Globe South community briefing

Workers agree to furloughs

The Randolph Theater Company will present ''1776,'' about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The cast includes Frank Gammon (left) of Avon and David Goode of Randolph. The Randolph Theater Company will present ''1776,'' about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The cast includes Frank Gammon (left) of Avon and David Goode of Randolph. (Randolph Theater Company)
March 15, 2009
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In a display of fiscal responsibility, members of the town's library union, clerical union, and highway, park and sewer workers have agreed to take 12 1/2 unpaid days off over the next two years. The move, said town officials, will offset a recent 3 percent contractual raise given to those workers and could save taxpayers $140,000 by the end of 2010. Town Manager Philip Warren, who proposed the unpaid furlough, also has agreed to take 15 unpaid days over the next two years, costing him $7,000 of his $125,000 salary. "We're very fortunate to have employees who understand the town's [financial] situation," said selectmen chairman Robert Wing. "It shows real spirit. I'm proud of each and every one of them." - Robert Carroll

WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD - The Department of Recreation and Community Events is holding an open house at its new home, the Watson Park Library. The event will be held Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. at the library, 85 Quincy Ave., near the Braintree Yacht Club. Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan will attend. "We'll have some coffee and maybe some Munchkins" for visitors, said William Hedlund, the department director, who in particular invited residents of East Braintree, since the department is now in their neighborhood. For more information, call 781-794-8901. - Matt Carroll

THE TRUTH ABOUT WAR - "Consequence," a new literary magazine based in Cohasset and focusing on how war affects society, launches this month. Editor George Kovach said the print journal is "dedicated to providing a new generation of war vets and artists concerned about the culture of war a platform for passionate expression." The first issue includes previously published work by established authors, but future issues will feature "the best new writing we can find by witnesses and survivors, soldiers, scholars, and writers compelled to speak the truth about war." For more information, go to - Johanna Seltz

ELECTION CHALLENGES - Longtime Town Moderator Allen Bornheimer is facing a challenge from Robert Mustard Jr. in the annual town election on March 28. Bornheimer has presided over Town Meeting as moderator for 27 years. Christopher Donato will challenge incumbent Andre Martecchini for a seat on the town's Board of Selectmen. Glenn Listernick will challenge incumbent John Heinstadt for a seat on the School Committee. Three candidates will contest two seats on the Planning Board, incumbent George Wadsworth and challengers Josh Cutler and John Murdock. Three candidates, Laney Mutkoski, Paula Harris, and Kate Sturgis, are running for the Library Board of Trustees. - Robert Knox

HARDER-BERNIER TO BE HONORED - Cathy Harder-Bernier's dedicated efforts to improve the town - from helping secure funding for a new high school to making sure there are enough fields and courts to satisfy athletes young and old - have earned her the eighth annual Spirit of Hanover Community Service Award. Harder-Bernier, who works at the South Shore YMCA at Mill Pond, is scheduled to be honored April 5 at the American Legion Hall. A prominent member of the Hanover High School Yes! Committee, Harder-Bernier was instrumental in getting voters last year to pass a proposal for a new $63 million high school, of which the town will be responsible for $32 million. She is also chairwoman of the Parks and Recreation Committee. - Robert Carroll

CHOCOLATE SEDER - Passover will have a chocolate twist at the 13th annual South Shore Interfaith Seder, which will be celebrated at Congregation Sha'aray Shalom next Sunday. The Passover celebration tells the story of the Israelites' exodus from slavery in Egypt. Participants at this year's service will drink four glasses of chocolate milk, instead of wine, and eat chocolate instead of other traditional foods, according to the temple's Barbara Dine. "We've done it a few times. It puts a new twist on it and makes it a little more fun." The Seder, which runs from 3 to 5 p.m., is sponsored by the Hingham No Place for Hate Committee and the Hingham-Hull Religious Leaders Association. Participants should bring a nonperishable food item for the Hingham Interfaith Food Pantry, and register ahead by e-mailing - Johanna Seltz

SUPERINTENDENT GETS SCITUATE JOB - Superintendent Susan E. Martin has been named the new superintendent for Scituate Public Schools, and School Committee members expect to begin a search for her replacement next month. "It's pretty late in the season to begin a search," said Jim Hathaway, School Committee chairman. Hathaway said that while Martin's resignation has not yet been officially received, the committee will begin discussing a strategy for finding her replacement at its next meeting on Wednesday. It should be ready to begin its search for the post that would pay "a minimum of $125,000" a year in April. Meanwhile, Martin, 55, who will complete her fifth year in Holbrook this spring, said she is "very excited" about her new post. Martin said last week that she expects to start this summer, although she said she was still negotiating the terms of her contract with Scituate. The Scituate School Committee selected her out of a pool of about 20 applicants to replace Superintendent Mark Mason, who will be leaving in September. Martin said she has loved the work in Holbrook but is looking forward to heading up a larger district. Holbrook has about 1,400 students and there are about 3,200 in Scituate. "It's time for me to leave. It's another chance for professional growth in my career," Martin said. "It's a good match for me." - Elaine Cushman Carroll

KEEPING CAROUSEL GOING - The Friends of Paragon Carousel have no money, but they're loaded with volunteers, and looking for more. The organization, which runs the landmark antique carousel across from Nantasket Beach, announced on its Web page that it ran out of money in January and is relying on contributions to pay its bills and volunteer labor so the 66-ride can reopen for the season on Easter weekend. "Everybody's stepping up," said Dennis Zaia, who's organizing the volunteers. "I'm holding eight pages of volunteer tasks and all the people that want to do them." He said the first major job is repainting the outside of the building with paint donated by state Representative Garrett Bradley and state Senator Robert Hedlund. Zaia said anyone interested in volunteering should contact him at - Johanna Seltz

INTERIM TOWN MANAGER NAMED - John "Jack" Healey, the former town manager of Middleborough, has been appointed Kingston's interim town administrator. Selectmen cited Healey's 30 years of municipal experience in choosing him for the interim role and said his knowledge and expertise will help guide the town during the upcoming Town Meeting and budget processes. Healey replaces veteran town administrator Kevin Donovan, who left last month to become the chief executive officer at South Shore Tri-Town Development Corp., which oversees development at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. - Robert Knox

RESTORING HISTORY - Residents, local officials, and history buffs are invited to attend an informational session on Saturday to learn more about plans to renovate the Seth Ventress Building. The architect and members of the building committee will be on hand to discuss the restoration project, and plans will be available for viewing. The hourlong meeting will start at 10 a.m. in the building, at 76 South River St. The wood-frame building was constructed in 1895 and over the years served various purposes as a library, town hall, police station, and school. Most recently, it housed the school department's administrative offices. It now sits empty. The $3.9 million restoration project is scheduled to start this spring and take about a year to 18 months to complete. - Emily Sweeney

TEMPLE AWAITS FATE - Officials at Temple Shalom on Blue Hill Avenue say they will be forced to move out of town if their latest plan to sell off much of the property for a commercial development fails. The plan would require a zoning change that would allow the construction of two commercial buildings on the 4-acre property, with the current temple being demolished and a new building constructed elsewhere on the site. The Planning Board will make a recommendation on the zoning change to Town Meeting, which begins May 3. The zoning change needs the approval of a two-thirds majority. - Rich Fahey

KAYAK EXPO - Area residents who want to learn more about kayaking while also supporting local environmental preservation can do both at an event on Saturday. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Norwell Middle School, the North & South Rivers Watershed Association is holding its annual Kayak Expo. Now in its seventh year, the expo features a varied display of kayaks and rowboats, and slide shows of paddling adventures. Tickets for the event, which also features children's activities, are $5 ($3 for those 12 and under). Proceeds will benefit the Norwell-based association, a nonprofit that promotes conservation of natural resources in the 12-town North and South rivers watershed area. For more information, go to, e-mail, or call 781-659-8168. - John Laidler

BUYING THE BOGS - A committee is recommending that the April 28 Town Meeting appropriate $200,000 from the Community Preservation Fund to help with the town's purchase of the approximately 43-acre Andruk bogs on the corner of Mattakeeset and Maquan streets. The Community Preservation Committee supported the recommendation at a recent meeting. The $200,000 would cover about half of what the town needs to match a $405,750 grant awarded by the state to help with the purchase of the bogs. The town would bond the remainder of its share using authorization by Town Meeting last April. Town officials say purchase of the bogs would help protect the aquifer in the area, which is near the Abington/Rockland Joint Water Works. It would also enable the town to take steps to prevent the drainage of bog water into Oldham and Furnace ponds, and provide Pembroke with open space area adjacent to the Town Forest. - John Laidler

FREE BUSINESS CLASSES - The Plymouth Office of Community Development and the Plymouth Area Chamber of Commerce are offering a seven-week business management course for local business owners and budding entrepreneurs. The course, taught by Cape Cod SCORE, will provide practical insight on advertising, marketing, financing, bookkeeping, Internet sales, and other topics. Classes start on April 14. The course is free for Plymouth residents (nonresidents must pay $130) and those who complete the course will be eligible to apply for low-interest microenterprise loans through the Plymouth Office of Community Development. To sign up, visit and click on the "Workshop Schedule" link. - Emily Sweeney

McGUNIGLE CLEARED - Joe McGunigle, the Quincy police officer who ended up in the spotlight for ticketing dog owners who failed to clean up after their animals on the beach, has won a victory against the city. An arbitrator set aside the five-day suspension McGunigle received for disobeying an order from the previous chief not to write more tickets. The arbitrator also ordered the matter to be dropped from his personnel record. McGunigle's actions polarized the tightknit Post Island neighborhood, with some applauding him for dealing strongly with what they considered to be a health issue, and others upset because they said he harassed and tried to intimidate them. "I was just doing my job," said McGunigle, who added that he was pleased by the arbitrator's decision. He said the dog situation along the beach has improved markedly, with a few exceptions. A spokesman for the Police Department said he had no comment on whether there would be an appeal. - Matt Carroll

SPECIAL ELECTION AVOIDED - Because of their swift work, the Randolph legislative delegation has saved the town $20,000. Senator Brian A. Joyce, along with Representatives Bruce J. Ayers, Joseph R. Driscoll, and Walter F. Timilty, pushed through a bill to allow residents to vote for a new form of government at the annual election scheduled for April 7. Voters will choose between two town manager forms of government: One has the manager reporting to a nine-member council; and the other would keep a five-member Board of Selectmen but reduce the size of the Town Meeting to 120 elected members. If the bill hadn't been passed in time, the town would have had to hold a special election on the matter, which would have cost $20,000. David Murphy, executive secretary to the Board of Selectmen, said: "During these difficult financial times and at a time when the business of the state is keeping our delegation very busy, we greatly appreciate the work that went into getting the home rule petition passed in such a timely manner. The cost savings are extremely important when we are already reducing our operating budget." Once a new form of government is chosen, an election will be held to fill the new offices within 180 days, and the new town leaders would take over in January 2010. - Wendy Chow

HISTORY COMES ALIVE - The Randolph Theater Company will present "1776," a musical about the signing of the Declaration of Independence, at the newly renovated Stetson Hall. Performing in the Greek Revival-style building, which was built in 1842 and is a town landmark, has added extra depth to the show, said director Constance Miller Clinton. Being in an historic building has made the actors more aware of the significance of the show, she said. Christyn Hobbs, who plays Martha Washington, said: "I feel that performing for people in itself is a great honor as we are escorting the audience into a world of history. To have an actual piece of history to use as a backdrop while entertaining is moving." Hobbs is one of about 40 cast and crew from around the South Shore working on the show. The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1969, and has won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Performances are Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at Stetson Hall, 6 South Main St., next Sunday at 2 p.m., and March 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, $8 for children and seniors, and may be purchased at the recreation office, or call 781-961-0939. - Wendy Chow

ROOF TAKES PRIORITY - The Rockland Historical Commission is taking steps to save two key historic buildings, starting with the Grand Army of the Republic Hall. "First is repairing of the roof, which is in dire need of repair," said Jim Paul, commission chairman, "so before it really wrecks the building we're going to fix that and take care of the infrastructure." Roof work nearly 20 years ago was never completed, and "it's leaking bad," Paul said, so the commission has secured a $10,000 foundation grant to undertake $15,000 in repairs to the worst half of the roof. Various fund-raisers will take care of the shortfall, he said, as well as raise historic awareness. The project is out to bid and should begin soon. "We feel that it is one of the most important buildings in town," Paul said. "And the Historical Commission needs a headquarters and a place to bring the public and show off our collection of artifacts." Later, from its unofficial headquarters in the GAR Hall, the commission will launch efforts to repair the now-closed 1745 House. "We're hoping to use the GAR as a fund-raising center," Paul said. - Steve Hatch

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH - The town has received 41 applications so far for town administrator. Richard Agnew, who has held the post since 1990, is retiring at the end of June. Selectmen have not set a deadline for applications, but are expected to begin the selection process at the end of this month. Board chairman Shawn Harris said selectmen are individually reviewing the applications that have been received to date. The board will decide on a number of candidates to call in for closed-door interviews, and then will select finalists to be interviewed in open session. The board hopes to have a successor in place by the time Agnew departs. - John Laidler

EATING SAFELY - The town health department is teaching people how to avoid the gastrointestinal norovirus - over lunch. "We never thought about it not going together well, talking about a virus that causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea while we're serving lunch; we thought it was a good way to entice people to come," said public health nurse Diane Lamb. "Right now there's an outbreak in Massachusetts and we wanted to alert people and encourage them to wash their hands, and fruits and vegetables." The free luncheon lesson will be held March 23 at noon at the Whipple Center, 182 Green St. Reservations can be made by calling 781-340-5008. - Johanna Seltz

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