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REHOBOTH TOWN CLERK WORKS TOWARD COVETED DESIGNATION,

COMPLETES SECOND YEAR OF UNIQUE PROGRAM 

(July 22, 2016) Rehoboth Town Clerk, Laura L. Schwall, recently completed her second year of studies at the New England Municipal Clerks’ Institute and Academy (NEMCI&A) at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

     The three-year program is the only program of its kind in the country, run exclusively by and for city and town clerks and their office staff. Completion entitles graduates to apply for the International Institute of Municipal Clerks’ coveted Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) designation.

   Schwall spent a week completing the second intermediate level year with continuing interactive classes on the skills of professional administration, management, decision-making, written communication, public speaking, parliamentary procedure, interpersonal communication and law.  Relevant computer courses are also introduced. 

    Town clerks in year two of the course interact with each other to develop and maintain the high level of administrative expertise needed for the successful operation of increasingly complex municipal governments. 

     Established under the direction of the Rhode Island Department of Community Affairs and the guidance of the New England Association of City and Town Clerks, NEMCI&A began with a charter class of 32 students. Over 500 cities and towns have sent town clerks to the continuing education programs over its forty-one year history. 

    Academy is a continuing education program designed for clerks who have completed their Institute training or have already attained their CMC certification.  Academy courses are more in-depth and intensive, fostering the development of high-level administrative and executive-level management skills.

    The NEMCI&A Board of Directors consists of two representatives from each of the six New England states and meets year-round with faculty and university personnel to develop the best possible week of intellectual stimulation, personal growth and challenges for attendees.


SPECIAL TRADITION TO BE REVIVED IN REHOBOTH

(July 19, 2016)  On Monday, July 25, a very special tradition will be revived in Rehoboth with the ceremony to award the Rehoboth ‘Boston Post Cane’ to the town’s oldest citizen, Francelina Veader, age 102.

    The Boston Post Cane tradition began on August 2, 1909 when Boston Post publisher, Edwin A. Grozier, send engraved, gold-headed ebony canes to 700 towns in the New England states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.

    The canes were to be presented, with compliments of the Boston Post, to the oldest male citizen of that town. That gentleman would use the cane until his demise, at which time the cane was passed on to the next oldest citizen in town.

    In 1930, after a period of considerable controversy, the oldest women in town were finally allowed to be named recipients of the cane. The cane would belong to the town and not the man/woman who received it.

   Rehoboth’s Boston Cane was regularly presented until 2001, and then went missing in 2005 when the last recipient passed away. It was found just this spring in storage at the senior center and returned to the selectmen’s office. 

    Town Clerk Laura Schwall took charge of the historic artifact and brought the story to the attention of selectmen.

    “I made the revival of this tradition a priority in my office,” said Schwall. “I am so pleased that the selectmen and the Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club are joining with me to celebrate Mrs. Veader’s place in Rehoboth’s history.

     It was decided by selectman to preserve the original cane in a secure case with brass name tags naming each Rehoboth recipient boing back to 1909. Going forward, the eldest resident will receive a full-size replica of the original cane, a lapel pin replica of the cane, and their name added to the display housing the original cane.

     The Boston Canes were all made by J.F. Fradley and Co., a New York manufacturer, from ebony shipped in seven-foot lengths from the Congo in Africa.  Cut to cane lengths and seasoned for six months, the canes were turned on lathes to the right thickness, coated and polished, each with a 14-carat gold head, two inches long, decorated by hand, and a ferruled tip.  The head was engraved with the inscription, “Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of (name of town)” and “To Be Transmitted.”

   The presentation ceremony for Mrs. Veader will be held at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on July 25 at 12 noon.

    Any questions about the cane or the upcoming ceremony should be directed to Laura Schwall, Rehoboth Town Clerk, Office hours: Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM and Friday from 8 AM to 12 noon at 508-252-6502, extension 3110.


TOWN OF REHOBOTH BEGINS CITING NON-COMPLIANT DOG OWNERS

(July 18, 2016)  After allowing a lengthy grace period, the Town of Rehoboth has begun citing residents who have not vaccinated and licensed their dogs.

    Annual dog licenses are traditionally due to be renewed on April 1 of each year with the town reminding residents months in advance. The town issued three warnings to dog owners about yearly licensing.  June 1 was the final deadline before selectmen were forced to comply with state law and policies on unlicensed dogs.

    “We’ve done more than our share to remind you of your responsibility,” said BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais at the June 7 BOS meeting. “You will go to court,” he warned.  “You will be fined. We will seize dogs if you fail to license them.”

    According to Massachusetts State Law, unlicensed dogs can be caught by municipal animal control officers and made available for adoption. If dogs are in poor condition, ill health or not adoptable, they will be destroyed.  The Town of Rehoboth has an euthanasia policy for animals that can not be adopted. 

   Owners of unlicensed dogs should now expect to receive a  summons to appear in court for a non-criminal charge and pay related court expenses.  The town will charge a $25 fee to being the citation process, certified mailing charges, plus the annual license fee and late fees per dog.

    Rabies vaccination certification is required to license and relicense dogs. If you have any questions, please contact the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office at 508-252-6502, ext. 3109 or 3110. The Town Office is open 8 AM to 4 PM Monday through Thursday, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon.


YOUNG WOMAN KILLED IN CRASH ON HORNBINE ROAD

(July 7, 2016)  A young Rehoboth woman perished and two others injured yesterday evening following a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of Hornbine Road and Simmons Street.

   Rehoboth police, fire and ambulance was dispatched shortly before 6 PM  to the scene of the accident involving a 1995 Toyota pickup truck and a 2008 Accura TL.

   First responders found Kayla DeMello in the Accura severely injured and unresponsive.  The driver’s side door had to be removed before the 21-year-old was able to be extricated and rushed to Rhode Island Hospital where she died.  Police have not released the names of two occupants of the truck who were also rushed to Rhode Island Hospital for injuries described as non-life threatening. It is unknown if any were local residents.

    According to Rehoboth police, the vehicles collided with force as the Accura was turning onto Hornbine Road from Simmons.  While speed and alcohol do not appear to be factors in the fatal crash, television media report a witness saying the Accura ran the stop sign.

   The crash is being investigated by the Rehoboth Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police. Officers were assisted at the scene by the Swansea Police Department and the Swansea Ambulance.  

    DeMello was a 2013 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, the daughter of Lucia and Robert DeMello and sister of Kelsey DeMello.


VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR TNR FERAL CAT PROJECT

(July 7, 2016)  Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter (FRAS) has launched a Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) Program and is seeking volunteers.

   There are around 13 identified feral cat colonies in Rehoboth. Volunteers are needed to assist in first trapping the felines and then driving trapped cats to clinics for neutering and spaying. The targeted colonies and trapping schedule depends on the number of volunteers who can help.

    Providing proper health care and sterilization, the feral cats can be returned to their colonies to live out their lives without increasing the feral cat population in Rehoboth.

    FRAS is a non-profit organization established to support the town-operated animal shelter.  Along with volunteers, FRAS needs to purchase more equipment, supplies, and pay for veterinarian expensese. The group also needs access to a clean shed, barn or garage where the cats can heal after the neutering, and where equipment can be stored. Males may take up to two days for recovery and females up to five days.

    Monetary donations would greatly be appreciated to help pay expenses associated with the TNR program.

Those interested in volunteering, making a donation, or offering a recovery station should contact nancy Scott at 774-218-1802 or send an email to FRASPaws@aol.com. Checks can be mailed to Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter, Post Office Box 42, Rehoboth, MA 02769.  fraspaws.com.


FIREFIGHTERS SAVE SUMMER STREET BARN

(July 4, 2016)  Rehoboth firefighters were dispatched on Saturday afternoon to Summer Street on the report of fire and smoke from the copula of a barn.

     First arriving units observed the copula atop the second floor of the barn fully involved with heavy smoke. The fire was quickly extinguished with the first arriving engine.

    Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi said “the guys made a great stop. There is some fire and water damage but the property was saved.”

    Firefighters were on scene for approximately ninety minutes while the fire was overhauled and investigated. Stations 1 & 3 were at the scene while Station 2 covered the town from headquarters. Rehoboth EMS provided rehab on a very warm day with water and paramedics.

    Rehoboth police shut down Summer Street at French until the operation was completed. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but appears to be accidental.

(Photo by Syd Bauman)


BAIL REDUCED FOR REHOBOTH MAN CHARGED WITH DRUNK DRIVING AND VEHICULAR HOMICIDE

(June 28, 2016)  A Rehoboth man changed with vehicular homicide following an accident that killed a Seekonk man on Saturday was arraigned in Taunton District Court yesterday afternoon.

    Bail for Jeffrey H. Fisk, Jr., age 40 of Jameson Drive, was reduced from $100,040 to $50,000 after he pleaded innocent to charges of motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of alcohol.  Judge Antoinette Leoney placed several conditions on Fisk if he makes bail, including wearing a GPS monitor, a curfew from 7 PM to 7 AM, and random alcohol screenings.  He was also ordered to not drive or drink alcohol.

     Fisk’s attorney, Roger Ferris, challenged the Rehoboth police report, parts of which were read in court. According to Ferris, no sobriety or breathalyzer test was administered to prove Fisk was driving under the influence. The police report, filed by Officer Louis DiBacco, described Fisk as unsteady on his feet with “bloodshot and glossy eyes” and the odor of alcohol was emanating from “his person and breath.”

    Fisk was driving a 1998 Dodge Ram truck that struck and killed 63-year-old Anthony Kishfy of Seekonk who was driving a motorcycle on Agricultural Avenue in the middle of the afternoon on a clear day.  Kishfy was pronounced dead at the scene and Fisk was transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

     Ferris told the court that Fisk is permanently disabled and if he appeared unsteady on his feet it was due to a previous toe amputation from a work injury. Fisk was a construction worker previously employed by Fisk Construction of Rehoboth and Seekonk.  A pre-trail hearing was scheduled for July 26.


REHOBOTH MAN ARRESTED FOLLOWING FATAL ACCIDENT YESTERDAY

(June 26, 2016)  A 40-year-old Rehoboth man was arrested yesterday afternoon on multiple vehicular charges following a fatal accident on Agricultural Avenue near Rocky Hill Road around 2:30 PM.

    Rehoboth police, fire, and ambulance were dispatched following a report of a crash involving a motorcycle and truck.  The 63-year-old driver of the motorcycles was found lying in the southbound land unresponsive and severely injured. First aid was administered in the roadway to the man, a resident of Seekonk, but he was pronounced dead on the scene.

     According to police, the accident occurred when the victim, operating a  2015 Suzuki motorcycle, was struck head on by a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling southwest on Agricultural Avenue. The unidentified driver was traveling northeast on Agricultural.

    Jeffery H. Fisk, Jr. of Jameson Drive in Rehoboth was placed under arrest and transported to Sturdy Hospital in Attleboro by Seekonk Ambulance. Once treated and released, Fisk was transported to the Rehoboth Police Department for processing on charges of homicide by motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor. 

    Fisk is being held on $100,040 dollar cash bail and set to be arraigned in Taunton District Court tomorrow.

    This incident remains under investigation by the Rehoboth Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit, The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, and the Massachusetts Medical Examiner. 


REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFICERS COMPLETE TRAINING

(June 24, 2016)  Several officers of the Rehoboth Fire Department received certificates of completion for specialized training in arson investigation and fire science on Monday, June 20 at a regular meeting of the board of selectmen.

     Nationally renowned instructor and expert on the subject matter, Chief Ronald Churchill (Ret.) of the Attleboro Fire department taught the course.

   “I was honored that Chief Churchill offered to present this course to Rehoboth’s officers,” said Rehoboth Fire Chief Frank Barresi.

    The course ran for three hours a night for several weeks and culminated with live burns of a house and three automobiles.  The officers were then put in teams to investigate the cause and origin of the fires.

    “The presence or suspicion of arson or malicious intent needs to be recognized and identified early on during any type of fire” said Barresi.

    “Chief Churchill has afforded our officers the training, tools and awareness to determine possible causes early on during an incident and know how to conduct an investigation.”

   A total of 14 of RFD officers and one detective from the Rehoboth Police Department, were awarded certificates by Chief Churchill during the open forum section of the Selectmen’ meeting. The department new tanker truck was also on display in the parking lot of the senior center.

     Chairman Vadnais congratulated the officers and thanked them for their service along with the rest of the BOS. Barresi said, “ I can’t thank Chief Churchill enough for providing this training to my officers.”

    Chief Churchill stated he enjoyed the camaraderie, respect, brotherhood and professionalism of the Rehoboth officers.  He told selectmen, “They were a great group to work with.”


UNCONFIRMED REPORTS OF RANDOM CAR SHOOTINGS IN

REHOBOTH APPEAR ON SOCIAL MEDIA

UPDATE: According to Rehoboth Chief of Police James Trombetta, there were four reports taken yesterday (June 22) of incidents involving damaged windshields, possibly caused by pellets or rocks.  He said the department has no further information to give out at this time.

(June 23, 2016) Yesterday afternoon reports of random car shootings in Rehoboth  began to appear on social media including the Rehoboth Talk page on Facebook.

     A Rehoboth resident wrote that “someone shot at my windshield while driving on on Route 117 South (area of 189 Anawan Street) today.” She shared a photo of a broken windshield and elaborated that she had gone to the Rehoboth police and made a report. She also mentioned “I was the third report” of a random car shooting, with the other incidents allegedly taking place in other parts of town.

    Approximately thirty minutes after this message was posted online, Rehoboth Now contacted the RPD to request confirmation and more information about these disturbing public safety incidents. At publication time, the Rehoboth Police Department has not replied nor issued a press release.

    According to a report in the Sun Chronicle this morning on yesterday's social media posts, the RPD was unavailable to comment or confirm details surrounding this alleged incidents, nor to issue a public warning.


GRANT FOR PROJECT LIFESAVER SCANNER WILL HELP REHOBOTH PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL LOCATE MISSING RESIDENTS

(June 21, 2016)  Rehoboth public safety personnel will soon be trained to use a Project Lifesaver scanner granted to the Rehoboth Police Department by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO).

    A grant for the $2000 scanner was obtained by Rehoboth TRIAD, a local organization comprised of representatives from public safety, the sheriff’s office and senior citizens groups.   

    Project Lifesaver is the nation’s most effective rescue program designed to help locate missing adults and children with cognitive impairment with risk of wandering.  Those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, head injury, neurological conditions, autism, Down Syndrome, and developmental disabilities are candidates for participating in the program.

   According to the BCSO, Project Lifesaver has a 100% success rate with nearly 2000 saves nationally.  Using the most reliable technology available, Project Lifesaver utilizes a lightweight, water resistant wrist band with a radio frequency transmitter. The bracelet emits a constant signal and the scanner works like a GPS to pinpoint the person’s location for speedy rescue. The device can literally save lives when every minute counts in locating a missing person.

    Just last month, an elderly Fall River Man who suffers from dementia left his home and walked nearly three miles before he was located.  Lt. Fernando Pimental, who manages Project Lifesaver for the sheriff’s office, was able to find the disoriented and exhausted 87-year-old man using the scanner. In 2014, a Swansea couple donated $2000 to their local police department to purchase a Project Lifesaver scanner. Their son, a young man on the autism spectrum, has a tendency to wander and now wears the bracelet. 

   Currently, about half of the program participants in Bristol Country are either children or adults with autism who have difficulty with communication. The other users are adults or elders with cognitive impairment.  For those who are left home alone for periods of time, Project Lifesaver gives caregivers a valuable sense of security.

    There is a cost involved to purchase the bracelet. The initial cost is $300 with a $10 per month maintenance fee.  Each month, clients get a visit from Lt. Pimental to change the battery on the wrist band.

   For more information about Project Lifesaver, please contact Lt. Pimental at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, 508-995-6400, ext. 2180.


PUBLIC INVITED TO OPENING RECEPTION OF CELEBRATE ART, REHOBOTH!

(June 17, 2016)  The Rehoboth Cultural Council invited the residents to attend the opening reception of Celebrate Art, Rehoboth!, a first-ever exhibition of local professional artists, as well as selected student artists from Rehoboth public schools, K through grade 12.

    The exhibition will open on Sunday, June 26 from 1 to 4 PM at the Carpenter Museum Barn and run through Sunday, July 24 with hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 4 PM and on Sundays from 2 to 4 PM.

    The work of 27 professional artists from Rehoboth will be on exhibit in the  museum’s Otis Dyer, Sr. Barn, with art from 37 students displayed in the Tilton Room on the museum’s lower level.  The exhibit is free or charge and there is no admission fee to visit the Carpenter Museum, open during the same hours as the art exhibit. Ample parking is available behind the museum off Bay State Road.

    The Rehoboth Cultural Council is the local affiliate of the Massachusetts Cultural Council that awarded grant money to be distributed locally each year to enrich the cultural life of residents of all ages.  In 2016, the RCC received $4,950 in funds from the state to either completely fund or partially support 14 events or programs.

   Members of the RCC began planning this first-ever art show last year. RCC Chair Maureen Whittemore has coordinated the effort along with curator Sheila Oliveira and Melissa Treichler, who is curating the student portion of the exhibit.

   The professional artists included in the barn exhibit the posthumous work of Rehoboth residents Charles Ballard, Charles Waddington and Joe Carpenter. The other featured professional artists are: Richard Benjamin, Judith Bertozzi, Erik Brisson, Harriet Brisson, David Brisson, Renee Moore Brooks, George Delany, Sandra Delany, Earle Dias, Mary Dondero, Carol Georgia, Michael Glancy, Connie Grab, Sherrill Hunnibell, David Kendrick, Debra Maher, Tracey Reath Manzella, Robert Materne, Sheila Oliveira, Robert O’Neal, Michele Poirier-Mozzone, B. Turek Robinson, Melissa Treichler, and Valerie Albert Weingard.

     Visit CelebrateArtRehoboth.com for full details about the show, the participating artists, and a complete list of student artists and photos of their work to be on exhibit from June 26 through July 24.


AREA FIREFIGHTERS JOIN RFD FOR COOPERATIVE DRILL

(June 7, 2016)  Firefighters from Berkley, Freetown, Lakeville and Rehoboth participated in a training exercise on Sunday, June 5, 2016. The training simulated a tanker response to Berkley through the Bristol County Mutual Aid Agreement.    

      Apparatus trucked water from a fill site two miles away and delivered it to a simulated fire scene where it was pumped onto the “fire” through a pumper and ladder truck.

     The training was considered a success and the departments were able to familiarize themselves with each others equipment and capabilities. Berkley responds to Rehoboth on the first request for mutual aid tankers. They were operating at a recent fire on Summer Street in Rehoboth.


REHOBOTH SELECTMEN ISSUE STERN WARNING TO DOG OWNERS

(June 7, 2016)  The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night addressed the issue of unlicensed dogs in town and issued a stern warning to owners who are delinquent.

     The town has already issued three warnings to dog owners about yearly licensing.  June 1 was the final deadline before selectmen were forced to comply with state law and policies on unlicensed dogs.

    “We’ve done more than our share to remind you of your responsibility,” said BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais.  “You will go to court,” he warned.  “You will be fined. We will seize dogs if you fail to license them.”

    According to Massachusetts State Law, dogs that are unlicensed can be caught by municipal animal control officers and made available for adoption. If dogs are in poor condition, ill health or not adoptable, they will be destroyed.  The Town of Rehoboth has an euthanasia policy for animals that can not be adopted. 

      Vadnais explained he was obligated to read the warrant statement from the state on unlicensed dogs.  “If you refuse to license your dogs, you relinquish ownership.”  Owners of unlicensed dogs should expect to receive a summons to appear in court and pay related court expenses.

     Selectmen Sue Pimental questioned the state policy of destroying unlicensed dogs.  Vadnais responded that killing unlicensed dogs is state policy that must be followed. 

    The BOS voted to approve the order to allow the Animal Control Officer to seize unlicensed dogs and for the Town Clerk to issue court summons to dog owners and fines. Selectmen Dave Perry excused himself from voting.



ALL 2016 NEW STORIES CAN BE FOUND ON ARCHIVED NEWS 2016

 

FRANCELINA VEADER PRESENTED WITH

REHOBOTH BOSTON POST CANE 

(July 27, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth and the Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club presented the town’s oldest resident, Francelina Veader, age 102, with the ceremonial Boston Post Cane at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center on Monday at lunchtime.

    Nearly 125 people attended the ceremony including state and local officials and were served a delicious lunch at the center’s Monday lunch at Gert’s Cafe.

    Veader was showered with recognition on her special day. Representative Steven Howitt presented Veader with a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Another citation was presented by Leslie Duclos from Congressman Joe Kennedy’s office. Rehoboth resident Paul Jacques, running against Howitt to represent the Fourth Bristol District also attended.

    The replica Boston Post Cane was presented to the guest of honor by Selectman Gerry Schwall and Town Clerk Laura Schwall pinned a keepsake lapel pin on Veader and presented her with pink roses.

    Other dignitaries included Selectman Susan Pimental and Selectman Dave Perry, along with Lorraine Botts, President of the Rehoboth Senior Citizens Club, and Senior Center Director Linda Sherman who helping organize the event.

    Scroll down the page for the saga of the missing Boston Post Cane, how it was found and how the tradition will be preserved for future generations.  The Taunton Gazette published an article on the ceremony.

Rehoboth’s oldest resident Francelina Veader with Rep. Steve Howitt (top) and Rehoboth resident Paul Jacques, running against Howitt for the 4th Bristol District.

TOWN FACES SHORTFALL IN STATE FUNDING FOR FY17

(September 12, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth faces a shortfall in state funding, $37,140 less than what was anticipated at spring town meeting.

   The state’s final FY2017 “cherry sheet” estimate issued in July for Rehoboth awards the town $1,218,960 for fiscal year 2017.  State aid was estimated at $1,256,100 when residents attending town meeting voted to approve the current town budget. Additional funding will now be needed to make the difference. This will require town officials to craft a warrant article for special town meeting on October 17.


ONLY 3% OF REHOBOTH VOTERS PARTICIPATE IN STATE PRIMARY

(September 9, 2016) Only three percent of registered voters in the Town of Rehoboth took to the voting polls yesterday for the State Primary election.  A total of 253 voters participated in the election out of 8,268 registered voters.  Click here for complete Rehoboth election results (unofficial tally September 8, 2016).


REP. STEVE HOWITT UPDATES REHOBOTH BOS ON BRIDGE, ROAD REPAIRS

(September 7, 2016) Representative Steven Howitt updated the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen last night on both the Wheeler Street Bridge and repairs on Route 44.

     Howitt, who represents Rehoboth in the 4th Bristol District, reported progress on the new Wheeler Street Bridge.  The old bridge was completely destroyed by flooding following a late winter storm in 2010.

    “The new bridge is almost 70 percent complete now,” reported Howitt.  It is expected to be finished and opened by April 2017, seven years after it was closed. Howitt has been instrumental in getting funding for the project.

     Howitt  also gave selectmen an update on repairs to Route 44 through Rehoboth. While funding to fully resurface Route 44 is scheduled for 2019 by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Howitt appealed to the DOT for immediate repairs due to constituent complaints of vehicle damage. The DOT agreed to fix the worst parts now as a temporary measure.

    “It’s been a long time coming for improvements to Route 44,” said Howitt. Portions of Route 44, from Seekonk to Dighton, will be repaired in September between the hours of 7 PM and 5 AM.  Repairs include cleaning and milling the roadway and then resurfacing, one lane at a time to prevent road closure.

    Line striping has yet to be scheduled as the process is weather dependent.  The sections of Route 44 in Rehoboth should be completed by the end of the month if weather cooperates. Drivers should anticipate some slow downs.


REHOBOTH POLICE ARREST TAUNTON MAN AFTER CAR AND FOOT CHASE

(September 4, 2016) Rehoboth police arrested a Taunton man on multiple charges following a car pursuit into Seekonk followed by a foot chase.

   Shortly after 11 AM on Sunday, September 4, police were dispatched to the scene of a disturbance in progress at Anawan Exxon. An argument between two young men inside the station’s store moved outdoors and became a physical altercation before one of the men quickly left in a 2005 white Honda Accord.    

    Officer Jake Miranda followed the vehicle west on Winthrop Street (Route 44). The car pulled over, but then took off as Miranda approach the suspect. Officer Miranda pursued the Honda once more.  The driver stopped and then took off again, this time into Seekonk where SPD officers provided assistance during the car chase.

   Twenty-year-old Jared Ingargiola of Taunton was finally thwarted when his car struck a tree after turning into the driveway of the Wheeler School property.  He then took off on foot and was soon apprehended by Officer Miranda and Officer Natale of Seekonk police. 

    Ingargiola was then transported to Sturdy Hospital in Attleboro by Seekonk Rescue where he was treated and released into the custody of the RPD. Cash bail was set at $10,040. Ingargiola was transported to the Bristol County House of Corrections in New Bedford.  His arraignment in Taunton District Court is set for Tuesday on charges of OUI-drugs, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, and resisting arrest.  No other arrests were made.


REHOBOTH FIRE DEPARTMENT OFFERS STRAIGHT TALK, MAKES PERSAUSIVE APPEAL FOR NEW MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

(August 31, 2016) The Rehoboth Fire Department has released an appeal to the community on their website to inform residents of the critical condition of the town’s public safety building, and the dire need for a new building.

    The town’s existing public safety building, over 50-years-old, houses the RFD headquarters, Fire Station 1, the Rehoboth Police Department, Rehoboth Ambulance and EMS services, and also REMA (Rehoboth Emergency Management Agency).

    Residents are encouraged to learn about the current conditions, both inside and outside, presented in plain, straight forward language with illustrative photos and captions.

    The current public safety building “is on the critical list” and the fire department outgrew their space long ago.  Now, the lack of proper working conditions, has become “counter productive” to the mission. 

    Fire Chief Frank Barresi serves on the town’s Public Safety Building Needs Assessment Committee. The committee has spent the last three years coming up with a cost-effective solution -- a single, conveniently located municipal complex on the site of the existing building on Anawan Street.  The new building will also house the town offices, currently located in a 60-year-old cinder block building off Peck Street.

   “Our firefighters protect the lives and property of Rehoboth citizens along with all those who visit our town,” said Barresi. “Over the last twenty years, with an ever-growing population, the RFD mission has changed dramatically.  Existing conditions make is extremely difficult and we have reached a point of no return.” 

    To read the fire department’s appeal to citizens and learn more about the situation, visit RehobothFD.com.


WOMAN ATTACKED AND BITTEN BY RACCOON

(August 30, 2016) After her vehicle broke down on Davis Street in Rehoboth last week,  a women was attacked and bitten by a raccoon that later escaped into the woods.

    Interim Animal Control Officer Rob Johnson reported the incident to selectmen last night at their regular Monday night meeting. Johnson related that a tow truck driver, responding to the scene, was surprised to discover a raccoon under the vehicle. The animal ran out and attacked the woman by climbing up her leg and then bitting her. It then escaped into the woods. Because the raccoon was not captured, the bite victim must be treated for rabies.

   Johnson cautioned residents to be aware of wild animals behaving strangely, use caution, and call Animal Control immediately at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126. 

    Johnson also briefed selectmen about a new state law that allows passersby to break a car window to rescue an animal trapped in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.  Anyone who breaks a car window MUST remain on scene until first responders arrive. If you see an animal trapped in a locked car, call Rehoboth Animal Control at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126, break the window in dire circumstances, and wait until first responders arrive. 

    Another new state law on the books involves tethered dogs. Rehoboth dog owners should be aware there has been a change in state law on tethered (chained) dogs. The previous law allowed dogs to be chained outdoors 24 hours per day. The new law reduces tethered time to a total of five hours during a 24-hour period. The animal must be provided with food, water and shelter during those hours. Residents should Johnson to report dogs that seem to be permanently chained outdoors. Call Rehoboth Animal Control at 508-252-5421, ext. 3126. 


REHOBOTH VITAL TOWN RECORDS

FACE EMERGENCY RESCUE

(August 30, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen authorized Town Clerk Laura Schwall to begin an emergency rescue of the town records including books, logs, and maps housed in a vault at the town office.

     “We caught it early,” said Schwall, describing the near catastrophe of losing the the towns records and history. 

     Despite the vital record vault having constantly running dehumidifiers, mold developed due in part to problems with roof leaks throughout the building. The cement vault at the town office is not ideal for historic records. Modern records vaults are constructed with other materials, such as ceramic modules, the same material used in heat shields on spacecraft. 

   Saving the priceless documents will require cleaning every single object in the room, and the entire room itself, with a solution of 50 percent Lysol and 50 percent water.  Additionally mold experts must initiate a process intended to prevent another mold attack.

   Schwall told selectmen she has already consulted with archive experts from the Carpenter Museum and Blanding Library for their advice and assistance.  “We cannot do this in-house,” noted Schwall, who was instructed by selectmen to consider this an emergency and get quotes from professional cleaners and conservators.

    In the proposed new municipal complex, the town’s vital records vault will be constructed as a modern, airtight room, located in a logical place adjacent to the town clerk’s office.

     

PAST MEMBER OF SCHOOL COM APPOINTED TO VACANT SEAT

(August 30, 2016) Rehoboth selectmen and local representatives of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee voted to appoint Richard Barrett to fill a vacant seat on the committee.

    Barrett previously served on the school committee as an elected member for several terms. There are five Rehoboth representatives on the regional school committee.

   The four selectmen and four school com members received talent bank forms from several people who volunteered to fill the temporary seat through spring election.  Barrett was voted unanimously in a roll call vote because of his experience and his ability to “hit the ground running.”

  

CANDIDATES FOR STATE REP OFFER RECORDS AND ENDORSEMENTS

(August 29, 2016) The two candidates for State Representative of the 4th Bristol District that includes Rehoboth have released information to support their campaigns.

   Incumbent Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) received congratulations from House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. for maintaining a perfect voting record throughout the 2015-2016 legislative session. 

   Rehoboth resident Paul Jacques, running against Howitt, recently received the endorsement of Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III at the Venus De Milo in Swansea surrounded by supporters from across the district.   

   Rep. Howitt received recent congratulations from House Minority Leader Bradley Jones, Jr. for maintaining a perfect voting r
ecord throughout the 2015-2016 legislative session.

   Howitt participated in all 559 roll call votes cast in the House of Representatives between January of 2015 and July of 2016, achieving a 100% voting record.  Howitt currently serves on the Committees on Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, Joint Committee on Transportation.

   Representative Howitt voted this session on legislation to help municipalities like Rehoboth, including the HOME Act to help modernize municipal finances and operations.  He helped pass an $800 million municipal road and bridge bill to help cities and towns address critical infrastructure needs.

    “I voted in support of significant local aid increases for the benefit of the families, neighbors and hard-working citizens of this community,” said Howitt.  “Over the last two years, Chapter 70 education aid has increased by $227.3 million, bringing the statewide total to a record $4.6 billion. Over the same time period, Unrestricted General Government Aid – which helps communities pay for a variety of essential municipal programs – was increased by $76.1 million, to a total of $1.02 billion.”

    Howitt also voted for an historic pay equity law designed to prevent gender-based wage discrimination, and legislation reforming the state’s public records law for the first time in over 40 years. He supported the “Stolen Valor Act” to prosecute individuals who falsely claim to be a veteran; and voted to expand procurement of offshore wind power and hydroelectric power.


    Jacques, who is running to take Howitt’s long time seat as state rep for Rehoboth, Norton, Seekonk and Swansea, is a Attleboro firefighter. He is also a 21-year military veteran with the National Guard who served two tours in Iraq, as well as numerous deployments around the world.   

   “I’ve known Paul Jacques for years,” said Congressman Kennedy.  “I know the kind of person he is and have witnessed his hard work and dedication. Paul’s life has been about service to his country and community.  From two tours in Iraq, to his work as a firefighter and now seeking public office, Paul is exactly the type of person we should elect for the 4th Bristol District. I am proud to stand with him and endorse his candidacy for State Representative.”


REHOBOTH BOS TO APPOINT HIGHWAY ADVISORY COMMITTEE

(August 29, 2016) Appointing the town’s first Highway Advisory Committee is on the agenda for the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen tonight at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning at 7 PM.

   The creation on this new municipal committee comes the day before the application submission deadline for the position of Highway Superintendent, a position approved by townspeople at the spring town meeting in May.

   Also on tonight’s agenda is a discussion of how Rehoboth will fill a vacant seat on the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee. The BOS, in conjunction with Rehoboth members of the school committee, have authority to make the temporary appointment to replace long time school com member Tiffany Bartholomew who recently moved out of the area.

    Selectmen solicited applications, in the form of talent bank forms, from Rehoboth citizens interested in filling the school com seat through next spring.


TOWN OFFERS SENIOR PROPERTY TAX WORK-OFF PROGRAM

(August 26, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth, with assistance from the Council on Aging, will open enrollment on September 15 for a new “Senior Property Tax Work-off Program.

    Qualified senior citizens who are town residents have an opportunity to work in various town departments in exchange for a reduction of up to $500 in their property tax bills per household.  The rate of pay is $9 per hour with no additional benefits.  Earnings are also subject to withholding for federal income tax.

    Applications and requirements to participate will be available at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center beginning Thursday, September 15.  Open enrollment will continue through November 1.  Program participation will be limited during the first trial year of the new program.  If more than ten seniors apply, a lottery system will be used to select participants.


SELECTMEN ACCEPT THE RESIGNATION OF ANIMAL SHELTER VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR, SEEK APPLICANTS FOR OPEN UNPAID POSITION

(August 24, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, at their regular meeting on Monday night, accepted the resignation of Pamela DiRenzo as Animal Shelter Volunteer Coordinator.

   DiRenzo, who was appointed in the spring, gave personal health issues as her reason for leaving. The unpaid, 15-hour per week position is now vacant and selectmen are accepting applications to also be reviewed by the interim animal control officer and the town’s animal advisory committee.

   The flexible hour position includes managing shelter volunteers as a “coach, resource, and advocate” as well as handling shelter animals not under quarantine or other restricted-handling protocol.  Qualifications include experience handling animals in a shelter-like setting, computer skills, communication and people skills.

    The complete job description is available on the Town of Rehoboth website.  Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to the BOS office.

    

TWO VACANT SEATS ON TOWN PERSONNEL BOARD, INTERESTED RESIDENTS

URGED TO APPLY FOR APPOINTMENT

(August 19, 2016) Rehoboth residents interested in getting involved in municipal government may apply for vacant seats on the Rehoboth Personnel Board that oversees issues involving town employees. 

    There are two seats currently available on the board.  Those interested can complete a talent bank form and submit it to the BOS at the town office. Click here to access a Talent Bank Form on the town website. 

    If you have questions about the personnel board, please contact the chairman, David Scanlon, at 508-455-7482.


OPEN SEAT ON SCHOOL COMMITTEE, APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED BY AUGUST 25

(August 17, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen will accept talent bank applications to fill a vacant seat on the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee through 12 noon on Thursday, August 25.

    The regional district school agreement allows the BOS, along with elected Rehoboth members on the school committee, to make the appointment on August 29.

    Those interested in applying for the position, September 2016 through April 2017, may click here to access a Talent Bank Form on the town website. 


REHOBOTH POLICE OFFER FREE CAR SEAT INSPECTION AND INSTALLATION

(August 15, 2016) The Rehoboth Police Department, along with Safe Kids Worldwide, will offer free child car seat inspections and installations on Saturday, August 20 from 9 AM to 1 PM at the Highway Department on Anawan Street across from police/fire headquarters.

    Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death nationwide for children ages 3 to 14 years. AAA estimates that 75% of child passenger safety equipment is installed incorrectly.  Trained and certified technicians will inspect your child’s car seat including checking on proper installation, size requirements and product recalls. They can also answer your questions on child safety equipment. There are a limited number of free seats available to those in financial need.

    The RPD was awarded a Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Equipment Grant to offer the inspection event and distribute free seats to parents and caregivers in need.  Rehoboth is one of 150 free car seat inspection sites in Massachusetts.

   For those who can’t make the August 20 event, call the RPD at 508-252-3722 and make an appointment with Officer Craig Warish for another day.


RESIGNATION RESULTS IN OPEN SEAT ON SCHOOL COMMITTEE

(August 11, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth received formal notice of the resignation of Tiffany Bartholomew from the elected position as a Rehoboth member of the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee.

    A brief resignation letter from Bartholomew, with a home address listed in Newburyport, MA, was received by the town clerk on Tuesday, August 9, effective immediately.

   “I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve the students of DRRSD and I wish the town and the district continued success in the coming years,” wrote Bartholomew. According to an email sent the school committee and town clerk, Bartholomew said her family had relocated to northern Massachusetts.  Her term on the school committee was effective through April 3, 2017.

    Under the school district agreement, if a vacancy occurs, the Rehoboth Selectmen and remaining Rehoboth members of the school committee “shall within thirty days appoint a member to serve until the next elections, at which time a successor shall be elected to serve for the balance of the unexpired term, if any.”

    The scheduled August 9 school committee was cancelled due to lack of quorum.  The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 16 at 6:30 in the DRRHS Media Center.


PLANNING BOARD TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT

TO NEW TOWN BYLAW ON SIGNS PLACING RESTRICTIONS

(August 11, 2016) The Rehoboth Planning Board has issued a legal notice in accordance with state law to inform the public of a hearing to be held on Wednesday, August 17 at 7:15 PM at the town office on Peck Street.

    The subject of the hearing is to provide the public with an opportunity to comment on a proposed amendment placing restrictions and limitations on signs including those for businesses, events and on private residential property.  Click here to read complete proposed amended bylaw

    According to the legal notice, the “complete text for the proposed amendment” is available by going in person to the Office of the Planning Board at 148 Peck Street on Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon. 

    Those interested in making a comment about the proposed bylaw change should attend the August 17 meeting according to the notice signed by Planning Board Chairman James Muri.

    The Planning Board also includes members Robert Moitozo, Christopher Copper, Edward Bertozzi, William Costa, Jr., Tomas Ennis, and Stephen Brooks, Jr.


NATIONAL GRID TO CONDUCT SUMMER AERIAL INSPECTIONS OVER REHOBOTH

(August 11, 2016) The Town of Rehoboth was informed of National Grid summer aerial inspections over the next three weeks with helicopter flyovers to identify any potential problems in the transmission lines.

    National Grid transmission line crews will be dispatched to address any issues discovered during the inspections before they impact service for customers. The semi-annual aerial patrols complement ground-level inspections by quickly and efficiently covering National Grid’s transmission system, especially across rugged and isolated terrain.

   “Regular inspections of our transmission system are a critical component in providing safe and reliable power to our more than 1.7 million electricity customers across New England,” said Fred Raymond, vice president, Electric Project Management and Complex Construction, National Grid. “Transmission lines can be damaged by severe weather, such as thunderstorms, making now an ideal time to have an up-close look and make sure customers have the reliable service they deserve and expect from us.”

The helicopter inspections are conducted by experienced personnel using high-power gyroscopic binoculars. They are particularly interested in any signs of wear on power lines conductors and lightning protection devices; damaged or leaning transmission structures; loose or broken guy wires; broken, chipped or cracked insulator equipment; and trees leaning toward the lines or into the transmission corridors.


TOWN OFFICIALS WANT RESIDENTS TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE PROPOSED NEW MUNICIPAL COMPLEX TO BE VOTED ON NEXT YEAR

(August 9, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen, along with other town officials, want residents to know the reality of the town’s existing municipal buildings and see plans for a new complex to house town offices, police, fire and EMS services on Anawan Street.

     Residents can have all their questions answered on Wednesday, September 14 from 5 to 7 PM at the senior center and then on the next Wednesday night, attend an open house and tour both the town office at Peck Street and the public safety building on Anawan Street.  They will repeat the info session on Wednesday, October 12 from 5 to 7 PM at the senior center followed by the open house/tour of both buildings on Wednesday, October 19.

    For the past three years, the town’s Public Safety Building Space Needs Assessment Committee has worked on a plan to present to citizens for approval at next spring’s town election.  The committee consists of Police Chief James Trombetta, Fire Chief Frank Barresi, Health Agent Bob Ashton, REMA Director Bill Maiorano, John Santos, and Rehoboth Ambulance Chairman Scott Meagher. 

    Committee member have interviewed town employees at both the town offices and public safety building, along with municipal department heads, and people who use or visit those building.

    According to police, fire and EMS services in the over 50-year-old public safety building, there is absolutely no room for anything else.  This is a problem which will lead to the town potentially facing citations and fines from the state on space and health requirements.  The town employees work in an equally old, cement cinder-block building constructed as military offices for the Nike site and housing that was once on the property.  Multiple departments are squeezed into small offices.  Ceilings leak and the building is difficult to heat during the winter and hard to keep reasonably cool in the summer months.  Town employees also face invading insects, rodents and even snakes.

    A floor plan for the new complex has been developed with a design that fulfills needs and fits the rural character of the town. Currently, the floor plans are available to view at the town office, senior center, and Blanding Library.


ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER STORY TRENDS ON LOCAL SOCIAL MEDIA

(August 5, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectmen’s decision to not renew the appointment of long-term Animal Control Officer Jane Foster, and to appoint an interim ACO on August 2 has become a trending topic on local social media with dozens of comments and ongoing discussion threads.

    Most comments applaud Foster’s years of service to the town while other question the BOS decision, calling it abrupt and unfair.  Others suggest appealing to selectmen to reconsider their decision. 

    Over the last couple years, the town has made incremental steps to change the ACO position. The first step was significant, putting the previously autonomous ACO under the direct supervision of the Rehoboth Chief of Police in early April 2014.

    At the time, Selectman Skip Vadnais said, “this is the beginning of a long process” to update the town’s animal welfare services. Foster told selectman she had no problem with putting her paid town employee job under the supervision of the police department.  Selectman Dave Perry told Foster, “this is not a reflection on your performance, this is about compliance with state bureaucracy.”

   Following multiple on-site inspections in early 2014, the state found the Rehoboth Animal Shelter and control function to be deficient in several areas. In addition several specific animal welfare issues had put before the BOS. Determinations were made on these issues based on out-dated policies and bylaws. Voters at town meeting in May 2014 defeated a new animal welfare bylaw initiated by then selectman Lorraine Botts.

    In April 2014, selectman voted to create an Animal Advisory Committee to offer offer advise on all animal (domestic, farm and wildlife) welfare issues, and propose new polices and procedures.  By September, a five-member committee with two alternates had been appointed by the selectmen, including veterinarians Richard Cohen, DVM and Amy Hurd, DVM. 

    The advisory committee now consists of Cohen, Hurd, Richard Panofsky, Elizabeth Botelho, Nancy Scott-Puopolo, the acting ACO and BOS liaison Skip Vandals.  The committee initiated an ongoing feral cat “Trap, Neuter, Release” program this year.

    Also in 2014, a new non-profit organization, Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter (FRAS) was created to raise money to support the shelter.  This group raised and donated the money to the town for specific purposes. They have helped fix up the shelter to get it into state compliance.

    Most recently, a shelter Volunteer Coordinator (an unpaid position) Pamela DiRenzo was selected and appointed by the BOS to manage shelter volunteers.


(Scroll down for August 2 story on appointment of interim ACO.)


REHOBOTH ONE OF 13 COMMUNITIES PREPARED FOR EARLY VOTING

(August 5, 2016) As of today, Rehoboth is one of only 13 towns and cities in the Commonwealth to have plans firmly in place to implement early voting hours required by the 2014 election reform laws.

   Beginning September 8 for the state primary election, Rehoboth voters will be able to cast ballots an hour earlier than before, at 7 AM for all three precincts.

    Survey results were released yesterday by the Massachusetts Election Modernization Commission that revealed nearly 138 cities and towns are in the final stages of planning, 126 have in the planning process and 49 municipalities have yet to start planning.

   Along with Rehoboth, the other communities than have solid plans to offer early voting at multiple locations include Boston, Easton, Holyoke, Lancaster, Lenox, Marshfield, Milton, New Bedford, Peru, Salem, Waltham and Worcester.


CALIFORNIA MAN CHARGED WITH DUI FOLLOWING REHOBOTH CAR CRASH

(August 4, 2016) Rehoboth Police arrested an out-of-state visitor on drunk driving charges following a single-vehicle crash yesterday night.

    After receiving a 911 call,  Rehoboth police, fire and ambulance personnel were dispatched to the scene of an accident in the area near 299 Providence Street.

    Officers discovered a car had gone off the road and struck a utility pole causing a power outrage to the area including homes and businesses in nearby Seekonk. 

    Timothy Beal, age 23, of Pleasant Hill, California was taken into police custody and transported by Rehoboth Ambulance to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro for treatment of minor injuries.  The man was later brought back to Rehoboth Police headquarters and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation, marked lanes violation, and wanton destruction of property.  

     Arresting Officers Craig Forget and David Aguiar are continuing an investigation into the accident.


INTERIM ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER APPOINTED BY SELECTMEN

(August 2, 2016) The Rehoboth Board of Selectman last night voted to appoint Rob Johnson as interim animal control officer while choosing to not reappoint long-time ACO Jane Foster who has held the position for many years.

    BOS Chairman Skip Vadnais began the agenda item by saying it was time for a change.  He acknowledged that while Jane “was great” the state has implemented many new requirements for municipal animal control officers, and the town must comply.

    “This dictates a chance in direction,” said Vadnais, who was instrumental in creating the town’s Animal Advisory Committee to assist the BOS with compliance issues.

    Selectman Gerry Schwall motioned to extend Foster’s appointment to the end of October.  “I am not prepared to take action tonight,” he said.  Vadnair replied that “we’ve had hours and hours of discussion on this.” He said that extending Foster’s appointment would just “prolong the inevitable.”

    Selectman Dave Perry commended Foster for her many years of service as a town employee.  “Jane is the best buggy whip around,” he said sadly, referring to Foster’s exemplary, but traditional standards.  “But times change,” added Perry, “and this is a very hard decision to make.”

  According to state standards, the animal control office depends on computerized record keeping and digital communications along with initiating policy and procedures to avoid receiving citations on deficiencies.

    Johnson’s interim appointment is effective today until a permanent animal control officer is appointed by the selectman.  Johnson has been Foster’s assistant for the last several years.

     Foster appeared during open forum early during last night’s selectmen’s meeting and urged residents to call her if abandoned kittens are found.  She also urged residents to use cation when dealing with their dogs and cats during hot weather. “Don’t get into their faces when they’re hot,” she said. “Dog bites mostly happen in the summer.”


ADDITIONAL SPECIAL TOWN MEETING SET FOR JANUARY

(August 2, 2016) At last night’s regular meeting, Rehoboth selectmen voted to schedule a special town meeting in January to allow residents to vote to approve an ballot issue to fund the proposed  new municipal complex.

    The warrant item on this issue was previously set to appear at the fall town meeting on October 17.  If approved by voters, the issue would then become a ballot item with a special election held by the end of the year. 

   To avoid the cost of a special election which costs the town approximately $7000, Selectman Gerry Schwall proposed a special town meeting in late January so that the issue can be included on the regular spring election ballot.

    For the last few years, officials from a variety of town departments including public safety have been studying needs and possible solutions.  A needs assessment committee was formed and have now reached the point of having a comprehensive plan for a new municipal complex on Anawan Street.

    Currently, municipal employees work in the town offices on Peck Street. The old, cement cinder-block building was constructed as military offices for the Nike site and housing once on the property.  Employees work in what only be easily described as awful conditions, with multiple departments crammed into small offices.  Ceilings leak when it rains, snakes have been found inside the building as well as rodents and insects.  The building is difficult to heat during the winter and hard to keep reasonably cool in the summer months. 

  For residents, the town offices are not readily accessible, nor in any way convenient for the vast majority of residents in a ever-growing community.  Rehoboth has reached a population of nearly 12,000 residents, which now places additional requirements on municipal government including police, fire and ambulance.

    The existing public safety building on Anawan Street has reached capacity for both police and fire departments. This will become a significant problem for the town as state regulations require public safety departments to have adequate space.  Currently there is no room at the police department for an official holding cell. 

    The town will face fines if environmentally safe and adequate space is not provided to town employees.  But funding the proposed new municipal complex will require first a vote at special town meeting, followed by a special ballot for a tax increase to fund the project.    


PUBLIC INFO SESSIONS TO ADDRESS LNG CONCERNS

(August 2, 2016) Selectman Dave Perry announced at last night’s board of selectmen meeting that a public information session will be held for residents who have questioned about SPECTRA’s proposed LNG gas compressor station in Rehoboth.

    “Concerned citizens approached the BOS,” said Perry, “and we reached out to SPECTRA to answer specific questions at a public info session held in Rehoboth.”  The meeting will be held in October withe the specific date to be announced soon.

    “This will not be an open forum,” he emphasized. “Instead we are submitting questions to SPECTRA in advance to be addressed at the meeting.”  He encouraged residents to submit their questions to him to the attention of the Selectmen’s Office as soon as possible. 

    “The BOS is obliged to help keep citizens informed,” he added, “and SPECTRA has agreed to do this as a courtesy.”


LEARN MORE ABOUT CRITICAL NEED FOR MUNICIPAL COMPLEX

(August 2, 2016) Rehoboth residents will have a chance to educate themselves about the town’s dire need for a new municipal complex.  Officials who have been working on the town’s municipal building needs have announced there will be three info sessions held in September. 

    The second session will include an open house and tour of the existing town offices and public safety building so that residents can see for themselves where town employees work.

     Selectman Gerry Schwall, who is acting as the board of selectmen’s point person on the proposed new complex, wants the public to be as informed as possible and to fully understand the working conditions of town employees.  He has suggested a special page be put on the town’s website along with an easy-to-use calculator for residents to determine exactly what they may expect to pay in more taxes.

   Currently the town’s building needs assessment committee has released a preliminary plan for the new complex.  The plans can be viewed now at the town office.  The committee will release more financial information and cost estimates as soon as they are available.

 

REHOBOTH FIRE CONDUCTS TRAINING, REMEMBERS 9/11 VICTIMS

(September 12, 2016) Over 40 members of the Rehoboth Fire Department attended a department-wide training yesterday morning and remembered victims of 9/11.

    All firefighters stopped training exercises at 10:03 AM for a moment of silence for all lives lost in the attacks fifteen years ago on September 11.  They also struck box  5-5-5 on the bells signifying the last alarm for the 343 firefighters lost that fateful day. 

   Following the memorial observance, firefighters completed their training session on tanker shuttle and water supply in the parking lots of Palmer River Elementary and Beckwith Middle schools.

FORMER REHOBOTH MAN FACES MULTIPLE CHARGES AFTER STANDOFF

(September 16, 2016)  Rehoboth police initially responded to a 911 hangup call made yesterday morning by a former Rehoboth man at the Cumberland Farms on Route 44 that sparked a standoff and shut down roads and businesses for nearly five hours.

    Thirty-eight-year old Benjamin Kimball, who now resides in North Attleboro, had entered the store around 6:30 and asked a female clerk to use a phone.  He then took the phone, left the store and went out to his vehicle parked at the gas pumps where he called 911.

    Officer Jacob Miranda arrived at the store and spoke to the clerk before approaching Kimball who was in the front passenger seat.  An agitated Kimball exited the car and placed his hand underneath his sweatshirt, swearing at Miranda to “get the (expletive) out of there before I blow this place up.”  He then told Miranda he had a gun and repeated this threat to blow up the gas station.

    Officers Craig Warish and Sergeant Brian Ramos arrived on the scene to assist, set up a perimeter and begin closing down roadways leading into the area.  While officers attempted to talk with Kimball who kept screaming, measures were taken to begin evacuating civilians and close off traffic to the area. 

   The Rehoboth Fire Department, notified of a potential fire  and explosion threat, assisted to establish a unified command and emergency staging area.  Firefighters also assisted with traffic control on Anawan Street and Route 44 using Ladder Truck 1 and other fire apparatus. The Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT Team was called along with mutual aid from both Seekonk and Dighton police departments.

     Meanwhile, Rehoboth emergency personnel were responding to two motor vehicle accidents at both ends of Rehoboth with mutual aid from Attleboro police and Swansea police. 

   The SWAT team arrived to the scene around 7:30 AM and took command. Kimball was observed unsuccessfully trying to light a gas pump nozzle on fire with a lighter. The gas pumps had already been shut off by a store employee. 

    After three hours of negotiating with Kimball to surrender, the SWAT team commanders decided to move in and extract the suspect from his vehicle.  He quickly moved to the driver’s seat and then jumped from the car, and began running across the parking lot pursued by SWAT officers.  A SWAT Team K-9 dog was used to subdue Kimball who sustained dog bites.  He was taken into custody by Rehoboth police and transported to Morton Hospital in Taunton for treatment of his injuries. 

   The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Unit declared the scene safe while local police carried on a crime scene investigation and inventory.  Upon investigation, Kimball was found to have no firearm or explosive in his possession.

    Kimball, who had attended Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, was released from the hospital and returned to Rehoboth for booking around 8:45 PM on charges including attempted arson of a gas station; making a false bom threat; disorderly conduct; disturbing the peace; three counts of  threatening to commit a crime;  attempt to commit a crime, resisting arrest, and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. He was held without bail overnight and scheduled for arraignment today in Taunton District Court. 


RESIDENTS LEARN MORE ABOUT PROPOSED MUNICIPAL COMPLEX PLANS

(September 16, 2016)  Rehoboth residents have been invited by town officials to attend both info sessions and tours to learn more about the proposed new municipal complex to be built on Anawan Street.

    Four sessions have been scheduled to help residents learn more and share their own ideas.  About twenty-five attended the first info session held at the senior center on Wednesday evening.  Next week, on Wednesday, September 21, residents can tour both the existing town offices on Peck Street and public safety building (police and fire headquarters) on Anawan Street from 5 to 7 PM to see for themselves the need for new buildings.

    A repeat of the info session will be held on Wednesday, October 12 from 5 to 7 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center with tours the next Wednesday, October 19 at both buildings from 5 to 7 PM.

    You can read about the municipal complex plans on the Town of Rehoboth website.  Based on residents suggestions, more information will be added soon including a list of “what it would take and what it would cost” to bring the existing 60-year-old and 50-year-old buildings into compliance with state and federal regulations. 

   Residents also requested a detailed financial outline including the remaining debt owed on the senior center and other considerations.


SUSPECT APPREHENDED AFTER 4-HOUR STANDOFF WITH POLICE

Update: Noon September 15, 2016

After a 4-hour standoff with police at the Cumberland Farms at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118, an unidentified male suspect was taken into custody and transported to Morton Hospital for emergency care.

    According to a store employee, the ordeal began before 7 AM this morning when the suspect entered the Cumberland Farms and allegedly threatened an employee with a firearm. Witnesses said the man yelled, poured gasoline on the ground and threatened to “blow up” the building and gas station.

   Employees and customers escaped the building as local Rehoboth police, as well as units from neighboring Seekonk, Dighton and Taunton arrived to assist closing down Route 44 and Route 118 to traffic. Rehoboth Fire and emergency response units set up road blocks and staging areas.  Employees of nearby businesses were evacuated.

    Within an hour, personnel from the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLAC) Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) were on the scene including a State Police bomb squad unit from Middleboro.

    No details have been released on the suspect or if he made demands to police during the standoff.  It is unknown at this time if he surrendered or was injured during capture.

    Cumberland Farms was deemed a crime scene by police.  At noontime, police were waiting for a bomb sniffing K9 to examine the suspect’s vehicle for explosives.


(September 15, 2016) A male suspect, allegedly armed, threatened employees of the Cumberland Farms store and gas station at the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118 shortly after 7 AM this morning. The suspect claimed he had explosives and threatened to blow up the gas station.

     Rehoboth police and fire immediately closed off the roads leading to the intersection and traffic was stopped on Route 44 in the surrounding area.  Area businesses were evacuated.  Both the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad and Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (SEMLAC) Special Weapons and Tactics Team arrived on the scene, as well as police units from surrounding communities.  Emergency staging areas have been set up in several locations nearby.

    The scene is active as of publication time this morning.  More information will be made available as it comes in  on the RehobothNow Facebook page.

 

ALGONQUIN GAS TO REPAIR LINES IN NORTH ATTLEBORO

(September 28, 2016)  The Town of Rehoboth received formal written notice on Monday, September 26 from Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC (AGT) of scheduled repairs to two existing natural gas pipelines on the north side of town “during the week of September 26.”

    The notice of repair came the same day representatives from Algonquin Gas/SPECTRA appeared before the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen and citizens at a public information session to answer questions related to a proposed gas compressor station in North Rehoboth.

   According to the notice from Algonquin Gas, “AGT identified two locations (pipeline anomalies) in Rehoboth that require immediate investigation and repair.”  Those locations are “off of Tremont Street directly to Algonquin easement” at Milepost 18.30, and “off Ash Street directly to Algonquin easement” at Milepost 19.31.

    The work is defined as “an emergency maintenance concern” and will begin this week. Work at each site is anticipated to take 2-3 days to complete. None of the proposed work area is within mapped conservation areas.

    The notice came from AGT to the town’s Conservation Agent Leeann Bradley, and the town’s Conservation Commission.  The repair activities are legally exempt under Federal law under the Natural Gas Act and Pipeline Safety Act.  However, both repair sites require equipment access and excavation under the jurisdiction of the Rehoboth Conservation Commission.

    The pipelines will be excavated sufficient for investigation and repair, and the site returned to pre-construction conditions including seeding.


NATURAL GAS OFFICIALS ATTEMPT TO ADDRESS CITIZENS CONCERN

(September 28, 2016)  Multiple officials representing  Algonguin Gas Transmission addressed local citizen concerns at a public information session on Monday night during a regular meeting of the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen.

    Grassroots opposition against Algonquin’s proposed construction of a gas compressor station began several months ago.  Protest signs are currently on lawns throughout town and in adjacent areas of Attleboro and Seekonk. The proposed gas compressor station will be constructed company-owned land in North Rehoboth. The plan calls for construction of two metal buildings on a ten-acre site within an approximately 100-acre parcel. The plan also calls for construction of additional pipeline.  Natural gas pipeline was constructed through areas of Rehoboth about 50 years ago.

   Gas company officials were provided questions from concerned residents and town officials in advance. On Monday night, reps from Algonquin shared a 12-silde public relations presentation on the “Access Northeast” project as “The Solution to New England’s Energy Problem.”  The presentation did not address specific questions from local residents.  When audience members were allowed to speak, gas officials were unable to answer many of their questions, particularly those relating to health and safety issues. 

    The Access Northeast project in a massive undertaking by Algonquin and developers National Grid, Eversource Energy and Spectra Energy to improve natural gas infrastructure in New England.  The project is governed by Federal law with permitting through a number of federal authorities including the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA. In Massachusetts, the project is governed by MassDEP and other agencies.  Locally, the only authority is through the town’s Conservation Commission under the Wetlands Projection Act.

    The entire meeting can be seen on Rehoboth TV, local public access government Channel 9, and on-demand at RehobothTV.org.  The photo above is a representative image of what the Rehoboth Compressor Station will look like, one slide of the presentation given to Rehoboth officials and residents.


LOCAL YOUTH LAUNCHES COMMUNITY “PROJECT PINK”

(September 27, 2016)  Rehoboth teen Abby Abrahamson has launched a community campaign called “Project: Pink” a menstrual hygiene products drive to begin October 1 and run through November 14.

    Lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene products can lead to unsanitary conditions, infection, and a loss of confidence and self-esteem in women. These are problems that people face all around the world, even right here in Rehoboth. On average, a box of sanitary pads or tampons costs $6. If a family consists of three menstruating women that each use one box of tampons a month, the yearly cost of menstrual hygiene products adds up to $216 This is a costly expenditure, and many people and families of little or no income cannot afford needed menstrual hygiene products.

   All items acquired throughout the drive will be donated to the Rehoboth Helping Hands Food Pantry & assistance program. “We are seeking items such as sanitary pads, tampons, and underwear. Your donations are greatly appreciated!” said Abby.

    Many Rehoboth businesses are helping as donation sites including Shear Artistry Hair Salon, Erin’s Chop Shop, Anjulans’ Florist & Gardens, Shanti Yoga & Fitness, Alicia’s Dance Studio, Step Ahead School of Dance, Anawan Cleaners, Mind Body Barre, Rosemary’s School of Dance Education and the Rehoboth Congregational Church.

    To help spread, supporters are asked to post a picture of their donation using the social media hashtag #projectpinkrehoboth.


SUBMIT QUESTIONS FOR HOWITT - JACQUES DEBATE TO BE HELD IN NORTON

(September 27, 2016)  Norton Media Center is pleased to announce it will sponsor two debates in two different races for state representative, both involving seats where the districts include parts of Norton.

    On October 19, the debate will feature incumbent Republican Steven Howitt against Democratic challenger Paul Jacques in the Fourth Bristol District that includes Seekonk, Rehoboth, Swansea (precincts 4 and 5) and Norton (precincts 1 and 2). 

    The debate will be moderated by Sun Chronicle columnist and Norton Town Moderator Bill Gouveia who will take questions originating from the public.  Please send your questions to him at aninsidelook@aol.com. The selection of questions and the form in which they are asked will be completely up to the moderator.  Both debates will be taped at the studios of Norton Media Center and broadcast many times before the November 8 election.  Norton TV video can be accessed online at Vimeo.


EARLY VOTING OPPORTUNITY FOR REHOBOTH RESIDENTS

(September 26, 2016)  For the first time ever in Massachusetts, all registered voters can cast a ballot before Election Day (November 8, 2016) beginning October 24 through November 4 at the Town Clerk’s Office, Monday thru Thursday from 8 AM to 4 PM, and on Friday from 8 AM to 12 Noon.

    Early voting is for every registered voter, although absentee voting is available for registered voters who qualify. Only registered voters who will be absent from their town on November 8, have a disability that prevents them from going to the polls, or have a religious belief preventing the same, are legally allowed to vote by absentee ballot.

    For public convenience, the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office is also offering extended early voting hours at the Town Office at 128 Peck Street on Wednesday, October 26 from 8 AM to 7 PM and Wednesday, November 2 from 8 AM to 7 PM.  You can also cast an early ballot on Saturday, October 29 from  10 AM to 4 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center at 55 Bay State Road.

     Registered voters also have the option to request an early voting ballot through the mail. Simply fill out an application and mail to the Town of Rehoboth, Town Clerk’s Office, 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth, MA  02769. You can find the application on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: sec.state.ma.us/ele.

    Please note that once you’ve voted by one of the early methods, you can not vote at the polls on Election Day.

    Regardless of how you plan to vote, you must be registered by October 18 to vote in the November 8 election. 

    To check to see if you are registered to vote, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website at sec.state.ma.us/ele, or call the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office at (508) 252-6502 X-3109 or X-3110. 

   You can register to vote online at RegisterToVoteMA.com or at the Town Clerk’s Office located at 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth. All you need is a license or an I.D. issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to apply online or in person.


LOCAL ANIMAL GROUP CHANGES NAME AND MISSION

(September 25, 2016)  The non-profit Friends of the Rehoboth Animal Shelter, Inc. has changed its name to Rehoboth Animal Advocates, Inc. (RAA).

    According to organizers, the name was changed because their animal welfare services have expanded, but will remain a non-profit organization that relies on donations, fundraisers and dedicated benefactors.

    The RAA’s primary mission is a Trap/Neuter/Release Program of feral cat colonies in Rehoboth. Under the prior name, the group trapped over 69 feral cats and kittens with a waiting list.

   The group intends to promote awareness of the feral cat population and its effect on the animals, environment and residents.  They will also promote awareness of care and support for abandoned and neglected animals.  Finally, RAA will support and help promote shelter animals. Organizers say they will also help elderly residents, who are fuel assistance qualified, with food for their dogs and cats.

    The group plans to host fundraisers to help defray the costs for veterinary care, food, medicine, traps, etc.  New members are always welcome and meetings are held the second Saturday of the month at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, 55 Bay State Road at 10 AM.

    On Sunday, October 16, the group invites the public to learn more about their feral cat Trap-Neuter-Release program from 10 AM to 2 PM at the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center.  If you have a specific cat situation, please attend to get more info.  Coffee and pastries will be served.  While sipping coffee, try your luck at the raffle table. For more info, email RehobothAnimalAdvocate@gmail.com.

    Donations can be mailed to Rehoboth Animal Advocates, Inc., P.O. Box 42, Rehoboth, MA 02769. For more information, please email RehobothAnimalAdvocates@gmail.com. A website is under construction.


REP. HOWITT ANNOUNCES COMPROMISE WITH DEPT. OF TRANSPORTATION FOR REPAIRS ON ROUTE 44

(September 25, 2016)  Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-Seekonk) released a statement concerning the resurfacing and related work planned for Rout 44, as well as the status of other local road projects in Rehoboth.

    “After much lobbying,” reported Howitt, “I was happy to learn that the resurfacing and related work on Rout 44 was included in the MassDOT 5 Year Transportation Improvement Program for an estimated project cost of $7,776,000.”

     Howitt continued, “However, I was disappointed to learn that the bid for this project will not take place until 2019. When I learned of this schedule, I contacted the MassDOT headquarters in Boston to let them know that, given the present condition of the patched road, this timeline was unacceptable.” 

  A short term compromise was agreed to by MassDOT where the worst spots of the roadway will be milled/scarified (removal of existing asphalt that is found to be unacceptable) and resurfaced from the RI line to the Taunton line.  The work will be done at night from 7:30 PM to 5 AM to minimize impact for commuters. 

     Howitt also reported the Wheeler Street Bridge reconstruction is at 71% with a completion anticipated for next April. The contractor, Walsh Construction of North Attleboro, is currently forming and placing concrete for wing walls and headwalls. Future operations include waterproofing and backfilling precast arches. The Wheeler Street Bridge which was destroyed in flooding back in 2010 has a replacement cost of $1,600,015.

     Howitt has been instrumental in bringing intersection improvements and related work to the intersection of Route 44 and Route 118 at an estimated cost of over 2 million in state funding.

     This location was identified by SRPEDD as having a higher than normal crash rating in the Southeast Region. The skew of the Rte. 118 northbound approach creates difficulties for opposing vehicles making left-hand turns from Route 44.

    Work on this project consists of traffic signal and geometric improvement at the intersection along with geometric improvement and signals, and additional safety improvements for bicycle and pedestrian accommodation.

    While a base survey has been completed, design has not started and state funding for this project has not been specifically identified.