Jack Spillane of New Bedford Light on Star Store, Dunn Trial


New Bedford Light columnist Jack Spillane offers insight and informed opinions on the news of the day. You may not always agree with him, but his writing always makes you think.

It is a pleasure to welcome Spillane town square sunday on a periodic basis to offer insight into important stories on the South Coast. On this week’s agenda, we discussed a variety of recent stories, including the impact of a state decision to purchase the former Star Store building in downtown New Bedford for $1 .

Spillane and I view the Star Store purchase as a long-term commitment by the state to maintain the UMass College of Visual and Performing Arts in downtown New Bedford. It will keep students downtown and allow CVPA to remain a centerpiece of New Bedford’s growing arts community.

State Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford lobbied for the move. He helped devise the plan over 20 years ago to integrate the Star Store into the UMass system. Spillane suggested that the Star Store is a big part of Montigny’s legislative legacy, and I agree.

The trial of New Bedford Ward 3 Councilman Hugh Dunn, charged by the District Attorney’s Office with operating under the influence and other violations in connection with a May 2021 car accident, has been delayed repeatedly, and New Bedford Light wondered why.

Based on reporting by Anastasia Lennon of Light, Spillane said the legal process was delayed in part because of an arbitration process involving the three police officers who responded to the scene of the crash. Officers initially said they did not smell any alcohol on Dunn at the scene, but these statements were contradicted by an EMS employee who said Dunn appeared disoriented and smelled of alcohol.

Officers issued no citations or charges the night of the crash and were later suspended by the department without pay for mishandling the incident. The city’s police union is appealing the disciplinary measure to arbitration. It is likely that there will be no trial until this case is resolved. Dunn’s new trial date is October 11.

You can read Spillane’s columns and other important stories at newbedfordlight.org. His town square sunday listen to the interview here:

town square sunday is a public affairs program heard every Sunday morning at 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. on 2:20 p.m. and 99.5 FM. The program shines a light on individuals and organizations who are working to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization or charity to be featured on town square sundayplease email the host at [email protected]

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