Quincy Police Dog Dies After Medical Emergency

Major, the K-9 partner of Quincy police officer Ken Wood, died Saturday after suffering a medical emergency. Photo courtesy Quincy Police Department.

By SCOTT JACKSON

One of the Quincy Police Department’s dogs died Saturday afternoon after suffering a medical emergency.

Major, the K-9 partner of officer Ken Wood, suffered a medical emergency while at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium on Saturday, police said. Major was transported to the VCA South Shore Animal Hospital in Weymouth, with assistance from Braintree and Weymouth police.

The department announced Major’s death on Twitter.

“We are saddened to announce that K-9 Major has crossed the Rainbow Bridge,” the department wrote.

Major, a German shepherd, was six years old, Sgt. Karyn Barkas said, and he had been with Wood for all six of those years.

The specific medical emergency Major suffered on Saturday is currently unknown.

Major was trained for patrol and explosives detection, Barkas said.

The department has a dozen other dogs.

Quincy Receives $2 Million Grant For Downtown Work

Quincy received a $2 million MassWorks grant Friday for the construction of a second driveway into a new Quincy Center garage. Mayor Thomas Koch (center) accepted the grant from Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Gov. Charlie Baker. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy received a $2 million grant from the state on Friday that will be used to pay for the construction of a second driveway to access the new garage under construction on the former Hancock Lot.

Mayor Thomas Koch accepted the MassWorks grant from Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito during a ceremony held inside the new atrium at 1500 Hancock St. that links Hancock Street to the garage.

The money will enable the city to extend the road now known as Cliveden Street across Hancock Street into the new garage; the mayor has proposed to rename Cliveden Street General Dunford Drive in honor of Joseph Dunford Jr., the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Koch said the city could acquire three buildings – ­­­1534, 1546 and 1550 Hancock St. – and demolish them to make way for the new roadway as soon as next spring. Construction of the roadway would start next summer.

Funding to purchase and raze those buildings was included in an $80 million district-improvement financing bond approved by the City Council earlier this year.

Baker, in awarding the MassWorks grant, said he was happy the state had a chance to partner with Quincy as it redevelops the downtown.

“That reimagination of what you can do with a downtown and think differently, very differently, about how that downtown should be organized and structured for the 21st century…was a big move,” Baker said.

“It was one of many that I think in many ways have opened up significant opportunities across the city and we have been very pleased to be able to partner with the mayor and his team on a number of these initiatives.”

Polito said 92 communities submitted requests for MassWorks grants totaling $233 million this year. The administration will award 35 such grants totaling $75 million.

“That gives you a sense of how competitive this program is,” Polito said. “The major criteria is that the grants are shovel-ready…and high-impact. When you think about high-impact and shovel-ready, clearly this is an application that would rise to the top.”

That $80 million bond also included funding for the 712-car garage now under construction on Hancock Street. The opening of the garage had been delayed as the city waited for a new transformer to be installed. Koch said the transformer has been installed and the opening of the garage is imminent.

“The power now has been done, so that’s secure. They are just now doing the finishing touches,” the mayor said. “It’s literally any day – probably next week.”

The glass atrium connecting the garage to Hancock Street should also open at that time, Koch said. The atrium was built as part of the Nova Residences project and could one day be used by restaurants that move into the mixed-use building.

“We are envisioning a restaurant or two on this first floor that will spill out into the atrium area,” Koch said. “We think this is going to evolve into some kind of special space, particularly during colder months.”

Quincy received a $5.8 million MassWorks grant in 2015 to pay for the demolition of the Ross Garage and related sitework. Two years later, the city received a $2 million MassWorks grant to pay for part of the infrastructure work related to the city’s plans to develop the Ross Lot.

The state is also picking up the tab to build the $9 million Generals Bridge, which will connect Burgin Parkway to the west end of Cliveden Street.

Board Approves Project At Quincy Medical Center Site

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Planning Board approved a developer’s proposal to build 465 apartments on the site of Quincy Medical Center – a project that opposed by area residents and several city councillors over concerns about its size and impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

The board approved Quincy-based FoxRock Properties’ plan for the 14.97-acre site at 114 Whitwell St., which is located in a planned unit development zoning district, in a unanimous vote Wednesday. The 465 apartments would be split between seven buildings on site, the tallest of which would be six stories. The developer will include 590 parking spaces on site.

Gregory Galvin, the board’s vice chairman, said the project complies with the city’s zoning code.

“The bylaw would allow a more dense project than is being proposed,” Galvin said shortly before the vote, adding the project also meets the requirements for building height and setbacks from the property line.

Several of the 100 residents in attendance at the City Hall meeting jeered the board’s vote, shouting “shame on you.”

Ted Mulrane, president of the Hospital Hill Neighborhoods Association, called the decision a disappointment.

“It’s a disappointment,” he said following the vote. “I’ll leave it at that.”

Mulrane said it was too soon to say if area residents would pursue litigation. The board’s decision can be appealed within 20 days.

FoxRock, which is owned by Granite Telecommunications founder Rob Hale, purchased the hospital site in December 2016. Mayor Thomas Koch at that time also designated FoxRock as the developer for a portion of the Ross Lot in Quincy Center, where the company has proposed building a medical office building, hotel and housing.

The company’s first proposal for the Whitwell Street site, which was presented to the Planning Board in October 2018, included 598 apartments. In May, the developer presented a revised plan dubbed “Ashlar Park” with 490 units – 52 studios, 325 one-bedroom units, 196 two-bedroom units and 45 units with the three bedrooms.

The plan approved by the board includes 465 units – 65 studio units, 247 units with one bedroom, 278 two-bedroom units and 42 three-bedroom units. The total number of bedrooms, 632, is more than the 618 proposed in May.

FoxRock’s Josh Kleinman said the number of two-bedroom units was increased based on feedback the company received from neighbors. The project, he said, would be targeted at baby boomers looking to downsize while staying in Quincy.

“This is going to be a transformational project for a blighted site, the neighborhood and the city,” Kleinman said. “It’s going to be a site where project residents and neighbors alike can walk their dogs, sip their coffee and take evening strolls. This is going to be a great project…that will improve the quality of life for all parties.”

The units would be split between seven buildings on site, the tallest of which would be six stories. The developer will include 590 parking spaces on site.

The board attached 36 special conditions, as recommended by the city’s Planning Department, to its approval of FoxRock’s plan.

Those conditions include a payment of $1 million to the city for mitigation; that will include the installation of a new traffic signal at the intersection of Whitwell and Adams streets and other work, such as widened sidewalks to improve pedestrian access. The developer will also have to hire a full-time onsite traffic coordinator; offer new tenants a complementary MBTA pass for their first month; run a shuttle bus during rush hour between the site and the Quincy Center MBTA station for ten years, which the board could extend for another decade; and build an MBTA bus shelter on the north side of Whitwell Street.

The project is subject to the city’s Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance and FoxRock will be required to adhere to the decision of the Quincy Affordable Housing Trust Committee for the project. The developer will also have to make a payment to the city’s sewer rehabilitation fund.

Representatives from the Hospital Hill Neighborhoods Association and a dozen area residents spoke against the project before the board’s vote. The board also received letters from a dozen residents opposed to the plan.

Will Smith of the HHNA said the proposal was too dense and suggested the developer reduce its size to a maximum of 350 units with 500 bedrooms between them.

“I would like to emphasize that HHNA is not opposed to the redevelopment of this site. We believe it is in the best interest of the city and the neighborhood to get this done,” Smith said. “This proposal is overwhelming for a Residential A and B neighborhood.”

Jocelyn Sedney of Monroe Road said the $1 million the developer will pay the city would not cover the amount of mitigation work to be done.

“It’s never going to pay for all of that,” Sedney said. “We, the citizens of Quincy, are going to underwrite this project so that this major corporation…can make millions of dollars.”

Ward 5 Councillor-elect Charles Phelan Jr. also voiced his opposition to the project, as did Ward 2 Councillor Brad Croall and all three councillors-at-large – Noel DiBona, Nina Liang and Anne Mahoney.

Phelan said the plan remained too dense.

“This development is very dense. It doesn’t fit in the character of residence A and residence B, which is all around it,” he said. “It adds a lot of people to a congested area.”

One person, Taunton resident John Rodophele, supported the project, saying it would create new growth for the city. The board also received 21 letters in support of the plan.

Zoning Rules For Marijuana Establishments Approved

By SCOTT JACKSON

City councillors approved a zoning ordinance regulating where marijuana dispensaries can open in Quincy. The legislation also ties their business hours to those of liquor stores.

Councillors approved the ordinance, which Mayor Thomas Koch introduced in February 2018, on Dec. 2 in an 8-0 vote after making several amendments to the bill. Ward 6 Councillor William Harris was not present at the meeting.

In a separate vote, councillors voted 8-0 to impose a 3 percent local sales tax on recreational marijuana products, the maximum local sales tax allowed under state law. The local tax is in addition to the 17 percent state tax on marijuana products.

Koch planned to sign both measures into law, according to his chief of staff, Chris Walker.

The ordinance bars marijuana establishments from opening within 1,500 feet of a residential zoning district. They are also barred from opening within 500 feet of any school, playground, athletic field, beach, public park, library, skating rink, public transit center, day care facility, or youth sports facility. Those regulations would essentially limit recreational pot shops to the Fore River Shipyard, the vicinity of Ricciuti Drive or Crown Colony, unless an applicant obtained a variance to open elsewhere.

The ordinance requires anyone looking to open a marijuana establishment to obtain a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. A community meeting would be required prior to the application being filed. Applicants would also need to sign a host agreement with the mayor; those host agreements would include a community impact fee of up to 3 percent of gross sales payable to the city for up to five years.

The ZBA would be allowed to license one marijuana establishment for every five liquor stores in the city; there are currently 35 liquor stores in Quincy.

In the original version of the ordinance Koch proposed, marijuana establishments would have been permitted to open from 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Councillors on Dec. 2 voted to amend those hours to match the business hours of liquor stores, which are 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays, according to City Clerk Nicole Crispo.

Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci had initially proposed making the marijuana establishments’ business hours 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, saying it would give customers more of an opportunity to visit the stores on Sundays, when there is typically less traffic.

Councillor Anne Mahoney then suggested a 7 p.m. closing time for the marijuana establishments, saying other communities, in particular Brookline, have experienced problems with pot shops. Palmucci accepted Mahoney’s suggestion as a friendly amendment.

Ward 3 Councillor Ian Cain, however, said marijuana establishments should be treated the same as liquor stores. He said a 7 p.m. closing time would be too early because it would limit revenue for both the businesses and the city.

“We’re trying to allow businesses to operate and function, so you want to give them proper time to do so so that they are making some money and we’re able to in turn make some money. Limiting those hours to 7 p.m. doesn’t make much sense to me,” Cain said.

“People of all walks of life are going to enjoy this type of facility. It’s not just the stereotypical negative ne’er-do-well.”

Cain’s amendment to tie the hours of operation for the marijuana establishments to those of liquor stores passed in a 5-3 vote, after Palmucci withdrew his proposed amendment. Noel DiBona, Kirsten Hughes, Nina Liang and Palmucci joined Cain in supporting the change. Mahoney, Brad Croall and David McCarthy voted against it.

Croall, whose district includes the Fore River Shipyard and the nearby neighborhood, said Quincy should start slow based on the experiences of other communities, including Brookline, where recreational dispensaries are open.

“There has been noticeable increases to traffic and stuff like that,” Croall said. “I would feel more comfortable seeing…how it rolls out.”

Another amendment to the ordinance, introduced by Palmucci and approved by voice vote, requires the mayor to submit any host agreement to the council for review. Palmucci said his amendment would not require the council to approve such agreements but would ensure councillors are able to see them.

Massachusetts voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in a November 2016 referendum. Statewide, 53.6 percent of voters backed the measure, and 51 percent of voters in Quincy did so as well. Because a majority of Quincy voters approved the 2016 referendum, the mayor and City Council cannot ban marijuana establishments outright.

Average Residential Tax Bill Up $271

By SCOTT JACKSON

The average owner of a single-family home in Quincy will see their property taxes increase by $271 next year, with the average tax bill rising to more than $6,100.

Mark Cavanagh, the city’s director of municipal finance, on Dec. 2 told the City Council that the average single-family residential tax bill will increase from $5,855 in 2019 to $6,126.23 in 2020, a hike of $271.23. The average tax bill had increased by $119 from 2018 to 2019.

The residential tax rate will decrease for the seventh straight year, going from $12.55 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2019 to $12.43 in the new year. While the tax rate is decreasing, home values continue to rise. Colleen Healy, the chairwoman of Quincy’s Board of Assessors, said the average value of a single-family home increased from $466,600 in 2019 to $492,900 in 2020.

Residential property values have risen each year since 2014, when the average single-family home was assessed at $315,800.

The tax rate for commercial, industrial and personal property will also drop next year. That rate will decrease from $25.18 to $24.84. The difference between residential and commercial tax rates is the highest allowed under state law.

The tax levy, the total amount of property taxes the city will collect, will rise by $12.57 million next year to $241.96 million, an increase of 5.48 percent, Cavanagh said. Homeowners will pay 75.09 percent of the levy, according to Healy.

Property taxes pay the lion’s share of Quincy’s general fund budget; other sources of income are local aid from the state and local receipts, a category that includes various revenue streams such as motor vehicle excise tax, the local option meals tax and fees from building permits. The city’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2020, which began July 1, is $329.78 million, an increase of $19 million over the fiscal year 2019 budget of $310.71 million.

City councillors approved a series of measures Mayor Thomas Koch introduced at the Dec. 2 meeting that determine the tax rate for next year.

Councillors voted 8-0 – with Ward 6 Councillor William Harris not in attendance – to appropriate $2.9 million of the city’s $8 million in state-certified free cash toward the general fund to reduce tax rates. The appropriation saved the average single-family homeowner $36, according to Cavanagh.

Councillors also voted 6-2 in favor of appropriating another $2.59 million in free cash to three reserve accounts. That includes $1 million to the city’s stabilization account, bringing the total amount in that reserve to $12 million, $1 million to the other post-employment benefits (OPEB) trust, bringing that account to $3 million, and $517,000 to the city’s inclement weather fund, which now includes $3.2 million. The allocations are in line with the city’s financial policies.

Cavanagh said the city has $2.5 million remaining in free cash following those votes on Dec. 2. That money can be spent by Koch only with the council’s approval.

Councillor Anne Mahoney and Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci both opposed the $2.59 million appropriation to the three reserve accounts. Mahoney said the city should use the outstanding $2.5 million in free cash to further reduce tax rates.

“That’s due back to the taxpayers,” she said. “I think we should be budgeting in our budget for things we want to spend and not just have free reign to spend money any place we want.”

Councillors also voted 8-0 to appropriate $1.8 million in funds set aside but not spent in previous fiscal years towards the 2020 tax levy.

Councillors then voted 8-0 in favor of a split tax rate that shifts the tax burden from residential to commercial property owners. The difference between the two rates is the highest allowed under state law.

The tax rate for both residential and commercial properties would have been $14.20 next year without the split, resulting in an additional $870 increase for the average homeowner, according to Healy. The city has used a split tax rate since 1984.

In a 7-1 vote, with Mahoney opposed, councillors then adopted a residential factor of 87.5597 for next year.

Several councillors who spoke during the meeting noted the setting of the budget in June and approval of other appropriations is what determines the new tax rates.

“This is the lowest tax increase we can put forth to the residential taxpayer based on the budget this body voted for and passed in the spring,” Palmucci said.

“Whether it was the budget or bonding, your time to say yes or no is at that time,” Councillor Noel DiBona said. “That’s your time to speak up, when the appropriations are coming down the pike.”

Palmucci also noted there are various programs residents can qualify for to reduce their property tax burden. Those include a tax deferral program that residents over the age of 65 can qualify for, provided they have lived in their home for five years and their household income is less than $58,000. There are also tax exemptions for seniors, veterans and their surviving spouses, legally blind persons, and surviving spouses of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.

Residents had a chance to comment on property taxes during a public hearing earlier that evening. Patrick Alexis of Stedman Street said property taxes have become a burden for his family.

“We chose Quincy because we felt that Quincy was a nice working-class city, which I believe it is, but each year my property taxes…feels like it’s this big burden,” he said.

“I’m a city employee myself, so I believe in paying taxes…it’s just if my property taxes are based off valuation, my income is not keeping up. Even if my home is worth $1 million tomorrow, my income is not keeping up. It’s not money I can put into my pocket.”

Quincy To Ban Plastic Bags March 1

By SCOTT JACKSON

Most single-use plastic bags will no longer be offered at Quincy retailers starting in March, after city councillors voted to ban them.

Councillors voted 8-0 on Dec. 2 in favor of legislation introduced earlier this year by Mayor Thomas Koch and Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci to ban the use of most disposable plastic bags. Ward 6 Councillor William Harris was not at the meeting.

Seven residents, including members of the Quincy Climate Action Network, spoke in favor of the plastic bag ban during an October public hearing, citing the impact those bags have on the environment and on recycling programs. Those residents also suggested the city mandate that merchants charge 5 or 10 cents to consumers asking for paper bags, noting paper bags require more energy to produce than the single-use plastic ones, which releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Palmucci said he had heard from residents advocating for the ban of paper bags and said that could be considered in the future.

“What I said to those folks and what I will say publicly now is, ‘baby steps.’ Let’s get rid of the plastic bags first and then come make an argument about paper bags and we’ll see what happens,” Palmucci said.

The legislation was amended at the suggestion of Councillor Nina Liang, the chairwoman of the council’s ordinance committee, to have an effective date of March 1. Liang said she wanted a definitive date on which the ban would take effect; it was originally set to take effect 60 days after it was approved.

The ordinance bans all retail-checkout bags made from plastic, including bags made from petroleum or natural gas and those made from biological sources such as corn or other plants. Degradable and biodegradable plastic bags are among those that are prohibited.

Violators of the ban would first receive a written warning, which would include a 14-day period to correct the violation. A $50 fine would be charged for the second violation, followed a $100 fine for subsequent violations. The ordinance will be enforceable by police officers, agents of the Quincy Health Department and members of the Board of License Commissioners.

Reusable bags – defined as machine-washable bags made from durable materials like cotton, polyester or polypropylene with a minimum lifetime of 125 uses and capable of carrying at least 22 pounds – are exempt from the ban, as are recyclable paper bags, provided they are 100 percent recyclable and made from at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content. Such paper bags need be labelled as “recyclable” and “made from 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.”

Certain plastic bags are exempt from the ban as well, including bags used to carry produce, meat, seafood or other food items to the point of the sale inside a store or to prevent the items inside from coming into contact with other food. Newspaper bags and laundry and dry-cleaning bags are also be exempt.

More than 120 communities across Massachusetts have enacted bans on single-use plastic bags in recent years, including Boston, Milton and Hingham. Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are also considering legislation that would ban single-use plastic bags statewide.

Independent Prosecutor Appointed For McCallum Case

By SCOTT JACKSON

A former Massachusetts secretary of public safety has been appointed to prosecute the criminal cases against the two men charged in connection with a fight outside the Nickerson Post in Squantum that resulted in the death of a 44-year-old father of three from Bridgewater.

Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey on Thursday named Daniel Bennett the independent special assistant district attorney to oversee the case. In a statement, Morrissey said his office has no direct conflict of interest, but public confidence would be reinforced by the appointment of an independent prosecutor.

Bennett served as the secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security during Gov. Charlie Baker’s first term in office. Before working under Baker, Bennet had been the first assistant district attorney in Worcester County and prior to that had been a prosecutor in Middlesex and Suffolk Counties.

As a prosecutor in Middlesex County, Bennett was on the trial team that won first degree murder convictions against Neil Entwistle, the British man who had been accused of killing his wife and daughter inside their home in Hopkinton. That case is one of several high profile homicides Bennett has prosecuted.

Morrissey said Bennett would have full autonomy as an independent special assistant district attorney; the appointment of an independent prosecutor removes any involvement in the ongoing decision-making process from the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and puts it directly in the hands of the independent counsel.

“My purpose here is to remove any question or appearance of conflict while placing the case with a prosecutor of extensive experience and skill,” Morrissey said in a statement.

“The independent prosecutor statute exists to avoid both actual conflict of interest or the appearance or perception of conflict of interest, at any stage in a prosecution or investigation,” he added.

“There has been no single precipitating factor in my decision to assign this to an independent prosecutor. While there is no direct conflict of interest, I have grown increasingly aware of the perception, particularly within the Squantum community, that public confidence will be reinforced with this matter placed with an independent prosecutor.”

Morrissey thanked the Massachusetts State Police detectives who conducted interviews and investigation across several months.

“This matter was brought through the grand jury process by one of my most experienced and senior prosecutors and I feel fortunate that the prosecution will be undertaken by an attorney of Daniel Bennett’s caliber and experience,” Morrissey said.

The two brothers charged in connection with the fight outside the Nickerson Post, including the man accused of fatally striking Christopher McCallum, were arraigned Nov. 6 in Norfolk Superior Court. Both pleaded not guilty and are due back in court for pre-trial conferences Jan. 10.

Matthew Potter, age 36 of Weymouth, was indicted for manslaughter of McCallum, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a second person and simple assault of a third person.

The maximum sentence for a manslaughter conviction is 20 years in state prison.

Steven Potter, age 34 of Boston, was indicted on two counts of assault and one count of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. His charges are not related to McCallum’s death, prosecutors said, but to two other victims from the same incident.

McCallum, 44, of Bridgewater died Jan. 28 after being taken off life support. He was rushed to Boston Medical Center around 1 a.m. on Jan. 27 after he was found bleeding and unconscious outside the Nickerson American Legion Post on Moon Island Road after police responded to a report of a large disorder.

An autopsy determined McCallum’s death was a homicide caused by blunt force trauma.

McCallum grew up on Deerfield Street in Squantum and was a 1992 graduate of North Quincy High School. He was captain of the Red Raiders football and hockey teams his senior year and was inducted into the Quincy-North Quincy High Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

McCallum was survived by his wife Kathy and their sons Ryan, Michael and Christopher.

New Interim President Takes Over At Quincy College

Dr. Daniel M. Asquino has started his new role as the interim president at Quincy College.

Dr. Daniel M. Asquino

Asquino was appointed to the temporary position by the Quincy College Board of Governors on Oct. 23. The Board of Governors, which has been working with a search committee to find a permanent president, selected Asquino, a veteran state community college administrator and educator while a permanent president is sought.

“Familiar with the nuances of higher education, Dr. Asquino will surely be an asset to Quincy College as it navigates the transition of leadership and administration, culminating in the appointment of a president,” Paul Barbadoro, chairman of the Board of Governors, said in a statement.

“We are grateful to Dr. Asquino for his leadership as an established educator and administrator who has spent most of his career working in the Massachusetts public college system.”

Asquino has a legacy of community college leadership, having served as president at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner for 30 years. Under his leadership, Mount Wachusett grew exponentially in size, stature and academic services.

In his role at Quincy College, Asquino will lead the Quincy and Plymouth campuses, which serve students from the greater Boston area, across the South Shore and more than 121 countries.

“It is my pleasure to serve as interim president of Quincy College,” Asquino said in a statement. “I am fully committed to the mission of a small college and public higher education. I look forward to lending my administrative skills and academic talents to lead Quincy College in an interim capacity.

“My mission is to support the college, its students, staff, and faculty during this transitional period as the college works to appoint new leadership that will set the course for the college’s future. Together, we will continue to move the college forward and build on all the hard work that the Quincy College community has embarked upon in recent months, to build a path to success for our students.”

Asquino began his career in public higher education in 1971 as assistant to the president of the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges. He has also served in numerous administrative positions for the Massachusetts Board of Regional Community Colleges.

In addition, he serves as an officer and past chair of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts Board of Directors, officer and past chair of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster and past chair of Greater Gardner and North Central Massachusetts Chambers of Commerce. He is a member and past chair of the Board of Trustees for Heywood Hospital, and the GFA Supervisory Board.

Asquino is the recipient of many community and national awards, including the Community Leader Award from the UMass Memorial-HealthAlliance Hospital Foundation; the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Nashua Valley Council Boy Scouts of America; the Dr. Robert H. Goldman Community Service Award; the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year and Community Service Awards; the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Award; the Governor’s Pride in Performance Award; Enterprise Bank’s Celebration of Excellence Community Service Award; and the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations Pacesetter Award.

Asquino holds a Ph.D. and M.P.A. in public administration and political science and a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Southeastern Massachusetts University, now UMass Dartmouth. He has taught public administration at the high school and college levels, including at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels.

Asquino replaces Michael Bellotti as the interim president of Quincy College. The board in October announced Bellotti, the former Norfolk County sheriff, would be leaving the school to become the president of ARK Behavioral Health Centers, which operates the Northeast Treatment Center in Quincy, by the end of the current semester.

‘Mass Most Wanted’ Playing Cards Launched At Norfolk County Correctional Center

Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott announces the launch of the “Mass Most Wanted” playing cards at the Norfolk County Correctional Center Sept. 24. Joining Sheriff McDermott were District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and police chiefs from across the county. Photos Courtesy Sheriff Jerry McDermott/Norfolk County Correctional Center

Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry P. McDermott was joined by District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey and police chiefs from across the county at the Norfolk County Correctional Center Sept. 24 to announce the launch of the “Mass Most Wanted” playing cards in the jail.

Based upon success in other states, Sheriff McDermott created decks of ‘playing cards’ featuring those displayed on the “Mass Most Wanted” list, which is assembled by the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council.

This photo shows some of the cards in the ‘Mass Most Wanted” deck released by the Norfolk County Correctional Center Tuesday. Each card shows the photo of someone in the Commonwealth who is either missing, the victim of an unsolved crime, or wanted.

On each playing card, is the picture of someone in the Commonwealth who is either missing, the victim of an unsolved crime, or wanted. In addition, their name, gender, age, geographical information, and details of their occurrence are featured. These cards have been made available to the inmates at the county’s jail in Dedham and can be used during recreation time.

“These playing cards serve as another tool for law enforcement officials to explore ways to find information about unsolved cases,” Sheriff McDermott said. “We owe it to the families in Norfolk County and across the Commonwealth to try new and innovative approaches to help bring home their loved ones and create some closure.”

“Not everyone consistently sees traditional media, so even cases that have had substantial press attention will benefit from finding new ways to spread information,” District Attorney Michael Morrissey said. “Other jurisdictions have had success gaining information and solving cases through these cards. We are pleased to see several of our cases here and hope this helps.”

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.