Riding the ups and downs of 2017

Plymouth 09/14/2017: The new Plymouth South High School opened its doors to approximately 1,100 students and 150 staff. The entry staircase and foyer features an art mobile and compass floor design. Photo by Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe (south)
Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe
The entry staircase and foyer at Plymouth South High School, which opened in 2017.

If you’ve paid attention only to the unprecedented dramatics swirling around the White House this past year, you have missed a lot of local news. To be sure, national politics did have an impact south of Boston. But the business of living has mostly continued to hum along in our cities and towns independent of what’s churning through Washington and the news outlets, real or otherwise. There were some noteworthy developments and achievements. Here is a sampling.

New schools: This was a big year for them, as several opened in our towns, including Abington, Holbrook, Plymouth, and Scituate. The price tags: Abington school for pre-kindergarten, middle, and high school, $96.4 million; Holbrook school for all grades, $102.9 million; Plymouth South High School, $110 million; Lester J. Gates Middle School in Scituate, $69 million.

Abington, MA 09/16/17 Dedication / ribbon -cutting and open house for townspeople at the Pre-K, Middle and High School complex ....for SOWK.....( George Rizer for the Globe)...,,,Middle School,left...High School, right, opening ceremony
George Rizer for The Boston Globe
The new Pre-K, Middle and High School complex in Abington.

Road work: The upper end of Route 3 is an evolving work zone as the state replaces four old bridges along the highway in Hanover and Norwell, and realigns portions of the heavily traveled road. The $30 million project began in May and is scheduled for completion in October 2020.

Hanover, MA - 8/01/2017 - Manny Aguiar, Resident Engineer, Mass DOT standing in the area under construction between Route 3 north and south bound that will serve as a temporary roadway during construction and that at the conclusion of construction will become a section of the newly realigned road. The State Department of Transportation is undertaking a $30 million project to replace four structurally deficient bridges that carry Route 3 over High Street in Norwell and over Route 123 (Webster Street) in Hanover. - (Barry Chin/Globe Staff), Section: Regional/South Week, Reporter: John Laidler, Topic: 13soroadwork, LOID: 8.3.3256216822.
Barry Chin / Globe Staff
Engineer Manny Aguiar in an area under construction between the northbound and southbound lanes of Route 3.

In Pembroke, a state project to reconstruct Route 14 is slated for completion in early fall of 2018. Improvements will involve road widening, drainage, and sidewalk repairs along the 3.3-mile stretch from the Hanson town line to Washington Street. The state-funded $7.6 million project began more than a year ago and is nearly halfway complete.

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Waste transfer station: The proposed solid waste transfer station proposed in Holbrook won key approvals from the town and state, but galvanized opposition from many area residents. No date has been set for groundbreaking.

Holbrook 11/11/2017: Kristina Krim )cq) of Randolph protests the planned trash transfer station in Holbrook Square. Photo by Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe (south)
Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe
Kristina Krim of Randolph protesting the planned trash transfer station in Holbrook.

Pot businesses: A number of towns banned recreational marijuana businesses, including Abington, Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, Foxborough, Hanover, Milton, Norwell, Norwood, Pembroke, Randolph, Raynham, Scituate, Stoughton, Walpole, and Westwood. Other cities and towns are expected to tackle this issue in 2018.

Medical marijuana dispensaries, meanwhile, are already operating in several communities, including Stoughton, Quincy, Hanover, Brockton, and Bridgewater.

-- PHOTO MOVED IN ADVANCE AND NOT FOR USE - ONLINE OR IN PRINT - BEFORE APRIL 2, 2017. -- Plants in a grow room at Ermont’s medical marijuana dispensary in Quincy, Mass., March 29, 2017. Across the country, the booming medical marijuana sector is putting use to dilapidated warehouses and industrial buildings like this one, reshaping blighted neighborhoods and sending property values soaring. (Adam Glanzman/The New York Times)
Plants in a grow room at Ermont’s medical marijuana dispensary in Quincy.

Comings: Former Milton police chief Richard Wells Jr. won an open Board of Selectmen seat in the town, deciding to run after the board refused to renew his contract as chief.

12-11-2015 Boston, Mass. Over 1200 guests attended 6th Annual Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial Dinner held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston. L. to R. are Cambridge Police Lientenant Pauline Wells and her husband Milton Police Chief Richard Wells. Globe photo by Bill Brett
Globe File 2015
Richard Wells Jr. and his wife, Pauline.

In Plympton, Elizabeth Dennehy became the municipality’s first-ever town administrator. The growing town of 2,800 had been run by a town coordinator.

Neil Rhein won the Mansfield Board of Selectmen seat in November that had been held by George Dentino, a longtime town leader, until Dentino’s death in the summer.

Goings: Norwood’s longtime general manager, John Carroll, retired after 39 years in the post, one of the longest such tenures in state history. Other notable executive departures include David Colton from Easton, Troy Clarkson from Hanover, Ted Alexiades from Hingham, William R. Ross from Mansfield, Rocco Longo from Marshfield, and Jack Healey from Freetown.

In Stoughton, voters recalled three selectmen — David J. “Spanky” Sousa, Robert M. Cohn, and Peter J. Brown — in December after they ousted town manager Michael J. Hartman months earlier.

Former state senator Brian Joyce, a Milton Democrat, did not seek reelection amid corruption allegations. He was indicted in December on federal charges of using his office for personal profit by collecting about $1 million in bribes and kickbacks.

Boston-12/07/17 Former Massachusetts State Senator Brian Joyce leaves the federal courthouse in Worcester after he was released after posting bond. He was arrested at his home earlier in the day and faces many federal charges. John Tlumacki/Globe staff (metro)
John Tlumacki / Globe Staff
Brian Joyce leaving the federal courthouse in Worcester after posting bond.


New bridge: The permanent Fore River Bridge hit its latest milestone in mid-September, when all four travel lanes were opened to traffic. But work on the span between Quincy and Weymouth will continue into the new year.

QUINCY, MA - 7/05/2017: Fore River Bridge under construction (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC stand alone photo
David L Ryan / Globe Staff
The Fore River Bridge in July.

New town halls: Concerns over handicap accessibility, structural integrity, and aging have prompted several municipalities to renovate or build new town halls, including Foxborough, Hanover, and Plymouth. The price tags: Foxborough, $7.4 million; Hanover, $1 million; and Plymouth, $40 million.

Voters in Dedham, Norton, and Sharon have approved new town halls at estimated costs of $45 million, $12 million, and $13.5 million, respectively.

29soinformer - The town celebrated the restoration of its town hall with a ribbon cutting and a community cookout. (Town of Hanover)
Town of Hanover
Hanover celebrated the restoration of its town hall with a ribbon-cutting and a community cookout.

New libraries: Scituate opened its new, $12 million library this summer, while Stoughton’s library is slated to open in late summer 2018 and cost $14 million.

Meanwhile, voters in Norwell and Weymouth approved new libraries at costs of $15.2 million and $33 million, respectively. In Kingston, a plan for a new town library was rejected by voters.

18sobrfscituate - Scituate Public Library reopened last week with about twice as much space for library goers. The view here is the new main reading room. (Jessi Finnie)
Jessi Finnie
The main reading room at the new Scituate Public Library.

Red Line: Every Red Line MBTA station in Quincy and Braintree is undergoing some form of reconstruction. Wollaston Station will close for 20 months in early January for a rebuild. At Braintree and Quincy Adams, repairs to the garages are expected to cost a total of about $73 million and take 23 months and 39 months, respectively, to complete.

The North Quincy MBTA parking lot will be closed in 2018 as developers begin construction of a mixed-use development on the land. And the demolition of the top three levels of the Quincy Center MBTA station garage will begin in mid-January and be completed by December 2018. The Quincy City Council has also greenlighted the T’s agreement with two development firms to lease the air rights above the station; the development will include residential and commercial spaces.

Quincy, MA--2/23/2017 - The Wollaston MBTA station, along with the other three in Quincy, is set for a revamp. (Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff) Topic: sombta Reporter: Jill Terreri Ramos
Pat Greenhouse / Globe Staff
The Wollaston MBTA station will close for 20 months.

New housing: A reimagined Quincy begins to take shape as residential developments continue to change the city’s landscape, with encouragement from City Hall. Among the new housing complexes, some already occupied, some still under construction: Elevation, 492 units; Nova Residences, 171 units; Chestnut Place, 124 units; Meriel Marina Bay, 352 units.

There is also a housing building boom in the Hingham Shipyard and Union Point in Weymouth.

QUINCY, MA - 8/03/2017: Wood framing of new construction sites near Crown Colony Office Park Quincy (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 06firesafety
David L. Ryan / Globe Staff
New housing being built near Crown Colony Office Park in Quincy.

Supermarkets: Riddle’s Supermart, the only supermarket in the town of Hull, emptied its shelves through the year and was eventually sold to Scituate-based Village Market.

The seaside village of Manomet in Plymouth lost its Stop & Shop, the only supermarket for miles around, in early December.

Hull 07/12/2017: Riddles , the last supermarket in Hull, is closing and is being sold amid some serious acrimony in the family. Owen McCue, 14, from Hull rides his bike to the supermarket. Photo by Debee Tlumacki for the Boston Globe (south)
Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe
Riddle’s Supermart in July.

Plymouth 400: Preparations for celebrating the town’s 400th birthday in 2020 were swimming along nicely until Town Meeting twice refused to pay for the final stage of revamping the waterfront. At this point, it looks like there will be no new Water Streetpromenade for America’s Hometown when the festivities begin. Too much spending too soon, when other needs are more important, opponents say.

11/17/2017 Plymouth Ma - Part of the seawall in Plymouth. Jonathan Wiggs\Globe Staff Reporter:Topic.
Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff
Part of the sea wall in Plymouth.

Sports: Brockton High School won the state Division 1 soccer tournament for the first time in the program’s history.

Norwell resident Kenzie Kent was named The Boston Globe’s “Female Athlete of the Year” and “Best College Athlete” at The Globes. Kent plays hockey and lacrosse for Boston College and has led her team to the national semifinals in both sports.

Kacie Smith, of Norwood, who plays field hockey for Stonehill College, broke the NCAA Division 2 record for most goals scored in a single season.

Brockton, MA: 11-14-17: Brockton's Jaylon DaRosa leaps into the arms of teammate Esteven Gomes after DaRosa put his team ahead 1-0 with a first half goal. St. John's Prep took on Brockton in the Division One Boy's State Soccer Semi-Finals at Brockton High School. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Jim Davis / Globe Staff
Brockton's Jaylon DaRosa leaped into the arms of teammate Esteven Gomes after DaRosa put his team ahead 1-0 with a first-half goal.

Jonathan Ng can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JonathanNgBOS.