1600+ Lose Power in Fitchburg-Unitil

Wednesday morning over 1600 people in Fitchburg lost power for over an hour due to antiquated equipment failure. The equipment is owned by the recently unanimously reviled Unitil, which enjoys a sanctioned monopoly provided by Mass state government. This is the second and third power outage this week by the monopolizer that charges the highest rates of any electricity distributor in Massachusetts. Graph provided by http://massmunichoice.org/
In-house lobbyist Mr. Alec O’ Meara had this to report:

” There was an outage on South Street of about 60 customers that lasted about an hour (7:20-8:20). Cause for that outage was confirmed as a squirrel.

Prior to that, there was an outage impacting approx. 1,600 customers from about 6-7 a.m. Cause of that outage was an open breaker at a substation on Beech street. Crews closed the breaker and restored power. “

A Legacy in Lights

Though many surrounding communities have plans to switch streetlights to LED lights, Fitchburg is way ahead of the game and in large part due to Fitchburg mayor Lisa Wong.

A leader that's learned to capture the camera as well as be captured by it.
A leader that’s learned to capture the camera, effectively shape image and legacy using the medium of public service.

Wong championed the issue since just after the ice storm of 2008 in immediate response to the community that is bound by the sanctioned monopoly Unitil; Fitchburg, Ashby, Lunenburg and Townsend, and its long two week discovery that yet again when faced with a fierce New England winter spell Unitil will react monopolistically, in a manner consistent with a private company that does not have to worry about any real consequences, inept ethically.

Not her most significant single contribution to the city, the streetlights issue has however become her most popularized one and during a resident activist instigated revitalization of Fitchburg in the twilight of a long mayoral term of setting the city back on the right fiscal track, we are finally seeing results.

Wong- A Legacy in LightsIMG_6242It deserves mention that the US as a whole is far behind the whole of western Europe in exchanging old sodium or phosphorous lighting for new light emitting diode lights, ultimately it is a serious cost savings measure for US municipalities that suffer under investor owned utility market monopolies and for those that enjoy municipally owned electric companies. The LED market is projected to peak in 2017 and leave behind a free market integrating municipally owned LED systems in its wake.

When you see it. Fully integrating surveillance would deter crime-in-the-open on Main Street.
Fully integrating surveillance deters crime-in-the-open on Main Street.

The streetlights in Fitchburg will also eventually be integrated into a single system for use with emergency management services, increasing brightness in a neighborhood with recently reported crime and police activity, flashing to help guide an ambulance to a street address with an emergency medical issue, surveillance is also possible with LED streetlight systems.

A Legacy in Lights
Fifth St. Bridge

Fitchburg’s renaissance has only just begun, with over 100 examples of Victorian-era architecture within the city soon to be lit by aesthetic enhancing diode lights, it is sure to be attracting additional traffic. It will further near completion when the serious threat of the city experiencing a series of strong and proven leaders occupying the mayor’s office is realized.

A Legacy in LightsPerhaps there is more of Unitil’s market that can be wrestled away from the clutches of monopolistic tendencies, an impressive feat performed by a mayor when over the same period of time an entire state legislature could not do as much.

Representative DiNatale, candidate for mayor of Fitchburg, sits with Councillor DiNatale listening intently to residents concerns about the current phase of Unitil rate hikes.
Representative DiNatale, candidate for mayor of Fitchburg, sits with Councillor DiNatale listening intently to residents’ concerns about the current phase of Unitil rate hikes at a DPU hearing at Memorial Middle School in Fitchburg.

In January Fitchburg will have a new mayor and lose a great state rep that has done the utmost to achieve a victory for his city only to have it stall finally in ways and means. There is a victory to be won on Beacon Hill though and Fitchburg should be sure to elect a new state rep that is prepared to win it. Placing a nonbinding advisory question on the local ballot in November would serve this purpose and it would serve to put Unitil on public trial. A petition for such a question has been filed with the Fitchburg City Council and the council is more or less mulling it over..

Not many showed for the DPU hearing, possibly due to a widespread feeling of hopelessness on the part of Fitchburg's citizenry when it comes to the subject of being subjects of a Unitil monopoly.
Not many showed for the DPU hearing, possibly due to a widespread feeling of hopelessness on the part of Fitchburg’s citizenry when it comes to the subject of being subjects of a sanctioned monopoly.

 

Many people showed for the FERC at Lunenburg High School to protest the building of a new natural gas pipeline that could have an effect on local electricity rates if Unitil were to take advantage of the power and compressor station that is slated to be built in Townsend along a smaller lateral to the main proposed pipeline that will run through southern New Hampshire just north of central Massachusetts.

Many people showed for the FERC at Lunenburg High School to protest the building of a new natural gas pipeline that could have an effect on local electricity rates if Unitil were to take advantage of A Legacy in Lightsthe power and compressor station that is slated to be built  by Kinder Morgan in Townsend along a smaller lateral to the main proposed pipeline that will run through southern New Hampshire just north of central Massachusetts.

 

Unitil Power Outages in Fitchburg & Townsend, MA

Though over 45 people in Fitchburg and Townsend have reported power outages on Saturday during late morning and early afternoon on the Facebook group Discussing Fitchburg, the Unitil Electrical Outage Map reports merely one or two outages in Fitchburg alone. Residents that pay Unitil’s highest rates in the state are reporting “flickering” as well as more prolonged outages.
At the original publishing time of this article, Unitil lobbyist Alec O’ Meara has yet to respond with any comment or explanation for the outages, nor has any other professional information source including the local daily Sentinel&Enterprise reported on the weekend outage issue.

*UPDATE*

At 1:07pm Mr. O’Meara responded : “Checked in with Dispatch on this. Sounds like there was an issue with a generation facility upstream of us, causing a bump in power, which in turn caused a breaker at a substation to operate (turn off, then on again). I believe that is what you are referring to. Crews patrolled to make sure this was the issue, though if there are folks still experiencing an issue they should call customer service and report it.”

Breen’s Diner, Pepperell, MA

Since opening about ten months ago in October of 2014, the 1950’s themed Breen’s Diner in Pepperell has been consistent in great food, service and atmosphere. Consistency, especially in food quality, is what all restaurants aim for in their opening months. It can set the pace of business and reputation of an establishment for years to come. What cannot be overlooked in finding consistency, in fact what is the key underlying factor, is management.

The exterior of Breen's Diner, just around he corner from the covered bridge in Pepperell.
The exterior of Breen’s Diner, just around the corner from the covered bridge in Pepperell.

At Breen’s, all aspects of business operations are under the watchful and ever-present eye of owner, manager and head cook Jeff Breen. His decades long history in the local restaurant, food and service industry speaks to the ongoing success of the relatively new business that bears his name.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Ashby), Jeff owned and operated a restaurant in Willard Brook State Forest very near Damon Pond. For years the business served everything from breakfast to ice-cream and experienced great success until external circumstance forced the shuttering of its doors for good, the location has remained unoccupied for nearly two decades. The external circumstance was the owner of the property raising the rent month by month based on the success of the tenant business.

From operating a highly successful family-run small business, Jeff ended up taking a position as head chef at a Raytheon facility here in Massachusetts. There for over a decade, Jeff had to prepare and implement daily changes to a menu and restaurant that served heads of state, foreign royalty, dignitaries and other government officials from around the globe.

Today, Jeff pours his vast reserves of knowledge and experience

A Breen's Diner first-timer wearing a wicked cool T-shirt delights over the freshly made-to-order potato chips and coloring images on the back of Breen's placemat (crayons available upon request).
A Breen’s Diner first-timer wearing a wicked cool T-shirt delights over the freshly made-to-order potato chips and coloring images on the back of Breen’s placemat (crayons available upon request).

into his family’s namesake diner. Giving Breen’s Diner that consistency, especially in the areas that people look for it most. There never seems to be a moment during business hours when Jeff cannot be found on-site. In the kitchen, behind the counter or on the checkered dining floor and always chatting with guests and employees about ways to improve upon his business to better serve the public.

The "Irish Benny", one of many offerings that diners claim as being "The best ever."
The “Irish Benny”, one of many offerings that diners claim as being “The best ever.”

Unitil Power Outage, Fitchburg, MA

Power outages are occurring in Fitchburg, part of Unitil’s monopolized electricity distribution area in Massachusetts.
It’s well-known that outages during the summertime in Fitchburg, Ashby, Townsend and Lunenburg could be due to any number of infrastructure failures like a blown transformer. When someone turns on that extra A.C. unit and POP! goes the Unitil.

But this time, according to Unitil lobbyist Alec O’Meara: “Cause was a squirrel making contact with the line and opening a circuit breaker; crews closed the breaker restoring power.”

Fitchburg residents are reporting on the city’s most trusted source for real-time news and opinion, Facebook group Discussing Fitchburg, that 1600 residents have been affected so far in the area of Granite St.

The Aesthetically Pleasing Omelet

This guest blogger contribution is by Cathy Morgan, Gardner resident and alumni of The Salter School Culinary Arts program in West Boylston, MA.

*All ingredients sourced locally at Stillman Dairy Farm  and Parker Farmboth located on Lancaster Ave. in Lunenburg, MA. (except for the mushrooms, sourced at Market Basket.)IMG_6031IMG_6023

 

 

 

 

Veggie Omelettes

3 servings

Ingredients

6 eggs organicIngredient
Smith’s Country Cheese Havarti with dill sliced
1 scallion
1/4 cup of broccoli diced
4 or 5 sliced portobello mushrooms
3 table spoons of butter
1/8 cup of basil chiffonade

Garnish

Fresh blackberries (organic wild blackberries picked in north Leominster used)
Basil leaves

1) Wash all veggies and dice broccoli, slice mushrooms and scallions and chiffonade basil. In a bowl scramble two eggs.

2) In a sauté pan on medium heat sauté your mushrooms broccoli IMG_6032and scallions until tender. Now turn heat to high and add your eggs covering all veggies and bottom of pan.

3) Let eggs cook until you can move the omelette around in pan and have no loose eggs and flip, I turn heat off at this point and add cheese and basil to half of the omelette and then fold.

4) Serve and garnish with some basil and blackberries on side with some basil leaves.

5) Repeat steps two through four, two more times if desired.

Now enjoy your delicious creation!

The Aesthetically Pleasing Omelet

Independence Day, 2015 Celebrations!!

From this week’s Messenger:

Ashby July 3rd, Band Concert, Barbecue and Bonfire at Allen Field
Gates Open at 4:00
Chicken Barbecue 5:00, contact Ken or Kathy J. at 5502 for tickets, $10.00
Band Concert at 7:30
Bonfire Following Concert (approximately 9:30)

Ayer July 4, 2015
Parade from St. Mary’s Parking Lot to Pirone Park starting at 3:00 p.m.
Party, Concert & Fireworks at Dusk at Pirone Park

Bolton July 4, 2015
The Bolton Parks and Recreation Commission together with Bolton Loco are planning a fun 4th of July Celebration! The event will include the traditional bike and doll carriage decorating while adding some new activities like a Family Field Day and lawn mower races! Please join your community for a day of fun races, competitions and games! Check out townofbolton.com for more info.

Brookline NH July 4, 2015 July 4th Parade (9:30 Start Time) and Family Fun Day with free hot dogs and hamburgers and tons of family friendly games at the Brookline Ball Park on Francis Dr. Fireworks over Lake Potanipo at dusk. Rain Date July 5.

Clinton Independence Day Fireworks Saturday, July 11, 2015
Rain date is Sunday, July 12th
The fireworks start when it get’s dark, around 9:00pm.
Fireworks are shot off at the Veterans Athletic Complex on rt. 110 across from the High School.
Most families will sit and watch the show from the High School & Middle School. The Varsity baseball and Softball fields will be closed to the public during the event.
For more information contact the Clinton Fire Department.

Fitchburg Block Party: July 3 @ 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
A variety of children’s activities at the Kid’s Zone, music, artist displays, performances, and events for people of all ages. With over 70 vendors selling a variety of art, jewelry, local food, and services there is something for everyone in the family to do. The event culminates every year with a fireworks display launched off of Rollstone Hill. More info at www.civicdays.net

Groton Town Fireworks July 6, 2015. Rain date Tuesday Evening July 7th
Town Field, Playground Road, Groton Mon Jul 6 – Tue Jul 7, 2015

Harvard Fireworks & Concert at Fruitlands July 3, 2015, 5 p.m., Cost… $20/car
Join us on the Fruitlands hillside for the Town of Harvard annual fireworks display. The fun starts at 5pm when the museum grounds open for al fresco picnicking. Bring a basket of goodies or buy dinner from a variety of food vendors, and settle in for a lineup of local bands during an open-air concert. Then, when the sun has set, celebrate Independence Day with a spectacular fireworks extravaganza! All proceeds benefit the Town of Harvard fireworks display. Rain date is July 5th.

Pepperell July 4th, 2015
Parade steps off from town hall at 12:30
Fireworks behind the town field at Dusk

Reinvigorated, Pure Juz Re-Opens in Worcester

logoOwnersOn May 18th, new owners Dante Comparetto and Martha Assefa re-opened Pure Juz to much fanfare with a celebration that included such Worcester-based notables as City Councilor Sarai Rivera, and former Lt. Governor Tim Murray, who now heads the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce. They have been aggressively establishing Pure Juz as a presence in Central MA. People from Northern Worcester County who either visit or work in the city have been delighted by the new offerings of raw food juices and fruit smoothie blends. A look at their Facebook page shows the campaign to reintroduce Pure Juz has been catching on and business has been brisk, to say the least.

Juicing has become a widely accepted method of enhancing overall wellness with some adherents claiming it allowed them to beat cancer. For the health-conscious, there are blends specially created to help reduce fatigue and strengthen the immune system.  Folks who may feel blends of things like wheatgrass, ginger, kale, and beets aren’t particularly appetizing, can rest assured there are delicious blends of real fruit juices to be had as well.

The new owners are also offering 1-7 day juice fasts providing benefits such as heightened mental awareness and focus, increased energy and weight loss. Fans of juice cleanses report that, among other things, the “mental fog” lifts as a result of getting direct, good nutrition. All of the blends use organic ingredients sourced from local farmers and are pressed on the spot while you wait in the new cozy café, which also has wi-fi access. Visit their Facebook page and visit the shop at 123A Highland Street in Worcester.

 

 

Ken Dyier is a freelance artist living in Worcester that is a contributing blogger on  the freemessenger.com. More of Ken’s work may be found at theworkofart.net

Free in the Nashoba Valley