LATEST ARTICLES

FEMA provides $3.5M in aid to Bristol, Worcester counties

By Killian Maree For the North Star Reporter Following the storms that happened last September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has visited 1,767 homes in Bristol County and 3,922 homes in Worcester County offering aid for damage. As of June 13, 1,136 people have registered for aid, and Bristol and Worcester County will be receiving more than $3.5 million in FEMA assistance following the storms, according to Media Relations Specialist Lorraine Valle. Although there are Disaster Survivor Assistance Canvassers going door to door asking if there have been damages to a home, people are encouraged to go to the Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to talk to a FEMA employee in person. The DRC is located at 1 Willard Road in Attleboro, Massachusetts. “Every disaster is different, every case is also different. I know that sometimes they have a question if something got damaged, for example, the car, something in the wall, or something in the garage, you don’t know if that’s included or not. They should come visit the DRC and ask those questions,” said Valle. After a person applies for FEMA aid at a DRC, over the FEMA app, or on a call, a FEMA inspector will be sent to their home to assess the damage. All FEMA inspectors will carry identification and should be asked for it when they arrive at one’s house, as well as confirming with the disaster registration number. After the FEMA inspector uploads the damages that have occurred to a house, the homeowner will receive a letter detailing whether or not they will receive aid as well as how much. If someone does not agree with their letter after they carefully read it, they are encouraged to go to the DRC within 60 days of receiving the letter. FEMA covers a variety of damages that could have occurred during a disaster. This includes damages to a home as well as rented vehicles, and will even cover funeral costs if a life was lost during a disaster. If one already repaired damage from the storm, they can still go to a DRC and apply to be reimbursed. “Even if you are a renter you can qualify for your personal property damage during the disaster,” said Shirley Rivera, Attleboro DRC Manager. A common type of property damage that has been seen in the Bristol and Worcester counties from the storms in September is flooding in basements. Other damages have included water damage to air conditioners and the home exterior, such as flooding of a lawn. “If you haven’t registered yet, come to the DRC, download the FEMA app, call the FEMA helpline… We have a deadline which is July 15,” said Valle. Call 1-800-621-3362 for answers to questions about disaster assistance or visit the FEMA Disaster Recovery Center at 1 Willard Road in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Sober home fire displaces eight residents 

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max.bowen@northstarreporter.com  Residents of a sober home at 117 N. Washington St. have been displaced following a fire on Thursday. According to the North Attleborough Fire Department, the fire was reported at 2:15 p.m. and brought under control minutes later.  Upon arrival, firefighters discovered smoke inside the home that appeared to be coming from a locked bedroom. Firefighters were able to gain entry into the room, where they observed fire originating from a wall and couch. The fire was knocked down within 10 minutes. All residents were able to safely exit the home and no injuries were reported. The residents of the home are displaced and being assisted by the American Red Cross. Mutual aid was provided by the Plainville, Foxboro, Attleboro and Cumberland, Rhode Island, fire departments. Station coverage was provided by the Wrentham, Mansfield and Norton departments. The fire remains under investigation by the North Attleboro Fire Department. “I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having working smoke and fire alarms within homes and businesses,” said Fire Chief Christopher Coleman in a statement. “In this incident, we were able to receive notification of the fire before receiving any emergency calls, which assisted us in  our quick and effective response that prevented the fire from spreading further. If anyone ever has any questions or concerns about their fire or smoke alarms, please contact our department.” To protect a home or business from a fire, the National Fire Protection Association recommends the following: 
  • Test smoke and fire alarms monthly to make sure they are working. It’s recommended that smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas.
  • Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
  • Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.

North Attleborough Police Log, May 26-June 1

The following is an excerpt of the North Attleborough Police Logs from May 26 – June 1. The full logs can be found at the North Attleborough Police Station. Sunday, May 26 1:25 a.m. Police responded to a report of a suspicious person on S. Washington Street. 5:29 a.m. A motor vehicle accident with no injuries was reported on Mt. Hope Street. 1:54 p.m. Police were notified of suspicious activity on Route 295. 5:14 p.m. Police received a report of a disturbance on Roosevelt Avenue.   Monday, May 27 1:41 p.m. Police were notified of a suspicious person on Broad Street. 1:48 p.m. Police responded to a report of trespassing on Elm Street. 4:18 p.m. A motor vehicle accident with a hit and run was reported at the Emerald Square Mall. 8:27 p.m. Police received a notification of public intoxication on S. Washington Street.   Tuesday, May 28 5:20 a.m. A motor vehicle accident with no injuries was reported on Lakeshore Drive. 3:51 p.m. Police responded to a report of larceny on Circle Court.   Wednesday, May 29 3:39 a.m. Police received a notification of a suspicious person on S. Washington Street. 8:16 a.m. A motor vehicle accident with injuries was reported on Bungay Road. 1:50 p.m. Police responded to a report of a disturbance on S. Washington Street. 5:49 p.m. Police were notified of fraud on Old Wood Road.   Thursday, May 30 11:48 a.m. A motor vehicle accident with injuries was reported on Kelley Boulevard. 1:59 p.m. Police were notified of identity theft on S. Washington Street. 8:30 p.m. Police received a report of suspicious activity on Fletcher Street.   Friday, May 31 12:24 a.m. Police received a report of a noise disturbance on Elm Street. 8:58 a.m. A motor vehicle accident with no injuries was reported on E. Washington Street. 5:14 p.m. Police responded to a report of shoplifting at Emerald Square Mall. 6:56 p.m. Police were notified of a noise disturbance on Cumberland Avenue.   Saturday, June 1 11:17 a.m. Police were notified of a disturbance on Smith Street. 11;56 a.m. A motor vehicle accident with a hit and run was reported on S. Washington Street. 2:01 p.m. Police received a notification of malicious damage on N. Washington Street. 7:31 p.m. Police responded to a report of an animal complaint on Kelley Boulevard.

North Attleborough School Building Committee holds fourth community forum

The North Attleborough School Building Committee invites community members to attend its fourth community forum to learn more about the proposed North Attleborough High School building project.
Residents will have their first opportunity to review various design concepts. These include a base repair option, an addition-renovation option and two new-school options. Learn how each project would be phased and how each option aligns with the proposed Educational Plan.
WHEN:
Tuesday, June 18, beginning at 6 p.m.
WHERE:
North Attleborough High School Auditorium, 1 Wilson W. Whitty Way
VIRTUAL OPTION:
If you would like to attend virtually, please click the link below to join the webinar:

Tri-County’s Class of 2024 praised for their courage at commencement

By Killian Maree For the North Star Reporter The Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School Class of 2024 graduated in an energetic ceremony under a cloudy sky. The ceremony, held on Thursday, June 6, began with the students walking through lines of cheering parents and the faculty that had seen them grow throughout their four years at the school. As the cheering subsided, the students took their seats. The music in the opening of the ceremony was provided by Seth Curran, a Tri-County English and music teacher. Savannah Nosek, a student of the Class of 2024, took to the stage and sang the National Anthem, followed by Callie Schweitzer, the Class of 2024’s Salutatorian, leading the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Tri-County Superintendent-Director Karen Maguire took to the podium for the introduction to the ceremony. Maguire delivered a creative speech and told an anecdote about scrolling through the social media app TikTok and stumbling upon a web site that told its readers what made one’s house look old and what made it look more modern. To Maguire’s surprise, inspirational messages written on signs were listed under the category of something that made a house look old. Maguire used these signs throughout her speech, relating them back to how the Class of 2024 is about to experience the real world. “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” said Maguire. Maguire’s speech was followed by a School Committee address from Committee Chair Gregory St. Lawrence. He talked about school life during the COVID-19 pandemic, which was especially hard for teachers and students at Tri-County because of its vocations. St. Lawrence asked the Class of 2024 to remember the courage that they had during the pandemic and to apply that to their life outside of Tri-County. “How exactly do you learn to weld at home?” joked St. Lawrence. After this, the student address was delivered by Principal Dana Walsh. “In my beginnings as a first-year principal, it has been a real pleasure to see this particular class through to the end of your senior year… There is an authenticity and earnestness among you that will speak well for you as you enter your next chapter,” said Walsh. Next, Dom Crisfani, the president of the Class of 2024, was welcomed to the stand. Crisfani reminded his peers to let kindness be their guide in a world that can feel cold and indifferent. “We are not the same people we were when we got here,” he said. “We are bigger, we are smarter, we are stronger, and we are prepared.” Schweitzer was welcomed back to the stage and thanked everyone who has helped the Class of 2024 make it to where they are. Schweitzer then went on to talk about one of her favorite childhood films, “Ratatouille.” Just like Remy the rat in the movie, if the Class of 2024 has the right mentality, they will go on to do great things. The presentation of diplomas began with Walsh saying that the students had met all of the requirements to graduate from Tri-County. St. Lawrence was asked whether he accepted them as candidates for graduation. “Hell yeah,” said St. Lawrence, followed by laughs and applause. Students were then called up by their programs starting with engineering and ending with carpentry, and presented with their diplomas while parents and faculty clapped and cheered. The ceremony ended with confetti and caps being thrown into the air as “Valerie” by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse started to play.

NAHS Class of 2024 encouraged to “cherish each moment” at graduation ceremony

NAHS Salutatorian Matthew Garafalo spoke to the challenges faced in their freshman year and how they prepared the class for the future. Staff Photo/Michael Oliveira
By Michael Oliveira michael@northstarreporter.com On a sunny June 7 evening, North Attleborough High School hosted its graduation for the senior Class of 2024, with bleachers and chairs on the field filled to honor the 282 graduates. The night started with the Master of Ceremonies Madeline Bonneau and Carson Crump greeting the crowd. As the graduation festivals continued, Bonneau introduced the Class President Jeylan Olmez. Olmez started the speech by introducing the School Committee and other members of the town who were in attendance for the ceremony. Olmez was very grateful during her speech, shouting out every member of the school that helped the Class of 2024 get to where they are today. “What sets the Class of 2024 apart is a relentless drive. While we may not always be the best at everything we attempt, we possess an unparalleled passion.” said Olmez. “Since our elementary school days we’ve eagerly awaited graduation, longing to grow up and leave childhood behind. Now as we approach this milestone, we realize the value of cherishing each moment. “High school marks not the end of our lives, but rather the beginning. As you prepare to embark on the next adventure of our journey, let us carry with us the lessons learned, the friendships forged, and the memories created.” The ceremony continued with a rendition of “Golden Hour” by JVKE with Class of 2024 students Sebastian Sanchez Mondrogon, Sofia Bertino, Terrence Fevier and Nicolann Jerenie. Following by the performance were two essays from Salutatorian Matthew Garofalo titled “The Journey and the Destination” and another from Valedictorian Vivian Racine titled “The Art of Not Peaking in High School.” “A lot has happened these past four years. We came into high school only coming to the building two out of five days,” said Garofalo. “A decade down the line we are going to look back and laugh at how ridiculous our first year of high school was. It was all a part of our journey though. I can confidently say that our freshman year made us stronger, and helped build the resiliency of our class.” “After today, you still have so much time to change and grow. Instead of falling for the drug that is nostalgia and wishing for the past to come back, welcome change,” Racine said. “It’s what makes life exciting.”
Sebastian Sanchez Mondrogon (piano), Sofia Bertino (left), Terrenxe Fevier (center), and Nicolann Jerenie (right) perform “Golden Hour” by JVKE during the June 7 commencement ceremony at North Attleborough High School. Staff Photo/Michael Oliveira
After both speeches were delivered, Max O’Malley, NAHS Class of 2024 Treasurer, came onto the stage and presented the class gift. “The senior class officers and I have decided to donate our remaining funds to support student activities in an effort for all students to have a voice in the continuation of beautifying and enhancing both the inside and the outside of the school, so that the work of our students within the school can be remembered for generations to come.” said O’Malley. Class Secretary Connor Peterson followed suit by discussing the class motto. “The motto for the Class of 2024 is offered in the form of an inspiring song lyric by Natasha Bedingfield from the song ‘Unwritten.’ Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten,” said Peterson. Before the presentation of diplomas, the school took a moment for a special portion of the ceremony to recognize students who were graduating high school and going into the military. In partnership with the North Attleborough Veterans Department, those students would receive a commemorative military-style coin that would be given to each graduating senior that committed to working for one of the branches of the United States military. “This coin represents the pride, support, and gratitude we all have for each of our seniors who have made the commitment to bravely serve our nation,” said Vice Principal Thomas Rizzo. Rizzo would ask Commander Chrstina Sullivan, director of auxiliary for the US Coast Guard and Lyle Pernie, North Attleborough Economic Development Coordinator. He would call up two students, Derrick Slowe, for the United States Army, and Kevin Gauthier Hodgman, for the United States Coast Guard, to receive their coins. After both students were honored, the presentation of the diplomas would start and each member of the 2024 senior class would be celebrated for this milestone.

North Attleborough man pleads guilty to stealing, selling million in precious metals 

max.bowen@northstarreporter.com  Benjamin Preacher has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to the theft and sale of gold, silver and platinum from the jewelry company where he worked over a period of more than three years. Preacher, 54, of North Attleborough, plead guilty on Friday, June 7, to one count of interstate transportation of stolen goods and one count of engaging in unlawful monetary transactions, according to information provided by the U.S. District Attorney’s office. Preacher was charged in March and U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for Sept. 18, 2024.  The sentence for a charge of interstate transportation of stolen goods provides is up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the monetary gain or loss, whichever is more. The charge of unlawful monetary transactions carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of the laundered funds.  According to the DA’s Office, since 2018, Preacher worked full-time as a manufacturing supervisor at a Rhode Island facility operated by a company that sells luxury items, including jewelry made from gold, silver and platinum. Preacher used his position to steal precious metals from the company’s facility in Rhode Island and then sell them to businesses in Massachusetts. From around March 2020 to March 2023, Preacher sold precious metals to a Canton-based metals dealer roughly one to two times per month – with sales to that dealer alone totaling more than $1 million. The metal that Preacher stole included 18-carat gold, “platinum scrap,” “sterling” and platinum. Preacher also sold more than $177,000 in stolen precious metals to a separate dealer in West Bridgewater between May 16 and Nov. 16, 2023. This included gold sheets used by Preacher’s employer, along with other gold scrap, for nearly $21,000. On March 1, approximately 30 minutes into his shift, Preacher was captured on company security cameras stealing a piece of white gold “flat stock,” measuring approximately an inch in diameter and approximately as thick as a quarter, valued at roughly $2,200. Precious metal in scrap form were located and seized during a search of Preacher’s home on March 14. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.

Attleboro Farmers Market returns on June 15 

The Attleboro Farmers Market (AFM) announces the return of its community hub, promising a season with local flavors, crafters, live music and engaging events.  Located at 947 Park St., Attleboro, the market will be open free to the public every Saturday from June 15 to Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. AFM will host between 50 to 65 rotating vendors each week, featuring a diverse array of offerings from local farms, artisans, specialty food producers, food trucks, non-profit organizations, and musicians. “This season, we’re delighted to bring an array of exciting events alongside our weekly vendors,” said Jermey Hill, IT Coordinator of Attleboro Farmers Market. “From Dog Day at the Market, emphasizing our furry friends and supporting the Attleboro Animal Shelter, to Health and Wellness Day, National Farmers Market Week celebrations, and engaging activities like Touch a Truck, Pumpkin Painting, Yoga at the Market, and E-Waste Recycling, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.” In addition to providing a platform for local businesses, AFM is driven by a group of volunteers.  “Our market thrives thanks to the dedication of our volunteers,” remarked Brit Wirth, volunteer president. “We welcome individuals of all ages and backgrounds to join us in supporting our community. No prior experience is necessary, just a willingness to lend a hand and be part of something special.” Attleboro is installing sidewalks in the area surrounding the market, a development that will enhance walkability and accessibility for attendees. The GATRA bus line includes a stop at La Salette on Saturdays, providing an accessible and sustainable transportation choice for visitors.  Last season, AFM became a SNAP EBT retailer. This season, AFM is actively working to secure this service again. By participating in the SNAP program, AFM aims to ensure that everyone, regardless of economic circumstance, has access to nutritious and locally-sourced products. For more information, visit http://www.attleborofarmersmarket.com/. 

Attleboro man arraigned for alleged murder of his brother

By Michael Oliveira michael@northstarreporter.com James McCormick of Attleboro is facing several charges following the alleged May 27 murder of his brother Richard McCormick, of North Attleborough.  James was arraigned earlier this week and is being held without bail. He is charged with armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. According to police records, the alleged murder happened in a mobile home park off 6 Melissa Drive, Attleboro, the morning of May 27. James is accused of stabbing his brother 8-10 times in the head, neck, chest and right arm following a verbal altercation between the two outside of James’ mobile home.  Both men were reportedly intoxicated at the time of the argument, according to police reports. It was James’ girlfriend, identified through reports as Dawn Dore, who called police, who arrived at 3:48 a.m.  Richard was taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital after being found on the ground outside of the mobile home and pronounced dead 30 minutes later. According to reports, Richard arrived at the mobile home the evening of May 26 to pick up a truck from James. The vehicle belonged to their late father. The two left together to get the truck in North Attleborough, after which James was supposed to get a ride home from his nephew. Dore confirmed to police that the two were gone for approximately six hours, and during that time she became worried and attempted to call James several times.  Dore told police that she awoke at 3 a.m. on May 27 when the two returned in the truck.  According to the police reports, Dore heard a loud argument from the two brothers outside of her and James’ home. James’ girlfriend tried to intervene, and was allegedly accidentally punched in the face by Richard and fell to the ground. Dore said the two began fighting and she observed James allegedly stab Richard twice. James has told the police that he was defending his girlfriend as he claimed his brother was standing over her with a weapon. According to the police report, James was quoted talking to his girlfriend after the incident occurred, saying “So you’re not gonna help me and tell me it’s self-defense? He tried to stab me.” As James was being placed under arrest, police found a fixed blade located in a sheath that was attached to James’ waistband. James uttered the words “he tried to attack her,” “I held him off,” “not my fault he went after my girlfriend,” according to reports.

North Attleborough Pride Festival returns for third year

max.bowen@northstarreporter.com In 2022, North Attleborough saw its first locally-organized Pride Festival, a celebration of all that is Pride Month. Now, in 2024, Sarah Cenedella said she has seen a genuine investment by the town in this annual event. “It means a lot to me that our core team continues to stay strong and come back and work every year,” said Cenedella, chair of the Pride Festival Committee. The Pride Festival will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2-6 p.m. at Veterans Park in North Attleborough. This event has drawn hundreds of people from North Attleborough and surrounding towns to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning, along with intersex, and asexual or allies. The + stands for those who do not identify under those terms). Cenedella said the event will be similar to previous years, with live music from the Attleboro School of Rock, DJ Purple Wave and the band Phenidate, as well as drag queens for some family-friendly performances. Cenedella said the North Attleborough High School band will kick off the event, and there will be several food trucks. The local YMCA will also be getting involved, and there will be roughly 60 vendors, including many local community organizations and churches, along with groups like the Mass Commission of LGBTQ, the Coalition for Social Justice Education Fund, and the NAMS Iris Club, which supports LGBTQ awareness. Several speakers will also be there, although the final details are still being ironed out. Last year, a large ‘N’ was added to the event, and people covered it with handprints in a variety of colors. Cenedella said it’s been kept at NAHS since then. “I can’t wait to see the Big N over there,” she said. Pride Month is celebrated annually in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) Americans. Cenedella said that while Pride Month is important, people being able to be themselves authentically is something that should be celebrated all the time. Cenedella said that after three years, there is a lot of familiarity into how the event is run, and the process has become somewhat easier as a result. She added that there is a core group of 10-15 volunteers, and they take on different tasks through the festival’s six different committees. Another dozen volunteers will help with the event itself. She added that those who help run the festival have become good friends and formed lasting relationships. “We’re not starting from scratch anymore,” she said. “A lot we know how to do.” Sarah Stone, who runs Our Open Umbrella and is also among the organizers for the Pride Festival, said that the community has really embraced the festival and any pushback has been very minimal. “I’m proud to support the event because it’s such a great event,” Stone said. “It warms my heart to be able to support all kids.” When asked about the Pride Festival’s impact, Cenedella said that it has come to celebrate the community and allows people to be who they want to be. “Which everyone should be able to do,” she said. “We want to make a safe town. People should be free to be their authentic selves.”