Healey Demands Answers From Columbia Gas On Safe Restoration of Gas Service

first_imgBOSTON, MA — Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today sent a letter to Columbia Gas demanding answers about the company’s plans for the safe and expeditious restoration of gas and fair compensation for affected residents in the Merrimack Valley following the devastating fires and explosions earlier this month.“In the wake of this tragedy, I have heard from many residents and businesses who have suffered significant losses yet remain in the dark about Columbia Gas’ claims process and the plans for restoring gas service,” said AG Healey. “I am demanding information from Columbia Gas about their specific plans because these people need and deserve answers and clarity as they rebuild their lives and communities.”In her letter, AG Healey notes that the failure of the Columbia Gas distribution system resulted in death, serious injury, the loss of homes and small businesses, and disruption of gas services for heating, hot water and cooking for thousands of residents in the company’s Merrimack Valley territory.As the state’s ratepayer advocate and chief law enforcement officer, AG Healey is committed to ensuring that Columbia Gas lays out their plan for implementing the recovery process, including gas restoration and compensation for those affected, and that ratepayers do not bear any of the costs associated with those efforts.The letter requests a meeting with Columbia Gas executives next week to discuss how they plan to implement the recovery effort, specifically:Ensuring that pipes are replaced in a safe manner and that the new pipes will result in a safe gas distribution service going forward.Ensuring the safety of all its Massachusetts territories while working on recovery efforts in its Merrimack Valley territory.Making sure that customers are receiving timely and complete information regarding the company’s restoration plan, including considering a text-messaging or similar real-time communications system (with an opt-out provision) that would reach all affected customers.Developing a plan for paying the electric bills of its customers who are forced to rely on electric space heaters and hot plates.Accommodating customers who choose to make alternative housing arrangements.Clarifying how the company intends to pay customers for losses incurred related to this disaster.Providing the AG’s Office with copies of the company’s internal claims procedure and any claims form it intends to use.Ensuring affected customers can easily obtain alternative heating sources for their homes and, if they choose, permanently transition to energy efficient, clean technologies without any additional costs.Addressing how work will be completed if a property owner is not present to authorize repairs.Clarifying in a written statement its plan to not bill affected customers for any gas service until service is restored.Confirming and ensuring that customers will not pay for any part of this disaster through the regulatory ratemaking process.Earlier this week, AG Healey sent Columbia Gas and NiSource orders to preserve documents for a potential state investigation.AG Healey has also issued two advisories offering guidance and resources in her office to support Merrimack Valley residents and businesses recovering from this tragedy. The AG’s Office issued an advisory about giving wisely to charities and knowing your consumer rights and this week announced a new hotline for residents and business owners with questions and concerns to connect with specialists in the office. The AG’s Office also provided guidance about legal representation and home improvement scams. The AG’s Office has been and will continue to send staff to assist individuals at the claims center in Lawrence.For more information or assistance, contact the Attorney General’s dedicated hotline for Merrimack Valley residents at (617) 573-5370. It is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Consumers can also obtain guidance and resources at the AG’s dedicated webpage at mass.gov/ago/merrimackvalley.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedAttorney General Files Comments with FERC Urging Caution on Kinder Morgan PipelineIn “Government”Lender To Cancel $1.6 Million In Loans Made To Former ITT Tech Students At Wilmington & Norwood CampusesIn “Government”Attorney General Awards Middlesex Sheriff’s Office A Healthy Summer Youth Jobs GrantIn “Police Log”last_img read more

Whos Who in the Baltimore Mayoral Race

first_imgJoshua HarrisCommunity organizer and communications worker Joshua Harris outlines his solutions to things like housing, energy and social justice on his campaign website. In the speech he gave announcing his candidacy for mayor, he said that some of the city’s woes stem from a communication breakdown between city leaders and residents “[In communications], the traditional and older model is send a message-receiver, and I also believe that that is the common mode that the city operates under . . . we are the sender, we want to get [the message] out, and you receive it. We also now have to incorporate the feedback,” he said. Officially filed: yes Baltimore’s primary election is not until April 26, but a major milestone is coming up. The candidates looking to become the city’s next mayor must file their paperwork with the State Board of Elections by February 3. Here are the current frontrunners. Some of the candidates had not officially filed as of press time. (The following candidates appear in alphabetical order.) Carl StokesOn his website, the city councilmember writes that he believes that investing in neighborhoods and redeveloping abandoned housing are keys to making Baltimore better. He underscores this statement with a reprint of the speech he gave when he announced his candidacy back in December. “When I am mayor, there will be new standards for Tax Increment Financing. You want help? You show that you will benefit a community – parks, jobs, capital improvements. And the community will decide what they need before any TIF is granted. We will invest in neighborhoods and there will be accountability,” the speech reads. Officially filed: no Patrick GutierreGutierrez is a former bank executive who believes he can take the skills he learned in that job, and use them to make Baltimore better. “Seeing the dysfunction in city government and knowing my background as an operations manager was specifically to go in and address the same problems that city government has. You know, there’s no accountability anywhere, there’s no transparency, the communication is poor and when you have those things you get the results that we’re getting,” he said in an interview with the AFRO. On his website, he has posted his five steps to a better police department – a plan that calls for body cameras, a better civilian review board and incentives for officers to live in the communities they police in, among other things. Officially filed: yes Elizabeth EmbryEmbry, who is currently on leave from her job as Chief of the Criminal Division for the Attorney General, says that she will roll out a comprehensive plan detailing what changes she’d make as mayor in the coming weeks. In an interview with the AFRO, she said her experience prosecuting crime could be a big asset to the city. “I’ve seen what can work, but what I’ve also seen in the criminal justice system is what happens when every system does not work. To me, the criminal justice system is what you see when everything fails,” she said. Officially filed: no Sheila DixonIn early January, Dixon released a four-point plan aimed at making the city safer. In it, she suggests ways to stop gun violence, make changes to the police department and make city agencies more unified. “This has been a year of profound hardship for our city. With the painful loss of Freddie Gray, the entrenched conflicts that his death brought to the surface, and the horrifying spike in violence that followed, we all strive to find words of healing and actions to match. But that takes leadership, and that is what I’m offering the citizens of this city,” she writes on her website. Officially filed: nocenter_img David WarnockThe businessman and philanthropist told the AFRO that he is working on a comprehensive plan detailing the changes he’d make as mayor, with help from people like former Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick and Community College of Baltimore County president Sandra Kurtinitis. “I think this election is about ideas, it’s about change and it’s about whether we’re ok with business as usual,” he said. “There are tactical things that are in her [Sheila Dixon’s] plan and in Nick’s [Mosby] plan that we’ll all do. The question is, are you really going to create sustainable significant change for the city?” Officially filed: yes Nick MosbyNick Mosby, who currently serves on the Baltimore City Council and is the husband of State Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, has issued a 15-point plan of what he would do as mayor called “Connecting the Dots.” The plan targets things like education, public safety and jobs. “City Hall’s job is to Connect the Dots that define our wellbeing, providing an honest, reliable vision that guides our residents along their individual paths to shared success,” he writes on his website. Officially filed: no Catherine PughThis is the current state senator’s second run for mayor of Baltimore. She has also served on the Baltimore City Council and was appointed to the Maryland General Assembly, House of Delegates. On her website, she points to her long career in politics as proof she’d be a good mayor for the city. She says she has passed over 150 pieces of legislation. Officially filed: yes Calvin YoungIn a September interview with the AFRO, Young said that his work as a jet engine engineer and as National Chairperson for the National Society of Black Engineers could help him lead the city. He said that as mayor, he would focus on education, removing lead from city homes and improving the relationship between the police and he community. “I’m running to provide a counterpoint to what we’ve heard about our city for decades – crime, drugs, homicides – that does not have to be what Baltimore is about moving forward,” he said. Officially filed: yeslast_img read more

Sand Sunscreen And Sharks Cape Cod Beach

first_imgSand, Sunscreen And … Sharks! Cape Cod Beach Towns Do… Sarah Mizes-Tan by NPR News Sarah Mizes-Tan 8.28.19 3:09pm A year after a young man was killed by a shark off Cape Cod — the first such death there in more than 80 years — beach towns full of vacationers are struggling to manage an influx of great whites. Sharks off the coast have become more common in recent years as the seal population they hunt has increased. Scientists point out that sharks do not target humans, though they can mistake them for prey. But many officials believed the attack was only a matter of time.Last year’s death happened while a 26-year-old was boogie boarding. Weeks before that, another man was attacked and fought off a shark while swimming in what he said was 8 to 10 feet of water. Both those incidents have driven home the risk for many. On Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, Mass., vacationer Olivia Gattuso says she normally enjoys hourlong swims. She is being more cautious now.”I mean yesterday was a really good swimming day, and I wouldn’t let myself go anywhere above my waist because I was too afraid, she says.In recent months, Outer Cape towns have been making changes to protect beachgoers from sharks. With grant money from the state, many have purchased taller lifeguard chairs to help lifeguards see farther offshore and spot sharks or seals. Beach entrances have updated shark warning signs, which note that sharks hunt seals in shallow water. Some beaches have landline emergency phones and first-aid kits. At Newcomb Hollow Beach, there’s also a new high-tech buoy in the water that alerts lifeguards when it detects a tagged shark in the area. “We actually are just coming off of a closing right now,” says head lifeguard Joey Craven. “We had to close for an hour because the buoy pinged at 10:15.”The buoy sends an alert and a description of the tagged shark to lifeguards, who then call everyone out of the water. This year, these calls have happened a lot, sometimes twice a day. This time, Craven says, “it was a shark named Ben, and he’s about 13.9 feet long. That’s a pretty mature shark.” The buoy was set up by Massachusetts shark researcher Greg Skomal, who began tagging white sharks off Cape Cod four years ago. He says the sharks his organization has logged are just a small slice of the population that exists in these waters. “We know at least 300 individuals are visiting Cape Cod, but we’ll definitely be able to tell you that’s not the actual estimate — it’s going to be much more than that,” he says. Skomal is also working on a study about shark behavior to help advise towns how to best prevent another attack. He is trying to determine whether specific areas around the cape are used for hunting or breeding or something else entirely.”We talk a lot about seeing more and more white sharks from year to year to year,” he says. “Now we’ll be able to tell you, is it increasing?” His study is due out this fall. On Nauset Beach in the town of Orleans, a mobile EMT team patrols the beach front in all-terrain vehicles, part of the town’s initiative to increase emergency response times on the beach in case of another shark attack. After last year’s fatal attack on Arthur Medici, some felt he might have survived if emergency response times had been faster. “We work with lifeguards. We patrol around looking for stuff, make sure everyone’s doing good,” says EMT Henry Rex. Every ATV is equipped with a large plastic box full of first-aid equipment, including new items specifically for treating shark bites. “We have a lot more trauma dressings and hemostatic dressings,” Rex says. Critics worry these measures are reactive, and they want towns to do more to prevent attacks. In Chatham, local official Shareen Davis says there have been “calls for putting shark barriers up, and pingers” that could detect not just tagged sharks but any shark movement in the water. “That would be great,” she says, “but those are costly, and I don’t know if the technology is even there yet.”In lieu of proven prevention tools, town officials believe their most effective approach is education, to make people aware of this new risk.Copyright 2019 WCAI. To see more, visit WCAI.last_img read more

Shaping young minds

first_imgA workshop on painting, wood-crafting and printmaking was organised at the ongoing Summer Art Carnival hosted by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). The painting workshop, from May 25 — June 3, was conducted by likes of Abhimanue V Govindam, Sushanta Guha, Soumen Bhowmick, Shovin Bhattacharya, Asim Pal and Rajesh Ram. While the woodcutting and print making workshop was conducted by Anandmoy Banerjee, Sushanta Guha, Sukhwinder Singh and Jayant Gajera.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The carnival that commenced on May 25 aims at enabling children to look at contemporary art with greater  understanding.“Through our outreach initiatives, we wish to engage more children in our programmes. The main objective of the NGMA is to enable young minds to appreciate works of contemporary art with a better understanding and sensitivity,” a statement said.The interactive workshops would comprise elementary and specialised lectures on art appreciation, art moments and artists. Besides, the workshops would also focus on helping children learn the art of puppetry, painting, art-based performances and make their own art books reflecting the artistic oeuvre of various eminent artists. Special workshop for painting, pottery, and music are also being organised for differently-abled children. Special film screenings on international art trends and art education will also form core of the workshops. The workshop will conclude on July 1.last_img read more

Young entrepreneur Offers affordable tailoring online

first_imgAiming to give a tech-boost to the traditional tailor-made clothing, a young entrepreneur has set up a new startup D For Darzi that will cater to the poor tailoring community across the Indian subcontinent. Set up by journalist turned entrepreneur Saira Aslam, the startup has already collaborated with renowned beauty expert Blossom Kochhar, while designer and activist Sanjana Jon also promised a future collaboration.After a community event held in Delhi recently, D For Darzi said it will launch its e-commerce website later this month to make custom tailoring affordable and easy to order. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIt invited public participation from women of all ages, backgrounds and colour to model for it and received response from many small and big cities across India. Aslam recalled how an NGO worker had told her 5-6 years ago about the tailors in the interior areas of Bihar and Bengal where they were paid some 25 paise for the stitching of one blouse. And they used to stitch nearly a hundred blouses a day.”I kept thinking what amount they actually took home. The figure of 25 rupees for stitching a hundred blouses was outrageous and kept haunting me. Even if the figure improved in these past few years, it wouldn’t have improved dramatically. We all know about Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh and the crammed conditions under which many tailors work even in India. Through D For Darzi, we want to identify and partner with this poor tailoring community and improve their standards of living,” she said and invited NGOs and investors for collaboration. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveHayat Rafique, Director-Planning and Operation, said that they are trying to fit into small, medium and large size of clothes. The startup also conducted a photo shoot as a celebration of the natural beauty of women and to encourage them to shed inhibitions around their body type and pose as models.”I thought having community ambassadors for the photo shoot was a great idea as it would ensure participation of women and men from diverse backgrounds. The students and trainers from Blossom Kochhar College of Creative Arts and Design did the make up hair of all participants of the community initiative. I wish D For Darzi that seeks to help the poor tailoring community of the Indian subcontinent, all the best in future,” Kochhar said.last_img read more