Before we begin this new week in earnest, we’re taking a look back at the week that was, and the stories that led the news with Taunton Daily Gazette readers.
Our top story this past week was about heartbreak and loss, but also tremendous love. Before 6-year-old Aubriella Derosier passed away after a life-long battle with mitochondrial disease, her parents, Taunton Police Officer Jeremy Derosier and his wife Jamie, helped her fulfill some of the wishes on her bucket list, including throwing a fairytale wedding.
Other leading stories included a Taunton man being charged with COVID unemployment fraud, a Taunton mom fighting for the state to help her autistic son, and a Berkley motocross “business” being shut down.
And, for reasons unclear to us, a timeline of President Joe Biden’s path from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to the White House.
These were the Top 5 stories of the past week, according to Gazette readers:
‘We vowed to be her parents forever’
The story that resonated most with readers this week was that of 6-year-old Aubriella Derosier. And how could it not? She died earlier this month, after living with mitochondrial disease all of her short life. Although her life was so short, it was filled with the love of her parents, the rest of her family, and many friends. Her parents, Taunton Police Officer Jeremy Derosier and his wife Jamie, lost their son Bryce (“Almighty Brycey”) to the same illness in 2018. They’ve faced their heartbreak with grit and determination, filling their children’s days with nothing but love. Before Aubriella passed away, the Derosiers were going through her bucket list with her, including throwing a fairytale wedding, where they all took vows cementing their love as a family.
“We vowed to be her parents forever,” Jeremy Derosier said.
‘An honor to be your parent’: Taunton cop’s family loses 2nd child to same illness
Taunton man charged with COVID unemployment fraud
Feds say Clark Grant, a Silver Street man, lied on a mortgage application, claiming as his own nearly half a million dollars that actually belonged to a racial justice charity. Prosecutors also allege that Grant scammed the unemployment system throughout the pandemic, getting checks of $625 a week while he continued to work full-time. Emails and calls to Grant’s court-appointed lawyer, Julie-Ann Olson, had not been returned as of this writing.
‘I’m never giving up on my kids’
Lisa Smith is fighting to get her son, Nick Watt, back into special education support programs, after he recently turned 22 and aged out. The laws and rules around special education are full of exceptions, nuances and judgment calls. But in broad strokes, Smith thinks Watt should get another year of education. The Taunton Public Schools disagree.
John Cabral, superintendent of TPS, said the district has followed all the state recommendations and guidelines around disruptions caused by the pandemic.
State Rep. Carmine Gentile has introduced a bill that aims to buy Watt and other students in the same predicament the time their families say they lost due to COVID.
“My sole purpose is to get Nick into a program,” Smith said. “I’m never giving up on my kids.”
Photos: Taunton mom says son deserves another year of SPED due to COVID
Berkley motocross ‘business’ shut down
After neighbors brought noise complaints to the Oct. 13 Berkley Board of Selectmen meeting, a town motocross “business” has been issued a cease and desist. Selectmen said that noise complaints are a Board of Health issue; however, because Michael and Angela Ricardo were charging people “donations” to use their race course, the select board said that makes them a “business” and the board voted to issue the Ricardos a cease and desist order “for any commercial operation” at the address.
Angela Ricardo said they have tried to work with the neighbors since 2014 and have not tried to do anything to aggravate them, but they do wish to use their property for the sport that they both enjoy.
Gazette Correspondent Michael J. DeCicco has the story here.
Joe Biden: From Scranton to the White House
Sometimes, some of our Top Stories come out of left field.
This past week, a whole lot of Gazette readers were paying attention to this timeline of President Joe Biden’s life, from his early days in Scranton Pennsylvania, all the way to him winning the 2020 presidential election.
Is it that there’s a local election coming up? Is it because of the legislative bargaining happening in Washington, D.C. at the moment? Or did a very specific set of people just want to read a whole lot about President Biden this week?
Who can say? Ours is not to reason, but to report, and for whatever reason, we can report that this 2020 story somehow made the Top 5 this week!
Taunton Daily Gazette/Herald News copy editor and digital producer Kristina Fontes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette today.