Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brockton Health Center Awarded $40,000

BOSTON--Brockton Neighborhood Health Center was among 24 community organizations in Massachusetts who were awarded more than $1.2 million in grants from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.
These grants, announced Nov. 8 in a prepared statement, include $40,000 to Brockton Neighborhood Health Center which will use the money to provide outreach and individual assistance with applications, referrals to primary care providers, education on health plans, and assistance with annual renewals.
The program will focus particularly on assistance to those attending local food pantries and being released from the Plymouth House of Corrections.
“Our grantees’ efforts have ensured health care access and improved the system for thousands of Massachusetts residents,” said Sarah Iselin, President of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation. “We look forward to their new approaches to addressing coverage and affordability in their communities.”
The foundation made the grants to organizations whose missions are dedicated to promoting the health care needs of uninsured and low-income residents.
The grants range from $40,000 to $75,000 per year, and represent the first of two years of funding.
The grants were made in two grant program areas, Connecting Consumers with Care and Strengthening the Voice for Access, both of which were created in 2001 when the Foundation first began its grantmaking efforts.
Connecting Consumers with Care provides programmatic support to organizations that will provide comprehensive outreach and enrollment services, an enhanced approach to educating consumers on effective navigation of the health care system, and strategic collaboration with the advocacy community to identify and address barriers that prevent consumers from easily accessing coverage and care.
Strengthening the Voice for Access provides core operating support to organizations that will strengthen community-based policy activities, increase citizen participation in public policy development, and promote collaboration among statewide policy and advocacy organizations on coverage and affordability.
The complete list of grant awards is as follows:
Connecting Consumers with Care


1. Boston Public Health Commission $40,000

The Boston Public Health Commission will use funds to train staff of city agencies and consumers on how to navigate the health care system and a newly launched web-centric resource database will be developed to help locate referral organizations. Customized 'My Health Portfolios' will educate consumers on facts to consider when obtaining health
care and topics.

2. Whittier Street Health Center $40,000

Whittier Street Health Center will use funds to provide enrollment and redetermination assistance through 'Virtual Enrollment Sites' and make referrals to services at Whittier and partner organizations. A yearly redetermination education campaign will include educational workshops and fliers/brochures based on MassHealth's guidelines.


3. Brockton Neighborhood Health Center $40,000

Brockton Neighborhood Health Center will use funds to provide traditional outreach and individual assistance with applications, referrals to primary care providers, education on health plans, and assistance with annual renewals. The program will focus on local food pantries and the Plymouth House of Corrections.


4. Joint Committee for Children's Health Care in Everett $40,000

The Joint Committee for Children's Health Care in Everett will use funds to provide outreach, interpretation, application assistance, and scheduling support. The program will target children and their parents, particularly Latino and Haitian immigrant populations.


5. Community Health Connections $40,000

Community Health Connections will use funds to provide street outreach, and one-on-one application and enrollment assistance to children and adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as members of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities.


6. Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands $40,000

Community Action Committee of Cape Cod & Islands will use the funds to provide residents of Cape Cod and the Islands with enrollment in public health insurance programs. The program will focus on recently unemployed residents or those whose employers have eliminated health benefits or raised employee contributions beyond their ability to pay.


7. Lynn Community Health Center $40,000

Lynn Community Health Center will use funds for their Keep Your Care Project an innovative, exciting, and urgently needed project with the ultimate goal of helping low income people in Lynn access and maintain their health care through insurance coverage, consumer education, and advocacy.

North Adams:

8. Ecu-Health Care $40,000

Ecu-Health Care will use funds to provide public health outreach, application assistance, and support accessing primary care providers. One-on-one training will educate clients on the individual mandate, minimum creditable coverage policies, and affordability regulations.


9. Caring Health Center $40,000

Caring Health Center's program will use funds to target refugees, immigrants, and other linguistic and cultural minority groups who face barriers to enrollment and health care navigation. The health center provides comprehensive primary medical care and dental services to residents in the medically underserved city of Springfield and its surrounding areas.

Turner Falls:

10. Community Health Center of Franklin County $40,000

Community Health Center of Franklin County will use funds to provide a comprehensive continuum of services including community outreach, enrollment and eligibility assistance, transportation assistance, Spanish interpretation, case management, and care coordination. The health center will target residents affected by significant social and geographic barriers to care, as well as new immigrants, migrant workers, and non-English speakers.

West Tisbury:

11. County of Dukes County $40,000

County of Dukes County will use funds to provide culturally and linguistically competent enrollment assistance, referrals, and retention services for public insurance and safety net programs, with a focus on the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking communities.


12. Family Health Center of Worcester $40,000

Family Health Center of Worcester will use funds for their Consumer Self-Sufficiency Program to improve access to health care and insurance coverage for low-income individuals and families, and increase patient self-sufficiency in navigating the health care system and obtaining the appropriate level of preventive and acute health care.


13. Hilltown Community Health Centers $40,000

Hilltown Community Health Centers will use funds to assist clients to access and maintain health insurance coverage, aiding them in learning how to stay enrolled in the public programs for which they are eligible. The program will also connect clients with a primary care physician and address prescription costs.

Strengthening the Voice for Access


1. Boston Center for Independent Living $35,000

The Boston Center for Independent Living will use funds to support advocacy on behalf of those living with disabilities. BCIL is a frontline civil rights organization led by people with disabilities that advocates for supports and services that enhance the independence of people with disabilities.

2. Disability Policy Consortium $35,000

The Disability Policy Consortium (DPC) will use funds to unify the voice of disability groups as a leader in the Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR) coalition, and in particular will focus the work of that coalition on the “dual eligibles” initiative, an effort to improve services for those dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. DPC will also address barriers to access such as underinsurance and advocate for the needs of those with disabilities who do not meet the federal definition of disabled.

3. Greater Boston Interfaith Organization $75,000

The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization will use funds to develop and implement a strategic advocacy agenda focused on health care cost containment. The goals of this effort will be to slow the growth of health care costs and to engage consumer participation in all levels of the cost and quality debate.

4. Health Care For All $75,000

Health Care For All (HCFA) will use funds to build a movement of empowered people and organizations to create a health care system that is responsive to the needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable. HCFA will continue its advocacy in pursuit of three key objectives: ensuring maximum enrollment in existing coverage programs, preserving and strengthening public program eligibility, and identifying and representing consumer needs within delivery system reforms.

5. Health Law Advocates $60,000

Health Law Advocates will use funds to provide legal representation to low-income residents experiencing difficulty accessing or paying for needed medical services.

6. Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers $60,000

The Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW) will use funds to strengthen the professional identity, foster leadership, and promote the integration of community health workers (CHWs) into the healthcare, public health, and human services workforce. MACHW will continue to organize and empower CHWs to participate in policy and advocacy, conduct direct advocacy to ensure that CHWs are integrated into guidelines for medical homes and accountable care organizations, and will participate in advocacy coalitions and campaigns focused on health care access and payment reform.

7. Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition $75,000

The Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition will use funds to develop its organizing framework by engaging a statewide coalition to monitor the continued implementation of health reform and its effect on immigrant communities. The program will promote positive policy change for greater immigrant access to affordable health care and educate communities to advocate for access to health care coverage including defense of the Health Safety Net.

8. Massachusetts Law Reform Institute $75,000

The Massachusetts Law Reform Institute will use funds to advocate on six key issues: ensuring affordable and accessible health care for vulnerable populations, improving the administration of public coverage programs, ensuring Affordable Care Act implementation benefits low-income and vulnerable populations, protecting the rights and enhancing services for those dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. The program will ensure elders have access to services to prevent or delay institutionalization and that consumers have a voice in health care reform.

9. Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers $60,000

The Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers will use funds to serve as a key resource to its membership as cost containment and payment reform continue to reshape the health care environment. The League will conduct a multi-tiered advocacy strategy on a statewide level, including analyzing and disseminating policy information, engaging its members on key issues, and collaborating with other organizations and coalitions that share community health and primary health care goals.

10. Massachusetts Public Health Association $75,000

The Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) will use funds to support collaborative efforts to integrate public health and prevention into health care payment reform discussions. MPHA is a statewide membership organization that undertakes advocacy, education, coalition-building and organized action to improve the public's health.

11. Massachusetts Senior Action Council $60,000

The Massachusetts Senior Action Council will use funds to enable the voice of seniors in pursuit of two key objectives. First, to defend current health coverage which is essential for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities to obtain needed services. Second, for the development of a robust advocacy strategy for improving existing health care systems, restraining health care cost growth, and redressing current inequities caused by coverage gaps and variations in quality.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thousands Enjoy 25th Annual Brockton Parade

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—It may sound unbelievable, but Brockton Garden Club member Judy Burnett stunned those around her when she said Saturday’s 25th annual Greater Brockton Holiday Parade was the first parade she had ever attended or been a part of—at least that she can remember in 61 years.
“I’ve never been to a parade,” Burnett said matter-of-factly before she and members of the Garden Club walked the parade route dressed in vintage 1930s and 1940s style hats, raccoon and fur coats and leading a trailer depicting a homey Christmas scene, including a decorated Christmas tree, fireplace with stockings, and a rocking chair.
Burnett, 61, said when she was too young to remember she may have been brought to a parade by her parents, but she cannot recall from memory ever attending a parade, and was pleasantly surprised by the thousands of spectators who lined the parade route as well as the thousands of students, parents, coaches, businesses, and a host of local organizations who marched through the streets from Legion Parkway around the Main Street area and ending at City Hall.
“I’m impressed,” Burnett said. (Pictured at right) “This was a really good parade, and what a crowd,” she said.
For its 25th holiday parade celebration, organizers highlighted those who began the parade 25 years ago.
Leading the parade as grand marshals were Ugo Paparo, and family members of John Dreystadt, who died in March at age 77.
Also leading the numerous marching bands, cheerleaders and antique cars was the only Latino heavyweight boxing champion John "the Quietman" Ruiz.
Paparo and Dreystadt met as members of the Rotary Club more than 25 years ago, and in 1986 held the first parade in the downtown area to spark more customers in the city center.
Dreystadt’s wife Sondra, better known as “Sonnie,” said she was nominated by Paparo and the other Dreystadt family members to speak for all of them during closing ceremonies at City Hall, which included the lighting of the city’s holiday tree and the announcement of the 2nd annual James Edgar Service Award.
Sonnie Dreystadt said her husband John would have been proud of Saturday’s parade—many believing it was a record breaker for attendance--and believed he was with everyone in spirit even if not in body.
“He's here with us. I can feel it," Dreystadt said.(Pictured above, right with James Edgar Award winner Kristina Lutz. Inset, John Dreystadt)
Kevin Brower, business service officer at HarborOne Credit Union, one of the parade’s sponsors said the 60 degree temperature Saturday likely helped bring the crowd to record-breaking numbers, and pointed out a little history.
“The parade started out being held on Friday nights,” Brower said.
Brower unexpectedly had to take on Master of Ceremonies duties Saturday because usual parade leaders John and Paul Merian, co-owners of Tuxedos by Merian, had to miss the parade after Paul took a terrible spill from a ladder cleaning his gutters Friday.
The Merian brothers also provide narration and commentary on Brockton Community Access, the city’s local cable station.
Brower said once word of Merian’s fall spread, everyone involved came together to help and make sure the parade would go on Saturday as planned.
“They would have wanted it to go on without a hitch,” Brower said.
Merian is listed in stable condition at Boston Medical Center.
One of the highlights of the ceremony after the parade was the acceptance of the James Edgar Service Award by Kristina Lutz, who helped spearhead reconstruction and fundraising efforts to bring new playgrounds to the Brookfield and Howard Elementary Schools.
Lutz is also a mother, wife, paraprofessional at Brookfield School and is a volunteer basketball coach.
Lutz said she was proud of the award, but pointed to many others who helped bring the new playgrounds to the schools.
“This wasn’t just me,” Lutz said. “Many, many, many people went into this,” she said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weymouth Murder Victim Alleged To Have Stolen Pills

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Had 24-year-old Caylin Rudolph not been allegedly murdered by her brother Donald in Weymouth, she would have been scheduled to appear in Brockton Superior Court to face one count of larceny of a drug.
According to a Brockton Police report, Rudolph was to receive a summons for the alleged theft of 29 Clonazepam pills, a charge made by Wenonah Bowen, who periodically stayed at a Brockton rooming house at 220 N. Main St. (Rudolph pictured at top)
Bowen’s complaint was filed with Brockton Police on Oct. 6, at 6:41 a.m. (Bowen pictured second from top)
No other charges are listed against Rudolph in Quincy or Brockton courts.
“Had she not been killed she would have been in court,” said Brockton Police Capt. Manuel Gomes, who noted Rudolph’s death in the gruesome Weymouth triple homicide was a sad situation.
In the report, Bowen states she worked with Caylin Rudolph at the Aria Day Spa in Brockton, which was raided Oct. 22 by police units assigned to the Attorney General’s Office.
The state Division of Professional Licensure shows Rudolph was a registered aesthetician and Bowen a licensed massage therapist. The state agency does not list places of occupation.
Aria Day Spa owner, Terry Mussari, 45, of Stoughton, has been charged with deriving support from prostitution for activities at the Aria Day Spa in Brockton and two others in Canton and Norwood.
The AG’s office also alleges employees at the day spas were selling drugs to customers and among themselves.
Caylin Rudolph was issued an aesthetician's license in May 2005 from Weymouth Vocational High School.
The license expired on Oct. 21, the day of her 24th birthday.
Authorities believe Caylin Rudolph was murdered, along with her mother Paula, and her mother's boyfriend Frederick Medina, by brother Donald Rudolph in Weymouth on the night of Nov. 10.
Gomes said it often takes several weeks to several months before complaints are scheduled for hearings and in Rudolph’s case a hearing had not been scheduled prior to Rudolph’s murder.
In light of Rudolph’s death, Gomes said the charge against Rudolph, which is a felony, likely will not proceed through the courts.
It is unclear what would have happened to the charges against Rudolph had the summons for a court date been processed completely before her murder.
Bowen, 39, who in court documents lists 220 North Main St., Brockton and 937 Plymouth St. in Abington as her addresses, faces four cases of her own--including two sex for a fee charges--in Brockton Superior Court.
In Bowen’s complaint against Rudolph, documents show Bowen states when she awoke on the morning of Oct. 6, 2011 she noticed the cap was loose on her bottle of Clonazepam, a much prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-seizure drug, which she filled the day before.
Bowen told police she should have had 90 pills in the bottle.
Bowen told police she was missing 29 pills and Bowen suspected Rudolph, who Bowen said was at the rooming house the day before.
The summons report continues:
“The victim states her boyfriend is the only other one who would have had access and he did not take them. The suspect was in her room last night with the victim’s pocketbook where the pills were kept. The suspect was aware that the victim filled the prescription yesterday. The victim stated the suspect is not answering her cell phone this morning. Ms. Bowen states she works with Ms. Rudolph at Aria Day Spa and is aware that she has a drug habit.”
Rudolph's remaining family members could not be reached for comment.
Bowen faces a number of legal matters, and from court documents and interviews it is unclear what may have happened to Bowen's pills.
One charge against Bowen dates from April, 6, 2011 when Bowen was charged with subsequent offense operating a motor vehicle with registration suspended and uninsured motor vehicle.
Two months later, on June 5, Bowen was arrested by Abington Police after several residents in Abington contacted police about a woman going door-to-door claiming she was collecting money for charity, including for victims of recent natural disasters.
Abington Police have charged Bowen with larceny under $250 by single scheme.
In Brockton on Oct. 7—the day after she lodged the complaint against Rudolph--Bowen was arrested for assault and battery after a fight she had with her then-boyfriend James Bernard Green, who lives at 220 N. Main St. (Rooming house pictured above)
Bowen left 220 N. Main after the fight and headed to a nearby Hess gas station where she called police at about 9:41 a.m.
When police investigated the situation, it was Bowen who was arrested and charged with assault and battery.
Herbert Matta, cousin of Ron Matta, who unsuccessfully ran against Linda Balzotti for mayor earlier this month, said Bowen had some type of relationship with James Bernard Green, known as “Tex,” and would stay at the rooming house Matta owns and was born in at 220 N. Main St.
Matta is the second prominent Brockton family to have a possible connection to the Aria Day Spa.
Philip Nessralla Jr., the city’s head attorney, helped Mussari incorporate her business in 2004 as a part of his private practice, and as a member of Rock Meadow LLC, owns Michael’s Plaza where Aria Day Spa operated until the raid.
Nessralla has said he had no idea what was taking place at Aria Day Spa and his filing of Mussari’s incorporation papers was routine.
Matta said he had no knowledge that Bowen or Rudolph may have worked at Aria Day Spa. Matta said he has never met Rudolph, but knows Bowen.
Matta said he did not know where either woman may have worked.
James Bernard Green, who declined comment, states in court documents Bowen is a recovering heroin addict and was doing well until she was prescribed Clonazepam, which she began abusing.
Matta, who is a witness in the assault and battery case, said Bowen was in “Never, Never Land,” at the time of the charge against Rudolph and the assault and battery against Green.
Matta said he suspects Bowen does not recall taking her own pills and would doubt any accusations she made against Green or Rudolph.
Matta said police charged Bowen because she went crazy on Green, who is a quasi-manager at the rooming house, including scratching him and biting his chest—injuries that were visible to police.
In an unusual step, Bowen’s court-appointed attorney, Daniel Kallenberg Jr., who has an office in Brockton at 1265 Belmont St., has asked the court to release Green’s and Matta’s probation records, and requests $500 for an investigator in Bowen’s defense on the simple, misdemeanor assault charge.
Kallenberg did not return repeated calls for comment.
Matta said about 7 to 10 years ago he was arrested and charged with assault and battery and breaking and entering when a woman at the 220 N. Main St. rooming house accused him of entering her room without permission.
He said the woman was causing problems and he had to take care of the situation.
"She said I didn't have permission to go into my own house," Matta said.
Matta said the charges were eventually dismissed.
Bowen’s legal matters increased on Oct. 25 and Nov. 3 when she was charged by Brockton Police for sexual conduct for a fee.
Court documents state in the Oct. 25 arrest, a Brockton Police detective working a prostitution sting, while driving in an unmarked vehicle, made eye contact with Bowen near Spring and Walnut streets.
He asked Bowen if she was working.
Police reports state Bowen said she was working and the detective asked her how much it would cost for fellatio—although the officer used the street term for the sex act.
Allegedly Bowen, who documents show has several tattoos, including one on her buttocks that reads, “guys ass,” said he should ask for “adult entertainment,” and her prices start at $40.
The officer asked if he could get fellatio for $50 and Bowen agreed.
The officer said he had to go to an ATM to get money. The officer then contacted another police officer who moved in and arrested Bowen.
In most court documents Bowen lists that she is unemployed.
However, in documents associated with the Oct. 25 arrest, she states she is self-employed and works at a place called Healing Hands.
Bowen is due back in Brockton court Dec. 2, the same day Caylin Rudolph's brother is due back in Quincy court for a pretrial hearing on the Weymouth murder charges.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Santa Hat Wearers Shatter Record

BROCKTON--Nearly 1,800 people gathered in Brockton's downtown to celebrate the holiday season and once again break the city's own record for the most people in one place wearing Santa hats.
John Merian, owner of Tuxedos by Merian, who is trying to turn the city's downtown into "Christmas Town," said organizers tallied 1,792 tickets and exceeded expectations during Sunday's holiday primer.
"It was a great day," Merian said.
Thousands turned out on an unusually warm day and enjoyed music, raffles and a celebratory atmosphere.
The 1,792 people who wore Santa hats blew away Brockton's record of 872 set last year.
On Friday, more than 2,500 Brockton High students donned red felt hats and more than 14,000 were given to Brockton's school children before Sunday's tally, but that didn't stop thousands from joining in the fun.
"We're wearing our Santa hats," said Deanna Greenstein, who joined the third annual Santa Hat Day for the first time with her 20-month-old daughter Sadie, 5-year-old son Damon and 4-year-old son Ashton.
Numerous organizations hosted games and information about their groups, and hundreds followed Santa, a costumed reindeer and snowman courtesy of radio station WROR.
Merian--who launched the Santa Hat Challenge three years ago as a way to spark downtown business and awareness of Brockton's James Edgar, considered the first department store Santa--is a featured interview in a new docummentary, "Becoming Santa," which is expected to be aired on the Oprah Network next month.
Click here to visit the documentary's website.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rooney Meeting Lasts Minute--Lifetime

By Lisa E. Crowley
If Andy Rooney wasn’t late for his presentation during a journalism conference in Hartford, and I wasn’t late for Andy Rooney’s presentation during that conference in Hartford, we never would have met in a cramped elevator.
Of course I was late…I often am.
During one of those late-Lisa moments I nearly backed into Andy Rooney in a hotel elevator.
Along with doing whatever else to be late for his program, I ran back to my hotel room to get Rooney’s book, “Not That You Asked,” printed way back in 1989. The conference Rooney was speaking at was sometime between 2000 and 2002. I can’t remember exactly.
Anyway, late as usual, I squeezed myself into an elevator packed with people heading down to the lobby about 8 floors away.
I didn’t look at any of the people as I got in. I just wedged myself in, trying not to run over the people who were already in the sardine can. I faced the closing metal doors--we were so tightly packed my nose practically touched the doors--and wondered how much of Rooney's presentation I might have already missed.
As I was thinking to myself, it dawned on me the whole car was silent.
I thought that was odd since it was full of people. At least 20, maybe more. We were packed in row after row, back to front.
But no sound. No talk. Usually somebody says something to somebody, even if it’s “excuse me,” for stepping on feet or bumping each other as the car moved.
Nothing but silence.
While thinking this, I got a nudge in my side from one of my fellow reporters. I looked at her and she cocked her head and eyes to the small, older man in the gray suit directly behind me.
I swiveled my head and immediately recognized Andy Rooney.
My eyes opened wide and so did my mouth.
I bellowed: “Hi Andy Rooney! Guess I’m not late for your talk,” and nearly elbowed him in the gut as I maneuvered in the small space to face him.
That would be my luck--break Rooney's rib with an elbow trying to say "Hi."
He cracked a smile and said, “No, guess not, but I am.”
God knows what I said after that, something like it didn’t matter if he was late, or sorry, didn't mean to almost put you in the hospital.
For the ride down to the lobby, Andy Rooney and I were best buddies.
He asked me where I was from and I told him outside of Boston.
Rooney said he loved visiting Boston, and that his daughter Emily worked in the city.
I was happy to tell him I knew of his daughter Emily Rooney from WGBH, Boston’s public broadcasting station.
He was obviously proud of Emily and happy to know I knew her work.
He knew the Patriot Ledger, where I was working at the time, and we had a grand conversation in that 45-to-60 second time frame as the elevator headed to the lobby.
Rooney’s crusty, grumpy TV personality was nowhere to be found.
Curmudgeon my eye—try cream puff!
On the ground floor, Rooney pointed to the book under my arm, which of course I had forgotten about, and he asked me if I’d like him to sign it for me.
“You won’t have to waste time in line later,” Rooney said, knowing hundreds would be lined up after his talk for autographs—the only time I got a hint of his cynical side.
When I passed the book to him, his famous bushy brows rose up in surprise, when he saw it was more than 10 years old.
"That's an old one--everyone's got the new one," he said, adding I must have dug into the attic for that old relic.
I said no--it's on my bookshelf next to the AP stylebook and Molly Ivins' "Molly Ivins Can't Say That--Can She?"
He smiled and said, "that's good company."
As he opened the cover to sign it, Rooney asked what I wanted him to write. I said I didn't know, but whatever he wrote to make it out to my then-boyfriend,(now husband) Tom, who was the one who bought, read, enjoyed and kept the book since 1989--seven years before we started dating.
I was just an emissary on this one.
Rooney chuckled and said something like I picked a smart man with good taste.
He signed the book: “To Tom, not Lisa from Andy Rooney.”
We shook hands, exchanged farewells and he went to give his talk, and I found a seat in the conference room to listen.
Because I was late there were only seats in the back and except for a few shoulder movements and some gray hair, I couldn't see a thing.
And, yes, I did not have to wait in line for more than an hour to have him sign Tom’s book.
I pretty much got way more than I bargained for that day. Thanks Andy Rooney for that moment and so many others—funny, sad, insightful, and all of the other adjectives used to describe your one-of-a-kind commentaries on 60 Minutes.
Farewell Andy Rooney. The Crowley household will miss you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hallucinatory Teen Heads For Psych Exam In Weymouth Triple Murder

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Accused triple-murderer Donald Rudolph, an 18-year-old with a history of paranoid schizophrenia was placed on probation Sept. 14 by Quincy District Court officials after shooting two women with a BB gun from the yard of his father’s rooming house in Quincy.
Today, two months later, Rudolph has been held without bail and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital after prosecutors and court documents shaped a story of mental illness, violence, robbery and drug use leading up to last Thursday night’s grisly murders of Rudolph’s 50-year-old mother Paula, his 24-year-old sister Caylin and Paula Rudolph’s 52-year-old boyfriend Frederick Medina.
A plea of not guilty was entered on Rudolph’s behalf by attorney John Darrell, who told reporters outside the court house his client does not remember the killings and had to be told why he was appearing in court.
Darrell said the case could not proceed until Rudolph understood what had happened and what he was being accused of.
“He suffers from visual and auditory hallucinations and he’s having them now,” Darrell said.
Assistant District Attorney Craig Kowalski told a courtroom filled with anguished and audibly horrified family and friends of the Rudolphs and Medina,that Medina and sister Caylin suffered from multiple stab wounds.
Kowalski said Medina’s throat was cut and his body was covered with several dozen Beanie Bag stuffed animals—one which was crammed into Medina’s mouth.
While Rudolph’s lawyer told reporters Rudolph does not remember anything of last Thursday night, Nov. 10, reports from police who arrived at the scene and found the bodies tell a different story and indicate Rudolph attempted to clean-up the crimes.
“I’m f*****d, I’m f****d, “ Rudolph allegedly told Weymouth Police at about 8 p.m. when police found him trying to crawl out of a basement window after a neighbor reported suspicious activity at the house at 10 Upland Road.
Police spotted a silhouette moving through the house in a “tiptoe” fashion and while they called for the person inside to come to the door, Rudolph was caught up to his “torso” in a basement window trying to escape.
Rudolph was asked by police to come out of the house.
When Rudolph did, police found his hands were covered in blood.
Officers and detectives did not yet know the hollow and dark-eyed young man they were placing in handcuffs had brutally murdered his mother, her live-in boyfriend and his sister.
Rudolph was asked what he meant by his swear-filled comments.
Rudolph allegedly said, “you’ll see when you go in there.”
Weymouth officers and detectives began to search the two-story bungalow, which is tucked into a close knit Weymouth neighborhood near Whitman’s Pond.
An officer entered the kitchen and found a hammer and knife covered in blood on the kitchen table.
The instruments of death were partially covered with a place mat wrapped around them.
The officer then went to a doorway leading from the kitchen to the living room and while shining a flashlight in the dark house, abruptly stopped at what he saw.
Frederick Medina was found lying on his back with a slice wound across his neck and multiple stab wounds to his body.
On the floor to the left of Medina’s head, covered in a pool of blood, were several silver knives.
A Beanie Bag stuffed animal was in Medina’s mouth and his body was covered with several dozen of the toys.
It was then the officer warned other police they were in a crime scene.
A search ensued for Paula Rudolph who the neighbor had told police was likely in the house.
Officers found two rooms upstairs that had been locked.
Police kicked in the doors, but found only a burning candle in one of the rooms—both described as female’s bedrooms.
Police found other rooms with locked doors on the main floor, but no Paula Rudolph.
In the basement, where Rudolph had tried to escape through a window, Paula Rudolph still was not found, but police noted the stairs to the basement were extremely slippery and were covered with a liquid substance described as smelling like Pledge furniture polish.
With the house searched and still no Paula Rudolph, officers headed to a one-car garage at the rear of the house.
Officers saw one door to the garage. It had blood on the threshold.
Police tried to open the door, but it would only move a few inches because something was leaning against it.
An officer pushed his head in through the crack and realized a body was blocking the door.
Police entered the garage through a window to avoid harming evidence at the door.
They found Paula Rudolph dead against the door. She had been bludgeoned to death.
Not far away was Paula Rudolph’s daughter and Donald Rudolph’s sister Caylin, stabbed and beaten to death.
It is unclear where Paula and Caylin Rudolph may have been killed, although Kowalski said mother and daughter were killed before Medina.
Police reports note blood and a spray bottle of what appeared to be cleaning fluid were found on the outside of a bulkhead.
There was blood on the ground outside the bulkhead door and drag marks leading through the grass and dirt from the bulkhead to the garage door.
While family, friends and neighbors have said Donald Rudolph’s decline has been taking place for years-- including a stint living with former New England Patriots player Ronnie Lippett, whose jaw Rudolph reportedly broke when Rudolph was living with Lippett as part of a Lutheran social service program—Rudolph’s troubles with the law took a turn in April 2011, when he was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon when a Quincy woman contacted police reporting she had been shot in the thigh by a BB while walking near a rooming house on Washington Street where Rudolph was living with his father, Donald.
Officers searched the porch where Rudolph lived and found a BB, or pellet rifle with a scope on the porch.
The next day, April 7, a day after interviewing two BB-gun shot victims, witnesses, and Rudolph, Rudolph was asked to Quincy Police headquarters for an interview, where police reports indicate after being read his Miranda rights and signing a waiver, Rudolph admitted to intentionally shooting the two women after more than 2 hours of questioning.
During the interrogation, Rudolph stated he was not on any drugs or alcohol.
Rudolph told police he bought the BB gun at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Brockton and used a gift card.
The two assault charges, felonies, carry a sentence of up to 2 ½ years in Plymouth County House of Correction.
He was arraigned in May and released on his personal recognizance.
Rudolph received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation beginning Sept. 14. The conditions of Rudolph’s probation included enrolling in a mental health program and complying with recommendations from that program. He was also ordered to take prescribed medications, not possess any weapons and have no contact with the victims.
However, Rudolph’s freedom on bail for the BB gun incidents and his probation were threatened on October 13, 2011 when a complaint was filed by Weymouth Police after a neighbor--Beverly McDermott, the same neighbor who called Thursday night to alert police to what turned out to be the triple murder--reported on Sept. 3 her house had been burglarized and jewelry, foreign currency, cash, cuff links and a pain-itch medication had been stolen from the house.
Witnesses pointed to Donald Rudolph as one of a ring of culprits from the Weymouth neighborhood. Over the next few weeks, police contacted Paula Rudolph who told police her son suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is not taking his medications.
Paula Rudolph told police Donald was living with his father, her ex-husband, in Quincy and a backpack Donald left at her house at 10 Upland Road was not hers and she did not want it on her property. The backpack contained a BB-firing pistol and a container of BBs. Police confiscated the backpack as evidence.
Also, Paula Rudolph, according to court documents, had talked with her ex-husband about their son and the ex-husband affirmed Rudolph had arrived at the rooming house with coins, foreign currency and other items.
The father also told Paula Rudolph Donald “took” 23 klonopin (sic) pills.
Eventually police met with Rudolph’s father Donald Sr., at his rooming house in Quincy. The father said the teenager sometimes stays with him and was there when police arrived. The father let police in and through his efforts was able to talk his reluctant son into letting police look in a closet in the room.
Police reports show the jewelry, coins, foreign currency and cuff links McDermott reported stolen were found in the closet.
Also found was a baseball autographed by Red Sox players, and in a container a small marijuana cigarette and 23 klonopins (sic).
Rudolph was charged with receiving, buying or aiding in the concealment of stolen property not exceeding $250—a felony with a sentence of up to 2 ½ years in Plymouth House of Correction, a $250 fine or both.
The complaint was issued October 23 and court documents show court officials filed motions to charge Rudolph with probation violation and possible revocation of his bail.
Rudolph was scheduled to appear in court for an arraignment Tuesday, Nov. 29 on the stolen property charges.
Instead, Rudolph is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and faces life in prison for the murders of his mother, his mother’s boyfriend and his sister.
He returns to court on the murder charges Dec. 2.
(Photos from top: Rudolph booking photo; Paula Rudolph's house at 10 Upland Road; Caylin Rudolph's photo from her Facebook page; Family photo from surviving sister Brittany's Facebook page; garage where Paula and Caylin Rudolph were found by police)

Gun Wielding Constable Due In Court

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—A South Shore constable who is accused of pulling a gun on a dead-beat dad at Trinity Catholic Academy is expected in Brockton District Court next month for a clerk's hearing to face charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and reckless endangerment of a minor.
According to court filings, Adam Loomis, 27, a constable in Scituate and Quincy, is scheduled to appear Thursday Dec. 1 at 2 p.m. before a clerk magistrate to address the two felony charges in connection with an arrest Loomis made with his father Jerold on the private Catholic school’s property.
Brockton Police Capt. Emanuel Gomes said it was the first he heard of the hearing and expects a summons to arrive soon.
However, he was surprised the matter has been scheduled for a clerk’s hearing and not an arraignment.
“That’s unusual for felony charges,” Gomes said. “Both are felony charges,” he added.
Court officials said the Dec. 1 hearing is not open to the public.
If a clerk decides the matter should move forward, documents and hearings in the case will then be open to the public.
Loomis is accused of endangering the children of George Haikal, who was dropping off his two sons at the school Oct. 11, when Loomis and his father Jerold moved toward Haikal’s car to arrest Haikal for back payment of more than $45,000 in child support payments.
Witnesses, including Brockton City Councilor Dennis DeNapoli who works at the school, have said Haikal’s vehicle jumped forward and Adam Loomis drew a gun from a holster on his hip in response to the movement and pointed the weapon at the windshield of the car Haikal was driving.
There were more than 100 students in the playground at the time and school officials immediately hustled the children into the building and locked-down the facility for about 10 minutes.
Brockton Police brought the two charges forward Oct. 21 after an investigation into the matter.
Gomes has said police concluded the vehicle’s lunge forward was not willful and there was no indication Haikal accelerated the car forward.
Following the incident, DeNapoli told BrocktonPost.com Haikal was being grabbed by the neck and dragged out of the car by Jerold Loomis, while the son Adam was at the front of the vehicle.
Loomis’ lawyer, Glenn Hannington, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The December hearing is not the only issue Loomis faces in connection to the school incident.
Gomes said Quincy and Scituate have contacted Brockton for reports about the incident and may consider revoking Loomis’ constable license in both those towns.
Also, Gomes said, Rockland has inquired about the matter.
Adam Loomis lives in Rockland and his permit to carry a firearm is approved through that community.
Gomes said it is unclear what those communities will do, but he has forwarded officials whatever information has been asked for.
“They could revoke his constable license, or his firearms license in Rockland, or they could wait and see what happens in court,” Gomes said.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Council Seat Run An Education, Newcomer Says

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Councilor-at-large candidate Kate Archard said she met with Brockton Election Commission officials this morning and is satisfied that all of the votes in Tuesday’s election have been calculated properly and she will not seek a recount.
“There were something between 150 and 180 absentee ballots—we were hoping there would be more,” Archard said.
Archard, with the support of Stop The Power forces, fell short of unseating any of the four incumbents who sought election to their councilor-at-large seats.
She was 248 votes behind Todd Petti, the only councilor who has been in favor of a proposed 350-megawatt natural gas power plant planned for the Brockton-West Bridgewater border.
Archard said Tuesday night she might seek a recount because of the woeful electronic data management associated with the city’s water billing debacle.
However, after meeting with commissioners this morning she is satisfied every ballot has been counted and the absentee ballots were not enough to force the city to spend $5,000 to hold a recount.
“I’m disappointed, but I learned a lot,” Archard said.
She said it is unclear if a mailing from Stop The Power’s financier Eddie Beyers that notably left off Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart’s name as a staunch opponent of the power plant hurt her cause, but noted many observers believed it was a misstep.
However, she said the mailing was something Beyers did on his own and felt strongly about.
She said as a newcomer she had many obstacles to overcome, including the several years head-start each of her opponents have had building committees and voter support during past elections.
Archard said she will remain involved in city politics as well as her numerous volunteer endeavors.

Alleged Spa Madam Faces More Legal Issues

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Brockton’s Aria Day Spa and two others in Canton and Norwood involved in a recent prostitution and drug raid will not be allowed to offer customers massages after state officials realized none of the three spas have a required license to operate a massage therapy business.
Jason Lefferts, a spokesman for the state Division of Professional Licensure, said last Thursday cease and desist orders were sent to Terry Mussari, a 45-year-old Stoughton resident, who faces prostitution charges after a raid by the law enforcement officials working with the state Attorney General’s Office Oct. 22.
“She had a message therapist license for herself, but not for the establishments,” Lefferts said. “Each of the spas needs an establishment license and none of them had one,” he said.
Lefferts said he couldn’t answer why state officials did not catch the glitch, even after several inspections of Mussari’s spas in Brockton and Norwood.
“I can’t answer that,” Lefferts said.
He said the matter is an ongoing investigation and the Board of Cosmetology will issue a show cause order to Mussari who will have the opportunity with her lawyer, Kevin Reddington, to submit information about the matter and then the board will hold a hearing to decide if an establishment license should be issued for one or all of Mussari’s spas.
The AG’s office also alleges employees at the spa were selling drugs to customers and to themselves.
Mussari has pleaded not guilty and has hired Brockton lawyer Kevin Reddington to fight the allegations. Another woman, Terri Burgess, 31, was also arrested in the raid for outstanding warrants.
Since Mussari's arrest, the spas have shown few signs of operations, and telephone calls to each have gone unanswered.
State Sen. Thomas Kennedy, who represents Brockton, said he wants Mussari’s charges to be investigated by the Division of Professional Licensure even as Mussari’s case works its way through the courts.
Kennedy said when the division investigated Mussari she passed a Criminal Offenders Record Inquiry which did not take into account a prior investigation into illegal activities at her spas.
Kennedy noted thus far Mussari has not been convicted of the charges against her, which the states regulations ostensibly would prevent the issuance of a massage therapy license.
However, Kennedy said, the regulations have a so-called morals clause, that the licensee should be of good moral character.
Kennedy declined to answer if Mussari is a person of good moral character, and that decision would be left to the board.
“This will be a good test of the regulation,” Kennedy said.
Mussari’s licenses are not the only avenue investigators are following in connection with her arrest.
Fox 25 has reported an employee of the spas has accused police officers of paying for legitimate massages then tipping cash for sex in a back room.
Also, State Police trooper David Lemar has been suspended without pay as a part of the ongoing investigation into the day spas.
Lemar has denied any wrongdoing.
According to court documents, an undercover state trooper had several conversations with Mussari about sexual services her employees could provide, including an alleged private party at the Aria Day Spa scheduled for Oct. 22 when Mussari agreed to provide 12 different girls to a group of men who would come to the party.
Documents state the cost for the girls would be $1,720.
The day of the party, which turned out to be the day of Mussari’s arrest, court records state the undercover state police officer paid the money owed to Mussari and it was discussed between him and Mussari that he would “go first” and the other 11 girls would be at Aria Day Spa later that night for the rest of the men.
Records state once the balance was paid, the undercover state trooper was taken to a private room where two different female employees came into the room separately and offered to provide the officer with sex acts, as was arranged with Mussari.
After the second female offered to perform a sexual act, the trooper gave a prearranged signal to surveillance officers who executed search warrants at all three spas.

All Brockton Incumbents But Beyer Back In

BROCKTON--All but one incumbent retained their seats in Brockton's 2011 general election.
Janice Beyer was unseated by Anthony J. Donegan Jr., who after winning September's primary went on to defeat longtime schoolcommitteewoman Beyer by a slim 83 votes.
Balzotti easily won reelection tallying 5,320 votes to Ron Matta's 1,732, or about a 75 to 25 percent difference.
Newcomer Kate Archard fell short of unseating any of the four incumbents for a councilor-at-large seat. Archard collected 3,518 votes, 248 shy of closest contestant Todd Petti, who retained his seat with 3,766 votes.
Thomas Brophy, Robert Sullivan and Jass Stewart all kept their at-large seats on the council.
All other races were uncontested.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DuBois Focuses On Ordinance Not DPW Head's Comments

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Ward 6 City Councilor Michelle DuBois isn’t as worried about comments made to her by Department of Public Works ead Michael Thoreson near the end of an ordinance committee meeting Monday night as she is about getting a new water bill ordinance passed that she believes will help residents today and in the future when problems with their bills arise.
“I don’t really want to dwell on what he said,” DuBois said after the meeting. “I don’t want the importance of the problems to get lost…I don’t understand the personal nature of it all. They seem to think if I stop asking questions it will all go away,” she said.
About 15 minutes before the end of last night’s meeting that wrapped up with a favorable vote for DuBois’ new ordinance, Thoreson, who has been under fire for over a year from residents and some councilors, lost his temper while discussing his side of DuBois’ ordinance and responded by saying, “I’m at wits end taking this crap from you.”
Thoreson could not immediately be reached for comment about last night’s meeting.
DuBois said while she found Thoreson’s comments offensive, she would prefer to highlight different information that came out of the meeting, such as the difference between how many residents or households will be affected by the outcome of her ordinance.
Her ordinance would require the water department get an actual meter reading once every year, unlike the current ordinance which does not require an actual for at least two years.
The whole water mess began because many residents had not received actual readings in months and in some cases, 8 to 12 years, until bills trying to catch-up those estimates nearly gave residents heart attacks when they opened their mail to find water bills from $3,000 to $23,000 to, in one case, $100,000.
DuBois’ ordinance also gives residents who have two years or more of estimated readings to have their usage based on 6 months of actual readings, unlike the current ordinance which only allows an actual reading to be used for the lookback if meters have been tested and identified as faulty.
The current lookback policy, DuBois said, falls short of expectations and doesn’t take into account many things, especially the 2-year lookback based on actual readings over the last six months.
Officials have been against this formula because residents could conserve water over those 6 months and skew the readings.
The current formula uses an average based on two years of estimated bills—even though those bills are disputed and residents may not have all the information they need—such as if their meter has been tested, proof the meter has been tested, and the results of those tests—to decide if they want to sign-off on the city’s agreement notices for disputed bills.
Residents who agree to the city’s latest attempt to resolve disputed bills, must also agree not to take the city to court or appeal the water bill with the state Appellate Tax Board.
DuBois said officials are also misinforming people when they say 14 of 20 residents who have taken their cases to the state Appellate Tax Board have agreed to the city’s terms under the current two-year lookback policy and claim it is a sign of satisfaction with the policy.
Dubois said those remaining 6, including Robert Ford and Ayanna Cato--who were the first to make their water woes public—are struggling under a policy whose formula for payment often depends on how DPW employees feel about the person and not on actual water usage.
“A lot of this is being based on the department’s thoughts about someone,” DuBois said. “There needs to be a formula,” she said.
DuBois said the 20 residents might be a positive case study, but she is looking toward the next phase of lookback notices when more than 700 residents who have been identified as having problem bills begin to get their latest notices and agreement offers.
Ford has said he will not pay the city a dime, and since the current lookback policy was put in place, his bill has dropped from $23,000 to $4,000 and now about $2,500.
Even so, Ford is adamant he will not pay anything to the city, especially since the city’s independent auditor concluded the city owes Ford money.
“We’ve waited two years and people are still being shafted,” DuBois said.
The full City Council will still have to vote on DuBois’ additions to a two-year look back policy approved by the City Council and Balzotti a few months ago.
Since the water bill debacle began in the summer of 2010, Thoreson has taken heat from many of the residents who have been fighting outrageously high water bills. City Councilors like DuBois and Jass Stewart have asked tough questions about management. Some public meetings and many private meetings with some residents have devolved into personality attacks on both sides.
Animosity toward city officials over the water bill fiasco, in part, launched resident Ron Matta’s mayoral campaign against incumbent Mayor Linda Balzotti with a platform that he would fire or demote Thoreson if elected, and possibly look at the employment of Chief Financial Officer John Condon, who Matta blames for not having replaced outdated water meters five years ago when it was first brought forward to the City Council.
Balzotti and other city officials have said the situation is complicated, and a program of water meter replacement was not initiated five years ago, mostly because application for low-interest loans from the state did not receive approvals until last summer.
Balzotti has also said management issues within the DPW are being addressed, but because they are personnel matters she is not at liberty to discuss what is taking place in closed meetings.
DuBois said she has nothing personal against Thoreson or his department—even though they might think so.
She said her ordinance and constant questions, emails and phone calls aren’t about DPW employees individually, it’s about fairness for residents of Brockton and management of difficult issues, especially more than 700 lookback offers that will soon be sent to residents.
“Seven hundred bills will be looked at through this lens,” DuBois said. “We need to delineate exactly what the formula is,” she said.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trinity Financial, Downtown Projects Gain Historic Credits

Three Brockton redevelopment projects, including Trinity Financial's $100 million commercial and residential project in downtown Brockton, have received a total of $900,000 in the latest round of historic rehabilitation tax credits from Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office.
Trinity Financial, which has proposed the redevelopment of the dilipidated former Enterprise building, received $300,000 for the redevelopment of the Gardner Building.
Trinity’s proposal includes the redevelopment of approximately four acres from the north side of Main Street from Petronelli Way to Centre Street and east to Montello Street.
The proposed project calls for the construction of residential, retail and commercial space, as well as a 325-space city parking garage.
Capstone Communities LLC and Brophy & Phillips Company each received $300,000 in
tax credits from the Massachusetts Historical Commission to help finance their proposed redevelopment projects in the downtown area.
The Capstone Communities’ project plans to turn 124 Montello St., the former Stall and Dean sporting goods company, into a 25-unit residential building.
Brophy & Phillips proposal for 88 Lincoln St. will turn the former mill into commercial office space.
This is the second round of historic tax credit funding Capstone Communities and Brophy & Phillips have received.
“Brockton has a rich history. That history can be seen through the distinctive
architecture in our downtown,” said Mayor Linda M. Balzotti in a prepared statement.
“These grants help make preservation and redevelopment happen at the same time without having to sacrifice one for the other. I am proud of the hard work and collaboration between the developers, the city, Brockton’s planning and economic development agencies, as well as our state delegation which helped bring about these grants.”
The allocation of the historic tax credit funding is contingent upon the successful
completion of the project and certification by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.
Receiving the historic tax credit does not prohibit the developers from seeking additional funding from the state or other sources.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Stewart Supporters Urge Mailing Rejection

There was a mass mailing of a political flyer with candidates for councilor-at-large expressing that they are against the power plant. On this card were the names Tom Brophy, Robert Sullivan and Kate Archard. Perhaps it was a typographical error or maybe the persons responsible for printing this flyer ran out of ink. However, Jass Stewart and Todd Petti’s names were omitted from this flyer giving the impression that Mr. Stewart like Mr. Petti is in support of the power plant.
Nothing could be further from the truth than to have them insinuate that Mr. Stewart supports the power plant. It is a fact that in the city of Brockton Mr. Stewart is a staunch opponent of the power plant.
We urge all voters to take a look at the whole picture and know that it is not in the city’s best interest to have Jass Stewart unseated due to tactics that unduly represent his position.
Please do not let their agenda deter you from giving Mr. Stewart your vote on November 8th. If you are concerned about your city, and most of us are, we need ALL voters to go out on November 8th and cast your vote.
Thank you,
Joan Madden
Harold “Bo” Marrow
Eugene Marrow