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Memorial Day drive by shooting in Fairhaven

Fairhaven Police responded to a report of shots fired just after 12:30 am Monday morning in the area of Main Street and Washington Street. When officers arrived, they found four .380 caliber shell casings on the ground.

Witnesses reported hearing the shots, following by the sound of squealing tires. A dark colored sedan with dark tinted windows was seen driving away from the scene, northbound on Main Street with its headlights out. The sedan was described as resembling a Ford Crown Victoria with a loud exhaust.

There were no reported injuries from the incident. One building in the area appeared to have been struck by one of the rounds. Officers did not manage to locate the fleeing vehicle. If anyone has information pertaining to this event, they are asked to contact Fairhaven Police Detectives at 508-997-7421. Callers can remain anonymous.




Fall River girl seeks public’s assistance in finding birth mother

fall-river-mom

Felicity Alves, a 15-year-old girl from Fall River, is seeking the public’s assistance in locating her birth mother. Her mother, Heather Marie Alves, was from the Fall River/New Bedford area. Felicity hasn’t seen her mother since she was about 3 years old. Felicity just lost her adoptive mom to cancer and it’s her mission to locate her birth mom.

If you know Heather Marie Alves please have her contact Fallriverrat@yahoo.com.

Details: Heather Marie Alves gave birth to Felicity Marie Alves on September 18th, 1998. She has two boys that are younger than Felicity named Tony and Louis. She is likely in her early 30s and may possibly have moved to New York.




Buttonwood Park Zoo announces birth of two otter pups

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Pictured above are the otter pups at 40 days; almost six weeks old.
Photo taken by Ashley Graham.

The Buttonwood Park Zoo is proud to announce the birth of two North American river otter pups born to first time mother, Dani, on March 19, 2014. Dani, 3 years old, arrived at the Buttonwood Park Zoo in April of 2013 from the Saint Louis Zoo and has since lived with the Zoo’s two 4 year old male river otters, Duncan and Donut. Based on behavioral observations by the animal care staff, it has been determined that Duncan is the father of the new pups. The birth of these otter pups are result of a breeding recommendation of the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) North American River Otter Species Survival Plan (SSP). The goal of the SSP is to cooperatively manage otter populations within AZA accredited zoos to ensure the sustainability of a healthy and genetically diverse population.

The Zoo’s veterinary and animal care staff has been monitoring the growth of the otter pups since birth. Shortly after birth, the two pups weighed about a quarter of a pound each and have steadily grown to their current weight of just over four pounds. Otter pups are born almost helpless and require significant care by their mother to survive. Although this is the first litter delivered by mother Dani, she has proven to be a caring mother and has done an excellent job raising the pups. As is normal for the species, the pups did not open their eyes until four weeks after birth.

When discussing this birth, Director of the Zoo, Keith Lovett, stated that “This is an exciting birth for the Zoo! River otters are one of zoo guests’ favorite animals and this birth will allow the community to watch these pups grow to adulthood throughout the year while also learning conservation information about this local species.”

North American river otters can be found throughout the United States and Canada in freshwater ponds, lakes, and marshland habitats. The otters’ diet consist mainly of aquatic organisms, such as fish, turtles, crabs, and other aquatic invertebrates. By the early 1900s, river otters had declined throughout large portions of their historic range in North America due to water pollution, habitat loss, and unregulated trapping. Reintroduction projects and conservation initiatives have allowed river otter populations to re-establish in their native habitats.

Dani and the pups are currently residing in an off-exhibit area of the Zoo as they continue to develop and learn how to swim. The pups are expected to be introduced into the Zoo’s otter habitat by the middle of June. While the pups are being raised behind the scenes, the Zoo’s male otters Duncan and Donut can be seen daily in the otter habitat. The Zoo will provide regular updates on the progress of the pups through its website and other social media activities. The Zoo plans to reveal the gender and conduct a community naming contest for the pups in the next few weeks.

Please direct any questions or requests for more information to Larissa Correia at (508) 991-4556 x 18 or email LCorreia@bpzoo.org.




New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell’s Statement on the Passing of Fernando Garcia

Facebook page.
Facebook.com

“I was saddened to learn of Fernando’s passing. I will be forever grateful for his support of my administration and his civic leadership in our City. His positive energy and dedication to New Bedford was never more evident to me than during our trade mission to Europe last year and more recently as a member of my administration’s Regeneration Committee. Fernando ardently believed in the deep, untapped potential of New Bedford. Whether it was in promoting wind energy, leading the board of Bristol Community College, or supporting local charities, his vision, optimism and generosity were infectious. More than anything, I will miss Fernando’s friendship. My deepest sympathy goes out to Karen and Fernando’s entire family. ”

– New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell




Mayor Submits Petition Opposing Postal Service Plan To Close Downtown Location

In a strongly-worded letter, Mayor Jon Mitchell appealed the United States Postal Service’s decision to proceed with the relocation of retail services from the historic Downtown New Bedford Post Office at 695 Pleasant Street.

In addition to his letter, the Mayor submitted a petition signed by citizens expressing their opposition to the Postal Service plan.

“I believe the move is unwise, short-sighted, and potentially disruptive to the strong resurgence of activity that New Bedford’s downtown has enjoyed over the past several years,” said the Mayor.

At the suggestion of the New Bedford City Council, the Mayor invited the public to sign the citizen petition protesting the planned closure. Nearly 200 signatures were collected in the lobby of City Hall over the past several weeks.

The Mayor added, “The decision makers at the Postal Service should know that the Mayor, the City Council, and the people of New Bedford stand united on this issue.”

In addition, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and U.S. Representative William R. Keating have also co-signed a letter that urges the Postal Service to reverse its decision and expresses support for maintaining the existing Pleasant Street Post Office. See the letter here.


 




What’s new at the Ocean Explorium?!

Clownfish in Coral Reef habitat (Wyoming White, left; Davinci, right)

Everybody loves Nemo! These bright orange fish, playing peek-a-boo in the anemones, are lots of fun.

Now there are even more clownfish to love at the Ocean Explorium. Two new variants of the Amphiprion ocellaris clownfish – cousins of Nemo – have been added to the exhibits: The Davinci clownfish and the Wyoming Whites. Both “designer clowns” are distinguished by their recessive traits that are brought out through selective breeding. The Davinci clownfish are identified by their irregular white patches outlined in black. Our very own Exhibit Curator, Warren Gibbons, won the pair of Davinci clownfish in a raffle at the recent Ocean State Reef Aquarium Society (OSRAS) Annual Conference, where the Ocean Explorium was an exhibitor selling aquacultured corals. The Wyoming White clownfish are mostly white with orange snouts and pectoral spots, outlined in black. The Wyoming Whites were donated by Ben Lancaster, who won the fish at the OSRAS conference.

A new octopus arrived by FedEx recently and was installed in the Living Laboratory, near the Coral Farm exhibit. A bit shy, this mature octopus was collected from the waters off Florida. Another new arrival is the Engineer Goby, an industrious sand digger, sifter and cleaner. All that digging can make a Goby hungry, and its reward is a meal of the tiny invertebrates it has unearthed. A number of dainty, colorful Wrasses have been added to the Coral Reef habitat while several exotic crabs and snails have found a new home in different aquariums within the Ocean Explorium.

There is always something new at the Ocean Explorium. Stop by and look for these new members of the Ocean Explorium family, and be sure to speak with our knowledgeable staff to learn more about them!

The Ocean Explorium is located at 174 Union Street in downtown New Bedford and is handicap accessible via the rear entrance. The Science on a Sphere® exhibit is generously provided through a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Current hours are Thursday – Sunday, 10 AM – 4 PM. Summer hours will begin on July 8, when the Ocean Explorium will open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 AM – 4 PM. Admission is $8.50-adults, $7.00-seniors and students with I.D., $6.50-children between 3 and 17 years of age. Children under 3 and members are free. Visit oceanexplorium.org or call 508.994.5400 for programs, directions or other information.





Five Bishop Stang students receive Pope Pius X award

Mahoney-Pacheco, Calvey, Santiago-Amaral, Kalisz.

Bishop Stang High School, a diocesan, co-educational, college preparatory school located on the Southcoast, announced five students have received the Pope Pius X award for their demonstrated commitment to Christ and His Church. Anthony Mahoney-Pacheco (Junior), Shashawna Santiago-Amaral (Senior), Frederick Kalisz III (Junior), Shaelyn Calvey (Senior) and Matt Gagnon (Class of 2013) were recognized by the Diocese at the Cathedral of St. Mary’s in Fall River at a May 6th celebration.

“It is a true testament of our community that five Bishop Stang students were selected for a Pope Pius X award,” said Amanda Tarantelli, Director of Campus Ministry at Bishop Stang High School. “The award is one more example of our students living their faith and being a visible sign to their beliefs.”

This is the 12th annual Pope Pius X award ceremony for the Diocese. The award was established in 2002 by Cardinal Sean O’Malley after Pope Pius X who is the founder of the Diocese. Recipients are nominated by their pastors, and must be between a sophomore in high school and no older than 19.




Winning Design Selected for North Front Street Public Mural Project

School of Cod Design

Mayor Jon Mitchell announced today the design chosen for the new public mural that will be painted on the walls of a North Front Street overpass later this spring. The winning design, entitled “School of Cod”, features a colorful school of cod fish swimming through a sea of Elm trees. The design was created by New Bedford artist Alex Jardin, a 2007 graduate of New Bedford High School who also earned a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2013.

According to Jardin’s proposal, each fish will be painted using a technique described as a “heavy build up of colorful paints, handstyle letterings and random designs, reminiscent of years of graffiti build up.”

The North Front Street mural is the first public art project spearheaded by the New Bedford Public Art Committee. The Committee was established as an extension of the Mitchell Administration’s graffiti prevention program, Graffiti Free NB. While the prevention program deters graffiti vandalism by making reporting options easier for citizens, it also seeks to engage local artists and encourage the appropriate use of public space for artwork.

The New Bedford Public Art Committee is composed of a team of artists and organizations that Mayor Mitchell has called upon to help foster public art projects throughout the City. Recognizing the importance of public art as a vehicle to promote beautification, neighborhood engagement, community pride and cohesion, Mayor Mitchell and the Committee are working together to support more opportunities for local artists to publically display their work.

The Committee oversaw the application and selection process for the North Front Street mural project, and ultimately made a final recommendation to the Mayor. In total, nine artists submitted eleven mural designs to the Public Art Committee. Design proposals included neighborhood depictions, waterfront scenes, and Moby Dick illustrations.

“It should surprise no one that we received a number of high quality proposals from New Bedford area artists. For all those who were not selected, please keep the fantastic concepts coming. This mural project is just the beginning of the Committee’s efforts to create more opportunities for public art throughout the city,” said Mayor Mitchell.

The North Front Street mural project will begin this spring with an anticipated completion date set for the end of June. The winning design allows for multiple artists to collaborate and the Public Art Committee is seeking to engage other artists who may be interested in contributing to the mural installation.

Artists wishing to participate in the mural installation are encouraged to contact the City of New Bedford Mayor’s Office at (508) 979-1410.




Update on trash cart delivery in New Bedford

new-bedford-trash-system

According to the City of New Bedford, the new trash carts are being delivered according to the day you set out your trash. The delivery crews are currently working in Monday’s (north end) route. Residents who normally set their trash out on Monday should see their carts by the end of this week. Next week the delivery crew will start on Tuesday’s trash routes.

It should take approximately 5 or 6 days to complete Tuesday and then they will move into Wednesday’s area and so on. Some residents may receive a trash cart one day and a recycling cart the next day. Sometimes your neighbor will receive a trash cart one day and you will receive a trash cart the next day. Crews will be delivering Monday through Saturday 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until the entire city has been completed.

If you live in Monday’s area and have not received both the trash cart and the recycling cart by next week, please call (508) 961-3008.




Fiscal Year 2015 New Bedford City Budget Highlights

This year’s Budget is the third budget developed by Mayor Jon Mitchell.  The spending proposal totals $287 million.

PRIORITIZING EDUCATION

  • The Mayor purposefully designed the Budget to prioritize education.
  • The $116.4 million for New Bedford Public Schools will fully fund the budget passed unanimously by the School Committee earlier this month, and has the full support of Schools Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin.
  • Under the Mayor’s Budget the schools will receive an increase of 6.4% over last year.
  • The local share of the school budget will be roughly $2 million above the amount the state legally requires.  It is $3.3 million above last year’s local share amount.
  • The need for the increase is largely driven by the $2.7 million cost of the state-mandated turnaround plans being implemented at New Bedford High School and the Parker Elementary School.

HOLDING THE LINE ON SPENDING

  • The Budget holds the line on non-education spending.
  • For general operating costs of city government, the Budget’s proposed increase is effectively zero (at $84.8 million).
  • In fact, if proposed budget transfers pending before the City Council are approved, the Budget would actually result in a net decrease to departmental operating expenditures between FY 2014 and FY 2015.
  • For “fixed costs,” i.e. mandatory contributions to employee health insurance, pensions, and debt service, the increase is just 2.8% (at $73.4 million).
  • The Budget also keeps a tight lid on spending because the City will soon see the end of the federal “SAFER” grant funding that pays for one-third of the City’s firefighters.

SAVINGS FROM REORGANIZING GOVERNMENT

  • The reforms the Mitchell Administration put in place over the past two years assisted this year’s budget planning, helped restrain spending, and lessened the need for tax revenue.
  • Last year a significant restructuring affected four major city departments (DPI, DPF, Community Development, and Planning) whose employees combined total 270 out of 1,100 municipal workers (excluding school employees).
  • The Mitchell Administration’s successful negotiation of eleven new Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements is also allowing the City to purchase “green” energy at deeply discounted prices, with roughly $30 million in electricity savings expected over the next 20 years.
  • The reforms are helping ease the burden on taxpayers, putting the City in a more stable financial position, and improving conditions for future economic growth–as evidenced by the recent upgrade to the City’s bond rating to its highest in forty years.”

BUDGETARY PRESSURES AND REVENUES

  • The budgetary pressures of fixed costs (health, pension, etc.) as well as schools, do suggest a necessity for some increase in the City’s real estate levy later this year.
  • The City has engaged in a sustained, successful effort to avoid tax increases for the past four years.
  • New Bedford now has the third highest capacity of “unused levy” in percentage terms among all 22 Gateway Cities.
  • Holding the line on any tax increase for a four-year period is a remarkable accomplishment for a Gateway City.
  • At this point in the fiscal year it is not possible to pinpoint precisely what this Budget will mean for the tax levy, but the Mitchell Administration is committed to finding additional ways to mitigate the impact of levy requirements of the Budget on residents and businesses.
  • The Mitchell Administration intends to take further action as more information becomes available in the months ahead regarding changes in projected growth, valuation revisions, and state and local resources that may become available.
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