Globe West community briefing

Earth Day cleanup

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April 27, 2008

Ashland's sixth annual Earth Day Community Cleanup will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Registration starts at 9 a.m. at Stone Park Pavilion. Trash bags and vests will be distributed; volunteers are encouraged to bring their own work gloves. Refreshments will be served, and free T-shirts will be available while they last. As part of this year's theme, "Building Awareness and Inspiring Change," participants also are being encouraged to clean up around their own neighborhood. Information will be available on water conservation, rain barrels, recycling, composting, storm-water management, and sun protection. The rain date for the event is the next day. For more information, call the Department of Public Works at 508-881-0120, ext. 19; the Board of Health at 508-881-0100, ext. 681; the Conservation Commission at 508-881-0100, ext. 656; or e-mail the town's Open Space Committee at - Rachel Lebeaux

BUSY TOWN ELECTION - Three candidates will vie for two seats on the Board of Selectmen in one of several races on the town's May 6 election ballot. Incumbent Ronald L. Picard is being joined by challengers Mary Chaves and Jerald Mayhew in the selectmen's contest. The race for town clerk - with candidates looking to replace longtime clerk Kathleen Harvey, who is not running for reelection - drew Ann Obadashian, Ronald R. Picard, Katherine Marino, Lisa Julian and Danielle Fisher. In the School Committee race, Kevin De Gray Sr. and Cheryl Gray will square off for one open seat; incumbent Brian Sutherland will take on challenger John Murray for a spot on the Planning Board; and Edward Guzowski, Debra Sacco and Jason Tucker will compete for one seat on the Housing Authority. - Rachel Lebeaux

OPEN SPACE ON WARRANT AGAIN - Town officials say a proposal for voluntary land conservation is among a clutch of articles that will go before Town Meeting voters on May 5. Different versions of the bylaw failed to pass at Special Town Meeting in 2006 and at Town Meeting last spring, when it lost by just two votes. Unlike past proposals, this year's version would make open space preservation by developers voluntary, not mandatory. The bylaw would create a new zoning option to permanently conserve 50 percent of the land in new developments. In exchange, the bylaw would allow developers more design flexibility than under Dover's conventional zoning requirements. The proposal also would require new lots using the zoning option to be at least 1 acre, and setbacks to abutting properties to be increased, and includes provisions to ensure the bylaw could not be used to open up unbuildable land. The Board of Selectmen, the Conservation Commission, the Warrant Committee, the Long-Range Planning Committee, and the Open Space Committee have endorsed the article. - Anna Fiorentino

WEBSITE SUPERSTAR - Franklin is one of only 24 communities in the state whose website has been designated a "superstar" by the Massachusetts Campaign for Open Government. The organization recognized municipal websites that make it easy for citizens to obtain access to key government records online. Franklin was honored for making its Town Council agenda and minutes, budget information, and general bylaws available to visitors at - Rachel Lebeaux

TO MAIL OR NOT? - Town Meeting voters on May 5 will decide whether the Finance Committee should stop mailing Town Meeting warrants to all households in Holliston. Under the change, warrants would be available online, and the town would print copies for distribution from town buildings for those without Internet access. Town Administrator Paul LeBeau said the change could save the town about $5,000 per year. - Calvin Hennick

ETERNAL FLAME ENSCONCED - Following a schedule packed with Boston Marathon-related activities, Spyros Zagaris, the mayor of Marathon, Greece, brought the Flame of the Marathon Run to its new home last week in front of the Hopkinton Police Station, where it will burn continually. The flame arrived in town on April 19, after being lighted in November in Marathon to commemorate the Greek soldiers killed in a battle against Persia in 490 BC; the victory for Athens spawned the legend that inspired the modern 26.2-mile race. The flame was brought from Greece to Boston and then to Hopkinton, where a cauldron burned through Monday's race. It also made an appearance in Ashland, site of the starting line for the first two dozen runnings of the Boston Marathon. - Michele Morgan Bolton

HAVING A FIELD DAY - Daylong grand opening events for the Medfield High School baseball and softball fields are planned for Saturday, the district's superintendent, Robert Maguire, announced. Renovations to the fields received a major boost from a benefit event carried on the local cable television station; the April 15 telethon raised more than $50,000 toward the project, according to organizers. The events on Saturday will include a parade by players in the town's youth leagues and exhibition baseball and softball games. The renovation project, which Maguire said will cost about $500,000, includes new dugouts, fencing, and irrigation systems for the fields. - Calvin Hennick

UNPAID EXCISE BILLS - All 2008 motor vehicle excise bills that remain unpaid have been issued a first warrant, according to the town's treasurer-collector's office. Residents who have not paid their bills must do so before Wednesday to avoid additional warning reminders, associated fees, and being flagged for nonrenewal of their driver's license and registration by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. - Rachel Lebeaux

DIABETES RESEARCH FUND-RAISER - New England Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and his wife, Bianca, were to host their fifth annual draft-day fund-raising party yesterday at Pinz Entertainment in Milford. The event honored Wilfork's father, David Wilfork Sr., who died in 2002 of complications from diabetes, and his mother, Barbara Wilfork, who died the same year of a stroke. Attendees planned to watch the this year's NFL draft with Wilfork and several other New England Patriots including Kevin Faulk and Ty Warren. The proceeds benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. - Anna Fiorentino

LIBRARY ARTICLE ON HOLD - Library trustees have agreed to put off consideration of a Town Meeting warrant article that would provide funding to update cost estimates for a new library until after the town is awarded a state grant for the facility's construction. The town is on a waiting list for a $2.5 million grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and a previous cost estimate pegged the project's total cost at $7.5 million. The warrant article, which is seeking $12,000 to $16,000 for a new cost estimate, will be put off until at least the fall, Town Administrator Charles Aspinwall said. - Calvin Hennick

VOTE ON SCHOOL STUDY DELAYED - Town Meeting members agree a feasibility study to either renovate the existing high school, or build a new one, must be done. But because they couldn't agree on how best to raise the $250,000 needed for the study, a vote on the article has been put off until at least Tuesday, when the annual forum reconvenes. The Massachusetts School Building Authority named Natick as one of dozens of school districts around the state that are eligible for funding to either replace or renovate aging facilities. Among other problems, Natick High's roof leaks, it lacks modern technology and adequate science labs, and still uses one of the 54-year-old building's original boilers. Some Town Meeting members wanted to use the approximately $80,000 remaining in a school building account, supplemented by money from free cash, to fund the feasibility study. Town Meeting began on April 10, but did not meet last week because of school vacation. Tuesday's meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Wilson Middle School auditorium. - Michele Morgan Bolton

CANDIDATES NIGHT - Candidates for the Board of Selectmen and the Recreation Commission will square off in a candidates night Wednesday at 7 at King Philip Regional Middle School. The event is sponsored by the Norfolk Community League. In the only contested races in the May 6 town election, Jay Talerman and Robert Garrity are battling for an open selectman's seat, and incumbent Thomas Terpstra is competing with Karen Fruci and Kenneth Lawrence for two slots on the Recreation Commission. Also on the ballot will be a measure that would turn the town clerk's job from an elected to an appointed position. - Calvin Hennick

PANEL SPLIT ON LAND PURCHASE - The town's Advisory Committee recently decided to take no action on a Town Meeting article asking voters to authorize the purchase of a 2.17-acre parcel that abuts Town Hall. As a consequence, the article will go before Town Meeting on Tuesday without an official recommendation by the panel. Selectmen voiced support for the purchase while voting to place it on the warrant, citing long-term planning benefits to owning the parcel, which has no immediate determined use. The Advisory Committee's report to Town Meeting stated that the majority of its members oppose buying the Washington Street property, based on the town's tight finances, the unclear nature of its use, and the declining real estate market, while a minority believes that its location and potential uses make it a worthwhile investment. The lot's projected cost is $495,000. Town Meeting is to convene at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dover-Sherborn High School, 9 Junction St. in Dover. - Anna Fiorentino

SUMMER RECREATION PROGRAM - The Recreation Department will kick off the third year of its Kids @ Play program June 23. The program costs $35 per day or $150 per week and runs until Aug. 15. Registration packets are available online at, or in person at the library and Town Hall. For more information, call 508-922-9032. - Calvin Hennick


A TRIP BACK IN TIME - History buffs can go back in time to Shrewsbury's stage coach and tavern days on Wednesday, courtesy of the Shrewsbury Historical Society. The society will present talks by Erik Larson, Kristine Gustafson, and Margaret Larson about 18th- and 19th-century travel along the Old Post Road, and historic haunts such as the Pease Tavern, Balch Dean Tavern, Harrington Tavern, and Cushing Haven Tavern. The free presentation will begin at 7 p.m. at the 1830 Schoolhouse on the Common. - Lisa Kocian

NEW LIMITS ON SEX OFFENDERS - Town Meeting members have approved a warrant article that restricts where registered sex offenders can live in town. The new bylaw prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day-care centers, parks, and other recreational facilities. Those classified by the state as Level 2 or 3 offenders - those considered at most serious risk of reoffending - also are barred from living within 1,000 feet of elderly housing. - John Dyer

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