Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Superfund Site Update in Wilmington

Last night I participated in an important meeting about the Olin Chemical Superfund Site in Wilmington. The federal government's Environmental Protection Agency is looking at steps for a final cleanup plan for the site. Officials answered questions from residents and gave an update on the process.

Olin Chemical produced chemicals at the site until the late 80s. Water wells and municipal drinking supplies were contaminated and it's been very difficult for residents. With Representative Dave Robertson and Representative Ken Gordon, officials from EPA and the town, and many residents.




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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Manufacturing Award Ceremony Information

The Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus held its 4th Annual Manufacturing Award Ceremony at the State House today.

Increasingly, our state has become a leader in advanced manufacturing. We have skilled workers trained to use powerful equipment and a customer base actively seeking machined parts from local business. It is important for government and industry to work together to pursue innovation. The Manufacturing Caucus has more than 60 legislators - we have focused on training for manufacturing employees, encouraging innovation by helping start-up access resources, and expanding apprenticeship opportunities in key manufacturing sectors.

I was happy to talk with and present Senate citations to representatives from local businesses including - Riverdale Mills Corporation, Dawn’s Sign Tech of North Andover, Salem Metal, Inc.from Middleton and others.



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Commuter Rail Delays For Newburyport/Rockport Trains

The MBTA has just announced that the Rockport Train 8:35 am from North Station is now operating 25-35 minutes behind schedule between Swampscott and Rockport due to earlier single-track traffic with late inbound trains. The Newburyport Train 164 (10:00 am from Newburyport) is expected to depart Newburyport 5-15 minutes behind schedule due to the late arrival of equipment caused by earlier service disruptions on the line.

They say to expect trains to continue experiencing significant delays in both directions. Seek alternate transportation where possible. News accounts say that a pedestrian was struck near Beverly Depot.

UPDATE-  The Boston Globe reports that the Transit Police that the pedestrian is conscious and alert.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Groveland Police Association Annual Harvest Dinner for Senior Citizens

I had a wonderful time at the annual Harvest Dinner sponsored by the Groveland Police Department Association. The Association has put on the dinner for senior citizens, in cooperation with Groveland's Council on Aging, for more than 25 years.

The dinner was held at the Bagnall Elementary with a great turnout. I have attended many times in the past, and I look forward to many more.



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Georgetown Youth Community

I was very happy to visit the Georgetown Youth Community Center last night with Representative Lenny Mirra. Superintendent Carol Jacobs of Georgetown, MA Public Schools invited us to join her and other Georgetown officials, residents and students for an Open House event.

Representative Mirra and I secured $30,000 in state funding for developing the Youth Community Center in the state budget. This is a great example of why we have worked together with our partners in local government to place funding where it can support great ideas. The center will provide a place for young people to meet and socialize. I am thankful that the students gave me a tour of their new place and I encourage others to support them and the center.






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Thursday, October 17, 2019

National Grid Power Outage Report

National Grid has shared the following information with me.

Our current global ETR in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – that is, the time by which 95 percent of customers are expected to be restored – is Saturday night. That doesn’t mean everyone will be without power for days – that’s a worst-case scenario. The majority will be back sooner and as that information becomes refined, we will be providing updates.

We have nearly 1,260 field personnel in New England who have been activated as part of our emergency response operations. This includes: more than 1,000 in MA and 280 in Rhode Island, inclusive of overhead line crews, forestry, contractors, underground, wires down, and substation workers. These numbers will increase, as we have also requested additional crews through our mutual assistance partnerships.

Please note the restoration estimates on our outage map reflects the time the last customer in your town is expected to be restored, so we recommend logging in instead for a more personalized estimate.

Encouraging Customers to Stay Connected:
• Report power outages at www.nationalgridus.com or call 1-800-465-1212.
• Receive text message alerts and updates when you text the word STORM to NGRID (64743).
• Use your mobile device to track outage information and storm-related safety tips through National Grid’s mobile site accessible at www.ngrid.com/mobile.
• Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram; we post all the latest storm and restoration updates.
• Track outages and ETRs at www.nationalgridus.com/outage-central.

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Gloucester Power Update

Gloucester has experienced a significant number of power outages, downed trees, downed wires, broken branches, and other hazards. The Gloucester DPW, Gloucester Police Department, Gloucester Fire Department, National Grid and Comcast are working to clean-up and restore utilities. The Rose Baker Senior Center and Sawyer Free Library have power and heat and are open to the public during normal business hours.

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken informs me that further updates are expected.

Latest outages by utility-

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Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project Update

Due to Weather Conditions, Route 1 Lane Shifts Move to Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19, 2019 Previously announced roadway configuration changes on Route 1 in Chelsea will now take place during the overnight hours on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19. Beginning Friday night, October 18, Northbound travel lanes will shift to the right after the Fourth Street off-ramp through the Chelsea Curves. Beginning Saturday night, October 19, Southbound travel lanes will shift to the left after the Carter Street off-ramp. Overnight work on Friday will begin one hour after the completion of an event at TD Garden scheduled for 6 p.m. on October 18.

The new roadway configuration allows necessary bridge deck repairs and safety improvements on the inbound side of Route 1 through the Chelsea Curves and will be in place for approximately 1-2 months. 2 travel lanes will continue to be open in each direction 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.).

Traffic heading towards Chelsea on Route 1 northbound must be in the right lane to access the Beacon Street off-ramp. After Beacon Street, the next opportunity to exit Route 1 northbound will be at Webster Avenue. As a reminder, trucks are not permitted to use the Beacon Street off-ramp and must use Webster Avenue.

Drivers should take care to pay attention to all signage and move carefully through the work zone. Police details, lane markings, temporary barriers, traffic cones, signage, and other tools will be used to control traffic and create safe work zones. MassDOT will provide additional notices as needed for high-impact work, temporary ramp and street closures, and changes to traffic configurations.

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Power Outages Throughout the region

Crews are deployed and assisting with damage and restoration efforts throughout Massachusetts. Some schools and businesses are closed this morning due to power outages throughout the region. You can check this Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency website for reports. http://mema.mapsonline.net/public.html 

  • Monitor the media for emergency information. Follow instructions from public safety officials.
  • Call 9-1-1 to report emergencies including:
  • Downed power lines; or If you are dependent on equipment that requires electricity and need medical assistance.
  • Call your utility company to report power outages and get restoration information. Do not call 9-1-1 to report an outage or to ask about power restoration.

National Grid 1-800-465-1212
Eversource (formerly NSTAR) 1-800-592-2000
Eversource (formerly WMECO) 877-659-6326

Stay away from downed utility wires. Always assume a downed power line is live.

If a traffic light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop. Take recommended safety precautions when using space heaters, a fireplace, or a woodstove to heat your home. Keep a fire extinguisher handy.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

SenaTOUR in Salem

Senator Joan Lovely invited me and our Senate colleagues to spend the day in Salem. We saw some of the city’s highlights such as the new wing of the Peabody Essex Museum, Punto Urban Art Museum run by the Community Development Corporation, the fabled House of the Seven Gables and more. Lunch was held at Finz Seafood & Grill on Pickering Wharf. We traveled across the city by way of the Salem Trolley.






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Thursday, October 10, 2019

2nd Annual Seafood Day at the State House

The state's Division of Marine Fisheries and the Fishing Partnership Support Services co-hosted the Seafood Day at the State House to the great delight of all who attended. We celebrate the labor and efforts of all of those in this important industry.

The event featured seafood tastings, informative displays, live music, working fishermen and many who support them.An amazing way to showcase the diverse, sustainable, nutritious and delicious seafood harvested by our local fishermen - the Great Hall of the State House was the center of it all.





















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I am honored to receive the Legislator of the Year Award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving

This press release was issued from my office.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving Names Senator Bruce Tarr Legislator of the Year 
Cites Senator’s Work on Vehicle Interlock Devices for Drunk Driving Offenders 

BOSTON- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a national organization dedicated to ending drunk and drugged driving, has named Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, as one of 45 lawmakers nation-wide, with its Legislator of the Year Award.

MADD National President Helen Witty, and a delegation representing the organization, presented Senator Tarr with the award in the Senate Chamber of the State House this week. President Witty thanked Tarr for his continued work championing a bill which would spread the use of interlock devices for convicted drunk drivers.

“Mothers Against Drunk Driving is acknowledged across the country for sustained and successful work advocating for sensible laws to reduce drunk and drugged driving and I am honored to receive this award from them,” said Senator Tarr. Tarr’s bill,

Senate 2136, An Act Relative To Strengthening Public Safety Through Interlock Devices, would authorize the use of interlock devices for first-time offenders. Massachusetts requires interlock devices for all repeat DUI offenders but is the only state in the country that does not allow the use of interlocks for first offenders.

“Drunk driving deaths have risen 9% since 2014. Meanwhile, arrests are down. We rely on our governors and legislators to introduce, champion, pass and prioritize enforcement of laws that will save lives and help reverse this public safety crisis.” said Witty, whose 16-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk and drugged teen driver in 2000. “MADD is so grateful to our elected leaders who share our passion for eliminating the often deadly and always preventable crime of drunk driving,”

Tarr noted that federal research has shown that the use of auto interlocks reduce repeat drunk driving offenses by 67 percent, “While we can no longer avoid being the last state in the nation to adopt this smart approach to public safety, we still have an obligation to take action now so that we can stem the pain and harm from the senseless loss of life at the hands of a drunk driver that could be prevented with time-tested and road-tested technology.”

Since the adoption of a driver interlock law in the state a dozen years ago, which requires a permanently connected device in the vehicle active 24 hours a day, more than 39,000 attempts to drive drunk were prevented.



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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

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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Thursday, October 3, 2019

An update on the Senate debate of the $1.5 billion education funding reform bill.

The state Senate has continued to debate the Student Opportunity Act. There are 69 amendments to the bill offered by members.


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Data Driven Decision Making

I have requested data sets used to create the Senate education funding reform bill. Prior to debate it is incumbent on all of us to consider the most accurate and reliable data in the context of this bill.

A comprehensive set of information and statistics about the bill’s impact on our school districts, and the 951,000 public school students served by them, should be made widely available.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

State officials announce 8th EEE horse case in Massachusetts

Personal protection measures continue to be essential 

BOSTON (October 2, 2019)—The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that laboratory testing has confirmed the 8th horse infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus this year. The horse was stabled in the town of Spencer in Worcester County, a community already considered at high risk for EEE.

No change in risk levels is indicated. There are 35 communities now at critical risk, 53 at high risk, and 121 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in Massachusetts. A map of the state’s current EEE risk levels can be found here.

“We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Catherine Brown. “Although mosquito populations are beginning to decline, risk from EEE will continue until the first hard frost.”

There have been 12 human cases of EEE this season in Massachusetts and nine confirmed cases of EEE this year in animals - eight horses and a goat.

State officials continue to remind residents throughout the Commonwealth to take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites. Residents can learn more about EEE and ways to protect themselves on DPH’s website.

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE occurs sporadically in Massachusetts with the most recent outbreak years occurring from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012.
EEE virus has been found in 426 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people. An additional 76 mosquitos have tested positive for WNV.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes:
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours
The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites
Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

STRONG MEN DON’T BULLY

Today we gathered together at Gloucester City Hall to recognize the 20th anniversary of the dedication of the STRONG MEN DON’T BULLY billboard on Railroad Avenue and to continue our efforts to bring an end to domestic abuse, sexual assault and dating abuse.

We invite others to join us in taking steps not only to raise awareness of domestic violence but also to join us in making commitments to act.








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