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WSAR News Headlines

The City of Fall River has a new Director of Community Maintenance who begins his duties on Monday, July 18. 
Adriano Ponceano has 17 years of experience in Public Works and is leaving the Pawtucket RI Public Works Department. 
Ponceano has a degree from Boston College and is working on an MBA. 

He speaks fluent Portuguese, along with experience in union negotiations and collective bargaining. 
Former DCM Director Ken Pacheco has been the Director of Buildings and Grounds for two weeks after the job shift began at the start of the new fiscal year. 


In a post on his Facebook Page, Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady announced that he will drop any further appeals regarding a four game suspension handed down by the NFL for Brady's role in the deflation of game footballs from their prescribed weight, in a scheme that may have gone on for several seasons, before it was discovered at the half of the Patriots/Colts AFC Championship Game in 2015.


Brady will miss games versus Arizona, Miami, Houston and Buffalo, before returning in Week 5 versus Cleveland. 


''The New York Times'' is reporting that while Massachusetts Senior Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren will have a prime time speaking slot at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia during the final week of this month, the Times is reporting that Warren has likely been eliminated as a choice for Hillary Clinton for the VP slot on the Democratic Ticket. 

The Clinton Team vetted Warren along with other contenders this Summer; Warren spoke to attorneys with the Clinton Campaign that were helping in the effort to evaluate various candidates. 



                The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that due to issues involving an active construction project, the closure of Central Street between Milliken Boulevard/Durfee Street and Harbor Street at Heritage Heights Apartments is necessary 24 hours a day from now through Friday evening, July 15.  

                The contractor encountered unforeseen conditions with underground utilities while performing the full depth excavation of the street, which necessitates the full closure. Local access will be maintained. Through traffic should use the following routes to reach Route 79/Route 138/Broadway from upper Central Street during this timeframe:


  • For local access to businesses and tourist attractions, drivers should use Milliken Boulevard, Milliken Connector, and Pocasset Street/Anawan Street.
  • Access to the waterfront from Exit 5 off I-195 East and West will be maintained.

       MassDOT anticipates completing the roadway reconstruction, including paving, on Friday, July 15, and anticipates reopening Upper Central Street to through traffic at approximately 5:00 PM.


Police have arrested Joel Lopez, 16, of Fall River. He is charged with murder and will be arraigned this afternoon in Fall River District Court. He was arrested this afternoon on Harrison Street in Fall River.
Fall River Police, Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to this office, and homicide unit prosecutors are actively investigating a homicide, which occurred Monday night in The City of Fall River.
At around 9:27 p.m., police responded to 911 calls regarding shots fired in the area of 129 Plain Street. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found a male victim in the landing of the first floor of the apartment complex at 129 Plain Street.
The victim, who was later identified as Jerrod Cohen, 29, of 129 Plain Street, was rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead late last night.
The investigation is being coordinated by Assistant District Attorney Brian Griffin, who will handle today's arraignment.
The investigation is extremely active and ongoing, and no further information can be released at this time.


The Fall River City Council will send a package of salary and title changes in City Government to the Ordinance and Legislation Committee, who will likely meet next week to review the material. 


Among the salary adjustments are a City Planner at $88,300; a Commissioner of Recreational Facilities, Cemeteries and Trees, at $80,000 and a salary for a new Director of Community Maintenance at a salary not to exceed $98,000.


Current Special Assistant to the Mayor, Faust Fiore, will also have a new title as a Media/Special Projects Person, at $52,000 a year. 






The Somerset Berkley Regional School Committee meets at 6:30pm Thursday at The Somerset Berkley Regional High School Library in Somerset Thursday at 6:30pm. 


The Committee will vote on a contract of employment for the Treasurer and Human Resource Coordinator, while three Subcommittee Reports will deal with a new attendance policy, a review of policies affected by Recent Opioid Legislation and a meal charge policy. 








Yesterday, a lawsuit was filed in the Bristol County Superior Court in the wrongful death of 11 year old Azriel Sage Estabrooks, who choked on a marshmallow at a friend’s birthday party.  Attorney Steven P. Sabra of Somerset, representing the girl’s parents, said that there are so many unanswered questions as to the circumstances leading to their daughter’s death that suit had to be filed, among other things, to obtain all the reports and investigations summaries to get answers for the family.

     “When a healthy, normal child goes to a birthday party and ends up choking to death, questions of supervision and response to the emergency naturally arise”, said Sabra.  The attorney hopes that this process will help the devastated parents to understand what happened.  Sabra added, “I am sure that this tragedy has had a profound effect not only on Azriel’s parents, but on the host family and the children that were present”.  Having raised four children and now having grandchildren, Sabra noted that this incident is a reminder how diligent we have to be as parents and caretakers, for our children as well as others we have charge of.

     Sabra is the principal attorney of Sabra & Aspden in Somerset and focuses primarily on wrongful death, personal injury, and worker’s compensation law as well a criminal defense.  He is also the host of “Law Talk” that airs on WSAR every Tuesday from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. 


MassDOT Reaches Major Milestone for Interchange Improvement Project for Routes I-195, 79, and 138


All modes of transportation are now open on Route 79 and surrounding areas


FALL RIVER - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced today roadway construction and interchange improvements for Route 79, Route I-195, and Route 138 have been completed ahead of schedule.  All modes of transportation are now open, and related closures and detours have been lifted.


I am thrilled to see that drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians will enjoy an easier travelling experience through the Route 79/I-195 area,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “I would like to thank the Highway Division District 5 staff and contractor Barletta Heavy/O&G, Joint Venture for all of their hard work and efforts on this project. Also, thank you to the drivers for their patience as crews worked to complete the much-need roadway upgrades. Completing the work early lifts the long burden drivers have faced in navigating detours around the Route 79 area.”


The re-opening of the Route I-195/Route 79/Route 138 interchange, roadways and nearby shared-use paths serves as a major milestone for the project, as construction began in September 2013 and was scheduled to be completed this fall.


The work on this project consisted of the reconfiguration of the I-195/Route 79/Route138 interchange including all ramps and associated bridges. The project also included traffic safety upgrades and improved regional transportation connectivity for motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.


The following roadways have re-opened to vehicle traffic:


·         Route 79 northbound and southbound

·         I-195 eastbound Exit 5 to Route 79 northbound and Route 138 southbound

·         I-195 westbound Exit 5 to Route 79 northbound and Route 138 southbound

·         The new on-ramps from Route 79/Route 138 to I-195 eastbound and westbound

·         The new Milliken Connector from Route 138/Broadway Extension to Milliken Boulevard


The new shared use paths along the waterfront and connecting Route 138/Broadway Extension to Milliken Boulevard are now open to bicycles and pedestrians.


There will be periodic, short-term road closures into the fall of 2016 to allow for the completion of minor roadway and related work.


The work to complete the Braga Bridge portion of the project is continuing.



For more information on the project, visit the website at For questions or to report issues related to construction, please call the project hotline at 781-774-0441 or email View progress photos on MassDOT’s Route 79/Braga Bridge Flickr album.


Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for the Commonwealth into law, and has also signed a compromise piece of legislation that extends protections for the Commonwealth's Transgender population after the Great and General Court moved the bill through the House and Senate last night. 


“No one should be discriminated against in Massachusetts because of their gender identity,” said Governor Baker.  “This compromise legislation extends additional protections to the Commonwealth’s transgender community, and includes language to address the public safety concerns expressed by some by requiring the Attorney General to issue regulations to protect against people abusing the law.”


The Commonwealth's budget has hikes in Local Aid and Chapter 70 public education dollars, and no increases in fees or taxes. 




Fall River: Daytime Upper Central Street Closures & 

Overnight Braga Bridge Single Lane Closures, July 11-15


MassDOT will close Central Street between Milliken Boulevard/Durfee Street and Harbor Street at Heritage Heights Apartments on Monday, July 11 through Friday, July 15 from 6:30 AM to 5:00 PM each day.


The closures are necessary to perform a full depth reconstruction of the existing roadway. The following are routes to reach Route 79/Route 138/Broadway from upper Central Street during this timeframe:


  • For local access to businesses and tourist attractions, drivers should use Milliken Boulevard, Milliken Connector, and Pocasset Street/Anawan Street.
  • Access to the waterfront from Exit 5 off I-195 East and West will be maintained.


MassDOT will also implement overnight single lane closures on I-195 East and West on the Braga Bridge from Monday, July 11, through Friday, July 15.


The closures are from 8:00 PM each night to 6:00 AM the following morning. One lane in each direction will be closed and traffic shifted between the Somerset and Fall River sides of the bridge.


The lane shifts are necessary to allow the contractor to perform joint repairs.


The Red Sox will send four staters to the All Star Game in Miami next week, as Outfielders Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Junior will be joined by DH David Ortiz and Shortstop Xander Bogarts. 


The Sox will finish the first half of their season Sunday at Fenway Park, and will open the second half of the season at Yankee Stadium next Friday. 


MassDOT is pleased to announce a series of important project milestones:


  • Now open - Exit 5 from I-195 West to Central Street and Route 79 North
  • Opening this week - 
    • On-ramps to I-195 East and West from Milliken Boulevard and Route 79/Route 138/Broadway near Water Street Connector
    • Exit 5 from I-195 East to Route 79/Route 138/Broadway near Water Street Connector
    • A new connection from Route 79/Route 138/Broadway to Milliken Boulevard near the Fall River Municipal Credit Union


A series of three Amazon Industry Briefings are set to begin next week in Fall River in preparation for the actual hiring of some 500 full time and undetermined amount of part time jobs, as Amazon is set to open its 1 million square foot warehouse later this year.
The Industry Briefings are set for this coming Wednesday at BMC Durfee's Auditorium at 3pm and 6pm; two more briefings happen Thursday at Diman Regional High School at 10am, and at BCC in Fall River at 3pm.

The Industry Briefings are ticketed events that you must register for; the tickets can then be printed on line.
For more information, contact the Fall River Career Center on North Main Street.  


The FRPD is reminding anyone who is set to watch the fireworks in Fall River on Monday that traffic patterns in and around Bicentennial and Heritage State Parks will be altered, if need be, to make sure traffic flows safely. 


A Police Command Post is set to be in force near the entrance to the Heritage State Park Boat House in the 200 block of Davol Street. 


Fireworks in Fall River will lift off at 9pm Monday Night. 




The new Superintendent of the Fall River Public School Department will make $184,000 a year for the next four years, and will forgo health insurance as part of year one, as Dr. Matthew Malone, the former Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth, takes on a new role as Superintendent of the Fall River School Department. 

Malone was selected by a 4-3 vote last week; he told WSAR that Fall River is an Urban District people are watching and trying to learn from, in terms of the work being performed by teachers, administrators and staff. 




The Fall River School Committee is set to begin Contract Negotiations with its Presumptive Superintendent, Dr. Matt Malone, who has served as the Superintendent in Brockton, and as the Secretary of Education in the Second Patrick Administration. 

The job posting indicated a salary of $175,000 to $200,000.


Former Superintendent Meg Mayo Brown secured 4 years and $200, 000 per year from Barnstable; her new gig begins on July 1. 


A nearly annual debate will continue this Summer in Fall River, as the City Council will again debate the merits of the council employing its own attorney, as relationships with past Corporation Counsels have proven to be tense in some instances. 

Fall River Corporation Counsel Joseph Macy tells WSAR that he represents the entire city, as well as the city council; Macy says he's prepared to debate the issue on the merits later this Summer. 


The Privatization of the collection of Solid Waste, Recycling, Trash and Yard Waste will begin Friday, July 1, when a ten year Contract with Revere-based E-Z Disposal begins with the City of Fall River, as Fall River joins a number of Gateway Cities, including New Bedford, that have gone to private haulers as a means of cost reduction.


Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II has touted the effort as a means towards cost certainty in future fiscal years as municipal budgets are constructed. 








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