A committee is being formed to review conflicting data about how prevalent cheating is among students at Norwell High School. Superintendent Matthew Keegan said an academic integrity committee is being formed to study results from a survey given last year to students, parents, and teachers who had differing perspectives on how often students cheat on their schoolwork — with teachers being the group that thinks it goes on the most. “Based on the results, teachers think that some students cheat on their homework, for example, but fewer students and parents believe that this is happening,” Keegan said. “We want to determine why the perceptions differ.” The committee will be composed of students, teachers, parents, and administrators, and should be up and running by October, Keegan said.
Residents interested in filling out a Community Preservation Act
application have until Tuesday to make a submission at the Planning and Community Development Office in Town Hall. Signed into law in 2000 by then-governor Paul Cellucci, the act is geared to helping communities preserve open space and historic sites. Prospective applicants can still find a packet online at www.townofbraintreegov.org/documents/2013Application-revise.pdf. The packet includes information on eligibility and the Community Preservation Committee’s review process. All applications will be reviewed before the committee votes on which projects will be recommended to the Town Council for funding.
Milton public schools district’s adult education programs scheduled for this fall have opened registration for classes. The courses range in price, from $30 to $195, and topics span from writing a resume to developing photography skills to learning foreign languages. There are also fitness boot camps and yoga classes, a workshop on skincare and makeup application, and several courses on mastering computer and Microsoft software basics. More information and registration information can be found at www.tinyurl.com/miltonadulted
under the “Adult Education” tab. There will also be two walk-in registration nights at Milton High School on Sept. 15 and 16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. If one cannot register online or make the registration events, e-mail email@example.com.
Debbie Clifton, formerly assistant director and youth services librarian at the Holbrook Public Library, was named director in July by the board of trustees. In the fall, she plans to offer one-on-one computer help for Microsoft Office, resume writing, finding jobs, using the new library catalogue, and other topics at patrons’ requests, she said in an interview. Sign-up sheets will be available in September, she said. Although the showing of movies is temporarily on hold due to construction to install an elevator, other programs will continue, including children’s programs, day and evening adult book clubs, the handcrafters’ group, and the Great Decisions discussion group, she said.
A special Town Meeting on Nov. 17 will give residents a chance to vote on the costs of designing a new Town Hall. The issue, which has been the subject of debate for more than a decade, has come down to selectmen agreeing the facility should be built at the current South Street location, but whether it should go behind the current building, or on the same spot after the current structure is razed, is still undecided. Members of a Town Hall Working Group have also said that a third option, to renovate the current facility, is still an option but not necessarily the most viable. If voters approve the design spending plan, they would be asked again in a year to approve actual construction costs based on bids received. The proposed 17,000-square-foot building has been cut back in size to between 13,500 square feet and 14,500 square feet.
The school district has hired Ellen Honeyman, a longtime special education director in a range of school districts, to stand in for retired director Beverly Conte until a permanent replacement can be found. A candidate chosen to replace Conte during the search process withdrew from consideration, according to school officials. Honeyman will serve as interim director during the search for a successor, they said. Honeyman is a veteran special education director who has worked in districts including Springfield, Worcester, Wellesley, and Walpole.
Police Chief John Cowan praised his own officers as well as the officers of neighboring towns and the members of a regional SWAT team in the aftermath of a home invasion that involved car chases and an intense manhunt and eventually resulted in the arrest of nine suspects. Cowan addressed selectmen Monday about the July 29 incident in the North Central Street area, which saw the suspects plead not guilty to a variety of charges, including kidnapping with a firearm, home invasion with a firearm, kidnapping a child, armed kidnapping, and armed assault in a dwelling. East Bridgewater received mutual aid from neighboring communities such as Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Brockton, and Whitman as well as from the South Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT team and K-9 units. Cowan said that local businesses and other town departments such as the Fire Department and DPW aided in the effort. He said officials were in the process of obtaining search warrants for phones that were used during the incident. Cowan said the reverse-911 system worked well in notifying residents about what was happening on the morning of July 29 and praised residents for their patience with the roadblocks that followed the incident. “I’d like to thank the residents,” he said. “We never know where we’re going to set up.”
Selectmen have thrown their support behind a plan to create a revolving fund for residents to make donations to help local animals in need. Animal Control Officer Lisa Podielsky told the board that she has been approached by residents wanting to make a donation, but because there is no established fund, she has not been able to accept their money. The new fund, the creation of which will be on the Oct. 27 Special Town Meeting ballot for authorization, will supplement grant money the town receives for the spay/neuter program and for animal medical expenses. “We have a large stray cat population, too, so extra money will help with that,” Podielsky said. Selectman Paul Sadeck said that he is happy to see the creation of this fund. “Lisa [Podielsky] is doing a fabulous job,” he said. “If she recommends something, the board usually follows.”
As of early last week, three people had taken out papers for the open seat on the Board of Selectmen, according to the town clerk’s office. Town Clerk Kathleen Curran said Marilyn Howe and former Advisory Committee members Maura Curran — no relation to the town clerk — and Lincoln Heineman had pulled papers for the position vacated by Rick Murray, who quit on July 28 for personal reasons after eight years on the board. The term expires in May 2015. Potential candidates have until 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 to return nomination papers signed by at least 100 local registered voters. The special town election is scheduled for Nov. 4, the same time as the state election.
As the school year gets underway this week, students will see some new faces in appointed roles. School officials recently announced that Susan Shea Connor has been appointed assistant principal of Central Middle School, replacing Rick DeCristofaro Jr., who was named the school’s new principal in June. For the past two years, Connor has been a teacher leader at Holland Elementary in Boston. Stacey Bucci, who served as assistant principal for the past nine years at Point Webster Middle, will now be assistant principal at Broad Meadows Middle School. The assistant principal vacancy at Point Webster will be filled by Aliza Schneller, who had chaired North Quincy High’s foreign language department since 2008. She taught French there from 2003 to 2008.
The Water Street Bridge over Town Brook is being replaced, so the section of Water Street between Union and Leyden streets will be closed to traffic during construction. Officials from the town’s Department of Public Works said that portion of Water Street will be closed to all traffic beginning Tuesday, when Northern Construction Service LLC starts working on the bridge, and they expect the road to reopen by the middle of November. . The exact age of the bridge is unknown, but the bridge is an old one, no question. DPW director Jonathan Beder said a utility pipe that penetrates both walls dates back to 1891, and the bridge has most likely been rebuilt and modified over the years. According to Beder, the estimated cost of the project is $1.435 million.
Members of the Fractured Fairy Tales Book Club at the public library will get to speak with the author of their featured book next month, but he will not be there in person. Instead, the library has arranged for Christopher Healy to meet with the club members – children in roughly the third through sixth grades and their parents – by Skype. Healy will participate in a half hour question-and-answer session, part of the club’s overall hour-long monthly meeting on Sept. 29, according to Leslianne Costello, the youth services librarian. The club’s September book is Healy’s “The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.” “I’m so excited to kick off the new year of our Fractured Fairy Tales Book Club with a Skype meeting with this author,” Costello said. She learned of the opportunity to host the Skype visit when she was exploring activities for the September meeting and noticed on Healy’s website that he is available to meet with groups through that remote technology. Costello said the club welcomes new members and that the Sept. 29 event is open to all.
Wendy Todd Bidstrup presided over the Marion Art Center from 1985 to 2010, when she retired as its executive director. The art center’s historic bell tower was recently dedicated in her name, a structure that underwent extensive renovations the year after she left her post, with more than half of the money for the project donated by patrons and the rest from the town’s Community Preservation Fund, according to Deborah Bokelcamp, the center’s current executive director. Bokelcamp said longtime patron and supporter of the center Barbara Gee was a driving force for the dedication, including designing the plaque honoring Bidstrup that was installed on the building. In a release, Bidstrup said the dedication took her by surprise, adding that the center’s children’s programming was the favorite part of her job. The art center building was originally a church built in 1830, becoming the Marion Art Center in 1957. It also houses the permanent collection of portraits by painter Cecil Clark Davis, which Bidstrup continues to curate.
The Recreation Department is reminding residents that they can go camping right in their home town. Camp Kiwanee, the town-owned property off Route 58, includes a campground with 40 rustic cabins and six tent sites. The campground operates from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekends. While it is open to all, the town seeks to encourage more residents to use it. Each cabin has six Army-style cots. Two shower-equipped bathrooms serve the campground, and each area has small fire pits. The site is patrolled regularly by Hanson police and camp staff. The cost of a cabin is $30 a night, and a tent site $20 a night, and includes free access to Cranberry Cove, the public beach on Maquan Pond. Use of the beach normally requires a resident sticker or payment of a $4 day fee. Reservations are recommended for the campground, and can be made by calling the Recreation Department at 781-293-2333.
A place to get a great cup of coffee and some good food is what selectman, attorney, and now restaurateur Olivier Kozlowski is hoping to provide as he and two friends reopen the coffee shop at the Mansfield Station commuter rail stop. They are hoping to reopen the shop, which was closed by the former owner several months ago, in a week or two as the Firebox Café. “Something like this is in demand,” Kozlowski said, citing the 2,000 commuters who pass though Mansfield Station each weekday to take the Providence commuter rail line. “I’m really looking forward to it.” Kozlowski has partnered with Steven DiSarro Jr., a chef from Norwood, and Arnold Roquerre, who is in the hospitality business, to rent the property from GATRA. As time goes by, they hope to do some renovations, add a smartphone app that will allow train riders to order and pay for their coffee ahead of time, and possibly add some tables outdoors near the newly renovated North Common. News on exact opening date can be found at www.facebook.com/FireboxCafe.
Selectmen voted unanimously to appoint Francis T. Crimmins Jr. as town administrator, giving him a three-year contract to replace Michael McCue, who left in July to take a similar position in Rochester. The board will hold a welcoming reception Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Town Hall and “all residents are invited to stop by and meet [Crimmins] and extend their personal welcome to Avon,” according to selectmen chairman Francis Hegarty. The former first justice of the Stoughton District Court, Crimmins resigned as Stoughton’s town manager in March of 2012 after two years working for a divided board. An attorney, Crimmins also is a former selectman and moderator in Stoughton and most recently specialized in elderly law as a private attorney. He “brings a wide range of experience in municipal governance to the position” and will “lead Avon forward,” Hegarty said. He said Crimmins began work in Avon last week, with a starting annual salary of $135,000, with built-in increases to $140,000 in the third year.
The West Bridgewater Middle-Senior High School athletic teams will once again be road warriors for the 2014-15 school year. The construction of the new high school on the playing fields behind the present high school will force the Wildcats’ fall and spring teams to rely on the kindness of others. “We are doing the same thing we did last year,” said athletic director Steve Barrett. “We are using fields at neighboring schools for practices and games as well as fields at neighboring recreation departments.” The football team, for example, will play at Bridgewater-Raynham, which they did for the second half of last season. The new high school is expected to be completed by July 2015, but the new playing fields are not expected to be completed until January 2016, which means the fall teams are likely to be on the road again next fall.
School Committee chairman Erdem Ural sent a letter dated Aug. 24 to selectmen chairman T.J. Recupero requesting that Town Manager Michael Hartman provide the committee with a list of members for the School Building Committee, and requesting that Hartman cooperate with the committee “fully and honestly.” Hartman said that his office sent notification to the School Committee of the composition of the board via interoffice e-mail. In his letter, Ural also said Hartman refused to consult with the School Committee before deciding to appoint committee member Carol Brown to the building committee. “While Mr. Hartman purportedly appointed a member of the School Committee to the School Building Committee, he did so without asking the full School Committee which member or how many members are interested in serving on the School Building Committee,” Ural wrote, adding that more than one committee member could be part of the School Building Committee. He also claimed that Hartman held the first meeting of the building committee without informing the School Committee, and the committee went unrepresented. Other town officials or department heads who are part of the committee include Recupero, Hartman, Finance Committee chairman Richard Hill, Procurement Officer Maureen Doherty, Superintendent of Schools Marguerite Rizzi, and Joel Harding, the schools’ director of maintenance and operations.
The public is invited to the opening of the Doggetts Brook Trail Sept. 13 at 1 p.m., starting at the Dexter Lane ball fields, the newest public walking trail in town. The event is sponsored by the town, the Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts, and the Rochester Land Trust. The trail starts at the ball fields and runs past a reservoir, old cranberry bogs, a vernal pool, and open fields and woodlands. The parcel was purchased with funding from the Rochester Land Trust and Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program. The trailhead is marked by a display case, with maps, and is located near the center of town, which Rochester Land Trust Treasurer Russ Keeler said by phone “makes it sort of unusual. When you’re on the trail you think you’re in another part of the world.” He said the trailhead location at the town ball fields “is nice because there’s plenty of parking, it has good access and visibility.” The trail, which takes about 40 minutes to walk, connects two other parcels, one owned by the town, the other by the Wildlands Trust, which together with the trail total around 100 acres, Keller said.
The Board of Selectmen recently signed a contract with Robert Iafrate to serve as the town’s new full-time building commissioner. Iafrate, a Bridgewater resident, is set to assume his new post this week, according to Joseph R. Pacheco, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. The one-year contract calls for Iafrate to receive an annual salary of about $70,000, Pacheco said. Iafrate has been building commissioner in Wareham since last June. Prior to that he was building commissioner in Lakeville for six years. Dennis Machado, who has been Raynham’s part-time acting commissioner for about five years, is resigning to return to his prior post as part-time building inspector. The inspector’s job has been vacant since Machado became acting commissioner. Due to increasing building activity, selectmen opted to make the commissioner’s job full time and have Machado remain as part-time inspector.
A trolley stop at the Norwood Airport to see combat planes will be a new feature of this year’s Norwood Day, which will be held Sept. 13. Recreation director Jerry Miller said in an interview the event attracts approximately 15,000 people each year. He said it’s really a long weekend of activities, as games and fireworks are held Friday night at the Coakley Middle School, along with a small parade, road race, and a host of activities, including a “taste of Norwood,” on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and a police and firefighter softball game on Sunday. He said admission buttons can be purchased beforehand for $3 at various locations, including town hall, the library, and the senior center. The cost of the buttons is $5 the day of the event. Proceeds from this year’s event will help pay for a firefighters’ memorial at the cemetery, Miller said.
If you own a home in town and know fall is the time to change your fire and carbon monoxide detector batteries but fear you might forget, your fire department will do it for you. The department is giving free batteries to homeowners Sept. 13 and 14, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “Usually, we tell people to change them when they change their clocks in November,” said Fire Department Lieutenant Justin Dubois. “But we wanted to do it sooner, since many people own summer homes here, and we wanted to do it before they left for the season,” Dubois said by phone. They’re also doing it in advance of National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 5 through 11. “We want to get them in now and help people out,” Dubois said. Homeowners can call the department at 508-758-4150 to schedule a time. Firefighters will also give families fire prevention tips and literature, and help them form a fire escape plan, he said. Dubois said 250 batteries were donated for the cause by Interstate Batteries.
Massasoit Community College has contracted with Boston Coach to run free bus service to its Canton campus from six locations throughout Canton and the surrounding communities. The first bus run is at 7:15 a.m. and ends with a pickup from the campus at 1:50 p.m. A full schedule is located at www.massasoit.edu/canton-bus/. College officials said the shuttle service was established last spring as a pilot program. “We know that transportation can be an issue for our students, and currently there are no public transportation lines connecting with the Canton campus,” vice president Nick Palantzas said in a statement.
The senior center is offering flu shots to Medicare Part B recipients in September and October. Out-of-town residents are welcome, but all participants must have Medicare Part B and have their insurance cards with them, said Stacy Driscoll, nutrition site coordinator for the senior center, in an interview. The cost is covered by the insurance, she said. Shots are available Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon and Oct. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A pharmacist from Walgreens will administer the shots at the senior center, at 10 Wally Krueger Way.
The Board of Selectmen is seeking residents interested in filling the town’s two appointees on the new board of directors that is being established to oversee SouthField, the planned redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. The creation of the new nine-member board is among the provisions of legislation recently signed into law that completely overhauls the governance of Southfield. Town manager Allan R. Ciocca said that applicants must have a demonstrated expertise and educational experience in real estate development, housing, finance, planning, or engineering. Anyone interested is asked to submit their resume to the Board of Selectmen’s office. The selectmen plan to interview applicants at their meeting Tuesday and anticipate they will make appointments that night. “Due to the requirements of the legislation, the board must act quickly,” he said.
John McKeown recently began work as the new executive director of the Pembroke Housing Authority. McKeown was tapped by the authority’s board to replace Sharon Sylvester, who died this past January. Kathy Pagliuca, a former director of the authority, served as interim director during the search A Westwood resident, McKeown brings 25 years of experience in real estate investment and development in the public and private sectors. Most recently, he served from April until the end of July as executive director of the Hanson Housing Authority, and for about two years before that as a project development consultant for the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Pembroke’s housing authority oversees a combination of state- and federally funded housing units for families, seniors, and people with disabilities, and federal rental housing vouchers. McKeown said he is excited by the chance to lead the agency. “I think the community at large, the residents it serves, and the staff and the board are all terrific,” he said. “My goal is to bring the Pembroke Housing Authority to the pinnacle, to make it the model housing authority on the South Shore and beyond.”
At a special work session set for Wednesday, the School Committee will discuss what Marshfield hopes to see in a new school superintendent and how the search process will proceed. Departing Superintendent Scott Borstel, who will teach at Johnson & Wales University, plans to leave in December. “We don’t have to go into crisis mode, fortunately,” committee chairwoman Marti Morrison said in an interview. She said the district was lucky to have someone of Borstel’s caliber. He worked to develop leadership abilities in other administrators and introduced a more collaborative bargaining system called interest-based bargaining to union negotiations, she said. Further discussion of the search will also be placed on the regular School Committee agenda for Sept. 9, she said. The Wednesday work session begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Seth Ventress Building.
A former outreach director for the state’s Department of Veterans’ Services began last week as director of the new Veterans Service District consisting of Abington and Whitman, said Abington Town Manager Richard LaFond. James Crosby will make $48,000 to start and will be splitting his time between the two town halls, at least until a part-time assistant is hired. Previously, the towns each had their own veterans directors. Crosby served as director of outreach for the state Department of Veterans Services from January 2008 to December 2011.
The town’s Emergency Management, Emergency Communication group is offering a free class for anyone interested in amateur, or ham, radio. The six-week class will be held Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon, starting Saturday, at the Rolls Royce facility at 110 Norfolk St. The course will cover everything required to take the licensing exam to become a ham radio operator. To register, or for more information, contact Roger Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Don Rolph at AB1PH@arrl.net.
A public meeting to discuss the parking in Wareham Village will be held Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. at the Town Hall auditorium at 54 Marion Road. Representatives of Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, which has been hired by the town, will talk about ways to improve parking in the village center, and the public is welcome to weigh in with opinions and suggestions. The Wareham Community and Economic Development Authority is also asking people to fill out this online parking survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/warehamvillage. There are 10 questions, including “How long did/does it take you to find a spot?” and “In the last three months, have you ever failed to find parking and just left?” Parking has become a hot topic in Wareham lately, as many residents aren’t happy with the new parking permit system that was recently implemented in Onset; some have even claimed it’s illegal. Currently parking is free in Wareham Village, according to Salvador Pina, director of the Wareham Community and Economic Development Authority, and he expects a good turnout at the Sept. 29 meeting. “Oh yeah. Given the controversial stuff going on in Onset, I’m sure we’ll see lots of people,” said Pina.
A veterans’ services director has been named for the newly created Abington-Whitman Veterans Services District. Whitman Town Administrator Frank Lynam said James Crosby, who previously worked with the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, will serve as the director, working primarily out of Abington, but covering both towns. Crosby currently lives on the North Shore but is in the process of relocating, Lynam said. “We will now go ahead and hire a part-time veterans’ services officer,” Lynam said, adding that the second person will focus primarily on Whitman. The switch, Lynam said, “will not save any money, but it will provide better service to both towns by combining our resources.” He said the primary gain will be that someone will always be on call to serve veterans. The new staff must be approved by both Lynam and Abington Town Manager Rick LaFond.
Sharon has a new finance director and is looking for a treasurer/collector. Town accountant Cynthia Doherty added the finance director’s duties to her plate July 1 with the blessing of the Board of Selectmen. Town bylaws allow the finance director’s work – such as forecasting revenue for the town budget – and the accompanying stipend to go to either the accountant or treasurer/collector. The board approved giving Doherty the position following the retirement last spring of William Fowler, who was treasurer/collector and finance director. Doherty said in an interview that she is looking forward to the next budget season, even if it is hectic. “I really enjoy doing that type of work,” she said. The town accountant audits departments and produces financial reports for the state and federal governments, while the treasurer/collector handles the town’s revenue and banking tasks, she said.
The 10th annual Lakeville Arts and Music Festival is seeking entries for its scarecrow decorating contest, with the three winners to be displayed at the festival Oct. 4. Contest rules and entry forms are available at the town website, www.lakevillema.org, and entries must be received by the festival committee by Sept. 17. They must include a color or digital photo of the scarecrow, and can be e-mailed to email@example.com, or dropped off at Lakeville Town Hall on Bedford Street or the town library on Precinct Street. The contest is open to residents and businesses in Lakeville, Middleborough, Freetown, Berkley, Rochester, Taunton, and Raynham. Contest rules call for all scarecrows to be handmade, with no commercial costumes or rubber or plastic masks allowed. For information on the fair, visit www.lakevillearts.com
Town clerk Catherine Harder-Bernier is advising voters that absentee ballots for the Sept. 9 state primary election are available in her office. Any registered voter who is unable to go to the polls on election day due to absence from the town, physical disability, or religious belief is eligible to vote absentee. To obtain an absentee ballot, a voter must fill out an application and turn it in to the clerk’s office either by mail or in person by noon on Sept. 8. Absentee ballots can be cast at the clerk’s office through Sept. 8. For more information on the process, contact the clerk’s office at 781- 826-5000, x1079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Selectmen this week approved a policy by which public property will be named. Selectmen Chairman Shawn Dahlen said in an interview that selectmen will still make final naming decisions regarding buildings, parks, and squares under their care, but not before a proposed name has gathered the support of 75 local voters and a public hearing is held on it. “Suggestions for the naming of any public property or portion thereof may come to the Board from any town official or member of the public,” reads the policy in part. Dahlen said selectmen hope that school officials, conservation commissioners, and cemetery trustees set up similar procedures for the buildings and places under their purview.
A Beach Avenue resident is appealing a Southeast Housing Court order that she stop feeding birds at her home, according to her husband and attorney. Bernard Kansky said his wife, Gail, is appealing to the state Appeals Court and, in the meantime, is complying with the no-feed ruling. “Gail has always been a law-abiding citizen; she’s 72 years old and this was the first time any suit has ever been filed against her in her entire life,’’ he said. “It’s been very upsetting.’’ The town of Hull went to court to stop what it described as Kansky’s excessive feeding, claiming it was creating a health hazard for neighbors by attracting rodents and masses of birds to the area.
Author Thatcher Freund will talk to aspiring memoir writers about “Why Your Story Matters” at the Paul Pratt Memorial Library at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 18. “Writing down the stories of our lives is one of the most important things we can do for those who follow us,” Freund says. “We live. We learn. In telling our stories we help our children and our children’s children remember who we were, and, from remembering us, to better know themselves.” Freund is the author of “Objects of Desire: The Lives of Antiques and Those Who Pursue Them,” which follows three pieces of American furniture from their creation to their sales at Sotheby’s some 250 years later. The library is located at 35 Ripley Road. More information is available at www.cohassetlibrary.org
or by calling 781-383-1348.
It will be another year before residents age 60 or older have the opportunity to participate in a program that would reduce a portion of their property taxes in exchange for working for the town. Town Coordinator Dale Pleau said the program, which would allow older residents to work for the town at minimum wage for up to $750 a year in tax abatements, is being hashed out by the Board of Selectmen, Board of Assessors, and Council on Aging. Even though an article supporting the creation of the program was approved at the annual Town Meeting in May, Pleau said another vote will need to be taken at next year’s Town Meeting to implement the property tax work-off program for fiscal 2016, which begins in July 2015. The money would come from the assessor’s overlay account, he said. “We need to come up with a figure, how much we’re going to allocate for this program,” Pleau said. “It’s a great idea because it gives seniors an opportunity to get involved in town government while at the same time reducing their property taxes. That will be especially helpful to people on fixed incomes.”
The first Drug Free Communities Coalition meeting of the new school year will take place at the Avon Public Library from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. Sept. 10. Matt Ganem from Wicked Sober will talk about his organization’s work to help people struggling with drugs and alcohol, primarily by offering free assistance in finding treatment programs. Ganem, a former heroin addict and a poet, is Wicked Sober’s outreach coordinator. “I was once considered a lost cause; now I refuse to be a lost voice,” he said. “I want to do my part in helping people get into recovery, along with destroying the stigma attached to addiction.”
On Sept. 15, golfers will take to the links south of Boston for two good causes. The fourth annual Kaylee Sullivan Memorial Golf Tournament will be held to help children with cancer, while supporters of the schools will tee off in the Abington Education Foundation’s 19th annual Charity Golf Tournament. The Kaylee Sullivan event, in memory of the 7-year-old who lost her battle with leukemia in April 2011, will be at the Crosswinds Golf Club in Plymouth. The cost is $125 per person; proceeds will benefit Cops for Kids with Cancer and the Boston Children’s Hospital transplant and oncology units. The registration deadline is Sept. 8. Those looking to do so can go to the tournament’s Facebook page or e-mail email@example.com.
The Abington Education Foundation tournament will be at River Bend Country Club in West Bridgewater. There will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Cost is $135 for golfers, $540 per foursome. Proceeds benefit school programs.
A new, unified telephone system was installed and put into operation this month with little disruption and at a cost of about $100,000 less than anticipated, according to Town Manager William R. Ross. The new system replaces a variety of systems that served the town government and schools and ties into the town’s fiber optic network, Ross said in an interview. Town Meeting approved $387,000 for the new system and the final cost of the one installed by Carousel Industries expected to be about $280,00 to $290,000. Ross said all offices now have central messaging, a central directory, and most calls between school and town offices now require callers to dial only four digits. For outgoing calls to 911, the new system will identify the origin of the call down to the extension, which “will show the school and the room number if a teacher dials 911,” he said. The new system does not replace the town’s incoming 911 call service and the town was unable to tie in a few town government offices, including the animal shelter and the waste-water treatment plant, which is situated in Norton, Ross said. “This is a much better system,” he said. “We’ve already invested in the fiber optic network. We’ll save some money for the taxpayers over time.”
A two-year state project designed to widen roads, create new turning lanes, and improve traffic flow in the town center at the intersections of routes 28 and 106 is underway. As part of the project, a property at 1 North Main St. was recently demolished, and while state officials could not confirm the age of the building, town officials say that it dates back to the 18th century and was for many years a community store. Rebecca Cyr, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, said work on the $2.32 million project began July 10 and the project is expected to be completed by April 2016. The project will include roadway construction, paving and widening, new traffic signals, asphalt berms, drainage improvements, granite curb, sidewalks, landscaping, new signage, and utility relocations. “The contractor will soon begin to remove all traffic islands, excluding the monument island,” said Cyr.
Stoughton became the 59th community in the state to adopt regulations aimed at keeping cheap cigars out of the hands of youths with new regulations that went into effect on Aug. 1. The new regulations, passed by the Board of Health in April, restrict the sale of single cheap cigars, prohibit the sale of tobacco in health care institutions, and limit youth access to nicotine delivery products. Stephanie Patton, substance abuse prevention coordinator for OASIS (Organizing Against Substances in Stoughton), said recent Massachusetts data shows that high school students are using cheap, flavored cigars at a higher rate than they are using cigarettes. Stoughton’s new policy requires single cigars be sold at a minimum price of $2.50 each, or in original packs of four, essentially raising the price point of the cigars, with research showing that increasing the price is an effective tool in preventing youths from smoking. The regulations also seek to prevent youths from using nicotine delivery products, such as e-cigarettes, by prohibiting the sale of the products to anyone under the age of 18. “The e-cigarettes weren’t being regulated by the state and any 5-year-old child could have bought them,” said OASIS member Jackie Doane of the Greater Boston Tobacco-Free Community Partnership.
Children starting kindergarten in Raynham public schools can learn more about what to expect at a special event at the public library this week.
The library and the local Early Childhood Parents Association are jointly presenting “Play Your Way into Kindergarten,” a program designed to help students prepare for the transition to school. This marks the third year the program has been offered. “It’s a really nice way for kids who are entering kindergarten to get a little feel for who is going to be there, getting on the bus, what the day will look like when they get there,” said Eden Fergusson, the town’s library director. The event features the reading aloud of stories about kindergarten, a talk by a schoolbus driver about riding the bus, arts and crafts, and light snacks. Parents are welcome. The program will be offered twice: on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., and again on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. The sessions are free but families planning to attend are asked to pre-register by going to the library’s website, raynhampubliclibrary.org and clicking on “Coming Events.”
A proposed 90-unit assisted-living facility met with the unanimous approval of the Zoning Board of Appeals on Aug. 5. Benchmark Senior Living is planning to build the facility on 8.3 acres between Investors Way in Norwood and Clapboardtree Street in Westwood. The $25 million project is expected to employ 60 to 70 people and contribute an estimated $115,000 a year in new tax revenue. The project also requires the approval of the Planning Board and Conservation Commission. Selectmen indicated their approval in June.
Middleborough is looking for a new town manager with six-year veteran Charles Cristello of Hingham
planning to retire in September. Town officials have posted a job description for the position, which reports to the five-member Board of Selectmen. The job currently pays $157,000 and requires management of a $75 million budget and 150 full-time employees. Officials say they are looking for a manager with strong communication skills, the ability to work with both citizens and department heads, and keen financial management and negotiation skills. A bachelor of arts degree is required, and a master of arts is preferred, according to the description, along with 10 years of municipal management experience or the equivalent. Resumes and cover letters can be sent to MMA Consulting Group Inc., 101 Court Street, No. 7, Plymouth, MA 02360, by Sept. 12. More information is available at www.middleborough.com/townmanagersearch/.
The town’s mandatory water-use restriction may be lifted soon. The Water and Sewer Department issued the restriction on Aug. 7 because one of the wells it uses in Fairhaven was offline for repairs, due to the presence of E. coli bacteria found in random testing. William T. Nickerson, Mattapoisett’s water and sewer superintendent, said Fairhaven workers found an issue with a pump at the well, pulled it out for repairs and pumped out the well, before refilling and rechlorinating it. The repaired pump and water were being tested late last week, Nickerson said by phone, and the restriction was expected to be lifted soon after. The restriction limits outside watering to two-hour windows early and late in the day. “We’ve never had a mandatory restriction before, just voluntary ones,” Nickerson said, adding that most users complied with it. “Overall, we found demand was down by about 200,000 gallons.” For more information, visit www.mattapoisett.net.
The deadline for applications to help qualified Marion residents with their property tax bills for 2014-2015 is Friday at 3 p.m. Grants are available through the Marion Community Fund of the Community Fund of Southeastern Massachusetts, and are for Marion residents who have owned their homes for at least a year, have an earned income of less than $25,000 if single and $37,500 if married, and with assets of $46,000 or less if single or $63,000 if married, not counting their home. All payments are made to the Town of Marion and credited toward the grant recipient’s tax bill. The Marion Community Fund was established by a private donor in 1999, with no age restriction for applicants. Applications can be downloaded online at www.cfsema.org
and are also available at the Marion Town House and the Marion Council on Aging, both on Spring Street, and the Community Foundation, 30 Cornell St., New Bedford. For more information, call 508-996-8253.
Town Clerk Elizabeth Sloan said absentee ballots are now available in her office for the Sept. 9 state primary election. Any registered voter who is unable to vote in person due to absence from town, physical disability, or religious belief is eligible to obtain an absentee ballot. Voters can cast an absentee ballot in person at the town clerk’s office or by mail. Applications for absentee ballots will be accepted at the clerk’s office until noon on Sept. 8. At the primary, voters will choose Democratic and Republican candidates for the Nov. 4 state election. For more information, call the clerk’s office at 781-293-2772.
Selectmen agreed last week to require town boards and committees to post the minutes of their meetings online. The issue arose during a review of the new town handbook when Selectwoman Virginia Coppola sent a memo to Town Manager Bill Keegan calling for transparency in all public dealings. Coppola stressed that residents have a right to know what their elected and appointed officials are doing. Selectmen also agreed to include the new requirement in the revised handbook.
After years of planning and construction, the Ames Shovel Works, a 19th-century manufacturing complex previously considered one of the nation’s most endangered historic landmarks, has finally re-opened, as a residential community. Developer Beacon Communities and architect Prellwitz Chilinski Associates hailed the $46 million historic revitalization of the manufacturing buildings — now 113 new residences — in a news release. In its heydey, the complex employed more than 500 workers, using production-line assembly methods 50 years before Henry Ford. Ames shovels helped build the transcontinental railroad, enabled the California gold rush, and were standard field tools for US Army soldiers from the Civil War to the Korean War, officials said. Developers lauded the involvement of the Easton Historical Commission, Massachusetts Historical Commission, National Park Service, town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and Board of Selectmen, Friends of the Ames Shovel Works, and Ames family. “We knew we had to get the right team players on this complex project,’’ said Howard Cohen, Beacon’s chief executive. “Everyone’s input and expertise was integral in saving this endangered landmark.”
Town Clerk Dina Livingston is organizing a seminar for town employees and elected officials on the state’s Open Meeting Law and Conflict of Interest Law. The two-hour seminar, set for Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. in the lecture hall at the East Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School, is being presented with the cooperation of the attorney general’s office and the Ethics Commission. Assistant Town Clerk Paula Keefe appeared before selectmen recently to give the board details about the seminar and ask its cooperation in urging department heads and members of boards and commissions to attend. “Dina is also reaching out to neighboring communities and elected officials because the state requires at least 30 people for a seminar,” Keefe said. She said those interested in attending should contact Livingston at 508-378-1606. The attorney general’s office asks those planning to attend to register in advance by calling 617-963-2925 or by e-mailing OMLTraining@state.ma.us, and providing: their first and last names; town of residence; the public body/organization they represent, if appropriate; and the location of the educational forum they will attend.
On an early-morning patrol on Aug. 16, police noticed a Blue Hyundai Sonata stopped in the right-hand travel lane on Washington Street. Officer Kenneth Ellis wrote in his report that it was about 2 a.m.
when he approached the car. As he got nearer, he noticed the engine was running and heard loud music coming from inside but the driver was fast asleep. Ellis knocked on the door several times, only succeeding in temporarily rousing the driver, according to the report. Ellis wrote that he woke up the driver by opening the door and ordering him out of the car. When Ellis scanned the driver’s license, it came back as suspended. Ellis had the car towed and issued the sleepy driver, over his protests, a citation.
Read Custom Soils, a company that makes engineered soils for specialized landscapes such as golf courses, athletic fields, and roof gardens, is seeking to open a soil blending facility on property off Federal Road owned by A. D. Makepeace. The facility would mix soils desired by businesses and municipalities for building roads, ball fields, golf courses, and equestrian paths. Other products include roof planting media and stabilized soil for nature paths. The Planning Board will make a site visit to the property on Monday before holding a public hearing on a special permit and a site plan review for the proposed facility at its meeting on Sept. 2. Based in Hingham, Read Custom Soils, which calls itself “an A.D. Makepeace company,” also has soil blending facilities in Wareham, Westford, and Farmington, Conn.
A group of residents have spoken out against a new roundabout being constructed at Pleasant Street and Lincolnshire Drive. Preliminary field work on the roundabout, approved unanimously by selectmen in June, began earlier this month, prompting residents to come before the Board of Selectmen at an Aug. 12 meeting. Residents said the rotary attempted to fix a problem that did not exist, stating that traffic flowed well through the intersection and a roundabout would cause backups. Selectmen countered that the intent of the work was to slow some of the traffic on Pleasant Street. Resident Robert Ryan said his driveway would be negatively affected and it would be difficult for him to leave his house. Selectmen said they would share the residents’ comments with their engineering and public works staff, and would revisit the issue when Selectmen Robert Burr and Gerald Salvatori returned from vacation.
Two free family-oriented concerts that were cancelled because of weather have been rescheduled, according to Milton officials. The Aug. 6 concert has been moved to Wednesday, and Walter F. Timilty has sponsored Celtic music trio Curragh’s Fancy to play. Children’s artist Wayne Potash, who was scheduled to play Aug. 13, will now perform on Sept. 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.townofmilton.org.
School Superintendent Thomas Anderson said that he is looking forward to gathering together all the teachers and staff on Monday morning for a final meeting the day before school starts that will clearly set out goals and expectations in the school system. “We’re checking all the boxes and making sure all the little things are taken care of,” said Anderson, who started in the district July 1. “Hopefully, we’ll have things to celebrate this year.” Anderson said Assistant Superintendent Darcy Fernandes will present an overview of the district’s progress on its state-mandated Accelerated Improvement Plan. At the JFK Elementary School, new Principal David Brown said in an interview that he is excited to be welcoming the 400 students in pre-school to Grade 5. “It’s a great opportunity to take part in the upward movement in education in Randolph’’ said Brown, who was an assistant principal at the Higginson/Lewis K-8 school in Boston for four years. “We’re a school on the move. I’m blessed to be a part of this movement.’’ In an interview, Brown said he is hoping to strengthen the inspirational connection between the school community and the president it is named after. “Our motto this year is we choose to go to the moon.”
The Bridgewater Police Department is looking for residents interested in participating in the Citizens Police Academy, a 12-week class designed to boost awareness of the daily operations of the department and cultivate good community relations. Sergeant Thomas LaGrasta, who coordinates the program, said class activities may include a mock traffic stop, mock trial featuring local assistant district attorneys, demonstration of field sobriety tests on volunteers who have been drinking, a canine demonstration, tour of the Old Colony Correctional Center, and court tour and observation. Several officers from the department teach on different nights, depending on their area of expertise, LaGrasta said. The class starts Sept. 11 and runs Thursday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. at the police station. For an application, visit www.bridgewaterpolice.org. There is no formal deadline to apply.
Wanted: Sopranos, tenors, basses, and altos for the 56th
season of the Choral Art Society of the South Shore. The community chorus meets Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the First Trinitarian Church, 381 Country Way. The first two rehearsals for the next season will be Sept. 9 and 16, and will be open to prospective new members. “You do not have to audition, and you do not even have to know how to read music,” conductor Danica Buckley said. “However, you must be able to sing in tune, learn a part, and balance your voice with others.” The chorus will perform next on Dec. 7, with a caroling program that features a sing-along and Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols,” accompanied by harp. More information is available at www.choralartsociety.org
or by calling by Nancy Boehne at 781-925-3638.
A familiar face in Town Hall has decided to move on. Mary B. Stewart, the executive assistant to the Board of Selectmen, has announced she is retiring effective Nov. 3. A 30-year employee of the town, Stewart, a Rockland resident, has held her current position since 2002. Prior to that, she served as an administrative assistant in the tax collector’s office from 2000-2002 and as a secretarial aide for the School Department from 1984-2000. Town Administrator Allen R. Chiocca has named Susan Ide to fill the position as of Nov. 3. Ide, of Rockland, has been administrative assistant in the town accountant’s office for four years. Town accountant Eric Hart is currently seeking applications from anyone interested in filling Ide’s position.
A shuffle involving various city departments moving to new locations will save the city close to half a million dollars in leasing costs. A week and a half ago the School Department administrative offices moved to the city-owned Coddington Hall, 34 Coddington St., from the NAGE building, which the city had been leasing for $300,000 a year. The School Department administration had been in the NAGE building for the past seven years, after being displaced from the old Quincy High School during construction of the new high school building, said Laura Owens, assistant to the superintendent for communications and operations. The Planning and Community Development and Information Technology departments also moved to Coddington Hall from City Hall, making room for the office of the city clerk to move back into City Hall from the Munroe Building, which the city leased for $180,000 a year. Public Buildings Department director Gary J. Cunniff said the intent of the moves was to free the city from its annual leases.
A new drug prevention coalition has begun its work. The Board of Selectmen in June agreed to create the group as an official town committee, and since then has appointed about 20 initial members. The Pembroke Titans Against Drugs recently held a kick-off session and plans a second meeting for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the public library. Selectmen created the group at the behest of a resident, Mike Cogburn, who is now a member. “The South Shore, and southeastern Massachusetts in general, have had a lot of opiate and heroin issues that quite frankly frighten me,” said Cogburn, a father of two boys and an active youth sports coach in town. “Like many other parents, I feel the amount of drug education now available in town is insufficient.” Anyone from the community is welcome to attend coalition meetings and offer their help. Cogburn pledged $1,000 to provide seed money for the fledgling coalition. He said his goal is to have the group organize its first event this fall and to apply for a state drug prevention grant by the deadline of late November. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not only is a pay-as-you-throw trash program good for the environment, it’s good for
wallets as well. That was the message delivered by three speakers at a recent forum attended by about 50 residents — many of whom had doubts about changing the town’s trash and recycling service, according to Health Agent Brian Flynn. “Some people look at it as a tax,” Flynn said. “But it would actually save money — and encourage recycling. It works everywhere else, so I don’t know why it wouldn’t work here.” The town’s 30-year contract with the Southeastern Massachusetts Resource Recovery Facility will expire at the end of this year, and if the town were to sign a new contract, fees would double. Speaking at the forum were two state environmental officials and Joshua Ostroff, chairman of the Natick Board of Selectmen, who said his community has benefited greatly since adopting a pay-as-you-throw program in 2003. “It helped us to control costs by reducing solid waste tonnage, increasing recycling, and encouraging personal responsibility.” Flynn said the Board of Health will review the materials presented and input given at the forum and discuss the matter at a meeting in September.
An appeal by Marshfield and Scituate of new federal flood maps that have resulted in residents paying more in insurance premiums will go to a five-member panel of scientists, according to Marshfield Town Administrator Rocco Longo. The panelists, four of which are chosen by the towns, must be qualified scientists. Two will be selected by Marshfield, two by Scituate, and one by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Until recently, federal law would have allowed FEMA to name the majority of the members, Longo said in an interview. He said he does not know when a decision might come. The appeal focuses on the methodology used to make new flood maps that have placed thousands of homes in a high-risk zone. A second appeal that includes Marshfield, Scituate, and Duxbury will be handled directly by FEMA, Longo said.
The Kingston Board of Selectmen has voted to move up the start of its public meetings to 6 p.m. to allow for more efficient use of time by town employees and others with business before the board. The change will go into effect for Tuesday’s meeting. The move from a 7 p.m. starting hour was proposed by town administrator Robert Fennessy, who said an earlier time would improve staff scheduling, be better for applicants and consultants representing the town, and easier for parties with business before the town. The change was approved by a three to one vote, with selectmen chairwoman Elaine Fiore dissenting. Fiore said a later start made it easier for people who work out of town to attend the meetings. Town officials said they would schedule administrative matters for the early part of the meeting and hold public hearings and high-profile issues later in the schedule to give more time for those who wish to attend in person. Officials also pointed out that tapes of the meetings are screened frequently on local cable TV and that many more people watch selectmen’s meetings than attend them in person.
The public is invited to a meeting Monday on parking problems near Pemberton Pier, where the MBTA commuter boat docks. The town-owned parking lot is often full, as are spaces on the road and at nearby Hull Gut at the end of the peninsula. “It’s a difficult situation because you run out of land very quickly,” said Selectman John Brannan. “We need to come up with some alternative plans.” Police Chief Richard Billings has suggested charging for parking or issuing parking permits. Other suggestions include encouraging carpooling and running MBTA buses to the pier from satellite parking areas, with times coordinated with the ferry arrivals, Brannan said. “We absolutely want people to take the boat. It’s a great tool for tourism and for increasing enthusiasm for Hull,” he said. The meeting is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. at Hull High School cafeteria.
The Board of Selectmen has asked Town Administrator William Phelan to renegotiate with would-be medical marijuana purveyor MassMedicum, seeking higher payments to the town from a proposed growing facility. The dispensary would be located in another county, but cultivation would be done in Holbrook, Phelan said at the Aug. 13 selectmen’s meeting. The board voted to sign a letter of support for MassMedicum’s state license only if payments in a host agreement would be raised to 2.5 percent of sales up to $4 million
, and 3.75 percent of sales above that. The existing proposal called for 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively, plus $50,000 up front that would be deducted from later payments. Board members dispensed with the $50,000, calling it an advance. MassMedicum did not get a license for a Holbrook dispensary in the first round of licensing, but was one of several high-scoring companies invited to reapply for a dispensary in a county that does not have one, Phelan said.
The town will be improving energy efficiency at five school buildings through a $250,000 state grant. Hanover was among 43 cities and towns awarded a combined $7.9 million to fund clean energy projects. The recipients were eligible for the funding through previous designations as Green Communities, a status municipalities can earn by undertaking certain initiatives to become more energy-efficient and to expand their use of renewable energy. Hanover will use its funding for energy upgrades at the Cedar, Center, and Sylvester elementary schools, the Middle schools, and the Salmond Administration building. All of the planned upgrades are to the buildings’ heating and ventilation systems. The work has begun at the Salmond and Sylvester buildings, and is set to begin shortly at the other three buildings. All of it is targeted for completion by January, according to Robert Murray, the town’s facilities engineering manager. Hanover has been awarded grants for three consecutive years under the Green Communities program, totaling more than $500,000.
Duxbury officials had been approving seasonal liquor license applications for businesses in town, but recently learned from the state that only one is allowed. Sandy Lambert’s Marketplace on St. George Street was given a seasonal all alcohol package store license in June and that will be the only one, said Director of Municipal Services Scott Lambiase in an interview. Another business received approval, but the license had not been issued. The seasonal license allows the store to sell liquor from April through November. The rest of the year it can only sell beer and wine, in accordance with its annual beer and wine license. Duxbury has approximately 15,600 year-round residents, but an additional 1,000 summer residents, which allows for one seasonal liquor license to be granted by the state. Lambiase said there had been two additional applicants for the seasonal liquor licenses, and that the application fees would be reimbursed.
Residents are invited to a public meeting at Bradford Hawes Park Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to see and comment on plans to renovate the park. The town received a $200,000 state grant to renovate the 11-acre park and playground, which is named for a Civil War veteran and former town official and has become “visibly worn” over the last decade, according to a press release from the town planning department. State-approved renovations to the park include a new accessible play structure, a pine grove with benches, improvements to the basketball court, and additional trees and seating in the child’s play area, the release said. The park is located off Lakehurst Avenue and Mutton Lane in East Weymouth. If it rains, the meeting will move indoors to the Community Baptist Church, adjacent to the park at 17 Mutton Lane.
The Marshfield Board of Selectmen has named James Tobin of Plymouth as the town’s first energy manager, a part-time position funded by a one-year, $25,000 grant from the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. Among his duties will be analyzing the town’s energy bills to ensure their accuracy and looking for opportunities to save energy and money, Town Administrator Rocco Longo said in an interview. Tobin did similar work for the Plymouth public schools from 2005 to 2010, establishing a program that saved nearly $5 million on energy, according to his resume. He will work 15 hours a week. Marshfield hopes to pursue funding to extend the position, and may consider seeking Green Community status, which would make the town eligible for other grants, Longo said. A Green Community designation requires particular energy-efficiency commitments.
The town’s Standing Building Committee is working with architects at Kaestle Boos Associates to finalize plans for the new public safety building’s mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in anticipation of construction starting next spring, chairman Gordon Gladstone said in an interview. Until then, the architects will continue to finalize their schematics, and the town hopes to choose a contractor sometime between January and March, he said. The voter-approved building will serve as fire and police headquarters, and be built on the site of the existing police station and part of the land behind it. Plans presented to the selectmen in March showed two connected wings, with the rear holding the police station, shared dispatch center, and fire and police administrative offices, and the front holding firetrucks and other space for firefighters.
The Board of Selectmen has put out a call for volunteers to help screen candidates to replace Charles Cristello as town manager. The Hingham resident announced last month that he will be retiring in October after six years in the position. Residents wanting to serve on the search committee are being asked to submit a statement of interest, either by mailing it to the board at Middleborough Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Ave., Middleborough, MA 02346, or via e-mail to Jackie Shanley, the board’s administrative assistant, at email@example.com.
Residents can plan far ahead for their civic duties. The selectmen have set the dates for the fall Special Town Meeting and the spring Annual Town Meeting. The fall meeting will take place Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium, and will likely involve “financial housekeeping,” according to board Chairwoman Diane Kennedy. The Annual Town Meeting — which traditionally covers meatier subjects including the budget for the following fiscal year — will be in the same location on May 2, 2015, starting at 10 a.m. The town election will be May 9.
The Mother Brook Arts and Community Center, which opened last summer,
will be the recipient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money. State Representative Paul McMurtry and state Senator Michael Rush, members of the town’s delegation on Beacon Hill, helped secure $200,000 in state funding for the nonprofit facility,
according to a recent posting on the center’s Facebook page. In addition, the center at 123 High St. is also getting a Massachusetts Cultural Council matching grant of $210,000, of which $145,000 has already been raised, the posting said. The Mother Brook center, which is home to dozens of artists, opened a new exhibition this weekend titled “Out of the Everywhere: Evolution of the Graffiti Artist.” The show will be on display through Oct. 18.
Students entering grades 1 to 12 will be heading back on classes on Aug. 26 while preschool and kindergarten students will get another week of summer vacation, with their first day on Sept. 2. According to district officials, the town’s schools have been opening before Labor Day for a number of years. Details about the fall semester, such as home room assignments and bus routes, will be posted on the district’s website, www.carver.org, starting this week. The first day of school also means that summer reading assignments will be due. Students going into grades 6 to 8 must complete a reading log for one book from the school’s list, have it signed by a parent, and hand it in to their English teacher on the first day of school. They must also answer discussion questions for a history reading assignment, and turn them in on the first day of class. Information about summer reading assignments is also available on the school website.
A former Conservation Commission consultant is facing allegations by the State Ethics Commission that he violated a conflict-of-interest law by working to secure town contracts for his own private business. Robert Murphy’s responsibilities as a consultant for the town board from 2010 to 2012 included reviewing all permit applications, according to a filing last month by the State Ethics Commission. During the same time period, Murphy was the president of M&M Engineering Inc., which worked on eight permits for the town, earning him $2,400, according to the state agency’s filing. The Board of Selectmen terminated Murphy’s consulting contract early in 2013, and the State Ethics Commission was reported to be investigating the matter last summer.
A hearing on the allegations is expected to be held within the next two months, according to Ethics Commission spokeswoman Marisa Donelan. Murphy could face a fine of $10,000.
The Police Department has joined more than 148 other law enforcement agencies statewide in sponsoring “Drive Sober or Pull Over,” a national crackdown on impaired driving that runs through Sept. 1. The initiative is funded by a federal grant administered through the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division, and the local effort will be overseen by Police Captain Bob DiBari. In a statement, DiBari said innocent, law-abiding people suffer tragic consequences and the loss of loved ones because of such “careless disregard for human life.” He said the department’s officers will be particularly vigilant at night and on weekends, when more of the incidents occur. “Our message is simple and unwavering: If we find you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions,” Dibari said.
The Town Council is considering an ordinance, modeled after regulations enacted in Needham in 2005, that would raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and other nicotine products, including electronic cigarettes, to 21, according to the council’s president, William Wood
. The current legal age is 18. Sponsored by Wood and councilors Sandra Wright and Kevin Perry, the local bylaw would put more distance between the teenage years — when smoking often begins — and legal buyers of nicotine products, Wood said in an interview. “At 18, you could still be a senior in high school, so the circles are still a lot closer to where kids start smoking,” he said. The law would also prohibit sale of the products at health care facilities, including pharmacies. As in Needham, parents could still legally buy the products for their children, he said. A council subcommittee is evaluating the proposal.
Selectmen will get a preliminary look Wednesday at possible changes in the entertainment license for the Xfinity Center for next year, including proposals to require tougher enforcement of the prohibition against drinking in the concert venue’s parking lots, and increased security in the lawn area, Town Manager William R. Ross said. Because the changes would be part of a negotiated agreement with
Live Nation, which manages the Route 140 property,
the details will be discussed in an executive session, rather than the board’s public meeting, Ross said in an interview. The action is being taken after an 18-year-old Boston man was charged with raping a woman during a recent country music concert that also saw 50 underage drinkers taken into protective custody. Ross said he has been meeting with public safety officials, and will present “preliminary thoughts” on how to best address the remainder of the year, and “specific thoughts” about next year’s license. The board’s chairman, George Dentino, said security has improved greatly in the past dozen years, but more changes are clearly needed. He said the lawn area, which provides about 7,000 of the venue’s 18,000 seating capacity,
is too dark, and the shrubs in the rear are too high. “Everybody’s saddened by what happened. It’s intolerable,” Dentino said. He said the fan base for country music shows is between 15 and 28 years of age, and the shows are plagued by underage binge drinking. “These kids are totally blitzed before they come in,” he said.