Globe South Community briefing

Deputy assessor wanted in Abington

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August 3, 2008

Town officials continue their search for a permanent deputy assessor. Charles Shea had held the full-time position for 12 years until abruptly resigning at the end of June. Shea "didn't tell us why he was leaving," said Abington Assistant Town Manager Dori Jamieson. "He just resigned." Shea could not be reached for comment. His position is being handled on an interim basis by chief clerk Jack Pistorino. "We hope to fill the position in the next couple of months," said Jamieson.

- Robert Carroll

RECYCLING GAINS WITH NEW SYSTEM - Single-stream recycling is off to a good start in Braintree, according to Rosemary T. Nolan, a solid-waste consultant. Recycling was up about 5 percent, as it was in Quincy and Weymouth, the other two communities that are in the Tri Town Alliance, which was formed by the communities to get bids on recycling and trash contracts. Braintree hopes to save $90,000 this fiscal year on the deal. - Matt Carroll

ELDER VANS GET GAS MONEY - A local nursing home gave $1,000 this month to the Cohasset Department of Elder Affairs to help pay for gas in the senior center's vans. "This will be a great help," said Linda Elworthy, director of elder affairs. "Last year it cost the town $2,390" for gas, "so this $1,000 pays almost 50 percent of our costs. . . . Many councils on aging have had to go for a fee for service for seniors. We haven't had to do that, and I'm very grateful because most of the people who use us are on fixed incomes." The senior center has three vans, which take seniors to doctor appointments, banks, hairdressers, and food shopping, as well as the library and social events. Last year, the vans made 4,721 trips, Elworthy said. Cohasset has 1,651 senior citizens, out of a population of about 7,300 people. The $1,000 grant came from the Golden Living Center of Cohasset on Route 3A. - Johanna Seltz

UNWELCOME HOME FOR FIRE CREW - Firefighters responding last week to storm-related fire alarm calls and a carbon monoxide alarm at the Bay Path Nursing Home on Kingstown Way found their own facility flooded with 6 inches of water when they returned to Station One on Tremont Street. The alarms at Bay Path were caused by thunderstorms when a lightning strike damaged the fire alarm panel, Deputy Fire Chief William Carrico said. There were no evacuations and the nursing home's residents were never in danger, Carrico said. However, firefighters found the kitchen of the fire station flooded by heavy rains on their return. Station flooding has followed torrential rains on other occasions, Carrico said. The town is exploring locations for a new fire station.

- Robert Knox

TEA BAG PROMPTS SPIRIT OF COOPERATION - What began with a tea bag taped to a letter has prompted Board of Selectmen chairman Daniel Pallotta to get to know neighboring town officials. Pallotta believes regularly scheduled informational meetings with town officials from Rockland and Pembroke would benefit all three towns. "We might have ideas they could use or they might have services we all could share," he said. "Why not meet and find out?" Pallotta said the idea of the joint meetings came to him after his board recently received a letter from Norwell town officials asking for Hanover's backing as it struggles with the state's affordable housing statute, Chapter 40B. Referencing the public stance of the historic Boston Tea Party, Norwell officials taped a tea bag to their correspondence. "I think we could all help each other," said Pallotta. "For example, we all have part-time animal control officers. Maybe we could save money by having one full-time officer serve all three towns." He said no meetings have been set.

- Robert Carroll

WANTED: FAMILIES IN NEED OF FUN - The latest wanted poster at the Hingham Police Department has a twist: It's looking for children and parents to attend the department's Family Fun Day. The event takes place next Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cronin Field, behind the Central Fire Station. Activities include pony rides, a dunk tank, a petting zoo, moon walks, a rock climbing wall, speed pitching, face painting, and police K-9 demonstrations. The Fire Department will spray a field of foam and demonstrate its equipment, both new and antique. State Police will give a seat belt demonstration and the Coast Guard will be there with boats and a helicopter. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks will be available, and 42 unclaimed bikes will be auctioned off. Proceeds from the event will go toward local scholarships. - Johanna Seltz

BOSTON HARBOR INSIGHT - The Hull Lifesaving Museum has two speakers lined up this week, focusing on the water and land of Boston Harbor. Andy Hammond of the Boston Harbor Pilot Association will talk Thursday at 7 p.m. about pilot boats, which since the 18th century have guided vessels through the tricky channels and currents of Boston Harbor. On Sunday at 4 p.m., Christopher Klein will talk about his new book, "Discovering the Boston Harbor Islands: A Guide to the City's Hidden Shores." "Even though the Boston Harbor Islands are just a 15-minute ferry ride from downtown Boston, millions of people who live within easy reach of the islands have never set foot on their shores," Klein says on his blog. "My hope is that my book will be a valuable resource to everyone who wants to pay a visit to the islands. It's filled with practical information to make your island adventure as enjoyable as possible, as well as historical vignettes on each of the 34 islands and coastal peninsulas that form the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area." The museum, located at 1117 Nantasket Ave., suggests a $3 contribution from members for each talk, and $5 for nonmembers. More information is available by contacting Victoria Stevens at or 781-925-5433. - Johanna Seltz

LOCAL MAN CHARGED WITH BREAK-INS - Kingston police have charged a 19-year-old Macfarlane Drive resident with numerous accounts of breaking and entering in the nighttime, malicious damage to property, and larceny in connection with vehicle break-ins in the town's Macfarlane Farms neighborhood. After responding to calls earlier this month from 15 residents reporting their vehicles had been broken into overnight, police called in the Plymouth County Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who found a fingerprint belonging to Michael Bruni. Kingston police then searched his residence and found stolen items there, according to detective Sergeant Robert Wells. Bruni was arraigned on the charges in Plymouth District Court on July 24. - Robert Knox

HONORING VETERANS - Planning is underway to establish a permanent honor roll that will include the names of all military personnel from Marshfield. An ad hoc committee is being formed to decide what the honor roll will look like and where it will be located. Veterans who served in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are encouraged to apply to serve on the committee. Those interested should send a letter of interest to the Office of Veterans Services, 870 Moraine St., Marshfield 02050. For more information, contact veterans agent Dick Martin at 781-834-5576.

- Emily Sweeney

LOOKING FOR USED BOOKS - Read any good books lately? And now that you are finished, are you wondering what to do with them? An organization called Got Books?, which is dedicated to finding new homes for pre-owned books and CDs, has set up a donation container outside the Collicot Elementary School at 80 Edge Hill Road. A portion of the proceeds goes to Collicot's PTO funding.

- Matt Carroll

LIBRARY WOOS TEEN READERS - The public library is inviting local middle and high school-age residents to weigh in on recent improvements made to its young adult area. Administrators are seeking the feedback through a survey form available at the library. The library recently upgraded the young adult space, now known as the Teen Spot, adding comfortable seating and colorful rugs, and painting an area that will serve as the backdrop for art displays. This past week, the library was set to install in the Teen Spot a new banner, designed in a contest among Norwell Middle School students. The library has also recently purchased new music CDs, movies, and books for teens and "tweens." The improvements were funded through a grant from the state Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

- John Laidler

NEW WEB PRESENCE FOR TOWN - The town recently launched a new municipal website. Developed by library director Deborah Wall, the site,, includes a new design and more information about town departments and boards than was contained on the town's previous site. Additional content will be added over time, according to Wall, who is serving as webmaster. Meanwhile, the library recently erected a new sign at its front entrance. Designed by David Hassan of the Hassan Sign Co. in Cohasset, the sign was funded through grants and donations.

- John Laidler

NEW DOCK DUE BEFORE TRIATHLON - Organizers of the Plymouth Rock Triathlon Festival are donating a new dock to the town. The $15,000 floating dock is made of pressure-treated lumber and measures 20 feet by 40 feet. It's being built at Long Point Marine in Duxbury, and will replace the dock beside the Mayflower II. Hingham-based Fast Forward Race Management plans to have the new dock installed before the triathlon festival events scheduled on Aug. 31. The Plymouth Rock Triathlon Festival consists of two races, and 500 people have signed up so far. For more information, visit

- Emily Sweeney

HANCOCK STREET DISRUPTIONS - Hancock Street between St. Ann's Road and Adams Street may be a mess for drivers. A 12-inch water main is being installed, disrupting traffic at times. Phase II, from Bridge Street to Adams Street, was scheduled to start this past week. Phase III, from Bridge Street to Furnace Brook Parkway, is supposed to start as soon as Phase II ends. - Matt Carroll

LATE START FOR HOOP COURT - The basketball court behind Town Hall has been reopened. The fenced-in court is used to store police evidence vehicles in the winter and normally is open for basketball play in the spring. This year, however, it took longer to move the vehicles because of pending legal cases. The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously recently to find another storage location and give the court back to the children. "The purpose is to give children as much to do to keep busy and have fun during the summer months," said David Murphy, town executive secretary. "There has been a strong push to focus on youth programs this year." The court, which is popular with youngsters because it is near the high school, will be open from dawn to dusk.

- Wendy Chow

LEARNING FOR GROWN-UPS - The Randolph Women's Club will offer adult education classes starting in September. The group developed the classes as a way to raise money to maintain the historic Jonathan Belcher House, where the club meets. Classes will be offered in memoir writing, quilting, Microsoft Word, and container gardening. Fees are $32 to $40; the gardening class is $105, but includes supplies and flowers. The classes meet on Thursdays at 7 p.m. for four weeks at the Belcher House, 360 North Main St. The first session is Sep. 11 to Oct. 2; the second session is Oct. 16 to Nov. 6. As a bonus, participants can attend a free Saturday class, either on making bread or sewing a window valance. The club, which started in 1855 as the Ladies Library Association and promotes community interest in the arts, local public legislation, and community affairs, is also looking for new members. For more information, visit or call 781-986-7810.

- Wendy Chow

LIBRARY MAY NEED WAIVER - Things are getting tight at the Rockland Memorial Library. The library, which traditionally has been open Saturdays during the school year, will remain closed on weekends this fall, and library officials may be forced to seek a certification waiver so residents can continue to borrow from libraries in other towns. This is all because of budget cuts, according to library director Beverly Brown. The library budget at the start of fiscal 2008 was $411,000 and now is $348,000. One full-time library position has not been funded, and hours for another worker have been cut. Certification requires towns to fund libraries at a base level that increases each year.

- Steve Hatch

GRAND OLD BUILDING IS RESTORED - The Scituate Historical Society last weekend rededicated the historic Grand Army Hall to mark the completion of a restoration project. The hall, on Country Way, will shortly be available for rent by community groups and individuals. The oldest public building in Scituate, the hall was constructed in 1825 as a Baptist meeting house. In the late 1860s, it was sold to a local resident who converted it to a meeting house for social groups. In 1883, it was purchased by the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic and given its current name. An active venue for town events, it was eventually purchased by the town in 1953. In 1996, the town deeded the hall to the society to manage and preserve. The recent project restored the building interior to its appearance when it was first taken over by the Grand Army of the Republic. The society also added exhibits on the building's history.

- John Laidler

A PLAN TO LINK PARKS - Final plans for a walking trail connecting four waterfront parks should be ready for public viewing by next month, according to state Representative James Murphy. The trail would link town-owned Great Esker Park with the state-owned Abigail Adams Park on the Weymouth side of the Back River, as well as Bare Cove Park and Stodder's Neck Park on the Hingham side of the river. The parks on the same side of the river are separated by Route 3A. "We're fortunate to be located on the waterfront, but access has always been an issue," Murphy said. "Right now people use the parks independent of each other. You can go to one park and see the next one, but you can't get to it." Murphy, who grew up fishing and swimming in the area, says the final design calls for a bridge over the Back River, a path looping through all four parks, and a main entrance gate and parking area. Estimated cost of the project is $5 million, he said; the Legislature recently approved $250,000 for design and permitting.

- Johanna Seltz

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