The Wanderer - Mobile Edition
ORR Wraps Up A Successful Spirit Week
By Patrick Briand
By the time the last students piled out of Saturday's annual Homecoming dance, a busy week had come to a close at Old Rochester Regional High School.
This week marked "Spirit Week" at the high school, and it was slightly shortened due to Monday's Columbus Day holiday.
On Tuesday, October 14, it was just as common to see students in footie pajamas as blue jeans, as the perennially popular "Pajama Day" took place.
Wednesday marked Hawaiian Day, meaning plenty of students - and teachers - could be spotted in colorful flowered shirts and leis.
Twin Day was Thursday, which seemed to be one of the most popular days of the week. Students are encouraged to dress like each other, and the pairings always lead to some hilarious moments in the hallways and the lunchroom. On all three of these days, students were offered the chance to be photographed in their Spirit Day attire during lunchtime.
The spirit days came to a close on Friday, which was "Show Your School Spirit" day. Students either wore traditional ORR colors - red, white, and black - or their costumes for their class skit, if they were participating.
This was a great day for students to get involved, since almost everyone owns a piece of clothing donning the school's colors.
Senior Kyle Sherman praised Spirit Week, saying, "It does what it's supposed to, and raises a lot of spirit for the school. My favorite day is Friday, the official School Spirit day, because so many people participate, and everyone's pumped up about the skits."
Sherman also suggested a potential spirit day idea for next year in which all fall sports teams wear their uniforms to school.
"That would be a good idea," said Sherman. "My best memories for each year are always Spirit Week. It really is a great week for the school."
On Friday afternoon, the Fall Pep Rally took place in the gym. Definitely a large boost to school spirit, students sat grouped by grade and watched as the skits were performed.
The freshman paid homage to the Will Ferrell movie Elf, the sophomores drew inspiration from The Chronicles of Narnia; the juniors performed an Alice in Wonderland themed skit; and the seniors referenced a few different Disney movies, mainly focusing on Monsters, Inc. Although all the skits were entertaining, a winner had to be chosen.
Later that night, as students returned to school grounds to cheer on the football team in the anticipated Homecoming game against the Wareham Vikings, Fun 107 DJ Michael Rock announced the winner. For this year's skits, the seniors came out on top, while the freshmen took the runner-up prize.
Maybe next year, the honors will go to the sophomores and juniors.
Concerning the game, Kyra Greco, a junior and member of the ORR Dance Team, said the football game is her favorite part of Homecoming week.
"The fans are crazy, and a lot of alumni come back," she said. "It's even better when we win."
The dance capped off a big week of festivities on Saturday night. The event ran from 7:00 to 10:00 pm, and the theme was "A Night in Paris." The DJ for the dance was Michael Bowman. Judging by the large turnout and the positive reception, the event was definitely a success.
In other news, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) for sophomores and juniors was held on Wednesday, October 15.
The test plays an important role in preparing students for their college careers, and often begins the process of colleges sending letters and emails to students who could be potentially interested.
The testing began first thing in the morning, and lasted until 10:50 am. This marked the first year in which the test was mandatory. In previous years, it was an optional exam for both sophomores and juniors. Due to this change, the test moved from a Saturday to a Wednesday this year to accommodate all the extra students taking the exam.
Sophomores Chris Horton and Jonathan Harris shared their opinions on the testing. Both agreed that mandatory testing is a good idea, as it helps students prepare for the SATs.
"Since it's sent out to colleges, it definitely helps kids out in the long run," said Horton.
Harris said he thought the PSATs falling on the same week as Homecoming added some complication to the week.
"It was a little bit stressful, especially with skit practice," Harris said. Stress aside, both Harris and Horton had a positive thing to say about the test. For Harris, it was the lack of a lengthy essay portion.
"I like how there's no writing element, and it's all multiple choice," said Harris.
Horton was relieved that the test was easier than an exam many students take in 8th grade, the SSATs. "It was difficult, but it was definitely easier than the SSAT test, which I liked."
Living With Ghosts
By Jean Perry
"You left the light on in the bedroom," I heard the muffled voice of a female say from somewhere in the house as I headed to exit the back door of my new house.
I had just dropped off the first dozen of many boxes to come, secured the windows, and grabbed my keys to head back to my old apartment to get ready for the big weekend move when I stopped mid-step and wondered, who said that - and did I leave the light on?
Not certain I had even heard what I thought I heard, I went upstairs to the bedroom and sure enough, I had left the lights on in both walk-in closets.
"Hmm," I said, clicking off the lights. "Weird."
Now, with all the lights off and the windows all shut and locked, I again dashed toward the back door to leave and was stopped by another voice calling from upstairs, "Mommy!"
Huh? I rushed to the front door and looked out to see if my son was still in the car waiting for me. He was. With his seatbelt buckled. And the windows rolled up.
I felt my brow furrow and a sensation of discomfort began to rise in my solar plexus as my face turned toward the hallway at the top of the stairs leading to the empty bedrooms, void of furniture and with nobody in them.
Spooky, I thought. After the moment passed, I left the house and gave little thought to the voices I heard until the next mysterious manifestation in the new house made me start to question my sanity.
Days later, all moved into the new place, my son and I dozed off on the sofa during the afternoon when I was awakened by the sound of running water coming from the kitchen. It was tough to get up from that little power nap to investigate a sound that likely was an impossible sound, since no one had used the water for at least an hour. I could no longer ignore it, though, so I forced myself up and hurried to the kitchen where I found the faucet running on full blast.
"What the, what?" I called out, standing by the sink, dumbfounded and confused.
"You left the light on in the bedroom," I could hear echoing in my memory. A child crying out "Mommy!" replayed over and over in my head.
No, please, don't let my new house be haunted. Hearing voices and faucets randomly turning on - these were real, tangible incidents beyond my own overactive imagination or the feeling that someone is watching me while washing laundry or writing at my desk.
So you think your house is haunted - who ya gonna call? No. Not Ghostbusters. You call your friend who does not believe in ghosts to talk some sense into you.
That same night, I returned home at 9:00 to my babysitter greeting me at the door, standing with a blank expression saying sternly, "This house is haunted."
She said earlier, while in the upstairs bathroom with the door locked, she heard small child-sized footsteps run up the stairs, down the hallway and someone slam into the door, shaking it and turning the doorknob as if trying to open it. And it wasn't my son, lying exactly where she left him downstairs playing Candy Crush.
Well, that was the scariest thing I'd ever heard in my life, and I confided in her that I, too, had experienced strange, spooky goings-on since moving into the house.
After she left, I sat frozen on the sofa with the lights on in every room. My house is haunted. Now who ya gonna call? My friend Rene, who is a paranormal investigator, that's who.
That Monday, Rene arrived at 8:00 pm with two women and their high-tech equipment, ready to poke around and discover what (or who) was behind the recent shenanigans at the new Perry household. The house was built in the 1920s, so it is no new dwelling. It has history.
They set up video and audio recording devices in each room, and in the basement they turned on a green disco light of sorts that sent specks of green laser lights all over the room, which supposedly will tell you if something (or some ghostly one) moves across the room. My skin crawled at the thought.
I have heard voices, and I have seen faucets, lamps, and televisions turn on seemingly by themselves during the days leading up to this, but I did not want to see anything. Oh please, please don't let me see anything pass through the disco light.
Level by level, the investigators moved through the house, asking any ghostly inhabitants to come say hello in one way or another. I munched on pizza acting cool, feeling ambivalent about my decision to have the paranormal investigation, wondering if I should have just left it alone. I don't want them to say hi. I no longer wanted to know who was behind it all. Until there was proof, it would still just be my imagination or my absentmindedness.
EMF detectors, recorders, headphones, video cameras pointed up a darkened staircase- the creepiness was palpable. Looking at the video screen on the camera, seeing the image of my staircase that no longer looked like my staircase but the staircase of a haunted house being paranormally investigated was the clinching moment when I realized that I was officially scared and I could no longer wait for the night to be over.
According to one of the women, she sensed that there is a little girl upstairs, closely tied to the hallway and staircase area of the house. Oh lordy, please don't say any more.
The basement laundry room (oh no, don't say it) is, according to the investigator, inhabited by an old controlling Portuguese woman who keeps saying, "This doesn't belong here. This doesn't belong here!"
No, please, say no more!
After three hours of recording and asking the spirits to say something, make a sound, or show themselves, the three women packed up their gear and left to review the recorded audio and video footage over the next few days, while I was left alone with the ghost of a little girl and a controlling old woman in my laundry room - and my imagination.
As the days and nights passed, I started to accept with lessening fear the random footsteps, doors slamming, and invisible eyes watching me as something I would eventually get used to.
No one came out to say hello the night of the investigation, and I have received no reports of any recorded evidence of my invisible roommates. Perhaps they heard my pleas to remain silent and unseen, taking pity on me after making their presence known in their spooky, but relatively benign fashion.
My son has developed a brand new fear of the dark since moving in, not ascending the stairs at night unless I go with him, hand in hand. I still get a spooky feeling whenever I go up or down them too, and sometimes I catch myself humming whatever song happens to be stuck in my head to keep me from hearing anything else as I descend them.
Although I cannot offer any viable proof that my house is haunted, at least I am not alone in my belief that it is. The babysitter has not quit and I thankfully still haven't "seen anything." I'm pretty sure that, for now, I can live with that.
Halloween Story Contest!
It's time for the second installment in our Annual Halloween Story Contest. We have more great entries in store for you this week!
We'll also be holding a Halloween photo contest on Facebook; you can email your favorite Halloween photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for entry is November 2, so plan ahead for a chance to win. If you haven't already, you can check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/wanderer.
Online voting is now taking place fro our Cover Contest and will continue until to October 27. The winner will be on the cover of the October 30 edition of The Wanderer. For details on entering, visit www.wanderer.com and click on Halloween Contests.
Here's this week's selection from our Halloween Story Contest!
Halloween Story Contest #7
It was dark, eerie, and very foggy night 100 years ago on Halloween. John Barstow lived in a sleepy town called Mattapoisett. He was at the Ned's Point light house walking home from his friend's house. As he looked over the water, he made out a trail of footprints in the cement leading to the end of the road where the harsh waves encountered the solid land. John, being curious, followed them. When he got to the edge, he was surprised to find the footprints suddenly stop. There was no trail back, but still nobody was there. That was why John was startled when he heard the sound of footsteps behind him. He turned suddenly and examined the almost empty beach. All he saw was an abandoned dingy. Creeped out enough for one night, John decided to go home. That was when he was pushed into the water. As he gasped for breath trying to get out of the water, he got a glimpse of a fisherman rowing away and disappearing into the waves.
Five years later, he was seen again in a dingy one stormy night by the captain of a tugboat. The tugboatman tried to rescue the fisherman who kept disappearing off of Strawberry Point. The waves were wild. The tugboat stalled, and a massive wave capsized the vessel onto Winnatuxett Beach in front of a deserted shanty house. No one ever found the fisherman. The captain's name was Elijah Barstow.
Ten years later, the shanty on the beach lay untouched. A teenager named Michael decided to see what secrets the house held. He had lived in the town all his life and was curious why the house was empty. He stood at the bottom of the porch as he took his first step up the stairs. A loose floorboard creaked like it was sending a warning message to the rest of the house. He had to force himself to walk to the door. It was painted black and was scratched up. He was paying close attention to it, because he did not know what to do next. He opened the door and walked down the hallway. When he turned a corner, he was knocked off his feet. When he woke up, he looked up and saw a picture of a fisherman. Then he realized something. It wasn't a picture, but a mirror. He turned around, but no one was there. He turned back to the mirror, and saw the fisherman reappeared. He started to run for the door, but he didn't make it. He didn't know what happened to him when he woke up on the beach the next morning. Michael's last name was Barstow.
The fisherman chose his next target who was a boy about 7 years old, his name was Evan. He was scared by this figure. Though everyone knew about this mysterious fisherman, nobody knew him. Evan Barstow had heard the legend about the fisherman but never knew why he had targeted his family until one fateful day. Evan was on a field trip to the history museum and saw the document. It was the journal of Welch O'Bran who was on a boat designed by a Barstow ancestor. The vessel sank due to a mistake in the design. Welch survived, but his wife drowned. He lived for several years later, but he lived in anger. On his deathbed he promised that he would avenge his wife by haunting the Barstow family. And he did. Every generation of the Barstow family felt Welch's touch after his death.
From the time that Evan learned about Welch, Evan saw the fisherman every night before he went to sleep. He saw him sitting on the bench at Ned's Point from his bedroom window. When Evan married and had children, the fisherman had taken advantage by trying to spook his children. Evan learned this and decided to move but the memory of the fisherman haunted him no matter where he went. And til this day the fisherman has still been waiting on the bench for the Barstows to return.
Halloween Story Contest #8
The Last Halloween
Neighbors claimed the house was haunted, but Avery and Ken thought it looked it okay. Ken stood on the porch of the decrepit, abandoned house afraid to ring the doorbell on this Halloween night. "Avery ... something isn't quite right about this house. I don't need my candy that much ... We should just go to the next house," Ken stumbled over his words as a cold shiver ran up his back.
"There's no such thing as ghosts. Just go get your candy, so that I can be home by eight." Avery sighed in annoyance. She was frustrated by the fact that on Halloween night she had to take Ken, her baby brother, Trick-or-Treating.
The aged, moldy, musty door creaked open as Ken knocked upon it. Eager to find out what was behind the weathered door, he decided to go in. "Ken wait! Don't go in there!" Avery hollered with shivering fright. Unfortunately, her pleas came moments after Ken already went in. Worried, and scared as can be, Avery followed. The house was crawling with all kinds of insects and even some wild animals. The wooden boards on the floor were curling up. The sound of howls came from all over. Avery was praying it was just the wind. She felt that something or someone was behind her, but every time she looked back - there was nothing.
Avery paused for a moment, "Ken, is that you?" She searched the place, and yet there was no sign of Ken. Sweat dripped down her face.
"Ken, Ken, Ken! Where on Earth are you?" Avery exclaimed, shaking with terror. There was no reply. As Avery crept up the stairs, she saw a shadow. Racing into the dusty master bedroom, she found the unexpected. Something scarier than she thought possible. Ken was sleeping there, next to someone. That someone was now a something - an aged, slightly decomposed skeleton. Ken jumped up.
"This house is haunted!" Ken whispered as the color drained from his face.
"You're just noticing that?" Avery questioned the lack of her brother's awareness. "Let's get out of here before anything else happens." They both rushed and stumbled down the stairs. Once they were on the first floor, they bolted for the doors. The doors surprisingly didn't open. When they pushed on the doors Avery and Ken heard a strange voice.
It creepily, cackled. "Hehe, hehe, hehe, you little children aren't leaving here for a long time, long, long, time," the voice bellowed.
"Aghhh!" Ken and Avery both screamed as if their life depended on it. All of a sudden they saw a weird shadow. They went over to the shadow to examine further. Ken and Avery walked directly over to the odd shadow only to find Avery's best friend in her cheerleading costume with the megaphone prop in her hand.
"How on Earth did you get in here if every door is shut?" Avery questioned.
"Um..." Avery's friend, Katie, was hesitant. "At first I noticed you go in here, and I just wanted to talk to you. So, I followed you around until you had a free moment to talk. Then I realized you thought this house was haunted. I figured I would have some fun with it. I pretended to be a ghost, and I'm really sorry but it was incredibly humorous."
"Oh, Thank goodness it was you. It's okay. We forgive you. Right Ken?"Avery prompted.
"Yeah, I didn't get my treat, but I did get a trick," Ken responded. "How did you get that skeleton in the bed, anyway?"
Katie looked confused. "What skeleton?" The latch on the door made an audible, horrific sound as it latched into place.
Halloween Story Contest #9
Get Out of Me
I distinctly remember the moment when my body kicked me out. I hadn't done wrong, really. I never hit myself or punished my body for no good reason - I never had the desire to do an Ironman or anything. It was the constant complaining about the little things that finally put my body over the edge. I had just taken a hot shower to ward off the aching joints that were lingering from a basketball game the night before. I looked in the mirror as I put in my contacts, grumbling to myself and saying sarcastically, "What a lovely pair of eyes I have, with the vision of a half-blind dog!"
Not that my vision was that bad. I had just missed a good percentage of my shots last night. In fact, my vision was just barely on the wrong side of needs corrective lenses to drive. But my body had had enough. 'That's IT!' I heard very clearly in my mind, 'Get out of me!'
I was startled, but not nearly as much as when I tried to look in the mirror, only to find that I didn't actually have eyes. I could see, but it was the murky vision of those shadowy waking dreams when you're sick, when everything is thick and heavy and friends masquerade as demons in the dark. It was a sensing that I can only describe as seeing, for as I said, I didn't have the optical sensors that my body had.
After adjusting to my surroundings, realizing that I was still standing, or at least existing, in front of the mirror, I tried to figure out what was going on. I looked out the bathroom window to see my body walking outside wearing only its towel! My first concern was that maybe the neighbors might see beneath the thin terrycloth ... if my body gets in trouble then does the rest of me too? But then I realized a greater peril - my body was outside while I was not. I took a step toward the window, ready to call out, but there were two issues with this: one, I had not legs - that confounded body had them, and two, same with the vocal cords. Nonetheless, as I thought Hey, where are you going, my body turned to look at me, gave what I can only imagine was an unworldly cackle, and leapt the hedge with an agility I never would have attempted had I been in charge of my frame.
Now my problem was worsening. My body had acted on its own accord, leaving me physical-less and with no method of mobility. I looked and tried to feel my legs to walk, but they just weren't there. I couldn't see myself, not with this torrid vision. Though I tried to convince my lower appendages to be there and to get moving or my body would get away, they refused to exist. I must have stood there, legless, body-less, and helpless for an indefinite amount of time; I realized that light or dark didn't matter; I was a shadow in the shade. I was like a mole or an earthworm in the light of day; what difference did it make? My vision was a matter of thought, not sight. And that's when it hit me - of course I couldn't walk!
All I had to do was think. So, I practiced thinking. Go to the Kitchen, I told myself, and somehow the world passed by me and I was in the kitchen. It was an odd sensation, not like walking or floating, but that dizzy vertigo feeling when you're about to pass out from a high fever combined with that prickly sensation that occurs when your foot falls asleep. It would have made my body nauseous. I practiced going into different rooms in the house - I was still a bit timid of going outside - and each time I thought the woozy sensation would pass. But it never did. I decided to accept that, and since there was no danger of losing my lunch, I could live with it.
My next task was discovering what my body-less being was capable of. I had heard of poltergeists being able to throw dishes and whatnot, and I figured I was pretty close to one myself, though as far as I knew my body was still alive and kickin'. So I thought break that plate because I didn't really want to wash it if I ever got back together with my body. But no matter how hard I thought, the plate continued to sit, nacho chunks and all, without even vibrating. Very frustrating. I decided to focus my energy on something more useful - walking through solids.
If I were ever to get out of here, I would have to first walk through a door or a wall or sink through the floor. My body had kindly shut the door behind him, so I couldn't just wander after it. I looked at the paisleys on the Victorian wallpaper in the living room. Go through the paisleys I told myself. I felt the world melting past again, and then I was standing face to face with the wall.
What the hell? I had the right thought ... so why couldn't I? I tried several more times on different walls, windows, and doors. Nothing. I felt dejected, sinking even lower than the state I was in. And before I knew it, I was seeing close-up particles of wood as though they were in me. It took me a second to realize that my sinking thought had allowed me to sink most of the way into the basement, with only the top part of my head region above, and my face region stuck in the floor. I felt claustrophobic, dead, and strangely euphoric all at once.
I thought UP and I was back up on the floor again. I thought OUTSIDE and I was on my front lawn. Now that I could move, it was time to find my body.
My first thought was that my body would be doing something outlandishly silly that I would never have allowed it to do - like skydiving or visiting a brothel. I pondered this as I simultaneously thought of downtown, wondering where I would find either of those things. But then I wondered if my body knew what to do when it got hungry - especially since its only possession was a towel.
Scratch that. I found the towel across the road in my neighbor's yard, currently finding other use as Bruno's chew toy. Not an encouraging sign. Now I knew that all my parts were feeling the breeze completely unfettered and free. I'm sure my body would love that, although I was certain that the authorities would have a difficult time accepting the explanation that it offered. Actually, I didn't even know if it could think. I was able to think but not feel. Did that mean that my body could feel but not think?
That would be the first question I asked it when I found it. Make that the second question. First, I would give it a proper What the hell? I left the dog growling at his non-existent intruder-me - and thought about where I was to go. The world floated through me gloomily for a while, houses blended into trees blended into cars blended into people. I had nothing to go by, no leads to follow.
After checking places like the local jail (I couldn't rule that out, given the state of my body's attire), the brewery, and even the club scene, I thought myself back up to my house. I didn't know what to do. My senses, not working, had let me on a myriad of sensation-less adventures through a city I didn't want to know existed. No wonder I had never taken my body to town. Even the fun places seemed melancholy in this dark light. Baseball stadium? Cold and dark, hotdog wrappers dragging fading trails of mustard across the stadium stairs. Not a soul in sight. Surely I thought my body would want to catch a ballgame. Or anything really. But I was wrong on all accounts, and couldn't find my body no matter where I looked. I had to call it a day and head home, for what else could I accomplish if I had no plan?
As my house floated back into focus through the vertigo night, I stopped. The door was open. Lights on (I think). Window Broken. TV in the yard. Great. Not only was I missing my body, but now my place was broken into. I thought IN and I was inside. But no intruder.
I searched the areas of the house where my valuables were stored - office, bedroom, and even the kitchen. But all my stuff was there. Just in a mess, sometimes broken. Maybe some clothes were taken, I couldn't tell for sure since I was never one to use the dresser. I hypothesized that the intruder had been looking for some IDs to steal, but they were where I had left them - in a bin with my other carelessly tossed valuables. I was confounded. I wished I had a chin to stroke in contemplation. This day was just too much.
I wearily thought of the bathroom, thinking maybe if I spent some time focusing on 'seeing' my form I could gain something. But as I materialized on the linoleum floor, I stopped. There, in the tub, enjoying what I perceived to be a peaceful bubble bath, was my body. It was relaxing, eyes closed, clearly having had a full day. If I could have held my breath I would have.
Quietly I imagined myself slipping into my body and felt that sickening sensation of movement again. Then, I was there. Inhabiting my body. My body's eyes snapped open. I saw the back of his eyelids then I saw the tiled wall in front of him. My body let out an inhuman wail, and forcibly pushed me out. I was on the wall; a discarded snot that was flicked there inconspicuously by someone trying to avoid a boogery handshake.
You can't live without me! I yelled-thought.
"I did just fine today, thank you!" my body shot back.
I had to admit, he did look pretty good there, in the best shape of his life, clearly in no need of whatever I was. But, don't you miss me? I pleaded.
He flexed some pectoral muscles I had forgotten about when I owned them and said, "No."
I fought back. I imagined being in every fiber of my body's being, in the synapses that were connecting the thoughtless thoughts in its brain. I tried with everything I had to be me. And then I was in. But the fight raged on. I was clearly in my body. But sometimes my arms were not mine. Or the legs. And I cannot claim responsibility for the screams. My senses would come back, fading in and out of my consciousness, as I fought to retain them. At various times I could feel, I noticed the awful smell of a skunk, and saw that it was indeed night, but my body had lighted some relaxation candles that I didn't even know I had. But I was still not in control. We waged a battle that must have looked like something out of a poorly written horror film - a man throwing himself into spasms on the floor, covered in bubbles and water, having a one-sided conversation with his mind.
At long last, as the night turned to dawn, my body was forced to recognize the limitations of its existence. Fatigue stepped in, and slowly my body released the hold it had on itself. I flexed a finger - on my own, with my body, and drifted off to sleep, content to feel the fatigue from a day well spent.
Halloween Story Contest #10
What Lurks from Below?
In the old town of Mattapoisett fishermen normally roam the docks, but on this night only the boats were there. The silence was almost disturbing considering the liveliness that usually was filling the air. The once filling silence was now filled with a clanking sound. A man in overalls and a red plaid shirt came strolling down. The man was now starting to whistle an upbeat tune. After a minute of the high pitched melody, it came to a stop. The silence was now back and as eerie as ever. The man was now breathing heavily. A creaking was heard in the distance along with a splash. This splash was utterly loud but the sound died down with echo of bubbles and the sense of Death. The wife woke up and patted the side of her bed. Tears were in the place of the empty spot. The man was dead.
Newspapers swarmed around the story with headlines like "Local Fisherman slips and drowns" and "Unfortunate slip by local fisherman." The wife knew this wasn't just a slip; this was intentioned by someone or something. She wanted to investigate. That night was similar as the last night, silent, lonely and utterly creepy. As she walked along the clanking docks, she was searching, searching for the thing that killed her husband. With a torch in her hand she stopped at the spot where the man disappeared. The same eerie silence as before was haunting the area. She stared down into the shadowy depths of the water. There was a glow in the water this time not from the lamp. It was red and there were two of them. Now there was fear flowing through her veins. This rarely happened; she was never scared. A word was repeating in her head it flowed from her brain to her legs, RUN. She started off down the dock in hopes of a way out. Then she saw it, the two menacing eyes of a beast. A black cloak was covering its body covering up what awful body remains under. It started to lurk its way to the now sprinting women. In hopes of escaping she jumped or in other words a leap of faith to the shore. She was hit with a force of a bomb. The next thing she saw was the blue that surrounded her. Now she saw air bubbles that carried her once long life to an end. The news considered it as a slip or a "whoops I just fell to my death slip." People just know that it wasn't a person or a thing. The truth is that there is a monster sulking beneath those docks and no one knows that this demon of terror is waiting for its next victim.
Halloween Story Contest #11
The Worst Birthday Ever!
Let me warn you, the story along these pages will scar you for life! I'm just saying, but it's your decision if you want to read this. Just to tell you, the story along these pages is fake. Or is it?
On my 9th birthday my Dad said with much excitement, "there's one more present for you in the garage." He jogged out to the garage to get it for me. When he went into the garage we heard a loud scream and a giant clatter. My sister Grace, my Mom and I ran into the garage and there was my dad lying on the floor with deep bloody wounds on his arms. I ran into the house to grab the phone and call 911. As I was running to get the phone I thought to myself, what if dad dies from blood loss or something worse, my heart was pounding and there were butterflies in my stomach. Just as I was reaching for the phone, someone grabbed my hand. I turned around and behind me stood a policeman.
He was tall and mysterious and was wearing a police uniform with helmet. He had red fiery hair. He was scrawny and looked about 20. He was wearing a belt around his waist with mostly weapons and had a stern look on his face. Just as I was deciding whether or not to trust him, he nervously said, "Quick, come with me, there isn't much time."
Now if you know me, you might think that this would be the part where I would start screaming and yelling for help, but I'm going to be honest, this guy fooled me. He was so convincing I got into his van with him.
When we showed up at what was probably his house, I knew something was up, plus my family was nowhere in sight so that was when I got scared.
When he took me out of his van, he pulled me into his house and down the stairs into his basement where my friend Chloe was waiting for me, hand cuffed to a metal chair. The tall man, who at this point I started thinking of as "tall man," hand cuffed me to a chair too, but a different one than Chloe's so we couldn't discuss any "escape" plans. He said in a scarily strong booming voice, "Tell me what you know about your houses." Chloe and I glanced at each other as if she too was thinking that we could trust him and then we nodded at each other in approval." I know my house is very old and used to be a train station," I replied. Chloe said nervously, "all I know is that people used to hide slaves in my house and that it's very old."
The tall man looked at us and said, "Have you two girls ever noticed anything, I don't know, supernatural in your houses?" Chloe and I looked at each other with stern looks on our faces. "Let's make a little deal, if you tell us what's going on, we'll tell you what we know," I bargained mischievously. "OK, you got a deal", the tall man murmured madly, so the tall man told us his story. "You know the book series The 39 Clues? Well, they're real. So I'm the kid Dan. I'm on the thirty-ninth clue, and if I find it my sister and I won't do anything bad, we'll just um, well we'll just give up our power and restore the world to normal." I replied to him by saying "But why do you need us, exactly?" "Well, any adult would think that I'm crazy and I knew that the youngest in the family would understand and would be willing to help me," Dan assured. "Well, I don't know anything but Chloe might," I hinted. Chloe explained, "All I know is that there's a door in my basement that's hidden with no doorknob, so that might lead to something." Dan said, "Ooooh, that sounds ... interesting. Can we go there now"? Chloe replied to him by saying "OK, but it's kind of your choice because you've got us hand cuffed to these chairs." "Oh yeah," said Dan, "so if I unlock you, can you show me where that door is?" "OK," said Chloe and I at the same time. So Dan set us free and brought out to the big black cramped van that makes you feel like a prisoner (which we technically were), pushed us in and drove us to Chloe's house. When we arrived at her house, Dan pulled us out of the van and since her basement door is in the front of her house we went in that way. Since it was the day before Halloween (which I found really quite creepy) her basement was covered in fake cobwebs, plastic spiders, and mini skeletons, so getting around was really hard. Chloe showed Dan and me into a little crawl space underneath the unfinished stairs leading down to the basement. Chloe and Dan felt around the dusty gray walls for about 20 minutes until Chloe gave a hoot and said she had found the hidden door. Dan had brought a crowbar so he finally pried open the door after about 10 minutes of trying and on the other side of the door was a secret vault filled with gold and diamonds the size of my head. There were heaps of money in there and that was when Chloe and I realized it, Dan's real name probably wasn't Dan and the "39 clues" didn't really exist, it was just an amazing book series. Dan, or whatever his name was, had tricked us into helping him find some poor family's fortune. Whatever his name was snickered and said to us "didn't see it coming, did you girls, that's why I chose you two because I knew you would be the easiest to trick." I had this awful feeling inside me that people like to call guilt, lots and lots of guilt. So whatever his name was packed the fortune up into one big sack and slung it over his back like Santa Claus and ran out the door. Chloe and I ran after him but when we got out the door, our parents and the cops were waiting for us. I ran into my Mom's arms (because I didn't want to hurt my Dad's) and it felt good to feel her warm embrace again. Then a police officer came up to us and explained "we've been looking for that guy for months!" Chloe's older sister Mia went downstairs to see what all the noise was just when he was packing the fortune up in the sack. So she ran back upstairs and called the police just in time for us to surround the basement door and catch him. His name was Rusty Court. I was speechless! A criminal mastermind had kidnapped me! It was scary and cool in some sort of twisted way!
The day after that was Halloween, so I told everybody about my amazing adventure with Chloe on my birthday.
If you are scared or scarred for life, I would recommend reading a fairytale with your parents holding a teddy bear. But if you ask me if this story was a real event in my life, remember this story is fake, or is it?
The End or is it just the beginning...
Halloween Story Contest #12
The old man and woman sat before the fire, warming themselves against the autumn chill. "Halloween is coming," the man said. "Why have you not yet gotten us a pumpkin to help ward off evil spirits?"
The old woman grew angry. "We are too old for such nonsense!" she snapped. "We shouldn't be bothered with these superstitions."
The man shifted uneasily in his chair and stared into the fire. Superstitions or not, he had always held fast to the old customs: he held his breath when walking past graveyards to prevent spirits from entering his body; he carried a lump of bread in his pocket when out walking after dark in case he met up with a hungry ghost; and at Halloween, he and the old woman always left sweets and fruit on the doorstep and a lit jack-o-lantern in the window as offerings to the spirit world. He did not wish to anger his poor, tired wife, but neither did he wish to anger any ghosts or demons, especially on Halloween. "We have always left offerings on Halloween..." he began gently.
"No," said the old woman. "No offerings! And if this angers the spirits, so be it! I am going to bed." And with that, she rose and walked away, with a toss of her long, silver hair as she went.
Suddenly, there came a great explosion of sound on the roof above them, as though the heavens themselves were crashing down upon the small woodland cottage. "Aaahh!" cried the old man, covering his head in fear. "What is it?!"
The old woman, more perplexed than afraid, went to the door and opened it. The sound overhead suddenly stopped. There on the ground before the cottage was a blanket of small green objects, some of them still rolling off the roof. "Acorns!" she said, relaxing. "It was just a shower of acorns raining down on our roof from the trees overhead."
After she headed to bed, the old man went to the door to look at the acorns. "But there was no wind," he said to himself. "What made the acorns all fall at once if there was no wind?"
The old woman slept peacefully that night while the man wrestled with nightmares of falling skies and collapsing roofs.
Try as he did, the old man could not convince his wife that they should leave offerings to the spirits on Halloween. "Halloween is but a day away," he pleaded. "I am fearful for us both if we do not observe these traditions."
But the old woman was stubborn. "Fear for yourself," she said coldly. "I will be fine."
A faint rapping then came at the door. Living so far from the village, visitors were rare for the couple so the old man looked cautiously out the window before answering the door. He was surprised at what he saw on the doorstep. "It is a small boy," he said. "What is a small boy like this doing out in the woods by himself?"
"Open the door and find out," said the old woman impatiently.
Obliging his wife, the old man opened the door. "May I help you?" he asked the child, who looked to be no more than three or four years old.
The boy was wearing clothing like none the man had ever seen. It looked to be fashioned from the woods themselves, with trousers made from grasses and leaves, suspenders braided from young vines and a sweater woven of moss. "Halloween is tomorrow," said the boy, smiling, "and I was wondering if you might need me to fetch you a pumpkin for your window and some sweets for your offerings."
The old man thought himself very lucky indeed. "Why yes!" he began, "We would be most grateful if you could ..."
His wife appeared suddenly at the door. "We do not need your help, child," she interrupted. "And you are too young to be out here by yourself. Be off with you!"
The boy's smile disappeared. "Fine then," he said, turning and skipping away down the path. "But don't say that I didn't warn you!"
The old man's heart sank. He knew that he was too old to make the journey into the village by himself, especially carrying a heavy basket back with him. He slept not a wink that night, imagining that he heard whispers drifting down the chimney and scratching at the windows.
Halloween arrived and the old man felt afraid. When he placed a bare candle in the window for lack of a pumpkin, his wife blew out the flame and called him foolish. When he snuck a plateful of raisins onto the front step, she found this too and brought it inside, declaring him wasteful. As darkness fell, he took to his bed and pulled the covers up over his head, too frightened to face the night in any other way.
Sometime later, well into the night, the old man awakened. It was bitter cold in the cottage and completely dark. "The old woman must have let the fire go out," he thought to himself, disappointed. Reluctantly, he stepped out of bed, shivering in the cold. "Wife!" he called out. "Why have you not tended to the fireplace?" but there was no answer.
Stepping from the bedroom, he was amazed to see that the front door was open, moonlight shining in from outside. "No wonder it is so cold in this cottage!" he declared angrily. Slamming the door shut, he then fumbled in the darkness for a candle and match. In the little light which shone from the window, he could just make out the figure of his wife sitting by the cold fireplace. "Wife!" he called to her. "Come and help me find a candle so that I might see to light a fire." There was no answer so the old man moved toward her chair. As he grew nearer, he noticed something odd about her appearance and he stopped. "Wife?" he said again, but his voice was now barely more than a whisper. Spotting a candle next to his wife's chair, he lit it with trembling hands. The vision he saw before him was enough to stop his heart that instant. Before the candle fell to the floor, it illuminated the face of the old woman frozen in death. Her long, silver hair was now gone, her head completely bald.
Outside, the figure perched high up in the tree let out a giggle. Unfurling its taloned claws from the tree branch, it jumped into the air, gliding down to earth on leathery wings. It was he who had sent the acorns crashing down upon the old couple's roof, he who whispered down the chimney and scratched at the windows, and he who had disguised himself as the young boy, trying in vain to persuade the old couple to observe the Halloween traditions. "Foolish people," it laughed humorlessly. "I warned them."
And with that, the demon began skipping happily on its new amusement - a jump rope made of long, silver hair.
Goodspeed Pier Denied
Mattapoisett Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell
After a nearly two hour-long hearing, the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission denied Daniel DaRosa's application to construct a pier at 3 Goodspeed Island, following DaRosa's insistence that the commission take a vote that evening.
Early in this continued hearing, the board heard from Engineer David Davignon of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates, Inc. who spoke to the questions the commission had asked during the previous hearing. Those questions centered around whether or not the proposed pier would be erected over soils capable of supporting eelgrass beds, the type of storms the structure was designed to withstand, shellfish bed impact, and winter storage of gangway and floats associated with the pier. Another concern was Town access to the beach for maintenance purposes where the pier's accessories would be placed during the winter months.
Citing reports from several engineers hired by DaRosa, Davignon said that eelgrass beds were not presently in the area selected for the pier, nor had they been there for some years. He said shellfish could be relocated, and noted a letter from Shellfish Warden Kathy Massey who affirmed the feasibility of relocating shellfish stocks from the construction area.
One important unanswered question pertained to the structural integrity of the pier in various types of storms. The plan as proposed did not give conclusive information, and Davignon wondered what type of storm surge the commission had in mind.
Commission members scrutinized the answers, with several members feeling that two of the engineers hired by DaRosa contradicted each other on the subject of eelgrass. They also questioned Davignon's responses that indicated, even if a storm damaged the proposed pier, debris would not reach the endangered sewer pipeline running through the Eel Pond location.
Chairman Peter Newton said debris reaching Eel Pond would later be sucked back into the harbor, potentially hitting the sewer pipe that moves 300,000 gallons of raw sewage per day from Mattapoisett to Fairhaven. Davignon called this a "fantasy scenario."
Commission member Marylou Kelliher asked if the pier could be removed during the winter months. Given the size and construction method proposed, that was not feasible according to Davignon.
ConCom member Bob Rogers asked about the height of the pilings and type of lighting that would be used to illuminate the pier. He received his answer much later in the proceedings - four feet high and low voltage LED on a timer.
In defense of the pier, ConCom member Mike King said the area of the project was not used heavily for recreation, and the pier posed little negative impact on the community He added that shellfishing in the area was already compromised by all the other boats in the harbor, and that by approving and conditioning the construction, local control could be maintained.
"...The applicant has submitted a project that can be permitted," said King. "If it gets approval at the state level, we lose all control."
Newton invited the public for comment, cautioning them to stay within the scope of the Wetlands Protection Act. Newton noted for the record a 16-page letter sent to the commission signed by 142 residents opposing the project.
"This is a very big pier," said resident Michael Huguenin. He said the signatories of the opposition letter were concerned about shellfish, eelgrass, and the sewer pipeline.
Regarding the potential for damage during a storm surge, Huguenin pointed to the fact that the wave attenuator, a structure to deter waves, planned at the end of the pier weighed five tons. He implored the commission to request independent peer review, saying the applicant's engineering reports insufficiently addressed the project's impacts on the area.
Ray Andrews, a former selectman and presently an assessor, said the pier's location was critical to recreation in the harbor, and that it would be the only new pier allowed over an active shellfish bed.
"This is not a good place for a dock of this size in Mattapoisett," said Andrews, who also pointed out storm damage impacts. He then commented that the additional taxes the DaRosas would pay for the privilege of having a pier of this size was about $2,300 annually, calling it "not a fair trade-off."
Newton stated, "No one can agree on an appropriate fix for the sewer problem."
"They should have had full knowledge of the sewer problem," said Huguenin, referring to when the DaRosas purchased their property.
Gerald Johnson came forward to say the commission "deserved peer review" due to a lack of information. He said that the project was "excessive in scope" and asked the commission to keep the public in mind by conditioning the project.
"This harbor is the jewel of the town," said Johnson in closing.
Several other residents spoke in opposition or questioned various aspects of the project until all had their opportunity to speak.
Moving forward, Kelliher said that she was not ready to vote on the project, instead asking for an independent peer review and a continuation of the hearing. Newton said it was "a reasonable request."
"It's not a good spot for a pier and a disproportionate use by one resident," stated Rogers. "We are protecting the resource area for all the people ... I'd be a lot happier if it could be shorter." He continued, "I'd like to see the commission step up and if we are going to make a mistake, make it in favor of the resource area."
Newton said when he took the job of being on the commission he did so to implement the Wetlands Protection Act and has striven to keep personal opinions out of the process and to balance public and private needs. Newton asked DaRosa if he was willing to fund a 53G peer review, resulting in DaRosa asking for a recess to confer with his attorney, John Gushue.
When they returned, Gushue spoke on behalf of DaRosa rejecting the request to fund the peer review. He said the commission had all the information they needed to take a vote at this hearing, and then compared the pier project to the bike path project, saying it was "hypocrisy" on the part of the Town and its people. Newton asked him to confine his comments to the hearing issues.
"The applicant took it out of our hands to work with him on this project," stated Newton. With that said, the motion was to deny the application with three members voting positive to deny and two members voting negative to deny.
Storm damage issues and habitat depletion were cited for the record. DaRosa now has ten days to appeal this decision to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Newton asked the commission members to think about electing a new chairman as he will be unavailable to attend meetings during the month of November and did not want the work of the commission hindered.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is November 4 at 6:30 pm in the Town Hall conference room.
Technology, Safety Dominate Discussion
Marion Capital Improvement Planning Committee
By Michael Cimaomo
The Marion Capital Improvement Planning Committee (CIPC) met October 16 at the Marion Police Station to discuss changes to the ten-year plan for Sippican School as suggested by Old Rochester Regional School District Facilities Director Eugene Jones.
Jones opened his statements to the group by requesting an increase in the amount of funds allotted for the tiling of school floors. He requested the funding for the project be increased from $25,000 to $50,000 annually for fiscal years 2016-2018, bringing the total spent to $150,000.
"I hate to have to jump [the cost] up that much," Jones said. "But I don't want to half-step it either. If we're going to do this, we're going to do it right."
Jones cited past difficult experiences in having to re-do floors in other buildings, as well as uncertainty about the adherence of the tile being used and a lack of knowledge of what exists under the current flooring, as the reasons for the increase.
Jones also made the CIPC aware of the costs for several upcoming technology projects. New wireless clocks as well as phone and announcing systems for the school have already been installed, but outdated data switches for the school's technology and communication systems are scheduled to be replaced in 2017. Wireless hubs, too, were listed as needing to be updated, equating to a cost of $40,000 for the 2017 fiscal year and an additional $25,000 to be expended in 2018.
"One of the strategic goals in the school department is moving technology forward," Jones said.
Another goal discussed during the meeting was increased safety preparedness for area schools in case of an emergency.
As the only new business of the evening, Jones brought up the potential purchase of a Mutualink System, which would be capable of handling communication between local fire and police departments as well as other agencies and schools in the event of a crisis.
The cost of such a system would be $17,500 per school, and would incorporate the use of cell phones by selected personnel via apps, as well as interoperable networks that could link communication between select parties, even if they aren't at the location of the emergency.
To meet state law requirements, Jones said he could "conceivably buy two radios and give one each to police and fire, and have one at the high school," which would meet the standard set forth by commissions of law. "But," he added, "do we want to do that? Or do we want to protect as best as we can?"
Some maintenance cost for the system would be required, but Jones appeared confident he could cover the estimated annual cost of $2,500 to $3,000 out of his maintenance budget.
"Safety is paramount right now," he said. "The number one asset is our children."
When asked by CIPC Chairman Norman Hills if there was anything undocumented in the ten-year plan that might need funding, Jones said, barring any unforeseen events or problems, most costs were accounted for.
"Capital improvements should be a one-time deal for 15 years," said Jones. "It should not be something that has to be done every five or six years."
The next meeting of the CIPC will focus on issues related to the Fire Department and is scheduled for October 23 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Police Station.
ConCom Lets Illegal Hot Tub Stay
Rochester Conservation Commission
By Jean Perry
Even though the work was unpermitted, the property owners at 425 Neck Road will be allowed to keep their illegal hot tub and patio that encroaches the '25-foot no-touch zone' along Snipatuit Pond Road, after the Rochester Conservation Committed voted to approve the after-the-fact application for an Amended Order of Conditions on October 21.
Andrea and Donald King went beyond the scope of their original Order of Conditions issued back in 2011 before the start of the renovation in a number of ways, including underground utility installation, driveway improvement and extension along the pond side, and the addition of a storm drain for the driveway runoff, in addition to the hot tub, patio, and stone apron.
The Kings, who reside in the U.S. Virgin Islands, purchased the property in early 2011 and restored the old existing dilapidated stone house as a second home over the past three years. (Andrea King gave a presentation to the Rochester Historical Society on September 17, documenting the restoration process of the historic home. See the September 25 issue of The Wanderer)
At Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon's recommendation, the commission approved the amended Order of Conditions as presented by Engineer Rick Charon, allowing the hot tub and patio to remain; however, the driveway storm drain must be removed and rebuilt farther back from the resource area within 30 days.
Farinon stated during her report earlier in the meeting that the driveway work was completed even after her site visit to view the illegal hot tub.
"And that raised a red flag with me," said Farinon. Farinon pointed out that the commission would not have allowed the work to be done if the Kings had followed the proper procedures for filing, saying the Kings had enough of a usable area to accommodate a hot tub, patio, and driveway improvements away from the pond.
Later, during her recommendation, she said the fact that the Kings promptly produced a revised plan within a short time frame "showed good faith."
"A lot's been said tonight," said Farinon, commenting that residents may be "feeling frustration with the commission." She continued, "For whatever reason, people (residents) have gotten ahead of themselves [lately]," referring to a number of after-the-fact filings in Rochester.
Farinon emphasized consistency and acknowledged those residents who follow the proper procedure.
Commission member Michael Conway, the only dissenting voice in the vote, spoke out against allowing the hot tub and patio to remain, citing poor project management and bad oversight.
"Nobody's taking responsibility for messing up the job," said Conway. "Nobody's taking responsibility for not following the order of conditions."
Charon excused the Kings by saying that a three-year project is "a long time" and some of the details get lost over time.
Conway asked if anyone could demonstrate that there was no practical alternative to the chosen location two feet into the 25-foot no-touch zone.
Charon again defended the Kings by questioning the threat the hot tub poses to the wetlands.
"It's not a source of pollution," said Charon, and the only way to rectify it would be to tear up the hot tub and disturb the area further, he stated.
Conway said the owners were fully aware of the work that could and could not be done.
"But they went ahead and did that anyway at their risk, and at their risk they may have to tear it up," said Conway.
Chairman Rosemary Smith addressed Ms. King seated in the back of the room, saying that any work within the 100-foot buffer zone requires approval from ConCom. Smith said she did not think the owners "got it."
King said being an absentee owner was difficult and she was unaware of the need to file, telling the commission, "It just never entered my mind, because it's not what I do for a living ... Obviously we learned our lesson."
The vote was 4-1 in favor.
After the meeting, commission member Chris Post said she felt the matter was "pushing it."
"And other people are going to look at it and say, 'Why can't I do that?'" said Post.
Smith commented that it was "only two feet into the 25-foot no-touch zone," but added that residents still have to file with the commission before beginning any work within the 100-foot buffer zone.
Also during the meeting, the commission voted 4-1 to approve a Notice of Intent for Gloria Doviak of 356 Snows Pond Road to raze the existing house and build a new one within the 100-foot buffer zone. The matter was continued from October 7.
Immediate abutter Desmond White voiced concerns over the proximity of the proposed septic system to his existing well, asking if the septic could be moved farther away to protect the quality of his drinking water.
Farinon pointed out that the Board of Health would have to decide if the septic could be moved farther east, calling the matter conflicting interests between ConCom and the BoH.
White said he thought the sandy conditions of the soil would lead to the contamination of his well and then added that the proposed 1,120 square-foot house is over twice the size of the existing 350-square foot house.
"This is someone with a size ten foot that's trying to put it in a size six shoe," said White.
Commission member Laurene Gerrier voted against the motion to approve.
In other matters, the commission approved two Abbreviated Notices of Resource Area Delineation, one for Chris and Jennifer Gerrior of Perez Smith Lane, and one for Reg Schonborn of BWC Agawam River for a property off Braley Hill Road with a plan for a proposed solar energy facility. The commission did not dwell on any details pertaining to the proposed use of the land and focused solely on the acceptance of the wetlands delineation.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission could possibly be on November 4 at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall, but since it is Election Day, legally there can be no public hearings held or votes taken. The next scheduled meeting to include public hearings will be November 18 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.
Opposition Mounts Against Goodspeed Pier
Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board
By Marilou Newell
The October 21 meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board was yet another Town board that heard concerns and reasons from residents opposed to Daniel DaRosa's application to build a 290-foot pier into Mattapoisett's harbor. It was also a meeting called solely for the purpose of hearing from the public one more time as the board members put the finishing touches on their letter to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Coming before the MAB was Michael Huguenin and Peter Trow, two vocal opponents to the project.
Huguenin told the board he has gathered 180 signatures from residents who, like him, are opposed to this pier in this location. He impressed upon the board that time is of the essence, as Friday, October 24 is the deadline for comments directed to the DEP regarding the project. If comments are not received by that date, people will have forfeited their right to voice concerns in the future.
Huguenin pointed out that the sheer size of the proposed pier is the biggest issue he has with the pier, followed by the loss of recreational space, shellfishing, and catastrophic storm damage caused if the pier breaks up during severe weather. He said the Chapter 91 license being sought by DaRosa from the DEP safeguards the public's right to protection of tidal areas.
Regarding the DEP process, Huguenin said that no public hearing is provided, so letters before the deadline date are critical. He said that he had just learned that the Planning Board does play a part in the process, but that typically in Mattapoisett the Planning Board only deals with matters on the land, not in or over the water. He planned to discuss this with Planning Board Chairman Tom Tucker immediately.
MAB member Carlos DaSousa said, "...The pier is in a prime recreation area ... we rejected an aqua-culture project for this location to conserve it for public recreational purposes..." He also referred to the MAB waterfront management plan that was fully vetted and approved by the Board of Selectmen in 2012, again saying that where the pier is proposed is a recreational area.
DaSousa said the letter MAB sends to the DEP should include all the minutes of their meetings from the year-long process of crafting the management plan and the large public participation that helped in its writing, as well as all their concerns of the impact of such a large project in this location.
"Our goal is to update the drafted letter, submit it to Michael Gagne (town administrator) and the Conservation Commission and then send it to the DEP," said Chairman Alan Gillis. He said that he had had a conversation with the selectmen and was told they, too, are sending a letter to the DEP.
Expanding on the theme of waterfront protections, Trow said, "A bylaw supersedes ConCom and the DEP..."
Gillis replied, "We've been requesting that too."
DaSousa countered that, by establishing bylaws, the Town would be guaranteeing the construction of piers.
"...You are setting parameters where piers will get built," said DaSousa. "I think the waterfront management plan should be the bylaw."
By the end of the meeting, Gillis said they had sufficient additional information to complete their letter. The MAB voted unanimously on the tone and the text of their letter. A copy of the letter will be made to the public as part of the public record.
Board Drafts Letter to CVS Developers
Marion Planning Board
By Jean Perry
With a unanimous vote, Marion Planning Board members approved a draft letter addressed to developers Robert Korff and Dean Holt of Mark Investments, LLC in response to recent pre-submission conferences, one of them attended by about 150 residents.
Board members agreed that during the last meeting, the representatives of the proposed CVS at the corner of Front Street and Route 6 provided sufficient information for the board to make an initial response to the plan.
The letter lists the requirements for when and if the developers proceeded with the application process, including all types of analyses and studies, and also a major site review. The list of requirements involved stormwater drainage assessments, environmental and engineering assessments which encompass traffic, visual impact analyses, and hydrologic and a hydro-geologic analysis, including impacts to wetland and surface water resources. Not to forget legal counsel.
The project would also have to move through the various town boards and committees, such as the Conservation Commission, Board of Health, Department of Public Works, Marion Resources Commission, Fire and Police Chiefs, and the Master Planning Subcommittee, among others.
"We urge you to seriously consider the recommendations made by the PB and members of the public at the October 6th, 2014 meeting when planning any such applications," the letter states.
Current concerns in the draft letter remain consistent with those addressed during the October 6 Planning Board meeting held at the Marion Music Hall, where many residents shared the same concerns as the board.
Maintaining the character of Marion, storm drainage, flood plain issues, traffic, and of course, the relocation of the Captain Hadley House were all touched upon in the letter.
"This list is not to be considered as all-inclusive of the PB's concerns and is provided to be instructive as to the general issues this proposed application raises, and to summarize the PB's initial comments," the letter reads.
The Planning Board also affirms in the letter that the board has taken no position either for or against the proposed plan "regarding the project at either pre-submission hearing."
The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for November 3 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.
Resident Gets Lucky with Septic Variance
Marion Board of Health
By Jean Perry
Apparently it does not happen often, but one property owner was lucky enough to 'strike sand' during a percolation test, winning him a variance to install a new septic system at a four-foot separation to groundwater level, instead of the Title 5 required five-foot separation.
On October 21, Kevin Forgue of G.A.F. Engineering told the Marion Board of Health that the current septic system at 35 Ichabod Lane was only about two to three feet above groundwater levels, so the four feet would be an improvement.
"We have a fairly high water table throughout that area," said Forgue. "No matter how we looked at it and no matter what we did, we needed a pump chamber."
Without the variance, Forgue said the backyard elevation would be one-foot higher than house level, diverting storm water toward the house and creating pooling in the yard.
Forgue clarified that the septic system would actually be four feet from the estimated high water table mark, not the actual water table mark. On a normal to dry day, Forgue said there could be as high as a four and a half-foot separation.
The soil conditions at 35 Ichabod Lane, belonging to Toby and Barbara Burr, were variable, said Forgue, much to his surprise.
"I think we just found a spot that had sand," said Forgue. Regional Health Director Karen Walega said she, too, was surprised.
Board of Health member Albin Johnson commented that sandy soils are rare in Marion, and during a follow-up interview, Board of Health Chairman Dr. John Howard said that percolation rates on Marion properties tend to be high in silty and clay soils.
The Burrs just happened to have a random area of sand, a jackpot of sorts, when it comes to septic systems in Marion.
The next meeting of the Marion Board of Health is scheduled for October 28 at 4:30 pm at the Marion Town House.
Tabor Academy News
By Julia O'Rourke
Now that the school year is in full swing, annual service traditions are starting up again or for the first time.
Last week, there were no classes on Wednesday and the freshmen went to Sippican School to read to the students. This annual tradition at Tabor Academy has continued because of the ongoing positive feedback.
The 112 freshmen woke up early and gathered to walk down the street to Sippican. They then split off and went to meet and read to their buddies, who ranged from kindergartners to third graders, in different classrooms for the morning. Tabor's close proximity to Sippican makes for a strong relationship between the two schools.
Many Tabor students tutor Sippican students throughout the year as an after-school activity and in the past, some have helped re-paint the map by the playground.
A key factor that propels that Tabor Academy Community Service Program is that many students are eager to take part in it. Seniors were given the day off on Wednesday to work on college applications. Five seniors chose to leave Tabor at 5:15 am in the morning to go with History Teacher Richard DaSilva ('89) to Mercy Meals in New Bedford.
Mercy Meals serves healthy meals to those in need in the New Bedford area. The goal of Mercy Meals is to feed all of those in need and to help them start their day off on a positive note.
Tabor students helped set up, make breakfast, serve meals, and clean up the kitchen. Now, some students are hoping to start making this a weekly or monthly activity because it has become popular and Tabor students really enjoy it.
This student initiative is not new to Tabor, however. Last year, Tabor musicians began their own group called "TOMATOES." This group is one of all types of musicians who love to perform.
The students head over to Sippican Health Center every Sunday to play for the elderly. Kijun Song, who graduated last year, brought this group to life and now current Tabor students are continuing the program and more musicians are joining the group.
Another group of students dedicates their Sundays to the local community as well. A handful of students gather and walk to St. Gabriel's Church on Sunday mornings to teach Sunday school. Ten students spend their Thursday nights as Big Brothers and Big Sisters in the Greater New Bedford Area to spend time with kids. They play games, do crafts, and spend time getting to know each other.
Many Tabor students are excited to get off campus and work with others in the community because they have found that doing so can be quite fun. This passion for giving helps to create a warm atmosphere on and off the Tabor campus.
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