Wednesday, August 21, 2019

National Weather Service Tornado Warning

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for Northwestern Essex County. Please use caution. Quarter sized hail is possible with this storm.

There is a continued risk for scattered strong to severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening to 10 PM. Damaging wind gusts are the primary threat, along with the potential for torrential downpours that may produce localized flash flooding.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Wall That Heals

Thursday, I was honored to be invited as a guest speaker for the opening ceremony of the Wall That Heals Vietnam Veterans Memorial exhibit at Ipswich River Park in North Reading. The Wall That Heals, a three-fourths scale replica of The Wall in Washington, is a mobile memorial created and supported by the same non-profit organization, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund that originated the D.C. memorial.

The experience of being near the 375 foot long Wall That Heals, with more than 58,000 names of missing and killed service members, is humbling. Although it is mobile, it is constructed in a chevron like the original, with 140 numbered and engraved panels so that visitors can do name rubbings, and the feelings it inspires are as powerful as caused by any memorial.

The Veterans, Parks and Recreation Department of North Reading, Massachusetts has succeeded in arranging for the Wall to return here once again – it will only be seen in 3 places in New England this year. In order to support North Reading’s efforts to display the Wall That Heals, I authored legislation supported by Representative Brad Jones and signed into law by Governor Baker, which directed $10,000 to defer expenses for the memorial’s display in North Reading.

When offloaded, the trailer that carries The Wall That Heals becomes an education center with a timeline, maps, photographs and information about the Vietnam War and the Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Everyone who visits leaves with a deeper understanding of the sacrifices that these men and women made and the due respect that all of our veterans deserve.

To Susan Magner, Director of Veterans Services for North Reading, the Veterans, Parks and Recreation Department, the many volunteers who labored to offload, erect, stand watch over, and pack the Wall, and to our veterans I say, thank you.


Ipswich Travel Alert from MassDOT:

Waldingfield Road Roadway Closure From August 26 Through November 20 

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced that Waldingfield Road in Ipswich will be closed to vehicular traffic between Highland Street and County Road (Route 1A) from Monday, August 26, through Wednesday, November 20. This closure is necessary to allow crews to safely and effectively rehabilitate the Waldingfield Road Bridge.

Waldingfield Road will be open from the west to abutters only between Highland Street and the Waldingfield Road Bridge, and from the east to abutters only from County Road (Route 1A) to the Waldingfield Road Bridge.

The following detour routes will be in place:
• Eastbound traffic will be detoured north onto Highland Street which becomes Mill Road, right to Topsfield Road which becomes Market Street, and then right to South Main Street which becomes County Road (Route 1A).
• Westbound traffic will be detoured at County Road (Route 1A) left onto South Main Street, left onto Market Street which becomes Topsfield Road, and then left onto Mill Road which becomes Highland Street.

Those traveling through the area should expect delays, reduce speed and use caution. Appropriate signage, law enforcement details and advanced message boards will be in place to guide drivers through the work area.


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Welcoming the Executive Director of the Office of Travel and Tourism

Yesterday, I was happy to join Gloucester Mayor Theken, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Peter Webber, North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Ann Marie Casey and others in welcoming Keiko Orrall, the Executive Director of the Office of Travel and Tourism to Gloucester.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project Update

Construction overview: August 11 - August 24, 2019 

Traffic Impacts
• Route 1 Northbound: Approaching the Tobin Bridge from Boston, the workzone begins in the right lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m. – 10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m. – 5 a.m.).

• Route 1 Southbound: Approaching the Chelsea Curves from the North Shore, the workzone begins in the right lane at the Carter Street off-ramp. Just beyond the Carter Street on-ramp, the travel lanes shift to the right. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m. – 10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m. – 5 a.m.).

• Ramps: As of Monday, July 15, the Fourth Street Off-ramp will be closed for 2-3 months.

• Local Streets: Orange Street under Route 1 will close temporarily on Saturday, August 17, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. From Monday, August 19 to Friday, August 23, Spruce Street between Sixth Street and Everett Ave will be CLOSED overnight from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. for bridge work with traffic detoured one block to Arlington Street. The Spruce Street temporary reconfiguration and Carter Street workzone will remain in place until Fall 2019.

Work Hours
• Most work will occur in during daytime working hours (6 a.m.–2 p.m.) on weekdays. Some work will take place during afternoon (2 p.m. – 7 p.m) and overnight hours (9 p.m. – 5 a.m.) and on Saturdays (6 a.m. – 2 p.m). Overnight work on the Tobin Bridge will occur on Friday, August 18 (9 p.m. – 5 a.m.).



My office issued the following press release -
Legislation Annually Designates July 1st As The United States Cadet Nurse Corps Day

Boston– The State Senate today adopted legislation offered by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester) to give long-deserved official recognition to cadet nurse, women who voluntarily enlisted in the uniformed services of the United States, during World War II.

The Cadet Nurse Corps, created by Congress in 1943, was successful in stemming an impending collapse of the nation’s health system. The country’s supply of nurses was desperately low following the First World War and the entry of the United States into World War II further exacerbated the crisis. 180,000 young women were recruited, enrolled and trained to address a critical shortage of available nurses.

“I offered this bill because there should be formal recognition of the contributions that these nurse cadets have made to our state, to the nation and ultimately to the world. Massachusetts has long been at the forefront of nursing education and healthcare and official recognition to honor these women is long overdue,” said Senator Tarr. “The commitment, care and thankless labor of these women, who averaged just 19 years of age, gave life, hope and care to others. They have earned our respect and they deserve our thanks.”

Tarr’s bill received favorable support from the legislature’s Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs before its vote in the Senate chamber today.

“The Friends of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps WWII is very pleased that the state Senate is moving forward to recognize the important role that these 9,000 Massachusetts women played,” said Dr. Barbara Poremba Director of the Friends of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps WWII and Professor Emeritus of Nursing at Salem State University. “We will continue to work with Senator Tarr to secure a place in Nurses Hall at the State House to place a permanent plaque to commemorate the Corps.”

Dr. Barbara Poremba noted that these nurses were members of the US uniformed service and provided 80 percent of the military and civilian nursing care in the then 48 states, Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

In addition to the bill which requires an annual issuance of a proclamation by the Governor to set apart the first day of July as the “United States Cadet Nurse Corps Day" Tarr is also pursuing securing a permanent and prominent location in the State House for perpetual recognition of the Corps.

“The State House is our capital building and there are far too few markers or monuments to the impact that women have had on our society,” said Tarr. “I think it’s important that we change that; many of these surviving veterans are now in their 80’s and 90’s we just can’t thank them enough.”

Although the US Cadet Nurse Corps, the largest group of uniformed women to serve the country, was administered by the U.S. Surgeon General and the Public Health Service, it is the only uniformed service that has not yet been given veteran status. Support for further recognition of the nurses is growing as awareness of their significant role has come to light in recent anniversary commemorations of World War II events.

Tarr sponsored a Senate resolution in 2018 recognizing the 75 anniversary of the establishment of the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1943.

The bill, adopted by the Senate, now moves to the House for further consideration.


Thursday, August 8, 2019

Celebration of the grand opening of Café Sarina at Nunan Florist & Greenhouses Inc. in Georgetown

The start of a new venture is exciting and best celebrated with a party. I was delighted to help Steve Flynn and his family, friends and staff as they expand the family business to include a locally sourced, farm-to-table café and restaurant. Named Café Sarina to honor Steve’s granddaughter, Sarina Flynn who born with Downs Syndrome, the cafe features breakfast, coffee, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. I wish them much success and many happy customers.

Also at the location is their Garden Golf center and Kallie’s Kones ice cream shop, Helping us celebrate - Representative Lenny Mirra, Selectman Joseph Bonavita and Selectman Doug Dawes.



Wednesday, August 7, 2019

National Night Out In Wilmington

I had the opportunity to once again participate in Wilmington’s National Night Out at Rotary Park for a community-building event that promoted police and community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods more caring places to be.

Located across the street from the Wilmington Public Safety Building, the event featured games for children, police and fire vehicle displays, equipment displays, demonstrations, good food, and more. Importantly, people had the opportunity to collect information regarding crime prevention.

There were representatives not only from the Wilmington Police Department, but also from local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies talking with members of the community and explaining their agency’s role.

Congratulations Wilmington for a great success. Your volunteers and hard work made Rotary Park bustle with energy.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

A Special Recognition for US Navy Veteran Douglas Bryant

Middleton resident Douglas Bryant was the guest of honor recently at the Newburyport Veterans Luncheon where Mary Ann Nay, my Community Outreach Specialist, presented him with a Senate citation, jointly with State Senator Diana DiZoglio, in recognition of his dedication and service to our Commonwealth and nation.

Mr. Bryant, now 93 years old, enlisted in US Navy at the age of 17 and went on to serve in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. He retired from the service in 1967 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer.

The event, a luncheon for 200 military veterans at the annual Yankee Homecoming Veterans Luncheon, also featured remarks from U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley.

Mr. Bryant recently authored a book about his experiences, “The Navy Gave Me Shoes”, which describes his training in the Navy Submarine Service. Still a teenager, he first entered the Sea of Japan in 1944. His work was vital and dangerous - one in five submariners did not survive World War II.

Among those attending the event were Senator Diana DiZoglio, Representative James Kelcourse, Representative Lenny Mirra and Newburyport’s Mayor Donna Holaday,


Saturday, August 3, 2019


Boston– Wilmington’s legislative delegation, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, Representative David Robertson, and Representative Ken Gordon, succeeded in securing $30,000 in the new state Fiscal Year 2020 budget for necessary repairs and renovations at Wilmington’s Buzzell Senior Center.

 “Every time I have come through the doors of the Buzzell Center I’ve found it to be a welcoming and vital place full of active and engaged citizens, volunteers and supportive staff – what they do here makes this place worth fighting for,” said Senator Tarr. “I want to help Terri so that she can keep the center going strong in order that others will always feel as welcome as I do.”

“It was a pleasure working with Senator Tarr on behalf of Wilmington. The Senate and the House have shown an investment in public education by increasing state aide to our schools, which also helps slow the rate of growth of our property taxes, as well as increased the funding for roads and bridges. I especially enjoyed working to help secure funding for improvements to the Buzzell Senior Center kitchen and other facilities, which is not just a special place for our seniors but the entire town,” said Representative David Robertson (D –Tewksbury) “It’s always been a well-used facility and these improvements will go a long way.”

The center, located across from the Wilmington High School at 15 School Street, was the subject of two state budget amendments.

“How extremely fortunate that we have the support of Senator Bruce Tarr and Representative Robertson to offer these amendments to help us with our work,” said Terri Marciello, Director of Elderly Services. “They know how important our senior center is to the community and they have supported Wilmington’s seniors in many forms.”

Representative David Robertson filed, with the support of Representative Ken Gordon (D – Bedford), budget language that would provide $20,000 for the center. The appropriation request was adopted by the House in May.

Senator Tarr authored an amendment, which gained to popular support in the Senate, to raise the funding level for the Wilmington center to $30,000. The Tarr amendment was adopted.

Tarr, as Senate Minority Leader, selected one of the six committee members who worked to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the $43.1 billion budget. They reached consensus recently on a compromise spending plan for the new fiscal year that began on July 1.

Tarr, Robertson and Gordon wrote to the conferees in June urging the panel to include in the final Conference Committee report the Senate’s higher amount.


Seafood Festival Sunday

If you plan on attending the Boston Seafood Festival on Sunday, August 4th, at the Boston Fishing Pier, keep a look out for the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association. They’re a highly regarded non-profit organization and they will be there to promote the fishing industry and the men and women who produce a nutritious food source that supplies the world. Did you know that Gloucester is the oldest fishing port in the country? It’s true.

The festival is hosted by Boston Fisheries Foundation and showcases a number of seafood vendors. There will be food trucks, ice cream, live music, a shucking contest, many chef demonstrations and lots of seafood.

For more information about the Festival held in Boston you can visit the website


Friday, August 2, 2019


$50,000 Measure Funds Personal Protective Equipment 

Boston- Firefighters in Boxford will be receiving state funding for the protective clothing they wear, known as “turnout gear,” as a result of amendments added to the state’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget Boxford’s state legislative delegation. Those amendments came as a result of joint efforts by state Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) in the Senate, State Representative Tram T Nguyen (D- Andover) and Representative Lenny Mirra(R- West Newbury) in the House.

Boxford’s state legislative delegation successfully championed amendments to both the House and Senate budgets, and as a result, $50,000 will be made available for the purchase of units of protective gear necessary for Boxford’s full-time and on call firefighters to respond to emergencies.

“This particular initiative is intended to protect Boxford’s firefighters who regularly put themselves in harm’s way in order to save lives and protect property. Turnout gear is one of the most important things that can protect them from serious harm,” said Senator Tarr. “That’s why it’s important for the state to partner with towns like Boxford to meet the costs of purchasing gear that can cost as much as $12,000 for each set.”

“Our first responders serve the community in many incredible ways, which is why I am proud to have worked with the state delegation to obtain $50,000 in local earmarks for Boxford’s Fire Department,” said Representative Nguyen. “With this money, our firefighters will be able to purchase turnout gear necessary to combat fires and save lives. We are very thankful for their dedication to public service and know that this funding will benefit the entire town!”

"The safety of our firefighters is of utmost importance to all of us, so I'm happy and proud to have worked with Representative Nguyen and Senator Tarr in securing these funds for their turnout gear,” said Representative Mirra. “We want our safety personnel to return safely to their families every time they're called out to help us."

A growing body of research indicates that turnout gear must be cleaned after each use in a fire scene, in order to address properly the exposure to toxins and contaminants that can pose serious health risks to the wearer. In order to achieve this, and maintain necessary readiness status, departments most often must purchase and maintain two sets of gear for each firefighter. That, in turn, translates into a major expense because the cost of one set of gear can be as much as $12,500.

Ironically, flame retardant fabrics and materials such as carpeting and furniture, while treated chemically to slow flames, burns hotter and off gasses chemicals which are cancer-causing when ignited. Access to a second set of personal protective equipment is rapidly being seen as imperative.


Firefighter Turnout Gear Funded

I met today with Gloucester Fire Department's Chief, Eric Smith and WBZ News Radio's Kendall Buhl to discuss the firefighter protection funding plan that I authored and secured in the state budget. The plan directs the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services to provide $500,000 for the purchase of firefighter turnout gear.

Firefighters regularly put themselves in harm’s way in order to save lives and protect property and  turnout gear is one of the most important things that protects them from serious harm. That’s why we need to support local departments in making sure that their members have enough gear, and that it’s in good condition.

Working with Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, I was able to secure a separate turnout gear grant of $50,000 specifically for Gloucester firefighters.

The protective gear, known as personal protective equipment, is made of fire resistant materials, typically a blend of artificial fibers such as Kevlar. These articles are designed to prevent serious harm when firefighters come into contact with chemicals, electricity, fire or other dangers.

A growing body of research indicates that turnout gear must be cleaned after each use in a fire scene, in order to address properly the exposure to toxins and contaminants that can pose serious health risks to the wearer. In order to achieve this, and maintain necessary readiness status, departments most often must purchase and maintain two sets of gear for each firefighter. That, in turn, translates into a major expense for municipalities.

Ironically, flame retardant fabrics and materials such as carpeting and furniture, while treated chemically to slow flames, burns hotter and off gasses chemicals which are cancer-causing when ignited. Access to a second set of personal protective equipment is rapidly being seen as imperative.