Rochester Democratic Town Committee

The Rochester Democratic Town Committee will be holding an organizational meeting of the town committee pursuant to the charter and bylaws of the MA Democratic Committee. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30 pm in the Rochester Town Hall Conference Room, 1 Constitution Way, to elect officers to the Democratic Town Committee. All registered Democrats are invited.

School Government in Full Session at ORR

Out of the many student organizations at Old Rochester Regional High School, the ORR Student Government may be one of the most active groups. Made up of members of all four grades, the peer-elected members tend to be some of the busiest and most dedicated students.

Each grade has a student council made up of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and several senators. This group, along with their staff advisors, is responsible for planning and running events and fundraisers for their class.

For instance, the senior class held a “Drive 4 Ur School” fundraiser two weeks ago. Members of the community were asked to spend a few minutes of their time test driving a brand new vehicle and filling out a survey afterwards. The large turnout raised over $5,000 for future class expenses.

Currently, the councils are leading their respective classes in their traditional Homecoming skits. The members were responsible for organizing the grade vote for the skit themes, which are performed in front of the whole school on the day of the Homecoming game. Grades will be practicing after school four times before their final performance.

The combined elected members of all four grades make up the school’s student government as a whole. This larger group is managed by the Executive Board, which can be members of any grade and fill positions of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer for the entire government.

“Executive Board is made up of four officers that oversee the rest of the student government,” said Executive Board Vice President Lindsey Merolla. “They manage the activities of the class officers and also listen to the students’ ideas and consider if and how to apply them.” She continued, “We start initiatives that will better the school community. Right now one of our initiatives is installing new water bottle stations around the school so students can access clean filtered water to fill their water bottles.”

Treasurer Ryu Huynh-Aoyama said, “It’s busy, but it’s worth it becauses we make an actual difference in the school. We are focused on Homecoming for the timebeing, but the water filters for our next project should be coming in soon.”

The Student Government spentits last meeting creating posters promoting this year’s Homecoming and its theme “City of Lights.” Ten-foot-long banners were also painted to inform the student body of the outfit themes for Homecoming Week, including Pajama Day, Twin Day, and America Day.

Student Government will also be setting up the venue for the Homecoming dance, and the council members for the Class of 2021 will raise funds for their grade through refreshment sales.

By Jo Caynon

 

Mattapoisett Democratic Town Committee

The Mattapoisett Democratic Town Committee will host a meet and greet with Setti Warren on Saturday, October 21 at 11:00 am at the Mattapoisett Public Library. Setti, currently the mayor of Newton, is a Democratic candidate for the Massachusetts Governor race in 2018. As governor, he plans to tackle economic inequality in Massachusetts. The mayor plans to address the group and hold a question and answer session. This is a public event and all are invited to attend.

Mattapoisett Woman’s Club

The Mattapoisett Woman’s Club is meeting on Thursday, October 19 in Reynald Hall at the Mattapoisett Congregational Church located at 27 Church Street. Come join us for at 11:00 am to socialize with or meet our members, followed by a brief meeting, lunch, and a guest speaker. New people are always welcome. If you are interested in attending or want more information, please contact Christine Voss at 508-758-3348.

This month our program is “Daniel Ricketson and Brooklawn Park,” presented by Peggi Medeiros. Ms. Medeiros is a research historian currently writing a column for The Standard Times. Ms. Medeiros is going to talk about Daniel Ricketson (1813-1896), his wives, and children. Mr. Ricketson grew up in a prominent New Bedford Quaker family and was a lawyer, philanthropist, poet, author, benefactor, and abolitionist. He built an estate that he called Brooklawn which is now a park.

Study Proves All of Rochester is Haunted

A months-long comprehensive study has concluded that every square foot of the Town of Rochester is haunted, according to data released to The Wanderer on October 9 by an anonymous group of residents that say the Town has taken too long to publically disclose the truth.

One source who would only speak to The Wanderer under anonymity said that for about a year, strange and unusual supernatural activity has been plaguing the population of Rochester, although only very few of them were willing to come forward with their experiences for fear of embarrassment.

“I personally know of at least 60 houses in Rochester where the people say that their homes used to be peaceful and were now haunted in one way or another,” said the anonymous resident of Mary’s Pond Road. “One family can’t even sleep in their own house anymore. And neither can we! So many ghosts, I don’t know, and just unexplained…things have just taken over, it’s insane the way people are being forced out of their own homes.”

It’s all true, says Rochester Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar.

“I admit it, I didn’t know what to think when the first phone call came in last October,” Szyndlar said on October 10. “And by the time the next three or four strange stories were reported to me, I was like, ‘Something weird is going on’, and I started compiling all of the complaints.”

Szyndlar said she and Rochester Facilities Manager Andrew Daniel met with some of the complainants at their homes, usually at night when the degree of the alleged hauntings would intensify, forming a casual investigation to see if the Town should get involved in some way.

“Andrew came with me because I wanted to have a witness to anything that I might see. He was also the only one of the people I asked that was crazy enough to come with me,” said Szyndlar. “Oh yeah. We saw some weird stuff, that’s for sure. And some very terrifying stuff. But releasing the information publically without some sort of plan of action would have caused people to panic and we couldn’t disrupt people’s lives and start scaring people like that.”

Szyndlar, under the advisement of the Board of Selectmen, discreetly continued to meet with affected residents, delivering a report to the board during executive session meetings under the guise of investigating criminal conduct.

“We don’t exactly have a legal purpose for executive session under the Open Meeting Law for supernatural investigations,” said Szyndlar, “but this was basically the closest thing we could come up with. It had to be done.”

Going through her file of compiled reports, Szyndlar listed some of them off: reports of ghostly apparitions at the tops of staircases in four houses on Dexter Lane, as well as numerous reports from the same street of shadows moving across lawns at night, screaming coming from somewhere in the woods, strangers knocking on doors at night and then disappearing into thin air, and specific reports of a little girl with “hollow black eyes that look right through you” saying only to frightened witnesses, “It was death…”

The area of Pine Street at Hartley Road was another hotspot for reports, including people experiencing sleep paralysis at night and dark ghost-like apparitions hovering over their beds.

Some teachers at Rochester Memorial School discreetly told the principal, who later contacted Szyndlar, that staff members regularly encounter a small boy dressed in mid-1800s clothing wandering the halls during the dark winter late afternoons, and when approached “his eyes would turn black” and when he opened his mouth to speak “his mouth would stretch wide open into an enormous black hole half the size of his face,” states the report, the boy saying nothing before disappearing and leaving behind “muddy footprints that couldn’t be mopped up” that would mysteriously disappear overnight.

Pine Street residents also reported packs of “man-sized dogs with glowing red eyes” seen traversing the country fairgrounds at night. The remains of deer, coyotes, and other wildlife have been found scattered in the area, described as having been “completely ripped to shreds,” as one of the reports details.

Another incident from Hartley Road is that of the deceased past inhabitants of the house returning and going about their daily lives “as if they were still alive,” which has also been reported in several other historical homes.

“We had to do something at one point,” said Szyndlar. “This was really happening. We were scared to death and we had to figure out what was happening, why, and what could be done about it before something really bad happens.”

Back in March, the Town contacted the paranormal investigative group called “Second Sight Study Group” who performed the study at no cost to the Town.

“I’ve been waiting for a study such as this one my entire life,” said SSSG President and Chief Investigator Hegna Barlow during a phone interview on Monday. “This is finally the proof that we need as paranormal investigators – as ghost hunters — to finally show the world without a shadow of a doubt that ghosts do exist.”

Barlow said she had never seen anything like what she witnessed in Rochester. And the video and audio footage and data collected is unprecedented, she added.

“This poor elderly couple living over on New Bedford Road,” Barlow recalled. She paused and let out an unsettled sigh. “I’d never been as frightened as I was standing there at the top of their basement stairs.” After another long pause, Barlow said, “There was a dark presence in that house – powerful, demonic, sinister beyond realization — that could probably gobble up the soul of every living being in this town and destroy it.”

Barlow said the borders between the Earth and spirit worlds– dimensions – have blurred. As Barlow put it, the veil between this world and the spirit world has thinned, and continues to thin, “Which is normal for this time of year leading up to Halloween – Samhain – after which the veil slowly thickens, which is what Rochester should pray happens again,” she said.

The study does not confirm why the paranormal abnormalities are happening, but she did speculate that beneath the soil within the bedrock could be massive veins of quartz that may have something to do with it, or perhaps some high school students partying one night thought it would be fun to try to open up a door to the spirit world and unintentionally invited elements from the underworld. Barlow also said the uptick in solar farms could be to blame, saying that some claim that the consumption of sunlight as it is sucked up by the dark arrays causes a disturbance on the subatomic level. Whatever it is, it appears to be confined to the borders of Rochester.

“It is my opinion – no, it is likely fact – that Rochester, Massachusetts is the single most haunted place in the country, if not the world,” said Barlow. “But that conclusion is…the extent of our usefulness to the town and its distressed inhabitants. We don’t have the means or the knowledge on our end to…help.”

The study began in April and was finally concluded on August 30. Now well over a month later, victims of hauntings say they lost patience with the Town and released the information on their own.

“We’ve been asking and asking the Town, ‘Hey, when are you going to release the information to the public? When are you going to come up with a plan and tells us?’ but no one would tell us when,” said the anonymous Mary’s Pond Road resident who contacted The Wanderer.

Szyndlar said the Town was refraining in order to formulate a plan of action to try to control a likely panicked response.

In light of the hasty public release of the information, Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee said in a written statement on Tuesday that the department has received over 443 calls about ghosts and apparitions, objects disappearing and reappearing, and “bumps in the night”, and has appointed an officer to handle nothing but resident calls and concerns about ghosts and hauntings.

“The department fully acknowledges what is happening in Town, and no resident should be fearful or hesitant to contact us for support,” said Magee; however, he asks residents to use the business line for haunting-related calls, not 911.

Daniel advised residents to be alert and aware while cautioning them to not panic.

“So far no person has been physically hurt by anything,” said Daniel, who has taken up the task of finding help for the town as it faces an unknown future in its battle with the paranormal. “Still, I’m not the kind of person who scares easily, but over these past few months I’ve had the (expletive) scared out of me so many times I’ve literally lost count.”

Board of Selectmen Chairman Brad Morse said in an email that the Town would be scheduling a public forum with residents once they can ascertain that reported paranormal activity at the Council on Aging would allow for an “undisturbed” meeting.

During said public forum, the selectmen will release copies as well as a summary of the supernatural study, and Barlow will be present to answer questions. Further information will be posted and announced in a reverse 911 call to residents as soon as possible.

“So, who you gonna call?” The Wanderer asked Daniel, who replied, “I have a few kind of weird friends who may know someone who may know someone, and I’ve been spending every night online researching groups that H.B. (Barlow) suggested.” Clearly missing the obvious reference, Daniel added, “If anyone knows anyone who deals in getting rid of ghosts, please, have them contact me.”

 

A Halloween Special Report

By Jean Perry

Mildred B. Marcoux

Mildred B. Marcoux, 95, of Rochester and formally of Mattapoisett, passed away peacefully on September 23.

She was the daughter of the late William S. and Florence Bowman, of New Bedford.

Mildred was the mother of Arthur Marcoux and his wife Janice of West Peabody, Andrew Marcoux and his wife Linda of Westwood, Bruce Marcoux together with Jocelyn Peachey of Bridgewater and predeceased by her daughter Linda Marcoux and her son Alan Marcoux. Devoted grandmother and great grandmother to 7 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Grandchildren include Lauren M. Hussey of Ashland, Lisa M. Bauman of Lake Barrington, IL, Jennifer A. Marcoux of Darien, CT, Kayma Englund of Encinitas, CA, Davis Englund of Lexington, KY, Ross Marcoux of Bridgewater and Kerrin Marcoux of Marion.

From early childhood through high school, Mildred was an accomplished acrobatic ballet dancer. She graduated from New Bedford High School and the former Kinyon School, in New Bedford. After graduating from the Kinyon School, she worked as a secretary for the Berkshire Company, in New Bedford, until she got married and raised 5 children. She had a loving passion for dogs, painting, arts and crafts, old-time movies, traveling to England with her family, going to the beach, swimming and her beloved grandchildren and great grandchildren.

To celebrate her life, a private memorial service was held at the First Unitarian Church of New Bedford, on October 10.

Donations may be made to Southcoast Health System, Hematology Dept., 101 Page St., New Bedford, Ma, in her memory.

 

Mattapoisett Special Town Meeting

The Town of Mattapoisett is holding a Special Town Meeting on Monday, November 27 2017 at 6:30 pm at the Old Rochester Regional High School Auditorium. The last day to register to vote in order to be eligible for this meeting is Friday, November 17. The Town Clerk’s Office will be open from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm on this day. If you are already registered to vote, no action is required. This pertains to new voters in Mattapoisett only.

Rochester Historical Society

The October 18 meeting of the Rochester Historical Society will feature a program by Sharon and Woody Hartley about their cranberry business in Rochester. The meeting is at 7:00 pm at the East Rochester Church Museum, 355 County Road. All are welcome. Refreshments will follow the program.

Come early and visit our “Farming in Rochester: Past and Present” display, the history of farming told in stories and pictures.

The Museum will also be open each Sunday in October from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Visit our gift shop for all things Rochester from T-shirts and sweatshirts to Rochester books and cards.

More Pleas to Stop Menthol Cigarette Ban

Last time it was the Coalition for Responsible Retailing (CRR) and a Marion liquor store owner asking the Marion Board of Health to reconsider a pending bylaw to ban flavored tobacco and nicotine products, including menthol cigarettes; on October 10 it was the non-profit Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), and the Washington D.C. based think tank R Street Institute.

In a letter dated September 27 from MAMLEO President Larry Ellison, Ellison says his association stands with the Board of Health in its initiative to discourage minors and adults from using tobacco products, but warned the board that a ban on menthol cigarettes would have unintended consequences – something introduced to the BOH last meeting by Dennis Lane of the CRR.

It’s no secret, writes Ellison, that members of the minority communities comprise the majority of menthol cigarette smokers, and a ban on menthol would have a disproportionate impact on them.

“Understanding that Marion has a very small community of color, the Board of Health may not be fully aware of these consequences,” wrote Ellison, “and I therefore feel obligated to respectfully bring them to your attention. This is particularly important if your intent in banning menthol comes with the hope that other communities will follow your actions.”

According to Ellison, 30 percent of cigarettes in the state arrive from outside Massachusetts and are sold on the black market. Banning menthol cigarettes or limiting access to them would cause the criminal market to expand, place an additional “unfunded burden on law enforcement,” and lead to “a disproportionate impact [that] this illicit trade will have on communities of color.”

Banning menthol cigarettes, asserts Ellison, would create “yet another opportunity to criminalize the Black community by enabling the excuse for biased law enforcement.”

“Finding a menthol cigarette in the wrong car, at the wrong time could be justified by some as cause for further investigation, and a deeper violation of civil rights merely because the individual is a smoker,” says Ellison. “It may sound like a dramatization to suggest such a scenario, but one need only look at the national news to see it is a reality in our nation, and it causes great harm to many people while it puts the law enforcement officers at great risk.”

It seems senseless to make matters worse for the Black community, wrote Ellison, by making a product illegal instead of furthering anti-tobacco education and stricter enforcement of sales “that protect all citizens, including minors equally.”

After the meeting last month, BOH member Betsy Dunn commented that the intent of the menthol ban was never related to race, asking, “Why do they always have to make something racial? I find that unconscionable.”

Nicolas John, Northeast regional manager of the R Street Institute, asked the board to reconsider banning flavored electronic nicotine products and cautioned against banning mint, menthol, peppermint, and wintergreen flavors, particularly because they are popular with adults, especially those who have switched from traditional combustible cigarettes to the seemingly safer e-cigarette.

John advocated for tobacco harm reduction, emphasizing the role that e-cigs and ‘vaping’ have in reducing cigarette-related diseases.

Banning flavored electronic nicotine discourages smokers from seeking the safer alternative, said John.

“While well-intentioned, this legislation will adversely affect public health by limiting access to safer alternatives to combustible cigarettes to the very people that this bill aims to protect,” said John.

John urged the board to consider Public Health New England’s conclusion that e-cigs are “no less than 95 percent safer than combustible cigarettes.”

“I applaud the efforts of the Marion Board of Health to reduce prevalence of smoking and associated diseased,” said John. “However, it is important that the potential of e-cigarettes to mitigate risks associated with combustible cigarettes be recognized if we wish to encourage a healthful populace.”

The board was satisfied and asked no further questions, nor did members make comments on the content of the discussion.

The next meeting of the Marion Board of health is scheduled for October 24 at 4:30 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Board of Health

By Jean Perry

 

Tabor Academy Hosts Open House

On Sunday, October 15, Tabor will host their annual Fall Open House from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. Designed to provide a comprehensive look at the school’s programs and facilities, the day includes presentations by faculty leaders about the academic program and the unique Marine Science offerings at the School by the Sea. Programs in athletics, arts, and student life will also be presented in detail. The Open House begins in the Fireman Center for Performing Arts in Hoyt Hall at 235 Front Street in Marion. The day will end at 3:30 pm after a free flowing Curricular and Co-curricular Fair allowing prospective students and families the opportunity to meet informally with Tabor students, teachers and coaches, college counselors, and members of the Parents Association based on their areas of interest. Please pre-register for Tabor Academy’s Fall Open House program at www.taboracademy.org/openhouse.

“We are eager to meet area families interested in Tabor Academy and hope our expanded programming will give families the best look at the many incredible opportunities our community provides,” shared Bobbi Krein, Director of Admissions.