Thursday, November 26,
Click here for today’s
event listings in and around Westport, MA!
Click here for upcoming
theater and arts listings!
Updated Saturday, June 27, 2015
11/26/2015 – Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. On October 3, 1789 President
George Washington proclaimed Thursday the 26th of November 1789 a day of
“public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and
glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that
is, or that will be.” Reflecting American religious practice, Presidents
and Congresses from the beginning of the republic have from time to time
designated days of fasting and thanksgiving. More...
The Thanksgiving holiday we
continue to celebrate in November was established by Abraham Lincoln during
the Civil War and made into law by Congress in 1941.
11/25/2015 – Brilliant beaver moon shines brightly over
Westport’s town hall, overshadowing the restored
clocks recently lit face. Yesterday evening at sunset,
Westporters were treated to a grand and super-sized “beaver moon.”
What is a Beaver Moon? The
full moon that appears in November is called the Beaver Moon. There is
disagreement over the origin of November’s beaver moon name. Some say it
comes from Native Americans setting beaver traps during this month before
the swamps froze to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Others say that
the Beaver Moon comes from the heavy activity of beavers building their
Although many Native American
tribes gave distinct names to the full moon, the most well-known full moon
names come from the Algonquin tribes who lived in the area of New England
and westward to Lake Superior. The Algonquin tribes had perhaps the
greatest effect on the early European settlers in America, and the settlers
adopted the Native American habit of naming the full moons.
11/24/2015 – Tell me it isn’t so, Joe! Beach Avenue project will not be decided
by the Tuesday, December 1st Westport Special Town Meeting – NOT!
In an incredible gaffe, a Fall
River Herald story and Shorelines front page headline erroneously
reported that plans calling for a Beach Avenue dune elevation, a 50-foot
vehicular turnaround and boardwalk over that raised dune cannot move
forward in any form.
Unfortunately, that is not the
Article 11 calling for the
discontinued use of Beach Avenue will come before Special Town Meeting and voters
will be given the option of first bypassing the article and, failing to get
a majority vote on that motion, given the opportunity to vote the article
up or down.
Westport voters may not be in
the mood to pass over this contentious article, and will want to bring it
to a conclusion, one way or another.
Look for sparks to fly next
Tuesday night. Given the divisive nature of this article, town voters need
to attend town meeting to make their voices heard.
11/24/2015 – Hix Bridge
might be a modern span, but it recalls Westport of old. Fall River Herald’s writer
Marc Dion waxes nostalgic on Westport’s now-troubled bridge (See article
below: 11/10/2015 – Hix Bridge underwater examination results are in with spalls and laitance highlighted.)
It’s a good bridge if you can
drive over it, walk over it or fish off the side, and Westport’s Hix Bridge fills all three criteria. More...
Editor’s note: Dion said in his article the bridge
was built in 1707, but it was actually built in 1738 by William and Mary Hix,
despite Head of Westport boat builders’ protest against it. The Hixs started operating a ferry across the river in
11/24/2015 – In a deal sure to send shockwaves
through Fall River and the surrounding community’s’ unemployed,
Amazon closed the deal on Fall River/Freetown land for a new distribution
In an announcement made today
by State Senator Michael Rodrigues and State Representative Paul Schmid, the
deal is now officially closed on the sale of land that will host an Amazon
distribution facility in the city.
LIT Fall River LLC officially
took title to 77 acres of land in the SouthCoast
Life Science and Technology Park on Tuesday. More...
Inset: Officials including state Rep. Alan Silvia, third
from left, Gov. Charlie Baker, center, state Sen. Michael Rodrigues, second
from right, and state Rep. Paul Schmid, right attended an event in
Cambridge marking the closing of a land sale in Fall River and Freetown
where an Amazon warehouse will be built. Submitted photo.
11/24/2015 – Shortcut to nowhere! Storm drain work continues
on Beeden Road/Route 177 to support
water runoff from the Lincoln Park housing and commercial development
Westport officials have
issued notice that a short term detour of Beeden
Road will be in effect on Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday, November 24th
to allow the Highway Department to install new stormwater
All work will be between the
hours of 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. For those of you who use Beeden Road as a shortcut between Reed Road and Route
177 - don’t!
Vehicles will be directed to
use Forge Road to Route 177 and to Reed Road and vice versa. Police details
will be present during those hours.
The Westport Highway
Department has been very active in stormwater
runoff projects throughout the town, most recent and notable were Sam Tripp
Brook on Drift Road, and Borden Street off Route 6.
11/24/2015 – Letter to the editor: I
have lived in this town for 90 years and witnessed many
controversies. The latest one causes
a little pain in me — “restoring dunes” at Beach Avenue.”
11/24/2015 – Letter to the editor: I am sorry to report that we
have hit a snag with the project and need to suspend our effort and pass it
(over) at the Special Town Meeting on December 1st. More...
11/23/2015 – Acushnet River Reserve now open to the
public. The former industrial lumber yard in
Acushnet known as the Sawmill, situated at the edge of New Bedford’s urban
North End and formerly a 19-acre lumber yard on the Acushnet River, has
been transformed into a public park that protects the river’s health and
offers local residents a beautiful place to enjoy the outdoors.
Restoring The Sawmill will
improve and protect the health of the Acushnet River, consistently ranked
in the Coalition’s Bay Health Index as one of the most polluted waterways
in all of Buzzards Bay.
Above: Bird's-eye view of the
Acushnet River at The Sawmill.
Photo |Buzzards Bay Coalition
11/23/2015 – Community leaders from across
southeastern Massachusetts recently announced the launch of a regional
Community Electricity Aggregation program. Westport Selectmen voted
unanimously to join the program.
Residents are automatically
enrolled, but may “opt-out” if they wish.
Organized by municipal
leaders, the program allows participating residents and businesses to
significantly reduce electricity rates through a bulk-purchasing contract.
"Spiking utility costs
over the last two winters have placed a real burden on household
budgets," said Westport selectmen.
“Westport and the other
participating communities on the South Coast have worked closely with
SRPEDD and consultant Good Energy to secure a fixed-term contract that will
help to protect area residents and businesses from future spikes in
Under the new contract,
beginning in January 2016, the rate per kWh for electricity supply will be
fixed for 24 months at $0.0949/kWh. Based on this new rate and historical
utility usage data, the group is expecting to see an estimated $15 million
in aggregate savings in the region when compared to the current Eversource and National Grid published winter utility
here for savings calculator.
Westport residents with
questions can contact Town Administrator Tim King at 508.636.1003 or email:
More... including additional contact
information for more details.
11/23/2015 – $3K in grant requests approved from
Ronald Desrosiers Memorial Fund. Following their annual review
of grant applications last Thursday, the Westport Citizens Betterment
Committee approved funding for an ongoing feral cat control campaign, the
Highway Department’s street sign replacement program, and the marking of
storm drains flowing into the Westport River to help prevent dumping of
hazardous materials. More...
11/23/2015 – Don’t contribute money to fundraisers of
which you know nothing about. That is the message to
Westporters after a Seekonk man is charged with
swindling donors by changing the dates on nearly $5,000 worth of previously
cashed checks then cashing them again, Westport police said.
Westport police suggests that
residents ask any solicitor for a receipt for their donation as well as
identification if they visit their home.
Patrick Kane, 28, of 379 Fall
River Avenue, Seekonk, was arrested last
Tuesday and is charged with
larceny over $250 by false pretense and was arraigned Thursday in Fall
River District Court.
Westport Detective Jeffrey Majewski said Kane conducted a fundraising drive in
Westport in 2013 and kept the scans of the personal checks from the donations
The police investigation is
continuing to determine if there are any other suspects, he said. Westport police photo
Kane had an office in East
Providence, R.I., and operated fundraising campaigns for at least the last
several years under different business names, including "Community
The suspect was contacting
Westport residents in regards to a fundraiser for a constable service as
police were investigating him.
Majewski urged residents to contact police
if they receive a call from a fundraising solicitor. He also said
fundraisers can legally alter their caller identification number to make
them appear to be local when they are not.
If you have any questions
about a fundraiser, especial if it is presented as a safety department
contribution (fire and police) check with the local authorities first.
11/21/2015 – Letter to the Editor: Westport
Resident cites age and disability in opposition to abandoning 600 feet of
11/21/2015 – Letter to the Editor: Selectman
encourages town residents to attend Special Town Meeting on Tuesday,
11/21/2015 – Letter to the Editor: Keep
Beach Avenue open for all town residents. More...
11/21/2015 – Updates from the
Hill for November 20, 2015 by Paul Schmidt. Representative Paul A. Schmid (D-Westport) joined his colleagues to
pass legislation that updates its public records laws and enhances
accountability measures for the first update to state’s public records law
in more than 40 years. More...
11/20/2015 – DONG to the rescue? Fresh on the heels of Cape
Wind’s failure to finalize distribution pacts with two electric utility
providers, causing its demise, DONG steps forward with a
proposal for a massive wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard.
After acquiring the rights to
187,000 acres of federal waters, the Danish Company with the zany name and
deep pockets is pursuing plans to build up to a 1000 megawatt offshore
windfarm 15 miles south of the popular vacation isle, which could result in
100-plus turbines that collectively could power up to 500,000 homes. More...
But can southeastern
Massachusetts afford the cost of wind energy. Cape Wind was projecting
production costs of over 20 cents per kilowatt, more than three times the
cost of natural gas production.
The utilities that were
pressured by the Patrick administration to partner with the mega-expensive
Cape Wind venture pulled their support at the first opportunity when Cape
Wind failed to live up to its agreements.
Is it possible New Bedford
may see another opportunity for a distribution assembly plant on the
Will recently re-elected
Mayor Jon Mitchel get a second chance at New Bedford development redemption
after losing Cape Wind and a casino?
11/20/2015 – Southcoast Health, operator of both St.
Luke’s and Charlton Memorial Hospitals, is seeking a merger. Why?
System and Providence-based Care New England Health System have taken the
first step toward a merger. If the merger takes place, the new organization
would become one of New England’s largest not-for-profit health care
Negotiations will likely last
for several months.
This is Southcoast’s
second pass at a merger since their failed merger effort last year with
South County Hospital Health Care. More...
11/20/2015 – Letter to the Editor:
The Westport Beach Committee and The Commission on Disabilities urge you Vote
NO on closing part of Beach Avenue. More...
11/20/2015 – Letter to the editor:
Protect hauntingly beautiful, yet fragile, spit of land (Beach Avenue.) More...
11/20/2015 – Letter to the editor:
Westport resident praises Knubble Beach access; offers advice how to avoid
handicapped parking violations. More....
11/17/2015 – Antonio B. Gracia, Jr., 89, of Westport,
passed away on Thursday, November 12, 2015, at Rhode Island Hospital. He was the husband of the
late Jean E. (Zembo) Gracia.
Westport Selectmen noted his
passing at their Monday night meeting.
“He was a Westport Selectmen
from 1962 to 1968,” said Selectman Antone Vieira.
“He was a distinguished person who made Westport a great place to live.”
Selectman Steve Ouellette
concurred saying “he was a pleasure to work with, very soft-spoken, with a
very strong commitment to the community.”
11/17/2015 – No compromise in sight for Beach Avenue. Two divergent but definitive
points of view collided last night in the Westport High School auditorium
regarding the abandonment of a section of Beach Avenue.
A public forum, set up Monday
night to discuss the prickly Article 11 question about just how much access
town residents will have to Acoaxet’s Point of
Rocks, was more turbulent than the churning eddies created by the ebb and
flow of the Westport River as it rushes through the narrow harbor channel
into Rhode Island Sound.
But unlike the spectacular
views from the Knubble, this controversy is anything but pretty.
Two, 25-minute presentations
from Westport Selectman Michael Sullivan and Beach Committee member Sean
Leach illustrated just how far apart the parties are in regards to
discontinuing this remarkable beachside avenue.
The brouhaha is pitting two
harbor groups against a growing cadre of opposition from two town committees
and hundreds of town residents determined to keep open the 109-year-old
sandy lane described by Sullivan as “a road to nowhere.”
The issue is so toxic that
the Westport Land Conservation Trust and the Westport River Watershed
Alliance have decided not to take a position on Article 11 at the upcoming
Tuesday, December 1 Special Town Meeting.
And the town’s Beach
Committee and Commission on Disabilities have voted unanimously to keep the
road open to all residents.
More with photos and video
Above: Regional Coordinator David Janik
for Coastal Zone Management speaks about dune nourishment providing more
wash-over protection for the eastern section of Beach Avenue saying, “it’s not
a permanent answer, but much better than beach nourishment.”
11/16/2015 – The last of his breed, Gary Sherman
retires; position to be eliminated. Selectmen and two state Fish
and Game officials gave Gary Sherman quite a remarkable sendoff at the
November 2nd Selectmen’s meeting.
The longstanding Shellfish
Constable & Wharfinger retired on Saturday,
Sherman now has the
distinction of being Westport’s last official to hold that position, as
Selectmen voted to consolidate that job with the town’s Harbormaster into a
new position – Director of Marine Services.
The Shellfish Constable’s
position was established at Town Meeting in 1947 and the Wharfinger in 1955. More to come later.
Above: Select Board Chairman Craig Dutra presents a town
citation to Gary Sherman recognizing many years of devoted service to the
town of Westport. Selectmen Sullivan, Ouellette, Vieira and Spirlet look
11/16/2015 - To close or not to close, that is
Question 11. The public debate will
continue on the discontinuous (abandonment) of 600 feet of Beach Avenue at
tonight’s Selectmen’s meeting, Monday, November 16th at the Westport High School auditorium.
All are invited to express
their opinion on this contentious subject.
The Selectmen’s meeting
begins at 6:00 p.m. Click
here for agenda.
here for Town Administrator’s
The Selectmen’s meeting will
be suspended at 7:00 p.m. for a one-hour public forum on Article 11 to be
presented at the Special Town Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 1st.
Selectmen encourage you to attend
Monday night’s important informational and public forum meeting which
begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be presided over by Town Moderator Steven Fors.
Proponents of Article 11 want that section of beach
road abandoned to preserve the ecologically sensitive and what some call a
fragile barrier beach, and to protect the area from storm surges.
Opponents of Article 11 want the road to remain as
is for unfettered access and use by the handicapped, disabled, and
mobility-challenged and seniors, as well as all town residents with beach
passes who can’t take advantage of East Beach or Cherry & Webb Beach.
Above: a large group of town residents came out Saturday,
November 14th to protest the proposed discontinuous of Beach Avenue to the
Knubble. Submitted photo
11/15/2015 - Tiverton Four Corners, a village locked in time. Tiverton Four
Corners lost an ardent supporter on November 16, 2013, when James R. Weir died at age 71.
Weir, a Boston architect, had
discovered the historic village in 1984 while he was working on a project.
At the time, many of the
buildings were in what he called "decrepit" condition.
Weir (pictured above) and his
wife, Rosalind, spent more than 30 years restoring and renovating the
300-year-old village. They also founded an arts center and eventually moved
nearby to Westport, Massachusetts.
Earlier in 2013, the Weirs
had decided to put their historical buildings in the village's commercial
center on the market, hoping to sell all the properties to a single owner
who would act as a careful steward of the artsy compound. More...
11/14/2015 - Toast of the town. Partner Jan Hall has retired
from Partners Village Store. Friday was her last day, and friends,
co-workers, and former and current owners of Partners celebrated her many
years in the store that has become a destination point for all of the southcoast villages of New England.
Above: Jan Hall (left) is toasted by friends, co-workers
and Partners’ new owner. Photos |
Nancy Crosby and Jan Hall recently
transferred ownership to Westport resident Lydia Sweetser
Partners book buyer starts new chapter:
The bookseller aficionado was
responsible for the exceptional tomes, novels, and paperbacks in Westport’s
hot social spot, and she will be missed by all.
Congratulations Jan; see ya around!
Above, left: from the left – Lydia Gollner,
Jan Hall, and Nancy Crosby. Right:
Jan Hall is surprised by an awesome bouquet from friend Anne Sabow.
11/14/2015 1:00 p.m. Six-pronged
terrorist strikes take at
least 129 lives in Parisian sites, and the death toll continues to climb.
Sympathies and condolences of the world
turn to Paris, France.
French president calls attacks ‘acts of
war’ and worst loss of life since WWII.
America’s oldest ally was hit
with what international journalists are calling France’s 9-11 as multiple
terrorist strikes and suicide bombings rock the area where France and
Germany were playing a soccer match, and a rock
concert where an American band was performing.
Hundreds of hostages in the
concert hall were taken.
One American was killed.
Our sympathy’s and
condolences go out to all Parisians in their time of trial, and President
Barack Obama has pledged America will stand by France’s side in pursuing
the attackers wherever they may be.
France has closed all their
borders and the military has been dispatched as intensive searches are
underway for those responsible for these horrific and cowardly attacks that
have taken at least 129 lives.
It was reported that
survivors of multiple bombings in the concert hall were summarily executed,
one by one, until the terrorists were taken out.
11/12/2015 – 2016 beach passes available mid-December. The Westport Town
Clerk’s office has announced that 2016 beach passes will not be available
until mid-December 2015.
Please review eligibility
regulations and fill out application
completely before mailing or dropping it off at the Town Clerk’s office,
Town Hall, 816 Main Road, Westport, MA 02790; and remember, check or money
Call the Town Clerk’s office at
508.636.1000 if you have any questions or need help.
11/12/2015 – The new Westport ROMEOS
season is about to begin with today’s featured guest, Westport's Tom
Hancock. His topic will
be Beach Avenue and the politics behind Harbor residents attempting to
close it, and an ever growing contingency of Westport taxpayers determined to
keep it open.
got a large turnout at last Saturday’s library meeting, and is following up
on an action plane to address the concerns of many town residents.
one, come all to Whites of Westport for lunch (you buy your own) and
spirited discussion on Article 11 in the upcoming Special Town Meeting on
Tuesday, December 1st.
White’s of Westport,
President’s Room, 64 State Road, Westport.
Above: Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Option 2 plan to build a
sand dune on top of Beach Avenue.
11/10/2015 – Hix Bridge underwater examination results are in with spalls and laitance highlighted. The Massachusetts Department of
Transportation (MassDOT) has issued their report
on an underwater inspection of Hix Bridge, and
the results are anything but encouraging.
Westport officials have long
complained about support column deterioration visibly seen at low tide and
first reported by the town’s Harbormaster. More...
Hix Bridge construction was
finished in 2006 to replace the previous bridge built in 1938 to replace
the original bridge destroyed by the Hurricane of 38.
Right: deteriorating concrete on a bridge support column C
exposes reinforcing steel (REBAR) to corrosion and rust, which will
eventually lead to early failure.
In response to concerns from
town officials and residents, MassDOT authorized
a dive inspection of Hix Bridge that was
conducted on September 14th, according to Town Administrator Timothy King.
Above: On Friday, November 3, 2006 state and local
officials dedicated the completion of the Hix
Road bridge with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Now less that nine years later
town officials are concerned with the bridge’s structural integrity. Photo |
The report highlights
laitance on four of five column C’s with spalling on two column C’s.
While not in danger of
immediate failure, MassDOT classified the
deficiencies as minor which require repair as soon as possible and “action/repair
should be initiated by a (state) District Maintenance Engineer according
to the Inspection Report provided by underwater operations engineer Randi
here to view report.
11/10/2015 – Westport Beach Committee and Town Clerk’s office take action to
address town beach pass hullabaloo.
Increased cost ($65) for
Horseneck beach passes drives Westport residents to Cherry & Webb
Beach, compounding lack of parking space on busy weekends.
Above: entrance to Cherry & Webb Beach.
And the Town Clerk’s office
is being provoked by angry folks who don’t qualify for town beach passes.
Newly issued regulations seek
to promote civility and better control of the issuance of
highly-sought-after beach passes to Westport town beaches. Click
here to review new rules.
The new regulations seek to
clarify who is eligible, thereby avoiding angry confrontations with town
employees who issue the passes.
Proof of eligibility is the
burden of the applicant.
individuals seeking a beach pass must file an application with check or
money order only (no cash please) and either mail (self-addressed, stamped
return envelope must be included) or drop off the application at the Town
"All submitted documents
will be returned
to the applicant in their
stamped return envelope." - Town Clerk Marlene Samson.
Applications can be obtained
from the Town Clerk’s office, Council on Aging, Westport Public Library or
obtained on-line by clicking
Simply put you “must have a residence in Westport
year-round and claim your residency here, or you must be a property owner
listed on the current real estate tax bill or spouse thereof.”
Commercial properties don’t
Fees remain the same; $30 per
vehicle, seniors 65 and older pay just $15.
11/09/2015 – Board of Health Vice-Chairman, Sean M. Leach has announced his
resignation from the Westport Board of Health, effectively immediately. No
reason was given for his early departure.
The life-long resident of
Westport brought clear vision and a strong voice to key health issues in
town. He will be missed.
Inset: Sean Leach pursuing his passion for 5K road races,
this one in Little Compton.
The Board of Health and the
Board of Selectmen will conduct joint interviews on Monday, December 14,
2015 in the Board of Selectmen's 2nd floor meeting room at Town Hall, 816
Main Road, Westport.
Selectmen are authorized to
appoint an acting Board of Health member as it is an elected position.
This appointment will be
effective immediately and shall expire with the 2016 Annual Town Election
scheduled for April 12, 2016.
Applications from Westport
residents must be submitted to the Secretary to the Board of Selectmen, 816
Main Road, Westport, MA 02790 or emailed to email@example.com.
Deadline for applications is
December 10, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
11/07/2015 – Can I have another? Shoppers’ taste buds were teased Saturday
by fanciful treats, and savory samples and snacks, all harbingers of the
holidays to come at Lees Market’s First Annual Holiday Open House.
Talk about not going shopping
when you’re hungry!
At every turn of every aisle
at Westport’s hot social and shopping spot, customers got the chance to
sample gourmet meats, cheeses, chips, dips and crackers, and deliciously
served up imaginative entrées sure to please the most discriminating of
Hats off to Traci and her
crew for a fun day at Lees. More
Above: Westport’s State Representative Paul Schmid gets a
cranberry harvesting lesson “in the bog” with Ocean Spray’s Sales Team
Leader Barry Botelho.
11/06/2015 – This Saturday Morning a meeting at Westport Public Library will
discuss the fate of Beach Avenue.
Meeting is open to all town residents.
Anyone concerned about the
future of Beach Avenue and access to the town beach near the Knubble should
attend a 9:30 a.m. meeting Saturday, November 7th at the Westport Public
Library, 408 Old County Road, Westport.
The multi-generational road
has been a popular destination with families for over one hundred years.
A group of concerned citizens
are getting together to review what effects fishermen, seniors, disabled
and handicapped beachgoers will experience if Article
11 in the upcoming Special Town
Meeting is passed by the town’s voters.
Selectmen are split over this
Both the Westport Beach
Committee and the Westport Commission on Disabilities have voted not to
support the discontinuance of any part of Beach Avenue.
The Highway Department has
expressed their concern about keeping the road open as well.
“Many Westporters are
concerned and they don't want to discontinue any part of this town accepted
road,” said Selectmen Antone Vieira.
“The road has been a public
town road since the early 1900s. This summer after the gate was removed
from the road we received many letters and phone calls suggesting that
folks really appreciated the opportunity to use the road to access the
Knubble and surrounding area. Imagine a town road with a gate on it,”
“A number of folks from the
Westport High School class reunions held last weekend also mentioned that
they appreciated that the gate blocking the road was down, the rocks that
were further blocking the road were removed, and that there was now some
opportunity for town residents and folks with disabilities to enjoy the
public area around the ocean and river again. They recalled using that area
with their family and they asked why had it been closed and why were people
being asked to leave the area.”
This meeting is being
organized to see if people want to help keep the road open to the public
and the area open to all.
“Please consider attending
the meeting, it should only last an hour or so,” Vieira said. “Also, please
reach out to anyone that you think might be interested in attending as
11/06/2015 – And then there were
12. An upcoming Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, December 1st was born
with just one article that is seeking town voter permission for abandoning
the eastmost 600 feet of Beach Avenue and turning it into a coastal dune, boardwalk and
gated, narrow access path for safety vehicles.
The article is controversial at best with fishermen, seniors,
and handicapped and disabled beachgoers.
But it's too late to shut the stable door after the horse has
Money articles came out of the woodwork, the biggest being a
request from the School Committee and Superintendent for $316,000 which
includes funding for two Special Education Teaching Assistants
($64,000.00), one LPN ($7,000), four Interventionists ($180,000), one part-time Director of Curriculum
($45,000) and Sports Uniforms ($20,000.)
item that will test voter generosity is Article 7 which is requesting $530,000 to design and provide site
development for a new $8 million police station next to the current Hix Bridge Road firehouse.
here to read full warrant.
11/06/2015 – Harbor Advisory and Shellfish
Advisory Boards will continue to be independent as Westport selectmen are
set to appoint a Director of Marine Services, having eliminated the
Harbormaster’s and Shell Fish Warden’s positions.
The Director of Marine
Services, a recently created position, will put under one umbrella the
functions of the Westport Harbormaster’s department and the Shellfish Constable & Wharfinger department.
The new director will report
to Town Administrator Tim King.
Selectmen on Monday, October
19th unanimously approved the action, which is designed to reduce expenses
and streamline reporting.
They will advertise the
position for 30 days before filling it.
The Harbor Advisory &
Shellfish Advisory Boards have endorsed the move, but in some quarters there
is a concern that shellfish activities in town may suffer under the new
“By and large consolidation
of these departments has worked out in most harbor towns that have
implemented it,” said Selectmen Antone Vieira.
“But a few towns have experienced some shortcomings.”
With the recent retirement of
Westport’s Harbormaster Richie Earle and the town’s Shellfish Warden Gary
Sherman, the merger may experience fewer consolidation issues under new
Salary for the new position
is not to exceed $75,000 per annum. At $75,000 it will save $12,000 over
the combined salaries of the Harbormaster and Shellfish Warden.
Smart money is on Acting
Harbormaster Chris Leonard (pictured above) being appointed to the new
position, as he has worked as an assistant to both Richie Earle and Gary
Leonard, now fully certified
for the Westport Harbormaster’s job, receives high praise from both Earle
11/05/2015 – Massachusetts Legislature enhances
veteran protections, expands benefits for Purple Heart recipients.
Representative Paul A. Schmid
(D-Westport) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass
multiple bills to protect the identities and legacies of active-duty
military personnel and veterans. These bills build upon existing
legislation to expand opportunities and services for military personnel,
veterans and their families. More...
11/04/2015 – Sam Sutter is ousted by
Mayor-elect Jasiel Correia
II, age 23, likely the youngest mayor elected in the city’s history.
here to get the CliffsNotes
version of Tuesday's Fall River election: Everything you need to know.
11/04/2015 – Africano censured! The Westport School Committee on Tuesday voted 4-0 to
censure School Committee member Carolina Africano
and remove her from all subcommittees. The move stems from a verbal
altercation that occurred between Africano and
Superintendent Ann Marie Dargon on Wednesday,
July 29th in the superintendent’s office. The censure document ordered Africano to act in “civil manner and cease any
intimating” behaviors more...
11/04/2015 – A three-peat! Jon Mitchell gets third term in
New Bedford mayor's race. Mitchell said Tuesday’s vote showed support for
his job creation efforts, the school reforms his office has launched with
New Bedford Public Schools Superintendent Pia Durkin, and more. More...
11/04/2015 – Talk that Talk but can MassDOT Walk the Walk. “The rail is much more than five
years away, but certainly less than 12 years,” said the slim and energetic
South Coast Rail Project Manager at the Capital Conversations public forum
held last week at Fall River’s Morton Middle School.
Above: MassDOT’s Jean Fox (right)
speaking with Julie Boren(center) of the
Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
“We are preparing the five-year
capital plans, blueprints that will guide our investments in our
transportation system between 2017 and 2021,” MassDOT’s
Jean C. Fox said.
The woman who has been
involved with the South Coast Rail project since its inception and led it
for the last five years, Fox was very clear about not being clear about the
completion date of the Spindle City’s terminus and rail connection to
Fox did say that there would not be a parking garage built at
the Davol Street station; that she was very clear
But if it is determined that
one is needed, there is expansion space on the site that would support one,
The Capital Conversations
forum was held to seek public input on the direction of the Massachusetts Department
of Transportation’s 20 year plan for five areas of public transportation
11/03/2015 – Former Westport highway chief
Sisson, who died recently, remembered as town champion.
A "well-respected public
servant," a "guy's guy" and "larger-than-life
character" were phrases used by Selectmen to describe former Highway
Surveyor Harold "Jack" Sisson Jr, who passed away last week.
"There are no words to
express the sadness," Selectman Antone
Vieira Jr. said. "He did a lot of good for the town."
Sisson, 61, died unexpectedly
last Thursday at Charlton Memorial Hospital.
"He was a well-liked and
well-respected public servant," Selectmen Chairman Craig Dutra said,
adding that he and other officials were a bit envious of the longtime
"He always got more
votes than the rest of us," Dutra said with a chuckle, adding that he
wishes Sisson's family the best during this time.
More... Photo | EverythingWestport.com
11/03/2015 – The town's Affordable Housing
Trust Fund is looking for special Town Meeting voter help on Tuesday,
December 1st to resurrect an old program and allow residents with moderate or low incomes to
do rehab work within their properties. The prospect would also increase the
town's subsidized housing units.
Housing specialist Leonardi Aray says the group
will propose to transfer $215,000 in previous funds from the Community
Block Development Grant account to the Westport Affordable Housing Trust
11/03/2015 – Southcoast Health is 1 of 3 hospitals in New England to offer an implantable
device as an alternative to long-term blood thinners.
Above: The Watchman Devise is a new option for patients
with non-valvular atrial fibrillation that has
been shown to reduce patients’ risk of stroke.
Southcoast Health announced today that
it is just the third hospital in New England to offer a surgical implant that
will allow certain atrial fibrillation patients to stop taking blood
thinning medications that are currently used to prevent stroke. Thousands
of patients in the region stand to benefit from this new procedure more...
11/03/2015 – On this day in
history the English Crown granted a Great
Plymouth Colony, a royal patent from which Westport would eventually benefit.
So what was this Great Patent you say?
Royal letters patent are published orders from a monarch
giving someone a specific right; letters patent are the precursor to
patents now given to inventors.
The earliest companies were partnerships, incorporated by a
royal patent (or permission), and given monopolies on trade.
Companies were not a new invention; they grew out of medieval
Why would the crown grant a royal patent to Plymouth Colony?
Because the crown would gain import duties and taxes, and the commercial
venture - for the ultimate benefit of the country – would be managed and
expanded by knowledgeable people at no expense or risk to the crown. The
advantage to the company, of course, was that all business flowed through
These early companies would vote in members who would pay a
fee and then be allowed, using their own capital, to trade under the rules
of the company.
American enterprise has morphed out of this first Royal
Today, large corporations benefit greatly by federal and state
politicians looking favorable on their operations, and more often than not
are rewarded with campaign contributions and super PAC support.
In this regard, nothing’s changed since 1620.
11/01/2015 - Halloween cameos around town. Below left: an attractive entry into the annual
Town Hall employee’s Halloween decoration contest. Below right: it’s always a little intimidating for homeowners
to visit the Assessor’s office, but this decoration makes the trip
attractively decorated doorway at historic Westport Point.
10/31/2015 – “We
lived... thanks to a Subaru.” A currently running Subaru car commercial will be a stark
reminder for 48-year-old Kyle Gates who slammed his 2013 Subaru Impreza sports car into a tree last Saturday morning on
White Oak Run, splitting the car in half, seriously injuring himself and
59-year-old Michael Vickers.
The Boston area men were traveling northeast on the dark,
narrow tree-lined lane at 1:23 a.m. when Gates lost control of the vehicle,
crashing into a tree.
The speed limit on the road is 35 mph and they were no skid
marks on the pavement.
“Speed was a factor” said Westport Detective Antonio Cestodio, and “charges are likely.”
Wreckage from the vicious accident was strewn all over the
crash site, leading first responders to initially believe that multiple
vehicles were involved.
Arriving police found the seriously injured Gates wandering
around the crash scene while Vickers was trapped in the front piece of the
car, requiring firefighters to use the ‘jaws of life’ to free him.
The Subaru Impreza hit a tree on the
Westport side of the road before the car split into two pieces, the back
piece careening 100 feet up and across the road onto the Dartmouth side,
the frontend remained in Westport.
Gates and Vickers were taken to Rhode Island Hospital where
Gates was later discharged, and Vickers listed in serious condition.
Miraculously, they lived.
They were saved by their seatbelts, Detective Cestodio said.
Tuesday, November 3rd – Police have charged Kyle Gates, 48, of Dorchester, with
speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and failure to maintain
The passenger, Michael Vickers, 59, of East Boston was listed
in fair condition last week at Rhode Island Hospital.
Police are still trying to figure out why the pair were speeding so late at night on a road that until a
few decades ago was just a dirt road.
with amazing photos.
10/31/2015 – Volunteer/community activist Elaine Ostroff says a fond farewell to Westport. "Public transportation is really important to me," Ostroff said. "It's easy to do things where you
have connections. I was a big bus commuter to Boston, for work, and I
remember looking at all those people in their cars, clench-fisted and
While she has embraced the pace of small-town life, Ostroff was born a city girl in Fall River, where her
grandfather founded a glass company. Ostroff,
whose maiden name is Phillips, grew up in the immigrant-populated Flint
neighborhood and graduated in 1951 from BMC Durfee
High School, where she played basketball. More...
10/30/2015 – Westport man dies of gunshot wounds. Westport police and fire
department personnel responded early yesterday afternoon to a call from 27
East Briggs Road where they found homeowner Jack Sisson with a gunshot
wound to his chest.
Failing to respond to
resuscitation efforts, Sisson was transported by fire department ambulance
to Charlton Memorial Hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries
after desperate efforts by operating room doctors failed to revive him.
Police determined the gunshot
wound was self-inflicted.
The former Westport Highway
Surveyor was well-liked and will be missed by friends and family. Our
thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this troubled time.
here for his obituary.
10/30/2015 – Westport organizations release their
November newsletters on-line. Click
here to read WRWA River News,
Westport Senior Center’s Evergreen newsletter, Friends of the Westport Library (FOWL) fall newsletter and Audubon Society’s fall E-Newsletter among
10/29/2015 – Origins of Halloween. Halloween is a contraction
of "All Hallows’ Evening", also known as
Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints'
Eve, a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on the 31st of
October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day.
It begins the three-day
observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the
liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints
(hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.
According to many scholars,
All Hallows' Eve is a Christianized feast influenced by Celtic harvest
festivals, with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic festival
Samhain. Other scholars maintain that it originated independently of
Samhain and has solely Christian roots. - Wkipedia
10/28/2015 – Star
Wars technology for seniors comes to the Westport Free Public Library. For those who are visually impaired or simply need a little
help with the fine print, lookie here...
The library has introduced a marvelous new world of assistive
technology with the acquisition of 21st century devices for the
magnification and illumination of print materials, such as newspapers,
magazines, scholarly journals, correspondence, bills and invoices, and
technical reports. More....
Above: A comfortable,
hands-free magnification environment allows easy reading of printed
materials over several hours.
10/24/2015 – Updates From The Hill: State Representative Paul A. Schmid (D-Westport)
joined his colleagues on Wednesday in adopting a resolution that will
encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on the boards of companies
in Massachusetts. While countries in the European Union have had
compulsory quotas for women representation for years, this is the first
step in Massachusetts to further the representation and leadership of woman
in the workforce.
Rep. Schmid was also recently honored to receive an
Appreciation Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 8502 in
Westport, for his assistance in providing signage on Route 6.
Rep. Schmid will be holding office hours on Monday,
November 2nd from 9:00 - 9:45 a.m. at the Westport Council on Aging,
located 75 Reed Road in Westport.
Pictured above: Joe Aguila
with Representative Paul A. Schmid.
10/24/2015 – Schmid joins Rural Caucus for first
meeting. Will promote keeping seniors in their home.
State Representative Paul A. Schmid
(D-Westport) announced today that he has joined the Rural Caucus within the
Massachusetts Legislature. The
caucus held their inaugural meeting this week to bring together legislators
who represent the 170 rural towns in the Commonwealth.
“I look forward to working
with the caucus and creating a focus to stress the importance of keeping
our seniors in their homes and in our communities as they age,” said
Schmid. “This is a critical issue in
Westport and Freetown, two of the communities that I am honored to serve.”
Moving forward, the caucus
plans to focus its attention on the issues of transportation, funding for
rural communities, agriculture, workforce development, affordable housing,
energy regulations and aging in a rural community.
10/23/2015 – Prosecutors: Westport man accused of
killing Dartmouth woman in crash has history of vehicle infractions.
revoked for Robert Hansen, 62, in death of Geraldine Correia,
The man charged with motor
vehicle homicide in last Friday’s fatal two-car crash on Route 6 in
Westport has a history of criminal behavior while intoxicated, prosecutors
Above: Geraldine Correia, from
left, poses with her daughters Karen and Kim, and her grandson, Jared. Correia was killed in a crash in Westport. Friday. Submitted photo
10/22/2015 – A Westport School Committee member has
filed a civil suit against the Westport School Committee and
In the suit, the member
alleges the defendants had interfered with her civil rights and violated
her rights to due process starting with the board choosing in early August
to appoint an independent investigator to look into the member’s alleged
conduct during a July 29th meeting with the school district’s
superintendent that had taken place in the superintendent’s office.
According to the suit, the
member seeks damages and demands a jury trial “on all counts so triable.” More...
10/22/2015 – Abandoned
house of animal horrors on Sanford Road. A call about a flea infestation at a Sanford Road home led
police to a house of horrors, filthy with decaying animal feces, two dead
dogs and a dead lizard.
Westport police have seen cases of animal cruelty but “not as
bad as this,” said Detective Sgt. Antonio J. Cestodio.
“They had abandoned the house and it was absolutely disgusting.” More...
10/21/2015 – “No, it’s your kids Marty!” On this day 30 years ago Marty McFly,
in the sequel to Back to the Future, traveled into the future to October
When McFly took that futuristic
30-year jump with his girlfriend and Doc, he arrived in a time when hoverboards zipped around, people wore self-lacing shoes
and flying cars were the norm.
Some predictions that did come true: video conferencing,
flat-screen TVs, tablets, and hands-free gaming have happened.
But one future event that didn’t pan out was the Chicago Cubs
winning the World Series – that was squashed today when the cubbies were
swept out of the playoffs by the New York Mets.
Almost though, almost!
Although some of those scripted future events didn’t quite
work out, the Back to the Future franchise made out quite nicely, thank
10/20/2015 – No dumping contaminants in the storm
drains! That’s the message the Water
Resource Management Committee and the Westport River Watershed Alliance
would like to give to the community by applying to the Ronald Desrosiers Memorial Grant program for funding for the
Betsy White and Bill Harkins
informed the Selectmen of their intent to secure this grant and two others
for water-related projects in town.
The two water advocates
showed Selectmen the proposed new permanent label to be attached to
Westport’s stormwater drains throughout the town
if they are successful in obtaining the grant.
Above: Betsey White (WRWA) and Bill Harkins (WRMC) showed
Selectmen a new storm drain label they hope to obtain with a grant.
Unlike the water that flows
down the drains inside your home which goes to a contained septic system,
the storm drain system receives no treatment or filtering process. This
means that any pollution that gets washed into the storm drains goes
directly to our streams and ultimately into the two branches of the
Examples of common storm
water pollution come from construction debris, material stockpiles,
automotive fluids, erosion, paint, pesticides, fertilizer, litter or any
other industrial, construction and household materials.
So be sure to keep all work
areas clean and sweep up litter and debris. Cover storage and dumpsters and
clean them regularly to avoid leaks. And install silt fences and other
erosion controls where needed and properly maintain them especially after
Remember, it’s illegal to
dump or discharge waste or pollution into storm drains!
10/20/2015 – Not my problem, man! Eversource (formerly NSTAR) said in a
recent letter to many Westport home owners that if you have their
electrical service and equipment (poles and lines) on a private lane,
you’re on your own dime with emergency repair due to needed maintenance,
storms or tree damage.
Westport selectmen have been
receiving calls about this unexpected correspondence from Eversource, and have asked the Town Administrator to
have a company representative come before the board and explain themselves.
The utility company said in
its letter that “Eversource
is not responsible for installing, maintaining, or repairing this
electrical equipment except for the meter and the transformer.”
In the past, Eversource “may have performed maintenance on this
private equipment when needed to restore power after a storm.”
They now claim that “due to
safety and legal concerns Eversource will no
longer perform this work.”
If you have received one of
these letters call Eversource’s Customer Service
Engineer, Bea Lord, at 781.441.3431 for information on how the company can
help further explain your options.
10/19/2015 – Is
this building in the Westport Police Department’s future? A study funded by the town to the tune of $25,000 to evaluate
the department’s facilities (Police Station Feasibility Study) produced a
1-inch thick report, hundreds of pages in length that says yes.
The study endorses a 17,793 square foot structure on up to
four acres of town-owned land behind the Hixbridge
Road fire station, with a cost of $8.5 million.
The Agawam, MA-based firm of Reinhardt
Associates, Inc. conducted the study and produced the recommendation (one of
three under consideration.)
The Police Station Feasibility Committee unanimously voted to get
behind the new building and conveyed that feeling to Selectmen last month.
Select Board Chairman Craig Dutra instructed the Feasibility
Committee “to put it in writing and get it to us” before agreeing to put an
article before the upcoming Special Town Meeting (STM) scheduled for this
Selectmen tonight appear poised to take that action.
"Seldom have I seen a working facility for
municipal services that’s in as difficult shape as this Westport
Police Station," said Town Administrator Timothy King, chairman of the
feasibility study committee.
Town voters may get a chance this December to put in their two
cents worth as an increase in the tax rate is projected to be an average of
$70.21 per year over a 20-year bond for an average assessed home value of
If December’s STM gives its approval, police occupancy in
their new facility would be 22 months.
10/20/2015 – Westport River Watershed Alliance has been named one of 17
Commonwealth Corps host site partners.
The Westport River Watershed Alliance will host 2 full-time Commonwealth
Corps members as Environmental Educators. They will teach the
Watershed Education Program (WEP) topics to over 600 Westport students in
grades K – 5. They will also host 10 weekend learning labs to enhance student and family engagement in
experiential science education, reaching over 1,500 people.
Corps members will engage 10 high school youth as volunteer
docents to assist with this expansion of programming. Corps members will
strive to increase student appreciation, enthusiasm, awareness, and
stewardship of the watershed’s natural world and unique resources.
Buchanan and Shannon Choquette are working with
the Westport River Watershed Alliance to educate local students about the
environment. Submitted photo
10/16/2015 – Tiverton native speaks out after shark
attack in Hawaii. A 25-year-old Rhode Island
native who lost his leg in a shark attack in Hawaii says the animal hit him
like a truck, according to a story on KITV.com.
Photo courtesy KITV.com
Colin Cook spoke to two
Providence television stations on Thursday nearly a week after doctors
amputated most of his left leg following an attack by a 10- to 12-foot
Photo courtesy KHON2
The Tiverton native says he
was waiting for a wave off Oahu when the shark hit him like an
"18-wheeler." He pushed the shark off with one hand and punched
it with the other. He credits a fellow surfer who came to his aid, saying
he wouldn't be here if it wasn't for his help.
Cook expects to spend two
weeks at a rehabilitation facility in Hawaii before returning to Rhode
Island for a while.
here for full story with video.
10/16/2015 – Upcoming grant lottery gives hope to
first-time Westport homebuyers. The Westport Affordable
Housing Trust (WAHT) is making grants
available to assist income- and asset-qualified first-time homebuyers to
purchase existing market rate homes in Westport.
Participants will be selected
by a lottery.
A market rate home is one in
which the current owner paid market value when they bought the property.
An informational session is
scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at the Macomber Primary School, 155 Gifford Road, Westport. Attendance
is highly recommended but not required to apply for the lottery.
The application deadline is
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 3:00 p.m.
Maximum income limits range
from $31,260 (1-person) to $69,050 (6-person.)
here for contact and all other
10/16/2015 – Hey all you Westport scallop fishermen
out there: the season will officially open tomorrow at sunrise on Saturday,
October 17, 2015.
Licenses are available in the
Town Clerk's office for town residents or property owners. Identification
is required to apply (driver’s license or current tax bill.)
The cost of scallop licenses are:
Commercial - $150.00; and Family (including children up to age 20) -
And yes, senior citizens (65
Years +) get a break – just $10.00. Town
Remember, scallop licenses
are different than regular shell-fishing licenses; quantities taken,
license fees and season length vary between the two programs.
Clerk’s office closes at 4:00
p.m. today, so hustle on down if you haven’t yet got your license. Call
508.636.1000 to reach the clerk’s office.
More past headline news continues below.