Archived News 2016
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON FAMILY ASSAULT CHARGES
(December 26, 2016) On December 23, Rehoboth police arrested a local man on four counts of assault and battery on a family member.
Prior to the arrest, Rehoboth police were notified that officials at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School had seen physical injuries on a student who was then interviewed and photographed by Dighton police. The student claimed his injuries were caused by his father.
According to police, the teen’s grandmother brought the juvenile to the Department of Children and Families to report the alleged abuse and a case was opened by investigator Justin Volpe.
RPD Detective James Casey then traveled to Fall River to interview the teen in the offices of the Child Advocacy Center. Based upon evidence obtained during the interview, police officers were then sent to the home of Brandon Defaria, age not given.
Officer Gregory Decastro established contact with Defaria on his mobile phone and requested the man step outside. At first, the request was refused, but Defaria then complied and was arrested without incident, charged with four counts of assault & battery on a family member.
Bail was set at $240.00 by Clerk-Magistrate Marc Santos and Defaria was transported to Bristol County Sheriff Office lock-up located at Ash Street in New Bedford, MA. Rehoboth police released no further information.
CONSIDERING A RUN FOR REHOBOTH MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT?
(December 22, 2016) Nomination papers will be available on January 3, 2017 for any registered voter in Rehoboth, not represented by a political party caucus, who wishes to run for the annual spring town election on April 3.
There will be two open seats for the five-member Rehoboth Board of Selectmen (3 years) including one vacancy created upon the resignation of former longtime selectman Michael Costello who has since been hired as the town’s Highway Superintendent. The other BOS seat is currently occupied by Selectman Dave Perry.
Other positions include two seats on the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee (3 years), and two seats on the Planning Board (5 years). Other municipal government positions include: one assessor (3 years), one town moderator (1 year), one tax collector (3 years), one seat on the Park Commission (5 years), and two water commissioners (two for 3 years.
Nomination papers can be obtained from the town clerk’s office and returned to the Board of Registrars at the town office by 5 PM on Monday, February 13 with the required signatures of 38 registered Rehoboth voters.
Candidates nominated by either the Republican Town Caucus or the Democratic Town Caucus will be chosen by their respective parties. The Republican caucus will meet on Wednesday, February 15 (inclement weather date 2/22) at 7:30 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
MAN TRANSPORTED TO HOSPITAL FOLLOWING TWO VEHICLE CRASH
(December 21, 2016) A two vehicle accident on New Street and Route 44 yesterday resulted in one injured male who required emergency care at a local hospital.
Rehoboth public safety personnel responded to the report of an accident by a crew from Brewster Ambulance that happened to be passing by at the time of the crash. They transported one occupant to the emergency room while Rehoboth EMS evaluated the teens involved in the accident, who were all later released to their parents.
Rehoboth firefighters cleaned up a fluid spill and debris from the roadways while Rehoboth police controlled traffic and investigated the crash. The names of the accident victims were not released.
HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT ADDRESSES SANDING AND PLOWING ISSUES
(December 19, 2016) After the first snow covered local roadways last week, Rehoboth Highway Superintendent Michael Costello addressed sanding and plowing issues made on social media with a lengthy explanation on Facebook.
The topic of sanding and plowing Rehoboth’s 160 miles of road erupted on the Rehoboth Talk public group page on Facebook on December 17 with both complaints and positive comments on the town’s highway department.
“When I took the job as your highway superintendent, I knew it would be a thankless job,” wrote Costello, who added he has “very thick skin as many know.”
He went on to explain it takes 32 outside snow plow contractors to take care of 160 miles of road. For comparison, he added that Seekonk has 42 miles of road and Dighton only 34 miles.
Costello related that on the first day as superintendent last month, he discovered the department had only half of the 32 outside snow plow contractors needed for snow and ice removal for the upcoming winter season. After advertising competitive wages to hire outside contractors, Costello was able to hire 16 new snow plow operators.
He explained that the newly hired operators had “never plowed our streets” before the first snow last week. “If a street was not plowed properly,” Costello noted, “it may be because the new operator not knowing the street layout yet.”
While some residents complained about too much sand used to treat icy road conditions, other complained the roads were not sanded enough. Some residents complained the town’s resources and tax dollars were being wasted by either unnecessary plowing or sanding. One wrote the town must “hire the blind to plow our roads.” Others contributors to the Rehoboth Talk Facebook page offered thanks to the highway department for doing an excellent job.
Costello, who tracks weather conditions and communicates closely with Rehoboth police during a storm event, commented, “If I did not sand and someone had a bad accident, and someone was seriously hurt, everyone would be jumping up and down that the highway didn't sand and it causes accidents.”
Addressing a complaint from one resident their mailbox had been damaged by a snow plow, Costello encouraged residents contact him directly at 508-243-0150 with concerns or complaints, “because Facebook can not fix it.”
TWO INJURED IN EARLY MONDAY ACCIDENT ON ANAWAN STREET
(December 12, 2016) A single vehicle accident this morning involving a truck and a utility pole closed Anawan Street (Route 118) in both directions for approximately 45 minutes, according to Rehoboth FD.
The driver and passenger were both transported by Rehoboth EMS to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Both Rehoboth police and fire personnel remained on the scene until National Grid removed the pole from the bed of the truck which was also removed from the roadway.
THREE REHOBOTH TEENS CHARGED WITH PASSING FAKE “MOVIE” MONEY
(December 8, 2016) Rehoboth police on Tuesday, December 6 arrested three teenagers on multiple charges after they tried to pass “movie money” currency at a local convenience store.
Police were contacted mid-afternoon yesterday by a store employee who reported two teenage boys had used several counterfeit $20 bills to purchase merchandise. The clerk discovered the bills were fake when a third teenager entered the store and attempted a similar transaction using money labeled “for motion picture use only.”
According to police, the third teen quickly fled the store when confronted by the clerk, and left in a black sedan with the other two suspects. Based on similar activity in town under investigation, Detective James Casey identified a suspect who was apprehended after Officer Craig Forget located the suspect’s vehicle in the area of Roberts Road in Rehoboth.
Eighteen-year-old Brandon Ralph of Rehoboth, and a juvenile passenger were found inside the vehicle along with a large quantity of fake $20 and $50 bills. It was later discovered the fake movie money was purchased online by one of the suspects.
Detective Casey later executed a search warrant at a Rehoboth residence and recovered more physical evidence and took an additional juvenile into custody. The investigation is ongoing as it is believed additional suspects are involved, along with more victims who accepted the fake money.
All three teens were charged with uttering a counterfeit note, possessing a counterfeit note, conspiracy, and larceny under $250. Ralph and the two other teens were arraigned in Taunton District Court yesterday. If found guilty of the counterfeit note charges, the teens could face hefty fines and prison time. In Massachusetts, possession of more than ten counterfeit bills “shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life, or for any term of years.”
REHOBOTH POLICE DISCOVER SLEEPING DRIVER BEHIND WHEEL
(December 3, 2016) Rehoboth police last night arrested a Seekonk man passed out behind the wheel of his still running vehicle on Lake Street.
A 911 caller reported a vehicle parked in the roadway with an unresponsive male in the driver’s seat while the car was running and still in gear. Attempts by the caller to wake the individual proved unsuccessful. Officer Louis Dibacco was first to arrive at the scene on Lake Street in the area of Balsam Drive. He discovered the sleeping male in a Nissan sedan with his foot on the brake pedal and the vehicle still in drive.
It took several attempts to wake Richard Amaral, age 50 of Seekonk, who was determined to be intoxicated and taken into custody charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Amaral was transported to the Rehoboth Police Station for processing and later released by Bail Clerk Dan Igo on personal recognizance. Sgt. Norman Todd assisted Officer Dibacco with the investigation and arrest.
WHAT HAPPENED TO REHOBOTH’S ICONIC CANNON?
(December 2, 2016) Residents have been wondering what happened to the iconic military cannon permanently stationed in the gore segment of the roadway outside American Legion Post 302 in Rehoboth.
The cannon was removed for refurbishment recently in a cooperative effort spearheaded by a member of Boy Scout Troop 13 for his Eagle Scout project. “Danny strategically coordinated the removal of the cannon,” said Jake Kramer, Rehoboth Veteran Services Officer, “with help from Rehoboth police and highway department personnel, along with Rehoboth-based J & J Materials. The project was approved by the Boy Scout District Council and supported by the Town of Rehoboth.
The cannon was removed using a flatbed tractor trailer from J & J Materials and was transported to a climate controlled environment for rehabilitation. The project is expected to be completed by Christmas and the cannon returned to permanent home on Bay State Road. (Photos by Jake Kramer)
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST WOMAN FOR DRUNK DRIVING
(November 22, 2016) A New Bedford woman faces arraignment today following her arrest yesterday by Rehoboth police on charges including drunk driving.
Police were called when a resident on Kinglsey Way reported a suspicious vehicle was parked in their backyard. Witnesses stated they saw a vehicle drive across a large open field and then into and across the backyard of the residence.
Grace Santos, age 50, was found “disoriented and confused” by RPD officers Terrence Hedrick, Louis DiBacco, and Sgt. Richard Shailor.
After further investigation, Santos was placed into custody and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. She was released on her own recognizance after making bail. Santos is set to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.
REHOBOTH FD ISSUES WARNING ON ALARM RECALL
(November 22, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department is sharing important information from an alarm recall of the Kidde NightHawk talking combo smoke/CO alarm.
Hard-wired into a home’s electrical system, model number KN-COSM-IB and manufacture dates between June 1, 2004 and December 31, 2010, can fail to continue to chirp when it reaches its seven year end of life if the batteries are replaced, leading consumers to believe it is still working.
In August 2015, Uxbridge, MA Deputy Chief and Fire Inspector Steven Tancrell discovered an apparent problem with this particular type of alarm and notified the Department of Fire Services. Fire Protection Engineer Jacob Nunnemacher of the Fire Safety Division provided Deputy Chief Tancrell with the information necessary to report his findings to Kidde technical support and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission which ultimately led to this recall.
The unit has a compartment on the back for the installation of a replaceable 9-volt backup battery. The alarm is white, round and measures about 5 to 6 inches in diameter. “Kidde” is engraved on the front of the alarm. “Kidde,” the model number and manufacture dates are printed on a label on the back on the alarm.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled alarms and contact Kidde directly at their toll-free number (855-239-0490) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or online at www.kidde.com for a free replacement alarm based on date of manufacture or a discount on a new alarm.
CARCS GROUP UPDATE SELECTMEN, OFFER PUBLIC Q & A TONIGHT
(November 16, 2016) Members of Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS) addressed the Rehoboth Board of Selectman on Monday night and offered an update on the group’s progress. The group is offering a public information session with questions and answers tonight at Goff Memorial Hall starting at 7 PM.
Tracy Manzella, the grassroots organization’s director, thanked Rehoboth selectmen for approving a non-biding question on the spring 2017 town election ballot. She expressed the group’s immediate goal is to educate and motivate residents of Rehoboth, as well as the surrounding communities of Attleboro and Seekonk, portions of which will be affected by a natural gas compression station.
“We have heard a lot of noise lately suggesting that CARCS has been avoiding our federal representatives and misplacing our efforts by focusing on you the Board and our state Representative Howitt,” said Manzella. “As a grassroots organization, our strategy has been to garner strong local support first, before we turn our group focus towards our federal representatives and our Governor Baker.”
She explained that CARCS, with a reported 750 members, is a bi-partisan organization with members of “all political stripes and opinions.” Manzella expressed her concern over recent social media content that described the group as “greenies” and “fossil fuel zealots.”
“This could not be further from the truth,” she emphasized. “We are just a collection of local folks united by our love for Rehoboth and our fierce desire to protect our town, our property values, and our quality of life.”
She reported the group has been busy with outreach including interviews on television news channels 4, 10 and 6. They have given presentations to the Attleboro City Council, the Rehoboth PTSA, and have visited an existing compressor station in Burrillville. They have an upcoming interview with Attleboro Representative Paul Heroux scheduled for broadcast on Attleboro public access cable television, and a scheduled meeting with Congressman Joe Kennedy later this month.
Manzella then introduced the selectmen to CARCS leadership including Kellyann Erskine, public relations director; Gina Woodrum, events planner; Kathleen Boivin and Leslie Gouveia, community outreach coordinators; and Chris Gauthier who will act as liaison to the selection and Town of Rehoboth.
Selectmen were asked specifically to work with CARCS on several issues including the status of questions that were submitted to Spectra in October on the proposed compressor station in North Rehoboth. The BOS was also asked to apply for “intervener status” with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “to even get a seat at the table” in ongoing discussions. CARCS has also requested the Town of Rehoboth conduct a baseline testing of air quality and current/noise/vibration levels with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection as soon as possible.
The public is invited to tonight’s meeting at Goff Memorial Hall when the group will offer an overview of the proposed natural gas project. For more details, visit the CARCS website at norehobothcompressor.com.
CHANGES FOR 2017 MEMORIAL DAY PARADE APPROVED BY SELECTMEN
(November 15, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen last night gave their unanimous stamp of approval for changes to the town’s annual Memorial Day parade proposed by Veterans Service Officer Jake Kramer.
Selectmen cautioned Kramer the proposed changes must also be reviewed and approved by the Rehoboth Park Commission, the governing entity of the town-owned Redway Plain and the Veterans Memorial Committee that oversees the memorial and gazebo located on the property.
Several years ago, before the two towns of Rehoboth and Dighton decided to alternate hosting an annual combined Memorial Day parade, the local parade route closed Route 44 to traffic for hours. In 2014 when Rehoboth last hosted the event, the route had been changed. The parade began at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center and concluded at the Redway Plain for the dedication of the town’s new veterans memorial gazebo and walkways.
Typically parade viewers depart immediately rather than remain for any Memorial Day ceremonies to honor veterans who perished during times of conflict and war, dating back to the town’s earliest days. According to Kramer, people seem to have forgotten or don’t know the true meaning of the national holiday.
“Most just consider it a day off, a fun parade, kids collecting candy thrown into the street,” explained Kramer to selectmen,” and few stay for any ceremony to recognize the veterans who gave their lives.” He proposed holding the ceremonies at the veterans gazebo before the start of the parade. Additionally, he plans to organize an impressive display of military vehicles on the Redway Plain and other displays including all branches of the military in an effort to “educate the younger generations about the real meaning of Memorial Day.”
The parade which will stage at the Redway Plain and proceed toward the Village Cemetery, stopping there for a brief moment of recognition, and then continue through historic Rehoboth village on Bay State Road, turning left on Route 118 to the senior center. This new plan could also allow the DRRHS Marching Band to perform at the ceremonies before the parade begins.
Selectman Dave Perry agreed the new plan would definitely increase awareness of the historic origins of Memorial Day, but said there will be many details to consider and logistics to work out.
SELECTMEN’S AGENDA TONIGHT INCLUDES DISCUSSION WITH PROPOSED NATURAL GAS COMPRESSOR STATION OPPOSITION GROUP
(November 14, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight in regular session beginning at 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center with a lengthy and mixed agenda including a discussion with Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station.
Before speaking with members of CARCS, selectmen will vote on personnel changes within the police department including accepting the resignation of one full-time officer, appointment of a replacement and an additional reserve officer.
The BOS will also has a discussion with the Veterans Services Officer, Jake Kramer, about next year’s annual DIghton and Rehoboth Memorial Day Parade, held in each town on alternating years. In 2017, the parade will be held in Rehoboth and Kramer will offer a proposal on parade route and other changes.
Selectmen will also discuss “how to establish a facilities manager” for the town, a new position.
As always, the public is invited and encouraged to attend the meeting which is also broadcast live on RehobothTV government channel 9 on Comcast. Open forum is offered at the beginning of the meeting for the public to make announcements. Open public forum is held upon conclusion of business with the public invited to speak on topics of their concern.
CONGRESSMAN JOE KENNEDY TO VISIT REHOBOTH ON NOVEMBER 19 AT GOFF MEMORIAL HALL
(November 11, 2016) Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III will be in Rehoboth to meet with constituents on Saturday, November 19 from 12:30 to 1:30 PM at Goff Memorial Hall. All residents are invited to attend and speak with Kennedy about your concerns.
The visit is a relaunch of his ongoing commitment to bring “office hours” to each of the 34 towns he represents in the United States Congress in Washington, DC.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH ELECTION RESULTS
(November 9, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth released unofficial tallies of the results of yesterday’s election. Full results can be viewed here.
ANNUAL BARN INSPECTIONS TO BE CONDUCTED THROUGH JANUARY 1
(November 6, 2016) Rehoboth Interim Animal Control Officer Robert Johnson has announced annual barn inspections will be conducted in Rehoboth through January 1, 2017.
All Rehoboth residents who own animals housed in barns must allow annual inspections by the ACO. If you own chickens, pigs, horses, goats, cows or other animals that live in barns, please contact Johnson at 508-509-5691 to schedule an appointment.
Johnson reminds animal and barn owners that if no appointment is scheduled, he will arrive to inspect without notification at his earliest convenience.
FINAL DAY FOR EARLY VOTING UNTIL NOON AT TOWN OFFICE
(November 4, 2016) All Rehoboth registered voters can still take advantage of early voting until 12 noon today at the Rehoboth Town Office at 148 Peck Street. Residents who are not sure if they are registered to vote may check online.
TOWN HOLDS SURPLUS EQUIPMENT SALE ON NOVEMBER 17
(November 4, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will hold a sale of surplus equipment and vehicles on Thursday, November 17 from 8 AM to 3 PM at the Highway Department at 345 Anawan Street.
It is recommended that any bidder contact the Rehoboth Highway Department at 508-252-3912 to view items in advance of the closing date and time.
All items will be on display through November 17 at 1 PM when all bids must be submitted in separate envelopes, sealed and labeled by bid item number.
A list of some of the items, although not all items, is available at the Highway Department Office, and at the Selectmen’s Office at the town office at 148 Peck Street, Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon. Or you can call 508-252-3758, ext. 3107 to inquire about the list of available surplus. The Rehoboth BOS reserve the right to accept or reject any or all bids.
REPRESENTATIVE STEVEN HOWITT ENDORSED BY BOSTON HERALD
(November 2, 2016) Representative Steven Howitt (R – Seekonk) received endorsement for his re-election by the Boston Herald.
“I am pleased to receive this endorsement that, in particular, recognizes the balance that one needs to demonstrate in this elected position. I have always worked across the aisle to maintain that balance, and thank the Boston Herald for its confidence in me.”
The Boston Herald endorsement notes, “Republican Steven Howitt of Seekonk, for example, has a strong record on fiscal issues, while his Democratic challenger is the darling of every special interest and public employee union under the sun. We know which is the better predictor of the independence and reform-mindedness that are desperately needed on Beacon Hill, so the Herald is pleased to endorse Howitt for re-election in the 4th Bristol district, which includes parts of Norton, Rehoboth, Seekonk and Swansea.
During his tenure in office, Representative Howitt has achieved a 100% attendance record. The 4th Bristol District includes all of Seekonk and Rehoboth, precinct 1 and 2 in Norton, and Swansea, precincts 4 and 5.
HALLOWEEN ARMED ROBBERY AT REHOBOTH GAS STATION
(November 1, 2016) On Halloween night, Rehoboth Police responded to an armed robbery around 10 PM at the Exxon Gas Station on Winthrop Street (Route 44).
According to police, two masked white males entered the store brandishing knives and threatened to stab the store clerk who was first ordered to the floor and then told to open the cash drawer and safe. After the clerk was unable to open the safe, one of the suspects removed an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, and also took packs of cigarettes.
Video surveillance from the store show the suspects approach the store on foot wearing all dark colored clothing and nylon type masks. The clerk describe the first suspect as thin and about 5’10” tall. The second suspect was described as having a “heavier” build and approximately six-foot tall.
Police say they suspects were inside the store for about two minutes and then fled east on foot. Anyone with further information is asked to contact Sgt. Brian Ramos or Detective James Casey.
EARLY VOTING A BIG WINNER IN REHOBOTH
(October 28, 2016) The introduction of Early Voting in Rehoboth could turn out to be the big winner in this year’s election cycle if initial turnout is any indication. Hundreds of Rehoboth’s registered voters have already taken advantage of the Town Clerk’s extended voting hours and said ‘yes’ to early voting.
“We are very gratified to see the early results,” said Rehoboth Town Clerk Laura Schwall. “There has been a steady stream of voters through our office since Monday morning when the early voting hours began.” She added that “Residents are expressing their appreciation for the opportunity to vote at their convenience and for the extended hours we are offering to make early voting even more accessible to the Rehoboth voters.”
Early voting will continue through November 4 at the Rehoboth Town Office during regular business hours, Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 3 PM and Friday from 8 AM to 12 noon.
The Town Clerk will also be hosting extended voting sessions on Saturday, October 29 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Senior Center, 55 Bay State Road (Route 118), and on Wednesday, November 2 at the town office on 148 Peck Street when the Town Clerk’s office will remain open until 7 PM.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Town Clerk’s Office at 508-252-6502 X-3109 or 3110.
SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN ENDORSES CANDIDATE PAUL JACQUES
(October 28, 2016) Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren has endorsed Paul Jacques, Candidate for State Representative in the 4th Bristol District representing all of Rehoboth and Seekonk, and parts of Norton and Swansea.
Warren announced her support of Paul Jacques prior to speaking at Massachusetts Maritime Academy.
“The 4th Bristol District needs a leader who will stand up for working families, seniors, and our Veterans,” said Warren. “Like all firefighters I know, Paul Jacques knows how to get things done. That's why I'm pleased to support Paul for State Representative.”
Jacques said, "Senator Elizabeth Warren has made her life’s work fighting for middle class families. Working men and women that go to their job every day, live paycheck to paycheck, and still face constant economic pressures. Our campaign has been about service to the people of the 4th Bristol District. I am humbled and honored to be endorsed by my friend US Senator Elizabeth Warren and will put the needs of the district first by getting results on Beacon Hill for Norton, Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Swansea."
A Rehoboth resident, Jacques is firefighter in Attleboro with 21 years of honorable service in the National Guard, serving two tours in Iraq. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Anna Maria College. Paul lives in Rehoboth with his son Brodie.
ROUTE 44 CRASH TIES UP SATURDAY MORNING TRAFFIC
(October 23, 2016) Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched Saturday morning to a reported motor vehicle crash on Route 44 at River Street.
First arriving units found a two-car collision with one vehicle crashed into a tree. Firefighters and Rehoboth EMS treated and transported both operators to local hospitals with what were described as non-life threatening injuries.
Traffic on Route 44 was tied up for approximately thirty minutes while the victims and vehicles were removed. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.
REP. HOWITT ENDORSED BY GOVERNOR BAKER AND OTHERS
(October 21, 2016) State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) has received several key endorsements for his re-election campaign including Governor Charlie Baker, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, and the National Rifle Association.
“Representative Howitt is a tireless advocate for his community and a partner in our efforts to build a stronger economy and reform state government,” said Governor Baker. “Steven is well respected on both sides of the aisle for his loyalty, his honesty and his hard work, and I’m proud to endorse his re-election campaign.”
Sheriff Thomas Hodgson noted that Howitt’s “hard work, commitment, and devotion to his constituents and the Fourth Bristol District needs to stay in place.”
Howitt has received other recent re-election endorsements. Bill Vernon, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “We thank Steven Howitt for his commitment to the needs of thousands of Main Street small businesses and their more than one million employees in Massachusetts during your service on Beacon Hill.”
Francis “Chip” Faulkner of Citizens for Limited Taxation 2 ½ PAC, praised Howitt. “We need to keep people like Steven Howitt in the State Legislature to continue the fight for the income tax rollback and to block any attempt to impose new taxes. According to Faulker, Howitt took the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”
The National Rifle Association has also endorsed Republican incumbent Howitt. “Your “A” rating and endorsement is a reflection of your support on Second Amendment issues and likewise a similar endorsement from GOAL, the Gun Owners Action League.”
During his tenure in office, Howitt has maintained a 100% roll-call voting record while representing the Fourth Bristol District that includes all of Seekonk and Rehoboth, precinct 1 and 2 in Norton, and precincts 4 and 5 in Swansea.
REHOBOTH VOTERS APPROVE FULL TOWN MEETING WARRANT
(October 18, 2016) Enough registered voters came to last night’s special town meeting to approve the six item warrant that primarily addressed town budget issues.
Voters approved an amended budget for FY17 that includes a $12,397 compensation buyout for the recently retired animal control officer, and a cash buyout of $5,961 for the Rehoboth Fire Chief, per his contract.
Also approved were capital expenditures including $140K in new vehicles and equipment for the town’s forestry department, and a $70K modular vault for the town office for the safekeeping of records and documents.
SELECTMEN TO PUT NON-BINDING QUESTION ON SPRING ELECTION BALLOT
(October 18, 2016) Rehoboth Selectman Gerry Schwall announced at last night’s special town meeting that a non-binding question on the proposed natural gas compressor station will be placed on the ballot for spring election.
A non-binding question, under Massachusetts General Law, can be placed on an election ballot to obtain and measure public opinion. The outcome of a non-binding question is largely symbolic and will not result in any “new, changed, or rejected law.”
Grassroots opposition against Algonquin’s proposed construction of a gas compressor station, part of the “Access Northeast Project” to address New England’s energy needs, began several months ago. The plan calls for construction of two metal buildings, including the compressor station, on a ten-acre site within an approximately 100-acre parcel of undeveloped land in North Rehoboth. Natural gas pipeline already runs through Rehoboth. The plan includes construction of new pipeline to connect with the gas compressor station.
Opponents who cite health and safety concerns, turned to local selectmen to stop the project, but the town and state has no authority over a federal project.
FALL TOWN MEETING TO FOCUS ON BUDGET ISSUES
(October 12, 2016) The Fall SpecialTown Meeting to be held Monday, October 17 at 7 PM in the auditorium at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School consists of six articles that address town budget issues.
Rehoboth Boy Scouts will be collecting non-perishable food items (please check expiration dates) in the lobby outside the auditorium. Citizens are urged to contribute items or cash for Rehoboth Helping Hands Food Pantry.
Articles on the special town meeting warrant include an amended fiscal year 2017 budget which was recommended by the town’s finance committee. Voters are specifically asked to fund a compensation buyout of $12,397 for the recently retired animal control officer. A cash buyout of $5,961 for the Rehoboth Fire Chief, per his contract, is also requested. Funding of $11,760, for a part-time clerk in the accountant’s office, is requested. The amount of $25K is requested to replenish the town’s reserve fund.
The board of selectmen requests voters to “raise or transfer from available funds” money to make three capital improvements including two purchases for the town’s forestry department, $90K for a 2017 Ford F450 and $55K for a John Deere Utility Tractor and Loader. Seventy thousand dollars is requested to purchase a modular records vault for the town offices.
An infestation of mold in the existing town office vault required an emergency expenditure of $10K last month to retain the services preservation experts to save town records from 1643 to present day. Voters are asked to fund $70K for the town to purchase a Modular Ceramic Insulating Core Firelock Vault System, which can be installed in the current town office. The vault can be added on to and also moved to another location.
Another warrant item asks voters to approve a solar installation “pilot” agreement for payment in lieu of taxes for an installation at 128 Bay State Road.
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS TRAIN ON LATEST EXTRACTION EQUIPMENT
The RFD’s current "Jaws of Life" and associated tools, owned by the town, are 10- years-old and carried on the Special Hazards vehicle. These tools are powered by hydraulic hoses tethered to the truck, so use is limited by the length of hoses and accessibility of victims.
This poses a significant problem when a vehicle is deep into the woods or someone is trapped inside a building or under equipment out in a field. Firefighters must first disconnect the equipment from the truck and additional equipment must be carried out to the victim, then reattached to perform the extrication.
The newest line of extraction equipment allows firefighters to save previous time. Known as "eDRAULIC" the equipment is operated by a high-capacity battery powered hydraulic pump in each tool. This allows for instant power and unlimited distance from the responding apparatus.
CITIZENS AGAINST COMPRESSOR STATION OFFER FREE FILM SCREENING
(October 11, 2016) Citizens Against the Rehoboth Gas Compressor Station (CARCS) are offering a free screening of a new film, “Dear President Obama, the Clean Energy Revolution is NOW” on Wednesday, October 26 at 7 PM in Goff Memorial Hall.
Narrated by Mark Ruffalo and directed by Jon Bowermaster, the film shares information on fracking, climate change and “the urgent quest for a clean energy revolution.”
According to the event flyer, “Dozens of communities in New England and Massachusetts are facing the threat of unnecessary and overbuilding of natural gas infrastructure, including the South Coast.”
The public is invited to attend and learn more about the proposed construction of a natural gas compressor station on a large parcel of undeveloped land in North Rehoboth.
REHOBOTH TEEN ARRESTED AFTER CONFESSING TO TWITTER THREAT
(October 6, 2016) A local teen was arrested by Rehoboth police after confessing he made threats on social media as a “prank” to feed off of the clown hoax frenzy.
On Tuesday night around 6 PM, the RPD received a call from a concerned parent on alleged threats made on Twitter that mentioned Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School.
Officer Gil Lima and Sgt. Richard Shailor immediately launched an investigation and were able to obtain information regarding the Twitter account used to make the threatening statements. Officers then tracked usage to a home in Rehoboth. Detective James Casey also assisted throughout the investigation.
After interviewing subjects at the residents, police were able to obtain a confession from the teen who was charged with threats to commit a crime. According to police, he also make a threat concerning the location of a dangerous weapon, a firearm.
The unidentified, 17-year-old was later bailed and released into the custody of his parents. The case was forwarded to Taunton Juvenile Court for prosecution.
The Rehoboth Police Department would like to caution anyone that similar behavior will be met with arrest and prosecution. Area police departments have taken to social media themselves to warn citizens about the crazy clown hoax. On October 3, RPD cautioned citizens on their Facebook page to not “feed into the hype.”
REHOBOTH FIREFIGHTERS CONTAIN DIESEL SPILL AFTER ACCIDENT
(October 4, 2016) Rehoboth firefighters contained a diesel fuel spill yesterday following an accident involving a tractor trailer on Route 195.
Public safety personnel were called to the scene of an accident Monday morning after a tractor trailer ran off the westbound highway into the woods. One of the truck’s fuel tanks split open and firefighters were tasked with containing the spill. EMS evaluated the driver who did not appear to be injured.
Along with Rehoboth police, numerous agencies were summoned to the scene including Massachusetts State Police, Mass Highway, Mass DEP, a heavy duty recovery company, and a pollution control company.
Rehoboth Fire cleared the scene after pumping out the truck’s fuel tanks. Removing the rig and road clean up took several hours.
THREE FINALISTS SELECTED FOR HIGHWAY SUPERINTENDENT
(October 4, 2016) Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night were informed of the three finalists for the position of Highway Superintendent.
Candidates who applied for the full-time, department head position were screened first by the Highway Superintendent Search Committee. Committee members Kevin McBride, Robert Saxon and Matthew Habershaw also serve as the Highway Advisory Committee.
There is only one local finalist, former selectmen Michael Costello who resigned his seat in April. The other two candidates are from New York state and Virginia. It was mentioned the candidate from New York currently works at Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay. The position requires working knowledge of federal, state and local regulations and procedures related to road maintenance.
According to the job description approved by the town’s personnel board, the position also requires a minimum of seven years of “progressively responsible leadership and supervisory experience in the field of public works.” Candidates must also be familiar with collective bargaining and public works employees.
Both out-of-state candidates will be invited back to Rehoboth to be interviewed, along with Costello, during a regular public meeting of the BOS, probably this month or early November depending on candidate availability.
Last night, selectmen discussed the interview process including the option of providing questions in advance to candidates and allowing them to submit written response. Other interview strategies were discussed. Instead of asking each candidate the same question and allowing each to answer, selectmen will consider asking the three candidates different questions based on their backgrounds.
RAAC RECEIVE OPEN MEETING LAW VIOLATION, AGREE TO FUTURE COMPLIANCE
(October 3, 2016) The Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) is scheduled to meet tomorrow night for the first time this school year since receiving notice of an Open Meeting Law (OML) Violation from the Office of the Attorney General in July.
RAAC, a twelve-person committee, was established by the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District School Committee in 2014 to review the existing school district agreement between the towns of Rehoboth and Dighton. The existing regional agreement has not be updated in decades.
Last April, Rehoboth resident Michael Deignan filed two OML complaints following written requests made in February and March to RAAC requesting meeting minutes.
Deignan’s first complaint to the Attorney General’s Office alleged RAAC failed to “create and approve minutes” in a timely manner. His second complaint alleged RAAC failed to respond to the first complaint with the additional accusation of deliberating outside of a meeting about the complaint response.
The AG’s office found that RAAC did indeed fail to create and approve minutes in a timely manner, and members also deliberated by email, a violation of OML. However, they acknowledged RAAC did properly respond to Deignan’s first OML complaint.
Under OML, minutes for municipal committee meetings must be available upon request in a written format, digital or printed in a timely manner. Anyone can make a request to obtain meeting minutes. Many of Rehoboth’s municipal committees, with members appointed by the selectmen, post both agendas and minutes on the town website. Copies of all committee meeting minutes are on file at the town office.
Following his request to receive RAAC meeting minutes, committee leaders had told Deignan to obtain and watch video tapes of the meetings. At the time they said video tapes were sufficient and they were not responsible to produce written minutes. Town committees, however, are charged with producing written minutes which must be first reviewed at a meeting and then approved and submitted to the town.
By mid-April, RAAC backtracked and produced minutes for all their minutes since 2014, except one held on October 16, 2014. Those minutes were created and approved in May.
RAAC was ordered by the AG’s Office to comply “immediately and in the future” to OML regulations. They were also ordered to “disclose the contents of the emails at issue (violating OML) during a properly posted meeting.”
“We caution that similar future violations could be considered evidence of intent to violate the law,” said the full, detailed report. According to the report, RAAC “has pledged to review” the Open Meeting Law Guide.
DIGHTON REHOBOTH SCHOOL DISTRICT RESTORES TESTING DESIGNATION
(September 30, 2016) Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District Superintendent Dr. Anthony Azar announced yesterday the district’s Level 2 MCAS designation has been restored after one year at Level 3 ranking.
Last year, the district ranking was determined to be a Level 3 due to testing results at Rehoboth’s Palmer River Elementary School. According to Azar, a “small number of high needs students’ scores did not meet the target.”
In any given year, the district ranking is determined by the testing scores of the “lowest performing school” (PRES) related to both past performance and standardized testing scores statewide.
While Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School is ranked last year as a Level I commendation school, both Dighton elementary and middle schools, along with D. L. Beckwith Middle, maintained Level 2 status.
The new district ranking was elevated through the “dedication and hard work of teachers and staff” at Palmer River Elementary. Principal Arlene Miguel credited ongoing collaboration with Central Office Administration, strong teacher teams, research-based strategies and “effective pedagogy” to address individual student needs and growth.
“We will continue to monitor students carefully for adequate progress throughout the year,” said Miguel, “and interventions were designed and implemented to close gaps in reading and/or math.”
Dr. Azar credited his team of administrators working in collaboration with educators and families for the boost in ranking at the elementary level. “We have new mathematics resources and curriculum in place that are already showing promise,” he noted.
“We are carefully analyzing formative and summative assessment data to monitor and adjust instruction for all students including those in high need categories to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all learners,” he emphasized.
Testing scores showed that some students, who require Individual Education Plans (IEPS) to address unique educational needs, may have fallen into achievement gaps. Azar said the district will address the needs of special education students and “then prioritize where our energies and resources will need to be channeled.”
Increasing student achievement and maintaining fiscal responsibility are two goals for the D-R district. Azar noted only five school districts in Massachusetts have been newly ranked at Level 1 or 2 including Dighton-Rehoboth, Bellingham, Gateway Regional, Medford and Oxford.
ALGONQUIN GAS TO REPAIR LINES IN NORTH REHOBOTH
(September 28, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth received formal written notice on Monday, September 26 from Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC (AGT) of scheduled repairs to two existing natural gas pipelines on the north side of town “during the week of September 26.”
The notice of repair came the same day representatives from Algonquin Gas/SPECTRA appeared before the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and citizens at a public information session to answer questions related to a proposed gas compressor station in North Rehoboth.
According to the notice from Algonquin Gas, “AGT identified two locations (pipeline anomalies) in Rehoboth that require immediate investigation and repair.” Those locations are “off of Tremont Street directly to Algonquin easement” at Milepost 18.30, and “off Ash Street directly to Algonquin easement” at Milepost 19.31.
The work is defined as “an emergency maintenance concern” and will begin this week. Work at each site is anticipated to take 2-3 days to complete. None of the proposed work area is within mapped conservation areas.
The notice came from AGT to the town’s Conservation Agent Leeann Bradley, and the town’s Conservation Commission. The repair activities are legally exempt under Federal law under the Natural Gas Act and Pipeline Safety Act. However, both repair sites require equipment access and excavation under the jurisdiction of the Rehoboth Conservation Commission.
The pipelines will be excavated sufficient for investigation and repair, and the site returned to pre-construction conditions including seeding.
NATURAL GAS OFFICIALS ATTEMPT TO ADDRESS CITIZENS CONCERN
(September 28, 2016) Multiple officials representing Algonquin Gas Transmission addressed local citizen concerns at a public information session on Monday night during a regular meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.
Grassroots opposition against Algonquin’s proposed construction of a gas compressor station began several months ago. Protest signs are currently on lawns throughout town and in adjacent areas of Attleboro and Seekonk. The proposed gas compressor station will be constructed company-owned land in North Rehoboth. The plan calls for construction of two metal buildings on a ten-acre site within an approximately 100-acre parcel. The plan also calls for construction of additional pipeline. Natural gas pipeline was constructed through areas of Rehoboth about 50 years ago.
Gas company officials were provided questions from concerned residents and town officials in advance. On Monday night, reps from Algonquin shared a 12-slide public relations presentation on the “Access Northeast” project as “The Solution to New England’s Energy Problem.” The presentation did not address specific questions from local residents. When audience members were allowed to speak, gas officials were unable to answer many of their questions, particularly those relating to health and safety issues.
The Access Northeast project in a massive undertaking by Algonquin and developers National Grid, Eversource Energy and Spectra Energy to improve natural gas infrastructure in New England. The project is governed by Federal law with permitting through a number of federal authorities including the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA. In Massachusetts, the project is governed by MassDEP and other agencies. Locally, the only authority is through the town’s Conservation Commission under the Wetlands Projection Act.
The entire meeting can be seen on Rehoboth TV, local public access government Channel 9, and on-demand at RehobothTV.org. The photo above is a representative image of what the Rehoboth Compressor Station will look like, one slide of the presentation given to Rehoboth officials and residents.
LOCAL YOUTH LAUNCHES COMMUNITY “PROJECT PINK”
(September 27, 2016) Rehoboth teen Abby Abrahamson has launched a community campaign called “Project: Pink” a menstrual hygiene products drive to begin October 1 and run through November 14.
Lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene products can lead to unsanitary conditions, infection, and a loss of confidence and self-esteem in women. These are problems that people face all around the world, even right here in Rehoboth. On average, a box of sanitary pads or tampons costs $6. If a family consists of three menstruating women that each use one box of tampons a month, the yearly cost of menstrual hygiene products adds up to $216 This is a costly expenditure, and many people and families of little or no income cannot afford needed menstrual hygiene products.
All items acquired throughout the drive will be donated to the Rehoboth Helping Hands Food Pantry & assistance program. “We are seeking items such as sanitary pads, tampons, and underwear. Your donations are greatly appreciated!” said Abby.
Many Rehoboth businesses are helping as donation sites including Shear Artistry Hair Salon, Erin’s Chop Shop, Anjulans’ Florist & Gardens, Shanti Yoga & Fitness, Alicia’s Dance Studio, Step Ahead School of Dance, Anawan Cleaners, Mind Body Barre, Rosemary’s School of Dance Education and the Rehoboth Congregational Church.
To help spread, supporters are asked to post a picture of their donation using the social media hashtag #projectpinkrehoboth.
SUBMIT QUESTIONS FOR HOWITT - JACQUES DEBATE TO BE HELD IN NORTON
(September 27, 2016) Norton Media Center is pleased to announce it will sponsor two debates in two different races for state representative, both involving seats where the districts include parts of Norton.
On October 19, the debate will feature incumbent Republican Steven Howitt against Democratic challenger Paul Jacques in the Fourth Bristol District that includes Seekonk, Rehoboth, Swansea (precincts 4 and 5) and Norton (precincts 1 and 2).
The debate will be moderated by Sun Chronicle columnist and Norton Town Moderator Bill Gouveia who will take questions originating from the public. Please send your questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The selection of questions and the form in which they are asked will be completely up to the moderator. Both debates will be taped at the studios of Norton Media Center and broadcast many times before the November 8 election. Norton TV video can be accessed online at Vimeo.
EARLY VOTING OPPORTUNITY FOR REHOBOTH RESIDENTS
(September 26, 2016) For the first time ever in Massachusetts, all registered voters can cast a ballot before Election Day (November 8, 2016) beginning October 24 through November 4 at the Town Clerk’s Office, Monday thru Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon.
Early voting is for every registered voter, although absentee voting is available for registered voters who qualify. Only registered voters who will be absent from their town on November 8, have a disability that prevents them from going to the polls, or have a religious belief preventing the same, are legally allowed to vote by absentee ballot.
For public convenience, the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office is also offering extended early voting hours at the Town Office at 128 Peck Street on Wednesday, October 26 from 8 AM to 7 PM and Wednesday, November 2 from 8 AM to 7 PM. You can also cast an early ballot on Saturday, October 29 from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 55 Bay State Road.
Registered voters also have the option to request an early voting ballot through the mail. Simply fill out an application and mail to the Town of Rehoboth, Town Clerk’s Office, 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth, MA 02769. You can find the application on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: sec.state.ma.us/ele.
Please note that once you’ve voted by one of the early methods, you can not vote at the polls on Election Day.
Regardless of how you plan to vote, you must be registered by October 18 to vote in the November 8 election.
To check to see if you are registered to vote, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website at sec.state.ma.us/ele, or call the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office at (508) 252-6502 X-3109 or X-3110.
You can register to vote online at RegisterToVoteMA.com or at the Town Clerk’s Office located at 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth. All you need is a license or an I.D. issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to apply online or in person.
LOCAL ANIMAL GROUP CHANGES NAME AND MISSION
(September 25, 2016) The non-profit Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter, Inc. has changed its name to Rehoboth Animal Advocates, Inc. (RAA).
According to organizers, the name was changed because their animal welfare services have expanded, but will remain a non-profit organization that relies on donations, fundraisers and dedicated benefactors.
The RAA’s primary mission is a Trap/Neuter/Release Program of feral cat colonies in Rehoboth. Under the prior name, the group trapped over 69 feral cats and kittens with a waiting list.
The group intends to promote awareness of the feral cat population and its effect on the animals, environment and residents. They will also promote awareness of care and support for abandoned and neglected animals. Finally, RAA will support and help promote shelter animals. Organizers say they will also help elderly residents, who are fuel assistance qualified, with food for their dogs and cats.
The group plans to host fundraisers to help defray the costs for veterinary care, food, medicine, traps, etc. New members are always welcome and meetings are held the second Saturday of the month at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, 55 Bay State Road at 10 AM.
On Sunday, October 16, the group invites the public to learn more about their feral cat Trap-Neuter-Release program from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. If you have a specific cat situation, please attend to get more info. Coffee and pastries will be served. While sipping coffee, try your luck at the raffle table. For more info, email RehobothAnimalAdvocate@gmail.com.
Donations can be mailed to Rehoboth Animal Advocates, Inc., P.O. Box 42, Rehoboth, MA 02769. For more information, please email RehobothAnimalAdvocates@gmail.com. A website is under construction.
REP. HOWITT ANNOUNCES COMPROMISE WITH DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION FOR REPAIRS ON ROUTE 44
(September 25, 2016) Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-Seekonk) released a statement concerning the resurfacing and related work planned for Rout 44, as well as the status of other local road projects in Rehoboth.
“After much lobbying,” reported Howitt, “I was happy to learn that the resurfacing and related work on Rout 44 was included in the MassDOT 5 Year Transportation Improvement Program for an estimated project cost of $7,776,000.”
Howitt continued, “However, I was disappointed to learn that the bid for this project will not take place until 2019. When I learned of this schedule, I contacted the MassDOT headquarters in Boston to let them know that, given the present condition of the patched road, this timeline was unacceptable.”
A short term compromise was agreed to by MassDOT where the worst spots of the roadway will be milled/scarified (removal of existing asphalt that is found to be unacceptable) and resurfaced from the RI line to the Taunton line. The work will be done at night from 7:30 PM to 5 AM to minimize impact for commuters.
Howitt also reported the Wheeler Street Bridge reconstruction is at 71% with a completion anticipated for next April. The contractor, Walsh Construction of North Attleboro, is currently forming and placing concrete for wing walls and headwalls. Future operations include waterproofing and backfilling precast arches. The Wheeler Street Bridge which was destroyed in flooding back in 2010 has a replacement cost of $1,600,015.
Howitt has been instrumental in bringing intersection improvements and related work to the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118 at an estimated cost of over 2 million in state funding.
This location was identified by SRPEDD as having a higher than normal crash rating in the Southeast Region. The skew of the Rte. 118 northbound approach creates difficulties for opposing vehicles making left-hand turns from Route 44.
Work on this project consists of traffic signal and geometric improvement at the intersection along with geometric improvement and signals, and additional safety improvements for bicycle and pedestrian accommodation.
While a base survey has been completed, design has not started and state funding for this project has not been specifically identified.
FORMER REHOBOTH MAN FACES MULTIPLE CHARGES AFTER STANDOFF
(September 16, 2016) Rehoboth police initially responded to a 911 hangup call made yesterday morning by a former Rehoboth man at the Cumberland Farms on Route 44 that sparked a standoff and shut down roads and businesses for nearly five hours.
Thirty-eight-year old Benjamin Kimball, who now resides in North Attleboro, had entered the store around 6:30 and asked a female clerk to use a phone. He then took the phone, left the store and went out to his vehicle parked at the gas pumps where he called 911.
Officer Jacob Miranda arrived at the store and spoke to the clerk before approaching Kimball who was in the front passenger seat. An agitated Kimball exited the car and placed his hand underneath his sweatshirt, swearing at Miranda to “get the (expletive) out of there before I blow this place up.” He then told Miranda he had a gun and repeated this threat to blow up the gas station.
Officers Craig Warish and Sergeant Brian Ramos arrived on the scene to assist, set up a perimeter and begin closing down roadways leading into the area. While officers attempted to talk with Kimball who kept screaming, measures were taken to begin evacuating civilians and close off traffic to the area.
The Rehoboth Fire Department, notified of a potential fire and explosion threat, assisted to establish a unified command and emergency staging area. Firefighters also assisted with traffic control on Anawan Street and Route 44 using Ladder Truck 1 and other fire apparatus. The Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT Team was called along with mutual aid from both Seekonk and Dighton police departments.
Meanwhile, Rehoboth emergency personnel were responding to two motor vehicle accidents at both ends of Rehoboth with mutual aid from Attleboro police and Swansea police.
The SWAT team arrived to the scene around 7:30 AM and took command. Kimball was observed unsuccessfully trying to light a gas pump nozzle on fire with a lighter. The gas pumps had already been shut off by a store employee.
After three hours of negotiating with Kimball to surrender, the SWAT team commanders decided to move in and extract the suspect from his vehicle. He quickly moved to the driver’s seat and then jumped from the car, and began running across the parking lot pursued by SWAT officers. A SWAT Team K-9 dog was used to subdue Kimball who sustained dog bites. He was taken into custody by Rehoboth police and transported to Morton Hospital in Taunton for treatment of his injuries.
The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Unit declared the scene safe while local police carried on a crime scene investigation and inventory. Upon investigation, Kimball was found to have no firearm or explosive in his possession.
Kimball, who had attended Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, was released from the hospital and returned to Rehoboth for booking around 8:45 PM on charges including attempted arson of a gas station; making a false bom threat; disorderly conduct; disturbing the peace; three counts of threatening to commit a crime; attempt to commit a crime, resisting arrest, and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. He was held without bail overnight and scheduled for arraignment today in Taunton District Court.
RESIDENTS LEARN MORE ABOUT PROPOSED MUNICIPAL COMPLEX PLANS
(September 16, 2016) Rehoboth residents have been invited by town officials to attend both info sessions and tours to learn more about the proposed new municipal complex to be built on Anawan Street.
Four sessions have been scheduled to help residents learn more and share their own ideas. About twenty-five attended the first info session held at the senior center on Wednesday evening. Next week, on Wednesday, September 21, residents can tour both the existing town offices on Peck Street and public safety building (police and fire headquarters) on Anawan Street from 5 to 7 PM to see for themselves the need for new buildings.
A repeat of the info session will be held on Wednesday, October 12 from 5 to 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center with tours the next Wednesday, October 19 at both buildings from 5 to 7 PM.
You can read about the municipal complex plans on the Town of Rehoboth website. Based on residents suggestions, more information will be added soon including a list of “what it would take and what it would cost” to bring the existing 60-year-old and 50-year-old buildings into compliance with state and federal regulations.
Residents also requested a detailed financial outline including the remaining debt owed on the senior center and other considerations.
SUSPECT APPREHENDED AFTER 4-HOUR STANDOFF WITH POLICE
Update: Noon September 15, 2016
After a 4-hour standoff with police at the Cumberland Farms at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118, an unidentified male suspect was taken into custody and transported to Morton Hospital for emergency care.
According to a store employee, the ordeal began before 7 AM this morning when the suspect entered the Cumberland Farms and allegedly threatened an employee with a firearm. Witnesses said the man yelled, poured gasoline on the ground and threatened to “blow up” the building and gas station.
Employees and customers escaped the building as local Rehoboth police, as well as units from neighboring Seekonk, Dighton and Taunton arrived to assist closing down Route 44 and Route 118 to traffic. Rehoboth Fire and emergency response units set up road blocks and staging areas. Employees of nearby businesses were evacuated.
Within an hour, personnel from the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLAC) Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) were on the scene including a State Police bomb squad unit from Middleboro.
No details have been released on the suspect or if he made demands to police during the standoff. It is unknown at this time if he surrendered or was injured during capture.
Cumberland Farms was deemed a crime scene by police. At noontime, police were waiting for a bomb sniffing K9 to examine the suspect’s vehicle for explosives.
(September 15, 2016) A male suspect, allegedly armed, threatened employees of the Cumberland Farms store and gas station at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118 shortly after 7 AM this morning. The suspect claimed he had explosives and threatened to blow up the gas station.
Rehoboth police and fire immediately closed off the roads leading to the intersection and traffic was stopped on Route 44 in the surrounding area. Area businesses were evacuated. Both the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad and Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLAC) Special Weapons and Tactics Team arrived on the scene, as well as police units from surrounding communities. Emergency staging areas have been set up in several locations nearby.
The scene is active as of publication time this morning. More information will be made available as it comes in on the RehobothNow Facebook page.
RFD CONDUCTS TRAINING, REMEMBERS 9/11 VICTIMS
(September 12, 2016) Over 40 members of the Rehoboth Fire Department attended a department-wide training yesterday morning and remembered victims of 9/11.
All firefighters stopped training exercises at 10:03 AM for a moment of silence for all lives lost in the attacks fifteen years ago on September 11. They also struck box 5-5-5 on the bells signifying the last alarm for the 343 firefighters lost that fateful day.
Following the memorial observance, firefighters completed their training session on tanker shuttle and water supply in the parking lots of Palmer River Elementary and Beckwith Middle schools.
TOWN FACES SHORTFALL IN STATE FUNDING FOR FY17
(September 12, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth faces a shortfall in state funding, $37,140 less than what was anticipated at spring town meeting.
The state’s final FY2017 “cherry sheet” estimate issued in July for Rehoboth awards the town $1,218,960 for fiscal year 2017. State aid was estimated at $1,256,100 when residents attending town meeting voted to approve the current town budget. Additional funding will now be needed to make the difference. This will require town officials to craft a warrant article for special town meeting on October 17.
ONLY 3% OF REHOBOTH VOTERS PARTICIPATE IN STATE PRIMARY
(September 9, 2016) Only three percent of registered voters in the Town of Rehoboth took to the voting polls yesterday for the State Primary election. A total of 253 voters participated in the election out of 8,268 registered voters. Click here for complete Rehoboth election results (unofficial tally September 8, 2016).
REP. STEVE HOWITT UPDATES REHOBOTH BOS ON BRIDGE, ROAD REPAIRS
(September 7, 2016) Representative Steven Howitt updated the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night on both the Wheeler Street Bridge and repairs on Route 44.
Howitt, who represents Rehoboth in the 4th Bristol District, reported progress on the new Wheeler Street Bridge. The old bridge was completely destroyed by flooding following a late winter storm in 2010.
“The new bridge is almost 70 percent complete now,” reported Howitt. It is expected to be finished and opened by April 2017, seven years after it was closed. Howitt has been instrumental in getting funding for the project.
Howitt also gave selectmen an update on repairs to Route 44 through Rehoboth. While funding to fully resurface Route 44 is scheduled for 2019 by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Howitt appealed to the DOT for immediate repairs due to constituent complaints of vehicle damage. The DOT agreed to fix the worst parts now as a temporary measure.
“It’s been a long time coming for improvements to Route 44,” said Howitt. Portions of Route 44, from Seekonk to Dighton, will be repaired in September between the hours of 7 PM and 5 AM. Repairs include cleaning and milling the roadway and then resurfacing, one lane at a time to prevent road closure.
Line striping has yet to be scheduled as the process is weather dependent. The sections of Route 44 in Rehoboth should be completed by the end of the month if weather cooperates. Drivers should anticipate some slow downs.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST TAUNTON MAN AFTER CAR AND FOOT CHASE
(September 4, 2016) Rehoboth police arrested a Taunton man on multiple charges following a car pursuit into Seekonk followed by a foot chase.
Shortly after 11 AM on Sunday, September 4, police were dispatched to the scene of a disturbance in progress at Anawan Exxon. An argument between two young men inside the station’s store moved outdoors and became a physical altercation before one of the men quickly left in a 2005 white Honda Accord.
Officer Jake Miranda followed the vehicle west on Winthrop Street (Route 44). The car pulled over, but then took off as Miranda approach the suspect. Officer Miranda pursued the Honda once more. The driver stopped and then took off again, this time into Seekonk where SPD officers provided assistance during the car chase.
Twenty-year-old Jared Ingargiola of Taunton was finally thwarted when his car struck a tree after turning into the driveway of the Wheeler School property. He then took off on foot and was soon apprehended by Officer Miranda and Officer Natale of Seekonk police.
Ingargiola was then transported to Sturdy Hospital in Attleboro by Seekonk Rescue where he was treated and released into the custody of the RPD. Cash bail was set at $10,040. Ingargiola was transported to the Bristol County House of Corrections in New Bedford. His arraignment in Taunton District Court is set for Tuesday on charges of OUI-drugs, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, and resisting arrest. No other arrests were made.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFERS STRAIGHT TALK, MAKES PERSAUSIVE APPEAL FOR NEW MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
(August 31, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department has released an appeal to the community on their website to inform residents of the critical condition of the town’s public safety building, and the dire need for a new building.
The town’s existing public safety building, over 50-years-old, houses the RFD headquarters, Fire Station 1, the Rehoboth Police Department, Rehoboth Ambulance and EMS services, and also REMA (Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency).
Residents are encouraged to learn about the current conditions, both inside and outside, presented in plain, straight forward language with illustrative photos and captions.
The current public safety building “is on the critical list” and the fire department outgrew their space long ago. Now, the lack of proper working conditions, has become “counter productive” to the mission.
Fire Chief Frank Barresi serves on the town’s Public Safety Building Needs Assessment Committee. The committee has spent the last three years coming up with a cost-effective solution -- a single, conveniently located municipal complex on the site of the existing building on Anawan Street. The new building will also house the town offices, currently located in a 60-year-old cinder block building off Peck Street.
“Our firefighters protect the lives and property of Rehoboth citizens along with all those who visit our town,” said Barresi. “Over the last twenty years, with an ever-growing population, the RFD mission has changed dramatically. Existing conditions make is extremely difficult and we have reached a point of no return.”
To read the fire department’s appeal to citizens and learn more about the situation, visit RehobothFD.com.
WOMAN ATTACKED AND BITTEN BY RACCOON
(August 30, 2016) After her vehicle broke down on Davis Street in Rehoboth last week, a women was attacked and bitten by a raccoon that later escaped into the woods.
Interim Animal Control Officer Rob Johnson reported the incident to selectmen last night at their regular Monday night meeting. Johnson related that a tow truck driver, responding to the scene, was surprised to discover a raccoon under the vehicle. The animal ran out and attacked the woman by climbing up her leg and then bitting her. It then escaped into the woods. Because the raccoon was not captured, the bite victim must be treated for rabies.
Johnson cautioned residents to be aware of wild animals behaving strangely, use caution, and call Animal Control immediately at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126.
Johnson also briefed selectmen about a new state law that allows passersby to break a car window to rescue an animal trapped in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Anyone who breaks a car window MUST remain on scene until first responders arrive. If you see an animal trapped in a locked car, call Rehoboth Animal Control at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126, break the window in dire circumstances, and wait until first responders arrive.
Another new state law on the books involves tethered dogs. Rehoboth dog owners should be aware there has been a change in state law on tethered (chained) dogs. The previous law allowed dogs to be chained outdoors 24 hours per day. The new law reduces tethered time to a total of five hours during a 24-hour period. The animal must be provided with food, water and shelter during those hours. Residents should Johnson to report dogs that seem to be permanently chained outdoors. Call Rehoboth Animal Control at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126.
REHOBOTH VITAL TOWN RECORDS FACE EMERGENCY RESCUE
(August 30, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen authorized Town Clerk Laura Schwall to begin an emergency rescue of the town records including books, logs, and maps housed in a vault at the town office.
“We caught it early,” said Schwall, describing the near catastrophe of losing the the towns records and history.
Despite the vital record vault having constantly running dehumidifiers, mold developed due in part to problems with roof leaks throughout the building. The cement vault at the town office is not ideal for historic records. Modern records vaults are constructed with other materials, such as ceramic modules, the same material used in heat shields on spacecraft.
Saving the priceless documents will require cleaning every single object in the room, and the entire room itself, with a solution of 50 percent Lysol and 50 percent water. Additionally mold experts must initiate a process intended to prevent another mold attack.
Schwall told selectmen she has already consulted with archive experts from the Carpenter Museum and Blanding Library for their advice and assistance. “We cannot do this in-house,” noted Schwall, who was instructed by selectmen to consider this an emergency and get quotes from professional cleaners and conservators.
In the proposed new municipal complex, the town’s vital records vault will be constructed as a modern, airtight room, located in a logical place adjacent to the town clerk’s office.
PAST MEMBER OF SCHOOL COM APPOINTED TO VACANT SEAT
(August 30, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen and local representatives of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee voted to appoint Richard Barrett to fill a vacant seat on the committee.
Barrett previously served on the school committee as an elected member for several terms. There are five Rehoboth representatives on the regional school committee.
The four selectmen and four school com members received talent bank forms from several people who volunteered to fill the temporary seat through spring election. Barrett was voted unanimously in a roll call vote because of his experience and his ability to “hit the ground running.”
CANDIDATES FOR STATE REP OFFER RECORDS AND ENDORSEMENTS
(August 29, 2016) The two candidates for State Representative of the 4th Bristol District that includes Rehoboth have released information to support their campaigns.
Incumbent Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) received congratulations from House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. for maintaining a perfect voting record throughout the 2015-2016 legislative session.
Rehoboth resident Paul Jacques, running against Howitt, recently received the endorsement of Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III at the Venus De Milo in Swansea surrounded by supporters from across the district.
Rep. Howitt received recent congratulations from House Minority Leader Bradley Jones, Jr. for maintaining a perfect voting record throughout the 2015-2016 legislative session.
Howitt participated in all 559 roll call votes cast in the House of Representatives between January of 2015 and July of 2016, achieving a 100% voting record. Howitt currently serves on the Committees on Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, Joint Committee on Transportation.
Representative Howitt voted this session on legislation to help municipalities like Rehoboth, including the HOME Act to help modernize municipal finances and operations. He helped pass an $800 million municipal road and bridge bill to help cities and towns address critical infrastructure needs.
“I voted in support of significant local aid increases for the benefit of the families, neighbors and hard-working citizens of this community,” said Howitt. “Over the last two years, Chapter 70 education aid has increased by $227.3 million, bringing the statewide total to a record $4.6 billion. Over the same time period, Unrestricted General Government Aid – which helps communities pay for a variety of essential municipal programs – was increased by $76.1 million, to a total of $1.02 billion.”
Howitt also voted for an historic pay equity law designed to prevent gender-based wage discrimination, and legislation reforming the state’s public records law for the first time in over 40 years. He supported the “Stolen Valor Act” to prosecute individuals who falsely claim to be a veteran; and voted to expand procurement of offshore wind power and hydroelectric power.
Jacques, who is running to take Howitt’s long time seat as state rep for Rehoboth, Norton, Seekonk and Swansea, is a Attleboro firefighter. He is also a 21-year military veteran with the National Guard who served two tours in Iraq, as well as numerous deployments around the world.
“I’ve known Paul Jacques for years,” said Congressman Kennedy. “I know the kind of person he is and have witnessed his hard work and dedication. Paul’s life has been about service to his country and community. From two tours in Iraq, to his work as a firefighter and now seeking public office, Paul is exactly the type of person we should elect for the 4th Bristol District. I am proud to stand with him and endorse his candidacy for State Representative.”
REHOBOTH BOS TO APPOINT HIGHWAY ADVISORY COMMITTEE
(August 29, 2016) Appointing the town’s first Highway Advisory Committee is on the agenda for the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 7 PM.
The creation on this new municipal committee comes the day before the application submission deadline for the position of Highway Superintendent, a position approved by townspeople at the spring town meeting in May.
Also on tonight’s agenda is a discussion of how Rehoboth will fill a vacant seat on the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee. The BOS, in conjunction with Rehoboth members of the school committee, have authority to make the temporary appointment to replace long time school com member Tiffany Bartholomew who recently moved out of the area.
Selectmen solicited applications, in the form of talent bank forms, from Rehoboth citizens interested in filling the school com seat through next spring.
TOWN OFFERS SENIOR PROPERTY TAX WORK-OFF PROGRAM
(August 26, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth, with assistance from the Council on Aging, will open enrollment on September 15 for a new “Senior Property Tax Work-off Program.
Qualified senior citizens who are town residents have an opportunity to work in various town departments in exchange for a reduction of up to $500 in their property tax bills per household. The rate of pay is $9 per hour with no additional benefits. Earnings are also subject to withholding for federal income tax.
Applications and requirements to participate will be available at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning Thursday, September 15. Open enrollment will continue through November 1. Program participation will be limited during the first trial year of the new program. If more than ten seniors apply, a lottery system will be used to select participants.
SELECTMEN ACCEPT THE RESIGNATION OF ANIMAL SHELTER VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, SEEK APPLICANTS FOR OPEN UNPAID POSITION
(August 24, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, at their regular meeting on Monday night, accepted the resignation of Pamela DiRenzo as Animal Shelter Volunteer Coordinator.
DiRenzo, who was appointed in the spring, gave personal health issues as her reason for leaving. The unpaid, 15-hour per week position is now vacant and selectmen are accepting applications to also be reviewed by the interim animal control officer and the town’s animal advisory committee.
The flexible hour position includes managing shelter volunteers as a “coach, resource, and advocate” as well as handling shelter animals not under quarantine or other restricted-handling protocol. Qualifications include experience handling animals in a shelter-like setting, computer skills, communication and people skills.
The complete job description is available on the Town of Rehoboth website. Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to the BOS office.
TWO VACANT SEATS ON TOWN PERSONNEL BOARD, INTERESTED RESIDENTS URGED TO APPLY
(August 19, 2016) Rehoboth residents interested in getting involved in municipal government may apply for vacant seats on the Rehoboth Personnel Board that oversees issues involving town employees.
There are two seats currently available on the board. Those interested can complete a talent bank form and submit it to the BOS at the town office. Click here to access a Talent Bank Form on the town website.
If you have questions about the personnel board, please contact the chairman, David Scanlon, at 508-455-7482.
OPEN SEAT ON SCHOOL COMMITTEE, APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED BY AUGUST 25
(August 17, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will accept talent bank applications to fill a vacant seat on the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee through 12 noon on Thursday, August 25.
The regional district school agreement allows the BOS, along with elected Rehoboth members on the school committee, to make the appointment on August 29.
Those interested in applying for the position, September 2016 through April 2017, may click here to access a Talent Bank Form on the town website.
REHOBOTH POLICE OFFER FREE CAR SEAT INSPECTION AND INSTALLATION
(August 15, 2016) The Rehoboth Police Department, along with Safe Kids Worldwide, will offer free child car seat inspections and installations on Saturday, August 20 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Highway Department on Anawan Street across from police/fire headquarters.
Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death nationwide for children ages 3 to 14 years. AAA estimates that 75% of child passenger safety equipment is installed incorrectly. Trained and certified technicians will inspect your child’s car seat including checking on proper installation, size requirements and product recalls. They can also answer your questions on child safety equipment. There are a limited number of free seats available to those in financial need.
The RPD was awarded a Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Equipment Grant to offer the inspection event and distribute free seats to parents and caregivers in need. Rehoboth is one of 150 free car seat inspection sites in Massachusetts.
For those who can’t make the August 20 event, call the RPD at 508-252-3722 and make an appointment with Officer Craig Warish for another day.
RESIGNATION RESULTS IN OPEN SEAT ON SCHOOL COMMITTEE
(August 11, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth received formal notice of the resignation of Tiffany Bartholomew from the elected position as a Rehoboth member of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee.
A brief resignation letter from Bartholomew, with a home address listed in Newburyport, MA, was received by the town clerk on Tuesday, August 9, effective immediately.
“I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve the students of DRRSD and I wish the town and the district continued success in the coming years,” wrote Bartholomew. According to an email sent the school committee and town clerk, Bartholomew said her family had relocated to northern Massachusetts. Her term on the school committee was effective through April 3, 2017.
Under the school district agreement, if a vacancy occurs, the Rehoboth Selectmen and remaining Rehoboth members of the school committee “shall within thirty days appoint a member to serve until the next elections, at which time a successor shall be elected to serve for the balance of the unexpired term, if any.”
The scheduled August 9 school committee was cancelled due to lack of quorum. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16 at 6:30 in the DRRHS Media Center.
PLANNING BOARD TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO NEW TOWN BYLAW ON SIGNS
(August 11, 2016) The Rehoboth Planning Board has issued a legal notice in accordance with state law to inform the public of a hearing to be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 7:15 PM at the town office on Peck Street.
The subject of the hearing is to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on a proposed amendment placing restrictions and limitations on signs including those for businesses, events and on private residential property. Click here to read complete proposed amended bylaw.
According to the legal notice, the “complete text for the proposed amendment” is available by going in person to the Office of the Planning Board at 148 Peck Street on Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon.
Those interested in making a comment about the proposed bylaw change should attend the August 17 meeting according to the notice signed by Planning Board Chairman James Muri.
The Planning Board also includes members Robert Moitozo, Christopher Copper, Edward Bertozzi, William Costa, Jr., Tomas Ennis, and Stephen Brooks, Jr.
NATIONAL GRID TO CONDUCT SUMMER AERIAL INSPECTIONS OVER REHOBOTH
(August 11, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth was informed of National Grid summer aerial inspections over the next three weeks with helicopter flyovers to identify any potential problems in the transmission lines.
National Grid transmission line crews will be dispatched to address any issues discovered during the inspections before they impact service for customers. The semi-annual aerial patrols complement ground-level inspections by quickly and efficiently covering National Grid’s transmission system, especially across rugged and isolated terrain.
“Regular inspections of our transmission system are a critical component in providing safe and reliable power to our more than 1.7 million electricity customers across New England,” said Fred Raymond, vice president, Electric Project Management and Complex Construction, National Grid. “Transmission lines can be damaged by severe weather, such as thunderstorms, making now an ideal time to have an up-close look and make sure customers have the reliable service they deserve and expect from us.”
The helicopter inspections are conducted by experienced personnel using high-power gyroscopic binoculars. They are particularly interested in any signs of wear on power lines conductors and lightning protection devices; damaged or leaning transmission structures; loose or broken guy wires; broken, chipped or cracked insulator equipment; and trees leaning toward the lines or into the transmission corridors.
TOWN OFFICIALS WANT RESIDENTS TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PROPOSED NEW MUNICIPAL COMPLEX TO BE VOTED ON NEXT YEAR
(August 9, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, along with other town officials, want residents to know the reality of the town’s existing municipal buildings and see plans for a new complex to house town offices, police, fire and EMS services on Anawan Street.
Residents can have all their questions answered on Wednesday, September 14 from 5 to 7 PM at the senior center and then on the next Wednesday night, attend an open house and tour both the town office at Peck Street and the public safety building on Anawan Street. They will repeat the info session on Wednesday, October 12 from 5 to 7 PM at the senior center followed by the open house/tour of both buildings on Wednesday, October 19.
For the past three years, the town’s Public Safety Building Space Needs Assessment Committee has worked on a plan to present to citizens for approval at next spring’s town election. The committee consists of Police Chief James Trombetta, Fire Chief Frank Barresi, Health Agent Bob Ashton, REMA Director Bill Maiorano, John Santos, and Rehoboth Ambulance Chairman Scott Meagher.
Committee member have interviewed town employees at both the town offices and public safety building, along with municipal department heads, and people who use or visit those building.
According to police, fire and EMS services in the over 50-year-old public safety building, there is absolutely no room for anything else. This is a problem which will lead to the town potentially facing citations and fines from the state on space and health requirements. The town employees work in an equally old, cement cinder-block building constructed as military offices for the Nike site and housing that was once on the property. Multiple departments are squeezed into small offices. Ceilings leak and the building is difficult to heat during the winter and hard to keep reasonably cool in the summer months. Town employees also face invading insects, rodents and even snakes.
A floor plan for the new complex has been developed with a design that fulfills needs and fits the rural character of the town. Currently, the floor plans are available to view at the town office, senior center, and Blanding Library.
ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER STORY TRENDS ON LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA
(August 5, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s decision to not renew the appointment of long-term Animal Control Officer Jane Foster, and to appoint an interim ACO on August 2 has become a trending topic on local social media with dozens of comments and ongoing discussion threads.
Most comments applaud Foster’s years of service to the town while other question the BOS decision, calling it abrupt and unfair. Others suggest appealing to selectmen to reconsider their decision.
Over the last couple years, the town has made incremental steps to change the ACO position. The first step was significant, putting the previously autonomous ACO under the direct supervision of the Rehoboth Chief of Police in early April 2014.
At the time, Selectman Skip Vadnais said, “this is the beginning of a long process” to update the town’s animal welfare services. Foster told selectman she had no problem with putting her paid town employee job under the supervision of the police department. Selectman Dave Perry told Foster, “this is not a reflection on your performance, this is about compliance with state bureaucracy.”
Following multiple on-site inspections in early 2014, the state found the Rehoboth Animal Shelter and control function to be deficient in several areas. In addition several specific animal welfare issues had put before the BOS. Determinations were made on these issues based on out-dated policies and bylaws. Voters at town meeting in May 2014 defeated a new animal welfare bylaw initiated by then selectman Lorraine Botts.
In April 2014, selectman voted to create an Animal Advisory Committee to offer offer advise on all animal (domestic, farm and wildlife) welfare issues, and propose new polices and procedures. By September, a five-member committee with two alternates had been appointed by the selectmen, including veterinarians Richard Cohen, DVM and Amy Hurd, DVM.
The advisory committee now consists of Cohen, Hurd, Richard Panofsky, Elizabeth Botelho, Nancy Scott-Puopolo, the acting ACO and BOS liaison Skip Vandals. The committee initiated an ongoing feral cat “Trap, Neuter, Release” program this year.
Also in 2014, a new non-profit organization, Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter (FRAS) was created to raise money to support the shelter. This group raised and donated the money to the town for specific purposes. They have helped fix up the shelter to get it into state compliance. Most recently, a shelter Volunteer Coordinator (an unpaid position) Pamela DiRenzo was selected and appointed by the BOS to manage shelter volunteers. (Scroll down for August 2 story on appointment of interim ACO.)
REHOBOTH ONE OF 13 COMMUNITIES PREPARED FOR EARLY VOTING
(August 5, 2016) As of today, Rehoboth is one of only 13 towns and cities in the Commonwealth to have plans firmly in place to implement early voting hours required by the 2014 election reform laws.
Beginning September 8 for the state primary election, Rehoboth voters will be able to cast ballots an hour earlier than before, at 7 AM for all three precincts.
Survey results were released yesterday by the Massachusetts Election Modernization Commission that revealed nearly 138 cities and towns are in the final stages of planning, 126 have in the planning process and 49 municipalities have yet to start planning.
Along with Rehoboth, the other communities than have solid plans to offer early voting at multiple locations include Boston, Easton, Holyoke, Lancaster, Lenox, Marshfield, Milton, New Bedford, Peru, Salem, Waltham and Worcester.
CALIFORNIA MAN CHARGED WITH DUI FOLLOWING REHOBOTH CAR CRASH
(August 4, 2016) Rehoboth Police arrested an out-of-state visitor on drunk driving charges following a single-vehicle crash yesterday night.
After receiving a 911 call, Rehoboth police, fire and ambulance personnel were dispatched to the scene of an accident in the area near 299 Providence Street.
Officers discovered a car had gone off the road and struck a utility pole causing a power outrage to the area including homes and businesses in nearby Seekonk.
Timothy Beal, age 23, of Pleasant Hill, California was taken into police custody and transported by Rehoboth Ambulance to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro for treatment of minor injuries. The man was later brought back to Rehoboth Police headquarters and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation, marked lanes violation, and wanton destruction of property.
Arresting Officers Craig Forget and David Aguiar are continuing an investigation into the accident.
INTERIM ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER APPOINTED BY SELECTMEN
(August 2, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectman last night voted to appoint Rob Johnson as interim animal control officer while choosing to not reappoint long-time ACO Jane Foster who has held the position for many years.
BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais began the agenda item by saying it was time for a change. He acknowledged that while Jane “was great” the state has implemented many new requirements for municipal animal control officers, and the town must comply.
“This dictates a chance in direction,” said Vadnais, who was instrumental in creating the town’s Animal Advisory Committee to assist the BOS with compliance issues.
Selectman Gerry Schwall motioned to extend Foster’s appointment to the end of October. “I am not prepared to take action tonight,” he said. Vadnair replied that “we’ve had hours and hours of discussion on this.” He said that extending Foster’s appointment would just “prolong the inevitable.”
Selectman Dave Perry commended Foster for her many years of service as a town employee. “Jane is the best buggy whip around,” he said sadly, referring to Foster’s exemplary, but traditional standards. “But times change,” added Perry, “and this is a very hard decision to make.”
According to state standards, the animal control office depends on computerized record keeping and digital communications along with initiating policy and procedures to avoid receiving citations on deficiencies.
Johnson’s interim appointment is effective today until a permanent animal control officer is appointed by the selectman. Johnson has been Foster’s assistant for the last several years.
Foster appeared during open forum early during last night’s selectmen’s meeting and urged residents to call her if abandoned kittens are found. She also urged residents to use cation when dealing with their dogs and cats during hot weather. “Don’t get into their faces when they’re hot,” she said. “Dog bites mostly happen in the summer.”
ADDITIONAL SPECIAL TOWN MEETING SET FOR JANUARY
(August 2, 2016) At last night’s regular meeting, Rehoboth selectmen voted to schedule a special town meeting in January to allow residents to vote to approve an ballot issue to fund the proposed new municipal complex.
The warrant item on this issue was previously set to appear at the fall town meeting on October 17. If approved by voters, the issue would then become a ballot item with a special election held by the end of the year.
To avoid the cost of a special election which costs the town approximately $7000, Selectman Gerry Schwall proposed a special town meeting in late January so that the issue can be included on the regular spring election ballot.
For the last few years, officials from a variety of town departments including public safety have been studying needs and possible solutions. A needs assessment committee was formed and have now reached the point of having a comprehensive plan for a new municipal complex on Anawan Street.
Currently, municipal employees work in the town offices on Peck Street. The old, cement cinder-block building was constructed as military offices for the Nike site and housing once on the property. Employees work in what only be easily described as awful conditions, with multiple departments crammed into small offices. Ceilings leak when it rains, snakes have been found inside the building as well as rodents and insects. The building is difficult to heat during the winter and hard to keep reasonably cool in the summer months.
For residents, the town offices are not readily accessible, nor in any way convenient for the vast majority of residents in a ever-growing community. Rehoboth has reached a population of nearly 12,000 residents, which now places additional requirements on municipal government including police, fire and ambulance.
The existing public safety building on Anawan Street has reached capacity for both police and fire departments. This will become a significant problem for the town as state regulations require public safety departments to have adequate space. Currently there is no room at the police department for an official holding cell.
The town will face fines if environmentally safe and adequate space is not provided to town employees. But funding the proposed new municipal complex will require first a vote at special town meeting, followed by a special ballot for a tax increase to fund the project.
PUBLIC INFO SESSIONS TO ADDRESS LNG CONCERNS
(August 2, 2016) Selectman Dave Perry announced at last night’s board of selectmen meeting that a public information session will be held for residents who have questioned about SPECTRA’s proposed LNG gas compressor station in Rehoboth.
“Concerned citizens approached the BOS,” said Perry, “and we reached out to SPECTRA to answer specific questions at a public info session held in Rehoboth.” The meeting will be held in October withe the specific date to be announced soon.
“This will not be an open forum,” he emphasized. “Instead we are submitting questions to SPECTRA in advance to be addressed at the meeting.” He encouraged residents to submit their questions to him to the attention of the Selectmen’s Office as soon as possible.
“The BOS is obliged to help keep citizens informed,” he added, “and SPECTRA has agreed to do this as a courtesy.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT CRITICAL NEED FOR MUNICIPAL COMPLEX
(August 2, 2016) Rehoboth residents will have a chance to educate themselves about the town’s dire need for a new municipal complex. Officials who have been working on the town’s municipal building needs have announced there will be three info sessions held in September.
The second session will include an open house and tour of the existing town offices and public safety building so that residents can see for themselves where town employees work.
Selectman Gerry Schwall, who is acting as the board of selectmen’s point person on the proposed new complex, wants the public to be as informed as possible and to fully understand the working conditions of town employees. He has suggested a special page be put on the town’s website along with an easy-to-use calculator for residents to determine exactly what they may expect to pay in more taxes.
Currently the town’s building needs assessment committee has released a preliminary plan for the new complex. The plans can be viewed now at the town office. The committee will release more financial information and cost estimates as soon as they are available.
FRANCELINA VEADER PRESENTED WITH REHOBOTH BOSTON POST CANE
(July 27, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth and the Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club presented the town’s oldest resident, Francelina Veader, age 102, with the ceremonial Boston Post Cane at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Monday at lunchtime.
Nearly 125 people attended the ceremony including state and local officials and were served a delicious lunch at the center’s Monday lunch at Gert’s Cafe.
Veader was showered with recognition on her special day. Representative Steven Howitt presented Veader with a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Another citation was presented by Leslie Duclos from Congressman Joe Kennedy’s office. Rehoboth resident Paul Jacques, running against Howitt to represent the Fourth Bristol District also attended.
The replica Boston Post Cane was presented to the guest of honor by Selectman Gerry Schwall and Town Clerk Laura Schwall pinned a keepsake lapel pin on Veader and presented her with pink roses.
Other dignitaries included Selectman Susan Pimental and Selectman Dave Perry, along with Lorraine Botts, President of the Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club, and Senior Center Director Linda Sherman who helping organize the event.
Scroll down the page for the saga of the missing Boston Post Cane, how it was found and how the tradition will be preserved for future generations. The Taunton Gazette published an article on the ceremony.
REHOBOTH TOWN CLERK WORKS TOWARD COVETED DESIGNATION
(July 22, 2016) Rehoboth Town Clerk, Laura L. Schwall, recently completed her second year of studies at the New England Municipal Clerks’ Institute and Academy (NEMCI&A) at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.
The three-year program is the only program of its kind in the country, run exclusively by and for city and town clerks and their office staff. Completion entitles graduates to apply for the International Institute of Municipal Clerks’ coveted Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) designation.
Schwall spent a week completing the second intermediate level year with continuing interactive classes on the skills of professional administration, management, decision-making, written communication, public speaking, parliamentary procedure, interpersonal communication and law. Relevant computer courses are also introduced.
Town clerks in year two of the course interact with each other to develop and maintain the high level of administrative expertise needed for the successful operation of increasingly complex municipal governments.
Established under the direction of the Rhode Island Department of Community Affairs and the guidance of the New England Association of City and Town Clerks, NEMCI&A began with a charter class of 32 students. Over 500 cities and towns have sent town clerks to the continuing education programs over its forty-one year history.
Academy is a continuing education program designed for clerks who have completed their Institute training or have already attained their CMC certification. Academy courses are more in-depth and intensive, fostering the development of high-level administrative and executive-level management skills.
The NEMCI&A Board of Directors consists of two representatives from each of the six New England states and meets year-round with faculty and university personnel to develop the best possible week of intellectual stimulation, personal growth and challenges for attendees.
SPECIAL TRADITION TO BE REVIVED IN REHOBOTH
(July 19, 2016) On Monday, July 25, a very special tradition will be revived in Rehoboth with the ceremony to award the Rehoboth ‘Boston Post Cane’ to the town’s oldest citizen, Francelina Veader, age 102.
The Boston Post Cane tradition began on August 2, 1909 when Boston Post publisher, Edwin A. Grozier, send engraved, gold-headed ebony canes to 700 towns in the New England states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.
The canes were to be presented, with compliments of the Boston Post, to the oldest male citizen of that town. That gentleman would use the cane until his demise, at which time the cane was passed on to the next oldest citizen in town.
In 1930, after a period of considerable controversy, the oldest women in town were finally allowed to be named recipients of the cane. The cane would belong to the town and not the man/woman who received it.
Rehoboth’s Boston Cane was regularly presented until 2001, and then went missing in 2005 when the last recipient passed away. It was found just this spring in storage at the senior center and returned to the selectmen’s office.
Town Clerk Laura Schwall took charge of the historic artifact and brought the story to the attention of selectmen.
“I made the revival of this tradition a priority in my office,” said Schwall. “I am so pleased that the selectmen and the Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club are joining with me to celebrate Mrs. Veader’s place in Rehoboth’s history.
It was decided by selectman to preserve the original cane in a secure case with brass name tags naming each Rehoboth recipient boing back to 1909. Going forward, the eldest resident will receive a full-size replica of the original cane, a lapel pin replica of the cane, and their name added to the display housing the original cane.
The Boston Canes were all made by J.F. Fradley and Co., a New York manufacturer, from ebony shipped in seven-foot lengths from the Congo in Africa. Cut to cane lengths and seasoned for six months, the canes were turned on lathes to the right thickness, coated and polished, each with a 14-carat gold head, two inches long, decorated by hand, and a ferruled tip. The head was engraved with the inscription, “Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of (name of town)” and “To Be Transmitted.”
The presentation ceremony for Mrs. Veader will be held at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on July 25 at 12 noon.
Any questions about the cane or the upcoming ceremony should be directed to Laura Schwall, Rehoboth Town Clerk, Office hours: Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and Friday from 8 AM to 12 noon at 508-252-6502, extension 3110.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH BEGINS CITING NON-COMPLIANT DOG OWNERS
(July 18, 2016) After allowing a lengthy grace period, the Town of Rehoboth has begun citing residents who have not vaccinated and licensed their dogs.
Annual dog licenses are traditionally due to be renewed on April 1 of each year with the town reminding residents months in advance. The town issued three warnings to dog owners about yearly licensing. June 1 was the final deadline before selectmen were forced to comply with state law and policies on unlicensed dogs.
“We’ve done more than our share to remind you of your responsibility,” said BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais at the June 7 BOS meeting. “You will go to court,” he warned. “You will be fined. We will seize dogs if you fail to license them.”
According to Massachusetts State Law, unlicensed dogs can be caught by municipal animal control officers and made available for adoption. If dogs are in poor condition, ill health or not adoptable, they will be destroyed. The Town of Rehoboth has an euthanasia policy for animals that can not be adopted.
Owners of unlicensed dogs should now expect to receive a summons to appear in court for a non-criminal charge and pay related court expenses. The town will charge a $25 fee to being the citation process, certified mailing charges, plus the annual license fee and late fees per dog.
Rabies vaccination certification is required to license and relicense dogs. If you have any questions, please contact the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office at 508-252-6502, ext. 3109 or 3110. The Town Office is open 8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Thursday, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon.
YOUNG WOMAN KILLED IN CRASH ON HORNBINE ROAD
(July 7, 2016) A young Rehoboth woman perished and two others injured yesterday evening following a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Hornbine Road and Simmons Street.
Rehoboth police, fire and ambulance was dispatched shortly before 6 PM to the scene of the accident involving a 1995 Toyota pickup truck and a 2008 Accura TL.
First responders found Kayla DeMello in the Accura severely injured and unresponsive. The driver’s side door had to be removed before the 21-year-old was able to be extricated and rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where she died. Police have not released the names of two occupants of the truck who were also rushed to Rhode Island Hospital for injuries described as non-life threatening. It is unknown if any were local residents.
According to Rehoboth police, the vehicles collided with force as the Accura was turning onto Hornbine Road from Simmons. While speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the fatal crash, television media report a witness saying the Accura ran the stop sign.
The crash is being investigated by the Rehoboth Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police. Officers were assisted at the scene by the Swansea Police Department and the Swansea Ambulance.
DeMello was a 2013 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, the daughter of Lucia and Robert DeMello and sister of Kelsey DeMello.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR TNR FERAL CAT PROJECT
(July 7, 2016) Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter (FRAS) has launched a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) Program and is seeking volunteers.
There are around 13 identified feral cat colonies in Rehoboth. Volunteers are needed to assist in first trapping the felines and then driving trapped cats to clinics for neutering and spaying. The targeted colonies and trapping schedule depends on the number of volunteers who can help.
Providing proper health care and sterilization, the feral cats can be returned to their colonies to live out their lives without increasing the feral cat population in Rehoboth.
FRAS is a non-profit organization established to support the town-operated animal shelter. Along with volunteers, FRAS needs to purchase more equipment, supplies, and pay for veterinarian expensese. The group also needs access to a clean shed, barn or garage where the cats can heal after the neutering, and where equipment can be stored. Males may take up to two days for recovery and females up to five days.
Monetary donations would greatly be appreciated to help pay expenses associated with the TNR program.
Those interested in volunteering, making a donation, or offering a recovery station should contact nancy Scott at 774-218-1802 or send an email to FRASPaws@aol.com. Checks can be mailed to Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter, Post Office Box 42, Rehoboth, MA 02769. fraspaws.com.
FIREFIGHTERS SAVE SUMMER STREET BARN
(July 4, 2016) Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched on Saturday afternoon to Summer Street on the report of fire and smoke from the copula of a barn.
First arriving units observed the copula atop the second floor of the barn fully involved with heavy smoke. The fire was quickly extinguished with the first arriving engine.
Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi said “the guys made a great stop. There is some fire and water damage but the property was saved.”
Firefighters were on scene for approximately ninety minutes while the fire was overhauled and investigated. Stations 1 & 3 were at the scene while Station 2 covered the town from headquarters. Rehoboth EMS provided rehab on a very warm day with water and paramedics.
Rehoboth police shut down Summer Street at French until the operation was completed. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but appears to be accidental.
BAIL REDUCED FOR REHOBOTH MAN CHARGED WITH DRUNK DRIVING AND VEHICULAR HOMICIDE
(June 28, 2016) A Rehoboth man changed with vehicular homicide following an accident that killed a Seekonk man on Saturday was arraigned in Taunton District Court yesterday afternoon.
Bail for Jeffrey H. Fisk, Jr., age 40 of Jameson Drive, was reduced from $100,040 to $50,000 after he pleaded innocent to charges of motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of alcohol. Judge Antoinette Leoney placed several conditions on Fisk if he makes bail, including wearing a GPS monitor, a curfew from 7 PM to 7 AM, and random alcohol screenings. He was also ordered to not drive or drink alcohol.
Fisk’s attorney, Roger Ferris, challenged the Rehoboth police report, parts of which were read in court. According to Ferris, no sobriety or breathalyzer test was administered to prove Fisk was driving under the influence. The police report, filed by Officer Louis DiBacco, described Fisk as unsteady on his feet with “bloodshot and glossy eyes” and the odor of alcohol was emanating from “his person and breath.”
Fisk was driving a 1998 Dodge Ram truck that struck and killed 63-year-old Anthony Kishfy of Seekonk who was driving a motorcycle on Agricultural Avenue in the middle of the afternoon on a clear day. Kishfy was pronounced dead at the scene and Fisk was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital for evaluation.
Ferris told the court that Fisk is permanently disabled and if he appeared unsteady on his feet it was due to a previous toe amputation from a work injury. Fisk was a construction worker previously employed by Fisk Construction of Rehoboth and Seekonk. A pre-trail hearing was scheduled for July 26.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING FATAL ACCIDENT YESTERDAY
(June 26, 2016) A 40-year-old Rehoboth man was arrested yesterday afternoon on multiple vehicular charges following a fatal accident on Agricultural Avenue near Rocky Hill Road around 2:30 PM.
Rehoboth police, fire, and ambulance were dispatched following a report of a crash involving a motorcycle and truck. The 63-year-old driver of the motorcycles was found lying in the southbound land unresponsive and severely injured. First aid was administered in the roadway to the man, a resident of Seekonk, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.
According to police, the accident occurred when the victim, operating a 2015 Suzuki motorcycle, was struck head on by a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling southwest on Agricultural Avenue. The unidentified driver was traveling northeast on Agricultural.
Jeffery H. Fisk, Jr. of Jameson Drive in Rehoboth was placed under arrest and transported to Sturdy Hospital in Attleboro by Seekonk Ambulance. Once treated and released, Fisk was transported to the Rehoboth Police Department for processing on charges of homicide by motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor.
Fisk is being held on $100,040 dollar cash bail and set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court tomorrow.
This incident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit, The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, and the Massachusetts Medical Examiner.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS COMPLETE TRAINING
(June 24, 2016) Several officers of the Rehoboth Fire Department received certificates of completion for specialized training in arson investigation and fire science on Monday, June 20 at a regular meeting of the board of selectmen.
Nationally renowned instructor and expert on the subject matter, Chief Ronald Churchill (Ret.) of the Attleboro Fire department taught the course.
“I was honored that Chief Churchill offered to present this course to Rehoboth’s officers,” said Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi.
The course ran for three hours a night for several weeks and culminated with live burns of a house and three automobiles. The officers were then put in teams to investigate the cause and origin of the fires.
“The presence or suspicion of arson or malicious intent needs to be recognized and identified early on during any type of fire” said Barresi.
“Chief Churchill has afforded our officers the training, tools and awareness to determine possible causes early on during an incident and know how to conduct an investigation.”
A total of 14 of RFD officers and one detective from the Rehoboth Police Department, were awarded certificates by Chief Churchill during the open forum section of the Selectmen’ meeting. The department new tanker truck was also on display in the parking lot of the senior center.
Chairman Vadnais congratulated the officers and thanked them for their service along with the rest of the BOS. Barresi said, “ I can’t thank Chief Churchill enough for providing this training to my officers.”
Chief Churchill stated he enjoyed the camaraderie, respect, brotherhood and professionalism of the Rehoboth officers. He told selectmen, “They were a great group to work with.”
UNCONFIRMED REPORTS OF RANDOM CAR SHOOTINGS IN
REHOBOTH APPEAR ON SOCIAL MEDIA
UPDATE: According to Rehoboth Chief of Police James Trombetta, there were four reports taken yesterday (June 22) of incidents involving damaged windshields, possibly caused by pellets or rocks. He said the department has no further information to give out at this time.
(June 23, 2016) Yesterday afternoon reports of random car shootings in Rehoboth began to appear on social media including the Rehoboth Talk page on Facebook.
A Rehoboth resident wrote that “someone shot at my windshield while driving on on Route 117 South (area of 189 Anawan Street) today.” She shared a photo of a broken windshield and elaborated that she had gone to the Rehoboth police and made a report. She also mentioned “I was the third report” of a random car shooting, with the other incidents allegedly taking place in other parts of town.
Approximately thirty minutes after this message was posted online, Rehoboth Now contacted the RPD to request confirmation and more information about these disturbing public safety incidents. At publication time, the Rehoboth Police Department has not replied nor issued a press release.
According to a report in the Sun Chronicle this morning on yesterday's social media posts, the RPD was unavailable to comment or confirm details surrounding this alleged incidents, nor to issue a public warning.
GRANT FOR PROJECT LIFESAVER SCANNER WILL HELP REHOBOTH PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL
(June 21, 2016) Rehoboth public safety personnel will soon be trained to use a Project Lifesaver scanner granted to the Rehoboth Police Department by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO).
A grant for the $2000 scanner was obtained by Rehoboth TRIAD, a local organization comprised of representatives from public safety, the sheriff’s office and senior citizens groups.
Project Lifesaver is the nation’s most effective rescue program designed to help locate missing adults and children with cognitive impairment with risk of wandering. Those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, head injury, neurological conditions, autism, Down Syndrome, and developmental disabilities are candidates for participating in the program.
According to the BCSO, Project Lifesaver has a 100% success rate with nearly 2000 saves nationally. Using the most reliable technology available, Project Lifesaver utilizes a lightweight, water resistant wrist band with a radio frequency transmitter. The bracelet emits a constant signal and the scanner works like a GPS to pinpoint the person’s location for speedy rescue. The device can literally save lives when every minute counts in locating a missing person.
Just last month, an elderly Fall River Man who suffers from dementia left his home and walked nearly three miles before he was located. Lt. Fernando Pimental, who manages Project Lifesaver for the sheriff’s office, was able to find the disoriented and exhausted 87-year-old man using the scanner. In 2014, a Swansea couple donated $2000 to their local police department to purchase a Project Lifesaver scanner. Their son, a young man on the autism spectrum, has a tendency to wander and now wears the bracelet.
Currently, about half of the program participants in Bristol Country are either children or adults with autism who have difficulty with communication. The other users are adults or elders with cognitive impairment. For those who are left home alone for periods of time, Project Lifesaver gives caregivers a valuable sense of security.
There is a cost involved to purchase the bracelet. The initial cost is $300 with a $10 per month maintenance fee. Each month, clients get a visit from Lt. Pimental to change the battery on the wrist band.
For more information about Project Lifesaver, please contact Lt. Pimental at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, 508-995-6400, ext. 2180.
PUBLIC INVITED TO OPENING RECEPTION OF CELEBRATE ART, REHOBOTH!
(June 17, 2016) The Rehoboth Cultural Council invited the residents to attend the opening reception of Celebrate Art, Rehoboth!, a first-ever exhibition of local professional artists, as well as selected student artists from Rehoboth public schools, K through grade 12.
The exhibition will open on Sunday, June 26 from 1 to 4 PM at the Carpenter Museum Barn and run through Sunday, July 24 with hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 PM and on Sundays from 2 to 4 PM.
The work of 27 professional artists from Rehoboth will be on exhibit in the museum’s Otis Dyer, Sr. Barn, with art from 37 students displayed in the Tilton Room on the museum’s lower level. The exhibit is free or charge and there is no admission fee to visit the Carpenter Museum, open during the same hours as the art exhibit. Ample parking is available behind the museum off Bay State Road.
The Rehoboth Cultural Council is the local affiliate of the Massachusetts Cultural Council that awarded grant money to be distributed locally each year to enrich the cultural life of residents of all ages. In 2016, the RCC received $4,950 in funds from the state to either completely fund or partially support 14 events or programs.
Members of the RCC began planning this first-ever art show last year. RCC Chair Maureen Whittemore has coordinated the effort along with curator Sheila Oliveira and Melissa Treichler, who is curating the student portion of the exhibit.
The professional artists included in the barn exhibit the posthumous work of Rehoboth residents Charles Ballard, Charles Waddington and Joe Carpenter. The other featured professional artists are: Richard Benjamin, Judith Bertozzi, Erik Brisson, Harriet Brisson, David Brisson, Renee Moore Brooks, George Delany, Sandra Delany, Earle Dias, Mary Dondero, Carol Georgia, Michael Glancy, Connie Grab, Sherrill Hunnibell, David Kendrick, Debra Maher, Tracey Reath Manzella, Robert Materne, Sheila Oliveira, Robert O’Neal, Michele Poirier-Mozzone, B. Turek Robinson, Melissa Treichler, and Valerie Albert Weingard.
Visit CelebrateArtRehoboth.com for full details about the show, the participating artists, and a complete list of student artists and photos of their work to be on exhibit from June 26 through July 24.
AREA FIREFIGHTERS JOIN RFD FOR COOPERATIVE DRILL
(June 7, 2016) Firefighters from Berkley, Freetown, Lakeville and Rehoboth participated in a training exercise on Sunday, June 5, 2016. The training simulated a tanker response to Berkley through the Bristol County Mutual Aid Agreement.
Apparatus trucked water from a fill site two miles away and delivered it to a simulated fire scene where it was pumped onto the “fire” through a pumper and ladder truck.
The training was considered a success and the departments were able to familiarize themselves with each others equipment and capabilities. Berkley responds to Rehoboth on the first request for mutual aid tankers. They were operating at a recent fire on Summer Street in Rehoboth.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN ISSUE STERN WARNING TO DOG OWNERS
(June 7, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night addressed the issue of unlicensed dogs in town and issued a stern warning to owners who are delinquent.
The town has already issued three warnings to dog owners about yearly licensing. June 1 was the final deadline before selectmen were forced to comply with state law and policies on unlicensed dogs.
“We’ve done more than our share to remind you of your responsibility,” said BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais. “You will go to court,” he warned. “You will be fined. We will seize dogs if you fail to license them.”
According to Massachusetts State Law, dogs that are unlicensed can be caught by municipal animal control officers and made available for adoption. If dogs are in poor condition, ill health or not adoptable, they will be destroyed. The Town of Rehoboth has an euthanasia policy for animals that can not be adopted.
Vadnais explained he was obligated to read the warrant statement from the state on unlicensed dogs. “If you refuse to license your dogs, you relinquish ownership.” Owners of unlicensed dogs should expect to receive a summons to appear in court and pay related court expenses.
Selectmen Sue Pimental questioned the state policy of destroying unlicensed dogs. Vadnais responded that killing unlicensed dogs is state policy that must be followed.
The BOS voted to approve the order to allow the Animal Control Officer to seize unlicensed dogs and for the Town Clerk to issue court summons to dog owners and fines. Selectmen Dave Perry excused himself from voting.
TWO REHOBOTH POLICE CRUISERS DAMAGED IN CRASH
(June 6, 2016) Two Rehoboth police cruisers were involved in a crash shortly after 6 PM yesterday evening during a rain storm.
According to the Rehoboth Police Department, a motorist driving a Nissan pickup truck struck both parked cruisers as officers were directing traffic around a downed tree in the roadway on Wilmarth Bridge Road. One cruiser sustained “moderate to major damage” with the other vehicle was damaged less extensively. No human injuries were reported.
After a brief investigation the operator of the pickup, Kolby Simmons of North Attleboro, was taken into custody and charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, and negligent operation. He was later released and scheduled to appear in Taunton District Court today.
The accident is being investigated by Patrolman Gil Lima and Sgt. Norman Todd.
PUBLIC INVITED TO TOUR REHOBOTH GARDENS
(June 4, 2016) The public is invited to tour five private and public gardens in Rehoboth and Seekonk, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island on Saturday, June 11 from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Visitors can start Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program at any of the five locations. The Rehoboth sites include the garden of Marjorie & Don DeAngelis at 134 Hillside Avenue featuring a fenced-in garden surrounding a pool and patio with broad views of nearby fields. The garden and plantings in the front of the house were recently redesigned and replanted, and a new fence and stone wall were installed as the main features.
The McIlwain Garden at 37 Medalist Drive in Rehoboth is a four-season garden with expansive views of the neighboring golf course, and featuring an herb garden with armillary sphere, a blueberry/raspberry patch, a pergola, roses with lavender, and June blooming dogwoods, Virginia magnolia, peonies, Dutch iris, gumpo azalea, coral bells, catmint, campanula, and clematis.
Tranquil Lake Nursery, located at 45 River Street in Rehoboth will offer a free guided tour at 10 AM. This public garden features two acres of display gardens and ten acres of daylily and iris fields.
The Seekonk location for the tour will be Landscape Designer Andrew Grossman’s Display Gardens at 393 Fall River Avenue. The gardens, which border the Martin Wildlife Refuge and the Runnins River, include a blue-and-white garden, a hot colored garden with a checkerboard thyme patio, a cottage garden planted with roses and other old-fashioned favorites, a rustic pond surrounded by bog plantings, and a cutting garden of tea roses and dinner plate dahlias. The property is featured in Design New England's 2016 March/April issue and is a People’s Pick Winner in the Gorgeous Gardens category in HGTV's Ultimate Outdoor Awards competition.
College Hill Oasis, designed by Andrew Grossman, is an urban garden in the heart of College Hill near Brown University. A miniature paradise, this garden is located at 26 Diman Place. The garden is enclosed by a tall board fence with lattice insets, with a boisterous arrangement of white hydrangea bushes, hydrangea trees, and white roses accented by a contemporary fountain amidst pots of tall grasses and flowers.
The Garden Conservancy created the Open Days program in 1995 as a means of introducing the public to gardening, providing easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and proving that exceptional American gardens are still being created.
Admission to each garden is $7, benefitting the Garden Conservancy; children 12 and under are free. Open Days are rain or shine, and no reservations are required. Call 1-888-842-2442, or visit opendaysprogram.org for more information. (Photo credit: Courtesy of the Garden Conservancy)
SEEKING VOLUNTEERS TO ASSIST IN RESTORATION OF HISTORIC ARTIFACT
(June 1, 2016) The Rehoboth Antiquarian Society is looking for local volunteers from Monday, June 27 to Thursday, June 30 to assist in restoring the historic stage curtain used to open the “new” Goff Memorial Hall in 1915.
With a $7,125 grant from the Bristol County Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, the painted “grand drape” was hung at the front of the stage. The first Goff Hall was completely destroyed by fire, then rebuilt and rededicated in 1915. The drape contains various images and graphic elements including fantastic stylized peacocks around the edges.
The restoration work will be done by Curtains Without Borders, a conservation team from Vermont that restores these fascinating antique curtains all over New England.
“The project cannot be completed without local volunteers, who will be trained on-site by the conservators,” said Laura Napolitano, Curtain Project Coordinator and curator of the Carpenter Museum. Both the museum and Goff Hall, that houses the Blanding Public Library, are owned and operated by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society.
“I'm looking for people to commit to helping for at least one four-hour block on June 27, 28, 29, or 30,” Napolitano specified. She also welcomes any volunteers who wish to commit to a full day of work. Some of the tasks asked to do include: preparing the work area, gently vacuuming the curtain to remove dust and debris, cleaning the curtain with dry sponges, repairing the curtain's support system.
“It will be a great opportunity to learn, to get a little dusty, and to help bring back to life an integral part of Goff Hall's wonderful interior,” emphasized Napolitano.
Those wishing to help in this endeavor to restore and conserve a valuable Rehoboth historic artifact, can sign up online. Please be aware if the project moves along quickly, the final day of work may be cancelled, so sign up for June 27, 28 or 29 first.
If you have any questions, please email Laura Napolitano at email@example.com.
SEMAP RESOURCES FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS
(May 31, 2016) Growing season is upon us and the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) offers lots of resources and special events including Twilight Workshops and guides to local farms, CSAs and farmer’s markets.
Rehoboth has 36 SEMAP member farms and an updated listing can be found on the Right to Farm page of Rehoboth Now.
SEMAP’s website offers a wealth of information and calendar of upcoming events. The organization’s Twilight Grower Education Series began in May and continues with a workshop on Growing Small Fruits on Monday, June 13 at Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon, MA, followed by a workshop of Sheep Management Basics on Thursday, June 23 at the Soule Homestead Education Center in Middleboro.
Two workshops will be held close to home with a program on Raising Alpacas on Tuesday, August 23 in Swansea, and a workshop on Diversified Livestock at Rehoboth’s Rosasharn Farm on Wednesday, September 14. Registration is available on the SEMAP website.
SEMAP is also hosting an informational program called AG Com Boot Camp Bee Informed on Monday, June 13 form 6 to 8 PM at Bristol County Agricultural High School. Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Chief Apiary Inspector Kim Skyrm and Chief Pesticide inspector Tayrn LaScola will provide an update on Pollinator Health. This will include information on the State and Federal status of pollinator health, including and addressing issues such as diseases, forage, pesticides and hive health.
Registration for events is available on the SEMAP website.
DOG OWNERS REMINDED TO RENEW LICENSES BY JUNE 1
(May 27, 2016) The Office of the Rehoboth Town Clerk reminds residents that dog licensing is required for all canines and due by Wednesday, June 1 to avoid late fees and non-criminal citations.
April 1 was the deadline to renewing existing licenses or obtaining new licenses for previously undocumented dogs. A 60-day grace period was extended to June 1. Payments after that date will incur a $15 late fee per dog. After July 1, delinquent dog owners will face a non-criminal citation which will become an additional $25 plus certified mailing costs.
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) and proof of spay or neuter [if applying for the $10 licensing fee] unless the documentation is already on file in the Clerk’s Office.
If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 508-252-3502, ext. 3109 or 3110.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH REAL ESTATE PUBLIC AUCTION ON JUNE 8
(May 21, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth will conduct public auctions of four separate parcels of real estate acquired through tax possession on Wednesday, June 8.
The first auction will be held at 10 AM at 21 First Street, an eight acre lot of land with considerable road frontage (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 3/16). The second auction will be held at 11 AM at 5 Brook Street, an improved property including two wood framed structures and one wood framed barn-style building situated on a 1.39 acre lot of land with road frontage (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 22/7). The third auction will be held at 1 PM at 248 Winthrop Street (Route 44), an improved property including 3,518 square feet. The property was a former service shop/garage situated on a .32 acre lot (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 46/1). The fourth auction will also be held at 248 Winthrop Street for an unimproved 24.6 acre parcel of land located near and identified as Agricultural Avenue (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 68/22).
A $5,000 deposit by cash or bank cashier’s check is required to bid and is due at the auction for each property. Balance of purchase price for each parcel purchased is due within 30 days of the date the high bid has been approved by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.
Properties are to be sold “as is” & “with all faults”, but with real estate taxes prorated to date of closing. A buyer’s premium of ten percent (10%) will apply and will be added to the high bid for each property sold; this total amount will represent the purchase price. Other terms and conditions will be announced at auction. According to a town press release, “All information within this notice and published online is believed, but not guaranteed, to be correct.”
UPCOMING REHOBOTH ROAD CONSTRUCTION
(May 21, 2016) Residents are advised by the Rehoboth Highway Department of upcoming construction projects tentatively scheduled to being on Tuesday, May 31.
Road resurfacing is planned for: Reynolds Avenue, Glebe Street, Wright Street, Brander Road,, Pine Grove Road, Winterberry Lane, Stagecoach Road, Indian Lane, First Street, Pleasant Street (from Pierce Lane to Davis Street) and Davis Street (from Pleasant Street to First Street).
Please seek alternate routes or allow extra time when traveling the affected roadways. If you have any questions, please contact the Rehoboth Highway Department at 508-252-3912.
SELECTMEN ANNOUNCE THREE SUMMER PROJECTS
(May 17, 2016) With three major projects ahead, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen plan to keep a busy summer schedule of alternating regular BOS meetings at the senior center and “work session” meetings at the town office.
The three projects include a comprehensive review of the highway department, a review of the “police department structure” and promoting the already planned new municipal complex building.
The renamed “Municipal Complex Building Committee” has worked steadily for over two years coming up with a plan to renovate and expand the existing public safety building (police, fire ambulance) on Anawan Street to incorporate the town offices. The exiting town office building on Peck Street is in dire shape, leaving employees working in unsafe environments.
A new municipal complex will benefit not only town employees, but give residents a one-stop shop for doing business such as obtaining permits and licenses instead of traveling from one building to another.
“We need to release the plans right now,” said Selectmen Sue Pimental, “so people have a chance to ask questions right way.
The selectmen’s first “working session” to beging working on these summer projects is scheduled for Monday, June 13.
EMPTY BOS SEAT WILL REMAIN VACANT UNTIL NEXT SPRING ELECTION
(May 17, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen addressed the topic of filling the vacant fifth selectman’s seat board last night during their regular meeting.
Selectmen Skip Vadnais (chair), Susan Pimental and Gerry Schwall voted to leave the seat vacant for the next eleven months until the annual spring election in April. Selectmen Dave Perry was not in attendance to vote.
The fifth seat was left vacant on April 26 when Michael Costello submitted his immediate resignation citing work conflicts.
“Four members can do the job,” said Pimental, “leave it vacant.” She explained she was “never in favor of five” but understood why townspeople voted to expand the board by two seats during a highly political period of time.
“I concur with Sue,” added Schwall. “We have better use of the money than holding a special election.” The town typically must spend around $7000 to conduct an election. Based on recent election results, only a small percentage of registered voters participate in the process and come to vote.
REHOBOTH LAND TRUST MEMBERSHIP DRIVE
(May 16, 2016) The Rehoboth Land Trust (RLT) is currently conducting the non-profit organization’s annual membership drive with a goal of reaching 100 contributing members.
Established in 1989, RLT has succeeded in permanently protecting open space, agricultural lands, and wildlife habitat in the town of Rehoboth. Preserving land with significant ecological, agricultural and historic value continues to be a priority.
To date, the organization has helped conserve over 230 acres for recreation, agriculture and national resources, working cooperatively with both municipal government and other conservation groups. RLT accepts land donations and assist land owners in developing conservation restrictions.
Rural towns like Rehoboth benefit by preserving open space instead of more residential construction. With each home dependent on a well and septic system, protecting the towns water is very important.
Residents and visitors enjoy using the trails at the Ephraim Hunt Ministerial Land on Pond Street, the Town Forest on Fairview Avenue, as well as the Mason Street Conservation area. To steward their properties, RLT partners with farmers, Boy Scouts, and takes advantage of the expertise and time of its devoted volunteer board of trustees.
Studies have shown that “conservation returns from $4 to $10 for every dollar invested.” The return comes in the form of recreational opportunities, flood control, protection of air and drinking water quality, wildlife habitat, and farming -- supporting tourism, agriculture, and fisheries. RTC continues to work with volunteers to provide access to other areas of open space.
You can play a part in these important efforts to preserve the open space, agriculture and wildlife in Rehoboth by joining the RLT. Individual membership is $25; family membership is $50; and sustainer membership is $100. Please make your check payable to Rehoboth Land Trust and mail to P O Box 335, Rehoboth, MA 02769.
STURDY HOSPITAL KEEPS SUBCONTRATOR BANNED BY MORTON
(May 14, 2016) Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro released a statement after nearby Morton Hospital in Taunton terminated state appointed behavioral health subcontractor NES/TAES (Norton Emergency Services and Taunton/Attleboro Emergency Services).
“Sturdy Memorial Hospital does use and will continue to use Taunton Attleboro Emergency Services as our mental health consultative service for a subset of our emergency department population. They evaluate patients in conjunction with the attending emergency physician to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for the individual patient.”
The behavioral health provider NES/TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth to provide 24/7 evaluation services and treatment recommendations for MassHealth patients who enter the emergency department.
Sturdy and Morton are the closest hospitals serving residents of Rehoboth. Sturdy is a financially independent, non-profit hospital and Morton belongs to the larger for-profit Steward Health Care System.
MORTON BANS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SUBCONTRATOR NES/TAES
(May 12, 2016) As of today, Morton Hospital terminated the contract with state selected subcontractor NES/TAES (Norton Emergency Services and Taunton/Attleboro Emergency Services) from evaluating or recommending treatment for any patient. Personnel from NES/TAES have been banned from the Taunton facility, a member of the larger, for-profit Steward Health Care System.
According to hospital spokesperson Michele Fasano, during the period between 12:30 to 8 AM this morning, NES/TAES failed to evaluate multiple patients in the emergency department in a timely manner.
NES/TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth and is charged by law with the responsibility of evaluating MassHealth patients who enter the emergency department.
“When Morton Hospital proposed to do the evaluations ourselves, we were rebuffed or ignored by the subcontractor,” explained Fasano. “This inability of the state subcontractor to provide critical and timely services continues to put patients at risk.”
Today, Morton Hospital informed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) of their decision to unilaterally bar NES/TAES from evaluating patients at Morton Hospital.
“Effectively immediately, we will provide our own evaluation services conducted by licensed and credentialed members of our staff who are subject to peer review and direct oversight,” concluded Fasano.
Morton Hospital has previously advocated against using a subcontractor to conduct behavioral health evaluations in the E.D. Hospital administration will instead use their own vetted medical personnel to conduct such evaluations as it does with Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, and other payers. However, state policy has mandated that these evaluations be carried out by third party subcontractors.
NES/TAES, an independent organization based in Norton, is not retained or compensated by Morton Hospital. NES/TAES is selected, overseen, and compensated by state agencies and offices. Some NES/TAES staff utilize state email and benefits and are considered state employees.
MORTON HOSPITAL ISSUES STATMENT ON THIRY PARTY EVALUATIONS
(May 12, 2016) Nearby Morton Hospital that serves the Rehoboth community has released a statement in the aftermath of Tuesday’s deadly rampage in Taunton.
Following discharge from Morton Hospital, Taunton resident Arthur DaRosa killed two people and injured five others before being shot and killed by off-duty Deputy Sheriff James Creed.
“Morton Hospital extends our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. We also want to express our appreciation to law enforcement officers and to emergency medical personnel including those within Morton Hospital who delivered critical response services during these events to help prevent further loss of life or injury.”
Under federal law, Morton Hospital is barred from acknowledging patient names or disclosing any form of confidential patient information. This law extends to patients whose evaluations and assessments are legally required to be led and conducted by third parties selected through MassHealth.
Morton Hospital administration has for years advocated that the state review and revise its policies that require outside third party vendors to evaluate and determine the course of treatment for Medicaid patients in emergency departments.
The hospital stated there were psych beds available within the hospital’s network (Steward) “if the state contracted agency responsible for conducting evaluations in the Emergency Department” had requested one for DeRosa on that fateful day.
“As we have said in the past, the current policy mandating that the evaluation process must be carried out by a third party state contractor is misguided.”
DeRosa’s family member say the 28-year-old was mentally ill and sought help in the emergency room at Morton, but was released only hours before going on his rampage.
According to hospital administration, these assessments should be performed independently “through qualified psychiatrists, clinicians, and other medical personnel who have been subject to the hospital credentialing process, peer review process, and the policies that guide the care of every other patient – and not through an outside state contracted vendor who we do not choose.”
Under federal law, Morton Hospital is barred from acknowledging patient names or disclosing any form of confidential patient information. This law extends to patients whose evaluations and assessments are legally required to be led and conducted by third parties selected through MassHealth.
REPRESENTATIVE HOWITT SUPPORTS SOLAR ENERGY COMPROMISE
(May 11, 2016) State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) has endorsed a proposal to promote more solar energy generating projects in Massachusetts by raising the state’s net metering cap.
House Bill 4173, An Act relative to solar energy, passed the House on a vote of 154-1, reflecting a compromise between two differing net metering proposals that were previously approved by the House and Senate.
“I’m proud to support this bill, which not only encourages the expansion of solar energy in Massachusetts, but also implements a number of cost-saving measures to protect ratepayers,” said Howitt who represents Rehoboth in the 4th Bristol District.
Under the conference committee proposal, the state’s net metering caps will be raised by 3 percent of the utilities’ peak load for both public and private projects. Private net metering caps will increase from 4 percent to 7 percent, while public net metering caps will increase from 5 percent to 8 percent.
Massachusetts currently provides financial incentives to solar power generators by allowing businesses and municipalities to sell excess solar energy they generate but don’t use back to the grid at retail rates, which currently average about 21 cents per kilowatt hour. The conference committee proposal calls for moving to a new “market net metering credit” equal to 60 percent of the full retail rate for all projects – or about 12 cents per kilowatt hour – but includes a carve-out so that residential, small commercial, and solar facilities owned by municipalities and government entities will continue to receive the full retail rate.
The bill grandfathers in existing solar facilities that were previously approved by the Department of Energy Resources to receive solar renewable energy credits (SRECs). These facilities will continue to receive credits at the higher retail rate for 25 years before transitioning to the new rate.
House Bill 4173 also allows utility companies to offset the costs of maintaining their infrastructure by submitting proposals to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to establish a monthly minimum reliability contribution for customers who receive net metering credits. This will ensure that all ratepayers using the distribution system are helping to pay for the maintenance, reliability and safety of the electric grid.
When reviewing these proposals, DPU must take steps to ensure that they allocate fixed costs equitably, do not excessively burden ratepayers, do not inhibit solar development, and are used to offset the costs of maintaining the electric grid. DPU is also authorized to exempt or modify the minimum contribution for low income ratepayers and to adjust the minimum contribution in the future.
As a further incentive for ratepayer savings, the bill also includes provisions requiring the Department of Energy Resources to adopt rules and regulations that will lower the cost to ratepayers of solar incentive programs. These incentive programs must encourage the continued development of solar renewable energy generating sources by residential, commercial, governmental, low-income, and industrial electricity customers.
E. OTIS DYER, SR. HONORED AT TOWN MEETING
(May 10, 2016) Rehoboth resident E. Otis Dyer, Sr. was recognized last night at the spring annual town meeting for fifty years of service to the town.
Selectman Gerry Schwall presented Dyer with the award and noted Dyer’s years of service on the historical commission, planning board, zoning board, gravel committee, water commission and other municipal committees as well as civic organizations. Dyer joked his favorite accomplishment was assisting local history re-enactors, the Rehoboth Minute Company. “How many town buy muskets for their militia?”
Representative Steven Howitt was also on hand to present Dyer with a declaration from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The audience at town meeting approved of Dyer’s recognitions and offered rousing applause when BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais nominated Dyer to a new municipal position as official town historian.
CITIZENS DECIDE MUNICIPAL BUDGET AT SPRING TOWN MEETING
(May 10, 2016) The spring town meeting, held last night in the auditorium at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School, concluded in less than two and a half hours with 173 voters participating to pass the FY17 town budget.
The special town meeting portion of the meeting progressed quickly with five of six articles approved including amendments to the FY16 budget and funds to purchase items on the FY16 Capital Improvement plan. The fire department will now be able to replace equipment and purchase a replacement vehicle for the fire chief. The police department will be able to purchase two new cruisers. The senior center will benefit from a replacement boiler and self-contained diesel generator.
The warrant article related to a new municipal government complex was referred for further study and moved to the fall town meeting. Selectmen Gerry Schwall explained the critical need of town employees to have safe, decent places to work. “Our buildings are in such disrepair that ceilings are collapsing on desks,” he emphasized. A committee has been working on a plan to renovate and enlarge the existing public safety building that houses police, fire and ambulance to include town offices.
“This is no Taj Mahal,” said Schwall, “but it will be very functional.” He said the selectmen will take the next six months to hold public hearings to educate residents on the entire plan and how it will be funded. “We will justify every penny and address all needs,” he concluded.
All other warrant articles and reports were approved. The actual warrant remains available on the town website, along with the 2015 Town Annual Report.
REP. HOWITT SUPPORTS MORE AID TO COMMUNITIES
(May 9, 2016) In an effort to enhance local aid for communities in the 4th Bristol District, State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) last week supported a proposal to return a portion of any surplus state revenue in the upcoming fiscal year to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.
The proposal, offered by House Republican Leadership as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget currently being debated by the House of Representatives, received the unanimous support of the House Republican Caucus but was defeated on a roll call vote of 37-121 on April 25.
“Communities across the Commonwealth are struggling to deliver essential municipal services,” said Representative Howitt. “Although the proposed House budget calls for significant increases in local aid funding in Fiscal Year 2017, this amendment would have gone even further in helping to reduce the financial pressures our cities and towns are currently facing.”
With the exception of tax collections received during the Great Recession, actual state tax receipts have historically been higher than the consensus revenue estimate. In recent years, excess revenues have averaged $730 million, representing growth of almost 4 percent over original projections.
The Fiscal Year 2017 budget is being formulated based on an assumption that state tax revenues will total $26.86 billion in the new fiscal year that begins on July 1. This represents an increase of $1.1 billion – or 4.3 percent – over current revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2016, which ends June 30.
If actual Fiscal Year 2017 revenues were to surpass projections, Representative Howitt noted, the amendment would have required 50 percent of the excess revenue – up to $100 million – to be made available as additional local aid to cities and towns. The proposal also stipulated that this surplus revenue be allocated on a proportional basis using the distribution formula for unrestricted general government aid, which can be used by municipalities to fund a wide variety of local needs.
Representative Steven Howitt also joined with his House colleagues to support the creation of a task force to review all unfunded mandates the state currently imposes on public schools.
“The number of mandates handed down by the state has been mushrooming, and we need to get a handle on this problem to minimize the financial burden for our cities and towns,” said Representative Howitt. “Teachers should not have to spend hours filling out paperwork when their time could be better spent preparing lessons for their students.”
Between 1995 and 2008, DESE added 4,055 new documents and directives for educators and administrators. DESE added an additional 5,382 documents between 2009 and 2013, an average of about 3 or 4 new directives per day.
“The sheer number of unfunded mandates stifles innovation and reduces local control, and we need to curtail this practice,” said Representative Howitt. “The recommendations of the Task Force would be a welcome relief for the educators and administrators of our school districts.”
The Educational Mandate Task Force will be charged with reviewing all state laws, regulations and directives that impose requirements on school districts, including mandates that require preparing and submitting reports and data to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). In addition to identifying the total estimated costs associated with these mandates, the task force will also be asked to develop recommendations for streamlining, consolidating or eliminating any mandates or reporting requirements that are outdated, duplicative or unnecessary.
REHOBOTH POLICE ISSUE INFO ON DEATH OF FIRE VICTIM
(May 5, 2016) Yesterday, the Rehoboth Police Department reported, on their Facebook page, the recent death of Allyson Smith Chemelowski who was severely burned in a home fire last January. She had served the town as a dispatcher for public safety (police, fire, ambulance) for many year, as well as serving on town committees as a volunteer. Obituary published on May 8.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN ADDRESS MULTIPLE RUMORS
(May 3, 2016) During last night’s regular meeting at the senior center, Rehoboth selectmen addressed several rumors related to a variety of issues including the proposed construction of a 10,320 hp gas compressor station on property in Rehoboth.
Representative Steven Howitt was also on hand to address rumors and brought Jon Bonsall, an attorney and registered lobbyist in Massachusetts, who works for Spectra Energy and its subsidiary Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC. Both Howitt and Bonsall have been working with town officials to answer questions about the proposed construction of the compressor station, one that would be situated within a 12-acre parcel of land.
According to Bonsall, the building itself would be similar in size to the town’s senior center, but two stories in height. The building would be buffered by woods with a secure parameter and close in proximity to existing gas pipelines in town. There will be a “minimal amount of pipeline connections at that specific site,” said Bonsall, who emphasized the interstate program is under the sole authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Local zoning regulations or town bylaws do not apply, and local officials have no authority.
Selectmen asked Bonsall about public safety related to the gas pipelines and proposed compressor station. “Would fire and police need any extra training,” inquired Selectman Gerry Schwall.
Bonsall replied, “You already have gas pipelines through Rehoboth” and public safety personnel are already trained in best practices. In the case of an emergency at the compressor station, “the gas lines would immediately be shut off,” Bonsall noted, with local fire and police would secure a parameter around the 12-acre property.
The MA Department of Public Utilities will be tasked with reviewing the contractual agreements among the various entities related to the project. A public hearing is set for May 23 in Boston. Bonsall noted there will be at least two more years of permitting to be done before constructions begins.
Opponents to the proposed station, a group called BC (Bristol County) Cares, is vigorously against the Algonquin pipeline projects and will offer a public information session at DRRHS on Tuesday, May 17 in the auditorium beginning at 7 PM.
Last night selectmen also addressed rumors related to the reconstruction of the intersection of routes 44 and 118. “No, the Grange building is not getting torn down,” said BOS Chair Skip Vadnais. The Department of Transportation must submit a design concept as the first step of the process. Vadnais said the design has not been done yet.
The DOT, however, will soon begin road patching on Route 44 from East Providence to Taunton. This will undoubtedly create altered traffic patterns, so drivers should anticipate slow downs on Route 44.
Selectmen also addressed the recent vacancy of the fifth selectman’s seat upon the sudden resignation of Mike Costello. According to Vadnais, the BOS will address the vacancy at some point following the spring town meeting.
Town bylaw (Section 1A) states that “elected officials shall serve until their successors are appointed, elected, or qualified.” There is no bylaw specifically related to a procedure for filling a vacancy on the five-member board of selectmen.
BOS AND FINCOM SET TO EXPLAIN BUDGET ISSUES TONIGHT
(April 28, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and the town’s finance committee are scheduled to conduct a “pre-town meeting” meeting to be broadcast live tonight on RehobothTV Channel 9 beginning at 7 PM from the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. The public is invited to attend and participate.
Topics of discussion will be the FY17 budget and articles on the warrant for both the special town meeting and annual town meeting to be held on Monday, May 9 in the high school auditorium starting at 7 PM.
Residents received a paper version of the warrant in their mailboxes last Saturday. By Monday night, selectmen discussed tabling, at town meeting, the debt exclusion article in the warrant to “fund the construction of a new Municipal Government Complex” to house the town offices, police, fire, ambulance and REMA (Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency). If the article is tabled at the upcoming meeting, there will be no subsequent debt exclusion referendum at a special town election.
The FY17 budget, if approved at town meeting, will provide funds to hire a new highway department superintendent with a recommended salary of $70K along with increasing the salary of the Veterans Services Officer (currently a part-time position), and increasing the hours of the town accountant to full-time.
For the past three years, the town’s portion of the regional school budget has been loudly and widely argued before, during and after spring town meeting. This year, the finance committee recommends approving a 8.49% increase in regional school budget for next year which is $2.5 million above the town’s state-mandated minimum requirement, as well as almost $400K for Rehoboth’s portion of the school district’s capital assessment. FinCom recommends appropriating $16 million to fund those assessments.
Selectmen say funds to cover the increased school budget must be allocated from “free-cash” to bridge the gap in the overall town budget “to avoid further reductions to town services.” They do warn, however, the town will still face “very significant reductions to services” including public safety, highway and infrastructure maintenance.
The meeting tonight will be recorded for viewing on Comcast cable access Channel 9 or on demand at RehobothTV.org
REHOBOTH POLICE OFFER SAFE MEDICATION DISPOSAL
(April 26, 2016) The Rehoboth Police Department was recently awarded a grant from CVS/pharmacy to combat drug abuse by installing a medication drug collection unit at the police station.
In conjunction with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, CVS initiated this innovative program with local police departments to help rid communities of unwanted medications that could be abused, sold illegally, or disposed improperly.
The new, locked collection unit will provide a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unwanted or expired medication, including controlled substances. The unit is located inside the police station lobby at 334 Anawan Street and can be used 24/7. Drugs can be dropped off with no questions asked.
SELECTMAN MIKE COSTELLO’S SURPISE RESIGNATION
(April 26, 2016) In a surprise announcement made last night at the end of regular session, Rehoboth Selectmen Michael Costello announced his immediate resignation, effective today.
Costello has served as selectman for the past five years and will leave an empty fifth seat on the BOS. His current term has one year remaining. He cited conflicts with his work schedule, one that requires him to be out of town, as the reason for his sudden departure.
“It is sad for me to do this,” he said, “I love this town very much; always have, always will.” He explained, “If I can’t put enough time in, that’s not fair to the residents.”
He thanked his fellow selectmen, with a separate nod to Helen Dennen, acting town administrator for “helping me over the past five years.” Costello also thanked his wife for “putting up with all the meetings.”
BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais thanked Costello for “courageously” standing up for election in 2011 and for years of service on various town committees including the planning board. Selectman Susan Pimental thanked Costello for “stepping in” and putting up with “a lot of crap” during his tenure. Fellow Selectmen Gerry Schwall and Dave Perry thanked him for his years of service to the town.
Costello’s tenure with the BOS was not without controversy. Less than a month after first being elected in April 2011, he was the subject of a report issued by the State Inspector General. The report, send to the BOS and Zoning Board of Appeals with recommendations, determined Costello abused the state’s affordable housing law through “false/misleading statements and associated actions” to purchase a below-market rate house in Horton Estates, a senior housing development, after winning a town housing lottery.
Subsequently Costello was the subject of criticism and harassment by both town officials and private citizens, leading to several lawsuits. Costello quickly dismissed the report as having “nothing to do with” his ability to lead as selectman, and that he was a victim of personal agendas and politics.
He alleged town officials were behind filing a complaint with the Inspector General, including a zoning board member who was also director of the Rehoboth Public Access Corporation. The RePAC contract with the town to provide community public access TV was terminated several months later. The town continues to have ongoing litigation with RePAC related lawsuits, having accumulated over $281K in legal expenses as of February 2016.
At last night BOS meeting, Chairman Vadnais asked Costello if he would assist at the upcoming town meeting on May 9 since he was so familiar with the proposed budget and items on the town warrant. Costello said he was unsure if he would be in town to attend the meeting.
SEEKONK DRIVER CRASHES INTO REHOBOTH BUSINESS
(April 25, 2016) A Seekonk man faces vehicle charges after crashing his Ford Expedition into a Rehoboth business yesterday afternoon.
The two employees and two customers at the Silver Willow shop on Fall River Avenue in Rehoboth were uninjured in the crash, but the front of the building sustained significant damage.
Rehoboth police arrived on the accident scene mid-afternoon and determined Michael Burrus, age 55, was traveling east on Fall River Avenue when he suddenly swerved to the left across the two westbound lines, and first struck another vehicle, a 2005 Infinity, stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Barney Avenue.
The force of the collision pushed the Infinity across Barney Avenue and into a truck parked in a driveway. The Expedition, meanwhile, continued across a small parking area and then crashed into the store.
Burrus was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license (subsequent offense), operating a motor vehicle so as to endanger, and marked lane violations.
The crash is currently under investigation. Rehoboth Police were assisted at the scene by the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth Ambulance, and the Rehoboth Building Inspector.
LEGAL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING PROPOSED LNG PROJECTS
(April 22, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth has issued a legal notice of upcoming public hearings related to proposed construction of new natural gas pipelines and related facilities by Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. A 10,320 hp compressor station is planned for a location in Rehoboth.
The meetings will be held on Monday, May 2 at 7 PM in the auditorium of Grafton High School, 24 Providence Road in Grafton, MA. Another meeting will be held on Monday, May 9 at 7 PM in the auditorium of Walpole High School, 275 Common Street in Walpole, MA.
The project is currently being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) in what is called the Pre-Filing Process. FERC will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The EIS will be used by FERC to consider the environmental impacts that could result if it approves the Project. FERC is required to review and recommend measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate such impacts.
The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (“Siting Board”) participates in FERC proceedings involving natural gas pipelines in order to represent the interests of the Commonwealth and its residents. The Siting Board will hold four public hearings to hear directly from residents, officials, and other interested persons about their concerns relating to the Project.
The Siting Board also seeks written comments concerning the proposed Project. Comments should be sent by email to BOTH firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or by U.S. mail to: Energy Facilities Siting Board, One South Station, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, Attention: Robert Shea, Presiding Officer. The comments should be sent to the Siting Board by May 20, 2016. The Siting Board will use the comments it receives, whether oral or written, in drafting a comment letter on the Project to FERC. If you have any questions, please contact Robert Shea at the e-mail or physical address above.
Additional information about the Project is available on the FERC website. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the FERC docket number “PF16-1.” For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call FERC at 1-866-208-3676. Full public hearing information can be found on the town website.
DRRHS BANS PARENT BOOSTER GROUP FROM MEETING AT SCHOOL
(April 21, 2016) A long-time, established parent booster group, Friends Of the Dighton-Rehoboth Marching Band (FODRMB) has been banned by school administration from meeting on the premises.
According to the group’s president Melissa Enos, the group was banned by Dean of Student Activities Doug Kelley because of a “hostile atmosphere” created by a parent attending the January meeting.
“His (the parent’s) behavior toward myself and other board members was so aggressive,” she explained, “that Dighton police were called to remove him from the building.” The parent in question has subsequently had his membership in FODRMB revoked for “belligerent behavior and the detrimental effect it was having on the ability to do any business.”
The next meeting of the group was held in March at Goff Memorial Hall. A Rehoboth police detail was hired by the group because they anticipated the same parent crashing the meeting. Additional police presence arrived that night to deal with the situation and remove the parent.
Enos, who was recently elected to a seat on the D-R School Committee, stepped into the acting leadership position for the group in January 2014 and was elected in May 2015. She had previously held the positions of vice president, and parent liaison.
“What is occurring within (the group) can be filed under organization growing pains,” noted Enos who, along with the FODRMB board, worked to solidify the group’s non-profit 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status. “We determined that we needed to put new procedures in place to ensure we would be following IRS regulations for charitable organizations,” Enos elaborated.
Additionally the organization was brought into compliance with the Massachusetts Attorney General Non-Profits/Public Charities Division by submitting financial reports going back to 2011 which had never been filed.
Enos said, “we identified the need for formalized cash handling procedures” important to protect the organization from fraud, theft or embezzlement, and to protect staff or volunteers from accusations of dishonesty. “We must assure donors that their donations and gifts are used for the purpose for which they were given,” she added. Apparently not all parent members of the group were comfortable with adopting new rules and a formal way of doing business.
“When we work together, for the good of the band, this group can do great things,” emphasized Enos. FODRMB has continuously supported the band, one of the largest extracurricular groups at the regional high school, as well as cultivating new members from both Dighton Middle School and D. L. Beckwith Middle School. Funds raised by the group help with anything from purchasing music and obtaining instruments, to helping fund major trips. In recent years, the band has performed, by invitation, at both Disney World and the National July 4 Parade in Washington, D.C.
School and district officials were asked twice last week to comment on the situation, but have yet to reply. It is unknown if this was the first time a parent booster group has been banned from meeting at the school, or if the FODRMB will be welcomed back.
BOS TO HOSTS PRE-TOWN MEETING WARRANT REVIEW
(April 20, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will host a “Pre-Town Meeting Warrant Review” discussion on Thursday, April 28 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Rehoboth Senior Center starting at 7 PM.
The purpose of meeting is to provide an overview of the FY 2017 budget and to review each article in the Special and Annual Town Meeting Warrants. The sponsors of any article are strongly encouraged to attend so the public and interested parties may pose questions to the sponsors of an article.
Members of the Rehoboth Finance Committee will be available to address specific questions about the proposed FY17 budget and the FY16 capital improvement plan.
According to officials, the pre-town meeting will be recorded by RehobothTV cable access for rebroadcast on government Channel 9.
The Annual and Special Town Meetings will be held Monday, May 9 in the auditorium of Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District High School beginning at 7 PM. Printed warrants should be delivered to your home by Monday, April 25 or visit the town website.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST SEEKONK WOMAN ON OUI CHARGES
(April 19, 2016) Rehoboth Police on Monday arrested a Seekonk woman on multiple vehicular charges including child endangerment.
Shortly after ten o’clock yesterday morning, officers responded to a 911 call from a motorist on Barney Avenue reporting a vehicle operating in an erratic manner “all over the road.” The caller was able to describe the car and provide the registration number.
Several units dispatched to the area were initially unable to locate the vehicle, but Detective James Casey was able to stop the driver on Summer Street near School Street.
Tabitha Carter, age 39 of Seekonk, was given a field sobriety test and arrested by Officer Craig Warish, who had arrived on the scene with Sgt. Mark Rossi. While conducting the road side investigation, officers saw a child in the passenger seat, the ten-year-old son of the driver.
Carter was transported to the police headquarters for processing and later released on $1040 cash bail. She is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Tuesday, April 19 on charges of operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation, and OUI drugs with child endangerment.
REHOBOTH CITIZENS OPPOSE PROPOSED GAS COMPRESSOR STATION
(April 16, 2016) A group of Rehoboth citizens has formed to protest the construction of a large gas compressor station, part of the Spectra Access Northeast liquid natural gas pipeline project, at a location in North Rehoboth on Cross Street.
According to a description of the group on social media, “this project proposes to install high pressured natural gas pipes under private and public properties” and that “compressor stations are noisy, large, and emit dangerous chemicals into the air and soil, polluting our environment, wildlife and residents.”
Opponents of the LNG pipeline in Bristol County have invited residents of Rehoboth and area communities to attend an information session on Tuesday, May 17 at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School. The meeting will begin at 7 PM and will feature guest speakers from across the state to discuss pertinent issues including safety and costs.
REHOBOTH WOMAN FACES ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE
(April 15, 2016) Shortly after three o’clock yesterday afternoon, Rehoboth police responded to a 911 call reporting shots fired at a residence on Cross Street in Rehoboth.
The 911 caller was able provide police with the suspect’s identify and location as they fled to a nearby house for safety. Officers arrived at 21 Cross Street and arrested Deborah Armstrong, age 53, without further incident. The woman caller and another woman allege Armstrong opened fire on them with a shot gun with the blasts shattering the windows of a pickup truck.
Armstrong was charged with two counts of armed assault to murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of possession of a fire arm without a license or FID card, one count of possession of ammunition without a license or FID card, and one count of malicious destruction of property.
Armstong, is currently being held at the Bristol County House of Corrections on $100K cash bail and will be arraigned in Taunton District Court on today.
The case remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.
GOV. BAKER NOMINATES REHOBOTH RESIDENT TO MA COURT
(April 14, 2016) Governor Charlie Baker has nominated attorneys Tracie Souza of Rehoboth and Carol Shaw of Northhampton to the Massachusetts Juvenile Court.
“Throughout their careers, Carol Shaw and Tracie Souza have served many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable families and children facing difficult circumstances,” said Governor Baker. “Both attorneys understand the tremendous legal and personal pressures facing any resident who comes before the Juvenile Court, and I look forward to seeing their combined experience strengthen its mission of protecting our youth.”
Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the statewide Judicial Nominating Commission and recommended to the Governor. All judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, youthful offender cases, care and protections and children requiring assistance cases.
“Attorneys Shaw and Souza have served their communities with distinction, and their practice before the Juvenile Court will bring strong local perspectives to the bench in support of children and families,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I am excited to work with the Governor’s Council as they carefully consider these highly qualified nominees.”
Tracie Souza of Rehoboth has served as an Assistant Regional Counsel at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Southeast Legal Division since December 2015, previously serving over three years as Supervisor and Staff Attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Children and Family Division in Fall River representing parents and children involved in care and protection matters, advocating for abused and/or neglected families and children and providing training, court observation and case supervision for junior staff attorneys. Souza was in private practice in Fall River from 1999 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2012, and was in both private practice and a Senior Staff Attorney and Supervisor in the Maricopa County Legal Defender’s Office from 2002 to 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona. Souza obtained her Juris Doctor in 1999 from the Roger Williams School of Law in Rhode Island and graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree.
ELDER AFFAIRS WARNS SENIORS OF OLD AND NEW SCAMS
(April 14, 2016) The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs has released information with helpful information on how to avoid scams aimed at senior citizens.
According to Emmett Schmarsow, Program Manager for Councils on Aging and Senior Centers, there are both new and old “ingenious practices to separate elders and others from their money -- either outright or through information that seniors provide in good faith.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains a constantly updated website to alert consumers about what’s real and what’s fake. There are articles detailing various scams involving official sounding business calls and government imposters. You can also browse scams by topic such as: charity, credit, energy savings, health, identity theft, investments, insurance, online scams, phishing, social security, shopping and travel.
Telephone scammers are increasingly sophisticated and use scare tactics such as warnings your computer or email has been compromised. Online scams are even more dangerous. Just opening an email that looks legitimate (from the government or well-known businesses) can launch “malware” into your computer. This type of malware can infiltrate an email system and grab your address list to use for scam purposes.
Viruses can also be introduced to your computer or other electronics via pop up advertising or warnings that something is wrong with your devise. These are scams with the intention of introducing virus that can attack your hard drive, or gather information. For more info, please visit consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.
COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE PUBLIC HEARING ON APRIL 27
(April 13, 2016) The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee (CPC) invites residents to attend a public hearing on April 27 to learn more about the process of funding projects related to preserving community assets.
The meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more about the projects supported by funding from the CPC. Examples include the creation and preservation of open space; acquisition and preservation of historic resources; creation and preservation of land for recreational use.
Other CPC funded projects could include the creation, preservation and support of community housing; rehabilitation or restoration of open space, historic resources, and land for recreational use.
The committee seeks and welcomes Input from the community. Applications for potential projects will be available, and the committee is willing to work with project applicants to bring eligible projects to fruition.
BRISTOL COUNTY INMATES TO ASSIST WITH SENIOR CENTER LUNCH
(April 12, 2016) Selected inmates from The Women’s Center at the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth will provide assistance for the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on April 14.
The Rehoboth Council on Aging (COA), the municipal board that manages the senior center, will host the luncheon as a thank you to the many volunteers who help at the center. The inmates will serve the meal so volunteers can enjoy themselves since they are the ones usually doing the serving.
“We would not survive without them,” said Linda Sherman, director of the center that offers an array of services to elders in the community, as well as other residents who may need assistance. Sherman explained that volunteers do everything from cooking meals to driving clients to activities, and sometimes just lending an open ear or helping hand.
“They don’t get paid, they’re here because they want to help ,” she emphasized. “Our volunteers are just wonderful.”
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson will attend the luncheon to thank the volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to the community’s seniors. For more information, contact Sherman at 508-252-3372 or Jonathan Darling, public information officer for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, at 508-995-6400 ext. 2641.
DRIVERS INJURED IN ROUTE 44 CRASH
(April 12, 2016) The drivers of two vehicles in a crash on Route 44 yesterday morning were transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.
Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched Monday morning to an accident involving two vehicles and a pole with one person trapped. Firefighters used hydraulic tools to free the driver who was the lone occupant of the vehicle.
Rehoboth Police shut down one lane of Route 44 during the operation until the vehicles were removed. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the RPD.
REHOBOTH HOME FIRE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY OFFICIALS
(April 11, 2016) The residential fire that destroyed a Summer Street home on Saturday remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth Police, Massachusetts State Police, and the State Fire Marshals Office.
The fire is believed to have started shortly after 5 PM and was reported by a neighbor who spotted smoke and flames. The structure was fully involved when the fire engine arrived and smoke could be seen as far away as Providence, Attleboro and Fall River.
On-call personnel from all three Rehoboth stations arrived, along with firefighters from seven other towns.
According to RFD Chief Frank Baressi, mutual aid was supplied by Norton and Swansea for station coverage with Seekonk sending an engine to the scene as a Rapid Intervention crew. Water tankers were provided by Berkley, Raynham, Westport and Warren, RI.
The Providence Canteen provided rehab services while Rehoboth EMS had an ambulance and paramedics on stand by. Rehoboth police provided traffic and crowd control.
Although the fire was knocked down within 40 minutes, Summer Street was shut down at French Street for approximately 5 hours. The last Rehoboth fire apparatus cleared the scene at approximately 10 PM.
Neighbors reported the homeowners at recently constructed an addition to the home and where planning to make roof repairs on Sunday. Although the residents were not in the home at the time, two dogs perished in the fire. There were no injuries to emergency personnel. The family is staying with relatives following the devastating loss of their home and pets.
REP. HOWITT ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR ROADS AND BRIDGES
(April 10, 2016) State Representative Steven S. Howitt, R- Seekonk, is pleased to announce the towns of the 4th Bristol District (Rehoboth, Norton, Seekonk, and Swansea) will receive $2,320,540 for local road and bridge repairs.
The funding was included as part of a $200 million Chapter 90 bond authorization approved by the House of Representatives on March 30.
“This is great news for the district because it means additional funding will soon be available to address the towns' infrastructure needs during the 2016 construction season,” said Representative Howitt.
Chapter 90 funds can be spent on a variety of municipal roadway projects, including resurfacing, drainage, sidewalks, traffic control, and street lighting. The funding can also be used for bikeways, landscaping, and tree planting, and for certain road building machinery, equipment, and tools.
Established in 1973, the state’s Chapter 90 program allocates funding to cities and towns using a formula based on the weighted average of a municipality’s population, employment, and total road miles. The funds are paid out as reimbursements to communities for qualifying infrastructure work.
The bill now heads to the Senate for further action.
REHOBOTH POLICE SUBDUE COMBATIVE MAN
(April 6, 2016) Rehoboth police last night responded to a 911 call report of a distraught and possibly armed male visiting a residence on Plain Street.
The caller told police the unidentified male, age 63, was threatening to harm himself, others, and police if approached. The man was alleged to have a shotgun. Upon arrival officers made contact with the man who “immediately became hostile toward police, yelling threats and obscenities, and failing to comply with verbal commands to exit the residence.”
A perimeter was established around the home as police made repeated attempts to calm the man. According to a television news report, the man “ran in and out of the home several times while yelling and screaming.”
After a stand-off of approximately one hour, police temporarily subdued the man using “less than lethal” bean bag projectiles in order to take him into custody. Police were unable to locate the alleged shotgun during a subsequent search of the home.
The man was immediately transported to Morton Hospital in Taunton for both medical and psychological evaluation. He received minor injuries after being shot with 2 or 3 bean bags. According to Rehoboth police, the man was not charged, but there is an ongoing investigation of the domestic incident. Officers from the Swansea Police Department provided assistance.
ONLY 375 REHOBOTH VOTERS CAST BALLOTS FOR ANNUAL ELECTION
(April 5, 2016) Turnout for spring election was extremely low with only 375 voters braving the spring snow. With only two seats, one for school committee and the other for water commission, contested, only a fraction of the town’s 8,163 voters turned out.
School committee incumbent Richard Barrett, running for this fifth full term, lost to newcomer Melissa Enos in a narrow margin of 184 to 173 votes.
Three candidates ran for position on the water commission. Kathleen Conti received 249 votes and Patricia “Tish” Vadnais received 222 votes to 185 votes cast for William Costa, Sr.
TOWN OF REHOBOTH TO AUCTION 18 LAND PARCELS ON APRIL 6
(April 5, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth will auction 18 individual “parcels of improved and unimproved real estate conducted by George A. Collias of Southcoast Auctions & Realty, Inc. on Wednesday, April 6 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 1 PM.
Descriptions - Non-Landlocked Parcels: 1. 248 Winthrop St. (Route 44), 3,518 SF Former Service Shop/Garage on a .32 Acre lot (Map/Lot: 46/1); 2. 21 First St., 8 Acre lot with considerable frontage on First St. (Map/Lot: 3/16); 3. Providence St., 17.3 Acre lot w/about 200’ frontage on Providence St. (Map/Lot: 19/18B); 4. 5 Brook St., Improved Property: 1 bedroom dwelling & detached barn on 1.39 Acre lot w/frontage on Brook St. (Map/Lot: 22/7)
Descriptions - Landlocked Parcels: 1. Off Anawan St., 5 Acres (Map/Lot: 59/9); 2. Agricultural Ave., 24.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 68/22); 3. Munwhague Swamp, 1.8 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M63); 4. Munwhague Swamp, 1.5 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M67); 5. Munwhague Swamp, 1.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M62); 6. Munwhague Swamp, 2.1 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M48); 7. Munwhague Swamp, 4.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M46); 8. Munwhague Swamp, 5.9 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M47); 9. Munwhague Swamp, 16 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M44); 10. Munwhague Swamp, 2 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M541); 11. Munwhague Swamp, 1.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M50); 12. Munwhague Swamp, 2 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M56G); 13. Munwhague Swamp, 13 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M78)
Terms of sale: $5,000 Deposit by bank cashier’s check is due at the auction for each (Non-Landlocked) property purchased; a $1,000 Deposit by bank cashier’s check is due at the auction for each “Landlocked Parcel” purchased; balance of purchase price for each parcel purchased is due within 30 days of the auction date. Properties are to be sold “as is” & “with all faults”, but free of liens & w/real estate taxes prorated to date of closing. A Buyer’s Premium of Ten Percent (10%) will apply and will be added to the high bid for each lot, this total amount will represent the purchase price. Other terms and conditions will be announced at auction. All information within this notice and published online is believed, but not guaranteed, to be correct.
STAY SAFE: HAVE YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS TESTED ON APRIL 16, 17 or 18
(April 4, 2016) Rehoboth residents are encouraged to take advantage of a free smoke detector test and battery change over the Patriot Day weekend, an Eagle Scout project of local teen Ryan Johnson.
Along with Rehoboth Firefighter Randy Larrivee, Johnson will go to homes by appointment to test your smoke detectors and change batteries. In communities that offer smoke alarm installation and testing, there is a “measurable difference in reducing deaths and injuries from fire,” according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Testing the alarms every month and replacing batteries is crucial to safety. Often homes do not have enough alarms or they are not placed appropriately. All smoke alarms should be replaced at ten years gold, and replace any alarm that does not respond properly when tested.
If you would like your smoke detectors tested and the batteries replaced as part of Johnson’s Eagle Scout project, contact Randy Larrivee at 598-223-3033, email email@example.com.
Additionally, the Rehoboth Fire Department is always willing to assist residents in installing smoke and carbon monixide alarms. Contact Larrivee at 598-223-3033.
TOWN ELECTION TOMORROW: MONDAY, APRIL 4
(April 3, 2016) Does democracy mean something to you? Then get in your car, hitch up the wagon, or convey yourself by any means to cast your vote in the Rehoboth Town Election, tomorrow Monday, April 4 from 7 AM to 8 PM.
All precincts will be open. Precinct 1 is the Town Office on Peck Street. Precinct 2 is the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Bay State Road. Precinct 3 is the South Rehoboth Fire Station on Pleasant Street.
While most are uncontested races, holding an election costs the town around $7000. So please vote and show you care about the Town of Rehoboth and how it is operates. If you don't vote, you can't complain. Well, actually, you can and most people do. But if nothing else, vote in memory of those who fought and died for your right to cast a ballot and support the candidates of your choice.
APRIL 1: DEADLINE TO CAST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
(March 31, 2016) Registered voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot prior for the Annual Town Election on Monday, April 4 may do so by 5 PM on Friday, April 1 at the Town Clerk’s Office.
If you anticipate not being able to vote on Monday, then you have an easy option to cast an absentee ballot. if you have any questions, please call 508-252-6502, ext. 3110.
All three precincts will be open on Monday, April 4 from 7 AM to 8 PM. Precinct One is located at the Town Office on Peck Street; Precinct Two is at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center; and Precinct Three is Rehoboth Fire Station Three on Pleasant Street.
REHOBOTH POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES $5000 DONATION
(March 24, 2016) The widow of man who perished in a bicycle accident on Homestead Avenue four years ago recently presented a donation of $5000 to the Rehoboth Police Department’s detective division.
Susan Lanoue appeared before the Rehoboth Board of Selectman on Monday, March 21 to thank officers and present the generous donation in memory of her husband Gary Lanoue. A avid cyclist, fifty-eight-year old Lanoue was training for a 150-mile charity bike ride at the time of his fatal accident.
Sgt. Paul McGovern, who was off-duty at the time, discovered Lanoue lying unresponsive off the shoulder of the roadway Homestead Avenue near Allens Avenue after his high performance Cervelo Soloist bicycle malfunctioned and crashed. McGovern called for assistance and provided medical aid while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Detective Brian Ramos conducted an investigation of the fatal accident and determined the bicycle had a mechanical failure related to a detached fork component, a True Temper Wolf SL unit that was subject of a 2008 recall by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Police Chief James Trombetta and Sgt. Brian Ramos accepted the check from Mrs. Lanoue who expressed her gratitude for how the case was handled and investigated. She asked the donation be used for the detective division to purchase equipment or used in other ways to enhance their investigative abilities.
TWO INJURED IN BAY STATE ROAD ACCIDENT
(March 22, 2016) A motor vehicle accident on Bay State Road yesterday afternoon resulted in two individuals transported the the hospital for emergency care.
Rehoboth public safety including police, fire and EMS were dispatched to Bay State Road to the scene of a one-vehicle crash.
Both occupants of the car were out of the flipped vehicle but were transported to the hospital with non- life threatening injuries. Firefighters remained on the scene to clean up debris and fluids on the road after the vehicle was removed.
Names of the driver and passenger were not released and the accident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE
(March 16, 2016) A local man was arrested early this morning shortly after midnight and faces several charges including drunk driving.
Rehoboth police officers Nicholas Barros and Craig Forget were dispatched to the area of 34 Miller Street after receiving a report that a vehicle had gone off the roadway. It was apparent the vehicle had crashed through a fence and stuck in a muddy pasture.
Twenty-two-year-old Paul Lakota was trying to free his vehicle from the mud when approached by the officers who say they “detected an odor of intoxicating liquor and observed other signs of impairment.”
Following field sobriety tests, Lakota was taken into custody and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and a marked lanes violation. He was booked and later transferred to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Ash Street Jail. Lakota was scheduled to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.
BOS CHAIR WANTS ANSWERS ON STUDENT ARRESTS AT DRRHS
(March 15, 2016) At last night’s regular meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, Chairman Michael Costello expressed his grave concern surrounding the arrests of two high school students on dangerous weapon, and assault charges.
Costello said he was surprised to learn of the February 23 arrests only last week after reading a news article, and announced his intention to send a letter to the school district making inquiries. Specifically he wondered why the Rehoboth Police Department was not informed by either the Dighton police or school administration.
Only last month, a joint incident command class involving public safety officials from both towns, both police and fire, was held at the high school. Procedures were put into place for response to emergencies including a lock-down policy.
Costello said he wants to know why a lock-down was not instituted immediately the day, particularly when law enforcement routinely plan for incidents involving a coordinated effort among multiple students who may all be carrying weapons. A lock-down policy typically involves closing the building and conducting a thorough search of the school and grounds.
Costello said he plans to write a formal letter to request a full accounting of why no Rehoboth town officials were informed of the incident that day, and why a lock-down was not ordered.
DIGHTON-REHOBOTH TEACHERS ASSOCIATION BEGINS “WORK TO RULE”
(March 13, 2016) Teachers represented by the Dighton Rehoboth Teachers Association labor union will commence “work to rule” beginning tomorrow, March 14, in all Dighton and Rehoboth schools.
The action was announced in a public statement read to the regional school committee last Tuesday during a standing room only audience of approximately 325 parents, teachers and others.
Early in February, teachers walked a picket line on Route 44 outside of Palmer River Elementary School to bring public awareness about the lack of a new contract. The existing contract expired in August 2015. Both the union and the school committee recognized an impasse had been reached in negotiations.
The “work to rule” action, while not a strike that would close schools, requires union members to work to the letter of the existing teachers contract. This means teachers will cease any and all voluntary activities such as before or after school programs or activities.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anthony Azar, in a statement issued to parents wrote, “we bring this matter to your attention so that you may plan accordingly.” He explained the administration expects “operations during the school day will occur as usual.” Teachers who receive stipends for before or after school athletics, activities, and clubs “will continue to meet with their respective student participants.”
Azar encourages parents to contact school principals or individual teachers with specific questions. “We all hope to resolve these labor issues as soon as possible so that we may concentrate on our main objective,” said Azar, which is to provide the best quality education for all students in our district.”
ANOTHER OPEN MEETING LAW COMPLAINT LODGED AGAINST RAAC
(March 11, 2016) A second Open Meet Law violation complaint has been filed against the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee alleging improper handling of the first complaint, along with discussion or deliberation of a quorum of committee members outside of a public meeting.
Both complaints were filed by Rehoboth resident Michael Deignan, long-time chairman of the town’s finance committee. Deignan filed the first complaint after requesting RAAC meeting minutes, from December 2014 to the present.
In a written response to Deignan, RAAC co-chair David Katseff admitted there are no approved minutes available, nor is there any one on the committee, or staff in the superintendent’s office, available to transcribe video tapes of the meetings into formal minutes.
Deignan’s second OML complaint alleges the committee “further violated the Open Meeting Law by discussing the OML complaint amongst a quorum of members outside the posted meeting.” Attached to the complaint were copies of emails sent between members of the RAAC.
In a separate letter to the boards of selectmen of both Rehoboth and Dighton, Deignan called upon the RAAC co-chairs to resign from their appointed positions.
A regular meeting of the committee was held last night at the high school, but was not videotaped or broadcast live on public access. According to a spectator who attended the meeting, one committee member attempted to discuss the OML complaint and was allegedly told to shut up or else be removed from the building.
In a Vox Populi letter to the editor published in today’s edition of Rehoboth Now, Deignan shared with the public his call for the resignation of the RAAC co-chairs. He included a copy of an official email he obtained, through a public records request, that appears to show committee members were fully aware of the minutes non-compliance issue over a year ago.
CONFLICT CONTINUES, RAAC RESPONDS TO COMPLAINTS
(March 10, 2016) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) has formally responded to open meeting law violation complaint filed with the Office of the Attorney General on February 27 by Rehoboth resident Michael Diegnan, long-time chairman of the towns finance committee.
Diegnan filed the complaint after requesting written minutes of RAAC meetings and being told he would watch the video tapes of the public meetings. No written, approved minutes have been submitted to the town since the committee began meeting in late 2014.
Selectmen addressed the complaint, at a recent meeting, with RAAC co-chairs David Katseff and Christopher Andrade, both members of the D-R School Committee. Selectmen encouraged them to deal with the situation in a responsive manner.
A letter was sent to Deignan on March 7 responding to the open meeting law violation complaint and signed by Katseff. “Since I have already verbally explained to you that formal minutes of our meetings were not transcribed along the way because we were of the impression that the availability of video tapes of our meetings complied with our responsibility to keep “minutes” of the meeting.”
He added, “However, the recent opinion from our (school) district’s attorney has clarified our responsibility here and we will make substantial efforts to transcribe previous RAAC meetings notes into minutes and we will ask for a volunteer to act as Secretary for the future RAAC Meetings.”
Katseff stating there is no staff person available in the district at this time to assign the job of “transcribing old notes and turning them into meeting minutes.” Additionally, he noted, “we do not want to spend a lot of school district funds to perform these functions.” Katseff concluded by saying that without staff to do the minutes, he is asking the Attorney General’s Office for an extension.
In a written statement to RAAC, Diegnan wrote, “I appreciate the professional and congenial manner in which Co-Chairman Katseff responded to my Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) Open Meeting Law (OML) complaint.”
Diegnan elaborated, “In hundreds of communities across the Commonwealth, thousands of committees at all levels of government are charged with producing written minutes of their meetings, and have been doing so through the volunteer effort of one or more members of the committee to take notes and transcribe minutes. The statement a secretary is not available, and funding is not present, to produce minutes does not excuse the RAAC of its responsibility to do so.”
Deignan stands by his assertion “that this was a willful violation of the OML – specifically, to avoid the production of written minutes – the reasons for which the public can only speculate.”
RAAC consists of twelve voting members, plus three additional non-voting members, appointed by the respective Dighton or Rehoboth boards of selectmen to address updating the regional school agreement, last revised in 1987. The committee is scheduled to meet tonight in the DRRHS Media Center at 6:30 PM.
DRRHS COMMENTS ON RECENT STUDENT ARRESTS
(March 10, 2016) Dighton police arrested two students at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School on Tuesday, February 23 on dangerous weapon and assault charges.
Caleb Dyer and Alex Lacasse, both over 18, were charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds. Lacasse was additionally charged with assault and battery with the weapon, allegedly a taser used on another students, or students. Patrolmen Patrick McCarthy, Ryan Richards, and Christopher Magan were the officers who arrested the students at the school.
The incident was apparently handled quietly by administration and the school day proceeded normally without a lock-down. No mention of the incident or communication to parents was made on the district website.
Disciplinary actions against the two students, if any, any unknown. “I cannot discuss specific cases regarding student discipline,” said DRRHS Principal Kevin Braga. He explained, “if a taser was brought to school, a taser is considered a weapon . . . thus we could invoke our authority (under state law) to suspend for long term or expel a student from school and press charges.”
Braga stated that “additional charges can be brought against the student by the other student and police can bring charges as well.”
Last year, a Boston elementary school student was suspended after bring a pink taser and folding knife to school, but did not face criminal charges. Across the country, there are numerous reports of students being expeled for just bringing a stun gun to school. Lascase was charged with using the taser on another D-R student or students before being approached by school officials and allegedly denying he had a weapon.
“Our top priority is to keep students safe and we cannot tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes our safety,” said Braga. “I can assure you that my administrative staff will continue to provide all students a safe and secure environment.
PUBLIC INVITED TO SEE FIRE DEPARTMENT’S NEW PUMPER VEHICLE
(March 7, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department will display their new pumper vehicle on Monday, March 7 outside the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, 55 Bay State Road for the board of selectmen’s meeting beginning at 7 PM in regular session.
The RFD placed the new 2016 E-One Pumper into service at Station 2 (North Station) on Sunday, March 6. The new pumper replaces a 1997 E-One pumper which will be reassigned to Station 3 (South Station) on Pleasant Street as a reserve engine renumbered Engine 4. This engine replaces a 1989 E-One with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump and a 500-gallon tank.
The new Engine 2, funded at the 2015 Spring Annual Town meeting, has a 5-person cab, 1250 gallon-per-minute pump, 1000-gallon tank, 30-gallon foam tank and roll up cabinet doors. The truck had to be specially ordered without the standard raised cab roof because of the age and door height restrictions of the station. Training on the new engine will continue through the month.
HOW REHOBOTH VOTED ON SUPER TUESDAY
(March 3, 2016) The statistics from Tuesday’s Presidential Primary have been compiled and released by the Office of the Rehoboth Town Clerk. To see how Rehoboth voted, just click here.
SELECTMEN HEAR RAAC PRESENTATION ON PROPOSED CHANGES TO REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AGREEMENT
(March 1, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night, during their regularly scheduled meeting, heard a presentation from members of the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) on their recommended changes to the regional school district agreement.
Following the Powerpoint presentation, RAAC committee co-chairs David Katseff, representing Rehoboth, and Chris Andrade, representing Dighton, addressed questions by selectmen.
A new agreement between the two towns must be voted on and passed at town meeting in both Dighton and Rehoboth before the district can submit changes to the state.
Following the discussion, Selectman Gerry Schwall addressed the issue of a recent open meeting law violation complaint filing against RAAC with the Office of the Attorney General. Speaking on behalf of the board, Schwall recognized the nature of the complaint and clearly expressed the board’s expectations that RAAC deal with the situation immediately.
The RAAC committee currently has no approved minutes for any of their meetings dating back to December 2014. The open meeting law violation complaint involves a request for minutes as public information.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT OPEN BURNING SEASON
(March 1, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department informs residents that open burning day rules restrictions, regulated by the State and the Fire Chief, are being expanded each year.
Overcast skies, rain, wind at any speed and dry conditions are just some of the guidelines that need to be considered on a daily basis.
“You are required to call for permission to burn every day that you wish to burn,” explained Fire Chief Frank Barresi. “If you call and are advised there is "no burning" on a particular day, then burning is not allowed.”
Residents should be aware that call takers cannot change that decision. “We have had instances already this season where those seeking permission to burn have been argumentative and abusive to our call takers and this will not be tolerated,” emphasized Barresi.
For more information and a complete policy on open burning please refer your permit or the fire department website at rehobothfd.com. Thank you for your consideration and be safe!
RAAC COMMITTEE FACES OPEN MEETING LAW VIOLATION COMPLAINT
(Updated February 29, 2016)
(February 28, 2016) An open meeting law violation was filed yesterday with the Office of Attorney General Maura Healy against the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) by Rehoboth resident Michael Deignan.
The complaint was filed after Deignan requested and did not receive copies of agendas and minutes for RAAC, a sub-committee of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee, formed in late 2014 to examine the regional school agreement. Additionally, he filed a formal appeal for copies of public records to the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
In his complaint, Deignan reports he hand-delivered a written, formal request for the public records to RAAC co-chair David Katseff at the February 16 meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. Members of RAAC were on the BOS agenda that night to present the committee’s recommendations for proposed changes to the regional agreement, one that has not been updated since 1987. Due to a power outage that night, the RAAC presentation was postponed until the BOS meeting tomorrow night.
Deignan, who chairs the Rehoboth Finance Committee and is town constable, says he became aware of the open meeting law violation on February 16 when he requested the copies of public records for RAAC since its inception in 2014.
“Mr. Katseff informed me the RAAC has not produced minutes, but I was welcome to review all the copies of the videotapes of their meetings,” wrote Deignan. “I informed Mr. Katseff this was unacceptable as the Open Meeting Law requires accurate copies of minutes to be created and approved in a timely fashion by governmental bodies.”
On February 27, Deignan sent notification and copies of his complaints to both RAAC co-chairs, Katseff who represents Rehoboth, and Chris Andrade who represents Dighton, as well as School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Azar and the town clerks of both towns.
According to an official town email that was copied to other officials, Andrade replied to Deignan’s notification with “Your (sic) an idiot.”
When asked for comment, Andrade said agendas for RAAC meetings are included on the meeting posting notices, and “minutes have not been approved by the committee.” RAAC has been meeting since December 2014 and no minutes have been approved for any meeting. Municipal meeting minutes approved by committee are required to be submitted to the town office as public information.
Neither Katseff or Superintendent Azar responded to requests for comment.
PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION: VOTE ON TUESDAY
(February 25, 2016) The Massachusetts Presidential Primary election will be held on Tuesday, March 1 with all three voting precincts open from 7 AM to 8 PM.
Precinct 1 is the Town Office on Peck Street, Precinct 2 is the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Bay State Road, and Precinct 3 is the South Fire Station on Pleasant Street.
Those wishing to cast a vote for the presidential candidate of their choice should have registered by February 10. Voters enrolled in political designation, and unenrolled voters, can ask for any party ballot for the primary election. Those voters who are registered in a party can only vote on that party’s ballot. For example, a registered Democrat cannot take a Republican ballot.
FEW CHOICES FOR REHOBOTH VOTERS ON APRIL 4
(Updated February 24, 2016) With the exception of only two contested races, Rehoboth voters will have few choices to make in the annual spring town election scheduled for April 4.
Nomination papers were submitted to the town office on Tuesday, February 16 and the Republican Town Committee held their caucus the next night. The Democratic caucus was held Saturday, February 20.
One contested race is for one seat on the regional school committee between incumbent Richard Barrett for his fifth term on the school committee and newcomer Melissa Enos, running as an independent.
The other contested race is for one seat (one-year) on the water commission. Patricia “Tish” Vadnais was recently appointed by selectmen to that position on a temporary basis upon the resignation of Werner Horlbeck who is moving from Rehoboth. The other candidates running for that seat include former town clerk Kathleen Conti, an independent candidate, and Democratic candidate William Costa, Sr. Republican incumbents Ted Ballard and Joseph Nunes were both nominated to retain their three-year seats on the water commission.
Incumbent Frederick “Skip” Vadnais is running uncontested for his current seat on the board of selectmen. Vadnais has served as a selectman for eighteen years over several, non-consecutive terms.
Planning board member Robert Moitozo is running as an independent to retain his seat on the planning board for a five-year term.
The Republican caucus nominated incumbents Cheryl Gouveia as town treasurer, and Eugene Campbell to his 15th term on the three-person board of assessors. Incumbent George Cardono was nominated for another three-year term on the housing authority along with incumbent Robert McKim, who was also nominated to keep his seat on the park commission. Republicans also nominated incumbents Michael Deignan and Ken Abrams for constable positions, along with newcomer William Dalpe, Jr.
Bill Cute, long-time town moderator, received the Democratic nomination and will run unopposed for his tenth term.
All candidates for election will be invited by the Rehoboth Business Association to participate in their annual Candidates Night to be held on Tuesday, March 22 at Hillside Country Club. The public is invited to attend the event including a meet and greet social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 featuring a generous array of finger food followed by a formal Question and Answer forum to begin at 6:30. Cost per person is $20. Please RSVP by March 18 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Cindy at 508-641-7146.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST LOCAL MAN ON SECOND DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE
(February 12, 2016) Late yesterday night, Rehoboth police arrested a local man on multiple charges including drunk driving after the truck he was operating went off the road and got stuck on the front lawn of a home located on Spring Street.
Officer Paul McGovern was dispatched following a 911 call reporting a motor vehicle mishap. Upon arrival, McGovern encountered Brian Camara, age 46 of Rehoboth, unsuccessfully trying to extricate his pickup truck from a muddy lawn, approximately 25 feet from the roadway.
According to police, McGovern noticed Camara was covered in mud as he exited the vehicle, took two steps and fell to the ground. After being asked for his driver’s license, police say Camara stood and attempted to walk to his truck, but again fell to the ground.
Camara voluntarily participated in a series of field sobriety tests and was subsequently taken into custody. A breath test RPD headquarters revealed Camara’s blood alcohol concentration was .19%. He was charged with a second drunk driving offense, marked lanes violation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and vandalism of property.
Bristol County Superior Court Clerk Marc Santos placed $140 cash bail on Camara who was then transferred to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Ash Street Jail. He was scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Taunton District Court.
Lt. James Medeiros and Officer Craig Forget assisted with arrest.
PROJECT DRESS UP OFFERS FREE PROM DRESSES AND MORE
(February 9, 2016) Local Rehoboth and Dighton teens will once again be offered a great opportunity to get a free dress and accessories for prom or graduation parties on Saturday, March 5 at Saint Nicholas of Myra Parish Hall from 10 AM to 3 PM.
For the past eight years, sisters Anna and Danielle Brodeur, have been collecting, cleaning and giving away free dresses. Project Dress Up began as a Girl Scout project and now become a Pay Forward project. Anna, now a senior at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School, is managing the March 5 event.
This year, Project Dress Up is supported by a grant from the Dighton Cultural Council. There will be over 500 dresses on the racks including brand new dresses donated by local wedding shops. Additionally, donors have given shoes, jewelry, makeup samples and other items to accessorize prom or party outfits. Slightly worn dresses have been cleaned courtesy of Dermondy Cleaners in Taunton. Private dressing areas will be available on March 5 at the parish hall, located at 499 Spring Street in North Dighton.
Donated dresses and other items are still being collected. If you have anything to donate, please contact Anna Brodeur at 508-669-6223.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON THIRD OUI OFFENSE
(February 7, 2016) A 29-year-old Rehoboth man spent last night in jail after being arrested on charges including a third drunk driving charge after crashing his vehicle into the woods off Route 44.
While on regular patrol last night, Officer Craig Forget of the Rehoboth Police Department came upon a single vehicle crashed 20 feet into the woods down an embankment near the area of 300 Winthrop Street (Route 44).
According to police, Louis Riquelme was attempting to back the vehicle out of deep mud when Forget approached and noted the man’s speech was slurred and “emanating the odor of alcohol from his person” and was unsteady on his feet.
Riqueline was asked to perform standard field sobriety tests and admitted he may have consumed “more than I should have” at an area restaurant before getting behind the wheel. He was transported to RPD headquarters and given a breath test that revealed a blood alcohol level of .21% before being changed with a third OUI offense, negligent operation and a marked lanes violation.
Bristol County Superior Court Clerk Mark Santos placed $1,000 cash bail on Riquelme and he was subsequently transferred to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Ash Street Jail. Riquelme is scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Monday, February 8.
Lt. James Medeiros and Officer Paul McGovern assisted in the arrest and investigation.
GET EXPERT ANSWERS TO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY QUESTIONS
(February 6, 2016) The Rehoboth Business Association (RBA) together with Bristol County Savings Bank is hosting a free seminar “Social Security and Your Questions” on Wednesday, February 17 at Goff Memorial Hall, 124 Bay State Road in Rehoboth.
Get expert answers to your questions about Social Security benefits with speaker Kurt Czarnowski, former Regional Communications Director for the Social Security Administration in New England. An author and frequent radio guest, Czarnowski is also President of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans.
This free seminar is open to the public and included a light buffet served at 6 PM followed by the seminar with question and answer session beginning at 6:30 PM. Space is limited, so please contact the RBA to reserve your seat by February 9. Call Cindy at 508-641-7146 or email email@example.com.
RAAC COMMITTEE TO PRESENT PROPOSED SCHOOL DISTRICT CHANGES
(February 6, 2016) On Tuesday, February 16, the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee, will present a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation on proposed changes to the school district during a regular board of selectmen’s meeting at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.
RAAC was established in late 2014 to review and modernize the regional school district agreement between the towns of Dighton and Rehoboth. The current agreement was last updated in 1987.
The presentation will address many issues including organization of the school district, each town’s school assessment, budget formulas, and clarifying or eliminating outdated policies or language within the document.
Voters from each town must approve the amended agreement at either annual or special town meeting. The agreement must then be approved on the state level before implementation.
Following the presentation to selectmen and audience members, scheduled to begin approximately 7:15, members of RAAC will provide a question and answer period. The Rehoboth Finance Committee will also be convened to participate as needed in the meeting.
To read more about the proposed amendments to the regional agreement, visit the Features page.
BRISTOL COUNTY SAVINGS BANK SPONSORS JR. ACHIEVEMENT CHALLENGE
(February 6, 2016) Junior Achievement of Southern Massachusetts (JA) announces that Bristol County Savings Bank will act as the Title Sponsor for the 2016 Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge, a business strategy competition in which high school students compete against one another in teams using an online, interactive business simulation program. The event will take place at UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.
“We are thrilled and extremely grateful that Bristol County Savings Bank has agreed to partner with us once again for this event,” said Caroline Paradis, JA President. “The Titan Business Challenge has been incredibly well-received over the past two years, and we look forward to continued growth as we welcome additional schools and volunteers this year. We simply could not do any of this without the support and participation of the Bank.”
Last year, 205 students from 15 area school participated in this unique and highly beneficial experience that helps them develop the skills they need to compete in an ever-changing job market. During the event, sophomores, juniors and seniors compete for scholarships while gaining essential knowledge about the world of business, at no cost to the students or their high schools. In addition to developing budgets and interpreting financial reports, students can expect to increase their knowledge of pricing, production, capital investments, R&D, marketing and charitable giving.
Junior Achievement is inviting high schools within their service area to participate; the event is provided at no cost to the schools, including bus transportation. Each school can bring up to 7 teams (21 students). Organizers are also looking for sponsors and volunteer Business Mentors who will assist students throughout the competition.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN ANNOUNCE ANNUAL MEETING DATE
(February 6, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted to set the date for the Rehoboth Annual Town Meeting for Monday, May 9, 2016 starting at 7 PM in the auditorium of Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School.
Selectmen also voted to open the warrant for the annual town meeting with a closing date and time of Tuesday, March 1 at 12 noon for all articles.
REHOBOTH MAN CHARGED AFTER CRASHING VEHICLE ON COUNTY STREET
(February 3, 2016) Following a 911 call, Rehoboth police were dispatched early yesterday morning before before 1 AM to the scene of a single vehicle accident on County Street.
Upon arrival, a witness informed Sgt. Brian Ramos that the male driver had exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Officers Brown, Warish and Barros began a search of the surrounding area. Brown located the man, bloodied from the accident, hiding in the woods on Reservoir Avenue, approximately a half mile from the accident scene.
Identified as Christopher Carey, age 25 of Rehoboth, the man Informed officers that “a friend had been driving” the vehicle. Returning to the accident scene, the witness identified Carey as the person who had reported “I crashed my car” and he was the only person seen exiting the vehicle moments after the accident.
Carey was checked by medical personnel and later transported to RI Hospital. He will be summoned to court on various civil and criminal motor vehicle offenses including: driving to endanger, leaving the scene of property damage, marked lanes violation, and misleading a police investigation.
REGISTER NOW FOR MARCH 1 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
(February 3, 2016) The Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office will be open on Wednesday, February 10 from 8 AM to 8 PM for voters who wish to change their party registration status or for persons wishing to register for the first time. February 10 is the deadline to register to vote if you want to participate in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary on March 1.
With spirited contests in both parties, pervasive advertising and intense coverage in early primary states, some voters may want to vote for a candidate in a different party from the one they are registered in now.
February 10 is also the deadline for registered voters who wish to change their party enrollment either to another party or to “unenrolled,” which is commonly referred to as “independent.” To do that, however, the voter must switch to the other party or to “unenrolled” status by 8 PM on February 10.
This should not be confused with the United Independent Party (UIP); a party that will have ballots available but with no candidates printed on them. Voters registered in UIP will NOT be eligible to take a Democratic, Republican, or Green-Rainbow ballot.
Unenrolled voters or voters enrolled in political designations can ask for any party ballot on Primary Day, but someone registered in a party can only vote on that party’s ballot. A Democrat cannot take a Republican ballot, and a Republican cannot take a Democratic one.
Persons who are United States Citizens, residents of Massachusetts, and who will be at least 18 years old on or before March 1 are eligible to register. Those meeting these qualifications who have a Massachusetts Driver’s License can submit their registration online at RegisterToVoteMA.com. Those registering by mail should have their form hand-canceled to ensure it is postmarked before the deadline.
Should voters have questions, they should call the Town Clerk’s Office Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon at 508-252-6502, Extension 3109 or 3110.
DRIVER INJURED IN VEHICLE FLIP ON ROUTE 44
(February 1, 2016) Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched early Sunday morning for a motor vehicle crash on Route 44.
On arrival officials found a motor vehicle flipped on its side with the lone occupant trapped. The pole that was struck was snapped in half at the base with wires down.
Firefighters used hydraulic cutting tools and saws to remove the roof of the vehicle and extricate the victim in approximately twenty minutes. The occupant was transported to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS in unknown condition.
Route 44 was shut down in both directions and remained closed for most of the early morning while National Grid replaced the pole and wires. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth PD.
REHOBOTH SELECTMEN MEET TONIGHT WITH BUSY AGENDA
(February 1, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session to discuss highway contact negotiations and a lawsuit, Krasnianski vs TOR vs Praetorian Insurance.
Regular session, open to the public, will commence at 7 PM with open forum for public input on upcoming events or announcements. Selectmen will then conduct their quarterly update meeting with the Dighton Board of Selectmen followed by a busy agenda.
Topics and action items include a discussion with the Acting Highway Superintendent Mike Tyler on snowplowing procedures and polices. Selectmen will then interview candidates, proposed by the Animal Advisory Committee, for the unpaid position of volunteer coordinator for the animal shelter. The BOS will also hear a request from residents of The Preserve at Brook Street, an executive residential community, for a letter of support for door-to-door mail delivery.
Other action items include a number of applications for licenses and approvals including the job description submitted by the personnel board for the town accountant, a position that is currently advertised.
Following the published meeting agenda, selectmen will hear from the general public during open public forum before offering their individual selectman reports.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST RI MAN FOR DRUNK DRIVING
(January 26, 2016) Yesterday in the late afternoon, Rehoboth police arrested a Rhode Island man on Route on multiple charges including operating under the influence of liquor.
While on patrol, Officer Paul McGovern observed a vehicle driving in an erratic manner on Bay State Road and pulled the driver over on Route 118 just north of Route 44.
Thirty-one-year-old Jordon L. Furtado of Bristol, RI was arrested and taken into custody, charged with OUI, negligent operation and marked lanes violation. He was released on $40 personal recognizance and scheduled to appear for arraignment today in Taunton District Court. Officer Thomas Ranley assisted in the arrest.
REHOBOTH PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL BUSY DURING SATURDAY’S SNOWSTORM
(January 25, 2016) Two Attleboro teens driving during Saturday’s snow storm escaped serious injury after a one-vehicle accident at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Ash Street.
Rehoboth police, firefighters, EMTs and ambulance quickly arrived on the scene. The single passenger, a sixteen-year-old girl, was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for treatment of a head wound and possible other injuries.
The driver, an eighteen-year-old male, appeared uninjured and declined treatment so that he could accompany his girlfriend to the hospital where she was treated and released.
Both were fortunately wearing seat belts and escaped serious injury. The truck was extensively damaged and removed from the scene.
Public safety officials said they were busy throughout town responding to accidents and other emergencies during Saturday’s snow storm.
CHESTNUT STREET HOME BURNS IN OVERNIGHT FIRE
(January 20, 2016) Rehoboth firefighters and police were dispatched shortly after 2 AM this morning to a report of a single-family house fire at 79 Chestnut Street in Rehoboth.
Police officers assisted residents evacuate the building while firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire on the second floor and mounted an aggressive interior attack.
“Firefighters did an excellent job considering the temperature at the time of the call was 20 degrees and dropping,” said RFD Chief Frank Barresi. While the fire was reported knocked down in twenty minutes, “it took over an hour to expose all of the hidden fire and fully extinguish it,” noted Barresi.
Two of the six residents living in the home were taken to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS as a precaution for possible smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.
The cause of the house fire remains under investigation by the RFD. Initial observations indicate it may be accidental. The last units cleared the scene at 5:16 this morning.
A sander was also requested from the Rehoboth Highway Department to treat the area of Chestnut Street that became iced over. The family is being assisted by the RFD Chaplain, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army with shelter and other necessities.
REHOBOTH POLICE INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
(Update: January 22, 2016) Man thought to be suspicious turned out to be someone who just stopped at the wrong house and then left.
(January 20, 2016) Rehoboth police issued an alert yesterday on their departmental website and Facebook regarding a “suspicious condition” involving an unidentified man caught on surveillance video of a residence at 132 Fairview Avenue.
Police were alerted by the homeowner who showed officers a video of a bearded male adult subject with dark hair wearing dark pants and tan jacket carrying what appears to be a filled pillowcase or bag.
The video shows the man unsuccessfully trying to open a door leading into the basement before walking to the front of the residence and leaving in a dark colored, 1998 Volvo V70.
Police are asking citizens to contact Patrolman Thomas Ranley with any information at 508-252-3722, extension 1137 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED AFTER HIDING FROM POLICE
(January 15, 2016) A local resident led Rehoboth police on a game of hide and seek yesterday when four officers arrived to serve him with several outstanding arrest warrants.
Rehoboth Police Sgt. Mark Rossi, along with officers Jasson Ferreira, Jake MIranda, and Gregory DeCastro, arrived yesterday morning to arrest suspect Jesse. A. Dreas, age 34 at a residence on Pond Street. His mother-in-law allowed officers to enter the home and after an extensive search located Dreas hiding in a crawl space located in a closet in the basement.
According to police, the entry to the crawl space was concealed by clothing and other personal items. Dreas was placed under arrest and transported to police headquarters for processing. He was later arraigned in Taunton District Court on Rehoboth police charges of larceny by check, and threats to commit a crime.
REHOBOTH WOMAN FLEES APARTMENT IN “FEAR FOR HER LIFE”
(January 14, 2016) A Rehoboth woman fled her Winthrop Street apartment shortly after midnight this morning, leaving her one-year-old son behind, following an alleged vicious assault by her intoxicated boyfriend.
The woman appeared in the lobby of the RPD saying she fled her home in “fear for her life.” She claimed she had been strangled, kicked, punched, and slapped several times by her boyfriend.
According to police, the unidentified woman reported she was dragged back into the apartment by her boyfriend when she first attempted to flee to get help. She also said he withheld her cell phone so she could not call 911.
Officers Craig Warish and Sgt. Brian Ramos arrived at the residence to discover an exterior door partially open. The child was found safe, but crying, in his crib and returned to his mother. Police then searched the apartment and were unable to locate the suspect.
Massachusetts State Police K9 Unit and Dighton Police assisted in the search of the immediate area on Winthrop Street. Around 4 AM, police returned to the apartment and found Devon Maiorano, age 32 of Rehoboth. He was arrested on multiple charges including assault and battery on a family/household member, kidnapping, strangulation, witness intimidation and destruction of property over $250. He is being arraigned on those charges today in Taunton District Court.
REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT EARNS GRANTS FOR FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION
(January 14, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department will receive two grants from the Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) program including $4,237 for a student program and $2,716 for a senior citizen program.
The department has been the recipient of S.A.F.E. grants for many years with Lt. Randy Larrivee managing both programs designed to bring awareness and education to local school children and elders in the community.
The SAFE programs are designed to lower the overall fire-related risk reduction in the community. Since the inception of the program twenty years ago, child fire deaths have been reduced by a phenomenal 72 percent. Important issues to be covered include fire prevention, general home safety, and how to be prepared in the event of a fire.
Fire Chief Frank Barresi credits the hard work and dedication of Larrivee, and the firefighters who assist him, with the program’s local success. "Lt. Larrivee is totally dedicated to the mission of the program and deserves all of the credit for it's success,” emphasized Barresi.
Anyone seeking more information or wishing to have a presentation for their group or organization can contact the RFD at 508-252-3725 or visit their website.
REHOBOTH WOMAN CRITICALLY INJURED IN HOME FIRE
(January 9, 2016) A Rehoboth woman was critically injured after being burned in a home fire on Salisbury Street early this morning.
Police officers and and firefighters were dispatched to the single family residence at 100 Salisbury after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor the home was on fire and that a single female occupant has escaped. The caller described the victim, who had run to the nearby relative’s home, as “completely burned.”
Officers Craig Warish and Douglas Brown arrived on scene within two minutes and confirmed the living room area of the home was engulfed in fire with heavy smoke. Using portable fire extinguishers, the officers were able to safely knock down the flames and determine there were no other occupants inside the home. They rendered medical aid to the 43-year-old victim until the ambulance arrived.
Rehoboth firefighters were able to fully extinguished the fire and conduct over-haul operations in the home. It was determined the fire was isolated to the living room area of the home. The victim was transported to the RI Hospital for injuries listed as critical at the time of her arrival.
The cause and origin of the fire remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth Police Departments along with the Massachusetts State Fire Marshals Office, and the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit.
REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST TWO HOME BURGLARY SUSPECTS
(January 9, 2016) Rehoboth Police arrested two Providence men on a variety of charges related to a home burglaries in Rehoboth.
Yesterday morning, a Pine Street resident called police after seeing a suspicious vehicle in her driveway and a suspicious male walking on her property. She told police the vehicle, a grey SUV with RI registration plates, had left and driven down a secluded driveway of a neighboring home.
Officers Jasson Ferreira and Gregory DeCastro discovered the suspicious vehicle parked unattended at the residence. They also observed that a rear window of the home had been forced open. The officers established a perimeter around the house and waited for additional Rehoboth and Seekonk police to arrive.
A short time later, two male suspects were quickly apprehended following a brief struggle. Once inside, police saw a large flat panel television had been removed from a living room wall and other electronic devices had been gathered.
Twenty-three-year-old Jayco Smith and twenty-six-year-old Alexis Torres (aka Joelkin Rosairo), both of the same Providence address, were charged with multiple crimes including breaking and entering, two counts of vandalism of property, stealing from a building, possession of burglarious tools, and resisting arrest. Torres was also charged, out an outstanding warrant from New York, as a fugitive from justice.
Smith and Torres will also be facing charges in connection with three recent house breaks in Rehoboth on January 5 and January 7. Detective Eastwood is the investigating officer on those cases.
ANNUAL TOWN CENSUS AND DOG LICENSING
(January 6, 2016) The Board of Registrars is required to conduct an annual listing of residents as of the first of January each year. In addition to the name, address, date of birth, occupation, veteran status, and number of dogs, the form includes a section for school information required by the school department.
Annual census forms for year 2016 have beem mailed to all households in Rehoboth and residents are asked to review the pre-printed forms, make corrections, and return them within ten (10) days after receipt.
Failure to return the completed form may result in voters being placed on an inactive voting list or being dropped from the voting list.
Residents are asked to return their completed form by mail or place in a “Census” container at the Blanding Public Library, Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, or Bristol County Savings Bank. The containers will remain at these locations through the end of January. You may also scan your completed and signed census forms and email to either LSchwall@town.rehoboth.ma.us or LShaker@town.rehoboth.ma.us .
Results of the census are used to prove residency for many reasons. The data is used for state college entrance applications, veterans’ benefits, amending and establishing birth records, locating missing persons, establishing precinct lines, predicting future school enrollment, state, and federal funding to the town, police and fire protection, updating the voting list and other legal purposes.
If you have not received a census form, residents are asked to contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 508-252-6502 X-3110 or X-3109. Blank Census forms are also available on the town website.
For the convenience of dog owners, an application for the 2016 Dog License(s). This gives dog owners the opportunity to license their dogs well before the annual April 1 due date. Cost for male/female dogs is $20 per animal. Cost of neutered/spayed dogs is $10 per animal. 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) and proof of spay or neuter (if applying for the $10 licensing fee) unless the documentation is already on file at the town office.
The Town Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon. If paying by check, please make sure it is made payable to Town of Rehoboth. You can also pay online.
Dog owners should note that the license(s) will not be returned unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is included with the postage (71¢ for one dog tag, 93¢ for two dog tags and $1.15 for three dog tags).
ANNUAL TOWN ELECTION AND VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION
(January 5, 2016) 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 on Tuesday, February 16 by 5 PM to the Town Clerk’s office.
The Annual Town Election for the Town of Rehoboth will be held on Monday, April 4 from 7 AM to 8 PM at all three precincts. 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.
Positions to be on this year’s election ballot include town moderator (1 year), selectmen (3 years), treasurer (three years), assessor (3 years), school committee (one for 3 years), planning board (one position for 5 years, one for 3 years), park commission (5 years), housing authority (one position for 5 years, and one for 3 years), constable (three positions all for 3 years), and water commissioner (two positions for 3 years, and two positions for 1 year).
The final voter registration date to be eligible to vote in the Annual Town Election is Tuesday, March 15. On that day, the Town Clerk’s office will be open from 8 AM to 8 PM to register to vote. Prospective voters can also register to vote by calling the Town Clerk’s Office to request a Mail-In voter registration form, or register online.
Applications for absentee ballots are now available from the Town Clerk’s Office. Absentee ballots are obtained by written request only and must have the voter’s original signature. The deadline for filing absentee applications is Friday, April 1 at 5 PM. Absentee ballot request forms are also available online for an individual request or here for a family member.
Any questions regarding voter eligibility or requests for mail-in voter registration forms may be directed to the Town Clerk’s Office. Residents are reminded that they may request “mail-in” voter registration forms by calling 508-252-6502, Extension 3109 and 3110.
INTERESTED IN RUNNING AS A REPUBLICAN FOR TOWN OFFICE?
(January 5, 2016) The Rehoboth Republican Committee is open to any registered Republican of un-enrolled voter interested in running for town office in the April 4, 2016 election.
Offices include town moderator (1 year), selectman 3 years), treasurer (3 years), school committee (3 years), housing authority (3 year position and 5 year position), planning board (3 year position and 5 year position), and park commission (5 years). Additionally, there are four open positions for water commissioners with two seats for 1 year and two seats for 3 years. There are also three open constable positions (3 years).
Those interested in running and seeking support of the Rehoboth Republican Committee, please contact Chairman Frederick “Skip” Vadnais at 508-252-3535.
The committee will hold its caucus on Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30 PM in the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center with an inclement weather date of Wednesday, February 24.