Paul Austin Roche

Paul Austin Roche, 87, of Mattapoisett died on November 25, 2016 after a brief illness at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford.

He was the beloved husband of the late Eleanor Roche for 56 years. He was born in Boston, the son of the late John Roche and Mary (O’Toole) Roche. During his life, Paul lived primarily in Boston, Madison CT, Sudbury and Mattapoisett. He was a parishioner of St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett, and was married there in 1957. He was a graduate of Boston English High School, class of 1947 (where he lettered in track) and Boston College, class of 1955 (Business degree). He proudly served as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps during the Korean War from 1950-1953. He worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years, primarily with Liberty Mutual where he met his wife in 1956.

He leaves his four sons, Brian of Southborough, David and wife Patricia of Southborough, Stephen and wife Donna of Hollis NH, and Christopher and wife Kathleen of Westford; and his sister Barbara of Baldwin, MD. He also leaves 11 grandchildren whose visits he so loved, and many nieces and nephews.

His family will receive visitors at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett on Friday December 2nd from 10-11:30 AM, followed by a 12 PM Funeral Mass at St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett. Burial will follow at St. Anthony’s Cemetery. For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

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Tech Help Desk an Asset to Students, Staff

New to the high school this year, the Student Technology Help Desk has been a beneficial addition to the educational electives available to students and a helpful resource for staff as well.

Led by history teacher Michael Linane, student members from all four grades spend one block of their school day at the help desk answering calls from staff that may need assistance with a piece of technology or taking classes online to better understand different programs that they may use. The group runs very independently, with several members stationed at the desk for each period.

“Whether you want to learn to build a website from scratch, or take a Chromebook apart and put it back together, you have a team there to help you figure it out,” junior Lauren Gonsalves said. “If you’re thinking of doing something technology related in life, then this is the perfect opportunity.”

The position opens up a number of chances for students to delve into the world of technology, computer programming, and engineering.

“Sometimes I go down to visit Mrs. Wheeler in the junior high to learn how to make certain things work,” junior Alice Bednarczyk said. “Just last week, she taught me how to set up a projector and fix any issues that may pop up.”

Opportunities can occur closer, as well. Within their home base in the school library, members have access to Chromebooks that they can practice repairing before actually applying their skills on malfunctioning equipment, as senior Jacob Juneau was doing with an exposed Chromebook circuit board during one of his shifts. When one laptop refused to charge despite numerous attempts, junior Gheorghita Battaglia successfully corrected the issue and sent it back into use.

Tasks like performing repairs are determined based on ten assigned roles within the group: tech bloggers, IT agents, digital media designers, social media coordinators, app developers, digital citizenship, Google app specialists, Google app/extension reviewers, and website administrators. Each title describes the overall type of work undertaken by someone in the position.

“My role is tech blogger, where I’m supposed to create helpful articles people can read so that they understand how to use certain apps and websites,” Bednarczyk said.

“I’m a web admin, so I build websites,” senior Noah Petitpas explained. “It’s something I’ve always had an interest in doing and it might help figure out future career options.” He was in the process of uploading an article to the help desk’s website which he, Linane, and a third member collectively run.

Petitpas has created a website for a gaming community while also running two personal sites, something other members do as well. Gonsalves is one of these individuals and stated that, not only did it give a chance to use skills learned from time in the technology team, but it also gives a space to publish achievements “right where colleges can see them.”

Bednarczyk agreed. “The help desk doesn’t just look good on a college resume. As I help other people understand the technology around them, I learn more and more every day.”

The benefits of being involved in such a group are not just seen by the members.

“The Student Help Desk is a great program that provides students with the experience to their expand technological abilities,” said school librarian Allison Barker. She has the chance to observe students on their bi-daily shifts as they work out of the library and agrees that the work they have done so far has been immensely helpful to the school community as a whole.

By Jo Caynon

 

Holiday Fair

Make your list and check it twice. Get your holiday shopping done early. The Mattapoisett Congregational Church’s annual Holiday Fair will be held on Saturday, December 3 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. A host of holiday ‘shops’ will be featured in Reynard Hall, 27 Church Street, Mattapoisett.

You will find all your favorites: handmade and knitted items, jewelry, heirloom treasures in silver, crystal and china, as well as never-been-used gifts and holiday decorations. The busy holiday season can be made less stressful with the purchase of delicious homemade goodies and already prepared frozen entrees.

Make your list and check it twice. Park the car once. Get all your holiday shopping done in one day and enjoy this most beautiful season amidst a quaint, seaside village.

For additional information, please call the church office at 508-758-2671 or email mattcong@verizon.net.

Yes To Mixed Use – No To Family Apartment

On November 17 at Old Hammondtown School, KK Kam Reality Trust presented its application before the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals for a mixed-used special permit that would allow owner Todd Rodrigues, 81 County Road, to construct two buildings for commercial and residential use under the same roof in the village business district.

The village business district was established some years ago in Mattapoisett to encourage a variety of property use types with an eye towards making Mattapoisett more pedestrian friendly with businesses and services within easy walking and bicycling distance of residences.

Paul Rodrigues represented his brother Todd, owner of Yard Boss, a local landscaping business. The buildings are planned for parcels adjacent to Yard Boss.

Rodrigues described that one structure would be 15,000 square-feet with commercial space on the first floor and apartments on the second floor. A second building would also contain commercial space on the first floor and apartments above. The Rodrigues’ plans called for a total of nine apartments in all primarily two-bedroom units. He said that the buildings would be connected to the public sewer via a previous agreement between the town and The Bay Club property.

A letter from the Mattapoisett Planning Board was read into the minutes. Planning Board members wrote in support of the project, noting that the plans would allow for a greater range of housing options in Mattapoisett while also providing an opportunity for residents to walk or bicycle to restaurants and services.

There was some concern expressed by Chairman Susan Akin and ZBA member Mary Anne Brogan as Rodrigues began to discuss the second of the two proposed buildings. He referenced that the second building would be much like the first but did not have engineered drawings for the board members to review.

Rodrigues said that the second building was not fully designed but asked for and received a recess in order to gather conceptual drawings from his office.

During the recess, the meeting moved on to the next hearing for Teodor Georgescu, 121 North Street. Georgescu was seeking a variance and a special permit that would allow an apartment above a detached garage to be permitted as a family apartment.

In July, Georgescu had been before the ZBA when it was discovered that the apartment in question was being rented out but was not permitted as such. Georgescu had argued at the time that when he purchased the property, the seller and the realtor had represented the apartment as legal. Director of Inspectional Services Andy Bobola had said at that time that the space had never been permitted for occupancy and that the owner had used it for an in-home business. Georgescu’s July application was denied.

In the latest application, Georgescu was asking that the apartment be recognized as a family or in-law apartment in spite of the fact that the garage was not attached to the main residence.

Akin said, “It still doesn’t fall under the rules,” and wondered aloud what had changed since the earlier filing. Bobola answered, “Nothing.” Bobola said that the apartment did not meet the bylaws and that it did not meet safety codes.

Board member Norman Lyonnais asked if the apartment was being taxed as such. Georgescu said he had been paying taxes on the space as an apartment. Lyonnais said, “I’m really having a difficult time with this.” He asked how the space could be taxed as an apartment but not be permitted as such.

“I have no idea why it’s been taxed as an apartment,” Bobola said. Georgescu urged the board members to understand that this time was different; this time it was for affordable housing for a family member.

“It’s an illegal apartment. For an in-law apartment, it has to be attached,” Akin insisted.

ZBA member Ken Pacheco said, “We’re back to the same thing; it doesn’t meet the requirements.”

The ZBA members unanimously voted to deny the request.

Rodrigues’ hearing was then reopened as conceptual drawings for the second building were displayed. By then, abutter Donald Fleming, 86 Church Street, was present and questioned if the project had sufficient handicap access to the second floor residences. Fleming also aired concerns that the property would not provide adequate outdoor space for any children who might reside there.

Bobola placed a call to a state building code authority who confirmed that the proposed project was not required to provide handicap access to the second story because it was less than 20 units.

After vetting that the Planning Board had addressed parking issues and that the state would address traffic flow onto Route 6, the hearing was closed. The project was unanimously approved and will become the first new project to fall under the village business district.

Three planned hearings regarding a cease and desist notice and an appeal at 102 Fairhaven Road Unit 29 were withdrawn without prejudice.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Zoning Board of Appeals will be held on December 15 at 6:00 pm in the Mattapoisett Town Hall conference room pending hearing applications.

By Marilou Newell

 

Friends of Plumb Library Holiday Fair

The Friends of Plumb Library will hold their annual Holiday Fair on Saturday, December 3 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Plumb Library, 17 Constitution Way, Rochester. Featured will be the Silent Auction, offering handmade items, gift baskets of many types, and gift certificates from local businesses; the famous Bake Sale; the Rochester Historical Society selling their T-shirts and books on local history; Essential Oils make-and-take; Pampered Chef; Avon; and a visit from author Nancy Cote. There will be entertainment and a visit from Santa.           Donations are being accepted for the Auction until Wednesday, November 30, and for the Bake Sale, starting on Friday, December 2. Sign-up sheets are at the library’s circulation desk. For more information, please call the library at 508-763-8600 or email info@plumblibrary.com.

Police Instruct Freshmen on ALICE

This week, Old Colony invited in the Rochester Police Department to perform the annual ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) training.

For the past three years, Old Colony has adopted the ALICE policies to handle an active shooter event. Although the likelihood of such an event is miniscule, the school prides itself on being prepared and keeping its students safe.

Most active shooting events only last between five and seven minutes. In this short time period, students must decide whether to flee, barricade, or fight back as a last resort. The idea behind ALICE is to promote action to increase survivability in the event of a crisis. For this reason, Old Colony adopted the ALICE program three years ago.

Each year, Old Colony invites the Rochester Police Department to give a presentation on the training to the new freshmen. Police instruct the students on evacuation procedures and barricading. They go over where the school meeting points are located. They also discuss the option of breaking windows, though this is obviously not practiced in the drill. After sitting through the presentation, the school runs a practice drill.

It is announced over the intercom there is a shooter in the building, and though it is only a drill, tensions run high. Over the course of minutes, students receive information via the intercom about the intruder’s location in the building and physical descriptions. They, along with their teachers, are left with the decision to run or barricade the doors.

For those who run, it can be a scary moment sprinting out of the school. For those who barricade, it can also be a scary few minutes. With the lights out and students hidden in perfect silence, police officers test barricades by attempting to get through doors, often slamming into them and shaking the locks. It can be a stressful and scary drill for students, but the lessons and techniques learned are invaluable.

Old Colony hopes that it will never need to use the skills learned in these drills, but it will continue to teach them in order to keep its students safe. For more information on the ALICE program, visit https://www.alicetraining.com/about-us/.

By Elizabeth Jerome

 

Joint Meeting Studies Superintendent Goals

On November 17, Old Rochester Regional High School Principal Mike Devoll spoke highly of a recent screening of Screenagers held at the high school, and he praised the staff for putting the screening together.

The movie helps parents understand the impact of the digital age on their children and offers them tips to minimize harmful effects and find balance.

“It was a packed house,” Devoll said, “and as a matter of fact, I still have parents calling me wondering if there will be another showing since they missed the first one. The next question is … Where do we go next with it?”

Assistant Superintendent Elise Frangos gave an overview of the school system’s MCAS and PARCC results. Since the numbers were covered in more detail at each school committee’s individual meeting, she didn’t cover many of the separate grade scores but instead concentrated on the overall scores of each school.

“Center School and Sippican Elementary are both Level 1 schools,” she said, referring to the fact that each school ranks in at least the 80th percentile within the state. “Rochester Memorial is currently a Level 2 school, but this year it’s at the 79th percentile. Its expected growth puts it at Level 1 shortly.”

“The current accountability system will be changing according to the Department of Education,” added Superintendent Doug White. “We don’t know yet what will happen, but keep an eye out for any changes when the new president takes office.”

White next introduced the goals that the Superintendent Evaluation Sub-committee had planned to the faculty and staff ringing the room.

The sub-committee – a joint venture including members from all three school committees – came together to decide on the superintendent’s goals for the 2017-2018 school year. White led the room through what they had come up with. The first goal was to support social and emotional learning for all students.

“I will assist all students and staff to develop and learn more about social and emotional learning opportunities,” he said.

The second goal underlined the need for increased transparency in the school’s budget-forming process.

“I plan to work with school personnel and committees to increase transparency, awareness, participation and engagement in each of the district’s budget processes,” White said.

The third goal introduced the use of technology within the school system. White promised to assist all administrators to ensure the sustainability of technology at all levels.

“We need to make sure that this technology is appropriate for the best interests of all ages learning,” White explained, “but we also need to educate the community on what this technology is and how it can be applied. They need to understand how it can enrich students’ lives and lead to different careers. It encourages us to have a broad definition of technology.”

The sub-committee was a success for its members, said School Committee member Sharon Hartley.

“This is one of the best committee experiences I’ve ever had,” said Hartley.

“This is the first time I walked away feeling like these goals were our goals,” echoed School Committee member Christine Marcolini.

The joint meeting covered new instructional strategies at the end of the meeting.

“We need to support high level instructional strategies which ensure academic rigor for all students,” said Frangos.

“We want high experience for all students, and we’re taking the opportunity to learn as administrators to make sure the best strategies are being used in the classroom,” White added.

The next meeting of the Joint School Committee is scheduled for January 19 at 6:30 pm in the ORRJHS media room.

By Andrea Ray

 

Gerald J. White

Gerald J. White, 68, of Taunton, formerly of Mattapoisett and Dartmouth, passed away peacefully at home on Wednesday November 23, 2016.

Born in New Bedford, the son of the late George S. and Frances A. (Handspicker) White, he had lived in Mattapoisett for many years before moving to Dartmouth in 1995 and to Taunton in 2012.

Gerry was formerly employed as an assembler for Harbor Services.

He was an avid Elvis Presley and Beatles fan.

Survivors include a brother, G. Daniel White and his wife Holly of Mattapoisett; a sister, Ruth E. White of Mattapoisett; three nieces, Ashley Sweatland, Samantha White, and Danielle Miller, a great-nephew, Daniel Sweatland; a cousin, Frank S. White III, and his Southeastern Residential Services family.

A visitation will be held on Friday December 2, 2016 from 1:30-2:30 PM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett, with burial services following at St. Anthony’s Cemetery, Mattapoisett at 3 PM. For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

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School Committee Investigates STEM Learning

Rochester Memorial School has big plans to incorporate more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teaching into its curriculum.

Longtime RMS teacher Karen DellaCioppa was on hand on November 17 to explain to the Rochester School Committee these goals and how they have been incorporated. She has recently stepped into a new role that functions as a STEM specialist to help teachers incorporate STEM into everyday lessons.

“When it was first presented, I didn’t really know what STEM involved,” DellaCioppa said. “It’s important to involve science as the classroom teacher. Technology advancement is moving at a rapid pace.” She continued, “By 2020, our knowledge will double every seventeen days. Teachers today are preparing children for jobs which aren’t created yet, and technology which isn’t yet invented. We need to prepare for that.”

She indicated that the school had begun to incorporate STEM assignments in the upper grades. Grade 4 designed their own portable greenhouses, which needed to be able to keep a plant alive without water for ten days. They also created an artificial beak for an injured bird that couldn’t eat.

Sixth-graders learned to make their own clay by figuring out the ratios of all the ingredients to the others. Then they needed to use that clay to create a rocket, which would hold an astronaut.

“We found it to be a good combination of math and engineering,” DellaCioppa said.

Also during the meeting, RMS Principal Derek Medeiros gave an overview of the school’s PARCC and MCAS results. Rochester Memorial is currently a Level 2 school, which means it ranks in the 79th percentile within the state; the minimum for a Level 1 school is the 80th percentile, and Medeiros was hopeful that the school would soon pass that mark.

While Rochester has moved to PARCC for English and Math testing, it still uses MCAS for Science, and Medeiros discussed those results first.

RMS fifth-graders scored higher than the state average in the ‘advanced’ and ‘proficient’ categories, with 11% of fifth graders testing ‘advanced’ and 45% scoring ‘proficient’. Thirty-three percent of fifth-graders leveled at ‘needs improvement’ and a further 11% were graded as ‘warning/failing’.

“When did we last have a one hundred percent dedicated science teacher, not just a teacher teaching science for an hour?” asked School Committee member Jennifer Kulak.

“Well, I came in in 2013, and that position was already gone,” Medeiros said.

Kulak pointed out, “In 2012, twenty-seven percent of students scored ‘advanced’ and it’s getting uglier every year.”

“We see the need,” Medeiros explained, “which is why we have this new position that Karen has taken over. Technology has advanced so quickly that teachers are still trying to find a balance between traditional science standards and the newer things. This isn’t really a true indicator of what the kids are learning.”

Medeiros pointed out a ‘Science Action Plan,’ which included developing a new science curriculum, implementing engineering challenges for students, creating more opportunities to use technology in the classroom, and bringing sample MCAS questions to students in lower grades.

In the new PARCC English Language & Literature test, there are five levels: Level 5 ‘exceeded expectations’; Level 4 ‘met expectations’; Level 3 ‘approached expectations’; Level 2 ‘partially met expectations’; and Level 1 ‘did not yet meet expectations’.

In Grade 3, no students achieved Level 5 and 41% tested at Level 4. In Grade 4, of the 58 students tested, 29% achieved Level 5 and 50% scored Level 4. Grade 5 found 2% of students at Level 5 and 63% at Level 4. Grade 6 scored 16% of students at Level 5 and 61% at Level 4.

“We’re a little distraught at the low numbers at Level 5,” Kulak pointed out again.

Medeiros replied, “The focus for us this year is to keep Flextime going, so that students who need a little extra reading help can get it. There will be more high-level reading projects; we want to bring all the kids up.”

The PARCC math exam requires an average of 750 points per grade to certify proficiency, which every grade met except Grade 3 (which sits at 749). In Grades 4, 5, and 6, 93%, 94% and 95% of students scored between Levels 3-5 respectively. Grade 3 found 10% of students at Level 5 and 41% at Level 4. In Grade 4, 12% tested at Level 5 and 57% at Level 4. Grade 5 found 6% of students at Level 5 and 63% at Level 4. Eight percent of Grade 6 students tested at Level 5 and 60% at Level 4.

RMS Cafeteria staff members Doreen Gonet and Jane LaRue were also on hand on behalf of the entire cafeteria staff to receive recognition from Tina Rood.

“We started a new breakfast program this year,” she said, “and their willingness to try out something new was wonderful. Thank you for caring for our kids.”

Medeiros added, “These guys go above and beyond. Thank you for taking on the breakfast program.”

The next meeting of the Rochester School Committee is scheduled for January 5 at 6:30 pm at the Rochester Town Hall.

By Andrea Ray

 

Marion COA, December Lectures

The Waterfront Memory Café will meet every Wednesday in December at the Marion Music Hall on Front Street. Anyone living with early onset or moderate dementia/Alzheimer’s and their family or care partner are invited to attend. Please call the COA office, 508-748-3570, for more details. Free, open to the community, you do not have to be a Marion resident.

Marion COA Learning and Lecture Series meets every Monday at the Music Hall, 164 Front Street at 12:45 pm. The lecture series is free and open to the community.

December 5: New England Pie: History Under a Crust. Pie has been a delectable centerpiece of Yankee tables since Europeans first landed on New England’s shores in the 17th century. With a satisfying variety of savory and sweet, author Robert Cox takes a bite out of the history of pie and pie-making in the region. From the crackling topmost crust to the bottom layer, explore the origin and evolution of popular ingredients like the Revolutionary roots of the Boston cream. One month at a time, celebrate the seasonal fixings that fill New Englanders’ favorite dessert from apple and cherry to pumpkin and squash. With interviews from local bakers, classic recipes and some modern twists on beloved standards, this mouthwatering history of New England pies offers something for every appetite.

December 12: Santa of the Lighthouses. Santa … does he really exist? For the lighthouse keepers of the New England Coast, there was never any doubt. From Christmas 1936 to Christmas 1980, Edward Rowe Snow, a high school teacher, rented a pilot and a plane and dropped holiday presents to the keepers and their families stationed at some of the most desolate lighthouses on the eastern seaboard. Join author John Galluzzo as he chronicles the adventure and hardship on his missions to deliver “love from above.”

December 19: A Country Christmas. Celebrate the Holidays with a musical performance by Yesterday’s Country Band.

– December 26: Holiday, no lecture.