The location of the School Building Committee’s
meeting Thursday has been changed to the Paul K. Smith Music Room at Abington High School, the committe reported in an e-mail. The venue was changed because of a scheduling conflict at the original location at the police station. The starting time is still 6 p.m., and residents can ask questions about, and offer comments on, plans for a middle/high school serving grades 5 to 12.
Town Clerk Dina Livingston says the polling place for the annual town election on April 12, will be the gymnasium of the new East Bridgewater Junior Senior High School, replacing Gordon Mitchell Middle School. Livingston informed selectmen recently that all of the town’s precincts will vote at the high school from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day. Offices on the ballot include: town moderator, one seat on the Board of Selectmen, one on the Board of Assessors, two on the School Committee, one on the Housing Authority, three library trustee slots, one on the Board of Health, and three Planning Board seats. Selectmen chairman Brian Connors asked Livingston to work with school officials to make sure parking spaces are set aside for voters on Election Day. Livingston also requested residents to return census forms at any one of several drop boxes around town, noting that the town is about to issue 1,500 second notices that are very expensive for the town to process.
Town Manager David C. Murphy said he was proud of town workers and the town as the town’s “See Click Fix” response rate has risen into the top 10 of the roughly 130 communities who use it across the country. The “See Click Fix” application, added to the town’s website last summer, helps residents report neighborhood problems online. Randolph’s application has had more than 1,560 hits, many being two-way conversations between residents and town officials about reported problems such as streetlights being out or trash not being picked up. Recently, there was a report of a coyote being sighted at the town dog park. It was the town’s responsiveness over a 90-day period that boosted its ranking. Malden, which was first nationally, was the only Massachusetts community that ranked higher. Murphy said in an interview that providing good services “is what we’re here for at the end of the day.”
Pop Bumpers Pinball opened during last weekend’s snowstorm at 407 Bridge St. in Bicknell Square with 10 vintage pinball machines. “We still had people coming in despite the snow,” owner Liz Moore, who lives in North Weymouth, said in an interview. “We have pinball diehards coming to check us out, but we also have lots of families.” She said most of the children grew up with video games and have never seen a pinball machine, but “once you show them how to play, they’re hooked.” Moore said she and her husband, Scott, had run a bowling alley in Needham before the economic downturn forced them to close, and she wanted to get into a similar business. Pinball was the natural choice, she said, since both her father and husband restored the machines. “Our family has always had a passion for pinball,” she said.
Town Treasurer John Ellard has released a list of outstanding checks issued by the town. The payees have until March 31 to file a written claim. If they do not, the money will be considered abandoned and will become the property of the town. There are more than 70 checks, all less than $100 in value, on the list issued by the Treasurer’s Office, some of them dating back to 2010. Most of the checks are for Rockland residents, but a few are for companies as farflung as Georgia, Illinois, and Nebraska. The list is available online at www.rockland-ma.gov.
Proponents of a new Scituate Town Library said they have raised an additional $30,000 since Town Meeting approved the $12 million library project in early November. “We had been told funds come in faster once you are successful,” said Les Ball, co-chair of the Scituate Library Foundation’s Capital Campaign Committee. “We did see that in December and January.” About $670,000 has been raised so far. Though still far from the $2 million goal, Ball was optimistic. “Given where we are, we think that’s very reachable,” Ball said. Organizers also have high hopes of increasing participation in the 1,000 Homes program, which aims to have 1,000 donors donate $1,000 or more apiece. About $5 million of the total cost will be covered by a Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners grant; the remainder will be paid by fund-raising and town borrowing.
Quincy Climate Action Network, a two-year-old group promoting renewable energy, has been given a $2,000 grant by the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund to help the organization grow. According to network secretary David Reich, the 18-member group will use the money for brochures, publicity materials, bumper stickers, and as seed money for a fund-raiser later this year. “We’re slowly growing, and one of our big plans is to continue to grow,” Reich said in a phone interview. “Having events will help us get a bit more attention. We’re an ambitious group, we have a lot of work to do, and we need people to help us do it.” The group has already held 10 public forums on home energy use and worked with the city to hire a new energy manager to reduce the city’s energy usage. Its thrust, said Reich, is “cutting back on energy use and increasing the use of renewable energy and production in Quincy . . . on city property and hopefully on private property.”
Barring a blizzard or other unforeseen weather emergencies, the 12th annual Jordan’s Polar Plunge will be held Saturday at Plymouth Beach. Registration is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m., and the plunge will take place a bit later than usual — at 1 p.m. — because of high tide. Last year the fund-raiser drew over 600 “plungers” and more than 1,000 spectators, according to event spokeswoman Catherine McKenna. “We’re hoping for the same numbers,” she said. “It’s a really fun day.” Many participants show up in costumes, appearing as Smurfs, G.I. Joe, and other characters from TV shows and movies. The proceeds benefit the Jordan Hospital Club Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess-Plymouth. For more information or to register online, visit www.jordanspolarplunge.com.
The town and the firefighters’ union have reached agreement on a pair of contracts covering five years. One covers July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2012, and the second July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2015, according to Bill Boulter, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. The agreement, ratified by the union, was reached in a mediation process. The contracts together provide union members with a $750 one-time bonus effective July 10, 2010; 1.5 percent increases retroactive to July 1, 2011, and Jan. 1, 2012; no increase on July 1, 2012; a two percent retroactive increase on July 1, 2013, and a 3 percent increase this July 1. Stipends for paramedics were also retroactively increased by $750 on July 1, 2011, and $650 on July 1, 2013. “I’m very pleased with it because I think both sides came to the table and negotiated a fair contract for the union and a fair contract for the town,” Boulter said in an interview.
Milton officials are expecting a large turnout for the second public meeting on the master planning process, which will help solidify goals for the future. “Right now we’re just doing the forums to get the greater input from everybody,” said Town Planner William Clark said in a phone interview. Officials have been working on an update to the Master Plan since 2011. A visioning process wrapped up in May, and planning specialists began working on moving plans to reality. Officials hope further public input will clarify and broaden goals. “It is something people are interested in, and this isn’t just same old, same old,” Clark said, noting that over 100 residents attended previous forums. “This is looking to drill down on stuff that we have and make sure we’re going in the right direction.” Forums and roundtable discussions will take place the next several months, with the first to occur Saturday at Fuller Village from 9 a.m. to noon
The School Committee is expected to vote Tuesday on whether to adopt one of four redistricting plans for the elementary schools. Thomas Miller, director of business and finance for the schools and a member of the redistricting committee, said in an interview that the four options include two from the original set of alternatives and two new ones, crafted in response to parents’ comments. The new options would move fewer students, which many parents wanted. The redistricting committee considered how each option would help achieve six goals, such as alleviating crowding at South River Elementary School, making transportation more efficient, and maintaining equity in class size and student-teacher ratio. The changes would take effect this September. Miller said the redistricting committee recommended that schools hold “new families” receptions in August to ease the transition for children changing schools.
Candidates for selectmen and other offices have pulled nomination papers, creating several potential contests in the April 26 annual town election. With two selectmen’s seats on the ballot, incumbents Dennis Randall and Sandra MacFarlane have taken out nomination papers along with potential challengers Francis Elwood, Ken Moalli, and Richard Kenney Sr. Randall and Elwood have returned their papers with voters’ signatures to the town clerk’s office. Paul Gallager and Peter Boncek have taken out papers for the town clerk’s office and returned them with signatures. The current clerk, Mary Lou Murzyn, has announced that she will not run again. Current collector of taxes Caroline Gavigan Wilson and incumbent Kenneth Stevens have taken out papers to run for the treasurer’s position and returned them with signatures. Incumbent Peter Cobb and Mark Guidaboni have both taken out papers for sewer commissioner. Cobb has returned his papers. According to the town clerk’s office, March 6 is the last date to take out papers and March 10 the last date to return them.
Icy water ran down the walls of Town Hall this month, flooding some town offices. Town Manager Philip Lemnios said in an interview that an ice dam in a gutter Feb. 13 sent water pouring down the walls, eventually reaching the basement of the 92-year-old building. The Conservation Department on the second floor was able to reopen after the long holiday weekend, although the Tax Collector’s office on the floor below had to remain closed longer while it dried out, he said. The tax-collection staff is working in another room, where residents can pay their taxes.
Members of Holbrook’s representative Town Meeting will convene Wednesday to vote on whether to create a regional school district planning committee. The three-member committee would include one School Committee member and be tasked with planning — along with the town of Avon, officials hope — a regional school system for the two communities. Holbrook’s exploration of regionalizing its schools comes as the town pursues state funding for a new school building. The proposed school could serve Holbrook students in pre-kindergarten through Grade 12 or function as a future regional high school. Town Meeting starts at 7:15 p.m. at Holbrook Junior-Senior High School.
Hingham officials said they will file an appeal to the new Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps that have added hundreds of homeowners into the flood zone. Town Administrator Ted Alexiades said town-hired engineers GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. found numerous problems with the new maps, including incorrect wind speed data and vague topographical information. “We found the effects of a hundred-year storm aren’t anywhere near as dramatic as the FEMA flood maps projected,” Alexiades said in a phone interview. Hingham approved the new maps in 2012, but is reconsidering after a federal mandate dramatically increased flood rates in 2013. Though FEMA has delayed map implementation in Plymouth County, Alexiades was unsure if the delay would apply to Hingham, as the maps have already been approved. Residents and officials have since scrambled to contest the maps in order to stave off dramatically high rates. Hingham plans to file an appeal by March 1 and expects a decision by Sept. 1, a month before new flood rates are to take effect, Alexiades said.
Hanover is accepting nomination papers for the annual town election on May 10. The terms of two selectmen — John Barry and Susan Setterland — will expire this spring. There will also be races for two School Committee seats, three positions on the Housing Authority, two members of the Board of Assessors, and one member on each of the following: the Planning Board, the Board of Health, and the Board of Public Works. The town will also elect a library trustee and a town moderator. Candidates must collect 50 signatures from registered Hanover voters and turn them into the registrar's office by March 24 to be eligible to run.
Selectmen are looking for more information before finalizing a proposal to buy electrical power generated by wind turbines in Plymouth. Selectmen Chairman David Madigan said in an interview that selectmen will take up the topic again this week, when they hope to have more answers to their questions, including about potential lawsuits related to the project, which is located on an Ocean Spray cranberry farm. Discussions about the contract with Future Generation Wind were held at the selectmen’s Feb. 10 meeting.
Fire officials were waiting last week to hear from the state Fire Marshal’s Office on the cause of a three-alarm fire that destroyed an antique store on Jerusalem Road. “There was nothing suspicious about it,” Fire Chief Robert Silvia said of the Feb. 12 fire at the Reflections Antique Emporium, a longtime establishment in West Corner where Cohasset, Hull, and Hingham meet. The store manager discovered the fire, which began in the walls of the antiques-stuffed, century-old wood frame building and burned off the roof, Silvia said. “It got fairly dramatic from the outside,” he said in an interview. The store’s owner was selling the building and had planned to pass papers soon, he added.
Residents are being encouraged to seek information and offer comments on plans being drawn up for a middle/high school that will serve grades 5 to 12. One opportunity to do that is at a meeting of the Abington School Building Committee March 6 at 6 p.m. in the Abington police station’s community meeting room. Committee members will be receiving reports and fine-tuning site plans in preparation for the town’s meeting with the Massachusetts School Building Authority at the end of March. School Superintendent Peter Schafer invited parents in an e-mail to also get more information at www.asbc.us
Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey has praised Stoughton officers and Police Chief Paul Shastany for what he called their “bold leadership” in combating drugs and addiction. In an opinion piece recently released to local newspapers, Morrissey said that having naloxone, also known as Narcan, available in all Stoughton police cruisers “will undoubtedly save residents’ lives in future opiate overdoses.” Morrissey noted that Norfolk County saw 60 overdose deaths in 2013 and that Stoughton saw three fatalities in a single week last summer. Stoughton officers underwent training last December on using naloxone, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioid overdoses. All 54 uniformed personnel were involved in learning about the drug and how to administer it. The department was also the first to be trained on using naloxone that was not part of the pilot program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, which trained officers in Quincy and Gloucester.
Town officials have begun preparing what is expected to be a lean budget for fiscal 2015. The Board of Selectmen asked all non-school department heads to submit individual budget proposals that keep spending to no more than 2 percent above this year’s levels, according to Joseph R. Pacheco, the board chairman. “To an extent, things have been tight, but we’ve always been conservative in terms of how we run the town,” Pacheco said in an interview, of the board’s decision to seek only a small spending increase. The Bridgewater-Raynham School District is separately preparing a series of options for its budget to present to Raynham officials. The finance committee is set to begin reviewing both the non-school and school budgets at its meeting Monday.
Residents will be asked to support a public gathering bylaw at the annual Town Meeting in May. Selectmen have drafted an article for the warrant that requires anyone planning a get-together of 250 or more people to get a permit from the town. “That way, everybody who needs to be notified – the police and fire chiefs, the board of health, the highway department and building inspector, if necessary – will be in the loop,” said Town Coordinator Dale Pleau. “Selectmen will be able to review the application and get reports from the various departments to make sure that necessary safety conditions have been addressed, any fees that may be incurred have been paid, and things like that.” An application last year by a group of motorcycle enthusiasts to hold an event for between 500 and 1,000 people on private property is what spurred the creation of this proposed bylaw, Pleau said. The event ended up being held in another community. “It’s not that large gatherings can’t be held here, because they can,” said Pleau. “It’s just that we want the necessary precautions in place.”
A new Public Works building, affordable housing developments, and medical marijuana dispensaries are among the topics slated to be put before Special Town Meeting voters this week. The Special Town Meeting kicks off Monday at 7:25 p.m. in the high school auditorium, and will be continued on Thursday if necessary. Selectmen chairman William Plasko said in an interview he hopes the proposed $16.8 million DPW building proposal gets the necessary two-thirds vote. He said the department needs the new facility, and a responsible financing plan has been put together to pay for it. Voters will also be asked to consider “smart growth” or 40R developments, including Plimpton Press, Regal Press/Guild Street, and a smaller one on Washington Street. Unlike “40B” developments, these proposals must receive voter approval and could result in the town receiving money from a state fund. They are generally located in downtowns, close to public transportation. An extension of the medical marijuana moratorium from June 30 to Sept. 30 is also on the warrant. Plasko said the committee needs more time to draft bylaws.
Middleborough’s annual Town Meeting will start on May 27 this year, the day after Memorial Day and an unusual start date that can’t be helped, town officials acknowledged last week. Other dates that were considered for the potentially two-day town-wide meeting, where the year’s financial and other decisions are made, conflicted with a range of graduation festivities in the high school auditorium where residents traditionally meet. “This is very difficult,’’ Town Manager Charles Cristello said, especially since it’s a long weekend when many people are away. “We’ll have to pull out all the stops and make sure we reach out,” he said. Addressing the camera in a live cable broadcast, selectmen chairman Stephen McKinnon said he hopes that more than the 150 residents required for a quorum take the time to show up and participate. “This is your big meeting of the year,’’ he said. “This is where the rubber hits the road.”
A forum with speakers both in support and in opposition to the adoption of the Common Core education standards will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Mansfield High School. Speakers will be Sandra Stotsky, a former member of the Common Core Validation Committee, who did not sign off on the standards as adopted; Linda Noonan of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, which recommended adoption of the standards in 2010 and continues to support them; Jamie Gass of Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform, which has been outspoken in its challenges to the standards; and Mary Anne Alliegro, a member of Liberty Chalkboard, also opposed to Common Core. Selectman Olivier Kozlowski said he organized the forum in his role as a parent of two children in the school system. He said the nationwide standards for mathematics and English will have financial impacts on local school districts. “We managed to get speakers to represent all sides,” Kozlowski said.
A former cranberry bog on more than 200 acres of privately owned land off Howland Road has been purchased by the Natural Resources Conservation Service through its wetlands restoration program. Bob Morse, general manager of King’s Point Holdings Inc., the Naples, Fla-based property owner, said that $400,000 was paid for the bog and adjoining property. King’s Point Holdings kept 2 acres of land with a barn on it that fronts Howland Road. Morse said he is unsure what the company will do with the property. The more than 200 acres of land will be maintained and managed by the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game and used “as protected open space to provide wildlife habitat and for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone for passive outdoor recreation,” said Amy Mahler, , spokeswoman for the state agency. Freetown Planning Technician Lauren Moreau said that having “beautiful open space for people to recreate and relax [in] will be a boon to the quality of life here.”
Dunkin Brands, which decided to keep its headquarters in Canton following a tax break offered by town leaders last fall, has offered donations to two town organizations: the Council on Aging and a new drug abuse coalition including the town’s fire, police, and school departments. Dunkin Brands representative Jason Maceda presented $10,000 to the drug abuse coalition and $25,000 to the Council on Aging for the town’s new senior center at a selectmen’s meeting Feb. 11. Dunkin Brands was originally going to use $10,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest of a robber who had targeted more than 20 Dunkin Donuts, Maceda said at the meeting. Because police were able to find the robber without such information, the firm decided to donate the money to the town, according to Maceda.
The Wareham Village Association announced plans to hold the “first evah” Wareham Oyster Festival in April. The festivities are slated to kick off April 21 and continue throughout the school vacation week. The schedule of events includes a speaker series, an Oyster Gala April 25, and an Oyster 5K April 27. A special “Oyster Trail” map is also going to be made to promote local restaurants. To view the complete schedule and get information on how to participate, visit www.warehamvillage.org.
After a series of problems with falling ceiling tiles at the new Westwood Public Library, town officials have again closed the High Street facility until the matter can be resolved. A notice on the town’s website apologized for the inconvenience. “Past fixes for the second floor ceiling have unfortunately not resolved the problem,’’ the notice said. “The Permanent Building Committee is putting together a team to address the issues and has authorized the closing until all safety concerns have been resolved.” Officials said the schedule of the Islington branch would be revised to coordinate the pick-up of reserved materials. The $13.9 million Westwood Public Library opened in July and has been closed several times in the last few months because of the tile problems. More information is available at westwoodlibrary.org.
The head of the School Building Committee said that tough winter weather has not derailed the timetable for building the West Bridgewater Middle-Senior High School. “There have been a few days when work couldn’t be done, but overall the project is right on schedule,” said Gary Keith, head of the committee. Keith said the first piece of steel for the project went up on Tuesday, with construction expected to be complete by the beginning of the 2015-16 school year. Ground was broken last October for the $64 million, 141,250-square-foot facility, which is being built on athletic fields at the rear of the existing building. Once completed, the old school will be demolished to make room for new athletic facilities. The entire project is expected to be completed by January 2016.
Two recycling companies will restore wetlands they damaged near their 17-acre property on Main Street, according to a judgment recorded this month in Suffolk Superior Court. Allied Recycling Center Inc. and Recycling Walpole LLC also agreed to pay $125,000 in fines and to properly handle waste at the site in the future, according to a press release from the state attorney general’s office. “The allegations paint a very disturbing picture of flagrant violations of environmental laws meant to protect natural resources and the public’s health,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said in 2010, when her agency filed its complaint. The companies — which had been breaking environmental wetland rules since 1988 — agreed to restore about an acre and a half of wetlands and 176 linear feet of a stream, primarily on town-owned conservation land, the press release said.
The Sharon Pluralism Network recently hosted the first diversity event for adults, modeled after its Teen Speak-Out program at Sharon High School. The Community Speak-Out on Feb. 9 drew 55 guests who, along with 12 facilitators, participated in exercises to help them interact with people they might not otherwise meet due to cultural and religious differences, according to Beth Hoke, executive director. They shared a lunch of food from several cultures. Hoke said in an interview that the goal of the event was to develop greater understanding and appreciation among groups in Sharon. “Trying to support people to engage with people unlike themselves is an ongoing process,” she said. Pluralism, she said, aims to turn the “melting pot” of assimilation into more of a salad bowl or mosaic in which people retain their identity while interacting with others. The organization looks forward to hosting more such events, she said.
TheTri-Town Strengthening Families Fair is scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Old Rochester Regional High School on Route 6. The free family event will feature information tables on early childhood education and performers such as the Toe Jam Puppet Band and “Big Ryan,” a local storyteller, said Doreen Lopes, coordinator of the Tri-Town Early Childhood Program, which is sponsoring the event. “It’s all very children- and family-related,” said Lopes in a phone interview. For more information, call Lopes at 508-748-1863 or e-mail email@example.com.
The Freetown-Lakeville School District is hosting visits for candidates for the district’s superintendent position. The visits are open to the public, and the regional School Committee is inviting district parents and interested community members to meet the candidates. Each session runs from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. and will be held at Austin Intermediate School. Dates of the visit and the candidates are: Feb. 26, Richard Medeiros, school superintendent in Somerset; Feb. 28, Janice Rotella, director of curriculum and instruction in Wareham; and March 4, Elise Frangos, assistant superintendent in the Old Rochester Regional School District. The School Committee will interview candidates on those same dates starting at 6:30 p.m. at Apponequet Regional High School, and the sessions are also open to the public.
The Hanson Children’s Museum recently adopted a new name. To better reflect its intention to serve the whole region, the nonprofit changed its name to the South Shore Children’s Museum. The action comes at an eventful time for the museum, which was begun in 2009 by Hanson resident Juvelyn Hartweg. After operating as a traveling museum for its first four years because it lacked a facility to house its exhibits, the museum last August began operating from a storefront space in the Hanover Mall at a significantly discounted lease rate through a temporary arrangement with the mall. Recently, the mall agreed to extend the lease at least through June, Hartweg, the museum’s director, said in an interview. Meanwhile, the museum has lined up a major new sponsor, soon to be announced, that will help pay for its operations, marketing, and its effort to maintain and expand its space at the mall. Hartweg said the museum is also preparing to apply for a state Cultural Facilities grant to futher support those needs.
Two new firefighters were sworn in during a ceremony before selectmen recently as the board continued its work to find a new permanent chief for the department, but was forced to hold off on hiring a new police officer. The two new firefighters, who have already been on the job for a few weeks, are Tyler Bryant and John Eaton. Town Administrator Charlie Seelig said in an interview that a screening committee will begin reviewing applicants for fire chief this week to replace William C. Carrico II, who left to become chief in Sandwich. Seelig said the town had also hoped to hire an eleventh full-time police officer but held back because there were no openings for training available at the state police academy until the fall. “We will revisit it this summer,” Seelig said. The two finalists for patrol officer were part-timers Jennifer Keegan and Joseph Cushman.
The Kraft Group has launched a new quarterly newsletter called “Partners in Patriotism” as well as a Partners in Patriotism Fund aimed at awarding $100,000 to Foxborough-based philanthropies each year. The effort will be overseen by a board of directors made up of 13 Foxborough residents to be selected by the Kraft family – owners of the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, Gillette Stadium, and Patriot Place – through an application process, according to a news release posted online. Applications will be available at www.GilletteStadium.com/Partners-in-Patriotism
on April 1. The Kraft Group, one of the town’s largest taxpayers, will also begin hosting a series of public forums and one-on-one dialogues potentially in March, officials said.
Police Chief Allen Krajcik called last week for anyone accompanying a person experiencing a drug overdose to make a good-faith ambulance call without concern for the possibility of arrest. Krajcik’s concern stemmed from a rash of opiate abuse around the region, and an avalanche of overdoses locally. He said Massachusetts General Law Chapter 94C, Section 34A – or the Good Samaritan Law – protects people who call for emergency medical services for someone in that danger. “All too often, people are hesitant to call for an ambulance when a friend is overdosing for fear of being criminally charged with possession of drugs,’’ he said in a news release. “Delaying medical attention to an overdose victim can lead to death or brain injury.” Krajcik said police normally respond with the ambulance to medical calls but if drugs are found as a result of someone calling 911 for aid an overdose victim, officers cannot charge either the caller or the victim for possession of drugs.
The town sold the Ames Schoolhouse at 450 Washington St. decades ago, but now selectmen are looking into getting it back. Selectmen announced last week they authorized $60,000 to be spent for architectural firm SH&A to provide cost estimates for using the building as a town hall and senior center, according to selectmen chairman Michael Butler in a phone interview Wednesday. The firm will also look into expanding the firehouse next door to the schoolhouse, building a police station on the site of the current town hall on Bryant Street. The idea of using the school came from resident Shaw McDermott, who spoke against a municipal campus building project on Rustcraft Road during fall Town Meeting last year. The Rustcraft project vote subsequently failed. The firm’s results will be presented to selectmen in March, according to Butler.
The Planning Board has given its approval to a proposal by Crop Production Services to build two structures for a showroom and a storage facility in a small industrial park on Marion Drive in North Carver. The company sells fertilizer, pesticides, and insecticides to commercial farmers. Cranberry growers in Carver and neighboring communities are among the firm’s customers. Town Planner Jack Hunter said in a telephone interview last week that the proposal approved by the board represents a change from the company’s original plan. That would have resulted in a single, large 12,000-square-foot building that would have required a costly sprinkler system according to town rules. The company chose instead to build two smaller structures, each under 7,500 square feet, one providing space for offices and a showroom, and the other for product storage.
Schools Superintendent Kathleen Smith and Mayor Bill Carpenter will hold a literacy summit Tuesday to discuss ways to help all Brockton children achieve reading proficiency by third grade. The public meeting runs from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Brockton Public Library Multi-Purpose Room, 304 Main St. At the Early Learning Innovation Summit, the pair will also discuss a coordinated fund-raiser to provide all families with access to Footsteps2Brilliance Inc., an early learning mobile application. “The mayor, School Committee, and I are committed to providing our youngest children with as many educational opportunities as possible,” Smith said in a statement. “This initiative will truly be a collaborative program . . . and we hope that the whole city embraces this exciting program.”
No one had returned nomination papers as of Tuesday for a Bridgewater seat on the Bridgewater-Raynham Regional School Committee up for election April 26, Assistant Town Clerk Jolie Sprague-Martin said in an interview. Signatures are due March 10. Incumbent School Committee member George Vasvatekis said in an e-mail that he is not running for reelection because his real estate business requires more of his time. A dearth of school candidates, if it continues, would echo last year, when no Bridgewater names appeared on the ballot; Julie Scleparis won in a sticker campaign. Incumbent town councilors Peter Colombotos, William Wood, and Sandra Wright have drawn papers to run for reelection. Pamela Hayes-Bohanan has drawn papers for one of three available spots on the public library board of trustees.
Looking ahead to spring, the town has ordered four sets of bike racks to be installed in the town square and at the Avon Public Library, according to Town Administrator Michael McCue. He said the town expects to receive about $2,100 from the Old Colony Planning Council to pay for the racks. Paul Chenard, transportation planner for the council, said the state is promoting alternative forms of transportation, including bicycles. Providing money for bike racks is a way to help reach that goal, he said. “One barrier to riding a bike is if you have nowhere to lock it up,” Chenard said. “You don’t want to ride if you can’t lock your bike and be sure it will be there when you get back.”
The April 1 town election will feature several contested races, according to the town clerk’s office. Two seats are up for grabs on the Board of Selectmen, and incumbents Peter W. Teitelbaum and Judith Whiteside are running for reelection against challenger Michael Frates. On the Board of Assessors, there will be a battle for two seats between incumbent James McCahill; James R. Giberti, chairman of the Capital Planning Committee; and Priscilla Porter. The School Committee race will feature incumbent Clifford Sylvia, police officer Karl Baptiste, and Melvin Lazarus vying for two available seats. The last day to register to vote in the election is March 12, and the town clerk’s office will be open until 8 that evening.
A presentation on “The Process and Benefits of Elevating Your Home” to save it from rising sea levels will be given at Jones River Landing, 55 Landing Rd., at 7 p.m. next Thursday. David Ray of Hull-based Nantasket Survey Engineering will focus on what homeowners need to know before deciding to elevate a house, how high to go, and the benefits of doing so. The program will include a video of an interview with a homeowner who went through the process. The event is part of a series of climate-change programs being presented on Thursdays this winter. A March 13 program will discuss the vulnerability of local salt marshes to rising sea levels, and March 27 will feature an open discussion about other steps that coastal homeowners can take to adapt to sea-level rise and climate change.
The date of the annual Town Meeting, now held on the Wednesday preceding the annual town election, which is scheduled for the third Saturday in May, may be changed to the Saturday before the election. Selectmen plan to submit an article for the May 14 Town Meeting warrant asking residents to support changing the annual event from a Wednesday evening to a Saturday during the day. “By moving it up a few days to a Saturday and holding it during the day, it will be more convenient for many residents,” said Town Coordinator Dale Pleau. “Town Meeting is held on a weeknight now and it often tends to run late, which can be difficult for people who have to get up early the next day and go to work, or get the kids off to school.” Selectmen discussed the proposed change at a recent meeting and voted unanimously to support it.
The town has launched a program that enables veterans to work off a portion of their property taxes. At this month’s Board of Selectmen meeting, where the proposal was unanimously approved, chairman Joe Salvucci explained that the program for veterans is similar to the town’s senior tax work-off program, which allows homeowners age 60 and over to lower their property taxes by working for the town. “Most of it is a copy of the senior workoff program with the exception of if you have a disabled vet, they’re able to have somebody else actually do their time for them, for that benefit.”
School officials say that plans to change the grade levels in the two elementary schools have “not been set in stone.” School officials have launched a webpage, http://warehamps.org/reconfiguration, which has the latest information about the proposed reconfiguration of the elementary grade levels. It also features an online form where parents can submit their questions and suggestions. School officials are seeking changes because the East Wareham Early Childhood Center is slated to be closed for the 2014-15 school year. One option is for the students in pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade to go to the Minot Forest Elementary School, and students in grades 2, 3, and 4 would attend the John W. Decas Elementary School. A second option would be for Students in grades K, 1, and 2 to attend Decas, and students in pre-K, 3, and 4 to attend Minot. A plan is expected to be in place by March 1. The next forum on the proposed reconfiguration is scheduled for Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Decas school.
Mary Crain of Mattapoisett started work this month as town planner, filling a slot that had been vacant since late summer, following the departure of John Charbonneau for the town planner job in Raynham. Crain, who worked in town planning in Watertown, Everett, and Salem, got her master’s degree in planning from Rutgers University in 1994. Though she has worked in largely urban areas, being a planner in a small town isn’t foreign to her, she said. Crain has been on the Mattapoisett Planning Board for almost two years and will continue to serve on it, she said. She said the major challenge of the job in a town that is “primarily a residential community is trying to strike a balance between reasonable economic development and growth to offset their tax concerns. It’s a very pro-agriculture town, so we’re trying to find a way to attract more housing opportunities without overstressing the infrastructure.”
Despite what he called the “cluster of mistakes” in the planning for an elementary school in Hanson, Whitman Town Administrator Frank Lynam said his town’s selectmen will not get involved in the process. The Whitman-Hanson Regional School Board, which includes six members from Whitman, recently asked the Massachusetts School Building Authority for an extension for the $29 million in funding it had been willing to give for half the cost of the school, Lynam said. Last month, Hanson voters failed to give the school plan a two-thirds majority at special Town Meeting, and officials thought the plan was dead. But they later learned that a simple majority was alll that was needed, so the plan was passed. Lynam said Whitman selectmen were not notified, but if they are in the future, “there will be no reason for them to take any action. Whitman has no role in the process.”
Nominations are being accepted for the third annual Roy London Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to a resident or organization in Westwood that embodies London’s spirit through compassionate or charitable actions. Nominations should be submitted to Christine McCarthy at Westwood Town Hall by Feb. 28. The award(s) will be presented at a Board of Selectmen meeting in March. E-mail or call McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-326-4172 with questions, or to make a nomination. For additional information, visit www.townhall.westwood.ma.us
and click on Roy London Humanitarian Award.
West Bridgewater’s public schools are again accepting applications for the state School Choice program, with a deadline of Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. Superintendent Patricia Oakley said the district has been participating in the program for 10 years, and 27 students from outside this district are attending West Bridgewater schools this year. Oakley said the district will not know how many slots if can offer for next school year until projected enrollment figures come in around March 1. With the state reimbursing districts at the rate of $5,000 per student, School Choice can be a significant source of revenue, especially for smaller districts, and districts that participate are not required to provide transportation for out-of-district students. If the number of students applying exceeds the numbers of slots available, students are chosen by lottery.
Police will conduct a self-defense course for women starting in March. The popular Rape Agression Defense class, which is for women only, includes classroom instruction and hands-on exercises, and covers prevention, risk reduction, and the basics of self-defense. Students practice by actively striking at the suited instructors, “a vital part of the class,” according to the police website. The course consists of four classes held at Blackburn Hall from 6 to 9 p.m., on March 3, 10, 24, and 31. For more information or to register, contact the Walpole Recreation Department at 508-660-7353 or email@example.com.
Plans for a new high school got an important boost late last month when the Massachusetts School Building Authority extended an invitation to the Stoughton public schools to enter the authority’s eligibility period. If successful, the town could eventually receive tens of millions of dollars in state aid, as well as expertise in renovating the existing Stoughton High or constructing a new one. The town’s legislative delegation — state representatives William C. Galvin and Louis L. Kafka, and state Senator Brian A. Joyce — announced the news at a School Committee meeting on Jan. 28. School officials cautioned that the invitation does not guarantee the project will be accepted for funding. “There is a long road of hard work ahead of us to bring this project to a successful conclusion,” said Superintendent of Schools Marguerite Rizzi. “Let us begin.’’
Students at The Binah School, an all-girls Jewish middle and high school in Sharon, are creating a community mural on panels that will be displayed on the building at Memorial Park Beach. Newton-based art therapist and community muralist Tova Speter is working with students to create a mural that celebrates inclusion of people with disabilities, something the girls are learning about, she said. The design includes a tree with branches forming the shape of a heart, and leaves that are human figures. The girls visited with students from Perkins School for the Blind and with adults who have developmental disabilities to work on panels that will become part of the mural. They plan to hold a community painting day in Sharon. “It’s very exciting to us that this will be the town’s first public community mural,” she said. The mural is expected to be installed by summer.
Raynham Democrats are holding a caucus Saturday to choose six delegates and three alternates for this year’s Democratic State Convention. The caucus, organized by the Democratic Town Committee, will be held at 10 a.m. at town hall. Any Raynham resident who was a registered Democrat as of Jan 31 is eligible to attend and to run for a delegate or alternate seat. The convention is scheduled for June 13 and 14 at the DCU Center in Worcester. Its primary business will be the endorsement of Democratic candidates in this year’s election for governor and other statewide offices. “We’d love to have a good turnout and we encourage people to come and participate,” said Joseph R. Pacheco, chairman of the Democratic Town Committee.
Herb Chambers Cos. is seeking permission from Norwood to construct two buildings on a vacant six-acre site on Route 1, as the company looks to relocate a Volvo dealership from Dedham. A Planning Board hearing on the proposal has been set for March 10. Attorney David Hern Jr., who is representing the car dealer on this proposal, said in an interview that one of the buildings would house the Volvo dealership, and the other would house a yet-to-be-determined dealership. Chambers bought Dalzell Volvo on Route 1 in Dedham in September, with plans to move it down the Automile to 1120 Boston Providence Highway (Route 1) within 18 months.
A participant in a major episode of the Civil Rights era and a veteran television journalist will give leactures at Wheaton College that are open to the community. At 6 p.m. on Feb. 24, New Bedford resident Jibreel Khazan, formerly Ezell Blair Jr., will speak about his experiences as one of the four University of North Carolina students, known as the Greensboro Four, who staged the original sit-in at the Woolworth’s lunch counter to protest unequal treatment of African-Americans. The lecture is “a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and hear from one of four students who took action because they believed in equality,” Associate Dean Denyse Wilhelm said in an e-mail. His appearance follows a lecture by Liz Walker, an award-winning news anchor and ordained minister now working in Sudan, who will appear at 7 p.m. this Thursday. “We were looking for a speaker who could tie together domestic and global issues in an inspiring way,” said Associate Dean Raquel Ramos.
A public hearing will be held Feb. 24 on Phase I of the town’s Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan. Town Meeting voters in April approved a $2.5 million project to upgrade the town’s waste-water treatment plant so that it can meet new federal guidelines. As part of that effort, another $150,000 was approved to fund a waste-water management plan that will help the town become eligible for a state Department of Environmental Engineering zero percent loan. More information is available on the town’s website at www.middleborough.com/.
The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room in Middleborough Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Ave.
US Coast Guard Auxiliary Onset-Marion Flotilla 6-3, which bills itself as the nation’s oldest continuously operating flotilla, is offering a seven-week course in boating skills and safety. Lesson topics covered include boat handling and safety, terminology, navigation rules and signage, radio communications, weather, and instruction in lines and knots. “Many people think boating rules and safety apply only to motorboats,” Warren L. Washburn, a Marion native and 41-year member of the auxiliary, said in a phone interview. “But it applies to everything: sailboats, kayaks, and canoes and even paddleboards.” The course will take place on Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. and begins Feb. 27 at the flotilla’s office at 13 Atlantis Drive. Cost is $40, due on the night of the first class. For more information, call Warren L. Washburn at 508-789-3680 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A four-way race for two spots on the Board of Selectmen appears to be shaping up, with more than a month remaining for candidates to file nomination papers. Board president Jess Aptowitz is seeking his third three-year term and said in an interview he “is ready for the challenge.” Incumbent Kevin Moran, meanwhile, said in an interview he decided the time was right for him to step down. But Moran said he will miss working with the board and Town Manager William R. Ross, whom he called “one of the greatest people” he has ever worked with. Moran said he will spend more time with his teenage sons and in his job as an inventory control manager for a growing company. Town Clerk Marianne E. Staples said in an interview that three new faces have pulled nominations papers for the Board of Selectmen and they have until March 25 to return them. They are Keith Purrier, Steve Schoonveld, and Vic Leemon.
The Board of Selectmen announced a vacancy on the Finance Committee and is seeking letters of interest from residents who may want to serve the remainder of the term, which expires in April 2015. Melissa Hopkins recently resigned from the board, citing personal reasons. Anyone interested in serving should write to the Board of Selectmen at email@example.com
or by mail to the board at 346 Bedford St., Lakeville 02347. Letters must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Feb. 27, said Town Administrator Rita Garbitt. The appointment will be made jointly by selectmen and the Finance Committee, she said. For more information, call 508-946-8803.
Starting July 1, residents who dispose of their trash at the transfer station will have to place it in designated town trash bags, available at local stores. The cost will be $2 for a 30-gallon bag and $1.25 for a 15-gallon bag. Currently, there is no cost to residents to dispose of trash at the station, located on Route 27. The town last week signed a contract with North Carolina-based WasteZero to supply the trash bags. Town Administrator Ron San Angelo said that the switch to the “pay as you throw” system will encourage recycling, reducing the town’s trash disposal costs. Currently, Hanson pays $35.50 for every ton of trash it brings to the Covanta SEMASS waste-to-energy plant in Rochester, a price that is expected to rise to $55 to $60 next year. Also helping ease the town’s trash costs will be the new revenues it will receive from keeping most of the proceeds of the bag sales.
Planning Board member Mark Rogers, who also serves on the Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, plans to run for a selectman’s seat in the April 7 town election. He will challenge incumbent Paul Sadeck. Both men have submitted nomination papers. Rogers, 44, has lived in town for more than 30 years. He is a former Freetown firefighter and currently works as a project manager for a construction company. Rogers said he does not know if he will continue to serve on one or both of his current boards if he is elected to the Board of Selectmen. “I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it,” he said. In the meantime, Rogers said he has left a message with the state Ethics Commission to discuss the matter with them. Candidates have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to submit nomination papers for the election.
The Easton Affordable Housing Fair will be held Feb. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Queset on the Pond, Roosevelt Circle, in Easton. No RSVP or sign-up is needed. Information will be available on home-repair grants and loans, rentals, first-time homebuyer training and assistance, and ways to prevent foreclosure, among other topics. Nonprofit organizations and agencies will be on hand to provide information and to answer questions. For more information, call 508-230-0645. The event is sponsored by the town’s Affordable Housing Trust.
Confronted with a failing boiler, the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center is turning to residents for help. A “Heat It Up” fund-raiser involving community dinners and a dance at the facility will take place on March 1. “The boiler crisis came as a bit of a shock,” executive director Jean Ford Webb said in a statement. “We knew we took over a fixer-upper; we didn’t realize it would give out in the first year.” Event chairwoman Louisa Miller said that 25 dinners have been organized for March 1, and that rides were being arranged from the dinners to the center for the evening dance. Whole Foods will provide dessert and coffee, while the band “Men in Black 2” will play live music. Miller hopes the fund-raiser can pull in $25,000. To sign up, visit motherbrookarts.org/heat2014.
After the Planning Board approved minor modifications to a solar farm in North Carver, Great Meadow Drive neighbors have complained to selectmen that they were not notified that the board was considering the plan. The proposed solar installation on former bog land off Purchase Street was previously blocked by the Zoning Board of Appeals. However developer Borrego Solar challenged the ruling in court and town officials and the company reached an agreement to scale back the development. Following legally required public postings of an upcoming hearing, the Planning Board approved changes to Borrego’s plan that shrank the project by 30 percent and required a berm and tree barrier between the project and its nearest neighbors. However, some neighbors told selectmen they should have been directly notified that the plan was back in play. The residents still have the right to appeal a building permit before any construction can begin.
The Public Works Department is nearly $235,000 in the red for the snow and ice budget this winter, Superintendent Michael Trotta told selectmen Tuesday. He added that the department has enough salt for an upcoming storm but that salt supplies were dwindling. Trotta came before selectmen to request a $50,000 increase to the snow and ice budget of $364,735 for next year, part of a set of rolling increases over the next several years so that similar deficits do not take place in the future. “I can’t argue with that this year,” Selectman Avril Elkort said, citing the multiple storms this season. The change will be considered along with other department requests.
The City Council has rejected Mayor Bill Carpenter’s request to transfer about $40,000 from city personnel accounts to cover the costs of his new staff for the rest of this fiscal year. That leaves the fate of at least one position in doubt, Chief of Staff Bob Buckley said. Carpenter took office in January with a staff of seven, two more than the former administration. A 7-4 vote Monday fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for the transfer, even though the mayor had discussed his plans with each councilor in December, Buckley said. “We were very transparent through the entire process,’’ he said. “For these councilors to sit there and say they were unaware means they are either being disingenuous or they are not listening.” Carpenter will not approach the council on the funding again, Buckley said, and if “plan B or plan C” don’t materialize, “we will have to let someone go.”
Town officials are hoping for a big turnout at this Tuesday’s meeting in Hingham Town Hall to discuss the ongoing appeal of federal flood maps. “Most folks won’t be impacted, but those that are will see some pretty significant reductions if [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] ends up approving’’ the appeal, said Abby Y. Piersall of the Conservation Commission. As part of the appeal, GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc. looked at new FEMA flood maps and attempted to rebut some of the predicted flood levels. The new maps have extended the flood plain significantly, and greatly increased the predicted water table during storms for coastal homeowners. The engineers “basically looked at FEMA’s entire study and got more specific with the topography, so what we believe as a town is better information about the elevation extent and coastal flood plains,” Piersall said. Piersall also urged homeowners with specific property questions to call the commission directly.
The town hopes to choose an architect for the Academy Building renovation by Feb. 28, Town Manager Michael Dutton said in an interview. The $8.8 million project will restore the prominent late-1800s structure, which faces the green at Central Square, for town offices. He said “quite a number” of prospective architects visited the site in late January, and statements of qualifications were due in his office Thursday. Town staff will review the applications to make sure they meet the requirements and then submit them to the Municipal Building Committee, which will probably choose two or three to interview, he said. Dutton will select the architect based on its recommendation.
The Robert F. Crowley Elementary School is no more. Town Administrator Michael McCue said in an e-mail last week that the vacant building “is pretty much removed.” Town Meeting voted last May to spend up to $905,000 to raze the building on Fagan Drive, which was built in 1962, vacated in 2002, and slotted for demolition by the town in 2012. American Environmental of Holyoke removed hazardous materials from the building late last year, and JR Vinagro Corp. of Johnston, R.I., completed the demolition last week, McCue said. He said the town has not determined what to do with the property.
A novel competition is underway between the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen. It all began Jan. 27, when Planning Board chairman Paul McAlduff issued a challenge to the selectmen: Which board (and their staff) could donate the most blood during the month of February? McAlduff came up with the idea after hearing about a girl whose heart surgery was delayed due to a shortage of blood last month. McAlduff said he wanted to issue the challenge publicly to help raise awareness about the importance of giving blood, and to remind people to donate if they can. It’s still unclear who will claim victory here, but McAlduff enjoys cooking homemade desserts and said he plans to reward the winning board with a “sweet treat.”
The Hamilton Primary School surprised safety officer Bob Barry with a thank-you party this month that drew family, friends, and local officials. Barry is retiring after 30 years with the Weymouth police, 17 of them as the department’s liaison with the town’s schools and teaching safety education. Barry also runs the town’s Junior Police Academy, which introduces students to police work. Hamilton students presented Barry with a handmade quilt and a video. “He has been keeping our children safe for 30 years,” read the flier announcing the Feb. 7 surprise party. “He is a true hero.”
The Board of Health is likely to toughen regulations on cigars and e-cigarettes when it votes at its Feb. 24 meeting. According to Jennifer Sullivan, director of public health, the sale and use of e-cigarettes will probably become subject to the same regulations currently governing cigarettes. Sales of individual cigars will probably be prohibited, with regulations mandating they be sold in packs of at least four. Hookah establishments also wouldn’t be allowed in town. The board received a letter from the National Association of Development Organizations opposing the tighter restrictions on cigar and e-cigarette sales.
“But I think the board is headed in a direction to pass’’ the new regulations, Sullivan said in an interview. She added that discussions are continuing on whether to change the age limits for cigarette sales.
A Rockland businessman has been named chairman of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors. Ray Belanger, CEO of Bay Copy, has been on the chamber’s board for at least six years and has served as its treasurer. “Corny as it sounds, I think of it as community service for the group,” he said in a phone interview. “My company started in the South Shore. It’s rooted here. I live here. Part of this is giving back, and making it better. This reinforces those ties.” He added that the most important issue the chamber faces is creating an economic development plan for the region. “We’re talking to some outside consultants who will help us fashion a vision for what the South Shore can look like for the business community,” he said. “We’re trying to unite everyone in this. The thing about the South Shore in particular is we have all different sizes and types of businesses. This is something that pulls us all together.”
A search committee last week put forward the names of three finalists to be the next school superintendent, including two administrators from Southeastern Massachusetts and one from Washington, D.C. School Committee Chairman Emmanuel Mecha said in an interview that interviews with the three could take place as soon as the week of Feb 24. Mecha said a great attempt had been made to involve the community in the search and to take politics out of the process. At a meeting announcing the finalists, Mecha called the process “just the beginning of new and renewed interest in Randolph schools.” The finalists are Thomas Anderson, an instructional superintendent, in the District of Columbia public schools; Richard Medeiros, who has been superintendent of schools in Somerset for eight years; and Janice Rotella, who is director of curriculum and instruction in Wareham. Medeiros and Rotella were also recently named as finalists for the Freetown-Lakeville superintendent’s job.
South Shore YMCA officials said demolition of the old YMCA building began on Feb. 1, and the site will be a landscaped parking lot by May. “Parking is tight with the old building still there, but we do have additional parking across the street at Quincy High School and at Stop & Shop while we wait for our permanent parking lot to be completed,” Sara Trubiano, director of marketing for the organization, said in an interview. Asbestos abatement was finished in January, with an independent consultant providing a clearance report. Soon afterward, demolition began on the pool addition and newer entry vestibule, which were both constructed in 1997. The main building will be torn down with a claw-like crane and loaded into trucks for disposal in the coming weeks, contractors said.
Residents who noticed the familiar “bee” missing from its perch atop the Council on Aging building need not fear that it has flown away. Town workers recently removed the 4-foot-long bee scuplture so that it could undergo a much-needed restoration. Dave Litchfield, of Litchfield’s Art & Sign, is carrying out the work, which is expected to take several weeks. The bee was created in 1975 by Richard Edlund, a corporate designer, to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first public library in Pembroke, Edlund said last week. At that time, the building was the town library. Edlund’s late wife, Lucia Millet Edlund, is a former head librarian. In the library’s early days, Edlund said, the Pembroke Ladies Reading Society held spelling bees to raise funds. Edlund said he made repairs to the bee in 1979 after it was stolen and recovered, and that he touched it up periodically over the years. The latest renovations will use a more durable protective material so the scuplture will last longer, Litchfield said in an interview.
No charges will be filed in connection with the Sept. 10 fatal head-on collision on Main Street between Lincoln and Circuit streets. Police Chief Ted Ross said a lengthy investigation determined that a car driven by Stephen Loguidice, 51, of Bedford, crossed the center line at 8:45 a.m. and hit a vehicle driven by Kristen Williams-Haseotes, 47, of Marshfield. Loguidice was pronounced dead at the scene, and Williams-Haseotes was transported to South Shore Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. There were no passengers in either vehicle. “In reviewing the reconstruction report, it appears that [Loguidice] was at fault for not staying in his lane of traffic,” Ross said. In a news release, Deputy Chief Carol Brzuszek wrote: “The accident investigation is closed. There will be no charges to file with this accident.”
Milton’s Teens in Need, a grass-roots group that provides financial assistance to youths who need anything from prom dresses to Advanced Placement test money, has announced a new scholarship. The Peter J. Muse Scholarship will offer four $500 awards to Milton High seniors who best represent the excellence that Muse, who died in late 2012, strove for as an attorney, coach, and parent. “There was an influential person in the community who has passed away,” said Assistant Superintendent John Phelan. “He was very big in terms of supporting students that couldn’t help themselves. . . . We decided to do a scholarship in his name at Milton High, where his five children attended.” Teens in Need is raising money for the scholarship as well as the organization as a whole, and a fund-raiser will be held March 1 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Milton Hoosic Club. Tickets are $25.
Residents concerned about construction at Marshfield Airport have begun organizing under the name Marshfield Citizens Against Airport Pollution, and communicating via a Facebook page. Christine Beagan, one of the organizers, said in an interview that residents are worried the runway reconstruction could allow larger aircraft to use the airport. They are concerned about noise, pollution, and harm to wetlands, she said. Airport manager David Dinneen has said the project extends the runway to make it safer for existing flights and to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards, not to expand into new types of service. Beagan said about 30 summer and year-round residents are working on the issue, and that 20 to 25 of them attended the Feb. 4 Conservation Commission meeting for an airport discussion. Her husband, Hugh Beagan, said residents have hired a lawyer to look into whether the airport has received all the required approvals from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Braintree officials are decrying legislation proposed by Governor Deval Patrick that would consolidate the state’s 240 municipal housing authorities into a few regional agencies. Patrick’s proposal, which is pending before the Legislature, was drafted in the wake of a scandal at the Chelsea Housing Authority that ended with its former director being sent to federal prison for corruption. “We’re hoping they’ll keep local control where it belongs,” Lauren Murphy, executive director of Braintree’s Housing Authority, told town councilors last week. “The way the governor has written the reform, they would come in and take everything — all our money, our desks, everything.” Several councilors said they would draft letters to Braintree’s state legislators expressing their opposition to the plan. “I think it would be a disaster,” said Councilor Dan Clifford. “We know the people in Braintree, we know who needs the help. The state doesn’t.”
Voters will see three major contests on the ballots April 1 ballot — two for selectman and one for School Committee. Holbrook police Officer John Kearney is challenging incumbents Timothy Gordon and Matthew Moore in a three-way contest for two seats on the Board of Selectmen. To fill a one-year vacancy on the board, Robert Austin, a former selectman, is running against Daniel F. Moriarty III, son of the building inspector. For School Committee, incumbent Barbara Davis is joined by Stephen Gallagher, Arthur George, and Richard Stagnone in a contest for two seats; incumbent John Callahan is not running for re-election. Nomination papers were due Tuesday, but a contest for one of three Housing Authority seats was in question last week because one candidate did not appear to have enough verifiable signatures, said Town Clerk Jeanmarie Tarara.
Duxbury leaders are calling on state officials to reinstate weekend and holiday rail service to South Shore communities, but that is not likely to happen anytime soon. “Whether it’s First Night, Fourth of July, tall ships, sports teams celebrations, or just the ease of traveling to Logan Airport, we believe a strong market exists in the Route 3 and 3A corridors for weekend commuter rail,” wrote Town Manager René J. Read, at the request of selectmen, in a Jan. 27 letter to the state Department of Transportation’s board of directors. When asked about the request, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an e-mail: “The MBTA continues to struggle with daunting financial challenges. Rising operational costs, a multi-billion dollar maintenance backlog, and burdensome payments on long-term debt make it very difficult for the MBTA to consider restoring weekend service at this time.”
Saying he was dismayed by the “turbulence and dysfunction” of the Board of Selectmen, Kevin McCarthy announced last week he is running for one of the two spots on the board up for election in May
. Chairman of the town’s appointed Governance Committee, McCarthy said this is his first time running for office and that he is not affiliated with any group or individual. He said he was motivated to run because current selectmen’s “inability to professionally, and too often even courteously, work on the critical issues facing Cohasset has impaired the effectiveness of our town governance and done little to alleviate the acrimony which has, for far too long, hung over Cohasset politics.” He cited his business experience, including 19 years with Dunkin’ Donuts, and later law career as qualifications for selectman. Incumbent Selectwoman Diane Kennedy and chairman Fred Koed have said they will run for re-election.
“Defending Jacob,” by Boston author William Landay, has been selected for this year’s Abington Reads program. As part of the library-sponsored program, residents are encouraged to all read the same book and take part in events related to it. This year’s program will conclude with visits from Landay, a former assistant district attorney, at the library and Abington High School on March 24. The library also has planned a forensic science program for teens Saturday, a discussion of the book with library director Deborah Grimmett on March 20, and showings of movies with themes similar to the book. In an interview, Grimmett estimated that 250 to 300 people participated last year, the first year of the program. “I would expect the same this year, if not maybe more,” Grimmett said. Last year’s selection was “Dark Tide,” a nonfiction account of Boston’s Molassess Flood of 1919.
With the potential for several new restaurants and no available alcohol licenses available, selectmen have begun the process of asking the state for additional licenses. “I think there’s at least a consensus to move it forward to Town Meeting,” said Town Manager William R. Ross. In an interview, Ross said that a few restaurants have asked about opening in town, only to find that the town’s roughly 30 licenses are all taken. Ross said that decisions still need to be made on the number of additional licenses, and whether to restrict them to certain areas within town. The town must request additional licenses from the state and gain Town Meeting approval to have a home rule position go before the Legislature, Ross said.
Nearly $100,000 from the $1.35 million Greenbush Trust Fund has been awarded to local organizations for several historic projects along the MBTA line. Town officials finished collecting the settlement money last year, received as part of an agreement allowing the commuter train to be routed trough Hingham. Officials and the Massachusetts Historical Commission have since worked to develop grant guidelines. According to Tom Willson, chairman of the Hingham Historical Commission, the funding will be spent in $100,000 annual increments on projects that help preserve Hingham’s history, with no single project to receive more than $50,000. “The applicants have to live within the various historic districts that line the track through the town,” Wilson said. “This is for keeping the historic nature of Hingham along the railroad line intact and for upkeep of historic homes and any other buildings.” This year, grant projects include building projects at New North Church, Old Fort House, Old Colony Masonic Lodge, Hingham Historical Society, Ames Chapel, and the Thomas Barker House.