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Archdiocese appoints pastors to South Shore collaboratives

January 14, 2014 04:28 PM

Several Catholic churches in the South Shore have been placed under the direction of new leadership, with the appointment of several pastors to newly established collaboratives.

The collaboratives will not consolidate any churches or mean any parish closings, but rather offer an oversight role to a group of parishes, allowing priests within each parish to better do their jobs.

“We are blessed by the dedication of the priests, parishioners and the deacons and religious who are working together to strengthen our parishes,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley in a release. “I am grateful for the generosity of these pastors as they accept the call to lead the new collaboratives, advancing the mission of evangelization in the Archdiocese of Boston.”

In Quincy, the Reverend Louis R. Palmieri will lead Sacred Heart, St. Ann, and St. Mary parishes. Milton’s St. Agatha will be under the direction of the Reverend Brian R. Kiely. The Reverend Christopher J. Hickey will lead Hanover and Norwell parishes St. Mary and St. Helen. In Braintree, the Reverend Paul T. Clifford will oversee St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare.

Additionally, in Abington, Rev. James M. Mahoney will lead St. Bridget and Holy Ghost. Stoughton’s Immaculate Conception and St. James will be overseen by the Reverend Joseph M. Mazzone.

Part of the second phase of a “Disciples in Mission” plan, the 21 appointments mean the creation of 33 total collaboratives within the region, which include 72 parishes.

The plan will eventually group all parishes into approximately 135 collaboratives over the course of five years.

Steward Hospitals, workers come to agreement on contract

December 17, 2013 05:05 PM

With 96 percent support, close to 5,000 health care workers who work at eight eastern Massachusetts hospitals ratified a new contract with Steward Health Care, the union SEIU 1199 announced Tuesday.

The agreement between workers and hospitals from Methuen to Taunton is the largest union vote since “tens of thousands of homecare workers voted to join SEIU in 2007,” according to the union, which said the 2007 vote was the biggest in the state’s history.

The vote sets in place a three-year contract for workers at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical
Center in Brighton; Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton; Carney Hospital in Dorchester; Quincy Medical Center; Norwood Hospital; Holy Family Hospital in Methuen; Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill; and Morton Hospital in Taunton.

Steward hospital workers at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer; Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River; and New England Sinai Hospital in Stoughton have not organized to join a union, the SEIU stated.

“This agreement is a victory for healthcare workers and includes provisions that will continue to improve and reward the remarkable care that 1199SEIU caregivers at Steward hospitals deliver to our communities,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner in a statement.

The three-year agreement covers clerical, service and technical employees; guarantees union members annual 2 percent pay increases; and requires that the “lower-wage hospital workers covered by the pact” receive at least a living wage. The contract was ratified over recent weeks at various locations.

- A. Metzger/SHNS

Governor Patrick announces $27 million for Massasoit Community College health building

November 25, 2013 03:29 PM

The following is a press release from the Massasoit Community College

Brockton, MA (November 22, 2013) - Governor Deval Patrick announced on Wednesday at the Metro South Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting, held at the Massasoit Conference Center, a $27.4M appropriation for Massasoit Community College to construct a Health Sciences building. This new building will provide much needed teaching and lab space and will allow Massasoit to expand its allied health programs. Additionally, with the new space, Massasoit will be able to introduce students to the latest technology in laboratory, diagnostic, and medical simulation in Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory, Polysomnography, Medical Assisting, and Phlebotomy programs. It will also enhance the College’s capacity to meet projected workforce needs and to explore the possibility of new programs and courses. “Growth requires investment, and these investments in education, infrastructure, and open space will bring growth and opportunity to the Metro South area and beyond,” said Governor Patrick.

Massasoit Community College President, Dr. Charles Wall said, “The College has been given an unprecedented and unique opportunity to expand our main campus in a way that we have not been able to do since the second phase of building construction in the late 1970s. Though our growth has taken our physical presence to Canton and to Middleborough, and though we will continue to reach to places in the region where we are most needed, this funding creates an expansion possibility right here at the Brockton campus.” Massasoit offers the only Radiologic Technology and Respiratory Care Programs in the southeastern region of the state, and was the first to offer a 2-year Polysomnography degree program in the Northeast. 30% of the College’s 2013 graduates received Allied Health/Science degrees. Growth in the sciences is up 39% from the 2006 academic year and has outpaced overall College growth. The new building will allow the College to create new programs and courses in such areas as medical laboratory technician, biotechnology, and nutrition. There is a great need for additional laboratory facilities in general biology, physics, chemistry, and earth sciences. Having additional space for our health programs will enable the repurposing of converted space in the existing science building both to meet these needs and to expand current science programming. Anatomy and physiology and microbiology is also likely to move to the new building, which will further ease congestion in health and science programs and classrooms resulting from increased enrollments; Liberal Arts Transfer-Science is one of the College’s fastest growing programs, with a 35% increase over last year, and more than five times as many students as it had just four years ago.
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Governor Patrick plots major public transportation projects in Chelsea, Medford and south of Boston

November 18, 2013 11:35 AM

In his seven years, Gov. Deval Patrick has steered the state toward major public transportation expansions into Chelsea, Medford and toward the South Coast, and in 13 months responsibility for the completion of those plans will fall to his successor, to varying degrees.

Patrick, who has railed against the enduring, burdensome debt of the Big Dig project burying Interstate 93 beneath downtown Boston, campaigned in 2006 in part on his support for the Green Line Extension and the South Coast Rail. Critics have said those projects would add to the state’s indebtedness and the cost of running an MBTA system already struggling with an antiquated fleet and infrastructure.

While funding is being lined up for the Green Line trolley to Somerville and beyond and the project appears inevitable to transportation experts, other projects such as extending the Silver Line bus to Chelsea, expanding South Station and stretching the commuter rail to Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford, face challenges in funding, logistics, politics and labor relations.

“Everything we’ve announced will be on track, and we’ll have some progress against before I leave, and I think whoever the next governor is, their understanding of the value of investing of in education, innovation and infrastructure will be key to the future growth of the Commonwealth, so it would be hard for me to imagine that the next governor would turn away from these investments or the people that they benefit,” Patrick told the News Service earlier this month. He said, “The responsibility to see that the next governor is held accountable for delivering on these belongs to the voters.”

The governor’s transportation priorities, along with earmarks for scores of smaller projects around the state, could emerge for consideration in the House this week as part of a $12.1 billion transportation bond bill, although House leaders were unable to say Monday if the bill would come up for debate.

Fred Salvucci, a lecturer at MIT who was Gov. Michael Dukakis’s transportation secretary, said the South Station expansion would require moving the United States Post Office facility next door, which employs many people, and running the Silver Line to Chelsea faces logistical hurdles in the buses, which currently switch between gas and electrical power.

None of the major projects in the pipeline faces as steep a climb as the South Coast Rail, which faces some opposition from environmentalists for its routing through the Hockomock Swamp, carries a $1.8 billion price tag for construction that would be borne entirely by the state, and an additional federal requirement to electrify the trains rather than use diesel.

“If the next governor doesn’t see any priority, that’s one it’s pretty easy to not implement,” Salvucci told the News Service. He said, “It’s got the longest way to go, plus I believe some opposition, so that’s the toughest.”

Asked which projects would be past the “point of no return,” Patrick said, “My hope is that they will all be 14 months from now.”

That sentiment was troublesome to Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, a Gloucester Republican, who has warned of the state’s high level of indebtedness.

“One of the guiding principles of our state government has always been not binding future legislatures to future expenses, and certainly not binding future administrations to certain courses of action, and to depart from that now I think is an indication that we may be seeing some effort in building a legacy,” Tarr told the News Service. “The question is at what expense is that legacy going to come for the folks that have to follow and pay for these things and deal with their consequences.”

By sinking enough money into a project, an administration can virtually ensure its eventual completion.

Sen. Robert Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican and longtime member of the Transportation Committee, said the state “can afford” to extend the Green Line, but had greater doubts about South Coast Rail, saying he believes the administration’s estimate of a $40 million operating subsidy once the project is completed is low.

Hedlund said past administrations have nudged projects past the “point of no return” by getting construction started, but said the Patrick and prior administrations have played a different game with the South Coast Rail, funding environmental studies and permitting as a means to push off the actual construction.

When Gov. Mitt Romney took office, he froze capital spending, and scored transportation projects on their necessity, finding the ongoing Greenbush commuter rail line into Hedlund’s South Shore district was “dead last.” Despite the finding, Romney was unable to halt the project, Hedlund said, because so much of the work had already been completed.

The advent of a new administration can bring new hopes and worries for those whose pet projects have not yet crept past the point of no return.

“It’s kind of a barbaric system in some respects,” House Majority Leader Ron Mariano, a Quincy Democrat, told the News Service. “When the new administration comes in it’s a fight to make sure they look at your project favorably.”

Transportation Secretary Richard Davey told the News Service that the merits of projects undertaken by the Patrick administration should power them onto the next governor’s priority list.

“I think the bottom line is, it’s less about having the ink dry on a contract by January ’15, although that will happen in many instances, but it’s choosing the right projects that anyone in their right mind will continue,” Davey said.

“For any person who’s elected governor, they would have to think twice about rolling back anything we put in place because we’re not choosing these projects will nilly,” Davey added. He said, “We’re still working on our final permits for South Coast Rail. South Station’s a little more complicated; there’s a lot more moving pieces to that proposal.”

GREEN LINE EXTENSION

The Green Line Extension, which is mandated by a court settlement between the state and the Conservation Law Foundation, is far along the track to completion.

On Oct. 21, MassDOT officials signed a $393 million contract extension to rebuild the current terminus Lechmere Station in East Cambridge and construct brand new stations in Somerville’s Brickbottom and Union Square neighborhoods.

Those three stations comprise the first leg of the first phase of the project, which would continue on to stops in Gilman Square, Lowell Street, Ball Square and College Avenue in Medford. CLF contends the state must bring the trolley line out to Route 16, near the Arlington border, and notes that the further extension was included in the Boston Region Transportation Improvement Program with funding programmed for fiscal year 2016.

Though Republicans have warned of the financial implications expanding the system would have on an agency that already runs deficits and features major maintenance backlogs, Hedlund said the project is worthwhile and affordable.

“I think that we can afford to do the Green Line Extension. I just think it should have come a long time ago,” the Weymouth Republican told the News Service.

The Green Line’s completion, which had been recently considered unlikely by several Somerville pols, is now nearly set in stone, according to Salvucci.

“It seems to me that a new governor would be very unlikely to stop the Green Line. It’s a good project; some people might have different priorities, but it’s a good project,” Salvucci said. “I don’t think anyone’s against it, per se, and it’s so far along it seems unlikely anyone could stop it.”

The state recently submitted an application for federal New Starts funding, which officials hope would provide nearly half the $1.3 billion cost of bringing the trolley out to College Avenue. A federal award would add to the inevitability of the project.

SILVER LINE TO CHELSEA

Having secured a bus-only route into Chelsea from East Boston, Patrick recently announced plans to extend the Silver Line into the mostly water-bound city, creating a terminus that would include a new commuter rail station near the Everett line.

The most significant remaining hurdle is the buses themselves, according to Salvucci and Chelsea Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty.

The Silver Line buses ferry passengers on overhead electric power in underground tunnels through the South Boston Seaport before shifting to gas to make the trek through tunnels to Logan International Airport.

The line is in need of new buses, the manufacturer is now out of business, and the electrified catenary wires cannot be strung through the Ted Williams Tunnel, and gas engines cannot be-used in the subways beneath the Seaport, Salvucci said.

“They’ve got to solve the equipment problem,” the former transportation chief told the News Service.

Salvucci said hybrid gas-electric vehicles might be a solution, or the route could bypass the South Boston leg driving through the tunnels directly to East Boston, where it could continue on to Chelsea.

“Chelsea really wants it,” Salvucci said. “I think the Chelsea priority is likely to have legs with any governor if they can solve the vehicle problem.”

SOUTH STATION EXPANSION

The expansion of South Station faces mightier hurdles, as the new platforms could go right where a major U.S. Postal Service station is currently located.

“The post office has a lot of jobs,” Salvucci noted. Noting some opposition from advocates of linking North and South station by rail, Salvucci said said an agreement with the Postal Service to acquire the land would head the project on a trajectory toward completion.

“South Station is quite full, and there’s lots of people who want more commuter rail service, and who want more inter-city Amtrak service,” Salvucci said. He said, “It’s got a lot further to go, and the biggest significant hurdle, I think, is working out a deal with the Post Office. If that happens it still will not be at the same status as the Green Line, but it will be in stronger shape.”

RAIL TO THE SOUTH COAST

For lawmakers in the coastal regions off Buzzards and Mount Hope bays, the announcement this fall that the state had secured approval from the Army Corps of Engineers for construction of a rail link through Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford may have triggered déjà vu.

When Patrick came into office, he inherited state permits for the long-awaited return of rail service to the South Coast from the Romney administration, though Gov. Mitt Romney had not yet secured approval of the Army Corps before passing the reins of government to Patrick.

“When Patrick-Murray came in, they said, ‘Well, in order to really make sure that it’s going to be done right, we want to do all this stuff all over again, because it’s under our jurisdiction now. We want to make sure all the T’s are crossed, all the I’s are dotted, and so on and so forth,’” said Sen. Marc Pacheo, a Taunton Democrat. “I think in part it was done for that reason; I think in part it was done because nobody had the money.”

Pacheco was one of a few Democratic lawmakers from the region who voted against the July tax bill because he believed it was insufficient to fund the project.

The transportation bond bill that passed the Transportation Committee last week fully funded the rail line at $2.2 billion, an increase from original estimates of $1.8 billion earlier this year. House Transportation Chairman William Straus, a Mattapoisett Democrat who represents part of New Bedford, said the administration said the $12.1 billion 5-year-bond bill could be supported with the roughly $340 million in new taxes.

While skepticism has taken hold among some lawmakers in the region, several noted the efforts undertaken by the Patrick administration, which have extended beyond environmental studies and permitting to include upgrading bridges along the corridor and rehabbing of the tracks, which are in use by freight companies.

“I would encourage Gov. Patrick to undertake those projects that have independent value immediately,” said Straus, noting there is a bridge along the rail route, which would need to be upgraded for the train and also occasionally jams up trucks.

Sen. Mark Montigny, a New Bedford Democrat who describes himself as a “cautious pessimist” about the project’s completion, said tens of millions have been put into bridgework and track upgrades.

Pacheco, Straus and Montigny all said the Patrick administration has demonstrated its commitment to the project.

That “money in the ground” could inch the project toward the point of no return, but it is unlikely to reach inevitable status during Patrick’s tenure, said Salvucci.

Pacheco noted the rail had already passed through the swamp when it was in service about a half century ago.

“Electrification on commuter rail is a huge deal. I mean, in some cities commuter rail is electrified, and in Boston none of our system is electrified. It would be nice to have it be electrified, but that’s a lot of money and a lot of engineering and a lot of time,” Salvucci said.

Added to South Coast Rail’s challenges is the requirement to expand South Station to accommodate the increased rail service, and the $40 million operating subsidy to run the service once it is built.

“You’re going to get to the point where you’ve got to make a decision,” said Hedlund. “You can’t just build something and not know how you’re going to pay to run it once it’s built.”

Hedlund said administrations dating back to Gov. Paul Cellucci in the 1990s have appeased South Coast officials and business leaders by funding studies for the rail line, without actually funding the much heftier cost of construction.

“They announce they’re releasing some money for environmental work or what have you. There’s all these little milestones, but it’s all small amount of dollars that get released, and get sunk into the project. It’s nowhere near comparable to what had happened with Greenbush, where they were actually undertaking land takings and actual digging and ground work,” Hedlund said.

THE GREENBUSH EXAMPLE

While Hedlund holds up the Greenbush rail line to the South Shore as an example of a project handcuffing an incoming administration, the halting of the Inner Belt highway project in the 1970s has been held up as a triumph of one administration squashing the plans of its predecessors.

Salvucci, who was transportation advisor to former Boston Mayor Kevin White and worked to stop the highway, said it took courage for Gov. Frank Sargent to scrap the proposed highway through Somerville, Cambridge and Boston neighborhoods, but it was not as far along as it seemed and had substantial opposition from the people whose homes would be demolished to make room for the highway.

“The Inner Belt had not gone through its environmental impact statement, for instance, which was a brand new requirement. The law requiring environmental impact statements came in in 1970,” said Salvucci. He said, “It seemed imminent because everyone was talking about it. It actually had a fairly long way to go in procedural terms . . . There was federal funding available, which made it pretty courageous, very courageous, I’d say, for Sargent to stop it.”

Hedlund said Gov. Mitt Romney found the Greenbush line scored “dead last” of all the ongoing transportation projects, but it was so far along that he allowed the construction to continue.

“The problem was that the Cellucci administration had gone ahead using some nefarious language that was put in a transportation bond bill, giving the MBTA authority to do a design-build on one quote-unquote ‘pilot project’ and they chose Greenbush to do that, which was not the legislative intent. So what the Romney administration found that was there was too much money sunk in the ground already to kill the project, and they weren’t even at full-design phase. They were only at 30 percent design, but they were using that design-build language that was given to them in a bond bill,” Hedlund said. He said, “The intent was it was going to be for a minor project, not anything controversial. That way they could kind of try it out, and of course they picked extremely controversial, expensive project to do it on, so I felt that was a deliberate strategy to get money sunk in the ground before a new administration came in and had a chance to really look at that, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Pacheco said when Romney froze capital spending upon taking office it put plans for a judicial complex in Taunton on ice for the remainder of Romney’s term in office.

“He pulled it from the list, so we had to wait until Deval Patrick came into office,” Pacheco said.

Governor Patrick pushing head on south coast rail project

September 24, 2013 03:25 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick said Monday he’s pushing ahead with plans to build a commuter rail along the state’s south coast after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released its final environmental review of the proposal.

The announcement marks another milestone for the long-debated project, which still faces many hurdles, both practical and political.

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Richard Davey called the report’s release ‘‘a critical step forward in obtaining the environmental clearances’’ needed to bring commuter rail service to south coast residents.

Davey said the state supports a proposed rail route that would take trains through Stoughton, Easton, Raynham and Taunton before branching off into two lines, one for Fall River and one for New Bedford. He said the route provides the best transportation, environmental and development benefits.

The state had weighed two other possible routes. One would use electric or diesel trains on an existing route through Attleboro. The other would create dedicated rapid bus lanes on Route 24 and portions of I-93.

Davey said once the environmental process is completed the state can begin developing final design plans for the project, which will provide a link from Boston to New Bedford and Fall River. The MBTA will take the lead in coming up with a final design.

Patrick, a Democrat who’s announced he’s not seeking a third term as governor, praised the release of the report.

‘‘Residents of the south coast have been waiting for 20 years for a reliable transit system that connects conveniently to Boston and everything in between,’’ Patrick said in a written statement. ‘‘We are making it happen.’’

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker, however, said he remains skeptical about whether the state could get the necessary environmental permits and whether the project’s price tag is worth the investment.

‘‘It’s a $2 billion project, and the big question in my mind (is) is that the best way to spend $2 billion’’ in southeastern Massachusetts, Baker said earlier this month.

The latest cost estimate for the project is $1.8 billion.

Democratic candidates for governor, including Attorney General Martha Coakley and state Treasurer Steven Grossman, are more supportive of the project.

Grossman said the rail line will ‘‘boost economic growth and dramatically enhance quality’’ in the region. A campaign spokesman for Coakley said she believes the project is ‘‘a critical infrastructure investment that will pay dividends in jobs and economic growth.’’

Another Democratic candidate, Wellesley selectman Joseph Avellone, said if elected governor he'd make sure the project is completed.

State transportation officials say they've already taken steps to lay the groundwork for the rail project including the rebuilding of three New Bedford bridges, funded by a $20 million federal grant.

The environmental report released Monday details what effect the project could have on noise levels, aesthetics, wetlands, air quality and historic and environmental resources. It describes measures to avoid or minimize those effects.

The state will hold two public open houses to discuss the environmental report and will accept public comments through Oct. 26. The open houses are scheduled for Oct. 8 in Taunton and Oct. 17 in Fall River.

Stoughton man recovering after being hit by car in Hingham

September 23, 2013 12:32 PM

A 23-year-old Stoughton man is recovering after being hit by a car in Hingham on Friday.

According to police, the accident occurred on Lincoln Street (Route 3A) at approximately 10:47 p.m. near Bradley Woods Drive.

Police suspect that the man was walking south crossing Lincoln Street from Bradley Woods Drive when he was hit by a 2001 Pontiac Aztec. The Pontiac had been traveling West on Lincoln Street toward Weymouth in the left lane.

The car hit the pedestrian, throwing him up onto the hood, windshield, and part of the roof before the man landed further ahead of the car in the westbound lane. The car stopped immediately.

A nurse driving by stopped and began providing first aid to the pedestrian until paramedics arrived. Police said the pedestrian was unconscious at the scene.

The pedestrian was transported to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth by Hingham Fire Department Paramedics. He was released from the hospital Saturday morning.

Police said that Lincoln Street is a four-lane road that runs east to west with two lanes in each direction. The four-way intersection the pedestrian was struck on is controlled by a traffic signal and has a pedestrian button and crosswalk.

Despite this, the Pontiac had a green light at the time of the crash, and the pedestrian walk button was not activated. The speed limit for this area is 40 miles per hour.

Neither the driver of the car, a 42-year-old from Weymouth, nor his passenger, a 40-year-old woman from Weymouth, was injured. The Pontiac was towed from the scene.

Police have not released the names of anyone involved in the accident. The crash remains under investigation by Hingham Police.

Milton state senator pushes to reduce state debt

July 18, 2013 02:28 PM

The following is an op-ed letter submitted by State Sen. Brian A. Joyce, D-Milton. Joyce serves the Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth district, consisting of Avon, Braintree, Canton, Easton, East Bridgewater, Milton, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, and West Bridgewater. He can be reached at 617-722-1643 or brian.a.joyce@masenate.gov. He is also on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/BrianAJoyceMA and @BrianAJoyce.

An important but little known committee has been meeting lately discussing a serious issue facing the residents of the Commonwealth: the extraordinary amount of debt we are carrying.

At the end of last year, Massachusetts was $21.182 billion in debt. According to the 2010 Census data, this works out to $11,309 for every man, woman, and child in the Commonwealth. This number makes Massachusetts residents number one in the country, by a long shot, when it comes to highest state debt per capita.

Some of this debt is important: it funds our schools, roads, and necessary infrastructure improvements that assist our economic recovery and create jobs. But it is time to start separating necessary investments from wasteful spending and trimming our obligations. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Bonding, I am currently working to de-authorize millions of dollars in spending and get outdated obligations off the books. As a member of the Capital Debt Affordability Committee holding these hearings, I have committed myself to developing a long-term strategy to address the issue.

A great deal of our debt comes in the form of spending authorizations, or bond bills. The administration cannot borrow money without the Legislature’s consent. The Legislature provides this consent through bond bills, which are usually focused on public works and infrastructure investments. Typically, the administration borrows far less than authorized and the majority of authorizations stall or are never pursued, leaving a significant amount of debt authorized but unissued.

In 2011, Standard and Poor’s upgraded Massachusetts’ credit rating to AA+. Businesses look to these grades when deciding whether to locate or expand in Massachusetts, or elsewhere. They also affect what interest rate the state receives when it takes on a loan, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest. Reducing the amount of debt we are carrying is critically important to maintaining our high ratings and remaining an attractive place to start and grow a business. These ratings directly contribute to the prosperity of our future.

The most important step in reducing the significant debt burden we carry is to acknowledge its existence. By creating this awareness we can work toward a more affordable future for the Commonwealth. The Capital Debt Affordability Committee is scheduled to issue its report on September 10. If you have thoughts on this issue, I would encourage you to send them along to my office. I will make sure that the members of the committee receive your input, as it is important that the public have a greater role in this discussion.

tags canton , debt , milton , senate

Legislative meet-and-greet to be held in Dedham in May

April 16, 2013 05:05 PM

The Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold a reception for business leaders and members of the public to speak to their legislators in Dedham.

The event will be held at the Endicott Estate from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 23.

The cost of attendance is $15 for members, $25 for non-members, and $10 for Facebook fans of the chamber.

There will be no formal speaking program; instead participants can mingle and network with one another and with legislative and business leaders in the community. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine, and other refreshments will be available.

Registration is required at nvcc.com or by calling 781-769-1126.

Dedham jail seeks mentors for prisoners

April 10, 2013 08:53 PM

Norfolk County’s sheriff is looking for volunteers to mentor prisoners at Norfolk County House of Correction in Dedham.

Mentors are paired with inmates while they are in prison, and they continue to meet after the release from prison, according to Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti, who began the program in 2011.

“The idea is to help the inmates stay on a productive, law-abiding path after they leave our walls,” Bellotti said.

Prospective mentors are interviewed and screened by Norfolk County Sheriff’s office staff to determine how well they will fit the program, but Bellotti said people from all walks of life could make good mentors.

About 40 mentors have been paired with inmates since the program began.

Funding in 2011 came from a US Justice Department grant received by the non-profit organization Volunteers of America, which partnered with the sheriff’s office to administer the program.

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor can contact Assistant Superintendent Patty Spataro at 781-751-3416.

Norfolk County registry to hold computer seminar on property research

April 2, 2013 01:59 PM

William O'Donnell Norfolk Deeds

Norfolk County’s register of deeds will host a free informational seminar about using computers to research property records.

William P. O’Donnell will hold the seminar at the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds at 649 High St. in Dedham on Thursday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m.

The seminar is intended for both real estate professionals and the general public, and will include a presentation, written handouts, and hands-on exercises.

Computer assisted land records research is currently available both at the registry and on the Internet at www.norfolkdeeds.org.

The seminar is free, but anyone planning to attend should register by contacting Alicia Gardner at 781-461-6104 or agardner@norfolkdeeds.org, and providing name, address, e-mail, and a daytime phone number.

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