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"The News Starts Here!"

24 Main Street, Hopkinton, MA 01748  508-435-5534

Updated: March 18, 2013 02:53:36 PM

Four Full-Day Kindergarten Class Pilot Program Proposed in the FY 11 Budget


December 23, 2009 — Mrs. Jennifer Parson (File photo), Principal of the Center Elementary School, has indicated that a full-day kindergarten pilot of four classes is being proposed in the school district’s budget for next year. A recommendation for the four classes, Mrs. Parson stated, is included in both budget scenarios presented to the School Committee by Superintendent of Schools Jack Phelan at its meeting on December 17, 2009. The School Committee will finalize its decisions on the pilot program as part of its budget deliberations in January.


Mrs. Parson is proposing to use four classes for this full-day, fee-based pilot program to begin next year. The administration has proposed four classes after a careful review of the school’s projected enrollments and a discussion about the best utilization of available classroom space. Each of the four classes will educate approximately 22 students, which will provide the community with 88 available slots for this full-day kindergarten program option. The proposed annual tuition cost in the budget presented to the School Committee is $3,700 for each student.


Entrance to the pilot will be determined by a lottery, and applications will be available during kindergarten registration. For those interested in the full-day kindergarten pilot, key dates in the process are highlighted below:

Registration for All Incoming Kindergarteners (and First Graders New to the Center School)

          §         Tuesday, December 29, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

          §         Wednesday, December 30, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

          §         Wednesday, January 6, 2010 from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

          §         Thursday, January 7, 2010 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

(Note: Please check the school’s website in the event of inclement weather.)


Full-Day Kindergarten Parent Information Session: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in the High School auditorium


Full-Day Kindergarten Lottery Application Due to Center School: Wednesday, January, 20, 2010


Full-Day Kindergarten Lottery Live on HCAM: Thursday, February 4, 2009 at 6:30 p.m. preceding the School Committee meeting


 Mrs. Parson noted that the Center School staff is eager to begin offering a full-day kindergarten option. The full-day kindergarten program will meet the differentiated needs of the district’s kindergarten students and respond to the community interest that was expressed during the development of the school district’s new Strategic Plan. Revenue generated from tuitions will cover the added costs for the full-day kindergarten pilot program. Contributed content.

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Recycling Calendar For 2010


The new Recycling Calendar will be mailed to all residents this coming week. The new version will also be online at, the town website. As a reminder the Recycling Center and the White Metals Collection at the Wood St Highway Garage will be open Saturday December 26th. See it here NOW, and download and print it if you wish.


J.T. Gaucher, P.E., Director

Department of Public Works

Keefe Tech Students Required to Study Entrepreneurship

Trip to New York City an elective experience

FRAMINGHAM, MA – December 23, 2009 — Keefe Technical School’s Entrepreneurship Class not only teaches students about how to start their own business, but also brings the real world right into the classroom.


As part of the Entrepreneurship course, now a graduation requirement for all Keefe Tech students, the class takes an annual trip to New York City’s Wholesale District to experience first-hand the art of buying, selling, and profit-making. This year’s excursion took place on Thursday, December 17.


“The trip was a lot of fun, it was exciting to see the wholesale district in person and to use my negotiation skills with the sellers,” said Shannon Sanderson of Framingham, a Keefe Tech student.


The Keefe Technical School Entrepreneurship Program is made possible by the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing entrepreneurship education to young people.


“This course creates meaningful experiences for our students that occur both inside and outside of the classroom walls,” said Keefe Tech Instructor Margaret Ellis. “It enables us to take our annual trip to New York City, and throughout the year, community leaders and entrepreneurs come into our class to speak about their own success stories. It also gives our students the chance to participate in the NFTE National Business Plan Competition that is held annually.”


During the trip to New York City, NFTE provides each student with a $50 loan to purchase products from a wholesaler. Students then return to Keefe and use their purchases as tools to learn about cost per unit, pricing, advertising, selling and profit. “The lesson culminates in a selling event at our school, where students sell their products, and are able to keep any profits they make, less the $50 loan from NFTE,” explained Ellis.


“I’ve already made my $50 loan back plus some profit,” added Sanders, who purchased jewelry and accessories with her loan. “I was very careful to keep in mind that my customers were going to be my fellow students. It definitely taught me that if you buy a product that’s in demand, you can make a lot of money.”


“The students get so much of out this wonderful program because everything they learn can be applied to any business in any field,” Ellis noted. “We are so pleased to have a partnership with NFTE and to offer our students all the opportunities that come with it, including professional support even after they have graduated.”


Keefe Technical School, located in Framingham, MA, is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In addition to 13 different vocational programs, Keefe Tech offers a complete college preparatory program to students from the communities of Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton, and Natick.

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Algonquin 47, Hopkinton 18

December 23, 2009 — No, Tom Karner is not practicing a Vulcan mind-meld, but using every bit of strength to overpower his Algonquin opponent in a non-league varsity wrestling match at the Hopkinton Middle School.

Millis 58, Hopkinton 54

December 23, 2009 — Above, Max Masucci gets ready to drill one to Thomas Hennigan in a close game against Millis in the Athletic Center last night.

Selectmen Vote to Amend Legacy Farms Agreement

Legacy Farms to sell Serenity House to SMOC for $1 million

December 22, 2009 — In order to keep within the spirit of the Host Community Agreement (HCA) between the Town of Hopkinton and Legacy Farms LLC, both parties have agreed to amend that document to fit changing dynamics. Legacy plans to build 940 residential units and 450,000 square feet of retail, industrial and commercial space on land purchased from Weston Nurseries in East Hopkinton.

     The purpose of tonight's meeting was to accept a change that was agreed upon by Legacy Farms, SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council), and Town Counsel, Ray Miyares regarding the sale of 44 Wilson Street by Legacy  to SMOC for $1 million.

      The address currently houses Serenity House, a SMOC program for women who come from detox programs, hospitals, shelters and prison and offers 12-step and other support programs.

      In the original agreement, tax-exempt entities in Legacy Farms are required to pay a PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes), because they are not taxed. That stipulation was to insure that the Legacy project is not revenue-negative. SMOC is well-known in the Framingham area for flat-out refusal to pay PILOTs, making this agreement necessary.

     Tonight's change allows Legacy Farms and its successors to make a payment that is equal to the amount that SMOC would pay in real estate taxes if it were not non-profit.

     Abutter Chris Barry questioned their math when someone said that a $10,000 payment would be the first. He said it would work out to be more like $15,000.

     Selectmen Chair Brian Herr said that Principal Assessor Bob Bushway would get together with the Board of Assessors and determine the correct figure.

     Good news previously reported by HopNews, but brought to the Board for the first time officially this evening, is that Legacy Farms received an extension from Wells Fargo on their financing. They have also benefitted from an infusion of cash from the sale of 26 Clinton Street for $385,500, and stand to receive $1 million from SMOC for the sale of Serenity House.

     When asked about the plans for the larger development itself, project team member Roy S. MacDowell III said, "The scope isn't changing at all. The program planned for the site is remaining exactly the same."

     The four selectmen present voted to accept the amendment to the HCA.

     Improvements to the intersection at Main, Grove* and Cedar Streets were scheduled to have been completed in May of this year, but a refinancing snafu that occurred when Legacy's original bank changed hands, put it off. The Planning Board granted an extension for the elements of the project under their purview, but on the advice of Town Counsel, the Selectmen did not, which kept the developer in default.

    This evening, Project Manager Steven Zieff (Legacy file photo) suggested that Legacy needed to get an extension for the part of the HCA where they guaranteed the completion of the intersection. The Selectmen did not agree.

    After lauding the work, the efforts, and the cooperation of Legacy farms, Selectman RJ Dourney said, "I'm a little uncomfortable with the 'we'll get to it when we get to it' approach."

    Agreeing that the work on the intersection should not interfere with the Boston Marathon, Mr. Dourney said, "If the Marathon is on the 19th [of April, 2010], you start on the 20th."

    Under the plan for the intersection, the current antiquated signaling system will be replaced with a modern system. Mr. Zieff offered an analogy.

    "It is like taking out an old Commodore Computer and replacing it with a state of the art computer which will have the ability to sense the amount of traffic going through the intersection, and will be able to gauge and adjust the lights and their cycles and their timing based on that."

    Currently, there are no automatic sensing devices on the signals at that intersection, as there are at most intersections signaled in the last 50 years.

*Street name has been corrected.

Hopkinton Scout Honored for Eagle Achievement

December 22, 2009 — Ryan Norby, appearing with Troop 4 Scoutmaster Tom Dawson, received kudos from the Board of Selectmen this evening for his achieving Eagle Scout Boy Scout rank. For his Eagle project, Ryan built a meditation garden at St. Matthew's Church in Southborough, where he attends.

   He said that the project took about 200 hours, and that he had help from members of his Troop.

   Selectmen Chair Brian Herr told of the pride a prospective employee had, twenty-five years later, in achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. The Selectmen awarded him a proclamation recognizing his achievement.

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 State Crime


BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office announced today that a Suffolk County Grand Jury has returned indictments against three real estate investors, two local mortgage brokers, and a former local attorney for their roles in a complex scheme in which fraudulent documents were used to defraud homeowners and mortgage lenders in real estate transactions involving 26 distressed properties in the Greater Boston area.  The defendants are real estate investors Joshua Brown, age 29 (Photo), of Brockton; Brian Frank, age 32, of New Hartford, NY; John Sweetland, age 28, of Yorba Linda, CA; mortgage brokers Linda Defeo, age 28, of Springfield; Brian Arrington, age 39, of Boston; and former attorney Bruce Namenson, age 47, of Walpole.  Authorities allege that Brown, Frank and Sweetland fraudulently obtained approximately $12.5 million in loans from more than a dozen financial lending institutions to purchase multi-family homes, from which they made approximately $2 million dollars in proceeds.  The defendants are charged as follows:


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Present from the Past

December 22, 2009 — The writing on this print of a Firemen's Muster from the collection of Anne Mattina says Oct. 17, '08. Although the trolley tracks are difficult to see, is likely 1908, because the Town Hall hadn't been built in 1808. The police on their one-horsepower cruisers are leading the parade, as children line both sides of the street to watch.

     The building at 30 Main Street (ESL) can be seen towering above 28 Main Street (CiaoTime). The building lost its third floor due to a fire, or the hurricane of '38, depending upon who is telling the story.

     The Bill's Pizza building, which was just torn down to make room for a new one, appears to have the same roofline as it had until recently. Some other old photos show gas pumps in front of that building. However, in this photo, it appears there were no horseless carriages.

      The building (HopNews office/Photographic Images) at 24 Main Street appears not to have been built.

      Got an old photo to share? Email it to

Christ Icon Stolen from Crèche

Some hopeful for return

December 22, 2009 — A life-size Angel Gabriel, the three Wise Men, Mary and Joseph, as well as some animals, would be adoring the Baby Jesus in His cradle if someone hadn't absconded with Him last week.

      "Aren't they even a little wary of karma?" asked one resident who heard the news, wondering if God Himself would exact some punishment as in days of yore.

      Hopkinton Police Officer John Moran discovered the figure missing at 4:00 am last Wednesday and reported it.

      Mike Laurence, who, along with Brendon Doyle first came up with the idea of the crèche, spoke today of how much people have told him it means to them.

      "People stop by to say how much they appreciate it. They consider it a moving memory," he said today. He is also known as Pastor Mike of the First Congregational church, but is not representing the church in this endeavor.

      "I am involved in this as a private citizen," he said.

      The crèche represents the scene in a manger in Bethlehem, a place where the Wise Men were said to have been led, where Christians believe the birth of Jesus Christ took place. For generations of Christians, the manger is the foundation of their beliefs, and represents the very heart of the celebration of Christmas, the birthday of Jesus Christ.

     "It represents the center of the holiday. It takes something away to see someone has stolen something so important to some," he said.

    He added that a lot of people are struggling in this economy, and said that things like the crèche and what it represents gives people hope and endurance.

     Whoever took the statue is asked to put it back immediately.    

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HHS National Honor Society Toy Drive

December 22, 2009 — Members of the Hopkinton High School’s National Honor Society, Emily Blake, Michelle Cooprider and Tianna DiMare pose with Project Just Because President Cherylann Walsh at the Project’s headquarters on South Street. This year’s NHS Winter Toy Drive collected over 37 boxes of toys to be distributed in and around Hopkinton. Contributed content.

OVER 4 Million Page Views!

December 22, 2009 —  HopNews passed an interesting milestone, apparently yesterday, while we weren't looking. Page views are counted when someone visits the front page as well as an interior page.

      A Town Talk visit doesn't count, because it is hosted on a different website. And as for the numbers themselves, they are conservative, because the counter we use is "cookie" based. We believe about 20% of readers do not have their cookies enabled, therefore, bypassing the SiteMeter counter. In addition, the weekends see fewer visitors, which would bring the average weekday visits much higher, if they stood alone

          PAGE VIEWS         

Total 4,002,728

Average Per Day 4,790

It all adds up to a huge thank you to HopNews readers, employees, contributors and advertisers. Let's keep doing it in 2010!

HPTA Bottle & Can Drive

Saturday, December 26

8:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Colella’s Parking Lot


Don't let your bottles and cans pile up after the holidays. No need to wait until your bi-weekly recycling day. We are collecting redeemable bottles and cans (glass, plastic and metal) on the last Saturday of every month. Questions? Cindy Bernardo 508-497-9458


Hiller Hockey Alumni Game  at Navin Arena
January 3rd
7:40pm (Revised Start-Time)

Police News UP-TO-DATE 

December 21, 2009

Click above for full report


4:02 pm A motorist reported that she saw a male walking on Lumber Street, carrying a machete and wearing a red jacket with an orange pouch...


11:39 pm A resident of Ash Street reported that when he opened his garage door he saw someone in a hooded sweatshirt running from the garage area...


2:52 pm The manager of a Main Street business reported that there was a shoplifter in the store...


11:10 am A Main Street store owner reported a possible false script...

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Fiscal Year 2010 Property Valuations- Click Here

Real Estate Transactions for Hopkinton, Massachusetts

Sponsored by:

Compiled by Eric Montville for © 2009All Rights Reserved

Transactions ending December  21, 2009






13 Sanctuary Lane Margaret Barton $156,500 Dec 18, 2009

Weston Development Group Inc.

313 Wood Street Paul S. Walker $285,000 Dec 18, 2009

Dorenda S. Rice

409 Wood Street Dilip Francis & Sandhya Vasudevan $485,000 Dec 16, 2009

Peter Pandolfino & Mary E. Pandolfino

31 Knoll Road Edward A. Kozaryn & Laura E. Snelgrove $312,500 Dec 15, 2009

Kevin J. Flynn & Rachel L. Flynn

4 David Joseph Road Ellen A. Scordino & Harvey Aquinn $760,000 Dec 15, 2009

Michael J. Cassata & Juanita M. Cassata

6 South Mill Street Brian W Cheever & Brian K. Gassett, Trustees
of Summit Realty Trust
$225,000 Dec 14, 2009

Braim Farm LLC

Last Week        
8 Nezneen Circle Sunil Lukose & Prima Lukose $485,000 Dec 11, 2009

Ahmed Mirajuddin, Trustee of Peppercorn
Village Realty Trust

14 Pendulum Pass Leo V. Colborne $850,000 Dec 11, 2009

Barry M. London & Carole L. London

35 Smith Road Linda S. Gelsinger $1,115,000 Dec 09, 2009

Donald J. Mackenzie & Ellen E. Mackenzie

15 Front Street James F. Houley & Carolyn Speranza-Houley $200,000 Dec 08, 2009

John Speranza & Sarah B. Speranza

Two Week Ago        
2 Nazneen Circle Unit B Kameswara Rao Ravi, Srilakshmo Kameswara $460,000 Dec 03, 2009

Peppercorn Village Realty Trust

Ahmed Mirajuddin Trust

124 Ash Street Charles A. Gills, Patricia F. Madeiros $520,000 Nov 25, 2009 William B., Barbara A. MArtz
9 Peppercorn Road Craig A., Elizabeth M. Craig Gormley 586,000 Nov 24, 2009 Brooke S. Orr, Anthony D. Amato
10 Claflin Place Andrea, Graham Cunningham 261,500 Nov 24, 2009 Craig A., Elizabeth M. Gormley
11 Pinecrest Village John W. Reifenberg III 220,000 Nov 24, 2009 Daniel R. Hurwitz


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Gimme Shelter

December 20, 2009 — This shelter is nothing like what the Rolling Stones had in mind with their song title of the same name. This male cardinal, its brilliant colors those of a young bird, has indeed found shelter; first from squirrels as the structure intended, but also from the weather, in the house that the Potenzas built in their back yard in Woodville.

Selectmen Reveal Specific Topics of Upcoming Executive Session Discussion

Police Chief hiring and Nation Lawsuit on tap


December 20, 2009 — In a break from tradition, Town Manager Norman Khumalo has made public the specific subjects to be discussed during the Board of Selectmen's Executive Session meeting at 6:00 pm on Tuesday in Room 211, a room that can be closed off for privacy. The Executive session is scheduled to last until 6:30 pm, at which time the Selectmen are scheduled to go to open session in room 215.

       In the past, secrecy surrounding the sessions would result in rumors and speculation about what the tight-lipped selectmen were discussing. Some of the subjects in the last two years were the resignation of the previous Town Manager, the firing of a police officer, and the purchase of the Lake Whitehall land. This openness, some have said, will quell the rumors and end the wild speculation that has accompanied water-cooler talk.

       The selectmen will discuss in private the results of interviews with the four candidates for the position of the Hopkinton Chief of Police, an opening made possible by the scheduled retirement of Chief Thomas Irvin. Candidates are shown below.

From left, Sgt. Joseph Bennett,  Lt. Richard Flannery, Sgt. John Porter, Sgt. Charles Wallace.


        In addition, the group will be discussing the Craig R. Nation and Lyndse April Nation v. Town of Hopkinton lawsuit that was begun after John Coolidge of the Open Space Committee insisted Mr. Nation be arrested for trespassing for not moving wood off of property Nation claims he owns by adverse possession. It is expected there will be a resolution short of court action.

        After going back into open session, the selectmen have a full agenda, among the items, an update on the Legacy Farms project as well as that company's obligations as delineated in the Host Community Agreement with the town. That  agreement is in default as a result of a refinancing snafu. The immediate and major issue is an upgrade to the lights at Main and Grove/Cedar Streets.

        The entire agenda can be read here, from the town's website.     

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A Plus for Teamwork

December 20, 2009 — These are only two of the many machines that worked to keep the roads and sidewalks clear during the storm, and who removed the snow from the downtown this evening. Kudos to the DPW for striving to make Hopkinton roads the best in the area, and for helping make the Downtown a pleasant place to visit, work and do business.

Synchronous Tow Trucks

December 20, 2009 — A DCR pickup with a plow on it went off the road on Spring Street today, needing two tow trucks working on concert to get it back on track. No injuries were reported.

Ode to the Whitehall Water

by Robert Falcione*


I am the water,

Watch me flow,

Under the Gatehouse road.


Clean as rain,

Pure as driven snow,

Or so I'm often told.


Riding in a wonderland,

Of my own design,


I used to go just where I wanted,

On my way, I'd stop at Pyne's.


And now that land,

Is the town's, you see,

So I don't have much to say.


They'll mix me up with sludge,

I know,

To work another day.


Then they'll spread me very thin,

On the fields of Fruit Street.


They say they'll use me again and again,

Like lilies into peat.


An' even though I want t' travel far,

It seems I'm here for good


So when you flush,

Please think of me,

I'll never leave the 'hood.


*Inspired by presentations at Special Town Meeting that the water used and discharged by the approved Waste Water Treatment Facility at Fruit Street will be good enough to reuse.

Julia C. Szczebak, 91


WILBRAHAM , MA - Julia C. (Opalinski) Szczebak, 91, formerly of Boston Road and Stony Hill Road in Wilbraham, died on Friday morning December 18, 2009 at the Life Care Center of Wilbraham surrounded by her loving family. She was born in Wilbraham on July 11, 1918 a daughter of the late Jacob and Catherine (Pabis) Opalinski and was a graduate of the High School of Commerce in Springfield. Julia had worked as a bookkeeper with her husband, Edward who owned and operated the former Eddie's Gas Station at the corner of Boston and Stony Hill Roads in Wilbraham. She was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Church in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield and was a member of the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York City, NY. Julia will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her.


In addition to her parents, Julia was predeceased by her husband of 68 years, Edward W. Szczebak who died on June 30, 2006; and by her sisters, Anna Cieplik, Helen Makuch and Stacia Malzenski. She leaves her daughters, Patricia A. Diotalevi and her husband James of Wilbraham and Stacia Chechile and her husband James of Sutton, MA; her grandchildren, Serena Doyle and her husband Brendan of Hopkinton, James Diotalevi, Jr. and his fiancée Gloria, Edward Diotalevi and his wife Carol Ann, Tamara Burnham and her husband Gary and Kymberly Sullivan; and her great grandchildren, Vincent and Gina Doyle, Michael Diotalevi, Christopher, Anthony and Samantha Ott, and Ashley Burnham. Julia also leaves her sisters, Mary Schott and Jenny Dygon; her brother, Mitchell Opalinski and his wife Wanda; and her brother in law, Edward Malzenski, all of Wilbraham; and her many nieces, nephews, godchildren, and extended family members and friends.


Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday December 22, 2009 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sampson's Chapel of the Acres Funeral Home, 21 Tinkham Road in Springfield. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday December 23, 2009 beginning at 8:30 a.m. from Sampson's Chapel of the Acres, followed by a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Immaculate Conception Church, 25 Parker Street, with Rites of Committal and burial to follow in St. Aloysius Cemetery, 1273 Berkshire Avenue, both in Indian Orchard. Donations may be made in Julia's memory to the Shriner's Hospital for Children, 516 Carew Street, Springfield, MA 01104 or to the Wing Memorial Hospital, Development Office, 40 Wright Street, Palmer, MA 01069.

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Limited Visibility

December 20, 2009 — There is little visibility in this photo taken By Andre Griben while he walked his dog, during this morning's storm, although everyone knows that Lake Whitehall extends for another couple miles past the dam.

Colors of Culture

December 20, 2009 — The door and the sign of the Cultural Arts Alliance on Hayden Rowe Street brighten up an otherwise boring color scheme, while the snow comes down nearly horizontally. Stripping the rest of the photo of any extraneous color adds to the brilliance of those elements.


To Be, or Not to Be... A Game Show Contestant!

'tis in the hands of others


by Elizabeth Eidlitz

December 20, 2009 — Who would deliberately choose to sit in a hot seat?


Any U.S. resident, 18 or older, wanting to win thousands of dollars on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Should you be one, let me prepare you with my own first hand experience.


It’s easy enough to register for a free audition ticket (see for available dates,) and to wait on line outside ABC-TV studio in New York City.   But what happens once you’re inside the studio makes the day a suspenseful adventure.


Driving is the least expensive way to travel 4 1/2 hours from MetroWest to 30 West 67th street in Manhattan.  But because the admission card says,  “ticket distribution is in excess of studio capacity,” I left Massachusetts in the dark at 4:15 am to insure early arrival for the 10:15 scheduling.


Daylight illumined only  truckers, the ugliness of Bruckner Boulevard and bottlenecks on FDR Drive.  Yet the East 66th street parking garage with an online discount coupon left me ample time for a six-block walk.


I forgot, however, that above 59th street, 843 acres of Central Park separate the East side from the West.  Sharing winding paths with joggers, cyclists, the four-legged in a run-up to the Westminster Dog Show and the two-legged practicing for a New York City marathon, I emerged at 72nd street twenty minutes later.


A fellow outside ABC urged the lengthening line to “move along, please--that’s the only way to pick up good karma,” as he handed out questionnaires.  No one collected our answers to “How would winning a million dollars change your life? What is one thing you do that makes people laugh? Quirks, rituals, superstitions--what makes you unique? If you could vote yourself as best______or most-likely-to ___________what would be your vote?”


Only those who pass the written test eventually turn them in, preceding face-to-face interviews.


After another wait, standing in the basement, we were led upstairs to the studio, seated around the game show set, and given ten minutes to blacken 30 scorecard ovals with our answers to the multiple choice test. 


Though the crew refused to clarify scoring or the minimum-passing grade, they told us a blank counted as a wrong answer. 


Certain of perhaps 12 questions, I guessed at all others, even when clueless about any of four options for the name of the mouse in a Tom Hanks movie or the person who started MySpace.  Though a college education may help with Prometheus’ fire, you vitally need general knowledge familiar to most thirty-somethings and readers of People magazine.


So who passed?


Wait.  Names will not be announced until we’ve served as the audience for tapings of three half hour shows to be aired in six months.


Coached by cardboard signs, we practiced exaggerating laughter and applause that taping would subdue. We witnessed behind-the-scene operations as a camera inched across a pulley and musical sweeps of surreal purple, white and royal blue lights bathed us momentarily. No widescreen TV image compares with a three-dimensional view of game show host Meredith Vieira--lovely looking, lovely natured — 30 feet away.


We witnessed face re-powderings in the break, and retakes for a contestant who slipped awkwardly getting into the hot seat. For a new segment, while Meredith and the continuing contestant changed their clothes, our seating was rearranged so we’d look like a different audience.


Oh, the test.


Well, only nine people passed. That's a fact-- not a case of the wine I never tasted must be made from sour grapes.


Comforted by sips of Starbucks’ hot chocolate, I walked back through the cross-town cut, near Central Park’s carousel, where years ago I reached unsuccessfully for another gold ring.


Would I make that insane 26-hour round trip once more--only to fail again, but probably fail better?




There’s something attractive about second chances, something exciting about the unpredictable, and something seductive about long shot possibilities.

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Hopkinton Wrestlers Make Finals

Above, from left, Pete Racenis, Mike Ferris, Taylor Hammond, Tommy Karner.


December 19, 2009 —  Four Hopkinton wrestlers made it to the finals at the Milford Invitational Tournament.  At 119 lbs. Taylor Hammond placed second and captain Mike Ferris at 135 lbs also placed second.  Captain Tommy Karner (152 lbs) and captain Pete Racenis (171 lbs)  are both Tournament champions at their respective weight classes. 

Time of the Season

December 19, 2009 — Late this afternoon, from left, Calvin, 8, and Samuel, 6, Tourangeau had the entire Ice House Pond to themselves, as their Mom watched from the shore.


December 19, 2009 — Arthur Lowell has a laugh with barber John Ward, who insisted on not being on camera, as the scene is surrounded by tradition. The scene was compressed from the left to remove Mr. Ward following his objection.

Protective Custody

December 19, 2009 — Three police officers responded to a resident's complaint of a stranger attempting to get into her apartment and walking the hallways of a Main Street apartment building today. The man was given a test with a portable breath tester and placed into protective custody.

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