Town should adopt tax break program for veterans

Earlier this year, I proposed to the Newbury selectmen that they should consider adopting a program to help veterans who own property in town. 
Now, I have a question for the residents of Newbury: Would you be in favor of the town of Newbury adopting M.G.L. Chapter 59 Section 5N — “Reduction of property tax obligation of veteran in exchange for volunteer services”?

By adopting this Mass. General Law, Newbury can establish a program to allow veterans, or a spouse of a veteran in the case where the veteran is deceased or has a service-connected disability, to volunteer to provide services to the town.

Now, in exchange for their volunteer services, the town will reduce the property tax obligations of the veteran. This reduction will be in addition to any exemption or abatement of which otherwise they are entitled to.

The veteran (or spouse) cannot be credited more than the current minimum wage of the state’s minimum wage per hour rate. The reduction of the property tax bill may not exceed $1,000 in a given tax year.

The town would have the power to create local rules and procedures for implementing this program in a way that is consistent with the intent of this program if they choose to adopt this program. It is important to note that adopting this program cannot cause a reduction of workforce or replace existing staff and or positions.

The amount of money reduced of the veteran’s property tax is not considered income, wages or employment. While they volunteer for the town, the veteran will be considered a public employee for the purposes of Chapter 258 and their services will be considered employment for the purposes of unemployment insurance as provided in Chapter 151A.

The selectmen by vote may change the exemption in this program by: (i) allowing a representative for the veterans who are physically unable to provide services to the town; or (ii) allowing the maximum reduction of the property tax bill be based on 125 volunteer hours in a tax year, rather than the $1,000 maximum reduction.

Would you be in favor of Newbury adopting this program? We already have one similar to this for senior citizens in town and some of our surrounding communities have already adopted it.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Newbury’s Special Town Meeting, there will be a vote on whether the town should adopt this or not. I personally think the town should; it would be a great way for the town to show their appreciation and support for veterans.

Thank you all for your consideration on adopting this program in the town of Newbury. This is a small gesture to our veterans in town.

Wreaths Across America, Newbury 2017

Wreaths Across America, Newbury 2017

The Town of Newbury is going into their three year of hosting the Wreaths Across America program.  Wreath Across America started,  ‘National Wreaths Across America Day’, with a goal of to covering all Veterans grave markers nation-wide with a Christmas wreath.

Last year about half of the Veteran grave markers in town received a wreath. That’s more then double the amount of wreaths the program has their first year in Newbury. Creativity and out-of-box thinking proves to be the root of the programs success in Newbury.

Linking of with local community groups, and businesses the program has grown year by year. This year our goal is to provide a wreath for every Veteran grave marker in Newbury (requiring roughly 600 wreaths).

sponsor

With out the support from local business, the community and friends and family sponsoring wreaths there will be no wreaths to place. If you, or your place is interested in sponsoring a wreath visit http://www.NewburyWreaths.com

Details about this years ceremony are still being planned out. Keep checking Newbury Wreaths as information is constantly being added.

volunteers

We are always looking for volunteers to help with this great program. If you are interested or would like to learn more please send us an email at NewburyWreaths@gmail.com

Yankee Homecoming 2017 – Veteran’s Luncheon

Yankee Homecoming 2017 – Veteran’s Luncheon

Photo Credit: Byron Eaton – Newburyport Daily News

On August 1, 2017 Yankee Homecoming hosted their annual Veteran’s Luncheon. This event was started by Frank Ventura, a Korean War veteran and long time Newburyport resident. It was sponsored by his son Dan Ventura at Fairway Mortgage of Newburyport.

It’s been an honor to carry on this great tradition started by Frank. This year, over 120 veterans and their guests enjoyed a delicious meal at the Veteran Luncheon. The meal consisted of Pulled Pork sandwiches and coleslaw from Rusty Can in Byfield, MA. The salad and vegetables were donated by Vets & Veggies in Athol, MA. The coffee was donated by Battle Grounds Coffee Company in Haverhill, MA and Cares O-lot Confections provided a delicious American Flag cake along with other assorted desserts. Family and friends also donated desserts and other items.

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Frank’s Hot Dog Stand – Yankee Homecoming 2017


2017 marks the second year of me running, and organizing “Frank’s Hot Dog Stand” as part of Newburyport’s Yankee Homecoming. Frank’s Hot Dog Stand was originally ran by Newburyport native Frank Ventura who passed away in July 2016. 

Frank Ventura ran this Hot Dog Stand for several years for Yankee Homecoming. Formally this was referred to as ‘Yankee Homecoming’s Food Booth’, however, given Mr. Ventura’s dedication to the City of Newburyort and Yankee Homecoming we decided to rename the booth in his honor. 


Today, over 500+ Hot Dogs were sold at Frank’s Hot Dog Stand with all proceeds benefiting Yankee Homecoming. The Hot Dog Stand is back of Yankee Homecoming’s Olde Fashion Sunday which is the official kick off day of Yankee Homecoming! 

Looking forward to many years of organizing and running this booth. It is truly an honor and privilege to carry on Frank’s tradition. 

Yankee Homecoming – Veterans’ Luncheon

For the last couple of years Yankee Homecoming has hosted an annual Free Veteran Luncheon. This year the veteran luncheon is being held at the Firefighters Memorial Hall in Newbury. In the years past this event was held at the Elks Club in Newburyport. As a resident of Newbury and a veteran that is extremely active I’ve been working tirelessly the last couple of years to increase veteran related activities in town – relocating this luncheon is a step in that direction. 

In addition to serving a nice hot lunch to veterans; this luncheon also supports other veteran related projects. The vegetables at the luncheon will be from Vets & Veggies, a new nonprofit located in Athol, Mass. 

Vets and Veggies is an organization that provides housing opportunity for veterans and promotes a safe community environment. They work with veterans to establish education goals and job skills. Keeping the veterans hands and mind busy and building their self‐esteem all while growing food for the community. While in this program veterans will have the opportunity to integrate into the local and surrounding community, while learning how to organize and set up a long term sustainable income. 
   

Veterans love their coffee and I would be crazy not to have coffee at the luncheon for our veterans. In Haverhill there is a brand new coffee shop called “Battle Grounds Coffee Company”. Battle Grounds Coffee Company is an veteran owned and operated business. Battle Grounds is owned by a former Navy Seal Salvatore Defranco and his wife Dana Defranco. Most of the employees are veterans as well. 

As a veteran myself, served 7 years in the Massachusetts National Guard as a Combat Engineer with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s a real honor to organize this luncheon for the second year in a row. Over the past could of year I’ve been working on doing more and more things to honor and support veterans in my Town of Newbury. This event is another great step in that direction. 

Any veteran looking to attend or would like to reserve a spot for them and a guest they can email me at veterans@yankeehomecoming.com – this luncheon is open to all veterans. 

Volunteerism: A Viable Resource for Newbury

Tonight I went before the Newbury Board of Selectmen to ask them to consider adopting Mass General Law – Chapter 59 Section 5N ‘Reduction of Property Tax Obligation of Veteran in Exchange for Volunteer Services’. For the town to adopt this section it will need to go before Town Meeting for vote. I did ask the Board of Selectmen to consider moving forward and encouraged them to form a ‘work group’ with various stakeholders including myself.

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Memorial Day 2017

Someone asked me how was my Memorial Day weekend was today. To be honest, Sunday made the weekend for me. Seeing a young 12 year old so engaged in wanting to clean and reset a Civil War soldier headstone. There was no short cuts, she wanted to be part of digging it out, cleaning it, putting the dirt back in, making sure it was straight and put the flag holder back. On top of that she asked questions about the stone, the procedure, and the veteran himself. It was truly great to watch it all unfold. A volunteer from Preserving Newbury, Tracey who did an amazing job working with the 12 year old all day. It was truly a blessing to witness. This was a great way to pay respect to this veteran for Memorial Day. 🇺🇸

An Act of Kindness Has A Bigger Impact then You Think!

I recently got an email from New England Center and Home for Veterans thanking for me taking veterans from the center to a Red Sox game, a couple Celtics games, and a Bruins game a few years ago. Back in 2015, I treated 18 veterans to an Red Sox with the help of Larry Lucchino. With the help of his staff the veterans who attended enjoyed the game from an executive suite, with a pig roast, food buffet and a baseball hat for everyone of them (all courtesy of the Boston Red Sox). On top of that I was also able to raise $2,000 which was donated to the education department at NECHV.
Since then, the Red Sox have been giving NECHV a steady supply of tickets now when they have them. It’s great to hear such great news and I’m very happy to see this as a result. Although the center accredits me for being instrumental in setting this up, I feel the Red Sox deserve all the credit for this continued work of serving veterans. Going to sporting events and concerts can be very therapeutic. This email has certainly made my week. I can’t wait to get a tour of the new remodel of the faculty on Court Street in Boston.