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SELECTMEN RECONSIDER SECOND CHANCE VOTE ON MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

(April 20, 2017) A week after Rehoboth selectmen announced giving residents a second chance to vote on the issue of the proposed municipal complex at the upcoming May town meeting, they reversed their decision.

     Last week, selectmen said that revisiting the proposed municipal complex at town meeting would give voters another chance to pass a temporary debt exclusion to fund construction of the $9.3 million complex.

    They emphasized that passing the exclusion may save the town from “devastating budget and service cuts” in the coming years, or from a permanent tax override to cover the costs of either restoring or replacing old town buildings. These include the town office, public safety building, and eventually replacing Palmer River Elementary School.

    At Tuesday night’s regular BOS meeting, selectmen withdrew their decision to put a question on the town meeting warrant that would have called for a special election this summer on the temporary debt exclusion.

    Selectmen now say they want to hire an engineer to study both the town office building built in 1956 and the over 50-year-old public safety building that currently houses the police department, fire department headquarters and EMS services.     

      The BOS acknowledged that “many variables” are involved and must be studied before asking citizens to vote on any plan.

    Earlier this month, following the debt exclusion defeat at town election, selectmen made a decision to immediately pursue relocating town employees from unsafe buildings. The process of moving employees and materials would take several months to complete and the comprehensive costs are unknown as this time. 

     Officials say the money to relocate town office employees must come from the town’s operating budget. Relocation and temporary housing would be required under any circumstances.

    Selectmen plan to determine the scope of restoration efforts to make both the town office and public safety building safe for town employees and compliant with regulations for police, fire and EMS buildings.

    Even with mold and asbestos removal, new roofs and ceilings, ventilation, windows, and temperature control and other major exterior and interior repairs, the buildings will remain overcrowded with inadequate space for personnel and materials needed to operate town government and public safety.

   

REHOBOTH FIRE DEPT. RESPONDS TO WEEKEND BRUSH FIRES

(April 17, 2017) Rehoboth firefighters responded to a three brush fires over the weekend and also assisted the Dighton Fire Department with a fire.

      On Saturday, three fire apparatus were dispatched to a brush fire on Broad Street in the area of Salisbury Street. Using Brush 1 and Brush, 2 along with a water tanker, the fire on Broad Street was contained.  Firefighters were grateful to resident Ann Salisbury for dropping off a cooler of drinking water, and to neighbors for lending assistance.

    The second brush fire was on Tremont Street in the area of the cranberry bogs. Brush 2, Breaker 2 and Tanker 2 responded to the fire of approximately one acre in a heavily wooded area. The fire was brought under control after about one hour.

    A third fire occurred on Pine Street, burning about 2 acres of land.  All three Brush trucks were dispatched along with water Tanker 2.  While fighting that fire,   a request for assistance came from the Dighton Fire Department to help with a fire in their town.

    RFD officials remind residents that it’s brush fire season once again. They urge caution and common sense, particularly when doing open burning by permit.  Residents have until May 1 to do any open burning.  Permits are available at RFD headquarters at the public safety building on Anawan Street (back entrance). Residents who burn without permission or contacting the fire department on the day they intend to burn, are subject to fines.

     Rehoboth residents are also reminded to call 911 immediately if you see smoke in the woods or in open fields, or when open burning begins to get out of control.


REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST ATTLEBORO MAN FOR DRUNK DRIVING

(April 15, 2017) Rehoboth police yesterday arrested an Attleboro man on several vehicular charges including driving under the influence.

     A concerned citizen made a 911 call to report an erratic driver, saying they had witnessed a box truck weaving across marked lanes on Wilmarth Bridge Road, Broad Street and Pine Street. 

     According to information released by police, officers hurried to the area where the box truck had been seen and stopped the vehicle.  Armando Cabral, age 63, was placed under arrest and charged with drunk driving, negligent operation and a marked lanes violation. Arresting officer Patrolman Louis DiBacco was assisted by Patrolman Thomas Ranley and Sgt. Richard Shailor.

    Cabral was processed at the police station and later released after making  bail.  He is set to be arraigned on the changes on Tuesday in Taunton District Court.


VOTERS TO GET A SCOND CHANCE TO VOTE ON MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

(April 13, 2017) Rehoboth residents will have another chance to vote on the proposed municipal complex at the Special Town Meeting/Annual Town Meeting on May 8 at 7 PM in the DRRHS auditorium

     The Rehoboth Board of Selectman, at their regular meeting on May 10, voted to put an article on the town meeting warrant. The exact wording of the warrant item was not revealed, but it is likely to be similar to one used earlier this year.

     On January 23, voters at special town meeting approved a warrant article to “appropriate by borrowing, the sum of $9,300,000 for the purpose of constructing, originally equipping and furnishing a Municipal Government Complex” on property already owned by the Town of Rehoboth. 

    With a majority of voters approving this measure, selectmen then put the issue on the spring town election ballot.  It was defeated on April 3 by a margin of 120 votes (1317 no votes, 1197 yes votes). If voters at the May 8 town meeting approve a do over, a special election must be held this summer to allow voters a second chance at approving a temporary debt exclusion.

     Following the election, selectmen voted to immediately begin a process to relocate town employees from unsafe buildings including the town office and public safety building. While the process would take several months, selectmen began looking into alternative accommodations for town employees. 

    Renting trailers for town employees to work would be open-ended until such time as voters approve a debt exclusion to construct new buildings.  Residents have repeatedly voted against a temporary tax increase to deal with the problem of decrepit buildings that house the town offices, police, fire and EMS.

     Selectmen were quick to warn the town’s already conservative budget would be hard hit and draconian measures, such as across the board budget cuts, would be forced. Without the added tax dollars to fix the town’s deterioration, a permanent override of the tax-limiting Proposition 2 1/2 override may be the only solution.

    Revisiting the proposed municipal complex and the temporary debt exclusion again to give voters another chance to pass it may save the town from “devastating budget and service cuts” in the coming years, or from a permanent tax override.


OFFICIALS OFFER SPECIAL “FINANCIAL SUMMIT” BEFORE TOWN MEETING

(April 13, 2017) Rehoboth residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the town’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget on Thursday, April 27 at 7 PM in the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.

    An overview of the budget will be presented by the Rehoboth Finance Committee.  Members of the committee will be available to answer questions about the FY18 budget, the town’s capital improvement plan, and each article of the town meeting warrant.

    According to FinCom chairman Michael Deignan, FY18 budget to be presented at town meeting is now balanced, after initially facing an almost $900K deficit.  He told selectmen this week that presenting a balanced budget to townspeople for approval includes using a projected $354K from free cash and eliminating the addition of four new officers to the police department.

     FinCom has also requested the FY18 school budget for Rehoboth to be reduced by $310K less than the school committee approved. The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District has requested a $700K increase over their FY17 budget assessment for Rehoboth.

    The town meeting warrant is scheduled to arrive by regular mail to all residents by Monday, April 24.  The warrant will also be available on the town website. The financial summit meeting for the public will be taped and broadcast on Government Channel 9, and also be available on RehobothTV.org. All residents are invited to pay attention to learn the facts about the town budget, town meeting, and other important information about how municipal government.


MUNICIPAL COMPLEX PAC BEGINS TO ORGANIZE

(April 13, 2017)  A political action committee (PAC) is being formed by local citizens to address the proposed municipal complex for the Town of Rehoboth.

    The defeat of the ballot question to approve a temporary debt exclusion to fund the complex combined with subsequent public opinion on social media has led to the establishment of the PAC.

    Once a town puts a question on an election ballot, officials are allowed to release the facts, but are forbidden from asking residents to vote in a certain manner.  However, a PAC can be established by citizens to offer information, put up signs or mail flyers. 

    Following the election, a flurry of public opinion appeared on Facebook. Many expressed confusion about the ballot question defeated on April 3.  Others said they were confused about a debt exclusion compared to a tax override.

    The municipal complex PAC would be a mechanism for increasing public awareness.  Much like the Citizens Against the Compressor Station group, a PAC would conduct meetings, create a platform, and be allowed to raise funds to use for signs, mailers, etc.

    Those interested in joining the new Rehoboth Municipal Complex PAC should contact George Solas at complex@rehoboth.us.com.   Solas is a member of the Rehoboth Finance Committee.


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Made on a Mac
POLICE ARREST WARWICK MAN ON MULTIPLE CHARGES

(April 10, 2017) Rehoboth police arrested a Warwick, RI man on Sunday on multiple charges after being stopped for driving at excessive speed on Tremont Street.

    Kevin Gonzales, age 36, at first attempted to hide his identify from Officer Craig Forget by giving a false name.  With the assistance of Officer Jasson Ferreira, a prompt investigation revealed Gonzales had three outstanding default warrants for his arrest.  One was from an incident in Rehoboth that occurred in 2016 when Gonzales led local police on a high speed pursuit before being apprehended by Rhode Island State Police.

   Gonzales was charged with operating after revocation subsequent offense, giving a false name to a police officer, and speeding. He was held on $4,000 cash bail before scheduled arraignment in Taunton District Court today.


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Made on a Mac
DRIVERS INJURED IN TWO SEPARATE ROLLOVER CRASHES

(April 10, 2017) Drivers were injured in two separate rollover accidents in Rehoboth and transported to hospitals with what were described as non-life threatening injuries.

    The first crash happened on Friday morning on Carpenter Street and the second occurred on Saturday morning on Anawan Street. The drivers were not identified  by Rehoboth emergency personnel.

     Rehoboth EMS transported both drivers to hospitals. The Saturday morning accident on Anawan Street required firefighters to deal with punctured fuel tank and the clean up of a large debris field. Rehoboth police are investigating the cause of both accidents.


COMMITTEE TO FORM FOR TOWN’S 375TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

(April 7, 2017) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have announced the formation of a committee to plan for the town’s 375th anniversary in 2018. 

     Selectmen made the decision to form a committee at their regular meeting held earlier this week.  The town’s 350th anniversary was celebrated in 1993 with events and activities held throughout that year.

     BOS chairman Skip Vadnais remarked that the town’s 350th took a year of advance planning and a committee should be formed soon.  Various town committees and local organizations will be contacted and invited to send representatives to join the 375th Committee. Members will be appointed by selectmen.

    The town’s 350th anniversary highlights included the raising of the Otis Dyer Barn at the Carpenter Museum by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, a kick-off event, a final parade, a formal ball, and many other activities and special events. 

    The Rehoboth Minute Company, aka the Rehoboth Minutemen, was formed for the town’s 350th anniversary.  members of the historic re-enactment group made appearances throughout the year to “Take Back Rehoboth” from the towns and cities in MA and RI that were once part of the much larger original Rehoboth.

    Anyone who is interested in joining the committee should contact Town Administrator Helen Dennen at 508-252-3758, ext. 3104.


SELECTMEN REORGANIZE FOLLOWING SPRING ELECTION 

(April 6, 2017) Each year following spring election, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen reorganizes and votes on leadership positions. 

    On Tuesday night, after welcoming newly elected Selectman Jim Muri, the five-member board voted for Skip Vadnais to serve as chairman for the second consecutive year.  Gerry Schwall was again named vice-chair and Sue Pimental continues her duties as clerk.  David Perry began his second term on the BOS.

    The BOS also voted to appoint Dr. Sarah Arrigo, DVM, to the town’s Animal Advisory Committee. They also appointed new member Lisa Milich to the Rehoboth Cultural Council.


REHOBOTH TOWN EMPLOYEES TO BE MOVED TO TEMPORARY OFFICES

(April 5, 2017) Rehoboth selectman, at last night’s regular meeting, made a decision to immediately pursue relocating town employees from unsafe buildings including the town office and public safety building.

   Rehoboth residents, at Monday's spring election, voted against a debt exclusion to fund a proposed $9.3 million new municipal complex. This was the third time voters nixed a temporary tax increase to replace the decrepit buildings that house municipal government.

   This drastic measure is labeled a short term solution to ensure the wellbeing of town employees. "Time is of the essence," said Selectman Gerry Schwall. He noted that some town employees already suffer from health problems resulting from working in "sick" unsafe buildings.

     Town officials will spend the next week investigating alternative working space including the cost of renting trailers for offices, and possible locations on town owned property. It is unknown how many trailers or temporary accommodations will be required to house town government functions. Possible locations may include town property on Peck Street near the existing town office, on Anawan Street near the public safety building and on Bay State Road near the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.

   The BOS took a first step last night by voting to approve moving town-related services, located in an annex building off Anawan Street, to the town office property on Peck Street. The town-owned building currently houses the building department and Rehoboth TV, local cable access. BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais said the move must begin next week.

   Selectmen anticipate "draconian" measures must be taken to deal with the problem of two unsafe buildings. The money to pay for relocating employees and renting trailers must come out of the town's already conservative operating budget. Selectmen warned that across the board budget cuts may be forced for FY2018. The town may be forced to consider a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override that will increase taxes permanently.


30% OF REGISTERED VOTERS TURN OUT FOR SPRING TOWN ELECTION

(April 4, 2017) While voter turnout was better than recent years when most races were uncontested, only 29% or 2555 showed up to the polls and voted on important town issues. An tally of votes was released by the Town Clerk’s Office this afternoon on the two ballot questions and winners for elected positions in town government.

   Ballot question 1 on the proposed municipal complex lost by 120 votes. Residents once again postponed an inevitable temporary tax increase to address the problem of a decrepit town office and public safety building.  While 1197 voters to approve a debt exclusion in order to construct a one-stop municipal complex, 1317 votes against.  If passed, taxes would have been raised for a designated period of time to pay for the new complex.  The yearly tax increase of $125 to $150 had been estimated for an average assessment of a  single family dwelling in Rehoboth.

     The debt exclusion ballot question itself may have confused some voters as the language used specific wording required by the state. Selectmen and other officials warned voters the wording of the question could cause confusion and made repeated attempts to educate residents prior to the election.

     Even if the debt exclusion had passed and plans proceeded immediately to construct a new municipal complex, officials said completion would be three years out.

    The town now faces the imminent problem of buildings that have been deemed unsafe and unhealthy for town employees.  If existing buildings are condemned, the town will be forced into immediate solutions at tremendous expense. Temporary repairs will be unavoidable and affect the overall town budget. Additionally officials have warned of other significant costs including paying fines for non-compliant buildings and potential litigation fees for injuries or health-related problems.    

   The non-binding ballot question to vote against the proposed natural gas compressor station to be constructed in North Rehoboth resulted in 2287 no votes with 226 residents who voted yes.  The results of this ballot question, while powerless to stop construction, helped to determine public opinion which can be shared with state and federal authorities.

    In local races, the winners in yesterday’s election were:  William Cute as town moderator; David Perry and James Muri as selectmen; Cheryl Gourveia as tax collector; Chuck Procopio as assessor; Anthony Arrigo and Richard Barrett on the regional school committee; Christopher Cooper and Mike Costello on the planning board, Lynore McKim as park commissioner, and Kathy Conti and Trish Vadnais as water commissioners. A write-in campaign for a five-year seat on the planning board was awarded to Michael Costa.

    Full “unofficial” election results can be found HERE.


IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE APRIL 3 TOWN ELECTION

(April 2, 2017) Voters in Rehoboth will choose elected officials and vote on two ballot questions tomorrow when they go to the polls from 7 AM to 8 PM at all three precincts in town.

    Registered voters should cast their ballots at their assigned precincts: Precinct 1 is the Town Office on Peck Street, Precinct 2 is the Gladys L. Hurrell Rehoboth Senior Center on Bay State Road, and Precinct 3 is the South Rehoboth Fire Station on Pleasant Street.

   Positions to be elected include: Town Moderator (one for 1 year), Selectmen (two for 3 years), Tax Collector (one for three years), Assessor (one for 3 years), School Committee (two for 3 years), Planning Board (two for 5 years and one for one year), Park Commission (one for 5 years) and Water Commissioner (two for 3 years). 

    Voters will be asked two ballot questions.  The first relates to funding construction of a new municipal complex to house the town offices, police department, fire department headquarters and Fire Station 1, as well as EMS services and REMA, local emergency management.

    Ballot Question 1 reads: “Shall the Town of Rehoboth be allowed to exempt from the provisions of Proposition Two and One-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bond issued in order to pay costs of constructing, originally equipping and furnishing a Municipal Government Complex Facility, which is proposed to house the Town Offices, Police Department, Fire Department, REMA and Ambulance, on Town owned land at the current site of the Public Safety Facility (334 Anawan Street), including all costs incidental and related thereto?”

     Ballot Question 2 is non-binding which means it gauges voter opinion, but will not result in any formal action. Voters will be asked if you approve or disapprove the proposed construction of a natural liquid gas compress station in North Rehoboth.  The result of this non-binding question carries weight in that officials can prove that residents are either for or against the proposed compressor station.

     The question reads: Do you approve of the gas compressor station proposed to be built in Rehoboth by Spectra Energy Algonquin Pipeline Transmission, LLC?

     All registered voters are greatly encouraged to exercise your right to vote on elected officials and important issues affecting the Town of Rehoboth.


REHOBOTH DEMOCATIC TOWN COMMITTEE ENDOSEMENTS

(March 28, 2017) The Rehoboth Democratic Town Committee (RDTC) announced its formal endorsements before spring town election on Monday, April 3.

     “We stand together with fellow Rehoboth residents in opposition to the proposed natural gas compressor station in Rehoboth,” read the announcement.   “Thank you to the Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS) for standing up and making the public aware of the negative impact this will have on our town.”

    RDTC urges residents to vote NO on the non-binding ballot question related to the proposed gas compressor station.

     Members of RDTC also endorsed Democratic candidate Anthony Arrigo who is running for a seat on the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee.  Vetted in February by RDTC members, Arrigo was “found to be honest, pragmatic, and possess hopeful insight into our community.”

     Rehoboth resident Paul Jacques, RDTC chairman said, ”Mr. Arrigo’s willingness to examine the issues and listen closely to the public’s questions and concerns is just one of the many characteristics that will serve well on the DR School Committee.”  He urges Rehoboth voters to visit Arrigo’s website at Arrigo4drsc.com to learn more about his candidacy. 

      RDTC urges residents to vote in the town election on this upcoming Monday. All three precincts will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM. 


SELECTMEN WILL ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT MUNICPAL COMPLEX

BALLOT QUESTION AT BOS MEETING TONIGHT

(March 27, 2017)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have offered to take questions tonight during open public forum about the proposed new municipal complex and the ballot question related to funding the project.

    In order to proceed with building a new complex to house the town office, police, fire, EMS and REMA, voters must approve a question that will allow the town a debt exclusion under the tax-limiting Proposition 2 1/2. The town will then be able to borrow money for the $9.3 million complex to replace the existing the old town office and public safety buildings. 

    If passed, tax payers will see an increase in their tax bill for the period of any loans taken. Officials estimate the average tax increase will be $125 to $200 per year based on the average Rehoboth home assessment.

    The town’s last debt exclusion vote, to construct the Glady  L. Hurrell Senior Center, was twenty years ago. As a result, taxpayers will see a small reduction in their next tax bill.  The senior center has proven tan asset to the entire community, serving local elders as well as offering a meeting space, community garden and outdoor leisure and walking areas.

    Citizens are encouraged to attend tonight’s BOS meeting at 7 PM at the senior center.  Comcast subscribers can watch Rehoboth TV Channel 9 for a live broadcast or go online to RehobothTV.org


CANDIDATE FOR SELECTMAN WITHDRAWS FROM RACE

(March 23, 2017)  With the April 3 town election just ten days away, one of the four candidates running for the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen has withdrawn from the race.

   Citing personal reasons for withdrawing, Craig Chapman’s name will remain on the already printed ballots. According to an article published in the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, Chapman “requests that residents don’t vote for him.” Chapman is a North Attleboro police officer.

     Three candidates remain in the race for two selectmen’s seats including incumbent David Perry seeking his second three-year term on the BOS. One seat has been vacant since longtime selectmen Michael Costello resigned shortly after last year’s spring election.  Costello said his work obligations out of town was the reason for his surprise resignation.  Last fall, the BOS hired Costello for the full-time position of Highway Superintendent.

    The two remaining candidates are James Muri, who has served on the town’s planning board for many years, and Antonio Oliveira, a local businessman.

   The spring town election will be conducted in all three precincts on Monday, April 3 form 7 AM to 8 PM.  Precinct 1 polling will be held at the Rehoboth Town Office on Peck Street, Precinct 2 polling will take place at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center (closed for regular activities) and polling for Precinct 3 will be at the South Fire Station on Pleasant Street.


REHOBOTH POLICE REQUEST INCREASED FY18 BUDGET

(March 23, 2017)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, at their regular meeting on Monday night, reviewed the proposed police department budget for FY18 with increases for wages, retention incentives, and projected costs to bring the department into compliance.

    Police Chief James Trombetta and selectmen discussed the budget increases in general terms, but did not reveal exact figures which will appear on the warrant for the May 8 town meeting.

   Selectman Sue Pimental, who serves as liaison to the police department explained that new police union contracts require the town to adjust wages. She noted that new police department wages will also reflect multiple categories that increase base pay, such as having college degrees.  

    Trombetta requested hiring four additional patrolman in FY18 who will all start at a higher base pay with raises per union contract, along with incentive bonuses to help with retention.

    The police department’s proposed budget incorporates findings from a liability and risk assessment from the town’s insurance company conducted last December.  Trombetta said that all police department procedures and policies were reviewed, and the insurance company determined the department is understaffed for the number of residents.

    Rehoboth’s population, according to the latest census information, has reached 12,500 people. The insurance company suggests the department have two officers per 1000 residents. The RPD website currently lists a total of 33 personnel including the police chief, 2 lieutenants, 4 sergeants, 2 detectives, 15 patrol officers, 3 reserve officers, 5 dispatchers and the office administrator.  

    Trombetta also requested an increase in the budget for training and equipment. He requested that next year’s budget include enhanced firearm training to include low light, night fire training.  His plan is to utilize an indoor firing range trailer that can be rented for training sessions.

   Officers must undergo yearly state qualifying exams.  The rented practice facility will make it more convenient for officers instead of traveling to firing ranges.  Next year’s budget also includes more money for new guns and to replace holsters.

    Bringing the department into compliance with existing regulations, and Department of Justice recommendations are other issues that require an increased budget.  Trombetta said the town has “huge exposure” because the building is currently not in compliance with holding cell regulations.

    When a police department are not in compliance, towns face possible litigation by town employees who could sue because the department has not followed risk and liability recommendations.

    Another issue involves court appearances by police department personnel. In proceedings, expert witnesses can attest to non-compliance issues which may affect the outcome of a trial, or open up possible litigation for the town.

   The increases in police department budget will appear on the printed town meeting warrant which is mailed to residents for review.  The town’s finance committee’s recommendations will be included on each warrant article. Voters at town meeting will then vote for the complete FY18 budget on Monday, May 8 at 7 PM in the DRRHS auditorium.


REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT PROVIDES MUTUAL AID IN SWANSEA

(March 21, 2017)  Rehoboth firefighters, under a mutual aid agreement, were called to nearby Swansea to provide assistance at a fire that completely destroyed a two-story home. 

    High winds contributed heavily to the intense fire that fully involved the home within minutes.  Rehoboth was one of eight other communities that sent apparatus to the scene or for station coverage in Swansea. RFD sent both a fire engine and a tanker to the scene.

    According to media reports, the $585,000 home on Warren Avenue was destroyed in thirty minutes while fire spread to a dry field behind the dwelling.  The fire remained under investigation. (submitted photo)


SELECTMEN REVERSE APPROVAL FOR NEW MEMORIAL DAY PARADE ROUTE

(March 21, 2017)  Rehoboth selectmen have reversed their decision, voted on last November, to allow a change of route for the Rehoboth Dighton Memorial Day Parade. 

   The route change was initially proposed by Veterans Services Agent Jake Kramer who is responsible for coordinating the annual combined town parade on alternating years when it occurs in Rehoboth.  He proposed reversing the current route that begins at he Glady L. Hurrell Senior Center and ends at the Redway Plain.

    He appealed to selectmen to have the parade begin with a ceremony at the veterans memorial gazebo instead of concluding there with a ceremony that few people stay to attend once the parade is over. 

    Typically parade viewers depart immediately rather than remain for 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.  His plans for the 2017 parade included a display of military vehicles and equipment on the grounds of the Redway Plain, as an educational tool particularly for young people.

     Selectmen Dave Perry, in a letter to Kramer dated March 20, thanked the town’s veterans agent for this enthusiasm and dedication, but said selectmen have received “a lot of negative feedback” against the reversed parade route change.  Perry made an announcement at last night’s BOS meeting.

    This year’s parade on Monday, May 29 will now commence at the senior center with a route down Bay State Road to the Redway Plain where hopefully people will stay for the Memorial Day ceremony to pay tribute to Rehoboth’s fallen veterans.

    Groups that are interested in participating should contact Jake Kramer at 508-252-4467 or email him at veterans@town.rehoboth.ma.us.


ROOF LEAKS AFFECT PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AND EMS SERVICES

March 21, 2017) Following last week’s snow and rain, significant leaks in the roof of Rehoboth Public Safety Building (police, fire, ambulance) impacted working conditions for town employees and the ability to provide emergency medical services.

    Town Administrator Helen Dennen reported to selectmen last night that a major leak in the building’s roof, over the ambulance area, resulted in water pouring down overnight into three EMS supply closets.  The closet doors utilize electronic magnetic door locks for safety purposes, and the water shorted the locks making the doors impossible to open.  As a result, EMS personnel were unable to get to supplies they needed to respond to a 911 call to help a resident in cardiac arrest.

   “This could have been a catastrophic event,” said Selectmen Gerry Schwall. Fortunately, emergency medical personnel were able to utilize equipment and supplies inside the ambulance for the 911 cardiac call.

     Schwall emphasized that continued roof leaks, falling interior ceilings, and water damage will only get worse.  “We could have lost fire engines and ambulances,” said Schwall.  “Why?”

    “Because our buildings are dumps,” said Selectmen Sue Pimental.  “How much will it be to replace the supplies?” 

    Lives were also at risk because town fire department personnel went up on the building roof to remove blocks of ice and snow as a means to prevent more water from pouring in.  Some areas of the police department were also flooded requiring the town to hire a water damage restoration service to save carpeting.

    Selectman Perry emphasized that lack of maintenance is not the problem. “These buildings have far outlived their usefulness.”

    But repairs will continue even if voters approve the construction of a new municipal complex to house the town offices, police, fire and EMS.  “It will be a three year process before completion of a new complex,” said Perry.  Meanwhile the town must spend money for ongoing repairs at both the town office and public safety building.


SELECTMEN TO REVIEW TOWN MEETING WARRANTS FOR MAY 8

(March 20, 2017)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen tonight will meet at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center in regular session to discuss the warrants for both Special Town Meeting and Annual Town Meeting scheduled for May 8.

    In preparation for spring town meeting and the town’s FY18 budget, selectmen will review the police department budget. Other topics for tonight’s BOS meeting include the continuation of a public hearing for a “general on premise” liquor license application for Hillside Golf, LLC which operates Hillside Country Club. 

   Selectmen will also have a discussion with the Board of Health on their recommendation for hiring a new town health agent following the retirement of longtime agent Bob Ashton.

   Other business tonight will include voting to authorize deficit spending for snow and ice removal as well as several budget amendments. The board will also vote to approve Animal Control Officer Robert Johnson and  Assistant ACO Brian McKearney as official town inspectors of animals.

    As always, citizens are welcome to attend the BOS meeting, make public announcements during open forum at the beginning of the meeting.  Those in the audience are also welcome each week to speak during open public forum on topics related to the town and municipal government.

     Tonight’s BOS meeting begins with closed executive session at 6 PM, followed by regular public session starting around 7 PM.


WINTER WINDS TAKE TOLL ON

REHOBOTH TOWN FLAGS

(March 19, 2017)  High winds this winter have done damage to American and military flags located at town facilities including the Rehoboth Veteran’s Memorial gazebo on the Redway Plain.

    Flags at other locations have also sustained significant damage.   According to Veterans Services Officer (VSO) Jake Kramer, the three flags flown at the veterans cenotaph on the corner of Route 44 and Danforth are torn, as well as flags at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center and those flown at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Francis Street.

     Citizens should be aware that flags flown at town facilities are replaced when damaged through the town’s veterans services department.  Flags are also donated by citizens to be flown at municipal buildings.

    

DRRHS TO RECEIVE SUBSTANTIAL GRANTS FOR CTE AND STEM PROJECTS

(March 17, 2017)  The Career & Technical Education Department (CTE) at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School has received some very good news in the form of two state grants of over $500K for expansion of the Environmental Technology & Sustainability program, and the Drafting Design & Pre-engineering educational pathways.

    Earlier this month, Governor Charlie Baker awarded $11.8 million in Workforce Skills Capital Grants to 32 public high schools, vocational schools, and community colleges.  DRRHS was awarded $492,519 to expand the school’s  “Green Innovation Center” that will feature a variety of “energy” centers to allow students to “manipulate interior and exterior climate environments, and these relationships, to a variety of building materials, surfaces and outdoor environments.”

    Students will be able to research and witness the impact of various natural and man made resources on the environment including a green house.  Environmental teacher, Mrs. Yeager was the driving force behind the grant proposal that has resulted in the highest monetary grant award in the high school's history.

     “These investments have a major impact for the educational institutions training our workforce and the students who stand to benefit from enhanced skills and career paths,” said Governor Baker. “Strengthening relationships between educational institutions and local industry as this program seeks to do is crucial to the success of our communities and Commonwealth as a whole.”

    Last week the Baker-Polito Administration awarded a $1 million STEM High-Quality Career Pathway Capacity Grant aimed at expanding computer science and engineering education for students grades 6-12.  DRRHS received a $35K grant to align part of the curriculum with the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) initiative.

    PLTW, a national nonprofit organization, was awarded a $750,000 state grant, that along with a matching grant of more than $300K from the One8 Foundation, distributed grants to 45 schools across the state.  The Massachusetts-based One8 Foundation supports educational excellence for all children, particularly developing skills for students’ success in the 21st century.

     Over the next two school years, DRRHS educators Ms. Harwood and Mr. Delano will oversee the implementation of the PLTW Engineering courses that will be integrated throughout the 3 year pathway of courses. Also included in the award is the purchase of all new computer equipment for the lab.

    “Increasing educational opportunities in STEM is critical to prepare our students with the education and skills they will need to be successful in industries that are thriving in the Commonwealth,” said Governor Baker. “This grant will help address the challenges we face in our state’s innovation economy – that is the gap between available jobs in STEM fields and qualified workers able to fill those jobs.”  


REHOBOTH’S ICONIC CANNON

IS PUT BACK IN PLACE

(March 16, 2017)  The project to restore Rehoboth’s iconic cannon, the Eagle Scout project of Daniel Furze of Boy Scout Troop 13, was completed when it was returned with help from J and J Materials and the Rehoboth Highway Department.

    The cannon is a local landmark located in the gore section of Bay State Road in front of American Legion Post 302. It was put back into place on Monday of this week before the snow storm descended the next day.

    Removed for refurbishment last December 2, the cannon restoration was a cooperative effort spearheaded by Furze. The project was approved by the Boy Scout District Council and supported by the Town of Rehoboth.

    It was first removed using a flatbed tractor trailer from J & J Materials and was transported to a climate controlled environment for rehabilitation and repainting.  John Ferreira, Sr. and John Ferreira, Jr. helped return the cannon with assistance from highway personnel. A permanent support stand for the cannon was fabricated by J & F Materials and will be bolted into the concrete pad.


SPLASH DOWN ON DAVIS STREET, TRUNK LAND IN STREAM

(March 8, 2017)  Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched yesterday on a frigid afternoon to the scene of a one-vehicle accident Davis Street.

     Firefighters arrived to find a full-size truck had gone off the road and down an embankment into a stream.  Both occupants had already exited the vehicle and were unharmed.

     Removing the vehicle from the water was not easy. Absorbent booms were first placed in the water to contain any fluids leaking into the stream. A heavy-duty tow truck was required to pick the truck up and place it on a waiting flatbed.


DRIVERS INJURED IN TWO VEHICLE ACCIDENT ON ROUTE 44

(March 8, 2017)  A two vehicle accident yesterday on Route 44 injured both drivers and required Rehoboth police to deal with handling heavy traffic on the busy weekday morning.

    Rehoboth police, fire and EMS were dispatched mid-morning to the scene of the crash on Route 44 near Pine Grove Street east of Palmer River Elementary School.  The two vehicles involved were discovered on both sides of the road.  Firefighters assisted in removing both drivers  who were treated by EMS and transported by Rehoboth Ambulance to unidentified hospitals.

     Rehoboth police personnel handled heavy traffic on Route 44 around the accident scene while firefighters began to clean up the debris field. The crash is currently under investigation. (Submitted photo)


REHOBOTH FIRE ASSIST WITH LARGE BRUSH FIRE IN SWANSEA

(March 7, 2017)  Personnel and apparatus from the Rehoboth Fire Department provided mutual aid to the Swansea Fire Department yesterday afternoon for a large brush fire on Locust Street behind the Ice Cream Barn.

     Rehoboth Engine 3, Brush 3, and Breaker 2 all assisted in the multiple town response to the fire that consumed approximately five acres. According to RFD Chief Frank Barresi, the fire area required “extensive overhaul after it was contained.”

    Rehoboth crews were on the scene for about three hours along with firefighters from Freetown, Somerset and Warren, RI.  Station coverage for Swansea was provided by both the Seekonk Fire Department and the Bristol Fire Department.

    Barresi said, “Although tit is rare to have brush fires this size so early in the season, the fuels in the woods are extremely dry and fires can spread rapidly.”  The brush fire remains under investigation. (RFD photo)


ROUTE 44 TRAFFIC DIVERTED FOR HOURS ON SATURDAY

(March 6, 2017)  Rehoboth public safety were dispatched on Saturday morning around 9 AM to the location of a single vehicle crash on Route 44 near the area of 86 Winthrop Street.

    In the second car vs. utility pole incident in two days, Rehoboth police and fire arrived on the scene and found a snapped pole with wires sagging across the roadway.

     Rehoboth Ambulance transported the driver, the sole occupant of the vehicle, to the hospital.  Route 44 was closed for the remainder of the morning while National Grid repaired the pole.  Route 44 traffic was diverted to other roadways including Route 118, Fairview Avenue and New Street. (submitted photo RFD)


PLAIN STREET CLOSED FOR HOURS AFTER FRIDAY ACCIDENT

(March 6, 2017)  A motor vehicle accident on Friday afternoon involving a car and a utility pole closed Plain Street in Rehoboth for a period of time.

     Both Rehoboth police and fire were dispatched to Plain Street where the fallen utility pole crossed over the the roadway after being snapped at the base.  The driver of the vehicle was uninjured according to officials.  The road was closed for several hours while National Grid handled repairs. (submitted photo RFD)


IT’S NOT OVER YET, CARCS TO HOST THREE SPECIAL PUBLIC EVENTS IN MARCH

(March 3, 2017)  Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station are continuing their campaign to stop the proposed LNG compressor station proposed by Spectra to be constructed in North Rehoboth.

     Spectra canceled a scheduled February 27 public meeting to answer questions from the community.  According to a press release issued by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, Spectra canceled the meeting "indefinitely until they are able to reevaluate and restructure their proposals.”  However, officials in both Rehoboth and Attleboro went on record to say they remain cautious and suspicious of Spectra’s intentions. 

      CARCS will host a media event appeal to Governor Charlie Baker from area legislators and business owners on Tuesday, March 14 at 5:30 PM at  Evergreen Tree and Landscape, 351 Oak Hill Avenue.  Owned by Larry Hindle, the landscaping business is located near the site of the proposed gas compressor station.  Scheduled to speak are Representative Paul Heroux of Attleboro, Seekonk Selectmen David Viera, and local business owners. The public is invited to attend.

    On Thursday, March 30, CARCS will host a special public presentation at the Rehoboth Grange (Route 44 and 118) beginning at 7 PM.  Featured guests will include Assistant Attorney General Elizaeth Mahoney who will discuss the state energy needs, and Dr. Susan Racine, MD who will speak to the health impacts of gas pipeline infrastructures.

     Rehoboth voters will have an opportunity to voice their opinion on a non-binding ballott question  on the proposed gas compressor station on Monday, April 3 at spring town election.

    CARCS meets regularly on Thursdays at 7 PM in the Rehoboth Grange.  A community meeting will be held on Thursday, March 16 to provide an update of information to local citizens.  

 

ACCIDENT CLOSES ROUTE 6 FOR SEVERAL HOURS

(March 1, 2017)  Shortly after 1 PM today, Rehoboth police were dispatched to the site of a motor vehicle accident on Route 6 closing the road for several hours between Barney Avenue in Rehoboth and Mason Street in Swansea.

   Upon arrival, officers discovered a crash had occurred between a passenger vehicle and a tractor trailer causing major damage to both.  The driver of the passenger vehicle was injured and transported to Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.  The driver of the truck was uninjured. The names of the drivers were not released.

   A preliminary investigation indicated the tractor trailer was traveling eastward on Route 6 when it was side-swiped by the other vehicle when it crossed the center dividing line traveling in the opposite direction.  The fuel tank of the semi was punctured and diesel fuel spilled across the roadway along with other debris.

   Assisting the police were personnel from the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth EMS and police, fire and EMS from Swansea.  Officials from Massachusetts  Department of Transportation assisted because the accident was on a state highway.  The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection assisted due to the fuel spill, and US Coast Guard personnel responded as the accident area is adjacent to the Palmer River.

   The crash is currently under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department. 


LOCAL MAN ARRESTED AFTER DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE

(March 1, 2017)  Rehoboth Police last night were dispatched to a residence on Steber Way after receiving a 911 call reporting a domestic disturbance.

    Fifty-year-old Piotr B. Lakota, the resident, was taken into custody and charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and seven counts of improper storage of a firearm.

   Upon arrival at the scene, police say that family members had fled the residence after calling 911 alleging Lakota had threatened to harm them with a firearm. Responding officers secured the area around the residence and activated the regional tactical SWAT team via the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLAC), a unit of highly trained and equipped law enforcement and medical personnel.  Lakota is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in Taunton District Court this morning.


D-R SCHOOL COMMITTEE’S PRELIMINARY FY2018 BUDGET:

TOWN ASKED TO FOOT BILL TO COVER INCREASED SCHOOL EXPENSES

(February 28, 2017)  Earlier this month, as required by the regional school agreement, the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee approved a preliminary budget for FY2018.

    According to School Com Chairman Chris Andrade, the committee came up with the budget based on Governor's Baker's proposed budget for next year which only increased aid to schools by $20 per student, and also level funded transportation costs.

    "These amounts will not be sufficient to cover our increased operating expenses which include a possible 10% increase in health care costs, and an additional 2% increase in teacher salaries as was recently negotiated between the D-R Regional Teachers Association and the district."

    The local minimum contribution for the Town of Rehoboth is an estimated $12,305,216 with an additional town assessment (over minimum) of $1,729,119.

    Typically the preliminary school budget is adjusted over time as the Massachusetts House and Senate work on the state budget for next year.  The district school budget will be voted on by Rehoboth residents at spring town meeting on May 8.


HEAVY FIRE DAMAGES VEHICLE

PARKED AT RESIDENCE

(February 28, 2017)  The Rehoboth Fire Department responded to a fire yesterday at a residence on Summer Street and discovered a vehicle, parked between a barn and a boat, engulfed in flames.

     A heavy fire in the engine compartment was quickly contained with no damage to either barn or boat. (Photo by Syd Bauman of Rehoboth Ambulance)



THE LIST IN IN: CANDIDATES FOR TOWN ELECTION ON APRIL 3

(February 27, 2017)  Candidates for the Rehoboth Annual Town Election are now official according to the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office.

    There are four candidates running for two of the five board of selectmen positions (all three-year terms) including incumbent Selectmen David Perry, Jr., nominated by the Rehoboth Republican Town Committee; James Muri, also nominated by the Rehoboth Republican Town Committee; Craig Chapman; and Antonio Oliveira.

    Running for two seats on the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee (three-year term) are Anthony Arrigo, nominated by the Democratic Town Committee; Richard Barrett, a Republican nominee; and Michael Deignan, also nominated by the Republican Town Committee.

     There are three candidates for Planning Board including incumbent Christopher Cooper, Democrat; Michael Costa, Sr. and Michael Costello, both nominated by the Republican Town Committee.

    Charles Procopio, incumbent, is running to keep his seat on the Board of Assessors for an additional three-year term, nominated by the Republican Town Committee.  Incumbent Tax Collector Cheryl Gouveia is running as the Republican candidate for another three-year term. William Cute is running to keep his long-time position as town moderator.

    There are two candidates running for seats on the Rehoboth Parks Commission including incumbent Lynore McKim, nominated as a Republican candidate for a five-year term; and John “Jake” Kramer, who is running as an independent candidate.

    Two incumbent candidates, both Republicans, are running to keep their seats on the Rehoboth Water Commission (three-year terms). They are Kathleen Conti and Patricia Vadnais.

   

MAN ARRESTED FOR DRUNK DRIVING OUTSIDE LIQUOR STORE

(February 24, 2017)  An East Providence man was arrested by Rehoboth police yesterday afternoon outside the Grapevine liquor store on Route 44 and charged with multiple violations including operating under the influence.

     Following a 911 call to report an erratic driver operating a white Chevy van on Route 44, Officer Jake Miranda of the Rehoboth Police Department discovered a van of that description parked in front the Grapevine.  According to police, Manuel C. Furtado, age 63 of East Providence, RI, was inside of the vehicle and appeared asleep.

     Furtado was taken into custody and charged with OUI liquor, open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and negligent operation.  He is scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today to face the charges.


REHOBOTH ARRESTED ON DRUNK DRIVING AND OTHER CHARGES

(February 23, 2017)  Rehoboth police arrested a local man yesterday evening following a two vehicle accident on Fairview Avenue.

    Gregg Moore, age 40 of Rehoboth, was taken into custody by Lt. James Medeiros and Officer Louis Debacco and charged with operating under the influence and other vehicular offenses.

    An investigation at the scene determined Moore had been driving north on Fairview and swerved into the oncoming lane, side swipping another vehicle.  No injuries were reported.

     Along with the drunk driving charge, Moore was cited for negligent operation, driving with a suspended license and a marked lanes violation.  He was scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today.


SPECTRA CANCELS COMMUNITY MEETING ON PROPOSED GAS COMPRESSOR STATION IN NORTH REHOBOTH

(February 22, 2017)  The  Rehoboth Board of Selectmen has announced the cancellation of a scheduled community meeting on February 27 with Spectra to answer citizen concerns about a proposed gas compressor station in North Rehoboth.

    According to a press release issued by the Town of Rehoboth, Spectra canceled the meeting "indefinitely until they are able to reevaluate and restructure their proposal."

     Meanwhile the Town of Rehoboth, in conjunction with the City of Attleboro, remains in communication with Spectra "to be sure we are made aware" when Spectra's new plans are revealed, and if and when they plan to move forward.

According to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, "Both Attleboro and the Town of Rehoboth will do all that they possibly can to ensure that the concerns of the people are heard, their questions are answered, and their safety is protected."


D-R SCHOOL DISTRICT ANNOUNCES INTERIM HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL

(February 18, 2017)  Superintendent Dr. Anthony C. Azar of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District yesterday announced the appointment of Dr. Jeanne Bonneau as Interim High School Principal, beginning March 13 when Principal Kevin Braga leaves to assume the position of Superintendent/Principal at Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton.

    In a released statement, Dr. Azar said, “Dr. Bonneau has been an administrator/educator for almost 50 years and will be continuing her work in our school district as Interim High School Principal.”  She will serve in the position through June 30, together with continuing oversight of the Pre-K program.

    Bonneau currently oversees district’s Pre-Kindergarten program. She previously acted as a math coach at both Dighton Middle School and D. L. Beckwith Middle School, and served as interim principal at Beckwith for a time.

    Azar worked with Dr. Bonneau in the New Bedford Public School System for eight years, and for the past two years in the D-R district.

    “Her passion in life has been and will always be to help and support young people, allowing them to become the best they can be,” commented Azar  I strongly believe that Dr. Bonneau finds great joy in seeing students learn and grow into productive citizens.”

     According to Azar, the position of permanent principal will be advertised immediately with an official start date of July 1, 2017.  A competitive salary and benefit package will be negotiated with potential principal candidates.

   “I am honored that Dr. Azar has asked me to be the Interim Principal at the high school,” said Bonneau. “It will be my pleasure, working with our leadership team, to help and support the teachers, staff, and students as their Interim Principal. I will have an open door policy.”


DRRHS PRINCIPAL ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION

(February 15, 2017)  Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School Principal Kevin Braga has announced his resignation after ten years at the school, first as assistant principal and then principal. 

     In a letter to students and parents, Braga announced he recently accepted the position of Assistant Superintendent/Principal of Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton, MA.  Braga said no official date has been set for his departure, but he will be working with D-R Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anthony Azar to create a transition plan.

    "I will always value my time at Dighton-Rehoboth and appreciate all the support I have received over the years," said Braga. "I am eternally grateful for all the relationships we have built during my tenure and I will continue to wish you all the best."


REHOBOTH LAND TRUST ANNUAL MEETING AND TURTLE CONSERVATION SPEAKER

(February 14, 2017)  The Rehoboth Land Trust (RLT) has announced the date of the non-profit’s annual meeting to be held on Monday, March 6 beginning at 7 PM in the Tilton Room at the Carpenter Museum.

    The annual meeting is open to the public. All those interested in preserving the rural character and natural resources in the Town of Rehoboth are invited to attend.

     The business portion of the meeting will include a preview of the organization’s new website designed by board member Kylee Hitz and two fellow Johnson and Wales students, Hayley Cwynar and Spencer Desrosiers.

    A special presentation will follow on the state-threatened “Blanding’s Turtle” by Rehoboth resident Madeleine Linck who has studied freshwater turtles for more than 30 years. 

    You’ll learn about the types of turtles you are likely to encounter in Rehoboth including “Blanding’s Turtle” named after Dr. William Blanding (1774-1857), a medical doctor, apothecary and also one of the leading naturalists of his day. Born and raised in Rehoboth, Blanding was a graduate of Brown University who practiced medicine locally and later lived for several decades in South Carolina before returning to Rehoboth.

    RLT is one of 140 land trusts in Massachusetts, home of the country’s first land trust created in the 1850s to protect land for public use. In Rehoboth, the RLT has conserved over 230 acres, provided public access to open space and continues to work with property owners to preserve the landscape and conserve natural resources that benefit the community.

   RLT is always seeking new members to get involved on the Stewardship Team to help create and maintain trails on open properties, or become a Property Monitor for a specific parcel in town.  For more information, contact  RLT President Adam Latham at 508-252-1033 or awlatham86@gmail.com.   


REHOBOTH SIGNS COMMUNITY COMPACT AGREEMENT

(February 8, 2017)  In a ceremony held on February 2, the Town of Rehoboth signed into a Community Compact Agreement with the Baker-Polito Administration, committing to best practices in three areas of municipal government.

    Both Rehoboth and Seekonk entered into the community compact in a formal contract signing attended by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito at the Seekonk Town Hall. Both towns committed to specific tasks in areas of housing and economic development; energy and environment, and water resource management.

    Creating and distributing an economic development guide/manual is one task.  The guide will clearly outline the community’s policies and procedures related to zoning and permitting, along with promoting development priorities and goals.

    The town is also tasked to complete a master plan, or open space and recreation plan, to help guid land conservation and development decisions, zoning and land acquisition.  The third task relates to water resource management and best practices to reduce potential threats to water quality and public health. 

    The value of joining the Compact includes new eligibility for grants including extra points awarded to towns when applying for grants.  The Commonwealth then offers a commitment to Rehoboth to help with local aid and funding, technical assistance, expediting state reviews, and ways to make is easier to manage town government.     The Baker-Polito Administration also pledges to expand opportunities to add municipal voices to state boards and commissions that impact local government.


D-R SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT RECEIVES 3-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION

(February 8, 2017)  The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee has announced a three-year contact extension for Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Anthony C. Azar, PhD.

    Using a new evaluation took developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Schools, each of the ten school committee members assessed Azar’s performance.  Azar was assessed on performance goals including professional practice, student learning, district improvement, instructional leadership, management and operations, family and community engagement and professional culture.

    School committee members ranked Azar, in his second year as superintendent, as “proficient” in all areas of his evaluation.  According to the evaluation summary written by School Committee Chair Christopher Andrade, “Dr. Azar’s performance showed a dedication to student achievement, while balancing fiscal responsibility. Over the past year, Dr. Azar cultivated a relationship with stakeholders in both communities to better promote the school district in its entirety.”

   Andrade remarked that Dr. Azar collaborates throughout the district to enhance teaching and learning.  He implemented an initiative, District Learning Walks, to help determine areas of strength and opportunities for growth. The school committee also applauded Azar the time and energy he puts into attending various school and community events on his own time.

     “I believe Dr. Azar’s greatest accomplishment, thus far, has been his collaboration with all stakeholders in building a positive climate and creating an atmosphere of mutual trust.” said Katherine Cooper, vice chair. “By being consistent, forthcoming, and honest, he has built the trust to facilitate the budget approval process, potential capital projects for school improvements, and any future challenge that he might encounter.”

    After receiving his evaluation and contract extension, Dr. Azar expressed his appreciation to the school committee for recognizing the hard work of his administrative team. “I look forward to working as the Superintendent of Schools in the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, and creating opportunities for our students to achieve greatness.”


REHOBOTH MINUTEMEN PLAN

PATRIOT’S DAY PROGRAM

(February 4, 2017)  The Rehoboth 13th Continental Regiment, more commonly known as the Rehoboth Minutemen, have announced a special Patriot’s Day program to be held in town on the Redway Plain on Sunday, April 23 from 1 to 4 PM.

     Supported by a grant from the Rehoboth Cultural Council, the program will include live demonstrations and a small company camp set up in the area of the Rehoboth Veterans Memorial gazebo.  The historic re-enactors, including women and children camp followers, will talk with visitors about the fateful day of April 19, 1775and how events affected the lives of Rehoboth residents of the time period.

    On Saturday, February 11, the group will conduct their monthly meeting at the Lafayette Durfee House, 94 Cherry Street in Fall River from 1 to 3 PM.  This event is open to the public and will include demonstration on sewing and black powder cartage making.  For those interested in learning more about the minute company, this is  a good opportunity.  The group welcomes new members of all ages.

    In March, the minute company will march in the St. Patrick’s Day parades in both Pawucket, RI and Providence, RI.  They will also participate in the annual Patriot’s Day events in Lexington and Concord on Monday, April 17.  In preparation they will participate in a drill on Saturday, March 25 in Danvers, MA.

    Every spring, the Rehoboth Minutemen visit local and area elementary schools. Visits have been scheduled for Palmer River Elementary and schools in North Attleboro and Franklin.  Then the company hits their busy summer season of parades, encampments and re-enactments.  For more information about joining the ranks of the Rehoboth Minutemen, recommissioned in 1992 for Rehoboth’s 350th anniversary, please contact founding member Cathy Potter at 508-252-3682 or visit 13thcontinentalregiment.com.

      

REHOBOTH MOM AND KIDS SAFE AFTER TUESDAY MORNING HOME FIRE ON TREMONT STREET

(February 1, 2017Yesterday morning, shortly after 8 AM,  Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched to a home fire on Tremont Street.

    First arriving crews found the occupant of the residence and her children safely outside after calling 911. Firefighters were able to extinguish a fire on the second floor which sustained heavy smoke and heat damage. Rehoboth FD was backed by a crew from Attleboro Firefighters PFFM Local 848. 

    Rehoboth police assisted with traffic control on Tremont Street while Rehoboth Ambulance personnel were on site to assess the woman and children.  While the fire appears accidental, it remains under investigation.  

(Photo by RFD)


SELECTMEN APPROVE SPRING ELECTION QUESTIONS

(February 1, 2017The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen this week approved two ballot questions for the April 3 town election.

    A non-binding question will allow residents the opportunity to vote whether they are for or against construction of the controversial liquid natural gas compression station proposed to be constructed in North Rehoboth.  The question is non-binding because the town has no authority over the project to expand LNG pipelines on the northeast corridor.

    The second question will allow voters to approve or reject a temporary tax increase to fund the proposed new municipal complex on the site of the existing public safety building.  The town already owns the 10-acre property on Anawan Street.  Cost of the new complex is currently estimated at $9.3 million to house the town offices, police department, fire department headquarters and Station 1, ambulance services and REMA. 

      On April 3, voters will be asked to approve a temporary tax increase (or debt exclusion) through an override of the tax-limiting law Proposition 2 1/2.  A debt exclusion is a temporary increase for the designated period of time.  It is not a permanent tax increase by an override to Prop 2 1/2. 

    The town’s debt exclusion, approved over 20 years ago, to pay for the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center will be complete this April. Taxpayers will see a minor reduction in their tax bill because the debt for the senior center has been paid off.

   The timing presents a unique opportunity for taxpayers who are already used to paying for the senior center which by anyone’s standards has been and remains a valuable asset to the community.

    Officials estimate a homeowner with a property assessed at $300,000 will pay between an average of $125 to $150 per year for the new municipal complex for the designated period of time until the debt is paid. 

   You can read more details and see the plans on the Rehoboth Municipal Complex page in RehobothNow.


HELP MA DEPT. OF TRA
NSPORTATION PLAN FOR FUTURE NEEDS

(February 1, 2017Residents of the Commonwealth including Rehoboth citizens are encouraged to share their opinions with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on existing roadways and future transportation projects.

   MassDOT and the MBTA are  updating their Capital Investment Plan (CIP) and offer a comment tool on the newly updated CIP webpage.

    According to transportation officials, this year’s CIP will focus on revising FY18 through FY21 CIP approved last year, and programming investments for FY22.  Additionally, improvements to the CIP process included alignment with the annual development of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

   The three priorities for CIP included reliability, modernization, and expansion.  Each priority has 62 funded programs addressing important capital needs.  In Rehoboth, a priority has already been set to reconstruct the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118.

     MassDOT is accepting comments until March 17.  You can submit a comment or send a direct email.  If you share your email address, you will receive a response before the draft CIP is released in May for another round of public comment and meetings.


CARCS OFFERS PUBLIC MEETINGS AT NEW LOCATION IN REHOBOTH

(January 31, 2017Citizens Against Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS) has moved their public meeting location from Goff Memorial Hall at the Blanding Library to the Grange Hall on Route 44 (white building at the intersection of Route 44 and 118).

    The group holds public meetings on two Thursdays each month, with board meetings on alternate Thursdays. All those interested in the proposed gas compressor station to be built in North Rehoboth are invited to attend the public meetings.

    On Monday, February 27, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will host an information meeting with municipal officials and representatives from Algonquin Gas/Spectra in the auditorium at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School starting at 7 PM.

      Those interested in attending the meeting should be aware only officials and panel discussion participants will be allowed to speak.  No questions or comments will be taken from the audience that night. Anyone who has a specific question should submit it, in writing, to the BOS office at the Town Office, 148 Peck Street as soon as possible. 

   The February 27 info session will be broadcast live on Rehoboth cable access Channel 9 for Comcast subscribers.  Others may stream it live that night on RehobothTV.org.  For more information, please contact the Selectmen’s Office at 508-252-3758. 


REHOBOTH HISTORICAL COMMISSION SEEKS ON ADD SITES TO

NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES

(January 26, 2017The Rehoboth Historical Commission will host an information session in March for anyone interested in learning how to get a home or property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

     While many houses in Bristol County are already listed, the local commission is spearheading an initiative to get more included on the National Register, specifically those located in the “Old Rehoboth” area. 

    Early Rehoboth comprised a much larger geographical area including parts of present-day Swansea and Seekonk, along with the Rhode Island communities of Rumford, East Providence, Pawtucket, Cumberland, Warren, Bristol and Barrington.

    “The Rehoboth Historical Commission is seeking to help homeowners navigate the application process,” said member Anthony Arrigo. “Homeowners may be surprised to know that listing a home on the National Register is free, and does not come with restrictions that preclude updating or changing the home.” 

    According to Arrigo, the application process can take anywhere from 18 to 24 months and must first be approved by the local commission.  It is then submitted to the Massachusetts Historical Commission for evaluation.  If approved at the state level, the application is then sent to the National Parks Service in Washington, DC for final consideration.

    There are four main criteria for inclusion, according to Phil Bergen of the Massachusetts Historic Commission. A site need only meet one of the four to qualify -- well preserved architectural historic style; historical connection to the history of the town; biographical connection to the history of the town; or archeological significance to the town. 

    Those interested in learning more about the process, as well as applicable local ordinances or bylaws, are invited to attend the info session at the Carpenter Museum on Wednesday, March 22 at 7 PM. If you have questions about the meeting or the Rehoboth Historical Commission, kindly contact Anthony Arrigo at anthony.f.arrigo@gmail.com.


SELECTMEN ANNOUNCE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT ARTICLES FOR TOWN MEETING

(January 26, 2017 The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted on January 17 to open the warrant for the May 8 Annual Town Meeting (ATM).

    The warrant will remain “open” through noon on Wednesday, March 1. All articles must be submitted to the selectmen’s office at the Rehoboth Town Office on Peck Street by noon on Wednesday, March 1.

    An “article” is an item on the meeting warrant that registered voters can approve or disapprove. Citizens have a right to submit an article on any town meeting warrant.  At least ten registered voters of the town must sign a written request and submit it by the deadline.


VOTERS APPROVE FIRST STEP TOWARD NEW MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

(January 24, 2017 Rehoboth voters last night at special town meeting approved a slim warrant of four articles including giving permission to selectmen to take the next steps in the process of funding and constructing a new municipal complex.    

    Per recommendation of the Municipal Complex Study Committee, represented at the meeting by Health Agent Bob Ashton, residents voted to approve Article 3 which will put the question of funding and constructing a new municipal complex on the April 3 spring election ballot. The study committee, comprised of representatives of town government and public safety departments, has spend the last three years assessing needs and coming up with a plan to construct a new complex.

   The proposed complex is to be constructed on a 10-acre property on Anawan Street already owned by the town (site of existing public safety building) to house the town offices, police, fire, ambulance and REMA (Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency).

    Selectman Gerry Schwall addressed residents at town meeting last night and outlined many reasons why a new complex is needed, including significant health and safety issues for town employees working in “sick” buildings.  While no one argued the need to move town employees into safe, functional buildings, some residents posed questions about specifics such as parking, water, septic, and room for future growth.

     Town officials addressed the concerns and emphasized that details will be worked out, but first residents must approve getting the question on the election ballot.

    Also approved were two warrant articles related to budget amendments, and a pilot agreement for solar farm.


RESIDENTS URGED TO ATTEND SPECIAL TOWN MEETING ON JANUARY 23

(January 19, 2017 Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, at their regular meeting this week, encouraged residents to attend Special Town Meeting on Monday, January 23 at 7 PM in the auditorium of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.

    The most significant item on the warrant relates to the proposed new municipal complex.  Voters will be asked to “appropriate by borrowing, the sum of $9,300,000 for the purpose of constructing, originally equipping and furnishing a Municipal Government Complex” on property already owned by the Town of Rehoboth.

   This is a first step in a lengthy process to construct of a new government complex.  The warrant item would authorize selectmen to take the necessary steps to pursue the project, including placing a binding question on the spring election ballot for voters to approve a temporary debt exlusion of the tax-limiting Prop 2 1/2. 

    The proposed new building will be constructed at the existing site of the town’s Public Safety Building (police, fire, EMS) on Anawan Street. The new complex will provide offer residents all town services from same, easy-to-access, convenient location. Click for plans and details.

    Officials, who have spent years studying needs and developing plans, say a new complex will solve significant ongoing problems that will only continue to burden the town budget.  Both the town office on Peck Street and the public safety building are, by anyone’s standards, in critical condition with town employees, public safety personnel, and visitors exposed to unsafe conditions including mold.

    According to town employees, both buildings are beyond capacity in terms of room for existing needs.  Unless remedied, the town will face hefty fines from state authorities for non-compliance for regulations such as OSHA requirements for safe working conditions, and the police department for not having room for a holding cell, or the fire department for inadequate space to house equipment and apparatus. 

    On Monday night, at special town meeting, registered voters will also have the opportunity to authorize selectmen to enter into a “Payment in Lieu of Taxes” solar pilot agreement.  Residents will also be asked to  approve municipal budget amendments and approve unpaid prior fiscal year bills.


SELECTMEN TO HOST SECOND INFORMATIONAL MEETING ON PROPOSED GAS COMPRESSOR STATION WITH OFFICALS FROM LNG COMPANIES

(January 18, 2017A public meeting, previously scheduled for late January, with municipal officials and representatives from Algonquin Gas/Spectra, has been rescheduled by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen for Monday, February 27 starting 7 PM in the auditorium at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School.

    According to a press release issued by the town, the public meeting will offer residents a second chance to have their questions answered by gas company representatives.  An initial public info session, held last September, on the proposed project when project officials answered pre-submitted questions.

    Because many residents, particularly opponents of the project, expressed dissatisfaction with the answers provided by gas company officials, a second info session was arranged to address additional concerns.  This meeting will include a panel including municipal representatives from the City of Attleboro along with state officials.

    The Concerned Citizens Against the Compressor Station (CARCS) has already submitted a list of questions.  However, public input is welcomed.  Anyone who has a specific question should submit it, in writing, to the BOS office at the Town Office, 148 Peck Street as soon as possible. 

    This will allow adequate time for selectmen to review additional questions, and at their discretion, forward them to the “appropriate party relative to their pertinence.”  Those interested in attending the meeting should be aware only officials and panel discussion participants will be allowed to speak.  No questions or comments will be taken from the audience that night. 

    The February 27 meeting will be broadcast live on Rehoboth cable access Channel 9 for Comcast subscribers.  Others may stream it live that night on RehobothTV.org.  For more information, please contact the Selectmen’s Office at 508-252-3758.   


PUBLIC INVITED TO OPEN DISCUSSION BY PLANNING BOARD ON PROPOSED NEW BYLAW ADDRESSING THE SELLING OF CANNABIS IN REHOBOTH

(January 18, 2017On Wednesday, February 1, the public is invited to attend an open discussion hosted by the Rehoboth Planning Board on the issue of recreational cannabis sale and distribution.

     Following the passage in November of Question 4 legalizing the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana in Massachusetts, towns and cities across the Commonwealth are examining their existing town bylaws.  A local bylaw, if approved by voters at town meeting, would apply to the sales and distribution (marijuana shops) within the Town of Rehoboth.

    All town residents are welcome to attend this open discussion beginning at 7 PM in the meeting room at the Town Office, 148 Peck Street.


RPD ARREST TWO RI MEN FOLLOWING TRAFFIC STOP

(January 17, 2017A routine motor vehicle stop on Winthrop Street (Route 44) last night resulted in the arrest of two men from Pawtucket, RI, one charged by Rehoboth police for two outstanding arrest warrants.

     Office Craig Forget, around 9:45 PM last night, pulled over a vehicle driven by Daniel Andrade, age 29 of Pawtucket.  He was charged with driving without a license.

    His passenger, thirty-five-year-old Andiel Pires, also of Pawtucket, was taken into custody for two outstanding arrest warrants.  One warrant, issued out of Attleboro District Court, was for a MA State Police charge of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, and the second was issued out of New Bedford District Court on a New Bedford Police charge of disorderly conduct. 

    Both men were processed at Rehoboth police headquarters and later released on bail to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today.


WRENTHAM MAN ARRESTED IN REHOBOTH ON DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE

(January 13, 2017)  Rehoboth police last night arrested a Wrentham man on multiple charges including operating his truck under the influence.

      A concerned motorist called police around 7:20 PM to report an erratic driver traveling north on Anawan Street in a full-size pickup truck.  Officers dispatched to the area of Anawan and Tremont Street quickly located the suspected vehicle which had one flat front tire down to the rim.

     Wrentham residents, Louis J Walker, III, age 37, was stopped by Patrolman Thomas Ranley, who conducted field sobriety testing. He was then put under arrest for drink driving and negligent operation, along with charges related to driving an uninsured with revoked registration.  Walker also faces a charge of wrongfully attaching registration plates to a motor vehicle.

    Following his arrest, Walker was processed at Rehoboth police headquarters and released on personal recognizance by the bail clerk.  He is scheduled to be arraigned on six motor vehicle charges today in Taunton District Court.


REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST CONNECTICUT MAN ON INDECENCY CHARGES

(January 13, 2017)  Rehoboth police yesterday afternoon arrested a Connecticut man on charges of performing lewd acts in his car while parked on Pond Street. 

     Police were first alerted by a 31-year-old town resident who called 911 in a frightened state she was out for a run and approached closely
by a black BMW without registration plates driven by a “heavy-set Hispanic-looking male wearing a ski hat.”

    She told police the driver of the BMW followed her closely before pulling along side and driving very slowly.  She observed a lone male operator masturbating and smiling at her. The unidentified resident informed police she began screaming and the vehicle backed up before turning around and leaving the scene at a fast rate of speed.

     Detective James Casey, who was on the road returning to the station from Taunton District Court, observed a vehicle matching the description traveling east on Winthrop Street (Route 44).  He turned around and caught up with the BMW as it turned into the Mannheim Auction House driveway in Taunton. 

     Joao Claudio Silva-Galdino, age 41 of New Milford, Connecticut was stopped without incident and taken into custody on charges of open and gross lewdness, lewd wanton and lascivious conduct, and disorderly conduct.  He was processed at Rehoboth police headquarters where bail was set at $2,040.  Silva-Galdino was then transported to the Bristol County House of Corrections in New Bedford.  He is set to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.

     The incident is currently under Investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.  The Rehoboth Police Department were assisted by the Dighton and Taunton Police Departments.


SEMAP GRANT
FUNDING PROGRAM FOR LOCAL FARMERS 

(January 13, 2017)  The Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) is offering a new innovative funding program for farmers in Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties.

    The TIE (Technology, Innovation, and Excellence) Grant program is to encourage farmers to trial new equipment, implement new systems, and address the challenges farmers collectively face.

      Farmers face significant challenges, both financially and with time commitments, and this SEMAP TIE grant funding program is intended to lower the economic barriers to innovation.  By disseminating the results of these grant outcomes to the larger community, farmers will share knowledge and experience with other farmers throughout the area. By increasing the ability to create solutions locally we are able to increase local knowledge and capacity and resilience.

    TIE grants, with awards from $500 to $3,000, can be used for materials, consultants, and project costs.  Eligible projects include marketing, production, pest management, cover crops, composting, new crops, pollinators, and new tools that improve profitability, increase innovation and sustainability.

    Applications are due February 10 with final decisions announced at SEMAP’s annual Ag and Food Conference on February 26.  Visit the SEMAP website for full details.


BABYSITTER ARRESTED IN REHOBOTH ON THEFT CHARGE

(January 12, 2017)  Rehoboth police arrested a babysitter for a Rehoboth family on a charge of larceny after she allegedly took approximately $4000 from her employer’s home.

     Michelle O’Kane, age 22 of Baker Street in Bristol, RI was taken into custody yesterday by police at the residence and was later released on personal recognizance. She was scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court today.

    The theft was first reported to local police on January 10 by the Rehoboth homeowner.  The following day, police were called again to the Gorham Street home after O’Kane arrived and tried to return the money.  Responding officers identified the suspect and arrested O’Kane on a single charge of larceny over $250. According to police, nearly $2,600 in cash was recovered.


RESIDENTS FACE FINES FOR UNLAWFUL SNOW DISPOSAL ONTO ROADWAYS

(January 10, 2017)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night held a discussion with Highway Superintendent Michael Costello on the town bylaw regarding homeowners or business owners who deposit snow into public ways.

    Costello said residents, in the process of clearing their own properties, are blowing or plowing snow out into roadways. He told selectmen he wants the highway department to enforce an existing town bylaw prohibiting this practice and fine residents and/or snow removal contractors for any violations.

    The bylaw (Article VI, Section 7) “prohibits the depositing of snow or ice onto or across any public way.”  Public ways are any roadways maintained by the town, and plowed or cleared for public travel during winter ice and snow events.

    Costello reported many residents and privately hired snow removal contractors are violating the law which causes unsafe road conditions that must be then be remedied by highway department personnel.

    According to the bylaw, “any owner or agent violating this by-law shall be punished by a fine, as well as any cost incurred by the Highway Department to correct the conditions.”


OPEN BURNING SEASON TO BEGIN:  BE AWARE OF THE RULES

(January 10, 2017)  The Rehoboth Fire Department is now issuing open burning permits and reminds residents that rules and regulations will be enforced, including issuing fines to offenders.

     Open burning season runs from January 15 through May 1, 2017.  There have been some rule changes this year.  Permits are available from 9 AM to 12 noon at Fire Station 1 at the Public Safety Building at 334 Anawan Street (back RFD entrance). Cost is $5 for the permit, payable by check or money order only.  There is a fine of up to $50 for the first open burning offense.

   Once a permit has been obtained, burning of cut and piled brush is allowed between until 4 PM on authorized days. You must call the fire department at 508-252-3725 to obtain permission to burn on any given day. No calls will be taken before 9 AM.  Please use a land line phone, or cell with a strong signal, to call the fire department.

    Fire Chief Frank Barresi encourages residents to have the permit in hand when calling to get permission to burn. “The permit number is required, as well as other vital info such as your address,” he said, “so, please have it ready.”  He emphasized that callers “often tie up the department’s phone lines by telling them to hold while you run and find your permit.” 

    Barresi also reminds residents the department strictly adheres to State guidelines on when burning is allowed. “Our call takers do not make the rules, and they cannot change them.”

      Residents may only burn cut and piled brush (not brush accumulated from a commercial operation). Burning of any other debris, other than brush, will result in the revocation of your permit. Burning of leaves is not allowed at any time. Burning piles must be a minimum of 75 to 100 feet from the nearest structure, and in an area where smoke will not bother neighbors or drift into roadways.

    It is very important that all fires be extinguished by 4 PM.  With that rule in mind, be sure to only ignite piles that can be completed by 4 PM. 

    “If at any time you feel your fire may be getting out of control, do not hesitate to call 911,” emphasized Barresi. “A fire can double in size every minute,” he said, “and delaying the response can result in damage to property and structures.” 

   Please call the RFD at 508-252-3725 with any questions and concerns about how to burn legally and safely.


PLANNING BOARD TO HOST OPEN DISCUSSION ON CANNABIS BYLAW

(January 10, 2017)  The Rehoboth Planning Board will host a public discussion next month on the drafting of a new bylaw related to the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana following the statewide passage of Question 4 in November 2016.

    The state legislature, along with cities and towns across the Commonwealth, are currently looking a rules and regulations to govern legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes.  The Planning Board has scheduled a public meeting on Wednesday, February 1 at 7 PM in the Town Office on Peck Street.  All interested citizens are invited to attend.

   The use of cannabis for medical purposes has been legal in Massachusetts since 2013.  The MA Department of Health is presently working to update the regulations related to the “humanitarian medical use” of marijuana.  Proposed amendments include expanding registration criteria to include certification of qualifying nurse practitioners, caregiving institutions, and institutional caregivers.  Currently, only qualifying physicians (licensed physician, MD or DO) are legally allowed to issue certification, or medical marijuana permits, to patients.

    A local bylaw, if approved by voters at town meeting, would apply to the sales and distribution (marijuana shops) within the Town of Rehoboth.


TOWN OF REHOBOTH SEEKING APPLICANTS FOR HEALTH AGENT

(January 10, 2017)  The Town of Rehoboth is currently seeking qualified applicants for Town Health Agent, a full-time town employee position.

    Following the announced retirement of longtime Health Agent Bob Ashton, the town’s Board of Health will first review applicants before advising the board selection of finalists.  The BOS will then interview the candidates.

    The town’s health agent is responsible for enforcing state and local laws and regulations on public health, sanitation, solid waste management (transfer station), and food handling, along with rules on design and installation of septic systems, also known as “subsurface disposal systems.”

    Other job requirements include the ability to interpret and enforce regulations, and possess good communication skills because of extensive public contact.  Computer literacy is a must, along with a valid driver’s license. Desired, but not required, are certifications such as: Registered Sanitarian, Certified Health Officer, Soil Evaluator, or Professional Engineer.  Full details are available on the Classified page of Rehoboth Now.

     Those interested in applying for the job, should send a resume and references by February 3 to: Rehoboth Board of health, 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth, MA 02769, or email same to bdyer@town.rehoboth.ma.us.

    

SNOWING MORNING COMMUTE KEEPS PUBLIC SAFETY BUSY WITH ACCIDENTS

(January 6, 2017)  The snowfall this morning kept Rehoboth police, fire and EMS busy responding to several motor vehicles accidents.

    Friday morning commuters had a difficult time on snowy, icy roadways.  Shortly before 6 AM, public safety personnel were called to the scene of an accident on Tremont Street when a car hit a utility pole.  The operator declined transport by EMS to the hospital. Police and fire attended the scene as the vehicle was removed and handled a small fuel spill on the roadway. National Grid was called to replace the pole.

    Around the same time, a single-vehicle rollover accident occurred on the corner of Agricultural and Rocky Hill.  The operator was able to self extricate once the vehicle was stabilized, and declined transport to the hospital.  Removing the vehicle from the woods became a tricky process, according to a fire department report.

     There were at least three other reports of vehicles going off the roadways in Rehoboth this morning.  None of the incidents resulted in injuries.  With more snow predicted for tomorrow, drivers are urged to proceed carefully.

   

STEVEN HOWITT BEGINS FOURTH TERM AS REHOBOTH REPRESENTATIVE

(January 6, 2017)  The Town of Rehoboth continues to be represented at the State House in Boston by Rep. Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) who was sworn into office on January 4.

    Howitt will serve in the 190th Biennium of the General Court, representing the Fourth Bristol District that includes all of Rehoboth and Seekonk, precincts 1 and 2 in Norton, and precincts 4 and 5 in Swansea.

    “I am honored and humbled to receive the most important endorsement of all from the citizens of the Fourth Bristol District,” said Howitt, who has served as rep
since 2011.   “I want to thank the people for their confidence in me and I am looking forward to continuing to work hard for them as their State Representative.”

    According to a statement issued from his office, Howitt will continue to focus on constituent service as a key priority with a focus on jobs, education and bringing back local aid for Rehoboth, Seekonk, Norton and Swansea.

    Howitt, during his tenure as representative, has maintained a 100% attendance voting record. Prior to being elected, the third-generation Seekonk resident and business owner served one term as selectman, two terms on the planning board, and was held appointments on the recycling committee, and cable TV committee.  He was also past treasurer of the Seekonk Republican Town Committee and delegate to the Massachusetts GOP State Convention. 

    He is a member of many organizations including the Seekonk Lions Club, Sons of the American Legion, Rehoboth Business Association, Republican Jewish Coalition, and Wampanoag Rod and Gun Club.  He is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. 

   Along with working with town officials, Howitt offers other services through his office including tours of the Massachusetts State House, citations requests from the House of Representatives, and meetings with individual constituents and organizations. For more info, visit the representative’s website at StevenHowitt.com


TOWN HEALTH AGENT TO RETIRE; PLANNING BOARD MEMBER RESIGNATION

(January 5, 2017)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen announced, at their regular meeting last night, the upcoming retirement of longtime town health agent Bob Ashton. 

    After some discussion with members of the Board of Heath, selectman agreed the position of health agent, a
paid town employee, should be advertised in local newspapers and online. 

    The BOS also recently accepted the resignation of Steve Brooks from the Planning Board, an elected position of three years. Brooks leaves his position on the board with more than one year left to his term.  Candidates are encouraged to run for office to complete Brook’s term.  Two other seats (three years terms) on the planning board are up for election this spring.

    Nomination papers for town office became available earlier this week on January 3.  Any registered voter in Rehoboth, not represented by a political party caucus, who wishes to run must return nomination papers 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.


MORNING ACCIDENT DISRUPTS TRAFFIC ON ROUTE 44

(January 4, 2017)  A two-vehicle accident on Route 44 in front of Bristol County Savings Bank resulted in minor injuries to one occupant and disruption of morning traffic.

    Rehoboth public safety personnel responded to the accident scene.  Police handled traffic and closed one lane while conducting an accident investigation.  Firefighters arrived to deal with a fluid spill and clean up debris, while Rehoboth ES transported one unidentified person to the hospital for emergency care.  The roadway was cleared in approximately 30 minutes.


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.   (Photo credit: RFD)


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.”

 

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