Monday, June 29, 2009

Italy 6/29: LNG "Inferno"

A freight train derailed in the middle of a small Italian town and two cars filled with liquefied natural gas exploded, setting off an inferno that killed at least six people and injured more than 30, officials said Tuesday.

Video of the explosion

About 300 emergency workers are trying to stop the blaze spreading to other train wagons. Specialist personnel used to tackling chemical fires are being dispatched from across the country.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best Old House Neighborhood

This Old House magazine recently compiled the 2009 list of the 51 "Best Old House Neighborhoods," one in each state and Canada. The Fall River Highlands was named Massachusetts' Best Old House Neighborhood! The Highlands deserves the recognition. Thanks to preservation minded owners, neighborhood activists, as well as the Fall River Preservation Society, the Highlands really is beautiful.

I believe this edition doesn't come out untill Monday but you can view it online now:

Click here for the Highlands article

Click here for the full list of winners

Monday, June 22, 2009

Can Someone PLEASE Investigate Joan Menard?

Not surprisingly, State Senator Joan Menard's name has come up in the Sal DiMasi/Richard Vitale indictments. From today's Boston Herald: "When the legislation hit a wall, Rainer said, Vitale sent an e-mail telling the ticket brokers to 'hang in there,' and send a $500 contribution to Menard."

Menard claims she did nothing wrong: So what gives lobbyists the impression that Joan Menard's vote can be bought? That $1000/month Cadillac ain't cheap and she needs to keep the campaign funds flowing to pay for it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Government transparency

At the April 15, 2009 City Council meeting, I was very excited to hear a proposal by Councilor Steve Camara that would require the posting of schedules, agendas, and minutes, on the city website for ALL open meetings of Fall River governmental bodies (full text at the bottom). Almost every surrounding town offers this notice to their residents. What is our government afraid of? After Steve Camara's proposal was read, there was an awkward silence. Not one councilor moved to accept the resolution. It went a little something like this -

It is UNACCEPTABLE that Fall River does not offer this information online. Some councilors indicated they are waiting for Mayor Correia's magic new website, that has been under construction for way too long, to provide information on minutes, agendas, and notice of meetings. Do they seriously expect Bob Correia to create or allow a website that offers governmental transparency?

This information NEEDS to be online! And it can be done with minimal effort from the people we are paying at city hall.


WHEREAS the residents of Fall River and others should be able to obtain important information about local government via the internet; and

WHEREAS a growing number of Massachusetts municipalities have made it easy for their citizens to obtain access to key government records online. This simple and inexpensive action opens local government to more people and greatly improves their ability to be responsible, informed citizens; and

RECOGNIZING the purpose of the state Open Meeting Law is to eliminate much of the secrecy surrounding the deliberations and decisions on which public policy is based and that the democratic process depends on the public having knowledge about the considerations underlying governmental action, for without that knowledge, people are not able to judge the merits of actions taken by their representatives;

NOW THEREFORE, it is hereby RESOLVED by the Fall River City Council as follows:

1.) The Office of the Fall River City Clerk shall post all schedules and agendas of all Fall River governmental bodies’ meetings, subject to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law on the City website, no less than 48 hours in advance of the meetings; and

2.) The Office of the Fall River City Clerk shall post the minutes of all Fall River governmental bodies’ meetings, subject to Massachusetts Open Meeting Law on the City website no later than 72 hours after all said meetings.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I was about 10 years old when I made the mistake of ordering chow mein at a Chinese restaurant in Virginia. When my plate of thick beige noodles covered in a cloudy clear goop was
delivered, I was certain they brought me the wrong thing. I never ordered chow mein outside of Fall River again. Sadly, I may never be able to order chow mein in Fall River either! Good Luck to the Wong's, I hope you can rebuild quickly.

On a lighter note, what does this mean for the future of Fall River politics? Will the absence of the Hoo Mee chow mein noodle affect the results of the upcoming election? No longer armed with the savory protection of Hoo Mee chow mein, will politicians be forced to offer platforms, ideas, solutions, etc?

I was speaking with a senior citizen shortly after Leo Pelletier had announced his support for LNG. The person was very angry with Leo. As I recall, her comment went something like this, "first, he didn't even have any meat in the chow mein at his event, now he is supporting LNG!" While the fire at the company is tragic and I hope they can rebuild quickly, it will be interesting to have an election where voters will have to select candidates based on the content of their platform and not the content of their chow mein.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Every House Has a Story

The Preservation Society of Fall River,
Arts United of Fall River, and Save Our Neighborhoods
Announces the Launch of “Every House Has a Story”

FALL RIVER, MA— The Preservation Society of Fall River, Arts United Fall River, and Save Our Neighborhoods announces an exciting new initiative in Fall River. Called “Every House Has A Story,” the purpose of this program is to inspire children and adults of all ages to expand their pride in their city, with its rich cultural diversity and history—whether they live in a Victorian mansion in the Highlands or a three-decker in the Flint.

A news conference to announce the launching of “Every House Has a Story” will be held on Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 10:00 am at the main Meeting Room of the Fall River Public Library.

Every dwelling has a story of its own and a history that is worth preserving. “Every House Has A Story” is a program that will assist city residents in collecting this history, preserving it, and making it accessible online to all interested parties. In this way, the collection of data, media, and stories can grow with time, as each new participant adds to the narrative of the history of the structure and its surrounding neighborhood.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I don't know whether it is the New Jersey license plates contrasting with the super important Fall River Mayor's license plate, which is proudly displayed in the back window (click to enlarge), OR whether it is the rental car parked in the Mayor's space, there is just something about the shot that I like.

While we are on the subject.....I have heard differing reports of how many people were at Mayor Correia's Portuguese Cultural Center (huge venue) campaign fundraiser on Thursday. The numbers have varied widely between 35-50 people. What I DO know is that he was scheduled to be at a student event the next morning and didn't bother to show up (maybe he was afraid of getting booed).

I can understand why the Herald News would do an article on proms. I can understand why the Herald News would do an article on how 'tough economic times' affect prom business; but why the heck would the Herald News think that the daughter of Ken and Carole Fiola, both of whom make lots and lots of money, is an appropriate representative kids weathering 'tough economic times.' "despite the lousy economy, Fiola’s not giving up her one shot at splurging for the junior prom." My thoughts:

shamrockblogga 11 hours ago
Using Lauren Fiola as the poster child for a prom goer splurging, despite the tough economic times, is just distasteful and a slap in the face. Luckily for her, her family is not feeling the effects of tough economic times, but rather, her family is partly responsible for tough economic times.

A $300 dress is a month's worth of food for many in Fall River. A $30 tanning package is a month of electricity for others. But her family can afford this, this is not a case of someone going all out despite the economy. I am sure there were plenty of kids in $50 dresses paid for by parents who worked an extra shift to buy it...and THAT is going all out in tough economic times. NOT a kid who's bmw suv driving mother spent pocket change on a dress made out of zebra and pasties."

This is not a reflection on the kid, I am sure she is a great (and I "reported abuse" for the nasty comment on the HN - but they haven't taken it down), she just isn't the appropriate figure to represent tough economic times. There are plenty of kids who didn't get to go to their prom because they didn't have any money.

Has anyone else noticed the garbage smell over the past two weeks?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jobs for Fall River Inc.

The Fall River Redevelopment Authority opted to award the (predetermined) contract for the sale of 64 Durfee Street to Peabody Properties so that Fall River may further develop its #1 growth industry, low income housing.

After the hasty award, to a company that contributes to the political campaigns of the local powers that be(Bob Correia and Carole Fiola to name a few), I thought that either way, at least this project would result in some jobs for locals; after all, the actual incorporated name of FROED is "Jobs for Fall River."

I read Ken Fiola's recommendations for the award to Peabody and he touted the benefits of the Peabody award including job creation. I assumed that job creation meant "Jobs for Fall River."

I drove before 64 Durfee this week and saw a group of people protesting. They were local out-of-work constuction workers. They are concerned with Peabody's track record of hiring out of state, non-union workers, many from as far as Texas, for minimum wage and no health insurance benefits.

This was the flyer the out-of-work locals were handing out:

What the heck is the matter with FROED/RDA aka "Jobs for Fall River." They have shown no interest in creating jobs for Fall River. This situation reminds me of the time Ken Fiola errantly rewrote TIF (tax break) agreements to remove the 'jobs for fall river' requirement AFTER the city council had issued final approval on the tax break agreements. Ken Fiola/FROED/RDA/Jobs for Fall River removed the language the city council agreed upon requiring company practices for the hiring of Fall River residents and construction job preference for MA union workers.

While I respect the union flyer's request that we contact the RDA (FROED/FIOLA) and request that they require Peabody to hire local workers, FROED/RDA/FIOLA'S track record is evidence that they won't oblige.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Live from my parents basement......

johnybfallriver said...
I noticed they have one of these framed on the first floor of city hall here is some info from the write up next to it.

"Each coin was minted just a short 10 weeks and will never be minted again. And not only is each quarter beautifully showcased, it is also preserved for years to come beneath the protective framed glass. This powerful lithograph, created exclusively for The Franklin Mint by Manny Souza, evokes the very principles for which politics stands – control, courage, strength and democracy.

Limited Edition of 5,000,000
Additional Details

About the Artist

Manny Souza

"Light plays a major role in my work," says artist Manny Souza. "An abundance of light and shadows on his chubby face, creates a playground for me and allows a painting to take on a life of its own." Indeed, Souza's masterly use of light in natural settings and his ability to capture intricate details have become the hallmarks of his work. It's no wonder this award-winning artist has developed a national following for his strikingly realistic images. He has exhibited in art shows throughout the United States and his originals are on display in prestigious galleries in the Fall River Art district."

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This week in infamous Fall River history

picture Herald News
One year ago this week, 7,561 voter signatures of the nearly 10,000 collected, were certified on the referendum petition to keep the fire chief a civil service position. One year ago this week Bob Correia decided he didn't give a crap about the decision of 7,561 voters. Please keep this in mind when you make your decision for mayor. In addition to mayoral candidate bob correia, also keep in mind Cathy Ann Viveiros' disregard for the voters voice; she too thought she knew better than the 10,000 signatories and opted to ignore them.
Steve Camara, Ray Hague, and Leo Pelletier (who is currently on my sh!t list) were the only councilors to support the voters in this matter.