WSAR NEWS Archives for 2024-01

RIDOT emails: Broken rods on Washington Bridge 'more exposed' due to construction

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Engineers at the R.I. Department of Transportation privately acknowledged the section of the Washington Bridge that triggered its sudden closure had been hard to see until construction work made it “noticeable,” according to internal emails newly obtained by Target 12.


On Tuesday, RIDOT sent Target 12 more than 200 pages of documents in response to a request under Rhode Island’s Access to Public Records Act. RIDOT required a $300 payment from Target 12 in exchange for the documents, citing a provision in state law that allows agencies to charge for records requests.


The emails shed light on state officials’ frantic efforts to triage the crisis in the days after Alviti announced the sudden closure of the westbound bridge span on the evening of Dec. 11. (The eastbound span is a separate bridge.) Alviti initially said the bridge could reopen in roughly three months, but the closure is now indefinite, and federal authorities have begun investigating.


The complete story is at

Massachusetts state troopers among 6 charged in CDL scheme

BOSTON (WPRI) — Two current and two former Massachusetts State Police troopers and two civilians are facing charges in an alleged scheme to give commercial driver’s licenses to people who didn’t earn them.


The following people have been indicted on three counts each of conspiracy to falsify records, extortion, and conspiracy to commit extortion, along with six counts of mail fraud, 31 counts of falsification of records, 27 counts of false statements, and one count of perjury:

  • Scott Camara, 42, of Rehoboth
  • Eric Mathison, 47, of Boston
  • Gary Cederquist, 58, of Stoughton
  • Joel Rogers, 54, of Bridgewater
  • Calvin Butner, 63, of Halifax
  • Perry Mendes, 63, of Wareham

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Sgt. Cederquist was in charge of the Commercial Driver Licensing (CDL) Unit, where Trooper Rogers and retired Troopers Butner and Mendes were members. The unit is supposed to make sure CDLs are being handed out to those who meet federal safety requirements, but prosecutors say that didn’t happen.


The full story is at

Some Massachusetts ice hockey coaches 'in full support' of implementing neck guard mandate

The region’s ice hockey coaches and athletic directors reacted positively to USA Hockey’s mandate that all players under 18 wear neck laceration protection, effective Aug. 1. While the decision does not affect schools within the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association – which is governed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) - the idea has its supporters.


Neck protection is a key discussion topic after former NHL player Adam Johnson died in an English elite game after his neck was cut by an opponent’s skate blade in October. Current NHL players Rasmus Dahlin, TJ Oshie and members of the Winnipeg Jets and Pittsburgh Penguins – Johnson's former team – began wearing neck guards in the immediate aftermath of Johnson’s death. 


Full details at

Former Fall River man gets 32 months in prison for nationwide identity theft fraud scheme


A former Fall River man was sentenced Tuesday to 32 months in federal prison for his role in a nationwide scheme of selling fake rideshare and delivery service accounts, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Rhode Island announced.


Caio Felipe Oliveira Dos Santos, 27, is among more than a dozen Brazilian nationals from Massachusetts, California and Florida charged in this case.


According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, from January 2019 until April 2021, Dos Santos and others conspired to use stolen identities and falsified documents to open fraudulent driver accounts or rent or sell those accounts to drivers who might not otherwise qualify to drive for rideshare or delivery services.


Full details at

Looking further in the Steward Health Care story


Steward Health Care's dire financial footing and allegedly unpaid bills exploded into the public spotlight this month, but hospital system officials had been warning about inadequate funding supports that put community hospitals at risk since at least last year.


Steward owns nine hospitals in Massachusetts, including Good Samaritan in Brockton, Morton in Taunton, St. Anne's in Fall River and Norwood Hospital, which is closed due to flood issues.


When Steward submitted testimony to the Health Policy Commission for the autumn cost trends hearing, it urged policymakers "to make bold actions to correct a hospital marketplace that has been functionally broken since the 1990s."



Steward wants to sell four Mass. hospitals soon, congressman says

Steward Health Care wants to sell four of its Massachusetts hospitals as soon as possible, including Norwood Hospital, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch says.


The for-profit company also wants to sell Nashoba Valley Medical Center, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton and Holy Family Hospital, Lynch said, according to WCVB.


Dallas-based Steward Health Care, which reportedly owes $50 million in unpaid rent, also operates Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Morton Hospital in Taunton, New England Sinai Hospital and St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River.


Click here for more details at

Former Red Sox manager Jimy Williams dies at 80

BOSTON — Jimy Williams, the 1999 American League Manager of the Year for Boston who won 910 games over a dozen seasons that included stints with Toronto and Houston, has died. He was 80.


The Red Sox said Williams died Friday at AdventHealth North Pinellas Hospital in Tarpon Springs, Florida, after a brief illness. Williams lived in nearby Palm Harbor.


An infielder, Williams was born James Francis Williams in Santa Maria, California, on Oct. 4, 1943. He was a 1961 graduate of Arroyo Grande High School and first spelled his name Jimy as a prank in high school.



6 ways to boost Fall River's outdoors tourism business

FALL RIVER —  A TV show taped in Fall River last summer focused on the wealth of outdoor activities available within the city limits. The challenge now, city tourism experts said, is to learn from this experience and help visitors explore Fall River for themselves. 


“I think that Fall River has an outdoor brand that is really undersold,” said city forester Mike Labossiere.  


He was one of several locals profiled in an episode of "Explore New England,” a TV series devoted to outdoors travel tourism available on NESN, YouTube and Roku. Labossiere, “Explore New England” host and executive producer Tom Richardson and many others joined a panel hosted by Viva Fall River’s Executive Director Patti Rego at the Fall River Arts and Culture Coalition’s new Ignition Space at 44 Troy St., where people with a stake in Fall River tourism watched the episode and talked strategy to bring in new customers. 


Read more Dan Medeiros at


River To Recovery Receives Grant From Senator Rodrigues

River to Recovery, a peer substance abuse recovery facility in Fall River, is pleased to announce the receipt of a $15,000 grant from the Senator Rodrigues Community Empowerment Fund of the SouthCoast Community Foundation.


Kevin Doyle, Executive Director of River to Recovery, stated, "We are delighted to receive this funding from Senator Rodrigues. He has supported the organization for many years. We appreciate his recognition of the importance of our mission to provide recovery services to the underserved population living in the Flint section of Fall River."


Senator Rodrigues commented that he is "happy to be able to support River to Recovery in providing critically necessary services in our community. Substance abuse rips apart many families. River to Recovery's programs make a difference reuniting families and supporting individuals who are trying to recover."


Melanie Edwards-Tavares, President and CEO of the SouthCoast Community Foundation said, "The SouthCoast Community Foundation is proud to partner with Senator Rodrigues to support River to Recovery's critical work in the region. We are grateful for their compassionate and tireless efforts to provide recovery services to Fall River families and individuals." The Community Foundation administers nearly 200 funds to benefit local communities with a focus on supporting the Gateway Cities of Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, Attleboro and Brockton.


The grant will be used, in part, to provide technological solutions for the organization. Also the funds will provide hands-on substance abuse services to River to Recovery clinets.


Somerset Berkley boys basketball team gives back to the community

SOMERSET — The Somerset Berkley boys basketball team stands alone as the top team in the Greater Fall River area.

But the Raiders also shine when it comes to serving their Somerset community.


Each season for the past 18 winters from 8:30 a.m till 11 a.m., the varsity, junior varsity and freshmen basketball teams volunteer their time with the food pantry on the second Saturday of the month to distributed food to those in need. It's something near and dear to SBR head coach Bob Slater, who started this movement at his church — the Church of Our Saviour.


"The kids bring the food that the clients pick out and bring them to their cars," Slater said. "I can say enough about the kids. It's not mandatory but everyone shows up."


Read more from Steven Sanchez at


Biden says US 'shall respond' after drone strike by Iran-backed group kills 3 US troops in Jordan

President Joe Biden said Sunday that the U.S. “shall respond” after three American troops were killed and dozens more were injured in an overnight drone strike in northeast Jordan near the Syrian border. Biden blamed Iran-backed militias for the first U.S. fatalities after months of strikes by such groups against American forces across the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.


“We had a tough day last night in the Middle East. We lost three brave souls in an attack on one of our bases,” he said. After the moment of silence, Biden added, “and we shall respond.”



A Fall River officer is accused of police brutality. The trial begins today.

The federal trial of Fall River patrol officer Nicholas Hoar is set to begin today for allegedly hitting a handcuffed man on the head with a police baton at police headquarters, then lying about the incident in a December 2020 police report. 


The incident was the subject of an FBI investigation that led to a federal indictment in November 2022. Hoar, who is still a member of the FRPD on unpaid leave, pleaded not guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law resulting in bodily injury, and two counts of filing false reports. 


He has been free since his arraignment.


Read the entire story fron Jo C. Goode at

Still weeks away from decision on I-195 Washington Bridge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — R.I. Department of Transportation leaders don’t expect to know for at least another month whether the Washington Bridge needs to be fixed or torn down, according to lawmakers briefed on the situation Friday.


The new timeline emerged during a virtual meeting R.I. Department of Transportation Director Peter Alviti held with East Bay legislators, after state leaders had spent the past week declining to offer an updated timeline for the bridge repairs.


State Rep. Jason Knight, D-Barrington, said Alviti told the group he doesn’t expect engineers inspecting the bridge to report their findings until late February or early March.


Read the full story here at



Where do Fall River high school winter teams stand in the latest power rankings?

FALL RIVER — On Friday, the MIAA released another tournament power rankings for Fall River area winter sports team.


The top 32 boys and girls basketball teams qualify for the tournament, regardless of record. The top 32 ranked schools for boys and girls hockey power rated teams also qualify, regardless of record. Teams outside the top 32 with a .500 or better record also qualify.


Click here to see where the Fall River area sports teams are currently ranked.


Steven Sanchez

South Coast Rail construction is continuing through winter

Even though winter weather is upon us, construction is ongoing on the MBTA’s South Coast Rail project.


The service will link Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton to Boston by commuter train for the first time since the 1950s. 


Originally due to open in late 2023, the South Coast Rail line has faced construction delays and is now projected to open in the middle of 2024. To make it on time, work still needs to take place in some key areas.


For the latest construction updates from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation click on here.

Council rejects sale of the Bank Street Armory to local developer

FALL RIVER — It’s been debated in Government Center and by the public for the past six months, but Tuesday the City Council finally made the decision to reject the sale of the Bank Street Armory to a local developer who would have created market rate housing in the historic structure. 


With a 6-3 vote to not sell the former armory building to Alan Macomber, the principal in the development company Main Street Projects, the councilors had varying reasons for their votes. 




Jo C. Goode

Vacant store catches fire in New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A fire broke out Thursday at an empty convenience store in New Bedford.


Crews responded around 9:45 a.m. to a report of heavy flames coming from the 7-Eleven at the corner of Cove Road and Brock Avenue.


According to the fire chief, crews were able to contain the fire to a small portion of the store, and prevented flames from getting to the roof and spreading.


“Honestly, I was very scared, especially it being a gas station across the street. I was nervous because I didn’t know how it would end,” said Madeline Fortes, a witness of the fire. 


Read more and watch video at


Paige Messier

Fearing spate of hospital closings, delegation wants answers on Steward financial crisis

Fearing a spate of hospital closures that could jeopardize health care access for vulnerable residents, the Massachusetts congressional delegation wants a financial briefing from Steward Health Care system — which owns hospitals in nine Massachusetts communities, including Brockton, Taunton, Fall River and Stoughton.


Lawmakers also want an update on the status of Steward's facilities and the company's "plans to ensure the communities Steward's hospitals serve are not abandoned."


Steward operates nine facilities in Massachusetts, including Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Morton Hospital in Taunton and St. Anne's in Fall River.


Read the full story at




Deadly crash spurs new calls for wrong-way driving prevention

SOMERSET, Mass. (WPRI) — A Massachusetts bill is gaining support after the deadly wrong-way crash that killed a teenager and his grandparents on Christmas Day.


This comes after state legislators got a phone call from a North Attleboro councilor, who was deeply impacted by the crash.


“The family that died — the Arrudas — were friends of mine. The boy that was killed Jacoby, 15 years old, was a teammate and friend of my son’s,” Daniel Donovan said during Monday’s town council meeting, where he spoke emotionally about House Bill 3435.


Read more about the bill at


Alex Torres-Perez

Swansea community helping man hurt in a wrong-way car crash

Swansea, MA - Hundreds of people have donated to help a Swansea man hurt in a head-on crash on Swansea Mall Drive last week.


A GoFundMe started by Josh Tucker has raised nearly $22,000 in three days – just shy of meeting its $25,000 goal.


According to the listing, the fund benefits his brother Tristan Tucker, 20, who on Jan. 18 was hospitalized with serious injuries after his car was struck head-on by another vehicle going the wrong way on Swansea Mall Drive. 


Learn more by clicking on


Dan Medeiros

Jeffrey Bacon The New Fall River Fire Chief

FALL RIVER — The City Council approved the appointment of Jeffrey Bacon as the new head of the Fall River Fire Department on Tuesday. 


He is the city’s youngest fire chief in recent memory at age 47. The department has cycled through chiefs every few years recently, but Bacon said he’s in it for the long haul and eager to begin making meaningful cultural changes to the department he’s served in since November 2002.


Bacon will take on the job Feb. 11, a day after current Fire Chief Roger St. Martin retires. 


Read the entire story at by clicking here.


Jo C. Goode

Change Of Command At FR Fire Department

ALL RIVER — There will be a changing of the guard at the Fall River Fire Department with Fire Chief Roger St. Martin retiring soon and District Fire Chief Jeffrey Bacon’s appointment for the job going before the City Council on Tuesday.


St. Martin has served as a Fall River firefighter for nearly 37 years. His final day as head of the department is Feb. 10, according to St. Martin.


Bacon, a Somerset resident, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Mayor Paul Coogan said the district fire chief did well in interviews with the administration. 


Read more here at


Jo C. Goode

Washington Bridge May Need To Be Demolished

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The westbound side of the Washington Bridge, which abruptly shut down last month after structural deficiencies were discovered, may need to be torn down and completely rebuilt, Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Peter Alviti acknowledged Monday.


Alviti stressed that engineers are still taking a “comprehensive look” at the bridge’s structure and determining whether demolishing the bridge will be necessary.


But that possibility hasn’t been ruled out just yet, he said.

Read the entire story here at


Sarah Doiron


Fall River Gets Electric Bus Money

January 22, 2024


With a second grant from the Federal EPA, Fall River, New Bedford, Boston and Worcester will share in some $30 Million to create eight school buses powered with clean electricity. This is an ongoing effort to electrify school bus fleets while improving air quality.


The Clean School Program is a product of the Biden Administration's Bi Partisan Infrastructure Law, according to CBS12 in Providence.


Exact funding amounts will be adjusted through a planning process.


Planning and Gap funding for school districts will come from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.


Alan Zarek


Somerset Chiefs On A New Building

Somerset, MA


Somerset Police Chief Todd Costa and Fire Chief Jamison Barros both appeared before the Somerset Selectmen recently to begin the conversation of how to replace the current building that houses both departments. The current building opened on County Street in 1965.


Chief Costa says the needs of the fire chief are greater than the police department's current needs. Chief Barros said the Fire Department has doubled in size since 1965, both in the number of firefighters and amount of equipment. He said the size of the fire engines is also bigger.


There is no timeline for when a feasibility might be conducted on a new structure to house Someret's police and fire departments/


Alan Zarek


Governor To Release Budget Proposals

Boston, MA

(January 22, 2024)


Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey is set to release the first of three budget versions on Wednesday. The proposals will be part of a conference committee later this summer in order to produce a new budget to begin Fiscal Year 2025.


State House News Services is reporting that the Governor's version of a budget will include a 3% increase to $8.7 Billion in local aid which includes increasing the line items for unrestricted general government aid and Chapter 70 local public school aid.


Alan Zarek - WSAR

Local Family On Popular Game Show


The Burgo family from Fall River will soon be appearing on the popular game show "Family Feud." 


Adriana Burgo says, “It’s a show we've been watching since we were kids. We never thought we’d actually get an audition, let alone be on the show."


Click here to read the full story by Dan Medeiros.


Dan Medeiros