Elks Student of the Month for January

The Elks of Wareham Lodge No. 1548 sponsors the Elks Student of the Month and Student of the Year Awards for students enrolled in local area high schools. The criteria used in nominating a student includes a student who excels in scholarship, citizenship, performing arts, fine arts, hobbies, athletics, church, school and community service, industry and farming.

We congratulate junior Connor Farney of Mattapoisett for being selected by the Old Rochester Regional High School faculty and staff as the January Student of the Month. Connor was a member of the cross-country team this fall and had a very successful first season and now plans to run spring track. He has been on the honor roll this year even earning high honors in Term 2. Connor has been working part-time filming local meetings for ORCTV. Connor currently plans to attend a 4-year college and major in zoology.

Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Hot will be shown on Friday, February 12 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Music Hall. Some Like It Hot is considered by many to be the best and funniest comedy movie ever made. The dynamics between Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe weave non-stop humor. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon play Chicago musicians who witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre and are observed by Spats Colombo (modeled after Al Capone) in the process. The only way for them to survive is to flee the town, and they do so by joining an all-woman band heading for a job in Florida. Along the way, they meet Marilyn Monroe (playing Sugar Kane Kowalszyk) on the train and the plot thickens. This film is part of the Classic Movie series sponsored by the Sippican Historical Society and the Marion Council of Aging. The film is open to the public and there is no charge to see the film.

Teachers Say School Air Quality is Poor

Could air quality at Sippican School be responsible for exacerbating some teachers’ allergies, causing migraines, and making them sick? Air quality test results suggest no, but at least 12 Sippican teachers affected say ‘yes,’ and they are asking the Marion School Committee to allow the state to take its own air quality samples.

Representative for the Marion Teachers Association and Health and Safety Committee member Nicole Boussy said on February 3 that the issue of air quality at Sippican School has been ongoing for a number of years, and the group is now ready to take whatever steps it needs to find relief.

“I myself have experienced watching a teacher cough up blood due to the air quality within the building,” said Boussy. “I have a number of teachers who have diagnosed mold allergies that they are attributing to the air quality within the building.”

Teachers say one section of the first floor is the main area for poor air quality.

School Business Administrator Patrick Spencer told the committee an independent lab had tested the school for poor air quality, with samples taken throughout the building. Levels came up with a count of 39, which is below the threshold of 100.

Spencer said the teachers have now asked the school district to allow the state to enter the building to take its own air quality samples, which Spencer called “a little redundant.”

“There’s nothing wrong with doing it, but we just wanted guidance from the committee” Spencer said. “They raised a concern and we take it seriously.”

Spencer said no students have made complaints; however, Boussy argued that children are in fact affected.

“Children in that building as well experience some of the same things the teachers are experiencing,” said Boussy. “…We’re just hoping that we can work together … to have somebody come in and look.”

Boussy said the group hired an attorney through the Massachusetts Teachers Association who has looked through the report. The attorney pointed out several factors, including indoor mold species distribution, which could be affecting the school staff.

Boussy said Principal Lyn Rivet has been open and supportive throughout.

“Because of their concern for one another and the children of Marion, we are prepared to move forward,” said Rivet.

Facilities Director Gene Jones said he has done all he can to try and alleviate some of the issues, including bringing in air ionizers and an “air scrubber,” a high-power air blower to help with air circulation and mitigation of humidity.

“I don’t know what else to do in all my experience,” said Jones, saying he has even reached out to his peers in the field for advice. “The best thing is good housekeeping. Keep it clean. Keep it as up to date as possible … I’ve done everything as far as facility-wise…”

School Committee Chairman Christine Marcolini said it appeared as though the school has done its due diligence, but she is concerned, nonetheless.

“I don’t feel comfortable knowing that the staff doesn’t feel comfortable with the air quality of the building,” Marcolini said, although she voiced some hesitation over inviting the state into the school for testing. “Bringing the state in is a risk. It could turn the school on its ear.”

But at least the testing is free, said Marcolini.

“Till it’s not,” said committee member Kate Houdelette.

“Well, I take this very seriously,” said Marcolini. “We want them to be healthy and feel good in our building.”

The committee voted to move forward with the testing.

In other matters, committee members discussed the proposed draft of the 2016-2017 school calendar and agreed to restore Good Friday as a day off, mostly because the April 14 religious day of observation will be the Friday before April vacation, which had the School Committee questioning the day’s productivity as a day of learning.

School Committee member Christine Winters brought up the concern, saying, given the low attendance of last year’s Good Friday school day, it would be beneficial to take that day off. Religious reasons aside, she said, the district has other Fridays off before a long weekend. Winters then asked Assistant Superintendent Elise Frangos her thoughts.

“From an educational perspective, as well as sensitivity perspective, I concur with you that having … Good Friday where we conduct school, given our [substitute teacher] challenges, given our sensitivity to people and their religious observances and travel needs, I think it’s folly to continue down that path,” said Frangos.

Houdelette said she would be open to that, but the committee agreed that making the day a half day instead of a full day or day off would not do.

The committee also wished to move around a couple half days and professional development days in order to allow for less broken-up school weeks throughout the year.

Also during the meeting, the committee approved a $25,000 anonymous donation to the Sippican School, which it has now for a number of years.

Winters opposed the full nondisclosure of the donor’s identity and voted against the acceptance.

“There’s a difference between someone donating something anonymously and not wanting it to be announced publically,” Winters said.

Winters and Marcolini say they both spoke with someone from the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and received conflicting information about the legal criteria for accepting an anonymous donation. Marcolini argued that all standards were met, disagreeing with Winters.

“I believe it is one-hundred percent acceptable,” said Houdelette. “I just think we should be celebrating this instead of continuing to debate this.”

Last year, the donation funded the purchase of 200 Chromebooks for the school, among other things.

The committee also voted unanimously in favor of accepting pay increases for substitute teachers and classroom aides for the rest of the school year, and then approved an additional pay raise for the following school year, with Winters opposed.

The next meeting of the Marion School Committee is scheduled for March 2 at 6:30 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry


Richard J. “Rick” Guerzoni

Richard J. “Rick” Guerzoni, (Ret. Chief, Marion FD), 61, of Marion, died Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at Tobey Hospital in Wareham.  He was the husband of Leslie F. Guerzoni.

Born in Wareham, he was the son of the late John H. & Madeline P. (Coggeshall) Guerzoni.  A graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School in 1972, Rick went to work for the Town of Marion Water Department eventually becoming foreman.  He joined the Marion Fire Department in 1974, rising through the ranks until he became the town’s first career chief in 2002.  He retired from the department in 2009.

Rick is survived by his wife; his son, John Guerzoni of Marion; his daughter, Amy Arruda and her wife Kay of Raynham and his sister, Jayne Guerzoni of Marion.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Highway (Rt. 28), Wareham at 10 AM.  Interment will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Marion.  Visiting hours will be Friday from 4 – 8 PM at the funeral home.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Marion Firefighters Assoc., P.O. Box 114, Marion, MA 02738.  For directions and on-line guestbook visit: www.ccgfuneralhome.com

Frances P. (Rogers) Walton

Frances P. (Rogers) Walton, 83, of Fairhaven died Saturday February 6, 2016 at St. Luke’s Hospital after a long illness. She is survived by her husband of 61 years, Donald A. Walton.

Born in Fairhaven, the daughter of the late John and Lucinda (Pimental) Rogers, she lived in Fairhaven for most of her life. She was a graduate of Fairhaven High School.

Mrs. Walton was formerly employed by Acushnet Company for 30 years and was an Accounts Receivable manager when she retired.
She enjoyed time with her family, knitting, painting, crafting, and gardening.

Frances is also survived by her three children, daughter – Catherine O’Brien and her husband Daniel of Mattapoisett, daughter – Christine (Tina) Albano, and son – Christopher Walton and his wife Dawn, all of Fairhaven, and two sisters – Joan Mello and Lucinda Snow, both of Fairhaven. Frances had nine grandchildren, Joseph, Mandy, Meghan, Jessica, James, Alexandra, Peter, Christopher, and Kevin, and three great-grandchildren, Keira, Logan, and Ryder. She was “Aunt Sanny” to several nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her brother, the late John Rogers Jr.
Her Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday February 13, 2016 at 10 AM at St. Anthony’s Church, Mattapoisett, followed by burial in Cushing Cemetery. Visiting hours are omitted. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Community Nurse Home Care, P.O. Box 751, Fairhaven, MA 02719 or Southcoast VNA Hospice Program, 200 Mill Rd., Fairhaven, MA 02719. Arrangements are by the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. For online condolence book, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

Mattapoisett Lions Club Award

The Mattapoisett Lions Club, a member of Lions International consisting of 45,000 clubs and more than 1.3 million members worldwide making this the world’s largest service club organization, is pleased to announce two $2,500 scholarships to be awarded this year to graduating high school or home-schooled students residing in Mattapoisett, Marion and Rochester.

The funds for this Award are raised through fundraisers held by the Mattapoisett Lions Club throughout the year, including Harbor Days, an annual Arts and Craft Festival held in Shipyard Park every third week-end of July and attended by up to 10,000 people.

The Lion’s Club motto is “We Serve,” and one of the largest charitable causes of Lion’s International includes raising funds for eye research in an effort to end preventable blindness throughout the world and providing services for those in need in our community.

To qualify, a graduating student or home-schooled student shall be enrolled in their first year of a recognized school of higher education, must be a resident of the Tri-Town area, and have demonstrated service to the community.

To obtain an application, learn more about this Award, or to learn how to become a member of the Lions Club, visit our website www.mattapoisettlionsclub.org. Award applications are available through the guidance department at your high school.

Applications must be received by March 26, 2016.

Boys’ Basketball Loses Heartbreaker to Apponequet

In an extremely rare occurrence, Old Rochester Regional Boys’ Basketball lost a game this week, falling 63-60 to a tough Apponequet team. However, the team remains 12-1 and in the driver’s seat for another SCC Championship. Other highlights this week include a Girls’ Swimming win over Pope John Paul aided by a fantastic performance from senior Colleen Beatriz, and a pair of track meets over the weekend that featured standout performances from Bulldog athletes.

BoysBasketball: The boys got back into action against the Case Cardinals on the road on Tuesday. It was an easy win for the ‘Dogs, who triumphed 74-54 behind a balanced offensive attack. The win marked their 28th consecutive SCC victory and 19th in a row overall as they improved to 12-0 on the season. They stayed on the road to play Apponequet on Friday. Unfortunately, star center Matt Valles missed the game due to illness. This left the Bulldogs vulnerable in the front court, and they were exposed early on as the Lakers jumped out to a 15-2 lead. The ‘Dogs rebounded well, stayed neck and neck with Apponequet for the entirety of the second half, and even led 32-30 early in the third quarter. However, the Lakers were tough down the stretch and held on for a 63-60 win, handing ORR their first loss since last February. Only five players scored for ORR, a departure from the usually well-spread offense of the team, and a result of the close game. They were led in the points department by senior Evan Santos (19), senior Will Santos (13), and sophomore Jason Gamache (13). This week, the Bulldogs have two home games as they take on GNB Voc-Tech on Tuesday and Wareham High on Friday.

            Girls’ Basketball: The Lady Bulldogs took on Case at home on Tuesday, earning a 43-30 victory. On Friday, they remained at home to face the Lady Lakers of Apponequet; however, the offense couldn’t quite come together in a 40-22 loss. The team’s leading scores were juniors Sophie Church (8) and Olivia Labbe (7). This week, they will be on the road for games against GNB Voc-Tech (Tuesday) and Wareham (Friday).

Boys’ Track: Some freshmen and sophomores competed at GNB Voc-Tech in an invitational meet on Saturday. Freshman Adam Sylvia had his debut in the 600m with a time of 1:34.25. Other strong performances came from sophomore Nick Elkalassi in the 55m dash (7:12 in prelims) and sophomore Harry Smith, who won the 55m hurdles with a time of 8.64. The next day, the Bulldogs had athletes at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston for the ‘Last Chance to Qualify’ meet. Juniors Danny Renwick and Eli Spevack enjoyed big afternoons, as Renwick thrived in the long jump, jumping 19-9, and also ran an 8.7 in the 55m hurdles. Spevack ran an 8.4 in the 55m hurdle prelims, qualifying for the finals where he ran an 8.5. He added a long jump of 18-3.5. Other great performances came in the 55m from sophomore sprinters Elkalassi (6.98) and Smith (7.19). Freshman Will Garcia ran 7.17 in the 55m, and his classmate Sylvia ran a 4:52.3 mile. This week, the much-anticipated SCC Championship will be hosted at GNB Voc-Tech on Saturday morning.

            Girls’ Track: Top freshmen and sophomore girls were at GNB Voc-Tech on Saturday to run in an underclassmen-only invitational meet. Some of the highlights of the meet came from sophomore Samantha Ball in the 1000m (3:25.7) and sophomore Madisen Martin in the shot put (31-1.5) and 300m (46.7). Sophomore Rachel Demmer ran a 47.4 in the 300m. Another sophomore, Maggie Adams, had a big day by finishing second in the 55m hurdles and winning the high jump at 4-10. Carly Demanche, also a sophomore, ran a 1:52.3 in the 600m and jumped 4-6. The following day, a variety of Lady Bulldogs ran in the ‘Last Chance to Qualify’ meet at the Reggie Lewis Center. Senior Zoe Smith performed well in the 55m (7.82) and won the 55m hurdles (8.99). She was joined in the hurdle finals by three teammates: seniors Morgan Middleton (9.23) and Elexus Afonso (9.58) and junior Brooke Santos (9.25). Later, Afonso was seventh in the long jump (15-11.5) and Smith was ninth (15-7.25). The girls also received contributions from Demmer (55m, 55m hurdles) and freshman Caroline Walsh (55m, long jump). This week, the SCC championship will occur at GNB Voc-Tech on Saturday morning.

Boys’ Swimming: The boys started off the week with a meet at Apponequet on Tuesday that resulted in a 97-29 loss. The Bulldogs faced a rare non-conference rival, Pope John Paul II, at Sandwich High School on Friday night as they continued to try for their first win. Although the ‘Dogs lost a close meet 56-48, the team received excellent performances from freshman Tyler Kulak, who was a double winner. Kulak came in first in both the 200m IM (2:28.5) and the 100m freestyle (58.5). Junior Adam Perkins and senior Nate Wentworth each won an event, with Perkins winning the 50m freestyle (26.98) and Wentworth taking first in the 500m freestyle (6:50.15). This week, the Bulldogs will be in Seekonk on Thursday to compete in the SCC Championship against Seekonk, Dighton-Rehoboth, and Apponequet.

            Girls’ Swimming: The Lady Bulldogs began their week at Apponequet on Tuesday. There, they lost a 119-51 meet. On Friday night, the girls took on non-conference Pope John Paul II at Sandwich High School. The Lady Bulldogs earned a resounding 95-51 victory, led by a huge night from senior Colleen Beatriz. Beatriz won both the 50m freestyle (31.7) and the 100m freestyle (1:10.1), and she also contributed to a winning 200m medley team that included seniors Teagan Walsh and Molly Richards and sophomore Madison Carvalho. Continuing her incredible night, Beatriz swam alongside sophomores Megan Field and Erin Burke, as well as freshman Claire Noble-Shriver, on a winning 400m medley team that swam a time of 4:27.6. In addition, Field won the 200m freestyle, Richards was first in the 500m freestyle, and the Lady Bulldogs received other wins from Noble-Shriver in the 100m IM, sophomore Ellie Wiggin in the 100m breaststroke, and sophomore Ainslee Bangs in the diving competition. On Thursday, the Lady Bulldogs will be at Seekonk to swim in the SCC Championship against Seekonk, D-R, and Apponequet.

            Boys’ Ice Hockey: The Bulldogs/Blue Devils were home to begin the week on Wednesday, playing at the Travis Roy Rink at Tabor against Bourne. Buoyed by the return of star junior Sam Henrie, the ORR/Fairhaven contingent rolled to a 3-0 win to clinch the SCC Championship. Junior goalie Chase Cunningham continued his excellent season with the key shutout. The boys will stay at home on Wednesday to take on SCC rival Wareham. After a number of home games, the boys will be on the road at Driscoll Skating Rink in Fall River to play Dighton-Rehoboth on Saturday night.

            Girls’ Ice Hockey: The girls’ sole game this week was against Pembroke at their home rink (The John Gallo Ice Arena in Bourne) on Saturday night. Sadly, they were shut out 6-0. The girls have two more home games this week: one against Marshfield High on Wednesday and the other against Sandwich High on Saturday night.

Below are the overall winter team records, followed by the conference records in wins, losses, and ties as of February 1.

            Boys’ Basketball: (12-1-0)(12-1-0); Girls’ Basketball: (4-10-0)(4-9-0); Boys’ Track: (8-1-0)(8-1-0); Girls’ Track: (9-0-0)(9-0-0); Boys’ Swimming: (0-8-0)(0-6-0); Girls’ Swimming: (3-5-0)(1-5-0); Boys’ Ice Hockey: (8-3-4)(5-0-1); Girls’ Ice Hockey: (2-9-0)(2-8-0).

By Patrick Briand


Planning Board Addresses Non-Conformance

The Marion Planning Board was taken slightly aback on February 1 by a non-conforming structure addition submitted by Garrett Bradley of 8 Park Street, and they conversed candidly as they tried to figure out how to handle it.

“I have no idea how these plans conform to the actual lot,” board member Norm Hills observed.

“I have the plan,” Administrative Assistant Terri Santos said, spreading the map over the table.

“Oh, so we only got one plan!” Chairman Robert Lane surmised, as the entire board gathered around the table to scrutinize the plans. The plans were for a second-floor addition over a non-conforming garage.

“It seems like a little much,” observed board member Jennifer Francis.

“Well, they might stay within the original footprint,” Lane said.

“They’re going to expand the footprint; it’s in the plans,” Hills rebutted. Francis joined in. “It looks like the addition is going to quadruple the volume of the original plan!”

“What should we tell them?” Lane mulled. Eventually they opted for a note telling the applicants to consider the fact that the proposal exceeded the non-conformance of the current non-conforming structure. “It’s a substantial increase of footprint and square footage,” said Lane.

Still marveling over the addition plans, the board moved on to another request. G.A.F. Engineering, Inc. recently filed an Approval Not Required application with the Planning Board for Map 5, Lot 23 Ridgewood Lane. Representative Bob Rogers was on hand to explain the ANR designation.

“The extension was previously approved in May 2007 with approval conditions. The condition for approval was that the applicant must deed a portion of the land parcel to a suitable entity for conservation or recreation,” he explained. “Since the building lot abuts the Sippican Land Trust, a six and quarter parcel will be combined with the Sippican Land Trust.”

“Has the Conservation Commission approved the plans?” Lane inquired.

“The Conservation Commission approved these plans all the way back in 2004,” Rogers assured him.

In other matters, Hills asked about the status of the board’s annual report.

“I filed it,” replied Lane.

“You filed it?” Hills replied. “Did the board ever get to see it?”

“No, it’s handed to me and I file it. We’ve always done it this way,” Lane explained.

“My experience in the past has always been that the board gets approval,” Hills pointed out.

“Your experience isn’t with the Planning Board,” Lane stated. “Here, we’ve always done it this way.”

“Just because we’ve always done it this way, doesn’t make it right,” Hills insisted.

“Noted, now let’s move on,” Lane said, settling the issue.

At that point, there was only one agenda bulletin left to cover, which was an initial draft of the Peer Review Engineering Contract.

The contract was drafted for the potential hiring of a peer review engineer in Marion for future projects. “It’s not urgent,” Lane said, cutting across the subject quickly. “I propose that we wait on the drafts until we’ve heard from [Marion Town Counsel] Jon Witten.” The board agreed.

In other matters, Hills mentioned “complete streets,” which is an idea Marion has been considering to alleviate traffic circulation problems and make roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Complete roads offer bike lanes and sidewalks separate from car traffic lanes.

“I attended a workshop on complete streets a few weeks ago, and it’s a good thing that I did,” said Hills. “It turns out that, if I hadn’t gone, Marion wouldn’t be eligible for complete streets,” he reported, hints of bewilderment and amusement in his voice.

Also during the meeting, Hills questioned the rainfall amounts in the bylaws.

“We currently use the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) rainfall data and table from 1998 as a reference in our subdivision bylaws,” Hills explained. “I think we should consider changing the reference in the bylaws to the more recent NOAA rainfall table from 2015. It would be more recent and accurate than the information from 1998.”

Fellow board members chimed in with agreement.

“I’ve read the table and the information, and I find it well-informed,” said member Michael Popitz. “I feel that we should reference this table in the future.”

“Whatever we can do to help infrastructure handle climate change while moving forwards, we should do,” Francis observed as she echoed Popitz’s agreement.

The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board will take place on Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Music Hall.

By Andrea Ray


Marion, Are You Ready for Disaster?

Should a disaster or emergency ever fall upon Marion, you’d be in good hands with the Marion/Rochester Regional Health District and community volunteers who would be ready and waiting to assist you at Sippican School, Marion’s designated emergency shelter.

Local health officials, in conjunction with the Medical Reserve Corps, have spent the last year mobilizing volunteers and coordinating their efforts to establish one cohesive plan for setting up an efficient and fully functioning emergency shelter for Marion and Rochester residents.

Regional Coordinator Lisa Jackson gave about 20 area residents an introduction to the logistics of an emergency shelter at Sippican, a list of dos for those needing shelter, and a message on the importance of volunteering.

First, when arriving at the school, residents are required to sign-in, and sign-out should they leave. Jackson stressed the importance of this first step in the process.

“It’s accountability,” said Jackson. Not only does it ensure that people can be safely located within the building, it also helps when relatives might be looking for someone in the event of a disaster. When a person’s name appears on the sign-in/sign-out sheet, families can be reunited easier.

Several mock stations were set up so residents could tour the virtual emergency shelter, seeing where cots would be provided in a make-shift dormitory in the all-purpose room, where food service would be located in the cafeteria, where medical treatment could be found, and where pets could be kept.

Yes, pets are allowed at the Marion emergency shelter.

“It helps people feel more at ease with their pets with them,” said Health Agent Karen Walega.

Pet owners should bring their own pet food and crates, although a few extra crates would be available for smaller animals. There is even a veterinarian on the roster of local volunteers.

Residents should come prepared with their own medications and bedding, and anyone with special dietary needs or food allergies should bring with them the supplies they need.

The shelter at Sippican School last opened during the blizzard of 2013 when the town lost power for 50 hours.

“It got cold real fast,” said Marion Police Chief Lincoln Miller. About 180 people came out, either to sleep or just to warm up for a while. Some came just to charge their electronic devices at a charging station set up to keep in contact with loved ones while warming up.

“That was one of the largest sheltering [operations] we’ve ever had in this town,” said Miller.

It gave health officials and emergency response personnel the opportunity to assess areas that needed improvement and where there was a shortage in volunteers.

There is still a need for volunteers, said Jackson. You do not need to be a medical specialist, either. The local MRC needs data entry help, personal care assistants, childcare workers, food workers, and communications workers, among other things.

“Not all communities are this well-prepared,” said Jackson.

Public Health Nurse Kathleen Downy urged community members to contact her with interest in volunteering. She said people who come to the shelter feel more comfortable with familiar faces from the community volunteering.

“Please join the MRC,” said Downey. “It’s a great organization.”

By Jean Perry

Shelter_1 Shelter_2

Friends of the Mattapoisett Library Book Sale

The Friends of the Mattapoisett Library’s monthly Book Sale is Saturday, February 13 from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm at the library, 7 Barstow Street. This month, the Friends offer nearly all new fiction in nearly-new condition. Popular authors like Jodi Picoult and Stephen King are well represented. There is also a good selection of children’s books, and you could find just the right book for your sweetie in time for Valentine’s Day.