Students back from China

A group of six students and five teachers from Avon Middle High School have returned from a visit last month to the Wenshan No. 1 High School in the Yunnan Province of southern China. The trip was part of an international exchange program, which has brought participants from Wenshan to Avon over the past two years. Avon Superintendent Margaret Frieswyk said students and staff prepared for the 10-day trip all school year.

Johanna Seltz


Pancake, yard sale today

The Rotary Club of the Bridgewaters is holding a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. Sunday at the senior center on Wally Krueger Way. The menu includes scrambled eggs, a variety of pancake offerings, bacon or sausage, orange juice, and coffee at $7 per adult and $5 for children under 12. An accompanying yard sale will feature jewelry, books, toys, and more. The event is cosponsored by the Mayflower Bank and Rockland Trust Co. and will help fund scholarships for local students.

Christine Legere


DVD donations needed

May is DVD Donation Month at the Brockton Public Library. The library is looking to expand its collection and needs DVDs in excellent condition and in the original packaging. Desired subjects include comedies, dramas, food and cooking shows, Hallmark Hall of Fame programs, concerts, BBC productions, children’s movies, and popular TV series. DVDs older than 10 years and VHS tapes are not needed. Materials not accepted will be sold in the ongoing Library Foundation book and DVD sale in the gift shop on the main level. Donations can be left at the main circulation desk at the main library, 304 Main St. For more information, call 508-580-7890.

Steve Hatch


Residents OK senior center

On April 30, residents approved the purchase of the Knights of Columbus Hall, which the fraternal organization’s leadership has agreed to sell to the town for $450,000. The same dollar amount had been appropriated in 2005, also by Town Meeting vote, in order to build a Senior Center behind the police station; now the $450,000 will be used to secure the the 500 Pleasant St. site. Residents also authorized selectmen to build and outfit a senior center at the location by appropriating an additional $200,000 from an overlay surplus account.

Meg Murphy


Challenger wins seat

Helen Marrone won a seat on the Board of Selectmen in last weekend’s annual town election, replacing incumbent Jack Angley, who placed fourth in the contested race to fill two seats on the five-member board. Marrone, a finance industry professional, received 894 votes, and incumbent Sarah Hewins retained her seat with 873 votes. John Cotter Jr. finished third with 850 votes, and Angley had 838.

Robert Knox


Outstanding alumni awards

The Dedham High School Outstanding Alumni Selection Committee has announced that resident Donald Luce; state Representative Paul McMurtry, a Dedham Democrat; and resident Marilyn Weber were selected to receive the “Outstanding Alumni Award’’ for 2012. The award recognizes the contributions the individuals have made to their community or society overall. This year’s recipients will be recognized with a plaque they will receive at a reception on June 5 that will eventually hang in the high school foyer.

Natalie Feulner


Hearing on bylaw changes

The Planning Board will hold its required pre-Town Meeting public hearing on proposed zoning bylaw changes at 7:05 p.m. May 14 in its Town Hall conference room. Three additions to local bylaws are under consideration. One would revise the bylaw on flood plain districts. The second relates to virtual home businesses, and the third to requirements for commercial accessory dwelling units. The full text of each proposal is available to the public in the Planning Board’s office in Town Hall during business hours. This year’s Annual Town Meeting is set for June 4.

Christine Legere


Hockomock Film Festival

Local filmmakers are gearing up for the annual Hockomock Film Festival, which holds its awards day next Saturday at Stonehill College. The festival began as the Easton Film Festival with 22 entries in 2002, and now generates more than 40 entries, mostly from students in the towns of the Hockomock League – Attleboro, Canton, Easton, Foxborough, Franklin, Mansfield, Norfolk, North Attleborough, Plainville, Sharon, Stoughton, and Wrentham. The film screenings are from noon to 4:30 p.m. in the Martin Center, with the awards given from 5 to 6 p.m. For more information, call Bill Ames at 508-297-1700.

Steve Hatch


Solar canopy at Patriot Place

The Kraft Group and solar developer NRG Energy have begun constructing a solar canopy at Patriot Place, part of a 1-megawatt solar installation expected to be completed by the 2012-2013 pro football season, Kraft Group representatives said. The canopy will generate renewable power, while providing shade for visitors to the mall’s North Marketplace.

Michele Morgan Bolton


Superintendent a finalist

John E. McCarthy, superintendent of the Freetown and Lakeville schools, is one of two finalists for superintendent of the Scituate public schools. In early April, McCarthy interviewed with a 12-member search committee; on April 23, he was selected as a finalist. McCarthy, a Plymouth resident and former principal at Duxbury High School, has been the district's superintendent since 2009. A final vote by the Scituate School Committee is expected on May 21, leaving either McCarthy or the other finalist, William Hart, the current assistant superintendent at Pentucket Regional Schools, with the post.

Meg Murphy


Pay hikes under discussion

According to Town Administrator Charles Seelig, the hottest topic on the May 14 Annual Town Meeting warrant is a proposal to grant nonunion employees 2 percent raises. The Wage and Personnel Board, which sets working conditions for nonunion workers, has recommended the pay increases. The Finance Committee, however, does not plan to recommend the 2 percent increase, Seelig said. Voters will also consider raises for union employees under new contracts, Seelig said, since negotiations are expected to be complete on at least some of those by the time Town Meeting opens.

Christine Legere


Town looks at budget

A proposed $19.4 million budget for fiscal 2013 is among the key items that will come before the annual Town Meeting that convenes Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Hanson Middle School. The meeting will also take up two spending requests contingent on the passage of tax increases at the May 19 town election. One is for $235,766 to cover part of Hanson’s fiscal 2013 assessment to the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District. The other is for $390,000 to fund the purchase of a firetruck.

John Laidler


Volunteers needed

Selectmen recently released a list of openings on local boards and committees. They include three seats on the board of directors for the Mansfield Housing Corp., one seat on Keep Mansfield Beautiful, six openings on the Finance Committee, and four seats on the Industrial and Development Commission. The development panel works with the town manager on expanding the town’s industrial and commercial base. For information on each of the committees or to apply for a position, visit the town’s website at www.mansfieldma.com.

Christine Legere


History workshop for kids

A hands-on history education program for children is being offered this summer by the Sippican Historical Society. The program, the first of its kind offered by the organization, is open to children entering grades 3 to 5 in the fall, and includes research activities that include hands-on access to historical objects and artifacts, along with crafts, games, and visits to nearby historic places. The six-day program is limited to 30 children. The fee is $120 per child. For information, call 508-748-1116, or send an e-mail to info@sippicanhistoricalsociety.org.

Paul Kandarian


Inn gets two licenses

Selectmen granted entertainment and victualler licenses to the Inn at Shipyard Park, which under prior management was called the Kinsale Inn. The granting of the licenses followed months of hearings at which nearby residents expressed concern about late-night noise from the inn in the past, and whether the establishment would be turned into a nightclub. The venue has always had entertainment in the past, and in granting the licenses, selectmen said they were assured that the restaurant would not become a nightclub. Under the license, the inn will be allowed to have music and dancing until 1 a.m., as do other entertainment license holders in town, selectmen said.

Paul E Kandarian


Specialty markets

The Soule Homestead Education Center will host “Selling to Specialty Markets,” for organic farmers and those interested in organic farming, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday. All are welcome to join Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership, Northeast Organic Farmers Association-Massachusetts, and organic farmers across the region for this on-the-farm workshop. The fee for the session is $20. F or more information, go to www.SEMAPONLINE.org.

Christine Legere


Town receives grant

Norwood is among eight towns in Massachusetts to receive $10,000 from the Department of Housing and Community Development, the state announced late last month. The grants are part of the department’s Massachusetts Downtown Initiative, designed to help the communities fund further downtown revitalization efforts. In Norwood, the money will be used to improve and revise the town's sign bylaws in the central business district and to develop sign designs based on downtown guidelines.

Natalie Feulner


Sign-ups for summer fun

The Parks and Recreation Department now has registration forms available for this summer’s programs. Half- and full-day playground programs will be offered to students in kindergarten through eighth grade at the LaLiberte School. The department will offer a “tadpole” playground program for 4- to 6-year-olds at the Merrill School. Sign-up forms with prices are available on the town’s website at www.town.raynham.ma.us and at the Town Hall and the public library. For more information, call 508-824-2743.

Christine Legere


Principal search, again

The position of principal at Rochester Middle School will be advertised after School Superintendent Douglas White said none of the three finalists that had been considered were right for the position. The finalists were Tom Daniels, principal of Oak Ridge School in East Sandwich; Steven Morgenweck, a middle-school teacher in Sharon; and Lynn Christensen, a part-time professor at Bay Path College in Burlington. School officials said they expect to hire a new principal by late May or June. Principal Jay Ryan is retiring in the fall.

Paul Kandarian


Town Meeting on Monday

A ban on dogs at Veteran’s Memorial Park and Beach and reauthorization of property tax exemptions are among the articles on the warrant for Monday’s Town Meeting, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Sharon High School. The dog ban prompted vigorous discussion at the April 24 selectmen’s meeting. The Lake Management Study Committee submitted the article.

Jennette Barnes


Fire leaves 17 homeless

State fire officials said an electrical fire led to heavy damage at an apartment building at 36 Park St. early Tuesday morning. Jennifer Mieth, spokeswoman for the State Department of Fire Services, said the fire broke out in a ceiling between the second and third floors of the building. The third floor was destroyed. American Red Cross spokeswoman Kat Powers said the agency is helping 17 people from five families, including four children and an infant.

Rich Fahey


Library sale on agenda

Town Meeting this week will decide whether to authorize selectmen to sell the former library building . A previous proposal to demolish the structure is off the table, according to Town Administrator Michael E. Boynton. He said businessman Albert Giandomenico has expressed interest in buying and renovating the old library. If Town Meeting approves the idea, the town would have to go through a formal bid process to sell the building, Boynton said. The new library opened this spring. Town Meeting starts Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Walpole High School.

Johanna Seltz


51 articles in two nights

Town Meeting wrapped up last Tuesday, and voters managed to get through 51 warrant articles in two nights. Several articles presented by the School Committee passed, many of which are contingent on approval of a Proposition 2½ override or debt exclusion. Voters passed the School Committee’s requests to buy or lease buses for the school transportation department, fund a feasibility study on the renovation and expansion of Minot Forest Elementary School at 63 Minot Ave., and appropriate additional money to avoid teacher layoffs.

Emily Sweeney


Liquor license hearing

The Board of Selectmen has continued a hearing for a liquor license for Lambert’s Rainbow Fruit to May 14. Board members began the discussion at their April 23 meeting on the application for the beer and wine license, even though the store at 220 Providence Highway would sell only wine for the time being.

Michele Morgan Bolton