Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Shoring Up Plum Island

Late last week federal, state, and local officials worked with residents of Plum Island on a beach nourishment project aimed to reinforce houses on the beach that was threatened by Hurricane Sandy. With the help of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Mass DEP, and Coastal Zone Management we were successful in securing a permit authorizing a beach scraping project, where surplus sand located in the inner tidal zone was relocated further up the beach by a bulldozer.

The emergency project commenced at approximately 4:30pm on Friday and lasted several hours into the night and was completed on Saturday. I am extremely satisfied that all levels of government worked in a uniform and cohesive manner. Obtaining the necessary permits in such a short period of time is a testament to the hard work of many committed individuals.

Please click here to read a report by Mac Cerullo of the Newburyport Daily News, here regarding the permit we obtained to reinforce houses on Plum Island. Posted below is a report by Channel 7 News. Also posted below are several photos that I took during the beach nourishment project.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Preparing for an Emergency

As Hurricane Sandy comes closer to the Eastern Seaboard with an expected landfall sometime during Monday evening, my office has gathered several documents and emergency contact numbers that may be of assistance. The best way to protect yourself, loved ones and your property is to plan for an emergency before one strikes. 

All households should have a contact list of emergency numbers posted next to a working phone. In case of a power outage, most cordless phones may be unresponsive so it is advisable to keep a backup phone with a cord in a close and safe place. While emergency calls should be directed through 911 it is a good idea to keep other numbers in an accessible location. Some numbers to be placed on that list include your local non-emergency numbers for the police and fire departments, nearest hospital, town hall, and your electricity and gas provider’s area telephone number. National Grid’s emergency number is 1-800-465-1212. Comcast can be reached at 1-800-266-2278 and Verizon’s help service line is 1-888-553-1555.

Marine related emergencies may require contacting the U.S. Coast Guard. The best number to contact Coast Guard Station Gloucester is (978) 283-0705 and Station Merrimac River is (978) 462-3428. You can also call Sector Boston’s emergency line at (617) 223-5750. Boaters on the water and in need of immediate assistance can radio through a “Mayday” distress message. It is best to either use MF 2182 kHz or marine VHF-FM radio channel 16 (156.8 MHz) because these channels have been designated for emergencies and are closely monitored by the Coast Guard.

Other important precautions to take before a storm include;

• Bringing in all lawn furniture, decorations, and other objects that can be projected through the air that could cause harm to property and personal safety.

• Properly anchor all storage sheds to the ground and lock all doors to prevent contents from damage.

• Locking all doors and windows to ensure that they are closed tight to help protect against strong winds and rain.

• Learning where gas pilots and water mains are located and how to safely shut off all utilities.

• Keeping an amount of money on hand just in case there is a power outage and ATM’s are unable to operate.

• Elevating property in basement that might be susceptible to minor flooding.

• Clearing clogged rain gutters to prevent property from flooding.

• Knowing your community’s emergency shelter locations if an evacuation becomes necessary.

• Having a plan for all family pets in case an emergency shelter does not allow their presence.

Below are several documents produced from several state and federal agencies that might be of help to you. The documents include a family communications plan, a disaster preparedness kit checklist, the National Weather Radio stations listings in Massachusetts, tips for people with disabilities requiring additional assistance, tips for business owners, and a family pet disaster preparedness plan. If my office can assist you in anyway, please do not hesitate to call at (617)722-1600.

Disaster Preparedness Kit Checklist

Family Communications Plan

MEMA Hurricane Preparedness Tips

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

MEMA Business Owners Guide

National Grid Helpful Tips

People With Disabilties Requiring Additional Assistance

National Weather Radio Station Listings for Massachusetts


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Today on Plum Island I was interviewed by Reporter Crystal Haynes of Fox 25 News regarding the emergency beach nourishment project undertaken on the island in preparation of Hurricane Sandy. Please tune in immediately after tonight’s World Series game at approximately 11:00pm to watch my interview.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Discussing the Fishing Industry on Greater Boston

Last night State Representative Anne-Margaret Ferrante, MassINC Polling Group's Steve Koczela and I were guests on WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston” with host Emily Rooney. We discussed the U.S. Senate race here in Massachusetts and what the outcome could mean for the fishing industry. To view yesterday’s broadcast please click here.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Media Alert: On the Air with Emily Rooney

Tonight I will be appearing on WGBH-TV’s “Greater Boston” with host Emily Rooney to discuss the U.S. Senate race here in Massachusetts and what it could mean for the fishing industry.

Please tune in to Channel 2 tonight at 7:00pm to watch what will surely be a lively discussion. Greater Boston also re-airs at midnight.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Enjoying Chowder for a Good Cause

Congratulations to the Ipswich Lions on the tremendous success of this year’s Chowderfest, which took place on Saturday, October 6th. The event drew a huge crowd in downtown Ipswich, where both great weather and great chowder provided by competitors across the North Shore were on full display.

Funds raised by the event benefited local charities such as high school scholarships, eye and diabetes research, eyeglass recycling, and hearing aid projects. The event was sponsored by a host of local businesses including.

Posted below are a few photos I was able to capture of the event. To learn more about the Ipswich Lions Club please click here to visit their Facebook fan page.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Honoring Some Special Veterans

Last Saturday I was honored to attend a luncheon in Burlington held by the Middlesex Deputy Sheriffs’ Association recognizing our “Tin Can Sailors” at the American Legion. “Tin Can Sailors” are sailors serving on destroyers and destroyer escorts and are often credited with turning the tide of the war in October 1944. Never before had these ships taken on an enemy’s main surface fleet, and the bravery they demonstrated on October 25, 1944 deserves nothing less than our highest commendations when they single handedly took on Japan’s main fleet forcing their retreat.

Since then “Tin Can Sailors” and the ships they serve on have been used in key strategic situations in wars and in times of peace. Saturday’s luncheon offered me an opportunity to say thank you to those who served on those ships.

If you would like to learn more about “Tin Can Sailors” I recommend the book Tales from a Tin Can: The USS Dale from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay by Michael Keith Olson. Posted below are some photos taken during Saturday’s luncheon.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Remember to Register to Vote!

Today marks the last day anyone can register to vote in this year’s upcoming elections. You can register to vote by visiting your local town clerk’s office or at any Registry of Motor Vehicles office. The act of voting is a tremendous responsibility entrusted in every individual who is at least 18 years of age.

After the American Revolution in 1783, our forefathers recognized the importance of a society able to elect its own representation of leaders, and now, nearly 230 years later, the United States stands as a true beacon of democracy. The American voting process serves as a model for both fledgling countries, and nations of great history. Voting is a tradition and honor that makes our country so great. Essentially, voting equates to freedom, and freedom is the very fiber with which this country is sewn together.

I hope you will join with me in being an active and engaged voter and make our democratic process strong. If you haven’t yet registered to vote, please make some time available today to do so. Please click here to read more information about registering to vote at the Secretary of State’s website.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Restoring Burnham's Field

This past Saturday I joined with Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante and Mayor Carolyn Kirk to announce the funding of over $345,000 dedicated funds to restore Burnham's Field in Gloucester. The restoration project was awarded $195,109 by the Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Program provided by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the city will fulfill its commitment to provide a match of $150,000 from Federal Community Development Block Grant funds to design and construct the renovations.

Key components of the Burnham's Field Restoration Project include:

• Improved lighting to increase accessibility and to better monitor the park;
• A water playground to be utilized during the summer months;
• Freshly planted trees to provide shade for spectators; and
• Neighborhood gardens to be used for the planting of flowers, fruits, vegetables and other plants.

The funding that is offered through the Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Program is a result of an order by the Suffolk Superior Court on March 10, 2010 requiring the distribution of approximately $747,000 in surplus funds from the closure of the Rubinchuk landfill in Middleton. The program offers a competitive process for Essex County communities for the construction of community gardens and neighborhood parks that have suffered disproportionate environmental degradation.

Posted below are some photos taken of Saturday’s announcement.


A Special Guest at the State House

On Tuesday, October 9th, Selectman Mary Anne Nay of Boxford stopped by my State House office. Her visit provided us with the opportunity to discuss a number of issues relating to Boxford, and the condition of our state budget, I was able to bring her into the Senate Chamber for a photo.

I welcome all of my constituents to come to the State House for a visit. The State House offers free tours year round from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and last approximately 40 minutes. To reserve a tour please call the tour desk at (617) 727-3676. The State House is rich with portraits and historical artifacts of Massachusetts' long and storied history.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Enjoying the Willowdale Estate

Years ago if you had visited the Willowdale Estate, you would have found a building that had fallen in disrepair due to years of neglect and harsh weather. However, due to a state program called the Historic Curatorship Program that creates a unique public-private partnership, the estate has been returned to its former grandeur through the dedicated work of Gerald Fandetti, Charlotte Fandetti, and Briar Fandetti-Forsythe.

Not wanting to see the mansion fall into further disrepair, the Fandetti’s answered the call by not only repairing the mansion and the Coach House but also manage and maintain the estate, and on Tuesday night it was on full display. I was honored to attend the Willowdale Estate Coach House ribbon cutting and the 5th anniversary party of its grand reopening. Attendees of the party listened to a swing band while dressed in traditional 1920 attire, creating a fun and energetic evening.

To learn more about the Willowdale Estate please click here. Posted below are several photos of Tuesday’s event.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Celebrating Ocean Culture in New Bedford

For the 9th year in a row the Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford was a huge success. This past weekend’s festival brought droves of fishermen and their families, seaside businesses, school children, ocean enthusiasts and seafood lovers across New England together to enjoy a closer look at the “life on the water” culture. Musical acts, poets, and entertainers from near and far joined with local fishermen and organizations to showcase this year’s theme “Fishtales: Fact, Fiction and Narrative Tradition.”

The free and open to the public festival, located at the State Fish Pier, the Steamship Pier and Fishermen’s Wharf off of MacArthur Drive, offered event goers the opportunity to witness whale boat racing, cooking demonstrations, and even a touch tank provided by Ellen Goethal of Explore the Ocean World. At approximately 1:00pm on Sunday the Very Rev. Constantine S. Bebis of St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Dartmouth provided the 43rd blessing of the fleet ceremony.

I was happy to not only show my support for the fishing industry but to also participate as a member of the Northeast Seafood Coalition. It was a pleasure to be there, and I look forward to next year’s event. Please click here to learn more about the Working Waterfront Festival in New Bedford. Posted below are a few photos that I took on Sunday.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Celebrating Agriculture at the Topsfield Parade

This past Saturday hundreds of people braved the cool autumn weather to watch the annual Topsfield Parade, which is one of the many festivities associated with the Topsfield Fair. The parade featured wonderful floats; marching bands from Masconomet Regional High School and Danvers High School; federal, state and local officials; veterans groups; the Massachusetts State Police Mounted Unit; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; and much, much more. The fall of some early light rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the participants or the attendees. The parade provided some excellent entertainment and showcased the importance of agriculture.

If you were unable to attend this year’s parade, you can still join in on much of the festivities of the Topsfield Fair, which is the oldest country fair in the country. The fair continues through this week and will conclude on Monday, October 8th. The fair features extraordinary exhibits, fun rides, incredible shows and extremely talented musical acts. This year Frankie Avalon, Austin Mahone, John Michael Montgomery and The Flying Wallendas are all performing at different occasions throughout the week.

To see the Topsfield Fair’s complete schedule of events please click here. Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during Saturday’s parade.