2006: Year in Review

Written by Administrator
 | Saturday, 19 January 2008 13:47

The word "new" can be used to sum up the second half of 2006. New faces came to town in the form of a health agent, an accountant and a state representative. A new committee was formed charged with the task of exploring alternative sources of energy.

The word "new" can be used to sum up the second half of 2006. New faces came to town in the form of a health agent, an accountant and a state representative. A new committee was formed charged with the task of exploring alternative sources of energy.

Structurally speaking, many new projects were proposed, approved or proposed and approved. A new pier was permitted for a couple on Water Street. Duxbury Bay Maritime School explored ways to comply with constructing a "green" building. And the town's first 40B project broke ground on Lincoln Street.

However, "new" did not always denote positive change. Two new technical glitches with the Chancery Student Management Software caused nearly a month-long delay in the mailing of the school's recent graduates' transcripts to colleges and later caused the loss of students' grades from the previous academic year. And motorists along Route 3A were met with a new sight, a drive without the smartly dressed Draco the Dragon, which was vandalized in December.

Below are the highlights of the second half of 2006.


The Bluefish River Fire House marked its 100th birthday with the gift of restoration. Originally known as Engine Company No. 1, the fire house dates back to 1906 and provides a glance at the town's early firefighting history. Resident Nancy Bennett initiated this project over a year ago, securing Community Preservation Act funding, private donations and in kind gifts.

Area contractors and engineers came together for a brainstorming session on Duxbury Bay Maritime School's plans to replace its current buildings with a "green" building. In order to get a green building certification, the project has to meet several requirements developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

An estimated $15,000 worth of cocaine was found by Duxbury police officers. While investigating a series of break-ins in the Lincoln Street area, a vehicle matching the description of a possible suspect vehicle was found containing bags of cocaine. A further search produced a total of 58 individually packaged bags of cocaine. The suspect, Luis Cotto-Feliciano of Columbia Road in Dorchester, was charged with possession of a Class B substance, possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute and trafficking a Class B substance.

After eight years serving as Duxbury's health agent, Jennifer Dalrymple announced her departure. Dalrymple's main reason for leaving was that she wished to start a family.

For the second time in three years, the Board of Appeals issued a comprehensive permit for 40B project Webster Point Village. The plans include developing land on Tremont Street off of Duck Hill Road to construct 40 units in Duxbury and Marshfield. Sixteen units would be in Duxbury. Four of the units will be affordable. The first permit was approved in April 2003. However, the applicant, Delphic Associates, LLC, appealed the decision to the Housing Appeals Committee. Members of the Duck Hill Neighborhood Association filed their own appeal with the Superior Court. Nearly a year and a half later, the applicant and the neighborhood association reached a settlement.

"It's obviously a situation between the neighborhood and the developers," Board of Appeals Chairman Jim Lampert said. "We think that everybody's needs were met and we protected the town, which is important."

Duxbury selectmen gave their blessing for the town's Historical Commission to move forward with restoration plans for the Tarkiln building on Summer Street that show the entire building used for activities/meeting space. These plans were an update from the last public meeting on Tarkiln at the end of May. During that meeting users of the building and town officials expressed their opposition to the idea floated by the Historical Commission to use half the Tarkiln building as one unit of affordable housing.

Fiscal year 2007 will prove to be a fruitful one as Duxbury education has been granted a larger piece of the pie in the final budget. The 11.11 percent increase from fiscal year 2006 adds up to over $312,000, giving Duxbury schools $3,127,346 in Chapter 70 funding, according to State Sen. Robert Hedlund.

The same software system that prevented the printing of report cards earlier in the year caused a one-month delay in the availability of transcripts over the summer. School Committee Chairman George Cipolletti said the problem arose with the Chancery Student Management Solutions' software. Students' GPAs were manually calculated. Duxbury High School Guidance Administrator Diane Zoccolante said the technical problem caused nearly a month-long delay in the mailing of the school's recent graduates' transcripts to colleges.

An unexpected foreign feathered friend flew into town in July. Animal Control Officer Eddy Ramos said a resident on Franklin Street noticed a black swan swimming in a pond off of Congress Street. Ramos said seeing a black swan in the United States let alone Duxbury is an anomaly since the birds are usually only found in Australia.

The Board of Appeals voted to grant a special permit for the construction of a pier at Fred Clifford's property on Water Street four years after denying a previous pier application under different bylaws. The pier did generate opposition with residents objecting to its proximity to the Water Street public landing.

On July 16, the pond off of Bay Farm Road was full of life and full of water. Three days later, it disappeared. The roughly half-acre pond has been around since the 1940s, when it was built by the seminarians at Miramar. Bob Burnham, one of the Bay Farm Association Trust trustees, said he was in the process of hiring a consultant "whose profession is analyzing problems like this."

Dozens of crews and neighbors lined Bay Road one morning in July to either work on or watch as a home at 549 Bay Rd. was pulled down the street and over a neighbor's farmland to its new address at 30 Winthrop Ave. The traveling home belonged to Alex Escott. He said he had been looking for a home to move to the Winthrop Avenue location for months. Escott settled on Clark and Jane Hinkley's home at 549 Bay Road. He said the homeowners planned on demolishing the structure and rebuilding.


Words spoken by Priscilla Alden hundreds of years ago became the driving force of a campaign to honor extraordinary women as well as draw attention to the historic Alden House. Brian Cook of St. George Street and Alden Ringquist of Shipyard Lane, both descendents of John and Priscilla Alden, teamed up to bring the first annual Speak for Thyself Awards Dinner to Duxbury. The pair selected Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Doreen Bilezikian, Loretta LaRoche and Helen Philbrick.

The first round of aerial spraying to combat the population of human biting mosquitoes carrying Eastern Equine Encephalitis hit Duxbury in August. Massachusetts Department of Public Health determined that a high risk of EEE in humans existed in certain areas of southeastern Massachusetts due to positive identification of the disease in human-biting mosquitoes in the area.

While at the beach in Nantucket, recreation director, Gordon Cushing saved a man from drowning. Cushing said he grabbed the man in neck-deep water, with the help of his friend Hal Herrick and a passing surfer. "We just knew we had to go in there and help this guy. It was kind of interesting to have this good teamwork�the father and the coach gettin' it done," he said.

Six years after driving the car that took a Boston firefighter's life, Ethan Morgan of King Phillips Path finds himself behind bars again. Morgan's attorney, Greg Sullivan of Hingham, confirmed that his client was sentenced to serve concurrently two 15-month sentences in Plymouth Superior Court by Judge John P. Connor, Jr. The sentencing of the 23-year-old resulted from incidents in Duxbury and Kingston over the past two years.

After serving the towns of Duxbury, Halifax, Kingston, Middleborough, Plymouth and Plympton for a decade, Rep. Tom O'Brien (D-Kingston) accepted the offer to become county treasurer. O'Brien was sworn in at Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton in August. O'Brien replaced retiring county treasurer John McLellan.

The Massachusetts Cultural Council bestows only six projects around the state with its prestigious Gold Star designation annually. This summer, the council honored The Art Complex Museum on Alden Street for its Japanese Tea Ceremony.

The Planning Board voted four to three to deny Bay Farm Montessori Academy's application for administrative site plan review. BFMA wanted to add to its 8.8 acre facilities on Parks and Loring streets by adding a 13,000 square foot field house, an additional academic building and a field. Planning Board member Harold Moody moved to deny the application stating it was inadequate based on several sections of the bylaw including sections 615.1.1-3 and section 615.1.7. These sections deal with the protection of neighboring properties "against harmful effects of use," convenience and safe access for emergency vehicles, convenience and safe access for pedestrians and a "harmonious relationships to the terrain and to existing buildings in the vicinity of the development site."

Selectmen appointed a nine-member alternative energy committee and adopted a charge for the committee to follow. The purpose of the ad-hoc committee is to advise the town manager and selectmen in finding ways to help control the costs of energy in town. The committee was the idea of selectman Andre Martecchini. He will serve on it and he also wrote the goals of the committee.

Rape charges made against a Duxbury businessman were dismissed. Assistant District Attorney Mark Dunderdale filed a motion to have the charges against Robert Weiss, 53 and the owner of the La Maison du Vin in Snug Harbor, dismissed. Dunderdale said the young woman in the case was not mentally or emotionally prepared for a trial.

A Church Street couple was hospitalized after suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Judith and Donald Goodman both suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning. Five of the six firefighters who responded to the scene were taken to Jordan Hospital for evaluation after complaining of headache and lightheadedness.

The source of the carbon monoxide was a car that was accidentally left running in the couple's garage.


Comcast took over for bankrupt Adelphia as Duxbury's cable provider. Comcast of Philadelphia and Time Warner of Stamford, Conn. are splitting Adelphia's assets, which must be sold off to pay Adelphia's creditors. The town's Cable Advisory Committee continues to work with Comcast representatives on negotiating a license.

Just as fast as it disappeared, the pond off of Bay Farm Road was replenished. Bob Burnham, one of the Bay Farm Association Trust trustees, contacted local businessman Chris Phillips of Phillips Tree and Construction. Phillips said he found three fist-sized holes in the overflow dam. He was able to construct a new overflow inside the existing overflow during the second week of August. He said the result was water pouring back into the area at a rate of five inches a day.

The first day of school marked the end of a 14-year tradition for Superintendent Dr. Eileen Williams. Williams announced that she will be retiring at the end of the academic year. She cites a desire to focus solely on teaching and taking graduate-level classes as well as turning her attention to her personal life as reasons for leaving the Duxbury post.

A man who carjacked a Duxbury police officer last year was sentenced in Plymouth District Court. Christian Martinez, 21, pled guilty to the charge of carjacking Duxbury Patrolman Ryan Cavicchi in December 2005. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

The South Shore Citizens for Peace have gathered each Saturday morning from 11 to noon in the old A&P plaza for the past 43 months, armed with signs promoting peace.

Bennett's General Store failed a compliance check aimed at checking if stores that sell tobacco ask for identification, according to James Wells, program director and enforcement officer with the South Shore Boards of Health Collaborative Tobacco Control. The Board of Health asked Bennett's owner Elizabeth Tewksbury to develop a training program for employees and send a letter about the store's policy to the board.

The public safety feasibility study committee presented its findings to selectmen regarding the best way to tackle the aging and inadequate police and fire stations and lack of harbormaster boat and vehicle storage. Study committee Chairman Neil Johnson said the police department needed a new facility; the fire department needed to replace or remodel the existing station on Tremont Street but also needed to stay close to that location because of response times; and that the harbormaster needed an indoor area to clean, maintain and store the department's boats during the winter.

Tracy Baugous of Powder Point Avenue accepted the position as Duxbury's Health Agent. Baugous served as the senior public health inspector for the Brookline Health Department for nearly a year before applying for the health agent position in Duxbury Jennifer Dalrymple vacated this summer.

The Massachusetts Department of Education listed two of Duxbury's four schools on the federal watch list. The federal act No Child Left Behind requires that every student in the state become proficient in the areas of English and math by 2014. To make this goal a reality, students must make gains every year in order to earn a perfect score or be considered proficient in both subjects by 2014. These gains or Adequate Yearly Progress are measured annually based on the students' MCAS scores. Matt Pakos of the DOE said the Alden School students failed to make gains in English language arts, and Duxbury Middle School students did not improve their math scores. Assistant Superintendent Sue Skeiber said the designation from the state applies only to special education students in both schools, not the entire student body.

Bay Farm Montessori Academy appealed the Planning Board's decision to deny the school's application for administrative site plan review. Board of Trustees President Hauke Kite-Powell said the school had filed an appeal in land court because it feels "the Planning Board made an inaccurate decision." In the complaint filed with the land court, the school requests that the court declare the town's bylaw dictating the administrative site plan review process as invalid as it is applied to the school.


A recount in the 12th Plymouth District yielded a new Republican candidate. Paul Curtis of Plymouth conceded to write-in candidate Olly deMacedo after a recount held in the district's six towns tipped the totals in deMacedo's favor, 783 to 759. At first, results from the state primary showed Curtis had beat deMacedo by four votes according to unofficial results.

Representatives from the Democratic town committees in the 12th Plymouth District unanimously voted Tom Calter of Kingston as their candidate for state representative. Five-term veteran Tom O'Brien rejected the party's nomination on the evening of the state primary, opting to take the job of Plymouth county treasurer. "I'm humbled and touched," Calter said. "I've dreamt of this moment since I was a little boy."

Town Hall welcomed Claudette Coutu as the new accountant. Coutu of Rochester spent the last 19 years working as the town accountant there. She was the first person in the state to receive a perfect score on the legal and practical sections of the Massachusetts Municipal Auditors' and Accountants' Association's certification for governmental accountants. Duxbury's town accountant position was vacated by John Madden, who was promoted to the newly created post of finance director.

When the Boston Children's Museum reopens its doors next year to celebrate it $30 million expansion, a local sculptor's work will be on display. Craig Bloodgood, special projects curator at the Art Complex Museum, was chosen by the Boston Children's Museum to create two permanent kinetic window installations in the museum's new Raceway exhibitions. Bloodgood will build two rolling ball sculptures allowing children to drop golf balls into the wooden contraption, watching and listening as the balls wind through the machine.

Site work began on the town's first 40B development. Land off of Lincoln Street was cleared as the construction of the Merry Village project got underway. Paul Cincotta of Merry Village, LLC applied for the permit in Aug. 2004. The project includes the construction of 20 two-bedroom, age restricted condominium townhouses. Five of the units will be deemed affordable. The Board of Appeals approved the project in January. "It was the last application to be filed and it's the first project to break ground," Director of Inspectional Services Scott Lambiase said.

During a Lyme Disease forum held at the library with local and state health officials, it was announced that Duxbury would acquire a means of preventing Lyme disease. Beginning in February 2007, the town will have to choose a location to place a 4-Poster Deer Treatment Bait Station. This station consists of a bin that's filled with whole-kernel corn and equipped with paint rollers on the four corners of the bin loaded with a special formulation of permethrin. As a deer feeds on the corn in the bin, the animal's head and neck rub against the permethrin-laden rollers, which gives sufficient coverage to protect the entire animal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. There were 33 confirmed cases of Lyme disease, which is carried by infected deer ticks, in Duxbury last year.

The GPAs of current sophomores, juniors and seniors from 2005/2006 were erased during the rollover at the beginning of the year, according to Gail Callahan, director of technology. For the second time in less than six months, the guidance and technology departments worked together to bounce back from yet another technical glitch with the Chancery Student Management Software. Callahan said EduTEAM, the company that provides technical support for Chancery's software, had followed Chancery's instructions for the rollover. Guidance Director Diane Dunlap submitted her letter of resignation after 22 years in the district. She said the continued issues with Chancery software and its impact on the guidance department had "significant bearing on the decision."

A Boston-based grocer confirmed that his company is interested in bringing a market to town. Victor Leon, Jr., of Foodie's Urban Market in the South End, said the company has been scoping out Duxbury. The 20,000 square feet store on Depot Street has been vacant for nearly three years.

After a disappointing crop last year, cranberry growers were happy to report this year brought a fruitful harvest. The United States Department of Agriculture estimated a 23 percent increase over last year or about 1.75 million barrels of cranberries would be harvested in Massachusetts this year, according to Robin Wager, special projects manager for the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association. Last year's crop produced about 1.5 million barrels. Wager blamed the weather for the poor harvest. She said the drought in July and August of 2005 followed by intense rainfall prevented pollination.

About 34 parents gathered at the meeting held at the library to discuss special education. Special education advocate Ellen Chambers, founder of SpEDWatch, moderated the meeting. Chambers, of Pepperell, founded SpEDWatch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the special education system in the commonwealth. She listens to parents across the state talk about their concerns with their school system's special education program. Chambers then boils these frustrations into a master list. Parents can then bring this list to their school system's administration. Chambers said the list also includes a call to action.


The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to take the recommendation of Pilgrim Watch Chairwoman Mary Lampert of Washington Street and petition the Atomic Safety Licensing Board to be part of the hearings during which the panel will consider two "contentions" brought by Pilgrim Watch regarding the safety of the nuclear power plant. Pilgrim's owner, Entergy, is seeking a 20-year extension on its operating license and the hearings are part of the two-year re-licensing review process. Pilgrim Watch contends that there should be more extensive monitoring of the plant for leaks of radioactive water from underground pipes and tanks into Plymouth Bay. Pilgrim Watch's second contention regards Entergy's "Severe Accident Mitigation Analysis," or SAMA. The citizens' group argues that the report contains incorrect information regarding emergency evacuation times, wind measurement data on transmitting radioactivity and the economic impact of a nuclear accident.

Voters in the sixth Plymouth District put their support behind incumbent Daniel Webster. Webster (R-Hanson) secured his third term as state representative beating Democrat Greg Hanley of Pembroke. Of the four towns in the district, the margin between the two candidates was the greatest in Duxbury where Webster won by nearly 1,000 votes.

Tom Calter of Kingston secured the seat of state representative of the 12th Plymouth District, which would remain in Democratic hands. Calter won five of the six towns in the district losing only the two precincts in Duxbury to his opponent Republican Olly deMacedo, also of Kingston. The seat had been held for the past 10 years by Tom O'Brien (D-Kingston). He rejected his party's nomination to take the job of Plymouth County treasurer.

The Tarkiln Community Center on Summer Street was closed after Town Manager Richard MacDonald learned the building's boiler was cracked and that a gas fire over the weekend shorted the facility's fire alarms.

Duxbury police arrested a Plymouth man for breaking into a home and attempting to rape a teenager. Police Chief Mark DeLuca said Jerry Pennini, 22, was charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime, indecent assault and battery, assault with attempt to rape, unarmed burglary with assault and operating a motor vehicle after license suspension. During a dangerousness hearing in Plymouth District Court, Judge Thomas Brownell ordered Pennini incarcerated for 90 days without bail. Brownell said his ruling was based on witness testimony of the incident on Nov. 8 and Pennini's prior record.

Only one of the School Committee's three articles passed as proposed during Special Town Meeting. The School Committee sought a total of $591,113 to fund collective bargaining agreements, $126,159 for an unanticipated transportation budget shortfall and $30,000 to fund the superintendent search. The committee said if voters passed the collective bargaining article in its entirety then it would withdraw the other two articles. Voters supported the collective bargaining article at the Finance Committee's recommended rate of $445,299, the transportation article as proposed and rejected allotting funds for the superintendent search.

After a lengthy debate, one failed motion and one failed amendment, voters passed Article 5 of Special Town Meeting, mandating the transfer of town retirees to a Medicare extension plan. The article, which was sponsored by the Board of Selectmen, proposed adopting a state law that requires 46 town retirees transfer from their current health insurance, Master Health Plus, to a Medicare extension plan called Medex. Proponents of the article said the switch to the Medicare plan would save the town $150,000 annually and would save the retirees $106,000 in costs. However, several retirees saw flaws with the proposal, stating that the insurance advisory committee had not been given enough time to review the plan and that retirees with long term illnesses would not receive the same coverage.

The Millbrook Crossing applicants appeared before the Board of Health, seeking a waiver to build a mounded septic system. Many residents turned out in opposition to the project. The board said it would schedule another meeting as soon as it had received updated drawings from the project's engineer. All other town boards hearing the case have put their meetings on hold until the Board of Health rules on the applicant's request.

A trial date has been set for the case of a Duxbury man facing allegations of raping two teenagers. Jose Arana's trial will begin on April 2, 2007, according to a clerk in Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton. The former Notre Dame Academy soccer coach is facing a 16-count grand jury indictment including multiple charges of rape of a child with force and providing alcohol to those under 21 years old. He has pled not guilty on all charges.

The size and design of the town's street signs began being replaced. DPW Director Tom Daley said Duxbury's white street signs with black lettering will soon be replaced by green signs with white lettering. Daley said the change comes at the request of the federal government to create bigger signage. Signs on Harrison Street and Lovers Lane have been changed.

Parents whose children attend the Berrybrook School on Winter Street were told classes would be suspended beginning on Nov. 27 due to the detection of lead paint. A letter dated Wednesday, Nov. 22 was sent to parents from Jennifer Tice, president of the board of directors, informing them that the discovery had prompted the board to cancel classes to allow for further investigation.

For the first time in nine years, the tax rate set by the Duxbury Board of Assessors has risen because real estate values have not increased as much as in previous years. The proposed tax rate for fiscal year 2007 is $10.14 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This represents a three percent increase over FY2006. The town's fiscal year begins on June 30, 2006 and ends July 1, 2007.


A fixture of the holidays was vandalized in December. Draco, the dragon on Tremont Street, was pushed over, its faced smashed and its wings shredded. Duxbury police are investigating the incident.

The School Committee agreed to a $26.4 million operating budget for fiscal year 2008. In a four to one vote, the School Committee approved the $26,419,449 budget, which was $52,000 more than Supt. Eileen Williams had proposed. Williams said the athletic department needed $52,000 for ice time, transportation, supplies and coaches. In years past, the School Committee has covered these costs through fees. However, this year, the committee decided to include this request in the operating budget. The capital budget for the schools is $242,400.

In his annual balanced budget presentation to selectmen, Town Manager Richard MacDonald painted a grim picture of a tight budget with slim increases for every town department including the schools. MacDonald used all $1.7 million in the town's free cash account to balance the budget. This represents a shift in thinking at town hall. The past budgeting policy has been to try to save at least a million in free cash after the Annual Town Meeting in March to be prepared for unforeseen changes in the budget during the year. The fiscal year 2008 budget totals $55.5 million, which is a 3.65 percent increase over the last year.

A new Berrybrook School will be built and the current farmhouse will be preserved according to a letter sent to parents by the school's board of directors. The detection of lead paint and suspension of classes at the end of November led to speculation about the fate of the original building. The letter outlined the board's plans to construct a new farmhouse, preserve the existing farmhouse, require no tuition for the month of December and establish committees from the school's community to help with the design of the new school, the restoration of the existing building and communication.

Selectman John Tuffy said he would not run for a fourth term. Tuffy, of Buckboard Road, has served for nine years as a selectman. After three terms on the board, Tuffy said it is time for a change.

The Board of Appeals voted to approve new plans for Duxbury Crossing. The 40B project involves the construction of 20 units, five of which would be affordable, in Duxbury near the intersection of Enterprise and Careswell streets. The proposal was remanded back to the board in April after the applicant, Charles Tringale, said the plans the board previously approved in January were financially unfeasible. However, Director of Inspectional Services Scott Lambiase said Tringale's attorney has filed another appeal this time citing too many conditions in the board's new decision.

Two finalists have been named in the Duxbury High School principal search. Andrew Stephens, principal of Memorial Middle School in Hull, and Manuel Cabral, assistant principal of Dartmouth High School, were candidates recommended by a screening team, according to Supt. Eileen Williams. Williams said she will make a decision by Jan. 15.

Selectmen unanimously accepted a report from the Bay Management Study Commission that calls for continuing the moratorium on new aquaculture grants in Duxbury Bay and appointing an ad hoc committee to develop an aquaculture management plan.