19th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon

The New Bedford Whaling Museum’s 19th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon is scheduled for January 2-4, 2015 and all those interested in reading are invited to contact the museum starting at 12:01 am on Tuesday, November 11. Call 508-717-6851 or email mdmarathon@whalingmuseum.org to request a 7-10 minute reading slot. Be sure to provide your full name and preferred reading time as well as two alternate times.

New this year! Children ages eight and older are invited to read excerpts from the abridged version of Moby-Dick. The Children’s Mini-Marathon will take place on Saturday, January 3 from 3:00 – 6:00 pm and on Sunday, January 4 from 10:00 am to noon. It will occur concurrently with the annual reading. Children interested in participating should follow the same instructions listed above, but should specify the Children’s Mini-Marathon in their request.

Every January, the world’s largest whaling museum marks the anniversary of Herman Melville’s 1841 whaling voyage from New Bedford with a 25-hour nonstop reading of America’s greatest novel: Moby-Dick. The weekend includes three days of activities, January 2-3-4, 2015, including a ticketed buffet dinner and lecture on Friday evening.

A midwinter tradition, the marathon attracts hundreds of readers and listeners from around the world. The reading begins at noon on Saturday, January 3 and finishes at 1:00 pm on Sunday, January 4. Snow and cold will not stop this literary happening. Come at any time, leave at any time, or stay 25 hours and win a prize! For more information, visit www.whalingmuseum.org.

School Prepares for 40B Housing Population

With possible school-aged children moving into the new Marion Village Estates housing development, the Marion School Committee briefly discussed on November 5 planning for potential growth of the student body at Sippican School, come February 2015.

Superintendent of Schools Doug White said he is looking ahead to February and April – when residents will begin moving into the 40B Baywatch development off Front Street – and gathering information in order to factor new students into the Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

“It’s going to be important to us developing our budget,” said White, “[to see] what we’re looking at for numbers and what the impact could actually be on our building…”

White said he has spoken with Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson, who White said is in contact with the developer regarding prospective occupants. School Committee Chairman Joel Scott added that he has also spoken with Selectman Jody Dickerson about receiving data on the age of children as soon as it is available.

“The sooner we know, the better,” said Scott.

The first 30 housing units will be released February 1, with another 30 on April 1.

Sippican School Principal Lyn Rivet said some current students at Sippican might move into Marion Estates, staying within the district.

“That’s actually a good thing,” said Scott.

School Committee member Christine Marcolini suggested that, in the meantime, Rivet provide a report on the current classroom sizes at Sippican. School Committee member Christine Winters commented that the housing development might also have an impact on class size at Old Rochester Regional and affect the School Choice Program.

Also during the meeting, the committee accepted an anonymous donation of $150 to support an upcoming event at Sippican School and a donation of an irrigation system valuing $1,430 for the Sippican Garden Club garden.

The next meeting of the Marion School Committee is scheduled for December 3 at 6:30 pm at the Marion Town House.

By Jean Perry


Alternative Offerings, Alternative Outcomes

Arranging the delicate prayer bead bracelets into small groups on the worn, wooden table, Johanna Duponte-Williams handled each one with care, like dainty diamonds that had no price to measure their worth.

To Williams, they truly are priceless little trinkets, each one fashioned by the tiny fingers of children whose futures are as bright as the colors of the beads – all because of an act of kindness from years ago that set into motion a chain of events that would transform lives and realign the fates of those who gave a little street boy from Nepal a chance, and a home in Mattapoisett.

Williams, a vendor at the Mattapoisett Friends Alternative Gift Fair on November 8, candidly told her story of a boy named Rajesh Shahi, who came from Nepal to Mattapoisett in order to heal after surgery to correct a severe spinal deformity.

Williams remembered back in 1993 when the board members of Hands in Outreach – an organization that sponsors impoverished children from abroad – asked her to host a child from Nepal who needed corrective surgery in Boston for severe curvature of the spine. His disability was so severe that, without the surgery, Rajesh would have been an outcast in Nepalese society, a street beggar.

“I was actually quite reluctant,” said Williams. “I was busy.” Williams was working as an occupational therapist with very little spare time, adding that the possibility of Rajesh even making it to Massachusetts for the surgery was doubtful. She said she had little hope for the situation – until she sat, looking at a photo of Rajesh, his body bent and folded, with an infectious smile that brought Williams to a pivotal moment.

“It was my time,” said Williams, “but it was his life.” She decided to expend the extra effort to make this happen, abandoning her apprehension and restoring her hope that she could help make a difference in this child’s life.

During a visit by the Dalai Lama, Williams went to Brandeis University to attend the event. She approached a Buddhist monk to tell him about Rajesh and her concerns over how the trip to Massachusetts might negatively affect Rajesh, who after tasting life in the developed world would only have to return to Nepal to the struggles he faced before.

Should I really do this, she asked the monk. How will this change him?

“It is much more likely to change you than it will him,” the monk told her.

Rajesh came to Massachusetts and received his surgery at New England Baptist Hospital. Soon after, he arrived at Williams’ house in Mattapoisett to attend sixth grade at Old Hammondtown while he recovered.

“The kids at school were really touched by him,” said Williams. “By his heart, his gratitude.”

They had never met anyone like Rajesh and had never witnessed the degree of Rajesh’s thankfulness and gratefulness.

“In Mattapoisett, our community is pretty homogenous,” said Williams. “They aren’t familiar with this kind of poverty. There is, for the most part, little exposure for these kids. We don’t have a lot of people from different groups.”

At school, Rajesh used a wheelchair while in recovery and he needed to avoid being bumped or moved while his spine healed from the surgery. Williams said that wherever Rajesh went at school, his classmates would form a human protective ring around him. Through the hallways, in the cafeteria – everywhere Rajesh went, a human shield of his classmates surrounded him.

“They wouldn’t let anyone bump into him,” said Williams, adding that even now, Rajesh is still in contact with some of his former classmates from Old Hammondtown.

Williams recalled, around that time in the 1990s, she and her husband had been looking to adopt a child. However, she worried and often asked herself, could I love another person’s child? During Rajesh’s stay in Williams’ home, she said one Sunday, while she was fixing Rajesh’s tie in preparation for church, that she looked at him and found her answer – yes.

“I realized as I was looking at him that I loved him,” said Williams. “I realized that, yes, I can love somebody else’s child.”

After Rajesh’s five-month stay with Williams, he returned to Nepal, his body transformed much like his life had been, as had been the lives of those who helped him. Williams said he knew he wanted to return to Nepal to someday return the kindness that his “family” in Mattapoisett had shown him, and he devoted his life to assisting children in Nepal.

In 2008, Rajesh founded Sanga-Sangai, which means “together,” an organization that helps poor children and their families in Nepal.

The organization recently constructed a dormitory room for an overcrowded orphanage in Kathmandu, created a library in a remote village, and built a vocational educational school for women. It is currently fundraising to construct toilets in poor villages, provide educational activities for street children, and continue to feed the hungry.

In an email response to The Wanderer, Rajesh recounted his experience in Mattapoisett and wrote about the impact the love and caring he received here has had on his life.

“I have no exact words to say how I thank Mom Johanna,” wrote Rajesh. “She had played such a ‘parietal’role, which I even cannot get from my own mother … so I call her MOM.”

Rajesh, now in his early 30s, said his experience prompted him to give back to the children of Nepal and serve them as he was once served the opportunity to have a future. For 13 years, Rajesh worked as a social worker, helping and educating impoverished kids and witnessing firsthand the positive impact his work had on them.

“After experiencing such a great thing, I one day decided to open my own organization to serve the children in a more effective way. As a result, Sanga-Sangai was born.”

During the Alternative Craft Fair, Williams was selling the bracelets, cards, and beads that children served by Sanga-Sangai had created to raise funds for the organization’s efforts.

Rajesh, who visited Mattapoisett in 2009, keeps in contact with Williams and with the Mattapoisett Friends, who have taken on Sanga-Sangai as one of its missions. Williams graciously assists in Sanga-Sangai’s efforts because she believes in the man behind it, the little boy she believed in years ago, who has taken the kindness shown to him and transformed it into something greater.

“This one child who had this kindness shown to him has multiplied that,” said Williams. “And he continues to do so.” She described Rajesh as “a little Mother Teresa,” at the risk of sounding dramatic, as she put it. “He’s just so good to other people.”

For more information about Sanga-Sangai or to make a donation, email Johanna Duponte-Williams at johannad@comcast.net.

By Jean Perry

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Gateway Youth Hockey

Squirts: Gateway Squirts didn’t waste any time finding the back of the net 22 seconds into the game against Pembroke Sunday with a quick goal by Nathan Ribiero. The team showed off their skating skills, making sure someone was near the puck at all times, only giving Pembroke minimal chances to take a shot on goalie Ryker King, who made some key saves to keep the score low. In the second, Matthew Paling and Matthew Quinlan each added two points to the board as well as Juni Suarez helping to get the score up with a goal. In the third, both teams defended their zones, not allowing any goals with Gateway taking home a 6-1 win.

Pee Wees: The Gateway Youth Hockey Pee Wee team shut out the Canal Sharks (white) team on Saturday morning with a score of 3-0. Goalie Ryker King had his second straight shut out with the support of his entire team. The play in the first period was even and remained scoreless, but Chris Cogan “broke the ice” off of an assist by Jack Martins to put Gateway on the board early in the second period. Gateway would remain in the lead with a second goal by Zachary Barris, assisted by Danny Flynn, and Cogan would score his second of the game, assisted by R.J. Vickery and Ben DeMoranville to close the door in the third period.

Bantams: The Gateway Youth Hockey Bantams collided with an undisciplined Plymouth team Saturday night, skating their way to a 5-0 shutout. In a game that accumulated 25 minutes in penalties and less than a handful of shots on GYH net-minders, Zachary Pateakos and Steven Strachan, Gateway played strong both physically and mentally. Goal scorers included: Robert Ramsay, Tyler Lovendale, Nick Snow, Jameson Woodward, and Jake DeMoranville. Ramsay and Lovendale also added two assists, while Zachary Lovendale chipped in with one as well. Defensemen Coleby Paling, Matt Youlden, Bethany Davis, and Noah DeMoranville protected the blueline and aggressively provided their forwards with an abundance of time in the offensive zone. DeMoranville also delivered the “hit of the night,” as he and Jackson St. Don sent a physical message in response to a Plymouth brand of hockey that ultimately resulted in a player ejection. Winger Michael Ripley gave a strong effort in his season debut for the Gateway Bantams.

An Introduction to Biological Medicine

Please join us for “An Introduction to Biological Medicine” on Saturday, December 6. We have the great honor of hosting Dr. Frank Pleus, one of the most prominent and leading practitioners of biological medicine, formerly with the Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland. This FREE event is open to doctors, nurses, alternative health care practitioners, patients, health care advocates and anyone interested in learning more about biological medicine. We invite you to join us at the Marion Music Hall at 8:30 am for coffee/tea and muffins with the lecture starting promptly at 9:00 am. We expect the lecture to go until late morning with time for a question and answer period.

Rochester Women’s Club

Once again, the Rochester Women’s Club will be selling decorated wreaths for the Holiday Season. Prices range from $25 -$35.

Over the years, this has been one of our best fundraising events for the Raymond C. Hartley Scholarship Fund.

Fresh evergreen wreaths are decorated in many styles and colors and can be viewed/purchased at the clubhouse starting on Saturday, November 29 from 9:00 am to 1:00pm.

The sale will continue on the following Saturday, December 6 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. A Bake Sale will also be held in conjunction with the wreath sale on December 6.

Special colors, styles, or the much sought after ‘Seashell’ wreaths can be pre-ordered by calling Marsha at 508-322-0998 or Nancy at 508-654-6621.

Visit our Facebook page (Rochester Women’s Club) to see photos of wreaths from past years.

Also, please help us help others this Holiday season. We will be collecting non-perishable food items during all of our wreath sale days. All items collected will be donated to Damien’s Pantry.

Mattapoisett Free Public Library News

Knitting Group: The knitters meet each Thursday at the library from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. Beginners and experienced knitters of all ages are welcome. Need some supplies? The group can offer you needles and yarn as well as instruction to get you started. Patterns and instructions are shared among members. Bring your project and have some fun.

Memoir Writing: The next meeting of the Memoir Writers will be Friday, November 20 from 10:00 am to noon. Each month a writing suggestion is offered to the group. Call the library at 508-758-4171 to sign up to attend. New writers are welcome.

Friends’ Jewelry and Accessories Sale: The Friends are currently accepting donations of jewelry, scarves, handbags and other accessories at the library for the upcoming sale. This is a great time of the year to clean out your drawers and jewelry box of unwanted items. Members of the Friends get first look at the items during the Preview Sale to be held Friday, November 21 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. New members are welcome to join that evening. The sale is then open to the public on Saturday, November 22 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The proceeds of the sale benefit the work of the Friends.

Sunday Library Hours: The Mattapoisett Free Public Library is open on Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Stop by to enjoy the newspapers, have coffee, or use the public computers. A color printer is now available.

New England Irish Harp Orchestra to Perform: Mark your calendars for a holiday performance by the New England Irish Harp Orchestra in the beautiful upstairs reading rooms on Sunday, December 14 at 2:00 pm at the Mattapoisett Library. This exciting and educational presentation, sponsored by the Library Trust, will be preceded by the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Mattapoisett Library downstairs in the community meeting room.

Elks Student of the Month

The Elks of Wareham Lodge No. 1548 sponsors the Elks Student of the Month and Student of the Year Awards for students enrolled in local area high schools. The criteria used in nominating a student includes a student who excels in scholarship, citizenship, performing arts, fine arts, hobbies, athletics, church, school, club and community service, industry and farming.

We congratulate Junior Kayley Sylvia, Mattapoisett, for being selected by the Old Rochester Regional High School faculty and staff.

Marion’s Landfill

To the Editor:

No picnicking, birding, walking or solar farms allowed on the Marion’s Landfill by order of the DEP.

The Marion Energy Management Committee takes great umbrage over my position that the Town’s Landfill should be sacred and hallowed ground left to decompose in peaceful repose. The landfill is no place for their quixotic solar farm project.

Those individuals seeking to pursue a solar agenda should do so not as an appointed Town Board but as private citizens and on private land. The private solar garden to be located off County Road on environmental and undeveloped property is a good place for this group to relocate their agenda.

A solar farm on the landfill is a bad deal for our Town from a risk, economic and social policy stand point.

The EMC has not done their site location home work. To clearly delineate fact from fiction for the EMC’s contemplation, look no further than the DEP’s site restrictions of record for the Town’s landfill.

DEP Reference No: FMP No: 39459 “… Said premises shall solely be managed as a closed solid waste landfill and not used for active or passive trespass or recreation. No other use of this parcel of land shall occur … No soil intrusive activities shall be performed on or immediately adjacent to the landfill including building or utility constriction. This property shall not be used for passive recreational purpose (e.g. picnicking, birding, walking) or active recreational sports including dirt and motocross biking. … Post-closure monitoring of the landfill … is required for 30 years.”

So if the DEP doesn’t think walking, birding and picnicking atop the landfill on a nice summer’s day is a good idea, then why does the EMC think a solar garden is good idea? With this DEP restriction in place, it just cannot be done. This is a fact.

Ted North, Marion


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.

Mattapoisett Veteran’s Day Ceremony

Mattapoisett came out to support its veterans on Veteran’s Day at Old Hammondtown School. Guest Speaker U.S Army LTC Todd Johnson spoke about “service” and how it brings us all together as Americans. Photos by Jean Perry

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