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DOG OWNERS REMINDED TO RENEW LICENSES BY JUNE 1

(May 27, 2016) The Office of the Rehoboth Town Clerk reminds residents that dog licensing is required for all canines and due by Wednesday, June 1 to avoid late fees and non-criminal citations.

   April 1 was the deadline to renewing existing licenses or obtaining new licenses for previously undocumented dogs.  A 60-day grace period was extended to June 1. Payments after that date will incur a $15 late fee per dog.  After July 1, delinquent dog owners will face a non-criminal citation which will become an additional $25 plus certified mailing costs.

    Whether renewing online, via mail, or in person, dog license applications must be accompanied by a current year rabies certificate (with a vaccination date covering the current licensing year) and proof of spay or neuter [if applying for the $10 licensing fee] unless the documentation is already on file in the Clerk’s Office.

   If you have any questions, please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 508-252-3502, ext. 3109 or 3110.


TOWN OF REHOBOTH REAL ESTATE PUBLIC AUCTION ON JUNE 8

(May 21, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth will conduct public auctions of four separate parcels of real estate acquired through tax possession on Wednesday, June 8.

   The first auction will be held at 10 AM at 21 First Street, an eight acre lot of land with considerable road frontage (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 3/16). The second auction will be held at 11 AM at 5 Brook Street, an improved property including two wood framed structures and one wood framed barn-style building situated on a 1.39 acre lot of land with road frontage (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 22/7).  The third auction will be held at 1 PM at 248 Winthrop Street (Route 44), an improved property including 3,518 square feet. The property was a former service shop/garage situated on a .32 acre lot (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 46/1). The fourth auction will also be held at 248 Winthrop Street for an unimproved 24.6 acre parcel of land located near and identified as Agricultural Avenue (Assessor’s Map/Lot: 68/22). 

   A $5,000 deposit by cash or bank cashier’s check is required to bid and is due at the auction for each property.  Balance of purchase price for each parcel purchased is due within 30 days of the date the high bid has been approved by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.

  Properties are to be sold “as is” & “with all faults”, but with real estate taxes prorated to date of closing.  A buyer’s premium of ten percent (10%) will apply and will be added to the high bid for each property sold; this total amount will represent the purchase price. Other terms and conditions will be announced at auction.  See listing & photographs at auctionzip.com – ID #5964.

   According to a town press release, “All information within this notice and published online is believed, but not guaranteed, to be correct.”  


UPCOMING REHOBOTH ROAD CONSTRUCTION

(May 21, 2016) Residents are advised by the Rehoboth Highway Department of upcoming construction projects tentatively scheduled to being on Tuesday, May 31.

    Road resurfacing is planned for: Reynolds Avenue, Glebe Street, Wright Street, Brander Road,, Pine Grove Road, Winterberry Lane, Stagecoach Road, Indian Lane, First Street, Pleasant Street (from Pierce Lane to Davis Street) and Davis Street (from Pleasant Street to First Street).

   Please seek alternate routes or allow extra time when traveling the affected roadways. If you have any questions, please contact the Rehoboth Highway Department at 508-252-3912.


SELECTMEN ANNOUNCE THREE SUMMER PROJECTS

(May 17, 2016) With three major projects ahead, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen plan to keep a busy summer schedule of alternating regular BOS meetings at the senior center and “work session” meetings at the town office.

    The three projects include a comprehensive review of the highway department, a review of the “police department structure” and promoting the already planned new municipal complex building.

   The renamed “Municipal Complex Building Committee” has worked steadily for over two years coming up with a plan to renovate and expand the existing public safety building (police, fire ambulance) on Anawan Street to incorporate the town offices.  The exiting town office building on Peck Street is in dire shape, leaving employees working in unsafe environments. 

   A new municipal complex will benefit not only town employees, but give residents a one-stop shop for doing business such as obtaining permits and licenses instead of traveling from one building to another.

    “We need to release the plans right now,” said Selectmen Sue Pimental, “so people have a chance to ask questions right way.

   The selectmen’s first “working session”  to beging working on these summer projects is scheduled for Monday, June 13.


EMPTY BOS SEAT WILL REMAIN VACANT UNTIL NEXT SPRING ELECTION

(May 17, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen addressed the topic of filling the vacant fifth selectman’s seat board last night during their regular meeting.

   Selectmen Skip Vadnais (chair), Susan Pimental and Gerry Schwall voted to leave the seat vacant for the next eleven months until the annual spring election in April. Selectmen Dave Perry was not in attendance to vote.

    The fifth seat was left vacant on April 26 when Michael Costello submitted his immediate resignation citing work conflicts.

    “Four members can do the job,” said Pimental, “leave it vacant.”  She explained she was “never in favor of five” but understood why townspeople voted to expand the board by two seats during a highly political period of time.

   “I concur with Sue,” added Schwall.  “We have better use of the money than holding a special election.”  The town typically must spend around $7000 to conduct an election.  Based on recent election results, only a small percentage of registered voters participate in the process and come to vote.


REHOBOTH LAND TRUST MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

(May 16, 2016) The Rehoboth Land Trust (RLT) is currently conducting the non-profit organization’s annual membership drive with a goal of reaching 100 contributing members.

   Established in 1989, RLT has succeeded in permanently protecting open space, agricultural lands, and wildlife habitat in the town of Rehoboth.  Preserving land with significant ecological, agricultural and historic value continues to be a priority.

    To date, the organization has helped conserve over 230 acres for recreation, agriculture and national resources, working cooperatively with both municipal government and other conservation groups. RLT accepts land donations and assist land owners in developing conservation restrictions.

   Rural towns like Rehoboth benefit by preserving open space instead of
more residential construction. With each home dependent on a well and septic system, protecting the towns water is very important. 

   Residents and visitors enjoy using the trails at the Ephraim Hunt Ministerial Land on Pond Street, the Town Forest on Fairview Avenue, as well as the Mason Street Conservation area. To steward their properties, RLT partners with farmers, Boy Scouts, and takes advantage of the expertise and time of its devoted volunteer board of trustees.

    Studies have shown that “conservation returns from $4 to $10 for every dollar invested.”  The return comes in the form of recreational opportunities, flood control, protection of air and drinking water quality, wildlife habitat, and farming -- supporting tourism, agriculture, and fisheries. RTC continues to work with volunteers to provide access to other areas of open space.

   You can play a part in these important efforts to preserve the open space, agriculture and wildlife in Rehoboth by joining the RLT. Individual membership is $25; family membership is $50; and sustainer membership is $100.   Please make your check payable to Rehoboth Land Trust and mail to P O Box 335, Rehoboth, MA 02769.


STURDY HOSPITAL KEEPS SUBCONTRATOR BANNED BY MORTON

(May 14, 2016) Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro released a statement after nearby Morton Hospital in Taunton terminated state appointed behavioral health subcontractor NES/TAES (Norton Emergency Services and Taunton/Attleboro Emergency Services).

    “Sturdy Memorial Hospital does use and will continue to use Taunton Attleboro Emergency Services as our mental health consultative service for a subset of our emergency department population. They evaluate patients in conjunction with the attending emergency physician to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for the individual patient.”

    The behavioral health provider NES/TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth to provide 24/7 evaluation services and treatment recommendations for MassHealth patients who enter the emergency department.

    Sturdy and Morton are the closest hospitals serving residents of Rehoboth.  Sturdy is a financially independent, non-profit hospital and Morton belongs to the larger for-profit Steward Health Care System.


MORTON BANS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SUBCONTRATOR NES/TAES

(May 12, 2016) As of today, Morton Hospital terminated the contract with state selected subcontractor NES/TAES (Norton Emergency Services and Taunton/Attleboro Emergency Services) from evaluating or recommending treatment for any patient. Personnel from NES/TAES have been banned from the Taunton facility, a member of the larger, for-profit Steward Health Care System.

      According to hospital spokesperson Michele Fasano, during the period between 12:30 to 8 AM this morning, NES/TAES failed to evaluate multiple patients in the emergency department in a timely manner.

       NES/TAES is subcontracted through MassHealth and is charged by law with the responsibility of evaluating MassHealth patients who enter the emergency department.

    “When Morton Hospital proposed to do the evaluations ourselves, we were rebuffed or ignored by the subcontractor,” explained Fasano.  “This inability of the state subcontractor to provide critical and timely services continues to put patients at risk.”

    Today, Morton Hospital informed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) of their decision to unilaterally bar NES/TAES from evaluating patients at Morton Hospital.   

     “Effectively immediately, we will provide our own evaluation services conducted by licensed and credentialed members of our staff who are subject to peer review and direct oversight,” concluded Fasano.

    Morton Hospital has previously advocated against using a subcontractor to conduct behavioral health evaluations in the E.D.  Hospital administration will instead use their own vetted medical personnel to conduct such evaluations as it does with Blue Cross, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, and other payers. However, state policy has mandated that these evaluations be carried out by third party subcontractors.

    NES/TAES, an independent organization based in Norton, is not retained or compensated by Morton Hospital. NES/TAES is selected, overseen, and compensated by state agencies and offices. Some NES/TAES staff utilize state email and benefits and are considered state employees.


MORTON HOSPITAL ISSUES STATMENT ON THIRY PARTY EVALUATIONS

(May 12, 2016) Nearby Morton Hospital that serves the Rehoboth community has released a statement in the aftermath of Tuesday’s deadly rampage in Taunton.

    Following discharge from Morton Hospital, Taunton resident Arthur DaRosa killed two people and injured five others before being shot and killed by off-duty Deputy Sheriff James Creed.

    “Morton Hospital extends our thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims. We also want to express our appreciation to law enforcement officers and to emergency medical personnel including those within Morton Hospital who delivered critical response services during these events to help prevent further loss of life or injury.”

    Under federal law, Morton Hospital is barred from acknowledging patient names or disclosing any form of confidential patient information. This law extends to patients whose evaluations and assessments are legally required to be led and conducted by third parties selected through MassHealth.

   Morton Hospital administration has for years advocated that the state review and revise its policies that require outside third party vendors to evaluate and determine the course of treatment for Medicaid patients in emergency departments.

   The hospital stated there were psych beds available within the hospital’s network (Steward) “if the state contracted agency responsible for conducting evaluations in the Emergency Department” had requested one for DeRosa on that fateful day.

   “As we have said in the past, the current policy mandating that the evaluation process must be carried out by a third party state contractor is misguided.”

    DeRosa’s family member say the 28-year-old was mentally ill and sought help in the emergency room at Morton, but was released only hours before going on his rampage.

    According to hospital administration, these assessments should be performed independently “through qualified psychiatrists, clinicians, and other medical personnel who have been subject to the hospital credentialing process, peer review process, and the policies that guide the care of every other patient – and not through an outside state contracted vendor who we do not choose.”

    Under federal law, Morton Hospital is barred from acknowledging patient names or disclosing any form of confidential patient information. This law extends to patients whose evaluations and assessments are legally required to be led and conducted by third parties selected through MassHealth.


REPRESENTATIVE HOWITT SUPPORTS SOLAR ENERGY COMPROMISE

(May 11, 2016) State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) has endorsed a proposal to promote more solar energy generating projects in Massachusetts by raising the state’s net metering cap. 

   House Bill 4173, An Act relative to solar energy, passed the House on a vote of 154-1, reflecting a compromise between two differing net metering proposals that were previously approved by the House and Senate.

   “I’m proud to support this bill, which not only encourages the expansion of solar energy in Massachusetts, but also implements a number of cost-saving measures to protect ratepayers,” said Howitt who represents Rehoboth in the 4th Bristol District.

   Under the conference committee proposal, the state’s net metering caps will be raised by 3 percent of the utilities’ peak load for both public and private projects.  Private net metering caps will increase from 4 percent to 7 percent, while public net metering caps will increase from 5 percent to 8 percent.

    Massachusetts currently provides financial incentives to solar power generators by allowing businesses and municipalities to sell excess solar energy they generate but don’t use back to the grid at retail rates, which currently average about 21 cents per kilowatt hour.  The conference committee proposal calls for moving to a new “market net metering credit” equal to 60 percent of the full retail rate for all projects – or about 12 cents per kilowatt hour – but includes a carve-out so that residential, small commercial, and solar facilities owned by municipalities and government entities will continue to receive the full retail rate.

   The bill grandfathers in existing solar facilities that were previously approved by the Department of Energy Resources to receive solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).  These facilities will continue to receive credits at the higher retail rate for 25 years before transitioning to the new rate.

   House Bill 4173 also allows utility companies to offset the costs of maintaining their infrastructure by submitting proposals to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to establish a monthly minimum reliability contribution for customers who receive net metering credits. This will ensure that all ratepayers using the distribution system are helping to pay for the maintenance, reliability and safety of the electric grid.

   When reviewing these proposals, DPU must take steps to ensure that they allocate fixed costs equitably, do not excessively burden ratepayers, do not inhibit solar development, and are used to offset the costs of maintaining the electric grid.  DPU is also authorized to exempt or modify the minimum contribution for low income ratepayers and to adjust the minimum contribution in the future.

   As a further incentive for ratepayer savings, the bill also includes provisions requiring the Department of Energy Resources to adopt rules and regulations that will lower the cost to ratepayers of solar incentive programs. These incentive programs must encourage the continued development of solar renewable energy generating sources by residential, commercial, governmental, low-income, and industrial electricity customers.


E. OTIS DYER, SR. HONORED AT TOWN MEETING

(May 10, 2016) Rehoboth resident E. Otis Dyer, Sr. was recognized last night at the spring annual town meeting for fifty years of service to the town.

    Selectman Gerry Schwall presented Dyer with the award and noted Dyer’s years of service on the historical commission, planning board, zoning board, gravel committee, water commission and other municipal committees as well as civic organizations. Dyer joked his favorite accomplishment was assisting local history re-enactors, the Rehoboth Minute Company. “How many town buy muskets for their militia?” 

    Representative Steven Howitt was also on hand to present Dyer with a declaration from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The audience at town meeting approved of Dyer’s recognitions and offered rousing applause when BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais nominated Dyer to a new municipal position as official town historian.


CITIZENS DECIDE MUNICIPAL BUDGET AT SPRING TOWN MEETING

(May 10, 2016) The spring town meeting, held last night in the auditorium at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School, concluded in less than two and a half hours with 173 voters participating to pass the FY17 town budget.

    The special town meeting portion of the meeting progressed quickly with five of six articles approved including amendments to the FY16 budget and funds to purchase items on the FY16 Capital Improvement plan.  The fire department will now be able to replace equipment and purchase a replacement vehicle for the fire chief.  The police department will be able to purchase two new cruisers. The senior center will benefit from a replacement boiler and self-contained diesel generator.

      The warrant article related to a new municipal government complex was referred for further study and moved to the fall town meeting. Selectmen Gerry Schwall explained the critical need of town employees to have safe, decent places to work.  “Our buildings are in such disrepair that ceilings are collapsing on desks,” he emphasized.  A committee has been working on a plan to renovate and enlarge the existing public safety building that houses police, fire and ambulance to include town offices.

    “This is no Taj Mahal,” said Schwall, “but it will be very functional.” He said the selectmen will take the next six months to hold public hearings to educate residents on the entire plan and how it will be funded. “We will justify every penny and address all needs,” he concluded.

    All other warrant articles and reports were approved. The actual warrant remains available on the town website, along with the 2015 Town Annual Report.


REP. HOWITT SUPPORTS MORE AID TO COMMUNITIES

(May 9, 2016) In an effort to enhance local aid for communities in the 4th Bristol District, State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) last week supported a proposal to return a portion of any surplus state revenue in the upcoming fiscal year to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.

      The proposal, offered by House Republican Leadership as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget currently being debated by the House of Representatives, received the unanimous support of the House Republican Caucus but was defeated on a roll call vote of 37-121 on April 25.

    “Communities across the Commonwealth are struggling to deliver essential municipal services,” said Representative Howitt.  “Although the proposed House budget calls for significant increases in local aid funding in Fiscal Year 2017, this amendment would have gone even further in helping to reduce the financial pressures our cities and towns are currently facing.”

    With the exception of tax collections received during the Great Recession, actual state tax receipts have historically been higher than the consensus revenue estimate.  In recent years, excess revenues have averaged $730 million, representing growth of almost 4 percent over original projections.

   The Fiscal Year 2017 budget is being formulated based on an assumption that state tax revenues will total $26.86 billion in the new fiscal year that begins on July 1.  This represents an increase of $1.1 billion – or 4.3 percent – over current revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2016, which ends June 30.

   If actual Fiscal Year 2017 revenues were to surpass projections, Representative Howitt noted, the amendment would have required 50 percent of the excess revenue – up to $100 million – to be made available as additional local aid to cities and towns.  The proposal also stipulated that this surplus revenue be allocated on a proportional basis using the distribution formula for unrestricted general government aid, which can be used by municipalities to fund a wide variety of local needs.

   Representative Steven Howitt also joined with his House colleagues to support the creation of a task force to review all unfunded mandates the state currently imposes on public schools.

    “The number of mandates handed down by the state has been mushrooming, and we need to get a handle on this problem to minimize the financial burden for our cities and towns,” said Representative Howitt.  “Teachers should not have to spend hours filling out paperwork when their time could be better spent preparing lessons for their students.”

    Between 1995 and 2008, DESE added 4,055 new documents and directives for educators and administrators.  DESE added an additional 5,382 documents between 2009 and 2013, an average of about 3 or 4 new directives per day.

   “The sheer number of unfunded mandates stifles innovation and reduces local control, and we need to curtail this practice,” said Representative Howitt.  “The recommendations of the Task Force would be a welcome relief for the educators and administrators of our school districts.”

    The Educational Mandate Task Force will be charged with reviewing all state laws, regulations and directives that impose requirements on school districts, including mandates that require preparing and submitting reports and data to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  In addition to identifying the total estimated costs associated with these mandates, the task force will also be asked to develop recommendations for streamlining, consolidating or eliminating any mandates or reporting requirements that are outdated, duplicative or unnecessary.


REHOBOTH POLICE ISSUE INFO ON DEATH OF FIRE VICTIM

(May 5, 2016) Yesterday, the Rehoboth Police Department reported, on their Facebook page, the recent death of Allyson Smith Chemelowski who was severely burned in a home fire last January.  She had served the town as a dispatcher for public safety (police, fire, ambulance) for many year, as well as serving on town committees as a volunteer.  Obituary published on May 8.

    

REHOBOTH SELECTMEN ADDRESS MULTIPLE RUMORS

(May 3, 2016) During last night’s regular meeting at the senior center, Rehoboth selectmen addressed several rumors related to a variety of issues including the proposed construction of a 10,320 hp gas compressor station on property in Rehoboth.

    Representative Steven Howitt was also on hand to address rumors and brought Jon Bonsall, an attorney and registered lobbyist in Massachusetts, who works for Spectra Energy and its subsidiary Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC.  Both Howitt and Bonsall have been working with town officials to answer questions about the proposed construction of the compressor station, one that would be situated within a 12-acre parcel of land.

    According to Bonsall, the building itself would be similar in size to the town’s senior center, but two stories in height.  The building would be buffered by woods with a secure parameter and close in proximity to existing gas pipelines in town. There will be a “minimal amount of pipeline connections at that specific site,” said Bonsall, who emphasized the interstate program is under the sole authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Local zoning regulations or town bylaws do not apply, and local officials have no authority.

    Selectmen asked Bonsall about public safety related to the gas pipelines and proposed compressor station. “Would fire and police need any extra training,” inquired Selectman Gerry Schwall. 

    Bonsall replied, “You already have gas pipelines through Rehoboth” and public safety personnel are already trained in best practices.  In the case of an emergency at the compressor station, “the gas lines would immediately be shut off,” Bonsall noted, with local fire and police would secure a parameter around the 12-acre property.

   The MA Department of Public Utilities will be tasked with reviewing the contractual  agreements among the various entities related to the project.  A public hearing is set for May 23 in Boston.  Bonsall noted there will be at least two more years of permitting to be done before constructions begins.

   Opponents to the proposed station, a group called BC (Bristol County) Cares, is vigorously against the Algonquin pipeline projects and will offer a public information session at DRRHS on Tuesday, May 17 in the auditorium beginning at 7 PM.

   Last night selectmen also addressed rumors related to the reconstruction of the intersection of routes 44 and 118. “No, the Grange building is not getting torn down,” said BOS Chair Skip Vadnais.  The Department of Transportation must submit a design concept as the first step of the process. Vadnais said the design has not been done yet.

   The DOT, however, will soon begin road patching on Route 44  from East Providence to Taunton. This will undoubtedly create altered traffic patterns, so drivers should anticipate slow downs on Route 44.

   Selectmen also addressed the recent vacancy of the fifth selectman’s seat upon the sudden resignation of Mike Costello. According to Vadnais, the BOS will address the vacancy at some point following the spring town meeting.

    Town bylaw (Section 1A) states that “elected officials shall serve until their successors are appointed, elected, or qualified.”  There is no bylaw specifically related to a procedure for filling a vacancy on the five-member board of selectmen.


BOS AND FINCOM SET TO EXPLAIN BUDGET ISSUES TONIGHT 

(April 28, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and the town’s finance committee are scheduled to conduct a “pre-town meeting” meeting to be broadcast live tonight on RehobothTV Channel 9 beginning at 7 PM  from the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.  The public is invited to attend and participate.

    Topics of discussion will be the FY17 budget and articles on the warrant for both the special town meeting and annual town meeting to be held on Monday, May 9 in the high school auditorium starting at 7 PM.

    Residents received a paper version of the warrant in their mailboxes last Saturday. By Monday night, selectmen discussed tabling, at town meeting, the debt exclusion article in the warrant to “fund the construction of a new Municipal Government Complex” to house the town offices, police, fire, ambulance and REMA (Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency). If the article is tabled at the upcoming meeting, there will be no subsequent debt exclusion referendum at a special town election.

    The FY17 budget, if approved at town meeting, will provide funds to hire a new highway department superintendent with a recommended salary of $70K along with increasing the salary of the Veterans Services Officer (currently a part-time position), and increasing the hours of the town accountant to full-time.

    For the past three years, the town’s portion of the regional school budget has been loudly and widely argued before, during and after spring town meeting. This year, the finance committee recommends approving a 8.49% increase in regional school budget for next year which is $2.5 million above the town’s state-mandated minimum requirement, as well as almost $400K for Rehoboth’s portion of the school district’s capital assessment. FinCom recommends  appropriating $16 million to fund those assessments.

    Selectmen say funds to cover the increased school budget must be allocated from “free-cash” to bridge the gap in the overall town budget “to avoid further reductions to town services.”  They do warn, however, the town will still face “very significant reductions to services” including public safety, highway and infrastructure maintenance.

    The meeting tonight will be recorded for viewing on Comcast cable access Channel 9 or on demand at RehobothTV.org.

   

REHOBOTH POLICE OFFER SAFE MEDICATION DISPOSAL

(April 26, 2016) The Rehoboth Police Department was recently awarded a grant from CVS/pharmacy to combat drug abuse by installing a medication drug collection unit at the police station.

     In conjunction with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, CVS initiated this innovative program with local police departments to help rid communities of unwanted medications that could be abused, sold illegally, or disposed improperly.

    The new, locked collection unit will provide a safe and environmentally responsible way to dispose of unwanted or expired medication, including controlled substances. The unit is located inside the police station lobby at 334 Anawan Street and can be used 24/7.  Drugs can be dropped off with no questions asked.   


SELECTMAN MIKE COSTELLO’S SURPISE RESIGNATION

(April 26, 2016) In a surprise announcement made last night at the end of regular session, Rehoboth Selectmen Michael Costello announced his immediate resignation, effective today.

   Costello has served as selectman for the past five years and will leave an empty fifth seat on the BOS.  His current term has one year remaining. He cited conflicts with his work schedule, one that requires him to be out of town, as the reason for his sudden departure.

   “It is sad for me to do this,” he said, “I love this town very much; always have, always will.”   He explained, “If I can’t put enough time in, that’s not fair to the residents.”

    He thanked his fellow selectmen, with a separate nod to Helen Dennen, acting town administrator for “helping me over the past five years.”  Costello also thanked his wife for “putting up with all the meetings.”

    BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais thanked Costello for “courageously” standing up for election in 2011 and for years of service on various town committees including the planning board.  Selectman Susan Pimental thanked Costello for “stepping in” and putting up with “a lot of crap” during his tenure.  Fellow Selectmen Gerry Schwall and Dave Perry thanked him for his years of service to the town.

    Costello’s tenure with the BOS was not without controversy.  Less than a month after first being elected in April 2011, he was the subject of a report issued by the State Inspector General. The report, send to the BOS and Zoning Board of Appeals with recommendations, determined Costello abused the state’s affordable housing law through “false/misleading statements and associated actions” to purchase a below-market rate house in Horton Estates, a senior housing development, after winning a town housing lottery.

    Subsequently Costello was the subject of criticism and harassment by both town officials and private citizens, leading to several lawsuits. Costello quickly dismissed the report as having “nothing to do with” his ability to lead as selectman, and that he was a victim of personal agendas and politics.

    He alleged town officials were behind filing a complaint with the Inspector General, including a zoning board member who was also director of the Rehoboth Public Access Corporation.  The RePAC contract with the town to provide community public access TV was terminated several months later. The town continues to have ongoing litigation with RePAC related lawsuits, having accumulated over $281K in legal expenses as of February 2016.

   At last night BOS meeting, Chairman Vadnais asked Costello if he would assist at the upcoming town meeting on May 9 since he was so familiar with the proposed budget and items on the town warrant.  Costello said he was unsure if he would be in town to attend the meeting.


SEEKONK DRIVER CRASHES INTO REHOBOTH BUSINESS

(April 25, 2016) A Seekonk man faces vehicle charges after crashing his Ford Expedition into a Rehoboth business yesterday afternoon.

    The two employees and two customers at the Silver Willow shop on Fall River Avenue in Rehoboth were uninjured in the crash, but the front of the building sustained significant damage.

    Rehoboth police arrived on the accident scene mid-afternoon and determined Michael Burrus, age 55, was traveling east on Fall River Avenue when he suddenly swerved to the left across the two westbound lines, and first struck another vehicle, a 2005 Infinity, stopped at a stop sign at the intersection of Barney Avenue.

   The force of the collision pushed the Infinity across Barney Avenue and into a truck parked in a driveway. The Expedition, meanwhile, continued across a small parking area and then crashed into the store.

     Burrus was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license (subsequent offense), operating a motor vehicle so as to endanger, and marked lane violations.

    The crash is currently under investigation.  Rehoboth Police were assisted at the scene by the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth Ambulance, and the Rehoboth Building Inspector.


LEGAL NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING REGARDING PROPOSED LNG PROJECTS

(April 22, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth has issued a legal notice of upcoming public hearings related to proposed construction of new natural gas pipelines and related facilities by Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC, in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.  A 10,320 hp compressor station is planned for a location in Rehoboth.

    The meetings will be held on Monday, May 2 at 7 PM in the auditorium of Grafton High School, 24 Providence Road in Grafton, MA. Another meeting will be held on Monday, May 9 at 7 PM in the auditorium of Walpole High School, 275 Common Street in Walpole, MA.

    The project is currently being reviewed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) in what is called the Pre-Filing Process. FERC will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) to satisfy the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The EIS will be used by FERC to consider the environmental impacts that could result if it approves the Project. FERC is required to review and recommend measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate such impacts.

   The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board (“Siting Board”) participates in FERC proceedings involving natural gas pipelines in order to represent the interests of the Commonwealth and its residents. The Siting Board will hold four public hearings to hear directly from residents, officials, and other interested persons about their concerns relating to the Project.

    The Siting Board also seeks written comments concerning the proposed Project. Comments should be sent by email to BOTH robert.j.shea@state.ma.us and dpu.efiling@state.ma.us or by U.S. mail to: Energy Facilities Siting Board, One South Station, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, Attention: Robert Shea, Presiding Officer. The comments should be sent to the Siting Board by May 20, 2016. The Siting Board will use the comments it receives, whether oral or written, in drafting a comment letter on the Project to FERC. If you have any questions, please contact Robert Shea at the e-mail or physical address above.

    Additional information about the Project is available on the FERC website. Click on the eLibrary link, click on “General Search” and enter the FERC docket number “PF16-1.” For assistance, please contact FERC Online Support at ferconlinesupport@ferc.gov or call FERC at 1-866-208-3676. Full public hearing information can be found on the town website.

    

DRRHS BANS PARENT BOOSTER GROUP FROM MEETING AT SCHOOL

(April 21, 2016) A long-time, established parent booster group, Friends Of the Dighton-Rehoboth Marching Band (FODRMB) has been banned by school administration from meeting on the premises.

    According to the group’s president Melissa Enos, the group was banned by Dean of Student Activities Doug Kelley because of a “hostile atmosphere” created by a parent attending the January meeting.

    “His (the parent’s) behavior toward myself and other board members was so aggressive,” she explained, “that Dighton police were called to remove him from the building.”  The parent in question has subsequently had his membership in FODRMB revoked for “belligerent behavior and the detrimental effect it was having on the ability to do any business.”

    The next meeting of the group was held in March at Goff Memorial Hall. A Rehoboth police detail was hired by the group because they anticipated the same parent crashing the meeting.  Additional police presence arrived that night to deal with the situation and remove the parent.

     Enos, who was recently elected to a seat on the D-R School Committee, stepped into the acting leadership position for the group in January 2014 and was elected in May 2015.  She had previously held the positions of vice president, and parent liaison.

    “What is occurring within (the group) can be filed under organization growing pains,” noted Enos who, along with the FODRMB board, worked to solidify the group’s non-profit 501(c) 3 tax-exempt status. “We determined that we needed to put new procedures in place to ensure we would be following IRS regulations for charitable organizations,” Enos elaborated.

    Additionally the organization was brought into compliance with the Massachusetts Attorney General Non-Profits/Public Charities Division by submitting financial reports going back to 2011 which had never been filed.

     Enos said, “we identified the need for formalized cash handling procedures”  important to protect the organization from fraud, theft or embezzlement, and to protect staff or volunteers from accusations of dishonesty.  “We must assure donors that their donations and gifts are used for the purpose for which they were given,” she added. Apparently not all parent members of the group were comfortable with adopting new rules and a formal way of doing business.

    “When we work together, for the good of the band, this group can do great things,” emphasized Enos.  FODRMB has continuously supported the band, one of the largest extracurricular groups at the regional high school, as well as cultivating new members from both Dighton Middle School and D. L. Beckwith Middle School.  Funds raised by the group help with anything from purchasing music and obtaining instruments, to helping fund major trips.  In recent years, the band has performed, by invitation, at both Disney World and the National July 4 Parade in Washington, D.C.

    School and district officials were asked twice last week to comment on the situation, but have yet to reply.  It is unknown if this was the first time a parent booster group has been banned from meeting at the school, or if the FODRMB will be welcomed back.


BOS TO HOSTS PRE-TOWN MEETING WARRANT REVIEW

(April 20, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will host a “Pre-Town Meeting Warrant Review” discussion on Thursday, April 28 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Rehoboth Senior Center starting at 7 PM.

     The purpose of meeting is to provide an overview of the FY 2017 budget and to review each article in the Special and Annual Town Meeting Warrants. The sponsors of any article are strongly encouraged to attend so the public and interested parties may pose questions to the sponsors of an article.

   Members of the Rehoboth Finance Committee will be available to address specific questions about the proposed FY17 budget and the FY16 capital improvement plan. 

    According to officials, the pre-town meeting will be recorded by RehobothTV cable access for rebroadcast on government Channel 9.

    The Annual and Special Town Meetings will be held Monday, May 9 in the auditorium of Dighton Rehoboth Regional School District High School beginning at 7 PM.  Printed warrants should be delivered to your home by Monday, April 25 or visit the town website.


REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST SEEKONK WOMAN ON OUI CHARGES  

(April 19, 2016)  Rehoboth Police on Monday arrested a Seekonk woman on multiple vehicular charges including child endangerment.

    Shortly after ten o’clock yesterday morning, officers responded to a 911 call from a motorist on Barney Avenue reporting a vehicle operating in an erratic manner “all over the road.” The caller was able to describe the car and provide the registration number.

   Several units dispatched to the area were initially unable to locate the vehicle, but Detective James Casey was able to stop the driver on Summer Street near School Street.

    Tabitha Carter, age 39 of Seekonk, was given a field sobriety test and arrested by Officer Craig Warish, who had arrived on the scene with Sgt. Mark Rossi. While conducting the road side investigation, officers saw a child in the passenger seat, the ten-year-old son of the driver. 

     Carter was transported to the police headquarters for processing and later released on $1040 cash bail.  She is set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Tuesday, April 19 on charges of operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation, and OUI drugs with child endangerment.


REHOBOTH CITIZENS OPPOSE PROPOSED GAS COMPRESSOR STATION  

(April 16, 2016) A group of Rehoboth citizens has formed to protest the construction of a large gas compressor station, part of the Spectra Access Northeast liquid natural gas pipeline project, at a location in North Rehoboth on Cross Street.

    According to a description of the group on social media, “this project proposes to install high pressured natural gas pipes under private and public properties” and that “compressor stations are noisy, large, and emit dangerous chemicals into the air and soil, polluting our environment, wildlife and residents.”

    Opponents of the LNG pipeline in Bristol County have invited residents of Rehoboth and area communities to attend an information session on Tuesday, May 17 at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.  The meeting will begin at 7 PM and will feature guest speakers from across the state to discuss pertinent issues including safety and costs.

   To learn more about this effort, you can find more information on two public Facebook groups, BC Cares and Stop the Rehoboth Compressor Station Project.


REHOBOTH WOMAN FACES ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGE

(April 15, 2016) Shortly after three o’clock yesterday afternoon, Rehoboth police responded to a 911 call reporting shots fired at a residence on Cross Street in Rehoboth.

    The 911 caller was able provide police with the suspect’s identify and location as they fled to a nearby house for safety. Officers arrived at 21 Cross Street and arrested Deborah Armstrong, age 53, without further incident. The woman caller and another woman allege Armstrong opened fire on them with a shot gun with the blasts shattering the windows of a pickup truck.

    Armstrong was charged with two counts of armed assault to murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of possession of a fire arm without a license or FID card, one count of possession of ammunition without a license or FID card, and one count of malicious destruction of property. 

    Armstong, is currently being held at the Bristol County House of Corrections on $100K cash bail and will be arraigned in Taunton District Court on today.

     The case remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.


GOV. BAKER NOMINATES REHOBOTH RESIDENT TO MA COURT

(April 14, 2016) Governor Charlie Baker has nominated attorneys Tracie Souza of Rehoboth and Carol Shaw of Northhampton to the Massachusetts Juvenile Court.

   “Throughout their careers, Carol Shaw and Tracie Souza have served many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable families and children facing difficult circumstances,” said Governor Baker. “Both attorneys understand the tremendous legal and personal pressures facing any resident who comes before the Juvenile Court, and I look forward to seeing their combined experience strengthen its mission of protecting our youth.”

    Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the statewide Judicial Nominating Commission and recommended to the Governor. All judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, youthful offender cases, care and protections and children requiring assistance cases.

    “Attorneys Shaw and Souza have served their communities with distinction, and their practice before the Juvenile Court will bring strong local perspectives to the bench in support of children and families,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I am excited to work with the Governor’s Council as they carefully consider these highly qualified nominees.”

   Tracie Souza of Rehoboth has served as an Assistant Regional Counsel at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) Southeast Legal Division since December 2015, previously serving over three years as Supervisor and Staff Attorney for the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Children and Family Division in Fall River representing parents and children involved in care and protection matters, advocating for abused and/or neglected families and children and providing training, court observation and case supervision for junior staff attorneys. Souza was in private practice in Fall River from 1999 to 2002 and from 2007 to 2012, and was in both private practice and a Senior Staff Attorney and Supervisor in the Maricopa County Legal Defender’s Office from 2002 to 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona. Souza obtained her Juris Doctor in 1999 from the Roger Williams School of Law in Rhode Island and graduated cum laude from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth with a bachelor’s degree.

  

ELDER AFFAIRS WARNS SENIORS OF OLD AND NEW SCAMS

(April 14, 2016) The Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs has released information with helpful information on how to avoid scams aimed at senior citizens.

   According to Emmett Schmarsow, Program Manager for Councils on Aging and Senior Centers, there are both new and old “ingenious practices to separate elders and others from their money -- either outright or through information that seniors provide in good faith.” 

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains a constantly updated website to alert consumers about what’s real and what’s fake. There are articles detailing various scams involving official sounding business calls and government imposters.  You can also browse scams by topic such as: charity, credit, energy savings, health, identity theft, investments, insurance, online scams, phishing, social security, shopping and travel.

    Telephone scammers are increasingly sophisticated and use scare tactics such as warnings your computer or email has been compromised. Online scams are even more dangerous. Just opening an email that looks legitimate (from the government or well-known businesses) can launch “malware” into your computer.  This type of malware can infiltrate an email system and grab your address list to use for scam purposes. 

    Viruses can also be introduced to your computer or other electronics via pop up advertising or warnings that something is wrong with your devise.  These are scams with the intention of introducing virus that can attack your hard drive, or gather information.  For more info, please visit consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts.


COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE PUBLIC HEARING ON APRIL 27

(April 13, 2016) The Rehoboth Community Preservation Committee (CPC) invites residents to attend a public hearing on April 27 to learn more about the process of funding projects related to preserving community assets.

    The meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more about the projects supported by funding from the CPC.  Examples include the creation and preservation of open space; acquisition and preservation of historic resources; creation and preservation of land for recreational use. 

   Other CPC funded projects could include the creation, preservation and support of community housing; rehabilitation or restoration of open space, historic resources, and land for recreational use.

    The committee seeks and welcomes Input from the community. Applications for potential projects will be available, and the committee is willing to work with project applicants to bring eligible projects to fruition


BRISTOL COUNTY INMATES TO ASSIST WITH SENIOR CENTER LUNCH

(April 12, 2016) Selected inmates from The Women’s Center at the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth will provide assistance for the upcoming Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on April 14.

    The Rehoboth Council on Aging (COA), the municipal board that manages the senior center, will host the luncheon as a thank you to the many volunteers who help at the center. The inmates will serve the meal so volunteers can enjoy themselves since they are the ones usually doing the serving.

     “We would not survive without them,” said Linda Sherman, director of the center that offers an array of services to elders in the community, as well as other residents who may need assistance. Sherman explained that volunteers do everything from cooking meals to driving clients to activities, and sometimes just lending an open ear or helping hand.

    “They don’t get paid, they’re here because they want to help ,” she emphasized. “Our volunteers are just wonderful.”

   Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson will attend the luncheon to thank the volunteers for all their hard work and dedication to the community’s seniors.  For more information, contact Sherman at 508-252-3372 or Jonathan Darling, public information officer for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department, at 508-995-6400 ext. 2641.


DRIVERS INJURED IN ROUTE 44 CRASH

(April 12, 2016) The drivers of two vehicles in a crash on Route 44 yesterday morning were transported to the hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

    Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched Monday morning to an accident involving two vehicles and a pole with one person trapped. Firefighters used hydraulic tools to free the driver who was the lone occupant of the vehicle.

    Rehoboth Police shut down one lane of Route 44 during the operation until the vehicles were removed. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the RPD.

 

REHOBOTH HOME FIRE REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY OFFICIALS

(April 11, 2016) The residential fire that destroyed a Summer Street home on Saturday remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth Police, Massachusetts State Police, and the State Fire Marshals Office.

    The fire is believed to have started shortly after 5 PM and was reported by a neighbor who spotted smoke and flames. The structure was fully involved when the fire engine arrived and smoke could be seen as far away as Providence, Attleboro and Fall River.

    On-call personnel from all three Rehoboth stations arrived, along with firefighters from seven other towns.

    According to RFD Chief Frank Baressi, mutual aid was supplied by Norton and Swansea for station coverage with Seekonk sending an engine to the scene as a Rapid Intervention crew. Water tankers were provided by Berkley, Raynham, Westport and Warren, RI. 

    The Providence Canteen provided rehab services while Rehoboth EMS had an ambulance and paramedics on stand by.  Rehoboth police provided traffic and crowd control.

    Although the fire was knocked down within 40 minutes,  Summer Street was shut down at French Street for approximately 5 hours. The last Rehoboth fire apparatus cleared the scene at approximately 10 PM.

    Neighbors reported the homeowners at recently constructed an addition to the home and where planning to make roof repairs on Sunday. Although the residents were not in the home at the time, two dogs perished in the fire.  There were no injuries to emergency personnel.  The family is staying with relatives following the devastating loss of their home and pets.  (Photo by Omar Bradley, Summer Street resident)


REP. HOWITT ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR ROADS AND BRIDGES

(April 10, 2016) State Representative Steven S. Howitt, R- Seekonk, is pleased to announce the towns of the 4th Bristol District (Rehoboth, Norton, Seekonk, and Swansea) will receive $2,320,540 for local road and bridge repairs. 

    The funding was included as part of a $200 million Chapter 90 bond authorization approved by the House of Representatives on March 30.

    “This is great news for the district because it means additional funding will soon be available to address the towns' infrastructure needs during the 2016 construction season,” said Representative Howitt.

    Chapter 90 funds can be spent on a variety of municipal roadway projects, including resurfacing, drainage, sidewalks, traffic control, and street lighting. The funding can also be used for bikeways, landscaping, and tree planting, and for certain road building machinery, equipment, and tools.

    Established in 1973, the state’s Chapter 90 program allocates funding to cities and towns using a formula based on the weighted average of a municipality’s population, employment, and total road miles.  The funds are paid out as reimbursements to communities for qualifying infrastructure work.

    The bill now heads to the Senate for further action.


REHOBOTH POLICE SUBDUE COMBATIVE MAN

(April 6, 2016) Rehoboth police last night responded to a 911 call report of a distraught and possibly armed male visiting a residence on Plain Street.

   The caller told police the unidentified male, age 63, was threatening to harm himself, others, and police if approached. The man was alleged to have a shotgun. Upon arrival officers made contact with the man who “immediately became hostile toward police, yelling threats and obscenities, and failing to comply with verbal commands to exit the residence.”

    A perimeter was established around the home as police made repeated attempts to calm the man.  According to a television news report, the man “ran in and out of the home several times while yelling and screaming.”

   After a stand-off of approximately one hour, police temporarily subdued the man using “less than lethal” bean bag projectiles in order to take him into custody. Police were unable to locate the alleged shotgun during  a subsequent search of the home. 

   The man was immediately transported to Morton Hospital in Taunton for both medical and psychological evaluation.  He received minor injuries after being shot with 2 or 3 bean bags.  According to Rehoboth police, the man was not charged, but there is an ongoing investigation of the domestic incident.  Officers from the Swansea Police Department provided assistance.

  

ONLY 375 REHOBOTH VOTERS CAST BALLOTS FOR ANNUAL ELECTION

(April 5, 2016) Turnout for spring election was extremely low with only 375 voters braving the spring snow.  With only two seats, one for school committee and the other for water commission, contested, only a fraction of the town’s 8,163 voters turned out.

    School committee incumbent Richard Barrett, running for this fifth full term, lost to newcomer Melissa Enos in a narrow margin of 184 to 173 votes.

    Three candidates ran for position on the water commission.  Kathleen Conti received 249 votes and Patricia “Tish” Vadnais received 222 votes to 185 votes cast for William Costa, Sr.


TOWN OF REHOBOTH TO AUCTION 18 LAND PARCELS ON APRIL 6

(April 5, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth will auction 18 individual “parcels of improved and unimproved real estate conducted by George A. Collias of Southcoast Auctions & Realty, Inc. on Wednesday, April 6 at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 1 PM.

    Descriptions - Non-Landlocked Parcels: 1.  248 Winthrop St. (Route 44), 3,518 SF Former Service Shop/Garage on a .32 Acre lot (Map/Lot: 46/1);  2. 21 First St., 8 Acre lot with considerable frontage on First St. (Map/Lot: 3/16);  3. Providence St., 17.3 Acre lot w/about 200’  frontage on Providence St. (Map/Lot: 19/18B);  4. 5 Brook St., Improved Property: 1 bedroom dwelling & detached barn on 1.39 Acre lot w/frontage on Brook St. (Map/Lot: 22/7)

    Descriptions - Landlocked Parcels: 1. Off Anawan St., 5 Acres (Map/Lot: 59/9);  2. Agricultural Ave., 24.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 68/22);  3. Munwhague Swamp, 1.8 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M63);  4. Munwhague Swamp, 1.5 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M67);  5. Munwhague Swamp, 1.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M62);  6. Munwhague Swamp, 2.1 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M48);  7. Munwhague Swamp, 4.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M46);  8. Munwhague Swamp, 5.9 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M47);  9. Munwhague Swamp, 16 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M44);  10. Munwhague Swamp, 2 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M541);  11. Munwhague Swamp, 1.6 Acres (Map/Lot: 16/M50);  12. Munwhague Swamp, 2 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M56G);  13. Munwhague Swamp, 13 Acres (Map/Lot: 17/M78)         

    Terms of sale:  $5,000 Deposit by bank cashier’s check is due at the auction for each (Non-Landlocked) property purchased;  a $1,000 Deposit by bank cashier’s check is due at the auction for each “Landlocked Parcel” purchased;  balance of purchase price for each parcel purchased is due within 30 days of the auction date.  Properties are to be sold “as is” & “with all faults”, but free of liens & w/real estate taxes prorated to date of closing.  A Buyer’s Premium of Ten Percent (10%) will apply and will be added to the high bid for each lot, this total amount will represent the purchase price.  Other terms and conditions will be announced at auction.  All information within this notice and published online is believed, but not guaranteed, to be correct.

   

STAY SAFE: HAVE YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS TESTED ON APRIL 16, 17 or 18

(April 4, 2016) Rehoboth residents are encouraged to take advantage of a free smoke detector test and battery change over the Patriot Day weekend, an Eagle Scout project of local teen Ryan Johnson.

     Along with Rehoboth Firefighter Randy Larrivee, Johnson will go to homes by appointment to test your smoke detectors and change batteries.  In communities that offer smoke alarm installation and testing, there is a “measurable difference in reducing deaths and injuries from fire,” according to the National Fire Protection Association.

   Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Testing the alarms every month and replacing batteries is crucial to safety.  Often homes do not have enough alarms or they are not placed appropriately.  All smoke alarms should be replaced at ten years gold, and replace any alarm that does not respond properly when tested.

   If you would like your smoke detectors tested and the batteries replaced as part of Johnson’s Eagle Scout project, contact Randy Larrivee at 598-223-3033, email smokedetectoreeaglescoutproject@gmail.com.

    Additionally, the Rehoboth Fire Department is always willing to assist residents in installing smoke and carbon monixide alarms. Contact Larrivee at 598-223-3033.


EDITOR’S NOTE

TOWN ELECTION TOMORROW: MONDAY, APRIL 4

(April 3, 2016) Does democracy mean something to you? Then get in your car, hitch up the wagon, or convey yourself by any means to cast your vote in the Rehoboth Town Election, tomorrow Monday, April 4 from 7 AM to 8 PM.

   All precincts will be open. Precinct 1 is the Town Office on Peck Street. Precinct 2 is the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Bay State Road. Precinct 3 is the South Rehoboth Fire Station on Pleasant Street.

    While most are uncontested races, holding an election costs the town around $7000. So please vote and show you care about the Town of Rehoboth and how it is operates. If you don't vote, you can't complain. Well, actually, you can and most people do. But if nothing else, vote in memory of those who fought and died for your right to cast a ballot and support the candidates of your choice.


APRIL 1: DEADLINE TO CAST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT

(March 31, 2016) Registered voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot prior for the Annual Town Election on Monday, April 4 may do so by 5 PM on Friday, April 1 at the Town Clerk’s Office.

   If you anticipate not being able to vote on Monday, then you have an easy option to cast an absentee ballot.  if you have any questions, please call 508-252-6502, ext. 3110.

    All three precincts will be open on Monday, April 4 from 7 AM to 8 PM.  Precinct One is located at the Town Office on Peck Street; Precinct Two is at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center; and Precinct Three is Rehoboth Fire Station Three on Pleasant Street.


REHOBOTH POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES $5000 DONATION

(March 24, 2016) The widow of man who perished in a bicycle accident on Homestead Avenue four years ago recently presented a donation of $5000 to the Rehoboth Police Department’s detective division.

    Susan Lanoue appeared before the Rehoboth Board of Selectman on Monday, March 21 to thank officers and present the generous donation in memory of her husband Gary Lanoue.  A avid cyclist, fifty-eight-year old Lanoue was training for a 150-mile charity bike ride at the time of his fatal accident.

   Sgt. Paul McGovern, who was off-duty at the time, discovered Lanoue lying unresponsive off the shoulder of the roadway Homestead Avenue near Allens Avenue after his high performance Cervelo Soloist bicycle malfunctioned and crashed. McGovern called for assistance and provided medical aid while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

    Detective Brian Ramos conducted an investigation of the fatal accident and determined the bicycle had a mechanical failure related to a detached fork component, a True Temper Wolf SL unit that was subject of a 2008 recall by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

    Police Chief James Trombetta and Sgt. Brian Ramos accepted the check from Mrs. Lanoue who expressed her gratitude for how the case was handled and investigated.  She asked the donation be used for the detective division to purchase equipment or used in other ways to enhance their investigative abilities.

    


TWO INJURED IN BAY STATE ROAD ACCIDENT

(March 22, 2016) A motor vehicle accident on Bay State Road yesterday afternoon resulted in two individuals transported the the hospital for emergency care.

    Rehoboth public safety including police, fire and EMS were dispatched to Bay State Road to the scene of a one-vehicle crash.

    Both occupants of the car were out of the flipped vehicle but were transported to the hospital with non- life threatening injuries. Firefighters remained on the scene to clean up debris and fluids on the road after the vehicle was removed. 

    Names of the driver and passenger were not released and the accident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department.


REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE

(March 16, 2016) A local man was arrested early this morning shortly after midnight and faces several charges including drunk driving.

    Rehoboth police officers Nicholas Barros and Craig Forget were dispatched to the area of 34 Miller Street after receiving a report that a vehicle had gone off the roadway. It was apparent the vehicle had crashed through a fence and stuck in a muddy pasture. 

   Twenty-two-year-old Paul Lakota was trying to free his vehicle from the mud when approached by the officers who say they “detected an odor of intoxicating liquor and observed other signs of impairment.”

     Following field sobriety tests, Lakota was taken into custody and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and a marked lanes violation.  He was booked and later transferred to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Ash Street Jail. Lakota was scheduled to be arraigned today in Taunton District Court.


BOS CHAIR WANTS ANSWERS ON STUDENT ARRESTS AT DRRHS

(March 15, 2016) At last night’s regular meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, Chairman Michael Costello expressed his grave concern surrounding the arrests of two high school students on dangerous weapon, and assault charges.

     Costello said he was surprised to learn of the February 23 arrests only last week after reading a news article, and announced his intention to send a letter to the school district making inquiries.  Specifically he wondered why the Rehoboth Police Department was not informed by either the Dighton police or school administration.

    Only last month, a joint incident command class involving public safety officials from both towns, both police and fire, was held at the high school.  Procedures were put into place for response to emergencies including a lock-down policy.

    Costello said he wants to know why a lock-down was not instituted immediately the day, particularly when law enforcement routinely plan for incidents involving a coordinated effort among multiple students who may all be carrying weapons.  A lock-down policy typically involves closing the building and conducting a thorough search of the school and grounds.

    Costello said he plans to write a formal letter to request a full accounting of why no Rehoboth town officials were informed of the incident that day, and why a lock-down was not ordered.


DIGHTON-REHOBOTH TEACHERS ASSOCIATION  BEGINS “WORK TO RULE”

(March 13, 2016) Teachers represented by the Dighton Rehoboth Teachers Association labor union will commence “work to rule”  beginning tomorrow, March 14, in all Dighton and Rehoboth schools.

    The action was announced in a public statement read to the regional school committee last Tuesday during a standing room only audience of approximately 325 parents, teachers and others.

    Early in February, teachers walked a picket line on Route 44 outside of Palmer River Elementary School to bring public awareness about the lack of a new contract.  The existing contract expired in August 2015. Both the union and the school committee recognized an impasse had been reached in negotiations.

     The “work to rule” action, while not a strike that would close schools, requires union members to work to the letter of the existing teachers contract.  This means teachers will cease any and all voluntary activities such as before or after school programs or activities.

     Superintendent of Schools Dr. Anthony Azar, in a statement issued to parents wrote, “we bring this matter to your attention so that you may plan accordingly.” He explained the administration expects “operations during the school day will occur as usual.”  Teachers who receive stipends for before or after school athletics, activities, and clubs “will continue to meet with their respective student participants.”

    Azar encourages parents to contact school principals or individual teachers with specific questions.  “We all hope to resolve these labor issues as soon as possible so that we may concentrate on our main objective,” said Azar, which is to provide the best quality education for all students in our district.”


ANOTHER OPEN MEETING LAW COMPLAINT LODGED AGAINST RAAC

(March 11, 2016) A second Open Meet Law violation complaint has been filed against the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee alleging improper handling of the first complaint, along with discussion or deliberation of a quorum of committee members outside of a public meeting.

    Both complaints were filed by Rehoboth resident Michael Deignan, long-time chairman of the town’s finance committee. Deignan filed the first complaint after requesting RAAC meeting minutes, from December 2014 to the present. 

   In a written response to Deignan, RAAC co-chair David Katseff admitted there are no approved minutes available, nor is there any one on the committee, or staff in the superintendent’s office, available to transcribe video tapes of the meetings into formal minutes.

    Deignan’s second OML complaint alleges the committee “further violated the Open Meeting Law by discussing the OML complaint amongst a quorum of members outside the posted meeting.”  Attached to the complaint were copies of emails sent between members of the RAAC.  

    In a separate letter to the boards of selectmen of both Rehoboth and Dighton, Deignan called upon the RAAC co-chairs to resign from their appointed positions. 

    A regular meeting of the committee was held last night at the high school, but was not videotaped or broadcast live on public access.  According to a spectator who attended the meeting, one committee member attempted to discuss the OML complaint and was allegedly told to shut up or else be removed from the building.

     In a Vox Populi letter to the editor published in today’s edition of Rehoboth Now, Deignan shared with the public his call for the resignation of the RAAC co-chairs.  He  included a copy of an official email he obtained, through a public records request, that appears to show committee members were fully aware of the minutes non-compliance issue over a year ago.


CONFLICT CONTINUES, RAAC RESPONDS TO COMPLAINTS

(March 10, 2016) The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) has formally  responded to open meeting law violation complaint filed with the Office of the Attorney General on February 27 by Rehoboth resident Michael Diegnan, long-time chairman of the towns finance committee.

    Diegnan filed the complaint after requesting written minutes of RAAC meetings and being told he would watch the video tapes of the public meetings.  No written, approved minutes have been submitted to the town since the committee began meeting in late 2014.

    Selectmen addressed the complaint, at a recent meeting, with RAAC co-chairs David Katseff and Christopher Andrade, both members of the D-R School Committee.  Selectmen encouraged them to deal with the situation in a responsive manner.

     A letter was sent to Deignan on March 7 responding to the open meeting law violation complaint and signed by Katseff.  “Since I have already verbally explained to you that formal minutes of our meetings were not transcribed along the way because we were of the impression that the availability of video tapes of our meetings complied with our responsibility to keep “minutes” of the meeting.” 

    He added, “However, the recent opinion from our (school) district’s attorney has clarified our responsibility here and we will make substantial efforts to transcribe previous RAAC meetings notes into minutes and we will ask for a volunteer to act as Secretary for the future RAAC Meetings.”  

   Katseff stating there is no staff person available in the district at this time to assign the job of “transcribing old notes and turning them into meeting minutes.”  Additionally, he noted, “we do not want to spend a lot of school district funds to perform these functions.”  Katseff concluded by saying that without staff to do the minutes, he is asking the Attorney General’s Office for an extension.

     In a written statement to RAAC, Diegnan wrote, “I appreciate the professional and congenial manner in which Co-Chairman Katseff responded to my Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) Open Meeting Law (OML) complaint.”

   Diegnan elaborated, “In hundreds of communities across the Commonwealth, thousands of committees at all levels of government are charged with producing written minutes of their meetings, and have been doing so through the volunteer effort of one or more members of the committee to take notes and transcribe minutes. The statement a secretary is not available, and funding is not present, to produce minutes does not excuse the RAAC of its responsibility to do so.”

    Deignan stands by his assertion “that this was a willful violation of the OML – specifically, to avoid the production of written minutes – the reasons for which the public can only speculate.”

    RAAC consists of twelve voting members, plus three additional non-voting members, appointed by the respective Dighton or Rehoboth boards of selectmen to address updating the regional school agreement, last revised in 1987.  The committee is scheduled to meet tonight in the DRRHS Media Center at 6:30 PM. 

   

DRRHS COMMENTS ON RECENT STUDENT ARRESTS

(March 10, 2016)  Dighton police arrested two students at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School on Tuesday, February 23 on dangerous weapon and assault charges.

     Caleb Dyer and Alex Lacasse, both over 18, were charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on school grounds.  Lacasse was additionally charged with assault and battery with the weapon, allegedly a taser used on  another students, or students.  Patrolmen Patrick McCarthy, Ryan Richards, and Christopher Magan were the officers who arrested the students at the school.

     The incident was apparently handled quietly by administration and the school day proceeded normally without a lock-down.  No mention of the incident or communication to parents was made on the district website.   

    Disciplinary actions against the two students, if any, any unknown.  “I cannot discuss specific cases regarding student discipline,” said DRRHS Principal Kevin Braga.  He explained, “if a taser was brought to school, a taser is considered a weapon . . . thus we could invoke our authority (under state law) to suspend for long term or expel a student from school and press charges.”

    Braga stated that “additional charges can be brought against the student by the other student and police can bring charges as well.” 

    Last year, a Boston elementary school student was suspended after bring a pink taser and folding knife to school, but did not face criminal charges.  Across the country, there are numerous reports of students being expeled for just bringing a stun gun to school.  Lascase was charged with using the taser on another D-R student or students before being approached by school officials and allegedly denying he had a weapon.

   “Our top priority is to keep students safe and we cannot tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes our safety,” said Braga.  “I can assure you that my administrative staff will continue to provide all students a safe and secure environment.

  

PUBLIC INVITED TO SEE FIRE DEPARTMENT’S NEW PUMPER VEHICLE

(March 7, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department will display their new pumper vehicle on Monday, March 7 outside the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, 55 Bay State Road for the board of selectmen’s meeting beginning at 7 PM in regular session.

    The RFD placed the new 2016 E-One Pumper into service at Station 2 (North Station) on Sunday, March 6. The new pumper replaces a 1997 E-One pumper which will be reassigned to Station 3 (South Station) on Pleasant Street as a reserve engine renumbered Engine 4.  This engine replaces a 1989 E-One with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump and a 500-gallon tank. 

   The new Engine 2, funded at the 2015 Spring Annual Town meeting, has a 5-person cab, 1250 gallon-per-minute pump, 1000-gallon tank, 30-gallon foam tank and roll up cabinet doors. The truck had to be specially ordered without the standard raised cab roof because of the age and door height restrictions of the station.  Training on the new engine will continue through the month.


HOW REHOBOTH VOTED ON SUPER TUESDAY

(March 3, 2016)  The statistics from Tuesday’s Presidential Primary have been compiled and released by the Office of the Rehoboth Town Clerk.  To see how Rehoboth voted, just click here.


SELECTMEN HEAR RAAC PRESENTATION ON PROPOSED CHANGES TO

REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT AGREEMENT

(March 1, 2016)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night, during their regularly scheduled meeting, heard a presentation from members of the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) on their recommended changes to the regional school district agreement.

    Following the Powerpoint presentation, RAAC committee co-chairs David Katseff, representing Rehoboth, and Chris Andrade, representing Dighton, addressed questions by selectmen.

    Information on the regional agreement between both towns can be found on the district website including the existing agreement, community handout, and the new agreement in draft form.

    A new agreement between the two towns must be voted on and passed at town meeting in both Dighton and Rehoboth before the district can submit changes to the state.

    Following the discussion, Selectman Gerry Schwall addressed the issue of a recent open meeting law violation complaint filing against RAAC with the Office of the Attorney General. Speaking on behalf of the board, Schwall recognized the nature of the complaint and clearly expressed the board’s expectations that RAAC deal with the situation immediately.

    The RAAC committee currently has no approved minutes for any of their meetings dating back to December 2014.  The open meeting law violation complaint involves a request for minutes as public information.


IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT OPEN BURNING SEASON

(March 1, 2016)  The Rehoboth Fire Department informs residents that open burning day rules restrictions, regulated by the State and the Fire Chief, are being expanded each year.

    Overcast skies, rain, wind at any speed and dry conditions are just some of the guidelines that need to be considered on a daily basis. 

    “You are required to call for permission to burn every day that you wish to burn,” explained Fire Chief Frank Barresi.  “If you call and are advised there is "no burning" on a particular day, then burning is not allowed.”

    Residents should be aware that call takers cannot change that decision. “We have had instances already this season where those seeking permission to burn have been argumentative and abusive to our call takers and this will not be tolerated,” emphasized Barresi.

     For more information and a complete policy on open burning please refer your permit or the fire department website at rehobothfd.com. Thank you for your consideration and be safe!


RAAC COMMITTEE FACES OPEN MEETING LAW VIOLATION COMPLAINT

(Updated February 29, 2016)

(February 28, 2016)  An open meeting law violation was filed yesterday with the Office of Attorney General  Maura Healy against the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) by Rehoboth resident Michael Deignan.

   The complaint was filed after Deignan requested and did not receive copies of agendas and minutes for RAAC, a sub-committee of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee, formed in late 2014 to examine the regional school agreement.  Additionally, he filed a formal appeal for copies of public records to the Public Records Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

    In his complaint, Deignan reports he hand-delivered a written, formal request for the public records to RAAC co-chair David Katseff at the February 16 meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen. Members of RAAC were on the BOS agenda that night to present the committee’s recommendations for proposed changes to the regional agreement, one that has not been updated since 1987.  Due to a power outage that night, the RAAC presentation was postponed until the BOS meeting tomorrow night.

    Deignan, who chairs the Rehoboth Finance Committee and is town constable, says he became aware of the open meeting law violation on February 16 when he requested the copies of public records for RAAC since its inception in 2014. 

   “Mr. Katseff informed me the RAAC has not produced minutes, but I was welcome to review all the copies of the videotapes of their meetings,” wrote Deignan. “I informed Mr. Katseff this was unacceptable as the Open Meeting Law requires accurate copies of minutes to be created and approved in a timely fashion by governmental bodies.”

    On February 27, Deignan sent notification and copies of his complaints to both RAAC co-chairs, Katseff who represents Rehoboth, and Chris Andrade who represents Dighton, as well as School Superintendent Dr. Anthony Azar and the town clerks of both towns.

    According to an official town email that was copied to other officials, Andrade replied to Deignan’s notification with “Your (sic) an idiot.”  

    When asked for comment, Andrade said agendas for RAAC meetings are included on the meeting posting notices, and “minutes have not been approved by the committee.” RAAC has been meeting since December 2014 and no minutes have been approved for any meeting.  Municipal meeting minutes approved by committee are required to be submitted to the town office as public information.

    Neither Katseff or Superintendent Azar responded to requests for comment.

   

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION: VOTE ON TUESDAY

(February 25, 2016)  The Massachusetts Presidential Primary election will be held on Tuesday, March 1 with all three voting precincts open from 7 AM to 8 PM.

    Precinct 1 is the Town Office on Peck Street, Precinct 2 is the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Bay State Road, and Precinct 3 is the South Fire Station on Pleasant Street.

   Those wishing to cast a vote for the presidential candidate of their choice should have registered by February 10. Voters enrolled in political designation, and unenrolled voters, can ask for any party ballot for the primary election.  Those voters who are registered in a party can only vote on that party’s ballot.  For example, a registered Democrat cannot take a Republican ballot.


FEW CHOICES FOR REHOBOTH VOTERS ON APRIL 4

(Updated February 24, 2016)  With the exception of only two contested races, Rehoboth voters will have few choices to make in the annual spring town election scheduled for April 4.

    Nomination papers were submitted to the town office on Tuesday, February 16 and the Republican Town Committee held their caucus the next night. The Democratic caucus was held Saturday, February 20.

  One contested race is for one seat on the regional school committee between incumbent Richard Barrett for his fifth term on the school committee and newcomer Melissa Enos, running as an independent.

   The other contested race is for one seat (one-year) on the water commission. Patricia “Tish” Vadnais was recently appointed by selectmen to that position on a temporary basis upon the resignation of Werner Horlbeck who is moving from Rehoboth. The other candidates running for that seat include former town clerk Kathleen Conti, an independent candidate, and Democratic candidate William Costa, Sr.  Republican incumbents Ted Ballard and Joseph Nunes were both nominated to retain their three-year seats on the water commission.

    Incumbent Frederick “Skip” Vadnais is running uncontested for his current seat on the board of selectmen.  Vadnais has served as a selectman for eighteen years over several, non-consecutive terms.  

    Planning board member Robert Moitozo is running as an independent to retain his seat on the planning board for a five-year term.

    The Republican caucus nominated incumbents Cheryl Gouveia as town treasurer, and Eugene Campbell to his 15th term on the three-person board of assessors.  Incumbent George Cardono was nominated for another three-year term on the housing authority along with incumbent Robert McKim, who was also nominated to keep his seat on the park commission. Republicans also nominated incumbents Michael Deignan and Ken Abrams for constable positions, along with newcomer William Dalpe, Jr.

   Bill Cute, long-time town moderator, received the Democratic nomination and will run unopposed for his tenth term.

   All candidates for election will be invited by the Rehoboth Business Association to participate in their annual Candidates Night to be held on Tuesday, March 22 at Hillside Country Club.  The public is invited to attend the event including a meet and greet social hour from 5:30 to 6:30 featuring a generous array of finger food followed by a formal Question and Answer forum to begin at 6:30.  Cost per person is $20.  Please RSVP by March 18 at salcyn506@aol.com or call Cindy at 508-641-7146.

 

REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST LOCAL MAN ON SECOND DRUNK DRIVING CHARGE

(February 12, 2016)   Late yesterday night, Rehoboth police arrested a local man on multiple charges including drunk driving after the truck he was operating went off the road and got stuck on the front lawn of a home located on Spring Street.

    Officer Paul McGovern was dispatched following a 911 call reporting a motor vehicle mishap. Upon arrival, McGovern encountered Brian Camara, age 46 of Rehoboth, unsuccessfully trying to extricate his pickup truck from a muddy lawn, approximately 25 feet from the roadway.

    According to police, McGovern noticed Camara was covered in mud as he exited the vehicle, took two steps and fell to the ground.  After being asked for his driver’s license, police say Camara stood and attempted to walk to his truck, but again fell to the ground.

    Camara voluntarily participated in a series of field sobriety tests and was subsequently taken into custody. A breath test RPD headquarters revealed Camara’s blood alcohol concentration was .19%.  He was charged with a second drunk driving offense, marked lanes violation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and vandalism of property. 

   Bristol County Superior Court Clerk Marc Santos placed $140 cash bail on Camara who was then transferred to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Ash Street Jail.  He was scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Taunton District Court.

    Lt. James Medeiros and Officer Craig Forget assisted with arrest.  


PROJECT DRESS UP OFFERS FREE PROM DRESSES AND MORE

(February 9, 2016)  Local Rehoboth and Dighton teens will once again be offered a great opportunity to get a free dress and accessories for prom or graduation parties on Saturday, March 5 at Saint Nicholas of Myra Parish Hall from 10 AM to 3 PM.

    For the past eight years, sisters Anna and Danielle Brodeur, have been collecting, cleaning and giving away free dresses. Project Dress Up began as a Girl Scout project and now become a Pay Forward project.  Anna, now a senior at Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School, is managing the March 5 event.

    This year, Project Dress Up is supported by a grant from the Dighton Cultural Council. There will be over 500 dresses on the racks including brand new dresses donated by local wedding shops.  Additionally, donors have given shoes, jewelry, makeup samples and other items to accessorize prom or party outfits.  Slightly worn dresses have been cleaned courtesy of Dermondy Cleaners in Taunton.  Private dressing areas will be available on March 5 at the parish hall, located at 499 Spring Street in North Dighton.

    Donated dresses and other items are still being collected.  If you have anything to donate, please contact Anna Brodeur at 508-669-6223.    


REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED ON THIRD OUI OFFENSE

(February 7, 2016)  A 29-year-old Rehoboth man spent last night in jail after being arrested on charges including a third drunk driving charge after crashing his vehicle into the woods off Route 44.

    While on regular patrol last night, Officer Craig Forget of the Rehoboth Police Department came upon a single vehicle crashed 20 feet into the woods down an embankment near the area of 300 Winthrop Street (Route 44).

  According to police, Louis Riquelme was attempting to back the vehicle out of deep mud when Forget approached and noted the man’s speech was slurred and “emanating the odor of alcohol from his person” and was unsteady on his feet.   

     Riqueline was asked to perform standard field sobriety tests and admitted he may have consumed “more than I should have” at an area restaurant before getting behind the wheel.  He was transported to RPD headquarters and given a breath test that revealed a blood alcohol level of .21% before being changed with a third OUI offense, negligent operation and a marked lanes violation. 

     Bristol County Superior Court Clerk Mark Santos placed $1,000 cash bail on Riquelme and he was subsequently transferred to the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office Ash Street Jail.  Riquelme is scheduled to be arraigned in Taunton District Court on Monday, February 8.

     Lt. James Medeiros and Officer Paul McGovern assisted in the arrest and investigation.


GET EXPERT ANSWERS TO YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY QUESTIONS

(February 6, 2016)  The Rehoboth Business Association (RBA) together with Bristol County Savings Bank is hosting a free seminar “Social Security and Your Questions” on Wednesday, February 17 at Goff Memorial Hall, 124 Bay State Road in Rehoboth.

    Get expert answers to your questions about Social Security benefits with speaker Kurt Czarnowski, former Regional Communications Director for the Social Security Administration in New England.  An author and frequent radio guest, Czarnowski is also President of the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans.

   This free seminar is open to the public and included a light buffet served at 6 PM followed by the seminar with question and answer session beginning at 6:30 PM. Space is limited, so please contact the RBA to reserve your seat by February 9.  Call Cindy at 508-641-7146 or email salcyn506@aol.com.


RAAC COMMITTEE TO PRESENT PROPOSED SCHOOL DISTRICT CHANGES

(February 6, 2016)  On Tuesday, February 16, the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee (RAAC) of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee, will present a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation on proposed changes to the school district during a regular board of selectmen’s meeting at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.

    RAAC was established in late 2014 to review and modernize the regional school district agreement between the towns of Dighton and Rehoboth.  The current agreement was last updated in 1987.

     The presentation will address many issues including organization of the school district, each town’s school assessment, budget formulas, and clarifying or eliminating outdated policies or language within the document.

    Voters from each town must approve the amended agreement at either annual or special town meeting. The agreement must then be approved on the state level before implementation.

    Following the presentation to selectmen and audience members, scheduled to begin approximately 7:15, members of RAAC will provide a question and answer period.  The Rehoboth Finance Committee will also be convened to participate as needed in the meeting.

   To read more about the proposed amendments to the regional agreement, visit the Features page.


BRISTOL COUNTY SAVINGS BANK SPONSORS JR. ACHIEVEMENT CHALLENGE

(February 6, 2016)  Junior Achievement of Southern Massachusetts (JA) announces that Bristol County Savings Bank will act as the Title Sponsor for the 2016 Junior Achievement Titan Business Challenge, a business strategy competition in which high school students compete against one another in teams using an online, interactive business simulation program. The event will take place at UMass Dartmouth on Tuesday, March 15, 2016.

   “We are thrilled and extremely grateful that Bristol County Savings Bank has agreed to partner with us once again for this event,” said Caroline Paradis, JA President. “The Titan Business Challenge has been incredibly well-received over the past two years, and we look forward to continued growth as we welcome additional schools and volunteers this year. We simply could not do any of this without the support and participation of the Bank.”

   Last year, 205 students from 15 area school participated in this unique and highly beneficial experience that helps them develop the skills they need to compete in an ever-changing job market. During the event, sophomores, juniors and seniors compete for scholarships while gaining essential knowledge about the world of business, at no cost to the students or their high schools. In addition to developing budgets and interpreting financial reports, students can expect to increase their knowledge of pricing, production, capital investments, R&D, marketing and charitable giving.

   Junior Achievement is inviting high schools within their service area to participate; the event is provided at no cost to the schools, including bus transportation. Each school can bring up to 7 teams (21 students). Organizers are also looking for sponsors and volunteer Business Mentors who will assist students throughout the competition. For more information, please contact Caroline Paradis at caroline.paradis@ja.org or call the JA office at 508-997-6536.


REHOBOTH SELECTMEN ANNOUNCE ANNUAL MEETING DATE

(February 6, 2016)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted to set the date for the Rehoboth Annual Town Meeting for Monday, May 9, 2016 starting at 7 PM in the auditorium of Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School.

   Selectmen also voted to open the warrant for the annual town meeting with a closing date and time of Tuesday, March 1 at 12 noon for all articles.


REHOBOTH MAN CHARGED AFTER CRASHING VEHICLE ON COUNTY STREET

(February 3, 2016)  Following a 911 call, Rehoboth police were dispatched early yesterday morning before before 1 AM to the scene of a single vehicle accident on County Street.

   Upon arrival, a witness informed Sgt. Brian Ramos that the male driver had exited the vehicle and fled on foot. Officers Brown, Warish and Barros began a search of the surrounding area. Brown located the man, bloodied from the accident, hiding in the woods on Reservoir Avenue, approximately a half mile from the accident scene. 

    Identified as Christopher Carey, age 25 of Rehoboth, the man Informed officers that “a friend had been driving” the vehicle.  Returning to the accident scene, the witness identified Carey as the person who had reported “I crashed my car” and he was the only person seen exiting the vehicle moments after the accident.

   Carey was checked by medical personnel and later transported to RI Hospital.  He will be summoned to court on various civil and criminal motor vehicle offenses including: driving to endanger, leaving the scene of property damage, marked lanes violation, and misleading a police investigation.


REGISTER NOW FOR MARCH 1 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

(February 3, 2016)  The Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office will be open on Wednesday, February 10 from 8 AM to 8 PM for voters who wish to change their party registration status or for persons wishing to register for the first time. February 10 is the deadline to register to vote if you want to participate in the Massachusetts Presidential Primary on March 1.

   With spirited contests in both parties, pervasive advertising and intense coverage in early primary states, some voters may want to vote for a candidate in a different party from the one they are registered in now.

   February 10 is also the deadline for registered voters who wish to change their party enrollment either to another party or to “unenrolled,” which is commonly referred to as “independent.”  To do that, however, the voter must switch to the other party or to “unenrolled” status by 8 PM on February 10.

    This should not be confused with the United Independent Party (UIP); a party that will have ballots available but with no candidates printed on them.  Voters registered in UIP will NOT be eligible to take a Democratic, Republican, or Green-Rainbow ballot.

    Unenrolled voters or voters enrolled in political designations can ask for any party ballot on Primary Day, but someone registered in a party can only vote on that party’s ballot. A Democrat cannot take a Republican ballot, and a Republican cannot take a Democratic one.

   Persons who are United States Citizens, residents of Massachusetts, and who will be at least 18 years old on or before March 1 are eligible to register. Those meeting these qualifications who have a Massachusetts Driver’s License can submit their registration online at RegisterToVoteMA.com. Those registering by mail should have their form hand-canceled to ensure it is postmarked before the deadline.   

   Should voters have questions, they should call the Town Clerk’s Office Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon at 508-252-6502, Extension 3109 or 3110.  For more information on upcoming elections and voter registration sessions, please click here.


DRIVER INJURED IN VEHICLE FLIP

ON ROUTE 44

(February 1, 2016) Rehoboth public safety personnel were dispatched early Sunday morning for a motor vehicle crash on Route 44.

   On arrival officials found a motor vehicle flipped on its side with the lone occupant trapped. The pole that was struck was snapped in half at the base with wires down. 

   Firefighters used hydraulic cutting tools and saws to remove the roof of the vehicle and extricate the victim in approximately twenty minutes. The occupant was transported to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS in unknown condition.

    Route 44 was shut down in both directions and remained closed for most of the early morning while National Grid replaced the pole and wires. The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth PD.


REHOBOTH SELECTMEN MEET TONIGHT WITH BUSY AGENDA

(February 1, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will meet tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 6 PM with an executive session to discuss highway contact negotiations and a lawsuit, Krasnianski vs TOR vs Praetorian Insurance.

    Regular session, open to the public, will commence at 7 PM with open forum for public input on upcoming events or announcements.  Selectmen will then conduct their quarterly update meeting with the Dighton Board of Selectmen followed by a busy agenda.

   Topics and action items include a discussion with the Acting Highway Superintendent Mike Tyler on snowplowing procedures and polices.  Selectmen will then interview candidates, proposed by the Animal Advisory Committee, for the unpaid position of volunteer coordinator for the animal shelter.  The BOS will also hear a request from residents of The Preserve at Brook Street, an executive residential community, for a letter of support for door-to-door mail delivery.

    Other action items include a number of applications for licenses and approvals including the job description submitted by the personnel board for the town accountant, a position that is currently advertised.

   Following the published meeting agenda, selectmen will hear from the general public during open public forum before offering their individual selectman reports. 


REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST RI MAN FOR DRUNK DRIVING

(January 26, 2016) Yesterday in the late afternoon, Rehoboth police arrested a Rhode Island man on Route on multiple charges including operating under the influence of liquor.

   While on patrol, Officer Paul McGovern observed a vehicle driving in an erratic manner on Bay State Road and pulled the driver over on Route 118 just north of Route 44.

    Thirty-one-year-old Jordon L. Furtado of Bristol, RI was arrested and taken into custody, charged with OUI, negligent operation and marked lanes violation.  He was released on $40 personal recognizance and scheduled to appear for arraignment today in Taunton District Court. Officer Thomas Ranley assisted in the arrest.


REHOBOTH PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL BUSY DURING SATURDAY’S SNOWSTORM

(January 25, 2016) Two Attleboro teens driving during Saturday’s snow storm escaped serious injury after a one-vehicle accident at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Ash Street.

    Rehoboth police, firefighters, EMTs and ambulance quickly arrived on the scene.  The single passenger, a sixteen-year-old girl, was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for treatment of a head wound and possible other injuries. 

   The driver, an eighteen-year-old male, appeared uninjured and declined treatment so that he could accompany his girlfriend to the hospital where she was treated and released.

    Both were fortunately wearing seat belts and escaped serious injury.  The truck was extensively damaged and removed from the scene.

    Public safety officials said they were busy throughout town responding to accidents and other emergencies during Saturday’s snow storm.


CHESTNUT STREET HOME BURNS IN OVERNIGHT FIRE

(January 20, 2016) Rehoboth firefighters and police were dispatched shortly after 2 AM this morning to a report of a single-family house fire at 79 Chestnut Street in Rehoboth.

    Police officers assisted residents evacuate the building while firefighters encountered heavy smoke and fire on the second floor and mounted an aggressive interior attack.

   “Firefighters did an excellent job considering the temperature at the time of the call was 20 degrees and dropping,” said RFD Chief Frank Barresi.  While the fire was reported knocked down in twenty minutes, “it took over an hour to expose all of the hidden fire and fully extinguish it,” noted Barresi.

   Two of the six residents living in the home were taken to the hospital by Rehoboth EMS as a precaution for possible smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

    The cause of the house fire remains under investigation by the RFD. Initial observations indicate it may be accidental. The last units cleared the scene at 5:16 this morning.

   A sander was also requested from the Rehoboth Highway Department to treat the area of Chestnut Street that became iced over. The family is being assisted by the RFD Chaplain, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army with shelter and other necessities.


REHOBOTH POLICE INVESTIGATING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY

(Update: January 22, 2016)  Man thought to be suspicious turned out to be someone who just stopped at the wrong house and then left.

(January 20, 2016) Rehoboth police issued an alert yesterday on their departmental website and Facebook regarding a “suspicious condition” involving an unidentified man caught on surveillance video of a residence at 132 Fairview Avenue.

    Police were alerted by the homeowner who showed officers a video of a bearded male adult subject with dark hair wearing dark pants and tan jacket carrying what appears to be a filled pillowcase or bag.

    The video shows the man unsuccessfully trying to open a door leading into the basement before walking to the front of the residence and leaving in a dark colored, 1998 Volvo V70. 

    Police are asking citizens to contact Patrolman Thomas Ranley with any information at 508-252-3722, extension 1137 or by email at tranley@rehobothpd.org.   


REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED AFTER HIDING FROM POLICE

(January 15, 2016) A local resident led Rehoboth police on a game of hide and seek yesterday when four officers arrived to serve him with several outstanding arrest warrants.

    Rehoboth Police Sgt. Mark Rossi, along with officers Jasson Ferreira, Jake MIranda, and Gregory DeCastro, arrived yesterday morning to arrest suspect Jesse. A. Dreas, age 34 at a residence on Pond Street.  His mother-in-law allowed officers to enter the home and after an extensive search located Dreas hiding in a crawl space located in a closet in the basement. 

    According to police, the entry to the crawl space was concealed by clothing and other personal items.  Dreas was placed under arrest and transported to police headquarters for processing.  He was later arraigned in Taunton District Court on Rehoboth police charges of larceny by check, and threats to commit a crime.


REHOBOTH WOMAN FLEES APARTMENT IN “FEAR FOR HER LIFE”

(January 14, 2016) A Rehoboth woman fled her Winthrop Street apartment shortly after midnight this morning, leaving her one-year-old son behind, following an alleged vicious assault by her intoxicated boyfriend.

    The woman appeared in the lobby of the RPD saying she fled her home in “fear for her life.” She claimed she had been strangled, kicked, punched, and slapped several times by her boyfriend.

    According to police, the unidentified woman reported she was dragged back into the apartment by her boyfriend when she first attempted to flee to get help. She also said he withheld her cell phone so she could not call 911.

    Officers Craig Warish and Sgt. Brian Ramos arrived at the residence to discover an exterior door partially open. The child was found safe, but crying, in his crib and returned to his mother. Police then searched the apartment and were unable to locate the suspect.

    Massachusetts State Police K9 Unit and Dighton Police assisted in the search of the immediate area on Winthrop Street.  Around 4 AM, police returned to the apartment and found Devon Maiorano, age 32 of Rehoboth. He was arrested on multiple charges including assault and battery on a family/household member, kidnapping, strangulation, witness intimidation and destruction of property over $250. He is being arraigned on those charges today in Taunton District Court.


REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT EARNS GRANTS FOR FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION

(January 14, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department will receive two grants from the Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) program including $4,237 for a student program and $2,716 for a senior citizen program.

    The department has been the recipient of S.A.F.E. grants for many years with Lt. Randy Larrivee managing both programs designed to bring awareness and education to local school children and elders in the community.

    The SAFE programs are designed to lower the overall fire-related risk reduction in the community. Since the inception of the program twenty years ago, child fire deaths have been reduced by a phenomenal 72 percent.  Important issues to be covered include fire prevention, general home safety, and how to be prepared in the event of a fire.

     Fire Chief Frank Barresi credits the hard work and dedication of Larrivee, and the firefighters who assist him, with the program’s local success.  "Lt. Larrivee is totally dedicated to the mission of the program and deserves all of the credit for it's success,” emphasized Barresi.  

    Anyone seeking more information or wishing to have a presentation for their group or organization can contact the RFD at 508-252-3725 or visit their website.


REHOBOTH WOMAN CRITICALLY INJURED IN HOME FIRE

(January 9, 2016) A Rehoboth woman was critically injured after being burned in a home fire on Salisbury Street early this morning.

   Police officers and and firefighters were dispatched to the single family residence at 100 Salisbury after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor the home was on fire and that a single female occupant has escaped.  The caller described the victim, who had run to the nearby relative’s home, as “completely burned.”  

    Officers Craig Warish and Douglas Brown arrived on scene within two minutes  and confirmed the living room area of the home was engulfed in fire with heavy smoke. Using portable fire extinguishers, the officers were able to safely knock down the flames and determine there were no other occupants inside the home.  They rendered medical aid to the 43-year-old victim until the ambulance arrived.    

     Rehoboth firefighters were able to fully extinguished the fire and conduct over-haul operations in the home.  It was determined the fire was isolated to the living room area of the home. The victim was transported to the RI Hospital for injuries listed as critical at the time of her arrival.

    The cause and origin of the fire remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Fire Department, Rehoboth Police Departments along with the Massachusetts State Fire Marshals Office, and the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit.

   

REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST TWO HOME BURGLARY SUSPECTS

(January 9, 2016) Rehoboth Police arrested two Providence men on a variety of charges related to a home burglaries in Rehoboth.

    Yesterday morning, a Pine Street resident called police after seeing a suspicious vehicle in her driveway and a suspicious male walking on her property.  She told police the vehicle, a grey SUV with RI registration plates, had left and driven down
a secluded driveway of a neighboring home.

   Officers Jasson Ferreira and Gregory DeCastro discovered the suspicious vehicle parked unattended at the residence.  They also observed that a rear window of the home had been forced open.  The officers established a perimeter around the house and waited for additional Rehoboth and Seekonk police to arrive.

    A short time later, two male suspects were quickly apprehended following a brief struggle. Once inside, police saw a large flat panel television had been removed from a living room wall and other electronic devices had been gathered.    

     Twenty-three-year-old Jayco Smith and twenty-six-year-old Alexis Torres (aka Joelkin Rosairo), both of the same Providence address, were charged with multiple crimes including breaking and entering, two counts of vandalism of property, stealing from a building,  possession of burglarious tools, and resisting arrest.  Torres was also charged, out an outstanding warrant from New York, as a fugitive from justice.

     Smith  and Torres will also be facing charges in connection with three recent house breaks in Rehoboth on January 5 and January 7. Detective Eastwood is the investigating officer on those cases.


ANNUAL TOWN CENSUS AND DOG LICENSING

(January 6, 2016) The Board of Registrars is required to conduct an annual listing of residents as of the first of January each year.  In addition to the name, address, date of birth, occupation, veteran status, and number of dogs, the form includes a section for school information required by the school department.

    Annual census forms for year 2016 have beem mailed to all households in Rehoboth and residents are asked to review the pre-printed forms, make corrections, and return them within ten (10) days after receipt.

    Failure to return the completed form may result in voters being placed on an inactive voting list or being dropped from the voting list.

    Residents are asked to return their completed form by mail or place in a “Census” container at the Blanding Public Library, Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, or Bristol County Savings Bank. The containers will remain at these locations through the end of January.  You may also scan your completed and signed census forms and email to either LSchwall@town.rehoboth.ma.us or LShaker@town.rehoboth.ma.us .

   Results of the census are used to prove residency for many reasons. The data is used for state college entrance applications, veterans’ benefits, amending and establishing birth records, locating missing persons, establishing precinct lines, predicting future school enrollment, state, and federal funding to the town, police and fire protection, updating the voting list and other legal purposes.

    If you have not received a census form, residents are asked to contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 508-252-6502 X-3110 or X-3109.  Blank Census forms are also available on the town website.

    For the convenience of dog owners, an application for the 2016 Dog License(s). This gives dog owners the opportunity to license their dogs well before the annual April 1 due date. Cost for male/female dogs is $20 per animal.  Cost of neutered/spayed dogs is $10 per animal.

      Whether renewing online, via mail, or in person, dog license applications must be accompanied by a current year rabies certificate (with a vaccination date covering the current licensing year) and proof of spay or neuter (if applying for the $10 licensing fee) unless the documentation is already on file at the town office.

        The Town Clerk’s Office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon. If paying by check, please make sure it is made payable to Town of Rehoboth. You can also pay online

     Dog owners should note that the license(s) will not be returned unless a stamped, self-addressed envelope is included with the postage (71¢ for one dog tag, 93¢ for two dog tags and $1.15 for three dog tags).


ANNUAL TOWN ELECTION AND VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION

(January 5, 2016) Nomination papers are now available for any registered voter in Rehoboth wishing to run for election on the town ballot, and who chooses not to seek a nomination through their registered party’s caucus process. 

    Nomination papers may be picked up by prospective candidates at the Town Clerk’s Office and must be returned, signed by a minimum of 38 registered voters, to the Board of Registrars on Tuesday, February 16 by 5 PM to the Town Clerk’s office.

    The Annual Town Election for the Town of Rehoboth will be held on Monday, April 4 from 7 AM to 8 PM at all three precincts. Precinct I is the Town Office Building at 148 Peck Street, Precinct II is the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 55 Bay State Road, and Precinct III is the South Fire Station at 102 Pleasant Street.

   Positions to be on this year’s election ballot include town moderator (1 year), selectmen (3 years), treasurer (three years), assessor (3 years), school committee (one for 3 years), planning board (one position for 5 years, one for 3 years), park commission (5 years), housing authority (one position for 5 years, and one for 3 years), constable (three positions all for 3 years), and water commissioner (two positions for 3 years, and two positions for 1 year).

   The final voter registration date to be eligible to vote in the Annual Town Election is Tuesday, March 15.  On that day, the Town Clerk’s office will be open from 8 AM to 8 PM to register to vote. Prospective voters can also register to vote by calling the Town Clerk’s Office to request a Mail-In voter registration form, or register online.

     Applications for absentee ballots are now available from the Town Clerk’s Office.  Absentee ballots are obtained by written request only and must have the voter’s original signature. The deadline for filing absentee applications is Friday, April 1 at 5 PM.  Absentee ballot request forms are also available online for an individual request or here for a family member.

    Any questions regarding voter eligibility or requests for mail-in voter registration forms may be directed to the Town Clerk’s Office. Residents are reminded that they may request “mail-in” voter registration forms by calling 508-252-6502, Extension 3109 and 3110.


INTERESTED IN RUNNING AS A REPUBLICAN FOR TOWN OFFICE?

(January 5, 2016) The Rehoboth Republican Committee is open to any registered Republican of un-enrolled voter interested in running for town office in the April 4, 2016 election.

    Offices include town moderator (1 year), selectman 3 years), treasurer (3 years), school committee (3 years), housing authority (3 year position and 5 year position), planning board (3 year position and 5 year position), and park commission (5 years).  Additionally, there are four open positions for water commissioners with two seats for 1 year and two seats for 3 years.  There are also three open constable positions (3 years).

    Those interested in running and seeking support of the Rehoboth Republican Committee, please contact Chairman Frederick “Skip” Vadnais at 508-252-3535.

    The committee will hold its caucus on Wednesday, February 17 at 7:30 PM in the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center with an inclement weather date of Wednesday, February 24.


SELECTMEN EXTEND INTERIM TOWN ADMINISTRATOR CONTRACT

(December 29, 2015)  Last night during executive session, the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen voted to extend the contract of Helen Dennen as interim town administrator for another six months.  BOS Chairman Michael Costello announced the decision during the regular public segment of the meeting.

    In other business, selectmen accepted the resignation of Werner Horlbeck from both the town’s water commission and the housing authority. Horlbeck is relocating to the south shore.  Patricia Vadnais, wife of Selectman Skip Vadnais, was appointed to fill an empty seat on the water commission. Selectmen also approved the appointment of Desire Palmer to the Rehoboth Cultural Council.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE SEEKS AGRI-BUSINESS REP

(December 29, 2015)  The Rehoboth Economic Development Committee (EDC)  is currently seeking a a representative from the agricultural/farming community to become a member. The EDC was formed by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen several years ago to explore opportunities for new businesses in town, specially those that “would fit Rehoboth’s rural character while broadening the tax base, supporting town services, and fostering local employment.”  

   Members of the EDC are volunteers and include a school administrator, a retired government worker, a financial advisor, a retired supply-chain manager, a sales representative, and a retired carpenter. The EDC meets monthly at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.

    Last fall, the EDC conducted a public opinion survey and will release the results of the survey soon.  The committee strives to serve as a “source of innovative ideas to help preserve and protect the unique character of Rehoboth.”

   Anyone interested in applying for a position on the committee should complete a Talent Bank form and return it to the selectmen’s office at the town office. 

 

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