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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Friday, September 14, 2018

Victims Need Our Support

Thousands of our neighbors have had their lives completely upended by the gas explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover. There have been multiple injuries, death, property damage, and a growing anxiety about what might happen next. People legitimately worry that there might be more danger, there and possibly elsewhere, and they are concerned about how to restore their lives.

In times of trouble and difficulty we find strength in one another. For those who are experiencing stress, hardship, and pain we must surround them with support and comfort. The magnitude and impact of these fires will take days to begin to sort out. For some, the losses will be devastating.

I ask and invite you to consider how you might take action to support your neighbors in need who, through no fault of their own have had tragedy fall on them. A number of government agencies, community non-profit organizations, business and individuals are mobilizing. Please help in any way that you can. We have faced emergencies and disasters before, we know that when we work together only good can come and fear fades away.

We should all be inspired by what we have already seen. I want to thank everyone who already engaged – the first responders and those who have donated or volunteered are making a real difference. My hope is that we can all be a part of the effort that they have already undertaken.

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WiFi Hotspots Open to All During Gas Leak Emergency

From the Town of North Andover:

To help residents and emergency personnel stay connected following the Merrimack Valley gas fires, we’re opening nearly 89,000 Xfinity WiFi hotspots in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

The hotspots will help residents and emergency personnel stay connected following the Merrimack Valley gas fires. The hotspots will be available to anyone who needs them, including non-Xfinity customers, for free and will remain open until Monday, September 17, 2018.

For a map of the Xfinity WiFi hotspots, residents can visit wifi.xfinity.com and enter their zip code.

Once in range of a hotspot, they should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Xfinity internet customers can sign in with their usernames and passwords, and will be automatically connected to Xfinity WiFi hotspots in the future.

Non-Xfinity internet subscribers should visit the “Not an Xfinity Internet Customer” section on the sign-in page to get started. Non-customers will be able to renew their complimentary sessions every two hours while the hotspots are available.

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Essex County Community Foundation Fund Helps Victims in Greater Lawrence

From the Essex County Community Foundation:

Residents of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover are being affected by devastating gas explosions and fires, resulting in the death of an 18-year-old, multiple injuries and more than 60 homes being severely damaged.

Our hearts go out to all of those affected by this tragedy, and we are thankful for the emergency workers and first responders who are working tirelessly to ensure the safety of residents.

In times like these, Essex County Community Foundation is prepared to assist those in need through its Lawrence Emergency Fund. Set up in 2009 by local philanthropists, the Lawrence Emergency Fund provides assistance during emergency events such as fires, natural disasters or hazardous events. Funding is provided to appropriate agencies or churches that directly support the individuals and families impacted by these emergencies.

Donations made to the Fund during this time will support those affected by the fires in the Greater Lawrence area. To make a donation to the Lawrence Emergency Fund, please visit www.eccf.org/lawrenceemergencyfund.

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

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From Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thence

Ann Margaret Ferrante Senate Bruce Tarr, Eileen Duff Morgan Bell from Congressmen Moulton office, Elizabeth Carey Executive Director of Discover Gloucester and their members. Executive Director Christopher Lovasco from YMCA, my staff, Board of Health GFD, GPD have been all communicating with each other to let Mayor Riveria, North Andover/ Andover know we are here and ready.

There are hotel rooms FREE of charge, 10 families are now at Beauport 5 more coming. Other hotels also available.

Senator Tarr is in North Andover Command Post with the Town Manager relaying our messages.

Dear colleagues, The Mayor has asked that we be ready to potentially assist with sheltering families from Lawrence and Andover tomorrow as a result of the gas explosions and evacuations there today. I will be in touch tomorrow if there are specific requests for assistance. Thank you and good night. Karin M Carroll, MPH Public Health Director City of Gloucester 3 Pond Road Gloucester, MA 01930

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS STATEMENT

SUBJECT: Update: Gas Line Explosions - North Andover/Andover/Lawrence

 SITUATION Response operations related to the gas line explosions that occurred in the communities of Andover, North Andover and Lawrence will continue through the night and into tomorrow. Local, state and federal public safety partners continue to coordinate the response mission with the focus being on public safety. The Command Post/Fire Mobilization Staging Area at Showcase Cinema located at RT. 114/ I- 495 in Lawrence MA will remain activated throughout the early morning hours.

In terms impacts to all three communities, there was a reported total of 3 explosions and 60 to 80 home/structural fires. Additionally, 25 people were transported to hospital for related injuries. One fatality has been confirmed.

Due to the emergency situation in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, the Governor has directed that state offices in those communities should be closed today tomorrow, September 14, 2018. Unless already notified, non-emergency Executive Branch employees who live or work in those communities should not report to their workplaces.

COMMUNITY STATUS UPDATE

· Due to ongoing safety concerns, as a precaution evacuated residents in all three impacted communities have been advised by local town/public safety officials not to return home unless advised to do so or told that the area has been cleared/deemed safe.
· Public schools will be closed today (Friday) in Andover, North Andover and Lawrence
· Law enforcement is conducting door to door notifications in all three communities inform residents that the area/home is unsafe.
· Andover EOC will remain activated overnight.


UTILITY STATUS UPDATE

· National Grid remains on scene.
· Columbia Gas remains on scene and has 80 service technicians deployed to all three communities to begin the process of inspecting 8,000 gas meters.
· At this time, there is no indication of when all impacted structures will be deemed habitable. No re-entry time has been determined.


Power Outages for Andover, North Andover and Lawrence (as of 1:47 AM)
· Andover: 38% without power.
· North Andover: 16 % without power.
· Lawrence: 35% without power.


COMMUNICATIONS STATUS UPDATE

Verizon reports the following information:
· The network is performing well overall.
· Expect to lose a site in Shawsheen Village in Andover during the overnight hours as the batteries run out (this is a roof- top site with commercial power and natural gas generator).
· Because of overlapping coverage, Verizon is not expecting any significant communications impact at this time. Coverage in North Andover and Andover remains strong.

TRANSPORTATION IMPACTS
As of 11: 50 PM (09/13/18) MassDOT reported the following transportation impacts:
· Off ramps along I-495 and I-93 in the area remain closed (details below); on ramps remain open.
· Highway, MBTA and Aeronautics are assisting with VMS, arrow boards, light towers, buses, drones and other assistance.
· MassDOT and MBTA representatives are on scene at the incident command post at Showcase Cinemas in Lawrence.


Facility and Systems Status:
· RMV Service Centers: Area power shutdown continues to affect RMV Lawrence Service Center.
· Governor has directed closure of state facilities in the affected communities.

Highway Impacts:
Highway continues to coordinate closely with MSP and is maintaining a number of highway off-ramp closures in the affected area, including:

Transit Impacts:
· Haverhill Line commuter rail trains will operate only between Reading & North Station on Friday.
· Buses will run from Haverhill & Bradford to Anderson/Woburn for inbound service on the Lowell Line. Service on the Lowell or Newburyport Lines is suggested as an alternative.
Requests:
· Highway District 3 is providing 6 VMS, 3 arrow boards, and 3 light towers
· Highway District 4 is providing 13 VMS, 11 arrow boards, and 5 light towers
· Highway District 5 is providing 6 light towers
· Highway District 6 is providing 2 cone trucks, 2 VMS, 2 arrow boards, 2 light towers
· Highway has also facilitated deployment of contracted assets, including 7 light towersMBTA is providing 12 buses and a mobile radio car; TPD provided escort
· MassDOT Aeronautics is standing by to provide aerial situational awareness support via two advanced drones; team plans to deploy to Lawrence Airport in early AM and will coordinate with MSP and other responders.
· MassDOT Aeronautics also has drone data post-processing capabilities that will be offered to responders.
MASS FEEDING/EMERGENCY SHELTER STATUS

Mass feeding:
All communities have reported no mass feeding issues at the emergency shelters. Each emergency shelter is coordinating with the Salvation Army and ARC regarding meal plans for breakfast.
Emergency Sheltering:
The following local emergency shelters are open:
· North Andover High School, 430 Osgood St, North Andover MA
o North Andover Animal Control Officer is coordinating household pet sheltering for residents with pets.
· Arlington Middle School, 150 Arlington St, Lawrence MA
· Cormier Youth Center, 40 Whitter Court, Andover MA
· Partham Middle School , 55 East Haverhill St, Lawrence MA
· St Mary’s Church, 300 Hampshire St, Lawrence MA
Additionally, a few elderly residents are being sheltered overnight at Andover Senior Center, 30 Whitter Court, Andover MA.
HEALTH/MEDICAL STATUS

The MDPH Department Operations Center (DOC) has de-activated.
MEMA OPERATIONS

At this time, the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) remains at Level II (Partial Activation). MEMA will continue to monitor the incident and will disseminate Situational Awareness Statements as necessary.

Stay Informed:
Utilize Massachusetts Alerts to receive emergency notifications and information from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service. Massachusetts Alerts is a free app that is available for Android and iPhones. http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html

To learn more about Massachusetts Alerts, and for information on how to download the free app onto your smartphone, visit: http://www.mass.gov/service-details/massachusetts-alerts-smartphone-app.

Utilize MEMA’s real-time power outage viewer to stay informed about current power outages in your community and region, and across the state, including information from utility companies about restoration times:

Utilize MEMA’s live weather radar and forecasting tools: http://www.mass.gov/map-resourceshttp://www.mass.gov/map-resources

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A Notice About State Offices and State Employees In The Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover Area

Due to the emergency situation in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover, Governor Charlie Baker has directed that state offices in those communities should be closed Friday, September 14, 2018.

Unless already notified, non-emergency Executive Branch employees who live or work in those communities should not report to their workplaces.



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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wilmington Readies for Economic Growth

I was very happy to attend last night’s Wilmington Board of Selectmen meeting with Secretary of Housing and Economic Development for the state Jay Ash and Representative Ken Gordon.

We came together with the Selectmen, Town Manager Jeff Hull, and others to work together to help the town reinvigorate commercial and retail business development along sections of Route 38. A main component of this process will be engaging residents to assess the specific types of development that would be advantageous.

With the town‘s interest in mind, I was able to successfully add two authorizations for funding in the Economic Development Bond Bill in one of the Senate’s final formal actions for the session:
o at least $1,000,000 for improvements to commuter parking and other facilities for the North Wilmington commuter rail station.
o at least $250,000 for economic development infrastructure improvements on the Route 38 corridor.

With support from Governor Baker’s administration, the collaboration that exists, and the tools that we are gathering to use – like the town’s partnership with the Donahue Institute to complete a market analysis, we will continue to work together to promote sustainable commercial development and a positive living environment for residents.



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September 11 Remembrance

Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken​ and Gloucester Fire Chief Eric Smith hosted a memorial service today at the Gloucester Fire Department to remember the victims of 9/11.

Gloucester firefighters, police officers, veterans and members of the United States Coast Guard honored those who perished on 9/11 at New York’s World Trade Center, The Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. The ceremony also recognized members of the armed forces who have given their lives in the ongoing war on terror.






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Support for Active Duty Service Women

I recently learned about the volunteer work of Pauline Bresnahan of Pauline's Gifts. She wants to support women serving on active duty in the military overseas and I would like her to succeed. Pauline has organized a regional collection of nine women owned small businesses on Cape Ann - each has offered to provide collection boxes in their shops for donated personal items.

The following businesses are participating: Premier Imprints, Cape Ann Olive Oil, Roamin' Baths Mobile Pet Spa, The Bookstore of Gloucester, Essex Bird Shop and Pet Supply, Sea Meadow Gifts and Gardens, Olde Ipswich Shop & Gallery, The Barn at Todd Farm.

Donations will be received to October 13,2018 -items will be shipped by Operation Troop Support.



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Saturday, September 8, 2018

Complete Streets

The Complete Streets program is an important state effort to help communities expand on the safety and utility of public streets. Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito have continued to announce funding awards for cities and towns which have initiated ideas to o provide safe and accessible options for all travelers including bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transit users.

We celebrated the newest round of #CompleteStreets grants at Peabody City Hall with a number or elected officials including Senator Joan Lovely, Representative Theodore Speliotis, Representative Thomas Walsh. 24 communities, including some in my district, join half of all cities and towns across the state in adopting policies encouraging the advancement of Complete Streets infrastructure.

Gloucester will receive $398,348 to improve travel for cyclists by installing bicycle lanes along Route 127 and Main Street through Downtown Gloucester. Safety improvements at O’Malley School will include reconstruction of the Reynard and Cherry Street intersection and the addition of a crosswalk and pedestrian signals across Poplar Street.

Middleton will receive $171,925 to reconstruct the intersection of Maple Street (Route 62) at Liberty Street to enhance safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. Work will include shortening pedestrian crossing distances, constructing new sidewalks with curb ramps, and adding ADA-compliant wheelchair ramps. This project will reconfigure the intersection to facilitate the flow of traffic, and improve safety for all users.




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Wenham Celebrates 375

Congratulations to the people of the town of Wenham. The Anniversary Parade today marked the town’s 375th Anniversary since the original incorporation in 1643.

I enjoyed saying hello to everyone, marching in the parade (where I got in a quick toss of cornhole), and visiting with members of great community groups.

Starting at Buker Elementary School we moved through town to Pingree Park for a Community Day including town departments and local organizations.







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Happy Rosh HaShana

To my Jewish friends, constituents and the community, in recognition of the beginning of Rosh HaShanah, this Sunday at sundown -- "L'Shana Tova."

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Friday, September 7, 2018

35th Trooper Hanna Memorial Awards for Bravery

In a State House ceremony today a number of police officers were awarded medals for valor and honor in recognition of their acts of bravery. I am grateful for their service.

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt Governor Karyn Polito gave opening remarks. Reverend Wilson of the Massachusetts State Police offered the invocation.

Our law enforcers do face risks everyday, tragically we have had officers killed in the line of duty this year. They are remembered. The awards are named for Trooper George L. Hanna, who was killed in 1983 when he was attacked by three assailants in Auburn.

I am enormously proud of the officers who received special recognition today. They, and others in the law enforcement community, strive to enhance our safety and protect the peace.





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Thursday, September 6, 2018

Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute

The significance and need of advancing marine sciences is undeniably important – and not only to those who are directly involved in research. Since its earliest days, I have been a champion of attracting support and resources for the Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute, Inc. (GMGI).

Yesterday, I had a tour of their newest facility to see how the construction is coming along. I was very happy to announce to them that I and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante had secured $1,300,000 for a state bond authorization for new equipment and technological improvements for next generation sequencing and other high performance computing technologies in the state’s newest economic development law recently signed by Governor Charlie Baker.

GMGI is quickly moving towards being a leader in marine biotechnology by using the most innovative molecular genomic tools. Their new harbors-side facility at 417 Main will help with scientific discovery, workforce development and investment, and diversifying Cape Ann’s maritime economy.





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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Massachusetts Primary Election Day is Today

The polls will be open until 8 PM all across the state for party primary elections - Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians.

Remember, if you are registered to a party that is the ballot you will receive at the poll. Those voters not enrolled in a party - 'independent' voters can vote today by choosing which party primary they wish to vote in. This will not change the voters status to then being affiliated with a party.

To find your polling place check -WhereDoIVoteMA
To confirm your voter registration check this state site - Voter Registration 0Search My Voter Status


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Friday, August 31, 2018

The 34th annual Gloucester Schooner Festival

In the harbor and nearby waters of America’s oldest seaport vessels will be arriving in Gloucester throughout the day today. Starting at 6 PM there will be a block party downtown on Main Street.

Maritime Gloucester Heritage Day begins Saturday at 10 AM, a concert on Stacy Boulevard from 5 PM to 10 PM both before and after the Parade of Lights and Fireworks. The Boat Parade of Lights begins at 7 PM.

A must see on Sunday is the Parade of Sail on Sunday morning from 10:30 to Noon. The Mayor’s Race kicks off at 1 PM.




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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Let's Spread the Word - "BOATS WANTED" for the Annual Boat Parade of Lights in Gloucester

Be a part of this annual tradition that takes place during the Schooner Festival - the Parade of Lights Boat Parade.

The Gloucester Daily Times has an article in today's paper with details. For parking please consider Stage Fort Park or Gloucester High School, and walk towards the river or Blynman Bridge. The bridge will be up when the parade passes through.



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North Andover Council On Aging Annual Ice Cream Social

One sweet way to beat the heat is ice cream. Yesterday, I co-hosted a nice social occasion for North Andover seniors with State Rep. Jim Lyons​ and Representative Diana DiZoglio​.







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