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Boston school teacher from Natick to be honored at White House

Posted July 12, 2009 03:45 PM

A Boston public school teacher from Natick has received a prestigious presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The teacher, Erin Flynn, is a science specialist at the John D. Philbrick Elementary School in Roslindale. She and other award recipients will be feted this fall at a White House ceremony.

According to the Boston Public Schools, the awards "represent the highest award a kindergarten – grade 12 math or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States."

“Ms. Flynn is a shining example of the great work happening every day in our schools. Her passion is bringing science to life for students and we congratulate her on this pestigious accomplishment,” Boston Superintendent Carol R. Johnson said in a statement.

BPS said in a release that Ms. Flynn has taught at the Philbrick for five years and in BPS for eight years. In 2008, she received the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence for her innovative approach to helping students explore science topics through applied experiments. Ms. Flynn also published an article in the National Science Teachers Association journal Science and Children, featuring the work of the Philbrick Science Showcase. The family event celebrates students’ science learning and highlights the school’s ongoing partnership with the Boston Nature Center.

A release from the school system said "Ms. Flynn is the second BPS teacher in as many years to be selected as a state finalist for the PAEMST. Last year, Matthew Anthes-Washburn, a physics teacher at Boston International High School, was selected as the Massachusetts recipient of the award and joined teachers from across the country in Washington, D.C. for a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities."

Barefoot in the Natick Collection

Posted November 10, 2008 01:14 PM

That crowd of nearly 1,500 people in the atrium of the Natick Collection during lunchtime today wasn't there to shop the sale at Nordstrom's.

The hordes, nearly all of them women, were waiting -- some for up to 2 hours -- for a book signing with Ina Garten, author of The Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and Food Network favorite.

Williams-Sonoma hosted the noontime event, and the queue quickly wound out of the store all the way down the new wing of the shopping mall.

A cheerful looking Garten chatted and signed while taking sips of San Pellegrino water, with some customers presenting her with as many as four copes of her brand-new cooking tome, Back to Basics, for her autograph.

But no rest for the weary author, according to Garten's book tour scheduler, tomorrow she'll be doing the same thing at the Barnes & Noble in Skokie, Illinois.

-- Erica Noonan

Details, details ...

Posted September 11, 2008 09:15 AM



Governor Deval Patrick has finally cracked the monopoly that police officers on paid road and construction details. Or has he?

Today's Globe West examines the issue of details and explores how it's not just local police officers, but also the cities and towns that they work for, who have powerful incentives to say "Thanks, but no thanks" to Patrick's bid to introduce flagmen on some road construction projects.

We also take a look at the amounts that some officers are getting paid for details, which they regard as legitimate pay for legitimate work but which critics decry as wasteful. As an added feature, we've also included a link to the complete list of detail pay for the Newton Police Department for the 2008 fiscal year.

Natick going after property tax scofflaws

Posted August 14, 2008 07:18 AM

Beware, Natick tax scofflaws, the town is owed nearly $1 million in back property tax payments and interest and officials are coming after it.

Selectmen last week voted to hire the law firm Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane to represent the town in land court as it pursues the back taxes. Finance Director Bob Palmer said the town is owed nearly $500,000, but that interest and penalties raise the total amount owed to more than double that.

Some of the money is likely to be unrecoverable, said Palmer, who noted that some of the debts stretch back into the 1930s. The law firm, which has offices in Boston, Springfield, and Quincy, already serves as Natick’s town counsel.

-- Calvin Hennick

Natick officials: What's fair is fare for local seniors, disabled

Posted July 17, 2008 08:45 AM

Natick's selectmen have approved a measure exempting senior citizens and people with disabilities from a taxicab fuel surcharge.

The surcharge, which went into effect July 1, adds 50 cents to rides under $10, adds $1 to rides between $10 and $24.99, and adds $2 to rides $25 and over.

The exemption, which applies to people age 60 and older or anyone with a disability, goes into effect on Aug. 1. The program will be reevaluated by town officials next May.

Selectman Joshua Ostroff said riders would not be required to show proof of their age or disability.

“Natick is still a small town, and there’s an element of trust,” he said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Fire destroys four Natick businesses

Posted June 19, 2008 08:51 AM

(Globe staff photo by Erica Noonan)


An early morning fire swept through a block of stores in downtown Natick Thursday, destroying four small businesses.

The wood-and-plaster building on Pond Street, just steps from the town green, housed a laundromat, shoe and vacumn repair shops, and a convenience store.

The structure was blackened and smoldering, and Natick Fire officials were still on the scene during this morning's commute.

No injuries were reported in the blaze that broke out around 1:15 a.m., tripped four alarms and drew fire crews from several neighboring towns.

Investigators were examining smoking piles of wreckage Thursday morning to determine the source and cause of the fire.

-- Erica Noonan

Redmen Revisited

Posted April 1, 2008 12:27 PM

In the wake of last week's public vote to reconsider dumping Natick's controversial Redmen town mascot, the school committee voted 7-0 last night to revisit the issue.

The committee voted to choose a new mascot last year, citing concens that name is racist and a smear against Native Americans. The plan was to choose a new name -- possibly the Hawks, or the Red and Blue -- in time for the fall 2008 football season.

But an unexpected public swell of support for the old Redmen name has gripped the town. Advocates claim the nickname is not meant a slur, but is a tribute to town pride, and charged the school committee's name-change task force with violating state open meeting laws.

The March 25 public vote was a non-binding, but school committee chair Steve Meyler said group agreed a wholesale review of the mascot issue was in order.

``When the public comes out like that to ask for reconsideration, it seems quite appropriate that we listen,'' he said.

The town will hire an independent counsel to review the situation. One priority is to determine whether the Redmen name is a violation of any group's civil rights, he said. The committee plans to hold a townwide public forum in early June and render a permanent decision later that month, he said.

Jimmy Brown, an organizer of the pro-Redmen campaign, said his group was pleased.

``It's very comforting that the school committee is listening to the voters and agrees that there are more questions to be answered,'' said Brown.

-- Erica Noonan

Natick votes for $3.9 million override, to keep Redmen name

Posted March 25, 2008 09:43 PM

Natick isn't ready to let go of its controversial town nickname.

By a 2-to-1 margin, townspeople voted Tuesday night to ask the school committee to reconsider its decision to scrap the longstanding Redmen sports moniker, a nickname many feel is insensitive and demeaning to Native Americans.

The question is non-binding, but many hope the committee will reevaluate its attempts to rename the team the Hawks or the Red and Blue.

Voters also accepted a $3.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 override by a 55 percent margin. The override expected to cost the average homeowner an extra $290 in annual property tax assessments above the 2.5 percent annual increase permitted by state law.

The funds will cover municipal budget shortfalls for 2009 and 2010 and prevent cuts in public safety services, library hours and education.

Turnout was high, said Natick Town Clerk Judi Kuhn, roughly 50 percent of the town's 21,000 registered voters,

In a hotly contested selectman's race for two open seats, incumbent Carol Gloff won her second term with 4,718 votes, but incumbent Charlie Hughes lost his seat by less than 300 seats to former board member John Connolly who garnered 3,925 votes, according to unofficial results.

Former finance committee member John Moranm who served two terms on the board in the 1990s, came in fourth with 3,505 votes.

-- Erica Noonan

Natick officials to detail their overriding concerns

Posted March 4, 2008 03:18 PM


Town Administrator Martha White and Interim Superintendent of Schools Joseph Keefe explain the town's request for a $3.9 million Proposition 2 1/2 override at a public budget meeting on Monday night, town officials announced today.

At the forum, White and Keefe are expected to detail why such a tax increase is necessary to balance the fiscal 2009 budget, and to outline the reductions in programs and services they say will result if it fails.

The meeting will be held at the Wilson Middle School at 7:30 p.m. Voters will go to the polls on March 25.

"Clearly, there is nothing in there [the potential budget cuts] that anybody likes,'' White said. "But, it is what it is. We're hoping to engage the public so they have an opportunity to ask questions of us about the financial state of the town."

-- Michele Morgan Bolton

Do you have to file a financial report if you don't have any finances?

Posted February 22, 2008 12:56 PM


With the Feb. 26 preliminary election in sight, one challenger in the race to winnow five candidates to four for two seats on the Board of Selectmen, has apparently failed to file any campaign finance reports.

According to records in the Town Clerk's office, candidate Jeffrey Phillips missed the Friday, Feb. 15 cut-off for filing, which his competitors all met.

By law, candidates in town races must submit spending reports at least eight days before and 30 days after the election, followed by a January year-end report. Town Clerk Judi Kuhn said candidates receive plenty of notice about their fiscal responsibilities under the state law, and are also sent reminders by her staff.

"You have to follow the rules," Kuhn said.

Phillips said Thursday he didn't file a report because he hasn't raised or spent any money on a campaign. After Tuesday's vote, if he's still in the race, he said he'll begin working to get his message out.

Selectman Chairwoman Carol Gloff filed her reports on Feb. 11, listing a campaign fund balance of $3,689.43. Fellow incumbent Charles Hughes filed on Feb. 15, listing $1,549.03 in assets.

Challengers John Connolly and John Moran both filed by the deadline listing balances of $655.12 and $1,036.14 respectively.

-- Michele Morgan Bolton

Lots of development proposals in Natick

Posted February 8, 2008 02:30 PM


A committee appointed by the Board of Selectmen will review the only proposal received by the town for a plan to redevelop and revitalize a municipal parking garage complex on Middlesex Avenue.

The proposal, submitted jointly by Genesis Planners of Waltham and Oaktree Development of Cambridge, would contain at least 330 public parking spaces for downtown shoppers, as well as apartments and retail space. If the committee recommends that the project go forward and the selectmen agree, town voters would be asked at the April Town Meeting to agree to enter into a $1 per year lease with the developers.

"The development costs and opportunities to generate income for the developer are limited; our objective is to get the garage and site redeveloped in a manner beneficial to the downtown," Town Administrator Martha White said. "We did not necessarily expect this to generate income for the town."

The Genesis offer was the only proposal received by the town after months of soliciting bids.

Officials are also considering the state's offer to build a new garage for MBTA commuters. Among the proposals is for a three-level, 494-car garage constructed over an existing 163-car lot that services the West Natick Commuter Rail station.

White said the MBTA and the Executive Office of Transportation and Construction are workign on the design for the site and will come back to the town for "further review and consideration."

-- Michele Morgan Bolton

A job for those who never get bored of affordable housing

Posted February 4, 2008 07:41 AM


Residents have until Feb. 21 to submit letters of interest to serve on the town's Board of Trustees for the new Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

A vote of the 2007 Fall Annual Town Meeting established the new board, which will provide for the creation and preservation of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. Under the state's Chapter 40B law, 10 percent of a community's housing is supposed to be affordable.

Money in the fund could be used to help a resident make a down-payment on a home with a deed restriction that keeps it affordable. Or, it could be used to extend an expiring restriction, officials said.

The 9-member panel will include one member of the Board of Selectmen; one Planning Board representative; a senior level banking official with experience in the affordable housing market; similar representatives from the real estate, construction and legal communities; and three residents from the community at large who have a strong interest in the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

Appointments are expected to be made at the Feb. 25 selectmen's meeting. Anyone interested is being urged to send a letter of interest to the Board of Selectmen, 13 East Central St., Natick MA 01760 or fax to 508-647-6401.

-- Michele Morgan Bolton

Natick EMT charged with DUI with kids in car

Posted December 18, 2007 11:14 AM


A 31-year-old Natick firefighter-EMT who lives in Southbridge who was driving with her infant and 11-year-old child as passengers Saturday night has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is reporting

Police say Keri L. Belmore, 51 Whitetail Circle, Southbridge, was given two breath tests, which showed blood-alcohol levels of .24 and .23. The legal limit is .08.

Belmore pleaded not guilty in Dudley District Court yesterday to two counts of child endangerment while driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence and a marked lanes violation. Judge Neil G. Snider released her on personal recognizance and scheduled a pretrial hearing for Jan. 28.

According to a report filed by Patrolman Dean S. Bruneau, Belmore failed field sobriety and the breath tests after he pulled over her Ford Explorer near the intersection of East Main Street and North Woodstock Road about 9:30 p.m.

The officer allowed Ms. Belmore’s boyfriend, who arrived separately, to taken home both children. A copy of the police report was forwarded to the Department of Social Services.

More than $6 million short, Natick officials eye override proposal

Posted December 6, 2007 11:35 AM


An operational override question on the spring ballot is looking ever more likely as department heads in Natick ponder how to meet a projected $6.5 million budget shortfall, officials said.

As it stands, the school system could face some of the most significant cuts, possibly up to $3 million worth.

Superintendent of Schools James Connolly said last week that reductions could include laying off 10 elementary school teachers, cutting full-day kindergarten, and even closing the Johnson Elementary School if voters do not approve a tax hike.

-- Erica Noonan

Have a soggy weekend

Posted November 30, 2007 08:26 AM


Residents on Cypress Street in Natick woke up to lots of water in their neighborhood early Friday morning, WHDH-TV/Channel 7 is reporting on its web site.

A water main break on that street occurred around 4 a.m., flooding the street with nearly two feet of water in some spots.

Boston Scientific announces major cuts, effect on region unclear

Posted October 18, 2007 11:11 AM


Natick-based Boston Scientific Corp., facing flagging sales for its two key product lines, has announced that will eliminate 2,300 jobs, or 8 percent of its worldwide workforce, restructure parts of its business, and go forward with plans to shed some less-critical assets.

The Natick maker of medical devices said it expects the cuts, set to begin this month and be substantially completed by 2008, will help it reduce annual expenses by 12 to 13 percent, boost profits, and make it easier to cope with the firm's crushing $8 billion in debt, staff writer Todd Wallack reported in the Globe's Business section.

Boston Scientific, the state's third-largest life sciences company, behind Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. and Biogen Idec Inc., did not say where the job cuts will be made. But only 2,400 of its 28,000 workers are in Massachusetts, suggesting that a fraction of the layoffs will be in the Bay State. Boston Scientific employs nearly 1,000 at its corporate headquarters in Natick and about 1,000 at its endosurgery unit in Marlborough, which makes products for minimally invasive surgery.

Another 500 employees work at the Quincy distribution center, but some analysts think Minnesota, where the company's stent business is based, could bear the brunt of the layoffs.

"I don't think it will have a significant impact at all on total employment in the medical device industry in Massachusetts," said Thomas J. Sommer, president of the Massachusetts Medical Device Industry Council.

Read more about the looming cuts at Boston Scientific on

No clean getaway for Connecticut man

Posted October 12, 2007 11:05 AM


A Connecticut man has been indicted on charges stemming from his alleged role as a getaway driver for a series of jewelry store robberies, including one in Natick two years ago.

Anthony Curral, 30, pleaded not guilty to an array of charges and was ordered held without bond by U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in a federal court in Connecticut, the Connecticut Post reported on its web site.

The FBI alleges Curral served as a getaway driver for Charles Kertesz, 36, formerly of Shelton and Milford, Conn. in the armed robberies of Hannoush Jewelry, in Natick, in July 2005 and a Lux Bond and Green Jewelry store in South Windsor, Conn. in February 2006.

Running for Doug

Posted October 6, 2007 12:20 PM


The 8th annual Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation 5 K Road Race for autism will be run this year at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Oct. 14.

The race begins and ends at Natick High School (15 West St.) and all proceeds benefit the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. The event, sponsored by Eastern Bank, draws an average of 1,500 runners every year, and since 1999 has raised more than $200,000 for the foundation.

Registration begins at 9 a.m.; the registration fee is $20 in advance or $25 on race day. Runners can obtain more information and even register by visiting the foundation online.

-- Erica Noonan

State to begin school project studies early

Posted October 4, 2007 09:51 AM


The state will begin feasibility studies for local school projects about a month earlier than anticipated, potentially allowing some projects to be ready for Town Meeting votes next spring, staff writer James Vaznis of the reports in the Globe's City & Region Section today.

On Nov. 2, the state School Building Authority will decide which school districts' proposed projects to study first. Other districts will be selected on a rolling basis after that.

Being selected for a feasibility study doesn't automatically guarantee construction funding, but it is a prerequisite. More than a dozen school districts west of Boston are among 161 districts statewide competing for about $500 million in construction funds this year, the first time in four years the state is doling out school construction money.

In choosing which feasibility studies to pursue first, the state has been dispatching inspection teams to analyze building conditions and enrollment trends, visiting 90 districts so far. Those districts include Berlin-Boylston, Franklin, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Nashoba, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Shrewsbury, Wayland, and Wellesley.

The resulting studies, which should be completed this winter, will give the state the first glimpse of how much it could potentially cost to do all the projects. In all, 161 districts have expressed interest in 422 school projects.

Central Mass $$$ will flow to Natick

Posted October 1, 2007 10:46 AM


Central Massachusetts should be fertile ground for luxury retailers and the Natick Collection, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette is reporting.

The Census Bureau estimates Worcester County is home to 110,686 households with more than $75,000 in annual income. An estimated 71,571 of those households, or 25 percent of all households in the county, have more than $100,000 in annual income.

Yet aside from small, independent boutiques or specialty retailers, it’s tough to find brand-name luxury shopping in the Worcester area. Shoppers willing to plunk down $300 or more for a wool sweater generally have to get in their cars and drive — to Newbury Street in Boston or the Mall at Chestnut Hill in Newton; to Providence or to New York City.

What they didn't miss ...

Posted September 7, 2007 05:36 PM

Gucci fans will just have to wait.
(Globe staff photo)


If your favorite store is Neiman Marcus, or Gucci, or Bottega Veneta, you don't have to feel bad about missing today's gala Grand Opening of the Natick Collection.

They weren't here either.

In fact, a fairly substantial number of high-end stores that will occupy the new wing of the mall won't be making their appearances for weeks, even months.

Neiman's is due in two weeks, but expect to wait longer for Salvatore Ferragamo, Marina Rinaldi, Karen Miller, Ralph Lauren, Thomas Pink, Piazza Sempione, and Links of London. In fact, the north end of the mall, supposedly the ritziest section, was a bit of a ghost town yesterday, with just Tiffany, Louis Vitton, and a piano player bravely trying to draw shoppers in that direction.

Of course, if you're a glass-half-full person, that just means you still have something to look forward to.

-- Ralph Ranalli

This is the last post of the Globe West Updates Natick Collection Blog-A-Thon. Thanks for tuning in.

Shop globally, eat locally?

Posted September 7, 2007 05:12 PM

(Globe staff photo)


Do those chocolate croissants at Nordstrom's chic espresso bar taste familiar?

That's because they come from the not-so-chic Bakery on the Common in Natick Center, a few miles down the street..

The cafe supplies several baked goods on offer at the mall coffee bar, other noshes like hummus with pita triangles come from Collection restaurants, cafe staff said.

Natick Collection is known for its upscale shops, but happily price inflation doesn't seem to have hit the pastry department. The Nordstrom/Bakery on the Common chocolate croissant was $1.75, plus tax, no more than it costs in Natick center.

-- Erica Noonan

Our woman inside: bargains and splurges

Posted September 7, 2007 04:59 PM


I went on the hunt for best bargains and most egregious splurges. Someone had to do it.

KATE SPADE: The ladies at Kate Spade looked like they wanted to squeal, but refrained as they offered up the Maya bag from the Arabella collection. It is a large, black, patent-finished python handbag with semi -circle beech wood handles. And this super shiny morsel can be yours for only $1,495.

I am a bargain shopper so I will maybe buy the cute yellow and white striped sticky notes for $9. For the low, low price of $8, you can swipe some Spade charm via the refill paper for daily organizers (I know from experience that the paper is standard size and fits non-Kate organizers.)

TOURNEAU: But I did not know splurge until I walked into fancy watch store Tourneau. The very accommodating salesmen there showed me a Patek Philippe watch for just under $60,000. It was "preowned" -- come to find out you can trade in watches there like you do cars-- and it featured a perpetual calendar, black crocodile band, and clear case on the back so you can see it at work. The perpetual calendar is supposed to stay accurate (day, date, and month) until at least the year 2100, according to store manager Bruce Bowman, so you can feel good about handing it down as a family heirloom.

Uh, yeah, I'll take it. And hock it faster than you can say "skinny jeans are so unfair." The best I could come up with at Tourneau for a bargain was the $375 Swiss Army women's tank watch, which I've been eyeing for years.

NORDSTROM: Oddly enough, the Nordstrom splurge came in around the same price, just under $58,000 for a 21-carat deep blue tanzanite pendant surrounded by 43 diamonds. Yeah, it was pretty. Nordstrom does have some lower priced wares in its Brass Plum department, which is geared toward teenaged girls. Jeans there go as low as $42. And there was a lovely wool-blend car coat in Tiffany blue for $78.

ZARA: Although the high-end stores that opened today dominated, there are actually some real gems for people like me -- that is, thirtysomething casual clotheshorse. Zara, a Spanish clothing store for women, has gorgeous silk dresses (my fave was $79) and simple cotton sweaters ($19 for scoop- or V-neck in a zillion colors).

They also had the ubiquitous sweater dress (I swear clingy knit dresses made an appearance in half the stores I visited. The Zara version came in taupe, black, chocolate brown, and cherry red for $59.

-- Lisa Kocian

Leave the Mom Jeans and Crocs at Home

Posted September 7, 2007 04:39 PM

The offending digits: our correspondent is feeling a tad declasse.
(Globe staff photo)


Just a hint: if you're planning on visiting the Natick Collection in its initial days, you might want to dress up.

This advice is offered by a reporter whose outfit's total value was less than most shoppers' shoes. Believe it or not, one Sephora customer with flawlessly French manicured nails literally sneered at this humble correspondent's obviously D.I.Y. pedicure.

A quick search for another member of the fashion proletariat yielded only a woman in mom jeans and a bewildered looking senior citizen in high-waisted pastel pants. It was only as the after-school crowd filtered in from local middle and high schools that the majority of patrons began to look less like socialites at a haute couture trunk sale and more like the customers of a stereotypical suburban mall.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

An eclectic musical Collection

Posted September 7, 2007 04:37 PM


Goodbye Muzak. The musical hipness quotient is off the charts today as a DJ is spinning tunes at Metropark, a store that includes a line of turntable pendants and DJ-themed t-shirts.

Steve Logan, a Natick native, said his shopping mix includes Digable Planets, A Tribe Called Quest, and an electronica outfit named Chromeo.

"This store, they like upbeat music like this. Nice hip hop, with minimal swears," said Logan, a Natick native who works as an artist when not spinning Friday and Saturday nights at the store.

Down the hall, Puma also has a spot set up for a DJ, just in time for the after-school crowd.
Downstairs, a pianist plays on a grand piano.

In fact, music is filling about every corner of the mall. But even so, today's musicians are still having a hard timing living up the eclectic standard set at the gala preview event last night, where a flute and harp duo played their own version of "Stairway to Heaven."

What's next, "Freebird" on steel drums?

-- Meg Woolhouse and Stephanie Siek

Natick chief: more stores = more cops

Posted September 7, 2007 03:51 PM


Nobody was anticipating the opening of the new Natick Collection with more concern than Natick Police Chief Dennis Mannix.

He knows that an additional 550,000-square-feet of retail space, 100 new stores and thousands more shoppers descending on the mall means his 53-officer force will be busier. But he doesn't know how much busier.

"I am expecting a significant impact,'' Mannix said this afternoon. ``It's hard to know yet exactly what the strain will be, but there will be more need for services. I foresee in the long-term we will need more officers.''

Currently, most larceny calls and a good number of other disturbance complaints to Natick police come from the mall, the chief said. Suspects are generally booked in Natick's lockup, and arraigned across the street at Natick District Court. However, that system might have to change if there are too many of them, he said.

Increased traffic is also a huge concern. A combination of regular and paid details helped guide opening day customer off of Speen Street in to the 7,000 spaces surrounding the old and new mall buildings.

Mannix is finalizing a holiday mall traffic policing plan, and along with the fire department, expects to be talking to town officials regularly about the toll the new mall is taking on public services.

The townspeople of Natick can expect to see the issue hit them in the same spot the Collection has targeted -- their pocketbooks.

The hundred of thousands in mitigation money the town is receiving from the Collection expansion has been earmarked for new public safety equipment and other budget items, not for salaries, Mannix said.

-- Erica Noonan

A local link among the national chains

Posted September 7, 2007 03:47 PM

(Globe staff photo)


A stone's throw from the state's first Nordstrom department store is Stil, the only local business to be awarded a spot in the new Natick Collection expansion.

Today was the grand opening of her 1,000-square-foot boutique (named after the Scandinavian word for ``style') and founder/owner Betty Riaz was behind the counter personally helping shoppers choose funky black cocktail dresses and chunky beaded necklaces.

``I'm so excited to be here,'' said Riaz. ``This store is the epitome of what I wanted my store, my brand to be.''

She has opened shops on Newbury Street and at the Chestnut Hill Mall -- but the Natick store has been a real labor of love, she said. With an emphasis on labor.

All her corporate neighbors have teams of high-powered leasing agents, brand managers and real estate attorneys to get their stores up-and running.

Betty, has, well, Betty.

She did it all -- choosing this spot -- nestled behind the Concierge Desk in the busiest crossing in the new wing -- and taking care of all the new-store details personally. She's not too worried about the internationally-known brands, like Michael Kors to her right, and Betsey Johnson to her left.

Since she opened the door at 9 a.m. more than 100 people have come by, about half had shopped in her Newton or Boston stores before, the other half were brand-new customers.

``It's nice to be able to finally show people who don't make it into Boston who were are,'' Riaz said.

-- Erica Noonan

It's 2:30 p.m., do you know where your logo is?

Posted September 7, 2007 03:35 PM

(Globe staff photo)


Fans of the Project Runway reality series know how tough celebrity fashion judge Michael Kors could be on the designer/contestants, particularly when one of them didn't finish an assignment on time.


Kors' new boutique in the ritzy Natick Collection was strangely anonymous for the first four-and-a-half hours of the new mall's life, until an employee got a ladder and some press-on lettering and saved the day.

As Tim Gunn would say, "Make it work, Michael."

-- Ralph Ranalli

The One Thing Mothers and Daughters Can Agree On

Posted September 7, 2007 03:00 PM


Sure there are lots of frustrated and bored husbands parked on chairs and benches waiting for their spouses to finish shopping.

But they appear to be vastly outnumbered by mother and daughter shopping teams. From Zara to Kate Spade, multi-generational duos are inspecting merchandise and offering each other their frank fashion appraisals.

Nancy Leeser and her mother, Eileen Garber, nibbled on Lindt chocolates as they rode the escalator on their way to Nordie's.

"We're here to window shop," Leeser, 52, said, in a voice that sounded like she was trying to convince herself of what whe had just said. Garber, 81, said she was a veteran of many mall openings, including the opening of the Atrium mall in Chestnut Hill. Like Natick, it began as an ultra upscale hub but has since slipped a bit down-market.

"I wonder what will happen here," Garber said.

-- Meg Woolhouse

You were expecting maybe a weiner dog?

Posted September 7, 2007 01:45 PM

(Globe staff photo)


With over 100 high-end stores, excess has of course been one of the themes of the day. Even the balloon clowns were engaging in a bit of one-upclownship.

While other kids were showing off flowers, animals, and magic wands, 4-year-old Abner Perez of Framingham was the proud recipient of this latex Lexus.

Send in the clowns...

Posted September 7, 2007 01:13 PM


The inside of the Natick Collection's new wing is dark wood and stylish tile and glass. Very classy.

But opening day entertainment has more mass-market appeal. It seems they've hired just about every clown in the Greater Boston area for opening day.

There's Davey, who crafts balloon animals and plays the accordion. Jenny the Juggler pained faces. There was even a unicycle-riding, juggling clown. And a rabbit in a box.

Chic or not, the kids are loving it. And shoppers, many of whom have small children, love it, too.

"This is a very kid friendly mall," said Robin Marshall of Sudbury. "He (Davey) was chasing someone with a rubber chicken before. It was pretty funny."

Her young daughter was dancing to Davey's accordion tunes.

"I loveeee it!" her daughter said.

Clowns aren't the only entertainment at the Collection's opening day. An older gentleman played the piano in front of the not-yet-open Neiman Marcus.

He wasn't wearing a tux (and looked kind of rumpled, actually) but everyone seemed impressed with his playing.

Classy, I thought, but then I realized what he was playing. It was the theme from "Sesame Street".

-- Alex I. Oster

You can't get here from there

Posted September 7, 2007 12:38 PM


It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas -- when it comes to parking at the just-opened Natick Collection.

If you aren't interested in paying $10 for a valet to whisk your car away, better wear comfortable shoes.

We tried two labyrinthine Collection garages and several lots before happening upon an SUV pulling away in one of the outer-orbit garages adjacent to J.C. Penny.

Some shoppers were even hiking over from The Container Store plaza.

Of course, it's still possible to park on the Route 9 side of the old mall building, but be warned -- barriers separate the two lots, and ongoing construction makes it a slow commute from one side of the building to another.

-- Erica Noonan

Nothing says retail like a half-naked man

Posted September 7, 2007 11:52 AM

Eat your hearts out, suits
(Globe staff photo by Mark Wilson)


Denise Johnson, 41, was shopping with two girlfriends when she noticed the bare-chested hunk giving out samples inside Fruits & Passion, a Canadian lotions and potions shop.

"That's why we came in here," said Johnson, a Shrewsbury resident. "We saw him from outside."

The model Earl Harried works as a radioactive waste technician at Seabrook. A photographer asked him if women talk to his chest. Yes, the vast majority do, he admitted. (C'mon his pecs are eye level for the average-height woman. What's a girl to do?)

Johnson said she was lured in by the Nordstrom but is having fun seeing some of the other shops that are riding the department store's coattails. "I was impressed," she said of the new Natick Collection. "I was overwhelmed I guess."

-- Lisa Kocian

Nordstrom opens with a roar, literally

Posted September 7, 2007 10:41 AM

Nordstrom employees get fired up
(Globe staff photo by Mark Wilson)


I've seen tamer crowds at Red Sox-Yankees games. Nordstrom employees cheered, clapped, and chanted as they lined the entryway of the new Nordstrom department store, which opened this morning at the Natick Collection. "Let's go Natick. Let's go," they yelled out just before they counted down the final seconds to the door opening.

Newton resident Faye Goldman was the very first Nordstrom customer. "I waited two hours," she said. "I love shoes."

She was the leader of the pack when Nordstrom opened its door at 10 a.m. Hundreds of women rushed into the store. They briskly walked -- there was no running, please these are Nordstrom customers. Goldman said she was also there for the clothes and makeup but her first love is shoes, she said as she inspected some sporty red slip-ons from Privo by Clark's. She said her husband told her she better not come home with any new kicks, but she made no commitment.

The first name brands inside are Jimmy Choo on the right and Bobbi Brown on the left. Jimmy was showing off patent leather high boots with a flat heel and a shorter version with a spike heel. There were leopard print heels and flats. And apparently pointy toes are still in because they dominated the display.

British skincare company Elemis offered free consultation with a space-age looking giant lighted camera. I offered up my weathered reporter face and got back a printout of six different closeup photos showing my pores, wrinkles, and UV spots. Yikes! More sunscreen for me.

-- Lisa Kocian

Trumpets and confetti

Posted September 7, 2007 10:27 AM


With a fanfare from the Boston Symphony Orchestra brass section and a blast from air cannons firing red, black, and silver confetti, the Natick Collection officially opened at 9:56 a.m.

General Growth Properties CEO John Bucksbaum cut a huge band of red ribbons (actually, he pretended to while underlings released the ribbons from the wings) on the ornamental staircase in the new wing's main atrium.

The opening has also hit its first glitch, albeit a minor one: the little pieces of silver mylar confetti are so sticky that they're proving almost impervious to the janitorial staff's attempts to sweep them up.

-- Ralph Ranalli

The countdown begins ...

Posted September 7, 2007 09:18 AM

Welcome to Globe West Update's Natick Collection Blog-a-thon. Staff writer Lisa Kocian filed this update as the first perfumes were being spritzed and the trumpets were warming up for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.


Throngs of excited Nordstrom fans are crowded outside the store eagerly awaiting the opening this morning of the first Massachusetts store. Drawn by a makeover tailgate party, some of the more enthusiastic shoppers sported hot pink boas given out by staff.

Natick resident Penny Tozier walked over to the brand new Natick Collection, which officially opens in minutes, because she thought it would be easier than driving. (Parking and traffic were actually not a problem between 8 and 9 a.m. when I drove in.)

"Ever since they made the announcement the Wonder Bread factory was shutting down, I've been watching it," said Tozier. "I was able to see the progress weekly."

She was getting a makeover from Estee Lauder makeup artist Brynn Terry, who said she was trying to give her a "Malibu" sunkissed look. It was Terry's tenth makeover of the morning, which started at 8 a.m.

Tozier said she came today specifically for the Nordstrom opening, calling the store her "absolute favorite" because of the high-quality customer service.

Other smiling customers were getting makeovers from Clinique, Trish McEvoy, and Laura Mercier, to name a few.

Wellesley resident Mary Ann Scott was peeking inside the Nordstrom store, where staff were teasing customers by raising and lowering the metal garage-like door hiding the high-end duds. "I can't wait until the store opens," said Scott. She planned to spend and hour or two to "get a good overview today" so she can plot her shopping strategy in the coming weeks.

-- Lisa Kocian

The scene from the mall

Posted September 7, 2007 07:27 AM

Finally, the computer-generated shoppers will be replaced by the real thing.


It's here. The Natick Collection opens today, and the Globe West Updates staff will be bringing you the entire scene with our exclusive Blog-a-thon today, starting with Nordstrom's early morning make up tailgate party. To get things going, staff writer Lisa Kocian filed this report from the gala opening party last night:

NATICK - 9:50 p.m. -- There were break dancers and fortune tellers and glass blowers. You could mix your own perfume or listen to a harpist or sample the oxygen bar. The new Natick Collection opened tonight with a packed gala fundraiser to benefit the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation & The Children's Hospital League.

"I think it's pretty exciting - it'll be great for the economy, great for tourism," said state Sen. Karen Spilka, an Ashland Democrat, as she waited in line to try the oxygen bar.

Hundreds of cocktail-dressed partygoers sipped champagne, nibbled on crab cakes, or sampled black caviar on blini as they meandered through the carnival-like scene. As one wide-eyed reveler put it, "This is an event!"

Sadly, the stores were closed but you could still window shop. Some looked like they were sprinting a little frantically to the finish line. A worker was putting the final touches on a window display at the Louis Vuitton shop.

Nordstrom and most of the 100 new stores at the shopping center formerly known as Natick Mall open tomorrow morning.

-- Lisa Kocian

Hard hats off, party hats on!

Posted September 6, 2007 01:41 PM

It's party time on Route 9.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Tonight's debut of the Natick Collection isn't your typical mall open house -- it's a swank $125-per-head gala to benefit Children's Hospital and the Doug Flutie Foundation. Practically anyone who's anyone in the western suburbs will want to see it -- or be seen at it.

Natick Selectman Joshua Ostroff said he'll be at the mall tonight -- even though municipal ethics laws require him to pay for the ticket out of his own pocket. He was not, however, planning to indulge in the $250-per-head Sept. 14 opening of the Collection's Neiman Marcus store, the state's second outlet of the upscale retailer, Globe West bureau chief Erica Noonan reports today.

"I'd love to, but that's a bit north of what I spend on a typical Friday evening," Ostroff said. He also declined to attend Fenway on the Runway, a fashion show featuring the wives of Red Sox players, which is a commanding a ticket price of $350 a head if you want to sit with a wife.

Ostroff said he was driven to buy a ticket to tonight's soiree by the desire to see the culmination of years of work by town officials. And a high-profile party to celebrate more than a year of elaborate construction on the 550,000-square-foot expansion was too exciting an opportunity to pass up.

"I want to see the mall, which is very important to the town," Ostroff said. "Thousands of people involved with the Planning Board and community development offices have worked very hard to make sure the expansion was well planned and well built."

Read more about the festivities leading up to the much-anticipated Grand Opening of the new Natick Collection in the online edition of today's Globe West.

Also, we strongly suggest that you put Globe West Updates into your browser's bookmarks as well, so you'll have easy access to our Natick Collection Blog-a-thon. Our reporters and photographers will be bringing you reports and vignettes from the big events throughout the day.

Our woman inside: Lisa Kocian reports from the Natick Collection

Posted September 5, 2007 01:43 PM

Shirts await shoppers at the Nordstrom in the new Natick Collection, which opens Friday.
(Globe file photo)


Editor's note: Globe West staff writer Lisa Kocian got a sneak peek inside the new Natick Collection today and filed this dispatch. Stay tuned to Globe West Updates all day Friday for our Natick Collection Blog-a-thon, when we will be filing a steady stream of reports and dispatches from the much-anticipated grand opening.

I have seen the new Natick Mall -- sorry, The Natick Collection -- and it's pretty cool.

The new stores, including Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, open Friday but reporters were allowed in today for a sneak peek. I shudder to think what the traffic will be like in two days -- let alone in December --but before I start critiquing, allow me to ooh and ah for a moment.

I like to shop. I'm usually a bargain shopper (after all, I make my living by writing) but I can still swoon over the high end stuff. The way it's set up, the stores work their way gradually from economical at the pre-existing Sears end to luxury retail at the Nordstrom/Neiman Marcus end. My personal favorites: vintage-y clothing and home store Anthropologie, which recycled the wood from an antique barn for its new store's interior and Sel de la Terre, a French brasserie that will open early for coffee and baked goods on an outdoor patio when the weather allows.

The Collection stores displayed varying degrees of readiness for Friday's opening. At body products store L'Occitane, workers unpacked shopping bags. Handbag giant Kate Spade was still under construction, with not a kelly green bag or dress in sight. Martin + Osa, a new store from the folks that brought us American Eagle, already has mannequins dressed, one in women's dark wash skinny jeans and another in a men's olive green puffy down vest.

The new two-level space -- which features more than 100 shops -- is light and airy. There is such an abundance of skylights that the addition actually seems to have a glass ceiling. Synthetic birch trees reach up toward the natural light, but instead of leaves there are metallic, primary green leaf-shaped cutouts. I'm not so sure about those; my first thought was of a kindergarten classroom and construction paper when I saw them.

Mall owner General Growth Properties aggressively courted retailers in the United States and Europe to get the best for shoppers, according to Michael McNaughton, vice president, of asset management for GGP's Northeast region.

For example, Williams-Sonoma and Coach were both prior mall tenants, but will be re-opening in the new addition with their largest prototype stores, he said. GGP was gunning for big, McNaughton said, like the new Hugo Boss store, which will be the only one in the Boston area to sell both men's and women's clothing.

-- Lisa Kocian

Good help is hard to find

Posted September 2, 2007 12:13 PM

(Globe staff photo by Pat Greenhouse)


Staffing a brand-new store is tough enough. But just try recruiting at the same time as 100 other nearby stores -- including giants like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus -- all angling to hire the same top sales associates from one area.

Then try to do it without having an actual store to show potential employees, Globe West staff writer John C. Drake reports in a front-of-the-section story today.

"It's hard when we're outside of our venue," said Dawn Sereda, store manager of Brighton Collectibles at Burlington Mall. She'll be the manager of a new Brighton Collectibles store at Natick Collection when it opens Friday with the mall expansion.

"We're all drawing from the same well" of potential employees, she said. "There are names out there everybody knows and are attracted to."

She rattles off popular store brands like Tommy Bahama, Tiffany's, and Nordstrom.

"These are names they see at other locations and have been following for years," Sereda said. "It's really hard to compete with that."

Two years after construction on its 550,000-square-foot expansion began, Natick Collection, formerly Natick Mall, is set to open its new luxury wing and Nordstrom department store on Friday. About 70 percent of the 98 stores planned for the new wing will open their doors that day, said Jim Grant, vice president of development for mall owner General Growth Properties. Neiman Marcus plans to open Sept. 15, and most of the new stores are expected to be up and running by the holiday shopping season.

Read more about the Natick Collection opening in the online edition of today's Globe West.

Saving a rich legacy in Natick

Posted August 23, 2007 09:45 AM


Natick's Morse Institute Library is looking for more residents to participate in its ongoing effort to catalogue the stories the town's veterans.

The Veterans Oral History Project is a collection of videotaped interviews with residents who served in the military from World War II through the Gulf War.

The town is continuing the effort with a $30,000 grant from the state, and put out a call this month for more participants. Residents who are interested can call Joan Craig at (508) 647-6524.

-- John C. Drake

Wayward cars driving Natick officials to distraction

Posted August 21, 2007 10:32 AM

No cars, please
(Globe staff photo by Mark Wilson)


Some Natick motorists are apparently a little too eager to see the town develop a rail trail.

Acting Town Administrator Martha White this week told selectmen that the town has received complaints from neighbors and seen evidence that some vehicles already are traveling a section of CSX right-of-way where the railroad recently removed rails and ties.

"It's a public safety issue, it's a disturbance to the residents, and we're going to take steps to stop it," she said.

Selectmen appropriated $5,000 Monday night to purchase additional concrete barriers to cut off access. "We tried to get CSX to deal with it, and they're not being responsive at all," White said.

She said the town also would install gates where the trail intersects with roadways. The town is in the process of negotiating with CSX to build a rail trail over the abandoned rail line through town.

-- John C. Drake

Down to the wire for town administrator in Natick

Posted August 9, 2007 10:20 AM


Natick selectmen plan to interview five finalists for town administrator during the first week of September.

The finalists, announced Monday night by a town committee, are: Paul Fetherston, chief administrative officer for the town of Canton, Conn.; Michael Jaillet, town administrator in Westwood; Steven Ledoux, town manager in Westford; Jodi Ross, town administrator in Bolton; and Martha White, Natick's acting town administrator.

White had been deputy town administrator for about eight months when Phil Lemnios left the town's top administrative post to become town manager in Hull in April.

Carol Gloff, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said the board will interview the finalists over the course of several days beginning with the scheduled Sept. 4 meeting. She expects the board to make a decision by the end of September.

-- John C. Drake

Natick Collection: On time to open

Posted August 8, 2007 08:13 AM


The town of Natick has granted a temporary certificate of occupancy for the expansion of Natick Collection. Stores in the mall expansion now are free to bring in merchandise and non-construction employees as they prepare to open on Sept. 7.

Nearly 100 new stores are included in the mall expansion, and about 70 percent are expected to open in time for the September grand opening. The rest of the stores should open in time for the holiday shopping season, the mall's developers have said.

-- John C. Drake

Some shops won't be ready for Natick Collection opening

Posted July 12, 2007 11:14 AM


Many of the new shops planned for the expansion of Natick Collection won't be ready in time for the Sept. 7 grand opening.

Jim Grant, vice president of development at mall owner General Growth Properties, said the Nordstrom department store and about 70 percent of the 98 planned new stores will open that day. That should increase to between 85 and 90 percent by the time the holiday shopping season begins after Thanksgiving, he said. A Neiman Marcus is projected to open on Sept. 15.

"September's kind of a dicey month for openings," Grant said. "A lot of stores would prefer to open for the holiday season."

He said some stores had simply not planned well enough to open on time, others will be waiting on merchandise and still others had their construction delayed by work on the parking garage underneath the expansion.

Still, he said, the grand opening will be impressive for customers.

"All the common area, exterior and interior, will be done, 100 percent. Whatever's going on in the tenant spaces will be pretty well disguised," he said. "They'll see our best face on Sept. 7."

-- John C. Drake

Patrick hails gay marriage vote, encourages collaboration with Army researchers

Posted June 15, 2007 01:56 PM

Governor Deval Patrick called yesterday's defeat of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage "a helpful outcome," saying getting past the divisive issue will allow time to focus on other "more pressing issues."

Patrick spoke to reporters today after touring the Army's Soldier Systems Center in Natick.

"There was a decisive vote in favor of laying to rest the question of marriage equality and moving on," he said. "There are many more pressing issues around affordable housing and economic development and education and so on that we need to move on to and wouldn’t be able to move on to were this question going to be on the popular ballot."

Lawmakers voted yesterday to reject placing before voters a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

At the Army facility, known locally as Natick Labs, Patrick heard a pitch from Brigadier General R. Mark Brown to strengthen ties among its researchers, private industry in the state and law enforcement. Many of the technological innovations developed for soldiers can be used by local and state law enforcement, Army officials said.

"We want to find ways to transfer technology and technological know-how in and out of this facility, because it's important for our economy," Patrick said.

-- John C. Drake

Woman, three girls charged with beating 16 year old at Natick mall

Posted May 24, 2007 12:46 AM


A 40-year-old woman and three girls are facing assault and battery charges in connection with what police are calling a "group beat down" of a 16-year-old girl at a mall in front of dozens of onlookers.

Marilyn Camacho, 40, of Framingham and the girls, ages 16, 13 and 12, were arrested following a fight at the Natick Collection on Monday that left the victim unconscious and requiring hospitalization, Lt. Brian Grassey said. Police did not disclose the girls' relationship to Camacho.

The victim, whose name was not made public, was taken to MetroWest Medical Center's Leonard Morse campus for treatment.

Camacho and the three girls came upon the victim walking through the mall at about 5 p.m. One of the alleged attackers and the victim had fought in the past, Grassey said. There was an argument, followed by a fight, police said.

"This was an absolute group beat down," Grassey told The MetroWest Daily News. "It's an extremely unsettling event. The level of violence in this defies logic.

The suspects stomped on the victim's legs, back and face, police said.

"They collectively grabbed her and pushed her into the glass window of one of the stores," Grassey said. "All four started punching her, pulling her hair. They knocked her to the floor where all four continued to punch and kick her."

At least one onlooker tried to stop the fight, which was eventually broken up my mall security guards. The incident was captured by a surveillance camera, he said.

Camacho and the three girls were charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disturbing the peace and affray. Camacho was also charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

-- AP

Natick may sell buses

Posted May 22, 2007 11:42 AM

The Natick Neighborhood Bus
(Globe file photo)


The town of Natick will consider selling its Natick Neighborhood Bus fleet to the new MetroWest Regional Transit Authority but continue running the buses as a contractor to the Authority.

Natick selectmen discussed the option at the board's meeting Monday night as members try to determine what the town's level of involvement will be with the regional bus system. The board agreed that the town would join the Authority at a meeting last month, but, "joining doesn't necessarily define the level of service that we would negotiate with them," said acting town administrator Martha White.

White said the town will need to settle the issue by July 1, which is when the new RTA is set to begin operation and when the town's new fiscal year begins.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the board re-established a financial planning committee to make long-range recommendations on Natick's financial picture. Natick, which narrowly avoided placing a proposition 2 1/2 override before voters this year, could ask voters for a tax hike as early as next fall.

-- John C. Drake

Flutie inducted into college hall of fame

Posted May 9, 2007 10:53 PM


Hail Flutie! The little quarterback who made a career of proving doubters wrong is now a Hall of Famer. Natick's own Doug Flutie was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame today in his first year of eligibility, joining Ahmad Rashad and 10 other players honored by the National Football Foundation.

The 5-foot-10 (barely) Flutie won the Heisman Trophy in 1984 for Boston College and threw one of the most memorable passes in college football history. His 48-yard touchdown pass to Gerard Phelan as time expired gave the Eagles a 47-45 victory over Miami. The desperation 'Hail Flutie' toss and the sight of him leaping in the air as he sprinted down field to celebrate with his teammates has become timeless.

"I guess I did more than just throw one pass," Flutie said during a news conference at a Manhattan hotel to announce the newest Hall of Fame class.

Did he ever. Flutie threw for 10,579 yards in his college career and led BC to a 10-2 record and Cotton Bowl victory during his Heisman season.

"It's my whole life of being the little guy and having a little chip on my shoulder, from year to year trying to prove myself, and at the end of the day to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame is very special honor for me," he said.

-- AP

Her sister's voice

Posted May 8, 2007 04:07 PM

(AP photo by Nanine Hartzenbusch)


The O.J. Simpson case launched a lot of new careers. Lawyers from the case became high-paid legal commentators. Kato Kaelin became a pop culture oddity. O.J. himself became a professional pariah. And Denise Brown, the sister of victim Nicole Brown Simpson, became an advocate against domestic violence.

For that work, Brown will receive the Voices Against Violence Award and serve as the keynote speaker at a gala event for the Framingham-based Metrowest domestic violence and sexual assault services provider. Voices Against Violence will hold its annual Barbara Gray Humanitarian Award ceremony this Thursday evening at the Crowne Plaza in Natick.

The Barbara Gray award, presented to someone who continues to fight for the dignity and humanity of every member of the community, will be given to attorney Lauren Stiller Rikleen who helped establish the first domestic violence shelter in the Metrowest.

Organizers are asking anyone who wants more information to email Carol McKean Events or call 781-925-3459.

-- Susan Lebovits

Foss new Natick moderator

Posted May 7, 2007 09:10 PM


The contrasts couldn't have been more striking.

After a close election in the race for town moderator led to a dramatic recount and ultimate tie, the board of selectmen was forced to step in. The process took longer than a month.

Monday night, four selectmen heard from three candidates for the post, placed their signed votes on slips of paper, and unanimously selected Frank Foss to be the moderator until the next townwide election in March. Foss immediately took the oath of office, seconds after the vote was announced.

"Now the work begins," Foss said after the vote. He's got less than a month to prepare to lead Town Meeting.

The choice was hardly a surprise. Before voting, all of the selectmen, on the advice of the town's attorney, publicly disclosed that they had supported Foss over incumbent Paul Connolly in the town election. Their support ranged from contributing cash to his campaign to holding signs on Election Day.

"I didn't expect them to change their minds," Connolly said.

Both Connolly, and a third applicant, John A. Merritt, offered the board a chance to avoid the appearance of throwing out the will of half the town's voters. Connolly offered to serve half of the one-year term and then step down in September, creating a vacancy that the selectmen then could fill with Foss. Merritt offered himself as an interim moderator who would commit to not serve past the one year, allowing Connolly and Foss to run again with a clean slate.

In the end, the four selectmen remained loyal to the man they had supported in the election. A fifth selectman, Charles Hughes, recused himself from the vote because he had provided legal advice to Foss.

Connolly, an 18-year incumbent, said he has not decided whether he will run for the post next March.

-- John C. Drake

Moderator applicant says he would not seek election

Posted May 4, 2007 03:03 PM


John A. Merritt, who has applied for the post of Natick town moderator, says it would be unfair for selectmen to choose either of the two men who tied in the previous election.

Citing his love for the town, Merritt said, in a letter to the selectmen "I firmly believe that appointing either candidate who ran for the position would be inappropriate in that it would disregard half of the people who voted in this race and give an unfair advantage, to the one you appoint, in the subsequent election."

Merritt added that he has no intention of running in the next election for moderator, which is scheduled for next March.

The full text of Merritt's letter follows...


Third hopeful enters mix after moderator candidates tie

Posted May 4, 2007 12:22 PM


A third man has entered the fray in the battle to become Natick's town moderator.

John A. Merritt, a former chairman of Natick's finance committee, has applied for the moderator's post, according to the Board of Selectmen's office. The only other two applicants are longtime incumbent John Connolly and challenger Frank Foss, who tied in the town election.

The unlikely 1,772-1,772 tie set up a complex debate in town about how to fairly choose a moderator. The town charter requires selectmen to choose someone to serve until the next town election, and officials decided they needed to allow anyone to apply. The deadline for applications was yesterday.

The applicants will plead their cases to selectmen Monday night, when the panel is expected to choose a moderator who will serve at Town Meeting on May 29.

-- John C. Drake

At the temple down the street, a rabbi who changes lives

Posted May 3, 2007 05:44 PM

03werabbi 1.jpg

Rabbi Kushner at Temple Israel in Natick


When Rabbi Harold S. Kushner steps out in public, almost inevitably someone comes up to him and says, "Your book changed my life."

It's been that way since 1981, when he published "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," a memorial to his only son, Aaron, who died in 1977 at age 14.

In it, he reassured victims of tragedy with the then-revolutionary idea that God was not punishing them. Rather, God gave people spiritual tools to cope with disaster and to comfort others in suffering.

The book stayed on The New York Times best-seller list for more than a year, turning Kushner into one of the most beloved and best-known rabbis in the country.

Now 72, Kushner could be called the grandfather of the religious self-help genre -- a niche that today sells millions of titles every year, including blockbusters such as "The Purpose Driven Life," by Christian pastor Rick Warren.

In his most recent book, "Overcoming Life's Disappointments," Kushner uses the biblical story of Moses to inspire people to find lessons from their experiences even when things do not turn out as they had hoped.

Read more of this story in today's Globe West.

-- Erica Noonan

Natick not first town to deal with electoral tie

Posted April 25, 2007 11:07 AM


A tie in a town election? It may not be as unlikely as it seems.

The two candidates for town moderator in Natick tied in the March 27 election, with each man receiving 1,772 votes.

Elections observers in the state said in a story in today's Globe that they could not remember a previous election that ended in a tie and said, while certainly possible, it would have to be a very rare occasion.

MIT computer science professor David Karger says in an e-mail to the Globe today that the likelihood of a tie in Natick, given the town's recent voter turnout, is about 1-in-75.

"Since candidates nowadays tend to do a pretty good job of splitting the vote, it seems reasonable to
assume that each voter is equally likely to vote for each candidate, as if they were tossing a fair coin," he said. "Under these circumstances, assuming I've done my math right, the probability of a tie among 3,544 voters is about 1 in 75. So, those voters had better plan for another tie sometime in their lifetimes."

But has it happened before? It has.

Swansea reader Patrick Higgins points out that residents in the town split 984-984 in a vote for a selectman during their April 9 election. But that's still preliminary. A recount is set for this week in that town.

In 2002, a tie in a Milton School Committee race was broken when a Superior Court judge threw out a single ballot that she ruled had been improperly included in the tally.

And there are more historical examples.

In 1991, a tie in a Quincy School Committee race was broken by a combined vote of the City Council and the School Committee, according to a Globe story.

An Arlington reader remembers a tie in a selectman's race there that was settled in court some 30 years ago.

Nevertheless, considering the thousands of positions up for grabs each year in elections in Massachusetts' 351 communities, a tie remains clearly a rare occurrence.

-- John C. Drake

Condos? What condos?

Posted April 12, 2007 03:42 PM


The Natick condos under construction earlier this year
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Those two tall structures rising next to Natick Collection on Speen Street? They are the luxury condos the mall's developers are building to make a community out of its 500,000-square foot retail expansion.

Many potential condo buyers apparently don't realize that, said Claude Hoopes, of Boston's Otis & Ahearn residential marketing firm. The firm is handling the marketing of the Nouvelle at Natick residences for General Growth Properties, the mall developer.

"Without exception, when they look at those towers, they have no idea there's condos being built in those towers," he told Natick's Planning Board last night. "They don't understand where the Natick Collection ends and the Nouvelle at Natick begins."

So, he's asking for permission to have a 100-foot long banner placed atop the still-under-construction tower that faces the Massachusetts Turnpike, to drive the point home.

That General Growth Properties needs to aggressively market the condos bothered some planning board members who said they remembered the developer stating in earlier hearings that the high demand for luxury residences in the area would make keeping the towers full no problem.

"Why do you have to advertise this," asked Julian Munnich, a member of the planning board.

Hoopes said the confusion about the location, along with a slowing housing market, have hurt sales. He said about 20 of the 215 condo units have been pre-sold, so far. The company hopes to begin initial occupancy of the condos in June 2008.

The board put off until May 9 a decision on allowing the banner.

-- John C. Drake

Needham seniors get gubernatorial pep talk

Posted April 12, 2007 02:41 PM


Gov. Deval Patrick offered Needham High School students a pep talk this morning, accepting an invitation from school officials to lift the senior class's spirits after the loss of some classmates to suicide.

Students received a lesson in resiliency and perspective, said students who attended the assembly, which was closed to the public.

During the senior class's four years at the school, four teenagers from the town have died of suicide. In response, the community has conducted suicide prevention programs, and the school has reached out to neighboring Wellesley, where a student died of suicide last month.

"I talked to them about the importance of perspective," Patrick said in a brief interview with Globe West Thursday. "Any senior year is a whirlwind with college decisions and the exams and the prom coming up, and then they've had this profound loss as well, and they've been managing through that."

Kelly Reckert, an 18-year-old senior, said the governor told students "even though tragedies can happen, you can still bounce back."

-- John C. Drake and Adam Sell

Governor defends budget, comments on Don Imus controversy

Posted April 12, 2007 01:56 PM


A day after the House released a budget proposal that scaled back many of his priorities, Gov. Deval Patrick said his administration would continue to fight for his initiatives.

"We submitted a balanced and responsible budget that had no gimmicks and no patches and plugs, and the House has submitted a different kind of budget where they haven’t made those hard choices," he said.

The governor, in an appearance in Natick, also reacted to the controversy surrounding comments made by radio host Don Imus about the Rutgers women's basketball team last week.

Patrick said he was frustrated with "toxic and corrosive" public discourse.

"I am so tired of words that cut, the careless and offhand comment that somebody thinks is funny and is, in fact, hurtful," Patrick said. "I think it has absolutely nothing to do with political correctness. I think it has to do with respect."

Patrick also said the comments illustrate the challenge black parents face preparing their children for racism in society.

"Parenting is tough all around, but we’re having to teach our kids all the time to learn to love across differences, to steel themselves against the careless remark, and to keep going and to try to see and look for the best in other people and expect that in return."

The governor spoke in Natick at the headquarters of Boston Scientific after meeting with executives at the medical devices maker, which is one of the state's largest corporations. He was on a swing through the suburbs west of Boston that also included appearances in Framingham and Needham.

The House budget eliminated funding for 250 new police officers and cut $5 million in property tax relief proposed by Patrick.

"It's the beginning of a process," Patrick said of budget deliberations. "We have our proposal. We are going to fight for it. The House has its proposal. The Senate's will come next month.

"Then we will all work together toward what I am counting on being a very purposeful and forward-looking set of compromises."

-- John C. Drake

Do-over possible in Natick TM election

Posted April 5, 2007 02:29 PM


Faced with the prospect of convening Town Meeting next week with the validity of its election in dispute, Natick selectmen opted to seek a new election and postpone the assembly.

Qualified candidates for a pair of Town Meeting precincts were inadvertently left off the March 27 ballot. While the candidates had not asked for the election to be conducted again, selectmen decided last night that it was best to re-do the election in those precincts lest someone challenge a Town Meeting action based on problems with the election. Chairwoman Carol A. Gloff said members wanted to ensure the community had confidence that Town Meeting was elected fairly.

The ballot listed 21 candidates for the 16 available seats in the two seats, combined. Candidate Jamie Magee was left off the Precinct 8 ballot and Rick Smudin's name did not appear on the Precinct 9 ballot.

Since the selectmen do not have the authority to conduct a new election itself, the panel voted to ask a court to authorize the do-over. If a judge approves the board's plan, the new election would be held May 22, and Town Meeting would follow on May 29.

-- John C. Drake

Natick gas line break forces home evacuation

Posted April 2, 2007 03:55 PM


Several homes were evacuated this morning when a Natick Collection contractor hit a gas line near the intersection of Speen and Hartford streets in Natick.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m. and gas in the immediate area was shut off, affecting eight homes, said Mike Durand, spokesman for NSTAR. By 11:30 a.m., gas had been restored to three of them, though Durand said that full service should be restored by the end of the day.

Natick Fire Department Deputy Chief Ed Connelly said that 12 homes were evacuated, but residents were allowed to return after only a short wait.

An independent contractor was working in the area, installing new crosswalk lights for the Natick Mall mall expansion project when the 2-inch intermediate-pressure line was struck, Connelly said.

Speen and Hartford streets were reopened by 10:30 a.m., Connelly said.

-- Adam Sell

Schools running out of funds to upgrade computers

Posted March 29, 2007 11:44 AM

An accounting class at Natick High School, where many students bring their own laptops.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Some students in Natick bring their laptops to school because the district is short on computers equipped with the latest software, the Globe reports today.

The state Department of Education says that roughly a quarter of all school districts are not meeting the state's goal of one computer per five students.

-- Kay Lazar

One vote separates Natick town moderator contenders

Posted March 28, 2007 12:06 PM


Natick Town Moderator Paul E. Connolly has a one-vote lead over challenger Frank Foss, according to official results from last night's town-wide election. Connolly received 1,760 votes to Foss' 1,759 votes, according to the tally.

Natick Town Clerk Jane Hladick said candidates have ten days to file for a recount, but that she expects the request to come sooner than that.

Hladick could not say how long the recount would take.

"I'm sure they're going to want every precinct, so it will take a while," she said.

Hladick's replacement also was decided last night. Judi Kuhn, an administrative assistant in the clerk's office, defeated Diane Packer with 56 percent of the vote to take over the $73,000-a-year job. Hladick, who is retiring, will remain on the job until Apr. 10.

Two new members are joining the School Committee. Anne E. Blanchard and Anne LaPlace Zernicke won election along with incumbent David J. Murphy in the six-person race for three seats on the panel.

And in an uncontested race, Kristine M. Van Amsterdam claimed a seat on the Board of Selectmen along with incumbent John Ciccaariello.

Voter turnout in Natick was 19 percent. Here are the official results.

-- John C. Drake

State lawmakers pressured for school aid

Posted March 28, 2007 07:05 AM


For all its traffic headaches and other issues, commercial development in Natick has always had a silver lining: it has helped the town avoid overrides.

But now, like municipalities across the state, Natick is putting the pressure on state lawmakers for more aid to fund rising school costs, reporter Lisa Wangsness reports in today's City & Region section.

Representative David Paul Linsky said town officials figured out a way to avoid a $1.9 million override vote this year, but expect to face a $4 million to $5 million budget gap and an override vote next year. It's a very unusual situation, he said.

"It's finally catching up with us," Linsky said.

Natick dog runner has 'dream job'

Posted March 26, 2007 01:31 PM

Natick dog runner.jpg


What sets Jill Hourihan's current job apart from the post in corporate America she previously held? In this job, she says, "my clients are so happy to see me that they jump up and give me a kiss."

Hourihan, 28, of Natick, owns Running the Pack, a dog-running service, and holds one of several dream jobs featured in the Your Life section at

Read the story here.

-- John C. Drake

Natick Collection scores upscale jeweler

Posted March 20, 2007 08:22 PM


Well, they said upscale.

Natick Collection -- as the expanded Natick Mall is now referring to itself -- will include a 5,300-square-foot Tiffany & Co. jewelry store.

The New York City-based retailer announced plans today to join the lineup of high-end stores that will be part of the 500,000-square-foot expansion of the mall.

The mall is aiming upscale with new anchors Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom leading the charge.

The new store will feature all of the renowned jewelers' staples: diamond engagement rings, rare pearls, china, crystal and other gifts to impress that special someone.

Beth O. Canavan, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co., expressed the firm's conviction that the mall will attract the necessary customer base.

“The Natick Collection is positioned to become a premier destination for shopping and will also provide the region’s upscale clientele with the consummate lifestyle,” she said.

And General Growth Properties, owner of Natick Collection, was glad to welcome the jeweler.

“Tiffany & Co. exemplifies the new identity and unparalleled shopping and lifestyle experience we are creating," said Lori Pawley, vice president of fashion retailing at the mall's owner.

The Natick site will be the third Boston-area store for Tiffany & Co. Its other locations are at Copley Place in Boston and Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill.

-- John C. Drake

At least somebody had fun in that snow...

Posted March 20, 2007 12:53 PM

Weather feature 1.jpg

For most adults, last Friday's snow was a big pain involving long, treacherous commutes and arduous shoveling.

But for the kids, things are different. Staff photographer Bill Polo caught 6-year-old Eric McDaniel of Natick getting a little boost from his father, Eamon, at City Golf in Natick on Saturday.

Override Central: No tax-hike vote in Natick

Posted March 20, 2007 08:10 AM


Natick selectmen voted last night not to ask voters to support a $2.1 million Proposition 2 1/2 override for 2008.

The decision spares the town a potentially divisive override campaign this cycle, which would have had school officials appealing directly to voters for increased funding. But it sets up an even costlier request for 2009.

Read more about the town's decision in the new Override Central blog and in Thursday's Globe West.

-- John C. Drake

Natick developer plans apartment complex in Southborough

Posted March 19, 2007 11:29 AM


A Natick man who owns land on Route 9 has filed plans to build a four-story apartment building in the Fayville section of town under the state’s affordable housing rules.

Robert Heavey wants to construct Woodland Meadows at the corner of Woodland Road and Rte. 9. Under state regulations, 20 percent of the 44 units must be offered as affordable housing, but in return, Heavey will qualify for some leeway from local zoning restrictions.

The project must go before the Zoning Board of Appeals and Conservation Commission for approval and will require at least one waiver because it surpasses the town’s 35-foot height limit. The state Housing Partnership must issue the project a permit approving the site before it can go before the ZBA, Town Administrator Jean Kitchen said.

Town Conservation Administrator Beth Rosenblum said Heavey has had a history of failing to comply with notices of conditions the Conservation Commission has issued for the installation of septic systems near wetlands. In 1998 Heavey was also forced to pay a fine to the state Department of Environmental Protection after he modified a wetland without permission.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

Natick selectmen to vote on override tonight

Posted March 19, 2007 07:07 AM


Natick selectmen are expected to vote tonight on whether to ask voters to approve a Proposition 2 1/2 override to cover increased school costs.

The override would raise an additional $2.1 million over the town administrator's proposed budget, which School Department officials say would require deep cuts in education services.

The fiscal 2008 budget approved by the School Committee is 8.8 percent higher than this year's budget and incorporates hikes in special education funding and teacher salaries.

School Committee Chairman Henry Haugland has said the override would cost the average taxpayer an extra $12.50 a month. The selectmen meet at 7 p.m. Monday at Town Hall, 13 E. Central St.

--John C. Drake

Natick base cleanup meeting tonight

Posted March 15, 2007 12:27 PM


The U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center will hold a public hearing tonight to discuss a proposed environmental cleanup plan at the military installation.

The Army is working with the Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to clean two warehouses where hazardous materials were stored in the past. The Army also is working to clean up an undeveloped lot previously used for a variety of purposes, including as a parking lot and helicopter landing pad.

The cleanups are the latest in the ongoing effort to clear potentially hazardous material from the 78-acre property, which was declared a Superfund site in 1994. Members of the public can ask questions about the cleanup plan at the public meeting and hearing, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Natick Police Station, 20 E. Central St.

-- John C. Drake

Flutie takes to court to benefit autism services

Posted March 14, 2007 12:11 PM


Doug Flutie playing a different sport than usual -- for charity
(Photo courtesy of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism)


Doug Flutie's team lost the championship, but his charity won big time.

The Natick native's 8th Full Court Charity Challenge raised more than $200,000 to benefit autism services and a Massachusetts General Hospital learning center for children and adults with developmental disorders.

The March 3 benefit featured a round robin basketball tournament at Basketball City in Boston. Team Flutie advanced to the finals of the tournament but fell to a team sponsored by Tudor Investments.

In its eight years, the basketball charity event has raised more than $1 million for the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism and MassGeneral's Learning and Development Disabilities Evaluation and Rehabilitation Services program (LADDERS). The Heisman trophy winner and his wife, Laurie, started the autism foundation in 1998 to honor their son, Doug Jr., who was diagnosed with autism at age 3.

-- John C. Drake

The billionaire you may not know

Posted March 13, 2007 03:41 PM

Forbes Billionaires.jpg

Sheldon Adelson
(AP Photo by Kin Cheung)


A little-known foundation in Natick is going to spend some of the money amassed by one of the world's richest individuals.

Sheldon Adelson is the third-richest man in America with $26 billion in his wallet. The former Dorchester resident chose Natick as the site of one of his new foundations, the Sheldon and Miriam Adelson Foundation, Globe columnist Steven Syre writes.

Adelson, chairman and majority owner of Las Vegas Sands Inc., made a chunk of his wealth in Needham with the now-defunct Interface Group, a company that staged trade shows.

-- Adam Sell

New national group comes out against mascots

Posted March 6, 2007 05:47 PM

On the heels of a decision by the Natick School Committee to part ways with its controversial "Redmen" mascot, a national sociology group says other communities should follow suit.

The American Sociological Association joins a long list of organizations, including the American Psychological Association and the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, in calling for an end to Native American-themed mascots, nicknames and logos.

In a statement coinciding with the release of the group's resolution, association member Laurel R. Davis-Delano said "... the stereotypes reinforced by the mascots create barriers to real understanding of Native peoples, and this limited understanding hinders the development of policies and practices that help rather than harm Native Americans."

-- John C. Drake

'Redmen' team name to be nixed in Natick

Posted March 6, 2007 11:20 AM


Natick athletes will no longer be called the Redmen.

The School Committee voted 4-3 last night to end use of the controversial team name starting with the 2008-2009 school year, rejecting a proposal to put the issue before a committee of students and educators before making a final decision.

A debate that began with a single alumna's complaint and led the chief of the Natick Praying Indians to make an emotional plea to the School Committee ended at a public hearing just three months after it began.

School Committee member Dirk Coburn, who has said he thinks the team name is problematic, voted against dropping it last night. He said he would have preferred involving the community in the discussion.

"I wish we had done what we did another way," he said.

He is worried community animosity about the School Committee's decision could affect an expected Proposition 2 1/2 override vote to raise more money for the school system.

Now that the vote has been taken, he said he wants to "make sure that people who might wish that something had happened differently don't take that out on the children and teachers."

-- John C. Drake

Tree cutting mishap results in injuries

Posted February 28, 2007 04:41 PM


A man's legs were injured when he was trapped under a pine tree that he had been cutting this afternoon, Natick officials said.

Rescuers were summoned to the scene at around 3:30 this afternoon, and it took them about 15 minutes to free the victim's legs, said Deputy Fire Chief Mike Slattery.

Slattery said the victim, who has not been identified, appeared to have suffered broken legs in the mishap.

The accident happened on Indian Rock Road along the Natick-Weston town line on wooded private property adjacent to Camp Nonesuch. The children's camp near Lake Cochituate is owned by The Rivers School.

It was not clear whether the victim was the property owner or a contractor.

The Natick Fire Department used chainsaws to cut away tree limbs and airbags to lift the tree off of the man, who Slattery said was grimacing in pain when officials arrived.

"The work was slow," Slattery said. "We didn't want to injure him more."

The victim was transported to Leonard Morse Hospital, which is the Natick campus of the MetroWest Medical Center.

-- John C. Drake

Natick ballot set after prelimary vote

Posted February 28, 2007 11:59 AM


Judi Kuhn, an administrative assistant in the Natick Town Clerk's office, received a majority of votes in the preliminary election yesterday to replace retiring clerk Jane Hladick. She'll face Diane Packer, who received the second-most votes, in the March 27 town election.

About 2,000 people, less than ten percent of registered voters, cast ballots in the preliminary election, which only featured the four-way race for clerk. Jeffrey M. Phillips, who received 15 percent of the vote, and David Ordway, who got 9 percent, were eliminated.

Here's the final tally:
Judi Kuhn: 55 percent (1,102 votes)
Diane Packer: 21 percent (420 votes)
Jeffrey M. Phillips: 15 percent (292 votes)
David Ordway: 9 percent (172 votes)

In addition to the clerk's race, the town election will have two other competitive races. Six candidates are vying for three seats on the School Committee, and two people are running for town moderator.

-- John C. Drake

BJ's mushrooms test OK

Posted February 27, 2007 02:36 PM



Local bulk retailer BJ's Wholesale Club is off the hook from mushroom-borne E. Coli viruses, Newsday reports.

Recent tests indicated that Wellsley Farms brand mushrooms had trace amounts of the bacteria, but follow-up tests have proven the initial results incorrect. BJ's issued a voluntary recall of the products after the initial tests last week.

-- Adam Sell

Election turnout 'slow and low'

Posted February 27, 2007 02:17 PM


There is an election taking place in Natick today, but not many people seem to have noticed.

Four candidates are running in a preliminary election to replace retiring Town Clerk Jane Hladick. The top two vote-getters will be on the March 27 town election ballot.

Ninety-six people had voted by 1:30 this afternoon at Natick's Morse Institute Library, said John Crisafulli, a poll worker there. That's out of 2,089 registered voters in the 9th precinct. Polls close at 8 p.m.

Turnout has been "low and slow," Crisafulli said as two other voters prepared to cast their ballots at the library. "We'll be lucky to get 10 percent."

-- John C. Drake

Mall formerly known as 'Natick' has new name, again

Posted February 20, 2007 12:36 PM


General Growth Properties Inc. has settled on a new name for the expanded Natick Mall. The 1.7 million-square-foot retail complex will be called "Natick Collection," the holding company said today.

"The Natick Collection name and logo represent our intention to gather the finest stores and designers together, as well as providing a one-of-a-kind lifestyle destination," said Jim Grant, General Growth's vice president of development.

The search for a new identity came after Natick town officials objected to the mall's plans to refer to itself as "Natick."

The mall's owners are seven months away from completing a 555,000-square-foot expansion that will add 100 new stores and restaurants, plus an attached condominium complex.

The mall also announced five new stores Tuesday for the mall's new wing.

They are...

Burberry -- men's and women's apparel
Betsey Johnson -- women's designer clothing
Anthropologie -- home-furnishings and women's clothing
Hanna Andersson -- baby and children's clothing
Puma -- sports apparel

--John C. Drake

Critical injury in Natick crash

Posted February 16, 2007 01:58 PM


A series of single-car crashes this morning in Eastern Massachusetts left two women dead and two teenagers with life-threatening injuries, according to the State Police, the Globe reports.

Authorities said it is too early to determine if icy roads played a factor in any of the wrecks, but excessive speed is being considered as a factor in one of the fatalities. All four victims were drivers and there were no other occupants in the vehicles.

One of the crashes occurred in Natick when A 19-year-old man driving east on Bacon Street lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line, and hit a snow bank. Authorities believe the vehicle went airborne before it hit a tree in the front yard of a house. The victim, whose name was not released, is in critical condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

-- Brian Ballou

Better Business Bureau email may not be what you think

Posted February 15, 2007 02:08 PM



Someone in cyberspace is trying to pull some funny business with the Better Business Bureau.

Area companies are receiving fraudulent emails claiming to be from the Bureau, a spokeswoman for the organization says.

The emails, which come from the address, say that the Bureau has received a complaint about the business.

The emails contain a link to supposed documents that relate to the case. But Paula Fleming, a spokeswoman for the Bureau that covers eastern Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont, said the organization feared the link was actually a mechanism to spread a computer virus.

"We are telling people not to take the risk by clicking on the link," Fleming said.

"It is deceiving," she added. "It does look like an email from us."

Fleming said her office in Natick has fielded dozens of calls from people confused about the emails.

The fraudulent emails have been sent to businesses nationwide, Fleming said.

Better Business Bureaus are business-backed nonprofits that help consumers settle disputes with companies and make more informed purchases.

-- Calvin Hennick

Kids can leave their mark on Natick Mall

Posted February 14, 2007 02:27 PM


Does your child have an artistic streak? Or do you just want to give them somewhere to draw their masterpieces other than on the wall?

Nordstrom is inviting children ages 5 to 12 to hand-paint tiles that will be permanently placed along the floors in the aisles connecting the children's departments of its new store, which opens at Natick Mall in September.

But parents will have to pay $50 for each child registered and drive to Boston to participate. The first 200 registered children will be accepted to participate in painting sessions at the New England Aquarium Ocean Center at Central Wharf in Boston. Proceeds will go to the New England Aquarium Community Outreach Programs.

A tile artist will teach children the proper way to paint a tile for posterity, according to a news release from the department store. Parents interested in signing up their children can call (617) 973-5206.

Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and dozens of other stores will open as part of the Natick Mall expansion, set to be complete in September.

-- John C. Drake

Extra cheese, hold the boredom

Posted February 14, 2007 02:15 PM

Route 27 in Natick
(Globe West Staff photo)


Schools are closed today and Natick center is an icy snowscape. Kids on sleds zip down the hill at the Johnson Elementary School -- moving considerably faster than the traffic on slippery, snow-covered Route 27.

Plenty of people were still working, though. For some shopkeepers, it was, by default, Take Your Child To Work Day. At George's Pizza, the son of one of the employees sat hunched over a Game Boy as men tossed pizza a few feet away. Lola's Italian Harvest owner Anthony Matarazzo was accompanied by his son, also home for the snow day.

But hanging out with dad was no holiday. When a customer came in seeking fresh cannolis for Valentine's Day dinner, Anthony Jr. was speedily put to work helping out.

Commuters won't be getting much of a break this afternoon either. Forecasters continue to predict sleet and freezing rain, heavy at times, through the evening commute.

-- Erica Noonan

Natick Town Clerk candidates to face off

Posted February 13, 2007 03:45 PM


Already tired of presidential politics? How about a town clerk's debate to bring matters a little closer to home?

The Natick League of Women Voters is putting on a debate tonight featuring the four candidates vying to be Natick town clerk. The debate begins at 7:30 tonight at the Morse Institute Library, 14 E. Central St.

The four candidates will face off in a preliminary election Feb. 27 that will choose the two candidates who will appear on the March 27 general election ballot.

The candidates are Judi Kuhn, an employee in the clerk's office; David Ordway, a member of the Recreation and Parks Commission; Diane Packer, a former member of the School Committee; and Jeffrey Phillips, a member of Town Meeting.

Town Clerk Jane Hladick is retiring this spring.

The clerk handles important town documents like wedding and birth records, runs the town elections, and handles the release of public records, among other duties.

-- John C. Drake

Susan Choi poised for golf success

Posted February 2, 2007 04:00 PM


"I'm not trying to be the next Michelle Wie," says Susan Choi, Wellesley College grad and Natick resident.

Choi, ranked 39th in the Golfweek/Titleist amateur women's national rankings, told the Globe that she's thought about going pro, but focused on academics at Wellesley.

Choi, 22, plays in amateur events whenever she can, and has succeeded frequently. She was fourth in the South Atlantic Amateur Championship, and third in medal qualifying for the Doherty Championship.

She's planning on keeping a busy schedule over the summer and then trying to qualify for the LPGA Tour.

-- Adam Sell

Natick Mall moving quickly on name change

Posted January 18, 2007 11:07 AM


Natick Mall is moving quickly to phase out references to the complex that refer to it simply as "Natick."

Yesterday, mall owners bowed to pressure from Natick town officials to cease use of a logo that omits the word "Mall." Today, on the mall's Web site -- once you get through a lengthy flash intro -- the site reads "Experience The New Natick Mall Arriving September 2007." Just yesterday, it read "Experience The New Natick Arriving September 2007." (If you're reading this at work, be aware that the mall Web site plays music.)

And if you look closely, during that flash intro, a rendering of the expanded mall pops up showing a sign that reads "Natick Mall." Yesterday, it just said "Natick."

But it's still a work in progress. The logo in the upper left corner still shows the controversial "N Natick" logo.

Read today's story in the Globe about the name controversy.

--John C. Drake

Natick Mall drops bid to be known simply as 'Natick'

Posted January 17, 2007 06:25 PM


An artist's rendering of how the mall expansion will look


With upscale stores, towering luxury condos, and swanky restaurants all planned for an expanded Natick Mall, the owners decided they needed one more thing: a new name.

They decided to streamline their existing name, chopping off "Mall" and referring to the shopping center as simply "Natick."

That didn't go over so well with local officials and residents in the town of Natick where the mall is located, who felt the mall was stealing their community's name.

"The new mall is many things," said Joshua Ostroff, a member of the Natick Board of Selectmen. "It is residents, it's shopping, it's a transportation hub. But it's not the town of Natick."

With town officials gathering signatures on a petition and preparing to fight the mall's trademark application for a new logo (which showed a stylized "N" over the single word "Natick"), mall officials today changed their tune.

"We really regret that our intent was badly misunderstood by people inside the town of Natick," Stephanie Gambino, senior marketing manager for Natick Mall, said. "We are no longer going to refer to ourselves as 'Natick.' We're trying to be good neighbors."

"Our desire was to honor a town we were proud to call home," she said. " We love this place."

In a related story, apparently there was no truth to the rumors that the owners of the Silver City Galleria were planning to change the name of their mall to "Taunton" ...

-- John C. Drake

Like Natick, Brockton takes 'Champions' label seriously

Posted January 16, 2007 04:46 PM



(AP Photos by Steve Senne)


The compromise that allowed Natick to officially be designated the "Home of Champions" settled a long-simmering dispute between Natick and Brockton, the Associated Press is reporting.

The governor signed the bill Dec. 31 giving the state's seal of approval to Natick's longtime slogan while also letting Brockton continue to lay claim to its "City of Champions" moniker. It was no small accomplishment.

As heavily as Natick promotes its connection to Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, Brockton hails its association with hometown hero boxer Rocky Marciano.

Natick state Rep. David Linsky says area lawmakers did not back down. "You fight tooth and nail," he told the AP.

-- John C. Drake

Raise approved for chief in Natick

Posted January 12, 2007 03:35 PM


Natick selectmen approved a $15,000 raise for Police Chief Dennis R. Mannix this week.

Mannix will make $150,800 a year with a three-percent raise for each year of the three-year contract running through Dec. 31, 2009.

The Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 on the new contract, with outgoing Selectman John Connolly dissenting.

Connolly said he believed Mannix was doing a good job but that he could not support such a large raise for a department head, given the town's tight budget conditions.

The town's preliminary budget calls for leaving vacant a sergeant and patrol officer position and cutting 15 overtime shifts.

Other selectmen said the raise was necessary to keep Mannix in Natick.

"I don't feel, even though we have a budget crisis, that we can get another chief of great quality to want to be the chief of Natick for bottom-line prices," said Selectman John Ciccariello.

-- John Drake

Natick bust yields nearly 300 pounds of marijuana

Posted January 12, 2007 11:39 AM


A 27-year-old Belmont man faces four drug charges after a Natick bust that netted nearly 300 pounds of marijuana.

Natick police, working with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and state police, arrested Boey Bertold around 1:40 p.m. yesterday after observing him receive two shipments of marijuana, said Natick Police spokesman Lt. Brian Grassey.

Acting on a tip, authorities recovered 293 pounds of marijuana from the car Bertold was driving. The pot had an estimated street value of $500,000, Grassey said.

Bertold is charged with two felony counts of trafficking in marijuana, and, if convicted, faces three to fifteen years in prison on each charge. Additionally, since the alleged incidents happened near Natick Centre, Bertold was charged with two counts of a drug violation near a school or park, also a felony which carries a sentence of two-and-a-half to 15 years in prison.

Bertold is being held at the Middlesex County Jail in Cambridge in lieu of $50,000 bail. He is set to return to court on Jan. 22.

"It would appear ... he's not a low-level participant and that he's along the lines of a middle-man," Grassey said. "There are larger fish out there. [But] this person is certainly intricately involved in this operation."

Grassey called the bust likely the largest marijuana recovery ever for the Natick police department.

--John C. Drake

Natick Mall pushes back closing time on weekends

Posted January 11, 2007 05:11 PM


Ever get the urge to shop late at night? No problem.

If your shopping impulse hits you earlier or later than the average person, Natick Mall's got a solution.

The mall is permanently extending its hours to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Also, it will open at 8 a.m. every Saturday.

The mall says its research shows 65 percent of costumers wanted extended hours.

"Consumers' shopping habits have changed," Stephanie Gambino, the mall's senior marketing manager, said in a statement. "We're confident the added convenience of an additional one to two hours on the weekend at opening/closing will make a difference with our shoppers."

Here are the new hours:
Friday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Monday to Thursday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

--John C. Drake

Finding gold in kids' hair

Posted January 11, 2007 04:04 PM


A Natick business has found something in kids' hair, but it's neither dirt nor bubble gum. It's profits.

Snip-its, the kids' hair salon chain, announced recently it has opened up its 52nd franchise.

Joanne Meiseles, founder of the lucrative chain, said in a news release that the services Snip-Its offers don't stop with simple haircuts.

"Snip-its makes grooming enjoyable with fun mini spa treatments, birthday celebrations and even 'Glamour parties' where children receive a full celebrity-style pampering, from hair-dos and make-up to dress-up and fingernail polishing," she said.

-- Adam Sell

Boston Scientific to cut jobs

Posted January 9, 2007 01:01 PM


Natick-based Boston Scientific Corp. said it will eliminate 500 to 600 jobs from its cardiac rhythm division, with most of the cuts coming at a Minnesota-based office the company acquired in its $27 billion acquisition of Guidant Corp. last spring.

Boston Scientific also announced after markets closed Monday that it has seen a recent uptick in sales of so-called cardiac rhythm devices such as defibrillators, which had recently slumped after safety recalls involving Guidant products.

In morning trading Tuesday, shares of Boston Scientific rose 44 cents, or about 2.5 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange.

The job cuts, affecting about 2 percent of Boston Scientific's 29,000-person work force, will take effect in the first three months of the current year.

-- AP

Natick native takes the mike

Posted January 6, 2007 09:26 AM


In the purplish predawn darkness, Natick native Ed Walsh introduces himself to Greater Boston.

"Happy new year! Good morning. Thirty-four degrees. Light rain falling. I'm Ed Walsh. This is what we're following on this first day of 2007 at the WBZ-AM (1030) newsroom."

It is the start of his show and the start of his new job. Walsh is delivering the news from the two-story WBZ studio in Brighton, where he took over this week as the morning news anchor, one of the more high-profile and coveted jobs in radio, the Globe Living/Arts section reports today.

-- Johnny Diaz

Praying Indians chief to address Natick Redmen controversy

Posted January 5, 2007 11:20 AM


Since Natick School Committee members said they would consider dropping the Redmen nickname out of concern it could offend Native Americans, many have said they want to know where the local Praying Indians tribe stand.

The tribe has been silent on the issue so far, but Praying Indians Chief Caring Hands tells Globe West that she plans to attend Monday's School Committee meeting to address the matter.

The School Committee plans to vote at its Feb. 26 meeting on whether to keep the nickname and has invited members of the public to weigh in at any of the panel's meetings before that date.

The issue already is the topic of conversation at Natick High School, where many students say they fear ditching the nickname will erase a half century of tradition.

Read more about what Natick students have to say about the Redmen nickname in Sunday's Globe West.

--John C. Drake

Natick adminstrator returning to Hull

Posted January 3, 2007 02:28 PM


Natick Town Administrator Phil Lemnios has informed the board of selectmen he intends to accept an offer to return to Hull as that town's manager.

Hull's selectmen offered Lemnios the position Tuesday evening. He had held the post from 1992 to 2003.

"I've been very satisfied with his tenure, and I'm sorry to see him go," Charles Hughes, chairman of the Natick selectmen, said of Lemnios' four years with the town.

John Reilly, chairman of the Hull selectmen, said he expected contract negotiations with Lemnios to be complete within about 10 days. Hughes said Lemnios makes about $133,000 a year in Natick, where he is in his second three-year contract.

Hughes said Lemnios, who has not returned phone calls from the Globe, seemed to have his mind made up. Asked if the Natick selectmen had considered a counteroffer, Hughes said, "I don't think it's going to make any difference."

Hull Town Manager Christopher McCabe announced last summer that he would retire in spring 2007, Reilly said.

--John C. Drake

Natick administrator offered Hull job

Posted January 3, 2007 12:46 PM


Natick town administrator Phil Lemnios is in contract negotiations with Hull to be that town's manager -- again.

Lemnios was Hull's town manager from 1993 until 2002, when he accepted his current position in Natick. John Reilly, chairman of the Hull board of selectmen, said the town hated to see Lemnios go four years ago, and were eager to see if he would be willing to return.

Lemnios did not return a call to his office today.

The five-member board of selectmen voted unanimously to offer Lemnios the position last night. Reilly said Lemnios did not formally accept the offer pending a conversation with the Natick selectmen, but Reilly said he expected that Lemnios will be Hull's new manager.

"I expect the negotiations to be complete within ten days," Reilly said.

--John C. Drake

Demonstrating at the Statehouse

Posted January 3, 2007 10:38 AM



Paul Murphy of Natick, shown holding a cross up to the fence, was among those demonstrating at the Statehouse yesterday in support of putting a same-sex marriage bill to a referendum vote.
(Globe Staff Photo by David L. Ryan)

Natick town administrator interviewing for job in Hull

Posted January 2, 2007 03:43 PM


Natick Town Administrator Phil Lemnios is interviewing in Hull tonight for the job he left in 2002.

Hull Selectman Ronald Davy said the town is still trying to determine what process it will use to hire a new town manager. But he said the public meeting with Lemnios -- who held the post until he accepted a similar position in Natick in 2006 -- is the only interview that has been scheduled so far.

Lemnios did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.

Natick Selectman Carol A. Gloff said Lemnios informed the board that he had accepted an interview in Hull.

"I think they pursued him, and he felt a need or obligation perhaps to talk to them and hear what they have to say," Gloff said.

"He's done a very good job for the town of Natick," Gloff added. "I think it would be a significant loss if he made a decision to leave."

--John C. Drake

Natick to be designated "Home of Champions"

Posted December 27, 2006 07:17 PM


The town has been using the slogan "Natick: Home of Champions" since local firefighters won a prestigious skill competition sometime in the 1800s.

With hometown hero Doug Flutie's NFL success and a series of championship runs by local athletic teams, the name has become more dear to the hearts of local residents.

Area state lawmakers have advanced a bill that would officially designate Natick as the Home of Champions.

As part of a compromise, the legislation would designate Brockton as the City of Champions, a moniker the city has used for some time. The bill has yet to receive final approval.

-- John C. Drake

Scout project to improve call box visibility

Posted December 24, 2006 10:31 AM


Crews of Scouts and parents -- 22 in all -- fanned out across Natick recently to do the bidding of 17-year-old George Weithman.

The Eagle Scout candidate had considered carving walking trails out of lakeside land but settled instead on a more obvious project: sprucing up 33 of the fire department's emergency call boxes.

The project required adding nine new wood strips, each painted red and white, on each of 33 telephone poles that host a call box. The effect dramatically increases the visibility of the devices, which can be used to summon help in an emergency.

Do the math and you'll find Weithman had about 300 36-inch wood strips painted. He then he created a template and set of instructions for each crew doing the work, ensuring uniformity in the finished product.

The challenging part was that Weithman wasn't allowed to do any of the work himself. "I'm not technically allowed to do any of the work," he said in a telephone interview. "It's a leadership project so I told everybody what to do and they did it."

On the fourth day of the project -- after the painting crews were done -- Joseph Zanchi, 11, and Chris Jamieson, 15, were out attaching the strips of wood to poles. It took about a half-hour per pole, the boys said.

With the project complete, Weithman said he's still busy. He has to write a report on the project before he can become an Eagle. Then he can go back to being just the captain of the high school ski team and first chair tenor sax in his school's jazz band.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

There's only room for one Main Street in Natick

Posted December 20, 2006 11:54 AM


Natick Town Meeting members said last night they've got one Main Street, and they want to keep it that way.

The developers of Natick Mall are pitching the idea of creating what they call a "Main Street concept" on a portion of the expanded mall site. That rubs Craig Ross, a leader of Natick 360, which is developing a long-range planning document for the town, the wrong way.

"If there's going to be a Main Street developed on Natick Mall, I don't want it called 'Main Street Natick'," Ross told fellow Town Meeting members last night. "We already have one of those."

Members unanimously approved a resolution requesting that the Natick Planning Board "review and approve all site names and/or identifiers which may be applied to any part of the Natick Mall as part of its special permitting process."

--John C. Drake

Travel spending defended

Posted December 18, 2006 07:10 PM



The Natick Retirement Board has defended its spending on travel in a memo to retirees and active members of the system, saying it was a necessary cost of educating members.

"The purpose of attending these conferences is twofold -- to receive education and trainining regarding investments and benefits," the memo said.

The board also said it's not their fault that the events are held in nice locations, such as the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (shown above).

"Clearly, to encourage attendance, the conference planners select venues that are appealing and facilities that can accommodate hundreds of people from around the country," the memo said.

From 2003 to 2005, board members and staff took six out-of-state trips and eight within the state. Selectmen said in a Globe West story yesterday they want to talk with the board about their travel spending.

Is it the end of the Redmen?

Posted December 14, 2006 03:46 PM



Earlier this fall, before the controversy hit, some fans wore headdresses to the Thanksgiving Day game
(Globe Staff Photo by Matthew J. Lee)

Natick's athletes could have a new nickname by sometime next year.

After 50 years as the Redmen, Natick school leaders are saying it may be time to follow the lead of other school's with Indian-themed nicknames, and choose a mascot with less potential to offend.

They want to settle the matter in two months.

Read what School Committee members had to say about the issue in today's Globe West.

--John C. Drake

Natick man faces charges in Boston slaying

Posted December 12, 2006 02:16 PM


Boston Police announced this afternoon that they have charged a Natick man in the stabbing death of a nightclub bouncer.

Oscar Rosa, 20, surrendered at Boston Municipal Court this morning and is to be arraigned later today in Roxbury District Court in the death of Craig Viera, 32.

Viera was stabbed at about 2:15 a.m. Nov. 26 on Lansdowne Street and died Friday. Police say Rosa was seen discarding a knife. He was originally charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Natick's teams may be "Redmen" no more

Posted December 12, 2006 11:49 AM



At a practice earlier this year, Natick players wore helmets bearing the letter "N", but their T-shirts said, "Redmen."
(Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

Natick school officials say it's time to consider ditching "Redmen" as the nickname for the district's sports teams.

"At best, the name 'Redmen' is offensive" to Native Americans, said Ted Wynne, a School Committee member.

The school no longer allows use of an Indian headdress logo on official materials or uniforms, and the district has no mascot, but fans still do the "tomahawk chop" during football games.

"The Natick Redmen logo is offensive," said 1997 Natick High School alumna Erin Miller, who lives in Boston. "Native voices have been telling us this for years. Natick deserves to have a logo that they can embrace fully. It's time for a change."

A majority of School Committee members agreed with that sentiment last night, and planned a vote on getting rid of the Redmen nickname for Feb. 26. In the meantime, town residents are being asked to contact School Committee members or show up at their meetings to offer their opinions.

But officials seem close to having their minds made up.

"If we get 400 people at the next meeting urging us not to change the name, it may make it a more uncomfortable decision, but it will not make it less right," Wynne said. "If the name were Natick Yellowmen or the Natick Blackmen, we would have changed it years ago."

Superintendent James J. Connolly said it would cost about $6,000 to change the teams' uniforms to display a new nickname. He said it would not be difficult for the district to make a change.

"I told the athletic director, 'I don't care what you're called, as long as you're winning,'" he said.

--John C. Drake

Natick man sought in stabbing death

Posted December 11, 2006 05:16 PM


A Natick man is being sought by the Boston police today after the death of a man he allegedly stabbed on Lansdowne Street in November.

Oscar Rosa, 20, is facing murder charges in the stabbing of Craig Viera on Nov. 26 at about 2:15 a.m. Patrol officers spotted a fight on Lansdowne Street and discovered that Viera had been stabbed. Officers chased several men who ran from the scene and arrested Rosa after he allegedly discarded a knife.

Rosa was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and released on bail.

Viera was taken to Boston Medical Center. He died Friday and the charges against Rosa were upgraded to murder.

The police are asking for the public's help in finding Rosa.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is urged to contact Boston Police Homicide Detectives at 617-343-4470 or 1-800-494-TIPS.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Attack on bouncer takes a fatal twist

Posted December 9, 2006 12:37 PM


A Natick man already faces charges for allegedly knifing a bouncer outside a Boston nightclub. Now the bouncer who was stabbed on Lansdowne Street has died, Boston police said.

On Nov. 26, police arrested Oscar Rosa, 20, and charged him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Police said Rosa was observed discarding a knife as he fled. The bouncer, whose name was not released, was taken to Boston Medical Center.

"Once the cause of death is determined, that will either bring forth further charges or not," said Boston police spokesman David Estrada.

-- Globe City & Region staff

He expresses himself with chocolate

Posted December 6, 2006 10:47 AM



A sample of Spillane's wares
(Globe Photo by Wiqan Ang)

Jonathan Spillane had been a carpenter for the past 22 years, but decided he needed a change of pace.

He's now the owner of Cocoapelli Chocolates, and has a 350-square-foot kitchen in his Natick garage. Every day is devoted to making a different type of chocolate, the Globe reports.

How exactly did he go from being a carpenter to chocolatier?

"I have always loved food," he told the Globe in a story today. "Wherever I travel, I buy whatever chocolate I find."

-- Erica Tochin

Natick, from here to there

Posted December 5, 2006 03:23 PM


You can probably get there from here. The question is, do you want to?

Natick Center Associates is hosting a forum tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Morse Institute Library on the town's public transit options, including the town's Neighborhood Bus system and Lift Bus.

Should they run more frequently, on different routes, or should access be improved for elderly and handicapped?

There will also be a presentation about new opportunities available to towns interested in expanding public transit. Towns were until recently required to provide funding to the MBTA whether service was available to residents or not. Now, many towns -- including those with commuter rail service like Natick -- are allowed to spend some of that MBTA funding on local needs.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Smaller companies paying the price

Posted December 4, 2006 01:03 PM


While many people who have started their own businesses have found success, a lot of them encounter the same problem: where to find affordable health care?

Josef Blumenfeld, who owns a global public relations firm in Natick, pays more than $16,000 annually for health care for himself and his family.

"Health insurance has become our second-largest expense behind our mortgage," he said. "It's definitely causing me to consider going back into the job market."

Blumenfeld was interviewed for a story on entrepreneurs and the rising cost of health care by the Indianapolis Star.

-- Erica Tochin

Sax phenom plans Natick party

Posted November 27, 2006 06:17 PM



Grace Kelly, the saxophone phenom from Brookline, has already appeared at various jazz clubs, played with accomplished professionals, and received awards from DownBeat magazine.

Just think how good she'll be a year from now -- when she gets into 10th grade!

... In the meantime, Kelly is planning a CD release party Friday at 8 p.m. at The Center for Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick.

'The Pass' is a daily topic for Flutie

Posted November 24, 2006 02:29 PM

Flutie cocks his arm to throw "The Pass."


Twenty-two years after he launched "The Pass" in the Orange Bowl, No. 22 still is asked about it on average once per day.

And Natick's Doug Flutie is OK with that.

Thanksgiving Day was the 22nd anniversary of Flutie's game-winning touchdown pass into the awaiting arms of Boston College teammate Gerard Phelan in the end zone.

Boston College 47, Miami 45.

"Even though I had a ton of comeback wins in the Canadian Football League, and a bunch more in the NFL, this is my trademark, the one people remember," Flutie told Peter Kerasotis, a columnist at Florida Today of Melbourne Beach, Fla. in a column published Thursday. "It's good to be remembered for something."

Flutie was back in Miami last night as an analyst for ESPN's Boston College-Miami game.

-- Craig Larson

Natick stops Framingham, wins 26th straight

Posted November 23, 2006 01:52 PM

Theo McCummings and Natick ran a step ahead of Framingham.
(Globe Staff Photo by Matthew J. Lee)


FRAMINGHAM -- The 100th Framingham-Natick Thanksgiving football matchup was a twin effort and much, much more.

Junior fullback Thad McCummings punched in the go-ahead score with 5:11 remaining on a 9-burst while his twin brother, Theo, Natick's starting quarterback, rushed for 116 yards on 18 carries to lift the unbeaten Redmen to their 26th straight win, a gritty 10-7 victory over host Framingham on a cold, raw and rainy morning before a crowd of 3,000 at Bowditch Field.

Bay State Herget champ Natick (11-0) will play Middlesex League champ Burlington (11-0) in an EMass Division 2 playoff Tuesday night at Acton-Boxboro at 7.

While the McCummings' brothers piled up the yards on the muddy turf, Mike Russo was immense with both his feet and his hands. The junior booted a 33-yard field goal, set up by his own 40-yard punt pinning Framingham on its own 5-yard line and picked off a pair of passes, including the clincher with 3:14 left in the game.

Alan Williams had given Framingham (6-5) a 7-3 lead in the third quarter with a 53-yard scamper down the left sideline.

Natick nows leads the overall series, 67-29-5.

-- Craig Larson

BJ's sale ahead?

Posted November 23, 2006 09:47 AM


The abrupt resignation of BJ's Wholesale Club's chief executive yesterday, at the start of the holiday shopping season, renewed speculation that the Natick-based chain may be preparing itself for a sale.

Mike Wedge , 53, had led the warehouse retailer since 2002. Herb Zarkin , BJ's 68-year-old chairman, who had planned to retire next year but will now stand for reelection to the board, will step in as CEO until a successor is named.

Yesterday, a statement from the two executives lauded Wedge for increasing sales and bringing in new customers during his tenure, but said BJ's "overall progress has not come as quickly as we had hoped and expected. We agree that the company's leadership team will benefit from a fresh perspective at this time."

Analysts said Wedge's resignation -- which sent BJ's shares surging 10 percent, to close at $32.48 yesterday -- is about more than just the company's performance, the Globe's business section reports today.

-- Keith Reed

Old pro pro bono

Posted November 19, 2006 10:21 AM



(Bancroft Wheeler, Globe Staff Photo by Janet Knott)

Natick's Bancroft R. Wheeler, 73, is a lawyer at an esteemed Boston corporate law firm who is taking on a different kind of case for a different kind of client as part of the Senior Partners for Justice program.

The program pairs retired and active lawyers with low-income clients who otherwise would have had to represent themselves. It taps the experience of older lawyers from top firms who are winding down their practice after lengthy careers, Sacha Pfeiffer reports in today's Globe.

"None of these people could afford to be clients of my firm, and therefore I never would have had anything to do with any of them. But these are good people who just find themselves in unfortunate circumstances," Wheeler said.

"At my age I'm not as busy as I used to be, so I do have some time now, and I've enjoyed this," he added.

Calling all shoppers...

Posted November 17, 2006 12:52 PM


Natick Mall today announced several new stores that will join Neiman Marcus and the state's first Nordstrom as part of its expansion, expected to be complete in September 2007.

At a celebration kicking off the start of the holiday shopping season, the mall marked the completion of a renovation of its existing food court and other areas.

The mall had previously indicated the expansion would include a Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. These additional stores were announced today:

BCBG (Bon Chic, Bon Genre) - women's apparel
Stil - European apparel, espresso bar
Coach - accessories and gifts
Lacoste - French apparel
Oakley - sunglasses, sports apparel
The North Face - outdoors gear
J. Crew - men's and women's apparel
Zara - contemporary apparel
Johnston & Murphy - men's shoes
Martin + Osa - denim and outdoor sportswear (by American Eagle)
Sel de la Terre - restaurant
Teavana - loose leaf teas, kitchen products
Metropolitan Bar & Grill - steakhouse
Legal Sea Foods concept restaurant - new, unnamed restaurant with oyster bar by owner of Legal Sea Foods
Finale Dessert Company - dessert-only restaurant

--John C. Drake

On the ball for Natick

Posted November 16, 2006 06:21 PM



Nick Haddad isn't the classic nose guard. He is tall, lean and athletic, not an imposing presence in the trenches. But he's also aggressive, quick, and tough.

Haddad is one of five senior co-captains for a determined Natick High football team currently riding a 25-game winning streak and defending its Bay State Herget title.

The team is heading into its 100th Thanksgiving Day matchup against archrival Framingham.

Read more about Haddad's conversion from running back to nose guard in today's Globe West.

Natick forgives book fines with donations

Posted November 15, 2006 11:22 AM


Librarians seem to be getting into the holiday spirit, giving people a break on fines for holding onto books past their due date.

Starting today, Natick's Morse Institute Library will allow patrons to settle fines for overdue materials by bringing the book along with a non-perishable food or personal care item. The items, such as diapers, deodorant, toothpaste, meals-in-a-box, juice boxes and soup with go to the Natick Service Council's food pantry.

It is the 13th year for the Food for Fines program, which is being offered through Dec. 29. Outstanding fines for books returned prior to the promotion are not eligible.

-- John C. Drake

Local author offers words of encouragement

Posted November 14, 2006 09:44 AM


Barbara McGrath, a Natick resident, recently spoke to a first-grade class in Oneonta, N.Y., about writing and likened it to sports.

The more practice you get, the better you will be, McGrath told the kids.

McGrath, the author of "The Baseball Counting Book" and "Soccer Counts," was on hand for the celebration of National Children's Book Week, the Daily Star of Oneonta reports.

Veterans to be toast of Natick

Posted November 10, 2006 03:28 PM


Natick will be the site of a series of veterans' celebrations tomorrow.

First, at 11 a.m., the annual Veterans Day parade starts at Lincoln Square (the corner of Union and East Central streets), ending at the Morse Institute Library, at 14 E. Central Street.

Then, at 11:45 a.m., a South Natick square will be dedicated in honor of a fallen soldier. The square at the corner of Everett and Cottage streets in South Natick will be named for Sgt. Thomas Mallery, a Natick High School graduate who was killed in action in Korea in 1953.

The festivities end with a Veterans Appreciation Dinner at 6 p.m. It is for families of active-duty military personnel, veterans and those stationed at Natick Labs. The Natick Veterans Council is sponsoring the dinner, which will be held at the downtown Natick Fire Station, 22 E. Central St.

--John C. Drake

Views sought on Natick's future

Posted November 2, 2006 12:05 PM


What direction should Natick take in the future?

A long-range planning board for the town of Natick is continuing to seek public input. About 325 residents participated in a series of two-hour workshops last weekend led by Natick 360 to consider common values and goals.

Those comments will be combined with ideas from more than 200 surveys submitted through the Web site, and reviewed by the Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Planning Board, Finance Committee, and Conservation Commission over the next two months.

Planners say follow-up workshops with the goal of setting priorities for the town's long-term development will take place in May 2007.

-- John C. Drake

Getting into the Halloween spirit

Posted October 31, 2006 08:21 AM


They came as gangsters with toy guns, pirates with fake beards, and Draculas in plastic capes. ...

The Globe City & Region section takes a look today at two Globe West companies, iProspect in Watertown and Cognex in Natick, where employees were allowed on Friday to get into the spirit of Halloween.


(Michelle Stern conferred with Ben Perry, in the role of Dracula, at iProspect. Perry said the Halloween attire lifts morale, Globe Staff Photo by Mark Wilson)

Years afterward, WWII soldier laid to rest

Posted October 29, 2006 08:02 AM


More than 63 years after his B-25 bomber was shot down over New Guinea in World War II, Joseph Berube was properly laid to rest in Natick yesterday.

Berube was in a plane that was hit by Japanese gunfire and crashed into a tree-lined beach that was occupied by the Japanese Army.

In 2001, government officials told Normand Berube that his brother's remains might have been found, but it was not until last month that Joseph Berube's remains were positively identified by DNA testing.

Berube was buried yesterday at St. Patrick's Cemetery. Fellow soldier Robert Hale, who was also in the bomber, was buried in Rowley.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Man sentenced for embezzlement from Natick bank

Posted October 25, 2006 12:07 PM


A Dedham man was sentenced yesterday in federal court to a year and a day in prison for embezzling about $200,000 from a Bank of America branch in Natick, according to the US attorney's office.

Robert W. Whalen, 36, pleaded guilty to embezzlement and misapplication of funds at a July hearing. He used different methods to embezzle money when he was performing duties as a bank teller at the branch, where he was an assistant manager.

Following his prison term, Whalen will serve three years of probation and pay $67,766 to Bank of America. He already has paid $132,234 in restitution.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Young Natick woman's work to be remembered

Posted October 25, 2006 11:58 AM


Lynn Moran, a resident of Natick who drowned while visiting her family in Portland, Maine last year will have a home for children who are in state custody dedicated in her name in Dedham.

Moran loved reading and worked in a group home for foster children, so her family will also dedicate "Lynn's Library" to the home, a bookcase filled with new hardcover books, the Portland Press Herald reports.

"Lynn had a passion for reading more than anyone I know. She absorbed everything," said her sister, Chris Moran. "We didn't have a TV. We just chatted or read. When we were growing up, 'boredom' wasn't a word allowed in our house when books were around."

-- Erica Tochin

Natick approves news rack limits

Posted October 20, 2006 12:22 PM


Natick Town Meeting members have approved rules that ban brightly colored news racks on public property and restrict where they can be placed.

The rules restrict how close racks can be placed to curbs, mailboxes, flags and other structures. Supporters said the idea is to encourage safety and prevent blight.

Members rejected a proposed amendment that would have removed the bylaw's restrictions on colors. Planning board chairman Julian Munnich says the restrictions are meant to make sure news racks do not district from emergency signs or equipment, such as cones.

Also at Town Meeting, a citizen petition to limit the hours when construction, demolition and other loud activity can take place was put off for further review. Members of Town Meeting said they supported the idea, but that more time was needed to craft an appropriate bylaw.

--John C. Drake

Natick's early Christmas gift: a big red fire truck

Posted October 18, 2006 11:08 AM


Natick citizens attending the first day of Town Meeting last night saw politics and cross-town cooperation in action as they entered Wilson Middle School.

Several campaign volunteers lined up under an awning on the rainy night holding signs for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Deval Patrick and incumbent state Rep. David Linsky. Linsky, who is facing GOP challenger William Whittlesey, greeted Town Meeting members with a handshake and thanked them for their public service.

Of course, that's par for the course about three weeks from Election Day. (Whittlesey did the same thing a week earlier at the Natick town government open house.)

A more startling sight was the presence of a Town of Weston fire truck sitting outside. Once inside, Town Meeting voted unanimously to purchase the Emergency-One rescue truck, valued at $165,000, along with $208,130 worth of equipment from Weston for a mere $80,000.

Natick Fire Chief Gene Sabourin called it "a phenomenal opportunity" to get the truck at that price. But Weston's getting a pretty good deal, too. Weston actually received the truck and equipment at no cost from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority so the town could provide emergency support for the authority's aqueduct repair. Weston no longer needs it. Natick will continue to let Weston use the truck in emergencies as part of the purchase agreement between the towns.

The truck has only got about 3,000 miles on it, Sabourin said, much of that accumulated on the drive from Ocala, Fl. to Weston, Ma., to deliver it.

-- John C. Drake

A different kind of bowling team

Posted October 15, 2006 11:02 AM



(Volunteer Laurel Clain gives Carol Weyler a high five for bowling a strike as volunteer Leo Gleason smiles at Fairway Bowling in Natick last weekend, Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

There's a different kind of crowd at Fairway Bowling in Natick on two Saturdays of each month. A group of mentally disabled bowlers rolls for strikes and spares, while volunteers donate their time to make the event happen.

Some bowlers are so disabled they have to use a special steel ramp to launch their balls. But a good time is had by all.

Read more about the bowling league in today's Globe West.

Big & Tall store sees right fit in Natick

Posted October 10, 2006 11:18 AM


The Canton firm that runs the Rochester Big & Tall retail chain says Natick is the perfect place for its new store, because the potential customer base is living large.

The chain said today its new store opened ahead of schedule last week at 1400 Worcester St. (Route 9). The only other store in the area is in downtown Boston on Boylston Street.

Casual Male Retail Group Inc., which claims to be the largest retailer of big and tall men's apparel, cites a report from the Massachusetts Partnerships for Healthy Weight that about 15 to 19 percent of Bay State residents are big and tall. Combine that with Massachusetts having the nation's third highest personal income per capita, and the publicly traded company , which also operates the Casual Male XL chain of stores, sees a chance for a hefty payday.

--John C. Drake

Minding Natick's business

Posted October 10, 2006 10:50 AM


Ever wondered what Natick's open space advisory committee does? Or what about the indirect costs study committee?

About three dozen town boards and committees will be on hand tonight at Natick's second annual Town Government Open House. It is meant to give residents a chance to get involved in town government by joining volunteer boards or by discussing municipal issues with elected and appointed officials.

It begins at 7 tonight at the Morse Institute Library, 14 E. Central St., Natick.

Natick's fall Town Meeting begins Oct. 17.

--John C. Drake

Greater taxes a lesser evil?

Posted October 6, 2006 07:08 AM


Are taxes the Great Satan? Louis Jay Frank of Natick says no, that they can even save lives, in a letter to the editor today.

Kerry Healy focuses on a pledge not to raise taxes if she is elected, and this obviously is aimed at the overall public perception (in this country) that taxes are a societal evil . But many people fail to realize that as taxes are cut, so are services we depend upon, such as police and fire protection, trash collections, and school lunches for the less fortunate, to name just a few. This reality was highlighted in the Oct. 3 story of the death of a Gloucester woman. She might have been saved had budget cuts not resulted in the closing of a fire station closer to her home. Before voters blindly endorse any candidate who promises a tax cut, they should consider the potential ramifications of such short-sighted reasoning, not only for others but possibly for themselves one day.

Are greater taxes a lesser evil? Do you find this reasoning taxing? Make a stand in the Globe West Message Boards.

Derek Clary, 20, drove from Maine to identify the body of his mother, Bridget Clary, 42, who died Sunday night after a fire in her home in Gloucester. Because of cuts that eliminated a fire station, the response time was slowed. (Photo: Michele McDonald/Globe Staff)

Hit the tracks, Jack

Posted October 5, 2006 11:11 AM

Todd Desautels, Belkin Family Lookout Farm's resident pumpkin artist, at work on a creation. (Photo courtesy of Belkin Family Lookout Farm)


They won’t be your typical jack-o-lanterns.

For the rest of the month, Natick’s Belkin Family Lookout Farm will be the site of the Great Pumpkin Express, a train ride through a display of 3,000 pumpkins, painted and carved into all manner of artistic creations.

There will be landscapes, portraits and a 15-foot-tall pumpkin fountain. And since each carved pumpkin can only last 4 or 5 days, about 30 professional artists will be working around the clock at the farm piecing together fresh, perishable masterpieces.

They’ve tried making them last longer, said Todd Desautels, an Oxford freelance artist and the resident pumpkin carving expert.

“The best bet is to scrape from the inside most of the walls of the pumpkin to get most of the water and most of the weight off of them,” he said, offering a tip for the upcoming Halloween ritual. “Cool air is the best thing for them. Other than that, we’ve tried everything, (including) preservatives; nothing really works.”

Eventually, the festival will go through 12,000 to 16,000 pumpkins.

Farm manager John Burns says to go ahead and bring the kids. “It’s not scary at all,” he said. The family-friendly event starts today and runs through Oct. 30. Gates open at 6 p.m. and the last train will run at 8:30 p.m. The cost is $16 for adults and $12 for children. Children younger than 2 get in free.

-- John C. Drake

Flutie honored

Posted October 2, 2006 08:04 AM

(Photo: Jonathan Wiggs, Globe Staff)


Natick's own Doug Flutie is being honored by the city of Boston, which has designated Nov. 13 as Doug Flutie Day to honor the football icon's contribution to the community and bestow on him the 2006 Red, White & Blue Award.

The award, to be announced today, will be presented to Flutie at a Nov. 13 concert to benefit the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, writes Hailey Heinz in the Globe's City & Region section. The Symphony Hall concert will feature Keith Lockhart and the rock band Boston.

Flutie played professional football for 21 seasons, including two stints with the Patriots. The quarterback won the Heisman Trophy at Boston College in 1984.

Off the field, he and his wife, Laurie, established the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism, in honor of their son, Doug Jr., who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. The foundation has raised more than $8 million for autism since its inception in 1998.

Boston Scientific sued for billions

Posted September 26, 2006 04:31 PM


Months after health care giant Johnson & Johnson lost a bidding war for medical device maker Guidant Corp., J&J is suing the winner, Boston Scientific Corp., and Abbott Laboratories, alleging the two companies breached J&J's merger agreement with Guidant.

New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson is seeking $5.5 billion in damages, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New York. The lawsuit also seeks reimbursement for court costs, attorney fees and interest.

Read more of this story in the Globe's business breaking news blog.

A lesson in manners

Posted September 25, 2006 10:04 AM


Pre-kindergarteners in Natick are getting a lesson in etiquette -- and it's not just to make them proper ladies and gentlemen.

A parenting column in today's Globe emphasizes how important it is for young children to be taught the importance of calling each other by their given names, which reduces bullying.

Pre-schoolers at the Tobin School in Natick are greeted and dismissed every day by a handshake and personalized greeting or farewell from their teacher.

"Their faces just light up," said Lori Davis, a preschool teacher at the Tobin School.

-- Erica Tochin

Natick author helps Katrina survivors

Posted September 24, 2006 10:35 AM


Natick children's book author Barbara Barbieri McGrath's efforts to help victims of Hurricane Katrina have been written up in the past in Globe West.

The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette, La. tells the story again today of McGrath's efforts to get books into schools -- and her editing of a book by young hurricane survivors.

Patrick rampages across Globe West

Posted September 20, 2006 05:49 PM


Deval Patrick won in every Globe West community but two in yesterday's Democratic primary for governor.

Attorney General Thomas Reilly won in Watertown, which is where he lives and raised his family and his wife worked in the schools. And businessman Chris Gabrieli won in Milford.

Get out your reading glasses, and you may be able to pick them out on the map below.


For complete post-election coverage including the vote tallies in every town in the state, go to

Power out in Natick Town Hall

Posted September 19, 2006 10:39 AM


A blown transformer knocked out electricity to Natick Town Hall a little after 10 a.m. today, leaving town officials worried about how they would report election results.

“Town Hall is pretty much shut down,” said Town Clerk Jane Hladick. “My main concern is the election today.”

The one precinct in town affected by the problem is operating on a backup generator, she said.

However, Hladick said that she is not able to connect to the secretary of state’s office with the power out. Officials said they are working to restore power.

So far this morning, voter turnout in the town has been “pretty slow,” Hladick said.

At the town’s busiest precinct there had been only 150 voters by 10 a.m.

“That particular precinct usually gets out and votes early,” she said.

-- John C. Drake


(Voters heading to the polls this morning at the Wilson Middle School in Natick, Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

Fine reduced in Natick tax mishap

Posted September 14, 2006 06:42 PM


The Internal Revenue Service has agreed to reduce the fine Natick was charged after an employee in the comptroller’s office forgot to send more $166,000 in payroll taxes to the agency last year.

Town Administrator Phil Lemnios says he’s pleased the amount was cut back but still isn’t satisfied with the amount owed by the town.

The error took place in April 2005, when an employee forgot to send the taxes on time. The mistake was discovered a few months later and the money was sent.

After the error occurred, the IRS told the town to pay $42,000 in interest and penalties but the town appealed saying it was too high.

The town contended that the IRS credited the taxes to the wrong quarter and should not have been charged so much in fines and interest.

The government cut the amount by $11,700, leaving the town with a $30,300 bill. “We’re happy it was reduced but we’re still evaluating what our next steps are,’’ Lemnios said. “We’re not satisfied with it. This was a singular incident.’’

-- Jennifer Fenn Lefferts

Ovations for a Natick cancer survivor

Posted September 9, 2006 09:35 AM


Ovarian cancer has claimed the mother and two sisters of Natick resident Patty Franchi Flaherty. Patty herself is a seven-year survivor of the devastating disease that kills an estimated 16,000 American women every year.

But Patty wanted to do something to help stop the suffering of so many women and their families. In honor of her late mother, Madeline Franchi, Patty founded
Ovations for the Cure to raise money for ovarian cancer research.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Patty and her supporters will be walking in Dana-Farber's Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk on Sept. 17, hoping to raise $50,000 to further their cause.

-- Erica Noonan

Liquid armor, like the cyborgs'

Posted September 3, 2006 10:56 AM


Those Army research folks in Natick are at it again. Soldiers are expected to soon begin testing a new product known as "liquid armor," the Sunday Times of London reports today.

The armor is worn like clothing but turns into a rigid shield as soon as it is hit by bullets or shrapnel, the newspaper reports.

The armor has as been likened to the skin of cyborgs in films such as Terminator and RoboCop.

Eric Wetzel, the co-inventor of the substance at the US Army Research Laboratory’s materials centre in Natick, says researchers can't say the substance used in the armor will stop every bullet, but it's clear that the substance provides more protection for less weight.

Rights champion dies

Posted August 29, 2006 01:21 PM


Robert Donahue, who was an advocate of equal rights for the disabled, has died, The Globe reports in an obituary today.

Donahue, 70, of Natick, was left a paraplegic after a spinal cord injury in 1978. He was an ombudsman for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, and lobbied the State House to pass laws protecting the rights of people with disablities.

``His own experiences gave him a tremendous amount of insight into what other people were experiencing and what their needs were," said Janna Zwerner, chief of staff of the agency in Boston, who worked with Mr. Donahue for 14 years. ``He had this calm nature and ability to really listen to people's problems."

-- Erica Tochin

Red Sox nearly ruined his honeymoon

Posted August 28, 2006 08:57 AM


Ed Lawrence of Natick confesses today in a Letter to the Editor that the Red Sox nearly ruined his honeymoon, but says he's now a recovering Sox fanatic.

Unfortunately for Ed, his honeymoon happened to take place during the heartbreaking World Series in 1986. Despite the charms of a new bride and Hawaii, he was devastated by the Red Sox's performance.

After a day of mourning, he had a revelation.

"I walked away, and I resolved never to get so emotionally involved with any team ever again. I am now a 'casual' fan. I think I have kept my perspective," he wrote.

That perspective must be coming in handy these days, with Dan Shaughnessy commenting today that the team, which is 8-18 for the month, is playing "like the Boston Bowsers." ...

Gunter Grass and the SS

Posted August 22, 2006 09:22 AM


Sayre Sheldon of Natick says in a Letter to the Editor today that Gunter Grass should continue to be honored as a great writer, no matter why he covered up his past as a member of Nazi Germany's SS.

Here's his letter:

SAUL AUSTERLITZ is too quick to ask that Günter Grass's Nobel Prize be rescinded over his Nazi past (``Günter Grass's 60 years of silence," op-ed, Aug. 21).

Who are we to cast the first stone? I can remember that as a 13-year-old visiting German relatives in 1939 I wanted to join the Hitler Mädchen, who looked so appealing to me as they marched through the streets.

Let us continue to honor a great writer, whatever his reasons for taking so long to reveal his youthful past.


New York chase

Posted August 17, 2006 04:44 PM


A Natick man allegedly led police on a high speed chase through Glen Falls, N.Y. after driving away from a local gas station without paying for the gas he had pumped.

Police said they were alerted by the station's clerk around 3:15 a.m. to an SUV that had taken off with $61.24 worth of gasoline.

The suspect was pursued by police cars for 20 miles before officers were able to employ tire deflation devices to puncture two of the vehicle's tires, the Post-Star reported.

Mark A. Chase, 50, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor petit larceny and several traffic violations. He was arraigned in Stillwater Town Court, and taken into custody at Saratoga County Jail because he was not able to post $2,500 bail or $5,000 bond.

-- Erica Tochin

Route 30 update

Posted August 11, 2006 11:17 AM


All is moving well on Route 30 after a water main broke on Wednesday, backing up traffic along busy Cochituate Road well into yesterday's commute.

Everything has been fixed, and traffic flow is back to normal.

-- Erica Tochin

Farmers' Bounty

Posted August 5, 2006 10:55 AM


With surging interest in organic and locally grown food, many of us are stealing a few minutes to pull over at stands operated by local growers such as Land's Sake in Weston, Hanson's Farm in Framingham, the Natick Community Organic Farm in South Natick, Applefield Farm in Stow, Blue Heron Organic Farm, and Drumlin Farm in Lincoln.

The western suburbs also host more than a dozen weekly farmers' markets, which are rapidly growing in popularity.

Find out why, and learn how to get fresh produce close to home in Sunday's Globe West

-- Erica Noonan

Flying to help

Posted August 1, 2006 08:07 AM


Ed Shoemaker and Chip Gresham have high-pressure, fast-paced jobs. To say the least. They work in an emergency room that travels through the air at 160 miles per hour.

Shoemaker is a pilot on a LifeFlight helicopter based at UMass Memorial Medical Centre in Worcester, while Gresham is a flight physician.

The Republican of Springfield profiled the unit in a story yesterday.

Turnpike tolls letter

Posted July 31, 2006 10:03 AM


Tim Donahue of Natick questions the need for tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike in a Letter to the Editor today.

He says tolls have a number of drawbacks, including ensuring the existence of thousands of patronage jobs across the state and wasting millions of gallons of gasoline.

Million-dollar homes in Natick

Posted July 30, 2006 10:48 AM


An article in the Portsmouth Herald suggests that the appearance of "million-dollar neighborhood homes in Natick, Mass." was one sign that the real estate bubble was about to explode.

The story, a survey of the slowdown in the real estate market, says that realtors are getting training about how to deal with the new environment.

"This isn't rocket science," Angela Stamoulos, the training manager for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, told the Herald from her office in Waltham. "We do a lot of analysis and we saw the amount of inventory. We saw different things that needed to be emphasized."

The Worcester Telegram also surveys the real estate market in a story today.

Lurking problems

Posted July 28, 2006 09:02 AM


The problems with the Big Dig have led Amy Kaufman of Natick to wonder if there are other disasters lurking around the corner.

Here's her Letter to the Editor from today's Globe.

YOUR ARTICLE about the Big Dig employee whose warnings went unheeded by his superiors reminded me of an account from the book ``Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919" by Stephen Puleo. In that disaster Isaac Gonzales, who worked at the giant molasses tank in the North End, tried to warn superiors that the tank would not hold up, and his warnings were also ignored.

It occurs to me that in all preventable disasters, someone knew, and someone else, with the power to avert the disaster, chose not to listen, and I am left wondering what preventable tragedy is waiting just around the corner?

Amy Kaufman, Natick

Mall weapons

Posted July 26, 2006 06:38 PM


The owner of a store in the Natick Mall is facing charges after police seized several dangerous and illegal weapons from his store, said Police Lieutenant Nicholas Mabardy.

Police said they found double-edged knives, swords, stun guns and pepper spray at Eastern Arts after a customer tipped them off on Sunday.

The owner, whose name is not being released, was not licensed to carry or sell pepper spray. He will be charged with possession and sale of a dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of pepper spray.

The main concern of the police, said Mabardy, is that the weapons were being sold at low, affordable prices that could have made them available to young people.

-- Erica Tochin

Campaigning in Natick

Posted July 25, 2006 11:18 AM


Attorney General Tom Reilly was working up to the crescendo of his gubernatorial campaign stump speech last night at a Natick Democratic Town Committee gathering when his hostess accidentally kicked out the cord for his microphone.

"We want a governor..." he said.

"I'm so sorry, Tom, I just don't see well," said the hostess, an older woman. A ripple of laughter spread through the crowd.

Another day, another bump on the campaign trail.

Read more about the visit of the three candidates for the Democratic nomination in today's Political Intelligence blog.

Reilly (center) is joined by his competitors Chris Gabrieli (left) and Deval Patrick in a picture taken at a debate by staff photographer Wendy Maeda.


Big Dig parable

Posted July 18, 2006 09:13 AM


Ed Lawrence of Natick looks at the Big Dig tunnel ceiling problems from a different angle today, imagining the tunnel ceilings as a home improvement project and implying that some simple common sense would have helped prevent last week's tragedy.

In another Letter to the Editor, Noah Liben of Natick takes issue with those who suggest Israel has responded "disproportionately" to Hezbollah attacks by attacking targets in Lebanon.

Soldier systems

Posted July 17, 2006 08:15 AM


Brigadier General R. Mark Brown next week formally takes command of the US Army Soldier Systems Center in Natick.

He's got ambitious goals, the Globe reports today, including strengthening ties with Boston-area businesses and accelerating technology transfer in and out of the base.

And there's another simple goal: keep the base open.

Brown says when they're looking to close more bases "I don't even want Natick to be in the discussion."

People with opinions

Posted July 15, 2006 11:37 AM


Rabbi Harold Kushner of Natick, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," weighs in on the gay marriage debate today in a Letter to the Editor.

"I would hope that even people who are opposed to homosexual behavior on moral or religious grounds will be able to coexist with people who differ from them, as people morally opposed to drinking have learned to tolerate the legal sale of alcohol and people disgusted by rap music manage to keep their distance from it without depriving others of the right to listen," Kushner writes.

In other letters, Mark Kelleher of Natick argues that Christy Mihos is the only local politician to be trusted on Big Dig safety issues. James H. Barron of Newton also voices his opinion on the Big Dig controversy.

Moving just down the road

Posted July 13, 2006 02:26 PM


Edmond J. "Ted" English, the former chief executive officer of Framingham-based retailer TJX Cos., who abruptly left the company in September, has been named to the board of Natick-based BJ's Wholesale Club Inc., the Globe's business news blog reports today.

BJ's is also in the news today because of takeover rumors. Reuters reports the chatter has persisted since last year, and some analysts and bankers, looking at the company's current share price, balance sheet and business prospects, say there may be no time like the present.

Affleck coming to town

Posted July 12, 2006 11:07 AM


Natick residents, prepare to be star-struck.

A letter sent to the town administrator by Miramax Films says movie star Ben Affleck will be coming to town to shoot scenes for his new movie, "Gone, Baby, Gone," a secretary in the administrator's office says.

This is Affleck's directorial debut. His brother, Casey Affleck, will be starring. The movie is based on a novel by Boston's own Dennis Lehane, who just took a job teaching at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill.

-- Erica Tochin

Gay marriage vote

Posted July 12, 2006 08:51 AM


All eyes are on the Statehouse today as a joint session of the Legislature may take up a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage.

John Gillis of Natick was among those who wrote Letters to the Editor on the issue in today's Globe.

"I HAVE a question for our Massachusetts lawmakers: How long do you think it will be before some gay partners, behind a smokescreen of antidiscrimination law, sue the Catholic Church for refusing to ``marry" them, ultimately forcing the church to cease performing marriages in the state? Ask the folks who used to handle adoptions at Catholic Charities if this scenario is farfetched, and then go vote your conscience in the assembly today," Gillis wrote.

Bullet worries

Posted July 10, 2006 08:10 AM

Natick and Waltham are among the dozens of police departments in the state that purchased a potentially defective bulletproof vest. But help is on the way.

The Globe reports today that departments statewide will share more than $1 million in restitution from the company that made Zylon, the material used in the vests.

Differing views on North Korea

Posted July 9, 2006 08:41 AM


Robert McCauley, of Natick, thinks the Globe may be advocating too soft a position on North Korea.

McCauley asks in today's Letters to the Editor, "Who is writing the Globe's editorials on North Korea these days, Neville Chamberlain?"

James Pehl, of Marlborough, in another letter, sees the situation in North Korea as "a perfect example of the inconsistent foreigh policy of this Bush administration."

Wilhelmina Riley, grandmother of 40

Posted July 6, 2006 08:49 AM


Wilhelmina Riley, a long-time Natick resident who was the proud matriarch of an unusually large clan, has died at the age of 98.

Mrs. Riley, who loved to sing and play the piano, not only had 40 grandchildren, she had 65 great-grandchildren, the Globe reports today.

Boomtown and July Fourth

Posted July 4, 2006 12:35 PM


Natick has its gala annual July 4th parade every year, but one of everyone's favorite sights is Rex Trailer riding on horseback down North Main Street singing ``Boomtown''

Despite temperatures in the high 80s today, Rex was smiling and waving, wearing full cowboy regalia, hat, and a long-sleeved fringed shirt. (Rex was a little before my time, but just about every man in the crowd older than 45 was singing along with him.)

Marching in Rex's wake was Natick native and state Rep. David Linsky and Wellesley's state Rep. Alice Peisch (accompanied by her daughter, also named Alice)

As usual, thousands of spectators lined the route for one of the region's most elaborate July Fourth parades, which showcases scores of local community groups, dance teams, marching bands, police and fire brigades. And, not to be forgotten, the Lawn Chair Drill Team from Framingham, whose members perform sitting on lawn chairs...

Getting ready for the 4th!

Posted July 3, 2006 10:08 AM

For information on some local suburban fireworks displays tomorrow, look here for a town-by-town map.

The town of Natick won't put on its gala fireworks display at the Natick Mall this year because of massive construction on the mall site.

But the town's big July 4th parade will go on as usual tomorrow. Beware of getting there by car: portions of Rte. 135 and 27 near town center will be closed much of the day beginning at 8 a.m.

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