Thursday, November 29, 2018

Invasive and Destructive Green Crabs

Since the early 1800s, the carcinus maenas, commonly known as green crabs, have been invading the waters off the coast of Massachusetts and the Gulf of Maine harming native established ecosystems. This invasive species has spread alarmingly fast over the years and it now threatens marine wildlife, including fisheries that are harvested by local fishermen.

Today I attended a green crab update meeting at Ipswich Town Hall, Ipswich is a major shellfish producer, to discuss efforts to better understand the devastating path created by the green crab population and the continued threat to clams and their native ecosystem. The meeting was attended by scientists, shellfish officials, trappers, activists and local officials.

Representative Brad Hill and I have continued to push for and secure funding for green crab trapping operations.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Command Operations Center Briefing

I had a briefing today at the Command Operations Center on the recovery efforts taking place in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover following the September 13th Columbia Gas gas line events which sparked explosions, fires, and the interruption of services to thousands.

Joe Albanese is the Chief Recovery Officer for the recovery effort, he reports to the state's Department of Public Utilities and Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The gas service restoration date is December 16. There are currently two critical steps remaining in the restoration process for each household or business: Becoming ‘House-Ready’, followed by ‘Re-Light’.

To date, 6,263 residence, or 85%, have been made 'house ready'.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Kent Circle Tree Lighting

The Kent Circle tree lighting this Sunday represents the continuation of a great international tradition and genuine community spirit. This year we lit the tree in honor of my brother Brian who recently passed away. For decades, my brothers Ringo, Brian and I have worked together, along with a hardy group of dedicated volunteers, to decorate Kent Circle and erect and light the Christmas tree.

Despite the gusty weather, hundreds of people arrived to enjoy the festivities and to help light the 36-foot balsam fir tree. Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Gloucester’s sister city, provided us with our tree as part of an ongoing international exchange – we in turn have sent books and materials for their public library and the contributions of tree saplings from the Topsfield Fair to Shelburne. Topsfield Fair, America's oldest agricultural fair, has continued in its annual contributions of tree saplings to beautify Shelburne.

Joining us again this year was David Alward, Consul General of Canada to New England. I truly appreciate his kind words and his apt description of the unique bond between the sister cities, that bond represents a strong and enduring relationship. Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, accepted the tree on behalf of the people of Gloucester.

The dedication and lighting of the tree took place after the Christmas parade which started at the State Fish Pier and traveled through downtown before coming to Kent Circle. The Gloucester Stage Youth Acting Workshop led by Heidi Dallin sang carols and there was a musical performance by Alexander and Josh. Attendees also enjoyed hot chowder, popcorn, hot chocolate and a spirit of merriment.

The Tarr family is grateful for the contributions of the volunteers and hopes that you and the people in your life and hometown enjoy this special time of year.


Monday, November 26, 2018

The Passing of Brian Tarr

My oldest brother Brian Tarr passed away a week ago from Sunday leaving the family and community that he loved and a legacy that has touched the lives of thousands. Brian will long be remembered as a dedicated public servant, an educator, and a strong contributor to our community.

Brain’s life was a testament to faith, love of family, and the power of a life centered on helping others. His obituary can be read here:


Celebrating the Service of World War II Veteran Paul Stillwell

It is a rare and delightful pleasure to share company with a World War II veteran and such was the occasion recently when I helped Paul Stillwell celebrate his 93rd birthday at the Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover.

Paul, who enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943, served in the Central European and European-African-Middle Eastern theaters and was awarded Bronze Stars for his services. He overcame the strains of becoming a German prisoner of war in 1944 and returned to the States as a Corporeal.

Joining us were several members of Paul’s family, Joseph Leblanc the Veterans Services Officer for North Andover and Boxford, and other friends.

The fact that we have liberty and democracy and justice for all, things that are the envy of the rest of the world, we have, Paul, because of people like him who, when the time came, stood tall, put on a uniform, swore an oath to our country and went to face some of the most horrendous things people can face. We are so appreciative of his contributions.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Temporary Housing Information for the Merrimack Valley

My office received the following information for help on temporary housing for those effected by the gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley


Natural Gas Safety Bill Filed

In response to the Merrimack Valley gas explosions Governor Charlie Baker filed a bill which will help ensure the safe construction, operation and maintenance of gas infrastructure. This bill makes certain requirements for gas work when that work could pose a material risk to public safety and comes with direct input and recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board.

My office released the following statement today:

"The natural gas explosions in the Merrimack Valley have caused a tragic loss of life, severe hardships for residents, and major economic damage for local businesses and the regional economy.

Every possible action needs to be explored and taken to prevent this type of disaster from ever happening again. The actions recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board can contribute to that priority in a significant way, and we should waste no time in addressing them.

Through timely hearings, and careful yet expedited consideration, I hope that the Senate and House will act quickly and decisively act on the legislation filed by Governor Baker and similar measures as they become known and available."


Gloucester and Manchester Commuter Rail Work November 25-26

MassDOT and the MBTA would like to advise you of upcoming overnight work along the MBTA Rockport Commuter Rail Line at locations in Gloucester and Manchester-By-The-Sea. This overnight work is necessary to complete federally mandated Positive Train Control (PTC)infrastructure installation and avoid service interruptions by taking advantage of track time when the trains will not be operating.

Overnight work within the right-of-way along the MBTA Rockport Commuter Rail Line in at locations in Gloucester and Manchester-By-The-Sea. Work will occur as need between approximately 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., November 25-26, 2018.

Due to the equipment necessary to perform this work, lights and mild to moderate noise levels can be expected.


Friday, November 16, 2018

National Urgent Safety Recommendations (NTSB) - Massachusetts pipeline explosions

My office received from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) their interim Safety Recommendation Report on the Over-pressure of a Columbia Gas of Massachusetts Low-pressure Natural Gas Distribution System.

Here are the recommendations from the NTSB:
To the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:

1.       Eliminate the professional engineer licensure exemption for public utility work and require a professional engineer's seal on public utility engineering drawings. (P-18-005)

To NiSource, Inc.:

2.       Revise the engineering plan and constructability review process across all of your subsidiaries to ensure that all applicable departments review construction documents for accuracy, completeness, and correctness, and that the documents or plans be sealed by a professional engineer prior to commencing work. (P-18-006) (Urgent)

3.       Review and ensure that all records and documentation of your natural gas systems are traceable, reliable, and complete. (P-18-007) (Urgent)

4.       Apply management of change process to all changes to adequately identify system threats that could result in a common mode failure. (P-18-008) (Urgent)

5.       Develop and implement control procedures during modifications to gas mains to mitigate the risks identified during management of change operations. Gas main pressures should be continually monitored during these modifications and assets should be placed at critical locations to immediately shut down the system if abnormal operations are detected. (P-18-009) (Urgent)

The full interim report can be found here:


Media Alert: On the Air on Boston 25 at 4 PM

Today I was interviewed by Boston 25's Crystal Haynes about the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions. Please tune in to the 4 pm newscast to watch our discussion


Thursday, November 15, 2018


Italian American Police Association Celebrates 50th Anniversary With Awards Presentations

Boston- The Massachusetts Italian American Police Association, a non-profit organization of men and women of Italian-American descent and heritage affiliated with law enforcement, awarded Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester) as the recipient of the Saint Michael the Archangel Award at their recent 50th annual awards meeting.

Saint Michael, considered the patron saint of police officers, paramedics, firefighters and the military, is the namesake of the association’s service award. Senator Tarr was nominated for his outstanding commitment and dedication to public service to the people of the Commonwealth.

“Senator Tarr understands that the men and women of law enforcement are expected to perform duties that are both routine and extraordinary often under difficult conditions and he has always been there to support us in our work,” said Association President Martin Gabriella. “The Senator’s outstanding efforts merit induction into the Honorable Order of Saint Michael the Archangel.”

“I am honored to receive the Saint Michael award from those who keep us safe and whose contributions make our cities and towns stronger,” said Senator Tarr. “To be considered worthy of sharing in this honor with former state governors, a U.S. President, and members of the law enforcement community is humbling.”

Past recipients of the Saint Michael award have included George W. Bush, Governors John Volpe, Michael Dukakis, and Paul Cellucci, Attorney General Francis Belloti and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.

The associated presented Medals of Valor to two Groveland Police Department officers, Detective Steven Petrone and Officer Daniel Richmond, for performing an act of bravery in the line of duty. The pair successfully performed a daring life-saving rescue of a motorist who had crashed her vehicle through an ice covered pond in Groveland. In addition, the Marconi Award was presented to state Representative Steve Ultrino and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross was given the Law Enforcement Distinguished Community Service Award.

Senator Tarr lauded the Groveland officers for their unflinching action in hazardous rescue. “The crashed vehicle was 30 feet into the water and officers Petrone and Richmond took immediate action knowingly placing themselves in immediate danger,” said Senator Tarr who represents the town of Groveland. “Their actions were heroic and they deserve to be distinguished for their valor.”

Founded in 1968, the Italian American Police Association has annually chosen recipients based on their contributions to protect public safety.

The Massachusetts Association of Italian American Police Officers has been at the forefront of providing support and recognition of the work of law enforcement officers of Italian American descent and heritage. Their mission includes insuring that national heritage is never an impediment to their profession.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Gloucester's Christmas Tree Has Arrived

Following a more than 1,300 mile round trip, our Gloucester team has returned from Shelburne, Nova Scotia with a magnificent Christmas tree. My brother Brent "Ringo" Tarr, Joe Novello and Nick Curcuru left three days ago for our sister city in Canada to get the tree - part of an annual exchange between the communities.

Soon, a team of dedicated volunteers will decorate the tree and Kent Circle, and there will be a festive tree lighting at 4 PM on Sunday, November 25th with music, refreshments and plenty of holiday spirit.

A few photos from this year and a look at the recent past. Please save the date.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Media Alert: On the Air on WCVB Channel 5 at 11 PM

Tonight I was interviewed by WCVB Channel 5's Mary Saladna about upcoming Senate Hearings on the Merrimack Valley Gas Explosions. Please tune in to the 11 pm newscast to watch our discussion


Merrimack Valley Gas Fires and Explosions To Be Subject of Senate Hearings

My office released the following statement today about announced Senate hearings-

 “The severe and ongoing hardships experienced by residents, local businesses, and the tragic loss of life caused by the gas explosions and fires in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover. These disruptive, disquieting and disturbing circumstances, must be carefully examined, and a pair of Senate oversight hearings in December are intended to do just that.

Gas companies are regulated utilities and we must understand the events and circumstances that caused the situation. The legislature has an important role to play with state regulators to make sure their operations are safe, effective and efficient.

Given the toll these events have taken on the Merrimack Valley, it is imperative that we conduct thorough hearings to examine what went wrong and what legislative or regulatory actions might be employed to prevent any future similar incidents anywhere in the state in the future. While the scale of the Merrimack Valley incident is unprecedented, we must do everything possible to prevent any threats from natural gas to public safety in our Commonwealth.”

Senator Tarr is a member of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy and he represents residents of North Andover, one of the communities impacted by the September 13th gas fires.


Veterans Breakfast

Happy to co-host a Veterans Breakfast at First Church in Ipswich this weekend with Representative Brad Hill. Great attendance, and great work by Chef Ron Elkin and many volunteers for a special event to say thanks to those who have served our nation.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Honoring Americans Who Have Served Our Country In The Armed Forces

Our men and women in uniform swear allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, a document encompassing the vision of liberty and the rule of law. Each of the men and women we honor today uttered the words of the soldier’s oath. They served under those words; some bled and others died for them. The decision to serve changed their lives forever.

Veterans Day is today, November 11th. Please join me in remembering our military veterans. There are events and ceremonies planned in communities throughout the Commonwealth and the country.

The unyielding and unchanging core principals of our nation - freedom, liberty, and justice expressed in our founding documents would be unobtainable without the actions of our veterans.

We are blessed to have had men and women wear the uniforms of our military organizations to take actions to defend, preserve, and promote those values and principles here and around the world. The family members of our veterans, and of those who wear the uniform as active members today, also deserve our deep appreciation.


Friday, November 9, 2018

Shriners Hospital Holds 50th Anniversary Gala

This week I was delighted to help celebrate Shriners Hospitals for Children - Boston's 50 years of caring for children with acute burns and complex medical needs.

Since 1968, the men and women there have been providing specialty pediatric care to kids from all around the world regardless of their families' ability to pay.


Celebrating The Great Marsh

Glad to speak at a well- attended and engaging Annual Great Marsh Symposium this morning, along with Selectpeople Lisa O'Donnell, and Geoff Walker, Peter Phippen, Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante and more than 170 people with a connection to the Great Marsh.

The Great Marsh is the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in all of New England ranging from Gloucester to southern New Hampshire. Encompassing more than 20,000 acres of salt marsh, barrier beach, tidal river, estuary, mudflat, and upland islands it is internationally recognized as a bird habitat and extraordinary environmental resource.

  • The symposium was held at Woodman's of Essex, speakers and subjects included - Introduction by Wayne Castonguay, Ipswich River Watershed Native and Lisa O’Donnell, Selectboard Chair, Town of Essex.
  • Mary Ellen Leponica - Americans and the Great Marsh
  • Chris Lehey, Mass Audubon - Birds & Birding in the Great Marsh
  • Geoff Walker, Newbury Selectmen - Traditional uses of Great Marsh
  • Annie Harris, Essex National Heritage Area - Tourism & Recreation in the Great Marsh
  • Mike Trupiano and/or Chrissi Pappas, Ipswich Shellfish Company - Shellfish Industry & the Fried Clam
  • David Rimmer, Essex County Greenbelt Association - Fish and Fisheries of the Great Marsh
  • Sam Cleaves, Metropolitan Area Planning Commission - Creative Great Marsh
  • Liz Duff, Mass Audubon & Peter Phippen, Mass Bays Program -Citizen Science in the Great Marsh


New Mass License and ID Format Change

Starting on Tuesday, November 13th the RMV is transitioning its new license/ID card format, from a nine-digit alphanumeric code consisting of one letter (“S”) and eight numbers, to one consisting of two letters (“SA”) and seven numbers. This change is necessary because we are running out of new “S” combinations in which to issue new Massachusetts licenses and ID cards.

This change only pertains to newly issued credentials. The RMV is keeping "S" numbers on all current licenses, IDs, and permits, and they will not change upon renewal.

Please contact with any questions.