BHCC Names New Dean of Workforce and Economic Development

BHCC Names New Dean of Workforce and Economic Development

Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) appointed Kristen P. McKenna as Dean of Workforce and Economic Development. In this role, McKenna will oversee corporate learning and development and community education programs at the College. The renamed Division of Workforce and Economic Development supports area businesses and community based agencies with career pathway building, customized training and individualized support to grow workforce and economic development for the greater Boston metro area.

McKenna possesses over 20 years of professional implementation, management and policy development experience in higher education, workforce development, nonprofit and government funded programs. She has held senior leadership positions focused on program improvement, enrollment and the development of industry supported training for workforce development at River Valley Community College in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts.

Working with the Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board and the Institute for Labor Studies and Research, McKenna has also implemented a number of projects designed to accelerate credential attainment with technology-based solutions. She’ll bring expertise to the College’s workforce development initiatives and the development of non-credit to credit career pathways.

The Greater Boston community has come to rely on BHCC’s community education programs for English language instruction, test preparation, continuing education and international learning programs. In the 2018 academic year, over 2500 students enrolled in customized training, community education and adult basic education at the College. With a focused commitment on workforce and economic development, BHCC will expand access and equity with additional course development and innovative pathways development so all community members have options and flexibility in a supported environment.

The division is working with partners like Facebook to offer future opportunities that will support local entrepreneurs with workshops on social media marketing and more.

McKenna holds a Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Higher Education Administration from Eastern Nazarene College, a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership from Bridgewater State University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island College. To learn more about BHCC’s Workforce and Economic Development program and to view the courses that are offered visit bhcc.edu/ce.

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Stem Night Egg Drop

Stem Night Egg Drop

Twin sisters Eliana and Edlyn Hernandez (8) unwrap their vessel to see if their egg is still hard boiled or scrambled, and the twins find success – one intact egg. The twin sisters were just one group out of many that joined in on the Kelly School’s STEM Night Egg Drop experiment last Thursday, Jan. 31. Students used math, science and engineering lessons to create a protective cover for their egg, which was then dropped from a 30-foot crane.

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Women’s Sports Pioneer: Chelsea Native Lee-Nieves Receives MIAA Distinguished Service Award

Women’s Sports Pioneer: Chelsea Native Lee-Nieves Receives MIAA Distinguished Service Award

Johanna DiCarlo (right) presents the Massachusetts Women in Athletics Distinguished Service Award to JoAnne Lee-Nieves at the 2019 Girls and Women in Sports Day program Feb. 1 at Faneuil Hall, Boston.

When the Title IX law was first enacted, leading to increased athletic opportunities for females in the mid-to-late 1970s and setting the foundation for the explosion of high school girls’ sports that exists today, there was a Chelsea woman just getting started in coaching.

She was a pioneer in every sense, introducing the joy of organized sports participation to Boston girls, teaching them about teamwork and sportsmanship, instilling self-confidence in her student-athletes, and providing lessons about life that they would carry beyond the basketball court.

JoAnne Lee-Nieves was a woman ahead of her time, recognizing right away the importance of athletics for girls as an extension of the classroom. Her players at Jeremiah Burke would achieve phenomenal success on the court. Long before ESPN started bringing attention to women’s sports, Lee-Nieves was building a program and sending her athletes on to college.

For four decades, Lee-Nieves earned multiple championship and coach-of-the-year awards. No one did it better in Boston than Lee-Nieves.

Last Friday, in an impressive ceremony at historic Faneuil Hall in the city where Lee-Nieves became a high school coaching giant, she received one of the MIAA’s most prestigious awards.

Before a capacity crowd of female high school athletes, athletic directors and many of her former colleagues in the profession, Lee-Nieves accepted the Massachusetts Women in Athletics Distinguished Service Award.

One could only imagine how very proud her parents, the late Charles Lee and Jeanette Weiner Lee, would have been to see JoAnne’s amazing career recognized so deservedly in such an awesome setting as Fanueil Hall.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson understands the magnitude of his cousin JoAnne’s statewide award and the immense contributions that she made to high school sports. His own daughter, Lucia Robinson-Griggs, is a former high school athlete and now a women’s basketball coach at MIT.

“JoAnne is a very outstanding individual who has achieved a lot in teaching and coaching,” said Robinson. “This is very special for me that she was recognized for all the hard work that she has done throughout the years. She is a true pioneer in women’s high school sports in Boston. It’s a tremendous honor and I congratulate Joanne. We in Chelsea are all proud of her.”

In a tribute to JoAnne that appeared in the Girls and Women In Sports Day souvenir booklet, Jeremiah Burke Guidance Counselor Ron Innes said, “JoAnne was a very reliable and dedicated teacher who was well respected by her students as well as faculty and staff. Her knowledge about her chosen discipline (Physical Education) and ability to reach and connect with students made her a truly exceptional teacher. These great qualities carried over to the many sports she coached. Her teams always played the game with great discipline and pride.”

Burke Athletic Coordinator Sean Ryan had nominated Lee-Nieves for the award. Said Ryan, “Her ability to engage a veteran or a newcomer to the sport make her special. We evaluate a coach by how their team progresses during the year, and JoAnne’s team each year plays their best toward the end of the season. She truly provides each student-athlete with a memorable experience.”

In her acceptance speech, Lee-Nieves was humble and gracious. She thanked the MIAA for the recognition, but focused her remarks on encouraging the young ladies in the audience to work hard and pursue their dreams.

As she left the stage and walked to the VIP area where she and husband Juan Nieves were seated, you could sense that JoAnne Lee-Nieves was touched by this lifetime-achievement recognition from the state’s official governing organization for high school sports.

It was indeed a special day for a special teacher, coach, and role model.

CUTLINE

Johanna DiCarlo (right) presents the Massachusetts Women in Athletics Distinguished Service Award to JoAnne Lee-Nieves at the 2019 Girls and Women in Sports Day program Feb. 1 at Faneuil Hall, Boston. JoAnne Lee-Nieves and her husband, Juan Nieves, are pictured following the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award.

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‘A Dream Come True’: New Children’s Librarian Always Envisioned Helping Chelsea Kids

‘A Dream Come True’: New Children’s Librarian Always Envisioned Helping Chelsea Kids

New Children’s Librarian Katherine Palencia said landing the position at the Library is a dream come true for her.

When new Children’s Librarian Katherine Palencia sits at her desk in the basement of the Chelsea Public Library near the Children’s Rooms, it’s a place that has been familiar to her since she was a little girl – coming to the library with her mother and experiencing a safe, learning environment.

Now she has been hired as the new full-time librarian after having worked part-time at the library for about 10 years, and is excited to share her love of reading with a new generation of Chelsea kids.

“I didn’t want to leave Chelsea because my family is here and my memories are here,” she said. “I don’t want to work in any other area. I want to help Chelsea grow and I want to be part of the growth…This position is a dream come true for me. I worked here in high school and came back after college and have been here since 2011. It’s a dream come true because I believe in what the library provides – the education and the free access to information. I enjoy seeing kids excited about reading or coming to work on their homework. I want to help them out. It’s a dream come true because I have always seen myself here.”

Palencia attended St. Rose School as a girl, and then went to the Williams Middle School. She attended Chelsea High School and graduated in 2007. She graduated from Salem State and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Library Science at Cambridge College.

Palencia said her memories of the Chelsea Library are very comforting, and she hopes to be able to pass that on.

“I think it was the people who made it very special,” she said. “They had great relationships with my mother coming in here and being able to feel comfortable and to ask questions. They always quenched the curiosity I had.”

Palencia has been spearheading the English as a Second Language program that meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., and now she has expanded that to working in the Children’s area.

She said her big push right now is for the upcoming Summer Reading Program.

“I am already really excited about summer reading,” she said. “I am looking for any local businesses wanting to collaborate with the Chelsea Public Library to donate prizes. It could be as simple as a free ice cream cone, or as much as a free bike – which the Knights of Pythias donated last year.”

She said they will be bringing back the story times soon, and will have a full range of winter and spring activities soon as well.

“I’m a life-long Chelsea resident and also very proud to be Latina,” she said. “I’m happy that we can bring in more Spanish speakers. Our staff does a great job and we have so many knowledgeable people to help accommodate everyone.”

Cutline – New Children’s Librarian Katherine Palencia said landing the position at the Library is a dream come true for her. Having fond memories of attending the library as a girl, she said she is excited to pass that on to a new generation of Chelsea kids.

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Fire at Pollo Campero treacherous, but controlled quickly

Fire at Pollo Campero  treacherous, but controlled quickly

A Chelsea firefighter fighting the stunning blaze created by Pollo Campero in Park Square on Sunday
night. The popular restaurant was a total loss, but owners said they intend to re-build.

Heavy smoke poured from the popular Pollo Campero restaurant in Park Square on Sunday night, with firefighters facing treacherous conditions that forced their evacuation numerous times as they tried to put out the stunning fire.

In the end, crews battled and made quick work of it – getting it out within an hour.

Chief Len Albanese said it is still under investigation this week, and that it was a total loss.

“The fire is still under investigation; however, I can report at this time that it appears that the fire started in a concealed space within a wall, then traveled to the loft space above the ceiling where the fire was allowed to burn for some time before breaking out and activating the Fire Alarm system,” he said. “This would account for the major fire condition on arrival even though the building had a working fire alarm system. Also, there were no sprinklers within the structure. The fire remains under investigation for a definitive cause that will be reported upon completion.”

There were no civilian injuries, but one firefighter was injured.

On Sunday evening, at 11:40 p.m. Chelsea Fire Alarm received an alarm of fire from Box 1134 for the Pollo Campero restaurant located at 115 Park St. First arriving companies from Chelsea E2 and L1 under the command of Capt. Phil Rogers reported heavy smoke showing on arrival from the rear of the building. C4 Deputy Wayne Ulwick arrived on scene assuming command and immediately ordered the Working Fire. Due to the heavy smoke and reports of heavy fire within the interior of the building, a Second Alarm was requested bringing companies from Revere, Everett, Boston and MassPort to the scene. Crews were ordered out of the building several times due to conditions rapidly deteriorating from heavy fire conditions within the structure forcing firefighters to attack the fire with defensive operations using blitz guns, hand lines and ladder pipes

The fire was brought under control within an hour.

The Boston Sparks Club under the command of President Paul Boudreau responded to the scene supplying Re-Hab and refreshments for the firefighters. Chelsea Police also provided traffic and crowd control during fire. Crews from Medford and Boston provided mutual aid during the fire.

Chief Albanese said it was a defensive fight for firefighters because the structure was too far along to be saved. Nevertheless, owners are determined to rebuild. “It was determined that the fire was well involved within the structure, and crews were ordered out of the building and proceeded with a defensive fire attack,” he said. “Given the time of day, a closed business and no reports of occupants, this was the safest course of action given that very early on it was apparent that this building could not be saved. Members of Fire Prevention are working with the ownership, who reported to us that they intend to rebuild as soon as possible.”

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MBTA Better Bus Kick-Off

MBTA Better Bus Kick-Off

Steve Poftak, who has been the MBTA General Manager for about a month, expresses his commitment to Chelsea during the inaugural Chelsea Transportation Task Force meeting at City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 24. The Task Force plans to continue meeting for the next six months regarding MBTA issues and the Better Buses program.

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City Manager Gets New, Five-Year Contract

City Manager Gets New, Five-Year Contract

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino got a new five-year contract and a healthy serving of praise from the City Council Monday night.

The council approved the contract with a 10-0 vote. Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda was not present at Monday night’s meeting.

Ambrosino gets a three percent raise with the new deal, from $184,913 annually to $189,945.

Council President Damali Vidot said a sub-committee made up of Councilors Luis Tejada, Giovanni Recupero and Yamir Rodriguez had been evaluating Ambrosino for several months, and agreed that he has done a good job and should be invited back.

“He’s done a great job and he wanted to go five years instead of four years so he would be closer to retirement age at the end of this contract,” she said. “I think he deserved it. I felt he earned five years. He got a really good evaluation and people are very pleased with his performance.”

Vidot said the evaluation showed councilors and the public felt he was a little too hands-off on his management of departments, and wanted to see him be a little more hands-on with them. For Vidot, she said one of his strengths has been treating the City Council with great respect.

“He has really given the City Council the respect it deserves,” she said. “I didn’t see that in the previous administration. Chelsea seems to really be coming together. There seems to be so much more interest in social and civic issues and more unity overall.”

On Monday night, the praises continued at the Council meeting before they voted to extend the contract five more years.

“The city manager has done a great job,” said District 8 Councilor Calvin T. Brown. “He’s committed, a creative thinker, and a very approachable city manager.”

Several councilors commented on Ambrosino’s responsiveness to residents’ concerns.

“Whenever I have had a problem in my district and brought it to his attention, the city manager has been very responsive,” said District 1 Councilor Robert Bishop.

District 5 Councilor Judith Garcia said Ambrosino has been an incredible asset and resource for the community.

“He has invested a lot in the community, and I hear it from my constituents a lot,” said Garcia.

In addition to the three percent pay raise, Ambrosino will get an additional $500 per year for travel, and the former Revere mayor’s new contract will be for five years, compared to his current four-year contract.

“I’m very pleased and very grateful to the city council for giving me a vote of confidence,” Ambrosino said following Monday night’s meeting. “I will do everything I can to continue to make them proud of my work.”

Ambrosino has said since last fall he would like to be asked to return to Chelsea for another contract term. He said he feels like he has more work to do in the city, particularly with his downtown initiatives.

•In other Council news:

A resolution passed by the City Council Monday night recognized February as Black History Month and thanked the Lewis H. Latimer Society, Bunker Hill Community College, and the Chelsea Black Community “Remembering Black Migration, WWI, and the Chelsea Fire” for the contributions to the city.

The Council also recognized Feb. 21 as Dr. Maya Angelou Day in Chelsea.

•The council requested a meeting with Emergency Management Director Keith Vetreno to discuss 911 services.

•Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson requested that City Manager Tom Ambrosino update the council on all planned development in the city. •District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero requested a brighter streetlight on Charles Street, as well as a study for traffic on the Meridian Street Bridge. The brightness of the new LED streetlights has been a problem point for several years, as most of them are on the lowest setting to save money on power. Recupero has routinely asked the City to increase the brightness on the new LED lights.

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Wingin’ It for Super Bowl Liii: Chef Husbands Talks the Perfect Wing

Wingin’ It for Super Bowl Liii: Chef Husbands Talks the Perfect Wing

There is no shortage of Super Bowl parties going on in Chelsea this weekend, but if one wants their party to score high, they better know how to prepare a proper chicken wing.

Chef/Pitmaster Andy Husbands of The Smoke Shop (located in Assembly Row in Somerville) said that if hosts think getting a good wing on the table for the Super Bowl is as easy as popping them in a hot oven, they would be flapping wrong.

In fact, he said, the key to a good Super Bowl spread is preparation and thinking ahead.

“Wings are so subjective,” he said. “Do you like the small ones or the big roaster wings? I go for the big roasting ones. You want the big, roaster wings. I’d also advise everyone to go early. Don’t go to the store to buy your wings on Saturday. They’ll all be sold out and you’ll get stuck with the small wings…Most everything you serve for the Super Bowl except for ribs can be done on Saturday. That makes it so much easier. You want it to be enough food for everybody, but you want it to be easy for you too. You don’t want to be in the kitchen saucing wings when the Pats are scoring.”

Husbands said the centerpiece of a Super Bowl spread always has to be the wings, so getting them right is important.

Husbands suggests doing what is called a confit.

“You want the best wings, and even though it’s a bit complicated, I would look up how to confit wings,” he said.

When he pulls it off, Husbands said he starts by seasoning the raw wings the day before with salt and other flavorings. Many make the mistake, he said, of putting the sauce – whether buffalo or teriyaki sauce – on before cooking the wings. One should not do that, he said.

“That will hamper the wings,” he said. “Sugars burn quickly, and you don’t want that burnt taste on the wings.”

Once seasoned, Husbands coats the wings in oil and chicken or goose fat. Then they go into a 205-degree oven until cooked. Then, take them out, let them cool and remove the fat. The next day, before the big game, take them out of the refrigerator and use the fat from the previous day on a sheet pan. Put the wings in the fat and cook them in an oven at 350 degrees until crispy.

“They become crispy and rich and then you apply the sauce, whether Frank’s Red Hot or Szechuan – whatever you want,” he said. “That’s a fun way to do it.”

There are, of course, other ways to wing it for the big game.

Home frying, however, is not something Husbands recommends. Most people don’t have the right equipment and it uses a ton of fat for just one dish.

Cooking them in the oven after seasoning is another option, but it has to be on low heat. A common mistake, he said, is putting the wings in the oven raw at a high temperature to get them crispy. However, that leads to a dry and bony wing – perhaps even raw.

“You want to put them on very low heat and continuously turning them gets them crispy on the outside and keeps them juicy on the inside,” he said. “After they’re cooked (150 degree temperature inside), you can crank up the oven to 450 degrees and flash them in until really crispy. Then you sauce them up. That way you get them fully cooked and crispy. No one wants raw chicken.”

Yet another way goes to the die-hards, who will take the opportunity to do some arctic grilling. Husbands said the cold weather won’t stop him from grilling wings and smoking ribs for his Super Bowl party.

“I’m absolutely going to be outside,” he said. “My neighbors all know me well. They don’t look at me like I’m crazy. It’s more like they want to know if they can have some. It’s a passion and if you know it love it you want to do it all the time in any weather. I have a Traeger grill and a Big Green Egg grill and they work in all types of weather. I might use both of them this time.”

Beyond the meat of the matter, though, Husbands has some good ideas for buffet style options.

One of those ideas is a chili bar. He usually cooks a pot of chili and leaves it on low in the Crock Pot, setting up a chili fixin’s salad bar next to it.

“What’s cool about chili is you can keep it in the Crock Pot, keep it hot and put out a bunch of toppings – like crushed Fritos, crushed tortilla chips, scallions, sour cream and anything else you like,” he said. “People can come back and forth to that during the entire game.”

At halftime, he rolls out a hot dog bar too.

Either grilled or boiled, he selects quality hot dogs and two different kinds of buns. From there, the sky is the limit on the kinds of toppings one can offer to guests. Husbands suggests kimchee, several different types of mustard, cheese sauce, unique pickle relishes and even his own favorite, sriracha ketchup.

“Guests can have fun making their own hot dog,” he said. “You can wheel that out at halftime for something new. All of it can be prepared ahead of time too.”

For the beer lovers, Husbands suggests not going all lawnmower and not going all high-brow either. In his ice chest, he said he offers everything from Miller High Life to Trillium Brewery.

“It’s important to have something for everyone,” he said. “I don’t want to push my passion for craft beer on someone who wants a High Life. A High Life can be just as enjoyable as a craft beer.”

Super Bowl LIII official coverage starts at 6 p.m. on CBS. Andy Husbands is an award-winning chef and pitmaster at The Smoke House, which has locations in Assembly Row, the Seaport and Cambridge. Just this year he closed down his long-time South End restaurants Tremont 647 and Sister Sorel – which were neighborhood staples for decades.

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Chelsea Transportation Task Force Inaugural Meeting: Driving the Discussion

Chelsea Transportation Task Force Inaugural Meeting: Driving the Discussion

The people of Chelsea are demanding increased frequency on the Silver Line, more reliability, and additional bus connections from the MBTA. Over the next two years there will be three major construction projects in Chelsea that will adversely impact bus traffic, and City leaders and residents are concerned that the already poor services will worsen.

“There have been big shifts in population and ridership, and the bus routes have stayed largely the same,” admitted Steve Poftak, the newly appointed MBTA General Manager. “The T is playing catch-up.”

On January 24, Poftak sat with locals and members of the City Council during the first inaugural Chelsea Transportation Task Force meeting at City Hall. The goal of the committee is to gather once a month for six months of interactive discussions with the community and Poftak to develop solutions.

“For a lot of us who live on both of the hills, buses are the only means of transportation,” commented a Bellingham Square resident. “Every year or two, they threaten to cut off both of the hills. That would leave us totally stranded, and I’m not having it.”

Many aren’t content with the massive traffic that builds with the 20 minute rising and 20 minute lowering of the Chelsea Street bridge, which slows bus travel. The MBTA noted that active discussions with the Coast Guard regarding the creation of a period of time during peak hours of commuting when the bridge does not open have been hindered by the government shutdown.

“We have limited control over the bridge. Maybe we could have some predictability with windows when we know the bridge will be active and when we know it won’t,” said Poftak.

The Better Bus Project is investigating the quality of the current bus network and working on cost-neutral proposals that will result in more frequent services for customers. Researchers have been speaking with riders to learn more about where people’s trips begin and end, the economic demographics of the area, and where jobs are located.

“We are advocating for fair mitigation,” expressed Council President Damali Vidot. “We’ve needed quality service for years and are working at a sub-par level. Chelsea was an afterthought in the Better Bus Project. We want to make sure we’re getting the service we deserve.”

The Better Bus Project has 47 proposals for changes in the MBTA bus system that will impact 63 out of the 180 routes in 35 of the 50 communities that are served. Proposals include removing bus routes with low ridership, and re-investing resources elsewhere.

The Transportation Task Force is suggesting more inspectors, less cancellations, and easier transfers between Chelsea and Lynn on the Commuter Rail.

“We are re-imagining the infrastructure on Broadway,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We will be presenting the City Council with alternatives that do away with two fast lanes to make travel safer. One idea is incorporating a dedicated bus lane.”

Gentrification has also forced many Chelsea residents to relocate to Lynn because of the high cost of rent. One Chelsea resident, who works in Lynn, voiced that it takes her up to two hours to commute from Lynn to Chelsea using public transportation. She commented that the only line that directly connects Chelsea to Everett is the 112 bus, and many avoid it due to the lifting of the bridge; and recommended that the 426 bus through Lynn could stop in Chelsea, as it already passes over the Tobin Bridge.

“In the overall bus network redesign, people on the north side of the city are particularly interested in going to Lynn and Malden,” Poftak concluded. Better Bus Project proposals will be available at www.MBTA.com with maps and data. The MBTA will also be providing riders with a warm place to view proposals at Haymarket Station, where they see the most response from Chelsea residents.

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Text 9-1-1 Service Now Available in Massachusetts

Text 9-1-1 Service Now Available in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts State 9-1-1 Department is pleased to announce that Text to 911is now available throughout the Commonwealth. All Massachusetts 9-1-1 call centers now have ability to receive a text message through their 9-1-1 system. The Baker-Polito Administration has supported making these system enhancements since 2015.

Text to 9-1-1 allows those in need of emergency services to use their cellular device to contact 9-1-1 when they are unable to place a voice call.
“This is a significant improvement to our 9-1-1 system that will save lives,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Tom Turco. “By giving those requiring emergency services this option we are greatly expanding the ability of first responders to provide critical assistance to those in need.”
To contact emergency services by text message, simply enter 9-1-1 in the “To” field of your mobile device and then type your message into the message field. It is the same process that is used for sending a regular text message from your mobile device. It is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can. “Having the ability to contact a 9-1-1 call center by text could help those being held against their will or victims of domestic violence unable to make a voice call,” said Frank Pozniak, Executive Director of the State 9-1-1 Department. “Text to 9-1-1 also provides direct access to 9-1-1 emergency services for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired, which is a service that these communities did not have access to until now.”
It is important to note that the 9-1-1 call center may not always have your exact location when they receive your text. For this reason, when sending a Text to 9-1-1 it is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can.
The State 9-1-1 Department encourages citizens to Text to 9-1-1 only when a voice call is not possible.
Remember: “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

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