By SCOTT JACKSON
A fire at 429 Willard St. in West Quincy caused an estimated $150,000 to $200,000 in damage Tuesday morning.
The Quincy Fire Department received a call about the fire at 4:56 a.m. Tuesday, according to Fire Chief Joseph Barron. Engine 5, out of the West Quincy firehouse, was the first to arrive on scene and encountered a heavy fire in the second floor living room of the home. Deputy Chief John Cadegan struck a second alarm soon after the second company arrived. Firefighters attacked the fire from an exterior stairwell and were able to knock it down by 7 a.m.
“Their quick actions held it to the room of origin and the attic above,” Barron said.
The first floor of the home received water damage, Barron noted, while the second floor received smoke damage.
The occupants of the home were able to escape without injury. Roughly 25 firefighters – from five engine companies and three ladder companies – were on scene and no injuries had been reported as of noon Tuesday. Firefighters from neighboring communities provided coverage at Quincy’s firehouses while crews were on scene.
The cause remains under investigation by the Quincy Fire and Police Departments; Barron said the fire appeared to have been electrical in origin and was not suspicious.
To deal with a seeming tidal wave of stranded and endangered sea turtles on Cape Cod, the Coast Guard will be flying 193 critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles from Massachusetts to Orlando, Fla., Tuesday morning.
The 2-10 pound, juvenile sea turtles were re-warmed and stabilized by the New England Aquarium at their marine animal hospital in Quincy. They were collected by the staff and volunteers of the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay. The turtles will be flown into Orlando and distributed to more than 10 marine rehabilitation facilities there.
With only a third of the sea turtle stranding season gone, the record for the number of live stranded sea turtles has been already been doubled as the New England Aquarium has provided life restoring veterinary care to nearly 400 sea turtles. As nearly 200 sea turtles are flown out, more than 150 other sea turtles remain at the Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in various stages of a four-day re-warming process. Nearly 100 more sea turtles are queued at the Wellfleet nature center under the care of an Aquarium veterinarian. High numbers of turtles continue to wash up on the twice-daily high tides.
Over the past decade, the Aquarium and Mass Audubon usually handle about 90 live sea turtles over the 6-8 week long season. To handle nearly 400 in 3 weeks has been an enormous operational challenge that both staff and trained volunteers on the Cape and in Quincy have met.
This historic and daunting stranding event has a possible silver lining. If these endangered turtles did not strand, they would die, but also the unprecedented number is a probable indicator that the hatchling classes over the last two to five years have had good survivorship that will aid in the slow recovery of the most endangered sea turtle population in the world.
By KRIS KALABOKAS
Eight local restaurants, package stores, and bars received written warnings, one-day suspensions, and in one case a five-day suspension following a sting performed by police on Sept. 27 to catch establishments serving alcohol to underage customers.
The License Board of Commissioners issued the citations at their meeting Nov. 18.
Yaz’s Place at 132 E. Howard St. will have to close its doors Jan. 6-10, 2015, as a result of the sting and a previous infraction involving the sale of alcohol to a minor that resulted in a one-day liquor license suspension on June 2, 2012. An incident in which gunshots were fired in the bar’s parking lot on April 28, 2012, was also taken into consideration when issuing the suspension.
The bartender working on the evening of the most recent sting told officers she mistakenly thought a doorman would be checking IDs; however, because a private 60th birthday party with roughly 25 patrons present was taking place that night, no doorman was on duty and she did not check for ID.
“I don’t challenge the investigation; I don’t challenge the version of events happened exactly that way,” said Attorney Rudolph Miller, who is representing Yaz’s Place. “A mistake was made by the bartender and we’re responsible for that mistake, completely and without excuse.”
Miller has been representing Yaz’s Place manager Yaser Mohammad for the past year and a half. He claimed that the atmosphere of the bar has changed for the better since he began representing his client, advising him to enforce a stricter dress code and directing him to be more discerning with whom he admits to the establishment.
“There have been tremendous efforts to make changes to attract an older crowd, a diverse crowd. Not just young black kids that come in from Dorchester and shoot up the parking lot,” said Miller who is himself black.
Mohammad asked board members why he was permitted only a four-piece band when previous tenants were allowed larger bands with up to eight pieces. He said the restriction was what pushed the original crowd of Quincy natives out of his establishment.
According to board member Andrew Scheele, noise complaints received when the Yardrock, a blues club, was occupying the building resulted in the reduction of band pieces allowed.
“My interpretation of the historical perspective of what’s happened in this establishment over the last year isn’t as how the counselor had alluded to,” said Ward 2 City Councillor Brad Croall of Miller. Croall added that his constituents have repeatedly complained to him about noise and rowdy behavior surrounding the bar.
“There’s still issues,” he said.
Miller claimed he was unaware of neighborhood complaints made to Croall and said he would not accept them as legitimate.
Board Chairman Joseph Shea said he had recently received complaints from neighbors regarding noise occurring after midnight in the area.
“I’ve been made aware of complaints about the type of clientele that comes to the establishment,” said Miller. “We’ve just tried to take it head on. The fact of the matter is the young, urban crowd is not good. It’s not good for the city.”
“As the chief of police, I don’t care where your clients are coming from or what their background is. It’s the behavior on your premises and the control that you have over those patrons that are on your premises that concerns me,” said Quincy police chief and board member Paul Keenan.
He added that 17 calls had been made to police over the past year and a half regarding troubling activity at Yaz’s Place.
Miller admitted that noise complaints coming from the parking lot and outside the bar were valid however, recent soundproofing prevented music or crowd noise from escaping the building.
“I’m very transparent,” said Miller. “I’ve made recommendations to try to move away from the urban crowd, particularly the young urban crowd because that’s the reason there were gun shots in the parking lot.”
As a result of the most recent violation, Yaz’s Place was hit with the five-day suspension. The motion was approved by the board unanimously.
First time offenders Atlantic Market, S6 Sports Bar, Taiyou Shabu and Sushi, Nonna’s Kitchen, and Bistro Chi/ Kama Lounge were given a written warning to be put on file for one year for serving or selling alcohol to a minor.
Dave’s General Store, a package store, failed a prior compliance check on Sept. 8, 2012, and at that time was issued a written warning. The business was ordered to suspend operations on Jan. 9, 2015 as a result of its most recent violation.
Chab’s Daily Mart was ordered to suspend operations on Jan. 9, 2015, as a result of their second offense. Their first offense occurred on Sept. 9, 2011. A written warning was issued and placed on file at that time.
In additional License Board News:
• Approved: the request of Kathy Hussey – O’Brien for a One Day Special Use permit for the Annual Merrymount Turkey Trot, a 2.4 mile run and walk on Thursday, Nov. 27. The rain or shine event will begin at Merrymount Beach. Prizes will be awarded. The race will begin at 7 a.m. and conclude by 9 a.m. The roughly 200 anticipated participants are urged to bring a food item to be donated to the Germantown Neighborhood Center.
• Approved: the request of Adams Village Gas, LLC, d/b/a North Quincy Shell at 315 Hancock St. for a Gas Station License.
• Approved: the request of CC’s Club, Inc., d/b/a Knights of Columbus at 5 Hollis Ave. for a change of manager from Charles McDermott to Frank Alibrandi.
• Approved: the request of New Generation Monopoly d/b/a Prestige Auto for a Motor II Used Car License. Manager Aaron Osborne said up to ten vehicles will be kept at 264 Willard St. Osborne currently operates an exotic car leasing business which runs from April to September. Hours of operation will be Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Detailing and car service will take place on-site.
• Approved: the request of C & J Dessert, LLC, d/b/a Kozy Dessert at 1247 Hancock St. for a Common Victualler License. Manager Kin Sang Lau said small finger foods and desserts will be prepared off-site and heated at the restaurant, which will seat 22 patrons. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.