BBAHFH Home & Garden Show

Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity (BBAHFH) will host a Home & Garden Show at Old Rochester Regional School on Saturday, May 2 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The show will be held inside the cafeteria at Old Rochester Regional School, located at 135 Marion Road in Mattapoisett. Join us in support of our newest upcoming build in Marion.

BBAHFH is currently seeking exhibitors for the event. The show offers opportunities for contractors, landscape designers, nurseries, banks, mortgage companies, and other homecare experts to promote products and services to the public. The exhibit booth donation is $200 for an 8-foot by 8-foot space. Various sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Businesses and suppliers interested in exhibiting at the show or sponsoring the event can contact Christine Lacourse, Executive Director at BBAHFH, at 508-758-4517 or BuzzardsBayAreaHabitat@yahoo.com.

Admission into the Habitat Home & Garden Show will be FREE to the public with donations accepted. The event is in support of the Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity affiliate. BBAHFH will hold raffles throughout the show. The Home & Garden show will feature a variety of home improvement vendors, including contractors, window and door suppliers, energy efficiency experts, kitchen designers, architects, landscape designers, nurseries, banks, mortgage and insurance companies. The event will also include activities for children. Complimentary BBAHFH tote bags will be distributed to the first 50 attendees.

BBAHFH would like to thank Old Rochester Regional School for the use of their facility.

Friends of Mattapoisett Bike Path

Friends of Mattapoisett Bike Path invite you to an inspirational evening: The 5th annual SouthCoast Bikeway Summit on Thursday, March 26 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at Whites of Westport (Route 6 off I-195). The evening features Nicole Freedman, two-time National Champion, 2008 Olympian and current Director of Bike Boston as well as Bill Straus, Richard Fries and other local leaders in bicycling. We are trying to double attendance from last year to 250 people and have a few new elements this year. During the welcoming reception meet representatives from the big fundraising rides in our area and the local leaders who are working to bring more and better bicycling (including bike paths) to South coast. Learn about the SouthCoast Summer Bike Challenge, a free easy way get involved on your terms. The event is free to all and will be followed by a social hour at the Galley Grille. Registration is appreciated; go to SouthCoastBikeway.com for more information.

Three Choruses to perform at St. Gabriel’s Church

St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church will host a unique concert event on Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 pm featuring three choruses: the Butterfly Women’s Human Rights Choir based in Arlington and directed by Sandi Hammond; the Touring Chorus of the SouthCoast Children’s Chorus; and Sisters in Song, directed by Leslie Piper. The three groups will perform their own repertoire, then will combine for several pieces to close the program; Joyce Jacobsen will accompany them on piano.

The Butterfly Women’s Human Rights Choir is an auditioned choir for young women ages 17-29 and provides them a platform to explore human rights topics through artistically challenging and provocative repertoire. These women gave the world premiere of Malala’s Song to the Taliban in Plymouth in November 2014. For this performance, the group will sing songs from a Holocaust memorial song cycle dedicated to the children who died in Auschwitz.

The Touring Chorus of the SouthCoast Children’s Chorus is an auditioned chorus for singers in grades 6-12, and performs a wide variety of choral music in many styles and languages. In addition to their annual spring concerts, they have been featured at the NBSO’s Holiday Pops, at Waterfire in Providence, at the Christmas concerts of the Sippican Choral Society, and have sung the National Anthem for the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Founded in 2010, Sisters in Song is an eight-voice women’s ensemble dedicated to performing high-quality SSA literature. For the past three years, they have performed at the Seamen’s Bethel in New Bedford for the Christmas Candlelight service.

A suggested donation of $10 will be accepted at the door. St. Gabriel’s Church is located at 124 Front St. in Marion.

Mattapoisett Lions Club

The Mattapoisett Lions Club cordially invites you to a presentation by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department titled “A Partner in Community Safety” on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00 pm. Learn about the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, the Inmate Horticultural Center, the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the K-9 team, Community Outreach, etc. If you would like to attend the presentation and enjoy a catered dinner by Panino’s, please contact Marianne DeCosta at 508-415-7083 by March 23. The cost for dinner and the presentation is $10. The location is the Reservation Golf Club.

Holy Week Worship Schedule

The First Congregational Church of Marion, located at 28 Main Street, will conduct the following services during Holy Week:

March 29 at 10:00 am – Palm Sunday Service in the Sanctuary. Lenten Self-Denial Offering will be gathered.

April 2 at 7:00 pm – Maundy Thursday Service of Holy Communion & Tenebrae.

April 3 at 12:00 pm – Traditional Good Friday Observance: The Reading of the Gospel According to Mark. Our Church will be open for silent meditation.

April 5 at 6:15 am – Easter Sunrise Service at Silvershell Beach. Easter Celebratory Service in the Sanctuary followed by Easter Egg Hunt for children at 10:00 am.

Nasketucket Bird Club

At the Nasketucket Bird Club’s March meeting, Lauren Miller-Donnelly will present “Cloud Forest Bird Research in Ecuador.”

The event will be held at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 26 at the Mattapoisett Public Library, 7 Barstow Street. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Carolyn Longworth at bvm1290@comcast.net.

Lauren will provide highlights from tropical bird research at Las Tangaras Reserve just outside of Mindo, Ecuador, where she spent much of the month of December 2013. The trip was a unique mix of eco-tourism and volunteer fieldwork run by a nonprofit organization. Lauren Miller-Donnelly is the property manager for Mass Audubon’s Allens Pond and Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuaries, where she also runs the Junior Bird Club. She is the President of the Paskamansett Bird Club and is also a Massachusetts Butterfly Club fieldtrip leader.

Cease and Desist Demanded – Again

It could have been a quick in and out for the Mattapoisett Planning Board on March 16 with the one agenda item – changes to a Form C approval issued to Michael Solimando for the Appaloosa Lane subdivision – again continued until April 6. There wasn’t any other business to speak of, but other topics did come up and passions were flamed as soon as Chairman Tom Tucker addressed the four people in attendance and asked if there was any other business.

Paul Osenkowski of 8 Oaklawn Avenue raised his hand and began an emotional appeal that included a demand that the board order work to stop on the Brandt Island Road subdivision.

This is not the first time Osenkowski has attempted to have construction stopped at this permitted subdivision. He said that although the Planning Board mandated that work be completed on Phase I before any work was started on Phase II, the entire site has been clear-cut.

“There was a big rain in December … the water was flowing down the street, not into the (engineered) retention ponds,” said Osenkowski. “The catch basins are too high; this is a disaster in the making that is all going to flow into the cove.”

Pointing to Planning Board member Karen Field he said, “It’s all going to end up in your back yard, Karen!” He continued, “They haven’t followed the rules.” He said that the Planning Board had asked the developer to complete roadwork in the subdivision before continuing on with Phase II, but instead all the wooded area had been cleared now making rain events disastrous.

Mattapoisett Highway Surveyor Barry Denham presented the board with a series of photos he took at the site during one of his nearly weekly inspections of the work in progress. Although those images were not shown to the public in attendance, the expressions on the board members faces spoke volumes.

“They got 15 to 20 acres of land that has been clear cut, instead of selective pruning,” said Denham. As they looked at the images Denham said, “It was quite a logging operation. They took a lot of good wood out of there.”

The board members appeared visually stunned by the photographic evidence.

Field asked if there was a new owner. No one on the board was able to answer her question.

“We did meet with the owners (approximately two months ago). They were supposed to put a top coat on the side streets,” said board member Ronald Merlo. “There was a cease and desist and a check-list.” He also said that the Conservation Commission had given the developer an Order of Conditions that must have included hay bales to keep solid material runoff from entering the saltwater cove.

“This is going to be an ecological disaster for the town,” said Osenkowski. He was thanked for his input.

Also during the meeting, resident Bonne DeSousa asked the board about next steps in the public hearing planned for bylaw changes. She had sent her comments directly to the board members via email.

The board read her comments silently with Tucker saying it was the first time he had seen them. DeSousa said she wanted an informed conversation about the suggested bylaw changes offered by Brad Saunders, a representative of The Bay Club – changes that are now being sponsored by the Planning Board.

DeSousa said she want to understand what it means to “put cluster zoning in the business district.”

“I’d like to hear about how duplex housing fits for the town,” DeSousa said. She also questioned the impact this type of residence would have on property taxes. Tucker said he would do some research and would also invite the assessor to the public hearing.

DeSousa asked if it was time to review the Town’s Master Plan that is now nearly 15 years old. Tucker agreed it was time to review that document.

In another ongoing matter, the Planning Board is waiting to hear back from town counsel on whether or not they have missed the deadline for submitting a letter in support of the Conservation Commission and/or the Marine Advisory Board regarding the proposed Goodspeed Island Pier.

If they can still do so, they will, Tucker stated. The Planning Board has some jurisdiction via Massachusetts General Law over the construction of piers, Merlo stated.

Regarding the Appaloosa Lane subdivision, Denham said he was in possession of the February 20 letter from the Town’s engineering consultant Field Engineering outlining water drainage needs. He said that he was in agreement with Field’s conclusion, but that the town’s drainage was too small.

“The way all things shape up, if you accept the solution I won’t block it,” said Denham. He called the subdivision water management plan as having “no benefit to the town.”

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board will be a public hearing held on April 6 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room, primarily to discuss bylaw changes that will be presented to the voters at the Annual Town Meeting in May.

By Marilou Newell

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ORR Approves School Choice, Bond Savings

Six school choice slots will be offered at the high school for the next school year, now that the Old Rochester Regional School Committee concluded its ongoing discussion March 11 and voted unanimously to maintain the status quo of 72 school choice students at ORR.

Superintendent Doug White urged the committee to continue to offer new school choice slots for their revenue and the diversity they offer, but to also factor in rising student population and limited resources.

With class sizes already high at the junior high, the committee opted not to offer any new school choice slots at the seventh and eighth grade level.

“We’ve seen an increase in our own enrollment at the junior and high school,” White reiterated. The high school is presently hovering at about 780 students, with the junior high at 467.

White said it’s a give and take when it comes to looking at the high school population, with some class sizes rising and others falling, and the potential revenue school choice students bring to the district.

Last year, the committee voted to rein in school choice numbers to keep class sizes lower, and passed on offering junior high back in 2014.

“We’re starting to get to a place where we are stretching our resources,” said White. “We need to take that into consideration.”

ORR High School Principal Michael Devoll said mostly, with school choice, ORR attracts “the best and the brightest,” contributing to a positive impact for the school as a whole.

“It’s a collection of different kids,” said Devoll. “We’ve had valedictorians that were school choice kids.” However, he added that now, “We’re pretty full.” If Devoll had known that his incoming freshman class for this school year would be 40 more students than projected, he said he would have made a different decision regarding school choice.

The committee and White focused on maintaining 72 as the magic number for school choice. Devoll said he was willing to “roll the dice” for six more slots, as well.

Also during the meeting, after a short presentation from representatives from Unibank, the committee voted in favor of refinancing its $13.7 million bond issued in 2005, resulting in a 7.3 percent savings and a bond refund of $565,000 over the remaining life of the bond.

“It seems like a no-brainer,” said School Committee member Robin Rounseville. She asked if there was any downside to approving the refund.

“The only downside is not taking the opportunity before the market changes,” said Business Administrator Patrick Spencer. “The vote gets us in the door. If we don’t like what we see, we can continue to do it again.”

The next meeting of the Old Rochester Regional School Committee is scheduled for April 8 at 6:00 pm in the junior high school media room.

By Jean Perry

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ORR Present ‘Sweeney Todd – School Edition’

The Old Rochester Regional High School Drama Club is very proud to present Sweeney Todd – School Edition. This full-scale musical / thriller, written by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler stars Emily Faulkner (Jr), Kyle Costa (Jr), Holly Frink (Jr), Michael Amato (Sr), Isaiah Kidney (Sr), Patrick McGraw (Sr), Victor Morrison (Jr), Chris Savino (Fr), and Lexi Melloni (Jr) along with a supporting on-stage cast of 55 students, as well as 54 technicians and seven high school band members playing in the 17-member orchestra.

Sweeney Todd – School Edition: Costumes by Helen Blake; Sound by John Farrell; Musically Conducted by Michael Barnicle; and Directed by Paul Sardinha.

Presented in the Gilbert D. Bristol Auditorium of Old Rochester Regional High School, under the auspices of the David S. Hagen Performing Arts Series, Sweeney Todd – School Edition will be performed Thursday, April 9 through Saturday, April 11 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 12 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $15 for adults and are available at The Pen & Pendulum in Mattapoisett, The Marion General Store in Marion, and Plumb Corner Market in Rochester. For information and ticket reservations, please call 508-951-5302. Tickets may also be purchased at the door; ORR is located on Route 6 in Mattapoisett.

Bluegrass/Folk Concert

Come to a bluegrass/folk concert on Saturday, March 28 at 7:00 pm at the Mattapoisett Congregational Church, 27 Church Street. Local performers include David Dunn, Paul Amenta, Joe Zajak and son and from New Hampshire, Gravel Road (Beth Grosart and Chris Little).

This is a fundraiser for the New Bedford Baby Project. All proceeds will go toward providing diapers and formula for needy infants and toddlers in New Bedford. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and $25 for a family. Tickets may be reserved by calling the church at 508-758-2671 or email Sue at ggrosart@aol.com.

New this year, if you bring a package of diapers you will be entered into a raffle to win a basket of goodies. Good music, good times and for a good cause.