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September 1999

Vol. 8, No. 8

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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 12:30 p.m.: 90th Annual Reunion of the Sons & Daughters of Washington at the Old Town Hall.  The meeting will begin at 1:00 with refreshments and entertainment to follow.  This year’s entertainment will be provided by the Shea Swing Orchestra, playing music from the ‘30s and ‘40s. The Shea Swing Orchestra is a full 10-piece Swing Band consisting of saxaphones, trumpets, trombones, piano, bass and drums.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13: Meeting of the Washington Cultural Council for grant seekers to discuss applications and ideas.  For time and place, call Jeanette Roosevelt (623-8727).

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 8 p.m.: Special Town Meeting at Town Hall.  See article below for details.


At the September 27 Special Town Meeting, voters will be asked to make a number of money transfers as well as establish a new account.  Article 1 asks voters to create a new account for the position of Animal Control Officer.  This account is needed, says Selectman William Cawley, because the Selectmen have hired the Animal Control Officer (who is paid an hourly wage) to contain the cows that keep getting loose on Summit Hill Road.  In the past, the Field Driver--an unpaid position--was doing this.  With the cows getting loose so much, and the neighbors becoming increasingly upset, the Selectmen responded by using the Animal Control Officer. 

Article 2 seeks funding for the newly established Animal Control Officer Account.  The $1,000 would come from the Stabilization Account and would be reimbursed from Free Cash once it is certified.  The Town has already spent $800 on the cow situation and has taken the cows’ owner to small claims court to recover the expenditure.  The Selectmen are hopeful, says Cawley, that the owner, Henry Jaeschke, will pay the expenses before the Town goes to court and incurs court costs as well.  Cawley says he would not be surprised if the Town has to spend another $1,000 before it sees reimbursement, but he fully expects that the Town will be reimbursed.

Article 3 would transfer $390 from Workman’s Compensation to the Insurance Account.  The Town’s cost for liability and auto insurance was somewhat higher than anticipated at the time of the Annual Town Meeting.  The Town would use excess funds in Workman’s Comp to cover these additional costs.

Article 4 seeks the transfer of $500 from Stabilization to the Tax Collector’s Expense Account to pay for computer software upgrades.  Again the money used from Stabilization would be repaid from Free Cash once it is certified.

Article 5 would transfer $750 from Stabilization (to be repaid from Free Cash) to the Assessor’s Computer Service Account to pay for Y2K software the State wants every town to have.

The final article is for $595 for the Assessors’ Expense Account (from Stabilization to be repaid from Free Cash) to cover the cost of upgrading the tax maps and records.

Free Cash is basically the surplus funds from the previous fiscal year.  It must be certified by the State before the Town can use it.  The Town uses this money for unanticipated expenses and to decrease the tax rate.  Stabilization is an account that was established in the 1960s, says Cawley, to save for capital inprovements.  The Town would borrow from it with the expectation of repaying if the expense were not a capital improvement.


In response to concerns raised by Washington resident Robert Koffler, the Selectmen sent to Herbert Weiler of the Becket Planning Board a letter in which they stated their concern that the reopening of the long quiet quarry in Becket would have two detrimental effects on the Town of Washington: increased truck traffic and increased dust and noise contamination.  Koffler, who has been reporting to the Selectmen on Becket Planning Board meetings, says that at the most recent such meeting, the overflow crowd seemed to represent three groups of people: local or native people, year-rounders originally from elsewhere and summer residents.  These three groups rarely all agree, says Koffler, but in this case seemed to be of one mind, with virtually everyone at the meeting voicing opposition to the quarry.  A lawyer present at the meeting suggested that the issue of whether or not to allow the quarry to be reopened comes down to one point in the by-laws which calls for such issues to be evaluated based on the effects on the community.  The hearing was continued to allow the Planning Board to take experts to the site to evaluate the plan.


Green Power, a Watertown-based energy services company, has agreed to explore the possibility of obtaining grant money to pay for a feasibility study of using 40 acres the Town owns to the east of Town Park (on the other side of the tracks) for a windmill farm.  If the company can find funding, the Selectmen said they would be interested in determining if that site could be used to generate power for the Town.  The study would take about a year to determine if there is enough wind there to make the project worthwhile. 

The other Town-owned land--across from the Old Town Hall--probably has enough wind, but is right in the midst of a neighborhood, says Selectman Richard Grillon.  The site adjacent to the park, they believe, has very low visibility.


Sunday, August 29, proved to be perfect weather for the annual Washington-Becket Softball Championship game.  The field was in great shape thanks to Ed Bond, Glen Grogan and Ed Neumuth.  Dana Drugmand and Nicole Ledoux brought out the flag for the traditional pre-game national anthem. 

The new scoreboard got a workout by game’s end with a score of 22-20.  Washington took an early 7-4 lead in the first inning, but Becket came back in the second to bring the game to 9-8.  The game remained close until Becket scored seven runs in the seventh inning to take a 21-13 lead.  But Washington wasn’t done yet!  The team was down only one run going into the ninth inning.  Unfortunately, Washington’s rally fell short as Becket scored another run and shut out Washington in the last inning. 

The game was followed by a picnic by both teams and the spectators.  The picnic highlight was a birthday cake for pitcher Roger Pagery (age unspecified).  Becket will house the trophy at the Dreamaway Lodge until it closes down for the winter, at which time the trophy will be moved to the Becket General Store.


Stock up on non-perishables as you would for a winter ice storm, advises Police Chief Rob Jarvie.  Jarvie recently attended a meeting for towns to determine if they are Y2K ready.  Meeting leaders identified four potential problem dates: January 1, February 28 (because of leap year), October 1 (because it will be the first time all the digit slots will be filled) and December 31.  On New Year’s Eve, people should expect phone lines to be overloaded as many people call to wish each other Happy New Millenium.  There is, says Jarvie, a remote chance of 911 failing as a result of the overload.  If so, people should be prepared to use the county dispatch number (found in the phone book).  Otherwise, people here are probably as ready as they need to be, according to Jarvie.


The bad news is: scheduling difficulties have left Town birders without a designated birdwalk date.  The good news is: every day is a birdwalk day (weather permiting) for walk leader Ed Neumuth.  More bad news: fall birding can be tricky, says Neumuth, because the birds aren’t calling, tend to be drab, even mangy looking, and don’t stick around.  More good news: birders can see some interesting migrants, including broad-winged hawks.  So, those interested in going out should give Neumuth a call (623-5447); if it’s not raining and he’s around, he’s going out and welcomes birders of all experience levels.


Selectman William Cawley encourages people to use “bluing” instead of bleach in their laundry as it is much safer for septic systems. If you cannot locate bluing at the supermarket, Cawley suggests buying it from the Vermont Country Store catlogue (1-802-362-8440).


The big animal news east of Route 8 is the mother moose and her young one.  The cow and her calf have been spotted by many along Lower Valley Road and up Johnson Hill Road.  The pair spent hours in Sibylle Baier’s fields, giving her ample time to photograph them (though the best shots, she says, are still being developed). 

Bears, too, have been making their presence felt even though they’re supposed to be busy eating berries.

West of Route 8, animal sightings include two by Richard Grillon: a fisher catching a Canada goose and a fox helping himself to Grillon’s corn--the ripe ears only, of course.


Washington Cultural Council grant applications are due October 15.  Grant applications can be obtained from Jeanette Roosevelt (623-8727) or the Selectmen’s office, and five copies must be submitted to Roosevelt at 443 Johnson Hill Road, Washington, MA 01223.

There are five criteria applications must meet to be considered: 1. the funds must be for arts, humanities or interpretive sciences; 2. the project must have community benefit; 3. a continuing project must have other support; 4. public funding is not replaced; 5. it must provide equal access for all.

Applications must be typed (hand-written applications are not accepted by the State).  All sections of the application must be completed and the application signed.  The budget section must be completed with correct arithmetic.  If there are supporting materials (resumes, publicity, etc.), they should accompany the application.


When in doubt, before you throw it out, you can now check the back of the Bell Atlantic phone book for recycling rules here in Washington.  In addition, copies of that guide and a more in-depth description of what can be recycled and how are available at the Transfer Station. 

In addition to the usual glass, plastic and paper, residents may bring to the Transfer Station all types of batteries, fluorescent tubes, television sets and computer CRTs, packaging peanuts and planting pots and trays.  Tires go in the compactor, though people are encouraged to leave them with the store where new ones were purchased.

The Goodwill accepts clothing and cloth of all types and condition, clean and packaged in strong plastic bags of not more than 40 pounds; toys in usable condition bagged in plastic; games in boxes tapes shut; shoes held together by rubber bands; kitchen wares bagged or boxed; clean, dry, plastic bags bagged together.


There is room for two full soccer fields at the Town Park, but that calls for two more goals than the Park currently has.  Welding services have been volunteered, so the Park Commission is looking for galvanized pipe.  If you’re interested in donating the pipe or know someone who is, call Dave Drugmand (623-6651).


If you've got news, comments, critiques or photos to share, or you want to advertise, please write or call Abby Reifsnyder (623-6073). 


Send your comments and questions about Tracks at: tracks@town.washington.ma.us