Monday, August 31, 2020
Primary Election Day Is Tomorrow
Returning to School Safely, Together
Friday, August 28, 2020
“Call to Colors” A Celebration of The American Flag at the Cape Ann Museum Green
Adam Curcuru, Director of Cape Ann Veterans Services, a former Marine Lance Corporal and Purple Heart recipient who served in Afghanistan, shared his thoughts on the meaning of the American Flag. Adam was accompanied by his assistant and Veterans Benefits Coordinator, Violette Chipperini, a former Sergeant in the US Army and a Purple Heart recipient, wounded in Iraq.
Charlie and Coco Esdaile, Theo and Cecilia Barker, and Ryan Johnston, grandson of Nina and Stephen Goodick, assisted by Adam, and their parents/grandparents, raised the Flag.
Sales Tax Holiday
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Dr. Carl Soderland of Lahey Health Retirement
Massachusetts Approved For Lost Wages Assistance Grant
Friday, August 21, 2020
MassDOT Advisory: North Andover, August 24
Thursday, August 20, 2020
"The State of the Coast"
This morning I will be at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate with The Trustees, Katie Theoharides, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Representative Brad Hill, Ipswich town officials and others to announce a comprehensive new report "The State of the Coast" which examines 13 North of Boston coastal communities and efforts to protect them. I will provide a link to this important report following the event.
The Trustees' report is a comprehensive and thoughtful assessment of a number of the risks to our natural and built environments backed by real-world data and scientific analysis. This document buttresses the ongoing work of many organizations, including the North East Coastal Coalition and the Merrimack River Beach Alliance, and points to the need for future such collaborative efforts to further momentum toward knowledge and policy development so that we act proactively as good stewards of our coast for future generations.
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Legislature Enacts $1.8 Billion Bond Bill to Strengthen the Commonwealth’s
State public health officials announce season’s third human case of EEE in the Commonwealth
Joint Guidance on Modified School Sports Seasons For Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association
Unfortunately, in some cases, competitive play may need to be cancelled or postponed. While difficult for all involved, it is essential that we keep health and safety paramount, both for everyone directly involved and the wider community.
Working in close consultation with a variety of stakeholders and our medical advisors and based on the Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Guidance recently provided by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) have collaborated to provide the following modified sports schedule for school year 2020-21 and guidance for sports participation for students who are learning remotely. Please note that this guidance is pending ratification by the MIAA board and is subject to change throughout the school year.
The MIAA, in consultation with their medical advisers and EEA, will develop sport-specific modifications to meet the guidance from EEA for issuance prior to the start of each season. At this time, based on current statewide health data, sports that the EEA guidance lists as lower and moderate risk may be held during their normal seasons, provided that MIAA’s recommended modifications specific to those sports meet the standards outlined in the EEA guidance. For the fall season, higher risk sports, including football, cheer, and unified basketball, will be practice only, using the cohort method described in the EEA guidance. Schools/districts choosing to engage in practice for these sports must complete the Sport Attestation Compliance form and keep it on file.
Higher risk sports in later seasons will continue to be evaluated in light of health metrics and the EEA guidance, and MIAA will make final decisions in consultation with their medical advisers closer to the start of each season. The sports that MIAA ultimately does not approve to be played in their normal season will be moved or considered for later in the year during the floating season.
The health and safety of our school communities must remain the top priority, and we recognize that any plans for athletic opportunities must adapt to evolving public health metrics.
2020-21 Modified Sports Seasons
All sports must adhere to the minimum modifications outlined in the EEA guidance to achieve Level 3 play (inter-team competition). If those modifications cannot be met, the sport may consider moving to a later season or adopting a “practice only” model using the EEA cohort method and in alignment with other EEA guidelines. Guidance from EEA will be re-issued prior to the start of each season, based on public health data, testing availability, and any new information, and MIAA will make final decisions for each season following that updated guidance.
At this time, the sports listed above have been conditionally approved for the fall season, provided they are able to meet the minimum modifications outlined in the EEA guidance. For the fall season football, cheer, and unified basketball will be practice only, using the cohort method described in the EEA guidance. Schools/districts choosing to engage in practice for these sports must complete the Sport Attestation Compliance form and keep it on file.
Higher risk sports in later seasons (including hockey, basketball, wrestling, boys lacrosse, and rugby) will continue to be evaluated in light of health metrics and the EEA guidance and final decisions will be made closer to the start of each season. Those that are ultimately not approved by MIAA to be played in a season will be moved or considered for later in the year during the floating season, as reflected above. All sports, regardless of risk level, must follow the EEA guidelines, and moderate and higher risk sports must adopt the required minimum modifications for achieving different levels of play. To be able to engage in competitive play, modifications should include eliminating deliberate contact, modifying or eliminating intermittent contact, and increasing distancing. If these modifications are not possible, the sport may achieve a modified Level 2 play (competitive practice) using the cohort method outlined in the EEA guidance. Again, schools/districts choosing to engage in practice for these sports must complete the Sport Attestation Compliance form and keep it on file. The EEA guidance also outlines best practices for all sports, including the use of protective equipment and masks. The sport specific modifications and plan for implementation will be developed by MIAA in consultation with their medical advisors.
Based on the schedule above, school districts should work with MIAA to develop their schedules for the year and be ready to modify those schedules as needed. More detailed information on the guidelines for practices and the start of competitions will be outlined in the guidance that MIAA will release.
Sports participation for remote learners
Districts designated as “red” based on the Department of Public Health (DPH)’s metric of average daily cases per 100,000 residents and which therefore have their high school students learning remotely at the start of a season, must postpone their entire season, including practices, until the floating season later in the year.
Districts designated as yellow, green, or unshaded based on the DPH metric that nonetheless have their high school students learning remotely at the start of a season may similarly delay their season to the floating season. If a yellow, green, or unshaded district that is only offering remote learning to its high school students wishes to participate in the regularly scheduled sports season, this must be approved by the local school committee.
The MIAA will develop a timeline for looking at data prior to the start of each season to determine which color-coded designation a district should fall into for the purposes of engaging in sports. For example, the MIAA could determine a school’s color-coded designation/eligibility on September 1 to determine initial eligibility and check again on October 1 to determine if the school remains eligible to participate in the fall season.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Boxford Firefighter Turnout Gear
The protective gear 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.
With Selectman Peter Perkins, Fire Chief Greiger, Firefighter Colangelo State Rep. Lenny Mirra, Firefighter Blake, Firefighter Ashley, Selectwoman Mary Anne Nay, Firefighter Brown,and State Rep Tram Nguyen.
Governor Charlie Baker's Coronavirus Briefing at Noon
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Significant Drought Conditions Declared Across Massachusetts
“The combination of three months of limited rainfall and well above normal temperatures through July and early August have led to very dry conditions in every region of Massachusetts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “All levels of government are coordinating to address these critical drought conditions, and it is essential that residents and businesses across the Commonwealth take extra care to conserve water both indoors and outdoors and be mindful of the increased risk of wildlife when using any fire or smoking materials.”
“Because the Commonwealth continues to experience drought conditions across the state, the public is urged to continue conserving water in order to reduce the demand on water supplies,” said Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Samantha Phillips. “Dry conditions increase the threat of brush and wildland fires, so we urge residents to exercise caution when using charcoal grills, matches, and other open flames during outdoor activities and to call 911 immediately if there is a fire to prevent the fire from spreading.” The declaration was informed by recommendations and discussions from a recent meeting of the Drought Management Task Force (DMTF), composed of state and federal officials and other entities, and will remain in effect until water levels return to normal in the affected regions.
Temperatures remain well above normal, as the Commonwealth recorded the second hottest July on record last month. Rainfall was scattered across the state with only a few areas receiving above normal precipitation; most areas were in a deficit by 1 to 3 inches. Meanwhile, temperatures throughout the first two weeks of August are 2 to 4 degrees above normal throughout Massachusetts, with warmer than normal temperatures predicted in the coming weeks and months. While most regions of the Commonwealth are experiencing a classic long-term drought, the Southeast, Cape Cod, and Islands regions are experiencing conditions akin to a ‘flash drought’ which is a rapid onset drought with decreased precipitation, above normal temperatures, and incoming radiation resulting in abnormally high evapotranspiration all combining to increase fire danger and decrease crop moisture levels.
Additionally, wildland fire risk continues across the state. Extended drought conditions have rendered grasses, shrubs and forest fuels very dry across most of the state, and extremely dry in areas of the Southeast, resulting in increased wildfire risk and added challenges for firefighting agencies. Long term precipitation deficits have also led to extremely dry soil conditions, which results in fires burning deep into the ground, and taking multiple days to extinguish. These conditions exhaust local resources and increase risk to firefighter safety. Fire officials remind the public to be very aware of this situation, and to be careful with all open burning and disposal of combustible materials.
The state continues to intensely monitor and assess the drought situation, and any associated environmental and agricultural impacts. Task Force officials also noted that the state’s streamflow saw overall improvement in July because of scattered rainfall. However, within the first two weeks of August, conditions seem to have worsened, with well below normal streamflow observed in most regions. The state asks residents in every region across the Commonwealth to be very mindful of the amount of water they are using, to be proactive in reducing or eliminating outdoor water use, to reduce indoor water use, and to address plumbing leaks as soon as possible. Limiting nonessential outdoor watering is one of the most effective ways to minimize the impacts of drought on water supply and the environment, and ensure there is enough water for fire protection. All these steps will help reduce water use to ensure essential needs such as drinking water and fire protection are being met, and habitats have enough water to recover.
For Regions in Level 2 – Significant Drought
Residents and Businesses:
• Minimize overall water use;
• Limit outdoor watering to hand-held hoses or watering cans, to be used only after 5 p.m. or before 9 a.m. one day a week.
Immediate Steps for Communities:
• Adopt and implement the state’s nonessential outdoor water use restrictions for drought; Level 2 restriction calls for limiting outdoor watering to hand-held hoses or watering cans, to be used only after 5 p.m. or before 9 a.m.
• Limit or prohibit installation of new sod, seeding, and/or landscaping; watering during or within 48 hours after measurable rainfall; washing of hard surfaces (sidewalks, patios, driveways, siding); personal vehicle or boat washing; operation of non-recirculating fountains; filling of swimming pools, hot tubs, and backyard informal rinks.
• Implement drought surcharge or seasonal water rates.
• Establish water-use reduction targets for all water users and identify top water users and conduct targeted outreach to help curb their use.
Short- and Medium-Term Steps for Communities:
• Establish a year-round water conservation program that includes public education and communication;
• Provide timely information to local residents and businesses;
• Check emergency inter-connections for water supply; and
• Develop a local drought management plan using guidance outlined in the state Drought Management Plan.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) continues to provide technical assistance to communities on managing systems, including assistance on use of emergency connections and water supplies, as well as assisting towns on how to request a declaration of drought emergency.
“Water suppliers should continue to work with their customers and educate them on strategies to manage demand during this time period,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “It is essential that regions across Massachusetts embrace conservation practices to avoid added stress on drinking water resources and other water-dependent habitats.”
The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water supply system is not currently experiencing drought conditions, as defined within its individual plan.
The declaration of a Level 2 – Significant Drought requires the Drought Management Task Force to meet on a regular basis to more closely assess conditions across the state, coordinate dissemination of information to the public, and help state, federal and local agencies prepare any responses that may be needed in the future. The Task Force will meet on a monthly basis or more frequently as conditions warrant; the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 1:00 pm and will be held virtually via Zoom.
Last year, EEA completed a two-year process and updated the Massachusetts Drought Management Plan to better assess drought conditions across the state and maximize the state’s ability to prepare for and respond to a drought. The Plan also provides guidance to communities on drought preparedness and outlines response actions that can be taken at the local level.
For further information on water conservation and what residents and communities can do, visit the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ drought page.
Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Announces 2020 Low Plate Lottery
- a drop in blood pressure when exerting yourself, such as moving from a sitting to a standing position, which can make you feel dizzy or lightheaded
- feeling faint or having the sense that you are going to black out
- sweating profusely from many areas of the body
- moist, cool, or cold skin, coupled with goose bumps, even in extreme heat
- a pulse rate that becomes weak and rapid
- muscle cramping
Please stay hydrated and cool and regularly check on the elderly, young children, and those with chronic illnesses in your life as they are at a higher risk. NEVER leave children or pets unattended in vehicles. This hot weather will make car interiors reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.
Massachusetts RMV Extends Promotional Opportunity for Future Free REAL ID Upgrades
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project Update: Upcoming Route 1 Lane Closure/Shifts and Ramp Closures
Full Closure of Route 1 Southbound
From 9PM to 5AM on the nights of August 13th and 14th Route 1 southbound (towards Boston) will be completely closed where it passes through the Chelsea Viaduct portion of the combined Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project. Southbound traffic will exit Route 1 at the Carter Street off-ramp, turn right onto Carter Street, turn left on Everett Avenue and proceed to the Everett Avenue on-ramp to rejoin Route 1 southbound. During this operation, the northbound lanes of Route 1 will not be impacted. This operation is a necessary preparatory step to an overnight operation on Friday, August 14th to shift the lanes on Route 1 southbound and set up the project’s next work zone.
From 9PM on Friday, August 14th to 5AM on Saturday, August 15th roadway configuration changes and southbound lane shifts will take place in the Chelsea Viaduct portion of the combined Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation project. Work will begin after 9PM and finish before 5AM the following day. This operation is weather dependent. If weather conditions are not right on the 14th, the operation will take place overnight on August 17th.
Once the shift is complete, southbound traffic will be split into two lanes with the work zone between them from approximately the top of the Carter Street off-ramp, adjacent to Chelsea High School, to 4th Street, adjacent to the 4th Street northbound off-ramp and the Congregation Agudas Shalom synagogue.
This traffic shift will allow for a continuous work zone throughout the project area and facilitate necessary bridge deck repairs and safety improvements. Following the shift, two southbound lanes will be available on Route 1 during all peak periods. The northbound lanes will be shifted similarly during the week of August 31st and additional information regarding this operation will be provided once it becomes available.
CARTER STREET OFF-RAMP: During the day on Thursday, August 13 between 9AM and 4PM the Carter Street off-ramp from Route 1 southbound will be closed. This will allow for demolition at this location to be completed. This will be followed by three, overnight closures lasting from 9PM to 5AM on the nights of Wednesday, August 19, Thursday, August 20, and Friday, August 21. The three-night closures will allow for the setting of prefabricated bridge units.
Drivers should take care to pay attention to all signage and move carefully through the work zones. 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.
For more information on the Tobin Bridge / Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project, contact Tobin-Chelsea@dot.state.ma.us or visit the project website.