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Tuesday on WSAR; Law Talk at 1, Crusin with Bill at 2, Wayne at 3
Alan Combs and America Overnight On WSAR Weeknights starting at 10pm
The WSAR Newsroom at Noon Weekdays on WSAR
Friday on WSAR; Ask Your Pharmacist at 1, Wayne at 3
Weekends on WSAR; Fox Sports Radio starting at 4pm Saturday
Weekdays on WSAR; Hec at 5, Ric at 9, Women's Intuition at 10, Ray Mitchell at 11am
The Sox Roadtrip ends Thursday versus the White Sox; Coverage at 7:20pm
Lars Larson Weeknights at 6 on WSAR
Wednesday on WSAR; Voice of Business at 1, CU Wednesday at 2, Wayne at 3
Thursday on WSAR; Dr Ross at 1, Fall River Inside and Out at 2,Wayne at 3
Friday Morning on WSAR; Ask Carl at 10am, Your Healthy Home at 11am
Friday on WSAR; Live From The Guru Shack at 2; Arts and Entertainment at 2:30
Monday on WSAR; The Financial Planning Hour at 1, On Call With Dr Doerr at 2, Wayne at 3
Red Sox in Chicago at U-S Cellular Field Tuesday at 7:20 on WSAR
Red Sox and White Sox Wednesday Night from US Cellular Field at 7:20
WSAR Headlines Archives for 2014-02

Sousa Exits in June


Somerset K through 8 School Committee Member Jamison Sousa, having won reelection through a contested election in 2013, has decided he will forgo another effort in 2014, telling WSAR he wants to spend more time with his family, which includes a 3 year old daughter. 

Sousa joins School Committee member Don Rebello and Somerset Selectmen Patrick O'Neil as elected members who have decided to forgo reelection efforts. 

 

Fiola's Session


Bristol Sixth District State Rep Carole Fiola is telling WSAR a session currently penciled in for March 10 will be a ''First Step Meeting'' regarding issues dealing with a seven acre parcel termed ''The Disturbed Area'' by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

While Fiola has invited various stakeholders, she tells WSAR the meeting will likely be private, involving Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan, reps from the Freetown Board of Selectmen, Fall River City Council President Joe Camara and the chair of the Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, Mike Miozza, among others, with a press event to follow. 

The full interview with Fiola is available at WSAR.com in the Newscast Podcast Category. 

Freetown Officials "Extremely Concerned" About Contamination From Fall River Landfill


Freetown Selectwoman Lisa Pacheco says town officials are "extremely concerned" about a WSAR NEWS exclusive that thousands of gallons of toxic waste may have been dumped in an area south of the Fall River landfill over a period time begriming in the late 1960's.

 

A former public official who wishes to remain anonymous tells us he participated in dumping the chemicals in the area now identified by DEP as the "disturbed area" where we know tons of trash was dumped illegally.

 

Pacheco says Freetown has natural springs and conservation land in the area.

 

Area officials are hoping for a meeting with DEP in March to try and find out what exactly was dumped there, who knew about it and what will be done to clean it up.

Historic Preservation and the FRPD Bedford St Building


The President of the Fall River Historical Society is asking in a letter to the Flanagan Administration for more time to see if developers can be found to save the former Fall River Police Station Headquarters on Bedford Street in Fall River. 

Jim Souel tells WSAR that he has talked to a pair of developers who have expressed an interest if various environmental and structural issues can be resolved. 

Soule says the building could be converted into commercial or residential property.

The letter indicates that if a developer could not be located the Preservation Society would not oppose knocking the building down. 

The former FRPD Headquarters dates back to 1916. 

 

 

 

 

Trembley Response to Fall River School Committee


Facing a March 10 Fall River School Committee Session that could see the firm absorb a $25,000 fine and a potential year where it could not bid on school transportation contracts, Trembley's Bus Company, based in New Bedford, says it has terminated a bus driver and a bus monitor involved in a January incident where a Fall River girl fell asleep on a bus and woke up in New Bedford, where the bus had been parked.

Trembley attorneys tell WSAR that Massachusetts General Law may prohibit the Fall River School Committee from forbidding bidding for a year, as has been suggested.  

 

 

 

Man alleges


Man claims he saw thousands of barrels buried in late 1960's while he worked for barrel hauler.

 

 

FALL RIVER - It is one of the city's great urban legends, a tale tarnished in time and trash. Everyone has heard a story of what is buried in the landfill.

 

But one man, who approached WSAR with “Something to get off my chest,” is now adding to the tale with a richness in detail that if true, could very well be the origins of the contamination that has impacted the area for decades infecting the aquifer touched by Mother’s Brook.

 

The man, said in his teens, in the late 1960’s, he worked for a “Barrel Truck” enterprise: An all cash barrel dumping industry that ran in the city transporting 55 gallon drums from nearby factories to a reserved dumping area outside of the municipal landfill boundary.

 

“If there are not 1,000 barrels buried there, there’s not one,” said the source, a former public office holder, now retired from his profession, who as a young teenager took a job as a barrel truck assistant for a long deposed company on Chaveson Street in Fall River. He worked for one of two companies who provided the barrel hauling service to the factories during the winter of 1968 and 1969, traveling a route between major regional manufacturers picking up their vessels of chemicals and disposing  of them in a woody area separating the phase one area of the landfill and what are now a series of abutting businesses in the Industrial Park.  

 

It is the same general area that Mayor William Flanagan has proposed  opening up for further landfill expansion. It is also in the general area where the Department of Environmental Protection’s own reports show the origins of an underground chemical plume traveling north west towards the Taunton River and Assonet Bay, according to GreenFutures archives.  

 

 

The source said it was the winter before he was sent to Vietnam and he was unemployed when he jumped at the chance to work for “ $15 a day cash-money.”

 

His job put him on a flatbed truck charged with helping the middle-aged driver load and unload 55-gallon drums from loading docks into the trucks and into the Earth. Among their stops on a daily basis were big name manufacturers, Globe Manufacturing, Roma Manufacturing, Polaroid in New Bedford and a company he forgot the name of in Warwick. There were others, but time has faded their names from his memory. It has been 44 years.

 

The source, a man with speckled hair, said the operation entailed a total of two trucks making two dumping trips a day.

“We would drive in and stop at the shack and the guy would come out to the truck and he would say: ”you know where to dump it.”

 

“It was not in the same place you would go with your household trash items,” said the source.

 

When asked if there was money exchanged the source said he did not know exact details as to how much money was passed around to the workers on duty running the dumpsite for the city.

 

“It was an all cash operation,” he said.

 

Instead of taking their trash to an area which would become  the smaller hill on the landfill footprint which at the time, people used to drive down and into, the barrel truckers were directed due west from the “shack” along  a road that led to large decompressed area in the ground that was circular. It was the size of a small little league baseball field. It was there that they would not only dump full barrels into the pit - which he estimated to be roughly 35-45 feet deep - but also the contents of the barrels themselves.

 

In a strange twist, some barrels were deemed recyclable.

 

“We were told to dump them out and then we would take them to East Providence. There was a company there that would clean them out and paint them and sell them back to the factories,” said the source.

 

He said he worked there for four or five months until one day, the reality of what he was doing set in.

 

“Someone told me to be careful because if the contents of the barrels got mixed, they could explode,” he said, no longer remembering who told him that.

 

He said that during the past two weeks as conversations emerged of tainted groundwater and soil on WSAR, his stomach turned. He suspects his past work at a time when there were few if any regulations on landfills and the general public was generally unaware of the dangers of chemicals, he played a role in the story that he is not proud of.  

“I need to clear my conscience, “ he said asking that he not be identified.

 

He did not even wish to be recorded until nudged.  After a few minutes he agreed to allow his voice to be used with a slight distortion.

 

It is a tough story to verify through traditional channels. Most of those involved in this tale are long dead.  No one in City Government was in office at the time. It was an all cash operation. While many people know of the owner of his former company, “Harold the Barrel” as he was known, few can recall how long his operation existed except that by the end of the 1970’s it was gone.  City Councilor Ray Mitchell could only shake his head while listening to the interview. He knew of Harold the Barrel and stated outright  that he was a man of considerable means.

 

“He did very well,” said Mitchell. “I remember the barrel trucks. I never really thought much of it.”

 

While the source says that some people may not believe his tale, he adds that his story can be easily verified with ground penetrating radar and other modern techniques for seeing underground without disturbing the contents.

Meanwhile, DEP is remaining tight-lipped about the landfill contamination and their role in having the landfill extended in 2003.

 

Image from DEP Report in 2003 outlining contaminated area

(The above image is from a 2003 DEP report on the contaminated area)

 

The DEP won a court case forcing Fall River to accept the landfills phase three operations after it had been closed for months. DEP has told local representatives that the contamination is not major, yet their own reports point to the area as having been contaminated and monitored for decades.In 2001, the city was told by a firm it hired to test the ground waters that there were a number of chemicals detected in the monitoring wells as well as Mother's Brook. 

 

Kevin Miller, the director of chemistry and toxicology for Fuss & O'Neil Inc., reported discovery of 55 "potential contaminants" found among 23 landfill monitoring wells. Of the 55 contaminants, Miller said, "mercury, cyanide, lead and selenium were found in three of the test wells located on the landfill site."  

 

But just what is the cause of consternation remains a buried reality.

 

Westport Looks To Close Middle School


The Westport School Committee has voted to make some changes on where kids will attend school in the Fall.

 

The plan is to move first grade to the Macomber School Building.  5th graders will attend Westport Elementary while 6th and 7th graders will remain at the Middle School.

 

The Committee has also instructed the Superintendent to examine the costs, curriculum and staffing issues involved in creating a Pre-K through 2nd grade at Macomber with 3rd through 6th graders attending the Middle School.

 

Grades 7 through 12 would attend the High School and the Middle School would close.

Somerset Facing Sanctions From The State


The town of Somerset could be penalized by the state if a financial report for FY-13 is not completed by March 14th.

 

The Department of Revenue is threatening to withhold some 550 thousand dollars in local aid funding for March if the report is not in by deadline.

 

DOR has already refused to certify the town's tax rate or allow tax bills to be mailed.  As a result the town has had to float a 9 million dollar loan to pay it's bills.

 

That loan must be repaid by May 14th or the town will be in default.

 

Town officials say unless tax bills for the first and second quarters can be mailed by April 1st a default is possible.

Flanagan Opposes Expanding Fall River Landfill


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan says he is opposed to expanding the city's landfill to increase it's lease on life.  Flanagan telling WSAR NEWS expanding the landfill would be a deterrent to attracting business to the Industrial Park.

 

Flanagan also calling for answers from state environmental officials about contamination in a two acre parcel south of the landfill dubbed "the disturbed area" by Mass-DEP.

 

The Mayor says he wants to know what was dumped, by whom and why nothing has been done to address the situation.

 

WSAR NEWS will present an alarming report on what we've uncovered about that dumping during a special edition of the WSAR NEWSROOM at noon today. 

FRPD Car Request


The request for 10 SUV FRPD Police Cruisers will be headed back to the Fall River City Council's Finance Committee in March, as suggestions have been made that stabilization funds be used instead of a loan order to purchase the vehicles that have been requested by the police department. 

Council Vice President Ray Mitchell urged the Sixth Floor to use stabilization funds to purchase at least five of the vehicles requested; Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan says he rejects the idea, saying the loan order is the best way to make the purchase. 

 

 

 

T

Fall River Suspect Arrested


A 21 year old Roxbury man is facing 9 counts, including assault with intent to murder, after the shooting of a 47 year old man in the 300 block of Harrison Street in Fall River just after 5pm Monday Afternoon. 

Tiberius Albert was taken into custody hours after the shooting when he was located inside a Fall River Apartment. 

Fall River Police say they were in the 300 block of Quequechan Street doing surveillance of an apartment, when gunshots were heard inside that location; the FRPDs Special Services Unit was used to gain entry and make an arrest. 

The FRPD also says they think they have the firearm used in Monday's shooting. 

 

 

Fall River City Council Tables Loan Orders


The Fall River City Council has tabled a package of five loan orders totaling 1.5 million dollars.

 

the Flanagan Administration sough the money to purchase new vehicles for several departments including the Police Department.

 

Vice President Ray Mitchell says the Police SUV's can be purchased instead on a staggered basis using free cash.

Somerset K-8 Will Have It's Own Superintednent


The Somerset K-8 School Committee voted last night to advertise for a Superintendent/Business Manager.  

 

It had been hoped that the district could work with the Somerset-Berkley Regional District to name a shared superintendent but that didn't happen.

 

Current Superintendent Richard Medeiros is leaving when his contract expires in June as the position had been eliminated.

Opposition Grows To Expanding Fall River Landfill


Fall River City Councilors Joe Camara and Linda Periera say they too oppose expanding Fall River's Landfill.

 

Landfill owners Republic Waste have reportedly been speaking to abutters in hopes of expanding and avoiding a planned shutdown in October.

 

Mayor Will Flanagan has hinted that he might support expansion as it would save the city millions.

 

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is refusing to answer questions from WSAR NEWS about how the groundwater near the landfill was contaminated, who is responsible and why the agency has done nothing about it.

Fall River Charter School Applications


The Argosy Collegiate Charter School in Fall River has been approved by the Commonwealth's Board of Education at its session Tuesday. 
It will allow the current school to add nearly 700 slots and begin preparing students for college material starting with grade six.
Argosy administrators tell WSAR that discussions are underway regarding dual enrollment programs with BCC and UMass Dartmouth. 
An application by the Atlantis Charter School in Fall River will allow grades 9 thru 12 to be added in coming school years. 
Fall River now joins Boston and Holyoke as Massachusetts Cities and Towns that have reached their capacity for charter school seats. 
 
 
 
                  

Somerset Selectmen Session


The Somerset Selectmen will continue to discuss and will likely vote on the lineup for a March 24 Special Town Meeting at the Venus Di Milo in Swansea; the three member panel will also review a draft warrant at 6pm Wednesday at the Somerset Town Hall. 
The Special Meeting will likely include four articles on changing the mechanism by which Town Meeting is governed; also to be decided is one asking voters if they want to increase the size of the Board of Selectmen by 2 members, and if they wish to combine the office of Treasurer and Collector into an appointed office. 
The session gets underway Wednesday Night at 6pm.
 
 
 
 

Somerset K-8 School Committee To Deal With Superintendent Issue And Budget For FY-15


The Somerset School Committee will discuss restructuring the Superintendents' position tonight.  Member Don Rebello says he'd prefer to see the K-8 Committee work with the Somerset-Berkley School Committee to try and come to an agreement that would result in a shared superintendency.

 

Rebello tells WSAR NEWS due to financial and other issues it's the only reasonable solution for both communities.

 

The Committee will also begin paring down the budget for FY-15 and Rebello says personnel cuts are likely.

Two fall River Charter School Applications Expected To Be Approved Today


The Board of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is expected to vote today to approve two  charter school applications for Fall River today.

 

The Argosy Collegiate Charter School would focus on college and career readiness for 644 students in grades 6-12.

 

The Atlantis Charter School would be allowed to add 583 new seats allowing it to add high school grades.

 

DESE Commissioner Mitchell Chester has approved both applications.

DEP Confirms Ground And Surface Water Contamination At Fall River Landfill


State environmental officials confirm there is ground and surface water contamination from the Fall River landfill owned by Republic Waste Surfaces but who is responsible and how extensive it is remains unclear.

 

Documents obtained by WSAR NEWS also indicate that trash was disposed outside of the landfill boundaries in an area not lined as current environmental laws require. The history of that dumping remains unclear as well.

 

This is all unfolding as The Flanagan Administration confirms Republic is attempting to purchase abutting land in hopes of expanding the landfill's life expectancy beyond October.

 

Expansion is opposed by several key city councilors and the business community.

JUST IN: Gas Buddies Says Prices Continue To Rise


Gas prices continue to soar in Massachusetts and around the nation.

 

Gas Buddies Dot Com says prices in Massachusetts are up another 3.7 cents per gallon form last week for an average of 3 dollars 48 cents.

 

nationally prices are up another nickel for an average of 3 dollars 40 cents.

 

Gas Buddies says rising oil prices, a number of refineries that are down for maintenance and the switch soon to the Summer blends will combine to keep prices rising.

JUST IN: Gas Buddies Says Prices Continue To Rise


Gas prices continue to soar in Massachusetts and around the nation.

 

Gas Buddies Dot Com says prices in Massachusetts are up another 3.7 cents per gallon form last week for an average of 3 dollars 48 cents.

 

nationally prices are up another nickel for an average of 3 dollars 40 cents.

 

Gas Buddies says rising oil prices, a number of refineries that are down for maintenance and the switch soon to the Summer blends will combine to keep prices rising.

WSAR EXCLUSSIVE: Fall River Landfill May Be Expanded


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tells WSAR News the owners of the city's landfill, Allied Republic Waste, is in discussions with landowners abutting the landfill that could lead to another expansion.

 

Flanagan says Allied Republic would have to purchase the land and that the city is not involved.

 

The Mayor says expansion could result in a two year expansion of the landfill's life expectancy and that could save the city millions.

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan Supports Sanctions Against Trembly Bus


Fall River Mayor and School Committee Chair Will Flanagan says he supports sanctions being proposed for Trembly Bus Company after the a child was left behind on a company van last month.

 

A sub-committee is recommending that Trembly not be allowed to bid on a school transportation contract for one year and pay a 25 thousand dollar fine.

 

Flanagan telling WSAR NEWS this is Trembly's third offense in ten years and an example must be set.

 

The full committee will take up the matter on March tenth.

MASSDot Repairs February 22


MassDOT will perform emergency repairs that will require a ramp closure in Fall River tomorrow morning (Saturday, February 22) from 4am to noon. The ramp from I-195 Eastbound to Exit 5 will be blocked for the following work. A detour will be posted.
 
Commencing at 4:00 AM, MassDOT will be addressing emergency bridge deck repairs on Spaghetti Ramps A & Y, Fall River.  The Contractor will be Aetna Bridge.  The work will include excavating and patching deteriorated areas of concrete bridge deck with fast set concrete.  We anticipate completing and opening ramps no later than 12:00 noon.  

Flanagan Administration Uncertain Property Tax Or Fee Hikes Can Be Avoided In FY-15


City Administrator Cathy Ann Vivieros says it's unclear at this point in  tax or fee increases can be avoided in the next fiscal year.

 

Vivieros tells WSAR NEWS rising costs for health care and pensions as well as the possible loss of SAFER Grant funding and new costs associated with the closing of the landfill could make it difficult to avoid new taxes and fees.

 

Vivieros says department heads have been told to submit level funded budgets for FY-15.

Fall River Council Committee Vets First Of Six Proposals For Trash Disposal


The Fall River City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Affairs conducted the first of six public hearings on proposals for what the city might do with it's trash once the landfill closes.

 

Waste Zero made the first pitch promising to save the city 44 percent or nine million dollars in the first ten years.

 

Several councilors expressed doubts about the pay as you throw option.

 

The next hearings are scheduled for March 3rd and 6th.

Trembly Bus Could Lose It's Fall River Contract Over Girl Left On Bus


A sub-committee of the Fall River School Committee voted 2-1 to suspend the transportation license of the New Bedford-based Trembly Bus Company for one year.

 

The company could also face a 25 thousand dollar fine.

 

This after a 6 year old girl was left behind on a Trembly van last month.

 

The full School Committee will take up the recommendation at it's next regular meeting.

Public Hearing On Trash Proposal Tonight in Fall River


The City Council on Health and the Environment will hold the first of six public hearings tonight on proposals for what to do with the city's solid waste once the landfill closes in October.

 

The proposals include everything from pay as you throw to privatization.

 

Tonight's hearing is at 6pm at Government Center.

Somerset Looking To Avoid Default


The town of Somerset has several key deadlines looming if it wants to avoid a default on a 19 million dollar short term loan.

 

The money was borrowed to pay first quarter debts as tax bills for the first quarter have yet to be mailed an it's almost time for the second quarter bills to go out.

 

Whether the bills are mailed by April first depends upon whether embattled Treasurer Kathleen Traffka can reconcile months of financial records in time.

 

The state will not set the town's tax rate until the books are caught up.

 

If bills for the first two quarters can ben mailed by April first the town can collect the needed revenue by first first and avoid a default.

The loan is due on May14th.

The Somerset Situation


While the closing of Wilbur Elementary will eliminate some full time teaching positions, the Town of Somerset is looking for  more reductions in fiscal year 2015 from the school department, along with other components of the Municipal Budget. 

Selectmen Board Chair Don Setters tells WSAR that K through 8 School Committee has more reductions to make to secure a total of $900,000.

The School Department is also waiting for a Federal Court ruling regarding $800,000 that is being contested by Fall River as part of a Dominion Energy Settlement. 

 

 

 

 

Standard Pharmacy Robbery


Fall River Police Detectives have arrested a suspect in connection with an armed robbery at the Fall River Standard Pharmacy location in the 200 block of East Main just before 3pm Tuesday Afternoon. 
26 year old Donnell Blocker has a Park Street address in Fall River; Police say they found their suspect trying to hide in the hallway of third floor in his building; Standard employees ID'd him as the primary suspect in the armed robbery. 
Police say a search of Blocker's apartment turned up a replica revolver and clothing items thought to have been used in the commission of the robbery. 
Police say Connolly entered the establishment and headed straight for the pharmacy, using a handgun to ask for what are termed ''Perc30s''. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fall River Council Committees Tackle Key Issues


A sharply divided Fall River City Council Ordinances Committee voted last night to abandon a proposed ordinance that would have required the Administration to give quarterly updates on projects funded by loan orders.

 

This follows a dust up late last year when councilors were outraged to learn that 60 million dollars of a 560 million dollar loan order had been used for things not specifically detailed din the loan authorization presented to the council.

 

The Council's Committee on Public Safety received an update on the former Klburn Mill project.

 

Attorney Matt Thomas says the EPA will resume it's efforts in March to identify chemicals stored at the complex and that remediation will likely follow.

 

Thomas says the clean up and demolition of the complex will be costly.

Flanagan Says Expansion Of Fall River Charter Schools Could Drain Resources Intended For Public Schools


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan says expanding the city's charter schools could draw money away from the public schools.

 

The Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Ed is recommending approval of the Argosy Early College High School and expansion of the Atlantis Charter School to include high school grades.

 

Flanagan says the dollar follows the student so " there could be a slight effect on the municipal budget."

 

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Ed is set to vote on the recommendations on the 25th.

Fall River Cop Audio-taped While Swearing On Cellphone To Be Disciplined


Fall River Police Officer thomas Barboza who was video and audio-taped while swearing into a cellphone will be disciplined.

 

Police Chief Dan Racine says Barboza has admitted to yelling and swearing which Racine says violates department standards.

 

51 year old George Thompson has been charged with illegally audio-taping Barboza under the state's wiretap laws. 

Council Committee To Get Update On Former Kilburn Mill


The City Council Committee on Public Safety will get an update tonight on conditions at the former Kilburn Mill complex.  The EPA and DEP spent weeks at the site last year documenting chemicals found in dozens of drums and containers on property trying to determine what is there and a plan for remediation.

 

Tonight's meeting is at 6pm at Government Center.

State Expected To Approve New Charter School Opportunities For Fall River


The Commissioner of The Department of Elementary And Secondary Education has approved Commonwealth charter public schools in Springfield and Fall River.

 

Fall River's Argosy Collegiate Charter School would focus on college and  career readiness for 644 students in grades 6-12.

 

The Commissioner has also recommended adding 583 new seats to Fall River's Atlantis Charter School allowing it to add high school grades.

 

Both proposals go before the Board Of Elementary and Secondary Education for a vote on February 25th.

Fall River Early College High School Might Not Be As Costly As First Thought


Fall River School Superintendent Meg Mayo Brown says an early college high school at Durfee doesn't;t have to be a budget buster.

 

The Flanagan Administration expects a very lean FY-15 and says there might not be money for an early college high school right now.

 

Mayo Brown tells WSAR NEWS much of the structure needed is already in place with he duel enrollment program underway with BCC.

 

The proposal would see students who agree to remain at Durfee for a 13th year earn college credits for free.  

 

Mayo Brown says preliminary discussions are underway between the School Department at BCC.

The Number Of Foreclosures In Fall River Declines Dramatically


The Flanagan Administration says the number of foreclosures in Fall River has declined sharply.

 

The administration says there were 367 foreclosures in 2009 but only 70 last year.

 

Mayor Will Flanagan says that mirrors a statewide trend.

Taunton Public Forum To Address Heroin Crisi


A public forum in Taunton tonight will address the heroin crisis impacting that city and the rest of the region.

 

Taunton Mayor Tom Hoye tells WSAR NEWS heroin is the drug of choice right now because it is available and inexpensive.  Hoye says an influx of really powerful heroin has resulted in a rash of overdoses and deaths in recent weeks.

 

Tonight's public forum is at 6pm at The Friedman Middle School.

Blizard conditions and 45 mile per hour winds ahead tonight


The National Weather Center says a rapidly developing storm has become a blizard dumping at least 11 and as much as 18 inches across the SouthCoast with overnight winds gusting to around 45 miles per hour.

Snow began falling in the region around 1 o'clock. PRevious to this storm there had been 22 inches of snow this year in Fall River.

The National Weather Center says that today three to five inches will fall accompanied by " a north wind that is 15 to 23 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 46 mph." New snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches possible."

Parking bans are in effect in Fall River, Swansea, New Bedford, Taunton and much of the area  has seen events cancelled for tonight as a region buckles up for the Northeast's second major snow storm this week.

For the latest stomr cancellations click here.

Somerset School Budget Unclear For FY-15


Somerset Selectman Patrick O'Neil says he would have expected to see a greater savings from the closing of the Wilbur Elementary School reflected in the School Department's budget for FY-15.

 

K-8 Superintendent Richard Medieros has submitted an 18.8 million dollar budget which is level funded budget.  The document includes an increase in spending for special education of some 700 thousand dollars.

 

School Committee Vice Chairman Jameson Sousa tells WSAR NEWS the budget was submitted to meet the deadline and has not yet been analysed.  He says once it has been the school closing will be reflected and the increase in spending for special ed will likely be whittled down as well.

 

 

Senator Rodriques: Transition To Obamacare "A Mess."


Massachusetts has been granted a three month extension to comply with The Federal Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.  This, as the Commonwealth struggles with a host of problems with the connector website.

 

Senator Mike Rodriques tells WSAR NEWS the transition from The Massachusetts Health Care Control Act of 2006 is going to be difficult.

 

Rodriques says 98 percent of Massachusetts were covered and costs under control under the state's program.  He says Massachusetts is now "back to square one and struggling."

South Coast Rail Funding Could Be In Jeopardy


Two Patrick Administration bond bills that include 2.2 billion dollars for the South Coast Rail Project could face a bumpy road in the Massachusetts Senate.

 

Senate Bond Committee Chairman Brian Joyce expressed concern during a hearing on the 12.7 billion dollar bond package that the Commonwealth is approaching it's bonding limit and that the next generation is already facing "significant debt.":

 

The House passed the bond bills last week.

Fall River School Committee Meeting On Girl Left On Bus Cancelled


Members of the Fall River School Committee have canceled tonight's meeting concerning a child left behind on a Trembly Bus Company van last month.

 

The six year old girl, a student at the Fonseca School fell asleep on the van and was not discovered until the van had been parked in the company's New Bedford headquarters for 45 minutes.

 

School officials canceled the meeting without explanation but say it will be rescheduled.

 

Trembly could face a 25 thousand dollar fine.

Fall River's Former Bedford Street Police HQ May Be Coming Down


Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan tells WSAR NEWS he would like to see the former Bedford Street Police Headquarters demolished.

 

Flanagan says three administrations have tried unsuccessfully to sell the deteriorating building but with no luck.

 

Flanagan says the city could knock down the building and auction off the real estate.

Subcommittee of The Fall River School Committee To Discuss Child Left On Bus


A subcommittee of the Fall River School Committee will discuss an incident last month in which a six year old Fonseca School Student was left unattended on a Trembly Bus Company van for 45 minutes before being discovered by another driver.

 

The young girl had apparently fallen asleep and did not get off at school.  She remained on the van for almost an hour after the driver parked in the company's lot in New Bedford.

 

Tremebly could face a fine of up to 25 thousand dollars.

 

Tomorrow's meeting is at 5:30pm at the School Department headquarters on Rock Street.

Somerset K-8 School Committee


The Somerset K through 8 School Committee meets Thursday night at North Elementary School to discuss a transportation policy that continues to offer door to door pickup for younger elementary grade children, and offers bus service to Middle and High School students who live a half mile or more from their respective school building. 
The five member panel will also get an update on an inter municipal agreement and could make a decision on which firm to conduct an audit of the FY 2013 budget in an effort to find out what happened and why; the district had to cut almost $300,000 from the FY 2014 budget.
The Committee will also discuss the posting of ads for a new K-8 Superintendent; the head of the Mass School Committee Association told the committee last week that many websites are available where posts can be had for free. 
 
 
 
 
              

Somerset Selectmen


The Somerset Board of Selectmen will meet tomorrow night at Somerset Town Hall stating at 6pm; with new business discussions to include Fire Department Permit and Ambulance Fees, and the Authorization for the Somerset Highway Department to begin deficit spending for snow removal, which is permissible under Mass General Law, provided the deficit is removed in FY 2014 or FY 2015.
The Articles for a Monday, March 24 Special Town Meeting at the Venus Di Milo will also under discussion with a potential vote being taken. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Pair Charged With Unrelated BCC Sex Assaults Arraigned in Fall River District Court


Two men charged in unrelated sexual assaults involving female students  from Bristol Community College last week faced a judge in Fall River District Court yesterday.

 

Bail was set at 5 thousand dollars cash for 22 year old Ruddy Joseph of Fall River who was also sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychiatric exam.  he is due back in court next Monday.

 

Bail was set at 5 hundred dollars cash for 27 year old McKenzy Blanc of Fall River.  he is due back in court next Tuesday. 

Fall River School Committee Approves Turnaround Plan For Watson


The Fall River School Committee voted last night to approve a turnaround plan for The Wtason Elementary School.  The school was declared a level four underperofrming school last year by state education officials.

 

The plan emphasises among other things, improving reading levels.

 

Ofificlas say the plan is based on the successful plan used at other Fall River schools.

Fall River City Council To Consider Bonding For Another 1.5 Million


The Fall River City Council will consider a bond request from the Flanagan Administration which is looking to borrow another 1.5 million dollars to purchase police cars, DPW equipment and and new voting machines, amog other things.

 

Several councilors question whether the city can afford to keep borrowing.  

 

fall River already has a bonding debt totaling 600 million dollars.

New Landfill Issues


The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is expressing concerns about alleged contamination at the South Side of Fall Rive's Landfill, which is due to close in the third quarter of 2014. 
Allegations have been made in a new report that a portion of the landfill never had lining, as it was required to have for as long as two decades. 
The Chair of the Fall River City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Affairs, Mike Miozza, reportedly has a copy of the D-E-P report; Fall River City Council Vice President Ray Mitchell tells WSAR that no one is sure who would pay for potential cleanup. 
There are concerns that aquifers that feed into the Taunton River and the North Waruppa Pond may have been subject to possible contamination. 
 
 

Cadime in Seekonk


Former Fall River City Administrator Shawn Cadime is likely headed for the same position with the community of Seekonk; Cadime tells WSAR he must negotiate a new contract with Selectmen before finally accepting the slot. 

Seekonk has a budget of $44 million dollars in FY 2014. 

The negotiations with Seekonk will likely take Cadime out of the running for a consulting slot being proposed by Selectmen in Somerset. 

Fall River May Reconsider Early College High School


The idea of an early college high school has resurfaced in Fall River.  The idea was first presented last year as the Fall River Innovation Academy but after a divisive debate the School Committee defeated the plan.

 

The newer version would be based at Durfee and would add a grade 13 for students who wish to remain beyond grade 12 and recieve college credits for college courses.

 

The plan is expected to be discussed on Monday during the School Committee's regular meeting.

 

The FR School Calender


Fall River Superintendent of Public Schools Meg Mayo Brown is indicating to WSAR that the final day of school for the 2013-14 school year in Fall River will be on June 25, with one more built in snow day on the calender before decisions need to be made as to how that day, and perhaps others, are to be made up before the Commonwealth's deadline of June 30, when all school years must come to end via MGL. 

Foxwoods Looks For Land


FROED Executive Vice President Ken Fiola tells WSAR that landowners and developers in Fall River are trying to strike deals in order to present parcels of at least 30 acres to Foxwoods, as the clock ticks on a 30 day deadline that must also see a Host agreement struck between the two sides. 

Meanwhile, the City of Taunton waits and watches to see what happens, as they await word on a land in trust request put forth by the Mashpee Wampanoags, who still have hope that First Light becomes a reality. 

Patrick Says Gaming Commission Can Decide On Fall River Foxwoods Proposal


Governor Deval Patrick an initial supporter of the Mashpee Wampanoag casino proposal for Tautnon tells WSAR NEWS it's not up to him to comment on the proposal for a Foxwoods casino in Fall River.

 

Patrick tells WSAR the job of siting casinos is up to the State Gaming Commission.

Schools Closed Due To Snow


Most every school, public and private in the Greater Fall River area is closed today due to the storm.

 

Listen to 1480 WSAR through out the day for all of the latest storm information. 

The Parking Ban Thing


The City of Fall River has instituted a Parking Ban that will begin at 10pm EST Tuesday night and last TFN, in advance of the second Winter Storm of the week. 

Sate Budget Hearings Begin Today


A joint session of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committee is to conduct a hearing on Governor Deval Patrick's 36.2 billion dolars budget for FY-15 today.

 

The Governor's budget calls for 97 million dollars in new revenues including 57 million in new taxes on soda and candy.

 

The budget also calls for level funding for local aid to cities and towns but an increase in Chapter 70 education aid.

 

Senator Mike Rodriques tells WSAR News the budget that is produced by the Legislature will be vastly different from what is being propoosed by the Governor.

 

The new fiscal year begins on July 1st.

Elderly Dighton Man Killed In Crash


An elderly Dighton man was kille din a single vehicle crash on Horton Street yesterday.

 

Police says the man's vehicle left the road, struck a tree and caught fire.

 

Investigators have yet to release the 80 year old man's name.

 

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Freetown Man Held On Attempted Murder Charges


A Freetown man is being held without bail followign his arraignment yesterday on charges he assaulted his wife and stepdaughter with a samurai sword.

 

33 year OLd Robert Reynold of Katlyn Street was arrested at his home on Saturday where police also found a large quantity of cocaine.

 

A dangerousness hearing ha sbeen scheduled for Friday.

The Somerset Casino Site


If Fall River can't finalize a deal with Foxwoods, Somerset Board of Selectmen Chair Donald Setters tells WSAR that he will offer the soon to be vacated Dominion Energy Site when it closes in the second quarter of 2017.

Setters says the site would serve the region well, as its sheer size would be able to accommodate whatever Foxwoods might place there. 

Yet to be decided is how long it might take to clean the site, and who would pay for it. 

Light The Braga


Bristol Sixth District State Rep Carole Fiola tells WSAR that she wants to study various bridges in the Commonwealth and other locations that are lit at  night, telling WSAR that lighting the Braga Bridge, as the Mount Hope Bridge is in Rhode Island, would help enhance the city's image and show that Fall River is ''open for business''.

Fiola has asked for a half million dollars in the latest transportation bond bill that heads to the Mass Senate after being approved in the House this month. 

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