Share Button

Quincy Mayor Won’t Sign Consent Decree With EPA

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch said he would not enter into a consent decree to undertake millions of dollars in repairs to Quincy’s sewer and drain systems after the filing of a federal lawsuit alleging the city is in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The city, Koch said, has spent millions already to address those concerns and he was wary of tying up future funds for a decade or more.

Koch spoke during a City Hall press conference the afternoon of March 15, hours after Andrew Lelling, the U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts, announced the filing of the lawsuit. Lelling and the Environmental Protection Agency allege the city of Quincy has been allowing sewage and untreated wastewater to discharge into Boston Harbor and adjoining waterways for the past decade.

The mayor said Quincy officials had been meeting with federal regulators to discuss the sewer and drainage concerns and had a tolling agreement to avoid litigation in place for at least 12 months. Quincy officials sought to renew the tolling agreement, but Lelling let it expire March 15, the day the lawsuit was announced, the mayor said.

Koch said the city had spent millions of dollars in the past decade to improve its sewer and drain systems. Because of that, he said he would not enter into a consent decree with the federal government to commit more funds to those issues.

“I don’t believe the EPA has recognized the good work we’ve done. It’s not like we haven’t been doing anything on these issues,” the mayor said. “I am not going to sign something that assigns a penalty to this city because I do not believe we intentionally did anything improper. In fact, quite frankly, the Department of Public Works over the years has gotten awards for the great work that we do in the environment.

“Further…once you sign a consent decree, you put on paper how much the city is going to spend over the next 10 to 15 years without even knowing what our five-year outlook is going to be for revenue going in. I don’t want to be in that position of laying teachers off or firemen off because we have to meet a certain quota assigned by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”

The EPA, he said, wanted the city to spend “tens and tens of millions of dollars over the next decade,” to address the issue.

Koch said he was outraged by the lawsuit because of the effort already made by the city.

“Quite frankly I’m outraged by the action. We’ve been at the table for months with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and folks with the EPA working on issues that affect the waterways around the city. The city has spent tens of millions of dollars over the last decade working to solve some of the challenges we face environmentally,” Koch said.

“This city has not ignored this issue. Quite frankly, we’ve been proactive on this issue right along.”

The mayor assured residents the city’s beaches are safe to swim in.

“The folks that have lived here a long time have seen, incrementally, the improvement happening. When we were at Wollaston Beach as kids, you couldn’t see your ankles looking through the water. Today, the clarity is incredible,” Koch said. “The beaches are safe.”

Residents, he added, should continue to avoid the beaches the day after rainstorms.

“There was a rule that we always as kids shared and everyone talked about: The day after heavy rain, you stay out of the water. It was just common sense. Storm drains go out into the water and things get into that storm drain system. I would continue to advise people to do that, but the beaches are cleaner than they ever were,” Koch said.

“The reality is there has been great improvement and we’re continuing down that road, but I believe the lawsuit, and what the EPA wants, is far too aggressive for the city of Quincy and the residents to afford.”

The mayor said he was looking into the possibility of countersuing the EPA. That decision, he said, could be made within the week.

Koch was joined at his press conference by U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and members of the city’s legal team. City Solicitor Jim Timmins said one issue his office and federal attorneys could not come to an agreement on was monetary penalties to the city, which the Clean Water Act allows. Timmins said the city wanted to put the money towards environmental projects in lieu of paying fines.

“Instead of just paying the money in terms of a fine, we’d spend the money on related projects,” Timmins said. “We felt all along that fining a municipality, particularly in light of the work the mayor has just outlined, was inappropriate. That was a tension point throughout the discussion.”

Lynch, a South Boston Democrat, said the concerns raised in the federal lawsuit are not unique to Quincy; sewer and drain systems nationwide can get overwhelmed during storm events, leading to discharges of untreated wastewater. Lynch said the federal government should work with communities to make necessary improvements.

“The systems that were meant to address the weather patterns of 20 or 30 years ago are being overwhelmed here, but that is not because of the negligence of municipal and state officials. That is because of climate change, so we have to recognize there is a federal role here to help municipalities and help the states build resilience into their systems and upgrade their systems so we can face these new superstorms that are impacting these communities,” Lynch said.

“I’d like to have a partnership. I don’t want the EPA suing the city of Quincy.”

The civil complaint filed by Lelling alleges water quality samples from 2009 through 2018 show Quincy discharged pollutants, including the bacteria commonly known as E. coli and Enterococcus, onto Quincy beaches and tidal areas along the coastline. It also alleges that the water quality samples taken from Quincy Bay, Sagamore Creek, Town Brook, Town River Bay and Furnace Brook from the period 2009 through 2013 showed the discharge of ammonia, surfactants and pharmaceutical compounds, which are indicative of sewage waste. In addition, the complaint alleges Quincy’s sanitary sewer system overflowed on numerous occasions, resulting in discharges of sewage and untreated wastewater.

“The Clean Water Act is designed to protect the waters of the United States for the health and enjoyment of its citizens,” Lelling said in a statement. “This complaint demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that our waters and beaches are protected from discharges such as raw sewage and seeks to require that the city of Quincy take the important and necessary steps to do so.”

“This complaint represents a critical step in the ongoing cleanup of Boston Harbor and nearby urban rivers,” said Deb Szaro, acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New England region. “EPA is committed to ensuring the restoration of Boston Harbor and addressing sewage discharges in local communities continues in order to protect public health and clean water.”

The Clean Water Act provides for monetary daily penalties of $37,500 for each violation that occurred on or before Nov. 2, 2015, and $54,833 for each violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015, Lelling said. The complaint seeks the recovery of penalties and requests that the court permanently enjoin Quincy from future violations of the Clean Water Act.

Raw sewage overflows and inadequately controlled stormwater discharges from municipal sewer systems introduce a variety of harmful pollutants, including disease causing organisms, metals and nutrients that threaten our communities’ water quality and can contribute to disease outbreaks, beach and shellfish bed closings, flooding, stream scouring, fishing advisories and basement backups of sewage.

Share Button

Quincy College Accepting Applications For Nursing Programs; Announces Info Sessions

With the March 13, 2019 announcement by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN) granting Quincy College Initial Approval status for an Associate in Science Degree in Nursing (ASN) Program and the Certificate of Completion in Practical Nursing (PN) Program, Quincy College may now accept applications for enrollment for these programs.

Quincy College will host information sessions on their Quincy and Plymouth Campuses prior to the May 1st application deadline for the new Quincy College nursing programs.

Attendance at a Nursing Information Session is a mandatory criteria for all applicants. Information sessions will be held on:

• Thursday 3/21/19 at 2 pm | Quincy Campus

• Friday 3/22/19 at 10 am | Plymouth Campus

• Saturday 4/6/19 at 10 am | Quincy Campus

• Thursday 4/11/19 at 5 pm | Plymouth Campus

• Wednesday 4/17/19 at 5 pm | Quincy Campus

• Saturday 4/27/19 at 10 am | Plymouth Campus

To register for an upcoming Quincy College Nursing Program Information Session, visit: quincycollege.edu/nurse.

The admissions criteria for the Quincy College Nursing program is competitive and selective. Prospective students must complete prerequisite classes with a Grade of C or better, pass the ATI TEAS test, and applicants are formally reviewed by Quincy College Division of Nursing with a formal interview process and a required Informational Session for entrance into the program.

Quincy College will admit 80 students in the Associate in Science in Nursing (ASN) degree program and 40 students in the Practical Nursing Certificate program which will be offered on both the Quincy and Plymouth campuses, and the first cohorts of students will begin in the fall of 2019.

“The Quincy College Nursing program is a brand-new program, re-designed, re-focused, and reflective of the changing landscape facing today’s professional nurses,” Quincy College President Michael Bellotti said of the new Quincy College nursing programs.

The college will now offer an Associate in Science Degree in Nursing and a Certificate of Completion in Practical Nursing. The Quincy College Associate in Science Degree in Nursing is a full-time, 2-year program.

The Associate Degree nurse applies critical thinking skills working with an interdisciplinary team for the development, implementation, evaluation, and modification of nursing care for individuals, families, and communities. This nurse functions in a competent, ethical, and safe manner within the established Standards of Nursing Practice. The associate degree nurse manages resources for care delivery, delegates and supervises licensed and unlicensed assistive personnel. The graduate has a responsibility to be a part of the professional body of nursing. In that regard, the associate degree nurse accepts his/her responsibility to participate in public policy dialogue as it affects the changing contemporary health care systems and advocates for his/her client and the profession as well as promotes health in a complex health care environment.

The Quincy College Certificate of Completion in Practical Nursing is a Full-Time, 10 Month (40 Week) Certificate Program. The Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a valued member of the interprofessional healthcare team, providing competent, evidence-based nursing care in a variety of health care settings. The Licensed Practical Nurse is instrumental in meeting the healthcare needs of older adults and other diverse groups. Within their scope of practice, LPNs utilize the nursing process as the framework for delivering patient-centered nursing care. Standards of Practice and The Code of Ethics for the LPN provide guidelines for professional practice.

Share Button

General’s Bridge Construction Starts Next Week

Phase I of the MassDOT project on the new General’s Bridge in Quincy Center is scheduled to begin the week of March 24th, the mayor’s office announced Monday.

Four travel lanes for approximately 300 yards, on the west side of Burgin Parkway between Hannon Parkway and Granite Street, will be reduced to two travel lanes, one in each direction for a period of 10 to 12 months.

Work will consist of relocating utilities, constructing a retaining wall and raising the grade of the road.

The bridge will connect Burgin Parkway to Cliveden Street and provide access from Burgin Parkway to the Ross Lot area, where FoxRock Properties is proposing a development with a medical office building, a 140-room hotel and 110 residential units.

 

Share Button

Quincy Man Found Guilty In 2009 Murder

A Norfolk Superior Court jury Monday found Joseph Beatty, 61, guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated rape in the strangling death of Mary Beaton, with whom he had shared a relationship, according to Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey.

Beaton, 33 at the time, was strangled in her second-floor apartment on Beach Street in Quincy Aug. 29, 2009. Although Beatty was taken into custody shortly after the murder, the trial was repeatedly delayed by concerns over his competency to stand trial and change of defense attorneys, causing trial dates to be postponed.

“I hope that today’s verdict provides some small measure of comfort to the family and friends of Mary Beaton,” District Attorney Morrissey said after the jury returned its verdict shortly after 2 p.m.  “This was absolutely senseless and created such loss.”

The jury found Beatty guilty of first-degree murder on three different possible theories: Extreme atrocity, pre-meditation, and felony murder (committed in connection with the rape.)

“Formal sentencing is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9 a.m. in front of the trial judge, the Hon. Thomas A. Connors, but it is fair to point out that the statutory sentence for first-degree murder in a circumstance like this is life in prison with no eligibility for parole,” D.A. Morrissey said.

“Assistant District Attorneys Jennifer Blair and Pamela Alford, working with Victim/Witness Advocate Maureen Russell, worked with great commitment on this case over many years,” Morrissey said. “I thank them, the Quincy Police and State Police detectives assigned to the Norfolk DA’s Office for the hard work that led this jury to a just result.”

Share Button

Cannons Making $1.5 Million Improvements To Veterans Stadium

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Boston Cannons will undertake $1.5 million worth of renovations to Veterans’ Memorial Stadium in Quincy, including a new state-of-the-art digital scoreboard, stadium-style seating and upgrades to the venue’s press box and locker rooms.

The Boston Cannons, a Major League Lacrosse team, in December announced plans to move to Veterans’ Memorial Stadium from Harvard Stadium starting in the 2019 season. The Cannons pledged to make significant investments into the stadium to benefit all those who use it at that time.

Mayor Thomas Koch said the improvements would benefit all users of the stadium, including the city’s high schools and local youth leagues.

“This extraordinary investment into Veterans Memorial Stadium will benefit all of our young people who use the facility every day as well as the thousands of our residents who attend events there throughout the year,” the mayor said in a statement. “We are thrilled be partners with the Cannons and look forward too many years of collaboration.”

“These upgrades will have a significant and long-lasting impact for Cannons fans and everyone who steps foot inside Veterans’ Memorial Stadium,” added Ian Frenette, the team’s president, “The Cannons are one of many organizations that use the stadium and we are proud to be able to enhance the experience of all users of the facility in the community. Lacrosse and sports fans from the Boston area and across New England are going to really enjoy our new home and expanded Cannons game experience with these first-class amenities at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium.”

A state-of-the-art digital scoreboard and public address system will be the focal point of the renovations to improve fan engagement and experience, the team said. Provided by Daktronics, the digital monitor will have a forty-foot by forty-foot dynamic video display to enhance the stadium experience and introduce opportunities for partner messaging and live in-game content and stats.

Another improvement will be the installation of some 1,000 “Tip-Up” seats in the center sections of the main stand, providing fans a first-class seating experience. The team said the new seats will provide fans with a product equivalent to an NFL stadium experience.

The Cannons will also introduce multiple new seating sections on the northern and eastern side of the stadium to provide more options for fans and expand beyond the current 3,500 seating capacity. The team will install a semi-permanent luxury pavilion called the Champions Club on the eastern side of the stadium. This exclusive ticketed area will include premium food and beverage selections, a private patio, and an active interior space. The Citizens Bank Sideline Club is the “on-field” or “courtside” seating experience that will accommodate 250 people at each game. At the northern end of the stadium, temporary bleachers placed to accommodate an additional 500 fans and will be a seating option for fan groups, charities and youth sports organizations.

Additional renovations will focus on game-day amenities for players, media and Cannons personnel. New state-of-the-art professional-grade locker rooms, new facilities, and locker stalls and an upgraded press box with up to date internet and technology will be added to the stadium.

The team said renovations would be complete by the middle of May. The Cannons are scheduled to play eight home games at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium this season. Their home opener is scheduled for 5 p.m. on June 1 against the Ohio Machine.

The Cannons are one of the original members of the MLL, having competed in each season since 2001. The team won the league title in 2011. Rob Hale, the founder of FoxRock Properties and the president and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, owns the Cannons.

Share Button