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Humarock residents seek answers on bonfires

Humarock residents say they are still incensed over a July 3 conflict with Scituate officials over the longstanding practice of setting beach bonfires, and a few have even talked about seceding from the town.

The issues were aired in a meeting of the South Humarock Civic Association last Sunday, when more than 100 Humarock residents sat down to discuss next steps.

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“We’re paying millions of dollars in taxes on this peninsula and we don’t have a voice. We’re trying to figure it out how do we get heard,” said Jeanette Langlois, whose property was involved in the conflict.

According to residents, families were hosting an homage to beach bonfires July 3 with unlit pallets when officials came out with construction equipment, destroying and burying pallets on the beach.

Town officials say residents were told to remove pallets – typically used in bonfires – to ensure compliance with the ban on bonfires in town. When residents refused, safety personnel responded as promised.

On July 10, three Humarock residents came to a walk-in period of a selectmen’s meeting, hoping to hash out problems with officials. But officials said they were advised by town counsel not to discuss the issues, due to pending litigation with several residents. When the protests got heated, town officials asked them to leave.

Humarock residents say they aren’t sure where things will go from here. “We’re trying to get a dialogue, trying to get heard, find solutions, and no one will speak to us,” Langlois said. “The South Humarock Civic Association decided we needed to be civic-minded and work toward a solution and get the feelings of the residents . . . everyone has their own opinion, but the consensus is something is really wrong.”

The group plans to meet Sunday. “It’s a step at a time, and we’re in a process right now,’’ Langlois said. “We’re trying to be more thoughtful than the town was.”

Although there has been talk of secession by some, Langlois said Humarock isn’t at that point yet. According to Jack Kwesell, whose son-in-law John Jacey moderated Sunday’s meeting, the focus is on the July 3 issue. “The issue is the assault. We’d like to know the reason behind it,’’ he said.

Selectmen chairman Joseph Norton said, “If we could have a calm and sensible discussion, I don’t think the town has any problem’’ discussing an issue not in litigation.

As for the issue over the laws on bonfires, Selectman Tony Vegnani said, “I don’t think they realize that bonfires are illegal . . .  and if they don’t agree with the law, they should go to the State House.”

Reach Jessica Bartlett at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.
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