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WSAR News Headlines


The Chairman of Boston 2024 spoke to the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the organization's annual session at the Venus Di Milo in Swansea, as John Fish told a gathering that South Coast Rail and other transportation issues could benefit from a Boston bid for the Summer Olympic Games in 2024. 

 

Fish told a gathering of business and political leaders that the Olympics represents an effort to think in bold terms and to to begin a discussion on what Massachusetts will look like later in the century. 

 

 

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The Sutter Administration told reporters in Government Center that the city of Fall River will pursue a third SAFER Grant that would fund the salaries and benefits of 10 FRFD members for at least two consecutive fiscal years, bringing the total complement of firefighters to 185. 

 

Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter says that while there would be costs involved for potential pension and unemployment if the city could not sustain the 10 slots in future fiscal years, he felt the decision to pursue a third SAFER grant was the correct one to make. 

 

The FRFD benefited from four consecutive fiscal years of SAFER Grants at $7 million a year, which covered the salaries and benefits of 69 fire fighters; the fourth and final year of the grant ended in FY 2015. 

 

 

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The Brockton Enterprise is reporting that current issues surrounding the MBTA, which include a $3 billion backlog of needed repairs and a $9 million unfunded pension liability, should halt any further discussion of South Coast Rail, which would involve links to New Bedford, Taunton and Fall River.

 

Stoughton Selectmen Robert O'Regan told the Brockton Enterprise that current issues with the T should end the effort to build South Coast Rail. 

 

Raynham Selectman Joe Pacheco says South Coast Rail need not be attempted, given the current mismanagement of the system under the auspices of the MBTA. 

 

Spokespersons for the Baker administration indicate that Governor Baker continues to the support the concept of South Coast Rail, but says it will take several years and more than $2 billion to bring it to fruition. 

 

 

 

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The Fall River School Committee will hold a pair of meetings in March, including a make up session of a meeting that was postponed in February. 

 

A March 2nd meeting will happen at 7:30 at Morton Middle School, and will deal with the 15 item agenda from February 9. 

 

The regular Fall River School Committee Session on March 9 will be moved to March 16 at Kuss Middle School. 

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The Fall River City Council's Committee on Economic Development and Tourism will deal with a five item agenda Wednesday at 6pm in Government Center's second floor Council chambers. 

 

Discussion of using digital video platforms to promote Fall River, and how to market and rehab various mill buildings are on the docket, as are continuing discussions of mooring facilities on the city's waterfront. 

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Fall River City Council Veteran Leo Pellitier tells WSAR that his advice to anyone in Fall River is to purchasing the Purple Bags that have come to symbolize the Pay As You Throw Concept, while the Ordinance and Legislation committee is debating penalties for those who refuse to comply; the issue of the cost of the bags could also be a part of the discussion after a decision Friday to debate the issues in a sub committee. 

 

On Monday's edition of the ''WSAR Newsroom'', Pelliter indicated that the PAYT idea should have vetted by Ordinances and Legislation in the first place; former Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan said that an ordinance was not necessary. 

 

Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has indicated to WSAR that the program is a success, is legal,  and is likely going to raise the money that was first forecast in 2014, when Pay As You Throw was first proposed as a solution to the closing of the Fall River Landfill. 

 

 

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The sale of the Pawtucket Red Sox Triple A franchise to a group of investors led by Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino has been confirmed and approved by MLB and the International League, according to NBC 10 and the Providence Journal. 
 
Providence Attorney James Skeffington and 8 other investors, including the former CEOs of Fleet Banks and CVS Pharmacies, and two partners in the ownership group of the Boston Red Sox, have purchased the franchise from the wife of the late PawSox owner Ben Mondor for $20 million, according to the Providence Journal and the Boston Globe. 
 
Investors are looking into a 10,000 seat stadium along 1-195; the Pawtucket Red Sox have a lease at McCoy Stadium through January 2021; a release issued by Rhode Island Legislative Leaders mentioned a 2017 relocation date to what is being termed a ''destination stadium''.
 
WPRO in Providence is reporting that Pawtucket's Mayor has been told the club is headed to Providence, but no timetable has been established for stadium construction and a potential move. 

 
 
 
 
 

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The Fall River and Police Departments are confirming the death of a male victim after a fire in an apartment in 12 Rolling Green Drive that was first reported during the noon hour on Monday. 

 

The Fall River Fire Department and Massachusetts State Fire Marshal are conducting an investigation into the cause of the blaze; the FRPDs Major Crimes and Arson Unit, and the Bristol County D-As office are also involved in determining what happened. 

 

 

 

 

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MLB.com is reporting tha the Red Sox have signed Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to a deal worth $31.5 million.

Moncada plays second, third and shortstop; the size of the contract will prohibit the Red Sox from taking part in any further international signings for at least two years, and the Sox will pay a penalty given the size of the current contract. 

A thawing of relations with Cuba has changed the rules for signing players from the island; Moncada was to be a part of Cuba's roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Various Media Outlets, including NBC 10, WPRO, The Providence Journal and the Boston Globe, are reporting that the Pawtucket Red Sox are being sold to a group being led by Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, along with a group of Rhode Island-based business people.

 

NBC Ten is reporting that various sources are indicating that the Pawtucket franchise is headed to a new ballpark in Providence; as to where the new ballpark would be, and when a move might take place, details might be released at a planned event later today. 

 

The sale of the Red Sox Triple A franchise does not include McCoy Stadium; the ''Boston Globe'' is reporting the new ownership group does not want to invest in McCoy, where the Red Sox have played as a AA and AAA team since the early 70s. 

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The Sutter Administration has indicated to WSAR that it will meet one more time with representatives from the IAFF local 13-14, representing Fall River Firefighters on Tuesday, before a decision is made on Wednesday regarding whether or not the city will submit a SAFER Grant application. 

 

IAFF Local 13-14 President Jason Burns tells WSAR the FRFD needs 25 firefighters to reach a desired component of 200 members, at a cost estimated at $5 million. 

 

Burns tells WSAR that the Sutter Administration has been deliberate in its study of the issues surrounding the grant application, which has a March 6 Deadline. 

 

Fall River had four consecutive fiscal years, which ended in FY 2015, of $7 million each year to support 69 firefighters salary and benefits. 

 

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While MEMA and the National Guard continue to dig out New Bedford this week, after 22 inches of snow fell there over the weekend, the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Management is also assisting Fall River this week, as 3 dump trucks and SKID combos have arrived from the New York State Department of Transportation. 
 
MEMA is also watching forecasts for the weekend, as a mix of rain and snow could cause more issues regarding the potential for roof collapses. 
 
Commercial buildings throughout the Commonwealth have had issues with the weight of snow on roofs this winter, including an Auto Zone location in North Attleboro this week, according to MEMA. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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A Wind Chill Advisory covering Eastern Mass and much of Rhode Island is in place to begin Friday morning at 3am continuing through 10am, after being issued by the National Weather Service in Taunton. 

 

Wind Chill Readings on Friday could reach -18. 

 

Air temps will be at -2 to 8. 

 

Wind will be from the West at 10 to 15 miles and hour, with gusts to 35 MPH. 

 

Its important if you're out in tomorrow's Arctic Chill to dress in layers and wear gloves and something on your head. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Boston 2024 Committee trying to land the Summer Olympic bid in 2017 is set for a series of 20 meetings across the Commonwealth beginning next month, with a meeting set for the SouthCoast the week of March 23. 
 
The Boston 2024 Committee says it wants to give residents in every corner of Massachusetts the opportunity to ''ask questions, offer ideas and help shape the bid''.
 
Administrators with Boston 2024 say they want ideas on how the Games ''can touch every part of the state''.
 
The International Olympic Committee will decide among Rome, Berlin, and other European bids, along with the Boston bid, in 2017. 
 
 
 
 

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A pair of former members of the Fall River Law Department are threatening a lawsuit after they were terminated by the Sutter Administration in January. 

 

Elizabeth Sousa and Christy Di Orio, in a letter to Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter issued earlier this month, say their contracts with the city of Fall River were breached when they were not given at least 90 days notice prior to termination. 

 

In the letter, Sousa says she was told by a member of the transition team, when asked why she was being terminated, ''Sorry, it's politics''.

 

Sousa and Di Orio both claim they have suffered ''anxiety, embarrassment and mental anguish''. 

 

Both Sousa and Di Orio are seeking front and back pay, and compensation for emotional distress. 

 

Acting Fall River Corporation Counsel Gary Howayeck says Sutter had the right to act under the current city charter.  

 

 

 

 

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The Somerset Board of Selectmen has six items listed under its New Business Designation for their regular session at the Somerset Public Library Wednesday Night at 6pm.

 

In what is being designated as a preliminary discussion, the Board will hear from Town Clerk Dolores Berge on having the new Somerset Berkley Regional High School act as a single polling place, as the community currently uses five for any general or special election. 

 

The 3 member board will also discuss a potential four day work week as a money saving measure. 

 

If it is deemed ready, the Somerset Board of Selectmen will also discuss a casino update, as Somerset and a pair of investors are in the hunt for the Region C Destination Resort Casino License that will be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2015. 

 

 

 

 

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Administrators in Fall River's Government Center have confirmed that tonight's regularly scheduled City Council Session has been postponed till Friday afternoon at 2pm. 

 

The agenda will feature requests for move nearly $3.4 million from stabilization line items to the Fall River Public School Department, a TIF agreement with Blount Fine Foods, and requests via resolutions that Public Works and Transportation meet to discuss future snow removal plans, and for Ordiances and Legislation to discuss Pay As You Throw Fees. 

 

 

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The City of New Bedford is using five front loaders and five dump trucks to move 22 inches of snow that hit during the Blizzard of 2015 Part Two this weekend, while Fall River picked up 18.5 inches of snow over the weekend. 

 

New Bedford asked for assistance from the National Guard to help move the snow, while Fall River Community Maintenance Director Ken Pacheco says MEMA equipment will come back this week. 

 

Pacheco tells WSAR the total price tag for snow and ice removal so far this winter is approaching $1.7 million. 

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Gasoline Prices in the Commonwealth are four cents this week, according to Triple A Northeast. 

 

Triple A's Survey this week finds the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline averaging $2.21 a gallon, with a current national average at $2.25

 

Triple A Northeast finds the range in prices for gasoline at a low of $2.05 in Massachusetts, to a high of $2.49. 

 

 

 

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Power Outages are being reported in National Grid's service area on the North Side of Somerset on this Sunday Morning, as a large swath of Somerset's North Side, bordered by Main, North and Elm Streets, along with Whetstone Hill Road and Chace Street, are in the dark this morning.

 

Service is likely to restored later this afternoon according to National Grid's projections. 

 

Eversource, which until this month was better known as NStar, has significant power issues on Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, which has 97% of its residents in the dark this morning. 

 

Scattered outages are also reported in Dartmouth. 

 

 

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Fall River Community Maintenance Director Ken Pacheco tells WSAR that crews will be back out on this Sunday Morning, after spending much of Saturday moving snow off of primary Traffic Arteries. 

 

Pacheco tells WSAR that Fall River took delivery of some big pieces of equipment that were delivered on Saturday and put to immediate use; back hoes, front loaders and dump trucks have been made available through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and put to immediate use. 

 

Pacheco tells WSAR that at an estimated $30,000 an inch, Fall River is well into seven figures as far as snow and ice line items are concerned.

 

The bulk of the snow in Fall River is being piled on the site of the former Watuppa Heights site near Wal Mart and Sam's Club; the snow piles are reaching heights of 20 to 30 feet, with more snow to be delivered. 

 

 

 

 

 

                         

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As the snow continues to fall in Southeastern MA on this Sunday, snow totals will be added to what is likely set to be the snowiest February on record in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
 
As of 10pm Saturday Night, Fall River had measured 6.5 inches of new snow, according to NOAA. 
 
Fall River will likely see a foot or more of snow by the time the Second Blizzard of 2015 wraps up on Monday Morning. 
 
In NOAA Measurements taken on Sunday Morning, New Bedford had received 19 of inches of new snow accumulation, with South Dartmouth at 14, and Fairhaven with a foot of new snow. 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is indicating that the Winter Storm that is pounding the SouthCoast is indeed a Blizzard, as Fall River will likely see a foot or more of snow by the time the storm ends at some point on Monday. 

 

Baker addressed reporters at the Framingham bunker Sunday Morning; MEMA administrators tell WSAR that while no non essential driving bans are expected to be in place this weekend, you're advised to stay home for today and allow plow crews to remove and move the snow where applicable. 

 

Various resources in the form of front end loaders and dump trucks ranging in size from 10 to 20 tons, along backhoes are being sent in from various states on the East Coast. 

 

 

 

 

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The Union Local representing Fall River Firefighters and the Sutter Administration discussed a potential SAFER Grant during a Friday afternoon session in Government Center. 

 

IAFF Local 1314 President Jason Burns tells WSAR that the Sutter Administration is still studying the idea of applying for a SAFER Grant; Burns also tells WSAR that the IAFF local will work with the city's Grant Writer to prepare a SAFER Grant application, with no promise forthcoming that the Sutter Administration will actually submit it. 

 

Fall River had four consecutive Fiscal Years of SAFER Grants with $7 million a year over a four year time frame that ended in FY 2015.

 

The deadline to submit a SAFER Grant application during the current round of funding is March 6. 

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The Fall River City Council meets Tuesday Night in their second floor Council Chambers in Government Center, with Finance Committee under way at 6pm, with the regular meeting following. 

 

Finance will discuss an independent Audit with the city's current financial team starting at six pm. 

 

Council will be asked to make four budget transfers, including an already announced $3.38 million from stabilization to the Fall River School Department to cover net school spending for Fiscal Year 2014. 

 

A $21,000 transfer is on the docket for Mayor's Office Salaries, along $340,000 for FRFD Salaries and $105,000 for EMT Salaries. 

 

A TIF Agreement with Blount Fine Foods is also on the current agenda, as is a request to deficit spend the ice and snow removal accounts. 

 

Resolutions asking a Public Safety Committee to look at Future Snow Removal Plans, and the Ordinance and Legislation Sub Committee to discuss Pay As You Throw Fees are also part of the Tuesday Agenda. 

 

 

 

 

                 

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The Sutter Administration says the City of Fall River will be opposing Former Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan's attempt to have the city cover his legal expenses in an ongoing legal skirmish between Flanagan and Fall River City Council Member Jasiel Correia II; each has sued the other after an incident that happened the night of August 15, 2014 in Flanagan's personal vehicle when he allegedly displayed a firearm to Correia; Correia has suggested the former Mayor was trying to intimidate the first term Council Member. 
 
Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter says Flanagan submitted a letter on January 21 to Government Center; Flanagan's Boston based attorney, Benjamin Wish of the firm Todd and Weld, representing Flanagan, wrote that Flanagan was acting ''within the scope of his duties as Mayor''.
 
Acting Fall River Corporation Consul Gary Howayeck submitted a response on Thursday, on behalf of the city, saying the city bears no responsibility for Flanagan's legal fees. 
 
 
 

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The National Weather Service in Taunton has issued a Blizzard Warning beginning at 7pm Saturday Night and continuing through 11am on Sunday Morning. 


Bristol, Plymouth, Middlesex and Norfolk Counties are covered under this Blizzard Warning. 

 

WSAR Meteorologist Gary Best indicated today on the ''WSAR Newsroom'' that the heaviest snow should begin falling Saturday Night into Sunday Morning; wind will become an issue on Sunday, with gusts of anywhere from 50 to 60 MPH producing Blowing and Drifting Snow.

 

The Saint Anne's Credit Union Weather Center Team of Meteorologists is predicting anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of snow.

 

 

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In what has become an annual event in the countdown to baseball in New England, the Red Sox loaded several 53 foot trailers full of gear for the ride down to Fort Meyers FL and the start of Spring Training. 


The Red Sox resisted signing front line pitcher Jon Lester and took a mid market approach to rebuilding a pitching staff that was dismantled after the Sox finished in last place in the A-L East for the second time in three seasons in 2014. 

 

Questions about the health of 2B Dustin Pedroia and how a roster overcrowded with outfielders and lacking a starting pitching ace will begin to be answered in a matter of weeks. 

 

The Sox open their regular season with inter league play for the first time at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. 

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The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and MassDOT are supplying backhoes, dump trucks and other heavy winter weather equipment to the City of Fall River as another Major Winter Snow Event advances in time for the Valentine's Day Weekend.

 

Fall River City Administrators and Bristol Sixth District State Rep Carole Fiola lobbied MassDOT and MEMA for the gear, after MEMA had indicated to various cities and towns that assistance was available in the aftermath of the Blizzard of 2015. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter tells WSAR, on the ''Ray Mitchell Show with Frank Wing'' that the Pay As You Throw Concept, rolled out in August 2014, has cut the city's overall trash tonnage nearly in half, while increasing the amount of recycled material. 

 

Sutter tells WSAR that the current city legal department has determined that the program is in fact legal, although none of its provisions are part of city ordinances, and the program was never voted on by the Fall River City Council. 

 

Fall River City Council Member Mike Miozza has told WSAR this week that the program should be suspended until the PAYT concept is part of ordinance as a means towards insuring that any penalties pass potential legal challenges, if issues with compliance become punishable. 

 

The partnership with North Carolina based Waste Zero was forged in 2014 by the Flanagan Administration; Sutter tells WSAR that the initial rollout was not done according to best practices, and that more time and education was necessary for people to understand the concept. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter indicated to members of the Fall River City Council last night that he continues to study the question of whether or not the city will apply for a SAFER Grant in an effort to bolster the city's contingent of fire fighters. 

 

Fall River gained four years of SAFER Grants worth $7 million a year which expired in FY 2015, and had applied for a much smaller SAFER Grant during the last year of the Flanagan Administration. 

 

IAFF Local 13-14 President Jason Burns is asking the administration to pay attention to the filing period for this round of SAFER grants, which ends on March 6. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has indicated to the Fall River City Council's Committee on Ordinances and Legislation this week that the city's Corporation Counsel will be a smaller office in the Fiscal Year 2016 Municipal Budget. 

 

Sutter says past practices of prior Administrations have been examined by his Transition Team and recommendations made that he will enact later this spring. 

Three slots remain empty in the office in the first quarter of 2015; the office on the Sixth Floor of Government Center gained some notoriety after glass doors worth $9,000 were installed in 2014. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has issued the complete report from Moody's Investment Services, after Fall River's financial outlook was labeled by Moody's as ''Negative''.
 
In a letter to Fall River City Council Members released to New England Media today, Sutter says the outlook comes ''as no surprise to the city's financial team and is consistent with the FY 2013 and FY 2014 Annual Audits.''
 
Sutter says the Negative outlook is what he calls a ''warning, a challenge and an opportunity to correct structural imbalances''.
 
Sutter says operations need to be addressed without the use of Free Cash, Stabilization and other reserves, while budget surpluses need to be directed to increasing revenue and to grow the tax base valuation. 
 
Sutter says a comprehensive financial review and its recommendations will be published in the next 4 to 6 weeks, and will be a structural framework for the FY 2016 budget. 
 
 
 
 
                   

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All MBTA rail services will be suspended at 7:00 p.m. This means no subway, trolleys or Commuter Rail trains will depart Boston after 7:00 p.m. Limited MBTA bus service will continue until the end of regular service hours, but customers are advised that connections to subway and Commuter Rail lines will not be available.

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From Buster Olney on ESPNBoston.com

''The Boston Red Sox have explored the possibility of playing an exhibition game in Cuba this spring, a source involved in the conversations told ESPN.

At this time, there are no plans for a game, nor is there is expected to be. It is believed that a Red Sox fan of some note, Secretary of State John Kerry, has had a voice in the conversations.

Although the Red Sox have interest in an exhibition in Cuba, another source said, the team is sensitive to making sure all parties -- Major League Baseball, the players' association and respective governments, among others -- are fully vetted and that the timing for a game works for all.

According to the source, this spring would be too soon for the Red Sox to make a game work.

The Baltimore Orioles, who played against the Cuban national team in Cuba 15 years ago and subsequently hosted the national team from Cuba at Camden Yards, are interested in participating in an exhibition in Cuba this spring, given the past history and the shift in U.S.-Cuban relations, a source said''.

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Triple A Northeast is indicating that a hike in the price of crude oil in the last two weeks is leading to a corresponding increase in prices at the pump, as the price of a gallon of regular self serve gasoline jumped 11 cents in the last week, the first time that gasoline prices had increased since September 2014.
 
The Triple A Northeast average is at $2.17 a gallon, with a national average for the price of a gallon of regular self serve gasoline at $2.18.
 
Triple A Northeast is finding gasoline in a 50 cent price range from a low of $1.99 to a high of $2.49. 
 
 
 

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The National Weather Service provided the following update at 10:00 a.m. this morning, indicating that areas on Boston’s south shore are like to receive total snowfall amounts exceeding 24 inches:

 

“We have updated our storm total snowfall map to increase to just over 2 feet in Boston's South Shore...with 2 feet expected in Boston (from Saturday through late tonight).  The south shore has been getting hammered with heavy snow bands all night and this morning.  This is due to strong coastal front convergence (north wind at Boston; east-northeast wind at Plymouth with convergence in between).  Mesoscale models indicate quite a bit more falling in that same region today.  As of a couple of hours ago, we have received reliable reports of 19.8 inches in North Weymouth, MA and 18.5 inches in Norwell, MA.”

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has spent much of the first month of his first term as Governor dealing with significant snowfalls in the Greater Boston Area and throughout the Commonwealth.
 
Baker told reporters at the Framingham Bunker that there is concern over areas with anywhere from 70 to 80 inches of snow; there are worries as well about how much snow some roofs can hold.
 
Baker says the overall cost of dealing with the snow will be dealt with this  year, but that moving the snow out of the way is the first priority.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
                        

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Providence College in Rhode Island is offering students free meningitis vaccine after the virus hospitalized a pair of students over the weekend. 
 
Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Michael Fine says students at Providence College need to protect themselves by not sharing towels, drinking glasses, or lip gloss, among other items. 
 
Fine says a trio of vaccines is being used to combat meningitis; the vaccines are being provided free. 
 
 
 
 

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As a pair of physicians are working to convince various Massachusetts communities, including Somerset, to increase the legal age to 21 for tobacco purchases, a Rhode Island State Rep is introducing legislation that would make 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products in Rhode Island. 
 
Legislation in Massachusetts that would raise the age from 18 to 21 for tobacco purchases failed to pass in 2014. 
 
Rhode Island District 34 Democratic State Rep Teresa Tanzi says raising the age would limit the number of smokers from starting the habit. 
 
New York City banned sales of cigarettes to anyone under 21 in 2014, while Somerset has been asked to consider the proposal. 
 
If approved and signed into law, Rhode Island would be the first state to set an age 21 requirement for tobacco purchases. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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As snow accumulations continue to mount across New England and with more snowfall likely in the coming days and weeks National Grid is urging everyone to take precautions to avoid the potential hazards these conditions present. At many homes and businesses, the deep snowpack and additional snow left by snow removal equipment is clogging vents to furnaces and other appliances. In addition, many roofs are still laden with ice and snow overhanging natural gas equipment. Both conditions can lead to trouble.

 

CO Safety

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of fossil fuel combustion. Ice and snow blocking vents to natural gas appliances have the potential to cause CO to back up into a building, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning to those inside. National Grid advises natural gas customers to closely inspect areas around vents for snow and ice build-up and to remove anything that is blocking those vents. CO is odorless and can build up to dangerous levels without building occupants being aware that it’s present. Customers are encouraged to install CO detectors in their homes and to test detectors that may already be installed to ensure that they are in working order.

 

Ice and Snow Build Up Poses Risk to Gas Equipment

The build-up of ice and snow around or over natural gas meters, regulators and pipes can pose a serious safety risk as well.  Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers’ homes or businesses, resulting in potential gas leaks.  Anyone detecting the odor of natural gas should call National Grid.  If the odor is present inside your building, leave the premises immediately and call from outside or a neighboring building.

Snow removal equipment operators should also be aware of the presence of natural gas equipment and avoid coming in contact with meters or piling snow around vents mounted on the outside of buildings.

If you do detect an odor of natural gas or suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and breathe deeply. If CO poisoning symptoms, such as headaches or drowsiness are severe, call 911 immediately. 

 

      After calling 911, call the following emergency National Grid contact number:

  • In Massachusetts: 800-233-5325
  • In Rhode Island: 800-640-1595

 

About National Grid

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The Fall River Police Department was able to make an arrest of a bank robbery suspect who apparently wore a sweatshirt inside out, with a tag showing, according to initial police radio updates, after the robbery of a Bank Five location on 13th street in Fall River around 10:20 Wednesday Morning. 

 

25 year old Maxwell Bethony Junior of Lafayette Street in New Bedford was apprehended on Cherry and Linden Streets after officers spotted him wearing the sweatshirt described in the robbery. 

 

FRPD spokesperson says that during a frisk, they found a white bank envelope with money inside.

 

Bethony is also considered the prime suspect in the robbery last week of a Stop and Save Location in the 200 Hundred Block of Rock Street after he allegedly admitted during initial questioning by the FRPD after his arrest Wednesday that he allegedly brandished a knife at a clerk who was stocking shelves on January 31. 

 

Bethony is now charged with unarmed robbery, resisting arrest and masked robbery. 

 

 

 

 

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WSAR has checked the departure schedule for T-F Green in Rhode Island, with about 90% of flights before noon canceled; as far as Boston Logan, flights to New York City and other Eastern Seaboard locations have been canceled; Virgin and Delta are among the airlines that have canceled flights before noon. 

 

As far as Peter Ban Bus Service, Providence to New York and Fall River to Boston service has been halted for today; schedules are expected to be back to normal on Tuesday. 

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The following is the text of a letter written by Mayor Sutter that was delivered to Councilor Jasiel Correia's office:
 

Dear Councilor Correia,

I have received your letter dated Wednesday, January 28th, which I received Thursday morning. You say that from information “I have gathered on my own,” snow removal operations have started earlier in past years. Based on my conversations with Director of Community Maintenance Kenneth Pacheco and others with significant experience in planning for and responding to large-scale snow removal operations, the information you received was flawed. 

 

Any person who has played a leadership role in a snow removal effort will tell you that there are so many variables involved in planning a response that there is no set procedure for a city to follow. Depending on the temperature, precipitation before and after the storm, consistency of the snow, intensity of the wind, steadiness of the snowfall, and the time of day that the storm begins and ends, the course of action a city must take varies significantly.

 

Our parking ban went into effect at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, which was earlier than any city in the surrounding area. Before that, our crews had been applying a liquid de-icing treatment to our roads in addition to rock salt as early as 6:00 a.m. on Monday, over twelve hours before significant snowfall began. Our department heads began planning our cooperative response on Thursday the 22nd, well in advance of the beginning of the storm.

 

We planned as far ahead as we reasonably could have, considering that weather patterns can significantly shift in a matter of a few hours.

 

A lesson I learned from eight years of leadership at the District Attorney’s Office, and one that I have found to be true once again in my first month serving as Mayor of Fall River, is that a key component of effective leadership is seeking input from the people who are the best in their field and then giving these people the ability to put their expertise into practice.

 

After I received your letter, I spoke to the manager of operations for Community Maintenance, John Perry. Mr. Perry informed me that we used the exact same contractors (snow plow drivers) on our streets during this storm as we did during the snow storms in 2014 and the major snow storm in 2013.  Mr. Perry also stated that we bought the same amount of rock salt from the exact same vendors as in past years. Furthermore, according to Mr. Perry and the director, Kenneth Pacheco, we followed the same practices in preparing our supplies.

 

It is widely acknowledged that this storm was significantly more severe than the storm of February 2013 which you refer to. This morning, I spoke with representatives from MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) who informed me that snowfall records were approached or exceeded throughout central and eastern Massachusetts. This truly was a historic storm. I would invite you to compare the conditions of Fall River’s roads to those in nearby cities before leveling any further criticism.

 

I also welcome you to share with me what research you have done that shows that best practices were not followed when it comes to the timing of sanding and salting, the time to begin plowing, and the other issues you raise.

I look forward to speaking with you about this at any time.

 

Sincerely,

 

Mayor C. Samuel Sutter

 

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The Sutter Administration released this statement today on a final extension of the parking ban in Fall River:

 

 

The Fall River parking ban has been extended until midnight tonight. The cause for the extension is the ongoing concern that emergency vehicles may have trouble accessing narrower roads. When the ban is lifted tonight and residents are shoveling out new parking spots for themselves, the city asks that residents please do not place snow back into the street. With parking returned to both sides of the street, it will be extremely difficult for large city plows to clean up snow placed back into the street.

 

Mayor Sutter once again would like to thank the citizens of Fall River for their ongoing cooperation and the many workers and volunteers who have been working around the clock since Monday morning to keep our city’s streets safe.

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School is canceled Friday, January 30. 

Dear FRPS Students, Staff and Families:  The safety of our students remains our utmost priority.  The present condition of many sidewalks will cause our students to be walking in the street, or potentially waiting in the street for busses. Additionally, tomorrow morning's forecast calls for decreased visibility due to snowy conditions.  The combination of decreased visibility and students in the streets causes a safety concern.  Putting our students' safety first, school is canceled tomorrow. We look forward to seeing all of our students on Monday, February 2.

 

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Fall River's Unemployment Rate for December moved up to 9.3%, up from November's 8.9% as the December numbers were released Thursday Morning by the Commonwealth's Department of Labor and Workforce Development. 
 
The official number of people who are considered unemployed in Fall River moved up by 179 from November to December. 
 
In New Bedford, unemployment declined by three tenths of a percentage point, from November's 9.4% to December's 9.1%. 
 
Unemployment in December for Somerset was unchanged at 6.5%, while in Swansea, unemployment moved up to 5.6%.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This is a verbatim release from the Fall River Mayor's Office

 

 

Mayor Sutter has decided that the parking ban in Fall River will be extended until noon tomorrow (Friday, 1/30). After consultation with Community Maintenance Director Ken Pacheco, Chief of Police Dan Racine, Fire Chief Robert Viveiros, Traffic Director Laura Ferriera, Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown, and Chief of Operations Lou Pacheco in a conference call this morning, the Mayor concluded that the parking ban should be extended further.

 

City plows are currently in the process of widening streets to make them more accessible to emergency vehicles and improve accessibility to Fall River’s side streets. The public safety officials believe that ending the parking ban now would inhibit the plows from making significant improvements in those two areas. Tomorrow morning, Mayor Sutter will re-assess the situation and decide whether the ban needs to be extended beyond tomorrow. The potential for precipitation tomorrow and the chance of more snowfall on Monday will be taken into consideration.

 

The Mayor has scheduled a conference call again for tomorrow morning with the same participants as this morning’s call to assist him in making his decision.

 

Mayor Sutter would like to thank the people of Fall River for their cooperation and patience as the city responds to this historic storm. 

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Fall River Superintendent of Public Schools Meg Mayo Brown has told WSAR that there will be No School on Thursday, January 29, as a means to help keep staff and students off the roads as the clean up effort in the city continues; Mayo Brown says staff is trying to dig out at various buildings to get them ready for a possible Friday School Day. 

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The City of New Bedford is extending its parking ban till 6pm Thursday, with a State of Emergency remaining in force; New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell is asking that even with a non essential driving ban lifted in the Commonwealth as of Midnight Wednesday that drivers stay off the roads if they don't need to travel.

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has indicated to WSAR that a parking ban that was instituted on Monday in advance of the Blizzard of 2015 will remain in force for at least 24 hours, as a means towards continuing the work of clearing snow from city streets. 

 

Sutter is also reminding citizens to clean sidewalks in front of their properties or businesses as a safety measure. 

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The Somerset MA Parking Ban has been lifted this morning, while in Fall River, the ban will likely be lifted at some point during the afternoon...

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.BRISTOL COUNTY...
   EAST FREETOWN         26.0   458 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   SOMERSET              24.0  1235 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   FALL RIVER            23.1   805 PM  1/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   ACUSHNET              22.2   605 PM  1/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   NEW BEDFORD           21.0   808 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   TAUNTON               20.8   700 AM  1/28  NWS OFFICE
   MANSFIELD             19.8   548 PM  1/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   FAIRHAVEN             19.0   629 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   NORTH ATTLEBORO       18.9   306 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   NORTH DIGHTON         18.4   558 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   SOUTH DARTMOUTH       17.5   921 AM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   NORTH ACUSHNET        16.0   806 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   WEST ACUSHNET         14.3  1229 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
 

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has lifted a non essential travel ban for the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts beginning at midnight tonight.

 

The ban had been lifted for Western Massachusetts earlier in the afternoon. 

 

The Administration also says Logan International Airport will be operational tomorrow afternoon as Jet Blue will likely have the first flights to leave Logan, and a full complement of flights will likely be running on Thursday. 

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Fall River Mayor Sam Sutter has indicated to WSAR that in conversations he has has with the Commonwealth's Lieutenant Governor, its likely that a ban on non essential travel will be lifted for the South Coast at midnight. 

 

Sutter also tells WSAR that Fall River's current Parking Ban will be lifted tomorrow afternoon, likely at the same time that Government Center will reopen to the public. 

 

Governor Baker lifted a portion of the driving ban for Western Mass earlier this afternoon. 

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These are the unoffical snow totals from NOAA's website...


BRISTOL COUNTY...
   EAST FREETOWN         25.5   225 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   SOMERSET              24.0  1235 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   NORTH ATTLEBORO       18.3  1247 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   NEW BEDFORD           18.0   848 AM  1/27  NONE
   TAUNTON               17.8   100 PM  1/27  NWS OFFICE
   SOUTH DARTMOUTH       17.5   921 AM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   MANSFIELD             16.8  1112 AM  1/27  TRAINED SPOTTER
   FAIRHAVEN             14.5   931 AM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   WEST ACUSHNET         14.3  1229 PM  1/27  HAM RADIO
   FALL RIVER            13.2   913 AM  1/27  HAM RADIO

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At 12 PM today, Governor Baker issued an Order rescinding the travel ban for all roads in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties, with the exception of Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike).  The travel ban remains in effect for all other areas of the Commonwealth, including all of Interstate 90.  The Order is effective immediately.

 

The non essential driving ban remains in effect for Bristol County and all of Southeastern Massachusetts until further notice. 

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The Austin Intermediate School in Freetown has been opened as a Shelter should anyone need it in that community. 

 

In Fall River, the shelter at BMC Durfee remains in operation; it had about 30 people using it last night and into this morning. 

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Non Essential Travel Bans remain in place in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island this morning, along with bans in New York and New Hampshire. 

 

MassDOTs District Five in Taunton says roads are snow covered and are being plowed.

 

Fall River reported a wind gust of 52 miles and hour around 12:30 this morning; winds are moving between 24 and 42 miles an hour this morning.

 

There are small pockets of power outages in Rhode Island this morning, as National Grid and NStar have crews on the ground and soon to arrive to handle outages as they occur.

 

Once the storm is over, below zero temps could be in the offing for the SouthCoast  this weekend.  

 

 

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