Globe West Community Briefing

Booster shot for Brookline health education

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January 13, 2008

The public schools' health program is due for an overhaul, according to a program review presented to the School Committee this month. Janet MacNeil, the district's coordinator for elementary science, told the board that adding a seventh-grade health class was first in a long list of priorities. The program also wants to add more role-playing in grades 6-8, specialized training for teachers of health classes, and collaboration with the Police Department to customize the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program to be more effective and in line with Brookline's needs. DARE is currently a sixth-grade unit; the new unit would extend topics such as Internet safety and violence prevention to younger grades. If scheduling can be worked out, high school students would also get additional health "booster" classes in grades 10-12, and the ninth-grade health class would be extended to a full credit. - Andreae Downs

DOG LICENSES AVAILABLE - The town clerk is reminding residents that dog licenses for this year may be obtained at her Town Hall office. The fee is $15, or $10 for pets who have been neutered or spayed. Proof of rabies vaccination will be required unless a veterinarian certifies the dog is too sick to receive one. State law mandates that dogs that are 6 months old and older must be licensed each year. The licensing process can also be handled by mail. For more information, or to find out whether proof of rabies vaccination or neutering/spaying is on file, call the town clerk's office at 781-455-7510. - Laura M. Colarusso

DOING SERVICE ON MLK DAY - While most students enjoy a day off for the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, students at Rashi School are invited to come to school voluntarily to participate in service projects in honor of the civil rights leader. From 1 to 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 21, students and their families will gather at the school to create cards and birthday boxes for children in local shelters, make scarves for people in need, and write letters to local troops serving overseas. A discussion about King's legacy as a civil rights leader will also be incorporated into the day. - Rachana Rathi

FIRE-DAMAGED BUILDING TORN DOWN - The remains of the Main Street building that housed Sal's Family Restaurant and California Convenience before being destroyed by a fire last summer have been torn down. The restaurant's owner, Salvatore Pinzone, said that heavy equipment began the demolition on Monday. By Tuesday night, all that remained was a pile of dirt and debris and a pit where the basement once was. Pinzone did not own the building, and he said he is not sure if his landlord will rebuild. "I don't know what they're going to do there," said Pinzone. "I intend to call sometime in the near future and see what they're going to build there. If it's commercial, I'd like to rent there, even if it's in a smaller space." A call to the property's owner, Harriet Goldman, was not returned Wednesday. - Stephanie V. Siek

ELECTION, RECOUNT INQUIRY - The Town Council will investigate the handling of the Nov. 6 election and the Nov. 30 recount despite a Middlesex Superior Court judge's finding that he saw "no evidence that fraud, negligence, or any significant problems with the ballots." The Jan. 3 ruling by Judge Isaac Borenstein, who denied former councilor John Donohue's request to review ballots in two precincts and hold another election, left Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney as the winner of the fourth and final at-large seat on the ballot. Council president Clyde L. Younger said that once a 30-day appeal period has expired, he intends to go forward with the examination into how the election and recount were conducted, and what role town officials and volunteers played in the subsequent legal battle. To quiet allegations made by Donohue and others about the supposed lack of training received by election workers, Younger said he will ask the secretary of state's office to help train volunteers before the Feb. 5 presidential primary. - Christina Pazzanese

NEIGHBORHOOD DISTRICT ADVANCES - A group of neighbors on Denton Road has made its deadline for getting 80 percent of nearby residents to sign a petition seeking to establish the town's first neighborhood conservation district. Now the group is preparing to go before a joint session of the Planning Board and Wellesley Historical Commission, where it must gain the support of both boards to take its proposal before Town Meeting in March. The conservation district program, approved by Town Meeting last spring, enables residents in distinct neighborhoods to set guidelines for home exteriors and landscapes to "preserve the distinctive characteristics" of their section of town. The idea was prompted after several older homes were demolished and replaced with what many consider unusually large houses that are out of character with their neighborhood. The joint session is scheduled for Feb. 4 as part of a public hearing on several zoning-related issues coming before Town Meeting this spring. - Lisa Keen

FARM WINS GRANTS - The Land's Sake farm won $14,500 in grants from businesses and foundations last year, the first year that the nonprofit organization applied for money from outside sources, said executive director Grey Lee. The grants include a $2,500 donation from the Cambridge Trust Co., $5,000 from the Telaka Foundation to support summer programs at the community farm for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, and a $7,000 grant from the Weston Education Enrichment Fund Committee, which will help pay for programs for local students. "We're pretty proud of the fact that we don't need to raise a lot of money, because we earn it from selling produce and services rendered," said Lee. "But that could change. If we take more of a turn toward educational activities, we'll certainly be ramping up our efforts toward garnering philanthropic contributions." - Stephanie V. Siek

around the region
ACTING FIRE CHIEF - The town began the new year with a new leader at the helm of the Fire Department. Deputy Fire Chief Bob Jefferson is now the acting fire chief, a post he took over Jan. 1, as departing Fire Chief Allan P. McEwen opted to use vacation time before his scheduled retirement on Feb. 8. Jefferson, who is one of four deputy fire chiefs, has more than 20 years of experience as an Arlington firefighter. The search for McEwen's successor continues. - Brenda J. Buote

GOING GREEN - The town hopes to include energy-efficient and environmentally friendly design elements for a new senior center, said Karen O'Connell, Dedham's economic development director. Features could include a system to store rainwater for irrigation, solar panels, and a site waste-management plan. The town is applying for a state grant for the measures. "We are really looking at how a small town like Dedham can be a leader in smart growth and energy," O'Connell said. - James Vaznis

NEW LIBRARY DIRECTOR - The Board of Library Trustees announced that Charlotte L. Canelli will be taking the reins as the Dover Town Library's director. Canelli, who has been the Bellingham Public Library's director, will begin Jan. 14. The Bellingham resident previously was youth services librarian in Stow and in Peterborough, N.H., and has served with the Central Massachusetts Regional Library System, Central/Western Mass. Automated Resource Sharing Network, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. - Anna Fiorentino

HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL RETIRING - The search is on for someone new to lead Lexington High School. Principal Michael P. Jones has announced that he will retire at the end of this school year. In a letter to parents and students, Jones said he made the decision just before the holidays. - Brenda J. Buote

NEW SCHOOL PHYSICIAN - At its organizational meeting last week for the start of the new term, the School Committee interviewed and appointed Dr. Kristen H. Goodell as Medford's new school physician. The committee also approved a resolution congratulating her predecessor, Dr. Ralph Goldstein, on his retirement after 20 years of service to the children of Medford. Goodell, a doctor with Medford Family Care, is a graduate of Colby College and Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency in family medicine through Tufts University's School of Medicine. - Eric Moskowitz

SUPERINTENDENT FINALISTS - The two finalists for the position of Natick's next school superintendent, Christine Tyrie and Peter Sanchioni, went through a series of interviews with parents and town and school officials last week. Tyrie is superintendent in Henniker, N.H., and Sanchioni is the head of the Millis school system. This week, School Committee members are scheduled to visit their home districts, the School Department said. Natick officials have said they plan to announce their choice for the new superintendent by Jan. 23. - Erica Noonan

NEW EAGLE SCOUTS - Two Boy Scouts from Sherborn's Troop 1 have earned the organization's highest rank. Michael Gaskin and Douglas Wolff will become Eagle Scouts during a ceremony planned for 2 p.m. today at the Pilgrim Church of Sherborn. Gaskin, son of Barbara and Steve Gaskin, plans to enter Middlebury College in February, while Wolff, son of Mary and Robert Wolff, is completing his senior year at the Roxbury Latin School in West Roxbury. To achieve their Eagle rank, the boys had to pass tests to earn badges and recognition in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills, and complete a community service project. - Anna Fiorentino

HISTORIC TAG FOR SCHOOLHOUSE - The Shrewsbury Historical Society hopes to gain a spot on the National Register of Historic Places for the old District No. 5 Schoolhouse. Built in 1828, the schoolhouse served students in grades 1 through 9 for nearly 90 years, according to Kristine Gustafson, a member of the society's executive board. To drum up support, the society will make a presentation at the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Jan. 28, to begin at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. The schoolhouse, on a corner of Old Mill Road and West Main Street, is owned by the society, which is working on restoration plans, Gustafson said. The society plans this spring to submit its application to the Massachusetts Historical Commission, which must approve it before it goes to the National Register for consideration, she said. For more information, e-mail the society at - Lisa Kocian

HELP IS AVAILABLE - The town reminds residents that the Wayland Charitable Committee can provide immediate, short-term assistance in times of financial hardship. For residents who have lived in Wayland for at least a year, assistance could be provided toward a number of expenses, including utilities, rent, prescriptions, and food. For more information, call 508-358-3624. All names are kept confidential. - John M. Guilfoil

CRACKDOWN ON BICYCLISTS - The Police Department is cracking down on bicyclists who ride on sidewalks in the town center, Chief Alan Gordon said recently. The Board of Selectmen directed Gordon to monitor the center more closely for bicyclists after residents and shop owners in the area complained about the dangerous practice by some riders, he said. State law allows bicyclists to use sidewalks only in an emergency; otherwise, they must walk their bikes while on sidewalks. His officers will issue $20 fines for violations, Gordon said; the law also allows police to confiscate a bicycle for up to 15 days. - John Dyer

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