Quincy To Study Municipal Broadband Network

By SCOTT JACKSON

Citing concerns from residents over the cost of internet service and a lack of options, Quincy officials on Monday announced they are taking steps to study the feasibility of operating a fiber-optic broadband network in the city.

Mayor Thomas Koch and Ward 3 Councillor Ian Cain made the announcement during a press conference inside the McIntyre Government Center.

“I hear constantly from people about lack of competition – some related to cable, some related to slowness of access to get onto the network,” Koch said. “This is something we’re very serious about looking at.”

“This is really a constituent- and resident-driven project,” said Cain, who authored a 2018 resolution asking the city to study the feasibility of creating a broadband municipal network.

“There is something that we hear when we are out talking to residents and constituents all the time, it’s ‘when are getting, when are we going to get options, when are we going to get cheaper internet with better service?’”

Cain said the plan would be to create a city-owned fiber-optic network. The city would lay the cable for the network, and residents and businesses would be able to select from a list of internet service providers who would use that network.

“What this project is really doing is separating the infrastructure from the services. We’re going to look at providing a city municipally owned utility, in the form of fiber/broadband, and allowing for different companies, internet service providers, to compete on that network, which will offer competition and eventually to bring the price down,” Cain said.

“The goal would be to eventually provide residents in the city of Quincy with internet as low as $50 a month, which is something I think that every can get behind.”

Those who prefer to stay with Comcast of Verizon would be able to do so.

As part of the process, the city will be surveying residents to gauge their interest in participating in the new network. The survey is available online at quincyfiber.com, a new website launched to explain the municipal broadband concept to residents. Koch said questions regarding municipal broadband could also be sent to residents on next year’s city census.

Entry Point Networks is working with Quincy officials to complete the study at a nominal cost to the city, Cain said. The company worked with the city of Ammon, Idaho, to install a similar network there, which “Fast Company” on Monday called the best fiber-optic network in the country.

It will likely be a year or more before installation of the new broadband network could commence, he said, and it would likely be done on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis depending on demand.

The total cost of the installing the new network has yet to be determined.

Two Taken To Hospital After Friday Crash

By SCOTT JACKSON

Two Quincy residents were taken to South Shore Hospital following a three-car crash on Franklin Street late Friday afternoon.

The crash, near the intersection of Franklin Street and Independence Avenue, happened at 5:38 p.m. Friday, Sgt. Karyn Barkas said.

The driver of a 2002 Chevrolet SUV was headed southbound on Franklin Street at the time of the accident when he swerved into the northbound lane and struck two other vehicles, a 2018 Acura RDX and a 2018 Nissan Infiniti SUV, Barkas said.

The collision left the Chevrolet and the Infiniti stuck together, with the Infiniti pinned over the rock wall that separates the sidewalk from the Adams birthplaces. It took first responders an hour to clear the scene.

The driver of the Chevrolet, a 67-year-old Quincy man, had a medical issue that led to the crash and was taken to South Shore Hospital, Barkas said. The driver of the Infiniti, a 53-year-old Quincy woman, was taken to South Shore Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver and a passenger inside the Acura did not require transport to the hospital.

Barkas said no citations had been issued as of Monday morning.

Public Hearing Monday On Plastic Bag Ban

By SCOTT JACKSON

Members of the public will have a chance on Monday to voice their support or opposition to a proposed ordinance that would ban certain single-use plastic bags in Quincy.

The City Council’s ordinance committee is set to hold a public hearing on the proposal at 7 p.m. Monday in the Great Hall of the McIntyre Government Center, 1305 Hancock St.

A public hearing on a home-rule petition calling for early voting in municipal elections will also be held at that time.

Mayor Thomas Koch and Ward 4 Councillor Brian Palmucci introduced the ordinance to ban the use of disposable plastic bags at the council’s June 17 meeting.  Koch had said he would introduce an ordinance to ban the use of disposable plastic bags during his State of the City address in January, citing the impact discarded plastics have the environment, particularly the world’s oceans.

“It is the purpose of this ordinance to achieve a reduction in the use of disposable plastic shopping bags by retail establishments in the city, thereby advancing solid waste reduction, protecting marine ecosystems, protecting waterways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Koch and Palmucci’s legislation states.

“This ordinance seeks to reduce the number of plastic bags that are being used, discarded and littered, and to promote the use of reusable check-out bags and recyclable paper bags.”

The ordinance would ban 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 would be among those banned.

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 would 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 – would be exempt from, as would recyclable paper bags, provided they are 100 percent recyclable and made from at 40 percent post-consumer recycled content. Such paper bags would need be labelled as “recyclable” and “made from 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.”

Certain plastic bags would be 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 would also be exempt.

More than 80 communities across Massachusetts have enacted bans on single-use plastic bags in recent years.

Palmucci is also the author of the home-rule petition calling for early voting in municipal elections. As a home-rule petition, it would require approval from the council, the city’s mayor and state lawmakers before it could take effect.

Massachusetts has allowed early voting during the last two statewide elections in 2016 and 2018. Communities were required to have at least one polling place open during the 10 day weekdays leading up the November election those years. There was no early voting in the primary elections those years.

In Quincy, residents had the chance to cast their ballots during those 10 weekdays and a Saturday in both 2016 and 2018. In 2018, 4,339 residents cast their ballots during the early voting period. In 2016, 8,535 residents did so.

‘Christmas Around The World!’ Selected Parade Theme

“Christmas around the world!” will be the theme of the 67th annual City of Quincy Christmas Parade.

In what is believed to be a parade first, Dolly Di Pesa – who had her entry selected from 46 possible themes last year – came out on top again from the list of 31 entries submitted this year as part of the annual theme contest. The selection committee make their selection without knowing who submitted the entry.

The theme is an important part of the parade as it is used in the design and building of floats by the many community groups and schools who compete for prizes in a number of categories. The theme is also used for the poster contest, which is sponsored by QATV in all of the elementary schools in Quincy.

Community groups, nonprofits, and schools are eligible to participate in the parade by building floats which are judged for cash prizes. Commercial floats pay a fee to enter floats and are judged in a separate category and are awarded trophies. Persons interested in entering a float for this year’s parade should contact the committee at pdoherty@quincyma.gov.

Di Pesa, who is well known community volunteer and is active in the Quincy Rotary Club and other nonprofit organizations, is a CPA with an office at Marina Bay.

As the theme winner, Di Pesa a Quincy resident will have the honor of riding in the parade with some guests and will be presented a plaque at an awards ceremony at the conclusion of this year’s parade. The parade will be held on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Quincy Cleaning Up After Overnight Storm

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy is cleaning up Thursday after a powerful nor’easter struck the region overnight.

The storm brought high winds and rain to the area starting late Wednesday before letting up early Thursday morning. Gusty winds continued into Thursday.

Quincy police said they received more than 90 calls for service between midnight and 8 a.m. Thursday and continued getting calls for downed wires and trees through the rest of the morning.

National Grid reported scattered power outages throughout the city Thursday. The largest, as of 1 p.m. Thursday, was in the vicinity of Quincy Avenue where nearly 400 customers were without power. The other outages involved fewer than five customers each.

Police Seek Burglary Suspect

Quincy police say this man broke into a Squantum residence early Tuesday morning. Photo courtesy Quincy Police Department.

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy police are seeking the public’s help in identifying the suspect who broke into a Squantum residence early Tuesday morning.

The unarmed burglary took place around 2 a.m. on Bellevue Road, police said.

The resident of the home was able to observe the suspect via surveillance camera as he exited the resident’s garage and entered her attached shed. She immediately contacted the Quincy police and spoke with dispatchers as she watched the suspect.

Officers were unable to locate the suspect upon arrival.

The resident does not believe the suspect stole anything.

Anyone with information that may assist in identifying this individual is asked to contact Det. James Karvelis at jkarvelis@quincyma.gov or 617-745-5765. You may also submit a tip using the MyPD smartphone app.