The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public hearing Tuesday on a proposed backup cooling plan for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth. Entergy, the owner of the Pilgrim nuclear plant, is seeking permission from the state to install and maintain two moorings in Cape Cod Bay. Ed Coletta, a Department of Environmental Protection spokesman, said that the moorings would “allow water to be pumped into the facility to provide backup cooling,” in case of an extreme natural disaster, like the tsunami and earthquake that struck Japan in 2011. But the proposed mooring system has come under criticism by some activists. “We don’t think the plan will work,” said Pine duBois, executive director of the Jones River Watershed Association. “Given the turbulence of the bay there, I think they’re crazy.” She believes it will too dangerous for water to be pumped from that location during a major storm or disaster. “We think they should have a backup plan that works,” said duBois, who plans to attend the hearing. “We think this is for show and they’re not taking it seriously. We just don’t think it’s a good plan.” Entergy could not be reached for comment. The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in the Mayflower Room of Plymouth Town Hall at 11 Lincoln St. State officials will also consider written comments received by Dec. 8. Those should be addressed to David E. Hill, Environmental Engineer, DEP Waterways Regulation Program, 20 Riverside Drive, Lakeville, MA, 02347.
A job posting for Marshfield superintendent of schools should be available Jan. 5, according to School Committee chairwoman Marti Morrison. She said in an interview that Marshfield is looking for a superintendent who is a “good, strong academic leader” who can help the school district maintain its achievement. “We’re not a struggling district,” she said. “We don’t need major changes.” Superintendent Scott Borstel plans to leave in December to teach at Johnson & Wales University, but he will be available during the transition, Morrison said. The School Committee has named Assistant Superintendent Ellen Martin to fill the superintendent’s job on an interim basis. Morrison said Martin does not plan to apply for the permanent job, so she will participate in the search. The School Committee was scheduled to meet last week with a representative of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, which is consulting on the search. A committee to screen candidates has yet to be named, she said.
Norwood voters at Monday night’s Special Town Meeting will be asked to approve money for reconstruction of the town light department’s nearly 50-year-old high tension power lines. Bernard Cooper, assistant general manager, said the project could cost $12.7 million, with approximately $2.7 million expected to come from the light department, leaving taxpayers to come up with the remaining $10 million. Other issues before voters will include whether to acquire a piece of land adjacent to Ellis Pond, whether to have the police department withdraw from the civil service system, and whether to spend up to $500,000 to replace the Callahan School boiler, though half that cost of may be reimbursed by the state.
Braintree’s public schools will spend $254,000 for new computers and technology upgrades, an expenditure approved by the Town Council earlier this month. The money comes from funds left over from previously approved school building maintenance projects that came in under budget, according to Michael Coughlin, the mayor’s chief of staff. “It’s money that’s repurposed for school technology,” he said. School Superintendent Maureen Murray said the plan was to buy a variety of different computers, iPads, and ebook readers for classrooms, and to do some work systemwide to make it possible to eventually bring wireless to all the schools. “We’re still figuring out the exact configurations,’’ she said. “But it’s been a while since we had a big expenditure like this [for technology], so we’re really looking forward to it.”
Single-family homeowners in Norton would see an average increase of $243 in their annual property tax bills later this year under the tax rate established recently by the town. The fiscal 2015 rate was set at $15.39 per $1,000 valuation, subject to approval by the state Department of Revenue. The new rate is only 2 cents higher than the town’s current one. But based on the rate, the average tax bill for a single-family home would go from $4,340 to $4,583, according to town manager Michael Yunits. He said the increase was due to a rise in property values and the debt exclusion, or temporary tax increase, that the town adopted for the high school renovation and new addition project that was completed a year ago. Yunits said the town began repaying the debt for the project last year and that the cost of those annual debt payments will rise over the next several years before peaking and heading downward. The town is funding $13 million of the cost of the overall $32 million project, with remaining costs borne by the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
A million pennies will be on display beginning Nov. 16 in town, where a collection drive met with success. Phil Hamric, who spearheaded the Lions Club fund-raiser, said 200 bags, each with 5,000 pennies, will be placed in a sofa-like shape at the Abington Library so children can sit on the windfall. The $10,000 milestone, which was reached Oct. 10, will help pay for technology upgrades at the library, as well as boost its large-print books, in keeping with the Lions Clubs International’s worldwide support of programs for the vision-impaired. Hamric said the kick-off ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. and will feature a few short speeches and music by the South Shore Men of Harmony. The pennies will be on display through Dec. 3. Hamric said he will never try to repeat the heavy-lifting fund-raiser, but he would be available for consulting. “It’s definitely a game for the young,” he said with a laugh.
A deadlocked School Committee voted unanimously during an emergency meeting Oct. 30 to reopen the search for a new superintendent and extend the contract of Interim Superintendent John Moretti. On Oct. 23, the committee took three separate votes with the same 3-3 tie between finalists Paul Haughey, director of student services in the Blackstone-Millville School District, and Craig Levis, director of special education in Smithfield, R.I. Chairman George McCabe, Jennifer Kitchenbaum, and Gordon McKinnon all supported Levis, while Ellen Pennington, Keith Boyle, and Heather Graham supported Haughey. “Democracy is messy sometimes,” said McCabe before the board voted to reopen the search. McCabe said that even if the committee were to take another vote and it were to come out 4-2 in favor of one candidate, it might not be the best solution. “It’s very difficult to start out a new position as a superintendent and not have a unanimous or near-unanimous School Committee behind you, so I believe [the extension is] probably the best solution right now,” he said. Moretti, whose contract was set to expire Dec. 31, agreed to stay on until next June 30. He has been serving since May 2013 and oversaw the opening of the new East Bridgewater Junior Senior High in September 2013.
A group of World War II veterans will get special recognition this year during the Duxbury American Legion Post 223’s Veterans Day commemoration. Adjutant General John Magnarelli said the post began the year with 19 veterans of that war, and two have since died. Magnarelli hopes to have around 10 of the “Greatest Generation” veterans attend the ceremony, which will held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the post at 5 West St. They will receive medallions and a State House proclamation. Information about the veterans, including where they served and any special medals they earned, will be cited. Magnarelli said the Duxbury Post has about 190 members, a majority of whom are from Duxbury, but also include veterans from Marshfield, Plymouth, Kingston, Pembroke, Weymouth, Quincy, and communities in Florida. He said the youngest of the group is 88. “We want to recognize these guys while we still can,” he said. “These guys are special.”
The town of Pembroke plans to seek a firm to develop and operate a solar electricity facility on its former landfill off Hobomock Street. The annual Town Meeting this past spring authorized town leaders to lease the site for a solar facility, and officials are now preparing to select a developer for that purpose, said town administrator Edwin Thorne. He said at one of its next two Monday meetings, the Board of Selectmen plans to discuss with the Energy Committee whether the selection should be done through a request for proposals. He said either way, the town hopes to have a firm in place by sometime this winter. The capped landfill is not currently in use, although the town maintains a recycling center and a place for residents to drop off grass clippings on areas adjacent to the site. Thorne said that by having a solar array built on the site, the town could receive income from the lease of the property and payments in lieu of taxes from the developer. He said it could also save money by reaching an agreement to purchase power at a discounted rate from the solar facility. Town Meeting also authorized selectmen to negotiate payment-in-lieu-of-taxes and power purchasing agreements with a future developer of the site.
Walpole voters rejected a $21.2 million tax override last week that would have allowed borrowing to pay for new police and fire stations, a new senior center, Department of Public Works garage, and improvements to the current Town Hall. The vote was 5,705 against the proposal to 4,707 in favor — a 55 to 45 percent split – according to the ttown clerk’s office. Local officials had pushed hard for the project, which won approval from the representative Town Meeting in October. The cost of the override would have varied annually over the length of the loan, peaking in fiscal 2018 when the average Walpole taxpayer would have paid about $160 more in property taxes, according to interim Town Administrator James Johnson.
Scituate’s newest selectwoman, Maura Curran, handily defeated three other candidates last week to win the seat vacated after Rick Murray’s July resignation. Her term expires next May. Curran collected 3,411 votes, to Michael G. Scott’s 2,205, Gerard P. Kelly’s 2,158, and Marilyn Howe’s 389, according to the town clerk’s office. The office said turnout was 59 percent, about twice the norm. Curran, who moved to Scituate in 1994, previously chaired the Advisory Board and School Committee and also served on the town’s Affordable Housing and Capital Planning committees. The town also has a new fire chief, John Murphy, who was sworn in late last month to replace retiring chief Richard Judge. Murphy moved up from the deputy chief position and has spent his firefighting career in Scituate.
Voters gave the final nod last Tuesday to a sweeping plan to replace Holbrook’s three public schools with one new building for pre-kindergarten through Grade 12. The project as backed by 3,102 voters — 71 percent of those who cast ballots — with 1,108 opposed and 136 ballots left blank, according to School Committee chairwoman Barbara Davis. Holbrook will pay $47.2 million for the $102.9 million campus, with the remainder — about 69 percent of eligible expenses — reimbursed by the state. Town Meeting approved the plan on Oct. 22. Julie DiBona, amother of two daughters at South Elementary School, credited the support of Selectman Matthew Moore and a volunteer committee called Promote and Vote Pre K-12 for the success at the polls. The committee held meetings, gave out information at events, and campaigned on social media. “Without that, I don’t think people would’ve been educated,” she said. Davis, an active supporter and member of the Permanent School Building Committee, held signs all day at the polling place. Supporters made phone calls and continued to campaign until the end. “It just shows you that if people have the facts, they will make a good decision,” she said. One of the next steps is to hire an owner’s project manager, and an official request for services will be ready in a few weeks, she said.
Foxborough officials have selected LLB Architects, of Pawtucket, R.I., to design a new town hall. In a Special Town Meeting Nov. 17, Foxborough residents will be asked to approve $557,585 for the design and project management services, according to Town Manager William Keegan Jr. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Oct. 28 to recommend approval of the article. The architecture company has worked before in town, designing an addition to the mid-century Boyden Library, an $11.6 million project. After design services are completed for the replacement town hall, voters would be asked to approve construction funds at Town Meeting. Discussion about whether to replace or renovate the existing municipal headquarters date back at least 10 years. Town officials and committees are recommending new construction at the existing South Street site. Although LLB Architects is known in Foxborough for its work on the modern library, the town hall would be a Colonial design, Keegan said. LLB Architects was among six architecture firms that submitted proposals, he said. Four firms were interviewed by a committee. For the project management services during the design phase, town officials chose Vertex, a company based in Weymouth.
The Freetown-Lakeville Regional School Committee has agreed to be party to a friendly lawsuit between the town of Lakeville and the Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District to repay $268,528 that Lakeville overpaid to the district in fiscal year 2014. The purpose of the suit is to get a court order allowing the funds to be transferred without reapproval of last year’s budget, Lakeville selectwoman Mitzi Hollenbeck said in an interview. She said the district overassessed Lakeville based on state aid projections that later changed significantly. The agreement calls for the district to make three annual installments, paying $100,000 in each of the first two years, followed by the balance. Freetown would not be party to the suit, she said.
The dispute between Hingham and Aquarion Water Co. of Massachusetts Inc. over how much the town would have to pay to buy the company is headed to a Feb. 23 trial. Justice Janet L. Sanders of Suffolk Superior Court ruled on Oct. 21 that the matter would require expert testimony and, taking into account various factors, could not be decided based on a summary judgment record as requested by Aquarion. The two sides agreed that the town can buy the company, as stipulated in a 1879 statute, but are far apart on a purchase price. The town estimated the cost to be under $60 million, while Aquarion put the price at $184.4 million, according to the court decision. “We appreciated the court’s thoughtful review and decision, and look forward to presenting our arguments in the February trial,” said Town Administrator Ted Alexiades in a statement Tuesday. Officials for Aquarion said they did not want to comment on the ongoing litigation.
A state agency has issued a $4.139 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts Inc. that will allow the nonprofit to buy a 5-acre parcel and three-story commercial building in Stoughton for its operations. Mark Sternman, spokesman for MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, said the purchase of the property at 600 Technology Center Drive, just off Route 139 and Route 24, will allow the nonprofit to consolidate its operations in Taunton and Quincy and its administrative, support, and program staff in one place. The organization will also buy new equipment and furnishings for the new space and renovate interior walls, upgrade wiring, and install a backup generator and power source, creating 10 office jobs and 11 construction jobs, Sternman said. “The savings we realize using bond financing will help us to be able to provide additional services to people with disabilities,” said Larry Spencer, chief executive officer of Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts Inc.
The legal age to buy tobacco and nicotine products will rise from 18 to 21 in Bridgewater starting Jan. 1, and for the first time, pharmacies will be banned from selling such products. Smoking cessation products are not included in the ban. The Bridgewater Board of Health signed the final draft of the new regulations, which include electronic cigarettes, on Oct. 21 after initially approving a draft in September. The rules mirror those of several other communities that have raised the tobacco age, Health Agent Eric Badger said in an interview. Whatever one’s personal views, he said, “you have to support this from a public health standpoint.” The Bridgewater Town Council was considering similar regulations, but William Wood, council president, said in an e-mail that council action has been postponed because the Board of Health rules “cover it and more.”
The Dedham Greenway, a 1.5-mile stretch of a former railroad corridor, has become a focus for town planners, who held a “visioning session” last week to collect comments from residents and neighbors on how to improve the pathway.
A bicycle network plan for Lake Massapoag could be complete by the end of November, according to Christine Madore, associate planner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the agency working with Sharon officials on the plan. The plan will identify the most popular bike routes around the lake and discuss residents’ preferences for the scale and design of signs, in hopes of helping the town build an identity for the route and draw more tourism, she said in an interview. The area is popular for cycling; a triathalon already uses the lake route, she said. The project was funded by a state planning grant to Sharon of about $12,000 because it lay along a potential corridor for the proposed South Coast Rail service, she said. The grant covers planning but not design or fabrication of signs, which would be up to the town to fund, she said. The selected train route, through Stoughton, does not pass through Sharon.
The Board of Selectmen hopes to talk to officials in Middleborough about sharing a new police facility, according to Lakeville selectwoman Mitzi Hollenbeck. Both towns need a better police station, she said in an interview, and a joint facility could be eligible for the state’s Community Innovation Challenge grant program, which awards money to encourage regionalization. Hollenbeck said that Middleborough selectmen “seemed receptive to opening up talks.” The partnership could start by moving some functions to a shared facility without necessarily regionalizing the police departments at first, she said. Both communities have talked about renovating or replacing their police stations for years. In June, Middleborough voters rejected a $12 million plan to renovate and build an addition to the town’s police station, located in the historic Peirce General Store building.
Town officials say they believe the state Board of Library Commissioners will decertify the Wareham Free Library, possibly as soon as the board’s next meeting on Nov. 1 but almost certainly by the end of December.
More than 82 percent of voters at the polls in Abington last weekend approved building a $96.4 million co-located middle and high school. “We were ecstatic,” said Jeanie Barrett, co-chairwoman of the ABC Abington/A Better Community group that worked to get out the vote in favor of the new school complex. “I think our committee did a great job of getting all the correct information to the voters.” The School Building Committee will now move forward in securing the $50.1 million in grant money offered by the Massachusetts School Building Authority and preparing detailed construction drawings, according to an e-mail sent out Monday by the building committee. It also stated that the project is set to go out to bid next summer, with construction likely to start in the late fall of 2015 and completion tentatively set for late 2017.
The Foxborough Skatepark reopened last weekend, ending a three-month closure. Town officials closed the park at Booth Playground in July, after an inspection uncovered safety problems with the original ramps. The 13-year-old park had a 5-foot U-bowl and a 6-foot bank attached to a half-pipe that needed to be repaired. A private fund-raising effort on GoFundMe, led by Joe Erhard and Jeremy Waltzer, provided $4,445 for repairs, the bulk of what was needed. Fifty-eight people contributed to the effort. The contractor was Foxborough-based Fuller Construction. The repairs consisted of rebuilding some of the frames and new plywood sheathing, according to Building Commissioner Bill Casbarra, who said he inspected the site and issued an occupancy permit on Oct. 13.
Construction of a food-to-electricity plant at the Stop & Shop distribution center in Freetown is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2015, says Greg O’Brien, a consultant for the supermarket company. Stop & Shop is reviewing bids for design and construction and will begin awarding contracts in four to six weeks, he said in an interview. Each year, the plant will convert about 40,000 tons of spoiled and unusable food from Stop & Shop supermarkets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island into an odorless gas. The gas will be burned, generating enough electricity to power about 40 percent of the distribution center, he said. The plant is projected to create eight to 10 jobs. In addition to generating renewable energy, O’Brien said, the plant will reduce the company’s truck usage, because trucks that travel empty to Freetown to pick up food will return the spoilage that would otherwise have been hauled to landfills. Usable food will still be donated to food pantries.
A vote on a local tax of 0.75 percent on restaurant meals in Marshfield, which appears on the Oct. 27 special Town Meeting warrant, will probably be postponed until the spring, says John Hall, chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
Easton is developing a comprehensive master plan, its first effort to do so in some 40 years. The “Envision Easton” draft report includes recommendations for guiding future development, encouraging economic development, and preserving natural resources, among other priorities.
The loss of Whitman native son Michael J. Donahue, who was killed by a suicide bomber on Sept. 16 during his third tour of Army duty in Afghanistan, will be remembered in a ceremony at the town park’s All-Wars Memorial on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m.
A development in Rochester at the longtime site of R.F. Morse and Son nursery, which closed several years ago, could receive site-plan approval from the local Planning Board on Tuesday, Oct. 14, according to Mary Crain, the town planner.
Plymouth plans to take another step to bolster the health of Town Brook with the help of a grant recently awarded by the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affiars. The $40,000 award will go toward engineering oversight for the project to remove Plymco Dam from the waterway.
Blue Hills Regional Technical School, a high school of about 840 students in Canton, will provide Chromebook laptop computers for all students by Thanksgiving, according to a press release from the school.
Unsure whether what you’re seeing in the bedroom of your pre-teen or teenager is some kind of drug paraphernalia? Brockton Police and a city coalition on opioid overdose prevention have organized a walk-through exhibit on Oct. 26 that will allow parents to inspect what might be hiding among the mess.
The proposed replacement of the roof at the Indian Head Elementary School in Hanson cleared the first of two hurdles last Monday, Oct. 6, when a Special Town Meeting authorized $850,000 for the project.
Tiny Avon will get $625,000 over the next five years from the federal Drug Free Communities program — one of 680 grants awarded nationwide this year.The money will go to the Avon Coalition for Every Student, a community group dedicated to stopping youth drug and alcohol abuse, according to coalition coordinator Amanda Decker.
Westwood Town Meeting participants in November will be asked whether to authorize town officials to appropriate money to design a new police station, as well as a new fire station at Islington center. The town’s Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Sept. 4 to place the request for design services on the Nov. 17 Special Town Meeting warrant. The article does not specify an amount.
The simple wooden chair with dark cushions decorated with the POW/MIA symbol is the first thing you see now when you enter Braintree Town Hall — a memorial to the more than 91,000 US servicemen and women listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.
Proponents of a proposed $96.4 million Abington middle and high school got a double shot of good news recently: On Sept. 27, Town Meeting voted 961 to 20 in favor of the project. On the Wednesday before, the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s board of directors voted to approve a grant of up to $50.1 million to help pay for the new building, which would house grades 5-12.
A new community playground at Igo Elementary School, created with a $60,000 grant from the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, hosted a grand opening celebration Tuesday that drew Robert Kraft, chief executive and chairman of the New England Patriots.
As a cost-saving measure, Norwell’s selectmen are considering leaving the local police station unstaffed for several nights a week. Officers would still be on patrol around the clock, but there wouldn’t be a clerk on duty in the station overnight, said Ellen Allen, who chairs the Board of Selectmen.
Eastern Nazarene College is planning improvements to its campus with some help from MassDevelopment. The state’s finance and development agency recently issued a $23 million tax exempt bond on behalf of the Christian liberal arts college in Quincy.
The town of Randolph is negotiating with the owner of the former International House of Pancakes to see whether it can flip the property at 952 North Main St. for use as a new fire station to serve the north end of town.Town Manager David C. Murphy said the Town Council recently voted to designate the 1.15-acre site, which includes the dilapidated former restaurant, as a “unique” property because it is a non-residential property next to the current fire station. The designation could speed up the purchase of property, owned by Hank Duong of Braintree, he said.
The proposed Center/Sylvester Elementary School building project in Hanover cleared a key early funding hurdle when the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s board of directors invited the district to undertake a feasibility study.
The Plymouth Area League of Women Voters plans to hold a fall candidates’ forum Oct. 23. Candidates running for First Plymouth District State Representative (Democrat Stephen Michael Palmer and Republican Mathew J. Muratore), Plymouth and Barnstable District Senator (Democrat Matthew C. Patrick, Republican Vinny M. deMacedo, and Libertarian Party candidate Heather M. Mullins), and Plymouth County Commissioner (Democrat Scott M. Vecchi and Republican Sandra M. Wright) will be invited to attend and answer questions. The forum is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. at Plymouth Town Hall, and it will be broadcast live on Plymouth Area Community Television. Questions for the candidates can be submitted to email@example.com. The league is also reminding people that Oct. 15 is the last day to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election.
The West Bridgewater Cultural Council has set an Oct. 15 deadline for organizations, schools, and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community. Council member Joan McAndrew said grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in town, including exhibits, festivals, short-term residencies by artists or performances in schools, workshops, and lectures. The council will also consider proposals from schools and youth groups through the PASS Program, which provides subsidies for school-age children to attend cultural field trips. For grant guidelines and more information on the council, contact Joan McAndrew at firstname.lastname@example.org. Application forms and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at www.mass-culture.org. Application forms are also available at the West Bridgewater Library and Town Hall.
The Friends of the Avon Library will sponsor the fourth annual Craft and Vendor Fair at the library next Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. “This is our biggest, and right now, our only fund-raiser,” said organizer Ann Fogg, assistant to the library director. Fogg said money raised from the fair would go toward buying more passes for museums, zoos, and historic sites, which library cardholders can borrow. Items for sale at the fair will include handmade jewelry, knit and crocheted goods, artwork, and soaps, she said. The library is located at 280 West Main St.
Marshfield Community Television welcomes the public to visit its new studios, located at the new Marshfield High School, during a November open house. Postponed from an earlier date, the event will be held Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to Jonathan Grabowski, executive director. Although the school built the space, MCTV has funded installation of new sets, cameras, and editing equipment, he said in an interview. He said the studios have “all the neat bells and whistles” and are high-tech and easy to use. “We are going from the Stone Age into the space age,” he said. Students use the studios until 4 p.m. each day, and then they are open for MCTV members to produce their own programming or help with coverage of government meetings and education.
The Boyden Library will host a screening of “Deconstructing Supper: Is Your Food Safe?” a film in which acclaimed chef John Bishop takes viewers into the politics of global food production. The film is described as his personal quest to find out what food choices mean for consumers. Topics covered include genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and industrial agriculture. The film will be shown from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 19.
Volunteers are needed to help the city plan its 28th annual Greater Brockton Holiday Parade, to be held Nov. 29 at 1 p.m. Planning meetings began Sept. 16 and will continue until Nov. 25. Meetings are scheduled for Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. at Joe Angelo’s Café, 11 Crescent St. Help is needed in the areas of marketing, parade route planning, food court, and floats. City officials hope to build attendance and participation in anticipation of the 125th anniversary next year of James Edgar’s decision to become a department store Santa, which began an American tradition. Edgar, who owned a Brockton department store, decided to become “Santa” in 1890 to entertain children, city officials say. Contact parade chairman John Merian at 508-612-2688 for more information about volunteering.
With the appointment of the department’s first six captains recently, Fire Chief Neal Boldrighini said a major reorganization of his department that has been in the work for decades took a giant step forward. “It’s needed movement forward” in light of the growing complexities of fire service and emergency response needs, Boldrighini said. The six captains, who were formerly lieutenants with the department, will be in charged with making major decisions at the scene for the department, which receives roughly 3,000 emergency runs out of 6,000 calls for service each year out of its two stations. He said he also expects within a year to name new lieutenants from among the department’s 36 firefighters. Those sworn in as captains are: William Burgess, Richard Fiske, Marc Goyette, Robert Merritt, Donald Tebeau, and John Terry .
The South Shore Great Pumpkin Challenge is on, and looking for great pumpkin artists. Giant pumpkins will be placed on Depot Street and Route 123 in Easton Wednesday and will be displayed until Oct. 9. Volunteers will be needed to craft them into works of art. The goal is 50 giant pumpkins. Decorating starts Thursday and finishes Saturday morning. If interested in participating, e-mail SSGreatPumpkinChallenge@gmail.com
The School Committee Monday named two finalists for the position of superintendent of schools. The committee will make site visits to the Blackstone-Millville School District to see Paul Haughey, director of student services, and to Smithfield, R.I., where the other finalist is Craig Levis, director of special education. The two finalists will also visit East Bridgewater before the committee makes its final selection by Oct. 7, on a day yet to be determined. The committee also voted unanimously to seek funding from a Special Town Meeting yet to be scheduled for two additional buses to ease problems that have plagued the district for the first few weeks of school. School Committee chairman George McCabe said problems have been caused by the decision to cut three buses to help balance this year’s budget. The committee will be seeking $140,000 to add two more buses. “Otherwise, we’ll have situations where kids continue to spend too much time on buses both going to school and coming home,” he said. McCabe said problems have been exacerbated by the fact that the town has very few sidewalks, which can make situating safe bus stops problematic. “We’ve worked with the town’s safety officer to change some stops, but other changes will have to wait until we have more buses.”
The town has been selected as a pilot site for the Aging Mastery Program, a free, 12-week program designed to educate and encourage health and lifestyle improvements for adults ages 55 and older. The program, a collaboration between the National Councils on Aging and the Massachusetts Councils on Aging, will touch upon physical activity, healthy eating, and medication management among other topics. An introductory session was held on Monday at the Department of Elder Affairs, 71 Cleveland Ave. Subsequent sessions will be held on Mondays at 1:30 p.m. at the same location. While the program is at capacity, interested parties are still encouraged to register their name and phone number with the Department of Elder Affairs. For more information, call 781-848-1963.
The Adams Center Trustees and the Kingston Cultural Council will host a program on what archeology can tell us about the lives of native peoples in the Jones River area before the coming of European settlers. Vocational archeologist Sheila Lynch Benttinen will speak on “The People before the Pilgrims: the Jones River Area” at the Adams Center, a former library restored as a community center, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Her topic includes early migrations into the Northeast, ancient sites in the Kingston area, “the Great Sickness,” the Pilgrims’ arrival, pictures of artifacts from local collections, and “the Wampanoags Today.” Interest in archeological research into Native American culture has surged locally following the discovery of intact archeological remains of a native community on the town-owned Hall Property and the question of how much of the site can be preserved for historical and cultural reasons. The program is free.
The town is getting $110,000 over the next three fiscal years to help combat obesity and promote healthy habits. The money is part of more than $1 million awarded by the state Department of Pubic Health to 22 programs in Massachusetts. “These grants enable cities and towns to make healthy eating and active living easier for people to achieve,” DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett said in a press release. “The grantees are working to make the healthy choice the easy choice by ensuring the availability of healthy affordable foods and promoting opportunities for physical activity.” Weymouth has received similar grants in the past, using the money to help start a local farmers market, encouraging students to walk to school, and working with local restaurants to offer healthy, affordable menu choices, according to Valerie Sullivan, the town’s Wellness Coordinator.
Residents are invited to tour the newly completed $60 million middle school Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., officials said. Attendees can take informal tours with staff and student ambassadors, and School Committee and School Building Committee representatives will also be on hand to answer questions. The school building itself is complete, but crews are still working on the fields and site construction, according to a town announcement. The school, which the town voted to approve two years ago, will cost the town about $36 million after state funding, officials previously said. For more, visit www.hingham-ma.gov.
The town will soon be hiring four new firefighter/paramedics after receiving a $541,000 federal grant. Fire Chief John Nuttall said he will be looking to staff a second ambulance, which will help to pay for the firefighters beyond the two years of funding provided by the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant. He said he plans to have six employees on a shift at all times, instead of the current five. He said the department averages 3,400 calls a year, a heavy volume for the current 22 members of the department. He said he hopes to have the new employees hired by December. They will likely attend the nine-week fire academy next summer, Nuttall said.
Fire Chief Richard Judge retired last week, with his last day of work Thursday
36 years to the day since he started at the department back in 1978. Judge, 60, had been chief for seven years and spent his entire firefighting career in Scituate. “I always said you know when it’s time to leave, and it’s time,” said.Judge, adding that he’s going to Aruba for a two-week vacation and will then figure out what to do next. “I will continue to work,” he said. “My wife is a very successful realtor and I figured I’d get my real estate license and help her out. Or I may go back to building houses.” Judge said that Deputy Fire Chief John Murphy is being considered for the job, which will be filled by the town administrator.
A Rockland team is headed to Lynchburg, Tenn., next month to take part in the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue. The six-member Team Que and a Half Men will be representing Massachusetts in the prestigious barbecue competition, set for Oct. 25-26. Teams from across the US and around the world will vie in the categories of pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket, and chicken, as well as sauces and desserts. The team earned the right to represent Massachusetts by winning a state-sanctioned championship event in Harvard a year ago. The team, consisting of Bill Minihan, Julie Minihan, Brian Martin, Sue Martin, Maura Martin, and Rico Pasquale, takes part in about 25 competitions around the country each year. All are Rockland residents, except Pasquale, who is from Raynham. “Being selected to compete in such a prestigious event is a big honor,” Bill Minihan, the team’s pitmaster, said in a statement. “We have worked very hard to get to this level, and we are all very excited to put our recipes up against the best in the world.”
The city’s process of purchasing eight homes on Hunt Street and one on Newbury Avenue for the expansion of the North Quincy High School campus and flood mitigation is going well, but engineers have drafted an alternate plan in the event the city fails to take all the properties, said City Solicitor James Timmins. So far, the city has purchased four of the properties and has three others under agreement, Timmins said. Officials have been in contact with the owners of the remaining two properties at 30-32 and 42-44 Hunt St., who are being represented by lawyers, Timmins said. After the $12 million project was authorized in June, city officials began negotiations with the homeowners to purchase their homes, as opposed to pursuing the more aggressive option of eminent domain takings. Those under agreement must be out of their homes by the end of October, Timmins said. The duplex on 42-44 Hunt St. is being held up by an estate matter that could be straightened out soon, he said. The alternate project draft indicates that if officials cannot reach an agreement with the owners of 30-32 Hunt St., a proposed parking lot would still be viable and built around the perimeter of that home, Timmins said. The proposed project includes a new 157-spot parking lot, renovations to Teel Field and construction of two flood water-retention ponds.
The town’s public schools got to take part in a little celebrating and a recommitment to the long hard work of improving the district as MCAS scores were released recently showing that, while the district overall remains below the state average, it did meet many of the improvement goals set by the state. “There are some great things taking place and we are thankful for the substantial growth,” said School Superintendent Thomas Anderson. He said it is unlikely that the district will move out of the state’s underperforming category this year. However, Randolph High School moved from a Level 3 school up to a Level 2 and that was “a major accomplishment” for all those involved, he said in an interview. Additionally the Young and Lyons elementary schools both showed significant gains in English and math. Anderson said the state-mandated Accelerated Improvement Plan, which was put into place four years ago and has been tweaked every year, has grown into a strong foundation for the district. “The real mission here is to keep our students moving along. The only way to do that is in the classrooms. It’s not all about the test. It’s about the teaching and learning process,” Anderson said. “It’s hard and we really need to recognize the effort.” Full MCAS results are available at BostonGlobe.com’s Sept. 19 edition.
The Board of Health is advising the public that as of this Tuesday it will be illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to anyone under 18 in Pembroke. The ban was part of an overhaul of the town’s tobacco regulations adopted by the board Aug. 25, according to Lisa Cullity, the town’s health agent. She said that Pembroke joins more than 60 other Massachusetts communities that have prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes to minors due to concerns that the nicotine delivery products can be addictive and lead to use of other drugs. As with Pembroke’s other tobacco rules, anyone violating the ban could face a fine of up to $500. Cullity said, however, that the board, following its general policy, would likely provide for first-time offenders to receive a warning, imposing the fine only for second and subsequent offenses.
The board of health is reaching out to the town’s seniors to provide additional information about the pay-as-you-throw curbside trash collection program being considered for Norwell. “A lot of seniors are all worked up because they think it’s going to cost them more money,” said Health Agent Brian Flynn. “It’s really not going to cost that much for seniors. It will cost more for larger families who will be generating the most trash.” With trash fees through the town’s current provider, Southeastern Massachusetts Resource Recovery Facility, expected to double next year, town officials are eyeing a pay-as-you-throw program. Flynn said that in addition to saving money, moving away from a flat-rate, taxpayer-funded trash removal program will encourage recycling and reduce the amount of trash that is thrown away. No date has been set, but the board of health — along with a representative from the state Department of Environmental Protection — will give a presentation, and answer questions, at the Norwell Senior Center/Council on Aging in the next few weeks.