Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby Shower Murder Suspect Expected In Court Today

BROCKTON--A 20-year-old Brockton man will be arraigned today, Thursday Dec. 30 in Brockton District Court and will be charged with the 2008 shooting that killed one teenager and wounded two others who were attending a baby shower.
Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said in a prepared statement issued earlier today Darryene Ware, 20, of Brockton will face murder charges in the killing of 16-year-old Chantel Matiyosus, who was shot death April 25, 2008 outside of a house at 25 Addison Ave., where she attended a baby shower with friends and family.
Cruz praised investigators for their hard work and determination and said the streets of Brockton are safer because of Ware's arrest.
He said the investigation is still ongoing.
"This investigation will continue until we identify and bring to justice any other persons who assisted in the planning or carrying out of this brutal crime that resulted in such a tragic and senseless loss of a young life," Cruz said in the statement.
After a 20-month investigation by the Plymouth County State Police Detectives Unit, Brockton Police Department and DA's Office, investigators received an arrest warrant for Ware Wednesday afternoon and he will be arraigned in Brockton District Court on the charges today.
Investigators said Ware was tipped off via phone by a friend that a person he was having a "heated and ongoing dispute" with was at the baby shower.
Investigators alleged Ware and one or more co-conspirators calling themselves "D Block" for the Denton Street area of Brockton, showed up the Addison Avenue baby shower at about 11 p.m. April 25, 2008 and opened fire with multiple semiautomatic handguns at a crowd standing outside in front of the apartment where the baby shower was being held.
Investigators said the shooting was allegedly done to shoot and kill several young men in a rival group from the Ames Street area who were attending the baby shower.
Police said 16-year-old Chantel Matiyosus, one of three victimes of the shooting, was standing near the driveway when the guns exploded.
She was wounded in the head and abdomen. She was raced to Brockton Hospital were she died around midnight from her wounds.
A male victim, Peter Johnson, was shot in the leg and another female, Arianna Santos, had a bullet go through her hand.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snow Delights Some, Makes Travel Dangerous For Others

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—As the power outage and other problems from the Blizzard of 2010 wind down, residents who rode out the storm in relative safety, headed to the local sledding slopes for a ride of another kind.
“It’s awesome,” shouted 10-year-old Ryan Downing as he slid backwards down a steep hill at the Tower in D.W. Field Park Tuesday afternoon.
Downing, his buddy 9-year-old Bobby Crossman, (pictured below from left to right) and dozens of others streamed into the park after the Oak Street entrance was opened yesterday afternoon.
Parents like Chris Bryant--a Brockton native, who brought his son and daughter to Tower Hill after leaving Strawberry Valley Golf Course in Abington because there was too many sledders—were glad to get out of the house and let the kids burn off some energy after nearly 24 hours of being cooped in the house following a snow storm that began Sunday morning and didn’t end until Monday afternoon.
“We were fine. We didn’t lose electricity—it flickered, but didn’t go out,” said Bryant, who lives close enough to D.W. Field Park to walk to Tower Hill, but did not because walking was not a safe option Tuesday because not all sidewalks were clear and many roadways—especially Oak Street—were still covered in mounds of snow and slush. Plows and sanders worked throughout Tuesday to clear roadways and business people shoveled out sidewalks. However, pedestrians and at least one man in a wheel chair, (pictured below) made their way on the roads as cars passed them by.
The man in the wheelchair traveled at least from North Montello, to Centre Street and across to Commercial Street where he went into the BAT bus station. He was unharmed and motorists, in many cases made a complete stop to allow him to pass.
Because of difficult parking conditions we could not stop to talk to him before he disappeared into the BAT station.
National Grid, the area’s electric company, apologized Monday in the face of criticism from area fire and public officials for its response to the storm and drew crews from surrounding states to help with restoring power and repairing thousands of wires that collapsed across the region from the heavy, wet snow and wind gusts up to 60 mph.
More than 26,000 customers lost their electrical service beginning after midnight Monday. Some went for as long as 12 hours while others went without lights or heat for more than 36 hours. Plymouth County—one of the hardest hit in the region—at one point had more than 11,000 customers without electricity.
As of Wednesday, most have had their lights turned on, but local officials and National Grid have pledged to create policies to have a smoother response during the next storm. To view the remaining outages, click here to visit National Grid’s storm center.
Weather forecasts call for a warming trend, with temperatures in the 40's by Thursday.
One girl out on the slopes at D.W. Field Park, Coryn Nompleggi, a 9-year-old from Taunton (pictured above) said she would like to have another storm.
"Right before school next week," Nompleggi said.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Blizzard Wreaks Havoc Across South Shore

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Thousands of National Grid customers in Brockton and across the South Shore are still without electrical power and one family’s West Elm Street home was destroyed by fire during a blizzard that dropped more than two feet of heavy, wet snow throughout the region.
Mayor Linda Balzotti said National Grid was completely unprepared for the storm and as a result, 8,800 residents in Brockton and surrounding towns were still without power by mid-afternoon Monday and many had at that time gone without electricity for about 12 hours.
“They did an abysmal job,” Balzotti said. “They were completely unprepared and didn’t have nearly enough crews on to handle this storm,” she said.
National Grid spokeswoman Deborah Drew said crews have been working hard to restore power to the more than 26,000 National Grid customers who lost power.
“They will be working through the night,” Drew said.
Drew said National Grid officials gave area public officials—most notably South Shore fire officials--a verbal apology for what has been considered a less than stellar response in dealing with the power outages.
(National Grid Power Outage map as of 4:51 p.m. Monday, Dec. 27. To view the map, which is updated every 15 minutes, click here to visit National Grid's website)
“We have been in touch with all of the fire chiefs on the South Shore to discuss the status of the restoration, apologize for the problems we had, and work with them to free up their crews and get everyone's power back as soon as possible,” Drew said.
Plymouth County and the South Shore are areas that were hit the hardest by the blizzard. National Grid customers were affected in nearly every South Shore town from Abington to Brockton to Whitman and to West Bridgewater.
Statistics on National Grid’s website show Plymouth County as having 11,148 households without electricity—the most highly affected county in National Grid’s service area.
Brockton had more than 2,000 homes without electricity. Bridgewater had 1,764, and West Bridgewater 2,843.
Drew said National Grid did have some issues during this storm because of the huge number of wires that came down. She said about 500 wires fell down overnight on the South Shore alone.
A major problem, Drew said, was that a transmission line in Dighton went down and affected a large region.
She said restoring power Monday morning into the afternoon had become difficult because in many areas snow was still coming down and technicians were having difficulty accessing equipment.
“They are facing many challenges—the snow is still coming down and the wind is still blowing,” Drew said.
Drew said many residents may not have their electricity back until late Monday or Tuesday morning.
She said people without power should consider making alternate plans for the evening if residents are without power or heat because there is no way of telling when some of the towns experiencing power outages will have electricity restored.
Drew said while National Grid’s focus remains on restoring customers as quickly as possible, the company has committed to work with the Plymouth County fire chiefs after the storm to ensure National Grid improves it’s performance from now on.
Drew noted this storm is one of the worst in at least 5 years and the company has crews from three states working on downed wires and trying to restore power.
The Blizzard of 2010—as many are calling it—began Sunday morning.
Several inches had fallen by the afternoon and the overnight into Monday morning was marked by driving winds with gusts up to 60 mph and heavy, wet snow that bent over branches, downed wires and toppled trees.
Coastal communities were hit hard during the night, especially Scituate where National Guard members helped some residents evacuate when high tides flooded homes at about 3 a.m. Scituate firefighters also waded into water up to their waists when two homes caught fire following electrical problems.

Brockton Deputy Fire Chief Michael Williams said a tree to the left side of a house at 257 West Elm Street, fell under the weight of the snow and as it crashed down into the house the tree took down with it an electrical wire that sparked a blaze that destroyed the house this morning around 7:15 a.m.
“It’s a total loss,” Williams said.
He said the adult son of the owners was staying at the house while his parents were on vacation.
Williams said the young man is fine and no one was hurt, but the house—a two-and-half-story Victorian more than a 100-years-old--is expected to be razed Tuesday.
Monday afternoon two workers put boards on the windows and the doors. The roof was almost completely gone and the interior of the house completely gutted.
Williams said firefighters were also busy responding to calls for downed wires. He said firefighters received more than 100 calls from midnight Monday to about 2 p.m. and 95 percent of them were for downed electrical, cable or telephone wires.
While many people suffered power outages and other calamities during the storm, others like Nilton Gomes, a 31-year-old Brunswick Street resident (pictured above ) who was taking his time shoveling out three cars from in front of his house—seemed to like the blizzard.
“It’s not that bad,” Gomes said.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Williams To Leave Brockton For Quincy Library

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton Library Director Harry Williams III has announced he will resign from his position Friday, Feb. 4 to take over the head of Thomas Crane Library in Quincy the following Monday.
After waiting nearly a week to learn if the recommendation from the Quincy Library Trustees would become an appointment made by Mayor Thomas Koch, Williams said he received a fax Wednesday night approving Quincy’s new director.
“Now I know it’s a done deal,” Williams said.
Williams, 63, said his last day in Brockton will be Feb. 4, and he will begin his new job Monday, Feb. 7, when he will be officially sworn-in as the new director during Quincy’s annual swearing-in-ceremony for dozens of officials.
Williams said the timing couldn’t be better because every year his anniversary will fall on or close to Quincy’s annual swearing in ceremony.
“I like all my 'I’s' dotted and my 'T’s' crossed and it couldn’t have worked out better,” Williams said.
Since last week, Monday Dec. 13, Williams has been Quincy’s pick to replace Ann McLaughlin, Quincy’s longtime director who will retire at the end of January.
Williams said once he heard about the Quincy trustees’ vote, he contacted Brockton’s trustees and Mayor Linda Balzotti, but held back on congratulations or a resignation date, because he felt the deal wasn’t done because he had not received official notification from Koch that the trustees recommendation had been approved and Koch had made the appointment.
Williams was concerned Koch might not make the appointment and force another search for a director because of the controversy and contention over the months-long process that included numerous votes for and against Williams, other candidates and an eventual no vote to reopen the search.
Williams was voted in 3-2.
“I wasn’t sure if the search would be reopened,” Williams said. “Anything could happen,” he said.
Williams said several news outlets had confirmed Koch would make the appointment, but Williams said it was like tap dancing talking to people about it, because there was still some uncertainty in his mind until he heard from Koch himself.
Christopher Walker, a spokesman for Mayor Koch said Wedensday Koch expected to approve the recommendation and Williams’ hiring as the Crane Library’s new director.
“Mayor Koch anticipates doing that in short order,” Walker said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Walker said the appointment did not require a vote, only a letter of appointment from Koch.
Walker said Koch intended to send a letter to Williams “shortly” that would confirm the trustee’s recommendation, a move Walker said would be difficult to reverse.
“Once the mayor acts on the appointment it’s done--absolutely,” Walker said.
Williams said he received a fax copy of Koch’s letter late yesterday afternoon.
Williams said he is glad to have received it and can now officially tell people it is a done deal.
He said he looks forward to a new challenge in Quincy and will miss his nearly 7 years as Brockton’s director, a time when he worked closely with numerous organizations and individuals who helped get a lot of things done within Brockton’s library system, including renovating the East Branch at no cost to taxpayers, numerous grant awards including updating public internet access through grants from the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and initiating the City Lights parties over the last two years.
“The only thing that could tempt me to change my current, and very satisfying work and life situation is such an opportunity, which will allow me to spend more time and energy promoting and advocating for the library that employs me, and for libraries in general,” Williams said.
He said he isn’t too worried about the controversy in Quincy that surrounded his appointment. He said he has helped mend fences in past positions and believes the same will happen in Quincy.
Williams, a native New Yorker, took over as library director in Brockton in 2004. Before coming to Brockton he worked as librarian, assistant director or director in Rahway, New Jersey, Webster, Dudley, Southbridge, and Worcester.
“I believe once that political stuff is over people will come together and do what is in the best interest for the library,” Williams said. “I think people will say, ‘now that’s over and we will pull together,'” he said.
He said his resignation date, Feb. 4, should be enough time for a smooth transition and as Brockton seeks his replacement Assistant Director Keith Choquette and others in the library have the skills and talent to easily fill-in with functions, like grant writing and report writing.
"I have publicly committed to a smooth transition and I don't see February as being a problem," Williams said.
Energetic and enthusiastic, Williams is a young 63 and said he has “only just begun,” and envisions a productive tenure as Crane Library’s new director.
“The library is an energetic and nourishing environment,” Williams said. “It keeps me young,” he said.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

City Council Waters Down Henry Family Resolution

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—The Brockton City Council Finance Committee has voted to support an amended resolution that expresses sympathy for the family of Danroy “DJ” Henry, but does not request the investigation of the Easton man’s death by the U.S. Department of Justice.
“I would call it watered down,” said Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart following Monday night’s finance committee meeting.
Stewart sparked controversy last week when he submitted a stronger resolution to the City Council that would have asked the Department of Justice to take action, to do something in the face of questions over Henry's shooting--a far cry from the amendment to his resolution voted by the council last night.
“This doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t ask for any action. It doesn't take any action,” Stewart said.
Last night members of the council debated supporting Stewart’s original resolution and opted to approve an amendment from Councilor-at-large Thomas Brophy that completely changed Stewart’s resolution.
Brophy’s resolution states the City Council extends its sympathy for the Henry family and hopes for the swift resolution of the investigation into Danroy Henry’s death.
Stewart’s resolution while expressing similar sympathy for the family, specifically requests the U.S. Department of Justice conduct an independent investigation into Henry’s shooting death by a police officer in Mt. Pleasant N.Y., where Henry attended college and played football for Pace University.
The vote in favor of Brophy’s amendment was 5-4.
Councilor Robert Sullivan was absent and Councilor Todd Petti, after saying Stewart’s original resolution was like a reprimand of the Mt. Pleasant Police Department and asked Stewart if he had contacted the Mt. Pleasant Police Chief to talk about the shooting, Petti walked out of the room to be officially counted as not present.
Stewart said he didn't not contact the Mt. Pleasant Police Chief because the matter is under investigation and the chief is likely not to respond.
Petti said Stewart’s resolution should be something residents and government officials in New York should be doing and not those in Brockton.
Selectmen in Easton have voted to support the resolution, however Brockton councilors said the resolution is likely not to move the Department of Justice, which has already turned away an attempt by the Henry family to hand-deliver a letter to the agency asking for an independent investigation.
Ward 6 Councilor Michelle DuBois said she was in favor of Stewart’s original resolution and disagreed with other councilors that it was a political move to support it. She said the resolution's meaning was being blown out of proportion and it is part of government's job to support resolutions and petitions for one thing or another. DuBois voted against Brophy's amendment because she said she wanted to vote in favor of Stewart's.
Petti said he wanted to abstain from the vote, but parliamentary rules do not allow a councilor to vote absent. Instead, a councilor wishing to pass on a vote must walk out of the room to appear as not present.
Some of the nearly 10 family and friends of Henry who live in Brockton and attended last night’s meeting were displeased with Petti’s move to walk out of the room rather than vote the issue up or down.
“I can understand voting yes or no, I can live with that, but to just get up walk out of the room—what is that,” said Kevin Murphy, a longtime Ash Street resident who spoke in favor of Stewart’s resolution and said having watched Danroy Henry grow up knows in his heart Henry could not be the same person police in New York have described on the night of Oct. 17 when a police officer shot Henry fearing for his life when Henry allegedly drove his car in an attempt to run over the officer following a bar room raid.
Peg Dozier, who has lived in Brockton for decades and is Henry’s grandmother, said after the meeting she was very unhappy with the vote and completely disagrees with some of the councilor’s arguments that it places them in a position of picking sides between the police and her grandson.
Dozier said the family is seeking the truth about Henry's death and because of the numerous discrepancies between witness and police statements wants to ensure the investigation is above-board since it is the Mt. Pleasant Police Department that is collecting evidence and investigating one of their own.
Dozier said she also believes the police in Mt. Pleasant went too far that night.
"He executed my grandson," Dozier said. "That's what it was--an execution," Dozier said.
Last week the Henry family's lawyer, Michael Sussman called Henry's shooting murder by the Mt. Pleasant Police.
She said it isn’t surprising that an 11-member Brockton City Council made up of only one white woman and one black man and filled with mostly white men would not support even a symbolic resolution to seek the truth about police actions, even if it is in New York.
“It was something simple, symbolic. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve been involved and when I need one little thing…nothing,” she said. “This place is so old school,” Dozier said.
Stewart said he was disappointed by the vote, but not surprised because he had talked with many of his fellow councilors since submitting the resolution last week.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feds Sue Brockton Over Iraq Veteran's Promotion

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston has announced the U.S. Justice Department's Division of Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit against the City of Brockton and state of Massachusetts for allegedly violating the rights of an Iraq War veteran who was denied a promotion to sergeant and barred from taking the lieutenant's exam.
In a prepared statement released today, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “our service men and women make the ultimate sacrifice by serving our country. We cannot allow employers to disadvantage them based on their military service or military status.”
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated Brockton Police Sergeant Brian Benvie’s rights as a military servicemen under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 when Brockton and the state of Massachusetts failed to fully recognize the retroactive promotion to sergeant Benvie earned after taking a make-up promotional exam upon his return from active duty military service in Iraq in 2007.
The U.S. Attorney claims Benvie’s score on the exam placed him at the top of the promotional list, and he was promoted to sergeant in July 2008.
Benvie subsequently learned that another patrolman with a score lower than his had been promoted to sergeant in October 2007.
After initially refusing, the city officials eventually retroactively adjusted Benvie’s promotion to the date he would have been promoted except for his military service.
However, the statement says, the city subsequently failed to give full effect to that promotion by denying Benvie the opportunity to take the lieutenants’ promotional exam.
Among other things, the suit seeks to provide Benvie with a makeup exam for the lieutenants’ promotional exam that he was not permitted to take; place Benvie on the appropriate eligibility list based on his score on the lieutenants’ exam; and, should his score merit it, retroactively promote Benvie to lieutenant with all of the rights, benefits, and seniority that he would have enjoyed if he had been permitted to take the exam in October 2008 and had achieved the same score.
According to the statement the lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint Benvie filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
After an investigation, the Department of Labor determined Benvie’s complaint had merit and referred the matter to the Justice Department.
According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 is a federal law intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other “uniformed services:” (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service.

Henry Family Resolution On Table Monday Night

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—When the City Council Finance Committee meets Monday to discuss a resolution asking for an independent investigation into the shooting death of Easton resident Danroy “DJ” Henry, at least one councilor will not be in favor of the move.
“I feel bad for the family and everything they are going through, but I don’t think it’s something the City Council should be addressing,” said Ward Two Councilor Thomas Monahan.
Monday night the City Council Finance Committee will meet at 7 p.m. to discuss a resolution presented by Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart that asks the City Council to support a resolution that would support the family of Danroy Henry in their attempt to have the U.S. Justice Department investigate the actions that led to Henry’s shooting outside of a bar and restaurant near Pace University where Henry played football.
Earlier this week 20 to 30 members of Henry’s family, including grandparents Woodrow Reese and Peg Dozier who live in Brockton, attended Monday’s City Council meeting when the board first heard the resolution and voted to move the item to the finance committee for discussion and a recommendation.
Stewart, who was in Texas this week, said he and the Henry family will return Monday to hear Monahan’s and other councilors’ opinions on the non-binding resolution.
The resolution was moved to the finance committee because all of the City Council members sit on the finance committee and not because there is any cost associated to it.
Stewart said some may believe the Henry family's situation does not have to do with Brockton or the City Council, but he notes Henry’s grandparents are Brockton residents and as a parent himself he understands what the family is going through and why they are requesting the support of area boards, and as a city councilor he has the chance to do something--even though it may be symbolic--to aid a family in its time of need.
“This is our chance to act,” Stewart said.
The resolution, which selectmen in Easton voted to support Monday night, asks the U.S. Justice Department to, “take over this investigation immediately and ensure that an independent and neutral investigation occurs and that all information uncovered is reported impartially and without prejudice.”
Since Henry’s shooting by police October 18 stories reported by Mt. Pleasant Police and witnesses have raised issues of what happened that night and the Henry family and their attorney Michael Sussman have publicly worried about tampering by Mt. Pleasant Police—who are not only investigating the shooting, but the actions of one of their own.
Some of Henry’s supporters have said the investigation by Mt. Pleasant Police is much like the fox guarding the hen house. Mt. Pleasant officials have denounced the allegations.
Stewart said a vote in favor of supporting the resolution is not picking sides between the family’s version of events that led to Henry’s death or the Mt. Pleasant Police.
Stewart said it is similar to the City Council’s decision to hire an independent auditor to review water bills that have been questioned.
He said the council could have voted to allow the water department review it’s own performance, but in the face of a preponderance of questions from residents opted to hire an outside firm.
“Is that picking a side,” Stewart asked.
On the other hand, Monahan said he believes the City Council is in a Catch-22, no matter what way it votes because they will look insensitive to the family if they vote not to support the resolution and if they do, politically it will seem as if the board has chosen sides.
“There’s nothing binding about this and I don’t think as a legislative body we need to be involved,” Monahan said.
Monahan said Stewart might have been better off bringing the matter up during a City Council hearing as a point of privilege and express his support rather than force a vote from the entire council.
“I’m not sure what this does for the family or anybody,” Monahan said.
Stewart said he disagreed.
“All the family wants is the truth,” Stewart said.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Armory Filled With Hugs, Kisses

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Sgt. Richard Joseph arrived at the Brockton Armory and as he made his way toward his family he encountered numerous obstacles—-loving land mines of comrades in arms and complete strangers who gave him hugs, handshakes and hearty congratulations for his return.
“It’s so good to be home,” Joseph (Pictured above with wife Julene) said as he separated from a jubilant kiss and hug from his wife Julene.
Joseph, 29, a Weymouth resident, was one of hundreds of Massachusetts U.S. Army soldiers who returned home from Afghanistan late Tuesday night in time for the holidays, and a day early.
The soldiers flew into Hanscom Air Force Base in Lincoln. Joseph said on the ride home the soldiers were escorted by police to the Brockton Armory on Montauk Road and as they passed an exit on the highway, Joseph said the Brockton Fire Department had an enormous American flag displayed as the soldiers drove by.
The party when they arrived at the armory was a complete surprise.
“This is unbelievable—no one expected this,” Joseph said as he smiled and pointed out the food, balloons, streamers and music played by a disc jockey provided by Keller Williams Realty in Easton and numerous other area restaurants and shops.

One of those Joseph received a hug from as he searched for his family in the packed armory was Kate Frost, a Hanson resident who works for Keller Williams.
She doesn’t know Joseph, but she had to hug him.
“I’m so proud of them,” Frost said, holding onto a miniature American flag similar to the ones that lined the outside roadway leading to the armory.
“I don’t know any of them, but I have to give them a hug and thank them,” Frost said.
Reaching his family, Joseph was surrounded by his mother Paulette, father Jean, and sister Rachel who handed him a cell phone so his other sister Sandra Menard could say hello.
“We are so happy he’s home,” said his mother Paulette Joseph, (Joseph family pictured above) a Stoughton resident.
“We’re going to celebrate and thank God—we thank God he’s home and we're going to celebrate,” she said, wiping a tear from her cheek with a tissue.
While some of the newly arrived soldiers were heading straight home to family like Bill Mockus, pictured below with mother Roseanne and 11-year-old son Jarrod, others hopped in cars and headed to area nightclubs including Brockton’s Luis Quinones.

“This is amazing—she’s amazing,” Quinones, 35, said as he eyed a black stretch limousine parked in front of the armory that was rented by Asia Allen, a Scottsdale, Arizona resident who has worked as a medical specialist in Afghanistan with the more than dozen soldiers waiting to jump into the limo and cars parked nearby to go have a good time on the town.
“I had to. These guys deserve it,” Allen said. (Pictured below)
“You don’t know what these guys have been through,” she said.
The guys said the same of her and said her skills as a medic are incredible and have saved lives and limbs. They also pointed out that she has never visited Massachusetts or Brockton before last night.
“It’s worth it,” she said.
Weymouth’s Joseph, in the army for 10 years, said he has performed two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
Joseph said he has spent the last year in Afghanistan as a member of the Army’s Wolfpack, a battalion whose dangerous missions have been highlighted by CNN and The Washington Post.
His wife Julene shook her head to indicate the negativity of the Afghanistan experience, saying “It’s been a long year. “
Joseph said Afghanistan is worse than Iraq and he does not want to go back. He has a much better idea.
“I want to make some babies,” he said.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brockton Blight Is Target Not Cape Verdeans Says Code Enforcement Officer

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—The release of a report by City Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart and a working group formed to help solve city problems that claims code enforcement activities have unfairly targeted and harassed Cape Verdean auto sales and repair shops has come under much criticism from code enforcement officials who say eyesores, trash and junk heaps and illegal operations are the target and not race.
“It’s about blight—not people,” said Officer Scott D. Uhlman, a Brockton police officer who along with a team of inspectors in other city departments is responsible for ensuring city ordinances and permit restrictions are met.
“It’s not about race. It’s not what he thinks. He’s sticking his neck out for people who are violating the law and thumbing their noses at the city,” Uhlman said.
Uhlman, a 29-year-veteran of the department, said over the last year to 18 months the code enforcement department has been much more aggressive in cracking down on businesses who maybe violating city codes and ordinances or the restrictions of their licenses.
“If I go to an auto sales lot and they have 50 cars and they’re only supposed to have 10—that’s not about who’s black, white, purple or green, it’s about violating the law,” Uhlman said.
Uhlman said he is shocked at the report’s claim that he or other enforcement officials are unduly harassing or targeting Cape Verdean businesses and could be based on a personal animosity stemming from an incident several months ago when Uhlman was prohibited from posting code enforcement updates on Internet issues forum
“Yes, I think it’s personal,” Uhlman said.
Uhlman said he has lists of examples of code violations and enforcement actions against non-Cape Verdean car dealers and repair shops who continually agree to meet regulations and then don’t, including a dealership at 159 North Main St. that had a license for four cars and was found in May 2009 to have 130. The owner was given until December to remove the cars and when he didn’t comply, the 91 vehicles still remaining on the lot were towed.
“It’s about blight—not people,” Uhlman said. “People want this city cleaned up,” he said.
Stewart, the city’s first black and gay city councilor, said the report is not a personal attack, but a list of recommendations to address a perception among some Cape Verdean businesses that they are being targeted by code enforcement.
“We necessarily don’t believe the Cape Verdean community is being targeted because of race,” Stewart said. “The report doesn’t say they are being harassed or targeted because they are Cape Verdean, the report says the Cape Verdean community feels like it is being harassed. There is a difference between feeling harassed and being harassed,” he said.
The city’s code enforcement activities have increased during the last two years and inspectors from the fire department, health department, electrical, and others have cracked down on violators, not only car dealerships selling more vehicles than the license allows, storing excess vehicles on others’ property and sidewalks or expanding business into repairs and body work without a license, but also illegal apartments, squatters living in foreclosed houses, illegal rubbish dumping and excessive trash, debris and other junk littering yards and businesses.
Uhlman said the increased enforcement—and complaints--coincides with his position moving from a part-time position he has held for about seven years to a full-time job over the last two.
Last week Stewart released the first report from the unofficial working groups he and City Councilor-at-large Thomas Brophy formed to identify problems and make recommendations for improving issues in the city including jobs, education, safety and neighborhoods.
Stewart said the City Council in April opted not to make the working groups project an official committee of the council because members felt the work would be redundant to task forces initiated by Mayor Linda Balzotti.
Balzotti’s task forces released its reports and recommendations in April and are available on the city’s website.
Stewart said people who heard about his working groups volunteered and were divided into five separate groups.
The first report released last week and titled, “New Strategies for Better Code Enforcement with Cape Verdean Auto Sales/Repair Businesses,” was developed by members of the neighborhood/ordinance working group.
None of the documentation within the report cites where the allegations of race bias actually comes from except reports and observations.
The report concedes there is a “chronic problem where the Cape Verdean auto businesses are not following city ordinances and are adding blight to local neighborhoods” and that the city’s code enforcement officials are aggressively pursuing those individuals.
The reports continues, “However, Cape Verdean businesses report feeling harassed, ‘targeted,’ and treated unfairly based on race—citing examples of white businesses that operate with impunity.”
Stewart said issues of harassment came to his attention in January or February, long before the working groups were formed.
He said he and a member of Mayor Balzotti’s staff were led on a tour by a Cape Verdean businessman and visited seven or eight Cape Verdean auto sale and repair businesses who had received code and license violations while neighboring businesses operated by people who are white were doing the same thing and didn’t receive violations.
Stewart said when he formed the working groups months later he told the volunteers in the neighborhood/ordinance working group--which he led--about the tour and the Cape Verdeans’ feelings of harassment.
“The group decided that if there was a real problem about race then why not take it on,” Stewart said.
Stewart said after the tour of the Cape Verdean businesses in January, he later investigated and learned the white businesses that were pointed out during the tour were not violating their licenses and the Cape Verdean businesses didn’t understand that each license holder had different regulations and requirements stipulated by the license and approved by the License Commission.
However, there is nothing in the report about Stewart’s January tour or his follow up findings or how the working group concluded race was a problem.
The report lists three recommendations, including developing a handbook or manual of regulations and a checklist of needed permits at the state, local and federal level for individuals or businesses seeking to open auto sales or repair shops in Brockton.
The handbook, the report states, would be part of a new “9-step” code enforcement system based on a similar model adopted by other cities facing similar cultural code enforcement problems.
Another recommendation would require any person or company who seeks auto or auto repair licenses should be required to submit a business plan—a move Stewart said he believes would help eliminate some of the problems and confusion associated with code enforcement because many auto businesses may not realize financially they can’t make it with the current license and take on more vehicles or repair work to make more money.
It also recommends code enforcement officials within the police, fire, electric, health, plumbing and other inspectors should receive more training on communications and complicated cultural differences.
“We didn’t say these were the best recommendations and maybe we need to do some more work, but it was a way to start the conversation,” Stewart said.
Uhlman said he believes it is a conversation that is based on violators complaining they got caught breaking the rules and seeking some way to get out of the violations process—which can be costly and time consuming-- rather than race.
He said he is not the only code enforcement officer and all the other inspectors in the other city departments work as a team on situations and meet once or twice a month to discuss problems.
Uhlman said most auto ordinance violators get a warning ticket that allows 72 hours for compliance.
Uhlman said often there is cooperation, but when there isn’t he goes back to check and if the violation hasn’t been fixed a process begins that could result in fines, license revocations, and in a lot of less publicized instances—compliance.
“If you’re in compliance, you’re never going to see me,” Uhlman said.
Uhlman said Stewart may be looking to solve problems or reinvent the code enforcement wheel, but in the meantime violators are causing dangerous situations, fire hazards and blights on neighborhoods.
One noted instance was the violation warning and subsequent enforcement notices and hearings involving CV Auto, 703 North Main Street, owned and operated by Marcelino Montrond that began in June when Uhlman said he stopped at the business because he saw two men working under the hood of a car.
According to License Commission minutes from an October 21 hearing, CV Auto Sales was charged with numerous code violations including performing auto repairs without a license, an illegal apartment on the second floor and the cars that were on the lot were not listed in the Used Vehicle Record on the premises—not only a code violation, by a violation of state law and a major concern in law enforcement regarding fraud and stolen vehicles.
Uhlman said when he initially approached Montrond about not having a license to perform repairs, Montrond began screaming and yelling, told Ulhman he was targeting Montrond because he’s Cape Verdean and ordered Uhlman off the property.
“He was foaming at the mouth,” Uhlman said.
Uhlman said he called in police and other inspectors and Montrond eventually faced six charges of code and license violations. Montrond was also visited by police twice during the year and faces several counts of assault and battery for an alleged beating on the property.
Minutes from the October hearing show Stewart attended the hearing and while initially supporting Montrond and downplaying some of the violations noted during the four months leading to the hearing, Montrond had agreed to numerous changes and did not live up to his agreements.
Montrond’s license to operate has since been revoked by the License Commission.
Stewart said there are many instances of violators like Montrond who push the edge of enforcement attempts, but there are others with lesser violations and of higher character who feel they are being unduly harassed.
“If people are screaming at each other something’s wrong,” Stewart said.
One confusing portion of Stewart’s report is a 43-page attachment outlining “Respectful Entry,” that mainly deals with mental health issues.
Stewart said the group probably should have pulled out the relevant portions of the attachment—a report by a University of South Florida professor—instead of attaching the whole report.
Stewart said the group’s inclusion of “Respectful Entry,” had to do with a person in power’s mannerisms, attitudes and tone of voice when approaching or talking with someone they may hold power over, such as a city councilor or a code enforcement officer.
Uhlman said he disagrees he or any of the other code enforcement officers need more “sensitivity training” since they have been through numerous sessions, and that license holders, no matter what color or nationality must meet code restrictions or ask the License Commission or City Council for changes.
Uhlman said he is a police officer and often must use an “authoritative voice” and is known for telling things like they are, but has never been racist or unprofessional when handling violations.
Uhlman said he was also unhappy Stewart added his name to the report as a contributor because Uhlman said he was not a part of the working group and never attended any of the meetings.
Stewart said he included Uhlman’s name because Uhlman did not respond to an email about the draft report asking for any additions or changes.
Uhlman said he did not respond to the email because he had never been a part of the group.
Uhlman’s name was deleted from the report, Stewart said when he learned Uhlman was upset about it.
(Photos above courtesy Brockton Police and show various violations of licenses that have been enforced. The orange ticket is the "courtesy tag" alleged violators receive that gives 72 hours to come into compliance or face further consequences)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

EFSB Extends Power Plant Hearings, Wants More About Brockton Water Supply

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—The Energy Facilities Siting Board has extended its latest hearings about the proposed 350-megawatt natural gas power plant and has also requested a representative of the City of Brockton attend those hearings to update the board on Brockton’s drinking water supply.
Initially hearings were expected to close Monday, Dec. 6, however, because at least four witnesses testifying in the matter have yet to be heard, the hearings have been extended to Friday, Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 22 at 9:30 a.m.
Also, the EFSB Presiding Officer Robert Shea has requested—through city lawyers who attended Monday’s meeting--a city representative give the board a review of Brockton’s drinking water supply, its sources and its capacity.
City officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Eugene Benson, who attended Monday’s meeting and is a lawyer representing a group of residents from Brockton and West Bridgewater who are opposed to the project, said Shea made the request because one of the major changes to be decided in this round of hearings is what type of water will cool the plant’s powerful turbines.
“This isn’t a direct quote, but (Shea) said he wanted a representative of the city to voluntarily attend the meeting, and if not voluntarily would issue a subpoena,” Benson said.
Supplying water to cool the plant’s turbines is one of the reasons the EFSB hearings are being held.
Brockton Power, the company that has proposed the power plant on Oak Hill Way in Brockton, has made several major changes to plans that were initially approved by the EFSB.
One of those changes is the type of water that will be used to cool the turbines.
In the initial approval, Brockton Power expected to negotiate with the city and pay for use of 2 million gallons of treated wastewater, or effluent that flows from the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
However, city officials have publicly sided with opponents of the project and have refused to negotiate with Brockton Power for the effluent, and as a result, Brockton Power has requested the EFSB approve using the city’s drinking water instead.
The city has also refused to discuss selling the drinking water to Brockton Power, a point several people who attended Monday’s meeting said may have prompted Shea to say he would subpoena the city to discuss the water issue if someone didn’t come voluntarily.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Good Samaritan Hospital Meets "Top Hospital" Standard

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--For the first time, Good Samaritan Medical Center has been named to the Leapfrog Group’s annual class of top hospitals for quality and safety this year.
Good Samaritan is one of five in Massachusetts to achieve the distinction this year.
The Leapfrog Group’s annual class of top hospitals--65 overall from a field of nearly 1,200--was announced last Wednesday, December 1 in Washington, D.C. at Leapfrog’s 10th anniversary meeting.
“Earning the top hospital designation is a testament to the work of everyone in the hospital – the governing body, management, physicians, caregivers, employees, and volunteers,” said Leapfrog Chief Executive Leah Binder in a prepared statement.
The 2010 list includes university and other teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings.
The selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group’s national survey that measures hospitals’ performance in crucial areas of patient safety and quality. The results are posted on a Website open to patients and families, the public and employers and other purchasers of health care.
Officials said it is the most complete picture available of a hospital’s quality and safety. The website is
“Being designated as a Leapfrog Top Hospital is a tremendous accomplishment for the physicians, caregivers and employees of Good Samaritan Medical Center,” said Steven R. Gordon, president of Good Samaritan in a prepared statement. (Gordon, pictured above at right with Leapfrog's Binder)
“We work tirelessly to ensure that our patients receive the highest quality care in the safest environment. This honor speaks to the commitment and dedication of everyone at Good Samaritan in delivering the best care to our patients.”
Norwood Hospital, a sister hospital of Good Samaritan, both part of Steward Health Care, was also honored with a Leapfrog award for the second straight year.
The 1,200 hospitals that publicly report their performance via the Leapfrog Survey do so voluntarily. “In a way, that makes all of them top hospitals,” noted Binder. “It represents an enormous commitment by the institution to not only measure what they do against tough standards, but also to work for change and be transparent about it.”
The Leapfrog Group is a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded a decade ago to work for improvements in health care safety, quality and affordability. Initially organized by the Business Roundtable, it is now an independent advocacy group working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers. The annual survey is the only voluntary effort of its kind. Leapfrog officials say they plan to expand their efforts in the months ahead to work with consumer groups.
The survey, which launched in 2001, focuses on four critical areas of patient safety
the use of computer physician order entry or CPOE, to prevent medication errors;
standards for doing high-risk procedures such as heart surgery;
protocols and policies to reduce medical errors and other safe practices recommended by the National Quality Forum; and adequate nurse and physician staffing.
In addition, hospitals are measured on their progress in preventing infections and other hospital-acquired conditions and adopting policies on the handling of serious medical errors, among other things.
Leapfrog Board Chair David Knowlton, president of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, pointed out that qualifying for the top hospital rank grows more difficult each year as Leapfrog’s standards evolve and new standards are added.
“Leapfrog’s members, as purchasers of care, and our partners and supporters believe that the challenges for American health care go far beyond just keeping costs down. Making certain that patients get the right care at the right time—value-–is an equal part of the equation,” he said in a statement.
(Photo courtesy Good Samaritan Medical Center)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gun Waving Officer Terminated

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—A Brockton Police officer who allegedly waved a gun at two employees during a drunken night out in Newport, R.I., in October has been fired by Mayor Linda Balzotti.
“All I can tell you is that my decision was made based on the factual findings and recommendations of the hearings we held,” Balzotti said. “Officer Silvia was terminated on Nov. 18,” she said.
Officer Jordan James Silvia, 29, a resident of Fall River who had been on Brockton’s police force for less than 6 months before the Oct. 30 incident, has the right to appeal his firing to the Civil Service Commission.
According to Newport, R.I., police, Silvia and two other men went out for a night of revelry that ended in a confrontation between one of Silvia’s friends, 34-year-old Eric Santos of Fall River and two employees after the two employees asked Santosto stop urinating on an outdoor plant and leave the premises.
The situation allegedly escalated when Silvia pulled a handgun from his pocket and waved it at the chests of the two employees and told the pair they were the ones who should leave.
Silvia was arrested and charged with two felony counts of assault with a gun and one count of possession of a weapon while intoxicated.
Silvia, who could not be reached for comment, is expected back in Newport Dec. 9 for a pretrial hearing.

Brockton Cop Fired For Newport Gun Waving Incident

By Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—A Brockton Police officer who allegedly waved a gun at two employees during a drunken night out in Newport, R.I., in October has been fired by Mayor Linda Balzotti.
“All I can tell you is that my decision was made based on the factual findings and recommendations of the hearings we held,” Balzotti said. “Officer Silvia was terminated on Nov. 18,” she said.
Officer Jordan James Silvia, 29, a resident of Fall River who had been on Brockton’s police force for less than 6 months before the Oct. 30 incident, has the right to appeal his firing to the Civil Service Commission.
According to Newport, R.I., police, Silvia and two other men went out for a night of revelry that ended in a confrontation between one of Silvia’s friends, 34-year-old Eric Santos of Fall River and two employees after the two employees asked Santosto stop urinating on an outdoor plant and leave the premises.
The situation allegedly escalated when Silvia pulled a handgun from his pocket and waved it at the chests of the two employees and told the pair they were the ones who should leave.
Silvia was arrested and charged with two felony counts of assault with a gun and one count of possession of a weapon while intoxicated.
Silvia, who could not be reached for comment, is expected back in Newport Dec. 9 for a pretrial hearing.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter Parking Ban Takes Effect Today

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--From the Brockton Traffic Commission:
The Brockton Traffic Commission has announced the annual winter parking bans begins today Wednesday, Dec. 1 and lasts until Friday, April 1.

The annual ban prohibits parking on both sides of the following streets:
Ames Street
Battles Street
Belair Street
Belmont Street
Cary Street from Court Street to Centre Street
Centre Street
Clifton Avenue from Main Street to Copeland Street
Copeland Street from Market Street to the West Bridgewater line
Court Street
Crescent Street
Forest Avenue
Grafton Street from Belmont Street to Menlo Street
Howard Street
Longwood Avenue
Lyman Street
Montello Street
Main Street
North Cary Street from Court Street to Ames Street
North Main Street
North Montello Street
North Pearl Street
North Quincy Street
North Warren Avenue
Oak Street
Perkins Avenue
Pearl Street
Pleasant Street
Quincy Street
Richmond Street from Battles Street to North Warren Avenue
Sawtell Avenue
Torrey Street
Warren Avenue
West Street
West Chestnut Street from Donald Street to Pearl Street
West Elm Street
Winter Street

In addition to these restrictions, there is no parking on the even numbered side of all other streets, except those restricted to one-side parking by regulation. There is no parking on both sides of all streets in the first fire District, which encompasses but is not limited to the downtown section of the city.

Vehicles found in violation of the regulation will be subject to the applicable fine for each offense and may, at the discretion of the police chief, or his designee, be removed at the owner’s expense.

If an emergency snow removal or weather related parking ban is declared at any time by the Mayor or the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, the snow or weather emergency parking regulation, no parking on any street, will be in effect throughout the duration of the Emergency Ban.

For more information about the winter parking ban, contact the Traffic Commission at 508-580-7807.

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.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brockton FD Hires 9 New Firefighters Tonight

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The City Council tonight is expected to hire nine new firefighters to help man a department that has not seen any new hiring in the last five years.
"It will start to help beef up our department," said Fire Chief Richard Francis.
He said during Monday night's City Council meeting at 8 p.m., eight new members of the department are expected to receive approval.
Francis said a ninth firefighter has been on the job for nearly two weeks. Francis said the ninth man had been laid off from another department and due to Civil Service rules was first on the list for rehire.
Francis said the firefighter has begun working because he does not need to be trained.
The other eight new members, Francis said, will attend the Fire Academy and are expected to man the trucks by early February.
"We haven't hired going on 5 years," Francis said.
Francis said the new hires are due to savings from city employees who have retired.
Francis said the department had 36 vacancies and with the nine new firefighters brings the number of vacancies down to 27.
"It will make a dent. It will really help," Francis said, adding during the summer he had to take one truck out of service because of a lack of manpower and another was unmanned part of the time.
"This isn't grant money, this came about from retirements," Francis said. "The Mayor (Linda Balzotti) and (Chief Financial Officer) Mr. Condon really worked hard to get us this," he said.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bernardi Group Breaks Ground On $22 Million Brockton Dealerships

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Lt. Governor Timothy Murray made a whirlwind tour of Brockton Thursday making three stops at Brockton businesses that have received money for growth and renovations, including a more than $22 million project under construction that will bring new Honda and Hyundai dealerships to Manley Street.
“The City of Brockton has not seen such a large scale investment of over $22 million in at least 10 years,” said State Representative Michael D. Brady in a prepared statement. “Not only have the thousands of travelers coming up Route 24 seen construction over the past few weeks, but they see a facelift in Brockton,” Brady said.
The project broke ground a few weeks ago and is estimated to bring 125 new permanent jobs to the region and construction workers have already begun to demolish a 204,000 square-foot-building to make room for new two commercial buildings.
The dealerships will be operated by the Bernardi Group, which has dealerships in Framingham and Boston.
“Bernardi Honda and Bernardi Hyundai will invigorate the marketplace as a destination drawing visitors from near and far,” said Jim Carney, president and owner of Bernardi Group in a statement. “We are honored to be welcomed to the City of Champions,” he said.
Financing for the project was jumpstarted by a $16 million Recovery Zone Facility bond—a loan program that supports public and private development by offering favorable borrowing rates for projects designated within so-called “recovery zones.”
During Murray’s visit Thursday, the governor’s office announced Montilio’s Bakery on Spark Street is the first business in the state to receive a Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation grant—a $60,000 short-term loan that will allow the bakery to buy new equipment to take on new accounts.
Murray also made another stop at Brockton Neighborhood Health Center on Main Street and highlighted the $11.3 million grant from U.S. Health and Human Services for the health center to construct four more floors to the facility to expand burgeoning radiology, dentistry, optometry and other departments.
Sue Joss, the health center’s executive director, said in a recent interview plans call for the 26,000-square-foot project to begin in the spring and be completed by the summer of 2012.
“We’ve been here for two years and we’ve already outgrown it,” Joss said.
The health center completed another $2.5 million expansion and renovation in June.
(Photo above of Montilio's employees and government officials courtesy of Governor Deval Patrick's office)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Water Commission In Hot Seat Over Closed Meeting

Note: Story originally posted Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010
By Lisa E. Crowley
Brockton Post
BROCKTON—At least three Brockton residents have filed complaints at City Hall alleging the Brockton Water Commission violated the state’s Open Meeting Law when it met in closed session Aug 30, hours after more than 75 protestors rallied against water bills they believe are grossly inaccurate.
Residents Bob Ford, Ayanna Yancey-Cato and Marianne Silva said they filed written complaints about the executive session, or closed meeting and have delivered those to the City Clerk’s office, the Water Commission and Attorney General.
All three violation petitioners confirmed they submitted the complaints and feel they have strong reason to believe the Water Commission broke the law when it met behind closed doors to reign in one of the commissioners, Patrick Quinn when dealing with the media over questions about the controversial water bills.
Yancey-Cato, best known for the $100,000 water bill that was reduced to $17,000, a figure she still disagrees with, said officials associated with the water department and commission seem to be doing whatever they want without regard for law or regulations and the suspected Open Meeting Law violation is just one example.
“Not only do I want the Open Meeting Law violation looked at, I want the whole department investigated. People think that’s what the audit is going to do, but it’s not,” she said.
Commissioner Quinn said in a telephone interview Wednesday night that he warned board members on Aug 30 that the reason they were going into executive session did not fall under any of the 10 exceptions allowed under the law—which include personnel disciplinary matters, union negotiations, the sale or lease of property or employee interviews. (Click here for all the Open Meeting Law exceptions)
“We were told we were going in to talk about internal policies,” Quinn said, “which is not one of the exceptions under the Open Meeting Law. Discussing policies should be done in the open,” Quinn said.
Quinn said he was the only member who voted against going into closed session and when he told members it wasn’t legal, he received a verbal warning.
When the board went behind closed doors, Quinn said, the conversation centered around Quinn’s own comments to the media and how to answer questions about water department problems, specifically from an Enterprise reporter.
“They spent an hour and a half berating me,” Quinn said. “That’s not one of the reasons allowed in the Open Meeting Law to go behind closed doors,” he said.
Bruce Malcolm, chairman of the water commission, when asked about a possible Open Meeting Law violation said in a telephone call Wednesday night that the City Solicitor’s office told him what they were planning to discuss was OK.
“We certainly did the right thing,” Malcolm said.
He then went on to say “it was a meaningless meeting about things the public wouldn’t care about. It was internal stuff. Who was speaking for the board,” he said.
Malcolm said the board quoted the section of the law the City Solicitor’s office gave the board and when asked what exception under the law the board cited when going into closed session, he cut off the conversation.
“I’m not going to discuss this anymore. If you want to put it on the Website go ahead. We listened to the City Solicitor, not Michelle DuBois. I’m done. Good night.”
Officials said water commission members Bruce Malcolm, Ossie Jordan, Jody Hickey and Margaret McGrath cited discussing a person’s reputation or potential dismissal when they voted to go into closed session.
Ward 6 City Councilor Michelle DuBois said in an interview Tuesday night that she was working with Ford, Yancey-Cato and Silva to bring complaints about the possible meeting violation.
“If they weren’t going to file a complaint, I was going to do it,” DuBois said.
DuBois said she and emailed members on Friday, at least three days before the Tuesday night meeting to prevent the Water Commission from meeting because she didn’t believe the meeting was properly posted and then the violation worsened, in her opinion, when members went behind closed doors.
DuBois said after initially stalled attempts, she has received a very poor quality voice recording of what was discussed in the closed session and proves the water commission did not meet the restrictions of the law.
“None of what they discussed falls under the exceptions,” DuBois said.
State guidelines require anyone filing a complaint about an Open Meeting Law violation must do so within 30 days of the meeting. Petitioners are required to file the complaint with the public body in question and the clerk’s office of the municipality.
The public body has 14 days to respond to the complaint, and if the petitioners are not satisfied with the response, may then file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.
The complaint by the resident’s notes they believe the Water Commission’s actions were “intentional,” a change in the law that took effect July 1 that requires a board or board members broke the law intentionally in order to incur a fine of up to $1,000.
The complaint asks the Water Commission to vote that it now understands the Open Meeting Law regulations and that the Aug. 30 meeting was a violation. It also asks for further Open Meeting Law training for board members.
To hear the audio from the Water Board's meeting please visit