23 Residents File Nomination Papers; Preliminary For Mayor, Ward 1 Councillor

By ROBERT BOSWORTH

Twenty-three residents returned nomination papers before the 5 p.m. filing deadline Friday afternoon setting up a city-wide preliminary election for mayor as well as a run-off for Ward 1 councillor Sept. 10.

There will also be contests for city councillor at-large, the open Ward 5 council seat, Ward 3 seat, Ward 6 seat and school committee.

Four residents who had taken out papers did not file them by the deadline. That means there will not be a preliminary election for councillor at-large or Ward 5 councillor.

The list of candidates who submitted nomination papers and the office they are seeking are:

Mayor: incumbent Thomas Koch, 249 Newbury Ave.; and challengers Brenda Ryan, 14 Cranch St. and Tracey Dorgan, 108 Sherman St. The top two-vote getters in the mayoral preliminary election will advance to the final election Nov. 5. First elected in 2007, Koch is seeking his sixth term as Quincy’s mayor including a second straight four-year term. If he is re-elected in November, Koch will become the longest serving mayor in Quincy history surpassing 12 years that was reached by former Mayor James Sheets (all Plan A) and Amelio Della Chiesa (eight years Plan A, four years Plan E.)

Councillor at-large: incumbents Nina Liang, 2 Williams St.; Noel DiBona, 70 Chickatabot Rd.; and Anne Mahoney, 12 Ferriter St.; and challengers Frank Rubino, 5 Whiton Ave. and Joann Sullivan Cantor, 316 Fenno St. The top three vote getters Nov. 5 will win two-year seats.

William F. Burke, 28 Rice Rd. and John Rodophele, 62 Grenwold Rd., did not return papers for councillor at-large, negating a preliminary election.

School Committee: incumbents Paul Bregoli, 80 Willow Ave. and Kathryn Hubley, 44 Marion St.; and challengers Courtney Perdios, 86 Ruggles St. and Frank Santoro, 14 Lois Ter. Incumbent James D’Amicis did not pull nomination papers. Top three vote getters Nov. 5 will win a four-year term.

Ward 1 City Council: incumbent David McCarthy, 48 Whitney Rd.; and challengers Danielle Kempe, 1 Adams St. and Joseph Murphy, 18 Macy St. The top two vote getters in the Sept. 10 preliminary election will advance to the final election Nov. 5. The winner will be elected to a two-year term.

Ward 3 City Council: incumbent Ian Cain, 8 Highpoint Rd. and challenger Eriberto Soto, Jr., 627 Adams St. Winner Nov. 5 will be elected to a two-year term.

Ward 5 City Council: two candidates are vying for the seat being vacated by Kirsten Hughes. They are Charles Phelan, 298 Fenno St. and Stephen Christo, 42 Standish Ave. The winner Nov. 5 will be elected to a two-year term.

Two residents who had pulled papers for Ward 5 councillor did not file them: Mary Lally, 10 Weston Ave. and Christopher DeCambra, 25 Langley Cir.

Ward 6 City Council: incumbent William Harris, 74 Ashworth Rd. and challenger William P. Isenberg, 36 Carle Rd. The winner Nov. 5 will be elected to a two-year term.

Two incumbent city councillors will be unopposed this fall: Ward 2’s Brad Croall, 92 Viden Rd. and Ward 4’s Brian Palmucci, 16 Cross St.

The field of candidates will be officially when candidates file statements of candidacy. Deadline for statements is 5 p.m. on Aug. 6.

Quincy ‘Neat Neighbors’ Contest Underway

Mayor Thomas Koch announces the return of the City’s “Neat Neighbors” contest that recognizes property owners that do an excellent job maintaining their home or business. Friends, relatives, neighbors, or strangers can nominate an address for recognition from now through Labor Day by calling (617) 376-1251 or emailing pdoherty@quincyma.gov.

“Beautification is a team effort and I appreciate the hard work and time that go into keeping a lawn, yard, and home beautiful,” Koch said. “We have thousands of residents who have made this a labor of love and I think we should recognize their contribution to the overall aesthetics of our city.”

Each nominated property will be reviewed to ensure it meets the requirements for property maintenance. Once the property qualifies, winners will be selected at random to avoid competitive judgments. Qualifying properties will have maintained lawns, plantings, and homes in good repair.

A special category will be added for business and commercial properties this year.

Added Koch, “Many businesses do a fine job presenting their properties, but some could definitely do more. We are hoping that this endeavor creates a city-wide conversation about beautification that helps lift the overall aesthetics of our residential and business districts.”

There will be 25 residential properties and 10 commercial properties chosen as winners. Those properties selected as winners will receive a $30 gift certificate at a Quincy-based garden center to recognize their efforts.

Quincy Homestead House, Garden Tour Saturday Cancelled

Due to the expectations of very high heat and humidity levels, the Quincy Homestead Historic House and Garden Tour scheduled for Saturday, July 20 has been cancelled out of concern for visitors’ and volunteers’ safety and comfort.

The public is welcome to visit the Homestead at 34 Butler Rd., Quincy, on Saturday, Aug. 3 when Quincy Quarry and Granite Cutting Museum representatives will demonstrate granite cutting using antique tools.

Emergency Preparedness Informational Workshop July 31

The City of Quincy Office of Emergency Management in collaboration with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and the Quincy Council on Aging will host an emergency preparedness informational workshop on July 31st.

The workshop will provide key information on emergency preparedness, including, how to put together an emergency supplies kit, and how to develop a family emergency plan. Many helpful emergency preparedness publications will also be provided to attendees free of charge.

Doug Forbes, who currently serves as a local coordinator for MEMA, will conduct the workshop. Forbes has worked for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency for 35 years and is a subject matter expert on emergency preparedness. During his career, he has assisted with disaster response and recovery during multiple events, to include Hurricane Gloria, Hurricane Bob, and the Berkshire Tornado.

The workshop will be conducted from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 31st, at the Kennedy Center located at 440 East Squantum St., and will be open to all Quincy residents.

The presentation is being offered in a series of events coordinated by Quincy Emergency Management, in an initiative to enhance public knowledge and capabilities to prepare for and respond to potential emergency situations.

For more information on the workshop contact Quincy Emergency Management at (617) 376-1105, or the Quincy Council on Aging at (617) 376-1506.

Ermont Could Begin Recreational Pot Sales By November

By SCOTT JACKSON

The company that has sold medical marijuana at its Quincy dispensary for the past three years could get permission from the state to start selling to recreational customers as soon as November.

Ermont hosted a community outreach meeting Wednesday night inside the Lincoln-Hancock School on its plans to begin recreational sales from its location at 216 Ricciuti Drive. About 30 residents attended the 90-minute meeting.

Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci, in whose district the store is located, said state law gives Ermont priority over other applicants because the company already has a license to sell medical marijuana. That means Ermont does not have to go through a permitting process with the city, like it did when it first sought to open.

“They have priority access because they were a pre-existing medical marijuana facility, so the way in which this operation and this particular company would proceed toward becoming a retail marijuana site in Quincy will not be replicated,” Palmucci said.

“If another entity wanted to open up a retail marijuana facility in the city of Quincy, they would have to follow a different process that would be a little bit more robust in terms of the city component, because they would have to go through the Planning Board process.”

John Gates, the company’s CEO, said he plans to submit the application for the retail license to the state Cannabis Control Commission within the next week. He expects it would take four to five months for the CCC to approve the license, meaning Ermont could possibly begin recreational sales by November or December.

Ermont serves about 255 customers each day, Gates said, and he expects that number would double once recreational sales begin. He anticipates $10 million in recreational sales during the first year. Quincy would receive 3 percent of all retail sales, Gates said, per a host agreement it has reached with the city.

The city also has the option of imposing a 3 percent local tax on recreational sales; legislation to adopt the local sales tax is pending before the City Council. The 3 percent local tax would be on top of the 17 percent tax the state assesses.

Ermont would sell edibles – marijuana-infused food and beverages – to recreational customers, among other products. Chris Yang, Ermont’s director of retail, said the company would be required to follow state regulations for edibles, which include child-proof packaging and certain label requirements.

Gates said he understands the importance of not selling marijuana products to children.

“We don’t allow the sale of cannabis in any form – whether it is recreational sales or medical sales – to impact children. I’m a father of six kids…and there is research that says that cannabis affects the growing brain in a negative way. We take that responsibility very seriously,” Gates said.

“We will never market in any way, whether it is in the form it comes in, whether it is in the way that we talk about it [and] certainly when it comes to seeing minors that might try to approach the facility or try to be on site.”

The chief concern for many of the residents who spoke at the meeting was traffic along Ricciuti Drive, including its intersection with Willard Street at the bottom of the hill, which is located near an exit from Interstate 93.

“We have a major traffic problem entering and exiting Ricciuti Drive,” said Mort McGrath. “My concern is how are we going to see an improvement to our [quality] of life.”

Palmucci said Quincy studied the feasibility of installing a signal at that intersection a dozen years ago, but the traffic conditions did not warrant a signal at that time. A more recent study showed traffic conditions now warrant a signal there, Palmucci said, and the city has asked the state for permission to go ahead with that plan. The city is prepared to pay for the cost of the signal if necessary, using some of the money it would receive from Ermont.

“We will pay for all of it, if we have to, to make it better, because it needs to be done. It’s not the kind of thing that we’re going to wait for the state to pay for,” Palmucci said. “Some of the money that we would be getting in revenue from this operation would go towards offsetting that cost so it wouldn’t result in an increase in taxes.”

If Ermont receives permission for recreational sales before the intersection work takes place, Gates said the company would work with the city and state to have a police officer there to direct traffic at peak hours if not all times the store is open. The company would also consider requiring recreational customers to schedule an appointment during peak hours.

Phyllis Speen said she was concerned a signal at the intersection would not be enough to fix the traffic issue and a more substantial solution would be required. Until that time, she said Ermont should not be allowed to go ahead with recreational sales.

“I don’t have any issue with what they do,” Speen said. “I do have an issue with the added the people and volume that’s up there.”

Eric Doucette said the city should not stop a business from opening because of traffic concerns and added that revenue from the company could be used for infrastructure improvements.

“There are three liquor stores within a mile of my house – when the Patriots play, it creates traffic. When people go to church, it creates traffic. When there is a long weekend and people have barbecues, you go by Stop & Shop and there is a lot of traffic,” he said.

“If we can bring in all this extra revenue, it will be good to get more traffic lights, to get bigger crosswalks, to get better lighting.”

Councillor Anne Mahoney said the signal should be installed at the intersection before Ermont begins recreational sales.

“Although I do agree with you that if you have a Patriots game and you have certain other things going on it does create traffic in certain areas, this particular location in general…has a treacherous track record and unfortunately it is going to get worse when this opens,” Mahoney said.

Kathy Deady said she was concerned allowing recreational sales would lead to children using marijuana.

“I think it having it be recreational just says to the kid…it’s OK,” Deady said. “It’s OK to have it and it’s OK to use it – smoke it, eat it, vape it, do whatever you want with it – and those kids will get it from their older brothers and sisters. They will. They do it now, especially the vaping.”

Jeff Burke said he supported Ermont’s proposal for recreational sales.

“I think it’s really good what you’re doing. I don’t think it’s bad for the community and we’ve waited a long time for this,” he said.

Recreational sales of marijuana were approved in a 2016 statewide referendum, which 51 percent of voters in Quincy supported. Because a majority of Quincy voters approved the ballot question, the mayor and City Council cannot ban marijuana establishments outright. The city would also be required to license up to seven recreational shops – one for every five liquor stores in the city.

Mayor Thomas Koch in February 2018 introduced a zoning ordinance – still pending before the City Council – regulating where pot shops would be able open in the city. The proposed ordinance, which is similar to an approved ordinance concerning medical marijuana dispensaries, would in essence limit recreational stores to the vicinity of Quarry Hills, Crown Colony and the Fore River Shipyard.

Councillor Nina Liang, the chairwoman of the council’s ordinance committee, said she expects a vote on the zoning ordinance would take place in the fall after councillors return from their summer recess. The goal is to ensure the ordinance does not run afoul of state regulations.

“We want to make sure that everything we’re doing to protect the residents of the city are going to be able to fly and not potentially open us up to any lawsuits,” Liang said. “I would encourage folks when we reconvene in the fall to meet on this to come to the meetings.”

No Bail For Woman Charged With Husband’s Murder

By SCOTT JACKSON

The 46-year-old woman charged with fatally stabbing her husband on July 4 in Quincy will remain behind bars following her arraignment.

Huixian Liu, age 46, of 67 W. Newton St. in Boston was arraigned on a charge of murder Friday in Quincy District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf and she was ordered held without bail.

Liu is due back in court Aug. 13.

Quincy police were called to the area of 10 South Central Ave. shortly before 7 p.m. on July 4 for a report of a stabbing, according to David Traub, the spokesman for Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey.

The victim, Biqiang He, age 55, also of 67 W. Newton St. in Boston, was transported from the scene first to Quincy Medical Center, then to Boston Medical Center where he underwent surgery, Traub said; Mr. He died July 7 at Boston Medical Center.

Liu was initially facing assault charges and was arraigned on those charges on July 5 in Quincy District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on her behalf at that time and she was ordered held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing slated for July 12. Prosecutors then charged Liu with murder following her husband’s death.

 

Cannons Create New $25 Standing-Room-Only Ticket For Home Games

The Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse (MLL) announced that starting Friday, June 14th, a limited run of tickets for all home games at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium will be on-sale for a discounted rate of $25. The allotted tickets will be standing-room-only and will be on-sale today (Friday, June 14th) on the team website.

“We don’t want price to be a barrier and to inhibit our fans from enjoying our new Cannons experience at Veterans’ Memorial Field,” Cannons Team President Ian Frenette said. “Our fans have asked us for a $25 general admission option, and today, we’re proud to respond to our customers and deliver this new program that will benefit many of our new and loyal fans in greater Boston and the communities we serve.”

Seated ticket options at Veterans’ Memorial Stadium start at $35, on-field seating to the Citizens Bank Sideline Club are $85. The Cannons sold out Opening Day with 5,025 tickets sold.

To get your $25 Standing Room Only Tickets click the links below:

$25.00 Standing Room Only Tickets:
June 29    July 20     August 10    August 24    September 7    September 21

July 10 Meeting On Proposed Quincy Pot Shop

By SCOTT JACKSON

Ermont will host a public outreach meeting as it begins the process of seeking city and state approval for recreational marijuana sales at its Ricciuti Drive location.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, July 10, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Lincoln-Hancock Community School, 300 Granite St.

“Anyone who is concerned about or who has any input on recreational marijuana in the city of Quincy should come,” Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci said Monday. “We will have a discussion about Ermont’s proposal.”

Ermont has operated a medical marijuana dispensary at 216 Ricciuti Dr. in West Quincy since October 2016. The community outreach meeting is required as it seeks approval from the state Cannabis Control Commission to offer recreational sales to all adults age 21 and over.

Mayor Thomas Koch in February 2018 introduced an ordinance regulating recreational marijuana sales in the city. The legislation remains pending before the City Council.

The proposed ordinance would require 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.

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. The city would also be required to license up to seven pot shops – one for every five liquor stores in the city.

MBTA Announces Accelerated Repair Schedule For Red Line Signal System

The MBTA announced Friday an accelerated repair schedule for the Red Line’s signal system.

The transit authority said it is currently achieving service levels of a train every six minutes during rush hour. Work to repair signal systems will continue through the summer.

Following the derailment of June 11, initial recovery efforts were focused on repairs to track and power systems in the area of JFK/UMass Station.

In the immediate aftermath of the June 11 derailment, trains could only run at a rate of approximately one train every 10 minutes, or six trains per hour, during peak travel hours through the Red Line core, which spans from JFK/UMass to Alewife.

With both contractor personnel and MBTA forces working around the clock, train speeds could safely increase to 25 miles per hour through most of the affected area.  As a result, the MBTA was able to restore Red Line frequency to one train every six minutes during rush hour, or about 10 trains per hour.

In order to safely operate trains at six-minute intervals, while also allowing crews to continue signal-system repairs, Red Line trains are passing through the JFK/UMass area under a carefully controlled manual operation.  This complex process involves over 50 people at a given time to safely coordinate the movement of trains between the Red Line core and the Braintree and Ashmont branches.

“While we recognize anything but full service falls short of our customers’ expectations, our current recovery schedule reflects the MBTA’s urgent approach to the massive task of returning the Red Line to full service,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak.  “As recovery efforts continue, I want to thank the MBTA workforce for their urgency and professionalism, and I want our customers to know that we deeply appreciate their patience.”

Red Line recovery work is expected to continue through the summer to gradually restore impacted portions of the Red Line to full service.

Signal Restoration

Work remains ongoing to address critical signal infrastructure that will allow the MBTA to resume normal levels of service. After conducting a careful evaluation of remaining work, the MBTA expects that this work will continue throughout the summer.

During the derailment, the train struck and damaged multiple structures that house critical Red Line signal hardware and equipment in the area near JFK/UMass.

This equipment controls the intricate system of track, signals, and switches where the Ashmont and Braintree branches diverge on the Red Line. Without the signal system, each Red Line train must be given permission to proceed from one station to the next with personnel along the tracks physically directing trains’ routing. While this limits train speeds as well as the total number of trains in service, this manual process is necessary to allow trains to move safely along tracks.

In addition to controlling the speed and frequency of Red Line trains traveling in passenger service, the signal system also plays a vital role in dispatching trains during the start of service each day.

MBTA signal and power teams continue to simultaneously assess the scope of damage and make repairs to the signal systems.  Because of the age of the system and the extent of the damage, initial restoration of the signal system was projected to take approximately one year.

Working to compress that schedule, teams are focusing on expediting the restoration of the signal system in four separate areas of the Red Line:

 

·             Broadway to JFK/UMass

·             Ashmont Branch: JFK/UMass to Fields Corner

·             Braintree Branch: JFK/UMass to the track in the area proximate to Tenean Beach

·             Cabot Yard in South Boston to JFK/UMass

Beyond efforts to restore the system to full automation, the MBTA is also working to expedite the replacement of the existing analog system to state-of-the-art digital audio frequency technology.  Under a contract awarded to Barletta Heavy Division in October 2018, the MBTA is working to re-sequence the installation of the new system with a focus on starting the upgrade project in the area of JFK/UMass.

Restoration Goals

The MBTA will continue working over the coming weeks to restore segments of the signal system with the goal of further improving service levels by Labor Day.

Red Line customers are still advised to plan for extra travel times due to manually operated switches that require trains to travel at a slower speed through a certain segment of Red Line track.

As signal assets incrementally come back on line, it will lessen the need for manual operations, which in turn, will improve train speeds, allow the MBTA to increase the number of trains in service, and ultimately drive passenger wait times down toward levels that customers expect.

Recovery and Repair Update

The Red Line derailment continues to be under investigation. Operator error (including speed), foul play, and track infrastructure have been ruled out as the probable cause at this time.

After disassembling the car that derailed, MBTA personnel are in the process of determining potential causes of its failure through rigorous evaluations of the car’s components.  Out of an abundance of caution, the MBTA conducted a rigorous inspection of all related components of all vehicles of the same type involved in the derailment.  As of today, Friday, June 21, all vehicles of the same type involved in the derailment have been inspected.

MBTA workers and contractors continue to repair damaged signals, switches, and bungalows in the area impacted by the derailment. This includes the following repairs and updates for:

·       Repairing and replacing all damaged third rail (approximately 200 feet), and 200 feet of rail near track switches, which was accomplished last week.

·       Wire and cable work continues as quickly as possible.

·       Power and signal work is ongoing with necessary repair parts arriving on scene through the week to be assembled.

MBTA and Red Line Investments

The $8 billion that the MBTA plans to spend over the next five years is the most in any five-year period ever – and this funding will have tangible results and provide a more reliable ride for our customers.

The MBTA is investing nearly $2 billion in the Red and Orange Line improvement program, which will completely replace the cars and signal systems, and upgrade track and maintenance facilities, of both lines.

The MBTA is investing $350 million on the signal systems and $470 million for track and maintenance facility upgrades.

The MBTA is working to deliver 252 new Red Line cars and expects the first Red Line pilot car to be delivered this summer.

This is aggressive capital spending to completely update these major lines, and customers are going to see tangible results of these investments in the next couple of years.

The MBTA has also made a number of investments along the Red Line since 2015 including replacing third rail and track, and signal work.
Updates regarding Red Line service will continue to be available on the MBTA website and on Twitter. For the most up to date service information, visit mbta.com/redlineservice and follow the T on Twitter @MBTA and @MBTA_CR.

Fireworks to Mark 4th of July

The Bay Pointe Waterfront Restaurant, located in Quincy Point, will sponsor a firework display on July 4 in recognition of Independence Day for the second straight year.

The inaugural fireworks show on July 4, 2018 marked Bay Pointe’s 20th anniversary in operation in Quincy and the display was designed as a way to give back to the community that had long supported the restaurant and came along with a pledge to continue the Fourth of July fireworks celebration annually on behalf of the city.

In recognition of the rich history of the city, its roots in American politics, and its famous residents’ contributions to shaping the beginnings of the United States, Bay Pointe owner Hynes Restaurant Group, alongside Mayor Thomas Koch, are proud to announce that the pyrotechnics show will once again launch from a barge in Town River Bay at 9:15 p.m. on July 4 allowing for maximum viewing from many vantage points citywide including, but not limited to, Germantown, Quincy Point, Merrymount, Houghs Neck and the Fore River Bridge area adjacent to North Weymouth.

The city of Quincy was home to such American heroes and framers as President John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams, President John Quincy Adams as well as John Hancock, the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hynes Restaurant Group owner Kevin Hynes felt strongly that the city of nearly 100,000 residents in current day deserved an Independence Day celebration worthy of the contributions of some of its earliest occupants from centuries earlier.

“We have been honored to be a part of the city of Quincy for the past two decades as a culinary destination for the freshest seafood New England has to offer and some of the best water and sunset views around,” Hynes said. “Now it’s time for us to give back not only to our guests and all those who have made Bay Pointe Waterfront Restaurant what it is today but also to the entire city and we are excited to work with Mayor Koch on this great occasion and event.”

While Bay Pointe Waterfront Restaurant will be closed to the public beginning at 3 p.m. on July 4 for a private viewing party, the fireworks display can be viewed throughout much of the city.

Tickets for the private party at Bay Pointe can be purchased by calling the restaurant at 617-472-3200 or by visiting in person. Questions regarding the party can be directed to restaurant management at the same phone number.