Suddenly in Command

What would you do if you suddenly found yourself responsible for the safe operation of a watercraft? A new 4-hour course may make all the difference.

This short boating safety course is designed for those who are not normally at the helm, but who may be “Suddenly in Command” if the skipper becomes ill, gets injured or falls overboard. The course will include how to be prepared for an emergency, how to minimize mishaps, and how to call for help.

If sufficient public interest is generated, the Coast Guard Auxiliary – Fairhaven Flotilla, instructor Gerald “PJ” Beaudoin will offer the class. The class will be scheduled for May with exact dates and times to be announced.

To express your interest in participating, contact harbormaster@mattapoisett.net or call 508-758-4191.

MAC Dance Academy

The Marion Art Center is pleased to announce that Miss Teah Keogh has returned as Director and Instructor of MAC Dance Academy and is now registering children ages 3-6 for a spring 2018 session of classes. Classes are being offered on Mondays starting on March 12 and will run a total of 8 weeks (but no classes will be held during school vacation week) with a Parent Watch Day scheduled in May. Three different levels of classes teaching introductory skills in ballet, tap and light tumbling are offered and geared toward different age groups including (1) Preschool: for those 3-4 years of age; (2) KinderStep: for those 4-5 years of age; and (3) Beginner: for those 5-6 years of age.

Shelly Richins, President of the Board of Directors at the Marion Art Center, commented, “Teah developed such a following and coveted program here years ago. We feel so fortunate to have her return.” She continued, “And this spring session is a precursor of plans to roll out a bigger program during the next school year, so we are excited about the potential for growth and offering more to our local community.”

Registration is now available online at http://www.marionartcenter.org/classes/mac-dance-academy/. Although membership is not required to take dance classes, Marion Art Center members who have family membership or higher do receive a discount on classes. The current membership year runs August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018.

Teah Keogh is a classically taught dancer in the genres of ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and gymnastics. She previously taught second grade for eight years and ESL for two years in the Old Rochester Regional school district and also coached the ORR Dance Team for two years. Teah ran MAC Dance Academy for five years before moving to Denver and has just recently returned to the Tri-Town area.

MAC Dance Academy is a low-key academy providing extraordinary dance instruction in the areas of ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and gymnastics in a safe learning environment. For more information about MAC Dance Academy, call 508-748-1266, email marionartcenter@verizon.net, or stop by the Marion Art Center located at 80 Pleasant Street (corner of Main and Pleasant) during gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. For more information about the Marion Art Center, visit http://www.marionartcenter.org/classes/.

Board Hashes Out Marijuana Moratorium

Marijuana has created a buzz in Marion, and a Special Town Meeting slated for February 15 at 6:45 pm at Sippican School will give Marion voters a chance to support or oppose an article to place a temporary moratorium on adult-use marijuana establishments in their town.

On February 5, the Marion Planning Board held its public hearing on the warrant article, giving board members, other town officials, and residents a turn at the podium to express their stance on the issue.

The Commonwealth’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has issued its draft of regulations controlling adult-use marijuana establishments, and it is expected to release a final version by March 15 in time for an April 1 start date for interested marijuana retailers to apply to undergo the state’s licensing process.

But with no local zoning bylaw currently in place to address the zoning of pot shops and a looming deadline to quickly roll one out, the Planning Board, like around 100 others in the state, want more time to procure an effective zoning bylaw with a moratorium on marijuana establishments that would terminate no later than December 31, 2018.

“There is no way we can reflect and read and consider and write bylaws in a two-week period of time,” said Planning Board Chairman Eileen Marum. “Whatever is in effect at the time the applicant applies to the [CCC] is what they would be subject to.”

Marum continued, “Right now, Marion has absolutely no bylaws to … regulate any marijuana establishments in this community, so that is the reason why we need to have a moratorium.”

“My cautionary concern,” said board member Chris Collings, “is people would confuse this as asking people to walk back a decision that they made in the voting booth,” which is not the case, he stated. Collings went on to speculate what might happen should the town still not have marijuana regulations in place by the end of the moratorium, but he was interrupted by Marum.

“We will have rules in place,” said Marum.

“…No, but I’m just going to make it clear…” he continued.

Raising her voice over Collings’, Marum stated, “I’m telling you, we will have rules in place.”

Collings persisted, “…We’re not changing a voter’s decision; we’re holding it off until … better plans are ready.”

Board member Jennifer Francis said in support of the moratorium, “I don’t see any down side to having a moratorium and giving ourselves more time … to provide the proper [regulations] as much as we can. We’re limited in what we can prohibit and what we can limit, but we do need some time to be able to look at the law and … be able to develop a bylaw that fits Marion the best.”

“The board supporting the moratorium is not the board in favor or not in favor of having marijuana distribution in the town,” said board member Andrew Daniel. “It’s completely not part of it. It’s more of just a responsible plan to have the bylaws in place before the December 31 deadline.” He continued, “I think some people … think that it’s the town trying to stop the forward movement of having marijuana shops and that’s not the case.”

Marum said a municipality could attempt to outright prohibit legal marijuana sales in town, but there is a process that must be followed.

Once a town decides to pursue a ban on the commercial sale of adult-use marijuana in town, the act is a two-pronged approach. A town like Marion that voted in favor of recreational marijuana in 2016 would have to follow a process beginning with a town meeting vote to ban marijuana establishments, followed by a town-wide ballot vote.

It is this kind of conversation that would take place during the moratorium, said Kokkins.

When the issue was opened up to the floor, resident Ted North called the pursuit of a moratorium an “unnecessary fire drill,” adding that the board had managed to pass zoning on medical marijuana before “without a whole lot of controversy.”

North said the Planning Board’s jurisdiction pertains only to zoning.

“You can place where you can sell this stuff, and we did that with [medical marijuana]. We put it in commercial/ industrial [zoning] down by the dump,” said North. “Just stick this down by the dump, sell it down by the dump. You can’t get rid of it, you can’t exclude it, but you can regulate it.”

North added that marijuana use is still legal in Marion, even without commercial establishments. “I can grow it in my basement, I can grow it in my garage, and I can grow it in my garden. You can’t stop me from doing that with zoning,” North said.

Board of Health member and pediatrician Jason Reynolds stressed protecting the youth from the dangers of marijuana, saying, If we’re going to protect the youth of this town … we’re going to have to have a thoughtful approach to this.” Reynolds added that the Board of Health would be looking hard at how it can regulate the use and consumption of marijuana. “We’re not looking to take away people’s rights … but we’re going to make sure that it’s done in a thoughtful and safe manner.”

Speaking beyond the scope of zoning, Marum said one of her concerns about marijuana use was the diversion of marijuana within the household; for example, an older brother growing marijuana could share it with a younger sibling, she said.

“And we know the impact that marijuana has on a developing brain,” Marum said.

Marion’s Public Health Nurse Kathleen Downey also spoke about drug use in schools and addiction, issues that she diligently works towards lessening.

Resident Jennifer Peterson lamented that Marion, in its delay to allow marijuana establishments, could miss out on capturing related tax revenue. She said these facilities are held to strict requirements on security and other matters of concern to the board.

“Your weaknesses and strengths are already covered in those [state] regulations. They’re already well defined out in how they’re going to address that,” including “clear diversion plans in place so that they don’t go to youth.”

Peterson added that language should be included at Town Meeting that demonstrates a balanced opinion on marijuana, including data out of Colorado she claims had positive impacts on society in areas such as opioid addiction and crime.

Marum replied, “Well, I am the author of that spot analyses and I did that as a helpful tool for people that have not read these 107 pages (of the CCC draft regulations) that I have read.” She continued, “And also this is a draft; it has not been approved. This is not the final yet, so I think you may be spinning your wheels if you try to start doing rules and regulations and then they come around and change it.… I think the best thing to do is just kind of read it, digest it, get together and talk … but I thank you for your input.”

The board approved the language for the warrant article and fully expects to have a final draft ready for a vote for the Fall Town Meeting.

Also during the meeting, the Planning Board is sponsoring an article for Annual Spring Town Meeting proposing to change the zoning on land located on Spring Street from General Business/Light Industrial to Residence E, which allows multi-family dwellings.

Colonel Briggs, representing the other proponents of the project including Sherman Briggs and Michael Baldwin, noted that he was approached by Town Planner Gil Hilario about the idea of re-filing the project for the development of the lots along Spring Street, specifically Map 24, Lots 36A, 37, 37A and 38.

Briggs presented a brief history of the proposal that was defeated at last year’s Annual Town Meeting. He described the defeated article as having had “some cogs were missing in the gears,” and said this time around he has been meeting with town boards and everyone seems to be in support of the project.

Hilario spoke in support, observing that it would complement the ‘gateway’ and mixed-use area.

Marum also spoke in favor of multi-family units being located in the area, pointing out that the lots are located close to existing amenities and the project would provide an opportunity for those people looking to downsize.

Town resident Barbara Sanderson attempted to clarify the implications of changing the zoning, suggesting to the board that they present to the residents at Town Meeting a clear description of what will be gained and what will be lost with the zoning change.

The meeting briefly degenerated into a discussion of how many units might be located on the site and other possible uses for the parcels. Daniel spoke for a number of members on the board when he reminded those in attendance that the proposal was strictly for a zoning change for the lots and did not contemplate a particular development scheme for the parcels.

“What will happen there must be scrutinized,” said Daniel.

The board voted unanimously to support the article for the zoning change.

In other business, Francis updated the board on the Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC). She provided the board with a draft mission statement that described the purpose of the committee to “facilitate and monitor progress on implementing the Goals and Strategies as identified in the Marion Master Plan.” Francis anticipates that the MPIC will work with the Planning Board but report to the Board of Selectmen.

Collings asked whether the committee would be elected or appointed, and if appointed, by whom. He expressed concern that what the committee will be doing was what he had considered to be the work of the Planning Board.

“This will be a very influential group – who would select these folks?” asked Collings.

Francis said the committee would be made up of enthusiastic members of the community selected by the Planning Board, and board member Norm Hills said there should be at least one Planning Board member involved. Daniel felt strongly that the member selection should go through the board, “Because we are elected.”

Collings added that the board should “…make sure we get a fair cross section of the community – not getting one group or another’s idea of what the town should be.”

The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for February 19 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

The NBSO Is “Puttin’ on the Ritz”

Save the date for this year’s razzle dazzle Symphony Seaside Swing! A vintage 1920s cabaret evening will take place on Saturday, June 2, when the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra hosts its annual Seaside Swing fundraiser at the Kittansett Club in Marion. This year’s seaside gala features a “High Hats & Flapper Show” as well as signature cocktails, an elegant dinner, dancing to the music of the NBSO Swing Band, and a fabulous auction where guests will have the opportunity to bid on unique and interesting items.

A number of sponsorship packages are available for $1,000 to $10,000, including tickets, and all support levels include recognition in the Seaside Swing invitation and Seaside Swing program book, as well as in the concert season program book and on the NBSO website. Individual tickets for the event are $200. To order tickets or for more details on sponsorships, call the NBSO at 508-999-6276. All proceeds from “Puttin’ on the Ritz” will help support the NBSO’s educational programs and concert series.

New beginning, new sound – the New Bedford Symphony! The NBSO is a professional orchestra that annually presents a concert series of classical and pops music with internationally acclaimed guest artists, as well as an outstanding chamber music series. In addition, the NBSO’s innovative and nationally recognized educational programs reach 25,000 students each year. The NBSO is dedicated to building a community of music in the South Coast. Visit www.nbsymphony.org today!

Academic Achievements

Mikayla Demanche of Rochester has been named to the fall 2017 Dean’s List at American International College. Dean’s List students are full-time students with a grade point average between 3.3 and 4.0.

Patrick Briand was named to the President’s List at Bentley University for his outstanding academic achievement in the fall 2017 semester. To be named to the President’s List, a full-time student must achieve a 3.7 grade point average while earning no grade below 3.0 during the term.

The following Tri-Town students were named to the Chancellor’s List at UMass Dartmouth in recognition of earning a grade point average of 3.8 or higher of a possible 4.0 for the fall 2017 semester:

– From Marion: Derek Marshall, Samuel McDonald, Graham Poirier, Jillian Reichert, Lily Smith, and Ryson Smith

– From Mattapoisett: Isabella Bernardi, Abigail Field, Casey Mackenzie, Kelly Merlo, Elvita Rocha, Alexandra Salois, and Troy Sjahfiedin

– From Rochester: Tessa Camboia, Ariane Dias, and Danielle Marston

The following Tri-Town students were named to the Dean’s List at UMass Dartmouth in recognition of earning a grade point average of 3.2 or higher out of a possible 4.0 for the fall 2017 semester:

– From Marion: Zachary Angelo, Ian Hibbert, Benjamin Lima, Brett Rudolph, Catharine Ryer, Gregory Smith, and Robert Stickles

– From Mattapoisett: Samantha Allaire, William Coucci, Shelby Cunningham, Nicole Enos, Madeleine Lee, James Leidhold, Allison McGlynn, Matthew Merlo, Christina Musser, Trevor Oldham, and Collin Stellato

– From Rochester: Geoffrey Bentz, Corbin Blanchard, Lauren Gaspar, Christian Gifford, Kyle Hardy, Damon Ivester, Julieann Jones, Mallory Kiernan, Carly Pelissier, Riley Sherman, and Ryan Vieira

The University of Maine recognized Abigail Nadeau of Mattapoisett and Benjamin DeMello of Rochester for achieving Dean’s List honors in the fall 2017 semester by completing 12 or more credit hours in the semester and earning a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

PFC W. Becket Kiernan

PFC W. Becket Kiernan, USMC, 18, of Falmouth, formerly of Rochester, died on Monday, February 5, 2018, of Necrotizing Fasciitis at Desert Regional Memorial Hospital, in Palms Springs, CA.

Born in Wareham, he was a graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School where he was an Honors and AP Student. Since he was 10 years old, Becket always dreamed of being a United States Marine. He embodied those values of honor, courage, and commitment and it led him to become a Young Marine. He dedicated seven years where his selflessness, generosity, loyalty and character saw him achieve the rank of SgtMaj of the New England Regiment. This esteemed rank among many, made him the stepping stone where others wanted to emulate. As a leader in the Young Marines, he was awarded (3) Unit Young Marine of the Year, (1) Battalion Young Marine of the Year, the Young Marine Achievement Award, a Marine Corps League Commendation, and a Personal Commendation Award from the National Executive Director of the Young Marines Program.

A unique, kindred soul, Becket was very funny and enjoyed playing practical jokes on his friends and family. He was always humble and kind, putting others before himself. He was an avid reader in military history and a brilliant writer at such a young age. He had an amazing smile and contagious laugh that made everyone around him better. He will be greatly missed.

Becket is survived by his mother, Lynda Kiernan and two sisters, Maegan and Mallory.

His visitation will be held on Thursday February 15th from 2-8 PM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett.  His Funeral Mass will be held on Friday February 16th at 9:30 AM at St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett.  Burial with full military honors will follow at the Masachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.  For directions and guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

Theodore C. Pedersen

Theodore C. Pedersen, beloved husband of Ethel (Andrews) Pedersen for 75 years, died peacefully in Bristol, RI on February 10, 2018. His death followed the February 4th celebration of his 99th birthday, for which he was surrounded by his entire family who loved him very much.

Born in Skudesnes, Norway to the late Gunnar and Inger Serine Pedersen, Ted came to New York as a boy of 11, then moved to New Bedford, and later to Mattapoisett, where he lived for the last 40 years. He was a captain or mate on several F/V, mostly the scalloper Fairhaven.

He was the father of three children; the late Theodore C. Pedersen, Jr., Jonathan Pedersen, and Barbara Allen (Stan Wilbur). He was “Dad” to Janice and Paul Mandeville. “Pumpa” is also survived by his six grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by a sister, Anna S. Arnold.

A recipient of a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Ted served his country in Europe during WWII, including at the Battle of the Bulge, as a member of the 99th Infantry Battalion. In 1945 he was sent to Norway for the celebratory return of exiled King Haakon VII. The Norwegian government presented a commendation for his service in a 2011 ceremony held at their U.S. embassy in Washington, DC.

Ted loved his family, sailing in Mattapoisett Harbor, solving crossword puzzles, and spending winters in Boca Raton, Florida.

A Graveside Service with Military Honors for Mr. Pedersen will be held on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 11am in Pine Grove Cemetery in New Bedford. All arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Donaghy-Hathaway Funeral Home, 465 County Street, New Bedford. To light a memorial candle, sign guest book, cemetery directions go to www.hathawayfunerals.com or call 508 992-5486.

Anne M. (Roche) Mahoney

Anne M. (Roche) Mahoney, 89, of New Bedford passed away on Sunday January 28, 2018 at Our Lady’s Haven. She was the wife of the late Vernon J. Mahoney.

Born in Marlboro, the daughter of the late Francis J. and Catherine A. (Kehoe) Roche, she lived in New Bedford for most of her life.

Anne was a graduate of Holy Family High School.

She was an avid shopper and enjoyed her summers at Crescent Beach in Mattapoisett with her family.

She is survived by two sisters, Martha Berger of New Bedford and Ellen Sylvia and her husband John of Clearwater, FL; her good friend, Betsy Beatriz; several nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.

She was the mother of the late Daniel P. Mahoney, and sister of the late Caroline Robinson, Kathleen Wood, and David Roche.

Her Memorial Mass will be celebrated Saturday March 3, 2018 at 9 am at Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church. Burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery will be private. Arrangements are by the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals, 495 Park St., New Bedford. For online condolence book, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

Rochester Council on Aging

Friday, February 9, the Rochester Council on Aging will present a “Years of Remembrance” Program at 1:30 pm.

Monday, February 12, South Coastal County Legal Services Appointments are available from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, February 13, the Happy Hookers meet at 10:00 am.

Wednesday, February 14, the FRIENDS Board Meeting is scheduled for 10:00 am, followed by the blood pressure clinic at 10:30 am.

A reminder that the Greater Boston Food Bank Pick-up is from 12:00 noon – 4:00 pm.

The Fitness Room Program is now open five days a week, four hours a day. A $10/month membership per person, due the first of each month, entitles members to utilize the room as often as they’d like. The hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 am – noon and Tuesdays from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The Fitness Room Program is monitored by Senior Aide Andrea Meunier of Coastline Elderly Services.

On-going programs at the center include:

Fitness: Chair Yoga, Zumba GOLD, Cardio Dance-Fit, Stepping & Stretching

Dance: Line Dancing and Ballroom Dance Classes

Games: Bingo, Scrabble

Creative: Art Group, Happy Hookers, Senior Book Club

Grocery Shopping at Market Basket every Wednesday

Friday Movies at 1:30 pm (call the center by Wednesday for title of Friday movie)

Call the center at 508-763-8723 for times and days.

Watchdog Eyes Tri-Town Local Governments

Let the municipal offices, boards, and committees of the Tri-Town beware: Someone is watching you.

Mattapoisett is the second municipality in the Tri-Town that the Attorney General’s Office has found in violation of the Open Meeting Law within the past two months, just after Marion was found to have violated the law in two of three complaints filed by a man who doesn’t live in either town.

But that doesn’t stop Ronald Beaty of Barnstable from watching to make sure that public officials everywhere are following their legal obligations, almost exactly to a T.

Beaty, an elected Barnstable County Commissioner, told The Wanderer via email that he ran for that office on a platform of open, transparent, and accountable government. He said he’d earned a reputation on Cape Cod as “somewhat of a government watchdog.”

“As a result of my activism on the Cape, it is now rare to find any OML violations, so I have had to branch out a bit,” said Beaty. “The most recent ‘wins’ involved the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen and the State Ethics Commission.”

Beaty filed the Open Meeting Law complaint on October 12, and the AG’s Office received the complaint on November 15. The complaint alleges that the notices for the board’s September 26 and October 10 meetings lacked sufficient detail because they did not contain a date and time of posting by the town clerk, or the specific purposes for executive session.

In a January 30 letter to Town Administrator Michael Gagne, the AG’s Office stated that it found no evidence of violation pertaining to the date and time stamp on the meeting notice, but it did find the Board of Selectmen in violation concerning the insufficient detailed notice for its September 26 meeting.

“We order the Board’s immediate and future compliance with the Open Meeting Law,” states the letter signed by KerryAnne Kilcoyne, assistant attorney general, “and we caution that similar future violations may be considered evidence of intent to violate the law.”

According to the AG’s Office letter to Gagne, citing the Open Meeting Law, the Mattapoisett Selectmen “failed to identify the non-union personnel with which it was negotiating,” in addition to the litigation matter it had posted without specifying which litigation matter it planned to discuss.

The letter further states, “Although not raised in the complaint, we remind the Board that it must also identify the nonunion personnel with which it is negotiating and the litigation matter it plans to discuss, in the verbal statement made before entering into executive session…” Specific details and matters may not be disclosed, however, if it should be determined that it could compromise the executive session purpose.

Will Rochester be next? Just this week, the Rochester Board of Selectmen’s public notice for its February 5 meeting, like the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen’s, lacks similar detail in its executive session posting, listing only a general reason for executive session as “To conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with union personnel.”

Marion’s notice for its February 6 meeting also features an executive session notice with no specified information for its purposes – the real property up for discussion for purchase is not identified, nor is the non-union personnel in its negotiations strategy discussion.

“Along with the press and local citizens, I will continue to periodically monitor public meetings in the Tri-Town area,” Beaty told The Wanderer. “However, it is sincerely hoped that public officials will mainly monitor themselves.”

As for Beaty, he’s made a name for himself on Cape Cod, and Internet search engine results turn up plenty of mentions of his name in the news, including his 1991 conviction of threatening to kill former President George H.W. Bush, for which he was sentenced to serve 16 months in prison.

The Open Meeting Law can be explored by visiting www.mass.gov/the-open-meeting-law.

By Jean Perry