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’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.
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.
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 email@example.com, or visit www.lwvlexington.org.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
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.’’
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.townofhudson.org.
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 email@example.com
. More information is also available on the town’s website, www.ayer.ma.us,
under general announcements.
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,
For more information on the program, call 508-553-4814 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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 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,
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.
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.’’
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.
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 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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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,
For more information, call Susan Affleck-Childs, the town’s planning and economic development coordinator, at 508-533-3291 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. For more information and a full job description, visit the town’s website, www.upton.ma.us.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mailing a letter to the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall, 1471 Highland Ave., Needham, MA 02492.
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
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.
The expansion of the Bellingham Public Library’s parking lot should begin Dec. 11, when Arbor One LLC of Milford is scheduled to arrive at 8 a.m. to clear trees from the site. Parking at the library will be extremely limited due to the tree-removal equipment, and it will be noisy due to the operation of wood chippers throughout the day. Accordingly, the library has canceled all of its daytime programming, but will remain open during its normal hours, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, visit the library’s website, www.bellinghamlibrary.org,
or call 508-966-1660.
The Newton Board of Aldermen’s Land Use Committee voted last week to recommend that a deed restriction preventing housing from being built in the Wells Avenue Office Park remain in place, setting up a potential court fight if the full board agrees with its verdict. Representatives from developer Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, which is proposing a 334-unit, six-story apartment building under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law, have said they will go to court if the deed restriction is not amended to allow their project to move forward. Alderman Richard Lipoff said the project’s size makes it inappropriate for the Wells Avenue site. “The only thing bigger in the city would be the Chestnut Hill Mall,” he said. “This is a massive apartment complex proposed in the wrong place. This is the antithesis of smart growth and what is best for this city.” The developers say adding housing would revitalize the office park, and create a modern living environment for people looking for places near public transportation, employment, and entertainment opportunities. The deed restriction put into place by aldermen nearly 50 years ago restricts development in the office park off Nahanton Street to commercial and manufacturing uses. The board has voted to waive the restriction 17 times, but never for housing. The proposal is slated to go before the full Board of Aldermen during its 7:45 p.m. meeting Monday.
Special Town Meeting will be held Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. at Ashland High School. The warrant includes articles on whether the Board of Selectmen should apply for a supplemental water supply from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority; whether to add the former Howe Street landfill site to the town’s photovoltaic installations overlay district, and allow the selectmen to negotiate a lease for the property with a solar-power company; the establishment of an Other Post-Employment Benefits liability trust and the appointment of trust members; and the use of $100,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to replace 20 doors at the Ashland Housing Authority building on Park Road, as well as a series of budgetary items. To review the full warrant, visit the town’s website,
The Watertown Town Council’s Public Works Committee voted recently to recommend the construction of an off-leash dog area in Filippello Park, with the measure potentially going before the full council during its meeting this week.
Councilor Cecilia Lenk, the committee’s chairwoman, said the dog play area would be wrapped into a larger redesign of Filippello Park, and its design, including how big it might be and what amenities it might feature, have yet to be determined. Lenk said she hoped the newly designed park, including the off-leash space for dogs, would open by the summer of 2016. The town opened its first off-leash area this summer at How Park, and Lenk, a dog owner herself, said it has proved very popular. Still, she said, “It would be nice to have different places in town’’ for people to take their pets. “There’s not a lot of land in Watertown, so it would be nice to fit them in.” With Veterans Day being observed Tuesday, the Town Council shifted its meeting to 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Medway will hold its fall Town Meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the Medway High School auditorium. The warrant includes a number of budget-related articles, including proposals to shift $150,000 from free cash to the Other Post-Employment Benefits trust account, and $80,000 toward an urban renewal plan for the Oak Grove Park area, and a $165,000 transfer from the water system’s revolving fund toward the purchase and installation of chlorinators in the town’s water tanks. Registered voters will also be asked to decide on proposals to amend the town’s zoning bylaws related to commercial districts, including allowing outdoor dining if permitted by the town’s building inspector, the coordination of special permit and site-plan review, and regulations for adult retirement community developments. To view the full warrant, visit
The Bellingham Special Education Parent Advisory Council will host a workshop about basic rights in special education Monday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the library at Bellingham High School, 60 Blackstone St. Rachel Lawrence, the school district’s director of special education, will provide families and professionals with an introduction to their rights and responsibilities under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind Act, and the state’s special education laws. The workshop is intended to help parents learn to be effective partners with their child’s school, to determine their child’s eligibility for special education, and to plan, make decisions about, and monitor their child’s progress in school. For more information on the free workshop, call Margaret Cole at 508-934-9583 or e-mail email@example.com.
How many dogs are too many dogs? Or, put another way, how many dogs in the house mean you really have a private kennel? For at least eight years, the town’s zoning bylaw has required residents with more than three dogs to obtain a special permit for operating a kennel. On learning the state recently changed its definition of a kennel, town planning officials have recommended allowing residents to have four dogs without needing a kennel license. Town planner Paige Duncan said she’s guided perhaps 10 dog owners through the special-permit process over the past eight years. The process involves filing plans, notifying neighbors, and paying a fee of $100, with the special permit subject to Planning Board approval. The proposed revision to the zoning bylaw is among the articles to be decided by residents taking part in Special Town Meeting on Nov. 10. The warrant has been posted on the town’s website, www.wrentham.ma.us.
Residents are slated to consider a 14-article warrant, including a proposal related to installing traffic lights downtown, at the Special Town Meeting convening at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the Holliston High School auditorium. The Finance Committee has recommended postponing a decision on Article 11, which seeks $275,000 to complete a traffic analysis and design covering the center of town. In its report on the warrant article, the advisory panel states that voters should decide on a “financial plan for the entire project amount, estimated to be approximately $1.5 million, before moving forward with the study.” McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners, a traffic consultant hired by the town, earlier this year released a report that recommended the installation of traffic lights and other measures at three locations along the Washington Street-Route 16 corridor.
The King Philip Parents’ Network is holding a membership drive featuring a special prize raffle
. The network, formed 22 years ago to improve the connection between parents and students at King Philip Regional High School, which serves Plainville, Norfolk and Wrentham, supports activities and events for students. All those who return membership forms and dues by Nov. 30 will be entered into a drawing to receive prizes, including two winners who will receive gift certificates to the East Coast Driving School in Franklin covering the 30 classroom instructional hours required in Massachusetts for new drivers younger than age 18. Another winner will receive a photo session with Gemini Photo Events, a Wrentham company specializing in portraits of individuals and groups, valued at $125. For more information, and to download membership forms, visit the network’s website,
Through a collaboration of the town’s Sustainability Committee and the Highway Department, compost bins are available for purchase by residents at a subsidized rate of $50. Proceeds will be used to provide bins for school programs. To purchase a bin, call the Highway Department at 978-540-2670.
Concord-Carlisle Youth Services is partnering with several community agencies to host a free training session on suicide-awareness issues Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Gleason Public Library, 22 Bedford Road. Designed for those age 15 and over, the three-hour safeTALK program is being presented by the regional chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It offers a comprehensive overview of how to identify individuals considering suicide, and how to connect them with aid resources. To register, go to tinyurl.com/oomqcug.
The Council on Aging is seeking recent retirees to serve as volunteers for its AARP Tax Aid program, which helps seniors to fill out their income tax returns. Professional experience is not required; training will be provided. Hours are flexible during weekdays from February through April. To volunteer or for more information, call 781-275-6825.
The Friends of the Franklin Library and the Franklin Garden Club are cohosting an event featuring local mystery writer Neal Sanders at 7 p.m. Oct. 7 at Alumni Restaurant and Bar, at 391 East Central St. Sanders, a Medfield resident who has written several novels set in the fictional Massachusetts town of Hardington, will discuss his approach to writing crime fiction and his recent self-published book, “A Murder at the Flower Show.” In lieu of admission, audience members are asked to bring a nonperishable food or household supply item to donate to the Franklin Food Pantry. For more information, e-mail the library group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friends of Whitehall will host its annual fall lake and trail cleanup Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon. Participants should gather at the boat landing at Whitehall State Park on Wood Street, and they will be assigned areas of trails or shoreline to clean. Gloves, trash bags, tools, and water will be provided. The nonprofit Friends of Whitehall, now in its ninth year, is trying to expand its membership beyond the immediate vicinity of Whitehall Reservoir. Membership forms and more information can be found on the organization’s website, www.friendsofwhitehall.org.
The city has expanded its nondiscrimination ordinance to include gender identity or expression. The Human Rights Commission and Mayor Setti Warren recommended the change giving full rights and protection to the transgender community, and the Board of Aldermen two weeks ago passed the measure unanimously. The amended language will also extend antidiscrimination protections to transgender individuals in places of public accommodation, an area that is not covered under state law and is included in only nine local ordinances statewide. City Solicitor Donnalyn B. Lynch Kahn said the provision will protect individuals from discrimination in places where groups of people gather, such as health club locker rooms. “These protections say that it is safe and welcoming for all to live, visit, and feel free to take part in all our great city has to offer,” Human Rights Commission member Holly Ryan said in an announcement on the new ordinance.
The town’s Council for the Arts is inviting musicians, poets, dancers, historians, and scientists, as well as representatives of local schools and nonprofit cultural institutions, to attend a grant-writing workshop Monday at 7 p.m. at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society, 130 Waltham St. The council, which distributes state funds to support local arts, cultural, and educational activities, has set Oct. 15 as the application deadline for its next round of awards. Visit www.artslexington.org for more information.
The Board of Health voted unanimously on Sept. 17 to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco products in town to 21, effective Jan. 1
. The change in regulation will cover nicotine delivery devices, such as e-cigarettes, as well as traditional cigarettes and related products. Residents can contact the Board of Health at 617-993-2720 for more information.
A fall chess club will be meeting in the Medfield Public Library on Mondays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., starting Oct. 6. The club is hosted by Sid Arun, a Medfield High School student and chess expert. Players can spend time learning the game, practicing tactics, and taking part in a weekly tournament. The club is open to players of all skill levels, ages 5 and older. Signing up is required, and can be completed at the library’s children’s room, or by e-mailing Kim Tolson at email@example.com.
The Holliston High School guidance department will host a college fair Oct. 7, when juniors and seniors will be able to participate during an extended lunch period. The fair, to be held in the high school’s library, will provide access to administrators and admissions representatives from more than 150 colleges and universities. The list of participating schools includes the University of Alabama, Assumption College, Elms College, Framingham State University, New England School of Photography, Providence College, Simmons College, and St. Bonaventure University. For more information, visit hhs.holliston.k12.ma.us.
Local students in the fifth through eighth grades who want to improve their basketball skills are invited to join an after-school club. Sponsored by Milford Community School Use Program, the sessions will provide some exercise as well as training in basketball fundamentals, including passing, dribbling, shooting, rebounding, and defense. Sneakers are required. The program meets on Wednesdays in the Milford Middle School East gym from 2:45 to 4 p.m., beginning this week and continuing through Nov. 12. The fee is $45 and the program is open to Milford residents only. For registration information, call 508-478-1119 or visit the organization’s website, www.mcs.milford.ma.us.
The Sherborn Library is looking for children who would like to participate in its monthly “read with a dog’’ activity. A get-acquainted session with several certified therapy dogs will run from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the library, 4 Sanger St. The program is aimed at children in the second grade and older.
A recycling event for plastic foam products and textiles is being held Saturday, hosted by the Floral Street School PTO, the Shrewsbury High School Green Group, and Shrewsbury Recycles. Plastic foam and textiles will be collected at Floral Street School, 57 Floral St., from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., while only textiles will be collected at the high school, 64 Holden St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Textiles being collected include clean and dry clothing, shoes, purses, belts, stuffed animals, blankets, and towels. Acceptable foam materials include clean egg cartons, produce and meat trays and Styrofoam items with a number 6 recycling symbol, packing blocks, and insulation sheets. Find the complete list of items through a link at www.shrewsbury-ma.gov/recycling.
Local author and Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam will discuss his new book, “American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church,’’ on Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Arlington High School media center, at 869 Massachusetts Ave. The discussion is part of the Conversations with David Whitford series organized by Arlington Community Education. Admission costs $10. Visit www.arlingtoncommunityed.org
or call 781-316-3568 to preregister.
The Norfolk Public Library hosts local writer Michael J. Tougias on Wednesday at 7 p.m. He will give a dramatic slide presentation on the subject of “Rescue of the Bounty,” a book he coauthored with Douglas A. Campbell. It recounts the Coast Guard’s heroic efforts to save crew members aboard a tall ship that sank off the East Coast during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. For more information on the free program, visit library.virtualnorfolk.org.
The town is seeking a new recreation director responsible for planning and directing a comprehensive community recreation program. The person in the part-time position works under the direction of the three-member Recreation Commission, and serves as the primary point of contact for the department. Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in recreation management or a related field, and three to five years of relevant experience. Completed applications and resumes are due by 5 p.m. Oct. 6, and may be mailed to the Board of Selectmen’s office, 1 Main St., Box 1, Upton, MA 01568, or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For a full job description, visit the town’s website, www.uptonma.gov.
The Board of Selectmen is seeking two volunteers to serve on the Parks and Recreation Commission, following the recent resignations of Joseph Schmidt and Patricia Nelson. Schmidt cited the role’s workload in his decision to step down, while Nelson referred to pressing work responsibilities. Both had been serving their first term on the panel.
The town’s public health nurses are holding a flu clinic Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Wrentham Senior Center, 400 Taunton St. The vaccinations will be provided for free, but individuals with health coverage must bring their insurance cards.
Walk-ins are welcome, or appointments may be scheduled by calling 508-384-5485. Office appointments and home visits are also available for those unable to attend the clinic.
Arcadia Publishing recently released “Images of America — Milford” as part of its series of photography books focusing on individual communities. The text accompanying the book’s archival photographs was written by Deborah Eastman, the historical collections librarian at the Milford Town Library, and Anne Lamontagne and Marilyn Lovell, members of the town’s Historical Commission. The book can be found at Barnes & Noble and online retailers. The authors will be signing copies of the book during the Historical Commission’s annual open house, taking place from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 in Memorial Hall, 30 School St. The book will be available for $22.
The Board of Selectmen is seeking volunteers to serve on a new committee aimed at working on trails around town. Residents interested in participating should fill out a Talent Bank Form, which can be found on the town’s website, and e-mail the completed form to email@example.com, or drop it off at the town manager’s office in Town Hall. For more information or to download the form, visit www.ashlandmass.com.
A golf tournament to raise funds for a new synthetic turf field at King Philip Regional High School will be held Oct. 7 at Wentworth Hills Golf Club on Bow Street. Golf will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by lunch; the fee is $150. To donate money, a raffle item, or an auction item for the event,
e-mail Cheryl Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to register for the tournament, visit www.kpturf.com
Cartoonist Bill Barnes will present “Cartooning in the Digital Age” at the Medway Public Library
from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 12 The first hour, a workshop on the basics of cartooning, is aimed at middle school students through adults, and will cover creating memorable characters, writing dialogue, lettering, penciling, inking, and coloring. The second hour, focused on the technology and business of cartooning, is geared toward older teenagers and adults, and will look at how to publish comic strips online and make money doing it. The program is free; preregistration is requested. For more information and to register, e-mail email@example.com
or call the library at 508-533-3217.
The Bellingham Senior Center will host an informational program on memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease Oct. 7 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The program will provide information about the disease, the benefits of early detection, the causes and risk factors, and treatments and services offered at the senior center through the Alzheimer’s Association. To sign up for the program, call the association at 800-272-3900.
The Friends of the Council on Aging will present a three-part lecture series beginning Thursday. Historian Gary Hylander will discuss “Cold War, Hot Peace,” focusing on the trajectory that brought Americans from the optimism of the end of World War II to the discouraging era of the Cold War. The first segment is titled “An Iron Curtain.” The second segment, to be held Oct. 2, is “Better Dead Than Red.” The third segment, on Oct. 16, is “The Evil Empire.” All lectures will be held at 7 p.m. at the Gleason Public Library, 22 Bedford Rd. Admission is free but seating is limited; to reserve a space, call 978-369-4898.
The Shrewsbury Health and Police departments will hold a medication take-back day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The collection will be held at the Shrewsbury Senior Center, 98 Maple Ave. Unused and expired medications can be dropped off for proper disposal.
The Norfolk Cultural Council is currently accepting funding proposals for community arts, science, and humanities projects and activities. Past proposals accepted include those for festivals, exhibits, artists in residence, workshops, and lectures. Proposals are also being accepted from school and youth groups for cultural field trips. Last year, the council distributed $4,250 in grants, supporting the library, recreation department, theater, wildlife, and school programs. The proposal deadline is Oct. 15, and forms and more information are available at www.massculturalcouncil.org.
LexFUN!, an organization that offers social, educational, and community-based programs to families with children under age 5, is holding a seminar on Tuesday on how to start saving for college. Lexington wealth management group Wingate Wealth Advisors will run the seminar, from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Brigid’s Church, 2001 Massachusetts Ave. The seminar is free for LexFUN! members and costs $5for nonmembers. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.
Lexington’s Cotting School will host a chili cook-off on Oct. 5 from 1 to 3:30 p.m.Attendees will be able to taste chili cooked by local chefs, including from the Fire Department, Red Lentil Restaurant, and Minuteman High School culinary department, to name a few. Proceeds will benefit the Cotting School, which serves students with learning disabilities, medical conditions, and communication impairments. Tickets for the cook-off cost $25 for adults and $10 for children under age 12, or $40 for a ticket plus a bowl crafted by a Cotting School student. The event will also include live music and local craft beers. Visit www.cotting.org/ChiliCookOff for more information or for tickets.
The deadline for Bedford parents of teens to sign up as a designated Safe Home is Sept. 30. This program, run by Bedford Youth & Family Services, offers parents a pledge they can take to ensure that they will do their part to maintain a safe, supervised, alcohol- and drug-free home environment when gatherings of teenagers are taking place. For more information on the program, go to www.bedfordma.gov and click on the “Youth and Family” department link.