Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in Attleboro

      What a beautiful MLK day in Attleboro! Both ceremonies had terrific moments, whether at City Hall or Murray Unitarian Church. The music was wonderful, with a terrific senior high choir at City Hall that drew raves from the speakers. At Murray, we heard several moving numbers by the adult choir, a splendid brass, and woodwind quintet, and a closing Piano piece that shook the rafters as we all sang the spiritual “We Shall Overcome.”
      The theme was clearly Martin Luther King, Jr.’s thoughts about economic justice. We heard that the rich have grown by 12% in 2018 while the poor has grown by 11%, leaving an ever-decreasing middle class. This is scary to comprehend. Could our new tax laws be actually helping the rich get even richer, while the poor are increasing at an equally fast pace?
      We heard MLK speak about a poor people’s campaign/march on Washington D.C. that he was planning when he was assassinated. MLK’S message was steeped in the Gospel and teachings of Jesus. Martin cared deeply about both the spiritual needs of the poor, plus our financial needs. He wanted everyone to be able to have decent housing, a satisfactory income, plentiful food for the body and the soul, and hope for both our present and future.
      What would Martin be telling us if he gave his famous “I have a Dream” speech today?
      MLK’s vision of America would call us to love ALL of God’s children, whether they be native-born Americans or those who want to become Americans. MLK told us we are all God’s children. I believe Martin would speak out against a wall along our southwestern borders. MLK would remind us that our Civil War was fought so people of all backgrounds can grow into healthy, productive citizens.
      Martin had a beautiful dream.
     Today I heard our City Council vice president, Heather Porreca, tell us that Attleboro folks really care about one another. It doesn’t matter if we are wealthy or low income; white or have darker shades of skin; if we are children or elderly. Heather pointed out what a true community Attleboro has become. If someone is sick and without insurance, we can still offer health care at Sturdy Hospital. If someone moves here with special needs, we find a way to help special need children. If someone is hungry, we have food banks and free meals almost every night of the year. If someone is without housing, we are trying to find them a dry, safe place to hang their hat.
     Martin Luther King would have appreciated Attleboro. We aren’t perfect but Attleboro folks generally have a big heart. I love this city.
     Let’s remember MLK’s vision for the United States. A dream whereby children of all colors, races, and economic strata can proudly call home.
-Ty Waterman, City Councilor At-Large.

MLK Day in Attleboro by DoubleACS

Council Connection: 1/17/19

Friends – I am starting a pilgrimage to visit principals, teachers, and students at each of Attleboro’s schools. Our schools are over 50% of our budget. We owe Attleboro’s children the best possible education we can give to them.

My first stop this past Tuesday was at Wamsutta Middle School with Principal Joe Connor and 572 students. What a gentleman! Principal Connor gave me a full hour, took me to several classrooms (art, music, gym, STEM, and a science class. The children were engrossed in their lesson in every class, independently working on their various projects. I saw a dozen children playing keyboards, an entire class working on a DNA project, a STEM class that was exploring why there is no sound in space (did I understand this concept correctly?). Wamsutta children appear really blessed to have such dedicated staff and administrators.

This learning goes forth despite an average of 28 to 30 students per class. A 20-year-old school that looks great at first glance, but it is pitted with leaks, the carpets are worn and the keyboards are 15 years old. The entire school has just one adjustment counselor. But I saw lots of enthusiastic, well behaved and interested children. I met several teachers who are clearly devoted to educating the children. And I met Joe Connor, a principal that really cares.

Wamsutta stats:

  • First language is not English:  18.1%
  • Students with Disabilities: 17.7%
  • High Needs: 43.8%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: 31.4%

It was a good day at Wamsutta Middle School. I bet this school has lots of good days.


Council Connection: Week of 1/7/19

      The City Council accomplished a lot last week. We passed a PLASTIC WASTE REDUCTION ORDINANCE.
      #1 – We passed a city ordinance banning single-use plastic bags, effective October 1, 2019. I voted for this ordinance and it passed the Council by a 9 to 1 vote. The hope is that shoppers in Attleboro stores will carry reusable check-out bags, including cloth, and plastic bags that are at least 4.0 mils thick. But the single-use think plastic bags will be gone by next October 1.
      #2.  This ordinance will cover stores of 3,500 square feet. Stores with less than 3,500 may be exempted from the new Plastic Waste Reduction Ordinance for up to six months by the Attleboro Health Officer.  If this ordinance causes undue hardship and a retail establishment needs more time to use up their inventory of thin-film, single-use plastic check-out bags, they can be given an extension by our Health Officer.
       #3. The Health Officer and the City of Attleboro Health Department will administer and enforce this ordinance. The first violation shall result in a written warning to the establishment. The second violation will result in a $50 fine and the third violation results in a $100 fine.
        #1. Catherine began working out of her city hall office on December 26, 2018. I had the pleasure of giving Catherine a two hour tour of the senior center, library, and some businesses off of Pleasant Street. She comes to us from working in Washington D.C. and specializes in downtown revitalization projects. The City Council was very impressed by Catherine’s idea and plans, voting 10-0 to hire her. I was the lucky councilor to make the motion that she be given a two-year term of office. I sincerely hope Catherine will be working for us in Attleboro for many years,
        VISITS BY TY – During the past week I met with the Directors of our Planning Dept. and Department of Public Works. I also spoke with the chairman of the Library Board of Trustees; and spoke at the DARE award ceremony to a roomful of fifth graders at the Brennan Middle School. I was urging the children to speak with their parents if they ever get into a situation where they feel uncomfortable around smokers, drinking, or drugs.
Submitted by Ty Waterman (508-577-1412): City Councilman At-Large.

Council Connection: 1/1/19

I have to admit it. Being a city councilor is fun. I get the unique opportunity to congratulate and help people. Most every week I am nominating interested citizens to the Library Board of Trustees, the Council on Human Rights, Council on Aging, Youth Commission, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Council on Disabilities, Cultural Council, Traffic Study Commission, and several more commissions and councils. It is an absolute delight to invite new volunteers up to the podium to introduce themselves and thank them for their interest.
If you want to volunteer to serve Attleboro please feel free to contact me or the mayor’s office.
I also had the special privilege to nominate Kourtney Wunschel as the superintendent of Attleboro’s Water Dept. and meet many of the Water Dept. city employees, a dedicated group. This Thursday I’ve been invited to go out to inspect the city ponds and reservoir with one of the Water Dept. staff.
On January 8th I will be nominating Catherine Feerick to the new position as Attleboro’s Economic Development Director. Catherine just finished serving almost three years as the Downtown Revitalization Specialist with the Appalachian Regional Commission, situated in Washington D.C.. She work to develop cities in 13 states. I enjoyed giving Catherine a tour of downtown Attleboro in the rain last week. She got to meet the staff at Pleasant Street Auto, our Senior Center, and tour through our Library, along with lunch at Morin’s Restaurant. Catherine is very interested in serving Attleboro and I believe she will do a fine job for our city.
Each week brings new opportunities to listen, greet and thank, and sometimes actually help people in Attleboro. Thank you for electing me as a city councilor. You can reach me at 508-577-1412.
All my best,