Open Table

You are invited for supper on Friday, December 15 at the Mattapoisett Congregational Church. Guest chefs, Ken & Liz Ackerman of the Oxford Creamery, are preparing the entrée, which will undoubtedly be delicious and we hope you can join us. There is no charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. Doors open at 4:30 pm and the meal will be served at 5:00 pm. This is a community event and everyone from the Tri-Town area is welcome.

Pennies Add Up to Savings

In the parlance of assessors, or at least Mattapoisett’s Principal Assessor Kathleen Costello, “It’s all about the levy.”

Costello was talking about the property tax levy, or rate, for fiscal 2018. The news was scheduled to have been “a modest increase.”

But after some pencil sharpening with the Accountant’s Office after the November 29 meeting with the Board of Selectmen, the tax rate is actually going down by five cents per $1,000 in property value.

For their part, the selectmen voted to maintain a single tax rate for all properties in town.

Costello reported that even if the selectmen chose to split the tax rate, with less than 7% of the total tax burden going to commercial, industrial, and personal property classifications, residential tax bills would only see “negligible decreases.”

“We’ve seen nice speedy growth with values going up four percent,” Costello told the selectmen. She said that, based on sales, most neighbors continue to experience smooth growth without big bumps.

However, when it comes to commercial properties, Mattapoisett simply doesn’t have enough to support splitting the tax rate, Costello confirmed.

“If the sewer goes into the industrial park, that will help,” she speculated. Costello also said that the solar projects in town have been good, adding, “The PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) programs help us tremendously and pay substantial tax dollars without pulling from services.”

In her prepared report to the selectmen, Costello said that real and personal property assessed values in fiscal year 2018 were $1,718,100,891, an increase of 3.95% over FY2017.

The average family home assessed value for FY18 was pegged at $484,640.

Further into the report, Costello wrote that the total revenue to be raised by both tax and non-tax sources for FY18 is $33,124,383. She reported that this is a 4.5% increase from FY17 based on 636 units of real property and 743 units of personal property.

Costello reported in a memorandum that the assessed value of the new construction and personal property new growth that took place during the 12-month period from December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2016 is $1,917,960, translating into $205,577 of increased tax levy capacity over the basic limits of Proposition 2½ and is 17.95% over last year.

The single tax rate for FY18 is set at $13.02, or five cents lower than FY17.

Mattapoisett Board of Assessors and Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

Great Decisions Program

Great Decisions is a Foreign Policy Association program that promotes dialogue and offers current U.S. Foreign Policy and global issues for discussion with shared informed opinions that challenge communities in America today. Our group has been meeting for over 38 years and is sponsored by the Mattapoisett Woman’s Club with support by Susan Pizzolato, Director of the Library, and her staff of the Mattapoisett Public Library.

Each member will come away with new and exciting ideas about international relations. This year’s topics include:

  1. The Waning of Pax Americana?
  2. Russia’s Foreign Policy
  3. China & America: The New Geopolitical Equations
  4. Media & Foreign Policy
  5. Turkey: A Partner in Crisis
  6. U.S. Global Engagement and the Military
  7. South Africa’s Fragile Democracy
  8. Global Health Progress & Challenges

The discussion program begins on Wednesday, January 17, and continues for eight consecutive weeks until March 7, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The group meets at the Mattapoisett Library, 7 Barstow Street, Mattapoisett, in the community meeting room, which is accessible at the side entrance where there is an elevator.

The price for a single person is $35; if two people are sharing one text, the price is $45. This fee includes the cost of the textbook, one two-part classroom DVD, materials, money for refreshments, and a donation to the library.

The deadline for registration is December 29. The class is limited to 25 people and operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. The textbooks will be available on or around January 10, 2018 for distribution at the library. Times will be posted.

Along with your name, address and telephone number, please send check payable to Mattapoisett Woman’s Club and indicate Great Decisions, P.O. Box 1444, Mattapoisett, MA 02739.

Joseph H. Harrison

Joseph H. Harrison, 95, of Mattapoisett died Wednesday December 6, 2017. He was the husband of Edna M. (Meehan) Harrison.

Born in Mattapoisett, the son of the late Edward and Frances (Oakes) Harrison, he lived in Mattapoisett all of his life.

Mr. Harrison for many years worked as a cement mixer driver and heavy equipment operator and was formerly employed by the Town of Mattapoisett Highway Department until his retirement. He later worked for the Mattapoisett Council on Aging as a bus driver.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy SeaBees.

He loved being outdoors doing yard work and gardening. Throughout the years he enjoyed the companionship of his dogs.

He is survived by his wife, Edna; his children, Jill Law and her husband Fred of Dartmouth and Edwin Comstock of Mattapoisett; nieces Betty Pickford of Clearwater, FL, Carol Zaslona of Fairhaven, Polly Ann Donnelly of Beverly and nephews Ronald Harrison and William Harrison, both of Brewster.

He was the brother of the late Gladys Haskell, Nancy Gross, James, Herbert, Beatrice and Thomas Harrison.

His Memorial Service will be held on Thursday December 14th at 10 AM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. Burial with military honors will follow in the Massachusetts National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Humane Society and Shelter – South Coast, 31 Ventura Drive, Dartmouth, MA 02747. For directions and guestbook, please visit

Marion Republican Town Committee

The Marion Republican Town Committee will conduct its next monthly meeting on Monday, December 11 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Music Hall, 164 Front Street, Marion. The public and new members welcome.

Learn to Play Basketball Program

In this class, instructors will focus on fundamentals of the game of basketball and basics of dribbling, passing, shooting, defense, and of course teamwork. Participants will also have the opportunity to play smaller games with adaptive nets. The program runs Saturdays, beginning January 6 and running through February 10, and is designed for beginner players or players in grades K-Grade 2. Classes take place at Sippican School Gymnasium. Cost for participants is $75 for instructional weeks and includes a participant T-shirt. You may register online at or by mailing in a paper registration form to Marion Recreation, 465 Mill Street, Marion, MA 02738. You do not need to live in Marion to attend this clinic. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Marion Recreation at 774-217-8355 or

No Shave November Ends With a Buzz

It was fun while it lasted, but “No Shave November” must eventually come to an end.

Five of Rochester’s finest said farewell to their beloved beards and goatees on December 1 while in the salon chairs of the Old Colony Cosmetology classroom as Cosmetology and Health Care Career students came at them with their razors– which is a darn shame, said Officer Sean Crook, whose wife was really digging his stubble.

No Shave November is an annual fundraiser for first responders to raise money for Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Mass General Hospital Program that supports the “invisible wounds” of veterans, service members, and their families. Eleven officers of the Rochester Police Department pledged a $100 donation in exchange for a month-long exemption from the department’s facial hair policy limiting male officers’ facial hair to mustache only, raising just over $1,000.

Above the noise of the electric razors, Officers Robert Nordahl, Sean Crook, Alex Malo, Jason Denham, and Nathan Valente admitted that they’d miss their whiskers to some degree.

“This was the first time I’ve ever had a full beard,” said Crook, whose wife never approved of him in a mustache but rather liked the look of the beard. “It was showing a lot of gray, though, so it was showing my age – or my wisdom,” he preferred to say.

Donning a teal cape, Nordahl also lamented, “I’m losing all my wisdom, all my gray,” as one of the junior Cosmetology students trimmed down his stubble.

“This is the first time the junior students are doing beards,” said Cosmetology instructor Tammy Hoyle. “My juniors have more experience with beards.”

After Phase 1 with the juniors and their electric trimmers, the officers moved over to the Phase 2 station for a hot towel and a close-up with a straight razor.

“Ready to get rid of that mustache?” student Mikayla Murray asked Officer Valente whose facial hair was the most robust of the department for the second year in a row.

But not so fast, interjected instructor Rhonda Amaral.

“Are any of you guys on blood thinners?” Amaral asked, addressing the Health Care Career seniors wielding disposable razors. “Always ask a police officer if he’s on any blood thinners.”

“What if they say yes?” one student asked.

“Well, I don’t think we’d shave them if they say yes,” said Amaral.

The Cosmetology room was packed with students working or observing, teachers overseeing, and those who just came to watch and enjoy the spectacle.

“You guys are good sports, I tell ya,” said Amaral.

“What are you trying to say, Ms. Amaral?” said one student.

Crook asked the students working on the officers, “Are you always this quiet, or is it the nervous energy?”

“The nervous energy!” the students called out in unison.

Alyssa Labrecque admitted to Officer Valente that she was so nervous her hands were shaking.

“You’ll be fine,” he said, convincing Labrecque. “You’ll be fine,” he repeated, possibly convincing himself.

Cosmetology student Anna Kate Greene offered Labrecque some advice: “Just think about shaving your legs.”

Vocational Coordinator Jackie Machamer said she supports the officer-student partnership.

“I just think it’s a really great opportunity for the kids to demonstrate their skills and support the officers in No Shave November,” said Machamer. “The officers work so closely with us on so many things.”

As the officers one by one were through with their shaves, a few grabbed a cup of coffee and stood together and reminisced over the past four weeks.

“I feel almost … I feel, I don’t know…” said Officer Malo running his hand across his now smooth chin. “I miss it. I’m gonna be so cold now.”

Now Nordahl was done, and getting up out of the salon chair still eyeing the mirror, “I don’t like myself now,” he joked.

Valente was the last one still reclined in his chair. There may have been a couple of small nicks toward the end requiring a couple of pieces of gauze and a few more minutes in the chair.

“It’s already starting to grow back,” Crook heckled Valente.

One officer suggested that when Police Chief Paul Magee retires next year that he leave the officers with one parting gift – allowing facial hair on the force.

The officers joked about extending the No Shave November concept into other months, such as “Furry February,” “Mustache March,” and “Stubble September.”

Malo stated that he himself would pay the $100 donation a month to keep his stubble intact.

“I would pay the $1,200 a year to not have to shave,” said Malo.

The Rochester Police Department raised just over $1,000 this year for the veterans’ charity.

By Jean Perry

ORR Boys’ Basketball Adapts With Personnel Shift

The longest high school season of the year is finally here, which means there’s regular season basketball and hockey until the final days of February, maybe even followed by a postseason run.

            But for some, there’s still a feeling out process. Take Old Rochester boys’ basketball for example. They finished 17-5 last year after losing to Apponequet in the Quarter Finals of the Division 3 South Sectional Tournament, one year after winning the Division 3 State Tournament.

Co-captain Jason Gamache is still left over from that State Champion team, but it’s impossible to deny that this team has a different look from Old Rochester teams of recent memory. In fact, there are only two returning starters from last year’s team alone, Bennett Fox in addition to Gamache. So they’ll be expected to carry the load, particularly to start the year.

“A lot’s going to go through them, but they’re also going to get a ton of attention,” Old Rochester coach Steve Carvalho said of his captains. “Jason should be a top player in the league and Bennett’s doing a lot of good things, too.”

Carvalho also expects to rely on Cole McIntyre, who split time between JV and varsity last year. But he still has to make up for the offensive hole Matt Valles left when he graduated in the spring.

“Right now we are, I don’t want to say unproven, but we’re certainly inexperienced in the post,” Carvalho said. “I don’t have experienced kids who’ve played at the varsity level. I think they might get there though.”

That being said, that’ll force the Bulldogs to rely on their transition game – which has been their identity in years past – but by choice, not necessity. Still, it’s a formula Carvalho is comfortable with.

“We’re always defensive-minded,” Carvalho said. “I like tempo, I like to get up and down the court, pressure, trap and that kind of thing. But it’s probably going to be even more of that. We’re going to play baseline to baseline, get energy off our defense. Create some turnovers and some havoc. Wearing teams down, which I’ve always wanted to do.”

Carvalho continued, “Yeah, we may need to run and gun a little. Everyone has to depend on their half court discipline. I’ve always been a transition guy first. I do think our identity comes off defensive pressure, points off turnover, wearing teams down, giving teams look defensively, and then figuring out the offense as we kind of go along. I don’t know how much of a set play team we are. We all have plenty of plays, but we’ll see.”

One player Carvalho is missing from the 2016-2017 campaign is his big man, Matt Valles, who’s now playing college basketball at Gordon College. The 5-foot-6 Mattapoisett native is off to a strong start to his freshman campaign, even though the Fighting Scots (1-3) have lost three straight. Valles has appeared in each game, almost averaging 19 minutes a game. The big man is scoring 8.3 points per game, including 10 against the University of New England (11/29) and, most recently, 11 against Nichols College (12/2).


Old Colony

Meanwhile, Old Colony is preparing for its 2017-2018 boys’ basketball season without Paul Soucy, who just finished his first soccer season at Westfield State. As a freshman, Soucy appeared in 18 games, starting in the last eight he played in. He scored two goals and had two assists, finishing the year with six points for the Owls.


Tabor Academy

Tabor’s boys’ squash team is off to a 2-1 start, led by Aly Hussein, who has yet to lose a set, sweeping all three of his matches so far, 3-0.

Boys’ basketball improved to 2-0 on the year after taking down Marianapolis Prepatory School 76-68 on Sunday, and will visit Thayer Academy on Wednesday at 4:30 pm.

The Seawolves’ girls’ hockey team is off to a 1-0 start following a 4-1 win over Cushing Academy. Ashley Clark had a hat trick in the win with Marissa Fitzgerald scoring Tabor’s final goal.

On the college front, Tabor’s Akim Sanni (2017) is seeing some time early for Brandeis University’s men’s basketball team, seeing 12.8 minutes per game. He’s shooting 50 percent from the floor, scoring 3.7 points per game.

On the hockey front, Caroline Shaunessy (2015) has two goals and two assists, appearing in eight games for Dartmouth College women’s ice hockey.

High School Sports Update

By Nick Friar

Oh, Christmas Tree

Ho! Ho! Ho! It’s the holiday season in Rochester now that the tree is lit followed by the arrival of jolly old Saint Nick via fire engine on December 4 to usher in the holiday season. The Rochester Memorial School band and chorus treated revelers to a festive performance, while Christmas poster winner Tessa Winslow had the honor of flipping the switch to light the holiday tree. Photos by Jean Perry


MLT Welcomes Logan Johnson

Logan Johnson, an AmeriCorps service member, will work part-time with the Mattapoisett Land Trust (MLT) over the next six months to make contact with neighbors of MLT properties in order to introduce the land trust and explore any problems or concerns caused by proximity to MLT preserves. Logan hails from rural Maine and is a 2017 graduate of the University of Maine, with a degree in Biology and minor in Anthropology. Previous work experience includes time as an environmental affairs intern with a pulp mill and as a conservation intern with the Downeast Lakes Land Trust in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. When not working with MLT, Logan will undertake a variety of land stewardship projects with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Please join us in welcoming Logan, and if you are an MLT neighbor don’t be surprised to see Logan knocking on your door over the coming months. For more information, please email