Concord group offers film on restorative justice

JUSTICE ON FILM: Jennifer Larson Sawin, executive director of Communities for Restorative Justice, or C4RJ, said it’s common for crime victims, as well as the people who have victimized them, to initially feel apprehensive about the Concord-based organization’s process of developing a voluntary “repair plan” to take the place of a criminal prosecution.

To provide an inside look without breaching confidentiality, C4RJ recently produced a 30-minute film featuring professional actors, local police, and C4RJ’s volunteers. The first two screenings of the grant-funded “Finding Courage: Addressing Harm with Restorative Justice Circles” will take place on Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. at Kerem Shalom, 659 Elm St. in Concord; and Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at Old Town Hall, 16 South Road in Bedford.

According to Larson Sawin, the film is a realistic depiction of the “circle process” involving the victim and offender, their supporters, the police, and the organization’s trained volunteers who help wrongdoers understand the harm they caused.


Since the nonprofit, community-police partnership was established in 2000, according to Larson Sawin, nearly 600 cases of vandalism, destruction of property, breaking and entering, assault and battery, and similar crimes have been resolved outside of the court system, through arrangements of financial restitution, community service, counseling, letters of apology, and other forms of repair. The participating towns are Acton, Arlington, Ayer, Bedford, Boxborough, Cambridge, Carlisle, Concord, Groton, Littleton, Stow, and Wellesley.

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Larson Sawin said the film features individuals who have been through the process, and chronicles the changes that take place among circle participants. A discussion period will follow the screenings.

“It’s important for both sides to see that it’s a supportive and safe environment, but one that is also quite direct and frank,” she said. “By having a chance to speak and ask and answer questions, their needs can be heard and addressed in a meaningful way that often isn’t typical of the court system.”

Admission is free, but registration is required; call 978-318-3447 or visit www.c4rjfilm.eventbrite.com. For details on future screenings and other information, visit www.c4rj.com.

FOR LOVE OF GAMING: Billy Fratelli (inset) of Franklin was only 8 years old when he got a Nintendo game system, but he has never forgotten how much fun he had playing classic favorites like “Mario Bros.,” “Contra,” and “Marble Madness.”


Inspired by their simple yet challenging design, the 32-year-old recently launched his own game, “Smash Track,’’ as a free iPhone download.

Fratelli, who holds an engineering degree and builds Web applications for a financial services company, taught himself the game-building components for Apple from a book he purchased two years ago. Since then, he has worked on his obstacle-course game, in which a car earns points by picking up various weapons and smashing everything in its path.

The game’s first 16 levels are free, with an additional 16 levels available for 99 cents. In addition, Fratelli is planning enhancements such as car and weapon upgrades, new levels, and posting a leaderboard on Game Center.

“I hope people who play it get that same nostalgic feeling that I do,” said Fratelli, who keeps his original Nintendo hooked up in a spare bedroom. “I just want them to have fun with it.”

For more information, visit www.saffrondo.com.


REMEMBERING WBCN: Disc jockey Carter Alan (inset) of Hopkinton will discuss his new book, “Radio Free Boston: The Rise and Fall of WBCN,” on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the media center at Arlington High School, 869 Massachusetts Ave.

The moderator will be music critic Tim Riley of Lexington. The event is part of Arlington Community Education’s fall speaker series.

A disc jockey at WBCN from 1979 through 1998, Alan is also the author of “Outside Is America: U2 in the US,” and “U2: The Road to Pop.” He is the music director at WZLX, a classic-rock station for which he hosts the midday show and “Sunday Morning Blues.”

In “Radio Free Boston,” Alan describes WBCN’s 41-year history of artistic freedom, music, politics, and identity, which ended in 2009, as well as the cultural, technological, and financial forces that killed rock radio. The foreword is written by Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, and the back cover includes quotes from fellow music legends Bono, Gregg Allman, and Joe Perry.

In 1968, establishing “a free-form rock station was like trying to start a fire without a match in the woods,” Alan said. “It seemed like all odds were against it, but once it caught, it just didn’t stop.”

Admission to his talk is $5. To register, call 781-316-3568 or visit www.arlingtoncommunityed.org. Walk-ins are welcome as space permits.

GIVING BACK: As owner of Fiske’s General Store in Holliston, John Paltrineri believes it is important to give back to his customers, as well as his hometown.

He recently combined those missions to donate $450 to the Holliston Pantry Shelf, through a two-month promotion in which he set aside a portion of every new or renewed membership to the Friends of Fiske’s discount club.

Carl Damigella, president of the Holliston Pantry Shelf, noted that Paltrineri’s generosity to the organization and its clients extends throughout the year. For example, he is once again donating all profits from the sale of Holliston Happy holiday ornaments to the nonprofit.

“John works behind the scenes and doesn’t look for accolades,” Damigella noted, “but we depend on people like him.”

His role “is just being part of the community,” said Paltrineri, who purchased the business with his father, 89-year-old Louis Paltrineri of Holliston, in 1973. “I support them because they support me.”

For more information about the food pantry, including a list of needed items, visit www.hollistonpantryshelf.org.

DEFINING BULLYING: Recent attention on teen suicides and other incidents has heightened concern about bullying in schools.

Clinical psychologist Michael Thompson (inset) of Arlington will distinguish between actual bullying and normal socialization in childhood in his presentation, “Best Friends/Worst Enemies: Friendship Development, Popularity, and Social Cruelty in Childhood,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Fenn School’s Meeting and Performance Hall, 516 Monument St. in Concord.

The author of nine books, Thompson is a school consultant and international speaker on the subjects of children, schools, and parenting.

The presentation is free, but space is limited. E-mail oachtmeyer@fenn.org to reserve a seat.

People items may be submitted to Cindy Cantrell at cindy-cantrell20@gmail.com.