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WATCH MARK ON YOU TUBE
RECORDS LAST TV SHOW
On April 13th, the long-running Snyder's Stoughton TV Show recorded its last show at the SMAC studios. We have done well over 100 shows, many of which made some impact on the community. I have hosted dozens of debates—all of them termed fair and balanced by all who took part. We first recorded Snyder’s Stoughton TV show in Easton at the Comcast studios on Plymouth Drive, with the help of Dale Queenan, and later, Dominic Cotouia. There were many times when malfunctions happened, because people are human. But, on days where I came in hours before the show with an issue, I remember Dom editing footage for the show, while teaching me how to do it. He worked hard to make the shows work, and he was covering multiple towns and multiple shows. I have been in media for over 40 years, hosting a radio show at age 9, another in high school, and in college at Curry (co-founding their FM radio station), while becoming its first promotion manager, doing DJ work, sports and talk shows. It was great practice for the “real world.” I hosted the Singles Lifeline radio show in Boston, which was ranked in the Top 5 in its time slot, during the 1980’s, while also publishing a magazine, doing singles dances parties, and having a regular gig as a Friday guest on the Good Day Show on Channel 5. In the 80’s, I hosted a public access show in Randolph, which was seen in numerous communities. I also wrote a syndicated newspaper column on the singles scene, while contributing as a features writer for the Boston Herald. My point is that I've "been around" in media circles. Which brings us back to SMAC.........With two employees--who are paid nearly $100,000 combined---making volunteers do ALL the work, without guidance or proper training (in the case of our show), it became impossible to deal with. The first show had lighting problems, the second audio problem, and the third and final show had cameras that were not set up correctly. Volunteers spent over a half hour trying to get them working right. Meanwhile, program director Lawrence Hollie was chatting nearby and NEVER offered to help with them. Executive Director Steve Innis was in Vegas at a trade show, looking for new equipment for Town Hall. So, the Snyder's Stoughton VOLUNTEER crew did it's best, but it was never enough. As a professional with 40 years of media experience, it pained me to see what has happened to a show that I loved to do. Since I helped to set up Stoughton Media Access Corporation (and even named it), I felt a very close connection. My Cable Advisory Committee outlined what we'd hope the access corporation would do---before it started--in terms of recruiting and mentoring volunteers, holding regular advertised training, welcoming sponsors and member supporters, and recruiting civic and religious organizations, social and sports clubs, town department heads, and students to host and produce a wide variety of shows. Some of this has started to happen. The facility on Page Street is beautiful and state-of-the-art. People like John Stagnone and Steve Bates deserve much credit for the heart and soul they put into it. But, the face of SMAC is its employees, And, for something I did for free because it was fun (as opposed to my paid gigs in radio, newspaper and internet), it had become not so much fun anymore--it had become another of life's stresses, for me and my crew. I started the TV show six years ago at the urging of readers of my newspaper column. They wanted to see Stoughton presented in a more positive light. But, we also shined a light on the darkness, trying to make it be. We also introduced many of the people, places, and businesses in our town. There is so much more to be done. Perhaps, at some future date, the right people will be in place at SMAC to make it happen. I'm sorry to say goodbye. I appreciate all the people who helped make the show the most popular in town, according to a townwide survey. Thanks to my director and friend Cindy Pazyra, and my latest volunteer crew, Dori Frankel, Dave Young, and Dale Appel. Thanks again for your support, everyone.
(Posted on April 14 @ 11 a.m.)
LYNCH COMING TO DOWNTOWN
Congressman Steve Lynch is coming to Stoughton on Tuesday, April 19 at 9:!5 a.m. Selectmen Chairman John Stagnone, who has been pursuing Lynch to visit, said he'll be starting out at town hall. "Then, we'll take the Congressman to a tour of the empty storefronts, and the theatre. We're hoping that the theatre will bring life back to the downtown. We'll be inviting Senator Joyce, Representatives Kafka and Galvin, the Selectmen, and the chair of the Redevelopment and Housing Authorities." Stagnone said that he initiated this visit a while ago, when he and Mike Mutascio, the founder of "Save the State Theatre", went into Lynch's Boston office and met with his staff there. He followed up a few times until he secured the site visit Recently, the Historical Commission recognized the theatre building as a "historically significant building", which makes it eligible for CPC funds. Stagnone tells About Town, "I sent letters to the Planning Board and Redevelopment Committee on the master plan. I want the Chairman of both Boards (Joe Scardino and Barry Crimmins, respectively) to work together on a master plan of the whole downtown. The master plan has a scope of nine pieces. Two, the housing plan and open space plans are already certified." Stagnone said he's not necessarily looking to Lynch for money. "Part of the plan is to possibly relocate the post office. The storefront stays, but the back part where they do sorting and park vehicles, would be relocated. Whether the South Coast Rail comes or not, we have it. This is a concept. But, the downtown can't change on it's own. " Scardino, the Chairman of the Planning Board, tells Snyder's Stougton, "it's not just two guys working on a master plan. We need a Town Planner and a facilitator. We need seed money from the Redevelopment Authority, who has an interest in the plan, and (some of) the money for it. We're talking, conservatively, $50,000-$60,000 for the first year, and up to $120,000 for the total plan. The most painful part of the puzzle is dealing with the zoning bylaws. When you speak of rezoning, everyone comes out of the woodwork. And, you can't rely on volunteers for writing this master plan, reviewing bylaws, or neighborhood outreach on zoning. It's a Herculean task. You need a staff of outside consultants." Scardino cautions that all the hard work of a master plan could "go down in flames in ten minutes at town meeting if it's not done right. You need a 2/3 majority for zoning changes."
(Posted on April 13 @ 8 p.m. Updated on April 14 @ 4:25 p.m.)
Capturing The Bad Guys
and talkin' about it on Radio!
Police Chief Paul Shastany and Officer Kevin Lima were guests on WSRO-650 a.m. radio today. They appeared on "The Brazilian Connection" to discuss container thefts. Stoughton Police Department is the only PD in Massachusetts that was able to obtain enough evidence to indict a fraudulent shipper. Shastany tells me, "It's just one facet of our efforts to capture crooks that prey on immigrants, knowing they are more afraid of the police than the criminal thieves."
(Posted on April 13, 2011 @ 7:30 p.m.)
Stagnone & Anderson Move Up
Former Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Steve Anastos nominated John Stagnone as Chairman Tuesday night, and with the support of Anastos and selectman John Anderson, Stagnone was elected on a 3-2 vote. Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh had nominated selectman John Anzvino as Chair. Both voted for Anzivino. John Anzivino then nominated Walsh to remain as Vice Chair. Stagnone nominated Anderson as Vice Chairman. Stagnone, Anastos and Anderson voted for Anderson for Vice Chair. Anzivino and Walsh voted for Walsh in a second 3-2 vote. Steve Anastos goes out as Chairman with a legacy of his Board. They hired the two big guns that changed the town: Town Manager Frank Crimmins and Police Chief Paul Shastany. It was Anastos who actually "recruited" Crimmins, who at the time was a Presiding Judge in Stoughton District Court. Anastos also did some very innovative things here while Chairman. He introduced a "citizen’s comment" segment of the agenda at all Selectmen's meetings, which really opened the Board up to the people of the town. Any item not on the agenda could be addressed by any citizen, with no notice needed. He also came up with an event honoring town volunteers. Hundreds of people had a great night, felt some pride in themselves and their town, and got some free food and drink. That has been happening two years in a row, and this writer hopes it continues under the new chairman. Anastos also brought together all former selectmen, in a political-free environment, for dinner at town hall. Stagnone may have to divest himself of a potential conflict, and a drain on his time. He is currently the President of Stoughton Media Access Corporation (SMAC). He told Snyder's Stoughton that he was hoping that another SMAC Board member would step into the presidency. The conflict could arise if the Selectmen's Chairman also runs the town's television media company. When the Cable Advisory Committee set up the nonprofit to run the local access channels, it was done to take the politics out of the equation. Stagnone was actually appointed to SMAC through the C.A.C., before he was elected a selectman. The time it takes to do both those jobs just isn't possible for a guy who also works full time. So, something has to give. Stagnone has illustrated incredible leadership and hard work in every volunteer activity he has been involved with. He's dedicated to fixing the downtown, and is on the Board of the Save the State Theatre in that regard. He told me his first priority as Chairman would be to reach out to the School Committee. Anastos and Crimmins have butted heads with the schools over budget issues, and there's a bit of a tension between the two ends of Pearl Street. Stagnone hopes to ease that tension, and bring both groups together to work in the same direction for the good of the town. If he decides to leave the SMAC Board, I know someone who is ready to step into that role, sleeves rolled up, and armed with a lifetime of media knowledge.
(Posted on April 12, 2011@10:30 p.m.)
TUESDAY NIGHT APPOINTMENT
Jill Somers was named Tuesday night to the Energy & Sustainability Committee by the Board of Selectmen. It was lost during the reshuffling of the Selectmen's Board, and the fact that no one has any idea what that Committee even does. But, she went work quickly! The talented young lady, who is a strong environmentalist, and lives life to the "greenest", has set up a page for the Committee, so that neophytes like me can know what it is about. Brave for her! Visit the website here. It will contain all relevent information from the Committee.
ZBA Says No......and Maybe
FORMER MAYOR WALKS OUT ON ZBA
Attorney Richard Wainwright, a former Mayor of the City of Brockton, wasn't happy last night at the Zoning Board of Appeals. He was representing Peter Tsinzo in the matter of a recinded variance of a March 23, 1998 action on the construction of a single family dwelling at 50 Barnes Road.
Wainwright wanted Stoughton's Town Counsel to render a legal opinion on a matter, and Jerry Savage, who was chairing the particular hearing, had requested that Wainwright re-imburse the town for the legal costs, at the $150/hr that is billed to the town. Wainwright disagreed on this request, and according to sources, left saying he would appeal the opinion. After he left, according to Savage, the ZBA dismissed the variance request, with prejudice.A Request by WRAP Realty for a special permit to build a cluster residential development of 25 single family homes, on land between Park Street and Ash Street, was continued until April 21st. The proposal would leave over 17 and a half acres of open space, after the project's completion. In my photo, Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh, who lives on Park Street, speaks about the proposal. She had suggested that a site inspection be conducted on the property, before any development, to determine that it was "clean." "I had 120 tires dumped on my property. Some people think 'open space' means a place to dump their trash," she said.
Attorney T.J. Recupero (back turned to camera) was representing the owners in this case. The owner, Debbie DiStefano McNeil, told Snyder's Stoughton that the process to try to develop this land has now gone over a year. ZBA Chairman Sherm Epro is seen in the top right of photo.
( Posted on April 8, 2011 @ 3 p.m.)
ELECTION RESULTSSovinee, Dolinsky; Gitto Win Contested Races
Deb Sovinee, who was appointed ten months ago to the Committee, by a joint vote of the School Committee and Board of Selectmen, topped the ticket with 792 votes. George Dolinsky, treasurer of STOYAC and Chairman of Pct. 2 Town Meeting, finished second, and was elected with 662 votes. Incumbent Dr. Erdem Ural finished third with 587 votes, and Jeffrey Benson (who had failed by one vote to be appointed 10 months ago) finished with 572 votes in his first run at public office. Sovinee was excited when contacted by Snyder’s Stoughton. “I ran a very positive campaign,” she told me. “I presented my clear vision for the schools, and shared my passion for public education with the voters. I thank them for believing in me.” Dolinsky, when contacted at his home, said he was “ecstatic,” adding, “I was very nervous. I came in second my first time running for town-wide office. The competition was strong. I ran because I want to know what’s going on with the schools. I need to ask questions about things in the budget. I want to find out why contracts for the teachers are taking so long. We need to do this for the teachers, and the students.” Dolinsky said “it was a clean race and everyone spoke from the heart. I was independent and unaffiliated and people responded.”Dr. Ural had a prepared statement for the press. In it he said, “ I wish the new school committee members great success in their endeavor to improve Stoughton schools. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the supporters of our campaign: people who placed signs on their lawns, those who held signs at the town square and at the polls, and those who came to our breakfast event. I am also grateful to all other candidates running for other town-wide positions for their invaluable volunteer spirit. Because I have a vested interest to improve our schools and administration, I will continue my work towards improving Stoughton schools and will continually update my web site, www.stoughtoneducation.org, with education, and school committee issues.”
Benson, also contacted at his home, said he was “a little disappointed.” He added, “I ran what I thought was a good campaign, but the people spoke. We did the best we could. I wish the elected candidates good luck.” When asked if he might run again for office, he replied, “I reserve the right to decide this at a later date.” Benson did very well for a first time candidate with little name recognition.In the only other contested race, South Coast Rail Advisory Committee Chair Lou Gitto bested former Finance Committee member Donna Ayers for a five year seat on the Redevelopment Authority, 765-620. In precinct 1 Town Meeting, John Linehan took top spot, besting his wife Julie by two votes, and outdistancing retired Fire Chief David Jardin by 12 votes. In Pct. 2, selectman Cynthia Walsh once again topped the ticket. Former Selectmen Scott Carrara, SMAC Board member Stephen Bates, and this columnist were right behind. Pct. 3 was topped by Lori Ann Gover, with Sandra Fay right behind. Pct.4 was the most heavily contested of all the races in town. Coming out on top was Lou Gitto, Dr. Roberta Camacho and Barry Crimmins. Former Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz was not elected to a seat, bested by the aforementioned three and selectmen John Anderson and John Stagnone, Juliann Gitto and Robert Germain. Pct. 5 was topped by Dennis Walsh and Elaine Breen. Pct. 6 was topped by Stoughton Patch columnist Christine Iacobucci and FinCom member Ed DeFelice. Pct. 7 was topped by Candace Fisher, a volunteer for numerous organizations and boards in town. Dr. Erdem Ural, Nancy Patterson, and Al Venterosa all tied for second. Finally, in Pct. 8, Frances Stetson topped the ticket.
FULL RESULTS HERE
(Posted on 4/6/11 @ 1 a.m.)
STOUGHTON RESIDENT CHARGED WITH
BANK ROBBERY IN PEABODY
Photo of Mark LePage courtesy of Peabody Police
A Stoughton man was charged in federal court today with the armed robbery of an Eastern Bank in Peabody, earlier this week. Mark LePage, 47, was charged in a criminal complaint with armed bank robbery. The complaint alleges that on April 4, 2011, LePage robbed an Eastern Bank branch, located at 102 Lynn Street in Peabody, with a handgun. It is alleged that during the robbery, LePage grabbed a customer, and held the gun to the back of the customer’s head while demanding that the customer hand over all of the customer’s money. LePage then allegedly pointed the gun at tellers in the bank and demanded money. After collecting over $21,000 from the tellers, LePage fled. He was arrested by authorities last night. If convicted, LwPage faces up to 25 years imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division and Chief Robert L. Champagne of the Peabody Police Department made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini of Ortiz’s Major Crimes Unit.
NO ZONING CHANGES FOR FORMER SCHECHTER SCHOOL
The current owner of the site of the former South Area Solomon Schechter Day School (at Turnpike and Central Streets) was hoping to change the building's zoning. David Wluka, a Realtor who represents the owner, SASSDS, held a second meeting with about a dozen abutters on Monday, April 4 at the site. He said, "Due to the restrictive nature of the potential users, the building has not been sold for six years. The property has been leased to provide cash flow to support it. SASSDS can certainly continue to lease, but their preference is to not be landlords." In a letter to abutters, Wluka writes, "We would like to explore with the neighborhood the principle of expanding opportunities limited to just professional and office related uses. The Town of Sharon many years ago did just that for the medical building now on the corner of Washington and North Main Streets at Cobb's Corner. There, we created a 'professional district' that clearly limited the uses that might go on that site. here, as well, uses could be restricted to 'professional offices or services" as already defined and regulated in the Stoughton Zoning Bylaws. We feel both the Town and the neighborhood would be better off if we could find a professional user."Wluka proposed creating a new zoning catagory called "Professional District", that would restrict the building to office use. He said that he did something similar in Sharon, he said. The medical building at Cobb's Corner is the result of that zoning change there. He said that the former Schechter school now pays $23,000 per year in taxes to the town. But, he cautioned that when the CHARMS Collaborative, a for-profit school currently renting there, leaves that if a non-profit rented or purchased the building, the town would get nothing. Wluka proposed going in two directions, either a deed restricted property with covenents, or the new zone. He added, "We've been actively marketing the property for four years. They were previously exempt from zoning restrictions, but when they built out the site they vacated the former non-conforming use. By using that grandfathering, only schools, churches, daycare or group homes can rent or buy this property. The building could have expanded use, but it's not zoned for it. If we zoned it just for straight office use, there would be a broader market for selling." Residents present were asked by this writer if they supported the change from school to office building. Although some may have been undecided, no one raised their hand in support. Some were STRONGLY OPPOSED. Carol and Frank Howley, who are direct abutters, were strongly opposed. "The schools are not in session in summer. We don't want strangers going in an out all day and night. This has been like a bad toothache. We have had no problem with the schools. We have a problem with a commercial building. When they tripled the size of the building, they promised us it would be a school forever."
Despite a presentation by David Wluka, where he said that traffic would actually decrease with an office building, based on all available statistics, it will remain as zoned. It can legally be a school, church or group home. CHARMS, a Special Needs collaborative, is moving out of the site. So, Nancy Wluka will be looking for a new tenant for the building.
(Posted on April 5, 2011 @ 8 a.m.)
MISSY'S PUPPYLAND OWNER LINDA SNOW WAS REALLY CANADIEN WOMAN!!
OLD COLONY YMCA BUYS STOUGHTON LOCATION
Two years ago, the Jewish community south of Boston got devastating news. The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston and the Combined Jewish Philanthropies announced that the Striar Jewish Community Center would be closed due to "a shift in the Jewish population" and that the Old Colony YMCA would have a three year "lease to buy" contract on the building. Some Jewish members left the Striar in disgust at the wholesale sellout of the community--others stayed. No one knew what to expect. But, Old Colony YMCA CEO Vincent "Vinnie" Marturano and COO Jeff Russell came on Snyder's Stoughton TV Show and re-assured the community that they would serve ALL the community, all religions, races, young and old, rich and poor alike. Marturano and Russell have MORE than delivered, and the community has responded. Their summer camps draw record crowds. Their after school programs, daycare and pre-school are enjoying record enrollment. They are now involved in the Stoughton Public Schools, staffing a day at the new Jones School facility. They are helping the elementary schools with a 5K fundraiser on April 30. They have representation on the Board of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, and recently raised over $17,000 in a one-day Spinathon for the Strong Kids program. In short, the YMCA has MORE than lived up to its promises and this JCC member likes it a LOT better under the YMCA. The JCC leadership at the top could have cared less about its members. The YMCA takes an opposite approach, and that is why over 7000 people are now members there. The only question for early opponents of the takeover, led by Dr. David Starr and the Save the Striar Group, was would the YMCA be able to raise the necessary funds to BUY the Central Street facility. That answer is a resounding "Yes!". Mass Development has approved a 4.6 million dollar bond for the YMCA to buy the huge facility and the land adjacent to it. They did not have to act until May of 2012 to purchase the facility, but will now be closing on it early. The bond, which is a low interest one, must still be paid for. Russell tells Snyder's Stoughton that they will be doing some future fundraising to pay off the bond. "There will be a fundraising strategy group put together to assist us in paying for the bond, and planning upgrades to the facility." Russell, a Stoughton High graduate, and a member of the Black Knights Athletic Hall of Fame, is happy to be bringing the Old Colony YMCA and its myriad of programs to the community. "It wasn't just us, the community embraced us, too. The way we were received here exceeded our expectations." Russell also credited the staff at the Striar, adding, "Joyce Dwyer, Ellen Greene, Sarah Selmon and their staffs have just been outstanding. We are proud of ALL of our employees. They are the face of the Y. They go above and beyond what is required of them. They are unreal." Russell said it means so much to have a facility like this in his hometown. He said, "When we first came in, I spent a lot of time inside the Striar.Full days, in the beginning. Many people were angry with us, because they were attached to the JCC. But, most others were so supportive. I ran into old classmates, football players I playedwith. And, the community has just embraced us. This Stoughton project was one of the most fulfilling, but stressful things I've done in 32 years here. It's just a great, great thing. It has become the central piece of the Old Colony YMCA system."
(Posted on April 1, 2011 @ 7:35 a.m. Updated @ 8 a.m.)
FINCOM GIVES BIG BOOST TO SCHOOLS
The Finance Committee voted Thursday night (3/31/11) to support a $69,878,817 2012 budget that will be presented to town meeting members at the Annual Town Meeting. Chairwoman Holly Boykin said that the Committee went through the budget carefully and was able to reduce the health insurance costs by $738,280, the retirement costs by $255,790, and the unemployment costs by $25,000. Coupled with an estimated increase of $500,000 of unanticipated revenue, the FinCom took the low town manager/selectmen's school budget and added $1,846,748 to it, bringing the total Stoughton Public School budget up to $35,935,654. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said that "This is nearer to the figure that we needed to fund the district. I'm happy with it." The Finance Committee also added $20,879 to the fire department, $22,879 to the building department (to help a part-time secretary to become full time), $31,500 to the Accountant's budget (to fun an internal auditor at $42k/year), $50,000 to Purchasing Department (to fund a Purchasing Agent for the municipal side of government), $34,000 to the Veteran's Department, $17,848 to the library, $9100 to recreation, and lesser amounts to a number of other budgets. The meeting was not without contention. Finance Committee member Ed DeFelice thought the schools and municipal side should have one purchasing agent. "The way it stands, Central Purchasing should be known as Decentralized Purchasing." (FYI--for the schools: Joel Harding manages purchasing for facilities and maintenance; Jonathan Ford manages purchasing for curriculum and professional development; Ed Gilbert manages purchasing for food service, and Dr. Larry Gray manages purchasing for technology. Purchasing is basically managed by function. All purchase requests, regardless of amount, are then reviewed by the Superintendent and by the Finance Office. The schools handle a significantly larger volume of purchasing without the need for a "purchasing manager".) Later, as DeFelice kept speaking, Boykin got annoyed, scolding him, "This isn't the Dick Murphy Show. You don't get to speak when you want without getting recognized."
(c) 2011 by snydersstoughton.com. Posted on 3/31/11 @ 10:45 p.m.
HERSEE PROJECT GETS ZBA APPROVAL
Variances for the same project, at two different addresses on Morton Street, were approved tonight (3/31/11) at the Zoning Board of Appeals.H & R Construction (which lists a business address as 1700 West Street, the location of the Villages at Ames Pond) is looking to construct a mixed-use development, consisting of 28 residential apartments and retail-commercial use, at 3 Morton Street. In addition, H & R Construction is planning to construct a paved parking area, consisting of 13 open air spaces at 23 Morton Street, the adjacent lot. H & R was represented by Attorney Barry Crimmins (Chairman of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, and brother of Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr.). This project is on the site of the former New England Furniture, and the home next door. It is actually a POSITIVE PROJECT, in my estimation, because it takes one of the town's eyesores, and makes it into a positive development. Scott Hersee, Sr., a member of the Redevelopment Authority, is the developer of the project. I think when it's finished, it will actually be a help to the downtown revitalization. The vote was unanimous, according to Crimmins. (c) 2011 by snydersstoughton.com. Posted on 3/31/11 @ 11 p.m.
DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF NAMED INTERIM CHIEF
In the opinion of this writer, Stoughton doesn't need to do a nationwide search for a new Fire Chief. Save your money, Mark Dolloff would be an excellent PERMANENT choice for this position. His leadership as second in command is unquestioned, as is his ability to be an administrator and to have the respect of the Firefighters, Command Staff, and others under him.
As we head into Town Meeting, and you watch the Finance Committee hearings, there will be discussions on minimum state spending requirements, enrollment, comparisons to other towns, and the condition of school buildings. During the presentation at FinCom recently, some documents were supplied to FinCom members, to make the numbers easier to crunch. Some are through charts, others through listings. As a Public Service, Snyder's Stoughton, through the cooperation of Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, presents those documents---11 pages---HERE.
D.A. Launches Campaign to Warn Parents on Opiate Abuse
Program on Opiate Abuse Crisis launches D.A. Morrissey’s prevention series for parents
District Attorney Michael Morrissey has produced the first in a series of a half-hour cable-access programs designed to prevent the tragic consequences associated with substance abuse, bad teenage decision making, and other societal issues by educating parents and the general public.
(For local program times, go to www.stoughtontv.com)
STOUGHTON ALTERNATIVE ANNOUNCED AS SOUTH COAST RAIL PREFERRED ROUTE--
COMMENT PERIOD OPEN
Representative Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton), Representative William Galvin (D-Canton), and Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) today announced the release of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) Draft Environmental Impact Report for the South Coast Rail Project. The report, a 2,500-page document authored by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, confirms the Stoughton Alternative as the preferred route of MassDOT for the South Coast Rail. The Army Corps will not announce their preferred alternative until after submission of comments on the draft. The project would extend commuter rail service to the cities of Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford by reviving the former rail line that passes through Stoughton, Easton, and Raynham. More information can be found on the South Coast Rail’s website, http://www.southcoastrail.com/ . “This was certainly not a surprise, by any stretch,” said Representative Kafka. “Still, I encourage Stoughton residents to take a look, familiarize themselves with the document, and submit comments to the Army Corps.” “Residents should also be mindful that we are still in the early steps of a very long process,” said Representative Galvin. “It will be another six months to a year before the Army Corps issues its final recommendation, at which point work will have to begin on devising a financing plan for the project, which would be a very separate and unique challenge itself.” “While mindful of the potential positive regional economic impact of this proposal, I’ll work closely with Lou and Bill to minimize any adverse impact this proposal would have on the Residents of Canton, Stoughton and Easton, and carefully scrutinize whether the state can afford this project,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce. The comment period is expected to remain open until May 27, 2011. Interested residents may submit comments to the Army Corps at:
US Army Corps of Engineers New England District
696 Virginia Road
Concord MA 01742-2751 A full copy of the draft report is expected to be delivered to the Stoughton Public Library within the next few days, after which it will be available for residents to review.
Let's see how much help our State Reps and Senator provide when it comes to mitigation for the town, in the way of this clear safety hazard for Stoughton, and irresponsible spending of money the State doesn't have. When it is done, this will be AT LEAST a TWO BILLION DOLLAR project. I have written this before, and I'll write it again now. For the amount of money they are proposing to spend, it would be FAR CHEAPER to hire a limo for EVERY commuter from New Bedford/Fall River to Boston. FAR CHEAPER!
Town Health Insurance Tops 11 Million Dollars
Town Health Insurance Tops 11 Million Dollars
Stoughton is spending more than 11 million dollars a year on health insurance for employees and retirees, according to information revealed this week at the Selectmen's meeting. There are 577 active employees townwide, and 286 retired municipal employees. In addition, the retired teachers--who are all in the G.I.C. (Group Insurance Commission)--have their health plan costs (a total of two-plus million dollars) deducted directly from the town's cherry sheets, so those costs are "invisible." Town Treasurer Tom Rorrie said that the National Healthcare Reform (a/k/a Obamacare) could have "a severe impact on the budget. The potential for added costs is enormous. A 22 year old, out of college with a wife and family, is currently ineligible to be on their parent's plan. When the new bill kicks in [July 1, 2011], they can stay on the plan until 26. We'd have to cover them all." Ginger Hastings of Group Benefit Strategies, a consultant to the town, said for example, that office visits (which are currently only $5 for town employees) would be considered "wellness visits" once a year with doctors, dentists, eye doctors, etc. and would be at no charge. Lifetime limits now in effect would be KO'd by Obamacare. "There has to be give someplace. Changes must be made," Hastings said.The Selectmen's budget that was sent to the Finance Committee includes a 12% increase for health care from 2011 to 2012. According to Hastings, "It looks like it will be closer to a 5% increase, according to my numbers. But, we have a very active Insurance Advisory Committee in Stoughton, and they seem open to alternatives. For instance, if co-pays were increased from $5 to $15, and other changes are implemented in new designer plans, that are closer to reality, then no increases would have to be implemented after July 1." Stoughton self-pays its costs. If Hastings is correct in her 5% projection, rather than the one of 12% that Town Manager Frank Crimmins included in the budget, then $500,000 more would be available to supplement all the departments that have suffered cuts. Since all unions are up for negotiations, look for the selectmen--and the school committee--to look at changes to health insurance. Whether it's an attempt to get employees into the G.I.C., or efforts to raise deductibles (while trying to slightly decrease premiums), there's some heavy negotiating ahead.
Trust for Public Land Secures Glen Echo Property for Stoughton!
BUT, at what REAL cost?
The Trust for Public Land announced today that an agreement has been reached to conserve a 96-acre property along Glen Echo Pond in Stoughton, Mass. The private property was once a popular tourist destination and resort but has been closed to the public for many years. If protected it would open up access to nearly half of the Glen Echo Pond shoreline. At a May 2 Town Meeting, voters will be asked to approve up to $2,050,000 in Community Preservation Act Funds to fund the acquisition and future management and recreation improvements of the property.
"The acquisition of Glen Echo would synthesize history, recreation and conservation in a single stroke. It is the only significant body of water in the northeastern part of town. The existing beach facilities at Ames Pond are threatened by invasive plant growth and diminishing water levels, so the protection of Glen Echo Pond is all the more vital," said Ardis Johnston, Secretary of the Stoughton Open Space Committee.
In the early 1900s the property was known as Glen Echo Park and owned by the Bristol and Norfolk Street Railway Company. Glen Echo Pond was opened to the public by means of a branch railroad, which ran nearly half a mile through the natural forest to the center of the park. Glen Echo Pond has been a conservation priority for the Town of Stoughton for nearly a decade. When a previous sale to Algonquin Gas fell through over a year ago, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, was asked to negotiate with the landowner, Joanna Gibson, to acquire the property for conservation. TPL has reached an agreement and, working in partnership with Wildlands Trust of Southeastern Massachusetts and the Town of Stoughton, could acquire the property as open space with Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. Under this scenario, the Town would own and manage the property and Wildlands Trust would manage a conservation restriction.
"Stoughton passed the Community Preservation Act in 2008 to secure funding for important Town projects such as conserving Glen Echo Pond, and no new taxes are required for its acquisition. The Historical Society, the Recreation Department, the Open Space Committee, the Conservation Commission and members of the Board of Selectmen have all written letters to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) in support of this project. No other project before the CPC has received such overwhelming support," said John Morton, CPC Chairman.
Recreational trails on the property would connect Glen Echo Boulevard to the pond, providing access for swimming, fishing, and kayaking, as well as hiking, cross-county skiing, and bicycling. The property also contains state-designated potential vernal pools, important for wildlife habitat, and significant wetlands. Approximately 6 acres of the property will be evaluated for active recreation such as ball fields and an active swimming beach with amenities.
"TPL is proud to work with the Town of Stoughton to bring public access back to this great destination and enhance the public enjoyment of the pond," said Terry Sullivan, TPL's Southern New England director.
Not everything is crystal clear about this purchase, despite the hard work of the TPL. Finance Committee member Ed DeFelice has he had "mixed emotions about the purchase . I like that it will preserve open space, but at what cost? I think the land would be attractive for high-end homes for people who have some bucks, and want a water view. But, I have a few concerns. What if the gas company wants to run that line in the future. If we say they are not allowed to run it through Glen Echo, will they go back to the original plan and run it past the Dawe School and New England Sinai Hospital? We'd have another crisis to deal with. Wouldn't it be wise to have a provision to give the gas company a right of way? And, we lose the chance, sometime down the road, to possibly get it for free from the gas company. And, what will it cost us to use the property? We'll need access roads, parking lots, a cleanup of the beach. Who is paying for that? Will they be charging to use the property? All these questions need to be answered." Ardis Johnston says any of the future recreation work can use CPA Funds. "We will have the figures for the Finance Committee and Town Meeting. Even if we can't have the recreational items completed for ten years, just buying it is a big first step. I'd like to see a coffee shop and other things on that six acres. But, that's up to the town. Without aqcuiring it, we can't do anything. We need to look to the future. Even if high end homes were built, it would cost taxpayers more. We'll show those figures at the FinCom and Town Meeting." As to the costs of parking lots,access roads, and clearing of the area for recreational use by residents, Johnston didn't know what it would cost. "We need to think about the future and do that down the line. It's not going to happen overnight. But, all recreational improvements can come out of the CPA Fund." Town Engineer Ben Feehan said based on GIS reports, that the property probably has about 28% buildable lo ts, due to the wetlands. But he cautioned, "If a potential Chapter 40B project went there, it would probably be closer to a 40% buildable property." Feehan also pointed out that a parcel of .3 acres, which is included in the report, appears to be owned by someone other than the Gibson family. Selectman John Stagnone didn't seem concerned about 40B's. "Our affordable housing count is above 10% and, based on applications that have been approved, should be for some time. This should prevent a Chapter 40B project from going into Glen Echo."
. I like that it will preserve open space, but at what cost? I think the land would be attractive for high-end homes for people who have some bucks, and want a water view. But, I have a few concerns. What if the gas company wants to run that line in the future. If we say they are not allowed to run it through Glen Echo, will they go back to the original plan and run it past the Dawe School and New England Sinai Hospital? We'd have another crisis to deal with. Wouldn't it be wise to have a provision to give the gas company a right of way? And, we lose the chance, sometime down the road, to possibly get it for free from the gas company. And, what will it cost us to use the property? We'll need access roads, parking lots, a cleanup of the beach. Who is paying for that? Will they be charging to use the property? All these questions need to be answered."
Ardis Johnston says any of the future recreation work can use CPA Funds. "We will have the figures for the Finance Committee and Town Meeting. Even if we can't have the recreational items completed for ten years, just buying it is a big first step. I'd like to see a coffee shop and other things on that six acres. But, that's up to the town. Without aqcuiring it, we can't do anything. We need to look to the future. Even if high end homes were built, it would cost taxpayers more. We'll show those figures at the FinCom and Town Meeting." As to the costs of parking lots,access roads, and clearing of the area for recreational use by residents, Johnston didn't know what it would cost. "We need to think about the future and do that down the line. It's not going to happen overnight. But, all recreational improvements can come out of the CPA Fund."
Town Engineer Ben Feehan said based on GIS reports, that the property probably has about 28% buildable lo
ts, due to the wetlands. But he cautioned, "If a potential Chapter 40B project went there, it would probably be closer to a 40% buildable property." Feehan also pointed out that a parcel of .3 acres, which is included in the report, appears to be owned by someone other than the Gibson family.
Selectman John Stagnone didn't seem concerned about 40B's. "Our affordable housing count is above 10% and, based on applications that have been approved, should be for some time. This should prevent a Chapter 40B project from going into Glen Echo."
Cynthia Walsh, a Selectman who used to swim at the Glen Echo property as a child, said "It appears as though there are about 25 buildable acres on the property. If it were to become a 40B, this could be a significant project. Wetlands seem to get throw n out the window for these projects." She added a
Cynthia Walsh, a Selectman who used to swim at the Glen Echo property as a child, said "It appears as though there are about 25 buildable acres on the property. If it were to become a 40B, this could
be a significant project. Wetlands seem to get throw
n out the window for these projects." She added a
I give credit to our Open Space Committee, Planning Board, Conservation Commission, and the TPL for coming up with a plan to save such a great local resource with a rich history. But, the money element is still a concern. Even if the CPA can pay for the property, and all the necessary work to make it an integral part of the recreation available in Stoughton, something further still troubles me. If playing fields are made, a beachfront is cleared, parking spaces made, trails cleared, etc. who will end up paying for their maintenance? Will fees be levied? Will our Recreation Department need to hire another worker to take care of it? And, what about Algonquin Gas? Many questions, and---at the moment--not many answers. But, I expect we'll have those answers by Town Meeting. A call to John Morton for clarification was not returned by deadline.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres of land nationwide, including nearly 13,000 acres in Massachusetts. Visit tpl.org/massachusetts.
(Posted on March 15, 2011 @ 1 p.m. Photo of Glen Echo from StoughtonHistory.org and Stoughton Historical Society. Updated on 3/16/11)
We Pray for the People of Japan
Breaking News First Reported Here
Bank Robbery Foiled
At about 3:35 p.m. today (3/10/11). a bank robber got the surprise of his life. He had just robbed the Stoughton Cooperative Bank at 950 Park Street, and was on his way out the door. The alarm had not been pulled yet. Coming into the bank to do some business, in plainclothes , was Detective Erik Feist. After Feist got inside, bank officials told him they had just been robbed by the man who had passed by him on his way out. Feist, acting on his own, arrested the suspect at gunpoint. He had the robbery note on his person, and is a suspect in other area bank robberies. Police Chief Paul Shastany told Snyder's Stoughton that, "we cannot reveal his personal information at the moment. The investigation is expanding to other jurisdictions, and a release could compromise that investigation." Fox 25 News is on the way to the scene. The suspect, James Lydon, a 27-year old from East Bridgewater, was arraigned this morning (3/11) at Stoughton District Court on charges of armed robbery of a bank and armed assault with intent to rob. Bail was set at $75,000, but Lydon will not be released for sixty days, due to previous infractions, and violating previous probation.
Chief Shastany said the suspect had a knife and passed a note to the bank teller. The stolen money was recovered during the arrest. Stoughton Police are now working with the FBI on this case. The suspect is now in custody at the Stoughton Police Department and will be arraigned at Stoughton District Court on Friday, according to the Chief. There were no injuries during this incident. Chief Shastany said he was told there was a "round of applause" at the bank when the suspect was placed in handcuffs. "Talk about being at the right place at the right time," Chief Shastany said. "An incredible arrest."
(Posted on 3/10/11 @ 5 p.m. Updated at 8 p.m. with additional information from Jeff Pickette of Stoughton Patch.)
Bank Robbery Suspect James Lydon
Detective Erik Feist with Channel 4 Reporter Bill Shields (Photos courtesy Stoughton Police Dept.)
State Housing Appeals Committee/ZBA
Enter Into Agreement on Woodbridge Crossing
Woodbridge Crossing, Inc. has been granrted permission to build 179 rental units (45 "affordable") on a 23.94 acre site across from the Hansen Elementary School and Stoughton's Water Works. The site, owned by Tom Kennedy, currently houses a couple of collapsed buildings and broken asphalt. Just what Stoughton needs---MORE apartments! As you all know, Altar at Indian Woods (150 units) has already opened on the Canton-Stoughton line. The Lodge at Stoughton (adjacent to the Marriott Courtyard) will have 240 units more. Who will pay for all the additional public safety? Students in our schools? WE WILL! Another say day in Stoughton history.
(Photos by Mark Snyder. Thanks to Heather Genereux from the Town Clerk's Office for her help in obtaining the documentation.) (Here's an interesting twist to this story---the Chapter 40B Apartment project is NOT being built on the parcel with the caved in buildings. So, unless Stoughton's Building Inspector, Fire Chief, etc. actually ENFORCE the cleanup of the property (and the bulldozing of those firetraps), they'll stay that way.)(Posted on 3/10/11 @ 2 p.m. Updated @ 8 p.m.)
POLICE BUDGET STIRS CONTROVERSY
Police Chief Paul Shastany appeared before the Finance Committee on March 7th, and got an earful from members of the FinCom. Much of the controversy surrounded the moving of the Juvenile Officer's salary and benefits out of the police budget and into the school budget, which was initiated by Town Manager Francis Crimmins, Jr., and approved by the Board of Selectmen. School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn objected to this maneuver: "There are 180 days in a school year. That's half a year. And, we are being asked to fund this full time for a year. We don't hire police officers, we hire educators." Crimmins said, "We thought this made sense that this position be paid for by the schools." Honestly, it makes no sense. The officer answers to the Police Chief, not the Superintendent of Schools. When FinCom Chair Holly Boykin asked the Chief, "Since the schools have indicated they won't pay for this officer, are you willing to take the risk that we won't have a juvenile officer?" Crimmins quickly responded, that if needed, they would look to add it to the police department budget. "We don't intend on losing this position." Chief Shastany said that the juvenile officer "will receive his orders from me, but his customer is the schools." Finance Committee member John Roch said simply, "I would like to see the juvenile officer removed from the school budget and put back into the police budget." I'd agree with him on that. Other members of the FinCom had more general complaints. Committee member Ed DeFelice objected to some of the stipends that are part of the police officer's collective bargaining agreements. "We pay a $600 stipend to officers to carry a gun. Thing like this are why the budget is out of control." Snyder's Stoughton spoke with Police Chief Shastany about the Finance Committee meeting, and the budget. "No matter what happens with funding, our department will be there for the schools. There's no way the police department will not have a presence in the schools. It's that important." Shastany said that other towns are looking to do as Stoughton did. He added, "I think the Town Manager has forced people to look at things that other people may have overlooked. You have to put it in front of people to have it discussed. History will say it was a stroke of genius. There's no debating there is a problem with the economy and the town is in a bad way. How else can you bring the discussion out? This is just one man's opinion." Originally, Shastany cut four civilian dispatchers, the juvenile officer, and a custodian out of his budget, to get down to the 5% cut requested by Crimmins. He explains: "Four civilians dispatchers were the first to go because I can't let police officers go. The phones still have to be answered. That would then require police officers to replace the civilian dispatchers. With contractual requirements, I'd end up spending more money. Some departments in California have defined calls that they won't respond to. I won't do that. I will encourage complete coverage of all calls." The four were put back in the budget by the town manager, based on his assessment of the costs, as well as bringing the department forward. Even with the dispatchers and juvenile officer back in the budget, the budget will be lower than last years. One additional wrench in the works could be the rising costs of gas. Shastany explains: "There are escalating costs of keeping the fleet moving. From the State bid process, we are paying $1.97 per gallon. We anticipate the cost of fuel will be up at least an additional $1 a gallon. That would significantly impact our budget, probably adding close to $50,000 per year for the same amount of gas. This is not confirmed, just the projections we're hearing. I'm trying to manage the fleet by purchasing vehicles that are fuel efficient and looking to buy the most comprehensive warranties we can get. They would help me on the back end of the purchase, for labor and parts charges for repairs that we see all too frequently. Our business depends on us getting to the customer in a timely manner. This older fleet costs us a lot of money with breakdowns. We had two down yesterday. We're hoping to save money through this. But, how much, we don't know at this point. We're instituting mandates against excessive idling. We're not leaving vehicles running and unattended. We're look at cost savings." Shastany said he felt the FinCom was fair to him and his department, overall. Town Manager Crimmins told Snyder's Stoughton that the Finance Committee did their job, and treated all of his department heads with kindness and respect. He told me, "I would say in the budget process I did my best to give selectmen the best information to do what they are charged with doing. The goal is to find a way to find sufficient funding levels to provide services in all departments. I put the juvenile officer in schools to deal with a shortage of funds. We had some difficult decisions to make. We had to make decisions that in prior years had not been made. We can justify that position to be picked up by the schools." As far as criticism leveled at me, I don't take any of the process personally. I was happy with the reception that FinCom gave all the department heads. If they wish to go in a different direction with the juvenile officer, I would not have a problem with it. The Chief tried to comply with my orders to cut 5%. I made adjustments on my own, like adding back the dispatchers. Public safety areas are a high priority. It would have driven up the overtime if we kept those dispatchers out of the budget and would not have been cost efficient. There are real cuts in services when you lose revenue. It's a fluid process. We'll make further adjustments. I'll make recommendation to the budget on March 15th, and we'd send that revised recommendation to FinCom." When asked if schools are a high priority as well, he replied, "Schools are also a high priorirty. But, when the Governor declares a state of emergency, it's the fire and police department that are still working, not the people in town hall or the schools. The amount I recommended to the schools are more than enough to run the schools. Bill Rowe said it was 68% of available reneue. That's more than two-thirds."
(Posted on 3/7/11 @ 10:30 p,m,)
Stoughton Pays Respect to Christmas Parade Founder
Stoughton paid their respect to James Callanan, founder of the Stoughton Christmas Parade (photo by Pat Basler)
Car Smacks Train, Delays Commute For Many
No Injuries reported. Accident took place this morning (3/4/11) @ 5:53 a.m.
(Photos from James Bertram, Stoughton Fire Dept.)
OSHA CITES A.A. WILL FOR VIOLATIONS
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited A.A. Will Corp. $69,300 for alleged willful and repeat violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of a worksite located at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Wonderland Station in Revere. The Stoughton contractor was installing electrical vaults in the station's parking lot.
OSHA's nighttime inspection, initiated in response to a complaint about unsafe conditions, found A.A. Will Corp. employees working in a trench deeper than 5 feet that lacked protection against collapse of its sidewalls. The trench also lacked a ladder or other means for the workers to exit in the event of a cave-in or other emergency.
"The unprotected walls of an excavation can collapse in seconds, crushing workers beneath tons of soil and debris before they have a chance to react or escape. Employers must never allow an employee to face such a dangerous situation," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director in Middlesex and Essex counties. "Employers also should not assume that they are exempt from an OSHA inspection when they work at night. Worker safety is a priority that extends beyond nine to five hours.”
As a result of its findings, OSHA issued the company one willful citation with a proposed fine of $61,600 for lacking cave-in protection, and one repeat citation with a fine of $7,700 for lacking an exit ladder. The repeat citation stems from OSHA having cited the employer in February 2010 for a similar hazard at a Boston worksite.
A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health. A repeat citation is issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
OSHA standards require that all trenches and excavations 5 feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Detailed information on hazards and safeguards related to trenching and excavation is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/trenchingexcavation/index.html.
A.A. Will Corp. has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with the OSHA area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. This inspection was conducted by OSHA's Andover Area Office; telephone 978-837-4460. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
(We can also thank A.A. Will's owner for bringing us the NSTAR Monstrosity in Stoughton!)
STOUGHTON'S SEWER RATE GOES UP HIGHER THAN MOST IN STATE!
OWNERS HOPING TO CHANGE OLD SWAN TAVERN ZONING
Former Swan Tavern /Washington Hotel/1806 (Stoughton Historical Society photo)
The current owner of the site of the former South Area Solomon Schechter Day School (at Turnpike and Central Streets) is hoping to change the building's zoning. David Wluka, a Realtor who represents the owner, SASSDS, is held a meeting with about a dozen abutters (most of whom were NOT properly notified) on Monday, February 28 at the site. He said, "Due to the restrictive nature of the potential users, the building has not been sold for six years. The property has been leased to provide cash flow to support it. SASSDS can certainly continue to lease, but their preference is to not be landlords." In a letter to abutters, Wluka writes, "We would like to explore with the neighborhood the principle of expanding opportunities limited to just professional and office related uses. The Town of Sharon many years ago did just that for the medical building now on the corner of Washington and North Main Streets at Cobb's Corner. There, we created a 'professional district' that clearly limited the uses that might go on that site. here, as well, uses could be restricted to 'professional offices or services" as already defined and regulated in the Stoughton Zoning Bylaws. We feel both the Town and the neighborhood would be better off if we could find a professional user." Wluka proposed creating a new zoning catagory called "Professional District", that would restrict the building to office use. He said that he did something similar in Sharon, he said. The medical building at Cobb's Corner is the result of that zoning change there. He said that the former Schechter school now pays $23,000 per year in taxes to the town. But, he cautioned that when the CHARMS Collaborative, a for-profit school currently renting there, leaves that if a non-profit rented or purchased the building, the town would get nothing. Wluka proposed going in two directions, either a deed restricted property with covenents, or the new zone. He added, "We've been actively marketing the property for four years. They were previously exempt from zoning restrictions, but when they built out the site they vacated the former non-conforming use. By using that grandfathering, only schools, churches, daycare or group homes can rent or buy this property. The building could have expanded use, but it's not zoned for it. If we zoned it just for straight office use, there would be a broader market for selling."Wluka's wife Nancy, who handles commercial rentals for Wluka Real Esrtate in Sharon, spoke about how the building could be configured to a potential buyer, with a zoning change. "There could be two 10,000 s.f. renters, or ten 2,000 s.f. renters. It depends on what the market is looking for at the time." The building has 20,000 square feet of usable space. Nancy gave guests are tour of the building, including a peek into the former Swans Tavern and Washington Hotel. Some of the original woodwork, fireplaces, and etched glass panels still remain in the building. It has undergone too much change, however, to officially be registered as a "historic building." Wluka said he would listen to the Town Meeting members present, and only move forward with their blessing. He was asked by Pct. 2 TM Chairman George Dolinsky to come with facts and figures on his proposal to another meeting. Wluka said that he'd hold another meeting in early April and would advertise it so that a bigger crowd would come. Watch this space for news on the future of the old Swans Tavern. Unfortunately, the beer taps didn't remain. (Update on March 1, 2011 @ 3:45 p.m.)
Stoughton Woman Charged with 3rd Drunk Driving Offense
First Reported Here/Updated---BEDER RESIGNS FROM STOUGHTON DPW
Stoughton's Assistant DPW Director Jonathan Beder was hired by former Town Manager Mark Stankiewicz to be the new DPW Director for the Town of Plymouth. Stankiewicz told Snyder's Stoughton, "We were grooming him in Stoughton to take over when John Batchelder retired. He's not yet fully groomed, but the timing is right. We need a DPW director NOW. He brings a great skill set to the job. He has a bachelor's degree in construction management, and a master's degree in public administration. He's licensed for water and sewer." Beder worked for the town 14 years, and before that in the private sector. Stankiewisz added, "In Plymouth, we're trying to build our team with the long range in mind. Obviously, I knew him from working with him in Stoughton. He's certified with the State in procurement and supplies. He worked his way through the engineering department to the DPW in Stoughton. He's worked on Target and IKEA, and brings that experience with public and private projects to the table. He's hard working and smart. I'm very happy to have him on my team," said Stankiewicz, the Plymouth Town Manager. Ironically, Beder is the son-in-law of retired Stoughton DPW Director Larry Barrett. But, Beder didn't sit around and wait until John Batchelder retired. He told Snyder's Stoughton today (2/17), "I was keeping my eyes open. Mark let me know the job opened up, and I had to go for it. It's a great opportunity for me. This is the largest town in Massachusetts, a lot larger than Stoughton. Professionally, it's a positive change. And, the job is an awesome responsibility, overseeing all the departments that Stoughton's DPW Superintendent does, but with the addition of engineering and environmental management." Beder intends to live in Stoughton, where he has three children attending Stoughton schools. "I will miss working with the great people in Stoughton. The department is full of nice talented people. But, this was an opportunity I had to seize." Town manager Frank Crimmins, who found out that Beder was leaving through this reporter Wednesday, told me, "Jon's a very talented individual. I wish him a lot of luck in his new position. He has occupied one of the key positions in our town." Beder said that he intended to model Plymouth's Chapter 90 road program after the one in Stoughton. Beder's last day in Stoughton is March 18. Don't forget my invite to the party.(Posted on 2/16 @ 6:15 p.m. Updated at 4 p.m. on 2/17 and at 8 a.m. on 2/18)
(C) 2011 by snydersstoughton.com
ANOTHER 40B OPENS ITS DOORS
: Alta at Indian Woods, a 40B Apartment Complex on the Stoughton/Canton line (just off Rt. 138 on Stagecoach Road), held an Open House last night in their clubhouse. Three buildings with approximately 150 units will be opening there, with one (with 50 units) ready now for immediate occupancy.
Along with its sister locations Alexan Pembroke Woods in Pembroke, and Faxon Park in Quincy, owner Riverstone Residential Group bills these as "Luxury Apartments." They own these facilities all over the country. I took a tour with Slava Freyman, the Property Manager, who is a 2002 graduate of Stoughton High, and owns a condo in town. On a 12-month lease, the 1 bedroom units start at $1399, and the 2 bedroom units start at $1699. Since it is a 40B, 20 percent of the units are termed "affordable" and those go for $1022 for the one-bedroom and $1212 for the two-bedroom. Usually, so many people want to get these affordable units that they have to have lotteries. In this case, not enough qualified applicants applied, so if you're a low income resident, you might want to give them a call. Deadline was January 28, but they may be able to extend it.The units are energy efficient, and have that "new home" feeling. Amenities include a nice cozy den-like clubhouse and a small gym equipped with brand new cardio equipment, including built-in TV's. Summers would be fun there with outdoor barbecues, a fire pit, benches, and patio furniture (There is no pool). Freyman said they do CORI checks on potential residents. They allow dogs, up to 75 lbs., but exclude certain breeds (like pit bulls). There is wi-fi in the common areas, like the den and gym, and outdoor barbecue areas, I asked Freyman if this apartment complex would have the same problems as others, that once promised "upscale" living, and now show up frequently on the police log. He said he couldn't answer my question, so I asked his boss, Dan Copeland, the Regional Manager for Riverstone Residential Group. He told me to "write down any questions you have and I will give them to the owners." I said thanks and left. Most of you know what I think of Chapter 40B projects. I'm not a big fan. The town pays out a ton in public safety and school costs, and brings in little. But if you want to know what I REALLY think, please send me a list of questions.
(Posted on February 12 @ 5 p.m.)
Stoughton Teachers Association
The Teacher's Speak....
STATEMENT FROM STA PRESIDENT SUE COGLIANO:
Stoughton teachers seek fair contract and back pay
"Stoughton teachers are frustrated. We have been trying to resolve some important issues out of the press in the hopes that they could be settled at the bargaining table, but we have come up against a brick wall. That is why we have decided to speak out at School Committee meetings and in other public forums at this time.We have two key concerns. After over a year of negotiations, we still have no new contract. In addition, we have filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the Stoughton Public Schools for failing to pay teachers previously negotiated “step” increases: the salary increments teachers receive in their early years as they gain experience and become professionals. Failing to pay step increases is extremely rare in any district, always contentious and never justified. Inexplicably, school employees were singled out for this treatment. Town employees are continuing to receive their step increases.So what is it we want? First, the step increases must be paid immediately. The school committee should not waste taxpayer dollars trying to fight this obligation. The money for those increases was approved by Town Meeting members last year. There is no legal or moral justification for withholding them. Failing to pay these increases is a breach of faith.Those outside teaching and other similar professions may not know what step increases are. Here’s how it works in Stoughton and in every single district in Massachusetts and probably nationwide. Teachers are typically hired at relatively low salary levels. Most are inexperienced when they arrive and are learning a lot on the job. The salary schedule that is negotiated provides them with an entry level salary and an increase every year until they reach the top step. In Stoughton, the top step is reached in the 13 th year. The top step is designed to provide teachers with a salary that is commensurate with their expertise. Teachers may also receive additional pay for advanced academic degrees.In our prior history, and across the state, the step increases are given as a matter of course. Even if the contract has expired and a new one is still being negotiated, the step increases are a “given.” Teachers understood they were going to receive them when they were hired. A deal’s a deal.This year, the Stoughton Public Schools took the extraordinary and unprecedented action of denying teachers these increases. That is unacceptable, and is the basis of our charge.Our second concern is the district’s failure to put on the table a fair contract. No one benefits by bargaining in the press so I will not go into details about what the district has offered and what we are seeking. What I can say is that the members of the Stoughton Teachers Association bargaining team are reasonable people and are not asking for big raises or new benefits. We understand that these are difficult times and we have adjusted our expectations accordingly. We feel that the School Committee has not come close to meeting us half way. Because of these two unresolved problems, we have decided it is time to take action. We have asked our members to refrain from participating in certain voluntary activities. This is not a so-called work-to-rule . Under work-to-rule, teachers typically only remain at school the exact hours they are contracted to work: They come in with the bell and leave at the end of the school day. Our members are still coming in early and leaving late, if needed, in order to provide students with the help they need. We are also continuing to write college recommendations and to help students with their college essays. We do not want to do anything that would jeopardize our students’ future success. And, of course, we are planning lessons, grading papers and doing all the other work we are paid to do. What we have asked our members to do is refrain from strictly voluntary activities. For example, at the high school a teacher is the advisor to the recycling club .In the past this was a paid position, but the district stopped paying that stipend a couple of years ago. The teacher has continued to work with this club voluntarily. That is the kind of volunteering we are stopping. At the elementary level, voluntary activities would include activities such as mathematics committee and school fairs. Not volunteering is actually very difficult for us to do. Teachers are by nature helpful people. We didn’t enter this profession to get rich; we did it to make a difference. We are taking this step because we have very few ways to make the school committee take our concerns seriously. The sooner our contract and pay issues are resolved, the sooner we can all get back to normal. We understand that some special activities will be missing when we don’t volunteer, though academics will not be hurt. We hope that our students understand and that our students and their parents support us at this difficult time."(Posted on February 12, 2011 @ 8 a.m.)
SUPERINTENDENT RIZZI RESPONDS:
High Visibility Commercial Property with development potential Rt. 138 1.14 Acres 2,500+/-SF Bldg Traffic counts 23,100+ cars/day Site of former Bank of America free standing bank branch. Oversized 1.14 acre lot (near the Shaw's Plaza shopping center) with existing 2,550+- S/F vacant bank building with drive-through bays. 108'+/- direct frontage on Route 138, which has an average daily traffic count of over 23,100 cars/day. There is also 80'+/- direct frontage on Lincoln Street. The lot has 2 separate curb cuts allowing for 2 means of ingress/egress for vehicle traffic, one granting access to the front of the lot via Washington St. (Rt. 138), and the other granting access to the rear of the lot via Lincoln St. Located in a General Business Zone, the property has the potential for various commercial, retail, office and medical uses, and is suitable for adaptive reuse or complete redevelopment. Located just 17 miles south of Boston in Stoughton, MA, the site is in close proximity to the Rt. 27 junction and only minutes off of Rt. 24. Brokers must register with the Auctioneer's office on Auctioneer's forms by March 23, 2011 at 3:00 PM. Terms of Sale: A deposit of $25,000.00 by certified or bank check is required at the time & place of sale. Balance is due within forty-five (45) days. All other terms announced at the time and place of sale.
register @ www.pesco.com
Sue Cogliano's Speech to School Committee Statement from Dr. Rizzi regarding S.T.A. Job Action:
"At this time the STA is engaged in a job action that involves withdrawal of teachers from what they are calling voluntary activities. These include the oversight of certain, not all, student activities and clubs. No students’ college applications will be impacted by this current job action. The school department will be making every effort to ensure that as many activities as possible will continue in the mean time through the efforts of administrators and community volunteers. The School Committee is working as hard as they can to negotiate a new contract with the STA in these difficult budget times."
UPDATE: Sue Talks
Sue Cogliano, president of the Stoughton Teachers Association, spoke with About Town before last night's school committee meeting (2/8). I'm hoping it will be the first of many future communications, since it's imperative that both sides be heard. Since November, there have been two negotiating sessions (one in December and one in January), with another coming in February. Cogliano would not discuss specifics of the negotiations, as she preferred to keep those under wraps. But, she did express concern regarding the contracts that expired, but that are still being honored by the teachers and their union. Cogliano said it was hard to negotiate new terms for a contract when some of the older ones are not being honored: "STEPS that are included in this years budget (and the proposed one for next year) were not honored. STEPS are the way teachers are rewarded for each additional year of experience they bring to the classroom. They are included in the contract that teachers are working under." Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Superintendent of Schools, would not comment on the reasons that STEP payments, included in the budget, have not been paid out to teachers. She told Snyder's Stoughton, after a long school committee meeting and executive session only that, "I can't talk about the details of the negotiations."
Cogliano also cleared up the afternoon "club" situation. She says that it is not a "job action," adding, "We have requested that all teachers who are volunteering cease. Anyone receiving any stipend was not asked to stop working in their afternoon assignments. I also wanted to emphasize that nothing was done that would hurt seniors. We have continued to encourage teachers assisting with references, and helping students with their college essays and pursuits." Ken Kalin, a fourth grade teacher at the Gibbons School, presented a petition to the School Committee, signed by a number of Gibbons School teachers, supporting a contract for the STA, "that will fairly acknowledge our contributions to the Stoughton Public School system."
(posted on 2/9/11 @ 8 a.m.)
KABOB HOUSE FORCED TO CLOSE
The roof collapse at the old Cheng-Du restaurant has dealt a financial blow to a neighboring restaurant. Said Safai, owner of Kabob House, tells About Town that he was forced to close. "The Building Inspector told me that because of the cave in next door, we had to close up our place for 30 days, while they repair the adjacent walls and roof." Safai said he has worked hard to build up a crowd of regular customers who enjoy his Middle Eastern delicacies, and he is afraid of losing them. "Please tell my customers that I WILL be re-opening as soon as we can." Check this space for details on his re-opening later this month or in March. Despite the fact that the Town ordered the closing of Kabob House, another restaurant Olivio's, which shares the same roof and rear walls, was allowed to be left open. Acting Building Inspector Bob Grover tells Snyder's Stoughton that engineers hired by the insurance companies of both Bill Piazza and Parson Insurance--the owners of both adjacent buildings--gave him affidavits that "the integrity of the wall that divides the buildings has been compromised." He said that a State Safety Inspector agreed---and wanted both buildings entirely cleared--but that the building's engineers recommended the evacuation of Units A & F upstairs, and the Kabob House location downstairs. Grover said, "It was determined if the wall did topple, that it would go 15 feet, and not affect the wall on the opposite end that served Olivio's location. " As to when poor Mr. Safai will be able to re-open, Grover didn't know. "When the insurance companies get things squared away, and the owner can get necessary repairs done to the wall, we'll re-inspect it for occupancy." The wall is a part of Piazza's building, according to Grover, adding, "Safety is the main concern. I have to go by the reports of the structural engineers. "
(Posted on February 8 at 3 p.m.)
COHEN RE-TRIAL UNDER WAY
(Peter Cox story)
BICKERTON RELEASED LAST DECEMBER TO HALFWAY HOUSE
(Maria Papadopolous Story)
Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine and Officer Brian Holmes presented a seminar on Crime Prevention for the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce on February 7. In case you missed it, Snyder's Stoughton presents it here:
CRIME PREVENTION SEMINAR
First Seen Here---FIRE CHIEF JARDIN TO RETIRE
Stoughton Fire Chief David Jardin will be retiring on April 2, 2011. Jardin has served as the Chief for seven years, and has worked for the Town of Stoughton for over 30 years. Jardin was also the Emergency Management Director for the Town, and a member of the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. I'm sure Stoughton plans to conduct a "nationwide search", but let me tell you something. There ARE people currently working at the Stoughton Fire Department that are qualified and more than able to be named to that position. Town Manager Francis Crimmins Jr. is the appointing authority for the Fire Chief position. Jardin agrees with me that no "nationwide search" is necessary. He tells Snyder's Stoughton, "It would be a waste of taxpayer's money. We have plenty of people capable of assuming command and administrative functions. I have Captains who have been in that position 8-10 years, and a Deputy Chief who has been with me five years. They are qualified and ready" The Chief, who will turn 57 next month, isn't going into hibernation. After a vacation, he's going to go to work for FEMA. "It's a part time job. They'll send me wherever FEMA is sent to---floods, fires, hurricanes. I'll be working on Emergency Response." As for his involvement in town, Jardin isn't going anywhere. "My children live in Brockton and Easton, and my wife teaches in Stoughton. I took out papers to run for Town Meeting rep for Pct. 1. I held that position until I became fire chief in 2004."
Jardin said that the timing was right for his retirement. "The combination of age, years of service, and the ability to buy back some call time really helped. April will be 31 years of service. I promised Mark Stankiewicz (former town manager who hired him) that I'd work a minimum of seven years, and a maximum of ten, in this position. April 2nd is seven years. The planets are aligned, and I will get my 80%. Plus, it's an opportunity for a new career." Jardin said that most firefighters never think about becoming Chief. "Everybody joins the fire service because it's a people helping people job. No one ever really thinks about becoming Chief. It was an honor to serve, and with FEMA I'll be helping people at a different level." Steve Anastos, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said: "I appreciate everything David has done for the community, and I wish him the best with his new opportunity. We will miss him."Town Manager Frank Crimmins tells Snyder's Stoughton, "I learned last Friday that he would retire in April. I join the Board of Selectmen in wishing him well in his future plans. The office of Fire Chief is a member of the SPAEA union. I don't know another community where the fire chief position is a member of a bargaining unit. We need to go by the terms of their contracts. When there is a vacancy in a position within the bargaining unit, it must be posted to SPAEA members. After that process, we'll see who has an interest that is qualified candidate, then we'll take it from there. I will meet with the Chief next week after the selectmen's meeting Tuesday night, and we'll talk about it."
Snyder's Stoughton, and the residents of Stoughton, thank the Chief for his decades of service in securing fire safety for the people of Stoughton. He's a down-to-Earth accessible department head. Those are always appreciated by us in the media.
(Posted on February 4, 2011 @ 3 p.m.
Updated 2/7 @ 11:30 am <c> 2011 by pmpnetwork,inc.)
STOUGHTON'S COURIER CORPORATION PRINTING COMPANY
MAY SHUT DOWN--110 Jobs with it....
FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT ATTABOY FILE
In the midst of a horrible winter storm, Stoughton Police Officers John Lydstone and Christopher Grover were sent to a possible cardiac medical call. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine says, "Once on scene, they performed CPR on a victim without a pulse and not breathing. They shocked the victim with an AED and regained a normal pulse. The Officers continued to perform CPR until relieved by our Fire Dept. Due to their efforts the victim survived his ordeal."
Even though I got mad at one driver who I felt wasn't too nice (and spoke about on Facebook), you have to give thanks for the men and women of the DPW who worked practically around the clock making our streets safe to drive on. With the unprecedented snowfall, ice, sleet and rain, the plows and sanders, as always, made Stoughton shine brighter than all the neighboring communities.
L.A. Fitness, a national chain of health clubs started in 1984 on the West Coast, is planning on building a fitness center adjacent to Target Store on Hawes Way. Permitting efforts are now taking place before the Zoning Board of Appeals. Of course, Stoughton is already home to the Striar Old Colony YMCA, Gold's Gym, Elite Health & Fitness, Terban Health & Fitness Center, and Planet Fitness, as well as some smaller facilities. Like pizza places here, there are only so many that can sustain operations in a town the size of Stoughton. Attorney Barry Crimmins is representing L.A. Fitness, whose slogan is "Keeping fit is not just a fad – it’s a way of life." It's always nice when a new business desires to open in Stoughton. They'd be welcomed, even in the crowd of gyms!
FOR SELECTMEN: Steve Anastos (I)& John Anzivino (I)
FOR SCHOOL COMMITTEE: Dr. Erderm Ural (I), Deborah Sovinee (I), George Dolinsky, and Jeff Benson
MODERATOR: Howard Hansen (I)
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (5 Year Seat): Donna Ayers and Louis Gitto
REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (3 Year Seat): Scott Hersee, Sr.
HOUSING AUTHORITY (3 Year Seat): Richard Jasmin
HOUSING AUTHORITY (5 Year Seat): Arthur Slate (I)
NEEDED: TOWN MEETING CANDIDATES FOR PRECINCTS 1 & *
TANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Stoughton Fire Department's James Bertram, (who supplied the courtesy photos), reports on an incident on January 28 at 97 Maple Street:
"We had a 1000 gal propane tank leaking at 97 Maple St @ Airgas, Inc. @ 7:32 pm . The 1000 gallon tank was struck by a front end loader during snow removal sometime previously during the day. On our investigation, the tank was discovered buried under 10 feet of snow, along with 16 other tanks. Approximately 200 gallons of product was venting under pressure on our arrival. Because of the hazard, traffic on Maple St was blocked. There were no evacuations necessary, because of the remote location in an industrial area. With the assistance of the State Haz-Mat Response Team and Avon FD, as well as Stoughton PD, we were able to identify and mitigate the leak. The remaining gas was then off loaded to another storage tank. Emergency crews were on scene over 10 hours. An investigation into the improper storage and maintenance of the propane tanks is ongoing by Stoughton Fire and the Mass Department of Environmental Protection(DEP). Captain Robert O'Donnell SFD was in charge with SFD Group 4 working the scene."
Stoughton Teachers Association
Will they endanger accreditation efforts and damage student's college chances?
Story developing. But, it looks like the S.T.A. has NO ANSWERS!Snyder's Stoughton asked the leadership team of the STA one question
on Friday.Over 20 emails were sent. Here is the email:
So far, not a SINGLE RESPONSE! Can you believe it?
On this date in 1995, Stoughton lost Firefighter Victor C. Melendy in a deadly Saturday morning blaze on Rose Street. He was 47 years old. Mr. Melendy was a 23-year veteran of the Stoughton Fire Department, who was searching for people trapped inside a burning house when the blaze suddenly accelerated, fire officials said at the time. He was the second Stoughton firefighter killed in the line of duty in the department's 146-year history. The first was Edward J. Kelleher, killed Dec. 21, 1966, while battling a blaze. A bell on a Stoughton Fire Engine bears Melendy's name. Melendy left a wife and three children.
About 30 past and present Stoughton Fire Department members gathered at Victor Melendy's grave this morning to honor his memory, friendship, bravery and honor. Captain Bob O'Donnell wrote to his daughter, Lisa Melendy Tetrault, "Know that we continue to share in your loss and are grateful for his service, sacrifice and friendship. ... God Bless you and your family today and always."
The former location of Cheng Du, in downtown Stoughton, and owned by Parsons and Parsons Insurance (whose storefront window was blown out in the roof cave in), collapsed under the weight of heavy snow this morning, January 28. The building has been boarded up and unused since an October 2009 fire. Another partial roof collapse occurred yesterday at Furniture Decor on Dykeman Drive, across from the Central Street entrance to Christmas Tree Shops. (Courtesy photos from James Bertram of the Stoughton Fire Department) PATCH COVERAGE
(Hank Herbowy photo)
FINCOM DELIVERS FOR VETERANS
The Finance Committee voted 8-4 (1/27) last night to transfer $5775 to the Veterans Agent to fund the hiring of temporary clerical help. If the motion hadn’t passed deserving veterans could have lost out on benefits. Veterans Agent Mike Pazyra said that his caseload---which now numbers over 160 State and Federal individuals---was too much for him to handle alone. If he could not get all the paperwork completed, some veterans could have lost benefits that they earned by serving in the military. The Veteran’s Department used to have a full time secretary. That was slashed years ago, when the department was serving less than two dozen people. When Pazyra took over the position in April of 2005, there were 13 Stoughton/State cases and zero Federal. Now, he’s serving 79 Stoughton/State and 88 Federal. Veterans Benefits are reimbursed 75% to the town. The eight members of the Finance Committee did the right thing. The other four---for whatever their reasons—didn’t.
Posted January 27 @ 10 p.m.
A Turnpike Street family turns the snowstorms into a giant snowman for all to see! (snyder photo)
VOTE FOR STOUGHTON on Fox 25!
HOT FIRE ON A COLD NIGHT
While we were home staying warm under our blankets in our beds against the sub-zero temperatures outside early this morning (1/25), the Stoughton Fire Department was battling a chimney fire at 210 Plain Drive about 2 a.m. Firefighters battled not only the fire, but the elements---wind, arctic cold, and slippery conditions. But, Fire Chief David Jardin said that the firefighters don't think about the elecments when they are out there doing their job. "When you are focused on the job at hand, you don't think about the outside factors. When you get back to the station, or riding back on the truck, is when you really get cold. It's not fun going out in the cold weather, but it's not fun going out in the hot weather, either. You protect yourself in appropriate gear, which we provide for our men and women. We have a policy on what firefighters have to wear. There is a dress code that must be followed. But, when temperatures are below freezing or over 90 degrees, you wear what you need to wear to stay warm or cool, as the situation dictates. When it hovers near zero, you wear what is needed to stay warm and protect yourself. We also have to protect the trucks, too. The water can freeze if you don't circulutate the pump regularly. Everything associated with winter-- snow piled on sides of streets, unshoveled homes, ice.--is a problem. We have to go out and do the job no matter what the conditions. Incidentally, we appreciate when people shovel the hydrants in front of their homes. That's a big help to all of us." (photo from James Bertram, Stoughton Fire Dept.)
Posted at 1:45 p.m. on 1/25/11--(c) 2011 by pmpnetwork, inc.
TWO "FOUND" DOGS @ THE POUND
Texting A Tip
Or, you can do it the only fashioned way. Call 781-344-2424 and whisper your tip.
First Campaign Event of 2011
It was the first campaign of the year--on one of the coldest days--but people still turned out for coffee, pastries and conversation with Selectman John Anzivino, a candidate for re-election. The event, held on Sunday morning, January 23rd at the VFW, was for the support of the re-election of Anzivino. Shawn Croke, a former Chairman of the Board of Health, is again serving as Anzivino's campaign chairman. Anzivino came early to the event, and ended up shoveling out the stairs of the veterans club. Faces In the Crowd*: Selectmen John Anderson and John Stagnone; School Committee member Deborah Sovinee, Council on Aging Chair Candace Fisher; Ted Phillips, Aide to State Rep Lou Kafka; Veterans Agent Mike Pazyra, and his wife Cindy, a Patch.com reporter and Director of Snyder's Stoughton TV Show; Rick Lynch of the Brickstone Advisory Committee; and Stan Zoll of the Board of Assessors, and his wife Robin of the Sharon/Stoughton League of Women Voters. And, of course, Canzivino's wife Barbara of the Finance Committee, was also on hand.
(Snyder's Stoughton reports on all campaign events, with due notice. Send information to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
*(C) 2011 by pmpnetwork.com/snydersstoughton.com
STOUGHTON FIRE DEPARTMENT ASSISTS ON CANTON FIRE
SFD helped the Canton Fire Department on January 21 at a Will Drive fire. (SFD photos)
New CD "Lorraine"
One Blogger's Opinion
CUTTING THROUGH THE RHETORIC
Since last week's article here on Town Manager Frank Crimmins’ proposed town budget, the response has been swift and loud. Many in the school system were understandably upset with Mr. Crimmins unprecedented cutting of a line item within the school budget (the instruction line, to be specific). Since then, we have seen some budget cuts in certain municipal departments, while others increased. And, the $340,000 cut to the schools is a gaping wound that threatens to affect the quality of the education of our children, as well as being detrimental to the property values of all our homes. But, it is a preliminary number that will probably change at some point in the future.Still, the immediate reaction of one of the members of the school committee didn't help the school department’s cause. Allan Mills, at last Tuesday nights school committee meeting at Stoughton High, said that the nearly two million dollars in cuts (from the original proposed school budget) could result in 50 teacher layoffs and two school closings. He repeated similar, but a bit less severe, sentiments at the Selectmen meeting on Tuesday night. As someone intimately knowledgeable with the school budget (from 9 years on the finance committee and 20+ years at town meeting), I know that there is ZERO chance of 50 teacher layoffs and two school closings. So, when an elected official says this at a public meeting, it doesn't help the cause. Superintendent of Schools Marguerite Rizzi told me Tuesday that “I don’t want to panic people. It’s too early to know the actual revenue numbers. Because the teachers have a strict seniority system, when we announce layoffs, the laid off teachers know who they are. Some may look around for other positions, and we could lose some good people. We don’t want employees jumping ship due to a speculative budget. The two million isn’t a done deal. Additionally, we’re looking at every line item, not only instruction.” But, Mills was emphatic at Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting that what Crimmins did was out of order, and unlike anything that had happened in the past. “No one knows the bottom line yet. The decision of Mr. Crimmins took the Town Charter out of context. It’s illegal for him to make changes within the school budget. This is not in the best interests of the children or the people of Stoughton. I’m concerned about moving a policeman into the school budget. We have been cooperating with the town---saving hundreds of thousands of dollars through Dr. Gray—and this is the thanks we get. We’ll make the cuts and balance our budget, like we always do.” Mills is passionate about the schools, and that is a good thing for a long-time school committee man. Crimmins, who smiled while shooting verbal darts towards the school committee members, said, “I inherited a budget that had union contracts that expired in 2010. The town manager must deliver a budget. I wanted to deliver a balanced budget. I don’t know how the school budget can have no pay raises, and still go up 4.56%. I’d have had to cut police, fire and DPW even more than the 5%, if we let stand the school’s request. I wasn’t going to do that. A 4.56% higher budget is not fiscally responsible.” Careful study of the school budget shows the growth is powered by increases to maintenance and supplies---two parts of the budget that have been cut out of existence by previously-tight budgets. Meanwhile, Crimmins got creative in some of his cuts. For instance, $65,171 was moved from the police budget to the school budget to pay for the school resource officer. Although school is closed during the summer, Police Chief Paul Shastany said that this officer “solely focuses on juvenile issues all year round.” Perhaps the schools and Youth Commission could split it? Incidentally, Shastany said his budget was cut by 4%, but he assures me that public safety will not suffer. The proposed so-called "Crimmins budget" was passed Tuesday night by the Board of Selectmen and sent to the Finance Committee. It is, based on anticipated revenue and expenses at this stage, a balanced budget. Mills objected. “This is irresponsible. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is a major issue.” Selectman John Stagnone made a motion---which passed unanimously---to remove any employee raises that weren’t contractual from the budget. (I can guarantee there will be a department head or two that will still get their raise, contractual or not. The selectmen will be notified by the Town Manager of “special contractual arrangements”, and they will stay in the budget.) Don’t call me a cynic. Call me a realist. I’ve been around. As for the school budget, the one that Crimmins presented (which was 1.94 million dollars below the school committee request) was passed by the Board of Selectmen, before a crowd of over 100---mostly school supporters. But, it is being sent to the Finance Committee, who will make their own recommendations. Town Meeting will probably see the original school committee budget request voted on last month, together with the Selectmen budget and the Finance Committee budget. Hopefully, the revenue will come in higher than first projected. Board of Selectmen Vice Chairman Cynthia Walsh, who chaired Tuesday’s meeting in the absence of Chairman Steve Anastos, made an interesting suggestion. CALL YOUR LOCAL REPS. If everyone at Town Hall Tuesday night calls State Reps. Lou Kafka (617-722-2960) and William Galvin (617-722-2582) and State Senator Brian Joyce (617-722-1643) and reminds them of the great destruction that would be wrought by cuts in local aid, maybe they’ll think twice before they vote. Sure, it can’t hurt. (The cynic in me rears its ugly head again.)If the numbers stay where they are for the schools, then the outlook would be quite grim. 90% of their budget is in salaries, so they'd be limited in their choices. But, until the schools give their list of cuts---at each proposed budget amount--then we truly will not know the details of those cuts. However, there is already fallout for students in the school system. Susan Cogliano, president of the Stoughton Teachers Association, sent out a directive to teachers who are running afternoon "clubs" at the High School (i.e. law, math, etc. clubs) and told them to cease those activities. No one within the school system would go on record as confirming this move, but students seem to know what is going on and have shared their concerns with their parents. Since students are cognizant of what colleges are looking for, many volunteer for these clubs to bolster their resumes, and their knowledge. Pulling these clubs midyear isn't going to garner any support for the STA. In fact, it is sure to backfire. After their "rally" and vote of "no confidence" in the Superintendent of Schools last year, they gained nothing---and lost in the PR game. Like the fire union's "least patriotic town" stunt a few years ago, it was counter-productive. Dr. Rizzi, without confirming that anything has happened to any of the afternoon clubs, did say, “Any job action at this time would be extremely unfortunate. I hope the STA could see the folly in that course of action, if they choose it.” I have emailed and called Ms. Cogliano, so far without return calls. This seems to be a pattern for this STA president. She doesn’t respond to calls from the press (even school-friendly press), and therefore can never explain her sometimes baffling actions. She reminds me of the bandleader in “Animal House”, who leads the band down an alley and into a wall. Damaging the college dreams of high school students does nothing to move the teachers cause forward. Parents FULLY support the teachers who sacrifice each day to educate their children. Moves like this are counterproductive, and just add to the veracity of those who argue against “the power of the union.” Teachers that I have spoken with, off the record, do not support many of these moves by their STA leadership. In fact, a majority have never voted for any of it. The teachers should be proactive in defending their positions. Their contracts have expired and contract negotiations are taking place---hence this move by Cogliano. But, here’s the simple fact. If they insist on raises, in this economic storm, then they are assured of making layoffs a certainty. As one teacher said, “it’s like eating your young.” Dr. Rizzi and the administrative staff have taken no raises the past two years. Hopefully, the teachers and staff will get the message---there’s no money, so they can work together to keep the jobs of as many of their colleagues as they can. Those of us in the dreaded private sector have seen no raises for years, and 30% have lost their jobs during the recession. We have a lot of wonderful teachers, and it would be ideal if they could all stay. Last year, Stoughton was one of the only towns with no school teachers laid off. I’d like to see that replicated this year. Do teachers, staff and administrators deserve raises? Of course they do. Can the town afford to pay for them? Not at the moment. Same with our hardworking municipal employees—many should be getting raises, but the town simply can’t afford them at this time. Hopefully, the economy will turn around, and some of these years can be made up in future contracts. It would only be fair. The hope from this writer is that a bipartisan understanding comes on January 27, when members of the Finance Committee, School Committee, Board of Selectmen, Town Auditor Bill Rowe, School Financial Director Cathy Silva, Crimmins and Rizzi, all meet under the leadership of FinCom Chair Holly Boykin to try to get on the same page. I’m hopeful that working as a TEAM for the TOWN, that maybe some understanding, and less rancor, can come out of that meeting. One good thing coming out of the tight budgets is the out-of-the-box thinking being used to try to drive in additional revenue. Crimmins has already sold a repossessed town property that was sitting collecting dust, and got some cash as well as putting it back on the tax roll. He has others he is working on. Although many sources of grants have dried up, some still are out there. I know that many departments, including the library, youth commission, and the schools are actively applying for grants. Finding other non-tax revenue is another key to pulling out this.The passing of the preliminary budget by the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night is just the opening bell in a long financial heavyweight fight. The next round will be subcommittee and full committee hearings for each department with the Finance Committee. More people should attend these meetings. They are posted on the town’s site, as well as mine. It is good to get educated about these budgets. Both sides will be fighting for space in the newspapers and local TV to bring forth their arguments. Town Meeting members get deluged with paperwork, including numerous letters lobbying for funds. After the FinCom makes their budget recommendations, then the real fight begins. A contentious battle will start in earnest, as many needy budgets battle for too-few-available dollars in a Town Meeting that will have knockout ramifications. Best to come armed to the fight—with knowledge.
( To be published on wickedlocal.com/stoughton and in the Stoughton Journal on Friday, January 21, 2011) School Committee Member Deborah Sovinee's Remarks to the Board of Selectmen
Selectman John Anderson's Take on This
FROM ANIMAL CONTROL: COYOTES
IS SHE YOUR DOG? Animal Control Officer Mike Gormaley has this dog. She was found at Bay Road and Pine Tree Road Saturday night. She's an older dog, with an abdominal mass. Contact him through the Stoughton Police (781-344-2424), at 781-344-1294, or email email@example.com.
SAD UPDATE: No one claimed this dog, and on February 7, she was euthenized due to complications from the abdominal mass, according the Animal Control Officer Mike Gormaley.
BUSY MORNING ON AN ICY DAY IN STOUGHTON
Truck/Car Accident on Pine Street sent two to the hospital. Stoughton Fire and Police were on the scene on January 18. (Courtesy photo from SFD)
SCARE TACTICS--They DON'T Work
Since last week's publication here and on the Town web site of Town Manager Frank Crimmins proposed budget, the response has been swift and loud. Many in the school system were understandably upset with Mr. Crimmins unprecidented cutting of a line item within the school budget. Since then, we have seen the cuts in some municipal departments, and the increase of others. And, the $340,000 cut to the schools is a gaping wound that threatens to affect the quality of the education of our children, as well as being detrimental to the property values of all our homes. But, the immediate reaction of one of the members of the school committee doesn't help their cause. Allan Mills, at last Tuesday nights school committee meeting at Stoughton High, said that the nearly two million dollars in cuts (from the original proposed school budget) could result in 50 teacher layoffs and two school closings. As someone intimately knowledgable about the school budget (from 9 years on the finance committee and 20+ years at town meeting), I know that there is ZERO chance of 50 teacher layoffs and two school closings. So, when a public officials says this at a public meeting, it doesn't help the cause. If the proposed "Crimmins budget" passes, then dozens of layoffs in the school system WILL occur. 90% of their budget is salaries, so they'd have no choice. But, until the schools give their list of cuts---at each proposed budget amount--then we truly will not know the details of the cuts. But, already there is fallout for students in the school system. Susan Cogliano, president of the Stoughton Teachers Association, sent out a directive to teachers who are running afternoon "clubs" at the High School (i.e. law, math, etc. clubs) and told them to cease those activities. I have not spoken yet with any affected teachers (I will) , but students seem to know what is going on and have shared their concerns with their parents. Since students are cognizant of what colleges are looking for, many volunteer for these clubs to bolster their resumes, and their knowledge. Pulling them midyear isn't going to garner any support for the STA. After their "rally" and vote of "no confidence" in the Superintendent of Schools last year, they gained nothing---and lost in the PR game, Like the fire union's "Least patriotic town" stunt a few years ago, it only backfired. So, for those of us parents who are concerned about the schools we send our children to, the focus should be on the budget, and the pursuit of additional revenue (hopefully not at the expense of public safety, or other necessities). I look forward to seeing the actually documents (and publishing them here) illustrating the ACTUAL cuts that will occur if the budget remains as written. Meanwhile, I share this excerpt from a message Stoughton Teachers Association president Susan Cogliano sent to teachers earlier in the school year. I think it's worth reading now. This is the kind of leadership that Susan should be demonstrating. (and returning phone calls and emails from the press is the best assurances of getting out her story): "We hear a lot from talking heads and government officials about how we need do a better job of educating students in the public schools. Most of these folks don’t have any first-hand classroom experience. They aren’t on the front lines, and they don’t have a grasp of our work; You have that experience and expertise. And while I know that getting involved in politics was the farthest thing from your mind when you decided to pursue a career in public education, it’s no longer an optional activity. This isn’t an election year, but it is still crucial to have a relationship with the elected leaders who represent you on Beacon Hill. There is a clear and direct connection between the golden dome of the Statehouse and your own classroom. Funding is essential for quality public education. We must use our voices to fight for new revenue sources for public education at all levels. And, we must use our voices to preserve our collective bargaining rights to negotiate over health care insurance, pension benefits and the future direction of the public schools."
TUESDAY NIGHT SELECTMEN'S MEETING
BUDGET HEARINGS CONTINUE
The Public School Department cuts, instituted by Town Manager Francis Crimmins, Jr., will be up for discussion, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on January 18th. If you oppose these cuts, or support them, you should show up and BE HEARD! Parents of students in the public schools, as well as those that are concerned about what this move could do to property values, are urged to attend. The meeting is in Town Hall, on the third floor in Great Hall.
UPDATE: MASC Says "School Budget approved by School Committee must be submitted to Town Meeting "
Update: Legal Opinion of Town Counsel on Mr. Crimmins Action
STOUGHTON HIGH GRAD KILLED IN QUINCY CAR ACCIDENT
Anthony Nwabude, a 2004 Stoughton High graduate, was killed in a car accident yesterday (1/13) in Quincy. The former Black Knight football player, was not wearing a seat belt during impact. He was a 2010 graduate of Suffolk University. He had been living in Randolph. His football coach at Stoughton High School, Greg Burke, tells Snyder's Stoughton that Anthony was "just a great kid. He always had a big smile on his face. He worked hard. He built himself up in the gym, as well as in the classroom, and went on to graduate from college. He made himself into a very successful defensive end, and had an outstanding senior year."
(Do you know Anthony? Let us know your thoughts. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share them)
ALL WORK and SOME PLAY
Police, Fire and DPW Worked Long Hours in the Storm. Here, Stoughton Fire Department Lt. Greg Goldberg
takes a second out for some fun.
(From the Stoughton Fire Dept. Facebook Page)
CRIMMINS RECOMMENDS SCHOOL BUDGET CUTS,
SLIGHT INCREASE TO MUNICIPAL BUDGET
Even after serving nine years on the Finance Committee, this writer has never seen a Town Manager actually cut a school budget. In fact, it has always been up to the Finance Committee to present a proposed school budget to Town Meeting, after meeting with the education subcommittee, and hearing the recommendation of the Chair. But, Town Manager Francis Crimmins, Jr., seeing the results of the December 14th School Committee meeting, decided to take some action on his own. "I had told ALL department heads to plan their budgets with a 5% cut. The school budget passed that night by the school committee included a 4.6% increase, and with the warrants they were looking to pass at Town Meeting, was really an increase of 8.6%", Crimmins told Snyder's Stoughton. "It is important to note that the FY 2012 revenue projections assume that net state aid will be 7.78% less than the FY 2011 level," Crimmins wrote the introduction of a 200+ page budget proposal. Crimmins said he will have a Human Resources Director ($89,000+) in place before the end of the month. "One of the first tasks of the HR Director will be to review each position that becomes vacant. I have taken a global view of our staffing levels throughout the entire town to decide if we should defer" Crimmins noted general fund revenue is projected to INCREASE by 2.02%. He said that the increase in revenue growth is augmented by the two local option taxes (on hotels and restaurants) that was approved in the 2010 Annual Town Meeting. Net state aid is expected to decrease by a million dollars (reflecting an 8% reduction). Despite cuts to the school (which could result in DOZENS of layoffs), Crimmins budget creates some new positions, including a "Building Maintenance Supervisor" (who will NOT be supervising school buildings). In total, the General Municipal budget will INCREASE by $288,858 or 1.75%. The School Budget (including Southeastern Regional) will DECREASE by $340,432 or .96%. The Joint Education and General Municipal Budget would INCREASE by $1,410,218 or 9.15%. Debt Service will INCREASE by $476,306 or 16.2% (the result of all the borrowing at Town Meeting). I asked Crimmins what would he think if the Supt. of Schools would be recommending budgets for the police, fire and DPW, since he was recommending her department's budget. Crimmins said, "this is my role under the Town's Charter. I am very interested in all the town departments, including the schools. All under under the town government, including the schools. ALL departments were reviewed, and this is my recommendation under the Town Charter. The people who wrote the Charter were a lot wiser than I." When asked why some departments increased, while the schools decreased, Crimmins said, "In a given year, all departments have different needs. This wasn't done without a lot of thought." Finance Committee Chair Holly Boykin thought that Crimmins should have requested the school committee to re-do their budget by December 31. Given the fact that we have no actual numbers from the state, it seems premature to make these cuts. My first reaction was that the town manager can't cut line items from the education budget, which is what he did. My second reaction was that he gave himself a 5% raise. If I was the town manager, I wouldn't be taking any raise until the employees get their raises, and negotiated contracts." Boykin, who had gone over much of the proposed budget, wondered how the Human Resources Director position, which was approved for $80,000 last year at town meeting, had gone up over 10% in a year, while being unfilled. She also questioned the $82,000 for a Town Planner, a position that has been vacant since the town's first town planner resigned. "How did they come up with these figures?" Boykin thinks that the school department and town departments need to work together, as they have been. That is why she has requested the town manager, superintendent of schools and reps from the school committee, selectmen and finance committee to meet on January 27. "It's really important that all parties sit and discuss specific numbers and parameters.I'd like to see more than a budget-- I'd like to see a budget plan. We also need specific scenarios. I'd like to see three budgets--with 3%, 5% and 7% cuts. Once the cherry sheet numbers come in, the Finance Committee will adjust the budget, as needed. Sometimes, the numbers change even at town meeting. Bottom line, it will be town meeting's final decision." One principal's clerk position was cut in the town accountant's office. But, a number of new and/or unfilled positions are in the municipal budget. The Human Resources Director ($89,343), Town Planner, currently unfilled ($82,315), Building and Zoning Secretary ($35,801),Ass't Town Engineer ($65,861), and a part time secretary in the veterans office (only $13,000+, and something which has been needed for years). One new position was proposed in the School Committee's original school budget---an English Language Learner (ELL) teacher (to comply with state mandated ratio of teachers per non-English speaking students.) Boykin sees real problems for the schools--and the entire community--if this budget was instituted. "For instance, they already cut the schools 1.94 MILLION dollars, but it's even more than that. For instance, they took the salary of the school resource officer and moved it from the police department (where it has always been) and into the school budget. Then, they put $1500 for a 'volunteer party' into the budget. It had been a part of the Stoughton Events Committee, where they raised the money privately for it. It sets a bad precedent." The FinCom Chair, who has two children in high school and another coming up the system, is concerned as a parent, as well. "Speaking strictly as a parent, the 1.94 million dollar cut to the school would probably force Dr. Rizzi to end extra-curricular activities, or raise all fees to buses, sports, music and extra-curricular activities to levels that could preclude inclusion from families that can't afford the bill. You might see more kids wandering around the center, and increased police calls. It will impact the entire community, and every town service."Selectmen Chairman Steve Anastos doesn't consider the proposed budget to be devastating to the schools. "Maggie Rizzi attended all of Frank's staff meetings every other week. He had made it clear that cuts were needed. She was there throughout the whole process. Yet, she submitted a budget with a 4.6% increase." Anastos, a businessman, says that it all comes down to less money. "We have additional revenues of 1.5 million dollars, and anticipate losing a million dollars in state aid. That gives us a total of an addtional half million dollars to work with. Debt service is up 16%, because our short term obligations (which are interest only) have been converted into long term bonds (principal and interest). If we could get health and pension relief, we'd free up all the money we'd need. Just raising co-pays from $5 to $15, which is still less than many in the private sector pay, and some plan design that is currently being discussed, could free up as much as $600,000." Anastos said another area of savings is in the Enterprise Funds. "In 2010, the funds drained 1.5 million dollars from the General Fund. In 2011, it was 1.1. million. In 2012, we have made significant cuts, and the total will be closer to $450,000." As for the new positions, Anastos says the Building Maintenance Supervisor makes a lot of sense. "We have fifty million dollars in structures, and pay enormous amounts to insure them, yet no one is responsible for watching out for them. At one point, the Executive Secretary was in charge of custodians. We have consolidated them, from all departments, and have them reporting to one individual. It just makes sense. I applaud Frank for all the work he had put into this." Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said it's unprecedented for a town manager to re-write the school budget. "Once we get the final numbers, the school committee and myself would speak to the professionals in our system, and create a new budget that fits those numbers.To make decisions on cuts that size will takes weeks. It would involve speaking to all the administrators in our district and getting their input." Dr. Rizzi said there are a number of myths surrounding the school budget. She tells Snyder's Stoughton, "People see a big number, so they think what difference is a million or two. Every one of those dollars is accounted for. You cannot cut that kind of money and not do damage to the schools. People need to know the results of gutting a school system. Randolph is an example. We have small class sizes and competitive teacher salaries. The bar gets higher every year. We want to continue to move forward, not backwards with minimum school spending. The other thing people bring up in our grant money. That can't legally be used to supplant our budget. They check them each year. For example. a special education grant is for special education students. An E.L.L. grant is for E.L.L. students." Rizzi responded to Anastos mention of her attending the departmernt head meetings. "I have a wonderful relationship with the other department heads. We work well together. But, I didn't hear Frank's comments regarding the 5% cuts as directed to me. I answer to the school committee, and of course, the ultimate decision lies with town meeting. We're not asking for anything different. Sometimes, change is good. Some practices are wise and have worked well. The process is the real news here. In the Town Charter, it states the school committee is responsible for therThat includes the School Committee and School Department working on the School Budget." One difference in both budgets are raises. The town manager, police chief and others have raises (contractual or otherwise) included in the municipal budget. Dr. Rizzi said the school budget--for the second straight year--has NO administrative raises. "We have to balance this against trying to keep our people, but we want the money to go towards the education of our students in the classroom. Over 90% of our budget is fixed costs." Two areas that did go up considerably in the School Committee's proposed budget were maintenance and supplies. Rizzi explains, "Joel Harding used to replace 10% of everything every year. So every ten years, it was new. Then, budget constraints came and it was cut to 5%. Then, more recently, it was done on an 'as needed' basis. How long can you not refurbish without considerable deterioration? As far as the supplies, we've level funded or zeroed out supplies the past several years due to budget constraints. Teachers need to resupply." This is just the beginning of a battle for dollars in a world of reduced funds. But, the cuts to the schools would be devastating for the students, faculty and staff. And, if the schools go down hill, all our property values go in the tank. Of course, if services in the community take a major hit, the same thing happens. If plows don't clear out the snow, if trash doesn't get pciked up, if public safety is not effective, that also destroys a community. It needs a balanced approach. Looking through the budget, I don't see that kind of balance. I see a sharpened blade cutting off the arm of the schools, while a wide band aid patches the municipal side. Doesn't seem fair to me. Mr. Crimmins should be applauded for presenting a balanced budget in a timely and transparent manner, and for putting it online for all to see. That's the first time I've ever seen that done. Everyone in town now has full access to the proposed budget. So, you no longer have to be a town meeting member to know what is going on. We can all agree to disagree on how the money is divided. The School Committee should have the final say as to their budget, leading into town meeting. Now, it's YOUR turn. Here is the 221 Page (huge file) ENTIRE PROPOSED BUDGET AND HIS BUDGET MESSAGE. Read it and get educated. Then, get involved in the process and make your voice heard at public meetings. After all, it's OUR money that is being spent here!
THE SCHOOL BUDGET WILL BE ON THE AGENDA at the JANUARY 18th SELECTMEN'S MEETING (6:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 3rd Floor, Great Hall)
(Letter related to this article)
(Posted on January 10, 2011 @ 8 p.m. Updated on January 11 @ 11:30 a.m.) (c) 2011 by pmpnetwork.com/snydersstoughton.com
(Read the FULL ARTICLE (edited without typos!) this Friday in the Stoughton Journal or online at www.wickedlocal.com/Stoughton!)
THE PROPOSED CRIMMINS BUDGET An Example of Town & Schools Saving $$ Together Proposed School Budget--from School Committee UPDATE: MASC Says "School Budget approved by School Committee must be submitted to Town Meeting " Update: Legal Opinion of Town Counsel on Mr. Crimmins Action Patch Article
A note received January 16th, from Town Manager Crimmins: With respect to having people discuss the budget, you should be advised that the enclosed letter was distributed to the following distribution list in November: Fin Comm Chair Holly Boykin; Chairman of BOS, Stephen Anastos; Chairman of School Committee, Thomas Colburn; Superintendent Marguerite Rizzi, PhD; Kathy Silva, and William Rowe. For whatever reason, this group could not find a way to coordinate a meeting. There was virtually no email traffic or discussion abo"ut meeting until AFTER the School Committee voted on its budget. For whatever reason, the week following the School Committee vote, there were several requests to meet. The School Committee budget with an increase of 4.56% over FY2011 had already been put to a vote. You can draw your own inference from the facts. Regards."--Francis T. Crimmins, Jr., Town Manager
MORRISEY SWORN IN AS DISTRICT ATTORNEY
Michael W. Morrissey was sworn in as Norfolk District Attorney by Governor Deval Patrick, promising effective prosecution, a focus on victims’ rights and aggressive efforts to keep Norfolk County citizens safe from crime. Morrissey brings more than two decades of experience as a trial lawyer, experience managing a large Boston law firm and more than thirty years experience writing legislation as a state Representative and longtime state Senator to the position. Anthony Campo, a partner in the law firm Morrissey left to become District Attorney, introduced his former law partner and said “He is the hardest-working person you will work with.” Campo is also chair of the board of trustees of Curry College, where the ceremony was held. Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin read aloud and presented Morrissey with a his Certificate of Election, adding: “He is a very good lawyer, and the people of Norfolk County will come to know that.” The new District Attorney focused much of his speech on the importance he will place on victim’s rights. “There is a sacred trust placed in us by the victims of crime,” he told the crowd of well over 800, including 22 police chiefs and deputy chiefs from departments across Norfolk County, including Stoughton Chief Paul Shastany.
“Crime victims turn to the police department for their immediate safety,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “They turn to us for justice.”
READ THE STORY
Missed in the story: Statement of Jeffrey Benson, candidate for School Committee:
1 - Why I am running for the School Committee?
"I have served on a School Improvement Counsel ("SIC") for the past 12 years; 3 at the ODMS and the past 9 at the High School. I have been a member of a couple of search committees to hire Vice Principals for the High School and was a member of the Principal search committee that promoted Bret Dickens. I have also been a member of the High School ADA Committee and worked with Alan Mills. Finally, I spent 4 years as part of the POPS group, including serving on the "E-board." I guess you could say I have been an active member and supporter of the School systems and now is the time to step up my involvement."
2 - What would I like to see accomplished while being a member of the School Committee?
"First, I think working with the existing Members of the Committee to be a cohesive unit is paramount to achieving any goals. I know serveral current Members and believe our personalties will mesh well. That being said, I think there are various areas that need to be addressed. Our demographics have changed over the past several years, yet our percentages in the AP or honors classes do not reflect the same ratio as our student body. Additionally, the facilities at some of our schools also need to be addressed. For example the "A Building" at the High School is not compliant with the ADA regulations and because of when the building was constructed, it is impossible to bring this up to code. We need to find alternatives. I was apart of the SIC that drove the modular class rooms at the ODMS, which are some of the nicer classrooms in our systems. I think in these tough economic times we need to find other sources and avenues to improve the quality of our facilities. Furthermore I agree with Joe Hardy, we cannot ignore our facilities or the results could increase our cost down the road."
ATTENTION DRUG DEALERS::
YOU MIGHT WANT TO AVOID STOUGHTON
KATE FOLEY'S STORY
BANDIT WAS FOUND & RETURNED! BANDIT---3 YEAR OLD MALE CAIRN TERRIER RETURNED UPDATE: ANOTHER HAPPY ENDING!!!
Bandit was returned at 9 p.m. on January 4th and re-united with Dawn and the kids!!!
SFD Assists Canton Fire Depart in Eagle Drive Blaze
As part of the mutual aid agreement, the Stoughton Fire Department helped put out a house fire on Eagle Road in Canton last night (January 1, 2011.) The second alarm fire had a number of local communities called in to held. (Photos from James Bertram, SFD)
Exclusive: Town Manager's Progress Report for 2010
It's a comprehensive 15 page report to the Board of Selectmen from Town Manager Francis Crimmins.
READ IT HERE
Two Dogs Perish Despite Rescue Attempt in House Fire
Ace and and Boo, two Chihuahuas that reside at 133 Ralph Mann Drive, were rescued from a smokey house fire on New Year's Eve day by the Stoughton Fire Department. According to Captain Bob O'Donnell, the house fire was contained to a rear bedroom. There was heavy smoke damage throughout the home, and the Stoughton Fire Department is investigating the cause of the fire. The two dogs were rescued and resuscitated by Firefighters from Engines 2 and 4. Both dogs were transported to West Bridgewater Veterinary Clinic by Stoughton Police officer Chris Grover. O'Donnell said that the family was more concerned about their dogs, than the damage to their house. Firefighters Peter Denneno and Brian Ernst, and Stoughton Police Sgt. Paul Williams and Officer John Lydstone were also involved in the rescue.
(Photos from FF James Bertram) SAD UPDATE: Despite the efforts of Stoughton safety officials, and the veterinarians in West Bridgewater, both dogs have lost their lives. We give our condolences to the dog's owner, Melissa Belyea.
TOUCHING VIDEO FROM PATCH
Stoughton Firefighters worked for over an hour to extricate three people from a car accident on Route 24, in the early hours of December 26, 2010. Stoughton and Avon ambulances rushed victims to Boston Medical Center, while one victim, who was seriously injured, was medflighted to Boston. Captain Bob O'Donnell was in command. (Photos provided by J Bertram of SFD)
Condolences to Howard & Elliot Hansen
on the loss of their beloved mother, Ruth.
MOST RECENT ENVIRONMENTAL DATA FOR POLLUTERS IN STOUGHTON:
NOTICE TO RESIDENTS
CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR’S DAY
On Saturday, January 1st, the Transfer Station will be closed for New Year's Day. It will reopen on Saturday, January 8th.
John M. Batchelder, Superintendent of Public Works
(Photos from Stoughton Fire Dept.)
(Posted on December 21 @ 5 p.m.)
The ice storm, featuring freezing rain, snow, and sleet, hit Stoughton and the local area hard on Monday, December 20. Driving was extremely hazardous, with numerous accidents on Rt. 24 North and South bound, between Stoughton and Rt. 495. This website's readers, responding via Facebook, reported dangerous conditions on Park Street, Rt. 138, and parts of Central Street, as well as on many side roads. A busy DPW Superintendent John Batchelder said that it could continue through Tuesday, according to the weather reports his department subscribes to. "Look at the news. It's all over the place. Freezing drizzle is the worst, and the timing coincided with the evening commute. It tied up traffic, and it keeps refreezing." Batchelder says his crews have been out in force, sanding, salting and treating the streets with chemicals. "It's a lot easier---and much cheaper--if it's all snow. The price of salt and chemicals is expensive." The plan, according to Batchelder, is to work to crape the ice underneath, first on main streets, and then on side streets.Chemicals are the way to go." Batchelder said drivers must be cautious, however. "When it's snowing and slippery, drivers should take extra care. When they speed around, and get into accidents, it impedes our ability to do the job. We can't really get to the roads." In addition, crews were finishing up their trash duty, and couldn't be shifted to the plows right away. Sometimes, timing is everything!As for Rt. 27 and Rt. 138, Batchelder said they are State roads. Rt. 138 from Easton through Stoughton Square is District 5, while Canton to Stoughton is District 4. Although the DPW does not plow State roads, the Stoughton Police requested work on Rt. 138 between Canton and Central Street. "The police asked us to do it for safety issues. People were having trouble making the hill near York Street. It had to be treated and we couldn't wait for the State to do it." The DPW can be reached at 781-344-2112.(Posted on December 20 @ 9 p.m.)
(c) 2010 by PMPNetwork/Snyder's Stoughton
Police Chief Paul Shastany presented four awards on Saturday night at a private holiday gathering of the Stoughton Police Department. The event was held at the Portuguese National Club. Chief Shastany tells Snyder's Stoughton, "When I came into the organization, I looked over the personnel. I sat down with everyone in the upper command staff. As a result of this discussion, I decided to have Lt. Devine as my Executive Officer. I also saw Sgt. Murphy as a great person to put in position for the goal of accreditation for the Department." Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine was named "Supervisor of the Year." Adds Shastany, "I found Lt. Devine to have an immediate understanding for what I wanted to do, and what the department needed to accomplish. I am extremely well served by having him as my second in command. He's not a one-dimensional man. He still does community service, with OASIS, TRIAD, EXPLORERS, and other community policing initiatives. He's not only for maintaining these things, but for expanding them--as am I. I was happy to honor him with this award. The Department has turned around with the command staff training and work of all our commanding officers." Chief Shasatany bestowed his first medals for Co-Officers of the Year to Officers John Hartford and Kevin Lima. Shastany told me, "When I looked at the organization, a couple of officers stood out. Officer Lima is a well-respected member of the Portuguese community. He wanted to work on the issue of drugs and he asked for Officer Hartford's assistance. Through their efforts, shotguns, rifles, pistols, a large amount of ammunition, an armored vest, thousands of dollars of cash, and large amounts of drugs have been confiscated, and taken off the streets. They have helped families get direction for help and rehabilitation. They are providing with resources, saved lives, and prevented violence with their actions. By taking guns, ammunition and a bullet proof vest off the streets they have prevented crime, saved lives and removed criminals from the streets.
The Community Service Award went to Officer John J. Owens. Adds Shastany,"He came up with the contest for Halloween homes on Facebook, as well as the Halloween activities in Stoughton center. We had 36,000 raw impressions on the Halloween Houses and Halloween program on Facebook page. He brought a lot of children into the station and to Honeydew Donuts for that Halloween event. It resulted in a greater connection with the community.Job well done."Congratulations to all the winners!
(Posted on December 20, 2010 @ 6:30 p.m. <c> 2010 by pmpnetwork, inc.)
The upcoming film, John Hickey's "OxyMorons", has a Stoughton connection. The film, which deals with the drug situation, features a trio of Stoughton residents. Sean MacDonald (SHS '92) wrote the score for the film. Adam Silver (SHS '93] plays an assistant district attorney in the movie, while resident Dale Appel, who works in real estate, played a defense lawyer for Bunker McNultty. The film makes its premiere on Jan. 1 at Generations Function Facility in Avon. Time has not yet been announced. To view the film's trailer, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IMKFGGXbQc&feature=share.
Recently the Voice of Democracy essay contest, sponsored by VFW Michael Romanuk Post 1645, was conducted at Stoughton High School. This year's theme was "Does My Generation Have a Role in America's Future?" The winners were Mohamed Skaiky, $300 1st prize; Nicole Kerman $200 second prize; and Brianna Shores $100 third prize. This year the Patriot's Pen essay contest was established at the O'Donnell Middle School. This theme for that contest was "Does Patriotism Still Matter?" First prize winner Allison McEachern won $150; second prize winner Danielle Tarchara won $100, and third prize winner Colleen Foley won $50. The winning students will be presented their awards at the VFW Post installation of Officers in May 2011. Thanks to Joe DeVito for the information!
(NBC TV Photo)
Megan Porter, a Stoughton High graduate, and former guest on Snyder's Stoughton TV show, got a chance to shine on national TV. In a piece taped months ago, she performed with her a cappella group, Pitch Slapped, on NBC TV's "The Sing Off." Unfortunately, the Berklee School of Music student's group didn't make it past the first show. But they edged out hundreds of contestants for a chance to perform live to millions of homes throughout the United States. They performed "Good Girls Go Bad" and "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss 'Em Goodbye" on the show. The judges Ben Folds, Nicole Scherzinger and Shawn Stockman didn't see fit to send them though. But, all of us in Stoughton who have heard and seen Megan perform, know the incredible talent she possesses, and predict great things for her future. For more information on Pitch Slapped, go to www.pitchslappedacappella.com. Watch the girls perform "Good Girls Go Bad." They are amazing!
HAVE YOU SEEN SNORKEL?
"I am from Stoughton originally, but have since moved away. I am back in town visiting, and while someone was watching my dog, they let her out. They live on Canton Street, near French Street. The dog ran across 27, and they don't know where she went. This happened at 5 pm on Wednesday, December 15. I spent all night walking the streets and talking to neighbors looking for her. She is a black and white (with a little brown) Rat Terrier mixed with, I believe, Italian Greyhound. Her name is Snorkel and is about 10 months old. I was hoping you could spread the word, and make people aware. I am offering a cash reward. We live in North Carolina, and she is not familiar with the area or the cold. She was wearing a pink fleece coat and a red collar with her name and my phone number. Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time. Sincerely and hopefully."---Katie Bell
Happy Update!! Snorkel is HOME!
Katie Writes: "She is now home sound asleep and exhausted. I am so thankful for all your help and the help of everyone in town! It is amazing how everyone wanted to help out and reunite us. Thank you and everyone in town!"
(Read it HERE)
STOUGHTON ’S NEW ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER
Stoughton’s new Animal Control Officer, Michael Gormaley, wants you to know that he won’t be like the quintessential dog catchers of the 1950’s, depicted as net-carrying canine chasers. “I just want to make it better for the animals, and the residents,” he told Snyder’s Stoughton. Gormaley, who spent 12 years working at a historical farm, and 16 years at the Bronx Zoo in New York, said he saw this position as an opportunity “for change and personal growth. My grandfather taught me history and fishing, and I love both. I thought moving to Massachusetts might work for me on both counts.” The New Yorker, now living in the area, immediately indicated one important thing: “I am not a Yankee fan. Put me down as a fan of the Red Sox and Celtics.”Gormaley had no idea of the troubled past in the police department, or in the animal control office. He said he had done a search and read some posts, but wasn’t familiar with the incident that cost the previous animal control officer to lose her job. He said, “I read an old newspaper column, but nobody really discussed it. I tried to go into this thing with an open mind, and never would have held it against the position. I am really impressed with Chief Shastany.”He said that working for 12 years as a Supervisor at the Bronx Zoo—with 32 employees under him, was much different than his four years as a Zookeeper. “I was in charge of the daily operation, involving administrative coordination, animal husbandry, and working with the veterinarians on staff. I also taught firearm safety classes. We trucked in animals from all around the East Coast.”Gormaley, who has a Master’s Degree from Long Island University, said he is looking forward to working with the residents of Stoughton. “It’s going to be different animals and different situations every day. It’s not like the 1950’s-era dog catchers with the nets. Educating the public is a big part of this job, as I see it. It’s not just dogs and cats anymore. It is skunks in the basement, bats in the attic, deer in driveways, coyotes in yards. We’ll work with local sanitation to take a leadership role in preventing rat infestation, and human diseases spread by feral cats. We’ll work at helping local wildlife, and educating the community. For instance, feral cats can bring numerous diseases to humans. I know people like to ‘adopt’ a large number of cats and feed them. But too many cats in an area bring many problems. My job is educating the public on a better way to do a good thing. For example, groups like the Audubon Society can come in and talk about the effects that feral cats can have on migrating birds.”The incoming Animal Control Officer is pleased that Stoughton is a diverse community. “Working in the Bronx, I learned about ethnic diversity. At the zoo, we had an international clientele. There were an enormous amount of different languages spoken there.”
Gormaley, 40, anticipates undergoing training on a few fronts, and Chief Shastany says that’s exactly what will be happening. Shastany tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “There are several agencies we will connect with. He’ll be an animal inspector for Stoughton, investigating bites, and rabies issues. That will be in addition to his animal control officer duties. We’ll have the Mass Agricultural Resources Division help to define the responsibilities of the animal inspector side of his job. Animal Control Officers of Massachusetts will include him into their training, at some point. He’ll get on-the-job field training with Framingham’s Director of Animal Control Katherine McKenzie, to go through all the laws, how she runs her office, inspections and all other things required. She’s offered to come to Stoughton to set up his systems, at no cost to the town. We’ll talk to the MSPCA to see what they offer. Animal inspectors have to file “barn books”, a type of animal census. He’ll get training in that from M.A.R.D. We’ll partner him up with the experts in the field. I’ll instruct him and find him the best resources and training. We want the best Animal Control officer in the area.”Chief Shastany adds, “With his background in animals, he’ll be up and running in no time flat.” After spending 16 years in the Bronx Zoo, it seems to this columnist that Stoughton will be a breath of fresh air for Gormaley. As Paul Simon once wrote, “ “ Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo.” Perhaps it’s all happening at Animal Control on West Street, adjacent to the Stoughton Youth Soccer fields?
(Posted on 12/15/10 @ 3 p.m. From Stoughton Journal 12/17/10 edition)
Stoughton Police Sgt. Injured in Car Crash
Photo of the car which hit Sgt. Dan McGowan while he was was driving. Despite all the damage to the car that hit him, thankfully McGowan was not seriously injured. McGowan said he's never been in an accident before while on duty for the SPD, either in a cruiser or his private car. He lucked out on this one!
IKEA CONTINUES TO GROW U.S. SOLAR PRESENCE WITH PLANS FOR SOLAR PANELS ON TWO EAST COAST STORES: PARAMUS, NJ AND STOUGHTON, MA
IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today announced plans to install solar energy panels on two East Coast stores: Paramus, New
Jersey and Stoughton, Massachusetts. Pending governmental permits, rooftop installation will begin in the new year, with completion expected in Spring 2011. The plans bring the number of U.S. IKEA locations that will have a solar energy system to a total of 13. These two systems will represent the largest store-top solar installations for IKEA in the U.S. In terms of U.S. sustainable building practices, IKEA already has: solar energy
systems operational in Brooklyn, NY, Pittsburgh, PA and Tempe, AZ – with installation underway on programs at eight locations in California. Additionally, solar water heating systems exist in Charlotte, NC; Draper, UT; Orlando, FL; and Tampa, FL; and a geothermal system is incorporated into the store being built and opening Fall 2011 in Centennial, CO. The Paramus, NJ and Stoughton, MA stores will be outfitted with solar energy systems as identified below, and with corresponding clean energy equivalents (based on calculations from www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html):
Paramus, NJ store – opened in 2003; store size: 375,000 SF on 39 acres
SOLAR PROGRAM: 132,000 SF at 1,058 kW; 4,600 panels generating 1,354,000 kWh/year
Equivalent of reducing 1,072 tons of CO2 = 186 cars’ emissions or 118 homes’ power
Stoughton, MA store – opened in 2005; store size: 347,000 SF on 27 acres
SOLAR PROGRAM: 79,000 SF at 630 kW; 2,800 panels generating 725,000 kWh/year
Equivalent of reducing 574 tons of CO2 = 100 cars’ emissions or 63 homes’ power“We are excited about this investment by IKEA in using renewable energy on the East Coast to complement our recently announced plans in California,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. “This approach is consistent with our commitment to sustainable building practices and reducing our carbon footprint. We always are open to environmental technologies and are thrilled our evaluation deemed these projects feasible for IKEA.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect for nature, strives to be a good business while doing good business and reflects an operating model designed to minimize impacts on the environment. Other sustainable efforts include: integrating innovative materials into the production process; working with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources; flat-packing our goods for an efficient distribution system; recycling approximately 75 percent of waste (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); and incorporating environmental measures into the construction of our buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, low volatile organic compound emitting paint, skylights in the warehouse, and water-conserving restrooms. For these Paramus and Stoughton projects, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, one of the
largest U.S. solar electric installers with more then 5,000 systems built nationwide including 16MW in the retail sector in the past two years.
There currently are more than 300 IKEA stores in 38 countries, including 37 in the U.S. Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings company, has offered home furnishings and accessories of good design and quality at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. TIME listed IKEA as one of the top eight most global eco-conscious companies.
Former Stoughton Police Sgt. Cohen to be
re-tried in February, 2011
Fake Health Inspectors Targeting Ethnic Restaurants
Christmas Trash Pickup & Tree Info
DPW Superintendent John Batchelder Writes: On Friday, December 24th, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of Christmas Day. Trash collection for Christmas will be scheduled for Monday, December 27th in addition to the regular Monday collection. This is standard procedure for any holiday. For safety reasons, we will discontinue pickup at dark on Monday, December 27th. Any rubbish not picked up on Monday, December 27th will be picked up on Tuesday, December 28th. Feel free to call the office if you have any questions. (781) 344-2112. CHRISTMAS TREES (with bags and stands removed) may be left at curbside on your regular RECYCLING collection day and will be picked up by a separate truck during January only. This is the only method of disposal. Christmas trees will not be accepted at the Transfer Station. All rubbish and recyclables must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. No barrel over 30-gallon size will be emptied. Large household appliances (metal items) must be called into the Public Works for appointment for pickup.
ELDERLY DRIVER PLOWS INTO STOUGHTON MUSIC
(Mark Snyder photo)
Luckily, there were no people in Stoughton Music Center yesterday (Friday, November 10) morning, shortly before the store opened. A 76 Year old Mansfield woman smashed into the sheet music section of the store. Police have determined that the woman stepped on the gas, instead of her brake, while parking her car to visit the beauty shop next door. Stoughton Music Center's owner Robert Tarchara told Snyder's Stoughton that it's the third time the building has been hit by elderly clients from the next door beauty shop. "According to the Building Inspector, there was structural damage. I have to close that part of the store. If the store had been open. and someone had been browsing sheet music, they could have been killed." Chris Gallivan, a music teacher at the 968 Washington Street store, was upset that police allowed the woman to keep her beauty appointment next door. He said on Facebook, "
Police Chief Paul Shastany said that there was no "arrestable offense" and the woman could not be held. Stoughton Police Sgt. Vitaly Gurevich is investigating the incident. The driver could be cited, and/or Sgt. Gurevich could send an Immediate Threat notification to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
(Posted on December 11, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m.)
Researcher: Deer Killing the Forests at Blue Hills
Motor Vehicle Accident on Turnpike Street
Stoughton Firefighters were on the scene after a pickup truck hit a tree on Turnpike Street, just outside Aggregate Industries. The 43 year old driver, from Berkley, MA, was extricated from his vehicle by Stoughton Firefighters, placed on a longboard, and transported to Boston Medical Center with serious injuries. The Stoughton Fire Department is always ready to respond quickly and professionally.
Drug Detecting Dog Doing Duty
Stoughton Police Patrolman Brian Holmes is about to become an officer with a badge, gun, AND a dog. His eight month old black lab mix, Annie, is being trained at detecting narcotics. Holmes got her in mid-October. He tells Snyder’s Stoughton he had an interest in being a canine officer since working with former canine Officer Tom McNulty, about ten years ago. “I worked the same hours as him, and sometimes I’d get in a bite suit and do training with him and his dog. I spoke with Officer Lydstone, and he had approached me about adding a single-purpose narcotics detection dog to the department, about a month after Chief Shastany took office. We wrote a proposal together, trying to garner support for the new dog. The Chief considered it for several weeks. He wanted to get to know me before giving me permission for canine training. It’s a major commitment to the department and the officer.” After going through the proposal thoroughly, Chief Shastany supported the effort. Officer Holmes joins Patrolman John Lydstone, whose German Shepherd “Dac” is trained to track and capture suspects. Unlike Lydstone’s dog, which isn’t friendly with the public, Annie loves people. But Holmes cautions that “Annie is a friendly dog, but she needs to be in a controlled environment. She needs to be in close proximity to people in order to detect narcotics. We give her non verbal cues to put her in work mode. She needs to be directed to be on alert for narcotics.” Annie has an interesting background. She had a non-life threatening health problem, and was part of a nationwide foster care program for animals called Shelter Care Network. Holmes got her from a Walpole facility called Forever Home Animal Rescue, a part of the Shelter Care Network. She was screened for suitability in narcotics detections and passed with flying colors. Holmes said, “She and I are going through ten weeks of narcotics detection training. We’re halfway through it. They orient her to detecting narcotics and me on how to handle her.” Officer Holmes, who will have a patrol car outfitted with a kennel for Annie, will still answer patrol calls and do community relations. The training for them both is run by Sgt. Mark O’Reilly of the Mass Dept of Corrections in Bridgewater and Lt. Ken Ballinger of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s department. Training at their facility, behind Bridgewater State Prison, covers anything from patrol to gun or drug detection dogs, including explosives detection dogs. Chief Shastany says, “It fits in with the strategic plan for the Department. The dog is an attractive animal that will bring people closer to us. She’s a benefit for police searches in our town. She allows for quick searches without tying up resources. Those getting searched don’t get held up for long. In the area, we can respond to requests from the NORPAC (Norfolk County Police Anti-Crime) Task Force for vehicle and home searches. We can avail ourselves for federal authorities, like the DEA task force, and the needs of surrounding towns.” He adds, “One part of our approach to the drug problem is Prevention and Education. She’s a great little dog. She’ll appeal to the kids.” Officer Holmes hopes Annie will be on the street right after the New Year: No one else can handle her but Officer Holmes. It’s obvious he enjoys her, and so will residents in the community (except for those packing drugs.) It’s another proactive move in the administration of Police Chief Paul Shastany, who took the reins on April 8, 2010.
(Posted on December 8 @ 2:20 p.m.)
(Published in Stoughton Journal on December 10, 2010 printed issue.)
Stoughton PD Puts Out Warning on Gym Robberies
Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine warns there have been a rash of thefts from cars parked outside gyms in town. He cited break-ins at Elite Fitness, Gold's Gym, Planet Fitness, Terban Fitness and the Striar Old Colony YMCA. "Please secure your valuables at home or in a locked locker during your workout," Devine posted on the Town's website, and on the Stoughton Police Facebook page. Local gyms have also put warning notices on their walls, telling their clients to lock their cars, and keep any valuables out of sight. If you see anyone suspiciously eyeing a car in a parking lot, call the Stoughton Police @ 781-344-2424. Let's be the eyes and ears needed to fight crime. Favorite targets of thieves include GPS units, cell phones, Ipods, wallets and purses. Keep them out of sight, or bring them with you and keep them in a secured locker.
(Posted on December 3, 2010)
Welcome to Stoughton's New Fire Engine....#4
(Posted on December 2, 2010)
NINE QUESTIONS and ANSWERS
from Board of Selectman Chairman Steve Anastos(Read Them Unedited Here)
(Posted on December 2, 2010. An edited version appears in the December 3, 2010 Stoughton Journal.)
FBI: "Lead Witness in Police Probe Lied to Feds"
FORMER COOPERATING WITNESS IN PUBLIC CORRUPTION CASE
CHARGED WITH THEFT AND FALSE STATEMENTS
A Stoughton man was charged today (November 24, 2010) in federal court with theft of public money and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the course of an undercover operation. James Palhete, 44, was charged in with theft of public money and making false statements to the FBI. The Information alleges that Palhete lied to the FBI during the course of an undercover operation probing corruption and sold, without FBI approval, a $1,000 gift card to a third party which was supposed to be utilized during the undercover operation. United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “Witness misconduct during the course of any operation is a serious matter which will not be ignored. Cooperating witnesses who lie to investigators or who misuse government funds will be prosecuted.”
If convicted on these charges, Palhete faces up to 10 years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the theft charge, and five years imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine on the false statement charge.U.S. Attorney Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian T. Kelly, Chief of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit. The details contained in the Information are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
(Posted on November 24, 2010 @ 10 p.m.)
First Reported Here.....
New Animal Control Officer Named
Snyder's Stoughton has learned that Stoughton's new Animal Control Officer will be Mike Gormaley, a 40 year old New Yorker. The candidate was selected from over 60 applications for the job. Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. will be the official that will hire Gormaley, who will work directly for Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany. The Chief is quite high on Gormaley, who was a Supervisor at the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo, before moving to Quincy with his family. "We put him through a battery of physical and mental tests, and he came up squeaky clean. He is way beyond the requirements---a real diamond in the rough. He'll be going through training with the Animal Control Officers of Massachusetts and the MSPCA. My expectations are that he will be far ahead of that of a usual hire for this position." Gormaley has his master's degree from Long Island University. No word yet on if he's a Yankees fan.
(Posted on November 23, 2010 @ 9:15 p.m.)
Accident Sends 2 to Hospital
Photos Provided by Stoughton Fire Department
Thanks For Giving Day @ Town Hall
Open Space Committee Looks to Acquire Glen Echo Property
The Open Space Committee is looking to acquire the beautiful Glen Echo property either through grants, or through Community Preservation Act funds. The property, which the town would have gotten from Algonguin Gas as part of their piping project, was lost when the gas project was abandoned due to cost. Enironmentalists and Recreation proponents are in agreement on the importance to the town of retaining this property.
(LETTER FROM OPEN SPACE COMMITTEE TO CPA COMMITTEE)
RIDING IN STYLE
Stoughton Police Department's new Charger Cruisers. A Sharp new look for a Sharp New Department Feeling....,
First Reported Here : Incident @ Pleasant Street Home
A constable delivering an eviction notice at 419-421 Pleasant Street was met with an angry man who barricaded himself inside the home, and threatened the constable, saying he had a gun. In the words of Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, "That brought out the calvary." Snyder's Stoughton counted six police cards at the home this morning. Victor Cardona, 45, of 421 Pleasant Street, was arrested for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, Threats, and Disturbing the Peace. No one was injured at the multi-family dwelling. (We tried to reach Mr. Cardona for his side of this story, but were unable to do so. He has no listed number.)
Cardona in Police Booking Photo
IN OTHER POLICE NEWS.......
(Posted on November 18 @ 10 am.)
JUST WHAT THIS TOWN DOESN’T NEED
Ok, so Stoughton has an abundance of pizza places, and Chinese restaurants. Stoughton also has shrinking revenues and tight budgets like every other town in the Commonwealth. But one thing we have coming (that we DON’T NEED) is close to 400 more apartments units! That is NOT a misprint. Chapter 40B, the state’s “affordability law” allows developers to shove unwanted projects down the throats of towns—while skipping the majority of the town’s zoning laws. It has already wrought destruction in this town. According to police reports, two of the most frequent stops for the Stoughton Police Department are Quail Run and Stone Ends, home of two colossal 40B projects. Most of the people who live there are law-abiding citizens, but there are enough lawbreakers to make a visible dent in the police logs. In addition, both projects send almost a 100 students to the schools, at a cost of over a million dollars a year. Apartment dwellers have no investment in the town. In fact, according to town records, over 97% of volunteer board and commission members live in condos or homes that they own. These members also pay real estate taxes to the town. The tax rate for apartments is EXTREMELY LOW. Presidential Courts, a 100+ unit complex across from Stoughton High, paid only $39,619 in total real estate taxes in 2008. Quail Run, a complex of 132 units, which was assessed for 10.5 million dollars in 2009, paid $115, 605 in 2008. In 2010, their assessment is down to less than 9.1 million dollars. So, their tax bill will be even lower. Stone Ends seven-building complex is assessed for $17,872,000. So, their assessment will be around $200,000.Let’s talk pure dollars and sense here. It costs $11.005 per student to educate pupils in the Stoughton Public Schools. Quail Run (as of 2009) had 60 students in the Stoughton Public Schools. So, they paid the town $115,605 in taxes, and COST the town $660,300 to educate the students who reside there. Now even those in many single family homes have a losing equation. Many with a couple of school age kids, paying an average of $2500 in property taxes, are still costing the town money. But, they don’t put the same kind of cost pressure on the public safety as these large complexes tend to do. There has been a myriad of crimes at these complexes, from murder, to assaults and drug deals, to prostitution. Again, there are many GOOD people who reside there; single mothers raising families, and those low-income families looking for affordable housing, and for some stability in their lives. My point is that Stoughton has done MORE than its part. At one point we were near 13% affordable homes. The number changes with the wind, and the expiration of previous applications that have faded in that same breeze.The Villas at Metro South, was to be located adjacent to Courtyard Marriot on TECHNOLOGY DRIVE (which is a BUSINESS AREA, designed to bring good paying jobs to Stoughton). It was proposed by Conroy Development, the owners of the property. Once Conroy bagged the needed permits (for some reason he sailed through the boards on this ill-suited project), he sold it. Now, Hanover R.S. Limited Partnership owns it. They changed the name to the classier-sounding “The Lodge at Stoughton.” There will be two buildings, and a Clubhouse with an outdoor pool on the nearly 13 acre tract. The plans call for 96 two-bedroom units, and 144 one-bedroom units. Tom Denney, of the Hanover R.S. Limited Partnership, told Snyder’s Stoughton that 25% of the units would be “affordable”, but he could not tell me what the rent was going to be. Denney did say that work was commencing, with drilling and blasting taking part on the site. He said that foundation work would begin in December. Denney says his company has built two residential projects in business parks. “We did Charles River Landing in Needham Industrial Park (350 units) and The Lodge at Foxboro on Foxboro Blvd. (250 units).”The other scheduled Stoughton project, bringing 154 units, is “Altar at Indian Woods” on Stagecoach Road near the Sinai Hospital, and on the Canton/Stoughton line. That project comes from Wood Partners East Acquisitions, LLC. Their rep, Walter Ryan, was unavailable when contacted. Plans submitted to the Building & Zoning Department include 3 buildings. One has 50 units, including 36 one-bedrooms. The other two buildings will have 52 units in each, with 36 one-bedroom apartments. Based on numbers from Presidential Acres, a similar affordable apartment community, the nearly 400 additional units could bring up to 200 more students into the Stoughton Public Schools. Stoughton School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, a scientist who has done studies on these projects and their impacts on the schools, told Snyder’s Stoughton: “You look at the cost---it’s could cost over two million dollars to educate these added students. We simply can’t absorb it.” Since both projects are in North Stoughton (in the Dawe Elementary School District.), Ural said, “There would likely have to be some redistricting. There are 4000 total children in the Stoughton Public School System. That means we’d increase the number of students by 5%, without commensurate increases in budget. They should tax apartments at the commercial rate, not residential. Developers put up these buildings to make money. It’s a commercial enterprise.” Former Selectman Joe Mokrisky, who was Chairman of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority when it approved Conroy’s Technology Park project, said, “We approved it because it’s on the Randolph/Stoughton town line, and it would have less of an impact on local neighborhood traffic, and the town in general. It was sold to us as an upscale luxury place that would attract single professionals, and not many children. We also needed to get to the 10% affordable percentage. It seemed a win-win situation. I still support the original concept. But, since we approved it, it seems the project has changed with the ownership.” Mokrisky also pointed out that Stoughton residents supported a ballot question to eliminate Chapter 40B projects. The ballot question lost statewide, however. Mokrisky added, “I’d have never supported that project five years ago if I knew that it was changing to appeal more to lower income families, with children. They sold it to us differently.” As to the costs of educating the children, I asked Tom Denney of Hanover R.S. Limited Partnership if they were willing to make a contribution to the Stoughton Public Schools and he replied, “We’ve not made any contributions. We have already committed to what we have to do.”I’m not picking on apartment dwellers. I lived in one for years in Weymouth, and another in Milwaukee. We have more than enough apartments in this town to service the needs of those looking for affordable housing. The absorption of nearly another 400 units—no matter how “upscale” they may turn out-- can be nothing but detrimental to the Town of Stoughton. Thanks to the voters statewide for giving greedy developers the continued-to-be-abused Chapter 40B tool. Between the apartments, the high-speed trains on the way, and the crummy economy eating away at small business, it’s not a pretty picture. But, Stoughton has moved forward, despite the previous NSTAR monstrosity, the closed MBTA Train Station (remember when MBTA spokesman told me they’d never close it?), and severe state budget cuts. We still have the best people, and excellent schools. So, I’m still hopeful for the future of our town.
(Posted on November 18, 2010. This is from Stoughton Journal's Snyder's Stoughton column, from the November 19th paper)
Photo by Mark Snyder of “Altar at Indian Woods” on Stagecoach Road
Wanted: Building/Zoning Commissioner
Town of Stoughton
The Town of Stoughton has an opening for a Building/Zoning Commissioner to perform technical and inspection work and to have thorough knowledge related to enforcement, interpretation, and compliance with the Mass. State Building Code, local zoning ordinance, and other applicable regulations and all other related work as required. Investigate/act on alleged violations, issue notices & orders to rectify illegal or unsafe conditions and follow-up. Receive & review plans for building construction or alterations to determine compliance & keep records of all inspections and approved plans. Must possess certification as a Local Inspector. Possession of a Building Commissioner/Inspector of Buildings certification preferred, but must be obtained within eighteen (18) months of hire. Possession of a Mass. Class D Motor Vehicle Operator’s License, ability to read and interpret blueprints, drawings and plans, and prepare necessary diagrams also required. Salary commensurate with experience. Submit letter and resume by 4:30 p.m., Thursday, December 30, 2010, to: Town Manager, Town Hall, Ten Pearl Street, Stoughton, MA 02072. AA/EEO.
Sgt. Bonney: Family Day Turns Chaotic
Stoughton Police Sgt. John Bonney was enjoying a leisurely day with his family on Sunday (11/14) at McDonalds on Rt. 138, when he saw a fight break out. Bonney, well known as the goaltender on the SPD's winning ice hockey team, made a save at the restaurant during lunch. He arrested the man who allegedly assaulted someone in the junk food emporium. Jason McGee, a 38 year old Brockton resident, was arraigned in Stoughton District Court Monday (11/15) and held on $25,000 bail. According to court records, he was charged with A & B with Serious Bodily Injury, as well as Disorderly Conduct. The victim was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton by the Stoughton Fire Department ambulance, and is reported to be in stable condition. McGee was ordered to appear before the Judge at Stoughton District Court on December 3, 2010.
(Posted on November 16 @ 2 p.m.)
First Reported Here: ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER HIRED
The Stoughton Police Department has finally hired a new Animal Control Officer, a year after the former officer was fired. The winning candidate has a Master's Degree and worked as a zoo keeper. His family moved to the area, and Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine said the town was lucky to get such a candidate. "This guy is too good to be true on paper. But, when we interviewed him, we discovered he was the real thing." Devine said the Department won't be releasing his name, until all the paperwork is done. Meanwhile, another ACO candidate who applied for the job was being offered the part-time position. Jane Parker, the part time animal control officer who was acting as an interim ACO, has left the department. She had applied for the full time job. Kristin Bousquet, who was Parker's old boss and the town's former animal control officer, was fired in October of 2009, after giving away a 4 year old Yorkie named Shai, to a police officer's girlfriend. The Yorkie belonged to Rochester resident Janet Torren, who had inquired about her lost dog, with no answers from Bousquet. Former Acting Police Chief Tom Murphy fired her after an investigation into the incident. Police Chief Paul Shastany tells Snyder's Stoughton that both individuals were "selected for employment" and were offered the jobs, pending the results of physical and psychological tests. "After they pass, they are on board, and we'll announce who they are. These are two extremely qualified candidates. We do the same tests for this job, as we do for our police officers. These are positions of trust." The psychological tests were administered last week, and the physical will be on November 19. If both are passed, then the name of the candidate should be released next week. We will post names, starts dates, and other information, as soon as it is released.
(November 5, 2010 @ 9 a.m. Updated November 8 at 8 a.m., and November 15 @ 3 p.m.)
Last Year's Volunteer Party
On November 23rd, an amazing presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the regularly-scheduled Selectmen's Meeting. Joe Devito and the Stoughton Historical Society have put together a large plaque that features the history of the Board of Selectmen since 1945. All former selectmen in town, as well as residents of the town, are invited for the unveiling of this historic new piece.Also, the Board of Selectmen are planning to honor the people who give their time serving on Boards and Committees on a volunteer basis for the Town of Stoughton. Last year was an inaugural effort at Town Hall. Selectmen Chairman Steve Anastos tells Snyder's Stoughton that the Second Annual Selectmen's Volunteer Appreciation Event will be held at Town Hall on Monday, December 13. Last year, over 100 people turned out for the initial event, where food and drink was donated, and a good time was had by all.
Stoughton Police Officer Allen Curtis received minor injuries in an ugly crash with an SUV on November 10. The incident, which was on Central Street (about 150 feet from Tosca Drive), occurred when Curtis had his blue flashing lights and siren engaged. The SUV allegedly pulled out of an intersection and hit the cruiser head on. Officer Curtis' head had contact with the windshield, and he had some stitches, head contusions, abrasions, as well as a sprained thumb. He was treated and released at Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton. The cruiser, which was towed from the scene, had a smashed windshield, heavily damaged front end, and flat tire. Stoughton Police Executive Officer Robert Devine told Snyder's Stoughton that the department was looking into the accident, including a re-creation of the accident by investigators. The individuals in the SUV were not immediately identified, but Lt. Devine said neither was seriously injured. Lt. Devine was off-duty and had just finished marching with the Police Honor Guard at the Veteran's Day parade, when approached by Snyder's Stoughton. He did not have access to specific accident reports at that time.
(Posted on November 11th @ 6:45 p.m.)
Stoughton Fire Chief David M. Jardin and State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan are alerting the public and retailers that the new ban on novelty lighters took effect in Massachusetts this week. Governor Patrick signed legislation passed this summer that prohibits the sale of lighters, which due to their physical or audio features make them appealing or attractive to a child under age 10. Coan said, “ Massachusetts is the 14th state to ban these lighters that by their very nature are attractive to children.” Chief Jardin said, “When adults cannot tell the difference between these lighters and toys, how can we expect a young child to do so?”Toy-like or novelty lighters have been responsible for injuries, deaths, and accidents across the nation. Children are attracted to novelty lighters because they look like toys. Many of these lighters look like animals, miniature cars, mobile phones, cameras, fishing lures, stacks of coins, markers, and doll accessories. One lighter is nearly identical to the popular rubber ducky bath toy — it even quacks! There are also toy-like and novelty lighters that look like tools such as tape measures, drills, hammers, and paintbrushes. Ironically, there are even lighters that mimic a Dalmatian donning a fire helmet, a red fire truck, or fire extinguishers. “As part of our outreach to publicize this new law, we are distributing posters to retailers,” said Chief Jardin, “Even though suppliers may still offer these items for sale to retailers, stores must not offer for sale, sell, exchange, give away, or stock them in a Massachusetts establishment,” he added.For questions, please contact the Stoughton Fire Department Fire Prevention Office at 781-344-3170 x 750 or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at (978) 567-3712. The law contains an exemption for collectible lighters made before 1980, certain disposable lighters with artwork, and for interstate transport of lighters not designed to be sold in Massachusetts. Children Using Fire Coan said, “The national child resistant lighter standard has gone a long way towards preventing fires started by very young children. This is the next logical step to keep small children and their families safe from fire.” A child using fire or fire tools is a serious problem in Massachusetts, and across the nation. Juvenile firesetting intervention programs have found that only one in every ten child-set fires comes to the attention of the fire department, so the reported fire incidents are considered the tip of the ice berg.Last Year Children Caused 158 Fires in 2009, children using matches, lighters and other heat sources, caused 158 reported fires, two civilian injuries, eight fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $887,306. Child-set Fires Caused 4 Deaths in 2008. In 2008, there were two fatal fires started by juveniles, one in Holyoke and one in Haverhill. These fires took the lives of four people: three children under seven and one disabled adult. Match and Lighter Safety Tips
For more information, go to the United States Fire Administration’s website on novelty lighters, or to see some in action, see The Idea Bank’s Public Service Announcement on banning novelty lighters.Working Smoke Alarms and Home Escape Plans
Chief Jardin said, “A working smoke alarm is your family’s first line of defense in a fire. Coupled with a home escape plan you practice together, they can increase your chances of safely escaping a fire.”
(Posted on November 10 @ 8 p.m.)
No Action Taken on Pete's Place Liquor License
Selectman on November 9th deciding to take no action in the revocation of the license for Pete's Place in Stoughton Center. Attorney Arthur George of Randolph Savings Bank fought the revocation, along with Nick DeRosa, Senior Lender at Randoph Savings Bank. Both maintained that an individual named Stephen Stein from Sharon was interested in buying the liquor license and running a business at the same downtown location. Board members were dubious, to say the least. "We've continued this twice to give the license owner time to sell. We gave two delays. That's enough," Selectman John Stagnone said. Stagnone also said he spoke to the building's owner and that Stein wasn't going to be signing a lease. Selectman John Anzivino said that George and Peter Bersani (Pete's Place liquor license owner) had told the Board twice before "they were close to signing a purchase and sale agreement. They keep saying everything is imminent." Stoughton's attorney Jeff Blake of Koppelman and Page, advised the Board that they could revoke the license, but it would be appealed, and it could tie it up for months. Selectman Chairman Steve Anastos pointed out correctly that the licenses could not be renewed by the deadline of November 30, unless there was a new lease in place and a purchase and sales agreement. The Board decided to take no action. This means if Bersani (who also owns Pete's Place in Canton Center) can't find a buyer, than, in essence, the liquor license would expire and the town would have it available for another location.
(Posted on November 9, 2010 @ 10 p.m.)
GIVING UNTIL IT HURTS
Saint James Parish teaches the youth of their Church about hunger in a unique way. On one night, the kids voluntarily have a “lock in”, go hungry, and raise funds for needy families at the same time. Reverend John E. Kelly tells Snyder’s Stoughton that this year marks the 15 th year of their annual community food drive, and its unique lock-in fundraiser. It all starts with the distribution of empty shopping bags, with St. James Community Food Drive flyers attached. They have been distributed all around homes in North Stoughton. “We left them around the St. James’ area. Since the merger with Our Lady of the Rosary, people have taken the bags as far as Atkinson Avenue. Our boundaries are more fluid these days,” adds Father Kelly. The night before all the food is sorted, boxed and distributed, the youth of St. James have a “lock in.” They stay overnight in the Church---fifty or so---and get sponsors. Father Kelly said that “The kids that work on this project fast that night. They get a small taste of what hunger is all about. At the same time, they get sponsors and raise money at the same time.” Last year, as in the years before, St. James Church was able to make a major difference for Stoughton’s two food pantries (St. Anthony’s Free Market and the Ilse Marks Food Pantry). Each pantry received two TRUCKLOADS of food, as well as cash contributions of $1500 (raised at the lock in). In addition, Father Kelly said that My Brother’s Keeper in Brockton also got a truckload of food that was distributed after the other two received theirs. Father Kelly said in addition to the pantries, individual Stoughton families are also direct recipients of help. “We deal with some families from our Parish that we know are going through tough times. We also get students and parents that are recommended by the nurses at some of Stoughton’s public schools.” Mary Ann Caldwell , who has been coordinating this fundraiser for all 15 years, said, “It’s pretty awesome.” Caldwell said than any member of the community is welcome to help out. They can bring a paper shopping bag filled with non-perishable items anytime before noon on November 14 to St. James Church, 560 Page Street, in Stoughton. Caldwell added, “They can be left anytime during the week at our side door. In addition, we joined this year with Immaculate Conception Church. So, they can bring them there as well.” As for the enthusiasm of the youngsters and their parents who volunteer, Caldwell said, “The Kids here are awesome and so are the parents. It’s amazing what can happen when everyone pitches in!” An old Chinese proverb says “A person with food has many problems. A person without food has only one problem.” It’s nice to see the parishioners of St. James Church working to feed the hungry and help solve at least one of life’s problems.
(From Stoughton Journal of 11/12/10)
Good Work by Officer Faria Results in Arrest
(Gatehouse Media Story)
First Reported Here : DETECTIVES INTERCEPT FLORIDA OXY SELLERS
Stoughton Police Evidence Photo
Graham & Prato Booking Photos(Posted on November 5, 2010 @ 9:10 a.m.)
2010 NO PLACE FOR HATE ® COMMUNITY NETWORK CONFERENCE
(L-R: Sgt. Dan McGowan, Stoughton Police Department; Dick Levine, co-chair Stoughton No Pace for Hate; Karon Skinner-Catrone, co-chair Stoughton No Place for Hate.
ADL’s 2010 No Place for Hate ® Community Network Conference brought together 250 people, representing nearly fifty communities, for a day of interaction and training in Boston. This year’s theme, “Don’t be a Bystander: Confronting Bullying & Cyberbullying in Your Community” provided a critical opportunity for open discussion and concrete training. The pervasive issue of bullying impacts all of our schools and communities, and it was very powerful to have so many different sectors engaged on this topic together—from students and teachers, to law enforcement, clergy, elected officials, school administrators, parents, non-profit professionals, volunteers and others.
Twenty-four of the communities in attendance were recognized as No Place for Hate communities for 2010. The No Place for Hate Community Network is a diverse group of cities and towns, creating welcoming and inclusive environments throughout Massachusetts. No Place for Hate communities implement proactive community-building activities, and actively respond to incidents of hate and bigotry if they occur.
JOYCE WINS BIG
State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton) cruised to victory against Canton Selectmen Robert Burr. Joyce, who ran a spirited campaign, including postcards and robocalling, won Stoughton in convincing fashion, winning in every precinct, and topping Burr, 5976-3907. He won with up to 70% of the vote in Randolph, Milton and Avon, as well.
State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton) cruised to victory against Canton Selectmen Robert Burr. Joyce, who ran a spirited campaign, including postcards and robocalling, won Stoughton in convincing fashion, winning in every precinct, and topping Burr, 5976-3907. He won with up to 70% of the vote in Randolph, Milton and Avon, as well.
OTHER CONTESTED RACES: GOVERNOR: Deval Patrick 4511 ATTORNEY GENERAL: Martha Coakley 6320 SECRETARY OF STATE William Francis Galvin 6653 TREASURER Steven Grossman 5444 AUDITOR Suzanne Bump 4489 U.S. REP IN CONGRESS Stephen Lynch 6479 GOVERNORS COUNCIL Kelly Timilty 5472 DISTRICT ATTORNEY Michael Morrissey 5800 John Coffey 3394 SHERIFF Michael Belloti 6123 QUESTION 1 (alcohol tax) QUESTION 2 (40B) YES 5482 QUESTIONS 3 (Sales Tax Lowering) YES 4814
Charles Baker 4593
Tim Cahill 1048
Jill Stein 109
James McKenna 3800
William C. Campbell 3049
Karyn Polito 4437
Mary Z. Connaughton 4531
Vernon Harrison 2919
Philip Dunkelbarger 470
Steven Glovsky 3489
Richard Mitchell 416
William Farretta 3343
OTHER CONTESTED RACES:
Deval Patrick 4511
Martha Coakley 6320
SECRETARY OF STATE
William Francis Galvin 6653
Steven Grossman 5444
Suzanne Bump 4489
U.S. REP IN CONGRESS
Stephen Lynch 6479
Kelly Timilty 5472
Michael Morrissey 5800
John Coffey 3394
Michael Belloti 6123
QUESTION 1 (alcohol tax)
QUESTION 2 (40B)
QUESTIONS 3 (Sales Tax Lowering)
NOTICE TO RESIDENTS
VETERANS DAY : On Thursday, November 11th, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of Veterans Day. Trash collection for Veterans Day will be scheduled for Friday, November 12th in addition to the regular Friday collection. This is standard procedure for any holiday. For six (6) Sundays only, beginning Sunday, October 31st, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. only, Stoughton residents may bring leaves and grass clippings only to the transfer station. All rubbish and recyclables must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. No barrel over 30-gallon size will be emptied. Large household appliances (metal items) must be called into the Public Works for appointment for pickup. John M. Batchelder
Superintendent of Public Works
Animal Control Officer Coming Soon
Stoughton should have a new Animal Control Officer soon. Town Manager Francis Crimmins, Jr. tells Snyder's Stoughton that the original stack of 61 applicants has been narrowed down to two. "One of the final two has been interviewed, the other finalist is being interviewed next week. The decision could be made the following week. The background process and the interview process is the same that a candidate for appointment to the Police Department would go through." Stoughton has been without a full time Animal Control Officer since Kristin Bousquet was fired for giving away a lost dog to the girlfriend of a Stoughton Police officer. The incident happened last October, and she was fired in November, 2009. Animal Control employee Jane Parker has been, in essence, an interim ACO since.(Posted @ 3 p.m. on October 22, 2010) (Story from November, 2009)
Volunteer Football Coach Fired Mid-Season
Many football players and their parents are upset about the mid-season firing of volunteer Stoughton High football coach Robert Gelly. Gelly, who coached Freshmen and assisted with JV and Varsity Football during games since 2008, was cut loose 30 minutes before the third game of this season. He told Snyder's Stoughton, "I want the truth to be told. Dr. Rizzi is the judge and jury. What changed since last year? Why go through all that trouble to secure funding for the second freshman coach when I volunteered. Gelly said that he was let go as the result of his CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information.) "I have never been convicted of anything, but I was charged in 2000---ten years ago--with a DUI. I was here the two previous seasons with the same CORI. What changed? The whole story is not being told. Wild rumors and innuendo are flying. I want to clear my name." Many football players, current and former, have spoken out in defense of Gelly. My own son Dan, who played for Gelly in 2008, said he was a "great guy and an excellent coach." Stoughton High Athletic Director Ryan Donahue said, "We're trying to hold our volunteers and coaches to the highest standards around our kids. A decision was made that a violation on the CORI prevented him from helping this year." When asked about the fact that it wasn't a conviction---and it was ten years ago-- Donahue said that "It's unfortunate, but I can't really comment on it. Bob's a nice guy and we hope he continues to make good decisions." Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi would not talk about the specific problems contained in the CORI. "That is confidential. If Robert wants to hand out copies, he's welcome to it. I can't discuss them." When asked why he was pulled off the field this year, when he had volunteered the previous two years without incident, Dr. Rizzi said, "Last year, his CORI never crossed my desk. This year, I saw it. The administration has the obligation to make sure that there is absolutely no question about volunteers--they are to be above reproach. I will say that things in that report could have been discussed upfront. Our requirements are extremely high, and people should not draw any conclusions about Mr. Gelly." Dr. Rizzi said that a number of volunteers, for many school functions and organizations, have been quietly told to leave when CORI results came back. "You have to set the standard extremely high. It's an honor to work with our students." Rizzi did apologize for the mid-season removal. "Our CORI checks came back late this year. Next year, we will make sure they are done before the season starts." School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn said, "I am aware of it. A number of parents have spoken to me about it. I called Dr. Rizzi when Mr. Gelly first came to me. I suggested he meet with her and try to resolve it. I explained that all CORI's are reviewed by the Superintendent and she makes decisions based on what's on there. I encouraged him to work through channels. Dr. Rizzi reinforced that the decision is hers. We encourage volunteerism, but the CORI check is a safeguard for students. If there's a concern with the process, I will redirect that back to Dr. Rizzi. We as a Committee will look at the process because enough questions were raised. As far as this particular instance, I really encourage Mr. Gelly to go through the process with the administration. We will look at the overall process at our next meeting. But, I don't want to pull our students into the middle of it. In this instance, as in all these types of incidents, I maintain it lies in the hands of the Superintendent. To publicly raise this in the media--like your website--that's not the way to sway the person you are appealing to. " Both Donahue and Rizzi left the door open for Gelly's possible return next year. Adds Rizzi, "Mr. Gelly was told he could re-apply next year, with a proper letter and application disclosing everything before hand." Gelly wasn't buying that. He added, "Nowhere on the CORI form does it ask you to divulge the information up front. I have nothing to hide. I don't know if I will sign up and go through this again next year. Dr. Rizzi seems to make up the rules as she goes along. I'm born and raised here and she comes in and rules by fear and intimidation. She destroyed my football season this year, and hurt a lot of players, who have supported me since this happened. I'd like to know what the guidelines are for volunteer coaches. I haven't seen any written down. She must make up the rules."
(Posted on October 20 @ 6:30 p.m. Updated October 26, 2010 @ 10 p.m.)
Dozens of members of the Stoughton High football team showed up to support fired volunteer football coach Robert Gelly on Tuesday night. Parent supporters Matt Woodard and Bob Evangelista spoke up and asked the obvious questions. They wanted to know why Gelly, who had coached the freshman football squad, and assisted at JV and Varsity games in 2008 and 2009, was told that ten year old charges on his CORI report was the reason he was let go. Those in attendance were hoping that the School Committee would vote to re-instate Gelly, who was fired by Superintendent Dr. Marguerite Rizzi (who also said that Athletic Director Ryan Donahue was involved, as well.) Dr,. Rizzi said that she would reconsider the decision, if the school committee voted to tell her to do that. She also said she would re-instate him, if so voted by the school committee. But, after numerous speeches by SC members, no motions were made. On the one hand, a unilateral decision by the School Committee could have started the Committee on a slippery slope of caving in to crowd pressures,and undermining the Superintendent of Schools. On the other hand, it seems that in these days of tightened budgets, and cutting of coaches, to let one go under these circumstances could be questioned. The fact that Mr. Gelly coached the past two years---without incident---lends credence to his case. The fact that he was fired, 30 minutes before the start of the third game, is also troubling. Obviously, rumors fly when something like that happens, and therumors were much worse than reality. Mr. Gelly has admitted that on a night ten years ago he made some mistakes. But, he never hurt anyone, and he has been an incredible coach. My own son Dan, who played for Gelly in 2008, said he was a "great guy and an excellent coach."
Gelly still held out some hope that something could be worked out and he could return before the final game on Thanksgiving. “I’m disappointed that I wasn’t reinstated tonight. Hearing the process, I know I need to take the proper steps. I look forward to speaking with Dr. Rizzi.”
WANTED....Human Resources Director
Pothole Danger on Woodpecker Road
Snyder's Stoughton has been working over two weeks on a story about a private section of Woodpecker Road, owned by a Lee Marinelli corporation, that has resulted in a number of disabled cars. The Complete Story will follow at some point in the near future. This warning is posted to try to prevent more people from suffering damage to their cars.
Central Street Fire Station Re-Opening
Stoughton Fire Station #2, located on Central Street, which has been closed due to a mold problem for years, has re-opened, according to Fire Chief David Jardin. The administration re-occupied the building October 18th on the second floor and the entire department moved in today (10/19). Jardin asked to publish the following:
(Posted on October 18 @ 3 p.m.)
BATTLE LINES ARE BEING DRAWN
Tuesday night, before the school committee meeting, word was out that a couple of hundred people would be descending on the high school to march in support of teachers trying to reverse the contract extension voted Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi last week by the School Committee in executive session. Stoughton Teachers Association president Susan Cogliano was handing out buttons, and gathering the troops together. This intrepid columnist sought to ask a few questions. She replied, “My presentation will give you all the information you need.” She said she would address any questions I had after the presentation. About 1/3 of the members of the STA had voted 121-6, with one abstention, to vote “no confidence” in the superintendent shortly after the renewal, in a hastily-called meeting. This was all in the midst of hardball negotiations for contracts, between the STA, the School Committee and the Superintendent. As a former teacher, I am quite cognizant of the incredible dedication, hard work, and long hours that it takes to be an excellent teacher. Great teachers put a lot of themselves out to their pupils; they inspire them to achieve greatness that may have eluded them with others in front of the classroom. Great teachers feed the natural thirst for learning, while using creative ways to cull interest from students who, in this day and age, are often with very short attention spans, and much distraction around them. So, I am a solid supporter of those who teach our children well. Both of mine have had fantastic teachers along the way (At the Dawe Elementary School, the O’Donnell Middle School and Stoughton High), and have learned so much from them—not just about material covered in the classroom, but about life, as well.With that said, Cogliano picked a battle she could not win. She painted herself---and unfortunately those she represents—in a proverbial corner. An STA member filed an open meeting law complaint, citing the vote and discussion on the matter in executive session. They hoped to force reconsideration from the original vote, and have it reversed in open session. The vote was 3-1 in executive session for the contract extension (with Allan Mills recusing himself from the discussion and vote.) The reconsidered vote was the same as the original. Even School Committee member Dr. Erdem Ural, the lone vote against the extension, had good things to say about Dr. Rizzi: “There is no disagreement on this committee that Maggie is doing a good job. It’s that she’s only been on the job one year. She got good reviews, but there are areas that need improvement.” But, Dr. Ural added, “I was disappointed in the vote of no confidence.” Cogliano denied that the vote of “no confidence” was related to the contract negotiations. “Our concerns with Dr. Rizzi began when she took over the reins of leadership in the Stoughton Public Schools and are well documented.” She said that an STA leadership team met in July with two members of the school committee, and Dr. Rizzi, to give “concrete examples of her failings as a leader. We had hoped that Dr. Rizzi would enter a period of self-reflection and make the changes necessary to become an effective leader.” She noted that since Dr. Rizzi became Superintendent of Schools, the STA has filed 10 grievances. They have also filed four unfair labor practices charges at the Division of Labor Relations. Cogliano noted that in the previous 15 years, no unfair labor practices charges were filed. Gibbons School principal Lynn Jardin, speaking for the administrative leadership team of the Stoughton Public Schools, expressed total support for Dr. Rizzi. “She has instituted an open door policy that has fostered an atmosphere of open communications. She is approachable, as well as an active listener. She has been supportive of Stoughton town educators by promoting teachers from within the system to her administrative team, nine times over the last three years.”Here’s an example of something Dr. Rizzi instituted that ruffled some feathers: She had a choice to make when putting together this year’s budget. She could lay off three teachers, or cut $150,000 in teacher’s stipends. She chose to retain all teachers (there were no layoffs) and cut the stipends. For many teachers, who may have lost several thousand dollars in stipends, it was the wrong decision. To the three young non-tenured teachers who got to keep their jobs in this horrid economy, it was the right decision.School Committee member Deborah Sovinee had nothing but praise for Dr. Rizzi. “She has done a wonderful job in the first year and a half. I evaluated the Superintendent and found her to be a creative thinker, decisive, and particularly gifted in the area of curricula. My hope is that Dr. Rizzi’s creative leadership will continue to move the district to the next level and to do so during a time of restrictive budgets. Research that I did showed that her salary compared to other school systems of similar size and with the same experience, is on the low side. While our town may not be able to offer as high a salary as wealthier towns, we could offer her some job security in terms of a contract extension.”Holly Boykin, a parent of two high school students, and chair of the finance committee, spoke of her own feelings towards the battle lines being drawn. “I’m upset at how this has progressed. I can’t believe it’s come to this. Change is difficult for everyone. Not everyone gets what they want. 360 teachers--10 grievances in two years. That’s not many. This is not the way we’d teach our children to handle their problems. To move forward, you have to agree to disagree. The real losers are the children and their parents. I’d urge the STA, the School Committee and the Superintendent to come together and move the town forward.”Superintendent Dr. Rizzi told Snyder’s Stoughton that she’s not happy that her reputation and credibility is being damaged by the STA actions. “It could discredit them. And, unfortunately it reflects negatively on everyone.” But Rizzi cautions that the results of the poor economy are going to have a big impact as we move forward: “There’s no money. We have a lot of teachers being paid from one-time federal stimulus money. Even with some of the new proposed federal funds, we’ll end up with a negative number. The new money won’t replace the money lost. If you agree to contracts that will swell in size, you are building in future layoffs.” Dr. Rizzi engineered a budget this year with no teacher layoffs, a very rare feat in these tough fiscal times.As everyone knows that has been reading this column the past 12 years I like to weigh both sides of the equation before I give my opinion. In this case, there wasn’t much to go on. I approached Cogliano after her presentation to ask some questions. I wanted to know what the union hoped to accomplish by putting the superintendent---and the school system—publicly in a bad light. I wanted to know more about the specific issues they had with Dr. Rizzi. I wanted to determine how earnest the school department was in dealing with them to get contracts for our teachers. If the STA was getting the short end of the stick, I’d be the first to stand up and defend them. So, what did STA President Cogliano tell me? “I’m disappointed.” OK-- and what else? “That’s all.” That’s all? No answers? Just walk away into the crowd? That’s not the way to inform the public, or to garner their support. Someone by the name of LadyNight on the Journal’s blog under last week’s column put it perfectly: “The school committee is going to have to figure out how to resolve the issues and repair the relationship so there can be peaceful coexistence. The union and the superintendent don't have to agree on everything. The union has to respect that there are certain decisions that are management's prerogative, and the superintendent has to respect that the union has certain rights, and that teachers may also have valid ideas about improving education.” And I would add that all must work together to hammer out fair contracts, in a dismal economic arena. It’s easier said than done.Still, the words of Stephens Stills somehow run in my mind:“There’s battle lines being drawn;
nobody’s right, if everybody’s wrong.”
(From Stoughton Journal of 10/15/10.)
OCTOBER 28 BOSTON GLOBE STORY DR RIZZI'S SELF EVALUATION
Deborah Sovinee's Remarks Jardin's Letter Tony Sarno's Letter
New: STA Presentation to School Committee (received on 10/23/10)
One Side of the Argument: Globe's Article on Education Herald Op-Ed on Education Will post OTHER Opinion Pieces, when received
(readers, feel free to submit!) :
SMAC Hires Program Director
Stoughton Media Access Corp. (SMAC) made its second hire on October 12, 2010. Executive Director Steve Innis said that Lawrence Hollie, the former Studio Manager for Brookline Access Television, started today in his new position. Adds Innis, "He comes to SMAC with an wealth of knowledge in Public Access. He is excited to meet all the producers, crew members and future access producers." It is expected this hire should free up time for Innis to concentrate on the constructing of SMAC's Page Street studio, as well as the selling of memberships and sponsorships for the nonprofit media company. Another item on Innis' and Hollie's plate: Getting more people in the community trained and volunteering for additional local access shows. Currently, Stoughton has three local access shows taped in Easton, and an additional one taped in Framingham (and occassionally, in Easton).
(Posted on October 12, 2010 @ 1 p.m.)
Stoughton Police Department Honored
Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany accepts "Above & Beyond Award" from Arthur Parker, former Police Chief in Carver, and ESGR employee (l) and David St. Germaine of ESGR (Hank Herbowy photo)
The Stoughton Police Department received the "Above and Beyond" award from the Department of Defense at last night's selectmen's meeting (October 5, 2010). The officers of the department were one of only five other police departments to ever obtain the honor, given for their unwavering support of our members on active duty service. Chief Paul Shastany said he was proud to accept it in honor of the brave officers who have gone overseas to serve their country. The State Police, Cambridge Police, and Boston Police were other departments so honored. Just another step in the right direction for a force that has taken its share of abuse in recent years. The award was presented by Arthur Parker and David St. Germaine of Employee Support of the Guard & Reserve (ESGR).
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SENDS THANKS SPD
According to Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, "the United States Department of State sent a letter commending Sgt. John Bonney, and Officers Joe Zbinski and Joe Desousa for their assistance and support of a subject wanted by their agency. They asked that we commend these officers and look forward to a good working relationship with the Stoughton Police in the future."
(Posted on October 6, 2010 @ 10:30 a.m.. Second part posted on October 7, 2010 @ 2:30 p.m.)
Local Youths Arrested for Multiple Armed Robberies...
First Reported Here.......
Dr. Rizzi's Contract Extended
In times when a superior Superintendent of Schools is highly-coveted, the Stoughton School Committee made a great move on September 28. The Stoughton School Committee voted 3-1 (with Dr. Erdem Ural voting against it, and Allan Mills abstaining due to his wife's position in the District) to extend Superintendent Dr. Marguerite C. Rizzi’s contract for four years, bringing her term through June 2016. Terms of the contract were not released. School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn told Snyder's Stoughton that the Committee felt comfortable extending the contract, but did nothing beyond that. "We did not increase sa lary, stipends or benefits. It was strictly an extension of the length of the contract. It would be premature to have begun any negotiations for a salary increase, until we settle other contracts in town." Rizzi currently earns $140,000 per year. Dr. Ural told Snyder's Stoughton that the discussion and vote took place in Executive Session. He also said that, "I voted against the motion for the extension until June 2016 because it was extremely premature. First, Dr. Rizzi had only one year to demonstrate her performance as the Superintendent. Furthermore, the School Committee did not yet fully discuss and resolve the areas identified by the School Committee members for performance improvement.”Ural cited the Superintendent's self evaluation, which he requested be posted ("I know that you feel your readers like simple positive stories, but is it not your duty to give them access to all the facts and views?"). The self-evaluation IS a public document, according to School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn. It can be found at: http://www.snydersstoughton.com/Superintendent_Self_Evaluation.pdf. Colburn said he understands Dr. Ural's concerns and encourages all members of the School Committee to speak up in meetings. "As a group, it's important to discuss matters together. Controversial issues are best worked out at meetings. I strongly encourage dissenting opinions during our meetings, not outside of them. This whole contract matter was handled in Executive Session. The process of Dr. Rizzi's review is ongoing."School Committee member Joyce Husseini was excited about the contract extension. "In the position of Superintendent of Schools, consistency and longevity is important. Tony Sarno was able to establish change through his long tenure. Dr. Rizzi is an out-of the box thinker. We'd like to give her time to continue to move the schools in a forward direction." Deborah Sovinee of the School Committee added, "It's great for the school system to have continuity. It's halfway through the contract and she apparently has had interest from other school systems. It was a superlative year under her leadership. For those reasons, we decided to give her a big vote of confidence and extend her length of contract. Some examples of her effectiveness are the 7th Grade MCAS scores. They put us in the top 15% in the area. We scored higher than the Foxboro Charter School that people are always talking about. In addition, there's a huge increase in AP courses and the number of students who will be taking them. This is all supported by a grant. As a parent who is touring some quality colleges, I will tell you that more than grades, they say they are looking for students who take the toughest courses that the school offers. The good news here is that more of our high school students will be taking these types of courses, and will have the opportunity to attend even better colleges than they previously could have." Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi said she was very excited, too. She said, "I love being in Stoughton. I love the people in the school system. You need to have three to five years to put ideas into practice. Educational change doesn't happen overnight. We have a good, strong system and we intend to make it truly great. It can be as great as much more affluent communities. We may not have all the socioeconomic advantages of some of our neighboring towns, but I think we can have a school system as good as any in this state.”In the high school, the MCAS tests reflect a giant leap in scores. Towns are required to get everyone proficient by 2004. According to Dr. Rizzi, “So many schools are close together near the top. We moved up 34 places in the past year overall and 49 places in English. There were only 3 tenth graders who didn't pass one of the tests, and only by a few points. It was an excellent showing. The teachers and students did just a fantastic job. When schools have a lot of failures, they need to spend resources into successful retesting. Now, we can put our resources into going to the next level. It's a nice thing for the community and the District.” As far as the final word on her contract extension, Rizzi said: “It's a commitment on the part of the school committee to me, and from me to them.” Sovinee says that both Dr. Rizzi and Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Ford “have a definite vision, and a place they want to take the school system. Snyder's Stoughton believes strongly that the school committee made a smart move tying up this superintendent long-term. I've seen excellent leadership from Dr. Rizzi that is already showing results in a very short time. I can see that vision coming into view, and seeing is believing.
(Posted on September 29 @ 5:50 p.m. Updated on October 3 @ 8 p.m., and on October 5 @ 11 p.m.)]
Stoughton Seeks out new Human Resources Director
BIRD REUNIONPeople have been asking...
Did the bird posted on snydersstoughton.com last month reunite with it's owner?
Dave Young, Irene Faria and Max the bird.
Snyder's Stoughton was happy to help them find each other!
Stoughton to be Awarded Pittance for South Rail "Smart Growth"
From Dept. of Transportation Newletter of October 1, 2010: "Annual technical assistance grants have helped communities plan for development around stations, create housing plans and draft zoning changes to maximize the smart growth potential of commuter rail service. This year, fifteen communities are receiving awards worth a total of $320,000. The fifteen communities include: Acushnet, Berkley, Easton, Fall River, Freetown, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Norton, Rehoboth, Rochester, Sharon, Somerset, Stoughton, Taunton and Lakeville."
CITIZENS BANK ROBBERY SOLVED
From Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine: "Thank you to all of the responding officers and detectives who quickly identified the perpetrators of the Citizen's Bank Robbery yesterday (September 30). Matthew Roberto, 20, of Easton was taken into custody for robberies in Easton, Sharon, and yesterday's in Stoughton. Warrants are being sought for his suspected partner, Matthew Sarnowitz, 28, also of Easton. Special recognition goes to Det. Sgt. Robert Welch and Det. Erik Feist, as well as the collaborative efforts of the Easton, Sharon, Mansfield, and Brockton Police Departments, as well as the FBI and the Mass. State Police."
CHIEF SHASTANY MARKS SIX MONTHS ON THE JOB
It’s been six months now since Paul Shastany came from the Framingham Police Department and took the reigns of the Stoughton Police Department. As recently as January of 2010, former Detective Tony Bickerton was convicted of lying to the FBI. At that time, Hillary A. Schwab , a Boston lawyer who represented Det. Sgt Bob Welch in a successful federal lawsuit against the town, was quoted as saying, "the Stoughton Police Department is broken." Times have certainly changed. In six short months, the department has been led in a new direction, through officer training, new technology improvements, and even changes to the physical plant. Because of the situation with Bickerton, Chief Shastany said he instituted a revamped Confidential Informant Policy, as well as changing the evidence submission procedures by utilizing bar coding, and improved individual security lockers. Also instituted were new policies for managing affidavits, which require review from the District Attorney’s office before submission. Chief Shastany says that this helps “make cases bullet proof before moving them forward.” The Chief, with assistance from his Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, changed the internal affairs department, dividing it into civil and criminal divisions that are in line with the FBI’s LEEDA Training, which Chief Shastany and XO Devine both attended. One of the catalysts for change here was former Officer Richard Bennett. Chief Shastany said that Bennett had put a laser scope on his gun, without authorization, and that it had fallen off at the practice range, rendering the weapon useless. “This investigation was handled by the policy side of Internal Affairs, and resulted in the resignation of that officer.” Chief Shastany said that when he started, he did a lot of listening. “I kept my mouth shut, and my ears wide open,” he told Snyder’s Stoughton, “I wanted to learn and not inhibit the free flow of information. I had to know what problems existed, so I could move the department forward. Before I took the job, I had spoken to many people in Stoughton, and done my homework, so I had a rough idea of what would accomplish that. I met formally and informally with most of the officers of the department. We have some talented individuals here, and I plan on bringing out their best.” Shastany said one of those talented individuals is Lt. Devine. “I discovered what a tremendous resource he is.” He also had kind words for Sgt. Tom Murphy, the former Acting Chief. “One of my goals is to get this department accredited. We want to be a department that is a leader in law enforcement circles. Sgt. Murphy has aggressively pursued accreditation, writing 90 of the 146 certification requirements in draft form. The Stoughton Police Department is now partnering with a myriad of agencies, including the Norfolk County District Attorney’s office, the Attorney General’s office, State and Local Police Departments, Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Norfolk County Sheriff. The police department has gotten a bit more active, implementing random alcohol licensing compliance checks, increased car stops (which is one of the surest ways to lower crime, according to Shastany), using Hot Spot Mapping (to increase patrol in troubled areas), and adding an aggressive push against drug dealers. According to Devine, “Drugs are a multi-faceted monster. Prevention is first (through organizations like O.A.S.I.S.) Then, we need to make arrests, when appropriate. We’ve been going after open air deals, who sell in parking lots and street corners. We do surveillance, and swoop in with probably cause and search warrants.” Another area that Chief Shastany said he has been working on in his first six months is follow-up of complaints. “It just illustrates to residents that this department cares. People call or come in with complaints. Sometimes they don’t hear from us and think nothing has been done. We can’t take action on anything we have no data to back up. The number one thing that people complain about is the perceived speed of cars on their street. We do speed tests, and if there is a problem, we deploy officers in those areas.” As for the effectiveness of the force, Shastany cites the detective squad, which has a 75% clearance rate for robberies. “We recently solved a taxi robbery at gunpoint, at the scene of the crime. This is despite being down in manpower. We’re still up in crime solving.” Devine said that a warning system that was instituted has resulted in a decrease of bank robberies in Stoughton. “Physical checks into banks,--along with a warning system that calls or emails bank managers with warnings of nearby theft activity--has lowered robberies in town.” Shastany added that, “From a global view, I want to have the best police department around. We will be accredited and deliver excellent training, service and investigational ability.” So, what will the next six months bring? Technology is coming. “We’ll be policing in a different manner,” Shastany said. “We brought in an intern from Bridgewater State College. She will be aiding with data mapping.” The Department plans to build up their website, according to the Chief. Copies of accident reports and other paperwork will be available from the comfort of home. They also plan on putting department data on crimereports.com, Shastany says, adding “We’ll give people as much information as we can about what is going on. Officers’ self-initiated work can be documented on that site. There’s a tip link on it that filters out IP addresses to insure anonymity.” Chief Shastany said there will be as many interactive functions as possible. “We’re going to adopt a self-service mode. People can stay in their comfort zones.” Devine said that the department was policing like the 1980’s. “We’re taking advantage of the latest resources. Even the physical plant is undergoing major changes. Fresh paint, in more pleasant warm colors, now covers many of the walls, from the holding cells to the bathrooms. Hot water is flowing for the first time into sinks in the prisoner’s cells. The officers’ locker rooms now have hot water for the first time, and working showers. Donna McNamara , president of the Stoughton Police Patrolman’s union, is enthusiastic about what Chief Shastany has brought to the department. “The morale has increased twofold. There have been a lot of changes in the past six months. We are moving forward. He’s trying to bring the department into the 21 st Century. We have supported the Chief and he has supported us.” Board of Selectman Chairman Steve Anastos said “I think that Chief Shastany has done a great job. I’m pleased with his effort to make employee training and department accreditation a priority. The training component is very important. He seems to have the support of the troops. There is satisfaction of his leadership from within his department, as well as in the community.” Town Manager Frank Crimmins, who is Chief Shastany’s boss, had very kind words to mark the six months: “ It is hard to believe that it has only been six months since Chief Paul Shastany has been leading the Stoughton Police Department when you look at the transformation of that Department. He has the vision to lead our law enforcement men and women, and the ability to persuade his Department to buy into his vision. The result is a highly motivated, accountable and transparent team of professionals working very hard to protect the residents of the Town of Stoughton. In turn, this hard work has earned the respect and support of residents. The Board of Selectmen should be duly recognized for supporting Chief Shastany in his quest for excellence.” But not everyone in town is impressed. Local cable TV host Dick Murphy told Snyder’s Stoughton, “I don’t feel a lot has changed. I was unhappy about the situation with the Enterprise reporter. The same characters are still acting up.” Lt. Devine says that, “We are still rebuilding the public trust, after taking some black eyes.” Chief Shastany said he is working everyday to erase the memories of the past. He told me, “This has been an exciting six months. It’s been better than my wildest dreams. We are moving so fast in the right direction.” When Snyder’s Stoughton asked the Chief for a list of accomplishments for the first six months, I received a long four page list. Suffice to say, there is much not mentioned here. From the re-establishment of community policing like Explorers, Mountain Bike Patrols, and Officer Phil School Safety Programs (which all help keep kids off the streets during afternoons, when they are most vulnerable to criminal activity) to aggressive outreach by the Chief, who has been on all the local access TV shows (including Mr. Murphy’s twice), done interviews with local newspapers, and participated in numerous activities of the seniors, youth, religious and civic organizations. The key, mentioned by Anastos, as well as superior officers, is the training. An aggressive training regimen to increase operational competencies has been rolled out. Senior management and leadership courses; as well as training in internal affairs, street level narcotics, police mountain bike, identity theft, drug diversion, gang enforcement, police accreditation, property and evidence, and street crimes, to name a few, have begun. The department has previously offered limited training. Lt. Devine said, “When people are sent out for training, they appreciate it. When recognized law enforcement leaders, who teach these courses, tell you what you are doing well, it means something.” Shastany added, “We need to train officers in leadership before they hit the streets.”
The Police Department has held open houses to invite the community into the station. Chief Shastany said the door is still open. Any resident who has any questions, or needs any assistance, shouldn’t hesitate to come in. We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
(from Snyder's Stoughton in Stoughton Journal, October 1, 2010 edition.)
Morrissey Helps Clamp Down on Drugs
Michael W. Morrissey, candidate for Norfolk District Attorney, announced that legislation he wrote ensuring that all forms of the dangerous street drug known as “Special K” will be treated as an illegal narcotic has been signed into law by Governor Patrick. The drug, formally known as Ketamine, is a hallucinogen that produces effects similar to PCP, and Morrissey said drug pushers have been able to alter it into a number of different forms over the years that fall outside of scope of existing state laws eligible for prosecution. The law, which will bring Massachusetts in line with federal statute, makes it a crime to possess any material, compound, preparation mixture containing Ketamine. The drug can come in either liquid or powdered form, and can be snorted, swallowed in pill form, injected, or even smoked. “Drug dealers will always find creative ways to deliver their deadly product, and it requires constant vigilance on our part to guarantee that law enforcement and prosecutors have the tools they need to keep these drugs off the streets and out of the hands of our children,” Morrissey said. “This change broadens the definition of the drug to include all of the various chemical compounds that make Ketamine an illegal narcotic.” Morrissey said he worked in collaboration with Norfolk District Attorney Bill Keating’s Office on the bill and added that is supported by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory. “The problem with illegal drugs is not going to be solved overnight, but we are fighting this scourge with every weapon we have,” Morrissey said, noting that he has also successfully fought to enact some of toughest laws targeting drug traffickers in the entire country.
Robbery Suspect Nabbed By SPD
For a Brockton cab driver, a fare to Stoughton became a nightmarish adventure. When the passenger asked to be delivered to 118 Summer Ave., he didn't like the amount the cabbie wanted to charge him. So, he took out a gun and robbed the cab driver, taking cash and then running toward Canton Street. The driver, who wishes to remain nameless but was working for Cowan Taxi in Brockton, called the Stoughton Police Department. Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine tells Snyder's Stoughton that he sent out the canine unit, and "We got a good description of the suspect. The canine got a direct track to the rear of 65 Canton Street. The man inside matched the description of the suspect, and we found the exact amount of money, and the exact denominations that were taken. We later found the weapon used." Arrested at the scene was Aldwin Braithwaite, 19, who told officers he was homeless. Lt. Devine said, however, that the suspect's last known address was 65 Canton Street.
(Posted on September 27 @ 1:30 p.m. Story (c) by snydersstoughton.com
FIRE STATION TO OPEN
The Second Fire Station, located on Central Street, will finally re-open on Columbus Day weekend, according to Town Manager Francis Crimmins, Jr., who said that at Tuesday night's Selectmen's meeting (September 21) in his TM report. The Station had been shut down shortly after it was built, due to mold from a faulty ventilation system. The entire building was cleaned of mold, and had a new HCAV system put in. Snyder's Stoughton assumes that the opening will be THIS Columbus Day weekend, and not the NEXT one.(Posted on September 21, 2010 @ 9 p.m.)
Update- Fire Station # 2 by Chief Jardin
(Posted on September 23, 2010.@ 7:40 p.m.)
POLICE PLANNING SPECIAL HALLOWEEN
Stoughton Police Officer Jay Owens says that former Selectman Joe Mokrisky got him involved last year with the Stoughton Community Events Committee and the Halloween Haunted Hayride. Officer Owens says that a large number of police officers and their families are committed to helping the Haunted Hayride this year, and wanted to do even more. Owens came up with the Halloween Spirit Contest. Details are still in the works, but the idea is to recognize homeowners who are decorating their houses up big for Halloween. "We'll go to their house a week before Halloween and take some pictures," Owens told Snyder's Stoughton, "then we'll take the photos, post them on the Stoughton Police Department Facebook page, and let our Facebook friends vote with the 'like' button. The host with the most 'likes' will win a trophy I'll be building. Depending on how many entries we have, we'll determine how many prizes to give out. For instance, one family may win a ride-along to school for their kids with the Chief of Police. If any business owners want to contribute a prize, we'd welcome it." In addition to the Spirit contest, Owens said the Police Department Community Policing Unit is also working on another idea. "We're looking for early evening safe sites for Halloween. The idea would be for families to come to the Police Department lobby for 'treats', then an officer will escort them to other locations, like Honey Dew Donuts and the Fire Station for more treats. Any other businesses in the downtown area that would like to get involved in handing out treats should contact me." If you would like to donate a prize, be part of the businesses handing out treats, enter your house in the contest, or would like to volunteer, contact Officer Jay Owens from 4-midnight at 781-344-2424, or email email@example.com.(Posted September 22, 2010 @ 5:30 p.m.)
(C) 2010 by snydersstoughton.com
Town Working On IT Needs
Snyder's Stoughton touched on the town's Information Technology problems in a recent article. Selectman Chairman Steve Anastos told me that the column touched off a conversation about technology needs for the municipal side of government. That became a formal topic of conversation on the Board of Selectmen's agenda on September 21st. IT Director Dr. Lawrence Gray, since 2005, has been running technology for both the schools and the municipal side. Singlehandedly, the man has literally taken the town from the dark ages into modern technology. But, the needs of the town have far exceeded what one individual can do. The column focused mostly on the situation with the town's website, where many department heads are unable to post timely information on the site. Town Accountant Bill Rowe said the 2005 decision to combine school and municipal technology needs under the umbrella of department head Dr. Gray "from a financial management position is a Godsend." Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr. said that, "Compared to what the town had, we're in a more advanced state today due to Dr. Gray. But, the town side now has greater needs. People in the building have not taken a course in any of the common programs they use." As for the website, Crimmins said that, "We have people here who can scan information, and they are unable to post it. As it stands now, only one person can post it, and he is picky about the way it is posted." School Committee Chairman Tom Colburn said that the schools were more than willing to help. "There seems to be a desperate need for formal training with the tools they already have. We'd be supportive of including municipal employees in training for school employees, when the needs match up. In addition, we can have some of your employees come over and have workshop training in our computer lab. Perhaps we can find ways to do this with no cost to the municipal side. I think we can collaborate well on this." Chairman Anastos agreed, adding, "A collaborative effort that is cost effective with limited resources is welcome." Looks like everyone is working to take Stoughton technologically to the future. That's a good direction to go in!(c) 2010 by snydersstoughton.com
(Posted on September 21, 2010 @ 9:30 p.m.)
NOTICE TO RESIDENTS
COLUMBUS DAY : On Monday, October 11th, there will be no curbside trash collection in observance of Columbus Day. Trash collection for Columbus Day will be scheduled for Tuesday, October 12th in addition to the regular Tuesday collection. This is standard procedure for any holiday. For six (6) Sundays only, beginning Sunday, October 31st, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. only, Stoughton residents may bring leaves and grass clippings only to the transfer station. All rubbish and recyclables must be curbside by 7 a.m. on your collection day. No barrel over 30-gallon size will be emptied. Large household appliances (metal items) must be called into the Public Works for appointment for pickup. John M. Batchelder
Superintendent of Public Works
GAGNE NAMED DETECTIVE
Stoughton Police Officer Jon Gagne has been named the Stoughton Police Department's newest Detective. His new title takes effect on October 1.
(Posted on September 21, 2010 @ 8:45 p.m.)
Massachusetts Governor Pays Surprise Visit to O'Donnell Middle School
Governor Patrick Talks to 2 Students @ OMS (snyder photos) THE VIDEOS:
Deval Meets the Students, Staff and Politicians
The Middle School Band Plays for the GovernorGovernor Answers Questions from students in Mr. Grasso's 8th Grade Social Studies Class Patrick Answers Questions in Mr. Marks and Miss Murphy's 8th Grade Social Studies Classes
The visit was arranged by Vice Principal Barbara Starkie, who met the Governor at a Portuguese Feast in New Bedford. They spoke and chatted about education, and she invited him to visit her school. He accepted, and Principal Wayne Hester and Vice Principal David Guglia and the staff and students rolled out the red carpet for the visiting dignitary. Sure, it was a campaign stop for a Governor who is in a tough fight with Republican Charles Baker and Independent Tim Cahill, but it seemed the kids were thrilled to meet a "celebrity." '(c) 2010 by snydersstougton.com Journal Story
Stoughton Town Manager Francis T. Crimmins, Jr, State Rep Lou Kafka, State Sen. Brian Joyce, Supt of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi, Selectman John Stagnone, Selectman Chair Steve Anastos. Governor Deval Patrick, Selectman Cynthia Walsh, State Rep. William Galvin, Selectman John Anderson, and Selectman John Anzivino.
(Posted on September 21, 2010 @ 4 p.m.)
TOUGH COMPLYING WITH NEW OPEN MEETING LAW
The Town of Stoughton is complying with the new Open Meeting laws, but it's making it a difficult time for the Town Clerk's office. The new laws, which actually take effect fully on October 1, require that all town-sanctioned committee, boards and subcommittee meetings have their time and place---and agendas--posted in a place open to the public 24 hours a day. Despite the fact that much of the population has the internet, postings to the town's website won't fulfill the requirement, as currently written. Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney said that it is difficult and time consuming to update agendas. "Everyday, when an agenda is changed, Heather has to run to the police station. It would be much easier for us to be able to update it online. As it is, we are unable to do it. The webmaster (the town's IT Director) is trying to do something to allow us to update our page from the office. It would be much easier for us to do, but until he shows us how to update our own website, we can't. I know we are not a priority now. He's been working with the schools for their opening." Currently, the agendas and schedules are in a loose-leaf notebook on a shelf in the Police Station's lobby. Mooney would prefer some kind of kiosk there, if it must remain in that location. Board of Selectmen’s Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh tells Snyder's Stoughton, "We needed a facility open 24 hours a day. That leaves the fire and police departments. The fire station has a tiny lobby, so that was out. The police station has a more spacious foyer. But, there are people who would just as soon not to go to the police station." Walsh, who does not have a computer, thinks there is an alternative to make it easier on the public. "One of the solutions would be to put a large scrolling computer-generated sign inside the front door of town hall or the library. Currently, there are so many agendas posted at town hall that many are above eye level. The ZBA notice was posted so high up, I'd have needed a chair to read it. A screen that scrolls would work better than papering both sides of the front door. We have until October 1st to solve the problem. Something could be placed outside the police station, adjacent to the ramp. Students from the Southeastern Regional Technical School could have built something, if we'd have asked." Walsh said the Open Meeting Law situation isn't one of her priorities. "There's such a stack of things to do. We have no Human Resources Director, no permanent Building Inspector, and no town planner. And it seems we don't have much of a sense of urgency with these things, either," Walsh added. Selectman John Anzivino said he'd like to see the schedules and agendas (and minutes) online. "I'd like to see them online, but it doesn't meet the requirements of the law. It needs to be accessible 24/7. The current notebook in the police station is a solution to a point, but maybe not in the end. I'd like to see them on the Web. At this moment Dr. Gray ( IT Director Dr. Lawrence Gray) posts everything. Fran (town manager Frank Crimmins) had said he wanted his department heads to do it. This law is putting an unneeded burden on the town clerk's office. They have to keep running across the street. Boards shouldn't be able to post their meetings without attached agendas. That’s a basic requirement of this new law." Anzivino said that department heads, or their assigned representatives, should be able to get on the town's website: "It can be done on a restricted basis. One person can't do it all. The work needs to be spread out. Municipalities may need more support than is currently available. It needs to be looked at and addressed. But, I don't think the law is being broken." Town Manager Frank Crimmins said simply “that the town was complying with the law.” Brian Howard , Town Clerk in Randolph, tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “We post online, at the Town Clerk's Office and at the Randolph Police Station. We post outside my office as soon as the notice comes in and at 430 p.m. at the Police Station each day (making one trip). We will post even faster at the Police Station if it is close to 48 hrs before a meeting, but most boards are posting with time to spare! The law should have mandated the website as the 24 hour notification location - its quick, easy and the most convenient to residents. The website started three and a half years ago. People used to come in and visit us to read agendas and other items. Now, we never see them. They get them online, at their own convenience. Most of our boards post meetings and agendas way in advance. We use Virtual Town Hall. Once it's set up, it's easily updated with minimal training." Dr. Gray has a plate that is WAY over full. He should probably have a full time assistant, who could help with the numerous IT issues across the board—hardware to software-- from the school and municipal sides of town. This could free up time to help instruct the department heads, and their employees, in updating their individual pages to the fullest. Websites aren't rocket science. All my websites were set up by others, with more knowledge than me, to allow me to update them easily. The town's has been designed by Dr. Gray to be the same. It’s just a matter of training---and that takes time which the IT director doesn’t have much of, at the moment. It would be much more convenient for citizens if they could go to the town's website and find current agendas, minutes, news and information. I know that Mr. Crimmins has set his sight on doing just that. He has promoted the site in his selectmen’s reports, and urged town department heads to get involved in their individual web pages. But, it's a matter of time. Not many people are nutty enough to work 24/7 on a website. I know how difficult it is to keep it updated, and how quickly it can be out of date. Currently, the town's website has wrong information on some committees, and only a few departments (zoning for one) seem to keep up with agendas and minutes. On September 14 th, two of the top three news stories on the site were regarding Hurricane Earl. David Tonis, who retired last month, was still listed as the Building Inspector. This is an example of what happens when you let it sit a week or two. But, the town website DOES list every posted meeting in town. It offers a lot of paperwork that as recently as a year ago was not there. There is a ton of new information, from assessor’s online data, geographic information systems (GIS) database, the Town Charter, and forms for building, zoning, etc. So, it IS moving in the right direction. But, the open meeting laws were designed to keep things transparent, and make it easier for “regular” citizens to know what is going on in their town. Visiting the police station to read the notebook can be inconvenient, intimidating, and frustrating. It took me 20 minutes to find agendas for certain committees. There was no rhyme or reason to the order of placement. It is so much easier reading them online. Anzivino said that the "town clerk should have the ability to post these agendas online." I know I'd be happy to grab them off the town website and post them on my events page with the calendar listings (as I have tried to do, with the assistance of town hall and school employees, for many years.) Our legislature passed this law without thinking it out well. Those in the Attorney General's office said they are implementing the law, but are hoping some changes may be made to it, that make it easier for the individual towns. Melissa Karpinsky, a press spokesperson at the Office of Attorney General Martha Coakley, tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “ Website-only posting was a common theme in the comments we received on the emergency regulations and we are reviewing. Our office will be making a final determination in the next two weeks.” Making posting on town's website the "legal" remedy IS being considered by some legislative leaders, according to one State source, too. But, for those without internet access like Walsh, that's no solution, either.
Scrolling screens may be a good way of conveying meeting times and dates, but probably would be weaker in being able to post more extensive agendas and minutes. The internet is probably the best place to dispense those types of items. But, for now, if you want to read them after town hall is closed, then you need to go to the police station. Be comforted to know that if you sit in one of the plastic seats in the lobby to go through the notebook, there is an M & M machine that dispenses a handful for a quarter. I went through a buck.
(Posted on September 14, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m. Updated on September 15 @ 11 a.m.)
(c) 2010 by snydersstoughton.com
2121 Democrats, 973 Republicans, and 3 Libertarians voted on September 14. That is 17.7% of registered voters in Stoughton.(Snyder's Stoughton compiled the winners of CONTESTED races only. Those who won their party's nomination, are starred:)
Steven Grossman 1166*
Stephen Murphy 668
Suzanne Bump 744*
Guy Glodis 535
Mike Lake 433
Rep in Congress
Stephen Lynch 1309*
Mac D'Alessandro 717
Kelly Timilty 1115*
Robert Jubinville 646
Joseph Driscoll, Jr. 818
Michael Morrissey 778*
Michael Chinman 293
Mary Connaughton 761*
Kamal Jain 74
Rep in Congress
Vernon Harrison 555*
Keith Lepor 255
Senator in General Court
Robert E. Burr, Jr. 594*
Richard Livingston 246(Posted on September 14, 2010 @ 10:30 p.m.)
RETIRED TEACHERS WHO MEET ONCE A WEEK
AT ZACHARY'S, GO ON OPRAH AND WILL HEAD TO AUSTRALIA(Story Here)
Snyder's Stoughton learned that TMZ reported that Oprah will pay ALL TAXES due to the federal government as a result of the trip giveaway. Oprah Winfrey doesn't want her all-expenses-paid Australian giveaway to turn into the tax trap that soured her "Everybody gets a car!" show. In fact, Oprah is making sure none of her new "guests" pay an extra cent to the IRS. TMZ spoke with Larry Edema from Michigan -- who was selected to be in the audience on Monday for Oprah's big giveaway -- and dude tells us Winfrey had a certified public accountant on hand to address the tax issue right after the taping. Edema says the CPA informed the group that all taxes associated with the trip would be "handled by the Oprah show," so the trip would truly be 100% free. The CPA also explained that O would cover all sightseeing costs and travel-related expenses -- including passport costs for people who can't afford them. It's a big change from Oprah's 2004 controversy -- when she famously gave away brand new cars, but saddled audience members with as much as $7,000 in gift taxes.
Hero Comes Home
Sean Hinds, who recently returned home from Afghanistan, sees his 6 month old son Ryan for the first time.
It was a wonderful reunion Sunday, as he also got to greet daughter Maddie and wife, Julie (below). (Photos submitted by Rick Tobias, his father-in-law).
TOUGH COMPLYING WITH NEW OPEN MEETING LAW
The Town of Stoughton is complying with the new Open Meeting laws, but it's making it a difficult time for the Town Clerk's office. The new laws, which actually take effect fully on October 1, require that all town-sanctioned committee, boards and subcommittee meetings have their time and place---and agendas--posted in a place open to the public 24 hours a day. Despite the fact that much of the population has the internet, postings to the town's website won't fulfill the requirement, as currently written.aTown Clerk Cheryl Mooney said that it is difficult and time consuming to update agendas. "Everyday, when an agenda is changed, Heather has to run to the police station. It would be much easier for us to be able to update it online. As it is, we are unable to do it. The webmaster (the town's IT Director) is trying to do something to allow us to update our page from the office. It would be much easier for us to do, but until he shows us how to update our own website, we can't. I know we are not a priority now. He's been working with the schools for their opening." Currently, the agendas and schedules are in a loose-leaf notebook on a shelf in the Police Station's lobby. Mooney would prefer some kind of kiosk there.Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Cynthia Walsh tells Snyder's Stoughton, "We needed a facility open 24 hours a day. That leaves the fire and police departments. The fire station has a tiny lobby, so that was out. The police station has a more spacious foyer. But, there are people who would just assume not to go to the police station." Walsh, who does not have a computer, thinks there is an alternative to make it easier on the public. "One of the solutions would put a large scrolling computer-generated sign inside the front door of town hall or the the library. Currently, there are so many agendas posted at town hall that many are above eye level. The ZBA notice I'd have needed a chair to read. A screen that scrolls would work better than papering both sides of the front door. We have until October 1st to solve the problem. Something could be placed outside the police station, adjacent to the ramp. Students from the Southeastern Regional Technical School could have built something, if we'd have asked." Walsh said the Open Meeting Law situation isn't one of her priorities. "There's such a stack of things to do. We have no Human Resources Director, no permanent Building Inspector, no town planner. And it seems we don't have much of a sense of urgency with these things, either," Walsh added.Selectman John Anzivino said he'd like to see the schedules and agendas (and minutes) online. "I'd like to see the online, but it doesn't meet the requirements of the law. It needs to be accessible 24/7. The current notebook in the police station is a solution to a point, but maybe not in the end. I'd like to see them on the Web. At this moment Dr. Gray (IT Director Dr. Lawrence Gray) posts everything. Fran (town manager Frank Crimmins) had said he wanted his department heads to do it. This law is putting an unneeded burden on the town clerk's office. They have to keep running across the street. Boards shouldn't be able to post their meetings, without attached agendas." Anzivino said that department heads should be able to get on the town's website: "It can be done on a restricted basis. One person can't do it all. The work needs to be spread out. Municipalities may need more support than is currently available. It needs to be looked at and addressed. But, I don't think the law is being broken."Dr.Gray has a plate that is WAY over full. He should probably have a full time assistant, who could help with the numerous IT issues across the board from the school and municipal sides of town. This could free up time to help instruct the department heads, and their employees, in updating their individual pages to the fullest. Websites aren't rocket science. All my websites were set up to allow me to update them easily. The town's could be the same. It would be much more convenient for citizens if they could go to the town's website and find current agendas, minutes, and news and information. I know that Crimmins has set his sites on doing just that. But, it's a timely issue. Not many people are nutty enough to work 24/7 on a website. I know how difficult it is to keep it updated.But, currently the town's website has wrong information on committees, and only a few departments (zoning for one) seem to keep up with agendas and minutes. The town website DOES list every posted meeting in town. It offers a lot of paperwork that as recently as a year ago was not there. So, it is moving in the right direction.But, the open meeting laws were designed to keep things transparent, and make it easier for regular citizens to know what is going on in their town. Visiting the police station to read the notebook can be inconvenient, intimidating, and frustrating. It took me 20 minutes to find agendas for certain committees. There was no rhyme or reason to the order of placement. It is so much easier reading them online. Anzivino said that the "town clerk should have the ability to post these agendas online." I know I'd be happy to grab them off the town website and post them on my events page with the calendar listings (as I have tried to do, with the assistance of town hall and school employees.) Our legislature passed this law without thinking it out well. Those in the Attorney General's office said they are implementing the law, but are hoping some changes may be made to it, that make it easier for the individual towns. (Posted on September 14, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m.)
DRISCOLL ANNOUNCES KEY LAW ENFORCEMENT ENDORSEMENTS
Voices of Support from Superior Officers, Police Patrolmen Groups Show Confidence in Driscoll’s Ability to Lead the District Attorney’s Office
Flanked by police officers from five different communities, Representative Joseph Driscoll today pronounced that momentum was on his side in his campaign for District Attorney. “I am honored to receive the endorsement of these law enforcement unions,” said Driscoll. “These officers know that Norfolk County needs a District Attorney with experience,” he added. Driscoll, a former Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex and Norfolk Counties and a former Assistant Attorney General announced his campaign in March. Joining him on the steps of the Braintree Town Hall were members of the Randolph Police Superior Officer’s Union, the Randolph Police Patrolmen’s Union, the Stoughton Police Patrolmen’s Union, the Braintree Police Patrolmen’s Union and the Weymouth Police Superior Officer’s Union. Lt. John Concannon of the Weymouth Police Superior Officer’s Union said, “The Weymouth Superior Officer’s Union endorse Joe Driscoll for District Attorney because he is an experienced prosecutor. He knows law enforcement and what it takes to apprehend criminals and hold them accountable.” Taking direct aim at Senator Michael Morrissey, a 34 year incumbent of Beacon Hill, Driscoll said, “Mike’s a politician and has never prosecuted a criminal case. He has minimal, minimal trial experience in the civil realm. We are in the midst of a drug epidemic, fueled by Oxycontin abuse, which has led to escalating criminal actions. Right now is the time for experienced leadership in the DA’s office. I offer that experience and leadership.” During his campaign, Representative Driscoll has advanced his vision for the office. He has stated that he will take the “best practices” from the three prosecution offices in which he has worked and will apply them to Norfolk County. He has proposed a cybercrime unit to prevent cyberbullying, protect children from online predators, and help seniors avoid online scams. Additionally, Representative Driscoll intends to bring Community Based Justice to Norfolk County, which is a program that offers a forum for law enforcement and school officials to develop strategies on preventing at-risk teenagers from making poor life decisions.
“These are some of the structural changes I would make to the office,” said Driscoll. “As an approach, I intend to have a zero tolerance for drug dealers, recidivist drunk drivers, serial domestic batterers and child abuse cases.”
MORRISSEY COLLECTS LAW ENFORCEMENT ENDORSEMENTS
Former Massachusetts Attorneys General Francis X. Bellotti, L. Scott Harshbarger, Robert Quinn, and James Shannon today joined more than a dozen public safety leaders and hundreds of law enforcement officials from across Massachusetts in endorsing Michael W. Morrissey’s candidacy for Norfolk County District Attorney. “Michael has the legal expertise, trial court experience and the proven management and budget skills it takes to be an effective District Attorney,” said Bellotti, who remains one of the state’s most respected law enforcement figures. Added Harshbarger: “He knows the law, knows the courts, and knows how to lead an effective legal team. That’s what it takes to be District Attorney today.” The three Attorneys General were joined by current Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating; retired District Court Justices Warren Powers and Thomas May; retired Superior Court Justice Herbert Abrams; Louis A. Assad, the past the president of the Norfolk County Prosecutors’ Association; past president of the Domestic Violence Ended Board of Directors Gini Kurtzman, many former prosecutors; retired police chiefs; and law enforcement groups in supporting Morrissey’s campaign. “I am truly grateful that the people who know the District Attorney’s job best, believe that I am the most qualified candidate to lead that office,” Morrissey said. “We are going to protect our neighborhoods, send dangerous criminals to prison, and keep sexual predators away from our children. The District Attorney’s Office is the people’s law firm, and I am ready to lead it.” The public safety leaders cited Morrissey’s 25 years of trial experience and his work as a managing partner in a 50-person law firm and his tough-on-crime record as a state Senator. Morrissey wrote one of the first and toughest laws against drug trafficking in Massachusetts, and has consistently supported laws aimed at drunk drivers, sex predators, and domestic violence offenders, according to several law enforcement leaders who endorsed him. “He has fought to protect children from sex offenders, to toughen drunk driving laws and to protect seniors from scams and abuse,” said Former President of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association Ned Merrick.
IS “RACE TO THE TOP” A FLOP? (Updated September 3, 2010)
by Mark Snyder
By now, you have probably heard of President Obama’s “Race to the Top” educational competition. The President is trying to get weaker districts around the country to move up, to improve student graduation rates, raise math and reading scores, and to insure that every public school student in the country has a fair educational opportunity. It sounds good at first blush. Here’s my initial take on the program in OUR State: Our legislature jumped into the pool before noticing that the water level was dangerously low. The level of education in Massachusetts--as tested by MCAS and national standards-- is TOPS in the country. Why change the most successful system in the country? Why drink the Kool Aid without looking at the ingredients? State Senator Brian Joyce said he thought it was a good change. He told me Sunday evening, in a visit to Stoughton, that “This program will bring much-needed funding to Stoughton. It will also provide for more of an opportunity for additional Charter schools, and will improve the education of our students.”
Senator Joyce is correct regarding the choice of Charter schools. Currently, Stoughton residents who try to go to the Foxboro Regional Charter School face long odds in their lottery. There have been applications to the Massachusetts Department of Education for a number of new Charter schools, which would serve Stoughton. Excel Academy of Academic Achievement (800 students maximum), Greater Life Academy of Performing Arts and Technology (230 students maximum), and Southeastern Entrepreneurial Leadership Regional Charter School (300 student maximum) could all be welcoming Stoughton students. But, as Stoughton Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi pointed out, when Stoughton residents go to private schools or charter schools, Stoughton loses both money, and promising students. “As far as charter schools, they are not a done deal,” Dr. Rizzi said. “They still have to hold public hearings regarding them.”Let’s look at the numbers. In a news release dated August 25, Senator Joyce informed Stoughton residents, “ I am happy to report that Stoughton is scheduled to receive $241,411 over the next four years, for ‘reform activities’ such as teacher training and evaluation. Massachusetts will receive an additional $204 million in school funding in the form of federal Education Jobs Funds. This money is designed to save educators’ jobs. The funding will be distributed directly to school districts through the state’s education funding formula. Stoughton can expect to receive an additional $612,126 in funding for this fiscal year.” So, to put the $60,000 per year extra (based on the $241,411 over the next four years), we asked Dr. Rizzi about the costs. She tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “J ust to put the $60 000 in perspective, we have spent about that much in three summers worth of curriculum revision work, and that doesn't include the professional development days, and trainers. These revisions were improvements and enhancements to curricula, not complete replacement, which would take longer. We have had teams of teachers work on aligning the elementary report card to the Mass Frameworks also, and this work may all need to be redone.”In addition, Dr. Rizzi added, “We have a full professional development day and 6 afternoons a year (two others are set aside for parent conferences) devoted to Professional Development. There is a whole wish list of Professional Development activities that we do not have sufficient time to address as it is, including technology training, differentiated instruction, achievement gap issues, the teaching of writing, and other things. Now we may have to devote a lot of that time in the next few years to the new standards. We pay teachers to revise and redesign curriculum every year, and many thousands of dollars have been spent on projects to align our curriculum with the Mass standards. Now much of that work may all have to be redone. Our materials, purchased over the years at great expense to the town are mapped directly onto the Mass Frameworks, that was a big part of our purchasing decision, and if the Core does not align well, we may have to look at new purchasing. This is not yet clear. We are allowed to implement Common Core + if we think our standards are better, so there is a bit of hope there, but then we have to find the areas where the Mass standards are stronger in our view and add them to the Common Core, a project that teachers and administrators will have to be paid to do.” Dr. Rizzi is not alone in her concern for maintaining the standards of education, while changing the entire core curriculum. Richard Livingston, a Republican candidate for Joyce’s Senate seat, tells Snyder’s Stoughton, “It would not come as any surprise to anyone to find few, if not all, of the superintendents in the Norfolk-Bristol-Plymouth senate district, will not be happy with the ramifications that this will have on their schools. I feel that the federal educational standards will be more of the same mandates without money. When you review the federal government’s track record with regards to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which led to the collapse of the housing industry, and how the Securities and Exchange Commission ‘monitored’ Bernie Madoff, who established the biggest Ponzi scheme bilking billions of dollars, do you really want to turn over the education of our children to them? The control of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts students’ destiny should stay in the hands of the local cities and towns and not some bureaucrat in Washington.” Bob Burr, a Canton Selectman, and candidate for State Senate, whacked Joyce, adding, "I believe the standards set for Massachusetts students have, for some time, exceeded that of the national standard. And the concern over approval of a national standard ending the MCAS standards is legitimate. But more perplexing, is Senator Joyce's commentary taking credit for additional monies going to school districts without a fair discussion on the cost associated with lowering the standards. I also believe Joyce's support of this legislation earlier in the year was driven more by MTA appeasement than it was by objective judgment." Joyce defends his vote, writing in a news release: “ In January, I voted in favor of and the Legislature passed, comprehensive education reform legislation designed in part to secure these federal funds that encourage innovative techniques to lift student achievement in historically underperforming schools. I am pleased to see this legislation bear fruit today and I am encouraged that this funding, along with the tools provided for in the reform legislation, will allow educators to tackle the state's long-standing achievement gap. The bill increases the state's ability to intervene in underperforming schools and districts, promote widespread innovation in education and increase the number of high-performing charter schools serving students in the lowest performing districts.” Not sure what “long standing achievement gap” Joyce is referring to here. The State was at the top in English and Math in national assessments.
Jonathan Considine, the Director of Board and Media Relations, for the MA Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, applauded Senator Joyce and the legislature. After telling me that Senator Joyce “has been a leader in supporting local educational reform to assure each child is getting a world class education,” he told me, “in order to be counted as a participating district, they had to submit memorandums of understanding that committed them to a set of ambitious education reforms. These memorandums had to be signed by the school committee chair, superintendent of schools and local teacher’s union president.” He said this committed the Stoughton Public Schools to implementing the state’s plan for Race to the Top in up to six areas: 1) Improve teacher and principal effectiveness based on performance. 2) Ensure effective teachers and leaders in every school and classroom. 3) Use data to improve instruction. 4) Increase college and career readiness through secondary school initiatives (optional). 5) Help develop and use a statewide teaching and learning system (optional). 6) Turn around the lowest achieving schools (Stoughton NOT among them.) Considine said that the grant is not an insignificant amount of money for the Town of Stoughton. “By committing to this reform, they will get financial help implementing it. Other districts that did not sign on will have to conform to the new Common Core, and will not get funding.” But, Dr. Rizzi cautioned that, “We knew this change was going to happen, and we wanted a chance for reimbursement. The problem with unfunded or underfunded mandates is that it’s easy for the state to set the price, but it might not be realistic.” The Department of Education voted in July to support the new Common Core Standards in Mathematics, English Language, Arts and Literacy, History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects, which according to Considine, “demonstrated a 90% alignment between the current draft standards and the new.” The Race to the Top helps align curriculum to the Common Core. Considine also said that the entire program was conceived within the state’s department of education, adding, “They would not have voted to support it if they felt it was lowering the standards.” He also touted a new teacher and administration evaluation that is part of the program (The Boston Teachers Union has termed this “punitive teacher testing measures.”), as well as improved tools. Considine adds, “The data systems will be upgraded. Currently, districts have immediate access to MCAS results. The new system will make it easier to submit reports to the State, and allow real time access to data, which is instrumental in improving deficiencies in the classroom at the local level.” To be fair, for some towns and cities, the money coming in through the legislature’s vote WILL save some teaching jobs. In Stoughton, no teachers were laid off. But, instead of saving programs and jobs (some were eliminated or reduced) it appears like this money will go for re-educating faculty and staff toward re-designing curriculum. According to an education website, Race to the Top funds may be used “only for activities that support initiatives specifically identified in the state’s Race to the Top plan. These are not general-use dollars .” Meanwhile, Dr. Rizzi said she will meet with teacher’s union representatives, administrators, and the school committee to discuss the RFP to access funds, and work to come to an agreement on the ancillary issues on what to spend the Race to the Top grant on.
No matter how much rhetoric is offered here, this could be another giant waste of taxpayer dollars. And, for the 38 states that are getting NO federal money at all (because they didn’t “win” this phase of the Race), it’s just another giant rip off of taxpayers who are already overly-taxed. This may be a shell game—with our money—and when the shell is lifted, we lose every time. Instead of making slow and steady changes, they tend to blow things up and start again (think of health care “reform”). Perhaps this was all designed to help the weak schools systems around the country, but at the expense of the best ones: a “redistribution of education”, similar to the “redistribution of wealth” that our president has discussed on myriad occasions.
This could be one Race that has no winners. Let’s hope I’m wrong. I’m just afraid taxpayers will be left at the starting gate, once again.
(Copyright 2010 by GatehouseMedia/Published in Stoughton Journal edition of 9/3/10)
SHOTS FIRED IN POT DEAL GONE BAD
VOTE IN THE PRIMARY ELECTION ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2010!
(Look @ the Ballots)
Do your research & be an informed voter.
PERP CAUGHT WITH PERCS
From the files of Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine: "Officer John Hartford turned a car stop for failure to use a turn signal on Sunday night (Auguest 29) into an arrest for possession of percocets with intent to distribute as well as possession of other pills. Anthony Dimarzio, 22 of Norwood was charged with the above as well as drug violations near a park, uninsured and unregistered motor vehicle, and the failure to signal. Nice job John!"
POLICE LOGSNow online daily!
Click Here for Link!
STOUGHTON TOWN CODE
Horrific: Possible Animal Abuser in Stoughton
Stoughton Swan Killed, Another Injured(story)Or, was it an animal preditor?
FATHER MIKE COMING BACK TO COURT OCTOBER 5
Father Emile "Mike" Bouton, Jr., a former priest at Stoughton's Immaculate Conception Church, was charged today (August 17) in Stoughton District Court with indecent assault and battery, in relation to a complaint from a 21-year old man who told police in late June that Bouton, who was working at Blessed Sacrament Church in Walpole at the time of the alleged incident, "groped" him. The man noted down Bouton's license plate and reported it to authorities.
Those I spoke with in Stoughton said that Father Mike worked with the youth of the Church without incident. At the time of the alleged incident, the Archdiocese of Boston sent out a news release. In part, it said, "Father Boutin will refrain from public ministry while the case is pending. Our prayers are with all those impacted by this matter." Bouton was released on $500 bail and was ordered to return on October 5.
Holmes Honored at Campanelli Stadium
Stoughton Police Officer Brian Holmes (c) gets National Night Out Against Crime Award at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton. He is pictured with Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany and Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine. (SPD Photo)
first reported here:
Stoughton High Principal Brett Dickens Resigns (story)
Stoughton Police: Court Closing Will Cost Department $60,000!
CHIEF SHASTANY'S PROJECTIONS COURT CLOSING TALKING POINTS ADDING MILEAGE TO TOWN'S POLICE CRUISERS
Exclusive---Stoughton Cinema SAVED!
The answer to a long-asked question has been answered today--August 6, 2010. In an exclusive to Snyder's Stoughton, Mike Mutascio said today that he has signed a lease to re-open the former Stoughton Cinema. "I've been in talks for a good many months now with the owners of the property that houwse the Stoughton Cinema Pub As of today, I have signed a lease for the property. The owners are great guys. My non profit (STARS) is in there free of charge while we raise money to bring this theatre back up to speed. There is a fair amount that needs to be done with the place, but I'm very positive about all that. We're going to start a 'Save the Theatre' campaign in hopes to raise money. We're hoping to make this a big community thing. We're not looking to open the theatre just for STARS. We want the stage to be available to all other theatre companies, along with bands, comedians, magicians, etc."Mutascio said there is a chance that "drive in" type movies might get to be aired there, maybe even double features. There will also be a snack bar. "But, I'm gearing more toward live performances of all kinds, and hoping to introduce a type of dance club for up and coming DJ's. I'm really hoping to make it a multi-purpose entertainment facility." Selectman John Stagnone tells Snyder's Stoughton, "C&V Investments (Paul Chieng and Kevin Vien) saw a lot of potential in the theatre, along with their own passion for theatre. They made a large investment in our downtown. The re-opening of the theatre will play a role in bringing our downtown back and ties into the recent presentation of the South Coast Rail Advisory Committee to the Board of Selectmen on August 3rd." It will no longer be Stoughton Cinema Pub, according to Mutascio. "I thought it would be nice to bring it back to its original name." So, let's welcome back The State Theatre! Anyone wanting to help can write to Mike via StateTheater@yahoo.com. (Posted @ 6 p.m. on August 6, 2010/<c> 2010 by snydersstoughton.com)
FULL EXPANDED STORY IN THE JOURNAL THIS WEEKEND!
The old State Theatre (David Lambert/StoughtonHistory.com)
ADDITIONAL INFO FROM SELECTMAN JOHN STAGNONE
Coke is IT at Legion
No WHIZard : Local Man Urinates Daily on WWII Memorial
First Reported Here :
HALF OF AUXILIARY POLICE FORCE RESIGNS
Stoughton Auxiliary Police Captain Peter Gabrielle and eight other members of the auxiliary force have resigned. Gabrielle was the acting head of the department. Gabrielle tells Snyder's Stoughton that Police Chief Paul Shastany told members of the force that under the Police Departments plan for accreditation that the auxiliary police would "lose police powers and be stripped of all authority. It would make individual officers liable. So, I resigned. I can't put my family in that position. I could be directing traffic at the Temple on a Jewish holiday for free, and still be held responsible for anything that happens. We'd be like ordinary citizens, able to make arrests under common law. I'm disheartened after all the years I gave them, of being looked at as a liability, rather than an asset." Gabrielle, a 20 year volunteer with the Auxiliary Police, also said they'd lose their ability to work paid details. "Until yesterday, we had opportunities for paid details. If we can't afford to protect our own volunteers, why should we indemnify Avon and other local police departments to work details when our own officers don't want them? Those always went to the Auxiliary Police. Now, they will go to out of town police officers."After Gabrielle's resignation, rumors began flying that former selectman Joe Mokrisky might be taking over the auxiliary department. Mokrisky told me that "Part of me would like to go back to the auxiliary police. I enjoyed my time when I was involved with them, and they contribute a tremendous amount to the community. But, I wouldn't be applying for any position in that department. The rumors are not true." Mokrisky, who said he may be seeking elective office again in the near future, felt that Chief Shastany was actually strengthening the auxiliary police through his efforts. "In the past, the police department has pretty much ignored them. The town budgets $10,000 a year for the auxiliary police. I think the Chief wants the department to move forward. I think the fear is unwarranted. I saw the bigger picture than those resigning officers saw. I saw opportunity."Police Chief Paul Shastany said it comes down to one basic tenet: "We can't continue to break the law. The Stoughton Police Department appreciates the volunteer services of the auxiliary police. But, we want to change the department for the better. Volunteers cannot be paid. It's against the law. Yes, some towns do it, but it doesn't make it right. I'm committed to the auxiliary police. We're going to make it a truly volunteer professional organization. We can't let it stay the way it was. It's illegal."Shastany, who came from the Framingham Police Department, said that in Framingham the auxiliary force meets the accreditation standards, and has yearly since 2002. "We want this auxiliary force to move forward to those same high standards. We will open the doors to Stoughton residents to volunteer. We want to craft together--with the input of current auxiliary officers-- what the new department will look like. Together, we'll make sure it is well run, well trained, and highly professional. The Stoughton community will benefit."As for liability issues for volunteers, Chief Shastany said the town right now absorbs all the liability. "Under the present system, in an instance where an auxiliary officer were hit by a car on a paid detail (which has not happened), the town would pay workman's compensation, all hospital bills, etc. If officers were not working paid details, there is no liability for the town. And, as for protections for bad arrests, the liability is removed when the auxiliary officer is an expert witness, and doesn't make the arrest. The function of this volunteer force is checking areas of the town we don't have manpower to protect. What they seem to want to do is make a force parallel to the regular police officers."As for some of the current auxiliary officer's fear for the future, Shastany says, "I have no issue about their fears. Change sometimes brings fear. But, we'll be doing something that has been proven effective-- in line with accreditation and the law-- that will bring the town more professional and better-trained volunteers, and less liability. It's a win-win situation." Gabrielle said that the volunteers contribute 4-5000 hours per year in volunteer services to the town. "How can they afford to replace volunteers? Will they have to pay more overtime to police officers? Can the town afford it?" Shastany questioned his numbers. "I think it's more like 1500 hours. And, I'd expect the auxiliary police to maintain that level of volunteerism."Ron Dardano, a 30+ year veteran of the Stoughton Auxiliary Police tells Snyder's Stoughton he's excited about the changes. "I think it's a positive change. I'm in tune with accreditation. I think the outlook for the auxiliary police is a positive one. I don't think the town will lead us down the wrong path. I have complete faith in what Chief Shastany presented. It's a positive change. I support the Chief 100%." (Posted on August 2, 2010 @ 2 p.m. <c> 2010 by snydersstoughton.com)
WATCH THE PRESENTATION REGARDING AUX POLICE
Civil Defense Statute
MORRISSEY TO IMPLEMENT REPEAT OFFENDERS UNIT
Norfolk County District Attorney candidate Michael Morrissey announced today that he will create a special unit of prosecutors targeting repeat sexual offenders in a move he says will help keep the region’s most dangerous predators off the street and away from children. The Repeat Offenders Unit that Morrissey plans to create as District Attorney would be responsible for identifying repeat offenders, tracking their history of addresses and abuses, reviewing probation records, speaking to parole officers and prosecuting cases with an eye toward tougher sentences for these criminals. “We have to send a message plain and simple: sexual predators will be not tolerated in our communities,” said Morrissey, a Democratic State Senator from Quincy. “Many of these crimes are committed by the same small number of people, and we will dedicate every resource possible in the District Attorney’s Office to make sure those people who repeat these disgusting crimes are identified and kept behind bars, which is where they belong,” said Morrissey. The announcement comes just days after Morrissey pressed Governor Deval Patrick to immediately enact changes to Jessica’s Law adopted by the Legislation that will close loopholes in the 1998 law by requiring that anyone convicted of a sex crime against a child be required to submit to the Sex Offender Registry. Morrissey said targeting sexual predators will be a top priority for the District Attorney’s Office, and that repeat offenders will be indentified by criteria based on the number of cases in an offender’s file, probation, and parole records. Prosecutors in the Repeat Offenders Unit will be assigned by region, Morrissey said, to better serve our communities.
“The successful identification and prosecution of these repeat offenders will go a long way towards keeping the citizens of Norfolk County safe. Classification of these individuals as repeat offenders will also lead to higher prison sentences in order to keep these specific offenders off our streets,” said Morrissey.
Officer Holmes Honored
Congratulations to Stoughton Police Officer Brian Holmes on being named this year's National Night Out Against Crime community award recipient. He was selected for the many community outreach programs he runs or participates in. He was honored on August 2 at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton at a Brockton Rox game.
(Posted on 8/2/10 @ 9:25 p.m.)
Town Planner Leaving
Town Planner Joseph Laydon is leaving Stoughton, after a relatively short stay. Sources tell Snyder's Stoughton that Laydon will be taking over the same position in Weston. His last day here is August 6, 2010. Laydon was deeply involved in the South Coast Rail mitigation work, the downtown projects, and re-zoning issues all ovn er the town. Laydon did not return calls, but sources indicate that he was unable to join the union, and was working without a contract. "It's all about security for his family," said the source.UPDATE/ A MESSAGE FROM JOSEPH LAYDON:
SMAC BUILDING NEW STUDIO
The Stoughton Media Access Corp. Directors voted to build a new PERMANENT studio at 421 Page Street, in Unit # 2. Buildout could take until sometime near the end of the year. The unit has 22' ceilings, and enough space for two possible studios, according to SMAC President John Stagnone. There will certainly be a spiritual feel---the Grace Church is located in the unit adjacent on the right.
HEARINGS SCHEDULED ON POTENTIAL COURT CLOSINGS
The Trial Court's Court Relocation Committee has announced its schedule of public meetings to seek comment on its preliminary recommendations. The committee was formed to identify court locations for potential consolidation as part of an effort to reduce the number of layoffs required by a shortfall in the FY11 budget.
The public meetings will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the following locations: Aug. 4 - Worcester Trial Court, 225 Main St., Worcester, for Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire and Worcester counties;
Aug. 11 - Brooke Courthouse, 24 New Chardon St., Boston, for Essex, Middlesex and Suffolk counties;
Aug. 12 - Covett Courthouse, 215 Main St., Brockton, for Bristol, Norfolk and Plymouth counties. THIS IS THE ONE FOR STOUGHTON!
The criteria established by the committee to identify potential sites for relocation and consolidation include lease terms and expenses, personnel impact and staffing levels, the condition of facilities, building functions, caseload, geography and transportation issues, as well as access to justice. The Trial Court will make decisions on the temporary relocation of court operations; the permanent closure of courthouses requires action by the Legislature.
(From MASS LAWYERS WEEKLY from press release from Trial Court..)
Will freshmen football be a more dangerous sport this year? That’s what Bob Evangelista and Jack Raeke feared when they heard that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi and the School Committee had cut a freshman football coach out of this year’s school budget, leaving one coach for an estimated 30 freshman players. Evangelista and Raeke, who both played high school and college football, and currently coach the youth of Stoughton, were worried. “It’s a contact sport. Drills need to be well organized and properly supervised. You can’t have 30 players and one coach. It’s a recipe for disaster. The league recommends a 19-1 play-coach ratio,” Evangelista told the School Committee. He volunteered to help spearhead a fundraiser to raise the $3,000 paid as a stipend to the freshman assistant football coach. Stoughton’s total number of football coaches would be the lowest in the Hockomock League, according to Stoughton Teachers Union President Sue Cogliano. “We believe the reduction to one coach for 30 freshmen players is not a proper ratio for instruction or safety,” she said. “The league could find Stoughton Public Schools liable if injuries occurred. The number one priority should be the safety of our athletes. The football coaches don’t think this plan will work, and it was done without consulting the head football coach or the athletic director.” Dr. Rizzi, who has been forced to implement extensive cuts in all areas, said the plan was to move some of the more advanced freshmen players to the JV team, thereby limiting the number of freshman participants. She also said that for the first time in memory, some players could be cut this year from the football squad. School Committee member Deborah Sovinee added, "These are very tough times for EVERYONE and Dr. Rizzi has done an amazing job making sure no teachers were laid off. These same individuals have come to the School Committee asking for subsidies to use the school buildings and fighting paying a fair share of that use. Now they are asking why the schools don't have the money to pay for extra coaches.
Clearly, some extra thousands in building usage fees would help pay for this." School Committee member Erdem Ural also sent in his opinion on this matter: "I share Bob Evangelista's safety concern regarding the freshmen football coach issue. I also applaud his volunteering to help spearhead a fundraiser to raise the $3,000 paid as a stipend to the freshman assistant football
coach. I would like to take this opportunity to urge all Stoughton non-profits to resist the temptation to use professional fundraisers. This is particularly important in these tough economic times when the charitable donations are so tight, because professional fundraisers take the lion share of the donations. For example, last summer STOYAC enlisted the services of William Carlucci of Quincy to raise funds. Carlucci collected $18,000 for STOYAC, but kept almost $13,000 of the money to himself, per his contract. Also, the prospective contributors should always ask before making a donation, how much of their contribution will go to the charitable organization."
(c) 2010 by snydersstoughton.com
Posted on 7/30/10 @ 7 p.m.
Brockton Sends Goulston $22,000 Water Bill
He threaten Class Action Suit (story)
Good Work by Stoughton Police reunite Sharon resident with her jewelry (story)
Assessor: Values Posted Online
The Board of Assessors of the Town of Stoughton has completed the revaluation program of all real and personal property for fiscal year 2011. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Bureau of Local Assessment, has certified the preliminary valuations. Assessor Paula Keefe tells Snyder's Stoughton that assessment information, previously available at the Library and Town Hall, is now online.
Says Keefe: "The easiest way to access the info is to select the town, then the street, then click on the parcel i.d. number. The assessors' staff will be able to help direct people who have a problem with this."
Morrissey Pushes Sex Offender Law Changes
Senator Michael W. Morrissey (Quincy-D), candidate for Norfolk County District Attorney, in a hand delivered letter pressed Gov. Deval Patrick to immediately sign legislation closing loopholes in Jessica’s Law and attach an emergency preamble so that the bill will take effect on his signature. Typically, bills do not become law until up to 90 days after they are signed by the Governor. Morrissey said, “we should not have to wait one more day to expand the scope of Jessica’s Law and require sex offenders to register.” “This bill is crucial to the public safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth, by closing these loopholes and having it take effect immediately, we are further ensuring the safety of our children from sexual predators,” Morrissey said. “I hope the Governor recognizes that having this bill become law as soon as it is signed is necessary for the protection of the lives and safety of the people of the Commonwealth. Senator Michael Morrissey announced that the Senate has passed the legislation in record time to close loopholes in Jessica’s Law, designed to require sex offenders to register after conviction. The legislation, which languished in the House since January of 2009 until its passage on Tuesday, was unanimously approved in the Senate on the same day it entered the chamber. “I’m proud that my Senate colleagues, responded so quickly in passing this important legislation,” said Morrissey.
The bill amends the 2 year old Jessica’s Law to make sure no one falls through the cracks and ensures those convicted will be required to register.
D.A. Candidate Holding Community Coffee Chats
Michael Chinman, a Democratic candidate for Norfolk District Attorney, will hold community coffee meetings on Monday, Aug. 2nd, from 8:30-10 a.m., at Zachary’s Breakfast and Lunch, 945 Washington St., Stoughton; and on Wednesday, Aug. 4, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Maxie’s Deli, 117 Sharon St., Stoughton.
Chinman was an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County until he resigned his position in March to run for Norfolk District Attorney. He has worked as a prosecutor for 15 years, the last seven of which he was assigned to the Child Abuse Unit, prosecuting the worst crimes committed against children. Chinman also spent six years on the search warrant team, responsible for responding 20 hours a day to crime scenes and police requests for assistance. He graduated from Boston University School of Law where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. He lives in Milton with his four children.
Boykin Flexes Fincom Muscle on Fire Station Cleanup
Water Rates---up 3%
Sewer Rates--up 10%
for fiscal 2011
Bennett Resigns over "Bridget"
Bridget Powers of Riverside County in California was at the center of an incident that resulted in the resignation of Stoughton Police officer Richard Bennett. The officer, who was among more than a dozen officers honored last month for their work in solving two murders, submitted a resignation letter to Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany the end of last month. Shastany passed it to the hiring authority---Town Manager Frank Crimmins--who immediately accepted the resignation.
Chief Shastany tells Snyder's Stoughton that he made it clear the day he came as to the way he wanted to handle regular liquor checks and calls to Club Alex's, a strip club on Route 138. "I told officers that no one goes in there alone. The appearance of impropriety IS impropriety. I want the calls there on the log, and I want officers like guided missiles---to do their job without stopping and ogling. I communicated that quite clearly to the members of the department. This officer went on his own, against three weeks of instruction on what his Chief wanted." Bennett evidently posed for a photo with the diminutive 3'9" porn star outside the club, in full police uniform, according to Shastany. Chief Shastany was very proud of the way his department responded. "I've been trying to teach accountability. Talk is cheap, Action counts. More than five officers brought the situation to their commanding officers. Some were furious." The Chief spoke with Bennett, and Bennett lied to him. "If you lie to me, it's the path to nowhere. If they aren't truthful, they're gone. He was smart. He resigned."On the other reason for Bennett's leaving: "This can be a life and death business," Shastany said. "Modifying your weapon without permission of the Chief is clear disregard for the most important function we have--to serve and protect. It is unacceptable."Shastany's action contrasts with what the town has gone through in the past. The town suffered through criminal investigations and charges against police officers, and it was tough to get them out the door. This was an administrative charge, and the officer was out the door in ten days. The Chief said that "It's all about personal discipline. It's my sense he lacked it. We need to hold ourselves accountable for small things, too. I can tell you one thing---it is going to be tough to get hired by this department. We will fully vet all applicants, and will hire only the best and brightest. Maybe 25% of all applicants will make it. But, I will tell you one thing. We can't use officers who lie. They have zero credibility. You lie, you die in this business." From the Stoughton Police Facebook page: "Officer Bennett was the subject of an internal review based on non-criminal policy violations and decided it would be best for him and the town to separate from service. We wish him well in his future endeavours." Town Manager Frank Crimmins, a former First Justice in the Stoughton District Court, didn't want to say much about the Bennett situation. "I had an employee who tendered a resignation, and I had no problem accepting it." As for the news media flying with this story (it has already been featured on Channel 7, Channel 25, and 96.9 FM Talk), he added,"We take the good with the bad. We have been open and transparent. Most of the time, it's a good day. But, we let the chips fall where they may. As far as I'm concerned, this incident is already in the past." George "Gigi" Alexopolous, owner of Club Alex's, must be psychic. He had already booked Bridget "by popular demand" to return August 26-28 for another set of shows. Here's betting that no Stoughton Police officers in uniform will be posing for pictures with her! As for former Officer Bennett, he told the Boston Herald, ""A part of me wants to say, 'Where was the news when I pulled someone out of a burning car last year?You know all the good things you do, and I'm going to be remembered for one stupid decision. It just sucks." (by Mark Snyder/ <c> 2010 by snydersstoughton.com. Posted @ 1 p.m. on 7/20/10. Updated @ 4:50 p.m.)
Editorial: Stoughton PD Did the Right Thing: (Here)
Town Looking for Additional Revenue
After Town Meeting voted to pass the 2011 budget, Town Manager Frank Crimmins began searching for additional revenue to try to pay for some of the items, outside the budget, that Town Meeting had approved. He tells Snyder's Stoughton that the town is applying for grants to help pay for roads, sewer, water, drainage, downtown improvements through South Coast Rail mitigation, capitol expenditures, and to renovate or repair a number of town and school properties. Crimmins is looking "outside the box." In addition to having a myriad of departments trying to garner grants, he added, "We have the largest inventory of real estate parcels in the town's history. We have 550 parcels, and several are used by the town now. With tax liens and other reasons for default status, we find ourselves loaded up. We're looking at doing a complete inventory of all properties, to see how they may fit into the future plans of the town, or if we can auction some off for additional one-time revenue." Crimmins said that he'd know more next month, after they started sifting through the properties, checking titles, etc. Selectman John Anzivino requested a list in writing of all available parcels. One individual who attended Tuesday's selectmen's meeting, Alan Cline, said he'd already written a letter to Crimmins, stating his interest in buying an adjacent property, and trying to find out how much he could obtain it for. Crimmins said that he had numerous inquiries from citizens interested in buying parcels that were town-owned and adjacent to their own.
Stoughton Media Access Corporation, the organization running local access cable in Stoughton, is currently renting space in Easton, and is contemplating renting space in Stoughton on Tosca Drive. SMAC Executive Director Steve Innis and SMAC Board Member Steve Bates came to the Board of Selectmen looking for a town-owned parcel of land to build on. It remains to be seen if one of those empty parcels could be donated to SMAC as the site to build a new studio for the residents of Stoughton. Selectmen John Stagnone, the President of SMAC, has recused himself from the discussion.
(Posted on 7/20/10 @ 7 p.m.)
First Reported Here : STOUGHTON DISTRICT COURT
MAY BE CLOSED BY STATE
Lynda M. Connolly, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts District Court, said today that due to budget cuts, three area courts were proposed to be closed. The District Courts in Wareham, Hingham and Stoughton were targeted for closure. If it stands, this is devastating news for the Town of Stoughton. Residents who have court cases have the convenience of a local court, and friendly faces. The police department has an officer working inside for prosecutions. If the court closed, it would increase the costs of police testimonies and participation, as the nearest court would be in Wrentham, 15 miles away. In addition, those looking for justice in small claims court would also have to travel additional miles. The number of people who come to Stoughton each day for court---defendents, attorneys, court employees, etc---support local businesses, like restaurants. Presiding Justice the Honorable Richard Savignano, was given the news this on Monday by Judge Connolly. The Court Relocatiom Committee, appointed by Robert Mulligan, the Chief Justice for Administration and Management has the power to temporarily close selected courts. But, to permanently close them, they'd need the have the approval of the Legislature. Sources say that all employees of the Stoughton District Court would be tranferred to other courts in the State system. No layoffs were announced or planned. Stoughton Town Manager Francis Crimmins, the former Presiding Justice at Stoughton District Court, tells Snyder's Stoughton: "We're busier in Norfolk County than in Brookline, for instance. But, they seem to have more political clout. This has been going on for some time now. The judicial branch of government has not been adequately funded. There is a lot of economic activity generated by the courthouse. I think the budget deficit is real, and the judicial budget statewide was cut. The probation department has also had funding issues. But, the final decision has not been made. I'd like to see concerned residents stand up for the town and its court house."For many reasons it's a good idea to keep it here, according to Police Chief Paul Shastany. He told Snyder's Stoughton, "We'd have to send police officers at added expense, in times of shrinking budgets. It also will take officers away from time at work on the street. It would potentially tie up officers for a longer period of time, taking officers off the street. The judge in this community is in a far greater position to understand the unique nature of the community. Being in Wrentham, for instance, there's a disconnect. The initial reason for a district court is that it is community-based justice. We'd lose that here. If you look at the numbers heard in this court, it is a very busy court. It has a very heavy case load. It has certainly justified its existence. With the economics of this town, from transportation to restaurants in town, it's situated perfectly. Moving it doesn't benefit the community. After analysis, maybe they'll realize its not in trhe best interest of the community by shutting it down." Peter Nellos, owner of nearby Chuck and Cheese House of Pizza on Washington Street, is saddened by the news. "I get 10 to 15 people a week from the court coming in for lunch and early dinner. Many come in to take food out." Joe Crowley, owner of Stelio's Pizza House on Central Street, says he gets some of their employees in his place. "That would be a shock if they closed it. Everyone in the area would be negatively affected," he said. Gerry Goulston, owner of Page's Groceries on Pearl Street adds,. "There is so much activity there every day. It would affect us tremendously. In addition, it's a service that we feel is necessary. We use it all the time, as do all the area police departments. It serves the community. It's a grassroots thing. I don't have their total budget picture, but I don't think it's right."
UPDATE: July 14 @ 5 p.m.:
Informational Meeting at Stoughton District Court on July 14th (Hank Herbowy photo)
Stoughton District Court First Justice Richard Savignano hosted an informational meeting at the Court on July 14 and filled in interested community members, attorneys, local elected officials, police officials and others on the Court Relocation Committee's preliminary recommendations for temporary relocations and consolidations. As first reported on this site, Stoughton's court is listed for possible relocation. In a related development, it was also reported that the Court Relocation Committee recommended moving the Norfolk Juvenile Court from Dedham to the Stoughton District Court site. The Committee, put together by the Honorable Robert Mulligan, the Chief Justice for Administration and Management, is comprised of individuals from the North Shore and Boston. It was formed in February of 2010. No one south of Boston is on this Committee. Judge Savignano urged caution for concerned residents. He said it was a four stage process. Only stage one---the recommendations of the Court Relocation Committee--has been done. Stage two is a CJAM recommendation. Stage three would involve public hearings as part of the process. The fourth stage would be the final announcement of closures, relocations, and consolidation. "This is only a list to be considered for relocation or closure. I have complete confidence and total trust that our court will be treated fairly, appropriately, and openly like all the facilities on that list. I have the highest regard for those on the Court Relocation Committee, and Justices Connolly and Mulligan." Justice Savignano said that "due to budgetary shortfalls the relocations will be moving along more rapidly." The Stoughton District Court serves four towns--Stoughton, Avon, Canton and Sharon. If it were even temporarily closed, cases would be moved to Dedham and Wrenthan, adding additional expense for each town, and taking away their local legal representation. Selectmen and Police Chiefs from all four towns attended the public hearing. State Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton), who represents all four towns, outlined the hardships a closing would result in, and together with State Senator Michael Morrissey (D-Quincy, and a candidate for Norfolk County District Attorney), they even discussed putting up a potential legislative fight, if it came down to a closure. State Rep. Joe Driscoll (D-Braintree, and a candidate for Norfolk District Attorney) also recommended Justice Mulligan "look to other solutions to addressing your operating expenses." Faces in the crowd included Police Chief Paul Shastany, Police Sgt. Tom Murphy, Selectmen Steve Anastos and John Anderson, Grocery Store titans Steve and Gerry Goulston, Town Manager Frank Crimmins, and Legislative Aide Ted Philips (for Reps. Kafka and Galvin). Rep. Kafka told Snyder's Stoughton, "I thought that the show of support for the Court today, evidenced by the meeting's attendance, was very encouraging, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature and the Judiciary to finding a rational, lasting resolution to this problem." Regional Administrator of Justice Paul Dawley said, "This is not notice of a court closing. It merely places the court on a list for consideration. This is the beginning of the process."I'd agree with the words of State Rep. Joseph Driscoll (D-Braintree), who wrote, "The Stoughton District Court is essential to the administration of justice in the region, and equally important to the local economy.
For the people of the four-town area, let's hope justice truly prevails---and Stoughton and its neighbors get to keep their local brand of personalized judicial service.
(posted on July 13, 2010 @ 1:50 p.m. Updated on July 13 @ 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., and July 14 @ 8 p.m.)
PUBLIC HEARING: August 12 @ 5 p.m. @ Brockton District Court. Be there to show your opposition!
CUMBERLAND FARMS ON TURNPIKE STREET ROBBED @ GUNPOINT
BASH BUSTED ON CURTIS STREET
BUILDING DEPARTMENT WELCOME: "BACK AT 4"
Calls and emails to Snyder's Stoughton on Monday, July 12, indicated that they were unable to do any business with the building department on that day. So, Snyder's Stoughton made the treck to town hall at 2:30 p.m. to check out the situation. We found the department empty, and a hand written note on the counter which read, "Back at 4." Department secretary Mary Martin is on vacation. Building inspector David Tonis has retired. Town Manager Fran Crimmins, contacted by Snyder's Stoughton about the situation, said that, "We were trying to prepare for Mary's vacation. We had a senior volunteer lined up to cover some of the hours. Unfortunately, she unexpectedly got hurt. Bob Grover, our interim building inspector, has been working hard.We have some hot items that we need to wrap up. Inspections have already been scheduled, and they take Bob out of the office." Crimmins says that Grover is doing a great job. "He sent out enforcement letters last week. No one can remember the last time they were sent." Meanwhile, developers and homeowners trying to do business with the town may have a difficult time. "We're thin everywhere," Crimmins said, "This week and next week, too. But, we're working on it."
(Posted on July 20, 2010 @ 5 p.m.)
ON THE SEARCH FOR REVENUE
SCOTT HERSEE NAMED TO REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY;
What is Authority's Goals for Coming Year?
The Board of Selectmen and Stoughton Redevelopment Authority named Scott Hersee Tuesday night (7/6/10) to fill the remainder of Deborah Sovinee's term on the S.R.A., until the next election. Sovinee is now a member of the Stoughton School Committee and had stepped down from the SRA, where she had served as Chairman. Hersee, Mark Joyce, Paul O'Leary, and Jack Dembrowsky had all applied for the position. Cynthia Walsh nominated Joyce, and Dr. Roberta Camacho nominated Hersee. Hersee edged out Joyce, 6-3. Hersee, a Bay Road resident, owns Hersee Excavating and Demolition, and is also a developer. He has plans to develop the former New England Furniture building on Wyman Street into a retail and residential complex. The Villages at Ames Pond was developed by H & R Construction, a partnership of Scott Hersee and George Rudnick. Together they have developed in excess of $40 million of real estate over the past 15 years. Their projects in Stoughton also include Layton Estates, and Elizabeth Estates. Their company recently began construction at Peters River Residences, a 36-unit condominium project in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Developers of office and office/warehouse space, Scott and George bring in excess of 50 years combined experience in real estate management and development. Hersee has already submitted plans to redevelop the old New England Furniture building at the end of Wyman Street, across from Whiplash, into a commercial and residential property called "Morton Square." The project is scheduled for a Planning Board hearing on July 22.
The Stoughton Redevelopment Authority has their work cut out for them. Particularly, they must deal with a decaying downtown, featuring a number of empty storefronts. Former SRA Chair Deborah Sovinee (who is now on the school committee) took some time to speak with Snyder's Stoughton about what lies ahead for the Authority. "I think the SRA needs to work on its relevancy as a board. Are they going to be proactive or reactive? The State gives local authorities the power that can be used, in this case, to transform the downtown, or help with North Stoughton, what I consider the 'golden egg' of Stoughton. We should be aiming toward positive development of the area. We need a type of development that residents don't consider negative. We need to look at how the land is being used. Could land be combined to bring in companies with higher paying jobs? Maybe they could look for a mixed-use that will improve residents lives. How about a destination resort with a water park? People need to think of uses for this valuable land more practively, away from big box retailers."As for the downtown blight, Sovinee said, "we need to start with a small project, like the train station or the empty auto parts store and partner with a developer. It will become one of the puzzle pieces to a complete downtown revitalization. The Redevelopment Authority could also play a role in redeveloping prime property downtown occupied by the post office. They don't need all the space they take up. They no longer sort mail there. They don't particularly use all that land. The SRA has hundreds of thousands of dollars to help develop it, and the town planner could apply for grants, and help to market the town. There is enormous potential there."Sovinee, a museum exhibit designer by trade, thinks the Redevelopment Authority should use its financial resources, and the authority granted by the State, as a way to help the town. "We also need to make sure the dump is properly capped and closed up, so that it is not a blight on the town."Redevelopment Authority Chairman Barry Crimmins tells Snyder's Stoughton that the key to redeveloping the downtown could be the South Coastal Rail extention. "I'm interested in building from Stoughton Center down Rt. 138 to the Easton line. That Southeast Corridor has a lot of potential. If the South Coastal rail is built, and a station is made at Roche Brothers Plaza, as has been mentioned, then there is great potential for development in that area. If there is to be any redevelopment downtown---for instance utilizing the post office building for redevelopment---then the Redevelopment Authority would certainly be a player. There's a statutory process that must be followed. We'd probably participate along with the planning board, town planner and the South Coastal Rail Advisory Committee. A whole process has to be followed, including hiring a redeveloper."As for North Stoughton, Crimmins says that it is mostly built out. The final parcel is the plan for 240 apartments behind the Courtyard Marriott that the Hanover Companies purchased from Conroy Development. There's also a 42,000 s.f. pad that was approved adjacent to the Target Store. But, there's always potential for redevelopment of a previous business and fashioning it into something different. For instance, the old Liberty Mutual property now houses Target and TGI Fridays."
When asked about the downtown revitalization, Town Planner Joe Laydon had a lot to say. Here's what he wrote: "The Board will also sponsor a meeting where the results of the visioning workshop are presented to residents of town. This project, undertaken by funds the town received from MassDOT in conjunction with the South Coast Rail Project, will provide a macro view of the downtown area and identify how the redevelopment of Stoughton could look with input received from the public and new infrastructure such as road and public parking. It was the Board's intent that this project would provide the town with a vision for its downtown to pursue with or without the expansion of the rail. The Visioning project is the first phase in a more strategic plan for determining a future for the downtown area. The Planning Board, at its recent meeting, voted to support the submission of a new grant application that will look to conduct a commercial and residential market analysis for the downtown. This study will examine the existing and potential commercial market for the downtown. It will look at the types of businesses existing and identify what types of businesses may be an appropriate fit for the downtown. In addition, the study will be able to tell us how much business the downtown area can support so we don't under estimate or over estimate commercial demand. Connected with that will be a residential market analysis that will look at additional opportunities for residential development downtown. The two go hand in hand since successful downtowns need a critical mass of residential development to draw support from. Businesses just can't rely on drive-by traffic. With these two studies, the Town will then be able to start to pursue working with entities such as the Redevelopment Authority, MassDevelopment, and the State to address the condition of the downtown. It is pretty easy for us to say we want more activity, more businesses, more revenue from the downtown. But if we don't have a road map and a vision on where we want to be 2 years from now or 10 years from now, we won't be able to be strategic in the redevelopment of out town center."
Selectman John Stagnone sent his opinion on the subject on July 14. He writes, "Stoughton has a lot of potential to change it’s downtown with or without the rail extension and we still have a lot of potential for new and redevelopment in North Stoughton. As a former 9-year member of the Planning Board and chairman of the planning sub-committee of the South Coast Rail Advisory Committee (SCR), the downtown has been of interest to me. The South Coast Rail Committee at its June 30th meeting discussed the future train station location as well as conceptual plans for the downtown. The planning committee has been working for more than a year now on possible new roadways in the downtown, new and redevelopment potential of the downtown. At this meeting the SCR committee voted unanimously to bring our plans/recommendations to the Board of Selectmen and have requested to be on their July 20th agenda. The conceptual plans we have put together can be a starting point for the town to build off of and ties into the studies being funded by EOT. As the decision on the whether or not the Stoughton route is chosen by the Army Corp. of Engineers, we as a town need to have a vision and the SCR advisory committee has done just that. Our focus was to come up with a plan based on already having commuter rail service, but also one that would work should the rail extension come to Stoughton. North Stoughton still has a lot of undeveloped land and potential for a lot of redevelopment. To ensure that the town and the property owners get the best development possible, we need to create/update our Master Plan for the town as well as our zoning by-laws. It has been more than a year and half since Zoning Board member Robert O’Regan went before the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the Redevelopment Authority pressing this need. The Selectmen need to stay on top of this and monitor the progress and provide support to the boards and town planner to get this done. By having a vision and zoning by-laws that reflect that vision, will provide the town boards with the tools necessary when considering future development. Having a vision and friendlier zoning regulations can also expedite the permitting process, making Stoughton more desirable than other communities to do business with. Over the past couple of years we have had more professionals volunteering for town boards. A lot of these professionals had degrees/experience in planning, architects and engineers. These individuals given the opportunity could have provided a new energy to some our town boards. I am looking into other ways to have these residents use their experience to make Stoughton better than it already is."
(posted on 7/6/10 @ 9:30 p.m. Updated on 7/12/10 @ 2:30 p.m., and again on 7/13/10 @ 2 p.m. Updated on July 14 @ 11 a.m.)
Longtime Weymouth resident and Republican Bill Farretta announced his candidacy for Norfolk County Sheriff. For the last 21-years Farretta has been a correctional officer at the Norfolk County Jail. He also served in the United States Army and received an honorable discharge. “I am a law enforcement professional, not a politician,” Farretta said. “I know what works and what doesn’t work at the jail and can make the necessary changes to ensure that Norfolk County families have the safest, secure and cost-efficient jail.” Farretta supports the House bill to have inmates pay $5 a day to defray their cost for incarceration. The Campaign Pasta Dinner Kickoff will be held Thursday, July 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Weymouth Elks Club. Invited guests include State Senator Bob Hedlund, treasurer candidate Karyn Polito, congressional candidates Jeff Perry, Joe Malone and Raymond Kasperowicz. Suggested Donation is $30. Call 781-335-3546 for more information. He is running against incumbent Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti, a Democrat.
SMAC MOVING BACK TO STOUGHTON;
LOOKING FOR ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Stoughton Media Access Corp., the nonprofit local access organization for Stoughton, is on the move. Currently, SMAC rents space in the Easton Cable Access facility at 50 Oliver Street in Easton. The town has no control over use of studio time,. It has been difficult to expand locally-produced programming, and to bring in volunteers and "members." The Board, led by President John Stagnone, has been trying to acquire a parcel of town-owned land to build a facility in Stoughton. But, as a temporary measure (that could become a permanent one), Stagnone has recommended renting a 4000 s.f. space at 300 Tosca Drive, across from the new Gold's Gym for $1650 per month. It would be a one year lease. "We'd have to do painting, cleanup, and put in new rugs, at our expense. But, they'd maintain the heating and AC units. It's more space than we need. This would buy us at least a year," he told the Board Thursday night. He added that year two of the lease would be $2000 per month. SMAC currently pays ECAT (the Easton Access) about $1000 per month for use of their facilities. Their agreement is through December, if needed. But, Stagnone thinks that they may be able to get into the Stoughton location by September. Director Allan Mills wasn't 100% behind the rental idea. "I'd like to see something permanent. We're spinning our wheels. I'd rather see us building something, or having a more permanent home." Mills said, for instance, that the temporary facility would not be able to do any "live" shows. Currently, Dick Murphy's Local News show is broadcast live Monday nights to Easton, and in Stoughton on Tuesday nights via tape. Stagnone said he'd like to build something, as well. "We're still pursuing that land to build on. Government is slow, and the town manager has been very busy." The only locally-produced (in Easton) shows are The Local News, Community Forum, and Snyder's Stoughton. Bate Papi with Shirley Farber (which was once recorded in the old Easton studios) is now recorded out of town. So, if SMAC moves to Stoughton, Murphy would stay in Easton (he likes it there), and only two shows would be produced in Stoughton, pending recruitment of new shows. Executive Director Steve Innis said that, "In order to get more people active in local cable, we need a location of our own." On another front, SMAC has advertised for an assistant to Innis. Innis, who makes over $60,000, is planning on interviewing candidates for the position, which will pay from $30-35,000. SMAC has purchased two portable camera systems, and a pro 8 Mac-based system for processing graphics. It's a better system than the one currently in use in Easton, according to the directors. In another action on Thursday night, the Board voted to hire the CPA firm of Allan Katz, a former Stoughton resident and former Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman, who now resides in Easton. His office is in Stoughton. Katz & Cancellieri will handle tax returns and the books for the nonprofit corporation. Stagnone, who is also a member of the Board of Selectmen, said he did not want to hire a Stoughton resident for the accounting position.SMAC President John Stagnone wrote Snyder's Stoughton, "Easton's Board of Directors and their Executive Director have been great to work with, and SMAC has a great working relationship with them. Scheduling of shows has never been a problem. SMAC's limit to meeting more of its goals to create more programming is time constraints of the our executive director Stephen Innis, that is why we are now looking to hire an assistant for Stephen. Finding a permanent home for SMAC is on going, as is finding a temporary studio location in Stoughton. SMAC is still pursuing a town owned site, we met with the Board of Selectmen a couple of months ago, the town planner and next week with the town manager. The process in working with any government body is slower than doing business in the private sector. SMAC has been working closely with the town manager and the BOS on the land proposal, incorporating other long term plans for the same site. So there is no misunderstanding, I told Stephen Innis to wait on requesting a meeting with the town manager because of his busy schedule and the fiscal year end was coming up. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able come to an agreement with the town for the Washington Street site. We see our role not just as broadcasting local programming, but also as an education facility, providing opportunities for all Stoughton residents and Southeastern Regional High School students to learn television production."With all due respect to Stagnone, Stoughton is the ugly stepchild in Easton, and the ability to widely recruit new volunteers, sell memberships, and encourage new shows IS impeded by having an out of town location. The Easton people have been nothing but cooperative with my own show, so I don't write based on that. But, as someone who has helped local access begin in another town, I know what is needed to succeed. And, one of those ingredients, is a hometown studio. Obviously, SMAC's board AGREES with me, or they would not be pursuing temporary space in Stoughton.
Posted on July 2, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m). (Updated on July 5, 2010 2V 11 A.M.)
ANNUAL INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE PHOTOS
New England Sinai Board of Directors Appoints Jerald S. Savage, CPA,
Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman
Jerald S. Savage, CPA of Stoughton, has been appointed Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman of the Board of Directors for New England Sinai Hospital. He has served on the Board for the past decade, lending his expertise in business, community relations and development . “As Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair he will play a key role in helping guide Sinai’s financial future,” said Sinai President & CEO Judith C. Waterston. The appointment was approved by Hospital Board Members at New England Sinai Hospital’s annual Board Meeting and Dinner, held June 24, 2010 at the Hospital’s main campus in Stoughton. Mr. Savage is a partner in the accounting firm Wallace, Savage & Davis, PC, located in Stoughton and provides an array of accounting, tax, financial and estate planning services. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition to serving on the Board at Sinai, Mr. Savage has been a member of the Curry College Board of Trustees since 1996 and is a member of the Town of Stoughton Zoning Board of Appeals. He is also a Past President and Lifetime Board member of the Ahavath Torah Congregation and a Director of The Old Colony YMCA. He and his wife Sheryl live in Stoughton and they have a son, Michael and his fiancée Karen and a daughter, Karen and her husband Tom, as well as a grandson Brody.New England Sinai Hospital is a 212-bed, non-sectarian, not-for-profit, long-term acute-care hospital with its main campus in Stoughton, MA and inpatient satellite units at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston and Caritas Carney Hospital in Dorchester. Recognized as a regional leader in pulmonary, medically complex and acute rehabilitation care, Sinai also offers a wide range of outpatient programs and services. Sinai is a teaching affiliate of Tufts University School of Medicine.
(Posted on June 30, 2010 @ 5:30 p.m.)
FIRE HITS STOUGHTON BUSINESS
A fire hit the rear of Graphic Bindery at 133 Maple Street last night at approximately 4 a.m. (early 6/30). According to Stoughton Fire Chief David Jardin, it appears the two alarm fire started outside the building, hitting a building attached to the main building that housed a blower out to a dumpster. "There was no power to the structure. It appears the blowers had broken overnight." The fire may have started outside and moved through the blower pipes past the loading dock to inside the back of the building.
Added Chief Jardin, "There was extensive damage to the facility. At this point, they are out of business from this. Investigators from our department and the State Fire Marshall's office are investigating. It was an expensive fire." According to Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, at 4 a.m. a cab driver called police to report the fire. Police then notified the fire department. Chief Jardin said by the time firefighters arrived at 4 a.m., "the fire was going pretty good." The company is owned by Michael and Alan Greenbaum. Snyder's Stoughton was unable to reach either one. Jardin said that he called George's Towing in Avon to remove the burning dumpster away from the building. Mutual aid from six neighboring towns was on the scene.
(posted 6/30 @ 8 a.m.)
Former Immaculate Conception Church Priest Arrested
The Rev. Emile "Mike" Boutin Accused of Assaulting Young Man
Father Joseph McDermott of Immaculate Conception Church believes there is something wrong with the story. "I believe Father Mike is innocent. I don't know what's happening, but I worked alongside him for six years here," he told Snyder's Stoughton. "He was well liked by the congregation, and worked well with our youth. Nothing was ever wrong. This is so out of character. I feel terrible. Once this kind of thing is in the press, it hurts him. Something is terribly wrong. And, I believe in his innocence."
SINAI DOCTOR HELPS SAVE NEWTON GIRL
(Dr. White (l) with Mayor Warren)
Dr. Alex White and a lifeguard at Crystal Lake in Newton, performed CPR on a three year old girl who nearly drowned last Friday, according to Newton mayoral spokesman Megan Costello, and the Newton Tab. Dr. White, the chief of pulmonary medicine at New England Sinai Hospital, said he frequently swims at Crystal Lake and was swimming by the children’s area when he heard the lifeguards yelling to get the child out of the water. According to the Newton Tab’s account, White immediately went over to help 20-year old lifeguard Kathleen Capstick, explaining that he was a doctor. “She didn’t know who the hell I was,” White recalled. “It’s always awkward in a resuscitation when a complete stranger comes up and you don’t know what their skill set is. Your first inclination is to have them go away.” White said he worked with the lifeguards and “pushed them along a little bit” in the CPR process, but said it was a team effort to revive the girl. “Everyone pulled together, the guards did what they needed to do,” he said. Dr. White was presented a proclamation by Newton Mayor Setti D. Warren on June 29, which reads: “ In recognition of his valiant efforts on Friday, June 25, 2010. Dr. White exhibited composure and effectively responded to an emergency situation at Crystal Lake. Thanks to his efforts, the life of one of Newton’s youngest residents was saved. The City of Newton honors and appreciates his service to the community.” Added Newton Police Chief Matthew Cummings: “The young child had waded into water over her head that evening and suffered from signs of obvious distress when pulled safely from the water and onto the shoreline. CPR was administered when an initial assessment of the young victim revealed that she was absent of a pulse. Shortly thereafter, she was revived and became conscious and alert. Your life-saving skills and directions given to the lifeguards were simply outstanding. I am honored to serve here in Newton with caring citizens like you. Congratulations for saving such a young and most precious life!” New England Sinai Hospital and the Stoughton Community congratulate Dr. White on a job well done!
Stoughton Public Works Department Bay Road Culvert Improvement Project Selected for Recognition
by the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association
Stoughton Public Works Department Superintendent John Batchelder is pleased to announce that the town’s Abstract entitled, “Partnership for Success: Culvert Collapse forces Road Reconstruction - All Hands On Deck in Stoughton, MA” authored by Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Beder, has been selected for a presentation by the New England Chapter of the American Public Works Association. Mr. Beder will be presenting the story of the project at the Chapter’s Summer Workshop in June 2010. When a culvert on Bay Road collapsed forcing the high traffic connector road for Stoughton, Easton, and Sharon, Massachusetts to be closed, the Stoughton Public Works Department was forced to utilize resources from multiple sources. It was determined that the culvert would need to be replaced in order to facilitate streamflow, collect road runoff, and stabilize the road shoulders. The Stoughton Public Works Department worked to obtain environmental permits to replace the culvert, and performed the construction to replace the existing 100 year-old 2’x2’ open bottom box culvert with a 9’x6’ concrete box culvert, pre-cast concrete wing walls and headwalls. The culvert replacement was designed by an engineering consulting firm with construction performed by the Stoughton Public Works Department, along with on-site technical oversight by an engineering consultant. The work resulted in the successful replacement of the culvert at a significant cost savings to the town.
(Posted on June 24, 2010 @ noon. Photo by Hank Herbowy)
Stoughton Looking Deeper Into Employee Compensation
Through Audit Approved by FinCom
(Story by Candace Hall)
Stoughton Looking Deeper Into Employee Compensation
Stoughton High '02 Grad Hits Big Time!
Stoughton High '02 Grad Hits Big Time!
So, you thought that 2002 Stoughton High School graduate Kenny Wormald had made the big time. He was inducted into the Stoughton High Hall of Academic Achievement a couple of years ago. He got a national fan club through his dancing efforts on MTV’s “Dancelife.” Last time I spoke with Kenny, he was dancing on Justin Timberlake’s Future Sex/Love national tour in 2007. The Gold School of Dance in Brockton alum starred in 2008 in a dance flick called “Center Stage: Turn it up.” But now, according to Entertainment Weekly, Wormald is going to be a major star. Kenny, now 25, has been cast in the role of Ren McCormack in the remake of “Footloose.” That’s the role that led Kevin Bacon to enormous success. Such stars as Zac Efron (“High School Musical”) and Chace Crawford (“Gossip Girl”) were in discussions for the role, but had to back out. Wormald has appeared in music videos with Prince and Madonna (among many others), and has shared the stage with Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. The new “Footloose” will also star Dennis Quaid and Julianne Hough (“Dancing with the Stars”). According to Entertainment Weekly, producer Craig Zadan (who handled the original and is doing the remake), “When we discovered Kevin Bacon in 1984, we were both excited and gratified—and also knew the chances of ever duplicating that effort was a million-to-one shot. Decades later, Kenny Wormald proved history could repeat itself.” The town of Stoughton is proud to see one of its own getting national recognition. Hard work sometimes does pay off, kids.
(Posted on June 23, 2010 @ 10 a.m.)
The most recent round of scam reports involve phone calls from (585) 331-8295 from a male, thick accent, claiming to be a Stoughton Police Officer. DO NOT send this person any money or provide any personal information. Any calls from Stoughton Officers will be from the Police Station phone numbers. If you have any doubts you are speaking an Officer, hang up and call the Station at (781)344-2424.
--from the Stoughton Police Dept.
Mom Accuses Police Officer of "roughing up" 14 year old;The facts seem to tell a different story...
Maltby Named Assistant D.A. for Stoughton Court
It’s the first time in memory that anyone in the Stoughton Police Department can recollect an assistant district attorney at Stoughton District Court being a
Maltby, the daughter of Robert and Barbara Maltby, received the Law Student Ethics Award sponsored by the Northeast Chapter-Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) at
( Posted on June 16 @ 8 a.m.)
Posted on June 16 @ 8 a.m.)
Police Department Commendation Winners
The Stoughton Police Department handed out a number of commendations at the Board of Selectmen's meeting on June 15. Cited for "the highest traditions of the policing profession" were: Officers Gagne, Conforti and Bennett, as well as Sgt. Merola, Det. Sgt. Welch, Det. O'Connor, and Detective Tracey for their actions on March 16, 2010 during the Irving murder investigation, leading to the arrest of the suspect eight hours after the murder; Officers Sandra Barrett and Stewart Mellyn, and Sgt. Gurevich for their acts of bravery in the Kontsas murder investigation on February 27, 2010; Det. Sgt. Welch and Det. O'Connor for their superior investigation leading to the arrest of a murder suspect during the Kontsas murder investigation on April 27 and 28, 2010, within 24 hours of the crime; Officers McNamara and Collins for their meritorious actions on Monk Street on May 2, 2010, while trying to resuscitate an unconscious female; Officers Gagne and Lima for their actions in response to a terrible Rt. 24 car accident on May 2, 2010. They located ejected passengers and also performed CPR on injured victims at an awful accident scene. Citations were presented by State Reps. Lou Kafka and William Galvin, and Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany. (snyder photo)
(posted on June 15, 2010 @ 10 p.m.)
FIRE DEPARTMENT AWARDS
Selectmen Chairman Steve Anastos, Congressman Steve Lynch, Selectman John Anderson and Town Manager Frank Crimmins at the Fire Dept. Award Ceremonies on Sunday, June 13. (photo by Mike Pazyra)
The following awards were given on Sunday, June 13th @ Freeman Street Fire Station:
Thirty Year Service Pins: Chief David M. Jardin & Captain Robert G. O'Donnell Jr.
Community Service Pins: FF/EMT John DeAndrade & FF/EMT-P Jack Hussey for their tireless efforts to raise money for MDAChief's Medal for professionalism: FF/EMT Don Chipman, nominated by Captain Don Jasmin for his professionalism as a Stoughton Firefighter on a daily basis
Chief's Medal for dedication to Service: Lt Jackson Macomber deployed for over a year (He holds the rank of Major in the Military)
Fire Chiefs of Mass Medal for Active Mititary Service: Lt Jackson Macomber for his deployment while an active member of the Fire Service.
Captain Douglas Campbell - Lt Jackson Macomber - FF/EMT Joe Visser (Ret Military)
(Posted on June 13, 2010 @ 9 p.m.)
The class of 2011 has been running a fundraiser over the last few weeks. Last night (Friday, June 11), 31 pink plastic flamingos were taken off a .
(P ost on June 13 @ 4 p.m.)
ost on June 13 @ 4 p.m.)
UPDATE: 16 were returned after we posted this!
UPDATE: 16 were returned after we posted this!
Stought on Lions Installs New President
on Lions Installs New President
Stoughton Lions Club Held Installation of Officers for 2010-2011at Nocera's Restaurant on June 9. (l to r) Past president Ed DeFelice; Incoming President Bob Mullen, Installed by Peggy Cahill of Randolph Lions. Guest speaker was Police Chief Paul Shastany. (Hank Herbowy p
(Posted on June 12, 2010 @ 5 p.m.)
(Posted on June 12, 2010 @ 5 p.m.)
Stoughton Police Department Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, Lt. Michael Blount, and Lt. Francis Wohlgemuth all completed the FBI LEEDA Senior Executive Command Institute. It is all part of Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany's plan for extensive training leading to an accreditation of the Department.
(posted on June 12, 2010 @ 5 p.m.)
Bickerton Sent to Minimum Security Prison
Our Sincerest Condolences to the Family and Friends of beloved Stoughton resident, Louise Packard. A co-founder of STOYAC, long-time town meeting member, election tally clerk, Cedar Golf Course Committe member, and active community resident, Louise will be missed by all.
Members of Stoughton Fire Dept. pay honor to Louise (Frye) Packard as her funeral procession drove down Park Street towards the center of town, and her services at First Parish Universalist Church. Donations in Louise’s name may be made to Joslin Diabetes Pediatric Clinic, 1 Joslin Pl., Boston, MA 02215 or Louise Packard Scholarship Fund, c/o Stoughton High School, 232 Pearl St., Stoughton, MA 02072. (photo by JPitta)
The Face of a Criminal
All Cable Advisory Committee Members Not Coming Back
There are three active members of the Cable Advisory Committee (although you wouldn't know by the town's website, which lists two members---both of whom are NOT on the Committee). This is typical of the way that Committee has been treated since it was re-activated a few years ago. Current Chairman Mark Snyder, Vice Chairman David Asack and member Sharon Fradkin did not request to re-apply for placement on the Committee, So, anyone who applies would pretty much automatically be named to the Committee by the Board of Selectmen. In the past couple of years the Committee did a cable survey (with over 500 respondents), created Stoughton Media Access Committee (SMAC), and requested more to do. Unlike every other local town, the Cable Advisory Committee in this town was iced out of the negotiations for Comcast and Verizon contracts. So, whoever steps onto the Committee will have one responsibility--the annual review of SMAC. The current Board of Selectmen and/or Town Manager could add more responsibilities. I hope the new members have the freedom to really help cable in this town.
Memorial Square Appeals Heard
The Golden and Kundrot families appealed to the Board of Selectmen over a decision by the Memorial Square Committee, regarding their loved ones not being awarded Memorial Squares this year. Veteran’s Agent Mike Payzra and Selectman Cynthia Walsh, both members of the Committee, said each application failed due to one of the policy requirements not being met. Pazyra said, “A lot of consideration has been given in these decisions. If you override the policy, in effect, you have no policy.” Added Walsh: “These squares are put up at taxpayer expense and maintained at taxpayer expense. Those who have stuck it out in town deserve that extra consideration. If you don’t meet all the criteria, you don’t get a square. You have to be an extraordinary veteran to get a memorial square in this town. You have to have lived here a number of years, have done community service for 20 years, and have a family member (who currently resides in Stoughton) apply for the square.” Selectman John Anzivino said, “Not to diminish the applications, but the Board of Selectmen needs to review policy for all, not for one. It would not be prudent for this Board to review individual applications.” Moves by Selectmen John Anderson and John Stagnone to consider overriding the Committee’s policy decisions, were not seconded. Chairman Steve Anastos concluded: “The Memorial Square Committee decision stands, since no action has been taken by this Board.” The families could still appeal to the Memorial Square Committee, and again to the Board of Selectmen.
STOUGHTON RESIDENTS COMES TOGETHER
TO HONOR TOWN'S VETERANS
Many Stoughton residents enjoyed the long weekend, far way from work. They spent time at the beaches, or went away for a short vacation. For Stoughton’s Veteran’s Agent Mike Pazyra, it was a very long weekend, indeed. After planning everything from re-flagging of graves, to a flag burning ceremony; from a parade, sacred cemetery ceremonies, and three memorial square dedications; Pazyra couldn’t control two things---the weather and the size of the crowd. And, he was worried about both. But, it all went quite smoothly, with clear skies, a warm sun, and throngs of people at Town Hall gathering for the parade and the speakers there.
On Saturday, dozens of children and grandchildren, accompanied by parents and grandparents, went to Holy Sepulcher and Evergreen Cemeteries. Father Joseph McDermott of Immaculate Conception Church led the prayers at Holy Sepulcher. The children all enjoyed getting their flags from Pazyra, and replacing the old flags with shiny new ones at both cemeteries. Afterwards, the kids went to the VFW Post 1645 and enjoyed coffee and donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts. When tummies were full, and parents were perked up with their cup of java, the official flag-burning ceremony began behind the VFW. Pazyra gave speaking roles to over a dozen children, and they learned of the importance of proper disposal of the flag. Veteran Don Interrante assisted the children placing flags into the fire. On Memorial Day, the parade got off right on time, at 9 a.m. from the DPW on Central Street. Ceremonies were held at Holy Sepulcher and Pearl Street Cemetery, with the next stop at Town Hall. Rabbi Jonathan Hausman of Ahavath Torah Congregation did the prayer there. World War II hero Charles Large read the list of Stoughton’s soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Mike Beaudette, Stoughton’s graves officer, rang the Liberty Bell at the pronouncement of each name, while former Veteran’s Agent Paul Flynn called out, “Absent, Sir,” to each. Julie Hinds, whose husband Sean was deployed to Afghanistan on February 26, 2010, took the microphone from Pazyra and told the crowd about her son, Ryan. He was born on March 18, and Sean has never seen him, except in a photo. Julie told Snyder’s Stoughton that she, and her nearly four year old daughter Madison, speak regularly to Sean through email, and the occasional phone call. She said Sean was excited that the town was taking time to recognize him during their Memorial Day gathering. Sean Hinds is expected to arrive back in Stoughton by October. Meanwhile, Julie says that Madison is kept in good spirits by her “daddy doll,” an 18” male doll with a picture of Sean, and when you press a button, it plays Sean saying, “It’s your best friend daddy. I love you and I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you again.” Snyder’s Stoughton intends to cover Sean’s homecoming. Pazyra also honored Sam Angert, a 2007 Stoughton High grad, who is recovering at Bethesda Naval Hospital from severe wounds suffered from an IED in Iraq. Watch the video of Mike’s presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2E4TcD6ezUIAfter the parade’s conclusion at Evergreen Cemetery, Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany read Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” there. He did a nice job, and had the height going for him. A black top hat, and a fake beard would have brought the illusion to life. On Monday afternoon, three memorial squares were dedicated. Pazyra said he really appreciates those who attend these ceremonies. “I’m appreciative of those who seem to come to all the dedications. Moderator Howard Hansen and Fire Chief David Jardin haven’t missed one in years. State Senator Brian Joyce took time out to attend two of the ceremonies, and Ted Philips from Rep. Lou Kafka’s office attended all three, as did Town Manager Frank Crimmins, Police Chief Shastany, and Selectmen Cynthia Walsh and John Anderson.” In addition to Anderson and Walsh, Selectmen John Anzivino and John Stagnone also took part in the parade, and some of the other ceremonies. Kafka was in Israel celebrating the birth of his newest grandchild.The intersection of Pierce and Walnut Streets (near CAPP Playground and the Jones School) was dedicated to Paul C. and Mary J. Killgoar. It was only the second location dedicated to a married couple. The intersection of Dykeman Way and Central Street (next to Central Street Grille and Pizzeria, and across from Christmas Tree Shops Plaza) was dedicated to former Police Chief William F. Gross, and his wife Ann M. Gross. The corner of Central and Brook Streets (adjacent to the new fire station) was dedicated to Earl D. “Bud” McMann. It was a wonderful experience for each family, and for those of us gathered to watch and share in their special days. Others who were part of various other activities of the Memorial Day weekend, included the award-winning Stoughton High School Black Knights Marching Band, the VFW Color Guard and Firing Detail, the Civil War Re-enactors, Amvets Bear Float, San John’s Filarmonica Society Band, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, The Stoughton Police Honor Guard; and David Sheehan from Norfolk County Sheriff Michael Bellotti’s office(Posted on June 2, 2010 @ 6 p.m. from Stoughton Journal of June 4, 2010).
MEMORIAL DAY PHOTO MEMORIES
Video: Story of Local Hero Sam Angert
Cohen to be Retried on November 15. 2010
Police Training Continues
Congratulations to Sergeants Michael Merola, Paul McCallum, and John Bonney for completing the four-day "Sergeants Leadership Program," sponsored by the Cambridge Police Department. They underwent intense ethics building training, incorporating the latest in leadership, team, and community building skills.
DPW Superintendent John Batchelder (l) says "Happy Retirement" to Assistant DPW Supt. Billy Hammel at a party at DPW headquarters on Central Street on Friday, May 28. Batchelder said that his preference is always to promote from within. "That has worked out well for us in the past. I'd like to see Jonathan Beder take over Billy's responsibilities with water and sewer. He is licensed for both. Then, I'd look for someone to run Operations. But, I need to speak to the Town Manager, who in turn will speak with the Board of Selectmen, before I can make any official moves." Meanwhile, Hammel will be retiring to his home in Falmouth, and plans to enjoy his boat and the sunshine in retirement." Hammel will actually be "on the books" until mid-August, but with his vacation time, he's done working. Batchelder says he may call upon Hammel even if he's out of the building. "He knows every pipeline in this town. He has 37 years of knowledge stored in his head. I may have to tap it, on occasion."
(Posted on May 28@ 11 a.m.)
Mark Snyder photo
TOWN MEETING IS OVER
It's hard to believe, but FINALLY, on Night Seven, Annual Town Meeting ended. Wednesday, March 26th, just before 11 p.m. the town meeting accepted all reports and Charles Large made his traditional motion to dissolve the ATM, and it was history. It was not a pretty sight. The sessions were lengthy, numerous amendments were proposed and defeated, and with a 74-article agenda, it was just too much. This is one writer (and town meeting member) who thinks the selectmen should act with more discretion in what they put into the warrant. Articles that come without the proper support materials should not be allowed to be placed on the warrant.In the final session, members made it illegal for people to smoke marijuana, or ingest or otherwise consume Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) it's active ingredient, in public places. It allows the police to levy a fine of $300 for each offense. Any marijuana burned, smoked, ingested or consumed may be seized, logged as evidence, and destroyed, consistent with Stoughton Police Dept. Policy. In addition to the $300 fine from the Stoughton Police, civil penalties imposed by Massachusetts General Laws 94C Section 32L, would be additional. A few recodifications of previously passed by-laws and charter adoptions were also acted upon, in compliance with recommendations of the Attorney General's office. A complicated new by-law, dealing with applications for cell towers, was adopted by Town Meeting, 92-15. DPW Director John Batchelder said the new by-laws could enable the town to have cell phone antennas placed on the water towers, and bring in non-tax additional revenue to the town. Eliot Hansen, whose family had proposed a cell tower on their large tract of land on Pleasant Street, behind the Hansen Brothers Print Shop and Store, said he thought the new by-law would eliminate competition from private landowners, and end up with all the towers on town-owned land. He didn't think it was a good thing for Stoughton homeowners, or the town in general. His brother, Moderator Howard Hansen, stepped down for this Article, and Deputy Moderator Bob Mullen ran the hearing, which took up almost two hours in total. Town Meeting member Paul Stearns walked out on night six, yelling at moderator Hansen for not recognizing him. On the final night, Stearns spoke a few times, more readily recognized by Hansen. Town meeting member and former selectman Joe Mokrisky said he would likely run for Moderator next year against Hansen. "He's never really had tough competition. He may have support at town meeting, but I believe the people in Stoughton would support me. I'll tell you one thing. I would have every appointed person off all boards, and would open it up to anyone to apply. Then, I'd go through each person's resumes, and pick the most qualified candidates," Mokrisky told me the last night of town meeting. So, another year is in the books for Annual Town Meeting. We'll see next year, in hindsight, if what was accomplished was worth all the long nights and aggrevation. (Posted on March 27@ 6:30 p.m.)
TOWN MEETING: NIGHT 6
Monday, May 24 was night six of the seemingly endless Annual Town Meeting. Members, sacrificing the Celtics and Red Sox, as well as the series finale of "24" for their municipal duties, dispatched a number of items. The barely passed by a single vote (85-42, with 2/3 required) to spend $170,000 to pay for a survey, easement drawings, and design improvements for Red Wing Brook, off of York Street. Neighbors in the Pine Street/York Street area have been experiencing water problems since major construction began in 1988 for a Stop & Stop Plaza, and water runoff from the stores there piped into a swail. Then, NSTAR built their substation on adjourning land, compounding the problem. Town Engineer Ben Fehan said that the fix to the problem would run at least a million dollars. His department drew up plans, utilizing town land for a sediment basin, to try to alleviate the problem. But, it turns out that land is not available for that use. Town Meeting member Nancy Munroe, who has been an activist regarding the NSTAR monstrosity, said that NSTAR's state permit requires them to address this issue, and that they have land that would work perfectly as a sediment basin. "They were supposed to donate that portion of their property to the town," Munroe told the audience. Town Meeting member Ed Defelice suggested they fill the basin with bass. "They could offer bass fishing in the retention ponds. The town can make some money selling fishing licenses." Town Meeting member Dr. Roberta Camacho was frustrated with the town spending money to fix problems caused by development. "I'm tired of this town being raped by developers. Stop & Shop and NSTAR made this mess and we are asked to clean it up. NSTAR has a state permit and you can't get any clearer about their responsability. One of our town meeting reps represented Stop & Shop in 1988 (John Morton). We should point our finger at Stop & Shop and NSTAR and make them pay for this for causing trespass and destruction of personal property." Town meeting members felt bad for Ed Finn and other neighbors, some of whom cannot even walk in their backyards, which are underwater. It is clear to this writer that taxpayers shouldn't be paying a dime towards this. Let the two developers, who enriched themselves, pay the bill. When they sold us their bill of goods, they promised the moon and stuck us with the damages. . Another Fehen request, for $10,000 to pay for all activities required by the State regarding Stormwater regulation compliance, passed 83-43. Call me old fashioned, but I think when the federal or state governments require compliance for anything--whether for schools or municipal governments--they should reimburse the towns, at least some of the costs. It's way out of hand. Town Meeting continued its investment in sewer infiltration and inflow (I & I). They voted unanimously to borrow $500,000 for continued improvements in the sewer system. The article has become routine the past seven years, as this enables the town to get grants from the MWRA, while also saving on total outflow. Without this, the town would literally be flushing cash down the drain.Attorney Barry Crimmins, who is also a town meeting member, had requested the town accept a number of easements for water and sewer from his clients, Stoughton E & A LLC, Target Corp., 489 Page Street, LLC, and Stoughton Crossing, Inc. in three different articles. The easements were unanimously accepted.A move that would have allowed the Board of Selectmen, with input from the School Committee, to decide where to locate polling places, went down by a 22-100 count. Members liked the current arrangement and didn't see any need for change. Lynn Jardin, principal of the Gibbons Elementary School, along with her School Council, had requested that it be looked at. They thought that security, during voting days, is weakended and that it is a safety issues. All schools are locked up tight, except on election day. But, on those days there is a police officer at every polling place. Changes in deadlines for nomination papers, to comply with state regulations, was requested by Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney. It passed 100-2. And a move that was moot, according to Town Counsel Brian Riley, to eliminate preliminary elections unless there are more than two candidates for each seat, lost 82-19. Voters have already supported that idea, and it will take effect in the 2011 elections. Also, an extensive new Wetlands Protection by-law, stretching out for many pages in the warrant, and requested by the Stoughton Conservation Commission, passed by an 92-19 vote. Diana Cobb Germain did much of the behind-the-scenes work on this article. The seventh edition of the Anual Town Meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on May 26 at Stoughton High School Auditorium.
(Posted on May 25, 2010 @ 10 am)
Police Dept. Awards Commendations
Police Chief Paul Shastany and Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine announced a list of 16 letters of commendations, awarded to Stoughton Police Department officers, for acts during four serious incidents over a six week period. All were announced on the SPD's Facebook page on March 21st.
They include Sgt. Gurevich, Officer Barrett, and Officer Mellyn for their acts of bravery during the Kontsas murder on February 27, 2010; Det Sgt. Welch and Det. O'Connor for their superior investigation leading to an arrest of the murder suspect within 24 hours; Sgt.Merola, Det Sgt. Welch, Det. O'Connor, Det. Tracey, Officer Bennett, Officer Conforti, and Officer Gagne for their superior performance during the Irving murder investigation leading to the arrest of the suspect eight hours after the event; Officer McNamara and Officer Collins for performing acts of CPR in an attempt to resuscitate an unconscious female on May 2, 2010; Officer Lima and Officer Gagne for being the first two rescuers on scene during a terrible car crash on Rt. 24 on May 2, 2010. These officers located ejected passengers and also performed CPR on injured at an awful scene.
Corrections Department Dog Officer Mark O'Reilly and SPD Dog Officer John Lydstone DEMO at OPEN HOUSE FOR MORE ON THE OPEN HOUSE, GO TO EVENTS PAGE
OPEN HOUSE STORY IN ENTERPRISE
Town Meeting: Night 5
The Longest Night---Wednesday, May 19, 2010 may go down as one that felt like one of the longest, most time-wasting nights EVER of Annual Town Meeting. Put it this way, in the first TWO HOURS of the meeting, NOTHING was done. There was motion after motion after motion---causing town meeting member Joe Flynn to claim "motion sickness". Just before my favorite part of the meetings (the cookie break), town meeting members took three quick votes. One more followed. In the end, after getting out near 11 p.m., here's what was done:*A motion for a design plan, requested by Fire Chief David Jardin for Fire Station #1 (on Freeman Street) for $100,000, went down to defeat, 14-109.*A motion, by Fire Chief David Jardin, for $100,000, for designs plans for a new fire station on property that was taken by eminent domain by the town for a school, went down to defeat, 7-119.*A motion, by Town Meeting member Ed DeFelice for $100,000 for design plans for a fire station at the Stoughton National Guard Armory on Pleasant Street, to replace the Freeman Street station, was defeated, 4-115.
(Best argument against these three articles: "We're going about this in a helter skelter way. We don't have a plan. We're asked to vote on this piecemeal."--John Morton)
Motion by Richard Fitzgerald and the Facilities Master Plan Committee, supported by the Town Manager and Board of Selectmen, to do urgent repairs and upgrades on Town Hall, The Freeman Street Fire Station, The Council on Aging/Youth Commission Building, The Police station, and the Clapp Memorial Building, which houses the Stoughton Historical Society. Total to be borrowed was $610,000. Adopted by town meeting, 112-4.
(Posted on May 19 @ 11:30 p.m.)
Next Annual Town Meeting: May 24, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m. at Stoughton High School auditorium.
( Warrant Here)
DA Keating announcesIndictments in
“John Rooney was indicted for murder and eight other crimes for this attack,” District Attorney Keating said Wednesday. The other eight indictments against Rooney, DOB: 7/22/1963, are two counts of Armed Home Invasion (one naming each member of the elderly couple as victim), two counts armed assault in a dwelling (one naming each member of the elderly couple as victim), Armed Assault with Intent to Murder a Person over 60, Armed Assault with Intent to Rob a Person over 60, Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon causing serious bodily injury, and Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon on a person over age 60.
“Massachusetts State Police homicide detectives assigned to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office and Stoughton Police worked very diligently to follow evidence to Mr. Rooney and place him under arrest the following day,” District Attorney Keating said. “He pled not guilty at his Stoughton District Court arraignment the following morning and was ordered held without bail by Judge Paul Dawley at that time.” District Attorney Keating said that Rooney’s Superior Court arraignment date had not yet been set. DA Keating has assigned Assistant District Attorney Brian Wilson to prosecute the case.
(Posted on May 19, 2010 @ 5 p.m. from DA's News Release)
(Posted on May 19, 2010 @ 5 p.m. from DA's News Release)
Founder of Bob's Food Market, Passes @ 76
Funeral will be held from the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt.27) Stoughton on Thursday, May 20 at 9:30 AM followed by a Funeral Mass at Immaculate Conception Church, Stoughton at 10:30 AM. Visiting Hours Wednesday 3-8 PM. Burial will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Stoughton. Donations in Bob’s name may be made to Good Samaritan Medical Center, New Emergency Room Fund, 235 N. Pearl St., Brockton, MA 02301, Attn: Margaret Carr, Development Office.
First Reported Here: FBI PROBE of SPD is OVER
Police Chief Paul Shastany said this morning that he has met with Warren Bamford, agent in charge of the Boston office of the FBI, and the investigation into wrongdoings at the Stoughton Police Department is over. Chief Shastany said he asked Agent Bamford, at a meeting in his Boston office, if were any concerns he should know about regarding anyone within the organization, or are if there are any residual targets or areas he'd need to address. According to Shastany, the FBI was satisfied that "the target was removed, as were others associated with wrongdoing." Shastany said he asked Bamford if any internal issues remained, and he said, "the remaining employees of the Stoughton Police Department are no longer a concern to me or this department." Shastany said he spoke with Bamford about the "department moving forward. We talked about accreditation, training and policy development."Shastany he said he will remain in touch with the FBI, DEA, State Police, District Attorney and Attorney General's offices. "I'm still engaged. My philosophy is we need to work together with other law enforcement agencies. There's more opportunity that way for self-analysis and inspection." Chief Shastany said his first strategy is being "proactive and engaging with the media. We will talk about what we want to do. We want the public to talk to us. We have a Facebook page, a website, and we will be hosting an open house this weekend." Shastany said the website is interactive, and allows residents to send in compliments or complaints: "We will listen to all concerns and investigate all complaints. We'll deliver a better product by doing this. I want to survey the public. I want to know what they feel we do well, and what we need improvement in. How can we improve our services? Our image? We want to be the best we can be."Is the past over? Shastany tells Snyder's Stoughton, that, of course, it is not. "I know people are cynical by nature. When police officers have engaged in wrongdoing, it is front page news. We are judged by the actions of a few. We're not forgeting the past. We're using this information to build systems and changes. We have been profiled by the actions of a few, and the majority of good honest police officers have suffered. People think, after reading all the stories about corruption, that every officer is bad. We plan to focus on what is right here. We will recognize officers who do well, like Detective Roger Hardy (who was named Officer of the Year by the VFW Sunday). One day, the residents of this town will put all the corruption in the past. All we ask is for residents to give us a chance," Shastany told Snyder's Stoughton.Added Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, "We're not forgeting about what has happened in here. We use it as a motivator to try to earn the people's trust. We're under no illusions. We all wear the same uniforms, and are sometimes painted with the same brush. We refuse to be labeled by the actions of a few. If residents have concerns about this department, please bring them to us! I've encouraged this through the community policing unit."Chief Shastany credits the Board of Selectmen and new Town Manager for helping the Stoughton Police Department to move forward and regain the people's trust. "We're moving in a positive direction, and are anxious to earn back our good reputation. Naysayers should come in with any evidence of wrongdoing and we'll investigate it," he said.Agent Gail Marcinkiewicz of the Boston office of the FBI, when asked to comment on the end of the probe had a familiar comment for Snyder's Stoughton.: "We can't confirm or deny that any probe ever took place." Of course, with one officer going to federal prison, and two others leaving the force, something took place. And, that something is over. Officer Donna McNamara, president of the Stoughton Police Patrolman's Union, and Sgt. Thomas McNulty, president of the Stoughton Superior Officers IBPO Local 400, sent a joint news release Tuesday, which in part, read, "With the apparent conclusion of the recent FBI investigation into members of this department, we strenuously assure the residents that members of this department are committed to the ideals and goals of proactive community policing. With our current commitment to modern police service and the fresh perspective of Chief Shastany, we will strive to bring you the best service possible. We understand that it is our responsibility to keep each other in check. We only ask that you give our members the benefit of the doubt for remaining loyal to the police service during these challenging times. You will see the department work to regain your trust." Selectman Vice Chairman Cynthia Walsh was happy to hear the probe is over. "I think it's good news. It's been a long time coming, it appears." Asked how they could repair thair image, Walsh replied, "They just need to keep doing what they've been doing. The phones are always answered; the door is always open. They have been doing their job this whole time." Chairman of the Board Steve Anastos tells Snyder's Stoughton "it is good news for the town and the police department. It allows to move forward. The new Chief and his staff can focus on his goals to achieve accreditation." Town Manager Frank Crimmins said, "The Board of Selectmen and I are looking forward to working with the police towards a fair, unbiased and transparent police department. The selectmen and I share the same core values of accountability with the chief of police and we look forward to ushering in a new era at the police department." Even Ed DeFelice, a frequent police critic on local cable, has seemingly turned his opinion around. "I think it's great what the new chief is doing. He's educating officers, and makes people feel comfortable. He's outgoing, and seems to be making his staff more outgoing. PR is important. He came by the coffee shop the other day with the executive officer and two sergeants, and he picked up the tab for our coffee. I think that kind of thing will work for him bringing people together."Local cable host Dick Murphy, another long time critic of the police, has also changed his tune. He told Snyder's Stoughton, "I was quite surprised and quite happy that it's over. I interviewed the Chief and he is a very impressive guy. He's refreshing. It's really a new beginning. As for the FBI probe, I was surprised that so many names were bandied about but only three paid the price. I've been on this for ten years, and I look forward to moving on." I think that Chairman Anastos said it best the day that Chief Shastany was welcomed by 400 people at Stoughton High School, "We can wallow in the transgressions of the past, or we can look ahead with hope and optimism," (Posted on 5/18/10 @ 10:30 a.m. Updated @ 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Updated 5/19/10@ 8:12 am)
2010 Selectman's Race
Campaign Finance Reports
Annual Town Meeting---Night 4
Stoughton came out of the Stone Age and into the Digital Age right from the start on Monday, May 17th, at the fourth night of Annual Town Meeting, On a recommendation of the Town's technology director, Dr. Larry Gray, the members voted 103-32 to purchase materials to install a SPS-systemwide Fiber Wide Area Network Upgrade for $200,000. The upgrade replaces a T-1 line that the town pays Verizon $16,800 a year to rent. The Fiber system is far superior to the T-1, comparible to the difference between the old "pulse" phone lines, and the more current "dial tone" lines. The Stoughton Fire Department will use their trucks and men to install the cable. Gray said that the town would "pay off" the investment in less than 12 years. Next, Town Meeting members voted to borrow $360,000 to purchase and install Smartboards (interactive whiteboards) in Stoughton High School, the O'Donnell Middle School, and all 4th and 5th grade classrooms townwide. David Guglia, a town meeting member and vice principal of the O'Donnell Middle School, told town meeting members that smartboards "are a very effective tool for learning." Town Meeting member Peter Murphy got in a shot at the Board of Selectmen before the vote, adding, "If these work, we should give a smart board to the selectmen." Voters approved them, 128-6. An effort to replace the roof of the E.A. Jones Elementary School, at a cost of $600,000, got an 83-53 majority, but fell short of the two-thirds needed for borrowing articles. An effort to complete a study and develop a master plan for ADA renovations in the towns outdoor facilities (fields, playgrounds, trails, etc.) was tabled until the end of town meeting. An effort by the Stoughton Facilities Master Planning Committee, chaired by Richard Fitzgerald, for $610,000 for the first year of a five-year plan for repairs of town hall, the Freeman Street Fire Station, the Council on Aging, the Stoughton Police Station, and the Clapp Memorial Building (housing the Historical Society), was tabled until Wednesday, May 19, so that all town meeting members can see the full five year financial plan. The 25 minute coffee and cookies recess was enjoyed by all. Meeting ended at about 10:15 p.m. Next town meeting---night #5--is at 7:30 p.m. on May 19th at Stoughton High Auditorium.(Posted on 5/17/10 @ 11 p.m.)
Stoughton PD Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine
assists City of Quincy Anti-Bullying Effort
Stoughton Police Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine and Quincy School Resource Officer Stephen Burgio discuss the legal consequences of bullying.
Detective Roger Hardy Named "Police Officer of the Year"
Detective Roger Hardy holds Proclamation with Chief Paul Shastany (Hank Herbowy Photo)
The VFW Post 1645 presented Stoughton Police Detective Roger Hardy with its "Policeman of the Year" award Sunday at the Post. David Sears, Chairman of the Voice of Democracy, said that the officers in the Stoughton Police Department were the ones who actually voted for Hardy. "Like our Teacher of the Year Award, this is by vote of their peers. The people in the Stoughton Police Department felt that Officer Hardy best represented them, " he told Snyder's Stoughton.
(Posted on May 16 @ 7 p.m.)
Police Department Reacts to Charges of
"Culture of Casual Corruption"
The brass among the Stoughton Police Department is reacting to references by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian T. Kelly about a "culture of casual corruption" in the Stoughton Police Department. The accusation was leveled during the sentencing of former Stoughton Police Detective Tony Bickerton, who was ordered federal prison for a year and a day, on charges of obstruction of justice, and making false statements to FBI investigators. Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany said that the FBI made observations of the three former officers (Bickerton, Arlindo Romeiro and Lino Azul), as far as "casual corruption", but it was more illustrative of those officers, than the department as a whole. "I've talked to the FBI, and I'm aware of the extent of their concerns. The way forward was discussed, and it echoed where I felt this department needed to go." Shastany said that "systems that created an opportunity for these officers have been addressed. We're identifying high risk-high liability issues, after discussing them with the command staff. In this business, certain things can contribute towards creating rogue officers, including lack of training and oversight." Shastany said that training, and eventual accreditation of the department, is the goal. "We will rigorously train our command staff. Recently, we sent Sgts. Gurevich, McGowan, McNulty, Murphy, Welch, and Williams to the FBI's one week LEEDA leadership course. We are working to develop the command staff's skills in leadership training, and the skills to maintain the integrity of the work force. We want the first line supervisors in support of command officers. They came back raring to go after the LEEDA training. This excitement is the fuel we need to move beyond the issues of the past."
This was the first step in training with the FBI leadership institute and command institute for intensive training. Chief Shastany and Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine will be attending internal affairs training with the FBI to create systems that would prevent future misconduct. Lt. Devine will be going to Police Executive Research Forum for elite training. Chief Shastany said "it is three weeks of intensive training for the cream of the crop, taught by the gurus in the field. Bob will have to read four books in advance of this, plus maintain class projects. All the focus is on supporting and constructing an effective administrative and support staff."
Shastany said that he was deeply concerned when he read affidavits where the informant indicated he was looking to obtain drugs from a police officer. "We'll get in trouble if we don't handle our evidence properly. There is a system of cataloging, packaging and storing evidence that must be impeccable and beyond reproach. I wanted to know if it was a system fault or a rogue officer's fault. I contracted to have an evidence audit done by two Lts. from an outside police force. Sgt. Robert Welch named Detective James O'Connor to work with the two auditors. The two auditors--who had no connection to Stoughton, according to Shastany--accounted for every piece of evidence. "From paper evidence like matchbook covers, to murder weapons and drugs, through visual audits, through evidence recordings, logs, and computer files, all pieces are accounted for. We consider this a major step. We went as far back as we had property. All money was accounted for, as well."
Shastany acknowledged that money, drugs or other evidence could have been removed before it ever reached the station. But, he cautioned, "We are going to tighten things up considerably. We 're using leadership training and accountability to prevent any future cases like this. Collecting evidence in the field will be more scrutinized. Going forward, we are looking for accreditation to our collections and storage systems. Supervision with integrity is the cornerstone to our success."As for the previous troubles in the police department, Chief Shastany said, "We're anxious to regain the public's trust. We know it's slow in coming back. We have a lot of good officers working under this terrible cloud. Wrongdoing will be uncovered and this administration will have no tolerance for a blue wall of silence. This department will become a model of integrity. I chose to come here and make changes, so others will want to emulate what we have here. We have a staff of officers who want to move forward, and do things the right way. They are as energized as they ever could be." As for Bickerton, Chief Shastany said, "Someone's going to jail, so justice is done." Added Lt. Devine, "Anything done by Bickerton was not a matter of a hole in our evidence procedures. Our practices are sound. He was a rogue agent on his own. We're moving forward to improving our policies to an accredited standard."Bottom Line: Chief Shastany pointed to his gold shield and said, "This shield is to protect the residents of Stoughton, not the officers in this department. If they betray the public trust, they will lose their shield." (Posted on May 13, 2010 @ 5 p.m.)
(c) 2010 by snydersstoughton.com
Bickerton Gets Year In Prison
Bickerton (r) doling out whipped cream to seniors. He'll be spending some time in the federal pen.
Former Stoughton Police Officer Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice and Making False Statements
A former Stoughton police officer who recently pleaded guilty in federal court was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in prison and two years’ supervised release.United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division, announced that Anthony Bickerton, 60, of Stoughton, who has resigned from the Stoughton Police Department and the Stoughton School Committee, was sentenced after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and making false statements and representations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding an ongoing public corruption investigation. Bickerton made these false statements and representations during the course of an interview on July 15, 2009 and subsequently, in September of 2009, Bickerton attempted to hide evidence at a friend’s residence, an intent to obstruct a federal investigation.U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz stated, “Police misconduct erodes public confidence and trust in law enforcement. Mr. Bickerton’s egregious actions are an affront to the decent and honest officers of the Stoughton Police Department, who serve the public’s interest and do their jobs with dedication and integrity. This sentence should send a strong message that we take very seriously any law enforcement officer who violates the very laws they are charged with serving and protecting.”This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian T. Kelly, Chief of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.(Posted on 5/12/10 @ 11 a.m. News Release from the Boston office of the FBI)
We Have a Human Resources Director!
Stoughton’s Annual Town Meeting took a bold and somewhat controversial step and funded a Human Resources Director, who would start in the fall of 2010. The efforts to install an HR Director had run into the same wall that the repeated attempts at funding a Town Planner ran into. Last special Town Meeting, a Town Planner was finally funded, and Joseph Laydon has worked tenaciously for the town since.I spoke up loudly against the HR Director last year at special Town Meeting. We had municipal and school layoffs, and the feeling was that the funding just wasn’t there. But, in the interim, I researched other towns, and spoke with people about the position. I learned that, in most cases, the HR Directors saved towns more than the cost of their positions, in increasing time for higher paid town managers and department heads to do more of their jobs, and less personnel work. The Town of Canton had a Personnel Board that oversaw much of the work of a Human Resources Director. But Town Manager Bill Friel said that about nine years ago, it tried the concept of a paid Human Resources Administrator, and it worked out well. Canton’s current HR Administrator is Lori Soloway. She is Canton’s second person in the HR position; the first serving five years. She tells Snyder’s Stoughton that her plate is full.“I’ve been here for three years,” she said. “You can’t imagine how busy I am. We’re having a health and wellness fair this weekend. I help with recruiting; participate in contract negotiations, workman’s comp, grievances, etc. It’s an extremely busy office, and I have no secretary. Employees call with questions on a daily basis on their benefits, and I deal with retirees, as well. I also do an orientation for the schools. There aren’t many HR Directors who deal with the schools, but Canton has seen the value in it. We have a good relationship with the unions. We may be on different sides of the table, but we meet somewhere in the middle.”Friel tells Snyder’s Stoughton that he thinks his neighbors will do well by adding this position.“It’s really important that the town manager, the Board of Selectmen, and department heads buy into the idea of an HR director,” he said. “You can make significant gains with the addition of this one position. It’s really important who you hire, too. The HR person is a real resource for employees. It’s a place to go, a sounding board for advice. Written policies and procedures are required by many insurers for coverage. The normal recruiting process is enhanced, including orientation.”Canton is unique, however. It is one of only 10 towns in the state that has a combined municipal and school HR Director. Friel said that in Canton’s case, “We created a consolidated personnel function for the schools and municipal sides. The myriad of issues with an HR focus, regulatory and legal, updating personnel policies and procedures to comply with the law, avoiding litigation. It’s been a big success for Canton. I’m sure it will be for Stoughton, as well.”In Randolph, the new Town Charter specifies that all personnel decisions rest with the “strong” Town Manager, in its case, David Murphy. His Administrative Assistant, Ann Barkhouse, says she handles much of the paperwork, but personnel decisions rest with Murphy.Sharon Town Administrator Ben Puritz said Sharon is not considering a human resources director for their town.“We share responsibilities,” he said. “We have a benefits coordinator in our finance department. I am the representative for the finance board, and the personnel director, while someone in our payroll department has a piece of personnel administration, as well.” But, he added, “In a perfect world, it would be nice to have a person dedicated to that function exclusively. Under the current financial restrictions of the budget, we don’t have the capacity for a human resources director.”Stoughton Town Manager Francis Crimmins said that hiring an HR Director will pay immediate dividends for taxpayers.“Today, 90 percent of my time was consumed by personnel issues in four different departments,” he told me late Tuesday afternoon. “We really needed a full time professional to administer our personnel programs, shore up recruiting; ensure compliance with state and federal regulations; and counsel employees on a host of human resource matters. Now, our employees talk to one person on health issues, another handles complaints, and a different person regarding vacation time. This consolidates everything under one roof. We currently have no regular training or development programs, either.”Crimmins, who took over in February, said the biggest benefit is freeing up his time, to do the work the Selectmen want him to do.“This HR Director will help to recruit, prepare ads, administer tests, assist department heads, and conduct orientation for new employees,” he said. “(He or she) will also maintain central employee records that comply with confidentiality guidelines. Employees need to know what our expectations are, so they can meet and exceed them. The HR Director will also assist me in writing an employee handbook.” But Crimmins sees the biggest savings in avoiding the quagmire of costly litigation the town has experienced. “We can avoid a lot of unnecessary litigation, and maximize our chances on matters that go all the way to court,” he said. Based on Soloway’s input, here’s some of the things we can expect the new HR Director to take care of: Recruitment and Employment; Benefit Administration; Workers Compensation Administration; Labor Relations; Employee Relations; Salary Administration; Data Management; Training and Professional Development; and Policy Development The seed money for the position comes from the increases of the meals and hotel taxes, proposed by Town Meeting member Eric Kolman and adopted by Town Meeting last week. Town Accountant Bill Rowe said that $222,226 of the expected revenue from those twin taxes can be utilized in the 2011 budget. Sixty-seven percent of those approved funds are expected to go to the Stoughton Public Schools. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi gave an early indication that those funds (if received) could restore 2.5 positions of the nine lost in the 2011 budget.Stoughton’s HR Director will start at approximately $85,000 a year. Like the others who voted for this position, I’m hoping the hope matches the hype.
(CLARIFICATION: "There seems to be some confusion with the salary and article for the HR position since both the $80k and $85k figures were batted around. The salary discussed is a maximum of $80,000 per year and the $66,700 approved for Article 24 is for the 10 month period starting September 1, 2010. The $80,000 is comparable to other towns - for example, Canton's HR Manager is paid $75,000 per year."---Holly Boykin, Chair Finance Committee)
Stoughton Annual Town Meeting--Night 3
Monday, May 10th Annual Town Meeting spent a large amount of borrowed money (almost $900,000), and did something that had been rejected at Town Meetings past--they hired a Human Resources Director. The HR Director, which was motioned for by Selectmen Chairman Steve Anastos, was to be paid for out of anticipated revenue from the new meals and hotel tax, voted in at the previous night of town meeting. Town Meeting member Dennis Gada pointed out that the town had no employee handbook, no job descriptions, and no disciplinary plan, and gave it a strong recommendation. Town Meeting member Ed DeFelice disagreed, saying,"This is like a shell game. We don't have the money in hand." Snyder's Stoughton had spoken out against this same article at last year's special town meeting. But, with a 67 million dollar budget, and tons of litigation reflected in the town meeting warrant, it seemed like the time to put an HR Director in, who could assist the employees of the town. Although I voted against the meals and room taxes, they are in effect, and it would be nice to use that money to try to keep our employees happy. With a huge chunk of the budget allocated to paying employees, its reasonable that someone should be there to assist them, and inform them of all the benefits they have coming to them. Town Meeting member Joe Flynn said with people being laid off (some could be lost on the school side), that this was not the time to hire an HR Director. My feeling is that an HR Director (in theory) should save the town litigation costs, and assist the town manager and department heads, making them more effective. Money saved could actually help to retain employees, and hire additional ones. The HR Director will be starting in the Fall, with a 3/4 year salary of $66,700. The motion passed by an 85-51 vote. Town Meeting also approved borrowing: $30,000 for Fire Dept. Apparatus Intercom System (119-14)
$200,000 to replace Fire Dept's Ladder Truck No. 2 (with help of a $675,000 grant) (135-0 unanimous)
$50,000 to replace Fire Dept. Engine No. 1 (unanimous)
$176,240 to replace four Stoughton Police cruisers.(unanimous)
$41,356 to upgrade HVAC System at Stoughton Police Station. (123-3)
$10,000 to fix damaged mechanical room floor at Stoughton Police Station (unanimous)
$9,000 to fix radio transmission/reception signal failure of Stoughton Police (unanimous)
$78,000 for a pickup truck and maintenance vehicle for Stoughton Water Dept. (unanimous)
$51,000 to replace backup pump on Turnpike St. and Daly Drive Generator for Sewer Dept.(unanimous)
$99,000 to replace a dump truck and bobcat loader for Stoughton Highway Dept. (126-2)
$40,000 to purchase a new 3/4 ton truck for Stoughton School Dept. (125-2) QUOTE OF THE NIGHT:(during discussion on Daly Drive Generator)DPW Director John Batchelder: "It's 39 years old."
Town Meeting Rep Joe Flynn: "I'm 50 and I'm still good."
Town Manager Fran Crimmins (3rd from left) and Deputy Moderator Bob Mullen (right) hand
out awards for long service to town meeting. Next Town Meeting is May 17 @ 7:30 at Stoughton High School auditorium. (Story & Photo posted @ 11:30 p.m. on May 10,2010)
(Snyder cell phone photo)
Does Senator Joyce have Conflict on Chapter 40B?
Two Republicans Challenge JoyceStory Here
Canton Selectman Bob Burr
Milton Town Meeting Rep Richard Livingston
Annual Town Meeting--Night 2
On Wednesday, May 5, the second night of Annual Town Meeting, members voted to accept the Community Preservation Committee's first report, and then went after a few sources of future revenue. First, by a 101-32 vote, the Town Meeting Members voted to ask the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for special legislation to enable the town to access some of the 2.5 million dollars in accrued earnings in the Stoughton Public Health Enterprise Fund. As passed, after changes from the Finance Committee, if the legislature approves it, it allows access "if in any fiscal year, the certified retained earnings as of July 1 of that fiscal year of the Public Health Enterprise Fund exceeds the approved fiscal year operating budget of said fund, up to 50% of such excess may be transfered, with a vote of Town Meeting, to the town's Stabilization Fund." Town Accountant Bill Rowe said an outside auditor had recommended the move. "He thought that excess money would probably never be utilized." But, Lisa Parent, director the Public Health Department, cautioned against the move. "97% of the funds we receive are from Medicare. Predictions are that Medicare will take a big hit. We'll feel this hit. We do have a significant amount in accrued earnings, but we will have to dip into this if health care predictions are correct." Town Meeting member Barry Crimmins, whose wife works for the department. said it was a "potentially dangerous precedent we are entering into with this article." Some speakers asked why Public Health, which is doing such a good job providing excellent care, and not taking anything out of taxpayer's pockets, should be "punished." Town Meeting and Finance Committee member Pat Colburn said, "We're not punishing anyone. This simply gives us options." Finance Committee Chair Holly Boykin added, "Putting this money in the stabilization fund has the auditing possibility of lifting the town's bond ratings. Sitting in Public Health Enterprise Fund doesn't help the town." Town Meeting members agreed. Next, Town Meeting narrowly passed a petitioned article from Town Meeting member Eric Kolman to increase the town's meals tax to 7%. This was in response to the legislature raising the rate to 6.25%, and allowing towns to life it 0.75% higher and keep the money. After much arguing back and forth, the members voted 71-60 to pass the increased tax. (This writer voted against it. I just can't support a tax increase.) Kolman estimated the town would garner about $180,000 from this increase. Another article, also filed by Kolman, to raise the hotel tax rate to 6%, passed more easily (86-41). There are only two hotels in Stoughton. Town Meeting member John Morton, arguing for the increase, said, "Maybe some people in town use these hotels for a couple hours, but most people paying this tax come from out of town. It makes fiscal sense and is a rational thing to do." It was estimated over $80,000 could be generated by this one. Town meeting also voted to put $70,690 into the town's stabilization fund and approved a five year contract with Stoughton Media Access Corp. (SMAC) to provide cable access television service to the Town of Stoughton. Town Meeting meets next on Monday, May 10 @ 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Stoughton High.
(Posted on May 5, 2010 @ 11:30 p.m.)
Around & About
Congratulations to Stoughton Police Departments Sgts. Gurevich, McGowan, McNulty, Murphy, Welch, and Williams for completing the FBI's one week LEEDA leadership course. Another step in the right direction for the SPD, under new Police Chief Paul Shastany. Also, Stoughton Police Executive Lt. Robert Devine led an anti-bullying seminar for the City of Quincy.
Cheng Du is hoping to re-open at the end of May, permits willing, in their new location on Washington Street at the former Phatt Boys location. Much of the bar area will remain, and a major renovation is taking place in the space. One major addition to the menu will be Thai food, something that the town hasn't seen since the golden days of Thai Taste in Stoughton Center.
Former Town Manager and long-time Town Clerk Jeanne Fleming is the newest member of the Finance Committee.
The Stoughton Theatre building was sold by Mr. Vu, who renovated the site. No details on the new owner's plans for the closed theatre.
CHIEF SHASTANY ON TV
New Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany commented this past week on Snyder's Stoughton TV Show on the ongoing FBI probe into the Police Department. He also spoke about the quality of the officers on Rose Street, and some of the positive changes on the way, including extensive training of officers, and changes in the chain of command. Don't miss what he had to say on this week's show. See local listings for times, in addition to the regular 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Comcast Channel 9 and Verizon Fios Channel 28. (posted 4/30/10 @ noon)
WATCH THIS WEEKEND!
May 7, 8 & 9 @ 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Comcast Channel 9 and Verizon Channel 28
Annual Town Meeting: Night 1
Usually the first night of Annual Town Meeting is full of lengthy ceremonies, political speeches, and little else. But, on Monday night (5/3), Town Meeting took about two and a half hours to spend over 67 million dollars. They passed the budget, with a few tweekings from the Finance Committee, for all departments. The Stoughton Public Schools got $34,325,998 for their 2011 budget. that was a tiny increase of $15,000 from the 2010 budget. The schools were forced to cut over 1.2 million dollars from their requested budget figure. The school committee approved the cuts earlier tonight.The other two largest departments involve public safety. The Stoughton Police Department got a 2011 budget of $4,486,655, approximately $190,000 less than the 2010 budget. But, in actuality, with $233,709 added to the selectmen's budget for police contract bargaining, they will come out over $43,000 OVER last year's budget, when it's all combined. The Stoughton Fire Department got a 2011 budget of $3,492,579. That was just less than a $2000 increase over the 2010 budget. It was a relatively early night (around 10:30 p.m.) Next Town Meeting is Wednesday, May 5 @ 7:30 p.m. in Stoughton High's auditorium.
(Posted on May 3, 2010 @ 11 p.m.)
LIFE CAN BE A CLASSROOM--
learning from the water situation
The situation with the water failure at the MWRA never became a problem to the residents of Stoughton, because of the quick action of Sgt. John Bonney of the Stoughton Police Department and the workers of DPW. While 30 other towns and two million people heard the strains of “dirty water” in their ears, the taxpayers here were protected. Sgt. Bonney happened to be online when an MWRA alert flashed across the screen announcing the burst pipe and the resultant boiling order. He told Assistant DPW Superintendent Jonathan Beder who called Assistant DPW Director Billy Hammel. Hammel said that Greg Malden and Rich Snyder shut the station and the valve, cutting off MWRA water from the Stoughton water supply in about thirty minutes. The DPW uses Stoughton wells as the main source of our water, with the MWRA as backup, switching on the valve as needed. So, due to this diligence, the unfiltered MWRA water that has resulted in boiling orders for nearly two million people, did not affect Stoughton’s town water supply.
Town Manager Fran Crimmins, working with DPW Director John Batchelder, Police Chief Paul Shastany, Fire Chief David Jardin, and Selectman Chairman Steve Anastos, began calling other selectmen, town officials, and others to try and spread the word. Crimmins called State Rep. Lou Kafka for help contacting someone at the MWRA to try to tell the media to remove the Stoughton warnings on TV. Crimmins told Snyder’s Stoughton that the name he got from Kafka was someone he was able to reach, and who helped to mitigate the situation. Stoughton’s technology director Dr. Lawrence Gray posted water information on channel 6 and on the town website, and initiated a reverse-911. The DPW, especially, should be saluted for avoiding a potentially disastrous result for residents, restaurants and other commercial interests in town. However, the DPW didn't do an inadequate job of getting the word out to the public that our water was potable. Of course, the DPW isn't a public relations firm. Their job is to provide the residents with clean water, and the ability to get rid of waste water through our sewer systems. And, they accomplished that with flying colors. However, in this case, proper earlier notification would have helped prevent the rush on stores for bottled water. The Journal, Enterprise, and Snyder's Stoughton never received notification, in a timely manner, to share with readers. By limiting the immediate dissemination of information to the town website and Channel 6 Bulletin Board screen, larger population groups weren’t reached in Stoughton. As late as Sunday morning, a couple of TV Stations were still including Stoughton in their warnings. We did not receive any official information from the Stoughton DPW or Town of Stoughton to post for residents until Sunday, May 2, at 1:07 p.m. The Journal and Enterprise also got updates on the water about that same time on Sunday. This is by no means a whack on the DPW, or its director. Don’t mistake it for that. I have great respect for John and his department’s workers. No one could have anticipated this problem, and no one in town had experience dealing with anything of this nature. They will be better prepared for the next time anything happens, that needs town-wide notification.
Batchelder, reached Monday afternoon, told Snyder's Stoughton that he was out of town on Saturday. "I heard about it at 4 p.m. on Saturday. My crew had already shut down the connection. We pulled a test on the MWRA side of the gate this morning (Monday). The chlorine from our system would have taken care of any residual problem.” Batchelder said the whole thing was a learning experience. "It was frustrating Sunday watching Channel 4 still scrolling Stoughton on their screens. The MWRA and MEMA were supposed to notify the media about our water supply not being affected. We tried--even reaching out to Rep. Kafka--to have the TV stations respond. It was just frustrating." He said we should look at the positive, however. "Some people waited in lines for hours for water. Others were fighting in stores for it. I'm just happy we caught it in time. We're fortunate that we use wells, and the MWRA is our backup, rather than the other way around." We’re all grateful that we have a DPW that has workers who respond immediately---on a weekend—to avert a potential horror show for residents. This could be a blessing in disguise for the town. It was a lesson for everyone here. Town Manager Fran Crimmins acknowledged Tuesday night that he had a hard time getting through to local and Boston media. He suggested a “command center” if something similar occurred again. He also said that “Old fashioned informing neighbors never went out of style. We also need a list of elderly population centers.” Crimmins was happy with the DPW, as well. “We have a system that works, and a backup system that works. Our wells are in great shape.”Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh had a couple of good ideas. “If something like this occurs again on a weekend, we should notify churches, temples, and mosques. We could reach many elderly people who go to worship. Also, since people were going to supermarkets for water, and we post official notices in many of these locations already, why not post this information in supermarkets and corner markets to help get the word out?” It seems obvious to this writer that department heads should be the point people with the media when something comes up within their department. When police issues have come up, the police chief was front and center, along with the D.A. and State Police. If a similar situation arises, the DPW director could call a news conference to inform local residents, and the media. Batchelder agreed that the local media should have been notified sooner. "I tried to reach Allan Stein at the Enterprise, and I always look for you and Candace Hall (Journal). But, it was on Channel 6 and Channel 28, and on the town website. People need to refer to it (stoughton-ma.gov) more." Batchelder said he never even got to his office Saturday. "I went to the police department to get a bunch of numbers I needed to call.” When asked why the media wasn't called by 8 p.m. Saturday (when Batchelder said he knew for sure that the water was OK), he replied, "At that point, I didn't think I needed to contact the media. MEMA and the MWRA were supposed to do that. So we ran it on local cable, reverse 911, and the town website. It didn't work as we'd hoped.” (As for Reverse-911--I canvassed dozens of residents on Monday. Half had not received a reverse-911 call. Several had gotten multiple calls. It's obvious that our reverse-911 system may be better for school-wide notifications rather than town-wide ones. However, the town is trying to update the call list. If you did not receive the recent Reverse911 call and want to be added to the list, contact Dr. Larry Gray at 781-344-4000, x1236 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.) As I have written here, I have only good things to say about Batchelder and his entire staff. He’s not a PR professional. He’s not paid to be one. No one on the town’s payroll is. Batchelder is the effective director of a huge department, made up of many sub-departments. I'm grateful to the DPW for saving us the pain, danger, and aggravation suffered by dozens of other communities. But, the town needs to compile a media list of emails and phone numbers. (I have offered to help compile it.) The Norfolk County D.A.’s office, for instance, sends notifications regularly, and can call a press conference within an hour using only email, and get a crowd. They need to compile a list of senior housing, athletic organization directors (notification could be made to STOYAC, Stoughton Soccer, Stoughton baseball in the event of a weekend problem), places of worship, etc. I’m sure that the Town Manager will be all over this. Let’s call this training camp for an actual emergency. Let’s hope when the real one comes, everything will flow as well as the water in Stoughton’s pipes.
(Posted on May 2, 2010 @ 10 p.m.; updated on May 3 @ 5 p.m. Re-done on May 4 @ 11 p.m.)
MESSAGE FROM ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF DPW
ZBA DENIES "POND VIEW VILLAGE" REQUEST
TO LIFT AGE RESTRICTION
The Zoning Board of Appeals has denied a request from Pond View Village Stoughton LLC for modification of their comprehensive permit, that would have removed the retriction of "Over 55" sales. Signing off on the decision was ZBA Chairman Sherman Epro, Secretary Robert O'Regan, Orlando DiGiampietro, Gary Ilacqua, and Marguerite Mitchell. Some of the numerous reasons listed for the denial included, "The Board finds and determines that, to the extent that the project is a LIP project, the Board lacks jursidiction to grant the modifications as requested because evidence of a proper amendment to the LIP endorsedment by the chief executive officer was not provided....(lots of legalese followed)" In addition, the ZBA "finds and determines that removal of the over 55 age requirement would be inconsistent with local needs, as identified by the town's certified housing plan, which indicates that an increase in rthe supply of dedicated over 55 housing is necessary and this need outweighs the regional need for affordable housing." The Board also found that the removal of the over 55 age requirement "would create an unacceptable pedestrian hazard for families with children, The project includes multiple dwelling units that are located on a main roadway, but are not connected to the main part of the development." And lastly the ZBA found "the project has insufficient open space, and there is insufficient open space within a reasonable walking distance to serve a population that would include children and young adults, and this is a local concern that outweighs the need for affordable housing." A good decision for the town. It's about time we stopped bailing out developers when they make mistakes.
(Posted on 4/30/10 @ 12:45 p.m.)
ZBA SAYS NO TO CELL TOWER ON HANSEN PROPERTY
The Zoning Board of Appeals on April 28, 2010 denied a Special Permit for a Wireless Communications and Television Tower and Communications Facility to be built on land off of Pleasant Street. The land is owned by the family of Town Moderator Howard Hansen. The decision, signed by ZBA Chairman Sherman Epro, Vice Chairman Jerald Savage, Secretary Robert O'Regan, Orlando DiGiampietro, and Gary Ilacqua, listed a number of reasons for the denial. Among those was "There was no showing that the requested use is desirable to the public convenience or welfare, based on the coverage map that the area now enjoys 100% coverage. In addition, the Petitioner did not show that the area lacks cellular service. " Also noted by the ZBA in their decision: "The requested use will impair the integrity and character of the District and the adjourning residential district, may be detrimental to the health of the neighbors and wildlife, and to the welfare of the neighbors."
(Posted on 4/30/10 @ 1:15 p.m.)
MULLEN ELECTED DEPUTY MODERATOR
It was a battle of former selectmen Thursday night (4/29/10) before the town meeting members at the Organizational Town Meeting for the title of Deputy Moderator. In the instance that Moderator Howard Hansen has to step aside at Town Meeting, the Deputy Moderator would fill in. It was a rare occasion, indeed, when Robert Levitz, the previous DM, got to take the gavel. Two former selectmen expressed interest in the position, and the battle was on. When the votes were counted, Robert Mullen beat Joseph Mokrisky, 76-48.
Scam Alert! An elderly resident of Stoughton was contacted by a man claiming to be an attorney from Toronto. The elderly person was told that a grandchild had been arrested and needed bail money to be released. Someone then got on the line impersonating the grandchild demanding $3600 to be sent to Canada. This is a classic phishing scam targeting the elderly. If it sounds wrong it probably is, contact police immediately. From Stoughton Police Dept. Executive Officer Robert Devine.
JABOUR SEEKS TO DISQUALIFY COHEN ATTORNEY
(Story)NEW ENGLAND SINAI HOSPITAL ONCE AGAIN TAKING NEW INPATIENTS
Stoughton's Newest Eagle Scout
Congratulations to Shaul Kushinsky, Stoughton's newest Eagle Scout. The member of Troop 54 of Old Colony Council's Boy Scouts of America got his honor on April 25 in a Council of Honor at Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton. Kushinsky, a senior at Stoughton High School, got a Meritorious Service Award in 2010, in honor of a lifesaving Heimlich Manuever that saved a life last year. Shaul redesigned and built new storage units for band equipment at SHS. Coming out to honor Shaul were Stoughton Police Chief Paul Shastany, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi; School Committee member Tom Colburn; retired Stoughton Schools Fine Arts Director Ron Christianson, as well as his successor Dan Davey.
Keating Says Perry is a "Right Wing Nut"
Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating told an audience of Democratic activists in Sharon Thursday night (4/22/10) that his Republican opponent, running for Congressman William Delahunt's seat, is a "right wing nut." State Rep Jeff Perry (R-Sandwich) is running against former State Treasurer Joe Malone for the Republican nomination in the 10th Congressional District. Keating told the audience at Alice's Mandarin Taste that he feels that Perry will win the nomination. He said it was important to win this seat for many reasons. "We really need to win this seat. Senator Scott Brown is doing radio ads for Perry. If we win this seat, Brown is a one-horse pony, an anomoly. The Wall Street issue has Republicans in trouble. 70% of Brown's money came from Wall Street. This issue is important. The Republicans want to keep up the greed." As to why Keating is running, he told the crowd, "If you have a chance to make a difference, you have to jump on it. As a D.A., I've seen the results of financial pressures on the family--increased domestic violence. I've seen the average 1.7 deaths a day from Oxy and Heroin. People can't get jobs and nothing is being done. We're building all over the world, and doing nothing here." As for Perry, Keating said, "Perry wants to repeal national healthcare. He was one of only two who voted against the plan in Massachusetts. Is that a patriot? Perry has chosen positions against every civil right I have worked so hard for. He's the most aggressive legislator against a women's right to choose, gay rights, and immigration." Perry, a conservative, wrote a book called, "My G.O.P." He tells Snyder's Stoughton, "I guess the voters will have decide if they want someone who is willing to stand up for conservative principles of limited government or send another liberal down to Washington, D.C. to support Speaker Pelosi."
(posted on April 23, 2010 @ 2 p.m. Updated April 25 @ 7:40 p.m.)
240 Stoughton Employees Earned Over $70,000 in 2009; 38 Topped $90,000
As the result of a March 9, 2010 request, under the Freedom of Information Act, Snyder's
On the school side, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marguerite Rizzi was top earner with $126,500. Stoughton High Science Director, and basketball and softball coach Janet Sullivan earned $105,083. Stoughton High principal Brett Dickens earned $104,277 in 2009, while her assistant, Paul Jacobs also topped 100k ($101,193), as did O'Donnell Middle School principal Wayne Hester ($104,963). Stoughton High Social Studies Director and basketball coach John Gallivan nearly hit the century mark as well ($99,756).
This week’s column is about the leadership teams on the municipal and school sides of town. They should be highly compensated, as they have a lot of responsibility, and the stress that comes with it. Unfortunately, the recession has cost all employees their raises (except for contracted STEP raises), and in some cases (possibly on the school side), some employees could lose their jobs. Salaries of public employees are the public’s right-to-know. They pay the salaries. But, in this town, secrecy has always prevailed. Through the Freedom of Information Act, and the cooperation of the Town Manager and Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, this information is now public. That is what transparency is all about in the public sector.
(C) 2010 by Snyder's Stoughton
Snyder's Stoughton posted ALL Town Employees Salaries. Snydersstoughton.com has done this for Stoughton taxpayers, as a public service. There's no other motivation here. Like the Boston Herald did to obtain all state employees salaries, I had to file a legal request to finally get it. I apologize to those town employees who are upset by the transparency of their income. It should be noted that some "salaries" also include vacation and sick pay; some don't. This was the information provided by the Town Accountant.
Municipal Employees School Employees
Information was provided by Town Accountant William Rowe. Any "accuracy" problems should be addressed to him.
SMAC SEEKS NEW BOARD DIRECTOR
Stoughton Media Access Corporation is accepting letters of interest from Stoughton residents who would be interested in joining the board of directors. We are looking for a person with a financial background to replace the recently expired term of our treasurer. Letters of interest can be sent to Stoughton Media Access Corporation, 10 Pearl Street, Stoughton MA 02072, attention John Stagnone. Letters of interest should submitted by May 12, 2010.
WHAT A WEEKEND!
Pride of Stoughton Day really was a Pride in Stoughton Weekend. Friday night, April 16, 175 people jammed into the Portuguese National Club for the Fifth Annual Doin' it for Diane" Fundraiser for Stoughton's two food pantries. The evemt, sponsored by the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce, raised approximately $17,000 for the pantries. The fundraiser was in memory of Diane Murray, late wife of Dr. David Fisher, retired principal of the South School. Together with Deni Goldman, Denis Donaghue, Terry Schneider, and this writer, the original committee ran that very first fundraiser. This one had a much more extensive volunteer list. The event featured an endless selection of raffle prizes, silence auction items, and some exciting live items--like tickets to see James Taylor and Carole King at Mohegan Sun. The entertainment featured the incredible music of Insufficient Funds, fronted by the talented Chris Petrie (of Windsor Tire fame), whose voice adapted from pop to rock easily. Singers Lydia Herrell and Nicole Caramanica also demonstrated amazing voices. IKEA led the generosity, with a $2500 contribution. Credit should go to the Doin' It For Diane Committee, which included Ann Havlin, Joanne and Terry Schneider, Cindy Pazyra, Beth and Megan Snell, Maria Pimental, Christine Gallagher, Suzanne Blacker, Bridget Horan, Lucy O'Connor, Fred Yaitanes, Nadine Israel, Joyce Dwyer, Dr. David Fisher, Dori Frankel, Chris Petrie, Joel Hoenig, Hank Polanzak, Steve Kelley, Bernie Planeta, Lisa Wheeler, Jill Sousa, and Betty Ann MacKenzie. It was a plethora of food, fun, and great prizes. (It should be noted that no selectmen came to this. The only department head who bought a ticket and stayed was Mike Pazyra, the Veteran's Agent.)
Insufficient Funds Performs at Doin' It For Diane/ Mark with Joanne Schneider & Cindy & Mike Pazyra (doinitfordiane.org photos)
Saturday night, April 17, was the first Stoughton "Idol Show," sponsored by Stoughton's No Place for Hate Committee, co-chaired by Karen Catrone and Dick Levine . Nearly 400 people came to Stoughton high school to watch 20 very talented individuals perform everything from Indian Dance to Beatboxer. When all the votes were counted, the winner was Angela Kronillis, who belted out "I'll Always Love You" to the delight of the crowd. An amazing broadway rendition got Rachel Steinberg second place in the contest. Beatboxer Roberto Lima finished third, and siuger John Gerard took fourth place. Some singers finished just out of the money, including Eileen Springer, Kerry Campbell, and Danica Hassol. But there was no short of talent. Luke Asack showed strong guitar and voice talent. Darlene Irons shined on the piano. Ashley Yanoff, a 9 year old, showed off her martial arts skills. Sumedha Sahay performed a ritual Indian dance; Nicole Fosa sang her own background in an upbeat tune. Ken Keller sounded like the Gatlin Brothers, with his happy country tune. Two youngsters, Danny Solow and Daniel Steinberg-- entertained the crowd. Janetha Reid did a soulful hip hop dance. Teresa Miller sang well. Pamela Rutherford and Becky Detore also shined on stage. Joe "Kidd" Fernandez did an outstanding job as host. Guest Judges included performers Lori McKenna and Maria Sangiolo (both were outstanding, as always!), Jan Jones of Little Theatre of Stoughton, Helyn Hall of the Stoughton Senior Serenaders (who also perfomed a few numbers), and this writer. Rebecca Wolff of Canton was also a featured performer. The event raised over $1700 for NPFH, and provided everyone with an excellent night of entertainment--for only $5! Kudos to Jeff Connors, Bob Dee, and Marc Bloom for their technical assistance for the event. Selectmen Cynthia Walsh, John Anderson and John Stagnone attended this event.
Rachel Steinberg (2nd), Angela Kronillis (1st), Singer/Judge Lori McKenna, John Gerard (4th), Emcee Joe "Kidd" Fernandez, Judge Mark Snyder, Judge Helyn Hall of Stoughton Senior Serenaders, Singer/Judge Maria Sangiolo, Judge Jan Jones of Little Theatre of Stoughton. Missing: 3rd place finisher Roberto Lima.
Mark with Singer Lori McKenna, Joe "Kidd" Fernandez, Helyn Hall and Maria Sangiolo at Stioughton Idol.
ANASTOS WINS SECOND TERM AS CHAIRMAN
Second Term Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh was the swing vote that gave Steve Anastos his second term as Chairman of the Board. John Anderson moved to nominate Anastos as Chair. Newly-minted selectman John Stagnone nominated John Anzivino. So, it all came down to Walsh. She voted for Anastos, giving him a 3-2 victory and the Chairmanship. Walsh was the unanimous choice as Vice Chairman, the position that Anzivino had held previously. Outgoing selectmen Joe Mokrisky was presented with the traditional town seal-emblazoned rocking chair. After Anastos gave him "the chair," he uttered the best quip of the night, saying, "There are people in this world that would like to plug this in." He added, "You leave with a heavy heart. We all love the town, no matter our politics. This past year under the leadership of Mr. Anastos, I think we accomplished the most of any of my 12 years on the Board. The two best votes I have cast were for Mr. (Francis) Crimmins and Police Chief (Paul Shastany)."
(posted on April 13, 2010 @ 10 p.m.)
NEWEST SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEMBER IS DEBORAH SOVINEE
Selectmen and the School Committee picked the individual to take Tony Bickerton's seat on the school committee, in a joint meeting on Wednesday night at Great Hall (4/14). It wasn't until after 9:30 p.m. that the dust settled, and Deborah Sovinee edged out Jeff Benson, 5-4. The field of candidates was an impressive group. It also included attorney David Madoff, who has a son at Stoughton High; George Dolinsky, Treasurer and vice president of Stoughton Youth Athletic Club (STOYAC); Dr. Kathleen Cronin, retired director of the Stoughton Youth Commission; Town Meeting member John D'Addieco, an O'Donnell Middle School parent; and Molly Cochran, an attorney and mother of two Dawe School students. In the first round of voting, Bensen got 4 votes, Sovinee got 3, and Madoff and Cochran got one each. The top two vote-getters squared off in the finals, and Sovinee got the 5-4 edge. Sovinee is best known for her role as Chairman of the Stoughton Redevelopment Authority, and a senior exhibit designer for museums.
Benson is an accountant, who had two children graduate from Stoughton High school, and another still there. Benson is well known for his service to the high school council, and as a former president of Parents of Performing Students (POPS).Sovinee tells Snyder's Stoughton that she was "thrilled and excited" by the vote. Her daughter is a senior at Stoughton High. She added, "I know all the wonderful things that the school system does, but also learned some of the improvements they need. I have a passion for science." Asked why she went from redevelopment authority to the school committee, she replied, "Through my work in the redevelopment authority, I have come to realize that there is no aspect of the town that is not affected by the schools. Whether you buy a house, or start a business, one of the first questions you are asked is, 'how are the schools?' The schools affect every avenue of life in town." Sovinee was quick to recognize the talent that had applied for the seat: "I thought some of the other candidates were quite impressive. I hope they get involved in town government, in some form."
(Posted on 4/14/10 @ 10:35 p.m.; updated on 4/15/10 @ 7 a.m.)
TEN MINUTES WITH THE NEW POLICE CHIEF
(photo by dion.com)
Snyder’s Stoughton took time out on Monday morning to meet with Stoughton’s new Chief of Police Paul Shastany and get his thoughts on his first week on the job.
Shastany began work last Tuesday, and logged 70 hours, including work time over last weekend. We started the conversation with a tough question: “Do you feel all the bad elements have been removed from the Stoughton Police Department?” Chief Shastany replied, “Feeling has no IQ. Facts will speak for themselves. I’ve been on a mission to understand the ongoing and future issues. We will be working vigorously to obtain information from authorities that have investigated the department. It is my intention to determine the status of the investigation. Is it ongoing? We’ll give investigating authorities unfettered access and the full cooperation of the Stoughton Police Department.” As for any “bad apples” that may remain, Shastany added, “Wrongdoing will be vigorously addressed under the laws we operate under. Internal sanctions allow for separation from service for officers that breech the public trust. They can expect harsh treatment, which is no less than fair. Many officers here want to prove their trustworthiness, and regain the trust of the community.” He adds, “There’s plenty of constructive, good work being performed here. Officers will get the opportunity for positive change in the town. It will be recognized. When people are involved in a process for positive change, they will work hard to maintain quality service and perform their best work.” Shastany said he intends to meet with every individual officer in the department. “I’m amazed at how much community policing this town does. The dedication of these officers is remarkable. Morale in the department is on the way up. I will be the one to take criticisms for failures. Success will go to the officers. They’re excited and engaged, morale has jumped significantly. We will give them the tools, and they will go out and do the job.” The former Lt. in the Framingham Police Department tells me that his administration will be fully open and transparent. “I will go on any TV show that asks me to come on. My office will be open to reporters. I will give them everything I legally can give them. I believe in 100% cooperation with the media. Of course, confidential information stays confidential. We will release what the law requires. We won’t release anything that compromises public safety. Information will be released in a timely manner as the public has a right to know. We are their police department. They pay for safety, and they deserve our trust, transparency and accountability.”The 6’4” Chief said he loves his job. “My whole career has been focused on doing the best I can for the police industry. If there’s a sign that says, ‘Don’t juggle machetes’, I’d do it. I love a challenge.” As for priorities in his administration, he listed restoring dignity and respect; protecting the weak; helping those that cannot help themselves; keeping the streets safe; safeguarding information; protecting reports; and asking the community what the police can do for them. As for the town’s police reputation, Shastany said that “When something goes wrong, people compare to the past and say the town is worse. But, this is happening everywhere. Does it mean attentiveness to duty is waning? No. We’re going to try to prevent crime before it happens, and we’ll working in partnership with the District Attorney, the State Police, and other peer agencies. When we engage in investigations, it will be done with the best methods, practices and integrity. We’re dealing with people’s lives.”The new chief, father of three daughters, says that he won’t let the divisions in the department---which can be traced to the Recall election in April of 2005—continue. In Framingham, I was tasked with bringing the Brazilian community and the town together. I took people who were willing to talk, brought both sides together, and it all worked out. I’d like to do the same within this department. The officers must work together. We need to share information to tackle issues in the community. People can have opinions. But, most people want this entire episode behind them. With incremented change, and good faith given, I’m convinced we’ll put a unified best foot forward.” One of the biggest problems facing society these days is the drug problem that has created much of today’s crime. Oxycontin and other prescription drugs have caused addictions that are expensive to maintain. “We can’t solve the problem,” Chief Stastany told me. “Strengthening families through programs like OASIS is a positive step. School resource officers following truancy and failing grades can help. Once kids feel the sting of failure, they drop out, and drug addiction and mental illness can follow. We’ll enlist other law enforcement to be effective in combating drug sales. Drugs and death go hand in hand. We will be gathering data on dealers and users, and work to shut down distributors. We’ll work with mental health providers, as well. It’s an extensive undertaking, but extremely important that we help residents from losing family members to addiction. We’ll do all that we can do, under the constraints of our budget realities.” As I left the police chief’s office, Shastany added, “I love this occupation. I’m a police officer. Where I am geographically doesn’t matter. I’m drawn to doing the right thing. The people of Stoughton will get their money’s worth.”(excerpted from Stoughton Journal column of April 16, 2010)
(Posted on April 12, 2010 at 1 p.m.)
Home Invasion on School Street--first reported here
Two suspects, armed with a knife, attempted to rob a resident at 289 School Street early this evening (4/8). According to Stoughton Police Department Executive Officer Lt. Robert Devine, the two suspects, with money and stolen goods in hand, fled on foot to a car with two waiting accomplices. A call into the police station alerted authorities that a robbery had been committed, and Officer Ed Barker and Sgt. Tom McNulty were called by the responding officers, and stopped the car, and arrested all four occupants at gunpoint.. Devine said that the suspects who were alleged to have entered the home were Justin Reynolds, 31, of 99 Porter Street and Lemar Lugo, 20, formerly of 91 Joyce Drive. Both were charged with armed home invasion and armed robbery. Also arrested in the car were Justin Picardi-Rivera, 20, of Windsor Woods in Canton, and Joshua King, 19, of 118 Lincoln Street. Both were charged with being accessories to armed home invasion and armed robbery. Residents should not be alarmed. Police do not believe it was a random crime, but that the victim knew the suspects involved.
(Posted @ 9 p.m. on 4/8/10)
Ex-Stoughton Police Officer Gets Probation After Pleading Guilty to Making False Statements
A former Stoughton police officer who recently pled guilty in federal court to making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was sentenced today to three years’ probation and fined $3,000. United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division, announced that Arlindo Romeiro, 37, of Stoughton, who resigned from the Stoughton Police Department, was sentenced today (4/8) for making false statements and representations to the FBI regarding an ongoing public corruption investigation. The Information alleged that Romeiro made these false statements and representations during the course of an interview on July 13, 2009. In imposing the sentence, the Honorable Patti B. Saris credited Romeiro’s cooperation with federal authorities in their ongoing probe of police corruption in Stoughton. This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian T. Kelly, Chief of Ortiz’s Public Corruption Unit.
(News Release from FBI/posted @ 5 p.m. on 4/8/10)
Scam Alert from Executive Officer Robert Devine of the Stoughton Police Department: "Just wanted to warn the residents of potential scams. Yesterday (4/6), we encountered two men going to houses saying that they had extra asphalt and could fix their driveways. Though no one took the bait, the residents should know that this is usually a scam resulting in shoddy or no work. The bad guys get away with several hundreds of dollars and the victims are left wondering what happened." Questions? Call 781-344-2424. Before you open your wallets, check on the legitimacy of any contractor, with the Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce.
Stagnone beats Capozzoli for Selectmen's Seat
Town Moderator Howard Hansen swears in John Stagnone on April 13 (snyder photo)
Most Stoughton residents decided that voting wasn't worth the effort. No excuses. You were sick? Had to work? Out of town on business? In college? The Town Clerk had an abundant amount of absentee ballots that still sit unused in her office. 84% of the registered voters in town never bothered to fufill their constitutional privilege and cast a ballot. Can you imagine that? In countries where people die for the right to vote, the people of this town, for whatever reason, just didn't seem to care. 16% of the people here ended up deciding the fate of all of us. John Stagnone, who has chaired a number of committees in town, serves on a few boards, and is the president of Stoughton Media Access Corp. (SMAC) got 1507 votes. Jerry Capozzoli, former acting chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and the owner of C & J Auto Body finished right behind with 1314 votes, according to the official figures of Town Clerk. 2870 were actually cast, including blanks and write ins. Both candidates worked hard for victory, participating in endless debates, placing numerous ads in the local shopper, going door to door, holding signs in the square, and placing thousands of signs townwide on lawns and trees. And, in the end, less than 200 votes separated the candidates, and almost 15,000 people stayed home.Stagnone, celebrating in his home with volunteers and friends, told Snyder's Stoughton that he wants to get right to work. "I'd like to see a three year budget plan that is required by Charter. We've never had one. We have to obey the Charter or change it. I'm looking at being a new selectmen, at the same time the town has welcomed a new police chief and town manager. I'm happy to have come out on top. I'm glad it's over. I care about the town, and I'm happy it worked out. I give thanks to my family and friends who worked so hard on my behalf."Capozzoli, at the Village Pub with friends, family and supporters, was disappointed in the results. "I had felt support all over town before the election. Even this past weekend, people were asking for me to put signs on their lawns. It's really a disgrace that we had such a low turnout. But, we gave it a good effort, and came up just short. I'm thankful for all the people who worked on this campaign. They all worked so hard." When asked if he would run again in the future, Capozzoli said, "I don't see myself running again." The people have spoken---but only a few. Stoughton is starting in a new direction, with a new selectman, a new town manager and a new police chief. It would be nice if a positive glow could be in the future, where the residents take ownership of their town, by getting more involved on boards, volunteering their time and talents---and VOTING to insure the future of our town. Three changes to our Charter were made on Tuesday. They are FOREVER. I'll say the same thing I've been writing here for 12 years----If you didn't vote, DON'T COMPLAIN. School Committee: Thomas Colburn (I) 1681
Joyce Husseini 1456Moderator: Howard Hansen (I) 2047 ELECTION TIDBITS:School Committee member Allan Mills topped the ticket for Town Meeting in Precinct 1. Stephanie Carrara, employed by the Town Clerk's office, topped Precinct 2. Retired DPW Director Larry Barrett topped the Precinct 3 Town Meeting vote. Billy Provost, a freshman at Bridgewater State, got elected in Pct. 3 in his first attempt at public office. William McNamara topped Pct. 4 voting, while Elizabeth Murphy led Precinct 5. Stoughton Fire Dept. Captain Scott Breen topped Precinct 6, Elizabeth Pietro topped Precinct 7, and Patricia MacNeil topped Precinct 8. Congratulations to everyone who took the time to take out papers and get involved in their town!
COMPLETE ELECTION RESULTS!
A NEW DAWN FOR STOUGHTON POLICE........CHIEF PAUL SHASTANY SWORN IN
Stoughton Police Honor Guard, Police Chief Paul Shastany, Town Manager Fran Crimmins, and the Board of Selectmen (snyder photo)
Selectman John Anzivino said it all, after a crowd of over 400 people assembled in Stoughton High School auditorium Monday night (4/5) for the swearing in ceremony for Police Chief Paul Shastany, a former Lt. in the Framingham Police Department. "We've shut the door on the past, and opened the door to the future," the vice chairman told me after it was over. Board Chairman Steve Anastos said the evening was "a very significant occasion for the great town of Stoughton. Stoughton is a good town, but it can be better. A rebirth is taking place. Pessimism and negativity is waning. More citizens are stepping up to volunteer, and expectations for a better tomorrow are high."Framingham Police Chief Steven Carl, a 1977 graduate of Stoughton High School, said, "The Stoughton Police Department should be valued, nurtured, and supported. Under Chief Shastany, it could become the second best department in Massachusetts." Acting Stoughton Police Chief Thomas Murphy, a 1980 graduate of Stoughton High, said, "We have 32 officers sitting strong tonight, and seven officers of the Stoughton Police Honor Guard. Their presence tonight--of all these officers in one place--is the biggest sign of moving forward. These police officers have been under a tremendous amount of pressure the past six years. But, they continue to come in every day--no matter what is in the newspaper--and serve and protect the residents of Stoughton." He added, with his usual humor, "Why would Paul Shastany leave Framingham and come to Stoughton? I was thinking he had no idea what he was in for." Chief Shastany finally got to speak, saying, "I am honored and shocked by how well I've been received. I feel so welcome and important. I will not let you down. My deep gratitude and committment to this job will sustain me. This isn't a doing job, it's a thinking job. I believe in what I do. I care about people and i want my officers to care about people. We must leave people better off than where we found them"
Some of the highlights of the evening included invocation and benediction by Father Joseph McDermott of Immaculate Conception Church, an appearance by Brazilian Consul General, the Honorable Ambassador Mario Saade; the singing of the national anthem by Mallory Breen, reciting of the Pledgec of Allegiance by cub scout David Wallace, and musical selections by the Stoughton High Jazz Band. In addition the Stoughton Police, Framingham Police, and Norfolk County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard, were also featured. (You try staying stationery for 90 minutes!) Outgoing selectman Joe Mokrisky deserves a lot of praise for putting it all together. Mention should also be made of Linda Ross of Catering by Linda for the delicious refreshments that followed, and the Stoughton Chamber of Commerce for providing flowers, One of Chief Shastany's three daughters, Amanda, said his motto is "Stay true to your beliefs, no matter what the cost." The feeling in the room was electric, positive, and uplifting. Hopefully, the town will move forward in a big way, and the corruption that appeared in some former members of the police department will be buried in history. (c) 2010 snydersstoughton.com
Some of the hundreds who turned out for the Monday night swearing in ceremony at Stoughton High. (snyder photo)
Ann Marie Shastany pins her husband. (Photo by Helenita Morais/www.hamkproductions.com )
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON STOUGHTON WATER!!!
For Water Users in Stoughton, MA
(posted April 2, 2010 @ 2 p.m.)
TOWN WEBSITE GETS MAKEOVER
Dr. Gray said that the website is really not part of his job, which involves all technology for the schools and the municipal departments. He adds, “This will need to be done by department heads or their designated employee. The new town manager really wants to see this happen. In essence, I see each department area as essentially a mini-site. Department heads will be responsible for keeping it up to date with content updates.”
New Town Manager Francis Crimmins tells Snyder’s
THIS WEATHER DUCKS.....Who'll Stop the Rain?
An Overflowing Ames Pond (Dwight Mackerron photo)
After today (3/30), it is estimated that Stoughton got over a FOOT of rain in the two most recent storms. Basements, Streets and Ponds filled up last weekend when Stoughton got up to eight inches of rain in a storm that left people with wet basements, and sad faces. Now, an additional six inches of rain have caused disasters for many homeowners, who have lost thousands of dollars in property, seen tens of thousands in damages, and may face health consequences down the road from mildew and mold. Due to the amount of storm-related debris, the Stoughton Public Works has and will continue to send out extra crews and equipment to handle the issue. Standard rules and hours for collection still apply. Please contact the Public Works Department at 781-344-2112 with any questions or concerns. For those needing financial help, call FEMA @ (202) 646-3272.
(posted on 3/30/10 @ 11 am)
SENATOR MORRISSEY ENTERS RACE FOR
State Senator Michael W. Morrissey (D-Quincy) announced today that he will seek the office of Norfolk County District Attorney this fall. The current District Attorney William R. Keating has announced that he will not run for a fourth term.
Senator Morrissey is a founding member and managing partner of the Law Firm of Boyle, Morrissey and Campo P.C. Senator Morrissey has 25 years of trial experience often involving complex litigation requiring medical, forensic and professional experts. The firm currently employees fifty professionals in three states and enjoys a strong reputation as a leading litigation firm across the region.
The Committee to Elect Michael Morrissey will be announcing the opening of the campaign headquarters in
Cheng Du to Re-Open
It's official. Cheng Du restaurant, which was destroyed in a downtown fire, is going to be re-opening at the former Phatt Boys location, 657 Washington Street, on Rt. 138. Snyder's Stoughton reached a spokesman for Sonny Tang, owner of the Mansfield location, and they have confirmed the purchase of the building. Sources there tell me that they expect to be open by sometime in early June, 2010. Their former location downtown at 762 Washington Street, owned by Irving and David Parsons, has not been altered since the fire.
(posted at 3 p.m. on 3/29/10)
State Reaching Into Nonprofits Pockets
For the many fundraisers in town that advertise raffles, beware! The State wants a piece of the action. When a religious organization placed their paperwork in front of Nancy Webber, secretary for the Board of Selectmen, she flagged the word "raffle". Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney says that under Massachusetts law (C. 810, Acts of 1969), nonprofit organizations that are conducting raffles need to fill out an "Application for Permit to Conduct Raffles and Bazaars." You need to show the nonprofit purpose of the event, list those responsible for the raffle, and to what the need proceeds will be applied to. Then, once the forms are approved by Town Hall, a "Notice of Issuance of Raffle and/or Bazaar License " is sent to the Charitable Gaming Department of the Massachusetts State Lottery. In addition to these State requirements, the I.R.S. Revenue Code Section 3402 (q) requires any winnings over $600 be reported, and when proceeds exceed $1000. then 20% must be kept for federal withholding purposes. Numerous organizations do fundraisers all through the year. If your one-day liquor application notes raffles, expect to get the rest of the paperwork. Not picking on Webber or Mooney, they are just doing their jobs. But, I wanted to let residents who are involved in fundraisers know what is going on. The State of Massachusetts is going broke, and their solution is always the same---to reach further into our pockets----even organizations holding benefits for those in need.
(posted on March 26, 2010 @ 12:30 p.m.)