Local Musician at Jamestown Foundation  
Thursday, March 17, 2011

“Listen to this,” suggested Webster’s Joseph R. Pizzetti, adjusting the tape deck in his automobile, parked one recent noon hour near Mary Conrad’s East Main Street Café.

Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie” and Frank Sinatra’s “They Can’t Take That Away” led into “Some Hits,” as the tape advises, and all in a great voice.

“My son Jaie,” said Mr. Pizzetti, breaking into a happy smile. “He’s with a classic hard rock group in Williamsburg (Va.). He made the tapes for my birthday.”

With that, Jaie R. Pizzetti’s career took on another dimension. A 1995 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a penchant for history, Jaie has been employed about five years at the Jamestown Foundation, a living history museum that commemorates the first permanent English settlement in North America.

He sails on the foundation’s replica ships, costumed as a 17th-century British sailor, and talks to hundreds of visitors most days about history.

Jaie joined the Lords of Misrule, the classic and hard rock group, in 2007. He’s the lead vocalist, and plays keyboard and guitar, according to a couple of lines on his avocation.

Reading through the “Hits” on Jaie Pizzetti’s tapes, with tunes such as “Carolina On My Mind,” Yesterday,” “Beyond the Sea” and maybe 10 others, I was struck by the offerings.

“Something for our senior set,” I suggested. Joe Pizzetti agreed, punctuating his accord with a happy smile.

The Webster Board of Health received quite a bit of news play early this month, including segments on several TV stations, with their vote to placard abandoned properties.

It’s in keeping with a proposal first advanced by Selectman Mark G. Dowgiewicz, a way of transmitting information about unkempt buildings and who is responsible for them. Call it a “shame game,” if you want, but it will be interesting to see how difficult-to-contact mortgage-holders react, if at all.

Health Commissioners also revised their anti-smoking regulations the same evening, prohibiting sales of cigarettes, tobaccos, and even rolling papers to those age 18 and younger. The juvenile ban includes e-cigarettes, defined as “any electronic delivery product composed of a mouthpiece, heating element, battery and or electronic circuits that provides a vapor of liquid nicotine to the user or relies on vaporization of any liquid or solid nicotine.”

The preamble to the regulations talks about the long-term health problems smoking exposes people to, especially from a young age. Enforcement is vested in the Police Department, the Board of Health, their agents and designees. Since it hasn’t a “shall” in enforcement language, oversight will probably fall to town Health Agent Cathleen Liberty. She seems like a very capable, conscientious person, but the scope of the ban is a lot to contend with.

There was a time when the Webster Cooperative Bank was a small-time operation: solid, solvent, but largely dedicated to systematic savings for blue-collar workers.

The approach made the co-op viable for a long time, but things changed in the 1960s. Local banks merged with larger institutions, and grow or perish became more than a catch phrase.

The bank’s local competitors, the Webster Credit Union and the Webster Five Cents Savings Bank, watched their major competitors, the Webster National Bank and the First National Bank of Webster, disappear through mergers with larger institutions, and took to the idea themselves, growing branches throughout the region.

Competition brought others to town, but the Webster Cooperative tried to hold on, asserting its small-town service. Then, a new administration led by Robert E. Duteau, a town roofing company owner, brought change, slowly at first, but with certainty. The bank’s banner got a new hoist. Cooperative became Hometown, and the roll was under way.

Hometown moved its headquarters to a new office in Oxford, adding a branch in Sturbridge around the same time. Now, on the heels of a national economic problem, Hometown seems headed for bigger things. The state banking commissioner approved a merger of Hometown and Athol-Clinton Co-operative Bank on March 5.

They’ve got a ways to go to catch up with the Credit Union and the Five Cents Savings, but with a county stretch, Webster to Athol, Hometown seems on its way. The guy who started it all, Bob Duteau, is retired, but his successor, Matthew S. Sosik, seems to have the credentials to successfully consolidate the new Hometown alignment.

While there are people concerned with town aesthetics, like the Killdeer Island group opposed to a high-in-the-sky billboard behind the Webster Subaru agency, there are others who see the big advertising piece as an economic plus.

A town couple wondered about the billboard on a recent afternoon, suggesting it has to help in some way. Since their inquiry was to understand objections, the line here is to simply note that the issue doesn’t seem one-sided.
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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