June News Notes
Howitzer is Back at Veteran’s Memorial
The howitzer has been returned to the Veteran’s Memorial Park after voters at the April town election voted to keep it at the site. The artillery piece is now facing Seekonk Meadows instead of Newman Avenue. The howitzer caused a great deal of controversy and was removed from the Memorial Park in March for refurbishment. The Library Board of Trustees, which controls the land at the Veteran’s Memorial Park, agreed to have residents vote on the howitzer’s location. The Board of Selectmen and Library Board of Trustees are working on a memorandum of understanding on the use of the land, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle.
Voters Approve $55 Million Budget at Town Meeting
Voters approved a $55 million budget for Fiscal Year 2019 at town meeting on May 14. The budget is a 4.7 percent increase over the current year’s budget. Voters also approved $400,000 to lease two modular classrooms at the elementary schools in the fall and $1.3 million for new windows and doors at Aitken Elementary School. Zoning bylaw changes on the establishment of marijuana facilities were also approved.
Seekonk High School Rated Among Top 100 in State
Seekonk High School was rated in the top 100 high schools in Massachusetts by US News and World Report. The magazine released a report last month ranking the best high schools in each state. Seekonk was ranked the 68th best high school in Massachusetts. Foxboro Charter was ranked 39th best and Attleboro High School was ranked 73rd. The report said that overall, Massachusetts has the best high schools in the country. The magazine considered several factors including test scores, graduation rates and demographics in its evaluation. Seekonk High, according to the report, has a 96 percent graduation rate, 46 percents of its students take Advanced Placement exams, 100 percent are proficient in reading and 87percent are proficient in math.
Seekonk High Principal Leaving
Christopher Jones, principal of Seekonk High School, announced he will be leaving his position at the end of the school year. He has accepted a position as principal of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School in Whitman, Mass. Jones has served as Seekonk High principal for eight years. His last day is June 30.
Seekonk High Art Students Exhibit Work at Attleboro Arts Museum
Art students at Seekonk High School participated in the Attleboro Arts Museum’s annual High Art exhibition that showcases the creative talent of area high school students. The theme this year was “Shape.” Participating students were: Savanna Amaral, Victoria Hall, Aubree Lawson, Kathleen Santos and Lauren Shanahan under the direction of art teacher Elizabeth Machado-Cook. Seekonk’s entry was entitled “Unified” and students used different puzzle piece shapes in the design “to incorporate a message that everyone matters and everyone belongs.” The exhibit ran from May 16 through May 31 and Seekonk was one of 12 high schools to create an installation for the show. Seekonk received a Merit Award. The People’s Choice award was not announced before publication.
More Residents are Using Ride-Sharing Services.
A recent report by the Mass. Dept. of Public Utilities indicated that approximately 64.8 million rideshare trips started in Massachusetts in 2017. The data shows consumers are using companies such as Uber and Lyft, more often. More than 20,000 rideshare trips originated in Seekonk last year, according to the report. Massachusetts is the first state in the country to launch a website (tnc.sites.digital.mass.gov) on the operations of ride-sharing companies.
Seekonk Schools’ Special Ed Program Undergoing Routine Review
The Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) conducted a review of the school department’s special education program last month. DESE representatives visited the school department, reviewed student records, and interviewed administrators, teachers and parents, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. A report of their findings will be prepared and if any issues are found, the district must propose a corrective action plan. The report and action plan will be available to the public once they are completed.
Old Town Hall Restoration on Hold
The Seekonk Wampanoags told selectmen last month that they have not been able to get the funding needed to restore the Old Town Hall, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. The town sold the property to the group in 2014. The Wampanoags had planned to renovate the building and turn it into a cultural and meeting center. The group’s leader, Darrell Waldron, reportedly told selectmen that the Wampanoags couldn’t get the funding due to the deed restrictions in the agreement with the town and suggested the town take over the project.
Fire Damages Former Benny’s Store Building
A fire broke out at the former Benny’s store building on Taunton Ave/Rt. 44 last month, according to an article in the Sun Chronicle. The road was closed for awhile because firefighters had to lay fire hose across it to reach a fire hydrant. Firefighters shut off a generator and opened part of the roof. The fire was put out in about 30 minutes. Fire departments from Attleboro, Rehoboth and East Providence assisted.
Seekonk High Names Valedictorian & Salutatorian
The top students in the Class of 2018 at Seekonk High School are valedictorian Jason Ho and salutatorian Connor Pozzi, according to a Sun Chronicle article. Ho is the son of Nelson and Fean Ho and plans to attend Brown University in the fall to study computer engineering. Pozzi, son of John and Pamela Pozzi, will attend UMass Lowell where he will study mechanical engineering.