Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wildlands Trust Takes Over Brockton Audubon Land

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—The Wildlands Trust is set to bring new life to a 126-acre preserve of forest land and trails behind the Hancock Elementary School that was once a well-walked sanctuary owned by the Brockton Audubon Society.
“We’re really excited that the transfer of ownership has finally been completed,” said Karen Grey, executive director of for-the-moment Duxbury-based Wildlands Trust Inc.
Grey, a 1981 graduate of Brockton High School, joked that not many people are aware there was once a vibrant and active Audubon chapter in the city of Brockton—something the Wildlands Trust hopes to change.
Grey said the transfer of ownership began about 2 years ago several years after she learned about the property when she began working for Wildlands Trust.
Through residents, city officials and the two remaining trustees of the dormant Brockton Audubon Society, Grey said the trust began working to transfer ownership, and after miles of red tape, court proceedings and approval from the state Attorney General’s Office, the land passed into the hands of the trust on March 15.
“We are pleased and proud to be taking on the vast responsibility of protecting this land forever for the people of Brockton,” Grey said.
Grey said the paperwork took some time because the 93-year-old Brockton Audubon Society is a charitable trust and the land had to be conveyed to a non-profit or similar trust, many legal trails had to be followed, but now that they are done, Wildlands Trust is ready to bring the land new life.
The group’s first public activity will be participating in the city’s annual “Keep Brockton Beautiful Day,” Saturday, April 21.
Because the Brockton Audubon Society has been dormant for many, many years, volunteers and members are few and far between so Wildlands Trust is seeking volunteers to help them clean up the debris and trash that borders fences that enclose the 126-acre stretch.
Grey said not to let the location of the property fool you, 100 yards into the site the zooming cars on Pleasant Street and backyards of the housing developments that encircle the land fade and a hiker will be truly amazed at the pristine nature of—well nature in Brockton.
The Wildlands Trust is also looking forward to a new-old home in Plymouth. The trust began in Plymouth and then moved its headquarters to Duxbury. Last summer the group penned a deal to buy the 7 acre Davis-Douglas Farm off Long Pond Road in Plymouth.
Grey said anyone wishing to volunteer for the Brockton cleanup or become a member can contact her at or by calling 781-934-9018.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Night Of Promotions At City Council

BROCKTON--Brockton City Council Monday night approved numerous promotions within the police and fire departments, including elevating Officer Tracey Harrington to sergeant--the city's first female sergeant--and Kevin M. Galligan--son of former fire chief Kenneth Galligan--as deputy fire chief.
There was a large crowd for the promotions, however, each of the new employees will need to be sworn-in to their new positions.
Mayor Linda Balzotti's office said a swearing-in ceremony has not yet been scheduled.
Along with Harrington and Galligan other officers promoted were:
Officer William J. Hallisey to the rank of Lieutenant in the Brockton Police
Officer David M. Dickinson to the rank of Lieutenant in the Brockton Police Department and
Officer Christopher T. Green to the rank of Sergeant in the Brockton Police Department.

Ward 5, 6 Meet Wednesday Night

BROCKTON--Ward 5 and Ward 6 city councilors Dennis DeNapoli and Michelle DuBois will host a combined ward meeting Wednesday, March 28 at the Mary E. Baker Elementary School at 6;30 p.m.
Topics of discussion will include public safety, street repairs, and the Boulders Apartments. Guests include interim police chief Manuel Gomes and crime watch coordinator Officer Bill Healy.
The meeting is open to all residents who are urged to attend.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Advocates Step Up Foreclosure Protests

By Lisa E. Crowley BrocktonPost BROCKTON--Brockton officials are looking to drop Bank of America as one of the banks that handles the city’s financial services--a move sparked by an outcry from residents, their supporters and area public advocates who say Bank of America and other large national banks are decimating Brockton and other communities by kicking out residents instead of negotiating new mortgages to keep them in their homes.
“They not only have the ripped the hearts out of us…they have ruined the basic idea of the America dream and the realization of owning a home,” said Leigh Bigger, a Brockton resident struggling to save her house from foreclosure with Bank of America, during a City Council Finance Committee meeting Monday night.
More than 40 residents and advocates attended Monday night’s meeting to express frustration and anger toward national banks like Bank of America, who they say have taken billions in taxpayer bailout money, returned to giving CEOs huge bonuses and, at the local level are punishing homeowners instead of negotiating with them and in the process have needlessly kicked people out of their homes and destroyed communities. Advocates and residents over the last few weeks have been hitting the streets of Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Lawrence, Lynn and other Massachusetts cities and towns that have been hard hit by the mortgage crisis. Brockton Interfaith Community, or BIC, has joined forces with City Life, a Boston-area advocacy group and a recently formed Brockton Bank Tenant Association to raise awareness of individual, regional and national problems associated with the mortgage crisis—a problem they say has only got worse with the banks’ bailout.
A vigil was held Monday, March 12 at 267 Howard St. in support of Luckner Vernet, who has worked with a nonprofit to buy his house and then turn around and resell it to him at current market value—about $150,000 less than he bought it--and avoid foreclosure and allow him to stay in his house. Chase Bank, who eventually bought Vernet’s mortgage from a struggling lender refuses to negotiate or help with the plan.
Vernet, who attended Monday’s finance committee meeting, said Chase will not respond to any entreaties and is moving ahead with foreclosure and plans to auction the house. Vernet said instead, Chase intends to kick him, his wife and their two children out of the house and sell it at auction.
“They want to punish us,” Vernet said. “They won’t sell it to the non-profit who will sell it to me at a cost I can pay. They want it to be empty and ruin the neighborhood and me and my family’s life,” he said.
The City Council finance committee Monday voted unanimously in support of reinvesting the city’s money away from any services being provided by Bank of America—services Treasurer-Collector Martin Brophy said include processing the city’s payroll account—a major change he said that could be beneficial to the city and send a message to big banks like Bank of America.

“It wouldn’t just be symbolic. Bank of America seems to be charging more fees for services—they seem to want to get out of municipal and government services--and I think it would be a beneficial for the city,” Brophy said after Monday night’s meeting.
“I’m not thrilled at times with the products and services they are providing. I’ll go out and solicit local options,” Brophy said.
Brophy said the city uses Bank of America, Rockland Trust, Century and Sovereign banks, and Mass. Municipal Depository Trust for much of its financial services, such as payroll, the city’s health care trust, and dedicated revolving funds.
Brophy said not all local banks can handle municipal and government accounts.
He said Rockland Trust, Webster and Eastern Bank have the capability of providing Brockton the services it needs. However, Brophy said, a move depends on what kind of proposals the local banks can offer the city and if it is more affordable than dealing with Bank of America.
“A lot of Is have to be dotted and Ts crossed to do this,” Brophy said. “This is a major change,” he added.
He said each of those 4 banks handle $80 to $100 million of the city’s money per month.
Meanwhile, resident Bigger and others are doing everything and anything they can to not lose their homes and prevent a further decimation of neighborhoods and cities and towns that are being destroyed by rows and rows of vacant homes.
Bigger said she has worked for the state's DYS for more than 20 years.
She is a single mother making about $45,000 a year who bought a 3-family in Brockton 8 years ago because her lender said she couldn’t afford a one-family, but with rent from a 3-family she would be better off and they would approve her for a loan.
She was strenuously steered toward an adjustable rate mortgage, and other moves were made and other promises made, like because the housing market and property values were exploding 8 years ago, she would pay a lower monthly cost and be able to “flip” the house and refinance in a few months.
Instead the housing market crashed, property values plummeted, and after keeping up with ballooning payments for a while she stopped paying because you can’t get help if you’re paying your mortgage.
When she stopped paying angry foreclosure notices followed.
She has been working through different programs to rewrite the loan, but has been stymied by a never ending morass of document searches with Bank of America who transfer her from one department to another with each asking for the same documents and transferring her to other departments until she received bogus company addresses and bogus phone numbers.
She said she owes about $500,000 on a house she bought for $300,000 and it is now worth, “maybe,” $180,000.
Bigger said she has been working with Bank of America to stay in the home, but like millions of other homeowners working with national banks, the bank would rather kick the residents out and put the property up for auction—creating vacant homes where homeless people, transients, thieves and other scavengers come in and sleep, steal copper wiring and pipes, hold parties, and in general create havoc and crime in neighborhoods.
The run-around has been harrowing, Bigger said, and like thousands in Brockton, Fall River, New Bedford and other hard hit areas, she no longer thinks it’s her fault for not understanding the schemes being presented by predatory lenders.
“I’m an educated, hardworking person who has only wanted to own my own home,” Bigger said.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Stewart Takes Job At Easton's Coldwell Banker

BROCKTON--Brockton Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart announced in an email and on his Website, he has joined joined Coldwell Banker in Easton as a realtor.
In the email sent Sunday, March 18, Stewart said Coldwell is a great company and because the job is flexible he will be able to continue his work as a city councilor and campaign as a candidate for the 11th Plymouth state representative seat.
"In short, my real-estate work is the perfect complement to my City Council efforts, and my campaign for State Rep.," Stewart said in the email.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Waldron Remembered For Love Of Brockton

BROCKTON--John A. Waldron, 54, a lifelong Brockton resident, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, March 10 at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton.
Waldron, the husband of Brockton 21st Century Corp. Executive Director Mary Waldron, who is fighting breast cancer, last week went into the hospital for surgery after a fall.
He went into the hospital this weekend suffering from trouble breathing and other complications. He unexpectedly died Saturday.
Waldron was a 1975 graduate of Brockton High School, and he remained devoted to his alma mater throughout his life. He served with the Brockton Boxer Alumni Group raising funds for the football team, and volunteered innumerable hours for the Brockton High School Alumni Association.
Waldron served as Retirement Counselor for the Massachusetts State Retirement Board for more than twelve years. John cherished his service as Legislative Aide to Representative Thomas Kennedy in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
It was at the State House where John met the love of his life, Mary, whom he would marry. John was the proud father of daughter, Casey Angela, who graduates from Brockton High in 2012, following in the tradition of her father.
He loved sunsets down the Cape, golfing with high school and college friends, reminiscing about Brockton – never forgetting anything or anyone.
He was a member of the Polish White Eagles, Brockton Boxer Football Alumni and the Democratic City Committee.
But everyone knew that he lived for his family and would boast about them to anyone who would listen.
Waldron earned a bachelor of arts from St. Joseph’s College in Maine in 1979.
He loved watching all sports, but in particular loved watching Sunday football with friends.
He was the beloved husband of 21 years to Mary (Przybylowicz) Waldron; loving father of Casey A. Waldron; cherished brother of Jean Weathers and her husband Jack of Brockton, Mark Waldron and his wife Cindy of Bridgewater, Maureen Waldron of Brockton, Susan Taylor and her husband Joseph of Hopedale, Sheila Veideman and her husband Jeff of Auburn, and Leo Waldron and his wife Joanna of Warsaw, Poland.
Waldron was the eldest son of the late G. Robert and Mary C. (O’Connor) Waldron.
He was the nephew and godchild of Patricia “Sis” McGillis and her husband John “Butch” McGillis, and nephew of Paul “Brother” and Terese O’Connor.
He was the son-in-law of Angela Przybylowicz of Chicopee, brother-in-law to Kris and Len Clark of West Barnstable, Chet and Jill Przybylowicz of Chelmsford, Theresa Przybylowicz of Belchertown, Tom Przybylowicz of Higganum, CT, and Patty and Dan Guilmette of Chicopee.
Waldron was proud of his many nieces and nephews: Kerry Weathers and her friend Jonathan Grasso, Katie, Chris and Colin Weathers, Mary Catherine and Joseph, Jr. Taylor and his fiancé Heather Lau, Kathleen, Elizabeth and Robert Waldron, Christie and Melanie Frazier, Ian, Mia and Max Waldron and Paige Veideman, as well as Erica Glanville and friend Jonny Martins and Alex, Alli, Anna, Andrew, and Abigail Przybylowicz.
In addition to his immediate family, Waldron leaves many cousins, extended family, and countless friends.
A funeral mass will be celebrated Thursday, March 15 at 11 a.m. at St. Edith Stein-St. Edward Parish, 71 East Main St., Brockton.
Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery, Brockton.
Calling hours at Russell & Pica Funeral Home will be Wednesday, March 14 from 2 to 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers and in the spirit of Waldron's giving back to the community, please consider donations to the Brockton High School Alumni Association, P.O. Box 1765, Brockton MA 02303 – In memory of John or to the Signature Health Care - Brockton Hospital Cancer Walk, Signature Healthcare, Foundation Office,680 Centre St., Brockton, MA 02302.

Stewart To Run For 11th Plymouth

BROCKTON--Brockton City Councilor-at-large Jass Stewart announced via email and Facebook he will be third Democratic Party candidate to seek election to the 11th Plymouth State Representative seat. 
In a Facebook entry Thursday, March 8 and in an email Sunday, Stewart said he decided to run for the seat after several public meet-and-greets, and a last minute wish from his son Jajuan, who left Brockton last week for Japan and his first tour of duty in the military. 
Stewart notes when Jajuan departed Stewart asked the young man what he thought about Stewart's potential run for the state rep. seat, and Jajuan replied: "Go for it. My job is to make sure people have the freedom to vote. Your job is to make sure they have a reason to vote."
It was then, Stewart writes, he decided to make a run for the 11th Plymouth. 
Stewart said as a Brockton City Councilor, he has earned a reputation for being independent, hard working, and focused on results from holding government accountable and helping to create jobs, to responding to the needs of residents and making my son proud.
"I am ready to bring these values to the State House," Stewart said.  
Stewart will hold a campaign kick-off event,  Tuesday, April 3, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Tutto/Pasta Bene, 1050 Pearl St.
Stewart joins Democrats Claire Cronin and Robert Sullivan, who have already announced their candidacy for the seat which includes precincts 1 to 5 in Easton and in Brockton all of Ward 1, Ward 3D, and Wards 7C and 7D.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Commission Announces Women Of The Year

BROCKTON--The City of Brockton’s Commission on Women’s Issues has announced the winners of the 2012 Women of the Year Awards.
The commission’s selection committee chose the winners from a long list of nominees last week.
The following women were selected to be the 2012 Women of the Year:
Janice Byer
Donna Cotterell
Michelle DuBois
Barbara Litchman
In addition to these four Women of the Year, the 2012 Women of Courage Award will be presented to:
Samara and Tamara Pires

Award recipients will be honored at the 2012 Women of the Year Awards Breakfast set for Saturday, March 10 at 10 a.m. at the Shaw’s Center.
Writer and actress Marianne Leone will be the keynote speaker. 
Tickets are $20 and available for purchase at Rockland Trust locations throughout the city. Proceeds from ticket sales will fund scholarships for young Brockton women.
For questions and/or further information, contact the Mayor’s Office at 508-580-7123

And The Women Of The Year Are...

BROCKTON--The City of Brockton’s Commission on Women’s Issues has announced the winners of the 2012 Women of the Year Awards.
The commission’s selection committee chose the winners from a long list of nominees last week.
The following women were selected to be the 2012 Women of the Year:
Janice Byer
Donna Cotterell
Michelle DuBois
Barbara Litchman
In addition to these four Women of the Year, the 2012 Women of Courage Award will be presented to:
Samara and Tamara Pires

Award recipients will be honored at the 2012 Women of the Year Awards Breakfast set for Saturday, March 10 at 10 a.m. at the Shaw’s Center.
Writer and actress Marianne Leone will be the keynote speaker. 
Tickets are $20 and available for purchase at Rockland Trust locations throughout the city. Proceeds from ticket sales will fund scholarships for young Brockton women.
For questions and/or further information, contact the Mayor’s Office at 508-580-7123

Friday, March 2, 2012

Former SEAL Supports Filmmakers' Depiction

Letter to the Editor: 
As a retired Navy SEAL, I looked forward to seeing recently released "Act of Valor" starring actual Navy SEALs instead of professional actors.  
Like most military veterans, I am a tough critic of all military movies.  
I have no affiliation with the production of this movie.  Prior to viewing it this week, I read reviews that the acting was lacking and some scenes unrealistic.
Since we all value our two hours and $10 and in trying my utmost to not be biased, I respectfully disagree with those reviews.  
Considering they were not professional actors, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the acting and almost all of the movie was very realistic.   
In a fast-paced less than two hours, the SEAL team hunts down terrorists-a.k.a. "tangos" threatening Americans in a series of world-wide operations showcasing SEAL expertise in parachuting, diving, shooting, and fighting.  
The very realistic attention to tactical details includes using hand signals when silence was required and reloading empty magazines from guns and switching from a primary weapon--rifle--to secondary-pistol--when necessary in a firefight. 
A U.S. POW scene was a realistic contrast to an enemy POW scene with realistic contrasting results. 
A rocket round malfunctions showing, in combat--like in life, that being good is good, but being good and lucky is better.  
The movie did not have excessive or gratutious violence, nudity, or sex nor an overpowering soundtrack but felt like a documentary, which is a style I enjoy. 
Although there were subtitles for foreign languages and locations traveled, my biggest suggestion would be to add sub-titles explaining terms and abbreviations that were spoken, but that most viewers are unfamiliar with to maximize connection with the audience.  
The river boat crews were superbly featured and the crews from the helicopters, submarines, and ships deserve more recognition for their invaluable work.  
Most of the few unrealistic details were likely to protect classified information which conveniently cannot be explained for the same reason.  
Due to obvious and dangerous security concerns, SEALs do not prefer the headlines they have received lately.  
On their behalf, SEALs are only a small part of the team that includes countless warriors from all the military branches whose only purpose is to protect America.  
If I was not proud of this movie's representation of an important part of my life then I would not recommend it. 
I'll bet a popcorn that you agree--medium, no butter please.        
Anthony T. O'Brien, Sr., Lieut. Cdr., US Navy Seals (Ret.)    
P.O. Box 4012, Plymouth MA 02361
cell (508) 868-2547
Facebook: Anthony O'Brien Navy Seal
O'Brien is a Plymouth County Commissioner
(Movie poster courtesy

Rox, Shaw's Center Contract Moves Forward

BROCKTON--The Brockton 21st Century Corporation has released the terms of a deal that will continue baseball at Campanelli Stadium.
Executive Director Mary Waldron said in an email that final details of a lease with the new management company, Entertainment Management Complex, still need to be worked out, but the bulk of a one-year contract, that could extend 4, 5 or 10 years, depending on the new company’s success, have been finalized.
“There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but at least they can start selling tickets,” Waldron said in the email.
The new contract allows Entertainment Management, headed by Rox CEO Chris Carminucci, to join the Futures Collegiate League, a one-year-old enterprise that spotlights top college baseball players who have the real potential to make it to the big leagues.
In past interviews, Carminucci likened the Futures League to the popular and successful Cape Cod League. Brockton is the 9th team to join the Futures League.
The move ends the Rox association with the professional Can-Am League.
Highlights of the new contract include:
*$125,000 rent. First payment due in July. The amount is down from $275,000;
*$100,000 already paid Feb. 29 in back expenses owed the city;
*No less than $30,000 be spent on marketing and advertising stadium activities and Shaw’s Center.
There are also numerous naming rights and profit sharing clauses, but readers can see for themselves.
Here's the latest version of the contract:

1. Prior to entering into licenses, a new Corporation or Limited Liability Corporation will be formed.

2. (New Corporation or L.L.C.) A Massachusetts Corporation located in Brockton, Massachusetts will contribute One Hundred Thousand ($100.000.000) Dollars to the operating account (These funds will be used for new operating expenses from the date commencing on the date of this executed agreement.)

3. (New Corporation or L.L.C.) Shall receive a commitment from the Futures Collegiate Baseball League to enter a team for the 2012 season.

If the above preconditions are satisfied by no later than February 29, 2012, New Corporation or LLC will enter into a license agreement with the Brockton 21st Century Corporation on the following terms and conditions:
A. The Conference Center License, Operations and Management Agreement and the Stadium License, Management and Operation Agreement shall follow the format of the same Agreements between the Brockton 21st Century Corporation and Brockton Professional Baseball, L.L.C., with the following modifications.

i. The initial term of the agreement will be for a period of one (1) year.

If New Corporation or L.L.C. contributes an additional $100,000.00 into its operating account (for a total of $200,000 in capital) the term of the agreement shall extend for an additional four years only with Brockton 21st Corporation and the City of Brockton’s approval. If that approval is granted there will be open negotiations for the allowance of an extension of the lease for years 5-10.
ii. The combined payment under the license agreement shall be One Hundred Twenty-five Thousand ($125,000.00) Dollars, per year.

iii. No Less than Twenty-five Thousand ($25,000.00) Dollars of the licensing payment shall be paid by July 15, 2012 and Twenty-five Thousand ($25,000.00) Dollars will be paid on or before the 15th of each Month through November 15th totaling the Base rent amount of One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($125,000.00).

iv. The Brockton 21st Century Corporation will pay electricity for the entire Complex for the term of said lease for use commencing after the date of this agreement.

v. Net revenues from naming rights shall be shared equally between the new corporation or L.L. C and the Brockton 21st Century Corporation minus the cost of the production of said sponsorship [definition of “cost of production” would refer to any hard expenses incurred born specifically due to the sale of “naming rights” i.e. signage, P.OS. specific marketing materials, etc..]. The Brockton 21st Century Corporation reserves the right to sell naming rights without further compensation to New Corporation or L.L.C. Any sale of naming rights by New Corporation/L.L.C. is subject to the approval of the Brockton 21st Century Corporation. Any solicitation of Naming Rights to prospective buyers will be communicated with the Brockton 21st Century Corporation and New Corporation/L.L.C.

vi. The Brockton 21st Century Corporation will receive 20% of Net Profit from all Special Events Promoted and executed by New Corporation/LLC or with events where the New Corporation/LLC is in a partnership with a promoter or entity. In addition, the Brockton 21st Century Corporation will Receive 35% of Net Profit from all Special Events where an outside promoter has rented the facility for the purpose of hosting a special event. The New Corporation/LLC will have 30 days to furnish the Brockton 21st Century Corporation with a P&L of the event and a check for their percentage of said event. Until the sum of the TBD Calculation of (old water & sewer bills, Constellation energy debt, and the shortage on Rent and parking for The Shaw’s Center and The Brockton Rox) has been paid, at which time the Brockton 21st Century Corporation will be paid 7% of Net Profit on all Special Events through the remainder of the Lease. The Brockton 21st Century Corporation will be paid 10% of the Net Profit on all special events where an outside promoter has rented the facility for the purpose of hosting a special event. The Term “Special Events” shall refer to all non-baseball events such as Concerts, Boxing, MMA, and any event in which the general public is able to buy a ticket. It shall exclude all privately held events where tickets are not sellable to the general public. The Revenue from “Private events” would fall into the general revenue account and payment would be subject to the revenue thresholds as described in section viii.

vii. The new corporation will spend not less than Thirty Thousand (30,000.00) Dollars promoting the Shaw’s Center and the Baseball Team.

viii. In addition to the payment under the license agreement as required by section A ii (above) ten (10%) per cent of gross revenues (“GROSS REVENUE” shall mean the total dollar amount received by New Corporation or LLC (in all cases less sales or similar taxes) State & Local Meals and Use Taxes, Tips, Gratuities, and Administrative Fees on Food & Beverage on events at The Shaw’s Center) in excess of Two Million Two Hundred Fifty Thousand ($2,250,000.00) and eight (8%) percent of gross revenues*** in Excess of Three Million Two Hundred Fifty Thousand ($3,250,000.00) Dollars in any Calendar year from the combined facilities shall be paid to Brockton 21st Century Corporation as percentage rent. Special Events at the Stadium will be paid separately as listed in section vi. And not be included in the Complex’s general revenue stream.

ix. Subject to the approval by the Brockton 21st Century Corporation which will not be unreasonably withheld, in the event the baseball team is sold, moves to a different league, or changes its character and becomes affiliated with a new league, the terms of the license agreement shall be renegotiated.

x. Within 30 days of the close of each quarter, the new corporation will submit balance sheets and income statements for the Shaw’s Center and the Stadium to Brockton 21st Century Corporation on a quarterly basis. Failure shall constitute a term of default under the lease.