Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Medicare Q & A Session For Seniors Monday

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Congressman Stephen F. Lynch will host a forum on Medicare Open Enrollment Monday, Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. at the Dorn Davies Senior Center at the Campello High Rise, 1380 Main Street.
Changes to Medicare Part D make this year’s open enrollment particularly important. Representatives from Social Security, CMS Medicare and SHINE will be available to answer questions and assist with the open enrollment process.
All interested parties are welcome to attend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday Fire Displaces 5

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Five tenants of a house at 53 Wilmington Street were displaced by a two-alarm fire Saturday morning that took Brockton firefighters 45 minutes to an hour to extinguish.
“The fire started in a wall of the second floor from some very old wiring,” said Deputy Chief Timothy Murphy. “The first floor tenants heard crackling in the wall and tried to put water on it, but realized it was in the walls and called the department,” he said.
Murphy said the call came at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday. He said two tenants lived on the first floor and three on the second.
“It’s terrible for people anyway and when you add that it’s the holidays—it’s terrible,” Murphy said.
He said the American Red Cross helped the residents find temporary shelter following the fire.
Murphy said the fire ran up the walls to the ceiling of the second floor and caused powerful flames in the attic.
He said the roof of the house is likely destroyed, as are the walls and ceiling where the fire raged. Murphy estimated the damages between $75,000 and $100,000.
He said two firefighters sustained minor injuries and the Stoughton and West Bridgewater fire departments covered some of Brockton’s stations during the blaze.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Report Calls For Probation Head's Removal

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Independent investigator Paul Ware, who was hired by the State Supreme Judicial Court to investigate allegations state Probation Department Commissioner John O'Brien directed the hiring and promotion of employees within the department based not on merit, but on political connections and who could draw more money to the department.
The SJC hired Ware after stories by The Boston Globe beginning in May spotlighted excessive patronage within the department.
In his report, Ware states, "the interview procedures used by Probation to hire and promote, large measure a facade and a sham."
Ware reports it is "unambiguous" that the hiring and promotions process was skewed toward O'Brien's politically connected friends and financial supporters.
In the report Ware calls for O'Brien's dismissal and calls for his replacement to be someone who is "unquestionably a person of integrity and experience."
O'Brien was placed on leave in May after The Globe's story.
Ware also calls for the Probation Department to remain within the court system, contrary to attempts by Gov. Deval Patrick to shift Probation from the authority of the courts to the executive branch.
The report has been forwarded by the court to the U.S. Attorney, the state Attorney General, state Inspector General and the Office of the Bar Counsel of the Board of Overseers for review and possible criminal charges or professional censure.
In his conclusion, Ware writes that patronage is part of many hiring and promotions processes, however in the Probation Department's case, O'Brien and his deputies transformed a credible process into a patronage hiring machine.
"However well-oiled, that machine no longer serves the public interest," Ware states.
The report, which Ware filed with the SJC Nov. 10, was relesed to the public yesterday afternoon.
Click here to read the original Boston Globe story....

Visit the Supreme Judicial Court homepage. to read the entire 307-page report.
(Photo courtesy The Boston Globe)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

25 Face Federal Drug Charges In Brockton Heroin Ring Bust

The BrocktonPost
BOSTON--The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston has confirmed 25 individuals living in Brockton, South Easton, Stoughton, Hanover, Dedham, Lynn and Somerville were arrested on drug and gun charges during a sweeping raid following a nearly year-long investigation into heroin dealing in Southeastern Mass.
“Today’s arrests should be a clear signal to those distributing drugs in our neighborhoods that the federal government is aggressively working with state and local law enforcement to track their movements, find their associates and close down their operations,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz in a prepared statement.
According to the affidavit released by the U.S. Attorney's Office around noon Thursday following the raids,an investigation began around December 2009 into members of a large heroin distribution organization which allegedly was distributing significant quantities of heroin in and around Brockton.
Through court-authorized interception of wire communications, 10 telephones used by
members of a targeted narcotics trafficking organization were intercepted, including cellular telephones.
Investigators allege Miguel Fernandes, Jose Rosa, Iury Gomes and Justin Teixera, all of Brockton, were each large scale heroin distributors who had numerous heroin sources of supply, criminal associates and heroin customers.
According to the affidavit, the interceptions revealed that Rosa, Gomes, Fernandes and Teixera used the targeted telephones to receive and distribute in excess of one kilogram of heroin--an estimated street value of $55,000 to $100,000.
It is alleged that from June 2010 until November 2010, the following defendants
conspired to possess with intent to distribute and distribute an excess of one kilogram of heroin:
1) Tiffany Marie Andrade of South Easton
2) Claudio Araujo a/k/a “Lenny” a/k/a UM9889 of Brockton
3) Alessio Barbosa a/k/a “Alexio”, a/k/a “Alex”, a/k/a “A” a/k/a “Ace” of Brockton
4) Dany L. Brandao a/k/a UM6122 of Brockton
5) Nicholas Deangelis a/k/a UM1027 of Brockton
6) Emanuel Docanto a/k/a “Mandog” a/k/a UM4026 of Brockton
7) Miguel A. Fernandes a/k/a “Miguel” of Brockton
8) Ismael Figueroa of Lynn
9) Ivan Fonseca a/k/a UM3507 of Brockton
10) Iury Jandir Gomes a/k/a “Utes” of Brockton
11) Alector Goncalves a/k/a “JG” of Brockton
12) Tamara Hollis of Brockton
13) Carey Monteiro a/k/a UF6102 a/k/a UF1163 of Dedham
14) Elsio Monteiro a/k/a UM3005 of Brockton
15) Robert Parsons a/k/a UM8385 of Hanover
16) Emanuel Ribeiro a/k/a UM9458 of Brockton
17) Jose G. Rosa a/k/a “Jose” a/k/a “J” a/k/a “Big Poppa” of South Easton
18) Virgilio Rosa a/k/a “Turbo” of Brockton
19) Nine Silveira of Brockton
20) Gregory Stubbs of Stoughton
21) Timothy T. Tamulevich, a/k/a “Tiny” of Brockton
22) Justin A Teixeira a/k/a “Becky” of Brockton
23) Carla Vicente a/k/a UF2296 of Brockton
24) Catherine Watts a/k/a “Kate” of Somerville
25) Jason Mirand, of Brockton was also arrested and will face state charges of unlawful possession of a Class D substance with the intent to distribute in a school zone.
Jose Rosa, Fonseca and Deangelis are presently in state custody and will be
transferred to federal custody.
Special Agent in Charge Steven Derr said the arrests are an excellent example of various law enforcement agencies working together to rid the community of harmful drugs.
“This investigation is a great example of cooperative law enforcement between federal, state and local law enforcement targeting a heroin drug trafficking organization which is now out of business," Derr said.
Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz said, “The streets of Brockton are
safer today as a result of these arrests."
Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti thanked the numerous law enforcement agencies involved for their hard work.
“Urban communities have our challenges, but make no mistake, residents of this city are no less deserving of a peaceful quality of life,” Balzotti said. “We are not going to tolerate this kind of activity in our community. We will continue to remain vigilant," she said.
This investigation was part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Group (HIDTA) which includes local, state and federal agencies.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney’s Ann Taylor and Leah Foley of Oritz’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The state defendant will be prosecuted by Distrct Attorney Cruz’s Office.

Friday, November 12, 2010

War Veterans Honored In Brockton

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Veterans who have fought in this country's wars were honored yesterday during Brockton's annual Veteran's Day Parade.
This year's parade featured the Brockton High School Marching Band, U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, the Boston Windjammers, Worcester Brass Band, a contingent of vintage automobiles from the South Shore Antique Auto Club, and hundreds of members of Brockton High School's ROTC and Brighton High School's Jr. ROTC.
Hundreds of residents and business owners watched along Belmont Avenue as the procession marched through on its way to a wreath-laying ceremony at the Veterans of All Wars Monument on Legion Parkway in Brockton's downtown.
Here are some photos of this year's celebration of America's war heroes.

For more photos and video of Thursday's parade visit,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brockton 21st Century Corp. Launches New Small Business Program

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--From the Mayor's Office:
Mayor Linda M. Balzotti was joined by representatives of the Metro South Chamber of Commerce, Brockton Redevelopment Authority, Self Help Inc., and the Campello, Downtown, and Montello business associations to celebrate the official launch of the Brockton 21st Century Corporation Small Business Program on Tuesday, Nov. 9th
“This program will help kick start Brockton’s economic engine,” said Balzotti in a prepared statement. “Providing assistance to small businesses not only helps those already here, but makes the city more attractive to business-owners looking to locate a business in the area,” she said.
Officials said in the statement, the goal of the program is to provide Brockton’s small businesses with the necessary resources and technical assistance to foster bothprosperity and sustainability.
The consulting contract was awarded to OnPoint Coaching. John Lloyd, the company’s principal, will serve in a part-time position that is paid through the Brockton 21st Century Corporation.
Lloyd will have on-site office hours in the Brockton 21st Century Corp. offices at 50 School St. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to Noon on Tuesday and Thursday.
“Establishing this program meets an unmet need in our community,” said Mary Waldron, Executive Director of the Brockton 21st Century Corporation.
A Brockton resident, Lloyd has nine years of business experience in the private sector and has owned OnPoint Coaching since 2008.
The firm focuses on advising clients in project management, market research, website development, public relations, business development, event planning, and marketing.
“Our goal with this program is to provide the appropriate support, resources, and direction to the small businesses in the community for growth and vitality,” said Lloyd.
Small business owners will receive assistance through monthly training sessions focused on addressing the challenges and opportunities small businesses face as well as providing solutions and guidance.
An analysis of an existing small business database will be done, as well as a needs assessment of what resources Brockton’s small businesses need.
The Small Business Program will also provide direct and indirect technical assistance to new or existing businesses seeking this type of service.
In addition to this, Lloyd will attend local, state, and federal meetings focusing on small business, and assist the Brockton 21st Century Corp. to establish monthly meetings with local, state, and federal resources including: the Small Business Association; the Center for Entrepreneurship at Bridgewater State University; Massasoit Community College; Stonehill College, SEED Corporation, the Metro South Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, and more.
The Small Business Program will also identify, research, and apply for targeted grants to help enhance Brockton’s existing small business resources. A welcome package for newly formed businesses will also be created and distributed.
The development of a micro-loan program for small businesses and a post-finance technical assistance program aimed at recently funded businesses in the Brockton area is also planned.
The Small Business Program will also review and update an existing Navigating Guide with input from relevant city departments.
In the few weeks Lloyd has been on board, accomplishments already include a revised business guide identifying resources for Brockton small businesses.
This guide was translated by Jair Martins, a BSU graduate student intern at Brockton 21st Century Corp.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cerberus Deal With Caritas For Good Samaritan, Other Hospitals Finalized

The BrocktonPost
BOSTON--Caritas Christi Health Care, which includes Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, today announced it has completed its sale to Steward Health Care System LLC, a newly formed affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, L.P.
The sale to Steward includes six Caritas Christi hospitals: Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, Carney Hospital in Dorchester, Norwood Hospital, Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, and Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.
According to a statement issued by Caritas Christi Healh Care, Steward has also acquired the assets of other Caritas Christi entities, including the Caritas Physician Network, Caritas Hospice and Home Care, Laboure College, and Por Cristo. As a result of the transaction, the Caritas system will no longer operate on a non-profit, tax free basis and will begin paying all applicable state and local taxes and continue to provide established levels of free care for the uninsured, community benefits and pastoral care.
The sale had already been approved by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Attorney General and Department of Public Health, as well as the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and the Vatican in Rome.
The system will continue to operate under the Caritas Christi banner following the sale.
The completed transaction brings approximately $895 million of capital to the Caritas Health Care System to be used for the assumption of pension obligations, repayment of debt, funding for operations and significant capital projects, including immediate upgrades to Caritas’ six hospitals.
Good Samaritan in May began construction of a new 32,000-square-foot emergency room and expanded facilities.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to our employees, the communities Caritas Christi Health Care System serves, the Archdiocese of Boston and to the state of Massachusetts for their support and approval of this transaction,” said Ralph de la Torre, CEO of Steward. “With the purchase of Caritas Christi, Steward Health Care System will become a model for high-quality, low-cost, community-based health care. We look forward to continuing our service to the communities that have put their trust in us,” he said.
De la Torre and the current senior leadership at Caritas Christ will remain in place and the six Caritas hospitals will continue to deliver care that adheres to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Proposal, Two Companies Seek City Water Audit

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Two consultants have combined to submit the only proposal for an audit requested by city officials to review the embattled water and sewer department.
Chief Procurement Officer Michael Morris said Wednesday Framingham-based The Abrahams Group and Woodard and Curran, of Dedham, have submitted a combined proposal to complete the audit--the only submission received for the job.
"The idea, I guess, is they thought it was better to team up," Morris said.
Morris said it was not a surprise the two companies paired up for the proposal because the specifications for submission called for the "lead" to focus on accounting while another area calls for review of engineering and similar expertise.
Also, during a question-and-answer session held Friday, Oct. 22, The Abrahams Group and Woodard and Curran were two of four firms who expressed interest in submitting proposals.
At the meeting a representative from Woodard and Curran said the company was there in partnership with The Abrahams Group.
Proposals were due at City Hall Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The other two companies did not submit proposals.
The audit is the result of questions that arose during the summer over what some say are outrageously high water bills.
Nearly 70 residents protested their bills during a rally in August.
Mayor Linda Balzotti had proposed hiring an auditing firm--The Abrahams Group--under her authority as mayor to pin-point some of the problems and make changes, if necessary.
However, the City Council wanted to conduct an audit also, but through the Request for Proposals process because councilors like Thomas Brophy believed the RFP process would be more transparent and offer competition for the audit.
Since, residents have filed complaints about their water bills with the State Inspector General's office and have charged the Water Commission with violating the Open Meeting Law over the billing problem.
Morris said the next step in the RFP process is for the city's recently formed audit review committee to go over the submission and make a recommendation to accept the proposal and hire the two firms or reject it.
He said the committee is not obligated to accept the proposal because it is the only one.
The committee includes Chief Financial Officer John Condon and City Councilor Thomas Brophy.
Morris said the audit review committee will not meet in public and the proposal is not open to public view until the committee decides to accept it.
"It's completely confidential," Morris said.
Morris said the submission also includes a cost estimate, however the proposed cost envelope--so to speak--is not opened until after the audit review committee accepts the submission.
That is, if the audit review committee accepts it.
If the audit review committee rejects the proposal from The Abrahams Group and Woodard and Curran, Morris said the cost proposal is never opened.
City Chief Financial Officer Condon has estimated the audit to cost about $100,000.