Awards Night: Selectmen’s meeting features multiple award winners; date set for surplus land auction; and an update from the DPW

It was Awards Night at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, with five different people being recognized for their achievements on behalf of Abington. More on that to come.

The meeting was notable by the absence of Board Chairman Kevin DiMarzio. Board Vice Chairman Tim Chapin, who ran the meeting, announced that DiMarzio’s mother had passed away. 

VETERANS’ GRAVES

Turns out there’s more veterans buried in Mt. Vernon Cemetery than previously understood. Barbara Shepard, a Rockland resident, just finished up a three-year project to identify everyone buried in the privately-owned cemetery, including veterans. The daughter of a World War II veteran identified 879 veterans dating back to the Revolutionary War. Of that number, 44 veterans’ graves are without headstones. Abington Veterans Agent Adam Gunn commended Shepherd saying she donated thousands of hours pouring through burial records, discharge papers, and cleaning headstones to identify everyone. “We never had an accurate record or account of all the veterans buried there,” Gunn told selectmen. “We only know [the 879] number because of her.”

Rep. Alyson Sullivan was on hand to give Shepard a citation from the House of Representatives recognizing her “selfless dedication and commitment” on behalf of Abington’s veterans. 

Gunn read a letter from The Rev. Kristy Coburn, commander of Abington’s American Legion Post 112, who was unable to attend the meeting. “Families, friends, and comrades of those dearly departed veterans will now be able to find comfort knowing their loved ones have not and will never be forgotten,” Rev. Coburn wrote.

WRIGHT, GOLIGHTLY HONORED

Rep. Sullivan also recognized Abington’s Public Health Nurse Lindsay Wright, who was named a 2021 Commonwealth Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women. Wright was nominated by Rep. Sullivan based on her efforts over the past year coordinating multiple highly successful vaccine clinics, managing the town’s contact tracing program, and coordinating vaccines for home-bound seniors. Wright received flowers from her husband, Ken, who is an Abington firefighter, as well as a citation from the House of Representatives honoring her “dedication, leadership, and tireless advocacy on behalf of the community” during the pandemic. 

Rep. Sullivan also surprised Inspectional Services Director Marty Golightly with a citation for his “selfless and dedicated” leadership over the past 15 months. “He has done a remarkable job in this town,” Rep. Sullivan told selectmen.

Golightly gave credit to the Health Department staff and Abington’s first responders for the town’s response. “It’s a successful testament to the team I was surrounded by,” he said. 

HERNANDEZ RECOGNIZED

Charlotte Hernandez, who was Abington’s representative to Project 351, a non-profit that aims to develop the next generation of community-based service leaders, was also recognized by Rep. Sullivan. Hernandez received a citation from the House of Representatives honoring her “hard work, service, and leadership” in Abington and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In May, Hernandez organized a drive that collected 20 bags of clothing for Cradles to Crayons. 

ACAM’S TOCCI NAMED ABINGTON’S BEST

Selectmen also surprised Abington Community Access & Media’s Kevin Tocci Monday night, using his appearance before the board to name him one of “Abington’s Best.” 

The Abington’s Best Award is given by the Board of Selectmen to people, groups, and organizations that help make Abington a great town. Fred Villa, owner of Martin’s Restaurant, and William and Eileen Cox, owners of Bemis Drug, are the most recent recipients.

Selectman Mike Kolodiej presented Tocci with the award, saying that he “always gives 100%” and is a “dedicated team player and leader.”

Tocci was the former news anchor of WXBR, worked for more than 15 years at the Whitman-Hanson Community Access, and also hosts a radio show on WATD. He has been with ACAM since 2019.  

Prior to receiving the award, Tocci gave selectmen a run down of ACAM’s activities over the past 15 months, including broadcasting all high school home games, curating a selection of highlights of past athletic seasons, producing a number of new public information shows, and growing involvement from the station’s slate of high school contributors.  

(Ironically, the selectmen’s meeting was not being broadcast live due to technical difficulties.)

SURPLUS LAND AUCTION SCHEDULED FOR AUG. 10

Thirteen town-owned properties will go on the auction block at Noon on Aug. 10, the town’s auctioneer told selectmen.

Paul Zekos, of Zekos Group Auctioneers, said while some of the properties may only draw interest from abutters, others could attract significant interest as potential residential or commercial developments.

“There are some solid investment opportunities here,” Zekos said. 

The auction will be held live at the Senior Center. Registration starts at 11 a.m. 

Winning bidders will be required to sign a purchase and sales agreement on the spot, and then close within 30 days. 

Selectman Alex Bezanson said while the properties come unencumbered by any outstanding tax bills or liens, they do not come with any town permits; anyone looking to develop the properties will have to go through the traditional permitting process. 

The full list of properties on the auction block can be found here. Abington News will have more information on the properties in the coming weeks. 

STONE GIVES DPW UPDATE

DPW Director John Stone told selectmen his department has removed 213 potentially hazardous trees from town-owned property, but they still have 38 trees to go. Unsafe trees became an issue when a tree on town-owned land fell on a car traveling down Rockland Street in 2013, killing the two people inside. The only hitch with taking down those last 38 trees? The town’s bucket truck is no longer safe for workers. Replacing the truck is on the town’s five-year capital plan, and could be funded as soon as this fall, if selectmen call for a special town meeting. 

Stone also said the town will be paving Lincoln and Hancock streets this summer, along with Brockton Avenue between Route 123 and Washington Street. Town Meeting approved money to repave Lincoln and Hancock streets in May. 

In terms of sewer capacity, the town remains way under capacity. Under an agreement with Brockton, which treats most of Abington’s wastewater, the town can send 1.5 million gallons of sewerage to the city per day. As of now, Abington is sending just less than 1.1 million gallons. About 5 percent of Abington homes are serviced by the Town of Rockland’s sewer treatment plan. The town is still 40,000 gallons of wastewater per day until its limit with Rockland.

Stone said ideally he’d like to add three new positions: two additional workers to service the town’s parks and grounds, and another to help maintain the department’s dozens of pieces of equipment.       

Stone’s full report is available here:

%d bloggers like this: