Monday, October 16, 2017

Good News For Cape Ann Commuter Rail Riders

I attended the MBTA's Fiscal Management and Control Board meeting to advocate for action on the Annisquam River Commuter Rail Bridge located in Gloucester. The T has decided to move forward with the project by selecting one winning bid from five entries.

The J.F. White Contracting Company was awarded the contract set at $56.9 million. I will have more details, such as expected start and completion dates soon.








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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kids Ride Rolls in Money to Support Pan-Mass Challenge

Recently I had the honor of attending a great fundraising event in Manchester-by-the-Sea in support of the Pan-Mass. Challenge Kids Rides program. This was the final event of more than 30 of the year in Massachusetts for the Kids Ride program.

The PMC supports the work and patients of the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute, in fact, every dollar raised by PMC bike riders goes to Dana-Faber. You can still offer your support for PMC and help fight cancer by donating at http://www.pmc.org/…/…/pedal-power-pmc-kids-rides-are-coming

The Manchester ride had a great turnout of parents, kids – some riders were as young as three, and awesome community supporters.




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Monday, October 2, 2017

Today, the people of Nevada have been besieged with unimaginable pain caused by the violence that took place in Las Vegas.

At our Senate session today I asked the Senate to stand together and unite and observe a moment of silence for those who lost their lives, those who were wounded, and for all of those who are experiencing the consequences of these devastating and tragic actions.

At 2:45 this afternoon in Memorial Hall in the State House I joined with Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito, Attorney General Maura T. Healey, Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, and several other colleagues for a somber moment of reflection. What matters most now is to remember that we are all Americans, and to stand in solidarity and support with and for those experiencing terrible pain because of this horrendous violence.





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Friday, September 29, 2017

On Yom Kippur

I wish you peace and happiness on this day of reflection and in the New Year.


G'mar Chatima Tova.




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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

First Annual Senate Food Drive

Today, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and I held the 1st annual Senate Food Drive with all items to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank. The items were presented in a ceremony at the State House.

Food is a fundamental need and far too many people regularly go without the nutrition and sustenance that they need. By partnering with the Greater Boston Food Bank the members and staff of the Senate are working together to make a very real difference in the lives of people who need this food.

Joining me with President Rosenberg were Greater Boston Food Bank’s Manager of Public Affairs Catherine Drennan, Brian Merrill,Senior Manager of Donations, Anne Ziaja, Executive Director Senate Office of Education and Civic Engagement, Rita Noonan, Deputy Director Senate Office of Senate Education and Civic Engagement and my Chief of Staff Attilio Paglia.

Visit the Breater Boston Foodbank at www.GBFB.org








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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Update on the MBTA Annisquam River Drawbridge Project.

I have been informed that the T will be taking bids on the 106 year old bridge until Thursday October 5th. The T's Fiscal Management and Control Board will likely receive a presentation and briefing on the project at their October 16th meeting.




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Monday, September 25, 2017

Timothy Callahan - American Hero

This summer, North Reading lost a true American hero- Timothy J. Callahan, a combat veteran in World War II, passed away at his home at the age of 96 – I had the Senate adjourn in his memory.

Yesterday, at the North Reading Veterans 8th Annual Dinner, we honored him and thanked his family. Mr. Callahan served as a 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force during World War II fighting in in Normandy, Northern France, and the Rhineland. Remarkably, he survived two plane crashes and flew 63 other combat missions as a pilot of the B-26 Marauder. He earned numerous awards and commendations including: the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Distinguished Unit Citation, the Medal of Humane Action and the Purple Heart.

Mr. Callahan served his community for 34 years as the Director of Veteran’s Services for the town of North Reading, retiring from this position at age 89.

Yesterday’s gathering was all about recognizing veterans, their families, and those who support them. Courage, distinction, and service to our nation – these are the hallmarks of those that we honored - the men and women of the American Armed Forces.

I thank Susan Magner, Director of Veterans Services, for her efforts to make the day a fitting tribute. Francisco Urena, Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans' Affairs, Bob Mauceri of the board of Selectmen and Representative Brand Jones also thanked our veterans during the presentation.








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Batchelder Elementary School Centennial

Congratulations to the entire North Reading, Massachusetts community on the 100th Anniversary of the Batchelder Elementary School! Superintendent Jon Bernard and Principal Sean Killeen put together a wonderful ceremony to commemorate this special centennial event.

I was happy to say a few words and share the day with members of the community.





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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

A wish for the New Year to my Jewish friends, constituents and the community.
May this New Year be sweet, healthy and happy.
L’shanah Tovah and always… Shalom!



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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Senate President Rosenberg and Senate Minority Leader Tarr Announce Appointments to Senate Task Force on Strengthening Massachusetts Local Retail


BOSTON – Today Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) announced the appointments of Senators and retailers to the Senate Task Force on Strengthening Massachusetts Local Retail. The task force was established to work with the Senate to identify ways to help local retailers become more competitive.

 

“We are very excited to bring these business leaders from the retail world in to work with labor unions and Senators,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg. “We are committing to finding solutions to the struggles local retailers are facing in this ever-changing economy.”

 

“Retailers are critical to the success of our main streets and our economy, providing 1 in 5 jobs in our state,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “This sector is facing many challenges, and the situation demands the type of collaborative approach the task force will bring to bear on those challenges.”

 

Senate President Stan Rosenberg appointed Senator Michael Rodrigues, who will serve as Chair, as well as Senators Mike Barrett, Julian Cyr, Jason Lewis, and Kathleen O’Connor-Ives. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr appointed Senators Vinny DeMacedo and Don Humason.

 

The retailers appointed by Senate President Rosenberg are Judy Herrell, owner of Herrell’s Ice Cream in Northampton, Peter Kavanaugh of La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries in Dartmouth, Barry S. Rotman, Board Chair of Rotman’s Furniture in Worcester, and Malcolm Sherman, a retail consultant with expertise in turning around struggling businesses. The retailers appointed by Senate Minority Leader Tarr are Christopher Carlozzi, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, John Cahill of Landry & Arcani Rugs in Salem, and Christopher Connolly, President of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association.

 

The remaining appointees are Jim Carvalho, Political Director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445, Harris Gruman, Executive Director of the SEIU Massachusetts State Council, and Jon Hurst, President of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts.

 

The Task Force will address a number of key factors, including challenges faced by local retailers in competing against online sellers, closures of local retailers and the impact that has on local economies and property tax bases, initiatives by local retailers to increase their market share, and how state and local governments can encourage purchases from local retailers.

 

One member will also represent the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. Outside experts with expertise in business and economics may also be consulted to assist the Task Force in facilitating its work.

 

The Task Force will report back to the Senate President and Senate Minority Leader by June 1, 2018.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Progress on Climate Resiliency


Today I was pleased to participate on a panel at the Municipal Climate Change Summit held by the Baker-Polito Administration to mark the one year anniversary of Executive Order 569, “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth.” The Order provides collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and key state, local and environmental stakeholders. Furthermore, the Order lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.

Posted below is a press release describing the event and some photos from its proceedings:



Photos courtesy of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Baker-Polito Administration Marks Anniversary of Climate Change Executive Order with Municipal Summit


Summit highlights work accomplished to date and outlines new initiatives


BOSTON – To mark the one-year anniversary of Executive Order 569, “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth,” the Baker-Polito Administration today held a Municipal Climate Change Summit to report on the ongoing implementation of the Order, announce several new climate change initiatives, and provide an opportunity for communities across the state to come together to learn more about the administration’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program. The Summit is part of Climate Week – a series of events to highlight Massachusetts’ efforts to prepare for and combat climate change and to celebrate the one year anniversary of Governor Baker’s signing of Executive Order 569. The Order, which builds on the administration’s nation-leading efforts to reduce emissions, lays out a comprehensive approach to further mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth.


“Last fall, I was pleased to sign Executive Order 569 and outline an integrated strategy to continue reducing emissions under the Global Warming Solutions Act, build resiliency in our cities and towns, and direct new efforts to work across state government in each Executive Office,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Today, we recognize the significant progress Massachusetts has made to implement the Order and discuss plans for reducing emissions in the transportation sector, set an emissions reduction target for 2030 under our Global Warming Solutions Act, and launch a suite of new climate change planning tools that will help cities and towns and state government prepare for and adapt to climate change across the Commonwealth.”


“Joining with our municipal partners, state legislators and environmental advocates through the Municipal Climate Change Summit is a perfect way to celebrate Climate Week and mark the Anniversary of Executive Order 569,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Partnerships with cities and towns are a cornerstone of our work in the Baker-Polito Administration, and we’ve carried this approach into our nation-leading efforts on climate change. We look forward to our continued partnership with local leaders to combat and mitigate the effects of a changing climate.”


At the summit attended by over 150 municipalities, environmental advocates and other stakeholders, Governor Baker reinforced the Commonwealth’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by announcing the Administration would work next to curb emissions from the transportation sector. To help the administration move forward on this issue, three public listening sessions will be held in the coming months for stakeholders from across the state to identify regional policies to reduce emissions, develop a comprehensive regional strategy for the deployment of electric vehicles, and discuss strategies to increase the resilience of transportation infrastructure.


“The Baker-Polito Administration has worked aggressively across the state and with regional partners to reduce emissions and to ensure that we meet the limits established under the Global Warming Solutions Act. Our next target for new policies that will lead to further reductions is the transportation sector and we’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and finding solutions,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “At the same time, we’re committed to dealing with the ongoing impacts of climate change by working across state government through our Climate Coordinators and providing the best science, planning tools, and technical support to help prepare our cities and towns, last year spending over $150 million on adaption and mitigation efforts.”


In an effort to continue progress towards the Commonwealth’s goal of 80 percent emission reductions by 2050, over the next year the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental affairs will work to establish an interim emission reduction target for 2030 pursuant to Executive Order 569. This process will be through development of the Clean Energy and Climate Change 2030. The Executive Office will work with the Implementation Advisory Committee of the Global Warming Solutions Act to study and set a target for 2030.


Additionally, Governor Baker announced the release of statewide climate change projections developed through a partnership between the state and the Northeast Climate Science Center at UMass-Amherst. Working with scientists at the Center, the Commonwealth is releasing data that shows how temperature and precipitation will change over this century, data on coastal sea level rise and storm surge with coverage for the entire coast, and hydrological data to examine inland flooding in our river basins. The data will be freely available to the public on a new statewide climate change website to be launched this fall.


“Stronger and more frequent storms in the future would mean more costly damages to our infrastructure, stress our social services, and possibly lead to greater loss of life or injury,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “To mitigate these risks we have partnered with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to develop a first of its kind integrated State Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation plan that will develop strategies to deal with climate change impacts and other natural hazards.”


“Reducing emissions from the transportation sector is difficult and we need all of our best ideas at the table,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “I’m delighted that we’re announcing these 3 listening sessions to gather feedback on how we can significantly reduce emissions from this sector by working across the region with partners, deploy new technologies, and ensure that as we continue to deal with the impacts of climate change our roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure are able to withstand heavy rain, wind, increased heat, and other extreme weather.”


At the core of the administration’s efforts on climate change is working to create a strong partnership between state government and our cities and towns who are on the front lines of climate change. Under the Commonwealth’s new Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, we’ve announced grant awards totaling over $1.1 million to 20% of the communities in our state. To help communities complete this program, our Executive Office of Energy and Environmental affairs, working in strong partnership with the Nature Conservancy has put together a training program and a new community resilience building guide that will walk cities and towns through the climate change projections and the planning process for assessing risk and identifying priority actions. This guide will be sent out to all communities who are enrolled in the MVP program in early October.


In the year since signing Executive Order 569, the Baker-Polito Administration has taken numerous steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change, including:


Issuing final regulations that build upon the Commonwealth’s nation-leading efforts to further reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protect communities, residents, and infrastructure from the impacts of climate change;


Initiating a first in the nation state climate adaptation and hazard mitigation plan that will cover all sectors of government, municipalities, natural resources, and local economies;


Designating Climate Change Coordinators in each executive branch office to spearhead climate change efforts for their agencies,


Producing a vulnerability assessment framework for state agencies; and


Developing a vulnerability assessment framework and technical assistance programs for cities and towns and distributing over $1.1 million dollars to these communities to aid their efforts.


“We are proud to collaborate with the Baker-Polito Administration on nation-leading initiatives to reduce and address climate change,” said Wayne Klockner, State Director of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “Our efforts will help communities and the Commonwealth lead by example to enhance safety, avoid costs, and conserve natural resources.”


“Our leadership on climate change is now more vital than ever to reduce the future threat of global warming and keep Massachusetts healthy, strong and sustainable,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). “Commemorating the results we have achieved together to address the future impacts of climate change in partnership with our communities ensures we are doing our part to conserve the Commonwealth for generations to come.”


“Our coastal communities are threatened by sea level rise, our oceans are warming and our entire state is threatened by extreme weather events,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), founding chair of the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. “Given these realities, I am pleased that the administration is continuing to move forward in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, attempting to meet the legal requirements of the Global Warming Solutions Act and fighting the immense threats of climate change – all of which negatively impact our economy, environment and public health. We must move beyond these existing orders in our legislative session to codify a climate adaptation management plan in statute, as the Senate has done three times. The transportation sector is our largest greenhouse gas emitter, and I’m pleased that the administration is looking at what we can do to lower those emissions. I look forward to working with them on strategies to protect our Commonwealth while using the research provided in our work with Georgetown University’s Transportation and Climate Initiative, along with the best practices of California.”


“Responding to climate change is a daunting task and a priority, one which requires focused efforts at all levels of government. Governor Baker’s Executive Order is bringing that focus to major initiatives in state government and capitalizing on the tools provided by the legislature to make progress on this front,” said State Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Goucester). “In turn, municipal leadership and action is continuing to move our state forward to build resiliency through adaptation.”


In addition to the new regulations and last summer’s bi-partisan, comprehensive energy legislation, to further reduce emissions and accelerate state and regional efforts to combat climate change while continuing to grow the economy, Massachusetts worked collaboratively with eight other Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to finalize negotiations for a new program. The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, and calls for an additional 30 percent cap reduction between 2021 and 2030, relative to the RGGI 2020 levels.


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Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering 9/11, Its Victims and Heroes


Today I hope each of us will take the time to reflect on the terrorist attacks that struck our nation on September 11, 2001, and to remember those who tragically lost their lives because of the attacks and the family members, friends and communities that continue to be impacted by those losses.

I hope that we will also remember with gratitude the police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel and other responders whose courage and dedication that day and in the days that followed inspired all of us and provided our nation with strength at a time when we needed it most to confront and rise above terror. Their sacrifices must never be forgotten.

This morning I was honored to join with the men and women of the Gloucester Fire and Police Departments and U.S. Coast Guard Station Gloucester in a solemn memorial service to commemorate the bravery of those who responded when terror attacked, and to express support for those who stand ready today to answer the call of duty. Photos of that service are posted below.















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Friday, September 8, 2017

MBTA Puts Annisquam Gloucester Bridge Project on Track

I am very pleased to share with you that T officials have confirmed for me that the project to reconstruct the Annisquam River Bridge in Gloucester, which serves the Newbury/Rockport line, is underway – contactor’s may submit bids until September 12th.

For several years, I have worked with the MBTA to move forward with plans to reconstruct this antiquated bridge. Inspections have confirmed that the bride, first constructed in 1911, is in desperate need of attention.

The work will consist of replacing the drawbridge over the river in two phases- commuter travel will be maintained by temporarily utilizing a single line of the two track bridge. The extensive project will include removing and replacing the existing two track moveable drawbridge complete with new piers, abutments, signal control tower, and electrical systems to control the bridge.

Estimates set the value of the project at $54.5 million and three to four years of construction time.

The project design is complete, as you can see from the photos, and is expected to be placed before the full MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board at a meeting scheduled next month, I plan on attending in order to advocate for the project.







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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Resolving to Make September National Sepsis Awareness Month

Today, I was honored to have the support of many colleagues in the Senate as we adopted my resolution to recognize September as National Sepsis Awareness Month. Gloucester resident Ronnie Robertson has worked with me, and others, over the years to raise awareness of this life-threatening illness.

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. In other words, it’s your body’s over active and toxic response to an infection.

Your immune system usually works to fight germs (bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites) to prevent infection. If an infection does occur, your immune system will try to fight it. What happens when the immune system stops fighting the germs and begins to turn on itself? This is the start of sepsis.

Who’s at a higher risk of developing sepsis? Because they have a higher risk of contracting an infection the very young, the very old, those with chronic illnesses, and those with a weakened or impaired immune system are often diagnosed.

Sepsis is not diagnosed based on an infection itself. If you have more than one of the symptoms of sepsis, especially if there are signs of an infection or you fall into one of the higher risk groups, your doctor will likely suspect sepsis.

Severe sepsis includes organ dysfunction, such as difficulty breathing (problems with the lungs), low or no urine output (kidneys), abnormal liver tests (liver), and changes in mental status (brain). Nearly all patients with severe sepsis require treatment in an intensive care unit. Sepsis has been named as the most expensive in-patient cost in American hospitals at nearly $24 billion each year. Early awareness is critical because forty percent of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis do not survive.


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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

GLOUCESTER AMERICAN LEGION POST NO. 3 ESTABLISHES A HURRICANE HARVEY LEGIONNAIRES ASSISTANCE FUND

The Commander of the Captain Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3 in Gloucester, Mark L. Nestor, announced that his post has established the Hurricane Harvey Legionnaires Assistance Fund to help their fellow American Legionnaires in Houston, Texas, whose lives have been impacted by the storm.

Commander Nestor in his statement said “Our hearts and sympathy reach out to them and it cries for our support. One segment of the population of Houston immediately comes to mind, namely, my fellow Legionnaires that have been terribly affected by this unwarranted catastrophe. These are men and women who, when called upon, donned a uniform and swore to protect and defend this country. Many of these same men and women, throughout the years, without hesitation, have placed themselves in harm’s way, often at great personal cost, and rise up and defend this nation against all odds. Many have lost everything, their homes, their possessions and their livelihood, and many have no insurance or the financial means to recover or replace.”

The Commander invites your support for the victims and affirms that 100% of the donations provided will go to assist those Houston Legionnaires who are in need.

Please send a check, for any amount, to “Capt. Lester S. Wass, American Legion Post No. 3, P.O. Box 133, Gloucester, MA 01931-0122", and annotate on the check “Legionnaires Assistance Fund”.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Gloucester Schooner Festival 2017

One of the most anticipated events on Cape Ann each summer is the Gloucester Schooner Festival – the wait is over and the maritime event of the year is here.

Come to Gloucester and enjoy the 33rd year of the festival.   Plenty to see and do including schooner sailing and lots of options for fun and fireworks, racing and relaxing, concerts and clambakes, and so much more. Organized by the Gloucester Schooner Festival Committee and Maritime Gloucester this weekend in the oldest fishing seaport in America will feature dozens of schooners, some longer than 100 feet.

The action starts tonight with the arrival of vessels, the Mayor’s Reception, and the Gloucester Block Party downtown on Main Street. See you there. For information about the of events check out the link http://gloucesterschoonerfestival.net.





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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Welcoming a former Minority Leader

Today I was honored to welcome former State Senate Minority Leader David Locke to the informal session of the Senate. David, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1993, came to the State House as our guest to graciously participate in an oral history of the Senate project, I am leading in partnership with Senate President Stan Rosenberg. Former presidents William Bulger, Thomas Birmingham, Robert Travaglini and Therese Murray and former Senate minority leaders Brian Lees and Richard Tisei have also agreed to participate in the oral history of the Senate project.




                 (From left to right, Clerk of the Senate William Welch, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, Former Senate Minority Leader David Locke, Senator Joseph Boncore, Assistant Clerk Michael Hurley)

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Manchester Nets $500,000 MassWorks Harbor Grant

I was very pleased to welcome Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito to Manchester-by-the-Sea to announce a $500,000 MassWorks grant in support of the Manchester Harbor Dredging Project. This is the first dredging project to receive funds from the Baker-Polito Administration through the MassWorks Program.

This award will support Manchester’s working harbor that brings in approximately $6 million worth of lobsters each year. In addition, the project will support two marinas that employ approximately 75 people. The $500,000 will leverage $1 million committed by the town to begin work on the shovel-ready project so as not to miss the dredging season which runs September through February. The dredging of Manchester Harbor will begin this fall.

Dredging and maintenance of navigable waterways is of critical importance to coastal communities on the North Shore. Manchester Harbor supports both commercial and recreational boating for docking, mooring, loading and unloading of supplies, and harvested seafood. Harbormaster Bion Pike and other Manchester officials have been uncompromising in their diligence and efforts to advance the project. The Baker-Polito administration has made significant progress on marshaling resources for dredging and this grant, the first of its kind in years, is testament to those efforts and will be vital to the success of the harbor’s dredging.

With Karyn Polito Representative Brad Hill









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Monday, August 28, 2017

Luch With The Manchester Council On Aging

I had a very enjoyable time with the Manchester Council on Aging recently. We were all out at Tuck's Point Chowder House for lunch with featured lobster rills, chicken salad, and of course lots of chowder. The turnout, weather, and food were all wonderful. Bill Foley entertained us and Representative Brad Hill and I enjoyed talking with everyone. This was a beautiful day.











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