Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Opening of the North Reading High School

On Saturday, September 20th the Town of North Reading and the North Reading Public School System conducted opening ceremonies for the new North Reading High School, and I was honored to have been able to address the crowd of people in attendance. The new school building is an excellent example of an educational facility that will provide an outstanding environment for the community’s children to learn for decades to come.

I was pleased to work with Rep. Jones and the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to secure $47 million of reimbursement towards the $107.7 million project. Other speakers during the opening ceremony included Representative Brad Jones; Superintendent Kathleen Willis; MSBA Deputy Executive Director Barbara Hansberry; Chairperson of the North Reading Board of Selectmen, Robert Mauceri; Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto; High School Principal Jon Bernard; School Committee Chairperson, Gerald Venezia; and Chairperson of the North Reading Secondary Schools Building Committee, Charles Carucci.

Also during the opening ceremony the choral group “Imagine the Possibilities”, whose members range from 5th-12th grades, performed for the crowd, and Geof Simons provided a video presentation of a time-lapse photo montage of the school being built. Following the opening ceremony, student-led and self-guided tours were provided.

Posted below and in the “Read more” section are several photos I was able to capture during the opening ceremony and of the school. To learn more about the new North Reading High School, please click here.


Monday, October 20, 2014

National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

On Monday, October 6th I was able to join Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk, the Gloucester Police Department, the Gloucester Coalition for Prevention of Domestic Abuse, HAWC, the YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center, and others in recognizing the month of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.  Outside of Gloucester City Hall we gathered to further bring awareness of the issue and to renew our commitment in making Gloucester a domestic violence free zone.

Sadly, a 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) found that approximately 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men in Massachusetts have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.  As a state, we must do better to combat domestic violence.

In July of this year, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill to do just that.  The bill, S.2334, An Act relative to domestic violence, creates new criminal offenses, increases penalties, protects and empowers victims, and creates new employment rights within the workplace.  Specifically, the act, which was signed into law by Governor Patrick on August 8, 2014, includes:

·         The creation of a first offense domestic assault and battery charge on a family or household member punishable by imprisonment in a house of corrections for up to 2 ½ years and a fine of $5,000;

·         The creation of a felony charge of strangulation and suffocation punishable by imprisonment in a state prison by 5 years, or 2 ½ years in a house of corrections, and a fine of $5,000;

·         The standardization of records to be shared by law enforcement and the judicial system;

·         The further training of domestic violence programs for police, district attorneys, court, and medical personnel;

·         The delaying of bail for offenders by 6 hours to provide the victim with adequate time to relocate safely; and

·         The establishing of fees for domestic violence offenses, which will fund a newly created Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance account.

Additionally, the bill now requires places of business with 50 or more employees to allow up to 15 days of leave (paid or unpaid), to any employee who is a victim of domestic violence.  Employees can use that time to obtain medical attention, counseling, housing, protection orders, or legal assistance.

It is important that we continue to bring awareness to prevent these kinds of acts from happening, and to support those who may need help in addressing domestic violence.  To read more about the NISVS report, please click here.  To read the text of S.2334 in its entirety, please click here.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wilmington’s 10th Annual Road Race

On Sunday, September 28th I had the pleasure of attending Wilmington’s 10th Annual Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk presented by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The beautiful day provided a perfect environment for the hundreds of participants and spectators. It was a great opportunity to cheer on the competitors for a good cause with the proceeds benefiting scholarships for Wilmington students.

The day also featured music, food, activities for kids, face painting, and booths and giveaways sponsored by local businesses.  All in all, it was a great day for those who attended this year. I want to thank Nancy Vallee and everyone at the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce for coordinating such a wonderful event.

Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during Sunday’s road race. To learn more about the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, please click here.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Special Dinner Honoring Veterans

On Sunday, September 28th, I was privileged to have the opportunity to attend and to speak at the 5th Annual Dinner Social honoring our veterans, which was organized by the North Reading Veterans Department. The dinner at the Hillview Country Club presented a special opportunity to thank those for their bravery in defending this great nation by enlisting into our military forces.

The dinner showcased the Lynn English JROTC Marine Corps Cadets, who performed their live version of the Missing Man Table Ceremony, music, great speeches, and wonderful conversations with our veterans.

Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during the event.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Senate Republican Caucus Press Release on Electric Rates

Today the Senate Republican Caucus, led by Senator Richard Ross, distributed the following press release regarding a letter the caucus sent to Attorney General Martha Coakley and others seeking further review concerning National Grid receiving approval from the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to raise electric rates for customers. National Grid estimates that rates could jump as high as 37% this upcoming winter due to an elevation in power supply prices.

Posted below is a signed copy of the letter to the AG from the Senate Republican Caucus:

Senate Republican Caucus Seeks Answers from National Grid

Boston- Following National Grid’s recent announcement that customers will see a substantial increase in their winter electric rates, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), along with fellow Republican Senators Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), and Donald Humason (R-Westfield), submitted a letter to the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, for further clarification of this decision and its implications for Massachusetts home and business owners.

On Wednesday, September 24th, National Grid issued a press release stating that they recently filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to adjust electric and gas rates for the winter. National Grid projects that electric bills for customers will be 37% higher than last winter, citing higher power supply prices as a cause.

In the October 7th letter authored by Senator Ross, which was also sent to Governor Deval Patrick, Chair of the Department of Public Utilities Ann Berwick, and Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Maeve Vallely Bartlett, the Caucus wrote, “As Massachusetts families struggle to meet their financial needs during the costly demands of winter, the cost of this rate increase will present a serious burden. Massachusetts businesses will face yet another financial obstacle to remaining competitive in a challenging economy.”

The Senate Republican Caucus requests:

             A full review and examination of Department of Public Utilities’ approval of National Grid’s proposed rate increase to ensure that it is in full compliance with Massachusetts law and represents the least burdensome course of action.

             The office of the Attorney General determines whether any options are available to alleviate the burden that the proposed rate increase will present.

According to National Grid, the increase in electricity costs will take effect on November 1, 2014.

“With NSTAR and Western Massachusetts Electric Company expected to file their rates in November, it is important that we confront this serious issue early,” the Caucus wrote.



Friday, September 26, 2014

Enjoying the North Reading Apple Festival

On Saturday, September 20th, Representative Jones and I were able to attend North Reading’s annual Apple Festival.  The town’s festival was held on the grounds of the Putnam House, which was built in 1720 and currently serves as the headquarters of the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society, from 10:00am-3:00pm. 

Hundreds of people came out to enjoy the 20th anniversary of the festival. The beautiful day featured apples harvested from area farms, local vendors, an apple pie contest, entertainment, children’s games, pony rides, plenty of food to enjoy, an art raffle, a silent auction, and tours of North Reading’s historical buildings.  Once again the North Reading Apple Festival was a tremendous success.  The hard work of the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society and the efforts of local community supporters truly paid off.

Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during the festival.  To learn more about the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society please click here.