West Nile Virus Confirmed In Mosquitoes From Quincy

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) confirmed Tuesday that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Quincy.  There was one WNV-positive Culex pipiens/restuans complex mosquito sample (pool) identified from samples collected on Sept. 11.

To date, for 2019, the state has reported 72+ WNV-positive mosquito pools from twelve counties, including at least four from Norfolk County.

While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.  WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus.  The City of Quincy Health Department and the MDPH recommend that the public continue to take action to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito populations around their home and neighborhoods.

  • Limit your time outdoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn) or, if you must remain outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus may also be considered.  Products with permethrin should only be used on clothing. Always follow the directions on the label. Repellents should not be used on children younger than two months of age.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Take special care to cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors.  When you bring a baby outdoors, cover the baby’s carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
  • Fix any holes in your screens and make sure they are tightly attached to all your doors and windows.
  • Remove any standing water around your home that is available for mosquito breeding.  Mosquitoes will begin to breed in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days.  Make sure water does not collect and stagnate in ceramic pots, trash cans, recycling containers, old tires, wading pools, birds baths, etc.  Remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of roof gutters.

Norfolk County mosquito control will be suspending truck spraying for the control of adult mosquitoes after this week, due to cooler temperatures and reduced numbers of mosquitoes found in county traps.  They will consider additional spraying if arbovirus surveillance and  weather conditions warrant its application.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2019 can be found on the MDPH website at  https://www.mass.gov/mosquito-borne-diseases .  The Quincy Health Department will continue to work closely with the MDPH Arbovirus Surveillance Program and the Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project on mosquito control and surveillance efforts.

Meeting On Medical Center Site Postponed

By SCOTT JACKSON

This week’s public hearing on a proposal to develop the former home of Quincy Medical Center has been postponed.

The Planning Board was scheduled to hold a special meeting on FoxRock Properties’ proposal for the site Thursday night.

FoxRock’s attorney, Robert Harnais, appeared before the board at its regular meeting on Sept. 11 to request a continuance until next month. Harnais said he sought to postpone the hearing because there would not be a quorum of board members available Thursday night and because the developer is still revising plans.

The new hearing will likely be scheduled for mid or late October, board members said.

FoxRock went before the board in May with plans to build 490 residential units at 114 Whitwell Street, a 14.97-acre site that was formerly home to Quincy Medical Center. The company had proposed building 598 units on site last year but nixed those plans after an October 2018 Planning Board hearing.

Residents who live nearby, including the Hospital Hill Neighborhoods Association, said the plan presented in May was still too dense for the area.

 

DPH Confirms 8th Human Case Of EEE

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) announced Friday that laboratory testing has confirmed the 8th human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus infection, a man in his 50s from northeastern Bristol County.

DPH and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) continue to emphasize that residents throughout the Commonwealth take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites as they announced the next round of aerial mosquito spraying in areas of the state at critical and high risk for EEE.

Weather and equipment permitting, MDAR anticipates the next round of aerial spraying to begin as early as Monday evening, September 16, in parts of Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties. While aerial spraying is weather and equipment dependent, above-average evening temperatures next week are likely to permit the application.

Communities that are scheduled to be partially or fully sprayed beginning Monday evening and over the next week include:

  • Hampden County:  Brimfield, Palmer
  • Hampshire County: Ware
  • Worcester County: Brookfield, Charlton, East Brookfield, New Braintree, North Brookfield, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Warren, West Brookfield

MDAR is currently conducting aerial spraying in parts of Middlesex, Worcester, and Norfolk counties which is anticipated to continue through the weekend. As weather, temperature, and equipment conditions permit, plans for subsequent rounds of spraying will include critical and high-risk communities in the counties of Bristol, Essex, Franklin, and Plymouth. Residents are encouraged to visit the DPH website at https://www.mass.gov/eee for the latest updates on spraying in their communities.

In addition to the eight human cases of EEE this season in Massachusetts, there have also been eight confirmed cases of EEE this year in animals – seven horses and a goat. There has been one human case of West Nile virus (WNV) this season.

There are 35 communities now at critical risk, 38 at high risk, and 120 at moderate risk for the EEE virus in Massachusetts. On August 29 it was reported that a horse from Granby was infected with the EEE virus. The Department received additional information and has now confirmed that this horse was stabled in Connecticut. As a result, the towns of Granby, Belchertown, Ludlow, Chicopee, and South Hadley have all been reduced to moderate risk. A map of the state’s current EEE risk levels can be found here.

“Even though it is September, it is still mosquito season,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH. “We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”

“MDAR continues to conduct aerial spraying and also supports the use of truck-based ground spraying as conditions allow this season,” said MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux. “We continue to urge the public to use the insect repellants suggested by MA DPH, wear long sleeves and pants, and stay indoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.”

Additionally, MDAR reminds horse owners to promptly vaccinate their horses to ensure proper protection from EEE. If your horse was already vaccinated this year, MDAR advises checking with your veterinarian about a booster. Previously vaccinated horses may quickly respond to a booster vaccine and readily develop protective antibody. Horses of unknown vaccination status should receive two vaccines in the first year. Foals should be vaccinated as soon as they are old enough (3-4 months of age) and need a second booster vaccine for adequate protection.

Local communities are continuing truck-mounted ground spraying for mosquitoes. Spraying for mosquitoes does not eliminate the risk of EEE transmission and the public is asked to continue to follow personal protection practices.

Residents can learn more about EEE and ways to protect themselves on DPH’s website here.

EEE is a rare but serious and potentially fatal disease that can affect people of all ages. EEE occurs sporadically in Massachusetts with the most recent outbreak years occurring from 2004-2006 and 2010-2012. There were 22 human cases of EEE infection during those two outbreak periods with 14 cases occurring among residents of Bristol and Plymouth counties.

EEE virus has been found in 414 mosquito samples this year, many of them from species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people. An additional 72 mosquitos have tested positive for WNV.

People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors. Use a repellent with an EPA-registered ingredient (DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535) according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.

Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours

The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning in areas of high risk.

Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites

Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

Drain Standing Water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty unused flowerpots and wading pools and change the water in birdbaths frequently.

Install or Repair Screens. Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Protect Your Animals

Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is suspected of having WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.

For the most up-to-date information, Q&As, and downloadable fact sheets about EEE in multiple languages visit the DPH webpage www.mass.gov/eee.

For questions about aerial spraying, contact the MDAR Crop and Pest Services at (617) 626-1700.

Two Quincy Police Officers Promoted

Two Quincy police officers were promoted Friday at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the James R. McIntyre Government Center (old City Hall.) Police Chief Paul Keenan (left) and Mayor Thomas Koch (right) with promoted officers Lt. Mark Foley (second from left) and Sgt. Paul Coughlin (second from right). More coverage in the Sept. 19th issue of The Quincy Sun. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth

By SCOTT JACKSON

Two Quincy police officers with a combined 45 years of experience received promotions during a recent City Hall ceremony.

Mark Foley was promoted to the lieutenant and Paul Coughlin to the rank of sergeant the morning of Sept. 13 inside the James R. McIntyre Government Center. Dozens of family members and fellow officers past and present filled the Great Hall for the ceremony.

City Clerk Nicole Crispo swore the two officers in and then family members pinned each with his new badge. Foley’s daughter Shannon pinned him with his new lieutenant’s badge and then Coughlin’s uncle Leo Coppens, a retired Quincy police detective who served with the department for more than 30 years, pinned him with the sergeant’s badge.

Foley joined the department in 1988. He served three years on patrol, three years in special operations and then 11 years in the drug control unit before he was promoted to sergeant in 2005. He had most recently been the shift supervisor for the 4 p.m. to midnight shift. Foley will be assigned to one of the night shifts as a lieutenant.

Police Chief Paul Keenan said Foley is well respected by his fellow officers.

“Mark has been around for a lot of years. He’s done an awful lot of things in the Quincy Police Department – motorcycles, he was an outstanding drug officer for a number of years. He is a well-respected sergeant by not only the people that work for him, but the people that work with him,” Keenan said.

“Mark, I can honestly say, is never at a loss for words and he never minces words. You always know what he is thinking, which is kind of refreshing.”

Coughlin became a Boston police officer in 2004 and then joined the Quincy Police Department in 2012. He had most recently been assigned to the traffic division and, as sergeant, will work the midnight shift.

Keenan said Coughlin has been an asset to the department since he transferred from Boston.

“Paul has been on for a few years,” the chief said. “Our gain was Boston’s loss – he transferred over from Boston and has been a great asset for the department both in patrol and in traffic.”

Foley and Coughlin both worked hard to receive their promotions, Keenan said.

“I know how hard these officers have to study to get where they are,” he said. “We’re probably one of the most difficult departments in the commonwealth to get promoted in because we’ve got such an intelligent, enlightened group of men and women who take these tests and study.”

The newly promoted officers will bring a new perspective and new energy to the table, he added.

“It’s always nice to bring a new perspective to the Quincy Police Department,” the chief said.
“Every time we get a new promotion, they bring new ideas to the table and new energy to the table.”

Mayor Thomas Koch thanked the department’s officers for their service to the city on a daily basis.

“We’re living in very dangerous times. I remind people we are not only proud of our veterans and what they do defending us all across the world, fighting for freedom and defending the values that are important to us, but you people do it each and every day on the front lines responding to the needs of all the community,” Koch said.

“There are simple little things, but there are also some very dangerous and complicated issues you deal with each and every day. I’m cognizant of that and on behalf the city I am grateful for that. To our department, I say thank you for all you do each and every day.”

Foley and Coughlin, the mayor added, are both well respected by their colleagues in the department.

“I know today is a great day for both of them individually and their families. I know you worked hard. You both have good names and good reputations in the department. I know you are well-respected by your peers,” Koch said.

Beechwood Knoll Fall Festival Oct. 19

Beechwood Knoll Elementary School will host the 22nd annual “Beechwood Knoll Fall Festival” on Saturday, Oct. 19th from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Beechwood Knoll School, 225 Fenno St., Quincy.

All are welcome. Rain date is Saturday, Oct. 26.

The BKS Fall Festival is the school’s cornerstone fundraiser to raise funds to pay for books for our classrooms and library, computer equipment, educational materials, field trips and other classroom necessities.

There will be Busy Bee, food, arts and crafts, games, nails, tattoos and face painting, silent auctions, raffles, pony rides and Touch-a-Truck.

Sept. 21 Last Day Of Season For Free Tours At The Quincy Homestead

The Quincy Homestead will be open for the last public tours this season on Saturday, Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (last tour beginning at 2 p.m.) Why not end the summer with a walk through a house which has been standing at the corner of Butler Road and Hancock Street for three centuries? Come and be our guest in the Quincy home that entertained many family members and friends of New England’s Colonial days!

In celebration of the 15th anniversary of Museum Day on Saturday, Sept. 21, the Quincy Homestead will be open for free guided tours from 11am to 2:30 pm. Museum Day is an annual event sponsored by Smithsonian magazine. Participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket.

The Quincy Homestead is widely recognized for five generations of the prominent and influential Edmund Quincy family who resided on the property. Many members of the Quincy family were government and civic leaders, merchants, and progressive farmers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Also known as the Dorothy Quincy Homestead, it is named in honor of the three generations of Dorothy Quincys who resided in the house during the 18th century. Edmund Quincy IV’s youngest daughter, Dorothy Quincy, married the famous patriot and founding father, John Hancock. Come and view our lovingly restored Hancock chariot.

The Homestead retains the original architecture of the first period home built circa 1680 by Edmund Quincy II as well as the Georgian style elements introduced circa 1706-08 by his son.  Surrounded by formal heritage gardens, the historic Furnace Brook runs quietly alongside the north side of the property. The serene park setting and mansion house is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) with the museum and interior of the mansion operated and managed by NSCDA-MA.

Quincy Homestead is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your donations help us preserve this historic property. For more information, please visit www.nscdama.org. Follow us on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/quincyhomestead1686.

Quincy Homestead does not require a Museum Day ticket; however, to learn more about Museum Day, downloading tickets and finding other participating museums, visit https://www.facebook.com/MuseumDay

Two-Alarm Fire Caused $100,000 In Damage

Two-alarm fire on Flynt Street in North Quincy caused $100,000 in damage Saturday. Photo courtesy Michael Greene.

By SCOTT JACKSON

A two-alarm fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to a North Quincy home on Saturday.

A neighbor noticed smoking rising from the chimney at 36 Flynt St. around 3 p.m. Saturday, according to Deputy Fire Chief Paul Griffith.

A couch inside the home was on fire, he said Tuesday, and had nearly burnt itself out when firefighters entered the home. Firefighters went past the couch as they searched for the fire and looked to see if anyone was at home at the time; fresh air that entered the house caused the fire to come alive again.

The house, Griffith said, was cluttered, making it difficult to enter the residence and locate the fire.

“It was a very cluttered house, so it was hard for them to get inside it and find the fire,” he stated. “When they finally found the fire, they were able to knock it down quickly.”

The fire caused an estimated $100,000 in damage, Griffith said, mostly from smoke and water.

No one was inside the home at the time the fire began, and no firefighters were injured. The Red Cross provided assistance to the residents after they returned later that day.

Capt. Roger Kineavy on Tuesday said the fire was caused by an ungrounded electrical outlet that had extension cords connected to it.

 

Former Bridgewater Man To Be Arraigned For 1996 Rape

By SCOTT JACKSON

A 61-year-old former Bridgewater man will be arraigned Tuesday in Norfolk Superior Court for a 1996 Quincy rape.

Ivan Keith of Seal Cove, Maine, will be arraigned at 2 p.m. at Tuesday inside the Dedham courthouse. A former Bridgewater resident, Keith was arraigned in Taunton District Court on numerous in August after being located in Maine and returned to Massachusetts.

Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Keith was indicted in connection with the Quincy rape in 2012, based on the suspect’s DNA profile.

“This case was the subject of a John Doe/DNA profile indictment in 2012,” Morrissey said. “There was DNA evidence collected subsequent to the report of this rape, and the victim provided a physical description to detectives in 1996. That information became the basis for this indictment. We have amended the indictment to reflect this defendant’s name and scheduled his superior court arraignment.”

Keith fled Massachusetts 16 years ago, according to Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III. Quinn said Keith was linked to two previously unsolved rapes that occurred in Bristol County more than 20 years ago.

The first rape occurred on July 27, 1997, outside the Bristol-Plymouth Regional High School in Taunton, Quinn said. In that case, a 36-year-old woman was exercising on the track outside the school when a masked man jumped out in front of her, forcibly led her to a wooded area, tied her up and raped her.  The second rape occurred on November 22, 1998 as a 47-year-old woman was working late cleaning offices at the Steve Porter Appraisal Services in Easton.  While she was cleaning, a masked man entered the building and attacked her as she opened the door of an office to take out the trash.  He then forcibly raped her before binding her hands and fleeing.

Investigators from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office began reviewing the cases earlier this year, Quinn said, and identified Keith as the suspect. Keith was also linked to the Quincy rape, and another that took place in Plymouth County in 1996.

Keith was convicted of several sex-related crimes in Plymouth County in the 1980s and 1990s, Quinn said, as well as a sex crime in Maine in 2000. Keith, however, failed to comply with the sex offender registry and failed to provide a DNA sample to the state.

Keith was due in Brockton District Court in October 2003 for a jury trial on an open and gross lewdness charge, but intentionally defaulted and never appeared for that trial date, Quinn said.

Keith was arraigned last month in Taunton District Court on several charges – including five counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and other charges. He was ordered to be held without bail for at least 120 days pending a dangerousness hearing.

Ayers Asks T to Extend Shuttle Bus Services To Squantum Point Park

State Rep. Bruce J. Ayers (D – Quincy) has sent a formal request to MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, imploring the extension of shuttle bus services to Squantum Point Park to provide relief for frustrated commuters.

The letter notes the success of the bus service that has shuttled customers from the Wollaston Station area during the 2-year construction period. Ayers suggested that the success of this service could be extended from the North Quincy MBTA Station to the state-owned parking lot in Squantum Point Park, providing parking relief during the construction at North Quincy while also encouraging use of the Marina Bay Ferry.

Over 600 spots are lost at the North Quincy lot. With the Wollaston project ready to open this month, Ayers believes the shuttle buses could be used to bring relief to the North Quincy project, while also encouraging use of water transit.

“Water transportation is an economically responsible, environmentally friendly means of transit, and this area is a prime location for it,” Ayers said. “This area’s marine infrastructure makes this a unique opportunity.”

Ayers cited the “failure” of the MBTA to provide adequate mitigation for the ongoing construction along the Red Line stops in Quincy, coupled with the disruptions in service the Red Line has experienced in the past 2 months. Prior to the derailment in June, Red Line trains were running 14 trips per hour; that number is now at 10 trips per hour.

“My constituents have reached out to me repeatedly to express their frustration over the delays, overcrowded platforms, and overall lack of options,” Ayers said. “This could provide a recovery of parking spaces, as well as a reliable alternative means of transportation for those who no longer trust the MBTA. It’s a way for the MBTA to earn their customers’ faith back.”

The parking lot at Squantum Point Park consists of over 800 parking spaces, and is owned by DCR. Ayers suggests that the MBTA work out an agreement with DCR to provide free commuter parking in the lot during the North Quincy construction project.

The Marina Bay Ferry is in its 4th year of seasonal operation. It is owned and maintained by the town of Winthrop, and service from Quincy will run through November.

Along with GM Poftak, copies of the letter were also sent to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack; Joseph Aiello, Chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal & Management Control Board; and Leo Roy, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation & Recreation.

A copy of the letter was also provided to The Quincy Sun. The letter appears below.

NQ Library Branch Closed For Two Months Due To Renovations

The North Quincy Branch Library closed Monday, Aug. 12, for building renovations. The work is expected to take at least two months to complete.
Improvements will include a new roof, new ceiling, new flooring and carpeting, and some electrical upgrades.
For library services while the branch is closed:
  • Return books and other materials in the North Quincy Branch outside book drops located at the front and rear entrances.
  • Pick up your holds at the Main Library (40 Washington St.) or call 617-376-1300 x3 to have them sent to another library location.
  • Check the library’s online calendar of events at thomascranelibrary.org for programs held at other library locations. Some North Quincy Branch children’s programs will be relocated to other Quincy libraries.
  • The Wollaston Branch Library (41 Beale St.) will have special Saturday hours from 9 a.m. to noon while the North Quincy Branch is closed.

For more information, visit thomascranelibrary.org or call 617-376-1300 x3.