Saturday, October 30, 2010

Patrick Congratulates Brockton High

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Having technical difficulties with video from Gov. Deval Patrick's visit to Brockton High Friday. Working on it. Sorry for the delay and check in later today!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Citizen Today--and Forever

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Friday morning when Tercia Mota, a senior at Brockton High School saw Principal Susan Szachowicz in the hallway in front of the school's auditorium, she gave Szachowicz an “air-kiss” hello and said she wanted “Dr. Szach” to be one of the first to know:
“Today is my first day being an American citizen,” Mota said, smiling from ear-to-ear.
Mota, 18, a native of Brazil who has lived in the U.S. legally for 12 years, said she spent the summer filling out paperwork, processing applications and studying for a two-part exam, including a 100-question test on American history and government she took just this Monday.
Usually, Mota said, once an American-to-be takes the exam, even if the application is approved, it is months before the swearing-in ceremony, but she got lucky when a small group being sworn in Thursday at the John F. Kennedy Federal Building needed another person. She received a call to attend.
“It was so unbelievable, there was one spot left,” Mota said. “Usually you have to wait months and months,” she said.
Mota brought her Certificate of Citizenship to school Friday to show her teachers and her friends.
Although she was sworn in Thursday, Mota said today is her first full day as an American citizen.
“I’m really happy,” she said.
(Photos courtesy Mota family)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brockton School Lunch Accounts Go Online

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Brockton Public Schools will now offer parents an online account for student lunches that allows parents to prepay balances, review purchases and keep an eye on what their kids are eating to ensure students are making healthy choices.
In a prepared statement, school officials said the new program is a partnership with Mealpayplus, an online prepayment system that offers parents a safe, easy and convenient way to prepay for their children's school meals.
"We see this as a convenience for parents, and also a way for them to monitor their child's purchases and help them make healthy food choices," said Superintendent of Schools Matthew H. Malone.
Chartwells School Dining Services, the corporation that operates Brockton Public Schools cafeterias, has been working to improve food choices, cafeteria operations and convenience since it became the district's food service vendor in 2006, officials said.
Last year, Chartwells introduced a new point-of-sale system district-wide, whereby students use their ID numbers or ID cards to expedite meal service in the cafeterias.
The new online payment system, officials said, is in response to parents comments.
"We often hear from parents wondering why their child is spending a certain amount of money, now those parents can view their child's account and see how much their student is spending on meals versus ala carte items," said Tom Burke, Chartwells' Brockton district manager.
Parents can log onto the student's account any time at http://www.mealpayplus.comand view what their child has purchased on a specific day. The software allows parents to view the balance at any time, as well as to check payment history. In addition, parents can choose to have email confirmations of payments and low balance reminders sent, and payments can be made quickly and easily using a credit card or check online or via telephone. Optional Wallet and Auto-Replenish features enable parents to set a low balance amount that will automatically replenish the account when it drops to a specified balance, if they choose.
For additional information about MealpayPlus, please visit http://www.mealpayplus.com
(The above logo is courtesy of Mealpayplus.com website)

Club National Donates $6,000 For PD Special Response Unit

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The Brockton Police Special Response Unit has received a $6,000 donation from The Club National--an infusion of cash that will the special unit buy much needed equipment.
Officials from Club National--a private club that has operated in the city for more than 100 years--said the response team was in dire need of the new equipment and asked organizations around the city to help.
Last Sunday, Oct. 24, during a breakfast at the club's headquarters at 170 Court St., members of the response team, Mayor Linda Balzotti and State Rep. Michael Brady, Club National handed over a check for $6,000.
A spokesman for the special response unit could not be reached for further comment.
(Photo courtesy Club National)

Gov. Patrick To Speak At Brockton High Friday

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to make a presentation to Brockton High School students Friday, Oct. 29 at 9:30 a.m.
Principal Susan Szachowicz's office said Patrick is expected to make a presentation about education. Also visiting will be New Jersey State Senator Barbara Buono.
Following the presentation, Patrick will head to his relection campaign headquarters in Brockton for the kickoff of a Democratic Party "Get Out the Vote," bus tour.
Starting from Brockton, the bus will travel to more than a dozen communities from New Bedford to Medford to Milton to Natick during the weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Magic, Mind Reading And Mystery Supports Child Fund

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Brockton native Brian Campbell will bring his Las Vegas magic show to Brockton High School this Saturday, October 30—an event that is expected to be filled with side-splitting hypnosis, magic and mystery.
Campbell, described as part comedian, part illusionist, also brings with him, mind-reader and mentalist “The Great Allison.”
Proceeds from the event benefit Mayor Linda Balzotti’s Children’s Fund.
This family-friendly show will be held Saturday, Oct. 30 at Brockton High School auditorium.
Tickets are $5 for adults 18 and over, $2 for under 18 and students.
Tickets are being sold at the Council on Aging, 10 Father Kenney Way or call 508-580-7811.
Tickets will all be sold at the door.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show follows at 8.
Campbell will also host an adults only show Friday, Oct. 29 at the Westgate Hotel and Conference Center. Tickets for the adults only show are $15. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 9.

Fire Safety Contest Brings Chance At $10,000 for Brockton FD

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The Brockton Fire Department is asking residents for help--before Oct. 31.
They're not asking for money or increased taxes, just head to Liberty Mutual Insurance's website http://www.befiresmart.com/and help the department win a contest for a $10,000 grant toward programs and services.
"We encourage all residents and their families to take this time to learn and become more safety conscious in their daily lives," said Fire Lt. Joseph DePasquale in an email. "This grant will be used to help the Fire Department continue its efforts to make Brockton a safer place to live," he said.
The contest ends Sunday Oct. 31.
All residents have to do is go to www.befiresmart.com and take a simple 10-question quiz.
We at BrocktonPost took the quiz and we finished in less than 2 minutes. Questions were multiple choice or true and false. Answers offer fire safety basics and facts.
Don't wait--visit www.befiresmart.com
(Photo courtesy Liberty Mutual Insurance)

Zombies "A Scream" in Boston

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—When Brockton resident Pat Gorman stepped out of South Station in Boston Tuesday morning, the last thing she expected was to see a man walking off a bus bleeding from a gory wound in his head.
At first, Gorman said, she worried the man needed medical help, but as she walked closer and the man opened his mouth, let out a long groan and waved his arms around, and others just like him filled the streets, she realized something else was going on.
“He started to howl and groan and other people got off the bus and they were covered in blood--I figured out it was a zombie thing,” Gorman said. Read more...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Route 24 Crash Sends 5 To Hospital, One Flown To Boston

A State Police spokesman said one victim has been transported to Brigham and Women’s Hospital by medical helicopter and four others have been transported by ambulance to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton after a multiple car accident on Route 24 at about 10:45 a.m. today.
State Police spokesman Sgt. Matthew Murray said as of about Noon two travel lanes have been reopened. After the accident occured all lanes traveling north were closed near the Harrison Boulevard exit in Avon.
Murray said the righthand travel lane and the breakdown lane are now open and the highway traveling south is open.
There is no further information about the victims at this time.

"Keane" Jokes Keep Halloween Party Rolling

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—South Middle School teacher Beth Keane Monday night kept dozens of kids scratching their heads and eating cookies as they tried to answer a non-stop stream of children’s jokes at the Little Red Schoolhouse Association’s second annual Halloween costume party.
“Why were police looking for the vampire,” Keane asked the bustling group of youngsters wearing princess, witch, soldier and pirate costumes.
Jason Stevens, a 7-year-old who attends the Downey Elementary School, could barely be heard over the din on the second floor of the city’s oldest school house.
“Because he robbed the blood bank,” Stevens said, earning claps and cheers from the crowd as he received a stick of licorice from Keane for the answer.
Parents chuckled at the jokes--a river of clunkers like, "Who did Frankenstein take on a date to the prom? His ghoul-friend," and marveled at Keane's ability to keep coming up with the jokes and the children's determination to think of the answers or even understand the punchline.
"She just keeps going," said Thomas Santos, who brought his two girls to the 2-hour party that began at 6 p.m.
All youngsters who gave an answer--right or wrong--received licorice and others helped themselves to cookies, juice and other refreshments.
Stevens’ mother, Deanna, said the family, including Jason’s twin brother Matthew, attended the event because she celebrated her 41st birthday the same day.
“We came because Jason wanted to take me out for my birthday,” Deanna Stevens said.
Many of the hundreds of parents and children, mostly between kindergarten and fifth grade, who attended the party said it was the first time they had ever been in the historic building.
Janice Beyer, president of the Little Red Schoolhouse Association said the non-profit organization hosts several events, including a Christmas-Holiday party in December and a popular city-wide spelling bee in May.
Beyer, who is also a school committee member, said the Halloween party is another way to raise money for the organization to continue keeping the more than 200-year-old building in good repair.
“We need volunteers. Anyone interested should contact us,” Beyer said.
Parents and youngsters alike enjoyed the festivities, which included parents, teachers and dignitaries like State Representative Christine Canavan (Pictured above in mask) reading popular Halloween stories.
Parent Eric Lutz brought his four children—including triplets—and immediately volunteered to read one of the Halloween stories.
With seemingly-tireless energy and animated body movements, Lutz kept a group of nearly 20 children enthralled.
“That’s how I learned to read well—my four children. There’s always a big audience,” Lutz said.
Richard Hatch, vice-president of the Little Red Schoolhouse Association, said the group was thrilled with the turnout.
“It’s three times more than we expected,” Hatch said as parents holding children squeezed by antique desks and looked at old photographs and memorabilia that hang on the schools’ walls.
Gail Robinson brought her two daughters Brianna, 10, and Nyssa, 8, (Pictured above from left to right) who said they are looking forward to Halloween trick-or-treating Sunday night when thousands of youngsters will go door-to-door from 4 to 7 p.m.
Brianna Robinson, who will dress as Little Red Riding hood Sunday night when she tricks-and-treats, said while the parties and the fun atmosphere surrounding Halloween are great, there is one simple thing that makes the holiday special.
"Candy," she said.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pancakes & Pooh Bear

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Check out BrocktonBeat.com's humorous take on Mayor Linda Balzotti looking at her watch and the Brockton Library Foundation's pancake breakfast held Saturday morning.

Brockton FD Hires 9 New Firefighters

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The City Council tonight is expected to hire nine new firefighters to help man a department that has not seen any new hiring in the last five years.
"It will start to help beef up our department," said Fire Chief Richard Francis.
He said during Monday night's City Council meeting at 8 p.m., eight new members of the department are expected to receive approval.
Francis said a ninth firefighter has been on the job for nearly two weeks. Francis said the ninth man had been laid off from another department and due to Civil Service rules was first on the list for rehire. Read more about the new firefighters...

Councilor Stewart Reworks Website

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--City Councilor-at-Large Jass Stewart announced today has revamped his website. Check out the site's new look at http://www.jassstewart.com/ and let him know what you think about the site and other city issues. He also gives his picks for candidates running for election Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Running Out Good Sign At Library Breakfast

BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—So many families lined up to eat pancakes, sausage and juice during the Brockton Public Library Foundation's breakfast Saturday morning, volunteers had to run out to nearby stores to get more ingredients because initial supplies ran out.
“It was such a great success,” said Brockton Library Foundation Executive Board member Anne Beauregard, who, dressed as Winnie the Pooh, skipped around the library’s conference room shaking hands and hugging children. (Pictured below with Tigger)
Beauregard said the annual breakfast—which has been held for most of the last 15 years—has seen the number of attendees dwindle, but hosting the event in October instead of September may have reinvigorated the fundraiser.
Whatever the reason, an estimated 200 to 300 parents and grandparents like Noelle Foye and grandson 3-year-old Colin Foye, (Pictured above) aunts, uncles and guardians brought youngsters who were wide-eyed as they ate syrup-soaked pancakes and waited for Beauregard in a Winnie the Pooh costume or library employee 19-year-old Stephani Sullivan dressed as Tigger, to make their way to tables.
Many people waited in line as volunteers raced to nearby stores to buy more food because at about 9:30 a.m., about an hour into the breakfast, more than double the amount of expected people had arrived.
“We’re getting more stuff,” said Library Director Harry Williams as he manned hot serving dishes devoid of food. "They’ll be here any minute now,” he said, waving tongs as sausages, bacon and pancakes arrived from the kitchen.
Virginia Conti brought her 2-year-old daughter Sabrina (Pictured above with Stephani Sullivan as Tigger) so she could help the library and give Sabrina an early-morning visit with one of her favorite storybook characters.
“It’s a way to help the library,” Conti said.
The breakfast was one of two events supporting the library Saturday.
The foundation hosted a “Sock Hop” later that night. There was a good crowd, Beauregard said, but it did not match the numbers for the breakfast.
All events go to support the more than 20-year-old foundation’s work to offer the library money for programs, equipment and renovations similar to those completed on the East Side Branch several years ago.
“All of the money we raise goes to help the library,” Beauregard said. “We can help pay for almost everything, except pay for salaries,” she said.
The foundation pays for many programs throughout the year and is currently working toward a long-term goal of renovations at West Side Branch similar to those at East, including the construction of a handicapped ramp, upgrade computers and offering additional space—which also brings more carpeting, heating and air conditioning costs.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Johnston Court Murder Suspect Expected In Court Today

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--A 19-year-old Brockton man is expected in Brockton District Court this afternoon to face murder charges after Brockton Police and State Police detectives executed a search warrant to arrest the man in connection with a Nov. 2009 murder at Johnston Court.
Bridget Norton-Middleton, spokeswoman for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, said in a prepared statement Esau DePina, 19, of Brockton today was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Anthony Hamilton which occured at Johnston Court Nov. 16. 2009.
She said investigators served a murder warrant to DePina in a cell at Dedham House of Correction where he is currently being held on bail for an unrelated case.
In addition to the murder, DePina faces charges of four counts of assault with intent to murder, possession of a firearm, carrying a firearm, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.
Norton-Middleton said 15 .40 caliber shell casings were found at the scene and testing determined all the casings came from the same .40 caliber weapon.
"I want to commend the hard work of the investigators--they have worked tirelessly on this case and as a result this defendant will finally face justice," said District Attorney Timothy Cruz in the statement.
On Nov. 16, 2009 at about 12:54 a.m. Anthony Hamilton, Marc Tomblin, and Frank Webb were sitting on the porch of 10 Johnston Court when a tall, thin, black male wearing a gray hooded-sweatshirt approached on foot and fired multiple shots at them.
Within minutes, the Brockton Police received numerous calls for shots fired on the street.
Upon arrival police found Hamilton laying on the ground suffering from gunshot wounds to the head and the arm. Hamilton was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bernardi Group Breaks Ground On $22 Million Brockton Dealerships

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Lt. Governor Timothy Murray made a whirlwind tour of Brockton Thursday making three stops at Brockton businesses that have received money for growth and renovations, including a more than $22 million project under construction that will bring new Honda and Hyundai dealerships to Manley Street.
“The City of Brockton has not seen such a large scale investment of over $22 million in at least 10 years,” said State Representative Michael D. Brady in a prepared statement. “Not only have the thousands of travelers coming up Route 24 seen construction over the past few weeks, but they see a facelift in Brockton,” Brady said. Read more about Brockton businesses expanding...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pancake Breakfast, Sock Hop Support Library

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Saturday night Oct. 23 the Brockton Library Foundation will host two events at the main branch of Brockton Public Library to raise money for programs and services. Read more at community calendar page...

Catholic Charities Postpones Ribbon Cutting Celebration

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Due to unforeseen delays in the construction and permitting of the new office space at 157 Centre St. in Brockton, Catholic Charities South has indefinitely postponed the planned grand re-opening and ribbon cutting scheduled for Tuesday, October 26 from 2 to 4 p.m., according to a prepared statement from MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce.
Catholic Charities will, however, continue to provide services to clients at the Centre St. site without interruption. For further information please call David Phillips at 508-587-0815.

Auditor Candidates Argue Over Accounting, Political Experience

By Lisa E. Crowley
Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Republican candidate for the open State Auditor seat Mary Z. Connaughton is a certified public accountant who has touted that experience as just one of the reasons voters should elect her to the job left open by Joseph DeNucci, who is retiring after 24-years in the post.
“You need to be an attorney to be the attorney general,” Connaughton said during opening remarks in a debate Wednesday with Democratic candidate Suzanne Bump hosted by WXBR 1460 AM in Brockton and moderated by Ron Van Dam as a part of the station’s “Conversations with Candidates” series.
“Shouldn’t you be an auditor to be State Auditor,” Connaughton quipped during several verbal exchanges between Connaughton and Bump who have turned what has been a 24-year sleeper for auditor into a hotly contested race.
Candidates responded to questions from moderator Van Dam, WXBR News Director Kevin Tocci, and BrocktonPost.com reporter Lisa E. Crowley
Bump, a former Whitman resident and Cardinal Spellman graduate, said she doesn’t believe being a certified public accountant is the only experience necessary to head the State Auditor’s office—the financial watchdog state agency that has broad powers to investigate fraud, corruption and waste in government spending and management.
“This job goes way beyond accounting,” Bump said.
“I have shown the leadership and skills to bring people together from many disciplines…from information technology people to clerks who answer phones,” she said.
While the pair agree on some issues, such as initiating a review of all auditor office personnel once elected, they disagree on how that should be accomplished.
Connaughton said she would ask employees to reapply for their jobs, while Bump said she would conduct a peer review.
DeNucci, after a nearly flawless 24-year tenure, before retiring was criticized for giving audit office employees a 5 percent raise at a time when cuts were being made in all areas of the state budget and faces ethics charges over hiring a 75-year-old unemployed cousin two years ago. Both said the raise was wrong and would deal with it through the peer review or the reapplication process.
Connaughton, a Framingham native who was a professor at Framingham State College, has worked at the prestigious firm Ernst and Young, and after an appointment by former Gov. Mitt Romney to serve on the Turnpike Authority Board was an outspoken critic of spending and management practices during the troubled reign of Matt Amorello.
Bump is a lawyer who served as Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, where she said she saved the state millions by speeding up workers compensation disputes and initiated performance standards for training grants.
She also helped organize a non-profit group to save Edwina Martin House on North Main Street in Brockton--a 21-bed safe haven for women recovering from addiction that was slated to close in 2002 in the wake of the Boston Catholic Archdiocese financial troubles.
Both said while they each are supported by their respective political parties, they would be an independent voice for taxpayers.
“The auditor doesn’t report to the legislature or the governor. The auditor is accountable to the people,” Connaughton said.
Connaughton said she would scrutinize all bids and contracts for services and instill a “Connaughton-Proof” test to ensure the state is getting its money’s worth for services.
Bump said she butted heads against the Democratic establishment when as Labor Secretary she reformed the worker’s compensation dispute process.
During the debate, each took shots at the other’s background and possible ties to special interests.
Connaughton attacked Bump for her work as a registered lobbyist and for an ethics violation from 1996.
Bump, who said she paid for and learned from the ethics violation, added as a lawyer she had to register as a lobbyist to perform some of her work.
Bump fired back Connaughton accepted money from lobbyists and special interests. Connaughton responded she gave the money back, but Bump said there is no record of the money being returned.
Both candidates said they wanted the auditor’s office to begin auditing the state budget—a move Connaughton said she has been in favor of all along and Bump has only recently jumped on the band wagon.
Bump said for the auditor’s office to complete an overall audit of the legislature—currently the auditor’s office only reviews departmental bottom line spending and not line items—would require a change in the law by the State Legislature.
(Photos courtesy WXBR News)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brockton Man Shot Down in Mother's Driveway

The Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Brockton Police and State Police detectives are investigating the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old Brockton man who was gunned down in his nother's driveway Tuesday night.
In a prepared statement, Bridget Norton Middleton, a spokeswoman for Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz, said Brockton Police received a call reporting a man shot at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday night.
When police arrived at 291 Grove Street, they found the victim--who has been identified as James Hilliard--laying in the driveway next to the driver’s side door of his car and suffering from numerous gun shot wounds.
Hilliard was transported to Signature Health Care in Brockton and was pronounced dead at about 10:20 p.m.
Officials said Hilliard, who recently moved, arrived at his mother’s home for a visit on Grove Street at about 8:30 p.m. When he left the residence at about 9:15 p.m. and was getting into his car to leave, he was shot multiple times.
The matter is under investigation by Brockton Police and State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office.
Anyone with information is urged to contact investigators at 509-941-0234.

Water Department Money, Open Meeting Law Charges Still Swirl

By Lisa E. Crowley
BrocktonPost
BROCKTON— When several potential bidders for a company to complete an independent audit of water and sewer department meter reading and billing procedures meet with city officials Friday for a pre-bid question-and answer session, a review of the department’s so-called Enterprise account is a part of specifications, but not a priority for review.
“If there’s enough money—it depends on the bids--but our primary focus is on the main problem…we’re doing this because something is drastically wrong with our metering and billing system,” said Councilor-at-Large Thomas Brophy.
Brophy is the representative for the City Council on a recently formed ad-hoc committee that will oversee the process to advertise for bids for an independent auditor to review procedures and make recommendations to a water and sewer department that has come under fire over what have been called excessively large water bills issued to residents.
Brophy said it will not be until after bids are opened Nov. 2 will officials know how much the audit will cost—estimated at $100,000--and if there will be money enough to pay for an Enterprise account review.
“It’s a secondary focus,” Brophy said.
This Friday at City Hall at 11 a.m. potential bidders will have the opportunity to ask questions about the specifications and guidelines for the bid in preparation for the Nov. 2 deadline.
Officials said four consulting firms have expressed interest in submitting bids and may attend the question-and-answer session Friday.
Many residents--some involved in rallies against the water bills and others outside the group--have said the water department’s Enterprise account is not being spent properly and the independent auditor should look at the way money is spent from the account.
Many have pointed to money that goes to other city offices for salaries from the water and sewer Enterprise account-- a dedicated fund paid for by water and sewer rate payers.
City Chief Financial Officer John Condon, who is a member of the ad-hoc committee for the audit, said those who are calling for the Enterprise account review do not understand how the account works and that the account doesn't need to be reviewed because it already is.
He said money from the Enterprise account is transferred to the city’s general fund to pay for shared services such as his work, or the treasurer’s office, or procurement department, or mayor’s office for services performed for the water and sewer department.
“If people would ask instead of assassinate characters and reputations, they would learn that how we do it is based on a formula and regulated and certified by the (state) Department of Revenue,” Condon said.
He said money is moved from the Enterprise account into the city’s general fund to pay for those shared services based on the city’s total budget and the percentage of that total compared to the water and sewer budget.
For example and hypothetically, Condon said, if the city’s budget was $350 million and the water and sewer department turned out to be 10 percent of the city’s total budget, the Enterprise account would pay the city budget $350,000 to be divided by formula to other city departments for shared services.
“It’s more complicated than that, but basically it’s a percentage,” Condon said.
He said about $414,000 has been allotted in the 2010-2011 budget to be moved from the Enterprise account to the general fund for shared services.
He said by law the Enterprise account can only pay for capital projects, bonds and loans used to pay for those capital projects, services to operate the water and sewer department such as the contract with Veolia Water North America which operates city waste and fresh water treatment plants.
The account, Condon said, also pays for expenses, such as department salaries and shared services from other city departments.
The Enterprise account is not the only issue residents have brought up surrounding water department bills and what they describe as mismanagement.
Several have filed complaints with the state Inspector General’s office and about two weeks ago residents lodged allegations the Water Commission violated the Open Meeting Law when it met behind closed doors Aug. 30.
One of those residents Bob Ford, said he has not received a response about his complaint, but the city’s lawyer, Philip Nessralla Jr. said he submitted a letter dated Oct. 14 to the Attorney General’s office.
The letter, (which can be viewed by clicking the above letter) does not say if the water board violated the law when it went into closed session Aug. 30.
It offers several resolutions, including members of the Water Commission undergo training and in-depth analysis of the rules and regulations of the Open Meeting Law—training that could be provided by Nessralla’s office or the Attorney General.
Ford and others, including Water Commission Member Patrick Quinn and Ward 6 City Councilor Michele DuBois charged the board went into closed session Aug. 30 to discuss disciplinary matters of a member and spent much of the time attacking Quinn for his comments to the press about the water bill issue—a topic not among the exceptions allowed under the law for closed session hearings.
Nessralla’s letter also notes that after Water Commission members complete the training, it will then determine whether or not any past sessions failed to adhere to the law.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Catholic Charities Moves To New Home

Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Catholic Charities South and MetroSouth Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon-cutting ceremeony next Tuesday to celebrate the opening of the agency's new home at 157 Centre St.
Catholic Charities South, which has served the City of Brockton for more than 90 years, is a community service center of Catholic Charities of Boston.
According to a prepared statement from MetroSouth Chamber, Catholic Charities South provides basic needs emergency services, including a food pantry and financial assistance, as well as family support services and youth mentoring; English, GED and job training classes; and an elder outreach program. In addition, resources and referrals for area human services agencies are offered and Catholic Charities South serves as a host site for Angel Food Ministries, SNAP benefits and health care options.
Catholic Charities South has serves about 24,000 families in Norfolk and Plymouth counties each years.
The ribbon-cutting will take place Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. and will be followed by refreshments.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Best Buddies, Brockton High Front Row At Obama Speech

BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Among the estimated 11,000 people who lined up for hours at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston Saturday to hear President Barack Obama give a pep-talk in support of Gov. Deval Patrick’s reelection bid were a handful of Brockton teenagers who took part in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It was just amazing,” said Brockton High School Principal Susan Szachowicz during an interview with WXBR 1460 AM's Kevin Tocci this morning.
She said last week Patrick’s campaign people contacted the school to be a part of Saturday afternoon’s rally because of the hype surrounding the high school’s success highlighted in a recent New York Times article and celebrated during a 40th anniversary for the school and its programs.
Szachowicz said students from the high schools’ “Best Buddies” program--which pairs developmentally disabled and non-developmentally disabled students as mentors and friends and was founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver--son of Eunice Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics--joined dozens of other students in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the event, which included speeches by Senator John Kerry, Lt. Governor Timothy Murray, Senator Edward Markey, Governor Patrick, President Obama and songs by 1970’s pop star James Taylor.
Because of heavy security and bag checks, many of the thousands who attended said they waited more than two or three hours to get a glimpse and hear a speech by the country’s first black president, but Brockton’s students were treated to VIP treatment and skirted the thousands—a line that encircled the Hynes Convention Center.
However, Szachowicz said it still took a long time for the VIP’s to get through Secret Service checks that included leashed dogs sniffing bags.
“I’ve never been through anything like that,” Szachowitz said.
In between speeches time was set aside for singers and students to perform for the crowds.
When Brockton’s students had finished saying the Pledge of Allegiance, Szachowitz said the group expected to be led to a balcony area above the crowd and stage.
However, to their infinite and pleasant surprise, a campaign volunteer told them plans had changed and the group was seated on the stage near where the guest speakers arrived and left the stage--including President Obama.
“It was all right there in front of us,” Szachowicz said.
Szchowitz could not immediately be reached for further comment.
The rally is one of many stops for President Obama, who has traveled from city-to-city in support of Democrats who are in mid-term battles for control of the U.S. Congress.
In Massachusetts, Patrick faces challenges for the governor's seat from Republican Charles Baker and former State Treasurer Timothy Cahill, who is staying in the race despite the defection of campaign insiders.
Many of the speeches centered around the Democrats perceived attempts to make changes and Republicans putting up obstacles.
Crowds cheered and chanted through the speeches, especially when Obama used an example of driving a car to explain the difference between Democrats and Republicans and why voters should vote Democrat.
“When you want to go, you put it in D,” Obama said. “When you want to go backwards you put it in R,” he said to a roar of claps and shouts from the crowd.
At one point a handful of hecklers to the left of the stage began a chant of “No you can’t,” to which the thousands forced Obama to stop speaking as the chant of “Yes we can,” drowned out the naysayers.
Outside the rally, vendors sold Obama buttons and many people held up signs in support of causes, such as more money for AIDS relief, like a group of students from Harvard College, Harvard Medical School and Dartmouth College.
Others walked around the Hynes Convention Center and took in all the hoopla.
“It’s THE President,” said Solomon Rivers, 25, wearing a black T-shirt with a silk-screen of Obama’s face on it. Rivers, a registered Democrat said he came from Providence, R.I. to join the throngs.
“I like Patrick, but I can’t vote for him because I live in Rhode Island, but this has been the only chance for me to see Obama in person. It wasn’t TV,” he said.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Laubi Free Kick Lifts B-R Over Boxers

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Brockton High’s league leading girls soccer team came against a strong Bridgewater-Raynham squad that avenged an earlier 4-0 loss to hand the Boxers a 2-1 defeat—only the second loss of the season.
“I’m disappointed with the result, but it’s not because of a lack of effort,” Brockton Head Coach Andrea Tassinari said after Thursday's loss.
“This team never gives up. It wasn't for a lack of effort. We just need to go out and practice a few things, but (Bridgewater-Raynham) played a good game and they are a good team,” she said.
The loss brings Brockton to 9-2. They take on Cardinal Spellman Saturday at 10 a.m. at Rocky Marciano Stadium.
From the opening whistle, B-R made it clear they were not going to suffer a 4-0 loss like the one Brockton handed to them earlier in the season.
B-R pressured Brockton’s defense behind strong offensive play by Krissy Cicalis and Jessica Sullivan who took a pass on the left side and blasted a shot from about 12 yards out into the net for a 1-0 B-R lead with 17:13 remaining in the first half.
The goal seemed to wake up Brockton, who behind speedy forwards Felicia Mulholland and Amy Yang, forced a free kick about 25 yards from the B-R goal and in the center of the field.
Yang scored her 9th goal of the season when she sent a looping free kick over the defensive wall that snuck under the crossbar and past the goalkeeper for a tie game with under 5 minutes to play in the half.
What was already a chippy game, accelerated into up-and-down offensive play with the half ending on a near-miss from a header by B-R when a cross sailed into Brockton’s goal mouth and five or six players crashed to get a piece of the ball.
The second half was a dog-fight with B-R maintaining much of the possession and its defense stuffing numerous attempts by Brockton’s offense to get at the net.
B-R took the lead with 20 minutes remaining in the second half when B-R were awarded a free kick that was nearly in the same spot as Brockton’s goal in the first half.
Junior Melissa Laubi, B-R’s sweeper, who had a strong defensive game, stepped up and looped a shot into the net for the lead and eventual win.
Residents who have Brockton Community Cable Access can watch the girls team home games throughout the week.
Last night Suzanne DiFalco, who has been the voice behind the team for several years, paired with Peter Czymber, (Both in above picture) who usually commentates the boys varsity football team, for a comical and entertaining play-by-play of the action. Czymber, who also operates NESportsTV.com, said it was he and DiFalco's first broadcast and was unsure when the next would be.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grossman, Polito Spar Over Treasurer's Seat

By Lisa E. Crowley
BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Candidates to fill the open State Treasurer’s seat have pledged not to accept a pension if elected Tuesday, Nov. 2, but there is little else they agree on.
“There’s a clear difference between us,” said Republican candidate Karyn Polito during a debate with her Democratic opponent Steve Grossman hosted by 1460 AM WXBR News Wednesday morning that is a part of a special election series called “Conversations with the Candidates,” and moderated by broadcaster Ron Van Dam.
Candidates were asked questions by BrocktonPost.com, WXBR News, and the Enterprise.
Polito and Grossman yesterday continued the verbal hostilities that have highlighted several debates between the two.
Polito, a Shrewsbury resident, said Grossman—who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee during President Bill Clinton’s second-term and aided in Michael Dukakis’ unsuccessful run for president in 1988-- would bring the same scandal-ridden and corrupt politics as “his Beacon Hill” friends and would be a rubberstamp for a State Legislature she has fought against since being elected state representative 10 years ago.
Grossman shot back he is “a rubber stamp for no one,” and pointed to a story in The Boston Globe that has charged Polito may have broken Conflict of Interest laws surrounding a road project near her family’s business in Shrewsbury.
Polito snapped back the story noted the source of the conflict allegations was anonymous and does not believe an investigation will find anything wrong with her involvement in the project because it has been in the works for years.
“An anonymous source three weeks before an election,” Polito asked. “Who do you think that source is," Polito said, adding it may have come from Grossman’s supporters.
It was one of several heated exchanges during the nearly hour-long debate.
During another verbal joust, Polito criticized Grossman’s comments that as head of his family’s company for 35 years he is the only candidate who knows how to create jobs.
She waved a copy of The Boston Globe that featured a story about a Worcester business- National Envelope Company--laying off 160 workers and moving operations to Westfield--a company Polito said Grossman's Massachusetts Envelope has been a partner.
“That’s not job creation,” Polito said.
Grossman said he is not a partner of the company and that his firm has been National Envelope’s biggest customer since 1971 and will meet with the 160 workers on Sunday.
He denied his company was a partner with the Worcester company during and after the debate.
“It’s not a partnership. We’ve been their largest customer. We know the workers. We know the families, but on paper we are not partners. We were their biggest customer for almost 40 years,” Grossman said.
In between the attacks, each candidate outlined differences they believe will be attractive to voters.
Polito reiterated she believes ballot Question 3, rolling back the sales tax from its current 6.25 percent to 3 percent would send a message to the State Legislature, but she would work to bring the sales tax to 5 percent if Question 3 is passed.
Grossman said a 3 percent tax would devastate schools, police, fire and other services and called Polito’s stance political double-talk.
The pair sparred over how best to control skyrocketing pension and health care costs for retirees and how to spend Lottery money—which the treasurer’s office oversees.
Grossman said he would put the Treasurer’s budget online and Polito said she would scrutinize any borrowing requests for capital projects—a move that could include not releasing treasury money for those projects.
(Photos courtesy WXBR News)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Emily Dickinson "Big Read" Begins Saturday

Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Music fans may know why country singer Johnny Cash began to wear all black clothes, but according to experts, no one knows why legendary Amherst poet Emily Dickinson began to appear in nearly all white clothing—an unanswered question that has nagged at Dickinson’s followers for more than a century.
“There are many myths and legends surrounding Emily Dickinson and her life,” said Emily Dickinson Museum Executive Director Jane Wald, “but it is true she had some eccentricities,” Wald said.
Wald will be one guest speaker for a nearly two-months long immersion in the life and works of Emily Dickinson and the expressive nature of poetry during “The Big Read,” a program initiated by the Fuller Craft Museum and paid for by a $6,500 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts.
Fuller Craft Museum Education Director Noelle Foye said the museum also had to match the grant dollar-for-dollar.
The museum has teamed with Brockton Public Library, Massasoit Community College, Greater Brockton Society for the Arts and Poetry, and the Boys and Girls Club of Brockton to bring the extensive program to the community.
“It’s not just reading her work, there will be performances, workshops, readings, bookmaking and art projects,” Foye said.
“She’s a local girl and a lot of her writing is centered around the universal themes of adolescence,” she said.
The Fuller is one of 75 organizations in the U.S. that has received a “Big Read” grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, which has partnered with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in cooperation with ArtsMidwest to bring the reading program to communities across the country.
Big Read is an initiative that tries to increase literacy and the love of reading in adults and especially children.
Each community chooses a book, author or poet, in Brockton’s case, Dickinson, to concentrate on and build programs around.
Foye said the Emily Dickinson blitz begins Saturday, Oct. 16 at the Brockton Public Library from 1 to 5 p.m. with an event for teens that includes learning to use Twitter to write poems, working with poets from the Greater Brockton Society for Poetry and the Arts, listening to local celebrities read their favorite poetry and watching a video of a teenage poet struggling with issues of love, independence and feminism.
“This is intended to be a community-wide event and we hope people of all ages and backgrounds will join us,” Foye said.
The grant also provides for books and reading materials for Brockton classrooms and libraries.
Emily Dickinson Museum Executive Director Wald will be in Brockton at the Fuller Craft Nov. 13 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. to talk about the controversy, myths and legend of Emily Dickinson.
“She really is attractive to teens and young adults because she writes about the issues that they are going through,” Wald said. “She battled perceived notions…she questioned everything, especially religion…teens and young adults are completely in the middle of that,” she said.
And then there is the eccentricities.
“We don’t know why, but when she was in her mid-30s she began to wear white, or nearly all white,” Wald said.
Dickinson, whose popularity did not take flight until after her death in 1886 because very few poems were published, became increasingly reclusive as she aged, Wald said, and lately more and more scholars are seeking answers about her life.
“She’s really hot right now,” Wald said, noting numerous articles and books are being published about Dickinson. “It’s her cultural moment in the 21st Century. Take a look at her poetry and find out what all the fuss is about,” she said.
Several of the programs will include translations in Spanish, French and Cape Verde. For a calendar of events and specific dates when translators will be available, please visit Fuller Craft Museum’s Big Read Emily Dickinson page.
(Photo courtesy of Amherst College Archives and Special Collections)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Obama, Taylor To Headline Patrick Campaign Rally Saturday

The Brockton Post
BROCKTON--This Saturday, Oct. 16 President Barack Obama and singer/songwriter James Taylor will be the featured guests for a free rally in support of Gov. Deval Patrick's reelection bid at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
According to a prepared statement from Patrick's campaign released this morning, Taylor will perform at the event and Obama will offer a speech during what is titled, "Move Massachusetts Forward," rally.
The event is free and open to the public.
Doors open at 12:30 p.m.
“I am honored to have President Obama come to Massachusetts in support of our cause,” Gov. Patrick said in prepared comments.
“He believes as we do in generational responsibility, and in making the kind of choices that have helped Massachusetts lead the nation in job creation, educational achievement, and health care coverage," he said.

Brockton Teens to Grill Governor's Race Candidates

The Brockton Post
BROCKTON--Two Brockton teenagers have been selected to participate in a forum with Gov. Deval Patrick and other candidates for governor during a special candidates forum hosted by former WBZ anchor Liz Walker in Jamaica Plain.
Brockton High School senior and Class of 2011 President Greta Zukauskaite, 17, (Pictured below holding flag pole) has been selected as one of the co-moderators of the forum, and Chris Policard, 19, also of Brockton and a student in the Gateway to College Program at Massasoit Community College, has been chosen to ask a question.
The forum will be held Wednesday Oct. 13 at the Jamaica Plain Community Center at English High School, 144 McBride St. from 4 to 6 p.m.
Sponsored by many community-based organizations and foundations, this special forum involves young people directly in civic engagement.
Teenagers will co-moderate the forum with former WBZ news anchor Liz Walker, and more than 400 youth from all over the state will have the opportunity to directly ask candidates questions about their future in Massachusetts.
All gubernatorial candidates have been invited to participate in this forum entitled "Increasing Opportunities, Reducing Fears & the 2010 Governor's Race." Governor Deval Patrick and independent candidate Jill Stein have confirmed their participation.
The following groups from Brockton will attend the event: Boys & Girls Club of Brockton; Mayor Linda M. Balzotti’s Youth Council; Brockton Old Colony YMCA Safe Corners Program; and YouthBuild
The forum will focus on strengthening safe communities, youth violence prevention efforts, and funding and legislation related to providing youth with experiences that promote healthy development.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

40th BHS B-Day Celebrates Brockton "Turf"

Story and photos By Lisa E. Crowley
The Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Past, present and future generations came together Friday night at Rocky Marciano Stadium to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Brockton High School and the Community Schools program—a birthday bash that featured the beloved Boxers football team pull out a 28-20 victory in front of hordes of alumni and current students who attended the fete.
“This is one of the most exciting nights with the most school spirit that I have seen,” said Brockton High senior and Class of 2011 President Greta Zukauskaite.
“It’s really great to see all of the alumni and all of the families and all of the students—the bleachers are full. It’s an amazing night,” she said (Pictured above holding flag pole, with from left to right, sophomore Victoria Campbell, junior Amely Lopes and Michele Haughton).
Zukauskaite and her 2011 classmates joined throngs of alumni who streamed into the stadium for Friday night’s Homecoming celebration that was the kick-off of a year long commemoration of the opening of the current high school campus—a facility that opened Sept. 16, 1970 and since has been an academic center that has offered Brockton students courses, sports and activities that outmatch nearly all other high schools in the region.
"We have so much here. People talk bad about Brockton, there’s a stigma and I don’t get it. The problems that happen aren’t here at the high school,” said Michele Haughton, a senior who is also vice-president of the Class of 2011. “If there’s anything going on out in the streets, what you do when you leave here is your problem,” she said pointing at the turf of the Brockton High campus.
“That’s all left at the door,” Haughton said.
Contrary to popular belief, students said the high school does not have metal detectors and they would be shocked if such devices ever would be installed because administrators led by high school Principal Susan Szachowicz—a 1971 grad—teachers, staff and students see the high school as a safe haven—a place where students of many nationalities, races, religions, sexual orientations and artistic, academic and athletic leanings mix and mingle through the hallways of the 548,000-square-foot Brockton High—the largest in New England.
“It’s not tolerated,” said Michael Connor, a special education teacher and 1987 graduate, who along with more than 70 Brockton High teachers gathered in the Little Theatre for a commemorative picture of staff who are also alumni after classes on Friday afternoon—hours before the football game kicked-off.
Connor said he has lived and taught all over the country, including San Francisco, and believes the size and diversity of Brockton High today—about 5,000 students in grades 9 to 12—prepares young adults for the real world.
“It’s extremely diverse and the shock value for (Brockton High) kids isn’t as high and the tolerance level is so much higher than in the suburbs,” Connor said.
After years of traveling, Connor said he has returned to his hometown to teach, but during his pit-stops in other locales, he has left a lasting impression with friends and colleagues of what the Brockton character is.
“It’s a sense of pride in where you’re from—it’s not just Boxers football, Marvin Hagler or Rocky Marciano.., it’s the band, it's the arts department…it’s the villages, the neighborhoods…it’s a sense of pride in your family and community,” Connor said.
The pride revolving around the high school extends as far back as the 1940s when the Warren Avenue High School turned out many of the graduates who have operated businesses and have led the wheels of government.
In the late 1960s an influx of students swelled the old building to bursting and students and teachers suffered through eight years of double sessions from 1962 to 1970 as plans and construction of the new high school were completed, said Claire Appling.
Appling, who worked for the Brockton schools for more than 52 years until her retirement in December 2006—including being the first female headmaster to which she was named the year the high school opened--said it was tough, but Brocktonians are tough.
“It wasn’t easy, but we got through it,” Appling said.
She recalled that half of the students would arrive at about 7:30 a.m. and leave around noon-just in time for the remaining half of students to take classes from about 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.
However, Appling said, the pain of double sessions was worth the wait because when the school opened its doors in 1970 with about 6,100 students, the campus was state-of-the-art and boasted a planetarium, four libraries, a cutting-edge auditorium and music rooms that are still the envy of area schools, an indoor pool and a sprawling building that houses academic programs that have made the high school an award winning and respected leader in student achievement.
“We’ve always been in the forefront,” Appling said.
Before the football game Friday night hundreds of old friends reminisced and looked at black-and-white photos from the 1970s posted on boards under a special tent for alumni where food was served, hugs and kisses were had and conversation buzzed.
Jane Feroli, (Pictured above to far left with, from left to right, Ana Gonzalez, Linda Plache and Linda Callahan) a 1974 graduate, signed up alumni to carry and follow class banners on the field for a special halftime show, talked with 1986 grad Linda Plache, 1983 grad Linda Callahan, and 1973 grad Ana Gonzalez—who arrived in Brockton from Cuba in 1972 as a 16-year-old junior who didn’t speak English.
Gonzalez said she and a handful of other non-English speaking students were placed in a separate class with Mrs. Sims—who along with teaching core subjects, immersed students in the English language.
“By my senior year I was with all the other students,” Gonzalez said proudly.
“It was amazing. The support was wonderful,” she said.
Speaking in impeccable English, Gonzalez said she now teaches Brockton students Spanish.
Janel Cobb, a 1996 graduate looked at the photos posted on the boards under the tent, and pointed to a pretty blonde in one of the pictures making a garment on a sewing machine.
“That’s my aunt,” Cobb said, pointing to her aunt Karen Myles (Pictured above in black and white).
Cobb said some of the student activities shown in the photos revealed how courses have changed since 1970 to when she graduated in 1996.
“I don’t remember us making rugs,” Cobb said. “Classes are much different now,” she said.
Cobb said organizers did a great job and really brought a sense of unity and nostalgia to the event.
“It’s just fun and exciting to come back and see everyone,” Cobb said.
Looking at the pictures and the clusters of grads—some holding children--she said she was having fond flashbacks of her time in high school with friends.
“It’s the whole circle of life,” Cobb said.
On the other side of the tent, a group of four freshmen wearing Boxer football jerseys gazed at photos of grid-iron heroes who played long before they were born and who helped make Brockton High one of the most feared football teams in the state.
“People say good luck or good job when they see the shirt,” said freshman Robert Anuforo who looks forward to a time when he will be a varsity player.
“By playing for the football team it makes you feel important. You have respect,” Anuforo said (#50 pictured above).
Just two years after the new Brockton High opened, the football team charged into what is called the “Super Bowl Era,” behind legendary coach Armond Colombo (Pictured in above photo from 1947 with teammates courtesy of Mark Petti and taken by Stanley Bauman) who led the team to numerous state-wide titles beginning in 1972.
His son Peter now coaches the team and has kept the Boxer legend alive, tutoring heavily recruited college prospects like Albert Louis-Jean, who helped lead the Boxers to a 28-20 victory over Fitchburg’s Red Raiders in front of a roaring and cheering crowd Friday night.
“These colors will stay with you forever,” Class of 2011 Vice-President Michele Haughton said, clutching the front of her red and black Boxers shirt. “This is a great school,” she said.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Snowy Day" Brings Funny Faces

Story and photos by Lisa E. Crowley
The Brockton Post
BROCKTON—Dozens of kindergarten students at Raymond Elementary School in Brockton Thursday listened intently as special guest Julianne Andrade read Ezra Jack Keats’ children’s book, “The Snowy Day.”
Andrade--the district’s coordinator of elementary literacy for kindergarten to fifth grade and social studies for kindergarten to eighth grade--raised and lowered her voice and used hand expressions as she read from the 1962 classic about a young African-American boy enjoying the simple delights of a day spent playing in the snow.
“Can anyone tell me what happens when you put a snowball in your pocket,” Andrade asked the dozens of students.
“It melts,” many of the youngsters shouted.
The Raymond School joined all of Brockton’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes in a campaign by Jumpstart—a non-profit educational organization—called “Read for the Record” that seeks to increase literacy around the world.
All of Brockton’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes joined millions of other students who were treated to special adult guests such as Andrade who read “The Snowy Day” to students in an attempt to foster the love of reading among young students.
Celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Patti LaBelle, and NBC’s Today Show hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera promoted the worldwide event on television shows throughout the day Thursday.
Read for the Record began in 2006 and initially the campaign was intended to set a record with Guiness Book of World Records for the most shared reading experience in the world.
During last year’s event 2,019,752 students read children's favorite, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."
A spokesman for Jumpstart said this year’s goal is for 2.5 million students, but the group is no longer affiliated with the Guiness Book of World Records.
Each of Brockton’s classroom teachers received a copy of “The Snowy Day,” from Jumpstart as part of Brockton’s participation in Read for the Record—a donation that may seem small, but having books for students to read is becoming more and more difficult, Andrade said.
“The budget for buying books has become less and less over the years and being able to have these books in the classrooms for students to read is very important,” Andrade said. "Literacy is the foundation of learning," she said.
Violet LeMar, Raymond’s associate principal, said administrators work hard to provide books through grants and foundations and the school was recently awarded 2,400 books from the First Book Foundation to be given to students in kindergarten to eighth grade, including “Henry and Mudge,” “The Berenstain Bears,” and “The View from Saturday.”
“Each student will receive at least two books to have of their own and take home,” LeMar said.
As Andrade read “The Snowy Day,” students laughed, raised their hands to answer questions and made funny faces as they followed along with the story.
Principal Carol McGrath, who attended several of the readings, was happy to recall her favorite pastime while walking to school in the snow.
“I made snow angels,” to which she received scrunch-faced looks from the kindergarteners who seemed to have a hard time picturing their principal waving her arms and legs in the snow making snow angels as a child.
Andrade said the program is a fun way to foster a love of reading in students.
“This is a time for adults to show their love of reading,” she said—especially as youngsters turn more and more to digital screens for their reading materials.
“There are certain qualities about having a book in your hand—turning the pages, reading the words,” Andrade said. “I hope 'Snowy Day' becomes a classic for these students as it has for me. I hope when they have children they read it to their children,” she said.