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Audit Advises Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to Ensure All Employees Receive Cybersecurity Awareness Training

BOSTON – Today the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) released an audit of the Department of Higher Education (DHE), which identified that DHE did not ensure all employees responsible for managing and administering Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds, completed annual cybersecurity awareness training. Continue reading Audit Advises Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to Ensure All Employees Receive Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Congratulations to Somerville High School Sweethearts Robert and Nancy (Noble) Barletta Celebrating 60th Wedding Anniversary

  

Robert (Bob) and Nancy (Noble) Barletta are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday, June 30, 2022. Bob and Nancy were Somerville High School sweethearts. Bob played on the football team and Nancy was a cheerleader. Bob went on to be a lieutenant at the Somerville Fire Department and Nancy spent 27 years as an Avon District Sales manager representing Somerville and Medford. Currently Bob and Nancy split time in Medford and Cape Coral, FL. They have 3 grown children and 9 grandchildren who they will be celebrating this terrific milestone with later this week. Continue reading Congratulations to Somerville High School Sweethearts Robert and Nancy (Noble) Barletta Celebrating 60th Wedding Anniversary

THIS WEEK’S QUOTABLE QUOTES ON BEACON HILL – BAY STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION EDITION


By Bob Katzen

Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz (D-Boston) dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. Her name will still remain on the September Democratic primary ballot as June 10 was the last day a candidates can withdraw their name from the ballot. Her exit leaves Attorney General Maura Healey as the only Democrat actively campaigning for the Democratic nomination. Former Sen. Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty are vying for the Republican nod.
Here are some quotes from Chang-Diaz upon her exit from the campaign: Continue reading THIS WEEK’S QUOTABLE QUOTES ON BEACON HILL – BAY STATE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION EDITION

EXTEND TAX BREAKS TO MORE FARMERS (H 3059)

By Bob Katzen

The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill that would expand current law and make more farmers eligible for a favorable valuation of property process that results in a tax break. Under current law, to be eligible for the favorable valuation and the resulting tax break, a farmer must own and be farming a minimum of five contiguous acres of land. The bill would reduce the required number to two and not require the acres to be contiguous. The bill also reduces the required acres to two in cities or towns with a population of more than 50,000. Continue reading EXTEND TAX BREAKS TO MORE FARMERS (H 3059)

$10.9 BILLION TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE (H 4897)

By Bob Katzen

House 155-0, approved and sent to the Senate a nearly $11 billion transportation and infrastructure package that includes $400 million for the MBTA to address safety problems identified by the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection and $250 million for initial steps toward a western Massachusetts rail extension. Continue reading $10.9 BILLION TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE (H 4897)

Citywide Parking Data & Potential Policy Changes

The City’s Mobility Division is hosting two opportunities virtually next week to discuss the findings from the Citywide Parking and Curb Use Study. Staff will discuss key learnings from data analysis and potential policy and occupancy recommendations to bring citywide parking policies in alignment with City goals, community values, and future needs. Attendees can provide feedback on the proposed recommendations to help inform next steps to policy changes.
Continue reading Citywide Parking Data & Potential Policy Changes

Pair of Community Listening Sessions to Address Future of 90 Washington Street Site

Mayor Ballantyne and the City of Somerville are hosting a pair of listening sessions next week to hear from the community about the future of 90 Washington Street. Participate in person on Tuesday, June 28, at 6 p.m. at the East Somerville Community School (50 Cross Street) or virtually on Wednesday, June 29, at 6 p.m.
Continue reading Pair of Community Listening Sessions to Address Future of 90 Washington Street Site

Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: New Somerville City Councilor Jake Wilson Has No Clue

Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,

Check out this crock of crap from a carpet bagger whack job Somerville City Councilor. He has no idea what he’s talking about. Welcome to Somerville you fool!:

FYI. From city councilor Jake Wilson’s newsletter today if you haven’t seen it

“I’ve had a number of folks ask me about the FBI’s arrest on Friday of local attorney and former Ward 5 alderman Sean O’Donovan on federal charges stemming from allegations of attempted bribery of the Medford police chief. This is an extremely sad development and the charges are gravely concerning. But I also want to stress the importance of due process here — and the presumption of innocence in our legal system.
Continue reading Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: New Somerville City Councilor Jake Wilson Has No Clue

Somerville Ignores Their Own in the Fight to Help Handicapped People

By Arthur Moore

This has been an ongoing issue here in Winter Hill. Despite this whole bike lane project not working from the start and to this day the lane sits empty with the rare exception of a bike once in a great while. The lane is useless here as there is no use for it. It hurts everyone who is handicapped or has mobility issues and even prevents them from going to places they like and want to go and for absolutely no reason other than to hurt them. Continue reading Somerville Ignores Their Own in the Fight to Help Handicapped People

The Commission approved these minutes MARIJUANA RETAILER LICENSES New Marijuana Retailer License

10-21-19 – Licensing Commission Meeting Minutes – REVISED Posted on 11-21-19 at 1030am-converted

Statement from Then City Council President and Ward 7 Councilor Katjana Ballantyne serving as Acting Mayor for the Host Community Agreement Process for Marijuana Retail

Entities

Adult Use Marijuana was approved in Massachusetts in a 2016 ballot question by 53.6% statewide and by 73.6% in Somerville. The duty of The Marijuana Advisory Committee is to help fulfill this mandate. The MAC conducted a careful and thorough review of 15 applications, from the first round, for Community Host Agreements. Three were selected to be recommended to the Licensing Commission (see #’s 2,3 & 4 below). The MAC will soon review the second round of applications. According to the

criteria in Section 2.221 of the City Code of Ordinances, priority applicants were identified and based on a number of factors to insure they will best serve our community. The MAC recommended Category A priority applicants only. Category B applicants are Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Somerville. At least half the licenses issued must be issued to Priority category A applicants. President Ballantyne respectfully submits these recommendations to the Licensing Commission for review

Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn’s statement on the indictment and arrest in an attempted bribery scheme to influence the retail marijuana licensing process:

“This indictment shows our community that your leaders in Medford will not tolerate any suspected attempts of influencing or misleading the public, nor misconduct, and we will bring any such occurrences directly to the authorities. Continue reading Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn’s statement on the indictment and arrest in an attempted bribery scheme to influence the retail marijuana licensing process:

Somerville/Medford Remembering Judy B. Costa-Fontana

JUDY’S OBITUARY
Costa- Fantana, Judy B. – Of Plymouth, formerly of Somerville, June 22, 2022. Beloved mother of Meredith Cosseboom and her husband Jim and Andrea Rodigues. Loving grandmother of Jenna, Michael, Timothy, Christopher, Sara, Brendan and Jillian. Devoted daughter of the late Albert V. and Thelema M (Smith) Fontana. Caring and special sister of Phillip Fontana and the late Alfred Constantino and his surviving wife Dottie. Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Continue reading Somerville/Medford Remembering Judy B. Costa-Fontana

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Liquor, Leave Scene of Property Damage, Unlicensed Operation)

On Friday, June 17, 2022, at 10:15 P.M., Somerville Police control received a 9-1-1 call from a person reporting her mother’s vehicle was struck by another vehicle near Memorial Rd in Somerville. The reporting party stated to the call-taker “This car just hit my mom’s car, and this man is drunk. He is drunk”. The reporting party told the call-taker the operator of the striking vehicle had left the scene and was walking into a building. Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Liquor, Leave Scene of Property Damage, Unlicensed Operation)

Somerville/Medford Remembering Joery Garcia Charlot

Joery Garcia Charlot, of Carteret, New Jersey and formerly of Cambridge, passed away suddenly on June 13, 2022, he was just 41. Born and raised in Cambridge he was the cherished son of Joseph K. Charlot of Florida and the late Marie B. Selamy. He was the beloved husband of Yanina Hernandez.
Joery was a devoted and cherished son, brother, husband, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend to many. Continue reading Somerville/Medford Remembering Joery Garcia Charlot

Somerville/Medford Remembering Somerville Police Officer Randy R. Isaacs

U.S. Veteran

ISAACS, Randy R. – a US Army Veteran, Active Army reserve man, Somerville Police Officer, Somerville Native Passed away unexpectedly on June 19, 2022 at the age of 41 While on the job protecting the city he loved.
Randy is survived by his Mother Sharon Nagarsingh, Father Adrian Calixte, Grand Mother Iris Sanford brother to Nicole Neale, Weldon Tucker, and Kirby Calixte, and uncle to Nariyha Angline, Natalia Villefranche, Ta Lia Tucker, and Jayden Calixte. and Several other friends and family. Continue reading Somerville/Medford Remembering Somerville Police Officer Randy R. Isaacs

Middlesex Prosecutor Danica Apotheker Receives Spotlight Award at Annual Prosecutors Conference

WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced that Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Danica Apotheker of Newton, MA, was presented with the Massachusetts District Attorney Association Spotlight Award at the MDAA’s annual prosecutors conference in Boston last month. Continue reading Middlesex Prosecutor Danica Apotheker Receives Spotlight Award at Annual Prosecutors Conference

Crime Espresso Shot True Crime Podcast with Ingrid & Carrie: Aniah’s Heart and a Mom’s Fight for Justice

It is Aniah’s Birthday today. She should be with us, but she is not. She was kidnapped and murdered by a man that should have been in jail. Today is also Aniah’s mom’s birthday Angela Haley-Harris She continues to fight for her daughter’s memory and to make sure that Aniahs Law will be passed. The vote will be in November in #Alabama. – We love you Angela. God bless you. Aniah’s Heart and a Mom’s Fight for Justice.
Continue reading Crime Espresso Shot True Crime Podcast with Ingrid & Carrie: Aniah’s Heart and a Mom’s Fight for Justice

Letter from the Editor:Somerville Flags Ordered To Be Put Back at Full Staff By DPW Commissioner

By William Tauro

It is to my understanding that flags throughout the city of Somerville today were flying at half staff for Officer Randy until the Interim Department of Public Works (DPW) Commissioner Jill Lathan ordered them to be put back at full staff.
Continue reading Letter from the Editor:Somerville Flags Ordered To Be Put Back at Full Staff By DPW Commissioner

Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: SOMERVILLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONTRACTS – RIPE FOR CORRUPTION

Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,
This is a letter putting the mayor on notice:

Dear Mayor Ballantyne (cc Somerville/Medford News Weekly),

I hope this email finds you well, and I need your help on a big problem in Somerville – AFFORDABLE HOUSING CORRUPTION POTENTIAL.

Unfortunately, I have to put you on notice that the NEW affordable housing contracts in Somerville are RIPE FOR CORRUPTION.
I am now forced to REMOVE 2 luxury affordable housing units that we proposed for the City, because the City changed its affordable housing contract to allow the City to assign affordable units to ANYONE in the future (not just affordable housing recipients). Continue reading Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: SOMERVILLE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONTRACTS – RIPE FOR CORRUPTION

In My Opinion Somerville School Superintentdent Mary Skipper Should’ve Been Fired


Photo: Boston Herald Marie Szaniszlo
PUBLISHED: June 21, 2022 at 11:20 a.m. | UPDATED: June 21, 2022 at 7:59 p.m.
Categories:Latest Headlines, Local News, News

By William Tauro

I’m just hoping that the people of the city of Boston do a thorough and complete search/investigation on Somerville Superintendent Mary Skipper on her seriousness misjudgment call in Somerville especially of an incident that happened a few years back in Somerville regarding a terror threat with a manifesto. Continue reading In My Opinion Somerville School Superintentdent Mary Skipper Should’ve Been Fired

Somerville Remembering Officer Randy Isaacs

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of active duty Officer, Randy Isaacs. Officer Isaacs was an integral member of the Somerville Police Department, bringing laughter to everyone he interacted with. He has brought joy to the members of the Department and the community for 15 years. In addition to Officer Isaacs’s service to the City of Somerville, he was also a 24 year veteran of the Army National Guard. He leaves his fellow soldiers as a Master Sergeant of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Officer Isaacs served multiple tours to including deployments in Kosovo and Afghanistan. Officer Isaacs is a true American Hero, who dedicated his life to service. Officer Isaacs was a beloved son, brother, uncle, and friend. His bright personality has left a deep impact on all that knew him.

Somerville City Officials Display No Compassion Nor Respect for a Deceased Police Officer

By William Tauro

What’s wrong with our city officials here in Somerville? Have we as a society in Somerville lost any sense of compassion and honor for others and for the deceased?

This past Sunday, a Somerville Police Officer passed away while on duty in his police cruiser.
He was a veteran Somerville Police Officer, a United States Army National Guard Veteran, a friend, a comrade to fellow police officers, a sincere gentleman and a really nice guy who was truly dedicated to his job protecting the citizens of the City of Somerville. Continue reading Somerville City Officials Display No Compassion Nor Respect for a Deceased Police Officer

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Police are looking to identify the pictured individual

Police are looking to identify the pictured individual in relation to an incident that occurred in Davis Square on June 7th, 2022. Anyone with information should contact Detective Alan Monaco at 617-625-1600 Extension 7226, or text an anonymous tip to the confidential hotline at 617SPD (847411). Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Police are looking to identify the pictured individual

Real Life Somerville Police Stories

Residential Breaking and Entering
22032236: On 6/8/22 at approximately 8:45 PM, Somerville Police responded to a residence on Newton St for a past breaking and entering. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the victims who stated a contractor entered the home and took HVAC equipment.

Assault
22032235: On 6/8/22 at approximately 8:41 PM, a juvenile male entered the station with his parents and stated while walking down Walnut St with his friends, they were approached by a group of juvenile males. The juvenile victims were then punched and kicked by the juvenile suspects.
Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories

Somerville/Medford Remembering Oscar Greene

Somerville lost a great man/legend! Oscar Greene, a 104 year old resident of Somerville was an amazing and remarkable man! Just listening to him as he would tell you stories would bring you back in time and you can imagine as if you were there reliving his memories with him. I was fortunate enough to be there to help celebrate his 103rd birthday last year. prayers to his family and friends and especially to his best friend Dennis and all the residents of the VNA on Lowell Street on his passing! 🙏 May he R.I.P.
Continue reading Somerville/Medford Remembering Oscar Greene

HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION?

By Bob Katzen

Beacon Hill Roll Call tracks the length of time that the House and Senate were in session each week. Many legislators say that legislative sessions are only one aspect of the Legislature’s job and that a lot of important work is done outside of the House and Senate chambers. They note that their jobs also involve committee work, research, constituent work and other matters that are important to their districts. Critics say that the Legislature does not meet regularly or long enough to debate and vote in public view on the thousands of pieces of legislation that have been filed. They note that the infrequency and brief length of sessions are misguided and lead to irresponsible late-night sessions and a mad rush to act on dozens of bills in the days immediately preceding the end of an annual session. Continue reading HOW LONG WAS LAST WEEK’S SESSION?

ALLOW DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR UNDOCUMENTED/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

By Bob Katzen

The House and Senate held a ceremonial bill signing for legislation that would allow, starting July 1, 2023, undocumented/illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts standard driver’s license. The governor had vetoed the bill and the House and Senate overrode the veto—making it impossible to hold a signing of the bill by the governor. Continue reading ALLOW DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR UNDOCUMENTED/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

BORROW $5 BILLION FOR STATE PROJECTS

By Bob Katzen

The Senate approved, on a voice vote without a roll call vote, a $5 billion bond bill that borrows money for hundreds of construction projects—the majority involving maintenance and modernization projects of buildings related to health care, higher education, information technology, workforce development, the environment and affordable housing. Many of the buildings are decades old. The Senate added millions of dollars during consideration of the package. A key provision imposes a five-year moratorium on any prison or jail construction in Massachusetts. Continue reading BORROW $5 BILLION FOR STATE PROJECTS

SALES TAX HOLIDAY ON AUGUST 13 AND 14

By Bob Katzen

The House and Senate set Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 as this year’s Sales Tax Holiday. This will allow consumers to buy most products that cost under $2,500 on those two days without paying the state’s 6.25 percent sales tax. This annual sales-tax-free weekend was made permanent in 2018 and gives the Legislature the authority to set the dates by June 15 each year.
Continue reading SALES TAX HOLIDAY ON AUGUST 13 AND 14

COMPREHENSIVE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PACKAGE

By Bob Katzen

The House 155-0, approved a bill designed to make mental health care more accessible in the Bay State. Provisions include the implementation of the nationwide 988 hotline to access 24/7 suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis services; a public awareness campaign on the state’s red flag laws that limit access to guns for people at risk of hurting themselves or others; creation of online portals that provide access to real-time data on youth and adults seeking mental health and substance use services, including a function that allows health care providers to easily search and find open beds; giving the state additional tools to enforce existing parity laws which are aimed at providing equal benefits for physical and mental health treatment; and requiring insurance coverage of critical behavioral health services. Continue reading COMPREHENSIVE BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PACKAGE

ELECTION LAW CHANGES

By Bob Katzen

The House 126-29, Senate on a voice vote without a roll call, approved and sent to Gov. Baker a conference committee version of a bill making permanent the mail-in and early voting options used in Massachusetts in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House and Senate had approved different versions of the bill and a conference committee hammered out this compromise version which did not include the section allowing same day voter registration that was in the Senate version but not in the House one. Continue reading ELECTION LAW CHANGES

Audit Advises Bridgewater State University Require Employees to Complete Cybersecurity Training

BOSTON – In an audit of Bridgewater State University (BSU), the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) found that the university properly administered federally provided COVID-19 relief dollars, but did not ensure all employees complete cybersecurity awareness training. The audit, which reviewed the period of March 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021, is one of several audits conducted by the OSA that have reviewed the topics of cybersecurity and compliance with expenditure guidelines for federal pandemic relief funding. Continue reading Audit Advises Bridgewater State University Require Employees to Complete Cybersecurity Training

City of Medford Working with 40B Applicants and External Partners to Expand Affordable Housing Options

Amended
Mill Creek Project to be presented to public at upcoming Zoning Board Meeting

Changes include
redesign of building exterior, reduction in density, creating first-floor commercial space and shuttle service to MBTA station

Continue reading City of Medford Working with 40B Applicants and External Partners to Expand Affordable Housing Options

Somerville/Medford Remembering Shirley R. Fuccillo

Shirley R. Fuccillo passed away peacefully on June 14, 2022 at the Courtyard Nursing Care Center in Medford, she was 86. Born and raised in Somerville, she was the daughter of the late Camilla (Dalio) and Richard F. Fuccillo.
A longtime Somerville resident, Shirley was a stitcher working for the United Curtain Company. She enjoyed arts and crafts projects, but above all cherished time spend with her grandchildren. She is lovingly remembered as a “firecracker” who always loved to keep the staff at Courtyard on their toes. Despite her feistiness she was always able to provide an uplifting word or encouragement to those she loved. Continue reading Somerville/Medford Remembering Shirley R. Fuccillo

Somerville/Medford Remembering Elaine F. Monahan

Elaine F. Monahan, of Malden and a former longtime Somerville resident, passed away on June 11, 2022, she was 64. Born and raised in Somerville, she was the cherished daughter of the late Evelyn (Blakely) and James E. Monahan.
Elaine is survived by her devoted and caring sister, Joanne Kelly of Malden and she was a loving aunt to four nephews and one niece. She was the dear sister of the late Marilyn Sousa and Kathleen Roberts. Continue reading Somerville/Medford Remembering Elaine F. Monahan

Audit Finds Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Dedicated $1,456,000 COVID-19 Relief Funds Issued Without Verification

BOSTON – In an audit of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) found that MCC did not verify artists’ eligibility prior to issuing grants totaling $1,456,000 from MCC’s COVID-19 pandemic relief funding. The audit also found that MCC’s Internal Control Plan (ICP) was not updated with a COVID-19 component. Additionally, the OSA found that MCC did not ensure all employees completed the required annual cybersecurity awareness training. The audit was conducted March 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.
Continue reading Audit Finds Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Dedicated $1,456,000 COVID-19 Relief Funds Issued Without Verification

Envisioning 90 Washington Street: In-Person & Virtual Listening Sessions

Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and City of Somerville staff are hosting listening sessions to hear from the community about the future of 90 Washington Street, a 4-acre site near the East Somerville Green Line station envisioned as the future home of a new Public Safety Building and a range of civic, commercial, and residential uses. After a brief overview of the project, residents will have an opportunity to share their thoughts about the Public Safety Building project and other potential uses for the site on the adjacent Washington Street Development Parcels. Continue reading Envisioning 90 Washington Street: In-Person & Virtual Listening Sessions

Audit Finds Bunker Hill Community College Did Not Properly Report Distributed COVID-19 Dollars, Failed to Implement an Enterprise-wide Cyber Security Awareness Training Program

BOSTON – In an audit of Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) found BHCC did not accurately record and report all federal COVID-19 pandemic related institutional funding. Continue reading Audit Finds Bunker Hill Community College Did Not Properly Report Distributed COVID-19 Dollars, Failed to Implement an Enterprise-wide Cyber Security Awareness Training Program

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Liquor, Negligent Operation, Fail to Stop for Police)

On Thursday, June 09, 2022, I was assigned to a road detail on McGrath Hwy (Route 28 North) a public way in the city of Somerville. At approximately 9:17 P.M., while standing next to a work crew at the intersection of McGrath Hwy and Poplar Street, I observed a gray SUV strike several orange cones and was headed in the direction of the workers on the right lane. I stepped into the travel lane and motioned for the female operator to stop. The operator refused to stop and continued on McGrath Hwy dragging two orange cones.
Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Liquor, Negligent Operation, Fail to Stop for Police)

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (Defacement)

On Sunday, June 12, 2022, at 9:03 AM, I, Officer Richard Lavey III, along with Officers Messaoudi, Campers, D. Lambert, and Catatao, was dispatched to the area of 160 Broadway for the report of a bald white male about six feet tall wearing a gray shirt and jeans throwing rocks at a building and pushing one individual in front of 160 Broadway. Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (Defacement)

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (B&E, Defacement, Possess Burglarious Instrument, Larceny, Break into Depository)

On Tuesday, June 12, 2022, I (Officer Jorge Morel) was working patrol during my assigned 12 AM to 8 AM shift. In the East District cruiser (E-4).

Around 12:55 AM, I responded to XXX Broadway “XXXX” for a report of a breaking and entering. Officers David Ruf (E-1), Justin Brown (W-5), and Michael Cleary (E-3) responded as back-up.
Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (B&E, Defacement, Possess Burglarious Instrument, Larceny, Break into Depository)

Somerville Passes Housing Stability Amendment to Significantly Expand Awareness of Tenant Protections & Resources

SOMERVILLE – The City of Somerville has passed an amendment to its landmark Housing Stability Notification Act (HSNA) to significantly expand awareness of tenant protections. The amendment requires landlords to provide tenants with information about their rights and resources at the start of all new housing rentals, rather than only when pursuing an eviction, as stipulated in the original legislation. At-Large Councilor Willie Burnley, Jr., originally proposed the amendment. The City Council passed it unanimously, and Mayor Katjana Ballantyne signed it April 28. The amendment will go into effect on July 13. Continue reading Somerville Passes Housing Stability Amendment to Significantly Expand Awareness of Tenant Protections & Resources

Somerville Homeless Coalition-Make An Impact This Father’s Day!

A home is more than just a roof over your head! Having a home creates a gateway for clients to reconcile relationships with family and loved ones. A client’s new home is a place where they can spend one-on-one time with family and friends; something that isn’t feasible with shelter living or life on the streets. Pictured above is Jim with his son Ryan who we had the pleasure of moving into housing in May. Continue reading Somerville Homeless Coalition-Make An Impact This Father’s Day!

THIS WEEK’S QUOTABLE QUOTES ON BEACON HILL

By Bob Katzen

“I think on this matter I will turn it over to [Sen. Brendan Crighton] the real expert on this subject matter, the gentleman from Lynn, the Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. Because he truly is the expert on this and so many other issues before this body.”
—Ways and Means chair Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) when asked during floor debate to comment on the bill providing $350 million for local roads and bridges and other transportation projects. Continue reading THIS WEEK’S QUOTABLE QUOTES ON BEACON HILL

SEVERAL BILLS ON THEIR WAY TO A “STUDY” COMMITTEE

By Bob Katzen

The Committee on Cannabis Policy recommended that several bills be shipped off to a study committee where bills are rarely actually studied and are essentially defeated. It is a way to kill a proposal without holding a vote on the bill itself. Here are some of the bills that will soon be sent off to a study committee:

PREVENT YOUTH SUBSTANCE ABUSE (S78) – Would direct 1 percent of the state tax revenue generated from the cannabis excise tax toward a fund that would be responsible for supporting programs dedicated to prevention of youth substance use. Continue reading SEVERAL BILLS ON THEIR WAY TO A “STUDY” COMMITTEE

EXPANDED USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA

By Bob Katzen

A bill that would add Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and opioid use disorder to the current list of conditions for which a doctor could prescribe medical marijuana, is stuck in the Committee on Health Care Financing which gave it a favorable report on March 24. The bill is a redrafted different version of an earlier bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael Soter (R-Bellingham), designed to expand access to medical marijuana for veterans. Continue reading EXPANDED USE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA

$350 MILLION FOR ROADS AND BRIDGES AND MORE

By Bob Katzen

The Senate approved a House-approved $350 million package that includes authorizing $200 million in one-time funding for the maintenance and repair of local roads and bridges in cities and towns across the state to be distributed under the Chapter 90 program formula. Only final House and Senate approval are needed prior to the measure going to the governor. Continue reading $350 MILLION FOR ROADS AND BRIDGES AND MORE

REQUIRE CERTIFICATION FOR TECHNICIANS WHO STERILIZE AND MAINTAIN HOSPITAL SURGICAL EQUIPMENT

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 39-0, approved and sent to the House a measure that requires standardized certification of an estimated 1,800 Bay State hospital technicians, by a nationally accredited organization, of hospital technicians who are responsible for ensuring that surgical instruments are safe and sanitary to protect patients from possible infection. The measure also requires the technicians to complete an annual continuing education curriculum. It was filed as a response to several high-profile incidents across the state in which surgical tools used in operations on patients may have been improperly disinfected. Continue reading REQUIRE CERTIFICATION FOR TECHNICIANS WHO STERILIZE AND MAINTAIN HOSPITAL SURGICAL EQUIPMENT

ELECTION LAW CHANGES

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 37-3, approved and sent to the House a conference committee version of a bill making permanent the mail-in and early voting options used in Massachusetts in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House and Senate had approved different versions of the bill and a conference committee hammered out this compromise version which did not include the section allowing same day voter registration that was in the Senate version but not in the House one. The measure requires the secretary of state to send out mail-in ballot applications, with return postage guaranteed, to registered voters before each presidential primary, state primary and biennial state election. It also allows registered voters to request a mail-in ballot for all elections in a single calendar year. Continue reading ELECTION LAW CHANGES

LEGISLATURE OVERRIDES BAKER’S VETO OF BILL ALLOWING DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR UNDOCUMENTED/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

By Bob Katzen

The House 119-36, Senate 32-8, gained the two-thirds vote necessary to override Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto of legislation that would allow, starting July 1, 2023, undocumented/illegal immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts standard driver’s license. Continue reading LEGISLATURE OVERRIDES BAKER’S VETO OF BILL ALLOWING DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR UNDOCUMENTED/ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Legislature Overrides Governor Veto; Driver’s License Bill Now Law

BOSTON– After a historic vote in the House of Representatives in February and state Senate in early May, the state legislature voted this week to override the Governor’s veto of the Work and Family Mobility Act (WFMA), and it is now state law. The bill, filed by Representative Christine Barber of Somerville and Medford, with Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Senators Brendan Crighton and Adam Gomez, enables all state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license regardless of immigration status. Continue reading Legislature Overrides Governor Veto; Driver’s License Bill Now Law

Letter From The Editor: Two Somerville City Council Members Should Resign or Recuse Themselves

Somerville City Councilor William Burley and City Councilor should have to resign or recuse themselves due to a conflict of interest to vote for and approving the police budget because where they are both directly affiliated and founders or co-founders of the Defund Police Organization?

Continue reading Letter From The Editor: Two Somerville City Council Members Should Resign or Recuse Themselves

Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: Where Did All Our Money Go?

Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,

Bill, when will us tax payers get an up date on this? It’s been very quit? Pretty sure the money disappeared with our former Mayor and City Councilors…and possibly the new mayor and City Councilors let it conveniently slide undetected? Continue reading Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line: Where Did All Our Money Go?

Audit Advises Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA) Require Employees to Complete Cybersecurity Awareness Training


BOSTON – In an audit of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA), the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) found that MDAA did not ensure employees received cybersecurity awareness training. The audit, which reviewed the period of July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021, is one of several audits conducted by the OSA that have reviewed cybersecurity awareness training compliance. Continue reading Audit Advises Massachusetts District Attorneys Association (MDAA) Require Employees to Complete Cybersecurity Awareness Training

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (Assault w/ Dangerous Weapon, Resisting Arrest, A&B on Public Employee) (SPD & Billerica Warrants)

On 06/03/2022, while assigned to marked unit East-4, I was dispatched to the area of 269 Broadway for reports of an assault. Dispatch advised that a white male with a beard and a backpack had thrown beer cans at a party, later identified as Mr. XXXX and that the suspect had fled down Wheatland Street. East-1 (Officers VanNostrand and Lentini), responded as well and located the suspect in front of Winter Hill Market. Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (Assault w/ Dangerous Weapon, Resisting Arrest, A&B on Public Employee) (SPD & Billerica Warrants)

Real Life Somerville Police Stories:Shots Fired

On Wednesday, June 1st, at 9:44 PM, the Somerville Police responded to 34 Paulina Street for a report of shots having been fired at the rear of the residence. On arrival, Officers learned the shooting incident occurred this same date between 5:00AM-5:15AM. Witnesses heard what sounded like four shots fired and soon after a fleeing vehicle but did not call the police at the time the shots were heard. There were no injuries reported. Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories:Shots Fired

Somerville Will Participate in Regional Gun Buy Back Initiative 2022

SOMERVILLE, Mass. – The City of Somerville Police Department and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office will partner to host the Somerville gun buyback initiative Saturday, June18, 2022 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Somerville Department of Public Works Yard located at 1 Franey Road. The regional initiative includes several communities in the Middlesex county over the past couple of years. The focus is on providing residents with a safe and secure way of removing unwanted firearms from their homes. Continue reading Somerville Will Participate in Regional Gun Buy Back Initiative 2022

Somerville Kiwanis Club Distribute Free Bicycle Helmets

On Sunday, June 5th, Somerville Kiwanis Club members distributed nearly 200 bicycle helmets to bike riders who were participating in the East Somerville Carnival 2022 along Broadway. The helmets were donated by the personal injury law firm, Breakstone, White and Gluck as part of their Project KidSafe. They have partnered with the Somerville Kiwanis Club for many years, providing hundreds of bicycle helmets every year that the club has distributed and helped to properly fit to each rider. Continue reading Somerville Kiwanis Club Distribute Free Bicycle Helmets

THIS WEEK’S QUOTABLE QUOTES ON BEACON HILL


By Bob Katzen

“The alarm has been sounded. There is an inability of police departments to recruit and retain police officers. It’s deeply concerning because having diverse, well-trained and effective police professionals is a necessity. We need to study the issue, understand it better and focus on making sure we have police departments that are sufficiently staffed with qualified and diverse officers.”
—Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) on his bill to create a special commission charged with taking stock of the police workforce challenges experienced by cities and towns across the state.
Continue reading THIS WEEK’S QUOTABLE QUOTES ON BEACON HILL

FUNDS FOR HOMELESSNESS

By Bob Katzen

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the awarding of more than $57 million in grants nationwide to organizations that help veterans experiencing homelessness find meaningful employment and assist them in overcoming barriers to transition back successfully into the workforce. The grants include $1,506,323 for the Bay State including $501,834 For Volunteers of America of Massachusetts in Jamaica Plain; $184,489 for the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation in West Barnstable; and $820,000 for Veterans Inc. in Worcester. Continue reading FUNDS FOR HOMELESSNESS

PREGNANT AND POST PARTUM MOTHERS

By Bob Katzen

Stuck in the House Ways and Means Committee for nearly three months, since March 7, is a measure, approved unanimously 40-0 by the Senate, designed to ensure that pregnant and postpartum mothers get necessary and potentially life-saving health care by extending MassHealth insurance coverage to 12 months after pregnancy. MassHealth is the state’s Medicaid program that provides health care for low-income and disabled persons.
Continue reading PREGNANT AND POST PARTUM MOTHERS

SHOOTING AT A HOUSE OR APARTMENT

By Bob Katzen

The House gave initial approval to a proposal that would impose up to a five-year prison sentence and/or $10,000 fine on anyone who discharges an assault weapon, firearm, large capacity weapon, machine gun, rifle, sawed-off shotgun or shotgun into a dwelling. Under current law this crime is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a 30-day jail sentence and/or $100 fine.
Continue reading SHOOTING AT A HOUSE OR APARTMENT

Somerville Kiwanis Club Award Eight Scholarships

SOMERVILLE_ On Thursday, June 2nd, The Somerville Kiwanis Club presented eight $1500 scholarships to deserving Somerville High School seniors. The eight students receiving scholarships were among 117 students who competed for the annual awards. The scholarship committee, headed by Distinguished Past President Dave O’Brien, who is a former SHS teacher, did an outstanding
job selecting these students. Five of the recipients were present at the club’s meeting at the Mount Vernon Restaurant. President Mernaysa Rivera-Bujosa congratulated the students for their hard work during these difficult years of studying with pandemic restrictions. Continue reading Somerville Kiwanis Club Award Eight Scholarships

Maverick: Top Gun 2: Review

Don’t Let the Girlfriend Fool Ya, Tom Cruise is Back, and he’s looking for a new wing man!

Maverick

The Sequel to Top Gun

An Evaluation by Joe Viglione

Tom Cruise, the film-making businessman, plays to his strengths in what is a quasi-Mission Impossible saga. This critic has no idea who the enemy is that has some nuclear something somewhere that now-teacher Maverick (Tom Cruise) has to train his children to blast into oblivion. Vladmir Putin and Osama Bin Laden are not blamed for this, and it could be an alien entity taking over Iraq for all we know: the plot doesn’t depend on a known enemy…how strange is that?

Continue reading Maverick: Top Gun 2: Review

Somerville-Help Stop Black Swallow-Wort in Somerville This Summer

The City of Somerville is partnering with community groups again this year to raise awareness about black swallow-wort (BSW), a very aggressive and invasive, non-native weed that can be found throughout Somerville. BSW displaces native plants and habitats, threatens butterflies and songbirds, and is toxic to deer and livestock. It is especially harmful to the monarch butterfly population because it resembles milkweed, where monarchs lay their eggs, and once the monarch larvae hatch, they die from eating the toxic BSW leaves. Continue reading Somerville-Help Stop Black Swallow-Wort in Somerville This Summer

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (Shoplifting Arrest

On Thursday May 26, 2022 at approximately 1221 hours Officer Van Nostrand and myself, Officer Lentini (East-1), were contacted by Officer Pavao about a shoplifting suspect from Polo. Officer Pavao was contacted by XXXX, a worker at Polo, who stated a female party left the store after concealing a few items in her bag. Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (Shoplifting Arrest

Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Liquor) Arrest

On 05/27/2022, I, Officer Christopher Collette was assigned to Somerville marked unit West Seven. At approximately 03:14 hours, Officer Dell’Isola advised Somerville Control that he had been flagged down in regards to a motor vehicle stopped on Paulina St. where it intersects Broadway. I recognized this location as within my assigned area of patrol and I made my way to the scene. Continue reading Real Life Somerville Police Stories: (OUI Liquor) Arrest

Karin Carroll Hired as Somerville Director of Health & Human Services

New Director to Oversee Expansion and Reorganization of Services

SOMERVILLE – Mayor Katjana Ballantyne today announced Karin Carroll, MPH, has been hired as the City of Somerville’s Director of Health and Human Services. In addition to overseeing the ongoing work of the department, Carroll will be charged with expanding and reorganizing services to best serve the community and advance the Ballantyne administration’s focus on equity.
Continue reading Karin Carroll Hired as Somerville Director of Health & Human Services

SomerStreets: Carnaval Shakes Up East Somerville on June 5

SomerStreets promotes active living and reconnecting with city neighborhoods

SomerStreets: Carnaval returns to East Somerville on Sunday, June 5, from 2 to 6 p.m. (rain date: Sunday, June 12). Enjoy interactive games and activities, three stages of live music and dancing, food from around the world, and local craft vendors, plus a dunk tank to soak your neighbors and elected officials. Programming will extend along East Broadway between Kensington and Pennsylvania avenues. The festival begins at 2 p.m. with an opening parade led by Mayor Katjana Ballantyne, starting on Broadway at Kensington Avenue. Continue reading SomerStreets: Carnaval Shakes Up East Somerville on June 5

SOMERVILLE/MEDFORD NEWS WEEKLY SPEAKUP LINE:WHERE ARE OUR VETERAN MONUMENTS THAT WERE REMOVED IN 2018?


Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,

Well another year goes by an another Memorial Day Parade didn’t happen. It takes almost a year to set up a Memorial Day Parade, my question is how much have they (the city) already appropriated for this hopefully a 2023 Memorial Day Parade to happen? I don’t think they’ve done a damn thing yet for the 2023 preparation so don’t hold your breath. Continue reading SOMERVILLE/MEDFORD NEWS WEEKLY SPEAKUP LINE:WHERE ARE OUR VETERAN MONUMENTS THAT WERE REMOVED IN 2018?

SEXUAL ASSAULT UNDER FALSE MEDICAL REPRESENTATION

By Bob Katzen

The House gave initial approval to a bill that makes it a criminal offense when a medical or healthcare professional induces a patient to engage in sexual intercourse or touching by falsely representing that the act is necessary for a legitimate medical purpose. The measure adds sections to the existing rape and indecent assault and battery statutes to criminalize behavior by medical professionals where there has been a fraudulent representation of the necessity and propriety of conduct and adds these crimes to the law on the statute of limitations for other sexual assaults. Continue reading SEXUAL ASSAULT UNDER FALSE MEDICAL REPRESENTATION

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