Headline-grabbing events included a tropical storm and lengthy power outages, star turns on the dance floor, a political reshuffle, and lots of snow days.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
Four local teenagers — David and Jacob Guzman and Kyle Scanlan, all of Brockton,
and Matthew Gilmore of Canton — were featured on ABC’s ‘‘Dancing with the Stars’’ on Nov. 15.
Stoughton High School alum Kenny Wormald starred in the remake of the 1984 hit movie ‘‘Footloose.’’
HOLLYWOOD COMES TO QUINCY
Camera crews descended on the old Quincy High School to shoot scenes for the movie ‘‘Here Comes the Boom.’’ The film, starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek, is scheduled to be released later this year.
BYE BYE BARNEY
Longtime US Representative Barney Frank announced that he would not seek reelection. Frank represents the Fourth District, which includes Foxborough, Freetown, Halifax, Lakeville, Mansfield, Marion, Mattapoisett, Middleborough, Norton, Raynham, Rochester, Sharon, and Wareham.
Meanwhile . . . the freshly drawn congressional map created a new district representing Cape Cod, the South Coast, and the coastal sections of Plymouth County. US Representative William R. Keating, a Quincy Democrat, announced that he would move to his summer home on Cape Cod to run for this new Ninth District congressional seat.
TAKING ON ROTO-ROOTER
Three local plumbers — Kristian Pedersen of Middleborough, Russell Mullen of Whitman, and Jennifer Alves of Mattapoissett — are suing Roto-Rooter. They filed a lawsuit in Plymouth Superior Court in February alleging that Roto-Rooter sent out unlicensed plumbers to do work, violated labor laws by failing to pay for all the hours they worked, and penalized them after they joined a class-action lawsuit against the company. The company denied the allegations. In November a judge sent both sides to mediation to settle the dispute. The lawsuit is still pending.
The capture of James J. ‘‘Whitey’’ Bulger made headlines during the summer. After Bulger was apprehended with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, in California on June 22, he was locked up in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility. Bulger remains behind bars in Plymouth while his case is pending.
Wahlburgers restaurant, whose owners include brothers Paul, Donnie, and Mark Wahlberg, held its grand opening at Hingham Shipyard in October. The restaurant offers traditional American fare like hamburgers, hot dogs, and frappes in a casual, star-studded atmosphere.
The new Norwood High School opened its doors in September. The $68.7-million building features a central courtyard, rooftop solar panels, and a double-length gymnasium. Dave & Buster’s, a 33,000-square-foot Braintree restaurant and arcade, opened a week earlier than anticipated in December. The new establishment features 170 games and has drawn big crowds since it opened.
A new senior center opened at 30 Evergreen St. in Kingston. The Kingston Senior Center Building Committee and Council on Aging held a grand opening and dedication ceremony in February.
Newbury Comics opened a new store at South Shore Plaza.
TURF, TURF, EVERYWHERE
Braintree, Brockton, Dedham, Hanover, Norwood, and Randolph were among the latest high schools to install new artificial turf fields. Last time we counted (in December), there were 20 synthetic turf fields among the 50 public high schools south of Boston.
Hingham (Division 1, photo above) and Duxbury (Division 2) won state girls’ hockey titles
Marshfield won D1 boys’ hockey title
Hull won D4 girls’ basketball title
Plymouth North won D2 state baseball title
Cohasset won D4 state baseball title
Duxbury boys won D1 lacrosse title
Westwood girls won D1 lacrosse title
Mansfield boys won allstate track title
Fall: Whitman-Hanson girls won Division 1 all-state crosscountry title
Duxbury High School’s football team finished its second straight undefeated season. In December, the Green Dragons beat Tewksbury, 35-0, and took home the Division 2 Super Bowl title. The victory extended their winning streak to 26 games, the longest in the state.
COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ACT
148 Number of communities that have adopted the Community Preservation Act
26 Number of Globe South communities that have adopted the CPA
2 Upcoming referenda votes: (Residents in Canton and Freetown will soon vote on whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act. Both towns are considering a 1 percent surcharge.)
Canton’s Voting Day: 04/03/2012
Freetown’s Voting Day: 06/04/2012
SOURCE: Massachusetts Department of Revenue
NATURE MAKES ITSELF FELT
TROPICAL STORM IRENE
On Aug. 28, Tropical Storm Irene hit Massachusetts and left thousands of people without electricity. There were massive power outages in several communities south of Boston, and some residents had to wait nearly a week for their electricity to be restored. Locals weren’t pleased: Officials in Duxbury, Hanover, Marshfield, and Quincy took their complaints to the state and asked the Department of Public Utilities to investigate why it took utility companies so long to get the lights back on.
DID YOU FEEL THAT?
On Aug. 23, the region was rattled — ever so slightly — by an earthquake that originated in Virginia. Tremors from the 5.8-magnitude quake could be felt up and down the East Coast. Luckily, it caused minimal damage here.
Susan Lewis of Dover and South Carolina bought the old Norwood Theatre and is carrying out a multimillion-dollar restoration. The theater, which was built in 1927, is scheduled to reopen in August 2012.
Regal Cinemas at the Independence Mall in Kingston is being gutted and transformed into a bigger, modern cinemaplex with stadium seating and an Imax-like screen. The project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2012.
Abington School Committee chairman Russ FitzGerald made headlines last fall after he performed a ‘‘magic trick’’ with a bra during a public meeting on Sept. 27. The stunt was broadcast live on local cable access TV. The incident quickly became national news and stirred discussion about whether video footage of the embarrassing moment should be released to the public. Officials ultimately decided to keep the video under wraps, and declined to release any copies. FitzGerald subsequently apologized and resigned from the committee.
In July, Mark Joseph resigned from his post as Norwood School Committee chairman after he was accused of taking kitchen equipment out of the old Norwood High School building while it was being cleared for demolition.
In October, the new Norwood School Committee chairman —William Plasko Jr.—was arrested and charged with breaking and entering into a Norwood home at night and indecent assault on a woman occupant. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Oct. 11 and was released on personal recognizance. Plasko was placed on administrative leave from his job as principal of the Wareham Cooperative Junior/Senior High School. He stepped down as chairman of the Norwood School Committee, but said he wanted to remain a member of the board. Plasko is due back in court Jan. 20, according to the Dedham District Court clerk’s office.
In October, Robert A. Sullivan, the West Bridgewater representative to the Southeastern Regional School Committee, was convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 when he served as a Boy Scout troop leader in 2009. Sullivan resigned from the school board and was sentenced to 2 1/2 years plus probation, but had to serve just one month of jail time. He reported to the Plymouth County Correctional Facility on Halloween and was released on Nov. 29.
Former substitute teacher and boys’ tennis coach Jon J. O’Keefe lost his job at Abington High School after he was accused of inappropriate ‘‘friending’’ on Facebook. O’Keefe was charged with three counts of solicitation of sexual conduct for a fee. The 31-year-old Waltham resident pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in June. According to the Brockton District Court clerk’s office, his next court date is Jan. 26.
REAL ESTATE MOVES
Lakeville: In October, the financially troubled Lakeville Country Club was purchased a week before it was to be auctioned. Derek Maksy, a Lakeville selectman and owner of a cranberry bog abutting the country club, bought the 180-acre property for $3.2 million. According to the assessors’ office, Maksy got a good deal: The course was valued at nearly $1 million more.
Carver: In September, Edaville Railroad owner Jon Delli Priscoli announced that he was taking the amusement park off the market and refurbishing the place himself. Delli Priscoli had originally put the 230-acre property up for sale for $10 million. Last year’s holiday train ride, billed as the train’s last, drew 170,000 riders. Delli Priscoli continues to run events at the park and may put Edaville back on the market later this year.
Middleborough: A retirement community of manufactured homes in north Middleborough was purchased in November for $55 million. It was reported to be one of the priciest real estate sales in town. Hometown America, a privately held company based in Illinois, bought the 1,000-acre Oak Point complex from Gary Darman and Don Smith, the same pair of developers who built Oak Point and oversaw its operation for decades.
Norton: A former General Motors warehouse in Norton’s Commerce Park was purchased in June by Horizon Beverages, one of the largest family-owned liquor distributors in New England, for $43 million. Horizon’s new headquarters is scheduled to open this summer, and is expected to bring with it 381 existing jobs and 35 new ones.
Milton: Milton selectmen voted to sell the town-owned Governor Stoughton Poor Farm to a housing developer. The property was originally left to the town by Governor William Stoughton in 1701 ‘‘for the use and benefit of the poor.’’
SUCCESSFUL TAX-LIMIT OVERRIDES
East Bridgewater: Two overrides passed: $3.75 million for the new senior center, and $77 million for the new juniorsenior high school.
Norton: Town voters approved a $34 million debt exclusion for major renovation of the high school.
Hingham: Voters approved raising taxes to pay for a new $60.9 million middle school.
Scituate: Voters approved a $2.2 million operational override.
Marshfield: Voters approved a debt exclusion for a new high school; the town expects to borrow about $54 million to create a larger school with more playing fields and an auditorium.
Duxbury: Voters approved a $128 million debt exclusion to replace both the middle and high schools with a single new campus.
Hanson: Two tax increase proposals were defeated: a $584,000 override to cover operational expenses and an $800,000 debt exclusion that would have paid for a new school roof.
Walpole: Voters turned down a $4.7 million debt exclusion to buy the Walpole Woodworkers property. The land, located off East Street, has since been sold to a developer.
Carver: Voters rejected — by 30 votes — a nonbinding referendum to approve $45 million for a new elementary school.
Avon: Voters rejected a $221,269 override to cover the town’s budget deficit. However, they approved a $950,000 temporary tax increase to fix the Butler School roof.
A SAMPLING OF COMINGS AND GOINGS
- Weymouth’s longtime town clerk, Franklin Fryer, retired at year’s end. Fryer was elected to the post in 1966.
- Raynham Town Clerk Helen B. Lounsbury retired, and local selectmen appointed her daughter, assistant town clerk Marsha Silvia, to fill the post until the town election in April.
- Sharon Fire Chief Dennis Mann retired after more than 30 years with the department.
- Sharon School Superintendent Barbara Dunham retired.
- Holbrook Town Clerk M. Shirley Austin retired after 39 years.
- Weymouth School Superintendent Mary Jo Livingstone died unexpectedly.
- Michael Yunits left his post as the town administrator of Holbrook to become Norton’s new town manager.
- Dan Raymondi of Quincy quit the City Council after 20-plus years to become the city’s Department of Public Works director.
- State Representative Tackey Chan of Quincy finished his first year on Beacon Hill. He is one of the first Asian-Americans to serve in the Massachusetts Legislature.