The 2011 Year in Review

December 29, 2011


2011 started out with a crash, boom, bang in West Rockvegas at Midnight, January 1st. The Godfather of local rock and roll, Graham Brandlund, and his Eva Braun Band rocked Game Time to a huge crowd of fans to kick off the new year in style.  Celebrations at O’Hurleys and the Banner Irish Pub with local rockers, The Second Shift Band, and Rock Ridge, closed the rock and roll books on 2010.

Before the crash of the cymbals subsided, it was off to Saquish for the New Years Day, Bitemebaitco Winter Classic. Sunshine and fifty degree beaches were the big story on the first day of 2011. Bitemebaitco Fisherman of the Year, Peter “Rockbottom” Cahill took his Fisherman of the Year Trophy home after a mild midwinter’s sleepover on the spectacular peninsula.

January also brought the Rockland Lions Club Mid-Winter conference in Plymouth,  MA. “The Club That Has No Fun” rented the biggest suite available and thrilled hundreds of Lions members from all over the district. The theme was “Hooray for Hollywood” and the Rocklandites brought out all the stars. The Second Shift Band set up right in the room, and the music played into the wee hours of the morning.

Later in the month, it was the Pro Football Pick ‘Em Awards Celebration. Rockland’s Kevin Quill was crowned Grand Champion, just ahead of Rockland Eagles Legend, Frankie “Too Easy” Aicardi.  Quill took home the coveted Ken Carlson Cup along with all the swag that comes  with it. thanks Ken Carlson for his selfless contribution to the site each year with the Pro Football Pick ‘Em thread.


February brought the annual Lourenco’s Auto Super Bowl Weekend Extravaganza. A group of Rocklandites made the trek north to enjoy the great outdoors winter style on the big lake. Special thanks to Uncle Dale for sponsoring the annual event.




The Rockland Eagles Chili Chowder Festival was also in February. This year’s event was a huge success.  Hundreds and hundreds of Rocklandites brought in nearly $10,000 to help raise suicide awareness. Rockland Eagles First Couple, Dan “Fuzzy” Cronin and Diane Bohld, worked along with dozens of Eagles members to pull off this smashing success. Attendees chose from 20 different chili and chowder creations to name the winners of this prestigious event. Chowder makers come from all over to match soups with some of the best local pros and joes in Rockvegas.

March came in like a Lion, or a pit bull, if you will.  Rockland’s hardest working man, “Eddie the Pit Bull” Reid turned sixty years old. Eddie stepped up all year long in 2011,  from being  a huge supporter of the Rockland Lions Club, The Food Pantry, and the Holiday Stroll to giving  back to the town through dozens of organizations.

Brenda and Eddie have been there for Rockland on so many occasions in the six years since coming to Rockland that it is hard to keep track of all they do.  Be sure to stop in to the Banner in 2012 and say hi to these caring Rockland friends.



April first brought the Fifth Annual Brian Duffy Flyover. As in years past, Rocklandites lined Union Street to witness this spectacular low-altitude flyover by Rockland Favorite Sons, Tim and Brian Duffy. The annual event marks the birthday of their mom in style for the entire town to see.  Brian and Tim Duffy are two of NASA’s top pilots -  both natives of Rockland. The annual flyover is a thrill like no other in Rockland as their jet blasts down Union Street with a full barrel roll, then turns on the afterburners and rockets over Beech Hill.


April showers brought the annual Rockland Town Election, where some stunning results took place. Home town favorites,  “Delightful” Debbie O’Brien and Mike Johnson easily held on to their selectman seats. Atlantic Coffee mogul, Stephen Murphy, went on to win his first election as Rockland Parks Commissioner. It was a great turnout for a Rockland election; and even though some candidates fought fire with fire, it was a peaceful and jovial day in Rockvegas.



The merry old month of May brought the annual Cardigans Run in the Calvary Chapel parking lot. Rocklandites and friends came out in droves to support this wonderful event.’s very own, Bestof79, finished first in his class with a record breaking 3.5 mile jaunt along the streets of Rockland.Cadogan's run starting gun





The annual Memorial Day Parade finished up the month of May as thousands of Rocklandites again lined Union Street to pay respect to our fallen heroes. Rockland Center was lined with American flags being held by grateful Americans, both young and old, who came out for the parade.

June brought summer-like temperatures and the 38th annual Cross Roads Athletic Club Fishing trip. Nearly 100 Rocklandites made the annual trek to Squam Lake in Sandwich, New Hampshire. This year Cross Roads member Dominic  took home the coveted Cross Roads Cup. Cross Roads Athletic Club runs the 10,000 dollar junket each year on Fathers’ Day weekend.  Anglers are treated like kings for four days and three nights. They feast on Prime Rib, New York Sirloins, and a bounty of other fine food along with unlimited beer and cocktails – all for around $200.00 per man.


Rockland Deputy Police Chief, Jerry Eramo, resurrected the Citizens Police Academy with a June Graduation in 2011.  A dozen cadets, ranging in age from 17 to 76, applied for the program. Only 12 were selected to attend. (Everyone gets accepted)  The ten-week program is designed to be another bridge to the community from the Rockland Police Department. Eramo has tried year after year to re-start the program and 2011 was the year he got it done. The Rockland Citizens Police Academy teaches students just about  everything -  from citation writing to firing assault rifles.



 The month of July was a great month in Rockland with the grand opening and dedication of the Ralph C. Ewell Greenway… high, high, high, atop Beech Hill in Rockland. Cousins  Derek and Justin Ewell, spearheaded a team of volunteers who carved a 1.5 mile wonder trail along the steep slope of Beech Hill in a remarkably short time. Since its grand opening, hundreds of Rocklandites have enjoyed the vast woodland acres by hiking, biking and exploring the property.  This winter promises to bring more use as townspeople take to the trail on snow shoes, cross country skis or hiking boots.




July brought the much-anticipated new look to Rockland new comer, Lance Cummins, upgraded the Mike Donovan creation with an all-new, professional look and feel. The new site is faster, smarter, and has the foundation for future expansion already in place.  Lance Cummins also upgraded the Town of Rockland website making it much more user-friendly and dramatically improving the format that it once was. Cummins has made a big a splash in Rockland after moving here from his comfortable home in Kansas.  He has done a ton of volunteer work and has founded the Restoration Church of Rockland; he holds meetings wherever he can, even in such places as Hartsuff Park, the Ewell Trail,  peoples’ homes, and Players Sports Bar. Be sure to give Lance and family a big, warm Rockland Welcome when you see them out and about.

July also brought the third running of Lion Jay Leahy’s Lions Ride for Sight. The Rockland Lions event raises money to fight blindness. Hundreds of riders and passengers flock to the Abington VFW outdoor function area for a 40-mile ride,  followed by a BBQ feast, live music and some great prizes. Lion Jay invites all riders to join this coming year’s Ride for Sight in 2012.  The Rockland Lions Club meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month in the Knights of Columbus Hall. flew into August on the wings of the Bird Man, Jim Partridge.  Jim took the awesome  Pan Mass Challenge for the eighth year in a row. This year’s Pan Mass Challenge was on August 6 and 7. Riders  pedaled from Wellesley to P-Town for a total of 163 miles. The Bird Man and his riding team, “Forza -G”, pedaled for Mason, a seven-year-old boy with brain cancer.

August 2011 brought the end of a great run for Rockland’s Paul Hurley and O’Hurleys Bar. Paul made a great run of the place for two years, bringing some of the biggest crowds to pack the old Tall House in decades.The last  Friday night show by Prank Monkey saw the end of a fun two-year run that was O’Hurley’s Restaurant and Pub. It was the final gig to be held at the house at 363 Union Street under the O’Hurley’s banner. It was rather ironic that Prank Monkey, who back on July 11, 2009, played the grand opening gig, ended up being the band to give it a sendoff. tips its hat to Paul Hurley who thrilled thousand of Rocklandites with his own brand of sports and entertainment bar.

336476_1740145283165_1824681984_1228108_6152768_oThe Prank Monkey Band made a huge splash on the Rockvegas music scene, climaxing with their appearance at the Marshfield Fair in August. Bon Sarno had the bad boys of Rockvegas on top of their game as they headlined the fair on a night when music great, Steven Tyler, was on hand at the fair. Bon Sarno wrote an excellent piece on the event exclusively for The Prank Monkey band nearly knocked down the old Bigelow mansion earlier in the year and thrilled crowds from Players to the Banner all year round.


September 2011 brought the return to Rockland of  international singing sensation, Kathleen Carnali. Kathleen appeared live in Rockland on Friday, September 23rd.  Kathleen’s mother, Lori Able, formerly of Rockland, announced the concert to thousands of local fans via Facebook. Kathleen was coming off a whirlwind tour that had brought her all over the country and the world and now back to Rockland. Kathleen  appeared at Calvary Church in Rockland on Friday, September 23. Calvary Chapel  footed the bill for this fantastic recording artist and offered free admission to any and all.

Kathleen Carnali, spreading the good news of the Gospel with world-class talent and music. Kathleen recently announced that she and her husband will be having a baby in 2012.

smoke12-1-1September brought the Rockland Eagles Third Annual BBQ Smoke Off. Like all Eagles events, this was a well-run BBQ competition producing some of the best BBQ in the state. Twenty teams competed for the title of Best in Barbecue.  Teams began their cook fires in the wee hours of the morning and continued late into the afternoon. A smashing success was reported by event organizers and award winners were the Cue and a Half Men BBQ Team.  Many thanks to the Rockland Eagles Club which donated tens of thousands of dollars to Rockland causes in 2011.

The first weekend in October brought us the Rockland Lions Club Walk for Sight at Scusset Beach Reservation. Torrents of rain and wind greeted the half dozen diehard Lion members as they rolled in on Saturday at seven a.m. I could almost feel the cold rain dripping off my back -  just from watching them from the comfort of my camper’s sofa with binoculars. King Lion, Al Barr, had his pride in high gear as they rolled out the tents, trailers, grills, and gadgets for this annual event.


The pressure was on Rockland King Lion, Al Barr,  in his role as event chairman for the entire district this year. Clubs from all over the district began to roll in and set up shop in the vast Scusset parking lot. Soon, the rain let up, my coffee ran dry, and I was able to safely exit the new space shuttle to  join my soggy Lion member friends  for the festivities. Dozens of walkers with hundreds of sponsors made the walk along the Cape Cod Canal and back. Lion’s Clubs from all over the district provided all kinds of food and drink for the walkers. Sausage, peppers and onions; clam chowder; French fries; burgers;  hot dogs;  fried dough – all were free to the walkers and their guests.The event was a huge success despite the dismal forecast and morning rain. The Scusset Beach Reservation is the perfect location for this annual event to fight blindness   The Rockland Lions Club – ” The Club That Has No Fun”.


Also in October was the 12th annual Rockland Campers Club Halloween Weekend. Nearly a hundred Rockland Campers made the annual trip to Cranberry Country to celebrate the last hurrah of the camping season at Gate Way to Cape Resort in Rochester, MA. Many campers go all out for the early Halloween weekend, decking  out their campers and campsites with some very impressive decorations. Campers can expect to dole out up to 15 bags of Halloween candy to the hundreds of ghosts and goblins who haunt this forty acre park beginning at 4 pm sharp on Saturday. Both young and old enjoy the  tradition that started with just a handful of campers some 12 years ago and has now grown to a record high this year of more than a hundred Rocklandites with their friends and families.


cbt2November started out with a shake, stir and splash at the third annual Allan Chiocca Celebrity Bartender Night at the Banner Irish Pub. Many local celebrities came out to work the bar and donate their tips to the food pantry. Chiocca led the charge  raising nearly $2000 for the food pantry. State Rep. Rhonda Nyman was on hand to help with the cause along with “Artie, the One-Man Political Party”,  Stephen Tobin.


It just wouldn’t be November without the Annual Grand Opening of Alice’s Restaurant at the Rockland Eagles. Mike “Mauler” Gilpin sent mixed signals late in October, creating some doubt that the eatery might not open in 2011. Come Thanksgiving Day, though,  it was all systems go;  and the Mauler churned out a few dozen turkeys to the Bird faithful.


The warm, balmy late November evening, with nearly zero wind, made perfect conditions for this year’s Christmas Stroll. Townspeople came out in droves to occupy Union Street in the spirit of Christmas. From the fire station to Biggins’ North Pole, it was all of Rockland’s finest working together to spread peace, joy and goodwill to the thousands who attended.






December brought the the Third Annual Rockland Lions Tree Sale which was a huge success. The club sold 94 trees and gave away six. The Lions would like to thank Mel Pinto,  Manager of Walgreens Rockland, for all her support to the Lions Club.  I would like to ask all readers to please consider Walgreens for all your pharmacy needs. Special thanks to Mike Brennan of the Brick and Mortar Flower Stand, working out of Artery Fruit in Quincy. Special thanks to “Delightful” Debbie O’Brien and Mr. and Mrs. John Ward for donating trees to needy families.

All in all, it was a great year in the old “Shoe Town” with many projects started and slated to be finished in 2012.