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Mattapoisett Fire Chowder Competition Returns

By Jean Perry

When you have winning clam chowder recipes like the Rochester Firefighter's Association and the Rochester Facilities Department, you know it - and now so do all those who attended the 2nd Annual Mattapoisett Firefighters Association Chowder Competition.

Rochester came out on top in the public safety category this second year in a row. In fact, the Rochester Firefighter's Association won the People's Choice Award. Last year, the association took home first place for Judges' Choice; this year, however, they came in second behind Rochester Facilities Director Andrew Daniel who, ironically, took second place last year behind Rochester Fire.

The secret: Daniel tops off his clam chowder with a piece of fried clam, an idea the Rochester Firefighter's Association "borrowed" this year.

"It was really my idea," said Daniel. But the culinary creativity doesn't stop there for Daniel. "Salt pork fat," Daniel simply stated.

All the members of the Rochester Firefighter's Association were confident they would again bring home the gold, pushing forward with their recipe from last year that everybody raved about - with the exception of the addition of the fried clam, of course.

"We're not going to fix what's not broken," said Chief Dispatcher Tracy Eldridge.

Coming in third place for the Judges' Choice Award for public safety was Fairhaven Harbormaster/Shellfish Warden Tim Cox and his team. As his longtime friend Sharon DeCosta served guests cups of "Grandma Lyla's chowder," a family recipe belonging to DeCosta's grandmother, Cox was busy transferring littlenecks on the half shell cooked with garlic and butter from the grill to a serving pan, an added bonus to chowder tasters at Cox's booth.

"It's basic," said Cox. No tricks or fancy ingredients, just "an old-fashioned" chowder with a thick creamy base. "I think it's a winner. It's what we grew up on."

The Marion Firefighters Association came in third last year for Judges' Choice, and returned once again with Assistant Fire Chief Allen Denham's secret recipe. His secret is well kept, but he would reveal that one of the important tenets to his delicious chowder is the fresh quahogs he catches himself.

Fairhaven Fire Lt. Brian Daniels and Garth Rowe said they, like other area public safety departments, participated in the event this year for the good cause - purchasing new and updated equipment for the Mattapoisett Fire Department - adding, "We all chip in."

As for Daniels' secret, he would not share much more than this bit of wisdom: "It's not just what you put in it, but it's how you mix it." Bacon, of course, is a staple to Daniels' chowder, saying he got great feedback from taste testers.

"Nobody walked away saying they didn't like it," said Rowe.

Members from the Rehoboth Fire Department threw their firefighter's hat in the ring this year for the first time, with Captain Ken "Marco" Marcotrigiano, a chef by trade, saying his chowder was a winner because of a "secret weapon" he includes in his ingredients, something he would only say was not usually a common ingredient in clam chowder.

Rehoboth Firefighter Ben Lewin said Marco impressed him when he showed up to the firehouse that morning "and just started adding ingredients and tasting it until it tasted right."

"It came out phenomenal," said Lewin. "Thick ... there is something definitely about it, but it is our secret."

The Marion Harbormaster Department, The Marion Police Brotherhood, and Mattapoisett Police Officer's Association also participated in the public safety competition.

Mattapoisett Patrol Officer Paul Andrews said he didn't place last year, and he left that competition wondering what he could do to win the next year.

"All year I been making sure that it's right this time," said Andrews.

It's a family recipe he used, which he improved upon this year. Andrews' wife Elizabeth and their two children, Ciera and Chandler, served a steady stream of guests, representing Mattapoisett Police.

There were a total of 22 participants this year, a bigger turnout that the last, said Mattapoisett Fire Lt. Justin Dubois.

"Everything was different this year. More teams, more tents," said Dubois. "Everything is bigger than last year's."

Dubois is pleased that the community has enjoyed the event so much and plans to keep the chowder competition an annual tradition.

The Halloween Cover Contest is Here!

Are you ready for some spooktacular fun? Dust off the cobwebs and sharpen those scary pencils. Your best Halloween artwork could be on the cover of The Wanderer and you could win a great prize! Submit your best original Halloween drawing, photo, compilation or artwork to enter for publication on our October 27 cover.

Deadline for submitting artwork is Friday, October 14 at noon. Online voting will take place from October 16 to October 24. The cover winner will win $100 and his or her artwork will be on the October 29 cover of The Wanderer! All entries must be original; cover entries must contain completely original artwork and/or photos. No copied items, including traced clip art, will be considered for the contest. All entries must be accompanied by a completed and signed entry form, available in our office or on our website. A full list of rules and regulations can be found at www.wanderer.com. For more information, call our office at 508-758-9055.

This year, instead of the Halloween story contest, we will be accepting scary stories from the public, which we may possibly publish in The Wanderer. If we publish your submitted story, we will compensate you monetarily for your talent.

We will accept literary works from now until noon on October 24. Email literary submissions to news@wanderer.com!

School Reunion Brings Many Home

By Marilou Newell

On September 17 at the Rochester Council on Aging, the 10th Grammar School Reunion hosted nearly a hundred former Rochester students. The reunion brought together folks who had learned their ABCs in classrooms or one-room schoolhouses that dotted the Rochester landscape before 1954.

Organizer and prime mover of the event Betty Beaulieu said, "Unless some others do it, this will be the last reunion." Putting that aside for the afternoon, clearly coming together once again to remember those early days held great significance for all.

The theme of the reunion was "What have you been doing since high school?" As the former students gathered around tables set for a grand luncheon, many came forward, some feeling quite uncomfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but all wishing to share where life had taken them. Given the average age of those in attendance, there certainly were plenty of decades of history to share.

A big part of the event was the sharing of "life stories." Those who stood up talked about their careers, impressive careers in finance, teaching, nursing, business, and nutrition. Several had more than one career as retiring brought new challenges and avenues to pursue. Since graduating from high school, clearly this group had spent a lifetime being productive members of society and all had started in a tiny Rochester school. Clearly their early educations had prepared them well for all that was to come.

Recently to current events, speakers shared what they are doing now such as traveling, or even pursuing a third career path. The ladies who took up the microphone to share their stories also spoke of their children and how their now middle-aged sons and daughters had turned out, clearly a major accomplishment and source of pride.

One lady shared that she had a deceased husband, a husband she had divorced, and now a "good" husband much to the collective laughter and applause of her fellow classmates. Another said that she had met her current husband while attending the school reunion several years ago, making the annual event also a matchmaking opportunity.

Some had traveled thousands of miles to be together. One lady said that attending the reunion was on her "bucket list," a not-to-be-missed occasion. Participants had traveled from all four corners of the country while others had remained in Rochester, building their lives in their beloved community.

As the aroma of roast beef, chicken potpies, and gravy wafted over the group, story time concluded and the feasting began. Following the luncheon, the group was entertained by the duet, The Snowbirds.

By all accounts the "last reunion" of the Rochester Grammar School students was a huge success. But who knows? Given how important being together clearly was for this group of reunion attendees, it wouldn't be surprising if someone stepped up to organize another gathering, at least one more time.

Marion Assault Leads to Arrest

Marion Police Department Press Release

On Friday, September 16, 2106 at 10:33 pm, officers from the Marion Police Department responded to the area of Converse Road and Route 6 for a male subject staggering in the roadway who appeared to be bleeding.

Officers Kris Smith and Larry Savery located the subject, a 38-year-old male from Middleboro, who was bleeding from the face and hand and intoxicated. The victim told the officers that he had been stabbed. He was able to identify his assailant. Marion Fire/EMS arrived and transported the victim to Tobey Hospital in Wareham, with non-life threatening injuries.

Officers were unable to immediately locate the suspect.

A few hours later, Sgt. Marshall Sadeck and Derryl Lawrence responded to the area of Mill Street for a suspicious person. They located the suspect and placed him under arrest. He was booked at the Marion Police Station and ordered held on $5,000 cash bail. He was later transported to the Plymouth County House of Correction.

Suspect Gary F. Phillipo, age 36, of Middleboro, was charged with Assault by means of a dangerous weapon, Assault with Intent to Murder, and Malicious Destruction of Property.

Conservation Commission Vents Frustration

Marion Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

Engineer Rich Charon, representing his client Gale Runnells, 17 Reservation Way, came before the Marion Conservation Commission on September 12 seeking a Certificate of Compliance. What he received was frustration from several commission members for what they deemed were unacceptable inconsistencies between the plan of record and the as-built plans.

Chairman Cynthia Callow said the filing was a bit of an "after-the-fact" notification, given that the completed work deviated from the plan.

The original plans called for a 12- by 24-foot in-ground pool; however, the pool was constructed at 16 by 24 feet. Permanent no-touch-zone demarcations were planned with large rocks and boulders, but the applicant poured concrete forms instead, with one form being inside the pool fencing. Furthermore, the fencing itself, instead of being placed around the apron of the pool, was installed in the wetlands no-touch zone.

"There's been a lack of communication," Charon told the commissioners. He said that indeed the fencing had been set farther into the jurisdictional area than originally planned, but that the finished work had been well done and the no-touch zone marked.

But commissioner Joel Hartley asked, "How can we give a Certificate of Compliance if the no-touch zone was touched?"

Commissioner Jeff Doubrava was clearly frustrated. "I've got an issue with this project - the no-touch zone was ignored," Doubrava said. He pointed out that the pool fence had been installed in the no-touch zone and now, "You're asking for forgiveness after the fact." He also took exception to the placement of concrete forms rather than use of stones saying, "That makes it easier to mow," referring to lawn that had been established inside the no-touch zone.

Callow added, "We're a little frustrated. We've had a plethora of these coming at us." She told Charon, "I know you're not responsible, but it's hard to issue compliance when it's not in compliance."

There then ensued nearly 30 minutes of discussion as the commissioners and Charon attempted to reach common ground.

Charon explained that the pool fence had been placed downhill of the pool because it would have obstructed the water view in the original location.

Commissioner Shaun Walsh asked, "Is there anything preventing the property owner from allowing the natural vegetation to re-establish?" noting that some cuttings had also taken place in the no-touch zone. Charon agreed that was possible, along with planting of native species. But he could not agree with moving the fence to its original location as suggested by Doubrava.

Walsh said, "A greater effort needs to be made to be in compliance with the Order of Conditions. This is a problem of your client's own making."

Charon offered to return with a planting plan. The hearing was continued until September 28.

Robert McNamara's RDA application for the construction of a shed at 19 Shawondasse Road met with some push back when abutters complained to the commission that "word on the street" was that it would be used as sleeping quarters.

McNamara denied that he ever indicated to prospective buyers that a shed could be used as living space. "Everything I've done over there, I've come to [the Conservation Commission] first," he said in defense of some modifications he's made to the property.

Callow told the abutters that the commission was only responsible for wetland-related issues, and that other boards could hear their building and building-use concerns.

McNamara received a Negative 2 decision for his application.

All other applications on this night went through smoothly.

Negative 2 determinations of applicability were issued for Elizabeth Middleton, 40 Joanne Drive, for the construction of an in-ground pool and addition to existing dwelling; Bob Cattel, Blackhall Court and Hastings Road, for repairs and repaving to existing roadways; Angus Leary, 19 Lewis Street, for the construction of an in-ground pool and pool house; Kathleen Mahoney, 40 Dexter Road, to relocate a generator; Philip Stevenson, 50 Point Road, to cut 4,955 square feet of overgrown vegetation and convert the area to lawn; and Warren Williamson, 121 Converse Road, to construct a ramp to an elevated deck and modifications to decking for an outdoor shower.

The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for September 28 at 7:00 pm in the town house conference room.

Cat Shelter Addition Gets Approval

Rochester Planning Board

By Jean Perry

The cats that call It's All About the Animals home will soon be purring in their new 'cat room' and porch addition now that Pam and Oren Robinson, owners of the cat shelter at 103 Marion Road, finally received the approval they'd been seeking from the Rochester Planning Board.

On September 14, Planning Board Chairman Arnold Johnson said the waiver list for the Site Plan Review looked good to him and, although it might have taken some time for the rather simple and straightforward project to move through the review process, the board was ready to take a vote.

Ms. Robinson clapped upon the approval, with Planning Board member Lee Carr adding, "The cats will be happy."

"They will," replied Robinson, "And so will I."

Johnson reminded Robinson that she would need to schedule a pre-construction conference before starting work after the 20-day appeal period is over and meet with public safety officials as well. There would also be a subsequent site visit, at which time Johnson said he had been dared by someone to leave the site without adopting a cat, a challenge he said he's accepted.

Also during the meeting, - aside from a virtual Willy Wonka-esque gathering with heaping bowls of candy and chocolates, a new tradition for apparent sweet-toothed board members - ABC Disposal, Inc. CEO Michael Camara had a brief meeting with the board regarding the Zero Waste recycling processing facility off Cranberry Highway.

Johnson said that discussions with town counsel revealed that the company is indeed allowed to invest money into some of the short-term fixes that are needed to bring the site up to par with the board and public safety officials, contrary to what Camara thought before, as he explained his challenges with securing financing for the project.

"I was up there today," said Planning Board member Michael Murphy. "I was really impressed as far as how clean the inside was.... From what I could see, they're trying their best to get everything squared away. I think they're on the right path."

Pot holes were to be completed that following Saturday, and other minor fixes pertaining to stormwater management would be completed soon after.

Board member Gary Florindo suggested the board at some point give Camara a timeframe for work completion with a follow-up site visit before winter.

In other matters, Dan Webb for Meadowatt, developers of a solar farm slated for 188-190 Marion Road (Route 105) presented some relatively minor changes to the plan to the board, mostly pertaining to utility pole locations, a metering pad, and fencing. The board deemed there was no need for a formal vote for the changes.

The next meeting of the Rochester Planning Board is scheduled for September 27 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

Denham Updates Planning Board

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell

Mattapoisett Highway Superintendent Barry Denham attended the September 19 meeting of the Planning Board to bring the board members up to date on three construction projects that have been the subject of great interest and, at times, have created consternation in abutters.

Appaloosa Way off River Road has seen over a decade of on-and-off again subdivision activity, more than one developer, and massive water drainage issues. The current developer of the property, Michael Solimando, has been working with G.A.F. Engineering to develop drainage plans that would ensure abutters would not sustain flooding on their properties. It has been a difficult project, not only for G.A.F., but also for the Planning Board who have heard numerous complaints regarding the drainage issues at the incomplete sub-division for years.

Last year, G.A.F. began working with the town's engineer, Field Engineering. That collaboration eventually produced a viable drainage plan, one that would benefit the town with drainage issues on River Road.

On this night, Denham said, "Piping has been installed from the westernmost drainage pond to the catch basin on River Road." He said that an 18-inch drainage pipe connecting the subdivision system to the town's system on River Road would improve the drainage at that location also. He said that the contractor had been "very good about calling me and keeping me informed on the schedule."

Chairman Tom Tucker was pleased with the update and comically added, "Didn't take too long - just 15 years."

Another project that has garnered hours of Planning Board hearings, complaints from Phase 1 homeowners, and legal actions is Brandt Point Village. The subdivision is planned to have numerous single-family homes, a large multi-family private sewer system, and roadways. Changes in owners, developers, and contractors, long delays in roadway completion and an untested septic/sewer system have remained points of concern for Phase 1 residents and the town.

"They are still trying to get the septic to pass," said Denham. He said that numerous deficiencies documented by Field Engineering for reports requested by the town have found problems with the piping and manholes.

Tucker asked if the present contractor, Armand Cotellesso, was keeping him informed.

"Not really," Denham responded. "I don't know what's going on there unless I go there, but I've been in touch with Ken Motta, Field Engineering." Denham went on to say that the septic/sewer system has not worked properly since the first homes were constructed years ago.

Moving onto another project, Tucker asked Denham if he knew what was transpiring at a single-home site located adjacent to Town Landing on Mattapoisett Neck Road. Denham said the Department of Environmental Protection had denied the owner's request to dig trenches in the marsh for utility access. He said they were being allowed to bore under the marsh and pull through utility conduits for electrical, water, and sewer services.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for October 3 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.

Conservation Commission Reviews Drought Status

Rochester Conservation Commission

By Andrea Ray

The continued drought in Massachusetts was the main talking point at the Rochester Conservation Commission meeting on Tuesday, September 20.

"The Mattapoisett River did run dry at one point," said Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon. "It has before in times of severe drought, but we're monitoring the situation." Rochester is currently experiencing 'Extreme Drought' status, the second-highest level on the scale.

The drought is causing considerable anxiety among local cranberry growers.

"The cranberry growers are anxious," Farinon explained. "It's going to be a difficult year for them. We can only hope for more rain this month."

The committee also briefly touched on the old Rochester Town Pound, which will shortly be a stop on the Rochester Historical Society's guided tour of historical sites in Rochester. "It needs some maintenance work before the tour," said commission member Laurene Gerrior.

"I pulled about 200 small evergreens and white pines from inside the pound," said Rosemary Smith. "There are still some inside the pound and of course in front of it, but my back gave out," she joked cheerfully. "Anyone who wants to pull trees, feel free!" When Gerrior mentioned flowers she had planted at the pound two years ago, Smith replied, "Well, I didn't pull anything that looked like a flower, but weeds and flowers look very similar to me!"

The brief meeting was supposed to begin with a public hearing regarding a Notice of Intent at 1 Happy Tails Lane, owned by James and Charlotte Spieldenner. When 7:00 pm came however, there was nobody on the benches. "I don't see anyone here," commission member Kevin Cassidy said.

"I heard from the engineer, and his understanding was that the continuation we granted last time was indefinite until he had the chance to speak with the Planning Board," Conservation Assistant Margaret Gonneville explained. The board voted to make the continuation indefinite.

The only other business items of the day were requests for Certificates of Compliance continuations submitted by Mark and Rachel Letourneau at 23 Foss Farm Lane and Ralph Perry at 99 Wolf Island Road.

The Letourneaus received their original Certificate of Compliance on March 14, 2003, approving the construction of a single-family dwelling, septic system, driveway, pool, and horse barn.

"They're looking to sell the property now," Farinon explained, "and would like to extend the certificate." She pointed out that the property's driveway and part of a pavilion were built inside the 100-foot buffer zone of wetlands, but that both had been installed before the buffer zone had become a law. The commission unanimously approved the continuance without questions.

Perry's original Certificate of Compliance was obtained on August 24, 2012. It approved the construction of a three-season enclosed room over the existing deck area with several Sonotube supports to be set within the 100-foot buffer zone.

"I've been there," Farinon said. "I didn't see any adverse effects on the wetlands, and everything's neat and in order." The continuation was also approved unanimously.

The next Rochester Conservation Committee meeting will be held at 7:00 pm on October 4 at the Rochester Town Hall.

Tabor to Host 4th Annual Day of Service

Tabor Academy Update

By Jack Gordon

For the past four years, Tabor Academy has held a Day of Service, an event that has allowed the entire Tabor community to interact with Southcoast communities in a more direct and personal manner than ever before.

On Wednesday, September 28, the entirety of the student body and faculty - roughly 600 people - will once again disperse into the local communities to work with over 40 organizations and programs located in the Southcoast. Major themes within the projects include education, environmental preservation, food, and repurposed items. While many of the relationships with these local organizations have existed since the inaugural Day of Service, the list has continued to grow each year.

The largest percentage of students and faculty will get the opportunity to work to preserve the breathtaking landscapes of Marion and the surrounding area. Partnerships with organizations such as the Buzzards Bay Coalition, the Lloyd Center, the YMCA, and several local lands trusts not only provide substantial manpower for critical maintenance projects, but they also give students a better understanding and appreciation for the natural world around Marion.

Among the many other service opportunities during the Day of Service is the chance to help tend to gardens at the Dartmouth YMCA or Wareham Free Library or Congregational Church, deliver furniture to people in need with My Brother's Keeper, process donated items at Gifts to Give, or work alongside staff at the Southcoast Humane Society.

Students and faculty break up into advisory groups, comprised of no more than 10 people, and complete one of these projects across the area. For these groups, there is an added benefit to performing this service.

"I love that everyone comes together, and it's one of the most significant bonding experiences I've had with my advisory," said senior Duhita Das, a member of the Community Service Board at Tabor.

In past years, Tabor has held two days of service per year, one in the fall and one in the spring. Last year, however, the event was converted into an on-campus Special Olympics Fitness Day, which brought hundreds of people of all ages onto campus for a morning of athletics. Due to the success of the event, it will continue for this school year.

For Tabor students, the opportunities to give back to the community are by no means limited to this single Day of Service. With the help of Community Service Coordinators Lauren Boucher and Amelia Wright, the Community Service Board hosts numerous community service opportunities each week and weekend.

"This is a day where Tabor students aim to give back to our friends and neighbors who have given so much of themselves to the vibrant communities of the Southcoast," Wright said in a press release. "It is our humble thank you and our pledge to continue the important work with our students of challenging them to carefully consider what it means to be a caring and supportive citizen of our world."

Many of the organizations partnering with Tabor during the Day of Service also do so throughout the year. When these opportunities are announced, students are quick to volunteer, with some filling up within minutes. In addition to this Day of Service, each Tabor student takes part in community service at some point during the school year.

While service to the community for Tabor students will not end with the Day of Service, for many incoming students, it certainly will start there.

What Makes a Vocational School?

Old Colony Update

By Elizabeth Jerome

What makes a school a vocational school? The answer is simple - 'shop'.

Shop is the blessed two weeks when a vocational student is allowed to practice and learn in their field of choice. This week, the freshmen got their first taste of the hands-on learning offered by Old Colony's many shops.

Feelings of excitement and apprehension were in the air as students, unsure of what to expect, entered their first shops. They worked through the week doing everything from wiring in electrical, to designing posters in graphics, to building beautiful woodwork in carpentry. Freshmen get to see that they're capable of a lot, and sometimes they even get to take home their good work.

Some were happy with their first week, others were less than enthusiastic about their first assignments, but they wouldn't be there for long. Freshmen start off in Exploratory, a trial run when each student will experience eight shops, one per week, over the coming months. Their attitude and effort in each shop will determine if they get accepted into their top pick. Students work hard each week testing out and learning what each vocation is all about and by January, they'll all be assigned and sorted into their permanent fields of study for the next three years.

Shops aren't the only thing that makes a vocational school one of a kind. SkillsUSA plays a big part in making vocational education special.

SkillsUSA, or Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) as it was once known, is a nationwide student organization that partners with industry leaders to help vocational students become skilled professional leaders in the world of work. From state competitions and leadership conferences to in-school events, SkillsUSA has a big impact on the vocational experience. The Old Colony Chapter of SkillsUSA is working especially hard this year to kick it up a notch.

OC's SkillsUSA has only just elected its officers and begun its first meetings for the year, and already there are big things ahead. Plans for a garden are underway, as are plans for pep rally fundraisers and the yearly trip to the Fall State Leadership Conference.

The conference will be three days of fun events that teach high school students employability skills, as well as leadership skills, for their future careers.

It's a huge event with hundreds of kids from around Massachusetts coming together for days of games, competitions, and fun. Old Colony's chapter of SkillsUSA urges new students who haven't experienced Skills to contact and join them for future events.

For more information about Old Colony's technical programs, visit www.oldcolony.us and for more information on SkillsUSA, please visit www.skillsusa.org.

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