Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

May we all find ways to work together in the year ahead to make our Commonwealth a better place to live and work.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mid-December Tax Revenues Up

The recently released report from the Department of Revenue detailing mid-December tax collections indicates some improvement over last year. While this is positive, serious budgetary problems persist for our Commonwealth. Please click here to read the report.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Under Pressure, Patrick Moves to Reverse Regional Transportation Cuts

In October, Governor Patrick dealt a serious blow to our regional schools by taking unilateral action under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 29, Section 9c to cut regional school transportation funding. The tremendously adverse impacts of this action compelled me to join with 61 of my colleagues to request that the Governor reverse this action, which came without legislative authorization.

More recently, I met with stakeholders from the Triton Regional School District last Monday to evaluate the situation and strategize regarding further actions to continue efforts to change the regional school transportation funding situation. The meeting brought together a strong coalition of selectmen, parents, school committee members and others committed to this issue.

The Governor had slashed this account by nearly 50% from $40.5 million to $22.5 million. For more on the subject of regional school transportation funding, please read today’s article by Katie Curley Katzman of The Newburyport Daily News.

Fortunately, Governor Patrick announced this morning that he intends to reverse the cut to regional school transportation funding, and has directed members of his administration to identify a means to do so. This is a positive development, although the problem is not yet solved.

I remain committed to bringing this issue to a positive conclusion, and want to express my deep gratitude to all those who have been involved with my office in confronting this cut. While there is work still to be done on this front, we have proven that by working together, we can shape the course of state government in positive ways.

Regional Transportation Letter


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

May we all take the time during this special holiday season to cherish family and friends, be thankful for those who serve our nation in uniform, and reflect on how we each might act to foster peace and prosperity in the coming year.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Working for Fair Funding

On Monday I convened a meeting at Rowley Town Hall to discuss issues relating to educational funding for the Triton Regional School District and others, the status of our state’s financial condition, education reform and economic development.

A major concern shared by all in attendance was the extremely adverse impact of Ch.29, S.9C cuts to regional school transportation aid enacted by Governor Patrick.

The meeting was well attended, and participants included members of the Rowley and Newbury boards of Selectmen, the Triton Regional School Committee, and a substantial number of interested citizens.

We had a productive dialogue and exchange of ideas which I believe will lead to some action steps in the near future. Thanks to everyone who participated, I look forward to continuing to work with you to promote the prosperity of our state and the fair, adequate and sustainable funding of education.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Celebrating Christmas on U.S.S. Constitution

Through the generous invitation of Captain Timothy Cooper and the crew of U.S.S. Constitution, I was able to attend the Christmas tree lighting ceremony aboard “Old Ironsides” on the 6th of December. The lighting and display of a Christmas tree aboard the ship is one of many traditions carried on by the dedicated crew of a ship which is one of the revered symbols of our nation’s resolve to defend the ideals of freedom and liberty for all.

Below I am pictured with BMC Robert Breaker, a Rowley resident attached to the United States Coast Guard’s Sector Boston. Also pictured with me, in the second photo, is Lt. James J. Murphy of the Marine Guard. Lt. Murphy, having served with distinction in the United State Marine Corps, now ensured the safety of the Captain and crew of U.S.S. Constitution.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Progress on the Bridge

The project to reconstruct and rehabilitate the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge, which carries Route 128 over the Annisquam River, is making tremendous progress. Please click "Read more" to view the most recent update from the Massachusetts Highway Department.

Photo showing demolition and preparation for the new concrete bridge deck at the median.

Release Date – December 1, 2009

Municipality Gloucester
Project Bridge Preservation: Route 128 over the Annisquam River
Status 73% complete
Cost $25,500,000
Description The work involves the removal and replacement of the wearing surface of the bridge deck along with rehabilitation of the superstructure and portions of the substructure on Bridge No. G-05-017 carrying Route 128 over the Annisquam River in Gloucester. The project will also include replacement of the sidewalks along with significant structural repairs and painting portions of the superstructure. A new wearing surface will be placed on the bridge along with a new median barrier. The existing bridge railing will be refurbished and a suicide deterrent safety screen will be erected along the sidewalk. SPS New England, Inc. is completing the work.

Current Project Status – The project is currently working under Stage III of the traffic management plan which has temporary concrete barrier installed along the skip lines for both the northbound and southbound lanes reducing traffic to one lane (outside lane) in each direction. This traffic setup will be in place during the fall and winter months and will allow the Contractor to demolish and replace the bridge deck and guard rail at the center median. Concrete deck repairs and a new concrete overlay will also be done to the inside (high speed) lanes. The Contractor has completed most of the masonry repairs/rehabilitation below the bridge. Structural steel repairs continue. The placement of the concrete overlay in the right travel lane in each direction has been completed. The Contractor continues to sand blast and paint the structural steel on the underside of the bridge. The Contractor continues to work Saturdays and Sundays, as needed, as well as extended hours during the week to remain within the approved schedule of operations.

Note: Additional project information and history can be found by visiting MassDOT’s website at: and clicking on the Projects tab, then selecting “Current Road and Bridge Projects” and after entering the City of Gloucester, select Project No. 604797.


Thursday, December 3, 2009


Once again, North Shore 104.9 and I will hit the road collecting toys for children on the North Shore and broadcasting live all day. This year’s Holiday Toy Drive will take place on Thursday, December 10th from 6:30am to 6:00pm from eight locations on the North Shore. The live broadcast will feature local entertainment, school choirs and bands, great food, interviews with local officials and even Santa Claus will be on the road helping the cause. Eastern Insurance and Safety Insurance have partnered with North Shore 104.9 to present the 14th annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive broadcast. North Shore 104.9 is proud to announce that Eastern Insurance will be presenting a cash donation at each broadcast location to go to the charity of choice.

This year’s Toy Drive is another great opportunity for the North Shore’s holiday spirit and generosity to shine as we all come together to bring happiness to children at a time when every child deserves to know that we care about them. This toy drive will be my 14th since being elected into the Senate in 1994.

The scheduled broadcast locations are as follows. (Times are subject to change):

6:30am-7:30am Capitol Diner 431 Union Street, Lynn, MA
Toys being collected for:
Toys for Tots- Coordinated by the
Lynn English High School R.O.T.C.

8:00am-9:00 am Moynihan Lumber 82 River Street, Beverly, MA
Toys being collected for:
Beverly Bootstraps

9:30am-10:30am DanversBank, Middleton 2 Central Street, Middleton, MA
Toys being collected for:
Neighbors in Need

11:00am-12:00pm First National Bank of Ipswich 31 Market Street, Ipswich, MA
Toys being collected for:
Action Inc.

12:30pm-1:30pm Woodman’s of Essex 121 Main Street, Essex, MA
Toys being collected for:
Action Inc.

2:00pm-3:00pm Manchester Athletic Club 8 Atwater Avenue, Manchester, MA
Toys being collected for:
Pathways of Gloucester

3:30pm-4:30pm Tuck’s Candy 15 Main Street, Rockport, MA
Toys being collected for:
Action Inc.

5:00pm-6:30pm Cape Ann Savings Bank 109 Main Street, Gloucester, MA
Toys being collected for:
Action Inc.

The broadcast will begin at the Capitol Diner in Lynn at 6:30am on December 10th and will end at the Cape Ann Savings Bank at 109 Main Street in Gloucester with refreshments and performances by school choirs and local musicians. The North Shore Holiday Toy Drive is looking for new, unwrapped toys or monetary donations.

In addition, the below locations are welcoming any and all donations for the Annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive. Please note that North Shore 104.9 will not be broadcasting from the below locations
 Wenham Museum
 Delande Lighting, Salem
 Hollywood Hits, Danvers
 Destino's Subs, Gloucester
 Cedar Glen Health Care, Danvers
 Azorean Restaurant, Gloucester
 Blueberry Hill Health Care, Beverly
 Cape Ann Savings Bank, Manchester
 NMTW Credit Union, Danvers, Lowell, Framingham
 Dunkin' Donuts , Manchester, Eastern Ave. Gloucester
 First National Bank of Ipswich, Essex, Rowley, Gloucester
For further information, please call either Troy Wall in my office at 617-722-1600 or Patrick Belmonte at North Shore 104.9 at 978-927-1049 extension 13.