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Triathlon Brings Out the Young

and Young at Heart

By Marilou Newell

Mattapoisett Lions Club's Annual Triathlon brought out men, women and children. Participants ranged in age from 10 years old to somewhere north of 70, delighting themselves and the supporters that lined the race course. Better weather could not have been purchased, as refreshing sea breezes cooled the bright sunshine. A festival atmosphere infected the assembled under a spectacular blue sky.

The three-pronged race is a popular summertime venue, drawing people from Boston, throughout the south coast, and nearly every town within an hour's ride of this picturesque coastal community.

The first leg of the race is the watercourse, considered by all to be the most difficult part to get through. Individual men were followed 30 seconds later by individual women and then the team racers plunged into the high tide at Mattapoisett's Town Beach.

The second leg of the race is the biking piece. Teams quickly swapped the timing devices attached to the racers' ankles and took off as fast as possible, leaving behind their wet panting swim partner. Individual participants either had attendants assist them in removing swim gear and changing shoes, or like quick-change artists, they peeled out of swimwear and pedaled away with saltwater dipping from their glistening bodies.

The final leg was the running part. This, too, was either an individual effort or handed off to a team member.

Joining the fun for the first time this year were Kevin Sawiski of Kingston, and Dan and Paul Ghelfi, of Bridgewater. Dan's brother, Paul, has been competing in the race for years and had talked his brother and friend into joining him this time. Dan said that he and Kevin had been talked into doing it and hoped to survive the challenge. Paul crossed the finish line before Dan.

Contestants and sisters, Stephanie Coleman, from Framingham, and Kristen Kelley, from Wareham, intended to stay together throughout the race. Coleman was persuaded by her older sister Kelley to join her this year. "Yeah, I'll stay with her and then pass her at the end," Coleman said with a smile. That proved to be the case. Coleman bested her sister Kelley by a whopping two-tenths of a second, with Coleman placing #122 and Kelley #123.

Christina Bonney, of Marion was a first timer. Her husband, Andrew, and her small children, Clara (6) and Charles (4), cheered her on from beginning to end. Bonney finished in one hour 26 seconds.

A team that works together at Titleist in Fairhaven - Liam Kenny of Barrington, Peter Trimble of Mashpee, and Patrick Owens of Marion - were also first timers who named their team the 'Mollusks of Destiny.' They divided the agony and the ecstasy, with Kenny handling the swim, Trimble the run, and Owens the biking. The team's destiny was fourth place with a time of 56 minutes.

One of the more colorful and enthusiastic teams was spearheaded by Ann Martin, who described herself as one of the "village people" hailing from Mattapoisett. Donning her flowered bathing cap, she pranced into the water with a huge smile on her face. Martin has been enjoying this race for years and said that she even won it in the past, guessing it was probably in the early 1990s. "Oh, we train hard - on the porch at the Inn," she remarked with a chuckle after pulling herself out of the water and handing off the biking work to Dave McNeary of West Dennis. She said her team's name was 'The Old Hen, The Rooster, and the Chick'. The 'Chick' was Lisa Justa, who completed the running portion for the team. This is the third year these three have partnered. They finished in 10th place with a time of one hour and 13 seconds.

Race officials said that the total number of racers on the course was 128. There was at least three times that number screaming, clapping, and encouraging them throughout the one hour and 30 minutes it took for most of the brave souls to cross the finish line.

Chris Phenix, 33, was the first male individual racer to complete the course with a time of 53:52 followed by Tom Gelson, 49, at 54:47 and Ed Rheaume, 51, with 55:43.

The first female individual racer was Kimberly Shattuck, 43, of Bridgewater. She said she has never lost this race, but was a bit concerned this year by acknowledging, "I am getting older." But this mother of two was beaming with a time of 58:17.

Ten year old Julia Bertarelli was the youngest racer, part of a team with her dad, Mike. The younger Bertarelli completed the running portion with dad holding down the swim and biking legs. Team Bertarelli came in 4th place in the team category with a time of 1:05.

The triathlon kick starts the Lions Club's Harbor Days, the annual seaside event that begins on July 18. For a full schedule of all activities and events, go to www.mattapoisettlionsclub.org. For complete race results, visit www.coolrunning.com.

On a Mission:

A mission member reflects on her experience

By Jean Perry

"I didn't know what to expect," said Patricia Berry, a member of the Mattapoisett Congregational Church. Berry, along with her 11 year-old daughter and 21 other church members - none of whom had even gone on a mission trip like this one before - spent a week in June doing mission work in Appalachia.

In addition, Camp Craddock in Cherry Log, Georgia, the organization that partnered with the mission group, had never before hosted a mission group. Naturally, there were a few unknowns ahead for all involved in the project.

"There were a bit of 'knows,' though," said Berry. Berry knew the group would be serving children in need, and she knew they would be piloting a community outreach program in the form of a camp on wheels, visiting different impoverished neighborhoods and distributing books and meals, while bringing music and arts along with them.

But how they were going to do it, she was not really sure. She knows now, though, that in the end it worked out better than she had projected.

The group touched down in Atlanta and drove the rest of the way to Cherry Log - everyone inside the vehicle excited, a little nervous and anxious, too. Berry said they drove all the way through a thunderstorm that added an aspect of drama to the journey.

"It was so metaphorical for what we were going into," said Berry. She said the storm was a breathtaking display of lightning and rain, and in a way, it mirrored their emotions. "Then when we arrived, it was all sunny and blue sky."

After settling in and a day of training, the group split into five groups, each with a different mission. One group would distribute books aboard the Story Express, a traveling library on wheels. Another would bring meals, and another was in charge of arts and crafts. One group provided music and storytelling, and a fifth group stayed behind at the center to build bookshelves. Books, said Berry, are a vital part of the Craddock Center's community enrichment program.

Every day, one after the other, the four outward bound groups made stops in three different neighborhoods, providing, cumulatively, about one and a half hours of programming per stop.

"At first, the kids were like, who are these people?" said Berry, remembering the first day the group encountered the children who lined up waiting for the program. "I tried to get them to sing the Hokey-Pokey," she said with a laugh. "They looked at me like I was crazy." But the kids warmed up quickly to the group and by Friday, Berry said that hugs were the norm.

Berry remembers one particular moment when she really started to connect with the children. It happened while she was teaching them to sing "This Little Light of Mine." Berry passed out musical instruments and had the children singing, holding up their fingers like little candles along with the strumming of a mission member's guitar. It was then that one of the older "cooler" kids who was reluctant to sing asked Berry, "What happens if my light goes out?"

"It will never go out," Berry told him. "And he just lit up. His face lit up, like, 'I get it!'" And the day was shining, said Berry. "We helped their light shine and they helped our light shine."

Berry said she brought along her daughter, Maggie, so that she could come to know and be a part of "something bigger than herself," as Berry described it. She wanted her to be a part of a personal transformation, to make an impact. But Maggie was not quite sure how she was helping - she wasn't really feeling it, said Berry. Berry said it was when Maggie had a moment with three sisters on one of the stops that Maggie came to know how she was making a difference.

The three girls looked to Maggie and told her how hungry they were, asked when the lunches would arrive, and told Maggie that they do not usually get to have lunch.

"Their bellies were grumbling as they sat there reading together," said Berry. "Then it hit her. These kids don't have food. They don't have any books."

Part of the experience for Berry was the bonding that resulted between her and Maggie. She said several other families on the mission experienced that similar family bonding experience.

"It was a great growing experience for me on my own journey, and also as a mother ... but then also as a church," said Berry. "The connection we made with each other was just wonderful."

Berry said she thinks the group returned with a new energy, and she expects the experience is going to "breathe new life" into the church's mission group at home.

"But I would say the whole church was on this journey," said Berry. "And we got incredible things done. We completed our mission."

Fantastic Marion Art Center Fundraiser

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

A full moon and ideal weather united perfectly on Friday evening for the Marion Art Center's annual cocktail party fundraiser. Adding to the night's perfection, the event was held at a private waterfront home that was complete with a large white tent under which there was plenty of great food, wonderful music, and a terrific turnout.

"This is our big effort to support our mission and promote the arts and help with the preservation of our historic building," said Cassy West, outgoing President of the Marion Art Center. The newly elected Co-Presidents are Shelly Richins and Michele Letourneau.

"Two years ago, we dedicated our renovated bell tower to Wendy Bidstrup, our past director, and we will re-dedicate it to her during the Arts in the Park celebration on Saturday, July 13," said West.

Music was provided by the Third Shift Jazz Quartet, which played songs from rock to romance dance tunes.

Hundreds of people came to support the effort that raises money for the Marion Art Center, which has two galleries and a community theater located at 80 Pleasant Street in Marion.

"We are all about education around arts, theater and creativity," said Letourneau. "We want to thank those who support us and let them know that their donations make such a big difference."

Attendees Jaimi and Josh Gregory mingled with the crowd and agreed that supporting the Marion Art Center was essential to keep Marion vital. "We are privileged to be here and support the fact that the MAC is for all ages," said Jaimi Gregory.

"The MAC bridges the community and brings people together and is a cultural center and we want to support that," said Cynthia Pyle.

Others echoed their reasons for rallying around the Marion Art Center as a community center that brings local people together to enjoy the arts.

The Marion Art Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm and on Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

The Tantalizing Tastes of Mattapoisett

By Jean Perry

It is one of the most important fundraising events for the Mattapoisett Women's Club, and just the sort of exemplary event one would expect to see on a summer evening on the seaside of Mattapoisett.

July 15 was the time for the annual Taste of the Town beneath the great white canopy tent at Shipyard Park.

Lois Ennis of the Women's Club was delighted that all the tables beneath the big tent were filled, as well as the 48 seats at the al fresco dining tables.

There were some tropical-like winds blowing the skirts on the tablecloths, but the weather was nothing like last year, said Ennis.

"It was so hot," said Ennis. She recalled another year when the skies opened up an hour into the event raining buckets on all of the people. "We are always at the mercy of the weather," said Ennis.

The was the 11th year for the annual event, which has become a tradition for many who came out to sample the different flavors Mattapoisett has to offer.

Mouthwatering aromas of seafood, pizza, and Asian cuisine merged perfectly with the salty sea air blown ashore by the wind, and everywhere you looked people were eating and laughing.

The Showstoppers, a singing group of local boys and girls, provided the entertainment for the hundreds of guests that kept pouring into the park in a steady stream.

Ennis said the proceeds go toward granting scholarships to local students, upwards to $4,000 when the event is a success. Ennis pointed to a stack of white paper event guides, saying it had originally contained a count of 500. It was roughly about a half hour into the event and already there were only about 100 left.

"It's a lot a lot of work," said Ennis. "But the people are here." It looks like this year will be a generous year for scholarships in Mattapoisett.

For the Love of Movement

Mattapoisett Free Public Library

By Marilou Newell

On a recent perfect summer morning, the Mattapoisett Free Public Library hosted a children's program like no other. Kay Alden presented a free program that included movement, math, science and fun, titled 'The Science of Popcorn.'

Alden describes herself as a 'life dancer.' Her impressive credentials in dance and movement include earning in 1966 a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Bridgewater State College, being an exchange student from the Boston Conservatory traveling throughout Europe and Asia, and teaching positions at the Marion Art Center, Bristol Community College and Hayden McFadden School. She also sits on the alumni advisory board for the Boston Conservatory board of directors.

Her love of music, movement and dance blend to make Alden uniquely equipped in helping others grow stronger in their abilities to move with confidence. She said, "My philosophy is that by developing better motor skills through music and giving children a chance to learn movements helps to develop their confidence." Through her approach, children not only build gross motor capabilities, but also cognitive and intellectual strengths. She focuses on children ranging in ages from 4 to 10.

For the July program, she used the song "Pop Goes the Weasel." With this well-known tune scripted in five different tempos, Alden transported the children from the U.S. to England and Russia while leading the kids through mazes, balance exercises and simple movements. "I had three generations of dancers; it was wonderful," she remarked. She discussed with the attendees the history of corn and the science behind popping it. Needless to say, eating it was part of the fun, too.

Alden offers only free programs, drawing on her many decades teaching and understanding the correlation between the body and the mind. While teaching at the Hayden McFadden School in New Bedford before her retirement, she estimates that nearly 2,000 young people passed through her dance club program. She is especially sensitive to children who may be more socially withdrawn. Her delight is in seeing the child that never gets picked by peers to participate in activities blossom into a child who is smiling and moving. It is all the reward this life-dancer needs. "I think movement should be natural, balanced and give a child the ability to move to the next level, building upon success," she explained.

Beyond the movement aspect of Alden's system, there is an educational component. Using props, music and a globe, kids learn about the music's composer, their country of origin, the times in which they lived and the history of particular dance movements. This richly seasoned stew of cultural awareness and academics makes the dance and movement pieces more relevant, she believes.

I would say she has the three "Es" - excitement, enthusiasm, and energy - all good things when working with children.

Alden will meet with the library staff in September to discuss a program for the fall season. Go to www.mattapoisettlibrary.org to learn more about all the great events planned for the community and watch for Kay Alden's program in the fall.

Levinsons Love the Buzzards Bay Music Festival

By Jacqueline Hatch

This week, I had the rare opportunity of hosting world-renowned musicians in my home in Marion. Gary Levinson plays a Stradivari violin and serves as concertmaster for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. His wife, Baya Kakouberi, is a recording artist and classical pianist trained in Russia. In preparation for this year's Buzzards Bay Music Festival, the Levinsons visited my house to use the piano and rehearse for their upcoming shows.

As they played for hours each day in the living room, I sat in the next room and listened while the couple worked through incredibly complicated pieces of music. They were focused and calm as they played together, stopping every once in a while to try something over again or make a note.

At the end of the day, the couple kindly agreed to sit down with me to talk about music. They looked excited when they spoke about the upcoming week and the Buzzards Bay Music Festival - they were truly delighted to be here.

The family spends about a week in July each year in the Buzzards Bay area, graciously hosted by local music lovers. This year marks the Levinsons' second year at the Music Festival, an event the family looks forward to all year round. Mr. Levinson said that this year, they were excited to reconnect with the people who frequent the Buzzards Bay Music Festival. He explained that there is a certain level of camaraderie amongst musicians and attendees, and the small setting creates an "intimate medium" for performers.

Having moved to the United States from Russia, the couple has experienced firsthand the way that music can translate across cultures. They agreed that classical music has the ability to transcend boundaries and allow people to connect with one another on a really meaningful level.

In the past, this family of musicians has traveled on tours across America, Canada, and on to Europe as well. According to the couple, the summer season is packed full of interesting festivals for classical musicians. The artists refer to the summer months - June through August - as "festival season." During this time of the year, the couple has the chance to travel to different locations around the country and perform casual concerts with old friends and new ones, too. The Levinsons have traveled the globe performing beautiful music, but they have a soft spot for our quiet little corner of the world. Their two children, who are also musically inclined, wait in anticipation of the time of year they get to return to Marion, Massachusetts.

Mr. Levinson called the Music Festival "a hidden gem," and expressed his gratitude for the passionate group of people who return each year to support the event. The Buzzards Bay Music Festival is a non-profit event that is open to the public and anyone can attend, regardless of knowledge or musical background.

Multiple Vehicle Breaks in Marion

Marion Police Department Press Release

On Friday, July 11, 2014 at 6:37 pm, the Marion Police Department investigated a break into a motor vehicle, which had been parked on South Street, near the intersection of Water Street. The owner reported that the passenger side window had been smashed and his daughter's pocket book was stolen off the front seat. It is believed the incident occurred sometime between 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm.

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 7:20 am, a resident of Briggs Lane reported his truck stolen from his driveway during the night. The 2008 Ford F-150 pickup truck was believed to have been taken sometime after 11:00 pm. A debit card belonging to the truck owner was used by the suspect at a store in Fall River a couple of hours later.

A neighbor discovered the license plate had been stolen off her vehicle, also during the night, which may have been used on the stolen pickup truck.

Another nearby resident reported that his unlocked vehicle had been entered during the night, but nothing was reported missing.

Also on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 7:59 am, a resident of Inland Road reported that her car had been broken into sometime during the night. The driver's side window was smashed and a wallet taken from the vehicle.

Police are warning residents to not leave valuables in their vehicles and report any suspicious activity to the police department. These incidents are under investigation by Det. Scott Smith. Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Smith at 508-748-1212, ext. 218.

The Summer Job

This Mattapoisett Life

By Marilou Newell

As an enterprising kid, I was always looking for and finding ways to make a little money. Whether it was doing errands for a neighbor, collecting bottles (before the advent of aluminum cans), or simply searching for forgotten change in phone booths (for those of you who remember such a thing), the urge to get my hands on cash of any denomination was paramount in my juvenile brain.

My primary goal for getting some cash in my piggy bank was to buy Christmas gifts for my parents. As I got a bit older, I became more self-centered. I wanted the latest fashions. My Mother's practicality didn't lend itself to the Mod fashions from across the pond. The British invasion was all encompassing. I wanted mini-skirts and empire waist dresses, chunky high-heeled shoes, and white lipstick. Earning my own money meant that I could invest as I pleased and I lusted for clothing.

The Onset of my youth offered numerous summertime employment opportunities. Those girls and boys who were hired to work the seasonal eateries or bag groceries at one of the two markets were looked upon as having achieved a higher status on the ladder of life. They had good paying jobs from Memorial Day until Labor Day. I aspired to join their ranks. Minimum wage as I recall was around $1.00 per hour - bonanza, and I'm not talking about the TV show.

Our home was in the center of that village, giving me easy access to The Copper Kettle, Karen's Bakery, the 5 & 10, Polanski's beach stand, and other retail and food venues. Most were seasonal jobs, but if you were lucky enough to be hired at the 5 & 10, well, then you could be sitting pretty until you graduated from high school. Of course, that's if you were able to pass muster of the owner and his vigilant manager. The manager was a formidable chain-smoking woman standing about 4' 2", weighing 90 pounds, with a drill sergeant-like quality honed from years of being a Girl Scout leader.

When I was 14, I applied for and was issued a work permit. More prized than a learner's permit, it opened doors where money could be earned. It was time to let the world know I was ready. I walked the few hundred feet to the top of our street and asked the owner of the bakery if I could work there. Seeing something in me that I didn't see in myself at the time, I was hired. Or, perhaps it wasn't so much an earnest quality of hard work and industry that oozed from my pores, maybe it was something more akin to desperation. At any rate, there were ten more teenage girls waiting to fill my sneakers if I failed; I just happened to be the first in line.

Things I remember clearly about that summer at the bakery are: getting up at 6:00 am every day of the week to start working by 6:45, the smell of hot bubbling vats of oil emitting from the back of the bakery, making coffee in an ancient electric urn, cleaning glass display cases where the mouth-watering freshly fried donuts and pastries were placed. The skill most prized by the baker's wife was learning how to keep the glass free of fingerprints by using newspaper and straight ammonia. The smell of ammonia evokes long forgotten memories of nylon uniforms, hairnets, and an apron heavy with small change.

Oh, but there's more: learning early on that a smile - no matter how difficult to produce at such an early hour - equated to an extra nickel or dime left on the counter for my tip, being prompt meant taking home greasy bags of leftover jelly-filled or plain donuts enjoyed by my family, tiny custard filled pies or what the baker's wife called a 'bride's maid,' a type of pastry shaped like an over-sized ravioli and filled with crushed almonds, brown sugar and secret succulent ingredients.

I loved that job and became pretty good friends with the owner's two teenagers, a girl and a boy. These two kids were of course required to work in the bakery all summer, shoulder to shoulder with their parents. The boy worked in the backroom where hundreds of donuts and sweets were produced everyday. The girl worked either in the kitchen over the grill scrambling eggs or in the front with her mother and me working the take-out area or filling coffee mugs at the counter. Those kids never ever complained about spending their entire summer sweating bullets in the bakery.

In my unsophisticated brain, I believed that they and I were on equal footing, even though their parents owned the place. My thinking was permanently corrected when towards the end of the summer, the boy and I started to 'like' each other. His parents were tolerant of our longing looks and budding puppy love, I thought. When he asked their permission to take me to a movie, he was roundly refused and told within ear-shot of me by his father, "No, you may not take her to the movies or anywhere else. She's from Onset." I hadn't known that this family owned several bakeries and were partners in other businesses and that their children attended private school in the Boston area and were being groomed for great things. I, on the other hand, had already achieved my highest goal to date. I was working for them. Suffice it to say, I moved on, my wounded pride to mend.

Between the ages of 14 and 18, I tried my hand at just about everything available. At The Copper Kettle, I learned to serve coffee without spilling any of it in the saucer. The trick is not to look at the contents of the cup. Try it at home. It works! I learned to write a food order clearly so the short order cook could read it and then gently haunt him to hurry up since the customer was waiting. I learned to start and complete one job at a time, so if I was filling salt shakers, I was to do all of them in a single go and not be distracted by the many other things waiting to be filled, cleaned, degreased, or replaced.

I scooped ice cream at the beach eatery where I also fried onion rings, French fries and clams. It surprised me to learn that the lard the owners used stayed in the fryolator year round. Apparently the board of health wasn't fully engaged in the early '60s.

One fall, when kids in town were leaving for college or securing full-time employment in such far-flung places as downtown Wareham, Plymouth or Hyannis, or worse yet being drafted into the military, I scored a prized position at the 5 & 10. Joy of joys, this meant year-round employment. This variety store was a cornucopia of do-dads, pencils, first aid supplies, clothing, pots and pans, comic books and so much more. I learned how to use a manual cash register with ease, make change and count it back, bag merchandise, provide customer service, and stay busy. If it was slow in the store, staying busy became the most important thing to do. If you weren't busy, you'd be sent home. I'd dust bottles of hand lotion, line up rulers, fold and refold sweatshirts, straighten up greeting cards and take inventory without being asked.

The following summer when they hired another girl with whom my dealings were, let's just say, not cordial, she began a slow but steady smear campaign against me with the "Sarge." It didn't help matters that I was starting to develop that nasty teen habit of having an attitude. When I picked up my weekly earnings (paid in cash and presented in a small brown envelope with the following week's schedule), I was shocked. Nothing had been written on the envelope. When I inquired about my hours, I was told quietly but firmly by the Sarge, "You don't like working here anymore. Thank you." Talk about Jedi-mind-control, suddenly it was true.

At some point in my career, I worked for about a month in the office of the local GP, Doctor Goldfarb. More accurately, I worked for his wife, Edith. As they awaited a replacement secretary, I was hired to do some typing. There was something about these two that endeared them to me. They weren't overly warm or friendly, but they possessed a sort of gentle kindness.

Edith ran the business end of the medical practice but had never learned how to type. During my stint in their office she'd sit beside me and tell me the names and addresses of the patients. I carefully, but not too accurately, typed into the small square provided on the triplicate invoice, the contact information and then the diagnosis and associated fee. As you can imagine, I learned quite a lot about my neighbors and other people in town, but my lips are sealed. Edith was very patient with my limited skills, and I tried hard to get things right for Edith. I was saddened at her passing a few years later. The good doctor soldiered on for many more years.

There were the babysitting jobs (not my favorite) and the in-home salon work. I took up shampooing and setting a neighbor's hair in rollers. Later in the day, I'd return to her house across the street from ours, remove the rollers and coif her hair using plenty of Aqua-Net hair spray. In those days, it was common to wash and set one's hair only once a week. For this service, I charged a whopping five dollars. I worked on my Mother's hair, too, but I did that gratis and for the practice.

All in all, I stayed reasonably employed throughout my high school years, something I look back on today with pride. I was able to supplement the household by buying most of my own clothing. I thoroughly enjoyed the two or three mini-skirts I acquired from the Sears and Roebuck catalog. As for my shoes, I lovingly polished those chucky high-heels until the soles let the rain in.

Thanks to summer jobs, I learned a great deal about dealing with people - especially the difficult ones. The humiliation I felt when I overheard the baker or when I lost my job at the 5 & 10 were character building. I learned that kindness can take many forms and that hard work won't kill you. I learned how to manage money, no matter how little I might have possessed. I learned what would later be called a 'can do' attitude. I'm happy to report that it eventually replaced the teen attitude that had darkened my life. But probably the most important thing I learned was being willing to try and that failures are tools. I don't think we let our kids learn the art of picking themselves up and starting again. It helps build stronger emotional muscles. Life is more often than not a process of surviving setbacks while striving towards the goal.

Today in my status as a semi-retired person, I credit those individuals who employed me decades ago with helping me become the person I am. Each one taught me life lessons beyond the cash payment I received while in their employ. Thank you Mrs. Holmes (aka Sarge), Harry Eaton, Mrs. Polanski, Doctor and Mrs. Goldfarb, Mr. and Mrs. Karen, Vera Gay, and Vera Dingman. You helped me, whether you knew it or not. You are not forgotten.

2nd Solar Project Completes ConCom Review

Mattapoisett Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

Blue Wave LLC's Aidan Foley finally heard what he has been waiting for: The Mattapoisett Conservation Commission will condition the Crystal Spring site for the development of a commercial solar farm, clearing the way for further local boards' review. Foley hopes that this will help steer the ZBA into approving the project during their July 17 hearing.

It has been an uphill battle for Blue Wave throughout the ConCom process, given the site location and water drainage issues. At the July 15 meeting those questions arose again. Was the storm water system sufficient? Would seasonal soil dynamics negatively impact site stabilization? Would turtle sweeps on such a large site be completed in time for a summer 2014 construction start? Has Natural Heritage chimed in with their list of conditions and restrictions? During the course of more than an hour of debate and discussion, all these questions were addressed to the satisfaction of the commission. And time is of the essence for this for profit venture. If Blue Wave can begin construction now, the financial impact is better for them in terms of tax relief.

On the question of when construction should start, the lack of feedback at this point from Natural Heritage seemed concerning to the commission. Foley said they preferred to wait until local review and plan modifications stemming from that review were completed to fully engage this agency. He said, "...they are going to give us extensive requirements..." Therefore, having a fully vetted plan would make that process go more smoothly.

Foley also said that Natural Heritage would be looking for remediation planning and that Blue Wave hoped to secure a local site for conservation purposes versus paying into a state remediation fund. This was viewed favorably by the commission.

As in previous public hearings, neighbors expressed their concerns about the ability of the storm water management system to handle run-off. Foley agreed that on-site peer review could and would be paid for by Blue Wave to help ensure that construction methods met plans and that erosion control systems were put in place as conditioned by ConCom. Chairman Peter Newton said that he didn't want a bunch of angry neighbors faced with problems from erosion and storm water drainage problems, noting that the neighbors would end up being the watchdogs for the project. However, Foley said that monitoring of the site would be ongoing, especially during the sensitive deforestation phases before grasses and shrubs could be planted.

Abutter Peter Wolski inquired if the surrounding acreage outside the site would continue to be forested. Newton responded that that would be between the landowner and the state, not between Blue Wave and the town or the landowner and the town. Wolski pressed Newton further to take ownership on behalf of the town, but Newton said this fell outside ConCom's jurisdictional duties and Blue Wave's responsibilities.

The commission closed the public hearing section of the application and voted to issue an order of conditions that would be researched and outlined by the conservation agent in concert with the commission members over the next two weeks, and then be presented at the next ConCom meeting. The ZBA will be informed of their decision.

In other business, William Hall received a negative finding regarding his request to perform vista pruning of trees on his property. The commission conditioned that the agent will visit the site and that the trees to be trimmed will be tagged to ensure that only those agreed upon with the agent will be cut.

Susan Fine of Waterman Street received a negative finding. She can move forward with the repair of steps on her home, which is situated in a flood velocity zone.

Mark Roberts, 163 Brandt Island Road, received a negative finding for the razing of the house on the lot and the construction of a new home with conditioning.

Randall Gasper, 26 Brandt Island Road, received a negative finding for the construction of an above-ground pool.

Jason Braz, 1 Nantucket Drive, requested and received a certificate of compliance.

The board signed a Property Management Plan for conservation lands known as Brandt Island Road Parcel. This is part of a larger conservation project the town is partnering in with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Brian Grady of GAF Engineering came before the commission to share that planning and review continues for storm water drainage system issues on Appaloosa Lane, noting that he had recently met with the Planning Board and was following their requests for repairs to the drainage system and soil investigations.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is July 28 at 6:30 pm.

Maintenance of Bogs Discussed

Marion Conservation Commission

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

An anticipated ten minute public hearing lasted almost an hour on a Request for Determination of Applicability for maintenance mowing of the pathway around the perimeter of the Goldovitz Bogs and the side slopes of the dikes. The property is located just off Old Indian Trail. This request was discussed by the Marion Conservation Commission at their Wednesday evening meeting at the Town House.

John Rockwell of the Buzzards Bay Estuary Program, representing the Board of Selectmen, addressed the board. Rockwell gave a brief history of the various dikes, of which only one is structural. He said the request to mow was primarily to maintain access to the bogs for residents, but would have the additional benefit of keeping turtles from being mowed over if the vegetation grows too high." Turtles can be seen by a mowing operator if the vegetation is controlled ... they are about four inches high ... if the grass is higher, they would be mowed over ... the intent is for the operator to see them," said Rockwell.

Board members visited the area recently and asked Rockwell about some cuttings and chipping debris put into the bogs. The board also asked who was currently mowing the pathways around the bogs. Rockwell did not know if the Department of Public Works or a local resident was currently mowing the area and that he would personally remove the cuttings and chips to avoid a delay in getting it done. The pathways are approximately ten feet wide.

The board agreed that the pathways could be mowed in accordance with the approved management plan, but that a Notice of Intent would be needed to mow the slopes or to work on or within the bogs.

An appointment with Thomas Stemberg of 114 Point Road for a Notice of Intent to demolish the structures on the lot and construct a single family dwelling, a pool, a pool house, a tennis court, a driveway and walkways was continued until 7:00 pm on August 19.

The board briefly discussed a draft of their response to the Board of Selectmen regarding the ongoing controversy regarding the management of the Spragues Cove storm water basin at Silvershell Beach. The BOS requested the Conservation Commission's input on the issue. The draft was approved unanimously and will be given to the BOS.

The board circulated a thank you note from long-time secretary of the Conservation Commission, Diane Drake, who recently retired.

The next meeting of the Conservation Commission will be on Wednesday, July 23.

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