Mattapoisett Free Public Library

The Mattapoisett Free Public Library’s Children’s Department will be offering many special seasonal programs during the month of December:

Saturday, December 9 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm: Stop by the library before you head to Mattapoisett’s Town Tree Lighting at the wharf for a FREE cup of hot chocolate, make your own jingle bell necklace, and try to win a prize in our Santa Tree Challenge!

Wednesday, December 13 at 3:30 pm: Gift-Making Workshop to make a hand-made gift for someone special. All materials provided – free – children under 8 years old, please bring an adult helper. Please register at the library.

Saturday, December 16 at 2:00 pm: Make a candy lighthouse! Join us to make your very own candy creation – free – all materials provided. Children under 8 must have an adult helper; please register at the library.

School Vacation Week Events at the Library:

– On Wednesday, December 27 at 3:00 pm, watch the movie Storks; free popcorn will be served.

– On Thursday, December 28 at 1:00 pm, come to a craft workshop to make your own Super Slime Stress Ball to take home with you – free – all materials provided. Children under 8 need an adult helper; please register at the library.

– On Friday, December 29 at 2:00 pm, join us for a meet & greet with your favorite princesses! Cinderella, Rapunzel & Princess Beauty will be here to share their stories, sing some songs and take pictures with you. Come visit with them and make a special princess craft – free – please register at the library.

Annual Senior Citizens Holiday Dinner

The Marion Police Brotherhood Annual Senior Citizens Holiday Dinner will be held at the Marion Community Center on Saturday, December 16. Doors open at 11:30 am; dinner served at 12:00 noon. Open to Marion residents. Residents may bring one guest, and admission is free. Must RSVP by December 13. To RSVP, contact the Marion Council On Aging, 465 Mill Street. Call 508-748-3570 with questions or to RSVP.

Thomas S. Yotides

Thomas S. Yotides, 95, of Dartmouth, formerly of Rochester, passed away on Friday December 1, 2017. He was the husband of Demetra (Chagaruly) Yotides; they had been married for 65 years.

Born in Libohovo, Northern Epirus, Greece, the son of the late James and Olga (Boodry) Yotides, he and his family came to the United States in 1927 and settled in Waterville, Maine. He moved to the New Bedford area in the 1970s.

Mr. Yotides was formerly employed as a supervisor at Chamberlain Manufacturing until his retirement. He had previously owned and operated a pool hall and restaurant in Waterville.

He was a parishioner of St. George Greek Orthodox Church.

During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army in the European Theater.

An avid poker player, he enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas. In his younger days, he played semi-professional football in Maine.

He is survived by his wife, Demetra; two children, Dino T. Yotides and his wife Vicky of Purchase, NY, and Tina Marie LePage of Dartmouth; his siblings, Spiro Yotides and his wife Geraldine of Waterville and Maria Yotides of Augusta, Maine; four grandchildren, Christopher LePage and his wife Elena, Tara LePage and her husband Sam Forgue, Catherine Yotides, and Christina Yotides; a great-grandson, Aiden Bradley LePage; and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his son-in-law, Bradley LePage, and his siblings, Kostandina, George, and Antonio Yotides.

His Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday Dec. 5th at 10 AM at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 186 Cross Rd., Dartmouth. His family will receive visitors at the church from 9-10 AM, prior to the service. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery, Fairhaven. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to The Holy Trinity Church Soup Run (a program to help feed and clothe the homeless), c/o Holy Trinity Church, 10 Mill Rd. New Rochelle, NY 10804. Arrangements are by the Saunders-Dwyer Home for Funerals, 495 Park St., New Bedford. For directions and guestbook, please visit

Healthy Tri-Town Coalition Building a Way Forward

It’s been two years since the concept of building a coalition of people – people who could take on urgent social, mental health, addiction and domestic violence issues – first began in the hopes of moving the dialog to the point of actionable plans. And although the start may have been slow, the group has picked up considerable steam.

Resulting from a desire to better serve local people whose complex problems and situational urgencies affect the entire social fabric of the community, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elise M. Frangos, along with health care professionals, educators and administrators, police and fire personnel, students and parents, and the Mattapoisett Lions Club are just getting started.

As each participant arrived on November 28 for the hour-long session, they were asked to select an area of interest such as Community Culture, Relational Violence, Substance Abuse, and Mental Health.

Gathering around tables to approach these specific topics, the participants were given some guidance by Old Rochester Regional School District Superintendent Doug White. He asked that as the sub-groups began their discussions, they try to hone in on one or two thoughts that could be developed into action plans.

“These issues are bigger than the schools,” said White. “These are community issues.”

At the table discussing substance abuse and mental health issues were several doctors, social workers, students, nurses, and teachers. Jumping right into the matter at hand, Dr. Jason Reynolds, pediatrician and also member of the Marion Board of Health, asked how they could educate parents and children. From that thought, the group brainstormed how the topic of drugs is processed by adults and teens, and their disparate appreciation or lack thereof regarding the severity of using drugs, whether prescription or otherwise.

A student sitting at this table shared her experience with attending several different forums, presumably geared for teens, which failed to reach the mark.

“I felt patronized,” she said. “We weren’t treated as real people… We were talked down to… I felt like a child.” She said those presentations, although well meaning, were just more, “Don’t take drugs,” without any substantive takeaways. She suggested more science-based material to help children and teens more fully appreciate the damage drugs can do to the growing brain. She also suggested the use of social media to connect messaging with teens – kids talking to kids.

The group also discussed the impact several smaller, community-based events might have versus larger singular events.

Over at the Community Culture table, the conversation was startlingly different. Issues of bullying, shaming, and racial insult were being discussed. One parent shared the experiences of her children, children of color, who had been horribly bullied.

Her words were like fresh wounds now shared by all within listening distance.

One of the students at the table shared her experiences being treated cruelly by other kids in her class, the disruption and hurt that it caused her and her siblings, as well as their parents. Everyone agreed that conversations of equality and dignity should take place in the home but recognized that wasn’t enough.

Mattapoisett Schools Principal Rose Bowman stated, “It’s a ‘we’ conversation… It’s gender identification; it’s racism.” She continued, “How do we get that message out across to kids of all ages?”

Little things can change things in big ways, she said.

Bowman continued, “The main theme is awareness. We have to teach people to speak out. You have to have the courage of your convictions, to step up, be strong.” She said that the Community Culture sub-group might want to consider a theme of “be aware and speak out.”

“The burden of responsibility goes to every parent and child,” said Bowman.

The table dealing with the umbrella topic of Relational Violence only had three people, but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in substance.

Frangos, along with Public Health Nurse Amanda Stone and student Alex Wurl were deep into how to get a solid message to impacted youth.

Fragos said, “The R.A.D. program has proven successful for grades six and seven and will be rolled out to grades nine and ten via a grant.”

R.A.D., which stands for rape, aggression, defense, is a program that has been developed to teach all populations regardless of age or gender how to protect and defend themselves through awareness and training.

Wurl discussed a course of study some of the ORRHS students were participating in that brought together tangible presentation skills with real-life subject matter. He said that his team had prepared materials and a presentation around the subject of the rape culture in the U.S., how to prevent victim blaming, and cross-strategies to combat the problem. He suggested that the presentation could be used as a teaching tool in the schools.

Stone discussed reaching out to other high schools in the area to ascertain if they had programs the coalition could tap into and/or to share Wurl’s concept.

As the hour drew to a close, it was clear that the participants could have continued for another hour. White asked the groups if they had been able to draw out one specific topic for further exploration and development. The resounding response was ‘no’.

The groups felt they needed one more brainstorming session to settle into an area that could be used to further the conversations and give the Tri-Town community solid information and assistance in these areas.

If you are interested in learning more about the Healthy Tri-Town Coalition visit

Marion Board of Health

To the Editor:

In Dennis Lane’s November 16 letter to the editor, he raised the claim that the Marion Board of Health has in the past sought “to isolate [tobacco] products preferred by minorities and the LGBTQ community….”

As a member of the LGBTQ community who works on town-level tobacco control policy and is a homeowner in neighboring Wareham, I would like to provide perspective on the tobacco industry’s targeting of the gay community which has led to much higher smoking rates today.

2015 data shows that the Massachusetts smoking rate for adults is 14.7% while the smoking rate among LGBTQ adults is 20.6%. Among LGBTQ youth, the statewide smoking rate for all youth is 7.7% compared to 15.5% for LGBTQ youth.

Cigarette ad campaigns have targeted the gay community by purposely focusing on “pride” and “freedom,” two common focal points for the community, in association with smoking. This focus has been used for brands such as Lucky Strike, American Spirit and Camel.

In 1995, R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco makers of Camel and Pall Mall, targeted the LGBTQ community with Project “SubCulture Urban Marketing” or “SCUM.” Documents from the company outlined plans for an ad campaign targeting gay men in San Francisco to encourage use of their products. At the same time, they sought to publicly ally as an LGBTQ supporter and hosted both a booth at that year’s Pride parade and an after party at a gay nightclub.

And from a 1997 Philip Morris memo, the company noted, “A large percentage of Gays and Lesbians are smokers. In order to increase brand share and brand awareness for the Benson & Hedges brand, it is imperative to identify new markets with growth potential. Many Gay and Lesbian adult smokers also have a preference for menthol brands.”

Smoking is higher in the LGBTQ community because the tobacco industry targeted us successfully. And higher smoking rates lead to higher rates of disease and death.

Today, towns have available dozens of tobacco control policies that aim to achieve the three goals of the state’s tobacco control program: (1) keep youth from starting to use nicotine products; (2) help current nicotine users to quit; and (3) reduce involuntary exposure of second-hand smoke. Note that none of these three goals specifically targets or excludes any group of people based on sexual orientation, race or gender.

The flavored tobacco product sales restriction policy that the Marion Board of Health is considering limits flavored products to qualifying adult-only retailers. This policy works to prevent youth from starting to use nicotine products and to support those who want to quit and has been implemented in 106 other municipalities (including Wareham) around the Commonwealth.

Expanding this policy to include a restriction on where menthol products can be sold will further increase the impact of the policy. Since menthol creates a cooling effect, has an anesthetic quality and suppresses coughing, it makes cigarettes and cigars easier to smoke and harder to quit.

Restricting where flavored tobacco products can be sold will save lives. As a resident of Wareham and someone who works to promote public health, I applaud and support the leadership of the Marion Board of Health as they work to prevent young people from using nicotine products and support users who want to quit.

DJ Wilson, Wareham


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.

Pizza with Santa

The Marion Police Brotherhood will be hosting Pizza with Santa on Sunday, December 17 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Marion Community Center, 465 Mill Street (Route 6).

Once again, we will be accepting donations to help “fill a cruiser” with new unwrapped toys for The Justice Resources Institute, a local nonprofit organization providing intensive foster care and adoption programs for children and adolescents in our community.

Please register at the Marion Police Department, 550 Mill Street, Marion or email or by December 13.

Ain’t Gonna Need This House No Longer

For many years, my parents’ house was a center of neighborhood activity. The kids would knock on the door to ask if my mother was coming outside or if the resident grandchild could come out and play. The neighboring ladies would stop in to borrow a stick of margarine or share a bit of gossip. During the daylight hours and especially on the weekends, the house was never still.

The front doorbell, reserved for Dad’s TV repair customers, would frequently ring followed by Ma calling to us to, “Go get the old man.”

During the week when the children of the neighborhood returned home from school or on fair-weather weekends, Ma would sit on her front stoop overseeing the children that almost always included a grandchild.

The children loved her. She bestowed upon them the time and attention their parents either were too hard pressed to give or simply didn’t have the capacity to share.

Next door in the rental home were Ma’s second and third cousins on her mother’s side. A family of six lived in the house that included four children, their mother, and occasionally their alcoholic father. When there was domestic chaos in that household, Ma would loop her soft, warm arm around their shoulders in silent comfort and compassion.

When my son and I moved in, taking over the upstairs front bedroom in 1973, the house was packed with a person sleeping in every room with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom.

In spite of the seams bursting, the interior of Ma’s house was always in order. There weren’t any dirty dishes in the sink. Floors were swept and washed with regularity, and dust was never allowed to collect on freshly polished surfaces. She would often say that being poor did not mean one had to be dirty. Her home smelled of Pledge and Red Cap Refresher. Her curtains were changed seasonally. Upholstered furniture was relentlessly vacuumed. The bathroom was hygienically clean and always fresh in spite of nearly constant use. Ma kept a very tight ship. We, the crew, ensured it stayed that way.

Yet the ambient sounds were constant. The telephone rang, TVs were on in at least three rooms, the teakettle whistled, the washing machine chugged, the back door snapped shut, the children’s voices squealed. It was a symphony that played in the background between 8:00 am and 9:00 pm for years.

After supper if the weather was agreeable, my son would return to the street games joined by the other kids. Taking up her post on the stoop, Ma would watch the children, refereeing their games and insisting that everyone get their turn. Cheating wasn’t tolerated.

For Ma, those were her glory years. She governed her home and the neighborhood like a benevolent dictator, one that everyone loved, paid attention to, and wanted to please.

The fact that Ma never stepped outside her property line was an open, unspoken secret we all shared. The world came to her. Confined as she was, it was easy to keep secrets that we thought might otherwise unsettle her emotional balance. She was insulated from life beyond that singular neighborhood.

But everything changes, and so too did Ma’s world.

With every year that passed, the house became increasingly quiet. The neighbors that had ebbed and flowed through the house either moved away or no longer took the time to stop by. Eventually Ma moved on, too. She found the internal wherewithal to break the bonds of severe panic attack disorder and get in a car.

She enjoyed a few years free to travel where wheels and a willing driver could take her. Those golden years were too few. Mobility issues would rob her of that hard-won freedom. Time was taking its toll.

Unable to sit on her stoop, she took to sitting on the front porch that had once been part of Dad’s shop. From this vantage point, she could survey the entire street from end to end. But there was nothing to see. The people she once knew seldom stopped by. All the neighborhood children were gone, the grandchildren grown. Ma’s season in the sun was ending.

When she first entered the nursing home, she believed it would provide her with the social interaction she had been missing at home. She came to realize, as humble as it might have been, there’s no place like home. The nursing facility became a new sort of confinement. With surprising grace she bore it.

Entering that house after Ma was moved into nursing care was extraordinarily difficult. I’d call to Dad from the side door. My voice seemed small, barely able to penetrate the years that hung as invisible doors through which I had to walk. Dad would call back, “I’m still here.”

The house, once so filled with sound and movement, so vital to the neighborhood and its inhabitants, now seemed to sigh, seemed to be exhausted, and was silent except for the clock measuring out the remaining hours.

By Marilou Newell


Quaker Open House

Mattapoisett Friends Meeting wants to thank the community for its support for renovations that were done to its 1827 building. Now that the rotting subfloor is replaced, the cellar shored up, and the cracking plaster fixed, an Open House has been scheduled for December 10. There will be a Quaker service from 9:30 to 10:00 am. Open House will be from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm with light refreshments served.

Elizabeth Taber Library

Annual Holiday Ornament Sale: The Elizabeth Taber Library is now selling their annual holiday ornament, a beautiful starfish, for only $25! Buy yours today. They will make the perfect holiday gift for friends and family. All proceeds directly benefit the library in order to enhance our programs and services. Previous years’ ornaments – a sailboat and a conch shell – are also on sale for $20 while supplies last. Ornaments are made by McDermott Glass Studio in Sandwich.

Holiday Cookie Swap: Come celebrate the holidays at the Elizabeth Taber Library with a cookie exchange on Tuesday, December 12, at 4:00 pm. Bring at least a dozen homemade cookies (and the recipe!) with you to swap with others. It’s a great time to share your love for baking and sweets! To register, please call the library at 508-748-1252.

Museum Passes: Looking for something fun to do indoors with friends and family this winter? Then come to the Elizabeth Taber Library to check out any of our museum passes with your SAILS library card! We currently offer discounted passes to the Museum of Fine Arts, Mystic Aquarium, New Bedford Whaling Museum, Plimoth Plantation, Roger Williams Zoo, Mass Parks Pass and NEW in 2018 – passes to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. To reserve a pass or for more information, please call the library at 508-748-1252 or visit our website:

Mary Ellen (Garey) Cooper

Mary Ellen (Garey) Cooper, 86, of Mattapoisett, died November 30 at Brandon Woods Nursing Home in New Bedford. She was the wife of Frank E. Cooper, Sr.

Born in Flushing, NY, on June 15, 1931, Mary later moved with her parents, the late Mary (Malek) Garey and George Garey, to Somerville, MA, where she graduated from Somerville High School. Mary worked at John Hancock Insurance Company in Boston prior to marrying in 1951, having six children, and living all over the United States in her 23 years as a Marine Corps wife. She especially loved living in Hawaii, saying the saddest day of her life was when they had to leave that paradise. She moved to Mattapoisett village with her family in 1964 and fell in love with the town beach, the band concerts, and Center School playground, which served as her family’s front yard. She was a talented figure skater and taught her children and grandchildren how to skate on frozen cranberry bogs and local ice rinks.

Mary retired from the financial division at Compass Bank in New Bedford in 1993 after 18 years. She enjoyed an active retirement with her husband on trips to Europe, long cycling trips, attending Broadway musicals, picnicking at PawSox games, cooking with her grandchildren, and being inseparable from her beloved Jack Russell Terrier, Molly.

She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Frank E. Cooper, Sr., and her sons Frank E. Cooper, Jr. and his companion, Sue Brownell, of Mattapoisett, Timothy J. Cooper of Mattapoisett, Thomas M. Cooper, Sr. of Mattapoisett, Michael J. Cooper and his companion, Kim Faria, of New Bedford, and daughter, Christine A. Cooper, of Mattapoisett. She leaves behind three grandchildren: Christopher Cooper of FL, Thomas M. Cooper, Jr. of Mattapoisett, and Bridgette Cooper and her fiance Allen Ferreira of New Bedford. She also leaves two step-grandchildren, Jennifer Gill of Fairhaven and Robert Gill of New Hampshire. She was also great-grandmother to Lacey E. Cooper of Minot, N. Dakota and step-great grandmother to Chandra Perez-Gill and Mischa Tomasia , both of Fairhaven. Mary was predeceased by her son, Robert. G. Cooper of Tampa, FL, her daughter-in-law, Linda E. Cooper of Marion, and her grandson, Patrick J. Cooper of New Bedford.

Her visiting hours will be held on Tuesday Dec. 5th from 4-7 PM at the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals, 50 County Rd., Route 6, Mattapoisett. Her Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday Dec. 6th at 9:30 AM at St. Anthony’s Church in Mattapoisett. Burial will follow in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation, in Mary’s name, to the Alzheimer’s Association at For directions and guestbook, please visit