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Bathroom near-fracas much ado about nothing, clerk magistrate finds

Posted August 21, 2008 08:14 AM

A case involving a near-fracas in a men's room between two Wrentham selectmen was thrown out of court yesterday by a clerk magistrate.

Selectman John Zizza told police that fellow board member Robert Cohen confronted him in a Town Hall men’s room during a break from a June 3 board meeting. Cohen “stepped very abruptly” toward Zizza and began shouting, causing Zizza to fear that Cohen would attempt to harm him, Zizza told police.

In a counter-complaint, Cohen told police that Zizza was “hostile and intimidating” and Cohen feared Zizza would escalate the situation. Neither man was accused of physically attacking the other.

Wrentham District Court Clerk Magistrate Edward J. Doherty, however, ruled that there wasn't enough evidence to support formal charges against either man, and dismissed both complaints.

Zizza said he was disappointed that the case was dismissed. Cohen said he was happy to put the incident behind him.

-- Calvin Hennick

Men's room confrontation heads to court this week

Posted August 18, 2008 08:48 AM

A hearing date has been set for Wednesday for two Wrentham selectmen who are each accusing the other of assault.

The alleged incident took place in a men’s room at Town Hall during a break of a June 3 board meeting. Selectman John Zizza told police that fellow board member Robert Cohen “stepped very abruptly” toward him and began shouting, causing Zizza to fear that Cohen would attempt to harm him.

Cohen, in a counter-complaint, told police that Zizza was “hostile and intimidating” and that Cohen feared Zizza would escalate the situation. Neither man is accused of physically attacking the other.

A clerk magistrate at Wrentham District Court will hear the men out in a show-cause hearing at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday. The clerk magistrate and will then decide whether there is enough evidence for either or both of the men to be formally charged.

-- Calvin Hennick

Challenger kicks off campaign against Wrentham's Ross

Posted July 25, 2008 07:15 AM

Thomas Roache, Medfield High School graduate and progressive community organizer, officially kicked off his campaign for state representative last week with an event at the Zullo Gallery in Medfield.

TomRoache2.jpg Challenger Thomas Roache ( image)
Roache, an independent, is hoping to unseat Wrentham Republican Richard Ross, who has held the Ninth Norfolk district seat since 2005. The 28-year-old is running on a platform of making the state more affordable and says he will not hold another job if elected.

RichardRoss2.JPGIncumbent Richard Ross (Globe file image)
Roache, a former captain of the Medfield High School football team, has also worked for an international development think tank in Washington D.C. and for an aid agency that provided psychological counseling to war victims in Beruit. Ross owns and operates R. J. Ross Funeral Home in Wrentham.

-- Calvin Hennick

The New Math in Wrentham: Additions can happen despite subtractions

Posted July 12, 2008 08:44 AM

Despite cutting nearly eight full-time positions, Wrentham’s elementary schools will expand foreign language instruction next year, Superintendent Jeffrey Marsden said.

A part-time instructor already teaches Spanish to children in the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades, and a new part-time teacher will be added to teach children in the first, second, and third grade, [all grade levels], Marsden said.

Kindergartens will also receive instruction if scheduling allows, Marsden said.

He said he would also like to add Chinese instruction in the next several years.

-- Calvin Hennick

Anderson is the new top dog at Wrentham PD

Posted July 7, 2008 07:49 AM

In a ceremony attended by 80 relatives, friends, and colleagues, former Acting Lieutenant James Anderson was sworn in as the new chief of the Wrentham Police Department last week.

Anderson was selected through the Civil Service hiring system and replaces interim Chief Richard Gillespie, who also applied for the permanent position.

The department had been without a permanent chief since November, when Chief Joseph Collamati retired from the position.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham goes to Plan B for public works director, redies Plan C just in case

Posted June 18, 2008 08:52 AM

Wrentham's selectmen voted last night to hire Colonel Thomas Schluckebier, a commander at Hanscom Air Force Base, as its new superintendent of public works.

The board had offered the job to Richard Nota, the current public works director for the town of Harvard, in February, but Nota and town officials could not agree on a contract.

The board also voted to give the job to former Millis Public Works Director Irving Priest if the town cannot come to an agreement with Schluckebier.

-- Calvin Hennick

Framingham developer abandons plans for 200-unit complex in Wrentham

Posted May 15, 2008 09:43 AM

Fairfield Residential LLC, a development national company with an office in Framingham, has informed the town of Wrentham that it is no planning to build a 200-unit apartment complex on South Street.

Town officials had expressed concerns about the project, saying it would burden the town by adding children to the school system and creating additional traffic. But since 50 of the apartments were affordable, the developers would have been exempt from some local zoning restrictions under the state's Chapter 40B law.

Chapter 40B allows developers of affordable housing to bypass certain local zoning restrictions in communities that fall short of the state threshold for affordable units. Wrentham is about 180 housing units short of the threshold.

-- Calvin Hennick

King Philip Regional principal, vice principal say they will leave

Posted March 18, 2008 07:34 AM

Elaine Hanson, the principal of King Philip Regional High School, has announced that she is seeking employment elsewhere and will step down at the end of the school year.

"I just decided it was time to look for a different challenge," said Hanson, who has served as principal since 1999.

Hanson said she has personal reasons for wanting to move on but declined to elaborate. Assistant Principal Jamie Vitonis has also announced that he will leave the district at the end of the year.

-- Calvin Hennick

Helen Keller to reappear in Wrentham (almost)

Posted March 3, 2008 08:42 AM


Children will have the chance to learn about Helen Keller, a one-time Wrentham resident, at a March 18 performance at the Fiske Public Library.

An actor from Historical Perspectives for Children will portray Keller, who went from being unable to speak or communicate to become one of the country's first and most famous advocates for the disabled. Keller lived in Wrentham after graduating from Radcliffe College in 1904 and becoming the first deaf-blind person in the US to earn a bachelor of arts degree.

The 6 p.m. event is free, but canned food donations will be accepted for the Wrentham Food Pantry. Anyone interested in attending is urged to call the library at (508) 384-5440 for more information.

-- Calvin Hennick

What can Brown do for you (if you vote for him)?

Posted February 14, 2008 07:00 AM


State Senator Scott Brown, a Wrentham Republican, has announced that he will seek a third term.

Brown was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and ran unopposed for reelection in 2006. He is a
graduate of Tufts University and Boston College Law School and also serves as a Lt. Colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham officials weigh in with opposition to Walpole power plant proposal

Posted February 10, 2008 07:58 AM


Wretham's selectmen this week voted to support the opposition to a proposed $500 million power plant in Walpole.

Town Administrator Jack McF eeley said that the plant project, which is being proposed by Maryland and Braintree-based Competitive Power Ventures Inc., would spew "unacceptable" levels of particulates into the air, endangering residents' health.

Although Wrentham and Walpole do not share a border, the facility would sit about two miles away from the Wrentham town line, McFeeley said. Officials in Walpole and Foxboro have also expressed opposition to the project.

-- Calvin Hennick

Boaters swamped by new fees in Wrentham

Posted January 29, 2008 07:32 AM


Parking fees for the Lake Pearl boat-launch lot off Woolford Road will go up by more than 200 percent this year.

Selectmen last week voted on the changes, which Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said are designed to more fully fund the town’s annual $15,000 to $20,000 in clean-up costs at the lake.

Parking stickers for residents will go from $10 to $35, with a 20 percent discount for senior citizens and those with disabilities. Non-resident stickers will increase from $20 to $75, with no discounts.

-- Calvin Hennick

Szekely caps career as FinCom chairwoman in Wrentham

Posted January 12, 2008 07:13 AM

Sue Szekely (far right) has other plans now
(Globe staff photo by Wendy Maeda)


Sue Szekely, the chairwoman of the Finance Committee, has stepped down lafter 14 years on the board. Szekely said she views her resignation as a “retirement” and that it was not politically motivated.

“It’s just time for a change, time to do other volunteer work,” Szelkely said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Toss your tree, send a Scout to DC

Posted January 1, 2008 07:05 AM



Local Boy Scouts will pick up discarded Christmas trees Saturday as a fundraiser for a trip to Washington, D.C.

Donations (the organization suggests $10) should be placed in a sealed envelope and wrapped around the bottom of the tree with a rubber band. For safety reasons, the Scouts cannot accept trees with tinsel, flocked trees, trees with nails, artificial trees, wreathes with metal shape wires, or trees with any other metal attached.

Trees should be place curbside by 8 a.m. In case of rain, the pickup will be moved to Jan. 12.

-- Calvin Hennick

Response for Wrentham fire chief job not so hot, town says

Posted December 25, 2007 07:33 AM


The first month of advertising for a new fire chief has garnered only three resumes, all of them from out-of-state candidates, Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said.

Robert Morrill retired from the position in the spring, and Deputy Chief Jay McMorrow is serving as interim chief. McFeeley said he expects that McMorrow will also apply for the permanent position.

The town hopes to hire a chief by the end of January, McFeeley said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Feds to give Wrentham some roadside assistance

Posted December 18, 2007 06:13 AM


Federal officials say Wrentham is eligible for federal aid on a $2.2 million reconstruction project on Taunton Street, Public Works Superintendent Robert Reardon said recently.

Although the funding depends on several contingencies, including placement of the project on the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Improvement Program list, Reardon called the federal eligibility letter “great news.”

-- Calvin Hennick

Selectmen tweak plowing policy, outgoing director thinks the whole snow thing is a big hoot

Posted December 6, 2007 10:23 AM


Selectmen last week approved a new snow removal policy that puts the discretion over which streets and sidewalks to plow in the hands of the Public Works director.

The previous policy named certain major streets as top priorities, and actually listed two sidewalks that were not to be plowed.

Selectmen also formally accepted the resignation of Public Works Director Robert Reardon, who is leaving the town next month to accept a position in Florida.

-- Calvin Hennick

Maybe if he had offered donuts ...

Posted November 29, 2007 01:32 PM


A Wrentham man faces bribery charges for allegedly offering a Rhode Island state trooper $2,000 to escape an arrest for driving without a license, the Associate Press is reporting.

Police say Freddy Romano of Wrentham was stopped last week while driving his Hummer in the breakdown lane of Interstate 95 during rush hour. He did not have a driver's license.

Police officials say Romano offered the state trooper a $1,000 bribe to escape arrest and falsely claimed his daughter had recently died.

When the trooper refused, Romano allegedly doubled his offer and promised to do construction work at the officer's home. Romano was arrested and charged with bribing a public official, driving without a license and obstructing an officer. He was carrying $2,500 in his wallet.

Romano could not be reached for comment.

-- AP

Car 54, where are you? West Wrentham!

Posted November 14, 2007 02:39 PM


Town Meeting voters this week approved spending $60,000 to erect a communications tower
on town-owned land off of Rhodes Drive.

Town officials say the tower will help to eliminate dead spots in the western part of
town for handheld radios used by police officers and firefighters and fix a longstanding public safety hazard.

-- Calvin Hennick

A vote for the ages in Wrentham

Posted November 12, 2007 07:27 AM


Town Meeting voters will decide tommorow night whether to petition the state to allow the town's police chief to serve past the mandatory retirement age of 65.

Current Chief Joseph Collamati will retire November 17, and selectmen have named Lieutenant Richard Gillespie as his provisional replacement. Gillespie turns 65 next September.

-- Calvin Hennick

A little something for the nest egg

Posted November 10, 2007 08:48 AM


Selectmen thisweek approved paying approximately $35,000 to retiring Police Chief Joseph Collamati for owed sick days, vacation time, and Quinn Bill incentive money.

Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said the Quinn Bill money - about $15,000 - would be reimbursed by the state. Collamati officially retires on Saturday.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham man charged in fatal I-93 crash

Posted November 8, 2007 03:46 PM


A Wrentham man faces drunken driving and motor vehicle homicide charges following a fatal early-morning accident on Interstate 93 in Canton.

State police say 23-year-old Ryan Shaugnessy was driving a Hyundai Tiburon that collided with a pickup truck at the off-ramp to Route 138. The driver of the pickup was thrown from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.

Shaugnessy was treated for minor injuries at Norwood Hospital and later transferred to the state police barracks in Framingham. The highway was closed for several hours after the 1 a.m. crash.

-- AP

Loosening the purse strings in Wrentham

Posted October 30, 2007 10:13 AM


Town Meeting voters Nov. 13 will be asked to approve about $800,000 in capital expenses,
including new vehicles for the police and fire departments and maintenance on a water tank.

Town Meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at King Philip Regional High School.

-- Calvin Hennick

Making the grade at Wrentham PD

Posted October 17, 2007 09:36 AM


Selectmen last week tapped Lieutenant Richard J. Gillespie to serve as an Wrentham's interim police chief after the Joseph Collamati retires from the position on Nov. 17.

The board also temporarily promoted Sergeant James E. Anderson to serve as a lieutenant. Both officers earned exam scores that make them eligible for the permanent chief's position, officials said.

-- Calvin Hennick

Temp job available in Wrentham

Posted October 10, 2007 07:33 AM


Wrentham's selectmen are set to tackle the issue of finding a replacement for Police Chief Joseph Collamati, who is retiring on Nov. 17.

One option being considered is naming a provisional replacement. Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said Civil Service regulations require that a provisional position be offered to the next highest-ranking officer in the department, Lieutenant Richard Gillespie. Several selectmen have said they have confidence in Gillespie as a fill-in for Collamati.

The board halted its search for a permanent chief while they waited to hear from state officials about whether they would be able to consider external candidates for the position. The state told town officials that Wrentham would first have to consider internal candidates.

-- Calvin Hennick

Art among the books in Wrentham

Posted September 24, 2007 08:34 AM


Local artist Robin Carroll’s watercolors, pastels, and calligraphy will hang for a show at the
Fiske Public Library all next month, and Carroll will be on hand for an artist’s reception on
Oct. 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The show and reception are free and open to the public.

-- Calvin Hennick

King Philip Superintendent: Granite sign purchase not set in stone

Posted September 13, 2007 02:05 PM


The purchase of a $35,000 granite sign bearing the name of King Philip Regional High School will be delayed until officials are sure the high school reconstruction project will come in under its $55 million budget, Superintendent Richard Robbat said.

Robbat said some other project items, including a divider for the gymnasium and some plantings, would also be delayed until officials were certain they had the money for them.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham teachers agree to new contract

Posted September 5, 2007 12:00 PM

Elaine Clark's class studies butterflies. Wrentham teachers will have to wait a year for a raise.
(Globe staff photo by Mark Wilson)


The Wrentham school committee and the teachers' union have agreed to a contract that will give teachers no raise this year.

Teachers will receive a 3-percent pay increase for the 2008-2009 school year, and another 3-percent raise for the 2009-2010 school year.

In the last two years of the contract, all new employees will pay 20 percent of their health insurance costs, up from 15 percent for current employees.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham names regional planning representative

Posted August 14, 2007 10:32 AM


Selectmen last week appointed William Bauser as the town’s representative on the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, a regional planning agency representing 101 cities and towns in the Boston area.

Bauser will replace Maureen Osolnik, who resigned from the position in protest when selectmen voted not to reappoint her to the Conservation Commission this spring. All sitting members of that board resigned to protest Osolnik’s departure.

Bauser was also named to the conservation board.

-- Calvin Hennick

School board: Practice but no games for underage partiers

Posted July 26, 2007 11:25 AM



King Philip Regional High School students who are caught at parties where alcohol is served this school year will be suspended from participating in extracurricular competitions, but now will be allowed to continue practicing with their teams, the regional school committee has decided.

Students and parents were in an uproar this past school year, after approximately 30 students were suspended from any extracurricular activity for six weeks after they were caught at party where minors were drinking. Some of the students hit with the suspensions admitted that they had been at the party, but insisted that they hadn't been drinking.

The refined policy still calls for six-week suspensions from extracurricular competitions for students who knowingly attend parties where alcohol is being used illegally. School Committee chairwoman Clare Sullivan said allowing students to practice with their teams is an attempt "to keep the students involved."

In another change to the policy, the school principal will have the option of reducing the suspension to four weeks if students attend an approved alcohol education program at their own expense.

-– Calvin Hennick

Chief headhunters

Posted July 24, 2007 02:31 PM


Selectmen last week agreed to set up a five-member committee to search for a new fire chief. The members will include Town Administrator Jack McFeeley, Selectmen chairwoman Mary Dunn, and three area fire chiefs.

The fire chiefs can be active or retired, but they can't be from Wrentham or any contiguous towns, McFeeley said. McFeeley said he will organize the committee as soon as possible, and the members will recommend a list of three or more candidates to selectmen sometime this fall.

Deputy Chief Jay McMorrow has served as acting chief since Robert Morrill retired this spring.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham rep explains marriage vote change

Posted June 14, 2007 04:31 PM


State Representative Richard Ross, a Wrentham Republican, says he voted against a proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage today because it was "the right thing" to do.

Ross, who in January voted in favor of putting the ban to a popular vote, was one of a handful of legislators to switch their votes.

The proposal, which needed to pass in a constitutional convention of the legislature with 50 votes in two consecutive sessions, garnered 62 votes in January but failed with only 45 votes today. As a result, the ban won't appear on the 2008 ballot.

Ross said he came to his decision over the past few days, when he realized that sending the ban to voters would cause gay families in his district to "be put back under a microscope."

"We were going to subject them to a period of hate and vitriol and dragging everything up all over again," Ross said. "It wouldn't be good for them, and it wouldn't be good for the commonwealth."

Ross apologized to "faith communities" who were counting on him to vote for the ban, but he said he ultimately voted his conscience.

"I have become convinced in my heart in the last few days that [putting the ban to a vote] is absolutely the wrong way to go," he said.

- Calvin Hennick

How much to run Wrentham?

Posted June 14, 2007 09:10 AM


Town Meeting voters will vote Monday on a budget of approximately $31.5 million, said Town Administrator Jack McFeeley. The budget will be an increase of about 2 percent from the current year's budget, McFeeley said. The 2008 fiscal year begins July 1.

– Calvin Hennick

Too much information?

Posted June 11, 2007 10:25 AM

Selectwoman Jennifer Firth
(Boston Globe archive photo)


The release of a Norfolk County District Attorney's report that included the social security numbers of Selectwoman Jennifer Firth and former Selectman Greg Pazurchek has spurred Wrentham officials to reevaluate the town's privacy policies.

Selectmen are seeking input from department heads on a proposed policy that would require town employees to redact social security numbers and unlisted telephone numbers before releasing public records. After receiving the department heads' comments, selectmen plan to take up the issue again at their July 17 meeting.

The Wrentham Police union filed a state ethics complaint against Firth, saying she falsely accused an officer of making a threat against Pazurchek. Firth denied the charge. The DA's report, which concluded there was no actual threat against Pazurchek, was circulated to members of the media and others in February.

-– Calvin Hennick

The financial hits keep coming in Wrentham

Posted June 8, 2007 12:35 PM



Still reeling from news that the town mistakenly failed to collect $180,000 in property taxes this year, Wrentham officials recently learned that they were passed over for a federal grant that would have helped pay for the clean-up of a piece of town-owned land.

The approximately 15-acre site on South St. became property of the town through a tax lien and is contaminated by a large pesticide spill. McFeeley said the property, known as the Marra property after its former owner, is likely worth more than $1 million once the contamination is removed.

Without the approximately $200,000 cleanup grant, however, McFeeley said the town has no immediate plans to clean up the site. The town will reapply for the grant if it is available next year, he said.

-- Calvin Hennick

A "whoops" in Wrentham

Posted June 4, 2007 12:01 PM


Town officials missed out on about $180,000 that could have been collected in taxes this year, Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said.

Towns are allowed by to increase their tax levy by 2.5 percent each year and to build new growth from development into the town's tax base, without asking for voter approval. McFeeley said the town experienced more growth this fiscal year, which ends June 30, than originally projected, but no one noticed before the tax rate was set.

"It was just something that fell through the cracks," McFeeley said.

McFeeley replaced previous Town Administrator Steven Boudreau last November, which McFeeley said is the optimal time to assess whether new growth has exceeded expectations.

"It won't happen again this year," he promised.

-- Calvin Hennick

Library group looking for paper -- especially the green kind with pictures of dead US presidents

Posted May 25, 2007 06:11 AM


Who knows paper better than people who love libraries?

The Friends of the Fiske, a group that raises funds for the Fiske Public Library, is trying to collent 10 tons of paper between May and August so it can receive a $250 bonus from its recycler.

The group is urging residents to bring old newspapers, catalogues, bad paperback romance novels, etc., to the yellow and green bins in the parking lots of the library and Town Hall.

–- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham school evacuated after bomb threat

Posted May 4, 2007 10:20 AM


King Philip High School in Wrentham was evacuated for about two hours yesterday after a bomb threat was found written on a wall, Wrentham police said. No bomb was found.

At about 8 a.m., school officials reported the threat, which stated someone was going to die, said Wrentham Detective Sergeant William McGrath. Police from Wrentham, Plainville, Norfolk, and the State Police bomb squad responded, and the school was evacuated.

McGrath said police conducted a "floor by floor, locker by locker" search. Students returned to class at about 10 a.m. McGrath said police suspect the threat was written by a student. The threat is under investigation.

-- Globe City & Region Staff

Another day, another resignation in Wrentham

Posted May 2, 2007 04:03 PM


More turmoil in Wrentham's town government.

Alan Phipps, chairman of Wrentham’s recycling committee, submitted his resignation to Selectmen last night in protest of their decision not to renew Maureen Osolnik’s appointment as Conservation Commission chairwoman.

Osolnik said she also plans to resign from the recycling committee, which will leave only two recently appointed members.

Four of Osolnik’s fellow conservation board members had already announced their resignations at an April 26 meeting, saying selectmen had treated Osolnik unfairly.

Another member of that board has submitted his resignation, and Osolnik said the last remaining member also plans to resign.

Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said selectmen will handle some of the conservation board’s business until new members can be appointed.

Selectmen voted 3-2 not to renew Osolnik’s appointment to the conservation board on April 24.

– Calvin Hennick

McFeeley says he's ready to solve problems in Wrentham

Posted April 26, 2007 05:13 PM


Ready to take on challenges


Town Administrator Jack McFeeley says he is turning his attention to solving the town’s long-term problems, now that selectmen have removed the ‘‘interim’’ from his title.

McFeeley had served in an interim capacity since November, when Steven C. Boudreau left for a position in Ware.

Selectmen unanimously voted last week to give the permanent slot to McFeeley, choosing him over Sutton Town Administrator Joshua Handverger and a former Wareham town administrator, Michael Hartman.

McFeeley said one of his first priorities will be to create a five-year budget plan that includes ways to increase revenue, such as encouraging business development and selling off surplus town land.

McFeeley has not yet discussed his contract with selectmen, he said, noting the bylaws call for a salary between $85,000 and $105,000.

-- Calvin Hennick

DA: Wrentham selectmen violated open meeting law

Posted April 12, 2007 03:31 PM


The Wrentham Board of Selectmen violated the open meeting law by discussing in private whether to keep the position of police chief in the civil service system, the Norfolk County district attorney’s office has found.

Police Chief Joseph Collamati filed a complaint March 7 about a Jan. 2 closed meeting that was called to discuss Collamati’s retirement plans.

At that meeting, board members discussed whether to keep the position in the civil service system.

Board member John Zizza said he did not favor keeping the position in civil service because he did not want a chief that could not be fired until his or her contract expired.

The prosecutor’s office said that, because the board appeared to have acted in good faith and has apologized for the violation, no further action is necessary.

The civil service system is a merit-based system for employing state and municipal employees that was created to reduce the role of politics in hiring.

-- Calvin Hennick

Town Administrator finalists interviewed this week

Posted April 2, 2007 06:26 PM


Selectmen will interview three finalists for the post of town administrator Tuesday.

A former Wareham town administrator, Michael Hartman, Sutton Town Administrator Josh Handverger, and the town’s interim administrator, Jack McFeeley, are vying for the spot vacated in November when Steven C. Boudreau left to become administrator in Ware.

McFeeley, a former Norfolk selectman, has served in the post since Boudreau’s departure.

— Calvin Hennick

Wrentham high school probes possible computer hacking

Posted March 29, 2007 05:15 PM


Police are investigating whether a student at King Philip Regional High School hacked into the school’s computer system. Wrentham Police Chief Joseph Collamati said school officials asked police to investigate earlier this month.

Police searched the student’s home on March 19 and confiscated computers, he said. Collamati said the computer crimes unit of the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, a regional police consortium, has taken over the probe.

Collamati would not say what police believe the student’s motive was. King Philip Superintendent Richard Robbat confirmed the investigation was underway but would not comment further.

-– Calvin Hennick

Tension continues in Wrentham between selectmen and police

Posted March 23, 2007 05:07 PM


Selectmen have postponed hearings with Police Chief Joseph Collamati and Sergeant William McGrath, originally scheduled for last Tuesday, until they can arrange for a special counsel to mediate the hearings.

Selectmen have called the pair, along with fire union head Robert Holst, to the hearings to ask whether they circulated a district attorney’s report that contained the Social Security number of Selectwoman Jennifer Firth.

Interim Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said the purpose of the hearings is to determine whether there is cause to hold further hearings that could result in discipline. He said a new date for the hearings has not been set.

— Calvin Hennick

Wrentham committee releases $60K

Posted March 9, 2007 09:49 AM


A town committee recommended releasing more than $60,000 in grants from a public trust Tuesday night.

The Sweatt Fund Advisory Committee recommended giving $8,000 to
the Council on Aging, $20,000 to the Landscape Committee, $8,300 to the Recreation Department, $15,000 to the Old Fiske Library/Museum, and more than $12,000 to the library. Selectmen approved the committee’s recommendations.

-– Calvin Hennick

Wrentham selectmen skip public comment

Posted March 7, 2007 12:42 PM


Four Wrentham police officers were prevented from speaking out last night when the board of selectmen abruptly adjourned its meeting without allowing public comment.

The police had hoped to confront Selectwoman Jennifer Firth about comments she made earlier this year about a police officer writing a threat on an Internet message board two years ago.

Local police say Firth made a reckless charge against them and should resign. Firth says she never specifically mentioned a Wrentham officer.

An investigation by the district attorney’s office found no evidence that a Wrentham officer had made an online threat.

Chairwoman Mary Dunn was instrumental in creating the public forum segment of the selectmen’s agenda in the late 1990s. She said it was the first time she had asked for a motion to close the meeting when residents wanted to speak.

“That’s my prerogative,” Dunn said.

Dunn said she has scheduled the police union for the April 3 agenda.

Sgt. William McGrath, president of the union, said the board is only trying to delay the union’s response.

-- Calvin Hennick

'Extremely tight' budget seen in Wrentham

Posted March 2, 2007 10:51 AM


Interim Town Administrator Jack McFeeley said he hopes to present the selectmen's budget for the new fiscal year to the Finance Committee by the end of this month.

McFeeley said money would be "extremely tight," but he didn't know whether the budget for the year starting July 1 would require personnel cuts.

The elementary school system has requested a 9.7 percent funding increase to maintain current services, and the regional King Philip system has asked for a 13 percent increase in Wrentham's contribution. McFeeley said he doubts the town can afford the increases.

-- Calvin Hennick

State senator defends reading of profane Internet messages

Posted February 9, 2007 01:54 PM


Scott Brown with a picture of Ayla
(AP Photo by Charles Krupa)


State Sen. Scott Brown has acknowledged using profanity at an appearance before students at King Philip Regional High School yesterday, but he is defending his actions, saying he was only reading what some of the students had written about him on the Internet.

"I was merely reading the things that they had written about me," Brown said. "What’s the issue, exactly? I don’t quite know what the big deal is, exactly."

Brown had come to the school to talk to students about legislative issues, including gay marriage.

But during his appearance in the school library before students from three history classes, he brought up comments made on the Internet criticizing his opposition to gay marriage. He said he believed some of the students present were responsible for the messages.

Some of the messages, posted to the social networking site, used profanity and made reference to his family. Brown's daughter, Ayla, is a former "American Idol" contestant and current basketball player at Boston College. The messages have since been removed from the site.

"A couple of people objected to the language, and I said, ‘I object, too,'" Brown said. In addition to reading the profanity aloud, he read the names of the message posters.

A wire story about about the incident has appeared on
websites for newspapers across the country. Brown said the situation is being blown out of proportion.

"It’s offensive in that I now have to justify why I repeated what kids said about me as if I’m doing something inappropriate," Brown said. "It doesn’t smell right to me."

King Philip Superintendent Richard Robbat said that reading the comments was out of line.

"The big deal is that his remarks and the use of profanity and the using of names were inappropriate in a school setting," Robbat said.

Robbat said Brown apologized to him after the speech. He wouldn’t comment on whether Brown would be welcome back to the school.

-- Calvin Hennick

Hats in the ring in Wrentham

Posted January 29, 2007 04:39 PM


If you've ever grumbled about an elected official in Wrentham and thought you could do better, well, now's your chance to get off the couch. The town is making nomination papers for the April 2 annual town election available at the Town Clerk's office and accepting them through Feb. 12.

High profile positions including town moderator and town clerk will be on the ballot, as well as two seats each on the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, the Board of Assessors, the Board of Health, the Planning Board, the Library Trustees. There is also a seat on the Housing Authority and three town constable positions on the ballot.

Town Clerk Carol Mollica said the competition is light so far. Some of the incumbents have yet to take out paperwork, she said, and no challengers have yet taken out papers.

-- Calvin Hennick

Checking in with Ayla Brown

Posted January 17, 2007 11:12 AM


Brown in a game this fall
(AP Photo by Elise Amendola)


Ayla Brown is looking to gain weight, not lose it.

Brown, a freshman who is on the women's basketball team at Boston College, told the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune that having more muscle will help her in her basketball career at the Heights, but she wonders what it might do to her other career, singing.

Both the Eagle-Tribune and the Providence Journal caught up with last year's American Idol participant recently.

Brown's locally-famous parents Gail Huff (Boston TV personality) and Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, insist on her grades coming first. And somehow, the young woman from Wrentham has managed to keep a 2.86 GPA while making appearances on the court and on the stage.

NCAA rules prohibit her from promoting "Forward," her first CD, but that hasn't stopped the album from becoming successful. Her performance schedule picks up after the basketball season ends.

-- Adam Sell

Judge Ellis F. Brown, 93

Posted January 16, 2007 04:10 PM


Ellis F. Brown was never content to serve the public only in the course of his job as the top justice in Wrentham District Court. In his spare time during his career as a judge and even after retiring, Mr. Brown based his life on doing what he could for the underprivileged in the Boston area.

Mr. Brown died Sunday at age 93, at his daughter's home in Foxborough, the town where he had lived with his family since the 1940s. His daughter, Susan, said the cause of death was Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

In his 16 years as a district court judge, Mr. Brown presided over hundreds of cases, but he never grew weary of his profession, his daughter told the Globe. He was appointed as first presiding judge of the Wrentham District Court in 1972, retiring in 1983.

-- Dan Muse

Sen. Brown gains a higher rank

Posted January 16, 2007 11:55 AM


State Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, didn't get a promotion from the Legislature to the lieutenant governor's office. But he has gotten one within the National Guard.

Brown, once considered a possible running mate for Republican gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey, has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, his office announced last week.

Brown, previously a major at the Guard Command Headquarters in Milford, will now serve as the staff Judge Advocate General at the Devens Reserve Forces Training Area.

”My service in the military is a source of great pride for me,” Brown said in a statement. “I look forward to putting my experiences to good use in the coming years.”

Healey chose Reed Hillman as her running mate instead, then lost the election to Democrat Deval Patrick.

-– Calvin Hennick

Teen charged in fatal Wrentham hit and run

Posted December 29, 2006 12:32 PM


Wrentham police have charged a Norfolk teen in the Dec. 21 hit and run death of a Wrentham man.

Elizabeth Finnegan, 17, of 30 Rockwood Road in Norfolk, is charged with leaving the scene of an accident after causing personal injury, death resulting. The charge carries a penalty of 2 to 10 years in prison.

Jeffrey W. Cardin, 48, was walking on Shears Street around 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 when he was struck by a car. Cardin had recently moved to Wrentham.

At the time, police said it was possible that the driver did not know the car struck a person and urged the driver to come forward.

Finnegan came forward and told police that she may have hit something while driving on Shears Street.

Police have impounded the red 2001 Mazda Millenia that Finnegan was driving. Police Sgt. William McGrath said evidence from the scene matches the Millenia.

--Calvin Hennick

Toddling off to school

Posted December 28, 2006 12:03 PM


More kids in Wrentham will be getting an early start on their educations.

The Wrentham Public Schools will nearly double the size of their preschool program next year, Superintendent Jeffrey J. Marsden said.

There is a waiting list each year for Project Blossom, the schools’ program for 3- and 4-year-olds, and the schools want to give more children the opportunity to participate, Marsden said.

The expansion will increase the number of slots available from 80 to 140.

For more information on screening dates, contact Leslie Gibbons 508-384-5430 ext.1150 or

-– Calvin Hennick

Cluster developments on the rise

Posted December 24, 2006 10:22 AM


The builder of The Preserve at Oak Hill received special town permission to closely space 62 new large homes on lots that are significantly smaller than standard Wrentham zoning allows. Meantime, the company will donate the undeveloped land, worth roughly $2 million, to the town, a move the builder said gives Oak Hill a selling advantage over traditional subdivisions.

"We believe people would rather have smaller lots with a lot of open space around, rather than a 2-acre lot you have to maintain," Oak Hill developer Howard Bailey said recently, standing on a freshly paved road as workers framed a new home. "Every house in this development will have access to the open space. You can open your backdoor and enjoy it."

Cluster developments, long pushed by environmentalists and smart-growth advocates, are finally catching on with builders who previously did not want the aggravation of pursuing special permits, and with once-wary municipal officials who feared too-dense developments, the Globe reports today.

-- Thomas Caywood

Mashpee, for example, eliminated minimum lot sizes altogether from

Police impound car after fatal crash

Posted December 24, 2006 10:12 AM


Wrentham police impounded a car yesterday believed to have been involved in the hit-and-run crash that killed Jeffrey Cardin, 48, earlier this week.

The family of a 17-year-old girl told Wrentham police that their daughter, after seeing news reports, recalled that she might have struck something in the vicinity of the accident. Police did not identify the teenager.

An investigator said earlier this week officers recovered bits of paint and pieces of the vehicle at the scene. No charges have been filed.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Wrentham man killed in accident

Posted December 23, 2006 08:14 AM


Jeffrey Cardin walked into a pub Thursday night near the modest cottage where he lived alone and told a stranger he was suffering through the worst day of his life.

Cardin, 48, said he had recently buried his sister, recalled Suzanne Bourque, who sat beside him at the bar.

To compound his heartache, the twice-divorced father of three continued, he had just heard that his best friend had been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

"He kept saying that his children were the only thing that made him feel good," Bourque said yesterday.

When Cardin left the Anvil Pub for the short walk home, the day he described as the worst day of his life also became his last. About 200 yards from the pub, Cardin was struck and killed about 9:40 p.m. on Shears Street by an automobile that left the scene.

Yesterday, the family of a 17-year-old girl contacted Wrentham police to say that their daughter, after seeing news reports, recalled that she might have struck something in the vicinity of the accident, according to Detective Sergeant William McGrath.

"I think we're on the path to solving this thing," McGrath told the Globe in a story today.

-- Brian MacQuarrie and April Simpson

Friends mourn man killed in Wrentham accident

Posted December 17, 2006 09:40 AM


Friends yesterday mourned a 57-year-old chef from South Attleboro who was struck and killed while crossing Route 1 in Wrentham Friday evening.

George D. Ringuette was walking from the southbound to the northbound side of the highway shortly after 5 p.m. when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Ann M. Davis, 72, of Foxborough . Ringuette suffered serious injuries and was transported by helicopter to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, according to State Police.

The accident is under investigation, police said, and charges have not been filed against Davis. After hitting Ringuette, Davis's car was struck by a second vehicle. Neither driver suffered injuries, State Police told the Globe in a story today.

-- April Simpson

South Attleboro man killed crossing Route 1

Posted December 16, 2006 09:22 AM


A 57-year-old South Attleboro man was killed yesterday when he was struck by a car as he attempted to cross Route 1 in Wrentham, according to State Police.

The driver, Anne Davis, 72, of Foxborough, was traveling south on Route 1 when she struck the victim about 5:10 p.m.

Davis was then struck from behind by a vehicle. Neither of the drivers were hurt. The victim, whose identity was not released last night, was flown to Boston Medical Center, where he later died. The accident is under investigation by State Police.

No charges were being brought against Davis last night. The accident caused significant traffic delays on southbound Route 1 until the scene was cleared about 7:30 p.m.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Ex-beau arrested in case of missing teen

Posted December 7, 2006 07:53 AM


A 17-year-old who went missing Tuesday night during a break from her job at a mall in Wrentham returned yesterday, and authorities later arrested and charged a former boyfriend with her kidnapping.

Wrentham police announced last night that the FBI had arrested Donald Durand, 19, of Rochester, but they did not provide details on his court appearance or the charges.

Durand was arrested, police said, in the disappearance of Nicole Viveiros of Bellingham, who went to an undisclosed police station before she was escorted to the Wrentham Police Department, authorities said.

She had disappeared about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday after a 15-minute break from her job at Eddie Bauer at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets, police said. After she was reported missing, authorities launched a massive search involving helicopters, dogs, and about 75 law enforcement officers, the Globe's City & Region section reports today.

-- Connie Paige

17-year-old returns unharmed after disappearing last night

Posted December 6, 2006 05:19 PM


The 17-year-old woman who went missing on break from her job at a mall in Wrentham has returned unharmed after sparking an intense search that involved dogs, helicopters and some 75 police officers.

Nicole Vivieros, 17, voluntarily turned herself into police late this afternoon after disappearing from the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets Mall Tuesday at 8:45 p.m. while on break from her job at Eddie Bauer.

Wrentham Police Chief Joseph Collamati Jr. told reporters at a press conference that Vivieros voluntarily turned herself in to another police department after she was contacted by investigators. Collamati gave few details about how she was found, but said investigators did use information they found on, a social networking website used by teens.

Girl missing from Wrentham Mall

Posted December 6, 2006 12:09 PM



Nicole Vivieros, 17, of Bellingham, Mass., has not been seen since she went on break from her job at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets Mall at 8:45 p.m. last night.

(Robert E. Klein for The Boston Globe)

State and local police are using dogs and a helicopter to search woods around the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets Mall for a 17-year-old woman from Bellingham who took a break from her job at Eddie Bauer last night and disappeared.

Nicole Viveiros took her 15-minute break at about 8:45 p.m. and never came back to work, according to police Sergeant Detective William McGrath. Investigators found her car in the parking lot with some other personal items inside.

"Thus far we have no evidence that there is foul play involved," said McGrath this morning at a news conference outside police headquarters.

-- Connie Paige

Ayla Brown scoring on the court

Posted November 26, 2006 12:19 PM



(Ayla Brown singing the national anthem at Boston's Fourth of July celebrations, Globe Photo by William Moore)

Wrentham's own Ayla Brown, the basketball star turned "American Idol" contestant, hasn't lost her stuff when it comes to hoop.

After a shaky start during her first game, Brown, a freshman, is now the third leading score for the Boston College Eagles, the Hartford Courant reports.

The Ladies from Limerick

Posted November 26, 2006 12:13 PM


The Providence Journal takes another look today at a phenomenon Globe West looked at some time back: people coming from faraway places to shop at the Wrentham Village premium outlets.

A loose-knit group of Irish women -- and a few of their husbands -- have made a tradition out of the trip to Wrentham and other malls. They've dubbed themselves the "Ladies of Limerick," the newspaper reports.

“It just gets bigger every year,” said Marion Frawley, who’s taken part in the annual Thanksgiving weekend shopping trips 19 years running.

They want those bargains

Posted November 24, 2006 11:23 AM

Ana Alves, of Cumberland, R.I, waited in line to pay for her purchases at Gap in Wrentham Outlets today.
(Globe Photo by Wiqan Ang)


Bargain hunters flocked to Globe West shopping centers today, looking for post-Thanksgiving bargains.

The line to get into Wal-Mart in Framingham grew to several hundred people before the 5 a.m. opening, with some waiting overnight for the chance to buy discounted big-screen TVs.

Some said the tradition of the day is more important to them than great deals.

“It gets you in the Christmas spirit, after the bruises,” said Linda Kinney, a 37-year-old Framingham resident.

Milford resident Edson Dasilva, 29, said he saw shoppers get into verbal fights and shoving matches over spots in line at Best Buy at Shopper's World in Framingham.

At the Natick Mall, Natick resident Ken Rossi, 62, waited with shopping bags on a bench while his wife shopped.

“I’m the what-do-you-think guy,” Rossi said. “She holds something up and says, ‘What do you think?’” Rossi said his other duty was to carry the shopping bags. Although he said he doesn’t enjoy waking before dawn to go shopping, Rossi has accompanied his wife to shopping centers on Black Friday for several years.

“He’d rather do this than listen to me complain,” his wife, Ann Rossi, explained.

Stephanie Gambino, marketing manager for the Natick Mall, said the holiday shopping season was off to a strong start.

-- Calvin Hennick

New leadership in Wrentham

Posted November 22, 2006 01:17 PM


Selectmen appointed Jack McFeeley to a 60-day term as interim town administrator at a meeting yesterday.

McFeeley will serve while the town searches for a permanent replacement for Steven Boudreau, who left the post to take a position in Ware.

McFeeley is the former chairman of the Board of Selectmen in the neighboring town of Norfolk.

Selectwoman Jennifer Firth said the board will likely appoint a search committee to find a new town administrator at its Dec. 5 meeting.

She said the process will likely take several months, and that the board will likely ask McFeeley to serve until a permanent replacement is named.

-– Calvin Hennick

She'll shop until she drops

Posted November 22, 2006 01:00 PM


Many people dread Black Friday: the long lines, the traffic, the overall craziness of one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Not Dawn Weber. Weber, who lives in Connecticut and wrote a first-person piece for the Norwich Bulletin, plans on being at the Wrentham Outlets when they open at midnight.

"We have all printed out maps of the Wrentham outlets and highlighted where we want to go," she wrote. "We will synchronize our watches and cell phones to be sure our meeting time will be accurate."

Weber will also be hitting malls and other stores in Massachusetts, and plans to have all of her holiday shopping done by the end of the day.

The Bulletin is set to publish Weber's account of her Black Friday experience on Saturday.

-- Erica Tochin

Former Wrentham couple scooping up business

Posted November 21, 2006 07:24 PM


A retired couple from Wrentham has moved to Greensboro, N.C. and started a poop-scooping business. And they have a sense of humor about it.

"We're dung-ho to do the job," Janice O'Malley told the News-Record of Greensboro.

Jim O'Malley added: "People say to me, 'I've never heard of such a thing.' And I say, 'It's a big movement.' "

The jokes kept on flowing.

"When you have a full day of this, you're pooped," said Jim.

Charges filed in King Philip gun case

Posted November 21, 2006 06:33 PM


Wrentham police have charged a Plainville teen with illegal possession of a dangerous weapon for an incident in which the teen allegedly brought a gun to King Philip High School, Police Chief Joseph Collamati said.

Collamati said three students told police they saw the gun at school.

The 15-year-old defendant is being held at a Rhode Island youth detention facility for violating his probation there. He also faces a gun charge in Plainville, along with several traffic charges.

Plainville police say the teen fled the scene of an accident and admitted to disposing of a gun. Police later found the weapon.

-– Calvin Hennick

Funding restored for Wrentham town clerk

Posted November 18, 2006 09:29 AM


Town Clerk Carol Mollica has convinced Town Meeting voters to put more thank $7,000 back into her department's budget to save the position of assistant town clerk. Funding for the position would have run out in March without Monday's vote.

Also at Town Meeting, voters amended a bylaw requiring secret ballot votes on expenditures of more than $2 millio. Previously, a simple majority was required to force an open vote on such an expense.

With the change, the secret ballot can be suspended only by unanimous consent.

Voters also rejected a change that would allow members of town boards and committees to miss one session of a public hearing, but still be allowed to vote on the issue after watching a tape of that session. Selectman John Zizza opposed the change, saying town officials should just try harder to attend meetings.

"It's trying to cure a problem that shouldn't exist," Zizza said. "People take office and get elected to do a job, and then they don't show up."

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham police probe whether teen brought gun to school

Posted November 15, 2006 12:25 PM


Wrentham police are investigating whether a Plainville teen brought a gun to King Philip Regional High School last week. The teen has been taken into custody on unrelated charges.

"All we have is the allegation that he had a gun in the locker," said Police Chief Joseph Collamati. "We're trying to corroborate the information we have."

Police were at the high school last Thursday interviewing students when they received word that the 15-year-old they were asking about had gotten into a head-on collision in Plainville that morning.

The teen was arrested by Plainville police on a number of traffic charges. While in custody, the teen admitted to disposing of a gun near the scene of the accident and police returned to find a 9mm handgun, Plainville Chief Edward Merrick said.

The teen is being held at the Rhode Island Training School in Cranston, R.I. for violating his probation on a previous charge in that state, Merrick said. He has a juvenile court appearance in Massachusetts scheduled for Nov. 29.

-- Calvin Hennick

Wrentham town administrator hopes to leave this week

Posted November 13, 2006 07:18 PM


Town Administrator Steven Boudreau finalized contract negotiations with selectmen in Ware last week, ensuring that he will become town administrator there.

Boudreau had indicated to Wrentham selectmen that he was looking for a new job in order to cut the commute from his home in Barre, a 65-mile drive from Wrentham.

“Cutting my commute by 500 miles a week is a good thing,” Boudreau said. “The car is already 12 years old.” Boudreau’s contract requires him to give 30 days' notice before leaving his post, but he has asked selectmen to allow him to leave at the end of this week.

-– Calvin Hennick

Wrentham man charged in teen drinking case

Posted November 12, 2006 10:03 AM


A 69-year-old Wrentham man has been charged with hosting a party where King Philip Regional High School students were reported drinking last month.

Naim G. Yousif, of 155 Cherry St., is facing charges of keeping a disorderly house and providing liquor to persons under 21 years of age, the Sun-Chronicle of Attleboro reported.

Yousif's wife, Colette, told the newspaper her husband had nothing to do with the alcohol at the Oct. 14 party.

CPA fails in Wrentham

Posted November 9, 2006 06:19 PM


The Community Preservation Act may have passed in Millis, but Wrentham voters weren't so keen on it.

The proposal to set up a community preservation fund failed on a 2,084-2,316 vote, with 141 blanks, Town Clerk Carol Mollica said.

The measure called for the addition of a 2 percent surcharge on property tax bills.

Critics said the new charge was an additional tax and that they were concerned the state wouldn’t be able to continue its current practice of matching funds raised by communities dollar-for-dollar.

-- Calvin Hennick

Celebrate Thanksgiving... then shop, shop, shop

Posted November 8, 2006 05:00 PM


Are you one of those people who gets up early in the morning for those post-Thanksgiving sales? Now you can set your alarm even earlier.

Some stores at the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets will be opening at 12 a.m. on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving traditionally regarded as the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

This is the first year the Wrentham mall will open some stores at
midnight for the occasion. The rest of the stores will open at 7 a.m. on Nov. 24.

-– Calvin Hennick

Public safety radio woes in Wrentham

Posted November 5, 2006 02:19 PM


A controversy is brewing in Wrentham, where some people are concerned about police and firefighters' inability to contact headquarters with their handheld radios.

Planning Board chairman Daniel Viera resigned recently, citing the ‘‘unwillingness’’ of selectmen to address the problems.

Selectmen have asked the Public Safety Communications Review Committee to explore ways to solve the problem using town-owned sites for a new radio tower.

Selectman John Zizza suggested that, in the meantime, police and firefighters could use home phones at emergency sites or their own cellphones if they experience radio problems.

In his resignation letter, Viera said he would work with other residents to find a solution to the radio problem and force it to a Town Meeting vote through a citizens’ petition.

-- Calvin Hennick

Engineer in commuter rail crash said to save lives

Posted October 28, 2006 10:24 AM


Commuter rail engineer Jeffrey Constantineau, of Wrentham, is being credited with saving lives in the train crash Monday morning in Franklin.

Constantineau hit the brakes with about 400 feet of track left when he saw a man waving his arms violently. He also warned people to brace themselves.

Nineteen people were injured, but most were released from a hospital the same day, the Globe City & Region section reports today.

A tractor-trailer loaded with construction equipment had become stuck on the tracks. The truckdriver was the man trying to flag the train down.

Lacking data, Wrentham Town Meeting won't spend

Posted October 21, 2006 09:23 AM


Selectmen voted at a recent meeting to keep most spending items off the warrant for the Nov. 13 Special Town Meeting.

Selectmen said they didn’t want to send the items to the town for a vote until they receive Finance Department numbers on how much money is available.

“It’s the same as not looking in your pocket when you walk in a store and start shopping,” Selectman John Zizza said.

Selectmen are also waiting for the Capital Budget Planning Committee to make spending recommendations. Town Administrator Steven Boudreau said selectmen will likely schedule another Town Meeting for December or January to deal with the spending items.

The warrant for the Nov. 13 meeting contains 27 articles, Boudreau said.

-– Calvin Hennick

Driver arraigned in Wrentham fatal

Posted October 16, 2006 12:41 PM


A Franklin man is being held on bail after his arraignment this morning on charges that he struck a car while driving under the influence Saturday night on Interstate 495 North in Wrentham, killing the car’s driver.

Wrentham District Court Judge Warren Powers scheduled a pretrial hearing for Nov. 13 for Brian F. Harland, 34, of 14 Crocker Ave. Franklin.

According to state police, Harland swerved across three lanes and struck a car being driven by Paul J. Rudeen, age 21, of Framingham.

The collision forced Rudeen’s car off the road and caused it to roll over, police said.

Rudeen was pronounced dead at the scene. Harland pleaded innocent to charges of motor vehicle homicide, operating with a suspended license, and a marked lanes violation. The homicide charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Harland has prior convictions for heroin possession and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, said David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk County district attorney.

The conditions of Harland’s bail, which was set at $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety, would not allow him to operate a motor vehicle or use
alcohol or illicit drugs. Harland has appealed the bail decision.

-- Calvin Hennick

Driver facing charges in Wrentham fatal

Posted October 16, 2006 08:24 AM


A Franklin man is facing charges today after a car crash that killed a Framingham man.

State Police said the accident happened on Interstate 495 in Wrentham at about 9:50 p.m. Saturday.

Brian F. Harland, 34, of Franklin crossed three northbound lanes of traffic in his Ford pickup and struck a Saturn sedan driven by Paul J. Rudeen, 21, of Framingham, police said.

Rudeen was declared dead at the scene. Harland was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, driving with a suspended license, driving to endanger, and vehicular homicide.

Harland is to be arraigned in Wrentham District Court today.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Driver charged in fatal Wrentham crash

Posted October 15, 2006 09:52 AM


A two-car accident on northbound Interstate 495 near Exit 15 last night left one person dead, State Police said.

One car crossed multiple lanes and struck the victim's vehicle, which was forced into the woods and rolled over, police said.

The operator of the car that crossed the lanes, whose name police did not release last night, was arrested on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol and operating with a suspended license, State Trooper Veronica Dalton said.

Police didn't release information about the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Dalton said the driver may face additional charges.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Maybe not 76 trombones, but it sure seems like it

Posted October 9, 2006 05:08 PM


Some neighbors of King Philip Regional High School have complained about noise that the school’s award-winning marching band is making during its practices.

Superintendent Richard Robbat said that seven people voiced concerns at an Oct. 2 School Committee meeting.

Robbat said he is looking into temporary solutions, such as changing practice times, which currently run until 9 p.m. some weeknights, or moving segments of the band to another site for practice. The marching band practices until early November.

-– Calvin Hennick

Idol draws small crowd

Posted September 25, 2006 02:47 PM


They made sure there was plenty of room for fans, but in the end, despite her appearances on the American Idol TV show, Wrentham's own Ayla Brown drew only about 50 people at a performance at Boston University.

Brown, who goes to Boston College, was tapped to perform at cross-town rival Boston University's George Sherman Union's Metcalf Hall, along with 2004 Terrier Idol contestant Angelica Allen, reports the Daily Free Press, BU's student newspaper.

"Don't hate me, I go to BC," Brown reportedly told the crowd. She is at BC on a full basketball scholarship. Her first CD comes out on Oct. 17.

-- Erica Tochin


A note left in your garbage

Posted September 24, 2006 09:30 AM


Wrentham residents may soon find some of their trash left at the curb with a little note on it.

Starting in October, trash collectors will place a sticker on recyclable materials, such as cardboard and plastic containers, and leave them to be recycled.

The green sticker reads, "Sorry, we are unable to pick up this item with your trash," and provides instructions on how to leave cardboard for recycling.

"It is to increase and save the town money in the process," said Maureen Osolnik, a member of the Wrentham Recycling Committee. While the town pays to dispose of trash, recycling is free to the town.

-- Calvin Hennick

Senior safe driving

Posted September 14, 2006 10:55 AM


A course to help senior citizens become safer drivers will be conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) at the Wrentham Senior Center on Sept. 19 and Sept. 21.

The course, which costs $10, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the specified days. Classes will focus on changes that affect seniors' driving, including slower reaction time and loss of vision.

For those who are worried that they will have their licenses taken away, don't be. According to Janet Angelico, director of the senior center, the classes are purely informational.

To sign up, call 508-384-5425.

-- Calvin Hennick

Ayla Brown moving "Forward"

Posted August 25, 2006 12:04 PM


Wrentham native Ayla Brown is wasting no time moving "Forward" after her experience with "American Idol."

Just hours after her contractual obligations expired with the Fox talent contest, Brown signed a CD recording contract yesterday with Double Deal Brand Records. Brown, 18, made it to Hollywood with "Idol" and finished 13th.

Brown says in keeping with the next chapter in her life, she is calling her new CD "Forward." Her debut single, "Know You Better/I Quit" will be released Sept. 12, with the CD being released nationally Oct. 17, the AP reports today.

-- AP


(Ayla Brown singing the national anthem at Red Sox game, Charles Krupa, AP)

Wrentham native makes good

Posted August 23, 2006 07:22 PM


A 37-year-old native of Wrentham is the new general manager of the New York Islanders.

"I drink a lot more coffee and work out a heck of a lot less," Garth Snow joked in an interview with the Edmonton Sun.

The Sun reports that Snow's hiring five weeks ago was met by some in the hockey world with criticism and laughter.

Snow said he didn't have time to notice.

"I honestly was so busy the first week that I didn't have a chance to read the papers," said Snow.

Snow, a Wrentham native who played his youth hockey in Foxborough, was most valuable player on the Mt. St. Charles team that won the Rhode Island and national high school championships in 1987. He played at UMaine, played in the 1994 Olympics, and also played as a pro.

The need for speed

Posted July 15, 2006 12:40 PM


She's a racecar driver with a need for speed. She circles the track at more than 100 miles per hour. People want her autograph.

And 13-year-old Tayla Orleans is too young to drive herself home from races.

The Wrentham teenager is the youngest racer and the only girl in the Allison Legacy North Race Series, a kind of minor league of car racing that has sent some drivers to the big leagues -- NASCAR.

Read more about Tayla in tomorrow's Globe West.

Everywhere Ayla

Posted July 12, 2006 05:31 PM


She warmed up the runners at the Boston Marathon Athletes’ Village, sang the National Anthem at the Boston Pops 4th of July celebration on the Esplanade and will join the gang at Fenway Park tonight for the “Hot Stove, Cool Music” concert, but Saturday night will make it official.

Ayla Brown is Everywhere.

Rivalling the likes of “Singing Trooper” Dan Clark, Boston Bruins anthem belter Rene Rancourt and former J. Geils frontman Peter Wolf for the title of Boston’s Most Omnipresent Local Singer, the Wrentham native and one-time American Idol contestant will be the headliner at the St. Mary of Carmen Society Festival at Pellegrini Park in Nonantum.

Globe sports columnist Jackie McMullan reports today that Brown's basketball coach at Boston College, Cathy Inglese, can't help but wonder if the incoming freshman is playing enough basketball.

Brown says Inglese has nothing to worry about and that once September rolls around, the coach "owns me."

Brown will be one of the bigger draws for the festival in recent years, and will sign autographs from 6 to 7 p.m., and then take the stage, backed by the doo-wop specialists The Reminisants.

Perhaps getting a bit carried away after bagging such a prize, the Society bills her as an Idol “finalist” on their web site. She was, in fact, a semi-finalist.

-- Ralph Ranalli

Star-Spangled Ayla

Posted July 5, 2006 11:41 AM


Wrentham's own Ayla Brown had a key role in the Fourth of July celebrations attended by a half a million people in Boston last night.

The former American Idol contestant and future Boston College hoop player sang not just any song but the "Star-Spangled Banner."

Employees win reprieve

Posted June 20, 2006 01:11 PM

Good news for a firefighter, a police officer and three teachers in Wrentham.

They'll be able to keep their jobs after a Special Town Meeting last night.

The change comes because Wrentham expects to receive at least $300,000 more in state aid for the fiscal year beginning July 1 than the budget approved in April had contemplated.

One police officer and one teacher have already been laid off, however, and some empty teaching positions will not be filled. Read more about this story in Thursday's Globe West --Alexandra Perloe

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