Globe South Community briefing

A legislative visit in Avon

January 25, 2009
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Dan Lynch, senior district representative for US Representative Stephen F. Lynch, will be at Town Hall from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 11 to meet with constituents. Anyone wishing to discuss local or legislative issues is welcome to drop in. Lynch, who grew up in South Boston and has offices in Washington, Brockton, and Boston, represents the Ninth District of Massachusetts, which includes towns in Bristol, Norfolk, and Plymouth counties, as well as areas of Boston. - Joan Wilder

ELECTION PROCESS UNDERWAY - Nomination papers for the April 25 town election are available in the town clerk's office. Offices on the ballot include a one-year and a three-year term on the Board of Assessors; a three-year term on the Board of Health; two three-year terms for selectman; a three-year term for moderator; five-year terms, one on the Planning Board and one on the Recreation Commission; a three-year library trustee seat; a three-year term for Water and Sewer Commission; a Bridgewater representative and a Raynham representative on the regional School Committee; and three-year terms for tax collector and town treasurer. The collector and treasurer positions are currently both held by Douglas Dorr, who has drawn papers to run again. He may have a challenger for at least one of those offices. Resident Andrew Harding drew nomination papers for tax collector. - Christine Legere

EXTENDING EDUCATION - Massasoit Community College students planning careers in education and management can continue their education without leaving campus, thanks to a new relationship between the two-year school and Quincy's Eastern Nazarene College. A bachelor of arts in management and a bachelor of education are the first two degrees offered at the Massasoit satellite, part of Eastern Nazarene's adult and graduate studies program. Eastern Nazarene has also launched satellites at Roxbury and Bristol Community Colleges.

- Steve Hatch

HANSEN PRINCIPAL LEAVING - After 14 years at the helm of the Hansen Elementary School, principal Bill Griffin will step down at the end of the school year in June. "It's been a big part of my life; I really love coming to see the kids," said Griffin, who added that he is focusing his full attention on having a great year and is not thinking about what he will do in retirement. He has been an educator for 35 years and served 24 of them as a principal. A native of Quincy, Griffin, 59, worked in the Milton public schools before coming to the Hansen School. School Committee member Tim Brooks said he is part of a hiring committee that hopes to select a new principal candidate by late March. "Bill's such a good guy; it's going to be hard to replace him," Brooks said. The Hansen has about 490 students in kindergarten through Grade 5.

- Elaine Cushman Carroll

RIDING STABLE PROPOSED - The Planning Board will hold a hearing Feb. 3 on plans by Laura Moore to build a riding stable at 86 Plymouth St. Plans filed with the board call for building a 19,000-square-foot stable that could house as many as 20 horses, with an apartment above it. The site lies within the town's historic district and calls for the demolition of an old house currently on the property, which the town's Historic District Commission has tried to save in the past. The Planning Board meets at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. - Robert Knox

SNOW EMERGENCY RULES - Selectmen want to remind residents of the procedure to follow during a snow emergency, once one is declared by the town's director of public works. Residents with driveways are asked to use them and remove all cars from the street. Those without driveways may park on the even side of the street during the even-numbered months and on the odd side of the street during the odd-numbered months. Parking on sidewalks is never allowed. On-street parking is prohibited from dawn to dusk in the following areas: East Street (High Street to Route 128), High Street, Common Street, Dedham Square, East Dedham Square, Bussey Street, Milton Street, Ames Street, Court Street, Sprague Street, Oakdale Square, Washington Street (Dedham line to Westwood line), Needham Street, and Sanderson Avenue. - Michele Morgan Bolton

DOG GETS RESTRICTIONS - Following a recent hearing, selectmen ordered a Hillcrest Road dog restricted to a kennel with a floor and roof. The large, mixed-breed dog, named Justice and belonging to Nikol Phillips, must also be muzzled while on walks and only be walked by adults. Selectmen put the restriction in place after learning from Animal Control Officer Donna Morris that the animal had killed a cat owned by a neighbor. - Christine Legere

LIBRARY AGREEMENT REACHED - The library and the town have settled the question of rent for the use of Frothingham Hall while the Ames Free Library's building is renovated. The library will pay $500 a month to use Frothingham Hall. The Barrows Street building was acquired last year by the town, which plans to house the Recreation Department and Council on Aging there. The library moved into Frothingham in September 2007 and was paying the Frothingham Memorial Corp. $2,000 a month. The library had hoped the rent would be waived when the town became the landlord, but a lease was required under state law, and the new agreement took effect Jan. 1. The library's 15 Main St. building is undergoing $1.2 million in renovations. - Steve Hatch

NEW FIRE CHIEF NAMED - Roger Hatfield, 47, former fire chief in Nashua, has been chosen as the new fire chief. Hatfield replaces Chief Gerald McNamara, who retired earlier this month. Hatfield, a New Hampshire resident who holds a bachelor's degree in fire administration, worked with the Nashua department for 28 years, 23 of which were full time. "I had done 28 years and thought it was time for new blood, but I hated retirement," he said. - Joan Wilder

BENJAMINO TAKES NEW POST - Fire Chief Lance Benjamino has notified selectmen that he will be leaving March 1 to take over as chief in Middleborough. Benjamino decided to stay on in Halifax until the end of February to finish some ongoing projects. He is currently waiting to hear about some grant applications he submitted, and some new equipment for the department is on the way. Benjamino will take over in Middleborough for Gary Russell, who has been acting fire chief in addition to being the town's police chief, since Fire Chief Robert Silva retired. Halifax selectmen have not yet decided what kind of search they will conduct to replace Benjamino.

- Christine Legere

FIREFIGHTER JOINS FORCE - Brandon Smith of Hanson was sworn in as a firefighter at the Board of Selectmen's meeting Tuesday. Smith, who is also a paramedic, previously served approximately 3 1/2 years as a Hanson call firefighter, according to Fire Chief Jerome Thompson. He was hired last September, subject to successfully completing a 60-day recruit training course at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow. He graduated last month. A 2003 graduate of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, Smith comes from a firefighting family: His father, Gary Smith, is a Hanson fire lieutenant, while his brother, Brian Smith, is a Whitman firefighter.

- John Laidler

LEARN ABOUT COMPUTERS - Free computer classes for beginners are being offered at the Lakeville Public Library on Precinct Street. Classes are scheduled Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon through April 25, taught by Robert Urbanek, owner of Ikontakt Computer Consulting in Lakeville. Instruction will include learning the control panel of the computer; copying and saving files; setting up e-mail accounts; creating attachments; and other tasks. Students with laptops are encouraged to bring them. To register, call 508-947-9028. For more information, call Urbanek at 508-947-4617 or e-mail

- Paul E. Kandarian

NO LIMIT TO WAITING LIST - The Marion Affordable Housing Trust has decided against capping the number of names on a waiting list for housing at Little Neck Village, the town's elderly housing complex that is being expanded from 12 units to 48. There are currently 50 names on the waiting list, trust officials said. At Town Meeting last fall, voters approved a 99-year lease to E.A. Fish Associates of Braintree to rebuild and expand the village. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring and be completed by fall 2010. - Paul E. Kandarian

COUNCIL ON AGING SEEKS BOARD MEMBER - The Council on Aging is seeking a new member for its advisory board. Those with fresh ideas for new and current programming are sought, officials of the agency said, and should be ready to attend board meetings on the first Wednesday of each month, starting at 8 a.m. Those interested should send a letter to Robert Walter, COA Board Search Committee, Mattapoisett COA, PO Box 528, Mattapoisett, MA 02739. - Paul E. Kandarian

SUMMER PROGRAMS SOUGHT - Mansfield Summer Institute is accepting proposals for its summer athletic and enrichment program, which is held at the Jordan Jackson and Qualters middle schools from 9 a.m. until noon Monday through Friday, for five weeks, beginning June 29, for kindergarten through Grade 8. More than 1,800 children from Mansfield and surrounding communities attended last summer's sessions, which offered more than 100 courses in arts, sports, and academics. Details are at Completed forms can be forwarded to CHAMPS, c/o Jordan Jackson School, 255 East St., Mansfield, MA 02048. Direct questions to Shawna Leary at 508-261-7539 or e-mail her at

- Christine Legere

PRESCHOOL APPLICATIONS AVAILABLE - The School Department is accepting applications for the preschool program that begins in September. Four sessions will be offered for the 2009-2010 school year. Children attend either a morning or afternoon session four or five days a week. To be eligible, children must be 4 years old before Sept. 1. Applications can be obtained at the Memorial Early Childhood Center on North Main Street or by calling 508-946-2032. The deadline to return applications is Feb. 12. Selection will be done by lottery. - Christine Legere

PREVENTING TEEN DRINKING - A panel discussion on "Teen Drinking: Why & How We Should Prevent It will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Coakley Mid dle School Auditorium, 1315 Washington St. The event will equip parents with proven strategies to use with their teens and preteens. A question-and-answer session follows the main presentation, which is free and open to all parents, but strongly recommended for those with children in grades 5-12. Snow date is Thursday. School Resource Officer Rich Giacoppo; attorney Mark Hoover, also a middle school parent; and Richard Catrambore, a prevention specialist are on the panel. A young man in recovery will speak on how his teen drinking led to alcoholism. - Michele Morgan Bolton

HELPING BUSINESS GROW - Town officials are working to find a way to help the California company that owns the town's only business park to finance a $6 million waste-water treatment plant, which is needed for development. Selectman John P. Henry said the town is looking at a state tax-exempt bond program and a federal program touted by a task force under Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. Town officials hope to have one of the proposals ready in time for the May Town Meeting, Henry said. "We need to get a tax base other than that from residential property." He said the Security National company owns about 130 acres and has options to purchase another 50 acres at the site located off of Route 44. The property is the only industrially zoned property in town and could add about $200 million to the town's tax base if fully developed, Henry said.

- Elaine Cushman Carroll

TEEN HEART SCREENING - Congregation Klal Yisrael will be among the first to host a public heart screening program aimed at saving teenagers from sudden death resulting from undetected cardiac problems. The reform synagogue, along with Heart Screen America, will offer an electrocardiogram, blood pressure readings, body-mass calculations, and personal and family questionnaires to teenagers ages 13 to 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next Sunday at the Dunbar Street syangogue. The cost, which is typically not covered by insurance, is $49, but those who cannot pay will not be denied access if they contact the rabbi confidentially. In the past two years, several sudden deaths due to undetected teenage heart problems have occurred in Medfield, Medway, and Holliston. Preregistration is required through Wednesday at

- Franci Richardson Ellement

TRAFFIC FEARS DELAY PROJECT - Yet another delay has hit the Woodbridge Crossing project. The Zoning Board of Appeals decided on Jan. 15 that it needed updated traffic study results before deciding whether to grant Tom Kennedy, an Everett lawyer, a permit to build the 210-apartment complex on Central Street across from Hansen Elementary School. Kennedy initially proposed building a condominium complex over a year ago, but recently reapplied to build apartments, including Chapter 40B units, because of a weak economy.

- Robert Carroll

SEARCH ON FOR COACH - School officials are forming a search committee to find a new athletic director and football coach. Both positions were vacated when Danny Villa resigned Dec. 23 after Superintendent Lincoln Lynch confronted him with text messages he had allegedly sent to a 14-year-old female student. Villa has subsequently been charged with several counts of rape and enticement, Lynch said. Officials are hoping to find two individuals to cover the two positions. Coaching is a part-time job with a stipend of about $9,000, and the athletic director's time is split 60-40 between coaching and teaching, respectively. Former athletic director Jim Erker is filling in at his old job until June. - Joan Wilder

SEEKING STIMULUS FUNDS - The Wareham Fire District Water Department has applied for $3.5 million in federal infrastructure stimulus funds. The department would use the money to build a new water tower on Glen Charlie Road and a new drinking water well at Maple Park. "If the goal of the stimulus package is to fund worthwhile, ready-to-go projects, then Wareham stands a chance of getting some funds," said Michael Martin, water superintendent. - Emily Sweeney

PAYING PROPERTY TAXES - The office of Treasurer-Collector John Duggan is reminding residents and businesses that third-quarter property tax payments are due Feb. 2. Payments can be made in person at the collector's office in Town Hall, online at, or during nonbusiness hours in the locked mailbox at the entrance to Town Hall. For information, call the treasurer-collector's office at 508-894-1203. - John Laidler

RIDING STABLE HEARING - A Conservation Commission hearing has been rescheduled for Wednesday to address a proposal by Wildstar Farm owners Polly Kornblith and Michael Newman to construct a 22-stall horse barn on Sandy Valley Road. The hearing begins at 7:45 p.m. in the Champagne Meeting Room at Town Hall, 50 Carby St. The hearing was continued to allow for a review of comments about the site plan, which calls for an indoor arena and outdoor riding ring on the 16-acre property. Some neighbors opposed the plan, saying it could affect wetlands and pollute streams within the town-owned Lowell Woods. - Michele Morgan Bolton

COLLEGE NIGHT - The Whitman-Hanson Regional School District guidance staff will present a college admissions seminar at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the high school's performing arts center. Representatives from Harvard University, Boston College, the Universtiy of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and Massasoit Community College will be on hand. Topics of discussion will include the college search process, state college admissions, the standards admissions selection process, the college essay, and two-year college opportunities. For more information, call the high school guidance office at 781-618-7427. - Christine Legere

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