Tuesday, February 21, 2017
for today’s event listings in and around Westport, MA!
Click here for
upcoming theater and arts listings!
Updated Saturday, June 27, 2015
Monday, February 20 – UPI
executive H.C. ‘Cal’ Thornton of Westport died
Saturday, February 11th.
He was 91.
Mr. Thornton, a longtime
executive with United Press International and later the Los Angeles Times-Washington
Post News Service, died at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, a week
after being admitted with mild coronary disease, his son, Peter, said.
The native of Lynchburg, Va.,
began work as a reporter in the 1950s for United Press
after studying philosophy at the University of Chicago. He later moved to
the business side of the industry as a sales executive for United Press
International in Minneapolis when UP acquired International News Service in
Mr. Thornton relocated to
Boston, where he served several years as a manager covering New England and
New York. In 1971, he became vice president of sales.
Mr. Thornton joined the Los
Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service in 1977, rising to president and
Sunday, February 19 – Westport
School Building Committee moves forward with further review of “model
The Jr/Sr High School
Building Committee unanimously approved Thursday to send a formal request
to the MSBA to approve an invitation to OMR Architects (designers of the
model school) to submit a proposal that demonstrates the adaptability of
the Longmeadow High School building to the acceptable standards required by
was inaccurately reported by the local weekly newspapers that the state was pushing
Westport to use the architectural plans for an existing MSBA-supported
model school building.
But in reality the Building
Committee decided to explore the model school on their own to ensure the
town’s taxpayers would get the best bang for the buck in erecting a new
The Committee also is sending
an invitation to Jonathon Levi Architects to demonstrate how Westport and
the MSBA-approved preferred solution (custom design) can best meet the
needs of the school district.
Sounds interesting but which
concept will work best for the school district, and which for the taxpayers
who need to approve the capital expense at Town Meeting and the ballot box.
The head-to-head competition,
although slowing down the selection process, could provide financial
savings to the cash-strapped town.
If this progression of
selecting a school building schematic design seems cumbersome and
slow-moving, there is a method to their madness.
Sunday, February 19 – Westport
State Senator is appointed majority whip. State Senator Michael Rodrigues, (D Westport) was recently promoted
to majority whip; Senators Linda Forry and Joan Lovely will serve as
assistant majority whips.
Senate this week created an extra assistant majority whip position in its
rules to accommodate the appointments, which carry with them a new $35,000
stipend authorized under the pay raises approved this month.
was also named the chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics and the vice
chair of the Senate Committee on Redistricting.
to Westport’s own, Senator Mike Rodrigues!
February 19 – Letter to the Editor: Westport’s Joseph Ingoldsby
speaks out on WUMD sale. “UMass Dartmouth's
WUMD-FM has been a beacon of light presenting innovative and informative
local programming for SouthCoast and beyond for 45 years. This light is
about to be extinguished with the secretive and non-deliberative sale of
89.3 FM to Rhode Island Public Radio, an affiliate of National Public
Radio. We are told the fire sale price is $1.5 million, which is 0.6
percent of the UMass Dartmouth's 2017 annual budget.” More...
Saturday, February 18 –The police station building committee will begin
searching for contractors to build a one-story, 15,000 square foot new
station on Hix Bridge Road.
— Police Chief Keith Pelletier and committee member Warren Messier obtained
approval from selectmen to begin soliciting proposals for contractors.
committee is on pace toward choosing a contractor by the end of March,
moving toward a mid-2018 completion date.
Saturday, February 18 – Animal Action Committee to
propose animal registry and annual permits.
Board of Health member William Harkins said that
substantial discussions on the potential adoption of new animal regulations
by his board would probably have to wait until after the annual election in
By Robert Barboza
Special Correspondent to
WESTPORT – The town’s Animal
Action Committee has decided to move forward with drafting potential
policies for a town-wide registry of all domestic animals, and a requirement
for annual permitting of such animals for consideration by town officials,
and possibly, town meeting voters.
Dogs and cats are not
At their February 13th
meeting, the committee indicated it would ask the town administrator to come
up with a plan for implementing a registry, and develop a realistic budget
to cover an annual permitting process, including town inspections and
potential enforcement activities.
the left: AAC members Sgt. Tony Cestodio, Chairwoman Shana Shufelt, and William Harkins,
Chairman Board of Health.
Policy issues, such as
whether local animal inspectors or the town Animal Control Department would
be responsible for maintaining the registry, and conducting annual
inspections needed for town permits, will be discussed at the next meeting,
committee chair Shana Shufelt said.
A chain of command also needs
to be established, with either selectmen or the Board of Health assigned to
supervise the inspection and permitting process, the Board of Selectmen’s
delegate to the Animal Action Committee suggested.
Friday, February 17 – Super Bowl Walk Draws Crowd of Over Two Hundred.
Massachusetts – The Super Bowl Walk co-sponsored by the
Westport Land Conservation Trust (WLCT) and Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust
(DNRT) drew a crowd of well over 200 hikers on Sunday, February 5th.
was the largest turnout ever for the annual event which traverses 6+ miles
from the Slocum’s River to the Westport River. More...
Friday, February 17 – WCC Spring grants now available. The Westport Cultural Council
is pleased to announce the opening of the Spring grant application period,
funded by the Helen E. Ellis Trust.
Application forms are
available online as of February 1, 2017 at www.westportculturalcouncil.org,
the Westport Free Public Library and the Westport Town Clerk’s Office. Completed applications are due Friday,
Projects or events directly
involving the arts, interpretive sciences, or humanities that take place on
the South Coast and benefit the Westport community are eligible.
Guidelines for the Helen E.
Ellis Charitable Trust grants are on the website; all applicants are asked
to read this information.
WCC meets on the first
Wednesday of each month at the Westport Town Hall Annex. Please contact the Chair if you would
like to be on the agenda. For
updated priorities of the Westport Cultural Council, please visit www.westportculturalcouncil.org
and click on Grants and Frequently
Thursday, February 16 – School
Building Committee meets tonight at Westport Jr/Sr High School beginning at
6:00 p.m. in the Media Center. The MSBA has moved the project to the
next stage, and committee members and the project’s OPM will discuss the
progress to date and what happens next in the $95.2 million school
Wednesday, February 15 – Westport Library Director slams 4% budget cut. Susan Branco
said the library relies on donations and other funding sources, and
Selectmen should not shortchange a personnel line item.
The town, crying poor mouth,
can fund an $8 million new police station, and are proposing a $95.2
million Jr/Sr High School, but can’t afford a measly $11,000 to level fund
Gimme a break.
With more town residents
older than 50 (biggest users of library facilities) than there are
residents under 18 we need to redress our funding priorities.
February 15 - Westport awarded $249,000 Seaport grant. Waterfront
development projects in Dartmouth and Westport will benefit from grants
given by the state Seaport Economic Council.
Westport, the money will support upgrades to the Westport River Head
Landing on Old County Road. In Dartmouth, the money will back a maritime
center proposed for Padanaram.
Wednesday, February 15 – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker praises $228 million Route
79/Braga Bridge Improvements Project;
skeptical of costly alternative Middleboro/New Bedford/Fall River
Southcoast Rail extension.
aren’t we surprised.
Wednesday, February 8 - Trouble at
the Knubble. In a stunning reversal, Selectmen Monday night voted 3-1
(Craig Dutra absent) to allow a Beach Committee plan to reopen Beach Avenue
to vehicular traffic, allow Knubble parking for handicapped-flagged
vehicles, and install guard rails to prevent damage to fragile dunes from
cars and trucks.
Some harbor residents are
furious and one Selectman in particular, Chair R. Michael Sullivan could
barely contain his anger and frustration with proponents of opening the
long-troubled beachfront road.
Beach Committee member Sean Leach explains plans
to Selectmen for reopening
Beach Committee member Sean
Leach threw up his hands and walked out of the meeting saying that he has
done all that he can to offer a plan that would satisfy abutters and
Long a champion of road
abandonment, Sullivan failed to rally the select board to put the Beach
Committee’s plan on hold while reviewing other alternatives, like a needed
At last year’s Annual Town
Meeting a surprising large turnout of town voters protesting road closure
forced Selectmen to pass over an article that would have abandoned Beach
Avenue to abutters, lead to a buyback of the now former road’s town land
and move forward with a questionable dune restoration/boardwalk alternative
that would provide handicapped access to the 100 foot strip of town beach
near the Knubble.
There’s sure to be blowback
over the vote, as Harbor residents who supported road closure will marshal
their forces and once again appeal to the state for help.
But they have lost one
valuable ally - that small sand-colored, sparrow-sized shorebird, the
piping plover, is no longer on the state’s endangered species list.
More to come...
Wednesday, February 8 - WESTPORT – The
trouble with being Charter-dependent. For years, residents who needed a
new cable box or a remote could drive to the Charter building on the corner
of Route 177 and Gifford Road for service, pay a bill, or get advice.
Aa of last year,
you’re on your own.
The building is
still there but nobody’s home.
One selectman says
Charter subscribers are still upset while two other town authorities say
the concerns have subsided.
Ouellette said he still receives calls from town residents on a weekly
basis. Cable Advisory Board Chairwoman Carolina Africano concurred with Ouellette.
Selectman Antone Vieira Jr. indicated that many
people are getting used to not having a Charter building in town.
Monday, February 6 – Photo of the Week. Westport Animal
Control Officer, Donna Lambert carefully carries a bath towel-wrapped,
severely injured and very stinky skunk from a neighbor’s yard in the 500
block of Old County Road to the rear of the Head Landing where police
officers are preparing to put the poor polecat down.
The careless critter was
involved in a car strike.
Many town residents take ACO
involvement with wild animals for granted, but in reality, it’s a dangerous
job when handling mammals that could be infected with rabies.
This skunk’s body was
immediately taken to the Transfer Station for disposal.
Unfortunately, the smell hung
around for hours.
Monday, February 6 – Planned
database will market the SouthCoast as one of New England's best bargains
when it comes to real estate.
The SouthCoast Development Partnership, based
at the Martine Street offices of UMass Dartmouth, has been designated by
the Massachusetts Office of Business Development as the regional economic
development organization for Southeastern Massachusetts.
designation comes with a grant of $21,000 that will be used to design an online regional commercial real estate
Hopefully, Westport’s Economic
Development Task Force will take full advantage of the new
partnership and promote economic development along the Route 6 and Route
177 corridors by contributing to the new Partnership.
Sunday, February 5 - Westport
bans shellfishing practice, increases license fees. Marine Services Director Chris Leonard has long
maintained the aqua-tourism is growing in town.
Above: Marine Services
Director Chris Leonard and friends present their proposals to Selectmen
that included fee increases and elimination of certain shellfishing
practices. Photo | EverythingWestport.com
Leonard convinced selectmen to agree to a policy that he indicated would
protect town waterways as well as the shellfish.
upon Leonard's advice, banned a practice nicknamed "high-grading"
during the cold water months from Nov. 1 to April 30.
Saturday, February 4 - Westport Beach
Committee in swim of things
By Robert Barboza The Chronicle
- With another successful season behind them, and a healthy balance in the
budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, the Beach Committee is already
looking ahead to the coming summer, with a June 17th opening day planned
for town beaches.
season's review was delayed by a moment of silence requested for former
committee member Bob Carroll, who died recently. Carroll was a dedicated
longtime chairman who really cared about improving the town beaches... More...
Friday, February 3 - Is this the future of Westport’s new Jr/Sr High School?
Longmeadow High School, just outside of Springfield, MA.
Two town boards and one
committee voted unanimously in December to move forward with local
architect Jonathon Levi’s design for a 185,600 square foot new building to
be built on the site of the now derelict, PCB-plagued Middle School that
has already cost town taxpayers over $3 million to remedy, but failed to
meet EPA guidelines.
Now, in a last minute nod to
cost-sensitive taxpayers who may balk at approving $95.2 million in
construction costs, the Jr/Sr School Building Committee is requesting an
in-depth review of the MSBA’s (Massachusetts School Building Authority)
“model school program,” a relatively new concept where a community can
elect to use the architectural plans and actual construction experiences of
a recently built school building that used MSBA funding, and that MSBA and
the committee believes may work for Westport.
This judicious approach can
save millions in architectural fees, incentives and up to $2 million in
construction costs based on experiences working with known materials, and
avoiding unforeseen obstacles encountered by the contractors of the model
school, thereby avoiding costly change orders.
Owner Project Manager (OPM)
Dan Taveres said the committee should take a long, hard look at the
Longmeadow High School, located just outside of Springfield, which the MSBA
has offered up as a model school that may work for Westport and not
substantially compromise functionality of a custom-built school.
Sounds interesting but will
it work for Westport?
Thursday, February 2 – Westport’s wooden powder
house restoration fund got a little help Thursday with matching donations
from police association, local realtor.
When the final bills were
tallied up by historical restoration carpenter Nathaniel Allen, he found
himself $600 light.
But the Westport Policemen’s Association and local realtor Alden hill Real Estate quickly
stepped forward with matching donations to cover the shortfall.
Westport resident Nathanial
Allen with a little help from his carpenter friends did a superb job in
retaining most of the original framing materials, while replacing roof and
side shingles and select parts of the building’s support beams.
Interior plastering, a rarity
in powder houses, remained untouched.
Westport’s powder house,
circa 1812, is only one of 83 remaining in New England, some from the
revolutionary war, and only a handful of those are made of wood; most are
stone for obvious reasons.
Westport Police Officer Lt. John Bell (right), the driving force for this
renovation project, presents a check for $600 to Nathanial Allen.
| EverythingWestport.com © 2017
Thursday, February 2 – Six more
weeks of winter it shall be! Today is Groundhog Day. And Pennsylvania’s groundhog,
Punxsutawney Phil, said bundle up, six more weeks of winter to come.
Phil got up this morning and
saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.
predicts more winter to com for 2017!
annual tradition is based on a German proverb involving Candlemas.
legend says, “If a badger peeps out
of his hole on Candlemas Day, and, if he finds snow, walks abroad, but if
he sees the sun shining he draws back into his hole.”
music, a Star Wars-themed fireworks display under cloudy skies, and
freezing temperatures greeted the faithful followers who spent last night
in Punxsutawney, PA (just exactly where the heck is Punxsutawney?,) waiting
for the forecast.
prediction, during the 131st celebration of Groundhog Day, is summarized in a short poem.
proclamation read, “Its mighty cold
weather, you’ve been braving. Is it more winter or is it spring that you’re
craving? Since you’ve been up all night and starting to tottle, I,
Punxsutawney Phil, shall not dawdle. My faithful followers, I could clearly
see a beautiful, perfect shadow of me. Six more weeks of winter, it shall
right? Hope not!
from 1887 forward show the furry rodent has predicted more winter 103 times
while forecasting an early spring just 18 times.
Of those predictions it
appears that Phil's six-week prognostications have been correct about 39
percent of the time.
Phil’s a little better when
he didn't see his shadow and predicted an early spring; he got it right
with a 47 percent accuracy rate."
Tuesday, January 31 – Southcoast
Health opens its 3rd Urgent Care Center in Dartmouth. Ambulatory
care and ambulatory surgical centers are popping up in strip malls all
Health has followed suit, cutting the ribbon for its third Urgent Care
center at 435 State Road in Dartmouth, next to the new Hannoush Jewelers,
right behind Starbucks.
What does all this mean in
access and cost? More...
Above, from left: Keith A. Hovan,
president and CEO of Southcoast Health; Renee Clark, COO of Southcoast
Hospitals Group; Hugh Morton,
Southcoast Health Trustee; Jason M. Rua, chair of the Board of Trustees
for Southcoast Health; Dr. Pamela Spatz, Urgent Care Medical Director; Brad
Silverman, Urgent Care Executive Director; Kelly Houde, Urgent Care
Clinical Manager; and Don Giumetti, Southcoast Health Trustee.
Sunday, January 29 - Fall
River community welcomes the merger of Battleship Cove and the Marine
$1 million grant
from the Manton Family Foundation, is intended to interest a national
Marine Museum to get
new look to the facade of the building, and a new retail store.
announced Monday that it will merge with the Marine Museum at Fall River
around the corner to become a unified waterfront campus. The combined
institution, being re-imagined with a
$1 million grant from the Manton Family Foundation, is being designed to
interest a national audience. More...
Sunday, January 29 – Allens Pond Sanctuary
has just sent out their latest E-Newsletter, The Perch. Click here to read Late January
2017 issue of Allens Pond Sanctuary’s The Perch.
Click here to view Allens Pond
Sanctuary's Program schedule.
outside and explore with them:
Snowshoeing the Shoreline - January 28th, February
Junior Bird Club: Building Bluebird Boxes - February 21st
Wild, Wild Woodcock Walks - March 11th, 17th, 24th.
To view all other town
organizations newsletters, Click Here!
Above: Snowshoeing the Shoreline.
Saturday, January 28 - Photo of the Week. With trusty chainsaw
in hand, octogenarian Claude Ledoux reaps the reward of forest improvement
with a gigantic haul of firewood for his winter needs.
Photo | Claude Ledoux 2016
The farmer, former Selectman, and town historian,
Ledoux told EverythingWestport that he “Can't believe I have done forest
improvement on our land since 1962. Now the big stuff (nurtured from smaller trees) is most of what needs
thinning out. Hope I can hold on for some future continuation.”
OK, Claude, what did you do in the
Saturday, January 28 - WESTPORT
– BOH to get Health Director, a new position. Triumvirate to manage
restructured town department.
The health board and selectmen have
agreed to a description for a new position - Director of Public Health.
Department’s employees now to be under
supervision of Health Director, Board of Health members, and Town
Administrator, not to mention indirectly by the Selectmen.
Four employees managed by 10 supervisors?
Also, five municipal animal inspectors
now on the roster.
Above: Health Board members Karl Santos, John
Colletti, and Chairman Bill Harkins meet with selectmen and town
administrator last Monday.
Health board members and selectmen
debated on Monday as to whom or which board the new director should report.
Selectmen said the town administrator should supervise this employee while
health board members on Monday had a different take.
"It would create more conflicts. We
have always run that department and I see no reason to make that change now
going forward," Health Board chairman William Harkins said.
Friday, January 27 - The
“Gassy Bandit” raids Lees Supermarket on multiple shoplifting trips over
the last couple of months, even taking time out to “relieve” Lees of a product
(Beano) to suppress flatulence and excess gas.
Photos courtesy Westport
Now that’s a first.
But Westport police used
surveillance cameras, cash register receipts, and even a photo of Freitas’ silver Honda
Civic to track him down, not a police bloodhound following a malodourous
trail back to the accused shoplifter’s residence.
Gutemberg Freitas, 32, of 67
Kirby Road in Westport was charged with stealing more than $150 of
merchandise during seven visits to the supermarket.
In a trick as old as time,
Freitas switched bar code labels from chicken to packages of red meat.
Dubbed the “gassy bandit” by
police, Freitas even used his Lees shoppers card to insure he didn’t miss
out on the weekly specials.
Fresh off a shoplifting trip
to East Providence, Freitas will now face charges for “shopping” locally in
a pretrial hearing on March 9th.
Thursday, January 26 – Double bogey
blues golf news! Yes, it’s a little early to bring up golf, but the
other shoe has finally dropped.
The 9-hole Hawthorne Country
Club closed last year, bringing an end to a financially-troubled Dartmouth
venue that served up better banquet food than birdies and bogey.
Now Allendale Country Club
just down the street from Hawthorne is looking for assistance in handling
its highly leveraged debt service that accumulated due to out-of-control
management salaries and extensive course improvements over the years that
failed to produce the increased membership necessary to pay for them.
5th, 6th and 7th holes at Allendale Country Club.
Dartmouth Select Board member
Shawn D. McDonald wants to buy the property and said recently, “The town could
acquire and lease the golf course for up to 15 years, and use it in the
future for town educational, recreational and park facilities, and
potential home development. It’s the largest undeveloped property (over 150
acres with a well that produces 275 gallons per minute) in the heart of
Assessed value of the
property is $5.8 million and Dartmouth is looking to buy it for $3.2
Allendale Board of Directors is also moving in tandem with an effort to remove
recreational land preservation restrictions on part of its property, and
then sell the proposed lots to help reduce its debt load.
In a letter to members,
Allendale Board President Mike Goulart said, “What all this means is that we are now
going down parallel paths - we will be continuing our plan to remove land
from MGL c 61B, and at the same time we will be working with the Town to
see what its ownership of Allendale might look like in the future.”
at least the duration of the 2017 golf season and probably much longer, it is
and will be business as usual for Allendale.” - Mike Goulart
The question now is whether
the town officials and residents would want to authorize a purchase right
now for a long term benefit.
They better make a decision
soon; Allendale’s variable-rate commercial loans may get considerably more
costly if interest rate hikes promised recently by Fed chair Janet Yellen
go into effect.
Click here to visit our Golf Page for all the latest in local golf news.
Thursday, January, 26 – Robert E.
Carroll. We note the passing of Robert E. Carroll, the longtime Westport
restaurateur of the Bay Side Restaurant, who died on Thursday, January 19th.
Bob was a progressive
thinker, a gentle giant and a prolific writer who spent hours with
"the goodest dog ever", Patsy Cline, dreaming of ways to make the
of Life to which relatives and friends are invited will be Sunday, February
12, 2017 at Allen's Neck Friends Meeting in Dartmouth at 2:00 P.M. Irish
wake to follow.
Click here for full
Wednesday, January 25 – Dow J hits
20K. For the first time ever, the industrial stock market
cracks the 20,000 milestone!
NASDAQ continues to set
records with 5,637 as of 9:30 a.m.
The Dow Jones Industrial
Average traded above 20,000, resuming a rally that began in the wake of the
recent presidential election. Investors are banking on pro-growth policies
and Washington tax cuts.
Will we close today above
20K? We’ll see, we’ll see.
Tuesday, January 24 – Oh no,
corruption in RI politics! Please tell me it isn’t so, PROJO!
Front-page headline of the
Providence Journal on Tuesday, January 24th.
To Rhode Island’s dismay,
former Rhode Island House speaker Gordon Fox pleaded guilty to corruption charges
Tuesday, and awkwardly – his plea marked only the latest in a long line of
high-profile falls from grace in Rhode Island politics.
Click here to read
January 24 – Reports of
nor’easter slamming Westport were greatly exaggerated. Forecasted warnings of high
winds, slashing rain, and scattered flooding proved less severe than local
Westport seemed to be spared
the effects from the nasty weather experienced by our nor’easter-swept
“We cleared one small tree
from Division Road,” said Highway Surveyor Chris Gonsalves. “The new
storm drain systems on Drift Road, Sodom Road, Charlotte White Road, and
Borden Street handled the heavy rain, greatly reducing flooding potential
and protecting the (Westport) river from contamination due to untreated
Gonsalves also checked East
Beach Road and Beach Ave. throughout the night and reported no significant
There were no reported losses
flooded wetlands at Head of Westport public landing.
January 24 – Westport’s Animal Action
Committee may recommend local regulations.
For now 12-member committee defers action, pursues
Click here to
watch video of Westport Detective Sgt. Antonio Cestodio explaining the
process of animal neglect/abuse complaints and prosecution. This
informational video should be viewed by all concerned about the well-being
of farm animals.
By Robert Barboza
Special Correspondent to EverythingWestport.com
– The town’s Animal Action Committee spent two hours at their most recent
meeting reviewing the responsibilities of each town department that is
involved in animal abuse cases, looking for ways that enforcement efforts
on the local level can be improved to prevent reoccurrences of the
deplorable conditions discovered at a tenant farming site off American
Legion Highway this past summer.
Monday, January 23 – State
senators bring Commonwealth
Conversations to the southcoast – main topic will be the southcoast
rail. On Saturday, February 7th, state senators from across
Massachusetts will come to SouthCoast to get a firsthand look at the
region's pressing issues, particularly a long-promised and talked-about
rail link to Boston.
lawmakers' visit will be part of a statewide initiative called Commonwealth
Conversations, and it follows a similar listening tour across Massachusetts
two years ago that produced a comprehensive report on several important
issues such as the opioid crisis, criminal justice reform, the environment
as a Senate agreed it was a worthwhile event two years ago, and we're going
to do it again," state Sen. Mike Rodrigues, D-Westport, said during a
recent meeting with the Herald News Editorial Board.
Monday, January 23 – Westport health
board seeks more access to tenant farm. Landowner’s attorney spars with
Westport town counsel, Jeffrey Blake (pictured below, right) over access to
Health board told by defendant’s Attorney Karen Benson (left) to get their
own reports on property cleanup directly from DEP office as they are public
records and it costs her client money to provide them to the health
board. Photo |
officials being shunted aside?
Sunday, January 22 – Urgent care goes
retail. Moving away from traditional medical care
facilities, ambulatory care and ambulatory surgical centers are popping up
in strip malls all across America.
And Southcoast Health has followed suit
opening its third Urgent Care center at 435 State Road in Dartmouth, next
to the new Hannoush Jewelers, right behind Starbucks.
is scheduled for January 31st.
What does all this mean in
access and cost?
Saturday, January, 21 – 2017 Helen
E. Ellis Grant period begins. The Westport Cultural Council is
pleased to announce the opening of the Helen E. Ellis Trust grant
Application forms are
available online beginning February 1, 2017 at www.westportculturalcouncil.org,
the Westport Free Public Library, and the Westport Town Clerk’s
Completed applications are
due March 17, 2017.
Projects or events directly
involving the arts, interpretive sciences, or humanities that take place on
the South Coast and benefit the Westport community are eligible. Guidelines for the Helen E. Ellis
Charitable Trust grants are on the website; all applicants are asked to
read this information.
Friday, January 20 – Westport Ag Trust Fund antes up cash to buy 19.8-acre
parcel, part of the abandoned Adamsville Road youth camp.
town's Agricultural Preservation Trust Fund voted unanimously last week to
spend $350,000 to help Westport Land Conservation Trust buy the former St.
Vincent de Paul youth camp, located on Adamsville Road, from the Diocese of
Click on images to enlarge.
Above, left: WLCT representative
Steve Sloan (center) takes his case to the Agricultural Preservation Trust
Fund while member Karl Santos listens. Right:
Planning Board members David Cole and Chairman Jim Whitten listen to the
WLCT acquisition plan which is displayed in the background.
Photos | EverythingWestport.com
Above: The Diocese of Fall
River originally planned a 25-lot subdivision with some protected land. The
former youth camp currently brings $18,000 per year in property tax revenue
to Westport coffers.
does this preservation investment pay off for town residents and the
Thursday, January 19 – “Leapin’
lizards, Sandy!” What’s up with Old Westport Road in front of UMass
Dartmouth being closed most of the day, diverting eastbound traffic back to
Beeden Road in Westport for an extraordinarily long detour back to UMass?
Well, an early morning
accident snapped off a utility pole, leaving it hanging over the road,
creating a dangerous situation for eastbound traffic.
A second pole was also
compromised due to the stress from the first pole.
Police diverted traffic until
electric utility and town workers could safely neutralize the danger from
the live power lines, allowing workers to replace the damaged poles.
Thursday, January 19 – WESTPORT - Construction is expected to begin this
spring on the long-awaited Noquochoke Village 50-unit apartment complex on
American Legion Highway, officials said.
Housing Trust Fund Housing Specialist Leonardi Aray told selectmen last
week that the The Community Builders and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
are scheduled to close on the property in March.
said construction of Noquochoke Village should begin by April, and
completion of all units will take one year. He said by summer of 2018 all
units will be ready for rental.
January 18 – CPC unanimously approves
large slate of 2017 funding requests.
By Robert Barboza
Special Correspondent to EverythingWestport.com
– Unanimous votes on 11 applications for Community Preservation Act funds
in the coming fiscal year were taken by the Community Preservation
Committee (CPC) following a Jan. 12 public hearing. The vote clears the way
for action on the funding requests by voters at the annual town meeting in
biggest chunk of funding being recommended by the committee is a $600,000
request for open space funds being made by the Westport Youth Athletic
Association (WYAA) to help develop a youth sports complex planned off
American Legion Highway. The alliance of youth sports leagues plans to
build a half dozen baseball and softball diamonds and three soccer fields
at the site.
January 18 - Housing Opportunity
Purchase Program (HOPP) for one lucky, qualified, first-time homebuyer.
Westport Affordable Housing Trust Fund is making one (1) grant available to assist an income and asset qualified
first-time homebuyer for the
purpose of financing the gap between the affordable price and the selling
price of an existing-market rate home in Westport.
may be selected by Lottery.
will be an Informational Session on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at
7:00 p.m. at the Macomber Primary School, 155 Gifford Road, Westport.
is highly recommended but not required to apply.
The application deadline is March 3, 2017 at
are available at the Westport Town Hall, Housing Assistance Office, 816 Main
Road, Westport, or the Westport Public Library, 408 Old County Road, or by
phone at 774.264.5126, 617.270.3912, or by email: email@example.com.
Tuesday, January 17 - Westport
lost a valued supporter of the Westport Public Library with the passing of Jane
principal clerk with 28 years at the Library was 72.
passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, January 14th. She was a
great supporter of reading, the Library and FOWL (Friends of Westport
will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by so many people who were
fortunate to know her.
hours are at the Potter Funeral Home, 81 Reed Road, Westport on Tuesday,
January 17th from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. with an order of the Eastern Star
Service at 7:00 p.m.
services will be private.
lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Friends of Westport
Library (FOWL), P.O. Box 3342, Westport, MA 02790, or Cortez Allen Chapter
#161 O.E.S., P.O. Box 1384, Middleboro, MA 02346.
information is available at www.potterfuneralservice.com.
Monday, January 16 - Get Outside and Explore with the Allens Pond
Snowshoeing the Shoreline on Saturday, January 28,
Saturday, February 11 and Sunday, February 26.
Junior Bird Club: Building Bluebird Boxes on Tuesday,
Wild, Wild Woodcock Walks on March 11th, 17th, and
read their January 2017 E-Newsletter for all the details.
Saturday, January 14 - Growing movement: Westport farmer focuses on saving seeds. Westport farmer Bill
Braun says food-growers need to "embrace the diversity that nature
gives us." More...
will lead an advanced workshop on saving seeds and preserving genetic
diversity at this weekend's Northeast Organic Farming Association's Winter
Conference. The all-day event is Saturday at Worcester State University.
Click here to learn more about Bill Braun.
Friday, January 13 – Lead that exceeds
state action levels has been detected in some of the water taps at the
Westport Elementary School.
Ann Marie Dargon said Friday there is no reason for alarm. Most water
faucets and taps were free of lead and copper, and no drinking water
sources, such as water fountains, showed any lead or copper, she said.
the district is taking extra precautions...
Friday, January 13 –Twin River begins
its march through the regulatory forest Tuesday when it
presents a rough draft of its plans for a casino to the Tiverton Planning
River Tiverton LLC is on the agenda for a "pre-application/Informal
Concept Plan Review" at a meeting set for 7:00 p.m. in Town Hall, 343
Highland Road, Tiverton.
Save Tiverton will be
there, promising the route for the casino company will be rocky. More.
Friday, January 13 – Westport Town Clerk, Marlene M. Samson,
announces that Nomination Papers for the April 11, 2017 Annual Town
Election are now available for the following offices -
For Three Years: Two Selectmen, One Town Clerk, One Treasurer, One Collector
of Taxes, One Assessor, One Board of Health, One School Committee, One
Regional School Committee, One Fish Commissioner, Two Constables, Two
Trustees of Free Public Library, One Landing Commissioner, and One
Commissioner of Trust Funds.
For Five Years: One Housing Authority
and One Planning Board.
One Year Unexpired Term: One Board of Health.
Deadline for obtaining nomination papers is Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:00
p.m., and the deadline for filing nomination papers with the Board of
Registrars is Tuesday, February 21,
2017 at 5:00 p.m.
Candidates’ supporters have a friendly “make-believe” tussle in front of
the Town Hall Annex in last year’s April Elections. With two Selectmen’s
seats up for grabs in 2017 it could be a year of executive change for
Friday, January 13 – Speaking of passing the buck,
Westport’s Tax Collector announced that Third Quarter Real Estate & Personal Property Tax Bills are due
on or before Wednesday, February 1, 2017.
Any payment made after the due date is subject to 14% per annum
There is no grace
period. New property owners may
contact the Office of the Collector of Taxes at 508.636.1010 or email:
firstname.lastname@example.org if they did not receive a bill.
Third and fourth quarter bills were mailed
December 30, 2016.
Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,
and the first Monday of the month from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Payment may be made in person at the office, by mail, or
on-line at www.westport-ma.com
using ebill. There is a 35 cent per transaction fee
using a checking or savings account.
Credit card payments are accepted on-line only, along with a 2%-4% convenience fee.
Friday, January 13 – And since we’re on the subject of
taxes, Westport’s assessors recently set the fiscal 2017 tax rate at
$9.91 per thousand dollars of evaluation; that’s 2 cents less than the
fiscal 2016 assessment of $7.93 per thousand.
But before you throw your hands up in elation, property
evaluations for many have gone up, so your net tax bill might be higher
than last year.
here to learn more about Westport property
taxes by visiting Property Tax 101.
Property taxes were originally $29.60 per thousand when first
1921, but that was before 100% evaluation was fully implemented
in 1989, when the tax rate dropped to its historic low of $6.78 per
It has steadily gone up since then.
Assessors recommended and selectmen agreed to keep a single
rate tax for both residential and commercial properties as commercial properties
only represent about 3 percent of the total tax base, and the growth of
commercial enterprises in Westport is encouraged by town boards, said
Assessor Chairman Steven J. Medeiros.
Thursday, January 12 – Westport lost a local restaurant icon
with the passing of Rita P. Lafrance on Wednesday, January 4th. The
co-founder of White’s Family Restaurant (White’s of Westport) was 93.
Thursday, January 12 – Westport also lost former town building
inspector Robert A. Maltais who passed away on Sunday, January 8th.
Maltais was also part of the creation of the Westport Council of Aging
which just celebrated their 20th anniversary. Read obituary.
Thursday, January 12 – Westport library’s Helen E. Ellis
showcase needs exhibits.
Since 1993, works by area craftspersons, artists and
collectors have been showcased at the Westport Free Public Library in
memory of Helen E. Ellis, a Westport woodworker and artisan.
Woodworking, paintings, crafts, pottery, quilting, knitting
(just to name a few) and all kinds of collections (dolls, shells, etc.) are
They are always looking for new displays. Please speak with a
staff member if you have something to share.
Call 508.636.1100 or speak with a staff
member at 408 Old County Road,
Wednesday, January 11 – Frozen Westport to Flooded Westport in
Temperature swing of 50 degrees in in
less than a day.
50 degrees today, 52 degrees tomorrow.
This morning at the Head. Right:
Photos | EverythingWestport.com
After spending all Sunday night salting, clearing and
ultimately sanding Westport roadways, the Highway Department may now have
to spend many more hours clearing storm drains and dealing with potential
See video on
New England weather can be capricious at best.
“We’ll have potential problems with blocked storm drains which
we’ll have to watch out for,” said Highway Surveyor Chris Gonsalves. “We’ll
deal with the problems when and where they happen. We’re rested.”
For all of the rest of us, dust off the golf clubs.
Tuesday, January 10 – When just one won’t do, hire four!
In the first robust move by Westport to better prevent farm animal neglect
and abuse, Selectmen Monday night voted unanimously to appoint four new
Assistant Animal Control Officers, positions which will require selectmen
to forward their nominations to MDAR Division of Animal Health for their
consideration and potential appointment as municipal animal inspectors.
Above: Handshakes all
way round. Newly appointed Jenna Correira and Jessica Carvalho are
congratulated by selectmen on their appointments. Not present were Lindsey
Bamford and Elizabeth Corsi, also appointed.
Tuesday, January 10 – Bitterly Frigid, Frozen Westport. Westport is in the
middle of a deep freeze, with single-digit nighttime temperatures and
daytime temps not much better.
But wait a day.
Temperatures are projected at 45 degrees
by midnight Tuesday, with rain starting noon on Wednesday accompanied by
temperatures approaching 50 degrees; Thursday a high near 54.
It’s never dull living in the northeast
where weather is as fickle as it is unpredictable, and if you don’t like
it, wait a day, it will change.
Above: The East
Branch north of Hixbridge Road is chocked Monday with ice floes and snow
Above: The Head of
Westport under a mantle of snow and ice.
Tuesday, January 10 – Twice a No to F&R. F&R Auto
Sales, the used car lot that consumers have long complained about and the
Attorney General’s office is suing, got the gavel last night as Westport
selectmen refused to take action on owner Francisco
Correiro's request to grant the embattled car lot a temporary Class II
license to sell used cars.
“Your dealership has had more
complaints than all the other used car lots in town combined.” - Select
Board Chair Michael Sullivan.
Westport Town Administrator Tim King said sent the board a
letter stating that it has “not seen a reform of business practices that
would warrant a letter of endorsement.”
“I don’t think the public would be
served (by a provisional license for F&R.) – Tim King
F&R owner Francis Correiro failed to answer selectwoman Shana
Shufelt’s question of “How would Westport be better off with your
dealership than without it.”
F&R Auto Sales’ owner Francis R. Correiro (left,) denied last December
28th for a renewal of his Class II license to sell used cars, was once
again turned down when Selectmen took no action on a new request to grant a
provisional license based on improved performance in Monday night’s
“Told me on phone that the car
advertised was available. Went there and they said it's not available.
Wanted my SSN to run my credit even before showing other cars and when I
declined to do that they started getting rude. Wouldn't go there again.” -
Comment on DealerRater January 17, 2017
The Attorney General’s office
investigated more than a 113 complaints from buyers who said they were lied
to, or were sold defective vehicles.
Above: former location
of the now closed F&R Auto Sales used car lot.
Sunday morning, January
8 – Winter storm Helena wallops
Westport with a foot of snow.
On any given Sunday morning it would be wonderful to wake up
to sunshine and clear blue skies.
On any given Sunday morning.
But not this Sunday morning as Westporters wake up to the
aftermath of blizzard Helena, wake up to backbreaking work in 14 degree
freezing temperatures, and wake to the prospect of ubiquitous snow removal
everywhere they look.
Residents, start your tractors, snowblowers and plows, and
shovel, shovel, shovel!
All photos by EverythingWestport.com
Above: Winter storm
Helena hits Westport Point where popular Henry the Swan and companion
Henrietta hunker down near the Harbormaster’s shack and sit out the
Pond at the height of the storm.
Pond Sunday morning.
Above: Peter is
filling four gas cans Saturday evening at Cumberland Farms in preparation
for the worst.
Click here for video of winter storm Helena’s impact on
Saturday, January 7 – Westport Storm
Warning posted at 8:20 a.m.
Winter Storm Warning issued by the National Weather Service as
of January 07th at 4:25 a.m. EST until January 08th at 1:00 a.m.
The forecast has been downgraded with snow accumulation of 8 to
12 inches, but still a dangerous storm.
Winter Storm Warning from 7:00 a.m. Saturday to 4:00 a.m. Sunday for locations
including East Coastal and interior Southeastern Massachusetts.
Snow Accumulation of 8 to 12 inches on Saturday; heavy at
times this afternoon and early evening, then tapers off by midnight.
Untreated roads will become snow covered and slick.
Visibility will be reduced. Travel will become hazardous as
snow becomes heavy at times along with gusty northeast winds resulting in
considerable blowing and drifting of snow.
Winds...north 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.
Temperatures in the low-20s tonight with a high of 29 degrees
Saturday and a high of 24 degrees Sunday.
Hazardous travel conditions can be expected. (See story
Travel will be slow at best on well treated surfaces, and
quite difficult on untreated surfaces.
Only Travel In
An Emergency. If You Must Travel...Keep An Extra Flashlight...Food...And
Water In Your Vehicle In Case Of An Emergency.
Much of Westport area and SouthCoast received 4-6 inches of
light and fluffy snow from a fast-moving storm Friday morning.
bans Saturday in Fall River, New Bedford and Dartmouth.
traveling to an event check for cancellations or postponements.
Friday, January 6 – Breaking
News! 10:30 a.m. Westport Winter Woes. The new year’s first snow storm is causing havoc on Westport
streets, causing numerous accidents.
Slick road conditions caused
by 3-5 inches of light fluffy snow packed down on warm asphalt by traveling
vehicles is creating slick conditions, causing some unaware drivers to spin
out and run off road surfaces.
First responders have their
hands full this morning.
Town safety officers are
advising caution when driving, and Highway Department crews, after clearing
all roads, will sand every thoroughfare in town starting late this morning.
going to sand all roads in town.” Chris Gonsalves, Highway Surveyor.
Police said some parts of Route 177 are “like a skating rink.”
Temperatures in the mid-20s are exacerbating the icy
More of the same expected Saturday with heavy snow in the
forecast beginning at 10:00 a.m. with daytime temperatures in the mid-20s.
Above: This late
model sedan spun out on the north end of White Oak Run.
Photo | EverythingWestport.com
Drivers should exercise caution until becoming familiar with
road conditions, especially after the first winter storm this year.
Above: This pickup
travelling east on American Legion Highway spun out of control, driving
across and off the road heading west.
Photo | EverythingWestport.com
third accident, a minor fender bender between two vehicles on Route 6 near
Supreme Gas occurred around 11:30 a.m.
Thursday, January 5 - Westport
A. Schmid III after being sworn in Wednesday, January 4th for the start of the 190th Session of the Massachusetts
General Court in Boston. Shown with Rep. Schmid is
Representative Carole Fiola of the sixth district.
back to work guys and make Massachusetts great again!
Thursday, January 5 - Macy’s to close stores in Brockton,
Taunton... but Dartmouth stays for now.
Macy’s stores anchoring malls in Brockton and Taunton are
among 68 nationwide that are scheduled to go dark, eliminating about
160 jobs in the two struggling Southeastern Massachusetts cities.
Inset: Macy’s in
The closings are part of a major cost-cutting move announced
in August by the nation’s largest department store chain. Twenty other
Macy’s stores in Massachusetts will remain open. The only other New England
location slated to be shuttered is in Bangor, Maine. More.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017 – Our
photo of the Week could also be our photo of the New Year as this young
lady taking a leap of faith joins all of America taking a leap of faith
with our newly elected federal government led by president-elect Donald J.
Monday, January 2, 2017 – The
family that plays together, plunges together! There was a swarm of
polar and penguin plunges Sunday, and thousands took to the icy waters
along the southcoast to bring in the New Year with a shockingly fresh
perspective for 2017!
Back Eddy Polar Bear Plunge.
The 18th rendition of the Back Eddy’s Polar Bear Plunge was a sellout with
mild temperatures (41 degrees F) notwithstanding a severe wind chill from a
brisk north wind (20 kt) that didn’t deter many from taking the leap of
misguided faith into the Westport River (44 degree water temperature.)
believe you me; they come from miles around to take the dare of the chilly
dip for a breathtakingly tasty Back Eddy brunch.
Above: Is this kid cool or what?
Photos | EverythingWestport.com
Penguin Plunge at Children’s Beach.
Since 1975 the Westport Penguin Plunge has sponsored a New Year’s Day
swimming event in Westport Harbor. The noon-time “run and splash” was next
to the town beach, next to the Westport Yacht Club, on the river side of
Cherry and Webb Lane. The sound of a hunter’s horn launched the wave of
young and not so young turned up to take a chilly dip down in Westport
out at Children’s Beach!
Photos | EverythingWestport.com
organized by Jonathon Paull, Fred Johnson, and Jack Dolan, the New Year’s
Day activity event has been an annual event ever since, raising money for
with video and photos later.
Friday, December 30 – FOWL newsletter released. The
Friends of the Westport Library (FOWL) have released their first quarter
to read Fowl newsletter. Click
here to read other local organizations newsletters.
Friday, December 30 – New Animal Action Committee jumps into
action, albeit with caution.
By Robert Barboza
Correspondent to EverythingWestport.com
WESTPORT – A new 12-member town committee has started meeting
to discuss what steps the town might take to prevent reoccurrences of the
animal abuse cases discovered at a tenant farm off American Legion Highway
Selectman Shana Shufelt, elected as the chair of the new
Animal Action Committee, said the group’s goal was “to identify whether
Westport needs to implement changes” in current health regulations, local
licenses and permits for keeping animals, and other bylaws dealing with
agricultural operations involving livestock of all kinds.
“This is not a policy-making group,
but an advisory committee that would be meeting regularly to develop
recommendations for possible regulations and/or bylaws that could be
implemented by other town boards and departments.” - Shana Shufelt
A total of 59 suggestions came from committee members and a
crowded audience of animal advocates.
Thursday, December 29 – Breaking News! Westport Route 6
used auto sales outlet denied license renewal request. By an unanimous 5-0 vote,
Westport selectmen Wednesday denied renewing F&R Auto Sales’ Class II
license, citing numerous complaints and trial court proceedings against the
embattled used car dealership at 1052 State Road.
Used car lots are required to
renew annually their Class II auto sales licenses.
Select board chair R. Michael
Sullivan introduced a long list of complaints made to the Office of
Attorney General, compiled by Town Administrator Tim King, which included
113 complaints involving automobiles purchased from F&R, prompting
Sullivan to say that F&R has amassed more complaints than all the other
Westport used car lots combined.
F&R Auto Sales’ owner Francis R. Correiro (left) was denied a renewal of
his Class II license to sell used cars at Wednesday night’s meeting.
Despite a passionate and
spirited defense of F&R’s most recent business practices by Fall River
Attorney Thomas J. Hallal who claimed the used car lot has reformed over
the last few months and deserves a chance, Selectmen didn’t buy it and
reproved their bad employee practices with customers.
Selectwoman Shauna Shufelt
pointed out that F&R didn’t have a repair license and questioned how
repairs can be performed there without one.
F&R’s new business
manager, Nelson Martinez (pictured right in above photo) since
September claimed that he has shaped up the company and has had no
complaints since his tenure began.
“F&R has amassed more
complaints than all the other Westport used car lots combined.” - Selectman R. Michael Sullivan
F&R Auto Sales made
international news with the now infamous “pizza delivery guy abuse” scandal
that was captured on their security camera and covertly released to the
The video went viral on the
Selectmen have not completely
ruled out granting a conditional license in the future; they requested that
the company come back before them with proof of successful handling of all
complaints, and a current positive track record that might convince them to
issue a temporary or short-term license, giving the town a chance to review
progress at the used car lot.
may be a tall order as the complaints stacked up against the used car
lot are numerous: “59 consumers complained
of vehicle defects that impaired their use and safety; 17 consumers
complained of vehicles that failed state required inspections; 12 consumers
complained that F&R failed to provide required documents; 17 consumers
complained that F&R retained their vehicles for repair but that
problems persisted; 15 consumers complained that F&R refused to repair
defective or inoperable vehicles; and 6 consumers complained that the
business put inspection stickers on their vehicles without their permission.”
Westport Police Department conducted several inspections during 2015 and
2016 and reported violations on practices designed to protect consumers.
Police also reported 26 complaint calls over the past year.
WESTPORT - A used car dealership - which
last year was the center of a firestorm when a video of an employee
bullying a pizza delivery man went viral - is being sued by the state
Attorney General's office for deceptive and misleading business practices
after more than 100 complaints, court records show. Click here to
read full article.
Thursday, December 29 – Breaking News! Westport
TA Tim King stays put. Tim King
will be celebrating the New Year in his current job as the thoughtful and
effective Westport town administrator.
King was a finalist but was not selected by Eastham to be
their new town administrator; the search committe deciding instead to keep
things local by voting 5-0 on Wednesday to promote assistant administrator
Jacqeline Beebe, succeeding 25-year veteran Eastham town administrator,
Photo | EverythingWestport.com
Mr. King had wanted to move closer to his Harwich, Cape Cod
Westport Selectmen have said that they would like to extend
King's contract beyond 2017, saying performance goals need to be
Mr. King was hired in 2014 as Westport Town Administrator,
replacing a retiring Jack Healey.
King’s 30 years’ experience includes his last job as
Wellfleet’s town administrator; Wellfleet is a lower Cape Cod town.
The Eastham search committee has chosen
two finalists out of a field of 20 for the town's top job: current
Assistant Town Administrator Jacqueline Beebe and Westport Town
Administrator Timothy King.
Administrator Sheila Vanderhoef will
retire March 17, 2017 after 25 years of service, said Dave Schropfer,
chairman of the search committee.
for Eastham’s interviews of King and Beebe.
Wednesday, December 28 – Breaking News! No retail pot just yet! Massachusetts State lawmakers
voted today to delay the opening date for recreational marijuana stores in
Massachusetts by half a year — from January to summer 2018.
The extraordinary move, made in informal sessions with just a
half-dozen legislators present, would unravel a significant part of the
legalization measure passed by 1.8 million voters just last month. About
1.5 million people voted against it.
Click here to read the full story.
Wednesday, December 28 – Major Loss of Westport Salt Marshes.
Reported by Molly Weiner, WFA summer intern.
The Westport Fishermen’s Association, the Buzzards Bay Coalition,
the Marine Biological Laboratory Ecosystems Center (MBL), and the
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program partnered on a project over the
course of the summer in 2016 to quantify salt marsh loss and identify any
possible factors influencing the loss in the West Branch of the Westport
Above: The eroding
marsh edge can be seen at Sanford Flat in the river’s West Branch. Photo | WFA
The water quality of both branches of the River suffers from
nutrient over-enrichment from various sources including septic systems,
agricultural runoff, storm water, and lawn fertilizer. The potential
factors affecting salt marsh loss in the West Branch of the Westport River
include sea-level rise, hurricanes and nor’easters, nitrogen, and
herbivory. Coupling the use of historical aerial images of the area as well
as field work allowed for an examination of what role each factor is
from the WFA newsletter.
Wednesday, December 28 – Have tree, will travel? Hey all you Westporters with real Christmas trees;
when you’re through with those evergreen symbols of Christmas gone by, you
can dispose of them at the Transfer/Recycling Center on Hixbridge Road
during normal business hours, which for this week will be only Saturday, December 31st.
The center is closed New Year’s Day, but will reopen Monday,
January 2nd from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Trees can be deposited in a special dumpster at no charge
until the end of January.
Tuesday, December 27 – Fallen branch shuts
down road, local power. The Westport
Highway Department responded to a large, fallen tree branch Tuesday on Old
Harbor Road, and needed the help of police and an electric utility company
to clear it.
“We couldn’t remove the branch until the power was shut off,”
Highway Surveyor Chris Gonsalves said.
The branch was tangled up in the power lines, and presented a
real danger to department workers who had to remove it to open a portion of
Old Harbor Road.
Photo | Chris Gonsalves
Tuesday, December 27 – Massachusetts minimum wage hike is,
well, minimal! Among other
things, the new year will ring in a new minimum wage to Massachusetts.
It will be among the highest in the nation for the moment; minimum wage increases to $11 per hour on January 1, 2017.
But it will be quickly followed with steeper increases from
Colorado, Oregon, Arizona, Maine, Washington, New York, California and the
District of Columbia, all with hourly wage rates rising anywhere from
$12.50 to $15.00.
Not to be outdone, Raise
Up Massachusetts, an alliance of labor unions, community organizations
and religious groups plans to file a bill in January to gradually raise the
state minimum wage to $15.
Ok, so what do we do with all the current, more skilled
employees who earn the higher new wage rates now when they see entry level
jobs get automatic raises to what they are now receiving?
It is hoped that the proponents of higher minimum wages have
put some thought into the incoming administration’s plans to keep jobs from
Sunday, December 25 – School price tag reaches $95.2 million.
boards say school is a go; now the MSBA and the town’s voters will have
By Robert Barboza
WESTPORT – Unanimous votes from the School Building Committee,
Board of Selectmen, and Westport School Committee on Dec. 21 endorsed the
submission of a $95.2 million “preferred option” plan for a new co-located junior
and senior high school off Old County Road to the Massachusetts School
Building Authority (MSBA) for review and approval.
Coming with the state approval would be an expected commitment
of an estimated $39.4 million in construction reimbursements for an 185,610
square foot joint middle school and high school built at the site of the
closed Westport Middle School, contaminated with PCB materials.
with photos and architectural plans.
Friday, December 23 - Expertise
sought before Westport health agent role filled. Selectmen are
proceeding with caution before filling the next senior health agent
The board has delayed finalizing the job description, and
Selectman Antone Vieira Jr. advised forming an ad hoc committee and calling
on health professionals within the community to help selectmen formalize a
job description. Selectmen cautioned against "business as usual,"
after they recently cut ties with longtime Senior Health Agent James Walsh.
note. Westport Selectmen will meet Wednesday, December 28th to
review and discuss the posting of the Sr. Health Agent position to replace
James Walsh after he resigned several weeks ago.
Thursday, December 22 –
Westport Board of Health members followed up yesterday with a successful inspection
of the American Legion Highway tenant farm after a previous effort last Thursday was blocked by lock and
BOH members John Colletti, Karl Santos and board chairman Bill
Harkins were joined by Paul Halfmann of the Massachusetts Department of Public
Health, Fall River Attorney Karen Benson with client Richard Medeiros, and
a representative of Thor Technologies, an extermination company, made a
scheduled 10:00 a.m. inspection of the site described by the media as the
worst animal abuse case ever in the northeast.
The group was able to inspect all the lots and will provide a
report to Selectmen next week.
structures at the tenant farm.
A previous public health visit last Thursday by the board,
also attended by Town Administrator Tim King and Animal Control
Office/Animal Inspector Donna Lambert, was intended to confirm compliance
with removing condemned buildings and ramshackle structures, clean up the
accumulated filth and debris, check for any remaining animals on-site, and
verify the results of a recent rat extermination effort.
Unable to gain access to many gated and locked lots, King and
Lambert left in frustration when their request to cut the locks was denied
by Attorney Benson citing those tenants still had active leases and the
court had granted short stays to several tenants to comply with the BC
Superior Court injunction granting town officials full access to the
Above: Last week’s
inspection found evidence of fresh rat feces and some dead rats according
to BOH members. Police photo
Reports of animals residing on the lots were greatly
exaggerated as only a cat and duck were still on-site.
The cat was removed.
Thursday, December 22 –
Fall River man goes on wild and whacky crime spree.
The partially-masked thief was foiled
in a failed armed robbery attempt at Westport Apothecary.
Tuesday, December 13th was not one of Justin Tunney-Lassiter’s better days.
In fact it couldn’t have been any worse.
After fleeing the Dartmouth Target store in an alleged
shoplifting incident, the Fall River man attempted to evade a mid-day police
chase that started at Faunce Corner Road, and ended up in the Dartmouth
Mall parking lot where pursuing police broke off the chase after the
29-year-old Tunny-Lassiter struck several cars and ran down a pedestrian
while driving a stolen 2010 Dodge Caliber.
But the man on the run wasn’t done yet. In fact he was just
getting started, adding more felony acts to his resume.
Thursday, December 22 –
Westport Jr/Sr High School architectural plans a go!
And they’re going to the Massachusetts School Building
Authority (MSBA) for their review and anticipative approval.
Wednesday night, after a report from the school’s project
manager and architect, the School Building Committee, School Committee and
the Board of Selectmen all voted unanimously to send the project’s plans to
At stake is millions of dollars of state reimbursement
(projected at $39 million) of the total cost of demolition and construction
Click here to
review latest OPM Monthly Project Report
for all the details. PDF
The new Old County Road school building would add $528 to the yearly
tax burden of an average $400,000 Westport property over a period of 20
years; $468 for a period of 25 years, $440 for 30 years.
The school project has been amorphous from the start, shaping
and reshaping architectural plans to reduce cost without losing basic
Above: After a 90
minute meeting all boards voted unanimously to approve the plans for
transmission to the Mass School Building Committee.
Photo | EverythingWestport.com
Wednesday, December 21 - Rochester road crews
finish paving the Charlotte White and Main Road intersection today;
Main Road in front of the Jr./Sr. High School and Old County Road are next
up and last up for the year, says that master purveyor of all things
pavement, Highway Surveyor Chris Gonsalves.
“Work should be completed today,” Gonsalves said. “If not,
then by tomorrow morning.”
The $900,000 plus in Chapter 90 state money allocated to
Westport this year went to good use as road resurfacing long overdue now
gets its due, and despite the slight inconvenience to daily commuters, most
Westporters are grateful.
Sunday, December 18 – Surfs up! The Dark Knight takes on
Mr. Freeze as East Beach is battered with high winds and an even higher
storm surge, creating ideal surfing conditions not to be ignored.
This guy seems to be in the groove as he’s hangin’ five down
by the Life Saving Station!
Photo | EverthingWestport.com
There is a gale warning in effect until 5:00 p.m. this
Seas in Buzzards Bay are 9-12 feet, ideal for surfing but a
real threat to small craft and coastal erosion.
East Beach is getting whacked, but seems to be holding its
This afternoon expect SW winds 25 to 30 kt with gusts up to 40
kt. Patchy fog. Rain. Vsby 1 nm or less.
Tonight NW winds 20 to 25 kt with gusts up to 35 kt... becoming
N 15 to 20 kt with gusts up to 25 kt after midnight. Seas 6 to 9 ft. a
chance of rain.
Radical temperature swings from a low of 6 degrees yesterday
morning to 55 degrees today, and plunging to a high of 29 degrees tomorrow.
The weather should make up its mind already!
Above: This seagull
seems nonplused as waves pummel his perch Sunday morning. Photo EverythingWestport.com
Cobble was unceremoniously dumped by heavy wave action over
East Beach Road, but otherwise very little erosion thanks to the Highway
Department’s efforts to protect the new asphalt surface.
Below: The road
direction sign has it just about right as motorists
were forced to weave around the heavy cobble on East Beach
Photo | EverythingWestport.com
Click here to watch video of winter storm creating Havoc on East Beach
Previous headline news continues below.