OPINION: “My heart breaks for families like mine that have lost their dogs and are unable to locate them due to the terrible system that is being used.”

“I am writing to express my concern, anger, frustration, and disgust with the city of New Bedford animal control and Forever Paws animal shelter in Fall River. My dog, Ivi went missing from my yard on 293 Highland Street in New Bedford on Friday 6/14/19.

I posted a missing dog ad on a Facebook site for missing animals in Massachusetts.

I called animal control the next day to see if she had been picked up and received a voicemail on Sunday to call back with more information about my dog.

On Saturday I also visited the animal control site and uploaded several pictures to their “pet facial recognition” site www.fingrover.com as well as the location she went missing from. There were no posted recent pickups at this time. I had assumed since no dogs had been picked up that they did not have Ivi. I also assumed that placing her on their recommended website (www.findingrover.com) would alert them that I was missing Ivi.

I continued to check back daily to see if any dogs had been picked up.

On Tuesday via Facebook, I was alerted that animal control holds dogs at Forever Paws in Fall River when I found this out I called them and was assured they did not have Ivi. I also received another from animal control assuring me once again that they had also not picked up Ivi. Tuesday afternoon I again checked the animal control recent pickups, like I had every day since she had gone missing. And there she was, listed as a border terrier mix. Ivi has short hair and is a pug/beagle mix.

I immediately called Forever Paws and notified them that they did indeed have Ivi. They did not believe me, I was on the phone for 22 minutes between being put on hold and asked questions about my dog. I was then told that I would not be able to pick her up because they close in 10 minutes. Oh, and that I would need to pay her boarding fees.

At this point, I became really disgusted, after all, I had been searching for Ivi since she went missing and been told time and time again that they did not have her and now they wanted to keep her yet another night and charge me boarding fees. I was told only animal control had the ability to waive boarding fees. I called animal control and an officer came over to fill out a 10-day form. On www.findingrover.com the intake date states 6/18/19 which was Tuesday. I was still however charged for boarding her for five nights.

When my niece picked her up she was shaking and her paws were soaked in urine and the woman at the shelter refused to let her boyfriend go in with her and then insulted her by calling her a classy New Bedford bitch.

My heart breaks for families like mine that have lost their dogs and are unable to locate them due to the terrible system that is being used. Every other town/city in Massachusetts use Facebook as a tool, why because they care about reuniting dogs with their owners. If the city can’t be bothered to update their recent pickups daily, Facebook is an excellent alternative.” Maryanne Bjorkman.




Opinion: New Bedford roads are terrible – where does our excise tax go?

The following was posted in our New Bedford group:

“The majority of drivers in New Bedford all seem to agree that the roadways in the city are in a terrible state of disrepair. Those of us that own cars pay an excise tax of $25 per thousand dollars of the cars value every year on our cars as does anyone in every city or town in Massachusetts. That tax is meant to be used to repair the roads in the cities and towns from which the taxes are collected.

Tonight I drove through the back roads of Dartmouth and Westport and 90 percent of the roads I drove on have been paved recently! Same is true for Fairhaven. Many roads are repaved and Alden Road is being repaved and I can remember when they did it the last time. Both towns repave some of their roads every single year – why can’t we? What I don’t understand is why is New Bedford not putting our excise tax dollars back onto our roads? Just about every major road in New Bedford needs repaving and the majority of side streets need it as well. These horrible looking and patched up roads do nothing to make the city beautiful and attractive to tourists and business.” – Pauline St.Don




OPINION: “Hemlock and Sidney St. needs more stop signs to stop regular accidents”

“Hello, I don’t normally reach out, but I know you guys have a great stand to voice a concern.

At the intersection of Hemlock and Sidney Streets they recently put up stop signs for cars on Hemlock St. There were never any stop signs at this intersection.

Since putting up the stop sign, there’s almost a guaranteed accident every single week. As I’m texting this, there’s a bunch of emergency personnel there now because of another one.

Obviously, everyone needs to slow down, but they should put stop signs for Sydney Street traffic flow as well.” -James Souza




OPINION: “Rename River’s End Park to honor soldier who died there defending New Bedford”

“So I have an idea and a correction I was wondering if you could bring up to the mayor or write a story.

So I’m very into the local history in New Bedford or just the city in general. The two things I’d like to bring up is:

• The first relates to the River’s End Park in the north end by the Acushnet River just below Tarkiln Hill Road. I believe this site is more historical then the area or the city knows. If you know your history this area was flooded with British troops during the Revolutionary War. I’ve read accounts that thousands of troops poured into this area and had a small battle by that tiny bridge. They were all throughout the sides of the river with British troops on one side and Militias and Patriots on the other.

An American officer named James Metcalf was killed near there yet there is no memorial at the park talking of this battle and I think there should be. I think the park’s name should be changed to “Patriot Park” or “Metcalf Park” in honor of our city history and fight to gain freedom.

• The second thing I noticed is an error. There is a sign on that bridge that is a memorial to James Metcalf yet the sign says Jonathan Metcalf. I dug deeper and everything I’ve read [in historical documents] says James Metcalf. I even found his grave in Acushnet cemetery and it says James Metcalf.

Is there a way the sign can be corrected?” -Sean Silva




Alma del Mar disappointed with death of compromise deal

Alma del Mar’s Executive Director Will Gardner released the following statement. You can read the New Bedford Educators Association’s response here.

“We are disappointed by the news that we will be unable to move forward with a local compromise deal that would have given 450 children the opportunity to access a high-quality public school in their neighborhood.

We have spent the last few months getting to know the kids and families zoned into what would have been the new Alma campus in the Kempton neighborhood. We listened as families shared their hopes and dreams for their incoming Kindergartners, and we’ve been grateful to see those families commit to enroll their children at Alma.

This week’s news is difficult for our community. To the families that decided to entrust us with their children under this new compromise model: we are sorry, and we commit to continuing to support you in partnership with New Bedford Public Schools to ease this period of transition. We will continue to do everything that we can to ensure that all New Bedford children have access to high-quality public schools.

We also remain committed to the hundreds of children on Alma’s waiting list. We will begin contacting those families soon to begin the enrollment process, as the next school year begins in August.

We want to thank Commissioner Jeff Riley, who chose to take a courageous risk in facilitating this local compromise. We are also grateful to the special attention that our local legislators gave this matter.

We deeply appreciate Mayor Jon Mitchell, Superintendent Thomas Anderson and our colleagues at the district who made every effort to make this vision a reality for the kids and families of New Bedford. We look forward to maintaining the spirit of collaboration of our agreement and to working with them to improve educational outcomes for all kids in New Bedford.”




New Bedford Educators Association: ‘Coalition welcomes charter scheme’s demise’

The following statement was published on the New Bedford Educators Association’s Facebook page. You can read Alma del Mar’s response here.

The Alma del Mar charter school expansion scheme in New Bedford, which would have required legislative approval to bypass state law, has rightfully been abandoned.

“Any deal cut behind closed doors without community involvement is not something that is being done in the community’s best interest,” said Ricardo Rosa, co-chair of the New Bedford Coalition to Save Our Schools.

Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley, Alma Del Mar CEO Will Gardner, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell and Schools Superintendent Thomas Anderson engineered a deal under which the city agreed to give the privately run charter school a public building and land at no cost, construct a new “neighborhood zone” from which students would automatically be enrolled in the charter school, and allow payment for all of the charter school seats even if they were not filled, in exchange for a slightly smaller expansion than the state was willing to approve.

The property transfer and automatic enrollment in place of a citywide lottery that charter schools are required to use required approval by the state Legislature.

After state legislators delayed action on the controversial bill, Riley said today that he will no longer pursue that plan and that instead he will grant Alma del Mar a 594-seat expansion.

“This whole plan is based on coercion, which is no way to implement education policy,” Rosa said. “The coalition will continue to oppose any expansion of charter seats because our district public schools remain drastically underfunded.”

He continued, “I believe this is an opportunity for advocates for strong public schools in New Bedford to work together to secure the funding all of our students deserve. We have the 2020 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year at our high school. We have one of the top-performing elementary schools in the state. We also have our challenges, but if given the proper resources and community involvement, we can overcome them.”

The Massachusetts Teachers Association and New Bedford Educators Association are members of the coalition.

“The MTA joined the coalition because of the broader implications raised in this deal,” said Merrie Najimy, president of the MTA. “This was an attempted end run around the will of voters, who in 2016 rejected charter school expansions.”

She continued, “The way students were being chosen for Alma del Mar II raised many questions, as research of the new zone indicated a pattern that excluded higher proportions of black and Hispanic residents, as well as leaving out residents from larger multi-unit housing. “

MTA Vice President Max Page said that if the Alma del Mar deal had been approved, poorer districts across the state would be targets of similar proposals that transfer public funds and property to private charter operators, who get to determine which students they enroll.

“This plan embodied some of the harshest aspects of education privatization that we have seen in Massachusetts,” he said.




Visitors declare “We LOVE New Bedford, especially the people!”

“Hey folks. Hope this finds each of you well and looking forward to a great summer.

In short, I travel a lot and have lived in 5 different cities across America for the past 30 years. I visit home often (New Bedford) since my mom and family are still there. Well, yesterday while enjoying Memorial Day with friends in Annapolis, MD I met a woman who has been vacationing in New Bedford for 25 years. She and a group of friends from around the country visit once on the ‘4th of July’ and then on Labor Day.

THEY LOVE NEW BEDFORD!!!! While I was with them they talked about the great restaurants and the surrounding beaches. She and her friends shared amazing photographs. But what they spoke most highly of, were the people. Some of the best people they have met anywhere!

They also shared with me that every city in the world has its problems. Some cities hide it better than others, and some cities manage it better than others. What they said, and what I have come to believe, is that New Bedford is a great place and the people are wonderful.

Hold on to what has made the SouthCoast special, because the word is getting around that New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven are charming places that are reasonably affordable in comparison to Boston, Providence and New York City and that opportunity to start new lives in the New Bedford area is something to consider. Gentrification/economic development has made its way throughout America. Small towns like our home of New Bedford will not be spared.

But to close on a more positive note. I think you all should be really proud (me too) about living and growing up in such a wonderful place.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had this conversation over the years with people who think highly of New Bedford!

I hope you understand this post and I hope that the attention and some of the small changes that will come to New Bedford are things that we will embrace while we still value who we have always been: Wicked Good People.” – Joe Pereira




OPINION: Brooklawn Park visitors litter and park in resident parking spots

“Are there any other residents living in the Brooklawn Park area that are getting a little irritated with a not being to park in front of their own homes with the baseball game going on?

I could understand if there were no parking spots available but as a resident that has to park at the park – in front of my house – I often can’t because non-residents are in my spot.

I would like to know why North end residents do not have the same courtesy as the South and beach residents, they have signs clearly posted that the parking is for residents only. Why are we not given that same courtesy?

Also, there are a lot of residents in this area that agree we don’t need to pick up park trash all over our lawns on a daily basis!!

Sorry about the venting! I do think it’s a great program for the children I just the wish the parents/visitors would be more respectful of the residents.” – ‎Cathy Poirier-Henriques‎




OPINION: Brooklawn Park visitors litter and park in resident parking spots

“Are there any other residents living in the Brooklawn Park area that are getting a little irritated with a not being to park in front of their own homes with the baseball game going on?

I could understand if there were no parking spots available but as a resident that has to park at the park – in front of my house – I often can’t because non-residents are in my spot.

I would like to know why North end residents do not have the same courtesy as the South and beach residents, they have signs clearly posted that the parking is for residents only. Why are we not given that same courtesy?

Also, there are a lot of residents in this area that agree we don’t need to pick up park trash all over our lawns on a daily basis!!

Sorry about the venting! I do think it’s a great program for the children I just the wish the parents/visitors would be more respectful of the residents.” – ‎Cathy Poirier-Henriques‎




Lack of recreational marijuana sales will cause headaches for 2019 New Bedford incumbents

One of the biggest negative issues incumbent New Bedford city councilors and Mayor Mitchell will face in this year’s election will be the lack of delivering a recreational marijuana store to New Bedford residents. The usual issues like potholes, high property taxes, and high crime will most certainly be an issue, but those will always be an issue.

At the time of this writing, 21 businesses have been given licenses to sell retail marijuana in Massachusetts by the Cannabis Control Commission. Locally, one recreational store is operating in nearby Wareham and three are already operating in Fall River with as many as 10 more hoping to be operating by the end of 2019.

There is little traction for a store in New Bedford because of the very strict zoning that the City Council and Mayor’s office have imposed on any business hoping to operate in the city. It’s crystal clear that places like Fall River want recreational stores in the city and New Bedford politicians do not. Last month, Whisk & JANE was denied a zoning variance to operate a recreational marijuana facility at the old strip club spot on Pope’s Island.

For the first time, New Bedford will have a mayor’s race that will allow the winner to serve a 4-year term. 2019 will also be the first time Mayor Mitchell will likely face some real competition since his first race in 2011 when State Representative Tony Cabral and City Councilor Linda Morad battled Mitchell for the vacant spot left by Scott Lang who didn’t seek re-election. Mitchell ran unopposed in 2013. He then ran against Maria Giesta in 2015 and Charlie Perry in 2017, but they weren’t challengers with much of a chance of winning.

With a 4-year term that includes a salary of almost $120,000 a year, I would expect plenty of people entering the race – who wouldn’t want a 4 year, nearly half a million dollar contract? With two more years of higher taxes and the lack of a retail marijuana facility in the city, a strong opponent would have a lot to run on.

New Bedford City Councilors, especially the at-Large ones, generally have to die or retire to be replaced – unless you are Jon Saunders who voted to give himself a 44% pay raise and said, “If people don’t like the job I’m doing, they can vote me out.” He was voted out the following year.

I have a feeling with another year of increasing property taxes and the lack of recreational marijuana sales, the incumbent city councilors and the mayor will be vulnerable in this year’s New Bedford elections. Even a usually apathetic New Bedford might decide enough is enough. If New Bedford doesn’t see a recreational store by this summer, expect the natives to get restless and put up a fight at the ballot box in October and November.

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