Lakeville Police Department mourns passing of retired K9 “Fredo”

“We regret to announce the passing of Retired Lakeville Police K-9 Fredo on March 19th, 2021.

Fredo, a Czechoslovakian shepherd, was an asset to the department and community from 2007 until 2009.”-Lakeville Police Department.


Lakeville Police Department photo.




Joint operation between the local police departments and Massachusetts State Police leads to seizure of 20 off-highway vehicles

The Springfield Police Department in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police conducted an operation during the week of March 7th to deter illegal dirt bike activity in the city of Springfield. In addition to quality of life concerns, recent calls for service involving illegal dirt bike riders have included victims having their vehicles maliciously damaged, being assaulted and in one incident being shot at.

The enforcement efforts under the direction of Springfield Police Captain David Martin, Springfield Police Lieutentant Brian Beliveau, Massachusetts State Police Major Mike Habel and Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Jon Provost resulted in the seizure of 20 off-highway vehicles and 17 arrests. Three of the dirt bikes recovered were previously reported stolen.


Massachusetts State Police photo.

Officers and Troopers utilized a variety of strategies including the use of the Massachusetts State Police Air Wing to assist in locating and apprehending illegal dirt bike and ATV riders. It is illegal to operate an off-highway vehicle anywhere in the city of Springfield.

“Great team effort between our officers and the State Police. We noticed it was going to be a warm week and proactively wanted to get ahead of this issue to put a dent in some of this illegal dirt bike activity. This is not a one and done operation. We’ll be out there again, said Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with our partners in the Springfield Police Department to crack down on this illegal activity, which endangers those who live, work, and raise families in Springfield and negatively impacts their quality of life,” said Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police. “We look forward to continuing to help address this problem.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “Great work by SPD and the Massachusetts State Police. I commend Commissioner Clapprood, Captain Martin, Lieutenant Beliveau, Massachusetts State Police Major Habel, Massachusetts State Police Lieutenant Provost, and all of our brave and dedicated men and women in blue on their continued joint efforts to eradicate these illegal dirt bikes and ATV marauders on our city streets and neighborhoods.


Massachusetts State Police photo.

We will continue to cite, arrest, and confiscate these illegal vehicles. I again, ask parents of these young riders to intervene with their child, for their own health and safety, and help educate them on the appropriate places to ride and enjoy these vehicles. Our public streets are no place to ride these vehicles. It is illegal and you can get seriously injured or worse. We will continue enforcement in the name of public health, public safety, and for the quality of life for our residents and business community.”

Springfield Police Officers and Massachusetts State Troopers arrested 16 individuals in Springfield and one in Holyoke over the course of several days. Of those arrested, three were juveniles. The individuals arrested received various citations and the charges listed below for the adults.

20-year-old Edrick Santiago of Springfield is charged with:

• Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Negligent/Reckless Operation of a Snow/Recreational Vehicle
• Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Class D Drug
• Default Warrant

22-year-old Jeylon Sims of Springfield is charged with:
• Unregistered Motor Vehicle
• Uninsured Motor Vehicle
• Operating a Motor Vehicle in Violation of a License/Class


Massachusetts State Police photo.

21-year-old Orlando Olmeda of Springfield is charged with:
• Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Resisting Arrest
• Uninsured Motor Vehicle
• Failture to Produce Snow/Recreational Vehicle Registration

23-year-old Edwin Rivera-Cruz of Springfield is charged with:
• Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License
• Number Plate Violation to Conceal ID
• Resisting Arrest
• Possession of a Class A Drug
• Possession of a Class B Drug

25-year-old Mario Roldan of Springfield is charged with:
• Unregistered Motor Vehicle
• Failure to Stop/Yield
• Failure to Stop for Police

21-year-old Charlie Flores of Springfield is charged with:
• Unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Negligent/Reckless Operation of a Snow/Recreational Vehicle

33-year-old Raddy Nunez of Springfield is charged with:
• Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Unregistered Motor Vehicle

21-year-old Christain Mejias-Diaz of Springfield is charged with:
• Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Class A Drug
• Unregistered Motor Vehicle
• Failure to Stop/Yield – Two Counts
• Uninsured Motor Vehicle
• Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle

37-year-old Jose Reyes of Holyoke is charged with:
• Snow/Recreational Vehicle Public Way Violation

33-year-old Rafael Perez of Holyoke is charged with:
• Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
• Failure to Stop/Yield – Three Counts

35-year-old Luis Marrero of Springfield is charged with:
• Failure to Produce Snow/Recreational Vehicle Registration
• Negligent/Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle

28-year-old Luis Sanchez of Holyoke is charged with:
• Failure to Stop for Police

23-year-old Shakira Molinary of Springfield is charged with:
• Arrest Warrant

32-year-old Anthony Cortest of Springfield is charged with:
• Negligent/Reckless Operation of a Snow/Recreational Vehicle
• Failure to Stop for Police
• Resisting Arrest
• Default Warrant

***Attached are photos of several of the off-highway vehicles seized during this operation. The Massachusetts State Police Airwing participated in the operation. Edited footage captured by the Airwing:




Repeat New Bedford drunk driver who fled scene of crash sentenced to jail time

A 69-year-old New Bedford man was convicted earlier this month of his fifth OUI will serve the next two-and-a-half years in the Bristol County House of Corrections, District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Domingo Fernandes pleaded guilty on March 1st in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with Operating Under the Influence of Liquor-Fifth Offense, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.

On December 29, 2018 around 5:45pm, the defendant was driving a grey BMW in New Bedford with no license plate. When police attempted to stop the car, the defendant sped off at a high rate of speed, and crossed double yellow lines to pass another car. While going 40 mph in a residential neighborhood, the defendant turned onto another street without breaking and almost lost control of the car and narrowly avoided striking numerous parked cars.

While speeding through the residential neighborhood, the defendant’s vehicle almost struck a pedestrian who had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. The defendant continued to drive at a high rate of speed, drove through a stop sign, and was going so fast that his car went airborne at one point. The defendant then struck a parked car, and continued to drive before crashing into a telephone pole. He then fled his car on foot, and after a short foot pursuit, he was apprehended.

The New Bedford Police officer concluded the defendant was under the influence of alcohol based on the strong odor of alcohol on his breath and his inability to answer questions in a coherent manner. He was transported to Saint Luke’s Hospital for minor injuries to his face and head, and had a .17 blood alcohol level.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Sylvia, who argued or a more severe five year state prison term. The defendant, however, requested a two year county jail sentence.

Judge Raffi Yessayaneventually sentenced the defendant to serve two-and-a-half year in the county jail.

“The defendant is a menace on the roadways because he repeatedly drives while drunk. The facts of the case clearly demonstrate this. Fortunately nobody was hurt despite his reckless actions,” District Attorney Quinn said.




Locals catches Boston Police officer “red-handed” in small act of kindness

“BPD Photo of the Day: Small Act of Kindness Caught on Camera in Roxbury!

The Boston Police Department wishes to extend our thanks and gratitude to the passerby who shared a video of one of our officers as he stopped to assist an elderly female with her bags while working a paid detail on Elm Hill Avenue in Roxbury.

The photograph above was taken from the video which was recently posted on social media along with the statement: ‘It’s the small, kind gestures that go a long way.’

We couldn’t agree more.”




UMass Dartmouth to host FREE video game design event

Collaboration with MassDiGI offers computer science and animation design skills to students.

During the weekend of March 20, UMass Dartmouth students and the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) are offering the Jump Start Game Jam to interested college and high school students. The event begins on Saturday, March 20 at 1 p.m. and continues into Sunday, March 21. The virtual event is free, but preregistration is requested by March 19.

The Jump Start Game Jam lets participants try their hand at creating a video game — from coding on up.

“The Jump Start Game Jam has been created with first-time participants in mind,” said UMass Dartmouth student Luke Klegraefe. “We know that a lot of high school students who have a passion for games are searching for cool, fun things to do and we thought a game jam might hit the spot.”

Attendees will receive an introductory online game jam information “kit.” The “kit” will include game jam basics, recommendations for free software, and game assets for the weekend. Attendees can also listen to lectures from game industry professionals.

“Creating a game is an amazing experience,” said Robby Williams, a MassDiGI Collab student from Becker College. “It opens up a whole new world. Every game jam I’ve taken part in has always produced some great work.”

The games created during the jam will be posted online on Itch.io for all to play after the event.

Register for the Jump Start Game Jam today!




Freetown Police Department charges 55-year old Taunton man with rape of a child with force

On February 8, 2021, Gilbert Hernandez, age 55, of Taunton, MA, was located and arrested by the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section on outstanding arrest warrants from the Freetown and Lakeville Police Departments.

After a lengthy investigation conducted by Freetown Police Detective Shane Kelley and Patrolman Kaylin Jose, police had sought a warrant charging Hernandez with rape of a child with force, aggravated statutory rape of a child (2 counts), and indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or over. Hernandez was identified as the suspect in a sexual assault investigation involving a female juvenile.

The Lakeville police department had, based upon the same investigation, obtained an arrest warrant for Hernandez charging him with indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or over (2 counts).

Additionally, there are pending charges from three southeastern MA communities involving the same victim.

Hernandez, a former mail carrier, substitute school teacher, and Sunday school teacher, within the Freetown and Lakeville areas was booked at the Freetown Police Department before being transported to the Fall River Justice Center for arraignment.


Freetown Police Department photo.




New Bedford has roadwork sites for the upcoming week of March 8, 2021 – March 12, 2021

The City of New Bedford has roadwork sites for the upcoming week of March 8, 2021 – March 12, 2021 and they are as follows:

Eversource:

Eversource will be working on the gas main relays at:
• Pleasant St. working from Bedford St. to Madison St.
• Oaklawn St. working from 37 Oaklawn St. towards 350 West Rodney French Blvd.
• Chestnut St. working from Willis St. to Pope St.
• Phillips Ave. working at 217 Phillips Ave to the intersection of Ashley Blvd. Then work east on Phillips Ave. towards N. Front St.
• County St. working from Cove Rd. to Scott St. Including Cove Rd. from County St. to Margin St.

Other:

• The contractor (SCR Construction) will continue site work at the future South Coast Rail station platform locations in the City. Work will commence at each of the platform sites: Church St. at Carlisle St. and the existing rail yard located between Wamsutta St., Herman Melville Blvd. and Whales Tooth parking lot.
• The contractor (Bell Traffic) will be working on the traffic signals located at the intersection of Acushnet Ave. X Ashley Blvd. Police details and traffic controls will be in place for any temporary lane shifts.
• Department of Public Infrastructure will be filling potholes city-wide on a continuous basis.
• The contractor (Baystate WinSupply) is scheduled to continue large water meter replacements at various locations throughout the city. There are no anticipated traffic controls for this work.
• Due to ongoing construction at the High Hill Reservoir residents may experience discolored water. The water is safe, and the discoloration will be temporary. We recommend allowing the water to settle for a few hours and then flushing your service line by letting the bathtub run for a few minutes until the water clears.

** Please note: Contractors will continue to follow guidelines and protocol regarding COVID-19 social distancing while conducting work in construction zone.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation the Department of Public Infrastructure will be closed to the public entry. Office staff is available to assist by email and telephone.




New Bedford’s Buttonwood Park Zoo to debut new species this Spring

Winter is in full effect in New England, but BPZOO is looking ahead towards spring – and looking forward to introducing three brand new species to Zoo guests when it finally arrives.

These three unique species were sent to New Bedford as part of collaborative programs of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo participates in many collaborative programs, including AZA Species Survival Plans (SSP). The goal of an SSP is to cooperatively manage animal populations to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population while enhancing the conservation of this species in the wild.

Currently residing in BPZOO’s innovative Rainforests Rivers & Reefs building, which showcases South American primates, birds, reptiles and fish among four mixed species rotational habitats, is a pair of Ma’s night monkeys, also known as owl monkeys. Alexander, 10, and Supressa, 7, are two of only five Ma’s night monkeys at just three AZA accredited institutions. The pair came to BPZOO from a conservancy in Miami, Florida and have been acclimating to their new home since their arrival. Ma’s night monkeys are nocturnal primates with short, dense and soft fur. They have characteristically large eyes to aid in their nocturnal lifestyle and their hands are well developed for grasping.


A new species to BPZOO, the southern screamers, will be visible this spring at the pudu habitat, across from the Asian elephants. Photo credit – Ian Gereg.

Keith Lovett, Buttonwood Park Zoo Director, is also Chair of the AZA New World Primate Taxon Advisory Group. “Although Ma’s night monkeys are a nocturnal species that will be less active during the day, the Zoo expects them to be a crowd favorite during our many nighttime events and programs throughout the summer. We are very pleased to be able to allow guests the opportunity to learn about this species that is maintained at very few zoos across the country.”

Hailing from north central Amazonian neotropics of northern Peru and western Brazil in South America, Ma’s night monkeys form small groups of two to five individuals who are all directly related and remain in constant contact with each other through a sequence of squeaks, whistles, and trills. Typically found in lowland tropical rainforests, Ma’s night monkeys occupy the upper levels of the canopy at night, foraging for fruits and flowers. They are listed as Vulnerable on IUCN’s Red List due to habitat loss in Peru through conversion of forests for rice cultivation, pasture and, more recently, palm oil.

Another species debuting at BPZOO this spring is a pair of southern screamers. Also known as crested screamers, these long-legged, non-migratory birds are most closely related to ducks, geese and swans – although one would not know that just by looking at them!

Native to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, southern screamers have large feet and long toes that aid them in navigating the marshes, lakes, lagoons and flooded grasslands that they typically call home. Their large feet also lack webbing, although they are still very capable swimmers.


The critically endangered Panamanian Golden Frog will take up residence in lobby of the admissions building at BPZOO.

The trumpet-like call of a southern screamer, which has helped them earn their name, carries for several miles and warns other birds of approaching danger. Between their loud, far-reaching call, and the two sharp spurs they carry on each wing, southern screamers are the “guard birds” of their wetland habitat. As the weather warms, they can be seen on guard in the Chilean pudu habitat that opened in the summer of 2020, opposite of the Asian elephant habitat.

“At first glance, many think this incredible species with their long, scaly legs, large bony spurs on the edge of their wings, and cautious gait look pre-historic. The Zoo is home to many species of waterbirds, but the screamers are definitely visually unique,” said Lovett.

There are 81 southern screamers in 41 AZA accredited institutions – including the pair now residing here at BPZOO – and while their conservation status is currently listed as Least Concern, they are under increasing pressure from wetland habitat destruction.

The third and final species that will debut at BPZOO this spring is also the most critically endangered – the Panamanian golden frog. These four females, who arrived recently from the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee, are set to take up residence in one of the terrarium habitats in the admissions’ lobby of the Zoo.

Panamanian golden frogs exhibit a unique behavior only seen in a few frog species called ‘semaphore’ – a type of sign language – to signal to each other. They will “wave” their hands or raise and move their feet to defend their territory, try to attract a mate, or even to greet one another.


Supressa, BPZOO’s Female Ma’s night monkey, resides inside the Rainforest, River & Reefs buidling which is temporarily closed to the public. Photo Credit – Jessica Martinho.

Panamanian golden frogs are critically endangered and it is believed that they may possibly be extinct in the wild. Scientists believe that an infectious disease called chytridiomycosis, coupled with pressure from illegal pet trade have caused the drastic decline in population – an estimated 80% in the last 10 years. Habitat loss due to deforestation and stream toxification from agricultural chemicals have also put pressure on this species. Panamanian golden frogs haven’t been seen in the wild since 2009 and if a population remains, it may include fewer than 50 mature individuals.

“The community is mostly aware of the Zoo’s efforts to conserve iconic species like Asian elephants and red pandas, but many smaller, less known species including the Panamanian golden frogs are at significant risk of extinction in the wild and are equally the focus of accredited zoos and aquariums of AZA,” stated Lovett.

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is located at 425 Hawthorn Street in New Bedford and is open from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm daily throughout the winter. Ticket prices for non-New Bedford Residents are $10 for adults/$6 for children 3-12; Ticket prices for New Bedford Residents are $7.50 for adults/$4.50 for children 3-12. All tickets must be reserved online, in advance of your visit, at bpzoo.org. For more information, visit www.bpzoo.org or call (508) 991-6178.




Taunton repeat illegal gun defendant in possession of a “machine gun” sentenced to prison

A 42-year-old Taunton man who unlawfully possessed a host of illegal firearms including a machine gun, was sentenced last week to serve five to seven years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

John Bettencourt pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging him with possession of a machine gun, possession of a large capacity feeding device, possession of a shotgun, possession of ammunition without an FID Card, possession of a class B drug, and possession of a large capacity firearm.

On October 19, 2019 at around 9:30 am, Taunton Police responded to a Glebe Court home for a report of shots fired. Upon arrival at the home, police found the defendant’s sister and her husband hiding in their basement. They informed police that the defendant had come down from his apartment with a firearm and that he accidentally discharged the weapon.

A protective sweep of the apartment was performed. An AK-47 rifle and a Mossberg shotgun were observed on the bed – both were determined to be loaded. Detectives then obtained a search warrant for the apartment and the defendant’s car. A magazine for the AK-47 contained 29 rounds of 7.62 ammunition, four 12 gauge shotgun shells, various other assorted rounds of ammunition and three Suboxone strips were all located in the defendant’s bedroom.

The defendant has previously been convicted of illegal firearm charges and did not have an active license to carry a firearm.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Michael Cahillane and the state prison sentence was imposed by Judge Raffi Yessayan.

“It is very concerning that the defendant is illegally in possession of an assault rifle, shotgun and a significant amount of ammunition. He has a prior gun conviction and has no business possessing these weapons. As the facts demonstrate, nothing good will come from it. He is a danger to the community and belongs off the street,” District Attorney Quinn said.




New Bedford roadwork sites for the upcoming week of March 1, 2021 – March 5, 2021

The City of New Bedford has roadwork sites for the upcoming week of March 1, 2021 – March 5, 2021 and they are as follows:

Eversource:

Eversource will be working on the gas main relays at:

• Union St. at Seventh St. intersection
• Pleasant St. at Bedford St. intersection and working to 308 Pleasant St.
• Oaklawn St. beginning at Brock Ave. and working towards 41 Oaklawn St.
• Chestnut St. beginning 116 Chestnut St. and working to the intersection of Willis St.
• Phillips Ave. at Ashley Blvd. intersection and working towards Acushnet Ave.
• Cove Rd. starting at 1185 Cove Rd. and continuing to the intersection of County St. Then moving north and working towards 31 County St.

Other:

• The contractor (SCR Construction) will be mobilizing and begin site work at the future South Coast Rail station platform locations in the City. Work will commence at (Church St. at Carlisle St.) and (Rail Yard located between Wamsutta St., Herman Melville Blvd. and Whales Tooth Parking lot).
• Department of Public Infrastructure will be filling potholes city-wide on a continuous basis.
• The contractor (Baystate WinSupply) is scheduled to continue large water meter replacements at various locations throughout the city. There are no anticipated traffic controls for this work.
• Due to ongoing construction at the High Hill Reservoir residents may experience discolored water. The water is safe, and the discoloration will be temporary. We recommend allowing the water to settle for a few hours and then flushing your service line by letting the bathtub run for a few minutes until the water clears.

** Please note: Contractors will continue to follow guidelines and protocol regarding COVID-19 social distancing while conducting work in construction zone.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation the Department of Public Infrastructure will be closed to the public entry. Office staff is available to assist by email and telephone.