Ty’s Travels

Hi folks: I’ve been biking around Attleboro four hours a day since May 3. Lost about 15 pounds and heading down towards my high school baseball playing weight. I’m starting to not recognize myself and certainly don’t look like the face on my palm card. I’m 71 and getting younger by the day.

I love meeting you at your door. It’s a real treat and I’m honored when you share with me. In the past two days I’ve met a youthful mother who is a consultant for social service agencies, an older woman who loves home care with other seniors, a family man who wants to move his computer repair business to Attleboro, assuming he can find a downtown location with good parking. I’ve met a woman who owns a well-known Attleboro real estate company but is frustrated by the looks of our downtown area.

I’ve met a former school principal; an elderly woman who used to own a big farm that was turned into an upscale development off Richardson Avenue. She kept telling me she was a farmer and talked about her herd of cows and their barn, none of them currently evident except in her terrific memory.

Attleboro is full of kind, interesting, family oriented people. I enjoy serving them and serving you.

Protecting Attleboro from gas leaks

To Attleboro residents:

Our City Council has been debating what to do with the finalized investigation into the Torrey Street gas leak last April. Kudos to City Councilor Ted Kobus for leading a careful, probing, and fair investigation. It resulted in a resolution that he wants to send on to the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities (DPU).

It reads:

WHEREAS, on March 4, 1998, an explosion caused by a natural gas leak in the basement of a house on George Street in Attleboro killed two city workers and injured seven others; and

WHEREAS, on April 22, 2019, days before the natural gas leak was detected, the Attleboro Water Department fixed a water main break on Torrey Street; and

WHEREAS, on April 26, 2018, a car accident at 124 Emory Street helped officials detect a natural gas leak on Torrey Street resulting in three houses being evacuated; and

WHEREAS, (that same night) Columbia Gas discovered and fixed a grade one gas leak on Torrey Street which was venting natural gas from the street into the evacuated houses; and

WHEREAS, the Attleboro Municipal Council, in accordance with Section 2-11 of the Attleboro City Charter, initiated a charter investigation to identify what happened leading up to the evacuation of houses on Torrey Street on the night of April 26th to determine if there was anything the City could have done differently in order to identify the natural gas leak sooner; and

WHEREAS, the Municipal Council investigation indicated that during excavation on April 22nd, the Water Department hit a service line stub which Columbia Gas failed to mark. The incident appeared to have resulted in the natural gas leak which caused multiple homes to be evacuated on the evening of April 26, 2019, and

WHEREAS, the following risk mitigation measures were enacted by the Attleboro Water Department after the incident on Torrey Street:
1. Standard Operating Procedures updated to describe a requirement to call 911 when discovering an unmarked utility;
2. Dig-Safe training delivered by Columbia Gas;
3. New gas detection equipment purchased which will now be used on job sites; and

WHEREAS, having met the stated goals of the charter investigation, the investigation was concluded on August 22, 2019.

I am proud of the City Council and Councilor Kobus for this thorough and fair investigation. A potential disaster was resolved on April 26 by the excellent work of Attleboro’s fire and police departments, along with the work of Columbia Gas representatives at the scene of the accident.

I wish Columbia Gas would have attended the public hearing when the investigation was underway. Water Dept. Wunschel did testify and was very professional and co-operative. I believe she helped develop an improved standard operating procedure in the event of future gas leaks in Attleboro. Columbia Gas has informed the Council that there are 103 current gas leaks in Attleboro that are not dangerous at this time. There is a distinct possibility that an active gas leak could become dangerous in the future, however.

The City Council debated whether to forward our investigation to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. I strongly favor asking DPU to review Attleboro’s incident and the resulting investigation. I believe Rep. Jim Hawkins will assist Attleboro residents and the City Council in our effort to bring this investigation before the Department of Public Utilities.

The Council is trying our best to help protect Attleboro residents from future gas related incidents/accidents. In light of Attleboro’s past history with gas leaks and the recent Lawrence/Andover, North Andover leak….. we must push forward and bring our incident before the Department of Public Utilities. And we hopefully will have the co-operation of Columbia Gas in this effort.

The Water Department is NOT being blamed in this April 26 incident at Torrey Street. Far from it. But we must do everything we can to ensure your safety in the future.

Submitted on September 12, 2019 by Ty Waterman, City Councilor At-Large.

The Challenge of Campaigning

Friends… please allow me to share what it is like to campaign four hours a day. Six or seven days a week.

Campaigning on my bike is usually exhilarating and relaxing. I enjoy rolling up to front doors… chatting for a few minutes (sometimes longer depending on the concerns of the homeowner). Each visit can vary… talking about:

1. Attleboro schools, class sizes, need for more counselors, the gym floors that will be fixed at Hill Roberts and Hyman-Fine Elementary Schools.
2. Roads, potholes, sidewalks, a busted curb, speeding traffic, etc. This is one of the major issues that residents seem to have.
3. Rising property taxes, especially among senior citizens concerned about their economic future. I talk about senior programs, the work-off program that saves $600 a year, a break on taxes if their income is low, ideas that might help if they are unable to fully pay their quarterly taxes. Everyone is adjusting their financial plans to help pay for the new high school. I find most, but not all, agree with the need for the new high school…. but it isn’t easy to afford it. I also talk about the senior center, health insurance, help with income tax prep. Some seniors don’t know what is available for them through the senior center.
4. Neighborhood issues: run down local homes or vacant buildings that should be torn down.
5. The need for downtown Attleboro revitalization, parking, new businesses, beautification.
6. Our library needs help…. and we will be fixing the roof, windows, heating and cooling systems. The library is NOT MOVING. It is an historic, beautiful old building and I plan to help save it.
7. The need for civility in our politics. We can disagree but need to be respectful of one another. I am proud to say the City Council is a civil body of citizen legislators. We aren’t perfect but we really try to respect one another and serve our citizens.

I wish I was writing more at night about these issues… and I will try. Please understand that campaigning is ultimately tiring…. after 4-5 hours knocking on doors my body and mind begin to shut down. When I notice my mind cloud over…. it’s time to call it a day. Jan (my lovely wife) eventually calls my cell to tell me what we’re having for dinner and asks if I had a good day.

I remember hearing about a congressman who always came home for dinner. That was his most important goal of the day. Same with me. I join Jan and my dog (Chloey) around 6 pm, hug Jan and pat our pooch…. and unwind. I fall asleep in front of the TV by 8 or 9 pm…. wake up at midnite and head off to bed. Get a blessed sleep. Arise around 8:30 am and get ready for another day on the Trail. My goal is to reach all 16,000 potential voters…. (not everyone seems to vote). I won’t reach that goal… but I can dream… I can try.

On rainy days or when putting up signs, John Corrigan joins me on the Trail. Some of you might have met John, a true friend. On those days I actually drive up to homes…. which allows my body to recover and get ready to hop on my bike again.

I love campaigning…. but forgive me if I get tired after 4-5. I’ve lost ten pounds and am in better shape. But I do need my rest at some point.

Please call me at 508-577-1412 if I haven’t knocked on your door yet….. I’d love to meet you and listen to your thoughts.