Saturday, March 31, 2007

SouthCoast Photo of the Month

Here it is March's SouthCoast Photo of the month!

This shot titled "Wampanoag Window" was taken by fellow SouthCoast blogger Dr. Momentum. Literally a picture of a window in the Wampanoag Mill Outlet, in Fall River. To me this shot has an almost 'haunted', Gothic quality to it. The deteriorated look of the mill window could also be symbolic of the Fall River's deteriorated textile industry.

It's a great shot and thanks for submitting it Dr. Momentum!

Are you an avid picture taker? Do you have a shot you're particularly proud of? Perhaps just a shot that you'd like to share? Submit it here for the SouthCoast Photo of the Month! Send submissions to

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Should We Send This to Leno?

The subject matter is serious. A sex offender, who pleaded guilty of to sexually assaulting 2 Fall River boys over 30 years ago is trying to gain his freedom. The state, believing he is still a threat is trying to keep him locked up.

Wayne W. Chapman who at one time claimed to have molested 50-100 boys and was a suspect in at least 2 missing children cases, finished serving a 30 year prison sentence in 2004 the state has kept him locked up since then believing he will re offend.

The idea that this man may gain his freedom and walk the streets is disturbing. In light of this the Herald News article seems bizarrely in poor taste.

Okay, so maybe it's a mild double entendre but still isn't anyone proof-reading over there at the Herald News?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why Isn't Jacome Running?

F. George Jacome, a two time mayoral candidate announced he would not be making a 3rd run for office.

Jacome nearly defeated incumbent Ed Lambert in 2003 but failed to inspire the same type of support in his second attempt in 2005.

According the the Herald News article Mr. Jacome felt that support was there for another run and that the large field of candidates would have actually given him a better chance at victory, but in the end he decided that for his family this was not the right time to make a run for mayor.

"Ultimately, the decision came down along personal lines. Politically, I should be in the race, but three consecutive races as a challenger was just too difficult a path for me and my family to take this year," Jacome explained. "We looked at the kind of year we wanted, and this just wasn't part of it."

Mr. Jacome had earlier ruled out running for City Council or School Committee.

Lefty's View: Despite the positive outlook expressed in the paper, I have strong doubts that George Jacome could be a serious contender for Mayor in 2007. In 2003 Jacome certainly benefited from being the only serious opponent of the incumbent and as such received the anti-Lambert vote. In 2005 Jacome's name recognition and that fact he nearly beat the incumbent 2 years before certainly aided his getting through the primary but he failed to be a serious challenge to Ed Lambert. In 2007, unable to run as the anti-incumbent, Jacome would face a crowded field filled with established politicians who have both the name recognition and fundraising ability to wage a spirited campaign. It's a challenge that I don't think a Jacome campaign could overcome.

That said, it is my opinion that with 3 vacancies on the City Council (Councillors, Whitty, Alves, and Kilby all running for Mayor) and with his name recognition, and the ability to rally former supporters George Jacome could easily win a Council seat. Jacome has expressed a desire to help shape Fall River's future. He has introduced interesting ideas and I think his voice would be a welcome one on the City Council.

Why isn't he running?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Should Extended Day Education Programs Be Implemented State-Wide?

This past Monday Governor Deval Patrick visited the Matthew J. Kuss Middle School here in Fall River.

The Kuss school is one of the schools that has been labeled "chronically underperforming" by the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE). One of the initiatives that Kuss has undertaken to improve MCAS scores and the quality of education is to implement an 'extended day program'.

It's an interesting program, one that offers more academic time for teachers to teach and students to learn but also one that offers elective courses that allow children to learn and experience things than can truly motivate and inspire them.

The children at Kuss stay roughly an extra 2 hours a day, 4 days a week. The feedback I've gotten has been all positive.

The Governor came to Kuss to learn firsthand about how well this program was working and there is real interest in expanding this program, perhaps, eventually, to the whole state.

Here is where I have some concern.

If this program is really making a difference at Kuss school, if educational quality is really improving, then I think we need to keep these programs in the schools and school systems that need the most improvement. How can a struggling school system ever get ahead if the minute a program shows potential and promise it's just adopted by school systems that don't face the challenges and hurdles of an troubled school district?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Can Bus Drivers Really Be This Stupid?

From the Fall River Herald News:

A Tremblay School bus driver and a bus monitor were suspended without pay after a kindergarten student was left on a school bus early Monday afternoon.

What?! How the hell does this happen? Can bus drivers really be this stupid?

According to the article in the Providence Journal [registration required] the child was found crying in a Fall River bus yard. The child apparently failed to transfer to a second bus in order to get to school and apparently the bus driver and a monitor failed to notice the child was still on the bus.

I just don't get this, two people on a bus and neither one notices there is still a child aboard when they park the damn thing and leave it unattended in a lot?! People, a school bus is just not that big. It would take seconds to walk down the aisle and check each seat to make sure that the bus was empty and nothing was left behind. Truthfully I'm rather puzzled why with two people aboard why this wouldn't have been done at the 'transfer point' and certainly it should just be policy when parking the bus.

Of course there is a lot of outrage, and potential police investigations and the school committee is looking into fining companies for such things in the future and the bus company says they are going to see how to improve safety procedures, but to me the solution is already there; a quick walking inspection at drop-offs when the bus is supposed to be empty and at any time the bus is parked and left vacant. As a school district we should demand be demanding this be done, the bus company should already be doing it, and something like this should never happen again.