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A note to our readers in Wellesley and beyond

Posted March 3, 2009 03:08 AM

Today, Tuesday March 3, we are launching a new Wellesley website, the fourth in our growing network of Your Town sites designed to bring online readers even more local news and information.

If you have been coming to Globe West Updates for news about Wellesley, you should head over to our new Wellesley site. While you're at it, check out the three other Your Town websites:;; and

We will provide links to local blogs, a searchable database of events, a wikipedia-style service for Wellesley that provides information from town hall and local organizations, and news and blog items from our Globe correspondents and staffers. Our town correspondent for the new site is Ben Terris, who can be reached at

As for the many other cities and towns in the suburbs West of Boston, we'll continue to post items here at Globe West updates. And of course, we continue to publish Globe West, our twice a week print section that comes out on Thursday and Sunday.

Thanks for your interest. Feel free to reach me at

David Dahl
Regional Editor

Elizabeth Mun funeral information

Posted February 21, 2009 12:41 PM

The funeral for Elizabeth Mun, the Wellesley teen who died after leaving an all night party in Andover, was held on Saturday.

Here is the link to Elizabeth's death notice on and here is a link to a guest book.

Remembering Elizabeth Mun of Wellesley

Posted February 16, 2009 01:54 PM

Investigators have identified the Concord Academy student who died yesterday after being found unconscious in an icy stream as Elizabeth Mun, a 16-year-old from Wellesley. Pam Safford, associate head of enrollment and planning at Concord Academy, described Mun as "an independent thinker with a finely tuned sense of humor."

Share your memories of Elizabeth Mun below.

A $5.8-mil senior center for Wellesley proposed

Posted February 9, 2009 10:48 PM

By Lisa Keen, Globe Correspondent

When it comes to providing services to senior citizens, Wellesley’s in the “dark ages,” town Selectman Harriet Warshaw told an audience Monday night.

Her solution: a $5.8-million, stand-alone senior center.

A Senior Study Committee, which Warshaw led, is recommending that a senior center be built at 496 Washington Street, to provide one central location for seniors to meet and hold programs and other activities. The site, which is in the center of town and within walking distance of a number of senior housing clusters, currently holds what used to be the American Legion house. The Wellesley American Legion chapter turned the building over to the town last April.

Warshaw said a preliminary estimate suggests a stand-alone center would cost approximately $5.8 million. Paid for over 20 years, said Warshaw, the facility would, at its peak, cost taxpayers about $43 more in taxes per year.

According to Warshaw, Wellesley currently spends about $41 per senior for its population over 60, a population that comprises about 21 percent of the town’s population. Compared to other towns, she said, “We’re on the dark ages side for services.”

Warshaw noted that numerous surrounding communities –including Brookline, Newton, Needham, Waltham, and Watertown, —have stand-alone senior centers. Currently, programs for seniors in Wellesley are held in a variety of settings, including the public library, the community center, and the recreation center.

Selectmen did not take a formal vote on the senior study committee’s plan to ask town meeting this spring for $400,000 to produce a detailed design for the center. But Selectman Chair Gregory Mills said services to Wellesley seniors are “an underfunded activity” and that the proposal is an “exciting prospect for the town.”

Town Executive Director Hans Larsen said the Selectmen would be asked to weigh in with a formal vote after the Senior Study Committee presents its plan to the town’s Advisory and Permanent Building committees this week. (Wed and Thur, Feb. 11 and 12).

What do you think of the proposed senior center? Post your comment below.

Do you use Route 9 in Wellesley?

Posted February 4, 2009 10:45 PM

If so, your long wait is over.

The ramp from Route 9 west to Route 16 has been re-opened, Wellesley police report.

"Workers have also temporarily repaved the bridge itself and removed a majority of the barriers,'' Wellesley police said in a statement. "This has made the bridge much wider for travel. Temporary pavement markings are also in place. The traffic lights at the ramp have been reactivated as well and will regulate the intersection. These lights were shut off when the ramp was first closed.''

"Work on the bridge has not been completed, however, and the bridge will again be paved when the project is completed sometime this spring.''

Last summer, the state predicted the bridge would be done in the fall.

Wellesley Town Meeting approves new high school

Posted October 21, 2008 03:14 PM

It took until almost midnight, but the Wellesley Special Town Meeting Monday night voted 188 to 18 to approve a proposal to build a new high school building.

The vote came after considerable opposition was voiced, including an eleventh-hour question about the safety of the new building against earthquakes. The architectural firm working with town officials on the new building assured town meeting voters that such issues have been looked at “very closely.”

Town Meeting approval now advances the $131 million proposal before voters December 9, who will be asked to approve the town’s largest ever debt exclusion --$86.6 million.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley High project advances

Posted October 1, 2008 03:33 PM

Even as the stock market fell, the state's School Building Authority this week confronted a stomach-churning decision on the fate of the Wellesley High School project: yes or no.

The authority approved the project Monday, casting aside fears of a nationwide credit crunch. The approval sends the project to the next step in the long process -- a town meeting later this month to consider Wellesley's share of the cost.

The price tag currently stands at $135.6 million including $110-million in construction costs. The school building authority voted to reimburse $44 million -- or 44 percent -- of the $110 million construction cost cap. Read more here and here.

Katherine Craven, the executive director of the authority, said the costs were “in line” with the kinds of bids for similar projects in other municipalities, and state Treasurer Timothy Cahill noted that the agency had vigorously vetted the Wellesley project and costs.

The economic turmoil is "a real issue,” he said, “and we're pushing back on real dollars to get these schools built for a reasonable cost." If the credit industry does dry up dramatically, he said, some communities may have to look at doing repairs and renovations to get by for 10 years. But considering the condition of Wellesley's current 70-year-old high school building, said Cahill, "there is not an option to do nothing."

“Instead of making costly repairs and then paying more in ten years for a high school, because of increased construction costs, the MSBA and Wellesley will save money by working to create a cost-effective and educationally appropriate new high school today,” said Cahill, who chairs the school building authority.

Katherine Babson, a Wellesley selectman and chair of the town’s School Building Committee, expressed optimism about gaining approval from both town meeting and voters.

“Everything’s in line for the project to go forward,” said Babson. “I very much appreciated the positive comments that Treasurer Cahill made about the project and the review that the MSBA took at looking at and analyzing it. He clearly supported the direction that the School Building Committee has taken and we’re moving forward.”

-- Lisa Keen

Posted September 29, 2008 07:28 AM

Construction of Wellesley’s new high school is still at least a year away but school officials are already preparing parents for the changes and disruptions that will occur while the project is being built.

Superintendent of Schools Bella Wong has notified parents that the School Committee will host a special forum on Wednesday for parents of all public school students in Wellesley to talk about the impact of the construction.

The forum is scheduled for this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

--Lisa Keen

Wellesly officials: Town may sidestep override for FY 2010

Posted September 23, 2008 09:59 AM

A larger-than-expected reserve of unspent cash has town officials in Wellesley hopeful that they can avoid asking voters for an operating budget override next summer.

Wellesley Finance Director Sheryl Strother said this week that town departments spent $2.6 million less than they had been appropriated for the 2008 fiscal year, which ended in mid-summer. The town’s financial plan projected a $2.7 million deficit for Fiscal Year 2010.

Normally, said Strother, town departments return about $1 million in unspent funds, but the School Department alone returned $1.3 million.

Still, town officials were urging residents to temper their optimism. Town Executive Director Hans Larsen told the Board of Selectmen that it’s too soon to say how much might be turned back from the current FY 09 budget.

Current uncertainty in the economy also leaves “a lot of unknowns” concerning future revenues, he said.

-- Lisa Keen

Parking spaces pave the way for new American bistro

Posted August 6, 2008 08:40 AM

A local restaurateur has secured enough parking commitments to convince Wellesley's skeptical selectmen and pave the way to a new upscale American bistro in the town's Lower Falls section.

The board approved a license Monday night for local resident Robert Walsh to open a restaurant that he plans to call the Falls Grill.

Last month, the Board delayed a vote on the application, expressing concerns about Walsh’s plan to handle parking entirely through valet parking in the heavily congested area, which currently has two busy restaurants, a pizza parlor, and a Dunkin' Donuts.

Walsh returned this week with commitments from area parking lots to provide 55 parking spaces during the evening hours. He estimated the restaurant would open around the first of the year.

-- Lisa Keen

Private fundraising effort reopens Wellesley's branch libraries

Posted July 29, 2008 07:56 AM

The Hills Branch is set to reopen after two years of closure due to lack of funding. (Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Two years after the Wellesley voters rejected public funding that would have allowed two branch libraries to remain open, both locations are now set to reopen their doors.

Marla Robinson, chairwoman of the Wellesley Free Library Board of Trustees, told Selectmen this month that a private fundraising effort launched in October 2006 has raised enough money to cover all expenses necessary to re-open and operate the small branch libraries. The trustees raised more than $240,000 to fund the effort, she said.

Officials said that reopening the branch libraries was important, because of their popularity with children and seniors. The two locations, the Hills Branch at the intersection of Washington Street and Route 9 and the Fells Branch near the intersection of Route 9 and Weston Road, will re-open on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

The library will grand opening ceremonies later that month, Robinson said.

--Lisa Keen

Wellesley votes to build new $175 million high school

Posted May 16, 2008 11:23 AM

Wellesley town officials voted unanimously last night to support plans to build a new $159 million high school.

Members of a combined panel of both the School Building Committee and the Permanent Building Committee voted 15 to 0 with one absent to back new construction over competing renovation plans.

Correction: Due to a reporting error, this item gave the incorrect tally for the vote on the new Wellesley High School. The vote was 16-0.

The panel includes one selectman (Katherine Babson), the town's executive director (Hans Larsen), a School Committee representative (Suzanne Littlefield), two architects, two builders, three financial experts, two educators, and two abutters, an HVAC expert, and a project manager.

Members of the building committee said the vote reflected a desire to minimize disruption for students during construction of an all-new complex, expected to take less than four years. Another proposal had called for renovation of the original 1938 section of the current building with new additions, but its cost was estimated at $175 million with more than five years required for construction.

Katherine Babson, chairwoman of the School Building Committee, said that while she had a sentimental attachment to the existing building, the smaller price tag and shorter length of time to completion compelled her to support the new building.

The project must now go through review by the state School Building Authority, which controls how much money the state contributes to the effort.

Townspeople said they hoped Wellesley would avoid some of the difficulties neighboring Newton has encountered during the past two years with its controversial $197 million Newton North high school project, which has seen tens of millions in cost overruns.

Marlene Allen, a school committee member, said she hopes the town will "make sure that we so sufficiently study this thing that we're ready to go without these huge cost overruns, and that we do the best job for the town."

-- Lisa Keen

Mystery donor brings Beach Boys to Wellesley for free concert

Posted April 30, 2008 05:43 PM

BeachBoys.JPGThey''ll be surfin' in Del Mar, Ventura County line, Santa Cruz and ... Wellesley?
(Globe file image)


A mystery donor is bringing The Beach Boys to Wellesley for a free concert on Sunday, May 18, as part of the town's annual "Wellesley's Wonderful Weekend" festivities.

The concert is being sponsored by a local resident who wishes to remain anonymous, said Roy Switzler, who is organizing the event.

The concert will take place at 7:15 p.m. at Hunnewell Field, which is located between between Washington Street and the Wellesley High School.

Legendary ambassadors of the California surfer lifestyle and creators of classics such as "Surfin' USA," "Surfer Girl," and "Good Vibrations," the band currently features a lineup that includes original members Mike Love (lead singer) and Bruce Johnston.

[Correction: Bruce Johnston actually joined the Beach Boys in 1965, after the group had already charted an impressive number of hits.]

According to Switzler, the group has played in Wellesley once before, but that was for a private party at the Wellesley Country Club.

-- Lisa Keen

Hofstra student from Wellesley charged with selling stolen property on Craiglist

Posted April 9, 2008 12:03 PM

A Hofstra University student was arrested by police in Nassau County, N.Y. for allegedly selling stolen property on the internet, the New York Daily News is reporting.

William Panagako, 24, of Wellesley, Mass., was arraigned yesterday on charges he used the classifieds-style Web site,, to hawk a 24-foot boat trailer for $1,500 and a 21/2-horsepower outboard motor for $500. He knew the items were stolen, Nassau County Police Detective Sgt. Thomas Reilly said, according to the newspaper.

The Daily News also quoted Panagako's mother, who defended her son saying he didn't know the items were stolen.

"He's a kid," said the woman, who would not give her name, identifying herself only as Panagako's mother. "He was trying to make some money on the side. He got stuck in the middle of this."

Fast times for Wellesley High School project

Posted March 17, 2008 10:27 AM

Planning has shifted into high gear for a new incarnation for Wellesley's 70-year-old high school building.

Selectwoman Katherine L. Babson has announced that the town's School Building Committee, which has been charged with recommending whether to build a new high school or expand and renovate the existing one, has adopted an "aggressive schedule" for the project. The new schedule could even have residents voting in December on a debt exclusion to fund the project, officials said.

Last week, more than 60 people turned out for the committee's first "Moving Forward" forum, one of several it will hold to present to the public details of the final three basic schematic designs it is considering for recommendation to the annual town meeting later this month.

At the forum, the architectural planning firm of Symmes Maini & McKee Associates presented details on three design options the Committee is now considering. Two of the options are for all new construction; one is for renovation and expansion of the existing building.

The renovation-addition option, dubbed "The Forum," retains certain architectural elements of the existing building, such as the distinctive tower, and connects the existing building with the new addition by situating a gathering place between them. It would an estimated five years to complete.

The new construction options, which would take between three and four years each to build, have been named "The Hub" and "The Courtyard." The Hub has wings that meeting in the middle, like the spokes of a wheel. The Courtyard is centered around an outdoor courtyard. Details of all three plans can be viewed on the town's website.

Babson said the committee hopes to narrow the choices to one design by as early as next month, and to get approval from the state School Building Authority for state assistance on the project this September. If all goes according to scheduled, the Committee could have the final proposal in front of town meeting for approval this October and a debt exclusion vote on Dec. 9.

The Committee presentation did not include updated estimates on how much any of the three options might cost, but some preliminary estimates provided by the Committee have put the cost at between $136 million and $152 million.

The final forum will take place Tuesday, March 25, at 9:30 a.m. in the Wakelin Room of the Wellesley Free Library. The Committee is also airing a video tour of the existing high school building on Channel 9, the local Wellesley cable channel. Air times for the 30-minute video are Mondays at noon, Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

-- Lisa Keen

Incumbent Babson and activist Searle elected to the Wellesley Board of Selectmen

Posted March 5, 2008 08:28 AM


Incumbent Katherine L. Babson Jr. and long-time town activist Barbara Searle were elected yesterday to the Wellesley Board of Selectmen.

Babson handily won re-election, and was the top vote getter among the three candidates with 2,335 votes. Searle, a former chairwoman of the town's Advisory Committee, won her seat with 1,937 votes.

Challenger Tom Ulfelder, who had attacked Babson's handling of a negotiation to have the town buy three residences abutting the high school property, was third with 1,173 votes.

For Babson, the term that begins Monday will be her second. Searle, meanwhile, will be taking over the seat vacated by David Himmelberger.

In the only other race on yesterday's ballot, there were no official candidates for the lone open seat on the town's Housing Authority board. Town Clerk Kathleen Nagle, however, said that there were a "significant" number of write-in votes. Those votes were still in the process of being tallied this morning, she said.

-- Lisa Keen

[Editor's Note: This entry was updated at 10:57 p.m. with final vote totals from the town clerk's office. The new totals did not change the reported outcome of the election.]

Wellesley schools outline capital cost-cutting measures

Posted February 8, 2008 03:26 PM


Even as they are seeking ways to cut back their operating budget by as much as $3 million for next year, Wellesley school officials this week unveiled a plan to trim capital costs as well.

Among the cuts approved by the school committee were scrapping a $35,000 project to install energy-saving lighting improvements at Schofield and Upham elementary schools and putting off the purchse of $87,423 in new computers and classroom instructional equipment.

The cuts were prompted by a request from the town's Advisory Committee that the school department cut its budget for next year down to this year's level. To do that, Business Manager for School Administration Ruth Quinn Berdell said, the committee had to cut its $1.3 million capital budget request back by approximately $350,000.

Town officials have yet to decide whether to ask voters for a Proposition 2 1/2 override to help close the town's budget gap, which is currently estimated at about $5 million. But Hans Larsen, the town's executive director, this week called it "increasingly likely" that residents will go to the polls for an override vote later this Spring.

-- Lisa Keen

Burton makes trek to Wellesley College for Black History Month

Posted February 4, 2008 08:21 AM



Actor LeVar Burton, who starred in "Roots," the groundbreaking miniseries about the African-American experience in America, will speak at Wellesley College this month as part of the school's celebration of Black History Month.

Burton, who is sometimes better known for his role as Geordi in the television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation," will give a talk entitled "The Making of Roots" during his visit Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Collins Cinema on campus.

The month-long celebration will also include lectures by former Black Panthers Party leader Elaine Brown on Wednesday, Feb, 13, also at Collins Cinema.

-- Lisa Keen

G-L-O-R-I-A, Gloooria!

Posted January 30, 2008 07:07 AM



Feminist icon Gloria Steinem was prophetic Jan. 8 when she opined, in the New York Times, that "Senators Clinton and Obama have to be careful not to let a healthy debate turn into the kind of hostility that the news media love."

Much to the delight of CNN and the Daily Show, Clinton and Obama have been slugging it out ever since.

Wellesley College, Clinton's alma mater, is not saying whether Steinem will make any more bold predictions when she appears on campus to speak next Wednesday, Feb. 6, but they are reasonable sure she'll take questions. Steinem is appearing at the invitation of the Students for Reproductive Rights group, according to college spokesperson Molly Taratino.

The public is welcome to attend. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by e-mail. The lecture begins at 7:30 p.m. in Tishman Commons in the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center.

--Lisa Keen

School officials to meet about special needs plan for new Wellesley High School

Posted January 20, 2008 07:50 AM


Wellesley School Superintendent Bella Wong and School Committee member Suzy Littlefield will meet on Tuesday with parents who are interested in how a new Wellesley High School will meet the needs of students with special needs.

The town is planning to either renovate the high school or a build a replacement, at a cost of as much as $150 million. The meeting is being hosted by Wellesley Parents Advisory Council, an organization of parents of children with disabilities in both public and private schools.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the faculty dining room of the Wellesley Middle School.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley is not a one-stoplight town, officials say

Posted January 15, 2008 07:14 AM


Wellesley town officials are not convinced that one traffic signal will take care of all the additional congestion that might arise out of the development of the old Grossman's hardware property.

Town Executive Director Hans Larsen told Selectmen recently that National Development, the company that plans to turn the 27 Washington Street property into an apartment and retail site, thinks a traffic light at River Road and Washington Street will mitigate any increased traffic.

But Larsen said the town was sending the company a letter saying it believes more is needed. A public hearing on traffic and parking concerns for the site is scheduled by the planning board for Monday, January 28.

-- Lisa Keen

It's not pop quizzes giving Wellesley High students the shivers

Posted January 3, 2008 02:46 PM

Wellesley High during warmer times...
(Globe staff photo by Jim Davis)


On one of the coldest days this winter, students at Wellesley High School had to keep their coats on at school today after the the building's aging boilers broke down.

In an e-mail to parents, principal Adam Blumer said the boilers were malfunctioning when custodians arrived early this morning but seemed to be running normally again by about 7:30 a.m.

But as the building was slowly warming up, a pipe cracked and triggered a second breakdown before noon, Blumer wrote in the message. Custodians were able to get the boilers working again in about an hour, but much of the school was expected to remain cold for the remainder of the day, he wrote.

The town is currently debating whether to renovate, partially replace, or completely replace the current 70-year-old structure, which is considered by some residents to have historic value. Wellesley was recently informed by the Massachusetts School Building Authority that state funds will be made available to defray some of the project's $150 million estimated cost.

Custodians were planning to keep the boilers set to their daytime temperature throughout the night in hopes of getting the temperature throughout the building at its proper setting by Friday, Blumer wrote.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley schools will soon serve up a little Chinese

Posted December 24, 2007 09:43 AM


The Wellesley Middle School and High School language curricula will soon include Mandarin Chinese, school officials said.

Currently, the schools offer Spanish, French, Latin, and German, said Adam Blumer, principal of the Middle School, during a recent presentation to the School Committee. The Middle School will begin offering Chinese to seventh graders.

"It reflects the notion that this is a language that is increasingly important for our kids to know," Blumer said.

-- Lisa Keen

Move it or lose it

Posted December 19, 2007 08:16 AM

The Wellesley Country Club building, circa 1960. The building looks much the same today.
(Globe file image)


The Wellesley Historical Commission has asked the Board of Selectmen for help in saving the original Wellesley Country Club building for possible use as an auxiliary town hall, a senior center, or affordable housing.

Commission spokesperson Deborah Bates said that, over the next several weeks, the commission will have contractors prepare estimates for how much it would cost to move and renovate the building. Bates said the Commission has only until the fall of 2008 to save the building, which the country club is replacing with a new structure.

One option discussed recently involved moving the 179-year-old, the historic site of Wellesley's secession from the town of West Needham, to the nearby Babson College campus, Selectman Katherine L. Babson Jr. said. Babson called that undertaking expensive, however, and said that the question of how to pay for it is still unanswered.

Commission member Helen Robertson said that the wood-clad structure on Wellesley Avenue is "one of the largest colonial buildings remaining in existence." At most, she said, there might be one or two others its size in all of New England.

-- Lisa Keen

Half of Wellesley's voters aren't party animals

Posted December 11, 2007 06:52 AM


Almost half of Wellesley's 15,312 registered voters are classified as unenrolled -- meaning they are not affiliated with any political party and can, therefore, vote in any of the party primaries on Feb. 5.

Among the other registered voters, 30 percent are registered as Democrats and 21 percent as Republicans, Town Clerk Kathleen Nagle said. Those voters can vote only in their party's primary.

Voters who don't remember whether they are registered as members of a specific party can check their status in the annual town census when that mailing goes out to all residents the first week in January.

Or, Nagle said, voters can visit the clerk's office, check their affiliation, and even if they want. All voter registration status, though, must be settled by 8 p.m. on Jan. 16.

The town clerk's office can be reached at 781-431-1019, ext. 2250.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley selectman to step down

Posted December 3, 2007 11:54 AM


Two-term Selectman David Himmelberger announced this week that he will not seek re-election to his seat on the Wellesley Board of Selectmen.

Himmelberger's seat -- and that of Selectman Katherine L. Babson Jr. -- are up for voting in town elections in March. Babson has said she will run.

Himmelberger, who has two young daughters at home, says he's taking a break from town duties to spend more time with his family and focus on his law practice.

"I've been involved in town activities for two terms as a Selectman and was on the Advisory Committee before that -- so for nine years," said Himmelberger. "It's time to step back."

Himmelberger said he will, however, be on the ballot in March 2008, hoping to retain his seat as a member of Town Meeting, representing Precinct B.

-- Lisa Keen

If that cookie is DDT-free, thank Rachel Carson

Posted November 15, 2007 10:09 AM

Rachel Carson in 1951
(Globe archive photo)


The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission will celebrate the 100th anniversary of a pioneer conservationist who was once named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People.

A National Book Award winner and contributor to the New Yorker magazine, Rachel Carson won acclaim for drawing attention to the dangers of DDT and other chemical pesticides in the 1950s, when the federal government was endorsing their widespread use.

The commission celebration will include a short talk and documentary film about her life, as well as a discussion of how to reduce pesticide use on lawns today. The presentation will take place on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Wellesley Free Library.

Coffee and (pesticide-free) refreshments will be served.

-- Lisa Keen

Conflict over Wellesley senior center dodged

Posted November 15, 2007 08:08 AM


An 11th-hour agreement has headed off a conflict over the future of Wellesley's senior center, a controversy that many people expected would be the most contentious issue at last week's Special Town Meeting.

One group of senior advocates wanted to consider building a new center, while others wanted to renovate the Wellesley Community Center to improve upon space already in use by seniors. Selectmen Harriett Warshaw announced during the town meeting that the selectmen and the trustees of a bequest to provide $825,000 for a new senior center agreed to work together on a plan to renovate the existing community center space to meet program needs of the town's senior population.

If they come up with a plan that both sides agree upon, Warshaw and bequest trustee Gail Kingsley said, the selectmen will decline the bequest and the money will be used for the renovation. If they are not able to agree upon a plan, the selectmen will accept the bequest and return to town meeting next spring for permission to proceed with a study for turning the current American Legion hall on Washington Street into a new senior center.

The $825,000 bequest was made by long-time resident Mary Esther Tolles, who died in July 2005 at the age of 94.

-- Lisa Keen

Authors on parade at the Wellesley Free Library

Posted November 13, 2007 09:49 AM


New York Daily News sports columnist Mike Lupica will visit the Wellesley Free Library on Friday to introduce to introduce his latest two novels for teenagers: "Two-Minute Drill" and "Hot Hand." The reading will begin at 4 p.m.

On Sunday, author Walter Carter Ford will discuss his book, "No Greater Love, No Greater Sacrifice: A Son's Journey to Normandy."

The work is a collection of reflections upon a journal and letters written by his farther, an Army surgeon, about his experiences at Omaha Beach in Normandy in 1944.

-- Lisa Keen

Would you like a receipt for that?

Posted November 7, 2007 09:53 AM

The ultimate donation


Every School Committee meeting, the members approve a list of the usual contributions from local parents and residents - trumpets, audio-visual equipment, money for playground improvements, etc. One recent list, however, included a highly unusual item: a 1996 BMS 325.

The car was donated by Susan and Carl Bell, Wellesley residents with children in each level of the public schools. Susan Bell said she read the high school auto shop needed a used car for students to practice on, and she was looking to get rid of the old BMW.

School Committee chairman Michael Young said the car will be refurbished by the high school auto shop and sold to benefit the school.

-- Lisa Keen

Mom who left child in car is given second chance

Posted October 27, 2007 08:34 AM


A mother confronted by police in September after she left her child unattended in a parked car in downtown Wellesley for 12 minutes has been given a second chance.

The woman, who police have declined to identify because she wasnt arrested, appeared in Dedham District Court on October 22 for allegedly violating a state law that prohibits adults from "consciously disregard[ing] a substantial and unjustifiable risk" that could result in "serious bodily injury" to a child.

The 18-month-old infant was sleeping in a car that had the windows down far enough that police were able to gain access to the child. Wellesley police spokesperson Marie Cleary said the court officer decided that, if the woman is involved in no other infractions during the next six months, the charge against her will be dropped.

Since May 1999. Wellesley police have issued only one other summons on a charge of reckless parental behavior, Cleary said. In that instance, a woman who allowed her seven-year-old child to sleep in her car outside her place of employment in Wellesley for about two hours every morning in December, failed to appear at her first court appearance and is awaiting a hearing early next month.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley student charged with stabbing ex-boyfriend at MIT

Posted October 24, 2007 08:23 AM


A 20-year-old student at Wellesley College was charged yesterday with breaking into a dormitory at MIT and stabbing her former boyfriend seven times as he slept, according to police and prosecutors.

Anna Tang was ordered held without bail after her arraignment this afternoon in Cambridge District Court on charges of armed assault with intent to murder and home invasion, staff writer Maria Cramer of the Globe's City & Region section reports.

Suzanne Kontz, an assistant Middlesex district attorney, said in court that the victim, a 19-year-old student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, woke up to Tang stabbing him seven times. The couple had been romantically involved for eight months but broke up three weeks ago and the relationship took a violent turn, Kontz said.

Kontz said that Tang sent the victim threatening e-mails and then broke into his dorm room today at about 6:30 a.m. Tang was arrested by Cambridge police inside the dormitory on Memorial Drive. The name and condition of the victim were not released.

John Valerio, an attorney who represented Tang, described his client as a "meek and mild mannered" young woman who had been taking classes at MIT. Valerio said he will investigate the accusations.

The victim identified Tang as a suspect, according to a statement released by the office of Middle District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. Investigators found Tang's jacket covered with blood and a black folding buck knife was found in her backpack, according to the statement.

"We allege that the defendant traveled to MIT last night, entered her ex-boyfriend's dorm room, and then stabbed him multiple times while he was in his bed," Leone said. "We believe this to be an isolated incident done with specific intent to critically harm the defenseless victim."

Tang is scheduled to return to court for a dangerousness hearing on Oct. 30.

Read more about the stabbing on the Local News Updates blog.

Couldn't they at least have thrown in 20 mules?

Posted October 17, 2007 09:12 AM


The town has negotiated a deal to purchase just under one acre of land near the high school for a total of $3.6 million.

The Wellesley Board of Selectmen Monday night gave its approval for the purchase of three residential properties on Seaver Street. The purchase price is almost $800,000 above what town officials had appraised the properties for.

Selectman Katherine Babson, however, praised the three individual homeowners for their willingness to sell the properties to the town, despite the fact that two families have young children and one house was built just two years ago.

The town is purchasing the properties in order to provide more space for a new or renovated high school building. The proposal now goes to the next month's special town meeting, where it will need a two-thirds majority votes to gain approval.

-- Lisa Keen

Will Wellesley accept a token of frozen fellowship?

Posted October 5, 2007 09:20 AM



The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission will vote next Thursday on whether to accept a new, temporary ice skating rink as a gift from Citibank.

The rink would be set up on the existing basketball courts at Warren Park once the weather has turned cold enough, Commission Executive Director Janet Bowser said. Bowser said the rink would be primarily for young children and their parents but would include one afternoon per week set aside for hockey play.

Bowser said Citibank, which is opening a new branch in downtown Wellesley, is making the donation as a goodwill gesture toward the community. The Commission will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the police station.

If it accepts the gift, the Board of Selectmen will weigh in next. The Commission will also be discussing the proposed development of 27 Washington Street and its hopes for maximizing open space and ensuring trail connections and wetlands protections there.

-- Lisa Keen

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.

Wellesley selectman: CSX is blowing it

Posted September 30, 2007 08:37 AM


The sound of a distant train whistle can deliver a pleasant feeling of nostalgia for many people, but when the whistle’s blowing at frequent intervals in close range in the middle of the night, the spell is quickly broken.

So it is in Wellesley these days as CSX is performing maintenance on its tracks from Allston to Framingham. MBTA and other trains passing through town have blasted their whistles repeatedly while passing through work sites at night -- a required warning to protect the crews working on the tracks.

Selectman David Himmelberger, whose office and home are located near the tracks, has been a critic of the CSX policy concerning train whistles at night in town. Those whistles weren’t required until 2003, he said, when a lookout man working with a snow removal team at the Wellesley Farms station was struck and killed by a freight train passing through.

CSX spokesperson Robert Sullivan said the whistles are necessary for crew safety. He said the work is taking place at night in order to avoid disrupting commuter train service during the day. The increased frequency of whistles at night, he said, are also due in part to the fact that freight trains run at night so as to alleviate rail congestion during the day. Sullivan said the work on the rails in Wellesley should be complete this week.

-- Lisa Keen

Taking a methodical approach in Wellesley

Posted September 26, 2007 07:22 AM


The town’s 12-member School Building Committee is taking a methodical approach to the largest, costliest building question in town history: what do about Wellesley High School’s aging building. They’ve boiled the challenge down to two main strategies: either build a new high school building or renovate and add onto the existing 1938 structure.

To help with the decision, committee members toured 10 area high schools that used one of the two approaches to build or renovate their own schools.

The members will share their experiences and findings with the public at an open forum on Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.

-- Lisa Keen

A question of sincerity

Posted September 25, 2007 06:13 AM


The Wellesley Board of Selectmen has sent a letter last week opposing the proposed mixed-income development at the corner of Hillside Road and Washington Street.

The letter states that, while the state Chapter 40B law is intended to encourage the building of homes affordable to people with low to moderate incomes, the Board does not believe affordable housing is developer Michael J. Connolly's motivation in using the law to seek a state waiver of single residence zoning restrictions to build a multi-unit development.

Instead, the letter charges that Connolly has engaged in a "manipulative use" of the Chapter 40B law to build in excess of the single family density zoning.

Connolly, however, fired back in a recent interview, saying that there couldn’t be anything further from the truth.

"I’ve been insistent from the start," he said Connolly. "If we are able to do affordable housing, then let’s do it."

A spokesperson for MassHousing, which is considering Connolly's request, said it typically takes about 90 days to grant or deny an application.

-- Lisa Keen

In losing, they gain

Posted September 23, 2007 10:48 AM

Tina Fisher holds a picture of herself, pre-surgery. (That's her on the right. Honest.)
(Globe staff photo by David Kamerman)


The findings - released last month from long-term studies of 20,000 dangerously overweight people in Utah and Sweden - were stunning.

Obese patients who had undergone stomach reduction surgery were up to 40 percent more likely to live longer, 56 percent less likely to die of heart disease, and 92 percent less likely to die from diabetes than those who tried diet and exercise alone.

Yet for Tina Fisher, program coordinator for the new Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, the studies only confirmed what she already knew. In the six years since her own gastric bypass surgery, the 30-year-old nurse practitioner has lost 137 pounds. She exercises four times a week, can fit into a standard movie theater seat, and sometimes forgets what her old life was like, staff writer and web producer Ralph Ranalli reports in today's Globe West.

A roller-coaster enthusiast, Fisher used to watch her husband ride alone because she was worried whether the seat belt or safety bar would fit around her 297-pound frame. She also suffered from the litany of health woes common to the very overweight diabetes, joint problems, and sleep apnea, a disorder in which a person literally stops breathing repeatedly during sleep.

"Patients come back and tell me about their experiences, like the first time they didn't have to go into a plus-size clothing store," she said. "And I think, 'Oh yeah, I remember that.' "

Thanks to stories like Fisher's, officials at Newton-Wellesley said they were convinced that gastric bypass operations represent a sound medical option and were aggressively expanding their weight loss surgery practice even before the new findings were released. Last year, the hospital's bariatric surgery program was accredited to operate on even the most severely obese patients, and in June, the program was elevated to a full-fledged department and renamed the Center for Weight Loss Surgery.

As it turns out, the timing of the hospital's push could not have been better, officials said.

Read more about how bariatric surgery is changing lives in the online edition of today's Globe West. While you're there, you can also view an audio slide show about Tina Fisher's experience with the surgery and losing 137 pounds.

Tsai's unlikely co-stars: the Wellesley selectmen

Posted September 18, 2007 07:36 AM

Ming Tsai is looking to expand in Wellesley
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


If you were flipping through your cable channels and saw celebrity chef Ming Tsai was on cable television last night, you probably thought it was his public television show, "Simply Ming."

Instead Tsai was on local access, making a command appearance before the Wellesley Board of Selectmen, seeking a modification of his license to operate his popular restaurant, Blue Ginger, near the center of downtown Wellesley. Tsai said he has acquired space adjoining his current site on Washington Street and will use it to create dining rooms for private parties, expanding the seating capacity by 20 or 30 seats, from its current 120. Tsai said he also hopes to double the patio space in front of the award-winning restaurant for outdoor dining.

Two residents who live nearby expressed concerns about potential problems with sewer back-ups, noise, and parking congestion. Another expressed support for the business, which has attracted attention and publicity for downtown Wellesley since 1998.

The Selectmen agreed to postpone its vote for one week in order to assess the impact of the expansion on the sewer system.

-- Lisa Keen

Homeless man charged in rare Wellesley bank heist

Posted September 11, 2007 01:19 PM


Police have identified a 39-year-old homeless man currently jailed in Worcester as the chief suspect in the Aug. 31 robbery of the TD Banknorth branch on Route 9 near the Wellesley-Natick border. Wellesley went eight years without a bank robbery then recorded two in barely a month's time, police say.

Richard Piper, who was arrested in connection with bank robberies in Worcester and Westborough, admitted to the Wellesley robbery and several others and was arraigned last Wednesday in Worcester District Court, according to Worcester Police Detective Bob Johnson.

Piper is being held in Worcester County House of Corrections until his arraignment in Dedham District Court for the Wellesley incident, police said.

Like Piper, the man arrested in connection with the July 27 robbery of a Bank of America branch in Lower Falls was suspected in connection with a series of bank robberies. That suspect, 32-year-old Errol Sullivan of Waltham, was arrested in Providence on Aug. 2, police said.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley Middle School to open at least one day late

Posted September 3, 2007 08:09 AM


The principal of Wellesley Middle School says that the newly-renovated building will not be ready to open on the first day of school tomorrow.

School Committee officials expressed optimism earlier in the week that the necessary permits to occupy the entire building would be granted in time for the schedule opening. But Adam Blumer has told Globe West that a "pretty significant chunk" of the school, including the fitness center, gym, industrial room, and art room, has not cleared the permit system yet.

Blumer declined to elaborate. According to his e-mail, school officials hope to open by Wednesday.

-- Lisa Keen

Key official says Wellesley isn't book smart

Posted August 31, 2007 09:45 AM


Wellesley expects its town meeting members and residents to study through more documents than any other town, and should consider ending its policy of mailing every household a copy of the advisory recommendation book prior to each town meeting, a key town official says.

At a recent Selectmen’s meeting, town Executive Director Hans Larsen last spring’s advisory book ran 245 pages and cost more than $30,000 to print and mail. The town also mails an even thicker and more costly annual report to each town meeting member, Larsen said, and the expenses are “hurting us financially.”

A study committee appointed by the town moderator is planning to consider whether to change the bylaws requiring the printed books be mailed to each of the town’s 8,800 households. That committee meets Sept. 19 to decide whether to put the proposed change before the fall town meeting -- via the big book -- in November.

-- Lisa Keen

Development proposal for controversial Wellesley parcel to be unveiled

Posted August 30, 2007 11:55 AM


The Board of Selectmen and the Wellesley Planning Board will hold a special town forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, to discuss a proposal for the development of the former Grossman's hardware property at 27 Washington St.

The new owner of the property, National Development, will present its proposal for a retail and office building and two residential buildings on the currently vacant lot in Lower Falls.

The five-acre site has been vacant since 1994, when the Stop & Shop grocery chain obtained a long-term lease in hopes of building a 50,000-square-foot store there. Town officials and local residents objected to the size of the project and refused the necessary permits, prompting Stop & Shop to file suit. The property has been inactive for 13 years, except as an unofficial overflow parking lot for local business patrons.

This spring, National Development of Newton Lower Falls purchased the property from the Truman Realty Trust and promised to work with town officials to develop a proposal that the town can support. The company will present its proposal at the forum, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at town hall.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley turns up the heat on Keyspan

Posted August 28, 2007 09:08 AM


Do a better job.

That was the message sent from to Wellesley Board of Selectmen to Keyspan this week.

Keyspan Permit Representative Francis X. O'Leary was before the selectmen seeking routine permission to extend a gas main on Marshall Road for a single residence, but board Chairman Owen Dugan took the opportunity to voice the town's concern about the company's workmanship in closing up trenches in street surfaces after they make such installations.

Dugan said the utility's work was "not up to standards."

"We don't want to dig into your bond to fix this, we want you people to do it right the first time," he said.

O'Leary replied that, sometimes, there is settlement in the pavement that cannot be prevented, but he said he would "take it back to the people that work in the district and tell them what the problem is." He suggested that the town give Keyspan a list of streets where problems exist and that the utility would "go out and address them."

Selectmen ultimately approved the Marshall Road permit on the condition that Keyspan meet with town engineers to discuss the problems, but voted to withhold action on a second permit request for Wellesley Avenue at the Wellesley Country Club until after the meeting.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley thinking about diving into the big pool

Posted August 27, 2007 12:22 PM


For years, Wellesley has prided itself on its forethought and success in growing the town's retirement funds with investments so successful the town hasn't had to appropriate money to cover retirees benefits.

But now, the town's Retirement Board has proposed moving those investments into a pool of state and local employee benefits managed by a state board under the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (PRIM).

While the current Wellesley-managed fund is a "top performer," said town Executive Director Hans Larsen, the PRIM fund has "outperformed us." The larger pool also has greater flexibility in investment vehicles and the ability to hire more investment advisers.

Selectmen will weigh in on the proposal at their regular meeting, Monday tonight and the Retirement Board is expected to vote on the idea Wednesday. The town has between $125 million and $150 million to invest in the fund.

-- Lisa Keen

Teen alcohol arrests down in Wellesley

Posted August 18, 2007 05:16 AM


The Bad News: Fifteen young people were arrested for alcohol violations during fiscal year 2007, according to Wellesley officials.

The Good News: That’s a big drop from the 66 who were arrested in the previous fiscal year.

Although the number of arrests have fluctuated in recent years, police said they believe the recent drop is due at least in part to a three-year-old program it conducts in conjunction with the town’s Youth Commission.

The program sends officers and Youth Commission Director Maura Renzella to talk to middle school and high school students about alcohol laws and safety. Among other things, it advises them that, if they host a party while their parents are away and police find alcohol anywhere on the premises, they can be arrested even if they don’t personally have alcohol in their possession.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley officials deny that Route 9 manhole exploded

Posted August 15, 2007 11:52 AM


Despite reports and rumors, officials are denying that a recent traffic jam on Route 9 was caused by an exploding manhole cover.

Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham told a recent Board of Selectmen's meeting that said police responded to a report that a Municipal Light Plant manhole cover on Route 9 near Emerson Street "blew off" on Monday, Aug. 6.

But Richard Joyce, director of the plant, said the cover did not really “blow off” but simply “became dislodged.” Although traffic was backed up into Newton, there were no accidents or injuries reported as a result of the incident, Joyce said.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley police nab bank robbery suspect

Posted August 14, 2007 10:29 AM


Wellesley police helped snare a serial bank robber in the area within days of his hit against a Lower Falls bank, officials said.

Deputy Police Chief William Brooks said Wellesley detectives Stan Dunajaski and Bob Gallagher joined Federal Bureau of Investigation officers and others this month, in arresting the suspect, Errol Sullivan.

Brooks said Wellesley officers noticed a similarity between photos of suspects at several area banks and the suspect of the robbery at the 35 Washington Street Bank of America branch late Friday afternoon, July 27. Brooks said that the robbery in Wellesley was the first the town has had in eight years.

-- Lisa Keen

Big houses getting bigger scrutiny in Wellesley

Posted August 10, 2007 10:25 AM


Some home builders in Wellesley are concerned about a proposal that would require an additional review process for plans to build homes over a certain size.

The threshold for triggering that review has not been determined but the proposal suggests it would involve such details as how tall the house is and its cubic footage.

Planning Director Rick Brown said a number of builders expressed reservations about the proposal during the board’s July 30 meeting and said more than a dozen have signed onto a petition promising to voluntarily stay under the town’s current maximum footprint-to-lot-size ratio of 25 percent.

Brown said he expects the discussion to continue during a meeting on Aug. 13 as well. The Planning Board meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Planning Office on the lower level of Town Hall.

-- Lisa Keen

Infusion of day care cash will help shuttered library reopen

Posted July 31, 2007 12:16 PM

(Wellesley Free Library image)


One of the two Wellesley branch libraries that were closed due to lack of funding last year will soon be reopening its doors, official say.

Wellesley Free Library Director Janice Coduri gained the Selectmen’s approval last week for a plan to allow a nearby day care center to lease some space in the Fells Branch library building near the Hardy Elementary School.

Coduri said the short-term lease will enable the library to raise enough money to re-open part of the Fells Branch as a library as early as January. Originally build in 1858 as a one-room schoolhouse, the Fells Branch is the oldest public building still in use in the town of Wellesley.

Both the Fells and Wellesley Hills branches were closed in June of last year. Town Meeting will need to approve the lease at its gathering in the fall.

--Lisa Keen

Debate on detour

Posted July 27, 2007 12:56 PM


CONCERNS RISE OVER DETOUR: A proposed detour of Route 9 traffic onto Cedar and Walnut streets is slated to begin Monday, and residents of the area expressed much concern this week that the plan will create both safety and traffic problems.

At a Board of Selectmen’s meeting last week, town executive director Hans Larsen said the detour “will not have a significant impact” on Cedar and Walnut streets traffic, a sentiment echoed by Police Chief Terrence Cunningham.

The detour is needed to help traffic that normally exits Route 9 at the Grantland Road ramp to reach Route 16 while the ramp is closed during final reconstruction of the Route 16 bridge.

A large number of citizens turned out for the Selectmen’s meeting to ask the Board to reconsider the detour or take steps to mitigate the increased traffic along the residential streets. Cunningham and Board Chairman Owen H. Dugan promised residents they would monitor the impact of the detour carefully.

-- Lisa Keen

Wake up and smell the expansion

Posted July 26, 2007 12:50 PM



Addressing what was apparently an acute caffeine shortage in Wellesley, Starbucks is about to open its second franchise in the town and the Exxon Mobile station at the corner of Washington and State streets is preparing to add back a coffee service where it once hosted a Dunkin Donuts franchise.

According to business representatives who met with the Board of Selectmen earlier this week, the new Starbucks will be a 20-seater at 190-A Linden Street and will open in mid- to late-September

The Exxon Mobil will soon begin serving Bengal Traders, a house brew it began selling at its Tiger Markets two years ago.

-- Lisa Keen

One thousand days of hope, protest, and prayer

Posted July 23, 2007 07:22 AM


Supporters of keeping St. James the Great Church open will soon celebrate their one-thousandth day of staging a sit-in vigil to prevent the archdiocese from locking the church’s doors and selling the property.

This Saturday, the Friends of St. James will hold a celebration marking the vigil, as well as the 60th anniversary of the church itself being was established on the Wellesley/Natick border. Activities will include a lay-led communion at 4 p.m., followed by a barbeque picnic, and celebration of the Feast of St. James holiday.

The church was among many Catholic parishes designated as “suppressed” in October 2004 by the Archidiocese of Boston.

-- Lisa Keen

Read more about parishes in vigil in the online edition of today's Globe City & Region section.

Back from addiction, she's voice for recovery

Posted July 22, 2007 01:22 PM

(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Almost seven years after getting clean and sober, 28-year-old Ashley Stanley has to think a moment about where her story really starts.

Was it that one eve of Yom Kippur, when she dissolved into tears in her father's car at the airport and admitted she was an alcohol and drug addict?

Was it after the first relapse and descent into a daily crack cocaine habit, when she returned to rehab for the second time -- the one that ultimately worked?

Or was it actually much earlier, as a teenage soccer star? With 450 saves in her junior and senior years at The Rivers School in Weston, Stanley, who lived in Wellesley, was one of the most gifted goalkeepers in school history and the first female student athlete recruited to a Division 1 college. She was a US Olympic team hopeful, planning for a career in professional soccer, when injuries in both knees abruptly ended her life's dream at age 19.

That's when the old Ashley fell apart, and the struggle that would define her adult life began. That's probably where the story begins.

With soccer out of the picture, there was a huge void. She partied. Hard. At one fraternity party, she tried cocaine. She lost her soccer scholarship to the University of Rhode Island and dropped out of school.

"It was like I disappeared," Stanley said.

Read more about Ashley Stanley's remarkable descent and comeback in the online edition of today's Globe West.

The zoning that wouldn't die ...

Posted July 21, 2007 02:17 PM


They’re back. All those zoning articles which got taken off the town meeting’s agenda in April are back on the table for active consideration.

There are six in all, said Rick Brown, the town’s Planning Director. They deal with such issues as “mansionization,” off-street parking, site plan approval, and various yard regulations and setback requirements.

The Planning Board is holding a public session Monday, July 30, to give residents a first “citizens speak” opportunity to comment on the proposals. The meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

The text of the proposed articles can be read on the town’s website.

--Lisa Keen

Seniors can play lotto for housing in Wellesley

Posted July 18, 2007 11:45 AM



Wellesley will soon hold a lottery for seven condominiums at 12 Russell Road set aside as affordable housing for citizens 55 and older.

Five of the seven condos, are part of a 28-unit development known as Fells Hollow, have two bedrooms. The other two are one-bedroom units. Four of the seven are earmarked for applicants with a Wellesley connection.

An information session on how to participate in the lottery will be held Saturday, July 28, at 1:30 p.m. in the Wakelin Room at the Wellesley Free Library. All applications must be postmarked by August 16 and the lottery will be held August 23.

Officials said that applications can be obtained at the Planning Office at Town Hall, the reference desk of the Wellesley Free Library, or by calling 781-235-4120.

--Lisa Keen

Peisch rails against MBTA commuter train service

Posted July 13, 2007 09:56 AM



Wellesley’s State Representative Alice Peisch last week slammed the commuter rail service provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority as “simply unacceptable.”

In a press release, Peisch said she receives complaints from “many” of her constituents about poor service on the Worcester-to-Framingham line through Wellesley, primarily centering around delays.

In a letter for MBTA, Peisch and nine other state legislators said that, during the week of July 9, “numerous trains… were excessively late with little to no notification of delays.” The legislators asked for a meeting with MBTA authorities to seek improvements in the service.

Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for MBTA, said MBTA does not control the rails, CSX does. He said CSX often slows traffic down during hot summer months as a safety precaution because the heat can cause kinks and bends in the rails.

Pesaturo said, however, that he does not know that to be an issue in last week’s delays. He declined comment on the legislators’ letter, saying the authority had not yet received it.

-- Lisa Keen

Freshmen sell FreshMynts for charity

Posted July 11, 2007 10:14 AM


FIRST-YEAR SUCCESS: Fifteen news businesses launched by first-year students at Babson College raised $36,225 during the past year and donated the money various local charities. More than a third of the profit was earned by a business called FreshMynts, which sold mints in small packages emblazoned with messages. The company donated its $14,523 to Habitat for Humanity. The businesses are conceived, launched, and ultimately liquidated by first-year students as part of their first year curricula in learning the basics of business practices. Over the past nine years, the businesses have raised more than a quarter-million dollars for various non-profit organizations. Among the beneficiaries this year was the Wellesley Council on Aging, which received $1,910.

--Lisa Keen

Firehouse under a magnifying glass

Posted July 11, 2007 09:12 AM


DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: If you build it, they will scrutinize the details in Wellesley. That’s one lesson learned by the developer who took on the renovation of the historic Walnut Street Firehouse.

In December 2004, town meeting approved the sale of the 1903 brick firehouse for one dollar to New Boston Ventures to create three condominiums-–one of which is designated as affordable.

Although the lottery was held last year for the affordable unit and potential buyers have been scrutinizing the retail units for months, heavy equipment has been back on the property in recent days to stop a leak in into the basement and to comply with details of the landscaping approved by the town.

Wellesley Housing Development Corporation member Bradley Boyd, who is also a neighbor abutting the firehouse, says the project should be able to win approval soon.

Mass Bay nursing program hit by state regulators

Posted July 10, 2007 12:35 PM


State regulatory officials have taken the unusual step of barring Massachusetts Bay Community College from accepting new applicants in its popular nursing school.

In a scathing letter to the school's president, the Board of Registration in Nursing said the program's lack of leadership and direction threatened its ability to train qualified nurses, staff writer Peter Schworm of the Globe's City & Region staff reports.

The board said the lack of a dean, a nursing program administrator, and several nursing instructors raised "grave concerns" that the school could run an effective program. It also cited the college's provost, saying he tampered with one student's grades and improperly advanced the student through the program.

MassBay's provost, Steve Berrien, said the school is responding seriously to the board, but he disputed the allegation that he tampered with a student's grades.

"We didn't interfere with the integrity of program, its grade policy, or its standards," Berrien said. "It was just one student and one exam, and some of us feel it's been blown slightly out of proportion." He said he anticipates that the ban on admissions will be lifted this week.

However, MassBay faculty members said in interviews that they believe administrators have tampered with other students' grades to keep as many participants as possible in the program, one of the largest in the state.

Read more about the controversy over the MassBay nursing program in the online edition of today's Globe.

The other bats of summer

Posted July 3, 2007 12:00 PM

The Batsmobile
(Photo courtesy of


The world’s leading organization for the protection of bats -- the winged, nocturnal kind -- will be a beneficiary of an unusual event at Wellesley Booksmith this Friday.

Brian Lies (cq), author of an illustrated children’s book, "Bats at the Beach," will arrive at the Washington Street bookstore at 1 p.m. in his eye-catching “batsmobile,” with its 12-foot wingspan.

Lies will be signing books, reading excerpts, and leading games. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of books will go to the Bats Conservation International, a 25-year-old Texas-based organization.

-- Lisa Keen

Sleepless in Wellesley

Posted June 23, 2007 07:03 AM


Residents living near the Route 16 bridge across Route 9 in Wellesley will soon be serenaded to sleep by “all-night pile driving,” warned town executive director Hans Larsen during a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.

Larsen said that work on the bridge, which resumed this month after a long stoppage while the state replaced its original contractor, will also require diverting traffic around the bridge beginning at around 10 p.m. each night.

Michael Pakstis, director of the Wellesley Department of Public Works, said the new contractor will soon shift the two-way traffic on the bridge to the newly constructed north side lanes in order to demolish and reconstruct the south side. Pakstis said that all of the remaining work is expected to take another two years.

-- Lisa Keen

Wellesley speed racer busted

Posted June 20, 2007 10:04 AM


A Wellesley teen will appear in a Vermont court in August after getting caught driving 100 mph on I-89 Sunday.

Caleb Henry, 19, was driving through a construction zone with grooved pavement at the high speed, Vermont state police said.

-- Adam Sell

The project that wouldn't go away

Posted June 12, 2007 09:47 AM

(Photo by Lisa Keen for Globe West Updates)
Traffic over the Route 16 bridge in Wellesley will soon shift over to the two westbound lanes as a new contractor prepares to finish work on the project.


The bridge project that is all too familiar to Wellesley drivers is finally under way again.

Construction work to shore up the Route 16 bridge began in August 2003 and was supposed to be finished the following year. Initially, delays were blamed on difficulties with relocating various utility lines but late last year the state highway department declared the contractor on the job to be in default.

State Representative Alice Peisch says a new contractor has been hired and is preparing to finish the work. Traffic is expected to be shifted soon to the two westbound lanes of the bridge.

--Lisa Keen

How should Wellesley High be fixed?

Posted June 4, 2007 09:42 AM


Two meetings are scheduled this week to determine how best to renovate Wellesley High School, one meeting for parents, the other for the community at large.

The first meeting Wednesday, June 6, is with the Parent Teacher Organizations and on Thursday, June 7, anyone from the public is invited to express their views.

The parent-oriented meeting will be held at the Wellesley Middle School at 9 a.m.; the community meeting will take place in the library of the Wellesley High School at 7:30 p.m. The Thursday meeting will include another review of the options being considered.

-- Lisa Keen

Controversial raise prompts proposal for wider input in Wellesley

Posted June 1, 2007 07:13 AM

Superintendent of Schools Matthew King
(Globe staff photo by Matthew J. Lee)


Still trying to quell voter anger over last year’s 8.5 percent raise for Superintendent of Schools Matthew King, the School Committee is slated to discuss a proposal to involve people outside the committee in decisions on raises and bonuses for administrators.

King's raise -- which was approved by the committee after voters agreed to a tax increase for what town officials said was a bare bones budget -- prompted scores of complaints. The new proposal, outlined by Committee Chairman Michael Young last week, would seek feedback on the superintendent’s performance from parents, principals, selectmen, and other town officials.

“It can’t just be what the five of us think,” said Young, referring to the committee. “We have to reach out.”

Discussion on the proposal will take place during the School Committee’s last regular meeting for the year on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Wellesley High School library.

-- Lisa Keen

In like Schwinn

Posted May 31, 2007 12:48 PM

(Globe archive photo)


Babson College hopes to put 400 kids with bikes on the streets of Wellesley this Saturday. The event, billed as the “First Annual Wellesley Kids Ride,” will raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund.

The money will be contributed through the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the 27-year-old cancer fundraising event that annually draws more than more than 5,000 adult cyclists who ride across the state every August. The Wellesley kids' ride will feature different bike routes suitable for children ages 3 to 14, organizers said.

Registration for the kids’ ride costs $10 and begins at 9 a.m. Participants are asked to raise a minimum contribution depending on the child's age: $25 for toddlers and children up to 6, $50 for kids 7 to 11, and $100 for kids age 12 to 14.

Anyone seeking more information is urged to visit the event site online.

--Lisa Keen

Homecoming for Wellesley alumna Albright

Posted May 30, 2007 11:40 AM

(Globe staff photo by John Bohn)


Madeleine K. Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State, comes to town tomorrow to deliver the commencement address at Wellesley College, her alma mater.

The event, which will be the college's 129th graduation ceremony is scheduled to take place at 10:30 a.m. on the campus’ Severance Green.

-- Lisa Keen

SJC rules against St. James the Great parishioners

Posted May 25, 2007 10:59 AM


The Supreme Judicial Court has upheld a lower court ruling that allows the Archdiocese of Boston to keep the property and assets belonging to St. James the Great parish in Wellesley.

In an opinion issued today, the state's highest court upheld a 2006 superior court decision to throw out the case, saying it has no authority to rule on a fiduciary relationship between parishioners and their church.

Catherine Maffei of Wellesley sued the Archdiocese, claiming it was not entitled to keep the building and 8-acres of valuable land along Route 9 after deciding in 2004 to close the parish. Members appealed the closing to the Vatican, and continued to worship there.

Attorneys for the family argued that the property was given to the church in 1948 by Waldo Maffei on the condition that is would ``forever'' house St. James.

The case was watched closely by several other Boston-area parishes in the midst of their own court battles over who is entitled to keep the assets from closed churches.

-- Erica Noonan

Listening to the voices of experience

Posted May 25, 2007 10:01 AM



The town plans to survey its senior citizens for ideas on how to use an $825,000 bequest made by a long time resident who passed away two years ago.

Mary Esther Tolles, known by many as “Billie,” died at age 94 after many years of activism on behalf of the town’s seniors. A room for seniors at the town's Community Center already bears her name.

An attorney for Tolles' estate, Gail Kingsley, told the town's selectmen this week that the bequest is conditional – it must be used to provide a facility for seniors, including offices, class and meeting rooms, recreational space, and dining facilities. Selectman Harriet Warshaw said the survey was suggested by members of a study committee formed help determine how best to meet the conditions of Tolles' bequest.

-- Lisa Keen

Thinking inside the box

Posted May 24, 2007 05:00 PM



Local photographer Andrew Kessler's new exhibition is inspired by websites such as MySpace and YouTube. His "(I Am)...project" features 57 fifth-graders from Wellesley's Hunnewell Elementary School who were asked by Kessler to get into a refrigerator box alone and take a self-portrait by releasing a camera shutter with their feet.

"The idea was that if they were in this box alone, they would potentially get creative and act more themselves. And they did, to my very pleasant surprise," Kessler said. The results of the refrigerator-box photo shoot will be up today through May 31 at the Wellesley Free Library.

Kessler has displayed the shots on 6-foot silk banners with captions underneath that explain how the children define themselves.

-- Mark Griffin

Newsweek’s “Best High Schools” list includes six area schools

Posted May 24, 2007 06:46 AM

Needham High's new rallying cry: "We're No. 1,028!"
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Six schools in Globe West have made Newsweek’s newly released 2007 “America’s Best High Schools” list, including Dover-Sherborn High School, which ranked second highest in the state.

Of the over 1200 public schools on the list, Dover-Sherborn ranked 127th, Weston High School 186th, Wellesley High School 487th, Wayland High School 686th, Newton South High School 714th, and Needham High School 1028th. The state’s highest ranking school was Boston Latin School, which at 76th was the only Massachusetts school to make the top 100.

Rankings are based on only one factor: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2006 divided by the number of graduating seniors. Newsweek reports that while some critics consider the criteria too narrow, research studies have shown that passing scores on AP exams are a predictor of college success.

Scores from 27,000 public schools were reviewed, meaning schools included on the list are in the top 5% of public schools nationally. Three schools fell off the list from last year: Hopkinton High School, Newton North High School, and Holliston High School.

-- Denise Taylor

Rain check

Posted May 22, 2007 03:49 PM

Just think of it as a two-week time-delay fuse.
(Globe archive image)


The parade was cancelled, the fireworks fizzled, but next Sunday, June 3, they'll give it another try.

The town's annual Veterans’ Parade was rained out last Sunday, but organizers announced this week that Elmo, Winnie the Pooh, and Shrek will march along with fire trucks, marching bands, clowns, and the other staples of a small town parade. The parade will start near the junction of Routes 16 and 9 and end at Wellesley Square and will happen from 1 to 3 p.m.

Also rescheduled because of rain, the annual fireworks display – which was billed this year as the “biggest ever” -— will be launched at dusk from Hunnewell field.

--Lisa Keen

Wellesley voters approve $31 million in tax hikes

Posted May 15, 2007 08:54 PM


Voters in Wellesley approved $31 million in temporary tax hikes on Tuesday by a 2-to-1 ratio, according to unofficial results from the town clerk's office.

About 32 percent of registered voters -- nearly 5,000 people -- turned out for two debt exclusion overrides of Proposition 2 1/2, both set to expire after 10 years.

Sixty-seven percent of voters approved $18 million to pay for health benefits for retired employees. That will add about $165 annually to the average homeowner's tax bill.

The second question, $13 million to pay for school repairs, storm drainage projects and improvements to Morses Pond, was approved by 70 percent of voters. That will cost homeowners about $25 per year until 2010, when the bill rises to $175 annually, gradually tapering off by 2017.

-- Erica Noonan

New president announced for Wellesley

Posted May 10, 2007 12:38 PM


Wellesley College announced today that a Yale biologist and deputy provost will be its 13th president.

Kim Bottomly, a Montana native who specializes in the biology of the immune system, will start her duties on August 1, overseeing the 2,300 student campus. She replaces Diana Chapman Walsh, who is retiring on June 30 after nearly 14 years as president.

"I am excited about assuming the leadership of an institution known for educating women who become leaders in all fields of human endeavor," Bottomly said in a statement.

-- Jamie Vaznis

Feel like your brain is shrinking? It might be

Posted May 3, 2007 06:19 PM


A moderate-sized hot toddy and Irish coffee
(Globe file photo)


New research from Wellesley College has found that drinking a lot of alcohol over a long period of time may decrease brain volume.

The research was unveiled at the American Academy of Neurology's 59th, which is under way this week in Boston.

Researcher Carol Ann Paul used MRI scans of 1,839 people from the Framingham Offspring study, ages 34 to 88, the academy said in a statement.

"Research has shown that there is a beneficial effect of alcohol in reducing incidence of cardiovascular disease in people who consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol. However, this study found that greater alcohol consumption was negatively correlated with brain volume," Paul said in the statement.

Wellesley senior named Presidential Scholar

Posted May 3, 2007 02:17 PM


A local high school student was named a 2007 Presidential Scholar, the highest achievement for graduating seniors that the federal government gives, the Globe reports.

Mari K. Oye, a Wellesley High School senior, assembled a project that organized fund-raisers for social issues affecting Afghanistan. She also participated in the school's cross-country running and skiing teams.

Of the 3 million students expected to graduate high school this year, only 2,700 qualified for the program.

-- Richard Thompson

Wellesley superintendent heads to Rashi School

Posted May 3, 2007 09:44 AM


Wellesley Superintendent of schools Matthew King has accepted the position of head of school at The Rashi School in Newton.

He was chosen unanimously by Rashi's Board of Trustees, said board president Cynthia Janower. King spent 11 years a the top school official in Wellesley before announcing plans to step down this year, and worked also as a superintendent and principal in Lincoln-Sudbury and Carlisle.

``Dr. King has been recognized for leading each of these high-performing schools to new heights,'' Janower said in a statement. We are delighted that he will be bringing his talents as a leader, educator, thinker and collaborator to Rashi.''

Rashi is in the midst of a $30 million capital campaign to build a permanent campus in Dedham, which includes a partnership with Hebrew SeniorLife for multi-generational programming.

Rashi, a Reform Jewish day school, was founded in 1986 and enrolls 300 girls and boys in grades K-8.

-- Erica Noonan

Two Babson students killed in car crash

Posted April 25, 2007 09:41 AM


Two students at Babson College were killed in a fiery crash in Wellesley overnight when their car veered off the road and hit a tree, according to police and school officials.

The students, whose names were not released, were driving a Porsche Cayman south on Forest Street at about 11:30 p.m., according to a statement from Wellesley police. A preliminary investigation found that the car was traveling too fast on a road where the speed limit is 30 miles per hour, police said.

The Porsche hit a tree near the intersection with Berkshire Road. When police arrived, flames had engulfed the car. Both students died at the scene.

A spokesman for Babson College confirmed that the passengers in the car were students.

-- Andrew Ryan

Artificial turf won't bloom in Wellesley

Posted April 11, 2007 01:08 PM


An effort to revive a proposal for artificial turf playing fields at Sprague Elementary failed at Wellesley Town Meeting last night.

Town Meeting member Jane Batista asked fellow members to reconsider the votes they had cast Monday, when the proposal had failed to garner the necessary two-thirds majority.

She said a letter from a former National Football League player that was read before Monday’s vote did not indicate that the player’s negative experience with artificial turf involved Astroturf and not the particular new generation of synthetic turf which Wellesley has been considering.

But the proposal to reconsider the artificial turf item, which also required a two-thirds majority, failed to pass on a 94-94 vote.

--Lisa Keen

Artificial turf still under debate in Wellesley

Posted April 10, 2007 11:11 AM


After months of hearings and more than four hours of discussion, the Wellesley Town Meeting voted last night to install artificial fields near Sprague Elementary School.

But the proposal won 133 of the 206 votes cast, falling short of the necessary two-thirds to gain Town Meeting approval. Some residents said still had reservations about health hazards, like scraped arms and legs.

The turf idea will probably go back for another vote at Town Meeting again tonight. So may another proposal to hold off on the turf until there is more study of safety concerns.

- Lisa Keen

Babson president stepping down

Posted April 5, 2007 10:55 AM


Babson College president Brian Barefoot will step down in June 2008, the school announced today.

Barefoot, a 1966 graduate of the prestigious business college, was named the school's 11th president in July 2001. He had served as chair of Babson's Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2001.

By announcing his intention to step down now, Babson will ``have ample time for a thorough search to find the right next president,'' Barefoot said in a statement.

-- Erica Noonan

Len Seipel, Wellesley Library Trustees chair dies

Posted March 28, 2007 03:41 PM


Lamont ``Len'' Seipel Jr., chair of Wellesley's Library Board of Trustees, collapsed and died last night outside Town Meeting, town officials said.

Seipel, 61, had been scheduled to present a library budget presentation. He was rushed to Newton-Wellesley Hospital after suffering an apparent heart attack in the parking lot.

Seipel was a 28-year resident of Wellesley. He was a realtor, member of the Wellesley Players and past president of the Rotary Club.

``He was a wonderful guy. He was very dedicated to the club and to the town and he will be much missed,'' Rotary member Tory DeFazio said today.

Funeral arrangements were not yet final Wednesday afternoon.

-- Erica Noonan

Wellesley School Committee to hold special meeting tonight on salary controversy

Posted March 20, 2007 09:10 AM



The Wellesley School Committee is holding a special meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m., making good on its promise to hold a public discussion of how it decides administrative salaries and bonuses.

Member Marlene Allen called on the committee last fall to give the public an explanation for why it announced an 8.5 percent raise to retiring Superintendent Matthew King, only weeks after voters approved a Proposition 2 1/2 override for the schools.

The School Committee initially said it would discuss the salary issue last fall, then postponed the matter until January. In January, the committee put the discussion off again, this time saying it wanted to wait for the election of a new committee member.

The discussion did not come up at last week’s meeting when the new member, Christopher Guiffre, came on board. Committee chairman Michael Young told the Globe, however, that the committee would hold a special meeting this week to tackle the subject before Town Meeting.

Young said the committee would also discuss publicly the details of the salary and compensation package for the new superintendent, Bella Wong.

-— Lisa Keen

Albright to deliver Wellesley commencement

Posted March 9, 2007 02:57 PM


Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will deliver Wellesley College's 2007 commencement address on June 1, the college announced today.

Albright, who graduated from Wellesley in 1959, served as the nation's first female secretary of state from 1997 to 2001.

Albright's last campus appearance was in 2001, when she and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, a 1969 Wellesley alum, delivered the keynote speech for the college's 125th anniversary.

-- Erica Noonan

Mills wins selectman's seat in Wellesley.

Posted March 7, 2007 09:39 AM


Last night's election results are in, and public policy expert Gregory B. Mills has won the race to fill the Selectman’s seat being vacated by Vincent Juliani Jr.

According to town clerk Kathy Nagle, Mills won 86 percent of the vote, compared to 14 percent garnered by businessman Lewis Zafferes.

Mills, while acknowledging the need to focus on town finances, emphasized a desire to maintain the quality of town services. Zaffres focused on a desire to fend off Proposition 2.5 overrides. Asked whether the overwhelming support for him says anything about where voters’ priorities are, Mills said, “I hope so.”

Fewer than 10 percent of registered voters turned out for Tuesday’s elections. Mills will be sworn into office Wednesday night at town hall and take his seat with the next Selectmen’s meeting Monday, March 12.

--Lisa Keen

Inspiring students with tales from space

Posted March 6, 2007 07:23 PM


Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman astronaut, gave a talk at Wellesley College this weekend. Photographer Aram Boghosian caught Jemison, who flew on a September 1992 shuttle flight, in a lighter moment.

Darfur crusader hits the hustings

Posted March 6, 2007 09:14 AM

Alan Greenfield and his wife Claudia in front of their Needham home.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


Alan Greenfield's one-man crusade to save Darfur has graduated from placing signs to public speaking.

The Needham man, who initiated a sign campaign to raise awareness of genocide in Darfur will speak in area towns over the next few weeks about the ongoing genocide in the war-torn region of western Sudan.

Greenfield formed the Needham Darfur Initiative, and has paid for more than 20 banners and more than 200 lawn signs to be placed on churches, synagogues, schools, businesses and houses in is hometown of Needham, where he runs a dog-walking business.

Now Greenfield has joined the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur as a speaker, to talk about how one person came make a difference. Greenfield is scheduled to speak to students at Wellesley High School next Wednesday, March 14; serve as a panelist in forum hosted by a group called “Discovering What’s Next” next Thursday, March 15 at the Newton Free Library; and share his story with Congregation Bnai Shalom in Westborough at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 23.

-- Jennifer Rosinski

Wellesley College professor wins prestigious poetry award

Posted February 27, 2007 11:00 AM


A Wellesley College professor has been awarded a prestigious prize for his poetry, the Bloomberg news service reports.

Frank Bidart, an English professor who has been at the school for more than 30 years, won the Bollingen Prize in Poetry for 2007. The prize is awarded biennially by Yale University and comes with a $100,000 award. Bidart is currently editing a collection of poetry by Robert Lowell, along with teaching poetry workshops and 20th century poetry.

-- Adam Sell

A day in the life of a hospital

Posted February 25, 2007 08:38 AM

8:35 p.m.: Child Life Specialist Kim Gannon blows bubbles for for 19-month-old Ben Wertheim, who came into the Pediatric Emergency Department with a high fever, as he sits on his mother Jodie's lap.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


A large hospital is like a city within a city. It has its own rhythms, a workday, a night life, and a vast array of citizens -- from professionals to floor cleaners to engineers to volunteers, from wealthy to poor, and, of course, from the sick and the healthy.

Globe West reporter and web producer Ralph Ranalli and photographer Bill Polo spent 16 hours at Newton-Wellesley Hospital earlier this month, capturing the sights, sounds and stories of a typical day in a story and an audio slideshow.

A Day in the Life of a Hospital is the third in Globe West's yearlong Day in the Life Series.

In the fall, Ranalli and Polo captured the music and art and passion that occur during A Day in the Life of a Cultural Center at the Newton Cultural Center in Newtonville.

Last summer, Ranalli, Polo, and fellow photographer Josh Reynolds chronicled A Day in the Life of a Park at Albemarle Park, the hub of swimming, baseball, summer camp and other hot-weather activity in Newton.

Alleged church burglar held in New Hampshire

Posted February 22, 2007 04:22 PM


One of the most wanted men in Massachusetts is behind bars in New Hampshire.

Police in Pelham, N.H. arrested 29-year-old Ryan Papillon Wednesday on fugitive charges. He's wanted in Massachusetts for thefts from churches in Woburn and Wellesley. He had been living in Pelham, on the Massachusetts border.

In addition to the Bay State charges, Papillon is accused of stealing a video projector from Saint Patrick's Church in Pelham. Police say while they were booking Papillon on the Massachusetts charges, they got a call from Saint Patrick's reporting the theft. They confronted Papillon and say he admitted the theft.

Police say Papillon has an extensive criminal record in the Boston area and is a member of the "Bloods" gang.

-- AP

Yes, but can they teach you how to Photoshop ex-boyfriends out of family pictures?

Posted February 21, 2007 08:02 AM

Needham's historic Upper Falls Schoolhouse
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)


The Needham and Wellesley Historical Societies are hosting a workshop this weekend in which historians Gloria Greis of Needham and Beth Krimmel of Wellesley will discuss the proper handling, storage and display of antiques, heirlooms and other treasures for future generations.

The workshop takes place this Sunday at 2 p.m., in the Needham Historical Society’s Upper Falls Schoolhouse on 1147 Central Avenue.

Refreshments will be served. Admission is free for Needham and Wellesley Historical Society members; tickets cost $5 for non-members. Anyone interested in attending is urged to call the Needham Historical Society at 781-455-8860.

-– Lauren K. Meade

Bella Wong offered superintendent post

Posted February 16, 2007 07:06 PM


Bella Wong was offered the job of Wellesley superintendent this afternoon after a unanimous vote by the School Committee.

Wong, 46, has been assistant superintendent in Wellesley for six of the last nine years. Calling her a better fit, four of the five committee members said she was their first choice over the other finalist, Christopher Martes, who is Framingham superintendent.

Marlene Allen switched her vote after more than an hour of discussion to make the decision unanimous.

“I was hoping for a breath of fresh air,” said Allen, who added that there would likely be an “uproar” from the community over the process.

Member Suzy Littlefield said she was concerned about how long Martes would stay in the job, as his track record was four years in most posts.

Wong, who lives in Weston and served on the School Committee there from 2003 to 2006, practiced law before she switched into education. She would replace Matthew King as of July 1. Details of her salary still have to be negotiated.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Wong, about an hour after being offered the job. “I really love the community.”

–- Lisa Kocian

Zero sum gain

Posted February 15, 2007 05:01 PM



Hans Larsen, executive director for the Wellesley Board of Selectmen, says the town will be able to balance its fiscal year 2008 operating budget without asking voters for a tax increase.

Wellesley started the 2008 planning in January with a $3.3 million gap between expected revenues and spending. But good news on revenues and costs -- most recently health insurance premium increases that came in at 10 percent instead of the anticipated 14 percent -- have allowed officials to lower the deficit number to $985,000.

Larsen says that can be covered with money from the town’s reserve.

-- Lisa Keen

Dana Hall candy sales helps Zambian village

Posted February 14, 2007 09:23 AM


Jessica Freeman, a 16-year-old Newton resident and junior at Dana Hall School in Wellesley has parlayed the sales of Valentine’s Day chocolates into something sweeter: helping a community in Zambia transport water from the local river into their village.

On a recent trip to Africa, Freeman visited a village made of mud huts that had no running water. Villagers needed water rollers, a wheelbarrow-like device, priced at $150.00 each to retrieve water from the river is with water rollers

Freeman launched an effort to raise money for them and sold 650 bags of Hershey’s Hugs yielding $650, or 4 water rollers for the Zambia Water Project.

-- Erica Noonan and Susan Lebovits

Parents question why principal didn't make cut

Posted February 9, 2007 04:20 PM


With the two finalists for school superintendent due to appear at forums next week, the Wellesley School Committee this week felt the heat from some parents for not including a third: Middle School principal John D’Auria.

A group of parents showed up at Tuesday night's meeting to show their support for D'Auria. School Committee chair Mike Young defended the process, saying his panel thoroughly interviewed and considered all the candidates.

“We hold our Middle School principal in the highest regard,” Young told the audience. D'Auria has since indicated he would probably take a position in another town.

Next week, the public can question the finalists at separate forums to be held at the high school library. Framingham Superintendent Christopher Martes appears at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Bella Wong, an Assistant Superintendent in Wellesley, appears at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

--Lisa Keen

Teachers' lounge? Si! Espanol? No!

Posted February 9, 2007 02:36 PM


Two years ago, the Wellesley School Committee rejected a contribution of almost $400,000 from parents seeking to preserve a Spanish language program. The committee rebuffed the spontaneous fundraising effort, saying they didn’t want affluent parents to be in a position of controlling the curricula.

But earlier this week, the School Committee approved a $9,000 contribution to fix up the teachers lounge at Wellesley High School.

School Superintendent Matthew King said the Wellesley High School Parent-Teacher Organization asked him for ideas on projects they might fund at the school, and he pointed out that the teachers’ dining lounge was “shabby.”

-- Lisa Keen

Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault to speak at Wellesley College

Posted February 8, 2007 04:00 PM


Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault will speak at Wellesley College next Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. in Tishman Commons, Wang Campus Center.

Her talk,``Black Economic Empowerment,'' is hosted by the campus group Ethos in honor of its 28th annual Quintessence Day, which honors outstanding black women.

A longtime correspondent for NPR and CNN, Hunter-Gault is the winnter of two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards, inclduing one for her work on “Apartheid’s People,” a PBS NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid.

She is also the author of In My Place, a memoir of the civil rights movement and her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia.

-- Erica Noonan

Wellesley church case goes to SJC

Posted February 8, 2007 10:15 AM

St. James the Great Parish
(Globe Staff photo by Barry Chin)


Attorneys for St. James the Great in Wellesley planned to argue today before the Supreme Judicial Court that the Archdiocese of Boston has no right to sell off church land.

Lawyers will claim that that the Maffei family, who sold the eight-acre parcel along Route 9 for $12,000 in the 1940s, did so because they believed it would always be a church.

The Archdiocese announced plans to shutter St. James, along with dozens of other churches in 2004, as part of a large-scale reconfiguration. Since then, parishioners have held a vigil to keep St. James open.

``The bishop is only a trustee of his parishes. They are not his ATMs and he cannot convert them to his personal advantage,'' Peter Borre, co-chair of the Council of Parishes, told The Associated Press.

-- Erica Noonan

Wellesley stockbroker is charged with stealing

Posted February 2, 2007 10:25 AM


A Wellesley stockbroker was charged yesterday in federal court with stealing more than $400,000 from one of his elderly clients through a variety of fraudulent schemes, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced.

Stephen J. Toussaint, 43, was charged with 11 counts of fraudulent activities, including securities fraud, wire fraud, making false statements to federal agents, and manipulating accounts to evade reporting requirements.

The indictment targets transactions made by Toussaint between October 2002 and February 2004.

-- Globe City & Region staff

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

The Case of the Missing Laptops

Posted January 29, 2007 03:51 PM


Computer laptops, audio-video equipment, and cash were stolen from the Wellesley Middle School over the weekend, according to an email sent out to parents by Principal John D’Auria.

Police spokesperson Marie Cleary said there were no signs of forced entry and it could not be determined what day the theft took place or how many people were involved.

She said at least eight laptops were stolen, as well as one projector, and an undetermined amount of cash from several desks throughout the school. D’Auria asked parents to contact him or the police if they have any information about the crime.

The middle school houses about 980 students in grades 6 through 8.

– Lisa Kocian and Lisa Keen

Excedrin headache No. 9

Posted January 27, 2007 09:15 AM

(Globe Staff photo by Bill Greene)


Route 9 commuters better watch out. The state’s highway department is set to start this spring repaving the already busy highway on both eastbound and westbound sides from the Newton border to High St. in Brookline.

The $5.2 million project will include resurfacing, guard rail replacement, reconstruction of the median, and drainage improvements, said Erik Abell, a MassHighway spokesman. Construction crews will work only at night, from Sunday through Thursday, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., he said.

Contractor Aggregate Industries will restrict construction during Red Sox games, to ease traffic before and after, Abell said. The project is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2008.

-- Connie Paige

Medfield High principal to head Wellesley High

Posted January 26, 2007 01:57 PM


A principal's gamble pays off: After declining an offer to become principal of Franklin High School earlier this week, Medfield High School Principal Andrew Keough sent an e-mail to parents today to announce that he has accepted the position of principal at Wellesley High School.

Keough, 44, a Sherborn resident, said in his letter that it was a difficult decision to leave Medfield. He said moving to Wellesley would ensure long-term security for him and his family. His contract with Medfield is set to expire June 30.

In a telephone interview, Keough said Wellesley offers new challenges after his four years in Medfield.

Citing Wellesley High School's bigger school population, wider variety of courses, and upcoming accreditation process, he said he's not one to stay in one school system for decades. "I perform better when faced with big challenges," he said. "I prefer to continue to challenge myself."

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Gene Whitman, 71, investment banker

Posted January 18, 2007 06:11 PM


Gene Whitman


In the hands of Gene Whitman, impropriety was a tool he used to pry open doors that stood between him and opportunity.

As an investment banker, he often found himself in the unenviable position of trying to reach a key official in a company, someone he had never met. The road to success led through blockades of receptionists, secretaries, and assistants.

"He'd reach a secretary who would say, 'Does he know the nature of the call?' And my father would say, 'How would he know the nature of the call, I haven't spoken to him yet,' " Chip Whitman said of his father's phone technique. "By the end of the call, he would have the secretary setting up the meeting."

Mr. Whitman, who lived in Wellesley Hills and kept homes in South Dartmouth and in Sarasota, Fla., died of a heart attack on Jan. 7 at a dinner dance in Sarasota. He was 71.

Read more of this obituary in today's Boston Globe.

-- Bryan Marquard

Unraveling the connection between teen depression and substance abuse

Posted January 11, 2007 12:38 PM

Dr. Michael Jellinek
(Photo by Sarah Brezinsky for the Boston Globe)


The statistics are sobering: More than 800,000 teenagers in the US suffer from depression each year and more than 500,000 make a suicide attempt that requires medical attention. Often, experts say, those teens have been experimenting with or using drugs and alcohol.

To shed more light on the problem, a panel of speakers will share information on this topic next Thursday at a free Newton-Wellesley Hospital forum. The speakers will include:

* Dr. Michael Jellinek, an expert on child psychology and president of Newton-Wellesley Hospital;
* Jeffrey M. Young, Newton school superintendent;
* Nadja Reilly, director of a depression prevention initiative at Children’s Hospital;
* Chris Fortunato, vice president of teen and adult programs at Newton Community Service Center.

The forum will be held at 7 p.m. in the hospital's Shipley Auditorium.

-- Ralph Ranalli

What's the quickest way to the hospital? Play in traffic!

Posted January 9, 2007 03:55 PM

Newton-Wellesley Hospital Emergency Department chief Dr. Mark Lemons tours an exam room during construction.
(Globe Staff photo by Bill Polo)


Ever craved a chance to see an emergency room without having to be bleeding profusely or nursing a fracture? Sunday is your chance.

Newton-Wellesley Hospital will hold an open house from 11 am to 2 pm to show off its new $80 million emergency department facility. Refreshments (jello?) will be provided ... and don't worry, the facility doesn't open for medical business until next Wednesday, the 17th.

The new department, named in memory of Newton resident and philanthropist Maxwell Blum, is designed to meet a growing suburban emergency room demand. Annual visits to the hospital’s emergency room are projected to climb from 35,000 in 1999 to a 55,000 by 2008, according to a hospital spokesman.

-- Connie Paige

Five years speaking out for Voice of the Faithful

Posted January 7, 2007 11:36 AM


Leo Troy recalls five years ago when the pastor of his church invited parishioners to the front pews to discuss revelations that the Boston Archdiocese had covered up decades-long abuses by pedophile priests.

The Roman Catholic church, he said, didn't usually air its problems publicly. So along with feeling angry because of the scope of the abuse, Troy also felt empowered.

"It really moved a lot of people to talk about it more," he said. "It's a worldwide problem. That's why this organization came together."

Voice of the Faithful is marking its fifth anniversary this weekend. What started as a handful of outraged parishioners at St. John the Evangelist Church in Wellesley has grown to an international organization that claims tens of thousands of members, the AP reports.

-- AP

Lunch al fresco

Posted January 5, 2007 02:25 PM


Lunch with  Dad.jpg

How warm was it today? It was a day for outdoor cafes. That's how warm it was.

Susannah Pugh of Waltham, and her father, Jim Pugh of Wellesley, have lunch outside in downtown Boston today in this photo by Globe staff photographer David L. Ryan.

On the cutting edge with Phil Hamilton

Posted January 3, 2007 07:05 PM


28wevideo 1.jpg

Phil Hamilton pondering his vlogging successes
(Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

When Phil Hamilton started making videos for the web, he wasn’t sure who - if anyone at all - would bother watching them.

He doesn’t have to wonder any longer.

The videos created by this 17-year-old Wellesley High School senior are drawing national attention, and his weblog, “Phil Hamilton Hits The Big Time,” won an award at the first annual Vloggies, honoring the best independent video-makers on the Web.

The Vloggies were the brainchild of the PodTech Network, a Palo Alto, Calif. company that's building a network of audio and video programs for Web broadcast.

Hamilton snagged the People’s Choice Award in the kids and teen category. The Vloggies drew 600 nominations and were awarded in 35 categories, ranging from teaching cooking to stirring controversy. Among the sponsors were tech giants Yahoo! and Intel.

Hamilton has been a fan of video blogs -- or vlogs -- for more than two years.

“It was a really nice community, and after a while I wasn’t satisfied from just being an observer,” he said in telephone interview. “I wanted to have a voice in that community.” ...

Read more about Phil Hamilton in tomorrow's Globe West.

-- Emily Sweeney

School bus hit by car in Wellesley

Posted January 3, 2007 05:21 PM


A car hit a middle school bus this afternoon, but school officials said there were no injuries.

Middle School principal John D’Auria e-mailed parents this afternoon, assuring them that each student on the bus had been checked by the school’s head nurse.

D’Auria said the bus was able to leave the scene of the accident within about 30 minutes to drop students off at their regular stops.

He said the bus –identified as Bus G—was turning onto Donizetti Street after leaving the school when it was struck by a car.

--Lisa Keen

Sacre bleu! That's delicious

Posted January 3, 2007 10:29 AM


Catherine Masson and her husband, Claude Beauclair, like to entertain. But while Beauclair is an actor, Masson, a Wellesley resident, entertains guests with her cooking.

Growing up in France, Masson learned from her mother how to find the best quality ingredients for simple meals, she told the Globe. And that skill has never left her.

"I always have an idea of what I'll make for dinner," she says. "But if I arrive at the meat counter and the lamb is not looking the way I want it, I will change my menu." She then winds her way back to the produce area to pick vegetables to pair with the "center of the meal."

Masson, who teaches French and French drama at Wellesley College, said that she likes using local foods to make meals. For example, lobster.

"I'm not doing lobster in France, but here it's such a beautiful product," she says.

Two of Masson's French-influenced recipes can be found on

-- Adam Sell

Babson students developing shoe tracking device

Posted December 30, 2006 01:59 PM


Two Babson College students have won an $11,500 grant from the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance and the Lemelson Foundations to fully develop a running shoe tracking device, the college has announced.

The "Stridekick" developed by the two MBA students attaches to a shoelace and logs the total amount of miles the shoes have been used.

The device also alerts the runner once certain mileage levels are passed, helping the runner to know when it's time to get a new pair of shoes.

Now that's a Lulu of a building

Posted December 27, 2006 07:16 PM


Wellesley Campus Center 3.jpg

The building when construction was almost complete last year
(Globe Staff Photo by Bill Polo)

Wellesley College announced that its newest building, The Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, has been named the Boston area’s ‘‘most beautiful piece of architecture’’ of 2006 by the Boston Society of Architects.

The group voted the building —nicknamed ‘‘The Lulu’’-- the annual J. Harleston (cq) Parker Medal for Architectural Excellence, applauding among other features its ‘‘breathtaking views’’ of ‘‘the adjacent wetland valley and woodlands and the more distant lake.’’

The center, which opened in 2005, was designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects of Atlanta.

-- Lisa Keen

Student admits to bringing bullets to school

Posted December 14, 2006 10:56 AM


A Wellesley Middle School Student has admitted that he was the one who dropped two bullets in the lobby auditorium last week.

The student, who has not been named, said the bullets fell out of his backpack accidentally.

He told officials that he brought the bullets to school to impress his friends.

He came forward after police gave assurances that he wouldn't face prosecution.

A custodian found the bullets in the late afternoon of Dec. 19. Police searched the building that night and school was cancelled the following day when a more thorough search was undertaken.

“There will be significant consequences within the school system,” Wellesley Police spokesperson Marie Cleary said.

“But the police and school departments agreed no criminal charges because we wanted to get to the bottom of this and get answers to everyone so they could feel safe.”

--Lisa Keen

Rappin' the Canterbury Tales

Posted December 9, 2006 03:35 PM


The lights dim, the music pumps up - a steady beat that can be felt in the bones - and Baba Brinkman struts and bounces around the stage, belting out his rhymes about hard living, violence, sex and the secrets to true love, all in a seamless cadence. He gets his inspiration not from growing up in the 'hood, but from the musings of a 14th century English poet.

Brinkman, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia who has a master's degree in medieval and Renaissance English literature from the University of Victoria, has adapted some of "The Canterbury Tales" into rap songs.

"If Chaucer was around today, he'd probably rap," Brinkman told The Associated Press.

Brinkman stopped at Wellesley College during a recent tour of high schools and colleges across the eastern United States and Puerto Rico.

Circus comes to Wellesley

Posted December 7, 2006 02:40 PM



Performers rehearsing for the circus
(Photo courtesy of Matthew Brouillard)

Rather than running away to join a circus, Matthew Brouillard formed his own -- and for college credit, to boot.

With a $1,200 budget, the 21-year-old Olin College student enlisted 20 performers from the Needham college and from Wellesley College to show off their talents in the elaborate juggling act of poi spinning, acrobatics, and aerial silk dancing.

Performances will be held at 5 and 8 p.m. tomorrow at the Richard W. Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College in Wellesley.

Tickets are $10, $5 for students and children. All proceeds will go to
the Sharing Foundation, which benefits Cambodian children.

-- Lauren K. Meade

Bullets found at Wellesley school

Posted December 6, 2006 02:24 PM


A custodian at Wellesley Middle School found “live” ammunition near the school’s auditorium at about 4:15 p.m. yesterday, setting off searches by police and prompting school officials to schedule a briefing for parents at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.

In an email to parents today, Middle School Principal John D’Auria told parents that two 9mm bullets were found and that “they were not ornamental but genuine.” School was not held today.

D’Auria said he contacted Wellesley police as soon as the custodian turned them over to him and that the “police department conducted a search of the building late last night with a dog that is trained to detect nitrates.” Nitrates are a telltale sign of gunpowder.

Police refused to comment, calling it a "school department issue."

--Lisa Keen

Mass Bay inaugural festivities questioned

Posted November 30, 2006 09:31 AM


Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley spent more than $90,000 in university funds on a week of events marking the inauguration of Carole M. Berotte Joseph , the first Haitian to become head of a US college.

The idea was to promote diversity and reach out to current and potential donors in tight budget times. Some events drew crowds; others were sparsely attended.

The weeklong inauguration in May sparked an investigative report about the spending on WBZ-TV last night, and has caused a stir at the 5,000-student college, the Globe reports today.

Joseph, who became president in March of last year , has sent out e-mail messages defending the inauguration. "The Board of Trustees and I chose to invest in a weeklong celebration to create positive publicity and foster goodwill in the communities we serve," Joseph said. "The funds we spent will help establish MassBay as one of the Commonwealth's premier community colleges."

-- James Vaznis

Contractor sentenced for fraud

Posted November 22, 2006 01:07 PM


A 44-year-old defense contractor with ties to Boston's western suburbs has been sentenced to six months in prison for tax evasion, the Advocate of New Haven, Conn. reports.

James E. Stranberg Jr. owns Ace & Co. Inc., a defense contractor that manufactures fiber optic connectors for Army communications and Patriot missile launchers.

He was also fined $30,000 and sentenced to three years probation. The company has agreed to pay $230,000 in restitution to the government and about $900,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Ace & Co., which has a factory in Naugatuck, Conn. was incorporated in Massachusetts. According to documents filed in federal court in New Haven, Stranberg was a resident of Wellesley until he moved to Florida earlier this year.

-- Erica Tochin

Good food, good company, good cause

Posted October 25, 2006 07:05 AM


A dinner with celebrity chef Ming Tsai, public radio host Robin Young, or Nobel-Prize winning MIT geneticist Phillip Sharp – how good is that?

The Second Step, a Newton-based program for survivors of domestic violence, is sponsoring gourmet dinners with a celebrity in 22 private homes, most in Newton, but also one each in Wellesley, Brookline, and Boston.

The Nov. 4 benefit, called Step Up to the Plate, will also feature Vivien Li, executive director of the Boston Harbor Association, legendary Boston restaurateur Michela Larson, and Sam Adams beer CEO Jim Koch. Last year’s event raised $130,000.

For a complete list of dinner parties, visit Event tickets are $150. To purchase tickets, call 617-965-2026.

-- Connie Paige

When a McMansion is too much

Posted October 22, 2006 11:05 AM


Sybil and Don Smith had the house with the sprawling yard in Wellesley Hills. But they've traded it in for a three-bedroom duplex in the center -- and they're liking it.

The Globe Magazine takes a look today at people who are finding in an age of McMansions that smaller is better.

The article notes that for some it's the convenience of living downtown, while for others it's a financially smart choice.

Hermann Eilts, 84

Posted October 21, 2006 08:58 AM


Hermann Eilts of Wellesley, a retired diplomat whose rapport with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat helped smooth the way for the 1978 Camp David peace accord, has died. He was 84.

Mr. Eilts was in the Foreign Service from 1947 to 1979. He was named ambassador to Egypt after the United States reestablished diplomatic relations with that country in the early 1970s.

"His perseverance, knowledge, and relationships in the region were instrumental in crafting a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel that to this day remains unbroken," former President Jimmy Carter said in a statement.

After retiring from the Foreign Service, Mr. Eilts had been a professor of international relations at Boston University, the Globe reports in an obituary today.

Mr. Eilts leaves a wife, two sons, and four grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Wellesley school official apologizes for superintendent pay flap

Posted October 18, 2006 11:21 PM


In an open letter to town residents, Wellesley School Committee Chairman Michael Young has apologized for the upset caused by an 8.5 percent salary increase given to outgoing Superintendent of Schools Matthew King.

In the letter, Young acknowledged that the salary increase -- which came one month after Town Meeting agreed to ask voters for a property tax override for the sixth time in five years -- "did not sit well with many people."

"It is clear that we underestimated the public's reaction and the stress our actions would place on the other town boards and department management teams," wrote Young. "For that, we are sorry."

Yet Young does not necessarily believe the increase itself was out of line and he objects to comparisons, made by some critics, between King's new $185,000 salary and the $183,500 salarly paid to the US Secretary of Education.

"I think people who live in this town should see it as a Ph.D running a $46 million high-tech business with 700 employees," Young said in an interview. "Nobody else has the responsibility he has."

After King informed the committee of his intention to retire at the end of this school year, the School Committee voted give him a $10,000 raise, from $175,000 to $185,000. Add to that a $7,000 increase in the town's contribution to his pension annuity, from $26,000 to $33,000, and King's compensation package is $218,000.

By comparison, in Newton, the superintendent's compensation package is $225,000, and in Needham, the package totals $143,000.

The School Committee has put the matter on the agenda for its next meeting, which will be held Tuesday night.

-- Lisa Keen

Selfish in Wellesley?

Posted October 16, 2006 09:04 AM


Globe columnist Brian McGrory's recent column about how local opposition to a design home charity event in Wellesley cost the Home for Little Wanderers as much as $150,000 in much-needed revenue apparently touched a nerve.

In a letter to the editor today, resident Ellen Ishkanian decries the cold-heartedness of some of her neighbors:

As a native of Wellesley who has chosen to raise my family here, I was ashamed at the way town officials -- at the behest of one shrill group of abutters -- put one roadblock after another in front of a Design Home to benefit the Home for Little Wanderers.

McGrory speculated that perhaps it is a secret ingredient in Whole Foods macaroons or Starbucks lattes that causes people to act like morons. I wish it were that simple, and that a change in diet could make people think about something other than their own well-manicured back yards.

But in her own letter, resident Ann Rappaport charges that McGrory "missed the boat" in his column:

Lack of support for the 2006 Design Home probably had more to do with the fact that it was a thinly devised marketing ploy for the builder to sell yet another house in Wellesley (the house is currently offered for just under $6 million). Maybe Wellesley residents were out walking for diabetes that weekend instead, where Team Wellesley raised $30,000 (and counting) to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

Has the milk of human kindness soured in Wellesley? Was the developer just trying to skim the event for the publicity? Don't be cowed, express your opinion in the Globe West Message Boards.

Risk survey

Posted October 16, 2006 07:16 AM


For the first time in nine years, Wellesley public schools this fall will survey students about whether they participate in behavior considered risky.

The survey, prepared by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be given to middle and high school students on an anonymous basis, according to Bella Wong, assistant superintendent of schools. It seeks information about dietary and exercise habits, substance abuse, and the potential for unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.

Wong said parents will receive a letter this month explaining the survey and the option for excluding their children.

-- Lisa Keen

Libraries to re-open?

Posted October 15, 2006 10:28 AM


A new chapter may be opening for two libraries in Wellesley.

The town's two neighborhood branch libraries closed their doors in June after voters rejected a tax increase to keep them open.

Now the Wellesley Free Library's board of trustees wants to find out whether residents are willing to come up with donations to re-open them; otherwise the buildings will be turned over to the town.

The board has scheduled a hearing on the branches for 7 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Wakelin Meeting Room of the main library, 530 Washington Street.

-- Lisa Keen

Grinches in Wellesley?

Posted October 10, 2006 09:36 AM


Globe columnist Brian McGrory gives the town of Wellesley a tongue-lashing today.

McGrory writes that Boston magazine planned to open a Design Home to the public in town. Ticket prices were set at $25 apiece, with all the proceeds going to benefit the Home for Little Wanderers.

The only thing standing in the way, McGrory writes, was Wellesley residents who were afraid of "potentially undesirable people" being drawn to the house, and who called the cops any time an unidentified car drove by.

The result? Less money for charity, says McGrory. Read the column here.

-- Erica Tochin

The big house

Posted October 3, 2006 03:51 PM


This is the last week to tour the 30-room Design Home 2006, a $6 million dollar display of the latest in domestic luxury and technology in Wellesley.

The 10,580-square-foot house includes a home theater, a wine cellar, and a putting green. Proceeds from the $25 tickets (available over the internet from Design Home 2006) benefit The Home for Little Wanderers, a non-profit child and family service agency.

Chef Frank McClelland of L’Espalier will be holding a cooking demonstration and tasting at the uber-haus tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets for this event are $150 and also benefit The Home for Little Wanderers.

–- Lisa Kocian

Wellesley's famous cake

Posted September 28, 2006 02:29 PM


Wellesley fudge cake -- sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well, apparently, the dish's fame has spread far and wide.

Linda Hurd, a Baltimore Sun reader, recently was looking for the recipe for the Wellesley Fudge cupcakes once made by Hutzler's Department Store in Baltimore.

A Sun food columnist offered a recipe for Wellesley fudge cake, which was rumored to have been served in Wellesley College's tearoom.

The cake recipe is easily adaptable to make cupcakes. Curious about the recipe? Check it out on the Sun's website.

-- Erica Tochin

Sticker shock in Wellesley

Posted September 28, 2006 12:36 PM


It won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s been house hunting in town lately, but Wellesley ranks as one of the nation’s most expensive places to buy a home, according to a new study.

The just-released 2006 Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index compared the prices of similar upscale homes in markets around the country.

California boasts nine of the top 10 most expensive markets in the U.S., but Boston and Wellesley were noted as two of the priciest areas outside the Golden State with average sales prices of
$1.3 million and $1.2 million respectively, according
to the study.

Beverly Hills was ranked the most expensive housing market with an average sales price of $1.8 million. The most affordable market was Minot, N.D., where $132,333 will get you a very nice house.

-- Thomas Caywood

Yeah, sure, I could do that ...

Posted September 25, 2006 04:12 PM


Wanted: Thirteenth president of nation's most prestigious all-women's college. Previous experience and references preferred (we assume).

Yesterday's Sunday New York Times featured an ad for a new Wellesley College president, inviting applications for the post that will be vacated by current president Diana Chapman Walsh in June 2007.

The ad didn't list salary or benefits. (If you have to ask what they are, you probably don't qualify.) But did it recommend applicants submit letters of interest with curriculum vitae no later than Nov. 15.

-- Erica Noonan

Adams Scholarships hype misleading?

Posted September 20, 2006 09:13 AM


With all the positive attention focused on the recent awarding of 16,000 John and Abigail Adams Scholarship tuition waivers, Wellesley's James Montague, the director of guidance at the Boston Latin School, is counseling caution.

All the hoopla, Montague writes in a letter to the editor, "is a bit misleading, since (the scholarship) covers such a small portion of the actual cost of attending a state college or university. For example, in 2006-07 at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Adams Scholarship winners will receive a tuition waiver of $1,714 but will still have to find a way to pay $7,881 in comprehensive fees (including a $5,679 curriculum fee), not to mention $6,989 for room and board."

What do you think? Sound off in the Globe West Message Boards.

Joyce Wong, 17, center, reacts as she reads her letter at the O'Bryant School for Math and Science, after Gov. Mitt Romney announced that 16,169 high school students earned a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship. (Photo: Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff)

Entrepreneurial? Aye, aye, sir!

Posted September 18, 2006 10:59 AM


The Navy is putting its admirals through basic training - in business school, that is.

About two dozen Navy admirals are taking courses at Babson College, in an attempt to provide the next generation of naval leaders with management and entrepreneurial skills.

"This is about squeezing more toothpaste out of the toothpaste tube," Navy Vice Admiral Lewis W. Crenshaw Jr. told the Globe today. "There are a lot of parallels with the Navy."

Key at bat for Little League

Posted September 15, 2006 01:44 PM


The Wellesley Little League is scheduled to go to bat again Monday night before the town's selectmen.

This time it's likely to score, as it won the backing of the town's design review board this week for improvements to dugouts and the diamond at Reidy Field.

The league will foot the bill for the $100,000 project through donations.

-- Lisa Keen

They saved many lives

Posted September 14, 2006 09:09 AM


A Unitarian minister from Wellesley and his wife will be honored today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum for their heroics in saving Jews and other refugees from the Nazis.

Waitstill and Martha Sharp are only the second and third U.S. citizens named to an honor roll of 21,000 "righteous" gentiles, non-Jews who risked their lives to rescue Jews, the Washington Post reports today.


(Waitstill and Martha Sharp, Photo Courtesy Yad Vashem)

Condo fire in Wellesley

Posted September 12, 2006 09:46 AM


More than 75 people, many of them elderly, were evacuated from their Wellesley condominiums yesterday after a fire in a basement electrical room knocked out power to the building.

Adams House, one of three complexes in the Wellesley Green development, is unlivable, said Robert Moore, the property manager.

It will take at least three days to correct the damage and complete an investigation of the fire, Deputy Fire Chief Rick DeLorie said. Residents were bused to Dana Hall high school after the blaze just after 1 p.m. The American Red Cross offered to provide hotel rooms for those with no other options.

-- Globe City & Region Staff


(Firefighters clean up after the fire, Globe Staff Photo by Justine Hunt)

Retirement job website based in Wellesley

Posted September 11, 2006 09:04 AM


A new online site based in Wellesley is tapping into the graying segment of the labor market that's not quite ready to retire. was launched in May by Tim Driver, former senior vice president of consumer products at in Waltham, to provide a link between employers looking for experienced workers and workers eager for a second act, Globe business reporter Diane E. Lewis reports today.

Wellesley student honored by Glamour

Posted September 8, 2006 09:32 AM


Wellesley College student Chikoti Mibenge will be honored by Glamour Magazine for her committment to researching AIDS/HIV.

Ms. Mibenge, 24, has been named one of Glamour's Top Ten College Women of 2006. She is a native of Zamibia and lost both of her parents to AIDS. A biochemistry major, she works at the Partners AIDS Research Center.

She will be honored today, along with nine other winners, in New York City by Glamour's editor in chief, Cindi Leive. The issue featuring the Top 10 winners will hit newsstands Tuesday, Sept. 12.

-- Erica Tochin

Do more for Darfur?

Posted September 7, 2006 12:00 PM


Wellesley resident Susan E. Morgan, a volunteer with the Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur, urges the public in a letter to the editor to support efforts to stop genocidal violence in southern Sudan.

Even though the Bush administration declared the violence in Darfur a genocide nearly two years ago, little has changed in the lives of civilians there.

Communities nationwide are mobilizing to stop the genocide. On Sept. 17, a pivotal rally, timed to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations, is being held in New York's Central Park. This could be a time for people to declare, "Not on our watch."

You can read more about Morgan and the Darfur campaign in today's edition of Globe West or sound off on the issue in the Globe West Message Boards.

Safety of hair dyeing questioned

Posted August 29, 2006 08:51 AM


Julie Deane, color director at the Grettacole Salon in Wellesley, says that when pregnant clients ask her if dyeing their hair is safe, she refers them back to their obstetricians.

Some doctors, Deane said, tell the women to stop coloring their hair completely or during the first trimester, while others suggest that clients avoid dyes that may touch the scalp or limit the color to a few highlights.

Deane was interviewed for a New York Times News Service story about how women are talking to their stylists after a study found that the use of hair dye might slightly increase the risk of getting lymphoma.

Some epidemiologists said that the findings were not cause for immediate concern. And obstetrics experts told the newspaper there was no need for concern about the health of fetuses, but people are worried about hair dyes anyway.

Babson wins honors

Posted August 25, 2006 03:58 PM


The accolades keep piling up for Babson College.

The school was named one of the Top 50 Colleges for African Americans by Black Enterprise Magazine earlier this week, according to a press release issued by the school.

This comes after Babson was recently ranked No. 1 in entrepreneurship for the tenth straight year and the 23rd best business program by U.S. News and World Report.

-- Erica Tochin

Sober at Wellesley College

Posted August 22, 2006 09:04 AM


The Saturday nights are so quiet you can hear the pages turning at the library. At least, that's what the Princeton Review says about Wellesley College.

Wellesley has made the Review's top 10 list of "Stone Cold Sober" schools. It came in at No. 9. Brigham Young University was No. 1 on the list.

The review's book "The Best 361 Colleges" also listed the top 10 party schools. University of Massachusetts at Amherst came in at No. 9 on that list. The most festive school? The University of Texas at Austin.

Alice Ilchman, former Wellesley dean

Posted August 21, 2006 08:20 AM


Alice Stone Ilchman, a former dean at Wellesley College who later became president of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., died Aug. 11. She was 71.

Ilchman is being remembered as someone who built the stature of women's colleges, the Globe reports today in an obituary.

Ilchman was appointed dean of Wellesley College and professor of economics and education in 1973. She served until 1978. She also served as an assistant secretary of state in the Carter administration and from 1981 to 1998 as president of Sarah Lawrence.

"Alice was always interested in opportunities for women," said her husband, former Boston University dean Warren F. Ilchman. "She wanted to prove that women could handle very complex positions."

No. 1 Babson

Posted August 19, 2006 08:25 AM


It's that time of year again. U.S. News & World Report has issued its rankings of colleges.

Two Globe West colleges -- Wellesley colleges, to be more specific -- are among those who did well in the rankings.

Babson College was ranked No. 1 in the entrepreneurship category and No. 23 among business schools, while Wellesley came in No. 4 overall.

From academe back to the real world

Posted August 16, 2006 03:48 PM


A professor at Babson College in Wellesley has a key new job. Erik Sirri has been chosen as the new director of market regulation for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Associated Press reports.

Sirri, a finance professor and visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, was chosen for the position by SEC Chairman Christopher Cox.

This marks a return to the SEC for Sirri. He was the chief economist for the agency from 1996 to 1999.

Also on his resume: member of the economic advisory board of the Nasdaq Stock Market and governor of the Boston Stock Exchange.

-- Erica Tochin

Single-payer healthcare

Posted August 1, 2006 08:59 AM


James Henderson of Wellesley says U.S. Sen. John Kerry in an op-ed piece yesterday on healthcare was being too timid about reforming the healthcare system.

Henderson writes in a Letter to the Editor today that universal single-payer health care is the boldest solution on the table and it wouild "bring the United States in line with many of the industrialized countries against whom our businesses compete."

Greineder case retold

Posted July 31, 2006 03:27 PM


Dateline NBC last night retold the story of Dr. Dirk Greineder, respected citizen, who was convicted in the murder of his wife, May, in Wellesley.

The story, "Murder at Morse's Pond," now posted on, is full of details of the investigation -- and the defense case.

The story notes at the end that the Greineders' children still believe in their father's innocence and hope he'll be vindicated in an appeal.

PerkinElmer deal

Posted July 29, 2006 10:14 AM


Wellesley's PerkinElmer Inc. has entered a five-year agreement with Chinese health officials to expand neonatal screening for genetic diseases in seven provinces, the AP reports.

The provinces are Hubei, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Guangxi, Shanxi, Qinghai and Guizhou.

Commuter frustration

Posted July 29, 2006 10:06 AM


Richard Young of Natick filed an on-the-scene report from the Wellesley station about the travails of commuter rail passengers.

Here's his Letter to the Editor from today's paper:

AS I type this on my Blackberry waiting for the 7:14 a.m. train out of Wellesley, already 10 minutes late, we all hear a train's whistle in the distance. I gather up my Globe after just reading Mac Daniel's piece and lo and behold, it's not my commuter rail train but a freight train! This is getting ridiculous.

Richard Young, Natick

Emerging churches

Posted July 22, 2006 09:52 AM


They're trying something new in the basement of the Wellesley Congregational Church. A new kind of church service that is a little less formal, less wordy, less cerebral.

The antique church (founded in 1798) has been tempted to change things because of a phenomenon called the emerging church movement, the Globe's Spiritual Life column reports today.

Those who are trying these new appraoches are hoping that they may reignite longtime congregants' faith and lure in the "unchurched."

Joe Yang , a shop owner who attends both the new service and a traditional service upstairs at the church, says the two are "so different."

"Here, you can be a little bit more casual ... Down here, you're a little more relaxed," he said.

Is Swerling the victim?

Posted July 9, 2006 05:38 PM


A lively discussion today online about whether Norman Swerling, the driver's ed teacher in the Newton schools who was acquitted of raping one of his students, is a victim.

Freelance writer Keith O'Brien reports in today's Globe magazine that Swerling wanted to die when he was accused -- and suffered a heart attack while under the strain of the allegations.

O'Brien takes an in-depth look at Swerling, of Wellesley, and the case that made headlines.

Levin back on sidelines

Posted July 9, 2006 02:58 PM


Sunday's GlobeWest sports notebook touches on a big change in the Wellesley High athletic department. The school's athletic director, Andy Levin, has stepped down and will return to teaching. He'll also serve as an assistant football coach.

Levin is one of the most distinguished high school football coaches in Boston's western suburbs. A look at his resume:

* 18 years as Wellesley's head coach

* Four Super Bowl appearances

* Three Super Bowl wins

* Snapped Natick's 38-game winning streak in 1985

With Levin stepping away from the AD post, Natick High baseball coach John Brown has been hired as his replacement.

-- Mike Reiss

Wellesley mishap

Posted July 9, 2006 08:36 AM


A woman drove her car through the lobby of her condominium complex yesterday afternoon after she apparently stepped on the gas instead of the brake pedal, officials said.

Police dispatcher Kevin Lewis said the woman was taken to a hospital with injuries to her right leg following the incident.

A Wellesley Green Condominiums security guard said the 80-year-old woman was a resident of the complex.

Sounding off

Posted July 8, 2006 10:15 AM

Paul E. Pakos, of Sudbury, suggests in today's Letters to the Editor, that gay marriage supporters should face up to the fact that the word "marriage" is taken.

He says a "better way forward would be to press Congress to promote legislation that would require the IRS to provide the same tax treament as marriage to civil unions and domestic partnerships that are legitimized by the states."

Bill Pike, of Wellesley, weighs in on a different topic -- Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman -- in another letter.

Sick of smiling?

Posted July 8, 2006 09:42 AM


Tired of forcing yourself to smile and be optimistic?

Wellesley College professor Julie Norem is waging a campaign against relentless positivity.

She's written a book called "The Positive Power of Negative Thinking," and her ideas are discussed in a piece in The Times of London today.

School Superintendent Steps Down

Posted July 6, 2006 03:23 PM


Wellesley Schools Superintendent Matthew King has announced he will retire his post after the 2006-2007 school year.

King, who has led the Wellesley system since 1996, tells GlobeWest reporter Missy Ryan that he hopes to continue coaching senior administrators and write a book about education.

King, 58, was recently awarded a 10 percent pay raise -- to $185,360 in salary and annuities -- by the Wellesley School Committee, which was aware of his decision to resign next June.

Read more in this Sunday's editions of Globe West

SEC going after Wellesley man

Posted July 6, 2006 11:58 AM

A Wellesley man is in trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC says Patrick J. Cox was linked with a Boston investment banking firm's theft of money from clients, the Globe reports this morning.

See the Business section's blog for more detail -- and for other news breaking this morning about TJX Cos. of Framingham and BJ's Wholesale Club of Natick.

Thoughts on a Butterfly

Posted July 6, 2006 08:43 AM


Ethan Shimony of Wellesley offered some reflections on a butterfly in a Letter to the Editor of today's Globe. Here it is:

WHEN I turned 15, an adult friend of mine sent me a card that read, ``Do you remember when a butterfly was more beautiful than a girl?"

Standing at the Yawkey stop on the T recently, I thought of that message. A Red Sox game had just ended, and there were scores of people waiting to catch the train. A monarch butterfly flew around a growth of milkweed, and I watched it in fascination. Although there were many parents with their kids, no one seemed interested. The sight of this small wonder delighted me, but the apathy of the crowd had the opposite effect.

Observing -- and appreciating -- such a remarkable creature should be a tonic moment, as much so as the excitement of a baseball game.

High School Visioning

Posted June 13, 2006 03:50 PM

Wellesley invites residents to discuss plans for an updated high school facility at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the town library. School officials have invited noted school architect Frank Locker to discuss how Wellesley High School's academic program can guide plans for a renovation of the school, parts of which date back to 1938.

Local couple honored for saving people from Holocaust

Posted June 13, 2006 03:37 PM

Posthumous honors today for a couple who left Wellesley in 1939 and headed for Europe where they saved almost 2,000 Jews from Nazis during World War II.

Martha and Waitstill Sharp became only the second and third Americans to be inducted into the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial's "Righteous Among the Nations" group for non-Jews who saved Jews, The Associated Press reports today.

Admirals go to biz school

Posted June 8, 2006 05:22 PM

The Navy is sending its top brass to Babson College to learn how to think like businessmen.

The AP reports today that the Navy, an effort to run more efficiently, wants its admirals to think more like entrepreneurs.

Check out this link to see the story.

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