Submitted by William C. Ramsey, Chairman of Veterans Services,
Jonathan R. Asher, Treasurer of Veterans Services,
SCPO Keith A. Jermyn, USN, Director of Veterans Services
This January 14th will be the 5th anniversary of a tragedy that we here in Hingham remember all too well – WE lost a son of Hingham that day. His devotion to our community, state, and nation reminds us all that Freedom is never free!
The Corporal Christopher J. Orlando, USMC Memorial Scholar Fund was established just over four years ago as a tribute to one of Hingham’s finest. A 2010 graduate of Hingham High who made a conscious decision of service over self, and in doing so, made the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, during a nighttime helicopter training mission over the Hawaiian Islands, this young man, along with elven others Marines were involved in a mid-air crash in which there were no survivors.
The Military, along with assets from the Coast Guard searched tirelessly to recover these brave souls, but were unable to gain full accountability of all twelve onboard. Only nine sets of remains were discovered after a very lengthy search. After continuing their - “Leave No Man Behind” mantra, the Marine Corps finally called off the search In April of 2016, nearly four months after the initial tragedy. CPL Orlando was not among those recovered and he remains listed as missing; lost-at-sea, to this day.
At this time of year, we are reminded of the bravery of all our young men and women who Stand-the-Watch; guarding the gates of freedom. So to honor this son of Hingham, a Memorial Scholarship was established with the help of an Ad-Hock Committee, The Town Treasurer, and HHS Staff.
We are currently asking members of the community for financial support in the form of donations to this worthy cause, to perpetuate the memory of CPL Christopher J. Orlando, USMC. The $2,500.00 scholarship is awarded annually to Hingham High Senior who plans to pursue a career in the military, police, fire or vocational technical fields.
The Town Treasurer/Collector, at 210 Central Street, receives and accounts for all donations to the CPL Christopher J. Orlando Memorial, USMC Scholarship Fund. Since the scholarship fund is a Hingham municipal account, each donation is tax-deductible under section 170(c) (1) of the Internal Revenue Code, as it was made for a public purpose. There is no ‘management fee’ overhead associated with administration of the scholarship fund, so 100% of each contribution is directed to the annual scholarship to perpetuate his memory.
Thank you in advance for any support you or your business can provide in helping keep this funding threshold viable; thereby helping to honor Corporal Orlando and his service so that his memory will endure for many years to come.
By Carol Britton Meyer
The subject of a potential Proposition 2-1/2 override has become a recurring theme at recent town government meetings and on social media.
The annual property tax on the average assessed Hingham home value of $877,640 is $10,254. The allowed annual Proposition 2-1/2 increase adds an additional $256 a year, and a $1 million override would add a further $111 property tax increase, as an example.
By comparison, for a $100 million borrowing, the average property tax increase would be about $1,000 a year. That figure was floated during a recent town budget forecast update due to the town's high capacity for borrowing and the large number of capital projects under consideration. These include a potential public safety facility, expanded senior center, and Foster School renovation or new building, among others.
At recent meetings, a number of parents have advocated for an override to "fully fund" the schools.
While seeking an override is a long and involved process and requires both a Town Meeting and ballot box majority vote, some citizens say they are up to the task.
Selectmen Chair Mary Power said during a recent such discussion that Hingham "is not a community that does overrides all that often, and an override at any point in this community is a big deal, while in other communities you might expect one every couple of years."
Also to be considered is the fact that some Hingham residents -- including many on fixed low incomes -- couldn't afford to pay for an override -- which becomes part of the permanent tax base -- on top of regular Proposition 2-1/2 increases, and could be forced to leave town.
That's not to say an override isn't possible but "there are fundamental questions we would have to answer," Power said. "[Those advocating for an override would] need to [convince voters] that the money would be spent wisely," among other considerations.
That said, many parents, School Committee members, and others think an override is the way to go to provide more funding for the schools -- and possibly for other town projects.
In light of recent discussions, Power stated that the Selectmen are committed "to ensuring that all voices and different perspectives are both valued and respected" during further override conversations.
By Carol Britton Meyer
As a way to make town government and meetings more accessible for all citizens, the Town of Hingham has enabled Zoom's "Live Transcript" feature for all of its Zoom meetings.
When people log into a Zoom meeting, they will now see a new button at the bottom of the screen that says, "Live Transcript," which works similarly to closed captioning, although not as reliable, Selectman Mary Power explained at a recent board meeting.
This is a temporary solution. "Moving forward, we would like to explore closed captioning and other opportunities such as large-print warrants and ways to facilitate communication for hearing-impaired citizens during live meetings, including Town Meeting," Power said. The recently-reactivated Commission on Disabilities will assist with these efforts.
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