March News Notes
Several Races in Local Election Are Contested
For the first time in several years there will be three contested races in the April 3 town election - Board of Selectmen, Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee and Park Commission. Four candidates are running for two open seats on the board of selectman: incumbent David Perry, Craig Chapman, James Muri, and Antonio Oliveira. Three candidates, incumbent Richard Barrett, Michael Deignan and Anthony Arrigo, are running for two seats on the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Committee. For one seat on the park commission, incumbent Lynore McKim and Veterans Officer John “Jake” Kramer are running. The last day to register to vote in the election is Tuesday, March 14, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the town clerk’s office. For other races, see Town Clerk Laura Schwall’s column in this issue for further information.
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School Principal Leaving Job
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School Principal Kevin Braga announced that he is leaving to take a position at Bristol County Agricultural High School as Assistant Superintendent/Principal. Braga said he has enjoyed his ten years at D-R and appreciates all the support he has received over the years. Braga has been principal since 2014 and previously served as assistant principal.
Interim Principal Appointed at D-R Regional High School
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School has a new interim principal. A few days after Principal Kevin Braga announced he was leaving to take a position at Bristol Aggie High School, the D-R Regional School District announced that Jeanne Bonneau was named interim principal replacing Braga. She begins the job on March 13. Bonneau has nearly 50 years experience as an educator and administrator. She currently oversees the pre-school program at the high school and also served as the interim principal at Beckwith Middle School and as a math coach at both middle schools. The school department plans to post the principal position immediately, with a start date of July 1. Bonneau will serve until a new permanent principal is hired.
D-R Regional School District Extends Superintendent Contract
The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District has extended Superintendent Anthony Azar’s contact for an additional three years. Azar, who was hired in July 2014, received an overall rating of “proficient” at his annual evaluation. He was evaluated on the performance goals of professional practice, student learning and district improvement. At his last evaluation, Azar’s contract was extended through the 2017-2018 school year. The latest extension is through the 2020 school year.
The Town Signs Lease on Anawan School Building
After several years of planning, the town has finally signed a lease with the Women’s Development Corp. to lease the former Anawan School for the development of senior housing. Voters at town meeting in Nov. 2014 approved an article authorizing selectmen to petition the State Legislature to allow the town to enter into a lease with the Women’s Development Corporation to renovate the former Anawan School on Bay State Road into affordable housing for seniors and senior veterans. The $5-$6 million project involves renovating the front portion of the building and demolishing the back portion to construct apartments, mostly one-bedroom units. According to an article in the Sun Chronicle, the complex will be named the Anawan School Apartments.
New Bill Proposed in State Senate Prohibits Schools from Using Native American Names for Sports
A bill filed by Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, on behalf of a constituent, would prohibit King Philip, Foxboro, Seekonk and other schools from using Native American names for their sports teams and mascots. L’Italien reportedly has not taken a position on the issue. The constituent, Linda Thomas, says the nicknames, such as the Warriors used in Seekonk and Foxboro are offensive and should not be allowed, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. A few local legislators have said the decision should be left to the school districts. Thomas reportedly said that Native American groups support the bill. A final decision on the bill has not been made.
Meeting on Compressor Station Cancelled
Spectra Energy, one of the companies behind the controversial natural gas pipeline expansion, and a proposed gas compressor station in Rehoboth, cancelled a public meeting that was scheduled for February 27 at D-R High School. Attleboro Mayor Kevin Dumas, who opposes the project, said it may indicate that the project is not going forward, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. A press release from the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen said that the proposal is on hold and Spectra is reevaluating and restructuring the proposal. “They do not wish to meet with us regarding any specific plans and will not move ahead until they have restructured a specific proposal,” said the release. The Sun Chronicle article indicated that there are issues with financing and there is a possibility that the project will not occur. Representatives for Citizens Against the Rehoboth Compressor Station (CARCS) say they will continue to fight the project until Access Northeast officially withdraws its application with the federal government. In February, the Attleboro City Council held a vote supporting CARCS’ efforts.