Globe West Community briefing

Watch for the tree pruning in Arlington

August 1, 2010

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Town officials are asking residents to report NStar to police if the utility company or any of its contractors are seen pruning tree limbs from around its power lines. Town Manager Brian Sullivan sent a letter to NStar last month saying no more trees could be trimmed until the utility company or its contractors provide assurances that private property will be respected and appropriate pruning standards will be followed. Residents had complained that NStar’s pruning crews were decimating shade trees. The company’s practices had recently caused run-ins with town officials in Watertown, too. NStar spokesman Mike Durand said that tall trees sometimes need significant trimming to create safe distances from power lines. NStar has three arborists who hire contractors to do the trimming, Durand said, and they have to balance aesthetics with electric service reliability. But Durand said NStar won’t trim any more trees in Arlington until meeting with the town. The town is asking residents who observe anyone other than Department of Public Works crews trimming public trees to report it to police at 781-643-1212. — Brock Parker

COMMENT ON BUS SHELTERS — Public comments are being accepted until Friday on a proposal to build shelters at some of the town’s busiest bus stops. Arlington has 163 bus stops, and only five have shelters for people waiting for buses to arrive. The town is considering an agreement with the MBTA that would allow private contractor Cemusa to build and maintain 10 shelters at some of the busiest bus stops, most of which would be on the eastbound side of Massachusetts Avenue. In return, Cemusa would have the right to sell advertising space on the shelters, with some of the proceeds going to the town. Anyone wishing to comment on the proposal can contact Arlington’s senior planner, Laura Wiener, at 781-316-3091. — Brock Parker

TIME TO MEET BELMONT — An annual program offering residents a chance to learn more about their community, Meet Belmont, will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Chenery Middle School on Washington Street. The free event will feature nearly 80 exhibitors representing town departments, schools, clubs, faith-based organizations, and community organizations. Residents can register to vote, get bus maps, and find recreation and arts information.

Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

BETTER ART BATTLE — A The Brookline Arts Center is looking for a local artist, age 16 or older, to represent the town in a “People’s Choice’’ competition Saturday at the Martini Shell in Hyde Park. Anyone willing to produce art “en plein air” (outdoors) is welcome to join the match. Other teams will include the Hyde Park Art Association and the Roslindale Arts Alliance. Art lovers of all ages are welcome to join the fun and participate in the Summer Art Festival and inaugural Battle of the Arts, from noon to 3 p.m., 1015 Truman Highway. Details at 617-364-ARTS. — Andreae Downs

DON’T GET BITTEN — The town’s Health Department is monitoring for mosquito-borne illnesses that peak around this time of year, including West Nile virus. Workers are also applying larvicide to catch basins and some wetland areas. Officials advise residents to avoid bites by staying inside at twilight, covering up with clothing or netting, wearing a repellant with DEET, avoiding areas with lots of mosquitoes, and fixing holes in screens. For details, call 617-730-2300. — Andreae Downs

PARK WILL HOST BRASS — Marches, ballads, and quick-steps will reverberate on the banks of Allerton Overlook at Olmsted Park, part of the Muddy River park system on the border between Brookline and Boston, next Sunday. The Boston Pops Brass Quintet is scheduled to play Gustave Holst’s Second Military Suite in F, as well as selections from the American Brass Band Journal at 6 p.m. The concert is free. Allerton Overlook is at the end of Allerton Street in Brookline. — Andreae Downs

REGISTER FOR SCHOOL — Families new to town can receive information and register their elementary-school-age children for the fall at the Lincoln School until Thursday. Contact Eileen Jennings for an appointment Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Call 617-879-4600. For early childhood, call 617-713-5471; for the high school, 617-713-5006. — Andreae Downs

LEARN PUPPETRY — One of the greats of hand puppetry, Paul Vincent Davis, is coming out of retirement to join his successor at the Puppet Showplace Theatre, Brad Shur, to teach puppetry, its history, basic manipulation and construction. Starting Wednesday, the 7 p.m. class will continue for three weekly sessions; sponsored by Brookline Adult and Community Education, it is geared for teens and adults. For details and registration, visit, or call 617-720-2700. — Andreae Downs

PEERS HONOR GELLER — Former selectman Joseph Geller has been named to the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects, one of the organization’s highest honors. Geller is a vice president at Stantec, which merged with his company, Geller De Vellis, in 2007. His citation, announced Tuesday, was based in large part on his work as a selectman, in which he helped redevelop a town-owned parking lot, now the Marriott Courtyard, at 40 Webster St. — Andreae Downs

SUMMER FUN FEST — Come for a swim and some free entertainment at the second annual Lexington Summer Fun Fest, to be held tomorrow evening at the Center Recreation Complex on Worthen Road. The event is cosponsored by the Police Department and the town’s Recreation and Human Services department. Residents are invited to bring a picnic supper and enjoy free games, activities, and music, which will run from 6 through 8:30 p.m. There will also be a free open swim at the Irving H. Mabee town pool complex from 7 to 8:30 p.m. In the event of rain, the event will be held Wednesday. — Sara Brown

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED — Needham Cares, a local group that organizes relief efforts around the world, is looking for volunteers to help collect funds for a rebuilding project in Haiti this year. The group has rebuilt homes in Hancock County, Miss., after Hurricane Katrina, and in Galveston, Texas, after Hurricane Ike hit last year. This month will mark the fifth anniversary of the group, and organizers are seeking volunteers to collect donations at the town’s Transfer Station on Sept. 4, 11, and 18 between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Anyone interested should e-mail Bill Tilburg at

Katrina Ballard

HEALTH EXECUTIVE SHARES AWARD — Network Health Inc., a Massachusetts health plan that provides coverage to more than 160,000 state residents with low or moderate incomes, has received this year’s Top Leadership Teams in Healthcare award in the health plan category from HealthLeaders Media, an industry group. The award was based on the work of Network Health’s 10-member senior leadership team, which includes Newton resident Leanne Berge, the plan’s vice president for strategic planning and business development. — Sarah Thomas

SILVER ALERT SYSTEM — The Board of Aldermen has passed a motion to create a Silver Alert system that would help police track missing senior citizens. “In essence it’s an Amber alert for seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia,” said Alderman Charlie Shapiro, who proposed the measure. “It uses technology and community response to help the police locate a person who has wandered away from their home . . . and return the person home safely.” The system will provide police cruisers with pictures and other information when seniors wander. A similar bill was approved by the state Legislature last week. “I’m really excited about this,” Shapiro said. “Newton has the ability to play a leadership role in providing ideas on how to implement this program on a local basis in other communities.” For details. visit

Sarah Thomas

NEW SCHOOL OFFICIAL — The city’s school system has a new assistant superintendent. Paul Maiorano, a Shrewsbury resident who has been head of Framingham High School’s math department, is taking over for Alexander Wyeth. According to the Framingham High website, Maiorano holds a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University, and two master’s degrees, one in secondary education from University of Massachusetts Boston, and one in math from UMass Lowell. He started teaching in Framingham in 1991, according to the site. Longtime Waltham High School educator Gregory DeMeo was chosen to replace its principal, John Graceffa, who retired after 23 years in the position. And Superintendent Peter Azar announced in March that he is retiring.

Megan McKee

WORK ON NONANTUM ROAD — After years of complaints, construction is underway to improve the safety of a section of Nonantum Road in Newton and Watertown that has long been prone to traffic accidents. The 1.57-mile stretch along the Charles River between Charlesbank Road and Galen Street will be narrowed from four lanes to two. A landscape buffer of grass and plantings will separate the roadway from a widened riverside path. Underground elements for future traffic control signals will be installed at Nonantum and Charlesbank roads. Four new turning lanes will also be added: two westbound, at Maple Street and Charlesbank, and two eastbound, at the yacht club and ice rink. The first phase of the project got underway in mid-June, said Richard Nangle, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, and will consist of installing lighting, drainage, and other utilities, as well as adding new curbs to the side of the road. The second phase is expected to begin this fall, followed by the third late this year or early next year, Nangle said. The entire project is slated for completion by May 2012. — Sarah Thomas

PEISCH AT LIBRARY — State Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch will be holding an office hour for constituents Aug. 16 from 11 a.m. to noon at the Wellesley Public Library. To make an appointment for a more convenient time, call 617-722-2320 or e-mail

Sarah Thomas

SEEKING CONSENSUS — Recent efforts to reach a consensus on the future of the historic Josiah Smith Tavern and Old Library on Boston Post Road included a meeting in June that drew roughly 80 residents, and a discussion during the Board of Selectmen’s meeting two weeks ago. According to Town Manager Donna VanderClock, the town wants to work closely with residents to decide how to best use the buildings. A proposal to have the tavern renovated into a restaurant and the library serve as headquarters for community groups was turned down by Special Town Meeting voters. — Andrew Clark

Around the region

BENEFIT RIDE FOR MARINES — Organizers of the inaugural Ink Jam Tattoo Studio Bike Ride, a benefit for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, said they expect as many as 600 motorcyclists to take part in the Aug. 15 event. The participants will complete their trek from Everett to the Maynard Rod & Gun Club on Old Mill Road, with festivities continuing from 1 to 6 p.m. For details, call 978-430-6905 or visit — John Dyer

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