May 2, 2015

Good Schools at the Expense of Other Town Needs?


Last year I voted for the school budget increase at town meeting and I voted for the Proposition 2 1/2 override vote which was voted down.  This year I am so outraged by the Dighton members of the school committee and their attitudes and comments that I will NEVER vote for the D-R School Committee’s proposed budget. 


The Rehoboth Finance Committee made a reasonable 3-way proposal to keep our budget in line without having to go for another Prop 2 1/2 override vote (knowing this will never pass in this town).  This included the use of free cash and equal cuts to the School Committee proposed budget and the town budget.  How dare the Dighton school committee members question how our town spends its money and what our capital needs are.  We do not question how Dighton spends their money.  That being said I believe the state formula for determining town money contribution in regional school districts  is flawed.  They take the wealth of the town in property and income into consideration and do not make an adjustment for income disparity in town. 


Yes, we have some wealthy residents and some very high-end developments, however most residents are average folks just trying to get by.  It’s time our elected state officials do something to address this issue.  I believe in great schools -- my son attends D/R High -- but I don’t believe in schools at the expense of other town needs and those residents on fixed incomes.  


Jayne Furze, Rehoboth Resident

January 19, 2015

“I do plan to run for re-election . . . and want and need your support.”


Letter to all:


The cardinal rule for “politicians” is DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING!  As an elected regional school committee person, I am a politician -- and that’s not always a bad word.  As many of you have in the past, I am asking for your support in my re-election to the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee.

 

My primary objectives for the next three years will be:

 

1)    Finalize an amendment to the Dighton Rehoboth Regional Agreement that spells out responsibilities properly and defines the legal Statutory process for assessments for each town. As the co-chairman of the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC), I have been working with other school committee members, with selectmen and finance committee members from both towns and with “citizens at large” to make these structural corrections in the agreement. A draft of the RAAC’s consensus agreement is being worked on as we speak today and will be discussed at the RAAC meeting tomorrow evening, Tuesday, January 20.

 

2)   Discuss and hopefully reach consensus on an alternative assessment formula that is “fair” to our town, the other town in the region -- and all of the students that we are responsible for.  I expect that discussion to start within the next month or two.

 

3)   Recommend a FY16 school budget to the Rehoboth Town Meeting in May that provides the funding for the important curricular and extracurricular programs in our schools while at the same time does NOT rob from Peter (the town departments) to pay for Paul (the schools).  We need to strike a balance that is fair and reasonable for all services that the town provides.

 

4)   Negotiate fair but fiscally prudent contracts with our school district employees. As chairman of the School Committee’s Negotiations Sub Committee, I will, along with the rest of the members on our negotiation teams, be honest and reasonable when it comes to paying for the quality of education that our children deserve.

 

There are many other objectives of the administration and the school committee. But the four I listed above are where I think that I personally can help the most over the next three years.


Independent candidates are already taking out papers to run in the April 6 election. Republican and Democrat caucuses are scheduled in February. I wanted you all to know that I do plan to run for re-election and that I do want -- and need -- your support.


Thanks for listening -- and please “reply” with your questions and comments.


David Katseff, member, Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee

December 31, 2011

Rejection of Dismissal 
Note:  the following letter was written by Christopher Morra to Rehoboth Town Administrator Jeffrey Ritter on December 28, 2011.  It was submitted to Vox Populi by Mr. Morra.

     “In response to your letter of December 22, 2011, please be advised that I reject the improper action of the Board of Selectmen on Monday, December 19, 2011 “to rescind (my) appointment to the Finance Committee.”  As Mr. Costello and Mr. Tito should know, the Board of Selectmen is without authority to remove me from the Finance Committee under the circumstances.  Massachusetts law provides due process protections for my term of service once I am sworn in as a Finance Committee member -- I was given no notice of this planned and improper action of the Board of Selectmen.  Our local Bylaw only allows for removal if a member is excessively absent -- I have not been absent from a regular session of the Finance Committee.  While I understand that you are merely the messenger of the Board of Selectmen’s improper act, I must respond to you as the official that sent the notice of December 22, 2011.  You are informed that I will challenge the Board of Selectmen’s improper action at all appropriate levels of government.
     Mr. Costello’s personal call to have me removed from the Finance Committee is just one more example of his personal disregard for me and disregard for lawful governance of this town.  It is important to remember that Mr. Costello previously attempted to unseat me from the Finance Committee shortly after he became Chairman of the Board of Selectmen.
     Mr. Costello’s animus towards me is well known.  Indeed in his recent election activities, Mr. Costello together with Mr. Tito employed my name in a derogatory manner and made false and disparaging remarks about me although I was not on the ballot.  Mr. Costello has often distorted facts were I am concerned in order to advance his own agenda.  His remarks on December 19, 2011 fit his pattern of disparagement of me.  Mr. Costello’s disparaging and distorted remarks about me at the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on December 19 were shameful and hypocritical, particularly where he is the subject of a scathing report by the Massachusetts Inspector General’s office alleging he violated laws for his own personal gain.  I have served the Town of Rehoboth for the betterment of the town and its residents and not for my own personal “agenda” or gain.
     Please be advised that complaints for Open Meeting Law violations relating to the improper actions of the Finance Committee and the Board of Selectmen, which are at the center of this controversy, are being contemporaneously filed with the Town Clerk.
     In closing, I am still an active member of the Rehoboth Finance Committee and will continue to serve the Town of Rehoboth despite the continuing actions of some in government to misuse their authority to cause me and other’s harm.”

Christopher Morra

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September 17, 2014

D-R Regional School Committee Seeks Citizens for the Regional

Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC)


The Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee has authorized the formation of a Regional Agreement Amendment Committee ( RAAC ) which will be comprised of four members of the school committee (two from each town), one Selectman from each town, one Finance Committee member from each town and two citizens-at-large from each town. One of those citizens will be appointed by the Selectmen in that town and the other citizen from each town will be appointed by the School Committee. Also, both the Superintendent and the Schools’ Business Manager will be on the RAAC as resources for the group.

 

We expect this RAAC group will meet for the next 6 to 12 months, probably with 1 or 2 meetings per month. We ask that all Rehoboth citizens interested in being part of the RAAC submit their letter of interest to one or both of:

  1. 1)  For the Selectmen’s appointment: to Jeff Ritter, Town Administrator

  2. 2)  For the School Committee’s appointment: to Dr Anthony Azar, Superintendent of Schools

 

All letters from Citizens are to be submitted by September 19.  At the School Committee’s regular meeting on September 23, all appointments will be announced.

 

David Katseff

Co-chair, Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC)

member of the D-R Regional School Committee

September 25, 2014

There are alternatives to public schools


I have followed with increasing concern the overcrowding in our public school elementary classrooms, particularly in kindergarten.  As a parent of two elementary-school aged children, I am heartbroken to read of a local kindergartner whose first-day-of-school experience resulted in her coming home hungry at the end of a long day due to an overcrowded environment beyond the control of her well-meaning teachers and school.  We all need to support our public schools so that financial priority can be given to funding them sufficiently to ensure that no child falls through the cracks in the lunchroom or the classroom.


I believe it is my responsibility as a parent, however, to let others know that alternatives do exist. In nearby Rehoboth, for example, is The Pinecroft School - an independent school for grades K-5, specializing in small class size and individualized attention for more than 30 years.  Obviously, there are costs associated with private and independent schools, some more extensive than others, but parents looking for alternatives for their children shouldn't rule out investigating them.  Schools vary considerably in their affordability, and many will go the distance to work with you for the good of your child’s education. 


Time and again research has shown that smaller class sizes with individual attention, particularly in the elementary years, pay dividends throughout a child’s overall education and into adulthood.  Teachers are able to recognize the needs of individual students and customize assignments accordingly.  Fewer discipline problems and more opportunities for positive social interaction arise.  Children learn to speak respectfully to each other, to adults, and in front of a group.  There are fewer distractions, teachers are less stressed, and classrooms are a more pleasant place to spend the day.


A 2010 American Federation of Teachers study reports that students who had the benefit of small class size in the early years enjoy long-term effects such as higher scores on achievement tests, increased likelihood of applying to college, higher earnings and even better health in the long run.  Working together with an independent school to meet the needs of your child or grandchild in his/her early, formative school years can reward you with a lifetime of dividends. 

Jim Counihan

President, The Pinecroft School Board of Directors

(The Pinecroft School is located on Tremont Street in Rehoboth)

October 22, 2014

Article 10 takes away your rights.


Article 10 is a means to limit any town budget line item increases to no more than five percent or $100,000.  While this may sound like it makes sense right now what about your rights in the future?  What this says indirectly is that you the voter at town meeting will give away your rights to make changes to a budget that was put together by an appointed five member committee.  Are you okay with taking away your rights to make changes forever?  Do you know who will be on the Finance Committee in the future?


This article may have been created with good intentions, but it is “half baked”.  There are numerous other communities that have better ways of controlling large unanticipated line item increases but do not take away the rights of the voter.  Some communities will allow a two week period just after the posting of the proposed town budget to allow the voters to make a written petition for line item changes over amounts of $100,000 if so desired.  Then after the two week period and inclusive of town meeting night, any motion over $100,000 would not be permitted.  This would allow the voters to still maintain their rights but allow the residents to understand any proposed petitions for $100,000 prior to town meeting.

Please take the time to think about how you will lose your rights as a voter if this passes.  Without adequate consideration of this article, the potential fallout could be everlasting. VOTE NO on Article 10 and keep your rights.

Ellen and Alan Corvi, Rehoboth Residents

October 22, 2014

Don’t give up your power:

Reject Article 10


Article 10 of the Special Town Meeting Warrant recommends an amendment to our general bylaws that puts voter control of town spending in serious jeopardy.

The article, as set forth by the board of selectmen, states that during town meeting, “the Moderator shall ordinarily rule a motion to increase the proposed total appropriation to be out of order if it increases any appropriation by more than five (5%) or $100,000, whichever is greater.” 

Should this bylaw change pass, funding amounts would be limited to the parameters pre-set by the finance committee, an unelected board appointed by the board of selectmen.  We, as voters, would abdicate much of our traditional right to propose budget amendments or modifications as we see fit.  The judgment of town meeting would be constrained by the limits imposed by the finance committee’s pre-determined decisions.  In essence, this change would transform the role of the finance committee from an advisory board to a decision-making body.  The power of town meeting to determine the way our money is spent would be partially eroded because of these new limitations.

No doubt, the town meeting process can be messy and laborious, but it was crafted to give all citizens an equal voice.  This bylaw change would make it easier for future boards of selectmen and/or finance committees to set their own agendas for the town budget. Turning over any of the power and responsibility we hold as citizens should never be taken lightly.  Rejecting this article would ensure that we, as voters, retain our strong voice in determining what is best for our town.

Deb Woodard, Rehoboth Resident


Made on a Mac

Editor’s Note:  Article 10 on the October Special Town Meeting warrant was tabled before discussion at the request of the chair of the Board of Selectman.


Made on a Mac

February 17, 2015

An opinion on how people responded to RehobothNow snow survey


I don't know how many of the ‘respondents’ to the ‘survey’ had to drive in that blizzard of 1978, but I have my own opinion on that. I drove from work in East Providence to Rehoboth that day and made it home only because I had a 1968 VW Beetle with 15" wheels and the weight was right over those back wheels.  A good majority of the cars in that era were rear-wheel drive and not so good in the snow. That added to the problem. People walked, left their cars, camped out at work or anywhere they could get in out of the weather and maybe grab something to eat.  And yet, there didn't seem to be as many complaints as I heard in that survey. Here in Rehoboth after that storm, the police and fire sent snowmobiles and took people to hospitals or went and got critical prescription drugs for them. The snowmobile owners were more than glad to let their vehicles be used for the common good because we weren't allowed to drive for almost a week.  My dad was having a cardiac episode just as the snow ended, and we were able to get the Civil Defense van to come and get him and take him to Memorial Hospital. We were overjoyed. Everybody pulled together. Everybody checked on everybody, and we were all glad just to know that somebody would help if we needed it.


Today, a good proportion of the cars are front-wheel drive, some are all-wheel drive, and many are four-wheel drive, thus making it easier to drive in snow as opposed to those old rear-wheel drive cars.  Every year, you had to put snow tires on. Ugh! I drove to work in snow (including 1978) for more than 45 years.  You do what you have to do - leave early, try to carpool, whatever. 


I'm retired now, and when I read things like what was in the survey, I would like to ask some of those people if they would rather be sitting in a refugee camp somewhere in the Middle East, or following a covered wagon across the United States (way back when) through all kinds of hideous weather, or even scrambling in this day and age to get enough to feed yourself and your family.  It's only snow folks, take your time and let the plow drivers do their jobs.  We've got enough ‘things’ going on in this country and all over the world, so ‘make do’ and get on with it.


Lois Crowther

Rehoboth Resident


Made on a Mac

March 1, 2015

Do D-R school administrators understand OSHA?


When I read the article on this issue I was reminded of other incidents where student safety was not considered paramount. So, I have to ask if anyone in the DR administration understands the meaning of the letters O S H A. However, someone there must because there was a time when safety problems were found in the vocational machinery at the school. Nothing seems to have changed in the administration's sense of safety. Something needs to change and soon.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

March 1, 2015

Accountability of school district administration


Regarding the news article about selectmen wanting accountability for the school closure on Monday, February 23:

This incident is only one more example how throwing money at the administration in our school is not the answer. We are paying for a over staffed group of administrators that care little for the safety of children they have in their charge.


I would like to know the name of the local contractor, how much he was paid and how much he paid these children to climb on the roof to clear snow.  I would like to see proof that he had workers comp insurance?  Why if the roof was unsafe for children and staff to be in the school with the weight of the snow were these children allowed to be on top with the snow?  What if one of these children fell off the roof ? The school has sky lights on them that the district remembered when they wanted the roof repaired.  Did they forget this when they allowed teenagers on the roof?  Does the company that insures the buildings or the bank that holds the bond know about this? 


Both towns need to question why the Ddistrict has no problem putting children at risk as long as we the taxpayer pay the attorney fees for their stupid actions.  The selectmen are absolutely correct to demand answers from the district and I applaud Mr. Costello for making sure nothing tragic happened to those young people. Taxpayers need to start demanding that the district inform us how money is spent when it involves contractors and that these contractors are following all the laws involved with the project. 


The issues with this district go far beyond money problems and lawyer fees.  The parents of our children from both towns need to get involved and demand answers other then the usual "we will discuss it in executive session."  


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

March 2, 2015

Silent Auction to Upgrade Rehoboth Library’s Facilities


Ever dodge the clouds in a helicopter? With this killer winter upon us, wouldn’t it be nice to get away from it all. Imagine a balmy cruise along the Westport River. Or does a visit to a health spa or a local theater troupe hold greater appeal? All of these items and a lot more are up for bid at a “Silent Auction” fundraiser, set for March 6 and 7, to benefit the Blanding Free Public Library in Rehoboth.


One hundred years ago in 1915, Goff Memorial Hall – the current site of the Blanding Library – was rebuilt after it had been destroyed by a lightning strike. Goff Hall today is one of the town’s most significant historic buildings and also the cultural hub of Rehoboth, housing the Library and an adjacent auditorium that is frequently used for community musical events and contra dancing.


A century-old building can have its limitations, however, and that is the case with Goff Hall:  Its early-20th century sanitary facilities are not accessible to people with disabilities, nor is the children’s library collection accessible to those not able to negotiate a staircase. 


The Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, which owns and operates the Blanding Library, has embarked on a capital development campaign to modernize Goff Hall’s physical plant so that it becomes ADA (Americans With Disabilities) compliant. It is estimated these improvements will cost $330,000. To date, the library has received substantial contributions towards that goal from various municipal, state, and local charitable organizations. Approximately $85,000 remains to be generated. 

The Silent Auction is the premier event in this fundraising effort. The auction will be held at the Blanding Free Public Library, 124 Bay State Road, Rehoboth, from 10 AM to 4 PM on Friday, March 6 and Saturday, March 7, with the auction finale from 7 to 8:30 PM on Saturday evening. 


Those wishing further information about the Rehoboth Antiquarian Society, the Blanding Library, the silent auction, or the Goff Hall improvement project may contact Library Director Laura Bennett (lbennett@sailsinc.org, 508-252-4236) or Library Volunteer Wayne Taylor (wjtaylor@comcast.net, 508-455-8860).


Wayne Taylor, Rehoboth Resident

March 9, 2015

Kindness makes all the difference


Sometimes in life you come across kind hearted people who are willing to take a chance to make someone else’s life more meaningful simply by giving them the opportunity to work.


I am fortunate enough to know such people, and for that reason I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the owner and staff of the local business who has given my autistic son the opportunity to work, feel appreciated and have a sense of accomplishment.


At age 22, my son has recently transitioned from high school to adult services.  He currently attends a day program in North Attleboro Monday through Thursday.  He does not attend on Fridays.   On Fridays he goes to work from 10 AM until 2 PM and it is without a doubt the best day of the week for him.  He loves working and is always eager to go.   He works alongside the rest of the staff as they prepare for the busy day ahead.  He is paid minimum wage and although he has no sense of money at all, receiving his paycheck makes him feel more like an adult.


This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it is for my son.  As a parent, it is hard enough raising a special needs child.  When you continue the process into adulthood it gets even more complicated.  The transition process takes years to finalize, and when everything comes together, it’s all worth it.  So again I’d like to say “Thank You.”  You are unknowingly a piece of the puzzle that makes it all come together.  I will not mention the name of the local business, but you know who you are.  What you are doing for my son means a lot to him, and it really means the world to me.


Donna Procopio, Rehoboth Resident

March 29, 2015

School Choice for Dighton Rehoboth


Who had a choice in this decision?  Superintendent Azar has been very clear that the classrooms are full and that to make them any larger by laying off staff would have a negative impact on our children.  He tells us the cost per child to be educated in our schools is $10,000 per child.  He now wants to bring 20 children (at the selectmen's meeting he said 30) at what he calls a revenue of $5,000 per child.  


There is also no mention of busing these children.  I watch the School Committee fighting over who pays for the children of Dighton & Rehoboth but no mention of this little problem.


Is anyone else thinking we have a clown car in charge here?


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 2, 2015

School Choice?


Regarding the MA school choice program, the tuition for the student is paid by the student's home district and given to the school district he/she is attending.  http://www.doe.mass.edu/finance/schoolchoice/  


Most costs at a school are fixed once you have reached a certain threshold of student population.  When at or above that threshold, the net between the tuition received vs the true cost of adding students would be a net positive to the receiving school.  


Also, the student from out of the district must secure their own transportation to and from school.  No bus service is supplied.


Jon Wuebker, Dighton Resident


April 2, 2015

Clarifying School Choice


As Chairperson of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee, I would like to clear up some confusion regarding the district's School Choice program. 


The School Committee voted to approve 20 seats in the freshman class and five seats each in grades 10, 11 and 12.  The district receives  $5,000 per student. The students participating in the School Choice program must  provide their own transportation. The district is not responsible for any costs in this regard. The program would not increase  any freshman class by more than  two to three students.


School Choice allows Dighton-Rehoboth to invite students from neighboring districts to experience the "D-R Difference" and creates revenue for seats that would otherwise remain unfilled. I hope this information serves as clarification.


Eliza Couture

Chairperson, Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee

April 15, 2015

Can school district prioritize needs?


All superintendents inherit from past administrations. I understand that, but as a taxpayer it has been repeated that maintenance is built in the budget every year. The district wants not one roof repair, but all roofs repaired -- not one heating system replaced, but all of them at the same time. Palmer River School needs not only a roof, but windows.  What has happened to the money that was supposed to maintain the schools?  Maybe we do need the state to audit the books and find out what exactly happened to those funds year after year.


The Rehoboth Finance Committee questioned $50,000 in last year’s school budget for an electrician that was never used. Why can't they use that to replace the boilers at the high school?  I very much care about the children in both towns, but as a homeowner I have to choose what is a priority when doing repairs to my home. Repairing schools that are falling down a little at a time is more important then creating a vocational school. 


I don't see how our town can afford to go broke because of one department’s management practices.  


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 17, 2015

Does class size really affect educational success?


Tonight's BOS meeting with the school committee reminded me of an issue that I raised at town meeting several years ago. At that time I raised the issue of the rapidly increasing monetary demands by the regional school district without any consideration for what could be done to contain the costs. It seems heresy to suggest that larger populations in the classroom might be a solution.


Consider this: upon entering college or university, students often find themselves in auditorium-size classrooms along with 300 to 500 other students. If we are to believe smaller is the only way to go, then it stands to reason it is miraculous any college student can thrive, but they do.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 17, 2015

Bigger Slice of the Pie


There is a problem of income inequality and the Dighton Rehoboth School committee made all too evident tonight. They seem to mirror the one percent in that they have the biggest piece of the pie, but are never satisfied.


We should all pick ourselves up by our bootstraps so they can live in the life style they are accustomed to. Several years ago at a town meeting, we did an override to put the addition on the high school.


The administration came back for more money to buy books not in their 24 million dollar budget.  An elderly taxpayer said to the superintendent, "shame on you!"

I see no change.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 29, 2015

The Art of Playing Chicken


Last night's school committee meeting seems to have been an exercise in punish the other town.


Between repeated complaints about inequities in past years and an apparent obsession with Rehoboth's need to replace fire department equipment, no movement towards compromise was accomplished. It makes one wonder if the history of the district has left it and its school committee so broken that it will take six month's of month by month continuation of the last approved budget allocations to get anywhere.


By the time this reaches its absurd end, the time for new programs to be put in place will long have passed. The result might be that all the funds really needed will be what is already in place or perhaps less. It’s been said that the art of playing chicken is knowing when to flinch, but it is a destructive game at best.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 30, 2015

Dear Dighton Members of the School Committee


You need to live within our means. You act like the child that whines when you want something, gets it, then spends the money foolishly. It is your job to manage the school budget, not dictate what Rehoboth spends on other departments. The taxpayers of Rehoboth decide what departments should have. It is not for outsiders that have no investment in our community to decide.  Year after year, you overspend then demand an override from Rehoboth taxpayers. Would you be anxious for a tax increase in your town?  


Your snarkey comments calling Rehoboth taxpayers cheap because we are tired of your mismanaging the school budget was adolescent and insulting. When looking at your budget there are were no decreases or stabilizing of salaries as Rehoboth employees had to bear last year.  You cannot keep putting staff salaries ahead of maintaining the buildings and then act surprised when the roof leaks. Even as boilers are leaking, windows are falling out, and the high school needs a roof you discuss more staff for a vocational school.  Instead of trying to recruit children from other communities you should verify how many students are actually residents of the district to determine if you can balance the budget by eliminating positions that are redundant.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

May 2, 2015

Maybe the State should take over the school district budget.


I am disgusted by the behavior of some of the school committee members at their last meeting. Instead of trying to compromise with Rehoboth to come up with a reasonable school budget for the next fiscal year, two of the Dighton members acted immature by repeating the same arguments throughout the meeting trying to dictate how Rehoboth should spend its money; and by refusing to listen to any logical comments town residents and other school committee members gave them.


Furthermore, select school committee members kept insisting they need all of the proposed money for the school and claiming taxpayers must not care about the children because taxpayers are not willing to approve their over-inflated budget. Maybe the state needs to take over the school and look at the budget. Parents and children have nothing to fear if this happens.  The children will still be educated and the state will act in their best interest.


We have less students attending our schools, but the district wants to maintain the same number of employees and a yearly increasing budget at significant cost to the taxpayers with no improvement to the education the children receive. In fact, the district is performing worse today than I have ever seen in my lifetime of living in Rehoboth.

Gina Vincent, Rehoboth Resident

May 2, 2015

You can help the hummingbirds.


Just a note to people in Rehoboth that enjoy our little friends the hummingbirds.  They have come back and are very thirsty this year. I don't know if it's because of the long winter we had, but it's a big help to get your feeders our for these little guys that have come so far to visit us. 


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

May 22, 2015

School Choice and Department of Education Statistics


Anyone looking at the decline in students in our District will see that the answer is not adding outside children but reducing staff.  


The numbers from the DOE show at this rate of decline we will be maintaining  schools for other towns at this rate. All the over head is on Dighton Rehoboth taxpayers. As it is now we have a student/teacher ratio of  14.3 to 1 and according to these numbers students are declining. Is this being done to make money or save jobs at taxpayers expense?  


Our schools are 70% of our total town budget.  That made sense when our children actually went to the school.  It does not make sense when we are paying for children from other communities. You can review the DOE information here.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

May 22, 2015

Thanks from NEATTA for Successful Spring Show/Tractor Pulls


I want to thank Connie, the editor of RehobothNow, for advertising our NEATTA event -- the Spring Show/Tractor Pulls and Swap Meet. We collected about 9 crates of food for the Rehoboth Food Pantry and over $650 dollars in donations for them. The weather finally cooperated this year and lots of people came out to watch the pulls and see the display of antique vehicles.


We would also like to thank Ken Foley from Francis Farm for his generous use of the beautiful property for our event and Rehoboth Rescue for selling coffee (our starting fluid for the day) and donuts so early in morning.


Watch for us at the Memorial Day Parade!


Bev Baker, NEATTA Secretary

June 11, 2015

So, what’s up with Comcast?


On Wednesday, June 10 my area experienced a outage by Comcast.  For months I have called asking why I keep getting error messages 225 -- the video signal has been lost interrupting our watching anything on all channels.  The picture freezes, breaks up, and does what Comcast calls tiling. We have been told it's a problem with our house.  Upon talking to neighbors on our street this seems to be happening to others and they are told the same thing.


Heads up.  Are any other Rehoboth residents having this problem and told by Comcast it's your equipment causing this?  


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident


August 24, 2015

Printed Annual Reports Available at Town Office


I was very pleasantly surprised when going to the town hall last week that there are printed 2014 Annual Town Reports printed for Rehoboth residents.  These are especially important to people that have no access to the internet.  I thought this would be helpful information for your readers in case they have neighbors or family that are unable to find this information on line.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

August 26, 2015

Walter Munroe will be missed


I am so sad to hear about the passing of Mr. Walter Monroe.  Just last week, my husband and I left the grain store after buying dog food and saw him waving to us.  I have lived here for almost forty years and so remember this man that was such a part of our town with his big brown horses blocking Fairview Avenue in his wagon and no one objected to this at all.  This was a time when we enjoyed seeing a real part of a life we all wished we were a part of.  No one beeped the horn or cursed because there was a little bit of us that wished we were him in that wagon with those big beautiful horses pulling a wagon in our straw hat and cowboy boots.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

Front Page    News     Features    Stories    Briefs    Event Scroll    Vox Populi    Calendar 

September 3, 2015

Friends of Marching Band Collecting Instruments


Has your son or daughter permanently lost interest in their musical instrument? Do you have a trombone gathering dust behind the couch? Is there a clarinet, or a flute sadly sitting in a corner feeling unloved and unwanted? Have you seriously considered turning that tuba into a vase? Would you like to see those instruments go to loving homes?


Have no fear, the Friends of the D-R Marching Band are here to help! We are collecting unwanted instruments to be refurbished and given to music students in the D-R Regional school district at no cost. Any instruments are welcome - from glockenspiels to banjos. We want the music programs in our district to thrive! By making available an instrument to a student for free, we hope to help our programs grow and expose the students to the wonders of music.


If you would like to help, please email Melissa Enos at Melissa.enos@gmail.com to coordinate a pick-up or drop off.  Thank you!


Melissa Enos, President Friends of the D-R Marching Band

December 18, 2015

Thank You on Behalf of the Sons of the American Legion


On behalf of the Sons of The American Legion Squadron #302, I would like to thank all those who attended our Meat Raffle on Friday, December 11, 2015. 


We are looking forward to holding monthly Meat Raffles.  For those of you who did not attend, it is my pleasure to let you know that we have jazzed things up a bit.  We have changed the items offered at the raffle to bigger and better things!  We are now raffling complete dinner baskets, breakfast specials, and many other offerings. 


The next scheduled Meat Raffle is Friday, January 22, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  The kitchen will also be open at 6:00 p.m. for you to have dinner before and during the raffle.  Bring your family for some fun and to win some great prizes!


Douglas Viall, Commander

Sons of the American Legion Squadron #302

December 31, 2015

Find out how Dighton-Rehoboth Schools are really performing.


Under the Feature Section on the front page of Rehoboth Now, I couldn't help but notice "DRHS designated level 1 performing school" but there isn't any more information than that.  When checking on how our district is doing with the MA DOE 2015 Accountability Report.


I found this was deceiving taxpayers in regard to how our schools are doing.  This is the link on all our schools and how the district is actually performing.


http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/state_report/accountability.aspx


Linda Harringon, Rehoboth Resident

March 1, 2016

Questions need to be answered.


Taxpayers in Rehoboth should pay careful attention to what is going on with what the Regional Agreement Committee is proposing. There are many questions that need to be answered before any changes are made, not the least of those questions is allowing other towns to not only be part of the district but make decisions regarding the school system Dighton and Rehoboth are paying for.  


Are the towns involved going to send the property taxes along with the students we pay to educate?  $5,000 the state gives per student does not make a dent in the cost per child. If the towns these children come from also take partnership in bonds taken out for repairs, updates, or any other project the district decides is needed, what about the equity we have in the high school and the bonds still in effect?  


Is the equity in this property equally portioned out to towns that put nothing in for all these years?  If the district receives reimbursement where does that money go?  Or is that going to be none of our business like the money requested every year for things that the District never really needed.


Don't expect your tax dollars to ever be spent on roads, people to plow or fix the roads or a public safety complex as long as the district is getting us to pay for children outside the two towns to maintain staff at that albatross called the high school.


The responses by Mr. Katseff and Mr. Andrade to Mr. Deignan's request for copies of agendas and minutes for RAAC

meetings that "Your (sic) an idiot" or simply ignoring him is typical of the school committee and their arrogance when questioned where taxpayer money is being wasted.


Linda Harringon, Rehoboth Resident

March 5,  2016

Regarding the proposed new regional agreement


RAAC: Pupils in grades kindergarten through eight shall attend schools located in their towns of residence except (i) pupils in special education classes who shall attend schools as designated by the Superintendent and (ii) other pupils on the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools and by vote of the Committee.

    What exactly does this statement mean?  What are "Other Pupils"?  Why do these pupils have to be separated from the other children not singled out? If the district decides a child is one of the "Other Pupils" and the parents contest we face more lengthy law suits at taxpayers expense?  Do we want the district SEGREGATING designated pupils?  Is the district educating children or institutionalizing them?  At a time when the DOE is trying to mainstream the disabled to allow them opportunity to a free appropriate education, our educators want to create their own version of Ladd School. There is no room in public dducation for this kind of prejudice.


RAAC: If a school described in subsection III-B should become unusable because of damage or other cause, the Committee may vote to use a school in the other member town on a temporary emergency basis until facilities become available in the member town of residence of the pupils.

    The district needs to explain what is unusable.  Is this in the case of fire or is this going to be decided because the district fails to repair one of the buildings to force an over ride of Proposition. 2/12 again?  


RAAC:  The Committee shall also be authorized to make major improvements, alterations, additions or capital expenditures to member town-owned schools.  

   The district has failed to maintain the high school how can we trust you to maintain the rest of our schools?   


RAAC:  Capital costs for the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School (grades nine through twelve) shall be apportioned to the member towns annually for the ensuing fiscal year on the basis of the member towns’ equalized valuations and the member towns’ pupil enrollments in the Regional District High School. 

   The problem with equalized valuations is Rehoboth will always pay more per child while families that actually earn a substantial income will pay less per child to attend the school. This is welfare for the wealthy.


Proposed additional towns will have full access to the total assets paid for by Dighton and Rehoboth without incurring any of the sunk investment in the high school facility. How can this be a fair and equitable arrangement?


Linda Harringon, Rehoboth Resident

March 10, 2016

Community members forced to stand during School com meeting

Dear Selectman, School Committee members, School Staff, Parents and Residents,


I am writing to you to inform you of the unacceptable accommodations and behaviors at last night’s school committee meeting. Approximately 325 community members were seated at the tables in the cafeteria. Being over capacity, the chairman had all the tables and chairs removed from underneath us, forcing everyone to stand to allow the meeting to be held in the room, instead of moving to the auditorium to accommodate everyone in attendance.


When asked if we could move to the auditorium to accommodate the elderly and disabled in attendance, the chairman blatantly refused. Being a resident, a parent of children in the school system, and a human being, I am appalled at this behavior. The chairman was made aware a large crowd would be attending and had ample time to make reasonable accommodations. I sincerely hope a formal apology and an assurance that this will not happen again will be following this letter.


Melissa St.Laurent


Note: The D-R Regional School Committee consists of both Dighton and Rehoboth elected town officials including Tiffany Bartholomew (chair), Christopher Andrade (vice), Richard Barrett (clerk), Eliza Couture, David Katseff, Heather Cross, Janice Terry, Timothy Rapoza, Katherine Cooper, and Glenn Jefferson.  Each has an email address using first initial with last name @drregional.org

March 11, 2016

RAAC co-chairs should resign

Correspondence between committee members, even from a personal email address, is subject to disclosure under the Massachusetts Public Record Law. The following e-mail was obtained pursuant to a public records request I made to a member of the RAAC.

 

This e-mail (below) illustrates the fact the RAAC has been aware it has had an issue with minutes in excess of a year; that other members of the committee have expressed concern over the lack of minutes, and the issue has been ignored by the co-chairs of the RAAC. This e-mail supports my assertion that the RAAC’s violation of the OML has been willful and deliberate, for reasons only know to them and for which we can only speculate.


I call on the co-chairs of the RAAC to resign from their positions as co-chairs of the RAAC in light of these facts.


Michael Deignan, Rehoboth Resident

(Deignan serves as the long-time chair of the Rehoboth Finance Committee and is a town constable)

March 16, 2016

Would dissolution of school district serve both communities better?

While we find the District unable to produce a revised agreement acceptable to the committee assigned to accomplish the task, we are hearing about the regional school committee's inability to complete a pay negotiation with the teachers.


I was under the impression that school choice was to be a financial salvation for the district. Given the report attributed to the committee chairperson that the district has financial problems, I am prompted to again question the growth of the administrative staff and retention of other personnel when both communities would have been better served by reductions in both areas.


Again, if this is the best that they can do and no financial windfall came to fruition, maybe we would be best served by a dissolution of the district.


Timothy J. Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

March 25, 2016

Rehoboth Dad and Daughter to Run Half Marathon to Raise Funds

My dad and I, both Rehoboth residents, are running a half marathon in May to raise money for a Syrian refugee who cannot afford his chemotherapy treatment and we would love your support.


We decided to run for the Syrian refugees because I lived in Jordan a few years ago where I worked with Syrian refugees in the north of Jordan, outside of the camps. During my time there, I met a selfless refugee and father named Mayzied. 


Mayzied is dying from liver cancer and because of the crisis cannot afford his chemotherapy medication. He is a loving father of six daughters and husband of a resilient wife. He is always the first to help with any initiative we have organized to help his fellow Syrian refugees and has never once complained about his own pain. 


We have chosen to run for Mayzied and raise money for his cancer treatment. Amnesty International just released a new report stating that there is inadequate support for Syrian refugees in Jordan who are trying to access critical health care services. The cost of Mayzied's chemotherapy drugs is just $1500 a month, but when you are allocated no more than $400/month to provide your family with food and housing, it is inconceivable to be able to afford the treatment.


Mayzied and his family have lost more than any family should ever have to endure and I cannot imagine what it would do to his family to lose him after they have already lost everything else.


We cannot raise the money to save Mazyied's life without the support of others. GiveForward Fundraising Page.


Jessica Childs, Rehoboth Resident

April 22, 2016

Thank You, Rehoboth Police Department

Although Rehoboth is a rural, tight knit community…crime happens.  Gone are the days of feeling secure leaving doors un-locked.  We live in a world of surveillance cameras and alarm systems to monitor our homes.  We also rely on our Police Department to be there when we need them, and I think we sometimes take that for granted.  It’s good to know, even when they are off-duty, their mind-set is that of still being on-duty.


On April 13th a very observant Detective James Casey, noticed something unusual.  He observed a vehicle with out of state license plates pull into our driveway and drive around to the back of our home. We were not home at the time.  Detective Casey followed the driver down the driveway.  He approached the driver, showed his badge, and began asking questions…a lot of questions. Fortunately for the driver, he had all the right answers.  After his interrogation, Detective Casey determined this person was not an intruder and he went on his way.

A short time later my husband received a phone call from Lieutenant James Medeiros asking if we knew about the driver Detective Casey had questioned at our home.  My husband confirmed that his brother from Texas was staying with us for the week. 

After I got home from work my brother-in-law confessed he was quite rattled by the encounter with Detective Casey.  He had no idea he was being watched and followed, but understood the reasoning behind Detective Casey’s questioning.  The situation would have been entirely different if instead of my brother-in-law pulling into the driveway it was an intruder hoping to break-in.  Detective Casey could have just driven by without stopping.  We could “what if” many different scenarios, but fortunately for us Detective Casey was in the right place at the right time. He noticed something that didn’t seem quite right, and acted on it. 

My husband and I wish to thank the Rehoboth Police Department, especially Detective James Casey and Lieutenant James Medeiros.  We appreciate all they did.  It’s good do know they are looking out for the residents of Rehoboth 24/7 even though we may not realize it.

It just goes to prove you never know who’s watching you…or watching out for you.

Donna Procopio, Rehoboth Resident

May 14, 2016

Thank You, Rehoboth Community

It is with great pleasure to be able to extend to you a heartfelt thanks for your continued support of our school budget for School Year 2016-2017.  The budget process for us begins in October and continues through the school year as my administrative T.E.A.M continuously monitors programs and professional development in order to make sure your teachers are fully prepared to be able to teach our children in a 21st century school environment.  It is my sincere hope that over the next school year both our municipality and our school district continue to dialogue/converse to ensure that both the school community and our local government have the necessary resources to meet the needs of each student as well as the needs of each citizen.  May we look upon this next year for the promising possibilities it holds for our children’s education as well as our municipality.  


Since becoming your Superintendent of Schools, our school district’s two overarching goals are to: 1) Increase student achievement for all students, while 2) Maintaining fiscal stability for both communities.  Moreover, I have remained steadfast in working cooperatively and collaboratively with the Rehoboth and Dighton municipalities in maintaining transparency with regard to the school budget.  Our administrative team has continued discussions with school and community stakeholders based on two fundamental questions: 1) What works, and 2) What needs to be improved?  


In our efforts to continue to build a “Pathway to Excellence” for all children, I would encourage you to continue to help strengthen our home, school and municipality communications.  Please continue to connect with our administration and reach out to me should you have any questions. I look forward to continuing our relationship by being visible and accessible. Also, please continue to be involved with our school through the numerous activities we provide yearly.


I truly value you as a key member of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Accomplishes More). As always, we appreciate your continued support as we move forward with a promising and productive 2016-2017 school year.  


Anthony C. Azar, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools

June 7, 2016

Letter from Sheriff Hodgson to the People of Rehoboth

Is the opioid epidemic solely the responsibility of the Drug Enforcement Administration? Is illegal drug trafficking, from large scale to neighborhood dealers, also the DEA’s responsibility? The suggestion that immigration enforcement is only a federal responsibility and we should prohibit local and state law enforcement from supporting and working with federal authorities is just like tasking the DEA, and the DEA alone, to solve those drug problems.


That’s why I fully support and applaud Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker’s action last week to reverse a Gov. Deval Patrick-era policy and allow state police to detain undocumented immigrants at federal authorities’ request. Gov. Baker’s action will lead to increased communication, cooperation and intelligence-sharing between law enforcement agencies on all levels, from local police and sheriff’s departments to state and federal authorities.


Since when should the security of our citizens and legal residents be compromised by elected officials who encourage less cooperation between state, local and federal authorities by way of sharing resources and coordinating our enforcement and detention of law breakers to keep us safe? Why would anyone, especially an elected representative of our citizens and legal residents, want law enforcement to have less tools to keep us safe?


Thankfully for Gov. Baker’s actions, more communication and cooperation are on the horizon in the ongoing battle against the illegal immigration problem in our country. Let’s hope the many other elected officials that are pro-illegal-aliens follow suit. How do those officials reconcile the differences between the 5 million people waiting behind their borders, respecting the laws of the United States and lawfully completing the citizenship application process, and those who refuse to obey our laws and either pay to be smuggled or sneak across our border?


Those who immigrate legally pay a good deal of money to obtain their citizenship and, yet, we have elected officials who believe those who violated our laws and enter the country illegally should be given housing, welfare, free air/land transportation to their U.S. destination, medical benefits and education – all paid for by U.S. citizens, legal residents and those who earned their citizenship by adhering to our laws and the procedures required to become a U.S. citizen.


It’s simply moronic and grossly unfair.

 

Thomas M. Hodgson, Bristol County Sheriff

June 7, 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A gas compressor station is proposed for a site in Rehoboth as part of the natural gas pipeline (LNG) project in New England. The following letter from Congressman Joseph Kennedy, III was the reply to Town Administrator Helen Dennen who wrote Kennedy inquiring about the proposed project and local impact. A citizens group, “Stop the Rehoboth Compressor Station” is actively protesting the proposed LNG projects utilizing several Facebook pages. While the letter exceeds our word limit, Kennedy’s letter is printed as written.

 

Letter from Congressman Joe Kennedy on Proposed LNG in Rehoboth

Thank you for contacting me about natural gas pipeline proposals in New England and Massachusetts.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue and am glad to have the opportunity to respond.

 

Across the Commonwealth and New England, we are experiencing a dramatic shift in our energy portfolio.  In 2000, natural gas produced 15 percent of New England’s electricity; by 2015 it had grown to 49 percent.  Use of coal and oil-produced energy has decreased.  Our state’s ongoing investments in renewable energy sources have led to significant gains in areas like solar power with advancements in hydropower and wind on the horizon.

 

This reshaped energy portfolio requires reshaped policies that take into account the unique demands of our region.  Natural gas is undoubtedly cheaper, cleaner, and more efficient than comparable fuels.  This is important, as the planned retirement of several thousand megawatts of baseload generation resources in our region have raised serious concerns about reliability and cost for consumers.  However, natural gas is not without drawbacks.  It is neither carbon-free nor renewable, and an over reliance could open up our region to volatile price swings depending on the price and availability of natural gas.

 

In determining the proper path forward, we must focus on the long-term goal of employing renewable, clean energy technologies while addressing our essential short-term responsibility to ensure consumers have access to energy they can both rely on and afford.


Here in Massachusetts, renewables are becoming more cost-competitive and prevalent, giving us the chance to lead the nation in a clean energy future.  I will continue to support federal funding and programs to develop next generation renewable energy technology.  Continued investment will help bring down overall cost of renewable energy while improving the technological efficiencies and effectiveness. 

 

As those efforts continue, there have also been several proposals to increase natural gas supply into New England.  In our communities in the Fourth Congressional District, the Spectra Algonquin pipeline system has three proposed projects to address the constrained natural gas supply.  In particular, one of these projects, the Access Northeast Project, is now undergoing the initial development of an Environmental Impact Statement by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other federal agencies to determine the project’s impact on the environment, including endangered species.  At the end of the formal review process, FERC will determine whether the project is in the “public interest,” taking several factors into account including environmental impact, consumer impact, and needs of the region.


I believe natural gas has a role to play in the diverse energy portfolio our region needs, but that it should be only one piece of our energy puzzle.  Any proposed pipeline project must be carefully scrutinized and allow for significant and meaningful public input to determine whether a project is truly in the public interest.  The potential environmental and economic impact on local communities should be at the forefront of that process, as well as consideration of whether these projects simply perpetuate an unsustainable dependence on fossils fuels.   We cannot needlessly increase reliance on natural gas or saddle ratepayers with long-term financial commitments if it is not economically or environmentally viable.

 

As these projects move forward, the concerns listed above will inform my opinion.  I have and will continue to oppose efforts to circumvent federal environmental review processes and any efforts to expedite the review and approval of pipelines by unfairly preventing the public from sharing their opinions.

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me; I am honored to represent the constituents of the Fourth District of Massachusetts.  Please feel free to call or write my office with future questions or concerns.  Additionally, I invite you to visit my website at www.kennedy.house.gov or follow me on Facebook to learn more about my work at home and in Washington.


Joseph P. Kennedy, III - Member of Congress, 4th District Massachusetts

June 16, 2016

 

Citizens Against the Rehoboth Gas Compressor Station

Acting as a representative and and working closely with "Citizens against the Rehoboth Compressor Station" I sent a letter on June 9th to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen expressing our questions and concerns regarding this natural gas project and its impact on Rehoboth.  I would ask you to please participate by expressing YOUR concerns and questions. What would YOU like to know? You can read the letter to the BOS by clicking here.


What questions do YOU have for the BOS or Spectra? 


We are collecting your questions now and we, along with the Board, will present them to Spectra in a meeting to be scheduled in the next few weeks. 

norehobothcompressor@googlegroups.com

norehobothcompressor.com

Facebook: BCCares:Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station


Whether you are for or against this project your participation is extremely important. Please join the conversation, join our group.


Alys Vincent, Dighton Resident


 "Citizens against the Rehoboth Compressor Station" is a group of concerned residents and citizens from neighboring towns who are opposed to Spectra's Access Northeast Project and the gas compressor stations in Rehoboth and Weymouth, along with the LNG facility proposed for Acushnet.

July 6, 2016

 

Dear House of Representatives: Protect Kids and Firefighters with 1 Vote

Picture a couch, by a window on a sunny day. A shaft of light coming in the window and a child jumping up and down on the couch. In that shaft of sunlight, you can see particles of dust lifting off the couch and swirling around with each bounce. Those particles are not just “dust” they are tiny bits of couch material, most likely laced with toxic flame retardants.


The flame retardant chemicals put into furniture, children’s products and many more products in our homes are linked to cancer, learning disabilities, infertility and many more diseases and disorders. They’re in everyone’s bodies, and kids are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are developing, and because they’re crawling on the floor, putting their hands in their mouths, and ingesting all the chemicals that are around them.


Firefighters are also vulnerable. When buildings catch fire, all of the toxic chemicals in the burning building materials and products turn into toxic gasses and soot, giving firefighters a much higher exposure than the average population. Researchers have found 2-3 times more flame retardants in firefighters bodies than in the general population.


The impacts are deadly. For the past 60 years cancer rates in the fire service have been steadily rising to a point where firefighters have higher rates of cancer than any other profession. No less than 60 percent of career firefighters will die this way, “with their boots off.”  


To add insult to injury, the flame retardants aren’t actually needed (or necessarily even helpful) for stopping fires. Couches, high chairs, kids nap maps and chairs can be made just as fire safe without the toxic flame retardants, just by using less flammable materials. At this point, the only purpose they serve is to fill the pockets of the chemical companies that sell them.


In May, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would ban 11 harmful and unnecessary flame retardants in children’s products and household furniture. That puts this legislation in the hands of the House of Representatives. Firefighters, children, and all of us in Massachusetts are counting on the House to put our health first and pass this bill this session.


Massachusetts firefighters and kids deserve a healthier tomorrow. For more information on this important issue please watch online the movie "TOXIC HOT SEAT."


Paul W. Jacques, Rehoboth Resident

Legislative Agent, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts

August 6, 2016


Don’t blame the condition of the animal shelter on the ACO

To blame the ACO (animal control officer) for the condition of that shelter is an insult to taxpayers that have lived here any number of years. That place was no prize when she became the ACO. The fact it went downhill due was due to lack of funding by the BOS (board of selectmen). She was stuck with that crummy little building in the back of town hall property like a big outhouse to work in.  I never saw them ask for a (tax) over-ride to help her. 


As far as this being part of the decision to let her go, I don't see the BOS blaming the police department for the condition of their building or Mrs Schwall for the town hall. These people have no control over depreciation issues in these buildings anymore then the ACO did.  


The BOS determines where the money goes and who gets it.  As far as this change being accomplished in incremental steps over the last couple of years -- we all watched as they beat this 70-year-old women up at BOS meetings and I don't think any of us liked it very much at all. Just my opinion.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth resident

August 6, 2016

 

Maintenance of town buildings is responsibility of selectmen

In the light of the recent ACO (animal control officer) changes, I feel it is good to look at how things work in this town.


As I have observed in many BOS (board of selectmen) meetings, maintenance of town buildings is the responsibility of the BOS. Given the deplorable state of major town structures, not limited to the town animal structure, I don’t see how anyone except the selectmen can be held responsible. Since they have moved their meetings to the COA building little or no attention has been paid to the restoration of important town structures.


I watched the effort to purchase a building adjacent to the police and fire station to see it fall through. It is apparent that this failure was a good thing as many of the months following the failure saw ongoing repair to both the roof and brick structure of that white elephant that we nearly were talked into buying. I can only hope that  this newest pie in the sky idea gets defeated as we need to repair and restore what we have. There is no real benefit to the taxpayers in a consolidated complex which would be a monument to the failed husbandry of the town's resources by the BOS.  


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth resident

August 10, 2016

 

Just asking . . .

Who did Jane piss off?


Earl Tobin, Rehoboth Resident

August 10, 2016


Who determines where town money goes?

The taxpayers of Rehoboth determine where their tax dollars go and who gets it, each May, at our Annual Town Meeting, by voting on the annual budget articles.


Michael Deignan, Rehoboth Resident and Chairman Rehoboth Finance Committee

August 12, 2016


Here we go again.

I have been saying for two years that school choice was a mistake for both towns.  Now we have the D-R School Committee telling us that Dighton is building low-income housing and the district needs 18 million to build a bigger school again.  That bond we floated for the high school is almost 20-years-old.  Here we go again guys.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

August 12, 2016


Regional district is a blue sky proposal.

At the BOS meeting on August 8,  a representative of the capital expenditures committee broached the subject of a possible new building at the regional school location. While it is thought to be costly and perhaps not needed immediately, it did provide some food for thought. If it were to be built at the Palmer River/ Beckwith site, it might provide a longer term solution to an ongoing quandary for the Rehoboth community. If it were a large enough building, it could provide a solution to the question of what to do should the animosity between towns make a dissolution of the regional agreement necessary. Since the existing high school remains in Dighton, a structure at this location could facilitate the breakup of the region. Its present proposed location would, if approved, be one more barrier to any thoughts of dissolution. Just something to think about.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

August 19, 2016


Town meeting does not work in this day and age.

Mike Deignan wrote a one-line statement regarding "who determines where town money goes?"  But, once gain, I refer to a Boston Herald op-ed piece that reiterates why town meeting does not work in this day and age. 


Time to go to ballot voting, so that it is fair to EVERYBODY, not just the handful of residents who are even able to get to, and sit through yet another town meeting.  “Everybody has their say?”  Oh, please!  It hasn’t happened in over 100 years, IMO.  The Herald piece still holds true, in my opinion.


Lois Crowther, Rehoboth Resident

September 7, 2016


Welcome back to the 2016-2017 School Year

I would like to extend to you a heartfelt thanks for your continued support of our programs through another balanced budget for School Year 2016-2017.  As many of you know, the budget process begins in October and continues through the school year as the administrative T.E.A.M continuously monitors programs and professional development in order to better offer students a 21st-century education.  It is my sincere hope that over the next school year both our municipalities and our school district representatives continue to communicate to ensure that we have the necessary resources to meet the needs of each student as well as the needs of each community member.  May we look upon this next year for the promising possibilities it holds for our children’s education as well as for our municipalities.  

Since becoming your Superintendent of Schools in 2014, we have established our school district’s two overarching goals which are to increase student achievement for all students and to maintain fiscal stability for both communities.  Moreover, I have remained committed to working collaboratively with the Rehoboth and Dighton municipalities in maintaining transparency with regard to the school budget.

In our efforts to continue to build a “Pathway to Excellence” for all children, I would encourage you to continue to help strengthen our home, school and municipality communications.  Please continue to connect with our administration while reaching out to me should you have any questions.  Also, please continue to be involved with our school through the numerous activities that are provided throughout the school year.

I truly value you as a key member of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District T.E.A.M. As always, we appreciate your continued support as we move forward with a promising and productive 2016-2017 school year for students, parents, teachers and staff.  


Anthony C. Azar, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools, Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District

September 16, 2016


Why would the Rehoboth selectmen stonewall citizens?

The gas compression station, proposed for my neighborhood in North Rehoboth is of great concern to me. I've read about how similar stations have impacted neighborhoods, none of the effects are good. I feel all citizens of our community should be well informed about the issues surrounding the proposed station. I recently got an email from the group that opposes the station, it reads:


"Our BOS have repeatedly encouraged us to avail ourselves of the BOS meeting platform (Channel 9) as well as Channel 98 to announce our events. You may or may not know it, but we were on board to announce Dr Nordgaard's event at the last BOS meeting (September 12) but they canceled the meeting last minute (and, as per usual, we were not notified in advance). Also, after repeated unanswered emails/ phone calls (beginning on September 5), I found out yesterday that our local access TV is NOT an independent entity, but is controlled by the BOS - in particular Mr. Dave Perry. Obviously the BOS speaketh with forked tongue and they are doing whatever they can to  stone wall our cause at every turn."


Why? Why would the board of selectmen "stonewall" any citizens group that is interested in closely examining any issue that would have/will have a large impact on a huge proportion of its citizenry for years to come? It is your job to be the "eyes and ears" of our community. To present and allow access to accurate information so the citizens of Rehoboth can make an informed decision. The issue of the gas compression station, all aspects of it, including negative information, should be made-equally-available to citizens. 


I, as a citizen of this community, am asking you, as my BOS member, to do your job and allow me fair access to all the information available about the proposed gas compression station in Rehoboth. Put all presentations, and all information, on the public assess station.


Jackie Lantry, Rehoboth Resident

September 17, 2016


Candidate Paul Jacques calls out opponent and others on pettiness.

Since starting our campaign earlier this year, we have been keeping notes on all of the "political pettiness" that has been thrown our way.  A week has not gone by without receiving a phone call, a letter, or an email regarding some immature situation that requires us to defend our family, our campaign, or ourselves. 

 

Supporters of our opponent have been speaking on our behalf through social media, giving their opinion and representing our campaign falsely.  When called out on such petty action, no response was given, but the false statements did abruptly stop. Several local business owners have been harassed by supporters of our opponent and told to stop their involvement with our campaign. Recently, an Iraq War veteran and member of our campaign staff was even verbally attacked during a public event for showing his support for my candidacy. 

 

After purchasing sign advertising space in Rehoboth, a third party complaint was filed at town hall demanding that our campaign sign be removed. Come to find out, this individual is a supporter of our opponent and the complaint was filed solely as a childish act.  Since then, several of our lawn signs, campaign event posters and literature have been stolen from multiple locations throughout the district.  Lastly, we’ve found that a group of our opponent’s supporters have been doing excessive research on my record as a resident of Rehoboth. Information about my home, where my son goes to school, and my voting record have all been requested through town hall. 


This needs to stop now.  This letter has two goals.  One, to inform the public of such juvenile activity.  Two, to demand a response from Mr. Steve Howitt who we have been waiting for from previous requests.  


My candidacy is one of service.  As an Iraq War veteran who served with others to protect the ideals of which our country was founded, to include freedom of speech and the right of citizens to choose their leaders in free, fair, and regular elections. Just like you, whom I voted for is a private matter and should not be an issue needing explanation.


Raising a family in Rehoboth has allowed for a great community experience and given my son the opportunity to attend area public schools to receive a valuable education.  This was a family choice and not the business for some attack of "political pettiness."  We will continue to run a clean campaign. At no time now or in the future will we stoop to such a level as the opposition. Does Mr. Howitt want such political pettiness to continue or does he want this election to be about the issues facing the people of the 4th Bristol District?


Paul Jacques, Rehoboth Resident, Candidate for State Representative, 4th Bristol District

September 20, 2016


Would a single municipal complex be a safety risk?

Following the shutdown of routes 44 and 118 due to this week's incident at the Cumberland Farms store, it occurred to me that it has always been unwise to put all of your eggs in one basket.


The dream of putting all of our resources in one public safety complex carries with it the risk of all of our town's functions at risk should a catastrophic event come to pass at that location. In that same vein, increasing the amount of the regional school district's assets at the high school location carries with it a similar risk in the name of consolidation.


Consolidation at the public safety building also carries with it an increased risk of noise pollution complicating the  thoughtful work of of town hall employees due to the comings and goings of police, fire, rescue and ambulance vehicles.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

September 21, 2016


Three fire stations cover Rehoboth (with 12,000 residents and 46 square miles)

Does Mr. Harrington know there are two other fire stations in town?


Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi, Rehoboth Resident

September 22, 2016


“Elected officials need broad shoulders and thick skin.”

"Stop the 'Political Pettiness'" by Paul Jacques (Vox letter from September 18, 2016) brings to mind my own run for office a few years ago.


When one runs for public office your life is an open book. Any information that is open to the public means just that. It could be how much money one donated to a fellow politician, has the candidate ever voted in an election or participated in a town meeting, is the nominee up to date on his/her taxes, what school do the children attend, has the candidate ever been arrested, etc. Today, everybody should know any information found that is not legal, honest, or questionable can be used by an opponent.


Not-so-nice letters, emails, phone calls come with the territory. Always has and always will. And it does not stop if elected. Someone went so far as to come to my house in the middle of the night and put garbage on my porch at my door step. Just want the person to know that we did not step in it, and it cleaned up nicely.


As far as businesses being harassed, why would anyone bother? It is my experience that businesses usually do not want political signs at their establishment as it can effect their business. Voters are funny. We may not go in a business if there is a campaign sign not in support of the person for whom we are voting.


Mr. Jacques mentioned his signs. Stealing signs is against the law and anyone caught can be arrested. However, running for office does not give candidates the right to break town bylaws, and they should check town laws regarding signs and also outdoor events.


Candidates and elected officials need broad shoulders and thick skin. There are no pity-parties in politics!


Lorraine Botts, Rehoboth Resident and Former Rehoboth Selectman

September 23, 2016


Another opinion on town politics . . .

After reading Mr. Jacques’ letter to Vox dated 9/17/16 and Ms. Botts’ response, I can't help but think of what happened with Mr. Morra.   Deja vu all over again.  


When I criticized the selectmen on Facebook,  a former selectperson made it made clear she was looking on the voters list to find out where I lived.  What is this Rehoboth or Moscow?   She speaks of needing a thick skin when running for office, but I am not a public official.


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

September 23, 2016


Communication is poor in Rehoboth.

Good for you, Jackie Lantry (Vox letter 9/16/16).  Communication in Rehoboth is poor.  There are no notices on our TV Community Channel 98, such as gas compression station, complex building, town meetings and elections.


Not everyone has a computer to go on the website, but most have a TV, especially the older generation or the less fortunate.


Bette J. Dyer, Rehoboth Resident

September 25, 2016


Rep. Howitt is failing voice for the 4th  Bristol District

Rehoboth has a major issue on its hands. I don’t merely say this as your candidate for State Representative in the 4th Bristol District. Rather, I say this as a concerned citizen, as a longtime resident of Rehoboth, and most importantly, as the father of a 13-year-old son who will call this town home for many years to come. 

    Spectra Energy’s pipeline and the accompanying compressor station, slated to be built right here in our beautiful town of Rehoboth, will negatively impact home values, the local environment, and Rehoboth’s rural farming culture. These are the facts. 

    My opponent has known about this issue since taking office, yet has said little, and done even less, about it.  Only recently have local residents become aware of the pipeline – a project that Rep. Howitt often refers to as a “done deal.”  

   The startling reality is that this project has never been a done deal. Rather, Rep. Howitt has allowed this project to happen on his watch, failing to provide a voice for the people of the 4th Bristol District.

     Over the next several days we hope provide information on this issue leading up to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Monday, September 26 at which representatives from Spectra Energy will answer pre-selected questions about the compressor station and pipeline. 

   I will be there to ask questions, voice my concerns, and stand with my neighbors and fellow community members to do the work my opponent should have done from the moment he was elected.

   Remember, #HowittDoesntWork.  I will work for the people of the 4th Bristol District. #Vote4Jacques


Paul Jacques, Rehoboth Resident, Candidate for State Representative, 4th Bristol District

September 25, 2016


Does Candidate Jacques know Rehoboth?

It was with some amusement that I read Mr. Jacques whining diatribe on the Vox page last week regarding the Town residents he wishes to represent in the General Court examining his participation in Rehoboth's town government.


Given Mr. Jacques has never seen fit to participate as a voter in a town election, nor grace us with his presence at a Town Meeting to vote on Warrant articles since moving to Rehoboth, I can understand why he would be upset and embarrassed.


After all, he likely doesn't want the townsfolk of Rehoboth to discover his complete lack of interest in participating in Town matters -- well, until he decided to run for Rep. Howitt's seat, that is.


How can Mr. Jacques tell us with a straight face he wants to represent the interests of Rehoboth in the General Court when he is hasn't even bothered to take the time to be acquaint himself and participate in issues facing our Town until now?


Michael P. Deignan, Rehoboth Resident, Chair Rehoboth Finance Committee

(representing himself only and nobody else)

September 29, 2016


Re-elect Representative Steve Howitt.

Imagine a State Representative who has a 100% voting record at the State House. Imagine a State Representative who is always there for his constituents. Steven Howitt is that State Representative.


Howitt Works is more than a catch phrase! Steve works 24/7 for the people of his district, and votes the issue not the politics. Honorable, Obliging, Wise, Impartial, Transparent, Trustworthy!


Vote for Rep. Steve Howitt, a tried and true voice for the people.


Gilbert Larrabee and Lorraine Botts, Rehoboth Residents

October 11, 2016


A question for Candidate Paul Jacques . . .

A simple questions for Mister Jacques. How do you specifically propose to stop the Spectre compressor station?


I am very curious how, as a state representative, you have any bearing at all on the outcome of the Federal decision.


Steve Silva, Rehoboth Resident

October 17, 2016


State Reps should represent.

Mr. Silva's letter in Vox is the same old argument I keep hearing explaining why our politicians do nothing to help us with questions and objections taxpayers have regarding Spectra.  


The question comes down to what do we expect Mr. Howitt to do with a Federal decision?  Mr. Howitt's answer to this question is "why doesn't Mr. Jacques ask his buddy Senator Kennedy?" I think that's a wonderful idea and considering both the House and Senate have more Republicans then Democrats, why doesn't Mr. Howitt contact his fellow Republicans on behalf of the voters that put him in office?  


Shouldn't the politicians we elect on both sides start representing us by contacting people in their party on our behalf?


Linda Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

October 20, 2016


Former selectman supports voting for State Rep Steve Howitt.

Steven Howitt, I read in the Rehoboth Reporter that your opponent is very upset with “political pettiness.” If Paul Jacques is upset about what was published in the Reporter, then he needs to drop out of the race. He has not seen anything.


Tell him, Steven, about the complaints and the phone calls at 10 pm. He should know what I went though in 2011 as selectman. That was a political nightmare.


Steven, what you have done for this town and other towns you represent has been fantastic. Some don't realize the 14 to 15 hour days. Steven, you have always been for the people, not the special interests. You don't tell people you can do something when you know you can't.  You tell people you will do your best and you do.


Good luck on November 8. I will be voting for Steven Howitt and that Howitt works.


Michael Costello, Rehoboth Resident and former Rehoboth Selectman

October 21, 2016


What are the differences between the two candidates for State Rep?

I only know Steve Howitt from his dedicated support and untarnished ethics that he has demonstrated in representing the residents of Rehoboth as our State Representative. He has become part of the community fabric with his constant presence at town meetings, selectmen meetings, and many of our community events. He understands our town’s issues and has articulated them well at the State level.


I have never met Paul Jacques, but saw him at a recent selectmen’s meeting and was concerned when he displayed a confrontational posture with the same town officials he proposes to interact with if elected. The audience even expressed concern.


After trying to better understand Paul Jacques’s platform, I believe he is running for office for a different cause than representing Rehoboth. Jacques has been a resident in Rehoboth for eighteen years and he has not attended any town meetings or served on any town board or committee. Since 2004, he only voted once in a town election (after he decided to run).


How can he claim to represent Rehoboth when he hasn’t taken the time to be involved with our community or understand Rehoboth town government? 


Paul Jacques serves as a paid lobbyist for the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM). The PFFM mission and goals are to organize all paid professional (full-time) fire fighters within the Commonwealth, and to encourage the formation of local unions affiliated with the International Association of Fire Fighters. For reference, Rehoboth firefighters are on-call (or non-union).

This is a solicitation request for supporting Paul Jacques from the President of the PFFM: “The PFFM has the opportunity to elect another one of our own to fight for fire fighter interests on Beacon Hill, in the House of Representatives.” “Please join me in supporting Paul Jacques for State Representative and help give fire fighters another voice, another advocate, another fighter on Beacon Hill.”


My comments are not a detraction of the very respectable PFFM and their roles. What I am having trouble with is that, it looks like, Paul Jacques is focused on different priorities that compete with Rehoboth’s needs. At a recent debate, Jacques represented Steve Howitt’s perfect six-year state chamber voting record as nothing more than a perfect attendance record in high school. Steve Howitt’s job is to be Rehoboth’s voice on Beacon Hill.


From December 7, 2015 to August 21, 2016, Paul Jacques received $54,810 in donations (193 have been received, 3 from Rehoboth and 1 from Seekonk) with 98 percent coming from outside of Rehoboth and the Fourth Bristol District.  Ninety-six percent of the money is from unions, lobbyists, and other union fire departments throughout the country.


This is an example of Paul Jacques using the backs of Rehoboth residents to advance his personal agenda versus advancing Rehoboth and the Fourth District voice on Beacon Hill. With Jacques’ lack of understanding of Rehoboth government and related issues, his loyalty as a lobbyist, and his financial contributors, it is not the time to run. It is difficult to envision that his contribution to our town would be any better than Steve Howitt’s six-year record success.


George Solas, Rehoboth Resident

(Solas currently serves as clerk of the Rehoboth Finance Committee)

October 23, 2016


Your State Rep should hold regular office hours.

Since Paul Jacques announced his candidacy for State Representative last December, he’s spoken to countless members of our community – many of whom have expressed deep concern regarding the lack of transparency in the political dealings of their current State Representative. We don’t blame them. 


For the past several years, our community has not received one personal newsletter, recap, or report from Representative Howitt, detailing what he has done during his time in Boston. He has made himself scarce as a local resource, and his personal accountability has been nearly non-existent.


Not only does it beg the question, ‘Where are our tax dollars are really going?,’ but for many members of our district, it makes local and state politics – two forces that profoundly shape the daily experiences of local community members – cumbersome and effortful to follow.


As a parent, and as someone who works three jobs, Paul deeply believes that, “If someone in our community has a pressing legislative need, or an important question, they shouldn’t have to commute all the way to Boston to sit down with their State Representative.”


As your State Representative candidate for the 4th Bristol District, Paul Jacques promises not only to hold regular, local office hours in our district, but promises to make sure community members receive routine and direct correspondence so that they may know how their hard earned tax dollars are being spent. 


To learn more about Paul Jacques for State Representative, please visit vote4jacques.us, or find us on Facebook and Twitter.  Vote Jacques November 8. Thank you.


Committee to Elect Paul Jacques

October 25, 2016


Candidate Jacques supports Second Amendment.

Vote the person not the party, don’t stereotype, pay attention to the issues


If you’ve actually met Paul Jacques, and know him personally like I do, it should come as no surprise that Paul Jacques is pro Second Amendment. Growing up in a career active duty military household, Paul has been an avid outdoorsman since the age of 6-years-old. As an Iraq War Veteran, with 21-years of honorable military service with the U.S. Air Force, Paul has been a responsible gun owner his entire adult life.  


For the record, Paul Jacques for State Representative has received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), a “100%” rating from the Gun Owners Action League (GOAL), and answered correctly the Massachusetts Gun Rights questionnaire 100%.  All this can be seen on each of their websites and on vote4jacques.us.  Not to mention, he has been a long-time NRA member, GOAL member, American Legion member, lifetime VFW member, and member of the Elks for over 20 years.


Vote the person not the party, don’t stereotype, pay attention to the issues.

VOTE for Paul Jacques State Representative, 4th Bristol District


Dan Sousa, Rehoboth Resident and fellow U.S. Marine Corps Combat Veteran of the Iraq War

October 26, 2016


Vote No on Question 2: Charter School Expansion

The 4th Bristol District can’t afford any more charter schools. This year alone, charter schools will drain more than $1.6 million in funds that would otherwise stay in area public schools to improve learning for ALL students.


Statewide, charter schools are already taking more than $450 million in funds each year from our local school districts. All too often, these funding losses mean larger class sizes, fewer enrichment courses – such as music, art, and athletics – and other damaging cutbacks to our students.


In Seekonk, Rehoboth, Norton, and Swansea we are already seeing these effect locally with cuts in special education funding, after school programs, and teacher retention – now Question 2 threatens to take even more.


Charter schools are not accountable to our community or to parents. The boards are appointed, not elected. Area residents are paying for these schools, and we should have a say in how they are run and how our local tax dollars are spent. Charters can be built anywhere, at any time, even over the opposition of parents and elected officials. Over 60% of charter schools in the state don’t have a single parent on their boards. This severely hinders the ability of parents to have a say in their child’s education at these charters, and leaves them with no way to vote out board members who they don’t agree with.


Most charters accept fewer English-language learners and students with significant special needs. Question 2 would expand a two-track system of ‘separate and unequal’ schools, where students with the most challenges remain in local district schools with fewer and fewer resources. This is unacceptable. When some of our state’s schools struggle, we should commit to fixing them – not exacerbate the problem by taking more money away and giving it to charters. Question 2 would nearly triple the number of charter schools in just 10 years and would take away an additional $1 billion each year from our local public schools. 96 percent of Massachusetts students attend public schools — this question will only hurt the majority of children in the state. We need to invest in giving ALL students access to a quality education. We need to vote NO on Question 2.


Committee to Elect Paul Jacques, Candidate for State Representative

October 26, 2016


Put 4th Bristol District Back on the Map

By this November, Paul Jacques will have received more endorsements as a state representative candidate than I have seen of a candidate – at any level – in recent memory.


This accolade is not trivial, and it speaks to Paul’s widespread support from organizations on both the political left and right. Several elected officials and state organizations have endorsed Paul's candidacy to replace current State Representative Steven Howitt. Additionally, over 70 Massachusetts unions and groups have publicly backed Paul Jacques, including: The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the MA AFL-CIO, the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Voters for Animals, and the Massachusetts Coalition of Police. 


Paul has received local endorsements from former State Representative Steve D'Amico, as well as from former state representative candidates Dr. Keith Carreiro and David Saad. National-level officials such as Congressmen Joseph Kennedy and Congressman James McGovern, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg, and former State Treasurer Steve Grossman have also added their names to the long list of Paul Jacques supporters. Most recently though, Paul has received acclaim from US Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Governor Michael Dukakis, both of whom have publicly endorsed Paul. This support is critical, especially given that state representative candidates often have a difficult time procuring local

endorsements, let alone endorsements on the national level. Moreover, Paul’s widespread recognition as a worthy candidate speaks volumes about his clout on Beacon Hill, as well as his ability to affect positive change on behalf of the 4th Bristol District. His opponent simply cannot say the same.


This November 8, I will be casting my vote, not merely for the more popular candidate, but rather I will be casting my vote for the candidate with the relationships necessary to put the 4th Bristol District “back on the map” on Beacon Hill. 

Vote Paul Jacques for State Representative on November 8.


Frank Durant, Resident of Norton, MA 

October 26, 2016


Paul Jacques is running because he wants to serve.

I’ve called Seekonk home for the entirety of my life. And now, at the age of 22, I am preparing to leave this town for the first time. The act of moving will be the hardest transition of my life. Frankly, I don’t think a day will go by without a recollection of the warm-hearted people, the quick trips to Scialo’s Bakery, or the pristine sunsets spent at the Turner Reservoir.

Before I depart, though, I wish to ensure that Seekonk remains a town of opportunity for future generations of residents, and young people just like myself. With that said, I urge my fellow community members to vote Paul Jacques for State Representative this November.

I write this editorial in an effort to tell my fellow community members Paul is one of the kindest, hardest-working, and least partisan humans I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Paul isn’t running to gain local fame or notoriety. He isn’t running because he has an exaggerated sense of importance or a partisan political agenda.

As an area firefighter, as a legislative agent, and as a military veteran, Paul is running because he wants to serve. He couldn’t care less about the title, nor about the name recognition. He simply wants to make his community – our community – a better place; and he wants to do so by listening, learning, and spreading that knowledge to Beacon Hill.

While I likely won’t be in town for the inauguration of Seekonk’s next state representative, I have supreme faith in Paul Jacques. He gives Seekonk a future to believe in; namely because he cares and he’s willing to fight tirelessly for those whose voices so often go unheard. I urge you all to vote for Jacques this November, and in Paul’s words, “Let’s put Seekonk back on the map again.”

Daniel Mendes, Seekonk Resident

October 27, 2016


Vote Yes on Question 2: Charter School Expansion

I fully support Question 2 because of our experience having special needs which were not being met at the high school. We were told at one time that they were the only game in town. Arrogant in my opinion and we explored our options.


By the time it was over, the state ordered that our legal expenses over $20,000 be repaid by the district because we won. In addition a private out of state school, transportation and tutoring were also  expenses borne by the district along with  their own legal expenses.


It is clear that a charter school would have been a viable option. The cost to the district would have been dramatically lower and there would have been no need for the battle we endured. When you come right down to it,  the cost of a charter school transfer is no different than school choice with which the district participates.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident  

October 27, 2016


Veterans for Paul Jacques

Prior to my six years as Seekonk Director of Veterans Service Officer, I was also the Marine Corps Recruiter who walked your high school halls from 2004-2008. Seekonk’s patriotism is alive and well, I have met some of the proudest veterans.

My concern is the disconnect between municipal priorities and community good and welfare. The Veterans of Seekonk deserve a fully operational Veterans Services Department. I am certain that if your state representative had experience of troop welfare this situation could be resolved. I am writing to completely endorse a fellow Veteran, Paul Jacques, as your next State Representative, Fourth Bristol District.


If you served in the military, you owe it to yourself to meet Paul Jacques. His service record as a firefighter and Iraq War Veteran are a clear example of what needs to be introduced to Seekonk government. Revitalizing the Seekonk Veterans Service Department is a must because both Paul, and I wholeheartedly believe in the ethos “no service member left behind”.

Visit vote4jacques.us to learn more about his candidacy.  VOTE November 8 Paul Jacques for State Representative so we will have a voice that best serves our community and our Veterans on Beacon Hill. 


Seth Bai, Former Seekonk Veterans Agent

October 29, 2016


People in glass houses should not throw stones.

Representative Howitt has made it his mission to attack Paul Jacques for being a firefighter, a veteran, and legislative agent for the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts (PFFM). He has combed through Paul’s OCPF Report claiming Paul will only serve “special interests.” Let’s be perfectly clear: the only “special interests” important to Paul Jacques are the people and their families of the 4th Bristol District. If Howitt wishes to criticize Paul Jacques for accepting donations from some organizations that provide public safety and protect working families across our district, let’s take a look at Steve’s donations, just to be fair.

 

Total Donations: $289,119.53 (OCPF Report, 2004-2016): Out-of-district 47%, Out-of-state 26%, and In-district 27%.


One could conclude Representative Howitt has aligned himself with corporate greed, receiving donations from those at Bank of America PAC, Morgan Stanley in New York, and Verizon VP of Government Affairs. While Jacques has aligned himself with working families, the majority of Howitt’s out of state and out of district donors have titles such as president, vice president, CEO, CFO, executive director, executive VP CFO, stockbroker, attorney, senior managing director, business executive, financial executive, etc. 

 

It is more than a little interesting to hear Howitt’s stance on Ballot Question 1 to expand casino gaming. Howitt thinks we should wait and see what happens with the "full-fledged casinos" (Sun Chronicle 10-18-16), however, he has received donations from those at Plainridge Park Casino and Raynham-Taunton Park. Additionally, Howitt may be voting NO on Question 4 regarding Marijuana. However, Howitt seems to have no problem with alcohol, accepting almost $18,000 in donations from liquor distributors. 

 

Though Howitt says he is, “listening and learning and weighing the facts” regarding the Spectra Compressor Station issue in Rehoboth (Sun Chronicle 9-27-16), one fact is certain: Howitt received direct donation from the Massachusetts Director of Pipeline Safety, almost $11,000 from NAI Capital Commercial Real Estate out of California, and another $9,000 from “Real Estate” Investors.  Still, to this day, Howitt refuses to sign a pledge calling for candidates to refuse campaign contributions from executives, lobbyists, and others employed by ten major fossil fuel and utility companies, including SPECTRA (Rehoboth Reporter 10-24-16).

  

Yet, in spite of myriad donations Howitt accepted from corporations and private interests, he labels Mr. Jacques a “lobbyist.” This is a rather paradoxical position for Steve to take, and not just because Howitt accepts so many donations from real lobbyists.  When Paul does his work as legislative agent for PFFM, he is simply advocating for, testifying about, and creating legislation protecting fellow firefighters, especially in the event that they give the ultimate sacrifice. Howitt routinely votes against Department of Fire Services funding in the years he doesn’t have a firefighter as a political opponent.

  

Our state representative race boils down to a simple question: do you want the status-quo career politician, or do you want your neighbor, an Iraq War Veteran, a leader in the fire service to be your citizen legislator?  Regardless of your answer, one thing is certain: Paul Jacques is committed to providing every person of the 4th Bristol District a strong voice on Beacon Hill; and he will undoubtedly achieve positive results.  Vote Jacques on November 8.


Committee to Elect Paul Jacques, Candidate for State Representative

October 30, 2016


Response by Representative Steven Howitt

I am Steven Howitt, your elected State Representative and my mission is to work hard for you every day to address your needs and concerns. FACT: I work for YOU, not for the SPECIAL INTERESTS that bought and paid for my opponent.


Why do I feel so passionately about being your representative? To protect you from the SPECIAL INTERESTS that serve only to encourage wasteful spending on Beacon Hill, RAISE YOUR TAXES, and take your money out of your pocket for their causes and interests, not YOUR interests. My opponent is fully bought and paid for by so many countless SPECIAL INTERESTS; inferring they are not unions is not anchored in reality. It’s just false.


REALITY CHECK: A PAID LOBBYIST like my opponent is someone drawing a paycheck from representing a particular SPECIAL INTEREST group. These countless UNIONS who bought and own my opponent such as IBEW Local 2222, 1199 SEIU, MASS AFL-CIO, Coalition for Social Justice, Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters, and so on are buying his allegiance to THEM, not to you. My opponent stated he was proud to be “aligned with them”, and he is, completely. With them, NOT with YOU.


Below you will learn that most major fossil fuel and utility companies are fully vested in the pensions of these very UNIONS that bought and own my opponent. Check the following sites – construction brings UNION JOBS to these UNIONS to which he claims allegiance. That is a FACT. He cannot have it both ways. Angering Environmentalists, AFL-CIO Pushes Fossil-Fuel Investment - In These Times; AFL-CIO Bucks Progressive Allies, Backs Dakota Access Pipeline | Huffington Post; AFL-CIO’s Lust for Oil Pipeline Jobs - Consortium News.


Remember these FACTS: SPECIAL INTERESTS, and those who they support, are ADDICTED TO SPENDING.   SPECIAL INTERESTS pressure “endorsed” members like my opponent to WORK FOR THEIR INTERESTS and to RAISE YOUR TAXES. Using semantics to hide the truth does not change the facts, but just makes you ask the question, ‘What are you hiding’? As my opponent perpetually protests his actual paid position and makes baseless accusations about me, it explains why he has lost all credibility and desperately fumbles with semantics to distort truth. Constituents see through his smoke and mirror tactics – they are smart and know better.


Refer to Massachusetts General Laws M.G.L. c. 3, §§ 39 – 50 offers context about his job as a paid lobbyist.  Also visit the Secretary of State web page for lobbyist public search.  You cannot hide from these FACTS.


I am proud of my work ethic, my objectives, my supporters and most of all, my hard work for you as your elected Representative. I look to continue the good work I do for you all year, every week, every day, (and as many of you know, at all hours!) personally and directly, to help you live happy, healthy lives in the 4th Bristol District. Pam and I are blessed to call Seekonk home. This district has always been near and dear to my heart. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 


That IS how it works, and I look forward to your vote for me now, and ultimately on November 8 so that I may continue serving you.


Steven Howitt, State Representative

October 30, 2016


Steven Howitt is a friend to veterans.

My name is Don Kinniburgh. I am a Viet Nam Veteran, 1965 – 1971.  As a longtime resident of the Town of Seekonk, Steve has been helping veterans before he was even a representative and he’s still helping them today, and that shows through his voting record.

 

He never misses an opportunity to thank us for our service, on Veterans Day, in Memorial Day parades, visiting with veterans personally, and lots more. He helps us cut through red tape and I really appreciate his help.

 

I want the public to be aware, and know how conscientious Steve is about helping veterans. Steve comes from a veterans family. His father was a WWII serviceman, a Navy SeaBee in the Pacific Theater of Operations. When the Seekonk Veterans Memorial was put up next to the library, Steve stepped right up to honor his father, as well as his father-in-law who served as an Army medic in the European Theater of Operations in WWII also, with an bench and a brick. As a matter of fact, I happen to know he quietly placed memorial stones for both servicemen at every veterans memorial in the 4th Bristol District.

 

I hope you will vote for Steve Howitt to keep him doing his good work for all of us.


Donald Kinniburgh, Seekonk Resident

October 31, 2016


Paul Jacques AFL-CIO allegiances and a big question to answer

So let me get this straight, the AFL-CIO which represents 750 labor unions in Massachusetts, which also includes the PFFM (Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts) from which Jacques is paid thousands of dollars to represent them as a paid lobbyist at the State House according to the MA Secretary of State and Jacques had a union labor walk on Saturday, October 29 including local Congressman Kennedy, MA AFL-CIO president Steve Tolman, a former democratic state representative, an SEUI community organizer as many non-local of his union “brothers” as he calls them, and has received support from their mailings and in kind donations as well as financial and in-kind donations by the AFL-CIO and other Unions … right? Still with me so far? 

 

So the AFL-CIO is totally PRO-PIPELINE construction, as well as fossil fuel investment as their pension fund is totally tied up with that massive undertaking because it is within their interests and their own wallets. Take what is happening with the Dakota pipeline right now where the AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka states the pipeline provides high quality jobs for the AFL-CIO unions.


So my question to this candidate Jacques is, what is your PLAN you speak of to stop this work, and how do you even plan to fight against all of these outside organizations and special interests groups that have actually funded your campaign? 

 

Lorraine Botts, Rehoboth Resident

Former Rehoboth Selectman

November 6, 2016


Please support local community campaign -  Project: Pink

My name is Abby Abrahamson, and I am currently running a local community campaign called Project: Pink. Project: Pink's mission is to ensure that women in the Rehoboth area are equipped with the menstrual hygiene products they need. The drive began on October 1 and will run until November 14. All donations acquired throughout the drive will be donated to the Rehoboth Food Pantry & Assistance Program. 


The drive is halfway over, and we haven't received many donations. I would like to take a moment to address the need for menstrual hygiene products, and the uncomfortableness surrounding the topic. 


For women of little or no income, menstruation is a particularly stressful time of the month. On average, a box of sanitary pads or tampons costs $6. This cost adds up over time. Many people and families of little or no income cannot afford needed menstrual hygiene products. Without access to proper menstrual hygiene products, women are subject to unsanitary conditions, infection, and loss of confidence. No person should have to face these conditions. This is why we need your help. By donating just two boxes of pads or tampons at a drop-off location (listed below), you will be helping to provide a woman with the menstrual hygiene products she needs for an entire month.


Some of you may feel uncomfortable about the topic of menstruation. Please remember that upon donating to Project: Pink, your actions will be tremendously appreciated. You will not be judged for contributing menstrual products to a worthy cause. Menstruation is a natural process, and definitely not something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Half of the world's population experiences menstruation! Please keep this in mind, and consider donating to Project: Pink.


Again, we need your help! Please donate menstrual hygiene products (such as pads, tampons, and/or underwear) at any of the drop-off locations:  Shear Artistry Hair Salon, Erin's Chop Shop, Shanti Yoga and Fitness, Rosemary's School of Dance Education (Rehoboth), Alicia's Dance Studio, Anawan Cleaners, Shear Artistry Hair Salon, Rehoboth Congregation Church, and Mind Body Barre Fitness & Healing Studio.  Thank you.


Abby Abrahamson, Rehoboth Resident

November 10, 2016


Back to the drawing board?

The Town of Rehoboth has made two presentations regarding the many deficiencies at our municipal buildings. There is no question that there are many at town hall, the police and fire stations. A committee has worked for some time to address the needs of the departments and has worked with an architect to design a new Rehoboth Municipal Complex. Bearing in mind that this is a basic conceptual design, it still leaves many unaddressed issues.


The plan calls for all three departments to be developed at the site of the present police/fire departments. Town hall would be an addition to the expanded departments. Considering that this is being presented as a 25-year solution, I believe that it is very shortsighted.


Who can imagine the developments in the town over 25 years? There is very limited room for expansion with the proposed layout. I believe that the town hall should be a standalone building, leaving the current site for police/fire expansion.

One solution would be to have the town hall on the site of the present highway department. The highway department, like the police/fire departments has many vehicles and equipment to house. The current police/fire department site has 10 acres. Why not have the highway department housed behind the police/fire complex?


While there is an issue of developing a public well on the highway department site, I believe it can be resolved, and this would give all the municipal buildings room for expansion. Overall the design would be more aesthetically pleasing and not lock the municipal complex into a 25-year plan with little room to develop with expanded growth in town.


In addition, there are a number of issues not addressed in the current design:

No parking area shown for police/fire/EMT personnel

No provision for the excess vehicles owned by the police and fire departments

Possibly only one access point for police entry/exit   

Limited parking at town hall for employees and activity there – voting, public meetings, town business


Let’s not be shortsighted. If we are going to pay to make these improvements, let’s do it right.


Carol K. Williams, Rehoboth Resident

November 21, 2016


Congressman Joe Kennedy Meets Members of CARCS

The meeting with Congressman Kennedy (during his Tour 34 office hours visit to Rehoboth on November 19) was a step in the right direction for Rehoboth, and for the towns of Attleboro and Seekonk.


He stated that we clearly have his attention and remarked (a number of times) at the number of people who turned out to attend. He made it clear that he believes in the rights of the people and that we should have a say in what goes in our backyards. He frowned upon Spectra's approach to our town and called into question Spectra's lack of transparency with our Board of Selectman and community. He committed to follow up with Spectra for answers to those questions.


Congressman Kennedy also committed to connecting with Governor Baker and urging him to meet with the town as well. This is something that CARCS will follow up on immediately with Governor Baker's office. We will encourage Governor Baker to come down and listen to us in January. Additionally, the conversation with Kennedy only began today. We've committed to sharing our presentation with his office and have a meeting with him scheduled in late November.


We've got a solid strategy, with a couple of big things moving into play that we will be announcing in early Decembe.  Anyone is welcome to come to our strategy meetings and get involved in each step. The next one is Wednesday, November 30 at 7 PM in Goff Memorial Hall .


As we move into the holiday, I hope that everyone is feeling a strong sense of hope. It's most important to remember that the 'It's a done deal' rumor was spread by Spectra. Let's not let that company dictate how we behave. We have a right to know and a right to be heard. This is our town.


Tracy Manzella, Citizens Against Rehoboth Compressor Station

November 23, 2016


Thank you to the Rehoboth Community

My name is Abby Abrahamson, and this past October-November I ran a local community campaign called Project: Pink. The mission of this project was to ensure that women in the Rehoboth, MA area are equipped with the menstrual hygiene products they need. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to everyone that donated to Project: Pink. With the support of community members like you, we were able to collect 170 boxes of menstrual hygiene products for the Rehoboth Food Pantry and Assistance Program. I would also like to acknowledge the following for their generosity in being donation drop-off locations for Project: Pink:


Shear Artistry Hair Salon, Erin’s Chop Shop, Shanti Yoga and Fitness, Mind Body Barre Fitness & Healing Studio,

Alicia’s Dance Studio, Rehoboth Congregational Church, Anawan Cleaners, Step Ahead School of Dance, Anjulans’ Florist and Gardens, Rosemary’s School of Dance Education (Rehoboth and Warren)


Many thanks.


Abby Abrahamson, Rehoboth Resident

December 31, 2016


Letter to the Residents of Rehoboth

We the members of your Rehoboth Police Department thru our respective labor organizations, MassCop Local #208 representing our Patrol Officers and MassCop Local #209 representing our supervisors wish to inform you of a situation which we consider to be both unfortunate and unavoidable.


We would like to begin by reaffirming our deepest respect for the citizens of Rehoboth and to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for your continuous support of our department throughout the history of our town.  We believe that most Rehoboth residents are unaware that our police officers have been serving in their official capacities without a labor agreement since the expiration of the last contract on July 1, 2014.


It is our belief that the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen has failed to engage in good faith negotiations with either of our labor organizations for the past two and one half years.  We further believe that the Selectmen have deliberately stalled the progression of meaningful negotiations by routinely postponing or canceling scheduled sessions. While the Selectmen repeatedly inform us that they lack sufficient financial resources to provide us with a salary increase, an inquiry of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue revealed that the Town of Rehoboth has continuously maintained on average, 1.6 million dollars in Certified Free Cash during the entire negotiation period.


It remains an unfortunate fact that our police officers receive the lowest compensation when compared to all surrounding towns.  This situation has led to a steady flow of experienced Rehoboth Police Officers leaving our department to pursue employment with neighboring agencies.  Having experienced officers that were trained at the expense of the Rehoboth taxpayers leave for other agencies is undesirable and offers no benefit to the town or the police department. Our police officers have a long history of cooperation with town leadership during challenging financial periods.  This is evident by our acceptance of zero percent salary increases on three occasions since 2008.  We are genuinely disappointed that the Board of Selectmen’s refusal to reasonably negotiate a new labor agreement with our respective memberships has led us to the arbitration process.


The men and women of the Rehoboth Police Department remain steadfast in our commitment to this community to provide all citizens with the highest level of dignified and respectful service.  We ask for your support of our endeavor to seek a fair and equitable labor agreement with the Town of Rehoboth. Finally, the entire membership of the Rehoboth Police Department would like to extend our best wishes to all town residents for a Happy, Healthy and Safe Holiday Season!

 

Respectfully,

The Members of MassCop local’s 208 & 209  

January 25, 2017


In Rehoboth, neighbors looks out for others.

Just to let people know, my wife and I were visited by some unwelcome guests.


These guests decided to borrow a few things worth about $4000. The idiots did take an ATM card and used it at a Walgreens and Walmart (Smile, you’re on candid camera).  I am very glad I did not catch them when they were visiting because there would have been a very special physical altercation with me hopefully being on the winning end!


I must say the Rehoboth police should be called Rehoboth's finest for there diligent and professionalism.


In closing all my neighbors on Blanding Road do look out for each other and watch each others property very closely. Hopefully you can do the same for yours!



Steve Silva, Rehoboth Resident 

January 30, 2017


Rehoboth Municipal Complex Plan Incomplete

The Municipal Complex plan will be up for a vote in April, and now is the time to carefully review the proposal.  Voters are being asked to make a decision based on a simple architect’s rendering of the building’s exterior and interior layouts.  However, there is no site plan detailing access, parking, and outdoor storage areas on the 10-acre parcel of land, which contains a communications tower.  While the current plan seems to satisfy many personnel who will work in the complex, this preliminary plan is short-sighted and incomplete.  There are many critical questions that have not been addressed with regard to parking, traffic flow, future expansion, and septic and well placement. The development of an overall site plan forces us to analyze and fully address all needs and constraints.


Anyone who has visited the police/fire complex knows that there are many excess vehicles behind the building, some of which are Police vehicles in a fenced compound.  Where will these vehicles be located?   Where will the other vehicles required by the Fire Department and EMT services be situated?


Fire, police, Town Hall, EMT and REMA (Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency) employees all need parking, which should be included on a site plan. One would assume that it would be close to the rear of the buildings.


Additional parking for Town Hall might also be needed in the event of public meetings or voting activities. Already it seems as if parking and vehicle storage might take up much of the space directly behind the complex.


Access is a key issue. The main access is planned on the north side of the complex outside the Town Hall parking area.  The only other entrance/exit area is on the south side of the complex beside the fire department.  If another bay were needed by the Fire/EMT departments, access on that side would be severely limited.


What if the Board of Health regulations were to require a new well?  And a septic system?  Where would they be located?  What are the provisions for storm water management?


Is there truly enough space for all three departments and potential expansion? Toward the back of the property, there is a communications tower. The “bookend” location of Town Hall at the north side prevents expansion of the Police Department, which, in turn, prevents the expansion of Town Hall.  A 25-year time span is not a very long period of time and Rehoboth’s population is expected to grow.


Town Hall needs to be on its own site. We have the plan for the building. There are potential sites in town available for it.

Clearly, whether it is for cost-saving reasons or lack of foresight, the proposed plan has not been well thought out.  We can achieve a more satisfactory result, and avoid potentially expensive and problematic consequences, by taking this opportunity to fully evaluate the siting and construction of these important facilities.


Vote NO in April until a complete plan is developed.


Carol K. Williams, Rehoboth Resident

February 7, 2017


Response to Vox Letter on Proposed Municipal Complex

This is in response to Carol Williams article dated January 30, 2017. Ms. Williams has discussed her concerns numerous times, and I personally and publicly answered them each time.  Apparently Ms. Williams does not understand the process which must be followed. However, I will explain it again.


The Rehoboth Municipal Complex Committee along with Ted Rowse have been working on the conceptual design plan for close to three years.  Input to the design has been received from the employees from all departments which the complex will directly serve.


The first step in the process is to develop a conceptual plan of the proposed building.  Elevations and proposed floor plans have been developed and presented to the residents for their review and support. Two public workshops were held to explain the proposed project. Open house tours of the present town office, central fire station and police station were also held.  At the public workshop, Carol Williams presented many of her questions outlined in the January 30, 2017 letter and they were answered in depth.


All of Ms. Williams concerns, as well as other detail items, are addressed on final construction documents.  The final design will follow state and local regulations.  Also, the design of the building will comply with the requirements of the state building dode.  It is premature to spend money for final designs until funding is approved.  If you research the past town debt exclusion votes, including the one for the senior center, they were approved based on conceptual design plans.


On Monday, January 23, 2017 at the Rehoboth Special Town Meeting Ms. Williams again asked her repetitive questions and I again answered them along with explaining the difference between conceptual design and final design plans.

Ms. Williams made a motion to table the article to place it on the April town election for funding of the project.  It was seconded and the motion was overwhelmingly defeated. After several residents asked some questions and Mr. Schwall explained the need for the municipal complex, a vote was cast to place it on the April town election and was strongly approved.


The parcel of land which the proposed complex would be situated on is comprised of 10 acres and is owned by the Town of Rehoboth.  It is the present location of the Rehoboth Public Safety Building. In regards to the well and septic system, as stated, a new septic system will be required.  During the final design process the need for a new well will be determined.  There is ample room on the 10-acre parcel for placement of both if required. The concern that there isn’t enough room to the rear of the building for parking. For reference, the existing communication tower referenced in her letter is located 350-feet from the rear of the existing police/fire building.


I take offense to the accusation that the proposed plan has not been well thought out.  This reflected not only on the committee but dozens of town employees who have assisted in the conceptual design.


Robert Ashton,  Municipal Complex Design Committee Chairman

March 2, 2017


In Support of the Proposed Rehoboth Municipal Complex

How long is this overdue!  A bit of history . . . the only new municipal building in modern times built in Rehoboth is the Council On Aging (Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center) which is going to be paid for in April 2017.  Your taxes will be reduced to their previous assessment because it was paid by debt exclusion.  If the town complex is approved, it will be by debt exclusion and our taxes will be reduced when it is paid for.


Thanks to living in a conservative town, the new town complex has been designed with functionality and cost awareness along with a pleasing architectural appearance. The existing town office, previously a U S Nike Sight built under substandard federal building codes, was sold to the town of Rehoboth for $ 5,900 in 1971, a building that has been in use for over 60 years, and has never been improved or expanded. And by the way, the employees have not been able to drink the water there for over 30 years!


The police, fire and rescue building was built in 1971. This building has also never been improved or expanded! Both buildings are in serious disrepair. The one caveat we have is our town fathers had the foresight to purchase 10.6 acres when this building was built. So thankfully for that, we have ample space for a new and renovated complex. The proposed complex including renovation and expansion will occupy less than 1.5 acres of the 10.6. As one can see, there is more than ample land at that site.


The assessment for the project is expected to be between $40 and $50 per $100,000 assessed value of your property. With a figure of $45, a property valued at $300,000 would pay an increase of $135 per year in taxes. This is .37 cents a day. Also monies from solar farms and from the sale of town properties will be used to pay for this project.


This is a list of municipal projects recently approved by towns that are close to our population: Dighton (pop.7,086)  just police station $5.2M;  Swansea (pop. 15,865) just police station $4.65M;  Westport (pop. 15,532) just police station $8M; Dudley (pop. 11,390) just fire station $8.9M; Norfolk (pop 11,257) just police & fire station $9.9M.


As you can see, Rehoboth's complex, which includes renovations and additions of our police, fire, rescue and a new town office, is a cost of $9.5M.  That's right, $9.5 million. And this project will be by debt exclusion which means it comes off of your taxes when it is paid for.


This proposal is the most complete and with the best foresight I have seen in 45 years. So I would ask you to please vote to approve our new town complex on Monday, April 3. This is way overdue and it will indeed make us proud of our Rehoboth.


And by the way, I would like to thank our town employees and all of the volunteers, for their time and efforts through the years to make Rehoboth a special place to call home. Also thanks to Ted Rowse and the building committee which consists of department heads and our Chiefs for there expertise and efforts for a job well done.


Jay Crandall, Rehoboth Resident

March 6, 2017


A Good Plan Now is Better than a Perfect Plan that Never Happens

I am writing in response to some of the concerns over the proposed municipal complex.  I will be the first one to admit that if you comb over the draft proposal, you will be able to find something that not everyone agrees with.  However, we could spend the next 10,000 years debating over whether there should be one less conference room or whether there should be five more parking spaces in the back or something along those lines. 


The fact of the matter is that we have decrepit facilities now that outlived their useful lives over twenty years ago.  The police building roof is virtually beyond repair (as is the town office roof), the fire chief has made it quite clear that his buildings no longer adequately suit the needs of the fire department, there is asbestos in the town offices that needs abatement, and the list goes on...


So let's be quite clear on this, we can continue doing patch repairs until something catastrophic happens (and it will, it's only a matter of time), during which we will be forced to make a decision that I guarantee will not be half as well thought-out as the current proposal and we will end up with something we really don't like.


Or we could stop quibbling over how big that closet is in the corner of the building, the color of the men's room tile, etc and build a building that we can be proud of for the next 50+ years!


Jim Muri, Rehoboth Resident

(Muri is an elected member of the Rehoboth Planning Board)

March 27, 2017


Vote No on Municipal Complex Ballot Question

The 200 or so people at the special town meeting voted to put the municipal complex on the April ballot, although it was not a unanimous decision. The ballot question will allow the town to borrow the $9.3 million for the project. I don’t dispute the need, and I am not faulting the design for the building’s interior plan, but the overall plan remains, in my opinion, incomplete and shortsighted.


The police/fire facility should absolutely be upgraded as soon as possible. I endorse that part of the plan, but I don’t want to see future expansion at town hall limited to trailers behind the proposed complex. The town hall needs to be a stand-alone building on its own site. The “bookend” design of the proposed town hall building prevents expansion of any part of the complex.


If we bring these facilities up to modern standards, let’s make sure they will provide for future growth. Mr. Ashton could give us some information now about possible well and septic placement and the limitations that would place on land use. There is a brook on the back part of the property which may cause setbacks. It doesn’t make good sense to simply reference the land “out back.” Rough sketches could block out parking areas and access roads as well as other parts central to the development. If you want to see the possible limitations, take a drive now through the access road behind the current complex.


Vote NO until the plan is more fully developed.

Carol Williams, Rehoboth Resident

Older Letters

April 1, 2017


The Gloom of Darkness Has Returned

On Thursday this week you found two flyers in your mailbox. One educated you on campaign candidates. The other flyer was the work of a person who has been living under a rock. It was full of lies and misleading statements. I have dealt with flyers like this before. The author of the one you received is reckless in his false information and propaganda. It is full of lies and misleading statements.


Lie #1 - It’s not a Proposition 2 1/2 override, it is a debt exclusion. Big difference. A Prop 2 1/2 override continues forever and is compounded yearly. A debt exclusion is like your mortgage.  When it is paid, it comes off your tax bill.


Lie #2 - The flyer said $16 million. The price is around 9 million, but could be a lot less with other funding.


Lie #3 - There will be NO future taxes connected to the complex.


Lie #4 - The ballot question is NOT a blank check for elected officials. Since 2011, selectmen have been very conservative with your tax dollars. They have done so much with so little. I can promise they will be very conservative with this project.


Lie #5 - The cost of future maintenance will NOT cost $15,439,535. The new municipal complex is like a brand new home.  You have little or no cost the first 10 years.


Lie #6 - They are NOT looting the Solar Pilot Program. This is exactly what the program is designed for. But town does not receive $2 million per year on our solar program. I wish we did! Then we would not need a debt exclusion on Monday.


Lie #7 - The proponents of the municipal complex do NOT have a history of reckless expenditures. In fact, they have been very smart with your tax dollars. Your town is DEBT FREE. Not many, if any, towns or cities in the Commonwealth can make that boast.


Lie #8 - In 2012, we had a chance to acquire the brick building next to the public safety building for $1 million dollars. It would have cost $700,000 to convert it into a new town hall for a total of $1,700,000, not $2,700,000.


Lie #9 - It was not the will of the people to spend $1 million on the Anawan School. It was a plan put forward to the selectman with no study or engineering. If this had been done, it would have cost over $3 million to house the town hall only. The Anawan School is under contract to be a low income senior housing without cost to the town.


Lie #10 - It will NOT increase your taxes by $1,000 per household (not unless your house is assessed at $2.5 million).


I hope you support the DEBT EXCLUSION on Monday, April 3 so this town can be proud of our buildings instead of embarrassed. How long do you think we can continue with our depleting buildings and how much will it cost if we wait? By the way, I know who wrote the flyer, but have been asked not to say at this time. I will leave you with this: You have to understand the past to know the present.   

 

Michael Costello, Rehoboth Resident

April 2, 2017


A Cowardly Hit Job on the Municipal Complex

You probably received two glossy cards in the mail on Thursday; one was a political endorsement for republican candidates clearly indicating that it was sent by the Republican Town Committee and the other was anonymous.  If you believe in something strongly enough to send out a mass mailing to all of Rehoboth, don't you think you would sign it?  This demonstrates to me that this was a hit and run committed by someone who lacks the courage to sign his name to something he/she believes in.


As to the content of the card it was all innuendo and falsehood.  The architect's estimate for the project, based on the size of the building, the type of building and engineering estimates is about $9.3 million.  This takes into account the fact that the town already owns the land, the current cost of building materials, current labor estimates, etc.  The hit and run flyer pulls out wacky estimates based on what?  Based on some crackpot fantasy number that has nothing to do with reality, no doubt.


I've personally run the numbers based on a bond rate of 3%, which is what a town in Rehoboth's financial standing is likely to get and a term of 20 years.  The annual payment would be $618,936.  Spread out over four thousand households in Rehoboth, this comes out to $155 per household (on average) in additional taxes.  I don't know where Mr. Anonymous got his "thousands,” but he isn't even on the same planet as the actual cost.


The other hidden cost Mr. Anonymous has not shared with you in his card is the "do nothing" cost.  If we do nothing, we will need to continue to throw money into the existing buildings, including roof replacements, asbestos abatement, mold abatement, structural repairs, and upgrades to the police station to bring it into compliance with state code. 


Mr. Anonymous also failed to mention that if we have a catastrophic failure of one of these buildings, we will have to rent temporary trailers, move equipment and supplies, and be forced to rebuild at a cost far greater than the estimated $9.3 million for the proposed municipal complex.  While I could, like Mr. Anonymous, pull meaningless estimates for this out of my behind, I won't. I'll just say what most of us already know: we would simply be throwing good money after bad. 


This proposed municipal complex project was planned over the course of three years, had input from townspeople, town staff, building professionals, and others.  It is a very good plan that carries us 50+ years into the future.  So who do you believe: a well designed plan prepared by a group committed to the best interests of Rehoboth, or Mr. Anonymous, who lacks the fortitude to put his name on his bogus advertisement?


Please vote yes on the Municipal Complex on Monday!


Jim Muri, Rehoboth Resident

April 7, 2017


Municipal Complex Defeat Gives Food for Thought

The recent defeat of the latest proposal should serve as food for thought about our political process. The tunnel vision over the last twenty years or more, despite accompanying extended propaganda storms promoting the proposals, each of which was defeated, speaks volumes. It seems when we have an administration that is politically inbred or truly lacking in a diversity of opinions we will continue to repeat the failures of the past ad infinitum. Irving Janis wrote about a phenomenon which he called Groupthink, an analysis of the factors that led to the decision to go ahead with the disastrous "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba. 


I watched a selectmen’s meeting some time ago and was insulted to hear a sitting selectman refer to a nonspecific future selectman as a knucklehead or a group of them as knuckleheads. It is clear what a level of disrespect must exist for whatever decisions the electorate may hold that differed from the opinions held by the current selectmen. This is probably the best, perhaps I should call it the worst, example of the phenomenon. I don't see any signs that it is likely to change any time soon.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 7, 2017


Citizens Have a Responsibility

Citizens have a responsibility to participate in the political process by registering AND voting in our elections. As taxpayers, most of us want some say as to where and how our hard-earned money goes and the manner in which this country is run. The only way to ensure having some say is voting for those in whom you have complete trust and confidence.


Voting is a way of speaking your mind without ever talking loud enough to let your voice be heard! Your vote is your voice. When you vote, you actually tell our elected representatives what you want and where you stand on important issues. When you don’t vote you lose the opportunity to have your voice heard.  That being said, it is also important to put some time in researching the candidates and their views, and the questions on the ballot.


I am disappointed that only 29% of registered voters in Rehoboth turned out for our local election yesterday. Also, I was shocked at how many people on social media were asking questions throughout the day about the voting process, the candidates, and the issues.  There was ample time and information available to prepare for voting before election day.


I am saddened that the residents of Rehoboth did not approve the new municipal complex. I don’t think that too many people took the time and effort to understand just how little each of us would have to contribute to this in tax dollars through a debt exclusion and not through an override to Proposition 2 1/2.


Our current police/fire station and town hall offices are in deplorable condition and not in compliance with many federal and state mandates. The employees who work in these buildings deserve much better. They should not have to work in unsafe and unhealthy buildings. In addition, the costs associated with fixing these buildings will continue to mount and it is inevitable that a new municipal complex will have to be built at some point in the near future at a much higher cost. We missed a great opportunity to show that we, the citizens of Rehoboth, understand our responsibility in maintaining municipal facilities that provide for the safety of our residents and employees and offer additional space availability for the future needs of our lovely town.


Karen Schnabel, Rehoboth Resident

April 12, 2017


Selectmen Want Their Way

Tonight's selectmen meeting proved the point that no matter what the voters have said, the selectmen want to have their way and build the complex again.


All of the talk about trailers and immediate risks went into the wastebasket as the decades old quest for a new structure came back to life. Meanwhile nothing meaningful is likely to happen with the implied belief that it is good money following bad and most likely conditions will not improve significantly in the three years or more to get the new project off the ground. Inbred thinking is difficult to change and the group opinion unless soundly defeated again will continue to work to the detriment of town workers and voters alike.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

April 23, 2017


Seriously Disturbed About Town Meeting Warrant

I just read the selectman's letter in the town warrant and am seriously disturbed by an apparent error or deliberately misleading statement regarding Article 7. They state there that the article not only authorizes money for repairs to Beckworth and Palmer River schools but also authorizes " A new Public Safety Building and Town Hall Building."


I think they need to reprint the warrant immediately because of their gross error in their statement.


Timothy Harrington, Rehoboth Resident

May 4, 2017


Current Sign By-laws are Working Fine.

Why is it the Rehoboth Planning Board is all worked up about the signs in Rehoboth? There is a proposal that will be voted on at town meeting (Monday, May 8) to have all signs that are lit to be turned off from 11 PM to 6 AM. That would mean, every business on Route 44 and Route 6 will be dark during this time. This is nuts! Who does this hurt? Business, of course, who support Rehoboth in various ways. Why would a business not want to advertise all the time, even in the dark? Sounds crazy to me.


This by-law also has changes to the way signs are hung. They can't be hung in a manner that allows them to swing in the wind. There are thousands of signs in town that swing when the wind blows. They have been around since the beginning of time. They also look rustic. Why the issue?


We have some new businesses coming into town that we all would like to thrive and support. Why make it hard for them and ask them to shut off the sign when closed? How many people drive down Route 44 and Route 6 after hours? Tons!

I have asked a lot of businesses about this and they are upset that they have not been informed of this prior. It seems that the new folks coming in from the cities want to change everything. These are the same people that are the first ones to come to business for donations for their cause. If you want business to support you, you should try to support the business.


If a sign by-law is to be changed, it should have the support of the business community. This does not. Maybe we should enforce the current by-laws before we enact more?  Please vote it down at town meeting.


Tim Johnson, Rehoboth Resident

May 24, 2017


Increase in Wages for Senior Center Staff Well-deserved

Thank you to those who attended May town meeting and voted for the increase in wages for the employees of the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center. They surely deserve it. They have a heavy workload and a fast-paced work environment in which the employees work and assist each other as a team. Many residents, young and old, have been assisted by the caring, knowledgeable, and friendly staff.


The senior center is a lot of different things to many different people of all ages. It is like home to many who enjoy their lunches, breakfasts and activities. Seniors and not-so seniors come with old friends and make new friends. It is a happy place.


Most importantly, the senior center is a resource center which focuses on coordinating community-wide benefits programs; such as, Medicare and Medicaid assessment and enrollment; Affordable Care Act application and assistance; SNAP or food stamps; LIHEAP – fuel assistance; assist individuals that cannot afford specialize drugs; assist Veterans; explain Homestead Act and property tax relief for seniors and disabled; address issues with families of elderly or disabled; work with protective services in cases of elder abuse; address needs for housing repairs for low income as Rehoboth is not in Title 3 repair program; direct clients to financial assistant services as United Way, American Credit Assistance, etc.; provides Meals on Wheels; and lots more.


The residences of Rehoboth should be proud of this great asset to their town. I know I am. For the last 16 or 17 years that I have been coming to the senior center it has flourished beyond expectations. I truly cherish the bonds of friendship that I have made; and knowing that if I have a need, I can depend on the staff and volunteers to aid me.


Lorraine A. Botts, Rehoboth Resident

August 11, 2017


This whole fiasco shows very poor planning . . .”


Whatever happened to Mass Housing, the first agency which was slated to do senior housing at the Anawan School?  Remember that it was not going to cost the town any money.  Then they “conned” the Community Preservation people into requesting $50K at a town meeting.  The ambiguous reasons: “seed money” . . . another selectman said “feasibility study” . . . they got the money and disappeared from the picture.  We still do not know what it was used for!


Now come the Women’s Development people.  The community garden at the senior center is going to get paved over and the senior center loses parking spaces.  This whole fiasco shows very poor planning, not only on the part of the selectmen, but also the designer of the project.


Arthur Tobin, Rehoboth Resident


Note: Letter in response to plans for the Anawan School Housing project to be developed by Providence-based Women’s Housing Corporation that has already leased the property from the town to construct and manage 36 units of affordable housing for senior/veteran/disabled adult (not families). Since 1979, WHC has developed and managed housing for low and moderate income elders, families, and persons with special needs.

August 18, 2017


Why spend $40K on building evaluations?”


The Selectmen voted for $40K to evaluate public buildings.  Why are they hiring an outside firm to evaluate the town office building?  It was just evaluated by the State; results have not been received yet. 


Why? Why?  Is it to prove the building is not safe, healthy, or crowded?  Or to prove it was okay to move two more employees into the town Office building.  


Bette Dyer, Rehoboth Resident


(Dyer is also a long-time town employee who works in the town office.)

September 29, 2017


DEP should have final say on safety of public water.


Selectman Jim Muri says the water safe to drink and the town health agent clears well water at the senior center safe for use.  Does everybody know that a well is a “public water supply” and the final okay MUST be approved by DEP?


Arthur Tobin, Rehoboth Resident