Archived News 2012
D-R School District Responds to Sandy Hook Tragedy
(December 19, 2012) Following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District initiated a two phase response, the first was to provide staff to assist students emotionally and ensure safety of the district’s five school buildings.
Administration utilized the district’s “One Call” message system following the news reports on Friday, December 14 to provide basic information to parents. In an effort to be sensitive to parents’ personal choices in sharing information with their children, specific information was not included in the message. Instead the district website provided details regarding safety, counseling to students/staff and support to parents.
Voluntary meetings were held on Monday to update staff and review safety procedures. Police from both towns were stationed at the high school on Monday while frequent patrols were made to both Dighton and Rehoboth elementary and middle schools. Additionally all outside entrances were checked throughout the day by administration and custodians.
To address parental concerns, the district quickly put up a brief survey on their website to obtain feedback on issues of concern at any or all of the five schools. The electronic survey was chosen to obtain parent feedback as quickly as possible.
“We are very open to all concerns and ideas, and at this point for expediency,” read the message to parents on the district website. “We will ask that we get this feedback electronically so that we can focus our personnel's time on being with the students and putting additional safety protocol in place.”
Rehoboth Selectmen Schedule Meeting for Friday, December 21
(December 19, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, according to the town website, will meet on Friday, December 21 at 9 AM in the town office.
Selectmen to Discuss Valor Act, Sandy, and Solar Farm
(December 18, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center in both executive and regular session for a full agenda.
Executive session is scheduled to begin at 6 PM with discussion on several town-involved law suits including RePAC vs. Town of Rehoboth; Chichocki vs Town of Rehoboth; Medeiros vs Morra; Morra vs Casey/Krasnianski; Casey vs Town of Rehoboth; and Krasnianski vs Town of Rehoboth.
Regular business will include a discussion with Veterans’ Services Director Bill Saunders about the Valor Act provisions approved at special town meeting in November. Selectmen will also hear from a representative of National Grid regarding Superstorn Sandy response and future emergency preparations. Other business will include budget amendments including $4000 for the highway department and $4,201 for fire chief salary.
Along with numerous license renewals and BOS budget liaison assignments, selectmen will provide a status update of the solar energy farm per request of the town planning board.
U.S. and State Flags Lowered to Half-Staff Until December 18
(December 17, 2012) In accordance with President Obama's proclamation, Governor Deval L. Patrick ordered the United States flag and the Commonwealth flag be lowered to half-staff at all state buildings until sunset on December 18, 2012 as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut.
Rehoboth Police Arrest Riverside Man for Drunk Driving
(December 15, 2012) Early this morning around 2:30 AM, Rehoboth police arrested Frederick R. Roberts, age 21 of Riverside, Rhode Island on multiple charges including driving under the influence.
RPD Sgt. James Medeiros stopped a pickup truck driving erratically on Winter Street and took Roberts into custody. He is due in Taunton District Count on Monday for arraignment.
Two Local Residents Suffer Smoke Inhalation
(December 8, 2012) A Locust Street home fire on Thursday night sent two Rehoboth residents to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched shortly after 6 PM after receiving a report of smoke and fire in the basement of the residence. While the fire was quickly extinguished by first responders, the house was fully charged with smoke.
Rehoboth EMS arrived at the scene to evaluate the residents who were then transported to the hospital. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but is believed to have something to do with a fireplace. There were no other injuries reported and firefighters cleared the scene in approximately 90 minutes. No damage estimate is available yet.
DRRHS Students Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat Note
(December 6, 2012) After discovery of a bomb threat yesterday morning shortly before 10:30 AM, officials at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School immediately contacted police and evacuated the school. Students were transported to Dighton and Rehoboth elementary and middle schools where they remained until early afternoon. They were transported back to the high school to retrieve their personal belongings before dismissal.
The school building was searched thoroughly by local Dighton police, a Massachusetts State Police explosives unit, and the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit before allowing students to return. An investigation is ongoing.
“Rest assured, the district and police are investigating this matter thoroughly,” wrote School Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Wordell on the district’s website.
Calendar Benefits MA Agriculture in the Classroom
December 6, 2012 - The 2013 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar makes a terrific holiday gift that will help your friends and family celebrate the seasons of agriculture in Massachusetts.
Published annually by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, each calendar month features a photograph spotlighting the diversity of agriculture in Massachusetts along with agricultural and conservation facts, teacher tips, events, websites and a seasonal crop chart.
The public was invited to submit photographs of favorite agricultural sights and subjects. These photographs were judged in June, and the 12 finalists were selected for the calendar. The calendar also includes a second honorary mention winning photograph on many of the pages.
The goal of the calendar is to serve as an educational tool for teachers, legislators and the general public while creating an attractive color calendar that is a daily reminder of Massachusetts agriculture.
The calendar offers agriculture education information for teachers including websites and educational tips on each page. Ten individual pages were sponsored by Massachusetts non-profit agricultural commodity organizations.
The mission of Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom is to foster awareness and learning in all areas related to the food and agriculture industries, and the economic and social importance of agriculture to the state, nation and the world. The non-profit offers a seasonal newsletter; a fall and winter conference for educators, workshops on the farm for teachers; mini-grants for teachers and educators; an interactive website; and educational manuals for farmers and teachers.
To purchase these very affordable and attractive calendars, an order is available online. Click the graphic below for complete information. All sales benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. A discount price of $5 each is being offered for orders of five or more calendars.
Bridgewater Man Arrested for DU and Speeding on Park Street
(December 1, 2012) In the early morning hours around 2 AM, Rehoboth Police stopped thirty-year-old Justin Adomaitis of Bridgewater for speeding on Park Street. Upon investigation by Patrolman James Casey, Adomaitis was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, speeding and a seat belt violation. Bail was set at $100 and Adomaitis was released from custody. He is due in Taunton District Court on Monday to be arraigned.
Dighton Man Charged with Rehoboth Landscaping Company Theft
(November 29, 2012) Rehoboth police were dispatched to Carreiro’s Landscaping on Tremont Street in Rehoboth around midnight on November 26 after a report of a suspicious vehicle and a person walking around with a flashlight.
Before police arrived, a vehicle had already left the property with a snow plow attached. Patrolman Timothy J. Bartucca was able to locate the vehicle which then sped away towards Taunton. The vehicle turned off onto a dirt section of Glebe Street and came to a stop approximately two miles into the woods where two occupants then fled on foot. K-9 units from both the Massachusetts State Police and Bristol County Sheriff’s Office arrived to search the area but were unable to locate the suspects.
An investigation revealed the drive of the vehicle was twenty-three-year old Jonathan Jones of Middle Street in Dighton who was then sought for an impressive twelve charges including larceny, malicious damage, speeding and driving with a revoked license.
Jones was arrested on November 27 by Rehoboth police and was later released on $2,500 bail after being arraigned in Taunton District Court the next day.
Pedestrian Hit Walking After Dark on Fairview Avenue
(November 28, 2012) Around 6:45 PM this evening, Rehoboth Police responded to a report of a pedestrian stuck on the roadway near the area of 76 Fairview Avenue. Officers arrived on the scene and observed a white male, later identified as Justin Perino, age 31 of Rehoboth, laying on the east side of the roadway.
Subsequent investigation indicated that Perino had been walking north on Fairview Avenue when he was struck by the passenger side mirror of a vehicle also traveling north on Fairview. The operator of the vehicle stated she never saw Perino prior to him stumbling into the roadway from the wooded embankment. The area of Fairview Avenue is unlit and does not have sidewalks or a breakdown lane.
Perino, a 2000 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by Rehoboth Ambulance. Patrolman Thomas Ranley is the investigating officer. Perino was transported to Rhode Island Hospital by Rehoboth Ambulance.
Early Invention Program Offered to Rehoboth Residents
(November 27, 2012) Residents of Rehoboth, as well as other communities in Bristol County, are eligible to participate in an Early Intervention Program offered by Associates for Human Services (AHS), a non-profit organization based in Taunton founded 38-years ago.
They offer a variety of services for children from birth to three years of age who need assistance with their development. Experienced and trained staff administer a full developmental assessment, or a developmental screening, to determine if there are any areas of development that your child needs assistance with, offering specific feedback on strengths and needs, if any.
The AHS Early Intervention Program provides comprehensive integrated services in the following towns: Taunton, Raynham, Dighton, Rehoboth, Lakeville, Middleboro, Seekonk, and Berkley. Those interested should call Pat Bushika at 508-880-0202, ext. 335 to schedule an assessment or screening.
BOS Scheduled to Meet Before Special Town Meeting
(November 26, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen are scheduled to conduct a meeting before the commencement of Special Town Meeting tonight in the auditorium of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
The BOS will meet in room 211 at the high school beginning at 6 PM. Following the town administrator’s report, selectmen will vote to authorize the hire of a full-time police officer, and vote to approve a budget amendment for Veteran’s Services. They plan to approve and sign a contract with Attorney William Solomon, and discuss their December meeting schedule. The BOS will conduct an executive session at approximately 6:30 PM.
Rehoboth Man Taken into Custody Twice in One Day
(November 26, 2012) Rehoboth Police officers took Keith Carlson of Winthrop Street into custody twice yesterday evening following an initial report of domestic violence at his residence.
While en route to the home shortly after 7 PM, responding officers were advised a victim had been assaulted by her husband who had then fled on foot into the woods. Carlson soon came walking out of the woods and was taken into custody without incident. Charged with domestic assault and battery along with intimidation of a witness, Carlson was released on $190 bail and ordered to appear in court on Monday, November 26. He was also issued a stay away order.
At approximately 10:30 PM, police received a 911 call that Carlson had returned to his residence and was causing a disturbance. He was taken into custody a second time and charged with violation of a court order and disorderly conduct. For this event, he was held without bail and transported to the Dartmouth House of Correction in New Bedford to spend the night before appearing in Taunton District Court today.
Boyfriend Faces Multiple Charges After Taking Car and Crashing It
(November 26, 2012) On Saturday, November 24, Rehoboth Police responded call shortly before midnight from a Holmes Street woman who reported her boyfriend had taken her 2012 Kia Soul without permission and that he was driving with a suspended license.
Responding officer Keith Perry spoke by cell phone to the suspect, Jeremy Beaudette, who said he had the vehicle and would return it shortly. According to police, an intoxicated Beaudette returned to the Holmes Street residence about 12:30 AM without the car and told officers he had left it on Rocky Hill Road. The Kia, after apparently crashing, was located on a front lawn at the intersection of Tremont Street and Agricultural Avenue.
Beaudette was arrested on multiple charges including unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, negligent operation, DUI, and leaving the scene of an accident. Bail was set at $40 and he was scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court today.
Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee Schedules Public Hearing
(November 21, 2012) The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee (CPA) is seeking proposals in the areas of Open Space, Historic Preservation, Affordable Housing and Recreation. A public hearing will be held at the town office on November 28 at 7:30 PM.
Projects can be submitted by individuals or organizations. Interested parties are invited to come to the meeting 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 Annual Town Meeting for the restoration and repair of the shutters at Hornbine School and for the acquisition of a permanent restriction on ninety acres at Oak Hill Beagle Club. These are examples of how funds can be used for the benefit of the Town.
All parties are welcome to attend the November 28 meeting and encouraged to learn more about how Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds can benefit your project, your town.
Rehoboth Selectmen Table Various Issues Until December
(November 20, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen met on Monday, November 19 with a lengthy executive session dealing with collective bargaining, contract negotiations and town litigation.
During the regular session, an announcement was made about the retirement of Peter Richmond as Highway Superintendent. Town Administrator Jeff Ritter reported that a small party was held and a plaque presented to Richmond.
Selectmen voted to table the appointment of a Rehoboth representative to the Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School District after interviewing two candidates who will later have to run for election to retain what is now an appointed position.
The board voted to allow the Republican Town Committee to use Palmer River Elementary School and voting equipment for a February caucus. Other business included supporting the Mosquito Control District, a cooperative effort that will not cost the town any money. They voted to approve a reserve fund transfer for the municipal audit.
Ray Viau of the nonprofit Rehoboth Breed Expo appeared before selectmen to continue a discussion about parking and traffic for the annual summer event. While held on private property, the event parking area borders on town property at the old Anawan School where there is a playground. The Breed Expo proposes adding gravel to one location between the two properties to ease driving from one property to the next.
Selectmen Michael Costello expressed his concern that children who may be at the playground on the day of the vent may venture off town property into the event parking lot. Viau assured selectmen that event personnel are vigilant about security and safety, and the organization has all the appropriate insurance and liability coverage.
Selectmen Sue Pimental reported she had spoken with Bob Ashton of the Board of Health regarding the safety of the water well at the senior center in terms of vehicles that may drive nearby.
BOS chair Dr. Joseph Tito said he would not be opposed to just closing the playground for the one day of the Breed Expo as a solution. The board decided to table the issue for further discussion.
Rehoboth Fitness Studio Offers Free Monthly Workouts for Breast Cancer Patients
November 19, 2012 - Every third Saturday of the month, Mind Body Barre Fitness and Healing Studio will offer a full-body workout tailored to the needs of breast cancer patients and survivors.
Located at 227 Plain Street in Rehoboth, MA, just 25 minutes from the Pawtucket-based Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, Mind Body Barre is owned and operated by two former New England Patriots cheerleaders: Angela Vernaglia and her sister, Kayla.
Before forming Mind Body Barre with her sister, Vernaglia worked as an administrative assistant at Staples corporate headquarters following her stint as a Patriots cheerleader.
“I was a little bit lost when I finished cheering,” she said. “Working for the NFL, I enjoyed being in the limelight and doing charity work and community service.”
Mind Body Barre represented an opportunity for Angela and Kayla to start fresh and do something they both loved and give back to the community at the same time.
A slower paced and shorter version of the Vernaglias’ high-energy signature Mind Body Barre® classes, Revitalize was designed to improve balance, body, and breath.
“It’s perfect,” according to Angela, “for anyone recuperating from illness or injury or who hasn’t worked out in a while.”
She added, “After the Revitalize workout, we offer our special Reiki Healing Cool Down.”
Reiki, an ancient Japanese healing modality, is a popular feature of many Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation events and programs.
Angela Vernaglia’s interest in supporting local breast cancer patients and survivors began when she struck up a conversation with the Foundation’s Director of Development, Gary Calvino.
“Now in its eighth year, the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation has become a household name in Rhode Island,” said Calvino.
“Our partnership with Mind Body Barre represents an ongoing effort to collaborate with businesses in Massachusetts, especially in towns like Rehoboth that are so close to the families we serve in the Ocean State.”
It was the Foundation’s focus on support and healing that appealed to Angela and Kayla Vernaglia. Revitalize is a natural extension of their commitment to community and volunteerism.
“This is as much a mental and spiritual workout as a physical one,” Vernaglia concluded.
To register for Revitalize or find out more information about Mind Body Barre, please visit www.mindbodybarre.com or call 815-246-2636. The classes, normally $20 a person, are free for breast cancer patients and survivors. All are welcome. All proceeds will be donated to the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation.
Rehoboth Residents Needed to Drive Cancer Patients
Volunteer Drivers Needed for American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery
November 19, 2012 - The American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program is in great need of volunteers to drive local cancer patients to and from their chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. An integral part of treating cancer successfully is making sure cancer patients receive their treatments, but many find making transportation arrangements is a challenge. The American Cancer Society provided more than 11,000 rides to cancer patients in Massachusetts last year. However, more volunteer drivers are needed to keep up with the demand for transportation.
The schedule for volunteers is flexible, treatment appointments take place weekdays, primarily during business hours. While most patients are in need of transportation to local treatment facilities, there are also patients in need of transportation to Boston. A volunteer who is willing to drive to Boston even once a year can make a difference in the life of a local cancer patient.
“Due to the increasing amount of transportation requests, we have a genuine need for Road to Recovery drivers, those willing to drive locally and those willing to drive to Boston hospitals on occasion,” said Kerri Medeiros, Area Director for Health Initiatives with the American Cancer Society. “We are hoping the community will continue to support this valuable program by volunteering their time to help increase the number of rides we are able to provide.”
You too can make a difference in the fight against cancer is by becoming a driver for the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery. Drivers use their own vehicle to drive patients to and from their treatments. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a volunteer driver for Road to Recovery, please contact your American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.
American Legion’s Thanksgiving Gifts to Helping Hands
(November 15, 2012) The recent Veterans Day Luncheon at Rehoboth American Legion Post 302 concluded with a presentation of $560 worth of gift cards from Hannaford Supermarket to Rehoboth Helping Hands Food Pantry.
Post 302, along with Squadron 302 Sons’ of the American Legion and the Women’s Auxiliary had previously donated over $1,300 to the food pantry during October and November.
According to Bill Saunders, Post Adjutant, the food pantry is the post’s primary charity in the Rehoboth community. Regular donations are made to Helping Hands by the generosity of their membership as well as funds raised through special American Legion events held throughout the year.
At Thanksgiving and Christmas, Post 302 works diligently to make sure the food pantry is properly supplied to help Rehoboth individuals and families in need. Members of Post 302 and the Sons’ group will also purchase frozen turkeys to supplement the donations already made.
Rehoboth Lions to Help With “Operation Sandy” Hurricane Victim Relief
(November 12, 2012) The Rehoboth Lions are busy coordinating local efforts to help with a project called “Operation Sandy” to aid victims in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Spearheaded by the South Attleboro Village Lions, Lions clubs in Rehoboth, Dighton and Seekonk are jumping in to help collect donations that will be transported to New York and distributed directly to those in need with assistance from New York Lions clubs.
Rehoboth and Dighton Lions will be collecting the items listed below plus cash donations. Time is short and the truck to NYC will leave this Saturday, November 17. More information about Rehoboth drop-off points and times will be announced soon.
If you are interested in supporting this opportunity to help our neighbors to the south, please contact Ray Medeiros at 508-252-9470 or 508-496-0171 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITEMS NEEDED: Gently-used warm clothing for adults and children, pajamas, socks and underwear, sneakers and rubber boots, blankets, pillows (must be new), soap and personal-care items, baby diapers, hand sanitizers, flashlights, batteries, cleaning materials, laundry detergent, bleach, rubber gloves and work gloves, shovels, brooms, pails, large sturdy trash bags, school supplies, children’s books and toys.
Man Arrested After Threatening to Kill Himself and Police Officers
(November 12, 2012) Rehoboth Police Officers were dispatched around sunset yesterday Martin Street after receiving a 911 call from the suspect who reported he had a 38 caliber revolver before threatening to kill himself and police officers if approached.
Officers arrived on scene and located the male subject near 52 Martin Street, an isolated area with no residences nearby. With assistance from Swansea police, a perimeter was set to keep the subject detained while a SWAT unit from the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLAC) arrived to assist.
After a 45-minute stand off, twenty-one year old Matthew Shane Espinosa of Englewood, Florida was arrested after a brief foot cahse on multiple charges including assault with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, threats of commit a crime, and threats concerning the location of dangerous items.
Espinoza was processed at the Rehoboth Police Department and later released on bail. After being released, Espinoza was transported to Sturdy hospital for medical evaluation. He will be arraigned in Taunton District Court on the above charges on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.
RFD Responds to Second Fire in Three Days on Allens Ave.
(November 12, 2012) Rehoboth firefighters responded to the second structure fire in three days on Allens Avenue in Rehoboth on Saturday night.
The fire in a large garage was contained to the rear wall quickly extinguished. The garage is used for a small engine repair shop and the cause appears to be accidental.
Firefighters responded to a structure fire almost across the street on Thursday. That fire, in the basement, was also knocked down quickly but the home sustained extensive damage on the lower level.
Saturday night's fire ended a busy day for the department that has responded earlier in the day to a stove fire on Tremont Street, a hot air ballon landing in a yard on Route 44, and mutual aid to Norton for a structure fire.
Twenty-Year Old Rehoboth Man Held on Assault and Firearms Charges
(November 9, 2012) Earlier this week, twenty-year old Keith Hyson of Rehoboth appeared in Taunton District court and continued held on a dazzling array of charges resulting from an domestic disturbance on September 19 at his residence.
Four Rehoboth police officers were dispatched mid-afternoon to the residence on Spring Street In response to the report of a disturbance. While attempting to quell the disturbance, Sgt. Rossi was struck on the arm by Hyson who actively resisted arrest. Officers at the scene also included Officer Casey, Patrolman Perry and Reserve Officer Lima.
Hyson was arrested and taken into custody on two counts of domestic assault and battery, three counts of assault and battery on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest.
Following his arraignment in Taunton District Court, Hyson was escorted by Rehoboth police the next day back to his residence to retrieve some of his belongings. While there officers discovered a firearm belonging to Hyson who was again arrested and charged with possession of
a firearm with defaced serial number and illegal possession. He was additionally charged with bribing a witness (police officer) and violation of an abuse prevention order. He was later arraigned on those charges and held on $10,000 bail. Hyson appeared in court this week and is being held without bail until a pre-trial conference scheduled for November 15.
Bristol County Firefighters Collecting Donations for Hurricane Victims Relief
(November 7, 2012) The Bristol County Fire Chiefs, in cooperation with the Firefighters of Bristol County, are conducting a drive to collect Relief supplies for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The following supplies will be collected until Sunday, November 11, 2012. The collected supplies will be transported Bristol County Firefighter to fire stations in the affected areas. Only those Items listed below will be accepted for collection: diapers, toiletries, soap (body and dish washing), paper towels, toilet paper, feminine products, bottled water, and canned food.
Please bring the Items listed above to your RFD headquarters, Station One on Anawan Street during daytime hours between now and Sunday. Thank you for your support.
Comcast Supports Hire-A-Veteran Video Project
November 7, 2012 - The Department of Veterans Services is again partnering with Comcast to assist veterans in the their employment search. Comcast is committed to supporting veterans and specifically helping those who have recently returned from deployment settle back into civilian life.
The Comcast initiative called Hire-A-Veteran On-Demand offers the opportunity for each veteran to record a short interview similar to a video resume that will be featured on the Comcast On-Demand platform. This content is available to subscribers throughout the Comcast New England footprint.
Potential employers can review these videos to determine if any of the veterans fit their workforce needs and connect through a specified email address and/or telephone number. Comcast will also support a web component in 2013 by supplying video files of the segments to a Hire-a-Veteran You Tube Channel to expand access to more potential employers.
Filming will take place during the first week of December at the Comcast studio, 386 Washington Street in Norwell, MA. Interested veterans must first contact Matthew McKenna, Director of Communications and Intergovernmental Relations at the DVS by calling him at 617-210-5761 or sending an email by November 23 with a resume to: email@example.com. Please use the subject line: Comcast Hire a Veteran 2.0
Along with providing their current resume and photo in military attire, participating veterans should be prepared and ready to answer questions for their video interview.
The basic questions will include: experience in the military and/or college, various training, how the military prepared them for civilian careers (leadership qualities, attention to detail, technical skills), special skills or certifications, awards and honors, special interests and hobbies. They will also be asked about their goals and hopes for a career path.
Rehoboth Fire Chief Pray Reappointed to State Fire Training Council
(November 5, 2012) Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently reappointed Fire Chief Robert Pray to another term on the thirteen-member Massachusetts Fire Training Council, the sole certifying agency for all levels of fire service personnel in the Commonwealth. The first municipal fire chief ever appointed to the council, Chief Pray represents on-call fire departments in the state. The Council has statutory authority to promulgate rules and regulations for the operation of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy and has the authority to approve courses and curriculum taught by the Academy.
Rehoboth Police Arrest Man After Failing to Stop
(November 4, 2012) Members of the Rehoboth Police Department responded to the report of an erratic driver on Sunday, November 4 around 8:30 PM. The vehicle, a 2012 GMC pickup truck, was traveling west on route 44 from the Dighton town line when it was spotted swerving into oncoming traffic by Patrolman Craig Forget and Patrolman Thomas Ranley near the intersection of routes 44 and 118.
The driver of the truck failed to stop for police and continued swerving westbound on Route 44 until Ranley was able to get in front of the truck and safely force him to a stop in the area of the Palmer River School.
Frank Randall, age 58, was taken into custody without further incident and charged with marked lanes violation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and operating under the influence of alcohol.
Rehoboth COA and Board of Health Sponsor Election Day Town Flu Vaccine Clinics
(November 1, 2012) Flu vaccine will be available to Rehoboth residents on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, at the three polling locations. Sponsored by the Rehoboth Council on Aging and the Rehoboth Board of Health, Rite Aid staff will administer flu vaccine at the following places and times.
From 9 to 10 AM at the Senior Center, from 10:30 to 11:30 AM at the Town Office, and from 12 noon to 1 PM at the South Fire Station. Those interested in receiving a flu shot should remember to bring their health insurance card or Medicare Part B card.
Board of Selectmen to Meet Today - New Date for Special Town Meeting
(November 1, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have scheduled a meeting for this afternoon at 3 PM at the Town Office. The board has also formally set the date for the Special Town Meeting postponed on Monday night due to the storm. The new date will be Monday, November 26, 2012 at 7 PM in the auditorium at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
Town of Rehoboth Legal Expenses
October 26, 2012 - Many residents wonder about the amount of money the town spends on legal expenses. Here is a the most accurate list available based on information provided by the town.
Local Republicans to Hold Meet and Greet aka “Going Away Party for Barney Frank”
(October 24, 2012) The Rehoboth Republican Town Committee has announced a tongue in cheek “Going Away Party” for retiring Democratic U.S. Congressman Barney Frank and “his friends” on Saturday, October 27 from 12 noon to 3 PM at Goff Memorial Hall in Rehoboth.
The event is actually a meet and greet of state and national Republican candidates “in a relaxed and fun atmosphere” according to the group’s press release that lists incumbent Senator Scott Brown at the top of the list of invited candidates. According to organizers, Sean Beilat for U.S. Congress, Jeff Bailey for State Senate, incumbent State Representative Steve Howitt will attend along with Sheriff Tom Hodgson.
Rehoboth Selectman Approve Nearly $15K for Rehoboth Community TV Improvements
(October 23, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen last night approved $14,971 in funding for Rehoboth Community Television (RCTV) to support Phase I of the town’s Cable Advisory Committee’s plan to improve PEG cable access programming.
According to the committee member Derek Rousseau, the funds will be used to purchase new equipment and support RCTV infrastructure. The result of Phase I will be significant improvement of both audio and video quality on Government Channel 9 which broadcasts municipal meetings from both the town office and senior center. Viewers now experience poor broadcast quality resulting from woefully outdated equipment and picture degradation.
Rousseau explained the improvements will provide a crystal clear picture from the town office or senior center to the studio where the signal can be broadcast without first filtering through four or five more links that cause the picture to degrade. With the improvements, viewers will be able to “actually see and hear what you guys are talking about,” said Rousseau to the selectmen.
Selectman made a point of noting the nearly $15K will come from the Comcast contract funding and not from town budget and tax dollars.
Residents to Decide on Local VALOR Act
Update November 27, 2012 - Residents approved this measure at Special Town Meeting
October 23, 2012 - At the Special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, October 29, Rehoboth residents will have the opportunity to vote on Article 6, to adopt provisions of the 2012 VALOR Act, signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on May 31, 2012.
The VALOR Act was a compilation of several pieces of legislation that floated around from committee to committee, year after year at the State House in Boston. Pulled together into one piece of legislation, it became “An Act Relative to Veterans’ Access, Livelihood, Opportunity, and Resources, or VALOR.
Designed to support military veterans, the act is far reaching. “Not since after the Civil War, has there been a piece of legislation that will aid Massachusetts veterans and their families,” said William Saunders, the town’s Director of Veterans Services.
“Massachusetts leads the nation in caring for it’s veterans and their families,” he added. “From the Gold Star annuity program to real estate tax abatements for disabled veterans,” noted Saunders, “from veterans homes to homeless shelters, and from war bonuses to state cemeteries.”
More than 385,000 veterans currently live in Massachusetts, including 37,000 men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11.
Among other provisions, the VALOR Act provides greater access to financial assistance for small businesses; affords greater opportunities for service-disabled veterans to participate in public projects; makes it easier for children of military personnel to transfer between school districts and states; and expands supports from the Massachusetts Military Family Relief Fund to Gold Star Families.
The relief fund, which derives its funding from a voluntary tax check off on income tax returns, is used to defray the costs of food, housing, utilities, medical service and other expenses borne by Massachusetts National Guard and reserve service members and their families.
Following the signing of the Valor Act, Saunders began to develop a plan for local provision options that could be offered to Rehoboth veterans. Not all the act’s provisions could be applied locally because of the town’s budget constraints. However, he did identify one option - to establish a program to allow local veterans to volunteer to provide services to the town in exchange for a reduction of their real estate property tax bill (in addition to other veteran entitlements, like exemption or abatement).
Working with the town’s board of assessors, Saunders developed the plan residents will vote on at special town meeting.
Using specific guidelines, a veteran may apply to perform service(s) for the town, working under the direction of participating municipal departments, for example the forestry or highway department, at the senior center or town office. The rate or exchange per hour of work could not exceed minimum wage. Veterans could work up to a total exchange of $1000 off their property tax for any given year.
If approved by voters, the local option or “work in exchange for real estate property tax reduction” would be subject to strict guidelines and limitations created by Veteran Services and the town assessors.
Because there are no numbers associated with how many veterans will participate and how much it will cost the town in property tax exemptions in total, the Rehoboth Finance Committee has recommended disapproval of Article 6 as it is currently written.
Saunders has assured selectmen, the new program if approved, will be closely monitored and limited. The town is required to participate in the VALOR Act in some manner.
To be in compliance with the VALOR Act, the town could consider three other options including 100% exemption of real and personal property to Massachusetts National Guardsman and reservists deployed in active duty in foreign countries for the fiscal year(s) of service.
Another local option would be allowing the town assessors to grant statutory exemption to disabled (service-connected) veterans who reside in the state for at least one year.
The third option is exempting motor vehicle excise tax for residents on active military duty outside the U.S. for at least 45 calendar days a year. Additionally, if the service member is killed in an armed conflict, the exemption applies regardless of the number of service days.
It should be noted that Rehoboth has already adopted Massachusetts General Law allowing state National Guardsmen and Reservists deployed out of state (or their dependents) up to 180 days after their deployment to pay their property taxes without interest or penalty.
Currently the town office of Veterans Services provides veterans benefits, such as tax abatements for veterans, under Chapter 115 and is reimbursed by the state at 75%, usually a year after the local reports are sent to the state level.
According to Saunders, the VALOR Act now provides an expanded Gold Star Widow benefit which is reimbursed by the state to a municipality. Spouses of service members killed in action are given complete exemption on their real estate taxes for life, so long as they never remarry.
“This returns state law to a time when the Massachusetts Bay Colonies instructed communities to care for the widows and families of those killed or injured fighting Indians,” explained Saunders, “and that was the 1650s.” SPECIAL TOWN MEETING RESCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Affordable Housing Project for Rehoboth Moving Very Slowly
(October 22, 2012) - Rehoboth residents voted on May 14 at town meeting to allow selectmen to conduct a feasibility study with the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) to determine if the old Anawan School at 51 Bay State Road. can be modified (or gutted) to repurpose into affordable housing units for Rehoboth’s elders, veterans and disabled adults.
According to the MHP confirmation letter of February 2012, selectmen were advised to approach the Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to fund $25,000 needed to pay for the needs assessment that are required before the MHP can proceed to do anything.
In June, voters went to the polls on the question of approving a proposed $1.8 million debt exclusion to fund the acquisition and renovation of the building next to police and fire headquarters into a new town hall. Voters said no. Prior to the election, a postcard mailer was sent to households posing a different question. Could the Anawan School be used for a town hall rather than affordable housing?
The CPC has yet to be formally asked by selectmen to fund the $25K needed for the affordable housing feasibility studies required by the MHP. That project would eventually become a town meeting warrant item.
When asked earlier this month, town administrator Jeff Ritter said, “there has not been any change in the status of the Anawan School” and that information is still being gathered.
MHP offers technical assistance on early pre-development due diligence and helps towns in the disposition of properties for development of affordable housing. This is often done through a long-term land lease. The town is not changed for MHP staff time, but they do ask communities to pay for third-party work which they estimate to cost around $25K.
The MHP’s role is to help identify the steps to determine project feasibility. No decisions are made on a potential project until the needs assessments are completed including: 1) housing needs assessment, 2) well water and percolation test, 3) site survey, 4) Phase I Environmental site and area assessment, and 5) structural engineer building survey.
To jump start the project, MHP’s Director of Community Housing Initiatives, Susan Connolly, offered in February to pay for the initial well water and perc test. She recommended asking for “some funding to support the town’s efforts on this site with Community Preservation Act at the next town meeting.” This request, so far, has not made it to a town meeting.
One of assessments that must be completed is a housing needs assessment to best understand the specific needs of elders, veterans or disabled adults living in Rehoboth.
According to MHP, this is “very important when structuring a deal.” While there is good informal anecdotal information, the needs assessment must be formalized to produce data to back this up the informal evidence. This is “very important when seeking public financing further down the project timeline,” wrote Connolly, “particularly for elderly housing.”
BOS Meeting Agenda for October 22
(October 21, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tomorrow night at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
The executive session agenda includes union contract negotiations with MassCop 209 and discussions on three current lawsuits, RePAC vs Town of Rehoboth, Casey vs. Town of Rehoboth, and Krasnianski vs. Town of Rehoboth.
There will be a public hearing on a petition from National Grid and Verizon to install a new utility pole and anchor at the Summer Street and Pond Street intersection. Selectmen will also hold a public hearing on classification of land, not specified on the agenda.
There will be a discussion about the upcoming Special Town Meeting on Monday, October 29 with Bill Cute, town moderator; Kathy Conti, town clerk, and Michael Deignan, chair of the finance committee.
Selectmen will meet with representatives from the non-profit Rehoboth Breed Expo regarding access to town-owned land. Also on the agenda will be a petition submitted to the BOS from Trim Street residents.
Additional agenda items include awarding the bid to replace the South Fire Station roof; a reserve fund transfer request from the town treasurer; approval of a Formula Grant contract of $15,869 for the Council on Aging.
The BOS will also hear a request for approval from Rehoboth Community Television (RCTV) of Phase I for infrastructure improvements. (See feature article.)
Students Evacuated from Dighton Elementary School
(October 18, 2012) Students and staff at Dighton Elementary School were evacuated yesterday morning to Dighton Middle School after smoke from starting up the boiler was emitted through the building.
Due to smoke odor remaining in the school, it was decided to evacuate after the heating system was shut down. Local and state officials were alerted and quickly came to conduct inspections which took some time. By then, the elementary students were receiving lunch at DMS. School officials made the decision to keep students at DMS for the remainder of the day. DMS students were able to continue their regular schedules without disruption.
“The staff at both buildings were unbelievably supportive and that the students were kept busy with educational activities,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jennifer Wordell who explained on the district website that judgement calls must be made during crisis situations.
“The safety and well-being of our students and staff will always be paramount, and we will always do our best to also keep everyone involved as quickly as possible,” she said thanking staff and parents for their patience and support.
Rehoboth Fire Dept. Offers Important Advise and Free Detectors
(October 16, 2012) In the aftermath of the fatal Rehoboth home fire, Chief Bob Pray updated the public at the board of selectmen meeting on Monday night and offered free smoke detectors to residents who may need them.
While praising the work of Rehoboth emergency personnel at Sunday morning’s tragic fire, Pray noted the home had no working smoke detectors and several exits were blocked. Clutter was a problem for firefighters trying to gain access and move about the residence.
Pray reminded selectmen the RFD Chaplain’s Fund allows them to provide and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to residents in need. They work with the Council on Aging to identify and assist elders or disabled persons who lack adequate detectors in their homes.
“Anybody out there who needs smoke or CO alarms, or needs help checking existing ones can call us,” said Pray. “Even those who need help changing batteries can call,” he added.
According to the fire chief, the department is receiving more calls about CO alarms going off and generally for valid reasons. “Don’t be afraid to call because there is probably a reason why the CO alarm is going off,” he explained. He also reminded residents to never hesitate to report suspicious smoke or fire. The fatal home fire was reported by a 911 call made by observant teenagers who saw smoke coming from the residence.
Woman Dies in Rehoboth Home Fire on Sunday Morning
(October 14, 2012) Shortly after 9:30 this morning, Rehoboth Police Department Dispatch received an emergency 911 call reporting a structure fire at 11 Pine Grove Road in Rehoboth that resulted in the death of sixty-six-year old Donna Marques.
Rehoboth police, fire, ambulance and rescue were all dispatched to the scene. A police officer arrived first at the address and reported heavy thick smoke pouring out of the single family home. Neighbors informed police responders they suspected the only resident was still in the house. Officers broke down several doors in an attempt to enter the home, but were unable to conduct operations inside the residence due to the heavy thick smoke.
RFD personnel arrived quickly, entered the home and began search and rescue operations.
One victim was located in the home and Marques was pronounced dead at the scene by Rehoboth Ambulance personnel and transported to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Boston to determine cause of death. At this time, foul play is not expected.
The home fire and death are currently under investigation by the Rehoboth police and fire departments. as well as the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.
Rehoboth Food Pantry Identity Causes Confusion
(October 14, 2012) Participants in the Tuff Scramblers “Ultimate 5K Adventure Race” held yesterday in the Rehoboth State Forest were asked to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to a “local food pantry.”
According to press reports and the Tuff Scramblers website, a portion of the registration fee was donated to the national non-profit, Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Additionally, the five dollar “spectator” fee was waived in exchange for two non-perishable food items to be donated to the Bethel Community Development Rehoboth Food Pantry, which is actually located in New Jersey, serving residents of Bloomfield and Essex County.
Rehoboth Fire Provides Mutual Aid
(October 13, 2012) A Rehoboth Fire Department crew responded to a mutual aid request from the Plainville Fire Department Wednesday night.
Plainville FD requested a tanker to help extinguish an enormous pile of stumps that were burning in a gravel pit several hundred feet off the road on the Plainville / Wrentham line.
Along with crews from North Attleboro, Norfolk, Plainville and Wrentham, RFD shuttled water to the scene for almost four hours until the fire was knocked down. It took a while to remove the large quantities of mud from the apparatus and Chiefs' vehicles after the call. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Plainville and Wrentham fire departments as the property is in both towns.
DRRHS Evacuated After Discovery of Anonymous Threat Note
(October 12, 2012) Following the discovery of an anonymous by school officials, the student populations of Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School were evacuated by bus early this morning from North Dighton to Palmer River Elementary School and D. L. Beckwith Middle School in Rehoboth, and to Dighton Elementary and Dighton Middle schools.
According to statement by Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Wordell, the threatening note was discovered about 7:30 AM and made reference to the building and “potential exposure to dangerous gas.” When it was determined a search could take a lengthy period of time, safety officials and district administrators made the decision to evacuate students. Local police and fire personnel, as well as state officials with search dogs inspected the building.
The Dighton Fire Department reported that nothing dangerous was found during the search. Students were returned shortly after noon when the building was deemed safe.
“We are immensely appreciative of everyone’s efforts,” said Wordell. The district’s bus company, food service and administrators at the other schools quickly took measures to assist in the logistics of moving the students. “The four schools were amazingly accommodating and supportive in housing and feeding our students for the several hours,” explained Wordell on the district’s website.
Parents were notified of the incident in a brief message using the district’s telephone alert system. Wordell later apologized for the briefness of the telephone message at the beginning of the incident and for any stress it caused parents. “Through any crisis, we try to balance the priority of managing student and staff safety while knowing the rumors have begun around town.”
Fourth District Candidate Carreiro Gets NOW Endorsement
(October 12, 2012) The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee announced its endorsement of Keith Carreiro, who is running against incumbent Representative Steven Howitt for the 4th Bristol District seat in the State House of Representatives.
The Mass. NOW PAC endorses candidates who are committed to NOW’s mission and priority issue areas, including reproductive freedom, racial justice, constitutional rights, economic justice, LGBT Rights, and ending violence against women. In order to receive the support of the Mass. NOW PAC, candidates must go through a rigorous endorsement process, including a multi-issue questionnaire and an interview with PAC members.
“We are proud to endorse Keith Carreiro for State Representative,” said Christina Knowles, chair of the NOW PAC. “Keith stands with us in our commitment to equal rights, and we are excited to offer him our support in his election bid and work with him on Beacon Hill.”
Prior to running for office, Carreiro had an extensive university teaching career, during which he advocated for Mass. NOW’s priority issues. He is currently serving his second elected term on the Swansea, Massachusetts School Committee.
“As a father, husband, and teacher, I believe the equal treatment and rights of women is paramount if we are to achieve true justice in our society,” said Carreiro upon receiving the endorsement.
Fundraising Walk in Memory of Cathy Ahern
(October 10, 2012) The Friends of Cathy Ahern, in conjunction with Attleboro-based New Hope, are hosting a Domestic Violence Awareness Walk on Sunday, October 14 from 9 AM at the Sammis/Waterman recreational fields on Peck Street behind the town office.
Thirty-four-year old Cathy Ahern, a 1995 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, was found dead along with her dog Precious in her North Carolina home on December 27, 2011. Her husband Brandon Blakeney is awaiting trial for her murder.
Proceeds from the walk will benefit New Hope, an anti-violence organization, as well as the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Sunday’s walk will also feature raffles, face painting, food and craft vendors. Tee-shirts will be available that day for $15 each. Advance registration for the walk is $20 and includes a tee-shirt. If you wish to register that day, the entry fee is $15 with tee-shirts sold separately. Registration begins at 9 AM followed by the walk at 10 AM. There will also be a cell-phone drop to benefit New Hope.
For more info or to register in advance, kindly contact Christine at 401-228-4585.
Selectmen’s Agenda for October 9 Meeting
(October 8, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tomorrow night at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
Selectmen have a lengthy executive session agenda including contract negotiations - with the police union, the fire chief, and with Comcast. They will also address lawsuits including Casey vs Town of Rehoboth; Krasnianski vs Town of Rehoboth; RePAC vs Town of Rehoboth, and Verizon New England vs Town of Rehoboth.
The public portion of the BOS meeting will begin with reviewing eight sets of meeting minutes including five executive sessions followed by a discussion with the town accountant Cathy Doane about the FY12 financial audit.
On regular agenda includes other discussions on various issues such as signage requests for Moulton Street and Plain Street for Horton Estates; a reserve transfer of $8,352. for the selectmen’s budget; and a new copy machine for the town office.
There will be two public meeting segments, both on roadway layouts. Selectmen will also vote on appointments, liquor licenses, and establishing a gift and bequest account for Veterans’ Services.
The Rehoboth Police Department has requested budget amendments to over $6,400 in police training wages and overtime as well as $3,000 for training course tuition. Selectmen will vote to approve those requests as well as approving Chapter 90 reimbursement requests of $167,88t for a street sweeper and $158,202. for roadway stone sealing.
A public forum segment will be opened after the above listed business has been conducted.
Local Agri-Business Featured on MA Agricultural Calendar
(October 5, 2012) Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom (MAC) announces that a new 12-month calendar celebrating Massachusetts Agriculture is now available.
The winning photo for the month of May is an image of the Siberian Iris fields at Tranquil Lake Nursery in Rehoboth photographed by Debi Hogan of Seekonk.
Published by MAC in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Farm To School Program, the calendar also includes agricultural and conservation facts, teacher tips, events, websites, and a seasonal crop chart.
Each calendar month features a photograph spotlighting the diversity of agriculture in Massachusetts.
The public was invited to submit photographs of favorite agricultural sights and subjects. These photographs were judged in June, and the 12 finalists were selected for the calendar, along with Honorable Mention photographs for several of the months.
Winners were honored in a ceremony on Massachusetts Day, Thursday September 20, at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E) in front of the Massachusetts Building.
The calendar offers agriculture education information for teachers including web sites and educational tips on each page. Twelve individual pages were sponsored by Massachusetts non-profit agricultural commodity organizations.
Sponsors include the Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Association (August) Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association (December); Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board (July); Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (January, June and November); Massachusetts Farm Wineries & Growers’ Association (September); Massachusetts Flower Growers Association (April); Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association (October); Massachusetts Maple Producers Association (March); Massachusetts Nursery & Landscape Association (May); and Massachusetts State Grange (February).
The proceeds from these sponsorships and calendar sales benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom.
Calendars may be ordered from Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, the beneficiary of all calendar sales. Individual calendars are available for $10. There is a discount price of $5 each for orders of five or more. Send orders to Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom P. O. Box 345, Seekonk, MA 02771.
Teen Arrested Outside Chartley Store on Shoplifting Charge
(October 2, 2012) Rehoboth police were summoned yesterday evening to Chartley Country Store on Tremont Street in response to the report of a shoplifter.
Officer Heather Syrett located a male suspect outside the store and took eighteen-year old Anthony Mort into custody after locating two jars of spaghetti sauce and one box of spaghetti in his jacket.
Charged with shoplifting, Mort was released on $40 cash bail and was scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court this morning for arraignment.
Eight Injured in Saturday Afternoon Collision
(October 1, 2012) Eight of the ten passengers in two vans sustained injuries yesterday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash that occurred in the area of 448 Winthrop Street (Route 44).
According to police reports, the two vehicles were traveling in opposite directions when the westbound car was hit while taking a turn into a business address. One was a commercial van and the other a mini van. Two of the seven injured sustained serious, but not life-threatening injuries. Eight individuals were transported to hospitals for treatment.
One of the accident victims was pinned beneath one of the vans. It took Rehoboth firefighters twenty minutes to extricate the victim using hydraulic tools commonly known as the Jaws of Life.
Along with two Rehoboth ambulances, emergency personnel were assisted by ambulances from Dighton, Swansea and Seekonk.
It was discovered that one of the passengers, twenty-seven-year old John Peel of Woonsocket, RI had an outstanding default warrant out of Falmouth District Court. He was arrested and later released on $500 cash bail.
The accident is under investigation by Officer Perry of the RPD.
Rehoboth Police Arrest Unruly Girlfriend
(September 30, 2012) Rehoboth police were called to a residence on Tori Leigh late Saturday night after receiving a call for assistance. The homeowner asked police to remove his girlfriend from the property.
Forty-five-year old Nancy Travers of Seekonk was arrested by officers after she became uncooperative and belligerent. After posting $45 cash bail, Travers was released and faces charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Rehoboth Firefighters Train at Live Burn
(September 26, 2012) On Saturday September 22, over twenty Rehoboth firefighters attended "live burn" training at the Union Fire District's facility in South Kingstown RI.
Officers and their crews honed their skills on fire attack, hose line advancement, communication and safety. The firefighters participated in twelve live fire scenarios on all three levels of the building. A critique of the training showed how well prepared our firefighters are to handle fire attack situations in burning structures.
Rehoboth Fire Department’s Lt. Chris Botelho and Massport Lt. Dana Potter, as well as the staff at the Union Fire District, were instrumental in the success of the day’s training.
Support Special Olympics at Local Dunkin’ Donuts
(September 26, 2012) Be a Coffee Hero by treating your co-workers, family, friends and neighbors to a delicious Dunkin' Donuts coffee - all while helping a great cause that's near and dear to your hearts.
Support your local Special Olympics athletes, teams and events by purchasing a paper donut icon for $1 at Dunkin' Donuts any day until Sunday, September 30th in Bristol County MA and RI. The 22 participating cities & towns: Acushnet, Assonet, Attleboro, Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Easton, Fairhaven, Fall River, Freetown, Mansfield, New Bedford, North Attleboro, North Dartmouth, Norton, Raynham, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Taunton, Westport.
Tranquil Lake Nursery Seeks Funds from Rehoboth’s CPC Residents to Decide at Town Meeting
September 25, 2012 - Rehoboth’s Tranquil Lake Nursery, in operation since 1986, is requesting funds from the town’s Community Preservation Committee to permanently preserve the land for agricultural use.
Tranquil Lake, with twenty-one acres along the Palmer River, is the largest grower of daylilies and Siberian and Japanese Iris in the northeastern United States.
Committed to preserving land and farming, the owners and operators of the nursery applied to the MA Department of Agricultural Resources’ Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program. The APR program offers to pay farmland owners the difference between “fair market value” of their property and the “agricultural value” of their property in exchange for a permanent deed restriction in order to permanently preserve the land for agricultural use.
An appraiser determined a value of $430,000 if the property were to be sold in the open market. The value of the property (excluding the existing house, driveway and frontage) if sold as farmland was determined to be $72,500. The difference of these two values is the value of the APR and is therefore $357,500.
The state’s APR program has committed $292,890 or $14,043 per acre and Tranquil Lake is requesting $64,610 or $3,330 per acre from the town’s Community Preservation Committee to complete the balance of the value of the APR.
The town’s contribution would be 18% of the value of the APR, with the state APR program providing 82% of the APR value plus the cost of the appraisal and title and half of the cost of the survey.
If the funds are committed and approved at the Special Town Meeting on October 29, the APR agreement would be recorded at the Registry of Deeds. Tranquil Lake would continue to own the property, but if/when the property is sold, it must be sold at farmland value and remain in active farmland use.
Since the program began in 1979, the MA APR Program has preserved over 800 farms throughout iMassachusetts, totaling 68,000 acres.
Preserving the Tranquil Lake property meets several CPC criteria for projects, including preserving Rehoboth’s rural and agricultural character by preserving active farmland with soils of statewide agricultural significance.
With wetlands, open fields and more than 1700 feet of frontage along the Palmer River, the property also contains diverse habitats and approximately fourteen acres of habitat supporting rare and threatened species and lies within 1/3 mile of more than 150 acres of protected open space.
The property is entirely within the town’s Groundwater Protection District created to protect, preserve and maintain the existing and potential water supply and groundwater re-charge areas in town.
Preserving Tranquil Lake advances the goals of the Town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan. The Community Preservation Committee strongly urges all residents to support this initiative at the Town Meeting October 29. SPECIAL TOWN MEETING RESCHEDULED FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Selectmen’s Agenda for September 24 Meeting
(September 24, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
In executive session, the selectmen will discuss three lawsuits including Medeiros vs Town of Rehoboth (TOR); Krasnianski vs TOR; Morra vs. Casey/Krasnianski.
Selectmen will continue their discussion of warrant items for the October 29 Special Town Meeting including an article submitted by Selectman Lorraine Botts for a new bylaw related to treatment of animals. It is expected that Jane Foster, the town’s animal control officer will be on hand to offer her input. The board will also address issues related to Bristol Plymouth Regional Technical School.
During the regular session, there will be a public hearing regarding the transfer of a Class II Auto LIcense held by Lopes Auto Sales. They will vote to rescind their previous vote appointing Nancy Muri as a member of the B-P school committee.
Rehoboth Land Trust Sponsored Wild Edibles Walk on Sept. 29
(September 23, 2012) On Saturday, September 29 The Trustees of Reservations along with the Rehoboth Land Trust and Seekonk Land Conservation Trust will offer an edible wild plant walk on land protected through the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust from 10 AM to 12 Noon.
Education Coordinator Linton Harrington will lead this walk to explore the natural foods along
a path starting from the home of Tom and Joan Webb.
Southeastern Massachusetts is home to more than 150 species of edible wild plants, many of which have been enjoyed by people for thousands of years.
Walk participants will encounter many edible plant species and learn tips on identification, edible portion(s), and preparation methods for each edible plant as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging.
This program is jointly sponsored by The Trustees, the Rehoboth Land Trust and the Seekonk
Land Conservation Trust who have collectively protected nearly 1200 acres in Rehoboth and
“The walk provides an opportunity to get out and enjoy an early autumn day and to explore a path for edible plants on protected land,” says Harrington. “Pointing out the edible plants is a great way to showcase the area’s diverse plants.”
The walk is free and open to the public. The walk will begin at the home of Tom and Joan Webb at 130 Jacob Street in Seekonk.
Please register by calling The Trustees of Reservations at 636-4693 ext. 13 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that heavy rain will cancel the event.
About the Rehoboth Land Trust
In an effort to preserve the farms, forests, and rural character of Rehoboth, the Rehoboth Land Trust (RLT) has made permanent preservation of land with significant agricultural, ecological, and historic value a focused priority. Founded in 1989, the RLT most recently partnered with the Town and The Trustees to preserve the Oak Hill Beagle Club property, protecting 89 acres of important habitat, and to secure an easement allowing public access to a town forest parcel. For more information, visit us at: rehobothlandtrust.org
About The Trustees of Reservations:
We are over 100,000 people like you who want to protect the places they love or who simply like getting outdoors. Together with our neighbors, we protect the distinct character of our communities and inspire a commitment to special places in Massachusetts. Our passion is to share with everyone, the irreplaceable landscapes and landmarks that we care for, as we know how valuable they are to our everyday lives. With over one hundred special places across the state, we invite you to find your place. Visit us at thetrustees.org
About the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust
Founded in 1967, the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust (SLCT) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the distinctive landscapes and natural resources in the Town of Seekonk. We support land conservation by connecting landowners to potential resources for land conservation and by acquiring land through private donations. The SLCT also supports environmental education local schools and recently assisted with the preservation 30 acres of farmland in Seekonk. For more information, visit us at: seekonklandtrust.org.
Judge Cites Heroin Dependency in Case of Alleged Rehoboth Thief
(September 22, 2012) During his arraignment yesterday in Taunton District Court, burglary suspect Mathieu White, age 25, was labeled by Judge Gregory Phillips as a heroin addict.
White was arrested on Thursday evening after an investigation by Rehoboth police into the theft of gold jewelry estimated to be worth $3,000 from White’s parent’s home. Judge Phillips ordered him held in lieu of $150 bail.
According to information provided by police, White told conflicting stories related to the theft but admitted he forced open a window to access his mother’s bedroom because the door was locked and bolted. He told police that he took a cab to Providence where he sold the jewelry and then came back to Rehoboth. He also stated his drug dealer come to the Rehoboth residence to sell him heroin. White later changed his story and said he sold the jewelry in Fall River and later went to Providence to purchase drugs. Police say he White had $460 on him when arrested.
Rehoboth Police Arrest Burglary Suspect
(September 22, 2012) Following an investigation, Rehoboth police arrested Mathieu C. White yesterday evening on charges of alleged breaking and entering of his parent’s home on Mason Street.
Patrolman James Casey and Detective Brian Ramos additionally charged White with destruction of property and larceny of $250 related to the theft of a “large amount” of gold jewelry at the Mason Street residence. Twenty-five-year old White was held overnight at the Bristol County House of Correction on $540 cash bail.
Rehoboth Residents Encouraged to Get Flu Shots . . . But Not Through the Town
(September 19, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen were told by Board of Health chairman Robert Ashton that town residents would not be able to receive their annual flu vaccine at town-sponsored flu clinics this year due to the unfilled position of town nurse.
Ashton informed selectmen that when a registered nurse is hired, the state Department of Public Health would again supply the town with vaccine to be administered at local flu clinics. He did not say when a nurse will be hired, but suggested that residents who usually attend a local flu clinic go elsewhere this year for their vaccine.
Rehoboth Fire Crew Send to Taunton
(September 18, 2012) Two Rehoboth Fire Department apparatus and seven firefighters were dispatched early yesterday morning to assist Taunton firefighters at the former Taunton State Hospital.
The Rehoboth crews responded as part of the Bristol County Tanker Task Force and shuttled water for approximately five hours. Due to the poor condition of the hydrant system on the hospital campus, the Rehoboth tankers were requested. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but the abandoned buildings on the campus have been the targets of arson over the years.
Selectmen’s Agenda for September 17 Includes Board of Health Review
(September 17, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
On the agenda is a departmental review from the Board of Health by BOH chairperson Bob Ashton. The department is currently without a town nurse and there will probably be some discussion on that topic including the preparation of an updated job description and hiring plans.
Selectmen will vote on intentions to layout new roads including Ashlynn Way in South Woods subdivision, and Key West Boulevard and Duval Street located in Cedar Hill Estates.
They will vote to approve one-day liquor licenses, and a Hawker & Peddler license for Roof Pro. The board will hold discussions on proposed warrant items for the October 29 Special Town Meeting with Carol Williams from the Community Preservation Committee and Bill Saunders from Veterans Services.
Suspect in Domestic Altercation Turns Himself In
(September 16, 2012) Rehoboth police were dispatched in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 15 to a residence on Providence Street in response to a 911 call from a 38-year-old female reporting domestic assault.
Upon arrival, officers learned the suspect had already fled in a white Jeep after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend who was transported to St. Ann‘ Hospital in Fall River for treatment.
Forty-seven-year old Michael Luzon turned himself in to the Rehoboth Police at approximately 7:30 AM and was arrested on three charges of assault and battery including use of a dangerous weapon and attempted rape. He was held in New Bedford House of Correction on $2040 cash bail. The arresting officers were Patrolman Craig Warish, Patrolman Doug Brown and Sgt. James Medeiros.
Local Emergency Management Class Offered to Residents
(September 13, 2012) The Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (R.E.M.A.) will be conducting a C.E.R.T. program thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Open to all residents of Rehoboth aged 16 years and older, the course will be held beginning this October 3rd in two-hour classes one night per week for ten weeks. Class sizes will be limited to 15-20 people, and materials will be supplied free of charge.
The Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, C.ER.T. members can assist R.E.M.A. in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. C.E.R.T. members are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
To receive more information and to register, citizens may contact R.E.M.A. by dialing 774-371-0017. Residents may also e-mail either Director William Maiorano (email@example.com) or Deputy Director Bud Fagundes (firstname.lastname@example.org). Citizens may also visit R.E.M.A. on Facebook and Twitter, or online at www.rehobothema.info.
Flags Ordered to be Lowered Until September 16
(September 13, 2012) in accordance with President Barack Obama’s proclamation, Governor Deval L. Patrick has ordered both the United States flag and the Commonwealth flag be lowered to half-staff, effective immediately, until sunset on Sunday, September 16, 2012 in honor of John Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, and American personnel killed in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
Man Arrested after Car Crash and Foot Chase
(September 13, 2012) Early this morning, officers from the Rehoboth Police Department responded to a report from a Rocky Hill Road resident of a restraining order violation. The home owner stated his nephew had just left the residence in a flatbed diesel truck with lights on the top.
A short time later, Patrolman Tim Bartucca located the vehicle on Park Street in Rehoboth and pursued the vehicle through Attleboro and into North Attleboro. While on Elm Street in North Attleboro the suspect vehicle struck a utility pole and the operator fled the crash scene on foot.
Bartucca gave chase and soon took twenty-three-year old Louis Diamond of Attleboro into custody. Diamond was then transported to the hospital via ambulance for injuries received in the crash. He faces a number of charges including violation of a restraining order, attempted breaking and entering, failure to stop for police and resisting arrest, along with a previous arrest warrant. Bartucca was assisted by both Attleboro and North Attleboro police departments along with the Massachusetts State Police.
September 10 BOS Meeting Agenda
(September 10, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
Following the weekly town administrator’s report, the board will interview attorney David Gay for the town’s legal counsel on labor related issues. There will be a departmental update from the Rehoboth Police and a vote to hire Gilbert Lima as a part-time on-call dispatcher.
Selectmen will deal with a Chapter 90 project request for Plain Street and Reservoir Avenue; they will vote to approve applications for hawker and peddler licenses; and vote on a one-day liquor license for the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society.
The board will have a discussion on town legal expenses and insurance coverage related to ancillary lawsuits.
Volunteer Cooks Needed for Gert’s Cafe at the Senior Center
(September 8, 2012) There is an immediate need for volunteer cooks to prepare lunch on Mondays at the Senior Center for Gert’s Cafe. The position requires about three to four hours of time per week.
This is how it works: you plan the Monday lunch (just good home-cooked food), purchase the food (you’ll know the number of people by the Friday before), do the prep work at home (if you wish), and then prepare for the lunch service. Then expect a lot of grateful seniors to thank you and rave about your fine cooking skills.
The staff of the Senior Center, which is operated by the Rehoboth Council on Aging, hopes that more than one volunteer cook comes forth because at least two volunteers can alternate weeks.
If you are interested in volunteering or wish to learn more about this great opportunity for community service, please contact Norie Palmer at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center by calling 508-252-3372.
September 4 BOS Meeting Agenda
(September 4, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
Topics of discussion in the selectmen’s executive session include sale of town property and a licensing issue.
New business items on the agenda include a public hearing for an “alternations on premises” application from Cumberland Farms regarding their wine and malt beverage license; a public hearing for a Class II Auto license from Triple Eagle Enterprises, LLC; vote to approve a one-day liquor license; and vote to approve a hawker and peddler license for Roof Pro.
Selectmen will also be making committee appointments and reappointments including the newly formed Economic Development Committee. They will hear a request from the Daughters of the American Revolution for a proclamation for Constitution Week later this month. A date will be set to close the warrant for the Special Town Meeting set for October 29. They will also address accepting new roadways for Steber Way, Osprey Circle, Cloud’s Way and Palmer Meadows Lane.
The BOS will revisit issues that were tabled last week including a reserve fund transfer from Veterans Services as well as the town contract with Allied Waste Management.
Open Public Forum will be held following business and before individual selectman’s reports.
RPD Respond to Report, Arrest Fall River Man
(August 31, 2012) Acting on a report called in by a motorist yesterday afternoon, Rehoboth police officers investigated a reckless driver on Moulton Street (Route 118). After finding the vehicle in question and witnessing the driver’s erratic operation, they stopped thirty-one-year old Jordan Emond of Fall River and arrested him for the negligent operation with an expired license, as well as possession of a Class B controlled substance.
Local School Supply Donation Campaign Launched
(August 30, 2012) The Rehoboth Anawan Lions Club, along with local business Edward Jones, has launched a School Supplies Donation Campaign to help students and classrooms at Palmer River Elementary and Beckwith Middle School.
Residents are being asked for donations that will be distributed to classrooms so that no child goes without basic school supplies, a growing problem nationwide in poor economic times. Having the right classroom tools is not only important to assuring academic success, but in preventing a child from being embarrassed for not having pencils, paper, crayons, erasers, folders, notebooks, glue sticks, and rulers.
Classroom teachers regularly purchase extra supplies for needy students, but they also must buy other necessities like tissues, hand sanitizers, paper towels and disinfectant wipes for their own classrooms
Other classroom needs include safety scissors, paper clips, rubber bands, loose leaf paper, crayons and markers.
With back-to-school sales going on, Rehoboth parents are asked to pick up extras and donate to the cause. “With your help, we can help ensure our children are prepared for academic success.”
You can help in this town-wide effort to help Rehoboth school children by donating supplies at two convenient locations including the Anawan Lions booth at the Harvest Block Party on Saturday, September 15 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Redway Plain. Or from September 1 thru October 19 at Edward Jones: Making Sense of Investing located at 492 Winthrop Street, Unit 1.
Rehoboth PD Still Looking for Suspect
(August 29, 2012) The Rehoboth Police Department remains on the lookout for twenty-seven-year old Michael Urban who is wanted on multiple charges including assault and battery on a Rehoboth police officer that occurred Monday August 27.
The RPD issued a wanted suspect alert with a description via the Nixle information system around 3 PM on Monday after Urban resisted arrest and fled in the area of Carpenter Street. He was described at the time as wearing a black tee-shirt and tan shorts. Urban has an outstanding felony warrant from West Roxbury District Court for breaking and entering, and larceny over $250. Once arrested he will face that charge along with Rehoboth police charges of assault and battery, and resisting arrest. Any information regarding Urban’s whereabouts should be reported to the RPD immediately by calling 508-242-3722.
Resident Appointed to Represent Rehoboth on Bristol-Plymouth School Committee
(August 28, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen appointed resident Nancy Muri to serve on the Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School Committee through next spring.
The Dighton-Rehoboth School District was reconfirmed recently as a member of the B-P district. Four local high school freshman will be enrolled at the technical high school in September. A Rehoboth resident is required to serve on their school committee that consists of elected residents of Berkley, Bridgewater, Middleboro, Raynham, and Taunton. Each member must run for election in each town, not just their own. Muri accepted the position as a temporary appointment.
August 27 BOS Meeting Agenda Includes Town Nurse Resignation
(August 27, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
One of the items on tonight’s agenda is voting to accept the resignation of Lynn Aliennello, the Rehoboth Town Nurse, followed by a discussion of posting the position.
The Rehoboth Fire Department will provide a departmental review continuing the new practice of having municipal department update selectmen and the public on their activities and future goals.
Selectmen will address the authorization of part-time forestry personnel; approval of a license for a new Dunkin’ Donuts location at 3 Park Street; and approve and sign contracts with Allied Waste Management for trash removal services. They will also vote to authorize a sale of surplus municipal-owned equipment; make appointments to the new Economic Development Committee; vote on a budget amendment from the Cemetery Commission and a reserve fund transfer from Veterans‘ Services.
A date will be set for the Fall Special Town Meeting and selectmen will vote on dates to open and close the warrant.
Open public forum will be held following new and old business
Veterans’ Services New Van On the Road
(August 24, 2012) A recently donated conversion van is now in service to transport Rehoboth veterans. The 2002 Ford Windstar was donated by the family of the late Raymond Diresto, a WWII veterans of Normandy, Belgium and the Battle of the Bulge. He was a member of American Legion Post 302 for over sixty years and a long-time resident of Rehoboth before moving to an over-55 community in Norton.
Ray benefited from the Rehoboth Veterans Ride Program offered by Post 302 under the supervision of Rehoboth Veterans’ Services. The low-mileage, well-equipped van has a special ramp for wheelchair use.
AG Coakley Announces Finalization of New Open Meeting Law Regs
Remote Participation Clarified and Intentional Violation Amended
(August 24, 2012) Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office has announced the finalization of two new regulations under the Open Meeting Law. One clarifies the regulation that allows adopting authorities to set consistent restrictions, reflecting their unique priorities and concerns, on the use of remote participation by members of public bodies. The other regulation provides additional guidance on the types of conduct that may be considered evidence of an intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law.
In May, AG Coakley’s Office issued an emergency regulation clarifying the section of the Opening Meeting Law regulations that explains how adopting authorities can restrict the use of remote participation by members of public bodies. For example, the new regulation would permit a town Board of Selectmen to set consistent restrictions for the use of remote participation for all town boards and commissions that reflect local priorities and concerns. The AG’s Office held a two-month public comment period, followed by a public hearing in July, in order to receive feedback and input on the proposed regulation from public body members and members of the public. The final regulation was published in the Massachusetts Register on August 3, 2012.
This new regulation reads as follows: Further Restriction by Adopting Authority. These regulations do not prohibit any person or entity with the authority to adopt remote participation pursuant to 940 CMR 29.10(2) from enacting policies, laws, rules or regulations that prohibit or further restrict the use of remote participation by public bodies within that person or entity’s jurisdiction, provided those policies, laws, rules or regulations do not violate state or federal law.
The regulation previously read: Effect on Bylaws or Policies. These regulations do not prohibit any municipality or public body from adopting bylaws or policies that prohibit or further restrict the use of remote participation by public bodies within its jurisdiction.
In May, AG Coakley’s Office proposed a regulation to amend the definition of “Intentional Violation” in the Open Meeting Law regulations, 940 CMR 29.02. Following a two-month public comment period, during which the AG’s Division of Open Government received useful feedback on the proposed regulation from public body members and members of the public, the office held a public hearing in July.
The amendment provides additional guidance on the types of conduct that may be considered evidence of an intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law. The final regulation was filed on August 21 and will be published in the State Register on September 14.
The final regulation amends the definition in 940 CMR 29.02 to read: Intentional Violation means an act or omission by a public body or a member thereof, in knowing violation of M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25. Evidence of an intentional violation of M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25 shall include, but not be limited to, that the public body or public body member (a) acted with specific intent to violate the law; (b) acted with deliberate ignorance of the law’s requirements; or (c) was previously informed by receipt of a decision from a court of competent jurisdiction or advised by the Attorney General, pursuant to 940 CMR 29.07 or 940 CMR 29.08, that the conduct violates M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25. Where a public body or public body member has made a good faith attempt at compliance with the law, but was reasonably mistaken about its requirements or, after full disclosure, acted in good faith compliance with the advice of the public body’s legal counsel, such conduct will not be considered an intentional violation of M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25.
The regulation previously read: Intentional Violation means an act or omission by a public body, or a member of a public body, that knowingly violates M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25. Conduct in violation of M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25, shall be considered evidence of an intentional violation where the body or member has previously been informed by receipt of a decision from a court of competent jurisdiction or advised by the Attorney General, pursuant to 940 CMR 29.07 or 940 CMR 29.08 that the conduct violates M.G.L. c. 30A, sec. 18-25.
In December 2011, the AG issued a proposed regulation that would have defined the term “Knowing or Knowingly” with respect to the Open Meeting Law. Following the public comment period and a hearing on that regulation, the Attorney General proposed, in the alternative, amending the current definition of “Intentional Violation.”
The Attorney General also provided an accompanying set of Frequently Asked Questions on the topic:
Q: Must a public body or public body member intend to violate the Open Meeting Law in order for the Attorney General to find a violation?
A: No. A public body or public member can be found to have violated the Open Meeting Law even if there was no intent to do so. However, the Attorney General may only seek the imposition of a monetary penalty if the violation was intentional.
Q: Does the new definition of “Intentional Violation” in the Attorney General’s regulations broaden or restrict in any way the Attorney General’s ability to impose penalties for knowing violations of the Open Meeting Law?
A: No. The Attorney General may seek to impose a monetary penalty for any intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law. The regulation defines “Intentional Violation” in the same way as the Open Meeting Law statute passed by the Legislature, however the revised definition provides additional examples of types of conduct that will be considered evidence of an intentional violation. The Attorney General is not required to find an intentional violation in any of these circumstances and, as before, may find a violation to be intentional even if it does not fall within one of the examples.
Q: Does the new definition of “Intentional Violation” in the Attorney General’s regulations create a new defense for public bodies or public members that act on advice of counsel?
A: No. The Open Meeting Law statute passed by the Legislature in 2009 states that “[i]t shall be a defense to the imposition of a penalty that the public body, after full disclosure, acted in good faith compliance with the advice of the public body’s legal counsel.” G.L. c. 30A, § 23(g). The revised definition of “Intentional Violation” in the Attorney General’s regulations simply restates a defense that already existed in the Open Meeting Law. Legal advice must be given in good faith, prior to the alleged violation, for it to form the basis of a defense to a finding of intentional violation.
Q: Did the Attorney General previously only find violations to be intentional if a public body had been ordered by a court or advised by the Attorney General that the conduct was not permitted?
A: No. While the old definition of “Intentional Violation” in the Attorney General’s regulations noted that this type of conduct would be considered evidence of an intentional violation, the Attorney General was never constrained to find intentional violations only under such circumstances. Indeed, the Attorney General has found that violations were intentional in three instances where there was no such prior warning.
Background on OML
On July 1, 2010, the Attorney General’s Office assumed responsibility for enforcement of the Open Meeting Law with respect to local, regional, district, county and state public bodies. Prior to that date, the state’s District Attorneys enforced the law as it pertains to local, regional, district and county public bodies. Since July 1, 2010, AG Coakley’s Division of Open Government has responded to thousands of inquiries about the law’s requirements, conducted or participated in 65 trainings across the state, and issued more than 140 determinations. In October 2011, in an effort to provide greater transparency and access to the office’s decisions, all of the Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law determinations became available online through an interactive database, the Open Meeting Law Determination Lookup.
24th Annual Rehoboth Lions Golf Tournament
(August 24, 2012) The Rehoboth Lions will again sponsor their annual golf tournament on Saturday, September 29 at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth beginning at 1 PM with a shotgun start. The tournament will be a “Bramble” format where players take the best drive and play their own ball the rest of the whole. Each team takes the best two scores. Including in the event fee will be the use of a golf cart, a great dinner, and some fantastic prizes.
The golf tournament this year is being held in honor of departed member and longtime avid golfer, Raymond Dyer. All proceeds from the tournament go directly to Lions Eye Research. Over the history of this tournament, the Lions have contributed more than $55,000 to eye research. Many citizens of Rehoboth have benefited from the research done at Mass Eye and Ear as well as other eye research facilities around the country.
The fee is $125 per person or $500 per foursome. Anyone who would like to donate a Tee Sign, the cost is $75. For more information contact Jay Crandall at 508-252-6878. Golf Signup Form
Friends of Jacob Roy Schedule Francis Farm Fundraiser
(August 23, 2012) The Friends of Jacob Rob, a ten-year old Rehoboth boy battling leukemia, is hosting a fundraising event at Francis Farm on October 21.
Along with many activities planned for that day, raffle tickets will be on sale for a gorgeous handmade queen-size quilt. The drawing will be held on November 5. Tickets are $5 a piece or three for $10. Currently you can purchase raffle tickets for the quilt at Araujo Farms & Greenhouses in Dighton, now through November 5.
The Dighton-Rehoboth Marching Band, has scheduled a Community Blood Drive on Saturday, September 15 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Senior Center to support Jacob Roy and his family. Jacob is currently undergoing treatment for leukemia and has needed five blood transfusions in the past two and a half months. Chemotherapy is taking a toll on his red blood cells. No appointments are necessary, but if you would like to reserve a specific time, please email drive coordinator Melissa Enos at email@example.com.
Veterans Charity and Professional Fundraisers Sued for Deception
(August 20, 2012) On August 16, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced a veterans charity and its professional fundraisers have been sued for using deceptive fundraising tactics in violation of state charitable solicitation and consumer protection laws.
The lawsuit, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, alleges that a Somerset charity, Bay State Vietnam Veterans, Inc. (“Bay State”), and its Rhode Island-based fundraiser, Dynamic Marketing Solutions, Inc. (“Dynamic”), violated the Massachusetts charitable solicitation and consumer protection laws during their phone solicitation campaign.
Also named in the lawsuit are Dynamic’s president, John Chaves, of Warren, R.I., and its founder, Thomas Gity, Jr., of Pompano Beach, Fla. A temporary restraining order has been obtained against the charity and its fundraiser, requiring them to preserve fundraising records and prohibiting them from transferring funds.
“We allege that these defendants took advantage of the public’s trust by knowingly misleading potential donors while soliciting money for veterans,” said AG Coakley. “We allege that these organizations falsely claimed that all donations were going directly to benefit veterans when in fact a very small percentage was going to that purpose. There are many worthy veterans charities that deserve our support - people should be confident that they are not being misled and that their hard earned money is going to the intended purpose.”
According to the complaint, Bay State hired Dynamic to raise funds for the organization. During phone solicitations, Dynamic’s fundraisers allegedly deceived potential donors by falsely stating that 100 percent of their donations would benefit veterans. In fact, only 15 percent of the solicited funds went to support veterans and 85 percent of the funds went back to Dynamic for their fundraising services.
The lawsuit further alleges that Dynamic’s professional fundraisers misled potential donors by falsely stating donations would benefit veterans living in their communities. According to the lawsuit, Dynamic’s professional fundraisers also misled potential donors by falsely claiming they were volunteers for the charity and in some cases deceptively stating that they were veterans returning from Afghanistan.
The lawsuit also alleges that the fundraisers failed to inform donors of their status as professional fundraisers, as required by Massachusetts law. The Attorney General’s lawsuit seeks $5,000 in civil penalties for each deceptive act found by a court.
Suffolk Superior Court Judge Janet Sanders issued a temporary restraining order barring the charity and fundraisers from transferring any funds they have raised and from destroying any fundraising records. Judge Sanders has scheduled a hearing for August 23 on the AG’s motion seeking a preliminary injunction that, if granted, will bar the fundraisers from continuing to use deceptive fundraising tactics and order them to account for all money raised from the public in 2011 and 2012.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Eric Carriker of AG Coakley’s Non-Profit Organizations/Public Charities Division.
Multi-Vehicle Accident on Route 44
(August 14, 2012) On Monday afternoon, Rehoboth Police, Fire and EMS responded to a two car motor vehicle crash on Route 44 near Bristol County Savings Bank. Four people were transported to the hospital requiring mutual aid ambulances from Dighton and Swansea. Crews remained on scene to clean up debris and fluid spills after occupants were transported for emergency room care. Route 44 was down to one lane during rush hour for approximately forty-five minutes. The crash remains under investigation by the Rehoboth PD.
BOS Meeting Agenda for Monday, August 13
(August 13, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with a 90-minute executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30.
According to the published agenda, selectmen will meet privately to conduct strategy in preparations for negotiations with non-union personnel; strategize about issues involving collective bargaining, litigation, and real estate. Topics of discussion include a dispatch grievance; the lawsuit between the town and RePAC; Highway Superintendent; 366 Winthrop Street; Medeiros vs. Morra; and potential environmental violation litigation.
Regular business conducted in public include a departmental update from Highway Superintendent Peter Richmaond and the official signing of the services agreement with new town counsel, the Newburyport law firm of Blatman, Bobrowski and Mead.
Selectmen will address license applications and committee appointments and reappointments. They will hold discussions on access to the old Anawan School; and the Planning Board’s recommendation for public water supply issues related to Idlewood Estates.
Other business will include a review of the town’s Capital Improvement Plan, Phase I.
Half-Staff Flag Notice on Monday, August 13 for Rehoboth Resident
(August 12, 2012) Governor Patrick has ordered the American and Commonwealth Flags lowered to half-staff on Monday, August 13, 2012 from sunrise to sunset in honor of United States Marine Corps Private First Class Brendon P. Carey of Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
Map of Rehoboth’s 53 Historic Cemeteries Now Available
(August 10, 2012) A full-color, fold-out map of Rehoboth’s 53 historic cemeteries is now available at the Carpenter Museum and through the Rehoboth Cemetery Commission (RCC).
Two years in the making, the map was created by Cheryl Wyman, a past chair of the RCC, in cooperation with Ernie Boren of Century 21 David Smith Real Estate who donated the use of his copyrighted street map of Rehoboth. Photographs for the map were provided by Rehoboth resident Sheila Oliveira. All donated their time and services to create the map which includes recognition of William Paine who has maintained the town’s cemeteries for the past twenty years.
The map was published to encourage the awareness, research, and preservation of Rehoboth’s historic cemeteries, 44 of which are under the direct care, protection and jurisdiction of the RCC. The map includes information on each historic site as well as guidelines for visiting. Sites are clearly identified and color coded on the map. Sites in red are located on private property and visitation is restricted without advance permission and assistance from the RCC.
For those interested in local historic and Rehoboth families, this map will be very useful and functional. The maps are available to the general public for a suggested donation of five dollars.
Massachusetts Sales Tax Holiday Weekend
(August 10, 2012) A sales tax holiday will occur on August 11 and 12, 2012 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts when single items of tangible personal property costing $2,500 or less are exempt from sales and use taxes, subject to certain exclusions. Items that do not quality include: all motor vehicles, meals, telecommunications services, gas, steam, electricity, tobacco products and any item exceeding $2,500.
Rep. Howitt Maintains Perfect Voting Record
(August 10, 2012) House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. congratulated State Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-Seekonk) today for achieving an impressive voting record for the 2011-2012 legislative session.
The Seekonk legislator participated in all 374 roll call votes in the House this year before the end of formal sessions for the 2011-2012 legislative session, a 100% voting record. The Representative cast votes on a number of issues including: job creation legislation derived from the comprehensive GOP Jobs Package, harsher penalties for repeat offenders included in Melissa’s Bill, and increased oversight for the taxpayer funded Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program.
Additionally, Representative Howitt registered votes on legislation relative to enhancing the state’s ability to provide a greater match for community preservation monies raised by cities and towns.
“I’m proud of my 100 percent voting record,” said Rep. Howitt. “I’m working day in and day out on Beacon Hill to advance legislation that will benefit all of my constituents.”
Representative Howitt voted in favor of an initiative to gradually roll back the state sales tax to 5% over the course of 3 years from the current 6.25%, with zero impact on the upcoming fiscal year.
“Steven Howitt is an incredibly committed member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and an extremely valuable asset to the House Republican Caucus,” said Representative Jones. “The people of the 4th Bristol district are fortunate to have Representative Howitt up here on Beacon Hill fighting for them day in and day out.”
Representative Howitt currently serves on the Committees of Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, and Transportation. Formal sessions will resume in January 2013.
EMS Group Meeting with BOS Scheduled for Sunday, August 12
(August 9, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen were invited to attend a meeting between the town’s various emergency response agencies (police, fire, rescue, ambulance, emergency management) on Sunday, August 12 at 11 AM at the Public Safety Building at 334 Anawan Street.
The topic of the group meeting will be the town’s EMS Service Zone Plan. The meeting was posted as a BOS meeting in the even enough selectmen attend and the board meets quorum. Only Selectmen Lorraine Botts has confirmed her intent to attend this meetin go the town emergency response organizations
Sorry, No Info Today: Massachusetts State Website Down
(August 8, 2012) Anyone looking for any information about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts - that’s every state government - are out of luck. The official state website, www.mass.gov has been out of service for several hours on Wednesday AM. As of 11 AM, the website remains missing and no information seems to be available on this story.
UPDATE: The Mass.gov website problem began the evening of August 7 and was thought at first to be an isolated problem for Comcast customers. By yesterday evening, the problem was deemed to be universal and a direct result of the .gov domain operator. The state web portal is working again this morning.
Four Senior Center Volunteers Nominated for Appreciation Award from SeniorLife Radio Program
(August 8, 2012) “SeniorLife” in New England, a news talk radio program on 1380-AM WNRI, will present their Senior Appreciation Award to a special volunteer from the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on September 27, 2012.
Four volunteers from the senior center have been selected as nominees including Gertrude Messier, Kay Mann, Patricia Higson and Lisa Reigle.
Voting is currently taking place on the SeniorLife website thru September 14 at midnight with the winner announced on September 16 at 7:30 AM. The winner (most votes) will receive the “SeniorLife” Appreciation Award plus $1,000 dollars. Runner-ups will receive a “SeniorLife” Appreciation Certificate (no cash prizes).
The award is sponsored by local Rehoboth businesses including Propane Plus, J & J Materials, Flynn Pest Control, and Robert Johnson Landscape Company. Out-of-town business sponsors include Mary Kay Cosmetics representative Donna Kepner of Attleboro and LTC Consulting of New England in Bristol, RI.
“SeniorLife in New England” broadcasts live every Sunday morning at 9:05 AM on 1380-AM WNRI in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Hosted by Brian McKearney, who was born and raised in Rehoboth, and co-host/director Sarah Lynn McKearney, the weekly radio program deals with issues related to senior living including scam alerts for senior consumers.
“We at “SeniorLife” Radio Show would like to thank all our sponsors for participating in our appreciation award, and a special thanks goes out to Propane Plus & LTC Consulting of New England LLC for donating additional cash so to increase the cash prize from $500 to $1,000.”
Instructions for voting (you can vote multiple times) can be found on the website. Please taken a moment to read the volunteer profiles published on the SeniorLife website.
Gertrude Messier - Volunteer One
Gertrude has been a volunteer at Rehoboth Senior Center for over 20 + years. Starting in the kitchen making sandwiches for senior guest, Gertrude famous cooking has expanded into Gert’s Café serving food every Monday at 11:45am. Senior members have expressed their love for Gertrude and her dedication to Rehoboth Senior Center.
Kay Mann - Volunteer Two
Kay has been a volunteer at Rehoboth Senior Center for many years. Kay is known to be very active at the center doing different duties. On Monday’s Kay cooks & cleans, Friday’s works with men’s group. Kay is also a retired nurse who is still active visiting seniors homes to offer assistance in daily care. Kay is one of those volunteers at the center when help is needed Kay is one of the first to offer assistance.
Patricia Higson - Volunteer Three
Patricia has been a volunteer at Rehoboth Senior Center for over 7 years. During Spring, Summer, and Fall season you will find Patricia helping out at the center, Winter season she travels to a warmer climate and offers assistance in that community. Very active at the center Patricia helps out in the kitchen, cleans, and assists with the news letters. Patricia is known at Rehoboth Senior center as a dedicated volunteer.
Lisa Reigle - Volunteer Four
Lisa has been a volunteer at Rehoboth Senior Center for over 5 years. The center has a very beautiful vegetable garden located on the side of building and Lisa works on the garden daily. Lisa & her husband are well-known in the community for planting high quality vegetables and plans out weekly deliveries. If you enjoy fresh produce available at a center, consider visiting Rehoboth Senior Center. The word is no weed goes unnoticed in Lisa’s vegetable gardens.
American Red Cross Launches Hurricane App for Smart Phones
(August 8, 2012) On August 1, the American Red Cross launched its official Hurricane App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit hurricane prone areas.
This free app is the second in a series to be created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness, for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. It gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes. Building on the Red Cross’ leadership in the social media space, the app also includes a number of features that allow people to monitor personalized weather alerts in locations where family and friends reside and share information with others in their social networks who might also need it.
“We want everyone to be to be ready for hurricanes,” said Eastern MA Red Cross CEO Jarrett Barrios. “The Red Cross Hurricane App allows people to receive and spread emergency information and to share their own status with friends and loved ones through social networks, anywhere, anytime.”
The launch of the Red Cross hurricane app comes just before what is traditionally the busiest period of the Atlantic hurricane season.
Features of the app include:
•One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
•Location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks;
•Remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside
•Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
•Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
•Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
•Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
•Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.
The app enables people across the country to receive alerts for locations in areas where they like to vacation or where loved ones live, giving peace of mind to travelers, people who winter in warmer climates, and those with elderly relatives or college students in coastal areas.
National Red Cross experts in health, safety, and preparedness have thoroughly reviewed and field tested the information and advice provided in this app. The Hurricane App follows the recently released Red Cross First Aid App which has had nearly 600,000 downloads in just six weeks. Testimonials and positive reviews have shown how dozens of people already have used the app to help in real-life situations.
The Hurricane and First Aid Apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. Downloading the First Aid app is not a substitute for training. First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit redcross.org/takeaclass for course information and to register.
Attorney General’s Office to Conduct Open Meeting Law Forums
(August 6, 2012) As a means of helping local municipalities understand and comply with the state’s Open Meeting Law, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office announced four free forums will be held in September and October.
One of those will be held in Taunton on Wednesday, October 3 from 6 to 8 PM at the Taunton Superior Court House at 9 Court Street in Taunton. Local officials, as well as members of the general public, are invited to attend the forum led by lawyers and members of the AG’s Open Government Division. Massachusetts law requires that most municipal government meetings Massachusetts must be accessible to the public.
In February of this year, the AG’s office determined the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen had violated OML on February 28, 2011 based on complaints submitted by Susan Pimental, Colleen McBride and Mr. Arthur Kelley. In May 2011, an OML violation complaint was submitted by Ed Schagrin against the Planning Board. The AG’s office declined to investigate.
Since assuming responsibility for enforcement of the Open Meeting Law, AG Coakley’s Division of Open Government has responded to thousands of inquiries about the law’s requirements, conducted or participated in 65 trainings across the state, and issued more than 130 determinations. Investigations and determinations take up to one year to finalize.
In an effort to provide greater transparency and access to the office’s decisions, all of the Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law determinations became available online through an interactive database, the Open Meeting Law Determination Lookup.
Individuals interested in attending an educational forum are asked to register in advance by calling 617-963-2925 or by emailing OMLTraining@state.ma.us, and providing: 1) their first and last names; 2) town of residence; 3) the public body/organization they represent, if appropriate; and 4) the location of the educational forum they will attend.
Rehoboth Man’s Third Year Riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge
(August 3, 2012) In 2009, Rehoboth resident Peter Otto was spending a lot of time in Boston at Dana Farber Cancer Institute when he became acquainted with the Pan-Mass Challenge, the fundraising bicycle ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown held every August.
“After finding out the ride went straight through Rehoboth,” he remembers, “my family decided to volunteer at the lunch stop at DRRHS.”
Peter, a two-time cancer survivor, will be in Sturbridge was the opening ceremonies this afternoon. Meanwhile, many of his family members and friends will be helping set up the lunch tables and chairs under a tent at the high school where around 5000 riders will eat lunch tomorrow.
“While going through chemo and my stem cell transplant at DFCI,” said Peter, “my goal was to ride in PMC.” This will the third year he has participated in the fundraiser that began 33 years ago when sixteen riders raised $10,000.
“I had an amazing experience (at Dana Farber) while I was there,” adds Peter,”and I wanted to give back to them and help others in their fight against cancer.”
He adds that the PMC weekend is both amazing and emotional because everyone that rides has a story of how cancer has touched their lives.
This year’s ride will include 5,500 riders biking from 25 to 190 miles on eleven different routes and 3000 volunteers. The fundraising goal this year is $36 million dollars in donations. All funds go directly to Dana-Farber.
Last year, Peter himself raised $6,400, but he says that getting donations is harder than riding from 190 miles of his route.
“Last year’s ride was better than the first,” wrote Peter in a letter to his supporters. “A friend bought me a new bike which was a lot lighter and easier to ride.” His previous bike was twenty-five-years old.
Tomorrow, he will be riding the Sturbridge to Bourne leg of the journey, or 110 miles. It is the longest and most difficult leg of the journey with grueling climbs and very fast descents.
He will spend the night in Bourne, and then start again on Sunday morning with a ride across the Bourne Bridge to Cape Cod. From there he will ride to Sandwich and through Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Dennis all the way to P’Town.
Last year, Peter finished day one in about eight hours in 90 degree temperatures. He spent the night in a tent, night that included a four-hour thunderstorm with 30 mph winds. The next day he started out at 5 PM and made it to the finish line by 1:30 PM.
Peter will be stopping in Rehoboth, at the 69.1 mile mark, for the lunch break that feeds and waters 5000 riders. A brigade of volunteers arrive at DRRHS at 7 AM on Saturday morning to prepare. According to Peter, it is “definitely something to see.”
Those wishing to catch the action are advised to walk to DRRHS, as traveling by car will be difficult or perhaps even impossible with the number of bike riders on the roads of Rehoboth and Dighton.
“I know I may sound like a commercial,” he said, “but it is truly an amazing weekend with people lining streets to cheer us on.”
Many along the route set up water stations and hold up signs. If you happen to be on the Pan-Mass route, make a sign for Peter!
Horton Estates Housing Lottery Info Session Scheduled Tonight
(August 1, 2012) An announcement was made at Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting held on July 30 about an information session to be held tonight at 6 PM at the Senior Center to provide details to those interested in applying for the upcoming affordable housing lottery in September.
The town and developer of Horton Estates are working cooperatively to make seven single-family, age-restricted condominium homes available for purchase for an “affordable” price to low-income home buyers age 54 and older.
Because town officials anticipate more than seven potential home buyers, they expect a lottery will be necessary to rank and choose eligible applicants. The Horton Estates development consists of 43 homes currently occupied or sold with 23 yet to be built. With four home models available from the builder, the development off Route 118 includes a clubhouse and outdoor pool for residents. Residents must belong to the development’s condo association.
The deadline to submit an application to participate in the Horton Estates affordable housing lottery is September 13 at 2 PM. Applications are currently available at the Blanding Library. LongBuiltHomes.com
Three Reserve Officers Appointed to Rehoboth Police Department
(August 1, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted to approve the appointments of three part-time reserve officers to the Rehoboth Police Department based on recommendations made by the acting police chief, Lt. James Trombetta. Jeffrey Perry, Paul Strollo and Louis DiBacco have all completed 242 hours of training conducted at the South Suburban Police Institute in Foxboro.
Dog Nuisance Complaint Brings Up Many Issues for Officials
(August 1, 2012) At their July 30 meeting, four of Rehoboth’s five selectmen voted to take no immediate action on a dog nuisance complaint made by residents on Mason Street.
Neighbors of Carol Franco, owner of Hawkswood Farm, lodged a complaint about the number of dogs on her property and allegations of excessive barking. Zoned for agricultural use, the 50-acre farm stables up to 65 horses and currently kennels at least 40 adult dogs under an operational license that allows an unlimited number of canines.
Rehoboth Animal Control Officer, Jane Foster, assured selectmen last night dog is up-to-date with rabies vaccinations required for a town dog license. Individual documentation on each dog, however, does not seem to be on file at the town office. The dogs, according to Foster, receive an appropriate level care from a veterinarian who visits the farm.
Since the issue was first brought before them on June 3, all five selectmen said they have either driven by or visited the Mason Street farm. None were able to directly witness a case of the sustained barking that was part of a neighboring farm owner’s complaint against Franco.
Selectman Lorraine Botts, the BOS liaison for animal control, visited the farm along with Selectman Sue Pimental and was upset by the living conditions of the forty plus dogs, enough to draft a proposed treatment of animals bylaw for the next town meeting.
Selectman Michael Costello said he had “investigated the matter thoroughly” and felt Franco should be ordered by the BOS to appear before Zoning Board of Appeals for a kennel license, one that would limit the number of dogs although Franco does not operate a boarding kennel. Her dogs are breed and raised to be sold and she kennels no other dogs.
While the ZBA has the right to authorize a dog kennel license, they don’t have authority to limit the number of animals that live on a farm. There was some disagreement between the town officials present at the meeting about the definition of “agricultural” animals.
William McDonough, the town building inspector and chief zoning officer, said he felt “there is no zoning violation on the property.” While the situation does fall under the dog nuisance law, he cautioned selectmen about making Franco appear before the ZBA ”for something I believe she doesn’t have to do.”
McDonough, who said he studied case law on the subject, opposed Costello’s continued argument to go forward and order Franco to appear before the ZBA. “I’m just trying to back myself up if I’m going to court,” explained McDonough, who restated he was only trying to caution selectmen on taking this course of action.
Botts insisted the breeds raised by Franco are not agricultural dogs. “They are not work dogs,” she said. “They don’t have to be,” explained McDonough, who offered to supply the BOS with case law because it has been battled often in court. “It’s a very tricky situation,” said McDonough.
“I still think we have the dog complaint issue to deal with,” said BOS chairman Joseph Tito, who asked for Botts to report on her visits to the farm. Finding dogs contained in carriers within horse stalls of a barn, Botts said she was appalled by their living conditions, but witnessed no excessive barking issue. “But I do see this inhuman treatment,” she emphasized, which compelled her to compose a new bylaw against animal cruelty.
Pimental said when she visited the farm, there was no noise issue. Selectman Leffort reported that he has been stopping there once a week and sees no problem. Tito reported that he had driven by the farm about a dozen times without hearing excessive barking or noticing an excessive odor problem beyond that of the average Rehoboth farm. Costello said he had not visited the farm, but the amount of dogs Franco keeps there scares him.
Ms. Sharp and Mr. Stoffard, the Mason Street neighbors who lodged the barking dog complaint, said dogs do not fall under agricultural use unless they are used for food or fur. They requested documentation from the town on Franco’s kennel license and individual dog licenses (with proof of rabies vaccinations) because “not much can be done by anyone without accurate information.” Their attorney, according to Sharp, has also requested this license documentation.
“I have been presenting this in front of the dog officer for three years,” said Sharp, “and my complaint is both about how the animals are kept and about the amount of animals.” She added that she felt the BOS is “not thoroughly informed about the kennel licenses and dog licenses.” Sharp added her belief that Franco is “collecting dogs and stuffing them into every corner” of the farm and claimed the Mass SPCA has complained to the Foster several times.
“If none of these board members have heard the barking,” concluded Tito, “it is difficult for us then to come to any sort of action on the barking.” Ms. Sharp then offered to provide the BOS with her own evidence before four of the selectman voted to take no action on the complaint. Costello was opposed.
New Town Conservation Area at Oak Hill Beagle Club
(July 27, 2012) Following approval of voters at the Town Meeting held in May, 90 plus acres of property off Fairview Avenue owned by the Oak Hill Beagle Club became a permanent conservation area co-held in stewardship by the Rehoboth Conservation Commission and the Rehoboth Land Trust.
In a process that began in August 2010, four groups worked in collaboration to acquire a perpetual trail easement that allows access to the previously inaccessible Town Forest.
The Community Preservation Committee and the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee were very instrumental in the two-year process. The collective of organizations were assisted by the state Trustees of Reservations that provided technical support.
As a result of this group collaboration and appeal to the public, Rehoboth residents voted for a $65,000 transfer from Community Preservation Funds (Community Preservation Act) to purchase the property.
“This was not just a deal,” comments Carol Williams, chair of the Community Preservation Committee, “ it was a Big Deal.”
The Rehoboth Land Trust received two grants towards the purchase and development of the trail. The trust has already put up their share of the purchase price and it is now seeking reimbursement from the state from the State’s Division of Conservation Services that supported preserving this large tract of land with a state Conservation Partnership grant of $85,000.
The other grant of $10,000 was from the Fields Pond Foundation and will be used for a parking lot off Fairview Avenue across from Oak Street and trail development. The Rehoboth Land Trust is currently seeking bids on the parking lot work that is anticipated to be done in the near future. There will also be signage installed.
The property will never be developed, but the Beagle Club will retain their 2 1/4 acre parcel where the existing clubhouse is located. The club has been a field training of beagles in 1951 and will remain on the town’s tax rolls with virtually no demands on town services. It will continue operation and could be sold with or without the restricted property.
The Conservation Committee and the Rehoboth Land Trust will be responsible for the maintenance of trails and the parking lot. There are plans for an opening celebration to be held sometime in the autumn.
Meanwhile, the public now has access to 18 plus acres of existing trails on the property, most of which are already well-defined. The entrance currently can be identified by a chain across the trail just off Fairview near Oak Street. (Suggestion: wear lots of insect repellant if you plan a trek into the woods.)
Belligerent Swansea Man Arrested After Traffic Stop
(July 26, 2012) Rehoboth Police arrested a twenty-one-year old Swansea man yesterday afternoon when he became belligerent following a routine traffic stop.
Officers Keith Perry and Jacob Miranda stopped Angus M. Riley on Route 44 (Winthrop Street) shortly after 4 PM for improper display of number plates. When Riley became irate about being stopped, he was taken into custody and charged with disorderly conduct along with the improper display of number plates.
According to the RPD press release, Riley “was asked to calm down numerous times to no avail” before being arrested and then released on $40 cash bail. He was scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court this morning.
Rehoboth Woman Arrested with Toddler in Car
(July 23, 2012) On Sunday night, a 70-year-old Rehoboth woman was stopped by police for erratic driving and then arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol and driving to endanger.
Rehoboth police officer James Casey pulled Geraldine Shallcross over on Wilmarth Bridge Road for erratic driving and discovered her three-year-old granddaughter in the vehicle, who was later released to an aunt after Shallcross was taken into custody.
BOS to Meet for Special Regular Meeting on Monday
(July 21, 2012) The office of the Rehoboth Board of Selectman yesterday announced a ‘Special Regular Meeting’ has been scheduled for Monday, July 23 at 6 PM at the Town Office. This meeting has been called to address several specific agenda items including the signing of the warrants.
Selectmen will also vote to sign a letter of agreement with Bristol Plymouth Regional Technical School affirming the Town of Rehoboth as a member of the B-P Regional Technical School District, an act that will allow Rehoboth high school vocational students to enroll next September.
Selectmen may also vote to sign other documents that come before them, however their Monday agenda gives no specifics.
In other news, the telephone system at the Town Office was put out of service by the thunderstorm on Wednesday afternoon. Work to bring the system back into service was still being done on Friday morning.
Grant from Bank to Fall River Educational Non-Profit Will Benefit DRRHS Students
(July 21, 2012) The Katie Brown Educational Program (KBEP), based in Fall River, was one of several non-profits including Helping Hands Food Pantry in Rehoboth to recently receive grant funding form the Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Inc.
The organization was awarded $7,000 to help their efforts to raise awareness about dating violence among youth. KBEP teaches in schools and after school programs and reaches hundreds of students in a manner and communication style that young people respect.
This award will be used to ensure the delivery of KBEP’s relationship violence prevention curricula to students at the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School for the 2012-2013 school year. For the past two years, KBEP has provided programming to students at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School as part of their health curriculum.
Each semester KBEP spends roughly 4-5 hours with each health class facilitating discussions around dating relationships. Students are given the opportunity to explore their expectations about dating, characteristics that are important to them in a dating partner, and a chance to self-reflect on previous, current, and future relationships.
Many conversations revolve around identifying the types of violence, as well as warnings sign of unhealthy behaviors that lead to one person having more power and control, and ultimately violence.
Students at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School have been incredibly appreciative of our program, which has been evident by their overwhelming participation during the program, as well as their comments on program surveys.
When asked what they learned and if KBEP should be brought back to Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, students said:
“I think this program should be brought back because it was highly informative, but still very fun. It was a great program! It was educational because they taught some very necessary skills and addressed other topics that we not have been able to talk about.”
“This program had an educational way of teaching and gave me a full understanding of violence and dating violence. This educational program was like no program I have had or heard of before. It got us involved and by doing that the facts stuck in our heads. This program was a very successful program.”
“I believe that the KBEP should be brought back. Kids need to be educated about dating violence in relationships because it’s a very common thing. With education we can be prepared with the tools we need to prevent or get out of violent situations.”
“You should bring back the KBEP because I learned so much about healthy relationships and violence that I never knew or thought about before. I learned a great deal of valuable information, and future classes should have this experience.”
Founded in 2001, KBEP) is a non-profit educational organization providing age-appropriate relationship violence prevention education to fifth grade through high school students in communities throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Topics include, but are not limited to: the types of violence, personal rights, conflict resolution, standing up for oneself while respecting the rights of others, positive self esteem, healthy expression of anger, expectations of dating relationships, media portrayal of gender stereotypes, power and control in dating relationships, characteristics of healthy relationships, and the cycle of violence.
Current violence trends including text-messaging and cyber-bullying are also discussed. The curriculum teaches youth to recognize the presence, or potential presence, of violence in their relationships with the goal of preventing such violence from becoming a factor in their lives. Since its inception, KBEP has reached over 54,000 individuals in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts.
The Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation, Inc. was established in 1996 as part of the Bank’s 150th Anniversary celebration. The purpose of the Foundation is to fund needs that contribute to the economic and social well-being of the people and institutions located in the greater Attleboro/Taunton and greater New Bedford, Massachusetts area and the Pawtucket, Rhode Island area.
The Bristol County Savings Charitable Foundation and Bristol County Savings Bank are recognized as a corporate leader for their commitment to the economic and social well-being of the communities where they conduct business. Their philosophy is that to achieve success, they must reinvest in their communities and help to sustain them.
For further information regarding the Katie Brown Educational Program, or this grant, please contact KBEP at (508) 678-4466, or visit their website, kbep.org.
Rehoboth Dad Biking from Boston to Philadelphia to Benefit Organization Fighting Childhood Cancer
(July 18, 2012) Joshua Wheeler of Rehoboth will be peddling his way from Boston to Philadelphia this fall in the California-based Pablove Foundation’s east coast fundraising ride from Massachusetts to North Carolina.
“Even the hardest ride can’t compare to the hardship pediatric cancer kids and their families go through every day,” reads Wheeler’s story page. “I am riding for Emma, my ten-year-old daughter who has battled cancer twice since 2009,” says Wheeler who has been training hard for the ride. “She doesn’t let anything stop her and I won’t let anything stop me!”
At age eight, Emma was diagnosed with a Wilms Tumor on her kidney and underwent a 7-hour surgery to remove the nearly two pound cancerous growth, the kidney, and surrounding lymph nodes. She received aggressive chemotherapy at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and the Wheeler family of five quietly used up most of their life savings.
Tests revealed that Emma was cancer-free, but a scan nine months later revealed it had returned. By this time, the community became more aware of the Wheeler family and their situation.
The Emma Wheeler Pediatric Care Foundation was established. Over $3000 was donated from proceeds of the 2011 Beckwith Middle School play, Walking on Sunshine. The Rehoboth Police Department was able to obtain a $5000 Cops for Kids grant while Emma was at Boston Children’s Hospital undergoing treatment to prepare her for a double stem cell transplant at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Back in Rehoboth, a blood drive and bone marrow registration was held at the Dunkin‘ Donuts and dedicated to Emma.
The Pablove Foundation’s mission is to fund pediatric cancer research and treatment along with educating cancer families and improving the quality of life for children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs.
Rehoboth resident Sue Duncan, who has been promoting Wheeler’s upcoming bike ride and fundraising efforts, reports that “Emma is doing great and her dad is doing a great job giving back.” She reports there are only 14 donors to date and thinks the “town of Rehoboth can do better than that.”
If you would like to support Joshua Wheeler, who bought his first bicycle ever for the sole purpose of riding for Pablove, please visit his fundraising page for more information and easy donation options.
BOS Agenda for Monday, July 16, Plus FinCom and Planning Board
(July 16, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session followed by the public segment of their meeting at 7:30. Also scheduled to meet is the Planning Board in conjunction with the BOS, as well as a meeting of the Finance Committee at 8 PM in the small conference room of the Senior Center.
According to the agenda, the BOS will meet privately to conduct strategy sessions in preparation for negotiations with non-union personnel. They will also discuss collective bargaining or litigation issues with topics including the Morra vs. Krasnianski/Casey lawsuit, a dispatch grievance, and an issue involving the highway superintendent.
Following an open forum for public announcements and town administrator’s report, selectmen will get a departmental update from Norellen Palmer, the director of the senior center. They will also do a performance evaluation of Jeff Ritter, the town administrator.
Selectmen will also discuss end of fiscal year 2012 issues and will review of the town’s legal expenses. In February 2012, officials estimated a least $56 thousand in legal fees would be accrued by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. The town’s legal costs have been substantial in the past two years, mostly due to litigation involving town officials. According to a report from Ritter last winter, the town had legal expenses in the amount of $86,540.23 from July 1, 2011 thru February 2, 2012. Later on during the evening meeting, selectman are scheduled to discuss proposals from potential new town counsel, a process that was begun last winter.
Also on the agenda will be a discussion of the Open Meeting Law violation complaint made by Selectman Don Leffort against the other four selectmen and Finance Committee chair Michael Deignan. On related issues, the board will discuss appointments to the Finance Committee.
Regular business will include approval of one-day liquor license applications, Chapter 90 reimbursement, mutual aid from public safety, and requests from the Rehoboth Minute Company, and from the Town Events Committee for the upcoming 13th Annual ‘Larry Procopio’ Harvest Block Party.
Rehoboth Agricultural Fair Cancelled for This Year
(July 15, 2012) The Board of Directors of the annual Rehoboth Agricultural Fair, scheduled for August 9 thru 12, have announced the cancellation of the popular event. This would have been the Fair’s 73rd year of operation.
“We regret to announce that the 2012 Rehoboth Fair has been cancelled,” read a statement from the fair’s board. “The current landowners, Winfield Farms, LLC owned by Robert Pray, Jr. and Russell Pray, have refused to negotiate a new agreement allowing us to use the lands and fields necessary for the Fair to operate.”
The Pray family have been instrumental in putting on the large-scale Rehoboth Agricultural Fair for decades including many years in Taunton at what was then the Taunton Dog Track off Route 44. That was followed by a period when the Fair was not conducted at all for several years.
At one point in the 1990s, a plan to bring the traditional country fair back to Rehoboth on property across Route 44 from the post office was pursued and then dropped. In 2004, the Fair finally found a new home on the grounds of Pray family farm located on Almeida Road in Rehoboth. In 2009, the Fair received a third-place award from the Massachusetts Agricultural Fairs Association (MAFA) Media Awards competition.
Rehoboth Agricultural Fair, Inc. has also conducted both spring and fall seasonal events at the Almeida Road location. The published list of directors for last year’s summer fair included Dick Pray, Frances Pray, Brad Johnson, Mark DeSilva, Jamie Koziol, David Davignon, and Manny Botelho. Officers in 2011 included Robert Pray, president, Aaron Caswell, vice-president, Jennifer Koziol, secretary, Harold Ashley, treasurer, and Lynn Pray, clerk.
Rehoboth Fire Department Announces New Grads from Massachusetts Fire Academy
(July 13, 2012) The Rehoboth Fire Department is proud to announce the graduation of six recruits from the Massachusetts Fire Academy in a ceremony held on June 25 in Fall River.
Rehoboth Fire Chief Robert Pray was a member of the stage party representing the Massachusetts Fire Training Council and RFD Chaplin John Amaral delivered the opening and benediction.
The graduates, Danielle Bourdeau, Chris Darling, Howard Harkins, Jesse Lee, Alex Mcleod and Jason Sidok, were awarded their national certification to the level of Firefighter I & II from State Fire Marshall Steven Coan. Bourdeau and Sidok are second and third generation firefighters. They spent two nights a week and every other Saturday participating in both lecture and practical skills training and taking periodic exams while maintaing their full-time jobs. They attended the Academy on their own time with the department supplying turn out gear and the required texts.
“The program is extremely intensive and requires a huge commitment to complete,” said Assistant Chief Frank Barresi. “On behalf of the officers, firefighters and the people of Rehoboth,” he added, “we say "well done."
They will continue training on their station assignments and become full members once completed. To learn more about the Rehoboth Fire Department, please visit rehobothfd.com
Town Events Committee Invites Participants to Register for Harvest Block Party
(July 11, 2012) The Rehoboth Town Events Committee is inviting businesses, vendors and organizations to participate in the 13th Annual “Larry Procopio” Harvest Block Party to take place on Saturday, September 15 on the Redway Plain off Route 44.
Endorsed by the Town of Rehoboth, this annual, volunteer-driven event was initially organized by the late Larry Procopio and many of the people who served on the town’s 350th Celebration. The event receives no funding from the town and does not charge a ‘space fee’ or admission to the event. Revenue generated by the event committee’s sale of food and beverages has helped cover costs related to putting on the event, such as rental of sanitary facilities, provision of electricity and field preparation.
In the past couple years, an increase in the number of food and beverage vendors has significantly reduced the funds made by the committee to support the event. After discussing the decline in revenue, the committee decided to ask vendors and organizations offering food for sale to support the event with a suggested donation. With this means of financial support, the committee will be able to continue host the event with no admission or parking charge.
Vendors and organizations are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Forms and other information are available on the Harvest Block Party page.
Selectman Leffort Files Open Meeting Law Violation Complaint with AG’s Office
(July 11, 2012) An Open Meeting Law violation complaint was send on July 9 by Rehoboth selectman Donald Leffort to the Office of the Attorney General and the Rehoboth Town Clerk.
The complaint alleges both the Rehoboth BOS and Finance Committee committed a violation on June 18, 2012 when the appointment of John Ferreira to FinCom, was allowed without proper 48-hour agenda notice. Leffort alleges this violation was committed by his fellow selectmen Joseph Tito, Michael Costello, Susan Pimental, Lorraine Botts, and FinCom chair Michael Deignan.
“It is apparent that Chairman Tito and other BOS members had anticipated and illegally planned the appointment of Mr. Ferreira well in advance,” reads Leffort’s description that actually uses two different dates for the alleged violation, June 18 and June 25.
“They engineered the presence of Town Clerk K. Conti to attend the meeting,” Leffort accuses, “with preprinted forms completed, with the sole intent and purpose of swearing in Mr. Ferreira to the Finance Committee that very evening.”
Responding to Leffort’s complaint, BOS chair Tito said, “once again, we find ourselves wasting time, resources, and money on issues that have absolutely nothing to do with moving this town forward.”
Leffort, in his complaint, urged the AG’s office to “obtain and examine emails and phone calls just prior to the meeting” among his fellow selectmen and Deignan. “These private communications constitute evidence that these parties colluded in not wanting others to know of their planned appointment of Mr. Ferreira.”
This OML complaint will most likely be on the BOS agenda for their next regular meeting at the Senior Center on Monday, July 16. The topic will also be on the FinCom agenda for July 16, in a meeting to be conducted concurrently with the BOS meeting, but in the small conference room.
FinCom chair Deignan plans to file a response to the complaint with the appropriate agencies, as well as the BOS, to resolve the issue.
“This is once again another baseless complaint without merit and a complete waste of time not only for the board, but the attorney general’s office,” said Selectman Pimental in a written statement. “Mr. Leffort should be congratulated for making Rehoboth a joke,” she concluded.
CPR and AEU Class Offered at Senior Center
(July 3, 2012) The Rehoboth Senior Center is hosting a Heart Saver Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillation (AED) class on Wednesday, July 25 at 6 PM. Registration is a must. This class is sponsored by Rehoboth Ambulance and Scott Meagher Safety Consultants. Please call 508-252-3372 to register.
Refurbished Town Website Now Available
(July 3, 2012) After several months, the official Town of Rehoboth website, newly refurbished, is now available online at Town of Rehoboth. The new site is not fully complete, but it will offer general information as well as pages from each department and municipal committee, board or commission. There will be agendas and meeting minutes offered, plus ready-to-use forms.
BOS Meeting Following Last Week’s Special Election Takes Contentious Turn
(July 3, 2012) What was slated to be a routine Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting last night ended with thirty minutes of antagonistic sparing between town officials including four of the five selectmen and two members of the Finance Committee. BOS chairman Dr. Joseph Tito was not present for the meeting.
“The taxpayers voted out overwhelmingly to defeat a debt exclusion,” began Selectmen Sue Pimental. “But I do have some questions,” she said before asking fellow selectmen Don Leffort about a letter to the editor he put into one of the papers. She read from the letter and asked Leffort if the statements, accusing his fellow selectmen of not being transparent, were really his words and not a misquote.
After nodding the statements were his, she began questioning him about specifics from the oversized postcard “Vote No” mailer that was delivered in mailboxes of all Rehoboth resident days before the special election. When asked later, Leffort admitted he was a co-author of the mailer.
Selectmen Pimental continued questioning Leffort about his understanding of debt exclusion and other aspects of the mailer including the artist’s rendering of using the old Anawan School as a potential location for a town hall. She asked him about the mailer’s reference to the Anawan School as a “historic” building and disputed that claim as it is not officially on the state register of historic buildings. “But, it has been looked into,” countered Leffort. “It’s very misleading,” stated Pimental.
“You’re making a statement in a paper that we are not being transparent,” said Pimental to Leffort, who countered that his fellow selectmen were not being transparent. The agreement continued regarding financial aspects of the debt exclusion voted down last week by residents.
“I just want to make it clear to everybody out there what the costs would be,” emphasized Pimental before continuing to question Leffort about his understanding and motivation.
When Finance Committee member Chris Morra shouted out from the audience, Costello told him several times to be quiet and threatened to have him removed. “The discussion is between these two selectmen,” he added.
“Why are we doing this,” asked Leffort, noting that people already voted down the debt exclusion. “Because we are finding a lot of lies,” replied Costello angrily. Selectmen Lorraine Botts added her belief the people who voted against the debt exclusion did so “because of a postcard that lacked transparency.”
The discussion turned to using the Anawan School as a new town hall. Voices began to rise as the selectmen began talking over each other about the likelihood of asbestos being in the building. “You have no knowledge of asbestos,” said Costello to Leffort who soon uttered with a profane phrase describing his fellow selectmen.
“We don’t need to have language like that on public TV,” said Costello before Pimental continued to question Leffort about the feasibility of using the Anawan School as potential low-income housing for seniors and veterans.
“I got it loud and clear,” said Pimental, “the voters did not want a tax increase.”
“And they also could not believe what you were proposing,” countered Leffort, who suggested people believed the mailer instead. “The devil’s number came up,” said Leffort, referring to the 666 residents who voted yes to the debt exclusion.
“You’re right about that,” said Costello, who added the “devil was all over that.” He said, “most of the people voted on an unsigned flier that both you and Mr. Morra had involvement in.”
“That’s right, we did,” said Leffort who accused Costello of being “the king lier of this board.”
Costello’s anger erupted. He accused Leffort of “doing nothing for the board.” “He makes no contribution and votes no on everything,” he added.
“You go do your little lawn mower business,” said Costello before the two men began trading insults and accusations bringing up aspects of each other’s personal lives.
When Pimental tried to regain control by diverting the subject, Leffort asked her, “Are you still talking?”
Open public forum was then opened and immediately the verbal sparing began between sitting selectmen and Christopher Morra who was given three minutes to speak. Stating that he was one of the people responsible for sending out the flyer, he made several comments about a prior feasibility study looking at the cost of renovating 340 Anawan street as a new police department, and the cost was prohibitive. He said the Anawan School was indeed a viable alternative to become a new town hall.
After he concluded his statement, Selectmen Botts asked Morra to confirm that he owns the land across from the Anawan School. She said he would benefit from the school becoming a town hall. and potentially a new town center because he owned nearby land.
“How would I benefit from that” he asked her, before explaining he had an access road across the street from the Anawan School into his fields that are designed Chapter 61 use.
Botts then asked Morra why he did not sign his postcard, to which he replied that he wanted to make sure it was delivered by the post office. “And for the first time, everybody got one,” suggesting that his prior bulk mail pieces were not appropriately delivered and/or tampered with. Of course, that would be a federal crime.
As public open forum continued, finance committee member John Ferreira spoke. “Everybody looked like clowns tonight,” he said. “This is totally ridiculous,” he added, before offering to bring two checks of $25,000 each to the town hall to be held in escrow. “One check will be made out to Don Leffort and the other to Chris Morra,” he said. “If they can deliver it (Anawan School) to you for $960,000, including interest, they can have the $25,000.” Ferreira said he will give them each an additional $25,000 each if they deliver the Anawan School as a new town hall within eighteen months. “That was a total lie, that flier,” he concluded.
Costello ended the meeting by apologizing to the public for getting “a little excited” because he is passionate about the helping the town. “We will move on and concentrate on using the Anawan School” (for low-income housing.)
BOS Agenda for Monday July 2 Includes Routine Business
(July 2, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning with an executive session at 7 PM, followed by the public segment at 7:30 PM.
Topics of discussion during the executive session include real estate issues and “strategy with respect to collective bargaining or litigation” that may include the town’s involvement in three lawsuits, Medeiros et al vs. Morra; REPAC vs. Town of Rehoboth; and Morra vs Krasnianski/Casey.
Routine business on the agenda includes budget amendments: $700 for facilities maintenance; $300 for police cruiser maintenance; $2,095 for police vehicle repair; funds for fire department travel; and $240 for postage.
Selectmen will vote on a reserve fund transfer in the amount of $2,774 for town legal counsel, as well as an inter-agency budget transfer of $2,815 for local access utility costs from February thru June 2012.
Chapter 90 funds for street repairs and engineering costs will also be voted on. There will be an awarding of of bid for street sweeper.
Other items on the July 2 agenda include a discussion with William Saunders, Director of Veterans Services regarding the Valor Act, committee reappointments, the Village Dam inspection, the next step to securing new town legal counsel, and an update on cable access.
Open public forum will be held at the conclusion of regular business.
Voters Say No Thanks to Debt Exclusion
(June 27, 2012) Twenty-three percent of registered voters went to their polling stations yesterday with the majority rejecting a debt exclusion allowing the town to purchase the building at 340 Anawan Street and convert it into a new town hall.
The voting results were 1,028 against the debt exclusion to 666 in favor of approving the tax override to fund the new town hall project that included purchasing the building at $1.2 million, and nearly another six hundred thousand to renovate the building. Presumably there would have been additional cost to relocate the existing town offices into the new building.
Less than two hundred residents voted at the May town meeting to approve the special election. According to town officials, the cost of conducting a special election from 10 AM to 8 PM at three precincts is approximately $7,000.
House Passes Infrastructure Financing Bill
(June 27, 2012) State Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-SEEKONK) joined his House colleagues in passing House Bill 4179, An Act Financing Improvements to the Commonwealth's Transportation System, which provides necessary financial aid to improve the state’s transportation system and to fund municipal infrastructure projects.
In addition to authorizing $200 million in Chapter 90 funding for cities and towns and maintaining funding for federal and non-federal interstate highways, Regional Transit Authorities (RTA) and the rail transportation system, Representative Howitt was successful in offering an amendment to secure funding for the Seekonk Public Safety Complex opticon traffic lights.
“I’m pleased to have been able to secure transportation funds for the design of the Seekonk Public Safety complex opticon traffic signals,” said Representative Howitt. “This project will improve public safety on Route 44 for our town’s first responders and I’d like to thank the town of Seekonk for their collaborative efforts.”
The bill will also expand the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors, which oversees the MBTA, from 5 to 7 members. The newly configured Board will oversee transportation projects statewide.
All local priorities in the final version of the bill are subject to the approval of the Patrick Administration.
New Online Tool to Check Beach Safety
(June 26, 2012) Massachusetts is lucky to have one of the country’s best collections of freshwater and ocean beaches. The latest issue of Yankee Magazine features the top 25 Best Beach Towns in New England and fourteen of them are in Massachusetts (and five more close by in Rhode Island).
To ensure that you and your family enjoy safe and healthy days at the beach this summer, the Department of Public Health (DPH) closely monitors all public and semi-public (for example, campgrounds and motels) beach water for bacterial and other contaminations throughout swimming season.
Bacterial contamination can come from a number of sources including combined sewage overflows and storm water outfalls, urban runoff, pet waste and wildlife. To a lesser extent septic tank impacts can occur in some areas. People both in and out of the water at beaches contaminated with bacterial pollution are at an increased risk of getting sick.
To keep the public informed with the most up to date information on beach closings and potential waterborne diseases, DPH created an online tool which enables you to see which beaches are open or closed on any particular day and why. The site also provides water quality history for all beaches. Be sure to check back often as the site is updated regularly throughout the summer.
By the way, if you’re interested in learning which MA and RI beach towns were made it to Yankee Magazine’s Top 25 List, here they are in order of the best listed first: Provincetown, Nantucket, Newport, Old Harbor-Block Island, Edgartown, Rockport, Chatham, Watch Hill, Falmouth, Wellfleet, Oak Bluffs, Narragansett, Newburyport, Orleans, Ipswitch, Little Compton, Plymouth, Hull and Brewster.
The top beach town in New England, according to Yankee, is Ogunquit, Maine.
Mailer Asks Residents to Vote No on New Town Hall
(June 23, 2012) Only days before a special town election for voters to decide whether to approve a debt exclusion for the proposed purchase of 340 Anawan Street to repurpose into a town hall, an alternative concept has been presented to residents via a bulk mailer that arrived in mailboxes yesterday.
Although the mailer did not recognize a specific individual or group behind the large, double-sided postcard, it asked residents to vote “no” to “moving town hall offices to the red brick house at 340 Anawan Street.”
The alternative presented was to use the old Anawan School at 53 Bay Street as a new town hall. The building has been closed for years and is currently in a serious state of disrepair. The mailer suggested residents should consider this alternative and vote for it at a later date, in another special town election.
The cost to the town to hold a special election, according to town officials, is around $7,000. Residents decided several weeks ago at the spring town meeting to approve Tuesday’s election. If the issue is revisited with a plan to restore the Anawan School for the purpose of converting it into a town hall, voters must approve another special election which will add an additional $7,000 to the next fiscal budget year 2013.
Voters Asked to Consider Using Old Anawan School
(June 23, 2012) Today, a set of color artist’s renderings and a floor plan for a proposed new town hall at the vacant, closed for many years, Anawan School was submitted to RehobothNow by resident Christopher Morra, who serves on the town Finance Committee.
“I have attached a copy of the elevation and floor plan that show that the former Anawan School is far more feasible to have as our Town Hall,” he wrote in an email.
“The flyer that was mailed is 100% accurate and would be a good reference to show why this is the obvious and most viable option,” he added.
BOS Meeting Agenda Includes Several Hot Topics
(June 18, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning with an executive session at 6 PM followed by regular business as well as a public hearing at 8:15 PM on the proposed purchase of 340 Anawan Street and relocation of the existing town offices to that new location next to police/fire headquarters.
Prior to the public hearing, selectmen will meet in executive session to address, among other things, three ongoing lawsuits including Medeiros et al vs. Morra; RePAC vs Town of Rehoboth; and Morra vs. Krasnianski/Casey. Selectmen will also discuss collective bargaining and real estate at 295 Winthrop Street.
The first item of regular business is the reorganization of the Finance Committee which must be approved by the BOS. The role of FinCom relative to budget amendments will also be discussed later in the agenda. There will be reappointments to committees and a discussion about an invitation from Norton regarding the proposed Taunton casino.
Issues that in the past have been controversial are also on the agenda. There will be a discussion of Horton Farms and the affordable housing lottery. Selectmen will vote to authorize a $2,400 transfer from Cable Access account (money provided to the town from Comcast to operate PEG programming) into the BOS account for telephones. As the town’s legal expenses continue to mount, the board will vote to authorize another reserve fund transfer, this time in the amount of $16,318, for town counsel. The BOS will also vote to authorize a reserve fund transfer of $8,000 for the fire department, and award highway bids.
Selectmen will also continue a discussion with public safety personnel regarding the EMS Service Zone Plan, a topic that was examined at length recently at a previous BOS meeting.
Palmer River Essay Winners Visit Rep. Howitt in Boston
(June 18, 2012) Representative Steven Howitt (Seekonk- R) hosted Palmer River Elementary School third and fourth graders on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at the State House in Boston, MA.
Students selected to attend “Ride to the State House” were winners of two essay contests at the Palmer River Elementary School. The third grade wrote about what the American Flag means to them while the fourth grade wrote about the constitution and the rights provided to our citizens.
The selected essay winners and their parents toured the State House and visited the House of Representatives chamber with Representative Howitt. The students also had lunch in the House Member’s Lounge before departing.
“It was a pleasure to host the students and their parents from Palmer River Elementary. They seemed to enjoy their visit to the State House,” said Representative Howitt. “They were very impressive and well behaved students.”
Principal Linda McSweeney accompanied the children to Boston. The essay winners include: Grade 3: Skylar Botelho, Hannah Caouette, John Marcille, Autumn Elise Hutchins, Emily D’Ambrosio, Taylor Creel, Jordan Soufy, Carla Sirois, Isabella Brown, Tatianna Ramos. Grade 4: Casie Sullivan, Meghan Reed, Isaac Taylor, Abigail Bruno, Logan Caruthers, Julia Cannistraro, Owen Hebda, Connor Platt, Emily A. Vivenzio, Hannah Araujo, Amanda Larrivee, and Emma DePalo. Additionally, Abby Moitoso was selected to be ‘Principal of the Day.”
Rehoboth Police Report Increase in Vehicle Break-ins
(June 15, 2012) Over the past several weeks, the Rehoboth Police Department has received a large number of reports concerning break-ins to unlocked vehicles parked in driveways. The break-ins are occurring during the overnight hours with the majority occurring in the north Rehoboth. Items taken include cash, change, cell phones, GPS units, laptop computers, etc.
Residents are urged to lock their vehicle doors and remove items of value from their cars. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the Rehoboth Police immediately. An ongoing investigation is currently being conducted.
Proposed New Town Hall Public Hearing Scheduled
(June 15, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing during their next regular meeting on Monday, June 18 at the Senior Center 55 Bay State Road. The regular meeting begins at 7:30 and the public hearing portion is scheduled from approximately 8:15. The public will have an opportunity to provide input regarding the June 26 special election on a debt exclusion ballot question that will fund the proposed purchase of 340 Anawan Street to restructure into a town hall. The BOS welcome public participation either in person or in writing.
Local Farm Organizes “Young Farmers Nights” Series
(June 15, 2012) Last year young and beginning farmers in Southeastern MA and RI got together every other Tuesday evening during the summer season for a series of events called Young Farmer Nights (YFN).
Organized by local CSA proprietor Margianna Peterson-Rockney of Rosasharn Farm on Country Street, these events help to build a community of young farmers, farm interns, and folks interested in food/farming in the southern New England area. Many of them were used to seeing each other at conferences and events, but rarely spent time together or has the chance to see the amazing work they are all doing.
YFN provide a way for the young farmers to learn from one another and get off our own farms for an evening. The model for each event, that move around to different farms in the area, include eating a potluck-style dinner together, participating in a farm-related activity, and just hanging out together by the bonfire and often playing cards.
Last season the connections and friends made at YFN led to collaboration such as: tool borrowing/trading, brainstorming on pest management, a shared YFN booth at the Brown University Farmer's Market, and crop-mob style intern visit days on other farms. This helps the individual farms get big projects done and let interns experience different styles of farming These are just a few examples of what great things can come from having a stronger community of farmers who can work together to overcome the unique challenges of being a young or beginning farmer in this area.
Night Rescue of Boater Stuck on the Palmer River
(June 14, 2012) The report of a man stuck on the Palmer River in a power boat resulted in a lengthy evening search by Rehoboth emergency personnel including police, fire and rescue.
Rehoboth police responded to the initial call and were dispatched to the area of 134 Mason Street where they observed an 18’ ridged hull inflatable with a wheelchair on the bow motoring away.
Officers also went to the Palmer River Bridge on Route 6 to see if they could make visual contact with the boat. Within minutes both Rehoboth Fire and Rescue Departments arrived to search for the boater. Additional assistance was provided by the Swansea & Norton Fire departments.
The Rescue Department provided police with a small boat and a two-man crew to assist in the search. The Swansea and Norton Departments also provided boats. After about 90-minutes, the boater was found by Patrolman Keith Perry and Asst. Chief Scott Abrahamson of the Rehoboth Rescue Squad.
The boater, identified as Brian Smolak of Weymouth, MA, was found on his watercraft which had run aground in the mud of the Palmer River.
Several hours after the initial search the boater was brought to shore, checked out by EMT’s on the scene, and then transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.
Selectmen to Hold Meeting at 340 Anawan Street
(June 11, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will conduct their next regular meeting on Monday, June 11 at 340 Anawan Street, the building that will become a town hall if voters agree at the special election on June 26.
Prior to a public hearing on the debt exclusion ballot question, selectmen will conduct the Open Forum segment including a recognition of Rehoboth Police Officer Craig Warish. The next item on the agenda will be approval of conservation restriction and perpetual easement to the Trustees of Reservations, and Town of Rehoboth Conservation Commission for Oak Hill Beagle Club to become a new conservation area on Fairview Avenue and wildlife domain.
Selectmen will discuss safety concerns and signage on Kelton and Gorham streets before allowing thirty-minutes for a public hearing on the proposed new town offices.
Other business before the BOS includes signing a services grant agreement between the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society and the town for the purpose of operating the Blanding Public Library. They will also vote to approve a REMA grant contract, numerous budget amendments, reserve fund transfers, Chapter 90 reimbursements, and reappointments to various municipal committees. Additionally the selectmen will vote to issue a warrant for unlicensed dogs.
The BOS will vote to amend a previous vote allocating $10,000 to $9,928. for payment to town legal counsel in the case of RePAC vs. Town of Rehoboth. They will also provide an update on public access cable services, as well as an update on the status of D-R students attending Bristol-Plymouth Regional Vocational School in September. Open Public Forum will be held at approximately 9:30 PM.
Business Owners and Town Officials Discuss Future
(June 11, 2012) Members of the Rehoboth Business Association were invited by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen to attend a roundtable discussion on Saturday, June 9 at the Senior Center.
Two of the five selectmen, Dr. Joe Tito and Lorraine Botts were in attendance, along with town administrator Jeff Ritter, Jim Muri from the Planning Board and Mike O’Hern from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
RBA members who participated discussing a variety of topics, all related to the future of business in Rehoboth, included RBA president Linda Ferreira, and board members Tim Johnson, Luke Travis, Dale McCaughey, and John Jordan.
All agreed that a more supportive, collaborative environment needs to be nurtured for existing business and new business to thrive in Rehoboth. They spoke of the need to address antiquated zoning bylaws and the adversarial attitude that currently exists between business and municipal government.
“Existing regulations are the consternation of anyone even attempting to do business in Rehoboth,” said Tim Johnson of Propane Plus who noted the struggles and roadblocks put in front of small business trying to open in town. Others mentioned the intimidating process of sitting before boards, that are not overly business-friendly, to be given the stamp of town approval. In defense of the planning board, Jim Muri said, “we need to be concerned” lest there be “unintended results.”
Easing the business of doing business in Rehoboth was another topic. Having an online interactive portal on the new town website with an array of resources for people interested in starting a business in town would be beneficial, along with a step-by-step checklist of the process involved. Various town permitting forms could be available, plus an online payment system such as Paypal.
Jeff Ritter suggested creating an Economic Development Committee as soon as possible to support more dialog and a concrete plan to address updating zoning and other town bylaws that have a great affect on whether or not business can successfully exist in Rehoboth.
The group also talked about the potential of utilizing existing town resources, such as the Redway Plain for more events and a means to bring people and commerce to town. For many years, Rehoboth was known for its annual multi-day Arts and Air Festival that took place across Route 44 from the Redway Plain. Muri said he would look into the restrictions of use of that town property including horse shows.
The town at this point in history can not afford to keep the status quo. “We do not have the luxury of non-change,” said Travis, an attorney who practices in Rehoboth.
Pickup Truck Hits Utility Pole on Tremont St.
(June 9, 2012) Late Friday night, Rehoboth public safety personnel responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident in front of 157 Tremont Street. Firefighters arrived on scene to find the front end of a pickup truck smashed against a utility pole. Rehoboth EMS transported the operator to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Crews remained on scene for approximately one hour to assist with the removal of the vehicle, contain a fluid spill and pick up a large amount of debris in the road from the contents of the truck. The road was shut down for 15-minutes to complete the process. The accident remains under investigation by Rehoboth police.
Rehoboth BOS to Meet at Proposed New Town Hall Location
(June 7, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, June 11 at 340 Anawan Street, the building that will become the new town hall if voters agree at the special election on June 26.
The regular BOS meeting will begin at 7:30 PM with a public hearing starting at 8 PM to provide visitors the opportunity ask questions and offer comments regarding the upcoming debt exclusion ballot question. If passed, the town will be allowed to purchase 340 Anawan, complete necessary renovations, and move the existing town offices there. Public participation is welcomed by the BOS, either in person or in writing.
The meeting will be conducted in the basement area (the proposed town meeting room) with walk-in access at the rear of the building. Some parking is available in the back. Additional parking space may be found next door at the Public Safety Building or across the street at the Highway Department. Those attending will be able to view the lower level of the building, but not the upper level.
Donation Awarded to Helping Hands
(June 4, 2012) The Bristol County Estate Planning Council recently awarded a $500 donation to Helping Hands Food Pantry, nominated by local attorney Luke P. Travis. The Jay Sullivan Memorial Award is given in honor of long time member and past president of the Estate Planning Council.
The Estate Planning Council is an interdisciplinary organization of professionals, including accountants, attorneys, trust officers, and financial service, insurance and elder care professionals involved in the estate planning process.
Selectmen Have Busy Agenda for Monday June 4 Meeting
(June 4, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning with executive session at 6:30 PM followed by the public portion until tan anticipated adjournment time of 9:40.
Included on the agenda is old business related to the Elm Street Bridge repairs contract, local public access PEG broadcasting, and regional vocational students at DRRHS.
New business includes interviews for the town forestry department, a planning board appointment, and other committee appointments. Other issues to be addressed include signage for Kelton and Gorham Streets, Chapter 90 reimbursement, liquor license approval, and mosquito control funding.
There will be discussions on a Mason Street dog complaint, as well as continued discussion with the Rehoboth Co-ed Adult Softball Leagues about their long-standing lease of the North Rehoboth ball field behind the Pinecroft School which they maintain independently and use three nights per week. Other athletic groups have now requested leasing the field from the town.
Selectmen will vote on a reserve fund transfer of $3,500 for veterans services, and budget amendements including $10,000 for BOS legal fees.
As always, the public is invited to use this opportunity to address the BOS in Open Public Forum at 9:30 PM.
Proposed Legislation on Drunk Driving Loophole
(June 1, 2012) Responding to a Supreme Judicial Court decision issued on May 17, Attorney General Martha Coakley and House Judiciary Chairman Eugene L. O’Flaherty (D-Charlestown) announced they filed a bill on May 24 to close a dangerous loophole in an effort to toughen the laws against repeat drunk drivers.
The SJC decision ruled that a “continuance without a finding” (CWOF) resolution in cases against certain defendants accused of operating under the influence were not considered convictions under the law. These instances do not trigger increased license revocation penalties for repeat drunk drivers that were passed as part of Melanie’s Law.
“This a fundamental issue of public safety,” AG Coakley said. “It is crucial that we close this loophole immediately so that repeat drunk drivers are not only held accountable for their actions but are taken off the road so that others are not put at risk. We are proud to partner with Chairman O’Flaherty on this important public safety bill.”
“Since this issue has surfaced, the support for changing the law to promote public safety has been growing,” Chairman O’Flaherty said. “I look forward to working with the Attorney General and my legislative colleagues in swiftly rectifying the loophole exposed by the Supreme Judicial Court in the recent ruling. Several legislative colleagues are supporting this effort and I am confident this can be addressed before the close of the formal session.”
Chairman O’Flaherty’s bill, filed yesterday, was co-sponsored by 32 other bi-partisan representatives from across the Commonwealth.
On May 17, the SJC decided the case of Souza v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles. In the decision, it ruled that a “continuance without a finding” was not considered a “conviction” under the law governing license suspension for individuals who refuse to submit to a so-called “breath test” after being arrested for operating under the influence.
This distinction is significant as the length of suspension depends on the individual’s prior convictions for operating under the influence:
•No previous convictions: 180 day suspension.
•One previous conviction: 3 year suspension.
•Two previous convictions: 5 year suspension.
•Three or more previous convictions: lifetime suspension.
To close this loophole, AG Coakley and Chairman O’Flaherty have proposed two changes to the law. First, the proposal amends the definition of “conviction” to include individuals who admit to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty, directly addressing the problem in Souza where a similar admission was not considered to be a conviction.
Additionally, the proposal considers as a first offense, for purposes of the breath test refusal, those situations where an individual has been referred to an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program as a result of a previous OUI prosecution.
Driver Arrested After Stolen Car Crash
(May 31, 2012) Rehoboth Police were dispatched yesterday morning to the area of 96 Davis Street in Rehoboth after receiving a motor vehicle crash report. The caller noted he had spoken to a male occupant asked that police not be called and then fled the scene on foot.
Patrolman Brian Ramos arrived to find a 2007 Dodge Charger with heavy front-end damage and the key still in the ignition. Both front air bags of the vehicle registered to a Cumberland, RI resident were deployed after hitting both a utility pole and mailbox.
Cumberland Police were called to notify the owner who stated her son operates the vehicle, but he would not have fled the scene. It was soon discovered the Dodge had been stolen from Attleboro, MA.
About one hour after the initial accident call, Lt. James Trombetta located a male suspect meeting the description of the suspect walking on Mason Street in the area of Davis Street. Forty-four-year-old David Mercer of Pawtucket, RI was taken into custody without incident. He was covered with scratches and his pants and shoes were wet and coated in mud. Later the suspect was identified by the reporting party as the operator of the involved vehicle.
Mercer was brought to the police station, booked and then later transported to Taunton District Court for arraignment on several charges including receiving a stolen motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage, operating to endanger, marked lanes violation and driving without a license.
BOS Agenda Items for Tuesday, May 29 Meeting
(May 28, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen have a lengthy meeting agenda for tomorrow night’s BOS meeting at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session to deal with collective bargaining, real estate and litigation, specifically REPAC vs. Town of Rehoboth.
Regular session is scheduled to begin at 7:30 with open forum and the town administrator’s report. That will be followed by a discussion with the Water Commission and a review of the Bristol County Water Authority pipeline replacement project.
Selectmen will address the lease of the North Rehoboth Ball Field with the Rehoboth Co-ed Adults Softball League, an organization that has leased the ball field every year. The field is located behind the Pinecroft School on Tremont Street.
Other new business items will include: a vote to approve EMS service zone plane; appointment of Stephen Brooks to the Planning Board; appointment to the Board of Health to fill a vacancy; appointment to the Personnel Board to fill a vacancy; a request for signage for Slater Street; approval of budget amendments; and a recap of the recent special and annual town meetings.
Other agenda items will include interviews for new town counsel and a discussion about utilizing Bristol Plymouth Vocational High School for out-of-district students rather than Tri-County Regional Vocational where the tuition and transportation costs are higher. Selectmen may also address Rehoboth cable access activities.
Open Public Forum is scheduled for approximately 9:15 PM followed by BOS reports. The meeting should be broadcast live on local access channel 9.
Beckwith Students Receive Prestigious Awards
(May 25, 2012) Jenna Massoud and Matthew Andrade, students at Dorothy L. Beckwith Middle School in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, were honored at the thirteenth annual Middle Level Scholar Leader Awards Banquet held at the Best Western Royal Plaza in Marlborough, Massachusetts, on May 23, 2012.
The Middle Level Scholar Leaders Award is organized annually by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Middle Level Educators (COMMLE) and the New England League of Middle Schools (NELMS), with supporting sponsorship from Lifetouch National School Studios.
Each student was presented with an award recognizing his or her achievements. The criteria for being chosen to receive the Middle Level Scholar Leader Award include demonstrating academic initiative and scholarship, providing service to classmates and school, exemplifying positive attitudes, and demonstrating leadership in the classroom and school activities.
Over 450 guests, including students, educators, and parents, attended this year’s banquet which celebrated the achievements of middle level students who are representative of the many outstanding young adolescents in middle level schools in Massachusetts. The guests included ninety students from forty-five schools all over the state.
Burglary Suspects with a Toddler Arrested
(May 25, 2012) Early yesterday afternoon, Rehoboth police responded to a report of a breaking and entering in progress on Awawan Street and took three suspects, along with a three-year old child, into custody.
Rehoboth resident Frederick Schobel called 911 to report he had just encountered two males exiting his mother’s residence with a duffel bag filled with copper piping. After confronting them, Schobel pursued the suspects on foot to the roadway where they jumped into a waiting car.
Officer Heather Syrett, who was nearby working a traffic detail in a marked cruiser, quickly responded to the call and arrived at the Anawan Street residence where she took one suspect into custody. Officers Warish, Ramos and Casey arrived and arrested the second male suspect, along with a female who was driving the getaway car.
Police searched the vehicle and, in the midst of an assortment of burglary tools, discovered a 3-year-old toddler, the child of the driver and one of the male suspects.
While the toddler was released into the custody of a family member, the three adults were arrested including 23-year-old Michael Cornell of Taunton, 24-year-old David Alves of Taunton, and 26-year-old Rebecaa Almeida of Fall River.
All were charged with breaking and entering, larceny from a building, destruction of property and possession of burglarious tools. None were able to pay the $540 cash bail that had been placed on each, and were transported to the Bristol County Jail while awaiting arraignment in Taunton District Court.
REMA Offers Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
(May 22, 2012) The Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (R.E.M.A.) is pleased to announce that it will be conducting a C.E.R.T. program thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Open to all residents of Rehoboth aged 16 years and older, the course will be held in the fall in two-hour classes one night per week for ten weeks. Class sizes will be limited to 15-20 people, and materials will be supplied free of charge.
The Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, C.ER.T. members can assist R.E.M.A. in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. C.E.R.T. members are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
To receive more information and to pre-register, citizens may contact R.E.M.A. by dialing 774-371-0017.
Author Bruce DeSilva Back Home for Book Signings
(May 21, 2012) Native son Bruce DeSilva, prize-winning author and journalist, will be signing copies of his latest crime novel, Cliff Walk, on Wednesday at Readmore Bookstore in Taunton and on Thursday at the Providence Public Library.
Raised in Dighton, DeSilva was a graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School before working as a journalist for forty years before retiring to write crime novels. His first, Rouge Island introduced the character of Liam Mulligan, a reporter investigating a series of arson fires in Providence’s deteriorating Mount Hope neighborhood. The novel won a coveted “Edgar” award from the Mystery Writers of America, as well as a Macavity award.
Cliff Walk, the new hardboiled Mulligan crime novel, officially goes on sale May 22 and has been reviewed by both Publishers Weekly and Booklist.
According to DeSilva’s blog, his Mulligan novels “took forty years to research” because he drew on his experience with Rhode Island cops, street thugs, journalists, corrupt politics and organized crime figures” during his years at the Providence Journal. As a reporter and editor, DeSilva won virtually every major journalism prize and has helped edit one Pulitzer prize winner and two other Pulitzer finalists.
In an interview last week for Sons of Spade blog, DeSilva described his latest novel as both a mystery and a “serious exploration of sex and religion in the age of pornography.” Reporter Mulligan is working at a dying Providence newspaper and suspects politicians are being paid off to cover up crimes. When the body of an internet pornography is found at the bottom of Newport’s famous Cliff Walk, Mulligan connects that murder with the recent grim discovery of a child’s severed arm at a local pig farm.
The novel was inspired by real events that occurred in Rhode Island when prostitution was legal and thirty brothels were operating openly until a loophole in the law was fixed just a couple years ago.
DeSilva’s illustrious career as a journalist included writing and editing at more than 50 newspapers including The New York Times and The Dallas Morning News. As a reviewer of crime novels, his work has appeared in The New York Times book review section and he is a much sought-after speaker at national conferences including Thrillerfest, the National Writers Workshops, and the Mystery Writers of America.
When not working on his crime novel series, DeSilva is a master’s thesis advisor at The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He lives in Howell, New Jersey with his wife Patricia, an award-winning poet and their granddaughter Mikaila.
DeSilva will be at Readmore Bookstore on Wednesday, May 23 from 7 to 8 PM, 330 Winthrop Street (Route 44). He will be at the Providence Public Library on Thursday, May 24 from 7 to 8:15 PM, 150 Empire Street, Providence.
Seekonk Man Injured in Motorcycle Accident on Friday
(May 19, 2012) On Friday afternoon, a Seekonk man was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident on Providence Street in Rehobohth. Public safety personnel responded to multiple calls for the crash that involved the motorcycle and a pickup truck. The injured man was transported to the trauma center at Rhode Island Hospital after being assessed by Rehoboth EMS and Rehoboth Fire Department EMT's. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department. No information on the man's condition or identity has been released.
FinCom to Meet Thursday on Reserve Fund Transfers
(May 16, 2012) The Rehoboth Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 7 PM on Thursday night at the Senior Center to deal with a number of budget amendments and Reserve Fund transfers.
The reserve transfers include gasoline for town vehicles in the amount of $8,522. and town legal counsel expense of $11,806.
The budget amendments include nine items up with amounts up to $500. The remaining items include: police training of $593.00, police wages for an administrative assistant of $3,231; full-time police wages of $7,766.; police overtime wages of $4,813; and snow removal equipment costs of $3,718.
Committee members will continue deliberations on recommendations on the Annual Town Meeting warrant if necessary. Public input and questions will be addressed following regular business.
Rehoboth Resident Loses Life in New Bedford Fire
(May 15, 2012) Thirty-nine-year old Albert Coutinho of Rehoboth, a father of two, perished in a residential fire in New Bedford in the early hours of Saturday, May 12. According to reports by New Bedford officials, Coutinho was staying with a friend at the Russell Street apartment when fire broke out. He was identified yesterday and an investigation is underway by New Bedford Fire and the office of the State Fire Marshall.
Local Citizens Recognized at Rehoboth Lion’s Annual Awards
(May 10, 2012) Last night at Hillside Country Club, the Rehoboth Lions Club held their 12th Annual Citizens Recognition Night Banquet to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the community.
During the social hour, the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School Jazz Band provided musical entertainment under the direction of Ms. Kristin Voccio.
After being selected by the Lions Awards Committee chaired by Russell Latham, the recipients were invited to the dinner and presented with their awards by the individuals that nominated them. They are listed below in the order they were given at the ceremony.
The “Outstanding Youth Award” was presented to three young people. Tara Strange received the award for her work with the Best Buddies program at DRRHS by advisor Tim Tichacek. Morgan McKearney received the award from Rev. Sarah Weaver for her work with the youth group at Rehoboth Congregational Church. Thomas Brawley, a student active in campus ministry at Bishop Feehan High School was presented with his award by Carol Day.
The “Public Servant Award” was presented to Rehoboth Town Clerk Kathy Conti by Rehoboth Town Moderator William Cute. The “Educator of the Year Award” was given to pre-kindergarten educator Nancy Blythe by Kelly Chartier. The “Heroism Award” was presented to Officer Bree Krasnianski by Lieutenant Michael Brady of the RPD.
Mark Welzel of the town’s Information Technology (IT) Committee was given the “Outstanding Achievement Award” by BOS Chair Dr. Joseph Tito. The “Randall P. Silveira Public Safety Award” was presented by Thomas Ranley of the RPD to Officer Keith G. Perry. David House, past chairman of the town’s Energy Committee was given the “Environmental Stewardship Award” by Selectman Michael Costello.
The “Community Service Award” was presented to Bernard “Bud” Fagundes by Roger Mayer, both of Rehoboth Rescue. Selectmen Lorraine Botts presented both Barbara Parent and Catherine “Kay” Mann with the “Senior Citizen of the Year Award” and the “Good Neighbor Award” was presented to David and Steven Lombardi by Gary Sanson.
Rep. Steven Howitt to Kick Off Re-election Campaign
(May 9, 2012) State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) will announce his bid for re-election during his campaign kick-off on May 20th from 4-6pm at the Hillside Country Club in Rehoboth.
Representing the 4th Bristol District, Representative Howitt remains committed to creating and fostering jobs, fiscal responsibility, local aid, and making government work for the taxpayers.
“I am pleased to announce my candidacy for re-election,” said State Representative Steven Howitt.
“I appreciate the continued support for my campaign, and I look forward to returning to Beacon Hill in November as an outspoken advocate for the people of the 4th Bristol district.”
Among other accomplishments during his first term in office, the Seekonk Republican has brought over $380,900 in funds back to the cities and towns he represents, joined the Republican Legislative Caucus in proposing an innovative jobs package and maintained a perfect voting record.
“Jobs and local aid remain my top priorities,” stated Representative Howitt. “In these tough economic times we need to ensure that we are creating and maintaining job opportunities here in the Commonwealth. Additionally, as a longstanding public servant, I know firsthand the economic struggle facing cities and towns across Massachusetts. As an elected official, I will do all that is in my power to bring additional funding back to local municipalities.”
Representative Howitt serves on the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure; the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development; and the Joint Committee on Transportation.
Howitt noted, “I will be reaching out to my supporters about my campaign and asking them to join again with their support. I can't thank them enough and couldn't do this without them."
Howitt is a 3rd generation resident of Seekonk and he and his wife Pam have lived in Seekonk for over 22 years.
BOS Meeting Agenda: More Police Budget Amendments
(May 7, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center with an agenda that includes voting on combined budget amendments of $17,222. for the Rehoboth Police Department and a transfer from the town’s reserve fund of $11,806 for town legal counsel fees.
Last week, the BOS approved a reserve fund transfer of $8,522 to cover gasoline costs for town vehicles. On April 23, selectmen approved a reserve transfer of $2,222 for legal fees and a $1,000 budget amendment for the police.
Tonight’s meeting will begin with an executive session including issues of real estate, collective bargaining, the Morra vs Casey/Krasnianski lawsuit, and a cell tower at the public safety building at 334 Anawan Street.
Regular business is scheduled to begin at 7:30 with a discussion with Town Clerk Kathy Conti and Town Moderator Bill Cute with regard to next week’s Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting.
Selectmen will review Elm Street engineering repair service bids, and vote to approve Chapter 90 project requests of $174,385 for a street sweeper and $152,557 for roadway stone sealing. They will also hold a discussion on a school committee notice for a collective bargaining meeting, as well as reviewing a letter to citizens regarding new town offices facility. Open public forum is scheduled for 9 PM.
Five Groups Ask Residents to Vote “YES”
(May 3, 2012) The members of the Community Preservation Committee, the Agricultural and Natural Resources Council, the Conservation Commission and the Rehoboth Land Trust in partnership with the Trustees of Reservations are asking residents to vote “yes” at on Monday, May 14 on Warrant Article 1 at the Special Town Meeting.
This article will enable the transfer of $65,000 for the Community Preservation Funds for the purchase of a Conservation Restriction and a perpetual trail easement on the 92-acre parcel known as the Oak Hill Beagle Club on Fairview Avenue.
The Oak Hill Beagle Club, in existence since 1951 for the field training of beagles, has agreed to have their land preserved forever by selling the development rights of their property, and placing a permanent conservation restriction on the property so that it will remain in its natural state forever.
The agreement to preserve the land also includes a perpetual trail easement which will allow public access to a Town Forest parcel via a nice trail on an old cart road. The site includes Rehoboth’s critical habitat which will remain unchanged.
The Beagle Club will remain on the tax rolls with virtually no demands for town services. They will retain 2 1/4 acres for their existing club house. Their generosity in accepting a “bargain sale” of their development rights is a tribute to their commitment to preservation both land and rural tradition.
The State’s Division of Conservation Services has also supported preserving this large tract of land. Rehoboth Land Trust, with the support of the Trustees of Reservations, has been awarded a state Conservation Partnership grant for $85,000 toward the purchase of the development rights.
The Conservation Commission and the Agricultural & Natural Resources Council are contributing funds, and the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is recommending to Town Meeting that $65,000 from the Community Preservation Act funds go towards this project.
The final step is town meeting where a majority of yes votes will result in preservation of critical habitat, public access to town forest, and keeping the Oak Hill Beagle Club’s property on the tax rolls without increased demands for services.
The Trust for Public Lands recently conducted a study that measured and analyzed the economic benefits of land conservation. The studies have shown that “conservation returns from $4 to $10 for every dollar invested.” The return comes in the form of recreational opportunities, flood control, protection of air and drinking water quality, wildlife habitat, and farming -- supporting tourism, agriculture, and fisheries.
Rural towns like Rehoboth with a limited tax base benefit even more in the preservation of open space by not overburdening town budgets with the demand for increased services. With each home dependent on a well and septic system the protection of our individual water supplies is very important, and most Rehoboth townspeople value the rural character of our town and its recreational opportunities.
Rehoboth Fire Dept. Assists at Seekonk Mill Fire
(May 2, 2012) Rehoboth firefighters provided mutual aid crews on Tuesday, May 1 at a mill fire in Seekonk, MA that is being considered a possible case of arson. They assisted in relieving crews that had been fighting the mill fire in all day.
Rehoboth sent a ladder truck and an engine company to the scene mid-afternoon along with other mutual aid crews from Dighton, Raynham and Swansea. The companies extinguished several hot spots in what was left of the smoldering building for approximately four hours returning to town at 8:30 PM.
Police Arrest Four Suspects in House Breaks
(May 1, 2012) Earlier this morning around1 AM, Rehoboth police arrested four suspects involved in three house breaks over night.
Taken into custody was Lori L Santilli, age 40 of Ledge Road in Seekonk; William Santilli, age 44 the same address; Amanda A. Verria, 26 of Putnam Street in Providence; and Jarred Read, age 25 of Manuel Avenue in Johnston, RI.
Rehoboth Police Sgt. James Medeiros stopped a suspicious motor vehicle on (Rt. 44) Winthrop St. in the area of Anawan Rock. After a brief investigation it was discovered that the trunk of the vehicle was loaded with copper pipe that had been removed from a nearby house. Also recovered were numerous stolen power tools.
The arresting officer was PatrolmanTimothy Bartucca who was assisted by Patrolman Heather Syrett.
Rehoboth Police were assisted by the Dighton Police Department, along with the Seekonk Police Department.
Criminal Records Reform Effective May 4, 2012
(May 1, 2012) On May 4, reform measures affecting Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) will go into effect.
In 2010, an act to reform the administrative procedures relative to CORI and pre and post-trial supervised release was voted into law. Major changes go into effect this week affecting people with criminal records and employers.
According to information released from the Massachusetts Trial Court Law libraries, employers can benefit from learning more about the reform measures including reading a 15 page summary that focuses on the changing requirements for employers.
“The requirements include written policies, when and how you can use a CORI record in hiring, obligations to job applicants and record-keeping, dissemination and destruction requirements,” read a press release from the organization.
The ACLU of Massachusetts has also released a review of the CORI changes in a table form. After May 4, people with CORI records will no longer have to request their records be sealed. The law will prohibit the dissemination for convictions after a specific waiting period.
Firefights Battle Blaze on Rocky Hill Road
(May 1, 2012) Firefighters dispatched to a brush fire on Rocky Hill Road on Monday discovered a lot more than they expected. Upon arriving Chief Pray reported an out building, old equipment and a trailer load of hay were also on fire. Although access to the property was problematic, RFD were able to get apparatus close enough to fight the fire. Mutual aid was requested from Berkley, Raynham, Seekonk and Swansea for tankers and station coverage. Rehoboth EMS and the Providence Canteen provided rehab. The brush fire was extinguished after twenty minutes, but it took over two hours to completely extinguish the trailer load of hay. Firefighters had to cut a large hole in the side of the box trailer to access the fire and then pull all of the burning hay out with hand tools. The last units cleared the scene after four hours. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Selectmen Set a Busy Agenda for April 30 Meeting
(April 20, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen set a busy agenda for tonight’s BOS meeting at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session to deal with collective bargaining, contracts and litigation.
Regular session is scheduled to begin at 7:30 where a discussion that began last week on new utility pole locations on New Street will continue. A presentation will be made by Carol Williams, chair of the Community Preservation Committee on a Special Town Meeting article regarding the Oak Hill Beagle Club on Fairview Avenue.
Other business will include discontinuation of health insurance co-pay reimbursements, and appointments to fill vacancies on various municipal committees including the Water Commission, Cemetery Commission, Cultural Council and Personnel Board.
Selectmen will vote to approve budget amendments involving the Highway Department, Agricultural Commission and several requests made by the BOS for office expenses, annex facility maintenance and gasoline for town vehicles.
Open public forum is anticipated to being around 9:25 PM.
Historic Hornbine School Opens for 2012 Season
(April 29, 2012) The Hornbine School Museum, open for it’s 44th season, was neat and spiffy when it the doors opened for the Carpenter Museum’s bus tour of one-room school houses on April 22.
School children from Dighton were the first students this year to experience a day at the Hornbine School last week with many classes scheduled for visits from several towns during the months of May and June. Close to one thousand school children and other visitors are expected this summer.
The first public open house will take place on Sunday, June 3 from 1-5 PM. The school will be open each 2nd and 4th Sunday from 2-4 during the months of July, August and September.
Built circa 1847, Hornbine School, like any old wooden building, is always in need of repair. Keeping up with the most urgent repairs has been accomplished with the assistance of the Rehoboth community, the Rehoboth Preservation Committee, and the Rehoboth Historical Commission.
Motorist Killed After Hitting Tree on Davis Street
(April 28, 2012) An male motorist, presumed by police to be in his late 60s, was fatally injured on Friday afternoon after his car hit a tree in the area of 68 Davis Street in Rehoboth.
Rehoboth police responded to the report of an accident shortly before 5 PM yesterday. Patrolman Paul McGovern was first to arrive at the scene quickly followed by both Rehoboth EMTs and firefighters. The driver and sole occupant of the car was found unresponsive and not breathing. Despite rescue attempts at the scene and during transport by Rehoboth Ambulance, the man was pronounced dead at Rhode Island Hospital. His name has not been released pending notification of relatives.
The crash is being investigated by McGovern with assistance from the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis Unit.
Rehoboth Minutemen to Play Key Role in Tricentennial
(April 25, 2012) The Rehoboth Minutemen, officially the 13th Continental Regiment, will participate in the battle at Segregansett, a re-enactment to take place on May 19 & 20 as one of the premier events to commemorate the town of Dighton’s Tricentennial.
Sponsored by the Dighton Board of Selectmen, the Dighton Historical Commission, and the Rehoboth Minute Company, the Revolutionary War encampment will be held at Sweets Knoll State Park, a new park of over 40 acres of woodlands and fields is situated on the Taunton River.
Two hundred re-enactors are expected to participate, along with horsemen and several cannon, in battles to take place at 1:30 PM on Saturday, May 19 and at 1:00 PM on Sunday, May 20. Spectators should expect the thunder of cannon and musket fire at each battle.
The encampment will feature 18th century military life and a “Suttler’s Market” where goods will be available for purchase. There will be transportation offered by bus from the Dighton Elementary School parking lot (corner of Route 138 and Center Street) to the encampment open on Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM and on Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM.
For more details, please call Captain Al Soucey at 508-761-9762, Lt. John Carr 508-252-3194 or Corp. Cathy Potter 508-252-3682.
BOS to Discuss Purchase of Building to Create Town Hall
(April 23, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen will gather tonight at the Senior Center for a regular weekly meeting that includes a discussion to purchase the office building located at 340 Anawan Street to create a town hall. That particularly discussion is anticipated to begin at approximately 8 PM.
The selectmen’s agenda for tonight includes another transfer from the town’s reserve fund to pay for town legal counsel expenses, and another budget amendment by the police department.
Additional business on the agenda includes liquor license approvals, appointments, a vote to discontinue health insurance co-pay reimbursements, and a public hearing to approve new or identical utility pole locations on New Street by Mass Electric and Verizon NE.
Selectmen will also review and vote to approve the BOS annual report, and vote and sign the annual town meeting/special town meeting warrants. Public open forum is scheduled for approximately 9:45 PM.
Missing Bulldozer Found and Suspect Arrested
(April 19, 2012) The Rehoboth Police Department arrested forty-two-year old Christian Wilson of Swansea, Massachusetts in conjunction with the theft of a Caterpillar Bulldozer stolen from a construction site at 107 Brook Street in Rehoboth.
Reported missing by P. Ippolito Construction of Seekonk, the bulldozer was recovered yesterday at a residence in Venago County, Pennsylvania. Police had received several tips concerning the case following the recent media coverage of the theft.
With the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police Auto Theft Task Force, local police were able to identify Wilson who was taken into custody at his Swansea home without incident by Rehoboth Detective Brian Ramos and acting chief Lt. James Trombetta. Wilson’s bail was set at $10,000 cash and the case remains under investigation.
Rehoboth Police Report Missing Bulldozer
(April 18, 2012) The Rehoboth Police Department are seeking anyone who may have information about the whereabouts of a yellow 2006 Caterpillar D5 XL Bulldozer that disappeared from 107 Brook Street in Rehoboth on Sunday, April 15 at approximately 2 PM. A witness observed the bulldozer being removed on a lat bed equipment trailer pulled by a dark colored (possibly green) tractor unit, license plates unknown.
With an estimated value of $85,000, the bulldozer has a serial number of AGG02445. Anyone with information, should contact Detective Ramos at 508-252-3722.
Reserve Funds to Cover Town Legal Expenses
(April 17, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 7:30 PM. New business on the agenda includes approving the transfer of reserve fund monies totaling $13,409.45 to pay for town legal counsel expenses.
The board will also vote to authorize the signing of three MEMA contracts, and address budget amendments including one for $25,000 for the police department. There will be a review of the warrants for the annual town meeting and special town meeting in May.
An open public forum will be held following business and before any selectmen reports. The board plans an executive session before the meeting is adjourned.
Rehoboth Residents Warned of Veterans Donation Scam
(April 13, 2012) Rehoboth Veterans Services Agent William Saunders has issued a warning to residents about a phone solicitation for donations to benefit local veterans. Identifying themselves as representatives from the Rehoboth Veterans Association, the caller request donations in the form of a check taped to a front door.
Saunders wishes residents to know this is not an authorized solicitation on behalf of local veterans. Even if the organization is a legitimate non-profit that raised money for military veterans, they are misrepresenting themselves as as the Rehoboth Veterans Association. If you receive a call, you may wish to contact the Rehoboth Police so they can track the information.
SchoolCom Names Wordell as Interim Superintendent
(April 13, 2012) Jennifer Wordell was appointed by the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee to act as interim superintendent effection October 9, 2012. Currently the assistant district superintendent, she is set to assume responsibilities the day after Dr. Kathleen Montagano retires.
Rehoboth Man Judged Guilty of Animal Abuse
(April 12, 2012) Forty-seven-year old Carlos Alvarez of Providence Street in Rehoboth was found guilty of animal abuse in Taunton District Court yesterday.
Last summer on July 4th, Alvarez left his severely emaciated and gravely sick dog in a box in front of the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) in East Providence, RI. The dog, a poodle-terrier mix had sores on three legs that exposed bone, nails growing into its paws, a severe ear infection, ulcers on its head, was unable to walk, and had both Lyme disease and heart worms. Veternarians believed the dog, less than half normal weight, had been suffering for six months or more.
Named “Indi” for Independence Day, the dog was cared for at Dighton-Rehoboth Animal Hospital and given a hopeful 60/40 chance of survival. It is unknown at this time if the little dog survived to be adopted.
After eleven hours of media attention, Alvarez turned himself in to East Providence police and was later charged in Massachusetts where the animal cruelty occurred. Yesterday, he was given an 18-month suspended sentence and ordered not to have animals at his residence. He is currently listed as an animal abuser on a nationwide website, Pet-Abuse.com with details and photos of the case.
Open Meeting Law Violation Complaint Deemed Without Merit
(April 11, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen announced on Monday, April 9 that the town’s legal counsel has determined that an Open Meeting Law violation complaint made by finance committee member Christopher Morra is “without merit” and that no remedial action is required by the BOS.
On March 21, Morra submitted a two-page complaint to the Office of the Attorney General, along with seventy-seven additional pages of documentation supporting his assertions the BOS violated the Open Meeting Law on February 21, 2012 when they allowed acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta speak in the open public forum segment of the meeting.
Morra claimed selectmen allowed Trombetta to “speak on matters that are the subject of government investigations and civil litigation” without having the matter on the agenda. He is subsequently filed an amended complaint to the Office of the Attorney General.
The town’s current law firm, Kopelman & Paige, issued a letter written by attorney Lauren Goldberg that was read aloud by BOS clerk Sue Pimental before the five selectmen voted unanimously to accept the recommended legal advice.
“At some point in time, I think we should stop going to town counsel,” said Pimental adding she could respond to the complaint herself. “This is baseless and ridiculous.”
D-R School Officials Attend State Advocacy Event
(April 11, 2012) On March 27, 2012 several members of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee and the Superintendent visited the State House and participated in a day-long school leader lobbying effort. Tiffany Bartholomew, Peter Hebda, Susan Lorenz, David Katseff, Raymond Medeiros, and Superintendent Kathleen Montagano attended the event.
The 27th annual Day on the Hill sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) focused on the current state of the economy, its impact on public elementary and secondary education in districts across the commonwealth, and the FY’13 budget negotiations that are now being debated on Beacon Hill. Participants also had the opportunity to reinforce School Committees’ legislative priorities including: adequate and equitable Chapter 70 funding; local and regional transportation funding; charter school finance reform; full funding of the special education circuit breaker; and strengthening the children’s services safety net.
Keynote speakers at the event included both legislators, education leaders, and some of the state’s most highly regarded fiscal authorities: State Auditor Suzanne Bump; Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer; Representative Marty Walz, Vice Chair, House Ways & Means Committee; Senator Katherine Clark, Chair, Committee on Public Service; Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Co-Chair, Joint Committee on Education; Representative Alice Peisch, Co-Chair Joint Committee on Education. Participants also received an update on current legislative issues from MASC General Counsel Stephen Finnegan, Esq., and MASC President Penny Blackwell (Upper Cape Cod Regional Vocational Technical).
Following the morning program, school committee members and the Superintendent met with Senators Pacheco and Timilty, and Representatives Haddad and Howitt.
Male Bicyclist Found Injured on Homestead Avenue Dies
(April 10, 2012) A male bicyclist in his fifties was found severely injured on Monday evening around five-thirty on Homestead Avenue near Allen’s Lane. Rehoboth police were called by off-duty patrolman Paul McGovern who reported a bicyclist down and injured.
Arriving officers and EMTs performed CPR on the victim who had suffered severe head trauma before the cyclist was transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. His name is being withheld pending notification of family.
The incident is being investigated by Sgt. Norman Todd and Det. Brian Ramos of the RPD with assistance form the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis Unit.
Rehoboth Fire Dept. Assists with “Red Flag” Brush Fire
(April 10, 2012) While the state was under a "red flag" warning for brush fires, one broke out in Seekonk near the Rehoboth line just after 1 PM on Monday.
Firefighters received reports of smoke drifting across Rte. 195 and discovered a brush fire with a very large pile of debris burning off of Old Fall River Rd. The fire was threatening trucks parked on the property but was quickly knocked down.
With no hydrants in the area, Seekonk requested tankers from Rehoboth to help deal with the massive pile of debris when it became apparent it would require large streams of water to extinguish the fire due to the density of the debris pile.
Three more tankers were requested through Bristol County Control with Berkley, Lakeville and Raynham fire departments coming to the scene. Water was shuttled back and forth from a hydrant on Route 6 at Industrial Way for approximately four hours. An estimated excess of 130,000 gallons of water was trucked to the scene which was finally cleared around 6:15 PM.
Third Annual Rehoboth Breed Expo Set for July
(April 10, 2012) The non-profit Rehoboth Breed Expo will host its third annual expo on Sunday, July 29, 2012 at the 110-acre historic Hobby Horse Farm, located at 23 Bay State Road in Rehoboth.
Organizers are pleased to announce that plans for the fun-filled family event already include an impressive lineup of breeds and attractions for adults and children alike. Along with the breed demonstration and children’s activities, there will be several world-class artisans, craft vendors, gift shops, leather shops, food vendors, horse-drawn carriage rides, and hay rides.
Horse breeds represented include one of the Hallamore Clydesdales, a Paso Fino classic, world champion barrel racer Sandy Gosselin, a calf roping demo by Dr. Jaqueline Brito, a demo by the English Saddler, Colin Kimball-Davis, a clicker training demonstration by Gwenyth Santagate, and a massage demo by Marlaina Harrison.
Youngsters can make their own stick horse to take part in the “Stick Horse Parade” (led by Max the mini-donkey). There will also be face-painting, a coloring contest, piñatas, pony rides, a petting zoo, and several other activities.
Music will be provided by DJ Nate Adams and the Big Red Barn Bluegrass Band. The New England Patriots Cheerleaders will also be there for a community appearance from 11 AM to 1 PM.
The gates will open at 9:00 AM and they are expected to close at 4 PM. Adult admission is $6 and children will be admitted free. Complete event information will be published on the Rehoboth Breed Expo page in RehobothNow. For more information please visit the organization’s website.
CORI Certifications for New Selectmen
(April 9, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session to deal with real estate issues and a Masscop union issue together with personnel and lawsuit issues.
The open portion of Monday night’s meeting will include BOS liaison assignments and approval of CORI certifications for new selectmen Susan Pimental and Lorraine Botts. If approved, all five selectmen will have authorization to run criminal background checks.
Regular business items include public hearings on a liquor license for Liquor Basket, Inc.; and street layout of Steber Way and Osprey Circle in the Vial Farm subdivision as public town roadways. A discussion with newly elected tree warden, Robert Johnson, is also on the agenda with regard to a full-time forestry position.
There will be a vote to appoint a new member to the Council on Aging board, and the acceptance of the resignation of Virginia Latham as a member of the cemetery commission and as an election worker.
Selectmen will review the BOS annual report of 2011, the BOS 2012 annual town meeting warrant letter, the FY13 budget, and the warrants for May’s special town meeting and annual town meeting.
A discussion of a three-year capital plan will also be discussed by selectmen on Monday night, along with a update on local PEG broadcasting services. Public open forum will be held following individual selectmen’s reports.
RPD Officer Bree Krasnianski Throws First Pitch
(April 6, 2012) The Pawtucket Red Sox’ season opener was held last night at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, RI with two guest pitchers including Rehoboth Police Officer Bree Krasnianski who last month rescued a driver from a car that drove into the Palmer River.
Before a crowd of nearly 8,900 fans, Krasnianski threw out the first ball, along with West Warwick fire Lt. Paul McAllister. The game also featured American Idol top ten finalist Erika Van Pelt, a native Rhode Islander, singing ‘“God Bless America.” The PawSox won against Buffalo 4-2.
Rehoboth Business Association Sponsors Roadside Cleanup
(April 6, 2012) The annual Rehoboth Roadside Cleanup, sponsored by the Rehoboth Business Association, is being conducted now through Sunday, April 22 when the group will host an Earth Day Party for the public from 1 to 3 PM at Doug’s Music World located at 492 Winthrop Street (Route 44) in Rehoboth.
Residents are encouraged to pick up free trash bags at locations throughout Rehoboth, fill them up with roadside trash and call for pickup. Filled bags can also be brought to the Earth Day Party where there will be free hamburgers, hotdogs and other refreshments served, along with live music and open mic stage for performers. Face and hand painting will be offered. There will also be free tanning from 2 to 3 PM offered by Azaria Tanning Spa, located in the same business plaza.
For a listing of locations to pick up free bags, instructions, and other details, please click here. For more information about the Rehoboth Business Association, please visit their website.
Rehoboth Poorly Represented on “MassGrown” Map
(April 5, 2012) Only fourteen Rehoboth-based businesses are currently listed on the MassGov.com website for the state-wide “MassGrown” web page and map. There are over fifty businesses in Rehoboth that could be placed on the interaction map that is currently being promoted through marketing efforts, press releases, and a scan code to access info.
The “MassGrown” portal, located on the state website, provides a wide range of information for Massachusetts residents and tourists including a complete calendar of events, promotion of Agri-Tourism, and the Savor Massachusetts program that promotes wineries, breweries, and specialty foods and culinary resources.
Using the latest communication technology, the MassGrown also provides a scan code to access and bookmark the site on mobile phones and other devises. Other marketing materials are offered as well.
Residents and tourists can find fourteen different categories of businesses listed by name, types of services, location, and distance listed online for bed & breakfasts, greenhouses, nurseries, farm stands, CSA, farmers’ markets, organic farms, pick your own, dairy farms, maple sugar, Christmas trees, aquaculture, agri fairs, and equine/livestock/fiber businesses. Each business is listed with interaction icon buttons that pop open information about the business. Events are noted on the calendar.
School District Looking for New Palmer River Principal
(April 5, 2012) The Dighton-Rehoboth school district has released a job posting seeking a principal for Palmer River Elementary School in Rehoboth to serve as the replacement for Linda McSweeney, current principal. McSweeney is leaving the district to become principal of Studley Elementary school in Attleboro, MA.
The PRES principal position requires a Master’s degree and licensure as an elementary school principal. Administration experience is prefereed along with a minimum of five years teaching experience. Salary was listed as negotiable and the application deadline is April 23. More information is available on the Classified page.
FinCom to Meet and Tackle Budget on April 10
(April 5, 2012) The Rehoboth Finance Committee will meet on Tuesday, April 10 at the Senior Center with Michael Deignan, vice chair running the meeting.
Last night, the new sitting Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted to appoint Gerald Schwall to the committee to replace Susan Pimental, who was elected on April 2 to the BOS. Schwall has previously served on FinCom.
The Tuesday night meeting at the Senior Center is anticipated to be a marathon with a four-hour agenda. Municipal department heads from the fire department and council on aging will be on hand to discuss their budget projections for Fiscal Year 2013.
FinCom members will continue their budget deliberations to provide recommendations for the Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting warrants. Public input is scheduled for approximately 10:55 PM.
Sting Operation Talks on April 3 BOS Agenda
(April 3, 2012) Following the public portion of tonight’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting, the agenda calls for an executive session to “discuss the deployment of, or strategy regarding security personnel or devices, e.g. Sting operation, along with a meeting with the IT Committee regarding police department security.”
The meeting will begin with the reorganization of the BOS to include two new members joining re-elected incumbent Dr. Joseph Tito, MD and sitting members Chairman Michael Costello and Donald Leffort. It is unknown how the group will reorganize in terms of appointing a chair, a clerk, and department liaison relationships.
Following the weekly report from the town administrator, other business will include acceptance of the resignation of Susan Pimental as a chair and member of the Finance Committee, and a vote to appoint a new member to fill the vacancy caused by Pimental’s new position on the BOS.
Selectmen will review warrants for the Special Town Meeting and the Annual Town Meeting in May. They will also review the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
Public open forum will be held following individual selectmen’s reports.
Rehoboth Fire Department Contains Blaze at Winthrop Street
(April 1, 2012) The Rehoboth Fire Department responded to the report of a house fire on Winthrop Street just after 1 AM Saturday morning. The flames were quickly extinguished, but not before there was extensive fire and heat damage to a four-season porch attached to the rear of the home.
Firefighters removed two dogs from the home that were caught in the heavy smoke. Both animals appeared to be fine. Rehoboth EMS was requested to the scene to check the occupants for smoke inhalation, but both refused transport to the hospital. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the fire and police departments. All units cleared the scene in just over an hour.
FinCom Looks for Light at the End of the Budget Tunnel
(March 30, 2012) The Finance Committee, faced with budgetary challenges for Fiscal Year 2013, met last night with representatives from town departments as well as selectmen, planning board and conservation commission members about their budgets.
Lasting over three hours, the meeting featured FinCom members asking hard questions regarding budget requests from departments and various governing committees. There was considerable discussion on police department budget requests, including maintenance issues and the request to purchase new police vehicles.
FinCom chair Susan Pimental asked acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta and Lt. Michael Brady about being able to use left-over money from previous grants, or using DARE money for other purposes. The answer was no.
There was discussion on the board of selectmen’s initiative and plans to purchase the building next to the public safety building on Anawan Street, creating a new complex to include an actual town hall. BOS chair Michael Costello reported the initiative is coming along with more details to be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
Costello also announced there may be a solution to paying for the tuition and transportation of the anticipated eleven Rehoboth students who attend Tri-County Vocational Technical High School. Only recently did FinCom learn from the D-R School Committee that the Rehoboth budget for FY13 would include an anticipated $200,000 to cover these expenses.
According to Costello, if the school committee approved, it could apply immediately to reinstate regional membership with Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School. If approved quickly enough, Rehoboth students could attend B-P beginning next September for less than half the tuition of Tri-County. Additionally, he said students could utilize local bus transportation from their homes to D-R where they could be picked up by a B-P bus.
While Pimental said she believed this would be good for freshmen, she was concerned about upper classmen already attending Tri-County. FinCom clerk Mike Diegnan said he believed if an arrangement could be made with B-P, that all out-of-district vocation students be enrolled there. He added that if their parents wish for them to attend another school such as Tri-County, they would have to pay the difference in tuition costs and for transportation.
United Regional Chamber of Commerce Offer Scholarships
(March 30, 2012) Applications are now being accepted for The United Regional Chamber of Commerce's scholarships provided by the Jacqueline C. Stack Scholarship Fund and Metalor Technologies. The URCC represents business members in Rehoboth.
Several scholarships, ranging from $1,000 to $500, will be distributed through the Chamber. Applicants must be the son or daughter of an employee of a Chamber-member business, be a high school senior who has applied to an accredited four-year college, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and perform uncompensated community service.
Completed applications must be received by April 13. Call the Chamber for a scholarship application at 508-222-0801 or 508-528-2800, or 508-695-6011. Scholarship recipients will be recognized at a Spotlight in Education breakfast in May.
FinCom Members Anticipate Two-Hour Meeting
(March 29, 2012) The Rehoboth Finance Committee will gather tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 7 PM. The meeting will begin by addressing budget amendments related to the police department, fire department and highway department. They will also discuss reserve fund transfers related to town legal counsel expenses.
On the agenda for this evening’s meeting will be discussions with municipal department heads including police, fire, and veterans services. In addition, FinCom members will hear from representatives of the board of selectmen, planning board and conservation commission about their budgets.
There will be budget deliberations on FinCom recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013, as well as for the FY12 Special Town Meeting warrant, and the FY13 annual town meeting warrant. The meeting will be broadcast live on Comcast cable Government Channel 9.
Learn More About Forest Stewardship and Land Conservation
(March 29, 2012) Landowners of forest and farmland and the general public are invited to a workshop, “Chapter 61/Forest Stewardship and Land Conservation Options” to be held Tuesday, April 3 from 6:30 to8:00 PM at in the library at Bristol County Agricultural High School, located at 135 Center Street in Dighton.
The workshop will cover forestry stewardship plans, the state Chapter 61 Forestry and Agricultural Programs, land conservation options for landowners and communities, and information about the new state tax credit for donations for conserving land. Light refreshments will be served.
The speakers include local forester Rupert Grantham of Walden Forest Conservation and Kelley Whitmore of The Trustees of Reservations. In addition to Walden Forest Conservation and The Trustees of Reservations, the Rehoboth Land Trust and the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust are also sponsoring the event. If you are interested in learning more, but cannot attend the event, please contact Kelley Whitmore at 508-636-7043.
OML Violation Complaint Creates Contentious Atmosphere
(March 29, 2012) Marking the final meeting of a three-person board of selectmen, Tuesday night’s BOS meeting will also be remembered as an evening of volatility, anger and combative positioning.
Mid-way through the night’s published agenda items, selectmen addressed the issue of a recent 79-page Open Meeting Law violation complaint submitted by FinCom member Christopher Morra to the Office of the Attorney General. Morra’s complaint accused selectmen of violating the OML on February 21, 2012 when they allowed acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta to make a pre-arranged announcement in the open forum portion of the meeting, Morra alleges this incident involved ”matters that are the subject of government investigations and civil litigation” without having the matter on the agenda.
“I’ve read through this and don’t see any reason this was filed,” said BOS chairman Michael Costello, “because it was done during public open forum.” He explained that anyone is open to address the BOS during public open forum which is held traditionally at the beginning of the meeting, and later at the end of the meeting.
According to Selectman Joseph Tito, who acts as police department liaison, Trombetta had approached him earlier in the day. “He had information regarding a previous investigation of one of our police sergeants,” said Tito, “and I certainly welcomed him to come and discuss that here.” Tito continued by saying he fails to see the logic in the complaint, but would “refer this to our town counsel to help draft a response” within fourteen days.
“I think this is a waste of time,” stated Costello, before allowing Morra to address the board.
Within a couple minutes, the atmosphere became contentious as Costello asked Morra if he had any proof of his allegations. Morra countered that Tito had just stated he had spoken to Trombetta about the issue prior to the meeting.
“I thought that was perfect for public open forum,” countered Tito, and then told Morra, “we can deal what your interpretation of the facts of the case are at another time.”
Morra was admonished for putting a copy of last year’s Inspector General’s report related to Costello in his OML complaint. “What was that for, Mr. Morra”, questioned Costello angrily. Selectmen Leffort called for a point of order, requesting Costello let Morra have an opportunity to speak. Tempers quickly flared and voices grew louder as selectmen and Morra began talking over each other. This was punctuated by shouts from audience members.
“It is perfectly appropriate for the acting police chief to come here and make an announcement after he has asked by his liaison to do so,” Tito told Morra. “I supported that announcement,” he continued, “and I’m glad he made that announcement.”
Within minutes, Morra was dismissed by selectmen and not allowed to continue speaking, but invited back during open public forum. Selectmen then voted to refer the matter to town legal counsel for review.
Later during public open forum, Lt. Trombetta appeared to respond to the Morra’s OML complaint. “My interpretation of open forum was announcements that are made for the good of the people,” he said, “for the good of the town, okay.” The acting police chief stated that members of his department have “stood by for the past couple of years while baseless allegations and disparaging comments have been made against them by Mr. Morra and the previous board of selectmen.”
Trombetta was allowed to speak for the next eight minutes about previous police chiefs, selectmen, and Morra’s past allegations. “I think it is inappropriate for him to sit here and address the board on this matter, and say that what I said was inaccurate,” said Trombetta. “It most certainly was very accurate.”
He went on to say Morra, as a selectman, decided to cut former chief Norman MIranda’s contract a year short against the advice of town counsel which cost the town $22,000. “He is then instrumental in bringing in the next police chief who December 10, 2010 was found lying drunk in a driveway in East Providence,” said Trombetta, “and Morra staunchly defends the man.”
“I’m sick of Mr. Morra sticking his finger in the eye of the police department,” said Trombetta, “and I’m not going to stand by while somebody of his (Morra) character takes pokes at the cops.” He then stated that “everybody knows” that Morra was “recently pantsed in federal court by John Ferreira” with a settlement of over a million dollars.
“Over a million dollars in a judgement settlement!,” he exclaimed, before repeating that he was not going to stand by while Morra takes pokes at the police department” and “costs the towns hundreds of thousands in legal fees.”
Trombetta concluded by asking Morra to “take his bag of tricks and go home” to a round of applause from the audience before Morra returned to the microphone.
“That’s an example of how unprofessional Lt. Trombetta is” said Morra before right both selectmen Costello and Tito requested the audience contain themselves and be courteous.
Morra then rebutted several of Trombetta’s statements, point by point, and presented his views of the past. Addressing selectmen, Morra said it was inappropriate for them to have Trombetta, a member of the police union, running the department long-term. “You put this person in place as acting police chief and you are going to keep him there,” he said. “That’s inappropriate and you know it.”
He concluded by bringing up the issue of campaign flyers mailed last year by Costello and Tito. When an audience member yelled out, Tito called for order, minutes before tempers flared once again between selectmen and Morra. Tito slammed his hand on the table and shouted “excuse me” to Morra telling him to stop addressing the audience. “NO, you are not going to address the audience from here,” he exclaimed “We have given you time,” he said before asking for Morra’s final comment, which was, “you may consider anger management.”
Then resident John Krasnianski took the microphone. “Mr Morra is a liar, an out and out liar,” he said, voice shaking with anger, before the audience erupted again and Costello was required to tell everyone to calm down.
Krasnianski shared his opinion that Morra was out to him and his daughter, police officer Bree Krasnianski with false allegations.
Open public forum continued with FinCom clerk Michael Deignan asking the BOS to solicit talent bank forms to find a replacement for Sue Pimental on the committee, as she is running unopposed for one of the two new selectmen seats. Diegnan, who serves on FinCom alongside both Morra and Pimental, questioned Morra’s OML complaint. He additionally noted there is a clause in the OML that states the BOS in not even required to allow public input via an open forum segment.
Sue Pimental then addressed the BOS and audience, saying that Morra also submitted OML complaints against the finance committee. “We all know he will not go away,” she said, “he’s just going to be yipping in your ear, wasting our time and money to divert away from town business.” She said she would not even address his allegations.
The lively meeting concluded with both selectmen Costello and Tito apologizing for raising their voices and thanking everyone for participating in the public open forum. Additionally, Costello made note this was the final meeting of a three-member BOS and that for the next meeting, there will be five selectmen.
“What a pleasure it has been to work with these two gentlemen the last year,” remarked Costello before encouraging residents to vote of Monday, April 2.
Carpenter Museum in Heritage Preservation Program
(March 28, 2012) Heritage Preservation is pleased to announce the Carpenter Museum has been chosen to participate in the 2012 Conservation Assessment Program (CAP).
The Carpenter Museum joins the 2,800 museums that have participated in CAP in its twenty-two year history of serving museums. Heritage Preservation’s CAP is supported through a cooperative agreement with the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. CAP assists museums by providing funds for professional conservation specialists to identify the conservation needs of their collections and recommend ways to correctly improve collections conditions.
Heritage Preservation’s President, Lawrence L. Reger, praised the Carpenter Museum for “making the vital work of caring for collections a priority of their institution, even in these challenging financial times, and helping ensure that they are available to present and future generations.”
CAP provides a general conservation assessment of the museum’s collections. A professional conservator will spend two days surveying the site and three days preparing a comprehensive report that will identify conservation priorities. The on-site consultation will enable the Carpenter Museum to evaluate its current collections care policies, procedures, and environmental conditions.
The assessment report will help the museum make appropriate improvements for the immediate, mid-range, and long-range care of their collections. By participating in CAP, the Carpenter Museum expects to “make important strides in maintaining a healthy atmosphere for our art and artifacts,” said curator Laura Napolitano.
The Carpenter Museum is located at 4 Locust Avenue and specializes in collecting, preserving, and displaying objects, photographs, and archival materials related to the history of Rehoboth. It is open Sundays from 2 to 4 PM. The Carpenter Museum’s year-long theme for 2012 is “Remembering Rehoboth School Days.” Programming and exhibits will focus on the history of education in the town. To learn more, please visit carpentermuseum.org.
Heritage Preservation is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of the United States. By identifying risks, developing innovative programs, and providing broad public access to expert advice, Heritage Preservation assists museums, libraries, archives, historic preservation and other organizations, as well as individuals, in caring for our endangered heritage. To learn more about Heritage Preservation, please visit www.heritagepreservation.org.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.
The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.
Selectmen Will Meet on Tuesday March 27 with a Busy Agenda
(March 27, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session to discuss several items including lawsuits, real estate, the police union contract and other issues.
Following the town administrator’s report, there will be several discussions. One will be with the IT Committee regarding town computer services. Another will be a request for a part-time forestry position. There will be a vote to accept the resignation of William Dalpe as moth superintendent, and measurer of wood and lumber. Selectmen will also vote to accept the resignation of Veronica Brickley as a member of the Rehoboth Council on Aging Board. A new member of the Agricultural Committee, Rachel Lawton, will be appointed.
Selectmen will hold several discussions including the following topics: health insurance for retirees; sending letters from the BOS to unions representing town personnel; and an open meeting law complaint filed on March 22 regarding the February 21 BOS Meeting. Finally, selectmen will review the warrant articles for the annual town meeting and special town meeting, along with reviewing the proposed FY13 budget.
This will be the last BOS meeting with only three selectmen. Following the April 2 election, it will be a five-member board conducting town business.
Morra Files BOS Open Meeting Law Violation Complaint
(March 27, 2012) On March 21, former selectmen and current finance committee member Christopher Morra submitted a two-page complaint to the Office of the Attorney General, along with seventy-seven additional pages of documentation supporting his assertions the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen violated the Open Meeting Law on February 21, 2012.
According to the agenda of tonight’s BOS meeting, selectmen will address this newest OML complaint with an beginning at approximately 8:25 PM. The meeting will be broadcast live on Comcast public access Channel 9.
Morra’s complaint states that BOS chairman Michael Costello allowed acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta to “speak on matters that are the subject of government investigations and civil litigation” without having the matter on the agenda, and in a manner that suggests the matter was discussed prior to the meeting. He additionally accuses this was “done for the personal and political benefit of the speakers and the officers they are trying to protect, and not for the good of the Town.”
The matter in question was Trombetta’s announcement the State Ethics Commission had cleared Sgt. James Medeiros of any wrongdoing, and request that selectmen extend a verbal apology to the police officer.
According to Trombetta, the Ethics Commission determined there was no further action required in a case dating back several years. Medeiros was accused of improperly using a corporate American Express card belonging to former selectmen John Ferreira. Attorneys for Ferreira have always insisted the credit card was fully authorized.
That night Selectman Joseph Tito motioned the board should apologize to Medeiros. Costello agreed, saying it was his “great pleasure to apologize” to Medeiros on-the-spot, who was in attendance at that night’s meeting.
Morra claims that both selectmen, as well as Trombetta, were “fully aware or should be aware” their statements at this meeting were “false, misleading, and intended to politicize pending litigation.” He went on to further state their “false statements on these issues” were made last year while they were both running for selectmen. Morra attached their campaign flyers of last year as proof in his substantial complaint documentation.
Earlier this year in mid-February, the BOS received a determination from the Office of the Attorney General that OML was violated by selectmen last year on February 28, 2011. The sitting selectmen involved then were chairman Kenneth Foley and current selectmen Donald Leffort. Complaints had been filed by residents Colleen McBride, Arthur Kelley, and Susan Pimental, who is currently chairman of the Finance Committee and an uncontested candidate for the BOS which is adding two new seats.
In that violation, the AG’s office determined Foley and Leffort violated OML by holding an unannounced meeting at noon and then revealing those actions later that night at the BOS meeting. The actions in questions were placing three non-binding questions on the 2012 April election ballot.
Almost four months ago, Morra filed three other OML complaints against both the BOS and FinCom members Following those filings last December, the BOS voted two-to-one on December 19 to remove Morra from his position on the FinCom.
At that time Costello said he would like to file complaints against Morra for alleged ethics violations, while Leffort said the BOS should wait until they received further information from the AG’s office regarding Morra’s complaints.
On January 3, the BOS reversed their decision to remove Morra from his position on FinCom. The next day, another member of FinCom, Michael Deignan who serves currently as vice chair and clerk, filed a sworn two-page affidavit in response to Morra’s OML complaint.
Deignan included supplementary documentation and eight detailed responses to Morra’s allegations of opening meeting law violations by FinCom chair Susan Pimental, Deignan and Christine Daluz.
The Office of the Attorney General has yet to issue a determination on Morra’s OML violation complaints against the BOS and FinCom of last December.
Community Conservation Committee Public Hearing
(March 25, 2012) The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee will hold a Public Hearing on Wednesday, March 28 at the Town Office at 7:30 PM to discuss the two articles on the warrant at the Special Town Meeting to be held May 14. Voters are invited to receive information regarding the two committee proposals.
The first is to see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of $50,000 from the Community Preservation Committee Open Space Reserve Fund, along with $15,000 from the Budgeted Reserve Fund for the purpose of purchasing a conservation restriction and a perpetual trail easement on the land owned by the Oak Hill Beagle Club.
The second article of discussion will be to see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of up to $4500. from the Community Preservation Historic Resources Reserve Fund for the restoration and/or repair of the shutters at the Hornbine School.
Residents are also invited to attend to seek information regarding the application process for projects to be considered for Town approval in the next fiscal year.
Rehoboth Man Shot and Killed in Martha’s Vineyard
(March 24, 2012) A double shooting occurred yesterday morning at a home in West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard owned by a couple with Rehoboth ties. Kenneth R. Bloomquist, age 64, was found dead from a gunshot wound by police after they responded to a 911 call from his estranged wife Cynthia C. Bloomquist, age 63, who was discovered shot and bleeding.
Kenneth Bloomquist of 245 County Street was apparently residing in the long-time home of his mother, Barbara E. Bloomquist after separating from his wife of forty years in October of last year. Records show the couple sold their home in Harvard, Massachusetts, where they had lived for the last fifteen years, last October.
Earlier this month, Cynthia Bloomquist, who is currently recovering at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, had been refused an emergency restraining order by Superior Court Judge Robert Kane. According to reports, her request affidavit stated she was afraid for her life and that her husband had both guns and access to a personal aircraft.
Both Bloomquists were licensed pilots, according to Federal Aviation Administration records, and also licensed to carry firearms according to West Tisbury police.
According to a Boston Globe report, 94-year-old Barbara Bloomquist, who lives in an assisted living facility, was shocked to hear of the incident and her son’s death. She said the couple were “high-school sweethearts who married in the backyard of his childhood home.” The couple had no children.
Cynthia Bloomquist’s social networking profile states she retired two years ago as senior associate director of corporate relations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kenneth Bloomquist was listed on business websites as the owner of Harvard Images, a private company specializing in custom aerial photography.
Finance Committee Deals with Current and Future Budgets
(March 22, 2012) The Rehoboth Finance Committee will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 7 PM with approval of minutes before promptly launching into new business.
FinCom members will consider several current budget amendments as submitted including items involving the board of health vehicle repair and maintenance, printing of forms and envelopes, fire personnel physicals and a board of selectmen appraisal. Additionally, members will address reserve fund transfers for town legal counsel expense before diving into the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, including the town’s anticipated operating budget and capital budget.
Scheduled to participate in a discussion of anticipated 2013 revenue are Town Treasurer Cheryl Gouveia,Town Accountant Cathy Doane, and members of the Board of Assessors.
Members will also review the annual town meeting warrant before adjourning.
Rehoboth Business Association Hosts “Meet the Candidates”
(March 21, 2012) Thirteen candidates for spring election answered questions last night at Crestwood Country Club for the second annual Rehoboth Business Association’s candidates night. The event was videotaped by RehobothNow and will appear on both public access channel 9 and on the YouTube.
While many of the candidates are running opposed, each reminded the audience how important it is for registered voters to visit their polling places on Monday, April 2. Each vote is important and each is counted. Even those running unopposed need public feedback.
LInda Ferreira, the RBA president, first explained the rules for the panel Q&A session. Each candidate was given a two-minute introduction followed by several questions posed by RBA members. Interviewed in groups, the candidates were given a one-minute response time for each question, along with a two-minute conclusion statement.
Different questions were posed to the different groups, everything from basic qualifications to a candidate’s vision for Rehoboth’s future.
Residents and cable subscribers will be able to view the almost two-hour program on Channel 9. The event will also be posted in segments on YouTube within the next couple days.
Rehoboth Residents Urged to Support Conservation
(March 21, 2012) The Rehoboth Land Trust, the Conservation Commission, the Agricultural & Natural Resources Council and the Community Preservation Committee share a common interest in preserving open space for farming, resource protection, and recreation. Currently the groups have joined together to place a permanent conservation restriction on a 92-acre parcel owned by the Oak Hill Beagle Club off Fairview Avenue.
The Trust for Public Lands recently conducted a study that measured and analyzed the economic benefits of land conservation. The studies have shown that “conservation returns from $4 to $10 for every dollar invested.” The return comes in the form of recreational opportunities, flood control, protection of air and drinking water quality, wildlife habitat, and farming -- supporting tourism, agriculture, and fisheries.
Rural towns like Rehoboth with a limited tax base benefit even more in the preservation of open space by not overburdening town budgets with the demand for increased services. With each home dependent on a well and septic system the protection of our individual water supplies is very important, and most Rehoboth townspeople value the rural character of our town and its recreational opportunities.
Oak Hill Beagle Club, in existence since 1951 for the field training of beagles, has agreed to preserve their land forever. The club has agreed to sell the development rights of their property and place a permanent conservation restriction on the property so that it will remain in its natural state forever.
The agreement to preserve the land also includes a perpetual trail easement which will allow public access to a Town Forest parcel via a nice trail on an old cart road. The site includes Rehoboth’s critical habitat which will remain unchanged.
The Oak Hill Beagle Club will remain on the tax rolls with virtually no demands for town services. The club’s generosity in accepting a “bargain sale” of their development rights is a tribute to their value of preserving land and preserving tradition.
The State’s Division of Conservation Services has also supported preserving this large tract of land. Rehoboth Land Trust, with the support of the Trustees of Reservations, has been awarded a state Conservation Partnership grant for $85,000 toward the purchase of the development rights.
The Conservation Commission and the Agricultural & Natural Resources Council are contributing funds, and the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is recommending to Town Meeting that $65,000 from the Community Preservation Act funds go towards this project.
The final step is approval of the CPC contribution of $65,000 at the Special Town Meeting on May 14. As a collective voice, the four town committees are heartily urging residents to support the warrant article approving this great opportunity for the town of Rehoboth.
Board of Assessors Get BOS Backing
(March 20, 2012) The three-member Rehoboth Board of Assessors made a request last night of the Rehoboth selectmen to issue a letter to non-profit organizations seeking contributions to the town’s general fund.
The town faces an unexpected $200,000 plus hit from the school department to pay for out-of-district tuition and transportation for Rehoboth vocational students. Assessors felt it would be a good idea to approach tax-exempt non-profits with physical facilities located in Rehoboth, such as Johnson & Wales University, Wheeler School, andJudge Rotenberg Center that operates a group home in town.
Selectmen voted to compose and send a letter directly to the boards of the non-profit organizations asking for a contribution to the town as they receive public safety services such as police, fire, emergency and highway department services without paying taxes.
Local Scout’s Eagle Project at D-R Tennis Courts Vandalized
(March 19, 2012) Last week a feature story about DRRHS junior Stephen Munroe appeared in the Taunton Gazette with photos of his Eagle Scout project of renovating the high school tennis courts. One element was a sign with the DR Falcon logo for the backboard that was installed last December. Now it’s gone.
The $1000 sign that took over eight hours to complete disappeared after the story appeared in the newspaper. School officials are angry including the boy’s tennis coach, Victor Augusto who has appealing to the thieves to return the sign, no questioned asked. The school’s principal, Gail Van Buren filed a report to Dighton Police.
Anyone with information about the missing sign are encouraged to contact the school or police. This includes information related to digital communications such as texts, photos, Facebook posts or tweets.
March 19 BOS Meeting Agenda Items
(March 19, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session to discuss items including real estate, police union contract, a personnel issue and an ongoing legal case.
Following the town administrator’s report, selectmen will conduct regular business including a discussion about health insurance for elected officials. There will be a vote to approve budget amendments for police, fire and the highway department along with BOS lights. Selectmen will also vote to approve reserve fund transfer for special town counsel services.
Approving and signing the town election warrant is on the agenda, along with nominating an inspector of animals, awarding the town buildings safety alarm bid, and accepting the resignation of Cheryl Wyman from the Cemetery Commission and appointment of Connie Wenzel-Jordan to CemCom.
Selectmen will vote to open the annual town meeting warrant, and approve a new article amending a general bylaw. They will also vote to amend the capital budget article to include the South Fire Station roof. An update of local access broadcast will be given.
Cub Scout Pack One Food Drive Set for Saturday, March 24
(March 18, 2012) Rehoboth Cub Scouts of Pack One left empty plastic bags on mailboxes for a food collection for Helping Hands scheduled for Saturday, March 24. Residents are asked to fill the bags and left them by their mailbox by 9 AM next Saturday morning.
Helping Hands Food Pantry is in direct need of donations to serve the needs of approximately 60 families each week. Along with non-perishable food, their is a great need for paper goods such as toilet paper, as well as personal care items such as shampoo, tooth paste, soap, etc.
Helping Hands requests that you check the expiration dates on the donated food, as disposing of out-dated cans or packages costs the organization both time and money. Located in the rear of the office building at 51 Winthrop Street, Helping Hands has both a refrigerator and freezer to keep perishable donations. Please contact Steve Martin at 508-252-3263 if you have perishable food to donate to the food pantry.
D-R Superintendent Announces Departure
(March 14, 2012) At Tuesday night’s School Committee meeting, Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Montagano announced plans to retire in early October. Hired in 2008, the fifty-six-year old Montagano cited “quality of life” reasons for living, and expressed her appreciation for the support of the Dighton and Rehoboth communities and parents.
While Montagano received favorable yearly reviews from the school committee, she also faced criticism and turnover of key administrative staff including the district business administrator, and the director of special education.
Earlier this month Montagano reported the school district would not be receiving the approximate 600K of funding from the Education Jobs Fund Grant that the district has received in the past. This will likely cause a significant shortfall in the 2012-2013 school budget.
Additionally, selectmen and finance committee members were recently surprised to learn the proposed FY13 budget would include an unanticipated additional $213,000 for the school district budget to pay for tuition and transportation of Rehoboth students to Tri-County Vocational Technical High School. School Committee chairman David Katseff asked selectmen to hold a slot open at the spring town meeting for another warrant article for residents to vote to approve this additional funding to the school district.
According to the school committee, a search committee for a new superintendent will be formed in the near future.
Rehoboth Police Officer Receives Commendations
(March 14, 2012) At Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting, Rehoboth police officer Bree Krasnianski received well-deserved accolades and commendations for her actions while on duty rescuing a car accident victim, Scott MacDougall of Warren, RI, from the Palmer River.
Present at the meeting was Massachusetts State Senator James Timilty who presented Krasnianski with a citation from the State House and applauded her heroism. She also received a commendation from Jacob Ventura, aide to Representative Steven Howitt who was out of the state on the evening of the presentation.
Krasninanski recognized Good Samaritan, Edward Ferreira, Jr. of Portsmouth, RI who stopped at the accident scene and went into the cold water to assist before the arrival of other emergency response crews including the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rescue, Ambulance, and REMA.
Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta noted the RPD would be presenting formal commendations to Officer Krasnianski, Ferreira and Rehoboth emergency response personnel.
CemCom Adds Number 53 to Historic Cemetery List
(March 13, 2012) The Rehoboth Cemetery Commission voted to rename six of the town’s historic cemeteries by adding more historically accurate names to existing designations established by Rev. George Tilton, the founder of the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, in the early 1900s
They also voted to add a 53rd historic cemetery after learning through deed research that Historic Cemetery Number 31 included a supplemental cemetery which will now be known as the Phillip Horton Cemetery.
The amended cemetery names will better aid those doing genealogical research because they reflect the people interred in the lot. The previous designations were often names of property owners from later periods. The name amendments include the following: Number 22, Ingalls Family Lot/Comfort Pearce Cemetery, located on Cedar Street. Number 24, Bosworth Cemetery/Job Horton Lot, located on Purchase Street. Number 30, James Horton Yard/Holden Cemetery, located on Pleasant Street. Number 35, Carruthers Lot/Amos West Lot, located on Providence Street. Number 51, Reynolds Lot/Gardiner Lot, located on Hornbine Road. Number 52, Orren N. Horton Family Lot/Thatcher Cemetery, located on Francis Farm Road.
One other historic cemetery, Number 29 on Brook Street, had no name at all. Deed research over the years consistently referred to a burying ground on the property to “remain forever undisturbed.” It it believed it may have either been an ancient Native American burial ground known to original settlers, or a slave cemetery. The lot consists of a mound and scattered field stones. The commission voted to name this the Brook Street Burial Ground.
Cheryl Wyman, commission chair, spoke to the Rehoboth Board of Selectman on Monday, March 12 about establishing a burial permit and recording system in the town clerk’s office. Currently there is no system in place to either grant permits or record new burial information.
Contemporary burials are permitted by state law in historic cemeteries of direct family descendants, or those who have been given written permission for a plot by a direct descendent. While the CemCom cannot issue burial permits, the town can establish a procedure, and fee, to require a permit through the town clerk, and record that information.
Currently, burials in historic cemeteries involve a family, funeral home and grave digger who is paid. Because the plots are in historic cemeteries, there is no monetary exchange for the plot. Additionally, the town pays for perpetual care through the cemetery commission’s budget.
CemCom is required to be notified of a burial in a historic cemetery in order to be present when the grave is dug to assure protection and preservation. They have the authority to immediately stop any digging if it appears other graves, many unmarked, will be disturbed.
BOS chair Mike Costello assured Wyman he will look into establishing some kind of formal permitting process and record keeping.
Selectmen to Tackle Busy Agenda for Monday, March 12
(March 12, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:00 PM with an executive session to discuss several items including lawsuits involving the town before convening for the the public portion of the meeting.
Following the town administrator’s report, there will be a public hearing regarding a liquor license transfer for Crestwood Country Club. Then, new action items include a discussion with Cheryl Wyman as chair of the Cemetery Commission; budget amendments and fund transfers, and a dog complaint hearing.
Selectmen will also vote to hire Richard Barrett as an part-time employee for local cable access broadcasting. Barrett is a member of the four-person Cable TV Advisory Committee and if approved will be the second member of that committee to be hired as a town employee. Selectmen plan to update the public on progress to provide PEG (public, educational, government) channels.
Also on the long agenda are votes to approve the hire of a temporary clerical worker for the BOS office to support land use departments, a vote to call a Special Town Meeting for May 14, 2012, a vote to approve the annual town meeting warrant articles and approve the FY13 operating budget. Selectmen will also vote on increasing mileage reimbursement and a review of the Marion Street extension subdivision plan from the Planning Board.
The BOS meeting tonight is anticipated to last at least four hours.
DRRHS Best Buddies Spread the Word to End the Word
(March 7, 2012) Today, the Best Buddies program at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School will participate in the first annual national "Spread The Word To End The Word" campaign.
Spread the Word to End the Word™ is an ongoing effort by Special Olympics, Best Buddies and many supporters including celebrities to raise the consciousness of society about the dehumanizing and hurtful effects of the word “retard(ed)” and encourage people to pledge to stop using the R-word.
The campaign, created by young people, is intended to engage schools organizations and communities to rally and pledge their support at r-word.org and to promote the inclusion and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Massachusetts GOP Primary Results in Rehoboth
(March 7, 2012) The breakdown of Rehoboth residents who voted in yesterday’s Presidential primary election: 455 votes for Mitt Romney, 131 votes fo Rick Santorum, 94 votes for Ron Paul, and 52 votes for Newt Gingrich.
Successful Water Rescue in Rehoboth on Saturday
(March 4, 2012) Late Saturday afternoon shortly after 5 PM, Rehoboth Police Officer Bree Krasnianski responded to a motor vehicle accident report on Route 6 near the Swansea line.
Finding the vehicle in the chest-deep waters of the Palmer River, she rushed to the aid of the driver who was visibly injured and trapped inside what was reported as a black Nissan Maxima. It appeared as if the vehicle had rolled over at least once before landing in the river that flows into Mount Hope Bay. Fortunately, it was low tide.
A Good Samaritan, later identified as Edward Ferreira, Jr. of Portsmouth, arrived and entered the water with Krasnianski helping her extricate the driver. Meanwhile Rehoboth Rescue 7 arrived on the scene with Marine 7, a Zodiac quick response boat that was deployed into the water. Aboard the boat were both the Rescue Dive Team and EMS personnel.
Additional Rescue and Emergency Management Agency personnel arrived with the Magnum Light Tower Trailer to illuminate the accident area as the sky darkened into night. The driver, forty-six-year old Scott MacDougall of Warren, RI, was transported by Rehoboth Ambulance to the trauma center at Rhode Island Hospital. It is believed his injuries were not life-threatening. Officer Krasnianski was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital to be checked and promptly released.
Rehoboth firefighters wearing protective water gear entered the river to contain the gasoline spill using booms and absorbent pads. Firefighters also prepared the vehicle for removal from the water in a process that involved running lines through the car interior so it could be lifted out of the water by a heavy-duty wrecker boom.
Assisting at the scene were both Swansea police and fire departments. The accident is under investigation by Patrolman Heather Syrett and Sgt. Norman Todd.
Rehoboth Business Association Invites Candidates
(February 28, 2012) Every candidate running for office in the upcoming spring town election has been invited to attend the “Meet the Candidates Night” sponsored by the Rehoboth Business Association on Tuesday, March 20.
Although many of this year’s slate of candidates are running unopposed, each has been invited to the “meet and greet” social hour followed by a panel discussion that will be video recorded. Last year’s Candidates Night videos were placed on YouTube to offer increased visibility.
The social hour will be held from 6 to 7 PM followed by the formal, time-limited question and answer period conducted by RBA members. If you would like to submit a question to be posed to each candidate, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15. Reservations to attend the event will also be accepted thru March 15. Tickets are $20 per person (members and non-members).
Antique Appraisal Fundraiser to Benefit D-R Marching Band
(February 28, 2012) The D-R Marching Band will benefit from an Antique Appraisal Fundraiser to be held on Saturday, March 10 from 9 AM to 3 PM in the high school cafeteria. For a fee you can have your treasures and valuables appraised by experts. Who knows? You may be shocked at the true value of your possessions.
Two Multiple Vehicle Crashes on Route 44
(February 28, 2012) Two separate multi-vehicle closed down two major roadways in Rehoboth today including Bay State Road for for two hours in the morning and Route 44 for almost two hours in the afternoon.
Rehoboth police responded to a two-vehicle, head-on collision a few minutes after 10 AM on Bay State Road. With the assistance of the Rehoboth Fire Department and EMTs from Rehoboth Ambulance, one person was extricated for each vehicle. Both were transported to Rhode Island Hospital.
Bay State Road was closed for about two hours to accommodate the investigation and clean up. The crash is under investigation by Patrolman James Casey, with assistance form the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis Unit.
Later in the day, Rehoboth police responded to multiple 911 calls reporting a horrendous collision of four vehicles on Route 44 at Williams Street. Both Rehoboth EMS and the Seekonk Fire Department ambulances transported four people to area hospitals with serious, but non-life threatening injuries.
Two of the four vehicles sustained very serious damage. The force of impact sent the engine of one car seventy-five feet down the road. Route 44 was shut down in both directions while the vehicles and debris were removed from the accident scene that was spread over five-hundred feet. A sand truck from Mass Highway was called to the scene to cover the large amounts of fluids on the road. The crash is being investigated by Patrolman Keith Perry.
Update on Community Access Television Programming
(February 28, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen met last night and provided an update on the status of PEG (public, educational, government) cable access television programming.
BOS chairman Mike Costello reported on the court-ordered return of equipment and other materials form RePAC back to the town. He estimated that about 30% has not been returned including significant control equipment, and that town counsel will file a contempt order. He announced a forensic audit may be conducted to provide an detailed account of RePAC finances.
“We have service,” said Costello, “and all three channels are running” for live broadcasts. In terms of a broadcast schedule, he said, “we haven’t had enough tapes to keep things going” because the tapes from RePAC were not returned. “There are a lot of good things we want to do,” he added.
Costello and Selectmen Joe Tito voted to hire town employee Bette Dyer as a “Special Municipal Employee” in her capacity as equipment operator. They also voted to hire three other temporary part-time staff to run the public access television function including Cable Advisory Committee chair Derek Rousseau, camera operator John Meagher. According to Costello, their salaries will be paid for with the funds provided for the purpose of running PEG programming from the contract with cable television provider Comcast.
Two weeks ago, Costello announced the BOS would be putting out a request for proposals for an entity to assume the responsibilities previously performed by RePAC, an independent non-profit organization managed by a voluntary board of directors. No update was given last night about when the RFP process will begin.
In the past, the cable access provider contract has been awarded to entities operated by either elected or appointed town officials, or by a group of people who also served the town in various elected or appointed capacities.
BOS Agenda Items for Monday, February 27 Meeting
(February 27, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session following by the public portion of the meeting.
Tonight’s agenda includes a discussion on the hiring of temporary clerical staff to be shared by the Planning Board and Conservation Commission. Selectmen will also discuss authorizing the hiring of town employees to operate the local cable access PEG (public, educational, government channels) broadcasting. They will vote to designate Bette Dyer as a “special municipal employee in her capacity as equipment operator” as well as other personnel.
Selectmen will vote on accepting “the gift of laptops and a workstation” from Finance Committee clerk Michael Deignan. They will also vote to sign a letter to Mass Housing Partnership in support of re-purposing the old Anawan school as elder housing.
The board will also review the FY13 budget, and review departmental budget from the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Stormwater Officer.
RePAC Fails to Meet Friday Deadline to Return Equipment
(February 26, 2012) Selectmen at last Tuesday night’s BOS meeting announced that RePAC had until close of day on Friday, which was 12 noon at the town office, to return the remaining equipment, records, documents and video archives to the Town the Rehoboth.
According to BOS Chair Mike Costello, officials from RePAC did not comply with the court order. Costello had told the audience on Tuesday night that if RePAC did not return the material by the deadline, and did not submit a formal explanation, they would be in contempt of court. He said warrants would then be issued to arrest RePAC officials.
D-R Students to Conduct Citizens Scholarship Drive
(February 24, 2012) Students from the Dighton Rehoboth Senior class will be hitting the roads of both Dighton and Rehoboth on March 9, 10 and 11 for the 52nd annual Citizens Scholarship Foundation Annual Door-to-Door campaign.
For over more than 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 19, 10 and 11, with each team in a specified neighborhood.
The goal of the Foundation is to offer as much financial help as possible to as many students as possible. The towns of Dighton and Rehoboth have a long tradition of excellence in education and in supporting the children in their communities. We appreciate the continued support of the community as our students pursue higher education. All contributions are fully tax deductible and may also be mailed to: Citizens Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 696, Rehoboth, MA.
Community Visiting Nurse Association Offers Free Education
(February 24, 2012) Community VNA, serving clients and families in Rehoboth, offers free educational programs and support groups at their offices in Attleboro. On Tuesday, March 6, the home health care agency will host an educational event, and the start of a six-week bereavement series.
Alzheimer’s disease expert Peter Ham will return to Community VNA to offer his insight and expertise on the subject of communicating with individuals who are diagnosed with a progressive cognitive decline. An accomplished lecturer, author and licensed mental health counselor, Ham will begin his presentation by addressing the differences between normal aging and the abnormal aging process.
This program will be helpful to those who have personal concerns about their own memory health, as well as those who have a loved one experiencing a cognitive decline. Ham has been providing psychiatric services to the elderly for over 26 years. An active participant in the Alzheimer’s Association, he currently leads an early stage Alzheimer’s support group for individuals and their care partners.
Pre-registration is required for this free program that will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at the Community VNA office at 10 Emory Street in Attleboro. Please call 774-203-1311 or register by email at: register@community vna.com.
Also on March 6, Community VNA will begin a Adult Grief Education program offered free of charge to anyone experiencing loss. This six-week bereavement series will meet every Tuesday through April 10 from 7 to 8:30 PM at the Emory Street location.
This bereavement series offers support to anyone in the community who has experienced a loss through death, not just those cared for in hospice. Grief professionals, who specialize in the loss felt by both adults and children, provide suggestions and sources of support to help on the journey towards healing. They are also a resource to those seeking guidance on how to support others who are grieving. To learn more, please visit the Community VNA website at: communityvna.com.
Firefighters Association Looking for Past Members
(February 24, 2012) The Rehoboth Station 2 Firefighters Association is reaching out to all past Station 2 members. Any past member who left the station in good standing is welcome to still take an active role in the Association. Members in good standing in the association attend monthly meetings, help with fundraising events, and are eligible for anything that is bought by the association for the members (hats, t-shirts etc). Past members who are interested can contact Association President Jon Marshall at email@example.com with any questions.
BOS: Wrongly Accused Officer Deserves Apology
(February 22, 2012) Selectmen last night extended an on-the-spot verbal apology to Rehoboth police Sgt. James Medeiros after Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta reported the State Ethics Commission had cleared Medeiros of any wrongdoing. Trombetta told selectmen that Medeiros deserved an apology.
“It gives me great pleasure to apologize to Mr. Medeiros,” said BOS chair Michael Costello, who added it was not this sitting board that made accusations against the twenty-five year veteran of the Rehoboth Police Department.
According to Trombetta, the Ethics Commission determined there was no further action required in a case dating back several years. Medeiros was accused of improperly using a corporate American Express card belonging to former selectmen John Ferreira. Attorneys for Ferreira have always insisted the credit card was fully authorized. Medeiros used the card to purchase food and gas while transporting vehicles off-duty to Vermont and Florida for Ferreira.
“Although it was not this current board that made those accusations,” said Selectman Joseph Tito, “I would make the motion this board apologize to Sgt. Medeiros for any impuning of his integrity that might have occurred.”
Selectmen Have a Mixed Agenda for Tonight’s Meeting
(February 21, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session following by the public portion of the meeting. Tonight’s agenda includes town departmental budget reviews, requests for one-day liquor licenses, and posting of signs on town property by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society. Selectmen will also vote to approve a budget amendment request from the Fire Department for $5,500; and Chapter 90 reimbursement request for $17,145.
There will be an update on the local access cable programming and a vote to re-appoint Jennifer Moitozo as a board of registrar.
Rehoboth Police Crack Down on Residents with Out-of-State Vehicle Registrations
(February 21, 2012) Rehoboth police were stationed at Palmer River Elementary School and D.L. Beckwith Middle School on two mornings last week to pass out informational packages to approximately 43 drivers of vehicles with out-of-state registrations. Police stopped drivers between 7 and 9:15 AM as parents dropped off students.
Drivers were advised they have thirty-days to register and insure their vehicles in Massachusetts if they reside in Rehoboth. Vehicles registered in Massachusetts must also have valid MA vehicle inspections stickers and comply with all Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) regulations. The DMV operates a special telephone hotline (I PAY TAX at 1-800-472-9829) to report residents of Massachusetts who have vehicles registered in other states.
Police plan to follow up with the 43 violators they identified last week around the thirty-day mark.
This was the first time this year such a check has been conducted. Police say they picked the school parking lot because of the “high volume of residential traffic that enters the school on a daily basis.” While students enrolled in both public schools must be Rehoboth residents, police say there were not checking student residency.
Last year on December 12, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen were informed by acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta that he had appointed Officer Nicole Eastwood to put together a plan to address the problem of residents who have vehicles registered in other states. He said there had been “a lot of calls” reporting residents who have vehicles parked in their yards with out-of-state licence plates, and were subsequently not paying the state excise taxes to the town.
At this time, there are no statistics on how much money the town is losing due to out-of-state registrations. Police say they may conduct more check points at other locations including the transfer station and on election days at the three polling precincts.
Rehoboth Performer Selected as Finalist in National Contest
(February 17, 2012) Sixteen-year-old Alissa Musto of Rehoboth has been selected as one of six young performers from across the nation in the first-ever national Music and Arts ‘Find Your Voice’ Facebook music video contest. Aspiring young musicians between the ages of 13 and 17 submitted videos and were selected by an expert panel of judges that reviewed the entries. Only the most talented musicians were chosen for a combination of artistry, technicality and stage presence.
The winner will be chosen by popular vote on Facebook, now through February 26. The finalist with the highest number of votes will receive a trip for two to spend the day with YouTube singing sensation Greyson Chance and get an inside-view of the music industry. The winner will also receive $2000 toward a Yamaha instrument and a free year of music lessons, plus a featured spot in an advertisement. The runners-up will get receive $1000 towards a Yamaha instrument and six months of free music lessons.
Public Hearing on Idlewood Estates and Proposed Sign Bylaw
(February 15, 2012) The Rehoboth Planning Board will meet today at the Town Office beginning at 7 PM with public hearing scheduled for 7:30 PM, including two agenda items involving Idlewood Estates, a subdivision with lots in both Rehoboth and Swansea. Described as a proposed 19-lot subdivision, the Swansea Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on Idlewood Estates on February 22.
At their meeting tonight, the RPB will also address a mix of old and new business including issues involving various residential properties.
They will also be discussing plans to amend the zoning bylaws regarding business signage which will affect businesses throughout Rehoboth.
Cable Advisory Committee to Meet Thursday on Contract
(February 15, 2012) The Cable TV Advisory Committee have scheduled a meeting for Thursday, February 16 at the Town Office beginning at 6:30 PM with an open regular session for fifteen minutes to discuss the organization of the Cable TV Advisory Committee and RePAC update. An executive session scheduled for 6.45 PM to discuss the Comcast cable license renewal.
Attorney General Coakley Proposed New Open Meeting Law
(February 15, 2012) Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office is proposing a regulation that, if adopted, would clarify the standard for a finding by the AG’s Office of an intentional violation of the Open Meeting Law. The regulation would define the term “Knowing or Knowingly” used in the Open Meeting Law. A public body that “knowingly” violates the Open Meeting Law is subject to a $1,000 fine per violation.
The proposed regulation published in the State Register on December 23, 2011. An “intentional violation” of the Open Meeting Law, as defined under G.L. c. 30A, § 18, is “an act or omission by a public body or a member thereof, in knowing violation of the open meeting law.”
The proposed regulation would read as follows: Knowing or Knowingly means acting with specific intent to violate the law, acting with deliberate ignorance of the law’s requirements, or acting in violation of the law where the public body or public body member has been informed previously by receipt of a decision from a court of competent jurisdiction or advised by the Attorney General that such conduct violates the law.
Where a public body or public body member has made a good faith attempt at compliance with the law, but was reasonably mistaken about its requirements, such conduct will not be considered a knowing violation of M.G.L. c. 30A, §§ 18 through 25.
On July 1, 2010, the Attorney General’s Office assumed responsibility for enforcement of the Open Meeting Law with respect to local, regional, district, county and state public bodies. Prior to that date, the state’s District Attorneys enforced the law as it pertains to local, regional, district and county public bodies.
Since then, AG Coakley’s Division of Open Government has responded to thousands of inquiries about the law’s requirements, conducted or participated in more than 50 trainings across the state, and issued dozens of determinations. In October 2011, in an effort to provide greater transparency and access to the office’s decisions, all of the Attorney General’s Open Meeting Law determinations became available online through an interactive database, the Open Meeting Law Determination Lookup.
Cable Access Update: Missing Equipment and Records
February 14, 2012 - Updated info in bold.
(February 13, 2012) As the RePAC saga continues to unfold, officials wait for equipment and recording archives to be returned by court order. Selectmen announced at the Monday, February 13 BOS meeting that RePAC equipment would be returned to the RePAC office in the town office annex building on Anawan Street by 2:30 PM today.
Officials confirmed that years of archived RePAC recordings of municipal meetings are currently missing. These recordings were routinely used by officials to check information in lieu of written meeting minutes, and used as evidence for legal purposes. Both Jeff Ritter, town administrator, and BOS chair Michael Costello confirmed all the recordings were missing.
When town officials or lawyers required proof of what exactly occurred in public municipal meetings, they often sought out the video evidence in the RePAC archives, if those meetings had been recorded or broadcast live. It was RePAC policy outlined in their website to charge for copies.
According to Ed Schagrin, vice-president of RePAC, the town was supplied with copies of all government meetings including town meetings.
At the January 6 BOS meeting, selectmen voted to have the Cable TV Advisory Committee temporarily takeover functions previously performed by RePAC. The committee consists of Derek Russo, Bill Carmichael, Richard Barrett and Robert McKim. Barrett also serves as an elected member of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee and is an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Carmichael is an appointed constable along with serving on the cable advisory committee. McKim is a member of the Rehoboth Park Commission, and has voluntarily provided live, on-air audio commentary before each BOS meeting since November 2011.
BOS chairman Costello has confirmed the town will be putting out a request for proposals for an entity to assume the responsibilities previously performed by RePAC, which was an independent non-profit organization managed by a voluntary board of directors.
“I want the new vendor to be as far separated from Rehoboth as possible,” says Costello. “No more politics.”
In the past, the cable access provider contract has been awarded to entities operated by either elected or appointed town officials, or a group of people who also served the town in various elected or appointed capacities.
The anticipated legal costs related to RePAC, including the cable access contract review and various lawsuits, will exceed $65,000. for fiscal year 2012, according to figures provided by Ritter.
On January 6, members of the cable advisory began broadcasting the BOS meeting live from the senior center, as well as other municipal meetings. Currently meetings are being rebroadcast on either channel 9 or 15.
Previously, RePAC published the daily broadcast schedule on their website, and on their “virtual bulletin board” information scrolls running on each channel. The weekly cablecast schedule was also published in RehobothNow. Additionally, the RePAC website featured the municipal meeting schedule for the week along with meeting agendas.
In response to an inquiry made February 9, Costello replied the town is having the RePAC website “turned over to us” and that broadcast schedule information will be released. As of today, broadcast schedule information has yet to be released to the public.
Rehoboth Land Trust to Hold Annual Meeting
(February 14, 2012) The Rehoboth Land Trust will hold its annual meeting on Monday March 5 at the Carpenter Museum. Following a brief business meeting will begin at 7:00 pm, Tom Shea, Assistant Director of Wildlife for the Massachusetts Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will present “Hunting Access and the Impacts of Land Development.”
Mr. O’Shea is responsible for the research and management of the state’s game and furbearing species, as well as the agency’s forestry and upland habitat management programs.
The Rehoboth Land Trust was established in 1989 to preserve the farms, forests and rural character of Rehoboth. Since 2007, the volunteer-led land trust has preserved, through purchase or receipt of gift, four properties totaling 88 acres for a total of 122 acres since the trust’s inception.
A member of the Land Trust Alliance, the RLT has adopted that organization’s standards and practices to ensure responsible operation in all its actions. Additionally, the RLT is a member of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition and partners with The Trustees of Reservations to provide resources and expertise to advance its mission.
RPT president Adam Latham is a local landscape architect and photographer
Non-members and children are welcome to attend the RLT annual meeting and presentation. Refreshments will be provided. For additional information, please contact Adam Latham, at 252-1033. Anyone wishing to make a donation to the RLT, may send it to the Rehoboth Land Trust, P.O. Box 335, Rehoboth, MA. (508)252-1033
BOS Meeting Agenda for Monday, February 13
(February 13, 2012) Tonight, following an executive session at 6:30 PM, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will conduct business at the senior center and act on a variety of issues.
Selectmen will conduct a public hearing for a wine and malt license for Rehoboth House of PIzza, discuss annual town meeting warrant articles and vote to approve a REMA grant. They will also conduct a discussion with REMA about revised rules and regulations for the Rehoboth Rescue Squad. Other new business will include a discussion with the Conservation Commission and Planning Board about a support staff person. Selectmen will also review budgets and transfer of monies from the reserve fund. Finally, selectmen will discuss a request to provide a letter of support for the closing of Taunton State Hospital.
Old business will include an update about the interviewing process for selected law firms that submitted town counsel proposals, and an update about local cable access broadcasts.
Bottled Water and No Activities for Students
(February 10, 2012) Due to a problem with the water system affecting both Rehoboth schools, officials have ordered bottled water for students to use. While expecting the water problem to be fixed by Monday, officials cancelled all afternoon and evening activities yesterday and today.
At Beckwith today, the afternoon rehearsal for the annual spring play was cancelled. At Palmer River, the afternoon ‘Principal’s Coffee” has been cancelled.
Selectmen’s Charges Against Harvey Bigelow Dropped
(February 9, 2012) Charges of criminal harassment lodged by both Selectman Joseph Tito and his wife, Dr. Lisa Tito against sixty-seven-year old Harvey Bigelow were dismissed on Wednesday in Taunton District Court. He faces another day in court on February 23 to address two counts of criminal harassment against Selectman Michael Costello and his wife.
Bigelow, a Rehoboth resident, was charged with sending anonymous harassing letters last May to the two selectmen and their wives. After a five-month investigation conducted by Rehoboth PD detectives Brian Ramos and Jasson Ferreira, police conducted a search of his home mid-day on October 10, 2011 and confiscated two computers and other items. Bigelow said he voluntarily went to the police station later that day and was interrogated for about 90 minutes and then released. He has always maintained his innocence.
A RPD press release of October 13 stated Bigelow was due in Taunton District Count on October 26 to answer to four counts of criminal harassment. Rehoboth police were assisted in their five-month investigation by “the Massachusetts State Police and the Plymouth County Sheriff’’s Office,” read the press release.
According to Attorney Drew Segadelli who represents Bigelow, the charges related to the Titos were dismissed by the judge due to “no supporting evidence” and that he believes Bigelow will be exonerated on the remaining two charges.
Town’s Disturbing Legal Bills
(February 7, 2012) The Town of Rehoboth is likely to face an excess of $142,560 in legal fees for the current fiscal year. From July 1, 2011 thru February 2, 2012, the town had legal expenses in the amount of $86,540.23. The legal bills estimated to accrue through the end of the fiscal year total at least an additionally $56,000.00.
The two figures relate general legal services as well as billable hours relating to lawsuits involving the town, its employees or officials. Additional lawsuits, involving the town or individuals, moving through the judicial system may not included in the estimates as related legal services have yet to be billed.
A lawsuit was filed by Grossi Development on November 21, 2011 against the Town of Rehoboth, the Conservation Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals and fifteen individuals acting town officials. One of those individuals is Roger Breault who last year was removed from his position on the Zoning Board of Appeals. He has demanded that the Town of Rehoboth “employ an independent attorney on his behalf” to represent him in an appeal on the civil action filed by Grossi Development LLC and Thomas Grossi.
A case in Massachusetts District court was filed by Christopher Morra on August 17, 2010 against Bree Krasnianski and James Casey in their capacities as Rehoboth police officers. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro ordered that 22 depositions be completed before March 15, 2012 in the civil lawsuit.
On February 2, the Rehoboth Finance Committee was asked by the Board of Selectmen to approve a transfer of $32,227.00 from the town’s reserve fund to cover the cost of the legal services. Both FinCom chair Sue Pimental and committee member Christopher Morra recused themselves from the discussion on the transfer of funds because each is involved in current law suits affecting the town.
A motion was made by FinCom member Ray Viau to approve the transfer, but for the substantially reduced amount of $9,000, which was voted and passed by four committee members present.
Town administrator Jeff Ritter addressed the committee on the general issue of the town’s legal expenses including those expended from July 1, 2011 to February 2, 2012 ($86,540.23) and those estimated through the end of the fiscal year on June 31, 2012 ($56,000.00).
General Legal Services $3,774.00 $4,500
General Labor Services $3,111.00 $3,000
Dumontier v. Planning Board $2,695.00 Unknown
Town V. Degirolamo $238.00 Unknown
Patrol Officer Negotiations $34.00 0
Water District $1,581.00 $1,000
North Rehoboth School Sale $1,989.00 0
REPAC v. Selectmen $23,621.50 $20,000
Cable TV $3,026.00 $1,500
Crausman v. Assessors $5,202.00 $2,500
Real Estate $1,921.00 $2,000
Casey v. Morra $21,848.75 $12,000
REPAC v. Costello $11,190.24 $7,500
Breault ZBA Removal Hearing $3,587.00 0
Disbursements $2,721.74 $2,000
Litigation and Settlements
A case filed by John Ferreira in 2008 against the Town of Rehoboth and former selectmen Morra, Kenneth Foley, and Frederick “Skip” Vadnais was settled last summer. According to Ferreira’s attorney’s website, a confidential settlement agreement was reached in United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston.
“Two days after Judge Tauro invited the parties to discuss the settlement if they could "do business around $1.2 million," notes a news article on the John Reilly & Associates website. “We cannot disclose the terms of the settlement but our clients feel quite pleased with the outcome.” The settlement amount would be covered by the town’s insurance company.
Also in 2011, former selectman John Krasnianski an his daughter Bree Krasnianski settled one lawsuit with the town against Christopher Morra while acting as selectmen. According to a statement made by the Krasnianskis in September, they had another lawsuit against Morra, Edward Schagrin and Barbara Cavanaugh pending. They stated they “felt it was best for them, and for the tow, to bring this matter to a conclusion without the long drawn out process of going to trial and further damaging the town's reputation and costing the town more money.” The amount of the settlement is unknown.
Another settlement agreement was reached in 2009 with former Rehoboth police chief Norman Miranda. Miranda filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the town in July 2008 claiming his employment contract had been broken when selectmen voted not to renew it on June 30, 2008. He sued the town for loss of his yearly salary of approximately $84,000.
Although a settlement agreement was signed, the town and board deny any wrongdoing and Miranda agreed to dismiss the lawsuit while releasing all claims against the town and its officials. Additionally he agreed to not sue the town again on this issue although he was still suing former selectman Morra personally for libel and defamation of character. The settlement amount of $22,400 was awarded to Miranda without taxes or withholdings and will be paid by the town's insurance company.
Rehoboth Republican Caucus Meets
(February 3, 2012) With about 75 people in attendance, the Rehoboth Republican Caucus met at Palmer River Elementary School on Wednesday to nominate candidates for the upcoming town election scheduled for April 2.
Michael Deignan was elected by the group as permanent caucus chair, and Wendy Wolfe Cardarelli was voted in as permanent caucus clerk. Diegnan, currently clerk of the Finance Committee, also serves in several appointed positions, as a member of the Rehoboth Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, as the town Fence Viewer and as a constable. Cardarelli is a past member of the Board of Selectmen.
The Wednesday night caucus featured the nominations of two women for the new selectmen positions that will increase the board from three members to five.
Susan Pimental, currently the chair of the town’s Finance Committee, accepted the nomination for a three-year BOS seat. Lorraine Botts, currently the chair of the Rehoboth Council on Aging board, accepted the nomination for a two-year BOS seat.
Diegnan said he felt Ms. Pimental and Ms. Botts “will make superb additions to our board of selectmen, both bringing their own unique views and experience to the board.”
Others nominees include James Muri for a five-year term on the Planning Board. Muri currently serves on the Information Technology Committee, the Local Emergency Planning Board, and the Rehoboth Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee.
Susan Taylor accepted the nomination for a three-year position on the Board of Assessors. She currently serves on that board, and in the past has served on the Planning Board.
The caucus nominated Lynore McKim to run for a five-year position on the Park Commission. She currently serves on that commission. David Perry accepted the nomination to run for Stormwater Agent, a three-year term.
Robert Johnson II, was chosen to run for the three-year term as Tree Warden, a position held since 1997 by William Dalpe who has chosen to retire. Dalpe also served as the town’s Fish Warden, Moth Superintendent, Harbormaster, and Measurer of Wood and Lumber.
One caucus nomination was not accepted. David Katseff, an incumbent on the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee declined and announced he will be running as an independent candidate. Mr. Katseff is a long-time member of the school committee.
“I am disappointed we did not have more individuals come to caucus and place their name in consideration for nomination,” said Deignan. “Undoubtedly the political atmosphere contributes to this,” he added, explaining that many people do not want to “subject themselves to the personal attacks.”
Selectmen Deal with Termination of RePAC
(February 1, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen had planned to discuss the latest development in the ongoing saga with RePAC at Monday night’s BOS meeting. But when they discovered the organization had already removed cameras, microphones and other broadcasting equipment from the senior center, they decided to act definitively and voted to terminate the RePAC contract.
Apparently the town-owned broadcasting equipment was removed from the town office, senior center and high school before selectmen voted to terminate the contract. “They took it (the equipment) while they were still under contract,” said BOS Chairman Michael Costello. “Now it’s stolen property and the police are investigating,” he said, adding that the D-R school superintendent has contacted the Dighton Police regarding the removal of equipment from the high school used to broadcast school committee meetings and other school events.
“We did not anticipate at vote on RePAC at all Monday night,” said Selectman Joseph Tito, who said they had intended to have a discussion with an update on a court ruling about the contract. “I was hoping for cooperation and a smooth transition,” he noted, “but instead we have more chaos and obstruction.”
Tito added that selectmen were prepared to hold off on the administrative action to avoid displacing “folks like camera operators John Meagher and Bette Dyer who were never part of the problem.” Tito emphasized, “this was not their fight” but now they are paying the price of actions taken by RePAC director and board president Roger Breault, “who has for several months continuously refused to meet with selectmen regarding issues and complaints by the public.”
Selectmen clearly expressed concern about the subsequent blackout of public access information usually found on the three channels of PEG (public, educational and government) channels provided through the Comcast agreement with the town of Rehoboth. The town receives Comcast payments directly to fund public access services.
It is unknown if the RePAC office still contains the full library of tape archives of past town meetings as well as meetings of various boards, committees and commissions. These archives were regularly used by town officials as documentation when meeting minutes were unavailable, and as evidence in legal proceedings.
Along with cable channel programming, information on the RePAC website has also been eliminated including the “virtual bulletin board” of town notices and community information. Selectmen plan to utilize the town’s recently appointed Cable Access Advisory Committee, to videotape meetings and find mechanisms to make them available to the public. Until the missing equipment is located and re-installed, there are currently no means to broadcast full programming on all three channels including live meetings.
Towns and cities in the U.S. traditionally never operate their own public access services because the risks are too high. With no checks or balances, a municipally-run public broadcasting system could easily be used for political purposes. To avoid perceptions of impropriety, abuse of power by officials, and costly lawsuits, towns usually contract with an independent, third-party entity, usually a non-profit organization, to manage the public access channels.
Rehoboth Cultural Council Sponsors Clutter Control
(February 1, 2012) Rehoboth Senior Citizens enjoyed an informative presentation by Dave Downs, a retired Rehoboth school teacher, on Monday, January 30.
Downs humorously outlined ten common reasons why the average American has so much stuff and what to do about it. Those reasons ranged from, “We might need it someday” to “We can’t resist yard sales or a bargain!” Downs gave many suggestions for reversing these tendencies; beginning the de-cluttering process and how to dispose of the stuff you decide to let go.
A past recipient of the “Best Exhibitor Award” at the New England History Festival, Downs presents a variety of “edu-tainment” programs to audiences throughout the state.
Rehoboth Residents Lose Public Access Services
(January 31, 2012) With the BOS’s unanimous decision last night to terminate the town’s contract with RePAC, residents of Rehoboth who depended on Comcast cable access channels 9, 15, and 98 and the organization’s website for news, announcements and information are out of luck.
According to reports in the Taunton Gazette and Sun Chronicle, RePAC had already removed equipment from the Senior Center prior to Monday night’s BOS meeting when the vote was made. RePAC’s website had also removed programming schedules over the weekend. Today, the website has taken off access to all video archives and each of the channel’s “virtual bulletin board” that contained announcements, meeting schedules and municipal information.
With the termination of the contract with RePAC, the organization’s lease of a portion of the town annex building on Anawan Street (formerly the old senior center) was also terminated. By last night police cruisers were stationed outside the building.
With no other third-party contracted vendor to step in to assume the services previously provided by RePAC, it is unknown when the three cable channels will begin rebroadcasting or when video archives will be simulcast or available on a website. Chairman Costello was quoted in the Taunton Gazette saying that selectmen will use members of the the recently appointed Cable Advisory Committee to help video meeting. He also mentioned the possibility of getting student volunteers from DRRHS to create public access programming.
Security and Fire Alarm Service to End Town Contract
(January 31, 2012) National Security Fire Alarm Systems, a company owned by Christopher Morra, gave notice to the town, on January 23, of termination of all alarm and monitoring services and equipment leases at sixteen municipal building locations, effective February 29, 2012.
Selectmen on Monday announced the town has already arranged for another company to install new equipment simultaneously with the removal of that used by National Security. “We feel that we will be able to do the transition with marginal expense,” said BOS Chairman Michael Costello, who added the town will not be without fire or security alarm services.
National Security has requested arrangements, per their contractual agreement, to be made for them to remove all equipment from ten individual offices at the town office on Peck Street, the town office annex building, highway garage, senior center, the north and south fire stations and the central fire/police station.
Signed by the company’s operations manager, Sabrina Marshall, the letter was accompanied by two undeposited checks for recent routine services, one in the amount of $159.38 and the other for $182.52.
The letter states that National Security has provided over $90,000 in equipment leasing, installations, repairs, and monitoring services at no expense to the town. “It has only been on rare occasions that we have minimally billed the town,” stated the letter, “for work that was not covered under our agreements.”
According to the letter, National Security will remove all contracted equipment and terminate services because of “continuous ongoing defamatory, disparaging and false statements” made against the company by “town officials including Michael Costello, Joseph Tito and Susan Pimental, among others.”
“I am perfectly happy to accept their termination of service letter,” said Selectman Joseph Tito, “but I strongly object to comments made about me and others in the letter.”
Selectmen’s Agenda Items for Monday, January 30
(January 30, 2012) Tonight, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have a full slate of agenda items, but the anticipated public hearing concerning the board’s issues with finance committee member Christopher Morra has been cancelled.
Selectmen have cancelled a collective bargaining session, and will instead use executive session to discuss “the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of an individual” and to further address complaints, discipline or dismissal of said individual.
Regular business will include a update and final report form the Energy Committee, and selectmen will vote to accept the resignations of David House and John Pacheco from the committee.
Along with a liquor license amendment and budget amendment, selectmen will hear updates on issues relating to RePAC, as well as the town’s Personnel Board.
Selectmen will also discuss a letter form National Security regarding the town security system. Following new business, open public forum will be offered to those who wish to address selectmen.
FinCom to Discuss Open Meeting Law Complaints
(January 30, 2012) The Rehoboth Finance Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, February 2 from 7 PM at the Senior Center to discuss a variety of issues. New business will include a discussion of the open meeting law violation complaints lodged by FinCom member Christopher Morra.
Amendments to this year’s town budget will also be discussed including police compensation overtime, police medical and physical, and selectmen advertising. The committee will also discuss reserve fund transfers to pay for town legal counsel, and the appointment of a FinCom member to the D-R Regional School District’s subcommittee for long-range capital needs.
DRRHS Transition Students Organize Black Out Bullying Day
(January 24, 2012) In support of a state-side bullying awareness effort by Governor Deval Patrick, the students from the Transition Program at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School have organized “Black Out Bullying Day” to be held tomorrow at the high school.
Students and faculty are being asked to wear black clothing, sign banners and stop to read information about bullying statistics posted throughout the school. With help from members of the school’s Peer Leaders group and Best Buddies program, the event is designed to promote awareness of the impact of bullying on students, schools and communities.
“If we stand united in this fight against bullying,” said Tim Tichacek, the transition program’s coordinator, “it might just give an at-risk student or bystander the confidence he or she needs to speak up.”
The small group of special education students in the transition program have all either graduated or received certificates of completion after four years as students at D-R. The transition program provides them with continuing education, life skills and vocational training, and job sampling until they reach the age of twenty-two. Recently the students learned the process of getting CORI background checks in order to volunteer in the community.
“The students in my program have worked very hard on this over the past few weeks,” noted Tichacek.
Candlelight Vigil in Memory of Catherine Ahern Rescheduled
(January 24, 2012) A candlelight vigil in memory of Catherine Ahern has been rescheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, January 25 at 6 PM outside Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School at the “Dighton Circle.” The vigil is being organized by members of the DRRHS Class of 1996 through Facebook.
BOS Discuss Solar Energy Info Poster
(January 22, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet at the Senior Center on Monday beginning with an executive session at 6:15 PM with discussion on collective bargaining, contracts and litigation, as well as issues related to the disposition of town property.
Following the town administrator’s report, there will be a discussion with solar energy system contractor Peter Fine who is responsible for producing a detailed informational poster to display at the senior center, the location of one of the town’s solar heating systems. Chairman Costello has voiced his frustration with the length of time it was taking to get the poster printed and displayed. A preliminary proof of the poster had been submitted to the BOS and displayed at the town office for input, but the end product has yet to be displayed at the senior center. Last week, Costello proposed a vote to dismiss Fine and start the project over with someone else. Selectman Tito suggested speaking with Mr. Fine before voting to dismiss him.
Second on the agenda is a discussion with Attorney Brainsky representing Kinglsey Estates, the subject of recent controversy involving the registration of two roads in the development as public roadways.
Other agenda items for Monday night include the transfer of $32,227 from the town’s reserve fund to pay for town legal fees. Selectmen will also discuss the proposals submitted by law firms that hope to be selected as new town legal counsel. There will be review and vote to approve a request from the police department for IT and computer services. Selectmen will vote to approve and sign an amended license agreement with Comcast.
Other business will be conducted before opening public forum. Not included on the posted meeting agenda was the old business of conducting a public hearing to discuss the board’s prior effort to dismiss Christopher Morra from the town’s finance committee, and Morra’s subsequent filing of open meeting violation complaints to the Attorney General’s Office.
Public Vigil to be Held in Memory of Catherine Ahern
(January 20, 2012) A candlelight vigil in memory of Catherine Ahern is scheduled for Saturday, January 21 at 5 PM outside Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School at the “Dighton Circle.” According to a notice published in the Sun Chronicle, the vigil is being organized by members of the DRRHS Class of 1996 through Facebook.
Town’s Veterans Agent Brings Rehoboth Issues to Boston
(January 18, 2012) William Saunders, the Veteran’s Service Officer for Rehoboth, recently attended a lunch meeting at the Statehouse in Boston to share local veteran’s concern with legislators and others. The meeting, hosted by State Representative Steven S. Howitt who represents Rehoboth, was attended by other area veterans agents. Other legislators were also in attendance as well as the Colemann Nee, Secretary of Veterans Services and James Vallee, House Chairman of the Joint Commission on Veterans and Federal Affairs.
“Veterans aren’t looking for a hand out, “said Howitt, “but it is important that our veterans who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis for our nation are treated with the utmost respect and honor when they return home.”
Town Treasurer’s Progressive Actions Produce Results
(January 18, 2012) Rehoboth selectmen were elated last night after receiving an update from Cheryl Gouveia, the town’s treasurer and tax collector, whose progressive actions have so far resulted in the collection of over $178,000 in property taxes, penalties and interest. The collected money will flow into the town’s free cash account.
With BOS approval, Gouveia organized an effort to deal with delinquent property taxes owed to the town. When sending out notices proved unsuccessful, she appealed to the BOS to allow her to spend $2,100 to pay for attorney letters sent to property owners.
Gouveia reported that from 162 accounts, 55 tax title accounts have been paid in full and other property owners have set up payment plans. Less than thirty accounts are for land-locked or unbuildable lots and Gouveia is working with the attorney to clear those up in land court, in order to sell them to interested abutters.
Gouveia has also set up a new system of tax collection for the town. Previously taxpayers sent their payments to the town office where processing took three to four weeks as only there is only one full-time person working in the tax collector’s office.
Working with Bristol County Savings Bank, a lock-box system has been put into use with payments going directly to the bank for processing. While this is a common practice for BCSB to offer their business clients, it is the first time the bank has created such a system for a municipality. They are performing this service at no cost to the town of Rehoboth.
“I would just like to offer my personal congratulations to our treasurer,” noted Jeff Ritter, the town administrator. “I’ve worked with a lot of town treasurers, and she is, by any measure, a team player and one who is always part of a solution.” He commended the fine work of both Cheryl and her staff at the town office.
Part of the new tax payment system involves a return address envelope to the lock-box post office box. BOS chairman Michael Costello made an announcement urging residents to use the tax envelope to return tax payments and not for other correspondence to the town.
Selectmen Voice Complaints About Cable Series Broadcast
(January 18, 2012) Troubles with RePAC opened a new chapter at last night’s selectmen’s meeting when Selectman Joe Tito brought up complaints he had received last week about a cable television show broadcast on Channel 98.
“I was made aware this week of a video that was broadcast on one of the RePAC channels,” said Tito, who went on to explain the outside programming contained profanities that were “barely bleeped out.” Without mentioning the name of the program, Tito said it was broadcast during the middle of the evening during “family” time.
“Once again, we see the kind of thing we are dealing with (with RePAC),” said Tito, who added the program contained reference to a website he visited “that was incredibly profane.”
RePAC began broadcasting episodes of “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” series two weeks ago on their public access channel 98 schedule. This week is it aired at 6 AM, 12:30 PM and 7 PM. The series is a quasi-news program, produced by a video blogger named Stimulator. Under the name SubmediaTV, the series features reports narrated by Stimulator on both political and cultural issues.
The low-budget series includes video reports peppered with words considered obscene by the FCC on mainstream media venues. Cable, satellite and internet media are exempt, however, from those FCC regulations. YouTube is the primary venue for this series which debuted in 2006.
“I also got a phone call,” said BOS chairman Mike Costello, “and I could not believe what I saw.” Explaining that the profanity was obvious despite the attempt to beep out the offensive words, Costello said the show was very political in nature and had no bearing to anything in town.
Local Restaurant Creates Special “Champion” Hot Wings
(January 17, 2012) In celebration of the New England Patriots participation in the AFC Championships, local Rehoboth restaurant, Apna Punjab, has developed a special new recipe for “Champion Hot Wings.”
"We feel people with a real appreciation for hot wings seek out better recipes all the time,” said restaurant manger Jay Vij, “and we have come up with a taste that will be really appreciated and difficult for others to duplicate.”
The chefs at Apna Punjab, which opened three months ago, were determined to create a recipe more flavorful than the common tart and spicy buffalo wing.
A tremendous Patriots fan, Vij has watched the last three games on the 60 inch television in the restaurant's bar and is looking forward to the next game when patrons will be able to order the new Champion Hot Wings for the first time. Along with being able to custom order wings in hot, super-spicy or ridiculous heat levels, patrons over 21 can take advantage of the restaurant’s beer/wing combination specials on Sunday, January 22 for the AFC Championship game. Apna Punjab is located at 3 Park Street near the Rehoboth/Attleboro town line.
RePAC Begins New Simulcast Service
(January 13, 2012) RePAC, the town’s cable access television provider, launched a new service yesterday allowing viewers to watch municipal meetings either on Comcast cable television or via the internet on the RePAC website.
According to RePAC, this new option provides a means for remote participation by members of municipal boards and committees at public hearings in accordance with “the recent ruling by the Office of the Attorney General.” All live broadcasts of municipal meetings will be simultaneously viewed wherever internet access is available. The live broadcast may be seen by going to their website and clicking on the sub-tab marked “Live Streaming” under the main Video tab.
D-R Grad Victim of Murder in North Carolina
(January 12, 2012) Thirty-four-year old Catherine Elizabeth Ahern Blakeney, a 1995 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth High School, was found murdered in her home in Charlotte, North Caroline on December 27 along with her dog Precious, both victims of domestic violence according to homicide detectives from the Charlotte-Mechlenburg Police Department.
When Ahern had been out of contact with family for several weeks, police were called on December 27 to check on her welfare and reported speaking with her husband who allowed them to search the home. Brandon Blakeney, age 34, known to police for prior domestic violence calls, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He is being held without bail.
According to media reports, Catherine previously had a restraining order from March 2010 against Blakeney while they were dating, but the order was dropped. Additionally, there were court records on assault charges against him related to incidents in December 2010 when she called police for assistance. Blakeney resisted arrest and had to be subdued by police officers. The couple were then married in 2011.
A march was held in Charlotte, organized by the Domestic Violence Advocacy Council. “It’s never going to get better,” said Gaylene Macuska, a council member. “It’s always going to get worse and unfortunately this one turned out to be the worst.” Police report that Ahern was the 68th victim of domestic violence-related deaths last year in North Carolina.
The daughter of Daniel and Karen Ahern of Rehoboth, “Cathy” is also survived by her maternal grandmother Sonja Bury of Rehoboth and many aunts, uncles and cousins. Her funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 14 with calling hours from 10 am to 12 noon, followed by a service. Burial will be private.
Nixle Alert Implementing Changes to System
(January 12, 2012) During the next few weeks, the Nixle emergency alert system will be making changes to comply with the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), a standardized method for relaying emergency information across multiple warning systems, allowing alerts coming in from different agencies to all be received in the same format.
Nixle has been used by the Rehoboth Police Department and municipal government to send out advisories and community messages. Beginning today, alerts will include new information fields including urgency, certainty, category, event description, instructions and updates.
Roger Breault Demands Independent Legal Counsel
(January 10, 2012) Roger Breault, who last year was removed from his position on the Zoning Board of Appeals, has demanded that the Town of Rehoboth “employ an independent attorney on his behalf” to represent him in an appeal on a civil action filed by Grossi Development LLC and Thomas Grossi on November 21, 2011.
In his January 6 letter addressed to the town administrator and town clerk, Breault claims there is a conflict of interest using the contracted town counsel, Kopelman & Paige to represent him in this matter. Additionally, he noted the BOS previously “refused to employ an independent attorney” for him in the original civil rights suit filed by Grossi Development on April 29, 2010 that was subsequently dismissed August 25, 2011.
Breault has since been named as a defendant/appellee, both an individual and as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, in the appeal of a case against the town, the Conservation Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals filed by the development company. Others named in the suit include a total of sixteen individuals serving in official town capacities including the past town administrator.
Claiming the BOS’s previous refusal to “properly employ independent counsel” resulted in additionally legal costs for the town, Breault went on to allege the BOS “created considerable risks for its insurance carrier which continues to be reflected in higher insurance premiums.”
Along with his demand for independent legal representation, Breault urges the town to make a full report to the town’s insurance carrier “to avoid uncomfortable legal complications” should the sitting BOS “ignore” his request.
Selectmen Debate When to Address Morra Issues
(January 10, 2012) Selectmen last night both began and ended the public portion of the BOS meeting with discussions on when exactly to schedule a meeting with Christopher Morra. The meeting, which can be held either privately in an executive session or in public will address several issues relating to their attempt on December 19 to remove him from the Finance Committee.
Last week on January 3, the board voted to give Morra a fourteen-day notice for a hearing scheduled for January 16. Given the notice was sent to Morra the next day, it did not meet the 14-day advance notice. Selectman then voted two-to-one to rescind their decision of last week and send out another notice to Morra.
However this notice would only give 48-hours notice to Morra. According to BOS chair Michael Costello, the shorter period of notice was appropriate under one set of regulations that were outlined in documentation supplied from town legal counsel Kopelman & Paige.
Later in the meeting, during the public forum segment, the Morra meeting schedule issue was brought up again by Finance Committee vice chair and clerk Michael Deignan who voiced his concern about the 48-hour meeting notice. Referencing Massachusetts General Law, Deignan cast enough doubt about the validity of the shorter notice that selectmen then rescinding their previous decision to rescind the original decision of last week.
In keeping with the original notice sent to Morra, the meeting could be held, at the earliest, on Wednesday, January 18 or at the next regularly scheduled BOS meeting on Monday, January 23.
BOS Agenda Items for January 9 Meeting
(January 9, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet for an executive session beginning at 6 PM tonight at the Senior Center when they will be negotiating contracts with non-union personnel, as well as collective bargaining with regard to contracts and litigation. Executive session will also involved the purchase, exchange, leave or value of real estate.
The public portion of the meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 PM with the town administrator’s report followed by action items including a request to place a temporary mobile home at 78 Martin Street. Other business will include license renewals, a vote to support the Community Innovation Challenge Grant; approval to accept the resignation of COA board member Allyson Chemelowski and appointment of a member to the Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (REMA). The BOS will also vote to approve the authorization for remote participate in municipal meetings by members. A public forum will be opened following regular business.
FinCom Vice Chair Files a Response to OML Violation
(January 6, 2012) On January 4, Michael Deignan, vice chair and clerk of the Rehoboth Finance Committee filed a sworn two-page affidavit in response to complaints made by FinCom member Christopher Morra to the Attorney General’s Office alleging violations of the state’s Open Meeting Law. A copy of his affidavit was also received by the town clerk and selectmen’s office.
The notarized affidavit contained supplementary documentation and eight detailed responses to Morra’s allegations of opening meeting law violations by FinCom chair Susan Pimental, Deignan and Christine Daluz.
According to Deignan, his intent is not to get involved in a war of words, but his response was made “since my name specifically appears on Mr. Morra’s filing as having committed an Open Meeting Law violation.”
“With the many issues facing our town, state, and country today,” emphasized Deignan, “this type of petty political bickering does little to instill confidence in the Town’s residents that our elected and appointed officials are working our best with their interests in mind.”
BOS and School Committee Reverse Decisions
(January 4, 2012) Last night the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen reserved a decision made at their last meeting on December 19 to remove Christopher Morra from his position on the town’s Finance Committee after he filed three open meeting law complaints last week with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
Selectman Joseph Tito said that he felt the board had been premature in dismissing Morra. BOS chairman Michael Costello emphasized his motion to remove Morra had been motivated by his desire to protect the town from additional litigation involving Morra. Additionally, he said he would like to file complaints against Morra himself, for alleged ethics violations.
The board then voted two-to-one to schedule a hearing on the matter, giving Morra a fourteen-day notice. Opposing the hearing vote was Selectman Don Leffort who expressed his belief the BOS should wait until they receive further information from the AG’s office regarding Morra’s complaints.
Also last night, Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee held a special meeting to gain public input about their decision, prior to the December school break, to suspend participation of both Dighton and Rehoboth middle school basketball teams in the Massasoit League.
Due to a grievance filed by the D-R Teacher’s union seeking increased compensation for the basketball coaches for additional games put into the Massasoit League’s game schedule, the committee had cancelled remaining games. With an overflow crowd of parents, students and coaches at the meeting, the committee reserved its prior decision following a closed-door session. The teams have been playing since November and the season close is scheduled for February 5.
BOS Agenda Includes Discussion of FinCom Appointment
(January 3, 2012) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s agenda for tonight’s meeting includes a discussion of the Finance Committee and an appointment to the committee, presumably to replace Christopher Morra who was removed from FinCom at the December 19 BOS meeting.
Selectmen will meet for an executive session beginning at 7 PM tonight at the Senior Center when they will discuss “the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate.
The public portion of the meeting will begin at 7:30 with the town administrator’s report and sixth-month evaluation of Norellen Palmer, the director for the Rehoboth Council on Aging that operates the Senior Center. There will be discussion on the police department’s towing policy, and a vote to approve the contract for the town’s municipal website. There will also be votes to approve general licenses and a one-day liquor license for the Rehoboth Call Firefighters.
Other business will include approval to pay the third payment to the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society for the operation of the Blanding Library. Public forum will follow regular business items.
School Com to Hold Special Meeting on B’Ball Issue
(January 2, 2012) A special meeting of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee will be held on Tuesday, January 3, 2012 starting at 7PM in the Media Center at DRRHS to further discuss the issues concerning the suspension of Beckwith School participation in the Massasoit Basketball League’s current season.
Before the committee goes into closed session, there will be "Public Input" on the agenda. Parents and interested others are welcome to attend, listen and speak if you wish to during the Public Input section of the meeting which is scheduled to last approximately one hour.
A recent decision was made by the school committee to suspend participation of the boys and girls basketball teams at both Dighton Middle School and Beckwith Middle School due to a grievance filed by the D-R Teacher’s union seeking increased compensation for the basketball coaches for additional games put into the Massasoit League’s game schedule.
Open Meeting Law Complaints Filed by Morra
(January 2, 2012) On December 29, three open meeting law violation complaints were filed with the Office of the Attorney General in Boston by Christopher Morra with allegations against two selectmen and three members of the Finance Committee.
The formal complaints, along with documentation, were also submitted to the Rehoboth town office by Morra who claims he remains a member of FinCom despite a surprise vote by the Board of Selectmen at the December 19 BOS meeting to remove him.
The first complaint alleges that FinCom chair Susan Pimental, along with clerk Michael Deignan and member Christine Daluz failed to correct deficiencies in meeting minutes from October 13 and November 17 upon his request made at the December 15 FinCom meeting.
According to Morra, he made numerous attempts to convince his fellow FinCom members to make corrections specifically regarding alleged discussions held by the committee on two town warrant items regarding acceptance of new town roadways.
While the roadway acceptance warrant articles were accepted by resident vote at the special town meeting in November, Morra proposed in his complaint that FinCom “produce full and fair minutes of its meetings” together with providing any correspondence between “any member and any other person regarding these matters.”
“It is a total waste of time for the finance committee and the Board of Selectmen to even have to address his complaint,” said Pimental, “and divert attention away from the town’s priorities with his personal agenda.” She says FinCom acted properly and the minutes were prepared properly by Deignan, and the “majority of the board voted to accept the meeting minutes” as prepared.
According to Deignan, who has acted as clerk of FinCom for the last seventeen months, he is confident that any investigation into Morra’s complaints will “indicate the Finance Committee has always acted properly and within the General Laws at all times.”
The two open meeting law complaints filed by Morra include allegations against BOS chair Michael Costello and clerk Dr. Joseph Tito, MD.
In the first Morra alleges there was an improper motion and vote on December 19 to have Sassafras Road and Meadowlark Drive in the Kingsley Estates subdivision accepted as town roadways, without the matter being on the agenda and posted public notice, which is a violation of the state open meeting laws.
Morra additionally accused selectmen of “misrepresenting the facts” and failing to disclose pertinent information related to the process of registering Meadowlark Lane, Sassafras Road and Franlee Drive as public ways. Morra claims Tito did not disclose title problems during the unannounced discussion and therefore kept “critical information form the public.”
The week prior, at the December 12 BOS meeting, developer John Ferreira spoke before selectmen and complained vigorously about the delays in getting new town road recording done despite the fact residents voted at two previous meetings to accept the new roads. Because town officials and legal counsel have missed deadlines, the roads had not been registered at the state level. Ferreira stated that he was “through coming back before the selectmen to get this done.”
Morra’s third open meeting law complaint involves the surprise vote by the BOS on December 19 to remove him as a member of the finance committee. The posted agenda for that meeting did not contain notice of the matter and Morra says he was given no advance notice. He was not in attendance at the meeting when selectmen Costello announced that he was “very disgusted” with Morra, “when he made allegations against the chairwoman (Pimental) of the committee” referring to the December 15 FinCom meeting (subject of his first open meeting law complaint).
“I stated that she had a financial interest in the matter regarding the streets,” said Morra about the meeting in question and that he asked her to recuse herself. “I then stated she stays at this person’s (Ferreira) house for two or three weeks,” he added. Morra claims he has sworn legal depositions, from unrelated cases, stating that Pimental and others have vacationed at Ferreira’s residence in Florida.
Costello said that Morra was “using his position on the board for his own gain and political agenda” and said he was “sick and tired of it.” After outlining several grievances against Morra, he made a just cause motion to remove Morra from his position on FinCom. Selectman Tito voted with Costello while Selectman Leffort voiced his nay.
Morra claims the vote to remove him was not within the BOS authority and that his term on FinCom is “guaranteed by Massachusetts law.” He has requested the AG’s office compel the BOS to “rescind it’s improper action to attempt to remove me as a member of the Rehoboth Finance Committee” and to “provide any correspondence and emails between any BOS member and any other person regarding these matters.”
On Saturday, December 31, an article in the Sun Chronicle noted that Costello had said “Morra has every right to complain to the attorney general’s office” and that the BOS “acted to remove Morra because of the need to protect the town against litigation.”