Donna M. Shortall unseated her boss, Town Clerk Randalin S. Ralston, in Rockland’s April 11 annual town election.
Donna M. Shortall unseated her boss, Town Clerk Randalin S. Ralston, in Rockland’s April 11 annual town election.
The adage that every vote counts held true in Avon’s election last week – where two write-in candidates were successful with just a handful of votes.
Carver voters worked through 17 warrant articles in 3 1/2 hours on April 13, including approving a $35.8 million budget and $7.3 million in capital improvements.
Kevin Feeney and Mark Porter won election to the Canton Board of Selectmen April 7 from a field of five candidates.
Former Marshfield fire chief Kevin Robinson, who retired in March amid conflict-of-interest allegations, issued a written statement April 3 saying the situation stemmed from how he handled disciplinary and other employment matters and grievances. “I am confident that a hearing officer would not uphold the allegations,” Robinson wrote.
The final Lieutenant Timothy Steele Memorial 5k Run and Walk will take place on May 2, beginning at 9 a.m. at Duxbury Middle School.
Second time was the charm for Brendan Keogh, who won a seat on the Dedham Board of Selectmen in last weekend’s election.
Rebecca Froom is set to be installed as the first settled female minister in the 375-year history of the United First Parish Church in Quincy at a ceremony on Sunday, April 12.
Town Meeting will vote Monday whether to tap the “rainy day fund” to pay for more than $1.5 million spent during the blizzards of 2015
A total of 312 voters cast ballots in last weekend’s annual election – a paltry 1.9 percent of eligible voters, according to Town Clerk Allison Ferreira.
Holocaust survivors Doris Edwards and Aron Greenfield will share their testimonies of perseverance and survival at an observance Thursday, April 16, in Sharon.
Two privately owned buildings designed by famed architect H.H. Richardson will open to the public for the first time in tours provided by the Easton Historical Society on April 26.
It’s back to square one for the search for a new school superintendent in Braintree. The School Committee voted unanimously earlier this month to start over, deciding that neither of two finalists for the position fit the bill. The committee had hoped to name a new superintendent by the end of April to replace Maureen Murray, who plans to retire at the end of June after two years in the job. Instead, the committee will discuss finding an interim superintendent at its April 27 meeting. The two finalists, who were recommended by a nine-person search committee, were Dedham High School principal Ron McCarthy and former Southbridge superintendent Patricia Gardner. The original advertisement for Braintree superintendent said the district would award a three-year contract and pay between $158,000 and $172,500 annually. “With no disrespect to the two candidates, it seemed like the community wanted to see [more] strong candidates that we could compare and contrast,” said School Committee chairman David Ringius. “We’ll open up the full search again in the fall, and hopefully, if we are the first out of the gate, we’ll see a deeper pool. We’re very proud of our school system. We have a very high level of expectations.”
A race for two seats on the School Committee will be the only contests on the ballot in Hanover’s annual town election May 9. Incumbent John T. Geary and Elizabeth R. Corbo are vying with Steven J. Santacroce for the seats, one of which is open because incumbent Will Marriner is not seeking another term. Corbo is a former School Committee member who is now on the School Building Committee. Santacroce is a first-time candidate who is founder and owner of the South Shore Chiefs semi-professional football team and a new board member of the South Shore Children’s Museum, according to Town Clerk Catherine Harder-Bernier. Eight other candidates are running unopposed. They include the only candidates for two seats on the Board of Selectmen: incumbent Brian E. Barthelmes and David R. Delaney, a member of the Board of Assessors and the Zoning Board of Appeals. No one filed nomination papers for a seat on the Housing Authority. Tuesday, April 14, is the last day to register to vote in the town election and the May 4 Annual Town Meeting.
The Whitman-Hanson Regional School Committee has voted to support a proposed 4.5 percent increase in the amount assessed to its two towns, but that increase is unlikely to receive support from budget officials in Whitman, according to Town Administrator Frank Lynam. “We’re probably going to be supporting 3 percent,’’ said Lynam. “There is just not enough money.’’ Lynam said the Finance Committee is still working on the budget, but the town’s tax levy has historically divided roughly equally between money it supplies for town services and that used to support schools, he said. This year the total allowable tax levy is just under $21.28 million for Whitman, and the Whitman-Hanson district has requested roughly $11 million and another $1.45 million is slated for vocational schools, Lynam said. Meanwhile, Whitman-Hanson Superintendent Ruth Gilbert-Whitner, in her weekly newsletter to parents March 27, decried the minimal increase in state aid in the proposed state budget, and urged parents to contact their state elected officials. Voters in both towns will have the final say on the schools budget at town meetings May 4. Voters will also decide on a one-year debt exclusion to Proposition 2½ that would allow the regional school district to spend about $1.4 million to improve technology.
A Chicago-based company wants to cover about 22 acres of the former Bird Machine property in Walpole with solar panels for an electrical generating plant. Urban Green Technologies is proposing an array of about 20,000 solar panels that would produce about 6 million kilowatt hours annually, according to spokesman Nikola Krneta. The Walpole Conservation Commission approved the plan late last month, imposing conditions to protect nearby wetlands. The Planning Board currently is reviewing the proposal, which ultimately would need Town Meeting approval, according to Town Administrator James Johnson. “We are still in very preliminary talks,” Johnson said. The town probably would get a payment in lieu of taxes, but specifics have yet to be worked out, he said. Urban Green Technologies already has several solar facilities in Massachusetts, including one on a former contaminated landfill in Billerica. Krneta said the company specializes in turning contaminated areas into “productive renewable energy sites.” The Walpole site, at 100 Neponset St., is part of 147 acres owned by Baker Hughes Inc. that was contaminated with toxic chemicals after centuries of industrial use and has undergone extensive cleanup. Johnson said the proposal would probably come before the fall Town Meeting.
Lisa Einstein, whose grandmother survived the Auschwitz death camp, will speak Thursday, April 16, at an interfaith service for Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, hosted by Congregation Shirat Hayam in Marshfield. The community is invited, including youth groups, high school history classes, religious school classes, and synagogue and church groups. Einstein will tell the story of her grandmother’s survival and how being the grandchild of a survivor has affected her life. Harry Katz, chairman of the event, said in an interview that the congregation is committed to making sure the Holocaust is remembered, especially in light of the hatred and violence in the world today. “Unless we continue to tell the story, it will be forgotten, and we can’t let that happen,” he said. Between 80 and 150 people attend the service each year, he said. The service starts at 7 p.m. at Congregation Shirat Hayam, 185 Plain St. (in the Sanctuary Church building).To arrange for large groups or for more information, contact the congregation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-582-2700.
High school students with an interest in local history will be sifting through trash dating back to the 1800s as part of a summer archeology program at the Wakefield Estate in Milton. Participants will work alongside doctoral students from Boston University’s Department of Archeology in an excavation at the estate that has already unearthed more than 3,000 artifacts, according to spokesman Mark Smith, executive director of the Mary M. B. Wakefield Charitable Trust that runs the Wakefield Estate. Smith said this summer’s program will focus on a trash pit found near a farmhouse at the site. The goal is “to uncover and interpret the historical, cultural, social, and economic life story of the estate,” he said. This summer’s sixth annual Summer Archeology Institute will take place in two-week sessions in July. More information is available by calling 617-333-0924 or going to “programs” at www.wakefieldtrust.org.
Concerns that water bodies in the Pembroke area are being potentially overburdened as a result of their use by outside communities will be a focus of discussion at the Pembroke Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, April 13. “The town of Pembroke and the surrounding region is the Quabbin Reservoir of the South Shore,” said Dan Trabucco, the board chairman. He said that Silver Lake, located in Pembroke and Kingston, is a drinking water source for Brockton, and that Little Sandy Bottom Pond in Pembroke supplies water to Abington and Rockland’s joint water system. He also noted that Brockton sells some of its Silver Lake water to Whitman and that the Abington and Rockland district could potentially seek to provide some of its water from Little Sandy Bottom Pond to the SouthField development in Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth. Trabucco said Pembroke wants to make sure the health of those water bodies and the overall aquifer in the area is not being put at risk by those current or potential future uses. He said the discussion at Monday’s meeting is intended to raise public awareness of the issue and generate ideas for how to address it further. Area legislators as well as water officials from Brockton and the Abington-Rockland district have been invited.
Hingham will face Acton-Boxborough on April 25 as high school teams continue to battle it out in the High School Quiz Show tournament sponsored by WGBH. Hingham defeated Oliver Ames High School of Easton in the first round of the tournament to move on. Among the others still in the running, according to WGBH’s website, are Arlington, Newton North, and Framingham, which knocked North Quincy out of the running. More than 100 teams competed for one of the 16 spots in the tournament bracket. Among the questions asked by host Billy Costa and answered correctly by Hingham last month was “The European Union and NATO are headquartered in what capital city?” The correct answer was Brussels.
The low turnout favored better-known candidates and incumbents in the annual Wareham town election last Tuesday. The town clerk’s office reported that only 1,246 of 14,445 registered voters participated -- a turnout of just 8.6 percent. Selectmen chairman Alan Slavin easily won reelection to a three-year term, beating challenger Michael Frates, 869-353. The two three-year terms on the School Committee went to Judith Caporiccio, president of the Swifts Beach Improvement Association, and incumbent Geoff Swett, with 763 and 749 votes, respectively, with Julianne Cummings third with 478. In the only contested race for the new Board of Sewer Commissioners, approved by Town Meeting in 2013, schoolteacher Susan Sweeney topped Finance Committee member Dominic Cammarano 623 to 467 for a three-year term. Uncontested races saw James Giberti win the three-year non-sewer user seat, Donna Bronk the two-year sewer user seat, Malcolm White the at-large sewer commissioner seat, and Marilyn Jordan the one-year sewer user seat. Voters also overwhelmingly endorsed by wide margins two ballot questions that together mandate that the School Committee submit a proposed budget to the town administrator no later than Jan. 25.
Volunteers are needed to help herring make their way to their Weymouth spawning ground in Whitman’s Pond by clearing their path from the sea. Herring spend most of their lives in the ocean, but return to fresh water once a year to breed. The Weymouth Herring Run Committee will hold its annual cleanup of parts of the route on Saturday, April 11, with plans to pick up trash, cut brush, remove large debris, and repair herring ladders that were damaged by the severe winter, according to organizer George Loring. “Due to the efforts of those who have helped over the years, the Weymouth herring run continues to be one of the biggest in the state,” Loring said. “Last year was one of the best in recent history, in which we saw about 455,000 herring make it into Whitman’s Pond and its tributaries.” Loring said about 120 volunteers showed up last year, and he hoped as many would be there again. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. — rain, shine or snow — at Herring Run Park in Lower Jackson Square, on the corner of Broad and Commercial streets.
Stoughton voters will go to the polls Tuesday, April 7 in the annual town election to fill two spots on the Board of Selectmen and School Committee, but the town is still looking for people to fill dozens of open Town Meeting slots. Town Clerk Amy Summers said that only 29 candidates are on the ballot for the 97 available seats for terms of one, two, or three years. In Precinct 8, only two residents have come forward for 19 available slots. Voters can write in names for open Town Meeting seats on Election Day, and if not enough people come forward, precinct caucuses will be held prior to the May 4 Meeting, and interested voters can attend to be considered for open seats. The number of Town Meeting sessions and their length in recent years have hurt attendance, but reforms limiting the length and curtailing the number of articles on the warrant have helped. The two main contested races will see incumbent Selectmen Robert O’Regan and Cynthia Walsh challenged by Peter Brown and Robert Cohn for two three-year terms on the board, and challenger Molly Cochran taking on incumbent School Committee chairman Erdem Ural.
With a new hotel now in development, the Bridgewater Town Council is getting ready to vote on a proposed local lodging tax of 6 percent. The council is likely to address the issue Tuesday, April 7, at its regular meeting, Town Manager Michael Dutton said in an interview. William Wood, president of the council, told the Globe he supports the measure. Although he did not officially sponsor it, he said in an e-mail that he would have if necessary, “so you can guess how I will vote.’’ Massachusetts has a state room tax of 5.7 percent and allows a local-option tax of up to 6 percent (6.5 percent in Boston). The Claremont Companies is in the permitting process for a hotel to be located near the intersection of routes 24 and 104, Dutton said. It will be run by a chain, he said, but the company has not been disclosed.
Norwell voters will get a chance after all to decide whether to spend $1.4 million in community preservation money to build a paved walk along Main Street from the Hanover line to the town center. The proposal will come before the Town Meeting that starts May 4. That schedule came into doubt last month, when a letter from the state’s Bureau of Municipal Finance Law raised questions as to whether Community Preservation money could be used for the project. The opinion was solicited by state Representative David DeCoste, who’s also a Norwell selectmen. The state said the funds, which come from both the state and a local tax, could be used for recreational use such as trails. But “ordinary municipal sidewalks alongside a street, rather than within a recreational area or dedicated to a specific recreational use, are not the types of capital improvements contemplated by the Legislature” for recreation, the opinion said. Selectmen asked town attorney Robert Galvin to research the issue, and he reported back that the “pathwalk project” was eligible for the funding because its “primary purpose” is to “create recreational opportunities such as jogging or walking in a safe environment” and will connect existing ball fields and open space. Given that interpretation, the town’s Community Preservation Committee voted March 26 to recommend spending $1.4 million on the project, according to Chair John Mariano, and the issue moves to Town Meeting.
.Holbrook voters will decide two contested races, for School Committee and Planning Board, when they go to the polls Tuesday, April 7. For School Committee, Nancy Alterio and Frederick White are seeking the seat now held by Louis Pransky, who’s not running for reelection. Alterio aims to secure funding for emerging technology, pursue transparency in the budget and in school operations, and increase college acceptance rates, according to her campaign website. She is executive director of the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, a state agency. The Facebook page for White’s campaign says the town needs an experienced person to serve while it is building a new school, and that he gained just that on the Permanent School Building Committee and as an adviser to two area vocational schools on heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. He has spent years as a parent volunteer in the town’s schools, according to his campaign materials. In the Planning Board race, former selectman Paul Currie is challenging incumbent Christopher Golden. Selectmen Daniel Moriarty and Kevin Sheehan are running for reelection, both unopposed.
A proposal by Rockland Trust bank to construct a new branch in Quincy will be the subject of a public hearing by the Planning Board on Wednesday, April 8. The bank seeks site plan approval for the project, which also calls for demolishing existing buildings to make way for the 3,000-square-foot branch at 487-491 Hancock St. In other business, the board will continue a public hearing into a proposal to erect a five-story residential building over a 301-space garage at 116 and 94 East Howard St. The developer, 116 East Howard St., LLC is seeking approval of its site plan and a special permit. The board will also resume a hearing into a proposal by Bromfield Development, LLC to construct a new five-story, 16-unit residential building at 60 Newbury St. The developer seeks approval of its site plan and a special permit for the project, which also involves extending Newbury Street and landscaping, drainage, and other site work. In recent action, the board approved the plans of West of Chestnut, LLC to construct two six-story mixed residential and commercial buildings at 1400 and 1442 Hancock St. along with a parking facility off Cottage Avenue.
Voters in Norwood go to the polls Monday, April 6, to choose among various candidates, including a high school senior who is hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps and serve on the School Committee as a student. Patrick J. McDonough, 18, is the son of Tim McDonough, who served on the School Committee in the 1980s after being elected as a student. The younger McDonough will face Michal Bergeron, who was appointed in November to finish out the term vacated by Paul Samargedlis. Bergeron, 73, served previously on the School Committee from 1994 to 2000. Voters will also be asked to choose between Selectman incumbent Bill Plasko and challenger and former selectman Denis Drummey. Also on the ballot are positions on the Planning Board, Finance Commission, Board of Health, Housing Authority, and Library Trustees, as well as constable and moderator. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Braintree School Committee last week named Dedham High School’s principal and a former Southbridge superintendent as the two finalists for the top job at Braintree’s public schools. Superintendent Maureen Murray has announced she will retire at the end of June after two years in the job. The district has said it will award a three-year contract and pay a new superintendent between $158,000 and $172,500. The schedule calls for public interviews the week of April 6 and an appointment by the School Committee by the end of April. Finalist Ron McCarthy is in his fifth year as principal of the 700-student Dedham High School and has been an educator for more than 30 years. Finalist Patricia Gardner stepped down as head of the Southbridge schools in January, citing “philosophical differences on how the school district should move forward,” after less than a year on the job. She was Southbridge’s third superintendent since 2013. The nine-person Braintree superintendent search committee worked with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees before recommending McCarthy and Gardner. “They have selected two excellent finalists and are in a very good position,” association executive director Glenn Koocher said.
Middleborough voters will soon decide whether to continue taxing farm animals and equipment. The Saturday, April 4 annual town election includes a ballot question submitted by the town assessor to eliminate the current excise tax imposed on individuals and small businesses that own farm animals, machinery, and equipment. Assessor Barbara Erickson said the town collects “just shy of $2,500” from the tax, and spends more to process and mail the 33 bills. “I am recommending we get rid of it,” she said. “It won’t make a big impact on the town’s financials, and it’s not really a fair tax because it’s very hard to determine if someone [should be] considered a farmer.’’ The measure needs a majority vote to pass, with a “yes” leading to its elimination of the tax and a “no” preserving it, according to Town Clerk Allison J. Ferreira. Ferreira said a lack of contested races also on the ballot is not unusual. “Last year we had no contested races, as well,” she said. “Nobody is being compensated in any way, and [the elected positions] take up a lot of time. We’d love to see more people run, though.”
Sherrill Barron and Stephen Owen, both running unopposed in the April 6 election, are expected to be among a group of new faces joining the Freetown-Lakeville Regional School Committee this spring. Up to half of the eight-member committee could soon consist of new members. Barron, a retired teacher, told the Globe in an interview that she opposes replacing the state’s current standardized tests with a new set based on the national Common Core standards. She said Common Core is a push to take local control away from cities and towns, and comes with unfunded mandates that edge school budgets higher. Lakeville voting runs from noon until 8 p.m. at the Ted Williams Camp. The town has two contested races. Laura Graber, Richard LaCamera, and Patrick Marshall are running for one open seat on the Library Board of Trustees, and Michael Levrault is challenging incumbent Barry Evans for Park Commission.
Duxbury Town Meeting voters overwhelming agreed to spend nearly $2 million of Community Preservation Act money to purchase 267 acres of mostly unbuildable land. The 17 parcels, several of which are bogs, will be purchased by the town from owner Stanley Merry and may be leased to bog farmers, as is done elsewhere in town. The vote was 212-12 in favor of the purchase. Town Meeting voters approved the measure on March 14. Proponents argued it was important for open space, conservation, agriculture, and water supply.
The Randolph Town Council last week voted unanimously to send the message to the Tri-Town Water District Commission and officials in Braintree and Holbrook that the construction of a new water treatment plant would fit the needs of their community better than signing on as a customer of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. “The message is that we want to control our own destiny,” said Town Councilor Arthur G. Goldstein. Town Manager David C. Murphy said a decision on how to supply water to the three communities rests with the Tri-Town board, which has been struggling with an outdated treatment plant. He presented estimates at the March 23 Town Council meeting that projected the cost of a new plant planned for Braintree at $43.5 million, with Randoph’s share just under $15.8 million. The MWRA would charge Randolph a joining fee of roughly $12.5 million that could result in a yearly payment of about $501,000 for 25 years, Murphy said. Cost projections show that consumers would pay roughly 20 percent with the MWRA, he said. “I guess the question is: ‘Do you want to be a customer or do you want to own the business?’” Richard Brewer, Randolph’s Tri-Town representative, said a recent study showed that the local reservoir has a much larger capacity than previously thought.
The Stoughton schools have asked for a 4.67 percent hike in the 2016 budget, an increase of just over $2 million that would bring total spending to about $43 million. Superintendent of Schools Marguerite Rizzi said new spending would include three mathematics support staff positions, one each at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. “We’re happy with where we’re at when it comes to [English Language Arts] scores, and we’re looking forward to increasing math scores with these additions,” she said. The schools have also included five other Town Meeting warrant articles for capital spending, the most important being a $2.25 million project to replace the windows and doorways at the West Elementary School. The other articles request $40,000 to replace a School Department truck; $100,000 for fire suppression systems at two schools; $65,000 for an air conditioning system in the media center of the O”Donnell School; and $75,000 for air conditioning for the administrative offices at Stoughton High. Selectmen at a recent meeting questioned the need for the air conditioning, new truck, and fire suppression systems.
Municipal board members and the general public have an opportunity to learn more about the state’s Open Meeting Law. Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is holding a regional forum on the law on Wednesday, April 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hanover town hall. The event is one of four free educational forums that Healey’s office is holding around the state this month and next to better inform government officials and other residents about the requirements of the law. Since 2010, the attorney general’s office has been responsible for enforcing the law, which sets out requirements that government entitites must follow to ensure public access to their proceedings. Hanover Town Clerk Catherine Harder-Bernier said hosting the regional event is another step in the town’s ongoing efforts to make the workings of its government more transparent. The forum should be particularly helpful to relatively new board members, but Harder-Bernier said even veteran members would benefit because of the many changes that have been made to the law. Anyone planning to attend is asked to contact JoAnne O’Connor, Hanover’s assistant town clerk, at email@example.com or at 781- 826-5000, ext. 1079.
Weymouth firefighters have saved 118 people from opiate overdoses since they began carrying the overdose-reversal medication Narcan two years ago. That’s, on average, more than one person a week — and doesn’t count people who were saved by crews of private ambulances, according to a press release issued last week by the town. “Narcan has proven its importance time and time again,” Fire Chief Keith Stark said. “This medication saves lives, and that’s what we’re in the business of doing.” In March 2013, the Weymouth Fire Department became one of the first municipal agencies in the state to carry Narcan under a pilot program administered by the state’s Department of Public Health. “Our frontline first responders, including many EMTs and paramedics, recognized the severity and frequency of the overdose problem,” said Brad Flannery, who chairs the local firefighter union’s Narcan committee. “Our members reached out to the DPH and lobbied for inclusion in the pilot program. We couldn’t stand by and watch people die when there was something we could do to help.” All first responders in Weymouth now carry Narcan, and provide information about treatment and prevention through the town’s Family Addiction Support Team.
A race for two seats on the Board of Selectmen is the only contest for town office at Pembroke’s May 2 annual town election. Incumbents Lew Stone and Daniel Trabucco are vying with John G. Brown for the two board seats. Brown is new to Pembroke’s political scene, but not to politics. He managed the unsuccessful congressional campaign last year of fellow Pembroke Republican Vincent Cogliano Jr. He also previously worked in the media department of the Republican National Committee, served as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill, and ran unsuccessfully for a county freeholder seat in New Jersey. Candidates are running unopposed for ten seats, including School Committee members Michael Tropeano and Virginia Wandell, who are seeking reelection. No one filed nomination papers for an open seat on the Housing Authority.
The Easton Agricultural Commission is taking applications for garden plots at Wheaton Farm, with the assumption that the snow eventually will melt and the ground will thaw. “I think everyone needs a dose of optimism right now, that spring will come,” said commission spokeswoman Stephanie Danielson. This is the third year for the community garden, comprising 25 plots on town-owned land managed jointly by the Agricultural and Conservation commissions, Danielson said. Gardeners must agree to use organic methods and help with general upkeep of the site. Gardening classes and get-togethers are planned, Danielson said. “We like to note the community aspect of the garden started with the beginning,” she said. “The deer fencing was installed as an Eagle Scout project under the direction of Scout Maxx Fioriti, [and] the irrigation was funded through a donation made by Avery Lee Williams. Turning the garden and mowing around it in the first year was done by Flynn Family Farms.” Danielson said the gardens are on land that was part of Easton’s first land conservation purchase; the town now owns more than 4,000 such acres, she said. More information about the community garden is available at www.easton.ma.us.
A wind turbine the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has commissioned for Bridgewater is scheduled to be installed over the late summer and early fall, and should begin generating electricity by the end of October, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo. The turbine has been ordered and manufactured, and the MBTA is developing specifications for a contractor to install it, he said in an e-mail. The agency plans to award an installation contract in August. The turbine will be built along the commuter rail right-of-way, on the northwest corner of the rail crossing with Titicut Street, he said. The site is just east of the Bridgewater Correctional Complex. The turbine is expected to produce 1.56 million kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, saving the MBTA about $200,000 annually, he said. MBTA representatives have met with the Massachusetts Department of Correction, Bridgewater Town Council, and Bridgewater Conservation Commission to discuss the project, though no town approval is required. The turbine will stand 213 feet high from the ground to the center of the blades, he said. The MBTA already has a turbine operating alongside the tracks in Kingston.
Ever wonder what food red wiggler worms like best? Or how a floor surface affects the bounce of a basketball? What about whether freezing an onion before you cut it leads to fewer tears? Those questions, and more, will be answered at the Martha Jones School’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair in Westwood on Thursday, March 26, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The second annual fair will feature exhibits from about 100 kindergarten through fifth-grade students, according to parent organizer Mike Jud, who said the purpose is “to give kids a chance to show their enthusiasm for science.” The fair doesn’t award prizes, but parents and Westwood High School student advisers provide comments to the participants – in person, on paper, and by Twitter at #mjstem. More information about the fair, which is open to the public, is available at https://sites.google.com/site/mjsstemfair/home.
Jeffrey Granatino, superintendent of schools in Canton since 2010, will take over the top job in Marshfield on July 1. The Marshfield School Committee voted unanimously on March 10 to select Granatino from among three finalists. He stood out, committee chairwoman Marti Morrison said in an interview, because he is a current superintendent with more than five years’ experience and he comes from a district similar to Marshfield, with many of the same goals. Before becoming superintendent in Canton, he worked as interim superintendent in Norwood. He is a past principal of Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School, and he has completed part of the coursework toward a doctorate degree at Northeastern University, Morrison said.
At least one new member will be elected to the Kingston Board of Selectmen at town elections on April 25 as two challengers and one incumbent vie for two seats on the board. The three candidates seeking three-year terms are Selectwoman Susan Munford and Peter Boncek and R. Lindsay Wilson, both of whom have run for office in the past and are active in the town, according to Town Clerk Paul M. Gallagher. Gallagher said that seven people had indicated an interest in running but only three returned nomination papers with the required signatures. Gallagher said the snowy weather combined with a tough economy has left some people reluctant to run. Another contested race is for a spot on the Board of Health with incumbent Joe Casna facing challenger David Kennedy, a former Finance Committee member. A post that could see a write-in candidate is the one on the Kingston Elementary School Board, which had drawn no candidates by the deadline.
Freetown-Lakeville Regional School Committee member Robert Nogueira, who represented Freetown on the board, has resigned, citing personal reasons in a letter to committee chairman David Goodfellow. He did not elaborate on the reasons for his departure. Nogueira was elected in 2009 and served on the committee during the transition from a partially regionalized school district, which had separate governance of each town’s elementary school, to a fully regional district. He said in the March 2 letter that he “truly enjoyed” serving Freetown and Lakeville during his time on the committee. He could not be reached for comment.
Hingham officials may be asking voters at Town Meeting to spend $2.9 million to buy the marina at 26 Summer St., but will have to see how the financial picture looks, especially after an expensive winter. “There are a lot of competing priorities this year,” said Irma Lauter, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen. She said the town is facing approximately $1.8 million in bills for snow-related costs. But, she said, she would also like to see the town own the property at some point. A tentative proposal calls for the town to buy the marina and lease it to the current owners for two years, while it determines how the property best fits in the larger harbor development plan, she said. Town Meeting is April 27.
Hull Town Meeting will decide in May whether to take the police and fire chief positions out of Civil Service. Selectmen voted for the change earlier this month, saying it would give officials more flexibility in both hiring and firing. Town Meeting voted down a similar proposal in 2003, according to Town Clerk Janet Bennett. Both the police and fire chief positions are opening up in Hull. Christopher Russo has been serving as interim fire chief since Robert Hollingshead retired in January. Police Chief Police Richard K. Billings is turning 65 in April 2016, and under Civil Service rules he must retire then. Billings, who has been named a defendant in several civil lawsuits alleging discrimination within the Police Department, would remain under Civil Service until he retired regardless of the outcome of a vote, officials said. Hull Town Meeting is scheduled to start May 4. About a quarter of communities in the state have Civil Service police chiefs, and slightly less than 20 percent have Civil Service fire chiefs, according to data from the state Civil Service agency.
Billy Sullivan’s first and only duty as Scituate’s new mayor will be to preside at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade – which has been postponed to April 12 “due to excessive weather.” “It feels good,” 51-year-old Sullivan, who works at the Village Market in Scituate as well as a restaurant and inn in Cohasset, said of his win. He defeated Wayne Ross, who urged supporters to vote in “the only election that can be legally bought” where participants are asked to “vote online! vote often!” The election is a fund-raiser for the parade, with voters paying $1 per ballot for the traditional event that started as a small stroll around the block in the Minot neighborhood to celebrate the community’s Irish roots. The parade, which is now run by the Scituate Chamber of Commerce, has grown to five times its original length and runs from the Gates Middle School on First Parish Road, through downtown Scituate Harbor to Hatherly Road. Start time is 1 p.m. More information is available at www.scituatechamber.org.
Sharon residents won’t have to go farther than their local public library to feel like they’ve traveled the world this week.
Officials say it could take months to figure out why about half a dozen solar panels fell off the town hall roof.
The donor earmarked the money for improving substance abuse and behavioral health programs.
The School Committee in Braintree is scheduled to decide Monday how to make up for the district’s snow days, with options ranging from going to school on Saturday to cutting into April vacation.
A race for two seats on the Board of Selectmen is one of three contests on the ballot as Raynham’s annual town election kicks into full gear. March 9 was the deadline for prospective candidates to return nomination papers for the April 25 election. In the selectmen’s race, incumbent Richard Schiavo is opposed by Karen Roberts, a Finance Committee member who unsuccessfully challenged Schiavo in 2012. There are three contenders for two Raynham seats on the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School Committee. Incumbents Louis “Tony” Ghelfi and Patricia A. Riley are vying with challenger Ion J. Baleanu, a political newcomer. The other contest is a two-way race for a seat on the Board of Sewer Commissioners, with incumbent John A. Dolan facing a challenge from Gordon D. Luciano, a member of the Board of Assessors and a former selectman and Regional School Committee member. Eight other candidates are running unopposed.
Officials in Middleborough are trying again to win approval for a new police station.
Despite complaints from School Committee members who said they should also be paid, the Randolph Town Council voted recently to back a charter change measure that calls for only councilors to receive a $5,000 a year stipend. “Our responsibilities are more demanding and complex than those of the School Committee members,” said Town Councilor Arthur G. Goldstein. He said in an interview that the council, which is currently unpaid, surveyed similar communities and found several that had stipends for city councilors but not for school committee members. At a joint meeting of the two boards, School Committee members urged an equal playing field for all elected officials. The measure will go before voters in November at the town election. The election season will also see terms expiring for all elected town officials. Those elected under the new form of government put in place about five years ago are seven School Committee members; nine town councilors; and the three trustees of Stetson Hall, a historic building used for a variety of events.
Abington town officials voted unanimously Monday to push back Town Meeting until June 8, when the financial picture may be clearer, but they want voters to approve the financing of a ladder fire truck next month. Town bylaws say Town Meeting is to be held the first Monday in April, but they also give selectmen authority to postpone it. Town Manager Rick Lafond said the town recently got estimates that suggest the town could end up with $180,000 less from the state this coming year, but said the legislative process is far from over. Meanwhile, officials want voters going to the polls on April 25 to OK a capital exclusion override that would have the town pay for the estimated $1.2 million fire truck in one year. The move could cost the average homeowner $204, according to town estimates. Supporters say it might be best to purchase the truck, which was approved at Town Meeting last year, before tax bills begin reflecting the cost of the new middle and high school.
A Sharon family overcharged on property taxes by the town may get relief from the May 4 Town Meeting, but the property owners will need special state legislation to receive any rebate, Town Administrator Frederic Turkington said in an interview. Town records overstated the 9 Glendale Road property’s street frontage, he said, resulting in six years of higher tax bills. The town can remedy the last three years on its own, but state law prohibits the town from granting an abatement farther than three years back so special legislation is required, and Town Meeting must provide local approval. The Board of Assessors asked the Board of Selectmen to reopen the Town Meeting warrant to add the necessary article, and the selectmen granted that request March 3. The family was overcharged $5,401.77 for the years that require legislation, Turkington said. He said the Legislature is not always eager to pass such special provisions, but Sharon’s case is a “very unusual” error in record-keeping. Assessors’ records show that the property consists of 0.44 acres of vacant land assessed at $207,000.
The town is accepting applications for an affordable-housing lottery for 12 apartments.
Organizers of 400th anniversary celebrations in Plymouth, Boston, Salem, and Quincy are launching a collaborative effort.
The city is allocating $135,000 in federal grant money for low-income people to use to buy homes.
The May 12 town election in Mansfield has two likely contests to date, but candidates have been slow to return the necessary paperwork. “Hopefully things will pick up in the next week or two,” said Town Clerk Marianne E. Staples. She said that although several candidates — including incumbents whose terms are expiring — have taken out nomination papers, none had returned them with the necessary signatures so that their names can appear on the ballot. One likely contest is for selectman; incumbent George Dentino and town Finance Committee chairman Steve Schoonveld have both taken out papers. Another is for a School Committee seat; incumbent Wayne Smith could face a challenge from Jennifer Walsh. Staples said all comers are welcome to join in the fray and have until March 24 to return completed nomination papers. She also said changes are coming for voters a year from now, when they will be able to register to vote online and will see candidates from two new political parties — the Green Rainbow and the United Independent parties.
About 500 students in Foxborough’s public schools have special needs, generating a considerable amount of paperwork for both the families and the district. To help parents cope with documentation, the Foxborough Special Education Parent Advisory Council is sponsoring a free two-hour “Let’s Get Organized Workshop” on March 23 at Igo Elementary School. “The amount of paperwork parents of children with special needs accumulate can be daunting,” said council chairwoman Margaret Chaisson. “The volume can build quickly, and parents usually have no idea what papers will turn out to be important and what they can toss, so they save everything and then can’t find the document they are looking for when they need it.” The evening workshop run by Family Ties of Massachusetts will provide steps on how to prioritize the papers, and a binder to put them in, Chaisson said. She asked that participants preregister by March 16 by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hingham School Committee voted unanimously last Monday to approve a $45.9 million proposed operating budget for next year. School Committee chairman Ray Estes said the proposed budget is a 5.4 percent increase over the current spending plan and consists primarily of contractual obligations such as teacher salaries and special education costs. Full-day kindergarten will be new in the fall, but the costs will be covered by tuition. Town Meeting voters will have the final say on the budget on April 27. In other business, the School Committee voted to have all students attend school on Good Friday to make up a snow day. Students who attend the Plymouth River School are also being directed to attend a half-day Saturday session on March 28 to make up for an extra day lost there because of roof damage related to the snow.
Three people have pulled papers to run against one another for a seat on the Board of Selectmen in the May election in Cohasset. The candidates include incumbent Martha Gjesteby, an octogenarian whose three-year term expires. She defeated the then-chairman of the board for the seat in 2012. Peter Pescatore, chairman of the town Advisory Committee since 2011, and School Committee vice chairman Paul Schubert also took out nomination papers signaling their intention to run, according to Town Clerk Carol St. Pierre. Schubert’s term on the school board expires in May. Candidates have until March 19 to take out nomination papers, and until March 23 to return them with the required signatures, St. Pierre said. The town election is May 9.
The Plymouth Zoning Board of Appeals recently approved plans for a development of 16 single-family detached homes under Chapter 40B, the state’s affordable-housing law. By a vote of 5-0, the board agreed, with conditions, to a request by Plymouth Pines LLC to modify a comprehensive permit for the 2.88-acre site at 335 Carver Road. The zoning board’s action came on the recommendation of the Planning Board. The homes will be a mixture of two and three bedrooms. As required under Chapter 40B, four units — or 25 percent of the total — will be affordably priced. The board originally granted the permit in 2006 to another developer, Twin Pines Farm LLC, to construct 20 condominium units on the property. Last August, the board granted a transfer of the permit from Twin Pines Farm LLC to Plymouth Pines LLC. In discussions with town officials and community members, Plymouth Pines LLC proposed significant changes to the plan, including reduction in the total number of units from 20 to 16 and the switch from a multifamily condominium to detached homes. The new plan also provides for more open space, as well as rain gardens to store stormwater from throughout the site.
The Marshfield School Committee expects to select a new superintendent on Tuesday, following interviews and meetings with the three finalists last week, according to two School Committee members. The finalists are Pamela Gould, assistant superintendent for human resources for the Plymouth public schools; Jeffrey Granatino, superintendent of schools in Canton; and Anthony Pope, a consultant for the Panasonic Foundation, an education reform organization in New Jersey. Pope previously served as superintendent in Marlborough. Members of the search committee would typically visit the candidates’ districts, but since Pope does not have a home district, the committee set up an evaluation system without those visits, Carol Shrand, vice chairwoman of the School Committee, said in an interview. Last week, the finalists were scheduled to undergo evening interviews and daytime visits to the Marshfield schools, meeting principals, parents, central office staff, teachers, and members of the community. Shrand and School Committee chairwoman Marti Morrison said they expect the School Committee to deliberate and make a final decision Tuesday.
Rochester officials aim to avoid a traditional strip-mall development in the town center.
State Representative John Rogers, a Norwood Democrat, and Norwood Fire Chief Anthony Greeley are among the contestants in this year’s “Dancing with the Stars” to benefit the Norwood Circle of Hope Foundation. This year’s event will take place April 17 at 7 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton. Satellite viewing sites include the Olde Colonial Cafe, Lewis Restaurant and Grill, and The Colonial House Restaurant. The other contestants this year include Maura Belanger, an elementary school teacher and breast cancer survivor; Diane Costello-Fruci, who along with her husband runs Norwood Wines and Liquors; Gus Eldayaa of Gus & Donna’s Barber Shop; and real estate agent Julie DiSangro Gross. Contestants last year helped raise $107,000 for the foundation, which helps local residents dealing with catastrophic illness. Kathy St. Cyr, organizer of the event, said this is the fund-raiser’s sixth year. “Every year it seems to get bigger and better,” she said. “It’s exciting.” She praised the dancers, who take lessons and hold fund-raisers in preparation for the big night.
Officials in Norwell want residents to fill out an online survey about how much they’d be willing to pay for a new library and town hall, and where they’d like them located. The 12-question survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/norwellforward and was prepared by the Norwell Library-Town Hall Study Committee to gauge community support for the building projects. The committee expects to present a preliminary proposal to the spring Town Meeting. The current library on South Street was built in 1973. Norwell Town Hall was built in 1955, and was used as an elementary school until 1984; town offices moved in two years later. Discussion about the need for new library and municipal facilities began in 2002. Among the options being considered are renovating the current town hall to include the library, or building new structures at various sites in town. The study committee is asking residents to fill out the survey by this Friday.
Holbrook parents got a break Tuesday when the public schools reopened after a Monday closure that resulted from snow-related problems at Holbrook Junior-Senior High School. A wall was damaged during snow removal and a front-end loader damaged gas equipment, Superintendent Patricia Lally said in an interview. Initially, she did not know how long the schools would be closed, because officials were concerned about a possible structural problem, she said. But workers repaired the gas equipment, and an inspection cleared the building to reopen. “We’re just fortunate that it’s not worse,” she said. The day off was Holbrook’s seventh snow day this year, pushing the last day of the school year from a Friday to Monday, June 22. Lally said it would have been nice to end on a Friday, but she was glad the district started school before Labor Day, so it could avoid going later into the summer. The school is expected to be occupied for about two more years; Holbrook has voted to build a $103 million pre-K-through-12 school, projected to be ready in December 2017.
Skaters need ice – but not the kind of icy snow that covered the roof of Ulin Rink in Milton and led to officials closing the facility last weekend as a precautionary measure. “The decision was made in the interest of public safety,” said Fran Jackson, director of communication for Curry College, which manages the state-owned rink. “There is no known structural damage.” Jackson said the college consulted with the state building inspector and brought in a structural engineer to assess the situation before closing the rink at 4 p.m. on Feb. 21 so more snow could be removed from the roof. She said early last week that the rink would remain closed until the state building inspector reinspected and deemed it safe. Fourteen skating groups regularly use the rink, she said, including Milton High School; Braintree, Norwood, Milton, and Westwood youth hockey teams; theCommonwealth Figure Skating club, Curry College; and numerous adult hockey leagues. The rink also is open to the public at various times for skating.
Voters in Avon can find out about the latest proposal for improving the town’s public safety facilities at an informational meeting scheduled for March 12 at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall. The town’s Public Safety Building Committee has proposed building a new police station at the site of the former Crowley School, and also hopes to renovate the current shared facility for the Fire Department. The two projects would cost about $11.3 million, an expense requiring Town Meeting approval in May of an override of Proposition 2½’s debt limits, according to Town Clerk Patricia Bessette. If approved, the cost would add about $100 a year to the average household’s property taxes, officials said. The average home in Avon is assessed at $263,000. Avon voters in the past have rejected more expensive plans for a new combined police and fire station. The Public Safety Building Committee says the current building is inadequate and unsafe.
Pembroke recently selected SunEdison to operate a 3.3-megawatt solar electricity facility on its former landfill off Hobomock Street.
The proposal is to build 52 single-family homes, 13 of which would be set aside for affordable housing.
Snow days will be distant memories by the time classes end in Hull this year, since the last day of school has been pushed back to June 30, according to Superintendent Kathleen Tyrell. In addition, the town’s public schools will be open half a day for grades one through 12 on Saturday, March 7, to help make up for the 10 snow days accumulated so far, Tyrell said. Because Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, there will be no tests or major projects that day, she said. Hull was hit hard by the recent snowstorms, with some side streets still impassable last week, according to Town Manager Philip Lemnios. A crew from the New York Department of Transportation early last week brought equipment to help dig out the peninsula, and members of the Hull High School basketball team helped shovel out the town’s senior center and homes of senior citizens. Lemnios has been writing daily updates on the town’s website, with weather-themed literary references that he challenged residents to identify. One example: Thoreau’s “We are hunters pursuing the summer on snowshoes and skates, all winter long. There is really but one season in our hearts.” Hull public school students will experience summer in the classroom this year, thanks to the winter storms.
Residents of Marshfield’s Rexhame Terrace neighborhood who lost a dispute with the town over ownership of part of Rexhame Beach have appealed the Dec. 31 Land Court verdict that declared the beach town-owned.
The farm’s staff, 33 horses, and two barn cats were all evacuated safely over three hours after the partial roof collapse.
The long-anticipated opening of University Station is scheduled for next month.
Hanover is planning to expand a program that has helped it keep better tabs on its Fire Department equipment needs. Since last summer, the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston has been helping the department devise and implement a computerized program that would provide detailed data on the maintenance and condition of its vehicles and criteria to use in making decisions on when to replace them. “It’s a very helpful tool for us,” Town Manager Troy Clarkson said of the system, which is still being finalized. Rather than simply replacing fire trucks or ambulances on a randomly selected schedule, he said the data-tracking system offers “an empirical basis for making those decisions.” He said the town is now looking to develop a similar data system for its Department of Public Works. The Collins Center is offering the assistance through its Municipal Performance Management Program, which helps cities and towns use data and analysis to improve their operations. Clarkson said Hanover joined the program on an introductory basis with the Fire Department initiative. He said it will probably enter into a more formal contract with the center to help the town in other areas.
A more detailed analysis of the four potential options for replacing Carver’s elementary school will be presented Tuesday at the Carver School Building Committee meeting. Town Administrator Michael Milanowski said the committee is leaning toward the option that calls for a new building of about 108,000 square feet at the site of the current elementary school buildings on Main Street. Carver Elementary comprises two buildings that house the town’s roughly 800 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 5. “It’s likely to be more costly to repair than to build new,” said Milanowski. The town has hired HMFH Architects Inc. of Cambridge and a project manager from PMA Consultants in Braintree to help evaluate the options. In addition to constructing a new building at the current school site, options also include renovating and adding on to one of the elementary school buildings; and new construction at two possible sites at the Carver High School campus. Previous plans for a new school have been shot down by voters unwilling to fund it, but School Superintendent Liz Sorrell said the town needs the new space more than ever. “These buildings are severely overcrowded and aging. We have more students than we have space for,” she said. The town is hoping to have about 56 percent of the price of the new school paid for by the state through the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
Never mind the snow. The town of Sharon is looking ahead to beach season at Lake Massapoag, and the Board of Selectmen has voted to keep costs the same as last year. Season car passes will be $67 for residents, $34 for senior residents, and $100 for nonresidents, according to recreation director Amanda Levasseur. Lower rates for walk-ins without cars are also available. Residents have their choice of two beaches; nonresidents must use Community Center Beach. Day passes, available only for Community Center Beach, will be $10 per person or $20 per family. Passes are sold online, starting in the spring, via a link from the Recreation Department website. The town raised prices last year to recoup the cost of offering online sales, she said. In an interview Tuesday, Levasseur said selectmen are considering opening the residents-only Memorial Park Beach for two additional hours in the evenings, from 6 to 8 p.m., but the change would cost about $7,200. She said she has recommended raising the money by offering extended-season passes for $125 that would be good from April 1 to Nov. 1. They would be targeted at two audiences: Sharon High School upperclassmen who want to use the parking lot as an overflow school lot (their families could also use the pass for summer beach-going), and triathletes who use the pond in the off-season, she said.
It may still feel like the dead of winter, but the spring election season is in full bloom in Plymouth. Candidates are taking out nomination papers to run for seats that will be on the ballot of the May 9 election. Townwide positions available this year include two seats on the Board of Selectmen and three on the School Committee. Voters will fill a regular three-year term on the selectmen and separately choose someone to fill the remainder of the term of Mathew Muratore, who resigned after being elected a state representative. The three-year seat is currently held by Kenneth Tavares, who is the only candidate to emerge so far. Former longtime selectmen David Malaguti; Lizabeth Cavacco; and Craig Sander, a member of the Charter Review Committee, have all taken out papers to run for the one-year seat. Incumbents Dennis Begley, Kimberly Hunt, and Margie Burges, have all taken out papers for the School Committee seats. Tavares, Malaguti, Cavacco, Begley, and Burgess have all returned their nomination papers. Voters will also choose two Planning Board members — one to complete an unexpired term — and one each on the Housing Authority and the Redevelopment Authority. They will also elect 49 Town Meeting members, 45 of them to fill regular terms and four to complete unexpired terms. The deadline to take out and file nomination papers is March 23.