Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ashland Man Charged in D.C. Terror Plot

BROCKTON--A 26-year-old Ashland man was arrested and charged this morning in connection with his plot to attack the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol using large remote controlled, model airplanes filled with C-4 plastic explosives.
According to a statement from Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, following a nearly year-long undercover sting operation, Rezwan Ferdaus, 26, a U.S. citizen who holds a bachelor's degree in physics from Northeastern University, was also charged
with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically to al Qaeda, in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.
Authorities said the public was never in danger because the people Ferdaus thought were al-Qaeda recruits were actually undercover FBI agents and not actual al-Qaeda operatives.
In the federal complaint against Ferdaus, investigators stated Ferdaus declared a personal "jihad," or war against the U.S. in 2010.
An investigation into Ferdaus' activities began in January, 2011 when a corroborating witness met with Ferdaus to record conversations about Ferdaus' desire to aid in terror operations against the U.S. and "kill the armies" of non-believers.
From March 2011 to September 2011, the affidavit states undercover agents with the FBI pretended to be members of al-Qaeda, a recognized terror organization, who wanted to help Ferdaus with his desire to plot an attack against the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol building.
The criminal complaint against Ferdaus states not only did Ferdaus plan to crash three explosive-laden, remote control airplanes with lengths of 6 to 8 feet and wing spans of 14 feet into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, but also wanted to recruit and supply two teams of 6 men with AK-47 machine guns to join him in killing as many "kafirs," or non-believers as they could following the plane attacks.
Prosecutors said Ferdaus was arrested and charged this morning following a meeting with undercover operatives who delivered a fake supply of C-4 plastic explosives, six AK-47 rifles, and grenades.
When Ferdaus took possession of the supplies and locked away the supposed explosives and machine guns at a rented storage facility in Framingham, agents and police moved in and immediately arrested Ferdaus.
During the investigation, agents said they accepted numerous mobile telephones Ferdaus had modified to be used as electronic detonators for improvised explosive devices for al-Qaeda to use against U.S. forces overseas.
Agents also said Ferdaus recorded a video showing how to turn cell phones and mobile devices into electronic bomb detonators.
Undercover operatives falsely told Ferdaus during a meeting June 27, 2011 that his first phone had been used to kill 3 U.S. servicemen and injure four or five others in Iraq.
Ferdaus allegedly responded,"That is exactly what I wanted."
The complaint says Ferdaus used false identities during the plot, including using the name "Dave Winfield" when he opened a Pay-Pal account to buy one of three remote-controlled planes.
Officials said when the Florida distributor asked Ferdaus why he was buying the plane, Ferdaus--unmarried and without children--told the representative it was for his son.
The complaint states during recorded conversations with undercover agents early in the investigation, Ferdaus told agents more than a year before their meeting he realized from viewing jihadi websites and videos "how evil" America is and jihad is the solution. In his own words, agents said, he decided to "terrorize" the U.S. by attacking Washington D.C. and looked forward with excitement to the prospect of shooting down politicians at the Capitol Building.
Ferdaus visited Washington D.C. to locate a launch site and plan the attacks, including taking surveillance photos, and creating a lengthy, step-by-step manual of how the attack and subsequent machine gun raid would take place.
Agents said Ferdaus did not feel any compassion for the killing of women and children, saying they are "enemies of Allah."
Ferdaus was charged with numerous federal crimes and faces up to 20 years in prison for the charge of attempting to destroy national defense premises and up to 20 years for attempting to damage or destroy buildings owned by the U.S. by using an explosive.
He appeared in U.S. District Court in Worcester and is expected to be held without bail until a detention hearing Monday.
(Photo above is of a model plane similar to those Ferdaus bought to attack Washington D.C. Courtesy Boston U.S. Attorney's Office)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Aquaria Water Talk Expected Monday

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON--City Councilors plan to invite Aquaria desalination plant general manager Alfredo Andres to clarify information about meetings with developers of a 350-megawatt natural gas power plant after power plant officials claimed Aquaria had signed a deal to provide much-needed water for the project.
Councilor-at-large Thomas Brophy said after last night's City Council meeting members of the board expect to contact Andres today and request he attend the council's finance committee meeting next Monday, Oct. 3.
Brophy said he has been angry with Andres and Aquaria after hearing since last Thursday from officials and residents that Advanced Power-Brockton Power, the company trying to build the power plant, had issued a statement claiming it had signed a notice of intent with Aquaria for 1.7 million gallons of water to cool the proposed power plant's turbines.
Advanced Power released a statement following a hearing with the state Energy Facilities Siting Board Thursday, Sept. 22, when the Siting Board strongly reaffirmed its 4-3 decision in June by voting 6-1 last Thursday to deny the power plant its request to use the city's drinking water to cool its turbines--a critical issue in the plant's construction.
Advanced Power has not returned telephone calls or emails for comment since last Thursday.
"Until I read your story on the website I was going to blast him," Brophy said last night of Andres and Aquaria.
Brophy and other city officials had met with Andres and other Aquaria representatives last Monday, three days before the state Siting Board meeting when Andres assured council members Aquaria could not sell desalinated water to the power plant, because the power plant was not a wholesaler or official public water district.
Brophy said he and his fellow council members were livid after learning Advanced Power announced some sort of deal had been arranged with Aquaria after Andres told the board it could not sell water to Advanced Power.
In an interview with yesterday morning, Andres said the only way Aquaria could sell water to Advanced Power is if Advanced Power began a series of permit requests at the state and local level that would begin with the state Department of Public Utilities to be designated a wholesaler of water.
Andres said there would be many other regulatory hurdles that could take Advanced Power years to meet, if ever.
(Please scroll down to read yesterday's interview with Andres)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Power Plant Water Hurdles Add Up In Aquaria Sale Attempt

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—The general manager for Aquaria Water LLC, the company that owns and operates a desalination plant in North Dighton said selling much needed water for a proposed 350-megawatt natural gas power plant in Brockton is far from a done deal.
Alfredo Andres, general manager for Aquaria Water, said in a telephone interview if Advanced Power-Brockton Power wants to buy water from the desalination plant, there are a whole host of regulatory hurdles it must overcome before his company can supply the 1.7 million gallons a day the proposed 350-megawatt power plant needs to cool its turbines.
“Whenever we have met with Advanced Power we have told them that if Brockton doesn’t want the project it is going to be very difficult for them,” Andres said.
He said Advanced Power contacted them last about 6 months ago and expressed interest in buying water for the power plant.
Andres said in a letter to Advanced Power, Aquaria outlined numerous contingencies and regulatory hurdles at the state and local level Advanced Power would have to overcome before Aquaria can provide the water.
Andres said he has not been contacted by or met with Advanced Power officials in months, and not since last Thursday, when the power plant company suffered a major blow when the state Energy Facilities Siting Board rejected Advanced Power's request to use city drinking water to cool the plant’s turbines--a pivotal issue in the construction of the natural gas plant.
Last Thursday following the hearing with the Siting Board, Advanced Power stated it had a letter of intent from Aquaria to purchase water.
Andres said that is not correct—entirely. “I can’t just say no to potential clients, but there are numerous contingencies,” he said.
Andres said Advanced Power's statement has caused a lot confusion that needs to be clarified.
He said Aquaria is drafting a letter to Mayor Linda Balzotti and Brockton City Council to reiterate the obstacles Advanced Power faces in order to buy water from Aquaria.
The first step Advanced Power has to take, Andres said, is to gain a designation from the state Department of Public Utilities as a wholesaler of water.
“We can’t just sell to anyone—a restaurant or other businesses,” Andres said. “They have to be a wholesaler,” Andres said.
Another critical issue facing Advanced Power, Andres said, is piping the water from the North Dighton plant to Advanced Power’s site on Oak Hill Way on the Brockton-West Bridgewater border.
Andres said it is very unlikely Brockton City Council or other city boards will approve permits for Advanced Power to tie to the desalination plant's pipe to the city.
Advanced Power’s next option would be to request a dedicated tie-in with West Bridgewater--not an easy process because West Bridgewater residents and some officials are opposed to the power plant.
Andres said gaining the wholesaler designation and possibly connecting to West Bridgewater’s pipeline could take years to accomplish if it all.
If Advanced Power can become a wholesaler and can convince West Bridgewater, or another community or communities connected to the desalination plant's 17 miles of pipes to allow them a route to Brockton, then Aquaria would have no choice but sell Advanced Power the water.
However, Andres said, Advanced Power will have a long and difficult time to get there.
“We can’t say no if they can meet the contingencies,” Andres said. “It is not my job to decide whether this is a good project for Brockton or not, but it will be very, very difficult for Advanced Power to get this if Brockton doesn’t want it,” he said.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

South Shore Towns Gain HUD Funds

BOSTON--The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, today awarded Massachusetts more than $2.5 million to help public housing agencies, including Brockton, Milton, Hingham, Braintree, and Taunton to retain or hire service coordinators to work directly with families who participate in HUD's Housing Choice Voucher program.
The coordinators will assist these voucher recipients to find employment resources and job training opportunities to put them on a path toward self-sufficiency, HUD officials said Thursday, Sept. 22 in a prepared statement.
Across the country HUD has allotted nearly $60 million to housing agencies in 2011.
"In today's economy, it's never been more critical to help families obtain the skills that lead to jobs," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
"With HUD's help, these housing agencies will be able to assist families in finding employment, increasing their earning potential and putting them on a path to self sufficiency."
Acton Housing Authority $58,000
Arlington Housing Authority $67,327
Boston Housing Authority $206,040
Braintree Housing Authority $26,982
Brockton Housing Authority $68,680
Chelmsford Housing Authority $63,356
Chelsea Housing Authority $32,779
Commonwealth of Massachusetts $730,429
Fall River Housing Authority $36,664
Framingham Housing Authority $33,485
Gardner Housing Authority $50,762
Gloucester Housing Authority $42,953
Greenfield Housing Authority $63,159
Hingham Housing Authority $67,332
Holyoke Housing Authority $48,680
Leominster Housing Authority $48,250
Lowell Housing Authority $65,558
Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND) $60,639
Malden Housing Authority $56,468
Medford Housing Authority $67,332
Melrose Housing Authority $19,510
Methuen Housing Authority $55,668
Milton Housing Authority $33,364
North Andover Housing Authority $57,857
Plymouth Housing Authority $46,363
Revere Housing Authority $66,600
Somerville Housing Authority $62,392
Taunton Housing Authority $61,248
Wayland Housing Authority $18,200
Winchester Housing Authority $69,000
Worcester Housing Authority $131,300
MA TOTAL $2,516,377

HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program supports public housing agencies to retain or hire family self-sufficiency coordinators.
These coordinators in turn link adults in the housing voucher program with welfare agencies, schools, businesses and other local partners to develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage.
The local organizations typically provide participating individuals job training, childcare, counseling, transportation, job placement and homeownership counseling.
Participants in the program sign a contract that requires the head of the household to get a job and the family will no longer receive welfare assistance at the end of the five-year term.
As the family's income rises, a portion of that increased income is deposited in an interest-bearing escrow account. If the family completes its contract, the family receives the escrow funds that it can use for any purpose, including a down payment on a home, paying educational expenses, starting a business or paying back debts.
HUD's Family Self Sufficiency Program is a long-standing resource for increasing economic security and self-sufficiency among participants. HUD issued a new report earlier this year that evaluated the effectiveness of the FSS Program. Conducted from 2005 to 2009, the study shows the financial benefits are substantial for participants who complete the program.
This study is the second of a three-part series by HUD that evaluate the effects of the FSS program. The first study found individuals who participated in the FSS program fared better financially than those who did not enroll in the program. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research will launch the third and final installment to complete the series this year.

Power Plant Hearing In Boston Today

BROCKTON--Brockton city officials and opponents of a proposed 350-megawatt natural gas power plant will participate in a public hearing this morning with the state Energy Facilities Siting Board about the potential use of city water to cool the proposed plant's turbines.
Officials from Advanced Power, the company that has proposed building the plant at Oak Hill Way on the south side of Brockton, have asked the Siting Board to overturn its own 4-3 decision made in June that rejected the company's use of the city's drinking water to cool the turbines.
The move by the Siting Board was seen by power plant opponents as a crucial victory in the fight against the plant's construction because the Siting Board in 2009 approved the project contingent upon the use of treated waste water and not the city's drinking water supply.
However, Advanced Power officials have said the 4-3 decision shows there is room for argument, and have requested the decision be looked at again.
A host of city officials and an opponents group, Stop The Power, will attend the hearing, which is open to the public.
The hearing begins at 10 a.m. at 1 South Station, Boston.
Water to cool the turbines is considered a linchpin in the development of the power plant.
Advanced Power initially requested to pay the city to use nearly 2 million gallons of treated wastewater a day.
However, 10 of 11 City Councilors since have said they would not vote in favor of Advanced Power's use of treated waste water, so Advanced Power then requested the Siting Board allow the plant to use the city's drinking water.
In June, the Siting Board rejected using the city's drinking water.
Officials on both sides of the argument have said Advanced Power could use machines to air cool the turbines if water use is not approved.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Balzotti Wins Prelim Election, Faces Matta In Nov.

BROCKTON--Mayor Linda Balzotti will faceoff against Ron Matta in the Nov. 8 mayoral race and Janice Beyer will take on Anthony Donegan Jr. for the second time in as many elections in the Ward 3 school committee contest.
In voting yesterday, Balzotti topped the ticket with 1,649 votes, or 75 percent of the 2,208 votes cast. Matta placed second with 342 votes, or 15.5 percent and followed by Gwendolyn Garvin who collected 195 votes.
In what could be considered the only surprise of the night, Donegan topped the school committee ticket by capturing 242 votes, or 47 percent of the the 522 cast in the Ward 3 preliminary. Beyer, running for her 7th term, collected 185 votes, or 36 percent, and Joao Rosa, tallied 85 votes, or 16.5 percent.
Balzotti, Matta, Donegan and Beyer will join candidates in the general election Nov. 8.
Councilors-at-large Jass Stewart, Todd Petti, Robert Sullivan and Thomas Brophy face a challenge from Kate Archard, a vocal opponent of plans to build a natural gas power plant on the south side of Brockton.
Ward 3 City Councilor is facing a challenge by Gerald Conefrey, a retired school teacher.

Polls Open Until 8 P.M. For Primary

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton residents have until 8 p.m. tonight to vote in this election season’s primary to pare candidates will be on the ballot for the general election Nov. 8 in the mayor and Ward 3 school committee race.
Mayor Linda Balzotti (pictured, right) has competition from political newcomers Ron Matta and Gwendolyn Garvin and longtime school committee woman Janice Beyer faces challenges from lawyer Anthony Donegan and Dr. Joao Rosa.
Matta, 68, said he believes the city is broken and needs much more oversight from elected officials, most especially when it comes to the budget and its many nuances.
He said while he doesn’t have political experience he has been a small businessman for most of his life and feels confident he can cut through the city’s budget.
“We need to run the city like a business,” Matta said.
In 2009, Matta ran for school committee in Ward 3 against Janice Beyer. Matta lost the school committee primary to Beyer and Donegan.
Matta said if he is elected he would give back 20 percent of the mayor’s salary, or about $26,500, or Balzotti’s $137,000 yearly wage, and put it towards paying for a police officer.
Balzotti said hiring police officers is not as easy as it may seem. She said Matta’s gesture is noble, but wonders where the money will come from to pay for the new officer’s health insurance and other benefits.
Money also has to be available for more than one year, or the city will have to pay unemployment costs if the officer has to be laid off.
Matta said it would be a step in the right direction, much like the city’s recent $63,000 move to put beat cops back on the streets of downtown.
“We have to make this city safe for everyone,” Matta said. “People need to be able to go out at night without fear of being robbed, raped or murdered,” he said. (Pictured, above)
Garvin, 46, a marketing specialist for WXBR 1460 AM, said she has three main planks on her platform: business development, finances and tourism to Brockton.
She said she has run for other political offices, but did not specify what those were. She earned her masters from Ohio State University and bachelor’s from Benedict College in South Carolina. From 2003 to 2004 she was a member of the board of directors of Brockton Symphony Orchestra.
On the school side, Janice Beyer is facing another run by Anthony Donegan and a challenge from Dr. Joao Rosa.
Beyer, 79, said she is seeking a 7th term because there are many things left for her to do, including curriculum development, school renovations that have just begun and connecting the numerous schools and activities with the committee and broader community.
“Two experienced people are not running again,” Beyer said. “We’re going to have two new people no matter what,” she said.
Richard Bath and James Daley are not seeking reelection in Wards 2 and 6.
Beyer noted she had not missed a meeting during her time on the board.
Beyer was a teacher at the Kennedy School for 31 years and is still a tutor.
Donegan, 49, who ran against Beyer in 2009 and lost, said Beyer is a well-liked and nice woman, but she has not been a strong voice that asks questions about the budget, or issues with Superintendent Matthew Malone.
“One of my strengths is my ability to slow people down, and ask the questions that need answers,” Donegan said. “She connects the schools with all her other civic activities, but over the last 5 or 6 years, I don’t think she has done everything she could with some other issues,” he said.
Donegan, a juvenile defense lawyer, said he is unsure if Malone should be paid nearly $1 million during the 5 years of Malone’s contract.
He said he believes the school committee needs to press Malone to make Brockton his full-time residence—an aspect of Malone’s contract that was clear to all two years ago when Malone was offered the position.
“It’s a question of his credibility and his word,” Donegan said.
Dr. Joao Rosa is a member of the board of directors of Brockton’s Cape Verdean Association. He is an assistant professor at UMass Dartmouth.
Rosa could not be reached for comment by today’s deadline.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brockton Remembers 9-11

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—More than 250 residents, Brockton officials, Girl Scouts, Brockton Police Honor Guard, military veterans and Brockton Fire Department Pipes and Drums gathered for a solemn remembrance of the 10th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Sept. 11, 2001.
Officials, including Mayor Linda Balzotti, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, Police Chief William Conlon and Fire Chief Richard Francis recalled moments from 10 years ago when they first heard about the attacks and its aftermath.
Parent Amy Dwyer, wife of Brockton firefighter Roger Dwyer, attended with the couple’s 1-year-old son Noel, who like dozens of other children who participated in the commemoration, was not born when the attacks came on 9-11. (Pictured at top)
“I felt profound sadness,” Amy Dwyer said, remembering when she watched on T.V. as the Twin Towers collapsed knowing so many people—first responders and innocent people--were not going to survive the devastation.
“It’s still a sad time, but people have to remember what happened,” she said.
Another parent Ellen Deppner remembered the pit in her stomach when she learned of the attacks.
“I felt fear. I didn’t feel safe,” Deppner said.
Her 10-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, who joined dozens of Brockton Girl Scouts who carried a banner listing the names of the victims, was a newborn and her 4-year-old son Kamryn Fletcher,who shared a sad moment with his Mom (pictured above) during Brockton Pipes and Drums playing of “Amazing Grace.”
“Hearing the bagpipes got to me,” Deppner said.
For more comment and speeches, please view video below.

Kentucky Marine Receives Medal of Honor

BROCKTON--President Barack Obama today conferred the Medal of Honor on Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Colombia, Kentucky native, during a ceremony at the White House earlier today.
Meyer, who was 21 in 2009, as part of a U.S. team training Afghan security forces when more than 50 insurgents attacked.
During the battle, when U.S. and Afghan forces came under heavy attack, Meyer went into a storm of bullets 5 times to search for wounded and to retrieve the bodies of those who were killed.
The following is the official citation made to Meyer from Obama.
The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to:
For service as set forth in the following:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009.
Corporal Meyer maintained security at a patrol rally point while other members of his team moved on foot with two platoons of Afghan National Army and Border Police into the village of Ganjgal for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders.
Moving into the village, the patrol was ambushed by more than 50 enemy fighters firing rocket propelled grenades, mortars, and machine guns from houses and fortified positions on the slopes above.
Hearing over the radio that four U.S. team members were cut off, Corporal Meyer seized the initiative.
With a fellow Marine driving, Corporal Meyer took the exposed gunner’s position in a gun-truck as they drove down the steeply terraced terrain in a daring attempt to disrupt the enemy attack and locate the trapped U.S. team.
Disregarding intense enemy fire now concentrated on their lone vehicle, Corporal Meyer killed a number of enemy fighters with the mounted machine guns and his rifle, some at near point blank range, as he and his driver made three solo trips into the ambush area.
During the first two trips, he and his driver evacuated two dozen Afghan soldiers, many of whom were wounded.
When one machine gun became inoperable, he directed a return to the rallypoint to switch to another gun-truck for a third trip into the ambush area where his accurate fire directly supported the remaining U.S. personnel and Afghan soldiers fighting their way out of the ambush.
Despite a shrapnel wound to his arm, Corporal Meyer made two more trips into the ambush area in a third gun-truck accompanied by four other Afghan vehicles to recover more wounded Afghan soldiers and search for the missing U.S. team members. Still under heavy enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle on the fifth trip and moved on foot to locate and recover the bodies of his team members.
Corporal Meyer’s daring initiative and bold fighting spirit throughout the 6-hour battle significantly disrupted the enemy’s attack and inspired the members of the combined force to fight on.
His unwavering courage and steadfast devotion to his U.S. and Afghan comrades in the face of almost certain death reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
To learn more about Meyer's career in the Marine Corps, during tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a personal videos by Meyer, his family, friends and comrades in arms, click here to visit the Marine Corps website...
(Top photos courtesy of Reuters/Jason Reed. Third photo and Medal of Honor courtesy U.S. Marine Corps)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Air Quality Tests Topic Of Statehouse Visit

BROCKTON-Brockton lawmakers plan to meet with Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Tuesday September 13 in Boston at the Statehouse offices.
The meeting is expected to include Rep. Christine Canavan, Rep. Geraldine Creedon, Rep. Michael Brady, and City Councilor-at-large Thomas Brophy.
The group plans to request the Department of Environmental Protection install meteorological air monitoring equipment at two elementary schools, and the city's wastewater treatment facility at Brockton’s Southside where developers Advanced Power have proposed building a 350-megawatt natural gas plant.
The delegation plans to ask Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. to direct the DEP to install the type of air monitors that censor the air in the area and make the data available on the DEP’s website.
The delegation will ask Secretary Sullivan for the type of air monitoring with real time data that other Environmental Justice areas like Roxbury have in operation under the DEP’s regulatory watch.
The group intends to request the new monitors to ensure more accurate information for Brockton’s Environmental Justice populations.
The state’s Environmental Justice policy is meant to protect certain populations, including low-income and minority residents from being unfairly burdened by polluting industry.
The DEP recently made a decision stating Brockton does not meet the criteria of an Environmental Justice community.
However, residents and city officials believe this is an error in judgment.
In 2010 Veolia Water, a private contractor hired by the city to run the wastewater plant, twice submitted faulty data on the plant’s emissions of fine particulate matter--a toxin residents ad officials are worried will create more pollution in Brockton and surrounding towns.
In a letter sent to Secretary Sullivan’s predecessor Ian Bowles, Brockton’s Executive Health Officer Louis Tartaglia stated, “This office, in conjunction with the Massachusettes Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health, have one day readings of Particulate Matter 2.5 of 31.0 taken on the grounds of the Gilmore Academy.”
The reading of 31.0 is higher than average readings in nearby
communities. The Thatcher Street Landfill, the trash transfer stations and the foundry in the area are all likely factors contributing to the overburdened nature of pollution in Brockton.
Increased levels of particulate matter, or fine particles in the
air, have been linked to increased hospitalizations and health hazards such as heart disease, altered lung function, and lung cancer.
Human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants and various industrial processes also generate significant amounts of particulates.
For more information go to or call 508-326-1029.

Healthy Kids At Heart Of Produce Promo

BROCKTON--Stop & Shop grocery stores all over New England, New York, and New Jersey will join Produce for Kids to encourage families to learn more about healthy eating with fresh produce and to raise money for PBS KIDS.
From now until October 8, all Stop & Shop stores will feature Produce For Kids, a non-profit organization, Ideal Meals card displays as part of the promotion, called Eat Smart For a Great Start.
Ideal Meals are chef-created, nutritionist-approved meals for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. In-store Ideal Meal recipe demonstrations will take place in select stores on Saturday, September 17.
“We are always seeking new ways to help educate customers about the importance of healthy food choices,” said Suzi Robinson, manager of public and community relations in a prepared statement.
"By working with Produce for Kids, and helping support PBS KIDS’ healthy eating programming, Stop & Shop is helping parents teach their children how to eat in order to make their bodies strong and healthy,” Robinson said.
Shoppers can also enter the “Play With Your Produce Challenge” for a chance to win PBS KIDS personalized back-to-school gear and grocery gift cards valued up to $100. Teachers are also invited to enter their classrooms in the “Play With Your Produce Classroom Challenge” and can win $500, $750 or $1,000 cash rewards for their classroom.
Teachers can find out more and enter online at
New this fall, Produce for Kids will introduce the Parents on Produce Board.
The board is made up of influencers in the online parenting community and will provide resources for busy parents year round that will support healthy lifestyles and balanced eating habits for families.
The purchase of the following items during the promotion at all Stop & Shop stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey will benefit PBS KIDS:
Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet Pineapple, NatureSweet Vine Ripened Cherry Tomatoes, SUNSET Sweet Bell Peppers, Green Giant Fresh Klondike Gourmet Petite Potatoes, RealSweet Sweet Onions, Olivia’s Organics, Microwave Spinach and TopLine Tomatoes on the Vine.
In addition, these foods are featured in the Ideal Meals recipes found in the stores.
Produce for Kids promotes healthy lifestyles for children by educating kids and parents about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables while also supporting worthy children’s causes.
Since its creation in 2002 by Shuman Produce Inc., Produce for Kids has raised more than $3.1 million for children’s hospitals across the country and PBS KIDS to educate kids, parents and teachers about healthy eating.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Woman Survives Sunday Double Shooting

By Lisa E. Crowley
Brockton--A Brockton man has died and a woman has been hospitalized after a shooting early Sunday morning.
Bridget Norton Middleton, spokeswoman for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, said 19-year-old Kalvin Santos, 19, was pronounced dead shortly after the shooting.
A 21-year-old woman, Monica Lopes-Teixeira, was also shot during the incident, but her injuries are not considered life-threatening, Norton Middleton said.
Calls came in reporting gunshots near Tremont and Main Streets came into police at about 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning.
Police also received a report from Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital that a woman had arrived at the emergency room with a gunshot wound.
Teixeira-Lopes, who was brought to the hospital by an unnamed individual, was transferred by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she is reported in stable condition.
Norton Middleton said when police and fire arrived at the scene, the found 19-year-old Santos shot in the chest and right hand. Santos was unresponsive and pronounced dead shortly after, Norton Middleton said.
No arrests have been made in the matter.
It is the 9th murder in Brockton this year.
Norton Middleton said anyone with information should contact police at 508-941-0234.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sound of Silence Marks NYC After 9/11

The video above is courtesy of Bob and Bri, who were in their apartment frighteningly close to the Twin Towers. It is an amazing, gut-wrenching personal account of people witnessing the historic events of Sept. 11, 2001, literally out their window. thanks Bob and Bri for sharing their video. Bob and Bri's video can be seen on YouTube along with other tributes and personal videos by clicking here
Story and photos by Lisa E. Crowley
Eleven days after the planes struck the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the twisted carnage of the buildings and piles of rubble still smoldered in spots, thick, toxic dust filled the air and covered everything, and security around the site had been tightly controlled and closed to the public by barricades and machine gun-toting U.S. soldiers.
Me and my friend Christine Raeder, an Abington resident, drove the 3 ½ hours to New York City, Friday Sept. 21—10 days after the attacks.
Had another girlfriend not been married Friday, Sept. 14, we would have gone then.
The first sign we knew something was wrong in New York was when we exited Interstate-Route 95 and drove south on the Hudson River Parkway toward mid-town Manhattan.
We were in shock to realize we were the ONLY vehicle heading south.
On the other side of the parkway heading north was a traffic jam of thousands of vehicles leaving the city. It was surreal.
Our hearts began to pound and the pit in my stomach that began seconds after I watched the second plane hit the South Tower Sept. 11 returned in full force.
I had visited high school and college friends in New York countless times, it is me and my husband’s favorite weekend get-a-way, and second to Boston, I consider it my home city.
Except for the Yankees—I love New York.
It shocked us that thousands were leaving the city. It was stunning that we were the only vehicle heading into New York on a Friday night at about 5:30 p.m.
It also scared us. We told ourselves there would be no other attack. We were safe. It would be OK, but in the back of our minds we wondered if another terror plot could unfold while we were there.
We stayed with my friend Courtenay Harrington Bailey, a 1987 graduate of Whitman-Hanson who had moved to New York to make her fame and fortune on Broadway.
As we made our way to her apartment, it was impossible to fathom the lack of traffic, mobs of people and—most shocking---not one taxi beeped its horn on the empty thoroughfares. Even after partying in the city until 4 or 5 in the morning had I ever heard silence in Manhattan. New York City—the city that never sleeps—was deserted. It was mind boggling. Native New Yorker Paul Simon's "Sound of Silence" came to mind.
That evening we visited a nearby pub and met male and female firefighters who were gathered to blow off steam. It wasn’t rowdy. It was quiet and talk was hushed. Several knew Courtenay. Friends and family lost in the attacks were remembered. Their tears came. Their tears stopped. The tears came again.
Saturday, Sept. 22, I planned to head to the Jacob K. Javits Exhibition Center miles away from Ground Zero near Times Square where I was warned by press relations officials that I may have to wait 4 to 8 hours to tour the wreckage first hand and close up. Any member of the press who was willing to wait was assured entry.
I intended to wait and join the media in walk-throughs that from all accounts were stunning, horrifying and gruesome. Many members of the press reported in the days before our arrival how clean-up crews had encountered body parts while removing debris.
Like the rest of us, New Yorkers and visitors to the city could only get views of the damage and updates on the situation at Ground Zero from television footage and newspaper coverage because the area had been sealed off shortly after the attacks.
Barricades, police and soldiers encircled Ground Zero for 20 to 30 blocks. No one without some sort of credentials could get near Ground Zero.

Our plan was to jump on the subway and see how close to the World Trade Center we could get. If we were stopped short of the site, I would double-back to the Javits Center and meet Courtenay and Christine later.
South of Times Square subway cars were emptied. Two stops away from Canal Street, a main exiting stop for the World Trade Center, we were the only ones on the train, except for a man and woman wearing medical scrubs who had air masks around their necks.
We got off at Canal Street and made our way to Broadway and Ground Zero—a short walk away.
We couldn’t get over the smell. Still can't. I remember it well.
It smelled like a barbecue and there was an eerie undercurrent of disinfectant that permeated the air.
We saw soldiers with M-16 machine guns, but they didn’t stop us.
We kept walking and reached Trinity Church, which people remarked was a miracle that it had not collapsed or was harmed much during the blast.

Then we saw the burned, charred remains of World Trade Center #5--a hollow, copper-colored, rectangular shell of a building that gave us a hint of what was to come.
We kept walking and no one stopped us or the hundreds--and then thousands--who during a 2 ½ hour span were able to visit the site personally for the first time.
Most of the photos are from our slow walk—it took about 2 hours—for us to make our way around the site.
The crowds were polite and mostly silent, except for the gasps, the muffled sound of crying, and “Oh, my Gods,” that couldn’t be held back as the wreckage became worse and worse.
The photo of the police officer (whose name I had that day, but have since misplaced my notes) watching all of us taking pictures is one of the moments I remember most.
He was so tired. He was so sad. He was so nice to all of us. He patiently answered questions. He knowingly nodded and shook his head in empathy as people told him of relatives and family members who died in the attacks. He thanked them for their wishes of condolence for those he lost. He asked the people who climbed the light pole to get better pictures to be careful.

It was then that I cried.
Shortly after, there was a plaza where many of us congregated for a breather and to pull ourselves together.
We hugged strangers who consoled us because we felt guilty two of the planes came from Boston. They assured us it wasn’t our fault. They THANKED us for coming to the city. It was clear from their accents that most were native New Yorkers or transplants from all points on
Earth who, like us, headed to lower Manhattan to see how close they could get and were, like us, thrilled, but dejected and saddened that the foul-smelling rubble we were looking at was where nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in such a horrific way.
Me, Christine and Courtenay were with New Yorkers the day, we the public, we the people, without credentials were able to see for ourselves one of the most devastating moments in our history.
Needless to say I didn’t bother going to the Javits Center.
Just as we completed viewing the destruction, helicopters began circling above and soldiers, police and construction crews began replacing the barriers and moving the thousands who for 2 ½ hours visited the site. Officials told us one of the buildings we had just passed had suffered major structural damage and they were worried it was going to collapse.
We left and headed to Washington Square Park where a massive memorial of candles, flowers, photos of victims, poems, keepsakes and mementoes were placed around the statue of first president George Washington.
I have never felt more pride to be an American than that day.
Writing this I am again overflowing with pride.
From the rubble, we came together as Americans. We are the United States—initials U.S.—us.
We are the first country in the world to reject government by royalty and inheritance in favor of one elected by the people, for the people.
It ain’t perfect, but, while 9-11 changed everything for my generation, the U.S. changed everything for every person in the world.
People still risk life, limb and all they own to come here. That’s one of the reasons the terrorists hate us.
We will not sit still for their totalitarianism and blind rule.
It’s about freedom, baby—Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness—for all—not just the privileged, wealthy or those who use terror to instill their will on a population.

I hope everyone today on the 10th anniversary remembers the sense of community the attacks fostered for a far too short a time and try to emulate it.
The 2,977 people who died on Sept. 11 between New York, Washington D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania were from all walks of life. Every race, creed, religion and sexual preference were represented.
Terrorists don’t discriminate and we shouldn’t either.
We have differences—politically, financially, socially—but we are ALL Americans.
Above all, live life to the fullest for all of those who have died in the attacks and the wars and conflicts before and since Sept. 11, 2001.
Don’t be afraid. FDR was right—there is nothing to fear, but fear itself.
Don’t let them have died in vain.
In the immortal words of Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer, one of those who stormed the cockpit and brought the fourth flight down in Shanksville preventing it from doing more damage in Washington D.C.: “Let’s Roll!”

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Spellman Opens New Fitness Center, Science Labs

Submitted by Nate Merritt, communications coordinator, Cardinal Spellman
BROCKTON--For the first time in 53 years, Cardinal Spellman High School has a new addition to their campus.
Spellman plans to unveil their state-of-the-art fitness center and three new science labs to the public Friday, September 9.
The grand opening will begin at 6 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony and continue with tours of the brand new facility.
All are welcome to attend.
The grand opening will be followed by the Cardinals first football game of the season against Winchester High School at 7 p.m.
Spellman officials are very excited about the new fitness center and science labs, that each in their own way will offer a greater high school experience for its students.
“Spellman was well designed in the 1950s and the buildings and grounds have been meticulously maintained over the years, but it was time for some improvements," said Dr. John McEwan, Spellman's president. “A school’s facilities are an important part of teaching and learning in any academic program," he added.
Spellman, a Catholic college preparatory high school which serves 40 communities in the area, broke ground on the new 5,000 square-foot fitness center last November 9 and completed the construction in August.
It houses state-of-the-art equipment and celebrates over 50 years of athletic competition with an Athletic Hall of Fame. It also provides two new offices for the athletic director and trainer.
The fitness center offers improved access to the school’s gymnasium in addition to more space for ticket sales and concessions.
The fitness center is an important resource for students and faculty during physical education classes, and for after-school workouts.
The public will also be given an opportunity to tour some other improvements to the Spellman campus.
There are three new science lab classrooms. The new labs are intended for chemistry, biology and anatomy classes. Physics and other science electives will also share the labs.
The new classrooms have state-of-the-art technology and the student desk-lab tables were custom designed for Cardinal Spellman High School.
There are three new teacher prep rooms and places for supplies adjoining each lab. This year, Spellman added A.P Biology to its curriculum and next year Spellman will add A.P. Chemistry. The new labs are expected to greatly enhance those courses.

Residents Track Loss Of StopThePower Domain Name

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—A battle between a grassroots group and the company that has proposed constructing a 350-megawatt power plant in Brockton has moved into a new arena: Cyberspace.
Leaders of Stop The Power--a group of residents from Brockton and the Bridgewaters-- are awaiting Brockton Power-Advanced Power’s promise to give back the group’s once-held internet domain name,—a website name Advanced Power bought about 8 months after the grassroots group had an internal fight which required Stop The Power reregister its domain name as

Eddie Byers, one of the leaders of Stop The Power, said while his group believes it was one of their own working against them who initially caused the domain name snafu, he does not understand why Advanced Power would have bothered to purchase the group’s original website name, and wonders how—and most notably who—informed the company there was a problem when the group tried to renew the name.
“Why would they buy it? How did they find out it was available,” Byers asked several times during a recent interview.
He said it seems the company is using its might in every way against a grassroots group with very little money except what Byers himself provides, and residents who have jobs and lives to attend to.
“They get paid to do this—we’re a group of residents with jobs and lives,” Byers said. “What does that say about them,” he said.
Advanced Power company representatives have directed all comment to a letter sent to Stop The Power dated Sept. 1 in response to Stop The Power’s letter by its legal counsel Paul M. Glickman demanding Advanced Power relinquish control of the .org domain name because it is a violation of common law trademark rights and is cyberpiracy.
Through telephone calls and emails Advanced Power has ignored the question Byers posed as to why the company bought the .org name and will only point to the letter from its lawyers.
In the response letter written by Siobhan E. Mee, an attorney with Bingham McCutcheon LLP in Boston, Advanced Power said “despite having a lawful, good faith basis for registering the .org domain name, our client is not currently using the .org domain name and in fact has never used the .org domain name.”
The letter continues, “Although we believe Stop The Power’s claims are meritless, use of the domain name is not something our client intends to pursue.”
Advanced Power states in the letter while it has every legal right to maintain control of the .org domain name, it is in the process of de-registering the .org domain name and will be available for Stop The Power, if it so chooses."
The de-registration has not been completed. As of Sept. 6, Stop The Power has sent a second letter to Advanced Power stating the group disagrees the company had the right to purchase the domain name and believes the company did it to confuse and silence opposition to the project.
While Byers and other Stop The Power leaders are annoyed with Advanced Power for “hijacking” its website name, they are just as aggravated with one of its members—now former member—David Trojano, owner of Trojan Oil, who was the administrator of Stop The Power’s website when the problems occurred.
Justin Kane, a volunteer who joined the group a few months ago, and who has more technical savvy than some of the other volunteers, said he traced the problem back to Trojano.
“He made some moves,” Kane said.
Byers said the group and Trojano had a falling out during the time and Byers’ wife Cindy tried to renew the site and believed she did in February, 2010 after receiving a completed order receipt for the domain name after using her credit card for a two-year renewal costing $38.
It was about one month later when Byers and others realized the transaction had not completed and they began to scramble to renew the domain name, but because of reasons unknown to them at the time, they could not.
Instead, the group opted to launch a new site,, and have all visitors to redirected to the new domain. became active in April , 2010.
Byers said it was not until Kane about a month ago began to look at what happened to the .org name did they learn Trojano—who had stopped doing volunteer work for the group in January/February, 2010 and did not return their calls when volunteers tried to iron out problems.
The group gave up on Trojano and tried to solve the renewal problem on its own, but could not and instead changed over to the .net domain name.
The group, Kane said, could not renew the .org name because someone else using the names of Marnell and J. Campello with an email address of renewed the domain name for a year in May, 2010.
One document Kane has uncovered states the .org domain name expires May 2, 2010 with the registrant name listed as “domain admin,” a sponsoring registrar listed as UK2 Group Ltd., a European telephone # is listed, a town in Holland, Moergestel is listed, and an email
The next day, May 3, 2010, the .org name is renewed for 1-year under UK2 Group Ltd., registrant name Marnel, from Easton, Mass., with an email of, the same sponsoring registrar UK2 Group Ltd. and with status of the site noted as autorenewperiod. The telephone number, 508-443-3114 is no longer in service.
Marnel/Campello let the domain name lapse in June, 2010 and Advanced Power bought in in December, 2010.
During the first months of 2010, Byers and other volunteers said, issues between the group and Trojano arose and culminated in Trojano’s departure from the group and work on the website.
When Trojano left, volunteers said, none of the group could easily decipher or understand the “Morse code” they say Trojano used to set up the original domain name, and after the renewal failed took the simplest route by changing the website to
Byers and Kane said they believe Trojano renewed the site for himself and likely did it out of spite.
“There was a rotten apple in drum,” Byers said.
Trojano, during a brief telephone interview, said it was Byers’ “own mismanagement” of the site name that caused the problems and it had nothing to do with him.
“Everything they’re saying is false,” Trojano said. “It’s all his fault,” Trojano said of Byers, adding that if Byers had anything to say about it, Byers knew where to find him.
“If he has anything to say, tell him to call me,” Trojano said. "He knows where I am," he said.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hagler Manager Funeral Thursday

BROCKTON--A memorial and remembrance will be held in honor of Pat Petronelli, trainer and manager of World Middleweight Champion "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler, after his death Sept. 2, 2011.
A service will be held Thursday, Sept. 8, at 11:45 a.m. at Newton Cemetery Chapel, 791 Walnut St., Newton, followed by internment at Newton Cemetery.
Petronelli, renowned in the boxing world died on Tuesday.
The following was posted by Tony Demarco, a boxer and longtime friend, on Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home's website:
They called themselves a triangle. Marvelous Marvin Hagler, World Middleweight
Champion, the summit, flanked by his manager and trainer.
Technically both Pat Petronelli and his brother Goody were Marvin's managers and trainers, but for all intents and purposes Pat's greater responsibilities revolved around managing.
More than a manager and trainer, however, Pat Petronelli was Marvin's friend, father figure and first line of defense in the tough world of boxing and celebrity… a role he assumed 24-7 without exception.
Pat Petronelli, 89, died September 2, 2011 at Stone Institute Nursing Home in Newton with his wife Betty by his side.
In addition to his love and pride in the great success of Marvin Hagler, Petronellis was equally proud of his service to his country.
A veteran of World War II, member of the Blue Devils and the 88th Infantry Division [351st], he served in Italy and often recalled those days with vivid memories and great humility.
While he was a fierce defender of his country, Petronelli, like many veterans, was not a proponent of war. He preferred diplomacy, and that was evident in his
management style. Upon his return to the U.S., he joined the workforce of American labor, but soon opened a gym dedicated to boxing.
For a man with no formal education beyond high school, he went toe-to-toe with promoters, lawyers, other managers and trainers, television officials, referees and all comers who would dare to be less than fair to any of his fighters.
Although Petronelli worked in the Navy shipyards in Quincy and in construction, it was his love of boxing that eventually led him to make this endeavor his career for
the greater part of his adult life.
He was known as a tough negotiator with a heart soft as putty. He never failed to come to the aid of family, friends and boxers who needed help--whether it was a tank of fuel, an uninsured medical expense or a stint in a rehab, his singular generosity and loyalty were well known by those he helped.
In addition, he donated the funds necessary to build a Little League baseball field in the City of Brockton in memory of his parents.
Petronelli married Betty Whitney in March 2002, after a very long courtship and stroke that left him disabled.
He would tell you it was the happiest day of his life, and apologized--mostly to himself--for putting off this union for so long.
He fought valiantly for quality of life after additional strokes and in recent
years was captivated by politics and the election of President Obama.
He was a great fan of most sports and was delighted with the many world titles that
Boston brought home with the Red Sox, Celtics and New England Patriots.
He had an unabashed love of horses and horse racing from the obscure "bull rings" of
Northampton and Great Barrington to the aristocracy of Saratoga.
In addition to his wife Betty and her family, Nancy and Frank DiMella of Newton,
Barbara and Bill Struzenski of San Antonio, Texas, Loretta Pizzella and Pat Coffey
of Clinton, Conn.,, he leaves a son and daughter-in-law, Anthony and Roselyn
Petronelli of Easton, two granddaughters, Lisa and Laurie, and a great
Petronelli, born in Milford, Mass., was one of 12 brothers and sisters--
three who have already died.
He leaves his brothers Goody, Nick, Guido, Ronnie and Henry Petronelli and his sisters Rose Clark, Eleanor Walsh and Lorraine
Santoro, as well as many nieces and nephews.

(Photo courtesy Kay Guarino and Marvelous Marvin Hagler website)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Be Extra Cautious On Streets At Night

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton Police are asking residents—especially females—to be extra cautious if they are going to walk the city streets in the early morning hours after a woman was raped by an unknown assailant at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27 while walking home from a shift at a restaurant that closes late on weekends.
“This isn’t something that happened in the middle of the day,” said Police Chief William Conlon.
“It was early in the morning, everything’s closed, no one’s around, it’s pitch dark, and she was alone. You’re very vulnerable at that time alone. It’s tragic, she didn’t have any other means to get home,” he said.
Conlon said he was in no way blaming the victim--whose identity is being withheld because she is a victim of a rape or sexual assault—he only wants to warn residents—especially women—to be aware of the dangers in the city at night.
“It seems to have been a crime of opportunity,” Conlon said. “This is a hard-working woman with an honest job who was raped by someone unfamiliar to her. This poor lady did nothing wrong. She was simply trying to earn an honest living and had no car to get her home. It’s a shame,” he said.
Conlon said the investigation is ongoing and they have a description of the man, described as a possibly light-skinned black, Cape Verdean, or Hispanic male, about 5-feet, 9- or 11-inches tall, medium to muscular build, dark hair, wearing a white tank-top and knee-length baggy shorts.
The attack took place on Battles Street after the victim left work with another woman. The other woman called a taxicab because she had farther to go.
The victim, whose home was not too far from the attack, opted to continue walking, Conlon said, possibly to save the money she just made at work.
Conlon said the woman, in her 30s, told police the man came from the direction of the Golden Triangle restaurant, at the corner of N. Main Street and E. Battles Street.
The victim told police, Conlon said, he shouted to her something like, “Hey, baby, talk to me.”
She tried to ignore him and kept walking westerly on Battles Street.
He pursued her and caught up to her as she was on the sidewalk on the north side of Battles Street.
He grabbed her by the arm, pushed her down onto a grassy area near the sidewalk and then raped her.
“He closed ground very quickly. It all happened very quickly. He tackled her and forced himself upon her,” Conlon said.
Once he was done, Conlon said, he got off her and left in an unknown direction.
The victim made her way home and went to an area hospital a couple of hours later.
Later the same day, she came to the lobby of the police station to report what had happened, Conlon said.
Conlon said although the man’s description is vague, police maybe able to catch him in the future through DNA evidence.
“Our best hope at this point is to get a match from the DNA evidence that was collected,” Conlon said.
To be able to use the DNA collected at the hospital, Conlon said, the suspect has to have been previously arrested and court ordered to submit a DNA sample, or if the suspect gets arrested in the future for some other assault that requires he give a DNA sample.
Once his sample is in the computer system, police would be able to ascertain a match and then obtain an arrest warrant—a process that could take time, and although there are many unsolved cases, some suspects are captured and face justice.
“I hope that we get such a match so we can get this creep off the streets,” Conlon said.