By Carol Meyer
Whether you and your family celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or another holiday in December, let's wish happiness, peace, and a wonderful time for all.
We deserve it! It's been a tough year, with political strife, the rough patches some among us are experiencing, and the busy schedules we all juggle.
Let's set all that aside for awhile and smile at the next person we meet on the street -- whether we know them or not; stop when it is safe to do so to allow another car to pass by; give a friend or family member an extra-big hug; lend a listening ear to someone who is feeling troubled; or make a contribution to the local food pantry or gift drive or volunteer at a local shelter during the holidays.
I love this saying: "Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons," by Ruth Ann Schabacker.
What gifts can we untie each day leading up to our own celebrations that will add to someone else's holiday cheer?!
By Carol Meyer
While Hingham is considered to be an affluent town, that's not true for some of its residents.
During a recent financial snapshop leading into the new budget season, Selectman Chairman Karen Johnson emphasized the board’s goal of “preserving the financial diversity of Hingham’s population.”
That said, the $841,276 average assessed home value and accompanying $10,000-plus annual tax bill make meeting that objective more challenging than ever.
Fifty percent of Hingham households have an annual income of less than $100,000. By 2020, 47 percent of the households will have members age 65 and over -- with many of those on fixed incomes.
Selectman Mary Power noted that the board has heard from Hingham seniors (and some other residents) of limited means who are finding it more and more difficult to remain in town. Efforts have been successful in increasing the town's "affordable" housing stock, but there's not enough to meet the need.
Among the Selectmen's top priorities are providing some tax relief, exploring public/private partnerships for some of the costly capital projects on the radar screen, pursuing grant and other funding opportunities, and working toward more development in South Hingham that’s appropriate for the area to help decrease the tax burden on residential property owners, who shoulder most of the tax burden.
Can you think of other ways to help maintain diversity in Hingham, including residents of different backgrounds and financial means?
By Carol Meyer
Downtown Hingham will be merry and bright this holiday season!
There's the annual Christmas in the Square celebration December 6 -- hosted by the Hingham Downtown Association -- featuring local musicians playing holiday favorites, giant candy canes, the second annual Luminaria Festival lighting up the Square, a visit from Santa, and other festivities.
Leading up to this event and kicking off the excitement surrounding the holidays will be the Dec. 5 Miracle on Main Street, the primary Christmas in the Square fundraiser.
With the help of many generous businesses and individuals, all 80 of the downtown lampposts will be decorated, each bearing the name of its sponsor. In the spirit of inclusiveness, eight of the lampposts will be decorated in observance of Hanukkah.
Thanks goes to Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant and the Hingham Police Department, who will decorate the lampposts in time for the Christmas in the Square celebration.
And if you can't get enough of that holiday spirit, you can enjoy the Holly Jolly Hingham month-long celebration while doing your holiday shopping in downtown Hingham.
For full details about all these events and activities visit discoverhingham.com.
What's your favorite part of the Christmas in the Square celebration?! How many years have you and your family enjoyed this event?!
By Carol Meyer
The Swap Shop at the Hingham transfer station is popular for a reason -- the variety of offerings seems nearly endless!
From good-quality furniture and lamps to sporting goods and really cool, gently-used kids' stuff, there's something for everyone -- really! And it's all free!
You can drop off or pick up items most days the transfer station is open -- Thursday through Sunday -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., depending on the weather.
An enthusiastic Swap Shop regular had this to say: "There's wonderful stuff here. This is recycling at its best, and it's a lot of fun!"
The message shared by Swap Shop Coordinator Bill Marshall is, "Always shop here first!"
That's not surprising when you hear stories of people furnishing their offices, dorm rooms, kitchens, and even a new home with dishes, furniture, and other high-quality items from the Swap Shop.
New volunteers are welcome. For more information check out the Public Works/Swap Shop link at hingham-ma.gov (https://www.hingham-ma.gov/272/SWAP-Shop).
Have you ever stopped by the Swap Shop? If not, what are you waiting for?!!!
By: Carol Meyer
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I decided to take some time to think about, and show appreciation for, the many blessings in my life.
As Thornton Wilder said, "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures."
I'm grateful for our warm and comfortable home, beautiful seasonal flowers and plants, our three pets -- two Maine Coon cats and one much smaller Chihuahua who is constantly trying to hold his own! -- a job I love, my next-door neighbor and good friend who always comes to our rescue when we get locked out of our one bathroom -- last time a credit card did the trick! -- many kind and caring friendships and family relationships, including my two wonderful sons, Chris and Marc -- and newly-arrived this year, my beautiful granddaughter, Aida, who lives close by. (I'm Nan, NOT Grandma!)
These are only a few of the blessings that come to mind -- I could barely name them all if I had the space.
What blessings are you most grateful for in YOUR life?!
The eleventh month, the eleventh day, the eleventh hour . . . . That's the traditional date and time of Hingham's Veterans Day ceremony.
November 11 is much more than a day off from work. It's an opportunity for our entire town to honor military veterans -- all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces -- from Hingham, surrounding communities, and nationwide.
Our town's 2019 Veterans Day observance will take place Monday, Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. in Sanborn Auditorium at Town Hall.
The ceremony will be led by Town Moderator Michael Puzo, with rousing music by the Hingham High School band -- not to be missed! The key speaker will be Col. Wayne Libbey, US Army.
Then there will be a parade of the colors of the Armed Services to the veterans monument on the Town Hall lawn, followed by a brief commemorative wreath-laying ceremony.
Director of Veterans Services Keith Jermyn, USN, encourages citizens "to make every effort to attend and show your support for our nation's veterans."
There are greeting cards designed to thank veterans for their service, which is a nice way to honor veterans we know. Is there a special way that you and your family commemorate Veterans Day?
By Carol Meyer
Have you noticed the newly-installed Hingham Harbor history signs along the walking paths and public areas of the Inner Harbor, which stretches from Broad Cove to the Hingham Maritime Center?
"The idea is to convey what has happened at the harbor since 1635 . . . and to provide a generational conversation starter," Bruce MacAloney -- a member of the Harbor Development Committee subcommittee involved with bringing the project to reality -- said recently.
Each sign incorporates the town seal. They were funded by a Greenbush Historic Preservation Trust grant awarded to the Harbor Development Committee and the Bathing Beach Trustees.
The plan is for a total of between 10 to 15 weather-resistant signs to be installed leading up to Hingham's 400th anniversary in 2035.
The overall project was a cooperative effort among various town boards and departments, the Historical Society, volunteers, and interns. Visit hingham-ma.gov/HinghamHarbor for full details.
If you haven't seen the signs yet, why not take a leisurely fall walk along the harbor-front and experience them firsthand?!
By Carol Meyer
Be prepared! The long-anticipated single-use plastic bag ban will go into effect Nov. 1 in Hingham, joining nearly 100 other Massachusetts cities and towns that already have similar bans in place.
The ban relates to the thin plastic bags available at grocery stores and pharmacies but newspaper or dry cleaning bags.
The main message of the Hingham Cleaner Greener Committee is that while plastic bags are “convenient, recyclable, and part of everyday life,” only seven percent of them get recycled while the rest take many years to break down, resulting in what the committee calls "plastic bag pollution."
The committee recently handed out "Hey Hingham/Remember to bring your own bags!" reminder stickers to local businesses.
The Hingham Health Department will enforce the new regulation, with stores that are not complying subject to penalties that progress from a written warning to fines that escalate each day the violation continues.
"The Health Department worked with retailers on what product and checkout bags will be acceptable to offer customers," said Executive Health Officer Susan Sarni.
What do you think about this ban? Are you already well-stocked with reusable bags?
By Carol Meyer
There's no better way to celebrate fall than by joining in the Hingham Arts Walk fun!
The streets of Downtown Hingham will come alive with music, beautiful art, and tasty offerings from Thyme Traveling, Wahlburgers, Sadie Mae’s, and more.
Just follow the colorful balloons, which will be posted at all participating shops along the South, Main, North, and Water streets stretch down to the harbor to enjoy the full experience.
The date is Sunday, Oct. 20, from noon to 4 p.m., with more than 40 local artists and artisans presenting their work on the downtown sidewalks and in many of the shops and studios. Let's hope for great weather!
Kids will enjoy the Children’s Craft Market of Hingham, featuring handmade crafts fashioned by children and live music by young musicians. The market will be located on the tunnel cap by Winston Flowers from 12 to 1:30 p.m.
The Hingham Arts Walk is organized and funded by the Downtown Association with support from the artists and the Hingham Cultural Council. Admission is free. For more information check out the event map/guide on October 17 at participating locations or visit discoverhingham.org.
What do you like best about this annual event? Do you plan to attend this year? If so, what are you most looking forward to?!!
By Carol Meyer
Summer has just ended, but the South Shore Country Club management team is already looking toward next year.
A recent safety engineering report indicates that the pool and a portion of the maintenance facility underneath it are in such bad shape that they will need to be taken out of operation indefinitely is the word.
"Hingham will most likely be unable to open the town's only public pool next summer, with our maintenance facility also being compromised," Country Club Management Committee Chairman Christine Smith said. "As the safety of our employees and children is paramount, we need to find a solution quickly and thoughtfully."
Extensive testing has been done every year prior to opening the pool for the new summer season to ensure it was safe.
The pool, which is managed by Hingham Rec, is used by families and individuals, swim teams, and for numerous sports camps.
The Country Club Management Committee is requesting Community Preservation Act funding to pay for part of the planned new pool project, and a fundraising effort is underway by the Friends of South Shore Country Club.
The pool has been integral to the Club’s success "and is the only public pool where our children can learn to swim. In a town that is situated on the water, this is very important for our young families," said Friends President Warren Pelissier.
To make a donation, visit friendsofsscc.org
Do you and your family use the SSCC pool? If so, where would you go to swim and enjoy other water activities if the pool doesn't re-open next summer?