Globe West Community briefing

Volunteers needed

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February 21, 2008

Town officials are looking for volunteers to serve on a handful of committees and councils. The Cable Television Advisory Committee and the Solid Waste and Recycling Advisory Committee both need one volunteer to start as soon as possible, according to town officials. Needham also is seeking one member and two alternates to represent the town on the Regional Transportation Advisory Council, an independent group that provides public input on transportation issues to the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization. The town is looking for a resident to represent Needham on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a regional organization that represents 101 cities and towns around Boston. - Laura M. Colarusso

SPORTS SITE SEEKS TEEN WRITERS - A new New England sports website offers teenagers the opportunity to write about their favorite teams. Launched by Newton 13-year-old Rahul Matta and his father, Anil, features blogs about New England's professional sports teams. Rahul and a handful of other writers are supplying most of the blogs, but the eighth-grader envisions a site primarily written by and for students from across the region. Those interested in contributing to the site can e-mail - Rachana Rathi

PROGRESS ON POLICE STATION - With the design work for the town's new police station nearly complete, officials are hoping construction can begin this summer. Michael McKeon of Kaestle Boos Architects unveiled detailed drawings last week of what the station will look like. The headquarters will include a number of environmentally friendly elements, such as geothermal heating and cooling systems, a high-performance filtering system to clean the air in an indoor firing range, and light fixtures that use just 10 percent of the energy of regular lights. McKeon said construction documents should be done next month, with bids going out sometime in April or May. Groundbreaking could occur as soon as July, he said. Though the cost won't be finalized until bids are in, McKeon said, the project is currently just $200,000 over the $13.5 million estimated price. - Christina Pazzanese

FAMILIAR FACE AT FIELD SCHOOL - Matthew Lucey has been appointed as the Field School's principal, starting July 1. It won't be an entirely new job for Lucey, who has been serving as the school's interim principal since last summer. He has seven years of experience in the Weston schools, including a role as director of technology and libraries from 2006-2007, a position he also held from 1995-2000. In the intervening years, Lucey was director of business and finance for the Littleton schools, and manager of network design and implementation for Mirror Image Internet. Lucey earned a bachelor's degree in history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has master's degrees in arts and education from Boston College. - Stephanie V. Siek

Around the region

TOWN CLERK STEPPING DOWN - Town Clerk Kathleen Harvey has announced that she will not be running for reelection on the May 6 ballot. "After much soul searching, I find it is time to retire and have more time with my family," Harvey told the Board of Selectmen in her resignation letter. She has served as town clerk for 22 years, and began working in the clerk's office in 1978. Ann Odabashian, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, and Ronald R. Picard, son of Selectman Ron L. Picard, have pulled nomination papers to run for the position, which an annual salary of $61,000. The deadline to take out papers for the election is March 13, and they must be returned to the town clerk's office by March 18. - Rachel Lebeaux

PUBLIC SAFETY CENTER - Town officials are in the process of finding a project manager and an architect to begin the construction of a new public safety center, said Police Chief Vincent Alfano. Voters approved the $5.7 million facility planned for Wattaquadock Hill Road last fall. Alfano said the hope is to break ground on the new center sometime in the fall. - Matt Gunderson

SCHOOL POETS - Three students at Tahanto Regional Middle/High School will have their poems appear this year in an anthology published by Creative Communication, a company dedicated to promoting student writing. Seventh-grader Kristen Sauer and two eighth-graders, Matt Felch and Sabrina Staras, won the honor after joining students across the country in submitting their work to the contest last fall. The anthology is titled "A Celebration of Young Poets." - Matt Gunderson

MORE MONEY FOR CLEARING SNOW - Selectmen had to authorize additional funds to cover snow and ice removal for the third time this winter. The town initially budgeted $130,000, but an early burst of bad weather prompted the board to allocate first another $125,000 and then $75,000 more last month. At last week's meeting, the selectmen approved another $75,000, bringing the winter's total to $405,000. - Anna Fiorentino

MISSION FOR GOLF COURSE - Selectmen and an advisory committee to the town-owned Pinecrest Golf Club plan to write a mission statement for the facility. The course is operated by New England Golf Corp., under a contract with the town that expires in December. Town Administrator Paul LeBeau said the chief purpose of the mission-statement process will be to define the role of the course's clubhouse. At various times in recent years, it has served as a rental hall and has housed several restaurants and a catering service. The course and clubhouse operation make roughly $260,000 for the town annually. - Calvin Hennick

MARATHON TORCH - A torch that was lighted last fall in Marathon, Greece, birthplace of the modern 26.2-mile race, is on track to find its home in Hopkinton. Spyridon Zagaris, mayor of Marathon, has selected Hopkinton as the last stop for the torch due in part to its "sister city" relationship with Marathon, as well as its history as the starting point for the Boston Marathon. The Board of Selectmen last week unanimously approved a motion to entertain the offer, agreeing to share the costs of transporting the torch with the Hopkinton Athletic Association. The group's president, Timothy Kilduff, and the selectmen are working out the logistics of getting the torch to Hopkinton before the start of this year's race on April 21. Kilduff said he would come back to the board with a "full-on plan" in two weeks. - David Cogger

WALRATH'S EXIT VOW - State Representative Patricia Walrath, a Democrat who represents Hudson, Maynard, Stow and Bolton, said she intends to secure vital federal funding for the state's healthcare system before she leaves office for good. Walrath recently announced that she would not be running for reelection after 23 years on Beacon Hill. An architect of the state's health insurance overhaul, which mandates that all state residents have health insurance, Walrath said an agreement with the federal government that nets the state around $400 million in healthcare funding a year is set to expire this summer. She said negotiating a new agreement for that money would be her priority before her term expires in January. - John Dyer

NEW FULL-TIME FIREFIGHTER - The newest full-time fireman in town continues a family tradition. Brian Young, son of a retired Weston fire captain, Louis Young, was recently hired as a permanent full-time firefighter after serving as an on-call responder for the past several months. Now fire officials say they will turn their attention to hiring additional on-call firefighters to build up a reserve of at least 10 responders, up from four regular people on call now. - John M. Guilfoil

MAYOR'S CHARITY BALL - The Mayor's Charity Ball has been scheduled for April 5. Tickets are $35 and proceeds go to the Mayor's Charity Relief Fund, which helps Marlborough residents in need by making contributions to their rent or utility bills, for example, and by helping organizations such as the Marlborough Food Pantry, according to the city's website. The fund was started in 1960, and the ball is its primary source of funding. Tickets will be available at Bouvier Pharmacy, Distinctive Realty, and L&S Boule Insurance. For more information, contact the mayor's office at 508-460-3770. - Lisa Kocian

TOWNWIDE CLEANUP - In an effort to rid the town of litter, Maynard's third annual clean-up event will run April 19-27. As part of the event, which is being organized by the Maynard Little League, residents, merchants, and community groups are urged to pick up litter on their properties. Residents can also volunteer at the Board of Health office to help clean up public areas throughout town as part of the event. - Matt Gunderson

ENERGY PANEL SPARKS INTEREST - Seventeen people have expressed interest in serving on a committee to study ways that the town and its residents can cut back on energy use. Selectmen held off appointing members to the committee at their meeting last week because chairman Paul Rhuda was absent. Selectmen are still deciding how large to make the committee, Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said. The board is scheduled to take up the issue again next week during its meeting Tuesday. - Calvin Hennick

SENIOR CENTER OFFERS TAX TIPS - The town's Senior Center is offering local elders free help completing their income-tax forms, as well as information on the circuit-breaker tax credit, which could save seniors hundreds of dollars on their property tax bills. Residents are encouraged to call the Senior Center at 508-533-3210 to schedule a tax-help session or request further information. - Rachel Lebeaux

PROMOTION TO LIEUTENANT - The Board of Selectmen has promoted Detective Sergeant William Lyver Jr. to serve as the Police Department's new lieutenant, the force's second-ranking officer. A member of Northborough's Police Department since 1979, Lyver has the necessary criminal investigative background and depth of experience for the position, said Police Chief Mark Leahy. Leahy said he recommended Lyver to the selectmen after Lyver went through a review process that included Leahy, Northborough officials, and police chiefs from other towns. As a lieutenant, Lyver's annual salary will be around $80,000. - John Dyer

SEWER PAYMENT TO BE STRETCHED - In a meeting last week with Plainville officials, North Attleborough sewer commissioners agreed to allow the town to pay its portion of capital improvements to their shared sewer treatment plant over 20 years. North Attleborough originally requested the entire payment up front, which led Plainville commissioners to ask for $339,000 to be approved at the Feb. 25 Special Town Meeting. The amount needed is expected to drop considerably once this year's payment is calculated, Town Administrator Joseph Fernandes said. - Calvin Hennick

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH - Interviews with applicants to become Sherborn's next town administrator are scheduled for March 8. The person hired would replace Dennis Lutrell, who took a job as Somerset's town administrator last month. The names of the candidates weren't released. In the meantime, Diane Ciancarelli, administrative assistant in the Board of Selectmen's office, is serving as the acting town administrator. - Anna Fiorentino

DRAFT BUDGET HAS A SHORTFALL - The draft town budget is $101 million and carries a $4.2 million deficit right now, according to Town Manager Dan Morgado, but town officials are working to reduce that between now and the May Town Meeting, when the budget will be up for a vote. The Board of Selectmen is still considering a pay-as-you-throw or other trash fee program, he said, but it is not formally part of the budget in its current draft. Such a program would shave about $1 million from the deficit, said Morgado. - Lisa Kocian

TOWN WANTS TRAILBLAZERS - Doreen Ferguson, director of the town's Recreation Commission, is seeking residents to help the commission maintain and improve hiking trails in town. Two trails run through Southborough, the Bay Circuit Trail, a 120-mile arc between Route 128 and Interstate 495, and the Sudbury Reservoir Trail, which could be used as a passageway linking open space in town. Anyone interested in helping with the local trails should call Ferguson at 508-229-4452. - John Dyer

MEETING ON PROPOSED LAND BUY - Selectmen are planning to hold an informational meeting next week to discuss a proposed land purchase that would add space to the town municipal building and provide for more sports fields. The land, about 30 acres on Maple Avenue that used to serve as a dump site, would cost $3.9 million, said Marsha Paul, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen. Paul said the cost includes cleanup of the site. Voters at a March 10 Special Town Meeting will decide whether to appropriate the money for the land. The proposal would require voters to approve raising property taxes through a debt-exclusion override of Proposition 2 1/2. The 7:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday will be held at the Fire Department headquarters on Church Street. - Calvin Hennick

EMC APPEALS AGAIN - Hopkinton-based EMC Corp. is asking a state administrative law judge to overturn a Department of Environmental Protection decision in favor of the Westborough Conservation Commission, said DEP spokesman Joseph Ferson. In October, the commission rejected the company's plan to build a road from Washington Street in Southborough to Flanders Road in Westborough for an office complex. The commission said the project could impact wetlands and that EMC did not provide the town with sufficient information on how the project would prevent flooding in the area. EMC appealed but, last month, the DEP upheld the commission's decision. On Feb. 12, EMC filed an appeal of that decision with the DEP's Office of Appeals and Dispute Resolution. A judge will hear the appeal within 120 days of EMC's request, Ferson said. EMC spokesman Patrick Cooley could not be reached for comment. -John Dyer

PUBLIC WORKS OFFER - Selectmen last week voted to offer the position as director of the town's Department of Public Works to Richard Nota, who holds the same position in Harvard. Nota won out over Stephen Soma, the director of Upton's DPW, and Jack Manchester, who has headed up the Wrentham department on an interim basis since the former director, Robert Reardon, left last month for a job in Florida. - Calvin Hennick

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