Lions Leo Club Established at DRRHS
(December 29, 2011) Leaders from both the men’s and women’s Lions Clubs of Rehoboth and Dighton have been working with the administration from Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School to form a Lions Leo Club for the 85 students who have expressed interest.
A teacher-advisor, Derek DeMello, has been visiting with the Rehoboth Lions, Anawan Lions, Dighton Lions and Dighton DandiLions to get acquainted with club membership and formulate some plans for the remainder of the school year.
Potential Candidates May Begin Campaign Process
(December 27, 2011) Individuals who plan to run for town office in the April 2, 2012 election may now pick up nomination papers at the Town Clerk’s office. Forty-five certified signatures of Rehoboth residents are required to file the nomination paperwork by the deadline of February 13, 2012 at 5 PM.
Police Issue Warning About Car Break Ins
(December 23, 2011) A Nixle Alert was issued yesterday by the Rehoboth Police Department warning residents that a number of vehicles have been broken into while parked overnight. They suggest keeping your vehicles locked and parked in well-lit areas. Please report any suspicious behavior by calling the RPD at 508-252-3722.
Home Invader Sentenced to Lengthy Prison Term
(December 22, 2011) Following a week-long trial that concluded yesterday, forty-eight-year-old Paul Matthews was convicted by a jury on six criminal charges related to a home invasion that occurred on School Street in Rehoboth two years ago.
A former resident of Rockland, Matthews and two other men entered the residence on School street and bound the homeowner with zip ties, threatening her with a handgun during the course of the incident. The other men were later identified as James J. MacDonald, age 50, of South Weymouth, and John Keough, age 27, of Malden.
According to the victim, whose identity has never been revealed to the public, she first noticed the men wearing ski masks outside her home before holding her at gunpoint.
After stealing the victim’s Toyota Prius, she was able to escape and call for help. The men eventually led police on a high-speed chase after dropping Matthews off in East Providence near the Seekonk Line. The chase continued through Slater Park in Pawtucket, RI where Keough escaped the vehicle into a nearby stream and kept police at bay for two hours while standing in the water holding the gun to his own head.
At the time, officials reported the home was intentionally targeted, but provided no further explanation. Matthews and MacDonald were later arrested in their homes by Rehoboth police with assistance from Rockland and Weymouth police, as well as the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council SWAT team. Because of the kidnapping charge and multi-state involvement, the FBI were involved in the case as well.
Matthews was convicted of breaking and entering during the day, home invasion, kidnapping, possession of a firearm, the additional charge of possession of a loaded firearm, and larceny of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to a 45 to 60 year prison term by Superior Court Judge Gary A. Nickerson.
New DRRHS Swim Team Makes Impressive Debut at Taunton Meet
December 20, 2011 - Despite their small size, the newly formed swim team at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School made some significant waves at their first meet on last week as they swam against Taunton High School.
The D-R girls managed to narrowly edge out their opponents with a final score of 48 (D-R) to 46 (Taunton). Freshmen Tayla Slater and Meaghan O'Connell along with sophomores Kira Hitz and Katie Costa were top scorers for the team, securing first place finishes in 9 out of 11 events, including the 200 yard medley relay and the 200 yard freestyle relay. Paige Leite, Hannah Steenhuysen, Brooke Hobson, Emily Moran, and Merenda Benjamin all established personal records.
The D-R boys were represented by Craig O'Connell, Bryan Tran, and Jonathan Eddy. Tran placed first in the 200 yard individual relay and 100 yard butterfly, O'Connell won both the 500 yard freestyle and 100 yard breaststroke events, and Eddy scored in the 100 backstroke. Ultimately the D-R boys were overpowered by a strong Taunton team, with the final boys score of 22 (D-R) to 38 (Taunton).
The D-R swim team is a new parent-funded sport offered for the first time this year at D-R. The team currently has 13 swimmers and is coached by Kevin Saleeba and Elizabeth Ferreira. Prior to establishing the D-R swim team, a parent committee worked in conjunction with school officials to form a collaborative partnership between Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School and two local community organizations, the Newman YMCA and the East Providence Boys and Girls Club.
The D-R Swim Team will participate in the upcoming Middleboro Invitational meet on December 27.
BOS Agenda Items for December 19 Meeting
(December 19, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet for an executive session beginning at 6 PM tonight at the Senior Center when they will discuss a personnel contract issue and consider “the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate.
Regular session is scheduled to begin at 7:30 PM. Items on the agenda incude a report by the IT Committee on recommendations for the town’s updated website. There will be general license renewals for 2012 and a discussion about the 2013 fiscal year budget. There will be updates on the town’s vehicle towing policy, the town counsel Request for Proposal (RFP), the Anawan Garage property RFP, and the Community Innovation Challenge Grant.
Police to Crack Down on Residents’ Vehicles
(December 13, 2011) Acting Police Chief Trombetta made an announcement at last night’s board of selectmen’s meeting that he has appointed Officer Eastwood to put together a plan to address residents who have vehicles registered in other states.
Trombetta said he has received “a lot of calls” reporting residents who have vehicles parked in their yards with out-of-state licence plates. Subsequently those individuals are not paying the state excise taxes to the town.
He said the packets of information will be provided to Rehoboth police officers who “will be out at various locations” in the next few weeks so they can “try to nail down some people who live in town” who may not be aware about statutes and regulations.
“A lot of people are under the assumption that if they own a business in another state, they can have the vehicles registered there even though they are garaged in this state and so forth.”
According to Trombetta, “we will be taking their names and other info” and trying to keep any delays as short as possible when stopping cars. Town residents who are found in violation will receive information and thirty-days to comply and register their vehicle in Massachusetts. After that law enforcement action will be taken against those residents.
BOS Agenda Items for December 12 Meeting
(December 12, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet for an executive session beginning at 6 PM today at the Senior Center when they will discuss union contracts and real estate issues. Regular session is scheduled for 7:30 PM with items including the town towing policy, liquor and general license renewals, reappointments, proposals and voting to accept the resignation of Bette Dyer as an election inspector.
Two Rehoboth Residents Targeted by DEA
(December 9, 2011) Eleven individuals, including Eleni Hernandez and Domingo Hernandez of Rehoboth, face grand jury indictments for conspiring to sell oxycodon in at least fifteen communities in MA and RI including Rehoboth.
DEA agents on Wednesday arrested one member of the group, Lori A. Ramacker at the home of a former Abington selectman Roger Woods Jr. She along with the others face a charge of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute oxycodone, a powerful prescription opiate.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney announced that Domingo Hernandez faces additional charges of possession with intent to distribute. He and Eleni Hernandez are listed as residents of Tremont Street in Rehoboth.
Veteran’s Services Expands Hours and Locations
(December 9, 2011) Rehoboth’s Veteran’s Services Officer, William Saunders, has announced he will be offering expanded hours effective January 1, 2012.
He will offer evening hours every second Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the town offices, and the second Saturday of each month from 9 AM to noon at the Rehoboth Transfer Station.
Saunder’s regular hours in his office on Peck Street are Monday thru Friday from 9 AM to 12 noon for Rehoboth veterans, spouses and dependents who have questions and concerns about veteran-related issues.
Selectman Leffort Thanks Fire Department
December 7, 2011 - Selectman Donald Leffort took a few minutes to thank the Rehoboth Fire Department for the rapid response to a fire at his residence on Davis Street on Monday night.
The fire, which resulted in signifiant damage to one portion of the residence, was determined to be caused by a battery charger left on the carpet of a grandson’s bedroom. Family members were able to call 911 and get out. There were no injuries.
At Tuesday night’s BOS meeting, Selectmen Tito and Costello voted to permit the installation of a temporary mobile home on the property while repairs are done. Leffort excused himself from the vote.
“I’d like to thank everyone who has supported my family,” said Leffort. “Fire, rescue and ambulance did a wonderful job.”
BOS Agenda Items for Tuesday, December 6
December 6, 2011 - The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 7:30 PM for the public portion of their meeting. Before that, their executive session will include discussion of personnel issues, police contract negotiations, and town owned properties.Regular meeting agenda items include a review of the Sun Edison contract for the landfill solar energy project with Energy Committee chair David House and town counsel Richard Holland.
There will be a performance review of building inspector William McDonough, as well as proposals for town counsel services and FY 2013 budget guidelines. Regular session will also include the town administrator’s report and the individual selectman’s reports. Public forum will follow the agenda items. All residents and interested parties are invited to attend.
Local Groups Host Annual December Blood Drive
December 1, 2011 - A blood drive will be held on Monday, December 5 from 2 PM to 7 PM at the Rehoboth Congregational Church on Bay State Road.
The annual December drive is sponsored by the Rehoboth Business Association, Eastern Star Lodge, A.F. & A.M., the Rehoboth Dunkin’ Donuts, and the Rehoboth Congregational Church. All donors will receive a complimentary coupon booklet from the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets and a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert from Chili’s Grill and Bar.
Please contact the American Red Cross to make an appointment. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (733-2767).
Contract with Sun Edison Signed for Solar Installation
November 28, 2011 - Rehoboth Energy Committee membership were on hand at last night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting to witness of the signing of the contract with Sun Edison to construct a solar energy facility at the Rehoboth landfill by next December. The solar plant is required to be operational by May 2013.
Prior to signing of the contract, Energy Committee chairman David House introduced town counsel Richard Holland who summarized the three-part agreement for selectmen. The contract contained a lease agreement, a power purchase agreement, and a third-party agreement, all of which were signed last night.
Sun Edison will pay the town a yearly leasing fee of $100,000 for the next twenty years, minus any taxes for the property and equipment. Under the power purchase agreement, the electricity generated would pass through the National Grid, that would in turn provide energy credits to the town to offset municipal energy costs.
The solar energy facility is anticipated to save the town an estimated $750,000 in energy costs over the twenty-year period of the contract signed last night. More significant are the energy cost savings to the Dighton-Rehoboth School District for a period of twenty years. Power generated by the solar array on the landfill will provide an additional $4.5 million in energy credits that will be used for schools located in Rehoboth.
“I had the opportunity to serve with David and the rest of the Energy Committee,” said Selectman Costello, explaining how a group of people who had filled out talent bank forms were chosen to create a new town committee. He applauded them for working together on three successful solar energy projects, including installations at the highway department building and the senior center.
On-Air Commentary Before BOS Meetings Create Contentious Atmosphere
November 28, 2011 - Weekly on-air commentary by Rehoboth resident Robert McKim, prior to the public portion of the weekly selectmen’s meeting, was the subject of discussion at last night’s BOS meeting.
For the past three weeks, while selectmen are out of the room in executive session, McKim has taken advantage of the live audio feed broadcast on cable access Channel 9. While the on-air sign is the only video feed, McKim makes announcements, reads documents or newspaper articles, and generaly shares his opinions on public officials, residents and town matters.
“In the weeks that I have been doing this,” said McKim, “I’ve only heard one voice complain, and that was from Selectman Leffort.” McKim then invited anyone who had any complaints to be “man or woman enough” to come up to the microphone share their thoughts like he does. He encouraged more residents to attend the weekly selectmen’s meeting and voice their opinions.
Later in the meeting during open forum, McKim addressed Selectman Leffort personally and asked why he felt people should not use the mic while the BOS is out of the room in executive session. Leffort said residents have called him to complain about “the McKIm Show.” “It’s lowered the level of the selectmen’s meeting where government things are supposed to be talked about,” complained Leffort, “and you’re in here reading and saying whatever you want to say.”
McKim said he was just doing a public service to the town by giving them information, and then confronted Leffort about taking the issue up with the other two selectmen.
“I asked the chairman why he was allowing this,” said Leffort, to which McKim responded by saying RePAC allows it. Following a volley of accusations, an angry Leffort commented that “you’re a bunch of lunatics.” Costello called for order as audience members began shouting.
Selectman Tito then addressed McKim. “Universally, everything I have heard has been positive,” said Tito, explaining that while a live audio feed was allowed by RePAC, conversations would be picked up. “RePAC made this bed, now they are lying in it.”
Leffort said that he has asked RePAC to turn off the microphones, but they are following the terms of their contract by opening the audio feed when the BOS meeting first begins, and leaving the microphones on for the duration. Tito and Costello agreed they found it curious that RePAC has only been following this protocol since they were both elected last spring.
Costello said that RePAC has refused his requests to turn off the microphones while selectmen are out of the room, but they have refused. “So by refusing to do it, they have to incur Mr. McKim,” said Costello, “they have to deal with that.”
Resident Affected by Release of Personal Data Speaks Before Selectmen
November 28, 2011 - Rehoboth resident Gerald Schwall addressed the Board of Selectmen last night about the recent release of personal information, now redacted, in a prepared binder of documents released to the public to support BOS allegations against breach of contract by RePAC.
Schwall and his wife were among fourteen residents mentioned, along with their birth dates and social security numbers, in report issued by the Rehoboth Police Department.
“Last week there may have been confusion on the part of some,” said Schwall, “that all but one of the people cited in the report were victims or witnesses of what was alleged, illegal tape recording and video recording of residents.”
He explained that, in the case of his family, they were attending a BOS meeting when they discovered “there was a small video camera hidden under a hat that had been placed behind us.” After mentioning the incident to a selectmen, they were encouraged to make a police report.
“Little did we know that police report would turn out to be such a problem,” he said. He then asked selectmen to exercise caution in the future when referring to residents that may be listed in a police report for whatever reason, including being witnesses, as others may wonder about them and make erroneous assumptions.
Additionally, Schwall took selectmen to task for failure to redact the personal information from the report contained in the binder. After researching internal police department policies, Schwall said he discovered there is “a very prescriptive way of reviewing documents before they are released,” he explained.
“Unfortunately the former (police) chief, Steve Enos was the one who violated his own police department’s policies and procedures,” emphasized Schwall, “and made that (the binder) a public document.”
Questioning selectmen about the timeline involved with making the binder public, Schwall was told by BOS chair Mike Costello, “that in 2010, the town administrator at the time was asked to put together documents and work with the town counsel.” Costello said he believed those documents were shared between “the two parties” and that town counsel had kept the documents in their files, combining them with new documentation from 2011.
According to Costello the first time selectmen saw the binder was “when it was delivered to town hall, but we did not see the actual police report in there.” Once they realized there was personal data in the binder, they took immediate action to redact the personal information on two of three copies of the document binder.
Town administrator Jeff Ritter approached RePAC, in possession of the third copy of the binder, to turn over the original pages with personal data and replace with the redacted version. RePAC chairman, Roger Breault refused this request and town counsel, Kopelman and Paige are currently working on a legal solution by filing an injunction against RePAC.
After accepting an apology from Costello on behalf of the town, Schwall questioned why Selectmen Leffort had been the one to first call attention to the fact personal data had been released. “I don’t think that Mr. Costello or Mr. Tito or Mr. Ritter did anything that was not in the normal course of business,” remarked Schwall, but he wondered why Leffort suddenly became “curious and drove up to town hall to identify those social security number so quickly.”
In response Leffort said, “I was in Jeff Ritter’s office, just flipping through it and I happened to come across that page.” He added, “if I had not seen it, a lot more people would have seen it.”
There was only a short period of time between the BOS public announcement the the binder was available for review at the town office and the time when the sensitive material was redacted. The time included Thursday afternoon and Friday morning during town office hours. According to resident Pam Christman, who went to the town office on Monday morning to review the binder, she saw the personal data and immediately turned the binder back to the town clerk’s office, alerted them to the problem and later called Selectmen Leffort. It is unknown exactly how many people may have been the town office binder before redacting, but selectmen reported last week it the number was minimal. The issue, however, was brought up at the BOS meeting that night.
While happy that Kopelman and Paige acknowledged their mistake to release the binder for public consumption, Schwall encouraged selectman to reconsider issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a new legal firm. “For the past few years, our legal bills have skyrocketed,” said Schwall, “and let’s just say our win-loss ratio has not gone with it.”
November 28 BOS Meeting Agenda Items
November 28, 2011 - The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 6:30 PM for an executive session when they will continue their discussions about disposition of town real estate.
The regular portion of the meeting will begin about 7:30 PM with the town administrator’s report followed by a discussion with the town auditors and town accountant regarding the financial statements from fiscal year 2011 which ended June 30, 2011.
Also on the agenda is a discussion with resident Gerald Schwall regarding the disclosure of personal information by town officials. David House of the Energy Committee will give a review of the Sun Edison Landfill Solar contract and there will be an appointment to the personnel board. As always, the public is invited to attend.
Neighoring Dighton Launches 300th Birthday
November 27, 2011 - Last night’s annual Dighton Tree Lighting festivities were enhanced by launching the town’s 300 birthday year with a cake and candles. A year of special events will be held in 2012 to celebrate the town’s tricentennial.
Hundreds of Dighton and Rehoboth residents were on hand to enjoy the beginning of the holiday season with a free refreshments, entertainment by students from DRRHS, Dighton Middle School and Beckwith Middle School who performed with the high school marching band.
Also in attendance were members of the Rehoboth Minute Company dressed in colonial attire to assist the Dighton Historical Commission.
The high school marching band led a parade that included the colonists and Santa and Mrs. Claus on their sleigh. The band took to the field behind Dighton Town Hall and performed several impressive numbers from Jekyll and Hyde along with other selections.
The annual holiday event is organized and staffed by volunteers.
Firefighter Ken Marshall Honored and Remembered
November 23, 2011 - At Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting, a special presentation was made by members of the Rehoboth Fire Department.
In a brief but moving ceremony, Rehoboth Fire Chief Robert Pray and Chaplain John Amaral presented portraits to all three station captains. in honor of thirty-three-year old firefighter Ken Marshall Jr. who suffered cardiac arrest and died while on duty last Thanksgiving.
Marshall’s parents and several firefighters were also present to mark the first anniversary of the young firefighter’s sudden death.
The portraits are copies of the ones that were presented to the Marshall family at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Maryland in October when Marshall's name was added to the rolls of the Nation's fallen firefighters.
The portraits will be hung in the town's three fire stations as a permanent reminder of Marshall, a third-generation firefighter who will also be honored posthumously on November 30 at the upcoming 22nd Annual “Firefighter of the Year” awards held in Worcester.
Marshall’s grandfather George “Rab” Wetherall was a 30-year veteran of the fire department, his father Ken Sr. served for 20 years and his brother Jon, a 10-year veteran, is currently a firefighter in the Rehoboth department.
Town Counsel Offers An Apology for Allowing the Release of Personal Info
November 22, 2011 - At last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting, attorneys from Kopelman and Paige apologized profusely for creating potential problems for fourteen residents whose personal data, including social security numbers, was released as public information.
According to selectmen, the personal information was contained in a police report from several years ago originally given to the BOS as confidential documentation. However, when the report was provided to the BOS, it then technically became public information under the law.
Including the page with individual’s social security numbers, while not illegal, was either an oversight or error in judgement made on the part of town counsel. Accepting full responsibility, attorney Jonathan Silverman expressed the belief that exposure of the info has been “non-existent or minimal.”
On Thursday, November 9, selectmen announced that a binder full of documents, prepared by town counsel to support their allegations of breach of contract by cable provider RePAC, were available for public review at the town office. Another binder of the prepared documents was given to RePAC as disclosure info for that organization’s use.
The BOS announcement to the public was published the next day by RehobothNow. Additionally, RePAC was asked and declined to put the announcement on their virtual bulletin board.
The following Monday morning, a resident who came to review the binder of material noticed it contained a police report that included the names, birth dates and social security numbers of fourteen Rehoboth residents. Concerned, the resident immediately turned the report back in and alerted officials. By that evening, the issue was brought up at the BOS meeting and the sensitive information was redacted the next day in the two binders at the town office.
Town Administrator Jeff Ritter took a redacted version of the report and went to see RePAC chairperson Roger Breault who was asked to return the binder he had been given so that the page with personal data could be removed and destroyed. Breault refused. Ritter left the redacted report and asked Breault to remove the original version and replace it with the redacted page. It is unknown if Breault complied.
Selectmen last night reported that only two individuals reviewed the town office binder, prior to redaction, but no one knows how many individuals, if any, have seen the information in the RePAC binder.
Along with an apology, town counsel sent letters to each of the fourteen residents last Friday with the offer of one year of a credit monitoring service. Kopelman and Paige also prepared a disclosure letter and sent it to office of the Attorney General.
The law firm also took legal steps in court last Friday to compel RePAC to return the original document binder containing the report with personal data, as well as provide info about who has viewed the material. They expected to be in court today for a hearing to continue these proceedings against RePAC.
At Monday night’s meeting, Selectman Tito expressed anger at both town counsel and RePAC for their involvement in this latest controversy. “I don’t care if it was a public document or not,” said Tito, “it’s wrong!” He continued by saying “this information should have never gone out.”
Chastising RePAC, Tito said, “at a moment when RePAC was given an opportunity to do the right thing, that is outside the scope of everything going on, they chose instead to stick a needle in our eye.”
Agenda Items for November 21 BOS Meeting
November 21, 2011 - The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet on Monday, November 21 at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session to continue discussions on police contract negotiations and real property disposition.
The regular session will begin at 7:30 with Fire Department presentations followed by the town administrator’s report and a discussion of administrative documents related to RePAC.
There will be a public hearing with the Board of Assessors on the classification of land for taxation for fiscal year 2012. Selectmen will vote on several items including the North Fire Station roof replacement and the town’s new website.
CemCom Replaces Historic Stones
November 21, 2011 - The Rehoboth Cemetery Commission recently replaced two historic headstones in the Bliss Burying Ground on Agricultural Avenue. The stones replacements were for Abel Bliss who died in 1852 and Sally Bliss who died in 1875. The original stones were damaged beyond repair. The commission is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of the 52 historic cemeteries located in Rehoboth.
Beckwith Band and Guest Musicians to Perform at Annual Rehoboth Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 18, 2011 - The Beckwith Middle School Band will play at the annual tree lighting ceremony sponsored by the Rehoboth Anawan Lions to be held on Saturday, December 10 at 3:00 p.m. at the Bristol County Savings Bank on Route 44 in Rehoboth.
All former members of the Beckwith Middle School Band, as well as any parent musicians are invited to play along. Please bring a folding music stand, holiday attire, good cheer, and warm weather! Participants are asked to arrive by 2:30 PM.
Help Make Wreaths for Civic Beautification
November 16, 2011 - The Rehoboth Garden Club will host a wreath making workshop for civic beautification on Monday, December 5 from 9:30 AM at the Carpenter Museum.
Interested individuals can assist with making wreaths that will adorn Rehoboth’s public buildings in town. Baskets will also be created and delivered to the Attleboro Living Center and members of the garden club who are homebound.
Participants are asked to bring pre-cut fresh green from your yard, clippers, scissors, floral wire and any decorations. Lunch will be provided by the club’s executive board.
For more information, call Betsy Charnecki at 508-252-5718.
Cable Access Provider RePAC Declines to Broadcast BOS Announcement
November 16, 2011 - The embattled RePAC has declined to cablecast a notice on Channel 9 requested by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last week.
Citing contractual “editorial discretion,” the cable access provider declined to put up a text message to alert residents they can access a binder of documents prepared by town counsel supporting the selectmen’s vote to investigate possible breaches of the RePAC contract. The binder is available to view and/or copy for a fee at the town office.
In a letter sent yesterday to town officials, the cable access provider referenced the portion of their license agreement that puts full liability on them for “all content” on the three public access channels. They claim the documents in question contain a report compiled by Rehoboth police that lists private information for fourteen residents including their date of birth, social security number and telephone numbers.
RePAC chairman Roger Breault states in the letter that cablecasting the BOS notice referencing documents that report “private matters” of the fourteen residents “presents a more serious issue.” Because RePAC is liable for content and programming, they “respectfully” decline to air the message as it is “related to the improper incursions into the expectations of privacy.”
However, RePAC posted Breault’s letter, containing the names of the fourteen residents, on their website for public viewing.
According to Selectman Joe Tito, three official copies of the binder were prepared, one of which was provided to RePAC as the documents outline events and complaints against the organization. The three binders did contain the police report with personal information of fourteen residents. Despite town counsel assuring selectman these documents were already in the public record, they decided to redact the police report earlier this week including the binder available for public viewing at the town office.
On Tuesday, town administrator Jeff Ritter delivered a redacted copy of the binder to Breault. “He asked him to exchange his binder for one of the redacted copies,” said Tito, “and Mr. Breault refused his request.” Ritter left redacted copies of the binder that had blacked out the dates of birth and social security numbers. He asked Breault to replace the pages in his binder with the redacted report.
“I do not know if Mr. Breault complied with the request,” noted Tito, “but I do know that he was informed that the information that RePAC finds objectionable was redacted out of the publicly available copies at town hall.”
State law dictates regulations and standards in connection with safeguarding personal information, both on paper and electronic, to insure security and confidentiality.
Annual Blizzard of Giving Program Begins
November 15, 2011 - Blizzard of Giving/Toys for Rehoboth Kids has launched this year’s annual gift program for local families who are experiencing hard times. The program is a cooperative effort that involves Blizzard volunteers, the local Girl Scouts and Helping Hands Food Pantry.
Please drop by any of the “Snowflake” displays around town and pick up a snowflake “wish” from a Rehoboth family for the annual Blizzard of Giving - Toys for Rehoboth Kids program. Then purchase the item, wrap it and securely affix the “snowflake” on the package. Donations of unwrapped gifts or gift cards are also appreciated.
Snowflake displays are located at the Post Office, Blanding Library, Beckwith Middle, Palmer River Elementary and Chartley Store. Donations can be dropped at those locations as well as Alicia’s Dance Studio, USA Karate, ASAP, Twin Oaks Learning Center and Vino’s Restaurant.
For more information, please contact any of the following program organizers: Maureen Brawley at 508-252-4887, Colleen McBride at 508-252-6430 or Steve Martin at 508-252-3263.
BOS Meeting Features Live Audio Commentary
November 15, 2011 - Monday night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting featured a “warm up” segment courtesy of audience members fully aware of the live audio feed allowed by RePAC prior to selectmen starting the public portion of their meeting.
“We are all just sitting here having a conversation,” said resident Robert McKim who began warming up the audience with a recap of recent Veteran’s Day recognition activities, as well as thanking individual residents for their service on various projects.
Mr. McKim’s commentary continued, with occasional applause from the live audience at the senior center, as he addressed the town’s most controversial issues and individuals who have been divisively involved in Rehoboth politics.
He then turned his attention to the RePAC and encouraged listeners to visit the town office and read the folder of complaints against RePAC. “Of course, you can’t hear me because these microphones are not turned on,” McKim said to audience laughter.
McKim spoke for approximately thirty-five minutes, sharing his personal opinions on town politics, controversies and the individuals involved, presumably to call attention to RePAC’s standard operating procedure of turning on the live microphones before the start of BOS meetings.
“I see our selectmen are coming in, the attorney is with them and we’re all set to go,” announced McKim. “So, good night once again, ladies and gentlemen,” he concluded to a loud round of applause.
Television viewers at home may have been confused by the audio commentary with a stationary camera pointed at the live on-air sign signifying broadcast on the town’s government channel.
RePAC Saga Continues with Response to 60-Day Notice from BOS Judge Issues Stay on Further Action
November 15, 2011 - On November 8, local community access cable provider RePAC responded to a 60-day notice “response for cure” from the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen by sending both a certified letter to town administrator Jeff Ritter and hand-delivered a copy to town clerk Kathleen Conti.
The letter asserts that RePAC “has always scheduled, operated, managed, and maintained the three PEG (public-educational-government) Access Channels 9, 15 and 98, the facilities, the equipment, and all funding within the scope of its authority and mandates of the Contract.”
The letter, signed by RePAC chairman Roger Breault on behalf of the non-profit’s board of directors, concluded by stating they will supplement information found in the letter once the town, BOS and town counsel “comply with RePAC’s discovery requests.”
In late August, selectmen issued an ultimatum titled “Demand for Cure” with numerous allegations against RePAC based on “a long history of public dissatisfaction and complaints” that have occurred since 2008 when the contract with RePAC was renewed by the town.
At the BOS meeting held on Monday, November 14, selectmen announced a judge had issued a stay on all further discovery in the case, a favorable outcome for RePAC. Breault has always maintained the organization has not breached its contract with the town in any manner.
Meanwhile BOS chairman Mike Costello has asserted they have targeted him personally and has accused RePAC of “playing politics.” Additionally, the BOS collected letters from residents, ranging from complaints about programming, requests for broadcasts, and technical difficulties. Others accuse RePAC of selective editing and/or intentionally turning off live cameras during meetings. By coincidence, that situation occurred on Monday night just as Selectman Leffort began to read his weekly report. The broadcast was cut for several minutes before the live audio/video feed was reestablished to catch the end of the meeting.
Earlier this year, sitting selectmen voted to allow permanent cameras and microphones installed at the senior center, where the BOS and other municipal committees meet. Since then there have been consistent complaints that RePAC turns the microphones and cameras on before the selectmen take their seats and begin the public portion of their meeting.
The live microphones pick up audience conversations and RePAC has been asked to not turn them on. These requests have been ignored since live audio can be heard for up to an hour prior the start of BOS meetings. One camera, meanwhile, is aimed at the ‘live on air’ sign indicating to cable viewers there are live microphones and cameras in operation.
If and when the contract with RePAC is terminated by the BOS, another cable access provider will have to be found and a contract established. Historically PEG providers are non-profit organizations with a board of directors and paid staff.
Agenda for November 14 BOS Meeting
November 14, 2011 - The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet on Monday, November 14 at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session to discuss police contract negotiations and real property disposition.
Following the town administrator’s report, there will be a discussion with town legal counsel William Hewig about the RePAC contract. Other business includes follow-up of the special town meeting held last week and the other items of routine town business such awarding the bid for replacement of the North Fire Station’s roof and a request from the Republican Town Committee Caucus.
Selectmen Offer Documents for Public Inspection
November 10, 2011 - The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen are now offering documents supporting their September 12, 2011 vote to investigate possible breaches by the Access Corporation of its Agrement with the BOS are on file and available for public inspection at the Office of the Town Clerk during regular business hours, and are available for copying at the usual per page rate.
Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines Still Available
November 8, 2011 - The town nurse, Lynn Allienello, RN, reports there is a limited supply remaining of both flu and pneumonia vaccine for interested residents. To schedule an appointment, please call her at 508-252-5947, extension 127.
Small Turnout for Special Town Meeting
November 8, 2011 - Only 111 people were counted in the high school auditorium last night at the beginning of the Special Town Meeting held to vote on twenty articles of municipal business. Despite the low turnout, including the absence of Selectman Don Leffort, the meeting was “one of the best town meetings I’ve attended,” said BOS chairman Mike Costello.
Voters approved the first article to amend the 2012 fiscal year budget in the amount of $9.960. to fund the cost of “injured on duty” insurance coverage for police and fire personnel. Also approved by amending the budget in the amount of $5,668;25 to pay outstanding bills from last fiscal year including $4961.23 for special legal services.
Last April, selectmen Costello and Tito voted to hire North Attleboro attorney, Charles J. Maguire, Jr. as additional counsel to deal specifically with the issue of former police chief Stephen Enos rather than the town’s contracted legal counsel, Kopelman and Paige who according to Costello were “too compromised by other lawsuits in town.”
Voters then approved three articles relating to the police department including $10,472.48 to implement the remaining cost of collective bargaining agreement that was effect through June 30, 2011. An additional $9,311.72 was approved to cover the police superior’s union contract. The town worked without police union contracts for the past two years. An agreement with the unions was made following the dismissal of Stephen Enos as police chief. An estimated transfer of $80,454. in police department budget line items were also approved for a total of over $100,000 in dollars related to the police department.
Residents approved $6,250 to update the town’s municipal website despite objections related to several issues including if the town was only looking on one vendor option. Finance Committee chair Sue Pimental stated it was FinCom’s opinion that the cost estimate was too high. BOS chair Costello told the audience that both the RPD and RFD would be brought into the town website, although both have existing websites.
Voters approved $15,000 for the wiring and installation of an existing emergency generator at the senior center to make it eligible to be designated an approved emergency shelter.
Article 8 on Tropical Store Irene expenses was tabled until Spring along with Article 9, to petition the Massachusetts General Court for special legislation to create a special renewable energy capital fund.
Twenty thousand dollars in roof repairs to the three public buildings was approved. The buildings include the public safety building, and the North and South Rehoboth fire stations.
Voters overwhelmingly disapproved giving the town permission to transfer $5,765.28 from unallocated free cash into the Agricultural and Natural Resources Preservation Trust Fund .
Residents approved amending the town bylaw required the police chief to live in town within one year of his/her appointment. Also approved by residents was bylaw pertaining to the composition and terms of members of the Finance Committee.
Amending the zoning bylaw to exempt solar energy farm installations from land coverage restrictions was approved. Voters also approved amending the general bylaw pertaining to a town personnel matters, deleting a passage that allowed a “personnel board” to maintain personnel records. New language will allow the town administrator or his/her designee, which could be the town’s recently appointed Personnel Advisory Committee, to be responsible for personnel records.
Article 16, despite confusing discussion, was approved to allow the sale or lease of the old Anawan Garage. Four more articles were passed relating to town owned land or accepting new town roadways.
D-R Music Students Selected for Jazz Band
November 6, 2011 - Dighton-Rehoboth sophomores Curtis Letourneau and Donovan Burtan were two of only five trumpet players accepted by audition to perform in the Jazz Band for the Massachusetts Music Educators Southeast District Festival. Only about eighteen students total are accepted from over 70 hopefuls from the entire Southeast Massachusetts region. They will meet, rehearse, and perform with their guest conductor in January in a concert at Oliver Ames High School.
BOS Meeting Agenda for November 1
November 1, 2011 - Following the Board of Selectmen’s executive session at 6:30 PM, the public portion of the meeting will begin at 7:30 with recognition of the Rehoboth Police Department followed by a review of town administrator Jeff Ritter’s job performance in his first six months on the job. Addition new business items will include appointments to the Cable TV Advisory Committee and resignations from the Agricultural Commission along with several other topics.
Rehoboth Gets $63,750 in One-Time Funding
October 28, 2011 - Representative Steven S. Howitt is pleased to announce that the passage of the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY 11) Final Deficiency Supplemental Budget will allow for the certification of $65 million in reversion money to be used as a one-time payment to cities and towns. The 4th Bristol District will receive an additional $390,980 in one-time funding to help maintain vital services and recover from the recent fiscal crisis. The funding distribution includes: Norton for $127,108, Rehoboth for $63,750, Seekonk for $75,257 and Swansea for $114,865.
“I am pleased that we were able to finalize the negotiations,” stated Representative Howitt. “The passing of this budget will allow our communities to obtain funding that will give town leaders flexibility in dealing with their budgetary needs.”
During the House budget debate in April, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and the Republican Caucus were successful in offering and having adopted an amendment to allow unspent funds (reversions) from FY11 to be sent back to cities and towns. This marks the first time in over four years that a Republican-offered amendment has been included in the final version of the state budget.
“After a few grueling months of hard work, negotiations, and persistence, I am pleased to report that this necessary support for cities and towns has come to fruition,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident that cities and towns across the Commonwealth will put this one-time funding to good use.”
The Office of the State Comptroller will be closing the Commonwealth’s finance books by October 31st, at which point the funds will be formally recognized and distributed to local cities and towns by the Division of Local Services.
Rehoboth Dunkin‘ Holds Annual “Pink FriDDay”
October 27, 2011 - Along with six other Dunkin’ Donut locations, the Rehoboth restaurant will conduct their third annual “Pink FriDDay” on October 28 when donations will be collected in counter canisters from customers for the organization, Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The other DD locations are in Attleboro and Taunton and together have raised over $3,200. the last two years for the breast cancer awareness and prevention organization.
Preservation Committee Seeks Project Proposals
October 24, 2011 - The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is accepting proposals for projects that qualify for funding under the Community Preservation Act (CPA).
The CPC has an ongoing interest in proposals relating to four topics areas including: (1) acquisition, creation and preservation of open space; (2) acquisition and preservation of historic resources; (3) acquisition, creation and preservation of land for recreational uses; and (4) creation, preservation, and support of community housing.
In 2009, the Town of Rehoboth adopted the provisions of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 44B, by virtue of public referendum and by adoption of a town by-law. Subsequently the CPC was established. Currently serving on the committee are: Edward Bertozzi, Jr., Carol Williams, Hilary Chmielinski, Russell Latham, Rebecca Smith, Peter Jacobson, Werner Horlbeck, June House and Wendy Skinner.
Revenues being generated through the CPA surcharge on local property taxes, and through the related funding by the Commonwealth under the CPA, allows the local CPC to fund projects.
Applications can be submitted throughout the year. All must be reviewed by the CPC and ultimately approved by residents at town meeting. If you are in doubt about a project’s eligibility, please submit your application so the committee has an opportunity to review it and work with you to meet the required criteria. Guidelines and criteria are available.
For further information, please contact the Community Preservation Committee, c/o Town Offices, Peck Street, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
Fatal Friday Night Car Crash Reported
October 22, 2011 - Few details were available this morning about a car crash around 11 PM last night that occurred in Rehoboth on I-195 near the Swansea line. According to police radio reports, there was one fatality and others injured.
Vendor Craft Fair to Help D-R SkillsUSA Students
October 20, 2011 - The Career and Technical Education Department at DRRHS is hosting a Vendor Craft Fair on Saturday, December 3 from 9 AM to 2 PM at the high school as a fund-raiser to support students that participate in SkillsUSA, a nationwide organization that fosters a partnership of students, teachers and industry, working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
The proceeds of the Vendor Craft Fair will help defray the cost per student for registration, transportation and lodging at upcoming SkillsUSA events. Along with vendor tables, there will be several raffles including one for a shed to be built for the winner by the school’s carpentry student.
Vendors and crafters can book a table for $35 and are also asked to donate an item to be placed in a gift basket for a raffle. Please call or email Colleen Hall at 508-252-5030 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to reserve a space.
One Injured in Crash
October 20, 2011 - Tremont Street was closed for around thirty minutes following a three-vehicle accident on Wednesday afternoon. One person was transported to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS. The accident remains under investigation by Rehoboth police.
Three Escape from House Fire on Lorson Lane
October 20, 2011 - On Sunday, October 16, Rehoboth firefighters responded to a report of a house fire at 20 Lorson Lane. Smoke was coming from the split level home and a fire discovered in a first floor bedroom was quickly extinguished.
All three occupants of the home escaped safely. The fire caused major damage to the bedroom with smoke and water damage to the rest of the home. While the fire appears to be accidental, it remains under investigation. The last fire company cleared the scene in after approximately two and a half hours.
Coach Driscoll Chosen Patriots Coach of the Week
October 19, 2011 - Following last week’s 200th win for Dighton-Rehoboth football coach, David Driscoll, he was surprised on Tuesday with a noon-time presentation by Andre Tippett, Executive Director of Community Affairs for the New England Patriots.
On Monday, the school was alerted that Driscoll would be the recipient of the Patriots’ Coach of the Week award and receive a $1000 donation to the football program. A film crew was on hand to record the presentation for “Patriots All Access” that will be broadcast on WBZ-TV at 7 PM on Friday.
For the past sixteen years, the Patriots have participated in the National Football League’s High School Coach of the Week program to recognized outstanding high school coaches and promote youth football throughout New England.
Tippett, a former linebacker for the Patriots from 1982 to 1993, was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
Flu Vaccine Restriction Lifted, Supplies Limited
October 19, 2011 - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health initially limited the flu vaccine availability to adults who were uninsured. These restrictions have been lifted so now local boards of health may vaccinate anyone regardless of insurance status.
The Rehoboth Board of Health received a very limited supply of the flu vaccine, but it is still available. Please call 508-252-5947, Extension 127 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings if interested in receiving the vaccine and speak with Lynn Allienello, RN, the Public Health Nurse for an appointment.
Selectmen Accuse RePAC of Playing Politics
October 18, 2011 - Already on notice by the Rehoboth selectmen, RePAC was the subject of an angry diatribe by BOS chairman Mike Costello who accused the cable access provider of making false statements about him, as well as intentionally leaving overhead microphones on during waiting periods at BOS meetings.
The RePAC website has a “Breaking News” page that provides a link to an undated document allegedly written by 26 members of the Horton Estates Condo Association to the Massachusetts Attorney General. The letter claims that Costello owed both taxes to the town and five years of delinquent condo fees. A scan of that letter has appeared on the RePAC website since last summer.
“They are now using channel 98 for their own political gain or to try to make themselves better in the eyes of the public,” said Costello. “They kept running a selectmen’s meeting that was in executive session with someone’s private phone cell number on it,” he added saying that RePAC said they could not edit it out.
In the past selectmen have asked RePAC to turn off the overhead microphones installed in the meeting area of the senior center while the BOS is out of the room in executive session. Background chatter can be picked up during periods that can last for up to an hour. The camera, meanwhile, is focused on a “live” recording sign that indicates to those in the room that both microphones and cameras are broadcasting live and also being recorded.
“Conservations among people in the audience that might be of a delicate sense . . . could be picked up, it’s just not called for,” Costello emphasized. He gave an example of a husband and wife who may be having a private conversation, or people talking about personal concerns such as medical issues.
Selectman Tito said he was in agreement with Costello and expressed his belief that RePAC intentionally would not edit recordings of the BOS meetings when they were asked. He said he believed it was well within the technical capabilities to edit if they wanted.
In an admitted effort to document complaints against RePAC during BOS meeting, Costello issued a statement to the audience. He encouraged those listening to go to the town office and find that he is up to date on his taxes. “I do not owe one penny in taxes and that is a blatant lie of RePAC,” he said. “My condos (fees) are paid for, on time every month.”
Discussion on RePAC on Tonight’s BOS Agenda
October 17, 2011 - The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s agenda for tonight includes regular business items as well as a discussion of RePAC, the non-profit cable access provider that was given a 60-day notice on August 22 to amend four provisions of the existing agreement that will meet the demands made by the selectmen.
The four demands include: meeting at least every six months with town officials for a performance review; creating a prohibition in the agreement against intentionally distorting either audio or video in live or recorded broadcasts; and respecting the “Equal Time” requirements under the cable license and law (prohibiting intervention into town politics).
RCC Pastor Weaver to be Installed October 23
October 16, 2011 - The Old Colony Association of the United Church of Christ will install Reverend Sarah Weaver as the pastor with full standing of the Rehoboth Congregational Church on Sunday, October 23, at 3 p.m. at the church on Bay State Road.
The Service of Installation is a celebration of the covenants made by Rev. Weaver and the church membership. In the United Church of Christ pastors are called by the local church but installed into their call by the association. The service is open to the public and will be held in the church sanctuary followed by a reception in Fellowship Hall.
Earlier on that day, at 8:30 a.m., a pancake breakfast will be served at the church. The cost is $5 a person and the menu includes juice, fruit, sausage or bacon, pancakes and coffee.
Regular church services and church school will also be held, as usual, on that day at 10 a.m.
Selectman Tito Says He Will Press Charges
October 13, 2011 - According to a press release issued by the Rehoboth Police Department on Thursday afternoon, Rehoboth resident Harvey J. Bigelow is due in Taunton District Count on October 26 to answer to four counts of criminal harassment made following a five-month investigation.
On of the recipients of the harassment letters, allegedly by Bigelow, was Rehoboth selectman Dr. Joe Tito who says he is confident the police investigation was directed at the correct person.
“I plan to press charges against Mr. Bigelow,” said Tito.
In May of 2011, the RPD received complaints of anonymous harassing letters being sent to several public officials and residents of the town. Detectives Brian Ramos and Jasson Ferreira were assigned to the case.
“Detectives were assisted by other members of the Rehoboth Police Department, as well as the Massachusetts State Police, and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department,” read the press release.
“I Was Never Arrested or Charged,” Says Bigelow
October 12, 2011 Rehoboth resident Harvey Bigelow was surprised when he woke up this morning and learned that newspapers were reporting his arrest by Rehoboth police.
At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, acting chief of police Lt. James Trombetta announced that after a five-month investigation Bigelow had been charged with four counts relating to writing and sending harassing letters to selectmen and others. Trombetta’s announcement was met with applause from the audience.
According to Bigelow, he was interrogated at police headquarters for about 90 minutes, and was still there when Trombetta suddenly left about 7 PM. He appeared at the BOS meeting shortly afterwards.
Earlier that day, around noon, four police cruisers arrived at Bigelow’s Cedar Street home. “They asked me if I knew why they were there,” said Bigelow in a phone interview on late Wednesday afternoon. “I had no idea, but they showed me a search warrant, so I let them in.” “Be my guest, I said.”
According to Bigelow, who before retiring was an operations executive for MCI Telecommunications, said police took his two computers along with several other items. “They asked to me come by the station later,” Bigelow said.
“They started questioning me about issues in town, that campaign flyer with the $2000 reward offered by selectman Costello for information about who sent it,” he explained. Bigelow said that police also showed him several typed letters he described as crudely written, some in all capitals and others in all lower case letters.
“I did not write those letters or any other letters,” he said. “I keep wondering why they wanted me there,” he added. “And I was not charged last night and I haven’t been charged,” he added. He does not understand why such an announcement was made at last night’s selectman’s meeting.
Taunton Gazette staff writer, Marc Larocque, happened to be in the audience to cover the BOS meeting, one that looked to be brief and uncontroversial by the advance agenda. He quoted Trombetta as saying there was an extensive investigation assigned to Detective Brian Ramos and Detective Jasson Ferreira.
According to Trombetta’s statements, the RPD had received assistance from the Massachusetts State Police and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.
Chairman Costello praised the police for their work while Trombetta said there is a possibility that “others will be charged” as the investigation continues.
This afternoon Bigelow met with an attorney to discuss the announcement by Trombetta at last night’s BOS meeting that he had been charged, and the subsequent media reports about his so-called arrest.
“I think this is all somehow connected to my thinking about running for selectman in the spring,” he said, mystified why exactly he was targeted by the police. “I did not write those letters and I was not charged,” he said, adding that his name and reputation have been questioned due to an arrest that never happened.
Parents of Students with IEPs Invited to Meeting
(October 5, 2011) The first meeting of the Dighton-Rehoboth Special Education Parents Advisory Council (DRSEPAC) will be held on Tuesday, October 18 at 6:30 in the Media Center at the high school.
Since 1986, all school districts have been required by law to maintain a PAC open to all parents as well as other interested parties such as teachers and support staff.
Students, from age three thru 22 with special educational needs, are served by the district according to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Parents with children who have IEPs are encouraged to attend the PAC meeting on October 18 to meet each other and get an overview of the PAC’s goals and plans for the 2011/2012 school year. Teachers and support staff are also encouraged to attend.
School districts are charged only with working in cooperation with the PAC, rather than actually managing the PAC through special education administration.
Because many parents find it difficult to attend PAC meetings, the local D-R group hosts its own website independent of the school district.
Town Accountant Cautions Official to be Prudent
October 4, 2011 - Last night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting featured hours of discussion on the warrant for next month’s Special Town Meeting including an admonition by town accountant Cathy Doane to officials that “prudence be exercised.”
Addressing both the selectman and members of the Finance Committee, Doane outlined the town’s dismal financial situation if spending is not kept in check. She encouraged them to limit spending to overlay surplus and revenue given current state aid is not expected to increase while the town’s fixed costs will continue to inflate.
Based on the MA Department of Revenue’s recent free cash memo notification to the town, Doane prepares an analysis for officials to consider. The town has $463,415 in certified free cash, a notable portion due to surplus revenue, both local and state, exceeding budget expectations.
Doane emphasized that while higher free cash ratios are one indicator of fiscal stability, a strong free cash position could also reduce borrowing costs.
“Maintenance of an adequate free cash level is not a luxury, but a necessary component of sound local fiscal management” she said quoting a municipal government publication.
Doane cautioned the town will be hard pressed to maintain current levels of services under the current tax levy constraints.
Rehoboth Firefighter Larrivee Honored
October 1, 2011 - Lt. Randy Larrivee of the Rehoboth Fire Department was honored at the 17th annual state Fire and Safety Public Education Conference held in Westford recently. Larrivee was one of six firefighters from across Massachusetts to be honored as a fire safety educator at the two-day conference that included training and skills development in 30 workshops and four general sessions presented by 41 speakers.
His dedication and commitment to the children and community of Rehoboth has been outstanding. He has initiated a number of safety programs, including using the fire safety house, fire prevention, and ice safety. Most notable is his ability to spark students’ interest and creative spirit. The success of his programming and dedication is evident in the interest and desire of his students to share their ideas and experiences regarding fire safety.
Rehoboth school children look forward to his visits and programs with a renewed sense of helping each other and the community. He willingly gives countless hours of his own time to spread fire safety to children whether it is having lunch with them, reading, or presenting in the classroom. With limited resources, he has maximized his time and availability to ensure that students are provided with the best fire and life safety program possible. Both adults and students appreciate his spirit of generosity.
Rehoboth Flu Vaccine Supply Cut Drastically
(September 28, 2011) Town nurse Lynn Allienello, RN reports that due to severe budget cuts, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health was only able to provide the Rehoboth Board of Health with 80 influenza vaccines for this flu season.
The DPH has instructed the public health nurses to only administer the vaccine to children, regardless of the child’s health insurance status, and to uninsured adults.
Traditionally, the town was able to conduct several flu clinics for those who signed-up. With the limited amount of vaccine, those who meet the criteria and wish to receive a flu shot should call to arrange an appointment as soon as possible.
“The good news,” said Allienello is that local pharmacies are providing flu vaccine to any adult with health insurance.”
If you live in Rehoboth and are an uninsured adult or a parent wishing to have your child vaccinated, please call the Public Health Nurse at 508-252-5947, extension 127 to arrange an appointment. Her office hours are Mondays from 8:30 AM to 4 PM, Wednesdays from 8 AM to 4 PM and on Fridays from 8 AM to 12 Noon.
Three Men Appointed Reserve Police Officers
(September 28, 2011) Rehoboth selectmen on Monday night approved the appointments of three men as reserve police officers to strengthen coverage for the Rehoboth Police Department.
“I found their applications to be exceptional,” said BOS chairman Mike Costello who also accepted acting police chief Lt. Trombetta’s recommendation of the three young men who will also be trained to act as dispatchers.
All wearing suits and ties for their appearance before the BOS, the new reserve officers include Adam Brown, Jacob Miranda and Samuel Corso. Following police academy reserve officer training that will begin in October, they will perform detail work, storm coverage and ride with other officers.
Brown is studying for a criminal justice degree, Miranda is the son of a previous Rehoboth police chief and Corso is already a trained, reserve officer in Attleboro.
Continue Protective Measures Against Mosquitos
(September 27, 2011) Residents should be advised to continue to exercise caution and continue their protective measures against mosquitos bites including using repellents and wearing skin-covering clothing. There is continued evidence of EEE and WNV bearing mosquitos throughout southeastern Massachusetts and both Rehoboth and Dighton have been considered high risk areas.
Tentative List of Items on the Warrant for November’s Special Town Meeting
(September 28, 2011) A list of tentative items that will be on the town meeting warrant for November 7 was announced by town administrator Jeff Ritter at Monday night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting.
The deadline for warrant article submission was Friday, September 23 and the items are currently identified by letter rather and numerically. The next step in the process will be a series of reviews by municipal department heads, the finance committee, and the town moderator.
A partial list of tentative town budget article topics included: Fiscal Year 2012 amended budget items of approximately $100,000. along with approximately $11,000 in bills from FY 201, a transfer of $20,000 police budget,
funding police department’s union contracts, the purchase of emergency generator for public building estimated at $10,000 and Tropical Storm Irene expenses.
There are three tentative bylaw changes that will be addressed at the town meeting including one to change the residency requirement of the Rehoboth police chief to adhere to the state’s mandated requirement of living within 15 miles of the town.
Another bylaw change relates to the newly appointed Personnel Advisory Committee to increase their power to perform the duties of a town personnel committee rather than just advise. This would allow the group to regulate town personnel polices.
The other bylaw change is one step in a process that will allow the long-term lease of a portion of the town landfill as a location of solar energy power facility. This will eventually require legislative action to finalize.
Other tentative warrant articles include: authorization to rent the town-owned Anawan Garage and conveyance of town properties on Plain Street and Reynolds Avenue. Voting to accept new town roads will be other warrant items, along with voting to approve two roofing projects, one on the South Fire Station and the other at the public safety building.
Continue Protective Measures Against Mosquitos
(September 27, 2011) Residents should be advised to continue to exercise caution and continue their protective measures against mosquitos bites including using repellents and wearing skin-covering clothing. There is continued evidence of EEE and WNV bearing mosquitos throughout southeastern Massachusetts and both Rehoboth and Dighton have been considered high risk areas.
Landfill Solar Power Facility: Land Exemption Placed on Town Warrant
(September 26, 2011) Following an open hearing held at the town office on September 21, the Rehoboth Planning Board voted to place an article on this November’s Special Town Meeting warrant to exempt property owners from current land coverage restrictions when installing large scale, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic facilities.
During the hearing, the planning board heard several arguments in favor of placing the article on the warrant for the November meeting. No counter-arguments were presented at the open hearing.
Last year residents passed “Large-Scale Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installation By-Law” section 4.10 setting the stage for increased tax revenue for the town and lease revenue for private land owners. The by-law gives landowners the option to keep large tracts of land intact while increasing their income.
Existing land coverage restrictions, however, deny private land owners the right to fully use their land to farm the power of the sun. If Rehoboth is to enjoy the financial benefits of the by-law, there must now be an amendment to Zoning By-law “Land Intensity” Section 5.
The new language required is: “The Structure Limitation in Section 5.0 and the lot coverage restrictions limit listed in sub-sections 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of this by-law shall not apply to Large-Scale Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installation as described in Article 4.10 of the Rehoboth Zoning By-laws.”
When the warrant article is hopefully approved in November, the full potential of the “Large-Scale Ground-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic Installation By-law” can be realized. Approval will allow increased revenue for the town benefitting residents through installation of quiet and out-of-sight solar power facilities with no additional town service costs.
After the hearing was closed, the planning board voted unanimously to include the article for citizen consideration during the Special Town Meeting on November 7, 2011.
Dismissed ZBA Chair Breault Sends Letter to Inspector General
(September 22, 2011) Roger Breault, who was removed from his position as chair of the Rehoboth Zoning Board of Appeals at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen Meeting, sent a letter the next day on ZBA letterhead to Gregory W. Sullivan, Inspector General of Massachusetts.
The letter, which was posted on the RePAC website, directly relates Breault’s removal as ZBA chair to the investigation of BOS chair Mike Costello by the IG’s office. Breault had sent a letter, dated June 17, to Sullivan distancing himself from the ZBA as they would not pursue action against Costello.
“It now appears that neither the ZBA nor the Town of Rehoboth will consider the recommendations of your investigation concerning Michael R. Costello’s abuse of the Massachusetts Affordable Housing laws by misrepresentation and deception,” wrote Breault in his letter.
“In addition, the law firm of Kopelman & Paige, acting as town counsel,” he wrote, “decided not to take action” related to the IG’s recommendations.
The removal hearing held Monday night focused exclusively on Breault’s history of pursuing legal action on behalf of the ZBA without the authorization of the BOS, as dictated by town bylaw (see article below). There was no mention made of correspondence related to Costello or the IG’s report.
Despite the fact the removal hearing concentrated entirely on the unauthorized litigation issues, Breault’s letter to the IG states he was removed after “thirty years of loyal service” in response to the ZBA’s action related to the investigation of Costello.
Selectmen Appoint Personnel Advisory Board
(September 20, 2011) Last night, selectmen established a Personnel Advisory Board to “provide advise and assistance to the BOS and supervisory personnel, and employees in all aspects of personnel management specified in the bylaw.”
Those appointed were Bonnie Kelley, Suzanne Withers, Bradley Doyle, Lori Rossi, and David Scanlon.
According to existing town bylaws, none of those appointed to this board should be employees of the town, and the board must act in an advisory capacity and not as a “Personnel Board” that would perfrom functions such as actual hiring or firing, disciplinary measures, or having access to individual personnel records.
The Personnel Advisory Board appointees were informed a bylaw change would be required for them to act as the town’s official Personnel Board to hear grievances and deal with employee issues.
Chairman Costello expressed his hope the appointees would work to change the bylaws and outdated personnel polices. “I can’t have members looking at personnel files right now,” said Costello adding it was his hope they would work immediately to get the bylaw changed at town meeting, create personnel polices, and eventually assume the oversight of town employees.
Addressing the newly appointed advisors, Costello said, “hopefully it would just taking the five members (of the advisory board) and turn turning into the Personnel board,” said Costello. “Then you would go from there.”
Cultural Council Waiting for Applications
(September 20, 2011) The local affiliate of the Massachusetts Cultural Council is waiting for grant applications to come in for the $4,000 the town’s council receives to support projects related to the Arts, Humanities and Interpretive Sciences.
mThe deadline for submitting applications in October 15 and so far the council has received none for next year’s grant period. Projects should benefit the residents of Rehoboth directly, like cultural events school field trips, musical events or classes.
Council member Cheryl Wyman spoke before the board of selectmen last night and encouraged local artists, musicians, and even farmers to submit grants.
“A local farm could ask for grant money to put on an educational event,” she suggested, “or an artist could submit a grant to conduct a class or someone could teach a contra dancing class.”
The Rehoboth Cultural Council recently offered two grant writing workshops to help those who plan to submit applications.
“This is use it or lose it money,” said Wyman. “We know from surveys that people in Rehoboth would like to see more live music and art-related events,” she noted, “and I challenge Rehoboth residents to step forward.” Committee members are available to answer questions.
Selectmen Vote to Remove Breault from Zoning Board of Appeals
(September 20, 2011) In a vote of two to one, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen removed Roger Breault from his position on the Zoning Board of Appeals based on multiple occasions when he entered into lawsuits, in his capacity on the ZBA, without authorization.
Breault, who has a history of not appearing before the BOS when asked by certified letter, was present for last night’s meeting and initially defended his actions as ZBA chairman. He referred to cases that came before the board during his tenure when he said he asked the BOS for legal counsel and was refused. Breault subsequently took matters into his own hands using the pro-bono services of an attorney who volunteered his assistance.
Town legal counsel on hand to present an almost one-inch thick document package to the three selectmen and a copy to Breault. The documents provided evidence of occasions when Breault, acting as ZBA chairman, entered into litigation on his own without any authority.
By town bylaw, only the BOS acting as chief policy making body has the authority to approve the initiation of litigation. No town board, committee or council as a group, or as individual appointees, have any authority to act as a separate legal entity and start a lawsuit.
Additionally, no appointee that serves the town has personal liability when acting as a member of a committee. If a lawsuit is initiated against any committee acting as municipal government, the individual members are represented as a group by town legal counsel.
According to BOS chair Mike Costello, these cases required the town to defend itself and cost the town money in legal fees. “It doesn’t matter if an attorney volunteered to represent the ZBA” he said. “This is a removal hearing because Breault is charged with entering into litigation on his own.”
After a lengthy period of open discussion, Selectman Tito motioned to removed Breault from the ZBA. Selectman Leffort said that he would need some time to review the document package they had just been given by town counsel. Chairman Costello seconded the motion with Leffort responding with nay. They then voted to send a formal letter to Breault, who remained silent.
Following a five-minute recess, the BOS reconvened to appoint or reappoint members to the ZBA including Mike T. O’Hearn, Charles DeBlois, and Susan Anderson. Anderson then addressed the selectmen and asked Costello if Breault’s removal was just political in nature.
Breault, in his capacity as ZBA chair sent a letter to the BOS last summer distancing himself and member Frank Moitozo from the rest of the board to “protect their good names and valuable reputation by disengaging themselves from any deception, wrongdoing, or appearance of impropriety” related to Selectman Costello. Despite Costello’s assurance the decision was not political, Anderson questioned his campaign promises for fair government and transparency.
According to ZBA member John Scanlon, Jr. there are now five full-time members of the board, but that associate members are needs. The ZBA has not met in three months as the last three scheduled meetings were cancelled.
Fire Department Hosts Several Food Events
(September 20, 2011) The Rehoboth Fire Department has some delicious fundraisers planned.
The South Station Fire Association is holding their annual pig roast on Saturday, September 24 from 4 PM at the Seekonk American Legion. Tickets are $15 per person. Please call 401-265-0063.
A clam boil will be held on October 8 in support of the Bristol County Fire Chiefs Association at the Seekonk Rod and Gun Club on Reed Street in Rehoboth. Tickets are $30 per person.
South Station will host their annual Steak Supper on October 13 as well as a take-out, drive-thru Chicken Dinner on Sunday, October 30 from 11:30 AM to 1 PM.
All the fundraisers support the purchase of needed equipment. If you are interested in purchasing tickets, please call 508-252-3725.
BOS Agenda Items for Monday, September 19
(September 19, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectman are scheduled to meet tonight beginning at 6 PM with a closed executive session that will include collective bargaining and litigation.
At 7 PM, the BOS will conduct a Gravel Committee meeting that will be followed immediately by the BOS meeting. Open forum will include an announcement from the Rehoboth Cultural Council and the town administrator’s report.
Action items listed on the agenda include: budget amendments, approvals of various items and appointments to the Zoning Board of Appeals and hopefully a meeting with ZBA chairman Roger Breault.
Town Republican Committee to Meet in October
(September 18, 2011) The Rehoboth Republican Town Commitee has announced an upcoming meeting to be held on Wednesday, October 5 from 7 PM at Goff Memorial Hall on Bay State Road.
Chairman Peter Jacobson will conduct the meeting and introduce three special guests for the evening. State Representative Steven S. Howitt will discuss the latest happenings form the Massachusetts State House, and Angela Davis from the State Republican Committee will speak on her organization’s plans for the future.
Seekonk resident Peter Hoogerzeil will also speak. He will be a candidate for the Republican State Committee on the March 2012 Republican Presidential Primary ballot to replace the current retiring chair, Bill Adams.
The public is invited to attend on October 5 and meet the speakers.
Rehoboth Firefighters and Family Members Attend 9/11 Memorial Ceremony in Boston
(September 18, 2011) Rehoboth firefighter Ken Marshall, Jr. was remembered on September 11, 2011 when over 40 firefighters along with family members and friends attended the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial Ceremony held at Ashburton Park behind the Massachusetts State House.
Firefighters marched in procession from the Boston common to the State House. Leading the procession were 343 firefighters carrying helmets in honor of the firefighters who died in New York City ten years ago. Approximately another 300 firefighters followed them into the park.
A brick with the name of fallen Rehoboth firefighter Ken Marshall Jr. was dedicated in the "Ring of Honor" at the memorial. Several speakers, including Governor Deval Patrick and State Fire Marshal Steven Coan, honored the state's firefighters including Marshall who died in the line of duty last Thanksgiving night.
Following the ceremony, Rehoboth firefighters and several members of Marshall family gathered around the brick in the memorial to reflect and remember. It proved to be an emotionally-charged day for all who attended. Those who attended would like to thank RFD Chief Pray and the Massachusetts Fallen Firefighters Memorial Board of Directors for doing such a fine job.
National Grid Official Says No Credit Offer
(September 16, 2011) According to David Graves, a media representative from National Grid who called RehobothNow, there was no offer for a credit to customers in Rhode Island or in Massachusetts. He said the credit offer was erroneously announced in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene on broadcast media in Rhode Island, talk radio specifically.
Senator Scott Brown to Speak with Local Vets
(September 16, 2011) Veterans from Rehoboth are invited to attend a Veterans Forum with Senator Scott Brown on Monday, September 26 from 2:30 to 3:30 PM at the Taunton VFW, 82 Ingell Street in Taunton.
Senator Brown has renewed his call for Congress to pass his bipartisan “Hire a Hero” Act to help create jobs for veterans. The proposed “Hire a Hero” Act will give a tax credit to small businesses that hire veterans and members of the National Guard and Reserves.
Rehoboth Senior Center Undergoing a Transformation
(September 15, 2011) Last Friday, a Meet and Greet was held at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center for residents to meet the recently appointed Council on Aging Director, Norellen Palmer and the council’s newly appointed roster of members who join the many dedicated volunteers who serve at the center.
Newly painted by a volunteer crew of students from Providence College, the center is a hub of activity for senior citizens of the community. But it also serves many other purposes including a cable broadcast center for municipal meetings such as the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, other committees, and for special events that are broadcast on the local cable access channels. The center is also used as a voting precinct.
“The Senior Center is going through a transformation,” said Lorraine Botts, chairman of the Council on Aging, the organization that provides services to the town’s senior citizens, as well as helping to coordinate other social services, such as referrals or assistance, for disabled or low-income residents.
“We have our gracious director and a new board,” added Ms. Botts, “and we are all working together and moving forward for the benefit of our citizens.”
The complete COA board includes vice chair Mary Beth Moriarty, secretary Allyson Chemelowski, treasurer Elizabeth Doyle, and members Neal Harrington, Marjorie Johnston, and Veronica Brickeley.
There are four senior-related groups that meet at the senior center. The largest is the Rehoboth Senior Club, a social and charitable club that meets twice a month on the first and third Thursdays at 1:30 PM. The president of this active organization is Virginia Fisher.
Rehoboth TRIAD is a combined effort of Rehoboth Police Department, Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and the Senior Center. TRIAD meets every third Wednesday of the month at 10 AM. Their cooperative efforts benefit the lives of elder citizens of the community. Along with offering various social events during the year, including concert and special meals, TRIAD’s ongoing programs include Project LifeSaver, Yellow Alert, “Are You OK?” and the distribution of free 911 cell phones to seniors or disabled persons. Marilyn Henley is the current president of TRIAD.
Rehoboth Friends of the Elderly is a group that helps to fund some of the services offered at the center including health screening clinics such a cholesterol checks and visits from a podiatrist. The Friends meet on the third Tuesday of each month at 3 PM. COA board member Mary Beth Moriarty serves as president.
The Best is Yet To Come is a very active social and charitable group that meets on the second Thursday of the month at 1 PM. COA board member Marjorie Johnston currently serves as president.
Each group welcomes new members. Information and membership applications are available at the front desk at the center.
Volunteers also play a huge role at the center. They provide the day to day work cooking for Meals on Wheels, “Gert’s Kitchen” lunches, and Men’s Breakfast. They do the cleaning and organize the roster of activities that are provided weekdays for those who drop by to participate.
“Without our volunteers,” explains Ms. Botts, “there would not be a senior center.
Notice to Residents About Electrical Inspection
(September 13, 2011) Residents who had “pole to house” electrical work performed by National Grid following the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene should contact the town’s Electrical Inspector immediately. Selectmen announced at last night’s BOS meeting that there have been some serious problems with at least one resident who had a live wire left on their property after repairs had been made. Please call the Building Inspector at 508-252--3335.
Selectmen Frustrated by Breault’s No-Show Act
(September 13, 2011) Selectmen voiced their frustration at last night’s BOS meeting when Roger Breault continued his standard practice of sending in an excuse for not appearing before the board, this time in his capacity as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Noting a “serious problem” with the ZBA, Chairman Mike Costello expressed his disappointment over Breault’s failure to appear at what would have been an occasion to remove him from the ZBA.
“We can’t keep continuing, “ said Costello “We need to take action.” Breault has also failed to appear when summoned before the BOS on other issues in his capacity as chairman of RePAC.
Selectman Tito suggested that Breault, in the future, must provide a note from his doctor when using an physical excuse for not appearing before the BOS after receiving a certified letter with a formal request.
Resident Mike O’Hern asked the selectmen why they haven’t taken taken against Breault. “Taxpayers want to see the ZBA straightened out,” he said.
Another resident, Robert McKim implored the selectmen to remove Breault as soon as possible. He mentioned his belief that the people of Rehoboth voted for the Costello/Tito ticket last spring to get things done. “This baloney has been going on too long,” he added, “something should be done.”
BOS Meeting Agenda for September 12 Meeting
(September 12, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 7:30 PM. An open forum will be held at the beginning of the meeting for any anyone wishing to make an announcements of events.
New business on the agenda includes a discussion with the town treasurer and representatives from Tallage, LLC regarding the selling of tax title accounts.
Also scheduled is a discussion with Roger Breault in his capacity as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Brault was recently asked to step down by the zoning board’s clerk, John Scanlon, Jr.
In June, Breault and ZBA member Frank Moitozo both signed a letter distancing themselves from other ZBA members to “protect their good names and valuable reputation by disengaging themselves from any deception, wrongdoing, or appearance of impropriety” related to Selectman Mike Costello.
Other new business includes granting a one-day liquor license to the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society for an upcoming wine tasting and silent auction fundraiser scheduled for September 30.
The warrant for the November Special Town Meeting will also be discussed Monday night.
Selectmen Backtrack on National Grid Credit Offer
(September 9, 2011) According to a brief statement published in the Sun Chronicle today, “Rehoboth officials are asking residents to stop calling town hall and National Grid about a possible credit on their National Grid bills.”
At Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Selectman Tito read a statement from the BOS that included chastising the National Grid for their poor performance in coming to the aid of Rehoboth during six days of power outages following Tropical Storm Irene.
“Here is the good part,” said Tito. “Everyone can call National Grid in town because they are offering a $150 per household credit for three days without power based on reimbursement for food spoilage and other expenses.”
Tito added, “they are not advertising that, but I think we just did.”
Note: This credit offers announced by the BOS, according to a representative from the National Grid is not correct. There is no credit offer.
National Grid Offers Residents $150 Bonus
(September 7, 2011) An offer made by the National Grid to Rehoboth residents was announced last night at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
Rehoboth residents that lost power for at least three days during last week’s power outage are being offered a $150 bonus in the form of a credit on their power bill. More information will be forthcoming. Note: This credit offers announced by the BOS, according to a representative from the National Grid is not correct. There is no credit offer.
School District Halts After Dark Activities
(September 3, 2011) On Friday, September 2, the Dighton-Rehoboth School District suspended all after-school activities held in Rehoboth after dusk until further notice because of the discovery of mosquitos carrying the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus. Parents were alerted to this information via the district’s telephone info alert system.
Dispose of Spoiled Food at Transfer Station
(September 3, 2011) The Rehoboth Transfer Station will be open today from 8 AM to 3 PM to accept spoiled food from any Rehoboth resident at no charge. In other words, with no ticket punches or transfer station permit.
Selectmen voted this emergency measure at a special meeting held on Thursday night.
With help from the Dighton-Rehoboth School District’s telephone information system, those Rehoboth residents with children in the school system were alerted to special transfer station hours as well as other important information. Because the info system utilizes cell phone as well as land lines, many residents were able to receive vital information.
Police Release Info on Road Closures
(September 1, 2011) According to the Rehoboth Police Department, there are currently eight tree crews working around town clearing roadways and and fallen trees from transmission lines.
Residents should continue to use extreme caution near fallen wires and utility poles. All wires should be considered live and extremely hazardous. Never walk or drive over a downed wire.
The following roadways remained closed on Wednesday at the time of the RPD press release: Davis Street between First Street and Kingsley Way, Peckham Street, Brook Street at Abbey Lane, Hillside Avenue, Fairview Avenue between Francis Street and New Street, Simmons Street between Cedar Street and Hornbine Road, and Spring Street at Plain Street.
Well-traveled Fairview Avenue was closed to through traffic until Wednesday evening but has reopened.
Bottled and potable water remain available at all three fire stations which will be manned 24 hours per day.
Free Tutoring for Income Qualifying Families
(August 25, 2011) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, as part of its school improvement plan, will now offer qualifying students free tutoring or supplemental education services (SES).
Any student may receive extra help in the areas of math, reading, and language arts provided the family meets the income limits under the law. Such families also qualify for free and reduced lunch program.
Families can choose a free tutoring program from a list of approved providers in the area including the Sylvan Learning Centers in Raynham and North Attleboro, as well as Club Z In-Home Tutoring Services in Raynham, and BSE Educators of Johnston, RI.
Guidelines and forms are available at the schools or on the district website. Applications must be submitted no later than Monday, September 12 to Elise DuBois, Title I Coordinator at 508-252-5100.
Rep. Howitt Offers Fall Semester Internships
(August 24, 2011) State Representative Steven S. Howitt (R- Seekonk) has announced his office is now offering internships for the 2011 fall semester to college juniors and seniors.
Students will gain experience working in state government and handle a variety of projects ranging from constituent and municipal cases to policy research and analysis. Students will also have the opportunity to attend events at the State House and throughout the 4th Bristol district.
The internship program is designed to work around the student’s course schedule and will provide not only experience in government, but in a professional setting where students will develop business communication skills and an opportunity to expand their network of contacts. Students will work at the State House in Boston. Students from the 4th Bristol District (Seekonk, Swansea, Rehoboth, Norton) are preferred, but not required.
Students of all academic concentrations are encouraged to apply however an interest in government is required, and students from Rehoboth, Seekonk, Swansea and Norton are preferred, but not required. Start date is September 12.
Internships are unpaid but college credits may be earned. Requirements include strong written and oral communication skills along with proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook.
Rep. Howitt Applauded for Voting Record
(August 25, 2011) Last week, Representative Howitt (R-Seekonk) who represents Rehoboth was congratulated by House Majority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. for achieving an impressive voting record for this legislative session. Howitt participated in 104 consecutive roll call votes in the House, a 100 percent voting record. He currently serves on the Commission on Transportation, Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and Consumer Protection and Licensure.
FinCom Suggests Looking at Long Term Picture
(August 24, 2011) Newly appointed Finance Committee chair, Sue Pimental, asked selectmen to only consider critical issues when putting together the warrant for Special Town Meeting scheduled for November 7.
“Any cuts now will affect services,” she said while emphasizing the warrant is the responsibility of the selectmen rather than FinCom that as a group can only approve or disapprove the selectmen’s warrant items. “We have a band-aid fix right now,” she added.
Pimental also appealed to the selectmen to look at the long term future by making two or three year budget projections based on recommendations from department heads. She also encourage selectmen to think about creating a capital plan that would project the town’s need ten years into the future.
Public Forum on Elm Street Bridge
(August 23, 2011) The public is invited to attend a public forum hosted by the Rehoboth Planning Board on Wednesday, September 7 at the Town Office beginning at 7 PM to discuss reconstruction of the Elm Street Bridge.
Elm Street residents have spoken before the Board of Selectmen several times in the recent past about whether or not to even rebuild the bridge that was destroyed in the great flood of 2010. Many neighbors prefer the road as it is now while other town residents would like to see the road reopened as it previously provided a convenient shortcut from Route 118 to the high school.
BOS Give OK for New Restaurant Liquor License
(August 23, 2011) Selectmen voted to approve the application for an all-alcohol license to Dosahjh Group for a new Indian food restaurant, Apna Punjab, to be opened at 3 Park Street in Rehoboth near the Attleboro town line.
Owners say they will open as soon as possible upon approvals from various town boards. Alcoholic beverages will be served upon approval of the state licensing board.
“Gert’s Cafe” Seeking Volunteer Cooks
(August 23, 2011) For twenty years “Gert’s Cafe” has provided lunch for area senior citizens at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Mondays throughout the year, with the exception of the summer months and Monday holidays.
Volunteer cooks plan, shop, prepare and cook a home-cooked lunch on Monday for seniors who make reservations to attend and then pay a small charge. While volunteer cooks do their own shopping to prepare enough for those who have made lunch reservations, they are reimbursed by the Council on Aging.
Speaking before the selectmen on August 22, Pat Higson announced the immediate need for volunteer cooks for Monday lunch. The meals do not have to be fancy, she said, as the seniors are just looking for a good home-cooked meal. She suggested that prep work can be done at the volunteer’s home on Sunday, so the workload on Monday morning is not too demanding.
If you have time and want to help, please contact the Senior Center right away at 508-252-3372.
Selectmen to RePAC: 90 Days to Shape Up or Ship Out
(August 23, 2011) Following three years of controversy and complaints about RePAC, the non-profit contracted to provide cable access television to Rehoboth Comcast subscribers, selectmen issued an ultimatum in the form of a resolution.
Selectman Joe Tito read the resolution, titled “Demand for Cure” with numerous allegations against RePAC based on “a long history of public dissatisfaction and complaints” that have occurred since 2008 when the contract with RePAC was renewed by the town.
RePAC chairman Roger Breault refused to meet with the BOS when asked to appear at the June 13 meeting to discuss complaints. Selectmen solicited public input at two public hearings earlier this summer, and they accepted written complaints by residents.
Two years ago in August 2009, petitions were circulated around town in an effort to obtain enough signatures to encourage BOS to launch an investigation of RePAC.
In March of 2010, the BOS sent a 60-day notice to RePAC to correct several alleged contractual deficiencies, including the lack of public access programming via cable, or risk losing their contract with the town to act as public access provider.
At that time, selectmen also conducted a 21-day public comment period and gathered complaints from Rehoboth Comcast subscribers regarding RePAC service.
RePAC has a contract with the town until 2014 to provide facilities and services while managing three channels for the purpose of providing “the best public, education and government (PEG) programming possible” according to their mission statement. Residents voiced specific concerns that RePAC does not act in public interest and addressed specific concerns.
RePAC “has along history of public dissatisfaction and public complaint,” read Tito from a statement prepared by the town’s legal counsel, Kopelman and Paige that leveled five specific charges.
Along with complaints that RePAC “intentionally and wrongfully” manipulates audio and/or video broadcasts in a calculated fashion as “an attempt to harass, target and embarrass” officials and members of the public, RePAC is charged with violating the terms of agreements and contracts.
Once again, the BOS is giving RePAC a 60-day notice, this time to amend four provisions of the existing agreement that will meet the demands made by the selectmen.
The four demands include: meeting at least every six months with town officials for a performance review; creating a prohibition in the agreement against intentionally distorting either audio or video in live or recorded broadcasts; and respecting the “Equal Time” requirements under the cable license and law (prohibiting intervention into town politics).
The final demand is that RePAC officials have an additional thirty days to to execute the affidavit agreeing to the four demands. If RePAC does not comply, selectmen say they may choose to terminate the agreement between RePAC and the town.
ZBA Clerk Scanlon Asks Chair Breault to Resign
(August 20, 2011) Rehoboth Zoning Board of Appeals clerk, John L. Scanlon, Jr. has asked ZBA chairman Roger Breault to “step down as chairperson” and issue an apology.
In June, ZBA chairperson Roger Breault (also RePAC chairman) and ZBA member Frank Moitozo both signed a letter distancing themselves from other ZBA members to “protect their good names and valuable reputation by disengaging themselves from any deception, wrongdoing, or appearance of impropriety” related to Selectman Mike Costello.
The ZBA has standing to demand remedies against Costello as a result of the Inspector General’s report that Costello abused the state’s affordable housing laws to obtain his home, via lottery, in Horton Estates. According to the letter, Costello was a member of the town’s Planning Board at the time of the lottery.
Breault’s certified letter was sent to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, Town Clerk Kathleen Conti and Massachusetts Inspector General Gregory Sullivan.
“Imagine my surprise when I saw your letter,” wrote Scanlon to Breault who then quotes Breault’s demands on behalf of the ZBA to “refer this matter to the Massachusetts Attorney General and the United State Attorney” to determine if Selectman Costello violated any criminal laws.
According to Scanlon, the ZBA minutes from the June 16 meeting clearly attest the committee voted to table any action but that Breault and Moitozo ignored that and disregarded the wishes of the majority, instead going ahead on their own to send the certified letter.
Mr. Scanlon requested his full letter be published on the Vox Populi page.
Arts in the Village Concert Season Announced
(August 19, 2011) Offering the community cultural events to “enlighten and inspire,” the Arts in the Village classical concert series is pleased to announce the five concerts scheduled for the upcoming season.
Presented by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, the 2011-2012 lineup includes Cacènova/Finehouse Duo on October 8, the di.vi.sion piano trio on November 19, solo pianist Frederick Moyer on December 10, the Providence Mandolin Orchestra on February 11, and the Zefíra Trio on April 21.
All concerts take place at Goff Memorial Hall with doors opening at 7 PM for a 7:30 performance. Season passes are now available for $65 per person, $50 for seniors, $25 for student/child or $145 for a family pass.
Single tickets are available for $15 general admission, $13 for seniors, and $6 for student/child tickets.
Ticket order forms are available on the Carpenter Museum website or you may call 508-252-5718 for more information.
Important EEE and WNV Update for ReHo Residents
(August 18, 2011) Town Nurse, Lynn Allienello, RN, released important information for Rehoboth residents regarding mosquito-borne illnesses Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
We now have evidence that both EEE and WNV viruses are present in Massachusetts this summer. Personal protection is always the best defense against mosquito bites Be aware of mosquito activity around you; if you notice that you are being bitten, consider repellant use, clothing to cover exposed skin and/or move indoors.
The recent rains will contribute to standing water; dumping standing water should be strongly encouraged, particularly in areas where WNV has been regularly detected in mosquitoes.
The recent rains may contribute to increased populations of mammal-biting mosquitoes in areas where EEE has already been detected in bridge vector species. This could result in an increased risk for human cases. Information from testing of mosquito samples and observation of mosquito populations will assist with assessing this potential.
Local Girl Asks You to Support Her Friend Emma
(August 11, 2011) Erica Duncan is hoping others will help her best friend Emma Wheeler, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, by going to a website that awards monetary prizes for children’s dreams. Erica, who raised $675 for “Emma’s Entourage” last April in the Tomorrow Fund Walk, has been busy emailing all her friends and relatives about the Upromise Dream Wall.
“I am asking for your help,” wrote Erica, telling her email recipients how to find Emma’s dream on the prize-awarding website sponsored by Sallie Mae. “The prize is $10,000 in college savings,” she wrote, “that would be a big help to her and her family.” Ten-year-old Emma’s dream is to go to college and study to be a pediatric oncologist.
Each week the website awards a $1000 prize in a weekly drawing, but the entry will the most votes by September 29 will win the grand prize of $10,000.
If you would like to support Erica in her effort to help her best friend, just go to the website and vote for Emma’s entry. If you sort by most popular, Emma is at the top of page two in the orange top. You can vote daily from multiple computers. Click here.
Selectmen to Move Slowly on New Police Chief Hiring
(August 10, 2011) On Monday, August 8, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen discussed the issue of selecting a new police chief, but plans to move slowly as one issue relating to residency must be voted on at the Special Town Meeting, now scheduled for November 7.
Currently a selection committee is in the process of being created. Selectman Joe Tito, the police department liaison said he would like to see a seven-member selection committee composed of three citizens, a selectman, a business person from Rehoboth, a member of the D-R School Committee and a police chief from a town or city in the immediate area.
Chairman Costello wishes to eliminate the current residency requirement that a RPD chief reside in the town of Rehoboth, but that change must be done by voters at town meeting.
The Reports that Lead to Chief Enos’ Dismissal
(August 9, 2011) RehobothNow is making two Board of Selectmen’s reports available to readers. These reports were obtained by request and payment to the Town of Rehoboth in the amount of eighteen dollars.
The sixty-page “Selectman Tito Report” regarding police chief issues contains statements and complaints made by members of the Rehoboth Police Department, both by name and anonymously, against former Police Chief Stephen Enos. There is an additional file for an addendum with a quote key.
While there is no date on the copy of the sixty-page document provided to RehobothNow, Tito was elected on April 4 to a one-year term as selectman and a week later was named police department liaison. His report was the basis for the BOS putting Enos on paid administrative leave on May 3. At that time they gave Enos until the end of May to submit a report addressing the complaints against him.
The thirty-page “Chief Enos Report” was submitted to the BOS by Enos on May 23, 2011, a detailed response to the complaints made against him. At that time he requested that his report be made public and that request was refused by the BOS.
The complete reports are available in PDF form at REPORTS.
Pan-Mass Bikers Riding Through Rehoboth
(August 5, 2011) Over 5,000 bicyclists, including Lance Armstrong, will be riding through Rehoboth on Saturday, August 6 from 8:15 AM to 1 PM. There are two routes: southbound from Slater Street to Anawan to Peck to Francis Street to New Street and then onto D-R Regional High School crossing Route 44. The second route will be southbound from Agricultural Avenue left on Fairfield Street, left onto Ash and then right onto Fairview to New Street, continuing to DRRHS. Additional police have been assigned to help with traffic. Please take care driving on those rural roads during that four-hour period. A good place for spectators may be DRRHS where ample parking is available.
Local Couple to Participate in Benefit Run
(August 5, 2011) A local couple will be running in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon on Sunday, August 7 as members of the Dravet Syndrome Foundation team. Beth and William Dalpe of Rehoboth have a six-year-old son, Alex, who suffers from the rare form of epilepsy, also known as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (SMEI).
The couple will be joined by a family friend, Gregory Prew, a firefighter and paramedic from Bellingham whose brother has Dravet Syndrome, a catastrophic condition with no present cure. Seizures begin in the first year of life and increase in frequency. Many seizure types are resistant to medical therapies.
The first-ever Rock ‘n’ Roll race begins and concludes at the State Capitol in downtown Providence with a course that travels past historic landmarks, universities and the Seekonk River. Local bands will playing live along the course route. If you would like to contribute a donation, please find out more at: DSFRace.org
Two ZBA Members Demand “Fair and Just” Resolution
(August 4, 2011) Zoning Board of Appeals chairperson Roger Breault (also RePAC chairman) and ZBA member Frank Moitozo both signed a letter distancing themselves from other ZBA members to “protect their good names and valuable reputation by disengaging themselves from any deception, wrongdoing, or appearance of impropriety” related to Selectman Mike Costello.
The June 17 dated letter was sent certified mail to the BOS, the town clerk, and to Gregory W. Sullivan, the Massachusetts Inspector General.
The ZBA has standing to demand remedies against Costello as a result of the Inspector General’s report that Costello abused the state’s affordable housing laws to obtain his home, via lottery, in Horton Estates. According to the letter, Costello was a member of the town’s Planning Board at the time of the lottery.
While Breault and Moitozo voted against tabling the consideration of the IG’s report to seek remedies against Costello, three other ZBA members did not including Gerry Cardorette, Michael T. O’Hearn and John Scanlon, Jr.
Believing the Costello “violated his fiduciary duty to the town” and “betrayed the trust” of fellow municipal officials, Breault and Moitozo demanded at least three actions be taken against Costello.
The first is “to convey his house on Judith Ann Circle to an eligible affordable purchase.” The second demand is “payment of any and all damages and taxes due to the town. The third is that Costello’ resign from his positions “as municipal official or agent” and “henceforth be barred from ever participating in any official business of the Town of Rehoboth.”
The letter concludes with a demand. “The ZBA further demands that the Town of Rehoboth refer this matter to the Massachusetts Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts” for further determination if criminal laws were, or continue to be, violated by Costello.
ReHo Board of Health Shares Info on EEE and WNV
(August 3, 2011) Town Nurse Lynn Allienello and the Rehoboth Board of Health shares important and timely information for residents about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile Virus (WNV), two mosquito-borne illnesses of concern at this time of year in our area.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Arbovirus Surveillance Program is testing mosquito pools, which helps determine the risk to mammals/horses and humans.
At the end of July there were 1655 mosquito pools tested in Massachusetts; 38 of them tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) and 1 tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). As of this publication, there have been no human cases reported.
Prevention is the best medicine.
oAvoid outdoor activities during dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
oWear mosquito repellant and wear long sleeved shirts and long pants to decrease your chances of being bitten.
oDon’t allow standing water to collect near your home to decrease breeding areas for mosquitoes.
For additional information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus and Surveillance maps go to the Commonwealth’s Office of Health and Human Services.
Rehoboth Non-Profits Lose Tax-Exempt Status
(July 27, 2011) The IRS has revoked the non-profit, tax exempt status, commonly known as 501 (c) (3), of several local non-profit organizations that have failed, for whatever reasons, to provide the IRS with required paperwork for three consecutive years. The organizations include: Dighton-Rehoboth Music Boosters, Inc., Rehoboth Garden Club, Greenwood Cemetery of Rehoboth, Inc., Rehoboth Community Involvement, Oure Pleasure, Ltd, Rehoboth Thermal Imaging Camera, Metacomet Family Support Group, Massachusetts Teachers Association (Rehoboth), Barrouallie Whalers Project, Inc., and the American Federation of Witches, Inc.
(July 27, 2011) Upon advise sought by special legal council, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted in executive committee to comply with a request from the Sun Chronicle to release two reports relating to the recent dismissal of former Police Chief Stephen Enos.
The Attleboro newspaper also requested records about emails referenced by BOS chairman Mike Costello at the July 12 BOS meeting. Costello said that he had looked at 3,000 of the chief’s departmental emails following Enos being placed on paid administrative leave in early May.
According to Costello, the two reports will be released to the Sun Chronicle with a fee attached to be determined. Additionally, the emails requested will be released under the condition they first be evaluated by special legal counsel. Not date was set for the release of the email information.
(July 27, 2011) Rehoboth selectmen have initiated the formal search process for a new police chief including creation of a committee consisting of at least one area police chief, a selectmen, municipal representatives and community members. The exact committee composition has yet to be determined.
BOS Chairman Mike Costello announced that the issue of residency requirement of the police chief be re-examined by voters at the Fall Town Meeting.
One of the issues in the seven-month controversy surrounding former chief Enos was the question of his residency in town currently required by town by-law.
Request for Cablecast Notice Results in No From RePAC
(July 26, 2011) A letter of request from town administrator Jeff Ritter to cablecast a legal notice on RePAC resulted in a negative response from RePAC chairman Roger Breault on July 25.
Ritter wrote to Breault with a request from the town’s retained attorney William Hewig, III to cablecast a legal notice “related to, in anticipation of, or in preparation of” litigation against RePAC.
“Unless RePAC receives confirmation of your license to practice law in Massachusetts, a request from Mr. Hewig to cablecast said legal notice would be more appropriate,” wrote Breault.
Published on the RePAC website yesterday, Breault’s lengthy, legally-correct response to Ritter could be considered by some readers as veiled sarcasm and thinly disguised contempt for town officials despite Breault’s appropriate legalese.
“Recall that in March 2010, attorney David Marciello, Town Administrator, requested RePAC to cablecast the identical legal notice, i.e., public comment notice amending Section 6.3 of the Cable Television Renewal License comprising the identical anticipated litigation in Superior Court,” wrote Breault.
He added that his organization “immediately complied” with Ritter’s predecessor Marciello because he was a licensed “attorney” as well as town administrator.
Breault wrote that requests for cablecasting legal notices on RePAC bulletin boards must be transmitted by Mr. Hewig directly, and then he included precise instructions on how to properly address and mail a certified letter of request.
“As always, RePAC enjoys serving the community,” concluded Breault.
(July 21, 2011) State Representative Steven Howitt is pleased to announce that a Local Aid Reversion amendment introduced by House Minority Leader Brad Jones and the Republican Caucus during House debate for the Fiscal Year 2012 budget, was recently signed into law by Governor Patrick. This marks the first time in over four years that a Republican-offered amendment has been included in the final version of the state budget.
If reversions, which are unspent portions of the budget, reach past levels, the town of Rehoboth stands to receive approximately $63,750 in one-time funding.
“It is so important that our communities have this opportunity to make up local funding cuts through these reversion funds,” said Representative Howitt. “I am proud that this legislation was passed and glad to have been part of it.”
Having passed the House of Representatives on a unanimous voice vote, the initiative will distribute unused funding from Fiscal Year 2011 back to local cities and towns. The Local Aid amendment will allow half of the Commonwealth’s reversions, or $65 million, whichever is less, to be distributed to municipalities no later than October 31, 2011.
Historically reversions to the General Fund have averaged approximately $150-$200 million per fiscal year.
Beware of Telephone Solicitation for Fire Dept.
(July 19, 2011) Rehoboth residents are receiving telephone solicitation calls for a “Rehoboth Firemen’s Yearbook.” However neither the Rehoboth Fire Department or its Associations are currently soliciting funds for anything of this type.
If you receive a call asking for a donation, please do not comply or give out any credit card information. Instead, make note of the caller number if possible and contact the Rehoboth Police Department with information or to file a complaint at 508-252--3722.
Judge Orders 22 Depositions in Morra Lawsuit
(July 19, 2011) On June 22, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro ordered that 22 depositions be completed before March 15, 2012 in a civil lawsuit filed on August 17, 2010 by Christopher Morra and Tracey Morra against Rehoboth Police officers Bree Krasnianski and James Casey.
After a scheduling conference, the court ordered Morra’s request for 41 subpoenas and ordered depositions for both sides by the March deadline, prior to a further conference to be held on April 3, 2012.
Those to be deposed for the plaintiffs include: Bree Krasnianski, John Krasnianski, James Casey, George Xenakis, a representative from the office of the Inspector General, Curtis Wood, a representative from the CORI Board, Michael Brady, Steven O’Donnell and a representative from the Bristol Country Sheriff’s Office.
Those to be deposed for the defendants include: Christopher Morra, Tracey Morra, Michael Brady, William Walker, Keith Perry, Mark Rossi, a rep from the CORI Board, a record keeper for the CORI Board, Dispatcher Honeycutt of the Rehoboth Police Department, Steven Enos, a record keeper for Bristol County Agricultural High School, and a record keeper for the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Conflict between Christopher Morra, then a selectmen, and Rehoboth police officers became public knowledge in August 2007 when area newspapers began covering a recall movement against Morra, who vigorously denied he was targeting specific police personnel for removal.
Officer Casey had been given a one-day suspension notice in the spring of 2007 by then police chief Norman Miranda for allegedly conducting unauthorized background checks on Morra, but that suspension order was reversed by an arbitrator due to insufficient evidence against Casey.
However, an internal affairs investigation conducted previously by Lt. Michael Brady recommended that charges of “conduct unbecoming an officer” be brought against the two officers. Other police department sanctions, if any, against Casey and Krasnianski were not made public.
Later when Officer Krasnianski’s job qualifications were questioned at a selectmen’s meeting, Morra did recuse himself from a public discussion. Krasnianski’s father John, an incumbent selectman, had run against Morra in the prior election.
As the recall movement against Morra swelled, resident Lori Rossi, wife of Rehoboth police officer Mark Rossi, publicly complained that Morra had called her step-father, a reserve police officer, who lives in Florida about a pro-recall sign on her property. She felt Morra was trying to intimidate her to take the sign down. Morra claimed he was just trying to find out why the Rossi’s had a recall sign on their lawn.
By May of 2008, both John and Bree Krasnianski were suing six “anonymous authors” on a website chat room for making comments they considered to be false and filed a petition to force Yahoo! to reveal the online chatter’s identities. It is not known what happened to that law suit, other than the defendant’s lawyer stated publicly that First Amendment rights protect political debate.
In March of this year, a federal grand jury in Boston began investigating three Rehoboth police officers including Bree Krasnianski, James Casey and Brien Ramos for allegedly conducting twenty-one unauthorized criminal background and motor vehicle checks on Morra, who is currently the chairman of the Rehoboth Finance Committee. Two of the alleged checks occurred the day before the town election when Morra defeated John Krasnianski for the selectman’s seat.
In a separate case, Morra is the defendant in a Massachusetts Superior Court lawsuit seeking $5.5 million dollars on behalf of eight plaintiffs including four current or former members of the Rehoboth Police Department including: James Medeiros, Paul E. Terenzi, James Casey, and Norman J. Miranda. The remaining plaintiffs include Susan Pimental, Charles Procopio, Paul E. Bowen and Triple Eagle Enterprises, LLC, a company engaged in land development.
Rep. Howitt Promotes Appliance Rebate Program
(July 19, 2011) Representative Steven S. Howitt is encouraging residents in the communities he represents to participate in the Massachusetts Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate program which begins on July 28, 2011.
Made possible through funding from the US Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Massachusetts was allocated $2 million for an Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program designed to spur significant household energy savings. This program seeks to take high energy-consuming home appliances out of service and replace them with qualified ENERGY STAR models.
“This is a win-win situation for both the consumer and the environment,” said Representative Howitt. “Consumers will see a savings through this rebate program while also being energy efficient.”
The Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate program is a limited time only offer, beginning July 28, 2011 and ending when funding has been exhausted. Funding is limited, and rebates are on a first-come, first-served basis. Before purchasing new ENGERY STAR appliances, residents are urged to visit the programs website at www.MassEnergyRebates.com or call toll-free (877) 574-1128 to track the status of funds available to consumers and to view participating retailers.
Old appliances need not be in working condition when exchanged for eligible high efficiency model. All Massachusetts residents, including those served by municipal electric/light departments, will be eligible for these rebates. Only Massachusetts participating retail store purchases will qualify. Internet purchases are not eligible.
The Massachusetts Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program will offer rebates of $150 for qualified refrigerators and $50 for room air conditioners.
To learn more about the program and the steps that need to be taken to receive a rebate, those interested should visit www.MassEnergyRebates.com.
BOS Chairman Costello Named in RePAC Lawsuit
(July 18, 2011) A certified letter dated July 15 was sent to the Rehoboth Board of Selectman by RePAC chairman Roger Breault along with attachments including documents from a lawsuit filed in Bristol Superior Court on July 6 against BOS chairman Mike Costello. Breault accused Costello of “acting with improper motive, censored RePAC’s program and then retaliated against RePAC by amending Section 6.3 of the License to divert Comcast’s funding, intended for RePAC, to Rehoboth.”
RePAC Chair Says No to FinCom Cablecast
(July 18, 2011) Citing contract terms and conditions, RePAC sent a legalese-filled certified letter to Chris Morra, chairman of the Finance Committee saying no to a request made by FinCom member Mike Deignan asking for a live cablecast of the committee’s public meetings.
Deignan invited RePAC chair Roger Breault to a meeting to discuss if RePAC could broadcast FinCom meetings live on government Channel 9 despite it not specifically being in the contract.
Breault declined to attend that meeting and meticulously cited conditions of the contract, prior instances where various municipal committees have asked for live cablecast and were refused, and details of a civil lawsuit brought by RePAC against the town in March of 2010.
“During the pendency of the action, Section 10 of the Contract was amended for cause by Defendant Rehoboth failed to raise and litigate any other claim or issue concerning the Contract when it had an opportunity to do so,” wrote Breault, “including the claim and issue concerning live cablecasting which is now raised by the Finance Committee.”
To use more simplistic language, some people would condense Breault’s explanation into the popular phrase, “forget you” directed at both Morra and Deignan, who were both seemingly chastised by Breault in the letter for allegedly knowing better than to even ask.
Rehoboth Cultural Councils Offers Workshops
(July 14, 2011) Have you ever wanted to apply for a cultural council grant? The Rehoboth Cultural Council (RCC) a local affiliate of the Massachusetts Cultural Council has scheduled two grant writing workshops in September to assist those who wish to apply for 2012 grant money for projects that will benefit the Rehoboth community.
The grant writing workshops will be held at the Blanding Library on Tuesday, September 6 at 6 PM and on Saturday, September 17 at 11 AM. No registration is required to attend.
The RCC awards grants for projects or individual artist stipends in the areas of Arts, Humanities and Interpretive Sciences. Read more the grant program and project qualifications at massculturalcouncil.org. If you have any questions about the workshops, please email: email@example.com
Chairman Costello Accuses Selectman Leffort and Police Chief Enos of Conspiracy - Votes to End Enos’ Tenure
(July 13, 2011) Defending traditional methods of police investigation, including running criminal checks as standard operating procedure in law enforcement, Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos responded to BOS Chairman Costello’s accusations he was personally targeted by Enos prior to the last April’s election as part of a conspiracy with Selectman Leffort.
Prefacing his questioning of Enos, Costello declared that it was “no secret here in town” that Enos was the one chosen to be hired “six months to a year before” the actual decision was made. “I knew. I was told you were the pick,” said Costello. “With all due respect, I find that interested,” replied Enos, adding that if he knew that it would have saved him the time of applying for other positions at the time.
A discussion about background checks was initiated by Costello who said there was no CORI check done on Enos when he was hired.
“So, there was no background check on you at all,” said Costello, while he was subjected to a “barrage of background checks to get this job” as selectmen.
Enos responded by saying that issue could be better addressed by asking David Marciello, the town manager at the time, who would have been in charge of obtaining a CORI check, and not Enos himself.
“My thirty year career has been exemplary,” said Enos, “in Rehoboth and East Providence.”
To that Costello countered, “I’m going to tell you something right now, I heard from a lot of police officers that you are a great investigator, I will give you that, okay?” He explained that while Enos appeared to be doing a good job from all outward appearances, “but there are a lot of people don’t know” what was happening behind the scenes and that by mid-2010 “things started to change in the department” as a reflection of Enos’ personal life.
Addressing the report of on and off the record statements by officers in the RPD, Costello said, “I have to look at a report from nineteen officers,” said Costello, “and you are up there saying that each and every one of them lied.”
“Every time Mr. Tito asked you a question,” Costello continued, “you had an answer stating the opposite of what that officer had said.” Enos responded by repeating his request to bring the accusing officers before the BOS swear to their statements under oath, as he was made to do.
“I’m not hiding anything from you, Mr. Costello,” said Enos, “and this is why I asked you to recuse yourself.” He continued,” it already appears that you’ve formed your opinion of me . . . “ before he was cut off by Costello shouting, “I have evidence of why I have formed that opinion.”
“You entrenched yourself with one political side,” continued Costello. “Did not in March of 2011 you and Selectman Leffort conspire to have Jonathan Silverstein push the Inspector General’s report (on Costello) through before the election?”
Before Enos was able to answer, Costello reported that he had read through 3,000 emails from Enos work computer.
“I have all these!” he said about the emails before asking why Enos authorized an investigation of him (as a suspect of a misdemeanor charge) after a complaint was given to the RPD by then BOS chairman Foley about election misconduct (lying on a political flyer).
Enos confirmed that Foley’s pre-election complaint warranted taking a statement and conducting further investigation using standard practice that included running Costello’s name through MA, RI and the national criminal justice databases that are tracked in terms of inquiry information.
“It was completely proper and appropriate,” replied Enos who explained that police chiefs in Rehoboth, traditionally of short tenure, must walk a political fence depending on who is in power at any given time.
“This is not personal,” said Costello to Enos before again remarking again he had looked at 3,000 of the chief’s departmental emails and stated his belief that background checks were done on him because an unnamed person asked the chief to do so.
“I don’t feel comfortable discussing this with you in this venue,” Enos told Costello who was pushing him to explain why he was the subject of an investigation for only a misdemeanor charge. Enos’ attorney was not allowed to speak, but was occasionally consulted as quietly as possible considering their microphones were kept on during private discussion.
Prior to Costello’s questioning of Enos, Selectmen Leffort stated, “I just can’t believe this, this is a bunch of bull crap.” “There are no criminal charges here,” he continued, “and this is obviously a witch hunt.”
Later Leffort said, “the chief has done nothing wrong, Mr. Costello has and that’s why he’s wanted the chief out of there (on paid leave) so he could get in his office and look at his emails” to conduct his own investigations.
“Actually I found out a lot about you,” Costello retorted to Leffort who said, “I have nothing to hide.”
“Except that you were conspiring with him,” countered Costello, who then said, “you should pay your mother” referring to a civil legal situation that Leffort is involved in.
Enos then asked to speak again and inquired why there were “civilians behind my desk looking at my computer screen” the day after he was put on paid administrative leave. He said he had been informed there were people accessing confidential information and files, and that if true, the department had been compromised.
‘I’m worried about that for everyone’s sake,” added Enos.
When Costello made a motion to not renew Enos’ contract which ends on September 30, Selectman Tito seconded and voted in the affirmative along with Costello.
Tito then read from a prepared statement including his belief that “the department and town would be better served at this point if the Chief does not return to active duty” and then motioned that Enos be allowed to complete his contract while on paid administrative leave.
Leffort declined to second and made a comment the other two selectmen had made up their minds prior to interrogating Enos. He then made a motion for the BOS to release the report Enos submitted to the BOS at the end of May responding to officer’s complaints against him so that the public could read it. The topic was tabled in order to further investigate the cost of consulting with town legal counsel, asking permission of the officers quoted in the document, and considering redacting the document before releasing it as per the public records law.
RePAC Encourages Applications for Membership
(July 11, 2011) RePAC is now encouraging Rehoboth residents to apply for membership in a public service announcement added to the scroll on all three public access channels 9, 15, and 98.
“To promote fair and balanced service to the Rehoboth community, RePAC is encouraging residents to apply for membership,” reads the announcement, adding that “the application form, cost and benefits are available on the RePAC website.”
The RePAC membership policy, a 16-page document identified as a “draft” is available on their website.
SchoolCom Applauds Superintendent’s Efforts
(July 11, 2011) The Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee reports they are very satisfied with the performance of Superintendent Kathleen Montagano in helping the district “to achieve our Mission, which is to provide students with the knowledge, skills and social responsibility to become contributing citizens in our ever-changing world.”
One of the superintendent’s many accomplishments of the last year cited by the school committee included a new district website to be implemented this summer.
Six Rehoboth Firefighters Graduate from Academy
(July 11, 2011) Six Rehoboth firefighters graduated from recruit Class #036 of the Massachusetts Fire Academy on Tuesday, June 28 at Durfee High Xchool in Fall River with guest speaker State Fire Marshall Steven Coan. Rehoboth Fire Chief Bob Pray represented the Fire Chiefs of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Fire Training Council. Rehoboth & Seekonk Fire Chaplain John Amaral delivered the opening and closing blessings.
The six graduates began their training, all on their own time, in January at the Fall River Fire Academy. Over the weeks and months that followed they attended over 200 hours of classroom and practical training at night and on Saturdays while working their regular full-time jobs. Their level of commitment to the department and the community is astounding.
The firefighters completed the program with certifications as Firefighter I & II. Areas of study included fire ground operations, search and rescue, pumping, ladders, ropes and knots, interior fire attack, hose and nozzle operations, hazardous materials response along with a number of other subjects.
The training is provided to cities and towns free of charge through the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services and the RFD provides turnout gear and texts. The new graduates will continue their training in their assigned stations.
The graduates are, David Auguiar, Justin Garnett, Richard Gozalez, Shane Joachim, Sean Lambert and John Sulyma. Congratulations to all.
BOS Holds Public Hearing on RePAC Contract
(July 7, 2011) The contentious relationship between the Town of Rehoboth and RePAC continued at a public hearing portion of the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Wednesday night at the Senior Center.
Declining to attend, RePAC chairman Roger Breault continues his practice of not accepting the selectmen’s invitations to appear and discuss matters of concern with the current contract, or numerous complaints against his non-profit organization.
“I’d meet them (Breault and his attorney) at Dunkin’ Donuts if that works” said BOS chairman Mike Costello expressing frustration at the Breault’s continued refusal to meet with selectmen.
The public hearing allowed residents the opportunity to share a range of complaints against RePAC, but technically the meeting was convened to address amending the existing contract to authorize Comcast to pay the town of Rehoboth directly for the three channels of public access television provided by RePAC (government (channel 9), educational (channel 15) and general community public access (channel 98).
The existing sixteen-page contract between RePAC is binding until April 9, 2014 and was signed in 2008 by then selectmen Christopher Morra, Stephen Martin and Frederick Vadnais.
According to statements by both town officials and Comcast subscribers, many find RePAC practices to be disagreeable and believe the organization is surreptitiously making broadcast decisions.
Cited as significant problems were: disregard for the public they are contracted to serve, lack of cooperation, poor communication, threats of litigation to solve problems, actual lawsuits costing the town time and money, and no real inclusion of the public in either programming decisions, nor allowing membership in the non-profit, tax-exempt public charity that operates in a vendor position to the town.
Impaired audio and video quality was also cited as a continual problem with recordings and broadcasts and that reports by members of the viewing public are ignored or disregarded.
Resident Barbara Link read an eight-minute statement outlining issues involving RePAC’s practices she believes do not reflect the needs of the community. “We have been told repeatedly informed that RePAC is its own entity and does not answer to anyone but its own board of directors,” she said. She suggested that RePAC’s actual mission would be better described with a name change to the “Breault/Schagrin/Balents/Howard Access Corporation.”
Selectmen Tito expressed his believe that RePAC “shows a political bias” and that Breault’s refusal to meet with the BOS, the acting authority of the town, is “absolutely abysmal” and is a disservice to the town.
BOS chairman Mike Costello, by his own admission, said the contract is valid and terminating it would most likely involve lawsuits and/or using town counsel to find a legal loophole in the existing contract.
The question of what would happen if RePAC’s contract was terminated was addressed by resident Sally Cameron who suggested that volunteers could step in and run the functions of RePAC.
Public access television, however, is usually contracted through a non-profit organization capable of providing professional services in conjunction with the cable provider, in this case Comcast, only after a bid has been submitted to the town and a contract written and approved by the BOS.
Selectman Leffort reminded the audience that the BOS discussed these issues last year and the result was settling a lawsuit with RePAC. “This is a lot of bashing by a small group,” he said, “and we’re going to end up with another lawsuit” that will cost the town more money.
Selectmen Want to Hear Your Opinions on RePAC
(July 7, 2011) At last night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, a number of citizens shared their thoughts at a public hearing regarding the existing contract between Rehoboth and RePAC, the non-profit organization contracted with the town to provided cable access community programming on three Comcast channels.
The BOS will continue to accept comments from citizens about RePAC submitted in writing to the town clerk by July 26. Comments will be filed as part of the public record and provided to the BOS for review. The public hearing on RePAC’s contract will remain “open” and was recessed by selectmen before going to meeting agenda items.
Town Has Vast Number of Expired Appointments
(July 6, 2011) Despite recent appointments and reappointments approved by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen to go into effect when the appointees are sworn-in by the town clerk, a vast number expired as of June 30. A roster of town appointees dated June 24, shows a total of 192 positions that were set to expire at the end of fiscal year 2011 including Rehoboth Police and EMS. For more details, please go to our new Municipal Business page.
Tee-Shirt Sales to Benefit Marshall Children
(July 1, 2011) Tee-shirts are now on sale to remember firefighter Ken Marshall, Jr. and to raise money for the Marshall Children’s Fund. With “In Memory of KMJ” on front and an image of Ken’s memorial badge on the back, the shirts are a mere $15 each and may be purchased by calling Jon at 508-813-2992. Or if you have a big order, please email RangerXLTS@yahoo.com. Call today. Don’t wait.
RePAC Accuses BOS and COA with Discrimination
(June 29, 2011) On June 24, RePAC chairman Roger Breault sent a certified letter to the Rehoboth Council on Aging charging that organization, along with the Board of Selectmen, with discriminatory practices, specifically assessing fees to use the Senior Center for RePAC membership meetings each month.
Breault wrote that on May 9, 2011, the BOS “moved, without establishing a firm fee structure, to selectively assess fees against RePAC’s members for use of the Senior Center meeting room.”
The BOS, the night before, had made a decision to further investigate assessing changes to individuals and organizations that ask to use the building. Renting the facility could be revenue-producing for the town, but not before multiple discussions could take place with both the BOS and COA.
Selectmen were very specific about not doing anything until meetings could be conducted on the issue. Meanwhile they approved a request by local Boy Scouts to use the Senior center free of charge for their annual spring banquet. The only stipulation was that the meeting room be cleaned and left as it was before the banquet.
While the BOS did not assess a fee structure to RePAC, the organization suddenly cancelled their scheduled membership meetings at the center.
The next day in a hand-delivered letter dated May 10, Breault advised Sally Knox, chairman of the Council on Aging, that the BOS’ decision to assess fees selectively would “expose RePAC to impermissible discriminatory taxation” and that his organization would have to find an alternative meeting place “at a nongovernment” facility.
Breault charged the BOS/COA with “endorsing discrimination of a protected class (homosexuals) by allowing the Boy Scouts of America to use a municipal government facility” (the Senior Center) free of charge.
Breault’s letter then noted a U.S. Supreme Court decision to permit the scouting organization to allow a “strict policy of excluding homosexuals from its membership.”
The letter concludes by stating RePAC, as opposed to the Boy Scouts of America, “provides equal and fair access to all without any discrimination whatsoever.” Breault asked that, in light of local scouts being given access to use the Senior Center, he wanted to know if his “tax-exempt, non-municipal” organization could expect the free use of the center’s meeting room for its monthly membership meeting.
At Monday night’s BOS meeting, chairman Mike Costello mentioned receiving a copy of Breault’s certified letter and emphasized that the board in conjunction with the COA has yet to assess any fees to any organization asking to use the building.
Beckwith Middle Grads and Award Winners
(June 29, 2011) Many of last week’s eighth grade graduates at D.L. Beckwith Middle School were honored with awards. Please go to the Beckwith Page for more info plus a complete list of graduates and term four honor rolls.
Public Hearing for Community Preservation Committee
(June 27, 2011) The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee is seeking proposals in the areas of Open Space, Historic Preservation, Affordable Housing and Recreation. Projects can be submitted by individuals or organizations. Interested parties are invited to come to a public hearing on Wednesday, July 27 at 7:30 PM at the Town Office to get information regarding the Community Preservation Act and the guidelines by which a project is judged. Applications will be available at the meeting and at the Town Clerk’s Office. The Committee welcomes your inquiries and can assist in the application process.
Community Preservation Act Funds were awarded at the recent Town Meeting for the restoration and repair of the windows at Hornbine School. This is one example of how funds can be used in the area of Historic Preservation. All parties in Town are encouraged to learn more about how Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds can benefit your project, your town.
On the BOS Meeting Agenda for Monday, June 27
(June 27, 2011) Following an executive session beginning at 6 PM for collective bargaining contract negotiations, and the disposition of property, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will convene for the public portion of their meeting at 7:30 PM in the Senior Center.
There will be a presentation of SAFE Awards and the acknowledgment of Rehoboth firefighters, along with the Town Administrator Jeff Ritter’s report.
Before the old business of continuing discussions with the Finance Committee, the BOS will deal with business items including: approval of budget amendments, committee appointments or reappointments, transfer of computer equipment to the Senior Center, and a license approval for Backyard Tavern. As always, the pubic is invited to attend at 7:30 PM.
RPD Seeks Info on Meadowlark Drive Explosion
(June 26, 2011) Rehoboth Police are seeking information on two suspicious vehicles that were seen around midnight on Meadowlark Drive in Rehoboth on Friday, June 24 in the area where a bottle bomb exploded early Saturday afternoon.
Although there were no injuries, the improvised explosive device in a two-liter soda bottle, went off in Kingsley Estates, an executive subdivision close to Caratunk Wildlife Refuge in North Seekonk.
Rehoboth police and fire personnel were dispatched to the area following a report of an explosion and found the remains of the detonated bottle in the roadway in front of 26 Meadowlark Drive, the home of Kevin and Anna Johnson. Witnesses described one of the suspicious vehicles seen the night before as an older model Volvo sedan. Anyone having information, please contact Sgt. Mark Rossi or Officer Keith Perry of the RPD at 508-252-3722 as soon as possible.
Rehoboth’s Bristol County Savings Bank Gets New Manager
(June 25, 2011) Following the recent retirement of Charlene Cunha as long-time manager of the Rehoboth’s branch of Bristol County Savings Bank, the Taunton-based BCSB appointed Diana Rochefort. A 29-year veteran of the banking industry, Rochefort was most recently vice president/retail branch manager of the Seekonk branch of of Sovereign Bank. Rochefort is a graduate of Wheaton College in Norton with a bachelor’s degree in economics and German, and previously worked for Bank of New England and Fleet. She has been a past Ambassador for the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer for Special Olympics.
Roger Swain to Speak in July at Tranquil Lake Nursery
(June 22, 2011) The public is invited to attend a special presentation at Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth on Sunday, July 17 from 1 to 3 PM with guest speaker Roger Swain, “the man with the red suspenders” and longtime host of The Victory Garden on PBS.
Roger will talk about "Garden Essentials: Making Connections Between Growing Plants and Building Communities" as he celebrates the people and the plants he has met over the years. The presentation will be laced with stories of his gardening experiences and philosophy of ecologically sound practices. Roger will also be available after his talk to answer questions and offer gardening advice. This is a great opportunity to meet Roger and to learn from his vast experience.
Born and raised outside Boston, Roger is a biologist, gardener, writer and storyteller. A graduate of Harvard College, he went on to earn a Ph.D studying the behavior of ants in tropical rain forests before becoming science editor of Horticulture magazine. Since 1978 readers have been enjoying Roger’s essays and articles in magazines, as well as his five books: Earthly Pleasures, Field Days, The Practical Gardener, Saving Graces and Groundwork.
Roger can often be found at work in the orchard and gardens of his farm in southern New Hampshire. He received the American Horticultural Society Award for writing in 1992, and in 1996 he was awarded the Massachusetts Horticultural Society Gold Medal for his "power to inspire others."
The ten acres of nursery fields and two acres of display gardens at Tranquil Lake Nursery will also be at peak bloom showcasing the 3,600 varieties of daylilies the nursery offers.
Rehoboth Minutemen Had a Busy Spring
(June 22, 2011) The Thirteenth Continental Regiment, aka the Rehoboth Minutemen participated in Norton’s 300 Anniversary Parade, Needham’s 300 Anniversary encampment. They have been busy marching in parades, both the Attleboro and Rehoboth Memorial Day parades and the Gaspee Day parade in Warwick, RI. Encampments were set up at five elementary schools including Rehoboth’s Palmer River Elementary School on June 17. Captain Al Souncey hosted Norton’s Three Hundred Years of Fashion Show on June 4.
Selectmen Ask for FinCom Member’s Resignations
(June 21, 2011) In a procedural move to remedy conflict with terms of the seven members of the finance committee and bylaw wording, BOS chairman Mike Costello asked for the resignation of the entire committee at last night’s BOS meeting.
Much time was spent debating a 1998 town bylaw change that reduced the number of FinCom members from nine to seven. The current bylaw calls for three members to serve three-year terms, three members to serve two-year terms and one to serve a one-year term. The current roster of FinCom members all have three-year appointments.
“Nobody told the committee we had to reorganize,” said FinCom chair Chris Morra who said he and other members were surprised when they saw the item on the BOS agenda a couple weeks ago. Morra brought documentation with him on the bylaw including a previous legal opinion paid for by the town several years ago.
“Why am I interpreting this one way and others another way,” questioned Costello to said he took an oath to uphold the town bylaws.
Costello asked for the entire board to resign immediately. He then asked town clerk Kathy Conti to pass out letters of resignation that had already been prepared for signatures. Conti was on hand to verify and stamp the letters of resignation.
Only one FinCom member present, Sue Pimental, signed the resignation and was promptly sworn-in to one of the three-year positions.
The other members present refused to sign including Michael Deignan who appealed repeatedly to selectmen how the “intent” of the bylaw had not been violated or compromised by the existing finance committee, one consisting of duly sworn members who are performing the functions tasked to them.
Costello then made a motion to dissolve the finance committee, arguing with Morra that the previous legal opinion was not valid.
Selectmen Don Leffort then motioned for the town to seek new legal counsel on the matter, which was seconded by selectman Tito.
Earlier in the BOS meeting, selectmen voted to transfer reserve funds in order to pay for an outstanding $16,567.83 bill for town legal counsel before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
BOS Vote for Approve Additional RPD Funds
(June 21, 2011) The board of selectmen approved money transfers to the police department to cover overtime of the department’s administrative assistant ($1,100) in the absence of the police chief. They also approved moving $22,000 to cover police overtime to maintain staffing levels. An additional $9,000 within the police department budget was moved per the request of Lt. Michael Brady.
Just last week, selectmen voted to approve $40,000 budget amendment to cover police overtime brought about by variety of staffing problems including the absence of Police Chief Stephen Enos who was put on paid administrative leave in early May by selectmen.
Rehoboth Business Association Elects New Officers
(June 17, 2011) On Tuesday evening, the Rehoboth Business Association (RBA) met for their annual awards dinner at Country Gardens Bed & Breakfast and introduced the 2011-12 slate of officers.
Outgoing president Mike Castro welcomed his successor Linda Ferreira who will serve for the next year. Tim Johnson will continue his role as vice president and Charles Colon also continues on as treasurer of the organization. After three years of service, Pat Corbin leaves the board as secretary with Cynthia Saleeba assuming that role.
Croquet Fundraiser For Memorial a Success
(June 17, 2011) Almost two thousand dollars was raised last week at the “Croquet Under the Lights” event held in support of the Sammis-Waterman Memorial by the Rehoboth Youth Baseball and Softball Association and the Dighton-Rehoboth Pop Warner Football Association.
The event was held at the Sammis Field and Waterman Diamond Complex on Peck Street behind the town office. Participants played three rounds of competitive croquet and enjoyed hotdogs and hamburgers cooked by members of the American Legion.
Almost complete, the beautiful memorial was built in honor of two Rehoboth residents, First Lieutenant Craig Houston Waterman, killed in action in 1967 and Capt. Benjamin Sammis who was killed in action in 2003. If you missed the fundraiser and would like to contribute to the memorial fund, please contact Jeff Potter at 508-252-4737.
Sixth Graders Give Huge Check to Helping Hands
(June 15, 2011) Sixth graders from Beckwith Middle School recently presented a check in the amount of $11,076.25 (yes, you read correctly) to Steve Martin, director of Helping Hands Food Pantry. Students raised the money with a Read-a-Thon, getting pledges for each book read. Madison Burtan was the top reader of 70 books.
RePAC Leader Breault Refuses to Meet with BOS, Brings Lawsuit Against BOS Chairman Costello
(June 14, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen issued a second letter of request to RePAC director and board chairman Roger Breault to appear before them at last night’s BOS meeting and instead received, via town administrator Jeff Ritter, a letter of refusal.
“The self-serving tone of your letter is not particularly helpful,” wrote Breault, who added that Ritter “may not be entirely familiar with the history and scope of RePAC’s excellent, fair, and balanced service to the community.”
Breault’s letter, read by selectman Joe Tito, was remarkable for its expansive legal language coated with cordialities. Breault suggests that Ritter “begin to carefully review each and every term and condition” of various documentation, such as the 2008 contract between the Town of Rehoboth and RePAC, as well as the history of litigation.
“As you well know,” wrote Breault, “the doctrine of issue preclusion (collateral estoppel) and claim preclusion (res judicata) would preclude further discussions, negotiated amendments, and clarifications” and that “your proposed meeting on June 13 is unnecessary and will not be attended by the RePAC Board of Directors.”
In response, BOS Chairman Mike Costello announced that in executive session the board voted 2 to 1 to schedule a Public Hearing on RePAC for Wednesday, July 6.
Costello also revealed that a lawsuit has been brought against him (as well as his “agents and servants” and the Town of Rehoboth) by RePAC demanding six distinct “administrative remedies.”
According to a letter sent to Costello on June 3, 2011 by Hans A. Stoeckler, Ph.D. and a registered patent attorney, RePAC is seeking $200,000 in damages from Costello individually and demands additional damages in the amount of $250,000 for breach of contract.
The letter, along with various supporting evidence, is available on the RePAC website including a notarized deposition by Michael P. Deignan, a member of the RePAC board and member of the Rehoboth Finance Committee. Deignan was questioned about a brief phone conversation he had with Mike Costello on June 1 regarding RePAC.
According to his sworn testimony, Deignan said that Costello stated he was “placing me on notice” as other board members Roger Breault or Ed Schagrin would not respond to him about taking down a “derogatory bulletin” about him (Costello) on the RePAC scrolling bulletin board.
RePAC had, until yesterday, been running a bulletin board announcement with information about how to obtain the Inspector General’s report on selectman Costello. It has now been removed.
Town Nurse’s Office May Move to Senior Center
(June 14, 2011) BOS Chairman Costello announced at last night’s selectmen’s meeting that he was investigating the idea of moving the to the Senior Center.
The town nurse, Lynn Allienello, currently works 19 hours per week out of the Town Office on Peck Street where the Board of Health is located and records are maintained. Her office is also used to administrate the WIC (Women/Infants/Children) program one day per month.
According to Costello, moving the nurse to the Senior Center would offer benefits to the elder population who use the building which was built to include a suite of rooms designed to serve for health/medical services.
Sally Knox, chairman of the Rehoboth Council on Aging that operates the Senior Center, told selectmen that she was against the idea for privacy issues. “I’m concerned about confidentiality,” she said, noting that people gossip.
Lorraine Botts, also a COA board member, was for the idea of having the town nurse located at the center “especially if we begin to offer social day care in the future.” “I see no problem with the nurse coming here,” she added.
Selectmen then voted to table the question for a later date in order to do some more research into the issue. Related questions involve where the nurse’s office would be located as the medical suite is used for various purposes including a small conference room.
Additionally, there are issues of where town health records and individual health records would be maintained securely along with providing computer and telephone support.
BOS Approve Extra $40,000 for Police Department
(June 14, 2011) With Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos on paid administrative leave, a recent resignation, two officers out on disability leave and another attending the Police Academy, the RPD faces a weekly budget deficit of $4,000 to $5,000 in overtime costs.
On Monday night, the three selectmen voted unanimously to approve a $40,000 budget amendment to deal with the issue which seems directly related to the paid absence of the police chief whose duties are being divided by others in the RPD including Lt. Michael Brady who spoke before selectmen last night rather than acting chief Lt. James Trombetta.
According to a quote attributed to Brady in the Taunton Gazette, he explained that “two detectives have been put in uniform and on the road to re-align,” but said that overtime costs may continue to increase. He added he didn’t want the “bad guys to know what we consider safe staffing.”
June 15 Poetry in the Village Features Philip Hasouris
(June 13, 2011) This month’s Poetry in the Village on Wednesday, June 15 at the Blanding Library will feature Philip Hasouris who will speak on his recent collection, Blow out the Moon, his courageous response to a tragic anoxic brain injury suffered by his wife Linda.
Hasouris lives in Southeastern Massachusetts and facilitates writing workshops throughout the state for support groups coping with medical crisis and bereavement. His first book, Swimming Alone deals unflinchingly with the conjunction of love and loss. His genre of poetry is saturated with insight that serves as a road map for the reader through a landscape of love, tragedy, and hope via the restorative power of poetry.
A past co-champion of the Brockton Slam, he has competed at the national level in Austin, Texas and is the 2010 recipient of the Mike Amado Spoken Word Warrior Award. He has coordinated readings and is founder of the Brockton Library Poetry Series. He co-produced the poetry documentary/video series PLACES (Poetic Language Artful Communication Elemental Speech) that spotlights poets in their homes and creative spaces.
Poetry in the Village features an open microphone segment at 6 PM prior to the feature presentation at 7:30 PM. All are welcome to attend. There is no charge, but the hat will be passed.
BOS to Discuss Blanding and Town Nurse’s Office
(June 13, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session and at 7:30 for the public portion of the meeting.
Items on the agenda include the formal appointment of the town’s new building inspector/zoning officer and the Senior Center Director.
There will also be reappointments to committees and the reorganization of the Finance Committee. Other new business items on the agenda include a discussion about the town nurse’s office and discussion of the new IT Advisory Committee.
The BOS will also approve a grant agreement between the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society for the operation of the Blanding Public Library.
Cool Stuff Happening this Weekend in Rehoboth
(June 10 2011) It will be a busy weekend in Rehoboth with a variety of interesting events beginning with Friday nights Croquet Under the Lights fundraiser for the Sammis/Waterman Memorial Field.
The festivities begin at 6 PM at the Peck Street Baseball/Football Complex. Cost is $30 per person or $100 of an entire family group. Along with croquet, there will be games, food and music.
Also on Friday night, Rehoboth Contra Dance will feature caller Chris Weiler and music by Rumblestrip from 8 PM at Goff Memorial Hall. Cost is $8 per person and all dances are taught. Beginners are always welcome.
On Saturday, there is a Helping Hands Food Pantry Drop-off from 9 AM to 12 noon at American Form on Route 44. Please remember to check the expiration dates of your food donations as it costs the pantry time and money to dispose of food they can not use. Thanks for your understanding.
The Children’s Community Garden behind Fitness Mom Studio on Route 44 next to the RPD/RFD will host a Big Planting Day and Rock Hunting Contest from 11 AM. All children are welcome to attend when accompanied by an adult.
Sunday’s events include the Chili Cook-off sponsored by the Rehoboth Congregational Church from 12 noon to 3 PM.
Pack 2 Cub Scouts will have a sign-up event from noon to 3 PM at Camp Buxton on Pond Street.
The Carpenter Museum will host Family Farming Day from 1 to 5 PM and the historic Hornbine School will be open from noon to 5 PM.
Sunday will cap off with Sunday Jammers, a free event held monthly at Goff Memorial Hall featuring a variety of musicians and dancing.
Police Chief Enos Forced to Wait Until Mid-July
(June 7, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will now wait until July 12 to respond to a detailed report submitted by Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos in response to complaints made against him by officers in the department.
Following two hours of questioning by selectmen on May 2, broadcast live on government channel 9, Enos was put on paid administrative leave after a two-to one-vote by selectmen (Costello and Tito voted yes to Leffort’s no).
Enos is now waiting to share the lengthy report he and his attorney submitted on May 23, the deadline set by selectmen who initially said they would make some decision or statement by the end of May.
“I would have released the report to the public the day I gave it to the selectmen by their deadline,” said Enos, who must now remain silent about his report until the BOS allows him to share it.
The BOS received eleven signed complaints and nine off-the-record grievances against Enos who has been accused of micro-managing and enforcing strict policies he defends as protecting officers and the town from legal recourse.
“I’m completely confident that every decision I’ve made has been good for the town and taxpayers of Rehoboth,” he said with conviction. “Once the public reads the report, they’ll realize that I dealt with each issue professionally,” he added. “The report shows that I’m not a ‘yes’ man who allows people to just do whatever they want.”
“Taxpayers have a right to know what is going on,” said Enos who will request that selectmen address his report in public rather than executive session. “At the meeting on May 2nd, I requested they question me in public and not behind closed doors,” he emphasized. “I want this all dealt with in public view,” he added, “and I want the people to read my report.”
Board of Selectmen Agenda for Monday, June 6
(June 6, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning with an executive session at 7 PM to discuss contract negotiations with non-union personnel and real property. Open Forum will begin at 7:30 including a report from town administrator Jeff Ritter. Following that, regular business items will include: an update of the Senior Center solar project, issues relating to liquor licenses, the surplus town property sale, and the BOS summer meeting schedule. The selectmen will also vote on the proposed agreement between the town and Tibbetts Engineering for services related to the eventual repairs of the three town bridges destroyed in the 2010 floods.
BOS and FinCom to Discuss Reorganization
(June 6, 2011) According to the meeting agenda posted for a Finance Committee meeting scheduled for Monday, June 13, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will join FinCom members in discussing a “reorganization with the Board of Selectmen.” This meeting will be conducted in the small conference room of the Senior Center at 7:45 to 8:00 PM. The FinCom meeting will then conduct both new and old business in the large meeting area at the Senior Center where meeting are recorded and/or broadcast live by RePAC.
BOS Offer No News on Police Chief Enos
(June 1, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, despite meeting in an executive session prior to the public portion of last night’s BOS meeting, did not offer any information about the status of Police Chief Stephen Enos, forced on paid administrative leave by selectmen after they spent two hours questioning the police chief at the May 3 BOS meeting.
Last week Enos submitted a lengthy, in-depth report by the May 23 deadline set by selectmen who had previously stated they would make some manner of decision on the chief’s management procedures by the end of May. However, as of last night’s meeting, they have offered no information to the public on the contents of the Chief’s report or what they intend to do.
Selectmen Discuss Hate Mail, Avoid Other Topics
(June 1, 2011) Last night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting was notable for not including any public forum discussion on current topics related to ongoing controversy in town - the status of Police Chief Stephen Enos and the Massachusetts Inspector General’s action recommendations to the town regarding BOS chairman Michael Costello.
When Selectman Don Leffort made a motion to have Town Administrator Jeff Ritter pursue the Inspector General’s recommendations, he was met with silence and said, “Fine, I will do it myself.”
Chairman Costello then made a statement that he and his wife have received hate mail, as recently as last Friday. Selectman Tito said he and his wife have received hate disturbing hate mail. “I hope the person who wrote it gets some clinical help.” he noted.
“The board of selectmen is moving forward,” said Costello who added, “don’t put a roadblock in front of us.” He listed a number of accomplishments that had taken place since he and Tito were elected as selectmen on April 4.
“We hired a new town administrator, a building inspector and a director (for the Senior Center),” emphasized Costello. “We’ve had three union negotiations and next week we will negotiate a contract with the Rehoboth Police Department.” He also mentioned that ten of seventeen highway projects have been completed and that flood-damaged bridges will be repaired.
Costello told the audience the BOS would be resolving the issue of the “Rehoboth or Attleboro” home where two children live and currently attend Rehoboth schools while their parents pay property tax in Attleboro rather than Rehoboth. Costello said this issue will be settled before the start of the school year. “Those two children should go to school in Attleboro,” he said.
New Town Administrator Initiates Dept. Head Meetings
(June 1, 2011) Jeff Ritter, Rehoboth’s newly appointed Town Administrator, was formally introduced at last night’s board of selectmen’s meeting and issued his first status report in an effort to provide officials and the public with timely information.
Ritter spent his first week on the job meeting with town office staff and initiating a monthly Department Head meeting to be held on the last Thursday of each month at 10 AM.
“I’ve very impressed by the town hall employees,” said Ritter who noted their “objectivity and neutrality” has been his initial analysis. He also thanked Helen Dennen who has been acting town administrator since January “for all the work she has done” and for answering his “ten thousand” questions. “She is a tremendous asset to the town,” he noted.
Ritter reported to the selectmen that he has already participated in contract negotiations and has opened a bid for sand, stone and gravel. He is also planning a surplus property sale in June to “capture revenue by the end of the fiscal year.”
BOS Chairman Costello suggested to Ritter that a one-day sale should be held at the Highway Department parking lot in order to allow the general public the opportunity to bid on and purchase used equipment including town vehicles.
BOS May Reconsider Changing $100 Limit Policy
(June 1, 2011) Based on a request by Selectman Tito to revisit the current policy of having the BOS approve any purchases of $100 or more by any town department, the policy may be reviewed in the near future.
At last night’s BOS meeting, selectmen had to formally approve two purchase orders that were over the one hundred dollar limit including a toner cartridge ($129.) for the Board of Assessors office, and medical supplies and equipment needed by the fire department.
RFD Chief Bob Pray told selectmen that he thought having to go before the BOS every time a purchase exceeds $100 was problematic and time consuming. Considering today’s prices, many things including filling a gas tank or buying a toner cartridge for a printer can easily exceed $100.
Gravel Committee Lift Cease & Desist Order
(June 1, 2011) The Gravel Committee, consisting of newly appointed chair Michael Costello and clerk Joe Tito, lifted the May 16 cease and desist order to property owner Russell Patton to halt excavation at 126 Cedar Street that contains Rehoboth Historic Cemetery No. 22, known commonly as the Ingalls Family Lot.
After thirty-minutes of discussion, it was decided to allow Patton to continue his excavation intended to open up his sight line onto Cedar Street, a roadway considered dangerous by neighbors including Harvey Bigelow who reminded the audience of an accident seven years ago that resulted in a double fatality.
“I don’t want to desecrate the cemetery,” said Patton who plans to plant a variety of trees in the newly excavated area that will be landscaped to make more attractive and accessible.
Members of the Cemetery Commission had initially said no to Patton’s plans to excavate around the early nineteenth century cemetery where an unknown number of graves may lay unmarked and erosion in the immediate area may disturb the graves.
On April 1, the seated members of the Gravel Committee approved Patton’s excavation plans. Complaints from members of the Cemetery Commission helped bring about the cease and desist order of May 16.
Lifting that order, Costello asked Patton for a time-table and then granted 60 days to complete the project with a commitment he would extend that period if necessary.
Speaking before the Gravel Committee, Rehoboth historian Rebecca Smith noted that “no matter how well-meaning” Patton’s intentions, “we must share concern about the integrity of historic cemeteries.”
Rehoboth and Dighton Combined Memorial Day Parade
(May 31, 2011) This year, the annual Memorial Day Parade was held in Rehoboth with participants from both towns marching from Rehoboth Village to Palmer River Elementary School with a stop at the veteran’s memorial at the corner of Danforth and Route 44.
Selectmen to Meet in Three Sessions Tonight
(May 31, 2011) The three Rehoboth selectmen are scheduled to meet tonight in three sessions beginning at 6 PM with an executive session to discuss personnel issues, contract negotiations and town-owned property.
The Gravel Committee will meet at 7 PM including BOS members along with Alan Gosselin of the Conservation Commission and John Moriarty of the Planning Board. The men will appoint a Chair of the Gravel Committee and continue business related to a complaint by the Cemetery Commission against property owner Russell Patton of 126 Cedar Street.
Patton was issued a cease and desist order on May 16 by the acting members of the Gravel Committee to halt excavation on his property containing Historic Cemetery #22, known as the Ingalls Family Lot, with four known graves marked in a small fenced area.
Because the exact number of graves in the 19th century cemetery is unknown, the Cemetery Commission is concerned unmarked graves may be disturbed through erosion due to the excavation.
The BOS then has a slate of new business on their agenda including a discussion with the town clerk about re-precincting, and a request by the town treasurer to have the building inspector complete an inspection at 138 Chestnut Street.
Both open forum and public forum will be held tonight.
Costello Offers Two Thousand Dollar Reward
(May 26, 2011) Rehoboth Board of Selectman Chairman, Michael Costello, issued a statement Thursday afternoon offering a two thousand dollar reward for “information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the production and distribution of the so-called “Horton Estates” flyer which printed lies and slanderous statements regarding Mike Costello and his family.”
The flyer in question was a piece sent with first-class postage by mail to an unknown number of selected homes in Rehoboth before the Spring Election held on April 4. The flyers were addressed by mailing label to recipients by name, rather than “box holder” or “resident.”
The return address had a color photo the Horton Estates housing development sign and a return address of 101 Horton Estates in Rehoboth, misspelled “Rehobeth.”
Costello’s reward announcement reads, “My family and I continue to be harassed and recently received a letter mailed to my home filled with profanity and hurtful and false statements.”
Those having any information should contact Detective Ramos at the Rehoboth Police Department by calling 508-252-3723. “All leads will be confidential.”
Conclusion of Town Meeting, No to CORI Checks
(May 24, 2011) Part II of the Spring Town Meeting last night began with 189 residents in the audience and a hearty welcome to newly sworn-in Town Administrator Jeff Ritter who took a seat at the front table with the three selectmen, members of the Finance Committee and Jonathan Silverstein, town legal counsel.
Residents quickly approved nine warrant articles including adoption of the Municipal Relief Act, clause 56 allowing the Board of Assessors to grant property tax abatements up to 100 percent to residents who are enlisted in the Massachusetts National Guard on active duty in foreign countries.
Twenty-five minutes into the meeting, the audience had grown to 250 when the controversial CORI check question, Article 13, was addressed. Moderate William Cute emphasized it was the third time the issue has been brought before the Rehoboth residents. “I don’t think this requires lengthy discussion,” said Cute as he admonished the audience, that had grown by that time to 250, to “tread lightly.
Jim Paon, who introduced Article 13, spoke first and emphasized the town already utilized the CORI criminal background check system for anyone who works or volunteers for the town who has interaction with children, elders or the disabled. “This just takes it to the next logical step,” said Paon, who affirmed his belief that residents should be concerned if those seeking elected office have a history of serious crimes.
Paon moved to vote for a paper ballot on the question and moderater Cute responded by saying it was his feeling that a paper ballot “violates the spirit of town meeting.” However, a vote of the audience was taken with 89 in favor of utilizing a paper ballot on the issue and 158 voting no.
The discussion continued as former selectman Skip Vadanis related an anecdote about his fiance’s father who had a horrible experience with a CORI check that came back with the criminal background info on someone with the same name. “The system caused him a lot of grief,” said Vadnais who added that it took the intervention of a state representative to straighten things out in district court.
Attorney Silverstein, the town legal counsel in attendance, then spoke and reported that only the town of Chelsea, MA has a charter provision that deals with CORI checks for elected officials. He mentioned that Providence, RI also has a CORI provision by ordinance that was upheld in RI Supreme Court.
Resident Harvey Bigelow appealed to the audience about the advantages of utilizing CORI checks and his experience an a business manager. He cited three examples where employees were not background checked and later cost his company a significant amount of time and money is legal costs as well as subsequent negative publicity in the press.
Another resident, George Solas brought up the issue of confusion about CORI checks and the exact language of each of the three attempts to push through the new municipal policy. He also made the valid point that CORI checks to do not necessarily reveal the complete truth. Nor do they portend the future behavior. “People who have been good, can turn bad,” he added.
A show of hands was counted and the end result of this latest version of establishing a CORI check policy for elected officials was 155 to 94 against despite a non-binding referendum in on April 4 when a majority of voters said yes to a CORI check policy.
Voters then passed three more articles accepting the reports of the Rehoboth Ambulance Committee, the Blanding Library, and Rehoboth Housing Authority.
Moderator Cute concluded the meeting by making an announcement praising two recently graduated college students (members of the D-R Class of 2007) including Jennifer Schwall who was chosen Bryant College valedictorian and Helen Burns who was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English at a university in Russia following her recent graduation from Oberlin College.
Two young men in the town were also recognized for recently attaining the level of Eagle Scout, Gunnar Manchester and Robert Kay Collidge, III.
BOS: Leffort Calls for Costello’s Resignation
(May 24, 2011) At last night’s meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen held prior to the continuation of town meeting, Selectman Don Leffort called for the immediate resignation of BOS chairman Michael Costello.
Last week, the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General published a 13-page letter on their website after an 18-month investigation of Costello with their determination he was guilty of abusing the affordable housing law and perjured himself in the process of obtaining his home in Horton Estates.
Costello issued a statement yesterday (see Vox Populi) promising “each and every resident of Rehoboth” that he “did not participate in any wrongdoing” and that his reputation would be cleared. He cast blame on Finance Committee Chair Chris Morra and Dighton resident Neal J. MacDonald for filing complaints that led to the Inspector General’s lengthy investigation and report.
Leffort first asked for Selectman Tito’s support in asking that the chair resign as he is a “discredit to town and office.” Tito remained silent while Costello refused to resign. Members of the audience broke into applause and then began to loudly taunt Leffort who responded that “this town deserves what you get then.”
Costello Proclaims He Has “No Record”
(May 24, 2011) Selectman Costello took the podium at the town meeting last night and made an announcement that he had been CORI checked as part of the process of becoming a town official who could conduct CORI checks on other people for official purposes.
The town already conducts CORI checks on those employees or volunteers working with children, senior citizens and disabled individuals.
He then revealed the outcome of his own CORI check, with a loud, “no record” which resulted in an eruption of loud applause.
BOS Conducts Business, Appoints TA
(May 24, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen formally appointed Jeff Ritter as the new Town Administrator last night along with other business including: approval of Chapter 90 project funds of $314,734 and granting of a one-day wine and malt beverage license to Five Bridge Inn.
Two of the three selectmen (Costello and Tito) voted to approve the choice of William McDonough as the town’s new full-time Building Inspector while Selectman Leffort voted nay to fund a full-time position. The BOS broke into an executive session to conduct business involving the police department.
Chief Stephen Enos, now on paid administrative leave, was in attendance. The BOS did not reconvene after their executive session and no reports were issued.
BOS to Meet Tonight Before Annual Meeting
(May 23, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen are scheduled to meet tonight in Room 211 at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School at 6:30 PM before recommencing the Annual Spring Town Meeting at 7:30 in the auditorium. Items on the BOS meeting agenda include: voting to appoint the new Town Administrator and Chief Procurement Officer; a continued discussion of the municipal position of building inspector; a vote to approve Chapter 90 request for $314,734.; and voting to approve a one-day liquor license application.
There will also be an executive session conducted regarding police personnel issues. The Rehoboth Finance Committee is also scheduled to meet prior to the start of the town meeting at 6:30 PM in the auditorium.
Office of Inspector General Released Thirteen-Page Letter on “Abuse of the Commonwealth’s Affordable Housing Laws”
(May 20, 2011 at 2 PM) The Office of the Inspector General “has determined that Rehoboth Board of Selectmen Chair, Michael Costello, improperly obtained an affordable home in the Horton Estates’ development that he was not entitled or qualified to purchase,” reads a thirteen page document released earlier today.
“False and misleading statements by Michael Costello and a lack of full disclosure on his part enabled the abuse,” states the official letter that includes recommendations the “Office believes will help remedy this abuse of the affordable housing law carried out by Mr. Costello beginning in October 2005 when he and his mother Marie Costello “submitted an affordable housing lottery application for consideration” in the over-55 housing community of Horton Estates’ developed by John DuVally.
The chronology of events is detailed in the letter that concludes that Costello was not eligible based on existing Chapter 40B Rules, Regulations and Guidelines and that through “his abuse of the system” was able to obtain a three-bedroom home for $155,000 when, at the time, similar houses in the development were selling for approximately $400.000.
Costello and his wife Susan, who also did not make the age requirement, moved into the residence and never informed authorities (the housing lottery agent, the monitoring agent or the Town of Rehoboth). Marie Costello informed investigators from the Office of the Inspector General that she had been asked by her son to pretend she was going to move in with him “in order to qualify as an affordable housing applicant.”
The letter states a formal opinion that “by not disclosing his intentions” it appears both Michael and Marie Costello perjured themselves and that Costello “avoided review of the circumstances surrounding the planned conveyance that could have potentially resulted in the discovery of his original and ongoing fraudulent acts.”
“It is the opinion of this Office that Michael and Marie Costello had entered into a conspiracy” in order to obtain the housing unit.
The letter outlines “Conflict of Interest Concerns” and that state law prohibits a public official from participating in certain actions.
The Inspector General recommends consideration of civil action against Costello to seek an order to allow the resident at 11 Judith Ann Circle to be conveyed to an eligible affordable purchaser.
Another possible solution would involve permitting Michael and Susan Costello to continue living in the residence under the conditions he pay the town the difference between the market rate price and the amount he paid to initially purchase the unit.
“In doing so, the affordable deed rider should be lifted and the money received by the town could be used to further affordable housing opportunities for actual deserving/eligible households in Rehoboth.”
The Inspector General also recommends that Costello “in his role as a public official, should disqualify or recuse himself from participation in future decisions” involving his “good friend, John DuVally, on the grounds of his personal involvement.” CLICK HERE FOR FULL DOCUMENT.
Selectmen Want Inspector With Skill & Stamina
(May 19, 2011) The four candidates for the position of town building inspector were interviewed last night in thirty minute segments by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen on a live cablecast from the Senior Center.
The candidates interviewed were: Joel Reed, John Santos, William McDonough and Paul Boucher.
Selectmen Costello, Tito and Leffort asked the candidates multiple questions about their experience and how they would deal with difficult situations including violations, conservation, zoning and trying to play catch up with a fairly significant amount of construction happening around Rehoboth without permits.
The candidates were asked if they were aware of the atmosphere of divisiveness in town and how they would plan to “stay out of it” while dealing with those who violate zoning by saying “somebody else got away with it.” Selectmen also questions about how each would enforce regulations, impose fines and pursue revenue production.
According to selectmen, they will announce their decision on who they will first offer the position to at the next BOS meeting.
REHO Man Arrested for Backing into Gas Pumps
(May 19, 2011) According to a report in the Sun Chronicle, a Rehoboth resident, Theodore Richmond, was arrested at his home by Attleboro Police, with assistance from the RPD, after a witness reported seeing him back into the gas pumps at the Briggs Corner Cumberland Farms while intoxicated on Tuesday morning and then driving away. Richmond has been charged with a third drunk driving offense along driving with a revoked license, defacing property and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.
BOS to Interview Building Inspector Candidates
(May 18, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight from 6 PM at the Senior Center to interview candidates for the position of Building Inspector including Joel Reed, John Santos, William McDonough and Paul Boucher. The BOS will go into an executive session at 8 PM for contract negotiation, and engage in any other business that may be brought before them.
Spring Town Meeting to be Continued Next Week
(May 17, 2011) Almost three and one-half hours after it began, the annual Spring Town Meeting adjourned with an announcement it would continue next week on Monday, May 23 at 7:30 PM in the auditorium at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
Despite moderator William Cute’s aspiration to conclude all town meeting business in one night, at least another full evening is anticipated to address the remaining 14 articles of a 17 article warrant.
The evening began with 209 residents present in the audience for the “Special Town Meeting” and its six articles of town business including five that passed and one (repaving of transfer station roadway) that was tabled for purpose of defeat.
Residents trickled into the auditorium and by 8:55 p.m. there were 249 present excluding non-voting observers.
Gravel Committee Issues Cease and Desist Order
(May 17, 2011) On May 16, the sitting members of the Gravel Committee met to issue a cease and desist order to property owner Russell Patton to halt excavation at 126 Cedar Street that contains Rehoboth Historic Cemetery No. 22, known as the Ingalls Family Lot.
On April 1, members of the Rehoboth Cemetery Commission spoke before the acting Gravel Committee including then BOS chair Ken Foley, Selectman Don Leffort and Planning Board member John Moriarty regarding their concerns with excavation going on at 126 Cedar Street.
A decision was made then to allow Patton to continue his excavation despite protests by members of the Cemetery Commission who had already said no to Patton’s plans to excavate around the early nineteenth century cemetery where an unknown number of graves may lay unmarked and erosion in the immediate area may disturb the graves.
In April, Patton said he was doing the excavation to increase visibility at the entrance to his driveway.
Overview of Town Meeting Part One
(May 17, 2011) Prior to launching into town business, those attending part one of the annual Spring Town Meeting last night observed a moment of silence to remember two Rehoboth residents.
James Amaral, who worked in maintenance for the Rehoboth school system for 30 years, died on April 17 at the age of 67. Louise Harrington, who also worked in Rehoboth schools in food service died on May 10 at the age of 82.
A “Special Town Meeting” began promptly at 7 PM and moved quickly through six articles, five of which were approved by residents and one to repave the transfer station roadway was tabled for the purpose of defeat.
The regular meeting commenced with residents voting to approve the first article to authorize the town to dispose of surplus equipment by auction. Article 2 to approve the budget recommendations of the Finance Committee then took the next two and one half hours.
The first major topic of discussion was the approval of a salary for the new town administrator. Past administrator, David Marciello, whose contract was not renewed by the board of selectmen last winter, said that he “would have stayed (in the postion) for $69,500” instead of paying the newly appointed Jeff Ritter a salary of $95,500 as recommended by FinCom.
FinCom chairman Chris Morra responded by saying the BOS appointment review committee “picked Mr. Ritter” and offered him the appropriate amount. BOS chairman Mike Costello added that he “could not reveal” the exact details of the contract with Mr. Ritter, but that the selection process was rigorous.
Town accountant, Cathy Doane explained that the selection committee was concerned about finding “someone who could move the town forward” and assume a “true leadership role.” She described the need for “an advocate for town employees,” and someone who would actually spend all day in the office and attend all meetings. “We did not take the salary lightly,” she said.
Marciello went to podium again to say the BOS should not have carte blanche to pay whatever salary they want and it was up to town meeting to fund the position which “only thirty applicants applied for.” He added that he has recently been a finalist for town administrator positions in other towns where the applicant pool was much greater.
Costello addressed the audience and urged them to keep the recommended salary. “I picked the right choice,” he said. “I need to hire the right people.”
The meeting continued with more discussion on salaries, wages and hours for town employees including full-time versus part-time building inspector, senior center director and an administrative assistant, veterans officer, and a staff person for the conservation commission that acts as a legally bound regulatory board.
Resident approved the minimum funding of $199,507 for the Blanding Library to keep its certification.
Rehoboth’s portion of the Dighton-Rehoboth School District budget was level-funded by FinCom at $12,424,170 while the requested budget was $13,595,985. School Committee chairman David Katseff asked for support for their present assessment as it reflected a reduced budget and increased revenue.
Selectman Costello asked the school committee to reconsider and FinCom clerk Mike Deignan proposed an amendment contingent on a voter override in the fall.
By 10 PM, Costello reported the projected 2012 budget was already $32,000 over due to amendments to FinCom recommendations.
BOS Will Meet Prior to Town Meetings Tonight
(May 16, 2011) Both the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee are scheduled to meet prior to the annual Spring Town Meeting to be held tonight in the auditorium of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
Before the “Special Town Meeting” begins at 7 PM, the BOS will meet at 6:30 in Room 216 at DRRHS. According to posted meeting schedules, FinCom will also meet at 6:30 at the high school.
Six warrant items will be addressed in the first “Special” portion of the town meeting followed by the regular annual town meeting as well as the annual meeting of the Rehoboth Water District.
Benefits Scheduled to Help Leah Fernandes
(May 13, 2011) There are three upcoming fundraising events to benefit five-year-old Leah Fernandes who has been fighting an agressive form of brain cancer that was diagnosed in March of this year. You may know the Fernandes family who operate the Chartley Country stores in both Rehoboth and Norton.
On June 5, a motorcycle “Ride for Leah” will be held in Norton with an 11”30 start at the Honey Dew Donuts and ending at the Norton VFW. Donation is $20 for participants. Tee-shirts will also be sold. Please contact Billy Whitten for more info at 978-833-2209.
Following the ride on June 5, there will be a Texas Hold‘Um Poker Tournament at the Norton VFW with a $100 buy in (only 100 player spots). If you don’t want to play poker, you can still enjoy the festivities. A meal will be served with tickets available for $20 per person donation. There will also be raffles and a bounce house.
Please contact Ray Deagrela for more info and tickets. Call him at 508-965-7258 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Friday, June 17, a comedy dinner show fundraiser will be held at the Cumberland Public Safety Union Hall in Cumberland, RI. “Laughs for Leah” will include dinner at 6 PM followed by the show featuring Ben Hague and Michael Petit at 7 PM. There will be a cash bar and raffles.
Tickets are $25 per person and available at both Chartley Country Stores in Rehoboth and Norton. Space is limited, so buy your tickets soon.
May 31: Blood Drive & Bone Marrow Registration
(May 13, 2011) Dedicated to Rehoboth resident Emma Wheeler who is battling cancer, a Blood Drive and Bone Marrow Registration will be held on Tuesday, May 31 from 1 to 8 PM in the Rhode Island Blood Center Bloodmobile at the Dunkin’ Donuts on Winthrop Street.
Ten-year-old Emma, diagnosed in 2009 with a tumor on her kidney, continues to receive chemotherapy and platelet donations in preparation for a stem cell transplant. Blood donors have been critical in her treatment.
The May 31 blood drive is your opportunity to donate blood and register to become a marrow donor, a process for healthy individuals from 18 to 60 years that involves a quick swap of check cells for marrow typing. If you match, you will be contacted with more information and offered the chance to donate bone marrow to save someone else’s life.
Please consider donating blood and becoming a marrow donor to help patients like Emma live a longer, healthier life. You can register for the May 31 bloodmobile visit to Rehoboth by visiting the RIBC website using Sponsor Code 2915. The Rehoboth Dunkin’ Donuts will be providing tasty snacks to all donors.
RePAC Postpones Membership Sign-Up Meeting
(May 11, 2011) Individuals hoping to join RePAC, the non-profit organization contracted by the Town of Rehoboth to provide public access television programming, will have to wait.
A membership sign-up meeting scheduled to be held at the Senior Center tonight has been postponed according to an updated public service announcement. Regular RePAC meetings, scheduled for the second Wednesday of each month, have also been postponed until further public notice.
The controversial non-profit that operates three public access channels for Rehoboth has been the subject of continuous criticism for the past two years by selectmen, public officials, citizens’ groups and individual residents.
Non-profit organizations traditionally promote membership opportunities as a means of fund-raising, establishing a base of support and attracting volunteers and potential board members. The typical non-profit, even small organizations, are managed by a voluntary, unpaid board of directors who then oversee a salaried director who manages personnel and volunteers.
In the case of RePAC, Roger Breault acts as both the President of the board (or “chairman” depending on the info source) and managing director of the organization. Ed Schagrin acts as both the Vice-President of the board and works as Technical Manager.
There are two other board members listed in official state documentation including Robyn Balents as Treasurer and Mike Deignan as Clerk of the board. On the RePAC website, he is additionally listed as a consultant to the Educational Channel.
There are three RePAC staff persons listed on the RePAC website including videographer Bette Dyer, videographer John Meagher and Mark Anzivino, listed as the Program Administrator of the Government Channel.
BOS Picks Engineering Firm for Preliminary Work on Flood Damaged Bridges
(May 10, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen approved a contract to hire Tibbetts Engineering of Taunton to develop specifications and drawings for the eventual repair of flood damaged bridges on Elm Street, Wheeler Street and Pleasant Street.
The Taunton firm was chosen from a list of firms approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) and offered the most attractive proposal to evaluate the damaged areas and provide engineering specs. Repair and/or construction will be performed by either the Rehoboth Highway Department or outside contractors.
Mike Costello, chair of the BOS, reported there are seventeen flood-related road projects that must be addressed and that five have been completed by the highway department.
He also announced the flood-destroyed Wheeler Street bridge was withdrawn from the list for MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) funding as that agency believed repairs could be funded through the federal agency, FEMA.
According to Costello, he believes there is some confusion amongst the agencies and that MEMA funds may be restored.
It is unknown at this time what exactly will happen to the Wheeler Street bridge as some residents have informed the BOS they do not necessarily want a replacement bridge on their street.
Body Shop on Winthrop Street Damaged by Fire
(May 10, 2011) Rehoboth business, Bean’s Autobody located at 109 Winthrop Street (Route 44) was damaged when a fire broke out in the early afternoon. According to owner Richard Bean, a neighbor saw smoke coming from the roof and firefighters arrived quickly to contain the fire to the back portion of the building that houses the auto body shop. Firefighters prevented the fire from reaching the living quarters in the front of the building. Additional fire assistance came from both the Dighton FD and the Seekonk FD.
Using the Senior Center: Policies to be Drawn
(May 10, 2011) The issue of who can use the town-owned Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center building and at what cost was a topic of discussion at last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
Like other senior centers in Massachusetts, the Hurrell Senior Center is considered a multi-service center for both elders, residents with disabilities and residents who need assistance accessing health and human services.
Under the management umbrella of the Rehoboth Council on Aging, the center also assists residents of all ages with social services like accessing the fuel assistance program or food pantry operated by Rehoboth Helping Hands. The scope of services is not limited to senior citizens.
Prior to the mid-1980s, most towns in Massachusetts had Councils on Aging or COAs, but the names were changed when the centers became multi-service agencies that served a greater population. A multi-service center is able to access both federal and state funding as well as grants.
While the Hurrell Center focuses on a wide range of elder services offered Monday thru Thursday with some Friday hours, the building is used for municipal meetings and special events sponsored by the COA. In the past, other groups have used the center at times when elder services are not offered.
Working cooperatively, the BOS and COA need to create policies that address building usage and establish fees for use of the facilities. That could mean a revenue stream for Rehoboth, that owns the building and land, and for the COA that manages services and operations.
BOS Public Forum Topics of May 9:
School Residency Issue on Tremont Street and RePAC
(May 10, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, May 9 featured a public forum segment that included an issue of school residency and the “is it in Rehoboth or Attleboro” house on Tremont Street. Also addressed were concerns about RePAC operations and management policies.
Resident Richard Viau, a member of the Finance Committee, address the BOS on the topic of the Tremont Street residence in Rehoboth that is on the town line of Attleboro. It is still being determined which town can claim the property.
Viau questioned the BOS about residency for public school purposes and his belief the town of Rehoboth would save $20,000 in school costs ($10,000 per student) if the two children (he said) who live in that home were removed from the D-R School District and transferred to the Attleboro School District.
The board stated the issue of zoning for that property and residence has yet to be resolved.
Bonnie Kelley, founder of the Rehoboth Concerned Citizens group, addressed the BOS with her concerns on RePAC issues including why they leave their cameras and microphones on during BOS executive sessions, allowing a live broadcast feed on Government Channel 9 for long periods of time.
“I’ve asked them to shut off the microphones and cameras,” said BOS chair Mike Costello, who added that “RePAC doesn’t listen.” He stated that RePAC is vendor of the town of Rehoboth and that he believes the “citizens of Rehoboth deserve better.”5
Kelley also expressed her concern that RePAC, a non-profit organization that solicits membership in their organization, is “exclusionary” by virtue of “a 16-page membership form” and request of an unnamed fee to become a member of the non-profit organization.
RePAC is conducting a membership sign-up meeting on Wednesday, May 11 at the Senior Center from 7 PM.
School Com Member Launches Online Forum
(May 9, 2011) Peter Hebda, who was elected in April as a new member of the Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee, has announced an online public forum to gather information from residents on issues related to public education in Rehoboth.
Hebda will host this forum on his personal website throughout the summer to collect public opinion which will be evaluated in the fall. Anyone will be able to read the forum contents, but contributors must register and use their real names in an effort to “encourage responsibility” for the content of submissions and “discourage the use of personal attacks and/or slander.”
This is a personal project of Mr. Hebda and he is quick to point out that it is not an official communications vehicle of the school district or school committee.
Rehoboth Childrens’ Community Garden
(May 5, 2011) A new Children’s Community Garden has been established behind Fitness Mom Studio (the red brick building) at 340 Anawan Street (Route 118) next to the police/fire station. This community service project will benefit Helping Hands Food Pantry and is sponsored by the URI Master Gardeners Program and Fitness Mom Studio. On Saturday, May 14, a “Let’s Get This Garden Started” event will be held from 1 PM. Children, families, scouts, organizations and churches are invited to participate. For more info, kindly contact Julia Sweet at 508-336-0123.
Foundry Fire Report from the Rehoboth Fire Department
(May 5, 2011) On May 4, the Rehoboth Fire Department responded to a reported fire at 7:55 AM in the foundry at G & W Castings at 128 Bay State Rd.
First arriving personnel discovered flames through the roof of the 200 X 300 brick and wood frame factory that specialized in metal mold castings. Before the arrival of the RFD, all employees had evacuated safe and unhurt.
An employee mistakenly mixed two reactive chemicals that produced a great amount of heat and flammable gas. The mixture quickly ignited and the fire grew very rapidly chasing employees from the structure.
A 4th alarm Bristol County Task Force was called when the size of the fire was realized. The fire was brought under control in approximately two hours with extensive overhaul required. The last units cleared the scene at 5:17 PM.
Some area homes were evacuated and the Palmer River and Beckwith schools on Winthrop Street, about a mile from the blaze, were advised to shelter in place and not allow students outside.
Mass DEP, the Department of Fire Services HAZMAT Team and EPA responded and quickly monitored for air quality and fire stream run off. The testing revealed no chemicals or run off. An environmental contractor was on scene and all fire stream water was collected by the contractor as a further precaution.
The Mass State Fire Marshal Investigation Unit, Rehoboth Fire and Rehoboth Police conducted the investigation and confirmed the cause of the fire. Attleboro, Swansea, Seekonk, Dartmouth, Plainville, Berkley, Norton, Somerset, East Providence and Warren RI Fire Departments assisted.
The State Building Inspector's Office and Rehoboth Health Department also assisted.
The structure was a total loss however some valuable mold and product were recovered. There is no official dollar loss available at this time.
Antiquarian Society Scholarship Offered
(May 4, 2011) The Rehoboth Antiquarian Society is still accepting applicants for their annual scholarship award of up to $500 to a student accepted to or enrolled in a post-secondary program related to history, museum, or library sciences.
Applicants from the greater Rehoboth area are encouraged to apply. Consideration will be given to demonstrated involvement and interest in activities related to the mission of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society.
Applications must be completed and returned by June 15 to the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, Attn: Scholarship Committee, P.O. Box 2, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
UnEarthing Rehoboth’s Farming Past Reception
(May 4, 2011) The Carpenter Museum invites the community to attend a very special reception on Sunday, May 22 at 2 PM to share stories and experiences from interviewers and interviewees alike who took part in the oral history project this spring.
The student interviewers include: Ian Medeiros, Ed Medeiros, Elizabeth Beskid, Elizabeth Oakley and Kira Hitz.
Videos and pictures from the interviews will be on display. Refreshments will be served.
BOS Put Police Chief on Administrative Leave
(May 3, 2011) Late Monday night, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen announced their 2 to 1 vote to put Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos on paid administrative leave.
The board questioned Enos for two hours during a regularly scheduled BOS meeting, breaking to conduct municipal business and then adjourning into an executive session before coming back to make the announcement of their vote.
BOS chairman Mike Costello and Selectman Joe Tito voted yes and Selectmen Don Leffort voted no to approving the paid administrative leave.
According to Selectman Costello, Enos’ responsibilities as police chief will be assumed immediately by Lt. James Trombetta of the Rehoboth Police Department.
Residents Bring Up New Issues at BOS Meeting
(May 3, 2011) Monday night’s marathon BOS meeting included issues brought to the board by residents who were allowed to voice their concerns.
Sally Knox, a member of the Rehoboth Council on Aging that operates the town-owned Senior Center, questioned the BOS on custodial responsibilities of boards and committees that use the center for meetings.
“All boards and commissions need to put tables and chairs away,” she said, noting that people are leaving the room for others to deal with. The senior citizens who use and/or work in the center everyday should not be left with the responsibility to move heavy tables and chairs so they can utilize their own space.
Wheeler Street resident Hank Coleman, representing a number of his neighbors, addressed the BOS on the issue of the 2010 flood damaged Wheeler Street bridge and wanted to know the plan of action and repair options.
Coleman asked the board if the Conservation Commission would be involved in decision making and expressed his opinion that a span bridge would be better than replacing the culvert that was there before the flood.
Because traffic on Wheeler Street has historically been an issue in terms of speed and accidents, Coleman said that some residents in the area “don’t want a new bridge” and that some envision just clearing the debris and making it a park that can be used as a boat launching area.
BOS chair Mike Costello told Coleman that he had met with Highway Superintendent Peter Richmond to view the Wheeler Street bridge as well as others damaged by 2010 flooding. He assured Coleman that the Conservation Commission’s recommendations would be taken into consideration as well as opinions made by the RPD and RFD in terms of safety, access and traffic. Some definitive plans should be formulated by October.
Rehoboth Business Association Announces Annual Springtime Roadside Clean-Up
(April 28, 2011) The Rehoboth Business Association invites everyone to help clean up the roadsides of Rehoboth beginning this weekend and continuing until May 21 by picking up free bags, filling them up with roadside litter and then calling for a pickup.
Bags are free and you can choose where you wish to pick up roadside debris - near your home, in your neighborhood or wherever you see blot on the landscape.
Months of accumulated debris and litter have wreaked havoc with the beautiful roadways of Rehoboth. With the collective effort of residents, businesses, scout troops, athletic organizations, clubs and organization, the roadways of Rehoboth can be beautified once again, just in time for Memorial Day.
For all the details on the RBA’s annual Springtime Roadside Clean-up, just click here.
RePAC and CORI Topics of Continued Conversation
(April 26, 2011) Residents took advantage of the opportunity to speak before the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night on two topics of continued interest, the pursuit of a CORI criminal background check policy and perceived problems with RePAC, the town’s contracted provider of public access television services via Comcast.
Rehoboth resident Robert Brawley, a vocal opponent of RePAC, addressed the BOS with his concerns that “nothing was done or corrected” in terms of “problems with RePAC.” He made two specific requests of selectmen including asking for all the BOS meeting minutes that relate to RePAC.
“I believe those documents should be made public,” said Brawley who also asked the selectmen to conduct another public hearing on RePAC because of “unresolved issues.”
RePAC chairman, Roger Breault, had been issued a written request dated April 19 to appear before the BOS last night to answer questions related to his decision to stop setting up chairs and tables at the Senior Center for public meetings that were taped/broadcast.
Breault declined to attend last night’s meeting stating he would not be available for “further discussion or comments related to the policy of janitorial services.” The letter contains a suggestion that committee chairs should be responsible for finding people to do the set up and take down.
Sadly, Mr. Breault’s mother, age 93, passed away yesterday. Selectman Costello informed Mr. Brawley that any public hearing on RePAC should be scheduled with Mr. Breault’s recent loss in mind.
“I still want to know why RePAC suddenly won’t set up” for the meetings, added Costello. “RePAC is a vendor and should behave like one,” he added.
Selectman Joe Tito said the board deserves more explanation while Selectman Don Leffort mentioned that is “was not in RePAC’s contract to set up tables and chairs” and that “the guy who has always done it hurt his back.”
Note: A previous version of the above article segment contained a sentence fragment that Mr. Brawley shared his opinion there was a “civil conspiracy.” Mr. Brawley wrote to say he was quoting from of a letter written early in the year by Mr. Breault charging past selectmen with “civil conspiracy.” To avoid further confusion, we dropped the phrase from the article.
Resident Jim Paon spoke in the public forum segment about submitting language for the town meeting warrant to approve CORI criminal background checks for both elected and appointed positions.
According to the BOS, the non-binding referendum on CORI checks was just a gauge of public opinion on the issue. Previously, at town meeting, residents voted to not pursue the process of establishing a CORI check procedure for the town to use for both elected and appointed positions.
Paon asked the selectmen if they “believed in advocating for the townspeople,” and suggested they should listen to residents who voted in favor of CORI checks on the non-binding referendum question posed on the April 4 election ballot.
Selectman Tito countered by asking Paon, “would you propose the board of selectmen not speak their opinion?” and that he hoped Paon was not in favor of curtailing the right of free speech, “the oldest form of democracy.”
Selectman Costello said, “I will present facts at town meeting.”
Selectmen Appoint Jeff Ritter as TA
(April 25, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have approved the appointment of Jeff Ritter as the new Town Administrator pending a background check and contract negotiations.
A resident of Medway, MA, Ritter was one of three finalists interviewed by the BOS after a search committee reviewed 34 applications for the important position that has been vacant since January.
According to BOS chair Mike Costello, Ritter was the best fit for the job and expressed his opinion that the new town administrator should be a force to help bring the town together.
Costello thanked the search committee for their time and commitment as they spent eight-hour Saturdays reviewing the applicants before recommending three finalists.
Selectmen’s Agenda Includes RePAC Issues
(April 25, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center with a full agenda including a discussion with RePAC representatives on the issue of who is responsible for setting up tables and chairs prior to BOS meetings. Resident Robert Brawley is also on the agenda to discuss RePAC with the selectmen.
Other published agenda items include amending BOS liaison assignments and a discussion with David House of the Energy Committee about the solar landfill project. The board will also appoint SRPEDD representatives and discuss the town administrator position.
According to the posted agenda, an executive session will be conducted from 6:45 to 7:30 PM followed by the open forum segment and public forum.
The Finance Committee is also slated to meet at the Senior Center tonight beginning at 6:30 PM according to a posted agenda. It is unlikely that both meetings will be broadcast live on RePAC since it appears they will be taking place at the same time in the same place.
RAS to Discuss Building Outdoor Bread Oven
(April 22, 2011) At their upcoming annual meeting on May 4, the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society will hear from local resident Kylee Hitz on plans for building an outdoor bread oven for community events at the Blanding Library and Carpenter Museum.
Kylee and her husband Ciril live on a small farm on Chestnut Street and bake for friends and family in their own outdoor Panyol wood-fired oven enclosed in a small building behind their home. They also operate a business and website, Breadhitz.com.
A master baker, Ciril is department chair of the International Baking & Pastry Institute at Johnson & Wales University in Providence. He has been a guest instructor at both national and international culinary events and has appeared on the NBC Today Show as well as The Food Network.
Members of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society will hold their Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 4 with a potluck dinner before the meeting.
Beckwith Students Learn About Police Forensics
(April 20, 2011) Rehoboth Police Detective Brian Ramos attended the Beckwith Middle School STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) Night.
Detective Ramos, one of two detectives at the RPD, had a booth to demonstrated various types of forensics and technology currently in use.
Patrolman Keith Perry also attended STEM night with one of RPD’s newest cruisers and other various technologies in use by the Patrol Division. The event lasted from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and was well attended by Beckwith students and their parents.
Puppy Pals Reading Program to Begin in May
(April 18, 2011) A new "Puppy Pals" reading program will begin on Tuesday, May 10 and continue each Tuesday for four weeks.
This fun program is designed for children in grades 1 to 4, to help them improve their reading skills. Each child gets to read aloud to a very good listener, one of several well-trained dogs whose owners volunteer their services for this program.
For more information, please call the Blanding at 508-252-4236 to find out more.
BOS Votes to Hire Additional Legal Counsel
(April 16, 2011) According to a report in the Sun Chronicle, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen met Friday evening in an executive session including a closed door discussion with Police Chief Stephen Enos and representatives from the police unions.
The report states the BOS voted to hire attorney Charles Maguire of North Attleboro to “deal with the issue of Enos and police leadership.” Attorney Maguire, according to professional listings, specializes in divorce and family law, wills & estates, and criminal law. The town already employs the Boston legal firm of Kopelman and Paige as town counsel. Newly elected selectmen Mike Costello and Joe Tito voting yes to hire attorney Maguire while selectmen Don Leffort voted no.
Rehoboth Police Chief Enos Visits Statehouse
(April 15, 2011) Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen J. Enos attended a legislative Breakfast at the State House in Boston yesterday.
Sponsored by the Southeastern Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the breakfast is an annual event to foster better relationships between area Police Chiefs and legislators and also an opportunity for the Police Chiefs to explain important legislation being sponsored by them.
Police Chiefs from around the region attended this breakfast with State Senators and Representatives.
Pictured here are Chief Enos and Jacob J. Ventura, Legislative Aide for Representative Steven S. Howitt at the State House.
Local Girl Fighting Cancer Receives Support
(April 18, 2011) The family of ten-year-old Emma Wheeler was presented with a check for $5000 at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I. on Wednesday, April 20 by members of the Rehoboth Police Department and Robert P. Faherty of “Cops for Kids with Cancer.”
Several months ago, Chief Enos sponsored Emma and her family with a request for assistance from the non-profit “Cops For Kids With Cancer” that raises money for a number of families in the Commonwealth each year. Chairman Faherty is a former Superintendent-in-Chief and 40-year veteran of the Boston Police Department.
The organization recently notified Chief Enos they had acted upon his request and made a financial award to the family. Emma was also presented with a Rehoboth Police teddy bear and a card signed by all department members.
A student at Palmer River Elementary School, Emma is battling Wilm’s Tumor cancer for the second time since the fall of 2009. She and her family will be enduing some very difficult times over the coming months as she receives treatment which includes chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant.
The Rehoboth Police Department is asking all town residents to unite to assist this family in their struggle. They will be coordinating a Blood Drive in Emma’s honor in the near future along with other fundraisers. Chief Enos, Officer Matthew Gardner and Keith Perry from the RPD will be reaching out to different community groups and asking them to assist in helping Emma and her family.
Rehoboth Minutemen Gear Up for 2011 Season
(April 18, 2011) The Thirteenth Continental Regiment began this season with a BANG! In March they participated in the Boston Massacre and marched in the Pawtucket and Providence St Patrick’s Day Parades.
They’ve also had two “Rolling Parties” during which they “roll” the black gun powder in paper to use later while firing their muskets.
In April, the Rehoboth-based company drilled at Fort Tabor in New Bedford and set up encampments at Elementary Schools in Seekonk and Westwood. They will also present their encampment history program at North Attleboro, Blackstone, Dedham and Rehoboth schools this month.
May will be a busy month for the Minutemen who will participate in Needham’s 300th anniversary May 21-22 along with marching in two parades for Memorial Day.
Other events scheduled for the 2011 warm weather season include: a recruiting table in Dighton on June 4, participation in Warwick, RI’s Gaspee Days Parade on June 11, the Norton Anniversary Parade on June 12, and the Cumberland Parade on July 4.
The company will travel this summer to encampments in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New Hampshire.
If you attended the 2005 Red Way Plain encampment here in Rehoboth, you won’t want to miss Dighton’s Revolutionary War Encampment to be held next year, on August 17-19, 2012. This local encampment will take place in Dighton as part of their 300th anniversary.
Temporary Road Closures Scheduled for April
(April 14, 2011) The Rehoboth Highway Department has announced upcoming street closures. Weather permitting, Danforth Street will be closed on April 19 and 20 from Rocky Hill Road to Perryville Road from 7 AM to 3 PM. On April 21 and 22, Danforth will be closed from Carpenter Street to Rocky Hill from 7 AM to 3 PM.
BOS Reinstates Public Forum with Guidelines
(April 12, 2011) The newly reorganized Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, under the direction of chair Mike Costello, met for the first time last night and reinstated the public forum.
Along with the “Open Forum” segment for making community announcements, Selectman Tito took some time to explain the new guidelines the BOS plans to use for a “Public Forum” portion giving residents and others the opportunity to speak on any issue of their concern.
Tito presented a list of rules that he said would likely evolve with time and circumstance. Those include: having the speaker identify themselves and sit at the side table while addressing the board; limiting speakers to three minutes unless granted more time; allowing one person to act as spokesperson for a group; and not permitting personal attacks or slanderous statements, rude language and/or behavior.
“Everybody has a right to talk to selectmen,” said Costello.
Selectmen Address Topic of Paperless Warrant
(April 12, 2011) Following the approval of selectmen to accept a bid from a Seekonk printer to publish the town meeting warrant and annual town report, the topic of saving town money by eliminating the paper documents was discussed.
It was reported that Cathy Doane, the town’s accountant, shared information with the Finance Committee on her hometown’s (Assonet) use a different type of town warrant and annual report.
According to FinCom chairman Chris Morra, the town would save money by not mailing out paper warrants, instead relying on warrants posted at certain locations and perhaps available on the town’s website.
Because of the looming date of the May town meeting, selectmen felt this issue should be addressed more fully at a later date.
FinCom Chairman Morra Criticizes New Selectmen
(April 12, 2011) Utilizing the public forum portion of the BOS meeting, Christopher Morra criticized new selectmen Mike Costello and Joe Tito for statements they made about him while appearing on a local radio program.
Morra expressed his disappointment in Costello and Tito and then elaborated on his perception that he continues to be personally targeted by Rhode Island radio host and blogger Jim Hummel.
He said that in 2005 his security and alarm company “donated services” via a reduced bid to Rehoboth “like plenty of people do” to help the town. Now, according to Morra, there are employees in the town who believe the systems installed by his company allow others to listen to phone conservations.
“There no are capabilities whatsover in Rehoboth,” said Morra, “to do such things” with the systems installed by his company.
Following Morra’s statement to the BOS, resident Susan Costello addressed the board saying it was “really inappropriate for Morra to accuse people” and brought up a personal attack flyer mailed pre-election against her husband, the new chairman of the BOS.
A Discussion of CORI Checks at BOS Meeting
(April 12, 2011) The subject of CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) checks was brought before the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen by resident Jim Paon who independently did some research on criminal checks and the policy used by the town of Seekonk that runs CORI checks on appointed officials, but not elected officials.
Selectman Joe Tito has also done research on the topic and discovered that none of the many towns he contacted run CORI checks on elected officials.
Rehoboth voters approved by majority vote the non-binding referendum question on the April 4 ballot that would allow the town to seek state approval via special legislation to require CORI checks on both elected and appointed officials.
Because the survey-like gauge of public opinion is not binding, the process must continue down a path that may or may not include another vote at town meeting, Rehoboth’s current system of municipal government.
Paon asked the BOS to write language to implement a CORI policy and consult town legal counsel as townspeople would have to eventually approve a new town bylaw by either ballot at election or 2/3 majority vote at town meeting.
According to the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), anyone who has been arraigned on criminal charges will have a CORI record that will never disappear without a court order, even if the case was dismissed or the person not convicted of any crime.
The non-binding referendum question voted on by Rehoboth residents clearly stated the use of CORI checks “for its elected and appointed officials.” Volunteers on any of the town’s many boards, committees, councils, etc. are considered appointed officials as they must be sworn in to accept the responsibilities of their appointed position, including reporting any conflict of interest.
David Marciello, former town administrator for Rehoboth, addressed the BOS as a citizen and strongly cautioned them to carefully look at the “file” on CORI checks in the selectmen’s office.
“There is a large question mark on this,” said Marciello and Selectmen Tito agreed that it is “a bit of a bee’s nest.”
Keep Yourself and Others Safe by Checking Dates
(April 11, 2011) Kind-hearted souls who donate to food panties have the best intentions, but often forget to check the expiration date on the food products they donate.
Food panties across the nation, including Rehoboth Helping Hands, can not use food products that have expired. It is not uncommon for up to thirty percent of donations collected to have expired safety and quality dates, often by several years.
According to Steve Martin who manages the Helping Hands program, he is deeply grateful for the donations that can safely be distributed to others. “If sixty percent of donations are good, then we are ahead,” he said, “but the expired goods then have to be disposed since we can’t use them.”
For Martin, this means finding the means, time and helpers to then take all the expired goods for disposal. “I have one volunteer who makes trip after trip to the transfer station to dispose of the expired products.” Sometimes after a very large townwide collection such as annual scout food drives, there are “enough expired goods to fill a dumpster.”
Do food expiration dates really matter? The answer to that question is yes, for both yourself and others. A label may read “Use by” or “Sell by” or has a “pack” date. Other labels clearly state” expiration date” and that means consumption is at your own risk.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises that canned and dry food should preferably be kept between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit in a dry, dark place. Humidity can also speed-up deterioration. The FDA recommends never keeping canned goods in a hot locations because the taste, aroma, and appearance even if it has not expired.
BOS Welcomes Newly Elected Members
(April 11, 2011) Newly elected selectmen Mike Costello and Joe Tito will takes their seats at tonight’s BOS meeting featuring a full agenda of both old and new business.
Prior to the open forum portion of the meeting, selectmen will meet with the committee responsible for selecting viable candidates to fill the position of town administrator, and discuss the disposition of town-owned property.
Other items on the meeting agenda include: a request from Jim Paon to discuss approval of CORI checks for elected and appointed town officials; a discussion with Cheryl Wyman regarding the Rehoboth Cultural Council; continuing discussion about the upcoming May town meeting; and approval of contract to repair the Elm Street Rock Culvert.
Selectmen will also vote on accepting the resignation of Peter Richmond as Stormwater Officer. They must also decide to approve the resignation of selectman Don Leffort from the Parks Commission, the Community Preservation Committee, and the Agricultural & Natural Resources Preservation Committee.
Open forum topics on the agenda include news updates on the Memorial Day Parade, the upcoming Senior Concert and Lunch sponsored by the RPD and a Prescription Drug Take-back event coordinated by the RPD and the DEA.
Janice Terry Wins D-R School Committee Seat
(April 10, 2011) After suddenly resigning last summer from the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee, Janice Terry won the seat back in yesterday’s town election in Dighton.
Encouraged to run for election, Terry, who served on the school committee for over twenty years, was quoted in the Taunton Gazette as explaining, “I resigned because of things that happened during executive session,” Terry said. “I really did what I felt I had to do, and I’ve already addressed the issues with the people I wasn’t happy with. Terry said she was encouraged to run again.
Golfers Wanted For New League at Hillside CC
(April 9, 2011) A new Newman YMCA Golf League will be held at the 9 hole course at Hillside Country Club in Rehoboth beginning May 6. All ages from twelve-years and up are welcome to join with no YMCA membership needed.
The ten-week league will run on Friday afternoons at 4 PM from May 6 through July 8 for a fee of $150. You can register online or contact Sean Tormey for more info at email@example.com or 508-336-7103.
RPD and DEA Sponsor Prescription Drug Take Back
(April 6, 2011) A recent television ad campaign illustrates the problem of what happens to unused prescription medications.
The “All My Pills” ad shows a teen lightheartedly addressing the camera in the school cafeteria while joyfully looking through the stash of pills he has acquired from the medicine cabinets of relatives. The concept of your medicine cabinet being the new drug dealer is very real.
As part of a national event taking place on Saturday, April 30, the Rehoboth Police Department, in conjunction with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will host their second “Prescription Drug Take Back Program” at the police headquarters that day from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Any citizen from any community may drop off prescription drugs during this take back program with no questions asked. All citizens have to do is drive up in front of police headquarters and hand the prescription drugs to the officers on hand and drive off.
Rehoboth police officers and agents from the DEA will be on hand to accept the prescription drugs which will be incinerated under DEA direction.
The RPD first collaborated with DEA for this program in September of 2010 with tremendous success in collecting and safely disposing unused medications.
Police Chief Stephen Enos encourages all Rehoboth residents, as well as those in nearby communities, to check their homes for unused or expired medications.
“This event will help to ensure that prescription medications are disposed of properly,” said Chief Enos, adding that “Sergeant Mark Rossi will be coordinating this event for the RPD.”
“Your support for this program is encouraged and greatly appreciated,” said Chief Enos.
Selectman Foley Denies Involvement
(April 4, 2011) In an interview on Sunday, Rehoboth BOS chairman and candidate for re-election Ken Foley denied any involvement on the part of his election committee in a controversial mailing targeting his opponent Mike Costello.
In what was apparently a mass mailing of unknown numbers, the flyer was address labeled and mailed first class to Rehoboth residents with a return address of Horton Estates.
In reference to the flyer, Foley said that, “as a group,” he doesn’t believe the “residents of Horton Estates would have come out with anything like that.”
“I have no idea who did it - none,” noted Foley. The flyer “could be from anyone,” he said adding, “I think in both camps people do crazy things.” Foley emphasized that his group of supporters were not involved in mailing the flyer.
According to Foley, he spoke with Costello on Sunday and told him, “I have no idea where this came from.”
Foley also responded to another flyer sent from candidates Costello and Dr. Joe Tito. It references the statement: “the town of Rehoboth is under federal investigation” and calls it a “baseless” lie.
According to Foley, there is a federal investigation involving police officers in the town of Rehoboth, as broadcast on a recent report from a WJAR-Channel 10 news investigation.
All Four Candidates for Selectman Met Sunday
(April 3, 2011) Upon the request of Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos, all four candidates for Board of Selectmen voluntarily met together on Sunday morning at the Senior Center to discuss public safety issues related to Monday’s election.
“There has been a steady increase of tension and volatility in town during the last six months,” said Enos who wanted to give all four candidates an overview of issues that have been channeled through the RPD, many related to the upcoming election.
Not only have there been skirmishes at various board or committee meetings, there have been threats and intimidation tactics focused on individuals, groups and businesses.
In calling the meeting on Sunday, Enos wanted to make sure the candidates knew about the scope and severity of complaints made to the police department. “When people begin to take matters into their own hands,” he said, “I begin to worry that somebody may get hurt and my concern is for public safety.”
Each candidate was asked by Enos to “reach out to all their supports and request they exercise restraint for the next 48 hours and afterwards” in an effort to keep tensions from boiling over on election day.
According to BOS chairman and candidate Ken Foley, “We all had a nice meeting where we agreed on a lot of things.”
Following the close of polling tomorrow at 8 PM, there will be a police presence at the Town Office until the votes are tabulated. Traditionally, only a constable is hired to be present at the tabulation.
Inflammatory Letter Targets One Candidate
(April 2, 2011) Rehoboth residents received an address-labeled, first-class stamped flyer yesterday that targeted candidate for selectman Mike Costello singularly. It is unknown how many residents received this flyer which had a return address with a photo icon of Horton Estates with a return address that included a misspelling of ‘Rehobeth, MA.”
According to an email sent by candidate Costello to RehobothNow earlier today, the flyer was not mailed from Horton Estates.
He included the text copy of a letter from Horton Estates Condominium Trust signed by trustee James M. Irving that stated, “The trustees of Horton Estates would like to state that the recent mailing warning Rehoboth residents about Mr. Costello was not created or sanctioned by any official of Horton Estates” and that “the contents of this letter are offensive and do not represent the spirit of the residents of Horton Estates.”
At publish time today, RehobothNow was not able to reach Mr. Irving to confirm the letter was written by him as it was unsigned and not on any official letterhead.
GravelCom Says OK to Excavating Near Cemetery
(April 2, 2011) A decision was made yesterday by sitting members of the Gravel Committee to approve a currently underway excavating project on the private property Russell and Elaine Patton at 126 Cedar Street includes Rehoboth Historic Cemetery No. 22.
Concerned with the preservation of the “Ingalls Family” cemetery, members of the Rehoboth Cemetery Commission spoke before selectmen Ken Foley, Don Leffort and Planning Board member John Moriarty on Friday at the Town Office.
Cheryl Wyman, a volunteer who is mapping all of the town’s 52 historic cemeteries, spoke before the sitting board members to give information about the property involved. One of her main concerns is the potential for erosion around the cemetery where an unknown number of graves may lay unmarked.
“We have not established how big the cemetery really is,” said Wyman. Outside the main decorative black iron railing which contains early nineteenth century gravestones, there may be other graves within the immediate area. “There may be bones fully outside of the hill,” she explained. Erosion in the immediate area may disturb graves and often bones will emerge.
She also mentioned that the Cemetery Commission had already said no to Mr. Patton when he told them about his idea to excavate on his property in order to improve visibility near his driveway.
Property owner Patton was adamant that his intent was to increase visibility driving in and out of his driveway and to allow easier access to the historic cemetery. He plans to mulch and landscape the area, providing an attractive path.
Questions were asked of Patton’s contracted excavator, Jeff Main, who had already been working on the site per Patton’s specifications when he had been asked to stop earlier in the week after complaints were brought before the Gravel Committee.
Members of the Cemetery Commission, Lynne Searle and Virginia Latham asked what had happened to the metal historic cemetery sign mounted on a tree and was told by Patton that he had the tree cut down to do the excavation that is from 30 to 40 feet from the cemetery’s main plot railing fence.
“I have the sign,” reported Patton, who added, “I don’t feel I have to go to you to remove a tree.”
When asked by Foley how long the process would take, Main agreed the project would probably be done within 60 days and that he would take measures for erosion control during the process of excavation.
Approval was then granted to Patton by the sitting members of the Gravel Committee.
Police Chief Enos Given Two-Day Suspension
(April 1, 2011) Providence-based WJAR reported on their noon broadcast that following a review of an independent investigation, a decision was made this morning by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen in an executive session to suspend police chief Stephen Enos for two days without pay for violation of a departmental regulation not specified.
Gravel Committee to Discuss Cemetery Issue
(April 1, 2011) The Gravel Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday morning at the town office to address an issue brought to them by William Saunders, chair of the Rehoboth Cemetery Commission, regarding the removal of gravel from a historic cemetery located off Cedar Street.
On Tuesday, Rehoboth resident Sandi Ruscetta went to the Town Office to report witnessing a back hoe on the property and evidence of gravel removal. According to Ms. Ruscetta in an email written to RehobothNow, enough gravel was removed to leave a “steep edge, so as the graves, and what remains will be washed down hill due to erosion.” She also stated that the Historic cemetery marker was removed and trees were cut.
Listed as Rehoboth Historical Cemetery Number 22, the Ingells Family Lot is located on a hill about 200 feet off Cedar Street. The early nineteenth century graves are marked with gravestones within a black decorative iron fence.
RPD Respond to Brush Fire and Two-Car Crash
(March 30, 2011) First Rehoboth firefighters responded to a brush fire on Victoria Lane on Tuesday afternoon. A permitted fire was being extinguished when the wind picked up and blew embers into a field on the side of the house. Firefighters were able to cut the fire off as it started across the field. Units were on scene for about an hour wetting down.
Returning from the brush fire, they came upon a two-car accident on Fairview Avenue. The drivers of both vehicles were transported to area hospitals by Rehoboth EMS with non-life threatening injuries. Rehoboth Police had to reroute traffic around the accident at Bliss Street and Homestead Avenue. Firefighters remained on scene until the vehicles were removed from the roadway. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by Rehoboth police.
BOS to Review Investigation Report
(March 30, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will review the investigation report on police chief Stephen Enos issued by Public Safety Consultants in an executive session scheduled for Friday, April 1 (unless changed).
Upon review of the report, selectmen will release information to the public, presumably at the next meeting of the BOS on April 11 when the matter will be either concluded or continued by the sitting selectmen.
Residents Chastised for Behaving Poorly in Public
(March 29, 2011) During the open forum portion of last night’s meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, resident Harvey Bigelow spoke out with dismay at the poor behavior and disrespect shown of people at public meetings.
Sixty-six year old Bigelow moved to Rehoboth five years ago in order to spend time with his family and train draft horses. He expressed his shock with public behavior shown at meetings and constant controversy instigated by various groups.
“There are two political factions in town,” he said. “But there is a third party, “he elaborated,” of people who come here week after week to disrupt the meeting.” He compared the behavior exhibited by certain audience members to the film “Animal House” with people continuously “laughing, talking and making nasty remarks.”
“This doesn’t happen in other towns,” he said, “any you are only hurting yourselves” while the town faces a $450,000 budget deficit with no state relief in site for at least two more years.
Speaking as a business professional who, before he moved to Rehoboth, managed a company with a $850 million dollar budget, Bigelow said that his adopted community is a “nice place to live” but it is time to “cut out the foolishness.” His statement was greeted with only minor applause.
BOS Chair Foley Defends His Actions as Selectman
(March 29, 2011) In what could be his final meeting as a Rehoboth selectman, Ken Foley took the opportunity to once again defend his actions and express his hope that “the next board will have a better time” than he did.
Following what he described as a “difficult year” with people trying to obstruct town business, Foley said he has been bashed for “no reason” while his intent has always been to serve the town of Rehoboth in a responsible manner including putting three non-binding referendum questions on the upcoming town election ballot.
The three questions will gauge the voter’s opinions on the issue of increasing the number of selectmen from three to five; performing CORI checks on all town employees, elected and appointed officials; and revising the town bylaws to alter the existing recall procedure.
“Every time there is a recall effort, it costs the town $10,000 each time,” said Foley. “It’s the selectmen’s right to put articles” in the town warrant and non-binding questions on the ballot, “he emphasized.
Rumors Dispelled About District CORI Checks
(March 29, 2011) Speaking at last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting, Richard Barrett, the vice-chair of the D-R Regional School Committee dispelled rumors that have been circulating about CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) background checks performed by the district.
According to Barrett, the district adheres to Massachusetts General Laws that require background checks on all school district employees, drivers, third-party vendors and school volunteers. Additionally, the district also performs SORI (Sex Offender Registry Information) checks.
Election Collection Food Drive for Helping Hands
(March 28, 2011) Voters are asked to bring along a donation for Helping Hands Food Pantry when they visit their election precinct on Monday, April 4. Sponsored by RehobothNow, there will be blue bins at each of the three precincts.
Much thanks to resident Sue Scanlon who suggested the idea for merging voting with donating to Helping Hands, the local human service organization that provides food and basic necessities to Rehoboth residents who find themselves in need.
Helping Hands director Steve Martin distributes food every week to up to 100 families and individuals in need. Stocking the food pantry’s shelves with donated goods is an ongoing endeavor to keep up with the demand.
When you vote on Monday, April 4, please bring along nonperishable food products for the Election Collection. You’ll be supporting the community with both your vote and your donation.
PTSA Grant Program Funds Projects at PR & DLB
(March 28, 2011) The PTSA Enhancement Grant Program (PEG) was established to fund projects at Beckwith and Palmer River outside the school budget that would make a difference in our children’s classroom experiences.
All proposals should meet as many of the PTSA goals as possible. These goals include enhancing the learning curriculum, improving the quality of education, promoting the welfare of the children, and developing a united effort between parents and educators to secure the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, or spiritual education. This year’s recipients include:
Ms. Sandi Klinkhamer, 4th grade teacher for Estes Educator Rocket Bulk Pack); Grade 7 and 8 mathematics teachers Ms. Terri Ciolfi and Ms. Pamela Zalk for classroom set of scientific calculators; Ms. Debora Wagner, 6th grade teacher for materials to build wood shelving units; Ms. Melisa Johnson, special education teacher for grocery store gift card for the purchase of supplies necessary to start a cookie program for her students at Beckwith; Ms. Laura Lynch, 8th grade Spanish teacher for ten digital voice recorders; Ms. Polly Cardea, 7th grade Spanish teacher for ten digital voice recorders; Ms. Holli Nickelson, 8th grade teacher for ELMO document camera; Ms. Linda Miller, physical education teacher for a stereo system for use in her classes; Ms. Sheila Haskins, library media specialist for five Acer Netbook computers; and Ms. Ashley Jutras, School Psychologist/504 Coordinator for Second Step Program for Grade 7.
D-R School District to Offer Full-Day Kindergarten
(March 24, 2011) With ninety percent of the school districts providing options for full-day kindergarten programs, the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee has approved a full-day K program beginning in the Fall for those interested.
There will be a $3,500 tuition fee for parents who wish to send their children to a full-day program, one that will include enhanced language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
According to school superintendent Dr. Kathleen Montagano, the full-day option will not alter the district’s projected operating budget as it will be a tuition-based alternative.
Parent information nights will be hosted soon at both Palmer River Elementary and Dighton Elementary to explain components of the program, payment options and the benefits.
The number of full-day classrooms will be determined by the number of parents who commit with a deposit.
Alert: Housebreak Reported on Spring Street
(March 23, 2011) An Nixle internet advisory message was issued yesterday by the Rehoboth Police Department about a reported housebreak at 124 Spring Street. Anyone with info should call detectives at the RPD at 508-252-3722.
Last week, there was an alert message issued by the RPD regarding a housebreak at 199 Homestead Avenue with a suspicious vehicle, a grey Ford SUV with RI Registration 989211 last seen driving on Homestead. If you have any information, please contact detectives at 508-252-3722.
CPC Approves Hornbine School Restoration Plan
(March 22, 2011) Good news for Rehoboth’s historic Hornbine School. Thanks to a proposal by resident Cathy Potter of the Rehoboth Historical Commission, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) has reviewed and approved a plan to repair and restore the broken windows of the one-room school house.
Built in 1846, the Hornbine School is a historic gem for the town of Rehoboth. The little white school house, located on Hornbine Road, operates as a museum open to the public from June through October on two Sundays per month.
In the springtime, the school turns into a time machine when grade school classrooms from both public and private schools visit to experience a day in a classroom of the 1800’s.
Believing that Potter’s proposal to repair the Hornbine windows is an “excellent use of the Community Preservation Act’s funds, the membership approved a bid for services by a qualified restoration expert.
The next step will be asking for Rehoboth residents’ approval at spring Town Meeting. They encourage all voters to support this worthy endeavor.
RPD Dispatched to Chimney Fire on Bay State Rd.
(March 22, 2011) On Sunday evening, March 20, the Rehoboth Fire Department responded to the report of a chimney fire in a house on Bay State Road. The fire was contained to a wood stove and chimney. Due to the height and pitch of the roof, the aerial ladder had to be used to safely access the chimney. Crews were at the scene for about an hour.
CPC Approves Hornbine School Restoration Plan
(March 22, 2011) Good news for Rehoboth’s historic Hornbine School. Thanks to a proposal by resident Cathy Potter of the Rehoboth Historical Commission, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) has reviewed and approved a plan to repair and restore the broken windows of the one-room school house.
Built in 1846, the Hornbine School is a historic gem for the town of Rehoboth. The little white school house, located on Hornbine Road, operates as a museum open to the public from June through October on two Sundays per month.
In the springtime, the school turns into a time machine when grade school classrooms from both public and private schools visit to experience a day in a classroom of the 1800’s.
Believing that Potter’s proposal to repair the Hornbine windows is an “excellent use of the Community Preservation Act’s funds, the membership approved a bid for services by a qualified restoration expert.
The next step will be asking for Rehoboth residents’ approval at spring Town Meeting. They encourage all voters to support this worthy endeavor.
Town Employees’ Health Insurance Grandfathered
(March 21, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen granted a request made by town treasurer Cheryl Gouveia to “grandfather” the town employees’ health insurance policy to prevent a 9.5 increase in premiums. Town employees are insured through the Southeastern Massachusetts Health Group. The selectmen’s decision kept premium rates at 7.4, the “grandfathered” increase until June 2012.
Selectmen Chair Foley Confirmed Federal Investigation
(March 16, 2011) Without giving any other information, Rehoboth Board of Selectmen Chairman Ken Foley confirmed there is an ongoing federal investigation of the town of Rehoboth.
The question was asked by Robyn Balents who was granted permission to speak at last night’s BOS meeting. An elected official on the Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee, Balents also serves on the Rehoboth Council on Aging.
“I am disturbed to hear about expensive lawsuits in town,” said Balents before asking Foley to outline any current litigation involving the town or its elected officials, past or present.
Foley answered that there are “two lawsuits pending against the town” including one brought by past selectmen John Ferreira for 2.5 million dollars. The other lawsuit is against the town and past selectmen and current finance committee chairman Christopher Morra for $5.5 million dollars.
Foley was not correct with regard to the lawsuit he mentioned against Morra because the town was not named as a defendant in that case.
Balents expressed her grave concern about rumors that Chris Morra was utilizing town funding for legal counsel to which Foley responded that was not true.
Asked how much liability coverage the town has, Foley said he believed there was a one million blanket and confirmed it would be the taxpayers who may end up with the financial burden of any lawsuit settlement money that exceeds the liability insurance cap.
Concluding her round of questions to Foley, Balents then asked if there was an ongoing federal investigation of the town of Rehoboth. Foley replied yes, but did not elaborate further on the nature of the investigation or the federal agencies involved.
Lawsuits Involving Officials and the Town of Rehoboth
(March 16, 2011) There are currently two legal cases on the court dockets against the Town of Rehoboth along with individually named defendants.
One involves a federal case against the town, the conservation commission, the zoning board of appeals and individual defendants Scott Pennoyer, Donna Choate, Bruce Andrews, Matt Habershaw, Wendy Skinner, Louis Gizzi, Thomas Nicholson, Laurie Burt and Tena Davies. Click for more info.
The plantiffs are Thomas Grossi and Grossi Development, LLC in a suit filed on April 29, 2010 with the cause of action involving a federal question of civil rights. The presiding judge is Ryan W. Zobel.
A second, and older, case is a suit filed by John P. Ferreira and four of his companies or partnerships against the Town of Rehoboth, Christopher Morra, Kenneth Foley, Frederick Vadnais along with several unnamed John/Jane Does.
Filed on September 29, 2008, the nature of the 44-page lawsuit involves thirteen counts against the defendants either individually or in their capacities as Rehoboth town officials. The counts include such charges as defamation, breach of contract, civil conspiracy,retaliation, violation of due process and the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act. Click here for more info.
Ferreria, as plaintiff, is requesting award of damages in “an amount to be determined at trial” together with costs, interest, and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Additional he wants a declaratory judgement have each of the defendants have violated state and federal constitutional rights and permanent injunctions on the Town of Rehoboth and Christopher Morra individually.
Ferreira also seeks an award of punitive damages against the defendants in an amount to be determined.
As of January 27, 2011, Judge Leo T. Sorokin denied or allowed several motions. Click here for more info.
Lawsuits Involving FinCom Chairman Chris Morra
(March 16, 2011) According to available court information, finance committee chairman and former selectman Christopher M. Morra and Tracy A. Morra are the plantiffs in a case against Bree Krasnianski and James Casey, both employees of the Rehoboth Police Department.
File on August 17, 2010, the case involves statutory actions under a federal jurisdiction. Click here for info.
In a separate case, Morra is the defendant in a lawsuit seeking $5.5 million dollars on behalf of eight plaintiffs including: James Medeiros of the RPD, Paul E. Terenzi of the RPD, James Casey of the RPD and Norman J. Miranda, former RPD chief. The remaining plaintiffs include Susan Pimental, Charles Procopio, Paul E. Bowen and Triple Eagle Enterprises, LLC, a company engaged in land development.
According to John Reilly and Associates, the suit seeks a jury trial with twelve counts against Morra including “defamation of character, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of First Amendment rights and retaliation based upon interference with advantageous business relations” among other things. Click here for info.
Police Chief Residency Not An Issue for BOS
(March 15, 2011) According to BOS chairman Ken Foley, the issue of where the police chief lives is ultimately up to the selectmen and the contractual arrangement they make, and it can be renegotiated at any time.
Police Chief Enos is currently residing temporarily in Pawtucket while in the process of a divorce. Previously he relocated from East Providence to Rehoboth as per his contractual agreement.
By state law, a municipal police chief must live within 15 miles of Rehoboth. The city of Pawtucket is within the geographic range.
Selectmen Foley said the BOS can renegotiate Enos’ contract at any time and change his residency requirement. But rather than do that right now, he will postpose any action until after town election on April 4 so the “new board of selectmen can do it.”
Request for Executive Minutes: Selectmen Say No
(March 15, 2011) Selectmen Ken Foley and Don Leffort voted no to releasing their executive minutes to the public as requested by resident Sue Pimental who serves on the Finance Committee.
Citing the information requested by Pimental as “sensitive in nature” and “concerning litigation of personnel matters,” Foley denied the request
RPD Dispatched to Chimney Fire on Bay State Rd.
(March 22, 2011) On Sunday evening, March 20, the Rehoboth Fire Department responded to the report of a chimney fire in a house on Bay State Road. The fire was contained to a wood stove and chimney. Due to the height and pitch of the roof, the aerial ladder had to be used to safely access the chimney. Crews were at the scene for about an hour.
Thanks Rehoboth! RPD Gets Three New Cruisers
The Rehoboth Police Department recently took delivery of three new 2011 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. These new cruisers were purchased from MHQ Municipal Vehicles in Marlboro, Ma. and replaced three aging cruisers in the department’s fleet of vehicles. The purchase of the three cruisers was authorized at Special Town Meeting in the Fall of 2010.
Police Chief Stephen J. Enos thanks Rehoboth taxpayers for supporting Rehoboth Police Department operations by funding the acquisition of these new cruisers. Two of the cruisers are assigned to patrol beats and the third unit is being assigned to the Shift Commanders.
BOS Meeting Features Tempers and Consternation
(March 15, 2011) Last night’s board of selectmen’s meeting was marked by displays of temper including audience member Bob McKim being escorted out of the building by police officers.
There were repeated requests made during the meeting by BOS chairman Ken Foley for the audience to stop shouting, giggling and laughing, but hostility boiled over when McKim addressed the BOS about the issue of two members of the Finance Committee volunteering their time to set up some new computers in the town office.
Angry that Michael Deignan and Ray Viau, both members of the finance committee, assisted with unpacking and setting up new Dell computers for town office staff, McKim repeated loudly the two men were “not bonded, not insured, and not guaranteed” as personnel from a professional IT company.
McKim implied the men had ample access to sensitive town information which Deignan disputed saying the staff downloaded with own files into the new computers. Additionally the municipal financial files are password protected and managed offsite.
Deignan, with over twenty years of IT experience at UMASS, stated he took vacation days to install the new computers. He also explained that he and Viau were approached by then town administrator David Marciello to volunteer their time to help, rather than paying an outside IT company for 16 to 18 hours worth of tech service and travel time at $115 per hour.
“Rehoboth has become like Iraq,” Diegnan said angrily, “like the Shia and Sunni trying to kill each other.”
Selectmen Leffort asked McKim what he was accusing Diegnan of doing at which point McKim was began shouting and was asked to leave the room by Foley.
As McKim left, selectmen Leffort made a comment about McKim’s use of a cane. Within seconds McKim burst back into the proceedings and soon as a police officer on either side as they escorted him out again while shouting at Leffort.
When Deignan began speaking again, numerous members of the audience got up from their seats and left.
Town Moderator Cute Steps Up to Defend Town Clerk
(March, 15, 2011) Compelled to leave the dinner table at home and quickly drive to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting last night, Town Moderator William Cute was granted permission to speak and blasted Selectman Ken Foley for “throwing” Town Clerk Kathleen Conti “under the bus.”
Earlier the meeting, Foley had brought up the topic of what has become known as “Three to Five” - the issue of pursuing the process of increasing the number of selectmen that was petitioned and approved by voters at last Fall’s town meeting.
When the BOS appeared to sideline the issue by inaction, concerned citizens accused the selectmen of stalling. Last night Foley suggested Kathleen Conti, an elected official, was at fault for not assuming the responsibility of getting the process moved along by petitioning the legislature for approval to allow a town bylaw change to add two additional selectmen to the board.
Foley stated it was not the selectmen’s responsibility to petition the state legislature and suggested he obtain legal counsel on who exactly is at fault. “It was not my job,” said Foley. “It was the (original) petitioner’s job or Kathy Conti’s.” The original petitioner was Bonnie Kelley, founder of Rehoboth Concerned Citizens.
Cute said he was watching the live broadcast of BOS meeting when he heard Foley “put Kathy Conti into a very uncomfortable position.” He emphasized that a town meeting was the official legislative entity of the town and the BOS was the executive branch that carries out the will of the people who vote at town meeting.
“I heard you say, ‘Kathy, I’m not throwing you under the bus,” said Cute to Foley. “But I believe you did something you should not be proud of as an elected official.”
Foley then expressed his regret for insinuating that Conti was at fault.
“Kathy has been nothing but helpful to me as town moderator,” concluded Cute to audience applause.
Extended Polling Hours: Maybe Next Year
(March 15, 2011) Candidate for selectmen and D-R School Committee member Jim Paon spoke before the selectmen Ken Foley and Don Leffort at last night’s BOS meeting on the issue of extending polling hours for the upcoming April 4 town election in an effort to attract more voters.
Also addressing the question was Kathleen Conti, the town clerk who is currently mid-stream into overseeing the upcoming election which has already been publicizes with times and locations.
“I’m all in favor of helping voters,” said Conti who then explained how plans for this election have already been set. An extension, by even a couple hours, will necessitate staffing changes, trying to notify the public of the changes and adding a greater financial burden on the town. She guesstimated perhaps an additional twelve hundred dollars to pay workers.
A decision was made by selectmen Foley and Leffort to look into extended polling hours next year.
DA’s Office Says No Violation on RPD Telephones
(March 15, 2011) District Attorney Sam Sutter and his first assistant Tom Quinn have examined information about the Rehoboth Police Department’s telecommunications systems and issued a notice of no violations to put to rest allegations of misconduct by a Rhode Island reporter with a non-profit website.
A letter from Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos responding to questions about his telephone and radio use was read at last night’s board of selectmen’s meeting by acting town administrator Helen Dennen.
In October 2008, the only recorded call in the RPD came from the state-owned 911 system and dispatch calls. The main telephone lines did not have recording capabilities, a glaring public safety deficit. Any callers using the main lines rather than 911 were not recorded which presented a serious problem in terms of losing vital information - used for additional communication to officers in the field and record keeping for future investigation.
Upon receipt of grant money in 2009, the RPD telecom systems were updated. The new system, all lines recorded or unrecorded, were approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
All RPD personnel were trained in new protocol including making an announcement to callers the lines were being recorded. Labels were placed on all phones with instructions, and the system was password protected with users being police supervisors, the designated internal affairs officer and Chief Enos.
According to Enos’ letter, when he first employed, he was alerted by a Verizon worker to some problems and suspicious wiring in the telephone room including something described as a box or plug-in on the chief’s office line which was open at the time. The chief’s office line was then made into a private line within the system.
In response to this controversy, the chief’s office line as been reset as open and free for anyone to use. This procedure was done by the company that installed the system, National Security Fire Alarm Systems of East Providence, owned and operated by Christopher Morra, past selectmen and current chair of the Rehoboth Finance Committee.
Additionally, it was discovered that not all RPD officers were giving the verbal warnings that phone conversations were being recorded. According to Enos, all personnel have been reissued the memo. As of March 14, the RPD is in complete compliance with established protocol regarding recorded telephone or radio calls.
Introducing the Cast of the Upcoming DR Musical (March, 9, 2011)
Don’t miss enjoying the talented performances of DRRHS students who will appear in the upcoming musical Thoroughly Modern Millie on March 24, 25 and 26.
Mia Boostrom as the lead Millie Dillmount. Danielle Witter as Miss Dorothy Brown. Gunnar Manchester as Trevor Graydon. Joseph Sherry as Jimmy Smith, Raquel Perez as Mrs. Meers. Chelsea Thiboutot as Miss Flannery. Megan King as Muzzy Van Hossmere. John Rogers as Bun Foo. Cameron Foss as Ching Ho.
Chorus players include: Sara Smith as Ruth. Mikaela Thiboutot as Gloria. Kelley McBride as Alice. Emily Martin as Ethel Peas. Brittany Justin as Rita. b as Lucille. Emma Perry as Cora. Ben Patterson as Police Man. Meghan Santos as Pearl Lady. Emma Kearns as Daphne. Tim Caron as Dexter. Leah Palazzo as Dorothy Parker. Aaron Blanck as George Gershwin. Brittany Koepfer as New Modern. Steele VanDenBerghe as Mama. Mark Koussa as Rodney.
Concerned Citizens Report Accomplishments
(March 14, 2011) Following their meeting on Saturday, March 12, the leadership of the Rehoboth Concerned Citizens group have announced the suspension of “future meetings for the time being so that our members may have the time to support the candidate of their choice.”
According to a written statement by founder Bonnie Kelley, “we have accomplished so much” including being able “to facilitate an investigation into the incident in December involving the Police Chief.”
“Having been the spokesperson and originator of the 3 to 5 legislation, I promised to ask the General Court to make sure there is a voter acceptance provision put on the legislation,” wrote Kelley. “I will be doing this no matter what the outcome of the non-binding vote is on Question 1.”
Stating that her group will “continue beyond the election,” Kelley acknowledged they will “continue to promote transparency and respect in government, giving citizens a voice, and making sure that our leaders obey town votes, town bylaws, and MG laws.”
D-R School District Offers Level-Service Budget
(March 9, 2011) At last night’s meeting of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, Superintendent Kathleen Montagano presented a 2012 fiscal year budget of $35 million.
With no cuts in programming, the budget contains an overall 2.2 increase above the current budget with a breakdown of $12.5 million for DRRHS, $12.6 million for Rehoboth’s Palmer River and D.L. Beckwith schools, and $9.9 million for Dighton’s elementary and middle schools.
One member of the school committee, David Katseff, is quoted as expressing caution as the proposed budget may be adjusted depending on state funding.
Headless Duck Discovered on Resident’s Walkway
(March 8, 2011) Shortly before noon yesterday, Rehoboth police were summoned to the residence of Daniel Jarosz at 240 Summer Street following the discovery of a headless domesticated duck on the home’s front walkway.
Believing the duck to have been a victim of animal cruelty, Rehoboth police called the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MASPCA) to retrieve the animal for examination. The responding MASPCA official confirmed that suspicion, but a definite report will determine exactly how the duck was killed.
According to the homeowner’s report, the duck carcass may have been placed in the front walkway between 6 AM and 11:45 AM on Monday.
Rehoboth police are asking witnesses to contact Detective Brian Ramos at 508-252-3722 with any information.
Rehoboth PD Detectives Seek Information
(March 7, 2011) Rehoboth Police detectives Jasson Ferreira and Brian Ramos are investigating an attempted burglary at 6 Sassafras Street in South Rehoboth on Saturday, March 5 at approximately 8:30 PM. If you have any information or witnessed anything, please contact the Detective Ferreira or Detective Ramos. at 508-252-3722.
Congregational Church Welcomes New ‘Settled’ Pastor and Husband to Rehoboth
(March 7, 2011) The congregation of Rehoboth Congregational Church voted unanimously yesterday to accept Rev. Sarah Weaver as their "settled" pastor following her first sermon presented at the 10 a.m. service. Rev. Weaver is a native of Connecticut and this will be her first full time position. She will be taking over her duties on April 1st. She and her husband, Bruce, will be occupying the recently purchased church parsonage on Hillside Avenue.
Congressman Jim McGovern to Host “Back to Work” Informational Program on March 24
(March 5, 2011) Out of work? Over 45? In this economy, trying to find a job when you’re over 45 is tough, if not seemingly impossible. Congressman McGovern wants to help his constituents who find themselves jobless in 2011. He will sponsor an information program at Bristol Community College on March 24 from 1 to 3 PM in the Jackson Art Center. Find out what programs are available to you as you try to get back to work. Other topics will include social networking for the uncomfortable, what to put in your resume, healthcare and non-profit careers, interview skills and more. For additional information, please contact Maria DeCoste at 508-677-0140.
Police Learn How to Investigate Corruption
(March 3, 2011) On March 2, 2011, Rehoboth police officers attended a seminar sponsored by the New England State Police Information Network in Franklin, Massachusetts on “Public Integrity Laws and the Investigation of Corruption By Public Officials.” The class was taught by J. Michael Callaghan Jr. who is a Deputy Inspector General for the Massachusetts Inspector General’s Office, Criminal Investigations Section. Mr. Callaghan retired from the FBI Supervisory Special Agent/ Chief Division Counsel and a former instructor at the FBI Academy. In attendance at the class were Chief Stephen Enos, Lieutenant Michael Brady, Sergeant Richard Shailor and Detective Jasson Ferreira. The class was comprised of police officials from local, state and federal agencies throughout New England.
Rehoboth Residents Warned About Coyotes
(March 1, 2011) Jane Foster, the Rehoboth Animal Officer, spoke last night at the board of selectmen meeting to warn residents of a coyote problem in and around the reservoir area. Stressing that coyotes have a hunting territory of ten miles, Foster reported that two goats have been killed by coyotes and one tested positive for rabies, which is relatively common in wildlife in the area. “They are very hungry and coming into residential areas,” reported Foster who encourages all those with pet dogs to make sure rabies vaccinations, as well as dog licenses, are up to date.
Ciccone Veterans Fund Should Be a Trust Fund
(March 1, 2011) Last October, the town’s Veterans Officer, William Saunders, notified the BOS of an alleged misappropriation of interest monies from the Ciccone gift fund set up as a bequest to benefit local veterans.
According to Saunders, interest from that account was redirected into another by town accountant, Cathy Doane who informed selectmen that it was appropriate to do so within established laws.
The issue was closed until last night’s BOS meeting when veterans liaison Ray Viau (speaking for Saunders who was attending a conference) reported that further investigation has revealed the account should be set up as an interest-bearing trust fund rather than just a bank account.
Viau additionally requested the interest money from last year be returned to the account which is administered directly by the town’s veterans officer.
He also suggested that Doane was probably not looking at the laws overseeing trust funds when she made the decision to move the interest money. The BOS was asked to look into changing the account into a formal interest-bearing trust fund.
BOS Decide to Let Residents Vote on Three Issues
(March 1, 2011) Prior to the public portion of last night’s BOS meeting, selectmen Ken Foley and Don Leffort voted in an emergency session to approve three non-binding referendums on the April 4 town election ballot. The wording of each has been approved by town legal counsel.
In a move designed to allow as many residents as possible to vote on three contentious issues, the referendums will be a gauge to judge public opinion in a forum usually larger than the town meeting. BOS chair Foley has stated he believes at vote at town meeting does not represent the majority of residents.
The first referendum question will ask voters if they wish the town to seek special legislation allowing the BOS membership to increase from 3 to 5 members.
The second asks voters if they wish the town to seek a special binding referendum to allow CORI background checks on persons seeking public office and/or appointment to various town boards, commissions and committees.
The third question to be posed to voters on April 4 asks if they wish the town to seek special legislation to change the town elected official recall procedure in terms of the number of people needs to petition for a recall election.
First Choice Private Investigator Hired by BOS
(March 1, 2011) Selectmen Foley and Leffort approved a measure last night to hire Public Safety Perceptions of Plainville, their first choice among three possible firms recommended by town legal counsel, to conduct an investigation into the personal incident involving Police Chief Stephen Enos last December.
Upon Enos and his attorney’s request, an outside investigator will gather information about the non-criminal incident and determine whether or not there were any possible breaches of professional ethics.
According to selectmen Leffort, Public Safety Perceptions charges $70 per hour and anticipates spending 16 to 24 hours to complete the investigation. One of the other companies quoted the job at forty hours for a fee of $75 per hour. The third would have charged the town even more.
In a preface to the announcement, Foley stated that is was very difficult to find any private investigator who did not know of Enos professionally or casually as the police chief has a nearly three decade career in law enforcement.
RePAC Approved for Remote Camera Installation
(March 1, 2011) RePAC was granted approval by the board of selectmen to install remote controlled digital video cameras and microphones at the Senior Center, where the BOS meetings are taped and broadcast. According to Ed Schagrin from RePAC, the cameras will have “on air” lights that will come on whenever the cameras are activated. The light will indicate the cameras are powered via a control cart that is kept locked in a closet when not in use. Overhead microphones will also be permanently installed to make it easier for audience members to address the board without walking up to a microphone or shouting across the room.
Jim Paon Resigns from Conservation Commission
(March 1, 2011) At last night’s meeting the board of selectmen, Jim Paon’s letter of resignation was accepted and his recommendation to appoint David Perry to his seat was approved by selectmen Ken Foley and Don Leffort. Paon, who also serves on the school committee, read his resignation letter stating he was unable to attend the required number (at least 50 percent) of conservation committee meetings. In February, Paon submitted nomination papers running for the one-year seat on the board of selectmen. He is running against Dr. Joseph Tito, MD for that seat in the April 4 town election.
Volunteer Cook Needed at Senior Center
(March 1, 2011) A volunteer cook is being sought to work at Gert’s Cafe preparing lunch on Mondays at the Senior Center. You don’t have to be a professional, just able to help cook in the center kitchen. Please contact Pat Higson at 508-252-4602 for more information.
The Grape Vine Approved for Full Liquor License
(March 1, 2011) The Grape Vine, a locally owned wine and beer store on Route 44, was given the stamp of approval by the board of selectmen to receive a full liquor license. The licensing process now goes to the state board and owners were told it will be about a month before they can begin to sell hard liquor along with beer and wine at their establishment.
Board of Selectmen to Discuss Hot Topics Tonight
(February 28, 2011) Tonight’s meeting of the BOS will feature two contentious items of old business as well as some new items that may or may not become contentious.
Selectmen Ken Foley and Don Leffort will discuss the further investigation, or not, of Police Chief Stephen Eno’s crime-less personal incident which continues to pick up media attention despite the lack of any new information coming to light. Leffort is expected to announce more options of private investigation into the matter.
There will also be a discussion on another controversial matter, the Ciccone Gift Fund for Rehoboth veterans. Last October, the town’s Veterans Officer, William Saunders, notified the BOS of an alleged misappropriation of interest monies from the account at the direction of the town accountant, Cathy Doane.
Prior to the discussion of old business, the board will vote to approve and sign a statement of understanding with RePAC to install remote controlled cameras in the Senior Center where the BOS meets along with some other town committees and boards.
There will also be a discussion with Mike Costello of the Planning Board on topics relating to the Senior Center; a discussion with Scott Pennoyer of the Conservation Commission; and a discussion with David House of the Energy Commission on a request for legal services.
Before the public portion of the BOS meeting, the selectmen will meet in executive session on issues involving police personnel and contract discussions.
The public is invited to attend the public segment that begins at 7:30 PM at the Senior Center. The meeting is broadcast live by RePAC on government channel 9.
D-R Seniors to Begin Annual Scholarship Drive
(February 28, 2011) Seniors from Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School will be hitting the roads of both Dighton and Rehoboth on March 11, 12 and 13 to collect donations for the 51st annual Citizens Scholarship Foundation Door-to-Door campaign.
The goal of the Foundation is to offer as much financial help as possible to as many students as possible!
Over the past 50 years the foundation has awarded almost 1 million dollars to graduating seniors who plan to further their education in colleges and vocational schools. Last year the Foundation awarded over $55,000 to over 100 students. This money comes from the door-to-door solicitations from the students, as well as donations from local businesses and civic organizations.
Teams of students will solicit door-to-door on March 11, 12 and 13, with each team in a specified neighborhood.
The towns of Dighton and Rehoboth have a long tradition of excellence in education and in supporting the children in their communities.
All contributions are fully tax deductible and may also be mailed to: Citizens Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 696, Rehoboth, MA 02769
Palmer River Kids Learn About School Bus Safety
(February 23, 2011) Earlier this month, the Rehoboth Police Department conducted a School Bus Safety outreach program at Palmer River Elementary School to go over important safety issues.
The program brought to students on a class by class, grade by grade basis with instructors Patrolman Keith Perry and Patrolman Matthew Gardner.
Bloom Transportation assisted the officers by providing a bus for the outdoor portion of the program. Some of the topics covered were proper behavior at the bus stop and on the bus, danger zones on and off the bus, bus evacuation procedures, and how to properly board and exit the bus.
This educational program is something the Rehoboth Police Department offers each year in an effort to promote school bus safety.
Concerned Citizens Group Nixes RePAC Recording
(February 21, 2011) At Saturday’s meeting of the Rehoboth Concerned Citizens group held at Hillside Country Club, those attending voted not to allow RePAC, the town’s public access television provider, to record their meetings for broadcast on Channel 98, the public access channel residents fought for so fiercely just last year.
Last year’s controversy arose with complaints that RePAC was not taping or broadcasting programming of public interest in Rehoboth on a separate channel from the existing government Channel 9 and educational Channel 15. This led to litigation that was dropped as of January this year.
The public access Channel 98 was activated through Comcast after a formal request was made by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. It currently broadcasts a variety of entertainment or informative programming, but rarely anything of a local nature.
Robert Brawley, a local resident with a long history of complaints against RePAC, spoke at a recent Rehoboth Concerned Citizens meeting with a digital presentation, a “Story of Public Access TV Gone Bad . . .” that highlights complaints such as reasons why the “control of RePAC” is “so important.”
One of the reasons listed is that “RePAC controls where you get information, what you see, when you get to see it” and “who gets access to our channels.”
The official concerned citizens website lists four reasons why RePAC should be allowed to record and broadcast their meetings. They give seven reasons why the the public access provider should not be allowed including a belief that RePAC would edit the digital recording before broadcast.
More than a year ago, Rehoboth Board of Selectmen heard complaints from a Boston-based, “pro-life” television producer, accompanied by resident Maureen Brawley, that RePAC was practicing a form of censorship.
Both O’Connell and Brawley, who has served on the school committee, appeared at the board of selectmen’s meeting on January 11, 2010 when accusations of censorship were alleged and demands to broadcast the anti-abortion programs on the D-R based educational channel where made.
Mr. Brawley’s recent public presentation is available on rehobothconcernedcitizens.com with “examples of RePAC Reform Control” including accusations RePAC broadcasts edited meeting excerpts, practices censorship “through selective access and programming” and “restricts live programming to School Com and BOS” meetings.
DA’s Office Also Says No to Enos Investigation
(February 21, 2011) Along with the Massachusetts State Police declining to conduct any investigation of a personal incident involving Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos, the office of Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter has also declined.
Citing jurisdictional issues, as the incident in question occurred in Rhode Island, Lisa Rowell of Sutter’s office said the Enos case “does not involve criminal charges” and therefore cannot do an investigation because the Enos case is a personal matter and did not involve any criminal activity.
The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, after pressure from audience members at the February 14 BOS meeting, contacted Sutter’s office to inquire what further actions the DA could take to investigate Enos personal incident after receiving a petition from the Rehoboth Concerned Citizens group with almost 150 signatures requesting an independent investigation of Enos by State Police instead of a private investigator.
Additionally a public information officer for the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s office is quoted in media reports they cannot get involved because it is a “local matter, not a federal matter” and that it’s level of importance is equal to that of being caught “jaywalking.”
RCC Retracts Allegations of RePAC Malfeasance
(February 19, 2011) The website produced by Rehoboth Concerned Citizens group been edited, eliminating accusations of corruption and abuse of power.
Yesterday afternoon the “You Decide: Is REPAC the political arm of the Reform Movement?” page was taken down and replaced with “Is REPAC editing Scroll Messages?” The textual content of the page was also changed instead focusing on the issue of RePAC editing RCC’s text for scroll announcement messages on public access channels.
As of yesterday evening, RCC founder Bonnie Kelley requested an immediate and complete retraction of her inflammatory allegations against RePAC be published today, but continues to stand by her belief that RePAC edited the group’s requested scroll text.
Concerned Citizens Charge RePAC with Corruption
(February 18, 2011) The Rehoboth Concerned Citizens group has sent out an email press release and link to their website charging RePAC with corruption.
“A prime example of the abuse of power by our public access provider,” is the message sent by the group’s founder, Bonnie Kelley, to members of the media along with a page link that asks readers, “You Decide: Is REPAC the political arm of the Reform Movement?”
Using graphic images for examples, Kelley complains the meeting notice she sent to RePAC to post on their public announcement system left out the statement “Everyone is Welcome” despite including the other statements verbatim including “Are you a concerned citizen?” - “Care about your community? - “Learn about your government.”
According to Kelley, “they edited the text and left out “everyone is welcome.” She states “this is a prime example of why RCC members should vote “not when asked if they (RePAC) can tape our meetings.”
The RCC website focused on another announcement screen stating RePAC “again requested permission to record and broadcast the (RCC) meeting” and the quoted Kelley saying “I will bring it to a vote on Saturday. That is all I can do.”
Kelley claims that announcement message was broadcast by Ed Schagrin, vice president of the RePAC board, who is using “REPAC’s control of the airwaves to help his side.”
RePAC, the nonprofit organization that contracts with the town of Rehoboth to provide community access television via Comcast, has been the focus of intense controversy in the recent past. Articles about RePAC, it’s organization structure and history can be found HERE.
The Rehoboth Concerned Citizens will be voting whether or not to allow RePAC to record their meeting at their next meeting scheduled for Saturday, February 19 at 10:30 AM at Hillside Country Club on Hillside Avenue. “Everyone is welcome to attend.”
Nomination Papers for Spring Candidates Submitted
(February 16, 2011) Monday was the deadline for spring election candidates to submit their nomination papers. Unless one withdraws from the race, here is the rundown of candidates:
Board of Selectmen (three-year position): Ken Foley (incumbent) and Mike Costello, currently chairman of the Planning Board.
Board of Selectmen (one-year position): Joe Tito, currently on the Planning Board and Jim Paon, currently on the D-R School Committee.
School Committee (two (2) three-year positions): Robin Balents (incumbent), Chris Copper, Tiffany Bartholomew and Peter Hebda.
Planning Board (five-year position): Robert Mortoro (incumbent) with no competition.
Park Commission (five-year position): Robert McKim(incumbent) with no competition.
Assessor (three-year position): Peter Jacobson (incumbent) with no competition.
Tax Collector (three-year position): Cheryl Gouveia (incumbent) with no competition.
Moderator (one-year position): William Cute (incumbent) with no competition.
Housing Authority (five-year position): Werner Horlbeck (incumbent) with no competition.
Water Commissioner (three-year position): Werner Horlbeck (incumbent) with no competition.
Oh Where, Oh Where Have the Minutes Gone?
(February 16, 2011) The ClerkBase function on the town’s official website, while active, continues to be without up-to-date meeting minutes from each of the town’s official boards, committees and councils.
The website function that bills itself with the tag, “Building Trust through Transparency” contains agendas published after the meeting dates for the Board of Selectmen, the Conservation “Board” and Planning Board. In terms of actual meeting minutes, ClerkBase lists ten BOS minutes from 2010.
At the February 14 board of selectmen meeting, chair Ken Foley asked the acting town administrator, Helen Dennen, about the status of ClerkBase and if the various town committees have submitted long past-due minutes. She replied the minutes have not been submitted and therefore cannot be published.
While all town boards, committees and councils are responsible for submitting both agendas prior to meetings and minutes as per state regulations, the town of Rehoboth is not compliant.
The ClerkBase website function, approved by voters at town meeting, will provide residents with transparency in government if used. Agendas and minutes must be downloaded on a timely basis.
According to Dennen, there are functions of the program she does not have time to learn but receiving the minutes remains the responsibility of the committees to submit to the selectmen’s office.
Annual Spring Town Meeting Pushed to May 23
(February 15, 2011) The meeting date for the annual Spring town meeting has been set for May 23 in order to allow time for municipal departments and the Finance Committee to come up with a projected budget that deals with an anticipated $455,000 deficit.
According to Ken Foley, chairman of the BOS, the date for the town meeting needed to be set as far away as possible in order for departments to “wrestle a while” with ways and means to cut their budgets for next fiscal year.
Board of Selectmen to Create Computer Committee
(February 15, 2011) Business conducted at last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting included the creation of a Computer Committee consisting of volunteer members to address a woefully outdated computer system used for municipal government.
Michael Deignan, clerk of the Finance Committee, addressed the selectmen about the need for a committee as the town does not have an employee dedicated to computer and IT management. Rather the town contracts with a tech consultant that charges $115 per hour when necessary to deal with maintenance and emergencies.
The town’s bylaws already cover a computer committee but none has ever been formed. Deignan explained the dismal condition of the town’s computers and the risks of not having any backup or data recovery systems. He urged the BOS to begin the process of accepting volunteer applications and appointing a vital committee to work with town employees who are in dire need of efficient computers that are maintained with appropriate hard and soft ware.
As Deignan clarified, Rehoboth is a “twenty million dollar” company that functions with a computer system that is “archaic.”
Anyone with interest, computer knowledge and IT skills are encouraged to volunteer for this important committee. Click Here.
MA State Police Say No to Enos Investigation
(February 15, 2011) At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, chairman Ken Foley read a response letter from the Massachusetts State Police dated February 8 regarding an inquiry to conduct an independent investigation of a personal incident involving Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos.
According to the letter written by Lieutenant Michael Brady of the State Police, the request was reviewed at the highest levels including internal affairs before declining to participate due to a lack of jurisdiction, lack of evidence of any criminal misconduct on Enos’ part and being too busy with actual crimes to use the limited resources of the MA State Police to conduct an investigation.
Brady recommended the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen hire an experienced private investigator and provided suggestions of retired police officers with experience working for municipalities.
Selectmen Don Leffort reported that he had inquired about the costs of three different private investigators suggested by the town’s legal counsel. One, a retired Plainville policeman, informed Leffort that while he was remotely familiar with Enos on a professional level, he was knowledgable about the incident story and press coverage and offered his services for $70 per hour with an estimated report provided in 16 to 24 hours.
Despite Foley reading a stern statement of his belief more investigation was unnecessary, he and Leffort agreed to come to the next BOS meeting with more names of potential private investigators to hire. He also agreed to contact District Attorney Sutter’s office for input when pressured by audience members.
Worries Voiced Over Cameras in the Senior Center
(February 15, 2011) Audience members and several residents at last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting voiced grave concerns about a proposed plan by RePAC to install remote controlled cameras in the senior center for the purpose of recording and broadcasting municipal meetings.
Town clerk Kathleen Conti addressed the BOS to request clarification on the proposal since the senior center is a voting place. She was assured by both selectmen that elections would not be compromised by videotaping voters without their knowledge or consent.
Resident Cathy Eddington questioned Ed Schagrin, vice-chairman of RePAC, about the system he plans to install and asked for details. Other residents expressed fear about having remote controlled cameras in the senior center that may be used to spy on those using the center for a variety of social purposes.
“The seniors are very upset,” said one audience member. “Why do the cameras have to be installed here?”
Schagrin, as well as selectmen Foley and Leffort, strived to explain how installing four permanent cameras was only intended to improve the “viewing experience” with split screens and seamless transition from one camera view to another. Currently the tripod-mounted digital video cameras must be manually panned by an operator.
While the proposed cameras can be operated remotely, Schagrin explained the audio feeds should not be a concern to anyone as the microphones need to be set up and all the equipment must be removed from a closet and activated.
Residents are understandably nervous about the prospect of having remote controlled cameras in an age of nanny cams and hidden microphones, and surveillance equipment installed by professional security companies.
But according to RePAC and selectmen, the scope and size of the equipment used to allow digital taping and live broadcasting greatly limits the chance of using the equipment to spy on those using the senior center.
Additionally they gave assurance that cameras would not be on while the senior center is used as polling place.
Town Administrator Search Proceeding Rapidly
(February 15, 2011) The quest for a new town administrator who will manage municipal operations is proceeding rapidly according to an update at last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting.
The job was posted on a website for municipalities. There have been 34 applicants for the position including 14 experienced town managers, ten who possess master’s degrees. Additionally, nine of those applicants have ten or more years experience.
The search committee will identify 12 applications to present to the board of selectmen in about a week. The BOS will then choose three finalists for interviews to be conducted in a public forum. One will be offered the job with two alternates.
According to BOS chair Ken Foley, it is hoped that by mid-March the new town administrator will be hired and ready to start working.
An updated job description for the town administrator position, created by the selection committee, was reviewed and officially approved by the BOS.
Rehoboth Board of Health Announce Vaccine Cuts
(February 14, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Health has announced there will be a 50 percent decrease in the amount of state-supplied vaccine for the 2011-2012 flu season according to a memorandum from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Currently state-supplied flu vaccine is provided to local health departments, including the Rehoboth Board of Health. The impact of this decrease in vaccine supply will be felt on the local level, particularly by those who have no health insurance or are under insured. Despite public perception, there are many in this community that this will affect.
Speaking on behalf of the town’s board of health, Public Health Nurse Lynn Allienello reports that she will continue to hold public flu vaccine clinics utilizing the state supplied vaccines.
“I do not charge residents for the vaccine itself and I only charge those who have insurance for the administration of the flu vaccine,” she said. “Those without insurance are not charged.”
It is unclear what criteria will be placed on next year’s flu vaccine recipients. The vaccine may be limited to only certain income groups, certain insurance groups or certain age groups. That will be determined by the state.
“Please keep in mind that some of you may need to seek an alternative location in which to receive your vaccine,” emphasized Allienello. “I will continue to keep you informed of whatever information is provided me.”
Locations that have the funds to privately purchase the vaccine, such as pharmacies and large department store chains, may be a necessary alternative to the health department in acquiring your vaccination next flu season.
Volunteer: April Town Election Workers Needed
(February 10, 2011) Volunteers are needed to act as election workers in three Rehoboth voting precincts for the upcoming April 4 town election. The precincts locations include the town office, senior center and south fire station. If you are interested in volunteering to assist in voter sign-in and check-out on election day, please contact Helen Dennen at the Town office to first pick up a volunteer form. For more information, please give her a call at 508-252-3758, ext. 107.
Rehoboth Students Learn Cooperation & Respect
(February 9, 2011) Students at Palmer River Elementary School are learning some valuable lessons with many classrooms working on the Open Circle Program. Children are rewarded with notes of recognition on the “bucket board” for good deeds they do for other school-wide.
Teachers have been trained to work with children embodying the principles of communication, responsibility, cooperation and respect. Open Circle teaches several main principles that when introduced at an early age will hopefully carry through a lifetime.
Students learn self-awareness by recognizing one’s emotions and values as well as one’s strengths and limitations. They learn self-management of emotions and behaviors to achieve one’s goal.
Showing and understanding empathy for others are important lessons taught as part of general social awareness. Relationship skills are emphasized including: forming positive relationships, working in teams, and dealing effectively with conflict.
Children are also taught about responsible decision-making and the importance of making ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior.
Weekend Rehoboth House Fire on Holly Lane
(February 7, 2011) Rehoboth firefighters battled a structure fire on Holly Lane Saturday after responding to a 911 call from the homeowner reporting a chimney fire. The first arriving crew discovered the attic charged with heavy smoke and a fire in the basement. It took approximately 10 minutes to get the fire under control but the extensive overhaul due to the location of the fire took over an hour. The fire was traced to a wood burning fireplace in the living room. The family chose to spend the night with relatives due to the smoke damage. There were no injuries and crews cleared the scene in two and a half hours. Norton and Swansea provided station coverage.
Roof Dangers: Important Safety Information
(February 4, 2011) The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has issued guidelines and helpful advice regarding how to deal with excess snow on your home or business roof. Click here.
BOS Meeting Features Productivity and Civility
(February 1, 2011) In striking contrast to the last Board of Selectmen’s meeting, last night’s was both very production in terms of getting business done and generally cordial despite occasional verbal digs made by selectmen against the media and various town players.
“There are a lot of liars in town,” said board chairman Ken Foley who also stated the town is operating “business as usual” and that “nothing has changed” in terms of town employees and municipal government.
Many items on the agenda were quickly approved including: reimbursements for road repairs covered by Chapter 90 funds, issuing an annual report of all liquor licenses granted last year, a payment to the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society for the purposes of operating the Blanding Library, issuing an letter of support to a group home applying for federal HUD funding, granting an exclusive arrangement to Century 21 to represent the town in selling property, and allowing RePAC to install remote control cameras and audio/video equipment at the senior center where meetings are either broadcast live or recorded.
In terms of a request made for the BOS to release minutes from their executive sessions, chairman Ken Foley tabled the issue saying, “we have to see what we can release or not.”
The board also agreed to post a job opening for the position of a full-time certified building inspector. With potential to be a revenue producing source, it will be imperative to have a full-time town employee running that department of town government.
It was reported the town has already exceeded its snow removal budget of $200,000 and is running a deficit of over $15,000.
Resident Bonnie Kelley addressed the board and was commended by Foley for following the established protocol for filing a request to be put on the agenda. She was there to ask questions about the current lack of a personnel board or committee. At present Rehoboth town government does not have an employee dedicated to human resources or personnel issues, nor a volunteer committee to examine personnel and policies.
According to town bylaws, there can be a personnel board with five members - three appointed by the town moderator, one by the BOS and the fifth by the finance committee.
Mrs. Kelley remarked that she would volunteer to serve on a personnel board if one was formed and encouraged residents to participate in town government by volunteering to serve on town committees, boards, and councils.
Consultant Peter Fine updated the board on the town’s solar energy projects and presented a sample version of an informational sign that will be displayed at the Senior Center to explain their solar energy system. While the center’s system is now complete and working, the one on the highway department building is still waiting for National Grid to essential “throw the switch” and activate the system.
Both selectmen addressed the old business of RePAC’s request to lease more space in the town office annex building on Anawan Street. Foley said he had met with town office personnel to determine their own needs before trying to meet RePAC’s need for additional space.
Selectmen Don Leffort introduced an idea to solve the space problem by eliminating the town office voting precinct which will free the large room currently used for that purpose (as well as a conference room for meetings). Instead all municipal meetings would be conducted at the senior center, although it was mentioned that building is actually more costly to operate than the town office building.
The two issues that have recently ignited controversy and media coverage were saved for the end of last night’s meeting.
In regard to pursuing the process of increasing the number of selectmen from three to five, Foley said he was personally opposed and the issue was “not going to happen as written.” Instead he and Leffort “are going to sign a document that will go to the state house and then put a non-binding referendum on the April 4 town election ballot.”
Mrs. Kelley responded by saying that plan will prohibit “enough time for meaningful discussion” to take place among residents.
The meeting finished with a statement by Foley that he felt the various departments in town government were operating well without any problems. “There is no turmoil,” he said, while adding he had “not heard of any problems from town employees” while conceding there have been a “few issues in the police department.”
On Thursday morning, the executive board of the BOS will meet to make a decision about what, if any, action will be taken with regard to police chief Stephen Enos. An announcement will be made after that meeting.
Selectman Leffort concluded by saying he and Foley were both trying to do the best job they could for the town and residents would undertand better if they knew what was really going on behind the scenes. “Trust me,” said Leffort cryptically, “I would spill the beans right now, but I can’t.”
TRIAD’s Love in a Mug Fundraiser Postponed
(February 1, 2011) With what is being called a “storm of historic proportion” coming tomorrow, TRIAD’s annual Love in a Mug Fundraiser scheduled for February 2 at the Senior Center has been postponed until March 30, 2011.
Selectmen Will Discuss Executive Session Minutes
(January 31, 2011) The agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, as posted on the RePAC website, includes a discussion about a request for the BOS to release minutes from their executive sessions.
According to MA general laws, executive sessions may be held for a number of purposes, but minutes must be kept and made available to the public unless publication “may defeat the lawful purposes of the executive session.”
A town’s legal council may additionally advise that a redacted version of executive session minutes be released to the public.
By law, selectmen are prohibited from “discussing or acting upon a matter” over which they have control, supervision, jurisdiction or advisory power anywhere other than during executive session or public meeting. While selectmen are allowed to discuss matters by chance or social meeting, they are not allowed to make a final agreement.
Failure to maintain public records, including those of executive sessions by any government body or any member or officer, can result in formal complaints and eventual judicial action that requires the records be made public along with a fine of no greater than one thousand dollars for each meetings held in violation.
School District Defines Bullying and Intimidation
(January 26, 2011) Clearly defining the elements of bullying, the Dighton-Rehoboth School District has introduced a comprehensive approach to address harassment, bullying, cyberbullying, intimidation, and discrimination.
A letter outlining the policies and procedures that detail the prohibition of bullying and retaliation has been distributed to students and parents to read, sign and return to their specific schools.
All “members of the school community” are instructed to “treat each other in a civil manner and with respect for differences.”
The district’s prevention and intervention plan includes precise definitions of six terms including what an aggressor is, what bullying entails, the existence of cyberbullying through the use of technology, who a target may be, how a hostile environment is permeated with intimidation, ridicule and insult, and how retaliation can be any form of harassment, intimidation or reprisal. drregional.org
Concerned Citizens Group Launches Website
(January 25, 2011) Building in scope and size, the grassroots “Concerned Citizens” group has launched a website as a communications vehicle to spread their message. rehobothconcernedcitizens.com
The site includes a home page statement from group organizer Bonnie Kelley who describes herself as a “55 year old, 5 foot grandmother of two who volunteers at the elementary school . . . Girl Scout Cookies coordinator and member of the Garden Club.”
In a statement that immediately chastises Selectmen Ken Foley for his use of the terms thug and vigilante to describe members of her group, she concludes by asking Foley himself to “look in the mirror.”
Other pages of the new website include photos, documents, links to articles and personal commentary, and a petition written to state officials with a request for people to sign it.
The group was initially formed to address complaints against the current board of selectmen for inaction on two primary issues. One issue involves the BOS’ inaction in pursuing the next stop in the process of petitioning the state to allow the town to increase the number of selectmen from three to five. Residents at the Fall Special Town Meeting voted to being this process and the group accuses the BOS of making up their own rules and not listening of the voters of Rehoboth.
The group also believes the BOS should initiate an independent investigation of an incident when Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos was found on the evening of December 10 in a state of distress by East Providence police and given a ride. The incident did not involve any broken laws and Enos was not charged with any criminal offense.
Selectmen Foley and Leffort were satisfied by their informal investigation into the matter that revealed that Enos had a poor reaction to a prescribed medication after admitting he had consumed alcohol, but was not drunk according to the East Providence police witness statement.
The group’s website also features a separate page seemingly unrelated to current events. On a page entitled “You Decide” there is just one sentence of text that reads, “Did Chris Morra, Chief Reformer, get attacked because of Political Reasons?” Below that statement is a link to a 16-page PDF format document from the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation. There is no other explanation of the purpose of this information or how it relates to the group’s primary agenda.
Latest Update on Spring Election Candidates
(January 25, 2011) With nomination papers for candidates due on February 14, a small selection of Rehoboth residents have already picked up papers from the Town Office.
Last week Dr. Joseph Tito, MD, a current member of the Planning Board, announced his candidacy for one of two spots on the board of selectmen, a one-year term to fill ex-selectmen Kevin McBride’s position. Scott Pennoyer, currently the chair of the Conservation Committee, is also seeking that one-term term on the BOS.
Michael Costello, currently chair of the Planning Board, has announced his candidacy for selectman against BOS chair Ken Foley for a three-year term. According to a statement he made to the Taunton Gazette, “I’ve been pushed around, shoved around, hired, fired, and rehired since 2006.” He added that, “I want to bring the government back to the people.”
Two other civic-minded residents have taken out nomination papers for two open positions on the Dighton-Rehoboth School Commitee. They are Tiffany Bartholomew and Peter Hebda.
Other open positions in town government include: town assessor, tax collector and town moderator along with positions on the planning board, park commission, housing authority and water commission.
Concerned Citizens Group Grows at Last Meeting
(January 22, 2011) Yesterday’s meeting of the concerned citizens group at Goff Memorial Hall in Rehoboth grew to triple the size of attendees and drew front-page media coverage and editorials. The links below will take you to those articles:
Animal Control Officer Out on Medical Leave
(January 22, 2011) It is unknown if and when Jane Foster, the Rehoboth Animal Control Officer will return to duty after sustaining an injury that required hospital care. Currently she is out on medical leave until further notice.
Meanwhile Rob Johnson, the part-time animal control officer is in charge of animal care at the shelter behind the Town Office on Peck Street. He is additionally being assisted by Seekonk Animal Control to perform duties and provide care.
Currently all calls for animal control issues should be routed through the Rehoboth Police Department. They will handle calls of an emergency nature and direct other calls to whoever is covering at the time, be it Mr. Johnson or Seekonk Animal Control.
If any resident has any animal issues that have not been addressed by leaving a message at Animal Control, please contact the Rehoboth Police at 508-252-3722 and they will ensure someone handles the issue.
RePAC Serves Town Clerk with Moot Point Notice
(January 20, 2011) Rehoboth Town Clerk Kathleen Conti was served a one-age letter by constable from Rehoboth Public Access Corporation (RePAC) chairperson Roger Breault dated January 6, 2011 and copied to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.
The letter outlined a series of dated events that took place from February 16, 2010 when RePac served the town a 30-day demand to activate Channel 98, the public access channel to broadcast programming other than government (Channel 9) or educational (Channel 15).
Upon the request of then selectmen Frederick “Skip” Vadnais and Kevin McBride, former town administrator David Marciello launched an investigation of “legal obligations and potential breaches of contract” between the town and RePAC.
According to statements in the letter, RePAC was served “by Vadnais and McBride” with a notice of seven violations on February 23, 2010. On March 19, RePAC commenced an action in Superior Court and “named Vadnais, McBridge and Marciello in a claim of civil conspiracy.”
By April 23, Breault stated that RePAC responded to the allegations brought forth by the town officials, but did not state how or to who he responded, but elaborated that neither “Vadnais, nor McBride, nor Marciello took any further action.”
Channel 98 was activated in September of last year and RePAC moved to dismiss its case in Superior Court against the allegedly conspiring town officials. Breault then added, “Vadnais’, McBride’s, and Marciello’s tenure in office are also terminated.”
He concluded his letter with this statement, “Thus, unless I hear from you to the contrary, RePAC shall now consider all controversies arising under, and concerning, the matters enumerated in the Notice as moot.”
Angry Raised Voices Punctuate BOS Meeting
(January 19, 2011) Both members of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen at several points admonished out-of-turn talkers and threatened to either remove audience members or actually stop last night’s meeting when angry voices filled the air.
Ninety-minutes into the meeting, everyone seemed to be yelling at each other until school board member David Katseff stood up to ask BOS chair Ken Foley to gain control of the direction of the meeting. Minutes before, the meeting had been brought off-topic by audience member and Finance Committee chairman Chris Morra who began airing grievances with members of the Rehoboth police department dating back to 2007.
What began calmly enough erupted several times and was broadcast live on RePAC Channel 9 before selectmen Foley and Leffort went into an executive session to discuss personnel matters and litigation involving the town. Foley had previously stated in cryptic terms the town was being sued for $2 million dollars.
Between raised voices and threats to “cut anyone quick if I hear any comments from the audience,” selectmen announced the formation of a selection committee to review applications for the position of town manager. It was also announced that department heads have been asked to submit budget proposals by February 1 in order to begin the budget process early this year.
Additionally Foley recognized the town’s boards and committees were woefully behind in producing meeting minutes, some three years behind, including the planning board and conservation committee.
“There is no excuse,” Foley said.
The meeting took a backwards turn into old business when the selectmen were asked about their decision two weeks ago not to pursue disciplinary action against Police Chief Stephen Enos. Foley stated they had “a lot of confidence in the Chief” and that a 29-year perfect service record should account for something.
He also stated that no grievances against Chief Enos had been brought to the attention of the BOS or unions that represent the department. He separated chastised the police unions that represent the rank and file for sending a letter of no confidence to the Sun Chronicle.
Foley elaborated on that topic by saying the police department was a “free for all” before Enos arrived. “He’s done more for this town than any other chief has,” he said, adding that gone are the days when “it was common practice (for officers) to bring a pillow with you to work” or when officers “were off spending days at people’s houses” instead of working.
He went on to say, again cryptically, there is “a lot going on behind the scenes” right now and that “officers may have broken the law.” He claimed “this will come out.”
When an audience member questioned the selectmen about the residency policy of the town’s police chief, Foley replied that the police chief should live in town, and that Chief Enos had lived in Rehoboth. But he also revealed publicly that Enos “is in the process of divorce.”
BOS Appoint Selection Committee for Town Admin.
(January 19, 2011) A selection committee to review applications for the position of town administrator was announced by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen at last night’s meeting.
Chairman Ken Foley announced the names of five committee members consisting of town employees, elected officials or volunteer members of town committees/councils. He emphasized the responsibility of the selection committee was to review applications only. Choosing finalists and selecting a new town administrator is solely the responsibility of the remaining two members of the BOS.
The following make up the selection committee: Cheryl Gouveia, Town Treasurer & Tax Collector; Cathy Doane, Town Accountant; Peter Richmond, Highway Superintendent; Paula Bizier, Finance Committee; and Alan Gosselin, Conservation Committee.
Dr. Joseph Tito Announces Candidacy for BOS
(January 18, 2011) Rehoboth resident and member of the Planning Board, Dr. Joseph Tito, MD, has launched his campaign for a spot on the three-member Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. (see position statement on Vox)
A member of the planning board for the last four years, Dr. Tito is a general surgeon with a practice in Taunton at Morton Hospital. He currently serves as first vice-president of the hospital’s medical staff. Previously he held positions at Morton as the Chief of Surgery and the Medical Director of the Center for Wound Healing.
A graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Rochester, Dr. Tito did his surgical residency and training in Cooperstown, NY and spent a period of time in Kenya, Africa as a volunteer surgeon.
Before moving to the area, he and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Tito, MD practiced in Rhode Island. She is a breast cancer surgeon who was also affiliated with Morton for several years. She now practices solely at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth.
Joe and Elizabeth moved their family to Rehoboth in 2002. Along with his service on the Planning Board, he served as Cubmaster of Pack 1 Rehoboth from 2006-2008.
Rehoboth Fire Receives SAFE Grant for Fire Education
(January 18, 2011) In a joint statement, State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and RFD Chief Robert Pray announced that grant of $4717.70 has been awarded to the RFD by the state Department of Fire Services to conduct the S.A.F.E. program during 2011.
The Governor and the Legislature fund the S.A.F.E. Program through the Executive Office of the Public Safety and Security and the program is administered by the state Department of Fire Services.
Specially trained fire educators to work with classroom teachers to deliver age-appropriate lessons on fire and life safety. The key fire and life safety behaviors meet both the requirements of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Health Curriculum Frameworks and the state Department of Fire Services Curriculum Planning Guidebook.
According to Coan, this is the sixteenth year of the S.A.F.E. program in Massachusetts. “we are truly reaching our goal of raising a fire safe generation of children,” he noted.
The average number of children who die in fires each year in Massachusetts has dropped by 66%, or two-thirds, since the program started compared to a similar time frame before it started. Coan added, “Since consistent comprehensive fire education is the one thing we are doing for children that we are not doing for every other age group, I think it’s fair to say we are proving fire education works.”
Chief Pray said, “Our firefighters enjoy working closely with our school teachers to help youngsters learn what they can do to prevent fires, to survive those that do occur, and how to respond correctly to fires and other emergencies.”
For more information about the Student Awareness of Fire Education Program, please call LT. Randy Larrivee at 508-252-3725.
Rehoboth Police Working on New Website
(January 18, 2011) The Rehoboth Police Department is having their old website revamped and anticipate the launch of a new site soon. According to Police Chief Stephen Enos, the new website has been under construction for some time and will have a completely new look including department photos, info on registered sex offenders, and more resources for the community.
“I think residents will find this new site more user friendly and current info which will be updated on a regular basis,” said Chief Enos.
Residents Turn to Internet for Various Info Sources
(January 17, 2011) As reported last week, Rehoboth residents have a difficult, if not impossible, time trying to locate accurate information on the official town website.
Unfortunately the Rehoboth Police Department’s website is also outdated in terms of timely and accurate information. Along with personnel names and contacts, the local police website is where the state sex offender registry tells people to go for more information.
Meanwhile a growing number of residents gather their information and offer commentary on an unmoderated online chat room, one that has become the present-day version of the corner barbershop or grocery.
Rehoboth Talk-Unmoderated, a group on Yahoo, has been in operation since July 19, 2007. Although becoming a member is required to post commentary, participants, for the most part, utilize user names rather than real identities. Commentary on Saturday’s public meeting of concerned citizens has generated nearly two dozen postings.
Ousted Town Administrator Marciello Norton Finalist
(January 14, 2011) David Marciello, whose last day as Rehoboth Town Administrator was January 4, has been named one of five finalists for the town manager position in Norton, replacing Jim Purcell who is set to retire on January 24.
Two alternative candidates are also on the list and all seven will be interviewed by Norton selectmen on February 5. Purcell will stay on in a limited capacity, earning $65 per hour, until his replacement as top town executive is named.
Marciello, who was the Rehoboth Town Administrator for 9 1/2 years, was let go when the board of selectmen decided not to renew his contact. He had been working without one for the past year. In late 2009 he was a finalist for the position of town administrator in Bridgewater.
Residents Have Difficult Time Finding Meeting Info
(January 13, 2011) Residents looking for information on public meetings of the town’s seventeen official boards, committees and councils have a difficult, if not impossible, task.
While the Town of Rehoboth has an official website, the calendar for town meetings has been poorly maintained so anyone trying to find out when meetings are scheduled must physically go to the town office and inquire in person, or try to find paper memos on a bulletin board outside the Town Clerk’s office.
Currently the town’s website lists only one meeting in January 2010, that of last Saturday’s special meeting of the Board of Selectmen. December 2010’s calendar contained only five meeting notices, one for the BOS, two for the Conservation Committee and two for the Planning Committee.
A review (as of today) of the entire 2010 calendar year shows the average monthly calendar contains only five of the seventeen broads/committees/councils. In six of the calendar months, there were only three groups listed, the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and Conservation Commission.
Going by the Town’s official calendar of meetings, it appears as if some groups seldom, or never, meet. Although the website lists meeting “minute archives” for each group, all the links are empty.
The website does however have a new feature, Clerkbase, described as an “e-publishing solution for cities and towns.” While there are some agendas listed for the BOS, Conservation Commission and Planning Board, they are outdated. Minutes for only one group, the BOS, are only available for first four months of 2010.
More Information on Upcoming Citizens Meeting
(January 13, 2011) A meeting of concerned citizens scheduled to be held at Goff Memorial Hall on Saturday, January 15 beginning at 10:30 AM was initiated by Rehoboth resident Bonnie Kelley.
Acting as an independent citizen, Kelley initiated the process of getting an article on the Special Town Meeting warrant to allow residents to vote on the question of pursuing the process of increasing the number of selectmen from three to five. The article was passing by a majority of voters at special town meeting.
Dismayed that the BOS has not done anything to move the process along, Kelly questioned them at a recent selectmen’s meeting and learned from chairman Ken Foley that the board should seek legal counsel on the matter before they took any further action.
Selectmen Kevin McBride, before his unexpected resignation later in the meeting, questioned Foley’s opinion that legal council was needed to proceed to the next step of petitioning the state for approval to increase the number of selectmen.
McBride made the point that legal council was indeed present at the special town meeting and had no objections then to the article itself or it’s passing.
Perceived as a stalling tactic, Kelley has organized the Saturday meeting “with the encouragement of many” who are too scared to publicly come forward to back her. In the meanwhile she has been calling state offices and elected officials to gather as much information as possible to have available at the meeting.
She hopes the meeting will be attended by anyone who has an interest in finding answers.
“There are always two sides to a story,” she said, “and I think we need to find out the truth to protect this town, its environment and its citizens.”
School District Seeks Input on Full-Day Kindergarten
(January 13, 2011) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District has put together a team to study the possibilities of a full-day kindergarten in the district and are seeking public input.
Those interested are encouraged to participate by completing a fourteen-question online survey quickly so that the team will have as much community input as possible. When doing the survey, please complete it the first time you open it to avoid technical difficulties. Click this link.
Concerned Citizens To Gather on Saturday at Goff
(January 11, 2011) An independent, informational meeting regarding the status of the article passed at town meeting to increase the number of selectmen from three to five has been scheduled by a group of concerned citizens at Goff Memorial Hall at 10:30 AM.
Promoted as a “meeting to seek solutions” there will be a moderator who will follow Robert’s Rules of Order while conducting the meeting. According to organizers, “everyone will have an opportunity to speak.”
Along with the main issue of why Rehoboth selectmen have not initiated the process of petitioning the state for permission to increase the number of selectmen, residents will be able to address other concerns “regarding the well-being of the town.”
The independent group of organizers have emphasized on their posters that “no weapons will be allowed in the hall or at this meeting.” Goff Memorial Hall is a owned by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society and not a town building. While it is not against the law to carry a weapon in a town building such as the town office or senior center, it is illegal in schools and privately-owned buildings as per their request.
Organizers are also encouraging attendees to “please leave your tempers at home.”
Blanding Library Offers Amnesty on Overdue Materials
(January 10, 2011) The Blanding Library is offering a book return amnesty program from January 10 through the end of the month. Just bring back your overdue materials and your fines will be forgiven if you bring a donation (or several) for Helping Hands Food Pantry. Please note that you will still be charged for damaged or lost books. Bring cash.
Rehoboth Water Commission Needs Your Help
(January 10, 2011) You can assist the Rehoboth Water Commission by completing a very brief form and returning it by March 1. The information you provide will help determine safe water yields, depth of wells, and an understanding of rock formations in recharge areas. The information received will be reviewed jointly by the Water Commission, Board of Health, DEP, and a volunteer advisor to the committee. Just click here for a PDF file of the form.
All RFD Companies Respond to House Fire Friday
(January 8, 2011) All of Rehoboth's fire companies were dispatched to a reported structure fire at 225 Winthrop Street when a call came in from the homeowner Robert Boler via 911 around 4 pm.
Boler who was asleep when the fire broke out awoke to heavy smoke and attempted to extinguish the fire himself but was driven out. Mr. Boler runs an antique business on the same property in a separate building. However the home also contained antiques and the dollar loss is expected to be high.
First arriving firefighters reported smoke showing from a 1 1/2 story wood frame structure. Seconds later a working fire was declared bringing automatic station coverage from Norton and Swansea. Firefighters brought a hoseline in through a doorway on the side of the building and entered the kitchen area where they were met with heavy smoke and flames under a stairway.
Although the fire was quickly knocked down it had extended into the walls, ceiling and stairway. An extensive overhaul was started and all hidden pockets of fire were exposed and extinguished. The fire was brought under control in about 20 minutes and declared out in an hour.
Rehoboth fire investigators determined the cause of the fire to be arcing wires in the dryer.
The fire created a traffic nightmare during early evening rush hour when Rehoboth Police shut down Route 44 from Route 118 to Williams Stret due to fire apparatus placed in the road and for the safety of the firefighters.
Firefighters were also provided with rehab by Rehoboth EMS and Rehoboth Rescue. One firefighter was treated and released at the scene. The last unit cleared the scene at 6:15 pm and police re-opened Route 44.
Board of Selectmen to Meet Friday Morning
(January 6, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, down one member, is scheduled to meet at 9 AM tomorrow morning at the Town Office. The agenda for this “special session” meeting includes two action items, a discussion about filling the town administrator position and a discussion of reassignment of board of selectmen department liaisons. There will also be an executive session relating to a “personnel issue.”
Selectmen McBride’s Resigns Effective Immediately
(January 4, 2011) Selectmen Kevin McBride announced at last night’s BOS meeting that he was resigning effective immediately. Often at odds with the two other selectmen, McBride was known for his thoughtful and balanced commentary and for being “a voice of reason.”
McBride, a Major General with the Army National Guard, is Deputy Commanding General, Army Materiel Command. General McBride has served in a variety of command positions during his military career and is a highly decorated officer who commanded an Attack Helicopter Battalion, a Light Utility Helicopter Battalion and the 56th Troop Command (Airborne). He served as the Commanding General for the 43rd Military Police Brigade during Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2005-07 and as commander of the 43rd Military Police Brigade from 2033 to 2009.
Town Administrator’s Contact Not Renewed
(January 4, 2011) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen at last night’s meeting announced they would not renew the contact of David J. Marciello, Esq. whose last day is today.
As town administrator, Marciello was responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the town government. An attorney, he has been licensed to practice law in the state of Massachusetts for the last fifteen years. He is listed in legal directories as having a private legal practice in Rehoboth.
The BOS, now down to two members, will now initiate the process of hiring a new town administrator with a first step of advertising the position and accepting applications.
Citizens Wonder Why BOS is Stalling Process
(January 4, 2011) At last night’s BOS meeting, resident Bonnie Kelley voiced her concerns that the board has yet to initiate the process of petitioning the General Court to increase the number on the BOS from three members to five.
Residents voted at a special town meeting on Monday, November 22 to petition the state to pursue the process and the next step was for the existing BOS to forward an article of consideration to the the town’s state representative to petition the General Court.
Kelley voiced her opinion that the BOS has yet to accomplish that task. She disagreed with Selectman Ken Foley that the issue should wait to be voted by Rehoboth residents during an actual election and that the vote at the special town meeting was all that was required to being the process.
In early December, Kelly wrote in a public letter that she was prohibited from making a statement during public input at a BOS meeting and questioned the BOS chairman’s reason for stopping residents “from asking simple questions at public meetings.”
Selectmen are Satisfied with Explanation Two to One
(January 4, 2011) In an executive session prior to last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, questions were addressed regarding a puzzling incident last month involving Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos while off-duty following a function at the Riviera Inn in East Providence.
When the selectmen convened the public portion of the Monday night meeting, it was reported that an investigation had been conducted by selectmen Don Leffort into the December 10 incident when East Providence police were called to assist a man (Enos) behaving suspiciously while walking near the restaurant. Enos was locked out of his police cruiser, parked at the Riviera Inn, after turning over his keys to a civilian, as stated in the EP police report.
Enos admitted he had been drinking, but according to an officer witness statement, the Officer Richard Cordeiro, wrote, “I did not believe Enos to be intoxicated to the degree that he would not be able to take care of himself but insisted that he did not walk to his destination.”
According to Leffort, he spoke with the investigating EP police officer and people who were at the Riviera Inn. Selectmen Ken Foley and Leffort both accepted Enos‘ explanation, made in the private session, that the strange incident was a result of the adverse reaction to the medication he was taking at the time following a recent surgery.
Selectmen Kevin McBride, prior to his surprise resignation later in the meeting, went on record saying he did not agree with his fellow selectmen and that Enos, as a commanding officer of the Rehoboth Police, should have been suspended until an independent investigation took place that included gathering more evidence about why Enos relinquished the keys to his police cruiser, containing his service weapon and other official material, to a civilian.
Enos was not available following the executive session of the meeting.
Archived News 2011