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Baker Seeks Federal Assistance For Historic Storms

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito Friday submitted a request to President Barack Obama for a Major Disaster Declaration based on the impacts of an unprecedented 28-day weather event, starting January 26th, that brought record snowfall and bitter temperatures to the Commonwealth.This Declaration would make federal aid available in the form of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance (PA) Program to ten Massachusetts counties whose PA costs exceed the federal thresholds.  They are Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties.

Additionally, Snow Assistance is also being requested for nine counties that have either met record or near-record snowfall totals, as defined by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) or have met FEMA’s ‘contiguous county’ criteria.  These counties are Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties.

City officials in Quincy – located in Norfolk County – have estimated that this winter’s snow plowing and removal efforts could be as high as $13 million. Nearly nine and a half feet of snow fell in the city according to one local weather watcher based in Squantum.

“After sustaining an unprecedented 28-day weather pattern of record snowfall amounts and frigid temperatures, our administration has conducted a thorough data analysis to assess damages and snow removal costs, with the support of the congressional delegation and local officials, to craft this important request,” said Governor Baker.  “We urge the President and FEMA to carefully consider this declaration to provide much-needed relief to our cities, towns and state agencies.”

“Our cities and towns are in need of support after a brutal winter marked by record-breaking snow and cold,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.  “Our administration is pleased to have worked with local officials to carefully review costs for snow removal and repairs for publicly owned infrastructure while completing this declaration.”

The Governor’s request cites almost $350 million in costs to state agencies and cities and towns for plowing and removing almost 9 feet of snow in just four weeks, and almost $50 million in other storm costs.

This request asks the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take a broader, more comprehensive view of the impacts of this extraordinary sustained weather event, rather than considering a single storm. While FEMA ordinarily considers snow removal costs eligible as emergency protective measures for only a 48-hour period, the Governor’s request, because of the unprecedented and historic nature of this prolonged weather pattern and its impacts, asks for assistance for the entire four-week incident period and details the crippling effect the weather pattern had on health care and transportation systems.

The Declaration, if issued, would provide federal disaster assistance to approximately 250 cities and towns, state agencies and private non-profit organizations. The federal government would provide 75% reimbursement for eligible snow removal costs, and costs to repair damage to public infrastructure such as roads, bridges, piers, seawalls and storm-related overtime costs for first responders during this time.

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I-93 Zakim Bridge Nightly Closures

MassDOT announces Interstate 93 Northbound and Southbound across the Zakim Bridge will be closed nightly on Monday, March 30th through Thursday, April 2nd from just before midnight until 5 a.m. in order to conduct routine inspection of bridge towers and cables.

Traffic from I-93 SB will be diverted at Exit 28 in Somerville and detoured via Rutherford Avenue to the on ramp to I-93 SB and Callahan Tunnel in the Haymarket area. Traffic from I-93 NB will be diverted at Exit 26 (Storrow Drive) and detoured via Leverett Circle to the on ramp to I-93 NB and Tobin Bridge (Rte. 1 NB) in Leverett Circle.

MassDOT encourages drivers to avoid the area and seek alternate routes to minimize delays.  Those traveling through the area should expect delays and should reduce speed and use caution while traveling along the detour routes.

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Martensen Street Water Main Fixed Overnight

By SCOTT JACKSON

Water service was restored to the Sawyer Towers on Martensen Street after a water main broke early Friday morning.

The four-inch water main leading into the building at 95 Martensen Street broke around 2 a.m. Friday, according to QHA Facilities Director James Marathas. The water flooded the basement of the 10-story, 150-unit building, including the elevator pit.

The Quincy Fire Department was notified of the break and firefighters were able to cut off water service to prevent further flooding. After the water service was shut off, maintenance supervisor Billy O’Neil and workers Steve Montgomery and Howard Chadbourne were able to repair the pipe and then pump out water from the basement.

Water and elevator service was restored before residents in the building woke up, according to Marathas.

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Quincy Man Arraigned On Drug Charge

By SCOTT JACKSON

A Quincy man is due back in court April 22 on a charge of possessing heroin with intent to distribute.

Robert Rutledge

Robert Rutledge

Robert Rutledge of 51 Nelson Street pleaded not guilty to the charge at his arraignment Wednesday in Quincy District Court.

The 32-year-old was held on $10,000 cash bail.

Quincy police executed a search warrant for Rutledge’s apartment at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning; police said Rutledge was identified as the primary suspect in a drug distribution operation following an investigation.

Heroin and cash were recovered from the apartment, according to police.

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Roche Brothers Fundraiser To Support NQHS Senior Stayout

The North Quincy High School Senior Stayout Committee announces its annual Roche Brothers fundraiser will be held Friday, April 3 from 5 to 8 p.m.

During these three hours Roche Brothers will donate five percent of the receipts collected to help sponsor the NQHS Senior Stayout “After Prom” party. The receipts can be from items and gift cards purchased.

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