Local Updates from ABC News Radio for New Bedford.


New Acushnet River Park to Open Friday 

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) -- The City of New Bedford will unveil a new park on the banks of the Acushnet River on Friday.

New Bedford Parks, Recreation & Beaches, along with the Department of Public Infrastructure and Mayor Jon Mitchell will join community members to celebrate the opening of River's End Park.

The new location will feature a "unique playground" to provide "intentional experiences and create space that give children the opportunity to better understand and appreciate the natural world," according to city officials.

The official celebration is set for 1 p.m. Friday in New Bedford's north end.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Life Insurance Company to Refund MA Seniors More than $550,000 

(BOSTON) -- A life insurance company is set to refund Massachusetts seniors more than $550,000 for alleged sales of unsuitable insurance policies and annuities, officials announced Friday.

John Hancock Life Insurance Company, along with its subsidiary broker-dealer, agreed on the settlement involving one of its representatives, James E. Moniz. Officials claim the company failed to supervise Moniz, who associated with a mortgage broker from a separate company to convince senior clients to take out reverse mortgages and invest in unsuitable variable annuities.

The employee was terminated in 2013 for the alleged conduct.

In addition to the $550,000 refund, John Hancock is required to make 145 refund and penalty waiver offers to affected consumers, according to the Attorney General's office.

"Consumers should be aware that using funds from a reverse mortgage to invest in financial products like annuities is always risky. Variable life insurance policies and variable annuities may not be appropriate investments for older individuals because of steep surrender and withdrawal penalties," officials said in a statement.  "Before purchasing any financial product, consumers should always ask questions and make sure that they understand the investment risks, read any forms that they sign, and never sign blank forms."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Woman Shot in Head with BB Gun

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) -- A New Bedford woman was shot in the head by a BB gun on Thursday afternoon, prompting a police investigation.

According to the Standard-Times, the woman was leaving her Ashley Boulevard apartment when she was struck by the pellet at about 2:41 p.m.

The pellet did not penetrate the skin, but the woman was taken to St. Luke's Hospital for an evaluation.

Anyone with information is asked to call (508) 991-6300 ext. 320.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Enterovirus Confirmed in Massachusetts

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) -- Enterovirus 68, the respiratory disease that has spread to over 30 states, was confirmed in a school-aged child in Massachusetts earlier this week.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the child, who has a history of asthma, fell ill earlier this month. While the child was treated and released from the hospital, it was confirmed that the child was suffering from the disease.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner said that the disease "can be serious" for children with asthma or other respiratory diseases.

The CDC says Enterovirus 68 has been confirmed in 220 people in 32 states.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


EEE Found in Mosquito in New Bedford Area

(NEW BEDFORD, Mass.) -- The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday that it had confirmed the presence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in at least one mosquito in the New Bedford area.

According to the New Bedford Health Department, the mosquito was found in the area of Washburn Street and Logan Street.

Spraying, the department says, was completed for the season last week, and will not re-commence as spraying for mosquitoes is "no longer an effective tool in reducing the threat under current temperature conditions."

Still, officials say that residents should take precautions, including avoiding being outdoors during peak biting times -- between dusk and dawn. Those who live in the area should also wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when possible and use insect repellents with DEET when outdoors.

The risk of diseases transmitted via mosquitoes remains, the New Bedford Health Department says, until an area experiences a hard frost -- two consecutive hours of temperatures below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio