From the lens of the Mauler.

MillCity Screw Job: Flood Plains expand, Policy Rates go up.


Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Massachusetts is being swamped with horror stories of skyrocketing insurance premiums for homes on the water’s edge and, more recently, in adjacent areas once considered safe from flooding.
State legislators and the state’s congressional delegation say they are hearing of rates jumping by as much 1,000 percent, driven by changes in a federal insurance program and by data suggesting that more properties are at risk from rising ocean levels and climate change.
State Rep. James Cantwell, a Marshfield Democrat, says he has heard of premiums increasing as much as $60,000 per year. Other lawmakers have similar stories.
“The highest one I’ve seen was $60,000,” said U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat. “The house was only worth $250,000. In roughly four years, you’ve basically paid for your house.”

I suppose if you’ve never lived in a flood plain, this story is just white noise. But you’d be surprised how many properties in Lowell fall inside the re-drawn flood maps. And I’m not talking about the obvious river huggers and those savages still living along Beaver Brook. I’m talking about downtown Mill Condos, or my old house that was a solid driver -three wood distance from Trull F’n Brook. That’s right, Trull Brook. That’s the moment you know the program is bull shit. In seven years, the neighborhood didn’t see a puddle big enough for Centralville kids to cross the city and play in. (The region saw 30 year floods in this period) But I still had to carry a $280/month premium.

Generally, no lender is going to approve a mortgage for a property in a flood plain without a flood insurance policy. And not surprisingly, they generally require coverage for the entire principle amount of the loan. In other words, you’re basically paying a premium to indemnify the bank, not that dirty papasan chair that’s inexplicably still in your basement mansworld.

The good news is that the flood maps don’t consider the elevation of structures on your property. If you’re not packing puddles, and are paying for a hefty policy, you may want explore obtaining a FEMA map amendment. For a few hundred dollars to hire a surveyor to shoot the elevation of your basement window, you can in all likelihood be removed from the plain via a letter of map amendment. You get to save yourself some monthly cabbage that you can spend downtown.

PS. This advice isn’t free. I charge a 3% commission, or a beer if you see me at a hockey game.


Busy Thursday?!?!


Friend of the blog and author Donna Lethal is making her triumphant return to Lowell this week for a limited visit before heading back home to Los Angeles.  Thursday night at 7pm at Zeitgeist she’ll be doing a reading from her book “Milk of Amensia” which is all about growing up back in the 70’s and 80’s in the Mill City.

Can’t argue with facts…our Handcock Buildings are little larger than everyone elses.

20131219-150845.jpg, which claims to be America’s first online condom store (who knew!), has decided to conduct its own very important, highly scientific study*. According to a press release, the website compiled condom sales data by state to find out which states bought a higher-than-average amount of larger-sized condoms.
The result? A list of all 50 states, “ordered by penis size”–and some surprising news for the Dakotas.
1. North Dakota
2. Rhode Island
3. South Dakota
4. District of Columbia
5. Massachusetts
6. Ohio
7. Arizona


45. Alaska
46. North Carolina
47. Wyoming
48. Arkansas
49. Hawaii
50. Mississippi

Imagine how the Baystate would fare if we weren’t lousy with Irish guys and cold weather? Quite impressive if I do say so myself. Packing heat for days….



<A South Boston man was arrested Wednesday afternoon for allegedly assaulting a 66-year-old neighbor over a parking spot, police said.
According to a police report, the victim told police he arrived home to find Juan Beltran-Rivera parked in a spot on East Eighth Street in South Boston that the victim paid to have shoveled-out earlier in the day.
The victim confronted Beltran-Rivera about the spot, according to the report, and the two began to argue.
Beltran-Rivera, 32, told police that he became intimidated by the victim during the argument and “things got out of hand,” the report said.
Police said Beltran-Rivera punched the victim, temporarily knocking him unconscious. Beltran-Rivera was arrested and charged with assault and battery on a person who has attained an age over 65, the report said.
Responding officers said in the report that the victim had serious cuts on his face, and his left eye was swollen shut. They also observed a pool of blood at the site of the alleged assault, which was 20 feet from the intersection of East Eighth and Mercer streets.

While no, I am not a licensed attorney with regard to US/Massachusetts criminal law, I happen to be an expert in the matter of Pirate Law. While Massachusetts district attorney’s may beg to differ, the South Boston spot saving rituals falls under the jurisdiction of Pirate Law. Per Pirate law, you’re absolutely permitted to save freshly shoveled parking spaces with whatever household item you deem necessary to let all the other savages out there know that this little island of dry pavement belongs to you. As such, one should also expect territorial pirate wrath should you land on another Pirate’s island. It is to be expected. You either move to another spot or prepare to engage in pirate warfare. It’s the will of the people.

While generally my instinct tells me to never trust a gentlemen with hyphenated last name, I would have to rule in favor of Beltran-Rivera. He was simply following pirate protocol. Give the man his freedom, and give the man his space.

BTW, paying someone to shovel your space negates your pirate right to save parking spaces. The only thing less pirate-like is getting one punched by a Latin pirate in the middle of East 8th Street. I guess this really isn’t your grandfather’s Southie anymore.

Salukis Basketball checks in with Coach rant of the year, just before the buzzer.

“Turnovers for tax credits?” I love it. I suspect we’re already honoring that policy here in Massachusetts. “Mama’s Boy’s?” A throw back…and I love it. As for Mrs. Hinson dropping a pair of field goals in a collegiate game? No chance. That’s preposterous. I don’t even think she could get into the paint.

Mrs Hinson courtesy of the Daily Mail.