Globe South Community briefing

Creighton in 2009?

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March 23, 2008

The town has not seen the last of Bill Creighton. That was Creighton's message last week despite his decision not to run for another term on the health board, where he has sat the past eight years. "I'm thinking of possibly running for office next year," said Creighton. "Which office? I can't say now." Creighton's tenure on the health board was marked by battles with fellow board members. In January 2007, three health board members, including chairman Roger Atkinson, resigned from the board, citing Creighton and his confrontational style as the reason for their leaving. That came just a few months after Creighton and former health board chairman Anthony Pignone asked the state inspector general's office to investigate if $10,000 was missing from the town's propane tank recycling program. While the investigation found that some money was "unaccounted for," no charges were filed and the case was closed. Much of the decision not to run "has to do with the inspector general's investigation," said Creighton. "I was looking into missing tax dollars and I got nothing but resistance from some on the board." At a December board meeting, health agent Michelle Roberts, angry that Creighton produced a record of private calls Roberts had made using a job-related cellphone, tossed the phone Creighton's way before storming out of the meeting. "I think I did a good job for the town," said Creighton. - Robert Carroll

BILL DROP-OFF - Drive on up, residents. The drop-off boxes for bills at Town Hall have been relocated from in front of the building to the side of the old water and sewer building. The old spot didn't work, said Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan in a statement. "Now you can drive right up and drop off your bill," he said. Bills that can be dropped include taxes, municipal electric, and water and sewer. - Matt Carroll

THANKS TO TEWKSBURY - The town threw a party on St. Patrick's Day for 86-year-old Hamilton Tewksbury to thank him for his years of work for local senior citizens. Tewksbury, who moved to Cohasset in 1954, drove vans for Cohasset Elder Affairs starting in the 1980s, taking senior citizens to doctors' appointments. He recently retired from driving, but continues volunteering at the senior center. The selectmen presented him with a proclamation calling him "this most compassionate and understanding gentleman" and citing his "lifetime of service to his community." The party at St. Anthony's parish center featured entertainment and an Irish-style dinner cooked by the senior center's gourmet cooking club. Tewksbury said he and his wife, Shirley, a retired Cohasset schoolteacher, had a fine time. He also is a member of the town Historical Commission and the Government Island Advisory Committee and has served on the Recreation Commission. - Johanna Seltz

LAND BUYS APPROVED - Town Meeting has approved two land purchases recommended by the town's Community Preservation Committee, using Community Preservation Act funds. Voters approved spending $2.1 million to buy 40 acres off Winter Street from the Berrybrook School to forestall development and keep it as open space. Voters also backed spending $1 million to buy 106 acres of Camp Wing from the nonprofit Crossroads for Kids. The town Preservation Committee said the Camp Wing property will connect to other town conservation properties and preserve a river bank corridor. - Robert Knox

SPIRIT AWARD TO ITZ - Barbara Itz, who over the past 17 years has made it her charge to see that no Hanover family goes hungry, has been selected the seventh recipient of the Spirit of Hanover Award. Itz, 80, was told of her selection in grand fashion last week. "I was at a birthday party at a hotel in Rockland when I looked up and saw Bob Shea, Paul Hayes, and Al Rugman walk in," she said, referring to the town clerk, police chief, and selectman. "I had no idea what they were doing there until they came up to me. It was a complete surprise." Recently named to chair the town's bylaw review committee, Itz has been involved for more than a decade with the advisory committee, first as a member and now as secretary. She is also a secretary for the town's Route 53 study committee. But it is her devotion to the Hanover Food Pantry that sets Itz apart. A typical month sees close to 80 families turn to the pantry. "We provide a wonderful service," said Itz, who may be as equally well known locally for her homemade raspberry peach jam. She will be honored during a public ceremony scheduled for 2 p.m. April 6 at the American Legion Hall on King Street. Sitting quietly alongside Itz during the presentation will be Arnold, her husband of 57 years. The two met on a freighter headed to Europe. "He was an officer [in the Merchant Marine] and I was a passenger," she said. "It wasn't love at first sight, but close." Tickets to the ceremony are $15 and can be purchased at Town Hall. - Robert Carroll

JOIN CITIZEN'S POLICE ACADMEY - The spring session of the Citizen's Police Academy starts next month and is open to all residents and local business owners. The academy is designed to give citizens a better understanding of the role of police officers and the operation of the town's Police Department. Classes will meet Wednesdays, starting April 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the police station, with one Saturday class and an extra night at the shooting range. The course includes material on domestic violence, motor vehicle law enforcement, drug investigations and gangs, crime prevention, constitutional law and use of force. Participants will get a tour of the local correctional facility and, at the end of the course, ride with an officer in a police cruiser. More information is available from Sergeant Glenn Olsson at or 781-804-2231. - Johanna Seltz

TAX PAYMENTS - Because it took a little longer than expected for the state Department of Revenue to approve the Holbrook tax rate, two tax payments for the year are both due on May 1. But Town Administrator Michael Yunits is hoping that residents will pay the recently mailed tax bills sooner than May 1 to avoid the town's having to take out a short-term loan. "There's a cash crunch here right now," Yunits said. "We're hoping some people will pay the first bill right away. By law they don't have to, but I hope that they will to avoid short-term borrowing that would cost the town money." The tax rate of a homeowner with an average priced home of $302,000 means a bill of about $3,092, a hike of about $6 from last year. - Franci Richardson Ellement

WINNING THE BIG PRIZE - What a difference a week - and an extra $10 million - make. Edmund Babcock, 50, won $10 million last Sunday on a $20 scratch ticket that he bought at the Tedeschi's on Nantasket Avenue. He'll get $500,000 a year, minus taxes, for the next 20 years. So he's quit the job he's held for the past 15 years running the town's waste-water treatment plant, and plans to buy the home he's been renting since September - which is two doors down from the house where he grew up. His wife is quitting her job as a cashier at the Fruit Center in Hingham and Babcock says he's buying her a car. "I have two kids of my own and custody of my nephew and I'm going to do for them whatever they want," he said. "We can't be spoiling them, but we'll make their life a little easier." He said he's still not sure how it feels to have all that money. "When I scratched the ticket I felt like I needed to find an EMT very quickly. But I'm all right, so my heart is very good, I guess," he said. - Johanna Seltz

EXHIBIT ON BOATBUILDER'S TOOLS - Kingston Public Library is hosting an exhibit of hand tools used by George W. Shiverick, an important figure in the town's boatbuilding history. Shiverick designed and built catboats, knockabouts, motor launches, sailing yachts, fishing boats, dories, and tenders from 1895 to 1940 in a shop on the Jones River. Among the 300 vessels he built were fast sailboats, including at one time the entire fleet of the Duxbury Yacht Club. His workshop is now part of the Jones River Landing Environmental Heritage Center. Along with Shiverick's well-worn, but carefully preserved tools, the library is exhibiting a few rare photographs and other mementoes. - Robert Knox

LIBRARY RENOVATION PLANS - The Ventress Memorial Library Building Committee finished the second phase of their feasibility study and unanimously agreed to put forth a proposal to renovate the existing library. Residents will get to vote on the proposal at Town Meeting on April 28. Before that happens, the committee will hold two community forums to discuss the proposed renovation project. The first forum will be held April 7 at 7 p.m., and the second is scheduled for April 20 from 2 to 4 p.m. Both meetings will be held at the library. - Emily Sweeney

NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS - Interested in starting a neighborhood association? While there are associations not linked with the town, there are also "official" associations, such as for Columbine Cliffs, Hillside Street, Milton Hill, Pine Tree Brook, and Railway Village, according to Reva Levin, program manager for the Department of Public Works. Levin is looking for residents who wish to start their own associations. Older associations are willing to share their experiences, she said. For more information, call 617-898-4871. - Matt Carroll

NEW DIRECTOR AT SCHOOL - School Superintendent Donald Beaudette last Monday announced that Ellen M. Peterson will replace Kelly Chase as the district's director of teaching, learning, and technology. Chase will resign effective July 15. In a letter to staff, Beaudette said that Chase had decided to leave the position in order to spend more time with her daughter. Praising Chase for her work, he said, "From curriculum and instruction, to professional development, to technology, Kelly has done it all and then some, with an effective combination of intelligence, personality, and old-fashioned hard work." Peterson, an assistant principal at Center/Sylvester Elementary School in Hanover, has worked as an elementary school teacher in Weymouth, and for two years wrote The Boston Globe's "Ask the Teacher" column. - John Laidler

ALLOCATION PRESERVATION MONEY - The Community Preservation Committee is holding an open meeting Thursday, at 7:30 p.m. at the library to seek resident input on what projects should be awarded money from the town's new Community Preservation Fund next fiscal year. The fund is the account Pembroke has established to receive the revenues generated from its adoption in 2006 of the Community Preservation Act. The state law allows municipalities to levy a property tax surcharge to support open space, recreational, historical, and affordable housing initiatives, with the state providing matching dollars. The committee was established by Town Meeting last year to recommend expenditures from the fund. It plans to make its first spending recommendations at the fall Town Meeting this year. At Thursday's meeting, in addition to seeking suggestions on what projects would most benefit the town, the committee will provide information on how to apply for funding. The committee is accepting applications for next year's funding from April 1 to May 29. - John Laidler

LOCAL AID GETS BOOST - Senate President Therese Murray recently announced that Plymouth will receive $26.2 million in local aid for fiscal 2009. Accord ing to Murray's office, that's $1.8 million more than what the town received last year. "We understand that our communities are struggling and we wish we could give our cities and towns more aid; unfortunately our fiscal situation does not allow for that to happen," said Murray, a Plymouth Democrat. "However, what this agreement does do is show our commitment to making sure local aid is taken care of in the budget." - Emily Sweeney

NEW SUITE AT MEDICAL CENTER - The Quincy Medical Center recently opened the Sansatini Cardiovascular Suite, which enhances the 196-bed hospital's cardiovascular care. Three Quincy brothers - Mario, Bruno, and Umberto Sansatini - bequeathed more than $1 million in the 1990s to the center. The brothers owned West Quincy Granite and Polishing Co. The hospital was originally founded to treat the illnesses of granite cutters. - Matt Carroll

DONATE YOUR PROM GOWNS - Three area businesses are participating in a drive to collect gowns for teenage girls to wear to their proms. Curves for Women in Randolph and Raynham, owned by Lisa Hooper, is joining Jordan's Furniture and Anton's Cleaners in the Belle of the Ball prom dress drive. Donors drop off a "gently worn" dress or gown at Curves in Randolph or Raynham, Jordan's in Avon, or any of the 43 Anton's Cleaners stores, including Stoughton or Canton, until April 15. Dresses should be no more than four years old. Anton's Cleaners will clean and press the garments and then make them available to high school students from throughout greater Boston during an invitation-only boutique at Simmons College. Invitations are extended to qualified prom-goers through a network of referral partners composed of guidance counselors, teachers, and social service providers. For more information about the Belle of the Ball program or to sign up as a collection partner, visit - David Connolly

MIDDLE SCHOOL FEASIBILITY STUDY - Voters will decide at the April 12 Town Meeting whether to fund a one-year debt exclusion of about $294,000 for a feasibility study on the construction of a new middle school. The total cost of the study would be about $650,000 but the state would reimburse 55 percent of the project's costs, leaving the town responsible for just over $294,000. Town officials have been pushing for a new middle school, and the feasibility study would be the first step toward gaining state assistance under the state's school reimbursement program. Supporters of the school project say voters will not see much of a difference in their tax bills because a similar debt exclusion that was approved last year to fund repairs to the town library roof is set to expire. - Milton Valencia

ANNUAL TOWN MEETING SATURDAY - A proposed $52.02 million fiscal 2009 operating budget is among the key items set to come before the annual Town Meeting on Saturday, at 9 a.m. at the high school gym. The spending plan represents an approximately 4 percent increase over the current year's budget. The meeting will also consider a $1.87 million fiscal 2009 capital improvement plan, and $2.1 million in proposed expenditures from the Community Preservation Fund. The proposed Community Preservation spending includes $700,000 to fund an affordable housing trust - a proposal to create the trust will be taken up by a Special Town Meeting that will convene within Saturday's regular session. In other business, the meeting will consider a proposed storm-water bylaw, and proposed zoning changes for the Humarock section of town. One of those changes would allow multifamily development in the center of Humarock - on several streets, such developments could include businesses on the first floor. Another would rezone certain properties in Humarock from business to residential. Also on tap is a proposal for a new bylaw that would prohibit Level 2 or 3 registered sex offenders from establishing permanent resident within 2,000 feet of a school, day-care center, park, elderly housing facility, or place of worship. - John Laidler

ELECTION HAS STUDENTS COMPETING - The first Voter Registration Marathon has kicked off at Weymouth High School, with two classes competing to see who can register more new voters. "It was originally a project for our [current affairs] class," said 16-year-old sophomore Zach Hachey. "We really got into it and decided that all the people who can vote, should." The students already have registered more than 100 people - 90 percent of them students - according to their teacher Burton Nadler, a former lawyer specializing in election law who started teaching history at Weymouth High School in September. The registration drive will continue until the end of the school year, he said. "I believe it's important," said 18-year-old senior Resha Allie. "It makes me feel like I have to vote, and also like I have more power and more say in what's going on." - Johanna Seltz

SCHOOL BUSES ON CHOPPING BLOCK - Schoolchildren who live less than 2 miles from Central Elementary School, as well as all students in grades 7 through 12, might have to find their own transportation to school next year. A $1.2 million gap currently exists between what school administrators say will provide a "level-services" budget for the district and the amount to which the school department is being held by town leaders. Eliminating all transportation that isn't mandated by the state will save $460,000. To make up the rest of the shortfall, school administrators will have to eliminate seven teaching positions and 12 teaching assistant position. - Christine Legere

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