Archive for April 2020

Hingham Municipal Light Plant Selling Renewable Energy Credits

Faced with concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus, the Hingham Municipal Light Plant (HMLP) has decided to sell its Reusable Energy Credits (RECs).  They expect to generate between $500,000 and $600,000 in revenue, allowing them to offset rising costs for ratepayers.

HMLP has been very active in recent years working to diversify their energy resources in order to help reduce carbon pollution.  In order to accomplish this, they have signed contracts to purchase certificates from renewable energy generators.  The renewable energy credits (RECs) gave the HMLP the flexibility to support renewable energy since they aren’t generating it themselves.  By buying RECs, HMLP was providing revenue to support renewable energy projects such as a 20 megawatt Spruce Mountain Wind Project located in Woodstock, Maine.  When HMLP purchased the wind RECs, the proceeds promoted growth in the greenhouse marketplace which helps limit greenhouse gas emissions.

While Massachusetts has some of the most progressive renewable portfolio standards (RPS) for electric utilities in the country, due to the State Legislature’s passage of the Green Communities Act in 2008, these requirements do not apply to municipal light districts.  As such, they are not required to purchase a portion of their electricity supply from renewable sources.  However, some still choose to do so.

During a HMLP Commission meeting that was held at 7:30 a.m. on April 15th, the HMLP Commission discussed selling the RECs. The virtual teleconference meeting was attended by approximately twenty residents.  Board Member Roger Freeman expressed his concerns with the potential sale pointing out that HMLP had more than $10 million set aside to cover additional costs from the coronavirus.  All of the residents who spoke echoed Mr. Freeman’s concerns including, Hingham’s Energy Action Committee Member Dr. who said it would be a mistake to sell the RECs.  Over the objections of Mr. Freeman and residents, the Commission voted 2-1 in favor.  Freeman was the only nay vote.

“Unfortunately, our light board voted to return to the practice of selling the Renewable Energy Certificates which identify the renewable energy we buy as renewable, posted Hingham Net Zero on its website.  “Now someone else gets to use those certificates to cover some of the fossil fuel energy they buy, and we have dropped significantly in the amount of renewable energy that we can claim in our portfolio.”

To better comprehend the impact of HMLP’s decision to sell the RECs, it helps to understand how electricity is generated and delivered to the plant.  Whether it’s fossil-based power plants or wind farms, HMLP purchases electricity from a wide range of sources.  This electricity travels to HMLP through a network of transmission and distribution wires, which the industry calls the electric power grid.  Electricity from the many different sources mixes together in the grid which means there is no way to distinguish the exact source of HMLP electricity.

So how does HMLP know that the power they are using is from renewable resources?  That is where Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) come in.  Each REC represents a specific amount of electricity produced and delivered to the power grid by a renewable resource, such a wind or solar.  For every megawatt-hour (1,000 kilowatt-hours) of electricity that a company like the wind turbine farm in Maine produces, a REC is created that the owner can either keep or sell.  Then the HMLP financial reports note that the plant purchased RECS and is now the owner of that green power, which gave it an overall ownership entitlement of 9% with a commitment to purchase approximately 2MW.

However, while RECs have allowed the HMLP to announce to its customers that at some point “Hingham’s energy supply will be 100 percent carbon free,” after selling them, they forfeit the ability to make any claims about using renewable energy.  In order to become a leading local government and participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)

Green Power Community program, a municipality must use renewable power that meets or exceeds 5% of the community’s electricity use.  Due to the sale of RECs, Hingham will no longer have those bragging rights.

The EPA updated its Green Power Community rankings on Monday, April 27th.  To view the EPA’s top partner list click here.

Hingham Municipal Light Plant Commissioners
John P. Ryan, Chairman
John A. Stoddard Jr., Vice Chairman
Roger M. Freeman, Secretary

Pantry Porch Program makes a difference to those that need extra help right now

“Hi.  My name is Olivia Sharkansky.  Many of you know me as Shark,” began the letter Hingham High School student Olivia Sharkansky sent to friends.  “I have been reading about the impact the crisis is having on many families in our community, and I would like to do something to help.”

Olivia had heard that the Hingham Food Pantry was receiving higher than normal requests for assistance due to the pandemic, so she decided to start the Pantry Porch Program. In her email, Olivia said “together, we can make a difference to those that need extra help right now” and asked people to leave nonperishables in bags or boxes on their front porches for her to pick up and deliver to the Food Pantry.  “People were lovely to help,” said Olivia’s mom, Linda Sharkansky.  “We spent that Saturday in the snow picking up bags on porches and then Sunday in the sunshine doing the same.  We went to the Pantry on Monday with over 60 bags and boxes stuffed with food.”

This challenging time has made many realize all the things we have to be grateful for, and Olivia is no exception.  “I am fortunate that I have enough food and a nice home to live in,” she said.  “I am sure I speak for everyone in hoping everyone remains healthy and we can resume activities as soon as they say it is safe to do so.”

Olivia will be making the rounds again this weekend and wants to assure everyone that she is respecting social distancing and doing her part to stay safe.  “I will be wearing a mask and gloves when I come by to pick the items up,” she said.  “I will collect what I can and deliver them to the food pantry early next week on behalf of our community.”  There’s an added bonus.  Since obtaining a driver’s license has been delayed, Olivia is using this as an opportunity to get some practice hours in.

If you are interested in contributing to her Pantry Porch Program, please email Olivia directly at oliviasharkansky@aol.com.  Anyone who would prefer to make a monetary donation to the Food Pantry can send via Venmo @Brooke-Bartletta by making a note that it’s for “HFP” or by check made out to Hingham Food Pantry, 685 Main Street, Hingham, MA, 02043.

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

Did you know that Accord Pond is a reservoir?

Did you know that Accord Pond is a reservoir?

Accord Pond is a 100-acre water reservoir located at the intersection of Hingham, Norwell and Rockland.  The reservoir is a source of water for the towns of Hingham and Hull as well as part of Cohasset. The outflow of the reservoir is Accord Brook, which is a tributary of the Weir River.

How did the pond get its name?

Urban legend has it that Accord Pond was named after an “accord” that was reached among the towns of Hingham, Norwell and Rockland when they agreed to divide up the shoreline and share the water as a resource.  In fact, the pond derives its name from a treaty that was made between the Indians and the settlers prior to 1640.  Both parties met in the winter on the frozen pond to make it.

In “Bradford’s History of Plymouth Plantation, 1606-1646” by William Bradford, the author talks about the effort to establish boundaries between the Massachusetts Govermente and the New-Plimoth Govermente in 1639 and 1640.  The agreement that was reached “for the setting out, settling, and determining of the bounds and limitts of the lands between the said jurisdictions” was done in order that “not only this presente age, but the posteritie to come may live peaceably and quietly in that behalfe.”

Accord Pond is mentioned in the description of the bounds that were set, and its name is reaffirmed.  It is described as “a great pond, that lyeth on the right hand of the uper path, or commone way, that leadeth betweene Waimoth and Plimoth, close to the path as we goe alonge, which was formerly named (and still we desire may be called) Accord pond, lying aboute five or 6. myles from Weimoth southerley.”

Later it goes on to describe the location of the pond in more detail: “And wheras the said line, from the said brooke which runeth into Choahassett salt-marshes, called by us Bound-brooke, and the pond called Accord-pond, lyeth nere the lands belonging to the tounships of Sityate and Hingam.”  At that time, Norwell was part of Scituate, and Rockland, which was originally part of Abington, had not yet been settled.

How do you pronounce it?

Even though the name stems from the word “accord,” which is common to the English lexicon, it does not sound the same.  Instead, Accord is pronounced Ah-cord with a long A, making it sound a bit like blackboard.

Is there an Accord, MA?

Yes, there is.  However, although you can rent a post office box in Accord, MA, you cannot live there.  Accord, which is part of Hingham and is situated on the Hingham/Norwell line, is nothing more than a zip code used to distinguish the post office in South Hingham from the one that is located downtown.

 

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

With high school sports shut down, Hingham lacrosse player ready for another chance to contribute


Normally much of Hingham would be consumed by lacrosse right now.

However, like all spring sports, high school lacrosse was shut down this week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A championship dream

George Egan dreamed about this season of lacrosse.

He is a senior goalie for the Hingham Lacrosse team. Last year he put together an impressive campaign between the pipes for the Division 1 state finalists. Egan was named an Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse Coaches Association First Team All-American after making 217 saves, a 63.8 percent save percentage. He also recorded a 6.34 goals against average and was named to the All-Scholastics Boys Lacrosse Team.

“George [Egan] did phenomenal,” said Hingham High School Varsity Lacrosse Coach John Todd about his his goaltender in an interview with the Boston Globe.

While he was proud of the team’s performance last year, it wasn’t the dream he was hoping for. Winning a state championship was. And it was an achievable goal, considering Hingham made it to the MIAA Boys Lacrosse State Championship Division 1 tournament the last two seasons.

That is until last Tuesday.

That’s the day Egan and his teammates learned from Governor Baker that every sport was done.

Egan knew this season was completely out of his control and that he has to do his part. We are all in this together. He understands that the health and safety of not only his family and everyone in Hingham, but this country, is the top priority.

“I’m devastated about the loss of my Senior season, especially because I knew we were going to do big things this year. But, I wouldn’t change anything about the last 4 years playing for Hingham. I’m thankful for all my coaches and teammates and for all the great memories I made,” said Egan.  Very quickly, Egan thought about a different ending. One he could control.

Playing for Division 1 University of Vermont 

Next year, two of the better players on the University of Vermont men’s lacrosse roster will have the last name Egan. That’s because George Egan will join his brother Charlie on the team.  Charlie, who as a freshman this year, played in all four games this spring as a face-off specialist. George and Charlie’s father Tom also played lacrosse at UVM from 1990-93.

“I’m very lucky to have plenty of lacrosse left in my future at UVM and to continue playing the game I love,” added Egan.

Egan’s club Laxachusetts wished all of their graduating players best of luck playing at the collegiate level.

In the meantime, could a reunion concert at South Shore Country Club be in the works for Egan’s middle school rock band Replay?

Thank you to all of the frontline workers living in and supporting Hingham.

Thank you to all of the frontline workers living in and supporting Hingham. Your efforts are critical to keeping our community functioning, making sure that every one of us is safe, healthy, and has access to all of the resources we need.

Join us in thanking them today!

Hingham Public Schools
Peel Pizza Co.
Hennessy News
Verizon
United States Postal Service
Fruit Center Market Place
Patrida Imports
CVS Pharmacy
Hingham Police

Ready for summer? These are two local, eco-friendly fashion brands to follow

Hingham is becoming the capital for sustainable summer fashion. From swimsuits made from recycled and regenerative fibers to beach totes from repurposed boat sails, Call To Action (C2A) and Breakwater Blue are two local brands offering unique fashion without compromising environmental efforts.

While Harvard Business Review concluded, “business executives are often reluctant to place sustainability core to their company’s business strategy in the mistaken belief that the costs outweigh the benefits,” these two companies are making a profound impact on both industry and culture and showcasing ways to thrive in today’s volatile world.

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world according to Sustain Your Style an advocacy group encouraging the shift of the fashion industry toward a more sustainable model. By using more recyclable materials and improving manufacturing techniques that reduce waste, these Hingham companies are helping change the apparel and accessory industry.

C2A designed their entire supply chain for their swimwear to operate inside of North America where their plants are less impactful on the environment than most Asian plants. They are also working with one of the leading technical institutions in the world to design a next generation fabric which will include more recycled and regenerative fibers allowing for much less waste.

“We are driven to create beautiful products that reduce negative environmental impact and improved manufacturing techniques that reduce waste, common in the garment manufacturing process,” said C2A CEO Dan Rakauskas of Hingham.

“C2A a great example of how local entrepreneurship makes a difference with innovation and building stronger communities,” added South Shore Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Peter Forman.

“Focusing on sustainable practices is not only crucial to protect the environment, but also a key way to attract consumers and drive long-term brand loyalty,” said Tony Kaplan a products marketing consultant with TK Retail Experience who works with the sporting goods and specialty footwear & apparel industries.

Breakwater owner Barbara Lynch of Hingham agrees. Breakwater repurposes old items and turns them into something new like bags made from recycled sailcloth, dog accessories made from old sail boats and rope doormats made from lobster trap rope.

When Lynch’s journey began, the choice to start an eco-friendly business was very obvious to her. “Being a mother of 2 young girls, I knew that I wanted to do my part in protecting the environment for them and future generations to come,” she said.

Both companies not only have eco-friendly missions, the owners live it as well. They work to address social problems locally and contribute part of their proceeds back to the ocean in some way. So, if you’re looking for a new bathing suit or beach bag before hitting the beach this summer, put your dollars to good use by investing in these sustainable picks.

“50 Flags Campaign” flags for 4th of July Parade Committee

Additional $4M to improve infrastructure on Route 3A approved by State

At the Harbor Development Committee meeting on Wednesday night, Route 3A Task Force member Deirdre Anderson announced that the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) approved a second round of funding for the Route 3A/Summer Street Rotary Project as part of its Transportation Improvement Plan for 2021-25. The new funding amounts to $4 million. The project, which has seen incremental improvements along the way, was previously approved by the MPO. Originally it was estimated to cost $8.7 million and was to be completed by 2024. The first round included funding for the road diet study that took place in 2018.

“Town Administrator Tom Mayo and congressional representatives were at the meeting,” shared Anderson.

When Harbor Development Committee member Marco Boer asked about progress, Anderson updated the Committee on the engineering design work for the North Street and Route 3A intersection which is right by Stars on Hingham Harbor. “Wayne Keefner, a civil engineer with Design Consultants working with the town, is revising the construction plans before the task force approaches the state for design exceptions for the roadway,” explained Anderson. The grant was applied for is under the Complete Streets program which comes with specific requirements that the Task Force will look to have waived.

Since its last meeting in February, the Route 3A Task Force has been finalizing design plans for the intersection. The design has been difficult for engineers due to the close proximity of the roadways to the harbor and downtown businesses. Due to these engineering limitations, the Task Force plans to ask MassDOT for permission to deviate from its criteria for bicycle and pedestrian paths which are required on all applications.

The Route 3A Task Force plans to discuss the design in greater detail at its next meeting on May 14th.

“In the coming weeks, once the design for the North Street intersection is finalized, they (Route 3A Task Force) want to meet with the Harbor Development Committee, Veterans Department and representatives from the Historical Commission and every constituent with parcels in the harbor to talk about overall landscape and design issues with regard to pedestrian and bicycle access on the shared use path and how it intersects with the harbor walk,” said Anderson.

In total, more than $12 million will be invested in the reconstruction of this section of the roadway from the Hingham Lobster Pound on Route 3A to the Rockland Street and George Washington Boulevard intersection near the Hingham/Hull line. The roadway improvements are expected to help reduce vehicular accidents at the harbor through the redesign of turn lanes and the rotary.

On April 30th, the MPO voted to release a draft of the latest Transportation Improvement Plan for a 21-day public review period. It had to be approved by the MPO first before it could go out to public comment, and it will be officially voted on at their meeting on the 28th where it is expected that the MPO will endorse it. Comments will be accepted from members of the public through May 21st. During the public comment period, the MPO will host some meetings: one board meeting on May 14th and two virtual open houses on May 7th and 18th.

Questions and comments may be submitted to Matt Genova, TIP Manager via email at mgenova@ctps.org, phone at 857-702-3702 or online https://www.ctps.org/contact.

Harbor Development Committee members:

  • William Reardon, Chairman

  • Deirdre Anderson, Vice Chairman

  • Katie Doran Cutler

  • Marco Boer

  • Bruce MacAloney

  • Rosamund Conroy

Route 3A Task Force members:

  • Judy Sneath – Chair

  • Deirdre Anderson

  • Bryce Blair

  • A view of Route 3A from Otis Hill Road

    Alan Perrault

4th of July Parade Committee selects Jeanne Murphy as grand marshal

At Monday night’s meeting, the Fourth of July Parade Committee selected Crow Point resident Jeanne Murphy for the honor of this year’s Grand Marshal.

“I was humbled and deeply honored and quite surprised,” said Jeanne, a 60-year resident who raised her 6 children in Hingham. “I thought it was overwhelming that they would select me.  I’ve been loyal to this town and I love this town and am very grateful that they chose me.”

In making their decision, the Committee was particularly impressed with Jeanne’s decades of commitment to the Town.  “What caught me was the breadth and range of things that Mrs. Murphy has done,” said Gabby Roegner.  “Given this year’s theme in particular, the diversity on the button and the diversity of her contribution over the years.”  These contributions include being a member of the 350th Anniversary Committee in 1985, a member of the Country Club Management Committee and a 35-year member of the Community Center Board.

Jeanne has many fond memories of her years of service to the town she loves.  “One of my most favorite things was when I was on the 350th Committee for the Town,”  she said.  “I planned all the events for a whole year that would encompass everybody in the town.  We tried to have something every month.”  While on the Country Club Management Committee, she planned many events over a span of several years.  “We did kite day and a bunny brunch, and we did winter carnival and held a weekly fashion shows,” she recalled.  “We just tried to do something to make the club available to everybody, not just golfers.”

Every Tuesday Jeanne has a video conference call with her children.  They were delighted to hear the news that their mom would be honored in such a special way.

Congratulations, Jeanne!

4th of July Parade Committee Selects Jeanne Murphy As Grand Marshal

At Monday night’s meeting, the Fourth of July Parade Committee selected Crow Point resident Jeanne Murphy for the honor of this year’s Grand Marshal.

“I was humbled and deeply honored and quite surprised,” said Jeanne, a 60-year resident who raised her 6 children in Hingham. “I thought it was overwhelming that they would select me.  I’ve been loyal to this town and I love this town and am very grateful that they chose me.”

In making their decision, the Committee was particularly impressed with Jeanne’s decades of commitment to the Town.  “What caught me was the breadth and range of things that Mrs. Murphy has done,” said Gabby Roegner.  “Given this year’s theme in particular, the diversity on the button and the diversity of her contribution over the years.”  These contributions include being a member of the 350th Anniversary Committee in 1985, a member of the Country Club Management Committee and a 35-year member of the Community Center Board.

Jeanne has many fond memories of her years of service to the town she loves.  “One of my most favorite things was when I was on the 350th Committee for the Town,”  she said.  “I planned all the events for a whole year that would encompass everybody in the town.  We tried to have something every month.”  While on the Country Club Management Committee, she planned many events over a span of several years.  “We did kite day and a bunny brunch, and we did winter carnival and held a weekly fashion shows,” she recalled.  “We just tried to do something to make the club available to everybody, not just golfers.”

Every Tuesday Jeanne has a video conference call with her children.  They were delighted to hear the news that their mom would be honored in such a special way.

Quote –

We are so happy and proud to learn of our mom’s selection to be Grand Marshal of Hingham’s 4th of July parade.  This recognition represents her respect, dedication and genuine commitment to the town of Hingham and its many citizens for over sixty years.  From her early days working to keep the Crow Point Sailing Club open for us, to selecting a new principal for St. Paul’s School to being a member of the 350th Anniversary Committee right through the planning of the new Community Center, our has Mom always given her time and talent willingly and with love.  We are incredibly proud of her and her many accomplishments.  We are grateful to Jim Murphy and the 4th of July Parade Committee for publicly acknowledging her hard work and loyalty to Hingham throughout her life.

With sincere thanks,

The Peter & Jeanne Murphy Family

Paul, Drew, Greg, Geoffrey, Liz Kloak, Jayne Martinage and Jeanne’s sixteen grandchildren

4th of July Parade Committee Selects Jeanne Murphy As Grand Marshal

At Monday night’s meeting, the Fourth of July Parade Committee selected Crow Point resident Jeanne Murphy for the honor of this year’s Grand Marshal.

“I was humbled and deeply honored and quite surprised,” said Jeanne, a 60-year resident who raised her 6 children in Hingham. “I thought it was overwhelming that they would select me.  I’ve been loyal to this town and I love this town and am very grateful that they chose me.”

In making their decision, the Committee was particularly impressed with Jeanne’s decades of commitment to the Town.  “What caught me was the breadth and range of things that Mrs. Murphy has done,” said Gabby Roegner.  “Given this year’s theme in particular, the diversity on the button and the diversity of her contribution over the years.”  These contributions include being a member of the 350th Anniversary Committee in 1985, a member of the Country Club Management Committee and a 35-year member of the Community Center Board.

Jeanne has many fond memories of her years of service to the town she loves.  “One of my most favorite things was when I was on the 350th Committee for the Town,”  she said.  “I planned all the events for a whole year that would encompass everybody in the town.  We tried to have something every month.”  While on the Country Club Management Committee, she planned many events over a span of several years.  “We did kite day and a bunny brunch, and we did winter carnival and held a weekly fashion shows,” she recalled.  “We just tried to do something to make the club available to everybody, not just golfers.”

Every Tuesday Jeanne has a video conference call with her children.  They were delighted to hear the news that their mom would be honored in such a special way.

“We are so happy and proud to learn of our mom’s selection to be Grand Marshal of Hingham’s 4th of July parade.  This recognition represents her respect, dedication and genuine commitment to the town of Hingham and its many citizens for over sixty years.  From her early days working to keep the Crow Point Sailing Club open for us, to selecting a new principal for St. Paul’s School to being a member of the 350th Anniversary Committee right through the planning of the new Community Center, our has Mom always given her time and talent willingly and with love.  We are incredibly proud of her and her many accomplishments.  We are grateful to Jim Murphy and the 4th of July Parade Committee for publicly acknowledging her hard work and loyalty to Hingham throughout her life.” 

With sincere thanks,
The Peter & Jeanne Murphy Family
Paul, Drew, Greg, Geoffrey, Liz Kloak, Jayne Martinage and Jeanne’s sixteen grandchildren

Hingham 4th of July Parade Grand Marshal Sign