The Wanderer - Mobile Edition
Digging for History, Planting for the Future
By Jean Perry
The landscape outside Sippican School in Marion changed on Friday, October 10 when ten native Atlantic White Cedars were planted by the fifth graders as part of a hands-on educational program in partnership with the Trustees of Reservations and Sippican School.
On Thursday, October 9, sixth graders from Sippican School traveled to Copicut Woods in Fall River for a hike to Cedar Swamp where they learned about the history of the cedars in their natural habitat. Ten cedars taken from Copicut Woods - a 516-acre property that abuts the bio-reserve in Fall River - were later delivered to the school courtesy of the Sippican Lands Trust where, on Friday, members of the Trustees of Reservations and SLT gave a presentation before fifth graders planted them in their new home.
"The Sippican Lands Trust approached the Sippican School last year with the hopes of bringing outdoor education and love of nature to the students of the Sippican School," wrote Robin Shields, SLT executive director, in a follow-up email. "Through united efforts, the Sippican science teachers and the Sippican Lands Trust developed the program that began last week to get local kids outdoors and excited to be stewards of their own Atlantic White Cedar grove."
Over the coming months, Sippican students will care for the newly-planted trees while learning about the importance of native flora species relative to the history of the land.
Hunting Season is Orange Season for Hikers
Take a Hike!
By Jean Perry
I've been busy hiking hills outside of Tri-Town these days, but this weekend was the first time this year I donned hunter orange while hiking - which made me think of my readers who may be hiking, walking their dogs, bird watching, or photographing nature on some of the same trails that I wrote about in my series Take a Hike!
Fellow forest freaks, beware. Deer hunting season begins this weekend, and some of the properties I myself have visited in Tri-Town and written about do allow hunting.
Deer hunting season runs from October 20 until December 31.
Hunter orange, blaze orange, or international orange, is an intense fluorescent orange that is highly visible, even in dim light. It might not be the most flattering or fashionable of colors, but it could prevent hunting-related accidents, and even deaths.
For about 300 years, hunting has been prohibited on Sundays, one of those last remaining "blue laws" of 18th Century Massachusetts that still observes the Sabbath. That, however, may change, and bow and arrow hunting might next year be allowed on Sundays.
Mattapoisett's own Representative William Strauss earlier this year introduced Bill H.3963, legislation authorizing bow and arrow hunting on Sundays from October through the end of December, which passed the House of Representatives in June.
The bill was submitted to the State Senate Ethics and Rules Committee, and has not yet been voted on by the Senate.
I have no opinion either way when it comes to hunting. My dad hunted deer all throughout my childhood and, as long as Mom didn't try to pass venison off as a regular steak for dinner, I was fine with it. Besides, Dad rarely ever came home with a deer. I personally prefer shooting nature with my camera.
I do, however, appreciate very much that one day every week when I am free to gallivant wherever I choose without the fear of accidentally getting pierced with an arrow.
If Strauss' bill is passed, shotgun hunting would remain prohibited on Sundays throughout hunting season, which ends December 13. Primitive firearms hunting, i.e. muzzleloaders, continues until December 31.
Timothy Madden of Nantucket submitted an amendment to the bill, giving cities and towns the chance to opt-out of provisions of this act by sending a certified letter to the director of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Fisheries and Wildlife Board, but the amendment was rejected.
At least for this year, we are safe to roam the woods on Sundays without having to take extra precautions to not be confused as prey, but I strongly urge anyone spending time in the woods this time of year to don their blaze orange, regardless of the day of the week. They even make hunter orange accessories for dogs for protection.
A hiker should cover their body with enough blaze orange to be visible to hunters while walking through the woods. I wear an orange vest on the outside of my coat, which is large enough in size to be seen from a front or side angle. However, a blaze orange cap along with the vest is recommended. I bring along a blaze orange handkerchief as well to tie around my neck or hang from my backpack as extra reinforcement. After all, I live to hike - but I don't want to die for it!
By Jean Perry
It was a dusky dark, chilly October evening. Inside the house, the Jack O' Lanterns were carved and lit, their seedy, slimy orange goopy guts laying in a bowl on top of the table, and pairs of little eyes were looking up at their parents asking, "So, now what are we going to do?" These little goblins, wondered Mom and Dad, what do they want from me with their insatiable desire for Halloween activities?
It's Tri-Town! There are plenty of haunted happenings in the area to get your Halloween on!
The Mattapoisett Free Library has an extra creepy Halloween-themed event guaranteed to deliver some exciting paradigm-shattering fun just in time for the spooky season! Insect aficionado and entomophagist (someone who eats bugs) David Gracer is coming to Mattapoisett, and he is bringing some of his crispy, crunchy, nutty-tasting critter friends with him for a presentation called "Are You Brave Enough to Eat a Bug?"
Well, are you? Watch Gracer eat bugs right in front of you and maybe you yourself will get a chance to sample a crunchy cricket or luscious larvae. Yum!
Gracer advocates eating bugs as a solution for the sustainability of the environment and alleviating world hunger. He has been featured on the Colbert Report, NPR, The New York Times, and on TLC's My Crazy Obsession.
The event, sponsored by the Friends of the Mattapoisett Library, is on October 28 at 6:00 pm at the library, and you will want to sign up for the event right away because space is limited!
The Mattapoisett Library also has several eerie exhibitions displayed throughout the library with haunted facts about Tri-Town until Halloween is over.
The Friends of the Mattapoisett Library will also be handing out Halloween candy from the steps of the library starting at 5:00 pm on Halloween, so be sure to trick-or-treat your way over!
The Elizabeth Taber Library has some Halloween activities of its own, hosting a drop-in Halloween crafts and activities session every day from October 24 through October 31. Join Children's Librarian Rosemary Grey in making handmade Halloween decorations, Jack O' Lantern puppets, and bat, goblin, and witch stick puppets.
An annual favorite is the make-your-own Halloween mask activity, using materials like feathers, sparkles, and pompoms. Drop-in hours are regular library hours: Monday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Tuesday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm, Wednesday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Thursday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm, Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm, and Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 pm.
Grab the goblins and venture to the Mattapoisett YMCA for its annual Family Halloween Hayride and Party with Zip'oween on Friday, October 24 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.
There will be a haunted hayride and a Halloween party with games and crafts. Kids can also take a spooky ride on the Halloween-themed zipline, which will take riders through scary Halloween music and lights during what the YMCA calls "one sick ride down from our climbing tower."
Kids wearing costumes can enter the costume contest, and refreshments will be available.
Witches, grab your broomsticks and head to the Plumb Corner Halloween Party on October 25 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm! The day is sure to offer family-friendly frightening activities. Head over to Rochester for some hay rides, pumpkin decorating, Jack O' Lantern and costume contests, the "Spooky Salon," as well as games and food. Don't forget the trick-or-treating and the haunted house! There will be music by DJ Howie and local vendors will have displays.
Plumb Corner is located at 565 Rounseville Road in Rochester.
Remember that on Halloween, the Marion Art Center will hold its annual Halloween Parade beginning at 4:00 pm in front of the Marion Music Hall. Goody bags will be available for the participants after the parade.
The Mattapoisett Halloween Parade starts at 6:00 pm at Center School on Barstow Street. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween, Tri-Town!
Lightning Strike Results in Fire
At 6:20 am on Wednesday, October 8, the Rochester Fire Department was called to 46 Jason's Lane for a house that was struck by lightning, resulting in a possible fire in the basement.
The first police officer on scene reported that everyone was safely out of the house and there was a heavy smoke condition. Initial interior fire crews found that the fire had extended up through the attic and roof.
Command officers on scene called for assistance from Acushnet for a water tanker, Mattapoisett for an engine to respond to the scene, and Marion to cover Rochester's Station One.
The house sustained extensive fire and smoke damage. Clean-up crews were on hand through the morning assessing the damage.
The Working Grandma
This Mattapoisett Life
By Marilou Newell
One of my favorite things to do is read the Sunday morning newspaper. Recently, while leafing through the pages, I found the following, "The Working Grandma," written by Kevin Harnett of South Carolina.
Now, the fact that a man was writing this piece about women didn't surprise me at all. What I did find surprising was his surprise that grandmothers have been holding down full-time jobs while being caregivers to their grandchildren. Duh ... nothing new here, buddy-boy. Harnett's article was light on details, but it did manage to weave in some important comments, like grandmothers are sacrificing their retirement money to provide necessities to grandchildren. That, of course, is not good. In fact, it is troubling to note that many grandparents are bankrupting their own futures for the sake of their grandchildren.
A quick trip around the internet provides sobering facts. The U.S. census in 2000 estimated 2.4 million grandparents were involved in caring for their grandchildren, including sheltering them. By the 2010 census, that number had blossomed to 7 million. Grandparenting is so common that there are numerous government and private agencies geared solely to providing them with support services.
Harnett's story didn't seem to appreciate that grandmothers are essential in so many ways and that this is already common knowledge. That is the story.
In his article Harnett writes, "But working grandmothers? That's a category we don't talk much about. Perhaps we should." "The perception people have is that grandma doesn't have a job, she's baking, she's happy to have people over," says Madonna Harrington Meyer, a sociologist at Syracuse University," from whom Harnett quotes. Meyers wrote, "The real thing is grandma's working and still taking care of her grandchildren." Further noted in Harnett's piece, Meyer investigated the challenges faced by working grandmothers for a book she has written in which she interviewed (only) 48 women. Meyer apparently explained to Harnett that the "biggest surprise to emerge from her research was that working grandmothers exist at all, at least in the large numbers that she estimates." Large numbers! Now that is an understatement.
Okay, let's stop right there for a moment ... I need to calm down. A spiking blood pressure at this age isn't good. I can't believe that anyone at this time in the history of human development would be "surprised" that women in great numbers are grandmothers and are still working and are supporting their growing extended families in a multitude of ways.
Throughout the ages, women have been doing what women do best: 'multi-task' tirelessly. Oh, sure, we bake, we sew, we bounce babies on our knees, we might even sit in rocking chairs humming a hymn under our breath while we embroider little lambs across an infant's smock ... but underneath that shawl are muscles that have been built from years of taking care of business - outside and inside the home.
Deep cleansing breath - I worked and took care of grandchildren. I'm still working and taking care of grandchildren, albeit not at the pace I once did. Their parents are running hard just to keep up with the demands in their lives, so having a grandparent - or, more specifically, a grandmother to fill-in for the parents - is the only way many thousands of families are surviving at all.
I would not have been able to work as a young single mother had it not been for my own Mother and her generosity. She took care of my son and my sister's children so we could work. She cared for her grandchildren through sickness and health. She played with them, gave them sandwiches cut in fun shapes, sang silly songs at the top of her lungs, changed numerous diapers, and gave them unconditional love until the very moment of her death.
My Mother's grandchildren cried her a river when she passed away last winter. She was eulogized as a fun, kind, unique woman they will never forget. I will never forget her either, but not because of her mothering skills with her own children. Those remained a work in process her entire life. Putting that aside, I've elected to focus on the love she gave her grandchildren, because in the end, that was her greatest work and she did it expertly. If she could read Harnett's article, she would wonder where the heck he has been living to be so ignorant of real life. And as for Meyer's surprise that grandmothers aren't just sitting around quilting, my Mother would have a few choice words for her. Although my Mother did not work outside her home, that she worked inside her home and found the time and energy to care for a revolving door of grandchildren speaks volumes to her familial commitment. She believed it was her duty and experienced it as her singular joy. And yes, in the real, world millions of grandmothers are earning a paycheck, too.
About seventeen years ago, one of our adult married children found himself with a bit of a problem. He needed to work overnight shifts, not arriving home in time to take care of his infant daughter before his wife left the house for her job. There was a two-hour stretch at dawn where they needed someone to take care of their baby girl: Enter a working grandmother. Without hesitation, I volunteered to stay with the baby until our son came home from his shift.
Each morning when my services were required, I'd wake up at 5:00 am. I'd hang my corporate attire in the car, get myself groomed, and then head out in sweat clothes for my babysitting shift. By 6:30 am, I'd be sitting by the crib of my sleeping baby granddaughter, eager for her eyes to open. That precious moment when her eyes would fix on my smiling face and she would respond with her own toothless little grin was heaven for me.
For the next hour or so until her Daddy came home, the world was ours to share. Counting, A-B-C's, reading stories, patty-cake, hide-n-seek were the stuff that made those early mornings complete. When Daddy came home, I'd do a quick change, morphing into a marketing manager and head to my office.
Many times I'd find myself feeling quite sleepy by noontime. I became well known for taking lunchtime naps in my car. But I didn't care - the baby needed me and, in retrospect, I needed her. The time spent in caring for that infant often was the only good thing to happen to me all day. There is no doubt in my mind that such relationships help sustain other grandmothers. By the way, that baby is now a college freshman.
We have five granddaughters in total. Three of these lovelies we took care of while their parents worked. One is still an integral part of our daily life. All five have benefited from having a grandmother who not only was able to provide some extra material support but also 'be there' in any way necessary. I am not unique in this category. My friends who are grandmothers have all done what I have done and continue to do so.
Sure there are folks out there whose stories are ones of extreme sacrifice. There are grandmothers taking in grandchildren because the parents are deceased, in jail, sick, or otherwise unable to take care of their own children. There are grandmothers taking care of their own mothers, working full-time jobs and watching over grandchildren - a trifecta. For a time, I did that, too.
But here's the thing. One doesn't dwell on the long to-do lists associated with taking care of others. You just do it and try to do so with as much kindness as your tired soul can muster. I never knew my grandmothers, but there sure were times when I could have used one. I am, however, externally grateful I had a mother willing and able to help shoulder my burdens by taking care of my son, her beloved (could do no wrong) grandson.
To the Harnetts and Meyers who have never been exposed to working grandmothers before deciding to explore the subject let me say this: It would be great if everyone on the planet had the resources to be totally free of needing a helping hand - that isn't real life! Real life is messy at times, certainly challenging and in great need of grandmothers who can rock the cradle while emailing a corporate executive the spreadsheet she prepared for an international conference call. Or, better yet, a grandmother who after a day juggling demands and expectations at the office, picks up her granddaughter from daycare and heads home to play dress up.
In the book Three Cups of Tea by Gregg Mortenson, he wrote, "...a porcelain pendant around her neck read 'I want to be thoroughly used up when I die...'" Me, too.
I wouldn't trade one second I've spent taking care of my grandchildren. When I'm too old to be useful, sitting in my rocking chair humming "How Great Thou Art" and reading the Sunday newspapers, I sure hope I hear the echoes of their little voices, a reminder I was once their working Grandma.
It's that time of year again, and we're very excited. Starting this week, we will be publishing the entries for our Annual Scary Story contest, and they are really great.
We'll also be holding a Halloween photo contest on Facebook; you can email your favorite Halloween photo to email@example.com. 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.
There's still time to enter our Halloween Cover Contest. Your best Halloween artwork could be on the cover of The Wanderer, and you could win an iPad mini! Submit your best Halloween drawing, photo, compilation, or anything else we can print on our cover to enter. Deadline for submitting artwork is Friday, October 17 at noon. Online voting will take place from October 19 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.
So let the fun begin. Here's this week's selection from our Halloween Story Contest!
Halloween Story Contest #1
Two Little Kids Go Into The Woods
One spooky night, when the wind was howling, there was a little boy and girl, who were brother and sister, and they were walking in the woods all ALONE!!! Suddenly they found a house out of nowhere. They were awfully scared because the house was old with no steps on it and there were spider webs all over the roof BUT Jack went in there anyway so Sally followed him in so he would not get lost.
Jack and Sally saw spider webs everywhere! Spiders were hanging down from the webs, big, black, hairy ones! They were spooked and wanted to get out of that room. Sally found an upstairs so they both went up. While they were walking upstairs Jack and Sally thought about their mom and dad. They wondered if their mom and dad were looking for them, well Jack and Sally were right. Their mom and dad did not know where Jack and Sally were so they called the police. The police did not know why the kids weren't at their home. So the police took some notes. On the other hand, Jack and Sally were still in the house.
Upstairs they found a room that had a stuffed deer, moose, fox, and a large bear. It looked like a haunted museum. This room spooked them even more!
They went down some stairs and down a long, dark hall. It was a good thing they had a flashlight with them. Jack found a garage at the end of the hall so Jack and Sally went in there. They saw tons of antiques. They also found trophies all over the place. Then Jack noticed that pinballs were falling one by one down a ramp on the wall. They thought that that was scary so they were excited to see a different door. That door did not lead to the outside but it led them to a bedroom. The lights were flickering on and off. Sally thought that was scary and so did Jack. There were snakes in there and Jack could not believe that the snakes were still alive. Sally saw jewels in a box. Jack was looking around and his eye spotted a new door. The new door led Jack and Sally to a maze in the house.
Jack thought the maze was AWESOME but Sally thought that there was going to be something HORRIBLE at the end of the maze. But of course Jack likes to explore so he ran in to the maze and Sally ran as fast as she could after him. When they reached the end of the maze of course they found another door. When they opened that door there was another bedroom but Jack and Sally did not care. Then Sally spotted some more jewels. The jewels were in a lock box but the lock box was open. She had to see the jewels but Jack pulled her out of the other door that was straight ahead of them. They were finally out of that spooky house.
The BAD news was that there was a big, black, bear in front of Jack and Sally! The GOOD news was that he had a chocolate in his pocket. He threw the chocolate as far as he could. The bear ran after the chocolate and Jack and Sally ran the other way as fast as they could! They found their house. Their mom and dad were so happy to see them. They told the police that they could leave and thanked them for their help. Jack and Sally learned their lesson. They said to their mom and dad that they were never going to leave the house unless their parents came with them.
Halloween Story Contest #2
The Haunted House
I could hear the wind breezing through the trees. Tonight was Halloween and I had a plan to enter the haunted house on the corner of Norway Street. I didn't believe it was actually haunted mainly because I don't believe in ghosts, vampires and all that jazz. Tonight I was dressed as a ghost. "DING, DONG, DING, DONG!" That was my friend Elizabeth she decided to come with me. I said bye to my mother and little brother.
We started to go trick-or-treating first. Once we got a bunch of candy we headed down to the next street over, Norway Street, to the corner where the haunted house was. It looked very old. It had spider webs all over it, the windows were all cracked, and there was a rusty swing set in the yard. The wind started to blow softly on the wind chimes but the chimes didn't chime.
Elizabeth and I stepped up on the porch stairs. The stairs screeched and made Elizabeth and I jump high in the air. When I knocked on the door it just opened! We stepped inside. There was covered up furniture and a bunch of dust and spiders. Every step we took we could hear cracks and creaks in the floor. We turned down the dark, creepy, and dusty hallway. The walls looked like they were falling forwards and then backwards again. We could hear voices but couldn't see anything. At the end of the hallway there was a door, my hand reached to open it but before I could Elizabeth stopped me. She said, "Maybe this isn't a good idea after all!"
I ripped my hand out of Elizabeth's and before she could stop me I quickly opened the door. It was pitch black. As we were about to step inside we found a flashlight on the nightstand next to the door. I grabbed it, turned it on, and walked through the door. Elizabeth wasn't too thrilled to go into a dark room but I made her come anyway. I pointed the flashlight around the room. There was dust, cobwebs, dusty furniture, and a rocking chair. In the corner of my eye the rocking chair started rocking! We jerked our heads around but nobody was in the rocking chair! We ignored the rocking chair and started to the next door.
I opened the door and it made the sound of creaking. I peaked inside while Elizabeth followed. When we finally got the courage to step inside I pointed my flashlight around the room, it looked like a little girl's room. There was an old rocking horse, bed, toys, bins, cobwebs, and dusty things! The windows looked like they had been closed for years. Then something seemed a little peculiar. We heard singing coming from the corner on the chair. I silently walked towards the chair in the corner. When I got there, there was a jewelry box sitting there. Elizabeth finally got the courage to come check it out. At that moment something opened the door! We screamed and ran before we even could see what or who opened it!
The next door led to a garage. There was a rusty car and a bunch of old rusty and dusty tools. Out of nowhere the car turned on, it freaked us out so we ran through the next door, which finally led us through the back door. After that Halloween night, Elizabeth and I NEVER EVER dared to even go ANYWHERE NEAR that haunted house!
Halloween Story Contest #3
I'm dead. The first thing that I remember is a white light in my eyes. It was so bright that's all you could see. I heard someone talking but I couldn't understand what they were saying. The light moved. Finally, I could see again. I was in a room with bright white cubed like walls. There was a glossy white desk at the front of the room. Behind the desk was a woman. She had big glasses so foggy that you couldn't see her eyes. She was wearing navy blue jeans and a pale green t-shirt. Her lips were moving but couldn't hear what she was saying. Just then, she stepped out from behind the desk and walked over to where I was sitting. She pulled out two rubber neon orange ear plugs from my ears, "that must be better" she said in a light soft voice.
"My name is Jesse and I know everything about you. You look confused ... by the way you are dead."
"What! I'm dead? But I'm only 14 and I have over half my life left. What about my family? How did I die?" I exclaimed.
"That's the problem nobody knows. All we know is somebody murdered you," she said as she got out a stack of papers. Printed on the top paper was Autumn Lucy Hiller, born on October 31, 2015 in Mattapoisett MA. Parents: Alexandra Donahue and Robert Hiller.
"Yup, everything is here, Yup, Yup" Jesse said as she flipped through the stack of papers. "Okay here's the deal ... If you catch the person who killed you, you will earn a prize. However, you only have four days to solve the mystery. Starting tomorrow, since you need time to rest and adjust. I should probably bring you to your room."
The next day I woke up to the rattle of the breakfast cart. A skeleton was pushing the cart into my room. The skeleton stopped and looked at me and said in a hazy voice, "You are going to the human world. Nobody can see you unless they believe in you. The first clue is a name, Derk Von Bob. If you succeed you will win a prize. Go, go, go!"
Poof! I landed in a cemetery. There was a large crowd around a stone. I wanted to check it out. I could not tell if I was crying or just had watery eyes. The gravestone said Autumn Lucy Hiller. Born October 31, 2015. Died October 26, 2029. Just then, I saw a black flash go by. I turned my head. I saw a man about 100yards away. I could not make out the description of the face but I knew who it was. It was the murderer checking on his dirty work. I headed towards him but then he vanished into thin air. I ran to the place where Derk vanished.
"I wish I had a mystery kit." Sparkling dots appeared around my waist. The dots transformed into a dark leather brown belt. I looked down. There on the ground tucked safely between the scarlet maple leaves laid a dark green cork screw bottle. I reached down and picked up the bottle. I brushed off the dust and popped it open. A dirty piece of stained ripped parchment was in the bottle. I sniffed the stains. The smell of strong red wine entered my nose. I unrolled the paper.
It said: 1 Homestead Court, Barrows Cemetery. To Derk Von Bob, The murder case is closed, we've got the money. From Billy Bob Jr.
"Oh I don't think so. The murder case is only about to begin!" I said in a murderous voice.
I zoomed over creeks and through woods. Finally I arrived at a huge pearly white mansion. I tested out the wall and fell right through on top of mounds of money. It was an astronomical amount of money. All of a sudden the money slid from beneath me. I fell right through the floor into a fancy room. A man stood facing the wall. He wore a velvet trimmed coat and a silky red bow tie. "I was expecting you, Derk" he said in a deep voice.
I looked through my mystery belt and I found a voice potion clipped on. Written on the bottle was Are you in need for voice imitating? Try this.
I will give it a try, I thought.
I took a swallow and spoke in a deep smooth voice. I said "the money ... I need the money."
"Derk, I already told you the money is mine. All mine. All Billy Bob Jr's," he replied.
I looked down at the belt where I saw silver handcuffs and a glossy white gun with a huge black net attached at the end. The paper on the gun read, "We'll send people to the After Life."
I walked up to him but he could not see me. I scanned him for weapons but there were none. I pounced on him and tied his arms behind his back. Once the cold metal of the handcuffs touched his ghostly hands, he struggled to free himself. He screeched "Let me go, let me go Derk!"
"I'm not Derk. I'm Autumn Lucy HILLER" I said in a clear confident voice.
From the way his eyes widened, I could tell he could NOW see me. I stepped back and shot my gun. The net spiraled wrapping itself around him. The material turned purple and he screamed in pain as the material burned his ghostly skin.
Just then a dark curly haired man leapt out of nowhere with a knife. He pierced Billy's cold heart. Just as he vanished.
"Derk?!" I said.
"Oh I am so sorry Autumn. Billy Bob Jr made me do it," he said in a soothing voice.
"WHAAAAT?" I said.
I couldn't believe my ears.
"Yeah, he threatened me. And then took control over me so that I would kill you," he said in a grim voice.
"I can't believe it's you," I said. And saying those words made my heart glow. "Wait a moment ... you're a ghost, too?"
"Yeah, I killed myself after I killed you. I felt so bad," he said.
Just then we glowed and shimmered and turned into humans again.
And so we lived happily ever after as human.
That was the story of how I died.
Halloween Story Contest #4
The Jack O Lantern Gossipers
It was the night of Halloween when our owner brought us outside to be lit. She lit us and then the magic happened we could talk!
It was me who first found out we could talk when I was thinking about how fun Halloween can be and poof the words just came out.
My brother Jack and sister Jackie both asked "Jacqueline wait we can talk?"
I said "I did not know that Jack O Lanterns could talk either when they are lit. Let's have some fun when the kids come by, by talking to them about their costumes."
"Okay" my brother and sister both said.
A few minutes later I suddenly got hot. I asked my relatives if they were hot too.
Jack said "Yes."
Jackie told me "I think the candle makes us like this and when it gets cold we warm up. Also, I think it gets warm because the fire in us is warm but helps people see us in the dark."
Me and Jack both said "that seems reasonable."
A few minutes later the trick or treating began. The first kid was dressed up as a hippie and Jack said to him "What is this the 80s?" That kid ran off crying to his mommy. His mom asked "Joey are you okay what happened up there?"
Joey said, "That pumpkin talked to me, he said, that my outfit was from the 80s!"
Joey's mom said, "that's not true honey. It was probably just a little trick. There is probably a person using a microphone to scare the little kids. If you don't want candy from that house then we can go to the next."
So little Joey went to the next house for his candy. Then a little witch about 9 years old came and I said to her "Oh look, how cute now only if you were ugly you could look like a real witch." After I said that I said that it was not as scary as I thought because that meant she was cute. Darn it!!
The night went on and we decided to comment on this little 11 year old zebra by saying "What happened to you did you try to frost the cake and it went wrong?"
That little girl was the toughest all night she said "No what happened to you did you try to dye your hair and miss the head because you are all orange?"
We all said "No!"
That little girl went to go get her candy and got extra candy because she was the last kid of the night.
Once she left we said our goodnights to everyone and then fell asleep for our Halloween hibernation when we go to sleep and next Halloween we wake up and start a new life.
Halloween Story Contest #5
The Ghost of Mattapoisett
Long ago, in the Medieval times of Mattapoisett, lived a ghost who would terrorize the whole town. He would distract kids in Center School, mix up the books in the library, and put detour signs in the street, and many other bad things. Everyone hated this ghost, and they finally had a meeting to decide what to do. One person said, "Let's destroy him!" Another said, "Let's trap him!" The mayor knew this would not stop him. So, the ghost was still at work terrorizing the whole town. The worst was when he mixed up the street signs on one way streets, causing a major accident. The mayor of Mattapoisett would not let this happen anymore.
"This is Mattapoisett, we will not let this ghost terrorize us anymore!" So, the whole town of Mattapoisett came together to decide what to do. The ghost was nowhere to be seen. The mayor started the meeting by saying, "we can stop this ghost with your help if--" Suddenly, the doors flew open and a huge gust of wind ripped through the building, causing all of the papers to fly up and create a tornado above the tables. Everyone looked up in confusion. A second gust of wind followed, causing all of the people to fall off their feet. All of a sudden, the ghost could be seen cackling as he caused destruction. Then the winds died. The mayor's voice boomed from the rubble, saying, "That was the ghost!"
After the shouting and mayhem quieted down, a much quieter voice came from the other side of the room saying, "Mayor, I have an idea, why don't we scare the ghost away?"
"He's on to something!" the mayor responded. Everyone considered this idea. The mayor started talking again. "Okay, we know the plan, but what should we do to scare him off?" Everyone started to talk. Finally someone said, "Let's build an animal to scare him away!
"How about a moose?" someone suggested.
"No, not a moose" the mayor said. "But an animal would be good." Suggestions rang through the building: duck, deer, fish. The mayor thought that these were all terrible ideas. But he did like an ocean creature. He told his thoughts to the crowd. More shouts broke out. One person said, "How about a jellyfish?" Next came suggestions of a tuna, an octopus, and a seahorse.
"Wait," the mayor shouted. "I like the seahorse idea, who said that?"
A thirteen year old boy raised his hand. "Me, sir."
"Well, you're a brilliant young man." the mayor said. Many people disagreed.
"A seahorse? Have you gone crazy mayor?" Nobody was on the mayor's side.
The mayor stood up. "This is Mattapoisett, we should be unique! I truly believe the ghost will be afraid of the seahorse!" Oddly, everybody seemed to agree with this. So after of month of building, the seahorse was completed. Because of the ocean, the seahorse was named Salty. "Salty the Seahorse" the mayor said as he beamed up at him. "You should do the trick." That night, the ghost took one look at Salty and scrammed, and never bothered Mattapoisett again.
Halloween Story Contest #6
Sally the Witch
There once was an ugly witch named Sally. Sally looked like a toad but taller. She was a bad witch. She haunted children, killed cute animals for no apparent reason, and ate disgusting lizard legs for dinner.
One day she was taking a walk (scaring children too), when she heard wailing. The witch followed the wailing to a big maple tree. She couldn't see what was wailing, but she thought it was a baby ghost, because she had studied ghosts. She really wanted to meet this ghost, so she ran quickly to her so called house. The reason she wanted to meet the ghost so badly was that she needed a minion, and baby ghosts are stupid. The witch made a potion that allowed her to see ghosts. When she stepped outside she felt like she was in a whole different world! There were ghosts everywhere! But she knew she was only looking for a wailing baby ghost. She looked everywhere in town. Then she finally found the ghost in an ally. "Hello can I help you?" the witch said. The baby ghost looked at her wondering how she saw him then answered, "Can you help me find my mommy?" "Sure," she said. "How about you come to my house?" Sally said. "O.k" said the baby ghost. They walked onto Sally's house. When they got to the house, Sally made the ghost a drink, but that nasty witch put a potion in! When he drank it, he fell into a deep sleep.
Meanwhile, every year, near Halloween, the kids in the town dare two kids to go inside the witch's house. This year Cam and Max were picked. They were really scared because every year the kids who were picked never came back. So they walked up to the door and then quietly turned the knob. It was open. The witch was home. They had to be very quiet. They heard the witch come downstairs. Cam saw an air vent and they climbed into it. When the witch came downstairs Cam and Max couldn't believe what they saw. All the kids that got dared to go into the witch's house in the past years were there. They seemed to be in a trance because they stood straight up and did whatever the witch said.
When the baby ghost woke up, Sally named him Jack. Jack did whatever Sally said. Every night, Jack would be sent to children's houses to scare the Children and make them drink the juice to make more minions. There would be more and more minions everyday. Cam and Max hid until the witch was asleep. Cam and Max sneaked out of the house. They ran until they couldn't see the witch's house. Then finally Max said "How about we have a sleepover so we can do research?" "O.k" said Cam. So they walked to Max's house. He told his parents that the reason he had been gone so long was that he was at the library and that he saw his friend Cam, and asked if she could sleepover.
They did their research and found out that the witch was a human and then an evil sorcerer came along and made her into an evil witch. They were surprised about that. It also said that the secret to defeat the witch was daisies. She was allergic to them. They looked at each other and then Cam said, "so now we know what to do." "Get daisies!" said Cam. "Do your parents have daisies?" said Cam. "Yes, I will go get them." said Max. So Max went downstairs and got them. When he came upstairs he was holding a vase with purple flowers in it. He set them down on his desk. He checked the time. "Wow, it's really late. We should go to bed." said Max. So they went to bed.
The next morning, the witch had every kid in the world (except for Cam and Max) in her control, because of the juice. The parents were afraid of Sally too. She rounded up all the kids and ordered them to bow before her. Cam walked up to the witch and put the daisies up to the witch's crooked nose, she hit the flowers away and yelled "guards!" Two eleventh graders picked Cam up and tried to make her drink the juice. Before she drank the juice Max thought what about in the wizard of oz? When they defeated the witch by pouring a bucket of water on the witch's head? I should do that! So he saw a water bottle with water in it and picked it up. He ran up to the witch and poured the water on her head she yelled "guar...!" meaning guards, while melting. When she was all melted the kids who were in her control said "what are we going to do?" The eleventh graders let go of Cam, and they ran to the witch's house without looking back. When they got to the witch's house they found the potions book. It was open in front of them they saw the page that turned the kids back to normal. They made 9,200,000 gallons of the potion. Then they ran back to the park. They handed the cups of water out and then all the kids turned to normal and a lot of people said, "What just happened?" They lived happily ever after and all the kids were safe.
Warrant Gets Finishing Touches
Mattapoisett Finances Committee
By Marilou Newell
The Mattapoisett Finance Committee put its finishing touches on the Special Town Meeting warrant during their October 14 meeting focusing on Article 2 and Article 15. Principal Assessor Kathleen Costello was in attendance for the discussion.
First up for discussion was Article 2: Interest Reduction on Senior Deferred Taxes. At a previous meeting, Costello asked the committee to considering reducing the interest rate from 8% to some lesser number. After researching what other cities and towns in the area are using as a number, she asked FinCom to change the rate to 4%. She said that presently there are only two residents who are in a deferred status and that the change would equate to a loss of only $157 per year. She felt strongly that senior citizens be allowed this option while noting that most "hate" the idea of deferring taxes, which automatically allows the town to place a lien on their property. Those that do opt to defer property taxes were not doing so lightly, she explained.
"Younger people have many years to recover (financially) from doing this (using one of the other deferral programs available), but older people do not," Costello said when a member suggested seniors were getting something that unemployed younger people could not have. Presently, the Town's tax deferral programs include military service personnel on active duty, sewer betterments, and some qualifying health considerations. FinCom moved to ask voters to reduce the interest rate from 8% to 4%.
Article 15: Authority To Negotiate Pilot Agreement deals with the issue of how to impose levies on alternative energy enterprises such as solar farms. The acronym 'Pilot' stands for 'Payment in lieu of taxes.' Calling it a "good way to protect the town," Costello asked FinCom to approve her request to "authorize the Board of Assessors pursuant to Massachusetts General Law Chapter 59 ... to enter into agreements with solar power generation companies, for the purpose of having a payment in lieu of taxes agreement relative to the valuation and assessment of property and improvements in the property..."
Adoption of this article would allow Costello's office to negotiate a flat annual fee for lands used in solar production via a binding contract for the length of the land rental agreement. In this way, she explained, the Town would be guaranteed payment(s) regardless of who the owner/operator of the solar production might be in the future. This received positive approval from the committee.
Now that FY14 has closed, Town Administrator Michael Gagne shared a working balance sheet that shows the Town will have an estimated $1.7 million in local receipts once the state certifies the records. This number is slightly ahead of estimated receipts that were pegged around $1.4 million.
With this work now behind them, Mattapoisett's FinCom will begin scoping out the 2015 budget on November 19 at 6:00 pm.
Article Removed From Warrant Last Minute
Rochester Planning Board
By Jean Perry
A Special Town Meeting article pertaining to an amendment to the table of contents of the Town's Zoning Bylaws has been taken off the warrant and tabled until the Annual 2015 Town Meeting after Rochester Planning Board members voted to revisit the zoning bylaw book and restructure its contents.
The article proposed eliminating Roman numerals and replacing them with Arabic numerals, but with Planning Board Chairman Arnold Johnson's suggestion that several bits of miscellaneous bylaws that do not belong in the zoning bylaws be included in their own section at the back of the book, things could get complicated on Town Meeting floor proposing an amendment to the article.
"There's a lot of things that are in the Zoning Bylaws book that are not [zoning] bylaws" said Johnson. "So we're suggesting that we pull them out." Johnson looked at it as more of a "one-stop document" than merely a book of zoning bylaws.
Town Counsel Blair Bailey agreed that the bylaws were "interspersed and hard to follow."
Zoning Board of Appeals and Zoning Bylaw Committee Chairman Richard Cutler commented that he encountered dog regulations in the book that he did not even know existed.
"I just think we're gonna actually reshuffle the whole deck again," said Johnson regarding amending the article on Town Meeting floor.
The board agreed that, after all the hard work that went into amending the zoning bylaws, it would rather do it right the first time rather than confuse the matter on October 20. The board voted to make changes now and wait until the Annual Town Meeting in May to place the article on the warrant.
Two of the other articles will require slight amendments on Town Meeting floor relative to their numbering as Arabic numerals instead of the proposed Roman numerals.
In other matters, with no further discussion, the board approved the site plan for Colbea Enterprises LLC's filling station/convenience store/coffee drive-thru on Cranberry Highway at the intersection of Routes 58 and 28.
"We're just excited and anxious to get going," said Colbea Chief Executive Officer Delli Carpini."
There were thank-yous aplenty before Carpini and his associates left Town Hall.
Also during the meeting, the board had a brief discussion with a representative of the Pines at Hathaway Pond regarding the construction of bulkheads on preexisting condominiums at the development.
Several of the final dwellings built were constructed with bulkheads that provide access to the outside from the basement, which owners of already-constructed units are now requesting.
Town Counsel Bailey clarified some points regarding the master deed, stating that the Home Owner's Association would have to invest in an engineer before installing any further bulkheads.
The next meeting of the Rochester Planning Board is scheduled for October 28 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.
Quorum Issues Force Continuance
Marion Zoning Board of Appeals
By Marilou Newell
The October 9 meeting of the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals was the first time in collective memory that they failed to reach a quorum. Though calls were placed to board members, a lack of response and a ticking clock forced Secretary Anne Marie Tobia to review Robert's Rules, since no one could remember the correct course of action to take when a quorum isn't reached.
But given the smoldering neighborhood opposition to the only hearing on the agenda, residents were still ready to ask questions of those members who were in attendance - Eric Pierce, John Sylvia, and Tom Cooper.
The project that has inspired such distaste is a condominium planned for 16 Cottage Street by builder/developers Sippican Preservation LLC, whose partners are Christian Loranger and Albert Meninno Jr. They planned this return visit to the ZBA to share modifications to the parking scheme proposed for the site. A previous meeting with the ZBA had sent them back to the drawing board for this aspect of the project only.
Once it was announced by Chairman Pierce that the meeting would have to be rescheduled, the applicants began packing up their presentation materials. However, the residents who had come to voice their concerns were not ready to go home.
With no requirement to address the chairman by giving their name and address, one resident asked about the parking, saying that the street was already congested. Again, Pierce said there wasn't a meeting so any comments or answers voiced on this night would be part of the public record. Another person asked what the next steps would be. Pierce explained the ZBA process, noting that the applicant had a right to come before the board under Bylaw 6.1.3, which in part states a structure may be changed or extended if not detrimental to the neighborhood. He said that once the ZBA renders its verdict, there is a 20-day appeal process that allows any aggrieved party to petition the Town with respect to the ZBA decision.
The structure at this location has for many decades served as an apartment building. An increased number of bedrooms that would equate to more people in the area and a dislike for having a condominium project located near their homes seem to be the sticking points between the developer and the local residents. Pierce said that the Board of Health had already signed off on the project because it would be connected to town sewer and water. He said, "...the Board of Health is not worried about it..."
As part of the public record packet that was made available at the meeting the following residents have submitted written objections to the project: Todd and Shelley Richins, 22 Cottage Street; Daniel Engwert, 7 School Street; Christy and Evan Dube, 9 School Street; Eric and Paula Strand, 3 School Street; Patricia Young, 28 Cottage Street; and Roy Strand, 32 Cottage Street. Their letters all direct the Town's attention to increased traffic and associated safety issues more vehicles may bring to a family neighborhood, stress on utilities, and the 'character' of the town. The opposition letters also question the bylaw intentions in allowing a new structure on the site to be larger than the existing multi-family dwelling.
Meninno said, "We want to be good neighbors and do the right thing, we think the parking changes will help."
The next meeting of the Marion Zoning Board of Appeals is October 23 at 7:30 pm in the Town House conference room.
Students Urge Peers to Attend PCC Program
Old Rochester Regional School Committee
By Jean Perry
Seven Old Rochester Regional High School students that attended the Project Contemporary Competitiveness program all had at least one thing in common - they said it changed their lives for the better.
The students gave a short presentation highlighting their experiences at PCC, a six-week advanced studies residential program at Stonehill College in Easton for students grade eight to nine - and this year grade ten as well - on October 8 before the Old Rochester Regional School Committee.
The 2014 PCC program ran from June 9 to August 9. Students chose two courses of focus from a diverse course catalog with a wide range of engaging topics in science, humanities, the arts, music, psychology, and technology.
Sophomore Mary Roussell said the program went above and beyond her expectations, adding that it was "everything she hoped for and more," promising her peers that if they participated in the program next year, "it will be the best time of your whole life." She also went on about how good the food was there.
"You never feel like you're wasting your time. You're always having fun," said Roussell. "I would not be the person I am today if I didn't attend."
Nicole Ochoa said the program helped her with her struggle with anxiety, despite having dreaded the first day and wishing she did not have to attend.
"It showed me that I shouldn't be afraid of new things," said Ochoa, who took forensic science and drawing. "The last week was horrible for me. I didn't want to leave."
Avery Nugent thinks his freshman year at ORR would have been "a lot different" had he not attended the program, and Erin Burk said she learned that one can make friends in any given situation.
"Everyone accepts you there," said Molly Richards. "And you make a lot of new friends."
Abigail Johnson chose TV production and web design, saying she was able to make a movie and create a website of her own.
"It changed everything for me," Johnson said. "I've learned to be more comfortable with myself ... and learn to accept others."
Superintendent Doug White said ORR is one of only 21 school districts that participate in the PCC program. He is unsure at this time if the program will again extend the opportunity to students entering tenth grade.
In other news, ORR may change the way it conducts its School Choice program lottery, deciding to now hold the lottery earlier in the year rather than later so families know ahead of time before placing their kids in private or vocational schools.
ORR High School Principal Michael Devoll said by the time the school holds the lottery in June, families have already "put their eggs in other baskets" rather than waiting to hear if their child has won a school choice slot at ORR.
"They're just not interested in transferring [at this point] and I don't blame them," said Devoll.
This year, only three of the 11 available school choice slots were filled by July 1 and, with one empty slot still available, Devoll said he is at the end of the waiting list. There were 40 applications last year to fill the 2014/2015 school year slots.
Devoll proposed holding the lottery in March or April instead of June.
White said that holding the lottery earlier might affect budget season planning for the following fiscal year since funds from school choice are included as revenue within the budget. White said he would forward the new policy to the Policy Subcommittee for review.
In other matters, the lines in the ORR cafeteria might move a little bit quicker with a new policy that will create separate lines for students paying with cash and those buying lunch with their prepaid student lunch accounts.
Director of Food Services Caitlin Meagher will try designating two of the four lines to prepaid accounts only, hoping the prepaid lines will move faster and encourage other families to switch to the prepaid account system.
Meagher said she polled students, asking them their reasons for not participating in the school lunch program.
"The length of the lines was the number one answer," said Meagher.
According to Meagher, roughly half the students participating in the program have prepaid accounts. Meagher also said that the school recommends at least 20 minutes of sit down time for students to eat their lunches, which can be difficult sometimes given the length of the lines.
"The hope is to see that speeds things up," said Meagher of the new policy.
The next meeting of the Old Rochester Regional School Committee is scheduled for November 12 at 6:00 pm in the ORR Media Room.
Marion Hires ConCom Assistant
Marion Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell
There is a new face at the Town House in Marion. The Conservation Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals will now have the administrative support they need with the hiring of Donna Hemphill. Only two weeks into her new position, Hemphill has handled numerous departmental documents, attended a ConCom meeting, and sat in on a ZBA session. Hemphill's hours are Monday through Thursday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm and Friday 8:00 am to 3:30 pm.
At the October 8 meeting of the Marion ConCom, six agenda items were swiftly dealt with; however, two were continued until the October 22 meeting. Those two items were: Thomas Stemberg, 114 Point Road, submitting a notice of intent to demolish buildings on the property and construct a single family dwelling; and Kathleen Mahoney, Dexter Road, with a submittal for an RDA.
Matthew and Stephanie Sperry, Converse Road, submitted an RDA that was accepted with standard conditions to construct a new home bordering wetlands.
Dennis and Karen Clemishaw, Perry Lane, with a notice of intent received approval for grading near a bordering wetlands.
Daniel Gibbs, 4 Derby Lane, received approval for an RDA to construct a single family dwelling with a pool; standard conditions were imposed.
Barbara Shea O'Hara, 136 Point Road, submitted an RDA that was approved with standard conditions for the construction of a single-family dwelling.
The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for October 22 at 7:00 pm in the Town House conference room.
Homecoming Excites ORR
By Patrick Briand
Every October, an influx of school spirit sweeps through the halls at Old Rochester Regional High School. Usually taking place in the middle of the month, the Homecoming football game and dance are among the school year's most anticipated events.
Proceeding Homecoming, there will be four 'Spirit Days,' which include themes like 'Pajama Day' and 'Twin Day' that have been historically popular at the High School. These events are designed to build interest in the weekend's events, and of course, inspire school spirit. Spirit Week culminates on Friday afternoon with the Fall Pep Rally and the Homecoming Skits. All students attend the Pep Rally, where recent triumphs of the school's sports teams are celebrated, and both the Jazz Band and school Chorus perform. Each class puts on a skit, which ideally ties in pop culture references and school spirit in an entertaining manner. School administrators determine which skit is the best, and the event successfully promotes the weekend activities to the entire school population.
The highlight of the week for many will be the big home football game that takes place on Friday, October 17. Our Bulldogs, who currently have a 3-2 record, will take on the Wareham Vikings at 7:00 pm. A large crowd is expected to cheer the Bulldogs on to victory. Junior Jacob Castelo voiced his opinion on the big game. "The football games are a great time to hang out with your friends, and if you have friends on the football team, cheer them on," he said.
The following night, the annual dance will take place in the school cafeteria. This extremely well-attended event is a favorite of the student body, especially the seniors who will graduate later this year. Fellow junior Kyle Costa agreed, stating "Homecoming is a good, spirited time for ORR, and the school really comes together."
Olivia Bellefeuille, who recently transferred from a high school in Connecticut, says no one really went to Homecoming at her old school. "I'm looking forward to going, and I'm interested to see how it is here; I've heard a lot of people go. It wasn't popular at my old school."
As Spirit Week leads into the football game and dance, the students of ORR are bound to come together and support their school. Check back next week for a recap of all the Homecoming events.
Captains' Leadership Program
Tabor Academy News
By Julia O'Rourke
A key point in the Tabor education is to learn the skills of being a good leader. The Women's Leadership Program and the annual Leadership Symposium demonstrate this commitment. Another group, the Athletic Team Captains, spend one day a week working on becoming better leaders. Captains are recognized as leaders of their respective teams, but behind the scenes they are working together to share their experiences and improve their leadership skills.
Assistant Athletic Director Kelly Walker has been in charge of this program, and recently instituted weekly meetings. Before practice at the start of each week, the captains gather to discuss the highs and lows of their most recent week of practices and competition. Although different teams face different challenges, the captains can often relate to the difficulties that other teams face. This meeting period is one of preparation and of reflection in which the student-leaders try to plan ahead on how to improve their team's performance and morale, but they also sort through the effective components of their leadership.
The fall captains have been working since preseason on personal and team goals that they have for the season with their coaches and co-captains. The meetings will continue with the group of captains for each of the remaining seasons.
The initiative shown by the student-leaders and faculty within the Tabor community to improve leadership is one that will certainly be essential to future success.
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