Lights! Camera! Action!

Recently, members of ORRJHS Cub Reporters, ORRHS Bulldog TV, Intro to TV Production/Video Journalism and Sippican School Cub Reporters attended the “Lights! Camera! Action!” Media Production Conference for high school students at Millis High School.

The event offered students the opportunity to meet their peers and view work from various high school media programs. The day opened with a mini film festival with films created by the students. Conference speakers included a panel discussion with investigative reporters Mike Beaudet from WCVB, Joe Bergantino, founder of NE Center for Investigative Reporting, and Boston Globe Photojournalist John Tlumacki. Other workshops included: documentary film making with producer/director Roger Lyons; meteorology with Fox 25’s Sarah Wroblewski; film/TV location director Tiffany Kinder; Comcast Sports Net; College Interns and Student Opportunities with Michelle Ryder, Matthew Leighton, Emmy Award Winning TJ Hourigan Host of NESN Clubhouse; camera lens choices and backpack gear.

Students gathered outside for a “Good Morning Eye Opener” message shot via drone which will air on WCVB’s morning newscast.

The conference is sponsored by the New England Chapter of the National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences.

ORRJHS Cub Reporter Daphne Poirier commented, “It was a fun conference. I especially liked the panel discussion with the investigative reporters.”

“It was fun to get a behind the scenes look at the TV and film industry,” said Bulldog TV member Zoe Bilodeau.

This was the first year the elementary students were invited to the media conference.

“The whole day was fun,” commented Sippican Cub Reporter Sarah Wyman.

“I liked the red carpet; I felt like a celebrity!” exclaimed Sippican Cub Reporter Mariah Ruell.

“It was very educational. I like learning how TV weather is done,” said Sippican Cub Reporter Rosie Lally.

Marion Town Clean-up

To the Editor:

Over the last 25 years, whether through the organized town cleanup or Arbor Day/ Earth Day activities, the residents of Marion have come together on a particular day in the spring to clean up and keep beautiful our town. For the last couple of years, it has been paired on the same day as Springfest at Washburn Park run by The Sippican Lands Trust. Because Lands Trust is taking a year off from hosting Springfest, we, as current organizers of the town-wide clean-up, thought it best to take a break as well and re-assess how best to move forward in the years to come. Participation has dwindled a bit in the past few years with people generally commenting that they found little to pick up. That certainly speaks to our town’s ongoing efforts and commitment to keeping Marion clean!

Not wanting to completely abandon clean-up efforts, we thought we’d use May 13, during the town-wide elections at the VFW, as an opportunity to hand out bags and gloves to those leaving the polls in hopes that they could return to their own neighborhoods with those efforts in mind. We will also supply a list of historically problem areas in our town if you wish to venture elsewhere!

Thanks for your continued support over the years, and we welcome any/all comments and suggestions for the future.

Hope to see you at the polls on May 13!

Sue Noonan

Stan Bradford

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.

Half-Price Sale

Mattapoisett Friends Meeting (Quaker) is extending its Spring Sale from 9:00 to 11:00 am on Saturday, May 7 at its Hall, 103 Marion Road (Rte. 6), Mattapoisett.

Everything sold at half price or less with many items 25 and 50 cents. Last Saturday’s sale netted slightly more than $800 for the Historic Meeting House Restoration Fund.

Miss Inspirational Program

On Friday, May 6, the Miss Inspirational program will highlight and celebrate the achievements of 30 girls with special needs and disabilities at the Old Rochester Regional High School auditorium at 6:30 pm.

Hosted by the reigning Miss South Coast Jillian Zucco, this event is designed to be a confidence-building program that will focus on ability and empowerment. Ms. Zucco has been inspired by her work as a personal care attendant for girls with varying levels of disability through the Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts organization. “So many of them are breaking barriers and overcoming incredible challenges every single day. My goal is to raise public awareness by giving these young women and girls a platform to show the community how inspirational they truly are.”

The program will have four phases: Introduction, Talent, Formal Wear, and Personal Statement. The personal statement will be submitted in writing before the event detailing obstacles they have overcome, barriers broken and/or goals and aspirations, pieces of which will be read to the audience during the Evening Wear portion of the live show.

Admission for the public to attend the Miss Inspirational program is a $10 donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (Boston Children’s Hospital) to be collected at the door.

For more information, email or visit her Facebook page

Miss Southcoast is a local preliminary to the Miss Massachusetts and Miss America organizaions.

CSL Drive Supports Local Homeless Students

Every day, there are students across the South Coast who struggle with poverty, and that struggle has an impact on the quality of education for those homeless students enrolled in Massachusetts public schools.

A homeless child is nine times more likely to repeat a grade, and homeless children have twice the rate of learning disabilities. These alarming statistics have led Old Rochester Regional High School’s Community Service Learning (CSL) club to start a School Supplies Drive to support a local organization that is fighting homelessness by providing extra educational services to homeless students in the area.

This organization is called Schools on Wheels Massachusetts (SOWMA), and it helps students struggling with homelessness by providing them with volunteer tutors and school supplies. Since its creation in 2004, SOWMA has supported more than 1,800 students across their 12 program sites in Southeastern Massachusetts.

The drive wish list includes items such as backpacks, notebooks, rulers, pencil pouches, index cards, crayons, filler paper, 1-inch binders, and the list goes on and on. All items must be new.

Supplies collected by Old Rochester will go to students in need primarily in New Bedford, Fall River, and Brockton.

Senior Alexandria Powers worked together with CSL supervisor Heidi Graser to start the drive. Powers is a part of the SOWMA program, and she brought the drive to the school in order to allow ORR students the opportunity to help those in need.

“I contacted one of the reps, and he gave me tips on how to start the drive,” said Powers. “And when I brought it back to Ms. Graser, she really wanted to help. So we got together a lot during school and put the drive together!”

Powers is involved in the SOWMA program by tutoring local homeless children to ensure they stay on track in school.

“I tutor children in New Bedford and became inspired by how happy and enthusiastic the kids are to learn considering their situations,” said Powers. “Ms. [Kelly] Ochoa got me involved in the program along with a few other seniors in our AP Spanish class.”

The drive began on April 25 and will continue indefinitely until the CSL has collected enough supplies to donate at one time. In order to advertise, donation boxes have been set up in nearly every homeroom at ORR, including one big box in the Front Office. Posters have been set up in the hallways where students will see them and be reminded to help those less fortunate than themselves. One poster for the drive has also been featured on the Old Rochester Regional Facebook page.

If the community has any questions or donations for the drive, CSL supervisor Heidi Graser is available to email at

By Sienna Wurl


Rochester Starts ‘Operation Special Alert’

If you live in Rochester and have a family member who has a tendency to wander, has a developmental or cognitive disability, with or without a speech impairment or is non-verbal, with the potential for requiring unique assistance in the event of an emergency, Rochester’s Chief Dispatcher Tracy Eldridge says she needs your assistance with establishing the town’s “Operation Special Alert” system.

Rochester residents with developmental and cognitive disabilities, and their parents and caregivers, will soon have a safeguard in place with first responders to ensure special accommodations can be provided during an emergency response situation. But before the voluntary program can be fully implemented, Eldridge is seeking input from parents and caregivers on what type of information to request on a standard form that residents will use to register with the program.

In addition to the basic demographic information, the goal of the program is to collect pertinent information about the resident that will help first responders endure the safety of the person in distress at the address.

For example, a child or an adult with autism living at a specific address may have sensory sensitivities to light or sound; knowing this will help emergency response staff react accordingly, perhaps by turning off sirens and lights before arrival. If the resident is also non-verbal or does not respond when their name is called, this vital information can assist first responders in ensuring the safety of the resident in the case of an emergency situation.

In addition to providing crucial information about the diagnosis and characteristics of the resident, any tendencies of wandering away from the home can be noted in the file so that if a wandering event should happen, emergency staff could find information on file about the topography of the land near the residence, any water sources nearby that may attract the child or adult that has gone missing, and any history of wandering by the person so police might know where to begin searching first.

“The fact that they wander, we want to know,” said Eldridge during a phone interview on May 2. “Are they attracted to water? It’s very important if we were to have a missing child and that child was a child with special needs … and not able to speak to us. If we call their name, are they going to respond to us?”

If a parent of an autistic child calls the communication center, Eldridge said, she wants that parent to know that dispatch has the important information on file that is needed in order to best inform the responders.

Back in March, Eldridge attended a training put on by the Massachusetts State Police, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the nonprofit organization Autism Speaks that provided tools to implement a program such as Operation Special Alert within the community. Eldridge said a recent incident was the impetus to get the ball rolling with the program.

A caregiver had contacted the communication center in Rochester and asked if there was a way to flag their address as the home of someone who was cognitively impaired and non-verbal.

“Later, a silent 911 call was received, and it indicated a police and ambulance response based on the medical history of the home the person provided,” said Eldridge. The person made the call but could not speak, but the information about the residence popped up on the screen, and the information was transmitted to the emergency responders. “An appropriate dispatch was made and a true medical emergency was happening at the home,” said Eldridge. “It worked.”

This is the kind of response Eldridge said she hopes the Operation Special Alert will provide the town.

Eldridge is hoping that caregivers, specialists, or parents will contact her to join her for a meeting to gather input on what type of information the form should request.

“There’s things that I may not know or understand and they may be able to point me in the right direction,” said Eldridge.

She is shooting for the third week of May.

“Then I’m going to be putting together a training for both the police and emergency responders,” Eldridge said. Both the police and fire chiefs have been informed about the upcoming program Eldridge has been working on. “I find any type of training extremely valuable as the chief dispatcher. Anything that can help us … better serve the public. That’s just how I’ve always run my center.”

Those interested in contributing to the establishment of the Operation Special Alert form can contact Tracy Eldridge at or call 508-763-5112 ext. 103.

Eldridge’s progress in establishing the program has been mentioned in the most recent blog on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website, where further information about the program can be found. Visit

By Jean Perry


Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race

The Rochester Memorial Day Boat Race on the Mattapoisett River, sponsored by the Rochester Fire Department, will take place on Monday, May 30 starting at 8:30 am at Grandma Hartley’s Reservoir, Snipatuit Road, in Rochester and finishing at the Herring Weir, River Road at Route 6, in Mattapoisett.

The minimum age for contestants is 6 years old on Memorial Day. There will be two persons to a boat. The boat must be a homemade river racer design of any material you choose. There are no limitations or restrictions on types of paddles.

Divisions include open/men’s, women’s, junior boys, junior girls, co-ed and parent/child. Junior division teams are both contestants under 14 years old. Parent/child is for a parent with his/her child (child under 14 years old) or an adult (25 or older) with a child (child under 14 years old). Trophies are awarded to the first, second and third place finishers in each division.

Pre-registration is required. Contestants may register at the Rochester Grange Hall, 205 Hartley Road, on Friday, May 13 and Friday, May 20, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. No registrations will be accepted after Friday, May 20 at 8:00 pm. It may be prudent for contestants that raced last year to submit their paper work on the first night of registration in the event of unforeseen circumstances that prevent them from attending the last registration and losing the starting position they earned based on last year’s finish position. This would also make the workload on the registration staff a bit easier on the last night of registration.

Rules and registration forms may be obtained at Lloyd’s Market and at the registration sessions. A signed registration form must be submitted by each contestant for a team to be eligible to draw a starting position.

The Boat Race Ham & Bean Supper will be served on the Saturday evening of the Memorial Day weekend, May 28 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Rochester Memorial School. Tickets for the supper may be purchased at the door. Proceeds from the supper, along with donations, fund the expenses of the race. (There is no registration/entry fee to race.)

Trophies and prizes will be awarded on Memorial Day at Rochester Memorial School at 7:30 pm.

For further information, contact Boat Race Chairman Arthur F. Benner at 508-763-2024.

Supper’s On The (Open) Table

You are invited for supper on Friday, May 13 at the Mattapoisett Congregational Church! Spring is here, the grass is green, leaves are budding on the trees, and the flowers are in bloom! What better time to enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal with your friends and neighbors. There is no charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. Doors open at 4:30 pm and supper will be served at 5:00 pm. Invite a friend or family member. All are welcome.

Super Sweet Cat

To the Editor:

I just finished reading the story about the “super sweet cat” that just gave birth to the super-sized litter of 12 kittens (minus the two who did not live). First of all, this should never have been allowed to happen. What has become of pet ownership responsibility to these wonderful “family” members? Now, in addition to the other cats for adoption at this shelter, there are going to be an additional 11 homeless cats. Shame on the person who was previously responsible for this cat. I realize that veterinary costs are very high these days, and the cost of neutering a cat or dog is sometimes out of reach for a lot of people. But, if they looked around and did some research, they may be able to find low-cost fees for this procedure. I hope and pray that what remains of the litter make it and have a chance of adoption and that the mother is neutered before she is up for adoption. They deserve a chance. So to those folks out there who are considering purchasing a new pet, please consider adoption before spending big bucks at pet shops or breeders. Or, if you have to, please neuter your new family member and try to keep the number of animals in shelters to a minimum.

Stephanie Mitchell, Mattapoisett


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.

Selectmen Hear Options for Wastewater Future

Results from a wastewater treatment study the town contracted CDM Smith to undertake suggest that septic systems in the region of Aucoot Cove contribute more to nitrogen pollution in the cove than the three unlined sludge lagoons at the wastewater treatment facility, with 31% and only 2%, respectively.

The data from the study suggests a prior study by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, of which the Environmental Protection Agency derived its data for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit, was wrong in its analysis of the lagoons.

“The lagoons don’t leak as much as the analysis suggests,” said Bernadette Klaft of CDM Smith on May 3 at the Marion Board of Selectmen meeting.

Klaft broke down the sources of nitrogen pollution in the cove, including agriculture/cranberry bogs in the vicinity (27%), undeveloped land (21%), and residential fertilizer use (9%), with the lagoons being the least polluting.

“Removal of lagoon nitrogen load would have an insignificant impact on the overall nitrogen load to Aucoot Cove,” reads the report.

Good news, say selectmen.

Furthermore, CDM Smith representatives say they have met with the EPA and were pleased to report that the EPA is willing to work with the Town of Marion to allow consideration for the suggested options for reducing pollution and meeting the NPDES permit pollutant limits – options other than eliminating the lagoons entirely, which would have forced the town to redesign and upgrade its entire wastewater treatment plant.

A study on eelgrass in the cove was also in the town’s favor, with data – including satellite imaging and aerial photographs dating back to 1988 – showing that the cove never was a viable habitat for eelgrass.

“Based on the available data,” the report states, “…the lack of evidence of eelgrass suggests that eelgrass would be a poor metric for interpreting the environmental health of Inner Aucoot Cove between Haskell Island and the salt marsh.”

As for viable solutions, the engineering firm conducted an analysis on the sludge lagoons and an outfall study.

The analysis done on the sludge lagoons and the plant itself show that only ten of the 20 acres is actually needed to effectively run the plant. The finding suggests the town could line the two five-acre lagoons and decommission the third and potentially re-purpose it as a constructive wetland.

“This is not technology that is widely used in New England,” said Klaft, “so it would need to be piloted…. But it’s a very green solution…”

The outfall study came up with four alternative routes to extend the outfall point further out into deeper water at Aucoot Cove. Another approach would be to discharge through land disposal, which would require transporting the treated effluent water to another area and into the ground, although Klaft said this part of the feasibility study was only in the very preliminary stage.

She said there are some undeveloped tracts of land that could accommodate this option, an option that is appealing because it would no longer require a NPDES permit from the EPA, but rather a groundwater discharge permit from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Klaft said the EPA looked favorably on the selectmen’s action to acquire a grant to work in partnership with Mattapoisett to study the feasibility of connecting residences in that area to Marion’s municipal sewer service, which could potentially reduce the nitrogen load that septic systems currently contribute to pollution in the cove by 60%.

“They (the EPA) see that,” said Klaft. “There’s nothing better you can do … than sewer those homes.”

The town’s recent option to explore regionalizing wastewater treatment with the Towns of Plymouth, Wareham, Carver, and Bourne, and also with Mass Maritime Academy, also appealed to the EPA.

Klaft said the EPA would consider entering an administrative consent order with the town to agree to terms for the NPDES permit and an attainable timeline, as well.

What are the potential costs of four viable options for the town laid out by the engineers?

Option 1, which would comply with the NPDES permit as written, entails the reduction in ten acres of the sludge lagoons, re-purposing the one 10-acre lagoon into a constructive wetland, transporting sludge offsite and using the existing outfall, ranges from $15 million to $18.1 million.

Option 2, which includes extending the outfall to the head of the salt marsh and lining ten acres of lagoons, was estimated at $15.7 million to $22.4 million; with the ten acres of constructive wetlands included in the project, $14.3 million to $17.2 million.

Option 3, which extends the outfall to the outer Aucoot Cove and lines ten acres of lagoon, ranges from $25.3 million to $32.6 million.

Option 4, which includes land disposal via infiltration basins in area undeveloped lands with ten acres of lined lagoons ranges from $15.4 to $30.1 million, and with the constructive wetland added, $14 to $24.9 million. The price tag would depend on the location of the infiltration basins from the wastewater plant, and the estimated costs are based on a range of 1 to 4 miles.

“We need to do whatever we need to … get to the next step and we need to at least explore the other alternatives,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Stephen Cushing.

The selectmen voted to allow Town Administrator Paul Dawson and the engineers to move forward in further negotiations with the EPA, but only in discussions. No commitments yet, Dawson said.

“Ultimately, it may not happen,” said Dawson about the prospect of a favorable outcome for the town and one of the options. “But it could….”

In other matters, this was Selectman Jonathan Henry’s final meeting in the Town House as a selectman, and Cushing and Selectman Jody Dickerson had kind words for Henry. They also brought a cake to celebrate Henry’s 12 years on the board.

“It’s been quite a ride,” said Henry. “We respected each other’s opinions along the way … and there were a lot of people who helped show me the way.”

Where else could a furnace repairman find a better opportunity than the one Marion has given him, asked Henry. “It’s been a wonderful and rewarding experience, and I don’t regret a minute of it.”

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen will be on May 17 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry