Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office Warns Residents Of Phone Scams Impersonating Law Enforcement

Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott is warning county residents that phone scammers have been impersonating local law enforcement, including the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office, in an attempt to fraudulently steal funds from residents.

“Residents should remain vigilant when they receive calls asking them for money. The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement will never call residents and demand payment,” said Sheriff McDermott. “We are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to track down these criminals and help keep local residents safe from fraudulent calls.”

Scammers have recently started identifying themselves on the phone as officers from local law enforcement, including the Sheriff’s Office, even using the names of actual officers in those departments in an attempt to con callers out of funds. They may attempt to instill fear in recipients by claiming there is a warrant for their arrest, unpaid fines, or that a relative has been arrested and needs money to be released.

“If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be the Sheriff’s Office or another law enforcement agency, it is okay to hang up and call that agency directly, even if the caller ID appears to be legitimate,” said Sheriff McDermott. “If it’s a legitimate call, we won’t be upset if you take precautions to confirm our identity, but remember that we will never demand payment for anything over the phone.”

The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office shared tips for identifying and avoiding fraudulent scam calls:

  • Scam callers often try to instill a sense of urgency so that the recipient feels that they have to act quickly and not think too much about the validity of the call. Hanging up and looking up the correct number for the law enforcement office the caller claims to be from (instead of relying on the number that appears on caller ID) is a good way to confirm the identity of the caller.
  • Scammers will frequently demand payment in difficult-to-trace ways, such as cash left in a local locker, gift cards, Bitcoin transfers, or more.
  • Scammers will sometimes target families and pretend to be an officer who has arrested a relative, such as a grandchild or will pretend to be the relative. If you receive a call from a relative in distress who is asking for money, hang up and call that relative directly to confirm.

The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office encourages residents to report any suspicious or scam calls to their local police department. This helps local law enforcement track the rate and frequency of calls and identify common tactics and strategies scammers may be adopting.

New Arrest In Quincy Murder

By SCOTT JACKSON

Another of the seven men charged with murder in the August shooting death of a Quincy man in the parking area of his apartment building has been arrested.

Derek Miranda

Derek Miranda, age 28, with ties to Randolph and Dorchester, was arrested on Thursday afternoon and is due to be arraigned Friday at 9 a.m. in Norfolk County Superior Court, a spokesperson for Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said.

“We are thankful to the Quincy Police and the State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section for their continued partnership in this investigation and in apprehending those under indictment for this murder,” Morrissey said in a statement.
Miranda is one of seven men who were indicted for murder in December in connection with the Aug. 18 fatal shooting of Jordan Wiggins in the parking area of Wiggins’ residence within the Elevation apartment complex at Crown Colony. Miranda was indicted on a number of charges, including murder, armed home invasion, and two counts each of kidnapping with intent to extort and armed assault with intent to rob.
Four of the other men, all facing murder and other charges, were previously arrested and arraigned in Superior Court. They are Cornel Bell Jr., Dante Clarke, Dwayne Harper and Sheik Ramos. Each of those defendants pleaded not guilty during their arraignments and were ordered held without bail. All four are due back in court on March 6 for a pre-trial conference.
The remaining men, Walter Batista and Clayton Rodrigues, remain at large.

MassDOT Weather Advisory: Extreme Cold Temperatures Forecast Friday, Saturday

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is advising travelers of the extreme cold temperatures forecast across the Commonwealth on Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4. The National Weather Service warns that the negative 30 degree wind chill could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes, and strong northwest winds of 24 to 29 miles per hour, with gusts as high as 43 mph in some areas, could occur Friday afternoon and evening.

MassDOT will not be closing the Sumner Tunnel from Friday, Feb. 3 through Monday, Feb. 6 due to the anticipated extreme temperatures. Crews will be unable to complete the necessary work during these conditions and the tunnel will remain open.

Flights at Logan Airport have already been impacted this week due to inclement weather across the country and delays at both Logan and Worcester Regional Airport are possible with the frigid temperature expected this weekend. Massport is urging passengers to check with their airlines on the status of their flight before coming to the airports.

The Healey-Driscoll Administration will use its authority on a case-by-case basis to keep South Station in Boston open during extreme weather events. That will begin this weekend, on Friday night, Feb. 3 and Saturday night, Feb. 4, during Boston’s cold weather emergency.

“We have been in close contact with local leaders and service providers to make sure people are being taking care of during the extreme weather, including having providers available to offer transportation to shelter for those who want it as well as other resources,” said Gov. Maura Healey. “We encourage anyone who needs a place to stay to accept this offer and spend the night at a safe, warm shelter rather than at the station.”

The MBTA is preparing for extreme cold weather conditions beginning Friday, February 3, and lasting throughout the weekend. Keolis and the MBTA are closely monitoring potential impacts to service and infrastructure. Crews will be ready to respond to any issues.

The MBTA will operate trains and buses at or near regular schedules, but riders should anticipate that delays may occur due to the extreme cold conditions.  Riders are encouraged to visit MBTA.com/Winter for updated service information. Customers can also monitor service on Twitter at @MBTA and @MBTA_CR, and riders are encouraged to sign up for T-Alerts. Riders are also encouraged to be cautious when near railroad crossings, when accessing stations, and when boarding or alighting trains. Hazardous conditions can be reported to the MBTA Call Center at (617)-222-3200 or on Twitter.

The previously scheduled Orange Line service suspension between Ruggles and North Station on Saturday, Feb. 4, has been cancelled. However, the Orange Line service suspension scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 5, will take place between Back Bay and North Station. Riders should use Green Line service between Copley and Government Center.

The MBTA is implementing its cold-weather mitigation measures, which include storing buses and trains indoors or in tunnels overnight and conducting regular checks of vehicles that remain outside. The MBTA will be cycling trains in and out of rail yards so they are not sitting idle for extended periods of time. For trains that are not running throughout the system, MBTA personnel will be opening and closing doors as well as testing brakes and propulsion systems to prevent moisture buildup and freezing. To protect equipment from the extreme cold, Keolis will also need to idle locomotives continuously at maintenance facilities and layover yards. Signaling and track crews will be inspecting tracks to ensure that heaters for track switches and third rail are operating as designed.

For more information on traffic conditions, travelers are encouraged to:

  • Download the Mass511 mobile app or visit www.mass511.com to view live cameras, travel times, real-time traffic conditions, and project information before setting out on the road. Users can subscribe to receive text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.
  • For more MBTA information, please visit mbta.com or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook/TheMBTA, Instagram @theMBTA, or TikTok @thembta.

AAA Car Tips For Frigid Temperatures

Frigid temperatures are headed this way, possibly affecting vehicles both during the upcoming weekend and next Monday morning after cars have sat idle for a few days. AAA Northeast has some tips to make sure your car starts in the coldest weather of the season:

  • A strong, fully charged battery is important – if your vehicle battery is more than five years old it may need a replacement.
  • If you don’t drive often, drive the car for at least 30 minutes this week. It won’t fully charge the battery but it will help.
  • When you first get in the car make sure all the lights and other accessories are off.
  • Turn the key to the “on” position and wait a couple of seconds, then crank the engine.
  • If the engine doesn’t start in 10-15 seconds, stop, rest and try again.

Once the car is started it is not necessary to warm it up for more than the time it takes to put on your seat belt, adjust the heat and radio. Then drive gently until you feel the heat coming from the climate control. Allowing the car to sit and warm up only warms the engine, not the brakes, suspension, or transmission.

If you own an electric car, cold weather range can be reduced up to 50 percent. To maximize range in cold weather:

  • Warm the battery while it is plugged in, so it will accept a charge more efficiently. During cold weather preconditioning also increases your EV range because the battery will be warmed up to its best operating temperature.
  • Warm the vehicle cabin while the car is plugged in.
  • Depending on the vehicle, the seat heaters may be more efficient than the heater.
  • Drive at moderate speeds.

Two-Alarm Fire Displaces 9 Residents

By SCOTT JACKSON

A two-alarm fire inside a multi-family residence on Buckley Street in West Quincy displaced nine residents.

Firefighters were called to the home at 25 Buckley St. around 1:15 a.m. on Jan. 25, Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Barron Jr. said. The fire began in a first floor apartment and spread to the second floor of the house.

One resident of the house was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Barron said. A firefighter sustained minor injuries and remained on scene.

Crews were able to bring the fire under control within about an hour and a half and were on scene were for two and a half hours that morning, Barron said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation as of Feb. 1, Barron said, but it is not considered suspicious.

‘Coffee With The Sheriff’ At The Early American Diner Feb. 9

Norfolk County Sheriff Patrick McDermott will host a “Coffee with the Sheriff” diner visit in Quincy at The Early American on Thursday, Feb. 9th from 8 – 9:30 a.m. He will visit with residents, talk about their ideas, and answer questions about public safety and the work of the Sheriff’s Office.

“One of the best ways for me to understand the public safety needs of Norfolk County is to be able to sit down with residents in their home communities,” said Sheriff McDermott. “These diner tours are an opportunity to talk with people about their ideas and answer their questions while also highlighting some of the great local businesses in our county.”

The “Coffee with the Sheriff” visits are designed to give residents and community members a chance to meet with Sheriff McDermott in their hometowns and discuss issues important to them. Visits are scheduled at local diners and coffee shops around Norfolk County.

A full schedule of locations, dates, and times can be found on the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office website at www.NorfolkSheriff.com/coffee.

Text Of Mayor Thomas Koch’s ‘State Of The City’ Address

Mayor Thomas Koch gives his State of the City address Tuesday morning in the Great Hall of the James R. McIntyre Government Center. More coverage of the mayor’s address in the Feb. 2 issue of The Quincy Sun. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth

Here is the text of Mayor Thomas Koch’s “State of the City” address delivered Tuesday morning in the Great Hall of the James R. McIntyre Government Center.

Good morning and thank you all for being here today.

Thank you, Katherine, for those kind words of introduction and more importantly for your

friendship to the City of Quincy over the years. You are an invaluable partner in so many ways –

from your work on the MSBA years ago to your work on the Quincy College Board of

Governors and going forward as a founding member of the Board of Directors for our Adams

Presidential Center. I am deeply grateful for your counsel, your expertise, and your friendship.

Your Excellency, Madam Governor, welcome and thank you for taking the time to be here with

us this morning. I am grateful for the partnership you built with our community during your

years as Attorney General, and I’m very much looking forward to building upon it with you as

our Governor. Your natural leadership skills, your willingness to listen and your fundamental

understanding of the challenges we face in the Commonwealth will serve you well.

I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone in this room that we do not – will not – agree on every

issue. A few of them perhaps quite strongly. But here’s a little secret that perhaps the larger

world we live in could learn from – we don’t have to.

We wholeheartedly agree that our job is to improve the lives of the people of this City and the

people of this Commonwealth. That’s how government is supposed to work. I wish the very

best of luck as you as move the state forward, and know that I’m ready to help in any way

possible.

Mr. Speaker – my friend, and one of the great champions this City has ever known on Beacon

Hill, thank you for being here and thank you for all you do. One would understand – perhaps

even expect — that the responsibilities you shoulder as Speaker would take away from your

time focused on Quincy. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. But nothing could be

further from the truth. You always pick up the phone, you and your office are always inquiring

about constituent issues, and you’ve made time to meet with me regularly over breakfast to

discuss legislative priorities. This City, particularly your lifelong neighborhood of Quincy

Point, could not ask for a better partner. Thank you.

Lt. Shea, thank you for leading us in the pledge this morning. Thank you for your service to our

nation and your ongoing service to our City. Lt. Shea is one of hundreds of men and women

who grew up in this City, answered the call to serve the country in the armed forces and returned

home to continue their service as a first responder in our police and fire departments. Thank you

to all of our veterans.

Your excellency, Bishop O’Connell, Thank you for taking the time to be here this morning and

offer the invocation. You and I were both blessed with the presence of the Fr. Cornelius Heery in

our lives. He was a pastor at Sacred Heart Parish for 20 years and loved by everyone! You and I

count him as a one our key mentors in life and I am quite sure he is pleased from his place above

that we are both in service to God’s people. Thank you to Imam Eid for being with us this

morning and agreeing to lead us in our closing prayer. The Mosque in Quincy Point is one of the

oldest in New England and part of the fabric of our diverse community.

To all of the leaders of our houses of worship – thank you for providing spiritual nourishment to

our residents. We are all part of the same humanity, each of us created equal in dignity and worth

in the image of our Creator. Let us to continue to walk together in charity and peace.

Thank you, Mary, Matthew, Lunn, and Giordano, and Mr. Carew for leading us this morning

with the anthem. It always gives me great faith in our future when I see the talents of so many of

our young people from Quincy and North Quincy High Schools.

To our Department Heads and appointees, thank you for being here and thank you for all you do

on behalf of the citizens of this City. We are fortunate to have such an extraordinary team that

gives so much of themselves every day – all hours of the day! Your work is profoundly

appreciated.

To my wife, Christine, thank for your continued love and support. As all elected officials know,

there is a great sacrifice made by our loved ones because the time we spend away from home.

To my children – Cornelius, Tom Jr. and Abigail: Your mother and I are incredibly proud of the

adults you have become. To my siblings, nieces, and nephews – thank you for always being

there.

Today, I’d like to offer my remarks in memory of Tom Bowes, the husband of my sister Linda

and father of firefighter Tom Bowes, Jr. and Police Officer Kristen Bowes. Tom was a bus

operator for MBTA for many, many years and he loved his family and this City very much.

May his soul rest in peace.

Bishop O’Connell, Imam Eid, Madam Governor, Mr. Speaker, Judge Coven, Clerks Donovan

and Hughes, City Council President DiBona and City Councilors, Members of the School

Committee. State Senator Keenan, Representatives Ayers and Chan, county officials, business

leaders, representatives in labor, department heads and citizens of Quincy, friends all ….

I stand before you in gratitude to be your Mayor and with great optimism about the state of our

City. Traditionally, this is the part when I tell you the State of our City is strong and getting

stronger. Those things are certainly true, but this morning I’m going to stray from the usual path

of speaking about what we’ve done and what we want to do in the coming year. There’s plenty

of time for that in the weeks and months ahead.

Instead, today I’m going to talk a little about WHY I have such great faith in our future; WHY I

believe we’re setting the example for the Commonwealth; WHY we’ll be able to meet our

challenges in the years ahead. In the end, the beating heart of this City is in all of you with us

today and those beyond these walls. It’s in the people who serve and protect their neighbors; the

people who give their time and talent to make Quincy a better place; the people counted on by

the most vulnerable members of our community; the people whose life work centers around

providing every possible opportunity to our young people.

Our heart is in people like Jean Bouton, a Special Education Language Development teacher at

Snug Harbor Elementary School for nearly 30 years. We all know the extraordinary challenges

our education system has faced these last three years, and I’m incredibly proud with how the

Quincy Public Schools handled those challenges. Those pressures of remote learning, of hybrid

learning and everything else thrown our way were most acutely felt by those of our young people

needing the extra help and attention in the classroom. It was teachers like Jean who truly stepped

up, found ways through the chaos to provide the individual attention their students needed, and

continue to help us emerge from the pandemic more stable and more successful than before.

It is because of the work of so many that the Quincy Public Schools remains and will remain

among the best, most diverse school districts in the entire Commonwealth. Yes, we continue to

make historic investments in the bricks and mortar of our buildings – our fourth new school in

the DeCristofaro Learning Center now under construction and our fifth, a new Squantum

Elementary School, accepted into the Massachusetts School Building Authority reimbursement

program. And while we can and must continue to provide safe, functional, and modern learning

spaces for our young people, our success will always be determined by the results in the

classroom.

I’m proud to say that we have the second-lowest drop-out rate of any urban district in

Massachusetts, a four-year graduation rate of 91 percent with more than 90 percent of those

graduates going on to either college, trade apprenticeships, or the military. I am truly grateful for

the work of all our 2,000 teachers and school staff for making this possible.

Our heart is in people like Mark Valpondo, a 35-year employee of the Department of Public

Works. A Quincy kid who built a career around protecting the infrastructure of the

neighborhoods where he grew up and still lives. We often do not think of front-line DPW

workers like Mark and his colleagues as first responders, but they very much are. Whether it’s a

water main break at 2 a.m.; basements flooding due to a coastal storm; sewer back-ups inside a

home; or a massive snow storm – the men and women of public works are often the first on the

scene and an absolutely vital part of maintaining and restoring our public infrastructure.

In the height of the pandemic, our workers were entering people’s homes to fix burst pipes and

clearing back-ups. Yes, it’s a job, but on countless occasions our men and women in the

trenches have gone above and beyond what the job calls for – and it is because they care about

this City and they care about their neighbors.

Mark was recently promoted to an engineering position in the Department where he is helping to

design and oversee what is the largest roadway infrastructure replacement program in our City’s

history. In just the last five years, under the leadership of Commissioner Grazioso, we’ve rebuilt

44 miles of roadways and 70 miles of sidewalks; we’ve replaced 26 miles of aging water mains;

and have lined 27 miles of sewer pipes. This year, the DPW will oversee an additional 10 miles

of road reconstruction, 6 miles of water main replacements and 11 miles of new sewer lines.

This is an exceptionally aggressive program, made possible by a more than $100 million

investment with the support and collaboration of the City Council, would not be remotely

feasible without the depth of knowledge and dedication of our DPW team. Thank you to our

entire team.

Our heart is in people like Lisa Curtin, the Business Manager in our Department of Municipal

Finance, and all of our administrative staff who keep the City’s day-to-day operations running

efficiently to protect the interest of our taxpayers. As you know, the City could not shut down

in the height of the pandemic. It was through Lisa and so many on our team that we were able to

ensure we paid our bills, got contracts out the door, provided constituent services at a level our

residents expect, and navigated the labyrinth of regulations of emergency state aid and federal

funding. Through it all, we are able to keep the City moving, keep our employees whole, and

maintain the level of financial stability that’s been at the core of how we function these past

many years.

We maintain one of the highest bond-ratings issued by Wall Street; we have the 4th highest

untaxed reserve of any community in the Commonwealth; we’ve met our unfunded pension

obligation, protecting both our retirees and our taxpayers; and we’ve been able do it by keeping

property tax increases well under the state average. What we do as a City is built on a foundation

of efficiency and stability, and it was kept that way amid unprecedented circumstances thanks to

our entire administrative team spanning virtually every department in the City. Thank you to

everyone who works as part of our great administrative team.

Our heart is in people like Firefighter Steve Sweet, a 35-year veteran of the department and a

mentor for a new generation of firefighters who have populated our engine and ladder companies

over the last several years. Firefighter Sweet’s knowledge, temperament, and passion for the job

are indispensable for a department that is becoming notably younger. Few on the job better

understand the sacrifices and the day-to-day emotional toll firefighters can face on the job; We

have a terrific young department – and one that is fully staffed at a level unseen since the

1970s – keeping every piece of equipment in service and providing the capacity to add apparatus

where needed in the coming months and years. It is indeed something special to see a full

complement of firefighters arrive at a scene, using the training and experience handed

down by people like Firefighter Sweet, and prevent a two-alarm fire from becoming a three- or a

four-alarm fire.

There have been multiple occasions in just the last year in which tragedies have been averted

because of the work of our Firefighters. I will always be grateful for what they do for our

community.

Our heart is in people like Police Captain Rick McCusker, who will be retiring this year after 37

years of service to our community. Captain McCusker embodies the very best of what it means

to be a police officer in this City. Fairness. Patience. Integrity. As head of the Department’s

Special Operations Unit, Captain McCusker is the police department’s point person for every

major event and intricately involved in the planning and execution to make sure our public

events, celebrations and demonstrations are secure and welcoming. Much like our fire

department, the police department is getting much younger, and they are learning every day by

the example set by Captain McCusker and other members of Chief Keenan’s command staff.

This new generation is a group of men and women who grew up this in the City, who know its

people and neighborhoods, and who are absolutely committed to keeping Quincy the safe place

that it is.

Both our police officers and our firefighters deal with our community members in their worst of

hours, walking into situations that sometimes seem hard to imagine. The care, respect, and

dignity displayed by our first responders that I hear about on a regular basis makes me incredibly

proud. Thank you to all of our first responders.

Our heart is in people like Christine Cugini, our Veterans Service Director, whose department

works with more 1,000 of our veterans to ensure they have access to benefits, health care,

housing and other services entitled to every man and woman who served our nation. Christine

came to the City family first as a volunteer, coordinating the very first Wreaths Across America

here several years ago, which led to the placement of 8,000 Christmas wreaths placed on

Veterans’ graves at our cemeteries. A United States Navy veteran, the passion she showed as a

volunteer continues today as the head of a department whose sole mission is to serve those

who’ve have served our nation. Her team, with its deep dedication to service, continues to build

on and expand the department’s core functions. Thank you to our Veterans Service team for all

they do on behalf of our veterans.

Our heart is in people like Rich Meade, the Chairman of the Planning Board, and the dozens of

resident volunteers who serve on our many boards and commissions. Rich has been on the

Planning Board for nearly a decade, and like all of his fellow board members spanning so

many different aspects of civic life, he serves with no compensation. They do it because they

want to. They do it because they care. They do it because the future of the City is important to

them and giving back is what it means to be part of a community.

Rich accepted his volunteer appointment role after more than 35 years as an employee in the

Planning Department, 17 of those years as director. Over the course the last four decades, there

hasn’t been a major economic development initiative in which Rich hasn’t played a formative

role. And we are a far better City for his work, and the work every volunteer member of our

boards and commissions. Thank you, Chairman Meade and everyone who gives of their time to

serve on a board or commission in our community.

6

We need look no further than outside these windows – and the ongoing redevelopment of

downtown Quincy – to see the collaborative product of our Planning Department and the

volunteer boards that help shape development. A vision first conceived decades ago and one that

took on many iterations over the years is bearing fruit.

To date, the redevelopment of our downtown, and the public and private investment necessary to

make it happen, has generated a total of $270 million in economic activity, 1,500 jobs, hundreds

of housing units, new restaurants and businesses, and a tangible sense that downtown is once

again the economic hub of Quincy. We’ve still got plenty of work to do this year and in the

years to come, but I’m confident that we’ll be able to keep moving forward with the team that

has poured so much of their talent into it over the years.

Our heart is in people like Commissioner Jay Duca, who has just retired as our Director of

Inspectional Services for more than 20 years. Jay was an absolutely indispensable part of our

team, someone who was universally trusted by his employees, the public, and the contractors he

regulated. Jay ran a department whose mission ranges from regulating construction of major

development across the City to issuing permits to individual homeowners doing work on their

houses. It’s one of those areas of the City where dealing with the department may be a resident’s

first and only interaction with its government. It is so important that this interaction leave a

positive impression — that the resident feels they’ve been dealt with fairly, respectfully, and

honestly. And that’s how Jay – and everyone who worked on his behalf – operated for many,

many years. He will be sorely missed, but the values he instilled in the department will most

certainly carry on. Thank you, Jay.

Our heart is in people like Steve Zambruno, a second-generation foreman in our Department of

Natural Resources, responsible for the care of parks and playing fields and open spaces used by

thousands of our young people – and young people across the state – throughout the year. We’ve

long had in this City one of the most expansive and well-kept park systems in Massachusetts,

and we keep adding to it almost every year. We keep these parks and playing fields in shape not

with massive budget or staffing increases, but because we have laborers and foremen like Stevie

who take pride in their work, who have a connection to the places they work on a daily basis, and

understand their neighbors are counting on them. In the same way, our publicly owned

cemeteries are provided the meticulous care they deserve and our residents in need of burial

services are treated with upmost respect and dignity by Superintendent Scott Logan and his team.

The Department’s mission goes far beyond maintenance. Over just the last two years, we’ve

planted more than 1,000 new trees; we’ve rebuilt 30 playgrounds; added to our open space

inventory by preventing large-scale development at the Town River Marina, a major property on

Adams Street next to the former Eventide nursing home; the former Beachcomber site on

Wollaston Beach and several acres of land on Harriet Avenue.

This year we will be completing a federally funded restoration of Mount Wollaston Cemetery,

and the expansion of Pine Hill Cemetery now underway makes Quincy one of the few cities that

can offer the pre-sale of cemetery plots to the public. Having this opportunity is rare and the

direct result of a tremendous amount of work from our team, our contractors and permitting

engineers, the Cemetery Board of Managers and the City Council. These things only happen

through collaboration.

Our heart is in people like Jessie Thuma, a long-time librarian at the Thomas Crane Public

Library who retired this summer after more than 20 years. Our library system, the historic main

building and our three branches – is a treasure, helped made so by the enthusiasm, and love of

reading instilled by Jessie and her colleagues across our library system. Last year, the Library

emerged from the pandemic by welcoming 300,000 individual visits; more than a half-million

items were put in circulation; and more than 15,000 people attended programs.

This is simply not possible without a team of employees who engage with patrons, ensure they

feel welcome, and help inspire the kind of creativity and love of learning that quite literally

adorns the walls of our libraries. Thank you to everyone who makes Thomas Crane such a

jewel for this community.

Our heart is in people like Peggy and Jack Kelly, long-time Squantum residents, who volunteer

hours upon hours at the Kennedy Center with their fellow seniors. In total, volunteers like Jack

and Peggy contributed more than 5,000 hours at the Center in a wide range of capacities. The

need for our seniors to be engaged, form connections, and find resources was only amplified by

the pandemic, and the work of the Kennedy Center – its staff and volunteers – has only become

more vital to the overall health of the city. Since the Kennedy Center re-opened full time

in July of 2021, nearly 1,000 residents have joined as new members.

Almost 10,000 of our seniors attended a program – and our transportation service provided more

than 20,000 rides to medical appointments. The Kennedy Center is an incredibly important

resource for our seniors, made so valuable by the volunteers and staff. Thank you all.

Of course, the heart of our City is also outside your government. It’s in people like Dave Chew,

and hundreds of small businesses owners who persevered the shock and chaos of the pandemic,

developed creative ways to survive, and are today emerging stronger than ever before. Dave

opened the Dairy Queen in Quincy Point in the 1960s, one of our community’s very first Asian-

American business owners. He will tell you, it was certainly a different time then. People like

Dave forged a path for this City’s most recent great immigration wave, and today more than half

of the business licenses issued in our City go to Asian-American entrepreneurs. Our strength is

in our diversity, and anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken.

Our business community suffered mightily during the pandemic, and I am incredibly proud of

the collaboration between the City and the Chamber of Commerce and President Tim Cahill to

strike a balance between providing safety amid the worst public health crisis in a century

and protecting our small business owners. More than $1.5 million in emergency housing

assistance for service employees during the peak of the pandemic. More than $2 million in

direct grant funding to small business owners to pay the rent or mortgage while they were shut

down; hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees waived to facilitate business re-opening;

developing innovative safety plans to keep construction moving rather than shutting projects

down. I truly believe our public health measures saved lives, and our collaboration with the

Chamber, with the City Council and our State leaders helped save livelihoods in this community.

The heart of our City is in people like Quincy Community Action Programs CEO Beth Ann

Strollo and our entire nonprofit community. Beth Ann has been with QCAP for nearly 40 years,

more than 20 of them as its CEO. In that time, I’m fairly certain the agency hasn’t seen a

period like the last three years. By ensuring that families had access to food, fuel assistance,

childcare and other services, QCAP together with our other nonprofits helped to substantially

ease the burden caused by the pandemic on our vulnerable populations. Last year alone, QCAP

provided services to 17,000 Quincy residents.

The long-standing partnerships the City maintained with Beth Ann and QCAP as well as places

like Interfaith Social Services, the Gavin Foundation, Bay State Community Services, Father

Bill’s, the Salvation Army, Quincy Asian Resources, Manet Community Health Center stand

as a unequivocal message that this community takes cares of its own in times of crisis. I’m

incredibly grateful for all of the work our nonprofits did during the pandemic and continue to do

today.

Friends, the people I mentioned today are symbols of what is right about our City, answering the

question of why I am so confident in our future.

I also want to talk briefly about my colleagues in elected offices. In this City and in this

Commonwealth, we work together. We build partnerships. We don’t let our differences get in

the way of providing the services our residents deserve. Council President DiBona, Councilors

Liang, Mahoney, McCarthy, Andronico, Cain, Phelan, and Harris – I am eternally grateful for

your work, your counsel and your collaboration. I can say without hesitation that the

neighborhoods across our City are extraordinarily well represented thanks to your work, our

administration is better for your ideas and input, and the path you help set has our City

undeniably heading in the right direction. My colleagues on the School Committee, your work

together with the Superintendent and his leadership team in navigating the most challenging

three years public education has faced in generations is nothing short of remarkable. You

handled every new hurdle, every development, every crisis with great effort and resolve, and the

Quincy Public Schools continues to thrive because of it.

Our entire state delegation for their work on Beacon Hill – Senator Keenan and Representative

Ayers who started their career as Councilors in this chamber and Representative Chan; Your

work in advocating every day for Quincy by securing appropriate levels of local aid, education

funding and funding to supplement our own infrastructure investments makes a real difference;

and Congressman Lynch for his tireless advocacy on behalf of this community and helping us

secure millions of dollars in federal funding for projects and initiatives across the City.

There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together – and let us continue to be

an example for that.

Lastly, I am grateful for the blessing to serve as Mayor of this historic City, the City we love.

Thank you for that privilege.

As we leave here today let us be mindful of the struggles around the world. The war in Ukraine,

the conflicts in the Middle East, the struggle for Human Rights in China and the violence in

Africa. Even with all the division and conflict here in our own land, let us not forget that

America is great because America is good.

Yes, there is more to do to achieve that more “perfect union” but far more is accomplished in

unity than with division.

God Bless you and may God bless the United States of America.

Renovations At Mount Wollaston Cemetery Include New Gate, Entrance At Sea Street

Renovations are underway at historic Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Mayor Thomas Koch announces.  Improvements will include a new gate and entrance at Sea Street, new tree plantings, safety improvements, and renovations to the perimeter granite wall.

The new decorative wrought-iron Gothic style entrance gate will represent the period which the cemetery was originally Consecrated in 1855.  The entrance gate is 25 feet high by 85 feet wide and will accommodate vehicles and pedestrians alike.  The ornamental iron gate is being fabricated by Robinson Iron in Alexander City, Alabama.

A large portion of the original Gothic Revival Briggs cemetery gate was removed in 1960 to allow for modern vehicles to pass in and out of the Sea Street gate.  The gate provided the signature entrance to this historic burial ground for more than 100 years.

“Mount Wollaston Cemetery captures our city’s history better than any single location in a very historic city,” said Mayor Koch.  “The beauty of the granite works throughout Mount Wollaston is akin to an art museum and showcases the advances in the granite industry that originated in Quincy but can now be found around the world.

“We are attempting to restore the intended splendor of this sacred ground and honor the aesthetic intentions of the original cemetery. This is one of the most important properties in our city and should be afforded the prominence and respect that it deserves,” Koch added.

With the assistance of Cong. Stephen Lynch, a Federal ARPA grant was secured for the project.  The estimated project cost for all of the improvements is just under $3 million.

Mount Wollaston Cemetery was developed in 1854 after the Hancock Cemetery in Quincy Center reached its capacity.  The cemetery was designed by Luther Briggs as a garden cemetery modeled after Mount Auburn Cemetery and Forest Hills Cemetery.  A gothic revival theme was chosen for the architecture.

The first two plots at Mount Wollaston Cemetery were purchased by Charles Francis Adams Sr., son of President John Quincy Adams.

The lowest bid for the project was submitted by MJ Nichols who will be working with Foulsham Corporation to perform the work.  Local architect James Edwards of Edwards and Holmes assisted the mayor in the design of the new gate.  The planting plan and palette were designed by Landscape Architect Craig Halvorson.

The entrance to the cemetery off Sea Street will be narrowed for pedestrian safety, officials said.  The existing wide driveway mouth allows cars to turn at higher rates of speed into the cemetery entrance. This change will also allow for limited additional burials in the Veterans Section of Mount Wollaston once the project is completed.

Work will also include realigning the war monuments at Mount Wollaston in chronological order. The World War II Monument will be provided more prominence by removing the stone podium that currently blocks it from view.  Later in 2023, the city will be dedicating a new monument in the Veterans Section paying tribute to the men and women who served the nation’s military in the various wars from Desert Storm (1990) through the current day War on Terror.  This project will help provide space for that monument.

The Cemetery Board of Managers has been working with the design team since the inception of this project.  The all-volunteer Board of Managers consists of Paul Mauriello (chairperson), George Bouchard (vice chairperson), Linda Perchard, Jim Nichols, John Norton, Susan Kindregan and Robert LaFleur.

“Mount Wollaston Cemetery was designed as a sacred and beautiful place and we must continue to honor the intentions of the designers of this historic burial ground,” said Commissioner of Natural Resources Dave Murphy.  “The new entrance gate will augment the beauty of the public art throughout Mount Wollaston Cemetery and pay respect to the tens of thousands of Quincy residents interred therein.  I want to thank the project team for designing a truly remarkable project that will add to the prestige and beauty of Mount Wollaston.”

BBB: Resources To Make Your Home More Cyber Secure

BBB recommends the sites below to assist with finding resources to make your home more cyber secure.

Family and media
Control With Cable is an initiative of the cable industry to educate parents about online safety and the appropriate use of the Internet by their children. Control With Cable’s “Control, Education, Choice” guidebook teaches parents how to keep their family safe on the Web.

Entertainment software rating board
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is a nonprofit, self-regulatory body that assigns age and content ratings for video games and mobile apps so parents can make informed choices. As part of its self-regulatory role for the video game industry, the ESRB also enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices under its Privacy Online program. ESRB has online privacy and security resources for parents, including a family discussion guide, and tips on setting parental controls.

GetNetWise
This site is a resource for families to learn how to protect themselves from online danger and create the safest online experience possible. The glossary and kid sites are a resource for parents teaching their children about the Internet.

Internet keep safe (iKeepSafe) coalition
The iKeepSafe Coalition is a partnership of governors and/or first spouses, attorneys general, public health and educational professionals, law enforcement officials, and industry leaders working together for the health and safety of youth online.

i-SAFE Enterprises
i-SAFE is an Internet safety education nonprofit foundation that educates students on avoiding dangerous, inappropriate, or unlawful online behavior.

Net Cetera (Online Safety Guide for Parents)
Net Cetera is an FTC-developed guide that advises parents on discussing online safety with children of all ages. Topics include online socialization and communication, mobile phones, protecting your computer from malware and setting up parental controls.

Savvy Cyber Kids
The mission of Savvy Cyber Kids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is to teach children safety before they go online. Using traditional learning tools, such as children’s picture books, Savvy Cyber Kids focuses on preparing children to be more cautious online, engraining security awareness and ethics into the minds of preschool-aged children.

Norton Family Resource Center
Provides Internet safety tips, a family online safety guide, and information on cyberbullying and cybercrime.

Symantec Cyber Education page provides information about a range of cybersecurity topics.