governor Deval patrick


Hanukkah Celebrations In Boston!

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights as it is also known, began last Saturday, December 8th and will conclude on Sunday, December 16th this year.  For those of you looking to get closer to your Jewish roots, or even if you aren’t Jewish and just want to enjoy a great celebration, keep reading and check out some of these upcoming events celebrating Hanukkah in the Boston area!

Boston Menorah Lighting With Governor Deval Patrick – This free event sponsored by the Boston Chabad takes place Wednesday, December 12th at Copley Square.  The event will be from 5 PM – 6 PM and is totally free!  Stop by and see the Boston Menorah, one of the largest in the world, being lit while listening to live entertainment from the Berklee Music Ensemble!  Refreshments will be provided and there will even be give aways!  Governor Deval Patrick oversees the ceremony while spectators gather to celebrate light, unity, and liberty.

Jewish Heritage Night at the Boston Celtics – Join the Chabad of the North Shore for a night of entertainment and celebration of Jewish pride with the Boston Celtics!  This event is Wednesday, December 12th at the TD Garden and costs $25.oo, so register and get your tickets as soon as possible!  Seats will be on the Level 7 balcony and Jewish Heritage Night t shirts are also available for $5.  Guests will enjoy the Glatt Kosher concession stand located in close proximity to the seats and there will also be a post game event on the court for Jewish Heritage Night participants!  There will be a Menorah lighting at 7:30 PM and the game begins at 8 PM.  What better way to celebrate the holiday than by combining heritage and history with some top entertainment? Get your tickets while you still can!

Community Chanukah Celebration and Dinner – Join the community of The Boston Synagogue for their annual Community Chanukah Celebration and Dinner this Friday, December 14th!  Services begin at 6:30 PM and will be led by David Finkelstein, a Rabbinic intern from Hebrew College, followed by dinner.  Tickets are $15 for non members, $12 for Synagogue members, $8 for young professionals (20’s and 30’s), free for children 10 and under and registration is required.  There will be latkes, dreidels, and fun for everyone!  Don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy a traditional Jewish meal with friends and neighbors this Hanukkah!

Silver and Saphire: Keshet’s Hanukkah Party – Get your dancing shoes on and dress to impress this Saturday, December 15th at this Hanukkah celebration!  This event will begin at 5 PM at the First Church in Boston on Marlborough St, followed by a 21+ after party at the House of Blues!  The best part?  It’s totally FREE (although you do have to RSVP)!  There will be music, food, beer and wine (for those over 21), and activities for guests of all ages.  There will be a Menorah Lighting at 6 PM and at 7 PM rock out to the music of The Doctors Fox, a local band known for their eclectic and unique brand of rock.  This event is perfect for the whole family and fun for all ages so reserve your spot while you still can!

Celebrate the Festival of Lights this season with friends and family at one of these events!  All of these festivities celebrate and honor the history behind the holiday while also providing some lively entertainment for participants, how can you go wrong?  Reserve your spots and get tickets to these events before the season of Hanukkah passes us by!

Photo By: Dominic’s pics

Resources for Hurricane Sandy

NASA Sees Hurricane Sandy as the "Bride of Frankenstorm" Threaten U.S. East Coast
Hurricane Sandy has begun; just two days before Halloween, it has earned the nickname “Frankenstorm.” In Massachusetts, many schools and colleges are closed today, as are many offices and business. Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and urges everyone to stay indoors today if at all possible. Conditions are expected to worsen as the morning progresses, and widespread power outages are being anticipated. Information about the storm continues to update frequently, but as of now, here are some things you should know about Hurricane Sandy in Massachusetts:

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Texting Behind the Wheel Bill: PASSED

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation H4794 into law last week banning drivers from texting behind the wheel. The new law has made Massachusetts the 29th state to pass a law restricting texting behind the wheel. The passed legislation bans drivers from reading or writing an e-mail, texting and basically anything that doesn’t include talking on the phone while driving. Drivers over age 18 will still be permitted to take phone calls while behind the wheel.

Drivers under 18 years are prohibited from using a cell phone while behind the wheel. On a first offense the teenager can face a fine of $100 and a 60 day license suspension. If a suspension is given, the driver will have to complete a driver attitudinal course in order to reinstate their license. For repeat offenses charges can reach up to $500. These fines will not be considered a moving violation and is not expected to affect a driver’s surcharge.

“Texting while driving has become a serious threat to the safety of our roads and drivers… We have taken strong action to keep our roads safe by banning texting while driving and instituting needed measures to keep impaired drivers off the road. Protecting the safety of our residents is our most important task as elected officials and this bill will do just that.”

– House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo

The new law affects mature drivers as well. Those 75 years or older will need to renew their licenses in person and pass a vision text every five years to keep a current license. Under current laws these drivers have only needed to renew in person every 10 years. Further than the young and elderly, any driver who accrues three or more surchargeable incidents within a two-year period will be required to take a driver retraining and safety course or face a license suspension.

The new law is to take effect in October when officers may pull over any driver suspected of using a cell phone for a purpose other than making or receiving a phone call behind the wheel.

South Coast Rail Project Moves Forward

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has finalized the legalities with CSX Transportation to gain the rail lines necessary to restore the commuter rail service between the South Coast region and Boston.

“Helping this region realize the promise of South Coast Rail has been our focus since day one… While others have stopped at talking about this project, we are making it happen. This agreement is another important example of our commitment to bringing this project one step closer to reality.”

– Gov. Deval Patrick Governor

Timothy Murray, the Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor, spoke further on the subject that the partnership with CSXTis a major milestone and will be critical to use this investment to leverage future job growth transportation services, and economic development is communities like Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford. Murray however wasn’t the only one to further discuss the purchase as Senator John Kerry noted this will link the economies, businesses and homes of NewBedford and Fall River with Boston. Kerry continued since 2005 more than $30 million in federal funding was obtained from Congress because this development will be so beneficial to the economy and environment.

Further developments and a major stepping stone crossed by the South Coast Rail was a new request released June 10th for the reconstruction of three rail bridges in New Bedford. This past February  $20 million was awarded to MassDOT by the Obama Administration in competitive TIGER funds to be used in replacing deteriorating railroad bridges. Construction on local bridges will begin in the fall.

For more information about the Patrick-Murray Administration visit: www.mass.gov/governor/agenda.

Massachusetts State of Emergency

A major water main break in Weston this past Saturday has disrupted water supply to 38 Massachusetts communities and affected more than 2 million people since its burst. The 10-foot diameter pipe’s damage was discovered in an area where two pipes join carrying treated water from the Quabbin reservoir.  Although the water main has been repaired today, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) expects the earliest regular service to be restored Wednesday May 5th.
President Obama has declared a state of emergency due to the large effects of the water main break. This declaration by Obama authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid State and local response efforts.

Emergency water has been switched on however is not safe for consumption as the MWRA mandated a “boil-water” order in effect until further notice from Governor Patrick. The boiling water order requires water used for drinking, cooking, other food preparation involving water and brushing teeth. Governor Deval Patrick has administered water testing in more than 400 locations stating he would rather err on the side of caution before removing the boiling ban.

More than residential homes have been effected, restaurants and coffee shops alike have been stalled from the water main break. Unable to wash dishes or churn ice cubes restaurants have been forced to shut down until further notice.

Massachusetts Bridge & Road Construction

Potholes plague drivers across the United States creating an uncomfortable and bumpy commute for many. According to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group drivers spend an average $335 per year repairing pothole damages to their vehicles totaling $67 billion dollars throughout the nation. The Research Group published its results in Road Work Ahead – Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America’s Crumbling Roads and Bridges. The researchers found Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Montana and Nevada to be the state with best road conditions. The states with the nation’s worst roads were identified as Alaska, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont and California.

Massachusetts will be working to repair roads and bridges as summer and construction season begins. The report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group discovered the average U.S. bridge 43 years old and about 185,000 of them are older than 50 years. Governor Deval Patrick has been pushing the Accelerated Bridge Program, an eight-year $3 billion project to improve bridge conditions across the Bay State. This Project will reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges in the state system and create thousands of construction jobs on bridge projects across the state.

For many summer construction means delays and extended rush hours, however this does not need to be the case. For an update on construction projects across Massachusetts visit the Massachusetts RMV site. The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration website is another great source for traffic and construction updates.

Check Twice Save A Life – Motorcylists are Everywhere

As the snow melted and floods subsided, March’s beautiful weather lured motorcyclists out early this riding season, a drastic change from last year when many motorcyclists did not ride until July. As of last September 182,215 motorcycles were registered in Massachusetts, which may sound impressive until it’s placed side by side with the 4.3 million cars also registered.

Today marks the end of Motorcycle safety week as proclaimed by Governor Deval Patrick. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles sponsors the Mass Rider Education Program, providing training, materials, new Rider Coach training and promotional and technical assistance to a statewide network of training sites. Numerous motorcycle safety courses are available for beginners and advanced riders throughout Massachusetts. For more information on safety courses visit the motorcycle safety page of the Massachusetts RMV website.

Driving through many areas of Massachusetts it’s difficult to miss the yellow signs with black writing, “Check Twice, Save a Life. Motorcycles are everywhere.” Originally thought up by Bob Doiron in 1982 the stickers and signs have caught a wave of popularity across the state. Doiron, a founder of the  Massachusetts Motorcycle Association (MMA), has now retired and transferred the rights of the “Check Twice” signs to Paul Cote of Amesbury, a fellow motorcycle activist. Both Doiron and Cote have fought for motorcyclist rights however above all, for their safety. Think to look twice before switching lanes or making a sharp turn, as the signs say – it may just save a life.

According to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, an accident with a motorcycle is more likely when:

  • Making a left turn in front of a rider.
  • A motorcyclist is riding in your blind spot.
  • There are hazardous road conditions such as potholes, wet leaves, railroad tracks, and other obstructions that may force a motorcyclist to ride in a way you would not otherwise predict.
  • You have an obstructed line of sight. Sport utility vehicles, delivery vans, and large trucks and those with cars too full of cargo may block motorcyclists from your view.

Teen Driving Fatalities Decrease Significantly!

Fatal accidents involving teenagers under 18 years of age has fallen 75% in the past three years after Massachusetts began implementing the Junior Operation License Law creating harsher penalties for younger drivers and making it more difficult to obtain a license. These added difficulties and punishments junior operators face have not only driven down fatalities, but speeding tickets as well. The number of speeding tickets young drivers under 18 has fallen almost 60% in the past three years. According to an article in The Boston Globe, the number of teens cited for seat-belt violations, passenger restrictions, and other offenses has fallen at a similar rate as the speeding ticket decrease.

These numbers are welcomed graciously as motor vehicle accidents is the number one killer of teens in the nation. According to the Massachusetts RMV website new drivers are four times more likely to be killed and 14 times more likely to be injured in an accident than any other group.  The tougher laws and testing are key efforts used to keep these high risk drivers from being involved in an accident, injured, or killed.

Massachusetts officials believe the decreasing fatalities may be accredited to the Junior Operator License Law passed in 2006 after a number of highly publicized fatalities involving junior operators or drivers under 18 years. The stricter laws took effect March 31st, 2007 increasing driver’s education requirements and penalties for violations junior operators.

A great example of just how firm these new laws are would be the consequences a junior operators experiences after their first speeding ticket. Under old legislation a young driver would be given a fine and slap on the wrist, however the newer 2006 legislation goes much further. Now a junior operator first time ticketed speeder will have his or her license suspended for 90 days. After a three month suspension the teenager must pay a $500 reinstatement fee, attend two four-hour training classes, and retake the state driver’s exam to regain a license. The newer laws have also doubled the time spent behind-the-wheel in driver’s education from six to twelve hours. It has also increased the supervised driving time from 12 to 40 hours teens must accumulate before seeking a license.

“As governor and as a parent I am happy to see that we are creating safer streets and better driving habits among our young drivers. Our number one priority is protecting the safety of the traveling public, and our successful implementation of the Junior Operator License Law is clearly reducing teen driver crashes and saving lives.’’

-Governor Deval Patrick

Patrick has earned bragging rights, from merely glancing over the decreasing number of tickets, violations and accidents involving junior operators since the new legislation. Massachusetts for years averaged two or more fatal accidents a month involving these young drivers, with over 79 in the three years prior to the new stricter legislation taking effect. The following year there were 20, the year after that 15, ans six over the last year. Speeding tickets were greatly reduced as well. The year prior to the Junior Operator License Law enactment, Massachusetts junior drivers received 10,127 tickets. This number has dropped drastically to 4,291 tickets from March 31, 2009 through March 30, 2010. Although it the consequences of young adult driving are harsh, our roads have been made a safer place.

Massachusetts rejects health care hikes

The state Division of Insurance denied 235 of 274 increases proposed by insurers.  The requested premium increases were for plans covering individuals and small businesses.

The denial of the insurers proposal marks the first time the state has turned down health premium increases.

Jay McQuaide, vice president of the state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield released this statement,

“We share the concern about rising health costs, but we don’t think government price controls will solve the problem”

Insurance Commissioner Joseph G. Murphy found that most of the base rates proposed by state health plans were “unreasonable relative to the benefits provided,” according to a statement issued by the agency.

Further information on this story can be found in the original article in the Boston Globe.

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces 511

The Patrick-Murray Administration has increased the Massachusetts Department of Transportation efforts to strengthen customer service through online RMV services, the Accelerated Bridge Program, and now with spreading a free 511 service. The next generation of 511 traveler information service, as the press release describes it, is at no cost to the Commonwealth. Mass DOT will is partnering with Sendza, a growing Massachusetts communications software company based in Marlborough to make the 511 travelers information service available May of 2010.

This is the first time 511 traveler information will be available statewide as it was previously only available in eastern Massachusetts. The traveler information will give drivers the ability to automatically receive personalized travel information alerts via e0mail, text, or phone. The partnership with Sendza is of no cost to the state creating a one time savings of $4.1 million and a $1.2 million annual savings for MassDOT. The 511 information service currently handles about 500,000 a month. The Sendza-based 511 system is not only capable of this but holds the capacity for significant growth as the system’s availability spreads.

This partnership is a perfect example of our new transportation reform approach, working to deliver better statewide service to travelers at a reduced cost to taxpayers

-Governor Deval Patrick

July 21, 2000 the Federal Communications Commission designated 511 as the single traffic information telephone number for use by states and local jurisdictions. Traveler information systems have helped reduce travel times, decrease fuel consumption, and reduce the number of accidents. Massachusetts implemented 511 on October 15, 2007 providing real time traffic, transit, weather, and construction. The 511 traveler information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.

The new Mass511 system will go live in May 2010. For the latest information, check back at www.mass.gov/511 To learn more about Sendza, visit www.Sendza.com.

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