Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols

On Sunday, December 11 at 7:30 pm, the Tabor Academy choirs and student and faculty readers will present their annual Festival of Lessons and Carols in Wickenden Chapel, 81 Spring Street, Marion. The six choral ensembles, 60 choristers in all, will lead the congregation in seasonal carols and perform choruses, recitatives, and arias from Handel’s Messiah. Additionally featured in this annual celebration of the return of light are choral arrangements by Pentatonix, Chanticleer and David Horne, culminating in Handel’s magnificent chorus Hallelujah! The congregation is invited to join in the singing of the Hallelujah chorus and copies will be available at the door.

Tabor Academy’s venerable Festival of Lessons and Carols tradition follows the popular Marion Stroll (starting at 3:00 pm and hosted by the Marion Business Association). The Wickenden Chapel doors will be open at 7:00 pm and admission is free to the public. The event will also be live-streamed on Tabor Academy’s Facebook page.

ORR Drama Presents A Christmas Carol

The Old Rochester Regional High School Drama Club is back once again to perform Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, just in time for the start of the holiday season.

The familiar yuletide tale will unravel on stage as Ebeneezer Scrooge, performed by John Roussell, is visited on Christmas Eve by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley, played by Paul Kippenberger, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, played by Grace Stephens, Alice Bednarczyk, and Michaela Mattson, respectively, to receive one final chance to become a better person.

The high school drama club gives this same opportunity of personal development to its student members.

“I do drama because it has become an essential part of my life,” says Christopher Savino, who plays Bob Cratchit. “But I also love the thrill of being up on stage and entertaining people and giving them a time where they can forget about their issues and just focus on something else.”

Stephens, who plays the Ghost of Christmas Past, agreed with the sentiment.

“You are creating productions for others’ enjoyment,” Stephens said, “and being able to share it is such a privilege.”

Being a part of productions is something many students choose to continue after their first play, with a good majority contributing for all four years of high school. Both Savino and Stephens, already juniors, follow this practice.

Speaking of the holiday production, Savino commented on how his favorite scenes were those involving the Ghost of Christmas Future.

“I love these scenes because it goes from happy to sad really quickly,” said Savino. “Also, as an actor, I love to tap into sad emotions.”

For Stephens, there is no particular favorite scene in the play; rather, she enjoys them all equally.

“The sets and costumes are all beautiful and everyone is so energetic,” Stephens said. “I have never been so proud of what the drama club has produced.”

The holiday production stars Paul Kippenberger, John Roussell, Sarah Achorn, Alice Bednarczyk, Kelly Bruce, Nicholas Claudio, Camryn Kidney, Kate MacLean, Michaela Mattson, Adam Perkins, Christopher Savino, Grace Stephens, Sienna Wurl and Damion Alton as Tiny Tim.

With Director Paul Sardinha, costumes by Helen Blake, sound by John Farrell, and over 100 students to aid in telling the classic tale, A Christmas Carol is one production not to miss.

The production runs on December 1, 2, and 3 at 7:30 pm, and December 4 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors, and $12 for general admission and can be purchased at Plumb Corner Market (Rochester), The Pen & Pendulum (Mattapoisett), and The Marion General Store (Marion). Tickets will also be sold at the door.

By Jo Caynon


December Programs at Plumb Library

On Thursday, December 1 at 6:30 pm at the Plumb Memorial Library, 17 Constitution Way, Rochester, come meet Mrs. Chris Williamson, Instrumental Music Teacher from Rochester Memorial School, and learn about brass instruments like the trombone and trumpet. You will be given a chance to hold, and try playing, one of these instruments. (No worries, special sanitizing spray provided.) Best for children ages 5 and up, but families are welcome. Please register so we know how many children to expect! Space is limited! Register on the Plumb Library’s Event Calendar found on our website,, or call 508-763-8600.

Food for Fines will take place at the Plumb Library from December 1 to 27. Patrons can donate non-perishable food items that will be taken to Damien’s Pantry in Wareham, or pet food, toys, or cat litter for local animal shelters. Donations will cover overdue fines only; not copying or faxing fees, or payments for lost cards or books. Please call the library for more information.

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. 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, with 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 throughout the day, and a visit from Santa from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm.

For their December book, “Just the Facts” Nonfiction Book Discussion Group will be reading Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal. Within decades, his followers would call him God. Balancing the Jesus of the Gospels against historical record, Aslan describes the many contradictions of the story of Jesus. We will discuss this book on Thursday, December 16 at 6:30 pm.

The Café Parlez’ selection for December is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. Enzo, the dog, is so sure that he will come back as a human that he prepares by watching television and observing the humans around him. Fiercely protective of his owner, Dennie, a race car driver, and his daughter Zoe, he reflects on his life on the eve of his death. In his observations, he folds thrilling car races and driving lessons into family drama. We will discuss this book on Thursday, December 29 at 6:30 pm. Books are available at the desk.

Please note that Plumb Library will be closed on Saturday, December 24, Monday, December 26, and Monday, January 2.

Tax Rate Down, Property Values Up

“People want to be here,” said Kathleen Costello, principal assessor for Mattapoisett in a lead up to meeting with the Board of Selectmen for a public hearing to set the tax rate during the November 29 meeting.

Earlier in the day, Costello explained that in spite of level spending and a projected lower tax rate, many homeowners would still see an increase in their property tax bills starting in January. She said that even though there has been a decrease in buyers seeking properties in flood zones, cash sales have continued to keep that segment strong. The bigger surprises came in neighborhoods with proximity to waterfront locations and views.

Costello noted that nearly all neighborhoods in town saw strong home sales driving up the values, some as much as 35 percent. Using real estate sales between January 2015 and December 2015 coupled with on-site evaluations, the head assessor said, “It’s all about being consistent,” adding, “…for a little town, we have a lot going on.”

At the public meeting with the selectmen, Costello stated, “Values are going up dramatically.” She reported that the average home value is now an impressive $466,640, an increase of 4.7 percent over FY16. Costello calculates that the average single-family dwelling tax bill is projected to be $6,108.32, an increase of 3.5 percent.

Costello said that no single style of home saw greater demand than another, translating to higher values that in turn translate to higher assessed value.

But Costello also confirmed, “The tax rate is going down.” This good news is directly related to new growth in the community.

In a handout, Costello wrote, “The assessed value of the new construction and personal property new growth that took place during the 12 month period from December 31, 2014 to December 31, 2015 is $16,954,857. This translates into $212,438 of increased tax levy capacity over the basic limits of Proposition 2.5 and is a 28 percent decrease over last year’s figure.”

            The new tax rate will be set at $13.09 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The previous rate was $13.20. The board also elected to keep a single tax rate, since to do otherwise, “would really hurt our businesses,” Costello said. The town runs on the 96 percent of tax income it receives from non-commercial property owners.

Earlier in the day, Costello pointed to another area of good news. She explained that the impact of solar projects is positive cash flow into the town coffers. Costello said that due to the PILOT programs established with the owners of these projects, the town benefits from structured payments made over a long period of time. The sum paid is greater than that which the town would have received from land classified as undeveloped.

In other news, Town Administrator Michael Gagne said that he has received quotes from engineering firms for the village road design work approved at town meeting recently. He said a decision would be forthcoming on which firm won the bidding and that once 10 percent of design is achieved, there will be a public meeting to get input. He thanked the people who attended town meeting for supporting this critical expenditure.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for December 13 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.

By Marilou Newell


White Gifts Pageant Service

Mattapoisett Congregational Church’s White Gifts Pageant Service is Sunday, December 11 at 5:30 pm in Reynard Hall, 27 Church Street. For over 80 years, children have shared the Christmas message of Peace, Hope, Joy and Love with a creative combination of hymns, storytelling, and stewardship. This year, the Christmas Story will be presented in a “Pageant in the Round” style format. If you know a child who would to like to participate in a Christmas pageant, there is always room in the manger. All children are welcome. Only commitment is to attend practices from 10:00 – 11:00 am on Sunday, December 4, and Sunday, December 11, and participate in the evening Pageant. Gifts of children’s clothing wrapped in white paper appreciated to help support local families in need. Contact Patricia Berry at 508-758-2671 or email with questions or to sign up to participate. All are welcome.

Great Decisions Program

2017 brings exciting new topics for “Great Decisions,” a Foreign Policy Association discussion group sponsored by the Mattapoisett Woman’s Club and held at the Mattapoisett Library. The discussions will begin on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 and continue for eight consecutive weeks on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. The group will meet in the conference room at the Mattapoisett Library, 7 Barstow Street, Mattapoisett, where there is an accessible entrance and elevator.

The topics are: The Future of Europe, Trade and Politics, Conflict in the South China Sea, Saudi Arabia in Transition, U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum, Latin America’s Political Pendulum, Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Nuclear Security.

The fees for the Foreign Policy Association discussion series booklet and one two-part DVD for classroom showing, plus refreshments and a donation to the library will be $35 each. If you are two people sharing one book, your fee is $45 (for fees & one Book). Please make checks payable to The Mattapoisett Woman’s Club and mail to The Mattapoisett Woman’s Club, P.O. Box 1444, Mattapoisett, MA 02739 by deadline of Wednesday, January 4, 2017. Please note on check: For Great Decisions. The class limit is 25, and sign up is first-come, first-serve basis. The books will be handed out at the Library ten days prior to the first day of class.

You will find this a stimulating community experience; we look forward to your participation.

No Jimmy Choos For You

Back in the 1950s when I was little, I loved to play dress-up. Ladies dresses, cosmetics, and shoes were my passion. My fondest part of the whole dress-up fantasy was the plastic slip-on high-heeled shoes. Those miniature knock-offs of adult shoes were always pink with glittery bits embedded in the hard unforgiving plastic mold, but I loved them.

From early morning to suppertime, I’d wear my plastic high-heeled shoes walking up and down the sidewalk outside our home. The shoes made the most delightful clicking sound, a sound that was music to my little ears.

In my mind, I spun tales of stuttering down a Parisian catwalk modeling evening gowns for famous movie stars. The hard plastic shoes click-clacked, click-clacked in rhythm to the music in my head. Oh, what wondrous places imagination can take a child.

While my clothing style changed from dreaming of sequined gowns to wearing blue jeans, my love of shoes remained steadfast.

As a teenager, I purchased a pair of chucky-heeled lace-up shoes, the latest fashion in the mini-shirt era for those of us whose calves refused entry into knee-high white boots.

Shoe trends in the 1960s found females donning sling-backs, flats, stacked heels, Mary Janes, kitten heels, and Pilgrim shoes. Gone were the pointy-toed stiletto high-heels of the 50s. Gone were my pink plastic high-heels.

Comfort and style were what women demanded along with color. Shoes made from non-organic materials flowed from factories. They were cheap, fashion-forward, and fun.

By the time the cultural revolution of the 1970s arrived, ladies shoe styles progressed into the groovy. In my closest were wooden clogs, cork-soled sandals, and moccasins. I was hip. I still longed for knee-high boots, but my consolation was platform shoes.

My arrival in the grown-up world of making a living meant becoming rather mainstream, demanding shoe choices that would compliment my big hair, chucky jewelry, and padded shoulder jackets. I sprained my ankle once while wearing a pair of Candi wooden-soled high-heeled slip-ons. That was the beginning of ankle damage that would come back to haunt my later years.

The corporate fashion of the 1990s found women sporting tailored pantsuits and pencil skirts with white linen blouses. Shoes became very conservative: primarily pumps and primarily black.

But something happened in the 2000s. Women – well, young women for the most part – were fascinated with high-heeled shoes again. Really high, really narrow, and really horrible to wear – shoes from hell, in other words. I guess we could blame “Sex In The City” or “Mad Men.” Yeah, let’s do that because heaven knows TV influences every facet of our lives.

Back to shoes – those slim bits of leather with devilishly high heels look amazing when one is sitting cross-legged with a cell phone poised for action. But try standing or taking a step. Doing so requires one to stick the buttocks out as a counter weight to the forward projecting torso. The misalignment of the spine coupled with the tippy-toed position of the foot leads to a really unhappy body. Maybe not right away, but definitely over time.

I’ve watched women attempt to hustle their feet through airports while wearing what I can only surmise are Jimmy Choo shoes due to the shape of the spike that was masquerading as a heel. Poor dears.

And then there are the costs. Where women once sought inexpensive shoes with high design, women today want high design and expensive shoes, cost be damned.

Several decades of walking to my office in Boston or through an airport or down long corporate corridors wearing high-heeled shoes finds me today with bunions and ankles that bear the scars of hyper-extension.

I’ve abused my feet and now I must pay the piper. Any investment I make these days in shoes is 100 percent for function, as in walking to the bathroom or doing the grocery shopping without twisting an ankle.

My shoes are no longer cheap knock-offs of couture styles or really anything that even hints at having a heel. Oh, no. Today, my shoes are very sensible. I shop where athletic shoes are sold to athletes and senior citizens. I shop where young sales clerks explain that one’s feet must be cradled in expensive anti-pronation inner soles stuffed inside firmly constructed boats, I mean shoes.

At a mall recently I saw a mother and her small daughter. The kid was wearing a bright pink tutu over striped leggings, a faux tiara, and plastic high-heeled shoes. Little tears sprang to my eyes. I smiled and thought, “Enjoy it while you can little girl. Before you know it, there’ll be no Jimmy Choos for you.”

This Mattapoisett Life

By Marilou Newell


Girls’ Cross Country Competes in Div. 2 All State Meet

Here is a look at the eleventh week of official scheduled games for Old Rochester Regional High School fall athletics.

Girls’ Cross Country: The girls competed in the Division 2 All State meet on Saturday and placed 13th out of 19 teams. Seven girls from Old Rochester qualified for the meet. Junior Madisen Martin led the Bulldogs and placed 54th overall with a time of 21:05. She was followed by senior Avery Nugent (74th, 21:35), senior Riley Shaughnessy (75th, 21:36), junior Maddi Scheub (116th, 23:37), sophomore Claire Noble-Shriver (146th, 23:37), junior Samantha Ball (151st, 24:00), and freshman Jaqueline Barret (154th, 24:10).

Below are the overall fall team records, followed by the conference records in wins, losses, and ties as of November 20:

Volleyball: (13-9-0) (1-19-0); Field Hockey: (10-4-4) (9-5-2); Girls’ Soccer: (14-4-1) (11-5-1); Boys’ Soccer: (6-7-6) (5-6-5); Golf: (12-3-0) (12-3-0); Girls’ Cross Country: (9-0-0) (7-0-0); Boys’ Cross Country: (9-0-0) (7-0-0); Football: (7-0-0) (8-2-0).

By Kaitlin Kelley

Leo J. Belanger

Leo J. Belanger, 92, of Mattapoisett died peacefully on Monday November 28, 2016 at Tobey Hospital. He was the husband of the late Anita T. (Desroches) Belanger.
Born in Northbridge, the son of the late Majorique “Jerry” and Diana (Leclerc) Belanger, he was raised in New Bedford before moving to Mattapoisett in 1989.
Mr. Belanger was a communicant of St. Anthony’s Church.
He was formerly employed as a firefighter with the New Bedford Fire Department for many years before retiring as District Fire Chief. He was also a repair technician at Sears in Dartmouth.
Mr. Belanger was a member of the New Bedford Track Club and enjoyed tennis and ping pong. He enjoyed daily coffee at the coffee shop with his friends.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy.
Survivors include his daughter, Janet Tremblay of Mattapoisett; a granddaughter, Nicole Harrington and her husband Stephen of Mattapoisett; a sister, Doris Richard of Fort Myers Beach, FL; 3 great-grandchildren, Aiden Harrington, Elizabeth Harrington and Owen Harrington; and several nieces and nephews.
He was the brother of the late Jeanette Gifford, Dorothy Almeida and Pauline Picard.
Funeral from the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home For Funerals, 50 County Rd. (Rt. 6) Mattapoisett Thursday at 10 AM. Funeral Mass at St. Anthony’s Church, Mattapoisett at 11 AM. Burial will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery. Visiting hours Wednesday from 6-8 PM. For directions and guestbook, please visit

Donald K. Marvin

Donald K. Marvin, 95, of Mattapoisett died November 27, 2016 at Alden Court Nursing Home
after a brief illness. He was the husband of Elsie Lee (McCarthy) Marvin.

Born in Mount Vernon, NY, the son of the late Charles R. and Mary M. (Fletcher) Marvin, he lived in Mattapoisett most of his life. Mr. Marvin received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University and a Master of Arts degree from Columbia University.

Mr. Marvin was formerly employed as a teacher at Fairhaven High School and Dartmouth High School and retired from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

He enjoyed sailing and gardening and was known for hybridizing daylilies. A garden was named in his honor at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA.

Mr. Marvin served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Survivors include his wife; 2 sons, Thomas Marvin and his wife Marta of Indianapolis, IN and John Marvin and his wife Emilie of Chuluota, FL; 6 grandchildren, James, Steven, Tess, Elizabeth, David and Andrea; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was the brother of the late Nathan Marvin and Rev. Ellison Marvin.
His Graveside Service will be held on Saturday December 3 at 10 AM in Cushing Cemetery, Acushnet Road, Mattapoisett. Visiting hours are omitted. A reception following the service will be held at The Bay Club, 63 County Road (Rt. 6), Mattapoisett. Arrangements are with the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home For Funerals, 50 County Rd. (Rt. 6), Mattapoisett. For directions and guestbook, please visit