Governor Maura Healey. “No one should be held back from earning their equivalency credential due to costs. This investment will encourage more Massachusetts adult learners to continue their education, earn their credential, and begin higher education or enter the workforce.”
 “A high school equivalency credential can be the ticket to economic mobility,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll. “By eliminating the fee burden for students earning their high school credentials, we are making sure cost is no longer a barrier to a brighter future. I hope more Massachusetts students are encouraged to apply for and earn their credential through this opportunity.”
 “Adult learners are trying to build better lives for themselves and their families, and this new testing opportunity is designed to make those first steps toward additional education or workforce opportunities easier,” said Education Secretary Patrick Tutwiler. “I’m proud to see Massachusetts take this step to invest in our less traditional students, and I am encouraged that this will allow even more adult learners to earn their high school equivalency credential.”
“I hope many people who did not earn a high school diploma will see this as a valuable opportunity to return to their education,” said Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley. “This could be the opportunity some Massachusetts adult learners have been waiting for to get a higher degree or a better job.”
Funding for this initiative will come from the adult education line item in the budget, which is expected to sufficiently fund the cost of equivalency tests permanently. The Department estimates it will cost the state approximately $800,000 in the first year.
To have their fees covered by the state, test takers will enter a promo code instead of credit or debit card payment when they register for the test. Additional information about covering the cost of testing is available on DESE’s High School Equivalency webpage.


Thieves across the nation are taking advantage of modern technology to steal valuables from inside vehicles, and often the vehicles as well. 

Many new cars and trucks no longer require a key to unlock the doors and start the engine, instead using an electronic “fob” that transmits a radio signal to gain entry.

Thieves use portable amplifiers to boost the signal of fobs that are kept too close to their vehicles to gain entry and steal valuables from inside. The vehicles could even be started and driven away but cannot be restarted once out of the range of the fob, so most crimes involving fob “hacking” involve property theft.
AAA recommends drivers take these precautions to lessen the chance of thieves getting into their vehicles...

•    Store key fobs as far away from the vehicle as possible and keep them in a metal container or a bag used to store toll transponders to interrupt the fob signal and prevent hacking.

•    Do not leave valuables such as navigation devices, purses, shopping bags or electronics in the vehicle.

•    If possible, park in a garage or well-lit area with security cameras

•    Do not place key fobs in a freezer or microwave oven which may damage the fobs and cost hundreds of dollars to replace.

Somerset Police Arrest Three Following Lengthy Investigation into Drug Activity

Somerset Police officers seized 54 grams of suspected fentanyl, 32 grams of suspected crack cocaine and $10,409 in cash during the execution of search warrants on Thursday, Feb. 16. 

SOMERSET — Chief Todd Costa reports that the Somerset Police Department arrested three individuals following a lengthy investigation into drug activity.


AARON McDERMOTT, 29, of FALL RIVER, was arrested and charged with:

Trafficking in 36 Grams or More, But Less Than 100 Grams, of Heroin/Morphine/Opium
Trafficking in 18 Grams or More, But Less Than 36 Grams, of Cocaine
Conspiracy to Violate Drug Law

MATTHEW McDERMOTT, 25, of FALL RIVER, was arrested and charged with:

Trafficking in 36 Grams or More, But Less Than 100 Grams, of Heroin/Morphine/Opium
Trafficking in 18 Grams or More, But Less Than 36 Grams, of Cocaine
Conspiracy to Violate Drug Law

CHELSEA SOARES, 25, of BRISTOL, R.I., was arrested and charged with:

Fugitive From Justice

On Jan. 30, Somerset detectives launched an investigation after having observed what they believed to be an alleged drug transaction in a parking lot in the Slade’s Ferry Business District.

Officers followed the suspect, later determined to be MATTHEW McDERMOTT, to a motel located on RIVERSIDE AVENUE. During the subsequent investigation, it was learned that AARON McDERMOTT and MATTHEW McDERMOTT were using the motel room as a base of operation for their alleged illegal drug dealing operation.

While conducting surveillance over approximately two weeks, detectives observed multiple alleged drug transactions take place. As a result, detectives applied for and were granted search warrants for two motel rooms and a vehicle connected to the suspects.

The search warrants were executed on Thursday, Feb. 16. Officers located and seized 54 grams of suspected fentanyl, 32 grams of suspected crack cocaine and $10,409 in cash.

SOARES, who was present at the time the search warrants were executed, was identified and determined to have an active warrant out of Rhode Island for Possession of a Controlled Substance.

All three individuals were arrested at the scene. They were scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Fall River District Court.

The Somerset Detective Division was assisted by members of the Fall River Police Department Vice and Intelligence Unit and the Somerset Police Patrol Division throughout the investigation.

These are allegations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Red Sox Injury Update

RHP Brayan Bello (Right forearm tightness)
Expected return: Feb. 20

Bello has been shut down from throwing due to soreness in his right forearm. The club has instructed Bello to back off from throwing until Monday. Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed confidence the pitcher doesn't have a significant injury. Bello first felt the soreness after his most recent side session. (Last updated: Feb. 17)


2B/SS Trevor Story (Right UCL surgery)
Expected return: July or after

Upon arriving to Spring Training, Story said he hopes to return at some point during the second half of the season. On Jan. 9, Story underwent an internal bracing procedure of the right ulnar collateral ligament. This procedure is not as invasive as Tommy John surgery, which is why Story has a chance to play in '23. His indefinite loss is significant for a Boston team that lost another key middle infielder to free agency this offseason in Xander Bogaerts. Kiké Hernández will be Boston's starting shortstop, with Christian Arroyo getting the nod at second base. (Last updated: Feb. 16)

Four Fall River School Department Contracts Finalized

By margins of 5-2 on each of four labor agreements, the Fall River School Committee, during a special meeting Friday night in BMC Durfee Auditorium, approved new deals with AFSCME Local 93 employees in the cafeteria, maintenance, custodial and safety/security employees. 


School Committee Members Kevin Augiar and Sara Rodriguez voted no on each agreement, after Augiar questioned why a special meeting was necessary after the seven member panel had met Monday Night. 


Augiar questioned why employees did not get COVID bonuses, as some of their municipal counterparts did in Fall River., 



Statement on RIPTA from Senate President Ruggerio

STATE HOUSE, Providence – President of the Senate Dominick J. Ruggerio today issued the following statement in regards to the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority:
RIPTA has been plagued by enduring challenges that have only grown more severe over the years. Despite federal funding that presented an unprecedented opportunity to make necessary reforms, there has been no change in direction. Foreseeable challenges, such as a driver shortage at the start of the school year, were left unaddressed until there was a crisis. There have been unacceptable management gaffes, such as the granting a no-bid lobbying contract to a political ally, apparently without the Board’s knowledge. No meaningful plan to confront the agency’s fiscal challenges has been presented to the General Assembly, and we are again faced with putting band aids on a gaping wound. 
A quality, well-functioning public transit system is vital to the people of our state and our economy. It is time for wholesale reform at RIPTA. 
The time has come to place the agency under the auspices of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and I will be submitting legislation to that effect. I am asking that CEO Scott Avedisian step down immediately, and that the governor conduct a national search for someone with expertise in transit to head Rhode Island’s public transit office, under this new structure.
Finally, I have asked Chairman Mark McKenney to convene the Senate Committee on Rules, Government Ethics & Oversight to conduct an oversight hearing of the agency.

Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll Appoint Rep. Jon Santiago as First Cabinet-Level Veterans' Secretary

BOSTON – Governor Maura T. Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kimberley Driscoll today announced that they are appointing State Representative Jon Santiago to serve as Massachusetts’ first ever Secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans’ Services. Representative Santiago is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve, an emergency medicine physician at Boston Medical Center, a former volunteer in the Peace Corps, and has served as State Representative for the 9th Suffolk district since 2019. 
In 2022, the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act relative to the governance, structure and care of veterans at the Commonwealth’s veterans’ homes in response to the devastating tragedy at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in 2020.


The legislation made a number of key reforms, including creating the Executive Office of Veterans’ Services to be led by the Secretary of Veterans’ Services. Among the Secretary’s responsibilities include serving as the ultimate appointing authority of the superintendents of the state’s two veterans’ homes. The secretariat will be established on March 1, 2023, which is when Rep. Santiago will be sworn in as Veterans’ Services Secretary. 
“Representative Santiago has dedicated his life to serving his country – whether that’s volunteering for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic, working in the emergency room throughout COVID, being deployed overseas with the U.S. Army Reserve, or advocating for increased access to housing, public transportation and substance use disorder treatment in the State House,” said Governor Healey. “His public health expertise and military service make him uniquely qualified to serve as Massachusetts’ first ever Secretary of Veterans’ Services. I’m confident that he will be the leader our veterans need and deserve and will always stand up for their health, safety and wellbeing.” 

Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches New Training Focused on Firearms Dealer Inspections Massachusetts Public Safety Agencies Partner with ATF to Provide Local Licensing Authorities with Enhanced Training to Ensure Gun Law Compliance

RANDOLPH – The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced new training focused on firearm dealer inspections to help local licensing authorities comply with all state and federal laws and regulations, strengthen the gun dealer inspection process, and prevent illegal firearm trafficking.


The Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC), in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) and the Department of Criminal Justice Information Systems (DCJIS), partnered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to develop specialized training to promote strict adherence with all applicable gun laws, educate local authorities about their responsibilities under those laws and protect communities against gun violence.
Massachusetts gun law MGL c. 140, § 123 mandates local licensing authorities to conduct annual inspections of licensed firearm dealers. State and federal subject matter experts jointly developed the newly created Firearms Dealer Inspection Training for Law Enforcement to provide local police and municipalities with a deeper understanding of effective gun dealer oversight and a comprehensive review of inspection requirements and standardized procedures

MassDOT seeks USACE permit for proposed work in tributary and vegetated wetlands in New Braintree

CONCORD, Mass. (February 17, 2023) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District received a permit application to conduct work in waters of the United States from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation – Highway Division in Boston for proposed work in an unnamed tributary to Winimusset Brook and vegetated wetlands at Ravine Road in New Braintree, Mass.


Although this proposed project is eligible for review under the General Permits for Massachusetts (MA GPs), the work is not expected to be complete until after the MA GPs expire on April 5, 2023. The applicant is therefore seeking an individual permit to allow more time to complete the work.


The proposed work involves the permanent discharge of 667 square feet of fill material below the Ordinary High-Water mark of an unnamed tributary to Winimusset Brook, and 200 square feet within vegetated wetlands, associated with the replacement of two existing culvert crossings conveying the stream below Ravine Road. The existing upstream crossing consists of a plastic pipe with concrete headwall, while the downstream crossing consists of two pipe arches with fieldstone masonry headwall.


Both crossings will be replaced with new 23-feet-wide open bottom bridge spans. The stream channel below the new bridges will be reconstructed with rip-rap overtopped with natural streambed material. 


USACE is soliciting comments from members of the public; federal, state and local agencies; American Indian Tribes; and other interested parties to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. The public notice with more detailed information is available for review on the District website at, file # NAE-2021-02624.


Public comments on this proposed work should be forwarded no later than March 16, 2023, to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Attn: Dan Vasconcelos, Regulatory Division, 696 Virginia Road, Concord, MA 01742 or by email to Please reference file # NAE-2021-02624.

New Bedford Man Convicted of Stabbing 2 Victims

A 28-year-old New Bedford man who robbed and stabbed an acquaintance of his two years ago, and then helped assault a fellow inmate while being held in jail, was sentenced last Friday in Fall River Superior Court to serve four to five years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.


Roberto Soler pleaded guilty to indictments charging him with Armed Robbery and two counts of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon-Causing Serious Bodily Injury.


On January 27, 2021, New Bedford Police responded to St. Luke’s Hospital for the report of a stabbing victim, who drove himself to the hospital.  


The victim later told police he was stabbed in the shoulder by the defendant while in his apartment.  The stabbing severed an artery in the victim’s arm. When he arrived at the hospital, he was bleeding profusely and collapsed.  Emergency surgery was performed to save his life. 


When police arrived at the victim’s apartment, it was apparent that that scene had been cleaned with bleach.  Bloody towels were later found in a trash can. 


During the course of the investigation, police learned the victim had apparently taken a small amount of marijuana from the defendant on a pervious date, which led to the robbery and stabbing.  The defendant stole around $400 from the victim before stabbing him in the shoulder.


On August 2, 2022, while in custody on this case, the defendant and another inmate ganged up on a third inmate to assault him.  During the incident, this defendant’s compatriot stabbed the victim, while this defendant assaulted him with his fists. 


The cases were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Jason Mohan and Matthew Sylvia, and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Raffi Yessayan.


“The defendant engaged in a serious act of senseless violence by stabbing the victim.  The incident was apparently related to drugs and money,” District Attorney Quinn said. “While awaiting trial he participated in another violent assault in jail.  The defendant is a violent individual and needed to be kept off the street.”

Rep. Sanchez bill would make last day of Ramadan a state holiday

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Enrique Sanchez has introduced legislation that would make the last day of Ramadan a state holiday.

“Our state was founded on the principle of religious freedom,” Representative Sanchez said. “Not everyone in Rhode Island is Christian and the state shouldn’t choose one religion to celebrate over others. Our Muslim neighbors contribute so much to our state and that should be recognized.”

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims as a month of prayer, fasting, reflection and community. According to Muslim beliefs, the month commemorates the first time the prophet Mohammed was visited by the angel Gabriel.


The last day of Ramadan, known as Eid al-Fitr or the Festival of Sweets, is among the holiest days of the year for Muslims worldwide.

The legislation would add the last day of Ramadan, in accordance with the Islamic calendar, as a holiday for state employees. If that day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the holiday would be celebrated on that Monday.

To Representative Sanchez (D-Dist. 9, Providence), it’s a matter of living up to the state’s ideals.
“Roger Williams’ words are carved in marble over the front door of the State House: ‘a lively experiment that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained with full liberty in religious concernments.’ To me that means treating all religions equally,” Representative Sanchez said. “We get Christmas as a state holiday because so many of us celebrate that day. Our Muslim neighbors deserve their holy day off, too.”

Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll Appoint John E. Mawn, Jr. as Massachusetts State Police Interim Colonel

BOSTON – Today, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced the appointment of Lieutenant Colonel John E. Mawn, Jr. as Massachusetts State Police Interim Colonel, effective Friday, February 17, 2023. Mawn succeeds Colonel Christopher Mason, who retires today after a 40-year career in law enforcement.  

The Healey-Driscoll Administration is finalizing plans to establish a comprehensive search process to identify and review prospective candidates for the next Massachusetts State Police Colonel.  
About Lieutenant Colonel John E. Mawn, Jr.  
Lieutenant Colonel John E. Mawn, Jr. was appointed Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police by Governor Maura T. Healey on Friday, February 17, 2023. Before this role, Mawn served as Commander of the Division of Investigative Services, which investigates homicides and other violent crime, crimes against children, narcotics offenses, cybercrime, and organized crime investigations. With more than 400 members across 24 units, the Division provides dedicated service to the Commonwealth’s 11 District Attorney’s Offices, the Office of the Attorney General, and the State Fire Marshal’s fire investigation team.  
Under Mawn’s leadership, the Investigative Services Division launched several new trainings to enhance investigations, increase police accountability, and implement new strategies to advance neighborhood safety. During Mawn’s tenure, the Division achieved a 97% homicide solve rate, one of the highest in the nation. He also created the State Police’s first division diversity officer to recruit women and people of color, review job postings and hiring practices for potential bias, and report division-wide diversity statistics. This position became the model for a department-wide diversity officer, which now resides centrally in the Administrative Services Division.  
Lieutenant Colonel Mawn joined the State Police in 1993 as a member of the 71st Recruit Training Troop following his service as a United States Marine during the Gulf War and in Kuwait and 6 years as a Harwich Municipal Police Officer. Then-Trooper Mawn earned the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Detective Lieutenant as a member of the Cape and Island and Suffolk County Teams. He advanced to the rank of Captain as Executive Officer of Troop D, and later Major as Deputy Division Commander of Investigative Services.    
Mawn earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees of criminal justice from Curry College.  

MassDOT Advisory: Fall River Temporary Closure of Ramp from Route 24 Southbound (Exit 4) to Interstate 195 Eastbound

Closure will be in place on Tuesday, February 21, from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and is needed to facilitate light structure removal operations

Detour will be in place  

FALL RIVER -The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing it will be implementing a temporary closure of the ramp from Route 24 southbound at exit 4 to I-195 eastbound on Tuesday, February 21, from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.  


The temporary closure is needed to facilitate light structure removal operations.


A temporary ramp detour will be in place as follows:  

•    Exit 4 (Route 195 east) will be closed. 
•    Take the right ramp to I-195 west/Route 24 south.
•    Continue straight on I-195 west past exit 14A (Route 24 south).
•    Take exits 13-14 to Route 81 south/Plymouth Avenue/Pleasant Street.
•    Keep right on the ramp to take exit 13 to Route 81 south/Plymouth Avenue.
•    Turn left at the signal onto Route 81 south under the I-195 overpass.
•    Use the left lane under the overpass to turn left onto I-195 east to New Bedford/Cape Cod. 
•    Continue straight to merge onto Route I-195 eastbound.

Haverhill Fentanyl Pill Distributor Arrested for Trafficking Tens of Thousands of Counterfeit Pills

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Approximately 50,000 fentanyl pills and two pill presses seized


BOSTON – A Haverhill man has been arrested and charged for allegedly manufacturing and distributing tens of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl in the Lawrence and Boston areas. 


Angel Joel Diaz, a/k/a “Guero,” 34, was charged by criminal complaint with distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl. Diaz was detained following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston yesterday.


“Swallowing a lethal drug can have the exact same deadly outcome as injecting one. With the rise in counterfeit pill distribution, the health and safety of our communities are put at greater risk,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “We believe Mr. Diaz allegedly conspired to sell tens of thousands of these deadly counterfeit pills to areas in our Commonwealth and beyond. During the investigation, approximately 50,000 counterfeit pills were seized along with two pill presses. Each of those pills could result in a fatal overdose and we commend our law enforcement partners for this investigation and arrest which improves public safety.” 


“The state of Massachusetts is faced with an opioid crisis unlike ever before,” said Brian D. Boyle, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New England Field Division. “Those responsible for distributing lethal drugs like counterfeit pills containing fentanyl to the citizens of Massachusetts need to be held accountable for their actions. DEA will aggressively pursue Drug Trafficking Organizations and individuals who are distributing this poison. This investigation demonstrates the strength and continued commitment of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners. It is our mission to target those who seek to profit from the sale of deadly substances.”


According to the charging documents, in January 2023, an investigation began into Diaz’s fentanyl pill manufacturing and distribution operation. On Jan. 10, 2023, an undercover officer contacted Diaz posing as a potential drug customer seeking to purchase counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl. It is alleged that Diaz agreed to meet the following day, on Jan. 11, 2023, and provided the undercover officer with 208 fentanyl pills weighing approximately 26 grams.


Half of the pills allegedly contained methamphetamine in addition to fentanyl. During the meeting, it is alleged that Diaz told the officer that he manufactures his own fentanyl pills, which he distributes in Lawrence and Boston as well as in New York via mail shipments. Following the meeting, Diaz allegedly maintained communication with the undercover officer about purchasing additional fentanyl pills. During the communications, it is alleged Diaz sent several photos depicting his manufacturing process including images of a blue substance in tin pans, wrapped bricks of suspected fentanyl and blue pills with “M/30” stamped. 


It is further alleged that on two subsequent occasions, Jan. 27, 2023 and Feb. 7, 2023, Diaz distributed 5,150 and 8,500 counterfeit prescription pills containing suspected fentanyl to the undercover officer, respectively. On Feb. 14, 2023, Diaz allegedly sent a photo of suspected fentanyl pills to the undercover officer saying that, “even making it with a mask makes you want to vomit and everything.”


On Feb. 15, 2023, Diaz was arrested while carrying a shopping bag of approximately 31,800 fentanyl pills separated into seven plastic bags. According to court documents, during a subsequent search of Diaz’s Haverhill residence, law enforcement found: a pill press with powder residue on it, thousands of pills, pill stamps, several masks and loose powder of various colors; approximately 5,000 suspected fentanyl pills in a heat-sealed bag; suspected fentanyl powder and chemicals used in manufacturing pills; and in the garage a second pill press.


In total, approximately 37,000-40,000 fentanyl pills were seized during execution of the search warrant along with the two pill presses, suspected fentanyl powder and various pill-manufacturing paraphernalia. 


Narcotics seized 
The charge of distribution of and possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl provides for a sentence of at least 10 years and up to life in prison, at least five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of up to $10 million. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.


U.S. Attorney Rollins and DEA SAC Boyle made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police and the Haverhill Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel R. Feldman of Rollins’ Narcotics & Money Laundering Unit is prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Major Garage Fire Spreads from Cars to the Home

Two adults and four children are without a home after a fire broke out in New Bedford Thursday night. According to CBS 12 in Providence, fire crews responding to a home on Mate Drive around 10 p.m. found a garage fully engulfed in flames, which spread to the attached two-story home. Three of the cars and a motorcycle were badly damaged as one of the vehicles also began leaking gasoline, which ignited, forcing firefighters to use foam to put it out.


No injuries were reported and the cause remains under investigation

A New Cannabis Location in New Bedford

A cannabis dispensary is opening its first outlet store in Massachusetts Friday. According to CBS 12 in Providence, Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. is holding a grand opening at 10 a.m. at its new location on Coggeshall Street in New Bedford. The store is Ascend’s first outlet dispensary in the Bay State and its third overall.


Ascend New Bedford will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

The Celtics remove an interim label

The Boston Celtics announcing via Twitter on Thursday that Joe Mazzulla is officially the 19th Head Coach in franchise history.


Mazzulla has been an assistant coach under Brad Stephens and Ime Udoka; he became the interim head coach after Udoka was suspended after allegedly violating Celtics internal policies. 


Mazzulla has directed the Celtics to the best recond in the NBAs Eastern Conference at the Association's All-Star Break. 


FALL RIVER — Lent, the forty-day season of prayer, sacrifice, and almsgiving in preparation for the joyous celebration of Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is February 22, 2023.

Parishes throughout the Fall River Diocese will mark the start of Lent with the traditional rite of distribution of ashes.

On Ash Wednesday, ashes -symbolic of penance- are blessed and distributed as a reminder that Lent is a time for repentance and spiritual renewal. Ashes are used to mark on the forehead of the faithful the Sign of the Cross, with the reminder: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel” or “Remember you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”

Bishop da Cunha will celebrate the 12 noon Mass on Ash Wednesday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, 327 Second St., Fall River.

The Church calls for days of abstinence and fasting during Lent:

•    Abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday, all Fridays during Lent and Good Friday for those aged 14 and older;
•    Fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday for those aged 18 through 59. Fasting is defined as eating only one full meatless meal. Two other meals, sufficient to maintain strength, may be taken according to one’s needs.

Those who are not obliged to fast or abstain from meat are encouraged to join in those disciplines to the extent that they are able.

Catholics are urged to regard the Lenten season as a time to live with a greater focus on the Christian practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving as means for spiritual renewal.

Anyone in need of a parish Ash Wednesday schedule should check the parish bulletin, website, or social media for the times of services.

Dr. Javier Reyes appointed chancellor of UMass Amherst Interim Chancellor of University of Illinois Chicago described as "a bold and innovative leader" for Commonwealth's flagship university

Pointing to his record of innovative leadership and embrace of public higher education’s historic mission, the UMass Board of Trustees, acting on President Marty Meehan’s recommendation, today selected Dr. Javier Reyes to be the next chancellor of UMass Amherst. 
Governor Maura Healey praised Dr. Reyes’ appointment as “historic.” “Javier Reyes is an innovative and dynamic leader who will harness the full potential of UMass Amherst. I’m confident that he will inspire students and faculty alike to continue growing the school’s excellence in education and research.


 congratulate Dr. Reyes, President Meehan, and the UMass Board of Trustees on this historic appointment. I am grateful to Chancellor Subbaswamy for his many years of service to the university and for taking it to new heights. I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.” 
“Dr. Reyes understands that UMass Amherst is the Commonwealth’s indispensable education and research engine,” said Stephen R. Karam, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “From the very beginning, we were determined to find a special leader who could build on all that has been accomplished over the past decade and help drive our flagship campus even higher. We have found that exact person in Dr. Javier Reyes.”
“Javier Reyes has demonstrated uncommon energy and vision throughout his career,” UMass President Marty Meehan said. “A bold and innovative leader, he has inspired students in the classroom, supported initiatives that have unleashed the teaching and research talents of faculty, and connected great public universities to the socio-economic aspirations of their communities. He is well-prepared to build on the strong foundation that has been built under Chancellor Subbaswamy’s stellar leadership.” 
Born and raised in Mexico, Reyes is an economist who has devoted his career to the cause of public higher education. He will be the first Hispanic to serve as Chancellor of UMass Amherst.
Reyes currently serves as interim chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), Chicago’s largest university campus, with more than 33,000 students and $440 million in research awards. He will succeed Chancellor Subbaswamy, who has led UMass Amherst for the past 11 years.
“I am honored by the opportunity to lead UMass Amherst, a world class university that is on the rise, and humbled by the trust that President Meehan and the Board of Trustees are placing in me,” Reyes said. “My visit to campus and meetings with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners were truly inspiring. My wife, Maritza, and I are excited about making Massachusetts our home and doing our part to elevate UMass Amherst toward the top 20 public universities in the United States.”
UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy welcomed Reyes to the university. ““I am really excited to welcome Javier Reyes as the next chancellor of UMass Amherst,” Subbaswamy said.  “His prior experience at two land-grant flagships, his record of assembling and leading collaborative teams, his temperament, and his friendly personality all bode well for the continuation of UMass Amherst’s progress and impact into the future.”
Reyes will be the sixth chancellor appointed on President Meehan’s watch, following: Jacquie Moloney (UMass Lowell), Robert Johnson (UMass Dartmouth), Marcelo Suárez-Orozco (UMass Boston), Mark Fuller (UMass Dartmouth), and Julie Chen (UMass Lowell).

Reyes, 48, was appointed interim chancellor of the University of Illinois Chicago on July 1, 2022, and previously served as UIC’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.
The University of Illinois Chicago is an R1 Carnegie Classification research institution. With its $440 million in research awards, UIC places in the top 65 among the more than 650 national universities in research funding.

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago are developing cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy, creating new medical diagnostic techniques, focusing on ways to improve the quality of urban life and are examining ways to manage large amounts of computer-generated data.

UIC is classified as a Minority Serving Institution, a Hispanic Serving Institution, and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.

As interim chancellor, Reyes’ responsibilities include overseeing a $3.6 billion budget, 13,000 faculty and staff, and 16 academic colleges, including one of the nation’s largest medical schools and Chicago’s first and only public law school.


As provost, he advised on matters of academic policy, strategic direction, enrollment management and academic resource planning. He was responsible for all academic affairs and for fulfilling the mission of providing the nearly 33,000 students with inclusive access to academic excellence and opportunity.

Prior to his arrival at UIC, Reyes served as dean of the John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University and as vice president for the state’s economic development program Startup West Virginia. Under his leadership, enrollment of the Chambers College of Business grew by 20 percent.
Robert L. Reynolds, president and chief executive officer of Putnam Investments, and a West Virginia University alumnus, said, “I want to commend President Meehan and the UMass Board of Trustees for having the vision to appoint Javier Reyes to the UMass Amherst chancellorship.


Dr. Reyes, in my opinion, is one of the most dynamic and talented young leaders on the higher education landscape. I had the good fortune of working with Javier in West Virginia and was deeply impressed by his resourcefulness and his recognition that we are not defined by our past and that education is the key to a better and more successful tomorrow.”

Reyes began his career in higher education in 2003, when he joined the University of Arkansas economics faculty after earning a Ph.D. in economics from Texas A&M University. He later became vice provost for distance education and associate dean for undergraduate studies and executive education at the Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Javier Reyes was born and raised in Mexico and attended Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City, where he earned his bachelor's degree in economics. Reyes is considered an expert in distance education and global economic matters. He is an accomplished researcher and has published articles in many leading economics and business journals.

“Like Chancellor Subbaswamy, Dr. Reyes is grounded and humble, and he brings these attributes into his engagement with the student body,” said UMass Amherst Student Government Association President Shayan Raza, a member of the search committee. “Throughout his career, Dr. Reyes has worked in partnership with students, not only giving them a seat at the table, but also ensuring that their voices are prioritized. His approachable and empathetic demeanor makes him a chancellor whom I am certain will be a beacon on our campus, whether in the Whitmore Administration Building or the Worcester Dining Commons.”

“Seeing Latino leadership at the highest levels of education is an important signal to not only the Latino community, but to an ever-diverse student body that representation matters,” said Amanda Fernandez, CEO and Founder, Latinos for Education. “From leading a large and diverse urban campus at University of Illinois-Chicago, Mr. Reyes will certainly bring an important perspective to UMass Amherst. We look forward to seeing his vision outlined and implemented in the coming years.”
“Dr. Javier Reyes brings a keen appreciation of the value of the humanities and arts at a leading research university and in the wider community, said Dr. Barbara Krauthamer, Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, member of the UMass Amherst Chancellor Search Committee. “He has the leadership experience to continue elevating research and teaching across our campus and to advance the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.  I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.” 
The UMass Amherst chancellor search, launched on July 15, 2022, was conducted by a 21-member committee. An executive search firm, Isaacson, Miller, assisted the committee and communicated with 108 potential candidates, interviewing 26 candidates. Twelve candidates were advanced to the Committee for interviews, and two emerged as the finalists.

“I firmly believe the search committee has identified the person whose Personality, Leadership qualities, Awareness of the campus environment, with the Character and Experience (PLACE) that personifies the campus community in a way no other candidate has,” Search Committee Chair and UMass alumnus Victor Woolridge said. “I’m proud to recommend on behalf o


f the search committee Dr. Javier Reyes as the right person, at the right time, with the right PLACE.”
Search Committee Vice Chair Laura Haas, Dean of the Manning College of Information & Computer Sciences, added: “Dr. Reyes’ vision of a great public university as the engine of economic mobility fits perfectly with our mission as a land-grant institution dedicated to advancing the common good.  His excitement about our potential for global impact and his passion for serving students of all backgrounds augur an exciting future for the campus.” 

Taunton Man Convicted

A 32-year-old Taunton domestic abuser who viciously beat and terrorized his live-in girlfriend was sentenced to serve four to five years in state prison on Monday in Fall River Superior Court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.


Raymond Cruz pleaded guilty on the even of his scheduled trial to indictments charging him with Strangulation, Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Domestic Assault and Battery.


In December of 2021, the defendant was arrested after the female victim provided police with home surveillance camera footage showing the defendant dragging her down a stairway, beating her with a belt, strangling her on the kitchen floor and locking her out of the home. 


The defendant has had four restraining orders filed against him from three separate women and has served jail time in the past fort domestic violence.


The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Courtney Cahill and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Renee Dupuis.  In addition to the prison term, Judge Dupuis also sentenced the defendant to an additional three years of supervised probation.


“Home surveillance video captures the defendant brutally assaulting the victim.  This defendant has a history of domestic violence, including the issuance of multiple restraining orders by different women.  He clearly presents a danger to the victim and the public and needs to be kept off the street to protect her,” District Attorney Quinn said. 

Raquel Welch Dies at 82

Actress and model Raquel Welch, known for her roles in the 1966 films "Fantastic Voyage" and "One Million Years B.C." has died, according to her representative. Welch was 82.


"The legendary bombshell actress of film, television and stage, passed away peacefully early this morning after a brief illness," Welch's rep said in a statement to KABC. "Her career spanned over 50 years starring in over 30 films and 50 television series and appearances. The Golden Globe winner, in more recent years, was involved in a very successful line of wigs."


"Raquel leaves behind her two children, son Damon Welch and her daughter, Tahnee Welch," her rep added.


Welch was born on Sept. 5, 1940, in Chicago, to Armando Carlos Tejeda, an aerospace engineer, and his Irish American wife, Josephine Sarah Hall. When she was 2 years old, she and her family moved to San Diego.


Welch had a desire to perform at a young age. As a child, she took dance lessons and earned teen beauty titles including Miss La Jolla and Miss San Diego.

In 1958, she attended San Diego State College where she studied theater arts. That same year, she married her first husband, high school sweetheart James Welch, and they had two children: Damon Welch and Tahnee Welch.


Outside of school, she got a job as a weather forecaster at a local San Diego station.


After her separation from James Welch in 1962, she moved to Los Angeles where she began applying for film roles. It was during this time that she met her agent, Patrick Curtis, who devised a plan to turn Welch into a sex symbol. To do so and avoid typecasting as a Latina actress, he advised Welch to keep her ex-husband's last name.

The move led to Welch being cast in small roles in the films "A House Is Not A Home" and the Elvis Presley musical "Roustabout."


She also landed small roles in the TV shows "Bewitched," "McHale's Navy" and "The Virginian."

Welch's first feature film role was in the 1965 film "A Swingin' Summer," where she also made her singing debut. More film roles followed with "Fantastic Voyage" in 1966.


One of her most iconic roles came in 1966 when she starred in "One Million Years B.C." In it, she wore a two-piece deer-skin bikini, which became a memorable look during the '60s. A poster of her wearing the infamous bikini later played a pivotal role in 1994's "The Shawshank Redemption."

In the late '60s into the '70s, Welch earned international stardom with her roles in the Frank Sinatra film "Lady In Cement," and alongside Jim Brown in "100 Rifles."


She also played a controversial role as a transgender heroine in the 1970 film "Myra Breckinridge."


Later in her career, Welch made a number of cameos in television and film, including "Legally Blonde,"

Bishop Connolly Senior Named Finalist in Prestigious National Merit® Scholarship Program

Bishop Connolly High School is pleased to announce that senior Anya Costello, of Fall River,
has been named a Finalist in the National Merit® Scholarship Program by “demonstrating
through distinguished performance high potential for future academic accomplishment.”


National Merit Scholarship Program competition offers some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships
worth nearly $28 million to students who are academically talented. Ms. Costello’s Finalist
standing advances her in the prestigious competition to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship
award and the title of Merit Scholar.

“We are extremely proud of Anya’s academic recognition by the National Merit Scholarship
Corporation,” said Bishop Connolly High School President Kathleen St. Laurent. “Her diligent
work and exceptional scholastic achievement have led to her Finalist standing, with the
opportunity to be named a National Merit Scholar. The entire Bishop Connolly community wishes
her success as she moves forward in the competition.”

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) was established in 1955 specifically to
conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC
with its own funds and by approximately 340 business organizations and higher education
institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and
encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Red Sox Spring Training Underway in Florida

Pitchers and Catchers to Begin Workouts at 10:00 a.m. Workouts are Free and Open to the Public

FORT MYERS, FL—Red Sox pitchers and catchers have their first workouts this week, at Fenway South, the club’s Spring Training and Player Development Complex in Lee County, Florida. Workouts, which are free and open to the public, start at 10:00 a.m. and are expected to include 31 pitchers and 6 catchers.


Fans may enter the complex through the West Gate beginning at 9:00 a.m. Additionally, tours of JetBlue Park are also available seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., through March 28. Tickets for tours may be purchased from the JetBlue Park box office beginning at 9:45 a.m. and cost $10 per person, with children 12 and under able to enter for free.


Game day VIP tour packages are also available and cost $40 per person and $15 for children 12 and under. These tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and must be prearranged in advance by calling 239-226-4772.


Concessions and merchandise will be on sale during these workouts. The Red Sox team store will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during workouts and will transition to remaining open one hour following games, beginning on February 24. JetBlue Park is accepting only digital forms of payment this season. Fans can purchase Spring Training tickets at the ticket office and online at Mastercard is the preferred payment of the Boston Red Sox.


The team’s first full-squad workout is scheduled for Monday, February 20. The Red Sox are expected to have 62 players in camp, with nine infielders, nine outfielders, and seven infielder/outfielders joining the pitchers and catchers (including 22 non-roster invitees).


All workouts from February 15-20 will take place at the Fenway South Player Development Complex, located at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers.

Spring Training games begin at JetBlue Park on Friday, February 24 at 1:05 p.m. with a game against the Northeastern University Huskies. The Grapefruit League schedule launches on the road at CoolToday Park on Saturday, February 25 at 1:05 p.m. against the Atlanta Braves.

The 2023 Spring Training season is the Red Sox’ 12th at JetBlue Park at Fenway South and is presented by CVS Health.

DIRECTIONS TO FENWAY SOUTH: From the North:?Take I-75 South to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Make a left off the exit and go east for approximately two miles. Fenway South will be on your left. From the South:?Take I-75 North to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Make a right off the exit and go east for approximately two miles. Fenway South will be on your left.

Former New Bedford Man Faces Federal Counts

BOSTON – A former New Bedford man has been extradited to the United States from the United Kingdom to face wire fraud and money laundering charges involving funds obtained from “romance scam” victims.  

Chukwunonso “Douglas” Umegbo, a/k/a James Abbott, a/k/a Michael Philips, a/k/a Richard Armani, 37, formerly of New Bedford, was arrested in London on April 4, 2022 and was extradited to the United States on Feb. 10, 2023.


Following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Feb. 13, 2023, Umegbo was detained pending a hearing set for March 2, 2023. Umegbo was indicted in February 2021 on six counts of making a false statement to a bank, two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.


According to the charging documents, between no later than 2018 through at least 2019, Umegbo opened bank accounts in the greater Boston area using fake identity documents. It is alleged that the bank accounts were used to receive fraudulently obtained funds from a number of victims of romance scams, in which perpetrators create fictitious online personas to develop online romantic relationships with individuals in the U.S., and then leverage those relationships to obtain money and/or property.


Once the fraudulently obtained funds reached the accounts controlled by Umegbo, Umegbo allegedly withdrew the money in cash, used the funds to purchase cashier’s checks, or spent the money on personal purchases. Altogether, the fraudulent accounts received more than $560,000.


The charge of making a false statement to a bank provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release and a fine of $1 million. The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the scheme, whichever is greater.


The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the criminally derived property. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

Westport Police Getting Body Cams

According to CBS 12 in Providence, the Westport Police Department are now equipping its officers with body-worn cameras and began outfitting all of its uniformed officers with body-worn cameras at the start of this month. The body-worn cameras are expected to help protect officers and citizens against false accusations, claims of misconduct and potential abuse. Westport was one of the first departments in Southern New England to install dash cameras in its cruisers. The camera will be activated when an officer is responding to a call and once an officer activates their emergency lights, the camera automatically begins recording.


The body-worn cameras were funded through a $50,000 state grant.

DiPalma, Tanzi look to Canada for lower prescription drug costs

STATE HOUSE – As millions of Americans struggle to afford necessary prescriptions, Sen. Louis DiPalma and Rep. Teresa Tanzi have introduced two bills that would lower prescription costs for Rhode Islanders by looking to Canada.

“Prescription drug costs are ridiculous,” said Senator DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton). “Why, in the greatest country on earth, are we paying so much more for life-saving medications than people in other countries?”

According to a 2021 report by the Rand Corporation, prescription drugs in the United States cost 218% what they cost in Canada, a phenomenon driven by higher prices for brand-name drugs.

“Someone living in Rhode Island pays more than double for the exact same prescription as someone living just 300 miles away,” said Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett). “The pharmaceutical companies still make money by selling the drugs in Canada, they’re just making way more money off the backs of Rhode Islanders.” 

According to a 2019 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 29% of Americans have not taken their medications as prescribed because of cost. And because prescriptions make up around 12% of total health care spending according to the US Government Accountability Office, high costs lead to bigger premiums for private insurance and more Medicare and Medicaid spending.

The legislation introduced by Senator DiPalma and Representative Tanzi intends to change this. One bill (2023-S 0098, 2023-H 5431) would in effect cap prescription costs at the level paid in Canada. The bill would instruct the director of the state employee health insurance plan to create each year an index of the 250 most costly prescription drugs. Prices for these 250 drugs would be capped at the cost paid by four Canadian provinces: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

A second bill (2023-S 0099, 2023-H 5430) would create a wholesale drug importation program to directly import lower-cost drugs from Canada to be sold throughout Rhode Island. The drugs must be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and must be cheaper in Canada to be eligible.

Debate about the cost of prescriptions has raged in recent years, with many in the pharmaceutical industry arguing high costs are necessary to encourage innovation. But critics say the costs have little to do with research expenses. As one example, Revlimid, a medication used to treat cancer, was approved by the FDA in 2005 and originally cost $215 per pill. The company has raised the costs more than 20 times since, and one pill is now $878. In 2020, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight launched an investigation to understand these price increases and found that the increased costs were not due to research and development or modifications to the drug. Instead, they found, prices were raised in the pursuit of greater profit.

Advocates also point out US taxpayers are paying twice for drugs: once to help develop them and then again to buy them at exorbitant cost. A 2019 report from the Institute for New Economic Thinking analyzed all 356 new drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration between 2010 and 2019 and found that every one was made possible by research breakthroughs funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), a federal agency. Many other drugs are developed in collaboration with universities which receive significant state and federal funding. Yet drug companies own patents on these drugs that give them a monopoly on their sale.


For example, Tofacitinib (Xeljanz), which is used to treat arthritis, was developed by the NIH in the 1990s. But the patent is owned by Pfizer, who made $2.5 billion in revenue off the drug in 2021.
“The data clearly shows how Rhode Islanders are being taken advantage of,” said Senator DiPalma. “U.S. taxpayers pay for the research that leads to the development of many of these drugs. Then we pay more than double for each prescription. All so a few companies can make record profits.”

“I think regular people are tired of excuses,” said Representative Tanzi. “These drugs are cheaper in Canada and the companies still make money there. So charge Rhode Islanders the same price you charge Canadians, or we’ll import the same drugs from Canada and save everyone money.”

Fall River Shelter in Place

This morning the Fall River Police Department received a telephone call from an unknown individual. During
this call, the individual communicated a threat directed at the Bishop Connolly High School.
In order to ensure the safety of the students and staff at the school, we deployed our resources to secure the
facility, and investigate the threat. The command staff was in communication with the administration at the
school through this process. A shelter in place was also initiated for the Fall River Public Schools. Our Officers
conducted a search of the property to ensure that there was no threat to the building or its occupants. We have
confirmed that there is no threat to the school.
According to the Massachusetts Fusion Center, several departments throughout the Commonwealth have
received similar calls recently.
The Fall River Police Department regards the safety of our community as our highest priority. False reports such
as these, will not be tolerated. We will be conducting a detailed and thorough investigation of this incident.
We will also maintain increased visibility in the area of our city’s schools throughout the remainder of the day

Brockton Candle Fire

Fire officials say a candle was to blame for a house fire in Brockton that sent several people to the hospital on Sunday. According to CBS 12 in Providence, crews were called to Central Square just before 1 a.m., finding heavy flames coming from the top two floors of the triple-decker and people hanging from third-floor windows. Five people were rescued with ladders, as seven in total were taken to the hospital with “varying injuries" that took about an hour to get the fire under control.

Enshrinement scheduled for Aug. 5 in Canton

CANTON, OHIO – Nine of the “Greatest of the Game” have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. The Hall’s 49-person Selection Committee met virtually Jan. 17 to conduct the annual vote.

The new class of Enshrinees was announced during “NFL Honors,” a two-hour primetime awards special that aired nationally Thursday night on NFL Network, NBC and Peacock. The newest members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame are cornerback/safety RONDÉ BARBER, coach DON CORYEL linebacker CHUCK HOWLEY,) defensive end/defensive tackle/nose tackle JOE KLECKOcornerback DARRELLE REVIS cornerback KEN RILEY, offensive tackle JOE THOMAS,inebacker ZACH THOMAS and linebacker/defensive end DEMARCUS WARE.(Opens in a new window)

Deadlines for Ward 3 Special Election Approaching Register to Vote by Friday, February 17th Request Mail-In Ballots by Tuesday, February 21st

New Bedford, Massachusetts– The Board of Election Commissioners advises the public that the deadlines to register to vote or request a mail-in/absentee ballot for the Ward 3 Special Election are approaching.


The registration deadline is Friday, February 17th by 5 p.m. in the Election Office in City Hall at 133 Williams Street, Room 114. Office hours that day are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voters from Ward 3 must be registered by that day to be eligible to vote in the Special Election scheduled for February 28th.


The deadline to request a Mail-In/Absentee ballot is February 21st at 5 p.m. Applications can be located on the City of New Bedford Elections Commission Homepage, at, or requested by emailing 


Absentee ballots can be used in person at the Election Office through noon, Saturday, February 27th. Also, absentee voting hours will be held on Saturday, February 25th, from 9 a.m. to noon.


New Bedford Ward 3 voters will be casting their votes for nominees Shawn Oliver and Carmen F. Amaral for the remainder of former City Councilor Hugh Dunn’s term in the Special Election.

Former Massachusetts Teacher Guilty of Child Pornography

According to CBS 12 in Providence, a former special education teacher at a Massachusetts high school has pleaded guilty to having child pornography on his laptop. Foxborough High School teacher Thomas Davis pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston on Wednesday to possession of child pornography. Police executed a search warrant at Davis’ Mansfield home in August of 2021 where a laptop belonging to Davis was seized. Approximately 40 images of child pornography were revealed on the laptop and a forensic analysis revealed additional child pornography on the device. The investigation began after the FBI received a tip that Davis had shown someone a video allegedly depicting him having sex with a student which Davis denied to investigators and was not charged.


Davis is scheduled to be sentenced on May 18 when he faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Super Bowl Numbers

Draft Kings Digital Sportsbook is contiuing to confirm the Philadelphia Eagles are -1.5 Super Bowl Favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday NIght in the Super Bowl. 


The line has not moved over the last several days, after opening at -1, moving to -2-5 and settling back at its current number. 


For the first time, Massachusetts Residents can wager legally on the Super Bowl inside the state's three casinos, with digital wagering via PCs and Smart Phone Apps going on line in March. 



NBA Trade Deadline Thursday

The Digital Edition of the Boston Globe is reporting that the Celtics will likely try to add depth to their roster which currently has an open slot after an earlier trade. 


The NBA Trade Deadline is 1600 EST Thursday. 

The Celtics currently own the best record in the Eastern Conference of the Association. 

Under proposed bill from Rep. Sanchez, cities could allow all residents to vote

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Enrique Sanchez has introduced legislation that would allow cities and towns to expand voting rights in municipal elections to all residents, regardless of immigration status.

“We have lots of people who contribute to our economy and community, but they don’t have a say in their local government,” Representative Sanchez said. “If a city or town wants these individuals to be able to vote, they should have that right.”

The bill (2023 H-5461) would not automatically grant voting rights to non-citizens. Instead, each city and town in the state would have to pass an ordinance extending voting rights if they chose to do so. Voting rights for non-citizens would be limited to the municipal level, meaning these individuals could not vote for statewide or federal offices. Ballots would be collected and counted separately.

Currently two states, Maryland and Vermont, permit municipalities to allow non-citizens to vote in local elections. Similar efforts in New York City and San Francisco are on hold, pending court challenges.

To Representative Sanchez (D-Dist. 9, Providence), the bill would ensure more people have a voice and city services are distributed more fairly.

“People living in our community might not be citizens, but they still pay taxes, still have kids in the schools. They still have to drive around potholes and need police and fire services,” said Representative Sanchez. “Some neighborhoods like mine have lots of immigrants, and these whole neighborhoods have less of a voice because many people can’t vote

Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Appointments to the Veterans' Homes Council

BOSTON – The Healey-Driscoll Administration?today announced the appointment of seven members to the Veterans’ Homes Council. Established through a 2022 law aimed at strengthening the governance of veterans services in the Commonwealth, the Council is an advisory body that makes recommendations to the Secretary of Veterans’ Services to ensure the health, well-being, and safety of residents of state-operated Veterans’ Homes and access to equitable, high quality, and competent care for veterans across the Commonwealth.  

“The Veterans’ Homes Council will play a critical role in ensuring that we are providing the care that our veterans need and deserve. These seven appointees have an intimate understanding of the complex needs of veterans, including access to health care, mental health care, housing and food assistance,” said Governor Maura T. Healey. “Our administration is grateful to the Legislature and our teams at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Department of Veterans’ Services for their hard work to create this important council.”  
“As the proud daughter of a Navy veteran, I understand how important it is that our veterans receive comprehensive services and care,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This Council will be critical for ensuring that families can trust that their loved ones are being well cared for in our Veterans’ Homes and that their health, safety and well-being are protected.” 
“We are pleased to reach this important milestone in the implementation of chapter 144 and appreciate the valuable perspective that today’s appointees will bring to the Veterans’ Homes Council,” said?Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary A. Beckman. “The Council will contribute meaningfully to ensuring that the Commonwealth’s Veterans’ Homes provide high quality care and support the health, safety and wellbeing of our veterans.” 
The Council’s responsibilities include recommending improvements and policies for Veterans’ Homes to the Secretary of Veterans’ Services, submitting recommendations for appointments and removal of Veterans’ Homes Superintendents, and developing an annual report reviewing the Veterans’ Homes’ demographics, finances, staffing levels, efficacy, equity, and resident well-being. 
Today’s council appointees include four individuals appointed by Governor Maura Healey and three individuals appointed by the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Mary Beckman, and as indicated in statute.  
Appointed by the Governor: 
Ziven Drake 
Ziven Drake is a US Air Force Veteran who served as a Crew Chief in Tactical Aircraft Maintenance. She is a current member of the Pile Drivers Local 56 Union. Drake currently serves as Assistant Executive Director of the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters Apprenticeship Training Fund.  
Lt. Colonel USMC (Retired) Mike Dunford 
Mike Dunford is a retired US Marine Corps Reserve Officer and served as the Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Covidien. Dunford is an active member of the business community and a veteran advocate focused on employment, food security, homelessness, case management and outreach. Dunford currently serves as president of the Cape & Islands Veteran Outreach Center.  
Colonel USA (Retired) Andrea Gayle-Bennett 
Andrea Gayle-Bennett, Retired Army Colonel, Brigadier General (Massachusetts), served for more than 35 years in the Massachusetts Army National Guard, including as a chief physician assistant and battalion surgeon. Gayle-Bennett currently serves on the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans’ Services, the North Shore Community College Board of Trustees, and is corporate secretary for the Veteran Business Owners Initiative. 
Michael Jefferson 
Michael Jefferson, a veteran of the US Marine Corps, is president of Somerville IAFF Local 76 and founder of the Fraternal Order of Firefighter Military Veterans, Inc. He is also a member and director of the Member Assistance Program for the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts.  
Appointed by Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services: 

Dr. Louis Chow, PhD 
Dr. Chow is the Sr. Director of Network Development and Training Institute at Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital program.?He is a clinical psychologist, Assistant in Psychology at MGH, Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a specialist in treating veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other invisible wounds of war. Dr. Chow has overseen the education and training of thousands of clinicians and health professionals across the Commonwealth seeking to care for veterans impacted by the invisible wounds of war.  
Tony Francis, MBA 
Tony Francis serves as the president and CEO of Edgar Benjamin Health Center, a non-profit nursing home in Boston and the only minority-owned nursing home in New England. Francis brings with him broad experience in long-term care, business administration and management consulting. He has served as chairman of the Central Boston Elder Services Board of Directors and is currently a co-chair of the Boston Healthcare Preparedness Coalition. 
Jill Landis, RN 
Jill Landis has been the vice president of quality management at Integritus Healthcare, a not-for-profit committed to fulfilling the health and residential needs of communities, since 2008. Landis previously was a regional nurse manager at Genesis Health Care, where her responsibilities included the management of quality outcomes for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Landis is certified in rehabilitation nursing and is a member of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association. 
In addition to the seven members appointed by Governor Healey and Acting Secretary Beckman, the Veterans’ Homes Council includes Executive Director of Veterans’ Homes and Housing Robert Engell, who serves as chair, and Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes Boards of Trustees members, who are ex officio, voting members. 

McNamara bill would protect frozen embryos, regulate storage in medical facilities

STATE HOUSE — After hearing about the ordeal one couple went through with the mismanagement and misplacement of their frozen embryos, Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) decided to introduce legislation that would regulate the practice and ensure their protection.

On Tuesday night, several parents and medical professionals testified in front of the House Committee on Health and Human Services in favor of the Embryo Safety and Storage Act of 2023 (2023-H 5177), urging lawmakers to support the legislation.

“The unregulated and frankly shoddy manner in which many embryos are stored in medical facilities is appalling and has caused terrible heartache for families during an already emotional time in their lives,” said Representative McNamara. “This bill would require the Department of Health to regulate and license embryo storage facilities to ensure that these embryos are protected, handled and catalogued competently.”

In vitro fertilization, commonly known as IVF, is a widely used method of assisted reproductive technology (ART), which has helped an estimated 6 million couples in the United States who have trouble getting or maintaining a pregnancy to start families.

According to the findings of the legislation, “It is in the best interest of the people of this state to direct the Department of Health to promulgate rules and regulations governing the storage of human eggs, pre-embryos, and embryos in embryo storage facilities to guard against catastrophic storage system failure and the potential loss of such specimens that may result from long-term power outages during storms and other natural disasters.”

Among those testifying in favor of the bill were couples and single mothers who have experienced the loss or misplacement of embryos at various state hospitals. One woman, whose embryos were lost by Women & Infants Hospital, testified in writing, saying, “The loss of our embryos has been a tortuous journey, and I grieve my powerlessness to protect our embryos and give them a chance at life. The Embryo Safety and Storage bill holds the promise of meaningful legislative change to assure the safekeeping of human eggs and embryos through greater regulation and licensure of cryopreservation facilities.”

The legislation is modeled on a New Jersey law that was enacted in the wake of two cryopreservation tank failures that were exacerbated when staffers were not properly trained to respond to the alarms. Under the bill, no one would be allowed to operate an embryonic storage facility unless licensed by the Department of Health, which would promulgate rules about the storage and care of embryos. Anyone operating a storage facility without a license would be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to two years, or both.

Dr. Diana Anderson, a physician who became a mother through in vitro fertilization, testified about the shocking lack of regulation and communication that currently plagues the industry. “I quickly became aware that embryo creation, testing, storage and transport had minimal, if any, oversight. I believe that we have a moral imperative to protect embryos within the ART industry the same way we care for and protect our patients.”


Bourne Bridge repair work:

Maintenance work will be performed on the Bourne Bridge on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the scheduled work hours, travel lanes on the Bourne Bridge will be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction. No wide loads will be permitted to cross the bridge while the lane restrictions are in place.

The lane restrictions are needed so workers can conduct emergency pavement repairs on the travel lane surface.

More Counts for A Defendant being held for 2nd Degree Murder

The 34-year-old Norton and Medford man already being held without bail on charges of Second Degree Murder and Reckless Motor Vehicle Homicide connected to the November 7, 2022 fatal crash on Kingman Road in Taunton which claimed the life of a 54-year-old Middleboro woman has now also been indicted on a litany of other drug trafficking and illegal firearm charges, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn announced.


Hector Bannister-Sanchez was indicted by a Bristol County Grand Jury last week on new charges of Trafficking in Excess of 200 Grams of a Class B Drug, Trafficking in Excess of 100 Grams of a Class B Drug, Trafficking in Excess of 36 Grams of a Class A Drug, Unlawful Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm and two counts of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm with a Prior Felony Conviction.


The narcotics and illegal firearms-related indictments come as a result of a search warrant executed at 
a stash house in Norton where investigators found approximately 750 grams of suspected cocaine, approximately 70 grams of suspected fentanyl powder, approximately 240 grams of suspected fentanyl pills, approximately 182 grams of suspected methamphetamine pills, a Glock 19 firearm with a large capacity magazine containing 11 rounds, approximately $46,130.00 in cash, paperwork for the defendant, drug packaging materials and drug legers and notes.  


He will likely be arraigned in Fall River Superior Court on these new indictments on February 22, which is the date he is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial hearing on the second degree murder and reckless motor vehicle homicide case. 

During the defendant’s January 10th arraignment in Fall River Superior Court on the indictments charging him with Second Degree Murder and Reckless Motor Vehicle Homicide , Assistant District Attorney Kaitlyn O’Leary told the court that the defendant was the target of a four-month long drug investigation leading up to the events of November 7th.  


Investigators had sought and obtained a court-authorized GPS for the defendant’s Toyota Highlander  On November 7, 2022, investigators intended to stop the defendant as part of the culmination of their investigation.  After conducting surveillance of him traveling to his alleged stash house in Norton, they believed he was driving to complete a drug deal with a frequent customer in Middleboro. As investigators parked behind him and approached the defendant’s vehicle, they announced their presence as police and demanded that he show his hands. However, rather than stop, the defendant fled. 

O’Leary told the court the defendant drove through a front yard, crashed into the property’s front landing, and forced a state trooper to get out of the way in order to avoid being hit.  Despite not being chased by police, the defendant proceeded to drive at sustained and extremely high speeds as he fled through Middleboro, Lakeville, and ultimately into Taunton.


The court-authorized GPS affixed to his vehicle showed him traveling at speeds as high as 101 MPH towards the beginning of his flight and 84.3 MPH as he approached the turn onto Kingman Street in Taunton, where the crash occurred.  


O’Leary noted that witnesses observed the defendant driving at dangerous and excessive speeds, crossing in and out of oncoming traffic as he did so, and forcing other vehicles on the road out of the way in order to avoid getting hit. He traveled at these high speeds on routes that were at times densely populated with other vehicles traveling them, and that were lined with residences, businesses, and at least one school.


 His vehicle eventually crashed into a red Ford Fusion, being operated by Lori Medeiros. Data obtained pursuant to a search warrant from the Event Data Recorder of the defendant’s Toyota Highlander revealed that approximately five seconds prior to impact, the defendant was driving 101 miles per hour on a street where the unposted speed limit is 35 MPH. 


Lori Medeiros was trapped inside the Ford Fusion and was ultimately taken to Morton Hospital in Taunton, where she was pronounced deceased.  After the defendant collided into Lori Medeiros’ vehicle, the witness who had been driving behind her saw the operator and sole occupant of the Highlander, who she described as a black male, approximately in his 30s with dreads or braids, grab a black backpack from inside the Highlander and take off running away from the direction of the crash site. He fled on foot from the crash. but was apprehended a short time later on South Precinct Street.


O’Leary informed the court that the backpack the defendant grabbed from the Highlander contained $16,350 in cash and that the defendant’s wallet and cellphones were found in the Highlander.  

All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  All information contained within this press release are allegations at this time. 

Crash in Westport with Officer and 18 Year Old

A Westport police officer was injured after his cruiser was rear-ended Sunday morning. According to CBS 12 in Providence, an 18-year-old Somerset man allegedly hit the cruiser around 1:15 a.m. while it was in the breakdown lane on State Road near Route 88. Both vehicles were seriously damaged with the teenager refused treatment, but the officer in the cruiser was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 


According to police, the teenager faces charges including possession of liquor by a minor, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and using an electronic device while driving.

NBPD Arrest Man on Drug and License Charges

New Bedford police arrested a man on drug trafficking charges Saturday. According to CBS 12 in Providence, Detectives stopped 20 year old Julius Andrade, after they spotted an expired inspection sticker on his car where Andrade was parked in a driveway then tried to walk away before detectives apprehended him. Police said they allegedly found more than 130 grams of cocaine hidden under clothing found on the passenger’s seat of his car while also finding an extra 40 grams of cocaine in his pants. There was a search warrant out of Sanford, Maine, for Andrade. 


Andrade was also found to be driving without a license ands is now being charged with trafficking more than 100 grams of cocaine, driving without a license, and fleeing from justice.

Racial Slur Reports at Local Basketball Game

According to NBC 10 in Providence, administrators at Shea High School of Pawtucket and Tiverton High School are investigating reports of racial slurs being used at a varsity boys' basketball game between the two schools earlier this month. Students at Shea allege that Tiverton fans were spewing racial slurs at the players on the court and making monkey noises while players were taking free throws. According to BLM RI PAC, multiple Shea students, student-athletes, teachers and parents who attended the game heard the derogatory comments and remarks. It revealed that no racial slurs were made by a Tiverton student; however, a non-Tiverton student used racial slurs shortly after halftime and was removed from the game. Tiverton Superintendent Peter Sanchioni said each school conducted its own internal investigation meaning Shea students were interviewed by Shea administrators. Director of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, Mike Lumney, said he is investigating the incident alongside the Shea and Tiverton Athletic Departments.

Cold and Busted Pipes Continue to Linger

Individuals across Southern New England are dealing with broken pipes after dangerously cold temperatures hit over the weekend. According to CBS 12 in Providence, plumbers have been left scrambling to repair busted pipes that caused flooding at schools, homes and businesses. Schools and businesses have been forced to temporarily close, while others are dealing with damage in their homes. In Weymouth, water was pouring from the ceiling of a condo, with the resident having a hard time finding a plumber to come fix it. Nineteen others in her complex said they had the same problem. 


Reports state if you are still experiencing an issue, experts say to shut off your water and prepare to wait as it may take a plumber a couple of days to even return your phone call.

Brady Waits Till 2024

Tom Brady won't be in a Fox NFL Broadcast Booth until the 2024 NFL Season, telling Colin Cowherd on Monday that he wanted to devote his first full year in NFL retirement to other matters before making a full time committment to his next career. 


Brady indicated he wanted to be fully prepared before calling 17 NFL Games, plus the post season, as Fox prepares to carry the Super Bowl Sunday night. 


Brady has a ten-year, $375 million dollar agreement with Fox that was signed prior to his last season in the NFL as a player. 

Sagamore Bridge repair work

Maintenance work will be performed on the Sagamore Bridge on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the scheduled work hours, travel lanes on the Sagamore Bridge will be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction. No wide loads will be permitted to cross the bridge while the lane restrictions are in place.

The lane restrictions are needed so workers can conduct emergency pavement repairs on the travel lane surface.

Work schedule is weather permitting.

A Shooting in Easton

Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office and prosecutors are actively investigating a fatal police shooting, which occurred in the Town of Easton on Sunday.

The following information is only preliminary in nature. A full investigation is underway and a final report on all facts, circumstances and conclusions will be released publicly upon the conclusion of the investigation.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that on Sunday morning at around 11:30 a.m., the Southeastern Regional Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call from an Ashland resident requesting a well-being check be conducted for his mother in Easton.   The caller stated that his mother, Marianne Griffiths, 56, had told him that she had injected herself with a dangerous amount of insulin in an attempt to commit suicide. 

When Easton Police arrived at 32 Spooner Street, they encountered Griffiths and other family members.  After a brief discussion with her, she ran downstairs and threatened that she would shoot the police and herself. The officers inside immediately evacuated the other people in the home and exited the residence. At that point Griffiths ran back upstairs, approached the front entry way to the home and pointed what appeared to be a rifle at the officers, who were now standing outside the home.  An Easton Police Officer then fired one shot, before retreating to cover.

Griffiths was struck once in the chest and died. She was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Once police re-entered the home, they secured the rifle Griffiths was holding, which turned out to be a pump action BB gun.

Preliminary information obtained thus far indicates Griffiths suffered from long-term mental health issues and suicidal ideation.  

_Massachusetts Gas Prices Down 1 Cent

Westwood, MA, February 6, 2023 — The average gas price in Massachusetts is down 1 cent from last week ($3.43), averaging $3.42 per gallon. Today’s price is 8 cents higher than a month ago ($3.34), and 2 cents lower than February 6, 2022 ($3.44). Massachusetts’ average gas price is 5 cents lower than the national average.

The national average for a gallon of gas barely budged over the past week, drifting lower by three cents to $3.47. Last week's decision by OPEC+ to maintain current production levels and not make any cuts led to lower oil prices. But Friday's blockbuster U.S. report of 517,000 jobs added in January, dropping the unemployment rate to a 54-year low of 3.4%, may have the opposite effect. Are recession fears fading, and could a healthier global economy lead to more demand for oil and higher prices? 

“Keep an eye on the price of oil,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Vice President of Public and Government Affairs, "because oil currently accounts for nearly 60% of what we pay at the pump. And rising or falling oil prices can have a direct impact on motorists' wallets."

AAA Northeast’s February 6 survey of fuel prices found the current national average to be 3 cents lower than last week ($3.50), averaging $3.47 a gallon. Today’s national average price is 18 cents higher than a month ago ($3.29), and is 4 cents higher than this day last year ($3.43).

Rep. Morales introduces bill to fund lead service line replacements at no cost to property owners or tenants

STATE HOUSE – Following his advocacy from last year, Rep. David Morales has introduced legislation that would invest federal infrastructure funds to replace public and private drinking water service lines across the state that are contaminated with lead at no cost to property owners or tenants.

“Unfortunately, our state has over 35,000 lead service lines, of which, 26,000 are located in Providence County and disproportionally hurt working families, communities of color, and renters.


As noted in countless studies and through the lived experience of people in our community, we know that drinking water contaminated with lead is incredibly dangerous and poses a health hazard for everyone, especially youth.


Lead poisoning can contribute to high blood pressure, reproductive issues and cognitive damage. Now given the prevalence of this issue, I took the time to consult with our state agencies, water suppliers, and most importantly, advocates, to ensure that this legislation is aligned with federal standards and the needs of our community,” said Representative Morales (D-Dist. 7, Providence). “So let’s be clear: we have the research, we have the financial resources, we have the labor and we have the political support to ensure that all people across our state are guaranteed clean drinking water, regardless of ZIP code or socioeconomic status.” 


Lead poisoning affects hundreds of Rhode Island children each year and has serious and long-term impacts on health. While the use of lead for drinking water pipes was banned over 30 years ago, there is currently no law that requires contaminated pipes be replaced.


Rhode Island, like the rest of New England, has old housing stock with many homes utilizing lead service lines. According to the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, Providence, Newport, Warwick, Pawtucket and Bristol are some of the communities that have been requesting the most support for lead service line replacement projects.

“Everyone deserves clean, lead-free drinking water, regardless of race, class or any other factor,” said Laura Brion, Executive Director of the Childhood Lead Action Project. “With unprecedented federal funding for lead pipe replacement available, state leadership is critically needed in this moment to make sure these funds are used as effectively as possible and, most importantly, that community needs and justice are prioritized in the process.”

The bill (2023 H-5318) would utilize funds from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and other federal sources to fund public and private lead service line replacements. The statewide effort would be coordinated by the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, which would work with local water suppliers to develop comprehensive replacement plans.


Once awarded funding, water suppliers would be required to prioritize replacement of lines that service disadvantaged customers, ZIP codes with the highest concentration of lead presence and those who are most sensitive to the effects of lead. For residential properties with an identified lead service line, water suppliers would communicate these findings and replace the private lead service line at no cost to the property owner or tenant. Additionally, water suppliers would not be allowed to request an increase in residential water rates as a result of receiving grants, loans, or other financial assistance for the purpose of replacing lead service lines. 

Currently, homeowners are required to take out an interest-free loan to replace their lead pipes. But this, advocates argue, is insufficient and exacerbates inequities.


“Throughout our continued efforts to help organize tenants, it’s clear how woefully inadequate tenant protections are. That’s why it’s so important tenants are reserved the right to request lead service line replacements at the property they call home. Time after time, we’ve seen corporate landlords and slumlords across Rhode Island force inhumane living conditions on to tenants with little to no recourse. We fully support this legislation introduced by Rep. Morales as it empowers tenants to protect the health of their entire household: a right that everyone should have, regardless of socioeconomic status,” said Miguel Martínez Youngs, the Organizing Director for Reclaim RI. 
Terri Wright, of Providence, had lead poisoning as a child. As a community organizer for Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE), Wright is hoping the state will urgently act. 


“Growing up, I stayed sick all the time as I was frequently exposed to lead,” she said. “Living in a safe home with clean water is a basic human right and essential to leading a healthy life. With the federal aid we have available, we have the resources to make sure no one is exposed to lead hazards, especially in our water. All our communities need the reassurance that their drinking water is free of lead because without clean water, how will our bodies stay healthy? Considering that we all depend on drinking water, it is critical we pass this legislation to ensure we have a healthier Rhode Island for all our children, seniors, and families.”

The legislation has received strong support from community organizations, such as the Childhood Lead Action Project, the RI Working Families Party, Reclaim RI and many more. The legislation has been assigned to the House Finance Committee and includes over 20 co-sponsors representing different communities, from Providence to Newport.

Super Bowl One Week Out

The Philadelphia Eagles are -1.5 favorites over the Kansas City Chiefs, as both teams have arrived in Glendale AZ, where the game will be contested Sunday Night in primetime. 


This Super Bowl marks the first time that legal wagers can be placed inside the casino locaitons in Springfield, Everett and Plainridge. 


Digatal wagering will begin in the Commonwealth next month. 

MassDOT Advisory: Fall River Overnight Light Structure Removal Operations along Route 195 Eastbound Work will occur on Wednesday, February 8, from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Ramp from Route 195 eastbound at exit 14B to Route 24 northbound will be temporarily closed

FALL RIVER - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is announcing it will be removing a light structure along Route 195 eastbound in Fall River.  The work will be conducted on Wednesday, February 8, from 10:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

The work will require the temporary closure of the ramp from Route 195 eastbound at exit 14B to Route 24 northbound.  A detour will be in place as follows:

Motorists traveling Route I-195 east:
•    Go straight on Route I-195 east.
•    Take exit 16 to Route 88 south to Route 6 toward Horseneck Beach. 
•    Turn right onto Route 6 east toward Dartmouth. 
•    Turn left to merge onto Route 88 north to I-195 west toward New Bedford /Providence Rhode Island.
•    Take exit 14B to Route 24 north.

Road closures on the ramp will be in place as needed while work is ongoing.  Emergency vehicles will be allowed passage at all times. 

Standard temporary traffic control management operations will be utilized including the use of police details.  
Drivers who are traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution. 
All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted due to an emergency situation. 

Storm Causes Falling Scaffolding in North Attleboro

A scaffolding set up outside a North Attleboro building crashed down during the storm on Friday night. According to CBS 12 in Providence, a pile of mangled metal was left on South Washington Street as strong winds swept through the area. Crews responded to the scene around 5 p.m. after a caller reported seeing debris falling from the building. Roughly 15 minutes after they arrived, the scaffolding collapsed. A street light was also damaged in the collapse, but no one was injured.


Crews worked Friday night to clear the debris from the side of the roadway as fire officials say the building itself is not damaged.

Fall River Man Gets A Decade In Prison

A 39-year-old Fall River man was sentenced to serve up to a decade in prison earlier this week after being convicted of beating, robbing and sexually assaulting his girlfriend, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.


Shaun Medeiros pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with two counts of Domestic Assault and Battery, and one count each of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Strangulation, Witness Intimidation, Larceny Under $1,200, Larceny under $1,200 by False Pretense, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest and Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person over the Age of 14.


This case mostly involved two separate incidents of domestic violence that occurred about a week apart from one another in late May of 20202. During the first incident the defendant struck the victim, held his hand over her mouth, prevented her from calling 911 and then slammed her head into the headboard of the bed.  This beating resulted in significant bruising all over the victim’s body, which she began to document over the next few days. 


Then, about a week later, the defendant again beat the victim and forced her to perform oral sex on him while she was laying down.  At some point the DEF also ripped a large chunk of her hair.  He then took some of her jewelry and pawned it at a local store against her will.  After the defendant fell asleep, the victim was able to flee to Fall River Police. After a search of the defendant’s apartment, he was located hiding in the closet and fought with the arresting officers. He also assaulted a correctional officer while in custody.


The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Kyle McPherson and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Thomas McGuire.


“The defendant, who has a criminal history, violently assaulted the victim on more than one occasion and even ripped chunks of her hair from her scalp. While in custody awaiting trial, he also assaulted a correctional officer.  The defendant is clearly out of control and needs be kept off the street to protect the public,” District Attorney Quinn said.  

Bad idea: Sheriff Paul Heroux's statement on giving inmates early release in exchange for signing up to be an organ donor

Inmates earning time off their sentences by participating in rehabilitation programs? Good idea.

Individuals signing up as organ donors to potentially save a life? Good idea.

Inmates getting time off their sentences by signing up to be organ donors? Bad idea.

Reading the news coverage this week around the world of the proposal to give inmates early release in exchange for them signing up to be organ donors set off a lot of alarms in my head. Let me explain why.

First, early release, or “good time” as it’s known around the Bristol County correctional facilities, is earned by inmates for participation in education, rehabilitation, substance-abuse and other programs that all share one common and extremely important goal: To give the inmates tools and knowledge to steer them away from crime upon release.

It’s a good idea that’s shared in correctional operations across the globe.

They are getting out early because the programs are decreasing the likelihood of them offending.

So my question is: What part of being an organ donor reduces the risk of recidivism? 
Nothing. There is no nexus, no common ground, between being an organ donor and being less likely to commit a crime.

By awarding good time or early release without the rehabilitative component, it’s nothing more than a bribe, and corrections is not in the business of bribes. We’re in the business of inmate care, custody, control and rehabilitation.

Early release? Good idea. Organ donation? Good idea. Getting good time for donating organs? Bad idea.           

Sen. Jonathon Acosta (D-Dist. 16, Central Falls, Pawtucket) and Rep. Leonela Felix (D-Dist. 61, Pawtucket) have announced the formation of the Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus (RIBLIA), formerly known as t

The new name was voted on by members last night at a caucus meeting.  Potential name changes were submitted and voted on by the caucus members, with the RIBLIA Caucus receiving the most votes.

            The caucus also voted on and passed new bylaws for the group at the meeting, culminating with the first reading of the new caucus bylaws.

            “The name change to the Rhode Island Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian-American and Pacific Islander Caucus is representative of the evolving values and mission of what was formerly known as the Black & Latino Caucus.  


With the largest roster of members in caucus history, including our first Asian American members, the RIBLIA Caucus has modernized for the future and this can be seen throughout our new bylaws and name.  We know the caucus is eager to begin working on the issues that are important to the group and we look forward to advocating for the voiceless, disenfranchised and marginalized residents of our state in the coming legislative session,” said Senator Acosta and Representative Felix.

New Retention Efforts for BCSO

Some college graduates and experienced first-responders are in line for a pay bump in new recruitment and retention efforts rolled out this week by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.


Experienced first responders completing the Bristol County corrections officer academy will be hired at a higher salary level, Sheriff Paul Heroux announced this week.


Additionally, current BCSO corrections officers hired in the last two years will receive a pay increase if they have a specific college degree or previous first-responder experience.


“We need to take steps to improve recruitment and retention,” Sheriff Heroux said. “This is the first step on the path to improve morale and decrease forced overtime through increased hiring.”


The BCSO’s Recruitment and Retention team – a mix of administration, officers and civilian staff – developed the new incentives after getting feedback and ideas from people across the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.


“This is definitely going to be a morale booster for the staff,” said Caitlin DeMelo, the BCSO’s assistant deputy superintendent of human resources. “We’re all focused on eliminating the forced overtime by recruiting more corrections officers, but we also have to care for our staff through retention efforts. This is a great step to accomplish both.”


Details of the BCSO’s new recruitment and retention incentives are:

•    Increasing the sign-on bonus for CO recruits to $5,000.

•    Changing the structure of the $1,500 recruitment bonus for current employees who recruit a new corrections officer.

•    Corrections Officer recruits who have three years of prior experience in the military, corrections, police, fire or as an EMT/paramedic will be hired one salary step higher. Recruits with four years of experience will be hired two steps higher.

•    Current COs hired since Jan. 1, 2021 will have their salary steps increased by one or two if they previously had three or four years of experience as a first responder.

•    Current COs hired since Jan. 1, 2021 who have an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminology, psychology, sociology or social work will also see salary step increases.

The next corrections officer academy is scheduled for the spring. Starting pay is $55,000 with bonuses and state benefits such as pension and health insurance. Applications can be found online at Contact the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office via email at with any questions.

North Attleboro Mall Project

The town of North Attleboro was recently approached by a developer regarding potential concepts for the property of Emerald Square Mall. That concept includes the construction of 300 apartments with the hope of creating a “live, work, play” model. The mall is nearly 65% vacant as the town is still mulling whether to remodel, renovate or demolish it completely. The potential project is still in its preliminary stages. The next step announced is to get developers and property owners in agreement before the town seeks a zoning approval.

NB Man Arrested on Assault

According to CBS 12 in Providence, a former New Bedford man convicted of assaulting a woman nearly two decades ago and will spend at least eight years behind bars. The 54 year old David Reed, pleaded guilty last week to armed assault with intent to murder, armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Reed hit the victim with a tire iron in June 2003 and stole her purse before leaving her for dead. More than a month later, Quinn said the victim spotted Reed circling her neighborhood in his truck when The woman called her family and friends, who all climbed into a minivan and began following Reed’s truck. The victim’s friends and family were able to flag down an officer, who Quinn said immediately called for backup. Reed was arrested and charged with robbery and assault, but was later released on bail fleeing the state in May 2004 and settled in Alabama, where he was eventually arrested in 2015. Despite catching Reed, the charges against him were dropped soon after.


Reed was sentenced to serve between eight and 12 years in prison for the assault and is also awaiting trial in connection with the 2001 killing of his half-sister, Rose Marie Moniz, after  dna evidence linked him to the crime.

Member of Violent Boston Gang Sentenced to 9.5 Years in Prison for Racketeering and Drug Trafficking Offenses

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – A Taunton man was sentenced yesterday in connection with his involvement in the violent Boston-based street gang, NOB. 


Samael Mathieu, a/k/a “Hamma” or “Hamma Thang,” 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 114 months in prison and four years of supervised release. In April 2022, Mathieu pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.


Mathieu is one of 10 defendants indicted together in June 2020 as part of a broader federal sweep targeting numerous NOB street gang members and associates in which 31 total defendants were charged. All of Mathieu’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty to various charges and are scheduled to be sentenced in the upcoming months.


According to court documents, NOB – an abbreviation for the Norton/Olney/Barry streets in Dorchester – is a violent criminal enterprise whose members and associates are involved in numerous types of criminal activities, including murders, attempted murders, armed robberies, drug trafficking, sex trafficking and illegal firearms offenses.


During the investigation, numerous contraband items were seized including 11 firearms, over one kilogram of fentanyl (including over 2,000 fentanyl pills manufactured to appear as commercial oxycodone pills), a commercial pill press, over 15 pounds of marijuana and approximately $36,000 in cash.


Mathieu was a significant fentanyl trafficker and active and violent member of the NOB gang who supplied drugs to and supported various crimes on behalf of the gang.  On Oct. 1, 2019, a search of a residence used by Mathieu resulted in the seizure of drugs including fentanyl, pills, and suboxone, drug trafficking paraphernalia, and two loaded handguns.


First Assistant United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox; James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Bryan Kyes, U.S. Marshal for the District of Massachusetts; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police;


New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira; Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan; Randolph Police Chief Anthony Marag; Brockton Police Chief Brenda Perez; Stoughton Police Chief Donna McNamara; Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins; Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr.; Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III; and Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick W. McDermott made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Crowley and Sarah Hoefle of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit prosecuted the case. 

Encore Takes an Edelman Wager

As part of his role as a  Sports Wagering Ambassador in Encore Boston Harbor, former Patriots W-R Julian Edelman handcuffed a case with $11,000 in cash to his right wrist and walked to the WynnBet Sportsbook on the Celtics to win the franchise's 18th NBA Championship. 

Bally's Tiverton, as a point of comparison, limits sports wagers to $500 per event. 



The Governor's First Proclamation

Governor Maura T. Healey today signed her first proclamation as Governor, recognizing February as Black History Month in Massachusetts and urging all residents to join her in honoring the history and contributions of Massachusetts’ Black community. 
“Black history is American history. It’s filled with moments of pain, perseverance, overwhelming joy and profound love. This month, and every month, I hope Massachusetts residents will join me in honoring Black changemakers and innovators of the past and present,” said Governor Healey. “As Governor, I’m committed to building an administration that sees the dignity and worth of every person. We will value and protect Black lives, and work to break down the barriers holding our Black communities back.” 
The full text of the proclamation is below. Governor Healey’s Black History Month video can also be accessed here. 

A Proclamation 
Whereas, Black History Month was first celebrated nationally in 1976 during the United States Bicentennial; and 
Whereas, Black History Month has a rich cultural history throughout the United States, symbolizing the enduring strength and significance of civil rights pioneers including Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Phillis Wheatley, and Frederick Douglass; and 
Whereas, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts continues to play an integral role in the movement towards equality, having been host to a number of historic events and monuments such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights march from Roxbury to Boston Common, being home to the pioneering Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and featuring “The Embrace” sculpture by Hank Willis Thomas depicting Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King; and 
Whereas, The Commonwealth must continue to move towards equality, recognizing the barriers faced by the Black community and addressing structural racism and social, political, and economic inequalities; and 
Whereas, Black History Month is an opportunity to recognize the many contributions and achievements by Black leaders and members of the community to the Commonwealth throughout the course of our history from Massachusetts natives like W.E.B. Du Bois and Ruth M. Batson; and 
Whereas, This year’s Black History Month theme is “Black Resistance”, bringing awareness to the historically underserved Black community through oppression in various forms. “Black Resistance” recognizes the achievements and progress that the Black community has made through opposition to racial constructs and prejudices as is evident through the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act, and increased representation in government and politics; and 
Whereas, Black History Month is a time to celebrate and acknowledge the significant history and contributions of the Black community throughout the Commonwealth and the United States, as well as to bring awareness to the challenges faced by the Black community and the methods in which they have tirelessly worked to conquer such adversity,  
Now, Therefore, I, Maura T. Healey, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim February 2023 to be, 
And urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take 
cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance. 
Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this first day of February, in the year two thousand and twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the two hundred and forty-sixth. 


Auchincloss Appointed to Select Committee on China

“This Congress, and my generation, have an opportunity to rise above politics to chart a course for sound strategy.”

Washington, DC — Today, Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D, MA-04) received an appointment from House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries to serve on the United States House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party.


This newly created committee will “assess the myriad military, economic and technological challenges posed by China.” Appointments to this committee are at the discretion of leadership. Please see below for a quotation that can be attributed to the congressman.


“This Congress, and my generation, have an opportunity to rise above politics to chart a course for sound strategy. The best answers to Sino-American competition will be found in the United States, not in China. Our own cultivation of freedom, democracy, and science will be the hallmarks of a winning strategy. If Americans allow this heritage to wither, then no plan can save us. If we re-invigorate these strengths, then no nation can outcompete us. I’m ready to chart that course.”  - Congressman Jake Auchincloss (D, MA-04)

To learn more about Congressman Jake Auchincloss visit or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.   

UMass Dartmouth announces new head football coach

Long-time Offensive Coach Josh Sylvester promoted after retirement of Head Coach Mark Robichaud

Dartmouth, MA – Today, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Director of Athletics & Recreation Lori Hendricks announced the retirement of Head Football Coach Mark Robichaud and the appointment of Offensive Coordinator Josh Sylvester as head coach of the Corsair football program.


“Mark Robichaud’s commitment to his team members’ personal growth and development is the gold standard,” said Hendricks. “I watched him teach and instruct young men not just in the sport of football, but also in the game of life. It is a high bar that has been set for Coach Sylvester and I have no doubt that he will build on Coach Robichaud’s success to write the next chapter of Corsair football.”


“I want to commend Coach Mark Robichaud for an incredible career. As we saw just this past season, he elevated not only the UMass Dartmouth Football program but our entire University’s reputation as champions,” said Chancellor Mark A. Fuller. “While Mark will be missed, I am excited to have Josh Sylvester take over as our new head coach. I am confident Coach Sylvester will continue strengthening our program and achieving success.”


Robichaud, the first full-time head coach in program history, guided UMass Dartmouth to an overall record of 70-81, including a 25-7 mark over the past three contested seasons during his 16-season tenure. He is second in wins and winning percentage (.464) in program history. Under his direction, the Corsairs captured the program’s first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Championship, advanced to the NCAA Division III Playoffs, and raised the New England Football Bowl Championship trophy.


“It has been my absolute privilege to serve as the head coach of the UMass Dartmouth football program for the past 16 seasons,” said Robichaud. “I would like to thank the administration of the University and all those in the athletic department for their tremendous support over that time. I especially would like to thank the football staff and the players for all their incredible sacrifice, determination, and focus. The football program is now in great hands as Josh Sylvester takes over. Josh has incredible passion and enthusiasm and will take the program to the next level. The University could not have made a better decision and I know that the staff and the players feel the same way.”


Robichaud mentored 54 all-conference selections, including five players of the year and three rookies of the year. He coached the second All-American in program history, Pat Sullivan ’17, and six All-Region selections, including three first-team picks. Junior Quarterback Dante Aviles-Santos recently earned the prestigious Joe Zabilski Award, which recognizes New England’s top offensive player in Divisions II/III, and the New England Football Writers Association Season Golden Helmet Award. UMass Dartmouth also enjoyed success in the classroom under Robichaud as 175 student-athletes earned all-academic distinctions since 2013.


UMass Dartmouth was selected as the 2022 MASCAC Coaching Staff of the Year after posting an overall record of 9-2, matching the program’s second-highest win total. The Corsairs were undefeated against conference opponents to earn the automatic berth into the NCAA Division III tournament, the second invitation in program history.


Sylvester spent the past 11 years as offensive coordinator under Robichaud and has coached several positional groups, including offensive linemen, running backs, and safeties, since joining the staff in 2009. 

“I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to be the head football coach at UMass Dartmouth,” said Sylvester. “I would like to thank Chancellor Fuller, Vice Chancellor David Gingerella, Vice Chancellor Dean Hickey, and Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks for trusting me to lead this program. I want to send a special thank you to Coach Mark Robichaud for his tremendous leadership and support. You are an amazing coach, person, mentor, and friend. UMass Dartmouth is a special place, and I will work relentlessly to help our players be successful in the classroom and on the field. We will embrace the “Win the Rep” mentality and attack every interaction and opportunity with great energy, focus, and grit. I am so excited to get started – Go Corsairs!”


The architect of UMass Dartmouth’s prolific offensive attack, Sylvester has produced four of the top five scoring seasons and seven of the top eight seasons of total offense in program history. Most recently, the Corsairs established a new single-season standard for passing yards (3,288), passing completion percentage (61.3), passing efficiency (157.1), total offense (5,852), touchdowns (95), all-purpose yards (6,469), and total points scored (449). UMass Dartmouth placed a program-best two student-athletes on the All-Region first-team this season.

Read more about the UMass Dartmouth Football team and Coach Robichaud and Coach Sylvester.


Joseph C. Ferreira appointed to the Bristol Community College Board of Trustees

Attorney Joseph C. Ferreira has been appointed as a member of the Bristol Community College Board of Trustees. 

Joseph C. Ferreira earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from Bryant University, graduated from the Southeast Massachusetts Regional Police Academy and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the Southern New England School of Law.  

Ferreira is a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council, representing District 1. He is an Attorney with the Keches Law Group, a licensed Real Estate Broker and previously served with the Somerset Police Department for 30 years, working his way through the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Detective Lieutenant and Chief of Police. Ferreira was also selected for a Massachusetts Superior Court Judicial Clerkship where he served more than 20 Justices in both civil and criminal sessions of the Superior Court. In addition to these roles, he volunteers extensively in his community, including previously as a Special Assistant Prosecutor for the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.  

Ferreira resides in Somerset and is the proud father of three daughters. 

Bristol Community College’s Board of Trustees is made up of regional business and community leaders who work tirelessly to ensure the college’s institutional initiatives remain at the highest level of quality. 


STATE HOUSE, Providence, RI – Governor McKee released his proposed 2023-2024 Fiscal
Year Budget which recommends cutting the state sales tax from its current 7% rate to 6.85%.

Budget officials estimate the cut would save each Rhode Island household about $77 per year.

In her response to the Governor’s State of the State Address on January 17th, Senate Minority
Leader Jessica de la Cruz called for bold action, including reducing the state sales tax to 5%.
Now, the Senate Minority Caucus has submitted legislation to amend Title 44, Chapter 18 to
reduce the sales tax on all items currently subject to the tax from 7 percent to 5 percent.

“Using the $77 per year, per household savings estimated by budget officials, RI households
would have to purchase approximately $51,500 in taxable items,” reasoned Leader de la
Cruz. “Under the Republican proposal, that same household purchasing $51,500 in taxable
items would save $1,030 in that same year. What could your family do with an extra $1,000 in
retained income? That is the question every Rhode Islander should consider.”

“RI families need relief, and $77 a year just doesn’t provide that,” stated Senate Minority Whip
Gordon Rogers. “While any tax cut is welcome, the Governor’s proposal is just not enough. It
does not make Rhode Island more competitive with surrounding states that all have lower tax
rates and certainly will not help RI businesses to draw in more sales.”

“When we forecast projected revenue, we also need to take inflation into consideration. People
are paying more for everything. Even the Dollar Store is now $1.25,” said Senator Elaine
Morgan. “That additional twenty-five percent, or even more on some taxable goods, translates to
higher sales tax revenue for the state and an increased burden for taxpayers. We should be doing
all we can to ease the burden on Rhode Islanders, and this proposed legislation will help people
keep more of their money – just when they need it most.”

“The Governor’s suggested sales tax decrease is negligible at best,” Senator Thomas Paolino
stated. “We want people to be able to keep more of their own money, and in doing so they will
be inclined to invest it back in our economy. Increased buying power will alleviate any potential
loss of sales tax revenue, as people buy more and get more for their money.”

Newly elected Senator Anthony Deluca added, “I have heard from so many people that are
concerned with the cost of living in and doing business in Rhode Island, people who feel they
need to evaluate whether staying in RI is the right choice for them and their families. Saving 15
cents on every $100 of taxable goods is not going to keep people in our state. Sadly, it’s simply
not an incentive to spur any type of growth or prosperity

Rehoboth Police Department's K9 team participate in national calendar to help protect law enforcement dogs.

Officer David Aguiar and K9 Edo appear in the 2023 Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. nationwide
fundraising calendar. Officer Aguiar and K9 Edo are also featured on the cover.


Each year, twelve
Law Enforcement K9’s who are recipients of vests provided by the nonprofit organization are
highlighted in the publication along with a memorial page paying tribute to the four-legged heroes
who have passed.

Calendars are available for purchase online for $18 via the Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. website at For additional information or mail orders contact 508-824-6978.

All proceeds from the 2023 calendars will be used to provide equipment and services for law
enforcement K9s nationwide.

Vested Interest in K9s, Inc. has donated over 4,900 bullet and stab protective vests to law
enforcement K9s in all 50 states at a value of over $6.9 million dollars.

The Rehoboth Police Department would like to take a moment to recognize our K9 Team on their
awesome achievement, and give a special thanks to Vested Interest in K9’s for the amazing work
they do to protect LE K9’s nationwide. 

Tom Says Enough

After a career lasting more than 20 NFL seasons, former Patriots and Tampa Quarterback Tom Brady used Instagram and Twitter to produce a 48 second video to announce his retirement from professional football for the second time. 


On the post to, Brady included photos of his family, including his ex wife, his business associates, and a picture from his days as a backup quarterback at the University of Michigan. 


Brady now has a 10 year $375 million dollar contract with Fox to be their lead football anaylist.  


Some observers think Brady could be part of Fox's Super Bowl Coverage next week from suburban Phoenix. 



A New Fall River City Logo

Following a public design contest, Fall River has revealed its new city logo yesterday. According to CBS 12 in Providence, the winning logo was submitted by Nadine Webster, who received a $500 prize at the unveiling ceremony. Webster said she thought it was important to include both the iconic Braga Bridge and an industrial building in her design because it is what separates Fall River from other nearby cities.


Mayor Paul Coogan said they received more than 200 submissions from residents following the contest announcement

Teen Arrested with Carrying a Firearm

According to CBS 12 in Providence, police have arrested a 16-year-old boy after he was caught carrying a loaded firearm this past Monday. He was taken into custody after detectives noticed he was holding something near his waistband while outside Temple Landing. Police said the boy was among a group known “for their involvement in gang activity.” The teenager tried to get into a residence at the housing complex that was later confirmed That he did not live there and wasn’t familiar with the residents.


The teenager had a loaded 9 mm pistol with 11 rounds of ammunition on him at the time of his arrest. He has since been charged with carrying a firearm without a serial number, loaded with a large capacity magazine and without a license.