Globe South Community briefing

Two new Selectmen in Abington

May 3, 2009
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Two of three incumbents seeking reelection survived last weekend's town election. While Christine Hickey of the Board of Health and Richard Muncey of the Water Commission were reelected to three-year terms, the same fate did not await Selectman Robert Wing. In the race for two seats on the selectmen's board, Andrew Burbine (941 votes) and Christopher Aiello (688) finished ahead of Wing (653) and Kathleen Repice (260). In the race for two openings on the Board of Health, Hickey, with 617 votes, was joined in the winner's circle by Robert Manning, who had the evening's highest vote total at 1,067. Challenger Frank Lazzaro picked up 530 votes. In the race for the Water Commission, Muncey beat challenger Dennis Hoffman, 672 to 548. According to Town Clerk Linda Adams, only 16 percent of the town's 9,252 registered voters cast ballots. - Robert Carroll

BUDGET REVIEW BEGINS - Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan will brief the Town Council's Committee on Ways and Means on the proposed town budget tomorrow. The hearing kicks off the budget review process for fiscal 2010, which begins July 1. The council can reject or decrease the size of line items, but cannot increase them. This year's budget is about $87 million, according to a town official. - Matt Carroll

FINANCIAL HELP IN TOUGH TIMES - Local religious and social service agencies have combined forces to form Cohasset CARES - Caring and Responding Economically and Spiritually - to help those in the community hit by the recession with a series of free Saturday forums. This Saturday, state Representative Garrett Bradley and US Representative William Delahunt will talk about government assistance for families and individuals. On May 16, Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, chief executive officer of Health Care For All, will lead a discussion on how to negotiate the confusing web of healthcare options, including benefits available in the federal economic stimulus package. Both programs will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. More information is available by contacting Margot Critchfield at or 781-383-1083. - Johanna Seltz

WHEN IT POURS - Duxbury has received a state grant of $114,962 from an Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs program to identify and treat storm-water pollution and reduce polluted runoff from roads and parking areas. The town applied for the grant to install four storm-water treatment-control and -filter systems on Crescent Street to reduce pollution from "the Nook," a Duxbury neighborhood between Crescent Street and Bay Road that drains into Kingston Bay. The latest grant is the fourth the town has received for a project to determine where water pollution is coming from and how to address it. Earlier phases addressed storm-water pollution in Hall's Corner. Conservation administrator Joe Grady said the Crescent Street improvements will result in cleaner water in the bay, better shellfish, and fewer beach closings. The work is expected to be completed this fall. - Robert Knox

REMOTE VOTE - Hanover residents who will be out of town during this Saturday's annual Town Election can vote by absentee ballots, which are available at the town clerk's office at Town Hall. Residents can cast absentee ballots until noon on Friday. Town Hall is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Fridays, 8 a.m. to noon. For more information, call the clerk's office at 781-826-2691. - Robert Carroll

FARMLAND FOREVER - Town Meeting voted last week to buy a 4.1-acre field across from Weir River Farm on East Street for $700,000. The seller, Michael Cushing, lives in the adjacent Cushing Homestead, which has been in his family for 12 generations since it was built in 1678. As part of the arrangement - which would preserve the field as open farmland - Cushing will donate 5 acres of nearby wooded wetland to the town. He also agreed to a preservation restriction on the house to maintain its historic appearance. The money for the purchase comes from the town's Community Preservation Act fund.

- Johanna Seltz

BOWLING ONLY - The Board of Selectmen denied a request to allow food and alcohol to be served on the premises of the Union Street Lanes bowling alley. Selectmen were concerned that underage drinking could be a problem if the alcohol were allowed to be consumed anywhere on the premises, as proposed, said Town Administrator Michael Yunits. The owner, Jerry Quirk, made the request to boost business and attract bowling leagues to play at the Union Street Lanes. Yunits noted that the bowling alley in Abington is licensed to sell alcohol to patrons, but only in a designated part of the facility.

- Franci Richardson Ellement

FUN ON HOLD - This summer was to mark the 90th year for Sunset Point Camp, but the camp has fallen victim to the recession and decreased charitable giving. But all 400 campers - low-income children from Greater Boston - will be able to go to camp elsewhere, according to Sunset Point administrator Beth Chambers. "We know the families and we will help them get somewhere this summer," she said. Sunset Point, which is run by Catholic Charities, will reopen next summer, she said, if it can raise the necessary $200,000. "We've always had wonderful benefactors, folks who've taken care of us. Like everyone else, they can't do as much this year. . . . Now we have to be a little more diligent and go out and do fund-raising," she said. - Johanna Seltz

ELECTION RESULTS - Challenger Richard Arruda topped the field in the selectmen's race in last week's town election with 725 votes, while Selectman Mark Beaton was returned to office with 691 votes. They defeated challenger Elaine Fiore, who received 623 votes, and incumbent Jean Landis-Naumann, who received 539. In other contested races, Ronald Gleason defeated Norman Harbinson, 852-489, for a seat on the Planning Board. Nancy Shea (759 votes) was elected town assessor, defeating challengers Andrew MacInnis (405) and Daniel King (232). Janet Wallace was elected town moderator with 595 votes over Ollie DeMacedo's 558 in a write-in campaign, as there were no candidates on the ballot. A total of 1,516 voters, or 18 percent of the town's registered voters, took part in the election. - Robert Knox

FUND-RAISING DRIVES - The Boys & Girls Club of Marshfield will hold its fourth annual golf classic on June 26 at the Crosswinds Golf Club in Plymouth. Tickets cost $600 for each team of four, $300 for two players, and $150 for individuals. The price includes 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, boxed lunch, and full dinner. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Boys & Girls Club. For more information, visit or call 781-834-2582. - Emily Sweeney

A YEAR WITHOUT RAISES - As residents move closer to a possible vote on a $3.37 million property tax increase, top town and school officials have voluntarily decided not to take raises next year. The town administrator, police chief, two deputy chiefs, school superintendent, assistant superintendent, and five principals are forgoing pay raises, in recognition of the town's fiscal crisis, officials said. Town Administrator Kevin J. Mearn, speaking for himself and the police officials, said, "The four of us decided we'd jump-start discussions and show leadership and initiative." Mearn, who earns about $135,000 a year, has a multiyear contract, but negotiates his salary annually. Town Meeting starts this week and a vote on the override is expected June 8. - Matt Carroll

FASHION FOR FRIENDSHIP - Residents can check out the latest fashions while helping Friendship Home Inc. open a respite home for people with developmental disabilities. More than 300 people are expected to take part in the May 13 event at the Lantana function facility in Randolph. The home would provide a place for people over age 18 with developmental disabilities to stay and enjoy activities for short periods, while giving their families time off from the responsibilities of caring for them. The nonprofit group will also provide day and evening programs at the home. Friendship Home has raised about $1.8 million of the $3 million it needs to build and begin operating the home, to be located on the property of the United Church of Christ on Route 123. The fund-raiser, which starts at 6 p.m., will include dinner and entertainment. For reservations, call 781-740-9507 or go to

- John Laidler

GRAND OL' FISH FRY - Residents can join in a community gathering today, while helping preserve the town's past. The Pembroke Historical Society is holding its annual Grand Ol' Fish Fry from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Thomas Reading Memorial Herring Run Park, on Route 14. The event is the largest annual fund-raiser for the society, with money used for the organization's ongoing efforts to restore and maintain its museum, the Adah Hall House, and the Friends Quaker Meeting House. The three buildings, prominent landmarks in town, are open to the public for research and educational use. In addition to serving fish cake and hot dog meals, the fish fry will feature rubber duck races, music, face painting, balloons, and cotton candy. - John Laidler

ETHICS EXPLAINED - A free seminar on ethics and conflict of interest will be held June 22 at 6 p.m. in the Mayflower Room of Town Hall. The seminar will be led by David Giannotti of the State Ethics Commission, who will explain the state's conflict-of-interest and financial-disclosure laws. He'll also discuss how municipal officials and employees can avoid potential conflicts of interest, and address topics such as restrictions on receiving gifts, outside employment, contracting with a municipality, and dealing with matters involving family members and business associates. The seminar is free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should RSVP to Patrick O'Brien at 508-747-1620 ext. 208 or po' - Emily Sweeney

NOW HEAR THIS - The Police Department has a new communications office, thanks to a state grant for 911 operations. The grant, for $171,000, was also used to supplement some salaries and avert layoffs this year, said Chief Paul Keenan. The money enabled the department to update infrastructure and communications equipment, he said. No city funds were used, he said, adding that money was saved by using city workers to do some painting. The old room will be used as a training facility. - Matt Carroll

STATE HELP FOR LAND PURCHASE - Randolph will receive a state land-conservation grant of $500,000, which will help the town buy 12.8 acres of the 14.5-acre Powers Farm, a working farm next to the town-owned Norroway Pond. Town Planner Richard McCarthy said the town plans to use the property for passive recreation such as walking, picnicking, fishing, and nonmotorized boating. The town is negotiating with the Powers family, which has owned the property for 110 years, to buy the land for $800,000. In addition, the town plans to purchase 2.78 acres at 592 North Main St. for $425,000, to provide easy access to the farm and pond. The two-family house on the property will be razed in order to put in a gravel parking lot, said McCarthy. The plans are contingent on approval by Town Meeting, set for May 26. Randolph was one of 11 Massachusetts municipalities to receive land-conservation grants totaling $3.5 million, the Patrick administration announced.

- Wendy Chow

TOWN MEETING TOMORROW - The annual Town Meeting, with a special session included, is to begin at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the high school. The Special Town Meeting includes a request that the governor file legislation so the town can raise its property tax rate to the maximum allowed, which the town had intended to do, but did not because of a clerical error. That error potentially could result in a $637,543 budget shortfall. Also, a transfer of $562,096 is requested to cover a fiscal 2009 shortfall caused when a payment from the development of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station fell through due to the economic downturn. The regular Town Meeting includes requests by the police for a bylaw against public consumption of marijuana and the Water Department for a bylaw allowing it to declare and enforce water-use emergencies and restrictions. The Zoning Board of Appeals wants a bylaw covering wind energy facilities, and the School Department wants to sell the 1.67-acre Lincoln School property off Church Street. - Steve Hatch

SATURDAY CHOICES - At the town's annual election next Saturday, there is little suspense about who will claim the available seats; all 10 candidates are running unopposed. Voting hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the high school gym. On the same day, the town is holding a special disposal event at the transfer station. From 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., transfer station ticket holders can dispose of a television set for $5, and other electronic devices - from computers to stereos - free of charge. The regular disposal price for electronic items is $10. The event is designed to help residents clear out electronic hardware stored in their attics, garages, and basements. - John Laidler

COMMUNITY CLEANUP - The town will provide trash bags and gloves to volunteers who sign up for the townwide cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon on May 16. "People have until May 8 to call in and register a site," said Lee Hulton of the mayor's office. Nine locations already are registered, including King Coast Beach and Weston Park, she said. The Department of Public Works will pick up the trash from the sites in the afternoon. Interested people should call the mayor's office at 781-340-5012. - Johanna Seltz

Around the Region

FOUR-TOWN CLEANUP - To celebrate Earth Day, an army of 300 Bridgewater State College volunteers fanned out across Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, and Middleborough cleaning up trash. The effort was organized by Susan McCombe, director of the Office of College and Community Partnerships, and Diane Bell, director of the college's Community Service Center. After hours of bagging trash and clearing dead tree limbs, the volunteers returned to campus, where they were treated to a cookout. - Christine Legere

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CONFERENCE - Brockton Family and Community Resources is holding a Conference on Culturally Appropriate Victim Services June 5 at Stonehill College in Easton. The daylong conference is for victim advocates, social workers, program directors, psychologists, and community-based organizations. The keynote speaker is Oliver Williams from the University of Minnesota, a national authority on domestic violence and its effect on African-American communities. Williams, who also will participate in a panel discussion, has worked in battered women's shelters and developed curricula and counseling groups in intervention programs. The conference will address the needs of communities of color and the ways domestic violence advocates and service providers can best respond. To register, call Kay Mathew at 508-583-6498 by June 1. The cost is $40, which covers lunch and materials.

- Steve Hatch

HOME-SOURCED WATER - As Town Meeting got underway Monday, the town agreed to borrow $3 million so that it will no longer have to rely on water supplied from the town of Milton; soundly defeated a motion from the floor to eliminate stipends for all elected officials; and tabled a warrant article that would have the town take over the Ponkapoag Golf Course from the state and renovate it. Selectman chairman John J. Connolly said the $3 million will allow the town to end a dispute with Milton, which has supplied water to a section of Canton north of Interstate 95 and Route 128/Interstate 93, by replacing a dilapidated 12-inch water main on Elm Street and extending connections under the major highways to Royall Street. It could go out to bid as early as July, with construction hopefully taking place by this summer, Connolly said. The article calling for the takeover of Ponkapoag was tabled because of expected costs of between $4 million and $8 million. "The course is not up to par; a consultant called it a Mona Lisa with mud on its face," Connolly said.

- Elaine Cushman Carroll

AMES SITE RECOGNIZED - The National Trust for Historic Preservation has placed the Ames Shovel Shops on its 2009 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. The Ames complex is an 8-acre site with 15 granite and wood buildings dating from 1852 to 1928. The shovels manufactured there were an important tool in the nation's development, and the Ames family was prominent politically and socially. The site now is owned by developers who have proposed a 177-unit affordable-housing complex with 15,000 square feet of office space. - Steve Hatch

SUPERINTENDENT CHOSEN - John McCarthy of Duxbury, principal of Hopkinton High School, has been named the superintendent of schools for the Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District. The regional school committee and the Superintendency Union had been deadlocked over whom to appoint recently; in the running were McCarthy, Bruce Cole, Plymouth school district's special education director, and Elizabeth Zielinski, assistant superintendent of the Quaboag Regional School District. The board voted twice last week, and when those votes remained deadlocked, decided to put it off until Monday, when they chose McCarthy. He will succeed Stephen Furtado, who resigned last December.

- Paul E. Kandarian