Needham | Community Briefing

Meeting to cover demolition plans

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January 6, 2008

Town officials are planning to hold a meeting Thursday to discuss with residents the demolition of the Webster Street wing of Needham High School. The wing is expected to be vacated on Jan. 27 and the demolition is slated for the second half of next month. The meeting will also cover traffic and parking concerns on the streets around the high school. The session will take place at 7 p.m. in the high school cafeteria. - Laura M. Colarusso


HABITAT FOR HUMANITY NEEDS BOOST - Area residents can get involved with a Newton building project being conducted by Habitat for Humanity. The housing-aid organization broke ground on a duplex at 76 Webster Park in September and needs to raise about $300,000 to complete the project, said Ted Kuklinski, cochairman of the Newton Habitat Committee. The organizing committee is meeting at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. Volunteers can visit to find days to offer help building the two-family residence. Donations can be sent to Habitat for Humanity - Greater Boston, PO Box 610242, Newton, MA 02461. - Rachana Rathi


COLLEGE DONATES BEDS - Babson College recently donated 320 beds to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless and the Salvation Army. The beds were taken from the college's 211-room Executive Conference Center, which is undergoing a refurbishing. The coalition and Salvation Army distribute donated furniture to shelters and apartments for people in need of help with living arrangements. - Lisa Keen


CASINO FORUM - A public discussion on casino gambling in the state is scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Weston Middle School on Wellesley Street. Town resident Joseph Mullin, the forum's moderator, said it is sponsored by state Senator Susan Fargo, the Third Middlesex Area Democrats, state Representative Alice Peisch of Wellesley, and the Weston Democratic Town Committee. - Denise Dube



CALL FOR SUMMER RECREATION STAFF - The town's Recreation Department is seeking people who would like to work for the department this summer. Download an application by visiting Applicants are asked to describe the recreation work in which they are interested. Call the department at 508-881-0105, ext. 13, for more information. - Rachel Lebeaux


OPENING FOR PROJECT MANAGER - The town's newly formed Public Safety Center Construction Committee has begun looking for a project manager for the police and fire complex planned for Wattaquadock Hill Road. Approved by voters in the fall, the new $5.9 million center will house the police, fire, and ambulance services under one roof. Construction on the new center is expected to get started in the fall with a targeted completion date in 2009 or 2010. - Matt Gunderson


TAX BILLS UP - Residents may be noticing increases in their tax bills. The owner of a $1.1 million home, the average in town, is seeing an increase of $508 in the property tax bill due Feb. 1. The rise is based in part on a $1.8 million Proposition 2 1/2 debt-exclusion override covering a number of expenses, such as school and town building renovations, and a $628,818 capital-expenditure override to pay for a new town ambulance and firetruck, according to Town Assessor Karen MacTavish. This fiscal year's tax rate of $9.75 per $1,000 of assessed value was recently approved by the state Department of Revenue. - Anna Fiorentino


HELP WITH TAXES - It's not income-tax filing season yet, but that doesn't mean people should wait until April to work on their returns, especially when there are changes in tax laws to consider. That's why H&R Block, in cooperation with the state's Department of Revenue and Commonwealth Health Connector program, will hold a tax workshop at the Framingham Public Library's main branch on Wednesday. H&R Block representative Marc Krell will talk about 2007 federal and state tax rules, covering everything from tax credits and itemized deductions to the documentation for the state's new health insurance requirement. "It's particularly important this year because of the new documentation requirement for health insurance," said community services librarian Michelle LeMonde-McIntyre. "This is a really good time to do a program like this." The workshop starts at 7 p.m. in the Costin Room at the library, at 49 Lexington St. There will also be a question-and-answer session, and refreshments will be served. Call 508-879-3570, ext. 228, for more information or go to - Tanya Perez-Brennan


PLANNING SPRING FIELD SCHEDULES - The Recreation Advisory Board will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the Recreation Department offices at 150 Emmons St. Discussion topics will include field scheduling. Applications to reserve fields for spring sports will be accepted at the meeting. A second meeting will take place Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. to finalize the spring sports schedules and distribute field permits. Those intending to apply for a field during the spring season should submit an application to the Recreation Department by Jan. 15. For more information, call 508-520-4909 or visit the department's website page, - Rachel Lebeaux


VERIZON PUBLIC ACCESS ON TAP - Local Verizon FiOS television subscribers should have access to local programming this month, Town Administrator Paul LeBeau said. The company began offering cable TV service in town this fall, but so far it has not broadcast local-access programming, including public meetings. The deadline for the company to carry the local content is Feb. 19, but LeBeau said the company appears to be on track to offer the programming sometime this month. - Calvin Hennick


BOX TOPS PAY OFF - Box Tops for Education, a national program that raises money for public schools through retail sales of various products, has generated $10,727 for the Green Meadow School since the school began participating in the program in 2002. The program garnered $1,338 in funds for the school last school year and has so far collected $401 this year for the school. Residents can participate in the program in three different ways: by cutting out 10-cent Box Top coupons from name-brand products and sending them to the school; by shopping at more than 60 online stores; or by purchasing books through the program's book club. - Matt Gunderson


NEW REC OFFERINGS - The Parks and Recreation Department is starting up two new programs - magic lessons and mountain bike maintenance and repair - this week. The magic class, which is aimed at children 8 years and older, kicks off Wednesday, with another seven-week session beginning March 5. The cost is $120. The six-week series of mountain bike classes begins tomorrow at a cost of $60. A seven-week class, costing $70, starts March 3. For more information, contact the recreation department at 508-359-2715. - Calvin Hennick


HEARING ON NEW HOUSE LOT - The Planning Board will hold a public hearing Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. in the Sanford Room at Town Hall to consider a subdivision plan for a 6.15-acre parcel at 12 Oak St. The owner of the property, which has a single-family house on it, is proposing to create an additional building lot of 24,212 square feet by extending the right-of-way of the existing private way portion of Daniels Road. Site work includes construction of an 18-foot gravel roadway and turnaround within the cul-de-sac; installation of storm-water drainage facilities; and construction of water lines to connect to the town's system. Access to the new lot would be from Daniels Road. The plan is on file in the town clerk's office in Town Hall, at 155 Village St., , and may be inspected Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Written comments can be forwarded to medwayplanningboard@ - Rachel Lebeaux


REACHING OUT TO PARENTS - Officials at the Beatrice H. Wood Elementary School, which serves students in grades 4 to 6, are encouraging parents to complete an online survey to help in the planning of parent involvement programs at the school. The survey, which asks parents what types of workshops they would like to attend and what sort of services they would like the school to offer, can be accessed at - Calvin Hennick


PLANNING BLOG - Gino Carlucci has taken his planning to the Net. The town planner recently launched a blog about Sherborn development issues and initiatives. In it, he intends to facilitate communication between the Planning Board and residents. Carlucci's first entry addresses the possibility of the Sherborn Business Association establishing a new water district in the center of town. Next, he writes about the possibility of establishing a Design Review Committee to consider site and building design, landscaping, parking, lighting, and signage. He is hoping residents will offer their reactions at - Anna Fiorentino


DIP IN CRIME AT RAIL STATION - Incidents that demanded a transit police response at the commuter rail station in Southborough were down slightly last year, according to MBTA figures. Police responded to three reports at the Southville Road station, for motor vehicle vandalism, unattended packages, and a person making threats, the MBTA records for 2007 show. In 2006, police responded to five incidents, the most serious being a report of a stolen motor vehicle. - John Dyer

FOOD PANTRY SEEKS CASH - The United Parishes of Southborough Food Pantry, housed at the Pilgrim Church, is seeking monetary donations to maintain its services in the new year. Although food donations are also encouraged, at this time of year cash donations are more useful, said coordinator Barbara Jandrue. To make a donation, send a check payable to the Southborough Food Pantry at 15 Common St., c/o Pilgrim Church, PO Box 281, Southborough 01772. For additional details, call 508-485-4847. - John Dyer


STREET NUMBER VISIBILITY - In a recent news bulletin on the town website,, Fire Chief David Soar and Police Chief Mark Trefry stressed to residents the importance of having a clear and visible street number displayed on their home as an important public safety issue. The town's bylaws require that the numbers be at least three inches tall. If a house is set back along the property, the two chiefs recommend that the number be placed on a fence, mailbox, or post near the driveway entrance. - Matt Gunderson


TALK ON JUNGLE BIRDS - Nature expert Mark Blazis will present a program at the Friends of Upton State Forest's annual meeting Jan. 14 on "Jungle Birds at Upton State Forest," explaining how birds' migrations connect Upton and distant jungles. The free program will follow a brief business meeting at 7 p.m. at the Upton Senior Center, 1 Centennial Court, off Main Street. For more details, contact the group at or 508-529-6610. - Calvin Hennick


PROGRAM FOR COPING WITH DIVORCE - Celebration International Church is offering a Divorce Care class for anyone going through or affected by divorce. The class will meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. starting this week at the church, 6 Loker St. For more information, or to view a video about the classes, visit the church's website,, or call the church at 508-653-6864. - John M. Guilfoil


LATE RUSH FOR CHIEF POSITION - After receiving only a few applications in the first month of advertising for a new fire chief, the town received a rush in the week before last Monday's deadline, pushing the total to around 10, Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said. - Calvin Hennick

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