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MOSES Led Toll Plaza Demo Project Earns Two National Awards

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Short film produced by MOSES tells the story of this ambitious and successful venture.

MassDOT was honored at the Northeast Association of Transportation Officials Annual Meeting as the winner of "Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Medium Project" category of America's Transportation Awards, a joint project by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The ambitious toll booth demolition and all electronic tolling (AET) effort earned the honors as an example of a project that is "making communities stronger, our economy more efficient and our quality of life better.”

Additionally, the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA) announced that the electronic toll project will get an International Toll Excellence award for “revolutionizing mobility for drivers” at the group's 85th Annual Meeting in September. The AET project is an example of how MassDOT is "implementing solutions to complex, global transportation challenges."

“And the Tolls Came Tumbling Down” is a short film produced by the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists (MOSES) that tells the story of how MassDOT engineers seamlessly implemented electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Countless MOSES members worked around the clock overseeing the simultaneous dismantling of 23 toll plazas spanning 139 miles. When completed, this project will reduce congestion, decrease emissions and increase safety.

MOSES members featured (in order of appearance) included District 3 “Super Engineer” JP Telemaque, along with fellow lead engineers Erin Cooper (District 1), Anna Nadler (District 2), Suzanne Wilber and Chris Lee (District 3) and Eric Mistretta and Eric Feeley (District 6).

From all the MOSES members at MassDOT, we hope you enjoy the film.

GIC is Shifting Costs to Employees...Again.

 

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On March 3, 2017, the Boston Business Journal published the following article on GIC cost shifting: "State to hike health insurance costs for 70,000 employees."

For more information on current legislation that would reform the GIC, contact Liz Murphy, legislative director, at (emurphy@moses-ma.org) or call with (617.367.2727 ext. 318).

Once again, our healthcare is under attack.

On January 4, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) released a report that included recommendations to increase deductibles, raise prescription drug costs and change the design of healthcare plans for public employees.

The following week, MOSES joined with other public employee unions in pushing to delay the implementation of these recommendations until after the GIC holds a public hearing on the proposed changes. Despite our collective effort, as well as support from House and Senate leadership, on Thursday, January 19, the GIC voted to provide provisional approval for these recommendations. These changes may cost your family hundreds of dollars each year.

Here is what the GIC voted on.

Share this image. The chart below shows clearly how cost "sharing" is really cost shifting. Beginning in 2009, public employees have steadily taken on a higher percent of their healthcare costs while the state has steadily decreased its share. In 2016, public employees paid the highest share to date - nearly 28% - of the costs, while the state paid their lowest - 72%. The proposed GIC changes would continue and accelerate these trend lines in the wrong directions.

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A Fish Tale: MOSES Scientists Key to the MassWildlife Fish Hatchery & Stocking Program

IB ImageAs far as anglers are concerned, it is “reel” good news when 500,000 brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout are stocked in rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout Massachusetts.

Each year, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) oversees the state’s trout stocking program, a coordinated effort to raise and release hundreds of thousands of fish into roughly 500 rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. The Bay State began stocking its waterways with fish in the 1870s.

Raised at one of five fish hatcheries in the state, stocking runs through the spring months. MOSES member Ken Simmons, Ph.D., chief of hatcheries for the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, explains, “Without the stockings, there would be fewer trout to catch. Natural trout reproduction just can’t keep up with angling demands. By stocking our waterways, we provide enhanced recreation for all who fish in Massachusetts.” The stocking program is funded by the sale of state sporting licenses and federal reimbursements from taxes paid on sporting tackle. Annually, more than 500,000 people fish the state’s waters and visit the hatcheries.

(Pictured above (left to right): Joe Dorant, president, Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers & Scientists, with fellow MOSES members from the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife: Steve Hurley, Southeast District Fisheries manager; Adam Davies, fish culturist and Sandwich Hatchery manager; and Ken Simmons, chief of hatcheries.)

The stocking total for spring 2016 was close to 500,000 fish: 89,580 brook trout; 265,050 rainbow trout; 129,630 brown trout; and 2,900 tiger trout. The fish vary in size from 9-18 inches, depending on their age. Simmons points out, “More than half of our stock average over 14 inches in length, with the majority at least 12 inches long.” Fall stocking season begins around the last week of September and is completed by the second week of October depending on water temperatures. Fall 2016 will see more than 60,000 rainbow trout that are 12 inches or longer stocked in Massachusetts water bodies. As was the case with the 2016 spring season, anglers will be able to view daily stocking reports and search by water body or town. The interactive stocking map can be found here: Mass.gov/Trout

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River Named for MOSES Member

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The U.S. Board of Geographic Names has labeled a brook on the Harvard Forest property in Petersham, Mass., as ‘Arthur Brook’ in honor of former MOSES member and environmental champion, Arthur John Screpetis (1950-2009). The brook is a 1.1 mile tributary to the larger Bigelow Brook.

Fellow coworker and MOSES member Warren Kimball, retired, submitted the petition to name the brook after Arthur.

Screpetis, a 37-year employee of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and a MOSES member, began his career with the Commonwealth working for the Division of Water Pollution Control. In 1974 he was one of the primary authors of operational protocols for water quality monitoring in lakes. He participated in the research and development of, and the funding for, numerous cooperative projects with State and Federal agencies, including the Massachusetts Stream Classification Project. His work on the development and implementation of the Mass. Watershed Initiative and the Mass. Estuaries Program was especially impactful.

Throughout his career, Screpetis received numerous recognitions for his “outstanding service,” including the prestigious Manuel Carballo Award for Excellence, primarily due to his work on the Watershed Initiative. According to Joe Dorant, MOSES president, “Arthur is remembered for his many years of dedicated service to both DEP and the many rivers, streams and wetlands that his work saved. The work he completed on the development of the state stream and lake inventories is still in use today. Just as important as Art’s devotion to his work for the Commonwealth was his interests as a naturalist and wildlife biologist.”

Mr. Screpetis belonged to many associations and organizations, including MOSES, The Wildlife Society, the American Society of Mammalogists, the Association of Field Ornithologists, the Eastern Bird Banding Association, the American Ornithologists Union, the New England Botanical Club, the Society of Wetland Scientists, and the Northeastern Naturalist-Humboldt Field Research Institute, to name a few.

A native of Lowell, Mass., Art was an experienced astronomer, avid runner, professional nature photographer and baseball enthusiast. Pictured below is Arthur (right) and fellow MassDEP “Water Wrats” (and MOSES members) Dave Howland (left) and Warren Kimball (center).

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Credit Earned Where Credit Due

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Former MOSES member Russ Gaulin, an environmental analyst with DEP, Representative Jim O’Day and MOSES President Joe Dorant, along with Boston Area Returned Peace Corps Treasurer and DPH Epidemiologist, Alicia Charleston, testified before the Joint Committee on Public Service on H.2384, An Act authorizing certain public employees’ creditable retirement service.

 At a time in state government when it is increasingly important to do more with less, Peace Corps and similar service program alumni bring to state service invaluable skills such as problem solving and dealing with uncertainty, all derived from practical, hands-on experience. These individuals often dedicate years of their lives for little or no pay for the purposes of enhancing the quality of life of disenfranchised populations across the globe. MOSES President Joe Dorant explains, “These are MOSES members with a passion for service and learning. Their experiences bring a unique perspective to the day-to-day service state workers bring to the Commonwealth. This legislation would allow state employees to buy back up to four years of creditable service. Teachers are provided this advantage; H.2384 would expand this benefit to all Commonwealth personnel.”

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Newburyport’s Improved Fishing Pier and Boat Access is Off the Hook!

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(Pictured left-right) State Senator Kathleen O’Connor-Ives, State Representative James Kelcourse, Department of Fish & Game Commissioner George Peterson, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton, State Representative Leonard Mirra, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday and MOSES member, Fish & Game’s Assistant Director and Deputy Chief Engineer, Doug Cameron.

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matt Beaton joined state and local officials, project leaders and anglers of all ages for a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the completion of significant improvements to the recreational fishing pier and boat access at Cashman Park in Newburyport, Mass. MOSES member Doug Cameron, assistant director with the Department of Fish & Game’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access, served as deputy chief engineer on the project.

Reconstruction of the sport fishing pier included a 21-foot, L-shaped extension, structural repairs, new decking and handrails, as well as measures to make the entire pier compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Also installed were new boarding floats, six feet wide and 132 feet long, on each side of the boat ramp to make launching and retrieval of boats easier and more efficient.

The Department of Fish & Game’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) expended $1.25 million on 13 access projects in fiscal year 2015. FBA provides boating and fishing access opportunities along Massachusetts’ 1,200-mile seashore, as well as access to hundreds of lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in the Commonwealth. The agency oversees more than 290 boat and canoe launch sites, along with sport fishing areas and recreational fishing piers.

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