Yes, Happy New Year!
By Carol Britton Meyer
At first I wasn't sure what to write about for the upcoming new year. But after giving it more thought, I realized that the way to go is "hopeful."
Jan. 1, 2021 signifies a fresh start for us all -- no matter what we've been through, despite dashed hopes and the fear that sometimes plagues us, and regardless of where we're at right now, there is hope -- for healing, joy, promises fulfilled despite the challenges, love, and peace in the new year.
That said, I share here some of my favorite New Year's quotes:
Happy New Year to you all!
By Carol Britton Meyer
Have you ever considered running for a town office?
Nomination papers will be available in the Town Clerk's Office starting Jan. 2 for citizens who wish to do so for the May 1 election.
Among those with terms expiring in 2021 is longtime Town Clerk Eileen McCracken, who recently announced that she will retire at the end of her current term.
Nomination papers will be available through March 2 and are due back to the Town Clerk’s Office by Thursday, March 4. Call (781) 741-1410 for more information.
Fifty certified signatures of voters registered in the Town of Hingham are required for a nomination paper to be valid. Candidates are advised to obtain additional signatures.
Elected town officials with terms expiring in 2021 are :
Michael J. Puzo – Moderator, One Year
Mary M. Power - Board of Selectmen, Three Years
Eileen A. McCracken – Town Clerk, Three Years
Carlton M. Chambers -- Board of Assessors, Three Years
Peter B. Bickford -- Board of Health, Three Years
John A. Stoddard, Jr. – Municipal Light Board, Three Year
Elizabeth Emerson Lewiecki -- School Committee, Three Years
Kerry J. Ni – School Committee, Three Years
Gary S. Tondorf- Dick -- Planning Board, Five Years
Robert M. Higgins -- Sewer Commission, Three Years
(Appointment by state) – Housing Authority, Five Years
Bruce Thompson – Recreation Commission, Five Years
A Big Cheer for Books!
By Carol Meyer
There's nothing like reading a good novel or other book to soothe the soul.
I have always been a "bookworm," and proud of it! It's not an appealing-sounding term, but the definition -- "a person devoted to reading" -- sounds good to me.
I shy away from another definition I found in an online dictionary: "the larva of a wood-boring beetle that feeds on the paper and glue in books." Not so appealing, but then again I'm not an insect!
I always bring a book with me, wherever I go -- reading makes long waits easier. During challenging times, the right kind of book can transport you to a different place and time -- perhaps one that's more peaceful or less hectic.
Elin Hilderbrand's beach reads, John Cheever's tales that so perfectly capture suburbia, and Jodi Picoult's provocative books -- I could go on and on -- I’ve read them all!
The words, “Between the pages of a book is a lovely place to be,” (Anonymous) sums it all up.
Breaking news: Hingham-Hull ferry service won't be eliminated; will run on reduced schedule
By: Carol Britton Meyer
The MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board took a formal vote on proposed service cuts late Monday afternoon following a four-hour meeting as follows:
* The Hingham-Hull ferry will be maintained but at reduced levels of service (more details later). Direct ferry service between Hingham and Boston will be suspended. These service changes will go into effect by late January 2021.
* The Greenbush commuter train will run weekdays until 9 p.m., at a reduced frequency -- with an emphasis on peak runs -- with the elimination of weekend service starting in March 2021. In addition, the commuter rail will run at a reduced winter schedule starting in late January 2021.
* The 714 bus service that runs between Pemberton Point, Hull, and Station Street, Hingham will be maintained. Service levels will be reduced starting next March.
The Board also voted to revisit ridership by March 15, 2021 to consider whether service levels could be restored.
Sen. Patrick O'Connor said in a Facebook post, "the overwhelming feedback from those on the South Shore had a direct impact on the adjustments made by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board. Thank you to those who spoke up and to the MBTA's FMCB for listening to us."
Happy Holidays Despite the Challenges
By Carol Britton Meyer
While this is a different holiday season from the usual -- whether you and your family celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or another special day or days -- we can still enjoy all the good that surrounds us.
Gatherings may be smaller than usual, and we might think twice before traveling over the state border, but we can experience and appreciate all the holiday cheer that surrounds us despite the challenges.
Downtown Hingham and other shopping areas are merry and bright, and the traditional white lights on Main Street -- with some colored ones mixed in! -- add a festive touch.
It's been a year like no other, for sure, so let's make it the best holiday season ever -- sharing joy wherever we go; feeling and expressing gratitude for all the good in our lives; taking time just to be still and savor the moment; donating to a local gift/food drive for those who are struggling -- especially this year -- sending a holiday card to a friend we haven't talked with for awhile; and much more.
Wishing peace, harmony, and joy to you all during this very different time.
Support Local Businesses!
By Carol Britton Meyer
Three cheers for those Hingham businesses -- retail, restaurants, and everything in-between -- that have made it through this challenging year. Some didn't and are missed.
Property taxes may seem like a boring subject, but the Selectmen's recent decision to follow tradition by maintaining a single tax rate for all town properties -- residential and commercial -- was a show of support for all Hingham businesses, especially those who are struggling during this time of economic uncertainty.
A split tax rate would shift some of the tax burden from residential to commercial property. However, with commercial properties comprising only a small portion of the town's total valuation, any shift of the tax burden in that direction would be detrimental to the town's businesses, especially during these times.
"Local business owners have expressed gratitude to the town for keeping the same tax rate. Many of the businesses, especially in downtown Hingham, are smaller stores and would have difficulty paying a higher tax rate," Hingham Director of Assessing Erin Walsh said recently. "Many of these local businesses contribute generously to our students by donating to various fundraising efforts benefitting many sports, theater, and other programs."
It's been a difficult year for Hingham businesses -- and heading into winter poses its own challenges -- so let's support our local retail shops, restaurants, and other services throughout the holiday season and beyond.