Rochester Tax Notice

Rochester‘s 2016 tax bills were mailed March 25 and are due May 1.

If paying by personal online banking allow sufficient time for the bank to generate a check and mail it to the Town. Please supply sufficient information on the check identifying which bill should be credited.

If you have not received your tax bill in the mail, please contact the Collector’s Office at 508-763-3871 ext. 16 or 10. If you have questions regarding property values and abatements, please contact the Assessor’s office at 508-763-5250.

RLT to Hold Electronics Recycling Event

The RLT will hold an Electronics Recycling Event in conjunction with the Woman’s Club at the Town Hall Annex parking lot, 37 Marion Road on Saturday, April 25 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.

There will be a $15 charge for TVs and $5 charge for monitors, but all other household items, computers, computer components, metal items and appliances are free with donations accepted. The company that does the recycling assesses these fees.

So take the time to clean out the sheds, the cellars and attics and bring those broken and unwanted items that have been weighing you down and get rid of them in an environmentally sound way. Consider this your Earth Day (or month) good deed. For questions, please call 508-763-4223. See you and your unwanted items on April 25.

Free Movie: Last Tuesday of the Month

The Judge (R, 2hr. 22min.) is being shown at the Mattapoisett CoA Senior Center, Center School, 17 Barstow St., on Tuesday, April 28 at 12:00 noon. The free movie is sponsored by the Friends of the Mattapoisett CoA.

The Judge is a film about a big city lawyer, Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home. His estranged father is the town’s judge who is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth. Along the way, he reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

You get two pizza slices for only $2 prepaid. Pay for your pizza at the CoA Senior Center by Monday, April 27. Also call the Senior Center at 508-758-4110 to reserve your seat – we need to know how many chairs to set up.

Reuter Achieves Athletic Honors

Lawrence Academy junior Gabrielle Reuter, completing her second season as a forward for the Spartans’ basketball team, was named for a second year as both All-ISL and NEPSAC Class B All-Star. With a 15.0 ppg average, she ranked 3rd in scoring in the Independent School League this year and has accumulated 804 points during her time on the team.

Her efforts were crucial to a successful season that included winning the annual Groton School/Lawrence Academy Holiday Tournament, for which Gabby was named an All-Star; ranking 3rd in the ISL with a 10-2 record; and ranking 3rd in NEPSAC Class B, competing in the semifinals of the championship and achieving an overall record of 22-4.

On January 19, Gabby’s Spartans competed against Thayer Academy during an invitational fundraising event at Boston Garden that featured eight independent school match-ups and benefitted The Arc of Massachusetts, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the state.

Coach Donna Mastrangelo notes Gabby’s abilities both as an effective scorer and consistent rebounder and says, “Her increased leadership on the court, tremendous hustle, concern for team achievement, and overall vital play were certainly the keys to our success. She led by example during practices and pushed herself to improve upon her own personal performance.”

The daughter of Robert Reuter of Mattapoisett and Denise Reuter of Marion, Gabby also earns ISL recognition as a member of the varsity volleyball team.

School Adopts Military Leave Policy

The ORR school district has never taken an official vote on a military leave policy for employees, so on April 8 the Old Rochester Regional School Committee formally adopted one to address the situation of ORR Math teacher Micah Kidney who serves in the U.S. National Guard.

Superintendent Doug White suggested options such as the use of personal time or paid leave of up to 17 days.

“Do you feel that the 17 days is a sufficient number to meet your needs?” asked School Committee member Paul Goulet.

Kidney, seated in attendance replied, “I think that would be absolutely fair.” Kidney said, while on duty, most soldiers make less than their regular job salaries. “For future soldiers, I would love to see that support.”

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable,” said School Committee member Cheryl Hebert. “I think that it’s invaluable to have people (staff in the military) … as role models, and I would hate to see them suffer any loss.”

Given the choice of the two options, Goulet made the motion to grant military employees authorization to use personal days during military service, in addition to the up to 17 days of paid leave.

In other matters, ORR High School Principal Michael Devoll briefed the committee on a revision to the program of studies to add the school’s first ever Advanced Placement Psychology course.

Devoll said some students currently take honors-level Psychology using the AP-level textbooks and a few sit for the AP exam at the end of the course. Once the interested teachers are certified to teach the AP course, the school can offer it without having to hire any new staff or purchase any new books, Devoll said.

Also during the meeting, the committee renewed the one-year lease contract with the Southeastern Massachusetts Educational Collaborative (SMEC) for classroom space at the high school.

“It’s been a positive experience,” said Devoll. “Everything’s been positive. It’s been a smooth year, and we look forward to continuing that.”

The School Committee was pleased to hear that considering that when it approved the SMEC program last year, Devoll was opposed to the segregated nature of the program, which he said at the time went against the full-inclusion philosophy of the school.

Devoll said that although some students in the SMEC program are still working toward the possibility of attending some regular education classes, most SMEC program students do have lunch in the cafeteria everyday and attend field trips with the general population of students.

The next meeting of the Old Rochester Regional School Committee is scheduled for May 13 at 6:00 pm in the ORR Junior High School media center.

By Jean Perry

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Robert “Bobby Bass” Bastarache

Robert “Bobby Bass” Bastarache, 66, of Acushnet died Saturday April 18, 2015 at home after a short illness surrounded by his family. He was the husband of Louise Racine Bastarache.

Born in Acushnet, the son of the late Joseph Louis and Anna (Leblanc) Bastarache, he lived in New Bedford before moving to Acushnet.

He was a communicant of St. Rose of Lima Church.

Mr. Bastarache was a well-known blacksmith throughout the area for many years. He and his wife formerly owned and operated Earth’s Partner Store in Marion.

He was a graduate of California Polytechincal School as a farrier.

Survivors include his wife, Louise; his children, Eileen Bastarache Pereira and her husband Robert of Marion, Bonnie DaCosta and her husband Mark of Rochester, Rachel Bastarache, Thomas Bastarache, and Rebecca Bastarache, all of Acushnet; his siblings, Joseph Louis Bastarache of North Carolina and Rita Robert and her husband Leo of Pennsylvania; five granchildren, Elizabeth Bastarache, Robert and Emma DaCosta, and Aaron and Ana Pereira; and many nieces and nephews.

He was the grandfather of the late Noah DaCosta.

His Funeral will be held on Thursday April 23, 2015 at 9 AM from the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett, followed by his Funeral Mass at St. Rose of Lima Church, Rochester at 10 AM. Burial will be in Center Cemetery. Visiting hours will be on Wednesday April 22, 2015 from 5-8 PM. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Franciscan Sisters, St. Anthony’s Convent, 106 Bullard St., New Bedford, MA 02746. For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

Champion Tree Challenge for Families

Spring is finally here and vacation is around the corner! If you are looking for a fun outdoor activity for your family over break, the Elizabeth Taber Library and the Sippican Lands Trust have the perfect challenge for you. How about trying to locate some “Champion Tree” species found in Marion’s open spaces?!

The Elizabeth Taber Library, through federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, is offering a program called “My Own Backyard” or “MOBY.” This is an outdoor science program for children and their families. The challenge to locate “Champion Tree” species is one offering within this program.

You simply head to the library, grab a pre-stocked loaner backpack and head out into the woods with your Sippican Lands Trust property map and the form explaining how to measure trees in order to nominate them as “Champions.” Please send all results to the Sippican Lands Trust office at 354 Front Street Marion, MA 02738. The data will be recorded and over time we will see how many champion trees of different species can be found and identified. Good luck hunting!

For more information, please contact Rosemary Grey, the Children’s Librarian at the Elizabeth Taber Library, at 508-748-1252 or Robin Shields, the Executive Director of the Sippican Lands Trust, at 508-748-3080 or info@sippicanlandstrust.org.

Rummage Sale at Mattapoisett Congregational Church

On Saturday, April 25 from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon, the Parish Hall at the church, 27 Church Street, will be open with gently used men’s, women’s and children’s clothing for sale at bargain prices. Also available will be shoes, sweaters, coats, jackets and men’s and women’s suits. In addition, linens are featured – sheets, pillow cases, blankets, towels – and also pocket books, belts, hats, gloves, scarves, socks and ties. Come early for a good selection.

ORRJH Students of the Month

Kevin T. Brogioli, Principal of Old Rochester Regional Junior High School, announces the following Students of the Month for March 2015.

Green Team: Lily Poirier and John Burke

Orange Team: Julia Cabral and Ryan Farias

Blue Team: Hannah Smith and Noah Maxwell

Red Team: Emma Quirk and Liam Stuart

Special Areas: Madeleine Root and Cole Ashley

Town Budget Gap Nearly Closed

The Rochester Board of Selectmen tackled a full agenda on April 13, including board reorganization after the reelection of Selectman Naida Parker and the ascendancy of Selectman Richard Nunes to the chair. Town Administrator Michael McCue was the first to congratulate Selectman Parker on her reelection.

During the meeting, McCue informed the board that the Finance Committee’s estimate for a 2 percent increase in town employee health benefits was accurate. Until this year, the health benefits have held steady with a 0 percent annual increase.

“The numbers came in as we anticipated,” McCue said.

McCue also announced that he is making progress on the town’s budget.

“We’re trying not to force square pegs in round holes at the moment,” McCue said of the Finance Committee’s challenge of closing the current gap in the budget. “I remain confident that we will close the budget gap in the next week.”

McCue said he would have a completed budget approved or at least submitted by the Finance Committee for the board’s signature at the next selectmen’s meeting on April 27.

While the Comcast contract was an item on the agenda as old business, McCue described the situation as a continuing “saga” and kept discussion to a minimum.

“We’ve been continuing to push our attorney and Comcast,” McCue said, maintaining that Rochester, as well as the towns of Marion and Mattapoisett, have taken every action possible. McCue stressed that Rochester residents will not be in jeopardy of losing their cable service.

In discussing received correspondence on the subject of Braley Hill Road, referring to an agenda item from roughly a month and a half ago, McCue said that the board’s position has remained the same over the past 15 to 20 years. He recommended that the board address this position in a future executive session.

Finally, McCue noted that Rochester residents might have noticed two blue floodlights outside the Town Hall. McCue explained that this action was taken in support of the National Autism Awareness Month, “blue being the color representing autism awareness.” Similar actions are being taken by surrounding towns.

Also during the meeting, Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon was the first to speak to the Board. Chairman Nunes called on Farinon to participate in a “show and tell” about the recent work of the Rochester Conservation Commission. Farinon used the floor to display a current map of the town’s protected areas as well as to share “Explore Rochester,” a booklet of trail guides. The booklet is available to Rochester residents for free. Printed copies are located at the Town Hall Annex, and Farinon explained that residents can also download a copy from the Town website.

“We’ve been working with Old Colony and the graphics department on a digital version,” Farinon said.

McCue asked if there would be a mobile application to go with the digital version, which Farinon affirmed is in the works.

Looking over the materials, Selectman Parker suggested that the Conservation Commission create a tri-fold that would be available at the different properties. Farinon agreed that she could easily design one that would display the large map of Rochester’s protected areas.

“Explore Rochester” is less than a year old, Farinon said, and was made possible by a grant that the Rochester Land Trust had received. While it features 12 of the town’s many protected areas, owned by a range of entities from the Town itself to nonprofit organizations such as the Rochester Land Trust, Mattapoisett Land Trust, City of New Bedford, Wildlands Trust, and the Trustees of Reservations, the upcoming digital version will add more properties.

“I’m hoping to have a second printing,” Farinon said.

Publishing “Explore Rochester” was not the only highlight of the Conservation Commission’s year. Farinon explained that many of the properties have been enhanced for recreational use.

“You’ll probably see when you drive around town that our properties are a lot more visible,” Farinon said. She also cited the introduction of kiosks and display cases at the Dexter Lane and Leonard’s Pond properties. Leonard’s Pond also has a new fence and parking area installation.

“People are really pleased,” Farinon said of residents’ feedback.

Parker praised Farinon and the Conservation Commission’s work.

“That’s a good piece of the town we’ve managed to preserve,” she said.

Farinon also announced that the Conservation Commission will be working on its open space and recreational use plan, which they will submit to Rochester residents for a series of forums in order to seek feedback.

“It can’t just be a document,” Farinon said, citing the need for residents to be informed about the protected areas of their town. The timeline for the open space plan’s review begins in April and concludes in December.

Finally, Farinon updated the board about the potential acquisition of another property for $485,000.

“A good easterly portion has been mapped by the National Heritage and Endangered Species,” Farinon said. “The commission felt after going through all the pluses and minuses … and given that there are key critical properties on the market, they recommend that the Town not exercise its right of first refusal at this time.”

The board wanted to motion to approve the Commission’s recommendation, but will refrain until the Rochester Planning Board has its meeting to discuss the potential acquisition.

The board discussed correspondence from Alan Slavin, Board of Selectmen Chairman for the Town of Wareham. Slavin wrote to the Mass DOT in support of the towns’ joint effort to reclassify County Road for federal funding eligibility. The Rochester Board of Selectmen voted to send a similarly worded letter to the Mass DOT.

In other correspondences, the board reviewed documentation for the Town’s contract to complete pothole repairs after the long, hard winter. The town’s burden totals $45,854.

“The work needs to be done before the end of the fiscal year,” McCue said.

In other matters, Parker said some residents had expressed interest in opening the town election at either 10:00 or 11:00 am, rather than its current 8:00 am poll opening time, which would save $43 an hour for the police officer and between $40 and $50 total per hour for the poll workers. The board agreed to consider changing the poll opening time after they review the opening times of surrounding towns.

The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen is scheduled for April 27 at 6:30 pm at the Town Hall.

By Anne Smith

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