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New school superintendent appointed in Framingham

Posted February 6, 2009 02:03 PM

By Tanya Perez-Brennan, Globe Correspondent

In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the Framingham School Committee chose Steven Hiersche as the school district's new superintendent.

Hiersche, who is superintendent for Watertown Public Schools, will begin work in Framingham on July 1.

"It was a very difficult decision," said school committee chairman Phil Dinsky.

"The three candidates were all qualified and in the end, we tried to pick the one that we thought had the best fit for our community."


Kevorkian to unveil Watertown art exhibit

Posted October 1, 2008 08:39 AM

The art is severe, and at times disturbing.

So is the artist, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who will be in Watertown on Sunday to unveil an exhibit of 16 of his paintings owned by the Armenian Library and Museum of America.

This weekend's planned appearance will be a rare out-of-state trip for Kevorkian, a controversial former pathologist from Michigan who earned the nickname ``Dr. Death'' for assisting an estimated 130 terminally ill patients commit suicide. He is on parole after serving eight years in prison on a 1999 second-degree murder conviction for giving a lethal injection to a 52-year-old man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease.

Kevorkian, 80, is the child of two Armenian genocide survivors, and the anguish suffered by his ancestors is reflected in several of his pieces. "1915 Genocide 1945'' mixes real human blood with paint to commemorate the extinction of 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Turkish government, and three decades later, the murder of 6 million Jews under the Nazi German regime.

In a phone interview for a story that will appear in Thursday's Globe West, Kevorkian said he doesn't consider himself an artist, just someone who ``puts in paint the condition of the world that we live in.''

He said he began to paint as a hobby when he was a young man. But he kept delving into the topics of life and death he dealt with as a medical examiner. ``Everyone was painting landscapes and clowns and I couldn't see the value in that. I guess the rebel in me was thinking I'll shock them,'' he recalled.

That provoked him to paint ``Very Still Life,'' a brightly rendered piece of an iris bloom growing through a denuded skull and scattered bones.

Bringing Kevorkian to the Armenian Library and Museum may upset some people who disagree with physican-assisted suicide, acknowledged director Mariam Stepanyan. But the museum's mission is ``to preserve the heritage of Armenians for future generations, and to make it relevant for current generations,'' she said.

The controversial doctor is among the world's most famous Armenian-Americans, she said.

``His art and how he intersects it with religion and the present day is informed by the experience of the Armenian people,'' she said. ``He is very connected to his heritage.''

Kevorkian plans to follow Sunday's Watertown appearance with a forum for Harvard ID holders Monday at Harvard Law School, where he expects to discuss his current run for Congress, among other topics.

-- Erica Noonan

Blue Cross to discuss support of No Place for Hate tonight

Posted September 23, 2008 08:04 AM

The battle over the local Anti-Defamation League and its No Place for Hate program returns to the Watertown Town Council tonight.

Last month, the council sent a letter to Blue Cross executives requesting the face-to-face meeting and urging the healthcare insurance company to withdraw its support in light of the ongoing controversy between Armenian-Americans and the ADL over recognition of the Armenian genocide.

During the session, representatives from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts are expected to talk about the company's financial support for the Anti-Defamation League's No Place For Hate program.

The meeting starts at 7:15. Expecting a larger-than-normal turnout this week, the Town Council will move its meeting from Town Hall to the Watertown Middle School auditorium, 68 Waverley Avenue.

Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham wrote about the ADL controversy last month. And the Globe editorial board weighed in yesterday.

According to the town website, the agenda item is a "Resolution requesting Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA to sever ties with the Anti-Defamation League and No Place For Hate.''

The Armenian Mirror-Spectator reported that the resolution reads: "Whereas: Taxpayers pay the major share of the premiums for the many Town employees who have Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance; and, Whereas: The Council believes that taxpayer funds which are directed to Blue Cross/Blue Shield should not be spent on a program affiliated with an organization which diminishes the factuality of, and works against recognition of, a widely acknowledged genocide. Now Therefore Be It Resolved: The City known as the Town of Watertown hereby asks BC/BSMA to expeditiously sever ties with NPFH and similar ADL programs; and that the Council shall send to BC/BSMA chif executives and members of the Board of Directors a letter with this Resolution, that asks for such severance and requests a prompt and positive response; and the council shall take due notice, make public, and discuss BSBCMA’s response.”

-- Christina Pazzanese

Judge clears the way for Devaney trial to proceed

Posted July 29, 2008 04:13 PM

A Waltham District Court judge has denied a motion to dismiss felony assault charges against Massachusetts Governor’s Council member and Watertown Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney. In a July 23 ruling released today, Judge Gregory C. Flynn rejected an argument by Janice Bassil, Devaney’s attorney, claiming that Waltham police unfairly singled out Devaney for “vindictive” prosecution because of her high-profile official roles.

In his ruling, Flynn stated that since she has not argued that by facing charges, her constitutional rights have been violated, there’s no legal basis to support a claim of discrimination.

Waltham police allege Devaney assaulted a Waltham beauty supply store clerk with a shopping bag containing a curling iron during a dispute over a purchase in April, 2007. Devaney has pleaded not guilty.

At a June 10 hearing, Devaney attorney Bassil argued that Waltham police selectively pursued felony charges as “part of a political agenda” against Devaney because she is an outspoken politician who is “controversial and both well-liked and well-disliked.” Bassil claimed Waltham police had not sought felony charges against any of the 30 other assault and battery cases it investigated during a four-month period earlier this year. A jury will hear Devaney’s trial beginning Thursday in Newton District Court.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Owner leaves condemned Watertown house

Posted June 30, 2008 06:57 PM

It took several days longer than expected, but owner Basia Dziewanowski has moved out of her condemned home at 41 Katherine Road in Watertown. Mark Reich, the town's attorney, said that around 4 p.m. today, Monday, Dziewanowski was taken by taxi to a local motel.

Officials had set a deadline of last Thursday for Dziewanowski to vacate the home. On Friday, they were having some difficulty verifying whether Dziewanowski had in fact left as directed by the health department, an order upheld by a Middlesex Superior Court judge last week. Steven Ward, head of the health department, knocked on her door but didn't get any response. Police were dispatched over the weekend to determine whether she was still there. "We couldn't tell what was going on," said Reich.

Reich said now that Dziewanowski has indeed moved out, she's been asked by Ward to turn over her keys. If she attempts to re-enter the house, she will be in contempt of the court order, said Reich.

--Christina Pazzanese

Powerful storms knock down trees, cause flooding

Posted June 28, 2008 08:50 AM

Mark Parsons returned to his home in Newton and found that a tree had been uprooted by yesterday's violent storm. NStar customers lost power - mostly in Newton, Watertown, and Waltham - largely because of trees or limbs falling on power lines.
(Globe staff photo by Essdras M Suarez)


A violent thunderstorm tore through Greater Boston yesterday afternoon, causing flash floods, pelting pedestrians with pea-size hail, knocking out power, and uprooting trees with wind gusts exceeding 55 miles per hour.

About 20,000 NStar customers lost power - mostly in Newton, Watertown, and Waltham - largely because of trees or limbs falling on power lines, said Kate Leonard, a company spokeswoman. Power was restored for most customers by the evening.

Lightning strikes set off fires in the penthouse of a seven-story Beacon Street building in the Back Bay and a three-family house on Pearl Street in Cambridge. Flash floods caused the eastbound lanes of Storrow Drive, near Kenmore Square, to be shut down, and a sink hole on Route 9 in Brookline forced a closure there.

Two-thirds of an inch of rain fell at Logan International Airport in roughly 30 minutes, said Bill Simpson, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Taunton. He said the low number can be misleading in characterizing the storm's ferocity. Wind gusts at Harvard Bridge topped out at 57 miles per hour.

"It's not how much rain falls," he said, "it's the intensity of the storm."

Transcript of the 911 call in cheerleading accident

Posted April 29, 2008 08:12 AM

The following is a transcript of a 911 call from the DCU Center in Worcester where cheerleader and Newton North High School graduate Lauren Chang was injured during a routine on April 13. She was treated at the scene by a emergency medical technician who was working the event, but died the next day of complications from collapsed lungs. Officials have said it took approximately five minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene, and at least one lawmaker is now pressing for standby ambulances to be present at all cheerleading competitions.

You can also listen to the call.

Note: When the participants are talking about a "traych," they are referring to an emergency tracheotomy, a medical procedure where a tube is placed directly into the windpipe through the lower neck to allow air into the lungs. The reference to "one of the privates" refers to a local private ambulance company.

DISPATCHER: 911 this line's recorded. What's your emergency?
CALLER NO.1: I'm at the DCU Center in Worcester. There's a girl passed out on the stage. She's having an allergic reaction.
D: Where is she ma'am?
C1: She just passed out after (inaudible). She's, like, in the DCU Center.
D: All right whereabouts inside, inside ...
C1: In, in one of the exhibition halls.
D: OK. Do you know which one?
C1: What exhibition hall is this? (Yells to someone at the scene)
UNKNOWN VOICE: (inaudible)
C1: What exhibition hall is this?
UNK: (garbled)
C1: Yeah, but which hall?
UNK: (garbled)
C1: Hall A.
UNK: Yep.
D: Hall A?
C1: Yep.
D: OK. Do you know how old she is?
C1: Um, no. But I'm going to give this phone to somebody who can ...
D: All right. Can I transfer you over to the ambulance ma'am?
C1: Yep.
D: Hold on please.
C1: (To Caller No. 2) It's 911 do you want to talk to them?
CALLER 2: Hello?
D: All right, hold on one second OK?
C2: Sure.
PARAMEDIC: Paramedics, what's the address of your emergency?
C2: I'm in Worcester. Um, and we need an ambulance immediately. We have a cheerleader ...
P: What's the address of your emergency?
C2: Do you know the address is here? (talking to someone else at the scene) It's, it's the DCU Center. It's this huge convention center in Worcester. I actually don't know the physical address.
P: OK. Slow down sir. I can't understand you. You're at the DCU Center?
C2: I'm sorry.
P: Where in the DCU Center are you?
C2: We're in the main arena.
P: The main arena.
C2: In the DCU Center.
P: What section are you in?
C2: Um, right now I'm standing next to E7.
P: Section E7.
C2: Yeah there's a big power station at E7.
D: All right, what's going on?
C2: We had a cheerleader -- it's a cheerleading competition.
P: Yep.
C2: And she got ki -- And it looks like she got kicked or um hit in the throat. Her face is all swollen. They're trying to get her air.
FEMALE VOICE IN BACKGROUND: They're trying to traych her.
C2: Um, they're trying to traych her.
P: They're trying to traych her right now?
C2: Yeah, that's what it looks like, yeah.
P: So she's unconscious and not breathing right now?
C2: She ... is she conscious? She is conscious. And they have her tubed.
P: O-kaaay. We're gonna send the amb ... is there an ambulance on scene there, sir?
C2: There, there could be I don't know. Let me ask one of the people who works here. Excuse me, sir (talking to someone at the scene) is there an ambulance here or no?
C2: On the way. They say that there's one on the way but there isn't one here right now.
P: All right.
P: You can hang up, sir.
D: Sir, is this in the this in, in one of the exhibition...?
P: Paramedic four with...
C2: Yeah it's in the exhibition hall.
D: OK. And it's, um A, right?
C2: Um, I'm actually not sure of the number. I'm standing next to a post that says E7.
D: OK. All right. Stay on the line with the EMS, OK?
P: ...cheerleader unresponsive. Reportedly tubed at this time. By who I don't know. Downtown, you still on?
C2: Yes sir.
P: Sir, you can hang up.
C2: OK, thank you.
D: It's Exhibition Hall A.
P: Exhibition Hall A?
D: Yes.
P: All right, I got an ambulance going. There should a detail working over there from one of the privates but I'm sending a truck anyway.
D: Yes.
P: All right, thanks. Bye.
D: B-bye.

Details of fatal injury lead some to question medical precautions

Posted April 29, 2008 07:36 AM

When Lauren Chang crumpled to the floor at the Minuteman Cheerleading Championships, the medic assigned to the competition was away from the action, restocking her supplies after treating three earlier injuries, according to the private ambulance company she worked for.

As she gathered more icepacks nearby, coaches and spectators rushed the mat, where Chang's team had just finished performing a 2 1/2-minute routine.

Amid the chaos of questioning voices and blaring music at Worcester's DCU Center, two registered nurses, both of them mothers attending the event, and several others checked Chang's pulse, listened to her heartbeat, and forced air into her lungs using a breathing bag that one of the rescuers found in a bag of medical supplies nearby. The panicked cheerleader fought her rescuers as she struggled to breath and at one point vomited blood, the nurses said.

A spokesman for American Medical Response, the private ambulance company contracted by the DCU Center, said its medic responded quickly to help treat Chang. But 20-year-old Lauren Chang died a day later. An autopsy showed her lungs had collapsed.

There would be still one more cheerleading injury that evening, during a competition that spectators later would say was filled with a freakish spate of accidents.

The death of Chang, a Newton North High School graduate, has parents and others scouring their memories of April 13, questioning the safety of the event and whether the medic on hand had been overtaxed.

By the time Chang went down at 7:20 p.m., the EMT already had already dealt with an asthma attack or fainting on stage, and a neck or back injury suffered in a fall during a stunt performed in the warm-up area, according to several witnesses.

Read more about the medical response to Lauren Chang's tragic injury in the online edition of today's City & Region section.

-- Erin Ailworth

Watertown council dispute goes public

Posted April 24, 2008 06:20 PM

Already facing an impending court date, Watertown Town Councilor Marilyn Pettito Devaney is at the center of another controversy.
(Globe file photo)


Town Council President Clyde L. Younger says he may take out a restraining order against Councilor-At-Large Marilyn Petitto Devaney after receiving a hand-delivered letter from her that he said "verges on slander and is libelous."

Younger gave council members copies of Devaney's letter, which was also obtained by the Globe.

"She has always been writing these nasty little notes and leaving them at the door," Younger said." He said Devaney's behavior dated back to when he first joined the council in 1997.

Today Devaney called the letter "personal," and criticized Younger for making it public.

Devaney said she was "venting" to Younger about being removed from the council's public safety subcommittee, and about not receiving a chairperson's position on another committee as the other councilors have, among other slights.

"I was tweaking him," Devaney said. "The notion that I'm harassing him is so far-fetched."

The pair has publicly sparred over a variety of issues, with Younger often gaveling Devaney down and ruling her out of order. Devaney, in turn, has said Younger doesn't give her an equal opportunity to speak on issues.

It's not the first time Younger has declared he might bring in outside help to deal with his troubles with Devaney. In 2006, Younger threatened to hire a sergeant-at-arms to remove Devaney from the floor because of what he deemed her disruptive behavior.

In an unrelated matter, Devaney is scheduled to go on trial next Thursday on felony assault charges for allegedly assaulting a Waltham beauty supply store clerk with a curling iron during a dispute over a purchase last year.

-- Christina Pazzanese

A moment of silence held for Lauren Chang

Posted April 19, 2008 07:32 PM

A tribute to Lauren Chang has been posted on the Energized Athletics web site.


Less than a week after cheerleader and Newton North High School graduate Lauren Chang died, hundreds of cheerleaders and their parents and friends gathered at the Jamfest event in Springfield Saturday.

Jamfest attendants held a moment of silence for Chang the afternoon of the competition. The music was shut off and parents hushed laughing and shouting children in the packed hall of the Mass Mutual Center. Afterwards, an announcer called for a round of applause and the hall exploded with sounds of clapping. Chang's teammates, who were overseen throughout the competition by an entourage of protective parents, huddled together.

Team members wore buttons with a picture of Chang taken from her MySpace web page.

"It's definitely been rough for them," said Kim England, the owner of Energized Athletics, the Watertown gym where Chang trained. "You've got to understand. They all turned around and saw what was happening. They saw her on the floor."

England said the two Energy Cheer teams turned their grief into fuel for the Jamfest competition.

"I am amazed, really," she said. "I don't think they did it for themselves. They did it for her."

Dannie Halloran, of Boston, was weeping as he left the convention hall. He did not perform on Sunday with Chang because he was suffering from a herniated disc, he said.

"She was the most important person on the team," he said. "She was definitely the face of our gym."

England said gym members and their parents have been supportive of her. No one has pulled out of the gym or expressed fears about safety. Rather, she said, they've shown solidarity.

"Everyone's pulled together. It's just amazing," England said. "We've gotten so much support today. Remember, we are competing against each other."

The event drew 2,000 spectators and 2,000 competitors over the course of two days, organizers said.

Two Extreme Cheer Teams made up of younger kids from the Energized Atheltics gym in Watertown, all under the age of 13, performed Saturday afternoon at Jamfest at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield. Wearing black, purple and gold uniforms, the eight girls and one boy performed various gymnastic cheerleading moves to a cheering crowd, some of whom were wearing t-shirts depicting Lauren Chang's face.

Chang's squad, referred to as the "open team" and comprised of older more experienced cheerleaders, did not perform, parents said.

"The open team is here to support the two teams we have," said a parent who declined to give her name.

Casey O'Connell, 17, of Watertown, who was wearing a memorial t-shirt but who did not perform that day, said Chang was one of her best friends. She knew Chang for four years, she said.

"She was truly an amazing person," O'Connell said. "She was always happy. She touched everyone who walked into that gym."

O'Connell said Chang was empathetic and a role model for younger cheerleaders in the group.

"If someone was crying and sad with something, and needed help, she would [help]," O'Connell said. "If someone had trouble with their tumbling, she would help."

Many parents were relunctant to talk about the incident. They said the younger children in the squad were having difficulty dealing with Chang's death.

"Some of them are holding up well, some of them are breaking down in tears," said Angela, a parent who declined to give her last name.

Some of the reluctance stemmed from the fact that Chang's friends and teammates still don't know exactly how the injury she suffered during a routine led to her death.

"We really don't know what happened yet," O'Connell said, "so we're not going to give out any kind of false info."

-- John Dyer

Watertown Town Councilor Devaney to stand trial after rejecting possible agreement with prosecutors

Posted January 16, 2008 03:01 PM


After rejecting a possible agreement that would have ended the case, Watertown Town Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney is now scheduled to go on trial May 1 for on a felony assault and battery charge.

Appearing in Waltham District Court this morning, lawyers for the state and Devaney told Judge Gregory C. Flynn they canceled a Dec. 13 trial date because they thought an agreement settlement was imminent.

Devaney, however, rejected the offer, even though her own attorney told the judge that it "appeared to be reasonable." Attorney Rob Galibois, who appeared in court on behalf of Devaney’s regular attorney, Kevin Reddington, declined to discuss the specifics of the proposed agreement.

Devaney has been accused of hitting a Waltham beauty supply store clerk with a bag containing a curling iron last April after the pair got into an argument over Devaney’s efforts to purchase items with a personal check.

The store clerk alleges that Devaney got upset after being told store policy required she show a driver’s license when writing a check.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Donohue concedes recount, Devaney back on Watertown council

Posted December 27, 2007 12:41 PM

Town Councilor John Donohue has conceded his seat to Marilyn Petitto Devaney


Town Councilor John Donohue has given up his legal challenge of the Nov. 30 recount that bounced him from the council and put incumbent Marilyn Petitto Devaney back in office for another two-year term.

Donohue, who was initially declared the winner of the Nov. 6 election, conceded the race after a Middlesex Superior Court judge declined yesterday to review most of the ballots that he believed were erroneously tallied in Devaney's favor during the recount.

"Although I have been advised that the judges decision not to allow a review of the ballot boxes in Districts B-4 and B-5 maybe erroneous as a matter of law, I have decided not to appeal the decisions further," Donohue said in a statement he posted on the H20town blog.

"I have done so, so as not to provide for a lengthy and costly dispute with the town, while putting the continuity of the council and the best interests of the residents first," the statement continued. "I also feel that an appeal will not allow for a clear and conclusive answer for the irregularities that occurred during the re-count."

Donohue, a Watertown pub owner, had served as a councilor-at-large since 2005.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Watertown town councilors Devaney and Donohue to contest recent election results

Posted November 16, 2007 05:14 PM

Recently-defeated town councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney has demanded a recount.
(Globe staff photo)


With minutes to spare before the deadline, town councilors Marilyn Petitto Devaney and John Donohue today both filed requests for a recount of the Nov. 6 town election.

Devaney's 1,816-vote tally placed her fifth in a race for four at-large seats, a stunning reversal of fortunes for the 69-year-old, who had outpaced challengers by wide margins in previous elections. Donohue, her closest competitor, grabbed the fourth and final seat with 1,821 votes, a slim five-vote margin.

Both are asking for a town-wide recount, as opposed to singling out any specific precincts. If Devaney -- who faces felony charges in a recent confrontation at a Waltham beauty supply store and has been an aggressive critic of town administration -- does not prevail, her 26-year run as a councilor-at-large will come to an end.

Town Clerk John Flynn said that once the paperwork has been certified on Monday, the Board of Election Commissioners will meet at 5:30 that evening to set a date for the recount. The earliest date for a recount would be Nov. 27, Flynn said.

-- Christina Pazzanese

The voters have spoken

Posted November 8, 2007 10:46 AM

Governor's Councilor Marilyn P. Devaney, right, leaves the courthouse with Rev. Emmanuel Metaxas following her arraignment on assault charges in May at Waltham District Court.
(Globe staff photo by Lisa Poole)


Watertown residents bid adieu to a long-serving and embattled town councilor and Newton voters ousted a pair of incumbent aldermen in this weeks election, staff writer John C. Drake reports in the online edition of today's City & Region section.

Watertown Town Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney, who faces felony charges in a recent confrontation at a Waltham beauty supply store and has been an aggressive critic of town administration, came five votes short of maintaining the at-large council seat she has held for 26 years.

Barring a recount, her 1,816-vote tally placed her fifth in a race for four at-large seats, a stunning reversal of fortunes for the 69-year-old, who outpaced challengers by a wide margin in previous elections. Her closest competitor, incumbent John Donohue, finished with 1,821 votes. Devaney could not be reached for comment.

Read more about local election results in today's City & Region section online.

Watertown man arrested after Western Mass. standoff

Posted October 18, 2007 11:06 AM


A Watertown man is being held on bail after he allegedly went to his ex-girlfriend's home in Hatfield home where he said he wanted "one of the troopers there to shoot him to commit suicide," the Springfield Republican newspaper is reporting on its web site.

Robert L. Nicol, a 49-year-old former Northampton Police sergeant, was arrested by state police early Saturday morning after holding more than a half-dozen police officers at bay and asking them to shoot him, according to a report from state police.

Watertown man charged with assault after melee with Boston College athletes

Posted October 2, 2007 08:00 AM


A bar patron who was allegedly assaulted by an off-duty Massachusetts State Police sergeant and two Boston College football players was charged yesterday with punching the sergeant during the altercation.

Sean Maney, 28, a software engineer from Watertown, was charged with assault and battery against Sergeant Joseph J. Boike during a melee July 1 at The Greatest Bar near North Station. Assistant Magistrate Francis X. Cunningham issued the complaint after a hearing in Boston Municipal Court, staff writer Robert Hohler reports today.

Witnesses for Boike supported the sergeant's assertion that Maney started the fight by punching Boike after the sergeant, a part owner of the bar, asked Maney and his friends to vacate their seats to make room for a group of Boston College players.

"This gives the public a much better, clearer view of what really went on in terms of who started the physical confrontation," said Boike's lawyer, Timothy M. Burke.

Boike, 52, sought the complaint after he was charged with assaulting Maney and Christy Osborne, the girlfriend of Maney's brother Brian, during the brawl. State Police have suspended Boike without pay pending the outcome of the court case. BC players Gosder Cherilus and DeJuan Tribble also were charged with assaulting Maney, who suffered a broken neck and other injuries in the altercation.

"We have faith that justice will prevail," his mother, Maureen, said. "Anybody who knows Sean knows he would never do what [Boike] said he did."

ADL reverses position on Armenian genocide

Posted August 21, 2007 03:46 PM



The national office of the Anti-Defamation League reversed its long-held position today and acknowledged the Armenian genocide of 1915, saying in a statement that the mass killings of that era at the hands of the Ottoman Turks "were indeed tantamount to genocide."

However, the statement reaffirms the national ADL's belief that the legislation pending in Congress to recognize the genocide is "a counterproductive diversion," staff writer Keith O'Brien reports.

The ADL's statement, released to the Globe and on the group's website this afternoon, came "in light of the heated controversy," which began weeks ago in suburban Watertown, where more than 8,000 Armenian-Americans call home. Days earlier, the ADL's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, fired the regional director of the New England ADL for making a similar statement.

In Newton, Human Rights Commission member Brenda Krasnow called the reversal an interesting development and possibly a "step in the right direction."

For more information, links, and previous stories on the issue, visit the Globe's Local News Updates blog online.

Watertown's Armenians help rescind town's "No Place for Hate" status over genocide dispute

Posted August 15, 2007 01:58 PM


Under pressure from its Armenian residents, the Town Council in Watertown voted last night to rescind its participation in the No Place for Hate program.

Globe West correspondent Christine Pazanese reported today that the council's 8-to-0 vote (one councilor was absent) was a response to objections by Armenian Americans who say the Anti-Defamation League, one of the program's sponsors, refuses to acknowledge what many consider a genocide committed against Armenians by the Turks from 1915 to 1917.

"We cannot join with the ADL when they refuse to acknowledge the [Armenian] genocide," said Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney, who introduced the proclamation to withdraw from the program.

Watertown, with one of the largest populations of Armenians in the country, was one of 67 communities in Massachusetts to adopt the program. It joined No Place for Hate in July 2005 and reaffirmed its participation in June.

Andrew Tarsy, regional director of ADL's New England office, last night condemned as "distortions and rhetoric" suggestions that the ADL has denied a genocide occurred and has been working against congressional legislation to formally acknowledge the slaughter.

Read more about the Armenian genocide controversy in the online edition of today's Globe.

Watertown is no place for hate, but definitely a spot for controversy

Posted August 1, 2007 03:10 PM


As far as town proclamations go, the one that declared Watertown a No Place for Hate community in July 2005 seemed like a pretty innocuous one. The goal was to celebrate diversity and challenge bigotry. And the program, in place in 67 Massachusetts communities and hundreds of others nationwide, has generated very little controversy elsewhere.

But that has not been the case in Watertown. In recent weeks, the town that bills itself as No Place for Hate on a sign outside Town Hall is abuzz with anger and frustration, especially among the large Armenian population, reporter Keith O'Brien of the City & Region staff writes in a story today.

At issue is not the program itself, but the group behind it, the Anti-Defamation League, and in particular the ADL's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide at the hands of Turks during World War I.

"It's kind of the worst hatred to deny genocide," said Nayiri Arzoumanian, a woman of Armenian heritage who has lived in Watertown for eight years. "It's the worst kind of hypocrisy."

Read more about the war of words over genocide in the online edition of today's Globe.

Watertown man dies in Rhode Island, friends recover his body

Posted July 3, 2007 12:52 PM


The Coast Guard called off the search for Phillip Stevens at 11 p.m. Sunday, almost 35 hours after he was last seen fishing in choppy water near Brenton Reef.

But members of the Freediving Club were not ready to give up the search for their friend, the president of the Massachusetts chapter and a regular organizer of tournaments involving Rhode Island spear fishermen, the Providence Journal reports today.

“We wanted to do everything we could to recover our brother,” said Robert Marvelle, of Newport, who joined the Rhode Island Freediving Club four years ago at Stevens’ urging. “We were persistent. It was very important to us not to let him just sit out there.”

They discovered his body yesterday at 1:30 p.m. at Prices Point, east of Brenton Reef, after six hours of searching.

Four hours later, a member of the Warwick Police Department dive team recovered the body, and it was transported in a state Department of Environmental Management patrol boat to the Castle Hill Coast Guard station, where the state medical examiner identified the body, according to DEM spokeswoman Gail Mastrati.

Read more here about the search for Stevens.

Home improvement giant withdraws bid to skirt parking rules

Posted May 27, 2007 06:35 AM



The developers of a proposed Lowe's store at 20 Seyon Street want to withdraw their application for a special permit that would allow the home improvement giant to install fewer than the required number of parking spaces for the project.

The letter from Samuels & Associates' attorney Joseph M. Connors, Jr. asks Waltham's city councilors to let Lowe's withdraw the request without prejudice. The attempt to build a Lowe's on a lot overlapping both Waltham and Watertown has drawn criticism from neighbors who say it would attract more traffic than the area can handle.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Local blogger wins digital media contest

Posted May 24, 2007 04:03 PM


Lisa Williams, who runs the H2OTown blog covering Watertown, walked away with $220,000 from the Knight News Challenge, a contest designed to develop ways to create local communities out of digital media.

Williams (also a consultant to will use the money to help further develop her Placeblogger project. She said Placeblogger is the "blogosphere's answer to the AP."

-- Adam Sell

Devaney pleads not guilty to assault charge

Posted May 17, 2007 12:13 PM


With a priest by her side, Governor's Councilor Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney pleaded not guilty yesterday in Waltham District Court to felony charges that she assaulted a store clerk last month.

Devaney, 69, of Watertown, is accused of striking Adriana Latif in the chest at Sally Beauty Supply in Waltham with a shopping bag containing a curling iron on April 13, after Latif refused to accept Devaney's personal check without a driver's license.

Latif alleges Devaney flashed her State House identification badge and pointed to state-issued license plates on her 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser in an attempt to use her status to get Latif to cooperate.

In an interview with the Globe yesterday, Devaney said she has been "wrongly accused" and believes she'll be exonerated once she has had a chance to tell her side of the story.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Postcard Expo in Watertown on Saturday

Posted April 12, 2007 05:02 PM


(Collection of Kathy Alpert, Watertown)


Before text messages, before e-mail, before telephones, there was a quick and cheap way to transmit a message: postcards.

Postcards are widely considered the third-most popular collectible -- after stamps and coins -- in the United States, although more for the image on the front than the message scrawled on the back.

On Saturday, enthusiasts from across New England will converge on the Armenian Educational & Cultural Center in Watertown for the Bay State Postcard Collectors Club's 58th annual sale and show.

Nearly 50 dealers are expected to display their cards for several hundred collectors, both serious and casual, organizers said.

The interesting thing about postcards, said Watertown artist Kathy Alpert, is that their value is primarily in the mind of the collector.

"It's not always about rarity, it can be a lot of things, like history, sentimental value, the way some people feel about certain things or places. There's a real emotional element to it."

The Bay State Postcard Collectors Club's 58th annual show and sale is scheduled for Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Armenian Educational & Cultural Center, 47 Nichols Ave. in Watertown. Admission is $2. Parking is free.

-- Erica Noonan

Build a better battery and the world...

Posted March 13, 2007 03:00 PM


VROOOOM! Or, rather, much more softly: brmmm.

A123Systems, a start-up in Watertown, says it has created a powerful, safe, long-lived battery. If the cell fulfills the ambitions of its maker, that softer sound will be the future of automobiles.

-- The New York Times

President Bush touts hybrid car with batteries by Watertown firm

Posted February 24, 2007 08:39 AM


President Bush peered under the hood of an all-electric sport utility truck and a hybrid car with batteries made by a Watertown firm parked at the White House Friday.

Bush used the occasion to stress that his goal of reducing gasoline use by 20 percent over the next decade is realistic.

"I firmly believe that the goal I laid out - that Americans will use 20 percent less gasoline over the next 10 years - is going to be achieved, and here's living proof of how we're going to get there,'' Bush said on the South Lawn.

Bush's energy proposals, made in his State of the Union address last month, include ramping up the production of alternative fuels such as ethanol made from new, non-corn feedstocks.

"We're going to be driving our cars using all kinds of different fuels other than gasoline, and using batteries that will be able to be recharged in vehicles that don't have to look like golf carts,'' Bush said after meeting with business leaders and scientists who believe there is a market for automobiles that use high-tech batteries.

The hybrid car that Bush inspected had a high-power lithium-ion battery made by A123 Systems of Watertown. It can power the car for about 40 miles and recharge in five hours.

-- AP

Against the wind

Posted February 14, 2007 04:19 PM



A pedestrian at the Arsenal on the Charles braves blowing snow during today's storm in this picture by Globe staff photographer Essdras Suarez.

Tentative teachers pact in Watertown

Posted February 9, 2007 04:05 PM


School officials and the teacher's union reached a "tentative
agreement" for a three-year contract yesterday, said William
Fratto, the union president.

Fratto wouldn't give salary terms, saying that some details still need to be ironed out. He did say that the increase exceeds the school officials' last offer, which was 8.5 percent over the life of the contract. Fratto said he expects a new agreement to be ratified by month's end.

The union has agreed to accept higher co-pays for health insurance, but staved off an increase in premiums that would have seen their share climb from 10 percent to 20 percent.

The union, which has been working without a deal since August,
represents about 340 employees, including teachers, house
masters, assistant principals, coordinators, and instructional

-- Christina Pazzanese

Masters of disasters

Posted January 31, 2007 12:49 PM


Newton, Needham, Watertown, and Wellesley are among 27 greater Boston communities that are the best prepared to respond to epidemics and natural or man made disasters, a national public health organization has determined.

The cities and towns singled out by the National Association of County and City Health Officials were rated on their their response readiness, planning, workforce competency, and emergency exercises, officials said. Greater Boston was also cited for its overall readiness, one of only six regions in the nation to receive such the recognition, said Newton Health and Human Services Commissioner David Naparstek.

"The bar is set very high for public health groups to meet this standard,” Naparstek said.

-- Connie Paige

Ford shuts down Watertown-based daycare centers

Posted January 29, 2007 10:49 AM


Employees of Ford Motor Company loved their work-sponsored day care centers run by Watertown-based Bright Horizon Family Solutions. But they'll have to find somewhere new to drop off their kids this summer because, in an effort to cut costs, Ford is closing seven of them effective June 29, the Detroit News reports.

"This was the last true benefit that enabled significant productivity by us," one Ford employee told the News. "While collar folks who work long and late -- for no overtime -- could be comforted by the fact that a high quality center was teaching and protecting our children."

-- Adam Sell

A man who epitomized 'honorable'

Posted January 4, 2007 06:19 PM


‘‘If anybody epitomized the term ‘honorable,’ it was Fred,’’ said Watertown Town Council president Clyde L. Younger.

Frederick Pugliese, a longtime fixture on the Watertown political scene, died suddenly Tuesday night. He was 50.

A wake will be held 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at DeVito Funeral Home, 761 Mt. Auburn St., Watertown. The Funeral Mass is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday in St. Patrick Church.

‘‘Fred was a man of his word. He looked at every issue thoroughly, did his homework, and voted his conscience, even if it wasn’t popular,’’ said Thomas ‘‘Gus’’ Bailey, a friend and former council colleague.

Mr. Pugliese served on the Town Council from 1998 through 2005. Previously he worked for Watertown as town clerk and assistant to the town manager.

Mr. Pugliese leaves his wife, Julie A. M. Ahern, an attorney; and son, Frederick Julian; a sister, Patricia Abramson of Wayland; and Anne Pugliese of Watertown.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Watertown blogger offering new service

Posted January 4, 2007 03:40 PM


Watertown blogger Lisa Williams has created a new blog directory that went live recently. is a listing of local-interest blogs from across the country.

Williams' own local blog focuses on Watertown, at

The project, Williams tells MarketWatch, is designed to help local bloggers swap ideas on how to keep a local blog, and maybe even make money through advertising.

-- Adam Sell

Police officer leaves school beat

Posted January 3, 2007 05:26 PM


Police Officer Lloyd Burke has been temporarily reassigned from Watertown Middle School after news surfaced that a former teacher had filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination alleging that he had sexually harassed her.

The former teacher, Victoria Crisp, also claims school officials did nothing to stop the alleged harassment and fired her last April in retaliation.

Burke requested the transfer because he didn't want the matter to be "a distraction'' to students, according to a news release issued by the police today.

Burke has been assigned to the Middle School for 10 years, serving as the school’s full-time resource officer for the past five years.

He declined to comment to the Globe about the allegations.

–Christina Pazzanese

Candlelight vigil against the war

Posted January 2, 2007 06:47 PM



Rev. Mike Clark and Rev. Christine Elliott, both of St. John's Methodist Church in Watertown, were joined by Sister Jennifer Pierce of Somerville and dozens of others yesterday in a candlelight vigil against the Iraqi War outside Park St. Station in Boston.
(Globe Staff Photo by Wendy Maeda)

Gas pump hit by car explodes

Posted December 18, 2006 09:16 AM


A gasoline pump exploded after an accident yesterday at a car care center, destroying a car, according to the Watertown Fire Department.

A motorist trying to back up at the Belmont Auto Clinic accidentally struck the pump and the attendant's booth when his foot got stuck on the accelerator, Deputy Chief Edward Barrett said.

As the flames erupted, the man and his wife safely fled their car, and the attendant, who was not identified, escaped by breaking the window, then helped another customer move her vehicle to safety.

The attendant was admitted to Mount Auburn Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Barrett said.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Russell Buchanan, World War I veteran, 106

Posted December 7, 2006 10:30 AM



Russell Buchanan saluted the colors during Veterans Day observances at the Statehouse.
(Globe Staff Photo by John Tlumacki)

Russell A. Buchanan of Watertown, who was believed to be one of only two surviving World War I veterans in Massachusetts and who also served in World War II, died yesterday of complications following a stroke, a heart attack, and pneumonia at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. He was 106.

"At 106, Russ was in many ways still serving his country," said Robert Erickson, veterans' service officer for Watertown, yesterday, referring to Mr. Buchanan's recent participation in many veterans' events, his visits to Watertown schools to talk about patriotism, and interviews on national and international media about his service in World War I and World War II.

"The kids gave him a standing O," Erickson said of the school visits.

"Russ was an inspiration to all of us who came after him," Tom Kelley of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services said in a Globe obituary today. "We really look up to the men and women of that generation."

-- Gloria Negri

Watertown teachers protest stalled talks

Posted December 5, 2006 04:22 PM

Watertown teachers staged a protest last night in hopes of jump-starting contract talks between their union and the School Committee.

They demonstrated outside the town’s cable access studios at Watertown High School, just before the School Committee held its monthly meeting inside.

Their contract expired in August.

Bill Fratto, president of the Watertown Educators Association, said though they’ve “made some progress” in the last few months, talks had “gone backward, a little” over the last two weeks.

The protest was an attempt to find a “creative” way to “send a message to the School Committee and get this done,” said Fratto.

He said wages and health insurance cost-sharing have been key issues since the two sides began meeting in March.

–Christina Pazzanese

You can love him or hate him, but you can't ignore him

Posted November 22, 2006 12:12 PM



For a small man, John DiMascio certainly has a big mouth.

With his rat-a-tat gift for gab, the 5-foot-tall DiMascio has seemingly come from nowhere over the last two years to become one of the town's most colorful political figures.

DiMascio dispatches taxis at night -- and liberals during the day.

"It began to dawn on me what had happened in the community over the past 15, 20 years. We'd been getting along great, this wonderful, eclectic community, always welcoming everybody. And then a bunch of people move in and tell us there's something wrong with us," DiMascio said.

Read more about DiMascio in tomorrow's Globe West.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Watertown auto shops receive grant to go "greener"

Posted November 16, 2006 02:30 PM


Megan Baldwin, who works for the Town of Watertown Health Department, has received a $5,000 grant from the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

The program, which is funding seven community grant projects that aim to reduce the amount of toxic chemical use in the state, announced that it has granted money to the Auto Shops Alternatives Project, headed by Baldwin, to provide training for 45 auto shop owners.

-- Erica Tochin

A salute to the colors

Posted November 11, 2006 04:00 PM



Russell Buchanan, 106, of Watertown, is a rarity. He's a veteran of World War I. Buchanan, who also served in World War II, was on hand for today's Veterans Day observances at the Statehouse. He salutes the honor guard as they enter the Hall of Flags in this picture by staff photographer John Tlumacki.

Moving the parents

Posted November 11, 2006 03:13 PM


Thomas Lee writes in a column in the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis about the trials and tribulations of moving his aging parents out of their house in Watertown to a more suitable abode.

"My childhood home in Watertown, Mass., was a deathtrap. The house, which resembles something out of a bleak Dickens novel, stands about 30 feet above street level with a front porch that's connected to the sidewalk by a steep flight of cracked concrete steps. Mom and Dad were hip replacement operations waiting to happen" Lee writes.

Lee tells about the difficulty of clearing out all his parents' junk -- and his father's decision to hire movers only for the larger items, which meant the rest had to be moved in shopping carts.

"It was surreal. How could my parents have so much, especially since we had spent the past four months throwing away their stuff? And why, oh why, didn't we rent a van? I would have gladly paid for it," Lee writes in the column.

Watertown hosts a rarity: a World War I vet

Posted November 10, 2006 12:07 PM


Veterans of World War I are a rarity, just as Civil War veterans were for previous generations.

However, Watertown is proud to be home to one of the few remaining veterans of the "war to end all wars."

Russell Buchanan is 106, and served in the Navy, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

He also served in World War II, in the Army's "Yankee Division." He credits his long life to staying fit.

-- Erica Tochin

Robert C. O'Reilly, 77

Posted November 4, 2006 12:03 PM


Robert C. O'Reilly considered firefighting the last of the romantic jobs, he once told his son while serving as chief of the Watertown Fire Department, because every time a firefighter leaves the station he's helping someone, no matter the person's gender, ethnicity, or politics.

"He liked that there were no value judgments in firefighting," said Edward J., a former firefighter who worked in his father's department. "You don't know or care who you're helping -- it's just another human being. There's no other job like that."

A third-generation firefighter who worked his way up the ranks of the fire department he had admired as a boy, Mr. O'Reilly was known to rush into burning buildings alongside his men -- sometimes with a lit cigarette in his mouth, his son said -- to check that they were safe.

In his management of the department, he was likened to a conductor. "He was very creative with firefighting," his son said. "You'd think you were doing OK and then he'd bring it to another level. When he showed up, we went from a high school production to a Broadway show."

Mr. O'Reilly died suddenly Sunday at his winter home in Naples, Fla. of what his family believes was a heart attack, his son told the Globe in an obituary today. He was 77.

-- Stephanie Peters

Blind learn about nature at Perkins School

Posted November 1, 2006 05:04 PM



(Kara Voiland gets a sense of a leaf, Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

Kara Voiland must have passed by the towering horse chestnut tree more than a thousand times over the past decade but until a few weeks she had no idea that it was there.

“Ten years I’ve gone by it and didn’t know!” Voiland said, stroking one of its satiny chestnuts, her face beaming with the thrill of discovery.

Voiland, 19,and Deanna Powers, 17, were getting a lesson on trees at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown.

The Watertown school was established to prepare blind and visually impaired students to lead independent lives, but it sees its role as more than teaching academic subjects and vocational skills.

“An appreciation of nature, plants and flowers is part of the enjoyment of life, for everyone, sighted or not,” said Barbara Castleman, a spokesperson for Perkins, adding that horticulture has been part of the studies since the school moved to North Beacon Street in 1912.

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

-- Ann Butler

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)

Tufts to move out of Waltham

Posted October 18, 2006 09:14 AM


In a cost-cutting move, Tufts Health Plan will leave its Waltham headquarters next year and consolidate operations in Watertown, where most of the insurer's 1,800 employees already work.

About 500 employees will be moved to ``under utilized space" at 705 Mt. Auburn St. in Watertown, where Tufts occupies 426,000 square feet of a 440,000-square-foot building, the company said. The move comes in the midst of a layoff affecting fewer than 100 employees. The health insurer is also eliminating 50 unfilled positions.

``This is another move that shows us to be effective and cost-efficient," Patti Embry-Tautenhan, a Tufts spokeswoman, told the Globe. ``We are being responsible stewards of our resources."

-- Jeffrey Krasner

Lower property taxes? Sorry, but no.

Posted October 16, 2006 07:11 AM


So your house is probably worth less because the real estate marketing is softening. Hey, at least your property taxes will go down, too. Right?

"The short answer is no," Daniel Loughlin, who chairs the assessors, told the Watertown Town Council last week. Loughlin noted that the market decline was primarily hitting communities with a large number of homes priced above $1 million.

In addition, he pointed out, his office establishes property values a year before homeowners receive their tax bill. For 2006, homes were assessed based on 2005 sales data, a banner year for real estate prices, he said.

Also, since most of the town's budget comes from property tax, the town would have to cut services and staffing if leaders opted to keep taxes below the maximum allowed under Proposition 2 1/2 tax cap.

Many councilors expressed frustration, saying they've been inundated with calls from residents complaining about their rising tax bills.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Playing the race card in the race for governor

Posted October 15, 2006 07:39 AM


In a letter to the editor today, Dan Seidman of Watertown says that, with the election a little more than three weeks away, race could still have a role in deciding the outcome.

The number of voters whose decisions will be at least partially affected by race is fairly small. But it is sizable enough that Kerry Healey can gain points by denouncing the work and mission of the NAACP.

Does Seidman's argument hold water? Is he all wet? Dive into the debate at the Globe West Message Boards.

Watertown town manager agrees to 3-year deal

Posted October 12, 2006 07:24 PM


After eight months of talks, the Town Council has reached an agreement with Michael Driscoll under which he will stay on as town manager for nearly three more years.

Council president Clyde L. Younger announced the deal that will keep Driscoll in Watertown until June 30, 2009, during Tuesday’s council meeting.

Last year, the council sought to rein in terms of Driscoll’s severance pay and eliminate a provision that kept him on indefinitely unless the council terminated him.

Under the old deal, Driscoll's contract was automatically extended a year if the council failed to notify him 12 months before the contract expired that he would not be renewed.

If the council missed that deadline and decided to fire him, the town could have been forced to pay up to two years’ salary. The new agreement calls for nine months of severance if Driscoll is let go before the contract ends.

The council also plans to give Driscoll two separate wage increases, which together would bring his base salary to $126,778, up from $121,855.

-- Christina Pazzanese

Sound off on Nonantum Road

Posted October 11, 2006 02:10 PM


Do you feel like you're taking your life in your hands when you travel parts of Nonantum Road?

Tomorrow night you can hear a state consultant's suggestions for the busy road, where three people have died since January.

The consultant recommends re-lining parts of the road to reduce it from four to two lanes. The state also wants to hear the public's ideas for the road, which straddles Newton, Watertown, and Allston-Brighton.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Watertown Library, 123 Main St.
A second public meeting is slated for Oct. 19 at Newton City Hall, 1000 Commonwealth Ave.

-– Christina Pazzanese

Elderly project progress slow

Posted October 11, 2006 12:26 PM

The former Coolidge School. (Photo: Bill Polo/Globe Staff0


Plans to convert the former Coolidge School into 38 rental apartments for people age 55 and over are progressing, albeit much slower than expected, says Gregory Watson, the town’s director of community planning and development.

Watson told the council this week that developer Bart J. Mitchell has secured the necessary permits and much of the financing for the $10 million project in the city's East End, but is still waiting to hear if he’ll be awarded more than $1 million in various state tax credits.

If approved, the renovation would likely get underway by early spring, Watson said. If Mitchell is not awarded the credits, the project would be delayed until May or June, he said.

Several councilors told Watson that they’re worried the developer’s financing plans sound shaky and could jeopardize the entire project if they fall through.

Watson assured the council the plans do not hinge on receiving the tax credits. Negotiations over the property lease are “substantially complete” and could be put before the council for a vote before year’s end, he said.

-– Christina Pazzanese

Disconnect in Watertown

Posted October 3, 2006 06:42 AM


In a letter to the editor today, Watertown's Ralph Filicchia sounds off on what he calls a disconnect in the polling data between Massachusetts voters' preference in candidates and their feelings about major issues.

"Well, isn't this something. The latest poll shows Deval Patrick with a big lead over Kerry Healey, even though a majority of voters oppose his positions on immigration, income taxes, and crime! Is this Massachusetts at its best, or what? Vote for what you don't want and then complain later that you got what you voted for."

Want to do a little sounding off yourself? Check out the Globe West Message Boards.

The good life

Posted September 29, 2006 02:08 PM


Romney Evans has it made. The 2006 graduate of Babson's Olin Graduate School of Business now runs his own Web startup. The True Apparel Company website asks Internet users to put in their own measurements, then tells them which jeans will best fit their body type.

Here, in a recent interview with Business Week, the Watertown resident describes a typical day in his life as co-founder of his company.

-- Erica Tochin

My mother asks personal questions

Posted September 24, 2006 10:42 AM


My mother has this horrible habit of asking questions that are far too personal. Recently, she asked friends of mine what they'd paid for their home. My friends were reluctant to reveal that information and said so, but my mother continued to press the point until everyone felt uncomfortable. The next time she directs a personal question (usually relating to money or relationships) at me or my friends, is there something I can do to keep the situation from becoming awkward?

K.L. in Watertown

Find out what this reader should do in today's Miss Conduct column in the Globe magazine.

Requiem for the Ritz?

Posted September 23, 2006 07:38 AM


Watertown's Valerie Taylor's letter to the edtior today lets us know that she is "enormously unhappy" to read that the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Arlington Street will likely be sold and lose its identity ("Indian firm in talks to buy Ritz-Carlton.") She writes:

Though I'm not particularly wealthy, I have enjoyed for many years an occasional hour in its bar. Though months go by between trips, I have always found there refreshment amid graver matters, and an atmosphere of elegant, democratic (small "d") good cheer ... This can't be copied by mere dark wood and an amiable layout , and I mourn in advance its effacing by pointless, unbeautiful ostentation.

Is a part of old Boston dying? Do you have any stories about tea at the Ritz with your Mom? A special anniversary dinner there? Share them in the Globe West Message Boards.

Gun scare at Watertown High

Posted September 22, 2006 10:34 AM


Watertown High School was put in lockdown mode for approximately 20 minutes yesterday after police received a report of two occupants of a vehicle waving a handgun in the air, according to a press release issued by the school.

Police located the vehicle, unoccupied, in front of the school. The two occupants of the vehicle were found in the high school. Police determined that the alleged handgun was inside the vehicle. Upon closer inspection, the "firearm" was determined to be a plastic toy.

Everything is back to normal today, and the two individuals (who are former students) have been banned from property owned by the Watertown Public Schools.

Police are continuing their investigation into the incident.

-- Erica Tochin

How old is too old to drive?

Posted September 21, 2006 12:25 PM


When should an elderly person stop driving?

That's the question on the minds of many adults whose aging parents continue driving despite slowing reflexes, decreased vision, and maybe even the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's.

Springwell, a nonprofit elder care agency based in Watertown, wants to help start a conversation between the generations.

They're hosting a free informational discussion on Monday about how to recognize when aging-related health conditions make driving hazardous, and how to talk to a loved one about putting away the car keys for good.

A panel, moderated by local radio host Margery Eagan, will include local experts on senior driving and a representative from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Call Springwell at 617-926-4100 to reserve a seat.

-- Stephanie V. Siek

Reilly votes in Watertown

Posted September 19, 2006 10:37 AM


Outside the Hibernian Hall polling place in Watertown, Dennis Duff held a campaign sign for Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly.

"My wife gets up at quarter to four," said Duff, who lives in Watertown. "I usually stay in bed, but today I got up for Tom."

Awaiting the candidate's arrival, a line of 33 Reilly supporters stretched from the street deep into the parking lot, but it was the two Deval Patrick supporters holding placards who stood out.

"This is Reilly's polling place, so I figured they'd have us by a couple," said Patrick supporter Mike Coglianese, a Watertown resident.

When Reilly's black car pulled to the curb on Watertown Street and he emerged with his wife, the volunteers chanted, "Reilly, Reilly," thumping their signs to the beat.

"Get out of the way," a television camera man yelled at one volunteer, who stepped in front to shoot his own photo.

Reilly shook hands and kissed cheeks along the line, then disappeared into the hall. He voted in the first booth; a whirr of cameras at the door recorded the moment.

Back outside, he took a moment and spoke into a cluster of microphones.

"Guess who I voted for?" Reilly quipped. "I feel great."

Reilly made much of his humble lifestyle in Watertown during the campaign. He has been trailing Deval Patrick and Chris Gabrieli in the polls.

-- Bryan Marquard

Abandoned fetus

Posted September 1, 2006 04:27 PM


The white shoe-box sized coffin drew about 20 mourners this morning to the edge of St. Patrick’s cemetery in Watertown.

They wore ties and dresses and listened to prayers from a pastor who assured them that the short life of the fetus had meaning even though she was found abandoned in June in a bathroom at Brighton High.

“People cared about her while she was here,” said Kevin Mojave, the custodian who found the body. “People loved her while she was here. And she touched a ton of people.”

Since June 1, nobody has come forward to claim the remains. Police are searching for whoever delivered the fetus, which was not full term. They have not announced any leads.

-- Matt Viser

Needles for 'Nawlins

Posted August 31, 2006 12:40 PM


Of all the commemorations of the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Watertown may be hosting one of the most unique this evening.

The group Acupuncturists Without Borders has given free treatments to about 6,000 people in Louisiana suffering from acute stress and trauma. To keep the effort going, acupuncturists across the US are offering their skills in a fundraiser called "We Stick Bayou."

Locally, the Japanese Acupuncture Center at 124 Watertown St. is one of the participants, offering 30- to 45-minute treatments -- designed to "reduce stress and anxiety, help with trouble sleeping, and provide a general sense of well-being" -- from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The suggested minimum donation is $20. Appointments aren't necessary, but can be made by calling Bella Rosner (a former New Orleans volunteer) at (617) 332-0566.

-- Ralph Ranalli

Seeking an alternative in Watertown

Posted August 26, 2006 10:22 AM


It could be the next big thing. Will A123 Systems of Watertown -- and alternative energy companies like it -- reestablish Massachusetts as a leader in cutting edge technology?

A123 is is working on a more powerful and durable rechargeable battery that could make hybrid cars more popular.

A front page story in today's Globe says venture capitalists are beginning to see dollar signs in clean energy and investing in local companies.


(Ronnie Wilkins at work at A123 Systems in Watertown, Globe Staff Photo by Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff)

A dim view of bicyclists

Posted August 26, 2006 10:12 AM


David McCaffrey of Watertown lashes out at bicyclists in a Letter to the Editor today, responding to another letter recently by bicyclist Marika Plater of Newton.

"She gives a list of bicycle rules. It's more of a wish list. Not only do bicyclists disobey the rules, their aggressive actions are a real threat to pedestrians. While driving on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge recently, I observed a bicyclist swerving in and out of traffic at high speed. When he came to the red light, he blew right through, narrowly missing an elderly woman. I observed four more bicyclists blow through the same red light," McCaffrey writes.

The Reillys of Watertown

Posted August 21, 2006 08:52 AM


Some say she's the quiet force behind Attorney General Thomas Reilly.

The Globe takes a look today at Ruth Reilly as part of its series on the wives of gubernatorial candidates.

The Globe says that when the Reillys had a fire and had to move temporarily from their Watertown apartment to West Roxbury three years ago, Ruth Reilly never really left Watertown.

Every morning for a year, she drove her navy blue 1999 Toyota Camry back to the old neighborhood to attend 7:30 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church, just as always. Then, she and her best friend would set off for a long walk.

Thomas Reilly is vying with Deval Patrick and Chris Gabrieli for the Democratic nomination.


(Ruth Reilly, staff photo by Bill Polo)

Stingy with the energy

Posted August 17, 2006 04:50 PM


The Tufts Health Plan Campus in Watertown has earned a gold star on its report card.

According to a statement issued by the New England Regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tufts Health Plan is the only health care provider in Massachusetts to earn the Energy Star label for superior energy performance.

According to the EPA, the Tufts Health Plan building uses almost one-third less energy than similar buildings, saving more than half a million dollars annually in energy expenses.

-- Erica Tochin

Waltham fatality UPDATE

Posted August 17, 2006 08:25 AM


I didn't see him," cried the tearful driver as he jumped out of his Ford pickup, witnesses said. His truck had struck a toddler moments earlier, knocking him to the ground and fatally injuring him, according to Waltham police.

Three mothers were loading their children in their cars at 9 a.m. when the truck came up Stearns Hill Road, which is within an apartment complex, police Lieutenant Joseph F. Brooks said.

The 22-month-old Watertown boy was the only person struck, Brooks said in a story by Ari Bloomekatz in today's City & Region section.

Herbal essence

Posted August 7, 2006 09:35 PM


An experimental therapy with humble beginnings as a Chinese herbal remedy is generating excitement among researchers battling HIV as doctors are increasingly concerned about the ability of the virus to thwart drugs designed to fight it.

As the International AIDS Conference convenes next week, there are more than 20 drugs available to suppress the virus and at least 82 additional HIV therapies in development, Globe business reporter Diedtra Henderson writes. But as quickly as drug companies find ways to sabotage HIV, the virus develops a new survival strategy.

That's why some patients, doctors, and researchers are excited about an experimental drug based on an herb known by the Latin name Syzigium claviflorum that had been used in Taiwan to treat diarrhea and stop bleeding. Now its derivative is being tapped to fight HIV by a small Watertown-based biotechnology company.

If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, bevirimat, developed by Panacos Pharmaceuticals Inc., would represent the first in a new class of drugs that uses an unusual approach to block maturation of the virus that causes AIDS.

Watertown like the Vineyard?

Posted August 1, 2006 09:01 AM


Attorney General Thomas Reilly, candidate for governor, drew some parallels between Watertown and the island of Martha's Vineyard in an apparent attempt to connect with the year-round residents of the island.

"Just walking around you see the diversity that makes the Island special," he told the Vineyard Gazette. "The people here love Massachusetts as much as I love it, and they love their Island even better. I live on the second floor of a two-decker in Watertown, which is much like places on the Vineyard - it's not rich, and not poor. They want a governor who understands what they're up against and understands how hard they are working and can't get ahead. Whether it is higher gasoline prices, electricity prices, they need some hope in the future."

Watertown vandalism

Posted July 26, 2006 06:41 PM


Watertown police are stepping up efforts to combat vandalism in their community.

Last week, vandals broke the windows of four cars and three businesses using marbles and other projectiles.

``More than likely it's a group of kids going around shooting a slingshot," said Michael Lawn, Watertown police spokesman. ``The officers working the overnight shift are going to be looking more for those types of things . . . . We get all kinds of vandalism all the time, but this is different."

The vandalism was mentioned in a story in today's Globe about vandalism discovered yesterday at about 30 businesses in Arlington and Lexington along Massachusetts Avenue.

Shopping and socializing

Posted July 17, 2006 11:55 AM


People who shop online can now do so and socialize at the same time, thanks to Watertown resident Philip Jacob.

Jacob, a data security consultant, recently launched a new web site, StyleFeeder, which allows people who shop online to bookmark the bargains they find and then share them with friends, the Globe reports today.

-- Erica Tochin

Women who blog

Posted July 17, 2006 11:48 AM


Women are a "blogging powerhouse." That's what some folks are saying, according to a story in today's Business section that features, among others, a Watertown woman who runs a blog about her community.

Lisa Williams, who runs the blog H20Town, says blogging has made her an entrepreneur, and taught her how to make connections and tolerate uncertainty. She says it's "empowering" and everyone should do it.

She also told the Globe she has been hired for several consulting jobs from her work on her blog.

-- Erica Tochin

OxyContin tracking

Posted July 14, 2006 11:44 AM


A local state lawmaker is pushing for more aggressive tracking of those who abuse prescription drugs and the doctors who prescribe them.

Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, a Democrat who represents Newton, Watertown and Waltham, is chairman of the OxyContin Commission. He is calling for safer storage of prescription drugs, better education for teachers and parents about the dangers of OxyContin, and a statewide disposal program for unused pills.

"It used to be that years ago we raided parents' liquor cabinets for liquor," he says in a Globe story today. "Now kids are raiding parents' medicine cabinets for drugs."

Abuse of prescription drugs has been responsible for a 600 percent increase in opioid related deaths in the state between 1990 and 2003.

-- Erica Tochin

Fire-safe cigarettes

Posted July 10, 2006 09:23 PM


A victory for Watertown state Rep. Rachel Kaprielian.

The governor has signed a bill that she championed that requires the sale of self-extinguishing cigarettes.

The cigarettes go out when they're not being puffed so they're less of a fire hazard.

An average of 20 people are killed and 150 injured each year by cigarette-related fires in Massachusetts. the AP reports today.

Goodbye focus groups

Posted July 10, 2006 08:22 AM


Goodbye surveys, goodbye focus groups.

A growing number of companies are setting up online communities that act as ongoing focus groups to advise them on what to do.

Communispace Corp. of Watertown is a leader in this new field, a story in the Globe's business section reports today.

Consumers who participate get a $10 gift certificate every once in a while. But the real reason they join may be that it gives them a feeling of power -- they're being listened to and having an impact on the decisions of a big company.

Financial physicals

Posted July 8, 2006 09:19 AM


Get a financial checkup every year.

That's the gist of a personal finance column by Debra Neiman of Neiman & Associates Financial Services in Watertown posted on yesterday.

Neiman says your life is dynamic, not static, and your financial plan should be as well. So it should be reviewed and adjusted evey year.

Army recruiter in Watertown

Posted July 6, 2006 01:37 PM


Army recruiting just isn't what it used to be.

That's what Army Sgt. Jake Kingsbury found when he tried to find recruits in Watertown.

A Globe reporter followed Kingsbury on his rounds -- from the streets to a laundromat to a resident's front door -- for a front-page story today that says local recruiters are having a harder time finding people willing to enlist.

Watertown resident urges cyclists to stay in streets

Posted June 27, 2006 11:18 AM


In this week's GlobeWatch West, we hear from Carol Damioli of Watertown, who said the sidewalks near her house feel like a human slalom race.

Bike riders whizz past her on the sideswalks - illegally. They're supposed to stay on the streets. It's an unacceptable hazard to bipeds who have a right to be on the sidewalk unthreatened.

Read more, and hear what local cyclists have to say in Sunday's Globe West.

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