Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tunneling to Somerville

You can dig into the absurdity if you want:

"Troopers find man lost in wall of Ted Williams Tunnel" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  April 21, 2015

A Somerville man found inside the walls of the Ted Williams Tunnel allegedly told investigators that he had no idea how he got there, and that he may have been drugged.

State Police say they charged Daniel Kelly, 27, with trespassing after a bizarre series of events that began when he called 911 at around 9:20 p.m. Monday to report that he was trapped in a storm drain.

After talking with the man on the phone, dispatchers were able to figure out that he was in a vent attached to the tunnel.

Troopers drove slowly through the tunnel, using their sirens and lights. After about 20 minutes, they narrowed down his location to a ramp.

“Each cruiser . . . one-by-one activated their sirens until the caller heard it,” a police report says.

Police briefly shut down the ramp and searched for the caller in vent slots, doors, and ceiling openings.

After some time, Trooper Eric Chin saw a hand waving from an upper vent on the tunnel wall. Lieutenant David Wilson and Chin said they found Kelly inside the vent shaft, 15 feet up, and sitting on a pipe.

“The caller appeared disheveled, was soaking wet from his thigh level down, and was covered in dirt and soot,” according to police.

Once he was removed, Kelly was arrested on trespassing charges.

At the police barracks, Kelly told officers that he had “no recollection of anything,” authorities said. Officers said his speech was slurred, and they could smell alcohol on his breath.

Investigators said they asked Kelly whether one of his friends could have slipped some sort of drug into his drink while he was at a Back Bay bar. Kelly replied, “absolutely not.”

But when officials told Kelly he’d have to come up with $40 bail, he protested that he was “the victim here,” and that he “was drugged, man.”

Kelly was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Tuesday and released on personal recognizance. He represented himself in court. Kelly could not be reached for comment. His next court date is June 10.


Maybe he was a "secret resident" conducting a test:

"Somerville enlists ‘Secret Residents’ to monitor city services" by Steve Annear Globe Staff  April 14, 2015

Somerville employees, be on your best behavior.

The city kicked off a new initiative last week that mirrors the sneaky “secret shopper” program some businesses use to monitor customer service. Officials will enlist volunteers to gauge the friendliness and knowledge of public-facing local government employees.

Somerville officials hope the new “Secret Resident” program will ensure that city workers perform at the highest level possible when dealing with the public on permits, parking, and other matters.

I'm not opposed to them doing their job, but why is this needed in the great state of Massachusetts with its great public service sector?

“If someone comes in with a question about getting a pothole filled, we want to make sure employees display the appropriate manners, that they’re following up with the resident, and giving them the right information,” said city spokeswoman Jaclyn Rossetti.

Volunteers can sign up online. Those who are selected will go through a brief training session so they know what to look for when assigned a task.

Assignments could include calling the city’s 311 constituent services hot line, stopping in at department offices to ask about filing permits, or visiting the City Hall welcome desk to gauge employee friendliness.

After a task is completed, the volunteers will report back with their findings on accuracy, efficiency, and ease of customer service.

Rossetti said officials haven’t determined how many residents could be picked for the new initiative, and there’s “no limit” to what types of tasks may be asked of them in order to keep employees on their toes.

“What we hope to accomplish is improving our everyday communications with the public,” she said. “We are making sure every angle of customer service we have is being tested.”

The program falls in line with Mayor Joseph Curtatone’s motto of “Accurate Courteous Easy” customer service, which was launched as a means of keeping city workers accountable and residents happy.

Why wouldn't they be?

“This is about making sure that we are doing our job,” Rossetti said. “That’s been the mantra of the administration all along.”

Oh, it's a public relations propaganda effort. Okay. 

What, is he up for election next year?


Not that I'm a defender of $tate $cum bureaucrats, but this stinks of Gestapo, doesn't it?

NDU: "Department of Transportation officials acknowledged that the door was supposed to be locked — and pledged to step up monitoring in the tunnel."


You can cut your teeth on this:

"Peter Forg keeps Somerville factory busy" by Cindy Atoji Keene Globe Correspondent  April 24, 2015

Tucked away in a former industrial corridor now surrounded by condos, the Peter Forg factory represents old-school manufacturing in a town where modern maker-space is thriving.

But don’t call this fifth-generation Somerville factory an anachronism. The tool and die maker is just as likely to craft parts for a robot as machinery for a hot water heater.

Dave Forg, 47, runs Peter Forg Manufacturing Co., which has been cranking out metal stamping products for 135 years. Forg is following in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather, initially a furniture maker who turned to metal production to make hinges and other hardware.

While the decline of US manufacturing shuttered nearby metalwork, textile, and paper plants, Forg said it was impractical for overseas competitors to make the small volume and thick, heavy-gauge parts his company produces....

About a dozen longtime employees, most over age 55, work the heavy machinery: mid-century presses with spinning flywheels that shear metal and rattle the building.

“There’s something satisfying about working with your hands and making tangible products,” said Jim Leis, a shop foreman who has been at the manufacturer for more than four decades.

Peter Forg Manufacturing has modernized with the times, upgrading punch presses with electronics and computerizing die-cutting machines that make it possible, Forg confesses, to do more with fewer workers. But even in an age of automation, with 3-D printing and laser cutting, there are some things that technology can’t replace....