Allen Thurston Parker

Allen Thurston Parker, 85, of Mattapoisett, died December 17, 2014. He was the beloved husband of Shirley J. (Corey) Parker and the son of the late Mabel (Tripp) and Robert E. Parker.

Born and lived at Pine Hill Farm in Acushnet until joining the Army during the Korean conflict, served as a sergeant in the 325th Tank Battalion and after his discharge and marriage, lived in Fairhaven, Rochester and Mattapoisett. He was a descendant of Whaling Capt. George J. Parker and of Whaling Capt. John J. Parker.

He retired from AT&T in 1986 after spending many years with New England Telephone Company. Later he was assigned to Lucent Technologies as a retiree. He was one of the first Emergency Medical Technicians in Rochester and a volunteer for the fire department until moving to Mattapoisett. He also served as “Bake Master” for the Rochester Fireman’s annual clambakes for many years and also the American Legion Post 280 clambakes in Mattapoiosett.

A 7th degree member of the National Grange, Acushnet and Pomona Granges, past President of the Long Plain Museum and past President of the Bristol Life Members Telephone Pioneers of America and was honored to participate in their 1984 Olympic Torch Run. He was also a member of Old Dartmouth Historical Society, Gateway Treasure Hunter’s

Club, Sippican Seniors of Marion, Royal Travelers, Brandt Beach Association and Descendant’s of Whaling Masters and a volunteer to repair talking books for the Perkin’s Institute for the Blind.

Survivors include his widow; his sons, Craig E. Parker of Rochester and Barry A. Parker of Fairhaven; grandchildren, Jennifer L. Parker and her husband, Shawn of Windham, New Hampshire and Michael R. Parker and wife, Rachel of Norfolk,Virginia; and great-grandaughter, Scarlett Avery Parker.

He was the brother of the late Raymond C. Parker and Earl F. Parker and the great-grandfather of the late Kara Avery Parker.

Visiting hours will be held on Friday, December 19th from 3-7 PM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. His family will receive guests on Saturday morning, December 20th from 9 – 10 AM in the funeral home followed by his Graveside Service in Acushnet Cemetery at 10:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Long Plain Museum, P.O. Box 30339, Acushnet, MA 02743.

ConCom Accepts FY16 Budget

With the full Rochester Conservation Commission in attendance, the Fiscal Year 2016 budget for this department was briefly reviewed and approved. Set at $106,933 with $102,673 allocated for salaries, the commission will have a mere $4,260 with which to conduct business in the coming year.

“So little flexibility,” stated ConCom Chairman Rosemary Smith.

In other business, a Request for Determination of Applicability filed by Covanta of SEMASS received a negative determination for the installation of 1,250 linear feet of two-inch polywater filter lines. This work has been necessitated by the discovery of high levels of manganese in potable water servicing the partnership building at the site.

Michael and Lois Mentzer of 6 Thistle Lane, represented by Jennifer Silva of Outback Engineering, received approval and an Order of Conditions for the construction of a 24-foot by 24-foot addition with a 12-foot by 14-foot deck within the 100-foot buffer zone.

The Town of Rochester, represented by Walter Hartley of Libby Consulting, and in partnership with landowners Ken and Susan McCarty of 570 New Bedford Road, has been completing wetland delineations on the 31-acre parcel.

McCarty will place the majority of the acreage into permanent conservation with a small portion set aside for a new residence, which they will build in the future as a retirement home. The Town has been using grant money to pay for engineering fees.

If the McCartys fail to follow-through on their plans to place the lands in a protected status, engineering costs will be reimbursed to the Town.

Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon told the commission that the partnership with Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School for the development of digital trail maps and printed guides titled “Explore Rochester” is nearing completion.

Smith said that she will be out of the region for the next three months and asked if others on the commission could step into the role of chairman while she is away. As they have done in previous years, John Teal will assume the role of chairman with Kevin Cassidy as backup when Teal is not available.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is January 6 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall meeting room.

By Marilou Newell

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A Ton of Donations

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On Monday, December 8th Marion Cub Scout Pack 32, held a very successful drive for Gifts to Give Charity. The boys collected literally a “ton” of donations, approximately 2,000 pounds of toys, clothing and household goods! Gifts to Give provides a place for anyone, including children to give back to their local community, by donating gently used items and repurposing them for children in need.

For the past four years, Lisa Baltz, Leader of the WEBELOS Den, has organized the Cub Scouts to collect donations, and volunteer their time at Gifts to Give. Every year the event has grown larger and more successful. “We love working with ‘Jim’ Stevens, he is a wonderful guy doing some very important work. There are over 2,500 homeless children and 25,000 children living in poverty on the South Coast! Jim, the founder and CEO of Gifts to Give has created a way to recycle toys, books and clothing to help these children in need. The boys from Pack 32 are truly so ‘lucky’, it is such an important lesson for them to learn to give to others.”

Christmas in Shipyard Park

Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty — plus food, crafts for kids, and the annual tree lighting are some of the hallmarks of a Mattapoisett Christmas. The Mattapoisett Lion’s Club in partnership with local businesses hosted the annual tree lighting at Shipyard Park on Saturday, December 13. The Lions also collected toys and canned goods in support of local charities. Photos by Marilou Newell


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Rochester’s Polar Plunge Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel our previously scheduled Polar Plunge, which had been scheduled for January 1 at Silvershell Beach, as a fundraiser for our Building Fund. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Maybe next year????

Team CVS Determined to Move Forward

With or without the support of the town, Mark Investments LLC will move forward with its plan to build a CVS in Marion. The question is: Will the town forego working with the developer while it still acquiesces to the town’s aesthetic fancy, or will Team CVS revert to its original plan and rely on the bylaws to bring it home?

Team CVS concluded on the night of December 15 that no matter what they do, short of giving up, residents and some board members will not be happy with any of Mark Investment LLC’s viable plans to build a CVS at the corner of Route 6 and Front Street.

Attorney Marc Deshaies introduced some changes to the plan that he said address the major issues of all concerned – particularly, the preservation of “The Gateway to Marion,” as opponents of CVS have recently dubbed the corner.

The footprint of the building was reduced to 10,000 square feet, down from 12,900 square feet. The new plan was visually different, with the Captain Hadley House no longer tucked far back in the northeasterly corner of the lot, but instead remaining where it is today, surrounded by a new green area of grass and plantings.

“In terms of the gateway,” said Engineer Josh Swirling, “this area right here was sort of neglected,” pointing to the proposed landscaping that would enhance the Hadley House corner “and really make that corner pop as a gateway.”

The reduction in the size of the retail space means fewer parking spaces are required for customers, and several additional parking spaces were added to the Hadley House lot.

Deshaies said the developer listened during the October 6 meeting when hundreds attended and voiced their opposition, and this latest conceptual design most effectively addressed their concerns.

“But,” stated Deshaies, “in no way is this to be construed as a withdrawal of our prior pre-submission application.”

Dean Holt of Mark Investments emphasized that, although from a business standpoint it would be more resourceful to demolish the Capt. Hadley House, he was sensitive to the town’s concerns, and respectful of the building’s historical significance. He called the latest plan a likely “homerun for the town.”

“…And, at best, a base hit for us,” said Holt.

Holt gave an ominous introduction of Team CVS’s three options for working with the town.

First, Team CVS could proceed with the original footprint and move the Hadley House, while enduring the town’s opposition. Second, it could demolish the Captain Hadley House in order to more easily comply with zoning bylaws – an option Holt called “a loser for everybody.” The third option is to proceed with the plan presented that night, a move he called “a win-win.”

But going away and never coming back, said Holt, was not an option.

The developer never moves into a town with everyone universally accepting of it, said Holt, “And we didn’t expect that in Marion, either.” He said the latest changes reflect the developer’s desire to work with the town, without rendering the project financially unreasonable.

Holt recalled a voice at the October 6 meeting that warned the town about the devil you don’t know, versus the devil you do know.

“We’re the devil you know,” said Holt, emphasizing that without the Team CVS proposal, the next interested developer could simply come in and knock down the Hadley House. This project, he said, at least provides certainty that the Hadley House will stay put.

“We’re trying to do our best to give you what … you want,” said Holt. But we will not walk away, he said. If neither the first nor the second plan is suitable to the town, he added, then Team CVS might as well go with the one they already have engineered – the bigger building and the Hadley House relocation.

“Personally,” said Planning Board Chairman Stephen Kokkins, “I don’t have an automatic dismissal of any corporate entity such as CVS.” And he gets Holt’s alluding to the “rockier road” the town will travel with the project if no consensus is reached. But the project does not reflect the character of an “1800s sea-faring town,” as Kokkins put it, and the new plan, with its size and excessive traffic, is still “way out of range.”

Planning Board member Eileen Marum said the CVS would be better located at the corner of Route 6 and Point Road. She waded deep into the minutia of the bylaws as well as the FEMA flood plain regulations and went further, painting a vivid picture of absolute destruction should the pharmacy be built in the VE Zone.

“The flood waters could possibly transport CVS debris, shelving, goods and merchandise, far and wide,” said Marum. “The resulting flotsam and jetsam and flying debris … could endanger nearby properties and jeopardize the health and safety of residents.”

Marum’s lengthy discourse was interrupted to allow others to speak.

Planning Board member Steve Gonsalves offered the evening’s first voice of support for Team CVS.

“I think this is a much better project,” said Gonsalves. His only issue was the Front Street access point, which he considered dangerous. “Apart from that, I think we’ve got something here we can work with.”

Planning Board member Norman Hills said this plan was better, “but…” Hills, also the chairman of the Conservation Commission, said constructing anything other than seawalls or piers within the flood plain is prohibited.

Board member Robert Lane again raised the issue of requiring a lease clause that would help prevent abandonment and more potential vacancies of businesses in town. Holt said this was the first time he had ever heard of a planning board attempting to partake in the leasing of a building.

Well, you encounter something new every day, Lane shot back, calling Holt’s response “disingenuous.”

Planning Board member Michael Popitz said both sides made valid points, but his interactions with the public have yielded more opposition than support.

Judith Rosbe of the Sippican Historical Society said the plan only serves to “preserve the Captain Hadley House as a useless building.” She said it was once an antique store, a residence, and could possibly be used as a senior center in the future.

“But right now, with no parking there, it’s a useless building,” said Rosbe. She called Team CVS’s plan “a meaningless preservation.”

Resident Bill Saltonstall handed the board his petition with 1,163 signatures and those in attendance applauded.

“Use every tool … to withhold the special permit to the store,” he told the Planning Board. He said they have the right to do so, “and this is the time to use it.”

Resident Charlie Larkin said he did not appreciate Team CVS’s “sabre rattling” saying Team CVS threatened, “If you don’t approve it, then we’ll go for the bigger store.”

“As polite as CVS has been,” said Larkin, “[the changes] are still unacceptable.” He said usually he is on the side of business, “but not in this case.” Larkin wants to preserve the charm of Marion where his family recently purchased a home, saying the town does not need anymore toothpaste.

“There’s really zero benefit,” said Larkin. And Rite-Aid will suffer, as will Jack Cheney, owner of the Marion General Store.

“Who in their right mind wants to hurt Jack Cheney?” said Larkin, provoking more clapping.

Resident Lee Vulgaris, speaking from the minority that night, argued that the so-called Gateway to Marion has not been nice for many years, and there is nothing presently attractive about the corner – but opponents with the “herd mentality” fail to see it.

“Before you get to Tabor, there really isn’t much ‘quaintness,’” said Vulgaris. He said Marion has not supported any small businesses over the years, with restaurants and stores coming and failing, leading to vacant buildings.

“It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be,” said Vulgaris, recognizing Team CVS’s willingness towards a thoughtful building façade. “Because, today, things aren’t going to be built like they were in 1850.”

Resident Jonathan Maclean said he resented Team CVS’s “gun to our collective heads” when laying out the three options, suggesting a boycott of CVS.

Kokkins said progress with the important issues expressed by the board was not significant enough.

“There doesn’t seem to be very much value in continuing these discussions,” said Kokkins. “Although some efforts were made … they’re not significant enough, in my mind, to warrant approval for the project.”

Hills said the board does not have to close the door, and Holt maintained that this latest plan addresses the majority of everyone’s concerns.

In a follow-up interview, Holt stated that the project will advance to an official filing with the Planning Board, but was reluctant to specify with which option. When asked when he expects to file for the special permit, he simply replied, “Soon.”

The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for January 5 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry

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Marion Holiday Stroll a Christmas Classic

It felt like forever to some who were staked out at Island Wharf, eyes glued to the horizon scanning the waters for the sign of a moving vessel – and hopefully a vessel that looked as though it might be arriving from the North Pole to deliver Santa Claus to the Marion Holiday Stroll on December 14 like it does every year.

It was approaching 3:15 pm and the crowd had grown into the hundreds. Ideal locations for spotting an approaching Santa grew scarce, but free cookies and popcorn kept the multitudes at bay.

“Where’s Santa? Where is he?” Child after child asked the very same question, demanding an answer from their concerned parents eyeballing their watches that now read 3:18 pm.

“He’s coming, honey. He’s on his way.”

Excitement was mounting, anticipating the moment that finally arrived when someone called out, “There he is!”

Eyes fixed on the harbor and cameras ready, the moment the little red and white boat came into view sparked a frenzy of holiday cheer. The faces of children lit up like Christmas trees.

“Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!” exclaimed Santa above the sound of the chugging motor.

What a sight to see, Santa Claus in his red suit and white beard blowing in the sea breeze as a festively festooned ferry pulled up along the dock and delivered Santa to his adoring fans.

Old Saint Nick disembarked the little board with flair, ascended the ramp with finesse, and then poof—he disappeared into the crowd.

Beholding the unfolding Christmas scene, it looked like a page torn out of the Santa Claus version of a Where’s Waldo book with all the Santa hats that peppered the mass of merry Marionites, concealing the exact location of the one and only Kris Kringle.

Santa eventually made it to his Clydesdale horse-drawn carriage that was there waiting for him and, like a true celebrity, trotted through the tiny streets of the center of Marion, waving to the kiddies and giving carriage rides to some of the lucky ones.

There were other celebrity sightings, including the Grinch and the Nutcracker, and revelers enjoyed performances by The Showstoppers and the Sippican School marching band before strolling to the Town House for the park lighting after dark.

The center of Marion during the holidays – quaint as a Christmas card.

By Jean Perry

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Pancake Breakfast with Santa

Marion’s Police Brotherhood held its 3rd annual toy drive and pancake breakfast with Santa at Sippican School on December 6. Families were asked to bring new unwrapped toys, and in return they were given a delicious pancake breakfast and a photo with Santa. The toys are being donated to the Justice Resource Institute, which provides a wide range of services to at-risk families and individuals. Photos by Marilou Newell

 

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Lessons and Carols

Over the past few weeks, Tabor Academy choral groups have been preparing for what is perhaps the most exciting and festive school event of the holiday season.

“Lessons and Carols” is coming up, and students have been rehearsing and singing to make this annual tradition as magical and entertaining as ever. The service, which will be held on Sunday, December 14, is one that always helps kick off the holiday season.

Mr. Bruce Cobbold, who retired last spring after 48 years of service, began Lessons and Carols in 1980. Cobbold remained the presider of Lessons and Carols throughout his tenure at the academy. The mission of Lessons and Carols is to share the Christmas story through readings and caroling.

The tradition has evolved over the years, with its key message remaining the same. The songs and readings that are sung and read have varied, but the goal of the service has remained unchanged.

Six choral groups will perform at the service and one singer is featured as a soloist in the first carol. This is an honor for the chosen performer and is traditionally left a secret until the final rehearsal.

Allie Dawson, a recent Tabor graduate, sung in Lessons and Carols for all four years of her Tabor career.

“I was able to really track my own growth as a performer and as a singer through the performance each year,” said Dawson. She recalls the event as one that singers and audience members treated with great respect.

David Horne, an organist and choral teacher at Tabor, has composed a piece “Gloria caritas, pax et amor,” for this year’s service. The text of “Gloria” is set to music and the Tabor singers have been learning and rehearsing it, which was put together in the fall. This song is a seasonal one and is intended to lack a religious nature given that Tabor is non-denominational.

The service includes pieces from a number of different religious backgrounds rather than solely of Christian origin. This piece will run parallel with the peaceful theme of the service.

“There are few things at Tabor that meant as much to me as Lessons and Carols did,” said Dawson. “I am incredibly excited to return to the chapel to see it this year, and I know I will be both proud and humbled to see it as an audience member for the first time.”

The public is invited to this event at 7:30 pm on December 14 in the Wickenden Chapel.

By Julia O’Rourke

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Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball Preview

For the Old Rochester Regional High School basketball teams, this winter is all about redemption.

Last year, the boys’ basketball team put on one of the strongest showings in ORR history, placing second in the South Coast Conference and advancing all the way to the Division 3 South Sectional Semifinal, where they were eliminated by eventual state champions Cardinal Spellman. But with all of the highs that came last season, there is one low that the returning varsity squad cannot shake off.

“It was really tough to lose to Case in the last game of the regular season,” said senior captain Jordan Menard. “With that loss, we lost the SCC Championship to Wareham, but we’re definitely going to build on it. We’re really motivated since we came so close.”

This would certainly be the year for the Bulldogs to win their first conference championship in over a decade. This past summer at the Old Colony basketball summer league, the Bulldogs defeated Wareham, perennially the toughest team in the SCC, in the championship round by over 20 points. Despite this large victory, Menard admits that it may not be as easy in the season.

“Even though we beat Wareham in summer league, we can’t write them off,” noted Menard. “They will definitely have improved because of pre-season practice versus just entering the gym at Old Colony and playing.”

After losing four of the five starting players, it might seem as if the Bulldogs are entering a rebuilding year. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Even though Menard is the only returning varsity starter, he is joined by Ryan Beatty, Raekwon Phillips, Evan Santos, and Will Santos, all who got valuable playing time last year and ought to join Menard in the stating lineup. Though the official team has yet to be announced, it also looks as if freshman Noah Fernandes will make a big impact on the court as well.

Menard said the ultimate goal for the Bulldogs is to win states, but they are also gunning for an outright conference championship as well. Standing in their way, however, is height.

“We definitely aren’t the biggest team this year, so we’ll need everyone to help rebound,” said Menard.

The Lady Bulldogs are also driven this season to redeem themselves after a less-than-ideal winter last year. The girls finished their season last year with a 6-15 overall record and a 6-10 conference record, which failed to qualify them for the state tournament. At the helm this year are returning veterans Ashley Pacheco, Morgan Browning, and Kaleigh Goulart. Senior captain Pacheco cites the team’s amount of returning players and their speed as major assets for the Lady Bulldogs.

“We have a number of varsity returners this year, so it makes the transition a lot easier than starting from a new team,” said Pacheco. “Along with that, our speed on the court will be our biggest asset. We have a number of girls who are very quick on their feet and can get up and down the court.”

Like the boys, it seems that the Lady Bulldogs’ biggest challenge to overcome will be its lack of height.

“We have maybe two or three girls who are over 5’6” and there are some teams who have multiple players around 5’8,” Pacheco pointed out. “Last year we were very timid and weren’t sure of ourselves, which caused a lack of offensive scoring, so we will need to work on being aggressive and not being afraid of this height disadvantage. Working together will be the key.”

Joining the team for the first time are freshman Madisen Martin and New Bedford transfer-student Devyn Antunes. Martin is expected to provide a strong presence underneath the basket, while Antunes is a good outside shooter. Emily Hiller and Katelyn Bindas, both sophomores moving up from the JV squad, are also expected to play well both on offense and defense.

Also like the boys, the Lady Bulldogs have their sights set on a playoff berth.

“Our major goal for this season is to ultimately make it back into the state tournament,” said Pacheco. “Last year we failed to qualify and we want to qualify this year to show our growth over the past year and how much hard work we have put in.”

The boys’ basketball team kicks off their season against Case on Tuesday, December 16 at 6:30 pm at ORR. The girls face off against New Bedford on Saturday, December 13 at 6:30 pm at ORR.

By Michael Kassabian

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