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Breaking News Alert:

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NO BREAKING NEWS ALERT OR SNOW EMERGENCY DECLARATION REPORTED.


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News:

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Baker-Polito Administration Proposes Increase In Compensation For National Guard:

 

Proposal would modernize operations, raise pay, and institute a Uniform Code of Military Justice

 

Boston, MA -- Governor Charlie Baker today filed legislation aimed at modernizing and streamlining parts of the National Guard’s enabling statute, including the creation of a Uniform Code of Military Justice and an increase to the minimum daily pay for soldiers and airmen performing state active duty.

 

“The Massachusetts National Guard has a long history of answering calls for help from within the Commonwealth and beyond, so we are pleased to propose this appropriate pay increase for all of their hard work,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Modernizing our laws will better enable the Nation's oldest militia to continue fulfilling its important missions, while ensuring the brave men and women of the Guard continue to lead the way with the highest of standards.”

 

“It is an honor to be with Major General Gary Keefe to celebrate the National Guard’s 381st Birthday Celebration and announce this legislation to provide an important increase in compensation for our dedicated service members and families,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The National Guard has been there for us when we need them and we should make it easier for them to shoulder the financial burdens of service.”

“As Commander-In-Chief of the Massachusetts National Guard, Governor Baker is a leader in his support for service members, veterans, and their families,” said Major General Gary Keefe, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard. “Establishing a Massachusetts Code of Military Justice provides commanders with the tools required to maintain good order and discipline. Further enhancements to Chapter 33 will better posture the Massachusetts National Guard to answer the call to duty for the Nation and the Commonwealth. We look forward to working with Governor Baker and the leaders and members of the Legislature to enact these vital changes.”

This legislation proposes a number of updates to the National Guard’s enabling statute. It would increase the minimum daily pay for Soldiers and Airmen performing state active duty from $100 per day to $200 per day. This would make the statewide minimum pay in Massachusetts the highest in the nation, ensuring appropriate compensation for members of the Guard, particularly benefiting those of junior rank. Another proposed change would modernize and streamline the law to clarify the delegation of authority by the Commander-in-Chief to The Adjutant General.

When Guard members are in federal service, they are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  However, there currently is no Code of Military Justice governing their conduct when Guard members are in state service. This makes Massachusetts one of only a handful of states that does not have a state Code of Military Justice, creating situations in which Guardsmen are treated inconsistently based on whether they are serving in a federal or state status.

The legislation is modeled on the American Bar Association’s ‘Model State Code of Military Justice. It establishes a series of military crimes that parallel those found in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It also establishes procedures for the convening and conduct of courts-martial. Courts-martial would be limited to the specific military offenses set forth in the legislation. Should a Guard member commit a non-military crime, that person would be prosecuted in state court by the appropriate District Attorney or the Attorney General, just as they are today.


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First Night Boston begins on Sunday, December 31, 2017 & Monday, January 1, 2018!:

 

Jimmy Hui, President/Chief Executive Officer at The Jimmy Hui Foundation office is very pleased to announce that First Night Boston will return on New Year's Eve begins on Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. through 12:00 a.m. and on New Year's Day begins on Monday, January 1, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at Copley Square here in the City of Boston.

 

The Conventures, Inc. will be hosting their 3rd Annual First Night First Day Boston festivities to celebrate on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day here in the City of Boston to opens for the residents, persons with disabilities, citizens and the public are cordially invited to come and attend this festivities!

 

There are some performers will be entertaining at Copley Square, Boston Public Library: Dartmouth Street, Boston Public Library: Boylston Street, Trinity Church, First Church of Christ and Old South Church.

 

WGBH will broadcast live coverage from Boston Public Library located at McKim Building (Guastavino Room) on Dartmouth Street begins at 3:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve celebration.

 

Opening Ceremony with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Jessie Chris will be speaking with the spectators at Copley Square, listeners on the road on WGBH and viewers at home on NBC Boston at 6:00 p.m. followed by the parade will be taking place from Copley Square to Boston Common to watch the fireworks!

 

Copley Countdown with Eli Paperboy Reed, NBC Boston & iHeartRadio will be at Copley Square begins at 11:30 p.m. followed by the countdown fireworks as well!

 

Frog Pond Skating Spectacular at 5:15 p.m. and Boston's Family Fireworks produced by The Mugar Foundation and The City of Boston at 7:00 p.m. will be held at at Boston Common on New Year's Eve celebration.

 

Midnight Fireworks on Harbor at Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, Boston Harbor Now and Wharf District Council will begins at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2018.

 

Residents, persons with disabilities, citizens and the public should encouraged to take a public transportation provided by MBTA throughout the day and night and the fare will not collect after 9:30 p.m. at all stations during the First Night First Day Boston festivities here in the City of Boston.

 

For more information about the First Night Boston celebration, please visit their official website with the details: CLICK HERE.


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Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Housing Choice Initiative:

 

Initiative will spur significant housing production, and provide municipalities with tools and incentives to drive the creation of 135,000 new units by 2025.

 

Boston, MA -- Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a comprehensive new initiative to substantially increase housing production across the Commonwealth. The Administration’s Housing Choice Initiative creates a new system of incentives and rewards for municipalities that deliver sustainable housing growth; creates a new technical assistance toolbox, to empower cities and towns to plan for new housing production; and proposes legislative changes, through An Act to Promote Housing Choices, to deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level.

 

Massachusetts home prices have increased at the fastest rate in the nation, and metropolitan Boston rent prices rank among the highest in the country. In order to address the challenges facing Massachusetts, the Housing Choice Initiative will deliver more than $10 million in incentives, grant funding and technical assistance per year, and enable Massachusetts to realize a new goal of creating 135,000 new housing units by 2025.

 

“Our growing economy demands a robust and diverse supply of housing to support the Commonwealth’s continued growth and success,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This initiative will maximize collaboration between state agencies, support innovation and data-driven policies, and provide municipalities with the user-friendly tools needed to create more housing where it’s needed. We look forward to working with the legislature and partnering with cities and towns to deliver much needed housing to regions across Massachusetts, while respecting our long-standing home rule tradition.”

 

“The Housing Choice Initiative we announced today will ensure that Massachusetts remains a great place to live, raise a family, and grow a business by removing barriers to responsible housing development,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The Commonwealth’s cities and towns are instrumental in our efforts to create more housing, and the Housing Choice Initiative will provide municipalities with the tools and incentives needed to drive meaningful housing production that is appropriate for their community, maximizes land-use and creates opportunities for smart development.”

 

Modeled after Massachusetts’ successful Green Communities program, The Housing Choice Initiative will provide a powerful new set of incentive-based tools for local governments. The Housing Choice Initiative will reward communities that are producing new housing units and have adopted best practices to promote sustainable housing development, use land efficiently, protect natural resources and conserve energy, with a new Housing Choice designation. The Housing Choice Designation is designed to be simple, flexible and achievable for municipalities. Cities and towns that receive the Housing Choice Designation will be eligible for new financial resources, including exclusive access to new Housing Choice Capital Grants, and preferential treatment for many state grant and capital funding programs, including MassWorks, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects and PARC and LAND grants.

 

"Access to affordable housing is one of the greatest challenges facing cities across the Commonwealth," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "I am proud of our work in Boston in teaming up with other cities across the region to increase our affordable housing stock and continue creating homes for all. Together with the support of the Commonwealth through the new Housing Choice Initiative, cities and towns, including Boston, will have a new set of tools at our disposal to continue delivering more housing for the people we serve."

 

"Our region is in a housing crisis. Solving it will require bold action and a comprehensive solution set,” said Mayor Joseph Curtatone, City of Somerville and Chair of the Metro Mayor’s Coalition. “That is why the Metro Mayors Coalition just this month launched a regional housing partnership. And that's why I'm thrilled that Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito are creating the Housing Choice program and filing legislation to spur the production of housing for people across the economic spectrum. I support this program and endorse the legislation, and I'm excited to work with the Administration so the region and the Commonwealth can lead the way in tackling the most pressing issue we face today." 

 

“The Baker-Polito Administration is to be congratulated for its Housing Choice program which creates incentives for cities and towns to expand housing opportunities for those who live and work in our communities,” said Littleton Town Administrator Keith Bergman, who serves also as President of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. "Littleton has a strong housing market and its total housing stock has increased by over 10% since 2010. Littleton's subsidized housing inventory of 12.9% surpasses the 10% goal under Chapter 40B.  The Town is committed to remaining above that goal by being proactive.  With the leadership of its Board of Selectmen and Planning Board, town meeting voters recently approved a package of housing strategies contained in the Town's updated Master Plan, including many best practices of the Housing Choice program." 

 

“The South Shore Chamber of Commerce views new housing as an economic development tool for the suburbs,” said Peter Forman, President & CEO of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce. “The Administration’s proposal will help towns create a housing agenda that makes sense for their own communities rather than having the state set zoning decisions for them.”

 

The Housing Choice Initiative introduces new and better coordinated technical assistance for municipalities to reach housing production goals and pursue a Housing Choice Program Designation. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will provide communities with a clear, single-entry point for coordinated technical assistance across agencies. In coordination with the Housing Choice Initiative, MassHousing will make $2 million in new technical assistance funding available, to help communities progress toward and achieve housing production goals under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law. The Housing Choice Initiative will also track progress towards a new statewide goal of producing 135,000 new housing units by 2025, to ensure that new housing production keeps pace with projected increases in housing demand.

 

“We are committed to supporting inclusive communities throughout the Commonwealth, and increasing housing production at every level is a critical component of this effort. This initiative will support a healthy housing market that meets the needs of our diverse population, including our young families, older adults and growing workforce,” said Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay. “We are excited to provide this new set of tools to give communities more resources, and work closely with cities and towns to achieve this ambitious housing production goal.”

 

“MassHousing is excited to support the Administration’s Housing Choice Initiative, by committing $2 million in new funding to help cities and towns deliver new housing that is consistent with their local planning goals,” said MassHousing Acting Executive Director Tom Lyons. “Our new Planning for Housing Production Program will help make Chapter 40B development less contentious and more collaborative, by empowering municipalities to implement housing solutions driven by local goals and values.”

 

As part of the Housing Choice Initiative, the Administration is proposing legislation that will remove barriers to improved land use and new housing, by promoting the adoption of local zoning best practices. This legislative proposal, An Act to Promote Housing Choices, would allow cities and towns to adopt certain zoning best practices by a simple majority vote, rather than the current two-thirds supermajority. Massachusetts is currently one of only ten states to require a supermajority to change local zoning; all other northeastern states rezone through simple majority votes.

 

Zoning changes that promote best practices that would qualify for the simple majority threshold include:

* Building mixed-use, multi-family, and starter homes, and adopting 40R “Smart Growth” zoning in town centers and near transit; 

* Allowing the development of accessory dwelling units, or “in-law” apartments;

* Granting increased density through a special permit process;

* Allowing for the transfer of development rights and enacting natural resource protection zoning; and

* Reducing parking requirements and dimensional requirements, such as minimum lot sizes.

 

An Act to Promote Housing Choices does not mandate that cities and towns make any of these zoning changes. The legislation allows municipalities that want to rezone for responsible housing growth to do so more easily, and in a way that is consistent with peer states.

 

The Baker-Polito Administration today also announced $1,296,219 in grant funding for 37 projects through the new Planning Assistance Grant Program. Funded through spending authorized in the Environmental Bond Bill, the Planning Assistance Grant Program is part of an effort to encourage municipalities to implement land use regulations that are consistent with the Baker-Polito Administration’s land conservation and development objectives including reduction of land, energy, and natural resource consumption, provision of sufficient and diverse housing, and mitigation of and preparation for climate change.

 

The Baker-Polito Administration is deeply committed to meeting this housing challenge, through key investments, new initiatives and program reforms. In April, Governor Baker filed a housing bond bill seeking $1.287 billion in additional capital authorization to advance the administration’s commitment to affordable housing and we have increased funding for affordable housing by 19% and is on course to invest $1.1 billion over five years in affordable housing. The highly effective MassWorks Infrastructure Program continues to be a key catalyst for housing production, supporting the creation of more than 3,000 housing units.

 

The Open for Business Initiative will drive the production of more than 2,200 units of housing on state land. MassHousing’s $100 million Workforce Housing Initiative has advanced the development of 1809 housing units across a range of incomes, including 510 workforce housing units. And, through An Act Relative to Job Creation and Workforce Developmentthe administration reformed the Housing Development Incentive Program, which is on track to facilitate 630 new units in Gateway Cities, and renewed our commitment to the 40R Smart Growth Zoning Program.


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Wollaston MBTA Station Closure Begins January 8, 2018:

 

20-month closure of Wollaston Stations means no customer access to the Red Line at that station.

 

Boston, MA -- Today, the MBTA announced its final plans relative to the closure of Wollaston Station, which will begin on January 8. The closure is necessary to expedite the schedule to reconstruct the deteriorated station.

 

A news conference was held today with Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez, Senator John Keenan, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, other state elected official, and members of the Quincy City Council to discuss customer accommodations during the station closure.

 

"Safety is the priority as we replace Wollaston Station," said Secretary Pollack. "Red Line trains will continue to be provided along the Red Line, but the trains will not stop at Wollaston in the interest of the safety of our customers. We believe we have a comprehensive and efficient plan in place to continue to help customers get to where they need to go, as bus shuttles will operate out of the station and parking will still be available."

 

Working in coordination with city officials, T customers, and Wollaston residents, the T will be operating bus shuttle service from Wollaston to both North Quincy and Quincy Center Stations for the 20 months that the station is closed. While the Wollaston parking lot will see a reduction of approximately 110 spaces, T customers can continue to use the remaining approximately 425 spaces in that lot. Parking is also available at North Quincy, which can be accessed via Newport Avenue.

 

Additionally, for the duration of the closure of Wollaston, the T is accepting Zone 1A fares at Quincy Center for those customers desiring to board the commuter rail with valid passes or tickets accepted. In anticipation of the increase in Commuter Rail riders, additional seating capacity will be made available on the Greenbush, Kingston/Plymouth, and Middleborough/Lakeville Lines, which pass through Quincy Center.

 

"Working in collaboration with the city and elected officials, and in response to community concerns about the closure’s timing, we've decided to move the closure date to January 8 to give our customers more time to plan ahead," said MBTA General Manager Ramírez. "While we recognize that the station closure will be an inconvenience to our customers now, in the long run, we’ll be able to complete this project under an expedited schedule and with our customers' safety in mind. I want to thank the city of Quincy for their partnership and I look forward to transforming Wollaston into a modern and fully accessible station."

 

"Today marks a crucial step forward for the Wollaston Station Improvement project. The mitigation plan released today reflects months of communication between state and local officials, members of the public, MassDOT, and the MBTA," said State Senator John Keenan. “We are committed to continuing our work in order to mitigate disruptions to commuters. The reconstruction of Wollaston Station, combined with a new Red Line fleet and updated signalization, will provide commuters with a reliable and efficient transportation system."

 

In advance of the station’s closure, a bus shuttle began operating Sundays through Thursdays starting November 12 from 9 PM through the end of service between North Quincy and Braintree Stations. This shuttle service allows for ongoing early construction activities in an effort to expedite the overall reconstruction.

 

Some of the Wollaston improvements include major accessibility enhancements, state-of-the-art safety features, and new drainage and flood prevention infrastructure. Currently the only non ADA-accessible station on the Red Line, Wollaston will be transformed into a modern, fully accessible facility, making the entirety of the Red Line 100-percent accessible. Additional upgrades to the station include new elevators, additional customer paths, upgraded stairways, new bathrooms, and additional lighting. New electrical, fire protection, security, flooding mitigation, and site utility upgrades will also occur to support the accessible improvements. The estimated construction value of the Wollaston Station Improvements is $33 million.

 

Meanwhile, the MBTA is improving infrastructure at other station locations. Demolition work at the Quincy Center Station Garage, which was closed in July 2012 due to structural concerns, is also scheduled to begin in early 2018. As part of the work at Quincy Center Station, the existing elevator will be completely replaced and an accessible entrance at Burgin Parkway will be added. Construction of the project will occur through December 2018 for a construction value of $13 million. The station will remain open and fully functional during construction.

 

Additional Red Line south shore upgrades are also planned at the Braintree and Quincy Adams parking garages. Renovations to the garages at these stations will bring the facilities to a state of good repair with an anticipated useful life of forty years, improve accessibility, and provide for more efficient and improved parking layout. Included are structural repairs, replaced drainage systems, upgraded fire alarm, CCTV, electrical, and emergency power systems, and full replacement of lighting systems. Accessibility upgrades include two new elevators at Braintree Garage as well as improvements to both garages in wayfinding signage and better traffic circulation for accessibility vehicles, wheelchair access, and pedestrian movement. Construction of both garages is anticipated to begin in early 2018 with an estimated construction contract value of $90 million. Both garages will remain in service during the construction period. This work will be advertised for construction next week.

 

The MBTA has committed $911 million to Red Line south shore projects, including 252 new Red Line cars that will begin full revenue service in November 2019. The renovations at Wollaston Station are a major part of a series of signal, rail, and other infrastructure upgrades along the Red Line. Previous MBTA successes in renovation construction with station shutdowns include Government Center, Orient Heights, and Science Park Stations.

 

For more information, visit the project page for Wollaston Station Improvements.


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MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board Awards Contract to Advance AFC 2.0:

 

New Automatic Fare Collection system will allow for multiple payment options and all-door boarding on Green Line trolleys and buses

 

Tap in and board also on commuter rail and MBTA ferries

 

Accessibility improvements including mobile app compatibility

 

Boston, MA -- Taking a major step toward a new system that will simplify fare collection and improve the delivery of transit services, the MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board today voted to award a multi-year contract to the consortium of Cubic-John Laing for the design, integration, and implementation of a new Automated Fare Collection system.

 

Known as AFC 2.0, the new system has a total program value, for capital and operating costs, of approximately $723 million, which includes operating costs through 2031. MBTA customers will begin to experience the first elements of the new system late in 2019. Full implementation will occur by mid-2020 followed by a retirement of the existing system in 2021.

 

"As the first public-private partnership for the MBTA, this method will allow a major customer service improvement to advance in a cost-effective manner," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. "The contract structure for AFC 2.0 is a crucial component of this project because it serves as a method to deliver the project, to finance it, and to free up our own internal resources to focus on other critical MBTA efforts."

 

"This isn’t just the next generation of fare collection, but an entirely new way that our customers will interact with the MBTA," said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez. "The new system will be compatible with all modes, will provide more options for paying fares and will have more fare media available for use. To be clear, we still have much work ahead of us to involve our customers, stakeholders, and members of the community to ensure we all realize the benefits of the new system. But today is a major step forward in our partnership with the Cubic-John Laing team to completely transform and modernize our system of fare collection."

 

AFC 2.0 is moving forward under a public-private partnership model with incentives for the contractor to ensure the infrastructure is operational, with risk-sharing agreements for the financing, and requires the contractor to perform system maintenance over the 10-year agreement.

 

Under the new system, MBTA customers will be able to pay fares by tapping debit and credit cards at fare gates and fare boxes. The new system will also allow for the use of mobile phones through which customers can use apps such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay. In addition, the system includes a contactless fare card, similar to the existing CharlieCard.

 

The new system will also allow all-door boarding on the Green Line and on buses. Additionally, accessible fare gates will be five inches wider than the current gates; standard fare gates will be seven inches wider.

 

Benefits of the new system include:

* Faster buses and Green Line trains: With shorter lines and reduced boarding times, buses and Green Line trains will have reduced “dwell times.”

 

* Tap everywhere: The ability to tap and board the same way on all buses, trains, commuter rail and ferries.

 

* Use of smartphone or contactless credit card: Travel without a fare card by tapping with contactless credit cards or smartphones. Even if customers tap with a smartphone, they will be able to reload using cash.

 

* Pay before boarding more easily: Get a new fare card or reload at fare vending machines located in all subway stations and at some bus stops, as well as select retail locations.

 

* Account management: Customers can check their balances, access travel history, reload or replace a lost card online, or by phone through the MBTA’s call center.

 

* Accessibility improvements: The entire system will be designed for a broad range of accessibility needs, by user experience specialists. And the website and mobile app will be compliant with digital accessibility guidelines.

 

Of utmost importance to the MBTA is protecting each customer’s personally identifiable information (PII), and the necessary protections will be incorporated into the design of the new system. Mobility information will be separated from PII so an individual’s transit trip cannot be linked to that person unless the customer gives his/her permission. The privacy requirements embedded in the MBTA’s new fare collection system are above and beyond the industry standard.

 

For more information, please see Automated Fare Collection 2.0 (AFC2).

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Governor Baker Ceremonially Signs Legislation Increasing Penalties for Handicap Parking Fraud and Abuse:

 

An Act Relative to Handicapped Parking will increase penalties for fraudulent use of disability parking credentials

 

Boston, MA -- Today, Governor Charlie Baker was joined by members of the Senate and House and Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney at a ceremonial bill signing for An Act Relative to Handicapped Parking, legislation which increases the current penalties for the fraudulent use of disability parking credentials.  The new law also provides the Registrar of Motor Vehicles with additional statutory authority that can be used in the process of reviewing applications and investigating fraudulent claims for handicap placards and motor vehicle license plates.

 

“The use of disability parking placards should be reserved for our most vulnerable residents,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We were pleased to work with the Legislature to pass these important protections for those in need of dedicated parking, while increasing penalties for those who abuse the system.”

 

“This administration and the Registry of Motor Vehicles continue to be supportive of ongoing efforts to address placard abuse and welcome the new tools this legislation provides,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We will continue working with our state and local law enforcement partners to hold those who fraudulently use disability parking credentials accountable.”   

 

The new law amends Chapter 90 in Sections 2 and 24B, and includes the following key provisions:

* Prohibits the use of a handicap plate or placard used by someone who is using the name of a deceased person.  An individual using a decedent’s placard or plate will be fined $500.00 for a first offense and $1000.00 for a second or subsequent offense;

 

* Increases the license suspension for a person who wrongfully displays a handicap plate or placard from 30 days to 60 days for a first such offense;

 

* Increases the license suspension for a person who wrongfully displays a handicap plate or placard from 90 days to 120 days for a second offense;

 

* Provides that anyone who obstructs the number or expiration date of a handicap placard or otherwise makes its visibility unclear will be fined $50.00;

 

* Amends Chapter 90, section 24B to impose criminal penalties for forging, stealing or counterfeiting a special parking identification placard; and

 

* Allows the Registrar of Motor Vehicles to refuse to process applications for handicap plates or placards if the applicant does not provide documentation or information required by the Registrar to verify the information contained within the application.

 

“The goal of this new law is to prevent the use of handicap placards by individuals who do not need them,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “Plain and simple, placards are to help people with disabilities.  Those who would use them fraudulently are breaking the law and should be held accountable with higher fines, a license suspension or other criminal penalties that are deemed appropriate.”

 

“The Registry continues to work with our stakeholders to share information that can be used to curb the fraudulent use of placards,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney. “Anyone not eligible for a placard and who uses one fraudulently is taking away an option for someone truly in need. A placard may only be used by the person to whom it was issued; placard holders should be guarding their placard as closely as they would their identification card, bank account information or social security number.”

 

“The abuse of handicap placards is a shameful practice that prevents people with disabilities access to much needed parking close to their destinations. This bill cracks down on offenders and curtails the misuse of placards,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).

 

“The improper use of handicapped parking is not only disrespectful, it is dangerous,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “This legislation will help ensure that individuals with disabilities and limitations have access to appropriate parking accommodations.”

 

“The misuse of handicapped parking placards robs municipalities of much-needed revenues and prevents persons with disabilities from finding accessible parking,” said Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). “This law will benefit both disabled individuals and local governments."

 

The MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles continues to make progress towards curbing placard abuse through the establishment of the Massachusetts Disability Placard Abuse Task Force, and the creation of an online site for the public to report suspected fraud, https://www.mass.gov/how-to/report-disability-parking-abuse.

 

The Registry is part of the Massachusetts Disability Placard Abuse Task Force that meets quarterly with stakeholders to share information and best practices on fraud reporting procedures, and discuss ways to increase placard training for partners in law enforcement and members of local commissions on disabilities. The task force has representation from the Massachusetts Office on Disability, Boston’s Commission for Persons with Disabilities, the Inspector General, Massachusetts State Police, Boston Police, local police, the Boston Transportation Department and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.


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Governor Baker Signs Bipartisan Legislation to Provide Flexibility to School Districts Teaching English Language Learners:

 

An Act relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids provides school districts ability to tailor programs for English Language Learners.

 

Boston, MA -- Today, Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act Relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) at the State House, giving school districts more flexibility in how they teach students who are English language learners, while maintaining accountability for timely and effective English acquisition.

 

The new law does not overturn the existing requirement that schools teach all students in English as rapidly as possible.  Rather, it gives school districts flexibility to choose a research-based teaching method other than Sheltered English Immersion to help them develop their English language skills, after review and approval by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The review is not intended to restrict districts’ prerogatives, but to enable the state to fulfill its legal obligations to ensure English Language Learners receive services to which they are entitled to under state and federal law.

 

“This legislation preserves an existing approach that works well for many students, while providing school districts with the opportunity to adopt alternative, credible ways to teach English that may be more beneficial for certain students,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased to have worked with the Legislature to pass this bill to keep providing a quality education for students from all backgrounds.”

 

“While the bill provides districts with new flexibilities, we will ensure programs for English language learners remain rigorous, properly staffed, and regularly evaluated,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “Parents in several communities will have opportunities to participate on local advisory committees and have more direct input into the education of their children.”

 

The new law also raises expectations for data collection and program evaluations, to ensure greater transparency and accountability, while providing a stronger basis for improvement. It creates parent advisory committees at schools with a high concentration of English language learners, and gives parents input into their children’s program.

 

“Every student has unique needs and it is our obligation to foster an environment where they are afforded an education tailored to them,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Massachusetts’ education system is the best in the nation, and I believe that this law will enhance our standing while ensuring that education is indeed, the great equalizer.”

 

"Allowing parents and local school districts the flexibility to choose the most effective programs to cater to the specific needs of their students is not only good public policy but also what is best for our students to be successful,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).  “We live in a global community and we must be able to adapt to the changing needs of our communities in a thoughtful and constructive way.  This bill achieves that goal.”

 

“Over the past six years the state undertook a comprehensive strategy for raising standards, training teachers, and evaluating program quality. As a result of these efforts, many students are building their English language skills at a faster pace,” Secretary of Education James Peyser said. “Although Sheltered English Immersion is succeeding for many students, it is not succeeding for all students. English language learners are not all the same."

 

Under the law, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will also develop “seals of bi-literacy” for high school diplomas to recognize students who are proficient in English and another language.


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Baker-Polito Administration Establishes New Commission on Digital Learning:

 

GE, Microsoft, Partners Healthcare, edX.org and higher education institutions announce partnerships to advance online degree obtainment

 

Cambridge, MA -- Governor Charlie Baker announced today he will establish a new Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning to develop recommendations that will lead to more online learning opportunities for Massachusetts residents to obtain education and skills for in-demand fields. Governor Baker made the announcement during the “Governor’s Online Digital Learning Summit,” hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which brought together businesses and higher education institutions to announce new partnerships around online learning. 

 

Among the announcements at the summit, was a commitment by GE and Microsoft Corp. to provide no-cost opportunities for Massachusetts residents to take online courses in in-demand technologies, through a partnership with edX.org - the leading online learning platform founded by MIT and Harvard. 

 

GE committed to interview any Massachusetts resident who completes an edX MicroMasters program in the in-demand fields of supply chain management, cybersecurity, cloud computing, or artificial intelligence. Those who complete an online MicroMasters program in these subjects will be considered for full-time job opportunities with GE or internships at the company’s Boston headquarters. In addition, GE will provide 100 Massachusetts residents with a certificate in any online course offered on edX.org. 

 

“These partnerships represents another opportunity to capitalize on innovation and deliver an affordable education for people across the Commonwealth,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “We appreciate our local employers and higher education institutions creating more online programming to help address the diverse and changing needs of employers and students, including non-traditional learners and young people.”

 

Ted Mitchell, the new president of the American Council on Education, gave the keynote address during the Governor’s Online Digital Summit held at M.I.T’s Samberg Center. He served as U.S. Undersecretary of Education from 2014 until January 2017, reporting to the U.S. Secretary of Education and overseeing postsecondary education policies and programs.

 

“New approaches are needed to expand higher education opportunities for all Massachusetts residents, particularly for those who need flexibility and are not able to take traditional classes on a college campus,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “Massachusetts’ talented employers and higher education providers are poised to ensure the Commonwealth leads in online learning.”

 

“GE is thrilled to announce this groundbreaking commitment. Our partnership with edX is a true testament to the value GE sees in innovative online education and the transformative power of technology,” said Paul Fama, global learning leader at GE. “Offering Massachusetts residents who have completed these MicroMasters programs an opportunity to pursue a career with GE demonstrates our continued investment in furthering employment opportunities in the Commonwealth.” 

 

Microsoft committed to support community college students in Massachusetts by offering to contribute toward the cost for any community college student in Massachusetts to complete the entry level Computer Science Professional Certificate program on edX. In addition, Microsoft will provide 500 Massachusetts residents with a certificate in any Microsoft online course offered on edX.org. Offering access to these courses opens doors for jobs in the IT industry and will equip learners with the knowledge and necessary skills for career success.

 

“Microsoft is excited and proud to be a part of this initiative. Bringing learning and training for the modern technology landscape fits perfectly with the Microsoft mission to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more,” said Chris Roy, Senior Director Microsoft. “By providing students and Massachusetts citizens with the necessary skills to bridge gaps in the tech industry, it helps them open new opportunities and be successful in their careers.”

 

“As a Massachusetts-based company committed to providing access to high-quality education that transforms lives and advances careers, we are thrilled to be working with the Commonwealth, GE and Microsoft to offer innovative pathways from online learning to career success,” said Anant Agarwal, edX CEO and MIT Professor. “Through this groundbreaking partnership, we are providing Massachusetts residents with the tools they need to gain knowledge in the most cutting edge fields, including Data Science, Cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence, in order to fast-track their careers and secure high-level employment opportunities.” 

 

The Governor’s Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning will be a 15 to 20-member board made up of employers, higher education leaders, online education providers and entrepreneurs, students, workers, and K-12 education representatives. The Commission will be organized under the auspices of Commonwealth Corporation, a quasi-state agency that designs and executes workforce programs in partnership with businesses and educators. 

 

The Commission will develop recommendations on ways the state can partner with industry and higher education to make online learning opportunities accessible and affordable for all residents of the Commonwealth. The commission will look at replicating promising practices, such as competency-based education, prior learning assessments, stackable credentials and customized employer-higher education training initiatives. 

 

The Commission on Digital Innovation and Lifelong Learning will be scheduled to complete deliberations by June 2018, and release its recommendations in September. 

 

“Notwithstanding the proliferation of technology on college campuses, the basic delivery model for the vast majority of courses and programs remains stuck in the 20th Century. We need innovative approaches to serve students who have long been left out by traditional higher education models,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. 

 

"Today's summit on digital learning shows the importance of collaboration between higher education and industry partners," said Carlos E Santiago, Commissioner of Higher Education. "We will need to continue building effective partnerships as we work to bring affordable, high quality  digital learning opportunities to students of all ages and backgrounds."

 

Several other corporations and higher education institutions made announcements during the Governor’s Digital Learning Summit, including, Partners Healthcare, Match Beyond, and the state’s 15 community colleges. 

 

Partners Healthcare announced plans to expand opportunities for its employees to earn a certificate in Health Care Management, co-created by Partners and CfA. The certificate will be “stackable” to an associates’ or bachelor’s degree, or can stand alone as a focused certificate program. During the past three years, Partners Healthcare and SNHU’s College for America piloted a degree program for employees. More than 400 employees enrolled in online courses to work toward an associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees or certificate. The initiative was supported in part with a grant administered by Commonwealth Corporation, through the state’s Health Care Workforce Transformation Fund. Partners’ new initiative is an effort to help thousands of employees take advantage of the opportunity to advance their skills. 

 

Other announcements included

* Northern Essex Community College and Middlesex Community College will make it easier for early childhood care providers to use their experience to gain a degree in their field. The two community colleges are developing competency-based pathways in early education that will allow adult learners to start and complete courses online, gaining credit for their experience. This initiative will help meet employers’ needs for well-educated early education professionals.

 

* Match Beyond, an innovative college and career non-profit launched in Boston in 2014, announced plans to grow, aiming to serve 600 students annually in Greater Boston by 2022. Match Beyond helps students, typically young adult learners, earn their associates and bachelor’s degrees with online courses, through a partnership with Southern New Hampshire University. 

 

* The 15 Massachusetts community colleges announced plans to launch two new websites that will be able to recognize credit for prior learning, making it easier for adult learners to begin or continue their college educations. MassExperienceCounts will be an opportunity for adult students who have some professional experience to gain Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) through a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). 

 

* The 15 community college consortium also is in the midst of launching a website that enables prospective students to research high-demand jobs. The website factors in individuals’ needs and expectations to match them to courses at nearby community colleges, and give them a plan tailored to their career objectives. 

 

To learn more about the edX, GE and Microsoft opportunity: learn.edx.org/massachusetts.


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Governor Baker Signs Bipartisan Contraceptive Coverage Legislation:

 

An Act Relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in Massachusetts protects important coverage for many Massachusetts women.

 

Boston, MA -- Today, Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation, An Act Relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State (ACCESS), at the State House to protect access to contraception coverage without co-pays for many women across the Commonwealth.

 

The new law requires health insurers to cover at least one form of each type of FDA-approved birth control and will protect Massachusetts’ residents from any changes to this specific provision of the federal Affordable Care Act. The Governor was joined by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Attorney General Maura Healey, members of the Legislature, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts President and CEO Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshak, Blue Cross Blue Shield President and CEO Andrew Dreyfus, as well as additional stakeholders and state officials.

 

“We are proud to join our colleagues in the legislature to protect women’s health care and access to family planning services,” said Governor Baker. “Massachusetts leads the country in health care with nearly universal coverage, and signing this important, bipartisan bill into law ensures critical access to contraceptive coverage for women across the Commonwealth.

 

“All women deserve the right to affordable, reliable and safe contraceptive care,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “This is not only a health issue, but one of equity as well. Being able to make decisions about contraception is one of the most influential factors in whether women complete their education and achieve their career goals. I’m proud that Massachusetts did the right thing in the face of shameful decisions on the federal level.”

 

“Without assurances from the Federal government to protect women's healthcare and access to contraception, Massachusetts is re-asserting our values by standing up for our mothers, daughters, friends and neighbors by ensuring access to no-pay contraception,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).

 

“Every woman should have affordable and reliable access to the birth control option that is best for her. It is basic health care. We must do everything we can to protect the rights of women and families here in Massachusetts. I thank the House and Senate for their leadership on this legislation and Governor Baker for signing this critical bill into law,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

 

“Blue Cross has a long history of working collaboratively to develop innovative, cost-effective solutions to challenges in health care delivery,” said Andrew Dreyfus, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “We’re proud to support this legislation that once again establishes Massachusetts as a model for the rest of the country.”


The Patriot Ledger will host 18th Annual Lend

The Patriot Ledger will host 19th Annual Lend-A-Hand:

 

Jimmy Hui, President/Chief Executive Officer at The Jimmy Hui Foundation office is very pleased to announce that The Patriot Ledger will host their 19th Annual Lend-A-Hand during this holiday season throughout the South Shore communities: Abington, Avon, Braintree, Canton, Carver, Cohasset, Duxbury, Halifax, Hanson, Hanover, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Kingston, Marshfield, Milton, Norwell, Pembroke, Plymouth, Plympton, Quincy, Randolph, Rockland, Scituate, Weymouth and Whitman.

 

The Lend-A-Hand will share with your donation among long-established and wide-reaching community service agencies. Our partners again this year are: Quincy Community Action Program, South Shore Community Action Program and South Shore Mental Health Center. That money goes to help some of the South Shore's neediest and most distressed people during this holiday season.

 

The Patriot Ledger founded Lend-A-Hand as a non-profit organization in 1998 to raise money to help our neighbors with needs that weren't addressed by other social service programs.

 

You can make a Lend-A-Hand donation online, or with the Lend-A-Hand coupon provided down the below for you to print out and send in with donation those in need this holiday season. Lend-A-Hand accepts monetary donations only. Administrative costs are absorbed by the Patriot Ledger and the agencies, which means 100% of the money raised benefits needy people in our cities and towns.

 

Lend-A-Hand Information:

* Call our friends at Ansaphone at (617) 424-9825. The line is staffed 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

 

* Write a check or money order and mail to: The Patriot Ledger or use that one that runs in the paper every day.

 

* Lend-A-Hand Coupon: CLICK HERE (Courtesy of: Adobe Reader® X)

 

* Donate online through PayPal by filling out the form: CLICK HERE. All credit cards are accepted and you don't need a PayPal account. Just click "continue" and you'll see the credit card form. We ask you for your street address and phone number for verification only. They will not be published in the paper. If you have any trouble, please call The Patriot Ledger at (617) 786-7022.

 

For more information about the Lend-A-Hand contribution, please contact appropriate agencies directly, not The Patriot Ledger:

* Quincy Area: Quincy Community Action Program | (617) 479-8181 ext. 356

* Plymouth Area: South Shore Community Action Program | (508) 747-7575 ext. 257

* Mental Health Issues: South Shore Mental Health Center (617) 847-1915


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Governor Charlie Baker Appoints New State Police Superintendent:

 

Colonel Kerry Gilpin to take command of 2,100 Massachusetts State Police Troopers and 540 civilian staff.

 

Boston, MA -- Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced the appointment of Colonel Kerry Gilpin to serve as Superintendent and Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police (MSP). A 23-year veteran of the State Police, Colonel Gilpin most recently served as Deputy Division Commander of the Division of Standards and Training. Her appointment is effective today.

 

“It is the mission of the Massachusetts State Police to keep the Commonwealth safe and I have the utmost confidence that Colonel Gilpin will excel as the leader of our tremendous police force,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Colonel Gilpin brings decades of experience and knowledge to her post, with a deep understanding of the state police force at every level. I thank Colonel Gilpin for her dedication and willingness to serve the Commonwealth in this important position, and look forward to working with her to protect our communities.”

 

“Colonel Gilpin became a trooper for the right reasons, because she wanted to help victims of crime and has showed leadership in each position she has been asked to take on in the State Police,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett. “I am confident that she will be a great colonel because of the tremendous dedication she has shown over the course of her career.”

 

“Whether working to protect public safety from internal threats such as the terrible scourge of opioids or from those seeking to attack us from outside our borders, the role of the Massachusetts State Police has never been more important than it is today,” said Colonel Kerry Gilpin. “I am honored to lead this great organization forward and look forward to carrying out this vital mission in close collaboration with our local and federal partners.”

 

About Colonel Kerry Gilpin:

Colonel Kerry Gilpin joined the Massachusetts State Police in 1994 and most recently served as Deputy Division Commander for the Division of Standards and Training where she was responsible for the coordination of all training for the 83rd Recruit Training Troop, State Police Municipal Association and Special State Police Officers, including training for Massachusetts’ federal, state and local partners.

 

A 1994 State Police Academy graduate, Gilpin has extensive experience within the Department, having served in the Crime Scene Services Section as a Trooper and Sergeant, and as a Lieutenant in the Division of Field Services, the Staff Inspections Section, and the Harassment Investigation Unit. She was promoted to Captain in the Division of Standards and Training in May 2016 and then promoted to Major within the Division in November 2016.

 

A resident of Hampden, Colonel Gilpin earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Western New England College in Springfield. From December 2016 to June 2017, she attended the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University where her team project was focused on reducing deaths caused by the opioid epidemic.


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Baker-Polito Administration Announces More Reforms to Combat the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic:

 

Comprehensive plan includes combatting addiction, accessing treatment, reducing prescriptions and enhancing prevention.

 

Boston, MA -- The Baker-Polito Administration today announced the second significant package to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic, including legislation titled An act relative to Combatting addiction, Accessing treatment, Reducing prescriptions and Enhancing prevention (CARE Act) and administrative actions.

 

These proposals will:

* Increase access to treatment and recovery services

* Strengthen education and prevention efforts

* Seek regulatory relief from the federal government to increase treatment access

 

These initiatives build upon and expand the Commonwealth’s prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery strategies unveiled in June 2015 and the STEP Act, legislation authored by the Baker-Polito Administration in October 2015 and enacted in March 2016, which expanded treatment, created new education programs and instituted the nation’s first seven day limit on opioid prescriptions for adults.

 

“Our administration is strengthening the significant reforms we implemented over the last two years to address this public health crisis with increased access to treatment and stronger prevention efforts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “While we have seen progress and gained valuable insight into combatting the disease, this legislation takes stronger, more targeted steps to intervene earlier in a person’s life, expands access to treatment and holds providers accountable for their prescribing practices.”

 

For the first time in years, opioid-related deaths declined by 10% for the first nine months of 2017 in Massachusetts. Additionally, opioid prescriptions have dropped by 29 percent since the complete overhaul of the state’s prescription monitoring tool, MassPAT.

 

“This package builds on the state’s existing framework by identifying populations at-risk of developing a substance use disorder, particularly children and young adults, and empowers schools with the tools they need to integrate education about these harmful drugs into their everyday curriculum,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “We have to begin these critical conversations and prevention techniques with our kids before it’s too late.”

 

“We are committed to effective treatment for every individual suffering with a substance use or co-occurring disorder in the Commonwealth and to offering hope to the individual and their loved ones,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “These initiatives take aim at ensuring people get the help they need, where and when they need it, through a multi-year, comprehensive strategy.

 

Strengthening and Improving Access to Treatment:
Through administrative actions, the Baker-Polito Administration will invest up to $30 million annually from the state’s 1115 Medicaid waiver, starting in fiscal year 2018, to meet the needs of individuals with addictions and/or co-occurring disorders. These funds will expand residential recovery services, increase access to medication-assisted treatment, add new recovery coaches, and implement a consistent clinical assessment tool throughout the treatment system.

 

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration is filing legislation to increase access to treatment services by ensuring treatment beds meet the needs of individuals with substance use disorder and by expanding access to treatment through three pathways in hospital emergency departments.

 

Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has added more than 1,100 treatment beds, including 680 adult substance use treatment beds, at different treatment levels and certified more than 162 Sober Homes accounting for an additional 2,168 beds.

 

The CARE Act will ensure that psychiatric and substance use treatment beds meet the needs of the Commonwealth by:

* Requiring that DMH and DPH’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services establish standards and criteria to ensure that facilities subject to the licensing process address the needs of the Commonwealth. (For example: prior to receiving a license, providers may be required to demonstrate that they can treat individuals with a co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders or other specific needs, and providers will be prohibited from discriminating against patients with public health insurance).

 

* Establishing a commission to recommend standards that specify how licensed behavioral health clinicians represent their specialty and capability to insurance carriers and patients. These standards will be determined by reviewing evidence based-treatments for substance use disorder and mental illness to categorize providers so individuals seeking treatment for a substance use disorder can more easily and effectively find clinicians appropriate to meet their needs.

 

* Establishing a commission to recommend standards for the credentialing of recovery coaches.

 

* Hospital emergency departments are a first line of response for individuals experiencing a medical crisis related to substance use. Since 2011, opioid-related emergency department visits in Massachusetts have increased, from 17,897 visits in 2011 to 33,444 visits in 2015—an 87% increase. Data also shows that one in 10 individuals die within two years of an opioid or heroin related overdose after an initial overdose.

 

The CARE act builds on the STEP Act’s requirement that patients who arrive in the emergency department after an overdose be offered a substance abuse evaluation and connected to treatment within 24 hours. Available data suggests that 50 percent to 90 percent of patients decline this evaluation and leave the hospital without an assessment.

 

The legislation filed today creates three pathways for emergency departments to expand pathways for treatment for individuals by:

* Improving the existing substance misuse evaluation in the emergency department

 

   * Expands the scope of clinicians who can administer the evaluation to administer more timely evaluations following an opioid overdose

 

   * Requires the hospital to affirmatively engage the patient in voluntary treatment (E.g., Connection to peer recovery coach or induction to medication assisted treatment)

 

   * Requires emergency care providers to record overdose incidents and results of a substance use evaluation in a patient’s electronic records.

 

* Establishing a new pathway to inpatient substance use treatment

 

   * Similar to the existing Section 12 process, clinical staff will have the ability to assess a patient in the ER and authorize the patient’s involuntary transport to a treatment facility that is capable of treating substance use disorder.

 

   * Improving the existing Civil Commitment process under Section 35

 

       * Expands the types of persons authorized to petition the court under section 35 to include “medical professionals.” (Currently, only a police officer, physician, spouse, blood relative, guardian or court officials can petition the court)

 

Prevention through Accountability for the Medical Prescribing Community:

The STEP Act contained key provisions to reduce opioid prescriptions, including a first-in-the-nation seven day limit on initial prescriptions of opioids, a requirement that prescribers check the Prescription Monitoring Program before prescribing a schedule II or III narcotic, and a requirement that prescribers complete training in pain management and addiction.

 

Since the STEP Act became law, opioid prescriptions in Massachusetts are down 29 percent, deaths related to opioids decreased by 10 percent in the first nine months of 2017 and our new prescription-monitoring program has been searched over 6.5 million times.

 

To build on provisions in the STEP Act aimed at collecting data and reducing fraud, this legislation will introduce provisions:

* Mandating all prescribers convert to secure electronic prescriptions (including Schedule II drugs) and cease the use of oral and paper prescriptions when prescribing regulated drugs by 2020.

 

* Ensuring compliance with the state’s seven-day opioid prescription limit on new prescriptions by establishing an affirmative referral process to the appropriate board of registration for providers who are suspected of violating the limit.

 

* Aligning Massachusetts’ existing partial fill law with new federal changes that allows patients to fill the remainder of their opioid prescription at the same pharmacy within 30 days of the initial fill.

 

* Adding an addiction expert to the Board of Registration in Nursing to provide expertise in treating substance use disorder.

 

* Establishing a commission to review appropriate dental and medical prescribing practices to establish best practices ranging from the most common oral and maxillofacial procedures, including the removal of wisdom teeth, and to create options for prepackaged opioid prescriptions using a “blister pack” to identifying recommended prescriptions for other common acute conditions.

 

* Requiring DIA to establish an Opioid Formulary that shall provide a list of medications approved for reimbursement under the workers compensation insurance system along with appropriate payment, prescribing, and dispensing guidelines for those medications. Injured workers are recognized as a high-risk population to develop SUDs, with the amount of opioid claims among this population being 39% higher in Massachusetts compared to the average of 26 other states involved in the study.

 

Expanding School-Based Programs for Education & Intervention:

Because young people are particularly vulnerable to engaging in risky behavior including drug misuse, the Baker-Polito Administration will pursue immediate administration actions to continue educating students, parents and teachers on the dangers of opioids and addiction from elementary school through college. This will include convening a working group to prevent substance use disorder for students, expanding the Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training program and developing substance misuse awareness orientation program for college students.

 

“We want to make sure schools have the tools they need to work effectively with students and families so they can do everything possible to encourage healthy behaviors, and to provide timely and effective supports for students who are at risk of addiction,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.

 

According to the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Chapter 55 report, approximately 4 percent of individuals age 11 or older have an opioid use disorder in Massachusetts and, in 2015, roughly two out of every three people who died from opioids were younger than 45.

 

Through administrative action, the Baker-Polito Administration will immediately:

* Convene a working group between the Executive Offices of Education and Health and Human Services to focus on ways to strengthen students’ understanding of healthy behaviors, prevent substance use disorder and assist students and families in recovery. Their tasks will be to:

 

    * Identify ways to use data to give school staff early warnings about students who are at-risk of substance use disorders.

 

    * Develop a “seal of approval” for school-based education programs proven to successfully educate students on substance use disorders.

 

    * Establish a grant program for schools to implement comprehensive prevention and intervention programs

 

    * Expand the existing training program for school nurses, known as SBIRT, to reach more students and school districts. To date, nearly 4,000 school staff have been trained in 283 school districts, and more than 22,000 students screened.

 

    * Develop a plan with state public and private colleges and universities for all incoming college students to receive opioid awareness and prevention education as standard part of their orientation.

 

Finally, the CARE act will propose the creation of a trust fund, to be funded at $2 million for the next fiscal year, to help finance the expansion of education programs. These funds will support the development of information systems to identify at-risk students, and enable the implementation of new school-based models for coordinated support of students in need.

 

Taking Advantage of the Federal Government’s Recent Emergency Declaration:

The President’s recent declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency provides an opportunity for the federal government to support states like Massachusetts with additional tools to address this public health crisis. Tomorrow, Governor Baker will deliver two letters to the federal government, one to the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and one to the Attorney General, requesting swift administrative action on several actions that will help Massachusetts battle this epidemic.

 

From HHS, the Governor is requesting that the Secretary:

* Allow states the flexibility to make naloxone available over the counter, if states choose;

 

* Increase access to medication assisted treatment by revising patient cap restrictions for buprenorphine treatment, permitting office-based opioid treatment with methadone, and allow states to apply for wholesale DATA 2000 waivers for all state practitioners;

 

* Take steps to review and approve diagnostic rapid urine tests for the presence of fentanyl so these tests are available for clinicians to use in their office; and

 

* Issue guidance that clarifies the ability of states to continue to receive and share de-identified SUD claims data for the purpose of public policy research.

 

From the Department of Justice, the Governor is requesting the Attorney General and DEA:

* Allow states the flexibility to require pharmacists to interchange abuse deterrent formulations of opioid drug products in accordance with state law, without demonstrating the chemical equivalency of the two drugs; and

 

* Increase flexibility for states to expand access to medication-assisted treatment.

 

Summary of the Commonwealth’s Progress & Investments to Combat the Opioid Epidemic:

Since taking office, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased annual spending for substance misuse prevention and treatment by 50% to more than $180 million for addiction services, not including MassHealth initiatives. In February 2015, Governor Baker appointed a working group to develop recommendations to reduce opioid deaths in Massachusetts. More than 95% of the initiatives identified by the Opioid Addiction Working Group are underway or completed.

 

Enacted in March 2016, the STEP Act took bold steps to enhance treatment options and reduce opioid prescriptions including the implementation of a seven-day opioid prescription limit on new prescriptions—the first of its kind in the United States. And, in November 2016, the Administration secured a $52.4 billion Medicaid waiver that includes the expansion of treatment services for individuals with substance use and co-occurring disorder.

 

The Baker-Polito Administration was the first in the nation to launch core competencies for safe prescribing of opioids and treatment of substance abuse disorders with the state’s nursing, medical, dental, social work and physician assistant schools accounting for more than 8,500 future prescribers and clinicians.

 

Since the creation of MassPAT, the state’s prescription monitoring tool, more than 6.5 million searches have been conducted by providers and Massachusetts has seen a 29% decline in new opioid prescriptions. However, the current fentanyl crisis continues to impact more people nationwide. In Massachusetts, the presence of fentanyl in opioid-related deaths has dramatically increased from 19% in 2014 to 81% in 2017. Governor Baker filed legislation earlier this year to link state drug classifications to emergency federal drug scheduling, allowing state law enforcement and prosecutors to more effectively respond to the influx of new and dangerous synthetic drugs, like fentanyl and carfentanil.

 

Massachusetts is recognized as a national leader on fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic, as evidenced by Governor Baker’s recent participation on the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. This bipartisan federal committee worked collaboratively over several months to produce a report of best practices and legislative proposals to address this national public health crisis-- including reforms originating from the Baker-Polito Administration such as the implementation of core competencies for medical school students and changes to the Prescription Monitoring Program to help reduce opioid prescriptions.

 

For more information on the state’s response to the opioid epidemic as well as links to the latest data, visit www.mass.gov/opioidresponse.


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Baker-Polito Administration Releases 2017 Third Quarterly Report on Opioid Epidemic:

 

Opioid-related overdose deaths fell 10 percent in first nine months of 2017 vs. same period last year.

 

Boston, MA -- Opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts declined by an estimated 10 percent in the first nine months of this year compared to the first nine months of 2016, according to the third quarterly opioid-related overdose deaths report of 2017 released today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). It is the second consecutive quarterly report estimating a decline in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths. The report also found that the percentage of opioid-related overdoses that have resulted in deaths has decreased year over year.

 

"This new report shows some trend lines that are moving in the right direction as we work to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic in Massachusetts, but there are still too many people dying from overdoses,’’ said Governor Charlie Baker. "Our administration will continue efforts to combat this public health epidemic that is devastating families in every corner of the Commonwealth, and looks forward to introducing new proposals in the near future and working with the Legislature to pass meaningful reform to strengthen our efforts from prevention to recovery.”

 

According to the report, fentanyl continues to be a major factor fueling the opioid crisis. The rate of fentanyl present in the toxicology of opioid-related overdose deaths continues to rise, reaching 81 percent this year, while the rate of prescription opioids and heroin present in opioid-related overdose deaths continues to decline.

 

"Stemming the tide of this opioid epidemic is a massive undertaking and it will take time to address the suffering that underlies addictions,’’ said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. "We continue to focus on a strong public health approach of prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery and to strengthen the treatment system.’’

 

Selected Findings from the 2017 Q3 Report on Opioid-Related Deaths:

* The total number of estimated and confirmed deaths in the first nine months of 2017 is 1,470, which is 167 fewer deaths than the 1,637 estimated and confirmed deaths in the first nine months of 2016. This represents a 10 percent decrease. (The previous report, released in August, showed an estimated 5 percent decline in opioid-related overdose deaths in the first six months of 2017 compared to the first six months of 2016, or 53 fewer deaths.)

 

* The percentage of opioid-related overdoses that have resulted in deaths has decreased year over year. For example, the estimated opioid-related overdose death rate in 2016 increased by 21 percent from 2015; there was a 32 percent increase in 2015 from the prior year; and in 2014, there was a 40 percent increase from 2013. 

 

* The rate of fentanyl present in the toxicology of opioid-related deaths continues to rise and reached 81 percent in 2017, while the rate of heroin or likely heroin present in opioid-related deaths continues to decline.

 

* The percentage of opioid-related overdose deaths where prescription drugs were present has trended downward since the beginning of 2014, when approximately a quarter of these deaths with a toxicology screen showed evidence of a prescription opioid. In the second quarter of 2017, prescription opioids were present in about 16 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths where a toxicology result was available.

 

* In the third quarter of 2017 there were approximately 595,000 Schedule II opioid prescriptions reported to the Massachusetts Prescription Monitoring Program, just over a 29 percent decrease from the first quarter of 2015 when there were 841,990 Schedule II opioid prescriptions.

 

* Approximately 271,000 people in Massachusetts received prescriptions for Schedule II opioids in the third quarter of 2017, which is 30 percent less than the first quarter of 2015, when there were 390,532 individuals receiving Schedule II opioids.

 

* In the first six months of 2017, the greatest number of suspected opioid-related overdoses treated by Emergency Medical Services is among males aged 25-34, accounting for 27 percent of opioid-related overdose incidents with a known age and gender. 

 

* The confirmed opioid-related overdose death rate for Hispanics doubled in three years from 15.8 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000-population in 2014 to 31.5 opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000-population in 2016, a nearly 100 percent increase.

 

* The number of confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths for 2016 is updated to 2,094.

 

* The number of confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths for 2015 is updated to 1,687.

 

Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, said having access to timely data provided in the quarterly reports allows for a more immediate public health response to the epidemic. ``The data in these quarterly reports, and in our other reports, help us to understand the arc of this epidemic and respond effectively to the areas of the greatest need.’’

 

Since the beginning of the opioid epidemic, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased annual spending for substance misuse prevention and treatment by 50 percent not including MassHealth initiatives that expand access to residential treatment and evidence-based care for the state’s most vulnerable populations.

 

Massachusetts led the nation in limiting first-time opioid prescriptions to seven days and revamped its prescription monitoring system, requiring prescribers to use the Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT) before writing a Schedule II or III opioid prescription.

 

The state also launched first-in-the-nation core competencies requiring students graduating from the state’s medical, dental, nursing, and social work schools to receive training to prevent and treat substance misuse.

 

In addition, the state has added more than 600 adult substance use disorder treatment beds since January 2015 and widely expanded the availability of naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

 

For more information on the Commonwealth’s response to the opioid epidemic as well as links to the latest data, visit www.mass.gov/opioidresponse. To get help for a substance use disorder, visit www.helplinema.org, or call the Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline at 800-327-5050.


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Baker-Polito Administration Re-Establishes Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes:

 

Boston, MA -- Governor Charlie Baker today signed an Executive Order re-establishing the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes and was joined by Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett to swear-in members of the commission.  The Task Force will advise the Governor on issues relating to the prevalence, deterrence and prevention of hate crimes in the Commonwealth and the support of victims of hate crimes.

 

“Our administration is committed to making Massachusetts a safe and welcoming place with zero-tolerance for hate or violence,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We look forward to working with this diverse group of qualified members who represent different backgrounds and parts of our state to enhance our commitment to inclusive and tolerant communities.”

 

Members of the Task Force include gubernatorial appointees with expertise in community advocacy, law enforcement, health care, law, government and education and represent a group diverse in gender, race, industry, region, age and education. Secretary of Public Safety and Security Daniel Bennett and CEO and President of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston Josh Kraft will serve as co-chairs.

 

“The Commonwealth is comprised of 351 cities and towns with diverse populations that proudly celebrate their diversity,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I thank the members of this Task Force for their commitment and willingness to serve the Commonwealth and help all our residents feel safe from hate and violence.”

 

This task force will meet at least quarterly and submit a formal written report annually that addresses the mission of the Task Force, targeted objectives, options and recommended actions and metrics to measure the effects of the recommendations on hate crimes in Massachusetts to the Governor.

 

The Task Force will promote full and effective coordination among law enforcement agencies in order to improve prevention, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. The Task Force will encourage and assist agencies in safe reporting of hate crimes pursuant to the Hate Crime Reporting Act, as well as analyze and publicize hate crime reports pursuant to the Hate Crime Penalties Act. This group will develop best practices related to technical assistance for school districts that may seek to incorporate hate crime education into their curricula.

 

In 1991, Governor Bill Weld initiated the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes by letter, coordinating and giving priority to state implementation of the Hate Crimes Reporting Act. From 1994 to 1996, the Task Force led the successful legislative effort to amend the Hate Crimes Penalties Act to expand its scope and increase penalties for those who commit hate crimes. In 1997, Governor Paul Cellucci formalized the Task Force through Executive Order 401. The reconstitution of the Task Force reinvigorates the Commonwealth’s statewide commitment to fighting hate crimes and supporting victims and impacted communities.


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City of Quincy Will Sue Big Pharma Over Opioid Epidemic:

 

Quincy, MA -- Mayor Thomas Koch announced today that the City intends to pursue civil litigation against the pharmaceutical industry for its role in creating and exacerbating the ongoing state and national opioid abuse crisis.

 

Koch has signed a no-fee contract with the Washington D.C.-based law firm, Motley Rice LLC, to pursue a lawsuit against the drug industry based on marketing and distribution of opiate-based prescription painkillers that he said deceptively downplayed the dangers of addiction and flooded the marketplace with drugs that start a chain reaction of addiction from pills to illegal narcotics such as heroin and fentanyl.

 

Quincy is the first major city in Massachusetts to begin individual legal proceedings against the companies responsible for manufacturing and distributing opioid painkillers. Motley Rice represents a number of other states and cities, including the City of Chicago, in similar actions across the country.

 

The primary goal of any action, Koch said, will be to change the behavior of an industry that has played an outsized role in the substance abuse crisis facing almost every American community.

 

“We have to be willing to fight this crisis on every front, and holding the drug industry accountable for its deceptive and dangerous practices is an important one,” said Koch. “This is another spoke in the wheel in our efforts to confront this epidemic together as community, joining enforcement; treatment and recovery; and educating our young people.”

 

The City will only pay Motley Rice based on a percentage of any award for damages received as part of litigation. While few, if any cities, in Massachusetts have taken the step Quincy has with this move, the state Attorney General’s office is investigating litigation on a separate track and a growing number of individual cities nationally are training their sites on the drug industry.

 

“I think we’re reaching a tipping point, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot of cities and towns in Massachusetts, which have been very specifically effected by this scourge, taking this kind of stand against the industry,” Koch said.

 

The City will provide Motley Rice with extensive details of its fight with opiate abuse over the last several years, including data on anti-overdose administration, ambulance and emergency responses for overdose victims, increased educational costs, emergency room visits and law enforcement costs to help determine the scale of resources dedicated to the problem in the City.

 

Koch said litigation targets will be “manufacturers of opioids, distributors, and any other entities or individuals who played a role in causing or spreading the crisis here.”

 

“The City of Quincy is prepared to do what is necessary to remedy and prevent further harm to its citizens as a result of the opioid epidemic,” said Motley Rice LLC co-founder Joe Rice. “Only by stepping up to battle, as the leaders in Quincy are doing, will communities be able to someday soon start to stem this crisis.”

 

Motley Rice attorneys gained recognition for their pioneering asbestos lawsuits, their work with the State Attorneys General in the landmark litigation against Big Tobacco, and their representation of 9/11 families in the ongoing lawsuit against terrorist financiers. Koch said it was their government experience coupled with their litigation expertise that led to their selection.

 

The opioid litigation team working for Quincy is led by former Washington, D.C. Attorney General Linda Singer, who filed the first complaint in the current national wave of lawsuits on behalf of Santa Clara County, California. Other municipalities and states represented by Motley Rice include: Toms River Township, N.J., Anne Arundel, M.D., Albany County, NY, Summit County, Ohio, the State of Alaska, the State of Kentucky, the State of New Hampshire and the State of South Carolina.


MBTA Winter Weather Information

MBTA Winter Weather Information:

 

Throughout the winter months, the MBTA and Keolis, the MBTA’s commuter rail operating partner, closely monitor weather forecasts to assess expected and real-time conditions related to scheduled service and operations. Passengers should stay up-to-date when winter weather is expected through all available means. 

 

Passengers on the commuter rail should utilize the same communications channels as subway, bus, and ferry riders. In addition to these, the severe weather indicators tested on the commuter rail last year have been further enhanced and will be used again this season to alert on service levels.

 

commuter-rail-alternate-service-icons.png

 

If changes in commuter rail service are needed, these severe weather service indicators will be deployed in commuter rail stations, on the MBTA website, within commuter rail T-Alerts, and on Twitter by 3 PM, for the following day. These symbols are also included on commuter rail fall/winter schedules with more detailed information.

 

The MBTA is committed to keeping its customers better informed by providing the most updated service information quickly, accurately, and when they need it.

 

Subway:

Blue, Green Line, Orange Line and Red Line trains may be operate at reduced levels during severe weather, resulting in less frequent service.

 

Commuter Rail:

Commuter Rail trains may be operate at reduced levels during severe weather, resulting in less frequent service.

 

Commuter Boats:

Commuter Boats may be operated at reduced levels during severe weather, resulting in less frequent service.

 

Silver Line Buses:

Silver Line buses may be operated at reduced levels during severe weather, resulting in less frequent service.

 

Sliver Line Buses with Snow Routes is below:

* Sliver Line Bus Route #2

Silver Line 2: Omits 88 Black Falcon Avenue. Use bus stop on Drydock Avenue.

 

Buses:

Some bus routes may be operate at reduced levels during severe weather, resulting in less frequent service. Some bus routes, especially those located on hills or narrow streets, may operate on Snow Routes. During storms, check T-Alerts regularly to determine which routes are operating on Snow Routes.

 

A full listing of buses with Snow Routes is below:

* Bus Route #11:

Route 11: Omits East 8th Street Outbound before 2:15 pm. Omits East 8th Street Inbound after 2:15 pm. Flag bus on Columbia Road and Marine Road.

 

* Bus Route #14:

Route 14: Bypass Cummins Highway. Use stops on Hyde Park Avenue or at Roslindale Square

 

* Bus Route #24:

Route 24: Omits Fairmount Loop from Beacon Street to Wakefield Avenue. Use stops on Truman Highway or Fairmount Avenue.

 

* Bus Route #30:

Bypass Cummins Highway. Use stops on Hyde Park Avenue or at Roslindale Square.

 

* Bus Route #40:

Route 40: Omits Georgetowne Housing Complex. Use stops on Dedham Pkwy at Georgetowne Drive. or on Washington Street.

 

* Bus Route #50:

Route 50: Does not operate when snow route is in effect, use service on Washington Street or Hyde Park Avenue.

 

* Bus Route #60:

Route 60: Omits High and Cypress Streets. Use Green Line at Brookline Hills or Brookline Village.

 

* Bus Route #64:

Route 64: Bypass Hobart Street & Falkland Street. Flag bus in Faneuil Street or Brooks Street.

 

* Bus Route #111:
Omits Park Avenue between Woodlawn Avenue and Dale Street.

 

* Bus Route #211

Route 211 ends at East Squantum Street at Dorchester Street. Omits Huckins Avenue, Bellevue Road and Dorchester Street.

 

* Bus Route #222:

Route 222: Omits Church Street and Essex Street. Walk to North Street or Middle Street for service.

 

* Bus Route #236:

Route 236: Omits Commercial Street, Elm Street and Franklin Street south of Independence Avenue. Use stops on Middle Street or flag bus on Independence Avenue or Church Street.

 

* Bus Route #245:

Route 245: Omits Hospital Hill (Quincy Medical Center) and Whitwell Street. No stops between Quincy Center Station and Granite Street.

 

* Bus Route #428:

Route 428: Omits Granada Highlands. Use stops on Lynn Street.

 

* Bus Route #448:

Route 448: Omits Washington Street and Elm Street in Old Town Marblehead. Board on Pleasant Street at Washington or Essex Street.

 

* Bus Route #449:

Route 449: Omits Washington Street and Elm Street in Old Town Marblehead. Board on Pleasant Street at Washington or Essex Street.

 

The Ride:

During inclement weather, customers should expect some delays in service. The RIDE strongly recommends that you check with your contractor directly as services may be curtailed.

 

The numbers are as follows:

North Area:

Greater Lynn Senior Services: 1 (888) 319-7433 (Voice) | 1 (800) 621-0420 (TTY)

 

South Area:

National Express: 1 (888) 920-7433 (Voice) | 1 (888) 607-7787 (TTY)

 

West Area:

Veterans Transportation: 1 (877) 765-7433 (Voice) | 1 (888) 553-8294 (TTY)

 

The MBTA recommends the following:

* Visit www.mbta.com.

* Sign up for T-Alerts.

* Download Transit, the MBTA-endorsed app.

* Download the MBTA Commuter Rail app.

* Follow @MBTA and @MBTA_CR on Twitter.

* Call Customer Support at 617-222-3200.


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New Quincy Public Schools Middle School Project Update:

 

At the September 13 School Committee Meeting, representatives from the project team overseeing the construction of Quincy Public School’s newest middle school presented a project update. By the fall of 2019, the new middle school building will replace Sterling Middle School and provide the students and families of Southwest Quincy with a state-of-the-art educational facility. The new middle school project is a collaboration of the City of Quincy, Quincy Public Schools, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, Owner’s Project Manager PCA 360, Ai3 Architects, and Bond Construction. Click here to view the presentation.

 

The City of Quincy IT Department has created a website dedicated to the new middle school building project. Click here to view the website which includes architectural renderings, floor plans, live construction webcams, and project updates. The website will be regularly updated with new photos, updated schedules, and project information to keep the community informed about this important enhancement to the Southwest Quincy neighborhood.


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If You See Something, Say Something Campaign: 2017-2018 School Year:

 

Jimmy Hui, President/Chief Executive Officer at The Jimmy Hui Foundation would like to welcome back to all of the students, families and staff of the Quincy Public Schools for the 2017-2018 school year here in the City of Quincy.

 

As for the 2017-2018 school year, the North Quincy Nights Strategic Response Unit will be working very closely with our partners from: Quincy Police Department, Quincy Fire Department, Brewster Ambulance, Massachusetts State Police Department, MBTA Transit Police Department and the Norfolk County Sheriff Department throughout the day during the school hours of operations here in the City of Quincy.

 

The North Quincy Nights Strategic Response Unit is working very closely with the Quincy Public Schools for an additional public health, safety, security and transportation matters to make sure that schools are safe and sound in the harm's way to protect every students, families and staff throughout the school year.

 

We are extremely encouraging the students, families and staff of the Quincy Public Schools should be remain in the vigilant and be aware of your surrounding in the public places and public transit areas to report any suspicious activities or packages by dial 911 for an emergency numbers or call Quincy Police Department with non-emergency number can be reached at 617-479-1212.

 

We have three School Resource Officers, eight Community Police Officers and 2 DARE Officers from the Quincy Police Department will be working around in the clock throughout the day during the school year here in the City of Quincy.

 

We have 4 Security Officers at North Quincy High School and 4 Security Officers at Quincy High School under the leadership by Michael Draicchio, Director of Safety, Security and Transportation at Quincy Public Schools throughout the school year here in the City of Quincy.

 

Here's the contact information for the 2017-2018 school year:

Quincy Police Department: DARE Division

Officer John Grazioso: (617) 745-5735 or jgrazioso@quincyma.gov

Officer Don Sautter: (617) 745-5735 or dsautter@quincyma.gov

 

Quincy Police Department: Community Policing Unit:

Lieutenant Robert Bina, Supervisor: (617) 770-4993 or rbina@quincyma.gov

Officer Roger White (Quincy Square): (857) 342-0523 or rwhite@quincyma.gov

Officer Bill Mitchell (Ward 1): (617) 594-2082 or wmitchell@quincyma.gov

Officer Matthew Miller (Ward 2): (617) 594-2070 or mmiller@quincyma.gov

Officer Timothy Simmons (Ward 3): (339) 235-6662 or tsimmons@quincyma.gov

Officer Jimmie Whedbee (Ward 4): (617) 483-0599 jwhedbee@quincyma.gov

Officer Jim Silcox (Ward 5): (339) 237-1575 or jsilcox@quincyma.gov

Officer Greg Mar (Ward 6): (617) 594-2028 or gmar@quincyma.gov

 

Quincy Police Department: School Resource Officers:

Officer Gregg Hartnett (Middle Schools): ghartnett@quincyma.gov

Officer Steve Burgio (Quincy High School): sburgio@quincyma.gov

Officer Paul Holland (North Quincy High School): pholland@quincyma.gov

 

Quincy Public Schools Security Department:

Michael Draicchio, Director of Safety, Security and Transportation: michaeldraicchio@quincypublicschools.com

 

North Quincy High School Security Officers:

Sheila Calabro, Security Officer: sheilacalabro@quincypublicschools.com

Rick Palumbo, Security Officer: richardpalumbo@quincypublicschools.com

Kevin Keith, Security Officer: kevinkeith@quincypublicschools.com

Jake Mullaney, Security Officer: jakemullaney@quincypublicschools.com

 

Quincy High School Security Officers:

Steve McGowan, Security Officer: stephenmcgowan@quincypublicschools.com

Tom McInnis, Security Officer: thomasmcinnis@quincypublicschools.com

Joseph Mulvey, Security Officer: josephmulvey@quincypublicschools.com

Mark Spendlove, Security Officer: markspendlove@quincypublicschools.com

 

Please enjoy for the rest of the 2017-2018 school year in the classroom throughout the semester!


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Announcements:

City View with Mayor Thomas P

City View with Mayor Thomas P. Koch | Courtesy of: City of Quincy

 

Quincy Government Access Channel 9 Program Schedule Information:

Date: Time:
Friday, December 15, 2017 6:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 16, 2017 9:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 17, 2017 9:00 a.m.
6:00 p.m.
9:00 p.m.
Monday, December 18, 2017 10:00 a.m.

Schedule is subject to change by the Quincy Access Television.


Sound Advice With Attorney Thomas F

Sound Advice With Attorney Thomas F. Williams:

Courtesy of: Thomas F. Williams & Associates

 

Quincy Access Television Channel 8 Program Schedule:

Date Time Show
Friday, December 15, 2017 6:00 p.m. Real Estate
Sunday, December 17, 2017 3:30 p.m.

Schedule is subject to change on the Quincy Access Television.

 

WATDS 95.9 FM Program Schedule: (Live Streaming Audio)

Date Time Show
Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:00 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m. Sound Advice

Tune in on WATDS 95.9 FM to listen the Sound Advice with Attorney Thomas F. Williams to share with his legal advice and takes your call. Call in ahead at (781) 837-4900 with your questions throughout the show.

 

Schedule is subject to change on the WATDS 95.9 FM.


MBTA Red Line Service Advisory Alert

MBTA Red Line Service Advisory Alert:

 

Branches Affected: Braintree

Sunday, November 12, 2017 through Thursday, January 25, 2018

 

Shuttle buses replace Red Line service between North Quincy & Braintree Stations on Sunday through Thursday evenings beginning November 12, 2017 from approximately 9:00 p.m. through the end of service.

 

In preparation for the Wollaston Station closure shuttle buses will replace Red Line service in both directions between Braintree and North Quincy Stations. These evening shuttles are scheduled to occur every Sunday through Thursday night beginning November 12, 2017 through January 25, 2018.

 

Evening shuttles will NOT occur on the following dates:

* Sunday, December 24, 2017

* Monday, December 25, 2017

* Sunday, December 31, 2017

* Monday, January 1, 2018

* Monday, January 15, 2018

 

Regular Red Line train service will resume at the start of service on the following day. All shuttle bus stops are accessible for persons with disabilities.

 

Shuttling the following stops:

* North Quincy (busway)

* Wollaston (Connect to shuttle buses on Newport Avenue & Beale Street)

* Quincy Center (busway)

* Quincy Adams (busway)

* Braintree (busway)

 

Branches Affected: Braintree

Wollaston Station will close on Monday, January 8, 2018 for renovation. Free bus shuttles will run from Wollaston to North Quincy and Quincy Center Stations.

 

Wollaston Station will be transformed into a modern, fully accessible facility, making the entirety of the Red Line 100% accessible.

 

Trains will bypass Wollaston Station traveling between North Quincy and Quincy Center Stations. Shuttle buses will run between Wollaston and North Quincy Stations with the same frequency as the Red Line.

 

All shuttle bus stops are accessible for persons with disabilities.

 

Shuttling the following stops:

* Hancock Street/Woodbine Street (Outbound to Quincy Center Station)

* Thomas Crane Public Library @ Beale Street (Inbound to North Quincy Station or Outbound to Quincy Center Station)

* Wollaston Station @ Newport Avenue (Inbound to North Quincy Station)

* Newport Avenue (Outbound to Quincy Center Station)


City of Quincy Winter Parking Rules Policy

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City of Quincy Winter Parking Rules Policy: October 15, 2017 - April 15, 2018:

Mayor Thomas P. Koch | Al Grazioso, DPW Commissioner

 

* No Parking allowed on either side of Emergency Arteries during a Snow Emergency. Emergency Arteries are identified by signs.

 

* Residents on the side streets (not emergency arteries) are allowed to park on the ODD side of the street, this winter season.

 

* Overnight parking is a prohibited without a Resident Parking Permit. Permits are available at the Quincy Police Department at (617) 479-1212.

 

* Vehicles in the violation of winter parking rules will be towed at owner's expense. Also, if your vehicle is hampering snow plowing operations (i.e. parked too close an intersection, etc). It will be towed.

 

* The average tow fee is $125.00, plus cost of storage. No Exceptions can be made for the short-term (10-15 minutes) per parking.

 

* To find out if a snow emergency has been declared:

   * City of Quincy official website: quincyma.gov or Twitter: @CityofQuincy for an updates.

   * Quincy Department of Public Works Snow Hotline: (617) 770-SNOW (7669) for a recording.

   * Quincy Department of Public Works Snow Hotline E-mail: snowhotline@quincyma.gov (24 hours)

   * Quincy Department of Public Works Snow Hotline Telephone: (617) 376-1927 (24 hours)

   * Quincy Access Television: QATV Channel 8 or QATV Channel 9 for an updates.


Quincy Public Schools

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Quincy Public Schools: 2017-2018 School Year Calendar:

Mayor Thomas P. Koch | Richard DeCristofaro, Superintendent of the Quincy Public Schools

 

School District

School Calendar

Last Day of Seniors (Day of 168)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Quincy High School Class of 2018 Graduation

Monday, June 11, 2018

North Quincy High School Class of 2018 Graduation

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Last Day of School for Students (Day 180)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday, June 22, 2018* (5 days of snow day)

* = Subject to change if the weather permitting.


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Boston Public Schools: 2017-2018 School Year Calendar:

Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of the City of Boston | Tommy Chang, Superintendent of the Boston Public Schools

 

School District School Calendar
Last Day of the Seniors (Day 170) Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Last Day of the School for Students (Day 179) Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Last Day of the School for Students (Day 180) Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Wednesday, June 27, 2018* (5 day of snow days)

* = Subject to change if the weather permitting.


School Closing Information

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School Closing Information: 2017-2018

 

Please do not call Quincy Public Schools or Transportation Office on the transportation issues for your child's school district such as private schools or public schools due to the weather permitting here in the City of Quincy or outside of the City of Quincy as well.

 

Quincy Public Schools parents and guardians, students, teachers and the employees should be encouraged to watch or listen their school cancellation update to find out if the school is open, closed, delay or cancellation from the local television stations and radio stations.

 

If you're college student, please watch the local news station or listen local radio stations to find out if your college or university is open, closed, delay or cancellation in your communities.

 

If the City of Quincy is declaring for the snow emergency or state of the emergency in the particular weather permitting.

 

Television Station

Radio Station

WBZ (CBS) Channel 4 & WSBK (MY) Channel 38

WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM

WCVB (ABC) Channel 5 & METV Channel 5.2

WRKO 680 AM

WHDH Channel 7 & WLVI (CW) Channel 56

WATDS 95.9 FM (South Shore)

WBTS (NBC) Channel 10 

WTKK 96.9 FM

WFXT (FOX) Channel 25

WMEX 1510 AM

 

Comcast Cable Provider for the Quincy Residents:

Quincy Access Television Channel 8

Quincy Government Access Television Channel 9

Quincy Education Access Television Channel 22


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MBTA Bus Service Advisory Alert: City of Quincy

 

Bus Route #215, #225, #230, #236 and #238: Due to the construction

Hancock Street @ Cottage Avenue (outbound) moving to the north, across Cottage Avenue, due to the construction.

 

Affected Routes:

* #215

* #225

* #230

* #236

* #238


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Quincy's Election Headquarters: 2018 Midterm Election Calendar:

Nicole L. Crispo, City Clerk | Joseph J. Newton, Assistant City Clerk

 

Massachusetts Primary Election:

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 7:00 a.m. -- 8:00 p.m.

 

Massachusetts General Election:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 from 7:00 a.m. -- 8:00 p.m.

 

Subject to change information from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Elections Division


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Quincy Public Schools: Instant Alert System:

 

Quincy Public Schools uses the Instant Alert System to let parents know about upcoming events, schedule changes, and school cancellations or delayed openings. You can update your Instant Alert preferences at any time to receive notifications at different times of the day on your home phone, work phone, cell phone or via e-mail or text.

 

Follow this link to update your Instant Alert account or enroll for the first time: https://instantalert.honeywell.com/.


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MBTA Bus, Red Line & Commuter Rail Service Advisory Alert:

 

The pedestrian bridge at the Braintree Parking Garage will be closed beginning on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 through Summer of 2020 due to the construction.

 

For access to Braintree Station during this closure, travel down to the first floor and use the pedestrian crosswalk to enter the station at the street level. This closure is due to the South Shore Parking Garages Improvements and Renovations Project. The pedestrian bridge will be replaced by a new garage lobby featuring elevators and stairwells.

 

Affected routes:

* Red Line

* Bus Route #210

* Bus Route #230

* Bus Route #236

* Commuter Rail: Middleborough/Lakeville Line

* Commuter Rail: Kingston/Plymouth Line


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Quincy Police Department: Community Police Contact Information:

 

Name

Title

Phone #

E-mail

Lieutenant Robert Bina Supervisor (617) 770-4993 rbina@quincyma.gov 

Name

Location

Phone #

E-mail

Officer Roger White Quincy Square (857) 342-0523 rwhite@quincyma.gov
Officer William Mitchell Ward 1 (617) 594-2082 wmitchell@quincyma.gov
Officer Matthew Miller Ward 2 (617) 594-2070 mmiller@quincyma.gov
Officer Timothy Simmons Ward 3 (339) 235-6662 tsimmons@quincyma.gov
Officer Jimmie Whedbee Ward 4 (617) 483-0599 jwhedbee@quincyma.gov
Officer Jim Silcox Ward 5 (339) 237-1575 jsilcox@quincyma.gov
Officer Greg Mar Ward 6 (617) 594-2028 gmar@quincyma.gov

Subject to change for the Community Police Officer contact information.


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Jimmy Hui's Message Blog:


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Quincy Access Television:


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Quincy Public Schools: