Tri-Town Profile: Jillian Zucco

Name: Jillian Zucco, Miss Massachusetts 2017

Age: 24

How she came to Tri-Town: Grew up and still lives in Mattapoisett.

Favorite place: Ned’s Point. “I like to run there, jump in the water and then keep running.”

What would you do as President of Tri-Town? “I would require everybody to volunteer a certain number of hours a year. How about fifty-two? One a week, right? Actually, I think a lot of people in our community are very volunteer minded.”

Have you ever seen a celebrity locally? Actually, wait, aren’t you a celebrity? “(Laughs) The Tri-Town area is so small, I knew a lot of people knew who I was. I think now that I’m Miss Massachusetts, people recognize me more. But mostly I don’t think it’s because I’m famous, I think it’s just that this is a close community.”

By Jonathan Comey

Mattapoisett’s Jillian Zucco is very excited about the chance to become Miss America in two weeks.

She’s also excited about John Quincy Adams.

“Part of the social media component in the Miss America program is ‘Brag About Your State,’ and so I immediately thought of Ned’s Point and the lighthouse,” said the 24-year-old Zucco during a rare moment of downtime this week. “And turns out that John Quincy Adams was a key player in allocating money toward the lighthouse.”

Adams, Zucco goes on to explain, represented Mattapoisett when the lighthouse was funded in the 1830s, believing it to be a necessary addition to the area’s thriving ocean-side economy.

If the sixth president of the United States isn’t frequently being name-checked by your average Miss America finalist, well, perhaps Jillian Zucco isn’t your average Miss America finalist.

In case you missed it, Zucco won Miss Massachusetts this July after finishing second two years in a row, and at the end of August she will head to New Jersey for two weeks of Miss America Pageant activities leading up to the September 10 main event (televised live on ABC).

“It just doesn’t feel real, still,” Zucco says. “For so long, I just saw the Miss America contestants as these larger-than-life people. But they are real, they are real people, smart and talented, with great platforms they are supporting. I think it’s important to be relatable, to be able to talk to everybody.”

Zucco recently had a conversation with reigning Miss America Savvy Shields, who gave her a glimpse of what life would be like if she were able to somehow outperform the other 50 contestants (don’t forget Washington D.C.) and become the 2018 winner.

“It’s obviously an amazing experience,” Zucco says. “She’s in a different state every 48 hours, she has a fully-paid-for place to live, but she says she never really is there. It’s crazy. She said there are times when you want to sleep in, you want to relax, you want to be sad, you know, be a normal person. But it’s one year, and it’s the most amazing year of your life.”

Winning, of course, is a longshot. Massachusetts’ representative has never won the pageant, but Zucco feels that she will be competitive in the two biggest deciding factors: interview and talent.

She says both were honed in Tri-Town where she was a product of Mattapoisett schools and performed as a singer in countless local shows from first grade through college.

“The school system is amazing,” Zucco says. “Going into college, in the UMass Dartmouth nursing program, I felt so prepared. It is rigorous and intense, and I felt like it was manageable when others were drowning. I credit it to the school system.”

She also performed as a singer and actress from elementary school through high school.

“I just sharpened so many of the skills I use competing in pageants and just in life.”

Zucco says a sendoff party held last weekend (benefiting Boston Children’s Hospital) was an extremely humbling experience, noting that people she had never met came out to wish her well.

“I am so grateful to the outpouring of support from the Tri-Town community,” she says. “I think that speaks to the spirit of people. When there’s something to be excited about or get behind, they turn out.”

Now a nurse on the South Coast after graduating from UMass Dartmouth, she enjoys the anonymity of the job.

“I don’t think people … suspect it if they see me,” Zucco says. “At the hospital, people that I work with obviously know, but my patients have no idea – it’s something I keep private.”

Zucco knows that pageants get a bad rap, but she’s long fought against that stigma with her actions, focusing on her platform of volunteering and just being a well-rounded person.

“People don’t always understand,” she says. “They think beauty pageants, not scholarship and service. The further I’ve gone with these, the more I’ve learned to just be myself. And it does feel amazing that people like who I am. I’ve learned that people like when you are honest, when you are yourself.

“Don’t think about what people want to hear, think about what you want to say.”

The Best of Broadway

On Friday, August 18, the Marion Concert Band continues its Friday evening concert series with a program of music from the Broadway stage. The program, which includes highlights from some of Broadway’s most memorable shows, is as follows:

Thundercrest March – E. Osterling

Lohengrin (Introduction to Act III) – R. Wagner

Broadway Show-Stoppers Overture – arr. W. Barker

Highlights from Camelot – F. Loewe

Selections from Into the Woods – S. Sondheim

Opening Night on Broadway – arr. M. Brown

Selections from My Fair Lady – F. Loewe

Selections from Wicked – S. Schwartz

The Sound of Music – R. Rodgers

The Circus Bee – H. Fillmore

The concert, under the direction of Tobias Monte, will begin at 7:00 pm at the Robert Broomhead Bandstand, Island Wharf off Front Street in Marion. All concerts are free and open to the public. “Like” us on Facebook at “Marion Town Band” for up-to-date announcements and rain cancellation notices.

Elizabeth Taber Library

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Elizabeth Taber Library and the Library’s Bridge Event Planning Committee, we would like to thank all of the participants in last week’s highly successful Bridge Tournament. Held at the Marion Music Hall on Friday, August 4, a crowd of 60 avid bridge players turned out to play bridge, socialize and support the library’s programming goals.

Special thanks go to the event sponsor and the local businesses who contributed to our raffle prizes. Thank you to Tim Dyer for the gorgeous fresh flowers and to Lynn Crocker for her expertise in space planning. Thank you to Robin Worcester for the table favors. A most generous thank you to Bridge Director Alan Hudson who ran the tournament without a hitch.

Based on the day’s success, we hope to repeat this tournament as an annual summer fundraiser for the library. The library is only partially funded by the Town of Marion and relies on private donations and corporate sponsors for the balance of our budget.

Sincerely,

Elisabeth O’Neill, Elizabeth Taber Library Director and Bridge Event Planning Committee: CC Dyer, Kathy Feeney, Andy Kotsatos, Susan Mead, Kathy Reed, Meg Steinberg

 

The views expressed in the “Letters to the Editor” column are not necessarily those of The Wanderer, its staff or advertisers. The Wanderer will gladly accept any and all correspondence relating to timely and pertinent issues in the great Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester area, provided they include the author’s name, address and phone number for verification. We cannot publish anonymous, unsigned or unconfirmed submissions. The Wanderer reserves the right to edit, condense and otherwise alter submissions for purposes of clarity and/or spacing considerations. The Wanderer may choose to not run letters that thank businesses, and The Wanderer has the right to edit letters to omit business names. The Wanderer also reserves the right to deny publication of any submitted correspondence.

Peter B. Hodges

Peter B. Hodges, 76, of Mattapoisett died Monday, August 14, 2017 at Rhode Island Hopsital.

He was the husband of Beth F. (Foresman) Hodges.

All Peter’s funeral arrangements will be private.

Mariner Youth Soccer Fall Program

The Mariner Youth Soccer Fall Program is now open for registration. The program runs on Saturdays from September 9 – November 4 at the Mariner Youth Soccer Fields located in Fairhaven. Programs are offered to children ages 4-14. There is no residency requirement.

Come join Mariner Youth Soccer this fall. Register now to reserve your spot: http://marineryouthsoccer.com and click on register online. Or contact fallsoccer@marineryouthsoccer.com.

The 2017-18 Blue Books Have Arrived

The latest edition of the Blue Book – the popular Tri-Town telephone directory – has recently been mailed to 8275 postal addresses in Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester. Check your post box for your book. If you haven’t received one yet, contact your local post office for your free copy.

The directory, published by the League of Women Voters of Marion-Mattapoisett-Rochester, contains the names, addresses and phone numbers of Tri-Town residents as well as community pages that provide contact information for community services. Advertisements by local and area businesses and professionals are found in the yellow pages and make the book a useful shopping service. Please support our advertisers who have made this directory possible.

Every effort has been made for accuracy in the book. Any corrections, additions or deletions should be sent by email to lwvphonebook@comcast.net or by postal mail to LWV Phone Book, P.O. Box 812, Marion, MA 02738. New information or changes will be added to the online version of the book found at lwvmmr.org/phonebook.

Extra copies of the new directory are available while they last at The Bookstall in Marion, The Wanderer in Mattapoisett, and at the Plumb Library in Rochester. While a resident’s delivered book is free, the League would welcome a donation of any amount for an extra copy.

The League of Women Voters is proud of this community service and is grateful to our advertisers for their support.

Selectmen Consider Fairground Use Changes

Now that the private use of the Town-owned Rochester Country Fairground by the SouthCoast Working Dog Club has caught the attention of the Rochester Board of Selectmen, the regulations surrounding fairground use could change – and the SouthCoast Working Dog Club may have to find another place to hold its regular four-days-a-week training sessions and special events.

The topic first came up in July after a number of complaints lodged by Pine Street neighbors about barking disrupting the peace.

Back in July, the Rochester Country Fair Committee, which granted the club permission to use the fairground in exchange for in-kind upkeep of the grounds, supported the dog club’s use of the property, saying that the Town and the Country Fair benefitted from the club’s presence at the fairground.

However, on August 7, selectmen questioned whether or not allowing a private entity to use a Town-owned space for four days a week, nine hours a day was the original intent of the somewhat vague policy governing fairground use.

What began as a general discussion of concrete regulations surrounding acceptable kinds of events that could take place at the fairground turned into a question as to whether the Town should continue letting the SouthCoast Working Dog Club use the fairground as often and as regularly as it does now.

Kicking off the conversation, Selectman Greenwood Hartley suggested that perhaps allowing the dog club to use the fairground on a regular basis constituted a change of use of the property and should go through a public hearing process.

Country Fair Committee member Kelly Morgado pointed out that, although review of fairground regulations was up for discussion, the committee was not informed nor was it invited to attend the meeting.

As the conversation continued, Co-Chairman of the Country Fair Committee Dave Souza expressed frustration about the seemingly increasing complexity of fairground use.

Souza lauded the board’s draft of fairground use regulations; however, he said he had hoped the Country Fair Committee could be involved in the development of the regulations. Souza’s tone shifted as he explained how the country fair has become “nothing but a money-costing thing out of everyone’s pockets.”

All of this talk about regulations and fairground use, said Souza, “…is just taking the wind out of our sail.”

“Everything is just getting so hard to do. Something so simple … that’s become hard,” said Souza. “I’m sorry that we can’t keep them all happy,” Souza continued, alluding to neighbors complaining about the dog barking. “It’s just time for the Town to say either do it or don’t, because we’ve just lost the drive. When it becomes too much grief, your love for doing it goes away pretty fast.”

Souza said he was glad the selectmen stepped up to address the matter, “because it does take a lot of heat off of us.”

The Board of Selectmen voted to form a committee of five to study fairground use that would consist of the town administrator, a selectman, town counsel, a Country Fair Committee member, and a Pine Street neighbor not on the Country Fair Committee.

Once a representative from the SouthCoast Working Dog Club said the club has permission from the Parks Committee to use other properties in town, Selectman Naida Parker asked if it was possible to spread out the dog club’s activities over a number of properties so that it wasn’t all concentrated at the fairground.

As for allowing one group to use the Town property so regularly, Hartley said, “It’s not at all what was intended from the beginning.”

“This brought up a lot of issues that we’re trying to decipher,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Brad Morse. “It kind of developed its own storminess here, especially with the neighborhood.”

Parker added, “I think we also need to do some serious thinking … and come up with something reasonable.” She said the dog club should look to other places to hold larger events such as two-day agility training shows. “I don’t think the neighborhood really wants to see something like this at this point.”

Hartley suggested postponing the discussion until the next meeting to allow the board to ponder the matter. He later said, “I am not in favor of any repetitive use of a non-town organization day after day … week after week. I think it’s a bad precedent to set.”

Morse added, “The intent of the Town property is not use the property nine hours a day four days a week by a [private] group.”

The matter was tabled until August 21.

The Lions Club and the Fire Department did, however, receive permission to host a “Touch-a-Truck” fundraising event at the fairground on October 23. The event is sponsored by the Lions Club and will benefit the Fire Department.

“[It’s a] use of a Town property by the Town, for the Town,” said Morse.

Souza said this was the perfect example of how to use the fairground.

The selectmen also set the Fall Special Town Meeting for Monday, October 23, at 7:00 pm at Rochester Memorial School.

The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for August 21 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Rochester Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

 

Great Turnout for ‘Great Community Picnic’

What is a ‘Great Community Picnic,’ and what makes it great?

On Thursday, August 3, the Mattapoisett Historical Society and the Mattapoisett Land Trust hosted its second annual Great Community Picnic at the Munro Preserve, and by the looks of it, it was indeed pretty great.

A Great Community Picnic “is an occasion where people, especially patrons of the Mattapoisett Land Trust and the Historical Society, come together to enjoy a picnic together,” said Kathleen Damaskos, one of the organizers of the event.

Sounds simple enough for a fundraiser, but it’s actually not – there is a lot of planning and preparation for an event of this size. Last year, about 100 people attended the event. This year, attendance tripled to 345.

But what makes a Great Community Picnic great? The people, of course, and the location, the late afternoon sun and sea setting, the hugs, the handshakes, the food, and also the wine.

Jennifer McIntire, president of the Historical Society, said what makes the picnic truly great is all the people from all different neighborhoods of Mattapoisett coming together bringing delicious foods, drink, and sharing an evening of laughter and a general celebratory spirit of community and summer.

Guests could purchase entire tables to host their invited group, and each one brought their own food and drink, sharing amongst themselves and with others as they mingled with the crowd.

Each table also created its own centerpiece and was judged in a friendly competition to win a gift basket.

As for a fundraiser, McIntire says this year the sponsors raised a small amount of money, but breaking even while providing a setting for community interaction is the main goal.

“What I see here is most important,” McIntire said looking around her at her fellow townspeople enjoying themselves and each other’s company. “Multiple generations – this is the draw of our town.”

By Jean Perry

Rochester Council on Aging

The Annual Senior Picnic will be held on Monday, August 14 from noon – 2:00 pm, rain or shine. Entertainment by Sharon Jensen and her “Voices In Time” vocal Group of Youngsters. The event is free to senior citizens, but you must register in advance. Call 508-763-8723 to reserve your space!! All monetary donations are greatly appreciated.

If any local residents require transportation, again call the Rochester Senior Center at least 24 hours in advance.

Sock Donations for Vets

The Mattapoisett Public Health Nurse Amanda Stone will be representing our community at Stand Down for Veterans in Boston on September 8.

Amanda will be providing much-needed foot care to homeless and “at risk” veterans.

Amanda is looking to bring with her from our community donations of clean white cotton socks to support the group’s “A Pair and a Spare” program that provides two pairs of socks to each veteran who receives foot care at the event.

Mattapoisett, Marion, and Rochester residents wishing to donate clean white cotton socks may leave them at the Veterans’ Office at the Mattapoisett Town Hall.

For additional information, please contact Amanda Stone at 508-758-4118.