Archived News 2013
CHIMNEY SOURCE OF MAJOR HOME FIRE IN REHOBOTH
(December 27, 2013) Rehoboth firefighters battled both the elements and a home fire last night at 198 Brook Street that resulted in major damage to the historic, nineteenth century building.
Residents of the home called 911 to report a chimney fire shortly after 8:30 PM. Firefighters arrived soon after with various apparatus including tankers needed for water. A nearby pond was tapped for additional water requiring RFD personnel to lay down 1000 feet of hose uphill. Freezing weather created icy roads. Rehoboth Highway Department crews were called to sand down icy roads.
According to Fire Chief Robert Pray, the fire which spread from the chimney into walls was contained after about an hour. He believes the fire was smoldering for a while before catching. A couple who live in the home escaped without injury but two firefighters sustained minor injury after falling.
Just recently at a selectmen’s meeting, Chief Pray urged residents to make sure chimneys and fireplaces are cleaned and safe to use. Last night he told WJAR-TV the poor economy plays a factor in people finding alternative ways to heat their homes. He said there have already been three chimney fires in Rehoboth so far this winter season.
SENATOR TIMILITY EXTENDS INVITATION TO LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR
(December 27, 2013) Senator Jim Timilty (D-Walpole) announced today that the 72nd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar (CLS) will be held this spring on Tuesday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 PM at the State House in Boston.
The Citizens’ Legislative Seminar aims to better educate the public on the Commonwealth’s legislative process. Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, this two-day seminar features presentations by Senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the Commonwealth. Topics will include the history of the process of the Legislature, the parliamentary role of the Clerk of the Senate and the future of the Legislature.
The CLS culminates with a simulated legislative hearing and Senate session where participants are invited to use what they have learned as “Senators” in the Senate Chamber.
All residents are invited to contact Senator Timilty by Friday, January 17 to sign up. Call (617) 722-1222 or email James.Timilty@masenate.gov. Participation is on a first come, first serve basis.
TWO CRASHES RESULT IN ARREST OF REHOBOTH MAN
(December 20, 2013) Rehoboth police arrested a local man early this morning on an impressive array of vehicular charges including drunk driving and leaving the scene of two accidents.
Officers were first dispatched soon after midnight to Park Street after receiving a report of a Jeep-style vehicle crashing into something in a parking lot and then fleeing. While investigating, Officer Craig Warish received another call about a motor vehicle accident on Ash Street. A dark colored Jeep Wrangler was found flipped on its side in the woods with no driver in sight.
Adam Lass, age 34 of Homestead Avenue, was found by police walking on Rocky Hill Road approximately one mile away. Evidence linked Lass to the previous call on Park Street and he was arrested for driving under the influence, driving to endanger, leaving the scene of accident with property damage, operation with a revoked registration, and marked lanes violation. Lass was set to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE OVERNIGHT BUILDING BLAZE
(December 17, 2013 ) Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched last night just after 11 PM to a possible barn fire on Rocky Hill Road where first arriving apparatus found an out building heavily engulfed with fire. While the blaze was knocked down by firefighters after about twenty minutes, it took another ninety minutes to completely extinguish the fire due to extensive contents of the building. It was reported the building was being used as a recording studio and several instruments along with equipment and audio recordings were lost.
Firefighters also had to contend with single digit temperatures. Water from the apparatus froze almost immediately as it hit the ground making footing treacherous. A sander from the highway department was requested to the scene and to the water supply location on Danforth Street.
Rehoboth EMS and the Providence Canteen also responded to the scene to provide rehab assistance. The fire appears to have been accidental but remains under investigation. The last units cleared the scene just after 2 AM this morning.
TOWN BEGINS SEARCH FOR NEW VETERANS AGENT
(December 17, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectman last night announced the retirement of Veterans Services Director retired Army Colonel William Saunders effective March 1, 2014.
Saunders has served as the town’s veterans agent for the past nine years as a town employee. While the position is part-time, only nineteen hours per week, Saunders regularly works twice that per week, volunteering the extra hours to directly help local veterans. He plans to continue advocating for local veterans after he retires.
Selectmen noted the job description of veterans agent is lengthly and finding a replacement for Saunders will be a task, one to be completed as soon as possible. They invited Saunders to assist them in screening applicants.
Traditionally, the job of veterans agent has gone to a local retired veteran with knowledge of the Veterans Administration, close community ties, and connections with other agents and officials. Saunders noted last night the position of municipal veterans agent has evolved into a social services career path, not necessarily held by a military veteran. He volunteered to train his replacement prior to his departure on March 1.
RPD SERGEANT COMPLETED COMMAND TRAINING
(December 17, 2013 ) The Justice System Training and Research Institute at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., in partnership with the New England Association of Chiefs of Police, recently recognized Sergeant Brian J. Ramos of the Rehoboth Police Department for the successful completion of "Command Training Series: First Line Supervisor Course," a two-week comprehensive training program for police supervisory personnel.
Coursework addressed contemporary concepts of management and leadership relevant to the responsibilities of first line supervisors in a modern criminal justice agency. The program, presented by experienced academics and law enforcement practitioners discussed topics including operational leadership and management principles, problem-solving, organizational and interpersonal communications, labor relations, disciplinary issues, and ethical decision-making.
KENNEDY SEEKS HELP FOR FORMER TI EMPLOYEES
(December 12, 2013 ) Rehoboth residents who may have worked at Attleboro-based Texas Instruments (TI) have a friend in Congressman Joe Kennedy who yesterday continued his efforts to help former employees access critical health benefits.
Kennedy urged the Social Security Administration (SSA) to expedite the verification of employment records for former nuclear workers. Currently, claimants who worked at Texas Instruments have experienced difficulty completing their applications for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP) by the Department of Labor’s 60-day deadline while they wait for SSA to locate their employment records.
The alarmingly high rate of cancer among former employees of TI’s Attleboro plant became headline news last winter. Congressman Kennedy questioned TI CEO Richard Templeton about their outreach efforts at a hearing for the House Committee on Science and Technology in February in Washington, DC. Since then, the Congressman has held a town hall on the issue attended by workers and their families, and worked with Texas Instruments, Department of Labor, and the Department of Energy to ensure outreach efforts are improved.
WESTPORT MAN ARRESTED FOR REHOBOTH BURGLARY
(December 10, 2013 ) A Westport man was arrested on December 8 following a burglary investigation by Rehoboth police. After observing a suspiciously parked truck at an unoccupied property on the night of December 6, Patrolman Louis Dibacco found evidence of a break in and discovered items believed to be stolen in the truck bed.
According to Rehoboth police, Dibacco made contact with the owner of the vehicle and later arrested Ryan W. Williams, age 39, on charges of breaking and entering a building at night for a felony, malicious destruction of property, possession of burglary tools and larceny.
REHOBOTH MAN CHARGED WITH OUI AFTER CRASH
(December 10, 2013 ) Rehoboth police were dispatched on Sunday, December 8 to the scene of a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Route 44 and New Street and later arrested a Rehoboth man.
Sgt. Richard W. Shailor, Officer Keith Perry, and Officer Craig Forget arrived at the scene and discovered two heavily damaged vehicles. The driver and sole occupant of one vehicle was transported by Rehoboth Ambulance with unknown injuries. The driver’s name was not released.
The second driver, 65-year-old James Silva of Rehoboth was arrested and charged with drunk driving, negligent operation, and failure to yield the right of way at an intersection. He was booked and later released on personal recognizance before arraignment in Taunton District Court on Monday.
DRIVER INJURED AFTER CAR FLIP ON TREMONT STREET
(December 8, 2013 ) On Saturday, December 7, Rehoboth emergency personnel include police, fire and EMS responded to a report of a motor vehicle crash in the area of Tremont and Dean streets. On arrival they found a motor vehicle upside down in the roadway. The vehicle had struck a pole and came to rest there.
The occupant was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Traffic was diverted around the scene at Dean Strett and Reynolds Avenue until the vehicle was removed from the roadway. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department. The identify of the driver was not released.
KENNEDY TO ATTEND CEREMONY TODAY AT NEW VETERANS MEMORIAL
(December 7, 2013 ) Congressman Joe Kennedy, III announced in a press release yesterday he will be attending the 1 PM ceremony to commemorate Pearl Harbor Day at the newly constructed Rehoboth Veterans Memorial gazebo. Residents are invited to attend the inaugural event to be held at memorial on the historic Redway Plain.
Kennedy will be available to speak with constituents from 1:45 to 2:45 at the Blanding Library as he concludes his ‘Tour 34’ office hours in all 34 cities and towns in his district during 2013.
CONGRESSMAN KENNEDY AVAILABLE TO SPEAK WITH REHOBOTH RESIDENTS
(December 4, 2013 ) Congressman Joe Kennedy III will conclude ‘Tour 34’ by holding constituent office hours in Norfolk, Seekonk and Rehoboth this Saturday, December 7. This year Kennedy brought constituent office hours in all 34 cities and towns by the end of 2013.
“Tour 34 has been a successful way to connect with residents across the district, and we look forward to concluding the year by bringing our resources to Norfolk, Seekonk and Rehoboth,” said Congressman Kennedy. “We remain committed to ensuring that every community in the 4th District has access to the services our office can provide.”
On Saturday, he will be in Rehoboth at the Blanding Library from 1:45 to 2:45 PM. Earlier in the day he will be in Norfolk and Seekonk.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE CONTINUES SEARCH FOR SUPERINTENDENT
(December 2, 2013 ) In their search for a permanent superintendent of schools, the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District has formed a committee to review applicants and recommend finalists.
Long time school committee members, Ray Medeiros and Janice Terry, will be joined on the committee Dighton Middle School Principal Richard Wheeler; teachers Tim Kelly and Kurt Loell; parent representatives Kelly Turner from Rehoboth and Carol Nagel from Dighton, plus two community representatives Linda Ferreira of Rehoboth and Paul Giannakoulis of Dighton. Sitting on the committee is also the Michael Malone, the interim superintendent.
The district is utilizing the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) to aid in the process for a fee of $15,000 that includes developing a brochure to aid in the search. MASC will also provide assistance to the local search committee and perform preliminary screening of candidates.
According to the MASC website, the district is offering a three-year contract with a yearly salary of between $135K and $155K with a negotiable benefits package. The deadline for application is January 3, 2014. Officials plan to begin interviewing candidates in February.
‘FRIENDS OF REHOBOTH ANIMAL SHELTER’ BEGIN FUNDRAISING
(December 2, 2013 ) A small group of enthusiastic volunteers have organized to raise funds for the town-operated Rehoboth Animal Shelter. With the shelter in “serious need of major repairs, new equipment, and refurbishing” the group’s first task will be raising money for those critical projects.
‘Friends of Rehoboth Animal Shelter’ is in the process of filing for non-profit, tax exempt status as a charitable organization with a voluntary board of directors. In addition to monetary donations, the shelter is currently in need of supplies such as kitty litter and cat food. Items for donation can be dropped off at the shelter or at the drop off locations in the library and senior center.
The group recently announced that Rehoboth resident John Caponigro, owner of Caponigro Construction donated $100 to launch their fundraising campaign. In addition, Caponigro pledged to donate $10 for every Title V inspection his business completed in the town of Rehoboth.
Those interested in donating may mail checks to ‘Friends of Rehoboth Animal at P.O. Box 634, Rehoboth, MA 02769. For more information, please email Cheryl Dussourd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOWN OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE DEP FINE ON REHOBOTH FARM
Update December 1, 2013: Chris Morra contacted RehobothNow stating he is not currently the owner of the property at 45 Summer Street as was stated in the town press release referenced in the news report below. According to the DEP Administrative Consent Order, Morra "transferred title to the Site to Sustainable Farm Realty Trust, Barry P. Wilensky, Trustee, on or about February 15, 2012." Morra said, "I have not nor intend on paying a fine as all of the agricultural improvements were exempt." He added, "I had assumed that the trust paid the administrative penalty and completely settled the matter as I have not heard anything since this summer."
(November 29, 2013 ) Six months ago, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued an Administrative Consent Order and fine against Sustainable Farm Realty Trust for land at 45 Summer Street in Rehoboth, a property currently owned by former selectman Christopher Morra.
A press release emailed Wednesday by the Town of Rehoboth announced the order and fine stating the case dates back to 2005 when the town’s conservation commission issued Morra a cease and desist order for possible violations to the Wetlands Protection Act. After several years of investigations, the Massachusetts DEP issued a consent order which upheld the conservation commission’s original determination.
According to Susan Pimental, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, “as a community we work hard to uphold the Wetlands Protection Act and this enforcement order and fine seems like a reasonable resolution which will ultimately result in the replication of approximately 450 linear feet of a perennial stream which had been piped and buried on the parcel.”
The conservation commission received the DEP determination on June 4, 2013 ordering the trust to complete a Stream Restoration Plan no later than September 1, 2013. The DEP set a fine of $22,500 as a civil administrative penalty for violations and ordered half of that amount paid by July 1. The DEP agreed to suspend payment of $11,250 if restoration plan order was met by the deadline.
Morra says he has been harassed by the conservation commission since he first purchased the property in December 1999, and that his political enemies made the wetlands complaint a campaign issue when he ran for office in 2006.
“Over the years I have spent thousands of dollars on attorneys and wetland biologists to prove all the work I did on the property is exempt under Massachusetts wetlands bylaws,” answered Morra in a written response.
Neither the town nor Morra have been clear about whether or not he has paid the fines and complied with the DEP order. The conservation commission has not issued a public statement on the case.
MAIL CARRIER’S CALL CREDITED FOR SAVING HOME AND FAMILY PETS
(November 26, 2013 ) Rehoboth Fire Chief Robert Pray credited a conscientious Rehoboth mail carrier for helping to save a home and family pets on Rocky Hill Road yesterday.
Speaking at the board of selectmen’s meeting last night, Pray told how Justine Alves was delivering a package at the same time a fire was starting in the home. Hearing a smoke detector going off and seeing smoke, she called 911. Rehoboth police were on the scene first and were able to force open a door to release family pets that were trapped in the smoke. Firefighters arrived immediately after and contained the fire to one room and the chimney. Crews remained on scene to check the whole home for any signs of fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation but appears to be accidental with minimal smoke and fire damage. Crews cleared the scene in approximately ninety minutes.
According to Chief Pray, if it weren’t for Alves being observant and calling to report a suspected fire, the outcome could have been a tragic loss of home and family pets. “Don’t hesitate to call the fire department if you see suspicious smoke,” he added, explaining how some people delay in calling because they don’t want to waste resources in case there really isn’t an emergency.
“We have several chimney fires every winter,” he noted, urging those with wood stoves and fireplaces to be vigilant about maintenance and cleaning. “We had a fire on Sunday that started from wood stove ash embers that were put outside and then carried away by the wind.”
REHOBOTH JOINS COLLABORATIVE EFFORT TO GET IMPROVEMENT GRANTS
(November 26, 2013 ) Town Administrator Jeff Ritter told selectmen last night the town has successfully filed applications for two state Community Innovation Challenge Grants.
The first grant application was submitted as a joint effort of six communities hoping to be awarded $394,000 for a mapping project. The second grant application involves seven communities in Southeastern Massachusetts seeking $405,000 in funding to improve municipal records management. Notification of grant recipients will be made in February.
In other news, Ritter told selectmen that preliminary state highway reports do not indicate adequate need to put a traffic light on Route 6 at the intersection of Barney Avenue in Rehoboth. Based on the volume of traffice and incidence of accidents, a stop light is not warranted. Ritter said he will review the final report with selectmen sometime in December.
OFFICIALS DISCOURAGED BY CONTINUED WIGWAM VIOLATIONS
(November 26, 2013 ) Rehoboth selectmen reopened a public hearing last night about ongoing health and zoning violations at Wig Wam Auto Sales on Route 44.
Rehoboth Health Agent Bob Ashton expressed his dismay with the amount of stored vehicles, fences and junk materials that remain on the property which is zoned for both business and residence. “I am not happy with what I am seeing now,” he said commenting on the owner’s lack of compliance.
Based on clean up progress made earlier this fall, Ashton urged selectmen in October to approve reinstating the suspended WigWam license for a period of thirty-days. The board reinstated the license to sell used vehicles through November if owners agreed to continue getting rid of their debris and their tenant’s debris.
Since last December, selectmen and the board of health have been working with the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Silvera to clean up their property and become compliant with regulations required to keep their license. The couple have also faced issues with the town’s conservation commission which do not affect their auto sales license.
Selectmen discussed the issues involved at length with the Silvera’s attorney, emphasizing the lack of progress despite the patience and leniency offered by selectmen and other officials over the last twelve months. Selectmen voted three to two to allow the license to remain valid until it expires on December 31.
Additionally, selectmen told Ashton he may exercise his authority to issue a daily fine per unregistered vehicle on the residential parts of the property per town bylaw. This action had not previously been taken as the fines will undoubtedly be a significant financial burden on the owners.
The public hearing on WigWam will be reopened at the end of December giving the owners yet another chance to keep their business license if they can get into compliance in the next thirty days.
SELECTMEN APPOINT RESERVE OFFICER FOR REGIONAL SWAT TEAM
(November 26, 2013 ) Based on the recommendation of Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta, Rehoboth selectmen approved the appointment of Brian Syrett as a reserve police officer to represent Rehoboth on the regional State Police ‘Special Tactics and Operations’ squad as both officer and paramedic.
Officer Syrett, who is a full-time firefighter in Plainville, has fulfilled all the requirements of the dual position and passed required testing. His sister Heather Syrett is also a Rehoboth police officer.
REP. HOWITT OUTLINES SWEEPING WELFARE REFORM BILL
(November 25, 2013) Representative Steven Howitt (R)-Seekonk who represents Rehoboth was joined by the entire House of Representatives in unanimously approving a welfare reform package aimed at increasing oversight of the taxpayer-funded Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program.
“I was encouraged that the legislature addressed this matter. In some cases it may not have gone far enough; however, I am pleased that it is a step forward addressing these issues while at the same time protecting those Massachusetts residents who are actually in need,” stated Representative Howitt.
Having passed the House of Representatives and the State Senate, the legislation will now be sent to a Conference Committee to resolve the differences between the two bills.
Although House Bill 3737 – An Act Encouraging Low-Income Savings and Economic Opportunity, initially included many provisions for which Republicans had long lobbied – tax return disclosure for income verification, increased penalties for food stamp trafficking, and increased oversight of work requirements – the legislation, as proposed, did not go far enough in addressing the root of the perpetual fraud and mismanagement within the EBT system.
With a core goal of ensuring that benefits are obtained, distributed, and expended in a manner that is both lawful and beneficial to the recipient of the assistance, the Republican Caucus was successful in offering amendments which rectify current problems within the system while safeguarding the long-term integrity of the welfare program.
DRIVER INJURED IN AGRICULTURAL AVENUE ACCIDENT
(November 25, 2013 ) Rehoboth Fire, Police and EMS were dispatched on Saturday night to a report of a motor vehicle crash on Agricultural Avenue near the Attleboro line. Firefighters found one vehicle off the road into a fence and several trees, narrowly missed a utility pole. Crew remained on the scene as removing the vehicle proved to be troublesome. A specialized wrecker had to be called to the scene. The accident remains under investigation by the RPD. The identity of the driver was not released. The driver and lone occupant of the vehicle that crashed on Agricultural Avenue was treated on the scene and transported to the hospital.
SCHOOL ROOF REPAIRS NEED APPROVAL AT SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
(November 20, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectman approved the scheduling of a Special Town Meeting for February 2014 to address proposed roof repairs on four schools in the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District.
All three schools located in Dighton require roof repairs - Dighton Elementary, Dighton Middle and Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School. D. L. Beckwith Middle School in Rehoboth also needs roof repairs.
According to Tiffany Bartholonew, a member of the regional school committee who briefed selectmen on Monday night, Rehoboth and Dighton voters will be asked to approve funding to cover 48 percent of a $6 million dollar accelerated grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
BOS APPROVE APPOINTMENT OF NEW TOWN NURSE
(November 13, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectman last night approved the appointment of a new town nurse, a position that has been vacant for over a year.
Health Agent Bob Ashton introduced lifelong Rehoboth resident Jaime Conlon to selectman who had previously reviewed her credentials and resume. With the recommendation of the town’s board of health, Conlon was approved unanimously for the part-time town nurse position.
A 2007 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, Conlon has a BS degree in nursing and is licensed as a registered nurse. Also an EMT who has worked for Rehoboth Ambulance, she holds a current appointment to Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (REMA). She is currently pursuing advanced nursing degrees.
WHEELER STREET BRIDGE RECONSTRUCTION UPDATE
(November 15, 2013) The office of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen recently issued an update on the Wheeler Street Bridge repair project.
The bridge, destroyed during late winter storm flooding in 2010 and subsequently closed, was the topic of a public hearing earlier this year. Residents of the area voiced concerns about the future disposition of the bridge along with complaints about increased traffic in the area due to detour. Some discussion was held about whether or not the bridge should be permanently closed off.
Based on recommendations from the state, Rehoboth selectmen voted to reconstruct the bridge and hired Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. to complete the final design and construction documents. The company recently submitted a progress report including the following:
Nover-Armstrong, the environmental consultants on the project, are working to complete the “Early Environmental Coordination” part of the 25% design submission. This work includes consulting with the town’s Historical Commission and the two local Native American tribes.
GZA Environmental, Inc. the geotechnical consultant, is completing subsurface borings
Valerie Hrabel, P.E., Greenman Pedersen’s hydraulic/dam expert, is currently preparing a report to ensure the design of the new culvert/bridge will replicate the upstream conditions prior to the 2010 flood.
25% highway design drawings are nearly complete and the 25% cost estimate is being completed.
Utility companies have been contacted; it appears that Verizon is the only utility company affected.
Right-of-way options are being researched which could require additional field survey work to be completed.
25% design is on schedule to be submitted during the first week in December to Mass Highway District 5 for review.
SELECTMEN HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON ENTERTAINMENT LICENSE
(November 13, 2013 ) Three of the five Rehoboth selectmen last night held a public hearing on granting a comprehensive seven-day entertainment license to Hillside County Club.
BOS chair Susan Pimental, the general manager of Hillside Country Club, recused herself from the hearing and subsequent unanimous vote to approve the license that covers live and recorded music, audio/video presentation and other forms of entertainment.
After some discussion on the language of the license application, selectmen suggested a review of the permit is in order. They agreed it should be amended to exclude archaic terminology such a phonograph and moving picture show.
Pimental said the facility will host an open house soon and plans opening by mid-December.
D-R MARCHING BAND INVITED TO PERFOM ON JULY 4 IN WASHINGTON, DC.
(November 13, 2013 ) The Dighton-Rehoboth Marching Band has been picked to represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by performing on July 4, 2014 in National Independence Day Parade in Washington, DC.
The band, comprised of 120 students from grades 7 through 12, is supported by the non-profit Friends of the D-R Marching Band. The cost of traveling and staying in Washington is estimated at approximately $40,000.
“The honor of playing for the President of the United States and marching in the National parade is not lost on our band members, their parents, and our school,” said Steven Grota, president of FODRMB. Fundraising efforts are currently underway and you can read their letter seeking support here.
RFD RESPOND TO HOME FIRE ON BLANDING ROAD
(November 9, 2013 ) Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched to Blanding Road yesterday morning in response to a report of a possible house fire.
First arriving units determined the fire was still confined to the chimney. Using the department’s ladder truck, firefighters dislodged and extinguished the burning material, and then cleared the house of smoke. According to officials, all responding units were cleared in approximately an hour.
REHOBOTH RECEIVES $20K STATE GRANT TO DEVELOP HOUSING PLAN
(November 8, 2013 ) The Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development announced recently that Rehoboth will receive a $20,000 grant as part of the sixth round of technical assistance grant funds to South Coast communities.
“It is understood that these grants assist communities in preparing for the South Coast Rail while at the same time addressing community needs,” said Town Administrator Jeff Ritter. “In Rehoboth the funds will be used to proactively develop housing and land use plans.”
He added the plan will “help Rehoboth to better understand our housing needs by assessing the current inventory and to develop strategies for developing housing which meet community needs such as the reuse of the former Anawan School for housing.”
The Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District will develop the housing plan in collaboration with the public and local officials.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH SELLS CHESTNUT STREET PROPERTY
(November 8, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, along with the town’s treasurer/collector recently completed the sale of 138 Chestnut Street after a final high bid of $227,500 was approved. Working through Southcoast Auctions & Realty, Inc. the closing and final property transfer took place on Friday, November 1.
According to Town Treasurer Cheryl Gouveia, the property was in tax title for at least five years. “It is a good development for the town,” she said as a private owner will now be responsible for annual property taxes.
SECOND ASSAULT ARREST FOR REHOBOTH MAN
(November 6, 2013 ) A Summer Street man was arrested yesterday on charges of domestic assault and battery only days after being charged with a similar crime on October 31. According to a Rehoboth police press release, Justin Escobar, age 32, was taken into custody yesterday afternoon by Sgt. Brian Ramos along with Sgt. James Medeiros and Office Craig Forget at the Summer Street residence. After bail was set at $10,000, Escobar was transported to New Bedford House of Correction overnight before a court appearance today in Taunton District Court.
Escobar had been arrested the night of October 31 after police received a 911 call reporting yelling coming from the Summer Street home. He was charged with domestic assault and battery and released on $390 cash bail. MIchelle Bento, age 32, was also taken into custody and changed with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Arrested officers were Sgt. James Medeiros and Patrolman Keith Perry. Bento was later released on $115 cash bail. Both were scheduled for arraignment in Taunton District Court on November 1.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED FOR SECOND DRUNK DRIVING OFFENSE
(November 6, 2013 ) Rehoboth police arrested a local man after responding to the report of a single vehicle accident at Plain and Spring streets on Monday night.
Steven Brown, age 60 of Hornbine Road, was taken into custody by Officer Craig Forget and Sgt. James Medeiros for a second operating under the influence offense, negligent operation and a marked lane violation. He was released on $140 cash bail and arraigned yesterday in Taunton District Court.
FRIDAY NIGHT ACCIDENT AT ROUTE 44 and NEW STREET
(November 2, 2013 ) For the fourth time this week, Rehoboth Fire, Police and EMS responded to a motor vehicle crash on Route 44. The latest occurred Friday evening at the intersection of New Street, a common location for accidents despite a four-way traffic light.
The two vehicles collided with enough energy to flip one on its side. Two occupants of the vehicles were treated on the scene and then transported to local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Names of the accident victims or other info has not been released by the police department, although the accident is under investigation.
Officials say it is “not uncommon to have numerous accidents occur in short span on Route 44 where historically more crashes occur annually any either north or south of Route 44.”
82 RESIDENTS ATTEND SPEEDY SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
(October 29, 2013 ) With all but one article approved and completed in record time, enough residents came out for last night’s special town meeting to make quorum and conduct town business.
Residents approved paying last fiscal year’s unpaid bills in the estimated amount of $100. An amended FY2014 budget was approved for a total amount of $91,651 including an increase for town legal counsel, contracted services, insurance and gasoline and machine rental for the highway department. Voters approved a current year budget amendment of $37,420 for a vehicle for the building inspector and ten tasars for the police department. The vote followed removing a line item of $13,000 for a new police/dispatch radio system. Fire Chief Robert Pray had recently voiced his objections to the new police radio system at a board of selectmen’s meeting saying it would interfere with fire department communications.
Residents voted to approve the purchase of heat sensors and temperature monitors in public buildings at a cost os $1,200. A general bylaw amendment was approved regarding licences and permits. Any applicant for a permit must now be current on taxes due to the town. Voters also approved the acceptance of Fire Tower Road, and approved an offset of receipts account for the town solid waste handing facility and recycling center. A report from the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District ‘Capital Projects Task Force” was accepted.
One article tabled until the spring town meeting was a bylaw amendment to prohibit motorized watercraft of any kind on the Palmer River.
REHOBOTH COMMUNITY GARDEN’S PRODUCTIVE SEASON by Lisa Reigel
(October 29, 2013) Rehoboth Community Garden has completed its sixth season of providing organically grown fresh vegetables to the needy in our town. In 2013, the garden has produced more than eighteen hundred pounds of fruits and vegetables. Our biggest producer was an heirloom watermelon called Moon and Stars. We harvested more than three hundred pounds. We picked 216 pounds of cucumbers, 144 pounds of zucchini, and 150 pounds of beans. There were two vegetables that produced bumper crops: peppers yielded 294 pounds, and eggplant weighed in at 189 pounds..
Every growing season presents challenges. This year, the cold spring delayed seed starting from early March into April. The first flats of tomatoes and peppers were destroyed by unexpectedly high winds when the shelves in the greenhouse tipped over. It took three tries to get melons and squash seeds to germinate. Chipmunks feasted on broccoli, lettuce, and chard seedlings even those protected by cold frames.
After the plants were in the ground, we endured multiple heat waves, and then a long dry spell. Thunderstorms washed good soil away. Mama rabbit let her little ones loose to nibble the bottoms off row after row of young beans. There weren’t enough hungry birds to control the snails and slugs. We endured three weeks of green June beetles, a new pest to the garden this year.
In spite of many obstacles, the garden grew. It was a good year for watermelon, peppers, and eggplant. The season was about average for cucumbers and green beans. The yellow beans were quite obstinate about germinating. It took three tries to get them going. The spring broccoli finally made heads in early July. Winter squash produced nice sized plants but no squash. Zucchini went in late in an effort to avoid squash bugs but quickly succumbed to powdery mildew. The tomatoes weren’t lost to blight this year, but they did not produce well. The average harvest has been about four pounds per plant.
One of the most exciting events of the summer is not exactly garden related. A mother killdeer fledged four little ones. For the first two weeks, we watched as the babies scooted right under the fence to forage for grubs in the garden. Killdeer are bug eaters, so they’re welcome anytime.
As with any big project, all of the work is not accomplished by one individual. The Community Garden owes thanks to several people. Mike Ohern plowed the gardens for us in the spring. Mike Zeug put up the fence and planted the sunflowers that have given pleasure to so many. Don and Gail Roy rototilled as needed. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence King donated two compost bins. Bristol County House of Corrections inmates did a spectacular job weeding. Thank you all!
REP. HOWITT ANNOUNCES PERFECT VOTING RECORD
(October 28, 2013 ) In a press release, State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) announced his perfect voting records of participating in 224 consecutive roll call votes in the House of Representatives this year.
The Seekonk resident, who represents Rehoboth, cast votes on a number of issues including a “Republican-led transportation finance package free of any statewide tax increases” as well as “legislation aimed at eradicating waste, fraud, and abuse in our state’s welfare system.” He supported restoration of local aid to cities and towns.
Howitt also announced he was “instrumental in the Republican Caucus’ opposition to a $500 million transportation finance package which contained a myriad of tax increases – one of which was the largest and broadest tax on computer and software services in the nation.” , who serves on the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development and the Joint Committee on Transportation.
THREE CRASH VICTIMS INJURED
(October 27, 2013 ) The cause of a two-vehicle crash yesterday afternoon on Route 44 at Danforth Street remains under investigation by Rehoboth police. Three accident victims were treated at the scene and transported to area hospitals by Rehoboth and Seekonk ambulances. Rehoboth firefighters then cleaned up the debris and fluids in the road as the vehicles were removed. Those injured were not identified.
WEEKEND FUNDRAISER FOR FORMER REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTER, PARAMEDIC
(October 26, 2013 ) A fundraiser is being held today and tomorrow, all day and all night, at Briggs Corner Pizzeria to raise money for Lindsay Withers, a former Rehoboth firefighter and paramedic who is fighting breast cancer. Along with food and drink specials, stickers and wristbands will also be available to purchase with all proceeds going directly to Lindsay, who is now a paramedic/vital EMS in Worcester. “Please join us in helping Lindsay Fight Like A Girl” reads the donated promotional poster.
POWER OUTAGE ON FRIDAY RESULTS IN SCHOOL EVACUATION
(October 26, 2013 ) A power outage affecting the town yesterday occurred at 12:45 PM and resulted in the evacuation of Beckwith Middle School students who walked over to adjacent Palmer RIver Elementary. According to Rehoboth Fire Chief Robert Pray, firefighters were called after the power outage and discovered smoke but no fire in the school’s electrical room from shorted out wiring. The students were evacuated as a safety precaution. Power was restored by National Grid by early afternoon, around regular dismissal time for students.
RESIDENTS FAVOR EVENING HOURS AT TOWN OFFICE
(October 23, 2013 ) A recent survey was conducted by Town Clerk Laura Schwall to help assess public opinion on offering evening hours one night per week at the town office.
Out of a total of 99 responses, 80% favored evening hours until 7 to 8 PM with 46% favoring Wednesday evening and 44% choosing Thursday evening. The town office, open now on Friday mornings from 9 AM to 12 noon, would remain closed on Fridays in exchange for the evening hours, one night per week.
The majority of responders, 83%, said they would conduct business online if available. Many offered suggestions on how to make municipal government more accessible such as being able to apply for permits and license dogs online. Currently the town does offer some interactive forms on the town website including a change of address form and census data, and the ability to obtain certain records.
The board of selectmen were informed of the survey results by Schwall and will take the information into consideration. According to Town Administrator Jeff Ritter, the process of changing town office hours will be a process that may begin in December. “The question is a matter subject to collective bargaining and impact bargaining with the clerical union,” he stated.
The opinion survey was conducted both traditionally on paper, and electronically using an online survey service that cost the town no money.
REHOBOTH LAND TRUST’S BOARDWALK PROJECT TO BEGIN
(October 23, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Land Trust announced the upcoming construction of approximately 200 linear feet of boardwalk in an effort to improve the primary (blue) trail at the Ephraim Hunt Ministerial Land on Pond Street.
Plans are approved and job captain John Rourke is locating and purchasing materials. The boardwalk will feature simple log and plank construction, easily built with volunteer labor. Build days have not been scheduled, however, construction is anticipated to start this fall.
If you would like to volunteer skilled or unskilled labor in the construction effort please contact Adam Latham at 252-1033 or email@example.com. Financial contributions to the project are also welcome. Please send checks made payable to the Rehoboth Land Trust, PO Box 335, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
ANIMAL SHELTER PASSES AIR QUALITY ASSESSMENT
(October 22, 2013 ) An air quality assessment of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter was performed last week by an independent business, Clean Harbors of Norwell, MA following an inspection in September by the state Department of Animal Health that revealed high levels of ammonia odor.
According to Town Administrator Jeff Ritter, the air quality at the shelter passed the independent evaluation. Structural issues with the animal control building, located behind the town office on Peck Street, have been identified including the need for a new roof and other major repairs.
REHOBOTH ANIMAL SHELTER IN NEED OF FRIENDS
(October 21, 2013 ) With the town’s animal shelter in serious need of a new roof and other major repairs, a new group is trying to form as a permanent fundraising source. Called ‘Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter’ the group would apply for non-profit organization status, be governed by a board, and remain independent of municipal government, much like other local non-profits such as the Friends of the Blanding Library.
A recent visit by state Dept. of Animal Health resulted in the town being advised to make repairs to the shelter building behind the town office on Peck Street. “It is in serious need of refurbishing,” said Rehoboth Selectman Lorraine Botts, “plus the state is requiring major repairs.”
The group is hoping to get enough interested people to be able to begin the process of formally organizing. “Please think about joining this group and call us as soon as possible,” said Botts. “If we get enough responses we can schedule a date and time for an organizational meeting,” she added.
Anyone interested should call 774-991-0032 for more info and to express your interest.
REHOBOTH COLLEGE STUDENT JOE DAY CONNECTS WITH POPE FRANCIS
(October 17, 2013 ) Yesterday morning during a Papal audience in Rome, Providence College junior Joe Day was photographed in a casual tradition known as “exchanging hats” with Pope Francis.
Visitors and pilgrims are offered a chance to participate in a public audience and receive a blessing on Wednesdays if the Pope is in Rome. A group of Providence College students spending the fall semester in Rome were in attendance. Day held out a “zucchetto” or white skull cap with a note reading, “Providence College loves Pope Francis.” As the Pope was being driven by, he reached out to accept the cap from Day and read the message. After putting the cap on his head, the Pope handed it back to Day.
In a moment captured by the “La Stampa” Vatican Insider the photo was published on the cover of the Vatican news publication yesterday afternoon. The college press office sent the story and photo to RehobothNow for publication.
SELECTMEN ADDRESS VARIOUS LOCAL BUSINESS ISSUES,
REINSTATE WIG WAM AUTO SALES, CHASTISE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
(October 16, 2013 ) The five Rehoboth selectmen last night addressed several local business issues including reinstating the used auto sales license for Wig Wam Village suspended last month; and revisiting last week’s public hearing and subsequent votes to increase many business license fees.
In a continuance of a public hearing, selectmen voted to reinstate the Wig Wam license for thirty days based on a glowing report and recommendation from Health Agent Bob Ashton. Ashton, who said he was “totally shocked” thanked the owners for “finally stepping forward” and cleaning up their property on Route 44. “They have done what we have asked them to do,” said Ashton. The used auto dealer’s license comes up for renewal on January 1.
Selectmen revisited their decision last week to increase many business license fees. According to Selectman Mike Costello, letters informing existing license holders were sent from the town office by regular mail on Wednesday, October 2 for the Monday, October 7 public hearing. No business owners appeared to address the board. Since several businesses have complained they did not receive notification of the public hearing in time, Costello requested further discussion.
“I heard the next day (October 8), they received the notice,” said Costello, who suggested the board postpone the increases to next year, an idea that was put down.
Staying on topic, Costello said he was upset Crestwood Country Club, as a registered non-profit organization, pays the same yearly $500 all-alcohol license fee as the American Legion. The board voted to establish a new category for veterans organizations with a $500 annual fee. They also voted to eliminate the non-profit club classification so that Crestwood Country Club would be levied the same annual increased fee of $1500 as other golf courses. Abstaining from that vote was BOS chair Sue Pimental, manager of the soon-to-be reopened Hillside Country Club. Hillside Investment, LLC was registered on July 24 with local businessman John Ferreira as authorized signatory and attorney Eric Brainsky of Seekonk as resident agent. Ferreira, past selectman, is a current member of the town’s finance committee.
Speaking as a local business owner, George Cardono asked selectmen how much money they expect to generate from increasing business license fees. Selectmen Vadnais answered it was “an attempt to recoup the monies spent on inspection, due diligence . . . and police stings.”
“It’s bad enough that Rehoboth is not really business friendly,” said Cardono who added, “this is just another way.” One of the founders of the Rehoboth Business Association, Cardono took issue with selectmen comparing local fees with other towns that offer greater advantages to business. “Any time you have a 300-foot set back to do business in a commercial zone, it eliminates ten to fifteen different kinds of business,” said Cardono. Combine both restriction zoning and sign regulations with a lack of public water and sewer, and Rehoboth does not offer incentives like Seekonk.
Vadnais repeated criticism voiced during last week’s public hearing, saying he twice asked the business association to “nominate a representative” to attend BOS weekly meetings. He said selectmen “could possibly” view things differently if someone would represent the group by appearing before the BOS.
Costello also criticized the group for not sending a member to attend the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee meetings. Selectmen, however, had specifically voted to not appoint a member of the local business community when establishing that committee. Selectman Joe Tito then likened it to “letting the fox into the henhouse.”
The RBA does have three members, appointed by selectmen, on the town’s Economic Development Committee that meets on a regular basis to discuss local business issues with Town Administrator Jeff Ritter and Selectman Lorraine Botts. Senior Center Director Norie Palmer also sits on the EDC.
More business issues were discussed by selectmen last night. A public hearing was held on a transfer of a business license for Family Auto due to relocation. They approved after owner Edward Perry answered questions from both the board and a nearby property owner who was concerned about hours and lighting.
Selectmen then voted to revoke a one-day liquor license and one-day entertainment license to Rebel Race for a scheduled October 26 weekend event to be held on a property on Route 118 previously known as Hobby Horse Farm. Because the property was recently purchased by new owners, they did not want the event to be held and asked the town to revoke the permits.
The meeting was turned over to BOS vice-chair Tito when voting to approve restaurant service and entertainment licenses to Hillside Country Club given Pimental’s affiliation with the business. A public hearing on the club’s liquor license will be held on November 12.
SELECTMEN TO RECONSIDER INCREASES IN BIZ FEES; REBEL RACE PERMITS
(October 14, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tomorrow evening at the senior beginning with executive session to discuss ongoing lawsuits, a MassCOP union grievance and the recent auction of two town properties.
The regular session will include three public hearings. There will be a tree warden public hearing to discuss the removal of trees in town; a hearing to discuss on the transfer of a Class II auto for Family Auto due to relocation; and continue a public hearing on Wig Wam Village Auto Sales, a business that had it’s license suspended by selectmen last month.
Selectmen will “re-review” last week’s determination to increase many of the town’s business license fees including those for restaurants, package stores, auto sales, antique and vendors. The yearly license fee for clubs (country, gun, private) was one fee they decided not to increase. On the subject of granting licenses, the board will discuss applications from Hillside Country Club.
Tomorrow night the board will also vote to revoke the one-day liquor license and one-day entertainment license issued last month to “Rebel Race,” a weekend event to be held October 26 at what was previously known as Hobby Horse Farm on Bay State Road. In July, selectmen first approved and then rescinded entertainment and liquor permits for Reed Production’s scheduled “DeadRising 3 Zombie Race” at Hobby Horse Farm. Rebel Races is client of New Jersey-based PlayMore Sport and Social Club that also represents Reed Street Productions. Rebel Race is identified on Facebook as also sponsoring “Zombie Race” in other locations.
BREAKING GROUND FOR NEW REHOBOTH VETERANS MEMORIAL
(October 8, 2013 ) Nearly fifty people gathered on the Redway Plain off Route 44 late yesterday afternoon to break ground for the gazebo portion of the new Rehoboth Veterans Memorial, a day organizers have waited fourteen years to arrive.
The memorial will honor veterans from King Philip’s War (1675 to 1678) through the centuries to present day and into the future. Acting as master of ceremonies, Gerry Schwall, vice-chairman of the town’s finance committee, welcomed the gathering including town officials and local veterans. Senator James Timilty and Representative Steve Howitt were both in attendance, each saying a few words to congratulate the memorial committee and park commission on their combined efforts. Following a fifteen-minute ceremony, more than a dozen participants simultaneously tossed shovels full of earth into the air. Refreshments were later served at the senior center by Vino’s Family Restaurant. Since the campaign began earlier in the year, $100,000 has been raised or pledged. An additional $50,000 is needed to complete the memorial that will include engraved paving stone walkways.
For more information about donating to the fund, click here.
SELECTMEN VOTE TO INCREASE BUSINESS LICENSE FEES AND FINES
(October 8, 2013 ) Last night during their regular Monday meeting, Rehoboth selectmen held a public hearing to review the town’s fee schedule for business licenses issued by the BOS while comparing fees to other towns including Seekonk, Norton, Dighton, Carver, Lakeville, Dartmouth, Berkley, and Mattapoisett.
Some of the license fees raised were: restaurants from $1000 to $1500; retail package store from $500 to $750; license for restaurant serving alcoholic beverages from $450 to $750; retail package store license was raised to $750. Transfer of liquor license was raised from $50 to $75. A change of business manger fee was raised from $10 to $25. One-day wine and malt beverage license remains at $25 for both commercial and non-profit organizations.
Class I, II and III auto sales licenses were all raised from $75 to $125 with a license transfer fee of $25. An antique/junk vendor license was raised to $35 with a $20 yearly renewal. Auctioneer license was set at $75 with a $15 daily charge. A one-day entertainment license was set at $25 per day; a hawker/peddler/transient vendor license is $50 per day; limo service license is $25 per year; pool table license is $25 per year for each table; and fortune tellers must pay a $50 yearly license fee. A fine of $50 will now be issued for any late license renewals.
One business license the selectmen did not raise is the yearly fee for “clubs” including country clubs and gun clubs. That fee remains the same at $1000 per year.
“This is turning into way too many rules,” said BOS chairman Sue Pimental, “you can’t put a sign up, you can’t change your manager, you have to fill out paperwork.” Selectman Skip Vadnais countered by saying increasing fees is a cost of doing business including the time of time employees to process licenses. “You have no idea how many licenses I have to have to raise hogs,” he commented.
FALL RIVER MAN ARRESTED IN REHOBOTH ON DRUNK DRIVING CHARGES
(October 8, 2013 ) Yesterday afternoon, Rehoboth police received a 911 call reporting an erratic driver who appeared to be consuming an alcoholic beverage while driving on Route 44 before pulling into the post office parking lot.
Officers Bree Krasnianski and Louie DeBacco found Thomas L. Rafferty, age 52 of Fall River parked at odd angle, sitting in his Dodge with the motor running. Opened beer cans were found on the passenger’s seat and in the rear of the car. According to the police report, Rafferty was taken into custody on a second drunk driving offense and possession of an open container. He was released on $140 cash bail and scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court today for arraignment.
SUNDAY MORNING CRASH VICTIM TRANSPORTED TO HASBRO
(October 6, 2013 ) Rehoboth emergency personnel from the police and fire departments and EMS were dispatched yesterday morning to a motor vehicle crash on Fairview Ave just south of Fair Lane.
A single motor vehicle struck a guard rail and a pole before coming to rest in the roadway. The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was transported to Hasbro hospital by Rehoboth EMS with non-life threatening injuries. Firefighters cleaned up a large field of debris and contained fluids leaking from the vehicle. The accident remains under investigation by the RPD.
BURGLARY ON BROOK STREET RESULTS IN ARREST OF FIVE MEN
(October 6, 2013 ) Rehoboth police yesterday arrested five men on multiple charges related to a burglary at a residence on Brook Street.
Shortly after 1 AM, police officers Tim Bartucca and Paul McGovern approached a disabled U-Haul van parked on the side of Brook Street. After receiving conflicting information from the three occupants of the van, the officers saw bolt cutters and a woman’s pocketbook in the van. Identification in the purse led police to call a Brook Street resident to confirm ownership and she discovered the purse missing from her vehicle.
The three men were then all taken into custody and charged with breaking and entering, larceny over $250, larceny of a credit card, receiving stolen property, possession of burglarious tools, and being accessories after the fact.
Arrested were Anthony Lamont Paul, age 26 of Dorchester, Arthur Lewis Small-Dowell, age 21 of Mattapan, and and Jamal Shaw, age 24 of South Weymouth. Additional checks showed two active warrants for Shaw and an active arrest warrant on Small-Dowell. Information at the scene alerted officers suspect additional suspects were involved, and an initial search was conducted but unsuccessful.
Around 6 AM, Lt. Bruce Dubé and Patrolman James Casey located two males walking north on Anawan Street with a flashlight. The males were identified as, twenty-three-year old Louise Sands of Dorchester and twenty-one-year old Marlon Shaw of Weymouth. The flashlight they carried was confirmed stolen from a second Brook Street motor vehicle. Both men were taken into custody on similar charges related to breaking and entering.
Small-Dowell was released on $540 cash bail, Sands and Marlon Shaw were released on $290 cash bail each.
The other two men were unable to post $1040. cash bail each and were transported to the Ash Street Jail in New Bedford. All are due for arraignment in Taunton District Court.
SELECTMEN HAVE SHORT AGENDA FOR TONIGHT’S MEETING FOLLOWING
GROUNDBREAKING FOR NEW REHOBOTH VETERANS MEMORIAL
(October 6, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center in public session beginning at 7 PM with a relatively short agenda including a public meeting to review the town’s fee schedule for all licenses issued by the BOS. They will also address the sign issue again and hear a request from Anawan Antiques, a local business also applying to the BOS for a “junk dealer’s license” in additional to their existing business license.
Prior to the meeting tonight, there will be a groundbreaking on the Redway Plain off Route 44 for the new Rehoboth Veterans Memorial gazebo. The public is invited to attend.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS EXTRICATE ROUTE 44 CRASH VICTIM
(October 4, 2013 ) Yesterday morning, Rehoboth firefighters were called to extricate the victim of a motor vehicle crash on Route 44. Police, fire and EMS units were all dispatched to the scene a pick-up truck that struck the driver’s side of another vehicle and trapped the driver inside. Firefighters first moved the pick-up to access the other vehicle and removed the door and structural components with hydraulic tools. The driver, not identified, was quickly extricated and transported by Rehoboth EMS to Rhode Island Hospital. The crash remains under investigation by the RPD.
REHOBOTH-BASED ASTRONOMERS INVITE PUBLIC TO OCTOBER EVENT
(October 3, 2013 ) The Astronomical Society of Southern New England, a non-profit group of amateur astronomers, invites the public to attend an evening of “Rehoboth Skies,” their annual open house and star party on Saturday, October 12 from 6 to 10 PM at the Carpenter Museum.
The free event will feature several indoor talks on astronomy and outdoor stargazing using a wide variety of telescopes. The organization, with members from around south coastal Massachusetts and neighboring Rhode Island, meets monthly in Rehoboth at the museum. Sharing a passionate interest in astronomy, members strive to “educate and inspire” both children and adults. They offer educational outreach programs at schools and public viewings.
For the past several years, the organization has worked cooperatively with the UMass Dartmouth department of physics and Professor Alan Hirshfeld. Once a month, on a designated Saturday night from October thru May, the university telescope is “put into action” and the public is invited at no charge. ASSNE members also set up their personal telescopes for this monthly event that always depend on clear, visible skies. They meet next at UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, October 5. For more information about ASSNE, you can visit their website.
SWEET NEW TOWN AMBULANCE
(October 1, 2013) The Rehoboth Ambulance Committee, a non-profit organization that provides service to the town, is very proud of their new ambulance, the first ever custom designed truck they’ve ever had.
Built on a 2013 Ford gasoline chassis, the Ambulance Committee designed the vehicle to meet their specifications instead of buying a "pre-built" unit. It includes several features for both patient and crew safety including a sliding side door instead of one that opens up out into the roadway.
They also have a power stretcher on this truck to make it easier to move patients around. “This, in and of itself, is a huge safety feature for everyone,” said Reuben Fischman, deputy chief and operations manager. “It reduces likelihood of back injuries for our crew, but also is a more stable stretcher for patients with less likelihood of tips or falls.”
The new ambulance is in service at the paramedic level. Another ambulance on the paramedic level is in service at the South Rehoboth Fire Station. “We are keeping a third ambulance as a spare unit so we will always have at least two available,” said Fischman.
All three ambulances were purchased by Rehoboth Ambulance which also assumes all operational costs primarily through billing for services. The town pays for insurance and fuel only.
Rehoboth Ambulance is currently conducting a fundraising campaign specifically to purchase new cardiac monitors for the ambulances.
“This is first year in a long time that we've done a fund raiser because we have a targeted goal in mind - the new monitors,” emphasized Fischman. If you would like to make a donation, please go to their website.
STAFF TO SUB FOR REP. KENNEDY ON SATURDAY VISIT TO REHOBOTH
(September 27, 2013 ) Due to the U.S. House of Representatives recently altered voting schedule, Congressman Kennedy will not be able to personally attend office hours on Saturday from 10:30 to 11:30 at the Blanding LIbrary in Rehoboth. Members of his staff will still be available to meet with constituents. Congressman Kennedy will reschedule office hours in Rehoboth and Seekonk on a future date.
DRUGGED TAUNTON MAN ARRESTED BY REHOBOTH POLICE
(September 25, 2013 ) A Taunton man, who admitted to police he had ingested significant amounts of prescription drugs before getting behind the wheel, was apprehended yesterday afternoon by Rehoboth police after resisting arrest before he passed out.
Police dispatch received a 911 cell phone call from a witness reporting an erratic driver traveling westward on Route 44 and causing other vehicles to swerve off the road to avoid collision. Patrolman Louis DiBacco began pursing a red Pontiac sedan matching the caller’s description near Circuit Drive and Route 44 after watching it drive into on-coming traffic while emitting a large amount of smoke from the front passenger side.
According to the police report, DiBacco was forced to perform “emergency evasive maneuvers to prevent the sedan from colliding with his cruiser.” Officer Heather Syrett arrived on scene and was able to force the vehicle to pull over, but when officers approached the operator he failed to acknowledge them.
The driver, later identified as Alan Baptista, age 51 of Taunton, refused to exit the car. Actively resisting, his hands had to be pried from the steering wheel and he was forcibly pulled from the car. Police say he continued to fight before finally being handcuffed and began to lose consciousness as he was patted down. Baptista was transported by Rehoboth Ambulance to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro. While there he admitted taking prescription medication.
Further investigation by police revealed witnesses had observed the vehicle strike a speed enforcement sign on North Walker Street in Taunton blowing out the front passenger side tire, and then going through a stop sign turning onto Winthrop Street. Baptista was being charged with negligent operation, failure to stop for police, marked lane violation and resisting arrest. It is unknown if he had legal prescriptions for the drugs he admitted taking. Baptista is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today.
REPRESENTATIVE KENNEDY TO VISIT REHOBOTH
(September 24, 2013 ) Congressman Joe Kennedy III announced yesterday that he will continue his fall schedule for ‘Tour 34’ by holding constituent office hours in Rehoboth and Seekonk this Saturday, September 28. The Congressman has brought ‘Tour 34’ to communities across the 4th District this year as part of his ongoing commitment to hold constituent office hours in all 34 cities and towns by the end of 2013.
Kennedy will be at the Blanding Library from 10:30 to 11:30 AM before visiting the Seekonk Public Library from noon to 1 PM. No appointment is necessary to meet with the congressman.
VETERANS MEMORIAL GROUNDBREAKING SET FOR OCTOBER 7
(September 24, 2013 ) Organizers announced the official groundbreaking for the new Rehoboth Veterans Memorial on the Redway Plain at last night’s board of selectmen’s meeting. The ceremony is set for Monday, October 7 at 5 PM with representatives from the memorial committee, parks commission and selectmen. ceremony will be followed by some refreshments at the Senior Center prior to the regular Monday night selectmen’s meeting. Residents and other interested parties are invited to witness the official groundbreaking.
With nearly $40,000 raised since spring, construction of the memorial’s gazebo will begin in October with an anticipated finish date of December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. Installing the engraved paver walkways leading up to and circling the gazebo will hopefully begin next spring. Pavers recognizing Rehoboth veterans who served in various wars and conflicts will circle the gazebo. Those killed in action will be designated with a star on the paver stone. Anyone can purchase engraved pavers to honor veterans not from Rehoboth as well as pavers to recognize any individual, family or business. The non-veterans pavers will be placed in the walkway leading up to the memorial gazebo.
According to Veterans Agent Bill Saunders, the large gazebo with have electrical capabilities funded by American Legion Post 302. Organizers hope community groups will take advantage of using the building for events, concerts, portrait photography and possibly even weddings. The town’s Park Commission, responsible for groundskeeping at the Redway Plain, will maintain a grassy area in the area around the memorial.
Enough funds have been raised to break ground, but significant funding is still needed to completed the memorial. The total goal is $150,000. To donate to the memorial fund or purchase an engraver paver, please visit the memorial website.
BOARD OF HEALTH SEEKING TOWN NURSE APPLICANTS
(September 20, 2013 ) The Town of Rehoboth’s Board of Health is presently seeking applicants for the position of Public Health Nurse, a part-time position of 19.5 hours per week with a pay rate to be determined. The town has been without a public health nurse since the resignation of long-time employee Lynn Allienello, RN in 2012.
Working under the direction of the board of health, the town nurse must be licensed as a Registered Nurse by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and have two years experience in community or public health nursing. The position will remain open until filled. Applications and resumes may be send to Robert Ashton, Health Agent, Town of Rehoboth, 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
APPEAL FOR HEALTH INSURANCE NIXED BY SELECTMEN
(September 17, 2013 ) Rehoboth selectmen voted against reactivating a town policy to allow elected officials access to health insurance despite an appeal by Peter Jacobson, chairman of the town’s board of assessors.
Under Chapter 32B, elected officials, even part-time, are eligible to access health insurance through the town’s coverage during their period of service. However, the selectmen seated a couple years ago voted against allowing part-time elected officials access to health insurance.
Selectmen Skip Vadnais encouraged his fellow selectmen to reconsider the previous decision. He emphasized the town may lose veterans of the assessors office if they don’t grant access to coverage. While other elected town officials also fall within the parameters of Chapter32B, he emphasized rethinking the access to coverage would only be long-time elected officials as long as they remained in office.
The measure was defeated in a two against three vote with Vadnais and Michael Costello voting to approve.
VETERANS MEMORIAL CONSTRUCTION SET TO BEGIN
(September 16, 2013 ) Construction will begin this fall on the new Rehoboth Veterans Memorial to be located on the eastern end of the Redway Plain off Route 44. Fundraising for the memorial gazebo and paved memorial walkways began in the spring. Enough funds have now been raised to begin setting the foundation and building the gazebo.
According to Veterans Agent Bill Saunders, the veterans memorial committee anticipates the gazebo to be finished by December 7, Pearl Harbor Day. The large gazebo with electrical capabilities will be an asset to the town. Organizers hope community groups will take advantage of using the building for events, concerts, portrait photography and possibly even weddings. The town’s Park Commission, responsible for grounds keeping at the Redway Plain, will maintain a grassy area in the area around the memorial. American Legion Post 302 will pay for electricity to the memorial.
SELECTMEN CONTINUE WIGWAM PUBLIC HEARING TONIGHT
(September 16, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting for tonight will include the continuance of a public hearing on the business license, suspended last month, of Wig Wam Village Auto Sales on Route 44.
Before a busy agenda of business items, selectmen will meet in executive session beginning at 6 PM at the senior center to discuss police union grievances as well as the continuing lawsuit between the town and RePAC.
Other business will include a discussion about the security fence at the public safety building (police, fire, ambulance headquarters); discussion about Chapter 32B health insurance benefits; surplus property; personnel policy revisions; and a budge amendment of $10,000 for the highway department.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON DOMESTIC ASSAULT CHARGES
(September 15, 2013 ) After responding to a call reporting a domestic disturbance shortly before midnight on Friday, September 13, Rehoboth police arrested Richard Lamar, age 65, of Park Street on two assault charges.
Two officers, patrolmen Tom Ranley and Paul McGovern responded first to the residence and were later joined by Sgt. James Medeiros. The victim was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro for treatment.
Lamar faces both domestic assault and battery charges, and assault with a dangerous weapon (shod foot) on a victim over sixty years of age. According to the police press release, bail was set at $1004.00 and Lemar was transported to Bristol County Jail to be held pending arraignment.
REHOBOTH AMBULANCE STARTS FUND TO REPLACE CARDIAC MONITORS
(September 11, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Ambulance Committee has initiated a campaign for donations to replace existing cardiac monitors, ones that can more rapidly identify potentially life threatening cardiac rhythms and transmit that information directly to the destination hospital.
“The new cardiac monitors will enable us to greatly improve the care we provide to the residents and visitors,” said Reuben Fischman, deputy chief and operations manager of the non-profit Rehoboth Ambulance. A fundraising letter has been sent to Rehoboth residents and businesses with details on the fundraising campaign. “Every dollar donated will be allocated towards the purchase of these new monitors,” assured Fischman.
The Rehoboth Ambulance Committee is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that receives no direct funding from the Town of Rehoboth. All operating expenses are covered solely through donations and billing for services. All donations are tax deductible. Donate online and learn more at rehobothambulance.org
SELECTMEN SEND LETTER OF THANKS FOR LAND DONATION
(September 11, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen recently acknowledged a donation from residents Tom and Elizabeth Charnecki to the Rehoboth Historical Commission of 1.46 acres of undeveloped property directly adjacent to Anawan Rock Historic Park off Route 44.
Selectmen thanked the couple, who have long been active members of local historical groups, for their generous gift of land that will be preserved as open space to be enjoyed by future generations. Because the historic commission is a municipal committee the land will belong to the Town of Rehoboth.
Those interested considering making a donation of land to the Town of Rehoboth should contact the selectmen’s office at 508-252-3758.
SELECTMAN APPROVE WEEKEND ‘REBEL RACE’ CAMPING EVENT
(September 11, 2013 ) On Monday, September 9, Rehoboth selectmen approved a one-day entertainment permit along with a one-day liquor license for ‘Rebel Race’ an event scheduled to take over the weekend of October 26 at Hobby Horse Farm off Bay State Road.
Promoted as “ a race on steroids” the event will feature “intense obstacles for extreme athletes such as mud-crawling, barricade-climbing, and fire-jumping.” According to the promotional materials, registered racers will be allowed on the course in waves, but spectators are welcome to the weekend event that includes camping, live music, beer and food.
In July, selectmen first approved and then rescinded entertainment and liquor permits for Reed Productions’ scheduled DeadRising 3 Zombie Race at Hobby Horse Farm. The organizers of the upcoming October event, Rebel Races is client of New Jersey-based PlayMore Sport and Social Club that also represents Reed Street Productions. Rebel Race is identified on Facebook as also sponsoring Zombie Race in other locations.
AMERICAN FLAGS ORDERED HALF-STAFF FOR SEPTEMBER 11 PATRIOT DAY
(September 10, 2013 ) The President of the United States has issued a proclamation for American flags to be lowered to half-staff on Wednesday, September 11 for Patriot Day. Tomorrow marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 individuals. Americans are also called on to participate in a moment of silence beginning at 8>46 AM Eastern Daylight Time.
SELECTMEN TO DECIDE ON ‘REBEL RACE’, REVIEW TOWN MEETING WARRANT
(September 9, 2013 ) Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight in public session at the senior center beginning at 7 PM with an agenda including review and approval of a one-day entertainment license and one-day liquor license for “Rebel Race’ an event planned for October 26 at Hobby Horse Farm on Bay State Road.
The weekend-long event, scheduled from Friday at 6:30 to Sunday at 12 noon, is labeled “ a race on steroids” with intense obstacles for extreme athletes such as mud-crawling, barricade-climbing, and fire-jumping. According to the promotional materials online, registered racers will be allowed on the course in waves, but spectators are welcome to the weekend event that includes camping, live music, beer and food.
Other BOS agenda items for tonight include a review of personnel policies, and a review of the plan for ‘The Preserve’ subdivision being developed by John Ferreira, former selectmen who now serves on the town’s finance committee. An update will be given on RehobothTV, the town-managed cable public access stations.
Additionally, selectmen will review the special town meeting warrant and examine the selectmen’s office license fee schedule. Open public forum will be held following business items and prior to selectmen’s individual reports.
GRAVEL COMMITTEE TO REVIEW ‘THE PRESERVE’ SUBDIVISION PLAN
(September 9, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Gravel Committee, consisting of five members of the board of selectmen and Tomas Ennis, a representative from the planning board, will meet tonight at 6 PM at the senior center to reorganize followed by a review of the “definitive subdivision plan for “The Preserve” off Brook and Chestnut Streets owned by John P. Ferreira. The committee has been provided with a copy of the plan by the planning board for review and recommendations. The meeting is open to the public.
ELIGIBLE VETERANS OFFERED MORE VALOR ACT SERVICE HOURS
(September 5, 2013 ) A proposal to increase the number of service hours performed by veterans in exchange for property tax abatement under the ‘Valor Act’ was approved by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.
Under a joint proposal from the town’s assessors and veterans agent, eligible Rehoboth veterans will now be eligible to perform almost forty-four hours of service to the town and receive a maximum of $350 dollars per year as a credit toward their real estate bill in February and May 2015. A total amount of $10,000 in property tax abatements has been set for town’s Valor Act program.
So far this year, fifteen veterans took advantage of the work-off program, one that builds strong and constructive relationships between several municipal departments and skilled, eager-to-help veterans. For more information, contact Veterans Agent Bill Saunders at 508-252-4467.
SELECTMEN VOTE TO POST MUNICIPAL MEETING NOTICES ONLINE
(September 4, 2013 ) Rehoboth selectmen last night voted to approve a new plan by Town Clerk Laura Schwall to utilize MyTownGovernment.org to post municipal public meeting notices and agendas online instead of tacking paper notices on the town office door and bulletin boards.
The five selectmen also gave the go-ahead for Schwall to formally request permission from the MA Attorney General’s Office to replace the old paper posting method with digital documents online. While meeting information and agenda’s are also available on the Town of Rehoboth website, Schwall mentioned the MyTownGovernment website offers a telephone option where callers can hear the meeting notices and agendas read to them.
In other business, selectmen conducted hearings on taking five roads by eminent domain including Trim Street, Harvest Road, Jameson Drive, Talbot Drive and Abbey Lane. They quickly voted to accept the roads with Selectman Dr. Joseph Tito, MD recusing himself for Talbot Drive.
CONTINUED CRACKDOWN ON SIGNS DISCUSSED IN OPEN PUBLIC FORUM
(September 4, 2013 ) The selectmen’s recent campaign to eliminate “illegal” signs posted on roadways in town was discussed at length last night during open public forum at the board of selectmen’s meeting.
Constable Michael Deignan, after describing himself as “The Sign Nazi” reported that “Operation Clean Sweep” was conducted over the Labor Day weekend. He emphasized he did not take down any signs that directed people to local businesses and used Rainbow Turkey Farm as an example.
However, he did ask selectmen to reconsider removing those signs as well because “people have GPS units” that can direct them to a street address. He did not specifically discuss signs that direct people to local business website addresses.
BOS chairman Susan Pimental said she was in favor of keeping directional signs. “If it directs people to a local business, we’re saying it’s okay,” she noted.
“I don’t have a problem with small signs like that,” said Selectman Michael Costello, “a few golf courses, antique places, things of that nature.” He said he is opposed to signs from businesses not located in Rehoboth.
Deignan said he removed all signs from the intersection of Routes 44 and 118 where traditionally local events are publicized. Costello suggested instituting a one-week rule for local event signs. The signs recently removed by Deignan were dropped off at the highway department on Route 118 where they can be picked up. He said people could call or text him if they had any questions.
“I could have generated a lot of money this weekend on fines,” said Deignan, who serves as chairman of the finance committee. Selectmen have yet to vote on fining businesses or individuals for illegally posting signs including those for yard sales, family parties, lost animals, or local events such as church fairs, etc.
Selectman Skip Vadnais said there is a bylaw and anyone wishing to post a sign on town property, including utility poles or street corners, must apply for permission of the selectmen who anticipate further discussion on establishing sign fees and fines.
On a related topic, selectmen discussed bike race directional arrows spray painted on roadways. “Why are they allowed to spray all over our streets,” asked Costello. “What if you had four or five events and they all start spraying the streets,” questioned Selectman Lorraine Botts. Vadnais shared that a resident recently asked him if he could spray arrows on the road directing people to his Labor Day party.
“I think it’s destruction of town property,” said Costello who added “everyone could start spraying arrows” and soon the roadways will be covered. “If you don’t enforce the bylaws, the town becomes a mess,” added Botts.
“Government should be there to protect us,” emphasized Pimental, “not to give us all these rules and regulations.” She added selectmen are likely to hear from residents with concerns or complaints.
REHOBOTH MAN FACES DRUNK AND DISORDERLY CHARGES IN E. PROV
(September 4, 2013 ) East Providence police arrested a forty-seven-year old Rehoboth man on several charges after resisting arrest outside Lucky’s Bar and Grille on Saturday, August 31.
According to the East Providence Patch, police were called after Piotr B. Lakota of Steber Way was removed along with a friend from the restaurant by bar managers about 9:15 PM. Lakota allegedly threatened both staff and officers including “comments about killing them.” Police say he resisted arrest and was uncooperative after being brought to the police station and held overnight. He was given a date to appear in court to face charges of being drunk and disorderly, and resisting arrest.
PLYMOUTH MAN ARRESTED FOR SPEEDING, EVADING POLICE
(September 2, 2013 ) A Plymouth resident was arrested on August 31 by Rehoboth police on multiple vehicular charges including taking off after being pulled over.
Nicholas Decunzo, age 25 of Plymouth, was observed speeding on Route 44 on Saturday afternoon in excess of 95 mph and pulled over by Officer Louis Dibacco only to take off back into traffic driving at a high rate of speed. The vehicle was stopped again at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118.
Decunzo was charged with failure to stop for a police officer, negligent operation, driving without a license and speeding. He was released on $140 cash bail and scheduled to appear for arraignment tomorrow in Taunton District Court. Officer Dibacco was assisted by Sgt. James B Medeiros and Patrolman Thomas Ranley.
DRIVER HITS THREE OTHER VEHICLES, ARRESTED FOR OUI
(August 29, 2013 ) A Rehoboth woman was arrested yesterday on multiple vehicular charges including drunk driving after police say she hit three other vehicles before being stopped.
Rehoboth police received a call reporting an erratic driver on Route 44 that hit another car after crossing over the center line. The driver continued eastbound, crossing over yet again and striking a car carrier before tuning onto Bay State Road.
According to Rehoboth police, Officer Paul McGovern observed the vehicle driving in the center of the road and had to swerve to avoid a collision. The vehicle than veered to the right and crashed for a third time hitting a vehicle stopped at the intersection of Bay State and Moulton Street.
Sandra Cunha, age 64, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence, negligent operation, leaving the scene and failure to stay in marked lanes. She was released on bail and is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today.
COMMUNITY PRESERVATION ANNOUNCES PUBLIC HEARING
(August 29, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Community Preservation Commission has announced a public informational hearing on October 23, 2013 at 7:30 PM to take place at the Town Office at 148 Peck Street. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss present and future applications for Community Preservation Act funds in the areas of open space, historic resources, affordable housing and recreation.
CONTRACT APPROVED FOR WHEELER STREET BRIDGE ENGINEERING
(August 29, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen recently approved an engineering contract with Greenman Pedersen of Wilmington, MA to complete the engineering work on the reconstruction of the Wheeler Street Bridge.
Work will include all environmental related issues, a 25%, 50% and 100% design submissions to the Massachusetts Highway Department, District 5 and the Federal Highway Administration, a design public hearing will be held in advance of any public procurement or bidding, a determination of any right of way issues will be addressed, and all construction related engineering work will be completed by Greenman Pedersen.
The project is scheduled to be advertised for public bid during July 2014 with a contract award and notice to proceed during October 2014.
APPLY NOW: OPEN POSITIONS ON TOWN COMMITTEES
(August 29, 2013 ) The Town of Rehoboth needs you! There are openings on several municipal boards, committees, and commissions. Anyone interested in serving is encouraged to submit a talent bank form available from the Selectmen’s Office, 148 Peck Street or by calling 508-252-3758. The form can be faxed or mailed to your address. The openings include: Agricultural Commission: Three (3) Openings as Alternate Positions (1 Year Appointment); Cultural Council: Openings (3 Year Appointment); Finance Committee: One (1) Opening (Appointment until June 30, 2014) and Personnel Board: Two (2) Openings (1) Through June 30, 2014 and (1) Through June 30, 2016.
REHOBOTH AMBULANCE TO OFFER FREE AED TRAINING
(August 26, 2013 ) Rehoboth residents are invited to take advantage of a free automated external defibrillator (AED) on Wednesday, September 11 starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Rehoboth Senior Center, 55 Bay State Road.
Rehoboth Ambulance personnel will provide the free training which is oriented toward town employees and citizen volunteers. However, the public is welcome to attend and participate in this training.
“This is an excellent opportunity for town staff and citizen volunteers to become more familiar with AED technology,” said Scott Meagher, Chairman of Rehoboth Ambulance. “While the equipment is widely deployed in the workplace and other public places such as airports and shopping malls” he added, “we never know when we will be called upon to use the equipment.
According to Meagher the AED equipment, a proven lifesaver, is very simple to operate once basic training is provided. “There are thirty-seven AED locations in Rehoboth,” he noted.
If you are interested in taking the training class, please contact the Selectmen’s Office at 508-252-3758, ext. 107 to sign up in advance.
D-R SCHOOL DISTRICT SUSPENDS AFTER DUSK ACTIVITIES
(August 23, 2013 ) Per order of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, Interim Superintendent Michael Malone has ordered the suspension of all school related activities after dusk as a means to protect students and others from mosquito bites. EEE-infected mosquitos were discovered in Rehoboth one week ago. Both EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV) mosquitos have been found in Dighton.
EEE-INFECTED MOSQUITOS DISCOVERED IN REHOBOTH
(August 21, 2013 ) The Department of Public Health has issued an alert to warn Rehoboth residents a pool of mosquitoes from Rehoboth tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) on Friday, August 16. Infected EEE mosquitos were also found in Dighton, Easton, and Mansfield.
The Bristol County Mosquito Control Project urges people to stay indoors during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. While outdoors, they suggest wearing light colored clothing, along with long-sleeved shirts and pants. They also recommend using repellants containing one of the following active ingredients: DEET (do not use on infants), Picaridin, or the plant-based Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (do not use on children under the age of three).
EEE is a rare disease transmitted by mosquito bite. Severe cases of EEE (which can cause inflammation of the brain or encephalitis) begin with flu-like symptoms; the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills, and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures, or coma. EEE is one of the most severe mosquito-transmitted diseases in the United States with approximately 33% mortality and significant brain damage in most survivors. There is no specific treatment for EEE, care is based on symptoms. There is no vaccine or preventive drug available for humans. People of all ages are at risk for infection with the EEE virus but people over age 50 and younger than age 15 are at greatest risk for developing severe disease.
SELECTMAN PLANS TO SHARE HARASSMENT LETTERS
(August 20, 2013 ) Selectman Dr. Joseph Tito, MD announced last night he is “working on a way” to publish threatening letters he received in 2011, along with the “insulting and accusatory” letters to Selectman Michael Costello and his wife Susan that resulted in last week’s conviction of 68-year-old Harvey Bigelow for two counts of criminal harassment.
“Until you see the content of these letters you will never be able to judge this,” said Costello who acknowledged gratitude for support throughout the ordeal.
“I also received a number of these letters,” said Selectman Dr. Joseph Tito, MD. “The magistrate did not find them threatening enough, but certainly they were written by the same person.” Tito said he plans to publish his letters along with the ones sent to the Costellos, Selectman Lorraine Botts, and resident Bonnie Kelley.
Selectmen last night praised the efforts of the Rehoboth Police Department for their contribution in last week’s conviction of Bigelow who is currently being held at the Bristol County House of Correction while awaiting sentencing.
TRAFFIC LIGHT ON ROUTE 6 AND BARNEY AVENUE DISCUSSED
(August 20, 2013 ) Selectmen last night discussed the potential of getting a traffic light at the dangerous intersection of Route 6 and Barney Avenue in Rehoboth. According to Town Administrator Jeff Ritter, the first step is to send a letter to the transportation manager at the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). “It’s a lengthy process,” said Ritter. “A stop light is going to cost a million dollars,” he added.
There was some discussion of the multiple traffic dangers on Route 6 in that immediate vicinity. Selectmen voted to go ahead with the first step of sending a letter to SRPEDD.
SELECTMEN MEET TONIGHT, DISCUSSION ON NEW TRAFFIC LIGHT
(August 19, 2013 ) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center tonight starting at 6:30 PM with an executive session followed by regular public session at 7 PM. One of the topics tonight will be a discussion of installing a new traffic light request for the intersection of Route 6 and Barney Avenue.
Other regular items on the agenda include: acceptance of a deed for land donated to the town adjacent to historic Anawan Rock located off Route 44; an agreement with Rehoboth Co-ed Softball League to use town property at 137 Tremont Street; and approval of a Chapter 90 project request fro $2,800 for a new salt shed for the highway department.
Selectmen will also engage in discussion with Senior Center Director Norie Palmer on the hiring of a part-time data entry staff person, and hear an update from members of the public safety building project committee.
REHOBOTH RESIDENT CONVICTED OF CRIMINAL HARASSMENT OF SELECTMAN
(August 16, 2013 ) (Updated August 17, 2013) In a court case that began in 2011, a Rehoboth senior citizen was convicted in Taunton District Court on Wednesday of sending “insulting and accusatory” letters to Selectman Michael Costello and his wife Susan.
Following a two-day trial, a jury found sixty-eight-year-old Harvey Bigelow guilty of two counts of criminal harassment. He is being held without bail pending a sentencing hearing set for August 21. Bigelow could face up to 2 1/2 years in jail on each count plus a five of up to $1000.
Bigelow was originally charged with sending anonymous harassing letters in May of 2011 to the Costellos along with Selectman Dr. Joseph Tito, MD and his wife. After a five-month investigation conducted by Rehoboth police detectives Brian Ramos and Jasson Ferreira, officers conducted a search of Bigelow’s home on Cedar Street 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 before being released.
He was arraigned later on four charges of criminal harassment, two of which were dismissed in February 2012 when a judge ruled letters sent to Tito and his wife did meet the requirements for criminal harassment.
“Although the letters that I received (as well as those received by Bonnie Kelly and Lorraine Botts) were not included in the recent criminal case, I feel personally vindicated by the guilty verdict against Mr. Bigelow,” said Tito this morning. “I am happy that Mike and Susan Costello have some closure over this and I look forward to reading Mr. Bigelow's apology in the newspaper.”
Selectman Lorraine Botts commented, “I am very happy with the outcome of Mr. Bigelow's trial. It was long time coming, but justice prevailed.”
Bigelow’s attorney, Drew Segadelli of Taunton, had proclaimed his client’s innocence since charges were filed in 2011. Bigelow himself had always maintained the charges against him were false and politically motivated since he was considering running for a selectman’s seat. Attorney Segadelli said last year, when two of the charges were dismissed, that he believed his client would be exonerated on the remaining two charges.
Segadelli responded Saturday morning with a statement he believes Bigelow will appeal his conviction. “It troubles me that a jury could convict him with evidence that was inconsistent,” he said. “The sworn testimony of the key witnesses (the Costellos) did not corroborate.”
According to Costello, the judge on Wednesday asked Bigelow why he wrote the letters. “He said he was sorry,” said Costello, “and that thinking about it now, he probably shouldn’t have done it.”
When asked, Segadelli said his client agreed to write a letter of apology, but that was not necessarily an admission of guilt. “That’s a matter of interpretation,” he emphasized.
Prosecutors asked the judge to consider a 90-day jail sentence along with mental health treatment while the Costellos requested tha sentence to be reduced by thirty days. Following the verdict, the judge ordered Bigelow placed in custody until the sentencing date in seven days. During the time, Bigelow is to write a letter of apology to the Costellos which will be sent to local newspapers for publication.
“We feel bad for him,” emphasized Costello, “and hope he finds himself and gets the help he needs.” He said before this happened he had never met or spoken a word to Bigelow, but considered the letters a outrageous attack on he and his wife’s characters. “The letters were vicious, things you couldn’t print.”
“I am very glad that the judge insisted on an apology letter from Mr. Bigelow to Mike and Susan Costello,” said Susan Pimental, chairman of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. “I think Mr. Bigelow owes an apology to many people in town.”
WNV INFECTED MOSQUITOES DISCOVERED IN DIGHTON AND TAUNTON
REHOBOTH ADDED TO MASSACHUSETTS EEE RISK MAP
(August 14, 2013) State public health officials are reporting new evidence of mosquitoes infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV) in both DIghton and Taunton. In response, the Dighton board of health will be calling for suspension of sports activities after 7 PM in the northwest section of town, according to Dighton Selectman Patrick Menges, as reported in the Taunton Gazette.
The number of infected mosquitoes in Bristol County is growing since last week when Attleboro, Norton and Seekonk were added to the list. Additionally, the number of infected insects continues to grow in Fall River and Easton. Freetown remains the community with the most number of infected mosquitoes discovered through continued surveillance and data collection.
Additionally, Rehoboth’s risk level for EEE infected mosquitoes was raised this week from low to moderate by the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health. The closest other communities to have an elevated risk level are are in central Bristol County. The only areas of critical risk for EEE infected mosquitoes are in Amherst and Belchertown.
SELECTMEN SUSPEND BUSINESS LICENSE FOR THIRTY DAYS
(August 13, 2013) Rehoboth selectmen last night voted to suspend a Class II car sales business license for thirty days after owners failed to sufficiently clean up WigWam Auto Sales, a used car dealership on Route 44.
On July 9, a public hearing was reconvened to revoke the license after selectmen gave owners Jose and Maria Silveira two weeks to clean up their property -- one deemed a hazard by the town’s board of health. Along with being a repository of junked cars and other material, the property contains a condemned building, and is in violation of conservation issues including wetlands encroachment.
The owners and their attorney were brought before the board of selectmen early in the year to address the problems and were given six months to clear the junk. According to Selectman Skip Vadnais, the junk problem on the property has been going on for the past sixteen years.
The owners were threatened with revocation of their license in June because little progress had been made. Their attorney argued his clients needed more time and financial resources to comply.
The thirty-day license suspension approved by selectmen last night was postponed for 48 hours to give owners the opportunity to conclude scheduled car sales. The public hearing will be reconvened again after the suspension period to allow owners additional time to clean up their property before the BOS officially revokes their license.
WHEELER STREET BRIDGE PROJECT MOVES FORWARD
(August 13, 2013) Reconstructing the Wheeler Street Bridge is one step closer to reality after Rehoboth selectmen last night voted to approve spending $171,210. as the town’s 20 percent share of total project costs. The bridge, destroyed during flooding in March 2010, is the last of three washed out bridges to be repaired.
A public discussion was held earlier this summer with residents to examine options -- to reconstruct the bridge and reopen the road or contain the area and close the road. Both options would cost the town money, estimated around $200,000, beyond what will be paid for by state and federal funds.
The new bridge, overseen by the state transportation department under federal authority. The BOS approved a contract with Greenman-Pederson, Inc, a civil engineering firm based in New York.
A project request form has been submitted to the Massachusetts Highway Department for approval. The project is anticipated to be begin in July 2014 when the town requests proposals for construction. Officials say the “award for construction and notice to proceed” will be issued October 2014. Given the administrative timetable, new bridge completion may be accomplished in 2015, five years after the bridge washed away.
SELECTMEN HAVE BUSY AGENDA TONIGHT, DISCUSSION OF LAWSUITS
(August 12, 2013) Tonight the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet at the senior center beginning with an executive session at 6 PM followed by a regular session open to the public at 7 PM.
According to the posted agenda, the BOS will privately discuss issues related to two properties in town, a residence at 138 Chestnut Street and the commercial property on Route 44, WigWam Auto Sales. Selectmen will also address a grievance submitted to the police union, plus discuss four ongoing lawsuits against the town -- RePAC vs. TOR, Kotch vs. TOR, DRRSD vs. TOR and Godfrey vs. TOR.
Selectmen have a busy agenda for the regular session starting with a discussion with Town Clerk Laura Schwall about town office hours. There will be a vote to appoint a new police department sergeant followed by a public hearing continuance with the owners of WigWam Auto Sales regarding the potential revocation of their business license.
The Rehoboth Land Trust has requested approval by selectmen for a conservation restriction for a a parcel of land on Carpenter Street. Selectmen will also vote to approve items related to the Wheeler Street Bridge repairs; approve a proposal from the highway department for a salt shed, and approve a budget amendment from the highway department.
Along with setting the date for the autumn town meeting and special town meeting, selectmen will dealt with several routine business items before opening the meeting to open public forum.
MOSQUITOES WITH WNV: RAYNHAM ADDED TO BRISTOL COUNTY LIST
(August 8, 2013) According to the latest mosquito data, captured insects infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV) have now been discovered at three locations in Raynham. As of August 5, infected species with WNV were also discovered in New Bedford and again in Easton.
In Plymouth County, mosquitos testing positive for WNV were discovered in Lakeville earlier this week, adding to previous confirmations of WNV collected in July in Abington, Brockton, Hanover, Mattapoisett, Rockland, West Bridgewater and Whitman.
MOSQUITOES WITH WEST NILE VIRUS DISCOVERED IN NEARBY COMMUNITIES
(August 7, 2013) The mosquito season is well under way and so far insects infected with the West Nile Virus have been discovered in several communities in Bristol County.
Two days ago, Massachusetts Department of Public Health identified a moderate risk level for a corner of southeastern Massachusetts including Swansea, Fall River, Freetown, Westport, Dartmouth and New Bedford. Yesterday, DPH officials notified public health authorities in Attleboro and Seekonk that infected mosquitoes had been found. Infected insects have also been found in Norton and Easton.
A “moderate” risk level means the WNV infection has been discovered and people are urged to wear repellent, wear long sleeves and long pants, use netting on baby carriages and playpens, and dump standing water twice weekly.
The Bristol County Mosquito Control Project, chaired by Arthur Tobin of Rehoboth, monitors both larvae and adult mosquito populations through surveillance and trapping. Insect control is accomplished with larviciding and adulticiding of insects in selected areas. Rehoboth residents can contact BCMCP to request spraying.
The deadline to request an exclusion from pesticide spraying has past. Requests must always be done by certified letter to the town clerk by March 1 of any year and is effective from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. If you would like to learn more about the pesticide used, click here.
REHOBOTH NAMED THIRD ‘HOTTEST’ TOWN IN MASSACHUSETTS
(August 2, 2013) Based on data provided by The Warren Group comparing home sales from 2012 to 2013, Rehoboth came in number three on the ‘Top 25 Towns in Massachusetts’ for the year’s second quarter in a report announced yesterday on Fox News.
John McGeough, co-broker and owner of Waltham-based McGeough Lamacchia Realty, appeared on the Fox 25 Morning News broadcast to discuss towns on the list. A minimum of 25 homes sales for a quarter is required for a town to make the list that helps determine if a community is a sought after location for homeowners.
Rehoboth, placing third following Norfolk and Upton, has a median price of $330,000 for a home, a 16 percent increase over the second quarter of last year. Nearby Swansea, in sixteenth place, is the closest nearby town to make the list.
FRESH PRODUCE FOR ELIGIBLE LOW INCOME ELDERS
(August 1, 2013) Bristol County Elder Services, working with the Department of Agricultural Resources, is offering farmers market coupons for eligible senior citizens through the Rehoboth Council on Aging. Elders who already receive assistance (Medicaid, food stamps, fuel or housing assistance) are eligible to receive a $25 coupon to use at participating farmers markets. Coupons are limited and must be obtained in person. Please call the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 508-252-3372 for more details. Rehoboth: Call the COA at 508-252-3372.
$20K NEEDED TO BEGIN VETERANS MEMORIAL CONSTRUCTION
(July 31, 2013) Members of the Veterans Memorial Committee told selectmen on Monday night they still need another $20,000 dollars before they are able to break ground and begin construction.
Committee chairman Ken Abrams said that while $30,000 has already been raised or pledged, another twenty thousand will be needed before they are able to begin the project. The new memorial, consisting of a large gazebo, memorial walkways and a small parking will be constructed on the far end of Redway Plain on Route 44. The town-owned property is overseen by the park commission and used for events such as the annual Harvest Block Party. The new gazebo will have electricity and be available for public use such as concerts.
The memorial will commemorate Rehoboth veterans from King Phillip’s War to present day. For practical purposes, the plans include keeping open space for future conflicts. The walkway surrounding the gazebo will feature fourteen sections made up of bricks engraved with the names of Rehoboth veterans of each specific war or conflict. Those servicemembers killed in action will be designated with a star on the brick.
According to Veterans Services Director Bill Saunders, the committee welcomes sponsorship of each of the local veterans sections for a donation of $5000. The sponsor of that section will be recognized on the walkway. The committee aims to raise $150,000 to complete the memorial site.
Another section of walkway will contain commemorative bricks engraved with the names of any veteran of any conflict. The public is invited to purchase these engraved bricks (seventeen characters on each of three lines) for a donation of $100 each. The walkway leading up to the gazebo will also contain engraved bricks. Anyone can purchase a brick to recognize any individual, group, or business.
Those wishing to help get this project up and going, should consider making a donation or purchase commemorative bricks soon in order to raise the additional $20,000 needed to begin construction.
BOS TONIGHT: EMERGENCY SERVICES DISCUSSION
(July 29, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session to discuss ongoing lawsuits, Morra vs. Casey, and RePAC vs TOR. The auctioneer contract for town properties is also on their agenda.
Regular session will include a discussion with Bill Maiorano, director of the Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (REMA) on emergency medical services followed by a vote to approve a REMA grant contract.
Other agenda items include a discussion of a Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant proposal, a state program to incentivize and support innovative regionalization and other cost saving initiatives. $2.25 million in CIC grants were awarded to twenty-seven recipients representing 162 towns and cities for FY2013 to fund a wide range of projects in education, public health, financial services, public works and environmental affairs, information technology, transportation, public safety, housing, veterans services and library services.
One of the 2013 grant recipients was the Southeast Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). Although a member of that group, Rehoboth did not participate in their project of expansion of electronic records and permitting for fire departments.
Selectmen will also address several other routine business items before opening the floor to open public forum.
VETERANS MEMORIAL QUESTION & ANSWER PRESENTATION TONIGHT
(July 29, 2013) Tonight during the regular session of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting, there will be a question and answer presentation on the new veterans memorial to be constructed on the Redway Plain. Committee chairman Ken Abrams will provide an update on fundraising progress and answer questions from the audience.
RFD PROVIDE THERMAL IMAGING FOR SEARCH PARTY
(July 28, 2013) The Rehoboth Fire Department provided assistance to Attleboro police early yesterday morning including the use of thermal imaging equipment to locate victims of a motor vehicle accident that disappeared from the scene.
Shortly before 2 AM, Rehoboth Station Two firefighters, along with Deputy Chief Frank Barresi, were dispatched to a car vs. tree accident in the area of 99 Agricultural Avenue in Rehoboth. While there, Rehoboth emergency personnel received a report of another accident at the Rehoboth/Attleboro town line on Reynolds Avenue.
Rehoboth units were redirected to the second accident scene. A vehicle had struck the town line sign along with a vehicle parked in a driveway before crashing head-on into a large oak tree. Crews from both departments began to treat and extricate the unresponsive driver.
It was determined there were other occupants of the vehicle missing. Thermal imagers from the Rehoboth engine were put into use to try and locate the remaining passengers. One victim was found behind the house where the vehicle had crashed. The Rehoboth crew remained on scene and continued to search for more potential victims for another thirty minutes. Another victim was located further north on Reynolds Avenue about 3 AM.
Conditions of the injured are unknown at this time and the accident remains under investigation by Attleboro PD and a reconstruction team from the Massachusetts State Police.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST RI MAN ON DRUNK DRIVING CHARGES
(July 28, 2013) Shortly before 8 PM last night, Rehoboth Police arrested a Rhode Island man on drunk driving and other charges on Wilmarth Bridge Road.
Patrolman Paul McGovern had observed a Black Jeep Cherokee operating at a high rate of speed and crossing the center line. After stopping the vehicle, the driver David A. Francis, age 59 of Park Street in Warren, RI was taken into custody and charged with a second drunk driving charge, negligent operation, and a marked lanes violation. Cash bail was set at $240. and Francis is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court tomorrow. Assisting Rehoboth police officers were Patrolman Jacob Miranda and Sgt. James B Medeiros.
RPD ASSIST TAUNTON POLICE WITH ARREST OF SUSPECTED HEROIN DEALER
(July 27, 2013) Yesterday afternoon the Rehoboth Police Department assisted Taunton police with a search of a residence at 124 Spring Street that resulted in the arrest of 24-year-old Cory J. Brescia of Rehoboth on charges of heroin possession and intent to distribute. Rehoboth officers assisting included Thomas Ranley, Craig Forget and Nicole Eastwood. Cash bail was set at $540. and Brescia is scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court on Monday for arraignment.
REHOBOTH MAN CHARGED WITH ARMED ROBBERY IN TAUNTON
(Updated July 27, 2013) Taunton police report the arrest of Rehoboth man last night on charges he robbed the Mutual Gas Station on Winthrop Street around 5:45 pm after claiming he had a bomb.
Zachary Faria, age 24 of Homestead Avenue, allegedly approached a male clerk and threatened him by showing a liquid-filled glass bottle with a tube and showed an object tucked in his waistband. According to Taunton police Lt. Daniel McCabe, the clerk gave Faria an undisclosed amount of cash before he fled on foot to a car parked nearby on Harold Street.
After Taunton police were able to obtain a license plate number from a bystander, Rehoboth police were notified. Soon after, Sgt. James Medeiros, along with Patrolman Thomas Ranley, stopped the vehicle on Fairview Ave and took Faria into custody. He was turned over to Taunton police and later positively identified by witnesses as the suspect. He was charged with armed robbery while wearing a mask or disguise.
NOAA HURRICANE PREP PRESENTATION SCHEDULED TONIGHT
(July 23, 2013) The Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency and Rescue Squad is sponsoring a presentation by the NOAA National Weather Service tonight from 7-9 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
The topic is Hurricane Season Predictions and Information for Preparedness, Response and Mitigation. While the target audience is emergency management and CERT personnel, REMA/Rescue invite interested citizens to attend. Those interested in attending are asked to call 774-371-0017 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For detailed information on hurricane preparedness, go to our special page: REMA: Hurricane Preparedness
BOS HEAR COMPLAINT ABOUT DECREASED SPEED LIMIT
(July 23, 2013) A Reed Street resident addressed the Rehoboth Board of Selectman last night with a complaint about a decreased speed limit sign and an increased police presence she called “almost harassment.”
Following a public discussion held on July 9 about the Wheeler Street Bridge, several concerned residents spoke about safety and traffic issues in the immediate area, particularly streets with access to Crestwood County Club. As a result, selectmen voted that night to increase speed limit signage and law enforcement in the area.
The new speed limit sign on Reed Street is posted 30 miles per hour, which according to selectmen is the speed established decades ago designation by the state. Any roadway without a posted speed limit sign is automatically a 40 mph zone.
“We wanted enforcement of the 40 zone,” said Jean Kasiak, who added that thirty miles per hour is “ridiculously slow for the area.” She added that police have been enforcing the new speed limit and it has become “a speed trap.” Selectmen confirmed they directed police to enforce the new speed limit. “You can call it a speed trap, but we are enforcing the law.” Kasiak asked the board for a copy of the documentation from the state designated the thirty mile per hour speed limit.
SELECTMEN TO DISCUSS TOWN GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
(July 22, 2013) Rehoboth selectmen will open a discussion tonight at the senior center on the town’s “goals and objectives” regarding many complicated and potentially controversial issues -- a new town hall, a new public safety building, new low-income elder housing, using the old Anawan School, labor contracts and the town’s capital improvement plan.
Following an executive session to discuss the ongoing lawsuit between RePAC and the town, selectmen will open the public meeting at 7 PM. Other topics on the agenda include the appointment of a town photographer along with additional appointments to the Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (REMA), and the new Zoning Bylaw Review committee.
Selectmen will also vote to sign a deed for an open space parcel at Cedar Hill Estates as approved by citizens at the May town meeting. Open public forum will be held before individual selectmen’s reports.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN HAVE BRIEF AGENDA FOR JULY 15 MEETING
(July 15, 2013) Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning with an executive session at 6 PM followed by a regular public segment at 7 PM. The agenda is relatively brief and includes a discussion with Don Backlund who will update the board on the town insurance needs for this fiscal year. Other items include the review of a draft charge fro the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee; a vote to approve a budget amendment of $2,808 for the police department; and a vote to waive the town’s right to purchase a Chapter 61A parcel on Tremont Street.
SELECTMEN THANK TOWN EMPLOYEES AND CITIZEN VOLUNTEERS
(July 14, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen recently thanked both town employees and citizen volunteers at an ice cream social held before the board’s July 8 meeting at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center
“This was an opportunity to demonstrate, in a very small way, our appreciation to the employees of the Town and the citizen volunteers who serve on all the Town boards, commissions and committees for their service to the Town over the last year,” said BOS chair Susan Pimental.
About fifty town employees and municipal volunteers were able to attend the social and enjoyed ice cream courtesy of Uncle Ed’s Front Porch on Route 44. Norie Palmer, Director of the Senior Center, coordinated the occasion that could very well become an annual event.
ALTERCATION NEAR REHOBOTH TOWN OFFICE RESULTS IN ARREST
(July 11, 2013) A Norton man was arrested late yesterday afternoon around 5:30 PM on Peck Street near the Rehoboth Town Office following an altercation with his girlfriend.
Responding to a call from a third party reporting a domestic disturbance, Sgt. Richard Shailor and Officer Keith Perry located a female victim who alleged her boyfriend had stuck and choked her during an altercation. She told officers she tired to prevent her boyfriend from leaving by sitting on his car and he drove in a manner to intentionally throw her off. She alleged he also threatened her not to call police and report the incident. The victim was treated for visible minor physical injuries by Rehoboth Ambulance.
Andrew Hoyle, age 21 of Bay Road in Norton was arrested at his resident with assistance from Norton Police and transported to Rehoboth police headquarters. Hoyle was charged with domestic assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon (a vehicle) and intimidating a witness. He was set to be arraigned this morning in Taunton District Court.
OLYMPIC ATHLETE TO VISIT REHOBOTH SUMMER CAMP
(July 11, 2013) Olympic cross-country skier Kris Freeman will be in Rehoboth tomorrow visiting young campers with diabetes and their family members at “Camp Jack” located on the grounds of Camp Buxton off Pond Street. In partnership with Eli Lilly and Company, this is Freeman’s 9th annual camp tour across the country.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19, Freeman was told his dream of becoming an Olympic athlete was not possible, yet he transformed himself into on of the country’s premier cross-country skiers. He competed with the U.S. Ski Team in both the 2002 and 2010 Winter Games and is currently training in New Hampshire for the 2014 games.
The Jack Rua Camp for Children with Diabetes is held each year summer at Camp Buxton off Pond Street. Campers with diabetes from 5 to 14 years of age, along with siblings or friends, attend Camp Jack during July and August. The camp is run by People Incorporated of Fall River and Diabetes Association, Inc.
FUTURE OF WHEELER STREET BRIDGE COMPLICATED
(July 9, 2013) Dozens of concerned Rehoboth residents attended an informal public discussion on the future of the closed Wheeler Street Bridge held during the regular meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night at the senior center.
BOS Chair Susan Pimental prefaced the discussion by saying selectmen have no authority to close a road. “We want to have a conversation,” she said. “Does it make sense to use money to have it repaired or not.” Flooding of the eleven-mile Palmer River and its tributaries in April 2010 closed four bridges in Rehoboth including the Wheeler Street Bridge that washed away completely. After declaring a state of emergency, selectmen pledged to apply for aid from various federal sources. While bridges on Moulton, Carpenter, and Danforth streets have long been repaired, Wheeler Street remains closed. Residents are upset and say the detours are adversely and dangerously affecting traffic in that area of town.
Three months ago, resident Melissa Enos addressed her concerns in a letter to the editor published by RehobothNow including a photo of the bridge showing a dangerous eyesore with an accumulation of debris including old utility poles. All five selectmen were sent copies of the letter and photo by RehobothNow for comment. They quickly addressed the Wheeler Street Bridge concerns at their regularly scheduled meeting that same night. Selectmen Mike Costello, liaison to the highway department, voiced concern that barrier fence and no trespass signs were missing and promised immediate action. Plans for bridge repair were not addressed at that time.
Selectmen again discussed the Wheeler Street Bridge on May 28 and offered some cost estimates. Building a new bridge, they said, would cost $250,000 in engineering alone. The town would also be responsible for footing 20 percent of the total cost of construction, which could run up to one million dollars. Closing the bridge would also be costly, at least $150,000.
Last night Selectman Costello reported he recently learned the town would receive more federal funding for engineering and rebuilding than previously anticipated. He said the project would be controlled by state and edearl transportation and safety agencies.
Jeff Ritter, town administrator, cautioned the audience that “numbers are very murky things when it comes to road repair.” He suggested that even closing the bridge may have hidden costs. “We are obliged to restore the pre-flood water flow conditions,” he emphasized. “We are mandated to restore 160 square feet of flow.” Ritter has consistently stated the project would take about two years to complete once a plan was approved.
Ruben Perez, a resident of Reed Street, addressed the board first saying there was “lots of misinformation” and the “silent majority have not spoken up because we’ve heard it (the bridge) was not going to be fixed.” He addressed resident concerns about increased traffic, noise and dangerous pedestrian conditions in that area of town created since the bridge washed out over three years ago. He presented a petition signed by 75 residents asking selectman to rebuild the bridge.
“It’s upsetting me that people think the selectmen want to close the bridge,” said Costello. That sentiment was shared by fellow selectmen who emphasized their intent has always been to rebuild. Additionally, it was emphasized that rebuilding is not really the issue, a decision to not rebuild would necessitate a warrant article at town meeting.
Several concerned residents spoke about safety and traffic issues in the immediate area, particularly streets with access to Crestwood County Club. Selectman Skip Vadnais suggested meeting with owners the country club/golf course and warn them the Rehoboth Police Department will increase enforcement. “I want to see results,” said Vadnais, who said he wants to see police start “writing tickets.” He also suggest looking at signage in the area and post speed limits on Wheeler, Water, and Lake Streets, as well as truck weight limits.
To the applause of the audience, Vadnais motioned to increase signage and law enforcement with ample warning and selectmen unanimously approved.
Residents also complained about not being able to communicate easily with town officials. To that issue, selectmen responded by saying the town website would be utilized to give updates on the bridge issue.
SELECTMEN RESCIND ZOMBIE PERMIT, EXTEND WIGWAM BUSINESS LICENSE
(July 9, 2013) Three Rehoboth selectmen last night voted to rescind a one-day entertainment license and one-day malt beverage license granted on June 24 to Reed Productions for 5K “Zombie Race” on July 27 at Hobby Horse Farm on Route 118. Selectmen Michael Costello and Skip Vadnais abstained from voting.
Chairman Susan Pimental said selectmen had not realized the anticipated size -- over 4,500 registered participants -- and that number would violate town zoning bylaw. Reed Productions had originally scheduled the race in the small town of Willington, CT, but officials there rescinded their previously granted permits.
On June 28, an article published on CTNewsJunkie.com reported that new permits had been “secured for the event in Rehoboth, MA.” Event organizer Mark Henry was quoted as saying Rehoboth town officials granted the permits in three weeks time and “apologized that it took so long.”
According to the “Run for Your Lives” website, parking for the event was available for a $10 fee at Hawkswood Farm on Mason Street. While “zombie” passes ranging from from $67 to $97 were sold out, spectators were invited to attend the event free.
Lauren Gambler, a spokesperson for Reed Productions said they are “disappointed for the added inconvenience another event move delivers our participants.” She explained “we normally have more time to make a strong and compelling case” and they regret the Rehoboth business community will lose “a nice boost from our event.”
Gambler declined to answer several questions including how they first identified Rehoboth as a potential location and if any officials were involved in any aspect of event planning or coordination with Hobby Horse Farm and Hawkswood Farms. She also declined to comment about how participants and spectators were to be transported from Hawkswood Farm on Mason Street to Hobby Horse on Route 118. No information was available on local residents registered to participate.
Also at last night’s BOS meeting, a public hearing was reconvened on the revocation of a Class II license for WigWam Auto Sales on Route 44. Two weeks ago, selectmen gave WigWam owners Jose and Maria Silveira until yesterday to clean up their property of risk losing their business license. The Silveiras were represented by their legal counsel who gave selectman an update of clean up measures on the property. The business lot has been deemed a health hazard, contains a condemned building, and is in violation of conservation issues including wetlands encroachment.
Selectman Skip Vadnais said there has been a sixteen-year violation of the licence. “We want the junk removed,” he said because of health and conservation issues. The Silveira’s attorney admitted the plan he presented six months ago to clear the junk was impractical and his clients need more time and financial resources.
Selectmen Costello suggested the couple is “sitting on a gold mine” of material that can be sold as scrap, but questioned their ability to “let go” of anything.
According building inspector William McDonough, the building on the property is condemned and needs to be fenced off immediately for safety, although demolition could be postponed until the existing junk is removed.
“You waited until the timeline had lapsed,” admonished Selectmen Pimental, who continued the public hearing for another thirty days - thus granting the owners a license continuance. “There has to be some significant clean up,” said Pimental referring to the public health issues.
“I’m not sure what someone has to do to lose a license in Rehoboth,” said Selectman Joe Tito, “but, honestly, this is like pulling teeth.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE TEEN ARRESTED AFTER HIGH SPEED CHASE
(July 6, 2013) Early this morning around 2:30 AM, Rehoboth police responded to a report of bottles and trash being thrown from one vehicle at another and later arrested a teenager from Sandown, New Hampshire.
Police were dispatched to area near Anawan Street (Route 118) and Tremont Street and the vehicle in question was quickly located by Sgt. James Medeiros on Smith Street where it accelerated at a high rate of speed.
A chase ensued down several streets until the vehicle, driven by nineteen-year-old George L. Swenson, was pulled over on Slater St.
According to the police, Swenson was charged with failure to stop and reckless operation. He was later released on $140 cash bail and is scheduled for arraignment in Taunton District Court on Monday. Sgt. Medeiros was assisted by Officer Tim Bartucca.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED FOR SECOND DRUNK DRIVING OFFENSE
(July 6, 2013) Rehoboth police were dispatched to Reservoir Avenue on July 3 in the late evening after a report of a single vehicle accident. The driver, Ronald Mackenzie of Reed Street in Rehoboth, was arrested by Officer Jacob Miranda, assisted by Sgt. James Medeiros, and charged with a second drunk diving offense and negligent operation. Mackenzie was released on $250 cash bail and appeared inTaunton District Court today for arraignment.
ROUTE 6 CLOSED DOWN AFTER TRUCK HITS UTILITY POLE
(July 6, 2013) After an early morning accident Friday morning, a portion of Route 6 was shut down and restricted to one lane traffic near Barney Avenue. An unidentified truck driver hit a transformer pole near J & J Materials on Route 6 and brought down utility lines. Rehoboth police were assisted by Seekonk police. The driver was reported as uninjured.
SELECTMEN TO VOTE ON RESCINDING ‘ZOMBIE’ EVENT LICENSES
(July 5, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet at the senior center on Monday evening with a full agenda including a vote to rescind their prior approval vote to grant a one-day entertainment license and one-day malt beverage license issued to organizers of the 5K New England ‘Zombie’ Race and ‘Apocalypse Party’ scheduled for Sunday, July 28 at Hobby Horse Farm.
The event, organized by Reed Street Productions, was previously planned at a venue in Willington, CT until town officials there denied a special ‘festival-hosting’ permit. A Connecticut news website published an article on June 28 about the event moving to Rehoboth because of the small Connecticut town’s lengthy list of conditions. The town of Willington was criticized in an editorial published in the Hartford Courant.
The Monday, July 8 meeting will begin at 7 PM following an ice cream social for town employees and municipal volunteers. Other items on the posted agenda include a public hearing the ongoing discussion with owners of Wig Wam Auto Sales on Route 44 who were given two weeks to deal with board of health violations.
A discussion on the status of the Wheeler Street Bridge will also be held during the meeting. Abutters and neighbors were mailed notices so they may attend and participate in the discussion.
Other items of business include air conditioning issues at the senior center; the Anawan School Request for Proposals; reserve fund transfers and budget amendments; and a request to reduce the membership of the IT Advisory Committee.
REHOBOTH POLICE REPORT ARREST FOR VAN THEFT
(July 4, 2013) After receiving a call from a Tremont Street homeowner reporting his van stolen, Rehoboth police yesterday arrested an Attleboro on a variety of changes including auto theft.
Rehoboth police say the home called in the early hours of Wednesday to report his 2006 Honda Odyssey had just been taken from his driveway. A short time time, Officer Timothy Bartucca observed the vehicle driving on Park Street towards Attleboro and stopped 42-year-old Gordon Davis of Prospect Street in Attleboro. Attleboro police assisted in the arrest and Davis was changed with auto theft, driving without a license, carrying a knife, resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer, threatening to commit a crime, and destruction of property.
During the arrest Davis complained of difficult breathing and was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital by Rehoboth Ambulance for evaluation and treatment. He was released and booked with cash bail set at $5040, and later transported to Taunton District Court for arraignment.
Rehoboth police did not reveal if there is any association between the unnamed Tremont Street homeowner and the suspect.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS GRADUATE FROM ACADEMY
(June 28, 2013) On June 26, two Rehoboth firefighters graduated from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy at a ceremony held in Fall River and received national certification as Firefighter I & II.
Firefighters Evan Barresi and Steven Przeszlo, Class #043, began academy training in January and were required to attend classes and drills two nights a week and every other Saturday for almost six months while maintaining their regular full-time jobs. While the RFD supplies personal protective equipment and texts, students are not compensated for their time to attend.
“Successful completion of the program and attaining certification requires a monumental level of commitment and not all who begin the class make it,” said Fire Chief Robert Pray. “On behalf of the RFD, we extend a ‘job well done’ to these firefighters as they continue to serve our community.”
Barresi is the son of Rehoboth Deputy Fire Chief Frank Barresi, a third generation firefighter and EMT who also serves Rehoboth EMS. His grandfather, a retired 38-year member of the Boston Fire dDepartment, was also in attendance at graduation ceremony.
Along with being a firefighter, Przeszlo also serves as a paramedic with Rehoboth EMS and works full-time for a private ambulance company.
REHOBOTH FINANCE COMMITTEE ANNUAL REORGANIZATION
(June 27, 2013) The Rehoboth Finance Committee will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 7 PM with an open meeting law announcement followed by the committee’s annual ‘reorganization’ conducted by Susan Pimental, chair of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. Other items on the agenda include reserve fund transfers, year-end budget amendments and liaison reports. Update - June 28, 2013 - Michael Deignan continues his role as FinCom chair, Gerry Schwall continues as vice-chair, and Kelly Hamilton-Welzel was appointed secretary.
REHOBOTH WELCOMES NEW TOWN CLERK
(June 25, 2013) Promising to “uphold the honor and integrity of the town clerk’s position,” Laura L. Schwall was formally sworn-in as Rehoboth Town Clerk during a ceremony held Friday, June 21 at the town office. The oath was administered by Kathleen Conti, who recently retired as town clerk after fifteen years of service.
In March the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen appointed Schwall to serve in as the interim clerk. She has volunteered in the clerk’s office since then learning the responsibilities of the position from Conti. “I felt it was important to spend as much time as possible learning the various systems to insure a seamless transition,” said Schwall.
Although town clerk is an elected municipal position, Schwall will serve as an appointee completing Conti’s term and then be required to run for office. Among the many responsibilities of town clerk, she will act as the official custodian and keeper of vital records, oversee elections, conduct the census, and issue licenses.
Schwall has lived in Rehoboth since 1998 and previously worked in the Dighton-Rehoboth School District for the past thirteen years. Her husband Gerald Schwall is vice-chairman of the town’s finance committee and her daughter Jennifer serves on the Rehoboth Veterans Memorial Committee.
SELECTMEN COMMIT TO MOVE FORWARD ON BIG ISSUES
(June 23, 2013) Rehoboth selectmen last night addressed many of the town’s major goals and committed to regular public updates on issues including a new town hall, public safety building and affordable housing for elders and veterans, and presumably adults with disabilities who qualify for that type of housing.
Town Administrator Jeff Ritter began by briefing selectmen on the Anawan School project that started in 2011. Although the original Request for Proposal (RDP) issued with a due date of June 27 was not successful, he said he will meet with an unidentified developer soon get perspective on reissuing an RFP that may be more attractive to potential developers.
Ritter also mentioned having a follow-up discussion with the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, a nonprofit organization that initially made recommendations and offered to assist the town with several aspects of the process. The original RFP offered a long-term lease of the site to a developer for the specific purpose of repurposing the school for low-income apartments.
Ritter briefed selectmen on “two massive projects that will consume years of work” including both town office and public safety building needs. There was some discussion on whether or not to create a separate town hall committee. The town has an existing Public Safety Building Space Needs Assessment Committee composed of Selectmen Mike Costello along with Fire Chief Bob Pray, Acting Police Chief James Trombetta, Health Agent Bob Ashton, Building Inspector Bill McDonough, and Ambulance Committee chair Scott Meagher.
While the public safety building committee has come up with a preliminary plans for restructuring and renovating the present building, residents must approve funding at town meeting for formal architectural plan required by state law. The town office poses other issues -- to expand and renovate the existing building and site, build something new or purchase an existing building.
Last summer residents voted against the selectmen’s plan to purchase an existing building on Route 118 and move the town offices there. While some officials have blamed an oppositional flyer sent to households for the defeat, some voters later said publicly they felt the selectmen’s plan was flawed, or the building was not large enough.
BOS chair Susan Pimental said she wants proposals ready for the autumn town meeting. “Put together a committee,” she told Ritter, to include the building inspector and other town officials. Ritter said having two town employees (who work in the building) on the committee “is essential” to the process. He emphasized this will be a lengthy process. He reminded selectmen the law requires submission of a formal plan to the state, but only after residents vote to approve funding for a formal architectural plan.
With regard to the town’s capital improvement plan, Ritter was asked by selectmen to provide them with a progress report every couple weeks. He additionally has requested monthly status reports from department heads.
POLICE INVESTIGATE CAR BREAK-INS; WARN RESIDENTS
(June 24, 2013) On June 22, the Rehoboth Police Department received several reports of overnight vehicle breaks in the area of Providence Street. The victims reported missing cash, gift cards and lose change. The case is under investigation by Officer James Casey and citizens are asked to contact him with any information related to the case.
The RPD takes this opportunity to remind residents to report any and all suspicious activity promptly. They suggest removing valuables from your vehicles at night and lock them. “Criminals like easy targets, don't let yourself be one!”
TAUNTON WOMAN ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE CHARGES
(June 23, 2013) A Taunton woman was arrested on Route 44 late yesterday evening on multiple vehicular charges including drunk driving shortly after 10 PM.
Rehoboth Police received a report of an erratic driver traveling eastbound towards Taunton. The called stated an SUV, a 2004 Mercury Mountaineer, had crossed over into oncoming traffic. Officer Keith Perry located the moving vehicle and confirmed erratic operation before pulling over Angela Tavares, age 35 of Taunton, who was driving with another woman and four children, ages 3, 7, 12 and 14, in the vehicle.
Tavares was arrested and charged with DUI, child endangerment, operating to endanger and a marked lane violation. She was booked and later released on personal recognizance by the bail clerk. She is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Monday. The incident was also reported to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families for investigation and follow-up. Officer Perry was assisted by Sgt. Richard Shailor and Officer Craig Forget.
MAN CHARGED WITH THEFT FROM CONSTRUCTION SITE
(June 23, 2013) Yesterday afternoon Rehoboth Police were called to a home under construction at 105 Cameron Way on the report of missing building materials and later arrested J-sun Raposo, age 36, of Seekonk on a larceny charge.
The homeowner arrived at the residence and saw an unknown vehicle parked in the driveway. He was able to get the license plate number before the driver left. After entering the home, he noticed construction materials were missing and then checked with his contractor to confirm that PVC trim boards, valued at $1800, were gone.
With the license plate number and vehicle description, Officer Forget identified Raposo. Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta, along with members of the Seekonk Police Department, arrived at Raposo’s residence where the suspect admitted taking the items and was then charged with larceny over $250. He was later released from Rehoboth police headquarters on $140 bail and scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court for arraignment on Monday.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE APPOINTS INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT
(June 22, 2013) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee has agreed to hire Michael F. Malone with a one-year contract to serve as the district’s interim superintendent beginning July 1.
Malone’s professional experience includes serving as both interim and superintendent of schools for Plainville, MA and as interim superintendent of schools for Middleboro, MA. He will figure prominently in the search for a new full-time superintendent for the D-R district.
On May 29, the D-R school committee interviewed three finalists for the permanent superintendent position including Anthony Azar from the New Bedford School District, Elise Frangos from the Old Rochester School District, and Richard Medeiros from the Somerset-Berkley Regional School District. None of the candidates received enough votes to be offered a contract.
According to Ray Medeiros of the school committee, Malone will be spending some time with the present interim superintendent Dr. Jennifer Elineema next week to begin the transition process.
FIRE CHIEF THANKS ANONYMOUS 911 CALLER
(June 18, 2013) At last night’s selectmen’s meeting during public announcements, Fire Chief Robert Pray praised the anonymous 911 caller who reported seeing smoke coming from a residence on Plain Street on Sunday night.
“Thank you to the passing motorist who called 911,” said Pray, “you made a big difference in the outcome.” He explained the 911 call alerted police on patrol and Officer Keith Perry was able to make it first on the scene to help the homeowner, who received second and third degree burns, out of the burning kitchen. Because of rapid response of firefighters, the fire was kept to the kitchen and quickly knocked down.
Pray urged residents to always call 911 if they see smoke or fire so the fire department can check it out. He also reminded the public to have working smoke detectors in the home. “Call the station if you need assistance installing a smoke detector or can’t afford to buy one,” said Pray.
REPORT OF SUNDAY HOME FIRE ON PLAIN STREET
(June 17, 2013) According to published news reports and television news, a home fire in Rehoboth resulted in injuries to both a resident and police officer. The address of the home was given as 54 Plain Street, but no names were provided for either the resident or police officer involved. Details of the incident were sketchy but reports said an unidentified police officer was driving by the residence and saw the fire, went inside and pulled an occupant to safety. According to Rehoboth Fire Chief Robert Pray, the occupant sustained “serious burns” and was transported to the hospital along with the police officer.
Update: Responding to a request for more information, Rehoboth Fire reported it was Officer Keith Perry who first discovered the fire while on patrol about 7 PM yesterday. He entered the home and was able to pull the occupant from the building before firefighters and EMS arrived at the scene.
According to Deputy Chief Frank Barresi, firefighters were able to quickly knock the fire down. Both Officer Perry and one firefighter were transported to the hospital for evaluation. The resident was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with serious burns.
The fire remains under investigation by the RFD and troopers from the State Fire Marshals office. Norton and Swansea fire departments provided station coverage.
REHOBOTH TODDLER INSPIRES OTHERS
(June 15, 2013) A little girl named Emma from Rehoboth threw the first pitch at a recent PawSox game after raising more than $5,300 for the Meeting Street Walk-N-Roll fundraising event held on May 19. Unable to walk and barely able to speak, Emma, at three-and-a-half years old, inspired a stadium full of fans, including the 51 friends and family who supported her.
When asked how Emma gathered so much support, her mother Meg Saxon said, "She is so sweet and patient, a real hard worker … it’s remarkable how much she’s gone through so early in life. I think that’s why everybody loves her so much. She never cries; she puts up with everything. She goes through a lot and yet she never complains.”
After attending Meeting Street for only seven months, Emma has made tremendous progress. She communicates better with her parents and friends, and grows stronger physically every day. To help continue her success, Meeting Street provides Emma with the opportunity to do physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as hippotherapy or equine-assisted therapy (outside Meeting Street).
When Emma was born, her parents expected a typical healthy child. "This is the first child with special needs in both our families,” said her mother.
“We learned a lot throughout the process. We went through things we never thought we would go through, we have seen things we never thought we would see. We learned a lot, we grew a lot and we would never change Emma for any other kid in the world."
Doctors remain unable to diagnose Emma’s condition, and for now she appears impossible to label. Despite the uncertainty, Emma’s parents continue to be hopeful for their daughter continued improvement and see her future filled with possibilities.
Looking back on the Walk-N-Roll event, Mike Scanlon, Emma’s dad, admits that they never expected the number of people who came onboard for the fundraising event. “We had the support of family and friends, but then neighbors joined our team and Emma’s therapist, and the nurses who cared for her as a baby, and then people from all the stages at her life got involved,” he said. “We formed a team as soon as we received the invitation; we just wanted to have a good time and roll with it.”
NATIONAL GRID PLEDGE IMPROVEMENTS TO SERVICE
(June 11, 2013) Last night, representatives from National Grid told selectmen they are confident progress will be made to improve services in Rehoboth within the next six months starting with the area of Route 44.
While it will be five years before a new substation is up and running for Rehoboth, over 3000 transformers need to be replaced in advance. The power company assured selectmen their multi-year plan includes upgrades in the mid-town area next year to “address deficits previously causing long outages.” Currently improvements are being made in the northeast corner of town.
Working along a straight line such as Route 44 is easier than many other areas of town where construction will “depend on easements from homeowners for anchors.” National Grid pledged to work with property owners to make improvements that will greatly reduce outages from days to hours.
SELECTMEN BREEZE THROUGH LENGTHY AGENDA:
APPROVE CODE RED ALERT SYSTEM; ABANDON SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT
(June 11, 2013) Rehoboth’s five selectmen sped through a meeting agenda with sixteen action items in seemingly record time last night. Following a presentation by National Grid officials updating them on improvement plans, the BOS gave their stamp of approval on the community emergency alert system, CodeRED, a program offered to residents of both Bristol and Plymouth counties.
Sponsored by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, CodeRED has been used for the past nine years in Plymouth County and expanded into Bristol County four years ago. The service is free and signing up is easy to do online. In Rehoboth, there are seven officials authorized to set off an emergency notification via the system. Residents who sign up will receive alerts via landline, cell phone, text message and/or email.
Selectmen also heard from special appointee David House who coordinated efforts to continue pursuit of a solar energy project at the town landfill. A previous attempt with Sun Edison was abandoned and a new request for proposal was issued without success. House said the previous three RFPs resulted in learning the potential of a solar installation on the landfill is “not worth the risk to the town.” He added that while the yet-to-be-constructed solar energy farm on private property on Tremont Street “will be somewhat beneficial to the town” he sees no “reason to try again with trying a large-scale solar project on town property. “We have nothing to entice large scale providers,” he noted.
The BOS rapidly approved the remainder of the meeting agenda including a $55,000 bid to construct fencing at the public safety building (police/fire headquarters). They also approved applying for a $20,000 South Coast Rail Technical Assistance grant offered to the 36 adjacent communities along the railway. Rehoboth will be requesting the grant to take a housing inventory and develop a strategy for future housing needs in town.
CITIZENS INVITED TO NOAA HURRICANE PREP PRESENTATION
(June 11, 2013) The Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency and Rescue Squad is sponsoring a presentation by the NOAA National Weather Service on Tuesday, July 23rd from 7-9 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. The topic is Hurricane Season Predictions and Information for Preparedness, Response and Mitigation.
While the target audience is area emergency management and CERT personnel, REMA/Rescue would like to invite interested citizens as well in an effort to help educate the public and share information on how to keep safe during a hurricane event.
Due to limited space, citizens interested in attending are asked to RSVP by calling 774-371-0017, or e-mailing email@example.com.
SELECTMEN MEET TONIGHT FOR HEAVY AGENDA
(June 10, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center to deal with a long agenda of business including an executive session beginning at 6 PM to discuss RePAC as well as issues related to 138 Chestnut Street.
Regular session will begin at 7 PM with an agenda of mixed business including a discussion with David House, the appointed coordinator for proposal requests related to a second attempt for a solar energy array at the town landfill. There will be a related discussion item with the building inspector on electrical fees for commercial solar installations.
Other discussion items include: a conversation with Joe Cardinal of National Grid on the power company’s planned upgrade on Route 44; a presentation by Nicole Callahan of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department on the Code Red Emergency Notification System; and a grant application from South Coast Rail Technical Assistance for a $20,000 “Housing Protection Plan.”
Selectmen will vote on several budget amendments before the end of the fiscal year and two requests for reserve fund transfers of $8,785 for the police department and $6,096 for town legal counsel. They will also vote to approve and sign an agricultural preservation restriction for Tranquil Lake Nursery property on River Street.
Other business will include: approval of a Chapter 90 final report of $29,353 for work on Elm, Pleasant and Wheeler Streets; approval of one-day liquor licenses, and a hawker and peddler license for Insight Pest Solutions; a one-day auctioneer license for the Holy Ghost Brotherhood of Charity; and a request to approve a charity bike race on June 22 and 23.
Open public forum is scheduled following the agenda of business items.
REHOBOTH AMBULANCE OPPOSE SECTION 92 OF STATE BUDGET
(June 6, 2013) The Rehoboth Ambulance Committee announced its support of the Coalition to Protect EMS (emergency medical services) in their campaign against Section 92 of the Massachusetts State Senate Budget that “threatens to decimate all of our local EMS systems.”
According to Reuben Fischman, deputy chief and operations manager the local ambulance committee, Section 92 “would remove our ability to determine fair rates for the services we provide.” The town’s ambulance service is supported entirely through donations and reimbursements for services rendered. “The town currently enjoys an ambulance service that costs the tax payers no direct money,” explained Fischman, who added “there is not even a line item for EMS in the town budget.”
He says this could change if Section 92 is passed by the state senate. Because rates would be determined by the State Commissioner of Insurance, “small towns like Rehoboth must meet the same standards and carry the same equipment as high volume towns and cities,” said Fischman. “If the state sets the rates, small towns will suffer from a loss of income,” he said, “and this could result in a decrease of service, even potential service outages.”
The Coalition to Protect EMS, Inc, a non-profit organization, has an immediate goal of getting as many supporters as possible to contact state officials. “Section 92 threatens to “decimate all our local systems” and “shift the cost of EMS from health insurers directly to local taxpayers.” Detailed information can be found on their website and an online method to contact legislators can be found here.
The organization, however, does support H. 863 to “prevent big insurers from unilaterally slashing reimbursements for EMS and gives local communities authority to control rates for services.” The bill relative to payment for use of ambulance services was petitioned by Bristol County legislators James Timilty, Patricia Haddad, Robert Murphy, Christopher Markey, Paul Schmid, III, and Elizabeth Poirier.
POLICE CHARGE TEENS WITH MAILBOX SMASHING
(June 2, 2013) Two eighteen-year-olds face multiple charges after being arrested by Rehoboth police on Friday after an off-duty East Providence police officer saw youths smashing mailboxes in the area of 160 Danforth Street.
Officer Richard Cordeiro of the EP police department pursued the suspects on his own and was able to get them to stop before RPD Officer Craig Forget arrived on the scene to investigate.
Trevor Brown, age 18 of Chestnut Street in Rehoboth, and Riley T. Macdonald, age 18 of Wellington Street in Dighton were both charged with vandalism, possession of alcohol and open container in the vehicle. Macdonald was charged with driving without a license. Both suspects were released after posting $40 cash bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court tomorrow.
TOWN ADMINISTRATOR RECEIVES EXEMPLARY MARKS
(May 29, 2013) Rehoboth Town Administrator Jeff Ritter was praised last night by selectmen during his annual performance review. Given the choice of having a private review held during executive session or one held in public, Ritter picked public commentary by the five selectmen who each said he kept them informed and was always accessible.
BOS chair Sue Pimental said Ritter has done a “very good job” particularly with his work in the “process of developing a capital plan” for the town. She suggested he prioritize multiple projects to bring quicker closure and look at his staffing to make things more efficient.
“I’m happy I made the decision to appoint you,” said Selectman Mike Costello who praised Ritter’s decision to hold regular department head meetings, something that had not been in the past.
Selectman Dr. Joe Tito, who was BOS chair during the past year, said Ritter did a “terrific job” and “kept out of the sandbox” of town politics. “Having a full-time town administrator makes a big difference,” said Tito, who added that Ritter gets “extra points for it being Rehoboth.”
“Jeff makes everything stick,” said Selectman Lorraine Botts, who added Ritter has done a great job retrieving money owed to the town and finding new sources of municipal funding. “I have complete confidence in you,” she told Ritter.
Recently elected Selectman Skip Vadnais said that Ritter “really cares about his work and the community” and that “he knows what is going on in other communities.”
Ritter thanks the selectmen and acknowledged his “sizable and considerable staff” who support his efforts to establish and meet goals and objectives. “I continue to be challenged by my custodianship here,” he said, “and I enjoy it.”
TEEN CHARGED WITH THEFT OF GOLF CARTS
(May 29, 2013) Yesterday Rehoboth police arrested an unidentified sixteen-year-old boy charged with larceny and destruction of property related to the theft of two golf carts from the Sun Valley Golf Course on Summer Street.
Officer Nicole Eastwood received a report of missing carts and damage to a sprinkler head and flag at the golf course on Saturday, May 25. An investigation was initiated and the next day police received a tip about a stolen golf cart in nearby Rhode Island. East Providence police recovered one cart at a residence and another in a creek on Waterman Avenue.
The teen was taken into custody by Rehoboth police and later released to his guardian. He is scheduled to appear in Taunton Juvenile Court today.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN MEET TONIGHT FOR SHORT AGENDA
(May 28, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 6 PM for an executive session to discuss issues involving litigation, collective bargaining and town real estate. A regular session open to the public will begin at 7 PM.
The relatively short agenda includes a performance review of Jeff Ritter, town administrator, and a vote to accept the resignation of Theresa Dupre as a member of the IT committee. Selectmen will vote to approve departmental budget amendments, approve licenses, and address appointments and reappointments to municipal committees. Plans for the Wheeler Street repairs will be also be addressed.
The board will also hold a discussion with a representative from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department regarding the Code Red System. As always, open public forum will be held before hearing any reports from the individual selectmen.
KOREAN WAR VETERANS TO BE HONORED AFTER MEMORIAL DAY PARADE
(May 26, 2013) A ceremony to dedicate a new Korean War Veterans bronze plaque will be held tomorrow at Palmer River Elementary School at approximately noon following the Memorial Day Parade. The plaque replaces one that was stolen from the veterans memorial wall located in front of the school. Mrs. George Amaral will be unveiling the recently installed plaque listing all Rehoboth residents who served from in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
The combined Dighton-Rehoboth Memorial Day Parade, held in Rehoboth this year, will begin at 10:30 in the village at the Rehoboth Congregational Church. The parade route continues down Bay State Road, right onto Route 44 to Palmer River school. Route 44 will be closed during the period of the parade.
Officials from both towns, along with public safety personnel, are slated to participate along with veterans and community organizations; the Rehoboth Minute Company-13th Continental Regiment; the Dighton Inner Council; and the Dighton-Rehoboth Marching Band.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON MULTIPLE VEHICULAR CHARGES
(May 26, 2013) Early yesterday evening, Rehoboth resident Alexander Pereira, age 23, was arrested after being stopped by Sgt. Richard W. Shailor for speeding on Agricultural Avenue. Pereira, who resides on the same street, was placed in custody and charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, operating a motor vehicle with a revoked registration, and operating a motor vehicle without insurance (subsequent offense). He was booked and later released on $240 bail. He is due in Taunton District Court on 05/28/2013 for arraignment.
MAN ARRAIGNED ON ASSAULT CHARGES IN REHOBOTH
(May 25, 2013) A Rehoboth man was arraigned in Taunton District Court this week on Rehoboth police charges of assault and battery and ordered released on $240 bail.
Thirty-year-old Adam Wadsworth was taken into custody at 221 New Street after police responded to a call reporting a 34-year-old female with disabilities that sustained a leg injury. According to a police the woman they described as quadriplegic was transported by ambulance to Rhode Island Hospital where she was admitted. Information about her condition or the extent of her leg injury was not released.
A hospital social worker notified police the woman claimed she was injured by her brother who allegedly “body checked” her into a wall. While on the ground, she alleges he threw several glasses of water in her face. Police did not say if the injured woman resides at the New Street home. It is unknown if she seated in a wheelchair during the alleged event, or if her brother was her caregiver.
The case was investigated by Officer Ryan Brule and Wadsworth was charged with two counts of assault and battery (domestic and against a disabled person).
CLARIFICATION ON FLAG HALF-STAFF ORDER
(May 24, 2013) While there has been no Presidential or Gubernatorial order to fly flags at half-staff for victims of the tornado in Oklahoma, there is a state order from Governor Deval Patrick to lower the United States flag and Commonwealth flag to half-staff on Tuesday, May 28 from sunrise to sunset in honor of U.S. Army SPC Mitchell K. Daehling of Dalton, MA who died May 14 in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan.
TEEN CHARGED IN RI FOR REHOBOTH CAR THEFT
(May 23, 2013) A seventeen-year-old boy was charged in Barrington, Rhode Island with possession of a stolen pickup truck from a Rehoboth after hitting two cars parked in the driveway of a Barrington residence. According to a Barrington Patch report, the teen found the keys in the pickup and drove it to RI where he struck two parked cars on Mayfield Drive around 3 PM Sunday morning. After reportedly running away from the accident scene, he was located at his father’s home on Grassy Plain Road in Barrington. The unidentified teen was also charged with driving without a license.
STATE POLICE ANNOUNCE SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT
(May 22, 2013) Funded by a state grant, the Massachusetts State Police announced the implementation of a sobriety checkpoint somewhere in Bristol County from Friday, May 24 through Saturday, May 25. Motorists will be stopped but not overly inconvenienced according to Colonel Timothy P. Alben, superintendent of the state police. The checkpoint will be operated at varied hours and is intended to “educate and strengthen the public’s awareness for the need of detecting and removing motorists who operate under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs from the roadways,” said Alben.
MEMORIAL DAY PARADE AND CEREMONY INFORMATION
(May 20, 2013) The combined Dighton-Rehoboth Memorial Day Parade will be held in Rehoboth this year with participants lining up beginning at 10 AM in the village at the Rehoboth Congregational Church. Hopefully the parade will begin at 10:30, marching down Bay Street Road and down Route 44 to Palmer River Elementary School where ceremonies will include the honoring of Korean War veterans and the dedication of a new plaque honoring those from Rehoboth who served in that conflict.
Officials from both towns, along with public safety personnel, are slated to participate in the parade along with veterans and community organizations; the Rehoboth Minute Company -13th Continental Regiment; the Dighton Inner Council; and the Dighton-Rehoboth Marching Band.
IMPORTANT INFO ABOUT HUNTING AND FISHING LICENSES
(May 20, 2013) The Massachusetts Department of Fish & Game will no longer be printing and mailing licenses and permits. A state website MassFIshHunt now offers the ability to purchase and print licenses including fishing, hunting, sporting, recreational lobster permits, saltwater fishing permit and harvested game checking. The website also offers the ability to print duplicate licenses and permits free of charge. Freshwater fishing, hunting and trapping licenses may also be obtained from authorized agent locations. Rehoboth falls under the southeast district with an divisional office located in Buzzards Bay at 195 Bourndale Road.
LARGE CAT COLONY BEING RESCUED IN REHOBOTH
(Updated May 18, 2013) A cat rescue organization based in Plainville, MA is in the process of rescuing a large colony of cats from a residence in Rehoboth. According to Paws of Plainville, a friend of the property owner contacted them about up to cats and kittens living in or around a shed at an undisclosed location.
So far about half the animals, some sick, have been removed. They hope to find good homes for all the kittens and provide veterinary care and neutering for the felines. While eight kittens already have adoptive families, others are currently undergoing medical treatment. The organization has publicized an appeal for donations of cat food, funds to support medical care, and adoptive homes, particularly owners who would accept a kitten that is FIV positive. Click here for the organization’s website.
Selectman Lorraine Botts, who acts as animal control liaison, said the town’s animal control officer Jane Foster is fully informed and “keeping an eye on the situation.” Foster said she welcomed help from the Plainville organization “as they have the means” to perform a rescue of so many cats and obtain vet care for them.
“It costs one hundred dollars per cat for neutering,” Foster explained. “The cats being removed from the property are mostly kittens,” she added. She noted that “all it takes is five mother cats to have six or eight kittens each” and a small group grows quickly.
Botts has fought to get an animal abuse town bylaw passed after consulting on wording with town legal counsel and SPCA authorities. The other selectmen opposed her attempt to get the bylaw put into the town warrant at the annual spring town meeting. She plans to revisit the issue again and with public support get an animal abuse bylaw on the warrant for the fall town meeting.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED FOR SECOND OUI
(May 17, 2013) Yesterday afternoon Rehoboth police arrested a local man on several charges included a second operating under the influence offense. Officer Paul McGovern was monitoring traffic at the intersection of Kingsley Way and Davis Street when he observed a Gray Volvo sedan run the stop sign and flashing red light at the intersection. Randal Phillips, age 49 of Mason Street was taken into custody charged with drunk driving, an open container of alcohol, running a stop sign and negligent operation. According to police, he was held at the New Bedford House of Correction on $300 Cash Bail and will appear today in Taunton District Court for arraignment.
REHOBOTH LOSES TWO SUMMER TRADITIONS
(May 15, 2013) Two time-honored Rehoboth summer events will not take place this year, the Rehoboth Agricultural Fair and the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society’s annual summer clambake.
The fair, held at the Taunton dog track until the mid-1990s, was without a home for for years until Richard and Robert Pray offered the family farm on the corner of Almeida Road and Wheaton Avenue. Last year the multi-day fair and carnival was not held due to lease issues.
The clambake, although very popular, will not be held this year due to a collection of concerns including rising costs. Dating back to the antiquarian society’s earliest days, the first clambake was held in 1884. It was a community tradition for decades until an absence of 35 years following World War II, then revived by the society in 1984. According to organizers, last year’s ticket price of $35 per person barely covered the cost of an event , one intended to be a fundraiser for the RSA that operates both the Carpenter Museum and the Blanding Library/Goff Memorial Hall.
A ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR AWARD RECIPIENTS
(May 15, 2013) The Rehoboth Lions Club presented their 13th Annual Citizens Recognition Awards last week at a dinner ceremony held at Hillside Country Club. Award recipients this year included: Gary Kloss, Sr. who was awarded the Randall P. Silveira Public Safety Award. Virginia Fisher was named Senior Citizen of the Year. Robert Materne received the Environmental Stewardship Award. The Outstanding Achievement award was presented to Craig Warish, and the James Muri of the Rehoboth Planning Board received the Community Service Award. The Good Neighbor Award was given to Steve Brasier and Outstanding Youth Award was presented to both Keara Enos and Tyler Cardin. Robert Ashton of the Rehoboth Board of Health received the Public Servant Award. This year three people received the Educator of the Year Award - Elise Dubois, Timothy Tichacek, and Amanda Cimbron. The Joseph Deroche Outstanding Service Award was presented to Susan Pimental, chair of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.
REHOBOTH RESIDENTS TO DECIDE FUTURE DIRECTIONS
(May 13, 2013) Rehoboth residents will vote tonight on a full warrant of issues relating to municipal government at the Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting to begin at 7 PM tonight at the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School auditorium. A paper version of the meeting warrant was mailed to residents for review prior to the meeting and a online version is available on the town website.
Town meeting is Rehoboth’s traditional form of municipal government dating back to the community’s earliest days. Most all residents traveled by foot or horse to the meeting house twice a year to democratically make decisions affecting the entire settlement. Attendance at contemporary town meetings is statistically low with only a couple hundred voting residents from a population of well over 11,000 deciding the future direction of town government.
Among the decisions to be made at tonight’s special town meeting segment: FY13 budget adjustments; capital improvement stabilization fund; and snow and ice removal deficit funding. The annual town meeting warrant addresses some of the following issues:FY14 budget; spending $25K to hire professionals to review and update the town’s zoning bylaws; zoning bylaws related to medical marijuana facilities; an agreement with Citizens Energy for a proposed solar farm on private property; accepting a land gift adjacent to historic Anawan Rock; and several issues related to the Community Preservation Committee including a grant to repair and restore the famous gravestone of the Honorable Simeon Martin at Burial Hill Place.
Don’t forget: Boy Scout Troop 13 is sponsoring a donation collection for Helping Hands Food Pantry. Please bring a non-perishable food or paper good donation (remember to check expiration dates!). Thank you!
SELECTMEN AND FINCOM TO MEETING BEFORE TOWN MEETING
(May 13, 2013) Tonight prior to the start of town meeting, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet for approximately thirty minutes in the high school auditorium with an agenda to approve reserve fund transfers of $5,100 and $7,500 for the Rehoboth Fire Department. They will also continue a discussion about a pilot program involving Citizens Energy’s plans to construct a solar energy farm on private property located on Tremont Street.
The Finance Committee has also posted a meeting notice for 6:30 PM in the auditorium to address reserve fund transfers, and review special town meeting/annual town meeting warrants as needed prior to those meetings.
VETERANS MEMORIAL STILL HAS FAR TO GO
(May 13, 2013) The fundraising status thermometer on the Rehoboth Veterans Memorial informational website was updated last week. As of May 8, the committee has received donations or pledges in the amount of nearly $28,000 of the $150,000 needed to construct a memorial park area on the Redway Plain that includes a large, multi-use gazebo and memorial walkways. Donations can now be made easily online using PayPal that securely processed donations to the memorial through the Town of Rehoboth.
The website offers detailed information about purchasing memorial paver bricks for $100 to be set into the veterans walkway (any U.S. veteran of any war or conflict) or non-veterans walkway to recognized a friend, family member, business or supporter.
MOTORCYCLE-SUV ACCIDENT SENDS TWO TO HOSPITALS
(May 6, 2013) Yesterday afternoon close to 2 PM, Rehoboth Police responded to an accident in the area of 38 Plain Street in Rehoboth. A motorcycle operated by Robert Rego Jr., age 43 of Dighton, collided with a large SUV operated by Daniel Daluz, age 60 of Seekonk who was transported to Miriam Hospital with minor injuries. Rego was transported to RI Hospital with a severe left leg injury. The accident is currently under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.
SELECTMEN TO DISCUSS POLICY ON ANONYMOUS LETTERS
(May 6, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 7 PM with a lengthy agenda including a town policy on anonymous letters. They will also have a discussion with Town Moderator Bill Cute on next Monday’s special town meeting/annual town meeting; vote to accept the resignation of Maureen Brawley from the COA board; and discuss the appointment of Kelly Hamilton-Welzel to the finance committee. The selectmen’s agenda also includes a discussion of an unspecified “pilot program.”
LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER LEAVES DOOR OPEN, POLICE MAKE ARREST
(May 4, 2013) After finding the front door of a Rehoboth music studio left open early Thursday evening, Rehoboth police patrolman Craig Forget entered the business located at 51 Winthrop Street and discovered what appeared to be marijuana left out on a table.
Two more Rehoboth police officers, Lt. Bruce Dube and patrolman Ryan Brule, arrived on the scene soon after 5 pm to assist. Business owner Michael A. Fernandes, age 27, returned to his business and was immediately taken into custody in the parking lot while Rehoboth police waited for a search warrant. Additional RPD officers Paul McGovern, Nicole Eastwood and detective Brian Ramos arrived to assist in the search and seizure of an undisclosed amount of suspected marijuana and cocaine. They also seized cell phones, flash drives, computers, currency and scales. Bristol County Sheriff’s K-9 Deputy Chris Medeiros was also called to the scene.
Fernandes, a Taunton native, opened the recording studio in August 2012 and launched an internet hip-hop station. He was the subject of two business stories in the Taunton Gazette about his rise in the music industry and work with Lil Chuckee, a teen artist on Lil Wayne’s record label who has performed at schools in a Stop the Bullying Tour. Fernandes has hosted events for Lil Chuckee’s Save Our Community’s Kids Foundation that gives away backpacks stocked with school supplies.
According to Rehoboth police, they charged Fernandes with intent to distribute marijuana, a Class D substance, and possession of cocaine, a Class B substance, as well as committing a drug crime near a school zone. He was released Thursday night after posting $1,000 bail.
After arraignment yesterday in Taunton District Court, the charges against Fernandes were reduced to simple possession of Class B and D drugs. The court scheduled a pre-trial hearing of May 23 for the drug charges with a separate probation violation hearing for driving on a suspended license charge from 2012.
RESIDENTS ALERTED TO PHONE SOLICITATION SCAM
(May 2, 2013) According to Adam Latham, president of the non-profit Rehoboth Land Trust, someone has been making phone calls falsely claiming to represent the trust seeking “donations and/or memberships” and asking for a credit card number. Anyone receiving such a call should report it to the police; and they should not give their credit card number out over the phone to anyone claiming to be calling on behalf of the Rehoboth Land Trust.
LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER REPORTS MISSING MONEY; EMPLOYEE ARRESTED
(May 2, 2013) Yesterday afternoon Rehoboth Police were called to New England Tire and Battery on Fall River Avenue to investigate alleged theft of approximately $1000 over the past month.
After speaking with the business owner, Officer Keith Perry conducted a investigation and determined that employee Kyle Quijano of North Smithfield, Rhode Island was a suspect. Quijano was arrested and taken into custody at the business charged with breaking into a depository and larceny. He was also charged with possession of cocaine. He was later released on $40 cash bail and scheduled for arraignment today in Taunton District Court.
BECOME A FRESH AIR HOST FAMILY THIS SUMMER
(May 2, 2013) Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has provided more than 1.7 million inner-city children with the opportunity to enjoy these simple pleasures. This summer, share the beauty of your community with a child: volunteer for The Fresh Air Fund and host an inner-city child. You will join thousands of volunteer host families throughout 13 Northeastern states and Canada who open their hearts and homes to New York City children from low-income communities.
“Hosting our Fresh Air child the past three summers has given my children the opportunity to appreciate the things they take for granted,” said one host parent. Activities like fishing, visiting a farm, and having barbecues are novelties to many city children. Imagine summertime without swimming in a pool, playing in the backyard or gazing at the stars. For more information on how you can make summer special for a Fresh Air child, contact Claire Duckmanton at 401-301-4090 or The Fresh Air Fund at (800) 367-0003. You can also learn more about the Friendly Town program by visiting The Fund’s website at freshair.org.
RFD WARNS RESIDENTS OF FINE FOR OPEN BURNING
(May 2, 2013) Open burning season in Massachusetts has officially ended and the Rehoboth Fire Department warns that “any outdoor burning that takes place from this point on is illegal without the expressed consent of the Fire Chief.” Rehoboth residents will be fined up to $50 for the first offense. Please contact RFD with any questions at 508-252-3725.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES FEDERAL GRANT
(April 29, 2013) After three years of persistently applying for a Federal Assistance to Firefighters grant, the Rehoboth Fire Department has received congratulatory messages from the offices of both Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Joseph Kennedy, III.
The grant program, in existence since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, is funded by the federal government and distributes close to 300 million dollars a year. A grant of $103,313 for the RFD was awarded for personal protective equipment (PPE). The town only needs to match $5,000 to qualify for the grant, one pursued relentlessly by Fire Chief Bob Pray in an effort to protect the department’s seventy on-call firefighters.
The National Fire Protection Association requires replacement of PPE every eight years regardless of use. Currently the RFD has firefighters wearing PPE over ten-years-old. The cost to outfit a firefighter with full PPE is $2,000 and the grant will allow the department to purchase fifty sets.
BOS MEETS TONIGHT WITH PUBLIC HEARING ON ROADS
(April 29, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 7 PM with a regular public session. Topics on the agenda include a public hearing on layout of public ways including Talbot Drive, Harvest Road, Jameson Drive and Abbey Lane.
Selectmen will also review draft motions for the upcoming town meetings; vote to accept a $5000 gift to the Council on Aging; approve budget amendments for fire, BOS, the highway department; and vote to authorize the signing of a FEMA contract relating to Hurricane Sandy damage. The board will also vote to approve a Chapter 90 final report for engineering and design services for Elm, Pleasant and Wheeler streets; and vote to approve the MassCop Local 208 contract for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Other business will include an update from Bill Saunders of Veterans Services on several issues including the upcoming Memorial Day parade, Valor Act participation, and fundraising for the new Veterans Memorial on the Redway Plain.
REPAC VICE PRESIDENT ARRAIGNED ON EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES
(April 24, 2013) District Attorney Sam Sutter announced yesterday afternoon that 77-year-old Edward Schagrin, vice president of the non-profit Rehoboth Public Access Corp. (RePAC), was arraigned earlier that day in Fall River Superior Court after being indicted last month by a Bristol County Grand Jury on two counts of embezzlement and two counts of larceny over $250.
After pleading not guilty on all counts, Schagrin was ordered by Judge Raymond Veary held on $5,000 cash bail. According to his attorney Kenneth Fredette of Fall River, Schagrin was bailed out without being taken into custody and is due back in court on May 29 for a pretrial hearing. Additionally he was ordered by the judge not to transfer any money or property from REPAC accounts during the pendency of this case.
While Schagrin maintains his innocence, prosecutors claim he “embezzled more than $110,000, as well as video recording/editing equipment from RePAC and the Town of Rehoboth.” Schagrin feels the money was compensation for work performed and the equipment belonged to the RePAC.
The press release send from DA Sutter’s office described Schagrin’s activities as a scheme that was “ongoing for several years” and that accounting for his work hours is “contradicted by annual state public charity financial reports and tax filings from the years in question.”
Assistant District Attorney Patrick O. Bomberg handled the arraignment and assisted in a six-month investigation by Detective Brian Ramos of the Rehoboth Police Department and State Police Detectives assigned to the DA’s office. While Schagrin was formally charged, the investigation “remains active and ongoing” according to prosecutors.
The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen terminated the RePAC contract set to expire in 2014. They subsequently took over operation of public access (Comcast channels 9, 15 and 98) via the town’s cable advisory committee. In response, RePAC officials removed video and audio equipment used to record meetings at the town office, high school and senior center. Until compelled by law, RePAC officials refused to return any equipment for a period of several months. Selectmen claim they did not return all the equipment and the materials they did return were either broken or too outdated to use.
Just last week, selectmen voted to approve using cable access funds provided through Comcast subscriber fees to pay a $33,952 bill from the law firm of Kopelman and Paige. Removed as town legal counsel in 2012, Kopelman and Paige represented the town in the RePAC lawsuits. During FY12, the was paid $67,878 for RePAC vs. BOS with an additional $5,515 for fees related to cable access.
In the past four years, the town has spent considerable funds related to RePAC lawsuits, or cases involving either Schagrin or Roger Breault, president of RePAC. In 2009/10, the town paid more than $6000 to handle a lawsuit, Schagrin vs. Brady. In 2010/11 the town spent $7,446 on a TOR vs. RePAC lawsuit, and over $14,000 on Breault vs.TOR.
REHOBOTH MINUTEMEN CELEBRATE 20TH ANNIVERSARY
(April 22, 2013) Formed during Rehoboth’s 350th celebration, the Rehoboth Minutemen (13th Continental Regiment) celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and will participate in several events in May
Along with marching in multiple Memorial Day parades, the company will appear on May 11 at Rehoboth Community Covenant Church and give presentations at the Fall River Public Library on May 13 and the Attleboro Public Library on May 15. They will also be visiting local schools.
The historic reenactment group consists of members representing the original 210 patriots from Old Rehoboth (Seekonk, East Providence and Pawtucket) and Attleboro who answered the call to service on April 19, 1775. About 15 percent of the group have ancestors who were living in the country at the time of the American Revolution.
The group has joined reenactments from the Plains of Abraham in Canada to the field of Yorktown in Virginia. Twice they have been invited to set up their white wedge tents at Mount Vernon in George Washington’s yard.
“We have come a long away, and have done and learned so much,” said Cathy Potter, one of the group’s founders. They welcome new members into the unit which includes musicians age 12 and over.
The militia is open to men and women, at least 16 years of age. Drummers and musicians can be anyone age 12 or older. The unit has three colonial drums to use and five Brown Bess muskets to loan to new members. Families are welcome to participate as support members for the troops.
If you would like to learn more and be able to participate in upcoming events, please attend the next meeting of the Minutemen on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 PM at Palmer River Elementary School. Or you can call Capt. Al Soucey at 508-226-2551; Ensign John Carr at 508-252-3194; or Cathy Potter at 508-252-3682.
POLICE ARREST REHOBOTH MAN ON MULTIPLE CHARGES
(April 22, 2013) Shortly after midnight on Sunday morning, off-duty local police detective Brian Ramos reported a SUV against a rock wall at a property on Plain Street.
Patrolmen Tim Bartucca and Jake Miranda responded to investigate and interview the operator of the 1997 GMC Suburban. The driver, Jason, Dearborn, age 39 of Rehoboth, told officers he had pulled into the wrong driveway on his way home and struck the rock wall trying to back out.
Dearborn was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, negligent operation, unlicensed operation, and destruction of property. He was due to appear in Taunton District Court this morning for arraignment.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED FOR KIDNAPPING AND ASSAULT
(April 20, 2013) Rehoboth police have charged Lawrence A. Aubin of Brook Street in Rehoboth on an assortment of charges including kidnapping and assault.
Yesterday evening around 6:40 PM, police received a 911 call from a female who said she was being held against her will in a motor vehicle driving on Barney Avenue in Rehoboth heading towards Seekonk. She stated her son, age 48, would not let her out of his vehicle.
Seekonk Police were notified and located the vehicle traveling west on Route 6. A chase ensued and the vehicle was finally stopped on the Wampanoag Trail in East Providence, RI. Aubin, who was driving, was taken into custody after a brief struggle. He had outstanding arrest warrants in Rhode Island and was being held by EP police as a fugitive from justice.
Aubin has been charged by RPD with kidnapping, assault with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, driving with a suspended license, and operating to endanger.
BERKLEY MAN ARRESTED FOR DRIVING WITH NO LICENSE
(April 19, 2013) Yesterday in the early evening, Officer Paul McGovern of the Rehoboth Police Department stopped a motor vehicle on Tremont Street for speeding. Jason Ducharme, 28 of Berkley, MA was taken into custody and charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. He was booked and later released on $240 bail. He is due today for arraignment in Taunton District Court.
REHOBOTH POLICE CHARGE RI MAN WITH DUMP TRUCK DRUNK DRIVING
(April 18, 2013) After receiving a call reporting a hit and run accident yesterday evening, Rehoboth police arrested an East Providence man on multiple charges including operating under the influence of alcohol.
According to police, the caller reported a hit and run accident in the area of 75 Pleasant Street. The driver of a small dump truck allegedly struck a large stone, drove across a residential lawn and then fled the scene still dragging the stone.
Officer Paul McGovern followed these gauge marks for approximately half a mile before locating the vehicle parked off the roadway in a driveway. Manuel Lobao, age 62 of East Providence, was arrested and charged with drunk driving, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, and operating to endanger. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today.
GOVERNOR ORDERS FLAGS TO BE LOWERED TO HALF-STAFF
(April 17, 2013) Rehoboth Veteran’s Services shared the announcement that Governor Deval L. Patrick has ordered the United States flag and the Commonwealth flag to be lowered to half-staff immediately through sunset on Saturday, April 20 in honor of the victims of the “acts of violence perpetrated in Boston on Monday, April 15, 2013.”
This gubernatorial order applies to state buildings, public institutions and military installations, but private citizens may also follow the recommendation.
SELECTMEN TO DISCUSS POLICE BUDGET AND CONTRACT
(April 16, 2013) Police department issues are on the agenda for today’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting to be held at the senior center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session followed by regular session at 7 PM.
The BOS will vote to approve police budget amendments for $1,511 and $31,060 along with voting for a reserve fund transfer of $681. Selectmen will also vote to approve the Masscop Local 208 SOA contract for FY2009.
Other items on tonight’s agenda include approving a Chapter 90 project request for $10,300; deficit spending for snow and ice removal; and a discussion of local cable access legal bills. Selectmen will also vote to approve and sign the warrants for the May 13 special town meeting and annual town meeting.
POLICE IDENTIFY CRASH VICTIMS, LOOK FOR WITNESSES
(April 13, 2013) The Rehoboth Police Department has released the names of two young women seriously injured in a head-on motor vehicle accident that occurred on Route 44 Thursday afternoon.
Nichole Fontaine, age 28, of Dighton was the operator of one vehicle, and Elisabeth Amedee of Harrisville, RI, also age 28, was the other driver. Rehoboth firefighters used the Jaws of Life to remove the victims from their vehicles and both were transported to Rhode Island Hospital. Traffic on Route 44 was closed for around 90 minutes.
Police, currently investigating the crash, are interested in speaking with anyone who may have witnessed the accident. Please contact Patrolman Craig Warish at 508-252-3722.
TWO SERIOUSLY INJURED IN CRASH ON ROUTE 44
(April 12, 2013) Rehoboth Police are continuing their investigation of a head-on motor vehicle crash yesterday afternoon on Route 44 where both drivers sustained serious injuries.
After receiving several 911 calls to report an accident in the area of 289 Winthrop Street (Route 44), police arrived at the scene to find two vehicles with extreme front end damage. The drivers had to be extricated by the Rehoboth Fire Department using the Jaws of Life. They were both transported to Rhode Island Hospital with significant injuries. As of publication, information on the drivers had not been released by police.
Due to the expansive nature of the crash site, Route 44 remained closed for approximately 90 minutes while emergency crews worked to clear the crash.
CANCELLATION OF BROADCAST TOPIC AT SELECTMEN’S MEETING
(April 9, 2013) During the open public forum segment of last night’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting, Bob MckIm, a member of the cable advisory committee, expressed his opinion that public meetings, especially if advertised, should be broadcast.
He said it was “pretty close to being a form of censorship” and he doesn’t want to see things to back to the way they were” (with RePAC before their contract was terminated).
“We should let people see them (meetings) and make their own decisions,” said Mckim. “I know how you were trying to keep a situation from getting out of hand,” added Mckim who then expressed his confidence both BOS and FInCom chairs would be able to control any situation that may occur during a meeting that is televised.
Chairman Pimental acknowledged the criticism and said she did not want to be accused of censorship, but noted the town doesn’t have enough resources to film “every single meeting for every single board.” She said the BOS plans on work on a policy that will be presented it to the public.
Mckim noted that Richard Barrett of the cable advisory committee was there ready to film last Thursday night’s FinCom meeting before being asked not to. “We are ready to film everything and we are pretty much capable of doing that,” Mckim said of the cable access committee. Pimental responded by saying various committees meet at the same time and not all in places with studio facilities. “And some have never been televised,” she added.
“Going forward I think we should have a policy on what gets recorded and televised,” she said.
Selectmen Tito said he agreed with Mckim “that meeting probably should have been televised.” He said he was pleased that Pimental will pursue creating a policy of which meetings get broadcast or not, barring technical difficulties.
FinCom chairman Michael Deignan then apologized to “Mr. Mckim and to anybody watching on television” who may have been looking for the finance committee last week. “There has been a lot written and a lot has been bantered about that is not entirely accurate,” he said.
He said it was never his intention to have the meeting recorded because he had scheduled it to be held in the small conference room, but later moved to the larger room. He thought it would be a short meeting and felt it was not fiscally responsible to have a town employee spend the time to record the meeting.
Deignan also apologized to Derek Rousseau, who manages cable access, for putting him in the middle a position he had to “field some unfortunate comments from the folks who saw a black screen.”
He added that anyone is welcome to come to a meeting and record it and that he would not try to “stop them from doing that.”
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST ATTLEBORO MAN FOR DRUNK DRIVING
(April 7, 2013) Rehoboth police received a cell phone call last night around 8 PM reporting an erratic driver. Sgt. James Medeiros responded to the call and caught up with a black pickup swerving down Anawan Street (Route 118) which was pulled over near Fairview Avenue.
Richard A Bouchard, age 62 of Attleboro was taken into custody and charged with a second drunk driving offense along with negligent operation and marked lanes violation. Cash bail was set at $240.00 and Bouchard is scheduled for arraignment in Taunton District Court on Monday. Patrolman Paul MaGovern assisted with the arrest.
OFFICIALS STOP BROADCAST OF FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
(April 6, 2013) Comcast cable subscribers looked at black screen on public access Channel 9 instead of the scheduled live broadcast of the Finance Committee’s meeting on Thursday night at the senior center, a meeting anticipated to be out of the ordinary.
According to an email sent by town employee Derek Rousseau of RehobothTV, also a member of the town’s Cable Advisory Committee, “we were requested by the Finance Committee chair not to film the meeting.” He added the request was “approved by two members of the BOS” and offered an apology for the black screen.
Michael Deignan, finance committee chair, confirmed he made the request not to record or broadcast the meeting, one attended by Christopher Morra who is protesting his ouster from FinCom earlier this week. While he was present at the meeting, Morra was not recognized as a member of the committee. Deignan said allowing Morra to participate would “invalidate the businesses and votes of the finance committee.”
“I see no reason to waste the town’s money to record meetings which are going to be short,” said Deignan, who added it was not the first time he’s told the public access committee it is unnecessary to record FinCom meetings. “I have no intention of having the April 11 meeting recorded either,” he said, adding that there is no requirement under Open Meeting Law that meetings be televised.”
Deignan asked, “why pay cable access employees for several hours of labor to record a 30-minute meeting.”
While most towns and cities in Massachusetts have independent mostly non-profit organizations operating cable access, Rehoboth’s public access, funded by Comcast subscriber fees, has been run by the town.
Given there is no legal requirement to record or broadcast public meetings, any committee including the board of selectmen, can decide to request their meetings not be filmed.
On Monday night, Selectman Dr. Joseph Tito, MD said one of the reasons he was compelled to run for the BOS was because the previous cable provider, RePAC, refused to broadcast planning board meetings. He felt those meetings were important enough to broadcast. He referred to RePAC's actions as "incredibly political and destructive."
In the last two years, RePAC’s refusal to broadcast finance committee meetings caused an uproar from officials and it was one of the reasons given for terminating their contract last year, precipitating civil litigation and costly legal expenses for the town.
Earlier this week Rehoboth police seized $167,467 located in various banks after the grand jury indictment of RePAC board member Ed Schagrin who will be charged with four counts of felony embezzlement.
Newly appointed BOS chairman Sue Pimental said on Monday night the "money seized tonight will be used for public access."
Both selectmen Pimental and Tito were asked to comment yesterday and did not reply.
FINANCE COMMITTEE MEMBER PROTESTS VACANCY NOTICE
(April 6, 2013) Finance Committee member Christopher Morra is protesting a notice he received three days ago from the town informing him he had lost his seat on the committee.
In a certified letter from Jeff Ritter, town administrator, Morra was told that “you vacated your seat on the Finance Committee effective on March 28, 2013” per notice of the committee’s chairperson Michael Deignan.
According to town bylaw, “any member of an appointed town committee not attending at least one-half that committee’s regular meetings in any six month period shall be deemed to have vacated that office . . .”
Deignan had sent a memo in the form of an email on March 28 to the board of selectmen, Ritter and Gerald Schwall of FinCom, advising them that Morra had missed more than fifty percent of the “regularly scheduled” FinCom meetings in the last six months. He included a list of seven meeting dates from October 4, 2012 to March 28, 2013, four of which were not attended by Morra.
For years the standard meeting time for FinCom meetings has been Thursdays at 7 PM at the senior center, a cable access broadcasting facility. In a letter of response to Ritter dated April 3, Morra contends three of the meetings he missed were not held at regular meeting times. One on Friday, March 8 was held at 11:30 AM at the town office. Another, which was cancelled, was scheduled to be held Monday, November 26 at 6:45 PM at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
Morra says he did not attend meeting scheduled for Thursday, January 25th at 7 PM at the town office as a cancellation notice for that meeting was placed on the town website. When asked about that specific notice, Deignan said the meeting was actually held at 12 noon at the town office. “I cannot comment on the contents of the town website,” he said.
According to Morra, he considers the vacancy notice “to be another attempt to remove me from the finance committee based on erroneous information.” On December 19, 2011, the board of selectmen voted to dismiss Morra from FinCom, a decision they later rescinded after Morra filed Open Meeting Law violation complaints against selectmen Joseph Tito and Michael Costello, along with members of FinCom.
Decisions were handed down on those complaints by the Attorney General’s Office several weeks ago. The Division of Open Government Unit determined the BOS and FinCOM did not violate OML in those complaints, however they encouraged selectmen to “wait to discuss items not included in the meeting notice” and encouraged FinCOM to “include enough detail (in the minutes) so that a member of the public who was not present during the meeting could read the minutes and understand what occurred.”
Morra has informed town officials that he does not “intend to vacate my seat on the finance committee and will faithfully serve and protect the honest tax payers of Rehoboth” until his FinCom term is up on June 30th.
At last Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting, during open public forum, Deignan announced that a “certain committee member’s seat was vacated as of March 28.” Selectmen said they would vote to confirm the vacancy letter at their next meeting on Monday, April 8.
REPAC’s SCHAGRIN FACES EMBEZZLEMENT CHARGES
(April 4, 2013) Rehoboth Police announced to selectmen on Monday night their continuing, one-year investigation has resulted in a four felony count indictment of RePAC board member Ed Schagrin, age 77 of Rehoboth.
According to police, Schagrin was served with the indictment for four courts of embezzlement of fiduciaries, each count carrying a maximum penalty of ten years in state prison. Police then seized $167,467 from various area banks, money allegedly embezzled by Schagrin from RePAC, the non-profit organization that had the town contract to operate cable access television on Comcast channels 9, 15 and 98. The contract with RePAC was terminated in 2012 and the town has subsequently been involved in civil legal action with the RePAC board.
The criminal action against Schagrin is being coordinated by Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Bomberg. No charges have been made against RePAC chairman Roger Breault but the case is considered an ongoing investigation.
“We have prepared a solid case that hopefully fill prevail in court,” said acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta to selectmen. He thanked Detective Brian Ramos for the “hundreds of hours” he has spent on the case.
Newly appointed BOS chair Sue Pimental said the seized money would be “used for public access.” BOS vice-chair Dr. Joseph Tito, MD said that RePac had been “incredibly political and destructive” and “up to no good” for the last two years.
Schagrin contacted RehobothNow last week saying RePAC was “still in business” but declined to elaborate with a statement other than to state RePAC was “still a public charity” and their mission was stated on their website. He declined to make an official statement from the organization or to be interviewed.
DOUBLE TROUBLE ACCIDENTS ON ROUTE 44
(April 4, 2013) Yesterday afternoon, Rehoboth Police, Fire and EMS responded to a motor vehicle accident in front of the post office on Route 44. While extricating victims from the first crash, another occurred a short distance away in front of Bristol County Savings Bank.
A total of nine people were evaluated and another three were transported to local hospitals for treatment. None of the injuries were life-threatening. An EMS crew from Seekonk assisted at the scene.
Because the accidents both happened during the 5 PM rush hour, traffic became a nightmare as Route 44 had to be shut down intermittently to allow ambulances to get out and vehicles to be removed.
SUE PIMENTAL NAMED BOS CHAIRPERSON
(April 4, 2013) On Monday night, Sue Pimental was voted by her four fellow Rehoboth selectmen to act as chair for the next year. Dr. Joseph Tito, MD will serve as vice-chair and Michael Costello will act as clerk. The board welcomed Frederick “Skip” Vadnais back to the board after an absence of a few years. This is his seventh term as a Rehoboth selectman.
BOS MEETS TONIGHT TO REORGANIZE
(April 2, 2013) Reorganizing leadership positions in on top of the agenda for tonight’s Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meeting to be held at the senior center beginning at 7:30 PM.
Selectmen will welcome back Frederick “Skip” Vadnais for his seventh term on the BOS during the past twenty-five years. A new chairman, vice chairman and clerk will be appointed. Of the sitting board members, Dr. Joseph Tito, MD and Michael Costello have both served as chair, leaving Sue Pimental (clerk), Lorraine Botts and Vadnais as options to serve as chair for the upcoming year.
Following reorganization, selectmen will conduct regular business including a discussion with police department leadership on budget transfer requests and a special town meeting warrant article. The board will also review the FY14 budget and warrants for both the town meeting and special town meeting to be held May 15. They will also vote on a reserve fund transfer of $2,500 for the RPD and approval to pay $2,782 for deficit snow and ice spending.
UNCONTESTED RACES FAIL TO DRAW VOTERS
(April 2, 2013) With only one contested race in yesterday’s spring town election, around 95% of registered voters didn’t come to the polls to choose between candidates because there were few choices to make.
According to the official count, 463 voters out of 7,869 exercised their right to to participate in the democratic process.
In the one contested race for a constable seat, incumbent Michael Deignan, who also serves as chair of the finance committee, received 278 votes. His opposition, Clifford Smith received 222 votes. One write-in candidate for housing authority, Barbara Parent, won with two votes.
The roster of newly elected officials includes: Frederick “Skip” Vadnais as selectmen; William Cute as town moderator; Tomas Ennis and Stephen Brooks on the planning board; George Cardona on the park commission; Ted Ballard and Joseph Nunes on the water commission; Richard Barrett on the school committee; Eugene Campbell on the board assessors; Cheryl Gouveia as town treasurer; Barbara Parent on the housing authority; and as constables Kenneth Abrams, Douglas Johnson, Sr., and Michael Deignan.
REP. HOWITT CALLS FOR PUBLIC HEARING
(March 29, 2013) Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-Seekonk), ranking Republican on the Joint Committee on Transportation, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R- North Reading), and Representative Peter Durant (R-Spencer) are joined by their House Republican colleagues in calling on House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo to request a public hearing for his soon-to-be-released transportation financing bill.
DeLeo’s pending transportation proposal is being represented as a solution to the Commonwealth’s transportation needs. Members of the Republican Caucus are concerned that any procedural shortcuts will continue to cloud the public’s view of the institution.
“Whenever the Legislature asks the residents of Massachusetts for more of their hard earned tax dollars, the manner in which we do so needs to be open to the public,” said Representative Howitt. “If we, as legislators, can’t follow the process, there is no way the public will be able to follow the process.”
VETERAN’S MEMORIAL CAMPAIGN TO BEGIN
(March 26, 2013) Last night at the board of selectmen’s meeting, two members of the Veteran’s Memorial Committee, William Saunders and Ken Abrams, announced fundraising for the town’s new veteran’s memorial will begin on April 1.
For many years, the a committee has been working on plans to create a new town landmark to recognize Rehoboth veterans and provide a resource that can be used by the community for special events. In the future, town parades could avoid Route 44 and instead begin at the senior center, proceed down Bay State Road and conclude at the Redway Plain.
The $150,000 memorial area, to be located near the Bay State Road side of the Redway Plain, will include a large gazebo on a permanent foundation with electrical and podium, a flag pole, a 12-foot paving stone area divided into war eras with the names of Rehoboth veterans, walkways, and a small parking lot off Pond Street, all handicapped accessible.
Engraved pavers will be available for purchase to remember any veteran or to honor any loved one.
Color brochures with illustrations and details on sponsorship opportunities and donation information will be mailed to households and businesses. Printing and postage was donated.
To view the illustrations now, please go to the new Veteran’s Memorial page that will be updated with progress reports.
HEAR FROM THE CANDIDATES ON YOUTUBE
(March 26, 2013) Town election in next Monday, April 1. While all except one race is uncontested, you can get acquainted with the candidates who took time to participate in the Rehoboth Business Association’s annual Candidate’s Night last week.
Each was given the opportunity to an opening and closing statement and to answer a variety of questions. Should some areas of Rehoboth have piped water? As a Right to Farm Community, should that include growers of medicinal marijuana?
Watch eleven candidates share their thoughts on eight segments now available on YouTube. Click here.
FISH COUNTERS NEEDED IN APRIL AND MAY
(March 26, 2013) Spring is here and the river herring are returning to our coastal streams and rivers to spawn. Fish count volunteers are needed in April and May at the Shad Factory Dame on the Palmer RIver.
Join the Town of Rehoboth and Save the Bay on Wednesday, April 3 from 5:30 to 6:30 PM for training on how to monitor the herring run at the fish ladder located on Reed Street.
Counts take about ten minutes and can be conducted at any time during the day.
BOS TO REVIEW FY14 REVENUE ESTIMATES
(March 25, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning with an executive session to discuss the Citizens Energy solar farm proposal followed by regular session including a review of the FY14 revenue estimates with Cathy Doane, town accountant and the board of assessors and finance committee chair Michael Deignan.
The regular business agenda includes a vote to approve budget amends of $12,981 for the Rehoboth Police Department; a reserve fund transfer of $3,000 for the cemetery commission; and payment of $10,605 for deficit snow and ice removal spending.
Selectmen will also review the bids for a generator for the senior center; review the town meetings warrants; sign the April 13 state primary election warrant; and vote to approve a one-day liquor license for the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society for their upcoming event, “A Pint, A Pie and A Play” scheduled for April 11 at the Carpenter Museum.
TOWN’S HEALTH GROUP RECEIVES AWARD
(March 21, 2013) The Municipal Blue Innovation Award was presented yesterday to the Southeastern Massachusetts Health Group to recognize cities and towns for “successfully implementing plan design changes and wellness initiatives to make health care more affordable while improving town employee health.”
The town of Rehoboth, one of eleven municipalities and the South Coast Educational Collaborative, participates in the joint health insurance purchasing arrangement. The innovation award, along with a $5000 wellness grant, was presented by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts .
“We applaud this year’s Municipal Blue Innovation Award recipients, who are on the forefront of making sustainable changes that will improve the health of their workforce and help lower health care costs for their communities,” said Larry Croes of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
LOCAL CANDIDATES RESPOND TO QUESTIONS
(March 21, 2013) Eleven candidates for town office participated in the Rehoboth Business Association’s Candidates Night held on Tuesday night at Crestwood Country Club.
Candidates answered a variety of questions in a formal, timed format from RBA board members, Linda Ferreira, Michael Castro, and Luke Travis. Each expressed their desire to serve the town, and most emphasized commitment to preserve the rural nature of the community.
Rehoboth Community TV declined the RBA’s request “upon advise of town counsel” to tape and broadcast the event on either cable access government channel 9 or educational channel 15.
The RBA, in conjunction with RehobothNow, will offer the event in multiple segments on YouTube beginning March 26.
All positions up for election this year, except one for constable, are uncontested races, including the one selectmen’s seat.
Candidates who participated in the event: Frederick “Skip” Vadnais, a former six-term selectmen, who will assume a three-year seat on the five-person board after an absence of a several years; Cheryl Gouveia, incumbent candidate for town treasurer; Eugene Campbell, incumbent candidate for assessor; Tomas Ennis, incumbent candidate for planning board; Stephen Brooks, candidate for another planning board seat; George Cardono, candidate for a park commission seat; Edwin Ballard, incumbent candidate for water commission; Joseph Nunes, incumbent candidate for water commission; and two opposing candidates for a constable position - incumbent Michael Diegnan and candidate Clifford Smith.
RESIDENTS INVITED TO DISASTER COLLEGE
(March 19, 2013) Beginning in April, the American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts will offer a Saturday training program for anyone who wants to become a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer.
During eight hours of instruction, participants will learn Disaster Services Overview and Shelter Operations – and qualify to start responding to disasters by the end of class.
“This offer is a great opportunity for those who want to get involved but don’t always have the time for training,” explained CEO Jarrett Barrios. “This course quickly gives volunteers the basic tools they need to start helping those affected by disaster.”
Courses will be held in Cambridge and Hyannis. Each session will break for lunch. It’s free - but you have to apply. Please visit redcross.org/ma/boston/volunteer for more information and to sign up.
BOS REGULAR MEETING PLUS GRAVEL COM
(March 18, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning at 7 PM with a public meeting of the Gravel Committee to review a preliminary subdivision plan for property on Brook and Chestnut streets
owned by John P. Ferreira.
Following that meeting, a regular BOS meeting will be held with a variety of business items on the agenda including a follow-up budget review with the highway and fire departments.
They will also review other municipal department budgets along with a discussion of the warrant for annual town meeting and special town meeting. They will also vote to approve reserve fund transfers, budget amendments, and payment of $22,769 for deficit snow and ice removal spending.
If an executive session is required, it will be conducted following open public forum.
RPD ARREST RI FOR DRUNK DRIVING
(March 18, 2013) Rehoboth Police officers arrested Timothy Dalton, age 33, of Central Falls, RI on Friday, March 16 after 10 PM following a motor vehicle stop on Route 44.
Dalton was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation and driving with a suspended RI license. He was booked and held on $190 bail. Dalton is scheduled for arraignment in Taunton District Court today.
SELECTMEN APPOINT SCHWALL INTERIM TOWN CLERK and REVIEW DEPARTMENT BUDGETS
(March 12, 2013) In what was a marathon three-hour meeting last night, Rehoboth selectmen voted to appoint an interim town clerk to replace Kathy Conti who is retiring in June prior to the end of this fiscal year.
Following interviews two weeks ago with two candidates for the appointed position of interim town clerk, the selectmen last night voted to appoint Laura Schwall. The town clerk is a full-time, paid town employee. She will eventually be required to run for that office when the current term is up. Conti was elected last year.
Selectmen heard from representatives of several town departments (police, highway department, animal control, council on aging and B-P Regional Technical School Committee) about their FY14 budgets.
While many adhered to level funding, others requested additional funding to give raises to existing town employees and or fund new hires. There was ample discussion between selectmen and department representatives who have been working on shoestring budgets.
Selectman approval of a department’s proposed FY14 budget is just a step in the process. The Finance Committee must review budgets and make recommendations that will appear on the warrant for town meeting scheduled for Monday, May 13 when residents will vote to accept next year’s municipal budget.
SELECTMEN TO REVIEW DEPT. BUDGETS
(March 11, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Senior Center beginning with an executive session at 7 PM to discuss the town accountant’s contract and the Dighton vs Town of Rehoboth lawsuit. Regular session will commence at 7:30 with a variety of issues related to town business.
Selectmen will conduct departmental budget reviews for several of the town’s most costly departments including police, highway, council on aging, animal control and Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School.
The board will deal with snow and ice removal expenses including a vote to incur deficit spending, and approving payment of $23,526 for snow and ice removal invoices. They will also vote to approve budget amendments for REMA, police, facilities management and the council on aging.
Selectmen will hold a discussion with the owners of Apna Punjab for an expanded entertainment license to allow live music at the Indian restaurant’s full-service lounge, and also to approve a pool table license for the establishment located on Park Street near the Attleboro town line.
Also on the agenda is the appointment of an interim town clerk after interviews were conducted with two qualified candidates at the last BOS meeting held two weeks ago.
REHOBOTH LIONS SEEK AWARD NOMINATIONS
(March 8, 2013) Nominations are now being accepted for the Rehoboth Lions Club 13th Annual Citizens Recognition Awards that will be presented on Wednesday, May 9 at Hillside Country Club to honor people whose service to the community has surpassed expectation.
Awards include the Joseph Deroche Outstanding Service Award, Outstanding Youth, Public Servant, Raymond D. Dyer Humanitarian Award, Educator of the Year, Heroism Award, Senior Citizen of the Year, Outstanding Achievement, and Randall P. Silveira Safety Award.
There are three new award categories this year: Environmental Stewardship, Community Service, and Good Neighbor Award. Click here to read more about each specific award.
Anyone who lives or works in Rehoboth can be nominated including school department staff. Nomination are due March 18 to: Rehoboth Lions, P.O. Box 633, Rehoboth, MA 02769. Forms are available around town at various locations including the schools, senior center, library and the town office. The form can also be downloaded from the Lions website.
RED CROSS SENDS OUT FLOOD WARNING
(March 7, 2013) The American Red Cross is closely monitoring the weather forecast today, and cautioning Rehoboth residents about flooding.
They advise preparing a winter-specific supply kit and be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice. When a flood or flash flooding is issued in your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go the other way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet. Be careful on the roads: If you come around a flooded road, turn around and go the other way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
You can download Red Cross preparedness apps for your smartphone. Get the apps for iPhones or Android phones at redcross.org/mobileapps.
MINUTEMEN OFFER FREEDOM TRAIL PROGRAM
(March 5, 2013) The 13th Continental Regiment - Rehoboth Minutemen are offering a special Boston Freedom Trail presentation in April at area libraries and museums.
“We hope this presentation will encourage people to get interested and excited about the history of the American Revolution,” said Rehoboth resident and historian Cathy Potter.
Those attending the free multi-media program can hear the stories and legends of the famous Freedom Trail from a comfortable seat instead of actually walking it. Event details will be announced soon. “Our members are all history buffs and we hope to encourage others to join up,” said Potter.
In other news, the Rehoboth Minutemen participated in the Pawtucket St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 2, and will march in the Providence St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 9.
The group begins its busy season on April 20 with a drill with other re-enactors at the Smith-Appleby House in Smithfield, RI.
In May, they will travel to Cobbleskill, NY and begin their season of area school visits and programs. On March 27, they will march in the Rehoboth Memorial Day Parade to honor service members from all wars.
Anyone interested in joining the company are invited to attend their monthly meeting held at Palmer RIver Elementary School. The next one is on March 19 at 7:30 pm. Stop by or call Cathy Potter at 508-252-3682 for more info.
MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT RESULTS IN INJURIES
(March 3, 2013) Rehoboth Police responded yesterday afternoon to the area near the intersection of Route 118 and Route 44 to an accident involving a car and a motorcycle.
The driver of the motorcycle, 46-year-old Carl Reynolds of Agricultural Avenue in Rehoboth, was transported to the hospital. According to police, he suffered minor injuries.
The vehicle that struck Reynolds was driven by Kim Robinson, age 40 of Attleboro. She, along with her daughter, were also transported to the hospital with what police described as minor injuries. Robinson was issued a citation by police for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to yield.
OFFICERS TAKE PLUNGE FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS
(March 2, 2013) Off-duty members of the Rehoboth Police Department, joined by family and friends, participated in the 2013 Polar Plunge to benefit Special Olympics on Saturday, February 23 at Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts.
The 15th Annual Polar Plunge is MA Special Olympic’s largest single-day fundraiser with participants from across the state plunging into the icy cold waters of the Atlantic.
The Special Olympics Winter Games will be held next weekend with over 2,500 athletes competing in a variety of sports and special events using 14 competitive venues and 16 hotels.
The RPD team, captained by Officer Paul McGovern, included officers Doug Brown, Craig Warish and his brother Brent, Reserve Officer Gil Lima, Paramedic Lindsay Withers and Jack Hoskins.
Entered into the Law Enforcement Challenge, the team was recognized as the top law enforcement group with the most individual law enforcement team members. Police officers from six other departments participated on the Rehoboth team.
EDUCATION & TRANSPORTATION GROWTH
(March 1, 2013) An online tool to show Massachusetts residents what to expect in their own hometowns in terms of state funded growth was unveiled earlier this week by Governor Deval Patrick.
“Meaningful investments in education and transportation today will significantly improve our economic future both in the short term and for generations to come,” he said while explaining how the public can access the “Choose Growth” online tools including maps. The governor’s budget plan includes $1 billion annual investment in the state’s transportation system and a $550 million investment in education, reading $1 billion over four years.
Education Investments for Rehoboth (4th Bristol)
Education Investments for Rehoboth (Bristol/Norfolk)
Transportation Investments for Rehoboth (4th Bristol)
Transportation Investments for Rehoboth (Bristol/Norfolk)
PROFESSIONALS NEEDED FOR CAREER DAY
(March 1, 2013) Professionals who are willing to share their time and knowledge with students are being sought by the Guidance Department at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School for Career Day to be held on Thursday, April 25.
Two years ago, the school hosted a very successful and well-received Career Day with 95 professionals who volunteered to speak to small groups of students. The morning event is scheduled to last approximately 2.5 hours with volunteers speaking to groups of students interested in that particular field or vocation.
If you are interested in participating in Career Day 2013 or know someone who is, please email the Guidance Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
D-R ADVISORY COMMITTEES NEED MEMBERS
(March 1, 2013) The Career Technical Education (CTE) Department at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School is currently seeking new members for their program advisory committees composed of industry professionals who advise CTE teachers on the skills that will be most marketable for their graduates.
Each committee meets two times per year, October and April, to review employment trends, equipment, curriculum, and generally advise our staff on how to best prepare students for careers in the Automotive, Carpentry/Construction, Drafting/Engineering, Early Childhood Education, Machine Shop/Manufacturing, Marketing/Business, and Criminal Justice.
If you are someone employed in any of the above mentioned careers, we welcome you to join us in providing students in Dighton and Rehoboth the best possible technical education. For more information, please contact Cathie Rebelo, Director of Technical Education, at email@example.com or 508-252-5030.
TWO LOCAL WOMEN INTERVIEWED FOR CLERK
(February 26, 2013) Last night, Rehoboth selectmen interviewed two qualified applicants for the position of interim town clerk including Laura Schwall and Kilian Sullivan-Silva, both long-time residents of Rehoboth. Selectmen said they were impressed by the resumes of both women and it will be a difficult decision for them to make.
Schwall, who was interviewed first, worked as technology coordinator at Palmer River Elementary School for thirteen years. An active member of the community, she has worked with the town events committee for several years to help organize the annual ‘Larry Procopio’ Harvest Block Party. A member of the Northeastern University class of 2013, she was asked by Selectmen Joe Tito if she could compartmentalize acting as town clerk while her husband serves on the town finance committee. “The nice thing about the town clerk position, you’re backed by the law,” explaining she would adhere to rules and policies.
Sullivan-Silva, also active in the community, was church school director at Rehoboth Congregational Church for eight years. Along with homeschooling her four children, she has three degrees including education and engineering. She worked as an civilian engineer with secret clearance from the Department of Defense for the U.S.Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Newport, RI. Sullivan-Silva told selectmen the town clerk position was a good match for her skill set.
Selectmen decided to table the issue until their next meeting on Monday, March 11 in order to review references.
BOS TO INTERVIEW TOWN CLERK APPLICANTS
(February 25, 2013) Tonight at their regular meeting, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will interview the applicants for town clerk, an interim position created by the upcoming retirement of the Kathy Conti who was elected last spring.
Also on the agenda is an executive session for discussions regarding the ongoing lawsuit against the town by RePAC; and the recent proposal made to the town by Citizens Energy for their solar energy farm project on Tremont Street.
Regular business will include a review of the town’s departmental FY14 budgets; and a vote by selectmen to sign and approve the April 1 town election warrant.
The board will also vote to accept the resignation of David Roderick from the town’s IT Advisory Committee.
REHOBOTH’S SNOW BUDGET ALMOST GONE
(February 23, 2013) Last night at their meeting, Rehoboth selectmen learned the town’s snow removal budget for this winter is nearly gone.
According to the highway superintendent Michael Tyler, there is only $1,500 remaining in the account after the blizzard of earlier this month and the snowfall last weekend.
What began as a snow removal budget of $114,742 was reduced to $21,733 following the blizzard. Most of that was wiped out by last Sunday’s snowfall.
Please go to Municipal Business for Feb. 19 BOS meeting action items.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST BREAK IN SUSPECT
(February 20, 2013) Yesterday Rehoboth police officers arrested Nicholas Stevens, age 26 of Rehoboth, on charges of attempted breaking and entering at The Grapevine liquor store on Winthrop Street last week.
Police responded to a report on February 15 at the store and found the rear door had been damaged but there was no entry to the building. Surveillance video helped detectives identify Stevens and an arrest warrant was obtained in Taunton District Court.
Officers arrested Stevens at his home on Terrybrook Road and he was charged with attempted breaking and entering, burglary tools and vandalizing property.
BRIDGEWATER MAN ARRESTED AFTER CRASH
(February 20, 2013) Rehoboth police arrested Chad Roach, age 41 of Bridgewater, on Monday after they found him passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle on Reynolds Avenue after the report of a car crash.
Police determined that Roach had been operating under the influence of alcohol and he was arrested on charges of a second OUI offense and operating to endanger. He was released on bail and scheduled to be arraigned yesterday in Taunton District Court.
SELECTMEN TO REVIEW STORM RESPONSE
(February 19, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center in a public session to being at 7:30 PM following their executive session earlier. The first item on their agenda will be a ‘debriefing’ on the blizzard christened Nemo by The Weather Channel. Representative from REMA, the highway department, police, fire, and rescue are slated on the agenda to appear to give reports.
The BOS agenda for tonight also included a discussion with the Town Clerk Kathy Conti about the upcoming elections and voting equipment. Selectmen will also review applications to appoint an interim town clerk on July 1 after Conti retires.
Other agenda items include a reserve fund transfer of $32,500 for veterans entitlements and the establishment of a gift fund to accept gifts for the veterans memorial.
REHOBOTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION TO HOST ANNUAL CANDIDATES NIGHT IN MARCH
(February 18, 2013) For the third consecutive year, the Rehoboth Business Association will host a ‘Candidates Night’ prior to the spring town election. This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, March 19 from 6 PM at Crestwood Country Club, 90 Wheeler Street in Rehoboth.
While most candidates are running unopposed this year, all will be invited to appear to answer questions about how they plan to serve the town.
The public can submit questions to the RBA that will be posed to the various candidates during the Q & A. Please email your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A social ‘meet and greet’ period featuring a filling array of appetizers will be held from 6 to 6:30 PM followed by the question and answer panels. RBA member cost is $20 and non-member $25. Seating is limited, so reserve your spot early by calling Dale at 508-252-3312 or by emailing: SALCYN506@aol.com
FEW CHOICES FOR SPRING CANDIDATES
(February 14, 2013) Please go to Municipal Business for listing of spring election candidates.
MEMORIAL DAY PARADE PLANNING TO BEGIN
(February 14, 2013) The annual Memorial Day Parade (alternating years with the town of Dighton) will be held in Rehoboth on May 27, 2013.
Planning for the parade will begin at a meeting to be held on March 14 at the American Legion Post 302 on Bay State Road at 7 PM. Community members who are interested in participating in the parade are invited to attend and asked to RSVP with Bill Saunders, Veterans Services by calling 508-252-4467, ext. 122 or faxing 508-252-6893.
This year’s parade will kick off at 10:30 Am from Rehoboth Village and proceed down Bay State Road to Route 44 (Winthrop Street), turn right and proceed to Palmer River Elementary School and the Veterans Memorial there.
A ceremony will begin at approximately 11:30 including a special recognition of Vietnam veterans in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the conflict. There will also be a rededication of the Korean War plaque at the memorial.
FIRE DESTROYS HOME ON HORNBINE ROAD
(February 12, 2013) Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched on Sunday, February 10 to a house on Hornbine Road after receiving a call from neighbors reporting smoke.
First arriving crews found heavy smoke and fire pushing from the 2 1/2 story structure. An aggressive interior attack was made and the bulk of the fire was knocked down in approximately twenty minutes. But it took firefighters almost an hour to expose the hidden pockets of fire in the interior and exterior walls on one side of the home. The last crew cleared the scene about four hours after the initial call.
The occupants of the home were out at the time of the fire and one firefighter was treated by Rehoboth EMS on the scene for a minor laceration. While RFD battled the blaze, station coverage was provided by Attleboro and Swansea.
The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Rehoboth fire and police departments along with troopers from the State Fire Marshals office.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPT. BUSY DURING BLIZZARD
(February 12, 2013) With all three Rehoboth fire stations manned from last Friday thru Sunday morning, firefighters were kept busy. This is a partial list of the department’s activities during the blizzard: 11 carbon monoxide detector activations; 1 structure fire; 4 fire alarms, 2 smoke in building calls, 12 wires down, 2 trees on houses, 3 motor vehicle crashes; 7 assists to Rehoboth Ambulance; 1 report of gas odor; 2 well-being checks; and 1 mutual aid call.
There were several others requests for public assistance and requests to assist other agencies. Station Three was used as emergency shelter for a short period of time.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN HAVE BUSY AGENDA
(February 11, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen are scheduled to meeting tonight at the senior center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session followed by the public session at 7:30 PM.
Their executive session will include strategy sessions in preparation for collective bargaining and open litigation. Selectmen will receive an update from town legal counsel on open litigation cases including REPAC vs TOR, Godfrey vs TOR, and Chichocki/Hwang vs TOR.
Regular session agenda items include a discussion of FY13 town counsel bills and the projected FY14 budget for legal services. Selectmen will also have a discussion with Attorney Brainsky regarding a requested zoning bylaw amendment warrant article for the May town meeting.
Other municipal business to be addressed by selectmen are budget amendments for the police department and for the fire department.
(February 8, 2013) Friday: Dighton-Rehoboth Public Schools, Rehoboth Contra Dance. Saturday: Helping Hands Food Donation Drop-Off, Arts in the Village Concert.
Rehoboth Braces for Blizzard
(February 7, 2013) Rehoboth officials and public safety departments are preparing for the worst as approaching winter blizzard conditions advance towards New England. With twenty-four inches plus of snow anticipated, Rehoboth police, fire, rescue, ambulance, plus the highway department, forestry, and animal control are working in cooperation to serve and protect residents.
The Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency is responsible for ensuring the town’s resiliency to disasters. Important information can be found on the REMA page. Individuals are asked to call 911 in cases of emergency. For non-emergency, please call 774-371-0017.
Friends of Elderly Receive Harvard Pilgrim Grant
(February 5, 2013) Local group, Friends of Rehoboth Elderly, was recently awarded a Community Spirit 9/11 Mini-Grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.
Nominated by a Harvard Pilgrim Health Care employee, the Friends will receive $500 to support the organization’s many programs that benefit local elderly residents including cholesterol screenings, emergency fuel assistance and life lines.
“The Mini-Grant program is a wonderful way that we can support our colleagues to build healthier communities where they live and work,” said Karen Voci, Executive Director of the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation. “They are the Foundation’s best resource to let us know where our grants should go to make the biggest impact in our cities and towns.”
Created to honor the men and women lost on September 11, 2001, the grant program has awarded $2,942,150 to organizations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine since 2002.
Traffic Stop on Fairview Results in Drug Arrest
(February 4, 2013) After a routine traffic stop yesterday on Fairview Avenue, Rehoboth police officer James Casey arrested
a Rocky Hill resident on multiple charges.
Casey discovered a large quantity of marijuana, prescription medications, cash and other items “associated with the sale of narcotics” in the vehicle driven by forty-seven-year-old Brian M. Diamond who was taken into custody and later released on $2040. cash bail.
The assorted charges made against Diamond include driving under the influence, possession of a class D substance with intent to distribute, and three counts of possession of class E drugs, also with the intent to distribute. Diamond was set to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.
Committee Addresses Outdated Zoning By-law
(February 1, 2013) Attorney Mark Babrowski of Blatman, Bobrowski and Mead, the Town of Rehoboth’s legal counsel, spoke before the Economic Development Committee and other town officials last night at the senior center.
After reviewing the town’s existing zoning by-law, Bobrowski addressed internal inconsistencies; noncompliance issues, and omissions to zoning regulations that need to be handled sooner than later. While the existing by-law has “some nice features” according to Bobrowski, it is not well-organized and cluttered with redundancies that mire it in technicalities.
He suggested the town create a revised by-law with “chapters that make sense” and offer a more flexible approach that “may present opportunities for public/private partnerships” that can enhance the town’s economic development. He noted that provisions related to signage, parking and loading can be loosened up. He addressed the existing by-law section by section and offered suggestions.
Sen. Timilty Invites Residents to March Seminar
(January 30, 2013) Senator Jim Timilty (D-Walpole) announced the 70th Citizens’ Legislative Seminar (CLS) will be held in March and invites his constituents to come learn more about the legislative process.
Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, this two-day seminar features presentations by Senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the Commonwealth.
Topics will include the history of the process of the Legislature, the parliamentary role of the Clerk of the Senate and the future of the Legislature.
The CLS culminates with a simulated legislative hearing and Senate session where participants are invited to use what they have learned as “Senators” in the Senate Chamber.
All residents are invited to contact Senator Timilty by Monday, February 4th to sign up for the two-day seminar to be held on Tuesday, March 12 and Wednesday, March 13. Call (617) 722-1222 or email James.Timilty@masenate.gov. Participation is on a first come, first serve basis.
Rehoboth Rescue Trains for Winter Ice
(January 27, 2013) Throughout the year, the Rehoboth Rescue Squad maintains a very active training calendar that merges with seasonal emergency response needs. The deep winter season means people and animals venture onto frozen waters and find themselves in danger.
In January, squad personnel tackled ice rescue with classroom study followed by a practical drill exercise with emphasis on cohesiveness and proper communication between the supporting shore team and on-ice rescue specialists. Safety of self and crew is paramount to safe rescues. The squad would like to gratefully acknowledge Bristol County Savings Bank for once again granting access to their pond for training.
There is a critical shortage of rescue workers nationwide and Rehoboth is no exception. Read More on the Rescue Page.
N. Dighton Man Killed in Rehoboth Car Accident
(January 26, 2013) Rehoboth Police dispatched to a crash near 11 Cedar Street around 11 PM last night night found a pickup truck split in two pieces.
Upon arrival officers saw the cab of the truck lying in the roadway on the hood with broken back and side windows. The bed of the truck lay several yards east of the cab. The sole occupant, 29-year-old Robert Smith of North Dighton had been ejected from the vehicle.
Preliminary investigation indicate the vehicle had been probably airborne when it struck a tree approximately 6-7 feet up from the base.
Smith was rendered aid on the scene by Rehoboth Ambulance personnel and the members of the Rehoboth Fire Department before being transported to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation is being conducted by Patrolman Ryan Brule and the Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit.
Saturday Morning Crash Results in Injuries
(January 26, 2013) The report of a two-car crash Saturday morning dispatched Rehoboth emergency personnel to the corner of Route 44 & Wilmarth Bridge Road.
Responding units of the Rehoboth Police, Fire Department and EMS arrived on scene and a second ambulance was called to transport injured occupants to hospitals. No names have been released.
Route 44 was restricted to one lane for approximately 30 minutes. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by Rehoboth Police. No names were released on the occupants of the vehicles.
RFD Fight Truck Blaze and Freezing Water
(January 26, 2013) Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched Wednesday night to Hillside Avenue after the report of a motor vehicle fire.
Crews arrived to find a large work truck with its engine compartment and cab fully involved. The fire was quickly brought under control before tools in the rear of the vehicle, valued at approximately $10,000, were spared.
Firefighters also encountered frigid conditions. With the temperature hovering about 5 degrees above zero, water used to extinguish the blaze froze immediately upon contact with the ground.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Deputy Fire Chief but appears to be a mechanical failure. The name of the vehicle owner was not released.
Rep. Howitt Hosts Veterans Agents at State House
(January 24, 2013) Representative Steven Howitt (Seekonk- R) hosted local Veteran Service Officers at Speaker Robert DeLeo’s Annual Veterans’ Luncheon on Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at the State House in Boston, MA.
During the luncheon, elected officials and members of the Department of Veterans’ Services discussed the various beneficial resources that both state and local governments offer to returning veterans.
“It was a pleasure to host the Veteran Service Officers from the 4th Bristol District at the State House,” said Representative Howitt. “Our commitment to enhancing the services that we offer to our veterans is one of my highest priorities.” Photo left: Rehoboth Veterans’ Services Agent Bill Saunders (third from left) joins Rep. Steven Howitt (tan jacket) at the Boston State House.
Rehoboth Minutemen Recruiting New Members
(January 24, 2013) Do you love American history? The famed Rehoboth Minute Company is actively seeking new members to join their ranks. Men, women and families are welcome to join the 13th Continental Regiment re-enactors that participate in parades, educational programs, encampments and re-enactments.
The 2013 season begins on March 3 with the group marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pawtucket, RI. Some members of the company will be in Lexington, MA on Patriot’s Day to participate in events. Many schools have already invited the group to present programs in the springtime.
If you would like to learn more, please come to the February 12 meeting held at Palmer River Elementary School at 7:30 PM. If you can’t wait until then, you can always contact Cathy Potter at 508-252-3682 or email Rehobothcp@verizon.net.
Solar Installation: Back to the Drawing Board
(January 23, 2013) Unable to secure financing, Sun Edison has withdrawn from a contractual agreement to lease the Rehoboth landfill to operate a solar array at a fixed rate of $100,000 per year for a period of twenty years.
The three-part contract, approved by Rehoboth selectmen in November 2011, included a lease agreement, a power purchase agreement and a third-party agreement. All power produced would enter the electrical grid to offset the town’s energy costs.
Terms of the contract included a withdrawal clause for either Sun Edison or the town.
“Because the town was able to negotiate a very favorable contract with Sun Edison upfront, they were not able to secure financing,” explains Jeff Ritter, town administrator. He added that Sun Edison did counter with a “substantially different proposal” but the town did not accept it.
At last night BOS meeting, former Energy Committee chairman David House was appointed by selectmen to a short-term appointment to begin a new procurement process and create a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the landfill solar project. “Sun Edison may decide to bid again,”noted Ritter.
While there are no plans for the Energy Committee to be reactivated, House will work directly with selectmen and Ritter on the project which was previously approved by residents at town meeting.
Selectmen Have Mixed Agenda for 1/22 Meeting
(January 22, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center beginning with an executive session at 6:30 to discuss strategy in preparation for collective bargaining; town cell towers; and litigation updates including Cichocki vs the Town of Rehoboth.
Regular session is slated to begin at 7:30 with a report from Jeff Ritter, town administrator. A hearing will be held on a utility pole relocation on Bay State Road followed by a vote to authorize the hire of Jacob Miranda as a full-time patrolman. Selectmen will hold a discussion with Town Clerk Kathleen Conti about her retirement. They will hold a discussion with the IT Committee about their proposed FY14 budget; and vote to appoint David House as Renewable Energy RFP Coordinator.
Also on the posted agenda is a vote to accept the resignation of Michael J. O’Hern from the Veterans Memorial Relocation Committee; and a vote to rescind the selectmen’s previous votes regarding Key West Boulevard and Duvall Street. Other business includes approval of a fire department grant; one-day liquor license; and follow up on the 2013 Rehoboth Breed Expo. Public open forum will be held following regular business.
Siblings Run into Trouble with Rehoboth Police
(January 21, 2013) A suspicious parked car on Park Street near Russell Welding late Saturday night resulted in the arrest of a young Attleboro woman by Rehoboth police. Twenty-two-year old Kali Waters of Attleboro was taken into custody, charged with procuring alcohol for her sixteen-year-old half brother who was also in the parked car. She was released on $40 cash bail and scheduled for arraignment in Taunton District Court tomorrow.
New Economic DevCom Invites Participation
(January 21, 2013) Town officials and various committee leadership, along with the general public, are invited to attend a meeting of the newly formed Rehoboth Economic Development Committee on Thursday, January 31 at the Senior Center beginning at 6 PM.
Attorney Mark Bobrowski has confirmed his attendance at the meeting to discuss zoning laws, and if time allows a presentation prepared by Northeastern University on assessing municipal economic development issues.
RI Teen Arrested for Drunk Driving in Rehoboth
(January 19, 2013) A motor vehicle chase yesterday afternoon resulted in the arrest of 19-year-old Joseph R. Coderre of Pawtucket, Rhode Island on drunk driving charges.
Sgt. James B Medeiros observed a vehicle traveling over 80 mph in a 50 mph zone on Route 44. The chase continued into Dighton where Coderre’s vehicle pulled behind Route 44 Liquors in an attempt to hide.
He is charged with refusing to stop for a police officer, speeding, reckless driving, and OUI. The teen was released on $240 cash bail and is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Tuesday.
Rehoboth Police Arrest Two Men on Pot Charges
(January 18, 2013) As part of an on-going drug investigation, Rehoboth Police arrested two young men, one an eighteen-year-old from Rehoboth.
RPD conducted a motor vehicle stop on Wednesday evening and arrested Tyler Snook, age 21, of Taunton. He was charged with possession of Class D substance with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug law.
The next day Rehoboth officers, along with the Bristol County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, executed a search warrant at a residence on Winthrop Street in Rehoboth where they arrested Erick Thompson, age 18, of Rehoboth.
Police seized approximately one quarter pound of marijuana, currency and evidence often associated with illegal sale of marijuana. Thompson was charged possession of Class D substance with intent to distribute, a drug violation in park zone, and conspiracy to violate drug law.
Both Thompson and Snook were set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court yesterday.
DRRHS Hosts Blood Drive at Senior Center
(January 17, 2013) Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School is sponsoring a Red Cross blood Drive on Saturday, January 19 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Gladys Hurrell Senior Center on Bay State Road (Route 118). You can walk in or schedule an appointment online. RedCrossBlood
Wanted Reboboth Man Captured in N. Attleboro
(January 16, 2013) A Rehoboth man wanted on multiple warrants by Seekonk, Swansea, and Taunton police departments was arrested by North Attleboro police trying to flee the Super 8 Motel on Monday evening.
Robert G. Dutra, age 36 of Two Rod Way in Rehoboth, was escorted to jail on Tuesday after his 5,000 cash bail was revoked by Judge Heather Bradley in Attleboro District Court. The charges against him include drug possession, assault, larceny, attempting to flee, and failure to appear in court. Dutra unsuccessfully tried to escape police officers by exiting the motel out a rear window.
According to Assistance District attorney Noah Ertel, Dutra has a lengthy criminal history and was imprisoned for a time in Rhode Island after an assault-related conviction.
U.S. Homeland Security Warns Computer Users
(January 13, 2013) On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning to computers users to temporarily disable Java 7 plug-in software installed on internet browsers to access web content.
Because of a rising threat level, cybersecurity experts say the widely used Java software is extremely vulnerable to criminal hackers who can exploit a security bug and be able to infect legitimate websites by uploading malicious software.
Oracle Corp, that produces Java, released a statement yesterday that a “fix will be available shortly.”
Rehoboth Selectmen to Discuss Hiring School Cop
(January 11, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet on Monday, January 14 at the senior center beginning with an executive session at 6 PM to discuss a personnel issue, town-owned property, a potential litigation issue and the lawsuit against the town by RePAC.
Regular session will include a discussion with acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta regarding the hiring of a “school resource officer.” Selectmen will also vote to approve a FY13 “911 Grant” to be submitted by the RPD.
Other business will include renewal of Class II auto licenses in town; acceptance of a deed for Key West Boulevard and Duval Street as public ways; review and approval of the Highway Department’s snow and icy policy; approval of budget amendments and reserve fund transfers. The board will also vote to set the date for the annual spring town meeting for May 13, 2013.
There may be a RehobothTV update as the Cable Advisory Committee is meeting earlier in the evening. Open public forum will be held following any other business.
Rehoboth Police Issue Warning About Contractors
(January 11, 2013) The Rehoboth Police Department issued a Nixle alert today about LYSCO Contracting, Inc. of Framingham, MA. The announcement encourages residents to use caution when dealing with representatives of LYSCO which has been reported operating in Rehoboth offering chimney sweeping services.
Police report that an investigation “has revealed that LYSCO Contracting is the subject of several investigative reports” and that the company has a lawsuit pending charging them with “defrauding homeowners.”
WFSB-TV of Hartford, CT did an investigative consumer report on LYSCO in May 2012 about elderly homeowners who were targeted and frightened into doing expensive, unnecessary repairs. According to that news report, the company was sued by the attorney general in Maine in 2010 for deceptive trade practices. The year before, LYSCO president Adam Joyce paid a fine after pleading guilty to scamming an elderly woman in New Canaan.
The online chatter about LYSCO includes a grade of “F” on the Better Business Bureau website and scam warnings. To offset the scam alerts, the company is putting significant effort into a positive online presence by promoting LYSCO on dozens of website forums. To help better the company’s visibility on search engines, company president Adam Joyce has joined forums for a diverse list of topics including movie reviews, fishing, firearms, auto talk, real estate, gaming, animal lovers, green culture, backyard chickens, military, and rice exporters.
29 Rehoboth Residents Apply for Gun Permits Since Connecticut Tragedy
(January 8, 2013) Area police departments are reporting an increase in the number of applications for gun permits since the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut less than one month ago. Rehoboth is no exception.
According to acting police chief Lt. James Trombetta, 29 local residents have applied for license to carry or LTC permits since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
There are a total of 1,073 active Class “A” LTC permits in Rehoboth, the only license that allows the carrying of concealed handguns-either loaded or unloaded. This permit allows the purchase, possession and carrying of all ammunition, handguns, rifles, shotguns and feeding devices (both large and non-large capacity) by any Massachusetts resident age 21 or older. A large-capacity firearm is defined as a semi-automatic handgun or rifle capable of accepting than than ten rounds, or a shotgun capable of accepting more than five shotgun shells, or an assault weapon.
First time LTC applicants must have satisfactory completion of a MA certified firearms safety course or a basic hunter education course. The LTC fee is $100 and is valid for six years.
In Rehoboth, there are currently 116 residents with a Firearms Identification Card or FID which can be issued to residents 15 years of age or older. The card permits the purchase, possession and carrying of non-large capacity rifles, shotguns and ammunition only.
Applicants for the FID must be at least 18 or older or have parental consent if 15 to 17 years of age. They are also required to successfully complete a firearms safety or basic hunter education course taught by state-approved independent instructors, usually a one-day class. FID applications cost $100 for those age 18 or older and $25 for minors. The permits are valid for six years.
Two residents currently have a restricted FID solely to possess and carry pepper spray.
According to RPD statistics, in the period of January 1, 2012 to January 1, 2013, the department issued 241 Class “A” LTCs, 14 FIDs and 2 restricted use FIDs for pepper spray.
Rehoboth Vet First in State to Offer Unique Stem Cell Therapy
(January 6, 2013) On Monday, January 7, an English Bulldog named Bubba will be the first dog in Massachusetts to receive a break-through stem cell therapy procedure at the Abbott Animal Hospital in Rehoboth.
Dr. Ashraf M. Gomaa will administer the cutting edge treatment to the 2 1/2-year-old Bubba who suffers from moderate to severe bilateral hip dysplasia. Dr. Gomaa is the only doctor in the area who has been certified by MediVet America, the company who developed the in-clinic technology.
The Kentucky-based MediVet develops advanced cellular treatments and natural herbal remedies. The company claims that “better than 95% of these cases show improvement in range of motion, pain level, and lameness.”
The new adipose-derived stem cell procedure is said to offer “an economic solution for owners of pets suffering from osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, ligament and cartilage injuries and similar ailments.”
Rehoboth Man Jailed After Arrest
(January 5, 2013) Shortly before dawn this morning, Rehoboth police arrested David Bronsdon, age 31 of Rehoboth at a residence on Tremont Street.
Bronsdon was observed and recognized by Patrolman James Casey standing outside the home around 7 AM. After confirming the two default warrants against Bronsdon, Casey took the man into custody without incident. Bronsdon faces previously charges of operating with a suspended license, operating under the influence of drugs, possession of a Class A substance and leaving the scene with property damage.
Unable to make bail after processing at police headquarters, Brondson was transported to the New Bedford jail on Saturday morning. Arraignment will presumably be held on Monday in Taunton District Court.
Rehoboth Police Arrest Attleboro Woman
(January 5, 2013) An Attleboro woman was arrested by Rehoboth police early Saturday morning after being seen driving in an erratic fashion on Tremont Street in Rehoboth.
After observing a black Toyota Scion with Florida registration crossing over marked lines and nearly going off the road, Patrolman James Casey pulled the vehicle over shortly after 1 AM. Upon subsequent investigation, Casey arrested Kerry Ann Digiacomo, age 22 of Attleboro. She was arrested on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger. Digiacomo was processed and later released on personal recognizance.
Discussion of Five Lawsuits on BOS Agenda
(January 2, 2013) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet on Thursday, January 3 at the Senior Center beginning at 6:30 PM with an executive session to discuss five lawsuits involving the town including REPAC vs. TOR; Casey vs TOR; Krasnianski vs TOR; Medeiros et al vs. Morra; Town of Dighton vs DRRSD.
A public session will begin at 7:30 PM with a continuation of a hearing about the installation of a utility pole on Chestnut Street. Other agenda items include a continued discussion about replacement of the South Rehoboth fire station roof and a request from Swansea Water District to adopt a non-zoning floor drain control plan.
Selectmen will also vote to approve and sign a REMA grant application for $3,450. The board will also vote to amend their previous decision to approve use of new voting equipment. Open public forum will be held following regular business.