News Briefs

Drone Safety

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) kicked off an advertising campaign aimed at educating the public about the safe use of drones. The campaign encourages drone operators to be responsible: “Fly your drone safely this Holiday Season. Know the Rules.” The ads will appear on print media, social media, and billboards. The campaign will run from Nov. 27, 2019-Jan. 10, 2020. 

 Drones have been among the list of popular holiday gifts. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), nearly 1.5 million drones are registered in the U.S. and a majority of them—over 1 million—are intended for recreational use. The FAA also predicts the number of drones sold in the U.S. to reach nearly 2.5 million by 2022.

“We are most concerned about the people who are unaware of the rules on drones,” said Massport Chief Security Officer Hank Shaw. “With the growth and advancement of drone technologies, we recognize there are significant benefits for commercial or business purposes, recreational use, and support to our first responders.  But, drones must be safely integrated into the airspace and pose a significant concern when operators do not follow the rules.”

All drones over .55 pounds. must be registered with the FAA and must be marked with the registration number. Operators are required to carry proof of registration. Other regulations include the following:

• Flying around and above airports is prohibited without prior FAA approval. Violators will be subject to penalties.

• Never fly near any aircraft, especially near airports.

• Keep your drone in sight at all times and always lower than 400 feet.

 Since 2016, Massport has installed “No Drone Zone” signs in several parks and other properties around Boston Logan International Airport. The locations include Piers Park, Bremen Street Park, Festa Field, and the Neptune Road Buffer in Easton Boston. Signs have also been posted at the Maritime Park and Cruiseport Harborwalk in South Boston. Massport is also working with neighboring communities to install signs in other public places. 

 For more info, visit

Local Students Named to Honor Roll at BC High

The following students have been named to the First Quarter Honor Roll at Boston College High School:

Quarter 1 High Honors

James Ezekiel 2020

John Giorgio 2022

Hunter Kennedy 2022

 Quarter 1 Honors

John Anderson 2021

Aidan Cash 2021

James Faretra 2023

Henry Hayes 2020

Sean Montgomery 2022

For High Honors a Sophomore, Junior, and Senior must have at least a 3.80 quality point average and all grades “C+” or higher. Freshmen need a 3.6 quality point average and all grades “C+” or higher.

For Honors a Sophomore, Junior, and Senior must have at least a 3.20 quality point average and all grades “C-” or higher. Freshmen need a 3.165 quality point average and all grades “C-” or higher.

Boston College High School is a Jesuit, Catholic, college-preparatory school for young men in grades 7 to 12. Founded in 1863, the school enrolls approximately 1,500 students from more than 140 communities in eastern Massachusetts. For more information please visit

Legislature Passes First in the Nation Tobacco Control Legislation

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo along with his colleagues in the House and Senate passed legislation to ban all flavored tobacco products and tax vaping products in an effort to protect youth from the harmful effects of tobacco usage.

Known as An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control, the legislation also requires commercial health insurers and MassHealth to cover tobacco cessation counseling and all nicotine replacement therapies with generics offered without any cost to the consumer. The flavor ban includes a ban on menthol cigarettes and restricts higher nicotine level products to age 21 plus tobacco shops and smoking bars.

“Massachusetts moved quickly to act on behalf of the children of the Commonwealth to modernize our laws that regulate tobacco,” said Speaker DeLeo, (D – Winthrop). “The bill bans all flavored tobacco and makes it easier for people to access the tools they need to quit tobacco use. This nation-leading step will save lives. I hope other states will follow our example in combatting this public health crisis with comprehensive legislation amid inaction by the Trump Administration. I thank Chairs Mahoney and Gregoire for their diligence on this issue, and the Senate for their partnership.”

“The negative effects of nicotine are irrefutable, and the health impacts of vaping are staggering,” said Sen. Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop). “Addressing its proliferation among students and teens is one of the clearest steps we can take to prevent another generation from becoming addicted to nicotine.”

“I thank Speaker DeLeo, Chair Mahoney and Chair Gregoire for bringing this important piece of public health legislation to the floor of the House for consideration,” said Rep. Vincent (D-Revere).  “For the past few years, high school students from my district have been advocating to me for the passage of ban on flavored tobacco because they know all too well how tempting this and vaping are to their peers.  Knowing now how dangerous smoking is as opposed to when smoking was in vogue years ago, I am proud that the House took this step to protect the public health of the next generation in modernizing our tobacco laws.”

In Massachusetts, 9,300 adults die annually from smoking, and more than 20 percent of high school students report having used vaping products. More than 80 percent of teens who have used a tobacco product started with a flavored product such as mint or menthol.  The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported three vaping-related deaths to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Massachusetts, smoking is estimated to cost more than $4 billion in direct healthcare costs.

A Change In School Breakfast

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Rep. RoseLee Vincent along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation ensuring Massachusetts’ students have access to breakfast after the beginning of the instructional day. This bill will increase school breakfast participation while supporting the health and education of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable students.

An Act Regarding Breakfast After the Bell, requires public schools where 60 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to offer its students breakfast options after classes begin.

“We recognize that students need a healthy breakfast so they are ready for learning in the classroom, and this legislation gives that opportunity to all students,” said Speaker DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “This legislation builds on the House’s ongoing support of children’s wellness, and I want to thanks Chair Peisch, Vice Chair Vega and Representative Vargas for their work on this issue.”

“This legislation helps to provide students with nutritious meal as the school day is getting started so that they are focused and ready to learn,” said Rep. Vincent (D-Revere). “I’d like to thanks Speaker DeLeo for his leadership on taking up this important issue for our communities.”

This legislation builds on the House’s ongoing efforts to prioritize programs that support the health, wellbeing and academic success of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children. Research shows 1 in 10 households and 1 in 9 children in Massachusetts are food insecure. Providing breakfast to students has been shown to improve concentration, increase school attendance and decrease tardiness and visits to the school nurse. It also serves to destigmatize traditional school breakfast programming by supporting an all-inclusive schoolwide option.

 Key provisions of the bill are as follows: 

• Requires all public schools where not less than 60 percent of the students at the school are eligible for free or reduced-price meals to offer all students a school breakfast after the beginning of the instructional day.

• Allows schools the flexibility to use the model that best suits its students that may include: breakfast in the classroom, grab and go breakfast, or second chance breakfast in the cafeteria.

• Directs DESE to issue guidance or regulations in order to implement programming, allowing for consultation with nonprofit organizations with experience regarding the opportunity gap, hunger and food security issues, and best practices for improving student access to school breakfast.

• Requires DESE to develop and distribute a schedule by Jan. 1, 2020 for districts to begin implementing breakfast after the bell programming, collect data on availability and participation rates and make information publicly available on its website.

• Requires full implementation by the start of 2022 school year. Requirement can be waived for 1 year if a school is already meeting an 80 percent or higher breakfast participation rate or is able to demonstrate an extreme hardship to implementation. Schools approved for a one year waiver must demonstrate the progress being made to meet the requirements of the bill.

The bill will now go to the Senate.

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