Upcoming Programs at the Mattapoisett Library

Join us in decorating our outdoor nature holiday tree with treasures you find outside. Located near the side entrance, the library tree is waiting for pinecones, sea glass, and feathers!

Cookie Decorating: Come to the library as part of the Mattapoisett Holiday Stroll on Saturday, December 13 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. We’re decorating cookies! It’s a beautiful day to enjoy all the festivities near the harbor.

New England Irish Harp Orchestra Holiday Concert: Come early for a seat on Sunday, December 14 at 2:00 pm. The New England Irish Harp Orchestra will be playing traditional tunes from many cultures to the delight of all ages. The library opens at 1:00 pm.

Have a Gluten-Free Christmas: Meet with others who are preparing a gluten-free holiday and share ideas and recipes on Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 pm.

A Dr. Who Christmas Special: Students are invited to watch Dr. Who Christmas episodes on the big screen on Friday, December 19 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. Snacks and fun!

Storytime with Sadie: Come and listen to a story with our library “Good Listener” dog, Sadie on Saturday, December 20 at 11:00 am. Then join the staff for a craft afterward. Registration required by visiting the library or calling 508-758-4171.

Make a Candy House: Come and read Gingerbread Stories on Tuesday, December 23 from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, and then build and decorate your own candy house to take home. A great way to celebrate the holiday season at the library. Registration required. Call 508-758-4171.

Movie Extravaganza: The Junior Friends invite children to watch “Frozen” at the library on Tuesday, December 23 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. Popcorn will be served.

Rochester Tax Bills

Rochester‘s Preliminary 2015 tax bills were mailed November 24, 2014. The first half payment is due December 29, 2014.

If paying by personal online banking, allow sufficient time for the bank to generate a check and mail it to the Town. Please supply sufficient information on the check identifying which bill should be credited.

You will receive your actual fiscal year 2015 tax bill, based on January 2014 assessment, after the State Department of Revenue certifies the FY ’15 Tax Rate. All payments of preliminary tax bills will be credited toward payment of your fiscal 2015 tax.

If you have not received your tax bill in the mail, please contact the Collector’s Office at 508-763-3871 ext. 16 or 10. If you have questions regarding property values and abatements please contact the Assessor’s office at 508-763-5250.

Pedestrians, Sidewalks, Trees … and Cats

What do walking trails, sidewalks, bike paths, trees and pedestrians have in common? If you ask Bonne DaSousa, just about everything would be her answer.

DaSousa came before the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen during the December 9 meeting and outlined the need to establish a new committee to develop a “Complete Streets Certification Program,” as recommended by the Southeast Regional Planning & Economic Development District.

DaSousa recently attended a SRPEDD conference on the Complete Streets Program, a program that would accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists and would be funded by federal and state money to the tune of $50 million dollars.

She suggested dividing the town into sectors, each one with its own subcommittee, which would look at the pedestrian needs of their sector, the current state of trails and sidewalks, as well as future needs, wants and desires. These subcommittees would then come together to share information and work on the larger full-town plan.

And there are many challenges. DaSousa noted the gaps in the network of walking trails in land trust parcels and public lands, the bike path, and sidewalks, as well as difficulties presented by Route 6 and North Street, both of which are major traffic corridors with significant pedestrian movement.

DaSousa said it would take some years to fully implement a Complete Streets Plan that could connect the village with the north side of town with the coastal areas and so forth, but that a plan was necessary for Mattapoisett to get in line for funding.

Selectman Paul Silva suggested that the best way to start would be to bring this new committee under the Bike Path Committee. Town Administrator Michael Gagne suggested that Highway Superintendent Barry Denham be part of this new committee given his expertise and knowledge of all things roads.

DaSousa will bring the information back to the next meeting of the Bike Path Committee.          This topic tied in to Gagne’s report on the work of the Tree Committee. He said a recent survey of Main Street, Water Street, Beacon Street, and Marion Road had been conducted and that the Tree Committee was asked to evaluate all the trees along these roads.

Not a small task, he said. The Tree Committee’s report was then given to the state engineers the town has been working with for their comments. Once the state has completed its review, public hearings would be conducted to give the general public opportunity to understand the work that was needed along these historic streets.

Gagne said the town needed to have a 25 percent completed design for the village re-development plan in order to be eligible for Transportation Improvement Program funding.            Silva asked Denham when the road design would be completed. Denham said that first they needed to complete the stormwater management plan, a critical component to roadway improvement in the village areas. He said that Field Engineering was nearing completion of that portion of the design work and then they would move into the roadways and sidewalks. He anticipated the 25 percent design to be done within the next 12 months.

Tree Warden Roland Cote was on hand as Gagne spoke to the pruning and tagging of trees and limbs that NSTAR has been doing along scenic roadways throughout town. Gagne said that he and Cote went on a field trip and found many trees tagged for either complete removal or heavy pruning. He and Cote were alarmed and concerned that without oversight by the Town, the subcontracted tree cuttings might be too harsh, leaving behind damaged trees.

Gagne said the Planning Board needed to be involved, along with the Tree Committee and Cote, to ensure that the town comes up with a plan supported by good documentation so that they could work more closely with the NSTAR arborist.

The federal government is now fining utilities if it can prove that poor management of trees within their easements were the cause of electrical outages during storm events. Gagne will send a letter to NSTAR advising it of the need to work closely with the Town during pruning operations.

“I know how much this community loves their trees,” said Gagne. “We need to make sure what we do is right and not over-kill.”

Kathy Costello, principal assessor, addressed the board upon the request of Silva to share with the public the work just completed on updated tax classification and the hearing that had preceded the selectmen’s meeting.

She said that over the past year, her team reviewed the town’s tax base and rate schedule. The end result is that the new rate is set at $13 per thousand without a split rate. Costello said that Mattapoisett is about 95 percent residential versus commercial, and a split rate would have put a burden on the small number of businesses in town. The new rate is 2.2 percent higher than last year.

Earlier in the meeting when the board was discussing streets and sidewalks, Silva had asked Costello if the GIS system could be overlaid with the FEMA flood plain maps. She said they were, but at the present time, that was not available to the public.

Silva questioned why not and insisted it was public information; therefore, the public should have access. Costello said that she preferred to get the input of the building inspector and other departments before giving the general public that type of access.

Silva seemed miffed by that, since the public already can get the information from the FEMA website. The concern is that residents will become outraged if their property was now in a flood zone location where previously it may not have been deemed as such, and the resulting impact on departments in Town Hall.

In other business, the board appointed three new members to the Capital Planning Committee – Gerald Johnson for an at-large position (returning to the committee after a seven year hiatus), Michael DeBuc to represent construction topics (a new resident in town with a background in capital expenditures as the CFO of Morse Brothers Inc, a cranberry grower located in Easton and in Canada), and Robert Ball as alternate (retired aircraft engineer with Northrup Grumman).

Then things went to the cats. Gagne asked the selectmen to consider a cat registry at Town Hall. He said that when a cat is lost or found, it is very difficult to reunite the pet with its owner because there isn’t a licensing policy in Massachusetts for felines.

Gagne said that with a full-time Animal Control Department and a voluntary registration program with no associated fees, it would not overburden the department. Gagne was given permission to move forward with the plan.

In upcoming events: the annual tree lighting will be held on Saturday, December 13 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in Shipyard Park; the winter farmers’ market will be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday, December 13 in the ORRJHS gym with Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving by fire engine at 11:00 am; on January 12, 2015 at 3:15 pm the public is cordially invited to attend the Mattapoisett School District’s celebration of receiving a ‘Commendation School’ recognition from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The event will be held at Old Hammondtown School.

Town Hall will close at noon on Wednesday, December 24 and reopen on Friday, December 26. The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for January 13, 2015 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

By Marilou Newell


December 11th AHA! Night

The holidays are upon us, and there’s something for everyone on your list in downtown New Bedford. Shop local and give the gift of supporting your local economy on December 11 when AHA! celebrates all things “Made in NB.”

Bring a canned good or gently-used winter clothes to drop off at Civic Support (36 North Water St., floor 2) to help benefit Catholic Social Services.

AHA! (Arts, History and Architecture!) is a FREE family-friendly event held rain or shine on the second Thursday of each month from 5:00 to 9:00 pm in historic downtown New Bedford – but feel free to arrive early and stay late.

Here are just a few of the evening’s events. For a full list, visit www.ahanewbedford.org.

The UMass-Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts Ceramics Club will hold their annual holiday sale at the Star Store (715 Purchase St.).

Shop local at New Bedford’s Craft-O-Rama Pop-Up Shop (Union and Purchase streets) featuring the best of local art, craft and design.

The New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! (608 Pleasant St.) presents their Annual Holiday Boutique featuring unique holiday gifts handmade by local artists.

Swing by the South End and shop local at the Judith Klein Art Studio’s 6th Anniversary Exhibit. (127 Rodney French Blvd. Door #31).

Head to Gallery 65 (65 William St.) for the opening reception for “The Luminous Landscape,” plus a jewelry trunk show.

Alison Wells Fine Art Studio & Gallery (106 William St.) presents “Pint-Size Holiday,” a collection of small paintings, plus New Bedford-themed greeting cards.

Kids can join the 1850s Ladies in making paper tree ornaments from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Corson building at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (33 William St.).

Kids can also build historic homes with Waterfront Historic Areas League (WHALE.) They’ll work from WHALE’s “Towers, Turrets & Tenements” book, 5:00 to7:00 pm at the New Bedford Free Public Library (613 Pleasant St.). While you’re there, check out the wintery images from the art collection and archives, along with a collection of vintage snowmen.

Make your own seashell ornaments at the Buzzards Bay Coalition (114 Front St.) from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.

Vote for your favorite shop window! Some 40 downtown businesses participated in “Deck the Windows of Downtown New Bedford.” Stroll the streets and cast your vote, and then stick around for the Awards Ceremony.

Warm up with a cup of tea at “The Culture of Tea Tasting” at Gatlin’s Framing and Subtext Books (209 Union St.).

Love knots? Head to the demonstration at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum (396 County St.), 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Plus, meet author and marine rope worker Barbara Merry, who will sign copies of Marlinspike Sailor’s Arts and Crafts: A Step-by-Step Guide to Tying Classic Sailor’s Knots to Create, Adorn and Show Off.

The New Bedford Art Museum/ArtWorks! (608 Pleasant Street) hosts “Tribute” featuring New Bedford Open Studios artists, plus their annual Juried Members Exhibition.

Head to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park as the Working Waterfront Festival presents “Ship to Shore: Family and Community in the New Bedford Fishing Industry,” a talk by Diana Lempel at 7:30 pm.

Check out the Mayor’s Gallery at New Bedford City Hall (133 William St.) to see a sea-inspired exhibition by New Bedford artists.

‘Tis the season for holiday music! The New Bedford High School Drama Club will carol along William Street and Custom House Square. Plus Pilgrim United Congregational Church presents a Holiday Sing-a-long from 7:00 to 8:30 pm (635 Purchase St.).

WBSM DJ Phil Paleologas will broadcast live from Custom House Park, 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Cafe Arpeggio (800 Purchase St.) hosts a special holiday concert with the String Benders from 6:00 to 7:00 pm, followed by their weekly open mic from 7:00 to 10:00 pm.

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @ahanewbedford, and join us on Instagram @ahanewbedford.

All activities are FREE and open to the public. Year-round programming is funded in part by the Mass Cultural Council’s John and Abigail Adams Arts Program, The Island Foundation, The NEA, The City of New Bedford, the AHA! partners, individual supporters and in-kind marketing support from The Wanderer and Edible South Shore/SouthCoast. For more information, call 508-996-8253 x205.

First time visitors may want to start AHA! Night at the National Park Visitor Center (33 William Street). Complete program flyers with maps are also available at all AHA! venues starting the Tuesday prior to each event.

Directions: From I-195 E or W, take Exit 15 (Rte. 18). Follow Rte. 18 to 2nd traffic signal; take a right onto Union St. At the first traffic signal, take a right onto Second Street and take your first left for parking in Custom House Square or continue on two blocks to the Elm Street garage. On-street parking also available for free after 6:00 pm.

ORR High School Holiday Concert

Michael Barnicle directs the bands and chorus of Old Rochester Regional High School in their annual Holiday Concert. Please join them in an event the whole family can enjoy. This free concert takes place on Thursday, December 11 at 7:00 pm in the high school auditorium.

If you placed a candle order with an ORR music student, the Friends of Old Rochester Music will be at this concert distributing those candles.

Thank You Bruce

Thank You Bruce:

On any given day, my son wouldn’t have more than $5 in his wallet. But on this particular day, he had just withdrawn most of the money from his bank account and added it to the money his friends had given him. This day, they were planning to buy the supplies they needed to start their own business and they had all been saving what they could.

So, of course, it would be this particular day that my son lost his wallet. We frantically looked between the two places he could have lost it – but he was quite sure he must have lost it somewhere at Stop and Shop. When we realized that no one was going to return it to the service desk, we gave up and went home. He was so distraught that he had not only lost his own hard earned money, but his friends’ money also.

Within 20 minutes of being home, a car pulled into our driveway with the Hollywood Scoop name on the vehicle. It was Bruce, and he had found my son’s wallet and wanted to return it personally. He had recognized my son’s age, college ID, address, and correctly determined that this young person was probably in great need of the money in the wallet. It brought tears to my eyes to realize that good people still exist in these tough times. Bruce wouldn’t even take a reward or tip for his actions. Thank you again Bruce … you’re truly a decent person … your family should be proud!!

Tina Albano, Fairhaven


The views expressed in the “Letters to the Editor” column are not necessarily those of The Wanderer, its staff or advertisers. The Wanderer will gladly accept any and all correspondence relating to timely and pertinent issues in the great Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester area, provided they include the author’s name, address and phone number for verification. We cannot publish anonymous, unsigned or unconfirmed submissions. The Wanderer reserves the right to edit, condense and otherwise alter submissions for purposes of clarity and/or spacing considerations. The Wanderer may choose to not run letters that thank businesses, and The Wanderer has the right to edit letters to omit business names. The Wanderer also reserves the right to deny publication of any submitted correspondence.

First Congregational Church Holiday Luncheon

Stop by the First Congregational Church of Marion on Saturday, December 13 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm for the 24th Annual Holiday Luncheon. Enjoy a delicious lunch stop while on the Sippican Woman’s Club Holiday House Tour or come for a welcome break from the holiday rush.

Hot chicken salad, cranberry gelatin salad, assorted breads and beverages will be served. Cherry Berries on a Cloud is the special holiday dessert. Cost of the luncheon is $10.

At the luncheon you can also find special gifts for all ages. The Missions Committee will be selling handcrafted SERRV items that help others across the world. An array of handmade crafts made by church members will also be available. Come enjoy a delicious lunch and shop for unique gifts for the holidays.

The luncheon is in the Community Center, 144 Front Street (rear of parking lot), Marion. Additional parking is available at Island Wharf.

Kitten Capers

(The following was originally written in April 2010 at a time when my Father was still able to live in his home albeit with lots of help. This story involves cats. Prior to making a final decision about their future, I attempted to engage rescue agencies to assist. Failing that, I made a decision I do not regret. No cats were harmed before or during the writing of this story.)

As I walked down the broken cement pathway towards the side door of my father’s cottage, one of the three adult feral cats he’d been feeding for months bolted from underneath the decaying wheelchair ramp. From underneath the ramp popped out two tiny kitten heads mewing for all they were worth. The big orange cat Dad was so fond of was, as suspected, a female – she had been pregnant and was now introducing her brood to “Dad’s Diner.”

Every morning at dawn, regardless of the weather, he’d put out breakfast for the cats. Along with canned food, he supplemented their diet with saucers of milk. Due to his physical limitations, the best Dad could do was line up the bowls on the railing near the door. This subsequently made a huge mess of dirty dishes, dried cat food bits everywhere, and spilled milk. My first order of business several times a week was to clean up the cat café. Big Orange, a good mother, was now showing her kittens where to find the good stuff.

I had tried to stop Dad from feeding the strays in the hope they would simply go away. What had started out as just leaving scraps from his meals for the cats had progressed to buying cat food. There were many days when the cats were his only company, his only contact with other living beings. I didn’t have the heart to demand he stop feeding stray cats. The pleasure he took from caring about something was so great it was heartbreaking to watch. Instead, I tried to manage the damage the cats were causing by cleaning up after them and reminding Dad constantly that strays can never be pets. He’d smile, humoring my efforts.

That the cats were flourishing was apparent. They looked very healthy in spite of never seeing a vet, being immunized, or neutered. They stayed longer and longer during the course of the day. They mewed at his door until he came out to feed them. Two allowed him to stroke their fur. One often moseyed into the house, twice getting trapped inside and causing mass destruction of my mother’s formerly clean and cozy home. And still I couldn’t stop him. We all deserve companionship in one form or another.

But five more cats – that was out of the question. I had to take decisive action. I looked under the ramp and called to the babies, “Here kitty, kitty, kitty … come on little babies, come on out…” Five tiny fur balls staggered to the opening. But as I reached out to capture one of the bits of breathing fluff, it quickly disappeared deep into the recesses of the rotting ramp.

“Dad, the orange cat’s babies are under the ramp,” I said to him as he stood in the open door watching the action. His face lights up but his words were, “Oh no, not more cats.”

I responded in dark tones, “Yes, Dad, she must have brought them over to get the milk you leave out.”

His retort was, “Oh now that is a smart cat, ain’t she!” He chuckled, barely able to hold back a full belly laugh.

I knew that if I didn’t do something soon about these kittens, the yard would be swarming with lively frolicking baby cats and much more cat waste as well. This was a man who couldn’t bathe himself, never mind care for even a single animal. The cat zoo had to be closed.

On the drive home, I pondered once again, “Why me, why me, why me?” Wasn’t it enough that I took care of Dad? Now to have to deal with the fate of five adorable kittens was almost too much to bear. I resolved that the ramp would be taken down immediately, the kittens collected and taken to animal control and that was that – until I tried to sleep that night.

The idea of taking very young kittens from their mother was a thought almost too heinous to entertain in the dark of night. I could hear their innocent cries calling out for her, “Mommy, where are you!” I tossed and turned with nightmares filled with human-sized cats.

In the morning, I remained conflicted. I knew the right thing to do was have animal control remove the cats. So I tried contacting several agencies. Most were filled to capacity and not taking in more animals, while others said I’d have to collect the cats and during very specific hours drop them off to be euthanized. No agency was willing to go to the house and capture them.

And then I pictured my father standing by the door as the screaming cats were crated. It would be so harsh. He would try to stop them. Maybe he’d fall and get hurt. Why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone and let things play out? Yet, the reality of unneutered feral cats multiplying was a reality I had to deal with. What to do?

First things first, the rotting ramp had to be removed. But who could I conscript for the bull work? Enter one able-bodied husband.

In spite of its derelict appearance, the ramp didn’t give up without a fight. Soon my husband’s brow dripped sweat as he wrestled with oak board and long screws. It seemed to refuse being dismantled. He needed a crew to help him.

“I’m calling your son to bring me my chain saw and pry bar,” he said through gritted teeth.

Once my son arrived with the tools and put his shoulder to the task, the ramp finally gave way. My job was to position myself at the end of the ramp that had been jacked up so the kittens would have an escape route. But they were so young and traumatized by the noise they weren’t coming out.

My husband instructed me to get a broom and sweep them out. I carefully moved the broom under the ramp, pulling out a pile of dead oak leaves and two kitties. My husband picked them up tenderly and placed them in the waiting box. But where were the other three? We deduced that when we had arrived, we had caught the mother cat bringing her kittens over and she had at that point only moved two of five. I suspected she was close by.

The men finished the demolition, and I swept and cleaned the area from years of neglect.

“What are you going to do with these two, Ma?” my son asked, pointing at the box.

I opened the lid where the siblings had nearly fused their miniscule bodies together so tightly packed in one corner.

“I can’t just drop them off at animal control. That isn’t allowed until next Tuesday between 11 and 2,” I replied.

This was only Saturday morning. I looked over the fence at the neighbor’s backyard and there was Big Orange, poking her head out from under the shed where she’d been living with the kittens. I also noticed three other little ones behind her.

“I think I’ll just return them to the mother,” I said.

We nodded in agreement. It was the best of a bad situation. At least the cats could no longer hide under the ramp, possibly making life in Dad’s yard less attractive. I went into the neighboring yard and gingerly placed the babies as far under the shed as possible. I felt like crying. The sight of a large orange tail told me not to worry; Big Orange was there waiting for her babies.

My father, who had been looking out the kitchen window the entire time, gave me a wide toothless smile when I looked up at him. I went inside to say goodbye and tell him I’d be back tomorrow to pick him up for Sunday dinner. He patted me on the back saying, “You know, you know, you are a good person to give them cats back to the mother. You know that, don’t ya?” Yeah Dad, I know.

            (Epilogue: Shortly after this episode, the big orange cat and her kittens disappeared. I suspect she got spooked and took them to another yard. Then about a year later, we spotted a cat across the street from Dad’s house. It was one of the kittens now grown. An elderly neighbor lady was putting food out for it on her porch and calling “here, pretty kitty.” By then, Dad had fallen completely into the pit that is dementia. Remembering how he had so lovingly tried to care for a growing pride of cats, I knew he would be so happy that one of ‘his’ was thriving. “Did you know you were a good person, Dad?”)

By Marilou Newell


Gateway Youth Hockey

Pee Wees: The Gateway Youth Hockey Pee Wee team earned a decisive win against Milton on Saturday with goals scorers Stephen Old, Chris Cogan and Jack Martins leading the charge. An impressive statistic of this game was the amount of assists that were generated, which accounted for most of the player points earned. These players earning assists and other supporting players skated hard to help their teammates. Logan Place earned two assists in the game followed by R.J. Vickery, Bailey Tieu, Zachary Barris and Ben Martins. Gateway continues to move up in the Yankee Conference Standings as they continue to develop as a team.

Bantams: Gateway Youth Hockey Bantams defeated the Pembroke Titans, 6-2 on Saturday night. Trailing by a goal midway through the first period, Robert Ramsay’s unassisted effort got Gateway on the board. Josh Smolinsky lifted a nifty backhander under the crossbar and Noah DeMoranville also added a second period goal. Smolinsky added another in the third and Tyler Lovendale and Jared Westgate also scored goals. Lovendale, Bethany Davis, and Nick Snow each had an assist in the game, and Coleby Paling chipped in with a pair of helpers. Steven Strachan and Zachary Pateakos each allowed only a single goal during their shared net time.

Sole Survivors Fundraiser

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Members of the Tri-Town Walk for Life team “Sole Survivors” kicked off their Christmas wreath fundraiser on Friday, November 28. The team will be stationed out in front of Al’s Yankee Clipper on Route 6 in Marion for the next two weekends to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Photos by Jean Perry

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