Briefs

Recent headlines from Globe West.

FRAMINGHAM

Town launches official app for mobile devices

The town has launched a mobile application called “My Framingham.” Among the features of the software are official local news updates, a community calendar for event registrations, notifications, and changes, and emergency alerts geared toward street closures, road conditions, and the latest information available. Links to download the app for Apple and Android devices are available on the municipal website, www.framinghamma.gov.

WAYLAND

Town, developer settle lawsuit over sewer access

Wayland officials recently announced the settlement a 10-year-long legal dispute between Twenty Wayland and the town’s Wastewater Management District Commission over sewer capacity for the developer’s Town Center project. The dispute arose in 2005 and led to a judgment against the town in a 2011 Superior Court case, which was appealed to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. The recent settlement, the result of nearly a year of negotiations, modifies the monetary part of the judgment issued against the town, reducing it from $1.2 million to $895,000. Payment will have no financial impact on taxpayers or waste-water rate payers, according to an announcement by the town, with the funds coming from the town’s development agreement with Twenty Wayland . The Town Center is a mixed-use development on the 54-acre former Raytheon property, and is designed to have a village-like environment with wide sidewalks, accessible store fronts, a town green, and commercial offices and residences.

BELLINGHAM

Registry of Deeds staff will visit town March 12

Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell will hold local office hours March 12 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Bellingham Municipal Center. O’Donnell and his staff will be available to help answer questions or concerns related to any Registry of Deeds matters. Information on the Massachusetts Homestead Act will be available, and residents can print registry-recorded deeds, confirm the status of a mortgage discharge, or check any other registry filing. No appointment is necessary. For more information on Registry of Deeds events, call 781-461-6104 or visit its website, www.norfolkdeeds.org.

FRANKLIN

Presentation on Fire Department at library

The Franklin Odd Fellows will host a presentation about the town’s Fire Department at 7 p.m. March 11 in the Franklin Public Library’s community room. Fire Chief Gary McCarraher will kick off the evening with an introduction to the department and its history. Firefighter and paramedic Keith Darling will then provide an overview on its staffing, hazard responses, fire prevention, and arson investigation work. He will also outline its Student Awareness of Fire Education and its home-visit programs. For more information on the host service organization, visit www.franklinmassoddfellows.org.

DOVER

Committee to discuss plans for Springdale property Tuesday

Dover’s Springdale Study Committee will hold a meeting Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the Dover Town Library community room at which residents will have another opportunity to make suggestions about possible uses for the recently acquired Springdale property. Voters last fall approved funding the purchase of the 27.2-acre property, most of it classified as agricultural, off 46 Springdale Ave. The $5.55 million sale prevented plans for a 40-plus-unit Chapter 40B affordable housing complex to be built on the site. The study panel is considering a range of uses for the property, including passive recreation and open space, playing fields and trails, sale of part of the property, development of senior or affordable housing, a solar farm, holding it as it is for future use, and other options. The committee is expected to have its recommendation ready for the annual Town Meeting in May.

NATICK

Recreation officials seek input on fields, parks

Natick’s Recreation and Parks Department is seeking input from residents about the community’s playing fields and parks. The department, working with a consultant, is holding a series of public forums through mid-April, with the sessions divided into six focus areas to allow residents to discuss recreational facilities in their neighborhood. The next session is slated for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Community-Senior Center, 117 East Central St. Details on the meetings and a map of the focus areas have been posted on the town’s website, www.natickma.gov, under “news flash.’’ Residents can also e-mail comments to the department at recreation@natickma.org , or drop them off at the Cole Center, 179 Boden Lane.

ARLINGTON

EcoFest will return Saturday in Town Hall

Arlington’s 2015 EcoFest will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in Town Hall. The annual celebration of the environment will focus on energy — how it’s made, used, measured, and conserved. The free community event will feature activities and displays for all ages, including art created out of recyclable materials. Residents will also have an opportunity to fill their own container with free, locally generated compost.

WATERTOWN

Historical group will unveil new exhibitions Saturday

The Historical Society of Watertown will unveil two exhibitions, on the Civil War and a Native American artisan, next weekend. They are being made possible in part by a Watertown Community Foundation grant that is paying for a display screen and materials for rotating exhibitions at the society’s Edmund Fowle House on Marshall Street. “Watertown and the Civil War” will feature letters written by a local woman’s great-uncle serving in the Union Army, newspaper interviews with Civil War veterans who lived in town, and information on other notable era figures and sites with connections to the community. The other exhibition, “A Mi’Kmaw Woman’s Award-Winning Legacy,” will feature the arts and crafts of Madeline “Joe” Knockwood as well as information about her culture and traditions. The Mi’Kmaqs were one of the parties to sign the Treaty of Watertown at the Edmund Fowle House in 1776; the document was the first to recognize the United States as an independent nation, according to the society. The exhibitions’ grand opening will run from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday. In the event of a storm, it will be rescheduled to next Sunday. For more information, visit www.historicalsocietyofwatertownma.org.

LEXINGTON

School board contest on ballot Monday

Lexington is holding its annual town election Monday, when polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The only townwide contested race is for School Committee, with three candidates vying for two seats on the panel. Incumbents William Hurley and Jessie Steigerwald are joined by Thomas Diaz on the ballot. Also, some precincts have several candidates for Town Meeting member positions.

BELMONT

Selectmen vote to seek tax increase this spring

Belmont’s Board of Selectmen recently voted unanimously to place a $4.5 million Proposition 2½ override request on the ballot in the April 7 town election. Town Administrator David Kale said the board decided to seek the property tax increase based on feedback and recommendations from the Financial Task Force and other town committees. Kale said the money would be used to close a deficit in the school system’s budget for this year, and cover expected expenses next year related to special education and increased enrollment. Kale said funds from the override would also be used for road and sidewalk repairs and capital improvements. Without the override, Kale said, the schools would have a shortfall of about $1.6 million for next fiscal year. He said the override would add about $675 to the property taxes for the town’s average single-family home.

REGION

Tour will take senators to Framingham, Lexington, Newton, Plainville, Westborough

Kicking off the next leg of a statewide tour of Senate districts Monday, state Senator Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, will lead the MetroWest delegation on a tour of businesses, universities, and local organizations to listen to the concerns of residents. Joining Eldridge will be Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst; Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr, Republican of Gloucester; Karen Spilka, Democrat of Ashland; Mike Barrett, Democrat of Lexington; assistant majority leader Cynthia Stone Creem, Democrat of Newton; Eileen Donoghue, Democrat of Lowell; and Richard Ross, Republican of Wrentham. The tour will begin with a stop at the Plainridge Park Casino grounds in Plainville to discuss issues impacting economic development in the region, and continue to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington to discuss technology and national security. The senators will also stop at the United Teen Equality Center in Lowell, the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife field headquarters in Westborough, and the planetarium at the Christa McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University, where they will discuss STEM education issues. The tour will conclude with an open public forum in the Newton North High School cafeteria from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

MEDWAY

Sign up for preschool lottery by March 9

Medway’s school system will be offering a half-day preschool program in the fall. There will be both morning and afternoon sessions five days a week; the program cannot guarantee placement in a particular session. Those who wish to enroll a child — students must ages 3 to 5 as of Aug. 31 to be eligible — have until March 6 to pick up an information packet at the main office of the McGovern Elementary School on Lovering Street, with the completed forms due back by March 9. The district will conduct a lottery for spaces in the program at 9:30 a.m. March 10 in the McGovern School cafeteria. Parents whose children’s names are selected will be contacted; the district will retain a waiting list for the remaining names. Tuition for the program is expected to be $3,250, with the final cost to be set by the School Committee. For more information on the program, visit www.medwayschools.org.

WATERTOWN

Session to focus on two MBTA bus routes

While the overall performance of the MBTA has been much in the news this winter, there will be a much more local focus about T reliability at a meeting Monday from 7 to 9 p.m on the third floor at 321 Arsenal St.. The Watertown Task Force on Public Transit, formed last spring by the civic organization Sustainable Watertown, will host the discussion on possible improvements to the No. 70 and 70A bus routes. MBTA official Melissa Dullea will attend the session, which will tackle “service and reliability issues” surrounding the two routes, said T spokesman Joe Pesaturo. The agency has also started studying the No. 70’s reliability, Pesaturo said; he did not say when officials expect to complete the study.

NATICK

Town to host civic affairs academy

Natick is holding the first session of its new Citizen Leadership Academy on April 8. The academy is a 10-week program designed to advance understanding of civic affairs and participation in them, and to increase awareness of the challenges facing municipal government. Classes will be held on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at various locations around town. All sessions will be facilitated by town staff. The free program is open to anyone who lives or works in Natick. Space is limited, so early registration is suggested. For more information, contact Jemma Lambert, the town’s director of community services, at 508-647-6546 or via e-mail at jlambert@natickma.org. Applications are available on the town’s website, www.natickma.gov.

SUDBURY

Town manager leaving for state position

Sudbury Town Manager Maureen Valente will be leaving her position Friday to take a leadership role in state Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s office. Goldberg announced last month that Valente will serve as a deputy treasurer, and will oversee the Massachusetts School Building Authority, the Clean Water Trust, and debt management. Valente has served as town manager in Sudbury for 15 years. She previously worked as a finance officer in the towns of Lexington and Concord. The Board of Selectmen is scheduled to vote on the appointment Maryanne Bilodeau as interim town manager during its meeting Tuesday. Bilodeau serves as the town’s assistant town manager and human resources director.

FRANKLIN

Registration open for spring adult education courses

Registration has started for the spring semester at the Center for Adult Education and Community Learning in Franklin. Course offerings include a series of winemaking seminars through the La Cantina Wine School, and floral-design classes with Hillside Nurseries. In addition, there are classes on knitting, cooking, career building, child care, marketing, forensics, yoga, sports, foreign languages, and photography, among many more topics. Classes will begin the week of March 8, with individual sessions starting at $20; participation is open to residents of Franklin and surrounding communities. To review the full catalogue of courses and prices, and to register online, visit www.franklinlifelonglearning.com . To register by mail, download a registration form and send it to the Center for Adult Education and Community Learning, 218 Oak St., Franklin, MA 02038. For more information, call the center at 508-613-1480 or e-mail adulted@franklin.k12.ma.us.

HOPKINTON

Hopkinton’s Colella’s Market to close next month

After nearly 70 years, the family-owned Colella’s Supermarket is closing, with tentative plans for the final day to be in mid-March. A fixture in downtown Hopkinton at 61 Main St., Colella’s is owned by three sisters — Dale Danahy, Sandy Varnum, and Diane McGrath — who took over the store their mother and father opened on Oct. 6, 1945. “It’s very hard, and it’s very sad. There’s been a lot of tears,” Varnum said. “But there is no third generation to take over, we work a lot of hours, and it’s hard to find help.” Varnum said they have no plans for the property once the store is closed. “Right now we are concentrating on our customers and on our employees, and trying to get them transitioned,” she said. All gift cards and certificates will be honored, but the owners are asking that they be redeemed as soon as possible.

LEXINGTON

State to provide update on replacing Route 2 bridges

The state Department of Transportation will be discussing its ongoing project to replace the Route 2 bridges over Interstate 95 during a 6:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday at the Jonas Clarke Middle School. Agency officials will present updated design and construction plans for the project, and take public comments. The work is aimed at addressing the bridges’ current structural deficiencies, expanding their capacity, meeting current seismic criteria, and improving safety while protecting the environment and reducing annual maintenance costs, officials said. Plans also call for improving I-95 in the vicinity with new paving and guardrails, median upgrades, storm-water drainage, and other enhancements. To learn more about the project and sign up for e-mail advisories and updates, visit www.mass.gov/massdot/Rt2i95bridges.

FRAMINGHAM

Deadline for opting out of mosquito spraying

It seems hardly the season to think about it, but Framingham residents who would like to exclude their property from mosquito-control spraying this summer should send a certified letter to the town clerk by March 1. The letter should include the property owner’s name, address, telephone number, and the spray program for which the exclusion is requested. In addition, the boundaries of the property should be marked every 50 feet. The type of markings should be stated in the certified letter. For more information about pesticide applications by the East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project or the process to exclude properties from spraying, contact the organization at 781-899-5730.

NEEDHAM

Needham library to hold AWEsome Day for kids

The organizers call it AWEsome Day, but whatever the handle, there’ll be lots of special stuff for kids to do Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Needham Free Public Library, at 1139 Highland Ave. “Motion Man” Jody Scalise will interweave juggling, comedy, and precision movement with giant bubbles, a ukulele, and 8-foot streamers at 11 a.m., and Sesame Street’s Elmo is scheduled to drop by. The event will also give visitors the opportunity to try out the library’s new AWE computers, which help kids from preschool to grade 3 learn math, reading, science, writing skills, music, geography, social studies, and art through games. Also, children’s librarian Paula Dugan, who started as the department’s supervisor in December, will be on the scene to meet families. There is no registration required and children do not need a library card for computer access.

WELLESLEY

Wellesley town election set for March 3

Wellesley’s annual town election will be held March 3. The list of candidates running for townwide offices has been posted by the town clerk’s office on the municipal website, www.wellesleyma.gov. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The deadline for absentee voting is noon March 2. For more information, contact the town clerk’s office at 781-431-1019, ext. 2250.

ACTON, BOXBOROUGH

Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council seeks short films for festival

The Acton-Boxborough Cultural Council is sponsoring a night of short films as part of its 2015 World Film series, and is looking to feature new works from local residents and students. A free public screening will take place at 7 p.m. April 24 in Acton’s Town Hall. Select films will also be placed in the permanent collection of Sargent Memorial Library. There is no entry fee, but submissions must be received by March 31. For more information, e-mail the council at abccinformation@gmail.com.

MARLBOROUGH

New principal named for Marlborough High School

Charles D. Caliri has been named the next principal of Marlborough High School, and will take over the position July 1 pending successful contract negotiations. Superintendent Richard Langlois announced that Caliri, the principal at Chelmsford High School, was his choice from three finalists for the position. Langlois made his decision following a monthslong process that included preliminary interviews by a search committee, a site visit at the high school, and candidates being interviewed by several groups, including the school district’s leadership team, parents, staff, students, and community members. “As the process evolved, it became clear that Mr. Caliri was the right person for the position,” Langlois stated in the district’s Feb. 13 announcement, citing Caliri’s “background as a building leader as well as his extensive experience in curriculum.’’ Caliri will take over for Wendy Jack, who has been serving as interim principal since Craig Hardimon resigned last year to take over as human resources director for the Watertown school system. Prior to being hired in Chelmsford, Caliri worked in Revere, Hopkinton, and Lexington.

Pepperell

Town clerk has nomination papers for April election

Nomination papers are available for Pepperell residents interested in running for elected office this spring. The last day to take out papers from the town clerk’s office is March 5, and they must be returned no later than 5 p.m. March 9. The town election is April 27. For a list of seats on the ballot, visit the town’s website, www.pepperell-mass.com.

Arlington

Bicycle committee to host winter social

The Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee will hold its annual indoor Winter Bicycling Social from 7 to 9 p.m. March 5 at the Common Ground Bar & Grill, 319 Broadway in Arlington Center. This year’s event will feature a forum on transportation-related issues related to cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists sharing roadways and multiuse paths such as the Minuteman Bikeway. The forum will include discussions on common courtesy, community safety, and traffic laws. Representatives from the LivableStreets Alliance, WalkBoston, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the local bicycling community, and the Police Department plan to participate in the discussion, which will be moderated by Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine. For more information, visit www.abac.arlington.ma.us.

Wellesley

Forum will open door to discussion on race

Residents are invited to attend a “Community Conversation About Race’’ from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Wellesley Community Center, 219 Washington St. The event will provide a safe place to explore issues related to race and diversity, including how to talk with children about the topics. The discussion will be facilitated by Michelle Chalmers, a Wellesley resident and author of “The Skin on My Chin,’’ a picture book that aims to teach children ages 2 to 12 about the benefits of diversity. For more information, contact Chalmers at michelle@theskinonmychin.com.

FRANKLIN

Open house Sunday at Hockomock Y branch

The Hockomock Area YMCA facility at 45 Forge Hill Road in Franklin is holding a free open house Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. to introduce community members to its children’s programs and offerings. The Bernon Family Branch event, aimed at ages 2 to 12, will offer classes in sports, gymnastics, dance, cooking, expressive arts, and other activities. There will also be an open swim, including free swimming evaluations, from 1 to 3:30 p.m., as well as open gym time for children. A sign-up sheet for participants will be available starting at 12:30 p.m. For more information, visit the YMCA’s website, www.hockymca.org

Concord

Forum to tackle causes, solutions to stress among youths

Healthy Concord, in collaboration with the Center for Parents and Teachers and Concord Carlisle Youth Services, will hold a discussion about youths and stress from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Trinitarian Congregational Church, 24 Walden St. Youths and leaders from Concord schools and community organizations will hold a discussion to identify the causes of stress and explore ways to address them. A recent youth behavior survey sponsored by Emerson Hospital found that stress is a major issue for local students, with 56 percent in grades 6 and 8 through 12 reporting stress due to academic workloads. Participants must register by Feb. 23. To register, click on “youth and stress program’’ under News & Notices on the town’s website, www.concordma.gov.

Preschool to hold lottery for fall session

The Franklin school district’s F.X. O’Regan Early Childhood Development Center is accepting applications and scheduling tours in advance of its Feb. 27 lottery for spaces in this fall’s program. The preschool is for Franklin children who turn 3 years old as of Aug. 31, and up to age 5. Applications and information can be obtained through the O’Regan center’s page on the district website, www.franklin.k12.ma.us, or at the facility, 224 Oak St. For more details or to schedule a tour, call Laura Flanagan at 508-541-8166 or e-mail flanaganla@franklin.k12.ma.us.

HOPKINTON

Medway author to discuss local Civil War history

Hopkinton’s 300th Anniversary Celebration Committee and the Hopkinton Historical Society will host a lecture and book discussion by Civil War historian Alden “Tom” Ellis Jr. on Wednesday at the society’s headquarters, 98 Hayden Rowe St. Ellis, a Medway resident, will be speaking about his latest book, “Hopkinton’s Civil War Service,” starting at 7 p.m. Ellis has participated in Civil War reenactments, and served as an adviser for a Civil War movie, “Lady In Black.” His latest project involves researching the Civil War history of area towns, spending a year studying each one before writing. For more information on local anniversary plans, visit www.hopkintonma300.com.

Session to decide land purchase, fix-up funds

Special Town Meeting will be held Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Nipmuc Regional High School auditorium. Residents taking part will vote on whether to authorize the Board of Selectmen to acquire a parcel at 2 Grove St. to provide auxiliary parking for Town Hall. The other article on the warrant seeks to transfer $8,500 from the town’s Community Preservation Act account to repair the exterior staircase and landing on the Ramsey building at Kiwanis Beach, per the request of the town’s Recreation Commission. To review the warrant, visit the town’s website, www.uptonma.gov.

CONCORD

Bike camp will serve people with disabilities

Emerson Hospital’s Center for Sports Rehabilitation and Specialty Services is cohosting a bike camp in April for children and adults with disabilities. Held in conjunction with Lawrence Academy, RJ Bradley’s bike and ski shop in Littleton, and Jamis Bikes, the camp is open to those at least 8 years old who have a disability but can walk without an assistive device. Trained counselors and spotters work individually with campers to teach them how to ride a conventional bike. The camp, run by iCan Shine, a national nonprofit organization, is held at the hockey rink at Lawrence Academy in Groton. Participants must be able to attend the same 75-minute daily session during each of the five days of camp. The camp is free but requires a $150 deposit, which is refunded at camp’s end. Registration is open for the session, which will run April 20 through April 24. For more information or to register, visit www.icanshine.org or call 978-589-6774.

BEDFORD

State scraps plans for new salt shed

The state Department of Transportation announced late last month that it was scrapping plans to build a salt shed at the interchange of routes 3 and 62 in Bedford. The announcement was made after the agency held a public meeting in town to go over the plans and hear feedback from residents, many of whom opposed the project because of its close proximity to a residential neighborhood and brook. Thomas J. Tinlin, MassDOT’s chief of highway operations and maintenance, said in the announcement that the state will continue to evaluate other sites for the facility. “During our process of conducting our due diligence in planning to relocate our existing maintenance depot, we received a tremendous amount of constructive and helpful feedback from the Bedford Board of Selectmen and residents who were willing to engage in a dialogue with us on our plans,” Tinlin said. State Representative Ken Gordon of Bedford commended the agency for listening to the concerns of town officials and residents. “Our community members came to meetings, sent letters and e-mails and made phone calls,’’ Gordon said, “and our voices were heard.”

SUDBURY

Selectmen to hold office hour on Monday

Two members of the Sudbury Board of Selectmen will hold an office hour Monday from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Fairbank Senior Center’s Council on Aging lounge. Such sessions give residents an opportunity to meet with selectmen in person to discuss issues or ask questions. The selectmen scheduled to attend are Pat Brown and Len Simon.

WRENTHAM

Wrentham hosts winter owl prowl

A winter owl prowl will be held at Wrentham’s Fiske Public Library Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. The program will start with a presentation in the library’s Sweatt meeting room by Marla Isaac, director of New England Reptile and Raptor Exhibits, focusing on native owls. The group will then move outside for a walk into the woods to listen and look for wild native owls. Participants should wear layers, boots, hats, and mittens, and are encouraged to bring binoculars and flashlights. Participation is free thanks to a grant from the Sweatt Fund. For more information, call Open Space Committee chairman Barry Kassler at 508-384-7733 or visit the town’s website at www.wrentham.ma.us

WALTHAM

Waltham Council adds Feb. 9 hearing on apartment complex

Waltham city councilors will reconvene a hearing Feb. 9 on a proposed apartment complex on Cooper and Elm streets that would add 264 residential units to the city, according to the city clerk’s office. The 7:30 p.m. hearing comes after some residents said they did not receive a postcard notifying them of the initial Dec. 8 hearing on the matter, according to Thomas Curtin, assistant city clerk. “We wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to know about it,” Curtin said. During the hearing, developer Lincoln Cooper Street, LLC will make a presentation. Councilors can then ask about the project, and the public will be given the chance to speak in support or opposition. Councilor Robert Logan, chairman of the Ordinances and Rules Committee, said while the project is in its beginning phases, “there is a critical shortage of housing in Waltham, and this would go a long way in alleviating that.” Logan said the units would mostly be studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms.

NATICK

High school begins search for new principal

Natick school officials aren’t wasting any time filling the principal opening at Natick High. Applications for the job are due Monday, according to a School Department document — less than two weeks after sitting principal Rose Bertucci announced she will fill a newly created role as dean for instruction, data, and student initiatives at the high school. Finalists for her current job will be announced at the end of the month before they visit the school and attend a community forum in early March. A new principal will be chosen the week of March 16, according to the document. Both Bertucci and her replacement will assume their new roles July 1. In her new job, Bertucci will oversee the school’s one-to-one laptop program, as well as teacher evaluations and test data. She said she had looked forward to continuing to work with the school, but was leaving the principal’s office after five years to spend more time with her three young children. And she passed along some advice to her successor. “Take your time,’’ she said, “to examine everything that is going on — all the great things that are happening — and get a lot of input from the people that are here because they are quite good. And do what needs to be done to make it the best place that you can.”

FRANKLIN

Franklin to host talk on circuit breaker tax credit

Franklin’s senior center will host an informational program aimed at explaining the state circuit breaker tax credit on Feb. 27 at 1:30 p.m. Brian Lynch of the state’s Department of Revenue and state Senator Richard Ross, a Wrentham Republican, will discuss details of the program, which offers a refundable credit of up to $1,050 on 2014 state income taxes to taxpayers 65 or older who pay real estate taxes on or rent their principal residence. Total income cannot exceed $56,000 for a single filer who is not the head of the household, $70,000 for a head of household, or $84,000 for taxpayers filing jointly. To sign up for the program or learn more, call the senior center at 508-520-4945.

WELLESLEY

Town Meeting approves North 40 purchase

Wellesley Town Meeting members voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to support the proposed acquisition of 46 acres of undeveloped land from Wellesley College. The Board of Selectmen negotiated the purchase of the so-called North 40 property for $35.6 million, including related costs, to be covered through a temporary tax increase and Community Preservation Act funds. The Proposition 2½ debt-exclusion override, which the town Advisory Committee expects to cause a median increase of about $141 to annual tax bills, goes before voters in the annual election on March 3. The town and Wellesley College signed a purchase-and-sales agreement for the property last month.

NORFOLK

Weigh in on town’s open space, recreation priorities

Norfolk’s Community Preservation Committee is asking residents to participate in a survey as part of its efforts to update the town’s open space and recreation plan. The survey asks residents to evaluate the overall quality of the local recreational facilities; which playgrounds, parks, fields, town and nonprofit open spaces they’ve used in the past year, as well as private facilities or sites in nearby towns; how frequently they’ve participated in various recreational activities; what priorities for recreational facilities and open space the town should pursue; and how town funds should be spent toward those goals. Upon state approval of the new open space and recreation plan, the town would become eligible for certain state grants that can be used toward local projects. Paper copies of the survey are available in the offices of the Planning Board and Recreation Department, and it can also be completed through a link on the town’s website, www.virtualnorfolk.org.

FRANKLIN

New genealogy club to meet at library

The first monthly meeting of the Franklin Library Genealogy Club will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 118 Main St. The club has been established to promote genealogical research and to connect people who are interested in their family histories. The inaugural meeting will include an overview of the genealogy research materials available at the library, as well as proposed topics and programs for the club in the months ahead. Participation is free. For more information, call the library at 508-520-4940, or visit its page on the town’s website, www.franklin.ma.us.

LEXINGTON

League forum will focus on community vision

The League of Women Voters of Lexington will focus on “A Community Vision: Where We Are, Where We Would Like to Be’’ in its next First Friday Forum, slated for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 6 at Cary Memorial Library, 1875 Massachusetts Ave. The presentation will be led by Marian A.O. Cohen, who as a member of the town’s 20/20 Vision Committee helped conduct a survey to investigate residents’ opinions on a range of issues, including diversity; economic development; education; environment; physical character of the community; and town government and services. The results of the 2013 survey will be shared at the forum. For more information, contact the League at lwvlexington@gmail.com, or visit www.lwvlexington.org.

WAYLAND

Forum will preview warrant articles Monday

The Wayland Finance Committee will hold a hearing on warrant articles that will come up at this spring’s annual Town Meeting. The hearing will be held at 7:15 p.m. Monday in the Town Building. This hearing is intended to help voters understand issues that have been submitted for Town Meeting, which will begin April 6. Article sponsors will be on hand to answer questions.

STOW

Selectmen to vote on fire station, community center article

The Stow Board of Selectmen is expected to decide Tuesday whether a proposal to convert a former school building into a fire station and community center will be included on the warrant for next month’s Special Town Meeting. Under the proposal, the town would borrow $8.7 million to convert the Pompositticut School at 511 Great Road into a municipal building that would house the Fire Department, recreation offices, and the Council on Aging. The architect for the proposed building project and members of the town’s Fire Station and Community Center Building Committee will present design plans during the selectmen’s meeting. The Pompositticut School closed in 2012. The Fire Department is currently housed in an approximately 50-year-old building on Crescent Street, the Council on Aging is in the basement of the Town Building on Great Road, and the recreation offices are across the street in Town Hall. Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in Town Hall; Special Town Meeting is slated for 7 p.m. Feb. 23 at Hale Middle School on Hartley Road.

ACTON

Library group plans fund-raising book sale

The Friends of the Acton Libraries will hold a winter book sale next weekend at the Acton Memorial Library. The fund-raising event will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from 2 to 4 p.m. next Sunday, which is also half-price day. The sale will feature thousands of used hard-covers and paperbacks for children and adults; there are also a limited number of audiovisual items. In addition to its work for the town’s main public library, the Friends group also supports the West Acton Citizens’ Library, and the town’s elementary, junior high, and high school libraries.

CONCORD

Police receive grant to provide child safety seats

The Concord Police Department received a $2,000 grant from the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to support its child passenger safety efforts. The money will be used to purchase car seats that can be distributed to parents and caregivers in need of assistance in providing the equipment for small children. The local force has three officers who are certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in car seat installation and inspection.

NATICK

New name for downtown commuter station

The MBTA officially renamed the downtown commuter rail stop as the Natick Center Station. Local leaders said they are happy about the change because the area is becoming more of a cultural hub, and they hope it will help make a destination for passengers on the T’s Framingham/Worcester Line. A formal celebration took place Monday at the station, which is off Main Street (Route 27) between North and South avenues, and was followed by a reception at the Morse Institute Library. With the name change completed, officials are turning their attention to developing plans for a station redesign, according to an announcement by the town on its website, www.natickma.gov.

NEEDHAM

Firm buys former General Dynamics property

Normandy Real Estate Partners last week announced its $54.5 million purchase of the former General Dynamics property next to Center 128, its property that it is developing as an updated office park next to Route 128/Interstate 95 in Needham. “This is a major milestone toward making the area, known as the N² Corridor, attractive to innovation economy businesses while at the same time opening up opportunities for workforce housing, restaurants, and retail,” said Greg Reibman, president of the Newton-Needham Chamber of Commerce. The 27-acre General Dynamics property has more than 500,000 square feet of office space and 1,339 parking spots, according to an announcement by Normandy Real Estate Partners. “Our intent is to remake these buildings as ‘creative office space’ — featuring high ceilings, plenty of exposed structure, and attractive amenities,’’ a category that will be in demand for area companies, said Mark Roopenian, the firm’s principal. The TripAdvisor travel website is slated to open its new world headquarters in Center 128 this summer, and Normandy plans to redevelop and integrate the adjacent properties as a state-of-the-art “live-work-play” environment, the company stated.

ARLINGTON

Poet to speak at Martin Luther King Jr. observance Monday

Arlington’s 27th annual Martin Luther King Jr. birthday observance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Town Hall auditorium. The doors will open for the free event at 6:45 p.m. The featured speaker is Afaa Weaver, a poet and playwright, and the People’s Baptist Church Ensemble will perform during the event. Donations will be accepted to benefit local programs that focus on justice, peace, and equality. For more information, visit www.town.arlington.ma.us.

GROTON

Agency to study Nashua River for protection

President Obama has signed legislation that authorizes the National Park Service to determine the eligibility of the Nashua River and two of its tributaries for protection under its wild and scenic rivers program. The bill’s sponsor, US Representative Niki Tsongas, a Lowell Democrat, announced the study’s final approval during a recent ceremony at the Nashua River Watershed Association headquarters on Main Street in Groton. The park service will work with state and local governments, advocacy groups, and residents to develop a conservation plan to protect water quality and conserve open space as part of the process. If the study finds that the rivers are eligible for the special status, legislation to officially designate the rivers and implement the conservation plan would be filed. “In 1999, 29 miles of the nearby Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers were designated’’ for the status, Tsongas said in a statement. “Since then, we have seen how this designation can help protect not only the quality of the rivers, but the quality of the recreational activities that they support.’’

HUDSON

Hearing on rebuilding bridge set for Tuesday

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will hold a public hearing about its plans to rebuild Hudson’s crumbling Washington Street Bridge at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall’s second-floor auditorium. More than 19,000 cars use the Route 85 bridge to cross the Assabet River each day. The reconstruction project, expected to top $10 million, will be paid for with a combination of state and federal funds. Plans for the reconstructed bridge will be on display 30 minutes before the hearing begins, and an engineer will also be on hand to answer questions from the public. Written comments must be postmarked by Jan. 30 and submitted to chief engineer Patricia A. Leavenworth, MassDOT, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, marked attention for Bridge Project Management, Project File No. 604732. Project inquiries may also be e-mailed to dot.feedback.highway@state.ma.us. For more information, visit www.townofhudson.org.

AYER

Town opens tax-break program for seniors

Senior citizens can register for Ayer’s property tax work-off program covering next fiscal year. The program allows eligible residents to provide up to 125 hours of service to the town in exchange for a reduction of up to $1,000 from their property taxes for fiscal year 2016. Participation is limited, and opportunities are filled on a first-come first-served basis. Program information and applications are available from Kevin Johnston in the the town’s Benefits and Payroll Office at 978-772-8248 or kjohnston@ayer.ma.us . More information is also available on the town’s website, www.ayer.ma.us, under general announcements.

FRANKLIN

Walk the high school’s halls for exercise

Franklin High School is opening up its track and hallways weekday evenings this winter for a community walking program. Residents are invited to escape the cold temperatures and walk in the warmth of the school Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Walkers can use the school’s elevated track when there are no games taking place in the gymnasium, or use the school’s first-floor hallways. Walkers should report to the adult education office upon arrival to sign in and receive a guest lanyard. There will be signs in the school lobby to inform walkers whether the track or hallways are available; in addition, a community walking calendar will be posted on the Franklin Lifelong Learning website, www.franklinlifelonglearning.com. For more information on the program, call 508-553-4814 or e-mail lifelong@franklin.k12.ma.us.

ASHLAND

Board sets deadline for Town Meeting articles

The Board of Selectmen has opened the warrant for Ashland’s annual Town Meeting and established a timetable for the submission and review of potential warrant articles. Individuals, committees, and organizations have until Feb. 18 to submit proposed articles to the selectmen’s office, according to a posting on the town’s website. The board will review the items before voting whether to add them to the warrant, which is to be settled during its April 1 meeting. The warrant is scheduled to be posted by April 28, with Town Meeting to convene on May 6. For more information, visit www.ashlandmass.com.

WALTHAM

Boost in state aid for road repairs

Waltham will be receiving an increase of more than $800,000 in Chapter 90 state funding, which is earmarked for local road improvement projects. The increase is part of an additional $100 million in Chapter 90 funds released statewide by Governor Charlie Baker, bringing the total to $300 million. Waltham will receive a total of more than $2.4 million this fiscal year, compared with $1.6 million last year, according to the state. Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said the money will be used for street paving projects starting in the spring.

NEWTON

Nomadic Theater to host story slam Friday

Newton Nomadic Theater will hold its second Nomad Story Slam at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gregorian Rugs, on Washington Street in Newton Lower Falls. Loosely based on National Public Radio’s “The Moth Radio Hour,’’ the night will be filled with volunteers telling stories somehow connected to the theme of “Moving On.” The first story slam, held in November, had a full audience and featured 21 storytellers ages 18 to 85; the subjects ranged from Mayor Setti Warren talking about a close friend’s death to a hilarious reminiscence about being lost in Worcester, and an adoption story that had many in the audience crying happy tears. Anyone with a good story to share is encouraged to polish it up and arrive between 7 and 7:15 p.m. to sign up. More information and $10 tickets to the event are available on the theater troupe’s website, newtonnomadictheater.org.

NEWTON

MWRA to help city repair sewer system

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has provided Newton with $3.7 million to repair underground sewer lines, a project that will save the city more than $1 million a year in reduced MWRA assessments, according to Maureen Lemieux, the city’s chief financial officer. The funding, $900,000 of which is an interest-free loan that the city must repay over the next 10 years, was announced Tuesday at City Hall. The repairs will prevent rainwater and other storm runoff from entering cracks in the sewer pipes, and being sent through the treatment system unnecessarily. The repairs should also reduce the number of backups, overflows and other sewer problems caused when storm water floods the lines, according to Matt Romero, a spokesman for the MWRA Advisory Board.

ARLINGTON

Board posts meeting packets on website

In an effort to reduce waste and increase transparency, the Board of Selectmen is using digital information packets for its meetings. The School Committee will adopt the same policy in the coming weeks. The meeting materials will be available on the town’s website, www.arlingtonma.gov, prior to each session. “The adoption of this system,’’ said Adam Chapdelaine, Arlington’s town manager, “will provide residents with unprecedented access to materials associated with Board of Selectmen agendas, and also greatly reduce the personnel and supply costs associated with the paper packets used in the past.’’

SUDBURY

Nomination papers available for annual election

Nomination papers are available in the Sudbury town clerk’s office for the March 30 annual election. There are 13 town positions and two Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School Committee seats on the ballot. Interested candidates must take out nomination papers by Feb. 5 and return the completed forms to the town clerk’s office by Feb. 9. The town positions up for election are moderator, single seats on the Board of Assessors and Board of Health, and two apiece on the Board of Selectmen, Park and Recreation Commission, Planning Board, Sudbury School Committee, and Goodnow Library board of trustees. For more information, contact the clerk’s office at 978-639-3351, or visit www.sudbury.ma.us.

BELLINGHAM

Senior center offers financial mentoring

The Bellingham Senior Center is offering seniors appointments for private financial mentoring sessions this winter. Individuals with questions about their personal financial circumstances can arrange to meet confidentially with Gerald Loftin, a certified financial planner. Appointments will be offered the third Thursday of each month starting this week, followed by sessions on Feb. 19 and March 19, between 10 a.m. and noon. Questions may relate to such areas as Social Security, retirement income sources and distributions, investments, annuities, life insurance, medical care, asset protection, and estate planning. There is no fee, and rides to the senior center are available by request. To make an appointment or for more information, call the senior center at 508-966-0398.

LEXINGTON

MLK Day to feature community service activities

Lexington will commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with its second annual family-friendly day of volunteer activities. Events begin at 11 a.m. Jan. 19 with a Unity Walk from the Minuteman statue on the Lexington Green to Grace Chapel at 59 Worthen Road, where presenters will share the spirt of King’s legacy and kick off the day’s service opportunities. In addition to the volunteer activities, the Town Celebrations Committee is looking to provide food and personal care items for residents in need of assistance. For more information or to sign up for volunteer activities, visit www.lexingtonmlk.org or contact lexingtoncommunity@gmail.com.

NATICK

Natick High won’t be starting classes later

The plug has been pulled on a proposal designed to give Natick High School students more sleep. After debating the matter since last spring, the School Committee voted Monday to accept the recommendation of a task force that no action be taken on the plan, which called for starting the school day at 8:15 a.m. and adjourning it at 3:02 p.m. Currently, the high school day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Changing the start time would have meant rearranging the hours for the town’s elementary and middle school students as well, since the district only has one bus fleet. School Committee chairwoman Amy Mistrot said the task force concluded that starting extracurricular activities at the high school 45 minutes later was not feasible. Mistrot noted that the School Committee still strongly believes in research suggesting that high school students should get at least 8½ hours of sleep each night to perform optimally in an academic setting. She said 87 percent of high school students report they do not get the required amount of sleep, and 71 percent of parents are unaware of their shortfall. “Given how compelling the research is, we will continue to look at ways to create greater awareness with staff, students, and families about the benefits of sufficient sleep and the dangers of habitual sleep deficits,” Mistrot said in an e-mail.

WELLESLEY

Selectmen to host reviews on North 40 plan

The Wellesley Board of Selectmen is holding two information sessions leading up to a Special Town Meeting vote on the proposed purchase of 46 acres of undeveloped land from Wellesley College. The sessions will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday in the Wellesley High School cafeteria and 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Town Hall. The board last month reached an agreement with the college to buy the so-called North 40 property for $35 million, and has proposed financing the acquisition through a temporary property tax increase and by tapping into the town’s Community Preservation Act funds. Special Town Meeting will convene at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Wellesley Middle School auditorium. If the measure wins approval, the Proposition 2½ debt-exclusion override would go before voters in the March 3 annual election.

WALTHAM

Talk will recount library’s 150-year legacy

The Waltham Public Library is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and the slate of observances kicks off at 7 p.m. Tuesday with an illustrated presentation on its past by Waltham Historical Society director Mort Isaacson. Founded in 1865, the library was initially housed in the Waltham National Bank Building, and moved to its present location in 1915. Organizers said other events include a family festival April 18, a “Books in Bloom” fund-raising reception featuring floral arrangements May 8, and a Waltham Symphony Orchestra performance Oct. 4 featuring the premiere of a piece by local composer Dianne Goolkasian Rahbee commissioned for the occasion. Tuesday’s event will be held at the library, 735 Main St. For more information, visit www.friendsofwalthampubliclibrary.org.

HOPKINTON

Discussion on Center School project Jan. 24

The second of three community workshops to get feedback from residents about plans for a new Center School will take place Jan. 24 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the Hopkinton Middle School library. The workshop will focus on the four site options being evaluated: renovation and new construction adding to the current Center School on Ash Street; construction of a new kindergarten-Grade 1 school next to the Elmwood School, which would continue to serve students in grades 2 and 3; constructing a new school on the Irvine property, off Hayden Rowe Street near EMC Park; and a new building on the Todaro property, also off Hayden Rowe Street but adjacent to Fresh Water Farm. The town’s Elementary School Building Committee plans to make its decision next month, with final design and construction plans expected to be ready for a vote at Town Meeting in the fall. Depictions of each site are on display at the Hopkinton Public Library, and can be viewed online at schoolproject.hopkintonma.gov.

MILFORD

Regional hospital names successor to CEO

Edward J. Kelly will become CEO of Milford Regional Medical Center in January 2016, the hospital’s board of trustees announced recently, succeeding longtime top executive Francis M. Saba. Saba, who is retiring, has served as either president or CEO of the hospital since 1990. Kelly is the medical center’s president; the two executive roles will be combined when he succeeds Saba. Kelly has had a 30-year career in health care and held senior leadership positions at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham and Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick, as well as managerial positions at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center and Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He joined Milford Regional in 1993 as chief financial officer and was named executive vice president in 1998, then president in 2008. As president, he directs the day-to-day operations of the hospital, and has been overseeing a $54 million project to expand its emergency department and intensive care unit.

Medway

Town seeking consultant to update design guidelines

Medway is seeking a planning, architecture, and design consultant to update the town’s design review guidelines. The intent is to refresh and streamline the guidelines adopted by the Planning Board in 2007, and incorporate images and graphics to better communicate the town’s design expectations and make the guidelines more helpful and user-friendly for residents, businesses, and developers. A maximum of $15,000 is available for the project. Proposals are due by Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. in the town’s planning office at 155 Village St., Medway, MA 02053. To view or download the full request for proposals, visit the municipal website, www.townofmedway.org. For more information, call Susan Affleck-Childs, the town’s planning and economic development coordinator, at 508-533-3291 or e-mail her at sachilds@townofmedway.org.

Upton

Upton seeks new public works director

With Jeffrey Thompson off to take a position in Florida, Upton is seeking to hire a new director to oversee its Department of Public Works. The position reports to the town manager and is responsible for managing the administration and operations of the department’s highway, water, sewer, parks, and cemeteries divisions, including their personnel and physical facilities, and their training, technology, and equipment programs. The director also develops and manages the annual operating and capital budgets and the water and sewer enterprise funds, among other duties. Completed applications and resumes are due to the Board of Selectmen’s office by Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. They can be mailed to Board of Selectmen, 1 Main St., Box 1, Upton, MA 01568, or e-mailed to brobinson@uptonma.gov. For more information and a full job description, visit the town’s website, www.upton.ma.us.

Natick

Selectmen postpone vote on big-box liquor store

The Natick Board of Selectmen on Monday night tabled a vote on a proposal to open a big-box chain liquor store in the Cloverleaf Mall on Speen Street. The board’s chairman, Joshua Ostroff, said its members want to review legal opinions involving Total Wine & More in New Jersey and Minnesota before deciding on the company’s application to acquire the package store license held by Cloverleaf Wine & Spirits. The new vote is slated for Jan. 5. In New Jersey, Total Wine allegedly exceeded the state’s cap on liquor licenses; the matter was resolved in 2005 when Total Wine agreed, without admitting guilt, to pay $1 million over five years to cover the state’s investigation costs. The Minnesota matter was settled in September when a judge recommended that a license be granted to Total Wine in Bloomington, Minn. Alleged violations in other states were either dismissed or not proven, according to Minnesota court documents. The Maryland-based chain hopes to triple the size of the Cloverleaf package store by expanding into an adjacent storefront and creating a 23,000-square-foot superstore. A vote on the proposal was initially slated for Dec. 1, but the board rescheduled the hearing for last week to obtain the results of an independent traffic study; Ostroff said the review anticipated no significant traffic impact from the larger store. Total Wine co-owner David Trone said he has applied for and received 113 licenses in the last 23 years, including 25 in just the last two years. “We’ve never been denied a license,” he said during an interview, “and we’re hopeful that the city of Natick will issue the license.”

Milford

Regional hospital nears fund-raising goal

A fund-raising campaign to support an expansion of Milford Regional Medical Center is nearing its $25 million goal, assisted by slightly more than $1 million in employee contributions. The $54 million building project will provide expanded space in the hospital’s emergency department and intensive care unit, and also will allow the regional facility to convert shared patient rooms to private rooms. The capital campaign had raised nearly $22 million as of Dec. 8, according to Martin Richman, executive director of the Milford Regional Healthcare Foundation, which is overseeing the fund-raising effort. Almost 400 full-time employees, about 32 percent, have contributed to the campaign, he said, with gift amounts ranging from $5 up to $50,000, and an average contribution of $2,500. Although voluntary, the contributions from staff are important in a public campaign, he said, because they show the employees are committed to the hospital expansion. Construction began earlier this year and is expected to be completed next fall. The two-story addition will double the size of the emergency department, from 30 to 50 private treatment rooms, increase the number of patient rooms in the intensive care unit from 10 to 16, and add a 24-bed private room unit with the intention of converting all patient rooms to private, according to hospital officials.

Medfield

Town closes on former state hospital site

The town has officially purchased the Medfield State Hospital property, with the Board of Selectmen signing the land disposition agreement Dec. 2.

Sudbury

Vote Tuesday on new taxes to preserve land

Sudbury residents taking part in Special Town Meeting overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to support spending $2.9 million to purchase about 33 acres of open space along Landham Road, the next step toward protecting it from development. The town is looking to buy the Johnson Farm property from Westborough-based Moss Development, but the sale is contingent on residents approving a temporary tax increase to help pay for it. The proposal is one of two Proposition 2½ debt-exclusion overrides on the ballot in a special election Tuesday. Town officials plan to use $1 million in Community Preservation Act funds and $1.9 million in new taxes to pay for the land. The project would add $23 to the average home’s property taxes for the first year, and the annual toll would decline to a low of $16 over the bond’s 20-year repayment period. The town would use the land, which includes open fields, wooded areas and wetlands, for conservation and passive recreation. Moss Development had been seeking approval to build homes on the property. The second article seeks funds for repairs to Nixon Elementary School. Details are posted on the town’s website, www.sudbury.ma.us.

Natick

Natick names White as new fire chief

Interim Fire Chief Rick White has been picked to permanently fill the Natick department’s top post, about 17 months after the former chief, James Sheridan, was placed on paid administrative leave. White, 61, was approved unanimously Monday by the Board of Selectmen after a round of interviews with three other finalists the previous week. Sheridan, who retired April 1, was paid $89,903 after being put on leave July 9, 2013, White said. Town officials declined to say why he was placed on leave, but the matter wreaked havoc on the department’s budget and staffing. White said some of the temporary promotions that caused one shift to be short a firefighter can now be filled permanently. He said his first orders of business will be to draft a level-funded budget for the department for next fiscal year, and outfit firefighters with updated technology. He noted he has 3½ years before state law requires his retirement at age 65. “I’m proud to be able to be able to finish my career as the chief of the department,” White said. “I’m thrilled to be able to serve the citizens of Natick and lead my department into the future.”

Ashland

Share thoughts on adjusting Ashland school district’s calendar

Superintendent Jim Adams is asking community members to take part in an online survey covering the Ashland school system’s instructional calendar, in an effort to build one that better benefits students both academically and emotionally. Given state and local requirements on instructional time and stipulations in teacher contracts, and in light of new accountability measures — such as those related to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — the district is considering a number of options, he said. The decisions include whether to start classes before or after Labor Day; whether to schedule a single vacation week in March rather than two vacations in February and April, and reallocate those days in another fashion; and whether the religious holidays on the calendar should be reconsidered. To take the survey, visit the school district’s website, www.ashland.k12.ma.us.

Milford

No reelection bid for veteran Milford selectman

Dino DeBartolomeis, who has served on the Milford Board of Selectmen for 32 years, announced last week he will not seek reelection in April. Two residents previously announced plans to run for the three-year position on the board. DeBartolomeis was one of two selectmen who voted last year to negotiate a host community agreement with Foxwoods Massachusetts, setting up a communitywide vote on the company’s casino application. Residents rejected the proposed resort casino by a 2-to-1 ratio. DeBartolomeis said his decision was not related to the casino vote. After three decades in office, he said, he simply felt it is time to step aside. “I am proud that Milford continues to be a fiscally strong town which continues to provide excellent levels of service to all of its residents,” he stated in an announcement. Michael Visconti, a former Zoning Board of Appeals member, and William Kingkade, a member of the town’s Finance Committee, have said they will be taking out nomination papers, which will be available starting Jan. 5 for the April 7 annual election. Visconti ran unsuccessfully for selectman in 2011 against William Buckley, and Kingkade ran unsuccessfully for the board against Brian Murray in 2009.

Region

4 local educators vie for Winchester post

Four educators from area communities have been named the finalists to become superintendent of the Winchester school district, according to an announcement last week by the local school board’s chairman. Winchester is seeking to replace William H. McAlduff Jr. as leader of the 4,440-student system; he is serving in a interim basis this school year, after formally retiring from the job in June. The finalists are Judith Evans, superintendent of the Medway schools; Bradford Jackson, superintendent in Holliston; Jennifer Price, principal of Newton North High School; and Anne Wilson, superintendent in Sudbury. A search committee voted unanimously to advance them for the School Committee’s consideration. The candidates are slated to visit the town this week for “meet and greet’’ sessions with school staff and local residents, according to the announcement, and then go before the School Committee for interviews on Dec. 15. The board said it expects to make a decision by early next month, with the new superintendent starting July 1.

Needham

Board sets tax-classification hearing for Dec. 9

The Needham Board of Selectmen will hold a public hearing Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall before setting the tax rates for this fiscal year. Last December, the board retained a split tax system, with commercial and industrial properties taxed at a higher rate than residential properties. As a result, while nonresidential properties make up approximately 13 percent of the town’s total valuation, their owners pay 22 percent of all taxes collected, according to Chip Davis, the town’s director of assessing. The split rate also means the owner of a single-family home with the town’s average assessed value, $753,000, paid approximately $1,100 less in real estate taxes last fiscal year than if the town charged all property owners the same rate, he said. Davis said the 1.75 split has been in place for the past several years, and he doesn’t anticipate a change by selectmen at the board’s annual tax classification hearing. Property owners will have a chance to voice their opinions during the hearing, by e-mailing selectmen@needhamma.gov, or by mailing a letter to the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall, 1471 Highland Ave., Needham, MA 02492.

Newton

City hosting drive to aid food pantries

Mayor Setti Warren is asking residents to pitch in and help those less fortunate by donating to Newton’s second annual citywide food drive, which runs through the end of December. There are four food pantries in the city serving more than 1,200 residents each month, and donations of canned goods, toiletries, vegetable oil, diapers, and other supplies are needed to help recipients supplement their basic food supplies. Foods past the expiration date cannot be accepted. Volunteers are also needed Dec. 31 to help sort and pack food at City Hall starting at 10 a.m. Food can be dropped off at locations throughout the city, including fire stations, police headquarters, City Hall, churches, banks, and grocery stores. Drop-off locations and items particularly needed by the pantries are posted on the city’s website, www.newtonma.gov .

Needham

Selectmen to set tax rate Dec. 9

The Board of Selectmen will hold a pubic hearing Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. in town Hall before setting the tax rate for the coming year.

Maynard

New gallery downtown opens Saturday

Maynard will celebrate a very special Small Business Saturday next weekend with the opening of ArtSpace Downtown at 77 Main St. The new gallery will feature work from member artists, host free community events, and offer special exhibitions, including “Gifted Work for Gift Giving,” which will run through the end of next month. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. During the holiday season it will be open until 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.