North Attleborough’s big headlines for 2019

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    Fire Chief Michael Brousseau shakes hands with the new Fire Chief Christopher Coleman on Thursday, Aug. 29. Brousseau retired after 33 years with the department. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

    Since the North Star Reporter debuted, we’ve been present for some big stories in North Attleborough. Below are some of the more notable headlines that happened this year.

    The new face of town government—In July, North Attleborough’s town government underwent a dramatic change with the formation of the Town Council, the town administrator becoming town manager, and boards and committees going from elected to appointed. This all came about from the new Town Charter, which was passed earlier this year, and much work followed determining the extent of the new roles.

    Michael Gallagher bids farewell to North Attleborough—Gallagher has been a part of the town for the last four years as town administrator and later, as acting town manager. Many thought he would throw his hat into the ring for the permanent position, but instead he announced his decision to step down when his contract expires in June 2020.

    A changing of the guard—Michael Brousseau, a member of the North Attleborough Fire Department for 33 years, officially stepped down as chief on Aug. 29. He reflected on his early days with the department and how much it has changed in three decades. Christopher Coleman was later appointed as the new chief.

    Pot shops in North Attleborough—This year saw the beginning of informational meetings with proponents of recreational marijuana businesses in North Attleborough. Residents asked questions on the products being sold, security, and what would be done to keep the products out of the hands of children.

    A pet’s best friend—In early May, Felicia Camara arrived in North Attleborough as its newest Animal Control Officer. Camara started off in 2015 as a pound keeper and cleaned kennels in Pawtucket, R.I. She began training as an Animal Control Officer [ACO], taking courses through the National Animal Control Association out of Colorado University. Since her appointment as the ACO, she has overseen a number of charity events for the shelter and half the animals there have found new homes.

    Happy 125th—The staff of the Richards Memorial Library held a ceremony to mark the 125th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone in June. State Rep. Betty Poirier issued a proclamation marking the event, read by Library Trustee Garry Billingkoff. To mark the celebration, a series of collections over the last few months for Cradles to Crayons, the town’s animal shelter, and food pantry, with the goal of 125 items for each one.

    Merging of Catholic Churches—Citing a drop in attendance, funds, and staff, three catholic churches—St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, St. Mark’s Church, and Sacred Heart Church— submitted a proposal to unify under the name Transfiguration of the Lord Parish. This was later approved by the Fall River Diocese and will take place on Jan. 1. The churches will retain their names and no plans are in place to close any of them. The intent of the unification is to utilize strategic planning to allow for parishioners and clergy to work together to identify current and future challenges, as well as develop goals for growth and revitalization.

    Development in Downtown North Attleborough—Businesses in the town’s downtown area spent much of 2019 organizing events and fundraisers and helped to increase visibility of local businesses. In December, the town received a $2 million grant to improve handicaped access, replace lights, and install bike racks and trash cans. This year also saw the opening of several new businesses, including Socks Etc., Strut, and more.

    School Resource Officer appointed—North Police Officer Kristine Crossman was appointed as the new School Resource Officer. She said her decision to apply for the position stemmed from a desire to do more in town and broaden her experience. She has an office at the high school and much of her work includes community policing, walking the schools, and meeting with administrators.