Globe West Community briefing

Special town meeting in Needham

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January 17, 2008

The Board of Selectmen has voted to hold a Special Town Meeting on March 3. Though the agenda had not been finalized, the meeting will likely consider options for renovating the town's DeFazio and Memorial parks. The pending issues include whether to pay roughly $1.5 million to move the track from Memorial to DeFazio and expand it from six to eight lanes. Other items on the warrant could include amending the operating budget for the current fiscal year, which runs through June 30. The meeting will be held at the Newman School. - Laura M. Colarusso

RETIREMENT TIPS FOR WOMEN - The Newton Free Library received a grant of $46,100 to sponsor a retirement planning club for women and to train reference librarians on financial literacy. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation and American Library Association announced 13 grants, for one to two years, totaling $853,000 this week to public libraries and library systems nationwide. The grants are part of a program called "Smart Investing @ your library," which is intended to give residents greater access to investing information and resources. The Newton library's retirement planning club is expected to partner with community organizations and provide support for women of all ages. The librarian training is expected to be in partnership with Boston College's Center for Retirement Research. - Rachana Rathi

SEARCH FOR NEW SUPERINTENDENT - The School Committee seems ready to move forward with the search for a new superintendent to replace Susan Parrella, whose contract expires in August. At the committee's Jan. 9 meeting, Parrella withdrew a request made last month asking the committee to consider extending her contract for one year. The committee members also voted to elect Susanne McIvor as its vice chairwoman. McIvor said the committee wanted to begin searching for Parrella's successor as soon as possible, but the position hasn't been advertised yet. "We want to get going as quickly as we can," said McIvor. - Stephanie V. Siek

POLL WORKER SUBS NEEDED - It's a thankless job that has come under some harsh scrutiny as of late. Still, the town's Election Commission is looking for paid volunteers to serve as substitute poll workers for the presidential primary on Feb. 5. Those interested must complete an application form, available on the municipal website,, and return it to the personnel office at Town Hall, 149 Main St., by next Wednesday. Workers selected are assigned to polling stations around town, serving from 6:30 a.m. to just after the polls close at 8 p.m., and are paid $100 for the day. For more information, call the town clerk's office at 617-972-6486. - Christina Pazzanese

DEVELOPMENT'S TRAFFIC SCRUTINIZED - Some town officials say they are not convinced that one traffic signal will take care of all the additional congestion that might arise out of the development of the old Grossman's hardware store property. Executive Director Hans Larsen told selectmen recently that National Development, the Chestnut Hill-based company that plans to turn the 27 Washington St. property into an apartment and retail complex, thinks a traffic light at River Road and Washington Street would mitigate any increased traffic. But Larsen said the town is informing the developer that more traffic measures will be needed. The Planning Board has scheduled a Jan. 28 public hearing on traffic and parking concerns for the site. - Lisa Keen

Around the Region

ALL ANNOUNCEMENTS, ALL THE TIME - If you're curious about parking bans, weather, school or meeting cancellations, and other up-to-the-minute Brookline news, your cable subscription just got more useful. Brookline Access Television has added a dedicated channel for such announcements, as well as show promotions and public-service announcements, according to director Peter Zawadzki. Public servants in all town departments, from public health to the police force, have been trained in how to access and edit announcements on the channel, which will run on Comcast 24 and RCN 13. It joins a public-access programming channel (3 on both carriers) and the education and government channel (Comcast 23, RCN 15). - Andreae Downs

NEW CABLE SHOW BY STUDENTS - There's a new show on Dover-Sherborn Cable Access Television's Channel 8. Called "Raider Review," the half-hour news program is produced by Dover-Sherborn High School students. Information about scheduling can be viewed at Mike Sweeney, the Dover-Sherborn regional district's media coordinator, oversees the production of the student news program, which began airing late in the fall. - Anna Fiorentino

HELP COUNCIL, CUT TAXES - The town's Council on Aging is looking for office assistants who want to work off up to $750 worth of their property taxes. Front-desk assistants greet visitors, answer the phone, and help with general office work. The council is looking for commitments of one morning or afternoon per week, and sometimes substitutes will be needed to fill in. Call the council at 781-259-8811 for more information. - John M. Guilfoil

WATER PLANTS ON SCHEDULE - The city's $80 million plan to upgrade two water treatment plants is on schedule, and construction is expected to begin this fall on the Westerly Treatment Plant, according to Mayor Nancy Stevens. Marlborough has already received $10.3 million in grants for the most expensive project in city history and will keep looking for more, she said. The Westerly plant has maxed out its capacity so will be redone first. When it's finished, work will begin on the Easterly Treatment Plant. - Lisa Kocian

COMMUNITY-PRESERVATION COFFERS - The town has raised $159,232 in Community Preservation Act funds and received matching funds from the state in the first year that the legislation has been in effect locally, according to the assessor's office. Maynard voters approved a 1.5 percent surcharge on their property taxes in 2006. According to the state legislation, the money must be set aside for open space, recreation, affordable housing, and historic preservation projects. - Matt Gunderson

PARTS OF LIBRARY CLOSED AGAIN - Portions of the Millis Public Library were shut down this week by the town's building inspector for the second time in two months because of concerns about heavy snow on the building's roof. Support beams that would cost $10,000 are needed to permanently fix the problem, library director Linda Stetson said. "We have to figure out how we're going to do that," she said. - Calvin Hennick

TOWN MEETING DATE SET - Town Meeting has been scheduled for April 8. What is not clear is what voters will be pondering during the annual spring gathering. Officials have warned already that a request for a property-tax increase is likely, but no dollar amount has been set. James Connolly said before retiring last month as the superintendent of schools that if the department does not get more budget allowances this year, it would have to consider teacher layoffs, elimination of full-day kindergarten, or even the closure of the Johnson Elementary School. Articles for the Town Meeting warrant must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Feb. 8 to the Board of Selectmen's office at Town Hall. - Erica Noonan

DEP FINES LOCAL COMPANY - The state Department of Environmental Protection has assessed a $5,550 fine against Bay State Circuits Inc. for storing hazardous materials and improperly cleaning up its former facility at 200 Bartlett St. in Northborough, according to a statement from the agency. The penalty stems from discovery of filter carbon used to treat contaminated groundwater at the site. The DEP also found that the Millbury-based company had not properly monitored groundwater at the location. Bay State Circuits has agreed to pay the fine and clean the site properly, the statement said. - John Dyer


TOWN ADMINISTRATOR LEAVES - Dennis Luttrell's last day as town administrator was Monday. Luttrell, who was hired to serve as Sherborn's top official in 2004, took a similar position in Somerset, saying he wanted to be closer to his Marion home. In the meantime, officials said, the Town Administrator Search Committee is reviewing resumes for his replacement. - Anna Fiorentino

HOW MUCH IS IT WORTH? - Next Wednesday the Shrewsbury Historical Society will hold its own version of a popular PBS television program, "Antiques Roadshow," at 7 p.m. at the 1830 Brick Schoolhouse on the Town Common. Residents can bring in their ephemera and collectibles to learn more about their value and how to preserve them. The discussion will focus on such varied items as coins, stamps, books, magazines, postcards, gum and cigarette cards, comic books, early photography, posters, autographs, advertisements, newspapers, and anything else printed on paper. Up to two items will be evaluated at no charge. The ins and outs of eBay sales will also be on the agenda, organizers said. - Lisa Kocian


NEW 9/11 FIELD FEES - The Recreation Department will charge $30 an hour for use of the 9/11 Memorial Field this spring, the town's recreation director, Doreen Ferguson, has announced. The town needs to impose fees because the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns the field on Acre Bridge Road, plans to charge the town $6,600 to use it for the next five years, Ferguson said. The fees should raise more than the rent, she said, allowing the town to spend around $30,000 to renovate the field's turf, which is used by local public and private schools and sports groups. - John Dyer

MEDICARE SIGNUP - Did you miss the Medicare Part D open enrollment? Enrollment for the prescription drug plans ended Dec. 31. Massachusetts residents can still join a Medicare Part D plan by enrolling in Prescription Advantage, the state's pharmacy assistance program, the Council on Aging said recently. There is no charge for Prescription Advantage for residents with an annual income of less than $30,630 for a single person and $41,070 for a married couple. For more information or an application, call the Senior Center at 978-443-3055. - John M. Guilfoil

LOCAL COMPANY FINED - The state Department of Environmental Protection has announced fines totaling $26,000 against Westborough-based Resource Control Inc. over excessive levels of sulfurous odors at the sanitary landfill that it operates in Barre. In a statement, DEP officials said Resource Control's gas collection and automated alarm systems at the landfill were inadequate and malfunctioning. Under an agreement reached between DEP and the company, Resource Control will install an expanded gas collection system and hire additional personnel to oversee and inspect the site, according to the agency's announcement. - John Dyer

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