May 3, 2011
— This dragon is ready to protect its eggs during the Annual Egg Hunt at
Checkerberry Farms in Winter Street last weekend. Photo by
May, 2011 - Day 1
May 2, 2011 — In
contrast to the March, 2011 Special Town Meeting that drew 935 residents
to vote a new school up or down, this evening's Annual Town Meeting
appeared to not have any hot button issues expected to come up on the
first evening; the first vote that had a standing count tallied just 165
Town Moderator Dr. Bruce Karlin instituted a new procedure at the outset
of the meeting called a Consent Calendar, grouping many "no action"
articles into one motion, presuming that there would be no opposition to
any of them. However, he did give "anyone" in the room the opportunity
to hold an individual article for discussion in its printed order in the
Warrant by saying "hold" loudly at the introduction of the specific
Two people did shout out to hold articles, but withdrew their motions
after hearing a clear explanation that the articles had been withdrawn
by their sponsors.
Sandy Altamura expressed disappointment that she had just picked up the
Warrant and was not familiar with the articles the meeting was being
asked to vote on.
Former Tree Warden Joe Regan (File photo) surprised many Town Meeting
members by asking for an amendment to add money to the town's budget to
retain the position of Tree Warden. A plan created by the Town Manager
Norman Khumalo and DPW Director John Westerling would have eliminated
the position in the budget and instead integrated the operations into
regular DPW operations, which would require training and outside
vendors, which some in the room felt could actually cost more.
Lily Holden asked if there would be any overtime involved, because the
Tree Warden needs to report to boards sometimes in the evening.
Mr. Westerling said that there were no plans for overtime at this time.
Mr. Regan's amendment passed, adding back to the budget the money
previously removed that he wants to continue to fund the position of
Tree Warden, a part time position, which is currently held by arborist
However, toward the end of the meeting, the body voted to reconsider the
town budget in order to consider adding $125,000 in insurance money for
DPW facility needs.
In other action, Town Meeting voted a new Council on Aging van, but denied a DPW highway tractor. One West Main Street culvert will get repaired, but
one will not.
Appropriations Chair Ron Eldridge said his committee felt paving the
road into the Fruit Street property could wait, and the assembled
agreed, voting down funding for an access way.
The DPW got funding for a study of a new DPW facility, but not before
the former owner of the town's Fruit Street property, Jim Pyne, strongly
urged that the town pursue purchasing property that is for sale adjacent
to the current Wood Street facility, before spending any more money, in
order to have enough land to expand.
The Lake Maspenock Dam did not get funding for repairs, a price tag that
could have been up to a million dollars, according to Mr. Eldridge, who
said they needed to see a full plan before the Appropriations Committee
would approve it.
School Street and area residents, led by neighbor Errol Dickey (File
photo, right), visited with Selectmen last week and presented a strong
case to reverse the recommendation of Appropriations Committee for no
action to be taken to appropriate funds for a study of the intersection
at School and West Main. Mr. Dickey asked Town Meeting to agree this
Following a suggestion by Selectmen Chair RJ Dourney to fund a study
with $30,000 from free cash, Town Meeting agreed with Mr. Dickey.
The last article was #34 for a Fire Department Tender Truck. The motion
was to take no action, but the motion failed, leaving the inverse, a
vote to fund it, needing to be written, and the assembly voted to take it
One of the first orders of business tonight was to switch the order ot
two articles concerning the library. Article 49, which would facilitate
a zoning change that would enable a robust expansion from its current
size, was moved to be voted after article 53, the motion to vote the
design up or down. That article is the next to the last of the remaining
Town Meeting will resume Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at the Hopkinton Middle
School at 7:00 pm.
Out For a
Stroll and a Bath
May 2, 2011
— Our goose at Ice House Pond left her nest for a short swim, a bath,
and to stretch her wings this morning, but didn't take long to to get
back to warming her eggs minutes later. The eggs appeared to have gotten
submerged a few weeks ago when the island where the nest is got swamped.
Are the eggs still viable after being covered in water? Would she know
if they are viable after an event like that? How long would a normal
incubation last? Is this past the time frame? Can she lay more eggs, and
in time for them to mature this year if those do not hatch? Let's see
what happens, hopefully, soon. Video camera still shot.
2011 — Hiller Cleaners owner George Vrahliotis put his money where
it belongs, making the property transfer of Hitchings Hardware at 63
Main Street legal and proper today, paving the way for the final few
permits before demolishing the building and constructing a new one
for his dry cleaning and laundry business, Hillers Cleaners, which
is currently located further down the road.
"We hope to demolish it in the next couple of weeks," said attorney
Doug Resnick, who is representing Mr. George Vrahliotis in front of
the various town boards.
Transactions for Hopkinton, Massachusetts
New Transactions from
April 24, 2011 to May 2, 2011
63 Main Street
63 Main Street Real Estates LLC
May 2, 2011
Donald A Hitchings
2 Erika Drive
Susan, Shawn, Pauline, Ray Collins
April 28, 2011
Julie R Dewaele
9 West Elm Street
Evan E Gallagher
April 28, 2011
Susan Collins, Shawn Collins
302 West Main Street
Carter Brennan Property Group LLC
April 28, 2011
Judith C Brogioli, Charles M Brogioli
91 Grove Street
JMFE Properties LLC
April 25, 2011
JBCD Properties LLC
28 Apple Tree Hill Road E
James L Golden III
April 22, 2011
Aho Daniel Trust, Fiske Hill Realty Trust
April 21, 2011
Jon Rosenfeld, Patricia Rosenfeld
4 Donna Pass
Kenneth J LaGelnne, Patricia J LaGlenne
April 15, 2011
Neil H Shaffer, Nanci A Shaffer
21 Forest Lane UNIT 19 W/PS 21A
Xiao Minglong, Kang Yanli
April 14, 2011
Atrthur A Massicott, Kacqueline K Massicott
Week Before Last
40 Sanctuary Lane
Dorothy A Hunt Trust, Hunt-Sanctuary Fam
April 8, 2011
Irina Veron, Galina Yasnova
7 Sanctuary Lane #17
Anna M Ferrari
April 7, 2011
Weston Development Group
20 Huckleberry Road
Louis J Delonte, Margaret T Delonte
April 6, 2011
George Batejan, Carol A Batejan
45 Chamberlain Street
William A Muench, Roberta T Meunch
April 5, 2011
Mark B Segars, Sally Ann L Segars, Sally Ann K Stukels
Deval Patrick URGES UNITY
–Monday, May 2, 2011 – The following is a statement of Governor Deval
Patrick relative to Osama bin Laden.
of the people of
and all others who suffered the profound loss of the September 11, 2001
attacks, I congratulate and thank President Obama and the soldiers and
intelligence personnel who carried out this mission. We also remember
our Massachusetts servicemen
and women who continue their extraordinary efforts to rid the world of
terrorism. Let us heed the President's call to unite, as we did in the
months of mourning following that terrible day, to make a better, safer
and more just world." Contributed file photo.
BIN LADEN IS KILLED BY AMERICAN FORCES
May 2, 2011 —
Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi Arabian accused of masterminding terrorist
attacks against United States interests that culminated in the
destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York
City on September 11, 2001, has been killed during an attack by United States
forces, shot dead in the head in Pakistan on May 1, 2011. According to a
CBS story, upon taking office, President Obama ordered the Central
Intelligence Agency to make killing or capturing bin Laden a "top
The CBS story is here. The
button is always above. Below is President Obama's speech from the White
House. The White House button is always above .
May 1, 2011 — This
male beaver carries a small skinned branch underwater, apparently just
the right size, to bring to a dam he is building upstream from Whitehall
Brook at an undisclosed location on Woodville, while his mate waits
near the lodge. He'll raise the water level to where he feels aquatic
life, and especially fish, can prosper. Another beaver dam is a few
May 1, 2011
— Eight year-old Amelia Maggiore gets fitted by her mom at the
HopSwap event at Hopkinton High School that coincided with the HPTA
Gonna Be a
Bright, Sunny Day
1, 2011 — Taken from near the highest point in Hopkinton today, this HD
Video screenshot of Mt. Wachusett in Princeton, Mass reveals, even
through a distant light haze, the communications towers, as well as the
Fire Tower, atop its summit. Enjoy a HopNews Day Trip to the mountain
taken last year in HD Video and narrated by Austin Falcione.
May 1, 2011
— Julia, 10, mom Suzanne and dad, David Pillarella made it clear to the
photographer that there was more paint available for people who wanted
to help on Wood street today.
May 1, 2011
— It appears the beavers are still fighting the neighbors at North Mill
Pond who try to limit the effects of their dam, lest their properties
are affected adversely.
May 1, 2011
— Some native Americans called the earth "Turtle Island" because they
thought people were on the back of a turtle at Blood's Pond today. It
may be the same instinct that drives turtles to climb rocks that may
remind them of the backs of their mothers.
May 1, 2011
— The gander of the Canada geese couple at Ice House Pond that HopNews
is following photographically, grabs a flower from the water today; but
instead of bringing it home to his mate, he kept it for himself, while
she stayed in the nest tending to the eggs.
14, Westwood 5
Photo by John Cardillo
May 1, 2011 — EG McMillan's strong pitching
led the way to a 14 to 5 victory for the Hopkinton Varsity Baseball team
13, Medway 0
May 1, 2011 — Michelle
Cooprider gets ready to clobber one in Wednesday's game against Medway,
which the girls won 13-0.
State Police Investigating Fatal
Crash on Route 290 in Shrewsbury
May 1, 2011 — Today at 5:19 a.m., Troopers
from the State Police Barracks in Holden responded to reports of a
one-vehicle motorcycle crash on Route 290 eastbound at Exit 23A in Shrewsbury. The operator of the motorcycle
died as a result of the crash.
Preliminary investigation by Trooper Michael
Sonia indicates that Anthony Fasulo, 48, of Milford, was operating a 2006 Harley Davidson
motorcycle when he lost control of the vehicle and went into the grassy
median at Exit 23A. Mr. Fasulo struck a highway sign and was pronounced
deceased by responding EMS personnel.
Speed and alcohol are not believed to be
factors and there were no road closures while this crash was
The facts and circumstances of this crash remain
under investigation by Troop C of the Massachusetts State Police, with
the assistance of the State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction
Section, the State Police Crime Scene Services Section, the Medical
Examiners Office and the Shrewsbury Fire Department.
State Police Investigating Single Car
Rollover Crash on I-290 in Worcester
Today at approximately 11:15am, troopers
from the Holden Barracks responded to I-290W in the vicinity of Exit 18
in Worcester on the report of a single vehicle rollover with injuries.
Jace Gaw 24 of Clinton, MA, the operator of the vehicle died on scene.
The passenger, Amy Ferrante 26 also of Clinton, MA was transported to
UMass Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Troopers on
scene were assisted by Worcester Fire and EMS and Mass DOT. The roadway
remained partially closed until approximately 2:30pm. The incident
remains under investigation by troopers from the Collision Analysis and
Reconstruction Section, Worcester State Police Detective Unit and the
2011 — This great blue heron is just landing from the other side of
Firehouse Pond at the "S" turn in Woodville on Wood Street on
2011 — Outgoing Planning Board Chair Joe Markey poses his children,
Dawson and Julia, outside the entrance to the HPTA's Green Expo at Hopkinton
High School, providing a lesson in diagonals and leading lines, as well as
efficient and visually pleasing use of space.
2011 — These girls await the start of the processional music to show off
their best "swaps" at the HPTA's Green Expo in Hopkinton High School Athletic
Center this afternoon.
2011 — The Hopkinton High School Girls A Capella Group used only their
voices for instruments Saturday afternoon, entertaining those gathered
for the Green Expo at the Athletic Center.
2011 — Todd Vogel made sure that everyone passing the Woodville Rod &
Gun Saturday afternoon knew the identity of the electrician repairing
some plow damage to the electrical fixture.
2011 — These two turtles at Ice House Pond ducked under the water upon
seeing the photographer, and resurfaced their heads as if their bodies
Police Seek Information on Escaped Prisoner’s Whereabouts
of the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section,
the Massachusetts Department
of Correction Fugitive Apprehension Unit, and the Springfield Police
Department continue to search for TAMIK KIRKLAND, 24, who escaped from
the Massachusetts Correctional Institute-Shirley on April 25.
last known address was 17
Ringgold St. in
Springfield, and he continues to have ties to the Springfield area. He also has affiliation with
the Maynard Street Posse street gang. He should be considered dangerous
and may have access to weapons, and should not be approached by a member
of the public.
has a nickname of “Mattic.” He is African-American, 5’10”, 172 lbs.,
with black hair and brown eyes. He has a scroll-design tattoo on the
inside of his right forearm. Photographs of KIRKLAND’s face and tattoo accompany this
KIRKLAND or his whereabouts is urged to call
MassachusettsState Police at
508-820-2121 or by dialing 911 on a cell phone. Those with information
may also contact Springfield Police at 413-787-6300. People with
information may also use the Text-A-Tip program by texting 274637 from a
cell phone, then typing SOLVE and a message and hitting send.
was serving a 2 ½- to 4-year state prison sentence for weapons and drug
crimes at the time of his escape. Circumstances of his escape remain
investigation by the Department of
HopNews Broadcasted live this afternoon from the Golden Spoon for about
a half hour, offering free large ice cream cones to the first five readers
to mention HopNews before 6:00 pm. The broadcast
was on simultaneously with the Main Street web cam, proving that
multiple channels will work.
Thanks to those who logged on and chose to check out the webcam.
Story Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Check the Interactive
Calendar for times
Kieran Schnur and Cassandra Clark practice at a recent dress rehearsal
for West Side Story, presented by the Middle School Drama Club.
Sick of Perfect Weddings? See
Committee Splits Vote on New Super Contract
by Heather Kelley
April 29, 2011 — School Committee Chair
Rebecca Robak brought forward for approval a contract with the new
superintendent at last night’s School Committee meeting. Superintendent
Dr. Jack Phelan will retire at the end of the school year, and Dr.
Jonathan Landman will begin his tenure on July 1st. Richard
de Mont expressed his respect for and support of Dr. Landman, but said
that he disagreed with the committee on the terms of the contract, and
would therefore be voting against it. Nancy Burdick concurred, and also
voted against the motion while approving of the new superintendent
himself. “We’re all looking forward to working with him,” said Mrs.
Robak. The committee voted to approve the contract, 3-2.
Dr. Landman has been having transition meetings with Dr. Phelan, and
more will be scheduled in May and June. “He’s got incredible enthusiasm.
He can’t wait to assume his position on July 1st,” said Dr.
Dr. Phelan also announced that the district
has been granted a second funded year of a Chinese teacher through the
Teachers of Critical Languages Program of the American Councils for
International Education. The current Chinese teacher, Jiling Pan, will
return home to China, and another teacher will arrive, teaching not only
Chinese culture and Chinese I, but also Chinese II so students can
continue their study of the language. High School principal Alyson Geary
recently returned to the district from her trip to China during spring
break. She kept a blog during her travels, which can be read online at
Director of Finance Ralph Dumas walked the School Committee through the
quarterly financial report. At the previous financial update in
December, it had appeared that the district would end the year with a
positive variance of $163,000. That projection has now changed to
$87,000, still positive. Mr. Dumas listed two contributors to this
change: staffing issues, and energy usage. “We’ve had a significant
number of leaves of absence,” said Mr. Dumas, for both medical and
maternity reasons. Long term substitute teachers cost $218 per day, he
said, and that is paid on top of the regular teacher’s salary. Mr. Dumas
further explained that the high school and Hopkins are using more
natural gas than expected. NSTAR has checked the meters, which are in
Mrs. Robak asked where the gas was used in the buildings.
“Everywhere,” Mr. Dumas replied. “Heating and hot water, it’s all
natural gas.” All school building thermostats are controlled by
computer, based on outside temperatures, he said. All other school
buildings are using gas at expected levels. Mr. Dumas agreed to continue
looking into the issue.
The electricity budget, however, will see a savings for next year.
“We’re going to save about 30% on our electricity for FY 12, in addition
to the solar,” said Mr. Dumas, thanks to a new contract with an energy
Mr. Dumas also reminded parents and guardians that bus fees for next
year are due by June 15th. Payments can be made online.
Annual Town Meeting starts next Monday at 7
pm, and the School Committee has two articles on the warrant. Article 36
is a request for $125,000 for wiring at the Middle School. Article 37 is
a request for $47,000 for an upgrade to the Middle School auditorium,
primarily the projection and sound systems. The Appropriations Committee
has been meeting with the School Committee, and is supporting the school
budget and capital articles, said Dr. Phelan. The
also invited residents to view the school budget booklet, which is
Touching on the community meeting held Wednesday evening to discuss
moving forward with a school project, the School Committee again
expressed their interest in hearing from the community. They have a list
of 31 items from the discussion, and will post them, along with all
other suggestions and comments, on their website. Nancy Burdick
suggested looking into having a table at town elections to see if
residents have an interest in giving their email to receive electronic
communication. Troy Mick agreed it was a good idea.
Continuing their review of School Committee policies, members discussed
communicable diseases, whom parents should turn to with school related
problems, and flyers from non-school groups that are distributed through
the schools. The committee also agreed to set a date to review more
policies; their goal has been to comb through all existing policies
before the retirement of Assistant Superintendent Dr. Mary Colombo.
Dr. Phelan announced that two of Hopkinton’s own will be honored for
their work with students. Peter Torilli, wellness teacher at Hopkins, is
being inducted into the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Hall of Fame.
And former football coach David Hughes is being inducted into the
Massachusetts State Football Coaches Hall of Fame. File photo.
28, 2011 — The Hopkinton High School Robotics
Team stunned many by posting the highest score
today at day one of the
First Robotics World
Championship in St
Louis, MO. The Hillers first match score was
only four points off the world record according
to an event official.
At the end of day
one, the team holds fifth place in a division of
sixty-four teams from around the world. There
are two divisions and a total of one hundred
twenty-eight teams at the championship.
A match consists of
a forty second autonomous period followed by a
two minute controller driven period. The
strength of the Hiller’s robot is their
autonomous period programming.
qualifying rounds continue on Friday and the
final round will be held on Saturday April 30th.
Reprinted with permission from HHSPress.
STUDENTS' CHATTEN FAMILY HOUSE BUILDING PROJECT ON TARGET
FRAMINGHAM, MA – Despite this
winter’s record snowfall amounts, below freezing temperatures, and
school closings, students involved in the Joseph P. Keefe Technical
School annual House Building Project have pushed through to progress the
construction of a home for the Chatten Family of Hopkinton.
“The snow really held us up,” said Laura Chatten, “But the students came
out and worked as much as possible.”
Laura and her husband Thomas already knew
that Keefe Tech students took their work on the House Building Project
seriously when they submitted their application in 2010. Colleen Chatten,
Thomas’ mother, had a home built through the annual program in 2003. The
Chattens were then selected through the program’s random lottery system,
and students began work last November.
“It’s been exciting to watch the house go
up,” Chatten noted. “The students’ work is wonderful. They did a great
job with my mother-in-law’s house and other builders have commented that
their work is above code,” she added.
The 2,200 square foot, two-car garage
California Colonial home will soon go through phases to ensure the
structure is weather tight, including window and siding installation and
“We completed many of the interior walls
while the weather was a concern at the work site and worked on the
plumbing,” said John Brochu, Keefe Technical School Vocational
Coordinator. “The house has progressed well considering the amount of
snow we have had and the delays due to the significant amounts.”
The Chattens expect that the home will be completed by fall, when
students will install the interior finish work. “This has been a
wonderful experience. We feel more than lucky to be given this
opportunity,” Laura noted.
The home, located at 7 Walker Street in
Hopkinton, marks the eighth house built by the Joseph P. Keefe Technical
School House Building Project in the town. Each year, the school
constructs one home in a member town of the district for a qualified
applicant selected at random. In order to qualify, the applicant must be
a resident of the Keefe Tech 5-town district of Ashland, Framingham,
Holliston, Hopkinton, and Natick, must own property or have a valid
option of agreement for the purchase of property at the time of
application, and must provide financial statements satisfactory to the
district indicating ability to meet the obligations for completion of
Joseph P. Keefe Technical
School is a four-year high school located in Framingham, MA and is
accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. In
addition to 14 career and technical programs, Keefe Tech offers a
complete college preparatory program to students from the communities of
Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Hopkinton and Natick.
10 K DRAW TICKETS BEING SOLD
@ EMC PARK
Saturday, April 30th – 10:00am to 8:00pm
Sunday, May 1st – 1:30pm to 8:00pm
Please stop to buy your ticket
before time runs out!
SAVE THE DATE!!!!
Annual HLL $10,000 Draw & Silent Auction
Join us for a
night out to benefit the Hopkinton Little League and a chance to win
Friday, May 6th
2011 7pm - 12:30pm
Milford Portuguese Club Cost: $100 per ticket (each ticket admits 2)
Tickets will be sold . Includes Buffet Catered by Olivia's . Includes
beer, wine & soda through 10:00pm . Cash Raffle and Silent Auction! . DJ
Hopkinton Police Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back
Saturday, April 30, Hopkinton Police Department is partnering with the
Drug Enforcement Administration in the second National Prescription Drug
Take-Back Day to give the public an opportunity to prevent pill abuse
and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous, expired,
unused or unwanted prescription drugs.
and over-the-counter substances may be collected. No questions or
requests for identification will be made. Participants may dispose of
medication in its original container. All solid dosage pharmaceutical
product and liquids in consumer containers will also be accepted. Liquid
products, such as cough syrup, should remain sealed in their original
container. Intra-venous solutions, injectibles, and syringes will not be
accepted due to potential hazard posed by blood-borne pathogens.
Hopkinton Police Chief
Richard Flannery invites residents to bring their medications for
disposal to Hopkinton Police Headquarters at 74 Main St Saturday,
April 30 from 10 AM to 2 PM.
The service is free and
Tussie Mussie — and Thou!
Nancy L. Drawe
Those wonderful women
from the Hopkinton Garden Club did it again! They hosted another great
afternoon at the SeniorCenter—filled with tussie
mussies, roses, tea and cookies! As they do just about every month,
the Garden Club members host a project at the center that usually
involves some type of floral arranging. This time, it was for a
beautiful Tussie Mussie, which is normally recognized as a “nosegay” or
posy holder. As Co-President Ruth Gorman explained to the many
“crafters” in the room, a Tussie Mussie was from the Victorian Era and
young lovers would use them to send messages to one another. Also, both
men and women wore them in friendship. Ruth explained how each flower
in the arrangement usually had a meaning, for instance, the rose meant
love, heather meant admiration, ivy meant marriage and friendship, and
fern meant sincerity.
Each person was given
a whole bouquet of these flowers and greens to work with, as well as the
nosegay holders, ribbons and doilies. With the help of members Joan
Luciano, Susan Brownworth, Maureen Bumiller, Meryln Mezitt and
co-presidents Ruth and Leslie Skrzycpzak, everyone was able to make
their own special Tussie Mussie.
After the Tussie
Mussies were all made, there was another special treat for the
afternoon—everyone was invited to a Victorian Tea Party! The tables in
the dining room were all decorated with lovely tea cups and little
plates filled with desserts and tiny cucumber sandwiches. Once the
guests arrived and placed their Tussie-Mussie’s on the table, the whole
place came alive! Oh, and the fragrance from all those flowers was just
delightful! It was a fun afternoon for all!
Cheers to the members
of the Hopkinton Garden Club for always hosting such special projects as
well as volunteering their time and supplies. They are such a wonderful
group of women—we look forward to seeing them time after time. Thank
you so much!
The clock is ticking
again—it’s almost time for the annual Rummage Sale at the center. This
year, the dates are Thursday-May 19 and Friday-May 20 from 8-6, and
Saturday-May 21 from 8-noon. Right now, the center is collecting all
your donations through May 14. Clean out your closets and garages and
bring all your clean and usable condition items to the center. Small
furniture is especially needed, but please, no computers, television,
bedding or exercise equipment. The center will greatly appreciate your
donations! More on the Rummage Sale later.
That’s it for now, so
if you have any comments or suggestions, you can email me:
Punkala@aol.com. Until next time, have
a great week!
At the Hopkinton Green Expo 2011
What we are recycling?
All Hard Plastic Caps (Aveda Recycles Caps)
Sneakers (Sustainable World Fund)
Styrofoam peanuts (UPS)
Eyeglasses (Lions Club)
Ink Jets (Staples)
Plastic Bags (Whole Foods)
Kids and adults should collect items in their homes; by raising
awareness among their family and friends of the opportunity to recycle
these items and collect them for drop off.
Participate on your own throughout the year using the above business
Operated by The HopMoms Club and Small Hands, Big Hearts
School Committee/Selectmen Meeting on Center School
"We Need to Continue Investing in Center School Now"
~ outgoing Planning Board Chair Joe Markey
by Muriel Kramer
April 28, 2011 — Process and communication
were featured at the forum last night held by the School Committee and
Board of Selectmen; many in attendance focused on improving both as the
community moves forward with potential ideas to address Center School
for both the near and long term.
Planning Board Chairman Joe Markey offered that in his professional
experience defining the problem is the most important part of the
process, and he encouraged the boards to spend adequate time to really
define what the problem or problems are at Center School before planning
how to address the issues. He also pointed out that the planning that
took place pursuing the new school at Fruit Street left out critical
elements for near term and necessary repairs at Center School. Even if
the proposal had passed, the new school would have been a couple of
years out and repairs should have been addressed for the interim years.
Jackie Potenzone (photo) spoke to the tax impact with special emphasis
the impact higher taxes have on our seniors. “I’m glad you picked this
place (the Senior Center)” for the meeting. Noting that many seniors on
fixed incomes already struggle to pay their taxes, she added, “I can’t
take on another tax burden for myself at this point. I’m looking at an
uncertain financial future for my family….I have voted for every
override except this one, and I don’t regret it” Potenzone also asked,
“Why wasn’t there a contingency plan for repairs in the event of a ‘No’
Mary Pratt brought up the possibility of modular classrooms at Center
School to add space more economically especially in construction cost
savings by avoiding prevailing wage issues. Many in the audience agreed
noting that modular classrooms are inconspicuous, comfortable,
serviceable, possibly very energy efficient and much more affordable.
Frank D’Urso encouraged the Boards to reinstate the civic engagement
committee to “reach out and get a better grasp of the issues.” He
additionally made the point that many attending meetings felt that their
“feedback had not been heard.” Many others later in the forum stressed a
similar point to keep the communication lines open, but work to ensure
that there is community buy-in that is validated throughout the process.
Many residents touched upon the issue of
districting without eliciting a solid response from the boards; however,
Markey drove the point home. “We had a town meeting with about 1,000
people; Town Meeting spoke loudly. I want to make sure we are listening
to that feedback. Take districting out of the Strategic Plan.” He also
restated that the town needs to continue investing in our current
buildings while we explore long term solutions and plans. “We need to
continue investing in Center School now.”
Others in the audience encouraged the Boards to include school staff in
the conversations going forward, to develop a true lessons-learned from
all this, to ensure that the communication process includes validation
of the approach as it is developed and loops back over time to include
new parents entering the system. Other points were to revitalize civic
engagement, to create a capital assets management plan for the whole
town, to explore more completely senior tax relief and to fully detail
out a priority list of capital projects that manages the tax impacts
while implementing those projects.
Mary Murphy spoke at length about leveraging available technologies
(reverse 9-1-1, free survey sites on line, interactive web page, etc) to
support a better communication process, and she also encouraged a
purposeful shift towards making the effort to engage feedback by working
to welcome newcomers to the process and encourage participation.
Mary Pratt added a suggestion to work creatively to solve the
complexities involved. For example, in working to schedule necessary
repairs over the summer, consider adjusting the schedule to allow more
time in the summer and less week long vacations during the school year.
Older buildings can and should be maintained she asserted; “the schools
are our biggest investment.”
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jack Phelan, commented that “at the end
of the day, they are the community’s schools; we need a solution that is
validated by the community.”
District Commission Meets & Discusses Position on Library Articles
Committee and Library Trustees Join them
2011 — The Hopkinton Historic District Commission (HHDC) met this
evening as a result of lobbying by Town manager Norman Khumalo and
Selectmen Chair RJ Dourney on behalf of the Library Trustees and the
Permanent Building Committee (PBC), who felt left out of the process of
the HHDC's recent vote. The HHDC voted to not support a zoning change Article
(49) that would support the library's expansion design. The design of
the library appears as
an additional Article (53) for Monday's Town Meeting, which the HHDC
also voted to not support.
The process resulted in a letter from the HHDC to the Selectmen about
the vote that was made three days after the Articles were firmly
established on April 18, 2011.
This evening, the Chairman of the HHDC
Michael Girardi (center of photo) began the meeting with an
apology to the other boards for not including them in the CC list or
inviting them to the meeting where the vote was
Tonight's meeting then moved to a grilling by Trustees and PBC members asking
why the HHDC hadn't taken action sooner.
Speaking to the time frame, Mr. Girardi said they acted three days after
the Articles were voted. "I see it as a natural evolution of our
decision making process," he said. "We've been asked by citizens to
maintain the historic character of the district," he added. The Downtown
Historic District extends from Center School to Hopkinton Gourmet, and
includes the first few houses on Hayden Rowe Street. Developers or
owners in the district wanting to make exterior changes to their
building need to go before the commission to obtain a Certificate of
Although the Trustees and the PBC insisted that the design was
preliminary, they said it was part of the grant application to the
Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and could not be
altered. PBC member Scott Richardson, a proponent of large buildings
Downtown, said it perhaps could be appealed after it was voted in.
Member of the PBC, John Carroll, told the gathering, "If the town heeds
the HDC recommendation [at Town Meeting], the project is dead in the
Library Trustee Laura Barry said that the next round of funding for new
libraries has not been announced, and that it could take
years to come around again.
Selectman Michele Gates, who was present at the entire meeting, as well
as her board's meeting last night where the members of the HHDC got
lambasted in their absence, asked what teeth the HHDC letter had.
"It is an opinion," Mr. Girardi said. "We only react
[statutorily] based on an application for a certificate." But he made it
clear that the opinion was spot on
with their viewpoint of the project.
Center School abutter John Pavlov said he had not been notified by the
Library Trustees or the PBC of any of their plans, and asked neighbor
and HHDC member
Beth Kelly if she had been. A loud chorus of "No" coming from abutters
and others present joined Mrs. Kelly in her answer.
Abutter Sue Hadley asked how the 22,000 square foot project could be
scaled down if it fails at Town Meeting.
"I don't hear anything that would change," said Mr. Girardi.
The Trustees said they would ask the Town Moderator to reverse the
Articles so that the zoning change gets voted on only after voters know
if the library design has passed. Mr. Richardson said he would vote for
the zoning change even of the design gets shot down, a position the
abutters have expressed opposition to.
Referring to the ordering of the Articles, Mr. Gerardi said, "Something
HHDC member Beth Kelley, an abutter to the Town Common, said that the
architect's drawing should have the abutters' buildings on them (e. g.
satellite photo, above), but they do not (drawing above). The conceptual
plans that have been presented instead show trees and grass where people
Mr. Girardi insisted that the future drawings show the views from all
sides, because the views are what concerns his commission.
"It is just too big," he said of the building design.