Friday, September 21, 2018

Supporting Magnolia Pier

Magnolia Pier is an important resource not only for residents in Magnolia and Manchester-by-the-Sea, but also for our entire region. Unfortunately, it has suffered major storm damage over the past few years, and now is in need of reconstruction before it can provide important access to the water for people of all ages.


That's why I offered and secured, after consultation with Ward 5 City Councilor Sean Nolan and other local officials, an amendment for $350,000 in the recently enacted H.4385 "An Act promoting climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection, and investment in recreational assets and opportunity" to support the reconstruction of the pier. A bond bill authorization does not guarantee funding, but it does put it in play for action by the administration.


Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and local officials in Gloucester are mounting a comprehensive effort to restore the pier, led by the recently appointed Magnolia Pier Advisory Committee. You can read about this effort in an article in the Gloucester Daily Times at http://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/pulling-together-for-the-pier/article_f12aa4d8-d1cc-5879-8d5e-c1482c90619b.html.


Tonight the committee is hosting a fundraiser to generate funds for the pier project. I will be participating in the event to auction several items. Please join us if you can to support this great cause.


Here are the details for what will surely be a great event filled with the strong community sprit of their neighborhood surrounding the pier:


Date: Friday, September 21
Time: 6 p.m.
Where: Manchester Bath & Tennis Club, 27 Raymond Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Massachusetts State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP)

Developing resilience to changing climate and environmental factors is important, and our state needs a plan for that purpose. Together with Senator Marc Pacheco and others, I have been advocating for such a plan.


On September 16, 2016, Governor Baker took decisive action on this front, by signing Executive Order 569, which among other things requires our state government to chart a course towards greater resilience.


More recently, the legislature passed H.4835, "An Act promoting climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection, and investment in recreational assets and opportunity," which also requires this type of planning and specified some of its components. I was a strong supporter and advocate of that legislation. 


On Monday (9/17/18) we saw the first results of these efforts as Secretary Beaton and the Baker Administration released " The State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaption Plan (SHMCAP)," which is the product of many hours of discussions with state and federal agencies and individuals. The plan is an important tool to guide public policy and inform decisions.  


You can read the plan here: http://www.resilientma.org/resources/resource::2156


http://www.resilientma.org/resources/resource::2156


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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Governor Charlie Baker, Local Officials Annouce Essex County Community Foundation Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund Columbia Gas contributes $10 million to provide support to community


Lawrence – Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker joined Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Andover and North Andover Town Managers Andrew Flanagan and Andrew Maylor, officials from the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), state agencies and non-profit organizations to announce the establishment of a humanitarian relief fund to be named the Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund at Essex County Community Foundation. The Fund will help serve the short and medium term needs of impacted residents, including housing, sustenance and support services.

 

“It is our top priority to provide Merrimack Valley residents affected by this tragedy with the proper assistance and support to meet their needs during this difficult time,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This fund will help us continue to work together with state agencies, local officials and non-profits to coordinate local recovery efforts underway as we determine both long and short-term solutions.”

 

Today, they joined Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Steve Bryant to announce a $10 million contribution by Columbia Gas to the new Disaster Relief Fund being established to coordinate relief efforts and provide resources in the community.

 

“ECCF was ready and able to respond to this tragedy right away with the already existing Lawrence Emergency Fund,” said Beth Francis, president and CEO of Essex County Community Foundation. “But it quickly became clear that the scope and magnitude of the Sept. 13 fires would require a wider purpose of support with a specific objective. The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund will allow us all to work together to respond to the complex and fluid needs that will last for the weeks and months ahead for all those affected.”

 

Over the weekend and leading up to Monday’s announcement, a panel of 21 state and local government officials and nonprofit leaders met to organize a system for how the needs of those affected can be most effectively met. Plans for the execution of the new Fund will be communicated by the end of the week.

 

Participating state agencies and organizations will include the American Red Cross, MassHousing, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Community Development, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Children and Families, the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council and the Essex County Community Foundation.

 

Donations for the Sept. 13 fire victims are currently being made to the Lawrence Emergency Fund, a well-established fund opened in 2009 to respond to emergencies such as fires in the City of Lawrence, at  www.eccf.org/LawrenceEmergencyFund.

 

Once the new Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund is formally activated, the donations will be combined. Both funds will support the work of meeting the needs of people affected in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

 

For more information, please call Essex County Community Foundation at 978.777.8876.

 

 

About ECCF

 

The mission of Essex County Community Foundation is to strengthen the communities of Essex County. We do this by promoting philanthropy and managing charitable assets, making grants and engaging in strategic community leadership. Since 1998, ECCF and its family of more than 200 charitable funds have granted $60 million to nonprofits, schools and students in Essex County and beyond. Our ultimate goal is to have 34 thriving cities and towns in Essex County and to improve the quality of life for the region’s nearly 800,000 residents. Learn more at eccf.org.

 

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Insurance Information Relative to Gas Explosion in the Merrimack Valley


My office has received the following information from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance:

Damage resulting from explosions or fires caused by a gas leak would generally be covered under standard homeowner’s or renter’s policies, but consumers should contact their insurance company or agent to discuss their particular circumstances.  The Division of Insurance is also available to assist consumers.  Impacted homeowners and renters can call the Division’s Consumer Hotline at (617) 521-7794 or (877) 563-4467 (Toll Free) with any questions.

  

Tips for Impacted Consumers

 

The Division advises consumers to review their insurance policies and know their responsibilities in the event they need to file an insurance claim.  Consumers should do the following:

  • Report claims to your insurance company as soon as possible.  Independent insurance agents should be notified of any claims as well.
  • Protect any damaged property to the extent you can to prevent further damage and salvage what you can.
  • Note and photograph all damage and losses.  Back-up your claim with written estimates.  This will assist in settling claims.
  • If temporary housing is necessary, check your policy for Loss of Use coverage.  Your policy may cover such expenses up to a stated amount.
  • More information, including frequently asked questions following a disaster, is available on the DOI website: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/disaster-information  

The Division of Insurance has been providing on-site assistance to the residents in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover to facilitate their filing of claims with their insurance companies and answer any questions they may have.   For the foreseeable future, the Division will continue to participate in these community assistance efforts and is working with local officials to schedule sessions over the next several weeks. 

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Yom Kippur

I would like to wish all of my Jewish friends, constituents, and the community an easy fast tonight as you observe Yom Kippur. "G'mar Chatimah Tovah!"



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Recovery Resources for the Merrimack Valley Gas Incident

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts is operating two hotlines to assist those affected by the natural gas explosions and resulting situation in Lawrence, North Andover and Andover. They are:
                         
For Property Claims: 800-590-5571
                         
For Customer Service: (in the affected area only) 866-388-3239


In addition, the Claims Center which has been operating in Lawrence will move to a new location tomorrow as follows:


                         Relief's In
                         1 Market Street
                         Lawrence, MA 01843


Further information is available online at:


                          www.columbiagasma.com  


As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can be of assistance

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Media Alert: On the Air on "Greater Boston" with Jim Braude Tonight on WGBH

Tonight I will be joining host Jim Braude and Senator Michael Barrett for a discussion about the gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley on "Greater Boston" on WGBH Channel 2 at 7 pm and on the World Channel at 11:30 pm. Please tune in to watch our conversation.

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