Councillors Seek Funding For Social Justice Department, Downtown Update

By SCOTT JACKSON

Three members of the Quincy City Council on Monday will introduce a resolution asking Mayor Thomas Koch to appropriate $75,000 to the Department of Social Justice and Equity.

In a separate resolution, councillors will ask the Koch administration and developers for an update on revitalization efforts in Quincy Center.

Councillors will convene Monday at 6:30 p.m. for their first regular meeting of their new two-year term. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom and will air live on QATV. For those wishing to log into the meeting via the Zoom app, the meeting ID is 829 3518 7103 and the passcode is Gk2USd. The meeting can also be accessed by phone by calling 929-436-2866, entering the same meeting ID and the passcode 481351.

During the meeting, Councillors Brian Palmucci, William Harris and Anne Mahoney will introduce a resolution asking Koch to appropriate $75,000 to the Department of Social Justice and Equity.

Last January, councillors approved an ordinance creating the new department. As established by the ordinance, the department would consist of a single employee, a director, who would be tasked to, “create equity and inclusion among all populations in Quincy.”

Koch did not set aside funding for the new department in the budget he submitted for the current fiscal year that began in July 2021. The budget does include a position for a diversity and inclusion officer within the mayor’s office, but that position was not assigned a salary.

While he did not fund the new Department of Social Justice and Equity, Koch last summer established a nine-member commission on diversity, inclusion and equity.

In a separate resolution that will be introduced on Monday, Palmucci and Councillors Noel DiBona and Nina Liang will ask the Koch administration and the city’s development partners for an update on the revitalization efforts in Quincy Center. As part of the resolution, they are also seeking on the urban revitalization development plan for Quincy Center, the master planning document for the downtown district.

In addition to those two items, Mahoney will introduce a resolution asking the mayor to set aside $60,000 to allow city councillors to hire their own outside legal counsel as they see fit. Councillors unanimously approved a similar resolution – introduced by Mahoney and Palmucci – in November. Chris Walker, Koch’s chief of staff, told councillors at that time the mayor was unlikely to grant that request.

Three items submitted to councillors during their prior term, which were not approved before the end of that term in December, will be resubmitted Monday evening. They include Koch’s proposed urban redevelopment plan for Wollaston Center; an amendment to the zoning code concerning lot coverage, sponsored by the mayor and Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy; and McCarthy’s proposal to rezone several areas within Houghs Neck from Business B to Residence A.

Environmental, Public Safety Officials Urge Public To Stay Safe On And Near Ice

The Massachusetts State Police (MSP), the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and the Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) are cautioning the public about the potential dangers of thin ice on the state’s many lakes, ponds, streams and rivers, and ask the public to be responsible and mindful of local conditions, aware of the possible dangers while on the ice and to remain diligent in following prudent ice safety practices.

If you witness a person or animal fall through the ice, call for help before attempting a rescue on your own to prevent becoming a victim yourself. Always use something long or throw something to help the victim while you are awaiting assistance from first responders. In all circumstances, individuals are urged to put safety first. Below and on DFG’s MassWildlife’s webpage are ice safety tips to adhere to when near bodies of water during the winter months:

  • Parents should always closely watch and supervise their children.
  • Never go onto ice alone.
  • Always keep pets on a leash (if a pet falls through the ice, do not attempt a rescue yourself – instead, call for help).
  • Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it from freezing. It also hides cracks as well as other weak spots.
  • Ice formed on flowing water (including springs under the surface) is generally weaker than ice over still water.
  • Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be a foot thick in one spot and an inch thick in another.
  • If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw something to them (a rope, tree branch, jumper cables from a car, etc.). If this does not work, go or phone for help. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
  • If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from and place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once the ice is solid enough to hold you, and you can pull yourself out, remain laid out on the ice (do not stand; lying down spreads your weight across a wider area, lessening your weight on any one spot) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back the way you came, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice or ground.
  • As the season progresses, plan accordingly and use caution, as older ice conditions greatly vary and are subject to rapid changes.

“Many factors including temperature fluctuations and water flow can affect how and when ice freezes and thaws, making it unpredictable and extremely dangerous for anyone trying to walk on or cross it,” said DCR Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “The Department of Conservation and Recreation suggests residents exercise extreme caution when partaking in outdoor recreational activities, such as ice fishing, ice skating and snowmobiling, as the late onset of winter means no waterbody is frozen enough yet to safely support such activities.”

 “Many people safely enjoy ice fishing and other outdoor activities on Massachusetts lakes and ponds in winter, but it is always important to take common-sense precautions to keep yourself and your family safe,” said DFG Commissioner Ron Amidon. “Remember to plan ahead, bring proper safety equipment and know the thickness and quality of ice before venturing out, preferably with someone experienced with ice safety.”

 “Cold weather activities are a source of enjoyment for many people, but participation carries the responsibility of recognizing dangers posed by thin ice and taking steps to keep yourself and your loved ones safe,” said Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “Our Troopers, like all first responders in New England, have seen first-hand the tragic consequences that can result when someone fails to use caution on frozen bodies of water. Have fun outdoors this winter, but be smart and stay safe doing so, for your sake and the sake of those who love you.”

The Massachusetts State Police reminds the public to call 911 in an emergency, such as a person or a pet falling through the ice. Additionally, several state parks and facilities provide outdoor recreational opportunities throughout the winter season, some with DCR rangers and/or staff facilitating programs. Please visit the DCR’s website for details and MassWildlife’s Get Started Ice Fishing website for a video and information on ice safety and ice fishing.

FERC Won’t Revoke Certificate For Weymouth Compressor Station

By SCOTT JACKSON

The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said the body likely made a mistake when it approved the construction of a natural gas compressor station in North Weymouth, but the certificate allowing it to operate cannot be revoked.

The compressor station, located on the Fore River in North Weymouth, is part of Enbridge’s Atlantic Bridge project, which allows the company to move natural gas from Pennsylvania to Canada. The project was opposed by local officials and residents in Weymouth, Quincy and Braintree from its inception several years.

The compressor station began operating in September 2020 and reported two unplanned releases of natural gas that month; a third unplanned release of natural gas occurred in April 2021.

Following a meeting on Thursday to review operations at the compressor station, FERC Chairman Richard Glick said the body likely erred when it permitted the facility to open at its current location.

“I believe that the Commission likely erred in siting the Weymouth Compressor Station where it did,” Glick said in a statement. “This facility is located in a heavily populated area that is home to two environmental justice communities.  Those communities have borne a disproportionate burden from a legacy of industrial activity, including elevated rates of asthma, certain cancers, and other serious illnesses.

“Particularly in light of that history, Petitioners’ concern about the impacts of the Weymouth Compressor station and the blowdowns it has experienced is legitimate, understandable, and, frankly, inadequately assessed in the underlying certificate orders.”

Despite his concerns about the compressor station, Glick said FERC does not have the ability to revoke its approval of the facility at this time.

“The certificate is final and, under the law as it stands, that leaves only one issue for us to decide: Whether the Commission erred in allowing the project to go into service?  The deficiencies in the now-final certificate do not provide a legal basis to prevent the Weymouth Compressor Station from entering service based on the record in this proceeding,” he said.

Glick was hopeful the commission would avoid making the same mistake in the future.

“Although it is cold comfort for the residents near the compressor station, I hope that this proceeding will serve as a turning point for the Commission as we work to better consider, address, and act on issues of environmental justice.  Partly in response to the lessons learned from the Weymouth proceeding, the Commission has taken steps to ensure that individuals and communities have a full and fair opportunity to participate meaningfully in Commission proceedings,” Glick said.

“In the last year, the Commission established and filled a new senior role tasked with integrating environmental justice and equity into the Commission’s decision-making processes, formally sought input on how we consider environmental justice in various aspects of jurisdiction, and, last but by no means least, created an Office of Public Participation to facilitate public engagement in Commission proceedings.

“My great hope is that these changes will ensure that history does not repeat itself.”

Glick said the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration “has continuing jurisdiction over the public health and safety aspects of the compressor station’s operations,” and said that federal agency should keep a keen eye on the facility.

“I urge PHMSA to keep a watchful eye on the facility and use the full extent of its jurisdiction to protect the residents of Weymouth,” Glick said. “In addition, I also urge Enbridge to take its obligations as a corporate citizen seriously and take a hard look at any and all options to address the community’s concerns.”

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, said he was disappointed by FERC’s decision and vowed to continue to fight against the compressor station.

“It is an understatement to say that I am deeply disappointed that FERC did not move to rescind the authorization for the Weymouth Compressor Station,” Markey said in a statement. “While Chairman Glick acknowledged that the compressor station’s location should never have been approved, FERC failed to act to protect the families in Weymouth and surrounding cities that already bear the negative health and environmental impacts of multiple industrial facilities in their community.

“Doing better going forward isn’t going to help the people of Weymouth living right now in the shadow of this dangerous fossil fuel facility. We’re going to fight with legislation, with the agencies, and shoulder-to-shoulder with local leaders and grassroots activists to get the compressor station shut down once and for all.”

Massachusetts Launching Rapid Testing Program For Child Care Programs

The Baker-Polito administration on Wednesday announced that child care programs will be able to receive rapid antigen COVID-19 tests by the week of Jan. 31 as part of new testing programs to keep children in child care and early education programs open in the state.

Testing for Child Care is a first-in-the-nation statewide testing initiative that will allow staff and children 2 years and older, who are close contacts of a COVID positive individual, to test daily for five consecutive days with  rapid antigen tests and remain in the child care setting as long as the test is negative. Additionally, staff and children 2 years and older who develop symptoms while attending or providing care will be eligible to participate in a symptomatic program. Testing for Child Care will provide all child care programs affiliated with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) access to sign up for free COVID-19 tests, resources, and training to implement these new protocols.

“This comprehensive testing program is designed to ensure children can safely continue learning and receiving quality care while parents are working,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Child care is a key piece of the infrastructure supporting the Commonwealth’s economy, and this testing program will help to eliminate one of the challenges parents and employers face every day.”

“Child care programs have continued to operate despite challenging circumstances throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and working parents of young children have oftentimes been struggling to get back to work consistently,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Our goal is to provide child care programs with the resources they need to operate on a continuous basis and for our families to have access to tests and the information they need to remain in care.”

EEC’s new Testing for Child Care provides three options for COVID-19 testing to meet programs’ specific needs. Providers can opt into any or all three:

Rapid Cohort Testing:  Testing staff and children over 2 years old in a group (cohort) where there was direct exposure to an individual who is positive for COVID-19. This option tests cohorts of direct contacts (e.g., single classroom or stable family child care attendance), rather than requiring individuals to quarantine.

Symptomatic Rapid Antigen Testing:  Testing for staff and children over 2 years old who show symptoms related to COVID-19. This allows child care centers to quickly identify and isolate positive cases or confirm negative cases and keep children in care.

Weekly Pooled Testing:  Weekly PCR testing for all consenting staff and children over 3 years old.

To implement these testing options, EEC is working with Neighborhood Villages, a non-profit organization that began partnering with the Department last year to provide weekly pooled testing for child care EEC will deliver free rapid tests  directly to child care programs that sign up with Neighborhood Villages. In addition to enrolling programs, Neighborhood Villages will coordinate the distribution of rapid tests and training for test usage with child care providers. Signing up with Neighborhood Villages is free for programs.

Distribution of free rapid antigen tests to programs enrolled with Neighborhood Villages is expected to begin the week of Jan. 31.  EEC-licensed and approved programs can enroll on a rolling basis; however, programs must enroll with Neighborhood Villages prior to Jan. 24 to begin testing the following week.

The Baker-Polito administration previously announced it ordered 26 million at-home rapid antigen tests from iHealth that will be delivered over the next three months, and K-12 schools and child care centers will be prioritized for those tests. More than 7,700 EEC affiliated child care providers are eligible to participate in Testing for Child Care.

“It is critical that we provide child care programs with the necessary tests and supports to remain operational throughout this time,” said Education Secretary James Peyser. “We know even our earliest learners get enormous benefits from being in person with their peers and teachers. This testing strategy, layered on top of the other mitigation strategies that EEC has already put in place, will help to continue to make that possible for young children across the Commonwealth.”

“This program is part of EEC’s multi-faceted plan for addressing the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on child care providers and the parents that depend on safe, reliable care for their children so they can return to work,” said EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy. “Expanding our testing options for the early education sector is one way we can keep experienced educators safe, healthy, and providing quality care for families.”

“We are excited about these enhancements to the testing program. They will offer child care providers across the state multi-pronged testing strategies and additional support,” said Neighborhood Villages Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Sarah Siegel Muncey. “Testing in early childhood is one of the fastest, most effective investments we can make right now to keep child care centers open and our educators, children, and families safe – while also allowing our parents to continue to work. I want to thank Governor Baker and his administration for their ongoing partnership and commitment to this important issue.”

As part of the testing program, child care providers must adhere to EEC’s COVID-19 Mitigation Protocols & Guidelines. These protocols align with the best practices, guidance, and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. EEC-licensed child care providers that choose to implement their own testing regimens without utilizing the Testing for Child Care program are expected to abide by EEC’s testing protocols.

School-age children served in EEC-affiliated Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs may already participate in one of DESE’s testing programs during the school day. For those school-age children who already participate in a DESE-approved testing program, no additional testing is recommended at the EEC -licensed program.

Additional COVID-19 Resources Available to Child Care Providers:

No-Cost, Drive-through COVID-19 Testing

EEC continues offering no-cost COVID-19 drive-through testing for the child care community at eight locations across Massachusetts. Information on EEC’s mobile testing sites can be accessed here.

Statewide Contract Support for Anitgen Test Kit Purchasing

Programs that want to purchase their own antigen tests now have access to the Statewide Contract set up by the Baker-Polito administration to provide antigen tests at state-negotiated rates for eligible entitles.

Supplemental Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for Child Care

Open and operating EEC-licensed providers continue to be able to order supplemental PPE supplies and have them delivered directly to the program at no cost to them.

Mobile Vaccination Clinics

The Baker-Polito administration offers mobile pop-up vaccination clinics that take place in a community-based setting, including schools and child care centers. The clinics are organized to bring vaccines to a community setting and are available to employers, schools and school districts, community organizations, and other groups.

Local Group Aims To Open New Hospital In Quincy

By SCOTT JACKSON

A local group led by the former chief of surgery at the now-closed Quincy Medical Center hopes to open a new acute-care hospital within the city.

Steward Health Care, a for-profit company, closed most of the hospital on Whitwell Street in 2014. The company kept the emergency room on site open as a satellite facility of Carney Hospital through late 2020.  The closure made Quincy the largest city in Massachusetts without a hospital.

Dr. Tony Dragone, who recently turned 80, spent decades working at the hospital as surgeon, including as its chief of surgery from 1991 to 2000. In a recent interview, Dragone recalled being there Quincy Medical Center closed in 2014 and saying to himself, “this can’t be forever.”

In the interview, Dragone said he is now the head of a 14-person commission, dubbed the New Quincy Medical Center Commission, that has set out to construct a new hospital in Quincy. Dragone said he is undertaking the endeavor as a way to give back.

“I’m not looking to have a legacy here. I’m just looking to give something back that the hospital gave to me,” he said. “They gave me a life of fullness, happiness, prosperity and I am very gifted to have that in my life, really.”

The former hospital was a like family for the employees who worked there, he explained.

“I love the hospital. Quincy Medical Center itself is a unique place – it was a unique place. It is the alter ego, the other family, for many, many people who worked there,” Dragone said.

“It was like living with your friends and your mother and your father…We would just all sit down and talk. We were all friends…A friendship developed over the years, and I liked that. I liked that a lot.”

The group has had discussions with various stakeholders about opening a new hospital, Dragone said, including the state’s Department of Public Health. Before completing a determination of need analysis, an initial step in the permitting process, Dragone said the DPH asked the group to find a potential site where the hospital would be built.

“We’ve spoken to the Department of Public Health and discussed a determination of need. They have said to us, ‘Doctors, get the land and then come back and we will work out everything together,” he said.

“The DPH has been very comfortable with us. They’ve been very polite. We’ve had Zoom meetings with them,” Dragone added. “They said listen, we can’t do anything with the DON right now. You need l-a-n-d – land – purchased. Where’s it going to go?”

The group also has been promised up to $150 million to finance the project, Dragone added.

“We’ve got financing promised to us. The biggest issue right now, I will repeat, is the l-a-n-d,” he said. “That’s what is holding us back right now.”

The commission sought assistance from the public last month, asking residents for help finding a five-acre site in Quincy where a hospital could be built.

Dragone said the commission has identified two potential sites – one near Crown Colony and the other near Marina Bay – that fit the criteria. The Fore River Shipyard has also been suggested as a possible location. The commission plans to meet in the near future to begin reviewing those possibilities, Dragone said.

While the location of the potential new hospital is yet to be determined, Dragone already can already picture what it would look like.

“I have the building already in mind. I know exactly what I want. It’s going to be an ER, pediatrics to geriatrics,” he said, adding that the hospital would also have a maternity ward, like Quincy Medical Center once did.

“I want full-fledged acute-care hospital. I want an outpatient department also that can do many outpatient surgeries as they are today. I want an acute-care hospital, five or six floors. I’m looking for a 125-bed buildout.”

Dragone added that he would like to dedicate the lobby of the new hospital to his late wife, Carla.

The construction of the new building could take approximately a year and a half, he said, based on conversation he has had with people familiar with such projects.

The new hospital, a non-profit, would be overseen by a board of managers comprised of members of the Quincy community and Dr. Roberto Feliz would serve as the hospital’s CEO, Dragone said.

“There would be a director of the hospital – a CEO. This young man wants to be the CEO. He’s had a lot of experience with it. He’s board-certified in anesthesia, pain control, et cetera, and he has a business degree also,” Dragone said of Feliz.

“I have said to him, Roberto, I want you to be CEO. I have told him I would be there, I want a little small office. I will not get paid anything. I do want to teach. That’s what I want to do.

“I’m not getting paid. I don’t need it – I’ve gotten enough money over the years.”

MBTA Launches New Online Youth Pass Application

The MBTA has announced the launch of the new digital Youth Pass application available online at mbta.com/youthpass/apply.

“Providing young adults with more convenient access to this secure, easy-to-use application is another step in providing broader access to the MBTA’s system through the Youth Pass’s discounted fares and monthly passes,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We continue to be excited to expand the reach of the Youth Pass through our municipal and community partnerships, and we’re proud to see the official launch of this online application, which we aim to expand to other reduced fare programs in 2022.”

“With our industry-leading design and research process, we are able to deliver improvements like this to riders faster than ever – all while ensuring the tools we build are secure and accessible to everyone,” said MBTA Chief Digital Officer David Gerstle.

“Truly a collaborative effort,” said City of Boston Department of Youth Engagement & Employment leadership. “As the largest Youth Pass municipal partner/administrator, we believe the development of the new MBTA online application could not have come at a more critical time for Boston’s eligible youth and young adult population. This new application allows us to streamline the Youth Pass application process and enhance our partnership with the MBTA to ensure we’re expanding our reach and always improving systems, processes and services for young people across the City of Boston to access this important resource.”

The Youth Pass is a card that can be used by eligible young adults with low incomes to purchase roughly 50% reduced one-way fares or $30 monthly LinkPasses for the bus, subway, and Fairmount Line Zone 1A stations at MBTA Fare Vending Machines, the CharlieCard Store, fare boxes on buses and trolleys at street-level stops, or at retail sales locations. Youth Pass cards can also be used to purchase half-price one-way fares for Commuter Rail, Express Bus, and ferry.

Previously, young adults were required to complete the application process in-person at the location of their local Youth Pass office, including bringing their eligibility documents and submitting a paper application form. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MBTA prioritized and accelerated the creation and implementation of the online application process. Applicants can now apply to the program remotely and easily online from their home computer or mobile device without having to visit their local Youth Pass office in-person. Young adults residing in any participating municipalities can now simply visit mbta.com/youthpass/apply to complete the online application, which is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Portuguese. Applicants can use the online application to upload their eligibility documents and select to have their Youth Pass card mailed or picked up from their local Youth Pass office, if approved.

In collaboration with the MBTA’s Commercial Strategies and Programs team, the MBTA’s Customer Technology Department accelerated the development of the online application, accomplishing the project’s design, user testing, and launch through the use of SimpliGov’s no-code, cloud-based platform.

“SimpliGov is proud to partner with MBTA to create a user-friendly customer experience and seamless online application process available to nearly 20 municipalities participating in this critical program for the community,” said SimpliGov CEO Gary Leiken. “This is the first of many processes we will be automating with MBTA to help serve local young adults eligible for free and reduced-fare transportation programs in Massachusetts, which is an incredibly important community mission and citizen service.”

Based on findings from multiple rounds of user tests with Youth Pass administrators and riders, and three pilot online applications, the Customer Technology team tailored the Youth Pass application for simplicity, ease of use, and security. The MBTA devised a single, streamlined process in the SimpliGov platform that allows Youth Pass administrators in participating municipalities to process, verify, and deliver Youth Pass CharlieCards within five business days with minimal error. The MBTA also anticipates launching similar online applications to the other free and reduced fare programs within the coming months.

The MBTA’s growing list of municipalities and community partners participating in the Youth Pass program includes Arlington, Attleboro, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Framingham, Lexington, Malden, Medford, Melrose, the North Shore, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, Wakefield, Watertown, and Worcester. Cities or towns interested in joining the program are encouraged to email youthpass@mbta.com for information on how to begin the process.

For more information, visit mbta.com/youthpass-eligibility, or connect with the T on Twitter @MBTA, Facebook /TheMBTA, or Instagram @theMBTA.

Lunar New Year Festival Postponed To Virtual Celebration Feb. 20

Due to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Quincy Asian Resources, Inc. has postponed the 34th Annual Lunar New Year Festival to a virtual celebration on Sunday, Feb. 20th.

“While we hoped to be able to celebrate in person, the health of our community, staff, volunteers, and attendees is our top priority and we have decided a virtual event is safest at this time. More program details will be announced in early February,” QARI President and CEO Philip Chong said in an email Friday (Jan. 14).

“We look forward to seeing you virtually on Feb. 20th to welcome the Year of the Tiger! Wishing you a safe, healthy and happy new year from the QARI team,” Chong added.

Generals Bridge Open, Honoree First To Travel New Quincy Center Span

Retired Air Force Brigadier General Ronald Rand cuts the ribbon marking the opening of the new Generals Bridge in Quincy Center Thursday afternoon. With him are Mayor Thomas Koch (left) and Gov. Charlie Baker. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth

By SCOTT JACKSON

The new Generals Bridge in Quincy Center, which connects Burgin Parkway to General Dunford Drive and leads to the city-owned parking garage, opened to traffic on Thursday after a ribbon cutting ceremony with Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Thomas Koch and one of the generals honored by the new Quincy Center span.

The ribbon cutting was held around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Cutting the ribbon was Retired Air Force Brigadier General Ronald Rand as Koch and Baker looked on. Gen. Rand was then given the ceremonial honor of being the first to travel over the bridge that now connects Burgin Parkway and the city-owned parking garage via General Dunford Drive, formerly known as Cliveden Street.

The general sat in the passenger seat of a red Subaru Outback as his brother Al Rand drove the vehicle and their sister Dot Rand rode along in the back seat.

Also attending the ceremony were family members of the other generals honored by the bridge and nearby Generals Park. They were both dedicated during a ceremony Sept. 11, 2021 and honor 18 generals with ties to Quincy who have served the United States since the country’s inception. Seven of the generals, who have served since World War II, are honored with statuary within the park.

The park includes life-size statues of three four-star generals: Joseph Dunford Jr., James McConville, and Gordon Sullivan. Four generals have busts within the park: Francis McGinn, Ronald Rand, the late Stephen Keefe Jr. and the late Charles Sweeney.

The state is picking up the tab for the construction of the bridge and related roadwork on Burgin Parkway, totaling about $10 million.

The bridge has one 11-foot travel lane in each direction, plus a five-foot shoulder, and a sidewalk. Motorists are only allowed to take a right-hand turn onto the bridge traveling north on Burgin Parkway and a right-hand turn off the bridge traveling north on Burgin Parkway. There is no left-hand turn from the bridge onto Burgin Parkway (south).

The city paid the roughly $25 million cost for improvements in the area of the former Ross Lot, including new and improved roadways – General Dunford Drive and General McConville Way – and new subsurface infrastructure. Those funds were set aside in a $61 million district-improvement-financing bond city councillors approved in June 2019 that will be paid back with new tax revenue generated in Quincy Center.

Retired Air Force Brigadier General Ronald Rand waves from a Subaru Outback driven by his brother, Al Rand – the first vehicle to travel the now open Generals Bridge. Riding along in the back seat for the ceremonial first spin along the span is sister Dot Rand. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth
Family members of the seven generals honored at the Generals Bridge and Park gather with Mayor Thomas Koch and Gov. Charlie Baker at a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday marking the opening of the new span that is part of a new network of roads that connect Burgin Parkway with the city-owned garage at the former Hancock Lot. Quincy Sun Photo/Robert Bosworth

“Presidents Coast: Quincy’s Pedestrian Way” Project Consultants Seek Feedback

The consultant team working with the City of Quincy on the Presidents Coast: Quincy’s Pedestrian Way” project would like your feedback.

Presidents Coast has been envisioned as a citywide network of pedestrian/bicycle trails that will connect multiple residential neighborhoods to Quincy Center, and our shared natural resources like the waterfront and marshes. The project seeks to study, plan, design and implement a network that takes advantage of existing infrastructure and open spaces throughout the area, enhance physical and ecological conditions of both natural features and built structures, and complete connections with proposed design and engineering solutions.

The completed project would create ADA compliant paths in shared open spaces, implement safe routes to schools for Quincy youth, improve equity of access to waterfront, marshes, and other natural resources for residential neighborhoods, and provide much-needed infrastructure for emergency egress and alternative transportation, including walking or cycling.

With funding from Quincy’s Community Preservation Committee, Bishop Land Design, a landscape architecture firm based in Quincy, is working on a master plan and feasibility study for the primary portion of the project. The goal is to understand the community’s desires, needs and priorities. All community members are invited to share their input with the project team by participating in the upcoming public meetings and community walks. You can also contact the design team by sending an email to info@bld.partners or sharing your thoughts using #quincypresidentscoast on social media.

Citizens are invited to participate in either of these public events to learn more about the project and share their opinion and feedback with the project team. The following community engagement events are as followed:

Community Walk #2: January 26, 2022, 8:30am, Germantown/Snug Harbor,

Start location: Germantown Neighborhood Center on Palmer Street

Public Meeting #2: January 26, 2022, 6pm, Snug Harbor Elementary School Gymnasium

Community Walk #3: February 2, 2022, 8:30am, Broad Meadows,

Start location: Quincy Youth Arena Parking Lot, Passanageset Park Entrance

Public Meeting #3: February 2, 2022, 6pm, Broad Meadows Middle School Cafeteria

*** Please follow City of Quincy’s public announcements of COVID-19 precautions and potential restrictions. In case of any restrictions on indoor public gatherings, please visit our website at http://www.bld.partners/presidents-coast for updated information about the meetings. ***

Baker-Polito Administration Secures Contract for 26 Million Rapid Antigen Tests

The Baker-Polito Administration announced on Tuesday an order was placed with iHealth to supply the state with 26 million rapid antigen tests over the next three months.

The tests will be prioritized to support K-12 schools and childcare settings. The agreement allows for shipments of tests to arrive on a rolling basis in the Commonwealth, but the Administration warns that the timing and shipment amounts will vary depending on international shipping and production variables.

The Baker-Polito Administration also released a public health advisory this week to advise all residents on when to seek tests for COVID-19. The advisory advises all residents to seek COVID-19 tests when exhibiting COVID symptoms, or five days following a known close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID pursuant to MA DPH quarantine and isolation protocols, updated as of December 29 in accordance with the new CDC guidance.

The new isolation protocols do not require a COVID-19 test to exit isolation after having COVID. This general rule also applies to childcare and K-12.  Additional information on testing protocols for specific situations in childcare can be found here and for K-12 can be found here.

The new quarantine protocols recommend, but do not require, all exposed individuals get a test five days after exposure.  Exposed individuals do not need to quarantine in the following circumstances:

  • If fully vaccinated and not yet eligible to receive a booster OR
  • If fully vaccinated and have received their booster OR
  • If they had COVID and it is less than 90 days since they were diagnosed.  For more details visit here.

DPH advises that a positive COVID-19 rapid antigen does not need to be confirmed with a PCR test.

DPH recommends individuals that have COVID symptoms and test negative with a rapid antigen test should isolate and either repeat an antigen test or get a PCR test in 24-48 hours if they continue to exhibit symptoms. Additionally, DPH does not advise employers, or schools and childcare, to require a test as a condition of returning to work or school.

View the public health advisory here.

Vaccination and getting a booster remain the best possible protection against COVID. There are almost 1,000 locations in the Commonwealth for residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Visit VaxFinder.mass.gov to book an appointment.

Massachusetts National Guard

Governor Baker also on Tuesday activated 500 additional members of the Massachusetts National Guard to support the state’s health care system. This order expands the National Guard activation of 500 members announced on Dec. 21 to support non-clinical functions in the Commonwealth’s hospitals.

Prioritized uses for the newly activated 500 members will be to provide additional non-clinical staffing at community hospitals and high-volume emergency departments, public hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and dialysis centers. These guard personnel will be deployed beginning the week of Jan. 17.