Marion Independence Day Fireworks

It may be winter weather outside, but it is time to think ahead to summer! Think Fireworks!

Thanks to our generous neighbors, we were able to bring the fireworks back to Silvershell Beach for Independence Day 2015. We are hopeful that we will be able to do the same for 2016!

The Marion Fireworks Committee will again be under the direction of the Marion Recreation Department.

As you may know, all costs associated with the fireworks are paid for from the money raised through the fundraising efforts of the Marion Fireworks Committee.

Please consider making a donation. All amounts are welcome and are tax deductible.

The Fireworks are enjoyed by Marion and surrounding communities. Donations from residents in communities other than Marion are greatly appreciated also. If you and your family have come to Silvershell Beach for the fireworks in the past, please consider donating so we can continue this tradition.

Donations may be mailed to the Marion Fireworks Committee, 13 Atlantis Drive, Marion, Massachusetts 02738. Any questions, feel free to contact us at 774-217-8355 or fireworks@marionrecreation.com.

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you at the Marion Independence Day Fireworks in 2016!

Student Works Towards Female Empowerment

This fall, Alexis Jones, a feminist activist and author, came to Tabor Academy to talk about her experience and her organization “I AM THAT GIRL”.

Many Tabor students left inspired to make a change – whether by continuing with their friends or teachers the conversation she started or by starting their own projects. One student, Trinity Monteiro, felt such an impact and was so inspired by Jones’ speech that she decided to establish her own I AM THAT GIRL chapter on campus.

“At first, it was a lot of emailing back and forth with Alexis and her team,” said Monteiro. “Then I had an application and a phone interview before my chapter was approved, and then I could start my online training.”

Having an official chapter of IATG at Tabor provides the space for students to talk about their own worries and insecurities as well as larger issues they face. Monteiro believes this kind of space is necessary, and already IATG has provided the platform for a lot of important thinking.

“In the last year, I have done a lot of self reflection and am not focused on changing myself, but improving who I am and finding out what makes me the best version of myself,” Monteiro said. “I’m hoping that the conversations we have in meetings will encourage others to make a similar discovery.”

The chapter meets at least twice a month to discuss topics that are on members’ minds.

“It’s about what they feel need to be talked about most,” said Monteiro, “whether that is something exciting or something that hurt them or affected them in some way.”

Some meetings will be exclusive to girls in the chapter, ensuring that the group is able to think and speak freely. Other meetings, however, will be opened up to a larger population, so others are able to learn more about the organization and the mission, and help empower girls as much as they can. Monteiro also hopes to possibly build a relationship with Our Sisters’ School in New Bedford, spreading her message as far as possible.

While the group is understandably focused on girls, Trinity is working to incorporate guys into IATG. Jones emphasizes that feminism isn’t just a girl’s issue; it affects boys as well, and helping to empower women simultaneously empowers them.

“A lot of guys have approached me wanting to join the group or help out in some way. It’s really great seeing this kind of reaction,” Monteiro said.

Across the board, the reaction from the school has been overwhelmingly positive. Both faculty and students have offered help with, expressed excitement about, or even joined Monteiro’s I AM THAT GIRL chapter at Tabor.

“One of the best things … for me is I have been able to connect with a lot of girls from our community that I was not as close to before and they have all expressed so much love, support, and excitement for all of it,” said Monteiro. “And that is what keeps me going.”

The biggest goal of IATG is to spark conversations and make girls feel safe in sharing their stories and problems. Already, Monteiro has created a safe space in which these things are possible.

The I AM THAT GIRL message of empowerment is already spreading throughout the Tabor campus, and the future of IATG promises to continue to spread this message to students and faculty, male and female, to create a more cohesive and supportive community.

By Madeleine Gregory

 

Ideas Flow Like Water

The February 2 meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission had an agenda that was absent of any hearings. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t business to attend to and ideas to explore.

Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon opened the discussion with the commission to craft 2016 Conservation Commission goals. The commission members, along with Farinon, came up with an impressive to-do list.

First on the list is to complete the update of the Explore Rochester Trail Guide that is a partnership with Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School students.

Second on the list is to continue working on a new open space plan with the assistance of SRPEDD.

The third idea is to create a sub-committee that would be responsible for making site visits to evaluate all town-owned properties with an eye towards any work the parcels might require. This thought then inspired the fourth idea: forest management planning.

And finally a fifth idea, now a goal, is to develop a brochure that would assist residents, especially those moving into the community, on ‘living near wetlands.’ The thought here, the commissioners agreed, would be to help residents understand what they may and may not do to property situated near or that includes jurisdictional areas.

Commission member Kevin Cassidy said, “People don’t know what they can and can’t do. This is better than handing them an enforcement order.”

After listing the goals, they reviewed several completed projects from their 2015 list: the creation of a new Conservation Commission website; a digital version of the trail guide; and updating the open space plan.

Farinon then directed the meeting towards the Makepeace Neighborhood Fund, a $2,000 grant that Rochester has received. Farinon asked the commission to consider using the fund to partner with other departments for the construction of a paved walking path around the town’s baseball fields located near the senior center. Commission members concurred that this was a viable and worthwhile use of the grant monies.

Lastly, the commission discussed some edits to the Surface Water Protection Bylaws, a newly written set of bylaws proposed to be included on the warrant for Rochester’s Annual Town Meeting.

The bylaws would help to ensure that Rochester’s fresh water resources and surrounding watershed areas would be protected by local laws enforceable at the local level, including restrictions for water withdrawals by ‘tanked vehicles.’

Commissioner Michael Conway reported to the commissioners that the water commission had unanimously agreed to support adoption of the new bylaws.

The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is scheduled for February 16 at 7:00 pm in the Rochester Town Hall meeting room.

By Marilou Newell

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ORCTV Off the Air for Maintenance

ORCTV will be off the air for 5-10 days beginning February 8 for upgrades and maintenance to its cablecast system. The local cable access station will be moving its server, which is the broadcast system for the station, from their old home at the Captain Hadley House in Marion, to ORCTV’s new studio located at Old Rochester Regional High School in Mattapoisett. Comcast and Verizon will also be moving their broadcast equipment during this period of time. ORCTV hopes to be back on the air as quickly as possible and apologizes for any inconvenience. Government meetings and locally-produced programs may still be seen on our Vimeo channel that can be viewed by logging on to www.vimeo.com/user19280086.

Open Table

You are invited for supper on Friday, February 12 at the Mattapoisett Congregational Church. It is Abe Lincoln’s birthday, and we’re sure he would want you to celebrate it with us. As always, something delicious and nutritious is on the menu. There is no charge, although donations are gratefully accepted. Doors open at 4:30 pm and the meal will be served at 5:00 pm. Everyone is welcome.

Applications for Affordable Homeownership Opportunity

Buzzards Bay Area Habitat for Humanity announces that applications are now available for a three-bedroom Habitat for Humanity home for purchase on 18 Minot Avenue, Wareham. The application deadline is April 1, 2016.

Applicant households must be income eligible (families must fall into the following guidelines, 30% to 60% of the area median income as adjusted by household size. Two-person household: $21,000 to $42,000; three-person household: $23,650 to $47,280; four-person household: $26,250 to $52,500; five-person household: $28,350 to $56,700; and six-person household: $30,450 to $60,900), live or work in our service area (Acushnet, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Marion, Mattapoisett, New Bedford, Rochester and Wareham), have a critical need for a decent affordable home, be “willing to partner” with Habitat in the construction of their home (i.e., work side-by-side for 100 sweat equity hours with the construction volunteers or serve the affiliate in other ways), and have the ability to make a monthly mortgage payment estimated to be between $650 to $800, which includes escrow for taxes and homeowner’s insurance.

General information about applying for a Habitat home is available on the website: www.BuzzardsBayHabitat.org. Applicants are invited to attend one of two informational workshops for prospective buyers:

Wednesday, February 3, 6:00 pm at the Habitat office, 8 County Road, Mattapoisett; or

Saturday, February 6, 9:30 am at Eastern Bank, 226 Main Street, Wareham.

Applications may be obtained at the informational sessions as listed above or at the Habitat for Humanity office, 8 County Road, Suite 2, Mattapoisett or please call the Habitat office at 508-758-4517 to have an application mailed to you.

Alice W. (Valley) Walsh

Alice W. (Valley) Walsh, 65, of Mattapoisett, passed away surrounded by family and friends on February 2, 2016, at St. Luke’s Hospital following a gradual decline in health.
Alice grew up in Tinkhamtown and in her youth earned many badges in Girl Scouts. A 1968 graduate of Old Rochester Regional High School she became a paraplegic at age 19 as the passenger in a car accident in town.
Previously she worked as a waitress and also at Union Hospital, Smith Office Supply, and Aerovox. Later she volunteered at the Brockton Veterans Administration Hospital writing letters and reading to other paraplegics and quadriplegics. She volunteered at the Jewish Convalescent Home in New Bedford. In 1983 she attended Kinyon Campbell Business School and volunteered with the Marion Center for Human Services, Inc. She also assisted with Mattapoisett FISH. Alice enjoyed music, arts & crafts, cribbage, and outings with friends.
Widowed by David J. Walsh of Bourne, she was a strong, vibrant woman who raised her daughter, Chrystal Lee Walsh of Ligonier, PA, with support from her late parents, Pret and Lorraine Valley. She was reunited with an adopted daughter, Dyanna Schulze, 17 years ago. She has two grandsons, Domenic Schulze of Fairhaven, MA and Linden White. Her granddaughter, Trillian White, was born on her front lawn delivered by her son-in-law Sean White. She is also survived by her brother, David A. Valley and his wife Linda Lee (Harding) Valley of Chesterfield, VA; several nieces and nephews, including Charlene (Killion) Tilden and David and Margaret Harder-MacPhail of Santa Rosa, CA who are dear relatives.
She was predeceased by her sister Linda P. Tilden.
In remembrance of Alice, please visit Ned’s Point Lighthouse and think of her or plant flowers or a tree this spring. Her private graveside service will be held at a later date in Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven.
Arrangements are with the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home For Funerals, 50 County Rd. (Rt. 6) Mattapoisett. For online guestbook, please visit www.saundersdwyer.com.

ORR Asked to Separate Capital From Budget

Administrators, finance committee members, and selectmen from each of the three towns met for Round One of regional budget talks with the Old Rochester Regional School Committee and school administrators on February 1.

The driving forces behind the recommended 7.5% increase of the $18.3 million budget are health insurance, retirement assessments, and eight proposed new items, in addition to a $60,000 decrease in school choice revenue.

School Business Administrator Patrick Spencer introduced each of the eight items listed in order of importance on the regional’s “wish list”; however, after discussion, some looked more like ‘needs’ than ‘wants.’

At the top of the list is a special education teacher for a new cohort of five students about to turn 18, leading to the need to establish an age 18-22 adult transition program as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

As Director of Student Services Michael Nelson stated, without the program, it would cost the towns $90,000 to $120,000 per student to place these students out of district rather than $55,000 with the program. It would be less of a financial burden on the budget, explained Nelson, to keep the students in the district for their education and training … “Which I think would be ideal to provide in their own home communities,” he added.

Second on the list is a new social worker in addition to adding .2 to an existing social worker position to make it full-time to meet the regional school district’s social/emotion strategic goal of supporting the emotional wellbeing of an increasing number of at-risk students. One social worker would be designated to each of the two schools, at a budget increase of $69,800.

Five years ago, said ORRHS Principal Michael Devoll, there were nine students with significant social/emotional needs. That number has grown to 30.

“We’re really not able to meet the needs of our students,” said Devoll. “Right now, we’re really running around trying to put out fires instead of being proactive….”

Third on the list is a new special education coordinator to be split between the junior and senior high schools estimated at $92,000. Devoll and ORRJHS Principal Kevin Brogioli agreed that between teacher evaluations, student discipline, and special education meetings for 180 pupils on individualized education plans (IEPs), there is not enough time for the assistant principal of each school to effectively attend to everything.

You have 180 students with IEPs, and each has an annual meeting chaired by the assistant principal, Devoll explained. “Essentially, they’re in a meeting a day all year long,” said Devoll, adding that ORR’s caseload per assistant principal is “unheard of” in other districts.

The fourth request, $54,000, is for an art teacher to restore the one that was cut from the budget back in the mid-2000s. Devoll said state colleges require one year of art for admission, yet many students are unable to complete that requirement because there is not enough room in the limited classes.

“And we’re saying ‘no’ to them … while still telling them they have to take an art class,” said Devoll.

Fifth on the list is an extra late bus on Wednesdays at $20,000; sixth, a teacher leader coordinator at $24,000; seventh, a new part-time sign language teacher, a request denied last year, $35,000; and eighth, a new guidance counselor at $54,000.

Devoll said parents are looking for more facetime with their child’s guidance counselor, which often doesn’t happen until junior year for many parents.

“It would make a world of difference,” Devoll said. “I think our families are calling for it, and I think it’s appropriate.”

Mattapoisett Town Administrator Michael Gagne strongly advised School Superintendent Doug White to separate all capital project expenditures from the budget to look at funding them using money that was freed up last fiscal year when the committee voted for a debt reconfiguration to refinance a loan with a significant interest rate reduction.

With an annual $113,000 of freed-up debt, Gagne said the district could borrow on it to pay for capital expenses without a reduction in the original debt cost. Mattapoisett Selectman Paul Silva concurred, and Marion Finance Director Judith Mooney suggested looking into it.

“Let’s start by doing it now,” Mooney said. Offset the $383,000 in capital expenditures in the FY17 budget by borrowing against the $113,000. “That should take care of your capital plan,” said Mooney. It could be done at Town Meeting with a vote to create more debt, yet keeping the payments the same. No tax increases, no assessment spikes.

Gagne emphasized separating the capital from the budget, saying, “Then I can look at the budget for ORR … as I look at the budget for Mattapoisett local schools.” He suggested holding another meeting to compare apples to apples.

“I think it’s unfair for you to have capital in your budget,” Gagne told White.

During closing comments, Karen Kevelson of the Marion Finance Committee had this to say: “As parents and community members and teachers … we want to give our students everything they need … and some of the things they want.” But, just like a child’s Christmas list, “I think there are too many wants on this list for this year, given the financial restraints.”

Silva simply stated that, as it stands now, Mattapoisett could not support the proposed budget.

“Let’s take out the capital. Let’s see what the real numbers are and see what that looks like,” Silva said.

Another joint meeting of the three towns and the ORR school district is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17 at 4:30 pm in the superintendent’s office conference room.

By Jean Perry

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Marion Art Center Dance Academy

The Marion Art Center Dance Academy is now accepting registrations for its Spring/Winter 2016 Session. Classes are held on Wednesdays starting on February 24 and run for 10 weeks. Fall session is grounded in classical dance. Spring session focuses heavily on choreography and recital performance with instructor Joclyne Nunes.

Preschool (age 3-4): 3:30 to 4:05 pm

Beginner (age 5-7): 4:15 to 5:00 pm

New! Tap Class (boys & girls ages 4-9): 5:15 to 6:00 pm

The 10-week Winter/Spring 2016 Session Class Schedule is as follows: February 24, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6, No Dance on April 20 (School April Vacation), April 27, and May 4, (Thursday, May 5 is an extra built-in class if needed for snow day). The recital is set for Friday, May 6. The dress rehearsal will be at 4:30 pm with the recital following at 6:00 pm.

Preschool Dance: Preschool instruction is for children between the ages of 3-4. Class is 35 minutes and involves ballet warm-up, jazz stretches, basic mat tumbling and basic tap steps. The fee for the 10-week session is $145 for Marion Art Center members and $160 for non-members. (Child must be 3 years of age at the start of the session.)

Beginner (ages 5-7): Kinderstep and beginner instruction are for children between the ages of 4-5 and 6-7. Class is 45 minutes and involves ballet warm-up and barre, jazz stretches, beginner mat tumbling. The fee for the 10-week session is $155 for Marion Art Center members and $170 for non-members.

Tap Class (boys & girls ages 4-9): Tap class is designed to develop rhythm, style and sound. Students will learn a variety of tap styles from Broadway to rhythm tap. Exercises focus on building flexibility of the knee and ankles, coordination, and speed of movement. The class emphasis is on developing proper tap technique, producing clear tap sounds, and having fun. The fee for the 10-week session is $155 for Marion Art Center members and $170 for non-members.

Senior Superlatives

This week at Old Rochester Regional High School, the senior class was abuzz with excitement over their Superlative Night on January 28. The members of the class of 2016 wore their best attire to watch their peers receive their awards or to receive them themselves. Principal Michael Devoll and Athletic Director Bill Tilden donned black suits and led the show as co-hosts.

Superlative Night began with a game of Know Your School, in which five seniors were selected to compete to determine who was the champion at school-related trivia. The prize? A parking spot directly in front of the school, right under the flag pole in the front of the lobby. A coveted spot – especially in the dead of winter when the snow and ice make the walk from the parking lot into the school that much more unbearable.

The lucky seniors selected were Aibhlin Fitzpatrick, Zenobia Nells, Nicholas Kondracki, James Estudante, and Will Santos. Evan Santos kept score.

Every person got a whiteboard on which to write their answers. A projector played a slideshow on the screen behind the players with questions and answers. Questions ranged from easy: name a new staff member who started this year, to more difficult: name as many teachers who graduated from ORR as possible. The winners, Fitzpatrick and Will Santos, were ecstatic to receive the parking spot.

Then began the actual superlatives. Every category had a minimum of one boy and one girl in the running to win. Devoll read off the boy contestants, and Tilden read the girls. After the winners were announced, they were invited on stage to give a speech if they wished. The superlatives and their winners are as follows:

            Most Spirited: Brett Noone and Natasha Shorrock; Most Likely to Succeed: Evan Roznoy and Jane Kassabian; Most Athletic: The Santos Twins (Will and Evan) and Zoe Smith; Largest Appetite: Nick Kondracki and Aibhlin Fitzpatrick; Teacher’s Pet: Matthew Fortin and Rachel Scheub; Most Likely to Move Away: Marco Li and Catherine Feldkamp; Most Changed: Frederick Miller and Tayla Campbell; Class Hippie: Emil Assing and Emily Josephson; Best Smile: Evan Bishop and Kristina Sauerbrey; Best Laugh: Adrian “Paul” Kavanagh and Angela Conde; Class Angel: Wiley Gibson and Bailey Sweet; Celebrity Look-Alike: Frederick Miller and Kayley Silvia; Most Accident-Prone: Seth Gomes and Emily Faulkner; Hall Wanderer: Darien Dumond and Tanya Medeiros; Most Unique: Shawn Perreira and Abigail Field.

Then came intermission, when pictures were taken and snacks purchased. On stage, the band Skinny Moth and the Prospect, comprised of seniors Holly Frink, Eli Kovacevich, Shane Fitzgerald and Jeffrey Murdock, entertained the audience, and they even included the hit song Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars, to which many people sang along.

After the short intermission, the show was back on and the superlatives began again, but this time with a twist. It was the teacher superlatives, when the seniors voted on the best teacher for each category.

The winners, as selected by the senior class: Most Talented: Dr. Colin Everett; Most Inspirational: Ms. Kathleen Brunelle; Best Dressed: Mr. Michael Beson; Most School Spirit: Mr. Steve Carvalho; Best Coach/Club Advisor: Mr. William Tilden; Most Humorous; Mr. Michael Nailor.

And finally, the night ended with the second half of the senior superlatives, awarded as follows:

Best Eyes: Shane Harkins and Kristina Sauerbrey; Class Flirt: Corey Dias and Alexandria Powers; Most Gullible: Matthew Fortin and Eryn Horan; Most Musically Inclined: Shane Fitzgerald and Zenobia Nelles; Unsung Hero: Joshua Winsper and Bailey Sweet; Gym Warriors: Joshua Winsper and Elexis Alfonso; Highway Menace: Andrew Homen and Courtney Dextradeur; Most Artistic: Emil Assing and Abigail Field; Most Sarcastic: Jacob Chavier and Autumn Carter; Best Hair: Jeffrey Murdock and Kristina Sauerbrey; Drama Court: Rikard Bodin and Alexandra Melloni; Cutest Couple: Edward Krawczyk and Nicole Mattson; Class Clown: Evan Portelance and Haily Saccone; Best All Around: The Santos Twins (who were jokingly called “The Santi” for the night) and Jane Kassabian.

All in all, the night was a success, with the best turn out anybody could remember. The auditorium was packed, the seniors raised money to help pay for prom, and everybody enjoyed themselves!

By Sienna Wurl