City Council Committee Chairs Chosen

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Quincy City Council’s committees will have a different look this term, with each of the three committees of the whole getting new chairpersons.

The appointments, made by Council President Nina Liang, were finalized this week. The council will continue to have three committees of the whole – finance, ordinance and oversight – and 14 committees with five members each.

Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy is the new chairman of the finance committee and Ward 3 Councillor Ian Cain will serve as the vice chairman. Cain had been the committee’s chairman during the past two years; then Ward 5 Councillor Kirsten Hughes, who did not run for re-election in 2019, was the vice chairwoman during the last term.

Councillor Anne Mahoney is the new chairwoman of the ordinance committee and Ward 2 Councillor Brad Croall, previously the council president, is the committee’s new vice chairman. Liang had been the chairwoman of the committee the past two years with Councillor Noel DiBona as the vice chairman.

DiBona is the new chairman of the oversight committee and Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci will serve as its vice chairman. Palmucci had been the chairman of the oversight committee for the last six years and Mahoney was the committee’s vice chairwoman during the last term.

Cain is the new chairman of the community engagement committee. Other members of the five-person committee include Liang (vice chairwoman), Croall, Mahoney and Ward 6 Councillor William Harris. Liang had been the committee’s vice chairwoman since its inception four years ago.

New Ward 5 Councillor Charles Phelan Jr. will serve as the chairman of the downtown and economic growth committee; other members of the committee include McCarthy (vice chairman), Croall, Mahoney and Palmucci. Hughes, the former Ward 5 councillor, was the committee’s chairwoman the last two years.

McCarthy is the new chairman of the education committee and will serve on the committee with Mahoney (vice chairwoman), DiBona, Harris and Palmucci. Mahoney had been the chairwoman the past two years.

Harris will continue to serve as the chairman of the environmental and public health committee. Joining him on the committee are Croall (vice chairman), Cain, McCarthy and Phelan.

Cain is the new chairman of the housing committee and will be joined by Palmucci (vice chairman), Croall, Harris and Phelan. Palmucci had been the chairman of the committee last term.

Phelan is the new chairman of the library and historic places committee and Cain its vice chairman. They will be joined by Harris, Liang and Palmucci. Hughes had been the committee’s chairwoman last term.

Mahoney will continue on the chairwoman of the municipal technology and information management committee with Phelan as its new vice chairman. Rounding out the committee are Harris, McCarthy and Palmucci.

Phelan is the new park and recreation committee chairman and Harris its vice chairman. They will be joined by Croall, DiBona and Palmucci. McCarthy had been the committee’s chairman the last two years.

Harris is the new public buildings committee chairman and Palmucci will serve as its vice chairman. Also on the committee are Cain, DiBona and Phelan. McCarthy had been the committee’s chairman last term.

Palmucci will continue to serve as the chairman of the public safety committee and will be joined by Harris (vice chairman), DiBona, Mahoney and Phelan.

Harris will continue to be the chairman of the public works committee. Joining him are Croall (vice chairman), Cain, DiBona and Phelan.

Palmucci will be the chairman of the rules committee, a chairmanship he also had last term. Joining him on that committee are Cain (vice chairman), Mahoney, McCarthy and Phelan.

Croall will remain the chairman of the senior citizens committee and will be joined by DiBona (vice chairman), Cain, Harris and McCarthy.

DiBona will stay on as the chairman of the veterans services committee and Harris will stay its vice chairman. They will be joined by Cain, Croall and McCarthy.

Quincy Democrats To Hold Day Of Service Monday

The Quincy Democratic City Committee will hold its second annual day of service Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Photo courtesy QDCC.

The Quincy Democratic City Committee and volunteers from all across the South Shore will gather together Monday at the Stop and Shop Community Room at 65 Newport Avenue to prepare bagged lunches for delivery to Father Bill’s & Mainspring, an area shelter for the homeless.

The group is organizing the day of service in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“We think the best way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is to provide for our neighbors in need,” said QDCC Chair Alicia Gardner. “This is the first of many service-oriented events that the Quincy Democrats will host this year. Anyone who would like to donate some of their time is welcome to participate!”

This will be the second year of the service project. Last year’s event had over 25 volunteers of all ages coming together to make over 200 bagged lunches for the shelter.

“Whatever your political affiliation, Quincy is a community,” said Rep. Bruce Ayers, a Quincy Democrat. “By coming together and helping one another, we show that even as our city grows and changes, our civic values of service, compassion and altruism remain the same.”

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 20. Volunteers with transportation are encouraged to assist with bringing the bagged lunches from the Stop and Shop Community Room to Father Bill’s starting at 1 p.m.

All locations are ADA accessible, and anyone who wishes to attend can RSVP by visiting the Quincy Democratic City Committee web site at quincydems.com.

Man Charged For Inappropriate Comments To Underage Girls

By SCOTT JACKSON

A 20-year-old Quincy man has been charged with making inappropriate comments to underage girl after he turned himself in to police Monday.

Benjamin Chen turned himself in to Quincy police Monday, according to the department, shortly after police announced they were looking for a man who allegedly made inappropriate comments towards underage girls on three occasions earlier this month.

Chen was charged with enticing a minor, accosting a person of the opposite sex and soliciting sex for a fee. He was due to be arraigned Tuesday in Quincy District Court.

Police on Monday said they received their first report of a man approaching an underage girl on Jan. 9; the incident took place on Coddington Street around 4:30 p.m. that evening. The victim told officers an Asian male approached her and made inappropriate remarks. The man was operating an older model, gray, four-door car with scratches, police said.

Officers spoke to a second victim the following day. She told police an Asian male approached her the prior afternoon, Jan. 9, around 4 p.m. while she was walking on Taffrail Road in the area of Palmer Street. The second victim’s description of the male was similar to the one given by the Coddington Street victim, according to police, and the second victim stated she recognized this male as being the same person who approached her on Jan. 4 around 6 p.m. in the same area.

In the Jan. 4 incident, the man made inappropriate comments to the girl and then exited his vehicle, police said; the man ran towards the victim and her friends, but stopped a short distance from his vehicle. The second victim described the male’s vehicle as a green SUV, similar to a Jeep.

“Parents, please take this opportunity to discuss with your children the appropriate actions to take if someone makes your child feel uncomfortable or frightened,” the department said in a statement Monday. “Instruct your child to tell a trusted adult immediately and please report all suspicious behavior to the Quincy Police Department.”

Police Investigating Male Approaching Underage Girls

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy police are investigating reports of an Asian male in his 20s approaching underage girls and making inappropriate comments toward them.

Police on Monday described the man as an Asian male in his 20s wearing glasses with a thin mustache and acne.

Police received the first report on Jan. 9; the incident took place on Coddington Street around 4:30 p.m. that evening. The juvenile victim told officers an Asian male approached her and made inappropriate remarks. The man was operating an older model, gray, four-door car with scratches, according to the victim.

Officers spoke to a second victim the following day. She told police an Asian male approached her the prior afternoon, Jan. 9, around 4 p.m. while she was walking on Taffrail Road in the area of Palmer Street. The second victim’s description of the male was similar to the one given by the Coddington Street victim. The second victim stated she recognized this male as being the same person who approached her on Jan. 4 around 6 p.m. in the same area.

In the Jan. 4 incident, the man made inappropriate comments to the girl and then exited his vehicle. The man ran towards the victim and her friends, but stopped a short distance from his vehicle, police said. The second victim described the male’s vehicle as a green SUV, similar to a Jeep.

Police said the department’s Special Investigations Unit and school resource officers are investigating the incidents. Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to contact the department at 617-479-1212.

“Parents, please take this opportunity to discuss with your children the appropriate actions to take if someone makes your child feel uncomfortable or frightened,” police said in a statement. “Instruct your child to tell a trusted adult immediately and please report all suspicious behavior to the Quincy Police Department.”

Pedestrian Struck On Southern Artery

By SCOTT JACKSON

A pedestrian suffered non-life-threatening injuries after being struck by a vehicle Monday morning at the corner of Southern Artery and Sea Street.

The pedestrian was struck around 7:30 a.m. Monday, according to police. The pedestrian, identified as a juvenile, was taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth with what police described as non-life-threatening injuries.

The road remained open following the crash, but backups were reported. Police said the scene was cleared by 8:30 a.m.

Quincy Point Apartments Approved

By SCOTT JACKSON

A non-profit agency’s request to build a three-story building with 18 studio apartments on Winter Street in Quincy Point received the greenlight from the city’s Planning Board on Wednesday.

NeighborWorks Housing Solutions, which is based out of Quincy, proposed constructing the new building at 54-56 Winter St. The parcels, which include 20,000 square feet of land in a Business B zoning district, are now home to four multi-family homes that include a total of nine apartments and 20 bedrooms, according to Robert Corley, the executive director of NeighborWorks.

The organization currently owns those four houses and rents them to low-income residents. The homes require renovation, Corley said, and it makes more sense to construct the new building than it would to overhaul the existing structures.

“They need renovation. To renovate them in any significant way – with the type of structure they are and the layout they are in – doesn’t make a lot of sense,” he said.

“We are asking for permission to raze those properties and develop a smaller, more efficient – from a management perspective, but also from an energy consumption perspective – property to replace these units.”

The new building would continue to house low-income residents from Quincy and other communities. NeighborWorks will partner with Father Bill’s and MainSpring to provide counselling and other services, including life skills training, to the building’s residents.

NeighborWorks had initially proposed building a 20-car parking lot next to the new building. Corley however, said residents of the new building were unlikely to own vehicles and Gregory Galvin, the Planning Board’s vice chairman, suggested the number of parking spaces could be reduced to 18 with additional green space added.

“I’m not a big fan of asphalt,” Galvin said. “I understand you don’t want to have too few parking spaces, but if you are never going to use 20 parking spaces, landscaping is a much better use.”

The board, in approving the proposal, did grant NeighborWorks permission to reduce the size of the parking lot to 18 spaces.

Ward 2 Councillor Brad Croall, the neighborhood’s ward councillor, spoke in favor of the proposal. He said the city needs more affordable housing.

“When we think about diversity in housing stock in the city, and this is just my own opinion, I think we need to do better with providing affordable…opportunities for people to live,” Croall said. “I really think that’s an area the city needs to improve and here is an opportunity.”

Croall said NeighborWorks has proven track record in the area; the organization was responsible for Kendrigan Place and Winter Gardens, both of which are on Winter Street, and The Watson, which is located nearby on East Howard Street.

“I know NeighborWorks to be nothing but top-shelf and their portfolio up and down Winter Street and long East Howard Street speaks to that. They put their money into their projects. They are serving a constituency that I think the city needs to focus on more than it is,” Croall said.

“I think it is a good project, they are going to improve the neighborhood and socially I think it is the right thing to do.”

MA DPH: Fourth Person Dies Of Vaping-Associated Lung Injury

A fourth person has died of a vaping-associated lung injury, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Wednesday (Jan. 8th).

The patient, a man in his 70s from Middlesex County, reported vaping tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an ingredient found in marijuana. The case is among the 36 confirmed cases of e-cigarette or vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI) that DPH has reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since September 11, 2019, when the state began requiring clinicians to report any unexplained lung injury in a patient to the department.

Since the state began mandating the report, DPH has received 341 reports from clinicians of suspected vaping-associated lung injuries. Of those, 109 cases of EVALI have been identified, with 36 confirmed cases and 73 probable cases reported to the CDC.

“Today’s news is a tragic reminder that we must remain vigilant about the dangers of vaping,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “There are resources available to help people quit and we encourage anyone to use these resources.”

In November, DPH reported the death of a man in his 50s from Worcester County who reported vaping both nicotine and THC. In October, the state reported the vaping-associated lung injury deaths of a woman in her 40s from Middlesex County and a woman in her 60s from Hampshire County, both of whom vaped nicotine.

In December, the state’s Public Health Council approved new regulations that restrict the sale of nicotine vaping and flavored vaping and tobacco products. This action followed the Legislature’s passing and Governor Charlie Baker’s signing into law an Act Modernizing Tobacco Control, which provided DPH with additional authority to regulate access to tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems, including vapes.

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission has also taken steps to strengthen its regulation of marijuana vaping products. As part of an ongoing investigation to determine whether Massachusetts licensees may be connected to lung injury cases, the Commission has entered into a data-sharing agreement with DPH and continues to test samples of quarantined vaping products. So far Independent Testing Labs have not found detectable levels of vitamin E acetate in products manufactured by licensed Marijuana Establishments or Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. The US Centers for Disease Control has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury.

The Commission maintains a quarantine order on all marijuana vaporizer products, except for devices used exclusively to vape flower that were manufactured by licensees prior to December 12, 2019. Newly manufactured vaping products are authorized to be sold only after they have passed tests for the presence of impermissible levels of toxicants or contaminants, including vitamin E acetate and heavy metals.

Of the 109 Massachusetts confirmed or probable cases that have been reported to the CDC, 55 are male and 54 are female. Fifty-two percent are under the age of 30. Thirty-five percent vaped only nicotine, 40 percent vaped only THC, and 27 percent reported vaping nicotine and THC. DPH’s online dashboard posted weekly provides detailed information on vaping cases that the Department has reported to the CDC.

DPH offers resources to help people quit through the Massachusetts Smoker’s Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or by visiting makesmokinghistory.org or Mass.gov/QuitVaping to connect to treatment. The Helpline has doubled the availability of free over-the-counter nicotine replacement products from 4 weeks to 8 weeks, once a person receives counseling by phone.

As of Jan. 1, 2020, Massachusetts commercial health insurance plans, plus the Group Insurance Commission and MassHealth, must cover smoking cessation counseling and FDA-approved products such as gum, lozenges, or patches without cost-sharing.

Quincy Fire Chief To Retire

By SCOTT JACKSON

Jack Cadegan, Quincy’s fire chief for the past 13 months, will be retiring at the end of January.

Fire Chief Jack Cadegan in December 2018. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth

Cadegan became Quincy’s 15th fire chief when he was appointed to the position by Mayor Thomas Koch in December 2018. Cadegan succeeded Joseph Barron, who had served as chief for 10 years.

Koch will be responsible for appointing Cadegan’s replacement.

Cadegan joined the Quincy Fire Department as a firefighter in 1985 at the age of 30. He had been a carpenter and taught night school prior to joining the department, and credited his late father, Frank, for encouraging him to become a firefighter.

“He was smart enough to see that I might enjoy this job – it might be a good thing for me,” Cadegan said when he was promoted to fire chief. “I was 30 at the time, so I already had a profession, and I’m so glad I listened to him. He knew something I didn’t know. I always say the older I get, the smarter he becomes.”

Cadegan spent the first 15 years of his career on an engine company, and then was assigned to Ladder 2 in Wollaston. In a January 2019 interview, the fire chief said it was his wife, Karen, who encouraged him to take a promotional exam, which led him to becoming a lieutenant in 2017.

“My first 15 years was basically on an engine company, which I enjoyed, but then a good friend of mine was retiring, and I got his spot on Ladder 2 up in Wollaston and I loved it. I very much loved working on a ladder company – the whole search and rescue thing and ventilation, being up on the roof,” Cadegan said at the time.

“I probably would still be there, but my wife made a good point. As I got older and guys were starting to retire, she was the one who kind of mentioned ‘what about taking the promotional exam,’ which I didn’t want any part of. I loved working with the guys that I worked with – why would I leave? She basically said, ‘you’re all getting older, guys are going to be retiring and moving on.’ She was absolutely right.”

Cadegan was promoted to captain in 2011 and deputy chief in 2014.

City Clerk Nicole Crispo announced Cadegan’s upcoming retirement at Tuesday’s meeting of the Board of License Commissioners.

“We are sorry you aren’t going to be on our board anymore,” Crispo said. “We will miss you, but we wish you the very best in your retirement. Congratulations.”

Cadegan thanked his fellow board members for their support.

“You’ve been wonderful to me, all of you,” he said. “I appreciate it.”

 

Pedestrian Struck On Quincy Ave

A 62-year-old Quincy man sustained serious injuries after being struck by a car Monday evening on Quincy Avenue.

The pedestrian was struck in the area of 170 Quincy Ave., near Olindy’s, just before 6:30 p.m. Monday, police said. The man was taken to South Shore Hospital with a head injury; police said he was speaking and conscious at the hospital.

Quincy Avenue was briefly closed as the police department’s crash reconstruction team began its investigation, but reopened before 8:30 p.m.

6th Annual ‘Polar Plunge’ Benefits Atherton Hough School PTO

The sixth annual Houghs Neck “Polar Plunge” was held Jan. 4th at the public landing as 30 brave souls took a quick dip in 46-degree water for a good cause.

Proceeds from the annual event benefit the Atherton Hough Elementary School PTO.

The group of participants included children, senior citizens, community and school activists and city councillors Noel DiBona and Brad Croall.

Rain that was in the forecast held off until after the hearty plungers splashed in the water behind the Houghs Neck Maritime Center shortly after 10 a.m. under the watchful eye of the Quincy Police Dive Team.

Here are a few photos from Saturday’s plunge. More coverage in the Jan. 16th issue of The Quincy Sun. Quincy Sun Photos/Robert Bosworth.