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SELECTMEN TO DISCUSS BUDGET REDUCTIONS, STOP SIGN ON FAIRVIEW

(July 28, 2014)   The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight in regular session, along with the Rehoboth Finance Committee, beginning at 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.

    Selectmen will first address granting a Class II Auto Licence for  Lopes Auto Sales before discussing proposed budget reductions for the board of health, board of assessors, town clerk, animal control, forestry, the council on aging that oversees operation of the senior center, cemetery commission, conservation commission, and planning board.

     A review of the “impact of FY2015 budget reductions” will be presented by selectmen and members of the finance committee.

    Also on tonight’s agenda is considering a three-way stop at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Ash Street. Recently another intersection on Fairview, at Homestead Avenue, was made into a three-way stop. 


BROCKTON TEEN CHARGED WITH VANDALISM AT BECKWITH SCHOOL

(July 24, 2014)   Early yesterday morning, Rehoboth police arrested a Brockton teen on charges vandalism and trespassing at D. L. Beckwith Middle School off Winthrop Street (Route 44).

    Sgt. Brian Ramos was on routine patrol at 1:30 AM when he observed a suspicious vehicle in a remote area of the school’s parking lot leaving the grassy area adjacent to a baseball field on the property.  According to the police press release, the “Chevrolet Avalanche had just driven off of the baseball field and had caused damaged to the property by “doing donuts” and spinning tires.”

    Fabian Herrero, age 18 of Brockton was charged with vandalism to the property and trespass by motor vehicle.  Officer Timothy Bartucca assisted Sgt. Ramos with the investigation.


TWO ARRESTED FOR AUTO THEFT AFTER ROUTINE STOP

(July 24, 2014) Two Taunton residents were arrested yesterday afternoon on Route 44 by Rehoboth police on auto theft charges.

   After conducted a motor vehicle stop on Winthrop Street (Route 44), Acting Police Chief Lt. James Trombetta   learned the 2006 Ford Sedan had been reported stolen from the City of Attleboro the day before.

   The driver, thirty-four-year-old Kristylyn McKenna of Taunton, and a passenger, twenty-nine-yea-old Kyle Fisher of Taunton, were arrested and charged with Larceny of a Motor Vehicle. McKenna was later released on $540 cash bail and Fisher, unable to post bail, was transferred the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office. Both were scheduled for arraignment today in Taunton District Court.

   Officer Thomas Ranley and Jacob Miranda assisted with the arrest. 


REPRESENTATIVE HOWITT SCHEDULED OFFICE HOURS IN REHOBOTH

(July 24, 2014)   State Representative Steven S. Howitt (R- Seekonk) will hold office hours at the Rehoboth Town Office on Friday, August 1 from 10 to 11 AM to give constituents the opportunity to discuss current issues and concerns. Anyone unable to attend Representative Howitt’s office hours may contact his office at (617) 722-2305 to schedule an appointment.


SENATOR TIMILTY INVITES REHOBOTH RESIDENTS

(July 23, 2014) Senator Jim Timilty (D-Walpole) who represents Rehoboth announced the 73rd Citizen’s Legislative Seminar (CLS) will take place on Tuesday, October 14 and Wednesday, October 15 from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM at the State House in Boston. Rehoboth residents are extended an invitation to participate.

    The Citizens’ Legislative Seminar aims to better educate the public on the Commonwealth’s legislative process. Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, this two-day seminar features presentations by Senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the Commonwealth. Topics will include the history of the process of the Legislature, the parliamentary role of the Clerk of the Senate and the future of the Legislature. 

    The CLS culminates with a simulated legislative hearing and Senate session where participants are invited to use what they have learned as “Senators” in the Senate Chamber.

    Rehoboth residents are invited to contact Senator Timilty by Thursday, August 28 to sign up. Call (617) 722-1222 or email James.Timilty@masenate.gov. Participation is on a first come, first serve basis.


TOWN DEPARTMENTS TOLD TO CUT BUDGETS BY 20 PERCENT

(July 22, 2014) Rehoboth selectmen last night announced all town departments had been told to cut their budgets by 20 percent in preparation for the yet another special town meeting (STM) to be held on Thursday, August 7.

   The board is scheduled to meet tonight and tomorrow with the finance committee, in both executive and regular sessions, to examine the budget to come up with figures to present at special town meeting.

    Selectmen opened, closed and signed the STM warrant last night in a hurried manner in order to get the warrant to the printer.  Meetings warrants are printed and mailed to every household.  Because of the printing time constraint, there will be no budget figures or recommendations on the warrant.  Selectmen said exact figures will be distributed on a hand out the night of the meeting.  They also plan to publish the information on the town’s website.

   There was some discussion last night about the special town meeting date being at the same time as the annual clam boil held by the Rehoboth Congregational Church. While 150 people are expected to attend the event, selectmen said those who bought tickets will have to make a choice about what is more important to attend.

    This will be the third special town meeting held since May.  The first, combined with the annual spring town meeting, resulted in voters approving a capital budget of $551K which has already been expended. The second special town meeting was held on June 30 for voters to approve a temporary 90-day budget.  The FY15 budget was made contingent on a tax override vote that was defeated on July 15, leaving the town with an almost $1.7M budget deficit.

   Since the start of the fiscal year on July 1, town departments operated under the temporary budget, or 25% of the approved fiscal budget for 2015. All town departments now asked to make cuts of 20%. 

    If a department spends 25% of their annual 2015 budget in the first three months of the fiscal year, based on a 20% reduction goal for the entire year, they now must cut 26.67% for the remaining nine months of the fiscal year.

   The town has certain financial or contractual obligations that cannot be cut including pensions, town insurance,  unemployment compensation, veterans benefits, and interest and principal on the senior center.  The town budget also includes paying out-of-district expenses for high school students enrolled in vocational/technical school or at Bristol County Agricultural High School.

   “We are not going to come anywhere near $1.658M in reductions on the expense side,” said Finance Committee Chair Mike Deignan, who added the only way to recoup is through the employee side. “We have eight employees who have either left or intend to leave service this year,” he said.

    According to Deignan,  the town offices, excluding highway and public safety, cost the town “$215K to run one day each week.”  He added, “if we cut two days of town services, we could save $430K, less the unemployment of about $130K, and we would net out about $300K in savings.”


SELECTMEN VOTE TO RELEASE PAYMENT TO LIBRARY

(July 22, 2014) A week after postponing a scheduled payment to the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society (RAS) for operation fo the Blanding Free Public Library, selectmen voted to release the funds approved by voters within the temporary 90-day budget.

    RAS board members presented selectmen with a petition signed over the weekend to request the library budget  be listed as an independent warrant article for the August 7 special town meeting. 

    “We believe in the democratic process and that all articles brought to Town Meeting should be open for discussion and amendment. At the very least, adding an article specifically for the library budget will ensure debate and discussion for that line item,” said board member Kylee Hitz, reading from a prepared statement distributed last night.

    Officials have repeatedly targeted the library and senior center for possible closure for since May town meeting when the FY15 budget was made contingent on a tax override vote that was defeated last week.  At a selectmen’s meeting held last Friday, officials seemed to have a change of heart.

    “I want to have a (new) budget that doesn’t include what we mentioned before,” said BOS chair Mike Costello.  “The library and senior center were just examples used before the override,” said Selectman Dave Perry.   

    If the Blanding’s budget is cut more than other departments, the library risks decertification. If town budget cuts are proportional, the RAS may additionally apply for a waiver from the state to help remain open.

    State certification allows the approximately 2000 Blanding card holders to have access to library services in surrounding towns through the SAILS network of public and college libraries in southeastern Massachusetts.


BURGLARY SUSPECTS ARRESTED BY REHOBOTH POLICE

(July 22, 2014) Last last night, Rehoboth police arrested two Mansfield residents on breaking and entering along with other charges.

    Officers were dispatched after receiving a suspicious vehicle report at a residence on Tremont Street where the owner was known to be in the hospital.

    The vehicle in question was located by Officer Thomas Ranley behind the residence. A window of the garage had been forced open allowing entrance into the residence. Three more officers arrived and conducted a search.         

     Alex J. Troy, age 22, and Joseph Coughlin, age 26, were taken into custody and changed with breaking and entering at nighttime with intent to commit a felony, malicious destruction of property, and trespass by motor vehicle.  Both men are scheduled for arraignment today in Taunton District Court.

    Assisting officers were Sgt. James Medeiros and officers Craig Forget and Paul McGovern.


LIBRARY PETITION TO BE PRESENTED TO SELECTMEN TONIGHT

(July 21, 2014) Over the weekend, the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society (RSA) gathered over 131 signatures of registered voters on a petition to have certified today by the town clerk in order to submit tonight to selectmen at their regularly scheduled 7 PM meeting at the senior center.

   The RSA, a private, nonprofit organization, owns Goff Memorial Hall and the Carpenter Museum, and is contracted by the town to operated Blanding Free Public Library.  The RSA receives funding from the town to operate the library. 

   Last week, selectmen voted to table issuing scheduled payment to the RSA despite having a temporary 90-day budget that included those payments.  Without the scheduled payments from the town, the library’s bills for operational expenses can’t be paid.

    In response, the library immediately announced it would no longer be open on Saturdays.  Additionally the petition was circulated over the weekend.

    Massachusetts General Law states that a municipality must appropriate a figure of at least the average of the last 3 years' municipal appropriations to the library for operations, increased by 2.5%, in order to be certified for State Aid to Public Libraries.

   Any cuts to library funding from the town must be proportionate with other town services in order to maintain state library certification.

    Additionally, the Blanding is part of the SAILS Library Network, a collection of over 75 public and college libraries in southeastern MA.  Library decertification will have an effect on borrowing privileges. According to Blanding officials, the town of Seekonk is already on record saying they will not honor a Blanding card if the library is decertified.  

    This is not the first time the Blanding has faced the threat of closure. In 2010, Rehoboth officials warned the library would be forced to close, along with the senior center and other town services, when the town faced a $1M deficit for their FY11 budget.  At that time, Selectman Skip Vadanis suggested a tax override vote specifically for the library.  That suggestion proved unnecessary and the library’s funding was never cut. 


SELECTMEN SCHEDULE SPECIAL TOWN MEETING, DISCUSS CUTS

(July 21, 2014) Rehoboth selectmen met last Friday afternoon at the town office to schedule a special town meeting on Thursday, August 7 at 7 PM in the high school auditorium to address the town’s budget.    

    Selectmen Mike Costello, Skip Vadnais and Dave Perry voted unanimously to schedule the special town meeting, although a few minutes later were notified that approximately 150 residents would be attending the annual clam boil held at Rehoboth Congregational Church on August 7.

     According to Town Clerk Laura Schwall, who attended Friday afternoon’s BOS meeting, the special town meeting could be held the next night, on Friday, August 8, and still adhere to mandated state regulations.  The selectmen could decide to amend the special town meeting date tonight.

    Only last week, a tax override for nearly $1.7M was defeated by a margin of 303 voters.  Citizens could vote in August to pass a reduced FY15 budget that would require another tax override ballot vote before the town’s temporary 90-day budget expires.

    Residents at special town meeting could also vote to use all or part of the town’s stabilization fund, or money in the bank set aside for emergencies.  Using those funds could provide for this fiscal year’s budget, but would leave the town without emergency funds, along with facing another million plus deficit next year.

    Just last week, $63K was used from the stabilization fund to settle a lawsuit brought by the Town of Dighton related to tuition and transportation for Rehoboth high school students attending out-of-district vocational/technical school.

    With four board members from the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society (RAS) in attendance at Friday’s BOS meeting, selectmen reversed their repeated warnings about closing the library and senior center if the tax override did not pass.  The RAS owns and operates the Blanding Public Library with funding from the town.

    “I want to have a (new) budget that doesn’t include what we mentioned before,” said Costello.  “The library and senior center were just examples used before the override,” said Perry, who added “we are in uncharted waters.”

    “We will look at every possible means to reduce the budget to prevent closures and layoffs,” remarked Costello. “We want to do this as kindly as possible.”

    “We have all kinds of general laws we have to get into,” commented Vadanis, “such as (state mandated) minimum requirements for animal control and with the division of elderly affairs for the senior center.”

    In attendance on Friday were also two members of the finance committee.  Chairman Mike Deignan asked Costello to share news of his recent request of the school committee to revisit their increased budget.  Costello replied he asked for the elimination of full-day kindergarten for the 138 Rehoboth children who are currently enrolled for the new school year beginning in September.

   Costello also reported the school committee has agreed to meet with the BOS on July 29 to discuss the request to eliminate full-day kindergarten for Rehoboth students and other budget cuts.  The school committee, as a courtesy, agreed to this meeting but will set a time limit on its duration.

   Gerry Schwall, who serves as vice-chair of the finance committee, asked selectmen if they were going to involved FinCom in determining budget cuts suggestions to be announced at the special town meeting. “I am worried people don’t have the expertise to make those decisions,” Schwall told selectmen, who added that FinCom has the experience on contract-related budget lines.

    The BOS will meet tonight at 7 PM in regular session at the senior center to open, close and sign the special town meeting warrant.  Tight time constraints require the warrant to be delivered to the printer by Wednesday.

    Costello said the warrant for special town meeting will not incude numbers or the selectmen’s recommendations for budget cuts.  Their recommendations, along with those of the finance committee, will be supplied that night in a handout. Those numbers may be available on the town’s website earlier.

    Selectmen will also meet this week with the town’s finance committee on both Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 7 PM at the senior center.  The public, as always, is invited to attend the regular session segments.

   

SCHOOL COMMITTEE APPROVES NEW DEAN POSITION AMID PROTESTS

(July 18, 2014) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee approved a job search for the newly created position of Dean of Activities and Athletics at the regional high school.

    Two Rehoboth members of the committee, David Katseff and Richard Barrett, voted against creating the new position which will take the place of the high school’s existing part-time athletic director and the schools full-time director of guidance.

    Katseff argued the timing was wrong to create the new position since the school’s principal, of less than one year, suddenly resigned last month.  He also cautioned the committee the school that this might not be a good time to create an innovative position using the title of “Dean” for the first time in the history of the school.

    Two of the high school’s assistant principals, Kevin Braga and John Harrison, pitched the new position to the committee.  They emphasized a need for someone on the staff to market the high school’s athletic program and extracurricular activities to middle school students.  They cited the high school student population is decreasing and marketing DRRHS is important to attracting new students. They say retention is not a problem “once they are here, they tend to stay.”

     The new position, according to the job description, requires coaching experience, a working knowledge of MIAA rules and regulations, an administrative certificate from the MA Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education, plus effective communication, interpersonal and organization skills.

     By eliminating the position of part-time coach ($42K) and a part-time 10 hour secretary ($6K) and full time director of guidance ($90K) a position previously held by a professional with advanced degrees in psychology or counseling, the school will save $41K.    

    The new Dean of Activities and Athletics will have a salary of $80K with a part-time 18 hour secretary at $15K.  A stipend of $3K will be paid to an existing lead guidance counselor who will assume more responsibilities. The jobs and stipend position has been posted.


BLANDING PUBLIC LIBRARY ANNOUNCES REDUCED HOURS

Library officials question why approved payments by town were put on hold

(July 17, 2014) The Blanding Public Library, beginning the week of July 21, wil be closed on Saturdays until further notice due to the town’s current fiscal situation.

    “We hope that further reductions will not be necessary,” announced Laura Bennett, the library director.  “It is important to the library board and staff to maintain our current level of services as best we can.  We apologize for any inconvenience.”

    In a separate announcement, Bennett said the library will no longer be able to accept donations of used books for its annual used book sale fundraiser.

    The library, housed in the Goff Memorial Hall, is owned and operated by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, but receives operational funding through the town.  Selectmen have warned repeatedly that the library may be closed due to the town’s current fiscal crisis.

    This week, RAS officials questioned why the board of selectmen on Monday night tabled already approved payments to the library.  With a temporary 90-budget in place, the town should be able to release the money to the RSA. Without the scheduled payments from the town, the library’s bills for operational expenses can’t be paid. 

    The Blanding Library will be open Monday thru Thursday from 11:30 AM to 8 PM. Friday hours are 10 AM to 4 PM. Events and programs are scheduled at various times.  The library will be closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays.


PUBLIC HEARING ON WHEELER STREET BRIDGE TODAY

(July 17, 2014) A public hearing on the Wheeler Street Bridge reconstruction will be held tonight t the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Thursday, July 17 beginning at 7 PM.

    Representatives from the  MA Department of Transportation will be on hand to present a “twenty-five percent design public hearing” on the culvert replacement at the bridge, the next step in completing the project.  The bridge, destroyed in 2010 during a flood, will be reconstructed with funding from both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Federal Highway Administration. 

    All interested parties are invited to attend and provide public input.  The bridge plans, prepared by Greenman-Pedersen, Inc. will be available for inspection thirty minutes before the start of the public hearing.


REHOBOTH SELECTMEN TO MEET FRIDAY

(July 17, 2014)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen have scheduled a meeting tomorrow at 4 PM in the town office to vote to approving a date for special town meeting to address the FY15 budget and the town’s financial crisis creating by the defeat of the tax override.

    According to some reports, this meeting will not be televised on public access Channel 9 and selectmen will not entertain questions or comments from the public.


REHOBOTH VOTERS SAY NO TO TAX OVERRIDE

(July 16, 2014)  Rehoboth residents voted against passing a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override yesterday with 37% of registered voters participating. Polls closed at 8 PM and news of the defeat came less than thirty minutes later much to the dismay of officials who had urged passage of the override to prevent drastic cuts in services.

    A total of 3002 voters came to the polls with a final certified count of 1652 against the override and 1349 in favor, a difference of 303 voters.

    “The people of Rehoboth have spoken,” said BOS chairman Mike Costello, “and we now have to deal with the outcome.”  He added, “Rehoboth will not be what it is today.”  More details to follow soon when the official count becomes available.

    Without the tax override, the board of selectmen will schedule a special town meeting sometime in August to address a $1.7M deficit in the town’s operating budget, excluding the increased school district assessment that cannot be altered.  At special town meeting, residents will debate and decide what cuts to make and if the town’s stabilization fund - savings in the bank - should be used.  Draining the stabilization account will not help next year when the budget deficit will be even larger.

    Officials have warned residents consistently for the past two months that if the override fails, drastic cuts will be made to town services and town employees will face layoffs.  They’ve warned both the Blanding Public Library and the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center will be closed.

    “The voters have spoken,” said Sean Kane from Rehoboth Community Supporters, a recently formed political action committee.  “We respect the democratic process.  Hopefully those who voted no really understand what this will do to our community.  We continue to believe that an override is still much needed and commend those who came out in support of the town.”

           

SELECTMEN URGE RESIDENTS TO VOTE YES ON TAX OVERRIDE

(July 15, 2014)  Rehoboth selectman last night urged residents to vote yes today to pass a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override. Following almost ninety minutes of answering questions from citizens about the override, selectmen went through their agenda of business and finished the meeting with the regular segment of individual selectman’s reports.  Four of the five selectmen then urged residents to vote yes today and pass the tax override.

    “I’m not in favor of an override without a plan,” said Selectman Sue Pimental, “but I’m going for this override for a couple reasons.” She explained, “I feel I have to, it will devastate the town (if not passed),” adding she was on the finance committee for six years and during that time much progress was made that benefitted the town.

     “All the hard work of myself and other volunteers will go out the window,” she emphasized. “It will be very discouraged for someone like me and the other volunteers out there,” before adding that “shutting down town government will not be fun.”

     “Whatever your feeling is on the school situation, get over it,” she said referring to the almost $1.7M increase to the school budget voted on at town meeting in May.  That increase caused an equivalent deficit in the town’s operating budget that was made contingent on passing a tax override.

    “I’m voting for it (the override) because I feel I have a gun to my head,” Pimental said.

    The newest selectman on the board, Dave Perry said, “This two and half override is a really tough pill to swallow, but we have to.”   He emphasized what town accountant Cathy Doanne explained earlier in the meeting about using stabilization funds if the override does not pass.  Draining the town’s ‘savings account’ built up and kept for emergencies will only solve the budget deficit for one year, and the town will be faced with a greater deficit next year and have nothing left in the bank.

    “We’ll have no services,” Perry said, “we’ll have no money in the bank, be broke, and face the same problem next year.”  “I see no alternative at all but a yes vote, he said, “this is an absolute necessity.”

    “I have been very clear, I am voting for the override,” said Selectman Joe Tito, who added that Proposition 2 1/2 does works to contain municipal costs, but doesn’t keep up with inflation and the rising costs to sustain a growing town. “We find ourselves at a crossroads,” he noted and encouraged voters to pass the override.

    “I am voting for this,” said BOS chair Mike Costello. “I know we need it.” He added, “the hard work of this board and the board when I was elected have done too much to see it disappear.”

    “Help us get through this situation,” he urged, “vote yes so our town can provide the services that we are all accustomed to.”

   

$63K SCHOOL LAWSUIT SETTLEMENT BILL PAID FROM STABILIZATION FUND

(July 15, 2014)  Rehoboth selectmen last night confirmed the payment of $63K taken from the town’s stabilization fund to settle a lawsuit brought against the Town of Rehoboth by the regional school district partner, the Town of Dighton.  Officials said over $80K had already been spent on litigation and the $63K would be the final settlement.

    The case involved Rehoboth not paying the sufficient amount for tuition and transportation of Rehoboth students to an out-of-district vocational-technical high school.  For at least one year, Dighton was assessed and paid half of the total fee for vocational students, while the number of actual Rehoboth students outnumbered Dighton students who attended Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin, MA.

    On May 27, Rehoboth voters at town meeting were asked to reconsider a tabled warrant article to approve using $63,000 from the town’s stabilization fund to settle the law suit.  Voters were told by town counsel that if the money was not approved that night and released right away, both towns would continue the legal battle in court.

   “We have not been closer than now,” said town attorney Jason Talerman, who urged voters to approve using stabilization funds to settle the case. “I am totally in agreement with this,” said BOS chair Mike Costello.  Selectman Joe Tito also urged residents to approve releasing the money.

   When asked last week if the settlement had been paid and case finalized, school committee chairman Eliza Couture replied that she “cannot comment on the litigation at this time.”

   Selectmen last night were asked by Finance Committee chair Mike Deignan if the $63K payment had been made.  “We were all led to believe the lawsuit had been settled,” said Deignan, “and that’s why we had to take the money from stabilization to pay for it.”  He said he found out, on a recent visit to the town office, the $63K settlement bill still had not been paid and asked selectmen if the case was still being litigated.

    “It was settled,” said Selectman Sue Pimental.   “So, the check was delivered today,” reported Costello. 

  

TAX OVERRIDE VOTE AND TOWN BUDGET: ASK SELECTMEN QUESTIONS

(July 11, 2014)  Selectmen will take a portion of their regular meeting next Monday night to answer questions from residents about the town budget and tax override ballot vote to be held the next day on July 15. 

    The BOS meeting, held at the senior center, will begin at 7 PM with a information briefing by selectmen.  The meeting is broadcast live by RehobothTV on Comcast Channel 9 and residents may call 508-252-3372 that night with questions.  Residents who are not Comcast subscribers are encouraged to attend the meeting.

     Questions may also be emailed to Town Administrator Jeff Ritter anytime before the meeting on Monday night.  


GRANT APPROVED TO HELP FUND DISABLED ACCESS AT GOFF HALL

(July 9, 2014)  Earlier this week, Governor Deval Patrick announced $14 million in Massachusetts Cultural Council grants including a $70K request by the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society (RAS) to help fund a handicapped-accessible restrooms and lower level at the Blanding Library in Goff Memorial Hall.

    The RAS-owned building was constructed in 1915 after an older Goff Hall burned down following a lightening strike in 1911.  The current building has no restrooms facilities for patrons with disabilities and the existing restrooms are also only two feet wide, small for any user. With no elevator and no ramp, there is no access for anyone who can’t use the stairs to the lower level of the building (the children’s library).

    The renovation project, with a total cost of $330,000, will benefit greatly from the $70K state grant.  Townspeople approved using $165K from the town’s Community Preservation Act  (CPA) fund, and the remaining $95K will be raised by the RAS - before construction begins.

   CPA funds, by state law, can never be used for a town’s operating budget, only for preservation related projects approved by voters at town meeting.

   With a tax override vote looming, town officials have repeatedly warned that if the override does not pass, the Blanding Library will be closed, along with the senior center and other town services. The renovation project to make the building accessible is a separate issue from the town budget. The grant money or CPA funding cannot be used to operate the library.


SCHOOL OFFICIALS RESPOND TO ALLEGATIONS

(July 4, 2014)  Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District officials have responded to recent allegations including one made in an opinion letter to the editor published yesterday on the Vox Populi page of RehobothNow.

   Eliza Couture, chairman of the regional school committee, said new superintendent Anthony Azar, who only started his appointment on July 1, will answer questions about hiring for a new position of Dean of Student Activities and Athletics on Wednesday, July 16 at a school committee member.  She said Azar will give specifics about the dean’s job description, salary and benefit package on July 16. 

   The town is conducting a tax override ballot vote the day before, on July 15, to approve a permanent tax increase.  The town’s FY15 budget is contingent on the Prop 2 1/2 override as a result of residents voting for a $1.7 million increase in the school district budget at town meeting last May.  If the override does not pass, an equal amount will have to be cut from other town departments.  Officials say the cuts will dramatically alter town services such as closing the library and senior center, limiting town office hours, reducing services and layoffs of town employees.

   Couture was asked to comment on other school related issues. On May 27, Rehoboth voters at town meeting were asked to reconsider a tabled warrant article to approve using $63,000 from the town’s stabilization fund to settle a law suit. 

    The suit, brought by the Town of Dighton against the school committee and Town of Rehoboth, relates to out-of-district vocational-technical school tuition and transportation.  At town meeting, voters were told by town counsel and selectmen that if the money was not approved that night and released right away, both towns would continue the legal battle in court.  Officials said over $80k had already been spent on litigation and the $63k would be the final settlement.

    When asked if the $63k had been paid and the case settled, Couture replied that she “cannot comment on the litigation at this time.”

    Ray Medeiros, a long-time member of the school committee, was asked about rumors he has either submitted his resignation or plans to do so in the immediate future.  Medeiros said he has no comment at this time.  His resignation, prior to the end of his elected term, would open a seat on the Rehoboth side of the school committee.  Selectmen could appoint a replacement.  

    Azar responded to questions by submitting a letter to editor which appears on the Vox Populi page.  


VOTERS APPROVE TEMPORARY TOWN BUDGET

(July 1, 2014) Rehoboth voters last night at special town meeting approved a temporary 90-day town budget based on the FY15 budget that was made contingent on passing a tax override ballot vote on Tuesday, July 15.

   With 102 voters in attendance, the meeting was conducted quickly in less than thirty minutes.  One only voter, Walter Munroe, stood to question passing a temporary budget based on FY15 instead of continuing the existing FY14 budget.

     At May town meeting, selectmen emphasized they would seek a temporary budget based on FY14 figures and not FY15.  Late in June, selectmen confirmed they had changed their previous position on what budget figures to use.

    According to town attorney Jason Talerman, who answered Munroe’s questions last night, it is legal to pass a temporary budget based on FY15 figures.  He added that passing the FY15 budget would allow the town to meet “some obligations” right away. The now active FY15 budget includes a 25% percent increase in retainer and litigation-related expenses for town legal counsel.

    The FY15 budget includes salary increases for some elected officials including the tax collector, treasurer, town planner, town clerk, assessors, and step increases for certain clerical positions. The FY15 budget also includes a police chief salary of $110,000 with an additional $11,000 chief incentive.  Last winter, selectmen announced their intention to promote acting chief, Lt. James Trombetta, to the position of chief effective July 1.

    The newly passed temporary budget also includes hiring two additional full-time highway department employees. While selectmen voted during regular session to impose a hiring freeze in June, they can lift the freeze at any point by majority vote.

   

REPORT OF CHILD BITTEN BY FOX IN REHOBOTH

(July 1, 2014)  According to a report in the Sun Chronicle today, a twelve-year-old Rehoboth boy was bitten on the leg and arm by a fox last night at a residence on Winthrop Street (Route 44) and transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

    While local emergency response official confirm the dispatch, no further information has been released by the Rehoboth Police Department  that oversees the town’s animal control officer.  More details will be published when provided by officials.


WHO ARE REHOBOTH COMMUNITY SUPPORTERS?

(July 1, 2014)  A newly formed political action committee or PAC in town, known as the Rehoboth Community Supporters (RCS) will host two question and answer sessions on the tax override ballot vote. One is being held tonight at 7 PM at the Goff Memorial Hall) with another tomorrow morning in the senior center at 10 AM.

  In April, a group known as D-R Parents United was formed to advocate for an increased school district budget.  At town meeting in May, they were successful in voting the $1.7 million increase in the school budget that led to a special town meeting last night to vote a temporary 90-day town budget, and the tax override ballot question.

   In June, D-R Parents United hosted a question and answer session for the public with members of that group as well as invited officials.  While D-R Parents United continues to be a group consisting of parents of both Dighton and Rehoboth public school students, Rehoboth Community Supporters was formed as a PAC that must operate according to state election laws.

    “By law, we had to establish a PAC to advocate for the override vote,” said Tiffany Bartholomew, who is also a member of the regional school committee.  “D-R Parents United is still supportive, but the Rehoboth half of that leadership is primarily focused under Rehoboth Community Supporters,” she added.

    Information about RCS political action committee can be found on their new website, YesRehboth.org, and leadership is listed as Bartholmew, Eric Brown, Ellen Corvi, Heather Cross, Sean Kane, Rachel Philip, Paul Roulier, Rose Roulier, Sue Warren, Andrea Wayslow, Jennifer Wheeler and Deb Woodard.

   “Rehoboth does not have a spending problem, the town has a revenue problem,” stated the website that advocates for passing the Proposition 2/12 tax override on July 15.    


REHOBOTH POICE MAKE ARRESTS OVER WEEKEND

(June 30, 2014)  Two men were arrested by Rehoboth police in separate vehicle stop incidents on Saturday, June 28.

  Joe R. Amaral, age 29 of Taunton, was placed under arrest shortly after 6 PM on charges of operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor and driving with a suspended license.  A passenger in the vehicle, Charlie Teixeira, age 36 of Taunton, was issued a criminal summons to appear in Taunton District Court for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

    According to a press release issued by the RPD, Officer Paul McGovern was monitoring traffic on Winthrop Street (Route 44) when he “observed a small gray Ford SUV approaching his location from the west.”  After seeing the car suddenly pull into a parking lot, he noticed the driver and front seat passenger change positions before pulling back onto the roadway. 

   A check of the vehicle’s registration revealed the owner had a suspended Massachusetts operator’s license.  After stopping the vehicle, McGovern arrested Amaral who was transported to the police station for processing and later released on bail. He is set to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.

    Later on Saturday, around 10:30 PM, Officer Ryan Brule conducted a motor vehicle stop on Winthrop Street (Route 44) and discovered a passenger in the vehicle had an outstanding arrest warrant on charges brought by Mass State Police for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, speeding, and marked lanes violation.  Munroe was taken into custody and is also set to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.


RFD DEPUTY CHIEF BARRESI RECEIVES ACCREDITATION

(June 26, 2014)  Deputy Chief Frank Barresi of the Rehoboth Fire Department was recently granted accreditation by the Massachusetts Fire Service Commission, a gubernatorial appointed board that has established a process for uniform credentialing for the level of fire chief. Barresi is pictured second from left at the recent ceremony held in Westport, MA.   “The program establishes requirements based on education, training and experience in areas relevant to serving as fire chief,” said Everett Fire Chief David Butler, who serves as chair of the commission.  “It establishes benchmarks for training in fire and emergency service management so that chiefs may be better prepared to serve their department and their community.”

    The applicant’s documentation is reviewed by a subcommittee of the Massachusetts Fire Service Commission to determine if the individual has attained a minimum level of credits for education, training, and experience.

   According to State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, “the program was developed after extensive research outlining those skills important to today’s fire chief.  The process provides an equal opportunity for the volunteer, call or full-time fire service leader to meet the minimum criteria for achieving fire chief accreditation. 

   Deputy Chief Barresi said, “I am dedicated to providing the highest level of service to this community and have worked hard to continue my education and experience to bring a high level of professionalism to this position. I appreciate that this accomplishment recognizes my dedication to be the best fire service leader I can be for this community.”

    Credentialed participants will be required to renew their credentials every three years. The program is open to all members of the fire service in the Commonwealth serving as Chief or Chief Officer of Department.  Additionally, in fire departments where there are less than three Chief Officers, those persons holding the next lower rank in that department shall also be eligible to apply for credentialing.  Participation in this program is voluntary and all eligible personnel are encouraged to participate.


TOWN EVENTS COMMITTEE SCHEDULE ANNUAL HARVEST BLOCK PARTY

(June 25, 2014)  The Rehoboth Town Events Committee has announced the date of the 15th Annual ‘Larry Procopio‘ Harvest Block Party to be held on the Redway Plain on Saturday, September 21 from 10 AM to 3 PM.       

    The annual September event was founded by the late Larry Procopio, a Rehoboth resident who believed the town should come together once a year to celebrate community. For the past fifteen years, the Harvest Block Party has been a free admission/free parking event that receives no funding from the town.  Organizations and businesses are offered space at the event at no charge, although many offer a donation to help offset event costs.

   Traditionally, the committee relies on revenue they generate from a food and beverage tent to help cover costs of supplies and equipment not otherwise donated. With more food vendors participating in recent years, the town food booth profits have diminished.

   “Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of vendors offering food and beverages, which has both benefited and challenged the event.,” said committee chair Mary Beth Moriarty. “The participants enjoy the variety of offerings, but the growth of food vendors has significantly reduced the funds available to support the event.”

    This year, organizers are asking food vendors for a minimum donation with a request to consider offering a larger donation to offset the costs of the event, such as renting sanitary facilities.  

    All local organizations and businesses are invited to participate in this year’s event.  Those wishing to reserve a space and register to participate must do so by August 15.  Please contact Mary Beth Moriarty at 508-252-9415.  Click here to view all info.


SELECTMEN TO HOST QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION ON TAX OVERRIDE

(June 24, 2014)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectman will be hosting a Question and Answer session on the tax override ballot vote and the town budget during their regular meeting on Monday, July 14.

     The tax override ballot vote is scheduled for the next day, Tuesday, July 15 when all three precincts will be open from 7 AM to 8 PM. 

    Selectmen urge residents to attend their regular Monday evening meeting that night so they can answer any questions related to the tax override ballot the next day.

    If the override does not pass, the town faces a budget crisis.  A special town meeting will be scheduled in August so residents can make decisions on budget cuts and/or authorizing the town to use stabilization funds to make up for an almost $1.7 million deficit created when residents voted to increase Rehoboth’s portion of the school district budget. Selectmen have issued grim projections if the override does not pass and warn that budget cuts will have devastating results, including reduction or elimination of certain town services.  

   Registered voters can currently apply for an absentee ballot if they think they will be unable to physically go to the polls on July 15.  Absentee ballot applications are available at the Blanding Library,  Senior Center, Post Office, Town Office on Peck Street and online.


REMA OFFERS CERTIFICATION TRAINING

(June 24, 2014)  The Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency (REMA) will be offering a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training this fall.

   The CERT training is a nine-week program that meets once a week.  The program provides basic training to citizens in how to prepare for hazards that may affect the community. Citizens are trained in basic disaster response skills, including fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Training includes classroom instruction, and hands-on activities and exercises.

    REMA is the town agency with primary responsibility for ensuring the town's resiliency to disasters. The director and deputy director oversee a trained staff of volunteers who stand ready to serve in the areas of planning, communications, operations, and logistics.  

    Since 1965, REMA has parented the Rehoboth Rescue Squad, a highly trained service of men and women who provide emergency services as first responders and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), auto/bus/light truck extrication specialists, HAM RACES radio operators, ice & water rescue specialists, animal rescuers, and search & rescue response teams.  Together, members of REMA and the Rehoboth Rescue Squad stand ready for an all hazards approach to emergency management.  For more information please check rehobothema.info or call 774-371-0017.


SELECTMEN PROPOSE USING FY15 FOR TEMPORARY BUDGET

(June 23, 2014)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen plan to submit a proposed temporary 90-day budget for approval at special town meeting on June 30 based on FY15 instead of FY14 as previously stated by officials.

   The temporary budget would become effective on July 1, the day after the special town meeting.  The wording on the warrant article does not specify what temporary budget would be voted on.

   Earlier this month, selectmen were very clear they intended to continue the current FY14 budget and not the FY15 budget approved at town meeting contingent on passing a permanent Proposition 2 1/2 tax override ballot vote set for Tuesday, July 15.

   Once the temporary budget is passed, selectmen could decide to lift the town-side hiring freeze they implemented on June 1.  The FY15 budget includes the selectmen’s plan to hire a police chief and add two additional full-time highway department employees.  In the spring, selectmen announced their intent to appoint the acting police chief, Lt. James Trombetta to the position of chief effective July 1. Along with a $110,000 chief salary, he would also receive an $11,000 chief incentive per the FY15 budget.

    The FY15 budget includes salary increases for some elected officials including the tax collector, treasurer, town planner, town clerk, assessors, and step increases for certain clerical positions. Also included in the FY15 budget is a 25% increase in retainer and litigation-related expenses for town counsel.


BUSY AGENDA FOR TONIGHT’S BOS MEETING

(June 23, 2014)  The agenda for tonight’s meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen includes a review of the special town meeting warrant and proposed temporary 90-day budget along with approving the Comcast license renewal.

    Other items on the agenda include year-end budget amendments including $7,401 for the police department, and two items for the council on aging of $485 and $699.  Selectmen will vote on approving a vacation byback of the senior center director based on her employment contract.

    Selectmen will vote on highway department bids including materials and a salt shed, and vote to approve a Chapter 90 project request for stone sealing. Committee reappointments will be made and other business conducted such as a request for signage on Rocky Hill Road. 

    The regular portion of tonight’s BOS meeting will begin at 7 PM in the senior center following an executive session that includes a discussion of potential litigation. 


DRRHS PRINCIPAL STRIANO GONE, ACTING PRINCIPAL NAMED

(June 16, 2014)  The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District announced this morning that, effective immediately, a replacement has been named for Principal Jacqueline Striano who began working for the district on July 1, 2013.

    In a joint statement from Interim Superintendent  Mike Malone and incoming Superintendent-Elect Anthony Azar, announced the appointment of current Assistant Gail Van Buren as Acting High School Principal while day- to-day operations will be handled by Assistant Principals John Harrison and Kevin Braga.

    Malone announced Striano’s resignation in an email  to district administrators and school committee members dated June 11. “I would like to let you know that Ms. Striano has resigned to pursue another career opportunity. I would like to thank her for her service and wish her well in the future.”

    By law, a principal must be notified by the superintendent at least sixty days prior to the expiration date of the contract or it will automatically renew for an additional one year period. Striano began working of the district on July 1 of last year.  The status of Striano’s contractual agreement with the district, and if she was offered a renewal, is unknown at this time.

    While details on Striano’s departure were not provided, Malone and Azar outlined Van Buren’s credentials in a press release emphasizing she will oversee the close of this school year and the opening of the 2014-15 school year beginning in September after summer break.

    According to the announcement, Van Buren has been an administrator for fifteen years and will be commencing her ninth year in the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District.  “More importantly, six of those administrative years in DR have been as the district’s regional high school principal,” said the press release.

    Van Buren has a Masters in Educational Leadership and “thus far has completed all other coursework leading to a doctorate from Northeastern University while also acting as an adjunct instructor at Fitchburg State University.

  “I am happy to assist the district during this transition in order to continue the positive academic and cultural momentum and growth at the high school.”

   The change in high school administration was also announced today to students via the DRRHS news blog.


PUBLIC INVITED TO HEAR HOUSING REPORT

(June 11, 2014)  A preliminary report that could lead toward utilizing the old Anawan School for housing will be presented to the Rehoboth Board of Selectman on Monday, June 16 during their regularly scheduled meeting at the senior center.

   Grant King, Principal Comprehensive Planner, with the Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District will present the preliminary report at approximately 7 PM.

   According to Town Administrator, Jeff Ritter, “the report and study was funded through a $20,000 competitive grant received from the South Coast Rail Project.  The purpose of the grant is to develop a snapshot of Rehoboth’s current housing inventory, define future housing needs, and to develop a plan to address those needs.”

    The public is encouraged to attend and participate in this community-wide discussion as the town plans for the “future housing needs of the community.”


DR PARENTS UNITED TO HOST TAX OVERRIDE VOTE INFO SESSIONS

(June 10, 2014)  The advocacy group, DR Parents United, announced to selectmen last night they will host at three public information sessions prior to the Prop 2 1/2 override vote scheduled for Tuesday, July 15.

    Selectmen, along with other town officials, were invited to participate in the question and answer “roundtable” format session.  The first will be held on Tuesday, June 17 at Palmer River Elementary School beginning at 7 PM.  Two info sessions will follow.  One will be held at the Blanding Library/Goff Memorial Hall on Tuesday, July 1 at 7 PM and another on Wednesday, July 2 at 10 AM at the senior center. The general public is encouraged to attend, not only parents of school age children.

    DR Parents United were the driving force behind passage of an almost $1.7M increased school district budget at town meeting held in May. Residents then voted to make the town’s overall budget, excluding the school district amount, contingent on an Proposition 2 1/2 tax override vote. Without the tax override, the town will be forced to cut $1.7M from the town budget, a process that will involve community input and approval at a special town meeting. 

    Selectmen and finance committee officials have already said repeatedly that cuts will drastically change the town.  Secondary services will be the first considered for elimination, including the public library and senior center. Only primary services that involve public safety, such as police, fire and emergency services may be spared drastic budget cuts.  All town departments will face budget cuts including the highway department that maintains town roads.  Selectmen have suggested there will not be enough left in the budget to cover the significant cost each winter of snow and ice removal. 

    Representatives from DR Parents United expressed hope selectmen and other officials will participate in their public info sessions.  Selectmen last night said they will be offering their own information on issues related to the town’s current budget crisis. 

    A special town meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 30 to allow voters to pass a temporary 90-day budget. 


SELECTMEN ASK VOTERS FOR 90-DAY TEMPORARY BUDGET

(June 10, 2014)  A special town meeting, scheduled for Monday, June 30, will decide if voters approve a temporary town budget of ninety days to prevent the town from shutting down on July 1.

    Without the approval of a temporary budget based on FY14 figures, the Town of Rehoboth will face a complete shut down, including police, fire and other emergency services.

   “A town without a budget is a town without a government,” said Selectman Dr. Joseph Tito, MD.  If the measure is not passed by a quorum of at least 60 voters on June 30, town services will cease the next day.

   On Tuesday, July 15, voters will decide on a Prop 2 1/2 tax override ballot question related to the FY15 town budget.  Without the override, a special town meeting will be convened to address nearly $1.7M in cuts to balance the budget, exclusive of the portion approved at town meeting for an increased school budget.


SELECTMEN APPROVE WARRANT FOR UNLICENSED DOGS

(June 10, 2014)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night voted to approve a warrant on unlicensed dogs in town. The period for renewing annual dog licenses has passed and the town’s Animal Control Officer Jane Foster has been charged with seeking out, catching and/or confining unlicensed dogs.  Owners will then be required to pay the annual license fee as well as fines. 

    Selectmen reviewed ten full pages listing unlicensed dogs and urged owners to check with Town Clerk Laura Schwall to “see if you dog will be chased down.”  Find dog license info here.


STAY AWAY FROM WILD ANIMALS URGES ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER

(June 7, 2014)  Rehoboth’s Animal Control Officer, Jane Foster, has issued an appeal to residents not to approach or go near wild animals.  According to a press release issued by the town, Foster says “there are many well-meaning residents in Rehoboth, but when it comes to foxes, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, turkeys, or even wild geese, these animals can be extremely dangerous.” 

    She emphasized they can carry “rabies, Lyme disease or other infectious diseases” that can threaten residents.  “Contact with these animals can result in bodily injury or even death.”

    Foster noted that despite good intentions, human interaction can be harmful for the animals, particularly babies who may wander.  “Please don’t take baby animals, fawns for example, into your home.  Just leave them for the mother deer to find,” she said.  “The animal mothers will find their young.”

    Residents are cautioned to keep distance from any wild animal on their property, especially if it is acting erratically.  Do not approach and contact the Animal Control Officer at (508) 252-5421.


CONGRESSMAN KENNEDY ANNOUNCES MILITARY ACADEMY APPOINTMENTS

(June 5, 2014)  Yesterday, Congressman Joe Kennedy announced that eight high school students from the 4th District were appointed to United States Services Academies for 2014. Kennedy, with the guidance of an advisory committee, nominated these students for an appointment earlier this year including

    Erin Fleet of Rehoboth was appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy and Paige Monk of Rehoboth was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, both into the Class of 2018.

     “The United States Service Academies train the best and brightest of this country’s next generation of armed forces,” said Kennedy. “Through an unwavering commitment to their community, remarkable personal achievements and tireless work ethic, these eight young men and women earned the tremendous honor of representing our Commonwealth at these prestigious institutions. I know they will not only excel at our service academies, but will proudly wear their uniform in defense of our great nation.”

   More information about the Service Academy nomination and appointment process can be found on Congressman Kennedy’s website.


TWO REHOBOTH MEN ARRESTED ON DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES

(June 5, 2014)  Rehoboth police, along with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office South Coast Anti-Crime Task Force (SCAT), arrested two Rehoboth men yesterday on drug trafficking charges following an investigation of narcotics delivered by a private parcel service.

     The men, both of the same Tremont Street resident were found in possession of nearly 2000 Oxycodone pills that had been delivered to a fictitious recipient at a residence without the knowledge and permission of the homeowner.

      Thirty-six-year-old David Bronsdon and thirty-three-year-old Timothy Bronsdon were arrested on drug trafficking of a Class B substance over 250 grams. The estimate street value of the seized narcotics is $60 thousand dollars.

   Following their arrest, cash bail of $50 thousand for each man was set by Taunton District Court Clerk Claudia Abreau. Both men were transferred to the custody of the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office pending their arraignment in Taunton District Court today.


WANT TO VOTE ON TOWN ISSUES?  REGISTER NOW.

(June 5, 2014)  For residents of Rehoboth, over age eighteen, who are currently unregistered to vote (in elections and at town meetings), the town clerk’s office offers voter registration during regular business hours and will conduct two special registration sessions prior later this month.

    Those wishing to register to vote in the upcoming Special Town Meeting (vote on 60-day temporary town budget) on Monday, June 30 must do so by Friday, June 20.  Voter registration will be conducted that day at the town office from from 8 AM to 8 PM. 

    In order to vote on the day of the Special Town Election (Proposition 2 1/2 Tax Override) on Tuesday, July 15, voters must be registered by Wednesday, June 25. Those wishing to register by this deadline can do so on June 25 from 8 AM to 8 PM at the town office.

    Residents can also register to vote during regular town office business hours, Monday thru Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Fridays from 8 AM to 12 Noon.  Mail-in voter registration is also available by using a form available online that must be completed and mailed to the Town Clerk’s Office, 148 Peck Street. 


DRRHS CELEBRATION OF EXCELLENCE FOR 2014 GRADS

(June 4, 2014)  Members of 2014 Senior Class were recognized at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School’s annual ‘Celebration of Excellence’ held last night at the school. Over 75 seniors were awarded scholarships and the school’s annual departmental awards were given to the most deserving student in each discipline.

    Lauren Farris was recognized as chosen valedictorian of the Class of 2014 and Case Framson as salutatorian.  Both Jenna Ziegelmayer and Allan Boudreau Fine received the Principal’s Award.

    The Beatrice Kammerer Award, given to a senior who best exemplifies honesty, humility, responsibility and consideration of others, was awarded to Mikaela Thiboutot.

    The James Frates Medal was awarded to Stefanie Dias, a senior member of the National Honor Society who best exemplifies the qualities of scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

    The Robert T. Roy Medal, awarded to the most outstanding member of the senior class, was presented to Zoe Karavolis.

     The John A. Berger Award, presented to a senior in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program who has shown the most improvement, was awarded to Kyle Medeiros. CTE student Casey Clausen was received the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators Award, along with the Nathan Lawrence Medal, given to the most outstanding student in the CTE program.

    Dighton-Rehoboth’s Academic Medalists who will have their names added to the school’s academic Hall of Fame include: Amber Blanchette for Art; Christopher Berry for Science; Matthew Haynes for Music; Case Framson for English; Connor Saleeba and Samantha Rodrigues for Physical Education; Emma Kearns for the William Grover Medal in Social Studies;  Lauren Farris for the Elinor Smith Mathematics Medal; Stefanie Dias for the Margaret Kammerer Halliwell Medal for Foreign Language; Austin Burrows for the Phoenix Award in Guidance; Matthew Noviello for the Marcille Medal in Industrial Arts; and Courtney Liston for the Helena M. Kennedy Medal in Business.

    Dighton-Rehoboth will host graduation on Saturday, June 7 at 4:30 PM on the DRRHS football field, or in the case of inclement weather in the gymnasium. with an inclement weather site as the gymnasium. Should weather be a factor, seating will be limited to two (2) tickets per graduate due to space restrictions in the school gymnasium.


REHOBOTH OFFICIAL TO BUZZ OFF HAIR FOR CHARITY

(June 4, 2014)  Rehoboth Town Planner and Conservation Agent Leeann Bradley will participate in The One Mission Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off on Sunday, June 8 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

   Along with buzzing off her hair on Sunday, she has a goal of raising $5,000 to help  “fund vital programs and services that are helping kids beat cancer.”

     “I have chosen to buzz off my hair because the toll pediatric cancer takes on patients and their families is profound,” said Bradley.  “Children must endure painful treatments and lengthy hospital stays while their families cope with unimaginable stress, anxiety and financial strain.”

    Through the support of donors, One Mission is “bringing help, hope, care and support to pediatric cancer patients and their families.”  Those wishing to support Bradley can do so online.  “It’s simple, fast, and totally secure,” she said, adding that donors may be eligible for matching funds through their employers.  “Remember to check with your company’s human resources department.”


SELECTMEN SET SPECIAL TOWN MEETING FOR JUNE 30

(June 3, 2014)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectman, with three members in attendance at last night’s regular meeting, announced a Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, June 30. 

    A quorum of 60 registered voters will be required to convene the meting to decide on a temporary 60-day town budget prior to the start of the new fiscal year (FY15) on July 1, 2014.  A special town meeting warrant will be printed and mailed to households to notify residents of this important meeting.  The town requires voter approval of the temporary budget (July 1 thru Sept. 1) in order to continue to operate municipal government. 

    According to selectmen, the temporary budget will essentially be the FY14 budget continued for an additional 60 days. They clearly stated it would not be an approval of the proposed FY15 budget which is now contingent on passing a Proposition 2 1/2 tax override on a ballot question set for Tuesday, July 15.

     A hiring freeze was imposed last night by selectmen until the town budget issues can be resolved.  Town departments, including the police department, will not be permitted to hire new personnel until further notice.

    The town faces a $1.7 million deficit  for the FY15 budget due to an equivalent amount approved for the town’s school district assessment.  A record number of residents at May annual town meeting approved increasing the school budget from $13.1 million (or the finance committee’s recommended state minimum assessment of $13.1 million) to the regional school district’s request of $14.9 million for the next school year.

    If the tax override is not approved by voters at the polls on July 15, the town must schedule another special town meeting so that voters can have a say in what cuts must be made in the budget.  Officials have repeatedly warned the first cuts will be to “non-vital” services and both the senior center and library face closure.  Many other town services will be eliminated or suffer severe cuts.  Employee layoffs are likely along with the subsequent costs related to unemployment.  They have predicted the town will change drastically if the tax override is not passed.

     Faced with a budget crisis, selectmen said they will put effort into educating the public by posting information in physical locations and by utilizing the town website and town managed public access television through Comcast.   


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