Absentee ballots available for June 23 New Bedford casino referendum

The Board of Election Commissioners has announced that absentee ballots are available for voters who cannot go to the polls on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 to vote in the Special Referendum Election.

On June 23, 2015 New Bedford voters will be casting their votes to determine if the City of New Bedford will permit the operation of a gaming establishment licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on approximately 43 acres located off of MacArthur Drive at the site of the former Cannon Street power station.

Voters may cast absentee ballots at the Elections Office in City Hall (133 William Street, Room 144) during regular office hours (8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday) and on Saturday, June 20, 2015 from 8:00 A.M. to noon.  Absentee ballots may be cast until noon on June 22, 2015 (the day prior to the Referendum Election).

A link to a Specimen Ballot can be found on the homepage of the City of New Bedford (www.newbedford-ma.gov).  On Election Day polls will be open from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.  If you have any questions on absentee ballots, voting status, or voting precinct, please call the Elections Office at 979-1420 or 979-1421.

Pictures in the Park: an outdoor movie series at Buttonwood Park for Summer 2015

The first film—Sandlot—will begin at sunset on Friday, June 26.

Pictures in the Park is an outdoor movie series being held in New Bedford’s Buttonwood Park during the summer of 2015. Coordinated by a group of volunteers, the series is made possible thanks to: partnerships with the City of New Bedford’s Department of Parks, Recreation, and Beaches, which is providing activities as well as park access; the Friends of Buttonwood Park, which is helping us ensure that donations to this project are tax-deductible; and, most importantly, contributions from residents and businesses who support our mission.

That mission is to promote New Bedford’s civic vitality and encourage the use and enjoyment of Buttonwood Park by city residents and visitors alike during the summer of 2015 and beyond. Going forward, we hope to use our experience developing and presenting this series to develop a “how-to” guide that will encourage more New Bedford residents to initiate similar events in parks throughout the city next summer.

The first film—Sandlot—will begin at sunset on Friday, June 26, following a fitness activity being coordinated by the city’s Parks Department to engage children and families. Based on the success of our fundraising efforts, two more films will be shown through the end of summer, and we are currently working with the Parks Department and other groups using the park to determine the best dates for subsequent events.

Sponsorship opportunities

We believe that producing a professional, high-quality series is key to achieving our goals and encouraging more of our fellow citizens to “be the change” they wish to see in our city. Therefore, we have engaged a professional to provide and manage equipment that will meet the needs of an audience as large as 500 people. In order to offset this cost and that of the licensing fees for each film, we have established a fundraising goal of $3,000 for the entire series. In addition to securing a $1,000 Community Building Mini-Grant from the United Way of Greater New Bedford and asking movie-goers to make small-dollar contributions, we are in the process of securing donations from individuals and sponsorships from area businesses.

We expect the outdoor movie series to offer a high level of visibility to sponsors both at the event and in all relevant advertising. Title sponsors who donate $1,000 or more will be credited as the presenter of one of this summer’s films; their logo will be displayed on the screen before the movie and in all advertisements for the film and the series. Title sponsors will also have the opportunity to set up a promotional table at the event and to reserve an area of seating for their employees and families.

Business sponsors contributing $300 or more will have their company formally recognized at the start of the film and their logo will be included in large print advertisements. And because we wish to bolster civic vitality through the series, we will list on the screen the names of all other business and individual donors half an hour before the start of the film so that attendees can get a sense of the degree to which members of the community have pitched in their own resources to ensure that this positive experience can be enjoyed by all. Indeed, promoting contributors in every way possible will go a long way toward sustaining this effort into summers beyond by encouraging and rewarding a philanthropic spirit in our city.

Would you like to sponsor Pictures in the Park? Please make checks payable to the Friends of Buttonwood Park and note that your contribution is for Pictures in the Park. Checks can be mailed to: Friends of Buttonwood Park, P.O. Box 2011, New Bedford, MA 02741.

Questions? Ideas? Contact Colleen Dawicki (cdawicki@gmail.com ).

Gain Valuable Growing Insights at a Workshop with Local Farmer Derek Christianson

Growing Vegetables for Health, Quality and Profit.

NOFA/Mass presents a workshop at Brix Bounty Farm on Sunday, June 14th, titled Growing Vegetables for Health, Quality and Profit. Participants will tour the fields and examine what is working well at the farm this season as well as the disappointments, with an emphasis on fertility as a foundation for vigorous crop production and in-season monitoring and management.

“We realize it’s challenging to take time out of the busy season to visit and experience other farm’s, however we also feel the insights gleaned from in-season farm visits are mighty valuable.  At Brix Bounty Farm we’ve planted more than 5 acres since late April, all grown without supplemental irrigation (in a dry spring to say the very least) and a good majority of our crops are faring quite well despite the dry conditions.   We’ll check in on the progress of our onion crops, lettuce succession, and field tomatoes while reviewing crop monitoring tools and techniques and in-season fertility management – including foliar sprays and side dressing to address specific crop needs based on the season,” said Brix Bounty farmer Derek Christianson, who will be the host and presenter during the workshop series.

Derek has been farming in the Northeast for the past 13 seasons, relocating to the South Coast from Hawthorne Valley Farm in New York.  Derek and his wife Katie started Brix Bounty Farm in 2008. To register and for more info, visit www.nofamass.org or contact Glenn Oliveira at glenn@nofamass.org.

Clear Pond Park Open June 20 to August 23rd

The Park will be open 7 day a week from 10am to 6pm daily.

The Lakeville Park Commission would like to announce the opening of Clear Pond Park on Saturday June 20th through August 23rd. The Park will be open 7 day a week from 10am to 6pm daily.

Day passes are available at the gate for $6 for adults, children under 16 are $4 and Lakeville senior citizens are free. Season passes are also available $100 for a family pass for Lakeville residents (ID required) and $130 for a family pass for non-residents.

There will be special activities throughout the summer, a playground, mini golf, concession stand, as well as swimming lessons.

Questions please call the Park Department at 508-947-1100, email parkcorrespondence@lakevillema.org, or find the Lakeville Park Commission or Clear Pond on Facebook!

Mayor Mitchell Proposes Naming One Washington Square ‘Tom Lopes Park’

Mayor Jon Mitchell has submitted a letter to the New Bedford City Council requesting that the Council name the vacant city-owned lot known as One Washington Square ‘Tom Lopes Park.’ Mr. Lopes, who died in 2012, was the publisher of the Cape Verdean News and the first Cape Verdean-American to serve in the Massachusetts State Legislature. A beloved figure in the Cape Verdean community and throughout the city, Mr. Lopes was also active in various neighborhood and youth initiatives.

In a letter to the Council the Mayor reports that the Community Leadership Team of NeighborWorks Southern Massachusetts has partnered with WHALE, local artist Erik Durant, and other community members to design and build a memorial sculpture in honor of the late Tom Lopes. The effort grew out of a community engagement process initiated by WHALE and NeighborWorks to redevelop One Washington Square. The process revealed tremendous community support to create the memorial sculpture and to build a small park at One Washington Square at which to site the memorial sculpture. The group had petitioned the Mayor to name the new green space ‘Tom Lopes Park.’

In his letter Mayor Mitchell said, “Given the enormous contributions Mr. Lopes made to New Bedford’s Cape Verdean community and to the city generally, I wholeheartedly support the community’s effort. Mr. Lopez’s impact on the community as the first Cape Verdean-American elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, as a journalist and publisher, and as a neighborhood advocate and mentor, is well-known to many of us, but perhaps less so to newcomers to New Bedford and to the younger generations. The park and sculpture at a prominent gateway location will stand as a permanent reminder to present and future residents of our city that one person can truly make a difference.”

City Council Brian K. Gomes, who, through the City Council’s Memorials and Dedications Committee, has spearheaded discussions about establishing a memorial tribute to Mr. Lopes, concurred, “The Cape Verdean community and the entire City of New Bedford owe Tom Lopes a debt of gratitude for all he did for us. Those of us who knew him and worked with him still feel his absence in our city every day. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to him than to build this statue and name this park in his honor.”

Councilor Dana Rebeiro, who represents Ward 4, where the would-be park is located, added, “Tom Lopes was a true renaissance man and the contributions he made in his lifetime served not only the Cape Verdean community but the entire city. Knowing that family and friends will be able to enjoy Tom Lopes Park is a fitting tribute and hopefully it will inspire someone to continue his very important work.”

Deborah Ramos, the Co-Chair of the NeighborWorks Leadership Team and Mr. Lopez’s sister, expressed her gratitude to Mayor Mitchell for moving the project forward, “On behalf of the Committee and my family, I want to thank the Mayor for embracing our vision for the memorial sculpture and park. He and his staff have supported us from the beginning, and when this plan finally comes to fruition, it will be a triumph of team work and dedication by all involved.”

The park, which is being funded by the City with a Community Development Block Grant, is tentatively slated for construction in the fall of 2015.

Last Chance to View Wild Local Orchids This Spring!

Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule)

By Emily Neal

The month of June is a special time of year. It is a wonderful time to get outside, especially to the forest where the earth has woken up and the ground is teeming with flora and fauna. One fascinating group of plants that make themselves known during this time are our local orchids- beautiful, delicate flowers that can bloom anytime from late April through July. Orchids are a cosmopolitan species- this means that they can be found growing wild on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. There are approximately 25,000 known species of orchids, and many more have yet to be discovered.

Yellow Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum)

Orchids are popular the world over for their beautiful flowers. These flowers are often very colorful and complex, can smell quite lovely and are bilaterally symmetrical (the two halves of the flower are mirror images of each other). A familiar species is the vanilla orchid, from which vanilla extract is made. Many orchids are epiphytes, meaning they can live on another plant (on a tree branch, for example) and gain their nutrients from the air and rain as opposed to receiving them from the soil. Orchids make up anywhere from six to eleven percent of all seed plants. Around 100,000 different hybrids and cultivars of orchids have been created, and these beautiful plants are a favorite among artists, botanists, biologists, and horticulturists alike.

Here in Massachusetts we have a handful of local orchid species. Some of these species do not have showy, colorful flowers and can be easy to overlook. Lady’s slipper orchids, on the other hand, are a group of orchids that have a beautiful flower that is said to look like a fancy woman’s slipper. Massachusetts has a small collection of lady’s slipper orchids, the most familiar species being the Pink Lady’s Slipper, sometimes called the Moccasin Flower (scientific name: Cypripedium acaule). These common orchids are characterized by a bright pink, magenta or white “slipper”-shaped flower with brownish lateral petals, and two leaves at the base of an otherwise leafless stem. These orchids only grow about a foot high and can be seen in a range of habitats, preferring conifer forests with well drained, acidic soils.

Ram’s Head Lady Slipper (Cypripedium arietinum)

There are three species of endangered lady’s slipper orchids here in the state. Because of their fragile population status, they are protected by the Endangered Species Act and are much better off when merely observed by passers-by (including, but not limited to, humans and deer). These orchids should not be picked or transplanted! Endangered species include: the Showy Lady’s Slipper, which looks very similar to the Pink Lady’s slipper except for its height (it towers above the Pink Lady’s Slipper at almost 40″) its color (white lateral petals instead of brown) and its leaves (many leaves, instead of just two); the Small Yellow Lady’s Slipper (similar to the Pink Lady’s Slipper in size, except its “slipper” is yellow); and the Ram’s Head Lady’s slipper, a tiny and unique plant with a purplish “slipper.”

Threats to lady’s slipper populations include: deer browsing, illegal picking or sale of the orchids, competition by invasive species and habitat destruction. Some species of lady’s slipper orchids take years to mature and therefore recovery from a disturbance can be slow and difficult. I have long heard (and believed, until recently) the rumor that Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids were endangered and it was illegal to pick them. It turns out, however, that the Pink Lady’s Slipper is quite common, and is not under protection. Apparently there is a law from the early 1900’s, technically still in effect, that forbids the plucking or transportation of any wild orchids in Massachusetts. Whether or not this law is being enforced for Pink Lady’s Slippers, or what the consequence may be for disturbing them, I am not certain. All orchids, when encountered in the wild, should be treated with respect and should be left exactly as they were found. Even the Pink Lady’s Slipper has a very low likelihood of survival if transplanted.

Showy Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium regnae)

I have seen many Pink Lady’s Slipper orchids blooming over the past few weeks, but have not been able to catch a glimpse of any other variety. I am curious to find out if anyone has seen these endangered flowers growing wild in forests on the South Coast? Their blooming season is coming to an end, but there may still be time to catch a glimpse of one of Massachusetts’ very own (and very special) orchid species. To find out more about the different species of orchids here in Massachusetts, please visit: the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program website: www.nhesp.org.

Faces Of New Bedford – #02: Nick Dompierre

Meet Nick Dompierre, professional skateboarder turned fitness expert. Growing up in New Bedford he was drawn to the skate culture that exploded from Solstice Skateboarding and had his humble beginnings at Livesey Skatepark.

Later gathering several endorsement sponsors and turning professional he was able to travel the world and live out his dreams. After an injury in 2011, he was left with a broken neck and took time off from skateboarding to focus on his health. Strengthening the muscles around his neck using fitness and weight training, he found a new passion. Recently he has become part of the Live Fit team of fitness athletes where he is able to skateboard and train, while inspiring thousands of people.

“Be Positive. Be Focused. Be Consistent. I use these 3 everyday for success and reaching my goals.”


Faces of New Bedford is a project by Colton Simmons. If you are interested in booking a shoot or getting prints from the series email all inquiries to colton@coltonsimmons.com

Follow Colton on Instagram: https://instagram.com/simmonscolton

Women’s Center wants your used phones

Have old cell phones lying about?

Got a used cell phone you don’t need any more? The Women’s Center in New Bedford accepts used cell phones to give to residents at the battered women’s shelter for emergency purposes as long as the phones still have their chargers and are operational.

You can drop them off at the Main Office at:

405 County Street
New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: 508.996.3343

Arthur Moniz painting inspiration for June Dock-u-mentaries program

Arthur Moniz painting inspiration for June Dock-u-mentaries program

The Dock-U-Mentaries Film Series continues on Friday, June 19 at 7:00 PM with In Search of the Ellen Marie, an illustrated talk by author Rachel Spaulding. Dock-U-Mentaries is a co-production of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, and the Working Waterfront Festival. Films about the working waterfront are screened on the third Friday of each month beginning at 7:00 PM in the theater of the Corson Maritime Learning Center, located at 33 William Street in downtown New Bedford. All programs are open to the public and presented free of charge.

The film is the true story of a passionate pursuit to locate a fishing vessel. Author Rachel Rowley Spaulding will share the story of her journey to learn about the life and fate of the fishing vessel Ellen Marie, which was inspired by a painting she purchased from local artist Arthur Moniz, and, in turn, inspired her to write the book In Search of the Ellen Marie.

The Working Waterfront Festival is a project of the Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern MA, a non-profit organization. The free festival, a family friendly, educational celebration of New England’s commercial fishing industry, features live maritime and ethnic music, fishermen’s contests, fresh seafood, vessel tours, author readings, cooking demonstrations, kids’ activities and more. It all takes place on working piers and waterfront parks in New Bedford, MA, America’s #1 fishing port, on the last full weekend in September.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park was established by Congress in 1996 to help preserve and interpret America’s nineteenth century whaling industry. The park, which encompasses a 13-block National Historic Landmark District, is the only National Park Service area addressing the history of the whaling industry and its influence on the economic, social, and environmental history of the United States. The National Park visitor center is located at 33 William Street in downtown New Bedford. It is open seven days a week, from 9 AM-5 PM, and offers information, exhibits, and a free orientation movie every hour on the hour from 10 AM-4 PM. The visitor center is wheelchair-accessible, and is free of charge. For more information, call the visitor center at 508-996-4095, go to www.nps.gov/nebe or visit the park’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/NBWNHP. Everyone finds their park in a different way. Discover yours at FindYourPark.com

Elder Abuse Prevention Conference will be held on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

There will be nearly two dozen organizations and agencies on hand.

Bristol County District Attorney Tom Quinn today announced that his office will partner with Bristol Elder Services and Senior Whole Health to provide a half-day Elder Abuse Prevention Conference on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day next Monday, June 15th.

In an effort to reduce crime against senior citizens through education and information, speakers will take to the podium in the cafeteria at Bristol Community College in Fall River to both commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and also provide seniors and those who care for/work with seniors the knowledge they need to prevent crimes like financial exploitation, abuse and neglect.

“I am very proud that our office is sponsoring such an important educational event. Protecting Bristol County’s most vulnerable populations is one of the cornerstones of my administration. By partnering with agencies like Bristol Elder Services and Senior Whole Health, it is my hope that we can prevent the various crimes committed against the elderly population. This can be achieved through better educational initiatives, teamwork and aggressive targeted prosecutions of those who prey on seniors,” said District Attorney Tom Quinn. “I am grateful to our partners for helping to put together this elder abuse prevention conference. I look forward to partnering with these and many other agencies in the future to help further the goal of reducing crime against senior citizens.”

The conference will begin at 8:30 with a free breakfast. Speakers from the District Attorney’s Office, Senior Whole Health and Bristol Elder Services offer welcoming remarks and information at 9:30.

Then at 10 a.m., Diane Lopes Flaherty of Attorney General Maura Healy’s office will then offer an hour-long presentation on preventing financial fraud and abuse. Flaherty has been with Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office since 2001 as Consumer Mediator/Outreach Coordinator for the Southeastern Mass. Division. She received the Robert H. Quinn Award for Excellence for her efforts in that office.

Prior to joining the Attorney General’s Office, she was appointed by former Mayor Raymond Flynn to lead Boston’s Commission on Affairs of the Elderly. Reappointed by the late Mayor Thomas Menino, she served as Commissioner for a record 11 years, during which time she received wide recognition for her tireless advocacy.

The keynote speaker for the day’s conference will be John Sofis Scheft, who has been providing specialized legal training in the area of elder abuse prevention, investigation, and prosecution since 1993, when he was appointed the Director of Attorney General Scott Harshbarger’s Elderly Protection Project. The Project provided multi-disciplinary training to police officers and protective service workers on a variety of issues affecting the elderly.

Scheft left the Attorney General’s Office at the end of 1995 to start his own police training and consulting firm, Law Enforcement Dimensions.

Scheft has presented extensive training in financial exploitation investigation for the Executive Office of Elder Affairs in Massachusetts from 2001 to 2009. The goal was to create a consistent and effective statewide approach to these cases at the reporting and investigative level.

In the area of elder issues, Scheft’s works include:

· Handbook for the Investigation of Elder Financial Exploitation, Editions in 2001, 2002 and 2007 (with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs)
· The Bank Reporting Project (with Executive Office of Elder Affairs and the Massachusetts Banker’s Association), 1994 (materials have been distributed nationally)
· Law Enforcement, Alzheimer’s Disease and the Lost Elder (with the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association), 1994 (accompanied by a videotape, which won a national award; materials have been distributed nationally)
· Elder Issues for the Massachusetts Police Officer, 1993
· The Elder Volunteer and Policing (with AARP), 1994

“Bristol Elder Services is pleased to acknowledge World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by partnering in the presentation of this important program about financial exploitation,” said Nancy Munson, CEO of Bristol Elder Services, Inc. “We encourage elders and elder care professionals to attend and learn more about preventing financial abuse.”

In addition to the speaking program, nearly two dozen organizations and agencies will be on hand at various resource tables to provide important information to seniors and free giveaways. Some of those organizations who will be staffing resource tables include 4C SouthCoast, Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter, Coastline Money Management Program, EldersFirst (Diocesan Health Facilities Office), Highland Adult Day Care, Taunton Silver Alert Program, and many more.

The media is invited and encouraged to attend.

“Senior Whole Health is proud to be part of this partnership with the Bristol County DA’s office and Bristol Elder Services,” said Senior Whole Health president, Keith Peifer. “ We want our elders safe in their communities, and we hope they will join us at this event and learn how to protect themselves from issues around fraud and abuse”

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