REGAIN Addiction Support Group

The REGAIN addiction support group ministry is hosting a no-cost event that is open to the public on February 21 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the Council on Aging, 17 Barstow Street, Mattapoisett. There will be a state certified addiction-training instructor at the event. Questions that will be answered:

– Do you know of someone or are living with a loved one with an opiate addiction?

– How can you tell if they are suffering from an addiction?

– What should you do?

– Where can the family and the individual get help?

– How can you give someone another chance at life to change and overcome their addiction?

Seats are limited, so please call and be part of the recovery process.

For more information: 774-328-6196, email healing@regainsupport.com, Facebook: regain addiction support group.

Gateway Youth Hockey

Squirts: The Gladiator Squirts rebounded from last weekend’s loss with an 11-0 win over the Cyclones on Sunday. Down three players, the Gladiators played hard throughout the game. Brayden Cannon led the Gladiators with an all-out offensive attack resulting in five goals and three assists. Thomas Carrico (2 goals & 2 assists), Liz Kilpatrick (2 goals & 2 assists), Patrick Duggan (1 goal & 2 assists) and Ben Hebbel (1 goal & 2 assists) all contributed in the scoring attack. The remaining Gladiators – Brayden Hathon (2), Pat Tripp (2), Kevin Place and Mike Brown – all contributed with assists. In net, Nate Wilson recorded the shutout with 12 saves.

Bantams: The Gladiators Bantam team got back to winning this week, beating Milton 4-1. Quirino doCanto started the scoring less than a minute into the game, beating the Milton goalie after stealing a pass. Tyler Lovendale scored the next two goals, both on some nice passing from Robert Maloney and doCanto. The last goal was scored by doCanto, set up by Maloney and Lovendale. Alex DeMarco played well in net, making 19 saves.

Snow Storm No Problem For Tri-Town

What do you get when cars are kept off the road, when schools are closed, and most of the snow falls during the daylight hours? You get very happy police chiefs.

A quick round up of impressions from the Tri-Town police chiefs found each one very happy that nothing bad, or really bad that is, happened during the February 9 snowstorm.

Certainly, the constant news coverage advising people to stay home if at all possible – a very heavy drumbeat that both Governor Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pounded into residents – helped. And here in our little patch, it seems that most people complied.

The Old Rochester Regional school district announced school closures late Wednesday evening that also contributed to making the storm event uneventful for nearly everyone.

In Rochester, Police Chief Paul Magee said, “Everything was excellent in large part to people staying off the roads.” He said one car did lose control and hit a tree, but damages were low and no one was hurt. Magee also said that a few spinouts occurred but, “No cars on the road made a difference.”

Police Chief Mary Lyons in Mattapoisett said, “It was a breeze!” She agreed that low vehicle volumes coupled with school closings made a big difference. Lyons said, “No trees came down, there weren’t any fires – no problems to speak of.”

Marion’s Police Chief Lincoln Miller shared the same sentiments.

“It was very quiet … a couple of spinouts, pulling people out of snow drifts…” but nothing major to report. Miller also attributed the peaceful result to people staying off the roads.

Though it seems like a simple thing, the take away from these three safety officers is worth repeating: when it’s snowing, “stay home.”

By Marilou Newell

 

Rochester to Accept Good Friday Off

Without relinquishing their stance that Good Friday should remain a full school day, members of the Rochester School Committee have decided to acquiesce to the school administration’s recommendation to restore Good Friday as a day off from school “for the good of the community” and the school in general.

Having faced strong opposition over the past two years since school doors opened on the religious day of observance, the Rochester School Committee agreed that energy spent debating the matter is better spent elsewhere.

“I made my feelings known that I didn’t think it was appropriate to have a religious holiday off,” said Chairman Tina Rood, referring to the last time she attended the Joint School Committee meeting and the issue was resurrected.

This school year on Good Friday school doors will be closed, a decision arrived at last year when Joint members acknowledged that Good Friday comes on the last day before April vacation. The decision to close school that day was, in essence, a slight extension to the April break.

Over the past two years, absenteeism has been high on Good Friday for both students and staff, with the district unable to find enough substitute teachers and paraprofessionals to cover for absent staff.

The Rochester School Committee has all along maintained its stance on keeping religion separate from public schools, but it now concedes that continuing to hold classes on Good Friday might be to the detriment of the students.

School Committee member Sharon Hartley lamented that the issue has become a contentious one between those who want Good Friday off and the school committee members who want to see school open that day.

“It’s too bad,” said Hartley. “We should be able to come to a cohesive decision and support each other. I feel that that is a detriment to our schools…”

Superintendent Doug White said the struggle is real to find substitute teachers on a daily basis, let alone on a day when so many staff members choose to stay home given the opportunity to do so for religious observance.

“When we add a day like this and teachers have the opportunity to take this day [off]… we feel that we’re really stretching our personnel,” White said.

Hartley added, “We need to be able to come to resolution together about it. We can’t go on…. I just feel that it’s not healthy.”

Robin Rounseville concurred, agreeing that Good Friday should not be a day off. She said she preferred the day be handled differently, calling the result a “wishy-washy” day when students and staff weren’t sure if they had to truly come to school, and important exams could not be held, lest absent students be punished for observing Good Friday.

“And I can appreciate the point that [White] brought up about finding substitutes,” said Rounseville.

At this point in time, said Hartley, “…For the good of the community,” the committee should accept Good Friday as a day off from school.

There will be other battles for the school committee to fight in the future, said Rounseville. “We ought to just save our energy for those.”

The next meeting of the Rochester School Committee is scheduled for March 23 at 4:30 pm at the ORRJHS media room.

By Jean Perry

 

Mattapoisett Map-A-Palooza

Join the fun at Mattapoisett Map-A-Palooza. Come to 5 Church Street in Mattapoisett from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on Thursday, February 23. The Mattapoisett Historical Society, the Mattapoisett Land Trust and Matt Rec will host a school vacation event involving games, landmark hunting, map making and map swapping. This hands-on learning event is geared toward children ages 6-12. Participants will create a visual representation of Mattapoisett to be exhibited in the Mattapoisett Historical Society’s summer exhibit. Please register as space is limited; call 508-758-2844 or email mattapoisett.museum@verizon.net.

Young Athletes Program Plunges Forward at Tabor

The Special Olympics Young Athletes Program, now in its second year at Tabor Academy, brings students and cognitively impaired children ages 2-7 together to work on “fundamental skills that will eventually enable them to partake in some sports,” said Tim Cleary, Sophomore Class Dean at Tabor.

The program, which meets from 2:00 – 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoons in the Fish Center for Health and Athletics, is “facilitated, designed, and implemented by students,” Cleary said.

Students comprise the Board of Directors, which runs various events and fundraisers, and students volunteer their time with the young athletes who make the trip to Marion each week.

“There’s not a lot of options near here, especially for young athletes,” said Campbell Donley, a senior and a member of the Board of Directors. “We have people who will drive an hour just to come because it’s not really offered in [their] area.”

The Young Athletes Program is free to participants. Special Olympics Massachusetts organizes – and Tabor Academy hosts – fundraising events like a Field Day in the spring and a Polar Plunge in the winter.

“Things like the Polar Plunge raise money so we can take more athletes in,” said Annalisa Souza, a junior. Souza also happened to be the top fundraiser at this year’s plunge, which was held January 22 at Silvershell Beach.

“As a group, we raised a little over twelve thousand dollars,” said Leah Wolff, a junior, “so that helps like six or seven kids do completely free sports for an entire year.”

This is also the second year that Tabor is running its “R-word Campaign.”

“Last year … we had the whole student body and a lot of parents and other faculty members take part and sign the pledge to … stop using the word ‘retarded,’” said Cleary, “because it’s an ugly word and it’s sort of over-used and inappropriately used across the board.”

Tabor kicked off its R-word Campaign last Sunday and already had between 60 and 70 signatures by the time the young athletes began showing up for their afternoon activities.

By Deina Zartman

Wellspring Farm Gets Peaceful Informal Review

The informal review for Wellspring Farm by the Rochester Planning Board on February 14 was unusually quiet sans any abutters presenting their most recent complaints.

James and Holly Vogel, owners of the 42 Hiller Road therapeutic horseback riding facility and farm, sat ready to answer any questions as attorney George Boerger and engineer Joe Webby gave the informal presentation of the proposed site plan for the commercial business.

Planning Board Chairman Arnold Johnson outlined the scope of the board’s review as mostly traffic, parking, drainage, and screening.

“But we reserve the right to add anything in there that may come up over the course of the hearing,” said Johnson.

One concern was a gravel road – one which engineer Rich Charon explained in a letter on behalf of the Vogels should be sufficient enough for the proposed operations at the site – that would be limited to exiting traffic.

Boerger said the Vogels propose grading and resurfacing the gravel, also a concern from the Zoning Board of Appeals who have already granted their permit for the project.

A designated entrance and exit is proposed so that vans and buses can pull in and drive right through. Neighbors have expressed concerns about the noise of alarms sounding from vans and buses in reverse.

Also, parking on Hiller Road has been curbed with the placement of ‘No Parking’ signs, with parking redirected into the property.

“We’re going to be asking you to provide parking counts and we’re going to need to verify those as well,” said Johnson. How many cars come in there on a daily basis, at what times, and other relevant information, added Johnson.

Planning Board member Gary Florindo brought up the idling of diesel engines, which has been a complaint of abutters in the past.

“Idle time should be at a minimum,” said Florindo. “That annoys the neighbors…. Sound does travel.”

Vogel said he had already posted ‘No Idling’ signs at the site in order to comply with the ZBA conditions of the permit. Some vehicles may start up a bit early to warm up the interior before the children board, but other than that, said Vogel, “We don’t idle.”

“We’re interested in vehicle trip [number counts],” said Johnson. “That’s how we’re going to determine everything.”

Locations for drop off and pick up will have to be clearly marked on the site plan.

Webby, during his presentation, said one reason why the design stage has been slow is due to the above-mentioned gravel road within the 25-foot no-touch wetlands zone. Until they were able to assess when it was created and whether it was properly permitted, no one was certain on which way the design would go.

“Now that we have a report confirming that the base of the road is good and properly permitted through conservation,” said Webby, “We can now enter the design mentality…”

Screening could be added in addition to the ZBA’s conditions, said Johnson, but at the very least, the Planning Board would have to honor the ZBA requirements.

“All the screening is consistent with what the ZBA required,” said Boerger.

Boerger said one neighbor specifically requested to not install a fence that would block a view of the tree canopy from their property. The Vogels said they wish to accommodate the neighbor, but the request must be approved by the ZBA first.

As the presentation wrapped up, Johnson said, “The reason for this meeting is to try and get most of this out there before you get too far along in the development of the project.”

Johnson said this site plan review was an “extensive application” that covers some “big stuff and small stuff,” specifying a need to make clear bullet point remarks in the narratives.

Another non-contiguous parcel was discussed, for which the Vogels currently have no plan to expand or change. The parcel, located further down Walnut Plain Road, is used on occasion for experiential therapy for children who have little experience in a woodland setting.

The Planning Board stated that it would continue to require the mandatory 40-foot apron along the road, despite a proposal to limit it to 20 feet.

“I don’t think we’ve ever waived the forty-foot,” said Johnson. The board concurred.

With no further questions, and without a peep from the audience, Johnson reminded Boerger that the board requires a two-week public notification before a public hearing, so a formal site plan review filing should be done sooner rather than later.

The next meeting of the Rochester Planning Board is scheduled for February 28 at 7:00 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

By Jean Perry

An Early February Break Delights at ORR

New England weather events and one New England sports event in particular happened to give students and teachers a reprieve from school a week ahead of schedule.

The first day off for a group of students was the previous Tuesday. While school was in session, several skipped the day and took the commuter train up to Boston to join over one million other fans at the New England Patriot’s Super Bowl victory parade.

Although it was her first time in attendance, junior Madison Carvalho said the experience was a lot of fun and “definitely worth it.”

“It was absolutely insane. The crowd was amazing, seeing all the players and staff was really cool, and the best part was just being a part of a once-in-a-lifetime event,” said Evan Costa, another junior.

While it might be a more regular occurrence for the current times, it certainly is one of those events to take advantage of being nearby.

Sunny and in the high 50 degrees, Wednesday did not show any signs of impending snow. However, the district-wide half-day brought along the feelings of vacation sooner than expected. Students were ecstatic when the call went out that night announcing the snow day.

“Whenever there’s extreme inclement weather, the thought of cancelling or delaying school is part of my preparation for the start of my day,” Superintendent Doug White stated. “As superintendent, I have to always be concerned about the safety of the students and staff. I work very closely with school and town personnel to understand the conditions of the facilities and the roads.”

White also stated that he communicates with other school superintendents to compare how various districts in the area are responding before using all the information gathered “to either cancel or delay school on the basis of timing of the weather as to whether it will be safe for all students and staff to travel to and from school.”

“I have to defer to those above me, but if it’s about the safety of kids, I have no problems about [school being cancelled],” Vice Principal Mike Parker said about the subject. “It’s a very tough call with regional schools, especially with three towns, because what’s happening in Rochester isn’t necessarily happening in Marion.”

Although flakes didn’t begin to fall until mid-day on Thursday, the administrative decision to cancel school was without a doubt the right call. Having many student and parent drivers off the road and out of the rapidly deteriorating conditions that afternoon helped keep the community safe, a reason why it was appropriate to have school off on Friday, as well. Even if major roads in the Tri-Town had been plowed by Friday morning, many smaller streets and driveways were still blocked by snow.

Students in the junior high and high schools were greeted with a two-hour delayed start on Monday morning as well, after road conditions in the early hours remained questionable. The previous day had created a thick icy layer on many roads, including North Street in Mattapoisett, as one junior high parent pointed out. The extra time before the start of school ensured safer conditions for buses and cars traveling to any of the area’s schools.

In addition to giving a four-and-a-half day weekend to the district, the snowstorm also provided a reprieve from the flu and norovirus that are currently spreading around the SouthCoast. The extended weekend from school gave students’ immune systems a chance to rest from being on the defense from the viruses passed along through coughing and sneezing onto the many shared surfaces in the buildings.

While safety due to the winter storm may have been the main reason behind the snow days, the district also provided a beneficial break in which to help stop the spread of the flu and norovirus.

By Jo Caynon

 

Healthy Tri-Town Coalition Discussed

While maintaining cost controls and balancing budgets for the financial health of the community is paramount to all Mattapoisett municipal managers, having healthy residents also ranks high.

During her budget presentation to the Mattapoisett Finance Committee on February 8, Library Director Susan Pizzolato spoke to that issue.

Pizzolato discussed her participation in the Healthy Tri-Town Coalition, a group directed by ORR Assistant Superintendent Elise Frangos. The coalition unites educators, police, physicians, nurses, parents, and students to address, discuss, and provide positive support to those dealing with domestic abuse, drug use, LGBT issues, and mental health concerns.

Pizzolato said, “People trust our library staff.” She said the staff is sensitive to the needs of the community, and provides confidential guidance to visitors who need materials on such topics as LGBT, drugs, sexual assault, and other sensitive matters. She said she was very pleased to participate in the program and was impressed with the other members.

“It’s so critical today – we need all hands on deck,” said Town Administrator Michael Gagne.

Everyone in attendance lauded the services available at the library as Pizzolato provided statistics that showed 87% of residents hold active library cards, 79,000 library visits per year, 284 programs, as well as technology, reading and writing, and financial literacy tutoring.

Pizzolato said that the 3D printer acquired by the library has been a big hit with everyone in the community, but especially with school age children.

She also said that visitors could borrow Wi-Fi hot spots from the library during extended stays in town.

The library budget Pizzolato presented for FY18 stands at $457,983 versus FY17 $435,232.

Gagne called Pizzolato “a real twenty-first century librarian” who runs a 21st century library.

Also meeting with the Finance Committee was Water & Sewer Superintendent

Henri Renauld, whose message was very clear – additional staffing is necessary.

Renauld explained that both water and sewer personnel are deployed interchangeably to maintain plants and pumps, but with new wells and state requirements for staffing, a full-time position was necessary.

“We have to staff everyday,” Renauld told the committee members. He said that the water and sewer staff rotate weekends in order to maintain 24-7 coverage.

But committee Chairman Pat Donoghue questioned the logic and cost.

“We were told that with the new meter system we were going to save money,” Donoghue said. “Shouldn’t there be less pressure on staffing? Why isn’t there a reduction in personnel?”

Chuck McCullough, who assists the Water & Sewer Department in financial planning and long-range goals, responded, “With the old system, we drove around twice a year … it was very labor intensive. With the new system, we read meters every four to six weeks. We are able to identify domestic leaks.”

He said that by quickly identifying leaks, the town is able to conserve water and save customers money.

Donoghue said, “So you’re saying it’s better customer service versus cost savings.”

McCullough concurred.

Renauld said that presently he has 5.5 staff members in the field, one full-time clerk, and two part-time operational staff members, McCullough and former superintendent Nick Nicholson. The department’s FY18 budget reflects rounding out staffing to a total of six.

Regarding the water department, he said that 22 million gallons of drinking water are processed servicing three towns with a new well coming on-line that will provide 400,000 gallons per day for Mattapoisett alone in emergency situations.

In other areas of his budget, Renauld pointed to cost savings in communication and gasoline consumption.

But regarding the prolonged drought, Renauld reminded the committee it affects sewer costs. Mattapoisett’s flow ownership increased as a direct result of the drought resulting in $50,000 in additional sewer treatment expenses.

The estimated FY18 sewer department budget is $724,709, over FY17 at $674,775.

The water department budget also reflects decreases in gasoline, electrical, and professional consulting services, bringing the FY18 estimated total to $1,361,869 versus FY17 $1,340,621.

However, towards the end of his presentation, Renauld warned of upcoming expenses. He said that sewer treatment plant upgrades in Fairhaven will cost Mattapoisett $939,000. He plans on petitioning voters at Town Meeting to cover that cost with a 20-year bond.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Finance Committee is scheduled for Thursday, February 16, at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.

By Marilou Newell

 

Joseph P. McCarthy

Joseph P. McCarthy, 97, of Annapolis, MD, formerly of Rochester, MA died Feb. 17, 2017 in Annapolis, MD. He was the husband of the late Marie R. (Florentine) McCarthy and the son of the late James W. and Catherine (Bagley) McCarthy.

He was born in New York, New York and lived in Rochester for many years before moving to Annapolis.

Mr. McCarthy worked as a Draftsman for Sperry Rand Company in Syosset, NY for 30 years before retiring.

He enjoyed his family, traveling and being the Shine Coordinator at the Rochester Senior Center. He was an avid reader and history buff.

He was a member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Rochester, and St. John Neumann Catholic Church in East Freetown.

Survivors include his daughter, Maureen Eschbacher of Annapolis, MD; his son, Joseph G. McCarthy of Medford, NY; a sister, Theresa Sclafani of CT; 3 grandchildren, Tiffany Burch, Linda McCarthy and Joseph McCarthy; 3 great granddaughters, Kaylynne McCarthy, Brynn Burch and Brielle Burch. He was the brother of the late Marie Braun.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 25, 2017 in St. Rose of Lima Church, 282 Vaughan Hill Rd., Rochester. Burial will follow in Rochester Center Cemetery, Rochester.

Arrangements are by the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 2599 Cranberry Hwy., Wareham. For directions and online guestbook, visit: www.ccgfuneralhome.com.