Archived News 2015
SELECTMEN EXTEND INTERIM TOWN ADMINISTRATOR CONTRACT
(December 29, 2015) Last night during executive session, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted to extend the contract of Helen Dennen as interim town administrator for another six months. BOS Chairman Michael Costello announced the decision during the regular public segment of the meeting.
In other business, selectmen accepted the resignation of Werner Horlbeck from both the town’s water commission and the housing authority. Horlbeck is relocating to the south shore. Patricia Vadnais, wife of Selectman Skip Vadnais, was appointed to fill an empty seat on the water commission. Selectmen also approved the appointment of Desire Palmer to the Rehoboth Cultural Council.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE SEEKS AGRI-BUSINESS REP
(December 29, 2015) The Rehoboth Economic Development Committee (EDC) is currently seeking a a representative from the agricultural/farming community to become a member. The EDC was formed by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen several years ago to explore opportunities for new businesses in town, specially those that “would fit Rehoboth’s rural character while broadening the tax base, supporting town services, and fostering local employment.”
Members of the EDC are volunteers and include a school administrator, a retired government worker, a financial advisor, a retired supply-chain manager, a sales representative, and a retired carpenter. The EDC meets monthly at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
Last fall, the EDC conducted a public opinion survey and will release the results of the survey soon. The committee strives to serve as a “source of innovative ideas to help preserve and protect the unique character of Rehoboth.”
Anyone interested in applying for a position on the committee should complete a Talent Bank form and return it to the selectmen’s office at the town office.
RAIN COMPLICATES ROAD SPILL AFTER COLLISION ON ROUTE 44
(December 23, 2015) The impact of a collision on Route 44 yesterday afternoon caused a hydraulic tank truck to rupture and spill onto the road causing a interruption of traffic for two hours.
Rehoboth public safety officials were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash on involving a truck and a car. Upon arrival, firefighters quickly contained the spill despite complications with on and off heavy rain.
Traffic on Route 44 was cut down to one lane for approximately two hours while the truck was prepared for removal and the road made safe for regular travel. Mass DOT was also notified and provided a sander to cover a portion of the eastbound lane of the highway. The Rehoboth Fire Department required the truck owners to contract with a pollution control company to clean up the scene.
The operator of the motor vehicle was transported to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS with unknown injuries. Police officers and firefighters until the Route 44 was reopened for full use. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the RPD.
MASSACHUSETTS SUPREME COURT TO RE-EXAMINE REHOBOTH CASE
(December 21, 2015) The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will hear arguments early next month on a case involving Rehoboth politics and the constitutional right to freedom of speech.
In what has now become a national story with an article released by the Associated Press, the high court is re-examining the case of Rehoboth resident Harvey Bigelow, age 70, who was convicted of breaking the state's criminal harassment law by sending letters with profanities and intimidating language to a Rehoboth Selectman Michael Costello and his wife.
Bigelow, who has always claimed he was set up by town officials including the police, is currently appealing his conviction. The MA Supreme Court is using the case to determine whether the state's criminal harassment law violates the constitution.
According to the Associated Press article, Bigelow's attorney, Diana Cowley McDermott, is appealing his conviction saying the letters allegedly sent by her client contain remarks protected by the First Amendment.
Costello, as well as then Selectmen Joseph Tito, both reported receiving anonymous letters described as “hate mail” in the spring of 2011, a period of multiple controversies affecting town government and local politics.
Rehoboth’s Spring-Summer of Discontent
On April 1, 2015 selectmen voted in executive session to give then Police Chief Stephen Enos a two-day suspension without pay for violating an “unspecified departmental regulation” following a non-criminal personal incident that occurred out-of-state. Enos had publicly made a statement that Costello, who was running for a selectman’s seat, was the subject of an ongoing investigation.
Costello was then the subject of a controversial election flyer sent by regular mail on April 1 to local residents. The mailing appeared to be sent by residents of Horton Estates which was later denied. He was elected selectmen on April 5 and appointed chairman of the BOS on April 11, at which time he reinstated public forum at selectmen’s meeting to give residents the opportunity to speak publicly within certain parameters.
On April 25, the board took up the issue of the contracted local cable access provider RePAC and complaints by citizens, including one the organization recently failed to broadcast pro-life programming when requested. They were also accused of manipulation involving the broadcast of municipal meetings. After a process of several months, the BOS eventually severed the RePAC contract (with two years remaining) and took control of local public access programming.
On May 3, selectmen voted to put the police chief on administrative leave with pay. Costello, at a later BOS meeting. said he had gone to the police station the day after Enos was dismissed and read through “thousands” of emails on the chief’s computer. Enos’ tenure with the RPD would be terminated in July.
On May 19, a thirteen-page report issued by the state Office of the Inspector General determined Costello “improperly obtained an affordable home in the Horton Estates development that he was not entitled to or qualified to purchase.” The news was broadcast on local media outlets including local cable access Channel 9, operated by the non-profit RePAC.
The report, addressed to the BOS and Zoning Board of Appeals, made several recommendations for actions “to remedy the current situation” including the town taking civil action against Costello. No action has ever been taken by the town.
On May 26, Costello offered a two thousand dollar reward for information “leading to the arrest and conviction” of whoever was responsible for producing and mailing the “Horton Estates flyer.” He also announced that he and his wife had received harassing letters. On June 1, Selectmen Tito announced he has received “disturbing” hate mail.
By mid-June, RePAC, under the direction of chairman Roger Breault, had initiated litigation against Costello and the Town of Rehoboth. In early August, Breault, who at the time was chairman of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), wrote letters to state officials regarding the the Inspector General’s report on Costello. In short order, Breault was asked to step down as chair of the ZBA. Meanwhile RePAC was given 90-days by selectmen shape up or risk early termination of their contract with the town. On September 19, selectmen removed Breault from his position on the ZBA.
On October 10, Acting Police Chief James Trombetta announced to selectmen, at a regularly scheduled meeting, that Harvey Bigelow had been charged with four counts related to writing and sending harassing letters to Costello, Tito and their wives. Trombetta also said other individuals would also be charged. Selectman Tito announced that he planned to file a personal lawsuit against Bigelow.
Bigelow is a retired operations executive for MCI Telecommunications who moved to Rehoboth in 2006 to raise horses. He told local media outlets that police came to his home with a search warrant and took his two computers along with several other items. “They asked to me come by the station later to talk,” Bigelow said.
“They started questioning me about issues in town, that campaign flyer with the $2000 reward offered by selectman Costello for information about who sent it,” he explained to media outlets. Bigelow said police also showed him several typed letters he described as crudely written, some in all capitals and others in all lower case letters.
One Case Dismissed; Another Results in Conviction
On February 8, 201, charges against Bigelow filed by Tito were dismissed in Taunton District Court by Judge David Turcotte. In August 2013, Bigelow was found guilty of two counts of criminal harassment in the form of letters to Costello. The terms of Bigelow’s sentence were never disclosed. He is currently appealing.
Costello was re-elected to his second term as selectmen in April 2015 and was again appointed chairman.
DRIVER ESCAPES INJURY IN PALMER RIVER SPLASHDOWN
(December 16, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel responded to a one-vehicle accident yesterday afternoon on the Palmer River.
The accident occurred about 2:30 PM when an unidentified woman driver traveling eastward on I-195 left the roadway and went down an embankment near a bridge across the Palmer River. The car came to a stop at the water’s edge.
According to Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi, the driver was not seriously injured and had exited the vehicle by herself before emergency personnel arrived to the scene. She was later transported to Rhode Island Hospital.
“She was extremely lucky,” noted Barresi, because the car stopped short of dropping into water known to be about twelve feet deep. Massachusetts State Police shut down left lanes of traffic for about an hour. No further information has been released.
REHOBOTH POLICE CRUISER HIT IN FAILED ESCAPE ATTEMPT
(December 14, 2015) A teenage Providence resident slammed the stolen Chevy Tahoe he was driving into a Rehoboth police cruiser on Sunday evening at the Exxon station at the intersection of routes 44 and 118 resulting in his arrest on multiple charges.
Alex J. Patterson, age 19, was first observed by Officer Craig Forget around 6:30 PM last night driving a 2001 Chevy Tahoe on Route 44. The vehicle was reported stolen from Coventry, RI.
After pulling into the Exxon station, Patterson was boxed in by both Officer Forget and Patrolman Thomas Ranley who had just arrived in another cruiser. In an attempt to flee, the teen put the Tahoe into reverse and slammed into one of the Ranley’s cruise, causing what police report as “moderate damage.”
Patterson, with three outstanding arrest warrants from Attleboro, was taken into custody without further incident. He was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (motor vehicle), resisting arrest, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, destruction of property over $250, reckless operation, and unlicensed operation. He was held on $10,500 cash bail and scheduled to be arraigned today.
SCHOOL COM AND TEACHER ASSOCIATION REACH IMPASSE
(December 8, 2015) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee yesterday announced that months of negotiations with the Dighton Rehoboth Regional Teachers Association reached an impasse. The two groups have jointly agreed to request the appointment of a state mediator to help resolve several issues.
The contract between the school district and with the teachers association expired in August but continues to govern staff working conditions and compensation. The existing contractual agreement, dated 2010 to 2012, is published online by the Massachusetts Department of Education and can be viewed here.
“We expect the mediator’s appointment in the next week or two and we look forward to closing the gap on many of these items,” read the statement released by the school committee.
According to the statement, the impasse related to a number of topics that will be submitted to the mediator “including, but not limited to, salary, health insurance premium contribution rates, length of the work year, the number and nature of monthly meetings with staff and administration, and teachers’ preparation time.”
The school committee say additional announcements will be made as the situation develops.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH INTRODUCES NEW WEBSITE
(December 8, 2015) Those visiting the town website will notice a newly re-designed format including a “Citizen Action Center” with links to forms and documents, online payments, the assessor’s database, plus meeting agendas and minutes. Other information about municipal government and the community can be easily located on the Virtual Towns and Schools hosted website, first introduced in 2012.
A navigation demonstration of newly redesigned site will be offered at the December 14 meeting of the board of selectman or on Rehoboth TV Channel 9.
RFD JOINS NEW SMOKE ALARM AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
(December 7, 2015) Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi joins State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Wellesley Fire Chief Rick DeLorie, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, announcing the launch of a new statewide smoke alarm public awareness campaign – Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With.
The statewide campaign is designed to support fire department education efforts and will include television and radio public service announcements (PSAs), transit ads, and social media.
“Do you remember the last time you replaced your smoke alarms?” asked Chief Barresi. “Was it more than ten years ago? When you moved into or built your home? If you don’t remember, it may be time to do so,” he said.
According to Barresi, statistics reveal that in 2014 you were more likely to die in a fire in a one- and two-family home than in any other residence and one without a working smoke alarm. There were 10% more fire deaths in one- and two-family homes than all other residential occupancies combined.
Thirty-six percent of the fire deaths in one- and two-family homes occurred where there no working smoke alarms or where they failed to operate. In Massachusetts, one- and two family homes built before 1975 must have working smoke alarms that are less than ten years before they can be sold.
According to State Fire Marshal Coan, “Most people know they are supposed to have working smoke alarms, but the one thing most people don’t know is that they should replace their entire alarms about every ten years.”
Major manufacturers of smoke alarms indicate they have a service life of about ten years and recommend replacement after that.
In a fire seconds count. Fire doubles in size every sixty seconds. The products in the modern home emit extremely toxic gases. Smoke and heat can make escape impossible in less than 2-3 minutes in the average home that does not have sprinklers. Working smoke alarms provide early warning and give families crucial seconds to use their escape plan.
Chief DeLorie of Wellesley said, “Over the course of ten years, we all replace many home appliances such as toasters, coffee makers, even refrigerators. No home appliance lasts forever. It’s important to replace aging smoke alarms too.”
Chief Barresi encourages all Rehoboth residents to check their home alarms. “This fall, when you are cleaning and replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms, check the manufactured date stamped on the back of the alarm to see how old it is. If it doesn’t have one, then it is already more than ten years old and needs to be replaced.”
For more information on smoke alarms and home escape plans, contact the Rehoboth Fire Department at 508-252-3725 or the Department of Fire Services at www.mass.gov/DFS.
ANAWAN LIONS CLUB TO HOST ANNUAL HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING AT BCSB
(November 30, 2015) Rehoboth residents are cordially invited to attend the annual holiday tree lighting at Bristol County Savings Bank on Route 44 at 3 PM on Saturday, December 5.
Sponsored by the ladies of the Rehoboth Anawan Lions Club, the annual event includes the tree lighting and carol singing followed by refreshments and fun activities for children at Goff Memorial Hall. Santa is also scheduled to attend. This is a free event open to the public.
Founded on December 11, 1991, the Rehoboth Anawan Lions Club consists of local women who collectively serve the community year round. Along with raising money for Massachusetts Lions Eye Research, they contribute to local causes such as Helping Hands Food Pantry and Fuel Assistance Program, and the DRRHS Citizens Scholarship Fund.
Members also volunteer their time and talents to meet community needs. They host bake sales, an annual Ladies with Laughter Luncheon, a calendar dance, and collect used eye glasses. Lions Clubs have a special dedication to serving the blind and visually impaired.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE GARAGE FIRE ON CHESTNUT STREET
(November 26, 2015) Rehoboth fire crews yesterday battled an attached garage fire at a residence on Chestnut Street and were able to save the house.
Firefighters were dispatched to a reported structure fire on Chestnut Street after receiving a 911 call from the resident. They arrived to find a “well involved” fire in an attached two-car garage, but were able to quickly knock down the flames and prevent extension to the rest of the home.
The resident, who was in another part of the residence when the garage fire began, called for help after hearing smoke detectors.
RFD Chief Frank Barresi stated that "firefighters made a great stop and prevented further damage to the home."
Fire crews remained on scene for approximately an hour. Rehoboth Police closed Chestnut Street and a detective was requested to the scene to assist with the investigation. Rehoboth EMS and the Providence Canteen provided rehab. Mutual aid from Norton and Swansea responded for station coverage. The family was able to remain in the home. The cause of the fire remains under investigation and there were no injuries reported.
DRRHS STUDENTS AND LIONS GATHER FOR PEACEFUL PHOTO
(November 26, 2015) Early in the morning on Tuesday November 24, this was the scene at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School where the D-R Leo Lions Club, along with the Class of 2016, and both Lions Clubs of Dighton and Rehoboth came together in support of the people of Paris by creating a giant human version of the now iconic “Paris Peace Sign.”
Aerial photos by Anthony (Tony) Nardozzi were taken during a helicopter flight with Rehoboth resident and Lion Club member John Ferreira. Additionally, posters were signed by the entire DRRHS student body. These photos and gifts from Rehoboth Lions will be sent to the Paris Lions District as a show of solidarity and support.
RATE FIXED FOR COMMUNITY ELECTRIC AGGREGATION; TOWN TO MAIL INFORMATION TO RESIDENTS
(November 20, 2015) The Town of Rehoboth will soon send a mailing to residents with details about the Community Electric Aggregation Program. Rehoboth is one of 22 other communities to participate in the electricity low-savings program.
Selectman Susan Pimental attended the bid opening on November 10 that resulted in a fixed rate of .0949¢ per kWh for a period of two years. Residents can opt out of the program if they wish to stay with their current power supplier.
Informational cards are available at various locations including the Rehoboth Town Office, Blanding Public Library, and Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. It is anticipated rates will be effective with the first meter reading in January and will be reflected on the February billing.
Detailed information on community electric aggregation can be found in an article, “Rehoboth Benefits from Bulk Electricity Buying” on the Features Page.
REHOBOTH POLICE ANNOUNCE LOSS OF RETIRED K-9 ON FACEBOOK
(November 12, 2015) Using social media to communicate with the public, the Rehoboth Police Department announced the recent passing of retired canine police dog Cezar.
The trained police dog, a German shepherd born and trained in the Czech Republic, served the RPD for six years on dual duty as both a search dog and for narcotics detection. Purchased for $4,200 through a fundraising campaign, Cezar worked and lived with with police handler Officer Craig Forget. Following retirement in 2011, Cezar continued to live with the Forget family.
During his years as a police dog, Cezar and Officer Forget were required to attend two eight-hour trainings per month that took them out of the field. Overtime and training costs made obtaining another canine dog prohibitive despite donations that helped pay for Cezar’s food, equipment and veterinary care.
When needed, the RPD now relies on police dog services provided by either Massachusetts State Police or the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office.
D-R SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT EXPLAINS CONTINUED POLICE PRESENCE
(November 6, 2015) A letter to parents and guardians was sent early this week by Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Anthony Azar confirming an “increased” police presence at the high school until further notice.
On Monday morning police from both Dighton and Rehoboth police, outfitted in SWAT gear, “significantly increased their presence” based on what was described as an “ambiguous” threat made on social media.
According to Azar, “if the Dighton and Rehoboth Police determine an increased presence is warranted” the school district will “make it a priority to notify parents, students and staff” promptly. “Once we are able to identify the person or persons responsible for this disruption to our learning environment the school district and the appropriate law enforcement agencies will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law possible.”
He concluded his letter to parents by asking for patience and support, and to contact the police with any information related to the threat made on social media.
Typically, the school district will not offer information to the public on details related to individual students or the investigation other than confirming an arrest of a student over 18 years of age.
POLICE RESPOND TO “AMBIGUOUS” THREAT AT DRRHS
(November 3, 2015) Police in SWAT gear were at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School yesterday morning after school officials reported an “ambiguous threat” made last week on a controversial global social networking site, ask.fm, popular with teens.
The site, founded in Latvia and now based in Dublin, Ireland, is known for anonymous messaging, little moderation, and few parental controls. Since 2013, the site has been under scrutiny for its widespread culture of cyberbullying linked to suicides. Advertisers boycotted the site after a 14-year-old girl killed herself after being bullied by users on ask.fm.
Parents of DRRHS students were notified on Sunday of the problem and alerted to the police presence on Monday morning.
“Adhering to district protocol, the Rehoboth and Dighton police departments were notified and responded immediately,” said School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Azar who released a statement and letter to parents on the school district website.
In that letter he noted the threat also concerned D.L. Beckwith Middle School, however police determined the undescribed threat “was more centered at the high school.”
According to Azar, a continued police presence will be at all schools in both Rehoboth and Dighton tomorrow. Students had no school today for scheduled teacher workshops. (Photo: Twitter)
REHOBOTH VOTERS MAKE DECISIONS AT SPECIAL TOWN MEETING
(November 3, 2015) Special Town Meeting was held last night in the DRRHS auditorium with 105 voters in attendance to decide twelve articles on the warrant in less than two hours.
Article 1 was approved to fund $64K for an amended FY16 budget including town employee salaries and wages and $31K in legal expenses. Voters also approved purchase of a dump truck and generator for the highway department; upgrades to the town’s communications system to allow use of updated police radios; purchase of two parcels of land on Purchase Street for conservation purposes; and a conservation easement release of private property on Plain Street.
Voters approved a new bylaw related to protecting children, elders and those with “mental impairment” from registered sex offenders. Level 2 and 3 sex offenders are banned from residing or being within 500 feet of schools, day care centers, senior center, group homes, parks, recreational facilities and the public library. An amendment to exclude parks and libraries from the bylaw was defeated.
While some voiced concerns that sex offenders could get into schools without the new bylaw, the existing school district policy is that all employees and volunteers pay a criminal background check. Sex offenders were already required to register with police.
Also approved was a bylaw amendment related to ice cream truck vendor licensing regulations to require criminal background checks at the expense of the vendor, along with registration with local police.
Voters defeated an bylaw to establish a formal Economic Development Committee (EDC) in order to pursue grants, work with selectmen and planning board, and file a written annual report.
The town already has a selectmen-appointed EDC that meets monthly to study, promote and encourage development of the town’s commercial tax base through business since residents traditionally vote against overrides of Proposition 2 1/2 to fund the town budget. Rehoboth currently has one tax rate for both residential properties and local business.
Voters also defeated a bylaw amendment that would have given the board of selectmen authority over the town’s personnel policies and allow changes at their discretion. Currently the town’s personnel board reviews policies and makes recommendations to be recommended at town meeting.
David Scanlon, chair of the personnel board, urged voters last night to defeat the amendment. He said that allowing selectmen only to approve personnel policies would essentially censor the personnel board because their recommendations would never be heard by the public at town meeting. He also cited exposing the town to legal risk and expense and the amendment, if passed, “would be bad for town employees.”
The special town meeting food drive conducted by local Boy Scouts resulted in collection of 130 pounds of goods for Helpig Hands Food Pantry.
VOTERS NEEDED ON NOVEMBER 2 TO CONDUCT TOWN BUSINESS AT STM
(October 28, 2015) At least sixty registered Rehoboth voters are needed on Monday, November 2 to commence the the Special Town Meeting to be held in the DRRHS auditorium beginning at 7 PM. A minimum of 75 voters are needed to make a quorum to vote on articles related to town bylaws.
Those attending are asked to bring a donation of non-perishable food items (please check expiration dates) or paper goods, personal care items, or even a cash donation to assist Rehoboth Helping Hands Food Pantry in serving both local individuals and families who find themselves in time of need.
With a warrant of twelve articles, voters will first be asked to approve an amended FY16 town budget. Most budget adjustments are below $2000 and involve wages and salaries in various town departments. The largest adjustments are $31K for legal fees; $8K for wages in the Highway Department; $6K for tuition of Rehoboth students at Bristol County Agricultural High School; and almost $3K for costs associated with hiring five new RPD reserve officers (pre-employment physical and psychological exams).
Voters will be asked to approve $93K to fund the FY16 Capital Improvement Plan to purchase a one-ton dump truck with snow plow and an emergency generator, both for the Highway Department.
The police department is seeking $25K to re-configure the town’s communications system to allow use of police radios they acquired through a grant.
The Agricultural and Natural Resources Preservation Council seeks to purchase two parcels of land, about 42 acres, for future recreational and conservation using funding from the Community Preservation Fund Open Space Reserve ($22,500) and Rehoboth Agricultural Trust Fund ($22,500).
Other meeting articles involve bylaw changes: ice cream truck vendor regulations; formal establishment of the economic development committee; regulations related to registered sex offenders; and new bylaws related to town employees; and zoning amendments.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS OFFER EXPERTISE IN RURAL WATER SUPPLY AND TANKER SHUTTLE TO AREA
FIRE DEPARTMENTS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
(October 26, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department played an important role yesterday in a drill sponsored by the Bristol County Fire Chiefs Association for departments from 18 towns along with units from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and the Field Communications Unit.
Tanker Shuttle Operations and Rural Water Supply were the topics of instruction at the drill conducted at the Raynham Dog Track. Rehoboth firefighters are uniquely qualified to teach these skills as Rehoboth has no municipal water supply. RFD Chief Frank Barresi first presented classroom instruction before the operational drill.
Assistant chiefs Mark Haskell, Al Noons, and Jeff Rassol instructed and coordinated the water supply portion of the drill. Lieutenants Chris Botelho and Mike Bourdeau assisted with the operation.
The group was able to shuttle 150,00 gallons of water over a two-hour period and flow up to 2200 gallons per minute. According to Barresi, all in attendance agreed it was a valuable day of training.
M & D’S RESTAURANT HOSTS RBA ‘BUSINESS AFTER HOURS’
(October 22, 2015) Over 40 local business people gathered last night at M & D’s Restaurant on Winthrop Street for the Rehoboth Business Association’s ‘Business After Hours’ networking event.
Restaurant owner Nicole Jarvis offered her hospitality and a buffet featuring upcoming specials soon to appear on the family restaurant’s menu.
Business After Hours events provide a networking opportunity for those who operate businesses or work in Rehoboth. Along with offering a congenial, non-political atmosphere, the early evening events include informal discussion about business in Rehoboth -- growth, development, and what’s happening on the local business scene.
RBA President Luke Travis, Esq. (pictured above right) and RBA Vice President Leslie Gouveia (left) join Nicole Jarvis (center) in her cozy and friendly family restaurant for Business After Hours held on October 21.
The RBA’s November ‘Business After Hours’ will be a held at Confectionery Designs at 462 Winthrop Street on Monday, November 2 from 5:30 to 7 PM. Owners Mark and Marie Soliday will welcome guests with a sweet sampling of their cakes, cookies, and confections.
While some Business After Hours events have a small attendance fee, the November event at Confectionery Designs is free of charge, courtesy of the owners. As always, the RBA invites both members and non-members to attend their sponsored events. Those interested in attending can find RSVP info at RehobothBusiness.com.
TOWN POSTS JOB OPENING FOR TOWN ACCOUNTANT
(October 22, 2015) The Town of Rehoboth yesterday released a job posting for the position of Town Accountant working directly under the general supervision of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. The position is a contractual one that ends at the conclusion of the fiscal year on June 30.
Town officials did not offer any more information to the public other than the job posting. The town’s part-time assistant accountant, recently resigned to take a similar position in another town.
According to the posting, the town accountant “position will remain open until filled.” The complete job posting can be found on the Classifieds Page.
DIGHTON MAN ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED ROAD RAGE INCIDENT IN REHOBOTH
(October 20, 2015) A thirty-four-year-old Dighton man was arrested this morning following an alleged incident of road rage that occurred at the intersection of Anawan and Tremont streets in North Rehoboth.
Rehoboth police took an incident report from a driver, later identified as Don Fisher, who had been approached around 7 AM by an unidentified man who jumped out of a Jeep Liberty yelling and wielding a hatchet.
According to police, the victim was driving north on Anawan Street when he observed the vehicle behind him operating in an erratic manner. The vehicle then passed him near the intersection of Anawan and Peck streets. Both vehicles continued to the stop sign at the intersection of Tremont Street where the male driver jumped out and approached the victim’s car shouting and waving a hatchet in a threatening manner.
The alleged victim told police he feared for his safety and rolled up the window and locked the door. He reported the suspect then returned to his vehicle and drove away.
Officer Timothy Bartucca, who took the initial report, was able to identify the male driver as Brian Art of Dighton. Art was located, around 9:30 AM, in his jeep on Anawan Street and arrested by Chief James Trombetta and Sgt. Brian Ramos on charges of assault with dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. He was taken into custody and transported to Taunton District Court for arraignment where bail was set at $10,000. He was ordered to stay away from Fisher when able to post bail and be released from jail.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT HOLDS MEMORIAL SERVICE
(October 20, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department held its annual Firefighters Memorial on Sunday October 18 at Fire Station Three on Pleasant Street in South Rehoboth. The ceremony included wreath laying, remembrances, and a reading of the names of all departed members of the RFD. A fellowship was held in the station after the ceremony. The Department would like to thank all who attended.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR REHOBOTH RESIDENTS
(October 16, 2015) Here are two timely announcements of interest to Rehoboth residents. The first involves the news story below about the Rehoboth Cultural Council Survey. To any nice folks out there who happened to participate in the online survey for the Rehoboth Cultural Council, your responses were not collected due to a glitch in Survey Monkey that has now been fixed. Please, if you would be so kind, take the survey again so your opinions can be recorded. Just go to www.rehobothculturalcouncil.com to take the survey.
The second announcement is from the Rehoboth PTSA. The events committee is currently reaching out to residents and businesses to help support their annual Jack O’Lantern Festival scheduled for Saturday, October 24 from 5 to 8 PM at Palmer RIver Elementary and D. L. Beckwith Middle schools. The highly anticipated event, for students of both schools and their families, features a carved pumpkin walk and an array of fun activities.
Businesses and individuals are offered the opportunity to participate by creating carved pumpkins for the nighttime walk, donating hay bales, mums, etc., or by setting up a festive fall display with a child-friendly activity or take-away treat. Please contact Lori Rossi at 774-254-6035.
REHOBOTH RESIDENTS ASKED TO TAKE ONLINE CULTURAL COUNCIL SURVEY
(October 11, 2015) The Rehoboth Cultural Council (RCC), local affiliate of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, is asking residents to participate in a quick online survey to gather public opinion on types of activities and programs the local council can support with grants in the next few years. The 2016 grant cycle has began with applications due on October 15.
Along with the online survey, a paper version is printed on the back over page the warrant for the special town meeting that arrived in residential mailboxes yesterday. The completed survey can either be dropped off in boxes marked Rehoboth Cultural Council Surveys at the November 2 special town meeting at DRRHS auditorium or at other locations including the Town Office or Blanding Library. Or the completed survey can be mailed to Rehoboth Cultural Council, 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
REHOBOTH PTSA RESTAURANT PARTNER OF THE MONTH
(October 6, 2015) The Rehoboth PTSA has partnered with local restaurants to donate a portion of your bill to the Parent-Teacher-Student Association during the designated month.
The October Restaurant of the Month is Rosie’s Market located at 61 Plain Street in Rehoboth. Enjoy local cuisine and Rosie’s fried chicken while supporting the PTSA serving students of both Palmer River Elementary and D.L. Beckwith Mddle schools. Visit the PTSA website to find a flyer to present at the designed Restaurant of the Month.
READERS: CHECK EVENT CALENDARS FOR CHANGES
(October 1, 2015) Due to projected weather conditions, a number of events for this weekend are being cancelled and/or rescheduled. We will post these changes as soon as possible here on various pages of RehobothNow.com and on our Facebook page.
ACCIDENT YESTERDAY ON ROUTE 44 TAKES DOWN UTILITY POLE
(October 1, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel responded yesterday afternoon to the scene of a single vehicle crash on Route 44.
An unidentified driver left the roadway and struck a utility pole with street light causing it to lean into the westbound lane. Traffic on Route 44 was jammed for almost one hour while crews from National Grid removed the pole. No injuries were reported and the accident remains under investigation by the RPD.
WOMAN ARRESTED FOR DUI AFTER ACCIDENT ON TREMONT STREET
(September 24, 2015) A motor vehicle accident yesterday on Tremont Street resulted in the arrest of an Attleboro woman on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a vehicle.
Rehoboth police were dispatched to the scene of a two-vehicle crash near 259 Tremont and found a Dodge pickup blocking the westbound lane and a Nissan sedan off the roadway into some trees. Both vehicles sustained heavy front end damage.
Sgt. Richard Shailor and Officer Adam Brown determined the Nissan driven by twenty-year-old Alyssa Cokonis of Attleboro was at fault after she pulled out of a driveway into the path of the oncoming truck. The driver of the truck was transported to the hospital with unknown injuries. RPD did not release the name of the truck driver.
Cokonis was charged and released on bail. She was scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court today for arraignment.
D-R SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT ANNOUNCES NEW BECKWITH PRINCIPAL
(September 22, 2015) Dighton Rehoboth Superintendent of Schools Anthony Azar has announced the appointment of Joseph Pirraglia as new principal for D. L. Beckwith Mddle School beginning October 1.
Following the last August resignation of long-time Beckwith Principal Deborah Pincince, an interim principal was appointed to begin the new school year while a search committee interviewed permanent candidates. Dr. Jeanne Bonneau assumed the position of interim principal in August. She had recently served as a math consultant during the 2014-15 school year at both BMS and Dighton Middle School.
Superintendent Azar confirms that Bonneau will “continue to support both Mr. Pirraglia and our newly hired Assistant Principal Mike Martone, while also serving as a math consultant.”
Pirraglia is leaving the Alan Shawn Feinstein MIddle School in Coventry, RI where he is currently assistant principal.
REHOBOTH SAFETY INSTITUTE RELEASES QUARTERLY VEHICLE SAFETY WATCH LIST
(September 22, 2015) Rehoboth-based The Safety Institute, Inc. (TSI) this month released their latest Quarterly Vehicle Safety Watch List to help the public recognize emerging problems with vehicles on U.S. roadways and to identify continuing failures potentially associated with known problems.
Founded by Sean Kane, a safety activist who also operates the Rehoboth-based Safety Research & Strategies firm, the non-profit TSI promotes evidence-based advocacy, education and research solutions to reduce injury risk through grantmaking, policy advancement and a survivors network.
The recently released watch list was sponsored by Ken and Beth Melton of Cobb County, Georgia in memory of their daughter Brooke who perished at age 29 in a 2010 crash caused by a well-known ignition switch defect in her 2005 Chevy Cobalt.
“Brooke would still be alive if GM had acknowledge the ignition defect and fixed it,” said Ken Melton. His daughter’s death led to an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in February 2014 and eventually led to $35M in civil fines levied against General Motors and nearly 15 million vehicles recalled. Congress held hearings on GM’s deception and NHTSA’s failures.
“The Watch List was launched following the continued failure of manufacturers and regulators to identify and quickly act on dangerous defects like the GM ignition switch,” explained Kane, president of the TSI board. “Our intent is to provide scientifically valid data on problems showing up in the vehicle fleets so that they can be investigated and resolved sooner.”
The list tracks the top 15 potential vehicle defects to watch with the 2012 Ford Focus topping the list for the fourth consecutive quarter. Toyota continues to occupy several spots for potential structure and unintended acceleration claims, and GM remains on the list for potential service brake issues. None of these issues have been investigated by the NHTSA or effectively remedied by the manufacturer.
The Vehicle Safety Watch List can be found online along with other information on areas of product safety and injury prevention across a board spectrum. The organization has led efforts or been involved in a variety of issues including motor vehicle electronics, water safety, ATV and off road vehicle safety, prevention of traumatic brain injury, restaurant and occupational safety, preventing window falls, falls among older adults, and injuries from new technologies, products and practices.
REHOBOTH’S STEVEN SAMMIS ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING FOR FIRST NEW ENGLAND GOLD STAR FAMILY MONUMENT
(September 16, 2015) Rehoboth resident Steven Sammis, one of the organizers to bring a Gold Star Family Monument to Massachusetts, announces the official groundbreaking for the memorial at 1 PM on Sunday, September 20 at Veterans Bicentennial Park located on the banks of the Taunton River in Fall River.
Sammis, an honorary board member of the Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation, has worked with Bruce Aldrich to erect the memorial honoring families of servicemen and women killed in the line of duty.
The Sammis family of Rehboth is one of those Gold Star families. Their son Benjamin, a Marine captain and pilot was killed during combat in central Iraq on April 4, 2003 when his helicopter crashed. He was the second Massachusetts serviceman from Massachusetts to die during the Global War on Terrorism.
Four years ago, the Sammis/Waterman Athletic Complex on Peck Street behind the Rehoboth Town Office was dedicated in memory of Captain Sammis and First Lieutenant Craig Houston Waterman who died on July 30, 1967 in Vietnam.
“We are very pleased to announce that Hershel "Woody" Williams will be our guest of honor. Woody is a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions during the battle for Iwo Jima in World War II, and the founder of the Hershel Woody Williams Foundation,” said Sammis. Williams will present a check for $5000 to the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument Project.
“One of the goals of the Williams Foundation is to create a Gold Star monument in every state,” explained Sammis. “It is truly an honor to have Fall River selected as the monument site for Massachusetts.” The project also has the support of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Memorial.
Donations are currently being sought to construct the memorial in Fall River. The proposed monument has four sections with engraved scenes depicting homeland, family, patriotism and sacrifice. A sectional cut-out shows a service member in salute to represent the missing veteran killed in action.
Speakers for the groundbreaking ceremony include Fall River Mayor C. Samuel Sutter and Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Affairs Fransisco Arena. Veterans Bicentennial Park (Iwo Jima Memorial) is located behind 1082 Davol Street in Fall River.
More details about the Gold Star Family Memorial Monument Project can be found on their website. Contributions will go directly to the costs associated with constructing the memorial.
REHOBOTH PTSA AND LOCAL RESTAURANTS PARTNER UP
(September 11, 2015) The Rehoboth PTSA serving both Palmer River Elementary and D.L. Beckwith Middle schools has partnered with ten local restaurants to support the parent-teacher-student organization.
For each month of the school year, a designated local restaurant will honor a coupon presented by diners and donate a portion of the bill to support the PTSA’s many activities and events.
The participating restaurants include: Don Tequila’s Mexican Grill and Cantina during the month of September; Rosie’s Market during October; The Ice Cream Barn in Swansea for November; Rehoboth House of Pizza for December; Vino’s Family Cafe during the month of January 2016; Apna Punjab Fine Indian Cuisine for February; China Gourmet for March; Plaza Pizza for April; KP Grill for May; and the Palmer River Clam Shack and Dairy for the month of June.
Coupons can be found on the Rehoboth PTSA website. Just present the coupon to your server at the designated participating restaurant during the appropriate month.
NEW SPECIALTY LICENSE PLATE TO SUPPORT MASSACHUSETTS FARMERS
(September 11, 2015) New Entry Sustainable Farming Project and Mass Farmers Markets are launching a specialty license plate to support new farmers, farmers’ markets and a vibrant Massachusetts food economy.
Be an early adopter and supporter of the local food system in Massachusetts by signing up for a Choose Fresh & Local license plate. The funds raised from these plates will support New Entry's work with new & beginning farmers on our incubator farm and beyond, including training and resources as well as continuing to develop a strong statewide network. They will help Mass Farmers Markets continue to support farmers markets in the state. Additionally, having these plates on the road will continue to raise awareness of local agriculture in Massachusetts and help build strong markets for farmers statewide.
Register today to be one of the first 1,500 to get a plate and help us get them on the road! We're close to half way to our goal, and you can help us get there. Plate numbers will be assigned on a first come, first served basis, so don't delay! Visit New Entry Sustainable Farming Project to find out how it works, or to sign up for your plate today (www.mafoodplate.org).
MUNICIPAL PERSONNEL BOARD TO HOST PUBLIC HEARING ON POLICIES
(September 10, 2015) The Rehoboth Personnel Board will host a public hearing on new or updated town employee policies beginning at 7 PM on Tuesday, September 15 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
Prior to incorporating the six new or updated policies, the board seeks to provide a public opportunity for comment or questions. All town employees and other interested parties are encouraged to attend the hearing.
According to a town press release on the hearing, municipal personnel policies “apply to union employees when the bargaining agreement does not specifically regulate the provisions of the policy. Labor unions represent school district employees, police and town office staff.
Updated policies include performance evaluations, family and medical leave, and sexual harassment. New personnel policies to be addressed include exit interview, requests for accommodation and workplace violence.
Descriptions of the changes are outlined in the posting notice available online on the town’s website. Hard copies are available from Interim Town Administrator Helen Dennen at the town office. Those with questions about the personnel board can email Dave Scanlon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SELECTMEN SEEK BIDS FOR STEEL SALT SHED
(September 10, 2015) An ‘Invitation to Bid’ has been issued by the Rehoboth Board of Selectman and Town Procurement Officer Helen Dennen to vendors and contractors for the ‘furnishing of a structural steel salt shed’ at the Rehoboth Highway Department.
In accordance with Massachusetts General Law. the awarding authority (BOS) reserves the “right to reject any and all bids and to accept the bids it deems to be in the best interest of the Town of Rehoboth.”
The 60’ x 60’ gable style arch salt shed is anticipated to be built this fall. Full instructions on the bidding process are provided in a package of 94 pages available on the town website. Bids are due on Monday, September 14 to the selectmen’s office at the town office on Peck Street by 9 AM when the bids will be opened publicly and read aloud.
TOWN FLU VACCINE CLINIC SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER
(September 4, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Health and Town Nurse Jaime Conlon announce a fall flu vaccine clinic scheduled for Monday, October 5 from 10 AM to 12 Noon at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
The vaccination clinic is open to all and will be conducted by Rite Aid. Those interested in receiving a flu shot at this clinic should bring their health insurance card. No appointments necessary.
BE WARY OF EMAIL ‘COURT NOTICE’ SCAM
(September 3, 2015) Recently the computers at the Rehoboth Police Department were attacked by a virus, most likely from email that contained malware.
Rehoboth residents are cautioned to be on the alert for official-appearing email that tells you to report to court on a specific day and time. They often direct the recipient to bring documents and witnesses with them to make it seem legitimate. The email usually warns the recipient that court proceeding may be conducted in their absence and they will be sanctioned if they do not appear. The attachment on these scam emails contain a computer virus. Do not open. Delete the email.
This particular scam was first sighted in December 2013 and has since circulated the globe in cycles. Some of these emails use names of legitimate law firms with logos, or include names of court clerks and other seemingly official identification.
Once the recipient opens the attachment, malware is loaded that ‘sniffs’ for password in network packets and sends them to a remote site. Also be aware of any flashing ‘security alert’ notices that lure victims into buying fake antivirus software.
IT COMMITTEE REQUESTS FUNDING TO SUPPORT SECURITY FOR RPD
(September 1, 2015) Following a series of computer virus attacks that impacted the Rehoboth Police Department recently, the town’s Information Technology Committee requested funding from the board of selectmen to purchase computer security for the department’s 15 computer workstations.
James Muri of the IT Committee explained at last night’s BOS meeting that while the recent hacking problem “has been fixed” there is “no protection on the police department’s servers.” Because sensitive information is stored on departmental computers, Muri said the best solution is for the town to purchase security through an outside vendor at an estimated cost of $4,800 to service 15 internal RPD computers.
Muri noted that laptops onboard police cruisers do not require the added security protection. “Email is a big source of (computer) attack,” said Muri, “and cruiser computers do not have email.” He added the IT committee and town should “consider a more comprehensive plan later on.”
Town owned computers and IT technology fall under a budget managed directly by the board of selectmen who agreed last night to consult with town counsel on the vendor agreement presented to them by Muri on behalf of the IT committee.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER WARNS DOG OWNERS ABOUT LICENSING
(September 1, 2015) Rehoboth Animal Control Officer Jane Foster reminds residents that all dogs must be licensed through the town clerk’s office. Licensing requires a yearly fee and renewal plus documentation of rabies vaccination.
According to Foster, some residents are completely unaware town bylaw requires every dog to be licensed and have an identification dog tag attached to a collar. She also reminds licensed dog owners to make sure their phone contact information listed on the license application is correct.
Many times she picks up a wandering dog with a dog tag and retrieves the license information only to find the phone number is no longer active. Instead of getting the dog back to its home right away, she must kennel the dog in the shelter at the expense of the owner.
“I’d just drive them home,” she said, “if the dog is licensed and I have the correct phone number to call.
NOVEMBER SPECIAL TOWN MEETING WARRANT OPENED
(September 1, 2015) The warrant for the Fall Special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, November 2 was officially opened by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen through Wednesday, September 16.
Citizens who wish to submit an article for consideration at the special town meeting may now do so. Please deliver warrant articles and related documentation to Helen Dennen, Interim Town Administrator at the town office.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN RECALL WALTER MUNROE’S CIVIC RECORD
(August 25, 2015) A moment of silence was held last night at the board of selectmen’s meeting to honor the memory of local farmer Walter Munroe who served the town on municipal committees for the past 38 years.
Munroe passed away Sunday at his family’s Fairview Avenue farm, continuously operated by eight generations of Munroes since 1761.
According to a list compiled by Town Clerk Laura Schwall and read by BOS chair Mike Costello last night, Munroe’s contributions to the town date back to 1977 when he was appointed to the Finance Committee to fill the unexpired term of Harold Messenger. He continue to serve on FinCom for over twelve years.
In 1984, he was appointed as fence viewer, a position he held for four years. In 1988, he was appointed to the Town Building Needs Study Commission. After the annual town meeting adjourned on April 16, 1996, Munroe by elected by paper ballot as a water commissioner and served in that position for over 19 years. His current term was to expire in 2017.
In April 1999, Munroe was elected to the housing authority, a position he continuously held for over 16 years. His term was to expire in April 2019. He served on the Community Housing Partnership Committee from 2003 to 2007.
He was appointed to the Stormwater Implementation Committee for one-term fin 2006-07. In 2008, he was appointed to the Stormwater Management Committee and served over four years in that role.
Munroe served on the town’s Agricultural Commission for twelve years and on the Agricultural and Natural Resources Preservation Council for the past three years. He was currently serving on both committees. He was instrumental in getting the “Right to Farm” town bylaw passed in 2005 and Right to Farm designation signs posted around town. While on the agricultural committee, Munroe was instrumental in publishing the “Visit Rehoboth’s Farms” brochure.
Munroe, known for his distinctive attire of straw hat, overalls, cowboy boots and pipe, resided on the family farm with his wife Sharon, who for many years operated Cricket Hill Gift Shop on the property. The shop was originally opened by Munroe’s mother Jane in 1955. Many longtime Rehoboth residents remember visiting the gift shop during the holidays and buying turkeys from the farm. After the gift shop closed, the couple’s son Benjamin opened Munroe Feed and Supply.
In 2011, Walt Munroe participated in the Carpenter Museum’s ‘Unearthing Rehoboth’s Farming Past’ oral history project. A two-part video oral history can be viewed on YouTube.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN’S BUSY AGENDA FOR TONIGHT’S MEETING
(August 24, 2015) The Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight in regular session at the senior center with a busy agenda including a public meeting on the town’s proposed electric aggregation plan through Good Energy.
Rehoboth the regular session and public meeting, theBOS will meet in executive session at 6:30 PM to discuss a police grievance, and a personnel matter.
Included on the regular session agenda is the appointment of additional special reserve officers to the Rehoboth Police Department. Currently the department has a staff of thirty-one employees including the chief, three lieutenants, four sergeants, two detectives, ten patrolmen, five reserve officers, an office administrator, and five dispatchers. Selectmen will also interview candidates for an interim position of assistant town administrator and approve appointments or reappointments to town committees
There will be several discussions on the agenda including status of the Pleasant Street culvert and electrical work that needs to be addressed at the town office and senior center. The BOS will discuss a partnership for a common animal shelter with members of the Animal Advisory Committee. Selectmen will also review an air quality report for the town offices and fire department.
There will be a vote to schedule the autumn special town meeting for November 21 and open the warrant through September 16.
As always the public is invited to attend and speak during open public forum.
REHOBOTH POLICE ISSUE WARNING ABOUT PHONE SCAM
(August 21, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department warns residents of an increase in telephone scams after receiving numerous reports in recent weeks of callers saying they represent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS that must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. These callers can sound convincing, use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They fish for information from targets. Usually the caller ID reads IRS.
“This is a scam,” warns the RPD and advises residents to not share personal information because the IRS never calls citizens directly to demand info or money.
Additionally, the RPD warns residents to NEVER give out your date of birth, social security number or bank account number over the phone. Legitimate businesses or agencies will have that information already. Nor do they ask to come to your residence and collect money. DO NOT give your address over the phone or invite callers to your home before checking them out thoroughly. Chances are you have not won a prize or foreign lottery.
Another common scam involves a call from an out-of-state or foreign law enforcement agency reporting the arrest or injury of a relative who requires you to send money. You are advised to get a call back number and then contact local police or the MA Attorney General’s office.
When in doubt or suspicious, always ask for a return number, name of caller, and then do some research on the agency, business or charitable organization. Finding info on scams is easy and fast online. Just type the topic, add the word ‘scam’ and hit search. This is helpful also to find out if a suspicious email is a scam. Many fraudulent emails appear to be legitimate bills or invoices from well-known companies.
The IRS call is a common scam used throughout the country. Many area police departments over the last few weeks have advised residents about an increase in these particular calls. If you received such a call, you can report it to the RPD.
More information is available online from the IRS. To learn more about identify theft, scams and how to avoid being tricked, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office offers valuable information online.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING ON MULTI-COMMUNITY ELECTRIC AGGREGATION PLAN
(August 18, 2015) On Monday, August 24 the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will conduct a public meeting to gain oral input from citizens on the proposed municipal power aggregation plan.
Rehoboth is one of thirteen cities and towns in Southeastern Massachusetts that have joined together to procure a contract for electric supply on behalf of electricity consumers within municipal borders. The municipalities have retained Good Energy as their agent.
When approved, individual consumers will automatically be enrolled in the municipal aggregation program, but will have a chance to ‘opt-out’ and remain enrolled in basic service provided by National Grid.
The public meeting on Monday, August 24 will be held at 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 55 Bay State Road. Complete information and documentation about the proposed municipal aggregation plan is available on the Town of Rehoboth website.
REHOBOTH-BASED LYME SUPPORT GROUP TO FEATURE HOLISTIC HEALTH COUNSELOR AS AUGUST MEETING GUEST
(August 12, 2015) The Bristol County Lyme Support Group’s meeting tomorrow night will feature special guest Paula Denoncourt, a certified holistic health counselor. The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 pm Thursday, August 13 at Goff Memorial Hall.
The Rehoboth-based group provides support to those affected, directly or indirectly, by Lyme or associated tick-borne diseases. All are welcome to attend. Like most support groups, confidentiality among members is a priority.
Denoncourt will offer her expertise and samples of prepared dishes that are “healthy and healing” for those battling Lyme or other tick-borne illnesses. Many individuals with Lyme find it helpful to follow restricted diets including avoiding gluten, sugar and chemical additives. Denoncourt is a graduate of the New York School of Integrative Nutrition.
The group, founded by Rehoboth resident Annie LaBrie, strives to encourage awareness and prevention of Lyme and associated tick-borne diseases through education and community involvement where appropriate. More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page and on their website.
CARPENTER MUSEUM SEEKS AUCTION DONATIONS FOR FUNDRAISER
(August 12, 2015) Rehoboth’s Carpenter Museum, a remarkable community asset that hosts programs and special community events throughout the year, is seeking donations of good and services for their annual fall Wine Tasting and Silent Auction to be held on Friday, September 25 from 6:30 to 9 PM at the museum.
Owned and operated by the non-profit Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, the museum hosts one major fundraiser a year with profits supporting the museum operation.
The annual wine tasting and silent auction event will also feature a ‘mystery at the museum’ for the entertainment of guests. This year’s mystery, titled ‘Two Lies and a Truth’ will include strange visitors from the past who will mingle in the crowd telling stories, some lies and one truth. Guests are invited to solve the mystery while bidding on silent auction items and enjoying samplings of six different wines and hors d’ oeuvres. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.
Individuals and businesses interested in donating goods or services for the silent auction are asked to contact the museum at 508-252-3031 or email email@example.com.
ACCIDENT ON TUESDAY NIGHT RESULTS IN DEATH OF REHOBOTH MAN
(Update 8-5-15, 4 PM) Rehoboth police have released the name of the man killed last night in a one-car accident on Tremont Street. Kevin Jarvis, age 37 of Rehoboth was the sole occupant and declared dead at the scene. He was driving a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup eastbound on Tremont when the vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. A local business owner, Jarvis purchased M & D’s Country Restaurant on Winthrop Street this spring. Preliminary results indicate excess speed was a factor in the crash. The RPD and Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction unit continue to investigate.
(August 5, 2015) Rehoboth police, fire and ambulance were dispatched last night to the scene of a one-vehicle accident that resulted in the death of a 37-year-old male.
Reports of a serious crash in the area of 515 Tremont Street came in at approximately 8:30 PM yesterday. The vehicle was traveling east bound on Tremont Street went it went drove off the roadway striking a tree. Police arrived to find the vehicle off the roadway with the operator, the sole occupant, trapped inside. The operator was extricated from the vehicle by the Rehoboth Fire Department. Once removed, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The crash is currently under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department, The Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Medical Examiner’s Office. Further information will be released pending the notification of next of kin.
REHOBOTH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE ASKS RESIDENTS TO TAKE ONLINE SURVEY TO GAUGE PUBLIC OPINION
(July 31, 2015) With the approval of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, the town’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) is seeking citizen input via an online opinion survey.
The survey was developed to gain a “better understanding of what residents and voters collectively see as the most desirable areas for business expansion.”
The EDC was formed in 2014 following a request from the Rehoboth Business Association for representation on a municipal committee addressing local business issues and bylaws. Only town officials had been appointed to the zoning bylaw review committee approved by voters in 2013 at town meeting and appointed later by selectmen. A public hearing on the proposed zoning revisions was held in March 2014. The new zoning bylaw package was rejected by voters two months later at town meeting. There has been no recent progress in adopting new zoning bylaws to replace regulations considered outdated, illegal, or ‘unfriendly’ to local business.
“Sharing your opinions is critical to help us know what residents think about business in town,” voiced the EDC flyer promoting the online survey.
Members of the EDC include local business people LInda Ferreira, Sean Kane, and John Jordan; community members Lorraine Botts and Stephen Silva; and Stephen Brooks, Jr., member of the town’s planning board. Prior to his departure, Town Administrator Jeff Ritter attended ECD meetings and facilitated bringing guests to the meetings such as School Superintendent Anthony Azar and representatives from regional organizations.
REP. HOWITT WELCOMES GOVERNOR TO 4TH BRISTOL DISTRICT
(July 29, 2015) Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) welcomed Governor Charlie Baker to the Fourth Bristol District this month at a fundraising event held at Crestwood Country Club in Rehoboth.
The governor took the opportunity to commend Howitt on the hard work he does for his constituents in Rehoboth and the other communities of the district.
“This is a great state and we do a lot of things really well,” said Baker. “Our goal is to make sure we keep getting better and better and better going forward. With folks like Steven representing you, that’s exactly the type of people we need on the team with the pragmatic approach to get stuff done. I’m happy to be here.”
Many other local officials from Southeastern Massachusetts were also in attendance. "I am humbled and honored to have so many people with us this evening, Republicans and Democrats alike,” noted Howitt.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN MEET TONIGHT WITH MIXED AGENDA
(July 27, 2015) The Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight in regular session at the senior center at 7 PM with an agenda that begins with a vote to appoint an additional full-time police officer and part-time dispatcher.
Selectmen will also interview a candidate for the positon of Veterans Services Officer to replace Jack Taylor who recently resigned after nine months of service to the town.
A representative from the town’s personnel board, Dave Scanlon will present selectmen with updates on several town employee policies including discipline, sexual harassment, performance review, and family medical leave and maternity leave.
A follow-up discussion will be held regarding an animal control (dog) issues at a residence on Winthrop Street. Selectmen will provide an update on the municipal power aggregation project awaiting state approval. Rehoboth is one of thirteen communities that have joined together to contract as a group to procure more affordable electricity.
Other items on tonight’s agenda include awarding a contract for the purchase of a new pumper of the fire department; approval of liquor license applications; and reappointments and appointments to various municipal committees and boards.
As always, the public is invited to attend. Open public forum will be held at the beginning of the meeting for event announcements and later following action items for citizens to address any issue of their concern.
DRIVER INJURED IN ROLLOVER ACCIDENT ON FAIRVIEW
(July 24, 2015) Trapped in her overturned vehicle, an unidentified woman was extricated by Rehoboth Fire Department personnel following a single car accident on Fairview Avenue near Oak Street yesterday morning.
Emergency responders were dispatched to the accident scene that closed the roadway for over thirty minutes. The driver, the sole occupant, apparently first struck a utility pole before flipping over. She was treated by Rehoboth EMS at the scene and then transported to the hospital for treatment. Her condition was not made available to the public.
Rehoboth police are investigating the accident, the second in six days following road work done last Friday on Fairview Avenue from Tremont Street to Anawan Street. The extensive roadwork required the posting of loose stone signs warning motorists to use caution and reduce speed.
MUNICIPAL POWER AGGREGATION PLAN MOVES AHEAD
(July 23, 2015) As part of the process to gain state approval to move forward with a municipal power aggregation plan, a public hearing will be held in Boston in late August.
Rehoboth is one of thirteen cities and towns in Southeastern Massachusetts that have joined together to procure a contract for electric supply on behalf of electricity consumers within municipal borders. The municipalities have retained Good Energy as their agent in these proceedings.
When approved, individual consumers will automatically be enrolled in the municipal aggregation program, but will have a chance to ‘opt-out’ and remain enrolled in basic service provided by National Grid.
The public hearing will be held on Wednesday, August 26 at 2 PM at the Department of Public Utilities located at One South Station, fifth floor. Any person who would like to comment at the public hearing may attend or submit written comments to the Department of Public Utilities by Tuesday, August 25 at 5 PM. Copies must be submitted to other involved parties. Full details and instructions to submit comments are available on the town website. A copy of the Town of Rehoboth petition is available at the town office, 148 Peck Street.
REHOBOTH CULTURAL COUNCIL BEGINS GRANT SEASON
(July 23, 2015) The Rehoboth Cultural Council, the local affiliate of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, will begin their annual grant cycle with three informational workshops in August and September to help interested applicants learn more about the process.
The local council receives an allotment of funds through the state to support programs and projects that promote the arts, humanities and social sciences. Last year the council awarded twelve grants for a variety of events or programs. Monies awarded by the local council are not part of the town budget.
The 2016 grant application period runs from September 1 through October 15. Grant-funded programs must be completed between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016. Grants are awarded on a reimbursement basis.
Individuals, groups, and schools are invited to apply for cultural council grants and can learn more the process at three scheduled workshops to be held at the Blanding Library on Wednesday, August 26 from 1 to 3 PM; Thursday, September 3 from 6 to 7:30 PM; and Saturday, September 12 from 10:30 to 12 Noon. Information and grant applications may be found at mass-culture.org/Rehoboth.
CRASH ON FAIRVIEW AVENUE UNDER INVESTIGATION
(July 19, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched early Saturday morning to a motor vehicle crash into a pole on Fairview Ave.
The occupants were evaluated by Rehoboth EMS while firefighters contained a fluid spill and cleaned up debris while police investigated. Utilities were notified as the pole was snapped at the base.
The road was shut down for approximately 45 minutes while the scene was cleared. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the RPD.
ALLEGED ASSAULT OF RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE ENDS IN ARREST
(July 17, 2015) Rehoboth police arrested New Bedford man yesterday afternoon on a charge of assault to murder following an incident in the parking lot of a Rehoboth restaurant on Winthrop Street (Route 44).
Office Jacob Miranda responded to the parking lot Don Tequila’s at 569 Winthrop Street for a report of a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident. He spoke to a female employee who stated her ex-boyfriend had arrived at her work place, started yelling at her, and popped one of her vehicle tires in the parking lot.
The alleged victim said Luis Iraola, age 21 of New Bedford, threatened to burn her vehicle and proceeded to remove a bottle of lighter fluid and box of matches from his vehicle. A physical altercation ensued and Iraola lost possession of the lighter fluid.
According to the woman, Iraola then pushed her to the ground before returning to his vehicle and then drove intentionally towards the victim and struck her parked vehicle. Police report he quickly left the parking lot and drove away.
Police sent out an all points bulletin on Iraola and a short time later he was taken into custody in New Bedford. He was later transferred to the custody of the Rehoboth Police Department and charged with multiple crimes including assault to murder, domestic assault and battery, attempted burning of a motor vehicle, vandalism, and destruction of property over $250.
He was later transported to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department Ash Street Jail to await determination on bail. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today. Officer Miranda was assisted at the scene by Sgt. Ross and Detective Eastwood.
REHOBOTH HORSE OWNERS INVITED TO BLESSING AT LA SALETTE
(July 15, 2015) Organizers of Rehoboth Breed Expo invite horse owners from Rehoboth and other communities to a free public ‘Blessing of the Horses’ at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro.
The ‘blessing’ will be given at 8 AM sharp by Father Pat prior to the gates opening for the annual Rehoboth Breed Expo on Sunday, August 2.
Horse owners are asked to arrive with ample time to unload and tack horses in the center parking lot before walking animals to the blessing area. Parking Staff will be on hand to assist entering the lot, parking trailers and exiting.
To avoid confusion, the blessing is separate from the all-day horse breed exposition that requires an admission charge. Gates open for the expo at 9 AM. Those needing more information should contact Ray Viau at 508-468-7627.
RHODE ISLAND MAN ARRESTED AFTER SATURDAY EVENING CRASH
(July 13, 2015) A Rhode Island man was arrested on Saturday evening by Rehoboth police on multiple charges are crashing his vehicle into a utility pole.
Officers responded to the report of a motor vehicle crash near the intersection of Anawan Street and Perryville Road where a utility pole was snapped at the base and electrical wires were hanging close to the roadway. Perryville Road was closed for several hours while crews replaced the damaged utilities.
Roger Pratas, age 46 of Bristol, RI was arrested on a drunk driving charge as well as negligent operation of an unlicensed vehicle. He was held on $2500 cash bail and was scheduled to appear for arraignment in Taunton District Court today.
The accident is being by Patrolmen Thomas Ranley and Louis DiBacco with Sgt. Norman Todd assisting.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST MAN ON FOURTH DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE
(July 11, 2015) A Shrewsbury man was arrested yesterday afternoon by Rehoboth police on multiple vehicular charges after a hit and run accident involving property damage on Anawan Street.
Police were dispatched around 3 PM after receiving a call reporting an accident in the area of 73 Anawan Street. A small white SUV with front end damage was witnessed leaving the scene.
Patrolman Craig Forget located the vehicle at the Exxon gas station on the corner of Anawan and Route 44 and saw it jumped the curb and almost struck a van in the parking lot. Assisting officers were Lt. James Medeiros, and Lt. Michael Brady.
After a brief investigation, Domingo M. Fernandes, age 63 of Shrewsbury, MA was taken into custody and charged with a fourth operating under the influence of alcohol charge, negligent operation, leaving the scene of property damage, and a marked lanes violation. He was held on $20,000 cash bail and transported to the New Bedford House of Correction. Fernandes is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Monday morning.
LOCAL BUSINESS AND ORGANIZATIONS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN ANNUAL LARRY PROCOPIO’ HARVEST BLOCK PARTY
(July 6, 2015) The Rehoboth Town Events Committee has set the date for the 16th Annual “Larry Procopio’ Harvest Block Party for Saturday, September 19 on the Redway Plain.
Local businesses, organizations, clubs, groups, schools, churches and residents with special trades and crafts are invited to participate in the ‘no admission, no parking fee” event. Display booths are offered to town organizations free of charge with all vendors, particularly those selling food and beverages, asked to consider a suggested donation to support the event.
The original concept for a ‘free party for all in Rehoboth” was the brainchild of the late Larry Procopio following the town’s 350th anniversary celebration in 1993. Six years later, Procopio had garnered enough community support to host the first block party which he and his wife Bev organized and managed for several years with the help of volunteers. After Procopio’s death, his wife carried on his vision and managed the event until she fell into ill health. A formal town events committee was then created then to carry on the tradition with Mary Beth Moriarty serving as chairperson.
This year’s HBP will once again feature lots of entertainment, hayrides, pony rides, tractor and train rides, bounce houses, petting zoo, live music, demonstrations, food to purchase, and lots of display booths and vendors. Visit the Harvest Block Party page for complete information.
REHOBOTH BREED EXPO TO INCLUDE BLESSING OF HORSES
(July 5, 2015) The sixth annual Rehoboth Breed Expo, to be held at nearby LaSalette Shrine this year, will feature a public blessing of the horses administered by Father Pat at 8 AM before the gates open.
The day-long event will be held on Sunday, August 2 from 9 AM to 4 PM with over 20 equestrian demonstrations. Horse breeds, large and small, are slated to participate in the expo including two rare Suffolk Punch Drafts owned by Shawn Conway. On other end of the spectrum, a miniature horse owned and shown by Pat Musser will be driven.
The expo will feature a variety of vendors selling goods, food, beverages and refreshments. Plenty of children’s activities will be offered at this family-friendly event. Gate fee for adults is $8 and children 12 and under are admitted free. Rehoboth Breed Expo is a non-profit organization. Each year, a portion of the gate fee supports local charities.
“WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT . . .”
(July 3, 2015) The fourth annual candlelight re-reading of the Declaration of Independence will be held tomorrow night at the Dighton Community Church following a procession through the historic church cemetery.
Join members of the church congregation and members of the Rehoboth Minute Company, 13th Continental Regiment along with other patriots beginning at 8:30 PM for the candlelight walk.
Dighton Selectman Patrick W. Menges will re-read the Declaration in a silent, candlelit church. The document was originally read to citizens at the church on July 13, 1776 in what may have been the first reading after its passage on July 4. The Declaration was then read to citizens throughout the 13 colonies before the final signing in August.
This event is free of charge and will be held rain or shine. Donations will be accepted. Those attending should be able to remain quiet during the re-reading and refrain from using electronics. Candles will be provided if you don’t have your own colonial lantern. Those who don’t wish to walk may wait inside the church during the procession. Colonial dress is welcomed by not required. Refreshments will be served after in the Friendship Hall.
REHOBOTH LAND TRUST CALLS FOR STEWARDS TO ADOPT A PROPERTY
(June 30 2015) The Rehoboth Land Trust (RLT) has announced the creation of a Stewardship Committee to assist in monitoring and maintenance of RLT properties.
Established in 1989, the RLT is a registered charitable non-profit organization with over 100 acres under their stewardship. Working in cooperation with other conservations groups, the group promotes preservation of the rural/agricultural character of the Town of Rehoboth. the group is working with The Trustees of Reservations on the Palmer River Greenway Initiative.
Volunteers are needed to “adopt” a RLT-owned property and perform tasks such as visual inspection for damage, trash pickup and trail maintenance. Specific properties include the Ephraim Hunt Ministerial Land on Pond Street, River Run on Carpenter Street next to the Palmer River, the 76 Mason Street Property, and the parking lot of the Beagle Club Conservation Area.
Those interested in volunteering as a steward for a specific property are asked to contact Diane Biello at 508-252-4241 or send her an email at Biello1@verizon.net.
REHOBOTH MAN TAKEN TO HOSPITAL FOLLOWING CAR CRASH INTO YARD
(June 29, 2015) A young Rehoboth man was transported to the hospital for treatment following a single-vehicle crash at a residence yesterday morning.
Rehoboth police were dispatched to Providence Street about 10:10 AM yesterday and found a black Toyota Carolla with air bags deployed in the front yard of the residence. The driver, Nicholas Drury, age 22 of Cherry Lane in Rehoboth, was found inside the car with injuries that required transport to Miriam Hospital by Rehoboth Ambulance.
An investigation was conducted by responding patrolmen Paul McGovern and James Casey. It was determined Drury drove off the roadway and first crossed a front yard at 3 Miller Street causing “substantial damage to the yard” before continuing eastward, crashing into several trees, and ending up in the yard of the Providence Street home.
Drury was issued a criminal motor vehicle citation for negligent operation and failure to stay in marked lanes.
REHOBOTH WOMAN HIT BY CAR ON ROUTE 44
(June 28, 2015) A Rehoboth woman was struck by a car on Route 44 last night and is reported in serious condition in the trauma unit of Rhode Island Hospital.
Rehoboth police responded to a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian and upon arrival found a woman lying in the middle of the roadway. The victim, later identified as 30-year-old Holly Elizabeth Boysen of Rehoboth was treated at the scene by Rehoboth Ambulance personnel and transported to the hospital with serious injuries.
It is believed Boysen was attempting to cross Winthrop Street in an unlit area during rainy weather conditions when she was struck by a Ford Escape traveling eastbound. The driver, 51-year-old Eileen Gallagher of Marshfield stopped and remained at the scene to cooperate fully with police.
The accident is currently under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit.
SOMERSET MAN ARRESTED IN REHOBOTH ON DUI CHARGE
(June 27, 2015) Following a report of a motor vehicle crash on Anawan Street, Rehoboth police early this morning arrested a Somerset man on a drunk driving charge.
Police were dispatched to a wooded area near #74 Anawan Street and discovered 21-year-old Joseph White of Somerset standing near his vehicle approximately twenty yards of the roadway. An investigation determined that White had been traveling northbound on Anawan Street before crossing back and forth across the roadway, then off through the woods into a tree.
White was arrested at the scene and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and later released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court for arraignment on Monday.
NO INJURIES IN CRASH THAT CLOSED ROUTE 44 ON MONDAY EVENING
(June 23, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash on Route 44 at Wilmarth Bridge Road at approximately 5:30 yesterday. Despite heavy damage to both vehicles, no one was injured.
Rehoboth police shut down the eastbound lane of Route 44 for almost an hour while the two vehicles were removed. Firefighters used a cutting torch to separate the rear axle of one vehicles that became dislodged in the crash. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the RPD.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN OFFER USED BULLDOZER FOR SALE
(June 18, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have a used John Deere bulldozer they’d like to sell as surplus equipment. See photo right.
Interested parties can submit a bid in a sealed envelope by 10 AM on Monday, June 29 to the office of the selectmen at the town office on Peck Street. Envelopes will be opened and read aloud. Payment in full will be due on Tuesday, June 30 by 4 PM. Minimum bid is $10,000 for this ‘as is” piece of heavy equipment. If you would like to view this bulldozer up close, please drop by the Highway Department at 345 Anawan Street.
REHOBOTH BUSINESS ASSOCIATION NAMES OFFICERS FOR 2015-16
(June 17, 2015) The Rehoboth Business Association (RBA) last night at the organization’s annual meeting elected executive officers for the next fiscal year.
RBA members chose to retain the existing roster of officers, all local business women. Re-elected to serve as RBA president, Linda Ferriera is a financial advisor who operates a Rehoboth-based Edward Jones office. Leslie Gouveia, owner of Hot Diggity Dog Walking, will serve a second term as vice president. Diana Rochfort, manager of the Rehoboth branch of Bristol County Savings Bank will continue to serve as treasurer. Continuing in her long-time role as RBA secretary is Cynthia Saleeba of Rehoboth-based Home and Commercial Security, Inc. (Pictured left to right: Diana Rochfort, Linda Ferreira, Cynthia Saleeba, and Leslie Gouveia)
The RBA is comprised of local business owners and managers committed to networking, promoting local enterprise, and enhancing business development in Rehoboth. The group hosts regular ‘Business After Hours’ networking events at local businesses and offer dinner meetings with guest speakers on a variety of business topics.
The RBA supports the local community with an annual spring roadside clean up campaign and hosts a pre-election ‘Meet the Candidates Night’ each spring. Members of the RBA serve on the town’s economic development committee. More information about the RBA can be found on the organization’s website.
DRRHS ACCREDITATION REPORT CONTAINS WARNING
(June 8, 2015) While awarding continued accreditation to Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, a report from the New England Association of Schools & Colleges placed the school warning for a list of significant concerns.
The Committee on Public Secondary Schools visited the school in late March for a comprehensive accreditation evaluation and commended the school on twenty-two practices such as “high student involvement in school-wide programs, athletics and extracurricular activities supported by large groups of parents.” Preparing students for “21st-century learning expectations” was also favorably noted along with “authentic learning opportunities especially in the Career and Technical Education Program.”
Areas of concern that led to the school being placed on warning include lack of up-to-date technology to support teachers and students, and lack of “dependable funding for ongoing professional development, technology support, curriculum revisions, instructional materials and supplies.” Other concerns were lack of school cleanliness, black mold, leaking roof, aging boiler, chipped paints, water stained ceiling tiles, and “inconsistency of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.”
While residents voted against accepting a roof repair partial funding opportunity in 2014, an increased school budget last year allowed the hiring of a facilities manager who, according to School Superintendent Anthony Azar, “helps us with maintaining our buildings.” Referring to “dependable funding” concerns, Azar said, “We have an active capital committee charged with monitoring our capital plan.”
The accreditation report gave DRRHS officials until April 1, 2016 to submit a Special Progress Report addressing both technology and facilities issues.
School officials are also charged with providing detailed responses to three areas involving special education (SPED). Evaluators want confirmation that a qualified leader is in charge of the high school special education department and proof that SPED staff have “a voice in decision-making at the school.” The school must also “develop a more coordinated and monitored systems” for intervention programs.
According to Azar, those issues “have been festering for at least the past three years in the SPED department” and the FY16 budget includes professional development funds “to address the issues with our special education staff training.” He added that Kyle Rile, the district’s Director of Special Education since 2012, has hired a special education coordinator for the high school who will be in charge of students with IEPs or individual education plans. During the current school year, special education students were overseen by the high school psychologist, a position that will be eliminated next year according to Azar.
“I directed Mr. Riley to meet with his staff weekly and meet with principals bi-weekly to progress monitor the interventions in each building as see through the eyes of each principal, special education teacher and student,” noted Azar who said he is confident the school will receive full accreditation in two years.
“Our (school district) budget passed in both Rehoboth and Dighton with hardly a whisper which means to us that our communities trust that we are on the right track to meet head on their concerns,” emphasized Azar.
The complete accreditation report is available on the school district website. Click here.
THREE MEN ARRESTED ON SUSPECTED BURGLARY CHARGES
(June 6, 2015) Rehoboth police arrested two Rhode Island men along with an identified juvenile mid-day on Thursday on charges related to suspected home burglary.
Police reported to a home on Anawan Street following a call from a suspicious homeowner who had been approached by a man in his driveway soliciting landscaping work. The resident gave a description of two young men and a teen driving traveling in a dark blue pickup truck. The vehicle in question matched the description of one seen in the area of two recent home break-ins on May 21.
Officer James Casey quickly located the vehicle in the driveway of nearby home and questioned the men who gave conflicting stories. They were found in possession of a screwdriver, considered a burglarious tool, and some rubber gloves. Assisting officers at the scene were Jacob Miranda and Lt. James Trombetta.
Twenty-six-year-old Matthew Andrade from Woonsocket and East Providence, 20-year-old Nuno Ferreira of Woonsocket and a 16-year-old from East Providence were taken into custody and questioned by Officer Nicole Eastwood who determined they were planning to break into the home on Anawan prior to being interrupted.
All three were charged with conspiracy to commit breaking and entering, possession of burglarious tools and disturbing the peace with Andrade also charged with driving without a license. They were arraigned in Taunton District Court yesterday. Officer Eastwood continues to investigate this case as well as other Rehoboth house breaks in recent weeks. Anyone having additional information is asked to contact Eastwood or Sgt. Brian Ramos.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE DRRHS CLASS OF 2015
READ ABOUT THE CELEBRATION OF EXCELLENCE ON THE FEATURES PAGE
TOWN HALL INSTALLS CONVENIENT DROP BOX FOR RESIDENTS
(June 5, 2015) Rehoboth residents can now drop off mail when the town office is closed in a newly installed locked drop box located outside the main entrance.
A collaborative project of Town Administrator Jeff Ritter, Town Clerk Laura Schwall and Town Treasurer Cheryl Gouveia, the new drop box can be used for tax payments, dog licenses, town census forms, etc. Residents are asked to avoid including cash money with any correspondence that may be deposited in the drop box.
“We hope the addition of the drop box helps to make our town government services more accessible to the public,” said Schwall in the town newsletter than can be found on the town website.
REHOBOTH SENIOR CITIZENS CLUB INSTALLS NEW OFFICERS
(June 3, 2015) The Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club held the annual officer installation luncheon on Thursday, May 21 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. Members were served a delicious stuffed chicken breast made by Chef Bill and volunteers.
The new officers are President Lorraine Botts; First Vice President Steve Silva; Second Vice President Elaine Amaral; Treasurer Pat Laurino; Secretary Cindy Dewey, and Chaplain Ann DeAmaral.
“We will be working together as a team to bring enjoyment to our many members,” said the organization’s newly-elected president.
In June the club will host a Strawberry Festival on Thursday, June 18 and a picnic in July. The group conducts one big fundraiser every October, a fall bazaar that raises money for luncheons and activities throughout the year. Members are already knitting, crafting, obtaining items for our roll-up table, and gathering raffle items.
Open to anyone 55 years and over, the club meets on the first and third Thursdays of each month at 12:30 PM, or noon if a lunch is served. Yearly membership is $4 for both Rehoboth residents and others and due in May by check made out to Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club and mailed to the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. Donations are always gratefully accepted.
TOWN PERSONNEL POLICIES ON SELECTMEN’S AGENDA
(June 1, 2015) The Rehoboth selectmen will meet tonight in regular public session beginning at 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
Tonight’s agenda includes several action items related to recommendations proposed by the personnel board for job descriptions for building commissioner/zoning officer, assistant town administrator, and executive assistance. Selectmen will also vote on a personnel policy on performance evaluations.
The BOS will also vote to approve budget amendments; a reserve fund transfer; issue bid documents for the purchase of a new fire truck tanker approved at town meeting; approve the redesign and conversion service agreement with Virtual Town all; discuss the grant agreement for library services between the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society and the town; and address improvements to Old Chestnut Street. They will also set a summer BOS meeting schedule. As always the public is invited to attend and participate in open public forum.
NNUAL MEMORIAL DAY PARADE AND VETERANS MEMORIAL DEDICATION
(May 26, 2015) The new parade route on Bay State Road was lined with spectators yesterday to enjoy the annual Memorial Day recognition event. Hundreds stayed for the dedication of the Rehoboth Veterans Memorial gazebo and walkway memorials on the Redway Plain.
Ten years in the making, the $150,000 memorial funded through donations includes engraved bricks of all Rehoboth veterans since the town’s founding in 1643, with additional walkways featuring engraved bricks that honor non-Rehoboth veterans or recognized families, individuals or businesses.
Rehoboth Veterans Services Officer Jack Taylor acted as master of ceremonies for the event that featured several guest speakers including local resident Major General Kevin R. McBride, Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard since 2011 and past Rehoboth selectman.
Also speaking were Representative Steven Howitt; Michael Costello, chair of the Rehoboth selectmen; Dean Cronin, chair of the Dighton selectmen; and Patrick Menges, selectman from Dighton who recited President Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg. Rev. John Amaral who acts as chaplain of the Rehoboth Fire Department opened the dedication with a prayer, and a benediction was given by Veronica Hass of Rehoboth American Legion Post 302.
Members of the memorial committee were recognized for their efforts including Steve Sammis, who along with his wife Beth, laid a wreath at the gazebo in honor of their son Benjamin who was killed in action in Iraq in 2003. The Sammis/Waterman Athletic Complex behind the Rehoboth town office features a memorial to both Ben Sammis and Craig Waterman, a Rehoboth solider who was killed during the Vietnam War. Another wreath was placed on the Vietnam War section of the memorial walkway to honor the 40th anniversary of the end of that conflict. Vietnam vets participated in a drumming chant by members of the Dighton Intertribal Indian Council.
Ken Abrams of the memorial committee unveiled a granite stone engraved with the dedication date and names of all the committee members involved. Also participating in the event were members of the Rehoboth Minute Company, the DRRHS Marching Band, and D.L. Beckwith Middle School Band. Click for more photos.
REHOBOTH POLICE ISSUE PARADE ROAD CLOSURE INFORMATION
(May 23, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department has issued information on road closures for Monday, May 25 for the annual Rehoboth-Dighton Memorial Day Parade.
Beginning at approximately 9:15 AM, the Route118 section of Bay State Road, from County Street to the traffic light at Route 44, will be closed to traffic. Only parade participants will be allowed through.
At approximately 10:00 AM, the remaining section of Bay State Road, from County Street to the Route 44 intersection at the Redway Plain will also be closed. Only parade participants and the public attending the parade will be allowed access. These restrictions are expected to be in place to approximately 12:30 PM.
SPECIAL MEMORIAL DAY PARADE AND VETERANS MEMORIAL DEDICATION
(May 22, 2015) Monday, May 25 will be an extra special Memorial Day for the Town of Rehoboth and local veterans. Along with a significant parade route change that eliminates the closure of Route 44, the new Rehoboth Veterans Memorial on the Redway Plain will be dedicated along with a tribute to Vietnam veterans in honor of the 40th anniversary of the end of that war.
The ceremony dedicating the Veterans Memorial gazebo and engraved brick paver walkways on the Redway Plain will be conducted at 11:30 AM following the parade. The featured guest speaker will Major General Kevin R. McBride, Commanding General of the Rhode Island National Guard since 2011 until his anticipated retirement on June 1. McBride is a past Rehoboth selectman.
The Veterans Memorial Relocation Committee has worked with patience and determination over the last several years to plan, fund-raise, and construct a single, comprehensive and visible veterans memorial on the Redway Plain. Other military memorials recognizing the contributions of local veterans in specific conflicts, or those who lost their lives during battle, are located in various places including the Sammis/Waterman Athletic Complex on Peck Street behind the town offices.
“We found it suiting to dedicate our memorial in honor of all veterans on a day when our great nation remembers all those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the country’s armed forces,” read a statement issues by the memorial committee. “We could not have gotten to this point without your support, and we hope you will honor us with your attendance at this year’s Memorial Day Ceremony.”
Committee members include Ken Abrams (chair), Ann Messenger, Derek Rousseau, Steve Sammis, Bill Saunders, and Jennifer Schwall along with two members who have passed away since the original conception of the project, George Amaral and Larry Procopio.
Through community support and donations, the committee was able to nearly raise their goal of $150,000 to construct the site on the Redway Plain. Engraved pavers will continue to be available for purchase.
The Rehoboth Parks Commission, responsible for the use of the town-owned Redway Plain property, was also very integral to the project including members Chuck Procopio, Kathleen Amaral, Bob McKim, and Lynore McKim.
Residents are invited to gather on the Redway Plain at the conclusion of the parade, estimated at 11:30 AM for the dedication ceremony. Please be advised there will be no parking of vehicles on the Redway Plain since it is a working agricultural field leased for growing hay.
The combine Dighton-Rehoboth Memorial Day parade will begin at 10:30 AM from the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Route 118, past American Legion Post 322 down Bay State Road past Goff Memorial Hall/Blanding Library through Rehoboth Village continuing past the Rehoboth Village Cemetery to Pond Street and the Redway Plain. The parade route will be closed to traffic for the duration. Parade viewers who park somewhere along the route should be aware they may be required to wait for a period of time until roadways are cleared of returning parade participants.
REHOBOTH RESIDENTS CONCLUDE ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
(May 19, 2015) The Rehoboth Annual Town Meeting was reconvened last night at the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School auditorium with 93 residents in attendance to vote on the remaining thirteen articles on the meeting warrant.
Article 16, an amendment to general town bylaw related to dog kennels was approved by voters add a new section for licensing the operation of a personal dog kennel in addition to commercial dog kennels that must still appear before the zoning board to seek approval. The bylaw amendment allows the board of selectmen to grant a personal kennel license following a public hearing. Officials made it clear several factors will be addressed before making a determination to grant a license including the number of dogs, living conditions, and clarification of a complaint process. An amendment was made a town meeting to forego the necessity of conducting a public hearing before selectmen could grant a personal kennel license, but was defeated by voters.
Article 17 regarding a bylaw amendment on the public consumption of marijuana was passed. Rehoboth police can issue a fine of up to $300 to anyone consuming marijuana in any public space owned by or under the control of the town.
After some discussion, residents voted to defeat Article 18 to authorize the town to sale of a seven-acre parcel of land off Rocky Hill Road. The land was originally sold to the town by the Robert Thayer family for $1 with the intent of forever being kept as open space, conservation land. Due to a clerical error, the parcel was never properly deeded as conservation property and abutters now sought to purchase it from the town for residential use. Despite first approving an amendment to restrict the sale by requiring the minimum assessed value, a provision the land could not be sub-divided, and giving the proceeds to the conservation commission to use, the article itself was defeated.
Voters quickly approved the remaining warrant articles that included accepting various reports and re-authorizing various departmental accounts.
POLICE REPORT FIFTEEN HOUSE BREAKS IN PAST MONTH
(May 14, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department report fifteen house break ins or attempted breaks have occurred throughout town in the past month.
Police say most of the break-ins have taken place during daytime hours. Suspects seem to target jewelry and all size electronics including computers and televisions. Residents are asked to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious -- unknown persons or out-of-the-ordinary activity to the police immediately.
Homeowners are advised to lock and secure the doors and windows of homes and garages, and utilize an alarm system or security cameras if available. Residents are also reminded to lock parked vehicles.
Anyone with information regarding these recent incidents should contact Sgt. Brian Ramos 508-252-3722 ext.1120.
NFORMATIONAL MEETING ON 44/118 INTERSECTION PROJECT
(May 14, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will host an informational meeting regarding safety issues at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118. The meeting will be held at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Tuesday, May 26 at approximately 7:30 PM.
UNPAID DOG LICENSES? LATE FINES BEGIN JUNE 1
(May 14, 2015) Rehoboth dog owners have until May 31 to pay yearly dog license fees. Unpaid licenses as of May 31 will be assessed A $15 per dog late fee in addition to the license fee(s).
Residents may purchase their dog’s 2015 licenses either at the Town Clerk’s Office, by mail, or online. The hours for town hall are Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon. The licensing fees are: male or female dog $20, female-spayed or male-neutered $10. Please make checks are made payable to Town of Rehoboth.
Whether renewing online, via mail, or in person, dog license applications must be accompanied by a current year rabies certificate with a vaccination date covering the current licensing year, also proof of spay or neuter if applying for the $10 licensing fee unless we already have your documentation on file in the Clerk’s Office.
If you are unsure about your licensing status, please call 508-252-6502 ext. 3110 or ext. 3109. Dog owners should note that the license(s) will not be returned unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is included with the postage (70¢ for one dog tag, 91¢ for two dog tags and 98¢ for three dog tags).
RECAP OF TOWN MEETINGS ACTIONS SO FAR
(May 13, 2015) Here are the results so far from the May 2015 Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting conducted Monday night in the auditorium of Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School.
Rehoboth voters at STM approved Article 1 - FY2015 Budget Adjustments; Article 2 - Snow and Ice Deficit; Article 3 - FY15 Capital Budget with the elimination of the purchase of a new dump truck; Article 4 & 5 - Forestry Wages and Equipment; Article 6 & 7 - RPD Shift Differentials and Buy-Back; Article 8 - Providence Street Conservation Restriction; Article 9 - Anawan School Affordable Housing; and Article 10 - Overlay Surplus Abatements.
STM Article 3 to fund FY15 Capital Improvement Plan items included replacement of a tanker truck and a pumper truck for the fire department; two new fully equipped police cruisers; two snow plows, a tank monitor and used motor oil system for the highway department; and a water filtration system and exterior painting and repairs to the town offices.
During the Annual Town Meeting, Rehoboth voters approved Article 1 - Town Surplus Equipment Sale Authorization; Article 2 - the recommended FY16 Budget; Articles 3, 4, & 5 School Budgets; Article 6 - Community Preservation Budget; Article 7 - PILOT Agreement for 280 Summer Street; Article 8 & 9 - Acceptance of MA General Law Provisions; and Article 10 - Sale of Real Estate Account Use of Funds.
Article 11 on a public safety/municipal center building was tabled. Voters approved street acceptances of Liberty Lane, Lorimar Lane, and Mikayla Ann Drive. Articles 13 and 14 on funding a stabilization account and a capital stabilization account were tabled for purposes of defeat. Article 15 on a zoning bylaw amendment on dog kennels was approved.
The eight remaining warrant articles will be voted on when the annual town meeting reconvenes.
WARWICK MAN ARRESTED BY RPD AT HERB CHAMBERS VEHICLE LOT
(May 9, 2015) Rehoboth police arrested a Warwick man yesterday night at the Herb Chambers car lot located on Route 44 after he was seen walking around between parked vehicles.
Officer James Casey was doing a routine security check of the car dealership’s storage facility located in Rehoboth when he observed Michael D. Farias, age 49 of Warwick, RI and confronted him. Casey found the man in possession of a screwdriver, a pair of gloves, and a flashlight. A van driven by Farias was found to contain “numerous items commonly used in the theft of tires and rims from motor vehicles.”
Farias is currently being held on $10,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court on Monday to be arraigned. Sgt. Richard Shailor and Officer Louis DiBacco assisted Officer Casey with the arrest.
PALMER RIVER TEACHER ONE OF STATE’S TOP FIVE EDUCATORS OF THE YEAR
(May 6, 2015) Jennifer Ormerod, a second grade teacher at Rehoboth’s Palmer River School, was named one of the top five Massachusetts teachers of the year in an announcement made yesterday on National Teacher Day by the Mitchell D. Chester, Commissioner of the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Ormerod, along with DRRHS English teacher Deven Antani, both made the top eleven candidates for Massachusetts Teacher of the Year in a selection process that began last fall with a call for nominations from administrators, teachers, students, parents and others.
Five finalists were then selected in late April and interviewed by an independent review panel of experts, including past recipients of the recognition. That panel then recommended one finalist, Audrey Jackson, a fifth-grade teacher in Boston. Jackson will go on to represent Massachusetts in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
RPD OFFICERS AND HUMVEE APPEAR FOR PARADE DUTY IN NEWPORT
(May 5, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department announce their recent appearance in the 31st Annual Aquidneck Island Police parade in Newport, RI last Sunday.
Officers Louise Dibacco and Jacob Miranda “represented the RPD that included the entry of one of our recently acquired Humvee police vehicles.”
According to the press release, the annual parade honors law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
“During 2014, there were 127 total law enforcement deaths in the line of duty with the average tour of duty being twelve years and three monts of service,” wrote Brian Ramos of the RPD who described the parade.
“Agencies from around the nation to include New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Washington D.C. and international agencies such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have commemorated these fallen officers with the local and state including the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Team which comes from the Washington, D.C. barracks to perform and commemorate those officers killed in the line of duty.”
SCHOOL COMMITTEE SCHEDULES SPECIAL MEETING FOR THURSDAY
(May 5, 2015) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee will meet for a special meeting on Thursday at 6:30 PM in the media center at DRRHS. Coming in advance of the annual town meeting on Monday, May 11, this special SchoolCom meeting may prove to be a turning point in what has become a contentious battle over the proposed school budget for FY16.
District School Superintendent Anthony Azar told the Sun Chronicle, “we are very close to balancing the budget without an override.” The override refers to the probability the town budget, school budget or both be passed at town meeting contingent on a ballot vote to override the tax-limiting Proposition 2 1/2.
Last night Rehoboth selectmen at their regular meeting made progress in creating an ad hoc committee to investigate full regionalization of the school district. While sharing a regional high school, both Rehoboth and Dighton operate a single elementary and single middle school under different budget assessments. Full regionalization would mean one budget to operate an educational campus including DRRHS plus a new elementary/middle school to house all Rehoboth and Dighton students.
According to selectmen, Dighton’s elementary and middle schools are currently overcrowded and Rehoboth’s Palmer River and Beckwith Middle require significant restoration. Building a brand new school will solve both those problems while taking advantage of state and federal funding to fund construction estimated at $8M.
BOS REHOBOTH SELECTMEN TO MEET WITH DIGHTON SELECTMEN TONIGHT; DISCUSS TOWN MEETING; TALK ABOUT AUCTION OF TAX TITLE PROPERTY
(May 4, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight in public session beginning at 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center following an executive session for clerical collective bargaining and an update on DRRSC contract negotiations.
The first order of regular business will be a discussion with members of the Dighton Board of Selectmen followed by a review of the upcoming May 11 annual and special town meetings with the town moderator and town clerk.
Other business is a discussion with the tax collector on an anticipated auction of selected tax title properties. The selectmen will also have a discussion with members of the finance committee on the proposed FY16 budget to be voted on at town meeting.
Officials have tentatively scheduled two additional nights of town meeting, on Monday, May 18 and Tuesday, May 26, if business is not completed on May 11.
ROUTE 44 TRAFFIC DIVERTED FOR CAR FIRE, ONE INJURED
(May 1, 2015) Yesterday evening the Rehoboth Fire Department was dispatched to a car fire on Route 44. First arriving units report the car fully involved in flames.
According to RFD officials, the unidentified occupants were traveling on Route 44 when their car began to malfunction. After stopping, one occupant was injured when the engine compartment ‘flashed over‘ as he opened the hood. Rehoboth EMS transported the man to the hospital. Traffic on Route 44 was diverted around the scene for approximately thirty minutes by Rehoboth police while firefighters extinguished the car and the vehicle was removed. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the RFD.
TOWN OFFICIALS OFFER SUMMARY OF BUDGET SITUATION
(May 1, 2015) Last night at Goff Memorial Hall, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and Rehoboth Finance Committee hosted a public information meeting for residents on the town’s financial situation. Using a Powerpoint presentation, officials provided an overview of the upcoming May 11 annual and special town meetings and explained the warrant articles. They also provided a detailed summary of town’s funding sources, or as it was put ‘Before we can spend money, we need to know how much we have, and where it comes from.” Residents were able to ask questions following the presentation. The meeting was taped and can be seen on RehobothTV.com. The powerpoint presentation is readily available on the town’s website.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT WARNS ‘BURNING SEASON IS OVER’
(May 1, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department reminds residents that May 1 is the last day of burning season for 2015. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts sets the dates for open burning and they cannot be changed by local government or the Fire Chief.
“Anyone who burns after today will be doing so without a permit thus making it illegal,” warns Fire Chief Frank Barresi. “If the fire department responds to your property for illegal burning you will be subject to fines and possible restitution for the response,” he added. As a reminder: commercial waste haulers do provide services for the removal of yard waste if needed.
SCHOOL COMMITTEE REJECTS PLEA TO REDUCE PROPOSED FY16 BUDGET
(April 30, 2015) The Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee on Tuesday night rejected a request from the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and Rehoboth Finance Committee to reduce the proposed FY16 school budget assessment by $400K.
While Rehoboth members of the school committee supported the town’s request, they were outvoted by Dighton members including those questioning Rehoboth’s proposed use free cash in FY16 to replace two fire trucks than can no longer be repaired and face non-compliance.
In what could be a repeat of last year’s ‘town vs school’ battle at town meeting, similar procedural maneuvering is anticipated by officials on both sides. It is likely a member of the school committee will propose an amendment to the finance committee’s school budget recommendation in order to pass a $800K increase for FY16, a figure on top of the $1.6 school budget increase made in FY15.
Finance Committee chairman Michael Deignan has stated he will motion at town meeting to make the budget contingent on passage of a Prop two-and-a-half override ballot. Last year’s failed override took place July 15 with 37% of registered voters participating. The failure to raise taxes (an estimated average of $300 per Rehoboth household) to offset the increased school budget resulted in a 20 percent across the board budget cut of all town department, except the school district.
If another override ballot fails, Deignan warned the town will make drastic cuts to service including closing the senior center and cutting funding to the library to zero. Other cuts mentioned on a list compiled by FinCom include eliminating funding for the park commission, historial commission, agricultural commission, Memorial Day activities, maintenance of the town’s historic cemeteries, and elimination of the tree warden and forestry department, along with reductions to the town roads/drainage program -- all to achieve $443,253 in cuts to offset the increased school budget for next year.
“The residents will have to decide if they want a Proposition 2 1/2 override to fund those departments, or not,” said Deignan to the Sun Chronicle today. Selectmen have all shared the opinion the town can simply not afford significant increases in the school budget without drastic cuts to all other municipal departments.
School Superintendent Anthony Azar has said his job is to elevate the district’s state ranking from Level II to Level I and increased funding is needed. School officials say their ever-increasing budget is needed to make the district competitive, increase enrollment to include out of district students, reduce the number of students who enroll in other schools, offer expanded vocational programs, and continue to brand and market the ‘D-R Difference.”
ATTENTION RESIDENTS: REGISTER, BE INFORMED, ATTEND TOWN MEETING
(April 28, 2015) Rehoboth residents are encouraged to register to vote by Friday, May 1 in order to participate at the annual town meeting and special town meeting to be held on Monday, May 11 in the auditorium at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School beginning at 7 PM. The Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office will be open for special all-day voter registration from 8 AM to 8 PM on Friday, May 1.
Residents are also asked by town officials to attend an informational ‘Pre-Meeting Meeting” on Thursday, April 30 at Goff Memorial Hall beginning at 7 PM. Selectmen and members of the town’s finance committee will be on hand to answer questions about the proposed FY16 town budget and warrant articles. A printed meeting warrant was mailed last week to every Rehoboth household. You are encouraged to read the warrant and attend the meeting this Thursday to have your questions answered prior to the actual town meeting when questions and comments from voters will have time limits.
It is imperative for voting residents to attend town meeting to vote on the proposed budget and other important town business. Last year saw increased attendance by supporters in order to pass an increased school budget that created a $1.7 million deficit in the town’s operating budget. Following the failure to pass a Proposition 2 1/2 override last summer, officials were forced to make 20 percent across the board cuts in all municipal departments other than the school district.
Once again this year, the school committee is asking for an additional budget increase that will create a $1.1 million deficit for the town for FY16. Rehoboth selectmen and the finance committee requested the school committee reduce their proposed budget by $400K, and have further suggested using $400K from the town’s free cash supply, and reduce municipal budgets by $400K. The school committee is meeting tonight and will address the request to lower their proposed budget assessment for Rehoboth’s portion of the regional budget.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH HOSTS SURPLUS EQUIPMENT SALE
(April 24, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will hold a sale of surplus equipment and vehicles with items for sale available for viewing beginning Monday, May 18 at the Rehoboth Highway Garage, 345 Anawan Street, Monday through Friday between 8 AM and 3 PM.
Bidding will be accepted through Wednesday, June 3 at 3 PM “at which time all sealed bids will be opened, read aloud and taken under advisement.”
All bids must be received by that time and items will be sold “as is.” Some items may be subject to a minimum bid amount. Bids must be submitted in separate envelopes and the bid identification number is to be displayed on the front of the envelope along with a brief description; for example, #7—1957 Red Corvette.
A list of all items currently for sale is available from the Board of Selectmen’s Office or by calling 508-252-3758, ext. 3107. You may also contact the Rehoboth Highway Department at 508-252-3913. Bidders are encouraged to check back frequently for an updated list. The list will be published and updated on RehobothNow as provided.
BOS AND FINCOM INVITE PUBLIC TO BUDGET Q & A MEETING
(April 22, 2015) Rehoboth selectmen, at their regular meeting last night, announced a ‘Pre-Annual Meeting Meeting’ intended as an opportunity for residents to ask questions about the proposed FY16 budget and warrant articles for the upcoming annual town meeting and special town meeting scheduled for Monday, May 11 at 7 PM in the DRRHS auditorium.
The Q & A will be held at Goff Memorial Hall on Thursday, April 30 at 7 PM. According to selectmen, the meeting will be broadcast live on RehobothTV Channel 9 and available for viewing on demand at RehobothTV.com. Along with the BOS and FinCom, town department heads and committee representatives have been urged to attend to answer questions from the public regarding their proposed budget lines and warrant articles.
Selectmen last night also voted to stop pursuing participation in a proposed multi-community public communications center coordinated by the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD). SRPEDD representatives told selectmen the town has “everything to gain and nothing to lose” by getting onboard in the preliminary process of looking into regional 911 dispatch that would be located in Fall River. Neighboring Dighton has already voted to commence negotiations, although the project will depend on state funding. One of the concerns expressed by Rehoboth selectmen are the probable, eventual loss of local dispatcher jobs if a regional dispatch center is established.
The BOS quickly reviewed an open meeting law complaint against the town made by a resident of Chicopee, MA. According to Town Administrator Jeff Ritter, the matter was discussed with town legal counsel and a reply to the complaint sent to all appropriate parties. A determination will be made at some point by the Office of the MA Attorney General.
SELECTMEN TO DISCUSS OPEN MEETING LAW COMPLAINT TONIGHT
(April 21, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen meet tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 7 PM in regular session with an agenda that includes discussion of an unspecified open meeting law complaint.
A presentation will be held tonight of a feasibility study for a southeastern Massachusetts multi-community public safety communications center. Selectmen will also approve and sign the warrants for special town meeting and annual town meeting, both to be on the same night of May 11 at 7 PM in the high school auditorium. The BOS will also review their annual report for 2014.
Other agenda items tonight include budget amendments, snow and ice removal invoices. As always, open public forum will be conducted after agenda items and before selectmen’s reports.
REHOBOTH POLICE REPORT INCREASE IN HOUSE BREAK INS
(April 18, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department issued a press release this morning warning local residents about an increase in recent house breaks.
According to police, several house breaks have occurred throughout town in the last week, with a majority of the occurring during daytime hours. They ask that residents remain vigilant and report any suspicious person(s) or activity to the police immediately. Residents should also secure their homes and vehicles when left unattended, and utilize an alarm system if available.
Anyone with possible information regarding these recent incidents can contact Sgt. Brian Ramos 508-252-3722 ext. 1120.
FINANCE COMMITTEE RELEASES LETTER TO RESIDENTS AND
BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS FOR MAY TOWN MEETING WARRANT
(April 18, 2015) In a meeting held on Thursday night, members of the Rehoboth Finance Committee approved their final recommendations for the FY16 budget to be voted on at the annual town meeting.
They also submitted their formal letter to residents for inclusion in the printed warrant for special and annual town meetings to be mailed soon to Rehoboth households. The letter announces a ‘Pre-Town-Meeting Meeting’ or financial summit scheduled for Thursday, April 30 with both the board of selectmen and finance committee. Members will be available to answer questions about the town budget.
TOWN OFFICIALS AND SCHOOL COMMITTEE REACH IMPASSE ON BUDGET
(April 16, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, and School Committee, along with the school superintendent and district business manager, met together last night at the senior center to discuss the FY16 proposed budget.
With a proposed school budget increase of $715,000 for FY16 added to the FY15 increase of $1.7M (a total of $2.4M in two years), the town faces with a deficit of $1.2M. Finance Committee Chairman Michael Deignan presented a plan to reduce the proposed FY16 budget by making $400K in cuts from town department budgets, using $400K from free cash, and asking the school department to reduce their proposed budget assessment by $400K.
“If the town can find $400 thousand in our $8.1M budget,” said Deignan, “I am sure the school department can find $400 thousand in their $15.77M budget.” He added the objective before town meeting on May 11 is to work together to balance the needs of the town and the needs of the school department.
The town’s financial position is affected by Proposition 2 1/2 that limited tax increases and only a trickling revenue stream from the limited number of businesses in town. An override of Prop 2 1/2 failed last summer when the town faced a budget deficit of $1.7M when residents approved an equal amount increase for schools at town meeting. The town’s response was to cut 20 percent from all other town departments including public safety and the highway department.
“We are at the bones,” said Selectman Sue Pimental, “the school budget is unsustainable in our budget.”
School Superintendent Anthony Azar, who was appointed last July, said his responsibility is to bring the district up from a Level 2 ranking to a Level I ranking. School districts in Massachusetts are ranked on a five-level scale under the 2010 Act Relative to the Achievement Gap. He outlined the improvements and initiatives taken this year to improve the district to be competitive including restructuring and reallocating programs and funding. He also acknowledged a past dysfunctional relationship between school administration and the district business manager that has improved with transparency.
“I can not reduce any more out of the side we’re on,” said Selectmen Skip Vadnais. “You’ve got to give us something more,” he added. BOS Chairman Michael Costello cut to the chase. “We know what you need and you know what we need. Do you have a bottom number?”
School Committee Chairman Eliza Couture replied that “we can’t give you a number tonight,” but added they will discuss the request to reduce their proposed budget at their next meeting.
If either Rehoboth or Dighton residents do not approve a school budget at respective town meetings, the state will eventually step in to make determinations that will affect both the school and town budgets.
“When the state comes in and takes over, it’s out of our control,” said Pimental.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN TO MEET FOR REGULAR MONDAY MEETING AND DISCUSSION WITH SCHOOL COMMITTEE AND FINANCE COMMITTEE
(April 13, 2015) Rehoboth selectmen are scheduled to meet twice this week including their regular weekly meeting tonight at the senior center beginning in executive session at 6 PM followed by the public segment at 7 PM. The BOS will also meet on Wednesday for a joint discussion with the Rehoboth Finance Committee and the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee.
Tonight’s regular meeting agenda includes a discussion with Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta to review the police department’s capital improvement inventory list. Last week, Trombetta told selectmen the department needs three new cruisers and an increased budget to support two additional patrolman positions. The board will also discuss the anticipated purchase of new fire trucks as part of the FY16 budget with members of the finance committee.
Selectmen will also vote to close a continued public hearing related to granting a Class II auto license to Car Crazy, LLC, a business that hopes to open at 51 Winthrop Street but is running into zoning bylaw compliance issues. Other business includes appointments, budget amendments, and a review the warrants for special town meeting and annual town meeting on May 11.
On Wednesday, the BOS will meet jointly with the school committee and finance committee on issues related to the FY16 budget. The school committee originally proposed a 6.24% increase in the regional school budget over the current school budget. After a Proposition 2 1/2 override failed last summer, the town was forced to make 20 percent budget cuts in all town department in order to pay for the $1.6M school budget increase approved at town meeting last May.
The school committee recently submitted a reduced budget increase of less than 4 percent, but according to
FinCom Chair Michael Deignan, even that number will mean a $1.1M deficit for the town. According to Deignan, the school committee indicated last week they may be able to “shave” an additional $200-300K from their proposed budget.
Upon review of the school district’s latest published budget, FinCom member George Solas identified over 100 budget line items amounting to nearly $700K that were not expended during that fiscal year. Those same items are listed on the district’s proposed FY16 budget. That issue, as well as the district’s Excess and Deficiency (E & D) funds, are both topics likely to be discussed in detail at Wednesday night’s special joint meeting set to begin at 7 PM at the senior center. As always the public is invited and encouraged to attend.
REHOBOTH POLICE ASK FOR THREE NEW CRUISERS, MORE OFFICERS
(April 8, 2015) Along with announcing a grant from the state, Rehoboth Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta told selectmen last night the department will need three new cruisers and the budget to fund two additional patrolman positions.
Trombetta said he recently received notice from the state of a $30K grant to be used specifically for departmental equipment. He reviewed with selectmen the department’s proposed budget for next fiscal year including a need for three new police cruisers. Last year the department purchased five new cruisers as part of the town’s capital needs plan.
Last year, due to a budget deficit of over $1.6M, all town departments were required to cut their budgets by 20 percent. For the police department that meant postponing Trombetta’s promotion to chief, and reassigning three detectives to patrol duty. Funding for two additional full-time officers is being requested by Trombetta for FY16. Next year’s police budget will also include the chief’s salary, benefit package and incentive pay.
The town’s finance committee is reviewing the proposed FY16 budget to be voted on by residents on May 11 at town meeting. According to FinCom Chair Michael Deignan, the town faces a budget deficit of $1.2M if budget increases proposed by the school district is passed. Selectmen, who have no control over how the district spends the municipal funding for education, will appeal in good faith to district administration and the school committee to lower their requested budget.
UNCONTESTED RACES = LOW VOTER TURNOUT IN REHOBOTH
(April 7, 2015) Only five percent of Rehoboth registered voters turned up to vote yesterday in the annual spring town election. With only uncontested races this year, there were no surprises other than some votes for write-in candidates.
REP. HOWITT SECURES $616K IN CHAPTER 90 FUNDING FOR REHOBOTH
(April 3, 2015) Representative Steven Howitt announced yesterday Rehoboth will receive $615,931 for road and bridge repairs as part of a $200 million Chapter 90 bond authorization approved by the House of Representatives on March 25.
The state’s Chapter 90 program allocates funding for road and bridge maintenance and repairs using a formula that is based on a weighted average of a city or town's population, employment, and total mileage of roads. The funds are paid out as reimbursements to communities for qualifying infrastructure work.
Chapter 90 funds can be used for a variety of municipal roadway projects, including resurfacing, drainage, sidewalks, traffic control and street lighting. The funding can also be used for certain road building machinery, equipment and tools.
"I am quite pleased that this was a unanimous vote by the House for much needed Chapter 90 local aid. Not only is this state money much needed on top of the already approved pot hole local aid funding, but this money, subject to the Senate approval, will be released in a timely manner so roadwork can start as soon as possible", said Representative Howitt,
Governor Baker previously released $100 million in Chapter 90 bond funding in January, shortly after taking office. That money, along with the $200 million approved by the House of Representatives, will be used by municipalities during the 2015 construction season, which runs from April to November.
Earlier this month, the Baker Administration allocated an additional $30 million in bond funding to reimburse cities and towns under the Winter Recovery Assistance Program (WRAP). The WRAP program is designed to assist municipalities with the cost of repairing or replacing damaged signs, guardrails, storm drains and line striping, while also helping to pay for filling potholes, repairing cracks in pavement and addressing other road surface defects. The bill now heads to the Senate for further action.
SELECTMEN REVIEW STM AND ATM WARRANTS TONIGHT
(March 30, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center in regular session beginning at 7 PM with an agenda including a review of both the Special Town Meeting (STM) and Annual Town Meeting (ATM) warrants, along with a discussion with Town Moderator William Cute on town meeting articles.
Other business on this evening’s agenda includes a public hearing on an application for a Class II Auto license for Car Crazy Auto, LLC located at 51 Winthrop Street. Selectmen will also vote to approve snow and ice removal invoices of nearly $19K for a total deficit of over $158K for this winter season.
Selectmen will also vote to sign a Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) contract for winter recovery assistance for $92K. They will also hold a discussion on the town’s municipal representative for regional school committee collective bargaining.
HISTORIC HORNBINE MAY BE FORCED TO REDUCE PROGRAMS NEXT YEAR
(March 28, 2015) Rehoboth’s historical one-room schoolhouse, the Hornbine School, may be forced to reduce programs in 2016 if volunteers don’t step forward to train this spring to serve as ‘teachers’ for visiting classrooms of elementary students.
Last year over 600 students had the unique opportunity to spend a school day ‘back in time’ at the Hornbine School. Along with 150 third-graders from Palmer River School, over four hundred students from Swansea, North Dartmouth, Rumford, Barrington, and Providence visited the school and learned what it was like to attend a one-room schoolhouse in the 1860s.
Bev Pettine, who has served as the director of the visitation program and performed the duties of ‘school marm‘ for the last seventeen years announced her retirement. Without volunteers to assume Pettine’s many responsibilities in 2016, the future of the unique visitation program is in question.
“We have a wonderful old building and great program that has been carefully developed over seventeen years,” said Cathy Potter of the Rehoboth Historical Commission. “It would be sad to lose it.” Potter is concerned that without volunteers stepping up soon, the school will only be able to host Palmer River students this year.
The Hornbine Association is hosting an meeting at the school on Saturday, April 11 at 10:30 AM for potential volunteers including those who wish to train as ‘teachers.” Members of the non-profit association that operates the school will be on hand to answer questions about volunteer opportunities. Those who cannot make this meeting can contact Cathy Potter at 508-252-3682.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST RI MAN FOR DUI
(March 28, 2015) Rehoboth police earlier this morning arrested a Rhode Island man following a traffic stop on charges including operating under the influence.
Officer James Casey while on patrol stopped a vehicle on Brook Street after observing “several instances of erratic and unsafe operation.” Kenneth Beck, age 47 of Burrillville, RI was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, operating to endanger, and operating after suspension. He was released on $240 bail and is due in Taunton District Court on Monday for arraignment.
REHOBOTH RESIDENTS ASKED TO REPORT POTHOLES
(March 27, 2015) Residents of Rehoboth are encouraged to notify the appropriate offices to report potholes. For potholes on state maintained roadways (Route 44 and Route 6), please notify the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Transportation as to the exact pothole location if possible. Or call the MassDOT’s pothole hotline at 857-368-4636.
Any potholes located on town roads should be reported to the Rehoboth Highway Department at 508-252-3912. Please note that Route 118 (Tremont/Anawan/Plain/Moulton Streets/Bay State Road) is a town road.
AGRICULTURAL COMMISSION TO HOST WORKSHOP
(March 25, 2015) The Rehoboth Agricultural Commission will host a free informational workshop on cost share programs offered by the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural to farmers and landowners in the Palmer River Watershed.
Residents are invited to come learn more on Thursday, April 30 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 7 PM. Information will be provided on both federal and state cost share programs designed to help landowners address water quality concerns and improve the condition of their operations. Farmers, woodlot owners and equine operations are encouraged to attend.
The workshop is part of an ongoing series of educational sessions offered by the Agricultural Commission to help address water quality concerns in the Palmer River Watershed. Future workshop will include farm tours and open barn events.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR HISTORIC HORNBINE ONE-ROOM SCHOOL
(March 24, 2015) The Hornbine School and Rehoboth Historical Commission are seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help at the historic one-room schoolhouse located on Hornbine Road.
Since the schoolhouse was first restored in the 1960s, it has taken the tireless effort and enthusiasm of small groups of Rehoboth residents to maintain this gem of a historic site.
Bev Pettine, who has managed most of the responsibilities at the Hornbine School for the last seventeen years, is retiring in June following the annual spring season of visits from area elementary classrooms.
As the designated “school marm” she’s hosted thousands of elementary students who visit the school to “step back in time” to when Rehoboth children of all ages attended a one-room school in their neighborhood. It is a tradition for third graders from Palmer River Elementary School to spend a day at Hornbine, dress in period attire, and learn lessons sitting at antique desks using slates and chalk. The children also have a chance to play outdoors trying old-fashioned games, bring their lunch in a basket or tin, and use the “sanitary” or outhouse behind the school.
“We hope to find individuals who will enjoy taking on one or more responsibilities at the school, said local historian and retired Palmer River teacher Dave Downs. “Although the teaching position is one of the most important, there are many other ways individuals can get involved.”
Volunteers are needed to work as docents for regularly scheduled Sunday open houses that are held twice a month June through September from 2 to 4 PM. Eight open houses are held during the summer season. Other volunteers are needed to assist with opening and/or closing of building each season.
“There are many other possibilities available for individuals who treasure history,” added Downs who helps coordinate Hornbine operation and functions along with Cathy Potter of the Rehoboth Historical Commission.
Those interested in ‘teaching’ duties are encouraged to start this spring to take advantage of the help and guidance of Pettine before she retires. Please contact either Dave Downs at 508-222-7326 or Cathy Potter at 508-252-3682 for more information.
TEMPORARY BUILDING INSPECTOR APPOINTED
(March 24, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night during their regular meeting introduced an additional agenda item to appoint a temporary building inspector.
After accepting the sudden resignation of Tom Nerney as the town’s building inspector, selectmen appoint Michael O’Hern to the postion, effective immediately. According to BOS chair Mike Costello, O’Hern agreed to come out of retirement when asked earlier that day to assume the temporary position. With vast experience and knowledge of municipal policies and building inspection, O’Hern will be able to step in and manage the office of building inspection starting today. Costello did not elaborate on the reasons for the sudden departure of Nerney.
SELECTMEN AND FIN COM CONTINUE BUDGET TALKS TONIGHT
(March 23, 2015) Following an executive session and meeting the town legal counsel, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the senior center in regular session at 7 PM for continued discussions with department heads and councils on their proposed FY16 budgets.
Selectmen will hear from forestry, veterans services, council on aging, cemetery commission, board of assessors, the town accountant and members of the finance committee. Previously in the last month, the BOS held budget discussions with the school district, police, fire, and highway department.
Tonight selectmen will also review warrants for annual town meeting and special town meeting to be held on Monday, May 11 this year. They will also vote to forward a preliminary FY16 budget to the finance committee.
Some other business is on the regular agenda tonight including approval of several budge amendements, approval of snow and ice removal invoices. To date, the town is running a total deficit of $139,654 for snow and ice removal costs. Following the regular session of agenda items, open public forum will be held before individual selectmen’s reports.
STOP FOR LOUD MUFFLER LEADS TO ARREST OF SOMERSET MAN
(March 22, 2015) After stopping a driver on Tremont Street yesterday morning for a loud muffler and missing front license plate, Rehoboth police arrested the driver for drug possession.
Patrolman James Casey arrested Matthew J. Decambra, age 26 of County Street in Somerset after discovering he was in possession of a Class D substance with intent to distribute. He was also charged with a registration place violation and equipment violation. Decambra was booked and released on $540. cash bail and is scheduled for arraignment on Monday in Taunton District Court.
JOINT DISCUSSION TONIGHT ON SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET
(March 16, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will have a joint discussion tonight on the proposed FY16 school district budget at their regular Monday night meeting at the senior center at 7 PM.
Joining the selectmen will be the town’s finance committee along with district superintendent Dr. Anthony Azar and members of the regional school committee.
The school district in late February had proposed a FY16 budget that includes an increase of over $1 million in additional funding from Rehoboth to a budget already increased by over $1.6 million at the 2014 spring town meeting. There is a proposed 6.24% increase in the total assessment for the entire regional school budget shared by Rehoboth and Dighton. Rehoboth’s contribution this year is $14,712,299 with Dighton contributing $8,423,946. For FY16, Rehoboth is being asked for an additional $1,029,147 and Dighton for an additional $712,115.
Transportation costs for Rehoboth students in the proposed budget is $1,221,135, and a proposed $999,754 for Dighton transportation.
Other business at tonight’s BOS meeting include a budget discussion with newly promoted Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta who is slated to become permanent chief on July 1. Tonight Trombetta will present his FY16 budget including his salary, benefit and bonus package.
Also on the agenda is old business on the topic of directional signs displayed on utility poles.
WATER PROBLEM FIXED: SENIOR CENTER REOPENS
(March 13, 2015) After being closed on Monday due to a water problem, the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center has reopened for regular activities today. According to an announcement on the Town of Rehoboth website, the following people were thanked for helping to fix the water problem that forced closure of the town owned building that is operated by the Council on Aging. Those thanked include Health Agent Bob Ashton, Plumbing Inspector Jim Sine, Selectmen Dave Perry, and the highway department.
SENIOR CENTER REMAINS CLOSED DUE TO WATER PROBLEM
(March 12, 2015) The Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center remains closed for today and tomorrow due to a water problem that caused officials to close the building on Monday. Regularly scheduled activities have been curtailed including AARP tax preparation appointments. Residents with questions may call 508-252-3372.
TUESDAY MORNING FIRE ON COUNTY STREET
(March 10, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department credits an alert passer-by for calling in a report of smoke coming from a shed behind a home on County Street in Rehoboth this morning.
Firefighters were dispatched around 8 AM and quickly knocked down the fire, saving most of the contents of the wooden shed. According to Fire Chief Frank Barresi, three engines and a tanker responded to the fire.
All units cleared the scene by around 9:30 AM. Seekonk Fire Department provided an engine for coverage. The cause of the fire appears to be accidental, but is under investigation.
UPDATE ON ANAWAN RESERVOIR DRAWDOWN
(March 4, 2015) The Anawan Club released an update on the water drawdown that began in January at the Anawan Reservoir, also known as Bad Luck Pond.
“Due to weather delays, the drawdown of the Anawan Reservoir will resume March 9, 2015. This notice is to remind the public that any ice that has developed or continues to develop on the Reservoir remains UNSAFE and is not to be trespassed on. Signs to this affect have been installed at common access points.”
Operating a private clubhouse on the pond since 1896, the Anawan Club has an ongoing large construction project through the winter. “We are rebuilding the entire berm, replacing discharge apparatus and other safety considerations recommended by the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety,” said Hutson earlier this year. The project has been held up by winter weather conditions, but hoped to be completed before summer.
SNOW CAUSES BARN COLLAPSE ON MARTIN STREET
(March 3, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel responded yesterday morning to the report of a barn collapse on Martin Street. A riding ring attached to the barn had caved in pulling the roof in front of the stalls down with it. Because horse stalls were not accessible from the front, the rear doors were pried open and three horses removed safely. There were no injuries to the residents or the animals. The town animal control officer and building inspector were also on the scene. Rehoboth Fire Department companies cleared the scene within two hours.
SUSPECT IN DECEMBER INCIDENT APPREHENDED
(March 3, 2015) A suspect who escaped on foot into the woods off County Street after a minor car crash last December, leaving behind a suitcase full of drugs, was arraigned yesterday in Taunton District Court on a variety of charges following his apprehension by Rehoboth police.
On February 26, Gilberto Oliveira-Mendes was driving a U-Haul moving truck through Rehoboth on Route 44 when he was stopped by Officer Craig Forget for a minor vehicle infraction. The twenty-one-year-old Taunton man then took off at a high rate of speed toward Seekonk. Officer Forget pursued the truck westward on Route 44 into East Providence and onto Route 195 before exiting at South Main Street where Oliveira-Mendes abandoned the vehicle and took off on foot. After a lengthy chase, Officer Forget took custody of Oliveira-Mendes in the area of Peck St in Providence with the assistance of RI State Police, Providence Police and East Providence Police.
Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta identified Oliveira-Mendes as the suspect wanted on drug trafficking charges stemming from the December incident on County Street. Oliveira-Mendes fled that scene on foot, dropping a suitcase containing a large quantity of narcotics including heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and oxycodone pills.
An arrest warrant was issued for Oliveira-Mendes and he has eluded police for over two months. Yesterday he was arraigned on charges from both the December 17 and February 26 incidents including: trafficking cocaine, trafficking heroin, possession to distribute Class D substance, speeding, reckless operation, failure to stop for police, marked land violations, failure to stop for a red light, and operating with a suspended license.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS
(March 3, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department is pleased to announce the promotions of three lieutenants to the rank of Captain.
Scott Wentworth was promoted to the rank of Captain assigned to Station 1 (Center Station). A member of the Rehoboth Fire Department for fifteen years, Captain Wentworth has served seven years as a lieutenant. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Fire Academy with certifications in Firefighter I/II and Fire Officer I. He also is a member of the Rehoboth Call Firefighters Association.
Ken Marcotrigiano was promoted to the rank of Captain assigned to Station 2 (North Station). Captain Marcotrigiano has served the RFD for twenty-seven years with twelve years as lieutenant. He is the fire department’s EMS Coordinator and is Co-President of the Rehoboth Call Firefighters Association.
Dan Noons was promoted to the rank of Captain assigned to Station 3 (South Station). A thirty year veteran of the RFD, he served seven years as lieutenant. Captain Noons is Co-President of the Rehoboth Call Firefighters Association, and serves the Department with his two brothers, Deputy Bob Noons and Assistant Chief Al Noons.
ARREST OF SUSPECT IN 2012 REHOBOTH HOME BREAK-IN
(February 28, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department reports the arrest yesterday of a suspect in a 2012 break-in of a Pleasant Street home based on DNA evidence analyzed by the Massachusetts State Police Forensic Services Group.
Vincent Derrico, age 37 of North Providence RI was taken into custody by Rehoboth police after being apprehended in Rhode Island and held as a fugitive from justice based on an outstanding Rehoboth arrest warrant.
Derrico was linked to the home break-in through blood collected as DNA evidence from the crime scene. Hewas arraigned yesterday in Taunton District Court on charges of breaking and entering during the daytime, and larceny over $250.
According to police, Derrico is the third break-in suspect arrested in the past year based on DNA evidence collected at the scene by Rehoboth detectives. A twenty-four-year old Fall River man, Paul LaFrance was linked to a December 2011 vehicle break-in on Chestnut Street. Stephen Babbin, age 44 of Carver, MA and Warwick, RI was linked to a December 2010 breaking and entering of a home on Plain Street. It is unknown if either men has been convicted of the alleged crimes.
SELECTMEN WANT ACCOUNTABILITY FOR MONDAY SCHOOL CLOSURE
(February 27, 2015) Rehoboth selectmen at their regular meeting Monday night expressed their concern and great displeasure the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District closed schools on Monday following winter vacation week.
The district sent out an automated messages to parents early Monday morning that schools would not be opened. While poor weather was not a factor on Monday in the closure of all schools, safety of roofs with snow accumulations was the issue provided by the school district.
“All schools were closed today and nobody told our building inspector about unsafe roofs,” said Michael Costello, BOS chairman, who added he began receiving calls from parents early that morning. When local officials went to the high school to investigate they found “three high school students on the roof shoveling snow.” When asked, they said they were working for a local contractor and were immediately told to stop and get off the roof. Costello said the Superintendent of Schools office was closed.
“This is unacceptable,” noted Costello who questioned why the district new facilities manager did not address snow removal on the roofs during the vacation week. “I hope the Rehoboth members of the school committee ask him some serious questions.” With increased school funding this fiscal year, the district was able to create a new position of facilities manager to oversee the five schools in Rehoboth and Dighton for a salary of over $80K plus benefits.
Selectmen Joe Tito said he received the automated notice as he was getting his daughter ready for school that morning. “As a parent, I was not happy,” he emphasized as families were left scrambling at the last minute to find child care or miss work. “The evaluation (of the roofs) should have been done last week.”
Selectmen Sue Pimental agreed that district administration “dropped the ball” and wondered why the Rehoboth building inspector was not called and informed last week of any problems.
“We are always left in the dark with regard to the schools,” concluded Costello. “I think they need to communicate with us and our public safety people.”
CANDIDATES FOR REHOBOTH SPRING ELECTION - NO COMPETITION
(February 20, 2015) Tuesday was the deadline for spring election candidates to submit their nomination papers either independently or through a party caucus, and all candidates for the April 6 election run unopposed this year.
There are two candidates for the two available selectmen’s seat, both nominated by the Republication caucus. Susan Pimental will retain her seat on the BOS, and Gerald Schwall will assume the seat of Dr. Joe Tito who decided not to run for a third term.
The Republic caucus also nominated incumbents David A. Katseff and Katherine F. (Dennen) Cooper for Dighotn-Rehoboth School Committee. Incumbent Town Clerk Laura Schwall was nominated for a three-year term. Incumbent Susan Taylor was nominated to retain her position on the board of assessors. Charles Procopio, who currently serves as a member of the board of assessors, was nominated for another five-year term on the park commission. Robert E. Johnson, II was selected by the caucus for another tree-year term as tree warden. Incumbent David Perry, Jr. for chosen for another three-year term as stormwater officer. Thirty-year veteran of the planning board Edward Berozzi, Jr. was nominated for another five year term. Lynore McKim, who serves on both the park commission and Rehoboth Cultural Council, was nominated for a five-year term on the housing authority.
The Democratic caucus nominated long-time Town Moderator William Cute for another one-year term. The also nominated incumbent Thomas Nicholson to another three-year term on the water commission.
Only a few town offices are paid positions including the town clerk and town assessor. The town moderator position usually involves payment of a stipend for conducting the two traditional town meetings held each year along with extra meetings as needed, but Cute has declined compensation.
Last year, the voter turnout for spring town election was dismal due to mostly uncontested races. Only 1,362 of the town’s 8,078 registered voters bothered to go to the polls.
UPDATE ON SNOW REMOVAL; UPDATED SNOW SURVEY RESULTS
(February 19, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen spent some time at their Monday night meeting discussing snow removal. A modified snow and ice removal policy was approved last autumn when the town budget was cut by 20 percent affecting all town departments except the district school budget.
The most significant change is waiting until three inches of snow has fallen before plows take to the roadways, along with fewer town employees in the highway department. The town currently operates eleven vehicles with three employees along with hired sub-contractors to operate town equipment. According to BOS Chairman Mike Costello, the town additionally hires 23 independent snow plow drivers.
Town Administrator Jeff Ritter said the town has spent $215,000 on snow removal so far this year. Traditionally the snow removal budget goes over the anticipated amount. The estimate for FY15 was $200,000.
While there have been some complaints about both secondary and tertiary roadways, town officials praised the work of the highway department. Costello emphasized one problem relates to the use of a sand/salt mix on the roads instead of straight salting. The policy to use a sand/salt mix was approved at town meeting several years ago in response to concerns about salt damage to water sources and wells.
Ritter took a moment to thank observant town employees who noticed the town office buildings, which were closed at the time, had no heat. A prompt investigation revealed the heating oil tanks were empty and had not been automatically refilled by the service provider. The problem was corrected before any damage occurred.
Results from the RehobothNow Snow Survey have been updated today reflecting an additional 26 respondents. The survey will remain active through the end of the month. Share your opinions!
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT REMINDER: KEEP YOUR VENTS CLEAR
(February 16, 2015) With the accumulation of multiple recent snow storms, the Rehoboth Fire Department reminds residents to keep all vents for fuel burning appliances clear.
According to Fire Chief Frank Barresi, the department has received numerous calls for carbon monoxide alarms. In some cases, firefighters discovered CO at dangerous levels. Massachusetts law requires dwellings to have working CO detectors on every level.
“If you need assistance with getting a CO detector or need a site visit to ensure proper placement, just call us,” said Barresi. Those interested should call the RFD at 508-252-3725.
On Saturday morning, RFD assisted with mutual aid to a two-alarm fire in Berkley by sending a tanker and personnel. With a temperature of minus-eleven degrees on arrival, firefighters dealt with freezing water, hoses and trucks. “It took a strong effort to extinguish the fire,” said Baressi. The Rehoboth apparatus returned to the station later Saturday morning.
OWNER DESPERATE TO FIND LOST ELDERLY ‘THERAPEUTIC’ DOG
(February 13, 2015) An Attleboro women is desperate to locate her elderly companion dog that may the same yellow canine seen by two witnesses in the vicinity of Route 44.
“Pete” is a fourteen-year-old, yellow lab mix dog that acts as a “therapeutic companion” to Roxanne Houghton of Attleboro who believes the dog may be somewhere in Rehoboth or Norton. Pete went missing on January 22 from their home and may be limping due to a soft tissue injury in a rear leg.
She is not wearing a collar and is friendly to people, but not fond of other dogs. Houghton has been in contact with Rehoboth Animal Control.
According to Houghton who has asthma, Pete serves as her ‘therapy’ dog, but is not a formally trained service animal. “She has been my instinctual therapy dog,” explained Houghton who depends on Pete to calm her when she has a severe asthma attack.
If you see this animal, please contact either Jane Foster, Rehoboth Animal Control Officer at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126, or call Roxanne Houghton directly at 774-254-0359.
REHOBOTH RESIDENTS SHARING THEIR OPINIONS ON SNOW REMOVAL
(February 12, 2015) As of publishing time this morning, 46 people responded to the snow survey opened on February 9. You can view the current results today on the Survey page including unedited written comments by anonymous respondents.
The survey will remain active through the end of the month at RehobothNow opinion survey and the results will be updated on February 20 and 27.
TOWN OFFICE CLOSED TODAY; NO MUNICIPAL MEETINGS
(February 9, 2015) The Rehoboth Town Office is closed today due to the poor weather conditions. There are no municipal meeting scheduled for today.
HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH WINTER 2015?
(February 9, 2015) Take a quick RehobothNow opinion survey about snow and ice removal on town roadways, and the town services you may have used during over the winter so far. You can also share you stories, both positive and negative. This survey will remain active through the month of February. Results will be published on the Survey page beginning February 12 and updated daily.
RPD ARREST TWO FALL RIVER MEN AT GUNPOINT
(February 5, 2015) The Rehoboth Police Department report the arrests at gunpoint of two Fall River men yesterday night around 9 PM after a manhunt of several hours in the area of Almeida Road and Barney Avenue near Seekonk.
Five hours earlier, an alert was issued by East Providence police searching for a gold-colored Mercedes Benz traveling at speeds of over 100 mph on I-195 towards the Massachusetts state line. When the Mercedes reached a traffic jam caused by two accidents in the highway, the driver attempted backing up according to witnesses and got stuck in snow on the median. The two men then fled on foot near the area of Almeida Road.
Massachusetts State Police, along with Rehoboth and Seekonk police began an extensive search of the area that lasted several hours. Sgt. James Medeiros of the RPD spotted the two suspects walking toward Barney Road and after a brief pursuit held them at gunpoint until additional officers arrived to assist including Officers Jacob Miranda and Thomas Ranley. It was discovered later the two were hiding on the roof of a business.
Robert Dias, age 29 of Fall River and Richard Ferreira, age 36 of Fall River, were taken into custody charged with breaking and entering the Old Castle Precast building in Almeida Road, trespassing and resisting arrest. Dias was additionally charged with heroin possession and had two outstanding arrest warrants for armed robbery in New Bedford. Bail for Dias was set at $4,540 and Ferreira’s bail was set at $2,540. Both were transported to the Bristol County House of Corrections and due in Taunton District Court today for arraignment.
TOWN OFFICIALS MAKE UP MEETINGS TONIGHT
(February 5, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selection will make up Monday’s canceled meeting tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 6:15 PM with an executive session followed by regular session at 7 PM.
The BOS agenda for executive session includes issues related to collective bargaining with non-union personnel, and litigation involving REPAC vs TOR, REPAC vs Ritter, and collective bargaining with the clerical union. Their regular session includes a variety of business. They will meet with members of the finance committee on funding alternatives for “proposed revisions to the Regional School District Agreement.” Selectmen will also meet with members of the animal advisory committee to review their recommendations for the town animal shelter and other animal-related issues.
The Rehoboth Finance Committee will also meet tonight at the senior center to approve a reserve fund transfer from the fire department and also meet with selectmen during their regular session.
The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee (CPC) has a rescheduled executive session tonight with the town’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Preservation Council at the town office. No information was released on the topic of this meeting.
The CPC will make up a canceled meeting at 7:30 tonight in the lunch room of the town office while the Rehoboth Agricultural Commission makes up their meeting in the main meeting room of the town office tonight at 7:30 PM.
TOWN OFFICE CLOSED TODAY; BOS AND FIN COM MEETINGS CANCELED
(February 2, 2015) The Rehoboth Town Office is closed today due to weather conditions. The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen Meeting scheduled for tonight at the senior center is canceled, along with the scheduled meeting of the Rehoboth Finance Committee.
REHOBOTH AMBULANCE SEEKS BOARD MEMBER
(February 2, 2015) The Rehoboth Ambulance Committee, Inc. is looking for a member of the community to serve on the Board of Directors. RAC is a registered non-profit organization providing emergency medical services to the residents and visitors to the Town of Rehoboth. The committee is led Chairperson/Chief Scott Meagher with assistance from a vice-chairperson, secretary and treasurer, and the board of directors.
The board of directors consists of four members of the RAC and three members of the community who are not members of the RAC. These outside members of the board may be residents of Rehoboth, former residents of Rehoboth who lived in Rehoboth for at least three years, or medical professionals. The board of directors meets monthly on the first Tuesday of each month in the evening.
If you have been looking for a way to help Rehoboth Ambulance, please contact Don Tebeau at 508-216-4956 with questions or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
SUPPORT THE RFD CALL FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION
(February 2, 2015) The Rehoboth Call Firefighters Association has announced the 44th Annual Firemen’s Ball will be held in Saturday, March 21 at Hillside Country Club. This full-filled night with members of the RFD is also a major fundraiser for the department.
The Rehoboth Fire Department is a call department that is staffed by local residents, your neighbors. These residents selflessly give up many hours of their free time to serve our community. These hours are spent performing drills, duty time, fighting fires, assisting Rehoboth Ambulance and performing multiple other duties beneficial to the community.
As a group, the Rehoboth Call Firefighters Association (RCFA) helps to raise money for these brave firefighters. The money raised is used to help firefighters in need, assist in purchasing safety equipment for firefighters, offering a scholarship for future firefighters, purchasing a ball ticket for each member of the Department, and many other things helpful to not only the Department, but also to the community as a whole. RCFA is a not-for-profit organization and all proceeds go directly to the Association to support the firefighters of Rehoboth.
You can help with a donation in the form of an advertisement or message in the Firemen's Ball booklet. A full-page is $100, half page is $75, quarter page is $50 and a booster (name and address) is $25. Any donation is appreciated. There is a February 20 deadline for ad submissions in order to allow time for printing. Please make checks payable to RCFA and send your information along with payment to: RCFA, P. O. Box 313, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
REHOBOTH POLICE CHARGE TWO DRIVERS FOR OUI IN SEPARATE INCIDENTS
(January 31, 2015) Rehoboth police placed two drivers under arrest for operating under the influence in two separate incidents this week.
On January 28, officers responded to a report of a vehicle off the road on County Street and found a black SUV in the front yard of a residence. Sean Overton, age 21 of Alexandria, Virginia, was taken into custody by patrolmen Paul McGovern and Craig Forget and charged with OUI, negligent operation and a marked lanes violation. Overton was scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court yesterday and was released on $40 bail.
Shortly after 10 PM last night, officers were dispatched to the intersection of Winthrop Street (Route 44) and Wilmarth Bridge Road for a reported vehicle accident with injuries. Officer Craig Forget arrived in the scene to find two vehicles, both with heavy front end damage.
Fifty-five-year old Laurie Ovalles from Bristol, RI, was driving south on Wilmarth Bridge Road, failed to stop at the intersection and hit a vehicle occupied by two female Dighton residents who were both transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Ovalies was arrested at the scene and charged with OUI, negligent operation, and failure to stop. She was later released on bail and is set to appear in Taunton District Court on Monday for arraignment on the charges. RPD Sgt. James Medeiros and Officer Thomas Ranley assisted with the crash along with Rehoboth Fire Department and Rehoboth Ambulance personnel.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN PLAN TO CATCH UP TONIGHT
(January 27, 2015) A lack of quorum cancelled the January 20 meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. Then the rescheduled meeting fell victim to Blizzard Juno. Hopefully tonight all will proceed smoothly and the five selectmen will gather at the senior center, first in executive session at 6 PM, followed by regular session at 7 PM.
The executive agenda for tonight includes collective bargaining with the police patrolman union along with lawsuits involving the town. Regular session will include a meeting with representatives of SRPEDD to discuss a community transportation plan. Selectmen will also meet with members of the animal advisory committee to review their recommendations for policies related to the animal shelter and other issues.
Other business includes a budget amendments, a reserve fund transfer, committee appointments, traffic signage, and the FY16 budget preparation process. As always, open public forum will be held to allow residents to contribute their opinions, ask questions and make community announcements.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT’S NEW TRUCK
(January 29, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department placed a new brush truck in service last week. Designated Brush #2, the truck will be based at Marshall Station Two in North Rehoboth.
The 2015 Ford F-350 cab and chassis was approved under last year's capital plan at town meeting. According to Fire Chief Frank Barresi, the bed, pump and tank from the station’s old 28-year-old military surplus Chevrolet was swapped onto the new chassis.
“Rehoboth has vast areas of woods, fields and forests and the new truck will add to the department's capability to extinguish fires in those locations,” said Barresi. “The Department would like to thank Consolidated Truck & Equipment and the members of Station # 2 for donating the time and material to transition the vehicle.
OPEN BURNING 101: PLEASE KNOW THE RULES
(January 22, 2015) The Rehoboth Fire Department reports some confusion from residents on open burning rules and regulations and how to obtain and pay for a permit. It is important to know this information if you plan to do any burning on your property lest you be fined for open burning offenses.
Burning season runs through May 1, 2015 and open burning permit can be obtained seven days a week from 9 AM to 12 Noon at Fire Station One in the Public Safety Building located at 334 Anawan Street (back door). Each permit is $5 which lasts for the burning season. Payment by check or money order only. There is a fine of up to $50 for a first burning violation offense. If you have any questions or concerns about how to burn legally and safely, please call the RFD at 508-252-3725.
Here is a review of the rules. A permit holder must call 508-252-3725 every day you wish to burn between 9 AM and 12 PM to obtain permission. No calls are answered before 9 AM. Have your permit number, address and phone number readily available. In other words, please don’t tie up one of the department’s two phone lines by telling them to hold on while you run and try to find your permit.
You may only burn cut and piled brush that has not been accumulated from a commercial operation. Burning of any other debris other than brush will result in the revocation of your permit. The burning of leaves is not allowed.
All fires must be extinguished by 4 PM. This will be strictly enforced. Be sure to only ignite piles that can completed by 4 PM.
Construct piles a minimum of 75 to 100 feet from the nearest structure and in an area where smoke will not be a nuisance to neighbors or roadways.
Please keep in mind there are State guidelines that determine whether or not burning will be allowed. Call takers do not make that decision and cannot reverse it. If at any time you feel you fire may be getting out of control, do not hesitate to call 911 and ask the fire department to respond. A fire can double in size every minute and delaying the response can result in damage to property and structures.
LAST NIGHT’S BOS MEETING CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF QUORUM
(January 21, 2015) Viewers of Rehoboth Government Channel 9 who expected to watch last night’s regularly scheduled board of selectmen’s meeting watched the screen go black at 7 PM. According to those who were at the senior center for the meeting, only two of the three selectmen were in attendance and the meeting was cancelled due to lack of quorum.
According to the meeting agenda, an executive session was scheduled to begin at 6 PM to discuss both police union collective bargaining, as well as lawsuits against the town including RePAC vs. BOS, and Cichocki vs TOR, and other litigation not specified on the agenda.
During regular session, selectmen were to open and close the warrant for Special Town Meeting on May 11, along with meeting with the Animal Control Advisory Committee to review recommendations for the animal shelter.
It is assumed the meeting was cancelled at six o’clock when the quorum requirement was not met.
BREAKING NEWS: TWO THURSDAY MORNING ROLLOVERS
(January 15, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel were kept busy as roads iced over Thursday morning with two rolled over motor vehicles. The first crash occurred on Plain Street and another a short time later on Baker Road. One of the drivers was transported to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS with non-life threatening injuries. Both accidents are currently under investigation.
RPD OFFICER NOTICES CHIMNEY FIRE ON PLEASANT STREET
(January 15, 2015) An alert officer of the Rehoboth Police Department is credited with noticing a smoking chimney fire at a Pleasant Street residence Wednesday morning.
The officer quickly called in the smoke report and address to the dispatcher. Rehoboth firefighters rapidly arrived on the scene to find a small blockage burning in the chimney that was cleared and extinguished. The scene was clearly in approximately one hour.
"The officer could quite possibly have averted what could have become a serious fire,” said Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi. “This was the second time firefighters responded to a residential chimney fire in less than a week.” Residents are cautioned to follow the usual fire safety advise including having chimneys cleaned and properly maintained on a regular basis.
ANIMAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE INVITE PUBLIC TO MEETING
(January 13, 2015) The Rehoboth Animal Advisory Committee invites all interested residents to attend their meeting tonight at the town office at 7:30 PM to observe and offer comments during open session following the posted agenda items.
The meeting agenda includes actions on a drafts for a euthanasia policy and transfer policy related to the town’s animal shelter.
The committee will also consider other topics related to the town’s shelter including how Rehoboth evaluates animals and decides on their outcomes; how Rehoboth and other shelters use veterinarians; specific characteristics of an animal adoption policy and the shelter’s volunteer program.
They committee will also discuss how the shelter handles dogs that “are not under control.”
SELECTMEN TITO SAYS HE WON’T SEEK THIRD TERM
(January 13, 2015) At last night’s board of selectmen’s meeting, Selectman Joe Tito, MD announced he would not seek re-election for a third term. “Officially, I am not running again,” said Tito. “It’s been a privilege to serve.”
Two positions on the board of selectmen are up for election on April 6 including Selectmen Sue Pimental’s seat. She made no public statement last night about her intent to run for another term or not.
Nomination papers are now available for any registered voter in Rehoboth wishing to run for election who intends to run independently rather than through a party caucus. Papers may be picked up by prospective candidates at the Town Clerk’s office and must be returned, signed by a minimum of 38 registered voters, to the Board of Registrars at the Town Clerk’s Office by 5 PM on Tuesday, February 17.
Other positions to be elected on the ballot for 2015 are Moderator (one for 1 year), Town Clerk (one for 3 years), Assessor (one for 3 years), School Committee (two for 3 years), Planning Board (one for 5 years), Park Commission (one for 5 years), Housing Authority (one for 5 years), Storm Water Officer (one for 5 years), Tree Warden (one for 3 years), and Water Commissioner (one for 3 years).
BOS APPROVE DEPARTMENT LIAISONS, MAKE APPOINTMENTS
(January 13, 2015) The five Rehoboth selectmen, all appearing glum, opened the regular session of the meeting late after conducting an executive session where the posted topic of discussion was collective bargaining with police unions.
They approved their BOS departmental liaison assignments and quickly tabled the next two agenda items related to the Pleasant Street Culvert Project. Selectmen approved one-day liquor licenses submitted by organizations for events to be held at the South Seekonk Rode & Gun Club. They made two committee appointments including Lawrence Shelton to the Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency, and Thomas Nerney to the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee which will meet this winter. The review committee’s proposed new town zoning bylaw package was rejected at the last town meeting.
Town Administrator Jeff Ritter reported last night he had just finished the first draft of the warrant for the May 11 annual town meeting. He said all town departments have been charged with submitting their FY16 budgets by February 9.
He also mentioned receiving complaints from concerned citizens about the poor audio quality of municipal meetings last week broadcast on public access Channel 9 by RehobothTV which is operated by the town. While Ritter acknowledged technical problems, he told selectmen that signage will be placed near microphones reminding people to speak clearly into the mics.
During open public forum, Richard Panofsky asked selectmen to consider putting some visual cue on the driveway from the town office onto Peck Street because the roadway is impossible to see at night with no lighting. The BOS voted to have a reflective strip or something similar put on the roadway to help drivers see where the driveway ends and the road begins.
REHOBOTH HOSTS MASS FIRE ACADEMY CLASS ON HIGH VOLTAGE SAFETY
(January 12, 2015) On Sunday, January 11, the Rehoboth Fire Department hosted a Massachusetts Fire Academy class at Station Three with over 40 firefighters from Rehoboth and other communities in attendance.
The newly introduced class focused on high voltage awareness as firefighters constantly deal with power lines, transmission facilities and the equipment related to it.
“The class was a great refresher on the do's and don'ts with high voltage,” said Fire Chief Frank Baressi. “A lot of focus was on firefighter safety itself and situational awareness.”
According to Baressi, the Academy received over 60 requests for the new class, but the class could only accommodate one-third of those interested in attending. Rehoboth was chosen to host the new class in part because the RFD is known for being progressive with training and has hosted Academy training in the past. National Grid provided the pictured training prop for the program.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS
(January 10, 2015) The Office of Fire Chief Frank Barresi, Town of Rehoboth Fire Department, is pleased to announce the following promotions within the on-call fire department. Only the fire chief is a full-time paid employee of the town. All other firefighters and department officers are on-call as needed and have other occupations. On-call personnel pursue training and continuing education year-round.
Robert “Bobby” Noons, 35 year veteran of the RFD, was promoted to the position of Deputy Fire Chief. He previously served as Assistant Fire Chief and Battalion Chief under retired Chief Bob Pray, and was formally Captain of Station 3. Chief Noons resides on Davis Street in Rehoboth with his wife and two daughters. He is employed as an equipment operator for J&J Materials in Rehoboth.
With 32 years of service in the RFD, Jeff Rassol was promoted to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. Chief Rassol was previously Captain of Station 2 for fifteen years. He is assigned the duty of Chief of Fleet Maintenance. Chief Rassol resides on Tremont Street in Rehoboth with his wife and daughter, and is employed as a HVAC service technician for Aero Plumbing and Heating.
A 27-year veteran of the RFD, Al “Alfie” Noons was promoted to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. Previously Captain of Station 3 for nine years, he is assigned the duty of Chief of Training. He resides on Davis Street in Rehoboth with his wife and 3 children, and is employed as a union elevator technician for Otis Elevator.
With 25 years of service with the RFD, Mark Haskell was promoted to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. Previously Captain of Station 1 for nine years, he is assigned the duty of Chief of Administration. Chief Haskell resides on Pond Street in Rehoboth with his wife and two sons. He is employed as the President of Corporate Relations and Government Affairs for Stat/SouthCoast EMS based in North Dartmouth Mass and Coastline EMS based in East Providence RI.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS BATTLE CHIMNEY FIRE AND FRIGID TEMPERATURE
(January 9, 2015) On the coldest day of the winter so far, Rehoboth firefighters battled a residential chimney fire together with the frigid temperature yesterday after being were dispatched to a home on Hillside Avenue in Rehoboth.
According to Fire Chief Frank Barresi, the fire proved to be stubborn and it took close to an hour to get it under control. He noted that firefighters “had to contend with a thick blockage in the chimney while preventing it from spreading into the walls or attic.”
After the fire was declared under control, it took a while to remove and extinguish the smoldering material. The scene was cleared after approximately two hours. Rehoboth EMS provided rehab while the Rehoboth Police Department provided traffic control on the narrow street. Norton firefighters covered the central fire station. There were no injuries and a dollar estimate has not yet been placed on the damage to the property.
EHOBOTH CULTURAL COUNCIL ANNOUNCES 2015 GRANT RECIPIENTS
(January 8, 2015) The Rehoboth Cultural Council is pleased to announce the recipients of 2015 grants to fund thirteen events or programs that adhere to state-wide Massachusetts Cultural Council’s criteria.
Each approved grant supports a program or event that benefits residents of Rehoboth, both the public in general or selected groups. Some grants completely fund a project or event while others reflect only partial funding. This year’s recipients include: Rehoboth Breed Expo for the non-profit’s annual summer event; Rehoboth Minutemen to support a Colonial Encampment this summer; Blanding Library to purchase a patron pass for the New England Aquarium; Blanding Library to support a performance by Kandie Carle ‘Edwardian Lady’ for their ‘Mother’s Day Strip Tea’ on May 9; funding for Beckwith Middle School to support a field trip to ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Trinity Rep in Providence; Carpenter Museum for their annual Strawberry Festival in June; Carpenter Museum to support their bus tour of historic homes on April 19; Rehoboth Antiquarian Society’s Arts in the Village Classical Music Series; the SMARTS Collaborative’s Traveling Art Exhibit; Mass Audubon’s Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary’s ‘Paper Making’ program; Deb Banna’s ‘Teen Grafitt Art Class’ at the Blanding Library; Deb Banna’s ‘Children’s Chalk Art & Painting Class’ at the Blanding Library; and ‘Summer Reading and Story Telling Celebration’ by Davis Bates and Roger Tincknell scheduled in June at the Blanding Library.
FLAT TIRE PRECIPITATES TWO ARRESTS BY REHOBOTH POLICE
(January 6, 2015) What began as a flat tire yesterday evening on Davis Street ended up in a manhunt and arrest of two individuals on a variety of charges.
Around 5:15 last night, Rehoboth patrolman Paul McGovern while on patrol noticed vehicle with a flat tire on the side of Davis Street west of Kingsley Way. The driver, quickly identified as twenty-five-year-old Lindsey Gemaly of New Bedford, was driving on a revoked registration and had an active arrest warrant for disorderly conduct and assault and battery on a police officer. She was taken into custody by Officer McGovern with the assistance of Lt. Bruce Dube who arrived on the scene to assist. Gemaly was charged with operating an uninsured vehicle and released on $140 bail.
A passenger in the disabled vehicle, identified as twenty-two-year-old Anthony Marcotte of Cranston, RI, took off and began running through neighborhood yards. RPD called for assistance from Swansea and Seekonk police departments, as well as the MA State Police K-9 Unit, in searching for Marcotte who was discovered on Davis Street by Seekonk patrolman Fred Paquin. There was an active warrant for Marcotte’s arrest on charges of uttering a counterfeit note and possession of a counterfeit note. He was charged by Rehoboth police with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and giving a false name before being transported to the Bristol County Jail, held on $5000 bail.
NOMINATION PAPERS NOW AVAILABLE FOR SPRING TOWN ELECTION
(January 6, 2015) Nomination papers are now available for any registered voter in Rehoboth wishing to run for election on the Town ballot and who chooses not to seek a nomination through their registered party’s caucus process.
Nomination papers may be picked up by prospective candidates at the Town Clerk’s office and must be returned, signed by a minimum of 38 registered voters, to the Board of Registrars at the Town Clerk’s Office by 5 PM. on Tuesday, February 17.
Positions to be elected on the ballot for 2015 are Moderator (one for 1 year), Selectmen (two for 3 years), Town Clerk (one for 3 years), Assessor (one for 3 years), School Committee (two for 3 years), Planning Board (one for 5 years), Park Commission (one for 5 years), Housing Authority (one for 5 years), Storm Water Officer (one for 5 years), Tree Warden (one for 3 years), and Water Commissioner (one for 3 years).
The Annual Town Election for the Town of Rehoboth will be held on Monday, April 6, 2015 with the polls open from 10 AM to 8 PM. All three precincts will be open. Precinct I is the Town Office Building at 148 Peck Street, Precinct II is the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 55 Bay State Road, and Precinct III is the South Fire Station at 102 Pleasant Street.
The final voter registration date to be eligible to vote in the Annual Town Election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 from 8 AM to 8 AM at the Town Clerk’s Office.
Prospective voters may also register to vote by calling the Town Clerk’s Office to request a Mail-In voter registration form.
REHOBOTH-SEEKONK JOINT RABIES CLINIC ANNOUNCED
(January 6, 2015) For the second year, a cooperative rabies clinic for the towns of Rehoboth and Seekonk will be held 9 AM to 12 noon on Saturday, March 14, 2015 at the Seekonk Public Works Department garage on Route 44 and Lake Street.
The clinic is open to non-residents and Rehoboth/Seekonk animal owners. Cats must be in carriers, dogs on leashes. Massachusetts animal owners must bring either a certificate for a rabies vaccination dated between March 9 and June 9 of last year or a previous Massachusetts three-year rabies certificate from a veterinarian.
Rhode Island animal owners must bring a two-year certificate of previous rabies vaccinations. The clinic is open to dogs, cats, and ferrets. Dr. William Truesdale of Central Avenue Veterinary Hospital will administer the vaccinations. Rabies Vaccine Cost: $12 per animal, with payment only in cash. Proceeds will benefit the Seekonk Animal Control Department.
The Rehoboth and Seekonk Town Clerks will also be at the rabies clinic to register your dogs for the 2015 Dog Licensing season. Proof of current rabies vaccination is required. Rehoboth dog license fees may be paid by check, cash, or debit/credit cards. The 2015 dog license is due April 1, and is late after May 31. The fees are: spayed female/neutered male, $10; and un-spayed female/un-neutered male $20.
SELECTMEN HAVE SHORT AGENDA FOR FIRST BOS MEETING OF 2015
(January 5, 2015) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at 7 PM in regular session at the senior center with a relatively brief posted agenda.
Following the town administrator’s report, selectmen will convene a public hearing at 7:15 to discuss the transfer of an all alcohol package store liquor license from Azevedo’s Mini Market to Winthrop Street Liquors. Other agenda items include an update by Good Energy, the vendor selected by Rehoboth and other southeastern communities to solicit price quotes for collective purchasing of electricity for residents and local businesses.
Selectmen will vote to authorize Mike Taylor of the highway department to proceed with Chapter 90 paperwork required for the Pleasant Street culvert project.
The board is expected to set the date for the annual spring town meeting for Monday, May 11, along with dates to open and close the town meeting warrant. As always, open public forum will be held before the individual selectmen’s reports. Residents are invited to attend and participate.
NEW YEAR’S EVE CRASH ON TREMONT STREET SENDS TWO TO HOSPITAL
(January 1, 2015) Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve to a single motor vehicle crash on the west end of Tremont Street. A white Maserati was found in the woods with the two occupants standing nearby. Firefighters and EMS treated and transported the two unidentified occupants, with unknown injuries, to the hospital using two ambulances. Firefighters remained on scene until the vehicle was removed. National Grid was requested to the scene for a snapped support pole. The accident remains under investigation by the RPD.