Needham Town Meeting lineup

Boston Globe, United States

September 21, 2008

Needham Town Meeting lineup

The warrant for the Oct. 27 Special Town Meeting will be closed at
Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. The warrant will include a
request for about $5.5 million for the new Public Services
Administration building on Dedham Avenue, according to Town Manager
Kate Fitzpatrick. There is also a placeholder for renovation of the
Newman School, which has a temporary heating and ventilation system in
place to correct air pollution problems that arose earlier this
year. The amount to be requested for the school has not yet been
determined, Fitzpatrick said last week. – Lisa Kocian

BACK PAY FOR FIREFIGHTERS – Aldermen last week approved a $6.1 million
appropriation for five years of retroactive salary raises for Newton
firefighters. Firefighters will have their paychecks adjusted to a new
rate beginning Thursday, after forgoing raises for five years while
locked in a contract battle with the city. An Aug. 6 binding
arbitration ruling from the Joint Labor-Management Committee settled
the dispute. The money will come from the city’s wage reserve account,
which is funded each year based on the city’s outstanding contracts,
said city spokesman Jeremy Solomon. Firefighters will receive the
retroactive pay next month. – Rachana Rathi

EMERGENCY VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT – The city’s Medical Reserve Corps will
meet Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Arthur Clark Government Center on
School Street. The reserve units, a federal initiative, have been
launched all over the country since Sept. 11, 2001. Medical
professionals and others volunteer their time to train for local
emergencies. The Waltham meeting, which is open to the public, will
cover the upcoming training schedule. Volunteers are still needed,
according to coordinator John Langley, who can be reached at
781-314-3307. For more information, go to and click
on the Medical Reserves Corps link under Community.

– Lisa Kocian

ANTICIPATING A CROWD – Expecting a larger-than-normal turnout this
week, the Town Council will move its Tuesday meeting from Town Hall to
the Watertown Middle School auditorium. During the session,
representatives from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts are
expected to talk about the company’s financial support for the
Anti-Defamation League’s No Place For Hate program. Last month, the
council sent a letter to Blue Cross executives requesting the
face-to-face meeting and urging the healthcare insurance company to
withdraw its support in light of the ongoing controversy between
Armenian-Americans and the ADL over recognition of the Armenian
genocide. – Christina Pazzanese

HONORING REV. BARBAS – In a final farewell today, parishioners and
friends of Taxiarchae-Archangels Greek Orthodox Church will celebrate
the elevation of its pastor to a new position in the denomination’s
hierarchy. The Rev. Theodore J. Barbas, who was ordained at
Taxiarchae-Archangels in 1996 and served there as an assistant pastor
until he was elevated to pastor in January 2001, was named chancellor
of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston in June. He was active in a
number of community organizations and diversity events. Councilor
Angeline Kounelis, a church member, will ask the Town Council to
approve a proclamation recognizing Barbas during its meeting Tuesday

JEWISH SCHOOL EXPANDING – The Jewish Community Day School plans to
expand its operation in Watertown thanks to a recent $8.75 million
bond from the federal government. The Massachusetts Development
Finance Agency, which administers the federal funding, said the school
obtained the tax-exempt bond to purchase the 43,200-square-foot
building and 5-acre property at 57 Stanley Ave. it has been leasing,
and to buy a 2.9-acre parcel nearby. School officials said by January,
they will have a five-year plan that will lay out the expansion, which
they expect to include new playing fields as well as additional
educational facilities and parking. Founded in 1995, the school has
176 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and blends general
studies with a Judaic curriculum in which students learn in both
English and Hebrew. – Christina Pazzanese

FORUM ON SCHOOL CHANGES – Construction of Wellesley’s new high school
is still at least a year away, but school officials are wasting no
time in preparing parents for the changes that will occur during
construction. Superintendent Bella Wong sent out a notice last week
that the School Committee will host a special forum for parents of all
public school students to talk about the impact of the
construction. The forum is slated for Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the high
school auditorium. – Lisa Keen

COURSE OFFERS EMERGENCY TRAINING – To help residents be prepared in
the event of a major catastrophe, the town’s Board of Health and
Emergency Reserve Corps will host a course on emergency preparedness
beginning this week. The course will cover a variety of areas,
including how to prepare your family for a crisis, assembling a
three-day survival kit, and training to join the Region 4A Medical
Reserve Corps, a volunteer body that assists local public safety
leaders in managing responses during public health emergencies or
natural disasters. The seven-part session starts Tuesday at 7 p.m. and
runs weekly through Nov. 4 at the Community Center, 20 Alphabet
Lane. The cost is $50 for those with a town Recreation Department
badge and $60 for others. It is free for members of the Medical
Reserve Corps. For more information, call the Board of Health at
781-893-7320, ext. 332. – Christina Pazzanese

PROGRESS ON BULLARD HOUSE – Repairs and renovations are almost
complete on the Bullard House, an 18th-century town-owned property in
Berlin Center. Berlin Arts & Historical Society president Richard
Wheeler recently said the town’s Highway Department, resident
volunteers, and others had been working on the project alongside a
private contractor, who is set to complete $20,000 worth of work by
the end of the year. The house needs plastering and carpentry repairs
inside, he said. Donations to the effort can be made to the society at
PO Box 35, Berlin, MA 01503.

CENTURY MILL UPDATE – After gaining a permit for a 71-unit subdivision
along Century Mill Road last year, a developer is finalizing other
approvals that will allow the project to begin, said Town Planner
Jennifer Atwood Burney. The Planning Board is mulling a performance
guarantee with the developer, Merchant Financial Investment Corp. of
Natick, which would ensure that the project’s streets and utility
connections are built according to the original plans, said
Burney. The Conservation Commission is also reviewing a petition by
the developer to restrict some of the property as open space, she
said. – Matt Gunderson

GENZYME GALA TOMORROW – Genzyme Corp. is hosting a grand opening
tomorrow for its $125 million science center at 49 New York Ave., in
the Framingham Industrial Park off Route 9. The 10 a.m. event will
include appearances by US Representative Edward Markey and Governor
Deval Patrick, as well as tours of the 180,000-square-foot
building. Approximately 350 employees will work in the building on
research related to genetic diseases, cancer, and diseases of the
immune system, according to the company’s website. Genzyme’s
Framingham campus now represents the company’s largest concentration
of employees worldwide, with more than 2,000 employees in 14
buildings, the website says.

-Tanya Pérez-Brennan

CAFE LICENSE IN LINE FOR OK – Selectmen tomorrow are expected to
approve the town’s second beer and wine license for a restaurant, Town
Administrator Paul LeBeau said. The board first endorsed the
application for the license by Pejamajo Cafe, which is planned for 770
Washington St., in June. The state approved the license this month. –
Calvin Hennick

POLYARTS FESTIVAL – The Hopkinton Polyarts Festival will be held
Saturday on the Town Common from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event began in
1974 as a showcase for local artists. It now features more than 75
artists from throughout New England. For information, e-mail
[email protected]

– Calvin Hennick

BUSINESS GROUP GROWING – The Hudson Business Association now has 20
members, according to Arthur Redding, owner of Hudson
Appliance. Redding and other local business owners formed the group a
few months ago to help attract merchants to Hudson’s downtown, which
has undergone refurbishment through millions of dollars in public
grants but has been slow to expand its commercial base. The
association also recently hired a broker who specializes in marketing
empty storefronts. The broker has found clients to rent an office
space and a retail space on Main Street, said Redding. -John Dyer

LOOKING OUT FOR VETERANS – The town has recently added a page on the
municipal website detailing its programs for former military
personnel, according to its veterans’ services officer, Priscilla
Leach. The site offers information about Leach’s office and provides
links to state and federal resources for veterans. The town department
offers "emergency financial or medical assistance programs for
veterans in need, educational benefits, real estate tax abatements,
employment and training opportunities, burial information, and
innumerable other benefits," the page states. For more information,
visit , or call Leach at 781-259-4472.

– John M. Guilfoil

NIBBLE ON CONFERENCE CENTER – The company seeking to sell the
Marlborough Conference Center on Locke Drive said a sale of the
facility, which includes 223 hotel rooms, is being negotiated and
could take place in the next few months. Amelia Lim, senior vice
president of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, declined to identify the
potential buyer or discuss other details. The conference center had
been used by Verizon for training courses, but has sat empty since the
telecommunications company sold it to a hedge fund. John Riordan,
executive director of the Marlborough 2010 Corporation, a quasipublic
economic development agency, said he is anxious to see the sale
finalized so that Marlborough could start attracting more
out-of-towners to the city. – John Dyer

COUNTING ON STUDENT LABOR – Town officials are relying on Assabet
Valley Regional Technical High School students to help keep costs down
for an upcoming Town Hall renovation, which is expected to get going
on Oct. 1, said Marie Morando, the Planning Board’s administrative
assistant. Morando said the total price tag of the project is not yet
known, but the town will only have to pay for the cost of materials
and supplies, since the students will do the work for free. The
renovations will focus on the financial wing of Town Hall and are
expected to be done within five months of the start date, she said. –
Matt Gunderson

ZEROING IN ON RECREATION SITE – Parks and Recreation Commission
members told selectmen last week that Hinkley Park, off Green Street,
is their first choice for a site to build a recreation
facility. Commissioners also had been considering McCarthy Park, off
Hospital Road, but they told selectmen that the site would be
difficult for children to walk or bike to because it isn’t centrally
located. Also, commissioners said, some recreation activities already
are held at the swimming pond at Hinkley Park. Commissioners told
selectmen they would hire an architect to make sure the Hinkley Park
site is suitable for the proposed building, and also would meet with
neighbors of the site. – Calvin Hennick

TEACHER OF YEAR – The Senator Louis P. Bertonazzi Foundation recently
gave its annual Outstanding Teacher of the Year award to Alan
DiFonzo. The Milford High School math teacher was honored at the
Sept. 4 School Committee meeting. The other nominees recognized by the
Milford nonprofit organization were Roselle Viegas of Shining Star
Preschool; Laura Knotts of Memorial Elementary School; Darlene Risio
of Brookside Elementary School; Pamela Larkin of Woodland Elementary
School; Johanna Roy of Stacy Middle School; and Vincent Farese of
Middle School East. – Anna Fiorentino

INSPECTORS CLOSE BRIDGE – The Whitney Street Bridge will be closed for
approximately 12 to 18 months at the emergency order of state
inspectors, who recently deemed the bridge unsafe. One lane had been
closed since May while the state Highway Department worked to rebuild
the bridge. It wasn’t until Sept. 10 that the state decided to close
both lanes for the remainder of the reconstruction project due to
safety reasons. Dover-Sherborn school officials are revamping the
regional district’s bus routes affected by the bridge’s closing. –
Anna Fiorentino

CHURCH TO MEET WITH NEIGHBORS – Representatives from a proposed new
Catholic church are working with neighbors to address their concerns,
said Art Bartlett, a spokesman for the project. St. Gabriel the
Archangel, a joint project of Upton and Mendon churches that plan to
merge and form one parish, went before the Planning Board for the
first time Sept. 9, and neighbors and board members expressed concerns
about the height of the planned church and its proximity to
residences. Bartlett said church representatives are scheduled to meet
with neighbors tomorrow. The church goes before the Planning Board
again on Tuesday. – Calvin Hennick

CHEAPER ELECTRICITY – Town officials expect to save around $7,000 by
shifting its short-term electricity contract next month from National
Grid to Constellation Energy. Officials also expect to sign a three-
to five-year contract with Constellation or another energy provider
that will save more money, Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said.

– Calvin Hennick