Joseph F. McLaughlin, 74

Joseph F. McLaughlin, of Braintree and Jensen Beach, FL, passed away peacefully on February 26, 2021, at the age of 74.

Joseph F. McLaughlin

Born in Boston, Joseph grew up in Hyde Park and graduated from Hyde Park High School, Class of 1964. Joe proudly served his country in the Army National Guard during the Vietnam War. Prior to his retirement, Joe worked first as a lineman and then as a construction inspector for Boston Edison, for over 35 years.

Joe was an active member of the Braintree community where he coached youth baseball and basketball for many years. He was also active with the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 138. In his free time, he enjoyed catching up on military history, watching sports, especially the New England Patriots and walking his dog “Molly”. A devoted husband, father, brother, grandfather and friend, Joseph will be sorely missed by all who were blessed to have known him.

Joseph was the husband of the late Janice (Gerstel) McLaughlin. Loving father of Brendan McLaughlin and his wife Sarah of Braintree, Kevin McLaughlin and his fiancé Dawn Florio of Walpole and the late Brian McLaughlin. Devoted brother of Nancy McLaughlin of Quincy. Cherished “Papa” to Brendan and Ryan McLaughlin and step grandfather to Tyler and Austin Florio. Also survived by his loving companion, his dog “Molly”.

He was also the son of the late Mary and Joseph McLaughlin of Quincy.

In keeping with the COVID-19 guidelines, which include face coverings, social distancing and wait times in line due to temporary limited capacity, relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend visiting hours on Tuesday, March 2nd from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Cartwright-Venuti Funeral Home, 845 Washington St., Braintree.

A Private Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 3rd in St. Clare Church, Braintree. Burial will follow in Blue Hill Cemetery, Braintree.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Alzheimer’s Association, 309 Waverley Oaks Rd, Waltham, MA 02452. For directions or to leave a sympathy message for the family, visit www.cartwrightfuneral.com.

$2.1 Million Sought For Emergency Town Brook Repairs

By SCOTT JACKSON

Warning that it is in danger of collapsing, city officials are seeking $2.1 million to make emergency repairs to an underground section of the culvert that carries the Town Brook.

The council will consider Mayor Thomas Koch’s request for that money, which would come from the sewer and drain rehabilitation fund, at their meeting Monday evening. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and is being conducted remotely via Zoom.

City officials say a section of the Town Brook culvert is in need of repair and could potentially collapse. Photo courtesy city of Quincy.

The section of the Town Brook culvert in need of repair lies between Bigelow Street and Washington Street in Quincy Point. Al Grazioso, the city’s commissioner of public works, said a recent inspection of the culvert found numerous structural deficiencies.

“Repairs are required to correct the noted deficiencies to maintain the functioning of this important waterway and to maintain public safety,” he wrote in a memo provided to councillors.

David White, an engineer with the firm Woodard & Curran, warned that the section is question could potentially collapse if the repairs are not made.

“These structural deficiencies pose a public safety hazard therefore restrictive safety measures are being put in place over these sections of the brook,” he wrote in a separate memo. “Due to the potential for collapse, we recommend these sections of the brook be repaired immediately.”

In other business Monday, councillors will hold a public hearing on an ordinance that would create a definition for affordable housing. That public hearing begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be followed by a committee meeting on the same subject.

Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci said he introduced that ordinance to spur a wider discussion about affordable housing in the city.

During the 7:30 p.m. meeting of the full council, councillors will also honor the city’s Department of Veterans’ Services as COVID-19 Heroes; consider a home rule petition from Koch to add two new members to the Quincy Retirement Board; and consider a request from Koch and Ward 6 Councillor William Harris to rename a section of Glover Avenue in North Quincy in honor of The Very Rev. Cornelius Heery.

In addition, Councillor Anne Mahoney plans to introduce two resolutions that night. One seeks an update on Quincy College’s enrollment and finances and the second seeks an update on land purchases the city is making in anticipation of the construction of a new public safety headquarters on Sea Street.

Members of the public can watch the meeting on Zoom. The meeting ID is 813 5698 5598. The call in number for audio only is 646-558-8656.

The meeting will also air live on QATV Channel 9.

Baker Touts Pooled COVID Testing Program

By SCOTT JACKSON

Gov. Charlie Baker said the pooled-testing program that is now available to school districts statewide is key to allowing more in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic and to “whatever the next normal is going to be here.”

Baker highlighted the pooled-testing program during a Friday morning visit to the Nock-Molin Middle School in Newburyport to see the initiative first-hand.

“This pooled testing program which we are here today to take a look at is something that got launched as a first-in-the-nation demonstration a few months ago basically to add a key tool to school districts and to schools, which was the ability for some sort of pretty consistent, relatively uncomplicated, weekly surveillance program around testing,” he said.

School districts began piloting the pooled-testing programs earlier this school year and the program has expanded in recent weeks. More than 950 schools statewide are now participating in pooled tests, Baker said, meaning up to 300,000 students and staff could be tested each week.

“To get to the point where this thing is really starting to rock and roll is a real pleasure, I think, for all of us who were looking to find a relatively uncomplicated way for schools to implement a weekly surveillance program,” the governor said.

Newburyport was among the first communities to utilize pool testing, Baker noted.

“In some respects, your enrollment in this pool testing initiative is a big part of how we keep kids, faculty, and staff safe as we move forward with all we can do to try to make sure that kids have that personal and professional and physical opportunity to spend time in schools,” he said.

Baker’s visit to Newburyport came days after Jeff Riley, the state’s education commissioner, announced he would seek permission to bring more students back to the classroom full-time by ending districts’ remote and hybrid learning models starting in April with elementary students. Parents will still be able to opt their children out of in-person learning and keep them enrolled in remote programs.

The governor said pool tests are key to bringing students back.

“While we have certainly made progress with respect to vaccination and mitigation, we really need to continue to find ways for schools to be operational, for kids to be in school, and for everybody to feel like we are doing all we can to make sure folks know what is actually going on on the ground,” he said. “That is many respects why this program in particular is so important.”

Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday shared the same sentiment.

“This pool testing…is another tool that will help us advance and bring more children back to in-person learning,” she said.

The pooled-testing program means multiple nasal swabs are collected in a single tube and then tested at the same time. If a pool tests positive for COVID-19, those individuals in the pool are then tested individually using a rapid test to determine who has the virus and then their close contacts can be identified. If a pool tests negative, the individuals in it are all presumed to be negative for the virus.

The state is paying for the first six weeks of pooled testing in each district. Districts would be able to keep the program after that, provided they pay for it. Riley on Friday suggested communities could use federal aid money to cover those costs.

Pool testing began this week within the Quincy Public Schools. The program is being offered to students and staff in grades one through three, who are now back in the classroom five days a week.

School officials said about 150 students and 50 staff members have signed up for the program so far and are optimistic that number grows as the initiative continues.

Carmella V. McDonald, 94

Carmella V. (Lomanno) McDonald of Quincy passed away on February 23, 2021 at age 94.

Carmella was born in Quincy where she was raised and educated.

Carmella V. McDonald

The daughter of the late Francesco and Domenica Lomanno; Carmella was the beloved wife of the late Vincent R. McDonald; Loving mother of Karen Capano and her husband Tony of Marshfield, Scott McDonald and his wife Merry of Quincy; devoted grandmother to Anthony Capano and his wife Chrissy, Michael Capano and his wife Frieda, Ryan, Angela and Christina McDonald; great-grandmother of Caroline and Joseph Capano; predeceased by her siblings Joseph, Samuel, William, Mario, Domenic, Frankie, Mary Villa, and Eleanor Bertrand; also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Carmella was an avid bowler and enjoyed trips to the casino, and playing cards with her sisters. She treasured her grandchildren and great grandchildren and enjoyed watching them grow. Prior to marriage, Carmella worked at the Quincy Shipyard and Armstrong Cork.

Family and friends are invited to visiting hours with Covid restrictions on Monday, March 1st from 9:00-10:30AM at the Dennis Sweeney Funeral Home 74 Elm St. Quincy Center, followed by a Funeral Mass at 11:00AM at St. Joseph’s Parish 550 Washington St. Quincy. Burial is at Pine Hill Cemetery in W. Quincy.

Donations in Carmella’s memory can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at act.alz.org.

Paula A. Haviland, 71

Paula A. (Geso) Haviland, 71, of Quincy, died peacefully at her home on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 from complications of cancer.

Paula A. Haviland

She was born at Quincy Hospital on July 27, 1949 and was a lifelong resident of Quincy. Paula was the daughter of the late Peter and Florence (Field) Geso. Paula was a retired nurse of 48 years working at Quincy Hospital. She was a huge movie buff. Especially ones from early Hollywood and the ‘30s and ‘40s.

Paula is survived by her loving husband Gerard “Gerry” Haviland and their three children: Gennifer Sheppard and her spouse Jack, Peter Haviland and his spouse Sharlen and Michael Haviland and his spouse Alison. She is also survived by seven grandchildren: Jacquelyn, Jillian, Anthony, Caden, Derek, Brian and Emilia Geso.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 from 4-8 PM in the Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock St., QUINCY.

Her Funeral Service will be held privately. Following cremation, Paula’s interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Paula may be made to American Cancer Society, 3 Speen St., Suite 250, Framingham, MA 01701.

For those who cannot gather together with Paula’s family at this time, friends may still offer their support by visiting keohane.com and sharing a special memory or message.  For those who cannot access the website, please call 1-800-KEOHANE to have your message added.

Kathleen V. Fewer, 78

Kathleen V. (Conneely) Fewer, 78, of Quincy and West Dennis, passed away on February 22, 2021 surrounded by her family.

Kathleen V. Fewer

She was the beloved wife of Richard Fewer, loving mom of Kathleen (James) Corbo, Maureen (Robert) Brooks, Eileen (Edward) White of Braintree and Noreen Fewer of Quincy and cherished grandmother of Bobby, Olivia, Caroline, Eamon, Maeve, Kate, Ciara and Teddy.  She is also survived by her brother Anthony, sister Nora, sister-in-law Eileen and many dear nieces, nephews and grandnieces.  She was predeceased by siblings John, Mary, Paddy, Anne and Eileen.

She was born in Snabo, Rosmuc, County Galway, Ireland and immigrated to South Boston.  The door to her house was always open.  She loved baking her coffee cake for friends and family but would never share the recipe.  She enjoyed Irish music and a good jig or jive.  She could always be found on the sidelines of her children and grandchildren’s sporting events.  She had a special love of cross country and track and field.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the visiting hours on Monday from 3-7pm in the Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock Street, Quincy.

A Celebration of Life service will be held in the funeral home on Tuesday at 9:15am followed by a Funeral Mass in Holy Trinity Parish in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 237 Sea Street, Quincy Tuesday at 10am. Burial in Blue Hill Cemetery, Braintree.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Quincy Track Club, 48 Sachem St, Wollaston, MA 02170.

See keohane.com for directions and online condolences.

Fans Allowed Back At Massachusetts Stadiums March 22

By SCOTT JACKSON

Massachusetts will allow spectators at its large indoor and outdoor stadiums starting on March 22, after those venues had been closed to fans for more than a year.

Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced the state would enter phase three, step two of his four-phased reopening plan effective March 1. It will enter phase four, step one, on March 22, provided public health metrics support doing so.

The move to step two of phase three on Monday means indoor performance venues such as concert halls and theaters can reopen at 50 percent capacity with no more than 500 persons in attendance. Indoor recreational spaces – including laser tag, roller rinks, obstacle courses and trampolines – can also reopen at 50 percent capacity.

All other sectors that are already open, like retail and offices, will see their capacity increase from 40 to 50 percent. Restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and will also be allowed to host musical performances. Six-foot social distancing rules will still apply in restaurants, as will limits of six people per table and the 90-minute time limit.

The move to step one of phase four on March 22 means large stadiums – those with over 5,000 seats, including Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and TD Garden – can reopen at 12 percent capacity after they submit health and safety plans to the state. The move comes with the Bruins and Celtics in the midst of their seasons and the Red Sox set to open their home slate on April 1 against the Orioles.

“Opening Day is in our near future,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said Thursday at a press conference in Salem.

Gathering limits will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors for event venues and public spaces on March 22 as well. Gatherings limits for private residences and backyards will remain at 25 people outdoors and 10 people indoors.

In addition, dance floors will be allowed at weddings and other events; exhibition and convention halls can reopen subject to gathering limits and other health protocols; and overnight summer camps will be permitted to operate.

Other phase four businesses, including bars and nightclubs, will remain closed.

During the press conference in Salem, Baker noted public health data continue to trend in the right direction. COVID-19 hospitalizations were down from 2,428 on Jan. 4 to 875 on Wednesday and the seven-day average of percent positivity on COVID-19 tests stood at 1.89 percent.

“The drop in hospitalizations and cases overall is really good news,” he said.

“Today, thanks to everybody’s commitment to wear masks, to distance where appropriate and to do their part to stop the spread, we can move forward with the reopening plan.”

The governor also noted 65 percent of residents over the age 75 have now received the COVID-19 vaccine, as have 90 percent of residents who live in skilled nursing homes and 70 percent of nursing home staff.

“We chased a whole bunch of folks early on – and got pretty decent vaccination rates out of them – who are among those who either work with people who end up getting hospitalized or who run the risk of getting hospitalized themselves,” he said.

“As we continue to vaccinate people, we will take additional risk associated with the health care system off the table.”

The state is currently using Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium as mass vaccination sites. It is uncertain whether they can be used for vaccinations once games begin.

“We’ve talked to both Fenway and Gillette about this and I don’t have a hard answer for you on that one today,” Baker said in a response to a reporter’s question. “Obviously they are important players in this vaccination effort, and we are going to try and figure that one out.”

Dianne J. Mercier, 75

Dianne Jean Mercier, age 75, of Quincy, loving sister and aunt, died Feb. 22.

Dianne J. Mercier

She was born on Feb. 6, 1946 in Laconia, New Hampshire, to David Fernand and Martha E. (Alexander) Mercier. She graduated from Holbrook High School in 1964. Ms. Mercier was a 30-year resident of Braintree, and currently of Quincy. She was a member of two fun-loving extended families: the Merciers/Nadeaus of New Hampshire and Quebec; and the Alexander families of the Greater Boston area.

Ms. Mercier was employed at the Braintree Cinema of South Shore Plaza and Burlington Coat Factory, among others; and lest it be forgotten, she was a thrilled and dedicated babysitter to her adored first three nieces. Ms. Mercier was a sweet and gentle soul, kind and caring; and crazy about pets, cats in particular. She eagerly anticipated each and every family event, most especially the Christmas holidays and birthdays, weddings and christenings. She delighted in gift giving.

Ms. Mercier was predeceased by her parents. She will be fondly remembered by the family she so truly loved: her brother David (Gerry) Mercier of Squantum; brother Rick (Maureen) Mercier of Minneapolis; and sister Gail (Paul) Barrette of Worcester. Auntie Di had seven cherished nieces and nephews: Carolyn (Billy) Freeman of Squantum; goddaughter April (Paul) Segalla of Hanover, Adrienne (Mark) Taylor of Braintree; Jared (Stefanie) Mercier and Michael (Emily Wall) Mercier, both of Virginia; Brian Lucier of Billerica; and Lindsey (Johnny) Prudente of Worcester. The beloved next generation ‘grands’ of Auntie Di are Pat and Dan; Paige, Justin and Kathryn; Owen and Cal; Will; Pearl and Trip; and, of course, ‘great grand’ Abigail.

The family plans a private memorial during the summer.

For more information and online condolences please visit hamellydon.com.

Doris A. Rand, 89

Doris A. (Caron) Rand, age 89, of Quincy, died peacefully, Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at Alliance Health at Marina Bay.

Doris Rand

Doris was born in Hanson, to the late Edgar and Alice (Martin) Caron. Raised and educated in Bridgewater, she was a graduate of Bridgewater High School, Class of 1949. She had lived in Quincy for twenty-five years, previously in Bridgewater.

Doris and her late husband, Milton, were the owners of a police supply store for several years, until Milton’s passing. She went on to work in the sales office of the Knapp Shoe Company for many years, retiring in 1995.

Doris enjoyed working with stained glass making many projects, including stained glass windows, doors, and large clock faces. She also enjoyed sewing for her grandchildren and others, as well as gardening around her home. Doris and her companion, Tom, were avid travelers and took many trips with senior organizations.

Beloved companion for twenty-five years of Thomas E. Purpura. She was predeceased by her husband, Milton P. Rand.

Devoted mother of Curtis Rand of Raynham, Donald Rand and his wife Elizabeth of East Bridgewater, and Alan Rand of Bridgewater.

Loving grandmother of Adam Rand of Whitman, Kathryn Rand of East Bridgewater, and Samantha Mitchell of Taunton.

Cherished great-grandmother of Charlotte.

Dear sister of Rosanna Brierly of Norwood.

Doris is survived by her nephews, James Brierly and his wife Marion, David Brierly, all of Norton, and her niece, Diane Kovar and her husband Steve of Dedham.

Doris will be sadly missed by Tom’s family members: the Cipolla, Archy, and Fabyan families.

Visiting hours will be held at the Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Avenue, Quincy, on Friday, Feb. 26, from 4 – 6 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Services are operating in accordance with current guidelines.

Her Funeral Service and Interment at Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Quincy will take place privately.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Doris’ memory may be made to the American Heart Association, 300 Fifth Avenue, Suite 6, Waltham, MA 02451.

You are invited to visit www.thesweeneybrothers.com or call 617-472-6344.