By Carol Meyer
Hingham Historical Society is inviting residents of Hingham and surrounding communities to participate in the not-to-be-missed 44th annual Lincoln Day ceremony to honor local history and celebrate civic awareness and engagement on Saturday, February 15.
Lincoln Day commemorates two famous Lincolns with Hingham roots: lifelong Hingham resident Benjamin Lincoln, Major General in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President -- a descendant of Samuel Lincoln, who settled in Hingham in 1637.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 10:15 a.m. with a muster of the Hingham Militia at the Memorial Bell Tower next to the Old Ship Meetinghouse and military salutes at General Lincoln’s tomb in Hingham Cemetery.
The proceedings will move inside at 11 a.m. for a short program led by the Rev. Kenneth Read-Brown, with participation by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, the Military Order of the Loyal Legion, the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Company, and a keynote address by Historical Society President Paula Bagger on the life and legacy of Major General Benjamin Lincoln. The winners of this year's 8th grade Lincoln Day essay contest will be announced and invited to join in the ceremonies.
This program will be followed by a procession to the Abraham Lincoln statue in Fountain Square for the laying of wreaths; a stop at New North Church, which General Lincoln helped found; and a light meal at the Hingham Heritage Museum, where the Society is headquartered, at 34 Main St.
Have you every attended this moving annual event? Do you plan to participate this year?
Community Preservation Committee Recommends Funding Toward New Town Pool and Historic House Purchase
By Carol Meyer
After months of considering nearly a dozen proposals for Community Preservation Act funding, the Community Preservation Committee is recommending several for consideration at the April Town Meeting, where voters have the final say.
Topping the list are $500,000 for the creation of design/construction documents for a new pool at South Shore Country Club and $772,000 to help pay for the purchase of the circa 1665 Benjamin Lincoln House at 181 North St. by the Hingham Historical Society.
Interesting fact: Its most famous resident, Major General Benjamin Lincoln (1733-1810), was the fourth Lincoln to own the house, built by his great-grandfather, Thomas Lincoln. The Lincoln family has lived there continuously ever since.
Should the Society purchase the property, the owners have agreed to donate the home’s most historically-significant furnishings. Fundraising efforts are underway to cover the additional costs beyond the CPC recommendation.
Community Preservation Act funding comes from a 1.5 percent annual taxpayer surcharge that Hingham voters adopted in 2000. The state matches a portion of the funds. CPA funds may only be used for open space acquisition, historic preservation, community housing, and limited recreational projects.
The CPC is also recommending funds for: improvements to the Plymouth River tennis courts; restoration of the Second Parish clock tower; the Hingham Affordable Housing Trust's Housing Opportunity Fund; Lehner conservation area (off South Pleasant Street) improvements to mark the boundary between this land and adjacent private property rather than a fence; and clearing the brush from the historic Canterbury Street Cemetery and improving access to the property.
Your vote will count at the April 27 Town Meeting!
Any thoughts on any of these proposals?
Pharaoh L. Yahtues, 37, of Hingham, was arrested and charged with armed assault to murder, discharging an explosive, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without an FID card, disturbing the peace, and possession of theft detection removal device. ** Photo provided by Cohasset Police Department
by Carol Meyer
Hingham residents are joining Police Chief Glenn Olsson in praising the effective community-wide response to Saturday's incident at the Avalon apartments in the Hingham Shipyard, where a Hingham man was arrested after barricading himself in his apartment and shooting at SWAT officers following a Hingham Police response to a report of a disturbance in one of the units.
The man eventually gave himself up after more than three hours of negotiations and was arrested without further incident, according to police reports.
"Over the years we have trained a lot on how to respond to situations like this and that was evident today," Olsson said. "I'm proud of the whole operation and the successful outcome."
Among the responders were Hingham Police officers, the School Department, the Hingham Fire Department, mutual aid from surrounding towns, and the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (Metro-Lec) SWAT team, which includes Hingham Police Officers Jeffrey Kilroy, Michael Gervasi, and James Brady, who is in training. The DPW set up barricades and cones to close off the area.
School administrators -- including Supt. of Schools Paul Austin, Director of Business and Support Services John Ferris, and Foster Principal and Vice Principal Jennifer Newell -- really stepped up to the plate when they heard about the incident, providing buses to help evacuate the residents in the surrounding area and opening up nearby Foster School as one of the evacuation sites. The other locations were the Avalon community room and the intermodal transportation center (commuter boat terminal) at the Shipyard.
A group of citizens set up a canteen truck and supplied food and drink while local businesses donated 15 pizzas after the Hingham Police Department ordered the food for the evacuees.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this amazing and successful team effort.
By Carol Meyer
The harbor-front Town Pier by the Iron Horse Statue, Barnes Wharf where Hingham Maritime Center is based, and the one at Veterans Park near Whitney Wharf top the list of town wharves that need attention.
There are others, but these are the lowest wharves -- and the most vulnerable. Raising each one by 3-1/2 feet will help protect the town from expected future sea-level rise and storm events and will also reduce risks to public health and safety, although this project won't solve all of Hingham's potential flooding issues.
The goal is to make the town better able to ward off future flooding similar to or worse than the significant harbor inundation that occurred in March 2018. In the meantime, let's hope for mild winters!
What's your favorite part of Hingham Harbor? Does expected higher sea-level rise in the future concern you?
By Carol Meyer
Hingham Community Center’s popular "Cabaret" fundraiser is returning this month after a five-year hiatus -- exciting news for longtime fans.
Show dates for this event -- which helps chase away the wintertime blues and is sometimes referred to as a "winter picnic" because spectators bring their own refreshments -- are Jan. 30 and 31 and Feb 1. The venue is the spacious Hingham Armory on Central Street.
This fun-packed variety show features lively chorus and dance numbers and everything in-between -- plus local talent from Hingham, Hull, and surrounding communities. Many performers return year after year and become audience favorites. Newcomers also add their energy to the mix.
For more information contact General Chairman Lorri Costello (781-254-5450) or Jinnie Walsh (781-635-6855) or join the HCC Cabaret Facebook page.
Have you ever attended? If so, what is your favorite type of act?
By Carol Meyer
The 2020 town election season could be an exciting one!
Looking toward the May 2 annual Town Election a little early, 11 incumbents have terms expiring this year, including the town moderator, a selectman, and two school committee members. Selectmen Chair Karen Johnson announced recently that she does not plan to run for reelection.
If you've ever considered running for a town office, here's an opportunity to do so!
Nomination papers are available in the Town Clerk's office through March 3 for citizens interested in running for one of the positions listed below, including those seeking re-election. Completed papers are due back Thursday, March 5 no later than 5 p.m.
Town Clerk Eileen McCracken is hoping for an active election season. "It would be nice to have some races," she said.
The following elected officials have terms expiring in 2020: Town Moderator Michael Puzo; Selectman Karen Johnson; Stuart Greg Hall, Board of Assessors; Board of Health member Elizabeth Eldredge; Municipal Light Board member John Ryan; School Committe members Michelle Ayer and Edward Schreier; Planning Board member William Ramsey; Sewer Commissioner Stephen Harold; Housing Authority member Megan Buhr; and Recreation Commissioner Adrienne Ramsey.
For more info, call the Town Clerk's Office at (781) 741-1410.
By Carol Meyer
I'm not big on New Year's resolutions -- I guess it's because I don't want to set myself up for failure or have them hanging over my head.
But I do admire those who do make resolutions at the start of every year, and especially those who keep them!
That said, I have set a few simple "goals" -- a more encouraging word, in my mind, to start off 2020. These include being more patient with others and myself; taking more time to relax; getting back on the exercise bike that has been buried behind Christmas gifts and wrappings in my office-turned- "Santa's Workshop"; trying not to dread winter storms and to instead enjoy the beauty of fresh-fallen snow; and others I'm sure I will think of as the new year progresses.
I like what Author Edith Lovejoy Pierce says about the new year -- "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."
In the meantime, Happy New Year! Wishing everyone progress, good health, happiness, and that you have everything you need in the coming year.
Do you make New Year's resolutions? Want to share any?
By Carol Meyer
Hingham Public Schools officials received the good news Dec. 11 when, following the submission of a Statement of Interest to the Massachusetts School Building Authority for the third time last April seeking partial state reimbursement for what they say is a much-needed major renovation -- or an entirely new building -- for Foster School, the Town of Hingham was invited into the MSBA's Eligibility Period.
That's a lot of words, but this essentially means that during this period, the MSBA will work with Hingham school and other town officials to determine the town's financial and community readiness to enter what is called the MSBA Capital Pipeline.
This is the first of a number of steps required before a final decision will be made by the MSBA as to whether to grant significant partial funding for a Foster School project.
Ultimately, the town would not be committed to filing for an application for funding with the MSBA unless through an affirmative Town Meeting vote.
Do you think a major renovation or a new school is needed?
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?