New Bedford Teachers Agree to New Labor Contract

The New Bedford School Committee has approved the agreement that Mayor Jon Mitchell and New Bedford Public Schools Interim Superintendent Michael R. Shea reached with the leaders of the New Bedford Educators Association on a labor contract for New Bedford teachers.

The three-year contract includes groundbreaking changes that will support the school department’s efforts to improve academic quality, increase the graduation rate, and close achievement gaps.

“This agreement represents a major leap forward for the New Bedford Public Schools. New Bedford teachers have really stepped up and put students first,” Mayor Mitchell said.

He added, “The contract provides teachers with the support they need. It gives schools the flexibility they need. And most importantly, it will put us on a path toward a higher-performing and more engaging learning environment for our children.”

Interim School Superintendent Michael R. Shea said, “This contract is part of a broad effort to put New Bedford schools on a path that educators on every level can support, from rank and file teachers, to principals, to administrators, to state level overseers.”

Highlights of the 3-year contract include:

  • A new teacher evaluation system: The teacher’s union agreed to the Massachusetts Department of Education model language on educator evaluations. Going forward, a significant portion of teacher evaluations will be based on student test data, with a combination of a teacher’s classroom data as well as whole-school data being considered.
  • Increased management flexibility for administrators: School leaders will now be able to select the right teacher for every classroom, replacing a system solely based on seniority. Teachers can no longer “bump” another teacher with professional status. The decision now rests with the Superintendent, and the principal of the receiving school has the right to weigh in on the decision, which may be based in part on student performance.
  • New Performance-based Pay for Advanced Placement (AP) Teachers: An anticipated expansion of the AP program at New Bedford High School will be supported by a new system of monetary awards to teachers through a grant account based on test scores in math, science and English and other subjects. This is designed to help close achievement gaps and increase the competitiveness of students applying for college.
  • Compensation Increases: 0% raise in year one, 1.5% raise for most teachers in year two, and a 1.75% raise for most teachers in year three. The contract will be in effect through June 30, 2014.

New Bedford Students Start School Year with Technology in the Classroom

New Bedford High School teachers and students began the 2012-2013 school year with access to new educational technology tools in the classroom.  Twenty classrooms at New Bedford High School were outfitted with interactive white boards (Promethean boards) as well as laptop computers and interactive slate boards with the ability to communicate with the interactive boards. Teachers received training on the new technology and will use the tools to engage students in a more interactive classroom environment.

The New Bedford Public School District was able to purchase the technology after the City Council agreed to Mayor Mitchell’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal to invest $1 million in additional funds for the school department which was facing a budget crisis.

The City’s unprecedented investment in the school district was used to enable the schools to purchase adequate textbooks and other education technology tools to help students succeed.  The school department’s textbook accounts had previously suffered drastic cuts in order to plug deficits in other areas.

Mayor Jon Mitchell said, “We used a mixture of new revenue and spending cuts to close the school budget gap and I am pleased that as a direct result of the cooperation of the City Council and School Committee our students will have access to new textbooks and innovative, interactive technology in the classroom.”

New Bedford City Council President Steven Martins said, “The City Council believes in providing the right tools and technology necessary to help our New Bedford students succeed.  Supporting the budget proposal, we knew it would better help our children learn and succeed. We strongly believe that in shaping the future, our children and our schools must come first.”

Review: Al Green at the Z

stephan rose
By Stephan Rose

On August 26th, the Zeiterion Theatre had the honor of hosting R&B/Soul legend Al Green. The Reverend Al Green is one of those guys that you know more songs from than you think you do. The big hit was “Let’s Stay Together”, but he had THIRTEEN Billboard Top 40 hits! “Let’s Get Married”, “Love and Happiness”, “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”, “Take Me to the River” (no, that was NOT a Talking Heads original!), and many more.

Your Intrepid Reporter arrived at the concert 15 minutes late (I had to attend a goodbye party for a friend moving to China, is THAT a good enough excuse for you???), so I missed half of Al’s opening act, Jesse Dee. This was a good thing. Although the Boston Globe described him as “A mix of John Legend, James Hunter and Al Green”, I beg to differ. I found his music to be blandly Adult-Contemporary, his band soulless, and I was happy when he left the stage. (In his defense, I stumbled upon a performance he did at the Regetta Bar in Cambridge on YouTube, and it was pretty damn good. Perhaps he was having an off night?)

Al came on to much applause and genuine love, looking very dapper in a black suit and sunglasses. He was not afraid to feature members of his nine-piece band, including his guitarist, keyboardist and horn section, giving all their names and letting them solo. Especially his second keyboardist, who was from Boston (this got thunderous applause, and screams of pride). His four-piece back-up singers featured three women…all of whom were his daughters! The Reverend showcased them on a version of “Amazing Grace”, having them sing this classic very quietly and then loudly, which they did in effortless beauty.

An ordained reverend since 1976, spirituality did play a part in his performance. Especially when he informed us, “I’m a child of God, I can make you dance!” (If all Men of God were like him, you’d be in church every Sunday, wouldn’t you?) Al thanked the Lord for letting him perform music for FOUR decades, and counting.

At 67 years old, age had not diminished him, just lessened him, slightly. He EFFORTLESSLY hit all the high notes in his hits. After holding one note for awhile, he informed us, “See? You have to still hold it!” He did stop twice, putting his head down and his hands on his knees, catching his breath before the next onslaught. Nevertheless, the show ran an extra 15 minutes. “As you can see, we like to rock”, he said, after turning “Love and Happiness” into an extended jam, bringing the horn section to the front of the stage.

The audience, although not at capacity, loved him. Many people left their seats to come to the front right side, to snap pictures and dance (maybe I was with them….for most of the concert). I’ll never forget the older lady in the wheelchair, jamming in her chair and loving Al even more than the rest of us. Al proved to be the consummate gentlemen, hanging out long-stemmed roses to the ladies in an unlimited supply. He asked “May I come back again?” and we screamed “Yes!” and women threw their underwear on stage (I might be remembering this wrong).

After multiple shouted requests, Al finally got to “Let’s Stay Together”, encouraging the audience to “sing along.” Although Al didn’t have the energy to move like the old days, he had two backup dancers to keep the energy up, as well as the audience.

Some of the more mind-blowing parts of his performance were covers. From his left-field version of Roy Orbison’s “(Oh) Pretty Woman” (one of my favorite artists), to his wonderful medley of Motown classics: “Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch”, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”, “Can’t Get Next to You” and others.

After missing James Brown a few years ago, (and only a few months before he died), my New Year’s resolution this year was to see as many of the all-time greats as I could before they passed on. With recent guests like B.B. King, Al Green, Buddy Guy and Joan Rivers (I missed her winter performance, regretfully), the Zeiterion Theatre makes it EASY. Any chance we can get the Isley Brothers, Z?

UFC 152: Jones vs. Belfort Preview & Results

UFC 152 Poster
UFC 152 – September 22, 2012 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario


Main Card (Pay-per-view):
205#: Jon Jones (17-1) vs. Vitor Belfort (21-10) wins by Top Wrist Lock/Americana in RD 4!
125#: Joseph Benavidez (16-3) vs. Demetrious Johnson (16-2-1) wins by Split Decision!
185#: Michael Bisping (24-4) vs. Brian Stann (12-5) wins by Unanimous Decision!
205#: Matt Hamill (12-4) vs. Roger Hollett (13-4) wins by Unanimous Decision!
155#: Cub Swanson (18-5) vs. Charles Oliveira (16-2 1NC) wins by KO in RD1!

Preliminary Card (FX Channel):
205#: Igor Pokrajac (25-8) vs. Vinny Magalhaes (11-5 1NC) wins by Armbar in RD2!
155#: TJ Grant (19-5) vs. Evan Dunham (13-3) wins by Unanimous Decision!
170#: Sean Pierson (13-6) vs. Lance Benoist (6-2) wins by Unanimous Decision!
145#: Jimy Hettes (10-1) vs. Marcus Brimage (6-1) wins by Unanimous Decision!

Preliminary Card (Facebook):
170#: Seth Baczynski (17-6) vs. Simeon Thoresen (17-3-1) wins by Knock-Out in RD1!
135#: Mitch Gagnon (9-2) vs. Walel Watson (9-5) wins by Rear Naked Choke in RD1!
170#: Kyle Noke (20-6-1) vs. Charlie Brenneman (15-5) wins by Technical Knock-Out in RD1!

by Joe Silvia

Ultimate Fighting Championship 152 takes place on Saturday, September 22, 2012 at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Facebook Prelims start at 7 p.m. EST before switching to FX Channel for the rest of the prelims at 8 p.m. EST. PPV begins at 10 p.m. EST. To watch the FREE prelims on Facebook simply visit their Facebook page and “like.”

Jon Jones vs Vitor Belfort
I’ll skip all the drama and hoopla that led to this specific match-up. It’s been hashed and re-hashed a thousand times. The betting lines have been as steep as -925, or a 9 to 1 favorite for Jon Jones. This alludes to the fact that Vitor Belfort has been fighting in the UFC for as long as anyone. He is an “old” fighter, who’s greatest recent accomplishment was beating Rich Franklin almost exactly 3 years ago. Outside of this major win, almost every time he has stepped up to fight a top opponent he has lost. Many point out that he lacks mental fortitude. He comes out explosive, dangerous and exciting and when things don’t go his way within the first few minutes he simply fades. He stepped up twice against Couture and lost, stepped up to Sakuraba, Liddell, Ortiz, Overeem, Dan Henderson, and Anderson Silva and lost. This is not to place harsh criticism, but point out the reasoning behind the betting line. He has a track record of fading after a few minutes and losing his big fights. It’s not something that is a given fact, as there are exceptions, but it is reliable enough that Vegas has placed odds at -925.

Talk about big fights – does it get bigger than fighting perhaps one of the greatest fighters in the sport’s history? One that has an 81% finish rate? Jones 6′ 4″ frame in a 205# body presents a serious problem for everyone. While “only” a JUCO wrestler he has proven that he has adapted his wrestling to MMA, almost more than any other wrestler, including those who are more accomplished. German Suplexes, Saltos, back arch throws, backstep tosses, and pretty much anything he wants, he does. He has demonstrated and improved striking with standing elbows, paying more attention to distance and measure, and has been vocal about wanting to get more KOs standing. He is young, motivated, and sees clearly he is on the path to becoming the sport’s greatest fighter.

This is a fight where Vitor needs to do what Vitor does: come out with all cannons firing, be fast, explosive, and get the fight over with as early as possible. Power never leaves and Belfort has it in spades. He can KO anyone in any weight class. If he fades in 3 round fights, he’ll never make it 5 rounds. He needs to end this fight ASAP. For Jones to win, he simply needs to not get pompous and arrogant and try to get flashy and fancy. Just execute his gameplan and he’ll have a finish in the second or third round. NBG Pick: Jones.

Joseph Benavidez vs Demetrious Johnson
The little guys are ALWAYS fun to watch and these two are exemplar examples of why. They are both busy, fast-paced, fighters who always put on an exciting show. Benavidez who has only ever lost to Dominick Cruz (2x) has string together four wins in a row. While a finisher early on in his career, at the top of the heap it gets more difficult to finish the best. He has finished 2 of his last four fights. He will have a very difficult time finishing “Might Mouse” Johnson and will need to be in the best shape of his life and execute the gameplan to a “T” to get one. His wrestling credentials will get plenty of use and should be part of his gameplan. While it won’t be easy, he needs to take Mighty Mouse down, keep him down, work to pass his guard to a superior position and work for a finish.


Demetrious Johnson moves so fast and at such a hectic pace that he looks like sped up film footage. He may be the fastest person in the sport today. Since moving down to Flyweight he has a draw and a win over the same fighter “Ian McCall.” He’ll be super motivated to get that championship belt. While not as accomplished of a wrestler, DJ did wrestle in high school. He will be giving up size and wrestling experience so his gameplan needs to revolve around keeping the fight standing and avoiding being taken down or kept down. This fight comes down to the wrestling factor: Can Benavidez take DJ down and keep him there? This is a championship fight, so as the fight goes on longer DJ will have a harder time fending off the takedowns. For this reason the NBG pick is: Benavidez.

Michael Bisping vs Brian Stann
In spite of having 16 fights in the UFC, Bisping has cemented his cash cow status by not only never having challenged for the belt, but has only fought a top ten fighter ONCE. The UFC built the British market on his shoulders and do not want him to go away. The one time he stepped up and fought a top ten opponent was Dan Henderson and his KO was one that is still discussed today. Bisping is slowly becoming aware that he is being protected by the UFC brass and knowing the brash, confident fighter he is, I don’t think it’s sitting well with him. Fighting Brian Stann is just the 17th fight where he is not fighting for the belt and not fighting a top ten opponent. It has gone past the point of being absurd now. The UFC needs to make him face top ten opponents IMMEDIATELY after this fight and point him towards a title shot.

Brian Stann is a big, strong, powerful fighter. He has one method or way to win: KO. He is new to wrestling and BJJ and it’s no secret that he will try to use his power and striking as he does in every fight. The problem is he will need to get near Bisping. One thing Bisping does well is utilize footwork and distance. Stann is going to have a hell of a time trying to catch Bisping, but what he needs to do to win is take a page from the Hendo fight and land a huge right hand….especially if Bisping stubbornly moves in the wrong direction into that right hand as he did in the Hendo fight. For Bisping to win, he’ll need to keep on his bicycle for a round or two, turn up the heat when the opportunities arise and he’ll be en route to winning a decision or even a TKO. Stann needs to come out super aggressive, let his hands go, wade through Bisping’s light punches, take a few to land just ONE. NBG pick: Bisping.

Matt Hamill

Matt Hamill vs Roger Hollett
Matt Hamill is coming out of retirement for this fight. He is also coming off of two losses…against Rampage Jackson and Alexander Gustafsson. The NCAA Div. III champ is young enough that a short retirement shouldn’t affect him too much. There are fighters who have taken longer injury time between fights. However, what will be questioned is his motivation. Does he have a passion for the sport? This is a TOUGH sport and if you lack the desire, you will fall by the wayside. Hamill is in a sense getting a “tune-up” fight. He should count his blessings, because while tune-up fights are a common gift in boxing they are extremely rare in MMA. Little is known of his opponent Roger Hollett. While he has an 85% finish rate he has not fought the best fighters in the world. This will either be a coming out fight for him or he will slide back into the ranks of the lesser known. Even with retirement and rust, Hamill has faced only top competition, and has the wrestling credentials therefore the NBG pick is: Hamill.

Cub Swanson vs Charles Oliveira
Cub Swanson has come a long way from his WEC days. Back then he lost the fights that mattered and he needed to: Jens Pulver, Jose Aldo, and Chad Mendes. When he came to the UFC and lost his first bought by Arm Triangle to Ricardo Lamas, things did not look good for Cub. They looked desperate. Cub dug down deep, made some changes, found his motivation and put together two very impressive TKO wins over George Roop and Ross Pearson. He certainly made a statement that he is back and fired up. He will need to not only maintain that fire, but stoke it against his opponent Charles Oliveira.

While Oliveira started out as a strike and strung together TKO wins, he then seemed to switch gears and put together nine submissions throughout subsequent bouts. Charles does everything, but wrestle, very well. He can KO you or submit you in a flash. Have any doubt? Only ONE person he has beaten has gone to a decision and he has a 94% finish rate. His two most notable wins are a Rear Naked Choke over Efrain Escudero and a Guillotine Choke on Jonathan Brookins. Having said these things, Cub has faced far better opposition and has far more experience in the big leagues.

This fight is really a toss-up. Does Cub’s experience win the day or does Oliveira bring his finish rate up to the big leagues. Cub would be better suited to avoid the ground to win this fight. I am not sure Oliveira’s wrestling is good enough to take Cub down and keep him there. I expect a barnburner of a striking match where the first one to unleash his power first wins. Tough pick: Oliveira.

Come back for the results, updates and animated gifs. What are your picks for the headline fight between Jones and Belfort? Does Stann get the KO? Who wins the bonuses?

New Bedford Streets; A Piece of Americana: Centre Street

Centre Street photo courtesy of Spinner Publications

Welcome to our fifth installment of New Bedford Streets; A Piece of Americana. I invite you to read up on the history behind William Street, Kempton Street, Ashley Boulevard and Middle Street. As usual, I’d like to re-iterate the importance of reader feedback, correction, and contributions. In the process of exploring these streets, I try to confirm or validate statements and dates by finding multiple sources. Unfortunately, if all those sources are making their statement based on an older, incorrect source, and there isn’t any dissenting information available, there’s no way to know otherwise. So by all means, please join in!

One of the oldest; Russell, Tallman, & Tryworks
Centre street is not only one of the oldest streets in New Bedford’s history, but one of its shortest, beat only by Rodman Street by a matter of feet. The retention of the British spelling – centre as opposed to center – alludes to the age of the street. The earliest historical mention of Centre street dates back to a time before the Revolutionary War. Centre street had always been an integral part of the commercial heart of the city, full of hustle-bustle and industry. It was a part of the city that was based in practicality and never cared much for aesthetics. It was about bringing in revenue to the city through industries, nothing more.

By 1755, Joseph Russell was already deeply involved in the oil business and within a decade owned (along with William Tallman and Caleb Russell) multiple sloops: the Nancy, Polly, Greyhound and Hannah.

Looking up Centre Street (Whaling Museum)
These vessels and many others would use the foot of Centre Street to dock and offload their cargo. They had quick and easy access to Russell’s tryworks located on Centre street.

A tryworks was a facility where whale blubber could be boiled and the oil skimmed from the top. While sounding like an elaborate facility, in this case it merely consisted of a large pot within a shed. By having a land based tryworks, whalers could focus on harvesting whales instead of processing them. Many whalers would try out the oil on the vessel. While it would be an additional cost to use a land based facility, it would free up time to put all their attention on the harvest while out at sea.

Of Rose Alley, Enoch Horton, William Allen Wall
Also before the Revolutionary war, the first candlehouse was erected between Centre and Rose Alley, west of Front Street. This was owned by Joseph Russell and eventually burned down by the British during the war. Western Union Telegraph Company had one of its first offices at the southeast corner of Water and Centre Streets.

Enoch Horton started a bakery at 18 Centre Street circa 1819. The bakery eventually was taken over by Watson & Manchester before Samuel Watson took full ownership. By 1878 Jonathan Buttrick, an apprentice to Nathaniel Tucker began working for Samuel Watson before taking ownership of the bakery when Watson died a year later. This bakery had two brick ovens and a rotary oven. His bread was kept in air tight containers said to last up to 7 years, the perfect ship bread. 17 Centre Street was a writing and ink copying manufacturing plant owned by George H. Freeman.

In William Allen Wall’s “famous” 1805 image of the corner of Water and Williams streets is the following description:

“The road curves to the right and up the hill. At the left is a building with three smoke stacks that is the back of the blacksmith shop that faced Centre Street at this time. On the top of the hill at center is are two houses belonging to two of the most prominent families of the town – William Rotch, Jr. and his wife Elizabeth Rodman, and Samuel Rodman and his wife Elizabeth Rotch owned homes At the right, on the down-slope of the hill are two large business buildings. In the foreground are animals, men, and a horse and cart hauling a cask.”

The Waterfront Historic Area LeaguE or WHALE project was responsible for the Centre street we see today. The oldest building on center street, the Tallman Warehouse was one of WHALE’s very first buildings in the Waterfront District to be restored in 1967. They used this building as headquarters until 1995. We would call The Caleb Spooner and Henry Beetle buildings, “Route 18” if WHALE had not relocated them. We now call them 22 and 24 Centre street respectively.

Looking up Centre Street (Whaling Museum)

The John Harrison building on 23 Centre Street is currently Kaller Beef. It was built by its namesake in 1820 after the previous building was burnt down. At one point it was the shop of George S. Homer “manufacturer of Sperm, Whale, and Black-Fish Oils. Sperm Candles, Sperm and Whale Soaps, also pure cod liver oil, for medicinal purposes.”

25 Centre Street was the shop of “William Maxfield. House, Ship, Sign and ornamental Painter, and dealer in paints, oils, varnishes, and window glass. Also, agent for Wetterstedt’s Metallic Composition for Vessels’ bottoms. Graining and Paper Hanging executed to order.”

In the early 1970s WHALE had its eyes on the Rotch Counting House on the corner of Front and Centre street. Before the legal paperwork could be passed to prevent its demolition, the Redevelopment Authority destroyed it in the middle of the night.

As can be seen, Centre street may have been one of the city’s shortest, but oh boy was it a BUSY street. The name “Centre” was adopted because this street was smack dab in the middle of the business “mecca” of the industrious city. When whaling began to decline in the 1860s, Centre street, being the heart of the city’s business, suffered as well and many buildings fell into disrepair. The renovation project initiated by WHALE in the early 1960s began to nurse some of these buildings back to health and restored them to the glory and beauty that we see today.

Centre Street Timeline
c1750: Warehouses, candlhouse and tryworks built.
1750: Rotch Counting House is erected on the corner of Front and Centre.
1778: Many buildings burnt down by the British.
1790: Tallman warehouse is erected at 13 Centre along with many of the streets other buildings.
c1804: Henry Beetle House is erected.
1806: Caleb Spooner House is erected.
1819: Enoch Horton starts bakery at 18 Centre.
1820: John Harrison erects his building at 23 Centre.
1822: Stone building at 26 Centre is erected.
1860: George S. Homer opens his shop at 23 Centre.
1967: WHALE restores the Tallman Warehouse.
c1973: Redevelopment Authority destroys the Rotch Counting House.
1976: Alan and Mary Scott have the first Centre Street Festival.
1995: WHALE vacates its headquarters at that Tallman Warehouse.

Special thanks to Spinner Publications and the New Bedford Whaling Museum for the images.

Butch McCarthy Solo Album Release

After such a long musical career, it’s kind of hard to believe that Butch McCarthy has never recorded a solo album- but it’s true. Until now.

He has been part of several recording projects in recent years, but always as a member of a band (McCarthy/Richards Band & The Butch McCarthy Band) or a duo (McCarthy/Legge with Dori Legge) but over the years he piled up a fair number of songs that he wrote on his own and the time had come to hit the studio solo.

So on Saturday, Sept 8 there will be a CD Release at Rose Alley Ale House starting at 3PM to celebrate the release of Butch’s first Solo album: Prevail.
The term “Solo album” may be a stretch because every recording projects requires a lot of people and a lot of time. Prevail was recorded at Seasound Studios in Plymouth, MA and produced by Mark Bryant for Plimro Records. The musicians include local favorites Chris Richards, JB Borges, Steve Mazza and Bob McCarthy (Butch’s brother). Plymouth area musicians Kit Carlyle and James Calandrella added tracks as well. Local photographer, Chris Haskell, is responsible for the photos and album design.

The album was funded solely by fan contributions- Butch’s fans pre-purchased the CD a month or so in advance and contributed so much that the goal amount was surpassed in a week’s time. All funds received over the goal amount were contributed to the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber Institute.

There are 11 songs on Prevail which are an eclectic mix of Americana, Folk and Rock. Songs include ‘No Man’s Land’, ‘Tend To Me’ and the title track ‘Prevail’.

There is no admission fee Saturday and CDs are $15/each.

More info at

Mayor Mitchell to Host Boston Mayor Menino

On Friday, August 31, 2012, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell will welcome Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston to the Whaling City.  Menino, the five-term Mayor of Boston will dine with Mayor Mitchell and the two mayors will make several stops in the downtown New Bedford.  Earlier this year, Mitchell offered a personal invitation to Menino to take a break from his mayoral duties and visit New Bedford located some 60 miles south of Boston.

At 10:00 a.m. the two Mayors and Tony Sapienza, President of Joseph Abboud Manufacturing will visit “The Bay,” a distinguished local retail clothing shop and home to the Joseph Abboud Factory Outlet—a place of great interest to Menino, because of Abboud’s ties to Boston as well as his appreciation for quality clothing.  The Joseph Abboud tailored clothing factory located in the north end of New Bedford produces the signature line of Abboud men’s suits sold at retailers across the United States and internationally.  These New Bedford-made suits remain a testament to the City’s great tradition of textile manufacture and the production of finely-crafted, tailored clothing.  (The Bay—89 North Water Street, New Bedford).

At 10:45 a.m. the Mayors, joined by city transportation and planning officials, will walk one block from The Bay to the bottom of Elm Street and head south along Front Street to review progress being made on the Route 18/JFK Boulevard Improvement Project. The Project will link the downtown business district with the City’s working waterfront by transforming the existing highway into a pedestrian friendly boulevard—much like the Central Artery Project and Rose Kennedy Greenway have expanded access to the Boston waterfront and sparked economic development.

At 11:15 a.m. Mayors Menino and Mitchell will tour the UMass Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts Star Store Campus and discuss the importance of the creative economy in arts and education centers like Boston and New Bedford. (Star Store Campus—715 Purchase Street, New Bedford)

The Mayors also plan to have lunch downtown at Café Balena (11:45 a.m.) and grab coffee at the Celtic Coffee House (9:30 a.m.).  (Celtic Coffee House—49 North Water Street, New Bedford).  All events are open to the press with the exception of lunch.

South End Mosquito Spraying Scheduled for August 31st

The Bristol County Mosquito Control Project (BCMC) has identified West Nile Virus in two samples taken from South End mosquito traps deployed at the request of the City of New Bedford last week.

In response to this development, the BCMC will conduct mosquito spraying during the early morning hours on Friday, August 31, 2012 from 3:00am to 6:00am in the South End of New Bedford.  The spraying will be conducted on the entire peninsula south of Cove Street including all of the major recreation areas.  During the spraying, residents are advised to stay indoors, close windows, and bring pets inside.  Given the very early morning spraying, minimal public exposure is expected.  The anti-mosquito spray leaves no harmful residue and dissipates within 30 minutes so there is no need to bring children’s toys or patio furniture indoors.  Residents with questions can contact the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project at (508) 823-5253.

As a further precaution, Mayor Mitchell has also directed the Parks and Recreation Department to move the location of tonight’s senior concert at Buttonwood Park indoors to the Buttonwood Park Warming House.  The concert by the Meadow Larks will still begin at 6:00pm.

The planned spraying follows an aggressive three-day spraying effort conducted on August 17-20th , which targeted areas in the North End, Parker Street and Hicks-Logan neighborhoods.  Preliminary indications are that the spraying may have been effective in reducing the threat, with the latest results negative for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and (WNV) carrying mosquitoes in those areas.

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) raised the EEE/WNV risk level for New Bedford to “High.” MDPH continues to test for indications of EEE/WNV in local mosquito populations.  The results of further testing will determine if additional spraying is necessary.  Until the threat level is reduced, residents are encouraged to consider rescheduling outdoor gatherings from the evening to earlier in the day, wear long sleeves and pants, use repellent, check window screens and drain any standing water in yards.  More detailed precautions follow at bottom.

Residents are advised to take the following actions to reduce their personal exposure to the threat posed by EEE/WNV:

Avoid Mosquito Bites

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours – The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing. Mosquitoes are also biting in the afternoon now that evenings are cooler.
  • Clothing Can Help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.  DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.  Permethrin products are intended for use on items such as clothing, shoes, bed nets and camping gear and should not be applied to skin.

Mosquito-Proof Your Home

  • Drain Standing Water – Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
  • Install or Repair Screens – Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

New Bedford Martial Arts Scholarship Program

One of the root causes of youth obesity and crime is the lack of fitness and other programs offered to keep our youth active and busy. One of the biggest barriers to available fitness programs can be the cost. The New Bedford Fitness and Martial Arts Center and will be working together with local sponsors to offer a one-year tuition opportunity to low-income students under 19 years old.

As scholarships become available, the New Bedford Fitness and Martial Arts Center (665 Orchard Street) will be offering a year of martial arts three times a week for Greater New Bedford area youths at no cost to the student. The program will be offered to low-income kids and young adults, and will be supported by local businesses and individuals. To get your child or teen on the list e-mail: The three time a week martial arts and grappling/wrestling programs cost $60 a month or $720 a year, but will be sold to sponsors at a discounted rate.

Anyone can support the program by sponsoring a kid at a reduced rate of $500 a year. Your business, organization or name will get listed on the sponsor wall on the gym. If you sponsor two kids for $$1,000 you will get a month of FREE advertising on worth $200. Businesses, organizations and individual sponsors of the program will gain positive media attention, get listed on the gym’s sponsor wall and support a great cause.

Students will have the option to attend classes Monday through Saturday. Currently, the classes are Kids Grappling and Self Defense offered Monday through Friday from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m , or Bully Prevention on Tuesday (4:30 – 5:30 p.m.) Wednesday (5-6 p.m.) and Saturday (9:30 -10:30 a.m.). The scholarship allows students to attend three classes of their choice each week.

This program can only happen with the support of local sponsors. If you have any interest supporting this program call 774-202-2297 or email Use the same contact information if you want to get your kid on the scholarship list. More details on the New Bedford Fitness and Martial Arts can be found here and at

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Instructor Daymon Smith is a 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Tim Burrill.
Instructor Daymon Smith
Instructor Radhames Familia is a purple belt under Tim Burrill.
Instructor Radhames Familia
Instructor Jeff Karam is a purple belt under Tim Burrill.
Instructor Jeff Karam
Joseph Botelho has his black belt under Tony Cogliandro and Dan D’Onfro.
Instructor Joseph Botelho has his black belt under Tony Cogliandro and Dan D’Onfro.
Instructor Joe Silvia has over 15 years of Mixed Martial Arts experience.
The Facility has its own Octagon for realistic training and sparring.
Training in the BJJ class.
Students sparring.
Training in the BJJ class.
The bully prevention program teaches kids martial arts, and builds confidence and discipline.
The bully prevention program teaches kids martial arts, and builds confidence and discipline.
Training in the BJJ class.
The facility has five heavy bags.
The facility has five heavy bags.
The facility has two bathrooms and a locker room.
The Facility has its own Octagon for realistic training and sparring.
The Facility has its own Octagon for realistic training and sparring.
The training area is covered with mats.
The facility has five heavy bags.

Total Recall (2012) Movie Review

By Shonna McGrail Ryan

Sometimes a movie comes out and despite awesome effects, huge promotional efforts and a compelling cast it still bombs at the box office.  Such was the case this weekend with Len Wiseman’s newest sci-fi thriller Total Recall, a remake of the well-known 1990 Schwarzenegger film by the same name.  Total Recall only grossed $26 million domestic in its opening weekend, which is a weak showing.  $26 million is an especially disappointing start when you consider that Wiseman’s last movie, Underworld: Evolution (a movie with far less advertising and less than half the production costs) made nearly a million dollars more in its opening.  So what went so wrong with Total Recall?  You’ll find no answers here; I thought the movie was pretty awesome.

As a brief recap from the trailer, Total Recall is about Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), a factory worker living in a small apartment in a dystopian society with his wife (Kate Beckinsale).  Disillusioned by his boring life and plagued by nightmares of doing something more meaningful, he decides to try “Rekall”; a service that allows people to experience exotic memories.  The experience at Rekall jolts Quaid’s memories and brings him to discover that he has an erased past as a highly valuable spy.  Quickly everyone (including his wife) seem to be out to kill him and his only ally is a woman he can only remember from his dreams (Jessica Biel).

Total Recall 2012 Movie reviewThere are different trains of thought on why Total Recall had such a disappointing opening.  One theory says that Colin Farrell has lost his A list appeal, and Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel aren’t high ranking in Hollywood either.  This shouldn’t mean anything though; they are all well suited to action/sci-fi roles, and that’s purely what Total Recall is about.  It’s two hours of essentially non-stop action, which is what Len Wiseman is a master of. The visual effects are stunning, the action sequences are inventive, and there are equal parts hand-to-hand combat and gunfire, which keeps it interesting.

Another theory on Total Recall’s low numbers is that the original doesn’t have enough of a fan base to interest moviegoers.  Whether you loved or hated the original (or never saw it), it hardly matters because Wiseman did a lot to reimagine the plot and setting.  Total Recall takes place in a world where most of the Earth is uninhabitable and those who remain living are either stuck a dystopian colony, or are living in the United Federation of Britain (which is still plagued with population issues, but is a much nicer place overall).  The Colony is a dark society overrun with crime and illegal activity, which makes for a dynamic setting and presented an intriguing view of the future.  Additionally, Wiseman’s plot is steeped in political conflict, allowing for a believable spy story, but doesn’t slow down the action with heavy-handed concepts.

I already mentioned that Total Recall is packed with action and special effects, but it would be unfair to say that those are the only viable reasons to check this movie out.  For example, the plot is filled with twists that make you unsure even until the end what is really happening.  This isn’t to say that it’s confusing or irritating as plot twists can too often be.  It just keeps you wondering what to believe, which gives it a somewhat philosophical vibe.  After the movie, I couldn’t help but think about the difference between reality and illusion and dissect different things I heard and saw throughout the film.  I’m not trying to claim this is a mind blowing movie in terms of being thought provoking, but it is definitely interesting and has clever moments.

Another plot point to Total Recall is the theme of internal struggle as Quaid tries to figure out who he was, who he is and what is real and what is fake.  Farrell may not be poised for a bunch of Academy Awards in his career, but he pulls off these man versus self  themes with subtlety and, in my opinion, is believable as a butt-kicking secret agent.  There was also the romance theme of the story, which was equally downplayed but revealed chemistry between Farrell and Biel.

If I had to offer one theory on Totall Recall’s disappointing opening weekend numbers, I would say that science fiction is often a hit or miss genre with audiences.  Obviously, movies like Avatar make astronomical amounts of money, but many other gems often go unnoticed.  Who knows why, it may be attributed to too much action, too much dependence on a need to suspend disbelief, or the sense that it’s all been done before.  Still, The Matrix grossed only a little more when it opened back and 1999 and we all know it to be a science fiction landmark today.  So, if you are considering seeing Total Recall, I say give it a shot.  Especially you science fiction lovers out there; don’t let box office numbers dissuade you from seeing this one!

Total Recal 2012 Official Movie Trailer

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