Posts by Kristen Arute

Young Woman Seriously Injured In Hit-And-Run Accident On Lincoln Street

“They left me for dead,” said Deirdre Koenen of the driver of the vehicle that hit her. “I’m not okay with that. That’s not okay.”

Deirdre, who has been a long-distance runner since middle school, had finished teaching in Brookline and was home for a Christmas week visit. She had gone out for a run from her parents’ North Street home around 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 21st. Her plan was to take the sidewalks down North Street to Lincoln then up Thaxter and back home again. “This is the route I will normally take if I want a nice two-mile run,” she said. “I’ve done it many times.”

Although her parents reminded her to wear something that was clearly visible at night, Deirdre is a marathoner/ultra-marathoner who is aware of the precautions she needs to take and has never viewed time of day as a factor in her training. “I go for a run whenever I feel like I want to,” she said.

There was snow on the the ground which concerned Deirdre a little bit, but she had run in these conditions before. When she was a member of the track team and participated in the long-distance running club in Hingham, the coaches would advise the runners to run in the streets when the sidewalks were too snowy because it is difficult to run in deep snow. “It’s for safety,” explained Deirdre, adding, “physically, your limbs benefit from it.”

On this particular night, Deirdre was able to stay on the sidewalk for the majority of her run. However, she was forced to move into the street for a short time because of the condition of the sidewalk. “I was running on the sidewalk most of the time,” she said. “When I ran in the street, it was for a couple minutes probably, since I was facing a stretch of sidewalk that wasn’t plowed.” That stretch of sidewalk was along Lincoln Street across from Broad Cove and is an extension of the Downtown sidewalks that are plowed by the Department of Public Works. For more information on snow removal in town, click here.

There were snowbanks between the street and the sidewalk. As she ran, three cars approached her from 3A. “I was as close as I could have been to the snow,” said Deirdre. “I was facing traffic, and the two cars in front both did the right thing and avoided me.” For some reason, the third car did not.

“Somehow I got hit,” she said. “Whoever was in the car just did not move.”

Deirdre’s parents Paul and Kathleen were home when they received a phone call a little after 7:25 p.m. The call was from an unknown number, but it was Deirdre on the line. “My wife answered and told me that I better go to help Deirdre,” said Paul, “she had been hit by a car.”

Kathleen and Paul raced to 148 Lincoln Street where they saw several emergency vehicles. As they parked and walked over, their friend, Kevin Shea, met them. Kevin just so happened to be the homeowner. He led them into the house through the back door. “Deirdre was sitting in a kitchen chair,” said Paul. “She had blood on her and was obviously looking a little shook up.” Emergency responders surrounded her. They put a brace on her neck and head and helped her onto a stretcher.

At this point, Paul was unaware of the gravity of Deirdre’s injuries. “I’m thinking that looked like a little extra precaution, that wasn’t obvious she would need,” he said. What he didn’t know was that a driver had hit her and knocked her 15 feet in the air to where she landed on the Shea’s driveway. Amazingly, Deirdre had been able to crawl, walk and drag herself up the driveway to the Shea’s house with seven broken ribs, a broken hip, abdominal bleeding, a lumbar hernia and severe lacerations. She was taken from South Shore Hospital to Brigham and Women’s for surgery and stayed there for eight days.

Since the accident, the Hingham Police have been conducting an investigation. According to Paul, Officers Fernandes and Emmott began attempting to find video from the area. “The car had only about a half dozen possible paths that it probably took after it left the scene,” he said. “The only other possibility would be the driver doubled back and drove right past Deirdre, but Deirdre didn’t recall seeing cars heading either way as she struggled up to the nearby house.”

In the days that followed, Paul walked the loop that Deirdre had run multiple times. “In my own desire to do something,” said Paul, “I attempted to help a little myself.” By the Wednesday after the accident, the snow had melted. “Each day I found more and more pieces of broken glass that I assumed came from the car on impact,” Paul continued. “A few of the pieces were large enough to contain some interesting information that could help in identifying the car, and I was able to add a few pieces to the collection of evidence.”

The accident likely took place around 7:10 p.m., and the car’s front right headlight would have been completely broken in the crash. Body shops in the area have been notified and, according to Paul, have been very helpful, although there are many places a person could go to get their passenger-side headlight fixed.

The police have not yet identified a suspect and are encouraging anyone who thinks they may have information useful to the case to reach out using the tip line. “The tip line is anonymous,” said Sergeant Steven Dearth. “We encourage tips.” Dearth is quick to add that people should err on the side of providing too much information and allow the police to make determinations as to what is relevant.

Deirdre would like to see justice brought to her situation. Paul agrees and adds, with deep gratitude, that “the outpouring from the community of care and support and prayers has been very moving for us.”

Click here to submit a tip to the Hingham Police Department.

Klein Announces Bid For Selectman

Many people ask why I would choose this year to seek election. The easy answer is that I love Hingham and want to serve our community. But it’s more than that. The past year has been very difficult for most of us due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. It has exposed so many flaws in our systems. I am seeking the privilege of serving in a significant role in town government to address these flaws and to tackle the many challenges we face, from recovering from Covid-19 to the ongoing threat of climate change. One of our biggest issues will be balancing the level of services our citizens expect and deserve with the available funding sources, while at the same time maintaining our AAA bond rating. As part of Hingham’s Master Plan Committee, I have had direct exposure to the issues facing our town as well as the opportunities we can pursue over the next 10 to 15 years.

Since moving to Hingham fifteen years ago, I have been an active participant and leader in the community. My town experience includes service on the Hingham Master Plan Committee (Board of Selectmen Appointee), Hingham Downtown Association (Executive Director), Hingham’s 375th Anniversary Committee, the Hingham Women’s Club (President, Treasurer), South School PTO (Secretary, Fundraising Chair), School Council, Hingham Newcomers Board (Social Chair), and the Hingham Education Foundation (Communications Director). My other volunteer experience encompasses work with organizations such as South Shore Conservatory, Hingham Food Pantry, Friends of the Homeless of the South Shore, South Shore Stars, Hingham Youth Soccer, and Cradles to Crayons.  

As a member of the Hingham Master Plan Committee, I have had the honor of working with citizen leaders from the Recreation Commission, School Committee, Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission, Affordable Housing Trust, Board of Health, Harbor Development Committee, Development and Industrial Committee, and the Historic Districts Commission. For the past 18 months, I have researched, discussed, and prioritized the goals and actions outlined in the Hingham Master Plan. The depth and breadth of this knowledge coupled with many hours spent eliciting feedback from Hingham citizens will enable me to hit the ground running as a member of the Board of Selectmen.

My extensive experience and collaborative leadership style will benefit both the Board of Selectmen and our town. While recovering from the pandemic is an immediate challenge, over the long term my children and their education have been and will continue to be my passion. I’m confident I can have a positive impact on the relationship between the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee. The Hingham Public Schools are one of our greatest assets, and we must sustain their excellence while also supporting our children academically, socially, and emotionally. I commit to approaching our town’s challenges with a focus on what is best for all of Hingham.

After graduating from the University of Richmond with a BSBA in Finance, my career began as a financial services consultant at Accenture working with Fortune 500 clients. Over the past 20 years, I have worked on projects of all sizes in strategic planning, corporate education, marketing strategy, and human resources. Throughout my volunteer and professional experience, I have a strong track record of working well with people who hold different perspectives to achieve common goals. 

Hingham is my family’s home. We feel fortunate to be part of this wonderful community. We also feel we should give back to a community that has opened its arms to us. My husband Scott and I are raising our two children, both students at Hingham Middle School, to understand that civic responsibility and active participation in the community are integral components of Hingham’s success. It is these deeply held values that motivate me to step up and seek election this year. I look forward to the opportunity to hear from all of you during this campaign and to earning your vote. Please contact me at liz@4hingham.com and follow my campaign on Facebook and Instagram for more details.

Town Meeting Votes To Approve Public Safety Facility Land Purchase By 12 Votes

After three hours of discussion and debate on the chilly multipurpose field at Hingham High School, Town Meeting voted by a razor-thin margin to authorize the Board of Selectmen to purchase the property at 335 Lincoln Street next to Fresh Market. A 2/3-approval was required, and in the end it was achieved but only by 12 votes. Of the 453 people who voted, 69%, or 314, said yes. The remainder of 139 said no.

Promptly at noon, Town Moderator Michael Puzo welcomed everyone in attendance and opened the Meeting with some remarks about the manner in which Town Meeting is held. Members of the Board of Selectmen, Advisory Committee and Public Safety Facility Committee spoke, and the floor was opened up to members of the public.

A handful of board and committee members spoke in favor of the purchase from the audience; several people shared their thoughts; some asked questions; and some, like Susan Garland and Priya Howell, spoke in favor of the purchase but stressed the importance of “fully funding” the schools. Howell warned that parents would be back in the spring to make sure this happened.

Attendees were regularly reminded that the vote was for the purchase of the land only and any discussion about the price of the final project was not relevant. However, the Moderator did allow one question on the price to be answered. Bob Garrity of the Public Safety Facility Building Committee revealed that the consultants had estimated a final price of $35M – stressing that it was a very rough estimate.

Among those who spoke was Tom O’Reilly who proposed a Motion to Amend the Article. The language he suggested for insertion would have prohibited the construction of a Public Safety Facility and preserve the property for the schools until the issues with Foster School were addressed. “Buy the land, but don’t do anything until Foster School is finished,” he explained. That proposal was ruled out of scope by the Moderator who did not allow it to move forward.

Christine Smith who is chair of the South Shore Country Club Committee said that she has served on various boards and committees since moving to Hingham in 1998 and encouraged people to “trust the process” and suggested that “if you have a problem, you volunteer and help address the problem.” She also reminded Town Meeting attendees that $2.5M had been allocated to Foster School in 2006 to “breathe 10 years of life” into the building. After calling for consensus-building, she added, “You don’t want to pit anyone against anyone in this town.”

Another former School Committee member approached the issue from a different angle. Andy Shafter said that the annual interest on the loan alone would equal “one teacher.” He noted that the town owns quite a bit of property already and inquired as to whether or not the study committee had explored the option of a land swap. Advisory Committee member Nancy MacDonald said that several properties in the Fottler Road area had been considered but the owners were not amenable to selling.

Danielle Erdmann who said she moved to the Shipyard a year ago from South Boston expressed concerns about the impact a public safety facility would have on traffic in the area. She then addressed a second comment to the school crowd, whose remarks had made an impression on her, by saying, “The Board of Selectmen is not listening to you.”

That prompted a response from Selectman Mary Power who asserted that “all town boards and committees work very hard to listen to all of the needs of the town’s citizenry.” However, Power did concede that the pandemic had “exposed some funding deficiencies in town.”

At 2:00 PM, Jude Miller called the question. Based on the voice vote, the Moderator said he had no doubt the motion had carried; however, a motion for reconsideration then prompted a standing vote. After the count, the final tally was revealed to be 314 votes in favor of purchasing the land and 139 opposed.

Board Of Selectmen Approve Warrant And Reduce Quorum To 200 For Outdoor Town Meeting On November 21st

The Selectmen have signed and issued the Warrant for Special Town Meeting that is scheduled for Saturday, November 21st and will be held on the multipurpose field at the high school. Extreme heat was a concern at Annual Town Meeting in June, but cooling stations will be replaced with warming huts at next month’s Meeting. Backup plans have been put into place so that the Town can stay on track with a vote to approve the purchase of a parcel of land at 335 Lincoln Street in the Shipyard which will be the site of a new Public Safety Facility and will house police headquarters and the North Street Fire Station.

The lot, which is assessed for $3.5M and was appraised for $4M in February prior to communities seeing an impact on commercial real estate due to COVID, has a negotiated price of $5.475M. “We are prepared to pay a premium for this property,” said Town Administrator Tom Mayo. The current owners purchased the property in 2016 for $1.545M which means they would see a return on their investment of almost 254% in just four years.

Concerns over being able to achieve a quorum for Annual Town Meeting were expressed in the spring. In response to those concerns, the Selectmen chose to take advantage of a provision in new rules resulting from the pandemic that allow municipalities to bypass certain components of the Open Meeting Law. Hingham could have reduced the quorum size from 300 to 30 as was permitted; however, the Town ultimately set it at 200. The Articles on the Warrant require a 2/3 approval vote which means that 134 voters, or just 0.5% of the population, could make the final decision.

During this week’s meeting, Chair Mary Power pointed out that Mayo had suggested the Town follow suit for Special Town Meeting. The recommendation was unanimously approved by all three selectmen but is subject to the approval of Town Moderator Michael Puzo who is in charge of the Meeting.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mayo said about the reduction in the size of the quorum. “Better safe than sorry. You just never know in this situation. The town’s business is important.”

The business at hand is a parcel that the Selectmen have identified as an ideal location for a Public Safety Facility. At this point, the Articles on the Warrant simply pertain to the purchase of the land; however, the Selectmen are well within their right to reopen the Warrant and add other Articles, like zoning bylaw changes, to it.

Members of the Board of Selectmen:

Mary Power, Chair, powerm@hingham-ma.gov

Joe Fisher, fisherj@hingham-ma.gov

Bill Ramsey, ramseyw@hingham-ma.gov

Board Of Selectmen Approve Warrant And Reduce Quorum To 200 For Outdoor Town Meeting On November 21st

The Selectmen have signed and issued the Warrant for Special Town Meeting that is scheduled for Saturday, November 21st and will be held on the multipurpose field at the high school. Extreme heat was a concern at Annual Town Meeting in June, but cooling stations will be replaced with warming huts at next month’s Meeting. Backup plans have been put into place so that the Town can stay on track with a vote to approve the purchase of a parcel of land at 335 Lincoln Street in the Shipyard which will be the site of a new Public Safety Facility and will house police headquarters and the North Street Fire Station.

The lot, which is assessed for $3.5M and was appraised for $4M in February prior to communities seeing an impact on commercial real estate due to COVID, has a negotiated price of $5.475M. “We are prepared to pay a premium for this property,” said Town Administrator Tom Mayo. The current owners purchased the property in 2016 for $1.545M which means they would see a return on their investment of almost 254% in just four years.

Concerns over being able to achieve a quorum for Annual Town Meeting were expressed in the spring. In response to those concerns, the Selectmen chose to take advantage of a provision in new rules resulting from the pandemic that allow municipalities to bypass certain components of the Open Meeting Law. Hingham could have reduced the quorum size from 300 to 30 as was permitted; however, the Town ultimately set it at 200. The Articles on the Warrant require a 2/3 approval vote which means that 134 voters, or just 0.5% of the population, could make the final decision.

During this week’s meeting, Chair Mary Power pointed out that Mayo had suggested the Town follow suit for Special Town Meeting. The recommendation was unanimously approved by all three selectmen but is subject to the approval of Town Moderator Michael Puzo who is in charge of the Meeting.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Mayo said about the reduction in the size of the quorum. “Better safe than sorry. You just never know in this situation. The town’s business is important.”

The business at hand is a parcel that the Selectmen have identified as an ideal location for a Public Safety Facility. At this point, the Articles on the Warrant simply pertain to the purchase of the land; however, the Selectmen are well within their right to reopen the Warrant and add other Articles, like zoning bylaw changes, to it.

New Streetlight And Signage Coming To Dark Curve On Upper Gardner Street

A dark and dangerous curve on upper Gardner Street in South Hingham will be getting a new streetlight thanks to a citizen’s request. The bend in the road, which is located near the Mormon Church and is narrower than the rest of the street, is not well lit, and it has been the site of serious accidents in recent years.

One car that was traveling at a high rate of speed hit the stone wall in front of 371 Gardner Street and flipped over landing on its hood on the opposite side of the road. The driver was wearing a seatbelt. While shaken up, he walked away unscathed.

Another driver knocked down the telephone pole in front of 371 Gardner. She left behind debris from her car and dragged telephone wires for miles before being pulled over in Rockland.

During their meeting last night, the Traffic Committee voted to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that a streetlight be installed. “This was brought to us by a resident on the Rockland side,” said Officer Jeff Kilroy. “He’s brought up a valid concern about the lighting in the area of 371 Gardner Street.”

Officer Kilroy visited the location with Randy Sylvester of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and conferred with Hingham Municipal Light Plant (HMLP). “I spoke with Mike Menton and Paul Heanue from the HMLP,” said Kilroy, “and they agreed that a light could be installed at that location.”

There are already signs approaching the curve on either side; however, DPW plans to install more. “They would hope to get adequate signage,” said Kilroy. “There’s some question that maybe having some other Chevron or hashmark style signage would be included in that.”

Sylvester said the signs would go up at the end of next week.

New Streetlight And Signage Coming To Dark Curve On Upper Gardner Street

A dark and dangerous curve on upper Gardner Street in South Hingham will be getting a new streetlight thanks to a citizen’s request. The bend in the road, which is located near the Mormon Church and is narrower than the rest of the street, is not well lit, and it has been the site of serious accidents in recent years.

One car that was traveling at a high rate of speed hit the stone wall in front of 371 Gardner Street and flipped over landing on its hood on the opposite side of the road. The driver was wearing a seatbelt. While shaken up, he walked away unscathed.

Another driver knocked down the telephone pole in front of 371 Gardner. She left behind debris from her car and dragged telephone wires for miles before being pulled over in Rockland.

During their meeting last night, the Traffic Committee voted to recommend to the Board of Selectmen that a streetlight be installed. “This was brought to us by a resident on the Rockland side,” said Officer Jeff Kilroy. “He’s brought up a valid concern about the lighting in the area of 371 Gardner Street.”

Officer Kilroy visited the location with Randy Sylvester of the Department of Public Works (DPW) and conferred with Hingham Municipal Light Plant (HMLP). “I spoke with Mike Menton and Paul Heanue from the HMLP,” said Kilroy, “and they agreed that a light could be installed at that location.

There are already signs approaching the curve on either side; however, DPW plans to install more. “They would hope to get adequate signage,” said Kilroy. “There’s some question that maybe having some other Chevron or hashmark style signage would be included in that.”

Sylvester said the signs would go up at the end of next week.

School Committee approves new private school for grades 6-12 in South Hingham

During their Monday night meeting, the School Committee unanimously approved the July 1st opening of a new school at 99 Derby Street, Suite 101 in South Hingham. Fusion Academy, which is a private school for grades 6-12, offers “personalized, accredited education” to middle school and high school students who struggle in traditional school settings and says that its “powerful relationships-based, one-to-one teaching changes the lives of our students and their families.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jamie LaBillois, whose office oversees the administrative procedures associated with the opening of private schools in Hingham said that after a year of “ongoing dialogue and communication,” an application with a request to operate was received on February 14th. The Community Outreach Subcommittee, which is comprised of Libby Lewiecki, Nes Correnti and Michelle Ayer, was charged with reviewing the school’s application and making a recommendation to the School Committee as a whole which has oversight of approval of private schools in Hingham. The Subcommittee met on May 20th then had at a site visit on June 3rd which is required by School Committee procedures. “Following the site visit and tour,” said Dr. LaBillois, “the Subcommittee were in unanimous agreement to recommend to the full Hingham School Committee the full approval of the operation of Fusion Academy.”

Subcommittee Chair Libby Lewiecki noted that they were very impressed with the school’s application and the site in particular.  “You can see how excited the administration is to provide this opportunity for students in the area,” she said, “and how their program will provide a completely personalized educational experience for every individual that goes to this school.” Libby went on to say, “We were jealous of their per pupil price tag and wondering just what Hingham Public Schools could do with that same amount,” before noting that the Subcommittee would be recommending approval of the opening of Fusion Academy.

After the vote, Chair Michelle Ayer thanked Dr. LaBillois for keeping everyone on task “in the world of social distancing.” She then invited Mike Van Dinther, who works with Fusion Academy at the corporate office, to speak. “I just wanted to say thank you very much for welcoming us,” said Mike, “and we look forward to serving your community.”

School Committee members

Michelle Ayer, Chair: mayer@hinghamschools.org
Carlos DaSilva, Vice Chair: cdasilva@hinghamschools.org
Kerry Ni, Secretary: kni@hinghamschools.org
Ed Schreier: eschreier@hinghamschools.org
Libby Lewiecki: llewiecki@hinghamschools.org
Liza O’Reilly: loreilly@hinghamschools.org
Nes Correnti: ncorrenti@hinghamschools.org

School Committee Votes In Favor Of Selectmen’s FY21 Financial Management Plan Amid COVID-19 Concerns

On Monday afternoon after a brief discussion, the School Committee voted to adopt a financial proposal that was presented to them by the Board of Selectmen.  When a roll call of the seven members was taken, six School Committee members voted in favor.  Libby Lewiecki abstained from voting.  One change in wording suggested by Liza O’Reilly was incorporated into the FY21 Fiscal Management Plan.  The Selectmen were also present at the meeting.

Previously the Selectmen had identified two options to address an anticipated budget deficit due to the COVID-19 crisis.  One was to open the FY21 budget and make cuts.  Towns like Brookline and Natick have made budget cuts in conjunction with furloughing staff.  Another was to identify amounts within the $3.3 million fund balance (the Town’s “savings”) that could be used to offset the projected decline in revenues.  The Selectmen chose to explore the latter.  When the idea was brought before one of the Town’s financial advisors, she suggested incorporating financial management tools into the plan.

School Committee Chair Michelle Ayer described the tools that would be implemented.  “If revenues begin to decline,” she said, “these are the levers we will pull.”  The first, known as “Tier One,” ensures that departments focus on essential hires and essential capital projects only.  Departments will also be expected to manage non-personnel operating expenses.  Monthly forecast meetings and quarterly reports to the Advisory Committee will be set up to keep a running tab on progress.  A change of more than $500,000 would trigger “Tier Two.”  At that point, the School Department and the Town would share any reduction in costs with 60% of the cuts coming from the school budget and the remaining 40% coming from the municipal budget.

When describing the impact of adopting this approach, Selectman Mary Power summed it by saying that essentially the Selectmen and the School Committee intend to go before Town Meeting on June 22nd with a message for voters.  “We are saying if you give us 100% of our budgets and the revenue picture worsens,” she said, “we will give some of that money back.  We are telling Town Meeting to trust us.”

The Massachusetts Municipal Association announced on Friday that they expect the impact of COVID-19 to extend well beyond FY21.  “We are going to be dealing with the financial impact of this for several years,” said Mary.

Board of Selectmen Chair Karen Johnson said that the plan will be made available to residents on the Town website on Tuesday.

The School Committee also set up a finance subcommittee “to help John Ferris as he works through all things budget-related,” said Michelle Ayer.  She appointed Nes Correnti, Kerry Ni and Liza O’Reilly to the subcommittee and assigned Nes Correnti the chairmanship.

Hingham School Committee:

Michelle Ayer, Chair: mayer@hinghamschools.org
Carlos DaSilva, Vice Chair: cdasilva@hinghamschools.org
Kerry Ni, Secretary: kni@hinghamschools.org
Ed Schreier: eschreier@hinghamschools.org
Libby Lewiecki: llewiecki@hinghamschools.org
Liza O’Reilly: loreilly@hinghamschools.org
Nes Correnti: ncorrenti@hinghamschools.org


Kristen Arute can be reached at kristen@hinghamcurrent.com.

Hingham High School