First Congregational Church of Marion

Rachel Brown, an outreach volunteer for Heifer International for over 10 years, will speak at the 10:00 am church service on May 17. At 9:00 am, the youth of the church will hold a pancake breakfast. This is an exciting opportunity to hear about Heifer International, its programs around the globe, along with first account stories of the impact of Heifer’s work in communities. Ms. Brown has visited projects in Maine, Armenia, Cameroon and Honduras.

Heifer International’s mission is to end world hunger and poverty. The animals they provide give food and a reliable income, which bring communities opportunities for schools, agricultural cooperatives and small business funding.

Their core model is “Passing on the Gift.” Families share the training they receive, and pass on the first female offspring of their livestock to another family. For 70 years, Heifer has worked in 125 countries (including U.S.) and helped 22.6 million families.

Heifer is now working to have a greater impact on more families in an even shorter period of time. One such project Ms. Brown will highlight is the East Africa Dairy Development Project.

All are invited on May 17. Come to the 9:00 am pancake breakfast in the Community Center (144 Front St, rear of parking lot) and the 10:00 am church service (28 Main St) to hear firsthand about this amazing organization.

FinCom Reviews Warrant Articles

With just a couple of weeks left before the spring annual and special town meetings on May 11, the Mattapoisett Finance Committee on April 22 reviewed warrant articles with price tags heading to the vote.

The Board of Selectmen had been meeting with the Finance Committee and Town Administrator Michael Gagne for the past several weeks leading up to Town Meeting, asking questions and providing input. But suffice it to say, nearly everything was ready for a public airing. The Board of Selectmen accepted the warrant and voted on it during its April 28 meeting.

The Special Town Meeting warrant will feature appropriations to cover costs on a variety of disparate articles, such as additional funding for Phase 1B of the Bike Path and unexpected snow removal costs from historic weather conditions.

This warrant lists: $66,000 from free cash for engineering and permitting costs associated with the bike path; $400,000 for water main replacement on Mechanic Street; $205,000 for water main replacement on Cove Street; and $75,000 for snow removal. Some articles will be paid through free cash while others will be paid from enterprise funds, depending on the appropriate source.

The Finance Committee agreed with all requested amounts from the Special Town Meeting warrant.

As for the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting, there are presently 46 articles that voters will be asked to consider. Of those, a little over 50 percent relate to costs associated with running the town. FinCom members found nearly everything in order and agreed to recommend the articles reviewed.

Here’s a sneak peak at what voters can expect to find on the warrant that was accepted by the selectmen and released to the public:

– Elected officers’ compensation: This is year two of a three-year voted increase in salaries for elected officers of the town, such as moderator (up from $215 to $231), Board of Selectmen ($3,990 to $4,289), town clerk ($53,658 to $55,731) and highway surveyor ($72,629 to $75,940).

– OPEB liabilities: Once again, voters will be asked to approve appropriations to fund retirement-based obligations. This year, that sum is $343,736.

– Capital Plan funding: This amount, which was vetted and approved by the FinCom members, stands at $363,396 and features such items as public safety vehicles, a Highway Department truck with plow, pedestrian crossing signal lights on Route 6, and playground repairs at Old Hammondtown School.

There will be several articles for roadway and sidewalk repairs, wharf repairs, water and sewer needs, and freshwater well refurbishment. Voters will be asked to approve tens of thousands of dollars for these infrastructure improvements and upgrades.

The selectmen, during a previous meeting with Gagne, discussed the possibility of looking into re-routing the Eel Pond forced sewer main from its current position to one in a less environmentally sensitive area. That notion will appear as a funding request in an article titled “Design and costing new forced main at Eel Pond” for the sum of $40,000. If passed, that money would be used to fund engineering, design, and costing to a location that is better protected from storm damage.

The Special Town Meeting warrant was signed during a public meeting in Gagne’s office on April 24. On April 28, during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Gagne submitted the final Annual Town Meeting warrant for signing and posting to the public.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Finance Committee is scheduled for April 29 at 6:00 pm.

By Marilou Newell


“Much Ado About Nothing” at RMS

The fifth and sixth graders of the Rochester Memorial School Drama Club would impress the Bard himself with their performance of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” this year’s annual spring play at RMS. Forsooth, methinks thou wilt not be disappointed.

The 27 actors, under the direction of sixth grade teacher Danni Kleiman, are donning their Renaissance gowns, vests, and velvets, drawing their swords, and reciting their memorized lines they have been learning since January.

Director Danni Kleiman has been running the show for 29 years now. The sixth grade teacher directs, produces, writes the script, and designs the exquisite sets. Kate Tarleton, a member of the community, designs and creates the elaborate costumes for the colorful cast, bringing it all together for one superb production.

The stage manager is Karen Della Cioppa, and a volunteer stage crew of junior and high school students assists the cast behind the scenes.

The grand performance will be Friday, May 1 at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Memorial School cafetorium. Tickets are $9 and will be available at the door.

By Jean Perry

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Elsie (Hanninen) Heleen

Elsie (Hanninen) Heleen, 93 of Rochester died May 1, 2015 at Our Lady’s Haven in Fairhaven, MA. She was the wife of the late Arthur Heleen who died in 1985 and the daughter of the late Johannes and Hannah (Leppaluoto) Hanninen. She was predeceased by her sister, Lilian Niemi.

Elsie was born in Wareham and graduated from Wareham High School. Mrs. Heleen was a member of the Ocean Spray Cooperative, The Finnish American Club and the Finnish Congregational Church. She was a long time employee of the telephone company and made many cherished life-long friends there.

Elsie enjoyed the frequent visits at the Forestview Nursing Home by family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Survivors include her brother, Arni J. Hanninen and his wife Shirley of Methuen, her nephew, Michael Hanninen of Salem NH, her niece, Nancy Sheehan of Sandy Hook CT; her sister-in-law, Lillian Rinta of West Wareham; her brother-in-law, Edwin Heleen of Middleboro, and many more nieces and nephews.

Her funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday May 7, 2015 in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Highway, Wareham. Burial will follow immediately at the Centre Cemetery.

Visiting hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Thursday May 7 just prior to the funeral service.

Donations in her memory may be made to: Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, 322 Eighth Ave. 7th Floor, NY, NY 10001.

John M. O’Leary

John M. O’Leary, 86, of Mattapoisett died May 1, 2015 at St. Luke’s Hospital surrounded by his family.

He was the husband of Palmyra (Silveira) O’Leary with whom he shared 61 years of marriage.

Born in New Bedford, the son of the late Michael J. and Edna M. (Metcalf) O’Leary, he was raised in Fairhaven before moving to Mattapoisett.

Mr. O’Leary was a graduate of Fairhaven High School, Berklee College of Music and New Bedford Institute of Textiles and Technology.

He was formerly employed by Morse Cutting Tools in the advertising department and later as advertising manager. He then acquired Bowlmor Lanes in Mattapoisett which he and his wife ran until 1994.

Jack was an avid bridge player and a member of the American Contract Bridge League with the rank of Silver Life Master.

He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Survivors include his wife; 3 sons, Kevin O’Leary and his wife Beth of Rochester, NY, Thomas O’Leary of Fairhaven and William O’Leary and his wife Bonnie of Methuen, MA; 2 daughters, Kathleen Macedo and her husband Neil of Mattapoisett and Sandra Edgell and her husband Eugene of Wareham; 2 brothers, James O’Leary of New Bedford and Daniel O’Leary of Florida; 2 sisters, Margaret Clark of Pennsylvania and Martha Doherty of Naples, FL; 7 grandchildren, Shannon, Caitlin and Meghan O’Leary, David and Matthew Macedo, Adam and Jonathan Edgell; and several nieces and nephews.

He was the brother of the late Raymond O’Leary and Mary Miller.

His Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday, May 11th at 10 AM in St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett. Visiting hours are omitted. Arrangements are with the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home For Funerals, 50 County Rd. (Rt. 6) Mattapoisett. In lieu of flowers, John’s request is that you buy yourself a fine bottle of wine. For online guestbook, please visit

Mattapoisett Lions Club

Thank you to all the members of the Mattapoisett Lions Club:

On Saturday, April 18, the Mattapoisett Lions Club had a wonderful turkey dinner offered to all seniors of Mattapoisett. It was held in the hall of the Mattapoisett Congregational Church at noon.

What a wonderful meal they served. We had a complete turkey dinner with all the fixin’s. Even apple pie for dessert. Free transportation was provided for any senior who needed it.

Senior shut-ins were delivered their meals to their homes. I spoke with one gentleman and he was delighted to receive it.

We are so fortunate to live in such a special town! “Mattapoisett Is Really Special.”

Thank you.

A grateful Mattapoisett senior,

Ilona G. Langhoff


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.

Mattapoisett Friends Yard Sale

Mattapoisett Friends Meeting will hold a yard sale on Saturday, May 9 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm in the social hall behind the meetinghouse at 103 Marion Road, Route 6. For anybody who has done some spring-cleaning and would like to join the sale, please contact the Friends by May 6. An inside table costs $20, and an outside table is $10. Funds raised will go to the renovation of the meetinghouse, which should be underway by early summer. For contact information, see

The Monkey Capes of Mattapoisett

Curator Elizabeth Hutchison and the volunteers helping to catalog the Mattapoisett Historical Society Museum’s collection of artifacts have seen some rare, unique items along the way – but nothing as strange as what they recently came across while sorting through a collection of clothing folded in tissue paper, packed in boxes for decades.

“It was a ‘What is this?’ kind of moment,” said Hutchison remembering the instant one of the volunteers called out, “What the heck is this?” while unfolding the white tissue paper inside a box, revealing a dark, long-haired furry-type of … cape, as it appeared. The group soon realized that these hairy pieces were of monkey fur, and a total of three monkey capes lay before them, seeing the light of day for the first time in a long time.

“One of the volunteers who was going through them was just like, ‘I’m not touching them,’” said Hutchison.

There was very little written about the monkey capes in the museum’s records, and Hutchison determined that the capes were from the 1930s when monkey fur fashion was revived. She paid particular attention to the style of the collars, which she said looked much like the 30s style.

“These are weird things,” said Hutchison. “We were like, ‘Why do we have monkey fur?’”

There are other furs in the collection. For example, Hutchison held up a brown fur shrug of an unidentified animal that still had fingers attached at the end like a fringe of sorts.

“And that’s kind of normal. I’ve seen that before, but…” she said. “With the monkeys were just like, “What?’”

Unfortunately, there is no documentation of the names of the people who once owned the monkey capes, said Hutchison. Many of the corresponding cards that Hutchison compared to receipts do not give more information than what the item is and the condition it is in.

Hutchison would rather pass on trying on the monkey capes, saying, “It just looks creepy to me,” likening it to human hair. It feels just like human hair and cascades down like it, as well. Which makes sense, when you think about how closely related we are as fellow primates.

“I’m not a fan of the fur, but I understand,” said Hutchison. “It’s warm. But, bleck!”

What shall become of the monkey capes of Mattapoisett? They will be catalogued, entered into the computer database, and carefully folded back up in white tissue paper and placed in their storage boxes for now. But soon, Hutchison hopes to have a show that would feature some of the weird, unique, and extraordinary items discovered in the collection over time.

“We actually have a lot of beautiful clothing that really shouldn’t just sit in a box,” she said. Hutchison pulled out a few other items she was fond of for their uniqueness and rarity such as a silver-gilded and ivory fan, one Hutchison’s favorite pieces.

Flip through an early 1900s Boy Scout Handbook and you’ll come across some strange suggestions for games, such as “Steal the Bacon.”

She unrolled an exceptionally long road map portraying the Route 6 corridor of Mattapoisett, and also spent a moment examining a small piece of a clay pipe from an ancient graveyard in Jamestown, Virginia dated in the early 1600s and, quite possibly, one of the oldest clay pipes brought to America.

“I think like with the monkey fur,” said Hutchison, “it would be fun to have an exhibit of the weirdest things we’ve found. Or a people’s choice sort of exhibit.”

And you never know, as Hutchison pointed out. There are still about ten boxes to go through of clothing. And as the monkey capes have shown us, there could be anything in there…

By Jean Perry

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Aucoot Pier Proposal Continued

The application for a private pier extending into Aucoot Cove hit a snag when residents of the area told the engineer, Doug Schneider of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates, that there was ledge beneath the barrier beach – the location for the proposed pier.

Jay Duker, 112 Aucoot Road, has built a new home and received a conservation permit for beach nourishment, but his plan for a private pier has met with a number of abutter complaints and concerns.

When the application came before the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission on April 13, abutters told the commission that public access to the marshlands and beach areas, as well as their enjoyment of unfettered views, would be negatively affected by a pier. There was also concern that the barrier beach is subject to erosion.

On April 27, the commission heard another reason why construction of a pier at that location might not be advisable.

Richard Cederberg, 108 Aucoot Road, told the commission that 25 years prior, when he was constructing his dock, ledge was discovered under the seafloor making it impossible to install pilings. He said that a two-ton boulder was placed in the water in order to secure his dock to something stable, a practice he readily admitted would probably not be acceptable by today’s regulations. Nonetheless, he questioned the wisdom of the plan given that ledge is present.

Schneider conceded he was unaware of ledge in the area and would discuss this with his client. He also reported that a new eelgrass study had been completed, noting the absence of eelgrass in the proposed pier location. Schneider will review options and problems with his client and return on May 14 to continue the hearing.

Also during the meeting, the long-awaited resolution to stormwater management problems at the Appaloosa Lane subdivision seemed to end on a positive note when Brian Grady of G.A.F. Engineering presented a final plan. Grady also submitted a letter from the Town’s engineering firm, Field Engineering, which detailed their support and approval of the plan modifications. Also on hand in support of the updated drainage system plans was Highway Superintendent Barry Denham.

Denham said, “This is the best drainage out there and best for the neighbors … I agree with the plan.”

Also coming before the commission to continue informal discussions were the residents of Seabreeze Lane. Joe Anzaldi of 3 Seabreeze Lane and Lori Craig of 4 Seabreeze Lane were asked to meet with the Conservation Commission regarding violations to wetlands restrictions reported by the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Both Anzaldi and Craig admitted that inadvertent encroachment into protected wetlands areas had occurred, and they came prepared to offer mitigation and concessions.

Commission member Tom Copps said he was concerned that property owners in the future will think it okay to violate conservation restrictions and orders of conditions by simply offering mitigation after the fact, a point member King referred to as “easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”

That being said, the Craigs will review the additional amount of lawn area they are willing to return to a natural state, while the amount offered by Anzaldi seemed to be acceptable to the commission.

Chairman Bob Rogers offered suggestions on how to proceed toward full public hearings for the issues discussed. Each resident will submit applications for notices of intent.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for May 14 at 6:30 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

By Marilou Newell


Open Table

You are invited for supper on Friday, May 8 at the Mattapoisett Congregational Church. Everyone is welcome. Open Table offers a delicious meal prepared by volunteers on the second Friday of every month, September through May, so this will be the last meal for the season. 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. Please come!