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Yankees and Red Sox from Fenway Thursday Night on WSAR at 6:20pm
WSAR Headlines Archives for 2014-01

More on The Facebook Page


Fall River Police Detectives have interviewed girls whose photos allegedly were posted on a Facebook page that was taken down Thursday afternoon, after parents and their daughters arrived at the FRPDs Pleasant Street headquarters Wednesday Night filing complaints after word of the Facebook page circulated around Fall River last night. 

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tells WSAR that he is urging those involved to get counseling through various social service agencies; Bristol County D-A Sam Sutter tells WSAR that this case comes after a rise in the number of identify thefts that have happened locally. 

The Road to a new Fall River Bishop


WSAR has learned that Fall River Bishop George Coleman will be submitting a letter of resignation on Saturday, February 1, when he turns 75, as part Canon law governing the Catholic Church.

Spokesperson for the Fall River Diocese, John Kearns, tells WSAR that the process of selecting a successor could take anywhere from 8 months to 1 year.

Coleman replaced current Archbishop Sean O'Malley upon his promotion several years ago.  

 

Nude Photos Of Fall River School Kids Found On Facebook Site


Police are investigating the posting of nude photos of a handful of unsuspecting young female victims in what Mayor Will Flanagan calls a "horrifc and graphic" Facebook page.

 

Police Chief Dan Racine tells WSAR NEWS the photos were posted without authorization and says some of the victims may be underage.

 

Facebook has agreed to remove the explicit photos but has left the page RIVER HOOTERS up.

 

Police are looking to find out who posted the photos.  The poster could face federal charges.

 

It is believed some of the victims are current Durfee High students and couldbe as young as 14 and 16 years old.

House Speaker Backs Minimum Wage Increase


Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo has come out in favor of an increase in the state's minimum wage.

 

The Senate late last year approved a three dollar increase in the eight dollar minimum over three years.

 

Senator Mike Rodriques tells WSAR NEWS while he favors an increase the Senate plan was too much too quickly

 

It's unclear how much of an increase DeLeo plans to propose.

Somerset To Borrow Millions To Pay It's Bills


Somerset has borrwed 9.3 million dollars to pay it's bills.

 

The short term loan is due in May and will cost the town some 12 thousand dollars in interest.

 

Treasurer Kathleen Traffka has yet to reconcile several months worth of financial reports meaning the state cannot certify the tax rate and the town cannot send out tax bills.

House Approves Bonding Bills Including Money For South Coast Rail


The Massachusetts House last night approved two transportation bond bills totaling 2.2 billion dollars.

 

The bills include language calling for funding the south coast rail project.

 

While the bills authorize borrowing for projects they do not guarantee those projects will be funded.

 

The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.

Governor Calls For Accelerating South Coast Rail Project


Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick called on state lawmakers last night to "accelorate" the South Coast Rail Project this year.

 

Lawmakers are considering transportation bonds that would fund portions of the 2 billion dollar rail project.

Fall River School Superintendent Pleased With Governor's Commitment To Early Education


Fall River School Superintendent Meg Mayo Brown says she is happy to hear that Governor Deval Patrick is proposing more spending for early childhood education.

 

Mayo Brown says much more money is spent per student at the high school level than at the elementary level resulting in what she calls a cycle of having to remediate students once they get to the middle school level because not enough resources are spent at the elementary grades level.

 

Patrick delivered hsi final State of the Commonwealth address last night and is seeking more funding for Chapter 70 education aid.

Durfee's Graduation Rate Improves


Durfee's graduation rate for the last school year was up by 7 percent and is almost at the state average.

 

Westport experienced a 12 percent increase in it's graduation rate.

 

Freetown-Lakeville also experienced an increase while there were decreases in the Swansea and Berkley-Somerset Districts.

Fall River Casino Deal To Be Detailed


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan officials from FOXWOODS Resort Casino will unviel details of an agreement that could lead to a resort style casino, luxury hotel and entertainment complex for Fall River.

 

The proposal is a scaled back version of one rejected by voters in Milford in November.

 

A news conference is set for ten this morning to offer more detail.

The 24 Rollover


The female driver of a Gasoline Tanker Truck suffered minor injuries and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital Monday Morning after an accident at 24 Northbound at exit 5 just after 7:15 Monday Morning after the tanker went off the roadway and was engulfed in flames.

Traffic backups of up to 2 hours were commonplace until 24 North and Southbound lanes were opened to traffic around 10:30am. 

A nearby neighborhood was under a voluntary evacuation as the Fall River Fire Department had concerns, even though Mass State Police, via their Twitter account, indicated the nearest home was 200 yards from the crash site. 

The MA January Unemployment Numbers


While the Massachusetts Department of Labor and Workforce Development claims the Commonwealth added over 10,000 jobs, the current unemployment rate in the Commonwealth is up to 7%, three tenths of a percentage  point higher when comparing December to January. 
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development claims that over 5,000 new jobs were added in November, primarily in professional, scientific and business trades as the largest creators of new employment. 
The local unemployment numbers are due this coming Tuesday.
 
 
 
 
 

New Bedford Bond Rating


The City of New Bedford is indicating that Standard and Poor's rating services has assigned the City of New Bedford a bond rating of Double Capital A minus, the highest bond rating for New Bedford in at least four decades, moving New Bedford into the top half of all issuers of municipal debt in the Commonwealth. 

Standard and Poor's notes in a report on New Bedford's financial condition that the city has a ''unique position to take advantage of the emerging offshore wind industry'' with a ''conservative approach to budgeting and the development of ample resources''.

New Bedford was able to sell some $10 million in general obligation bonds, which saved the city some $300,000 in financing costs.

 

 

 

Fall River Digs Out


Fall River's parking ban has been lifted as of noon Wednesday Afternoon, while Government Center remains closed to business; the Atrium of the building is available as a warming station through 5pm this afternoon. 

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan is urging the city's homeless population to head to the First Step Inn at North Main Street, and not to sleep in their cars or outside, as temps will be in the single digits, and wind chills below zero.

Flanagan tells WSAR the ''vast majority'' of people obeyed the parking ban that was in place before the snow began. 

RI OUI #10


A 49 year old Middletown resident has been arraigned in New Bedford District Court after a Saturday Traffic stop that produced a 10th charge of operating under the influence for a Rhode Island man. 
John Brant was arraigned in New Bedford District Court after spending the weekend in the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford; Brant wrecked his vehicle on Route 195 Eastbound Saturday Morning and was charged with four traffic violations, including his 10th OUI, after he was taken in custody by Massachusetts State Police. 
 
 
 
 

What Deval Says


When Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick delivers his final State of The Commonwealth Address this week, after snow postponed it on Tuesday, members of the Bristol Delegation on Beacon Hill will be listening for different things, depending on which side of the aisle they occupy. 

Bristol Third Distirct State Rep, Republican Shaunna O'Connell will be waiting for explanations about what has happened in various departments, including Children and Family Services, which has been under fire over the case of the death of a suburban Boston child late in 2013, while Bristol Seventh District State Rep Alan Sylvia tells WSAR that legislative leadership has told him that South Coast Rail remains a priority. 

OUI to the 8th...


A 46 year old Easton Man has been indicted by a Bristol County Grand Jury on an eighth charge of Operating Under the Influence. 
46 year old David Frates was indicated last week in Fall River Superior Court on counts of operating under the influence, and operating with an OUI suspended license. 
He remains held without bail, pending a dangerousness hearing after his initial appearance in Taunton District Court last week. 
Frates was arrested by Rehobeth police early Wednesday morning during a 1:30pm traffic stop; police allegedly found him with an open container of alcohol in his vehicle. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mayor Will Flanagan Reveals New Details About His Casino Negotiations


Mayor Will Flanagan says the casino deal he is secretly negotiating could result in a one billion dollar investment in the city.

 

While Flanagan has yet to disclose the party he is negotiating with WSAR NEWS has indentified it as Foxwoods Resort Casinos of Connecticut.

 

Flanagan says the plan requires a 75 acre parcel of land of which there are several in the city according to the Mayor.

 

He says three to five thousand new jobs would be created by the plan and if he is sucessful the casino could actually open sometime in 2016 or 2017.

 

The City Council would have to approve a casino plan as would the voters.

Fall River School Committee Set To Vote On Teacher Contract


The Fall River School Committee is set to vote on February 10th on a four year contract with the 800 or so public school teachers.

 

A tentative agreement was reached with the FREA late last year.

 

As first reported by WSAR NEWS on Tuesday night the teachers overwhelming approved the deal during a meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Westport Sex Offender Facing New Charges


A level three sex offender is being held on 100 thousand dollars following a bail hearing in Fall River District Court yesterday.

 

37 year old Robert Assad of Borden Street is charged with exposing himself to a 5 year old girl at his Westport home last year.

 

Assad was convicted last February of charges of indecent assault and battery on a child.

A Three Member Panel In Somerset To Begin Re-interviwing Potential Recruits For The Poloice Academy


A three member panel in Somerset will begin the process tonight of re-interviewing eleven potential canddiates for the police academy.

 

The Police Chief Joseph Ferierra says there exists a manpower shortage due to retirements and illness.

 

The town could opt to send atleast one candidate to the academy for paid training.

 

The interviews are op0en to the public.

Couple Found Shot To Death In New Bedford


A young New Bedford man and his girlfriend were found dead in their Brock Avenue apartment yesterday afternoon.  Each had been shot in the head.

 

The D.A.'s office says only that it is investigating a homicide.

 

The Standard Times says it may be a murder-suicide.

 

The dead have been identified as 21 year old Shariff Goode and his girlfriend Mabia Maranhao.  

 

The State Medical Examiner's office will conduct autopsies.

Fall River's New Alternative Middle School Given A Name


The Fall River School Committee voted last night to call the city's new alternative Middle School The Resiliency Middle School.

 

The new school opens at the former Cherry and Webb building after February vacation and will be home to some 45 to 50 students who were disruptive at the other middle schools.

 

The Committee rejected the first proposed name...The Choice Academy.

Fall River City Council Could Vote Tonight On Contract For New Fire Chief


The Fall River City Council is expected to take up a two year contract for Interim Fire Chief Robert Vivieros tonight.

 

Vivieros would be the city's first civil service Fire Chief since 2008.

 

Mayor Will Flanagan selected Vivieors from the Civil Service list in December to replace Chief William Silvia whose contract expired at the end of the year.

Flanagan Administration Tells WSAR NEWS It May Sue For It's Share Of Dominion Settlement


Mayor Will Flanagan says he may go to federal court to get it's share of a 1.6 million dollar court ordered settlment with Dominion Energy is the utility does not reconsider and accept the city's proposal for the money.

 

The Administration missed a filing deadline but Flanagan tells WSAR NEWS that was Dominion's fault because it was suppossed to be supervising the application process.

 

As it currently stands Somerset could get the entire award amount.

The road to a new Durfee


Fall River Mayor and School Committee Chair Will Flanagan tells WSAR that a stakeholders committee will be formed soon to discuss the process of securing the funding and choosing a site for a potential new BMC Durfee High School, after the Massachusetts School Building Authority advised the district that it would be more amenable to a new building, as opposed to rehabbing the current site that was finished in 1976. 

MA Gas Prices This Week


Gasoline prices in the Commonwealth are down three cents over the last seven days, according to Triple A of Southern New England. 

Triple As January 13 survey of prices for self serve regular unleaded gasoline found prices at the pump according 3-44 per gallon; WSAR has noted prices locally at 3-37 in Somerset, while a high of 3-55 in Fall River. 

The national average for regular self serve unleaded is now at 3-31. 

Triple A finds a range in Massachusetts for gasoline at 31 cents from a low of 3-29 to a high of 3-60. 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Kayaker Found Dead


The body of a duck hunter who went missing off the coast of Fairhaven's West Island on New Year's Eve Day washed ashore in Falmouth yesterday.

 

A search was launched for 21 year old Dana Dourdeville of Marion was launched when his kayak was found empty in the water and his car still in a parking lot.

 

An autopsey will be performed.

Hearing Set For Somerset Redistricting


The Somerset School Committee has set January 23rd as a date for a public hearing on the redistricting plan being drafted in light of the decision to close the Wilbur Elementary School at the end of the current school year in June.

 

Vice Chairman Jameson says the objective is to keep class sizes from exploding as a result of the closing.

 

Following the hearing the board is expected to formally vote to close the Wilbur.

South Coast Rail Project Advances


The House Bonding Committee voted yesterday to advance two transportation bond bills that could advance the South Coast Rail project.

 

Committee Chair, New Bedford's Tony Cabral says despite some changes to the bills langauage about funding the local rail project remains in tact.

 

The bills now go to the House Ways And Means Committee for consideration.

Somerset Consultant


The community of Somerset will seek to hire a financial consultant that can help craft a FY 2015 budget that will likely need to have at least $1.6 million in reductions from various departments, along with studying the current structure of departments in Town Hall, and make any necessary adjustments. 

A fiscal task force has found that the $1.6 million is the likely target for reductions in services and likely personnel, as the community comes to grips with the end of the Brayton Point Power plant in 2017. 

Somerset PD Chief Resigns


The current Chief of the Somerset Police Department, Joseph Ferreira, has announced his retirement, effective with end of his current contract in June, during a meeting of the Somerset Board of Selectmen tonight in Somerset Town Hall. 

Speaking with reporters after a sometimes emotional announcement, Ferreria says he wants to create a non profit that help administer various efforts that have been ongoing by the department.

Ferreira told reporters he wants to make sure the department is adequately staffed before his departure this summer, and to help choose a successor, likely to come from within the department. 

Eric's Future


Former Fall River City Council Member Eric Poulin tells WSAR that he has not decided the course of his short term political future after exiting his council seat for the final time in late December. 

Poulin bowed out of the 2013 Fall River Poltical Sweepstakes as a means of quashing rumors that he would run for Mayor. 

Poulin finished 5th in the 2007 Mayoral Primary in Fall River in a field of nine. 

Rhode Island Man Held Without Bail In Fall River Murder


34 year old William Tate is being held without bail this morning following his arraignment yesterday on a murder charge in Fall River District Court.

 

Tate is accussed of shooting 26 year old David Rodriguez outside the Ship's Cove Apartments early Sunday morning.

 

According to police reports the men may have been at odds over Tate's apparent interest in the victim's sister.

 

Tate reportedly told police he was on his way to turn himself in when he was apprehended.

 

He also claims to have thrown the murder weapon off teh Braga Bridge.

 

 

Two Dead In Westport Duck Hunting Accident


A Westport man is expected to survive a duck hunting accident on the Westport River that killed two of his friends yesterday.

 

A small skiff being operated by 51 year old Dr. Gregg Angell capsized tossing the trio into the frigid river waters.

 

53 year old Steven James of Marshfield and 55 year old Robert Becher of Cromwell, Connecticut dies in the mishap.

 

Angell was recued from a nearby sandbar by a Coast Guard helecopter and remains in fair condition at Rhode Island Hospital.

Fall River 2014 Sessions


Returning Fall River School Committee member Joe Martins has returned from visiting relatives and taken the oath of office in the Fall River City Clerk's office,

as a photo published on Facebook indcated the oath had indeed been administered, while the Fall River City Council prepares for its first session this coming Tuesday as the issue of committee assignments will likely be revealed relatively soon, as new council President Joe Camara decides how the various assignments will be divided among the nine members, including returning council vet Leo Pelliter, and newcomers Jasiel Correia II and Paul DaSilva. 

Fall River Snow Storm A Costly One


Last week's snow storm was a costly one for the City of Fall River.

 

DPW's Ken Pacheco says it cost between 250 and 300 thousand dollars to clean up after the storm.

 

Pacheco tells WSAR NEWS he has enough money left in the snow removal account for another storm and a half!

 

Municipalities are allowed to carry over snow removal costs to the next fiscal year.

Somerset Redistricting Committee Expected To Recommend Closing A School Tonight


After several delays Somerset's Redistricting Sub-Committee is expected tonight to recommend the closing of the Wilbur Elementary School to save money.

 

The Sub-Committee meets vat 5 at the North Elementary School.

 

The School Committee is expected to take up the recommendation at it's Thursday night meeting.  That meeting is also at The North Elementary at 6:30pm.

RI Man Charged In Fall River's First Murder in 15 Months


34 year old William Tate of East Providence, Rhode Island has been charged with Fall River's first homicide in 15 months.

 

The body of 26 year old David Rodrigues of Canal Street was found outside the Ship's Cove Apartments where he lived early yesterday morning.  He had been shot.

 

Tate is due to be arraigned i n Rhode Island today on a charge of beging a fugitive from justice.  It's not clear when he will be returned to Massachusetts to face the murder charge.

The Baseball Solution


The Fall River Public School Department is trying to address issues with its current baseball complex, with either a new grass field built to drain to the contours of its current footprint, or using Field Turf; in any event, both solutions would require a bond approved by the Fall River City Council once a request is forwarded from the School Committee. 
The same consultants who designed the current athletic complex went over some potential solutions and their price tags earlier in the Summer of 2013. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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