Globe South Community briefing

Picking up the tab in Abington

April 26, 2009
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Town officials say the town's senior center eventually will become self-sufficient. Until then, taxpayers will need to cover the building's maintenance costs. Voters at last week's Town Meeting agreed to support a request for $30,000 to fund a maintenance account for the center. The town last year approved $1.6 million to transform the former Flame of Fire Church into the town's first senior center. Officials had hoped to fund maintenance by renting out space at the cavernous center, located at 411 Summer St. But income from a few small groups now renting space doesn't cover the cost of maintaining the building, according to Abington Assistant Town Manager Dori Jamieson. - Robert Carroll

BRING YOUR RAKE - Braintree is holding a "beautification day" Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. People who are interested should meet at Town Hall at 7:30 a.m. for assignments and to hear a greeting from Mayor Joseph C. Sullivan. The town plans to concentrate on several sites - the Town Hall and library area; Sunset Lake; Smith Beach and Francis Toland walkway; Mattulina Playground; Hollis Field, and the community playground. Call 781-794-8901 to volunteer. Gloves, trash bags, and T-shirts will be handed out while supplies last, but participants are asked to bring rakes. - Matt Carroll

BUS TO GREENBUSH - The Planning board is looking at the possibility of running a shuttle bus to the Greenbush commuter rail station. The proposed 7-mile loop would go along Main Street, Route 3A, and Beechwood Street, connecting the station, Cohasset Village, shopping areas such as Shaw's Plaza, the library, and residential areas. Planning member Clark Brewer is spearheading the idea.

- Johanna Seltz

FARMERS MARKET PARKING - Selectmen have approved the use of the parking area at the Tarkiln building, at 245 Summer St., for the new Duxbury Farmers and Artisans Regional Market on Wednesdays from July 1 through Oct. 14, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The site plan for parking is still subject to approval by the town manager's office. Selectmen expressed concerns about parking availability, insurance liability, and construction work on the Tarkiln building before granting approval. The Tarkiln building will be undergoing a partial renovation this summer. If construction work makes parking difficult there at any point, selectmen said, the town manager can suspend the market's operation. - Robert Knox

CANDIDATES NIGHT ON TUESDAY - The town's future leaders are expected to go head-to-head on Tuesday, when the Hanover Woman's Club Juniors hosts a Candidates Night. Rivals for selectman Daniel Pallotta and Viola Ryerson have confirmed their attendance at the event, as have Board of Health opponents Lori Leo and Walter Moran. A member of the Town Manager Study Committee will be on hand to discuss the pros and cons of Hanover adding a town manager's position. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Hearing Room at Town Hall.

- Robert Carroll

STUDENTS GIVE BACK - The Hingham High School Student Council has won the 2009 Community Service Award given by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which recognizes a group's contributions to the community. The council has more than 200 members and has made giving back a priority, with projects such as volunteering at Boston's Christmas in the City and collecting coats and eyeglasses for homeless shelters. The Student Council also has raised more than $10,000 to help build a school in rural Ghana and donated $3,000 to help add a room to a school in Honduras. The award was given to council members and their faculty adviser, Jillian Jope, during the Massachusetts Student-Athlete Citizenship Day ceremony at Northeastern University this month. - Johanna Seltz

PLANNING COMMITTEE VACANCIES - Officials are seeking two people to volunteer for the Holbrook Capital Improvement Planning Committee so it can make its recommendation to the May Town Meeting, said Town Administrator Michael Yunits. The five-member committee currently cannot meet because it doesn't have a quorum, Yunits said. Two people on the committee have resigned, and the School Committee appointee was not reelected recently. Town officials are waiting for the School Committee to make its appointment so there will be only two vacancies. The committee typically meets five or six times from January to May to review proposals from departments in town and make changes to the proposals and recommendations at town meeting.

- Franci Richardson Ellement

WALK THIS WAY - Jake's Seafood Restaurant and Market plans to open its new deck and boardwalk on Mother's Day weekend, giving customers and the public a place to sit outside and have access to the waterfront. Jim O'Brien, who owns the landmark restaurant, said the walkway, which is 8 feet wide and almost 60 feet long, eventually will go all around Nantasket Pier. It replaces a crushed stone path, which wasn't handicapped-accessible, he said. "We have an agreement between the Department of Environmental Protection, the town, and us that the deck [and walkway] will be open to the public and our patrons," he said. - Johanna Seltz

HAZARDOUS-WASTE DAY - The town will hold a household hazardous-waste collection day on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Highway Department headquarters at 32 Evergreen St. Among the items to be collected are mercury thermometers and thermostats, drain cleaners, moth balls, hazardous cleaners and polishes, poisons, oil-based paint and stains, gasoline, motor oil mixtures, pesticides, pool chemicals, and wood preservatives. Residents who turn in a mercury thermometer will receive a free digital thermometer in return. The service is free to people with proof of Kingston residence, and residents of other towns that are members of the South Shore Recycling Cooperative may dispose of hazardous waste at no charge if they bring a visitor authorization form from their town's hazardous-waste coordinator. - Robert Knox

TOWN MEETING TOMORROW - Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting are scheduled to start tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at Marshfield High School. Draft copies of both warrants are available online at There are more than 50 articles, including a proposal to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of a public building or town recreation property, a petition to reduce the Community Preservation Act tax from 3 percent to 0.5 percent; a petition to ban smoking at all public beaches and impose a $25 fine on those who violate the rule; and a proposal to spend up to $30,000 to make emergency repairs to private dirt roads, to keep them open and in passable condition for public safety vehicles.

- Emily Sweeney

POETRY JAM RESCHEDULED - Milton High School's "Poetry Jam," which had been canceled after the murder of senior Samantha Revelus, will be held this Saturday. Proceeds from the annual event will be split between the Revelus family and Close 2 Home, a nonprofit in Boston that works to prevent domestic violence. The jam will be held at the school auditorium from 3 to 5 p.m. Samantha had planned to read a poem at the jam. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. For more information, call Deidre-Ann Fuller at 617-230-4938. Samantha, 17, and her 5-year-old sister Bianca were killed by Kerby Revelus, 23, who was shot to death by Milton Police, as he attacked another sister, Sarafina, 9, who survived.

- Matt Carroll

EARTH-FRIENDLY - Area residents can gain insights into earth-friendly gardening from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Saturday, at the free "Gardening Green Expo" at the Cushing Center on Route 123. The event will feature the sale of native plants that are drought-tolerant and nearly maintenance-free, as well as drought-tolerant grass seed, rain barrels, compost bins, and other green products. There will be lectures by gardening and landscaping experts and children's activities. Sponsors include the Massachusetts Greenscapes program, North and South Rivers Watershed Association, Mass Bays Estuary Association, and Kennedy Country Gardens. On Sunday, the South Shore Natural Science Center is holding an Earth Day celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will include environmental exhibits and demonstrations, guided nature walks, live animals, children's games, and live music. Admission is $5 ($3 for children, $20 family maximum). - John Laidler

BUDGET DECISIONS - A $51.7 million proposed budget for fiscal 2010, which begins July 1, will be among the key items taken up at the annual Town Meeting and a Special Town Meeting that convenes Tuesday at the high school. (The regular meeting is at 7:30 p.m. and the special meeting at 8 p.m.). On tap are a proposed package of spending cuts to close a $203,000 fiscal 2009 budget shortfall; and a proposed $200,000 appropriation from the Community Preservation Fund to help buy the Andruk Bog property on Route 14. There are also two competing proposals relating to the use of revenues from the lease of town property for cellular antennae. Separately, four contests will be on the ballot in the annual town election next Saturday. - John Laidler

CREMATORY OPENS - The town's first crematory will open its doors to the public on Saturday. Area residents are welcome to stop by and tour the facility, which is located in Vine Hills Cemetery off of Samoset Street. The crematory cost $1.2 million to build, and is expected to be operating by mid-May. The open house on Saturday will run from 10 a.m. until noon.

- Emily Sweeney

HEALTHCARE HELP - As more people have problems paying for healthcare coverage, the Manet Community Health Center Inc. in Quincy - a nonprofit that treats patients regardless of their ability to pay - got some good news. The organization received more than $200,000 in federal stimulus money, which will be used to hire four doctors for two years. The doctors will provide healthcare to an estimated 1,200 patients annually. Three of the doctors have been hired and will serve at the center's facilities in Quincy and Hull. "We're appreciative of the funding," said Henry Tuttle, chief executive officer of the center. "As people are losing their jobs and health insurance, more and more people are without coverage but need care."

- Matt Carroll

TURNING ANOTHER LEAF - After the Board of Health announced this spring that the yard-waste curbside pickups were being canceled, so many residents called to complain that the decision has been reversed. "We listened to our constituents," said Thomas Fisher, who was recently reelected to the board and is yard-waste coordinator. For those with Monday or Tuesday trash pickups, leaves will be picked up on May 16. For those whose trash is picked up on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, the date is May 23. Since the leaf pickups had been canceled in order to save money, the board is now looking for other ways to cut costs. Fisher said the town expects trash tonnage, and therefore costs, to go down this year because of the high number of unoccupied homes under foreclosure and because people tend to buy fewer things during a recession. - Wendy Chow

WITH ONE VOICE - When students at Rockland High School speak, administrators listen. That's because the school is one of 17 in the state in the Raising Student Voice and Participation program, a project of the National Association of Student Councils. Following training of student leaders, faculty advisers, and principal Stephen P. Sangster, students conducted a preliminary introduction phase over the winter. In the second phase, students discussed the condition of the restrooms, the heating and cooling system, and the policy on in-school iPod use as areas that needed improvement. In the final phase, next month, students will recommend ways to address the problems they identified. "It's student-led," Sangster said, with meetings involving about 20 students each. He said he hoped to implement recommendations in September and noted that students have begun discussing town and even world problems as well. "Eventually, the community gets drawn into it also," he said. "And we'll start this up again next year."

- Steve Hatch


CLEAN UP AND CELEBRATE - Residents can show their pride in Scituate and concern for the environment in two events next Saturday. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the town will hold its annual community spring cleanup, "Ship Shape Day." The event is sponsored by the Beautification Commission and the Department of Public Works. Participants can pick up trash bags at town hall during the event. Filled bags can be left on the sides of roadways for pick up by Department of Public Works trucks. For more information, contact Donna Bangert at or Maureen Morrell at 781-544-0044. From noon to 4 p.m., a community Earth Day fair will be held at the Scituate Beach Association building, 88 Scituate Ave. Sponsored by Sustainable Scituate and The Proving Grounds Group, the event will feature food, live music, and a reading of "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss. For more information, contact Christine Loeb at or 781-545-5276. - John Laidler

MUG SHOTS - The owners of Bob's Muffin Shop in South Weymouth are using coffee mugs to finance scholarships for Weymouth High School students. Vincent and Marie Jankord came up with the idea of asking local businesses to contribute money to make coffee mugs with their business names printed on them. The Jankords use the mugs in their shop and sell them, with the proceeds going to the Bob's Muffin Shop Mug Scholarship. Two scholarships will go to students who submitted the best essays on the importance of community service and ideas for increasing involvement. - Johanna Seltz

Around the region
HOMETOWN TV - The Board of Selectmen is seeking residents to serve on the board of the new Avon Cable Corp., which will oversee the town's cable-access television productions now that Comcast Corp. will no longer provide production services, said Town Administrator Michael McCue. After decades of providing the town with a studio and budget for local-access broadcasts, Comcast has cut those services - as it has in communities throughout the state. Under the new 10-year contract, Avon's Cable TV Advisory Committee was able to negotiate enough start-up money to purchase equipment that will enable it to continue broadcasting shows, although how, when, and where are to be determined. For more information, call the selectmen's office at 508-588-0414, or send a letter of interest to chairman, Board of Selectmen, 65 E. Main St., Avon, MA 02322. - Joan Wilder

STATE DUTY - Louis Ricciardi, chairman of the Bridgewater State College board of trustees, has been elected to a five-year term on the state Board of Higher Education. Ricciardi, a Taunton businessman and a 1981 graduate of Bridgewater State, will represent all nine state colleges as a member of the state board. He plans to continue to serve on his alma mater's board of trustees as well. - Christine Legere

GREEN JOBS - Massasoit Community College has been awarded a $200,000 state grant to provide training for "green collar" jobs for unemployed and underemployed Brockton residents. Workers will be trained in installation of solar photovoltaic panels, weatherization, energy auditing, and sales of green products. The money, part of $1 million in grants shared with four other cities, is part of Governor Deval Patrick's Pathways Out of Poverty program, which targets so-called gateway communities, former mill cities that provide first homes and jobs for new immigrants. - Steve Hatch

ADMINISTRATOR TO LEAVE - The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously not to renew the contract of Town Administrator Michael Finglas when it expires June 30, according to Selectman Jim Armstrong. Finglas has been the town administrator since Hanson created the position through a special act of the Legislature in 2006. Before that, he was the town's executive secretary for about two years. Armstong would not comment on the board's decision, but said that after Finglas's contract expires, "We need to evaluate what we expect from our new administrator - the qualifications, the job performance, the duties that we are looking for to make sure we meet our needs, while still staying in compliance with the special legislation that established the position." Finglas declined to comment. - John Laidler

TIME OF NEED - The United Church of Norwood is meeting the economic crisis by offering two special ministries to hungry families and individuals. The Abundant Table serves a free hot supper every Wednesday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and the Norwood Ruth Project provides services to women in need, ranging from mentoring to job listings and resources. The church is at the corner of Washington and Nahatan streets. For more information, call 781-762-2589. - Michele Morgan Bolton

PEDAL POWER - For pure emotion, little can match the final hour of Tom Martini's annual fund-raiser. The owner of Gold's Gym on Washington Street, Martini the past three years has organized a 24-hour cycling marathon using the club's stationary bicycles. The last hour of the event, which this year was held April 3 and 4 and raised more than $53,000 for cancer research, is used by participants to share their stories. "What you hear is amazing," said Martini, who lost a sister to ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. "There's never a dry eye during that final hour. You never know what you're going to hear." Or, what you're going to see. Martini said among the 27 riders in this year's final hour was a man who pedaled while a small girl sat quietly on his shoulders. The 3-year-old girl, Elizabeth Kulikowski, is battling a devastating form of pediatric brain cancer. The broad shoulders belonged to her father. "Everyone had tears in their eyes as they watched this father ride with his daughter," said Martini. "It was incredible."

- Robert Carroll