For the second time in three years, Abington – and the larger South Shore – is experiencing severe drought conditions. Only about a half inch of rain has fallen on the town this month, which is more than two inches less than the historical average. We’ve got Florida-like heat and humidity, without the afternoon thunderstorms. For the year, the region’s rain deficit stands at more than seven inches. It’s quite a change from last summer when the area received more than 20 inches of rain in June through August, or double the typical amount.
The persistantly dry, hot conditions mean a spike in brush and mulch fires for the Abington Fire Department.
Fire Chief John Nuttall said the department was helping battle a small but stubborn brush fire most of the weekend near the former South Weymouth air base.
“This is a small area, about an acre in size, but the roots have been burning below ground, which can be difficult to reach,” Nuttall said. “They tend to smolder after being wet down and reignite the next day. Fortunately, our crews have found a natural water supply deep in the woods that we are able to pump from, so we have not been tapping into the municipal system.”
To help reduce fire risk, Nuttall recommends keeping mulch beds away from homes or other structures, to follow water department restrictions in order to conserve supply. and refrain from burning outside. This also means backyard fireworks displays are not a good idea right now.
“Barring any prolonged significant rainfall, the Fire Department will be dealing with these concerns really until the first blanket of snow, as difficult as that sounds in the middle of summer,” he said.
This spring the department received its new brush truck, which can carry five firefighters to a scene, plus extra equipment and hose. Nuttall said its “already proving useful.”
CABLE COMMITTEE WANTS TO KNOW IF VERIZON SERVICE IS GOOD
The town committe charged with reviewing Abington’s contract with Verizon wants to hear from residents about problems with service. The town’s 15-year contract with Verizon expires next year and part of the renewal process includes the Cable Advisory Committee holding a public meeting to collect information about service quality. This doesn’t mean problems with billing or a router issue at an indivudla home but rather if there are entire sections of town not receiving the expected level of telephone, cable, and internet service. The meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, August 9, at 7 p.m.
ROUTE 18 OVERNIGHT CLOSURES PLANNED
Turns out MassDOT has not forgotten about the Route 18 construction project, which is nearly done except for the new bridge going over the commuter rail tracks. The state will be closing Route 18 from Pond Street in South Weymouth to Pond Street in South Weymouth (the road curls back around!) for two weekends coming up. The first closures take place Friday, August 12 at 11:30 p.m., until Saturday, August 13 at 4 a.m., and then again from 10:30 p.m., on Sunday, August 14 through 4 a.m., on Monday, August 15. The same schedule will be in place the following weekend as well. During both weekends, vehicle, pedestrian, and bicycle travel will be detoured using Pond Street (because it curls back around). MassDOT did not respond to an inquiry from Abington News asking what type of work will be taking place during the overnight closures, including if this involves final paving work.
BEAVER BROOK PRINCIPAL MOVING TO THE FRONT OFFICE
Beaver Brook Elementary School Principal Dr. Christopher Basta has been tapped to become the district’s new director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. He replaces Dr. Shari Fedorowicz, who is the new assistant superintendent of teaching and learning in Rochester. Basta, who recently completed his doctoral program at the University of New England, was named Beaver Brook Principal in 2019. In an email to parents, Schools Superintendent Peter Schafer said Basta will begin the new role immediately, but still help with the opening of the Beaver Brook this fall. The search for a new principal for the school is underway.