‘Operation Safe Holidays’ Underway

This holiday season the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) will focus enforcement efforts at bars throughout the Commonwealth that have been most identified as the last bar to sell alcohol to a convicted drunk driver, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg announced Tuesday.

“This effort supports safer roads throughout Massachusetts during the holiday season,” Goldberg said. “This kind of enforcement prevents the sale of alcohol to intoxicated people who could put the public at risk. It also establishes a long-term deterrence for bar owners from over-serving.”

Run in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Impaired Driving Crackdown, the ABCC’s Sale to Intoxicated Persons (SIP) enforcement will be in effect Thanksgiving Eve through New Year’s Eve.

The ABCC will also be working with local police departments that have identified high risk locations in their communities.

Alcohol is involved in 40 percent of traffic crash fatalities resulting in 17,013 fatalities and injuring an estimated 275,000 people annually. Data indicates that well over 50 percent of impaired driving arrests originate at bars.

The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission is an agency under the Office of the State Treasurer and Receiver General Deborah B. Goldberg. Its overall objective is to provide uniform control over the sale, purchase, transportation, manufacture, and possession of alcoholic beverages in the state.

 

 

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Lynch Calls On FERC To Halt Pipeline Projects

In the wake of the recent fatal pipeline explosion in Alabama, Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-Boston) called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the permitting process and construction for the proposed Spectra pipelines in West Roxbury and Weymouth.

In a letter to FERC Chairman Norman Bay, Congressman Lynch highlighted the serious public safety risks of placing a natural gas pipeline in densely populated areas such as West Roxbury and Weymouth.

“I am deeply concerned about this week’s tragic pipeline explosion in Alabama and I believe that FERC needs to take action to ensure that proper safety measures are in place to protect local communities from the dangers of these pipelines. We are witnessing significant damage from pipeline incidents in more remote areas across the country. In the wake of these accidents, it is unimaginable that FERC would proceed with approval for pipelines in more densely populated areas,” said Congressman Lynch.

According to the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), there have been more than 220 pipeline incidents in 2016. On Monday, a fatal gasoline pipeline explosion in Shelby County, Alabama killed one pipeline worker and injured five others, igniting two wildfires that burned over 30 acres of land. This is the second incident in two months for the Colonial Pipeline, which had a significant gas leak in September. In April, a natural gas pipeline in Salem, Pennsylvania, operated by Spectra Energy, exploded injuring one person and damaging two homes.

“We have told FERC repeatedly that placing a natural gas pipeline in an active quarry blast zone, like West Roxbury, or in an industrial area with densely populated neighborhoods nearby, as is the case in Weymouth, are serious public safety risks.  If a similar explosion took place in West Roxbury or Weymouth, we could expect mass casualties and I strongly oppose taking those risks,” Congressman Lynch added.

Congressman Lynch’s letter highlights the dangerous and costly damage that pipeline explosions have inflicted on communities in 2016 alone. Congressman Lynch is calling on FERC and PHMSA to fully investigate these incidents to determine whether further safety measures need to be adopted prior to approving construction of high pressure natural gas lines in West Roxbury and Weymouth.

 

The text of Congressman Lynch’s letter is available here.

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DA Morrissey, MIAA Remove Barrier For Athletes To Get Help

Norfolk DA Michael Morrissey has worked with the MIAA to eliminate a substantial barrier between high school athletes who are struggling with substance use and the help they need.

“We know from our investigations of overdose deaths in Norfolk County that many of those dying today got hooked on opiate pain pills years earlier – often following high school sports injuries,” District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said. “Until now, a student would face suspension from any team they were on if they came forward to ask for help.”

As part of his work with local high schools to screen high school students for possible problems with opiates, District Attorney Morrissey petitioned the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to change its substance abuse rules in May of 2014. The change has now taken effect, and Page 61 now reads: “Prior to any chemical health violation a student’s request for and enrollment in a substance abuse treatment shall not in and of itself constitute a violation of the chemical health/alcohol/drugs/tobacco Rule 62.”

Morrissey also provided Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) training to 80 school nurses, athletic trainers and athletic directors from across the county at a December 16, 2015 seminar in Canton. That event gained publicity because it also included training on the administration of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

“It is important as a state, and as individual communities, that we concentrate not only on the crime and death associated with full blown addiction, but also that we put thinking and resources into preventing addictions from taking root,” DA Morrissey said. “This change to the MIAA’s rules erases another barrier between young people and getting help.”

See also:

http://www.mass.gov/da/norfolk/Press_Releases/12-16-15_School%20nurses%20train%20in%20opiate%20screening%20and%20overdose%20reversal.pdf

And, at P. 61:

http://www.miaa.net/gen/miaa_generated_bin/documents/basic_module/MIAAHandbook1517.pdf

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Quincy College Students Ranked First As Top Salary Earners For 2-Year Public Colleges

According to data from the U.S. Department of Education’s innovative tool, the College Scorecard, Quincy College students are ranked #1 as Top Salary Earners in Massachusetts and  New England across two-year public colleges.  The College Scorecard is a free resource that provides information for families and students to make educated decisions in the college search process.

The U.S. Department of Education’s data reviewed the outcomes of students across the nation, who received federal financial aid, and revealed that Quincy College students are top earners ahead of all 2-year public colleges in Massachusetts. This includes colleges within the Massachusetts state-supported public community college system. In addition to being ranked first in the Commonwealth, Quincy College students also ranked #1 in the region as Top Salary Earners in all of New England across two-year public colleges. Quincy College students rank #5 in Massachusetts and #9 in New England for top earners among all 2-year public and private colleges.

Quincy College, Massachusetts’ only municipally-affiliated public college, was additionally mentioned in the U.S. Department of Education’s October 30, 2015 blog post which listed by state the top two-year public colleges across the U.S. at which earnings exceed those of the typical two-year college.

“Besides traditional majors, Quincy College provides a rigorous and relevant post-secondary education to prepare students for careers in high growth allied health and STEM fields. In addition, through strong relationships with both students and industry partners, the College’s faculty serve as an important bridge to real jobs that pay family sustaining wages. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard reflects the high value of a Quincy College education not only for our current students and alumni but for future students as well,” said Aundrea Kelley, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Quincy College.

The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard is a new initiative by the White House to help students and their families make more educated decisions about college. Using the College Scorecard, students and their families can look up the cost and assess the value of colleges.  Each scorecard highlights five key pieces of data about a college: costs, graduation rate, loan default rate, average amount borrowed, and median earnings of former students who received federal financial aid, at 10 years after attending.

In as little as two years, students can learn more to eventually earn more. Quincy College programs are designed to provide students with specific skills and job training so they may enter the workforce or pursue advanced degrees. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard data reveals the successful outcomes of Quincy College students and reflects the high value of a Quincy College education beyond the classroom.

Quincy College’s programs, partnerships, and curriculum are addressing a critical skills gap for the Commonwealth and the New England region. Ongoing collaboration with the College’s multiple industry advisory boards keeps course offerings relevant to industry needs, establishes workforce pipelines, and helps students maximize their return on investment in their studies.

Quincy College President Peter H. Tsaffaras, J.D. reflected on the recent U.S. Department of Education’s ranking: “Our goal is to provide people with an education that allows them to become socially and economically productive members of society. This information, which was developed by the U.S Department of Education and is available to the public, indicates that we are making progress on behalf of our students in achieving our goal.”

Quincy College offers 35 associate degree programs and 21 certificate programs in a variety of disciplines, including those within Professional Programs, Liberal Arts, Natural & Health Sciences, and Nursing. For more information on Quincy College programs, please visit: www.quincycollege.edu.

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FY 2016 Valuations Available At Assessors Office, Library, Online

The Quincy Board of Assessors has conducted a comprehensive reassessment of all classes of properties in the City of Quincy, as mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2016 valuations are available for review in the Assessors Office, City Hall, 1305 Hancock St., Quincy, daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are also available at the Thomas Crane Public Library on Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The valuations are available online at http://www.quincyma.gov

These values are pending preliminary certification, according to city officials.

Taxpayers may contact the Board of Assessors with questions regarding the
proposed assessments by calling 617-376-1183.

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