WEEK AHEAD: Some questions in need of answers

Abington starts the last full week of October with some uncertainty.

Will enough people turn out Monday night for the Special Town Meeting, or will it be postponed until November? Will Health Agent Marty Golightly’s hope that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases will go down in the coming days come true Will the Town Clerk’s officer continue to see large numbers of residents turning out for early voting? Can the boys varsity soccer team turn around a tough start to the season?

The answers to those questions, in our opinion, are: highly doubtful, hopefully, definitely, and darn tootin’.

Tonight’s special town meeting is scheduled to take up approximately $1.2 million in operational and capital spending, as well as more than a dozen zoning bylaw updates, including one that would lift the cap on the number of retail marijuana shops. However, town attorneys pointed out this past Thursday that selectmen had not voted again to reduce the quorum number for the special town meeting. So instead of being able to conduct business with 50 people in the middle/high school auditorium, 150 is now needed. That number is not likely to be attained considering it’s difficult enough to get a 150 for the Annual Town Meeting, there are no significantly divisive issues up for a vote tonight, and people are wary about going out in the current coronavirus pandemic. But moderator Shawn Reilly has to at least gavel in the meeting before it can be postponed until November.

At least one former town official thinks the majority of the agenda should be delayed until the Spring anyway. Over the weekend, former selectman and current zoning board member Andy Burbine opined on Facebook that some of the zoning changes are significant and should not be taken up until a full town meeting quorum can be achieved.

Selectmen are scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m., ahead of the Special Town Meeting. One of the issues that will be taken up is a proposal by Alex Bezanson to temporarily waive licensing fees for restaurants in an effort to help those businesses drastically impacted by the ongoing pandemic. A quick analysis estimated the move would cost the town about $30,000 in lost revenue. But Bezanson said if it means it helps bars and restaurants meet payroll for another week, it’s worth considering. 

The special town meeting takes place tonight at a time when Abington is considered a high-risk community by the state Department of Public Health. The town’s COVID-19 numbers had consistently been on the increase since late September, peaking last week when the town’s number of positive cases stood at 36, with nearly a 100 people in quarantine for having been in close contact. Golightly said a couple out-of-town events helped drive the numbers up and hoped once those people emerged through the recovery period the town’s numbers would drop back down.  And on Monday morning the town posted on Facebook that the town’s number of active cases had dropped to 18. (Editor’s note: the town uses more up-to-date numbers; the state’s at-risk assessment is posted just once a week)

The Board of Health will meet Monday night at Town Hall at 6 p.m.; a COVID-19 update is expected.

Also meeting this week are the Council on Aging, the Abington Housing Authority, and the school committee.

Early voting continues this week at Town Hall. Registered voters can cast their ballots Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and on Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Early voting lines at times over the past weekend stretched out of Town Hall and around the corner. The volume was driven in part by parents of school-age children, hedging against the spectre of a Nov. 2 phone call ordering them into quarantine.

Town clerk staff and volunteers also continue to work through the thousands of requests for mail in absentee ballots. As of last Thursday, more than 3,800 voters had requested mail-in ballots, or about 32 percent the town’s registered voters. 

 And finally we wish good luck to the Abington boys varsity soccer team, who have gone through a string of tough losses to start the season. But the talented team has three opportunities this week to jump into the win column. And of course we have our ink-stained fingers crossed for the girls varsity soccer team, the golf team, and the cross country team.  (Schedules are below)


Board of Health, 6 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a COVID-19 update, and a possible discussion on piercing regulations. 

School Committee, 6:30 p.m., Frolio School. Agenda includes an FY ‘21 budget update.

Board of Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Abington High School. Agenda includes a discussion on waiving restaurant and bar licensing fees.


Council on Aging, 6 p.m., Senior Center. Agenda includes a report from the director. 



Monday, Oct. 19, 3:30 p.m.: vs Rockland @ Strawberry Valley

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 3 p.m.: @ Carver @ Village Links

Thursday, Oct. 22 3:30 p.m.: vs. Cohasset @ Strawberry Valley

Friday, Oct. 23, 3:30 p.m.: vs Middleboro @ Strawberry Valley


Tuesday, Oct. 20, 4:15 p.m.: @East Bridgewater

Thursday, Oct. 22, 3:45 p.m.: vs South Shore Christian Academy

Saturday, Oct. 24, 12 p.m.: @Hull


Tuesday, Oct. 20, 4 p.m.: vs East Bridgewater 

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 4 p.m.: @Middleboro

Thursday, Oct. 22, 4 p.m.: @Randolph

Saturday, Oct. 24, 6 p.m.: vs Hull


Tuesday, Oct. 20, 3:30 p.m.: vs Middleboro @ Memorial Field

Saturday, Oct. 24, 8:30 a.m., @East Bridgewater @Church Street Fields


Tuesday, Oct. 20, 3:30 p.m.: vs Middleboro @ Memorial Field

Saturday, Oct. 24, 8:30 p.m., @East Bridgewater @Church Street Fields

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