This field of flags was placed by volunteers with the Halifax VFW Post 6258 in memory of the veterans who lost their lives in service to our country. This year’s Memorial Day parade was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus so the flags represent the town’s appreciation for the sacrifices our servicepersons have made. More photos on page 7
Social Security Regional Communications Director
Social Security and its Office of the Inspector General continue to receive reports about fraudulent phone calls from people claiming to be Social Security employees. These scammers try to trick people into providing personal information or money, and often threaten their victims with arrest. Don’t be fooled.
Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.
Real Social Security employees also will not:
o Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
o Contact you to demand an immediate payment.
o Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
o Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
o Demand that you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
o Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.
If you receive a suspicious call or are unsure of the identity of someone who claims to be from Social Security:
o Hang up.
o Do not give money or personal information.
o Report the scam to our Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov.
Halifax Town Clerk Barbara Gaynor has been getting the town ready for the first election in the past hundred years to be held during a global pandemic. But she’s up to the challenge.
The election is Saturday, June 20, and the last day to register to vote is June 10. “I will encourage online voter registration,” Gaynor said. The link to register to vote is on the town’s website – Halifax-ma.org /Town Clerk.
The polls will be open the regular hours, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and as of now, “we are still planning on the polling place being the gym at Halifax Elementary School.” She encourages early voting/absentee voting for this election.
Selectmen are meeting virtually this morning, Friday, May 8, at 9 a.m. to discuss the warrant for the annual town meeting scheduled to be held Monday, June 15. “Town meeting … is still a work in progress. There are bills before the Senate and House dealing with town meetings so I think that is part of the town delay. I take direction from the Board of Selectmen as to the when and how,” Gaynor said.
The ballot is finalized and shows only two contests, Michael J. Schlieff is opposing incumbent R. Steven Hayward for Highway Surveyor, and Alan J Dias and Ashley DiSesa are both seeking the single five-year term on the Planning Board.
The rest of the ballot looks like this:
• Board of Assessors, 3-year term, vote for one, John J.R. Shiavone (candidate for re-election)
• Board of Health, 3-year term, vote for one, Steven MacFaun
• Housing Authority, 3-year term, vote for one, no candidate
• Housing Authority, 4-year term, vote for one, Patricia McCarthy (candidate for re-election)
• Housing Authority, 5-year term, vote for one, Richard Clark, (candidate for re-election)
• Board of Library Trustees, 3-year term, vote for one, Diane Ruxton
• Park Commissioner, 1-year term, vote for one, no candidate
• Park Commissioner, 3-year term, vote for one, no candidate
• Planning Board, 5-year term, vote for one, no candidate
• Halifax Elementary School Committee, 3-year term, vote for two, Robert Johnson and Alison J. Vance (both candidates for re-election)
• Silver Lake Regional School Committee, 3-year term, vote for one, Edward Desharnais, Jr. (candidate for re-election)
• Board of Selectmen, 3-year term, vote for one, Troy E. Garron (candidate for re-election)
• Board of Water Commissioners, 3-year term, vote for one, Richard Clark, (candidate for re-election)
There is one ballot question.
“Shall the town vote to accept the provisions of section thirteen of chapter two hundred and fifty-eight of the General Laws which provides that the town shall indemnify and save harmless municipal officers, elected or appointed, from personal financial loss and expense including reasonable legal fees and costs, if any in an amount not to exceed one million dollars, arising out of any claim, demand, suit or judgement by reason of any act or omission except an intentional violation of civil rights of any person under any law, if the official at the time of such act or omission was acting with the scope of this official’s duties and employment?”
Plympton resident Scott Materna, who works as the Facilities Manager for the Town of Halifax, put his skills to good use recently as he disinfected the new police station in a mutual aid endeavor. The disinfecting was not due to any specific risk, just something that needs to be done from time to time, according to Plympton Police Sgt. Stephen Teri.
State Representative Kathy LaNatra (D-Kingston) announces that the House of Representatives recently passed legislation to set a moratorium on most residential and commercial evictions and residential foreclosures during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, and for 30 days after it ends.
The legislation includes the following provisions.
• It establishes a moratorium on most residential and commercial evictions within the Commonwealth for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.
• Landlords may not charge late fees or send reports to credit rating agencies if a tenant notifies the landlord within 30 days of a late payment that the non-payment of rent is due to a financial impact related to the COVID-19 emergency.
• Prohibits landlords from sending “notice to quit” letters for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency is terminated.
• Establishes a moratorium on foreclosure actions for the duration of the State of Emergency and 30 days after the State of Emergency ends.
• Allows for video conferencing during the State of Emergency for reverse mortgage loans. Current mandates require in-person consultations for these loans.
• Emergency evictions may proceed during the moratorium for actions that involve allegations of criminal activity or substantial lease violations that may detrimental to public health or public safety.
Representative LaNatra said, “This is important protection for both residents and businesses because it provides some protection during this crisis. These are difficult times for us all and we are working to enact legislation that protects our citizens and help us all through these challenging circumstances.”
The bill now goes to the Senate.
Representative LaNatra’s district includes all residents of Halifax, Kingston and Plympton, as well as residents of Precincts 1, 11 and 13 in Plymouth; Precinct 1 in Middleboro; and Precinct 1 in Duxbury. To reach her, email Kathleen.LaNatra@mahouse.gov or her legislative aide, Chris Jean, Christopher.Jean@MAhouse.gov. The phone number for the office is 617-722-2430. For updates and announcements, please visit Representative LaNatra’s Facebook page, https://bit.ly/2Ura8VR or her website, https://www.kathylanatra.com.
The National Guard arrived on Sunday with much needed protection gear for Plympton first responders including N-95 masks and other protective equipment. Since the arrival of COVID-19, protective gear has been in the news because it is so difficult to get. Fire Chief Stephen Silva said that the supplies have loosened up and now his department is in good shape.
The chief made the news this week with his war against the giant online retailer Amazon. Plympton Fire Department has been a municipal customer of Amazon for years, and has enjoyed a good business relationship with them. Once the COVID-19 virus pandemic hit, Amazon restricted the purchase of many protective equipment items so they would be available to hospitals and emergency responders, and not hoarded by resellers.
All Plympton had to do is fill out a form. And another form. And fill it out again. Weeks went by, Silva said, and no product orders came through. Other fire departments recommended to Amazon by Silva were getting their orders, but Plympton was not. Silva finally enlisted the aid of Channel 25 News to put their media might behind it, and Amazon did call them back, assuring them that Plympton would be taken care of. Problem solved!
First responders from throughout the area came together at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Plymouth, last Thursday afternoon to form a parade around the building, showing their support and thanks to the healthcare workers who put their lives on the line every day they come to work.
Plympton’s Fire Chief Stephen Silva’s daughter is an ER nurse there and tells her dad of the difficult situations they face. Many who could come outside applauded the parade – and first responders could see the gratitude on their faces.
Church bells rang out, horns sounded, and doors opened to let out clapping, singing, and music-making Wednesday and Thursday evenings for five minutes at 7 p.m., all to pay homage to our first responders and healthcare workers who have put their own lives on the line in service to others, especially now, during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Selectman Mark Russo put the program into action, inspired by what neighborhoods throughout New York City, and others across the continents are doing to show their appreciation.
Colleen Thompson and Susan Vetterlein rang the bell at the First Congregational Church in Plympton Village, a bell that was cast by George Holbrook, an apprentice under Paul Revere, in 1830! It cost a princely sum of $386 at that time. The First Congregational Church was the first church in town to have a steeple and a bell. The bell weighs 1,100 pounds and it takes strong arms to pull the ropes to ring it.
Russo invites all of Plympton to continue to open their doors each night at 7 p.m. to make a joyful noise – or just listen, “listen deeply to what is possible.”
Fire Chief Stephen Silva had his department take available trucks to the bottom of the driveway and flash their lights.
Police Chief Matt Clancy’s department also took part to show their appreciation. Fire and police opted not to sound their sirens out of respect to their neighbors.
Lean out the door, windows, sound a horn, sing a song, bang on a pot, and continue at 7 p.m. each evening at least until Tuesday, or until the virus is contained.
After reading an announcement on the Plympton’s Facebook page April 8 that the town would close the transfer station at the end of business on April 9 for a period of two weeks because of a health emergency that could not be discussed due to HIPPA regulations, cars and trucks poured into the transfer station Thursday morning, with the line of vehicles lined up Ring Road, as far as Crescent Street at one point in the morning, creating a traffic jam.
It didn’t take long for town officials and the Board of Health, to modify that order and by Thursday mid-morning decided that curtailed transfer station hours would be the better solution.
Chairman Joy was pleased with the quick response and praised Arthur Morin, chairman of the Board of Health and head of the transfer station attendees, for the new plan. The new transfer station hours will be Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays, 9 a.m. to noon. It will no longer have Tuesday hours.
Morin told the board that the compactors will no longer be used and residents will toss bagged trash only into open top containers, leaving no need for anyone to touch any of the equipment at the Transfer Station. The office building remains closed to the public. “Now you can come in, drop your trash, and go,” Morin concluded.
Morin said that residents, perhaps in an attempt to be helpful, were touching the buttons, levers, and equipment, without protective gloves, not practicing social distancing, and were trying the doorknob to get into the office, despite signage stating not to. Morin said he took steps to protect the health and safety of workers at the transfer station.
The bottle redemption center is also closed, as they are throughout the state during this COVID-19 emergency, and the recycling compactors at the Transfer Station are closed for the present time.
Any recycling, glass, plastic, and paper now go in with the regular bagged refuse until the pandemic emergency is over and the Selectmen and Board of Health announce new protocols. Electronics, appliances, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, will also remain closed.
Morin reported that he was notified that there are two additional COVID-19 positive cases in Plympton, raising the total, as of last Thursday, to four.
Plympton’s Board of Selectmen met via ZOOM Thursday evening, April 9, at 5:50 p.m. following an executive session at 5:30. All three selectpersons were in attendance, ready to tackle the town’s business on this new platform.
Chairman Christine Joy called the meeting to order and with the board acted on some housekeeping items from the posted agenda:
• Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy’s contract vote on March 2, 2020, was ratified. She will serve the town for another three years.
• Nathan Cristofori’s appointment as Special Police Officer that was voted on April 2, 2020, was ratified
• Arthur Morin, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Health and Cathy Ferguson, Board of Health Administrative Assistant, were voted as members of the Emergency Management Team on April 2. That vote was also ratified at Thursday night’s meeting, April 9.
Selectmen weighed the benefits of postponing the Annual Town Meeting from Wednesday, May 13 and the Annual Town Election from Saturday, May 16, to Wednesday, June 17, and Saturday, June 20, respectively. The board voted unanimously for the postponement, hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic crisis would have passed by mid – June.
After reading an annouJoy commented, “This is a very fluid situation … things change daily. People need to be aware that this is an unprecedented situation,” Joy said.
Selectmen will next meet on Thursday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m.
Word has come that the transfer station in Plympton will close for two weeks beginning today, April 10. The decision was “not made lightly” and is the result of several factors, according to the edict, including patrons not following safety instructions, and trying to enter the closed office at the site, touching buttons on the equipment, and while trying to be helpful may actually be putting employees at risk.
The station is due to re-open Saturday, April 25, unless otherwise posted.