The Police Community Engagement advisory committee has posted a survey here: https://docs.google....aQpNe332iVe5VKQYLT5s
that they're hoping will be filled out by anyone who has had interactions with Montague police. You don't have to be a Montague resident, and they're interested in everyone's experience: good, bad, or indifferent.
Holy crap. Another pot shop, just what we need. The one in Turners is suffering to stay alive . I hope the town wakes up and says no. But I'm sure all they will see is the FEW (very few ) dollars they can blow on crap like moving a stupid statue. Don't care if it is a GRANT, who do you think Pays for the grant in the end? US. Ed
I have heard conflicting reports about trick or treating in town this year. It seems many houses are opting out, understandably, but are some houses still planning on doing safe/staggered options? I also saw the Montague Village Store may be offering a drive through..? just wanted to see if I’d get any feedback here.
I hope our school comm. saved the money they are not spending this year on not needing the buses . I think we should get a rebate on taxes as well . But like the rest of this town I'm sure it will be BLOWN , just to blow it. Pretty damn sad. I'm sure there is more saved with no sport buses needed as well. Time to cap the well...........
Sure as he## hasn't gotten any better. When I do answer I use Millers Police, what is the nature of your emergency. Stopped about a third of the crap calls. I usually just hit block on my phone . Found out our lovely gov't does sell the do not call list. Nice of them.
Yes, It's Bad. Robocalls, and Their Scams, Are Surging.
By TARA SIEGEL BERNARD, MAY 6, 2018
It's not just you.
Those pesky robocalls — at best annoying disturbances and at worst costly financial scams — are getting worse.
In an age when cellphones have become extensions of our bodies, robocallers now follow people wherever they go, disrupting business meetings, church services and bedtime stories with their children.
Though automated calls have long plagued consumers, the volume has skyrocketed in recent years, reaching an estimated 3.4 billion in April, according to YouMail, which collects and analyzes calls through its robocall blocking service. That's an increase of almost 900 million a month compared with a year ago.
Federal lawmakers have noticed the surge. Both the House and Senate held hearings on the issue within the last two weeks, and each chamber has either passed or introduced legislation aimed at curbing abuses. Federal regulators have also noticed, issuing new rules in November that give phone companies the authority to block certain robocalls.
Law enforcement authorities have noticed, too. Just the other week, the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, warned consumers about a scheme targeting people with Chinese last names, in which the caller purports to be from the Chinese Consulate and demands money. Since December, the New York Police Department said, 21 Chinese immigrants had lost a total of $2.5 million.
Despite these efforts, robocalls are a thorny problem to solve. Calls can travel through various carriers and a maze of networks, making it hard to pinpoint their origins, enabling the callers to evade rules. Regulators are working with the telecommunications industry to find ways to authenticate calls, which would help unmask the callers.
In the meantime, the deceptive measures have become more sophisticated. In one tactic, known as "neighborhood spoofing," robocallers use local numbers in the hope that recipients will be more likely to pick up.
It's a trick that Dr. Gary Pess, a hand surgeon in Eatontown, N.J., knows all too well. He receives so many calls that mimic his area code and the first three digits of his phone number that he no longer answers them. But having to sort robocalls from emergency calls has cost him precious minutes.
Dr. Pess recounted an incident in which he didn't recognize a number and figured it was a robocall. He later learned it was an emergency room doctor calling about a person who had severed a thumb that he wanted Dr. Pess to reattach. "It delayed the treatment of a patient," he said.
Consumer advocates say they worry the flood of calls could get even worse. A federal court ruling recently struck down a Barack Obama-era definition of an auto-dialer, leaving it to the Federal Communications Commission to come up with new guidance. Advocates fear that it will open up the field to even more robocallers, leaving consumers with little recourse.
Business groups, including the Consumer Bankers Association, counter that defining auto-dialers too broadly would hurt legitimate businesses trying to reach their customers.
Robocallers see the current F.C.C. leadership "as friendly to industry," said Margot Saunders, senior counsel at the National Consumer Law Center, "and they are anticipating F.C.C. rulings that will enable more calling and forgive past mistakes — or violations of the current law."
A spokesman for the F.C.C. said the commission would seek public comment on how auto-dialers should be defined, and then "take action based on the record it compiles."
Complaints about telemarketers and scammers have steadily increased in recent years, with robocalls identified in the majority of cases.
Robocaller Live caller
2013 2.2m 1.5
2014 1.7 1.4
2015 2.1 1.4
2016 3.4 1.9
2017 4.5 2.6
By The New York Times | Source: Federal Trade Commission
Automated calls are increasing because they are cheap and easy to make. Robocallers can easily dial millions of consumers daily, experts say, at little cost.
That's essentially what one accused robocaller recently told legislators at a Senate hearing: Adrian Abramovich, a Miami man who regulators say made nearly 100 million "spoofed" robocalls, was peddling vacation packages that were advertised as coming from well-known companies like Marriott. But when consumers pressed to hear more, they were transferred to foreign call centers often trying to sell time shares, according to the F.C.C., which is seeking a $120 million fine. Mr. Abramovich has denied the charges and asked the regulator to reduce the penalty.
The calls are increasing despite stepped-up enforcement and other efforts to stamp them out, which some have likened to a game of Whac-a-Mole; robocallers find new phone numbers to hide behind once their numbers are ignored or blocked.
The federal Do Not Call List, which is supposed to help consumers avoid robocalls, instead resembles a tennis net trying to stop a flood. The list may prevent some (but not all) legitimate companies from calling people on the list, but it does little to deter fraudsters and marketers, some of them overseas, who are willing to take their chances and flout the law.
Complaints to federal regulators are also increasing sharply. The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the Do Not Call Registry, said there were 4.5 million complaints about robocalls in 2017, more than double the 2.18 million complaints logged in 2013.
"Everywhere I go, it is what people talk about," said Denise Grimsley, a Republican member of the Florida Senate, who said a woman named Elizabeth leaves her prerecorded messages several times daily selling a vacation package.
"But it's not just annoying," she added. "They are coming after your personal information."
How Robocallers Try to Defraud You
Estimated volumes of top phone scams in March 2018.
Category Type Volume
Interest rates "0% interest rates" 122.9m
Credit cards "Problem with your credit card" 82.5m
Student loans "Forgive/lower student debt" 71.0m
Business loans "Preapproved for business loan" 53.4m
I.R.S. "Owe money to the I.R.S." 43.4m
Search listings "Listing has a problem" 31.0m
Travel "Free/discount trip" 27.0m
Preapproved loans "Ready to wire – just need info" 26.2m
Home security "Free service/installation" 26.1m
Utilities "Save money – need your info" 19.2m
Florida passed a bill in March giving phone companies the authority to block certain robocalls.
Other efforts are underway. The Federal Trade Commission has held contests to encourage app developers to create innovative ways to block calls. And some phone companies offer blocking services, though "many people don't have access to free, effective robo-blocking tools," said Maureen Mahoney, a policy analyst at Consumers Union.
With some exceptions — like calls from schools on snow days — auto-dialed calls to mobile phones are typically illegal, unless a person has given prior consent. Advocates say courts have generally interpreted the law to say that when a consumer revokes that consent, the calls must stop — though they often don't.
The same rules apply to creditors seeking to collect debts, which lawyers and advocates say can be some of the most ruthless dialers.
There are fewer restrictions on landlines, unless you're on the Do Not Call list, but prerecorded telemarketing calls are always illegal without written consent, advocates say, and debt collectors must stop calling after consumers send a written request.
James Hunter, a Florida resident who is paralyzed below the waist and can no longer work, had his federal student loans forgiven. But Navient, the giant company that services and collects student debt, made more than 2,500 automated calls to him about his private loans over a period of about two years, sometimes calling nine times a day, according to Mr. Hunter's lawyer, who filed a suit on his behalf claiming Navient acted illegally.
Navient did not immediately comment.
For now, consumers must do their best to find ways to control the wave of calls. Brett Hein, a sports editor at a newspaper in Ogden, Utah, said that for him it was a losing battle. His mobile phone has been inundated with calls in recent weeks, rousting him from bed and twice interrupting him while he was volunteering in his son's kindergarten class.
"It's disconcerting to have your phone go off all the time," Mr. Hein said from a landline in his office, when his mobile phone began to ring.
It was another robocall. The fifth one that day.
A version of this article appears in print on May 6, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Yes, Those Calls You're Ignoring Are Increasing.
Ed, that is a good point. I don't think of montaguema.net as "the internet" anymore. Most traffic has moved to Facebook, networks like NextDoor and montague-mutual-aid; etc. Usually I post in "Buy Sell & Jobs" or "Real Estate", and have the sense few others see (or read) the posts. When I wrote this one, I was envisioning those "Reply" emails coming straight back to me via email. I wasn't even remembering that responses would show up on this page!
WHERE TO PICK WILD BERRIES?
Seeking help to find places where one person can considerately pick some raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or wild grapes -- when each of these appears this summer (& fall?). Either publicly accessible trails, etc., or if you have more on your own land than you need, I will be grateful!
I definitely want to do NO harm to land or vegetation anywhere.
I feel that berry craving, and the nutritional need for them. But it's not good for the budget to buy organic berries at current prices. And I'm trying hard to reduce my consumption of plastic packaging, which is sometimes part of the picture!
A quick check of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia...Falls,_Massachusetts) suggests that there is no obvious problem with Millers Falls. They agree that the original name was Grout's Corner, but somehow to me that seems like something you do when you make over a bathroom. . . . :-)
Hi. Not my Dad, an old friend. He also has nomorobo on his phone. That is also a joke. His home phone announces the caller so that helps. His cell is only on when they are out and about. Only gets them on that once or twice a month. Ed
Newbie, I agree with you on the spam calls. I still can't believe the carriers allow the calls through, since (a) it takes up their valuable resources, and (b) we don't want the calls!
The federal Do Not Call is a voluntary list, and some spammers actually grab the list and use it to make calls! So, it's not a resource anyone really uses anymore. It was built for legit businesses to purge their own call lists.
I have Verizon for my cell phone (not sure if your dad is on a cell or not), and they've introduced a new system where you get the name of the people calling, if they're legit or the number is real and actually registered with them, and "POTENTIAL SPAM" if not.
There are also apps you can install, like Mr. Number and RoboKiller, which I use. When a call comes in from a known spammer number, it blocks the call and you never hear it ring.
They'll get it right one of these days... either the carriers (Verizon, AT&T, etc), or the phone makers / software vendors.
I was at my old Dudes this morning and he got 5 crap calls. The new law on crap calls is the biggest joke since Trump. How can you report a number that doesn't excist (sp)? Wonder how many political hacks got jobs on do not call. ED
Most full-time town employees are represented by unions (and most of the rest have contracts that mirror union agreements), and those contracts provide for annual raises. Those raises do account for most of the police budget increase. You can see all the details here: https://montague-ma....Y21_Budget_File.xlsx (look for the "211 Police" tab. You can also find the details on all the other budgets, along with a lot of other information (this is the main file used by the finance committee in its budget deliberations). This file is found on the town's web site here: https://montague-ma.gov/p/374/, along with a bunch of other useful files.
IMHO, simple budget reductions (or increases) are a heavy-handed way of changing how departments operate. Ideally, they would come at the end of a process, not the beginning. In this case, I think it's clear that a lot of town meeting members would like to see changes in how policing is done in Montague; however, it was a close vote, so it wasn't an overwhelming mandate for change.
Instead, I see it as a mandate (opportunity) for town leaders and community members to begin substantive conversations about policing in Montague could or should be different. The success (or not) of that effort will depend (as so many efforts do) on who is willing to step up and be part of that process.
I had hoped when I asked the police chief for the reason for the request for increased funding that he would have given a more robust answer. Saying "contractual obligations" must not have been compelling for most 38-35. I expect the chief to be back at next special town meeting asking for his more money for his budget but with more detail. But I guess the town of Montague sent a "message" with the budget amendment but I don't know to whom they were addressing it to.
Mike Naughton, I think your overall question to our police dept. about how they view, and intend to respond, to the questions and proposed changes being raised nationally, is important to ask -- although I hold that the "answers" are not known yet, and will come from public forums as well as smaller conversations among community members and police.
The way you pose the question is respectful. I wish I had realized any of this was being discussed on montaguema.net, prior to Town Meeting. A clear presentation of the components of P.D. budget was not requested as part of the discussion, and I wish it had been. I see no evidence that we have any "extra" or "fat" in our budget. Montague could hardly be more different from L.A. or Minneapolis, in terms of these issues. I do think public conversations need to be deep and honest regarding problems that do exist, or any incidents that have occurred, that are sub-par and need improvement.
Restructuring the responsibilities of public-safety officers, AS WELL AS teachers and school staff, so that social services resources can handle counseling, conflict resolution, domestic abuse, and addiction interventions -- taking the lion's share of this work off the backs of police and schools -- would be a dream come true for so many of us!
The money to provide these alternatives, at a robust enough level, is not something we can raise from taxes locally. I believe we need a Federal government that taxes income at the rates of the Eisenhower years, and returns the lion's share to communities for infrastructure and human needs. A graduated income tax at the state level would help, as well.
You were missed at Town Meeting, Mike, and I hope you and your family are all safe and well.
* the "Message" box for creating new posts is very small -- 3 5/8" wide by 3/4" high on my monitor. Makes it impossible to see a post that's more than a few words, which makes proof-reading and editing cumbersome. Can it be made bigger?
* The "Submit Post" button is way down at the bottom. If you're replying to a long message, you have to scroll down to find it. Could it be located nearer the top?
One wayis that on Article 6, the omnibus general budget article, someone could raise a question about the police budget, asking something along the lines of, "How will this money be used to address the issues raised by recent demonstrations in Montague and around the country?" I would suggest giving Chief Williams and the selectboard and town administrator a heads up beforehand (say, by emailing them this week) that the question will be asked, so they have a chance to prepare. My idea is that it's best not to blind-side them -- give them as good a chance as possible to answer the question, and then see what they say.
I would do this myself, but, after a lot of thought, I've decided not to attend the meeting. Long story short, I'm in a high-risk category, as are members of my family, and that comes first. It wasn't an easy decision -- I think this will be the first annual meeting that I've missed in 20 years -- but it seems like the right one. So I'm hoping that someone who does go will decide to do this.