Record Highs and Lows for the Country Fair

It’s quiet now on Pine Street in Rochester. The roaring of engines, the buzzing of chainsaws, and the loud and rowdy country music have been replaced by the sound of crickets, remaining only in the echoes of our minds. The fairgrounds are empty, except for maybe a few scattered skeletons of the fair’s infrastructure, some tire tracks in the dirt, and a volunteer or two finishing the remainder of the cleanup after another Rochester Country Fair wrapped up Sunday night.

This year, a lot of new memories were made for area residents and families, a lot of smiles and laughs were had, especially on Thursday, August 13, which saw a record turnout in numbers, says Julie Koczera, co-chairman of the Country Fair Committee.

“The Thursday truck pull went incredibly well,” said Koczera. “It was really extremely well-attended.”

Aaron Norcross Jr. brought in a great crowd, Koczera said. “He did a phenomenal job under the big tent. We have actually invited him back for next year. We want to keep him.”

Looking back over the past weekend, Koczera said the wrestling was one of the highlights, as it usually is, and next year the committee will try to add a cage match in addition to the traditional matches.

“We’re already lining it up,” said Koczera. The fair might be over, but there is no pause between fairs. Just as soon as Sunday night falls, the committee is already starting on next year’s fair.

It wasn’t sunny for the fair for the entire weekend though, figuratively speaking. We all know how sunny it really was Saturday and Sunday and how stinking hot it felt. Koczera said the heat on those two days kept a lot of the crowd at home, in the shade, in their swimming pools, in their air-conditioned homes, and at the beach.

“Saturday and Sunday were not so good,” said Koczera. “So now we’re in the process of asking, how bad did we do? It was equivalent to a rainy weekend,” said Koczera about the heat.

So it was a bit of a tough weekend for the Rochester Country Fair folks. People did turn out for the woodsmen show Sunday afternoon, Koczera said, despite how hot it was beneath the sun sitting on the bleachers.

“You do the best you can, given any weather conditions,” said Koczera, although it was even too hot for the reptiles to come to the fair, so the reptile show had to be canceled. “All things considered, it was still nice to see people show up.”

Koczera said the Country Fair Committee will likely have to hold a couple more fundraising events to make up for the loss caused by the heat because the committee wants to add even more fun events for the kids next year. The fair might not have a carnival or a midway, as Koczera pointed out, but the committee focuses on how to make the fair more fun each year without making it more expensive for the fairgoers.

Despite the weather, the committee pulled off another great year for the Rochester Country Fair. The people on the committee, as well as the volunteers, said Koczera, are what make the fair what it is year after year. Some, Koczera mentioned, even take their vacations from work just so they can help out.

“Without them we’d never get off the ground,” said Koczera, who has served on the Rochester Country Fair Committee since the very first country fair – 16 years ago. “Sometimes I have some tough years, but when you work with such a great committee – friends – we do it for each other and the smiles of all the kids and people that come here. That’s why we come here.”

By Jean Perry

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Solar Farm Poises for ConCom Approval

With multiple jurisdictional authorities between two different towns to contend with, it appeared on August 12 that the Clean Energy Collective solar farm slated for the Clemishaw Property off Tucker Lane might have satisfied the Marion Conservation Commission’s concerns, and will now wait for final ConCom approval once the project clears the Planning Board.

During their July 19 meeting, the commission requested some minor specifications on the plan and a written vegetation management plan for the wetlands at the site. Since then, environmental consultant for the project Mark Arnold devised the management plan and also indicated on the plan the 15-foot “no touch” zone as well as the 30-foot “no build” zone as requested.

Taller trees within the area of wetlands will be lopped down to 10 feet in height, with the trunk and roots left intact. Since the last meeting, the project went before the Rochester Planning Board again, which resulted in the shrinking of the impact area, minimizing grading in that area. Also, a line of shrubs has been added on the Rochester side to aid in screening the Mary’s Pond direction.

As for a vegetation management plan, mowing will occur every six weeks, careful to avoid rainy weather so mower wheels will not disturb the earth at the site. The field, overall, will be left as-is, with selective tree pruning around the perimeter to keep the length of the trees low enough to prevent shadowing on the solar arrays.

“We want to minimize effort to have to get in there and keep it clear,” said Bob Rogers of G.A.F. Engineering.

The applicant requested a continuation until August 26, hoping to secure Marion Planning Board approval by that date.

In other matters, the commission was reluctant to issue a full Certificate of Compliance to Bill Langone of 35 Holly Road after a site visit revealed the existing timber walkway exceeded the scope of its original plan from decades ago with about 15 to 20 additional feet of walkway extending out over the water on a float. Conservation Commission Chairman Norman Hills said the float required a Chapter 91 license from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

The next problem, Hills said, was improper and unapproved storage of the float during the offseason, as reflected on overhead satellite imagery photos. Also, there is a tennis court on the site that Hills suspects is located within the wetlands. The age of the tennis court is unknown, although the commission deduced that it must be around 30 years old.

The family that built the tennis court, said Hills, now wants to sell the property but cannot until the Certificate of Compliance is issued.

Hills argued that although there might have been beach erosion over time since initial approval of the timber walkway, the floating walkway would still require a Chapter 91 license.

After further discussion on the tennis court, commission member Stephen Gonsalves suggested the board refrain from “holding their (the property owners’) feet to the fire” over the tennis court.

“It was so long ago,” said Gonsalves. “Thirty years is a long time. Things have changed.” It may have even been built before the Wetlands Protection Act took effect, added Gonsalves.

The commission did determine that any future improvements or repairs to the tennis court would require a filing with the ConCom.

“These gray and sticky areas really frustrate me. They’ve really done nothing wrong. Rules and regulations have changed since then,” said Gonsalves. “But the float … Let’s give them a chance to let them rectify that.” Gonsalves said he would hate to see the sale of the property fall through over a complete denial of the certificate.

The commission decided to issue a partial Certificate of Compliance for the timber walkway only, excluding the float, and plans to send the property owner a letter informing him that any future work done on the tennis court would require Conservation Commission approval.

Also during the meeting, the commission issued a negative determination for the eradication of three isolated areas of phragmites on Planting Island. The commission plans to use this action to destroy phragmites as a data point to determine effective measures to combat phragmites in the future.

Lisa and Benjamin Procter of 69 East Avenue received a negative determination for the demolition of the rear portion of the existing single-family house and the addition of a second story, as well as a front entry porch all within 100 feet of a coastal bank.

Roger Tenglin of 88 Indian Cove Road received a negative determination for the razing of 900 feet of an existing 14,000-square-foot structure, but a positive determination was added since the wetlands lines were not confirmed.

The commission held off on issuing a Certificate of Compliance to Heidi Kostin of 167 Cross Neck Road until the vegetation in the restoration area reestablished itself, possibly next spring.

The Notice of Intent for the Town of Marion to reconstruct a 337-foot long, 4-foot high seawall at Sprague’s Cove was continued until December 9.

The Request for Determination of Applicability for Chuong Pham of 22 Bass Creek Road was continued until September 9.

The next scheduled meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is September 9 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry

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Astronomy Program at Plumb Library

The Plumb Library will introduce its new Orion telescope, donated by Mr. John T. Jawor, on Monday, August 24 at 7:30 pm with a “Star Party.” The Aldrich Astronomy Society will instruct attendees on the use of the telescope, then, weather permitting, will take the telescope outside for a viewing. Additional telescopes will be provided. There will be door prizes, and refreshments will be served. This program is intended for the whole family, but will be best for children ages 5 and up. The library is at 17 Constitution Way, Rochester. Pre-registration is requested. To register, call the library at 508-763-8600 or register on the Events Calendar on the web page www.plumblibrary.com.

New Technology Brings Efficiency to Tri-Town Police

A recent sizeable grant has brought the latest in fingerprinting technology to the three Tri-Town Police Departments, bringing efficiency to a number of aspects of police business, say the three chiefs.

The towns each received a grant from the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board to purchase the latest in digital fingerprinting technology that will make fingerprinting easier to perform, more efficient, less messy, and more reliable.

The advance fingerprint capture devices work entirely differently than the manual inking system. The five fingers of each hand are rolled across a glass plate and scanned and uploaded directly into the system. Under the old manual system, police departments used to send the ink fingerprinted cards thorough the mail to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department and to the Mass State Police Department, and these cards were then forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for county, state, and federal fingerprint checks. The processing time has been slashed considerably and, furthermore, the scanner confirms the quality of the fingerprints before sending them off, something Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee says is an important feature.

“In the old days, we inked people’s fingers,” said Magee. Before, sometimes the inked prints would be sent off and later determined to be incomplete, partial, or smudged, rendering them unusable. “Once you’d fingerprint somebody and you get a bad print, you don’t get another chance…”

Magee said, before, an officer could have a suspect – with additional warrants unknown to the local police department – booked for an arrest of a minor infraction, released under the name given to the police, and probably never found again. But with prints scanned, saved to the database, and sent off electronically to the State Police and Sheriff’s Office, that will no longer happen.

The new technology has also helped out in various other departments, Magee said, including the gun permit department. Since the arrival of the new fingerprinting machine, the backlog of gun permit applications has diminished significantly, said Magee, and the processing of prints for vendors and certain license holders licensed by the Town is more efficient.

The machine was issued mainly for the use of the sex offender registry, with offenders having to re-register with their local police department on an annual basis, which includes photographing the offender and fingerprint matching.

“Printing standards are up to the current level where they should be,” said Magee. “It’s a great piece of equipment. It’s something we could not afford otherwise, with budgets and what they are these days.” Magee called receiving the machine “a big windfall.”

Mattapoisett Police Chief Mary Lyons said gone are the old ink days in Mattapoisett as well.

“It’s a lot cleaner,” said Lyons. “Very clean. So that’s a good thing. And it’s just more efficient.”

Now everything is uploaded from the system, said Lyons, so batches of fingerprints are cleaner, clearer, and easier to read.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” Lyons said.

Marion Police Chief Lincoln Miller said Marion is also the recipient of the grant to purchase the new fingerprinting equipment.

“We did have an older machine, but it died out so we had to go back to the old ink way of doing things,” said Miller.

The system has not yet been established in Marion, Miller said, but the equipment has arrived and soon he and his officers will receive the required training. The machine will then be put online, and Marion will join Rochester and Mattapoisett in having the latest of fingerprinting technology available.

By Jean Perry

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Oh What a Night!

To the Editor:

Oh What a Night!

You asked for it, so we brought it to you. Last Friday night, about 200 adults came back to Holmes Wharf for the first adult wharf dance. It seems like everyone had a great time, and asked for the dances to continue next year.

The Mattapoisett Track Club would like to thank everyone who helped make the dance a success. The Board of Selectmen allowed us the permit to hold the dance. Police Chief Mary Lyons came and spoke for us. Thanks to Nick’s Pizza, Matt’s Blackboard, The Inn at Shipyard Park and The Slip for offering to sell tickets for us. Tom Cooney was our great DJ who kept the wharf rocking all night. All the workers who helped set up and take down, we couldn’t have done it without you. A big thanks to everyone who attended and to those of you who gave donations. We hope to see you again next year.

Mary Ann Amoruso

 

The views expressed in the “Letters to the Editor” column are not necessarily those of The Wanderer, its staff or advertisers. The Wanderer will gladly accept any and all correspondence relating to timely and pertinent issues in the great Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester area, provided they include the author’s name, address and phone number for verification. We cannot publish anonymous, unsigned or unconfirmed submissions. The Wanderer reserves the right to edit, condense and otherwise alter submissions for purposes of clarity and/or spacing considerations. The Wanderer may choose to not run letters that thank businesses, and The Wanderer has the right to edit letters to omit business names. The Wanderer also reserves the right to deny publication of any submitted correspondence.

Tobey Hospital Guild

The Tobey Hospital Guild, a member of Southcoast Health, will hold its annual fundraising event on the evening of Saturday, September 19 at the Marriott Town Place Suites’ Rosebrook Event Center in Wareham. The event will feature “Lights Out,” a Las Vegas group that will have you dancing in your seats to the tunes of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Proceeds from this event will be used to help pay-down the $250,000 pledge the Guild made to help renovate and expand the Emergency Department at Tobey Hospital. For more information, please call 508-973-5752.

I’m a Wanderer

You can share your travel photos with our readers too. All you have to do is take along a copy of The Wanderer (or your favorite aardvark) and submit your photos by email to:  support@wanderer.com or by mail to P.O. Box 102, Mattapoisett, MA 02739. You can also drop photos off at our office at 55 County Road (Route 6) in Mattapoisett. 

 

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 Liz Garvey and Ian McHugh of Mattapoisett in front of their Trullo house in Puglia, Italy.

 

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Andrew Whalen and Tori Thomas of Mattapoisett when to key largo John Pennekamp National Park

 

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Russ and Joanie Dill spent 35 days in Africa on safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa in Johannesburg and Capetown.  Pictures are of the Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania where Dr. Leakey made her discoveries, at Victoria Falls making friends with both Emily before riding and feeding her on safari and with Sylvester, the cheetah.

Elisabeth (Rockafellow) Dyer

Elisabeth (Rockafellow) Dyer passed away peacefully at home on November 20, 2013 in Sun City, California. She was 96 years young and was the loving wife of Ralph Dyer for 45 years. Born in San Acacio, Colorado in 1916, she was the eldest daughter of four children of the late Charles and Hildegarde Rockafellow.

Elisabeth (known locally with admiration as Betty Prewitt before she remarried) was formerly a Marion resident for over 20 years and an active member of the community. She taught at the Loft School in Marion for 12 years, was a leader of the Mariner Seafaring Scouts and a co-founder of the Marion Art Center in 1957.

She is survived by a son, Peter Prewitt of Simsbury, Connecticut and a daughter, Elisabeth Suzanne Peterson of Marion; a sister, Louise Crow of Greenwich, Connecticut and four nephews and one neice; three grandchildren – Heidi Nye of Marion, Derek (Peterson) Oppedisano of Laguna Niguel, California and Timothy Prewitt of West Hartford, Connecticut. Also survived by four great-grandchildren, Jessica and Jared Nye and Rocco and Enzo Oppedisano and one great, great granddaughter, Makaylee Melcher.

A Memorial Service and Internment was held with family and friends in Princeton, New Jersey in the Spring of 2014.

Parties Disagree Over Solar Escrow Amount

The developer of a proposed solar farm on August 17 responded to Marion Planning Board Chairman Robert Lane’s personal opinion that the decommissioning escrow amount should be $110,000 by calling the amount “somewhat unreasonable.”

Applicant Clean Energy Collective and engineer Bob Rogers suggested a $40,000 escrow amount, while another engineering firm recommended $50,000. Engineer John Novak, the peer review engineer for the Planning Board, also suggested $50,000, with separate amounts that would increase every seven years upon review.

“I believe we’ve complied with the bylaw,” said developer Greg Carey, referring to the $40,000 estimate and the independent engineer’s estimate. “But for the purpose of trying to resolve the issue, we would be willing to work on a number that is somewhere in between $40,000 and $50,000.”

Lane said he would not hear that number, and pointed specifically to one detail of the estimate – salvage of the materials in the case of abandonment.

“I’m not prepared to move from [$110,000] unless I get really strong reasons why,” said Lane. “Salvage is all speculative. We have to look at the cost of seven years from now.”

Lane conceded that the issue would not be resolved that evening.

“To go from fifty to one-hundred is somewhat unreasonable,” said Carey.

Stormwater waiver issues were left unresolved as well, although Rogers explained that the drainage design has been modified in order to avoid certain Mass DEP regulations, to which Rogers was seeking a waiver.

The issue, which pertains to the grade of the site relative to seasonal high of groundwater, was resolved according to Rogers, who explained that the design has changed so that the east basin is at the existing grade of the land, and the system was reclassified as a “dry extended detention basin,” which no longer applied to some aspects of the DEP regulations. For water recharge, Rogers added an over 200 square-foot rock-filled trench.

Novak disagreed with Rogers over the alterations, and Novak insisted upon the DEP’s 2-foot above groundwater minimum as opposed to the 1-foot above groundwater waiver Rogers sought. Novak insisted Rogers’ 1-foot waiver request for the system was over 1-foot, more like 1.1 or 1.2 feet, which would require a waiver for a different amount.

Rogers visually appeared perplexed as he went over the details again with the board and Novak, but the two engineers did not reach common ground.

“What I’m trying to do is protect the board,” said Novak. “If they requested an incorrect variance then it’s not good for anybody.”

Lane asked the two engineers to meet at a later time to discuss the matter and resolve the disagreement before the next meeting.

Also during the discussion, Rogers provided the board with the reassurance it requested during its last meeting that would demonstrate that no houses could be built within 100 feet of the solar energy facility. Rogers presented the board with a signed letter from the property owners stating they would not later subdivide their remaining 23 acres of their land for the duration of the solar farm. He also presented an aerial photo of the site and a map detailing the locations of wetlands not viable for development to further prove that no houses could be built in the future inside the 100-foot setback.

Although board member Rico Ferrari stated he was uncomfortable with the level of reassurance, the rest of the board expressed contentment on that one issue.

The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for September 8 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry

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Arlene Clement Dexter

Arlene Clement Dexter, a young at heart 99, of Mattapoisett passed away peacefully on June 18, 2015 at home. Born in Hallowell, Maine, she was the widow of William Nye Dexter of Mattapoisett. Arlene was a graduate of Hallowell High School and Gates Business College. She lived in Maine until moving with her husband to Mattapoisett permanently in 1964. Arlene was a certified appraiser, a member of the N.E. Appraisers Association, and the proprietor of the 1812 House Antiques in Mattapoisett. She was active in the antiques world for over 65 years, selling from her shop, at shows and on the Internet well into her 80’s.

Arlene was an active volunteer for Girl Scouts, American Red Cross, and the Mattapoisett Council on Aging FISH Org. She was past treasurer of Mattapoisett Historical Society, a member of Historic NE, Old Dartmouth Historical Society and Mattapoisett Women’s Club.

She is survived by her daughter Betsy Dexter Ose and son in law Stanton Donald Ose of Bristol, RI and her grandsons Erik Dexter Ose of Chapel Hill, NC and Cranston, RI, Jared Alexander Ose of Providence, RI, a great grandson Griffin Phillip Wright Ose of Cranston, RI. and several nieces and nephews. A memorial service to remember and celebrate Arlene’s life will be held on Thursday, September 10 at 2 pm at Ned’s Point Lighthouse in Mattapoisett or in case of rain at the Mattapoisett First Congregational Church with a reception immediately following. Donations in her name to the Mattapoisett Historical Society, 5 Church St. Mattapoisett would be welcome.