Friday, May 28, 2010

Brockton Vets, Friends Together To The End

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—When veterans of the U.S. military are honored this weekend during Memorial Day ceremonies, the current commander and a life-long active member of Brockton’s VFW Post 1046 will be among those remembered.
John Franz and James Malone, long-time friends from post activities, died within one hour of each other this week.
David Farrell, director of Veterans’ Services, said the two friends, who worked side-by-side to help veterans, were both suffering from cancer and passed away separately, but almost together.
“They both died within an hour of each other,” Farrell said. “We found it unusual that two friends like they were would pass so close together. They really were great friends,” he said.
Malone, 76, born in Hyde Park, (pictured top right) was the current commander of VFW Post 1046 and current commander of Brockton Veterans’ Council where he held the post for 11 years—the longest consecutive commander to hold the position.
For 30 years he was the veterans’ agent for the city. He died Tuesday, May 25 at about 7:30 a.m., Farrell said. Franz passed about one hour later, he said.
Franz, 80, a Brockton native, (pictured below) served in the U.S. Navy for over 24 years during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
He traveled all over the world and met his wife, Ruth M. (Hoyer) in Bremerhaven, Germany. He was a letter carrier in Canton for over 21 years and an active member of VFW Post 1046. His funeral was held today.
For more information about memorial services please visit Waitt Funeral Home.
Farrell said the two men met at Post 1046 and each became involved in the numerous veteran and charitable activities.
He said both will be remembered Monday when veterans are honored at Melrose Cemetery at 8 a.m. with the parade following at 10 a.m.
(Photos of Malone and Franz courtesy Waitt Funeral Home).

Monday, May 24, 2010

BHS Pops Concert Features Renowned Boston-Romanian Conductor

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The Brockton High School music department’s annual Pops Concert Wednesday night will feature renowned Romanian conductor Emilian Badea, a featured maestro in Boston's symphony circle.
Trained at one of Romania’s most distinguished music academies, Badea has performed with the Boston Ballet,Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Classical Players, The Boston Academy of Music,the New Hampshire Symphony, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic. During the BHS Pops concert Badea will accompany the Advanced Concert Band on a nostalgic piece featuring an instrument from the past … the accordion.
“The Pops Concert is the final concert of the year, and it is a celebration of all the hard work and dedication the students have shown throughout the year,” said Music Director Vincent Macrina in a statement. “This is
also a chance for us to stretch our wings and play tunes that appeal to everyone, from classical to pop.”
Selections and standards include “Michael Jackson Medley,” “Irving Berlin
Medley,” “Andrew Lloyd Weber in Concert,” “The Barber of Seville” and the “Symphonic Suite from Star Trek.
The Pops Concert features the BHS Concert Band, Advanced Concert Band, Repertory Chorus and Concert Choir.
The concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Nelson Auditorium. Tickets are now on sale and are availble in the BHS main office from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. until Wedneday night.
Tickets are $3 per seat. For more information, please call the BHS Music Department at 508-580-7656.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Brockton's Good Sam Heads Into New ERa


Brockton Post
BROCKTON—For nearly 20 years Dr. David Mudd thought he would not live to see the day when Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center would secure the financing to modernize and expand its emergency room—until today.
“I’ve been banging my head against the wall since the mid-1990s to try and get this to happen,” Mudd said this morning during groundbreaking ceremonies for the hospital’s new ER. “There have been many stops and starts. To finally have it happen—I’m the happiest guy here today,” he said.
Mudd, also the president of the medical staff, was not the only happy person among the nearly 100 who attended the official ceremony commemorating the $30 million construction project that has already begun.
Hospital officials, doctors, nurses, administrators, volunteers, city and state politicians celebrated the fruition of a nearly 20-year fight to build a state-of- the-art emergency department on the Good Samaritan campus off N. Pearl Street.
It is a dream that has finally come true many said, including Laurie Raymond, the emergency room’s patient care director. (pictured below)
“I began my career here when the emergency room was first opened and after more than 30 years I hope I’ve aged more gracefully than the building has,” Raymond said to a round of laughs and applause.
Good Samaritan opened in 1968 as Cardinal Cushing Hospital. In 1979, after a merger with Goddard Medical Center the year before, the emergency room was renovated as a state-of-the-art facility.
Over the next 30 years more and more patients came to the emergency room, increasing pressure on space and equipment.
Emergency care earned a reputation of excellence by staff, but complaints mounted over privacy and other issues and hospital officials began to lay the groundwork in the 1990s for today’s groundbreaking.
Recently Cerberus Capital Management has offered to buy the Caritas Christi medical network owned by the Boston Archdiocese. As part of the sale agreement, Cerberus has agreed to spend about $400 million on construction projects, including Good Samaritan's long-lived emergency room overhaul.
“This emergency department will literally serve as the foundation of our future growth,” said hospital President Steven R. Gordon, who took over the position in September.
He said there are conceptual designs and plans for a four-story expansion that would increase the number of patient rooms, offer new operating rooms and a host of other services.
However, Gordon said, “we’re taking it one step at a time and the first step is the new emergency department.”
The new emergency department will be 32,000 square-feet and have 42 private rooms compared to 19 spaces that are mainly divided by a curtain. There will be a state-of-the art CT-scan suite; two new X-ray rooms; six fast track bays to expedite minor injuries; two trauma rooms and nine ambulance bays.
The new facility will increase the number of patients that the ER can handle from 50,000 to 60,000 a year.
Designs include private areas for gynecological services and a secure and separate area for people with behavioral issues such as depression, mental illness and addiction.
The new facility will also feature a first of its kind in the region hazardous materials and bioterrism decontamination area.
Good Samaritan’s project is one of the first of seven to begin at Caritas Christi’s six hospitals. The seven projects are expected to cost more than $100 million and officials estimate more than 4,300 jobs will be created as Caritas completes each project.
Dr. Richard Herman, the emergency room’s chief physician, (pictured below) said the new emergency department will bring a much greater level of privacy and comfort for patients.
“We’ve always had world class care, but now we’ll have world class facilities,” Herman said. “When you’re injured or ill being in comfortable surroundings and having privacy and not being able to hear all the noise and trauma of other patients makes it so much easier to get better,” he said.
The emergency room will be open 24-hours per day during construction, which is expected to be complete in 14 to 17 months.
A temporary entrance has been put in place for pick-up and drop-off and a valet parking service will be available Monday to Friday because parking space will be impacted during construction.
U.S. Congressman Stephen Lynch, State Representatives Michael Brady and Thomas Kennedy and Mayor Linda Balzotti were on hand to celebrate the new construction.
Balzotti, who lives across the street from the hospital, said the facility will be a “fabulous” addition to the city and surrounding area and she finds it comforting that it is so close to her home—especially during these difficult financial times.
“Given the stress I’m under--I’ll probably need it,” she said to a round of laughs. She added, “I hope I get reelected so 17 months from now I can cut a ribbon for the emergency room’s opening.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rox Ready to Rock Can-Am League

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Last season the Brockton Rox set the team’s record for the most wins, but fell short of its real goal—bringing a championship to Brockton.
This season, with a solid corps of returning players and handful of new prospects, the team is looking to finish what was started last season.
“We have some unfinished business,” said pitcher Buster Lussier, (pictured top right) who finished last year with a 3-0 record and a 4.02 ERA as a member of the Rox.
During a media meet-and-greet Tuesday the common theme from players was winning a championship.
“It was great that we set the wins record, but the ultimate goal is to bring the championship to Brockton,” Lussier said.
The Rox open the exhibition season Friday with a game at Campanelli Stadium against the Worcester Tornadoes at 7:05 p.m. The regular season begins Friday May 28 with a home game against the Tornadoes at 7:05 p.m.
Toward winning a championship the Rox have signed several hot prospects including Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon’s younger brother Josh—a 27-year-old right handed reliever who was recently cut from the Red Sox’s Portland affiliate.
Papelbon said while getting cut stings he received some good advice from fellow pitcher Brendan Donnelly who after a rousing Major League career with the Anaheim Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates, began to sputter and bounced around the minors and independent leagues until returning to the Pirates this season.
“Brendan told me not to worry and too keep working hard and everything will work out,” Papelbon said.
Papelbon (pictured above) said he is working on a change-up to augment a fastball and sinker that he hopes will save many games for the Rox and impress big league scouts.
“When I got released the Rox called one hour later,” Papelbon said.
He said Brockton is the right fit not only baseball-wise, but on a personal level because he can be close to his older brother Jonathan, his wife and young daughter.
“That is a big plus being close to family,” Papelbon said.
In the outfield the Rox are looking to Chris Valencia to equal last year’s Rookie of the Year performance, finishing the season with a .309 batting average, finishing second in the league with 60 runs scored and third in stolen bases.
“This is a great place to play,” Valencia said. “Brockton has great fans, a great atmosphere and great coaching,” he said. (pictured in photo above: left to right, coach Dan McNamara, Chris Valencia, Derek Kinsler, Rich Castaldo and Jim Sheppard.)
Another common theme throughout the team is the joy that the team is actually on the field.
During the offseason the Rox ran into financial problems and nearly shutdown operations.
However, several investors stepped up to the plate, the front office has been reshuffled and in the true sense of the phrase, hope springs eternal.
“It’s been a survival winter,” said Jack Yunits, who is now the team’s legal counsel. “We survived—we almost didn’t—but we did and we’re going to put a great product on the field. Now we need the fans to come and watch this great group of players play.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Digs For Old Paramount Rug

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--As demolition crews raze the buildings where his family has operated Paramount Rug and Cleaners for 46 years, Greg Kashgagian is preparing for a grand opening of Paramount Rug's new location on Manley Street.
The cleaning part of the business has closed its doors forever because people dry clean their clothes less and disposing toxic chemicals had become cost prohibitive.
Kashgagian (pictured above) said while it's disappointing to close such a long-lived business things always change.
"That's history that is gone now," he said. "We have to move on."
Paramount Rug and Cleaners operated at the intersection of Belmont and West Streets for 46 years. Three generations of Kashgagian's have operated the business in other Brockton locations for 80 years.
New Hampshire Demolition began demolishing the old building Monday (pictured at bottom).
The new rug and flooring store has been open since April 11, when the business had to pack up everything and move out.
In January the purchase and sale agreement was signed that allows a new CVS to take over the triangle-shaped island across from the Brockton Fair Grounds.
In a short amount of time a new location had to be found, a lease had to be signed and 46 years worth of equipment, supplies and office space had to be boxed and relocated.
"Everything happened very quickly. We only had 120 days," Kashgagian said. "We moved out and reopened on the same day. I don't know how we did it."
He said he and his cousin Chris Kashgagian have reopened and customers are making their way to the new site.
"It's a much more modern facility. It's much more organized, it's right off Route 24 and there's a huge parking lot," Kashgagian said--a feature that was lacking at the old store.
Plans are in the works for a Saturday June 19 grand opening celebration that will include special promotions and possibly a wine tasting. Mayor Linda Balzotti has been invited, as are all those looking to redesign their homes with rugs or flooring and anyone wishing to celebrate the new location with them.
"We're really excited to be here and look forward to many more years in Brockton," Kashgagian said.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Secret Compartments, Extraordinary Artistry Highlights New Fuller Craft Exhibition

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The Fuller Craft Museum Saturday May 22 will celebrate the opening of "Unfolding Stories," an exhibition of Japanese artist Mariko Kusumoto's intricate music boxes, clocks and other ornamental pieces.
Kusumoto is known for her extraordinary and intricate metal sculptures of music boxes, clocks and other constructions, with multiple doors, compartments, drawers and moving parts.
The exhibition opens Saturday and runs until August 8. There will be an opening reception June 13 from 2 to 5 p.m. The reception is free with paid museum admission.
Kusumoto will be at the gallery Sunday June 27 at 2 p.m. for a special gallery talk, in which she will unfold the boxes and reveal the contents.
Admission for the June 27 artist talk is $7 for members and $18 for nonmembers and includes museum admission.
Kusumoto's meticulously hand-crafted pieces use a variety of metalsmithing techniques, including etching, enameling and casting. With each box sculpture, she presents a magical world of astounding detail and artistry.
Much of Kusumoto's inspiration comes from memories of the 400-year-old Buddhist temple where her father was a priest. She was inspired by the gleam of metal ornaments against the dim interior. She tends to use brass in her metalwork- its color is similar to those ornaments - and suggests darkness and age with different kinds of patinas. Other inspirations are the changing seasons and the natural world, as interpreted through a Japanese aesthetic.
For more information visit the Fuller's website at www.fullercraft.org.

Monday, May 17, 2010

CNN Tonight Looks at Brockton Schools' Haitian Influx, Money Woes

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--School officials are getting a media boost that highlights a layoff of more than 400 teachers when CNN Monday night features Brockton Public Schools and the influx of Haitian and other students that has the system strapped for cash.
Superintendent Matthew Malone last Thursday issued 430 reduction in force notices, or RIF, which notify teachers of pending cuts stemming from a $9.7 million deficit in the 2010-2011 budget.
"We hope that as this budget process continues we will be able to call back more than half the teachers who received notices," Malone said. "Still we recognize that this is devastating news," he said.
He warns more notices are coming over the next few weeks to paraprofessionals,administrators, secretaries and custodians.
The school's money troubles will be part of a CNN report tonight expected to air on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
Joycelyn Meek, spokeswoman for Brockton schools, said in an email Brockton will be featured in a segment on Haitian refugees in American schools to be aired tonight between 5 and 7 p.m. Initially it was scheduled to run last Friday.
She said Ashfield Middle School will be highlighted as part of a story about the influx of Haitian refugees in American schools. Since the devastating earthquake in Haiti January 12, Brockton has enrolled 128 students from Haiti.
The influx has also been featured on NPR and other media outlets.
Superintendent Malone, Principal Barbara Lovell and Ashfield students and teachers will discuss how the new students have assimilated into the school, the challenges and rewards of their introduction into the Ashfield community, and how students are coping with what they have lived through.
Meek said the piece comes at a critical point for the school district, which is working to overcome a $9.7 million deficit.
To decrease the deficit, Malone and the School Committee have launched a petition drive asking Governor Deval Patrick to reimburse school districts based on their current enrollment figures.
Patrick's proposed 2010-2011 budget bases its reimbursement level on 2008 enrollment numbers, which is nearly 400 students less than the Brockton Public Schools current population.
School officials have said between Oct. 1, 2008 and Oct. 1 2009 roughly 270 students moved into the city between October 1, 2008 and October 1, 2009. Officials said adding the 128 Haitian students who have immigrated to Brockton since the earthquake and the 270 increases Brockton's enrollment by 400 students--students Patrick's budget does not take into account.
Copies of the petition are available at all Brockton schools buildings and in the mayor’s office at City Hall. Residents are urged to visit the schools or stop at the mayor's office to sign the petition.
Officials hope the push will prompt Patrick to shift more money to Brockton's schools because of the steep jump in the number of students.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Hello Dolly" Begins Tonight

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The Brockton High School Drama Club will perform the musical favorite, "Hello Dolly" beginning Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
The drama club and theatre arts is soley supported by donations, sponsorships and ticket sales.
Organizers urge residents to come to the show and see how talented Brockton High students are on the stage and behind the scenes.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling the Brockton High School administration office at 508-580-7633.
Shows will be held in the Nelson Fine Arts Building at Brockton High. Shows are Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Balzotti Budget Offers Raymond School Closure Options, Avoids City Layoffs

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—In moves that could keep the Raymond Elementary School open and keep 10 school buses on the road and avoid layoffs in the fire department, library, and other city departments, Mayor Linda Balzotti has proposed the City Council approve a meals tax on prepared fast food and restaurant meals—one of several financial moves that would decrease the school’s deficit in next year's budget from about $13.2 million to about $9.7 million.
“Last week it was $13.2 million and now it’s $9.7 million,” said Superintendent Matthew Malone during Tuesday night’s school finance committee meeting. “It’s a lot better than what was expected…but there’s still a tremendous amount of positions that need to be cut,” he added.
Malone said Balzotti gave school officials her proposed budget Tuesday morning and it included financial methods that would move about $3 million to the school budget.
Balzotti said during a phone interview Wednesday morning the meals tax, $1.5 million from the stabilization fund and by deferring payments from the city’s health insurance trust fund to the general budget are lynch pins in the overall picture for both the school and city-side of government.
“That’s how we’re balancing the budget,” Balzotti said. “Some might say it’s juggling, but it saves jobs, buses and keeps Raymond open,” she said.
She said she expects the meal tax question to be on the City Council’s agenda May 24. She said it requires a majority vote to pass. Officials have estimated that on a $10 bill from McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts it would add 7 cents to the tab. On a $100bill the tax would add 75 cents.
She said the moves would prevent 11 firefighters, eight librarians, an animal control officer and a handful of other city employees from losing their jobs.
“While I’m sure (the meals tax) won’t be popular…kids walking to school is as much as a safety issue as police and fire,” Balzotti said.
She said John “Jay” Condon, the city’s financial manager, is confident the city can declare a two-month “holiday” from making payments to its own health insurance trust fund and instead shift the estimated $3.6 million to the school and city budgets to offset deficits.
Balzotti said medical payouts have been less than estimated and the holiday should work for the 2010-2011 budget.
School superintendent Matthew Malone said from about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning when officials received Balzotti’s budget to meeting time at 6:30 the same night, school officials scrambled to offer the finance committee two plans based on Balzotti’s budget.
Until Balzotti’s plan, school officials proposed closing the Raymond and cutting bus service from 41 to 31 to close the estimated $13.2 million shortfall.
One Balzotti-budget revised plan keeps the Raymond School open and cuts about 320 full-time jobs. The second plan closes the school and cuts about 327.8 full-time employees.
“Although there is some good news…cutting $9.7 million is not a good place to be,” said Aldo Petronio, executive director of financial services.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Buckner to Throw Out First Pitch at Rox, Coach Day Camp

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Former Boston Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner will throw out the first pitch at Campanelli Stadium on Saturday, September 4 after leading a Brockton Rox Fantasy baseball camp.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Buckner will work alongside Rox players and coaches as an instructor for the Brockton Rox Fantasy Camp that allows youngsters to dress in the team clubhouse, take part in batting practice with individual instruction from Buckner, and play in a live game with umpires and a stadium announcer.
Campers will also receive an autographed baseball from Buckner, a hat and a t-shirt. The package includes four tickets to the evening’s game, as well as access to a luxury suite at the stadium with complementary ballpark food.
“I’m really looking forward to coming out to Brockton and Campanelli Stadium,” Buckner said in a prepared statement. “I’ve heard so many good things about the Rox, and I’m excited to be a part of the day.”
Rox manager Chris Carminucci added,“It will be a thrill for Rox fans to be able to step onto the field at Campanelli Stadium and learn from a major-league great like Bill Buckner. We’re excited to be able to put on an event like the Fantasy Camp; it should be a success.”
Other former major-league players may be added as instructors at a later date.
The cost of the camp is $300 per person, and is limited to 40 players. Registration can be made at the Rox office at Campanelli Stadium, or by calling (508) 559-7000.
The Rox open their 2010 season on Friday, May 28 against Worcester at 7:05 p.m. Single-game tickets for all 47 home contests are currently on sale at brocktonrox.com. (Photo courtesy baseball-almanac.com)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Iraq Ambassador to U.S. to Speak at Bridgewater State Graduation

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Next week more than 1,000 Bridgewater State College students who have met the grade in undergraduate and graduate studies will attend the college's graduation ceremonies, celebration's highlighted by keynote speaker, Samir Sumaida’ie, Iraq’s Ambassador to the United States.
During next Saturday's undergraduate commencement, Samir Sumaida'ie, who was appointed Iraq’s Ambassador to the U.S. in April 2006, will offer comments to about 1,000 students expected to receive diplomas for undergraduate work at the college's 169th commencement.
Before arriving in the U.S., Sumaida'ie (pictured above with former President George Bush in 2008) served as Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as Minister of Interior in Baghdad.
As interior minister Sumaida'ie managed a domestic security force of over 120,000 and is credited with making considerable progress reorganizing and modernizing the ministry’s operations. In addition, Sumaida'ie served as a member of the Governing Council (GC) in Iraq. For more about Sumaida'ie, please read an article from the Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/06/AR2009020602748.html
As a council member, he was chairman of the Media Committee and played an integral role in the founding of the Iraqi Telecoms and Media Commission and the Public Broadcasting Institution. He also held positions on the security, finance, and foreign relations committees.
Undergraduate commencement will take place Saturday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Boyden Quadrangle.
The college's graduate commencement ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rondileau Campus Center auditorium.
More than 460 graduate degrees will be presented. Approximately 1,400 guests are expected to attend the ceremony.
The keynote speaker will be John W. Bardo, chancellor of Western Carolina University since 1995, and a former administrator at Bridgewater State College.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Huntington School Parade Moved to Friday

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--The 113th annual Huntington School Parade has been postponed until Friday at 12:30 p.m.
Brockton schools spokeswoman Jocelyn Meek said in an email the parade has been moved from today to Friday because of predictions of rain.
The parade, first begun in 1897, has become a time-honored tradition that pays tribute to fallen soldiers. The tribute to veterans is held in early May to recall the original Memorial Day events begun in 1868, which many communities now celebrate on Memorial Day at the end of the month.
This year's event, Meek said, is being held earlier than usual because state MCAS exams are scheduled for the third and fouth weeks of the month.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rainbow Over Brockton



Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Brockton resident and BrocktonPost.com reader Rosena Cornet captured a rainbow that appeared late Tuesday afternoon after a thunderstorm passed through the area.
Cornet said she stopped her car as she was driving along Route 37 near the Holbrook border to take these pictures.

Monday, May 3, 2010

An Easy Row to Hoe

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Ashfield School 7th grader from left to right) Fanta Fofana and Emily Philbin prepare the soil at the school for the city's annual tree-planting in honor of Arbor Day last Friday.

The school hosted this year's celebration, which included a visit by Mayor Linda Balzotti. (Photo courtesy Joycelyn Meek)

Students were not the only ones who had Arbor Dayon their minds.

Members of Brockton Garden Club planted a plum tree and a spruce at the island entrance to D.W. Field Park on Oak Street.