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First Parish Church: standing the test of time

The following is the third in a series examining the history and role of churches and houses of worship in Duxbury.

In 1632, when Elder William Brewster and several farmers who had moved out to Duxborough from the Plymouth Colony asked to be let out of their contract with First Parish Plymouth, First Parish of Duxbury was founded. 

The town wasn’t incorporated until 1637 – five years later. 

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Four properties proposed for new historic districts

Duxbury selectmen have backed four town meeting articles that propose to add four private properties to the town’s local historic districts map, saying they had no objections to local homeowners placing restrictions on their own houses. 

The Local Historic District Commission will be presenting four articles to the annual Town Meeting March 12 that seek to make new historic districts for individual properties. The properties are located at 91 Bay View Road, 120 Bay Road, 233 Powder Point Avenue and 1250 Tremont Street.

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Town manager receives authority to sign contracts

Duxbury’s town manager can now legally sign most contracts for the town. This long awaited action, which was supported by annual Town Meeting voters last year, was approved by the state legislature in January and signed by the governor January 20. State legislative action was necessary because this was a change to Duxbury’s Town Manager Act. 

The act was originally written to give the town manager authority to negotiate contracts but it listed the Board of Selectmen as having the power to execute, or sign, the contracts. However, the practice of having the town manager sign certain contracts had been ongoing in town for many years.

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Changes eyed for school guidance departments

At last week’s School Committee meeting, Lisa Dembowski, Duxbury public schools Guidance Department Coordinator, announced several changes that are planned for the guidance departments throughout the school system.

Chandler needs an adjustment counselor, Dembowski told the School Committee last Wednesday night. The matter was under consideration for the 2016-2017 budget, but the district cut it due to financial constraints. 

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Elections 2016: Race for school board; senate seat

In a year dominated by the presidential elections, Duxbury is having its share of elections this year, too. Voters can expect to go to the ballot box six different times in 2016.

The number of elections is higher than usual because of the presidential primary and election and the primary, special and regular election to fill the state senate seat vacated by Republican State Senator Robert Hedlund after 22 years. Hedlund officially resigned from the Senate on December 24 to become the mayor of Weymouth.

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Bomb threat note found at Duxbury Middle School

A bomb threat was discovered at Duxbury Middle School last Wednesday afternoon while school was in session, according to Duxbury police and Duxbury School Superintendent Dr. Ben Tantillo.

According to an email and phone call sent out to parents on February 3 at 2:40 p.m., the bomb threat, “a small handwritten note,” was reported to the principal Wednesday afternoon.

“The police were called and investigated the threat,” said Tantillo.

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Water bills stir discord

Since mid-December, the Board of Selectmen have granted discounts on water bills totaling approximately $5,595 for eight properties; last week, selectmen began to question this practice, saying they saw a pattern going on that they did not like. 

The one-time discounts are for the summer 2015 watering period that runs from March to September. Many residents have contacted the water department about their unusually large water bills and then they have written to the Board of Selectmen seeking relief. Selectmen began a policy last year that allowed a one-time discount on a water bill if there was a reason, like a leak in a sprinkler system.

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The value of education: Duxbury native raises funds for Tanzania school dormitory

Duxbury High School alumni are expected to go to college after graduation. It’s a reality, whether we want to admit it or not. My parents expected the same for me when I was born and couldn’t even imagine me flying halfway across the earth at eighteen to live in a developing country, but this is exactly what I have done. 

I have always loved school, but after four years of high school, I knew I needed a break before attending college, and volunteering in Africa has always been a dream of mine. So against my parents’ initial wills, I booked a six-month volunteer trip the East African country of Tanzania. 

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CPC: legal fees add up for Merry land purchase

Last week, the Community Preservation Committee voted to approve and recommend support for an important warrant article for this year’s special Town Meeting.

If the article does not pass, taxpayers could end up paying additional costs and legal fees associated with the Merry cranberry bog purchase, approved by voters last year. 

At its January 28 meeting, the Community Preservation Committee voted on several warrant articles and various appropriations of CPA funds, including administrative expenses in the committee’s 2016 operating budget and statutory allocations to its open space, housing, and historic preservation accounts.

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High water mark: map vote on hold

This week Duxbury’s Board of Selectmen postponed voting to support the most recent flood insurance maps until FEMA produces new maps incorporating changes recommended by the town.

Duxbury along with Marshfield and Scituate hired a consultant to appeal the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2013 version of the region’s flood insurance rate maps, or FIRMS, which were updated by FEMA to reflect changing weather patterns, erosion and development, which can affect floodplain boundaries.

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Annual Town Meeting warrant has 40 articles

Duxbury Town Manager René Read recently released the warrant for the 2016 annual Town Meeting, which contains 40 articles. The meeting will be held Saturday, March 12, at 9 a.m. at the Performing Arts Center.

The meeting will have its usual town business articles, or items for voter consideration, on the agenda, such as the FY2017 operating and capital budgets, the personnel plan, funding for the July Fourth celebration and various revolving funds.

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Hall’s Corner revamp?: Board supports ATM money articles for survey, zoning study

A plan to revitalize Hall’s Corner is moving forward with the Board of Selectmen supporting two town meeting articles providing funding to start the process. 

Selectmen voted unanimously to support an article requesting $8,000 to conduct a survey of the area to determine the road layout and to find out whether utilities, sidewalk trees and other items are in the public layout, which is town property. 

The three board members also voted unanimously to endorse a request for $10,000 to pay a consultant to recommend specific zoning improvements as well as recommend a framework for the revitalization of the area.

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Pilgrim Church - long a part of Duxbury’s history

The following is the second in a series examining the history and role of churches and houses of worship in Duxbury.

If you are traveling down Washington Street and hear the bells of Pilgrim Church announce the hour, you know that this building has its history rooted in Duxbury.

The parish, which was formed in 1844 out of the neighboring church (now the Episcopal parish of St. John the Evangelist, then a Methodist meeting house) in a disagreement over slavery and temperance, was built by Duxbury native Seth Sprague.

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Duxbury Beach Reservation, Inc. begins reconstruction of back road: Gurnet-Saquish roadwork to be done by month’s end

Over the last several weeks, 8,400 feet of the back road to Gurnet-Saquish (from the resident parking lot to High Pines) has been reconstructed and raised, the first project of The Reservation’s beach-strengthening efforts.

The project went out to bid on September 11. Duxbury Construction, the low bidder, began work in late November.

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New harbor mooring plan adopted by selectmen

The Board of Selectmen approved the final draft of a new mooring plan that relocates all boats in the harbor to improve access and safety.

The board voted unanimously to adopt the new plan Monday night. It was recommended by the Duxbury Bay Management Commission, which also voted to accept the plan at its meeting last Wednesday. Commission member J.R. Kent explained the changes in the most recent draft. The most important thing is that all 163 deep water moorings will be retained, said Kent.

“Anybody who had a mooring will have a mooring,” Kent said at the commission’s January 20 meeting.

The major change on the mooring plan was the relocation of larger boats with deeper drafts from the northeast corner of the basin to the southeast corner in front of Duxbury Bay Maritime School and Bayside Marine.

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